Lauren Moye, FISM NEWS
The House of Representatives unanimously voted on Sept. 21 to require federal departments to better assist employees suffering from mysterious brain damage. The Helping American Victims Afflicted by Neurological Attacks Act, also known as the HAVANA Act, previously passed the Senate on June 7 and is now waiting to be signed into law.
Havana Syndrome, suspected to be the result of a targeted attack by an unknown enemy, is named for the location of the first official medical diagnoses which occurred in 2016 and 2017. Since then, around 200 federal employees or their relatives are suspected to also be victims. Over half of these individuals are associated with the CIA. Military and State Department employees have also been impacted by the Havana Syndrome.
Until now, they have found it difficult to be treated for the long-term debilitating effects.
“Far too many ‘Havana Syndrome’ victims have had to battle the bureaucracy to receive care for their debilitating injuries,” said Senator Susan Collins (R-Minn.). “American personnel who have undergone these attacks while serving our country should be treated the same way we would treat a soldier who suffered a traumatic injury on the battlefield.”
Collins co-authored the HAVANA Act alongside Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). The legislation grants the CIA, Secretary of State, and other federal agency heads to provide additional financial help to Havana Syndrome victims for improved medical care. These departments will also be responsible for reporting how they used this authority so that legislators can follow through with additional intervention for Havana Syndrome victims as needed.
Shaheen said, “It’s unacceptable that so many public servants and their families have faced needless red tape in securing the medical attention they need to get well. The HAVANA Act is commonsense, bipartisan legislation that will help right that wrong and break down the barriers that too many Americans have faced.”
The act passed both the Senate and the House with unanimous bipartisan support. A White House administration official signaled that it would soon become law. This official said, “President Biden supports the HAVANA Act and congressional efforts to provide additional support to individuals who have experienced anomalous health incidents.”
Havana Syndrome is suspected to be caused by some kind of directed microwave energy. A 2020 report from the National Academies of Science agrees with this view. Victims often report hearing a loud sound followed by pressure in their heads. Long-term debilitating effects include migraines, problems with long-distance vision, recurring nosebleeds, and vertigo.
Attacks have been reported on all continents with the exception of Antarctica. The perpetrator of these attacks is still unknown, though it has long been suspected without substantial evidence that Russia is behind them. Russia denies these allegations.
“There is no doubt that the victims who have suffered brain injuries must be provided with adequate care and compensation. Further, it is critical that our government continues the investigation to hold accountable those behind these attacks and that we immediately respond,” said Rubio.
“I am absolutely determined — and I’ve spent a great deal of time and energy on this in the four months I’ve been CIA director — to get to the bottom of the question of what and who caused this,” stated Mark Burns.
The Havana Syndrome has received increased attention recently on a variety of other fronts as well. The top official at the CIA station in Vienna was removed on Friday for not taking initial reports seriously which resulted in a delayed response for victims. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also sent a memo to all Pentagon employees urging them to report any suspected cases of neurological anomalies.