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Andrey Averyanov, founding commander of GRU Unit 29155. (The Insider)
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A collaborative investigation by The Insider uncovered evidence linking the mysterious health condition known as the Havana Syndrome to members of Russia's military intelligence agency. GRU Unit 29155 reportedly used directed energy weapons to target overseas U.S. government personnel.

The Havana Syndrome first came to public attention in 2017 after more than 20 U.S. officials posted to Cuba suffered strange medical ailments in Havana.

Since then, over 100 cases have been cited in places such as Guangzhou, China, and even Washington, DC. Victims include American diplomats, spies, military officers, contractors, and, in some instances, their spouses, children, and even household pets. The report found that the first of these attacks actually took place in Frankfurt, Germany, in 2014.

The attacks are carried out by what The Insider calls "directed energy weapons" generated through years of scientific research dating back to Soviet-era military intelligence programming. The medical consequences of these weapons can be permanent and, in some instances, severely debilitating.

Symptoms resulting from an attack range from chronic headaches, vertigo, tinnitus, insomnia, nausea, lasting psychophysiological impairment, and even blindness or hearing loss. Many victims have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries, forcing them to medically retire from government service.

One victim, a nurse and the wife of an American Embassy official formally based in Tbilisi, referred to in the report as Joy, suffered an attack outside her home in 2021. According to The Insider, Joy has experienced headaches every day for the past three years. She has already undergone two surgeries and will need a third surgery to address "the rapid deterioration of her temporal bone, a condition she says her neurosurgeon cannot explain."

The Insider, together with Der Spiegel and 60 Minutes, was able to geolocate operatives associated with Unit 29155 to places around the world just before or at the time of reported anomalous health incidents, or AHIs. Unlike other teams within Russia’s intelligence agencies, Unit 29155 was not created to spy on people or gather information and focuses entirely on violent military operations.

Further evidence reveals that senior members of this unit received awards and promotions for their work in developing "non-lethal acoustic weapons," a term used by Russian intelligence and military literature to describe sound and radiofrequency-based directed energy devices.

A former CIA official told investigators that the mission of Unit 29155 is "to find, fix, and finish, all in support of Vladimir Putin’s imperial dreams.”

Remarkably, many of the victims of these attacks had subject-matter expertise or operational experience in Georgia, Ukraine, or Russia. Both Georgia and Ukraine have experienced "color revolutions" in the past two decades, which Russian President Vladimir Putin attributes to CIA influence.

According to the report, Putin would "have a reasonable interest in neutralizing U.S. intelligence officials he deemed responsible for his loss of the former satellites or constituent pieces of the former Soviet empire."

Several U.S. officials associated with the CIA's work in Ukraine experienced AHIs across the world, particularly after 2014 and the annexation of Crimea.

The investigation revealed that "the cluster of Havana Syndrome cases that emerged from veterans of the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv was so worrisome to one of its number that he opted to resign from the CIA altogether rather than risk becoming a fourth victim."

The report raises serious questions about how the U.S. has responded to these attacks. American intelligence agencies have adapted what the investigation calls a "nothing-to-see-here assessment." In Mar. 2023, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) issued a redacted report stating that it was “very unlikely” that a foreign adversary caused AHIs. Victims of the attacks were reportedly shocked by the outcome of this report, and many of them reportedly feel betrayed by their government.

"What this investigation has shown is that either the intelligence community is incapable of carrying out its most basic function, or it has worked to cover up the facts and gaslight injured employees and the public," one victim told The Insider.

In 2021, the Biden Administration passed the Havana Act, which provides significant compensation for confirmed victims of AHIs.

Two theories currently exist on why the U.S. government may be shielding the truth about the nature of these attacks. Firstly, releasing the full intelligence about these attacks may convince the American public that Moscow has committed an act of war. The second theory is that acknowledging that the Havana Syndrome is caused by a foreign adversary could undermine recruitment to the CIA or State Department.

If the Kremlin is found responsible for these attacks, the report reads, the disabling of America's regional intelligence experts through AHIs could become  "one of Vladimir Putin’s greatest strategic victories against the United States."

Media: Russian agents pose as activists, filmmakers to reportedly spy on domestic civil society organizations
The alleged agents, who The Insider said posed as a human rights activist, a documentary filmmaker, and a journalist, are allegedly associated with the GRU unit 29155, best known for reportedly being responsible for the 2011 Novichok poisoning of Russian dissident Sergei Skripal and his daughter in…
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