It was supposed to be a welcome break from serving as the Biden administration’s stooge. Instead of being the mascot for the Biden administration’s busted border policy, Kamala Harris would get a pleasant little trip to Singapore and Vietnam, to shore up her foreign policy experience just in case, God forbid, the Democratic party has to actually rally behind her as president.
But instead of gaining experience, Harris has to worry about US diplomats being shot with a laser beam, or something.
Yes, that’s right, the latest incident of Kamala’s ill-starred vice presidency is an outbreak of Havana syndrome. US State Department officials announced that it was investigating a ‘possible anomalous health incident’ in Hanoi, the preferred euphemism for the mysterious disease.
Havana syndrome has been all the rage in the US diplomatic corps for the past four years. The disease first appeared in Cuba, where diplomats complained first of hearing loud sounds, followed by inexplicable nausea, dizziness, pressure around the head and more. Some diplomats left their posts early for treatment in the United States. Some allegedly suffered brain damage. Since the origin in Cuba, diplomats have reported similar ailments in China, Russia, Germany and even Austria. Through sympathetic outlets like NBC News, officials have promoted the narrative that US diplomats are being targeted with mysterious invisible ray-guns pointed by a nefarious foreign power. Which one? Oh, probably Russia. Yep. Always those sneaky Russians.
It wasn’t supposed to go like this. Instead of her nice breezy trip, Kamala has to cope with America under attack. Her arrival in Hanoi was briefly delayed. Professional journalists and think tank barnacles fretted about what might be going on.
Particularly alarming are two possible Havana syndrome incidents in the Washington area, including one case near the White House in November.
Administration officials have speculated that Russia may be involved, a suggestion Moscow has denied. https://t.co/LEaq1XDCUL
— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) August 25, 2021
Wow: US Embassy in Hanoi says the Vice President’s traveling delegation was delayed from departing Singapore because VPs office was made aware of a report of a recent possible anomalous health incident in Hanoi. Anomalous health incident is what the USG calls Havana Syndrome. pic.twitter.com/1jqNsQMIeW
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) August 24, 2021
Have read just about every word published on Havana Syndrome and still have absolutely no idea what to make of it.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) August 24, 2021
Harris’s arrival in Hanoi was delayed after the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam said it had detected a “possible anomalous health incident” in the city, a phrase that Washington uses to describe the mysterious Havana Syndrome.https://t.co/cIWerFnvFR
— Henry Rome (@hrome2) August 25, 2021
Well, fret not, because Cockburn is about to blow this story wide open. This isn’t an attack from America’s enemies. This is an attack from within. It’s a direct assault on America by our own neurotic professional class.
Because, and Cockburn hopes you are all seated and prepared for hard news, the truth is this: Havana syndrome is fake.
Seriously, the book has already been written about it. It’s like schools and coronavirus, where we’ve known the exact amount of danger (none) for more than a year and everybody just pretends otherwise because being neurotic is more fun.
Havana syndrome started when one CIA agent in Cuba complained to another about an odd sound that they were hearing. Only months later, after the noise had fueled rampant speculation among the operatives, did the annoying sound mutate into a ‘powerful beam of high-pitched sound’.
In reality, the deadly sound beams were Cuba’s noisy indigenous crickets. But that hardly mattered. Once diplomatic operatives were primed to worry about mysterious sonic attacks, the reverse placebo effect did the rest. As Vanity Fair summarized more than two and a half years ago:
‘Patient Zero informed Amb. Jeffrey DeLaurentis, in a telling phrase, that “the rumor mill is going mad”. So a meeting was called, which spread the word even further. Over the next weeks and months, more than 80 staffers and their families came forward to complain of a dizzying and seemingly unrelated range of symptoms: deafness, memory loss, mental stupor, head pain. Many reported hearing the strange noise, but they couldn’t seem to agree on what it sounded like. One described it as “grinding metal,” and another called it a “loud ringing.” Yet another compared it to feeling the “air ‘baffling’ inside a moving car with the windows partially rolled down.”’
The sound also moved around a lot. The first four complaints all came from CIA agents working undercover in Havana, who reported hearing the noise at their homes. But then others claimed that they had been felled by the mysterious sound while staying temporarily at Havana hotels, specifically the Hotel Capri and the Hotel Nacional.
From there, Havana syndrome has gone worldwide, always hitting diplomats, always having a baffling array of syndromes whose only commonality is that they also will manifest in cases of mass hysteria.
Havana syndrome shows much in common with the notorious ‘long COVID’, the illness (disproportionately felt by those with no positive COVID tests) that has displaced chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia as the all-purpose cause of bad fee-fees among those with hypochondria and a heavy dose of anxiety.
Why is it so hard to believe that America’s diplomats are falling victim to mass hysteria? Over the past four years, we just saw hundreds of experienced professionals buy completely into the absurd Russian collusion conspiracy theory, which hinged on the idea that Donald Trump was both a secret undetected Russian agent for years on end yet also communicated with Vladimir Putin through direct messages in his public speeches.
But the best argument against sinister Russian energy weapons is more straightforward. America’s diplomatic and intelligence services gave us the Afghan debacle, Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, the Libya mess, the fall of the Shah and so on, ad infinitum. Left to their own devices and their own calamitous judgment, they are sure to cause one crisis after another for the United States. So why would America’s enemies want to interrupt them?
America’s enemies aren’t becoming more Space-Age. America is just becoming dumber.
Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.