CubaBrief: Cuban artist targeted by Havana reported 10/18 sonic attack. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine identified attacks using a type of radiation that includes microwaves

Two important stories related to Cuba are intersecting in the news. Repression against artists advocating for freedom of expression, the freedom of their colleague Denis Solis, and an important report indicating that sonic attacks were most likely the result of a “directed, pulsed radio frequency energy,” of which microwaves are an example. The two stories intersect in the person of Tania Bruguera.

Tania Bruguera, at the Instar headquarters, accompanied by other artists who were present at the meeting on November 27 with Vice Minister of Culture Fernando Rojas. (14ymedio)

Tania Bruguera, at the Instar headquarters, accompanied by other artists who were present at the meeting on November 27 with Vice Minister of Culture Fernando Rojas. (14ymedio)

Cuban artist Tania Bruguera has been detained three times within the span of a week, and is currently under house arrest and being threatened with “charges of crimes against the state, she says, which could carry a sentence of life imprisonment or even death.” Ms. Bruguera’s “telephone line and all possible access to the internet were cut off.” Both phone lines and internet access are controlled by the government. She has been under extensive surveillance because she has been supporting the San Isidro Movement, and was involved in the meeting with the Minister of Culture on November 27th demanding freedom of expression in Cuba. However, she has been a target of the dictatorship for some time.

On October 18, 2020 at 1:19am Cuban artist Tania Bruguera posted on her Facebook account the following message translated in English below:

“Does anyone know this noise? It is like a cricket, but electronic and very loud, it can’t be natural, it activates every minute or so and lasts one minute, minute and sixteen seconds, minute and twenty-one seconds. I have a headache and an earache that cannot be tolerated. The recording cannot capture the actual volume. In reality the sound is  very high and penetrating.”

There was no news about this occurrence in the English speaking press, and little coverage in the Spanish speaking press. Babalu Blog reported on it in English, citing the article in Diario de Cuba that quoted Tania’s sister, Deborah Bruguera: “We have confirmed the sound recorded by my sister is identical to what the workers at the American embassy in Havana heard and according to the investigation has been designated some type of sonic weapon. There is no doubt now…”

On October 10, 2020, ten days prior to the “sonic attack”, Ms Bruguera was the target of an act of repudiation organized by Castro’s state security. In between these two attacks the Cuban artist participated in a panel discussion over Zoom that is available now online titled “Blurring the Lines Between Art and Activism: A conversation with Tania Bruguera and Claire Bishop” organized by the Center for the Humanities.

CubaBrief reported on the sonic attack at the time, and remains concerned for her wellbeing. The regime in Havana continues to deny that any attack has occurred, and that the sound associated is non-existent or crickets. However, the sound has been recorded, and can be listened to below.

On December 5th Ana Swanson and Edward Wong of The New York Times reported that “the most probable cause of a series of mysterious afflictions that sickened American spies and diplomats abroad in the past several years was radiofrequency energy, a type of radiation that includes microwaves, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has concluded in a report.” Swanson and Wong also mention in their article that Canadians had also been targeted in the Havana attacks.

On October 25, 2020 the Canadian publication Global News reported that “Canadian officials warned staff bound for Cuba to stay silent on ‘Havana syndrome’” claiming that it was to “avoid mass hysteria.”

The use of sound as a weapon against Cuban nationals has a long history. On November 17, 2017 at an event on Capitol Hill, former Cuban political prisoners testified about abuses suffered in Cuban prisons. The Daily Caller highlighted the testimony of two political prisoners.

Ernesto Diaz Rodriguez and Luis Zuniga, anti-Castro dissidents who were sent to hideous regime prisons, said they were repeatedly subjected to “ultrasonic” torture over more than 20 years in confinement. “The methodology consisted of placing large loudspeakers around 4 feet high each … at both ends of the hallway of cells,” Zuniga recalled of his experience in 1979. “Then, they were connected to some sort of electronic device that produced high-pitched sounds.” “The sounds oscillated from high pitch to very high pitch that almost pieced the eardrums,” he added. Zuniga went on to describe symptoms from the torture sessions, saying that he began to feel “increasingly uneasy” and “unable to think.” Other prisoners suffered debilitating headaches. The brutal punishment lasted for days, he recalled, leading to the suicide of a fellow inmate. “This torture was kept [up] for days and nights without a respite,” Zuniga said. “It ended when one of the prisoners … hung himself. He died from the torture.”

The Castro regime should be held to account for what happened to Tania Bruguera on October 18, 2020, along with the acts of repudiation, and arbitrary detentions carried out against her person. This may also reveal information that will shed light on what happened to American and Canadian diplomats between 2016 and 2018, and possible involvement by Havana.

Hyperallergic, December 7, 2020

Artist Tania Bruguera Detained in Havana For the Third Time in a Week

“We must use the right definitions: KIDNAPPING,” said Deborah Bruguera, the artist-activist’s sister.

by Valentina Di Liscia

Deborah Bruguera, sister of the Cuban artist Tania Bruguera, said in a Facebook post that the activist was “taken against her will by plainclothes Cuban police for the third time this week.” Bruguera was taken into police custody in Havana on Friday evening and again yesterday, Sunday, December 6.

According to an email from Deborah Bruguera, Cuba’s Ministry of Culture held a press conference on Friday and decided to keep several members of the 27N Movement, including Bruguera, under house arrest “in order to avoid any interference from dissenters.”

“Today, in addition to having surveillance throughout the day, Tania Bruguera’s telephone line and all possible access to the internet were cut off, keeping her in total isolation and unable to work with the group,” the artist’s sister wrote that day. Around 9pm, artist Sandra Ceballos and Bruguera were stopped on the road while on the way to a Cuban religious celebration in a private home. A group of people in civilian clothes emerged from the car and forced Bruguera out of her vehicle; her whereabouts remained unknown until Saturday morning, when she was released.

The 27N Movement, a group of artists and intellectuals advocating for artistic freedom in Cuba, was formed on November 27 during a sit-in in front of the Ministry of Culture in Havana. Hundreds gathered to protest the arrest of Denis Solís, a young Cuban rapper jailed for insulting a police officer, and the harassment of the dissident San Isidro Movement by state authorities. Members of the latter had staged a hunger strike after Cuban police besieged their headquarters and prevented a neighbor from bringing the group food and supplies.

Following the November 27 action, Vice Minister of Culture Fernando Rojas and other Cuban officials met with 30 of the protesters, including Bruguera, and agreed to begin a dialogue about the protection of artists’ rights and reconsider Solís’s imprisonment. But according to Bruguera, the harassment of artists continued. In a video posted on her Facebook on December 2, she said six members of the 27N Movement had patrol cars stationed outside their house, and other members had been detained.

Yesterday, December 6, the artist was detained again, this time while walking down the street from her home, according to a Facebook post by Deborah Bruguera.

“Enough! We must use the right definitions: KIDNAPPING,” she wrote. “Tania Bruguera was taken against her will for the third time this week by agents dressed as civilians who did not identify themselves. She and Lynn Cruz were literally walking to the corner; these people arrived running toward her and took her away in a car with the plate P076624.”

Police have been stationed in front of Bruguera’s home as well as the Instituto de Artivismo Hannah Arendt (INSTAR), an organization founded by Bruguera headquartered in Old Havana.

“We declare that there are no political material, drugs, subversive material, pornography or any other material inside the building that could be implicated in a crime,” said a post by INSTAR.

The human rights and free speech advocacy organization PEN America released a statement on Friday denouncing Cuban state police’s actions against Bruguera and the ongoing arbitrary imprisonment of artists and activists in the country.

“Bruguera, who has vocally mobilized against the unjust sentencing of rapper Denis Solís González and the routine government censorship and harassment of Cuban artists, vanished Friday night after being in constant surveillance by state security forces the past ten days,” said Julie Trébault, director of the Artists at Risk Connection at PEN America. “Bruguera’s arrest is just one more iteration of the Cuban government’s efforts to exert a vice-like grip over the cultural sector.”

A spokesperson for Tania Bruguera confirmed via Facebook Messenger that she currently remains under house arrest at her home in Havana.

Artnet News, December 7, 2020


After Protesting for Artistic Freedom, Cuban Authorities Detained Artist Tania Bruguera and Put Her Under House Arrest

“We want political freedom: respect for those who think differently,” the artist says. “Basic stuff!”

Brian Boucher, December 7, 2020

Tania Bruguera at the opening of her commission in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern, London in October. Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Tania Bruguera at the opening of her commission in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern, London in October. Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Cuban authorities detained and interrogated artist Tania Bruguera twice over the weekend and she is now under house arrest, the artist tells Artnet News.

The government clampdown comes as protesters ramp up calls for artistic and political freedom in Cuba. A week ago, hundreds gathered outside its ministry of culture, leading authorities to shut down the city’s Internet in an attempt to reduce awareness of the demonstrations—a move that backfired dramatically, Bruguera says.

“Artists as well as other citizens have reached a point of no more tolerance to violence by the state and unfair treatment to those who think differently,” Bruguera says.

Bruguera was held and interrogated for about six hours on Saturday night. She was released and then detained again at about 1 p.m. on Sunday for an hour. She attributes yesterday’s shorter detention to widespread calls for her release online.

“I can’t go out alone, so people came with me,” she said, and when she was detained, “they immediately put it on Facebook. I’ve been detained for as long as people on Facebook protest. As soon as people start asking, they release me.”

Tania Bruguera speaks with other artists gathered outside the Ministry of Culture in Havana on November 27, 2020. Photo by Yamil Lage/AFP via Getty Images.

Tania Bruguera speaks with other artists gathered outside the Ministry of Culture in Havana on November 27, 2020. Photo by Yamil Lage/AFP via Getty Images.

Bruguera was among a group of artists who recently held a high-profile meeting with the country’s deputy minister of culture a week ago. But after the president turned sour on the talks, she has been under house arrest with police stationed outside her home, she says.

“When I have police in front of my house, I don’t go out, because I don’t want to provoke,” she says. “I don’t want to be in jail. But lately they have been hiding, so when I try to go out, I look out from the balcony, and I don’t see them,” she says, “and then they come and grab me. They interrogated me, but I wasn’t talking.”

Authorities are threatening Bruguera with charges of crimes against the state, she says, which could carry a sentence of life imprisonment or even death.

“I think they’re bluffing,” she says.

While the current uprising may have started as a call for artistic freedom, it has widened into a demand for greater liberties overall. “We want political freedom: respect for those who think differently, and the right to associate freely. Basic stuff!” she says, adding that perhaps the government’s excessive punishment actually signals its weakness: “I think the government is afraid.”

The protests came after authorities raided the home of a group of artists on hunger strike in late November. “The house was the one safe, protected space they hadn’t violated yet,” Bruguera says. The artists, part of a collective known as the San Isidro Group, had been calling for the release of Denis Solís, a rapper and member of the collective who was arrested last month.

The raid outraged the public and led hundreds to gather outside the ministry of culture. “People went to the ministry to ask them to do their job, which is to protect artists,” Bruguera says. “They’re protecting the state and not the artists.”

Protesters remained outside the ministry for nine hours despite military presence and the use of tear gas. “The hashtag #WhereIsTheMinister really forced his hand,” Bruguera says, referring to deputy minister Fernando Rojas, who eventually invited 30 protesters, including Bruguera, inside for a four-hour meeting. During the discussion, Rojas made certain concessions, but violated them within 24 hours as the state put those who participated in the talks under house arrest, Bruguera says.

“They cut our email,” she says. “We had started meeting via WhatsApp. They cut our internet so we couldn’t prepare.” In the meantime, the ministry invited in another set of artists and filmmakers it hoped would be more sympathetic to the government, Bruguera says. But that, too, backfired: “People in that meeting were saying, ‘This is a dictatorship!’”

Participants in the recent protests report intense harassment from the state, including the appearance of police at the homes of their families. Some say they are at risk of losing their jobs or being expelled from university.

“What they are not calculating is that if, before this, only five percent of the people were not afraid, now, only five perfect of the people are afraid,” Bruguera says. “It doesn’t matter what they do. It’s not working.”

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The Guardian, December 6, 2020

Havana syndrome: ‘directed’ radio frequency likely cause of illness – report

First official explanation of illness that affected US diplomats in Cuba says ‘pulsed’ energy may have led to unexplained symptoms

By Sam Jones

The mysterious symptoms that have afflicted American diplomats stationed in Cuba, puzzling scientists and intelligence agencies alike, are most likely to have been caused by “directed, pulsed radio frequency energy”, according to a report commissioned by the US government.

Those suffering from Havana syndrome, as the condition has become known, have complained of headaches, nausea, dizziness, blurred vision and other ailments.

Possible explanations have included everything from mosquito fumigation to noisy crickets.

But a report from National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, commissioned by the State Department, suggests the involvement of radio frequency energy.

“After considering the information available to it and a set of possible mechanisms, the committee felt that many of the distinctive and acute signs, symptoms, and observations reported by state department employees are consistent with the effects of directed, pulsed radio frequency energy,” the report concludes.

Researchers did not identify the source of the energy – nor a possible culprit – but they said western and Soviet studies going back decades offered “circumstantial support for this possible mechanism”.

The report says that while psychological and social factors could play a part in Havana syndrome, they did not explain “the acute initial, sudden-onset, distinctive, and unusual symptoms” and signs.

“However, the significant variability and clinical heterogeneity of the illnesses affecting state department personnel leave open the possibility of multiple causal factors including psychological and social factors,” said the researchers.

“These factors could exacerbate other causes of illness and cannot be ruled out as contributing to some of the cases, especially some of the chronic symptoms or later in the course of illness in some cases.”

US and Canadian embassy staff posted to Cuba began complaining of hearing loss, speech problems, nosebleeds and other unexplained symptoms in 2016.

Some said they had heard high-pitched chirping like that of crickets, while others reported hearing a grinding noise or experiencing a ringing

in their ears.

The incidents led the US state department to expel two Cuban diplomats from Washington in 2017.

Donald Trump blamed the episodes on the Cuban government, saying: “It’s a very unusual attack, as you know. But I do believe Cuba is responsible.”

The Cuban authorities have flatly denied any involvement but said they treated the matter “with utmost importance”, adding: “Cuba has never, nor would it ever, allow that the Cuban territory be used for any action against accredited diplomatic agents or their families, without exception.”

The report committee said it had been left with a number of concerns.

“Even though it was not in a position to assess or comment on how these state department cases arose – such as a possible source of directed, pulsed radio frequency energy and the exact circumstances of the putative exposures – the mere consideration of such a scenario raises grave concerns about a world with disinhibited malevolent actors and new tools for causing harm to others, as if the US government does not have its hands full already with naturally occurring threats,” it said.

The committee recommended that more research be conducted and said it was worried about the possibility of new cases among US staff working overseas – and about the government’s ability to recognise and respond to such cases effectively.

The report concluded that future cases would require “a well-coordinated, multi-disciplinary, science-based investigation and effective interventions”.

In October, the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said “significant US government resources” had been deployed to investigate the syndrome and its causes.

“We are pleased this report is now out and can add to the data and analyses that may help us come to an eventual conclusion as to what transpired,” a state department source told the New York Times.

USA Today, December 6, 2020

Report finds pulsed radio frequency ‘most plausible’ cause of illness that hit US diplomats in Cuba, China

By Sarah Elbeshbishi and William Cummings

A report from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine points to a radio frequency pulse as the “most plausible” cause of the mysterious illness that plagued diplomats and their families in Cuba and China.

After reviewing the illnesses’ symptoms and possible causes, the committee appointed to review the cases determined that what was observed was “consistent with the effects of directed pulsed radio frequency energy,” the report states.

While the committee, made up of mostly medical experts, determined a radio frequency (RF) pulse was the most likely cause, they also said that there could have been other causes contributing to the illness and producing additional signs and symptoms.

American officials in Cuba experienced an unexplained illness, which was later coined the “Havana Syndrome,” beginning in late 2016. At least 26 Americans who worked at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba fell sick, experiencing several debilitating symptoms. Those who fell sick experienced sudden onset of loud noises, headaches, dizziness, hearing loss and blurred vision.

Eventually, Americans working at the U.S. Embassy in China began experiencing similar symptoms to those in Cuba, signaling that this was not a regional illness.  

The NAS report found “many of the acute, early phase symptoms and observations reported by” state department personnel “are consistent with RF effects, including a perceived clicking sound within the head even when the ears were covered, a perceived force/pressure sensation within the head and on the face, perceived spatial localization and directionality of these perceived phenomena and other loud sounds, hearing loss, tinnitus, impaired gait and loss of balance, as well as the absence of heating sensation and absence of observed disruption of electronic devices in the immediate environment.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo informed lawmakers in May 2018 the same symptoms afflicting those in Cuba were apparent among officials in China.

“The medical indications are very similar and entirely consistent with the medical indication that have taken place to Americans working in Cuba,” Pompeo told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.     

According to the NAS report, because of the unknown origins and cause of the illness, there was a “delay in recognizing an important cluster of unexplained illnesses, and an early failure to investigate them in a concerted, coordinated, rigorous, and interdisciplinary manner.”

The report said while the combination of the symptoms seemed to suggest something wrong with the inner ear, VIII cranial nerve and their brain stem connection, there was no consistent result to determine whether the illness was caused by a brain injury.

The committee also looked at chemicals, infectious diseases and psychological issues as possible explanations. It found chemical exposure from insecticide spraying was “not likely” the cause because there was no evidence of high-level exposure and the affected people’s histories didn’t fit with such exposure. But it didn’t rule out the possibility insecticides could have made the symptoms worse. 

Though Zika, which was rampant in Cuba around that time, can have neurological effects the committee said it was “highly unlikely” that was the cause of the symptoms seen in those affected. 

Some have theorized the reported illness could have been more psychological than physiological, in what is referred to as “mass psychogenic illness” or mass hysteria. The committee said that because the symptoms varied from patient to patient, it was possible there were “multiple causal factors including psychological and social factors.” 

“These factors could exacerbate other causes of illness and cannot be ruled out as contributing to some of the cases, especially some of the chronic symptoms or later in the course of illness in some cases,” the report said. But the report also said it was unlikely such elements were the root cause, saying, “The acute initial, sudden-onset, distinctive, and unusual symptoms and signs are difficult to ascribe to psychological and social factors.”

It also said persistent postural-perceptual dizziness (PPPD), a neurological disorder causing balance problems and a feeling of unsteadiness, “may explain some chronic signs and symptoms in some patients.” 

Though pulsed radio frequencies were seen as “the most plausible mechanism in explaining these cases, especially in those with the distinct early manifestations,” the report’s conclusion was highly qualified. It said PPPD was “a secondary reinforcing mechanism, as well as the possible additive effects of psychological conditions.”

“The committee cannot rule out other possible mechanisms and considers it likely that a multiplicity of factors explains some cases and the differences between others,” the report found. “In particular, the committee could not be certain that the individuals with only the chronic set of signs and symptoms suffered from the same cause(s).” 

The report recommended a prepared, more uniform approach to handling any similar sudden illness in the future to better identify and prevent the root cause of the symptoms. 

While the cause of the illness has been discovered, the source of the RF energy that caused members of the state department to get to sick is still unknown. However, many seem to think that it was an attack on the United States. The Cuban government has denied any involvement and launched their own investigation.

Although the report focuses only on the cause of the illness, it does mention the extensive research Russia did into the effects of pulsed radio frequency exposures. 

“Military personnel (in Eurasian communist countries) exposed to non-thermal microwave radiation were said to have experienced headache, fatigue, dizziness, irritability, sleeplessness, depression, anxiety, forgetfulness, and lack of concentration,” the report said. 

The Russian government has denied any involvement.

The New York Times, December 5, 2020

Report Points to Microwave ‘Attack’ as Likely Source of Mystery Illnesses That Hit Diplomats and Spies

A government-commissioned report provides the most definitive explanation yet for “Havana syndrome,” which struck scores of American employees, first in Cuba and then in China, Russia and other countries.

Many govt employees afflicted by the illness, first disclosed in Havana, suffered from dizziness, fatigue, headaches, & loss of hearing, memory & balance. Credit...Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

Many govt employees afflicted by the illness, first disclosed in Havana, suffered from dizziness, fatigue, headaches, & loss of hearing, memory & balance. Credit…Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

By Ana Swanson and Edward Wong

WASHINGTON — The most probable cause of a series of mysterious afflictions that sickened American spies and diplomats abroad in the past several years was radiofrequency energy, a type of radiation that includes microwaves, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has concluded in a report.

The conclusion by a committee of 19 experts in medicine and other fields cited “directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy” as “the most plausible mechanism” to explain the illness, which came to be known as Havana syndrome, though they said that they could not rule out other possible causes and that secondary factors may have contributed to symptoms, according to a copy of the report obtained by The New York Times.

The report, which was commissioned by the State Department, provides the most definitive explanation yet of the illness that struck scores of government employees, first at the U.S. Embassy in Havana in 2016, and then in China and other countries. Many of the officers suffered from dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and loss of hearing, memory and balance, and some were forced into permanent retirement.

C.I.A. officers visiting overseas stations also experienced similar symptoms, The Times and GQ magazine reported in October. The officers were traveling to discuss countering Russia covert operations with foreign intelligence agencies, a fact that adds to suspicions that Moscow is behind the episodes.

Though couched in careful, scientific language, the new report reveals strong evidence that the incidents were the result of a malicious attack. It attributes the illnesses to “directed” and “pulsed” — rather than “continuous” — energy, implying that the victims’ exposure was targeted and not the result of more common sources of microwave energy, such as, for example, a cellphone.

It also said the committee found the immediate symptoms that patients reported — including strange sensations of pain, pressure and sound that often appeared to emanate from a particular direction, or occurred in a specific spot in a room — were more consistent with a directed “attack” of radiofrequency energy.

The committee considered other causes, like chemical exposures and infectious diseases, but said they appeared unlikely.

The report said that the variability of the incidents, which appeared to affect people in different ways, left open the possible influence of “psychological and social factors.” And it said that some of the victims may be experiencing a condition called “persistent postural-perceptual dizziness,” a nervous system disorder that produces a prolonged feeling of vertigo or unsteadiness.

The episodes have been the subject of much speculation and controversy. Many of the victims, as well as some government officials and outside scientists, have long argued that radiofrequency energy was the most likely cause, potentially the result of a weapon wielded by a foreign power.

But since 2018, the U.S. government has declined to speculate publicly on the cases, and some scientists have promoted alternate theories, like a kind of psychological illness that spread in the stressful environment of foreign missions.

Amid the controversy and confusion, some of the afflicted officers have complained that the United States has failed to support them. In several cases, the government initially refused to grant leave and provide the necessary medical care, the officers said. And with the government silent on the possibility of a foreign attack, many of the victims were left feeling that the public believed they had made it all up.

Several of the victims have accused Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other Trump administration officials of downplaying the issue in an attempt to avoid disrupting international ties. They now ask how President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his nominee for secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, will respond, especially given the new scientific findings.

After lawmakers pressured the State Department for months to release the report, the agency gave it to some congressional officials and others on Thursday and Friday, asking them not to share it. The Times and NBC News separately obtained the report on Friday, and NBC earlier reported the findings. The National Academies publicly released the report Saturday evening.

“We are pleased this report is now out and can add to the data and analyses that may help us come to an eventual conclusion as to what transpired,” the State Department said in a statement on Saturday.

The department also said that “each possible cause remains speculative” and that various factors, including the committee’s lack of access to some information because of potential security concerns, “limit the scope of the report,” though “they do not lessen its value.”

For the Trump administration, acknowledging that the incidents were the result of a foreign attack could have necessitated evacuating American missions in China, disrupting an important economic relationship. The administration did take a harder approach in Cuba, which aligned with its larger goal of reversing President Barack Obama’s diplomatic opening with Havana.

The question of Moscow’s possible culpability is a thorny one, given the sensitivities around President Trump on any matters involving Russia or President Vladimir V. Putin. Moscow has denied any role, and Gina Haspel, the C.I.A. director, has not concluded the Kremlin was responsible. But some C.I.A. analysts who are Russia experts, diplomats and scientists contend that evidence points to Moscow, which has a long history of experimenting with the technology.

The report does not point to a perpetrator, though it mentions “significant research in Russia/U.S.S.R.” on pulsed radiofrequency technology, as well as the exposure of military personnel in Eurasian communist countries to microwave radiation. The Soviet Union bombarded the American Embassy in Moscow with microwaves in the 1970s and ’80s. In a 2014 document, the National Security Agency discussed a microwave weapon used by a hostile country, which people familiar with the document said was Russia.

Mark Lenzi, a diplomatic security officer who was afflicted with the symptoms while working in Guangzhou, China, in early 2018, said that the administration’s treatment of its employees, including its efforts to “deny and cover up inconvenient scientific and medical facts,” had left him angrier at his own government than the government that injured him.

“My government looked the other way when they knew I and my family were injured,” he said. “This report is just the beginning and when the American people know the full extent of this administration’s cover-up of the radiofrequency attacks in China in particular they will be outraged.”

Mr. Lenzi has sued the State Department for disability discrimination. The Office of Special Counsel has been pursuing two investigations into the State Department’s conduct.

Some family members of the affected U.S. government employees also fell ill overseas, including Mr. Lenzi’s wife. And at least 14 Canadian citizens in Havana said they had experienced similar symptoms.

The report by the National Academies also contains a stark warning about the possibility of future episodes, and the U.S. government’s ability to detect them, or to mount a response. The fact that American government employees reported afflictions not only in Cuba and China but also in Russia and other countries raises questions about how widespread the incidents may be.

The committee was not in a position to assess “specific scenarios involving malevolent actors,” Dr. David Relman, a Stanford University professor who led the committee, wrote in a preface to the report. Yet, he said, “the mere consideration of such a scenario raises grave concerns about a world with disinhibited malevolent actors and new tools for causing harm to others.”

The report recommends that the State Department act now to establish plans and protocols so it can immediately begin an investigation if similar incidents occur.

“The larger issue is preparedness for new and unknown threats that might compromise the health and safety of U.S. diplomats serving abroad,” the report concludes. “The next event may be even more dispersed in time and place, and even more difficult to recognize quickly.”

The panel said its findings were hampered by the government’s slow and uneven response to the incidents, in which patients were evaluated by various methods and clinicians at different points in their illness. Because the information made available on patients from China was “too sparse and fragmentary to be able to draw any substantive conclusions about these cases,” the report focuses on events surrounding the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

In August, the scientists sent the report to the State Department, where agency officials put it under review. Lawmakers pressed the department to publicly disclose the findings, saying its failure to release the information fit with a pattern of secrecy and inaction by the Trump administration. In interviews in October, Dr. Relman criticized the department for not acting faster to release the report.

Some victims said at the time that the Trump administration was trying to avoid addressing its shortfalls toward the safety of U.S. government employees overseas, especially ahead of the November elections. Asked in late October by a reporter about the illnesses, Mr. Pompeo did not mention the report and said only that the government was unable to determine the cause.

Several lawmakers have forcefully pressed the State Department to be more accountable and provide proper health and work compensation benefits to all of the victims and affected family members. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat of New Hampshire, has inserted a provision on long-term benefits into the latest defense budget bill that Congress is expected to pass this month, though Mr. Trump has threatened to veto the measure for reasons unrelated to the provision.

“Their illnesses and suffering are real and demand a response from Congress,” Ms. Shaheen said. “While I’m encouraged by the progress we’re seeing, much more must be done to uncover the source of these incidents and ensure that no other public servant suffers in this way.”

Julian E. Barnes contributed reporting.