An intriguing new report on Wednesday says former President George W. Bush could have been a victim of Havana Syndrome when he fell ill at a G8 conference in Germany in 2007.
At the gathering of world leaders, both Bush and Laura Bush fell ill with symptoms of ‘nausea or dizziness,’ as the former first lady outlined in her 2010 memoir ‘Spoken from the Heart.’ Some aides traveling with them experienced hearing and balance problems.
The official conclusion at the time was a virus. Although there was speculation that the first couple could have been poisoned.
But a new report in the Washington Examiner argues the symptoms the Bushes and their aides experienced could be a match to Havana Syndrome, the mysterious set of medical symptoms with unknown causes that has come to light in the past five years.
Havana Syndrome was first reported in 2016 but it’s unclear when it came into being. There remains much unknown about the illness, which has a lot of symptoms that could also fit other medical problems. Some doubt its existence, however, and call it ‘mass hysteria.’
The Examiner report points to Russia as the culprit. Havana Syndrome is believed to be caused by microwave emissions and Moscow is known to have employed RF/MW capabilities since the Cold War. During the Cold War, the Soviets repeatedly irradiated the American embassy in Moscow with low-level microwaves – known as the ‘Moscow Signal’ – for unknown reasons.
More than five active and former U.S. government personnel with knowledge of Havana Syndrome told the Washington Examiner that the G8 summit and what happened there deserves an investigation.
An intriguing new report says that George W. Bush could have been a victim of Havana Syndrome when he fell ill at a G8 conference in Germany in 2007 – above Bush is seen with Laura Bush at the opening dinner of the summit
President George W. Bush met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at that G8 summit
The Bushes did get sick as did several aides staying with them in the same building in Heiligendamm, Germany, a senior Bush staffer who was on the trip told DailyMail.com.
One aide had an ear problem and lost hearing while another had problems with balance and walking, the official said.
‘I do remember that people on the team – mostly those that were staying in the same location with the Bushes … got sick,’ the former Bush White House staffer told DailyMail.com.
‘I wouldn’t put anything past the Russians,’ the person noted, when asked if it could have been an early case of Havana or an early iteration of what would become Havana Syndrome. ‘Wouldn’t surprise me at all.’
The George W. Bush Presidential Center did not respond to a request for comment nor did the Secret Service when asked if any agents on that trip were ill. DailyMail.com also reached out to a few other senior Bush administration officials on that trip and did not get responses.
The White House also did not comment.
‘This is the first time I’m hearing about this report,’ deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told DailyMail.com during a press briefing on Air Force One. ‘And so I would have to go back and check with our team.’
Part of the problem was that G8 Summit was 14 years ago, making an investigation problematic given the length of time and that memories of the event can be hazy.
What is ‘Havana Syndrome’? The mysterious illness that started in the US embassy in Cuba and causes memory and hearing loss
The problem has been labeled the ‘Havana Syndrome,’ because the first cases affected personnel in 2016 at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba.
At least 200 cases across the government are now under investigation.
People who are believed to have been affected have reported headaches, dizziness and symptoms consistent with concussions, with some requiring months of medical treatment. Some have reported hearing a loud noise before the sudden onset of symptoms.
Countries its been reported in: Cuba, United States, China, Russia, Vietnam, Austria, Germany, Serbia, United Kingdom, Georgia, Poland, Taiwan, Australia, Colombia, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan
The other problem is Havana Syndrome itself. There is more unknown than known about the set of symptoms ranging in severity from pain and ringing in the ears to cognitive difficulties. It’s unclear how long the effects last or how to treat it.
Even the US government can’t come to agreement on what to call or do about the illness that has struck diplomats serving overseas. The State Department refers to it as ‘unexplained health incidents’ or ‘anomalous health incident.’
Havana Syndrome was first reported in 2016 when a staffer at the U.S. embassy in Cuba suffered headaches, hearing loss, memory issues and other symptoms.
The attacks are believed to be conducted with microwave energy.
Russia is the lead suspect although it is hardly the only country with the technology to conduct such attacks.
Other potential causes or contributing factors of the symptoms could be ultrasound waves, pesticides, or mass psychogenic illness. There is no consensus on the cause.
Not everyone believes in Havana syndrome, however. Medical sociology expert Dr Robert Bartholomew is so convinced it’s a case of mass delusion, he’s co-authored a book on it with Robert Baloh – Havana Syndrome: Mass Psychogenic Illness and the Real Story Behind the Embassy Mystery and Hysteria.
‘There is more evidence for Bigfoot than there is for Havana Syndrome,’ the US expatriate who is based at the University of Auckland, Australia, said.
‘The evidence overwhelmingly points to mass hysteria, or as it is commonly referred to by scientists – mass psychogenic illness. Havana Syndrome is a result of incompetent government officials and bad science. I would go so far as to rename it Havana Syndrome Delusion – the absurd belief, in the wake of persistent evidence to the contrary, that diplomats are being targeted with an energy weapon.’
At that 2007 meeting at the Baltic Resort, Russia was still a part of the G8 (it was kicked out in 2014 over its annexation of the Crimea).
And tensions were high between Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin over a US plan to put missile systems in Eastern Europe.
The two men had a tense sit down that Thursday in Germany. On Friday, Bush woke up ill. After meeting with new French President Nicolas Sarkozy, he went back to bed and missed two morning sessions at the summit before rallying.
Laura Bush described her and the president feeling ill at the G8 in her memoir – the official conclusion at the time was they had a virus
In her memoir, Laura Bush suggests they were poisoned – another possible cause of their ailments.
She wrote that for several hours after arriving in Germany she felt so ‘awful that I might die right there in the hotel room.’
She notes the former president and other members of the American delegation also fell ill.
‘For most of us, the primary symptoms were nausea or dizziness, but one of our military aides had difficulty walking and a White House staffer lost all hearing in one ear.’
The Secret Service investigated and the conclusion was some kind of virus.
It was unclear if any other country’s delegation was affected. Also present were the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and the EU.
‘We never learned if any other delegations became ill, or if ours, mysteriously, was the only one,’ Bush wrote.
And she noted: ‘We all recovered, although a few of the staff had lingering after effects; our military aide’s gait has never returned to normal, nor has our senior staffer regained full hearing in that ear.’
After meeting with new French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the G8 in June 2007, Bush felt so ill he went back to bed
Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President George W. Bush on the first day of the G8 summit: June 7, 2007 in Heiligendamm, Germany
At the time, Bush adviser Dan Bartlett told reporters the president was ‘very much under the weather’ although his condition was ‘not serious’.
‘I’m not sure if it’s a stomach virus yet or something like that, but he’s just not feeling well in the stomach,’ Bartlett said.
The White House has thought to have been a target of Havana Syndrome.
In November 2020, two National Security Council staffers, including one who was passing through a gate onto the property, fell ill with symptoms that were consistent with Havana Syndrome.
But it was unclear if they did suffer from the illness.
‘We have no hard leads – just all circumstantial evidence,’ an official told CNN at the time. ‘And it’s circumstantial evidence that could also be something completely different.’
Symptoms of Havana Syndrome include loud noise, ear pain, intense head pressure or vibration, dizziness, visual problems, and cognitive difficulties, and many still continue to experience these or other health problems, according to a 2020 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report.
The report assessed the symptoms to be ‘consistent with the effects of directed, pulsed radio frequency (RF) energy.’
Some have reported hearing a loud noise before the sudden onset of symptoms.
But it’s unclear if victims sustain any neurological damage or any longterm damage and it’s unclear what might have caused that damage.
Scientists and government officials are not yet certain about who might have been behind the attacks, if the symptoms could have been caused inadvertently by surveillance equipment – or if the incidents were caused by a mysterious sonic weapon.
More than 200 U.S. officials and personnel around the world have complained of symptoms such as migraines, hearing loss and dizziness in cases believed to be Havana Syndrome.
And the attacks continue.
Vice President Kamala Harris’ departure from Singapore during her September Asia trip was delayed by more than three hours because of an ‘anomalous health incident in Hanoi,’ which was the next stop in her Asia trip.
That was a reference to Havana Syndrome.