In 2013, former airmen John Burroughs, right, and Jim Penniston appeared at the National Press Club to tell a Citizen Hearing on Disclosure audience about how, in the wake of their UFO encounter, they were getting jerked around by the Air Force. [CREDIT: Paradigm Research Group]
Among the chief conceits of American Cold Warriors was an innate sense of their system’s superiority. They were going against a communist state that couldn’t keep food on the grocery store shelves; how, then, could the Soviets possibly compete at techno-chess against the United States?
In 2019, the former head of Research and Development for the National Security Agency exposed that complacency for what it was. In his nonfiction accounting, The Spy in Moscow Station, Eric Haseltine described a ballsy KGB electronic eavesdropping operation inside the U.S. embassy in Moscow during the 1970s and ‘80s. After sweeping the joint for leaks, it took NSA agent Charles Gandy a good six years to convince officials with the State Department and the CIA to take his leads seriously.
When he was finally permitted to ship embassy hardware back to the States for inspection, Gandy was in awe of the ingenuity at play. He discovered the Soviets had managed to wire 16 IBM typewriters for radar flooding and radio signaling, with bugs hidden behind 18 levels of protection. In 2005, however, a report on KGB spycraft indicated the Russians had actually installed 30 typewriter bugs in the embassy, meaning Gandy’s team had discovered barely half of the plants.
“(Gandy’s) admiration for the Russian mind that had conceived of this concealment transformed into something far deeper than admiration,” Haseltine wrote. “Adoration? Affection, even? After a moment, Gandy pinpointed the emotion: kinship.”
Now retired as Director of Science and Technology for the Intelligence Community, Haseltine isn’t naming names, but he’s warning of an unfolding gambit with even higher stakes – nom de guerre, Havana Syndrome.
The affliction was so named in 2017, after employees at the American embassy in Cuba’s capitol began complaining of headaches, brain fog, vertigo, and a host of other sometimes debilitating symptoms, including traumatic brain injury. Some of the afflicted also recalled experiencing low, annoying, or shrill auditory sensations.
The blitz is no longer confined to Havana. Reports are surfacing in U.S. and Canadian diplomatic facilities from China to Washington, D.C. Notably among the latter, one White House employee reported getting zapped while walking her dog in a Virginia suburb in 2019; the following year, yet another official was allegedly targeted in The Ellipse park next to the White House. Last month, VP Kamala Harris’ trip to Vietnam was briefly delayed following the evacuation of two similarly affected American employees from the embassy in Hanoi.
From the FBI to the Journal of the American Medical Association, experts have studied the data without reaching a consensus on precise cause or origin. But in a recent essay for Psychology Today, Eric Haseltine is leaning toward the National Academies of Science’s theory of pulsed microwave espionage. Only, its sophistication is likely light years ahead of the ridiculously effective signaling employed by the USSR nearly half a century ago. And, cautions Haseltine, “radar flooding signals used in espionage were never transmitted at energies anywhere close to the power required to cause brain damage, let alone even be noticed under normal circumstances.”
For Americans who grew up with the confidence that Uncle Sam can count the number of hairs on an ant’s ass from recon platforms parked 250 miles above Earth, the audacious and apparently expanding scope of the Havana Syndrome poses yet another insult to our material and psychological armor. Every successful hack attack, every system staggered by foreign malware, suggests a lack of countermeasures intimidating enough to deter adversaries from attempting sequels.
So it isn’t surprising, given how an estimated 130-plus U.S. officials have been exposed to the mysterious microwave assaults, that the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2022 crafted by the House includes a mandate to officially confront this invisible enemy. It doesn’t mention “Havana Syndrome” by name, only that its sponsors will be met by a quote “Cross-Functional Team for Emerging Threat Relating To Anomalous Health Incidents” end quote. It’s a catch-up remedy that establishes coordination between the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence, and it falls under Section 722 of the bill.
But there’s similar language being served up in Section 1652 of the same bill. In yet another scramble to make up for lost time, lawmakers want to form an Unidentified Aerial Phenomena office, also under the SecDef/DNI umbrella. A key subset of those instructions calls for “an assessment of any health-related effects for individuals that have encountered unidentified aerial phenomena.”
We’ve known for decades about mind-bending federal experiments to identify, exploit and modify the frontiers of human brain potential, most hideously popularized in the Hollywood adaptation of Jon Ronson’s The Men Who Stare at Goats. But some of the most startling allegations dropped in 2017, when Annie Jacobsen added Phenomena: The Secret History of the U.S. Government’s Investigations into Extrasensory Perception and Psychokinesis to the corpus. Among her sources was Wayne State University School of Medicine neuroscientist Dr. Christopher “Kit” Green, who spoke on the record.
The former CIA science intelligence officer had studied “people injured physically by anomalous events,” which included perceptions of “unidentified aerial phenomena, drones, high energy radio frequencies that confront people face-to-face and cannot be explained.” Many of those subjects held security clearances, special ops guys, intel officers, aerospace workers, military guards, regular cops. Green noted that “Common injuries are from something that is airborne, that emits some kind of a light or a beam. Some orbs.” The database Green assembled in 2005 counts victims “suffering enigmatic injuries, burns, skin lesions, cancers …”
Shortly thereafter, Green began collaborating with Stanford immunologist/microbiologist Garry Nolan, renowned not only for innovations in cellular mapping, but for his knack of procuring grants from rainmakers like the NIH and the FDA. Jacobsen reported the two studied injuries for biomarker patterns in DNA, blood, MRIs, etc. Green told Jacobsen he had more than 100 patients suspected of having encountered “Nonlethal weapons programs. Holograms. Cloaking devices. Drones. Twenty five percent of my patients die within five to seven years of my diagnosis …”
A 25 percent mortality rate sounds like a logical starting point for congressional inquiry into “anomalous” health events. Should the bill survive, we’ll know early on how seriously lawmakers are taking their legislation if one particularly outspoken and righteously pissed-off survivor is at or near the top of the witness list. But will an uninitiated audience like Congress have the appetite for hearing out former USAF tech sergeant John Burroughs?
Burroughs began sounding off as early as 1991 during an “Unsolved Mysteries” segment. His life-altering drama unfolded in late December 1980, at a leased British air base, RAF Bentwaters, then host to the USAF’s 91st Tactical Fighter Wing, near Suffolk on England’s southeast coast. The base arsenal included small nuclear bombs fitted for U.S. warplanes. Burroughs was working late-night guard duty when things started getting hairy.
What happened over that three-night span has been hotly debated in the public sphere for the last 40 years. Was it one or more UFOs? A classified experiment gone haywire? Scores of military and civilian personnel were direct or indirect participants in what would become known as the Rendlesham Forest Incident, after the wilderness area where radar operators indicated they’d lost contact with unknown targets. First responders Burroughs and colleague Jim Penniston have varying recollections of the first night. Penniston remembers being knocked off his feet in a blinding flash from a glowing craft on the ground, and seeing Burroughs “engulfed in a beam of white light.” Burroughs has nearly total amnesia over the estimated 45-minute encounter.
Burroughs began creating a paper trail in 2010. After transitioning from the military to civilian life in Arizona, he took his acute and recurring heart problems to a civilian doctor. The doc wanted to see Burroughs’ complete health history, going back to his Air Force days, but the doc had no luck with the Department of Veterans Affairs. After Burroughs explained his predicament to Sen. John Kyl’s office, a researcher there dug around said it appeared that Burroughs’ medical info was classified.
Months after Burroughs formally filed for disability with the VA — the retiring senator unable to pry those records loose — Kyl’s staff suggested Burroughs work with Sen. John McCain, who proceeded to expedite Burroughs’ claim. But during Burroughs’ first meeting with a VA doctor in Prescott, she made an astonishing announcement: there were no records of Burroughs having served in the Air Force at all from 1979-82.
In April 2013, Burroughs and Penniston, who was also having trouble getting government assistance for what he felt were related exposure illnesses, aired their frustrations at Stephen Bassett’s week-long Citizen Hearing on Disclosure in Washington. Five months later, the VA magically discovered Burroughs’ complete discharge papers, with those previously missing years from his deployment to RAF Bentwaters fully restored. In 2015, the VA granted him full service-connected disability benefits, which allowed him to get a life-saving heart replacement valve that December.
Factoring into the VA decision was an attachment from the British Defence Intelligence Staff, a formerly classified but clumsy UAP study known as Project Condign. Of particular interest was a section called “Potential Mental Effects on Humans,” speculating on the impact of UAP electrical fields on the temporal lobe. Potential side effects included missing time and hallucinations.
Condign attempted to explain away the peculiarities as weather/plasma phenomena. But one passage jumped off the page: “The well-reported Rendlesham Forest/Bentwaters event is an example where it might be postulated that several observers were probably exposed to UAP radiation for longer than normal UAP sighting periods. There may be other cases which remain unreported. It is clear that the recipients of these effects are not aware that their behaviour/perception of what they are observing is being modified.”
So Burroughs got his medical benefits. But those military health records remain sealed today.
Cheryl Bennett, the McCain aide who worked Burroughs’ case, subsequently stated, “We found out that John’s records were classified far beyond what his nuclear clearance would require. (A McCain congressional liaison in Washington) told me that he will never get his medical records. I expected her to say ‘until they were declassified,’ but she didn’t hold out much hope for that. People who regularly deal with records get nervous when they run into spook operations; their job is entirely dependent on their clearances, and one small misstep is enough to lose them.”
Bennett added her voice to Burroughs’ 2020 book, Weaponisation of an Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon: The Rendlesham Forest UAP Incident 40 Years Later. In it, Burroughs’ attorney Pat Frascogna credits Kit Green, and possibly physicist Hal Puthoff, for working behind the scenes to get VA assistance to Burroughs. At roughly the same time, both were submitting technical papers to the Defense Intelligence Agency’s secret Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, which was revealed by the New York Times in 2017. Green’s study was titled “Field Effects on Biological Tissues.”
In a 2015 post on the Above Top Secret website, Green expressed bewilderment over the withholding of Burroughs’ records for “reasons (that) are not entirely ethical … John was hurt, he needed care, then, often, and now. He had injuries we now understand are related to narrow RF bandwidth that only in some cases in the past five years have become linked to the specific etiology of cardiac and other injur(ies) he suffered.”
Certainly, Uncle Sam has repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice the well-being of federal employees to protect information, most famously during the Area 51 litigation in the 1990s. In order to more effectively treat their ailments, five workers, two of whom would die, demanded to know what sorts of chemicals they had ingested from open-air burn pits the size of football fields at the Nevada military base. The courts rejected their pleas on national security grounds, and plaintiff attorney Jonathan Turley has described the burn sites as a “crime scene.”
But John Alexander, a retired Army colonel who spent much of his career working spooky projects, says any comparisons between Burroughs’ plight and the Area 51 victims are apples and oranges.
“The difference is, at Area 51, they knew what they were dealing with, exotic material, radar-absorption coating and all of this, and they obviously did not make that information available,” Alexander says. “While I disagreed with the decision not to help the workers, I understood it.
“(The Burroughs case) does not make a lick of sense to me. I mean, if (Bentwaters) were in the national security interest, why wasn’t the whole incident classified? We don’t know if John’s records were classified immediately, or years later, or if it was just when his civilian physician wanted to see them. The handling of this case is nothing short of bizarre.”
Author of UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities, Alexander’s professional arc has been eclectic – Special Forces/Vietnam, working with psychic spies for U.S. Army and Intelligence Security Command, Program Manager for Non-Lethal Defense at Los Alamos, field researcher for hotel tycoon Robert Bigelow at Skinwalker Ranch in Utah, to name a few. He finds the energy sources behind the Havana Syndrome no less confounding than the 1976 Iranian F-4 scramble after a UFO over Tehran, initially documented by the Defense Intelligence Agency.
“(The pilot) was going to fire his missiles when the weapons panel electronics went off,” Alexander recalls. “Now, with my experience in DE (directed energy), I know how to do that, I know how to turn you off. What we were doing is overloading and burning out the electrical systems, but that’s a one-way street.
“The mystifying part to me was when (the pilot) banked away and came out, and the system came back up again. UFOs have the capability to not only turn them off, but also to restore the systems to an operational state. That’s the part I don’t know how to do.”
Likewise, whoever’s behind the Havana Syndrome appears to have our number, too.
“It’s the targeting mechanism I don’t understand,” Alexander says. “Because it seems to attack specific individuals, and we don’t know how broad it is, why some people are impacted and others are not. We’re hearing about people getting targeted in their apartments, maybe through walls, things like that. And it doesn’t appear to be short bursts, it seems like what we’re seeing is long-term exposures.”
But Burroughs and the Havana Syndrome – two separate issues?
“In my view, yes,” he says. “One is terrestrial. One is not.”
In Burroughs’ Weaponisation, British entrepreneur and inventor Winston Keech argues that dark-world and off-world technologies may have collided at Rendlesham Forest 41 years ago. His scenario is circumstantial and byzantine, beginning with an alleged attempt to disable and recover a Soviet Zenit-6 spysat, using an array of radar and satellite tracking installations in southern England. Amid the unintended consequences of Keech’s hypothesized chicanery, a third party – not ours, not theirs – got tangled up in the microwave sabotage.
For Burroughs, the personal aftermath includes a laboratory assessment of his DNA. Keech writes that “only 0.03% of the North American population” is a match. Given Burroughs’ alleged missing time during the encounter, Keech wonders if, “through a frequency/vibrational coherence and the unique nature of John’s mitochondrial DNA, a kind of communication transfer was formed whereby he had access to a field of this (UAP) energy.”
Noting Burroughs’ past associations with Green, Puthoff and other private-sector researchers, Keech shoots for the moon with his conclusions:
“I believe that the plasma and laser weapons and electronic counter measures which have been researched over the last 70 years, along with psychotronic [parapsychological] and mind-altering military applications and advanced stealth technology, which are detailed in this book, have been advanced from studying the medical records and DNA results of John Burroughs and other servicemen who have been exposed to UAP phenomena.”
Burroughs, who doubts neither ET nor a black weapons system by themselves could explain what happened in 1980, says he will testify before Congress if called, although he suspects the fix is in. Any public hearings will be “window dressing,” he says.
“Look, I put the book out there for a reason – I’m not going to be anyone’s patsy. This is the same phenomenon we’ve been dealing with for hundreds of years or however long it’s been, and suddenly it’s a threat? Hey, they know what’s going on, and now this technology is a threat they can benefit from, not only for power and control but for financial gain.
“They’re not going to give you any answers for one reason alone. They don’t want anyone to have the technology – not the Chinese or the Russians or anybody else.”
Strange how things turn out. Weaponisation includes an odd little riff from 1993, when Russia was flirting with democracy and Putin was under investigation in St. Petersburg for making $215 million worth of imported food disappear. A heavily armed fundamentalist Christian sect in Waco, Tex., was engaged in a tense and bloody standoff with FBI and ATF agents.
Backstage, the feds were discussing nonlethal alternatives with Igor Smirnov, who had served the KGB in Afghanistan by deploying “psychotronic weapons” against the mujahideen in hopes of mitigating their behavior. Smirnov proposed using computerized acoustics over negotiators’ phone lines to drench Branch Davidian leader David Koresh in subliminal messages. But there were targeting issues — Smirnov couldn’t guarantee federal agents wouldn’t be affected as well. The G-men rejected the offer.
But maybe Smirnov, who died in 2004, was onto something foundational. As Kit Green would later write, “Amid the discussion about terahertz radiation and ionizing RF and pulsed microwaves, we must not forget advances in bioengineering which will/do allow injection of almost any desired trait into any human at a distance without their knowledge or consent and essentially without detection.”
In the end, we wound up doing Waco our way. The feds reduced the Branch Davidian complex to ashes, and the conflagration took out 75 men, women and children.
The rest is history.