World Opinions | The public needs to know about the invisible attacks on Americans abroad. Congress can help.
Nagorno-Karabakh volunteers get weapons as clashes intensify
MARTUNI, Nagorno-Karabakh (AP) — As the fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces rages on in the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, its residents are joining volunteer squads to defend their towns. The Ovanisyan family and their neighbors were called Wednesday to receive their Kalashnikov rifles to help protect Martuni, a town close to the front line in the eastern part of the region. “I was summoned to the recruitment office to give me a gun so I can defend my land. I am always ready to fight for the well-being of my children," said Valery Ovanisyan, a 64-year-old Martuni resident.
THE MYSTERY of invisible attacks on American diplomats and intelligence officers abroad has deepened — again. They began in Cuba and China, leaving U.S. officials with headaches, dizziness, blurred vision and memory loss after hearing strange noises and feeling odd sensations. What came to be known as Havana syndrome has now cropped up elsewhere and since. No one knows for sure who is responsible, but some evidence points to Russia. The time has come for more openness from the U.S. government — and more help for public servants injured in the line of duty.
Two news reports have disclosed the broader scope. In GQ magazine, Julia Ioffethe harrowing experience of CIA officer Marc Polymeropoulos, who held a high-ranking position at headquarters. While on an official visit to Moscow in December 2017, he was nearly incapacited by something that hit him in his Moscow hotel room. Two senior CIA officials were hit while on a trip to Australia and Taiwan; one was among the agency’s top five officials. After last Thanksgiving, Ms. Ioffe reports, citing three sources, “a White House staffer was hit while walking her dog in Arlington, Virginia. . . . The staffer passed a parked van. A man got out and walked past her. Her dog started seizing up. Then she felt it too: a high-pitched ringing in her ears, an intense headache, and a tingling on the side of her face.”
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In the second account, the New York Timesseveral of the CIA officers were traveling overseas to discuss countering Russian operations with partner agencies. While some CIA analysts believe Moscow was trying to derail that work, Director Gina Haspel is reportedly unconvinced. Ms. Ioffe reports that Ms. Haspel challenged the findings of an internal agency probe that pointed to Russia’s security services, and has not taken the matter to President Trump, perhaps because of his inexplicable and damaging affinity for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Oct. 21 that investigations had produced only incomplete analysis and theories.
The cause of the attacks is unknown, but attention has focused on some sort of directed energy device, such as a microwave.
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Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), who championedpassed by Congress to provide care, leave and benefits to State Department officials and family members hit in Cuba and China, is properly seeking to it to include all U.S. government officials affected. Meanwhile, the senator and other leading members of the Senate Foreign Relations and Appropriations committees have asked the National Academy of Sciences for a report commissioned by the State Department and completed some months ago into the attacks. The report, still under review at State, was prepared by Stanford University microbiologist David Relman, who told GQ he is frustrated that it hasn’t been made public.
This mystery could — and should — be less mysterious. Congress must have the Relman report and should make it public. That is the first of many steps still needed to identify the perpetrators, protect Americans abroad and respond properly.
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‘Jim Crow, Indian style’: How Native Americans were denied the right to vote for decades .
Even Native American veterans of the two world wars were denied their rights in a country they’d fought for and that was built on land their ancestors had inhabited for centuries. “It sends a message that you’re not a citizen. You’re not human,” said Debbie Nez-Manuel, who is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and was the first Native American from Arizona elected to the Democratic National Committee. “That message came across loud and clear, even today.” “When you serve the U.S. government you’re thinking, ‘I gave up my life,’” Nez-Manuel said. “‘I sacrificed.