Who is Attacking US Diplomats With Sonic Weapons?
The first sonic attacks began in Cuba two years ago but spread to China in 2018, is Russia the culprit?
Mysterious sonic attacks began in at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba in 2016. Twenty-four Americans stationed at the embassy were affected by the mysterious sonic attacks. Members of the CIA, the military and other agency personnel were impacted. American intelligence operatives in Cuba were affected first and had the most severe symptoms of all victims.
Sonic Attacks Can Cause Brain Injuries
U.S. Embassy employees and family members affected by the sonic issues have experienced cognitive issues, concentration issues, nosebleeds, hearing loss, headache, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), fatigue, sleep disruption, nausea and dizziness. Soon after hearing the noises for the first time, victims start experiencing symptoms. American diplomats have hearing loss that appears to be permanent.
In some cases, victims have suffered mild traumatic brain injury like concussions, leaving health experts scratching their heads trying to understand the type of sounds that could do this type of brain damage. Canadian diplomats stationed in Cuba have also been stricken. There are no cases yet of the sonic attacks affecting private U.S. citizens; nevertheless, the State Department issued official travel warnings cautioning Americans about traveling to Cuba.
The sonic attacks have occurred in the homes of American diplomats as well as in hotels where they frequently stay. Diplomats say this all began in November 2016, around the time Trump won the election. They first started hearing sounds akin to very loud crickets both inside and outside their homes. Some hear deafening sounds that last for a minute, then stop, much like the emergency broadcast system tests here in America, but much, much worse. Many describe the sounds as loud buzzing or humming, or even piercing squeals.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Center for Brain Injury and Repair met with most of the Cuba personnel and published their findings, concluding that the sounds had an unclear origin. Most of the subjects still had cognitive issues even after returning from Cuba.
Are Sonic Weapons a New Form of Warfare?
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from their embassy in Washington D.C. The diplomats were instructed to leave the country within seven days. Cuba was critical of the decision, referring to it as “hasty” and “irresponsible.” Tillerson was careful not to classify the diplomats as “persona non grata,” meaning they would never be able to return to America.
Cuba has continued to deny involvement in the mysterious sonic situation and they’ve been cooperating in the investigation. The U.S. is convinced its personnel are being purposefully targeted, but the State Department is unsure whether Cuba is behind the attacks.
While the U.S. did not blame Cuba for the attacks, they did blame Cuba for failure to protect American diplomats on Cuban soil. This is a protection provided for by the Vienna Convention, a code of international rules of conduct adopted by 130 countries. The U.S. withdrew the majority of its diplomats stationed in Cuba, but continued diplomatic relations and cooperation with Cuba to solve the mystery of the attacks.
All was quiet on diplomatic fronts until the summer of 2018, when not only did the attacks begin again in Cuba, but also U.S. diplomats in China began facing the same mysterious symptoms.
The State Department evacuated some government employees, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo formed a task force to investigate. So far, there is no China-Cuba connection that would explain the attacks. The U.S. government believes that the sound-related health problems are a result of some kind of sonic weapon that targets the brain.
Sounds can harm the ears when they are too loud, even if the sounds are very brief. Sensitive structures in the inner ear can be damaged without a person even knowing it until hearing loss becomes permanent. The sensory cells almost never regenerate if they are damaged.
U.S. intelligence agencies have enough information to call these episodes “intentional attacks,” and they suspect Russia is behind them, based on evidence from signal intelligence intercepted communications. Testing has also been done at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico as part of the directed energy research program. At Kirtland, the military can test high-power electromagnetic and microwave weapons, the type of weaponry suspected in the attacks.
The motive remains unclear, but the issue has strained relations between the U.S. and Cuba. While the U.S. has all but ruled out Cuba as the likely culprit, Cuban officials were upset at the insinuation that they were knowingly cooperating with Russia and allowing them to act against U.S. diplomats. American officials say that both Russian and Chinese spies are out in force in Cuba. Cuba denies any involvement and has argued that there is no evidence the attacks even took place.
The United States still has no way to protect diplomats posted in either Cuba or China from more sonic attacks. They are offering incentive pay and will not allow them to bring their families. If Russia is behind the attacks, it would represent a clear aggression toward the United States.