US remains baffled by sonic attacks on diplomats in Cuba

This mysterious harassment caused a number of US personnel in Havana to cut short their tours and return to the US.

WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan24) – Starting late last year, American diplomats in Cuba began to suffer hearing loss and other physical symptoms that US authorities believe were caused by a device which produces a peculiar noise outside the range of human hearing.

This mysterious harassment caused a number of US personnel in Havana to cut short their tours and return to the US.

In late May, in retaliation for these incidents, the US expelled two Cuban diplomats.

The harassment of the US diplomats, as well as the expulsion of the Cuban officials, was only revealed earlier this month, when State Department Spokesperson, Heather Nauert, described those events in a regularly scheduled press briefing.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson then elaborated on her remarks, describing the harassment as “health attacks.”

At roughly the same time, Canada announced that at least one of its diplomats in Havana had suffered from similar symptoms.

Diplomatic ties between Washington and Havana were restored in 2015, under the Obama administration, after a 54-year lapse following Fidel Castro’s communist takeover of the island nation.

On Wednesday, CBS News revealed that the sonic attacks were continuing and that the damage to diplomats’ health was significantly greater than first reported.

At least some of them have suffered “mild traumatic brain injury, ” as well as “likely damage to the central nervous system,” the US television network reported.

Nauert described the attacks as “unprecedented,” when asked about the story at a press briefing on Wednesday.

“We have not seen this type of activity before,” she said.

US officials have not described the device causing the health problems, nor are they even sure who is responsible.

The Cuban government vehemently denies that it has engaged in any hostile activities against embassy personnel.

“Cuba has never permitted, nor will permit, the Cuban territory to be used for any action against accredited diplomatic officials or their families, with no exception,” Havana has stated.

A senior State Department official, responding to a question from Kurdistan24, explained that the US has had “numerous conversations” with the Cuban government on this matter, and they have been “responsive to us.”

The US “cannot rule out” that a third party, other than Cuba, might be behind the mysterious assaults, she said.

The matter remains under investigation by the FBI and the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service.

Among the scenarios US authorities are considering is the possibility that Russia is behind the harassment and that it is acting without the knowledge of the Cuban government.

Other visitors to the Caribbean island, including tourists, do not seem to have been affected.

 

Editing by G.H. Renaud