Oct 12 2017

(Newslink) - 'Sonic attack': Canadian diplomat in Cuba also suffered hearing damage [August - 2017]

At least one Canadian diplomat in Cuba  has been treated for hearing loss following disclosures that a group of  American diplomats in Havana suffered severe hearing loss that US  officials believe was caused by an advanced sonic device.

In the autumn of 2016 a series of US diplomats began suffering  unexplained losses of hearing, according to officials with knowledge of  the investigation into the case. Several of the diplomats were recent  arrivals at the embassy, which reopened in 2015 as part of President  Barack Obama’s re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba. Some of the US diplomats’ symptoms were so severe they were forced to  cancel their tours early and return to the United States, officials  said. After months of investigation US officials concluded that the  diplomats had been attacked with an advanced sonic weapon that operated  outside the range of audible sound and had been deployed either inside  or outside their residences.

US officials told the Associated Press that about five diplomats,  several with spouses, had been affected and that no children had been  involved. The FBI and Diplomatic Security Service are investigating.

Cuba employs a state security apparatus that keeps many people under  surveillance and US diplomats are among the most closely monitored  people on the island. Like virtually all foreign diplomats in Cuba, the  victims of the incidents lived in housing owned and maintained by the  Cuban government.

However, officials familiar with the probe said investigators were  looking into the possibilities that the incidents were carried out by a  third country such as Russia, possibly operating without the knowledge  of Cuba’s formal chain of command. Nauert said investigators did not yet have a definitive explanation  for the incidents but stressed they take them “very seriously,” as shown  by the Cuban diplomats’ expulsions.


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