Mysterious Cuban 'Sonic Attacks' Targeted US Spies

Just days after the Associated Press reported that the State Department planned to withdraw most of its personnel from the Cuban embassy in Havana, the wire service is returning with another revelatory scoop about the mysterious “sonic attacks” that have caused injuries ranging from minor to life-threatening in 21 embassy personnel: Many of the diplomats targeted were US spies, partly explaining the State Department's reluctance to discuss the attacks.

Frightening attacks on U.S. personnel in Havana struck the heart of America’s spy network in Cuba, with intelligence operatives among the first and most severely affected victims, The Associated Press has learned.

 

It wasn’t until U.S. spies, posted to the embassy under diplomatic cover, reported hearing bizarre sounds and experiencing even stranger physical effects that the United States realized something was wrong, individuals familiar with the situation said.

However, the AP’s government sources refused to confirm a timeline for the attacks, or provide other basic details, underscoring the sensitivity of the ongoing investigation.

While the attacks started within days of President Donald Trump’s surprise election in November, the precise timeline remains unclear, including whether intelligence officers were the first victims hit or merely the first victims to report it. The U.S. has called the situation “ongoing.”

 

To date, the Trump administration largely has described the 21 victims as U.S. embassy personnel or “members of the diplomatic community.” That description suggested only bona fide diplomats and their family members were struck, with no logical motivation beyond disrupting U.S.-Cuban relations.

The revelation that some of the victims were spies adds another dimension to the mystery; however, the motivations behind the attack remain as murky as the attackers’ identity. It’s unclear, according to the AP, whether the attacker intentionally targeted spies. Though if it were true, the attacks would represent an unprecedented escalation of the long-running spy games between the US and Havana.

Behind the scenes, though, investigators immediately started searching for explanations in the darker, rougher world of spycraft and counterespionage, given that so many of the first reported cases involved intelligence workers posted to the U.S. embassy. That revelation, confirmed to the AP by a half-dozen officials, adds yet another element of mystery to a year-long saga that the Trump administration says may not be over.

 

The State Department and the CIA declined to comment for this story.

 

The first disturbing reports of piercing, high-pitched noises and inexplicable ailments pointed to someone deliberately targeting the U.S. government’s intelligence network on the communist-run island, in what seemed like a bone-chilling escalation of the tit-for-tat spy games that Washington and Havana have waged over the last half century.

 

But the U.S. soon discovered that actual diplomats at the embassy had also been hit by similar attacks, officials said, further confounding the search for a culprit and a motive.

If disrupting US-Cuba relations was the attack’s intent, then they have clearly succeeded: The US quietly expelled two Cuban diplomats in August. And by withdrawing most of its embassy personnel and warning travelers to stay away from the island, the US is signaling a chill in travel and trade that could prevent Cubans from visiting family members in the US. The reduction in embassy staff means visa processing has been suspended indefinitely.  

Of the 21 confirmed cases, American spies suffered some of the most acute damage, including brain injury and hearing loss that has not healed, according to the AP’s sources. Many of the victims provided similar descriptions to US authorities: They described hearing something that sounded like loud crickets before falling ill. However, in many of the more recent cases, victims didn’t report hearing the noises. Instead, they identified the symptoms later on, raising concerns among investigators that the attacks may be getting more sophisticated and harder to detect.

To be sure, while the State Department told the AP that all cases have been “medically confirmed,” several officials said it’s unclear whether all of the victims’ symptoms can be conclusively tied to attacks. Considering the deep sense of alarm at the embassy, it’s possible that some wrongly attributed symptoms to the attacks.

So far, the US has been unable to identify the weapon used in the attacks. Initially, the State Department gave diplomats the option of leaving Havana, but many, including some of the attack victims, opted to remain.

For his part, Cuban President Raul Castro has denied responsibility for the attacks, expressing equal alarm and promising to aid in the investigation in any way possible.

When President Raul Castro denied any culpability in February, he did so on the sidelines a meeting in Havana with five visiting U.S. members of Congress, the AP found. The U.S. had raised complaints about the attacks to Cuba just days earlier through diplomatic channels.

 

But the visiting lawmakers knew nothing of the attacks taking place in the country they were visiting.

 

Nor did they know that Castro had used the occasion of their meeting to pull aside Jeff DeLaurentis, then the top U.S. diplomat in Cuba, to say privately that his government was equally alarmed and willing to help.

But if the Cubans aren’t responsible for the attacks, who is? The list of possible state actors has more than a couple names: Venezuela, Russia and China are all probably suspects. But until the US can determine the nature of the weapon used, intelligence officials can only speculate.

Comments

LetThemEatRand Mon, 10/02/2017 - 20:26 Permalink

What, is it 1960?  We still need spies running around Cuba?   For what purpose?    Is the Deep State worried that they are going to invade the mainland with a platoon of 1957 Bel Airs?

DisorderlyConduct Antifaschistische Mon, 10/02/2017 - 21:58 Permalink

Sounds like constructive interference between different sources. But yeah, youd expect nodes all over the place - audible and measurable but probably not predictable.I once worked with speakers that use an ultrasonic carrier that's FM modulated; the effect was a kind of highly directional audio beam. They were used to place ambient sound at locations in theme parks where the speakers could not actually be mounted. The effect was to energize the air column and make whatever it hit pick up the audio. It felt like the air was the speaker. Way cool.I wonder what would happen if you pumped the power and sent some psyops kind of audio... Or what if you found a frequency in the RF range that resonated well with water and modulated that? Like high microwave thats modulated to low microwave. Zap. Scary to think about but is is very likely to be possible. But practical - maybe they're finding out...

In reply to by Antifaschistische

tarsubil Mon, 10/02/2017 - 20:30 Permalink

Uh no shit. You didn't think they were attacking actual diplomats, did you? Most embassay staff is just using it as cover. This has been known for 30+ years.

Lumberjack NoDebt Tue, 10/03/2017 - 06:51 Permalink

In first since 1973, Israeli minister in ‘private’ visit to Cuba

https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-first-since-1973-israeli-minister-in-p…

“This is private family vacation and had nothing to do with her position as a government minister,” the spokesperson said, adding that Regev left on Sunday and the trip would last a week and a half.

The Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the visit.

With no Israeli embassy in the country, Canada currently represents Israel’s interests in Havana, including assisting the country’s Jewish community.

In reply to by NoDebt

garcam123 LyLo Mon, 10/02/2017 - 23:04 Permalink

Hang out in Resturants with higher up hookers, do a few lines at 10, just to be at your best.Take some pictures of the pidgeons both winged and walking.......smoke a Cuban,,,,,I can't remember the names of that worthless shit!Hang out some more and look spy like........good job! Lotsa travel! Lotsa Ass!CI YAAA!

In reply to by LyLo

Sanity Bear Mon, 10/02/2017 - 20:54 Permalink

How come I have to lead everyone by the nose to obvious conclusions?

The primary suspect is the Deep State cutting losses and eliminating witnesses as an immediate cover-up reaction to the loss in the election, to prevent Trump from finding out something that they were doing down there.

That's why it started immediately after the election (as I predicted would be so revealed), that's why it's targeting spies first (they know too much).

Now, the short list of people who would be in possession of a weapon that would do something like this starts with the CIA and pretty much ends right there. So the rest shouldn't be all that hard to figure out, all that remains is to discover the details of who and why and what they wanted kept silent.

JLM Mon, 10/02/2017 - 20:59 Permalink

The whole world will go after the US spies now with this tech, you don't get caught till well after the damage is done.  Spying is a dirty and dangerous profession.  Hard to feel sorry for them.

xrxs JLM Mon, 10/02/2017 - 21:22 Permalink

They will find a way to mitigate it - once they figure out the source. I don't think I would be brave enough to stick around with a weapon or other device that causes health effects potentially through walls (ceilings?) via an unknown means on the loose. Very ominous. In my opinion, there should be some sort of Geneva Convention on this type of thing. 

In reply to by JLM

navy62802 Mon, 10/02/2017 - 21:47 Permalink

WOW ... i'M SHOCKED!!!! **SPOILER*** i'M NOT REALLY SHOCKED. THIS IS SPYCRAFT THAT IS REARRANGING THE DECK CHAIRS ON THE TITANIC. WHO GIVES A FUCK?

Aquarius Mon, 10/02/2017 - 21:57 Permalink

The USA did this sort of thing during the cold war - in Russia during the60'and 70's. Frying peoples brains was the sort of pre-torture craze for the super spooks from the USA.Old technology.Why has the us so many spies in Cuba? Getting ready for some more failed bombing runs? ISIS? Or the Russians did it, Again?But then, as navy62802 asks, "who gives a Fuck ho diddly hum

uhland62 Aquarius Mon, 10/02/2017 - 22:10 Permalink

Don't have any spies in the embassy then - when you say A, you're getting B. They tried to kill Fidel Castro many times, 48 times I think. The Soviets did not like that and stationed missiles on the island. Then JFK did a deal, you remove your missiles and we stop trying to kill Fidel - so I read, and I find that rather plausible, but wasn't there of course. Fidel is gone but maybe the US embassy on Cuba is gearing up meddling activities again.BS: "within days of President Donald Trump’s surprise election" - you can probably not initiate such a finely tuned program within days. 

In reply to by Aquarius