World US diplomats suffer hearing loss after being ‘attacked’ with sonic device

06:40  13 august  2017
06:40  13 august  2017 Source:   9News.com.au

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US officials later revealed that American diplomats had suffered unexplained losses of hearing , and on Thursday Canada's government said at least one Canadian diplomat in Cuba also had been treated for hearing loss .

Canadian Diplomat in Cuba Also Suffered Hearing Loss in Wake of Sonic Weapon Attack on U . S . Staff. After months of investigation, U . S . officials concluded that the diplomats had been attacked with an The use of sonic devices to intentionally harm diplomats would be unprecedented.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.© Mark Wilson/Getty Images Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has confirmed US diplomats in Havana had been the victims of "health attacks" that left them with hearing loss — the most definitive government statement yet on a series of mysterious incidents that have puzzled long-time observers of US-Cuban relations.

His comments Friday came two days after the State Department issued a vaguely worded statement saying there had been "incidents which have caused a variety of physical symptoms."

US officials later revealed that American diplomats had suffered unexplained losses of hearing, and on Thursday Canada's government said at least one Canadian diplomat in Cuba also had been treated for hearing loss.

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Two Cuban diplomats were expelled from Washington after a number of US diplomats experienced unexplained hearing loss that officials believe may have been caused by a covert sonic device . A group of US diplomats suffered a "variety of physical symptoms" according to State Department

Newsletter. Cuban Sonic Device Controversy. The Canadian government has added to the controversy over alleged “acoustic attacks ” in Cuba against diplomats , announcing that at least one member of its diplomatic corps has suffered hearing loss during its mission in Havana.

"We hold the Cuban authorities responsible for finding out who is carrying out these health attacks on not just our diplomats but, as you've seen now, there are other cases with other diplomats involved," Mr Tillerson said in Bedminster, New Jersey, where President Donald Trump and members of his administration spoke to reporters.

In the fall of 2016, a series of US diplomats began suffering unexplained losses of hearing, according to officials with knowledge of the case. Some of the diplomats' symptoms were so severe that they were forced to cancel their tours early and return to the United States, the officials said.

The officials told The Associated Press that the hearing loss appeared to have been caused by the deliberate use of some sort of sonic device operating outside the range of audible sound.

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A series of "bizarre" incidents attributed to a "covert sonic device " led to several U . S diplomats experiencing unexplained hearing losses , The Associated Press reported. An official told CNN that some of the employees affected could have suffered permanent hearing loss .

After months of investigation, U . S . officials concluded that the diplomats had been attacked with an advanced sonic weapon that operated She did not say how many U . S . diplomats were affected or confirm they had suffered hearing loss , saying only that they had “a variety of physical symptoms.”

Former diplomats and students of US-Cuba relations said they found it inexplicable that Cuba would have tried to harm US and Canadian diplomats, particularly in the fall of 2016 as President Barack Obama was ending a second term marked partly by the reopening of diplomatic relations with the island.

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After months of investigation, U . S . officials concluded that the diplomats had been attacked with an advanced sonic weapon that operated outside the This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Canadian diplomat in Cuba also suffered hearing loss .

that a group of American diplomats in Havana suffered severe hearing loss that US officials believe was caused by an advanced sonic device . After months of investigation, US officials concluded that the diplomats had been attacked with an advanced sonic weapon that operated outside the range

US officials familiar with the incidents said they began to be reported last October, when most domestic and foreign observers expected Hillary Clinton to win the presidency and continue Obama's policy of normalisation with Cuba.

Attacking Canadian diplomats would be an inexplicable assault on one of Cuba's most important trading partners and the largest source of tourists to the island.

"There'd be no logic to the Cubans trying to deliberately harm US or Canadian diplomats," said William LeoGrande, an American University expert on Cuban foreign policy.

"It'd really be unprecedented."

The Cuban government said in a lengthy statement Wednesday that "Cuba has never permitted, nor will permit, that Cuban territory be used for any action against accredited diplomatic officials or their families, with no exception."

Former US and Canadian diplomats said they had been targets of low-level harassment and intimidation by Cuban agents in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, incidents that included attacks on diplomats' pets and intimidating manoeuvres like tailgating and flashing bright lights into diplomats' cars as they drove with their families late at night.

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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 .

US officials attributed the severe hearing loss to an advanced sonic device The AP reported that the US move came after an investigation concluded that the diplomats had been attacked with an Nauert did not say how many US diplomats were affected nor confirmed they had suffered hearing

"There were things like turning your electricity, turning off your water, entering your home, leaving little reminders that they were there. Things would be out of place," said John Caulfield, the head of the US Interests Section in Cuba from 2011 to 2014.

In addition to harassment, Mr Caulfield said US diplomats in Cuba are under 24-hour surveillance during their assignments.

"Nobody does anything in Cuba without them knowing," Mr Caulfield said.

A US official said some American diplomats in Cuba had come home to find that someone had used their toilet and not flushed it, in what was interpreted as a deliberate attempt to disgust and unnerve. The official served at the then-interests section in Cuba in the 2000s and agreed to speak only on condition of anonymity due to the possibility of a return to Havana.

The State Department's Inspector General wrote in a 2007 report that "life in Havana is life with a government that 'lets you know it's hostile’. Retaliations have ranged from the petty to the poisoning of family pets."

"All employees are fully aware that host government hostility extends to an elaborate, aggressive intelligence apparatus," the report said.

Mr Caulfield said aggressive tactics largely stopped by late 2013 and 2014 as US and Cuban officials secretly negotiated the diplomatic reopening announced in December 2014, after his departure from Havana.

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After months of investigation, U . S . officials concluded that the diplomats had been attacked with an advanced sonic weapon that operated She did not say how many U . S . diplomats were affected or confirm they had suffered hearing loss , saying only that they had "a variety of physical symptoms."

They concluded that the diplomats had been attacked with an advanced sonic weapon that operated outside the range of audible sound and had She did not say how many US diplomats were affected or confirm they had suffered hearing loss , saying only that they had “a variety of physical symptoms.”

He said he believed the likeliest explanation for the diplomats' mysterious deafness was "a new surveillance technique gone bad that had consequences. I do not believe they would randomly cause harm to this variety of people".

A former Canadian ambassador to Cuba, James Bartleman, said that during his 1981 to 83 tour in Havana, he and his staff were targets of a string of mysterious attacks.

"One morning in 1982 the butler came to say that our dog had been poisoned and was very sick and dying," Mr Bartleman said.

"My deputy ambassador called to say someone had poisoned his dog and his dog was dead.

“Then the head of the commercial section called to say that, 'Out of the blue we opened the door and a rat was nailed to it.'"

Mr Bartleman said he complained to the then-head of the Americas section of Cuba's foreign ministry, who he quoted as saying: "Someone is trying to harm Canada-Cuba relations".

He said the Cuban government sent a veterinarian to his house, but he sent his dog back to Canada, where it died six months later.

"We were their bosom buddies back then," Mr Bartleman said of Canadian-Cuban relations.

"We were their largest trading partner and always their largest provider of tourists. Why would they do it?

“It made no sense then and makes no sense now."

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