Thursday, September 7, 2017

US staff in Cuba attacked with advanced Acoustic Weapon

suspected acoustic attack on US embassy staff in Cuba photos ile ilgili görsel sonucu

A suspected acoustic attack on US embassy staff in Cuba.
It was originally thought that the incidents had ended several months ago.The US State Department also said the number of staff who have reported health problems had increased to 19.It comes as the union representing diplomatic staff says some victims suffered mild brain injuries and permanent hearing loss.Cuba has denied any involvement in the attacks and says it is investigating the reports.US embassy staff and at least one Canadian began to notice symptoms late last year.
However, the affair was first reported in August when the US expelled two Cuban diplomats from Washington. Officials said the expulsions were in protest at Cuba's failure to protect its diplomats.Sonic devices may have been used to emit inaudible sound waves that can cause deafness, US media suggest.



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Cuba 'sonic attacks Timeline:

  • Late 2016: US embassy staff and at least one Canadian began to notice symptoms
  • May: US expels two Cuban diplomats for failing to protect its diplomats
  • August: US says 16 employees have been treated but attacks seem to have stopped
  • September: US says attacks are continuing and 19 staff members have now been hurt



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On Friday, the US government confirmed that an incident took place as recently as August and that the number of staff reporting problems had increased."We can't rule out new cases as medical professionals continue to evaluate members of the embassy community," state department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.In a statement, the American Foreign Service Association, which represents US diplomatic and international aid staff, said it had spoken to 10 people who had received treatment."Diagnoses include mild traumatic brain injury and permanent hearing loss, with such additional symptoms as loss of balance, severe headaches, cognitive disruption and brain swelling," it said. It urged the government to do everything possible to help those affected and to "ensure that these incidents cease and are not repeated". The statement is the first time that the hearing loss has been described as permanent. It is understood that "mild traumatic brain injury" could include concussion or headaches.The state department is yet to blame anyone for the incidents.The US mission in Havana was reopened as a full embassy in 2015 following 50 years of hostilities between the two countries.
The US state department says its diplomats in Cuba have been suffering symptoms including hearing loss after suspected sonic attacks, some of which were - according to some reports - inaudible to human ears.

What damage can sound do?

If you've ever heeded the warning to wear ear plugs to a loud concert, you have been taking care of the hair cells in your inner ear that pick up noise and send it to the brain. You've been trying to avoid hearing loss or tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
But sound can have effects that go beyond hearing.
Symptoms of a sonic attack may include dizziness, headaches, vomiting, bowel spasms, vertigo, permanent hearing loss and even brain damage.

How would an inaudible sound weapon work?

There are two options - go low or go high.
Lower frequencies than humans can hear - below 20Hz - are known as infrasound. They're used by animals including elephants, whales and hippos to communicate.Infrasound could affect human hearing if very loud, and could cause vertigo and even vomiting or uncontrollable defecation if deployed very intensely. But Dr Toby Heys has told the New Scientist that an attack using infrasound would rely on "a large array of subwoofers" and "wouldn't be very covert". Given the Associated Press reports embassy staff were targeted at their residences, it's hard to see how anyone would pull that off without the huge racks of speakers giving the game away.Ultrasound frequencies above 20,000Hz, or 20kHz, are also inaudible to humans but can damage the parts of the ear, including hairs, that pick up sound.This is more likely in the Cuban case as ultrasound can be targeted more easily. It has many medical applications so has been at the forefront of research, and directional speakers already exist for home use. These could direct sound through walls.
But any equipment would need to be reasonably large to fit a battery that could power it strongly enough, and an ultrasound attack would place other people in the vicinity - including, potentially, the person carrying out the attack at risk.  Steve Goodman,author of the book Sonic Warfare, told BBC Radio 4 that it was "not clear" whether inaudible soundwaves could give someone the hearing loss the state department described. "The information given is so vague it's hard to say," he said.


Who has this kind of technology?

Again, it's not clear. And it's also not clear who would have carried out such an attack on embassy staff. Cuba has denied involvement and security analysts say it may have been done by a third country, hostile to the US. Elizabeth Quintana, a senior research fellow at the UK-based military think tank the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), specialises in emerging technologies in the defence world. "The US have been surprised at the extent to which others have caught up with them in all sorts of technologies," she told the BBC. "It's probably not so much a surprise that the technology exists, more that others are aware of it and using it."

Has sound been used as a weapon before?

Yes. The use of sound as a weapon is not new, sound cannon are used in crowd control by police forces around the world, and some acoustic applications fitted to a ship to deter Somali pirates, and some made specifically for London police during the 2012 Olympics, although not used.
Some versions are capable of producing deafening sound levels of 150 decibels at one metre. They can deafen people within a 15 metre range and some can be heard miles away. The covert operation that supposed to have happened in Havana gave another insight about this new weapon. Sound has been used in psychological operations too - the US army intelligence played acoustic music to the Iraqi prisoners of war in an attempt to deprive them of rest and make them co-operate in interrogations. And some shop owners in the UK use so-called Mosquitos, devices that emit high-pitched sounds (15-18kHz) and cannot be heard by people who have turned 25, to try to discourage teenagers from standing around near the entrance to their shops. But in all of these examples, the person being targeted could hear the sound - a key difference from the incidents said to have happened in Havana recently.


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