Hearing Loss of US Diplomats In Cuba Blamed On Covert Sonic Device

All the suspected attacks have taken place in Havana. Julian Peters

State Department officials said one American employee in Havana may have permanent hearing loss from the alleged attacks in 2016.

USA officials believe a group of American diplomats in Havana suffered severe hearing loss after being exposed to a covert sonic device.

Canada confirmed that one of its diplomats in Cuba has been treated for hearing loss.

The State Department separately said in a statement that it had "reminded the Cuban government of its obligations under the Vienna Convention to protect our diplomats". About the hearing loss suffered by these diplomats, Rex Tillerson said that it was the reason which had led to their repatriation.

A CNN report cited several senior government officials as saying that Washington believes several State Department employees at the USA embassy in Havana were subjected to an "acoustic attack" using sonic devices that left at least two with such serious health problems they needed to be brought back to the U.S. for treatment.

Later, after the departure of some American staff, United States officials asked two Cuban diplomats to leave Washington in response.

"We believe that the Cubans are responsible, like any host country is responsible for the security and integrity of the diplomats who are on its territory", said Mr. Tillerson, who was speaking at the side of the american president Donald Trump with which he came to speak at Bedminster (New Jersey) about the north Korean crisis.

A U.S. state department spokeswoman would not give details on the nature of the injuries or how many people were affected, but confirmed that a number of USA diplomats had returned home for treatment.At least two staff are said to be suffering serious health problems as a result of the alleged "sonic attack".

USA officials told AP that about five diplomats, several with spouses, had been affected and that no children had been involved. Global Affairs Canada says it's working with the USA and Cuba to determine the cause of the unusual symptoms.

That individual and the USA officials weren't authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. It was not immediately clear if the device was a weapon used in a deliberate attack, or had some other objective.

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

Staff in the building "were subjected to an "acoustic attack" using sonic devices that left at least two with such serious health problems they needed to be brought back to the United States for treatment", CNN reports.

Horowitz explained that infrasonic machines at a very high amplitude can cause nausea, ultrasonics have no effect on hearing, and long-range acoustic devices or sound canons are "extremely noticeable and easy to move away from".

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