Case surrounding sick Americans in Cuba taking strange new twists

Near the end of 2016, CIA agents and other officials stationed in Cuba began to complain of symptoms that appeared to indicate they were being targeted by some form of sonic attack.

The Cuban government has officially and repeatedly denied it launched any such attack, although it could have come from other enemies of the U.S. including the Russians, Venezuelans or anyone else who is at odds with the U.S.

In recent days an American investigative news outlet noted that U.S. intelligence officials are no closer to solving the riddle of why 22 other Americans and eight Canadians were diagnosed with a wide array of concussion-like symptoms, ranging from headaches and nausea to hearing loss. In fact, the FBI and CIA are in disagreement, this report noted. [source]

The FBI has dropped its initial suspicion that a sonic weapon of some sort was used; the CIA has not, adding that it was no coincidence that the first four people affected were CIA operatives working undercover as diplomats.

Adding to the mystery: Just 22 of 80 checked out were diagnosed with symptoms; the FBI has found nothing despite being on the ground in Cuba; and the FBI has said the Cuban government is cooperating with its agents.

Also, so far no one has stepped forward to confirm the existence of a sonic weapon:

The facts of the Cuban case are very different. Some people report loud cicada-like noises. Others none at all. Some reported attacks in hotels, where other guests didn’t hear anything, so it would appear the radius of attack is quite small. A focused, long-range acoustic weapon is unknown to the world.

“Although high-intensity infrasound significantly disrupted animal behavior in some experiments, the generation of such energy in a volume large enough to be of practical use is unlikely because of basic physical principles,” Air Force researchers wrote in 2007. “On the basis of experimentation completed to date at a number of institutions, it seems unlikely that high-intensity acoustic energy in the audible, infrasonic, or low-frequency range can provide a device suitable for use as a nonlethal weapon.”

One suggestion as to what may have happened is “mass sociogenic illness,” or what used to be called mass hysteria. The State Department disagrees with that diagnosis, however, noting that no evidence has been found to support it.

“If you took any one of these patients and put them into a brain-injury clinic, and you didn’t know their background, you would think that they had a traumatic brain injury from being in a car accident or a blast in the military,” said Rachel Swanson, a co-author of a published study examining the medical records of 21 of the 22 people diagnosed with symptoms. “It’s like a concussion without a concussion.” [source]

Analysis: Some in Congress, including Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba, believe that some form of weapon was used against the American delegation. And he thinks the Cuban government is behind it somehow. “There is no way that someone could carry out [this] number of attacks, with that kind of technology, without the Cubans knowing about it,” he said. “They either did it, or they know who did it.”

Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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