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sonic attacks

'Rogue' faction of Cuban security forces might be behind the sonic attacks on American diplomats in Havana

Cuban President Raul Castro expressed concern and confusion over ongoing, sophisticated sonic attacks on American diplomats living in Havana, going as far as to invite FBI agents to the country to investigate, The Associated Press reports. The extremely rare gesture — and lack of an "indignant, how-dare-you-accuse-us response" — has led American authorities to believe Castro might not be responsible, and that a "rogue faction of Cuba's security forces" could be to blame, AP writes.

The futuristic attacks began last fall when U.S. diplomats mysteriously started to lose their hearing. The U.S. launched an investigation and determined that the diplomats had been attacked by a weapon that operated outside the range of audible sound and was covertly placed either inside or outside their homes. This spring, Canadian diplomats reported similar symptoms: nosebleeds, nausea, headaches. Because Canada and Cuba are on friendly terms, the attack was befuddling — American authorities believe it might have been an attempt to throw off investigators.

Now new reports by AP detail even more concerning incidents:

Some [diplomats] described bizarre, unexplained sounds, including grinding and high-pitched ringing. Victims even recounted how they could walk in and out of what seemed like powerful beams of sound that hit only certain rooms or even only parts of rooms …

News reports finally prompted the State Department to publicly acknowledge “incidents which have caused a variety of physical symptoms” and were still under investigation. The AP learned they included concentration problems and even trouble recalling commonplace words. [The Associated Press]

"There is a struggle going on for the soul of [the Cuban] revolution," said Michael Parmly, the former head of the U.S. diplomatic post in Havana. He hypothesized that "it's entirely possible there are rogue elements" operating in Havana and that such "elements" could even be working with Russia or North Korea to hurt U.S. officials.

The most recent attack was on Aug. 21; so far, there have been 21 victims. Read the full report at The Associated Press.