Saturday, 2 September 2017

Sonic attacks injure 19 US diplomats based at embassy in Cuba, it has emerged



US diplomats targeted by sonic attacks in Cuba have suffered permanent hearing loss, brain swelling, loss of balance and concussion, it has emerged.

Some 19 government personnel based at the American embassy in Havana have been affected by the use of a covert device.


Officials had previously said the attacks ended in spring 2017, but it has now been revealed there was a further incident last month.


Investigators have been searching to identify the device used to attack the diplomats, who are believed to have been attacked in there homes in the Cuban capital.


However, so far nothing has been found.


The American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) union said staff had suffered permanent hearing loss, brain swelling, severe headaches, concussion, loss of balance and "cognitive disruption" as a result of the attacks.


US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said authorities were continually revising assessments of the scope of the attacks and that the investigation had not been completed.


She said: "We can confirm another incident which occurred last month and is now part of the investigation.


"We can't rule out new cases as medical professionals continue to evaluate members of the embassy community."
 
 
The US has avoided accusing Cuba's government of being behind the attacks.


Two Cuban diplomats were expelled from Washington in May, but the state department said that move was in protest against Havana's failure to protect the safety of American diplomats.


A Canadian government officials said it first learned in March that one of its citizens was affected.


It is unclear if the Canadian victim was intentionally targeted, or was collateral damage from an attack aimed at Americans.


In a statement, the AFSA said: "AFSA strongly encourages the Department of State and the US Government to do everything possible to provide appropriate care for those affected, and to work to ensure that these incidents cease and are not repeated."


The investigation has damaged the delicate diplomatic relationship between Cuba and the US.




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