United States Diplomats Attacked In Cuba

U.S. intelligence operatives residing in Cuba have been reporting “sonic-like” attacks, affecting at least 21 American operatives so far. Despite attacks beginning roughly a year ago, the story initially failed to pick up significant momentum. Now, almost a year after first reports, continued attacks have prompted significant action from the United States. Despite the hazy timeline, a general consensus speculates the first reported attacks occurred roughly eleven months ago when U.S. spies first reported hearing bizarre sounds in their living quarters. These bizarre sounds then manifested into significant physical reactions and ailments among those affected. Other reports state recent attacks have evolved, citing operatives who display the same physical symptoms without hearing the sound. In my very unqualified opinion, it seems as if the “sound” is possibly a head fake, and even if it is related, I doubt the attack evolved in such a manner over the course of a few months. Regardless, what was initially labeled as a “health attack,” is now being declared an advanced sonic attack, and for better or worse, the story has not received a significant amount of coverage in proportion to the gravity of the situation.

The first disturbing reports of piercing, high-pitched noises and inexplicable ailments pointed to someone deliberately targeting the US government’s intelligence network on the communist-run island, in what seemed like a bone-chilling escalation of the tit-for-tat spy games that Washington and Havana have waged over the last half century.

But the US soon discovered that actual diplomats at the embassy had also been hit by similar attacks, officials said, further confounding the search for a culprit and a motive.” Since the first reported attacks, a total of 21 American spies have suffered unrelenting acute damage including, hearing loss and brain damage confirmed by medical professionals. U.S. officials have remained quiet for the most part, but even those who have spoken up seem limited in their ability to provide information of substance.

For the most part, reporting on this story has linked attacks to some sort of “sonic weapon” or “sonic attack.” Despite the confirmed symptoms and unified complaints resulting in significant action from the United States, it seems that either no one knows about technologies with such capabilities; or, no one is willing to admit knowledge of such capabilities. As someone who believes in the latter, I found myself wondering about the extent of intelligence capabilities disclosed to the public. After a few quick Google searches, I became amazed reading about some of the technologies used previously within the intelligence community. If you remain undeterred by the U.S. pulling diplomats out of Cuba, I suggest you read about microwaves, ray guns, the Moscow signal, anti-drone guns, and this disclosed CIA document discussing a heart attack gun before you begin yelling about conspiracy theories. Although I would love to know what caused these attacks in Cuba, it may be for the best if the public remains in the dark. If a cutting-edge technology (like that suggested in reports of the Cuba attacks) becomes public knowledge, what measures could we even take to prevent such attacks? Where does the law even step in when stealth weaponry is so advanced and utilized by trained individuals and governments? I do not think the public would gain much besides an increased level of fear knowing there are undetectable weapons capable of harming and killing other humans.

After great lengths were made at the end of the Obama administration to bring Cuba and the United State closer, the recent attacks have created a growing rift between the United States and Cuba. Lawmakers have recently called for response to the attacks. The United States have pulled out more than half of their diplomats from Havana, withdrew all non-essential personnel, removed 15 Cuban diplomats staffed in the United States, and issued an advisory warning Americans against travelling to Cuba. Despite these measures, common sense suggests Cuba did not launch these attacks against the United States because of the recent measures taken to improve relations between the two governments. Therefore, such responses by the United States should not be considered retaliatory at this point; rather, precautionary to protect United States citizens. While some officials like Senator Marco Rubio have criticized the lack of punitive action taken against Cuba, others largely support the measures that have been taken thus far. “Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, said punitive measures would only play into the hands of the attackers. “’Whoever is doing this obviously is trying to disrupt the normalization process between the United States and Cuba,’ Mr. Leahy said. ‘Someone or some government is trying to reverse that process.’”

Regardless of where the attacks are coming from, it is important for everyone to avoid jumping to conclusions, and for the government to leverage existing measures to protect the citizens of the United States. Because of existing treaties, Cuba has an obligation to protect foreign diplomats. The harm that has occurred to the diplomats in Cuba should be condemned, if for no other reason, to uphold deterrence inherent with such treaties aiming to prevent such incidents. If more details are shed, it will be interesting to see how the law responds to such an event with significant political and global implications.