CUBA — Secret Sonic Weapon or Mass Hysteria?

“What it is telling us is the sound is located between about 7,000 kHz and 8,000 kHz. There are about 20 peaks, and they seem to be equally spaced. All these peaks correspond to a different frequency.”

Kausik Sarkar —  Acoustics expert and engineering professor at The George Washington University

Cuba sonic attack

Two dozen of US diplomats — most of them actually spies — in Havana have suffered a range of symptoms including hearing loss, tinnitus, headaches and dizziness.  The US State Department has described the incidents as “sonic attacks”. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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No rational explanation

The incidents began at the end of 2016 and the last recorded case occurred  in August 2017. US and Cuban investigations have produced no evidence of any such weapon.

Many acoustics experts believe that it is highly unlikely that the range of symptoms reported could have been caused by any kind of sonic weapons.

Another theory was that the health complaints were caused by a surveillance operation that had gone wrong. But again, there is — so far — no evidence.

TIMELINE

Late 2016: US embassy staff and at least one Canadian began to notice symptoms

May 2017 : US expels two Cuban diplomats for failing to protect its diplomats

August 2017 : US says 16 employees have been treated but attacks seem to have stopped

Early September 2017: US says attacks are continuing and 19 staff members have now been hurt

29 September 2017: Washington pulls diplomatic staff, warns US citizens not to visit and says 21 embassy employees now injured

Mass Hysteria?

Neurologists argue that the possibility of “functional disorder” due to a problem in the functioning of nervous system – rather than a disease – should be considered.

“From an objective point of view it’s more like mass hysteria than anything else,” said Mark Hallett, the head of the human motor control section of the US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

“Mass hysteria” is the popular term for outbreaks among groups of people which [SIC] are partly or wholly psychosomatic, but Hallett stressed there should be no blame attached to them.

“There are a very large number of individuals that have relatively vague complaints as far as I can see,” Hallett said.

“There has been an exploration of possible causes for this and nothing has been found and the notion of some sonic beam is relatively nonsensical.

“If it is mass hysteria that would clarify all the mystery – and presumably normalise US-Cuban relations again,” said Hallett.

“These people are all clustered together in a somewhat anxious environment and that is exactly the situation that precipitates something like this. Anxiety may be one of the critical factors.”

The sound

The Associated Press has released an audio recording of the sound believed to have caused mysterious health issues for U.S. diplomats in Cuba.

Tinnitus?

In most cases, tinnitus pitch or frequency range is between 5000 Hz and 10.000 Hz. [Wikipedia]

While commonly referred to as “ringing in the ears,” tinnitus can actually manifest in a variety of different perceived sounds, both tonal and pulsing.

In almost all cases, tinnitus is a subjective noise, meaning that only the person who has tinnitus can hear it.

People describe hearing different sounds: ringing, hissing, static, crickets, screeching, whooshing, roaring, pulsing, ocean waves, buzzing, dial tones, even music. [American Tinnitus Association]

AP obtains audio of Cuba sonic attack

 

‘Sonic Attack’ On US Diplomats In Cuba Sounded Like Shrieking Crickets

 

REFERENCES

Mass hysteria may explain ‘sonic attacks’ in Cuba, say top neurologists — The Guardian

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CUBA — Secret Sonic Weapon or Mass Hysteria?

 

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