A month long investigation into brain damage and blood disorders suffered by American diplomats stationed in Cuba has pointed to sonic weapons as a possible cause.
- Strange symptoms mystify US doctors and lead to allegations of diplomatic interference via sound technology.
- Why are the so-called “health attacks” from Cuba being perpetrated now?
- The history of sonic weapons and sound warfare – modern espionage or science fiction?
It was in November of 2016 that a series of American diplomats began to complain of strange symptoms following posts in Cuba, the long-time socialist US rival Caribbean island nation.
Loss of balance, hearing loss, nausea and headaches were among the complaints with a series of doctors unable to pinpoint the cause of injuries to US diplomatic staff and their families, some of whom are now suffering long term brain damage, permanent loss of the senses and rare blood disorders.
However the explosive suggestion by US intelligence officials that its citizens have been attacked by secret sonic weapons has shocked experts and raised the specter of a new generation of technology that can surreptitiously maim unwitting victims from inside their homes.
But why the fresh allegations that threaten to plunge Cuban-American relations to lows unseen since the Cold War?
Faced with a rapid chance on international policy since the election of Donald Trump, one that contrasts with the good relations and easing sanctions that marked the Barack Obama period, its not difficult to see why hostile espionage between the two historic rivals is on the rise.
What Are Sonic Weapons?
Sonic and ultrasonic weapons are weapons of various types that use sound energy to injure, incapacitate, or kill an opponent with highly-focused bursts of sonic energy.
While most sonic weapons are currently in limited use or in research and development by military and police forces, the sophistication suggested by the Cuban aggression had previously only existed in the realm of science fiction.
Emitting vibrations from sound waves of various frequencies in order to cause disruption and damage, the field is a complicated and secretive one, with University research fellow Toby Heys describing their application to warfare as a “research cell investigating how ultrasonic, sonic and infrasonic frequencies are used to demarcate territory in the soundscape and the ways in which their martial and civil deployments modulate psychological, physiological and architectural states.”
Is Sound the Future of Warfare?
The incorporation of sound into warfare sounds modern but have history in that dates back to World War Two.
In 1944 as Germany faced being overrun by advancing Russian and Allied forces, it was rumored that Hitler’s main architect Albert Speer had expolored and developed his own theories of sonic warfare and sound-based instruments of death.
His device, dubbed an “acoustic cannon”, was intended to ignite a mixture of methane and oxygen create a series of deafening explosions, purportedly over 1,000 a second.
By sending out a focused beam of sound which was then magnified by colossal reflector dishes the cannon could potentially kill someone standing within a 100-yard radius in 30 seconds. The rumored weapon was never actually used in battle.
More recently the BBC reported that US interrogators were using songs by Metallica and Barney the Dinosaur to break the will of Iraqi prisoners of war in 2003.
Sergeant Mark Hadsell told Newsweek that, “These people haven’t heard heavy metal. They can’t take it. If you play it for 24 hours, your brain and body functions start to slide, your train of thought slows down and your will is broken. That’s when we come in and talk to them.”
Further sonic tactics have included actions by the Israeli airforce against Palestinians by using jets to break the sound barrier at low altitudes over settlements and creating “sound bombs” to demoralize the local population.
Clearly the future of the battlefield, espionage and law enforcement is increasingly being seen in terms of sound and psychology rather than guns and bullets.
The increased use of sonic weapons by armies and police forces around the world is still developing but the growing evidence and continuing fascination with utilizing sound as a weapon shows no signs of abating and elicits further concern for the world’s anti-espionage services.
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