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Listen To The First Recording Of The ‘Sonic Weapon’ Sickening US Diplomats In Cuba
At the end of September, the Department of State announced that it would recall half of its diplomatic personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Cuba following the sickening of 21 employees by “specific attacks.” A mysterious sonic weapon had left at least 10 American diplomats with injuries from hearing loss to brain trauma and nervous-system damage. Just weeks before, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had stated he was evaluating whether to shutter the embassy altogether amid the continued incidents.
“The health, safety, and well-being of our embassy community are our greatest concerns,” the State Department said in a Sept. 27 statement. “Investigations into the attacks are ongoing, as investigators have been unable to determine who or what is causing these attacks.”
So what exactly does this deadly aural assault actually sound like? Thanks to a new recording from the Associated Press, we now have an idea:
The recording, vaguely described by the AP as “what some U.S. Embassy workers heard in Havana,” is currently in the hands of Navy acoustic specialists and “intelligence services.” (The Navy did not immediately respond to request for comment from Task & Purpose.) To date, a total of 22 U.S. government personnel have been sickened by the phenomenon.
The recording seems to rule out some previous theories regarding the illnesses’ cause. Multiple previous reports from the Associated Press (and obstinate comments from the State Department) characterized the incidents as caused by an “an advanced sonic weapon that operated outside the range of audible sound” — something the AP recording clearly is not, despite being “digitally enhanced to increase volume and reduce background noise.” (That’s not as bad an explanation as “mass hysteria,” which was floated by the Guardian newspaper hours before the AP recording dropped.)
If the recordings themselves “are not believed to be dangerous to those who listen” over a computer or smartphone speaker, as the AP reported, it’s hard to believe they’d cause significant physical trauma even if blasted through something like, say, the non-lethal Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs) that the U.S. military and local law enforcement have used for hailing and crowd control.
Sailors get hands on training on the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) onboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) on July 24th, 2015.Photo via DoD
According to experts consulted by The Guardian, one possible explanation is ultrasound, frequencies higher than 20 kHz that, while beyond the range of human hearing that, were enhanced to the point of innocuous audibility by the AP. It’s certainly possible: In 2014, a University of Auckland acoustic researcher managed to capture a recording of a mysterious “Hum,” a low-frequency vibratory phenomenon that has been driving people around the world nuts for decades.
But there’s a big problem: As Wired observed on Oct. 5, acoustic scientists aren’t totally sure that high-frequency ultrasound or even very-low-frequency infrasound could inflict the traumatic injuries and neurological problems described by the State Department.
Frankly, even the private-sector defense contractors who work with sonic weaponry aren’t buying it. When I caught up with David Schnell, vice president of business development at LRAD and a retired Navy captain, showing off the company’s latest wares at the Association of the U.S. Army in Washington on Oct. 9, he laughed off my questions about the saga unfolding in Cuba.
“Whatever it is, it’s not on the hearable spectrum,” Schnell said. “We really don’t know. It could be environmental. It could be chemical. But it’s very, very hard to believe it’s acoustic.”
“That’s not what these were designed for anyway,” he added, pointing to the LRAD devices on display. “These are for communication. It’s communication that can solve conflicts before they escalate into lethal force. And in crowded battlefields where there are combatants and noncombatants layered on top of each other, lethal force is a last resort.”
The FBI is treating the recent shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, as a terrorist attack, several media outlets reported on Sunday.
"We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism," USA Today quoted FBI Agent Rachel Rojas as saying at a news conference.
WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un risks losing "everything" if he resumes hostility and his country must denuclearize, after the North said it had carried out a "successful test of great significance."
"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," Trump said on Twitter, referring to his first summit with Kim in Singapore in 2018.
"He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November," he said.
The three sailors whose lives were cut short by a gunman at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on Friday "showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil," said base commander Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella.
Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters were killed in the shooting, the Navy has announced.
The Pentagon’s troop deployment denials means nothing when the White House screams ‘fake news’ all the time
The Pentagon has a credibility problem that is the result of the White House's scorched earth policy against any criticism. As a result, all statements from senior leaders are suspect.
We're beyond the point of defense officials being unable to say for certain whether a dog is a good boy or girl. Now we're at the point where the Pentagon has spent three days trying to knock down a Wall Street Journal story about possible deployments to the Middle East, and they've failed to persuade either the press or Congress.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the United States was considering deploying up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to thwart any potential Iranian attacks. The story made clear that President Trump could ultimately decide to send a smaller number of service members, but defense officials have become fixated on the number 14,000 as if it were the only option on the table.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Gen. David Berger, the US Marine Corps commandant, suggested the concerns surrounding a service members' use of questionable Chinese-owned apps like TikTok should be directed against the military's leadership, rather than the individual troops.
Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday morning, Berger said the younger generation of troops had a "clearer view" of the technology "than most people give them credit for."
"That said, I'd give us a 'C-minus' or a 'D' in educating the force on the threat of even technology," Berger said. "Because they view it as two pieces of gear, 'I don't see what the big deal is.'"