Foreign Policy

There Was a “Sonic Attack” In Another Country

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The Trump regime has used the so-called and unexplained "sonic attacks" on American diplomatic personnel in Cuba as an excuse to roll back the normalization of relations established under President Obama, but another similar attack recently occurred on American foreign service members on the other side of the globe.

CBS News reports that a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) employee and his wife were hit by a similar attack in the former Soviet state of Uzbekistan.

In September, the officer and his wife reported, according to one source familiar with the incident, what may have been at least one acoustic attack similar to those experienced by the diplomats in Havana. [...]

Now, two U.S. security sources say the September incident in Tashkent raises concerns Russia may be involved, and could have had a hand in the attacks targeting U.S. government personnel in Cuba-another country where Russia has also exerted growing influence.

"The Russians have been rebuilding their relationship—it deteriorated dramatically after the end of the Cold War," according to William Leogrande, a foreign policy professor at American University who focuses on Cuba. Now, "They have a strong presence in Cuba and an historic relationship with Cuban intelligence that might give them the kind of freedom to operate that would provide an opportunity."

The State Department is saying very little about the attack in Uzbekistan, but that's hardly surprising. They've said virtually nothing about the attacks in Cuba or identified a culprit. We only know about these incidents thanks to the diligent reporting of the Associated Press, Reuters, and other networks.

Like many other others, I suspected the Russians were responsible for the attacks in Cuba as they're the only country with the technology, spycraft, and motive for undermining our relations with Cuba.

In the near future I expect we'll learn that the Trump regime knew all along that Cuba couldn't have been responsible for the original attacks but used the attacks as a pretext to dump our relations anyway. I can't imagine that would surprise anyone.

  • muselet

    I don’t doubt that Vladimir Putin’s Russia doesn’t want US government agencies operating within its sphere of influence. I also don’t doubt that Russian intelligence services would play dirty to chase USAID out of Uzbekistan.

    I do doubt there were “sonic attacks” in either Havana or Tashkent. As I mentioned before, I have seen no explanation for how the reported symptoms could have been caused by infrasonic or ultrasonic sounds. I’m willing to be convinced, but for now, “sonic attacks” is just as nonsensical as “chemtrails” as an explanation for, well, anything.

    Something seems to have happened to the USAID employee and his wife, and I sincerely hope they recover quickly. However, that “something” was unlikely to have been having sound waves directed at them.


    • JMAshby

      That’s why I wrote that they’re “so-called” sonic attacks. The most well-founded (I think) theory I’ve read about whatever device is being used to do it is a microwave emitter of some description. I think they’re called “sonic attacks” because the victims all report hearing noises, but the noises were likely caused by microwaves beamed directly at their heads which the brain interpreted as a sound.

      I expect we’ll get a solid explanation at some point or an explanation may already exist which isn’t being shared with us. Right now all we have is theories.

      • muselet

        It is certainly possible to focus microwaves, but holy cats! The safety considerations are pretty scary.

        Besides which—and here I freely admit I’m not a physicist and this is my layman’s understanding (real experts, please chime in)—microwaves are electromagnetic radiation and as such obey the inverse-square law: the energy at a point is inversely proportional to the square of the distance to the source (double the distance and the energy decreases by a factor of 4). Unless Russian intelligence agents placed a microwave weapon in someone’s home or office, the weapon would have to generate an unreasonably powerful beam in order to have any effect on a person at a distance, almost certainly powerful enough to knock birds out of the trees along the way, not to mention frying most electronic devices. Phenomena like that would likely attract some attention.

        And since microwaves excite water molecules, anyone getting zapped would suffer excruciating pain from their skin getting steamed from the inside out. Also, any metal objects in the path of the beam—eyeglass frames, for example, or dental fillings—would also heat up very quickly and painfully.

        Again, my physics education ended after two semesters, long before exotica like focused EM radiation would have been on the syllabus. Still, color me unconvinced.

        Whatever may have happened in Cuba and Uzbekistan hasn’t been adequately explained, as far as I can tell.


  • This abhorrent sabotage of the one chance we’ve had in 50+ years to mend relations with one of our closest neighbors just absolutely sickens me. And not for any reason that makes sense. Not for any strategic or moral advantage. Just because the black guy is the one who created this opportunity.

  • Badgerite

    Who could have predicted? Just about anybody who knows Putin. I wonder if he told trump about this in one of their private, no Americans allowed, meetings abroad? And this gives trump an excuse to abandon Cuba and let the Russians move back in. Thanks GOP.