Foreign service group concerned by ‘sonic harassment’ of diplomats in Cuba

A labor union representing US diplomats expressed concern Friday over the severity of symptoms resulting from recent suspected “sonic harassment” of embassy personnel in Havana, Cuba.

Representatives from the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) spoke with 10 affected foreign service members “who experienced damage to their health as a result of these attacks,” the group said in a statement.

“Diagnoses include mild traumatic brain injury and permanent hearing loss, with such additional symptoms as loss of balance, severe headaches, cognitive disruption and brain swelling,” they noted.

The group added that it “strongly encourages the Department of State and the US government to do everything possible to provide appropriate care for those affected, and to work to ensure that these incidents cease and are not repeated.”

The statement, first reported by The Washington Post, comes several weeks after the State Department acknowledged that personnel had experienced “a variety of physical symptoms” following “incidents” that began in late 2016.

At least 16 people were affected by what senior State Department officials say was likely an “acoustic attack” caused by sonic devices.

Two US diplomats suffered long-term injuries including hearing loss as a result of the attacks, and were unable to return to Cuba, three US government sources told CNN last month.

Following the bizarre episode, two Cuban diplomats were expelled from the country’s embassy in Washington, DC.

While the attacks appear to have stopped, the motivation behind them remains unclear. US authorities, including members of the FBI, are investigating.