Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Senate holds hearing on Cuba 'sonic attacks'

Senate holds hearing on Cuba 'sonic attacks'

The report followed the FBI's four trips to Havana and months of investigation on the attacks.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will convene an accountability review board to probe the health attacks on 24 diplomatic personnel in Cuba, the State Department said Tuesday.

U.S. officials tell CNN they are still mystified by the incidents that led the USA to withdraw most of its personnel from the embassy in Havana and issue a travel warning for people thinking of visiting the communist-run island. He wouldn't comment on an Federal Bureau of Investigation report cited by The Associated Press that seems to rule out the idea that this was a sonic weapon. The matter has strained the newly reestablished relations between the Washington and Havana.

In this January 5, 2018, photo, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks during a interview with the Associated Press at the State Department in Washington.

"We're not much ahead of where we were in finding out what occurred and we need to find that out", assistant secretary of state for public affairs Steve Goldstein told reporters.

Pressed by Rubio about which officials knew what and when, Palmieri said he did not know if the Trump transition team was informed in late 2016 about the mysterious incidents, and said Tillerson wasn't informed about them until late February.

The chairman of the Senate committee that summoned the officials, Senator Marco Rubio, did not hide his frustration. -Cuban relations, denied Cuban involvement in the alleged attacks. We still do not have definitive answers on the source or cause of the attacks.

Rubio said in his mind, the Cuban government bears some responsibility.

US Expels 15 Diplomats Following Havana Attacks
US Expels 15 Diplomats Following Havana Attacks

"Whatever happened to these people happened as a result of some sophisticated technology that quite frankly is so sophisticated that we don't understand it", he said.

Palmieri insisted that it is hard to believe that the attacks occurred without the knowledge of the government of Raul Castro and recalled that both President Trump and Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, have assured that the Cuban government "has responsibility in them".

The Cuban government, however, has denied any involvement in the incidents or knowledge of who perpetrated the potential attacks against USA diplomats. The hearing was originally scheduled for last November, but it was postponed without a reason given. The State Department's medical director, Charles Rosenfarb, says embassy employees started reporting various symptoms from hearing lost to vertigo.

The victims - at least 24 Americans, a mix of USA embassy personnel and their dependants - suffered headaches, hearing loss, disorientation and some loss of cognitive ability.

"Imagine you are one of these people who are out there working on our behalf, who have now suffered from these injuries", Rubio said.

"They just won't say who it was because it was either rogue elements in the regime, or a third party country".

Descriptions of the precipitating event ranged from "a high pitched beam of sound" to an "incapacitating sound", to a "baffling sensation" akin to driving with the windows partially open in a auto, to just an intense pressure in one ear.

The State Department has confirmed 24 cases of workers in Havana being affected by the purported "attacks". No official facilities were targeted, he said. Vidal, who was Cuba's chief negotiator during the Obama administration's rapprochement with Cuba, said the "irresponsible statements" by Palmieri were "unacceptable".

Militant Groups Using Drones As Weapon
The Russian Defense Ministry denied any of its aircraft were lost, but it acknowledged that two troops died in the shelling. Cavusoglu said 95 percent of the violations in Idlib were carried out by the regime and the groups backing the regime.

Like this: