US, Cuba, mystery diplomatic symptoms

Just read this interesting piece on Sky News

US pulls 60% of staff from Cuba after mystery attacks

Seems a couple of dozen dips have been suffering with weird symptoms like dizziness, vomming and brain issues. Plus ça change.

Some half references to a malfunctioning device or a sonic weapon.

Very Jason Bourne-esque.
US stops issuing visas in Cuba, cuts embassy staff, urges no travel to island

The U.S. is pulling embassy staff from Cuba, warning against travel to the island and taking other measures in the wake of mysterious attacks on American diplomats.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ordered departure for all non-emergency employees and family members early Friday, a State Department official told Fox News, as a result of the mysterious sonic attacks against Americans in Cuba.

US stops issuing visas in Cuba, cuts embassy staff, urges no travel to island

Apparently getting treated Seriously by State Dept.
Canadian embassy staff have reported similar symptoms and the Canadian embassy is no where near the American embassy. At least 5 Canadian diplomats and families hit by mysterious 'sound attacks' in Cuba, source says

Searches have turned up no potential emitters, and nobody seems to have an explanation of how the physics of doing this remotely would actually work.

I wouldn't be surprised if this had nothing to do with any sort of "sonic attack", but turned out to be a virus or other disease, possibly spread by mosquitoes.
Nothing to do with max strength rum then.
U.S. to expel nearly two-thirds of Cuban embassy staff - U.S. sources
In a 'tit for tat' move the US is expelling 2/3 of the Cuban Embassy staff:
The State Department declined to comment on an expulsion plan, except to say that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “continues to evaluate steps that the Department can take to ensure the Cuban government is accountable to its responsibility to protect diplomats.”

Several Cuban-American Republican lawmakers, including U.S Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, had urged that Cuban diplomats be expelled in retaliation for the Cuban government’s failure to get to the bottom of the attacks.
21 US staff affected:
At least 21 U.S. embassy employees in Cuba have been injured and reported symptoms such as hearing loss, dizziness, headache, fatigue, cognitive issues, and difficulty sleeping, the State Department said on Friday.

Cuba’s Foreign Ministry Chief for U.S. Affairs Josefina Vidal said last week that the U.S. decision to reduce staff at its Havana embassy was hasty and will affect bilateral relations,

Cuba, the United States and Canada have investigated the attacks, but the probe has not yielded any answers about how they were carried out or who was responsible for them.

Cuba has denied involvement in the attacks. The State Department has not directly blamed Havana for them but asked two Cuban diplomats to leave Washington in May.
Fascinatingly, the USA doesn't believe that the Cubans are behind it, and the Cubans are (understandably) as worried as they are:

Trump to pull diplomats out of Cuba, but think Havana is behind attacks | Miami Herald

“No one believes that the Cubans are responsible,” said one source, echoing comments from others who are closely involved in the situation. “All of the evidence points that they’re not.” Sources would not say who U.S. intelligence believes is responsible but it's totally Russia
The Russia bit was me. But it totally is the Russians.
Interesting thought: remember those directed sound gadgets they were using to protect ships from pirates? It's not like anyone was doing follow-up studies of Somali pirates who got zapped.
Reminds me of a septic mate who was on a US Navy ship parked in the Med off Beirut during the conflict there. Half of the crew came down with the shits and he told me that the Lebanese had been using chemical warfare against their ship.

It couldn't possibly have been a cook who hadn't washed his hands after reaming a stewards arrse though.
Certainly beyond a co-incidence that Western Embassy staffers are suffering from some mysterious unknown medical condition.

As for the sonic weapon used by a certain cruise ship against Somali Pirates it was also being deployed on various oil rigs off the Kenya Coast for protection. An ex Booty acquaintance who was in a security job there was doubtful of how effective it was and offered to have a try. A very short zap convinced him that it was extremely effective.

One wonders if it is in use in the Arabian Gulf against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats who seem particularly ignorant of maritime rules of passage.

These types of equipment however leave no doubt whatsoever in anyone being targeted.
Considering the Canucks are on reasonable terms with the Cubans and are a valuable source of foreign currency, why would the Canucks be "targeted" if indeed this was some weapons test? No sense at all.
Some sort of virus ? Possibly.
Considering the Canucks are on reasonable terms with the Cubans and are a valuable source of foreign currency, why would the Canucks be "targeted" if indeed this was some weapons test? No sense at all.
Some sort of virus ? Possibly.
A tropical virus is more plausible than assuming the Cubans have developed an undetectable sonic death ray.
If it looks like a duck...

If various Western diplomatic personnel are suffering odd symptoms only in Cuba then for the Cubans to profess surprise is a tad ingenuous.
Cuban television did a show on the allegations that foreign diplomats (primarily the Americans) have been subjected to some sort of mysterious sonic weapon. Cuba presents defence against alleged sonic attacks

The first thing to point out is that the Americans haven't given the Cubans access to any evidence such as eyewitness accounts or medical records that could be used to try to get to the bottom of things.
It argued the United States had failed to show that such attacks had actually occurred because it had not given Cuba or the public access to the testimony or medical records of officials who reported attacks, despite three visits to Cuba by U.S. investigators in June, August and September.
The TV program said that the US delegation told them they didn't have any actual evidence that an attack occurred, and have no theory as to how such an attack would lead to the health symptoms being reported.
"The members of the U.S. delegation said they don't have evidence that confirms that these reported attacks occurred, and brought up that there was no working theory about the cause of the health problems reported by their diplomats," the program's narrator said.
I should also give a reminder that the Americans aren't accusing the Cubans of actually doing anything, just of not protecting the diplomats from whomever is supposedly doing it.

To continue on, the reporters interviewed neighbours of the diplomats, who said they haven't heard any strange sounds or suffered any symptoms themselves.
The creators of the report interviewed neighbours of the affected diplomats who said they had not heard any strange sounds or suffered any symptoms, which the special presented as another purported weakness in the U.S. allegations.
The Cuban government has been provided with three recordings of the supposed sonic attack which were made by the alleged victims. Analysis of the records showed the sounds to be very similar to those made by crickets and cicadas native to the area.
Officials with Cuba's Interior Ministry said U.S. investigators had presented them with three recordings made by presumed victims of sonic attacks and that analysis of the sounds showed them to be extremely similar to those of crickets and cicadas that live along the northern coast of Cuba.

"It's the same bandwidth and it's audibly very similar," said Lt.-Col. Juan Carlos Molina, a telecommunications specialist with the Interior Ministry. "We compared the spectrums of the sounds and evidently this common sound is very similar to the sound of a cicada."
The TV reporters noted that cicada and cricket noises can be loud enough to cause hearing loss and other medical problems.
The program's narrator said unnamed "North American researchers" had found that some cicada and cricket noises could be louder than 90-95 decibels, enough to produce hearing loss, irritation and hypertension in situations of prolonged exposure.
If that sounds (no pun intended) a bit hard to believe, here's a National Geographic video which explains how loud cicadas can be. The narrator in this one quotes sounds even louder (up to 100 db) than noted in the Cuban report.

There are numerous other similar news reports about cicadas going back at least 10 years. Here's another example from 2011. Cicadas' Chirp Could Cause Hearing Damage, Professor Says | HuffPost
According to Rickets’ measurements, the cicadas on the Vanderbilt campus in Nashville, Tenn., measured at roughly 86 decibels. 85 decibels is the volume where the threat of hearing damage begins, and federal work standards stipulate that sounds exceeding that level should not be heard for more than a four hour period.
There are of course many different species of cicadas, so it should be no surprise that different researchers are reporting different sound levels. They also appear to make different sounds, as the ones in the video above sound quite different from the ones which live around here (Canada). Hence, I suspect that if you travel to a different place you may not necessarily recognise the sounds made by the local cicadas.

I have spoken with UK visitors who have remarked on how astonished they were as to how loud the cicadas we have here are. Generally the ones here tend to stick to the tops of tall trees, so while they are by far the loudest thing around during their breeding season on a hot, sunny, summer day, they're not really a problem and you learn to ignore them.

I'm not necessarily convinced that cicadas are the cause of the alleged problems in Cuba. However, I wouldn't be surprised if the people in question were suffering from some sort of tropical disease such as a mosquito borne virus. Cicada noise however could be mistakenly associated with the symptoms which haven't been properly diagnosed because the way the symptoms are being reported has doctors looking for the wrong cause. This latter problem by the way isn't unusual either, as doctors in northern climates frequently don't recognise tropical diseases in patients who have brought them back from vacations.
Some half references to a malfunctioning device or a sonic weapon
Such weapons do exist, but why would Cuba do anything when they have just had sanctions lifted after many many years? More likely to be mischief from certain parties who want the sanctions put back asap.