Sonic ATTACK warning issued as United States citizen suffers brain injury in China

Lydia FlemingMay 23, 2018

The US official at the consulate in Guangzhou experienced a variety of "physical symptoms" between late 2017 and April this year.

The US State Department expelled 17 Cuban diplomats from its Washington embassy past year after the incidents came to light.

The still-unexplained incidents sparked a rift in US-Cuban relations with the US expelling 15 Cuban diplomats from the United States for what it said was Cuba's failure to protect its staff.

According to the alert issued by the US State Department on Wednesday, the cause of the injuries to the employee in China remains unknown, but officials were not aware of other similar symptoms among the diplomatic community in the country. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the United States will send a medical team to Guangzhou next week to conduct baseline medical evaluations of all employees who desire one.

In October, a State Department official said the USA had "received a handful of reports from US citizens who report they experienced similar symptoms following stays in Cuba".

"We can not at this time connect it with what happened in Havana, but we are investigating all possibilities", a US Embassy official told Reuters.

The Department of State is on edge after a US official in China was recently diagnosed with brain damage following reports of mysterious experiences and symptoms reminiscent of the alleged 2017 sonic attacks at the American embassy in Cuba.

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The Washington Post first reported on the employee, based in Guangzhou, who suffered the injury.

"The Chinese government has assured us they are also investigating and taking appropriate measures", said Lee, the embassy spokeswoman.

Initially officials suspected the Americans had been targeted by some sort of acoustic weapon, although in public senior officials were more cautious, speaking of "health attacks". "Instead, move to a location where the sounds are not present", recommends the State Department.

The Chinese foreign ministry could not be immediately reached for comment. Americans working in Cuba suffered permanent hearing loss, severe headaches, loss of balance, brain swelling, and disruption to cognitive functions. Media reports have suggested that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has not been able to verify any evidence to support the sonic weapon theory.

Last October, the State Department ordered non-essential embassy personnel and the families of all staff to leave Havana, arguing the USA could not protect them from unexplained illnesses that have harmed at least 24 Americans.

The symptoms included dizziness, headaches and a lack of ability to concentrate.

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