Thursday, May 24, 2018

Americans Are Warned to Avoid Strange Noises After Suspected 'Sonic Attack' in China

Americans Are Warned to Avoid Strange Noises After Suspected 'Sonic Attack' in China

Is this a new kind of warfare?
PETER DOCKRILL
24 MAY 2018
Image result for sonic attack in China
Image result for sonic attack in China
Image result for sonic attack in China
The US government has issued an alert to Americans in China after a federal employee sustained brain injuries that could be linked to a suspected 'sonic attack'.
The unidentified American worker was stationed at the US consulate in Guangzhou when they reported experiencing "subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure".
These mysterious symptoms were felt from late 2017 through to last month, at which point the employee was brought back to the US for a medical evaluation that revealed the worker had sustained something resembling a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI, or concussion) in the episode.
While hard facts surrounding this strange incident are scarce, there are similarities to an alleged 'sonic attack' that befell over 20 Americans working as diplomats in Havana, Cuba, in 2016; so the State Department isn't taking any chances.
"The US government is taking these reports seriously and has informed its official staff in China of this event," a health alert issued by the US Embassy in China explains.
"We do not currently know what caused the reported symptoms and we are not aware of any similar situations in China, either inside or outside of the diplomatic community."
While there's no evidence at present of other such episodes in China, authorities are advising any Americans living there who develop symptoms or medical problems "during or after a stay in China" to consult a medical professional.
"While in China, if you experience any unusual acute auditory or sensory phenomena accompanied by unusual sounds or piercing noises, do not attempt to locate their source," the alert reads.
"Instead, move to a location where the sounds are not present."
Little else is presently known about the kinds of noises the government employee may have been exposed to, but US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a congressional hearing on Wednesday that the markers of the latest episode are "very similar and entirely consistent with the medical indications that have taken place to Americans working in Cuba".
"We have medical teams that are moving to be on the ground there [in China]," Pompeo said, according to an NPR report.
"We are working to figure out what took place both in Havana, and now in China, as well."
The kind of mysterious noises to avoid – as heard by the American workers in Cuba, and now potentially China – sound like this, although experts are divided on whether this is actually a kind of sonic weapon, or something else.
Cuban officials have consistently denied any knowledge of a sonic attack being perpetrated against the Americans affected – who experienced hearing loss, vertigo, sleep impairment, and brain swelling.
A subsequent study of the individuals confirmed they experienced concussion symptoms "without an associated history of head trauma" – ie. without being hit on the head – but wasn't conclusive about how such symptoms could have been caused.
In that study, participants variously described the noises they heard as being like "buzzing", "grinding metal", "piercing squeals", and "humming" – and said they were related to physical sensations of air pressure, like "air 'baffling' inside a moving car with the windows partially rolled down".
Whoever you are, wherever you are, if you're hearing things like that, it's probably a good idea to move to somewhere where you can't hear those sounds.
Because whatever unknown and invisible menace is at work here, it's something neither scientists nor governments can fully understand yet – and the terrible part, sorry to say, is it looks like it could be spreading.
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Fears of sonic attack on US embassy staff in China


US, China investigate as American embassy employee diagnosed with mild brain injury


BEIJING • The US embassy in China issued a health alert yesterday after an employee experienced an "abnormal" sound and suffered a mild brain injury - in an incident reminiscent of a mysterious illness that hit diplomats in Cuba.
The US and Chinese authorities are investigating the matter after the American government employee, who was assigned to the southern city of Guangzhou, was diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), said embassy spokesman Jinnie Lee.
"The medical indications are very similar and entirely consistent with the medical indications that have taken place to Americans working in Cuba," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a congressional hearing in Washington yesterday. "We are working to figure out what took place both in Havana and now in China as well."
In an alert e-mailed to US citizens in China, the embassy said it does not know what caused the symptoms or of any similar situations in the country.
In Cuba last year, the US disclosed that 24 diplomats and their family members had fallen victim to an unsolved mysterious attack that left them with injuries resembling brain trauma. Ten Canadian diplomats and their relatives also suffered a strange illness.
"We cannot at this time connect it with what happened in Havana, but we are investigating all possibilities," said a US embassy official.
The embassy's health alert says the employee "recently reported subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure".
  • Mystery illness

  • Canada announced last month that it was bringing home the families of its diplomats in Cuba after a year-long investigation into an illness - which left 10 diplomats with brain injuries - failed to reveal a cause.
    The move came after the United States last year withdrew a large number of its Cuban embassy staff after diplomats complained of symptoms such as hearing loss, dizziness, tinnitus, visual difficulties, headaches and fatigue.
    "The cause remains unknown but could be human-made," Canada's government concluded after its probe.
    The Canadian and US authorities had initially suspected a "sonic attack" or a "mass psychosomatic incident", but those are "now considered unlikely", a senior Canadian official said.
    AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, WASHINGTON POST
"The US government is taking these reports seriously and has informed its official staff in China of this event," the message says.
"While in China, if you experience any unusual acute auditory or sensory phenomena accompanied by unusual sounds or piercing noises, do not attempt to locate their source. Instead, move to a location where the sounds are not present," it adds, urging people with medical problems to consult a doctor.
Ms Lee said the employee experienced "a variety of physical symptoms" between late last year through this April. The person was diagnosed with MTBI on May 18.
"The department is... working to determine the cause and impact of the incident," she said. "The Chinese government has assured us they are also investigating."
In Cuba, the victims had associated the onset of symptoms with "unusual sounds or auditory sensations", a State Department physician told the Senate in January, saying the victims suffered headaches, hearing loss, disorientation and some loss of cognitive ability.
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". Media reports suggest that the FBI has not been able to verify any evidence to support the sonic weapon theory.
Washington has held Cuba responsible, arguing that it must have either carried out the assaults or known who was behind them.