Following the publication of a sound the Associated Press (AP) asserts was potentially used to torture and maim American diplomats in Cuba, a former political prisoner tells Breitbart News that sound resembled what was used to torture him in a Cuban prison decades ago.
In July – before the U.S. State Department confirmed that 22 American diplomats and relatives suffered unexplained health “attacks” on the island – former Cuban political prisoner and lifetime anti-communist activist Luis Zúñiga testified before a committee organized by the group JusticeCuba that he had been subjected to a form of acoustic torture in two prisons during his 19 years behind bars in the communist regime.
His testimony resurfaced in Cuban exile media a month later due to the similarities between what he told the group he experienced and what various media organizations, from the AP to CBS News to McClatchy, claimed American diplomats were subjected to on the island.
Zúñiga noted that, while the technology available today is likely far more sophisticated than what he suffered under in 1977, a sound published by the AP on Thursday resembled what Cuban prison guards broadcast into his cell as a method of torture.
“What they were applying to us was rudimentary, techniques from the ’60s and ’70s,” he told Breitbart News, adding that one of the officials at the prison would boast that it was authentic KGB Soviet technology. Zuñiga says that guards placed “loudspeakers on both extremes of the cell hallway. The cells didn’t have windows. They would put on a sound like – have you heard a short-wave radio when it is set in between two stations? Peaks and troughs.”
“It would emit very high high-pitched sounds and very sharp low sounds, so it penetrates your ear, your timpanum, and it creates a state of desperation in the person,” he added. The sound the Associated Press published, he noted, was “similar.” “The vibration of the wave is similar … it is similar in that respect,” he noted.
Asked if the symptoms he experienced under the torture resembled what various reports claim American diplomats experienced – nausea, headaches, “concussion-like” symptoms, and mild brain damage – Zúñiga said, “yes, absolutely, and mental destabilization and anxiety and headaches, almost dizzying headaches.”
He noted, as he did in his testimony in July, that at least one prisoner committed suicide in his cell during a round of acoustic torture.
Zúñiga offered two theories for why the technology could have been deployed against American diplomats: that Cuba was merely continuing a longstanding tradition of harassing, torturing, and disturbing foreign adversarial officials; or that Cuba was being used as a “laboratory” to test sophisticated equipment by a more militarily advanced ally: North Korea.
The State Department has not confirmed that they have any information regarding the nature of the attacks on their personnel and have refused to confirm reports of symptoms, asserting the privacy rights of the individuals involved. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did, however, withdraw all non-essential staff from the U.S. embassy in Havana out of concerns for their safety and expelled 15 Cuban agents from the communist embassy in Washington to balance the size of both offices. The Cuban government, which had previously accepted the attacks and evidence for them as fact, responded by claiming that they never happened.
“There does not exist evidence of the occurrence of the alleged incidents, or the causes and origin of the health symptoms American diplomats and families notified us of,” Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez told reporters following the incident, dismissing the possibility of an acoustic attack as “science fiction.”
The New York Times, a publication that all but openly supported Fidel Castro in the 1950s, dismissed the existence of such weapons almost entirely in a column that claimed “experts” believed sonic attacks were “more appropriate to a James Bond movie” than real life. Yet even such a skeptical article allowed for the possibility of the use of “insufferably loud” noises or infrasonic or ultrasonic frequencies – sounds with frequencies too low or high, respectively, to be heard – as a weapon.
Studies exist showing the use of both sonic and non-audible infrasonic and ultrasonic waves in experimental attacks throughout the 20th century. Audible frequency attacks, one study found, were the topic of experimentation as far back as the mid-20th century. Not long thereafter, according to an unnamed American official in a recent report, the technology to detect such attacks also became available.