Trump and the Sonic Sham against Cuba

By Juana Carrasco Martín on October 19, 2017

At the Heritage Foundation annual meeting – one of the think tanks of the US mainstream conservatives created in 1973 to professionalize the techniques of political influence- , President Donald Trump delivered a messianic speech on which God is the one who gave the United States their freedom, their values and their rights.

The rest of the world I guess is in the kingdom of Lucifer, since he went so far as to say that the US Constitution “is the greatest document in human history”. No wonder his slogan America first, guarantees that when he went on to boast, “ We have exceeded a historical rise in defense expenditure”. This was met with an enthusiastic ovation…

The Stage and auditorium heard his promise inherited from Ronald Reagan, one of the lecturer-presidents preferred by the Heritage Foundation, when he reiterated to achieve peace it must be done by force He referred then to some of the world problems and the states he considers enemies which he threatens and sanctions on a daily basis.

Third on that list – after the Democratic Popular Republic of Korea, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and before mentioning Venezuela- this ignorant of international affairs announced Cuba by asserting;

“I also canceled the last administration’s one-sided deal with the communist Cuban regime, and we will not lift sanctions until political and religious freedom are restored to  the Cuban people.”

Of course, to reverse Obama’s policy- which denies the preference of over 66% of Americans to advance in the relations with Cuba and to eliminate the restrictions imposed by the blockade on its close neighbor – Trump’s administration had to make up a justification. To set back the gains the phantom theory of the “sonic attacks” alleging hearing damage to 22 U.S. diplomats and relatives appeared. The fantastic story hit the headlines throughout the world frightening the unwary.

The question is where is the real deafness in the US diplomas suffering from this and other medical symptoms contracted during their service at the US Embassy in Havana? Or is this a wild story made up by higher ups in Washington to accelerate the deterioration hastily without considering the cooperation of Cuban authorities to investigate the incidents, to collect scientific evidence including allowing an FBI team to examine all the locations involved and to draw their own conclusions as to the nature and origin of the supposed “attack”.

In the absence of any contact of the patients treated by their doctors or of the medical reports with the symptoms they suffer. Lacking that one could use this as a script for sonic comic books for young children. Or it could be the theme of a James Bond film which would seem more likely to be the source presented by the State Department to help bring about an otherwise unjustified diplomatic retaliation and bring bilateral relations into a crisis and to promote damage to the Cuban economy with the ominous warning that, “it is dangerous to visit Cuba.”

As the episodes of this soap opera have unfolded following the Cold War tall stories, the dialogues were swirling from incidents to attacks.

A character mistakes the script

More recently, however, the main character again came on the scene with a corrected and augmented version of events to justify his decision to remove officials from its embassy in Havana and, consequently unilaterally justifying the expulsion of Cuban diplomats from Washington. All this did was cause immeasurable annoyance to the citizens of both sides. The intention does seem obvious; empty relations.

Beating around the bush dominated the statements of the actors of the sham.

Trump went out of his way and made a further blunder for the record when on Monday, October 16, to a journalist’s question about whether or not he believes that Cuba is responsible for the “attacks” on US personnel, he replied, “It’s a very unusual attack, as you know, but I think Cuba is responsible, yes.”

Such a categorical and unreflective assertion by this neophyte of political issues once again put his team against a wall and scrambling, which has happened in more than just this topic. What Trump said was counter to the State Department who had not made that accusation. That Cuban must protect diplomats it has always been the policy of the Cuban Government along with being respectful of all international conventions.

Journalists repeatedly inquired with State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert the following day at the daily press briefing and the official staggered because she had no choice but to deny what the president has said but without damaging his credibility, which seems an increasingly difficult task.

“Well, we’ve been clear in saying that an investigation is ongoing. I think what the President was saying and also what his Chief of Staff General Kelly was saying last week is the same thing that we have been saying, in that Cuba is responsible for protecting our U.S. embassy personnel, our diplomats who are serving down there, under the Vienna Conventions.

The questioning was reiterated: “But with all due respect, that’s not what the President said”.

Nauert once more rambled: “Well, that’s what the intent was. We’ve not changed our view on that. The administration has not changed its view on that. The investigation remains ongoing. But we’ve also been clear about this, and at the State Department we tend to be super, super, super, super cautious about some of the things we say…”

There was no escape for the spokeswoman from the journalists’ questioning, “I can recognize that the President’s comments caused some confusion. I mean, otherwise why did the department feel it necessary to send a cable to all the embassies and consulates around the world titled, “Clarifying the Cuban Stance,” after the comments were made…”

MS Nauert: Well, we always —

Question: And in which cable says specifically that we have not assigned…

MS Nauert: We always do send out cables that explain any kind of changes in U.S. policy, and my understanding that that cable was anticipated. That was something that we had planned, no, no, no. That is something that we had planned for in working on a cable that would go out across the world to alert people to some of the health concerns and areas and symptoms that people were experiencing. Okay, guys?We got to leave it there. Thank you. Yes?”

Dismantling a badly constructed stage

Some international media had  already questioned the alleged incidents. The Associated Press news agency, also the New York Times that on October 5, in an extensive report, investigated with medical and technological specialists related to the subject in question and the title practically said everything: A “Sonic attack” on diplomats in Cuba? These scientists doubt it. And the newspaper article said: “The State Department has not provided further details about the medical condition of the affected staffers”(…) “Experts in acoustics, however, say that’s a theory more appropriate to a James Bond movie.”

For its part The Guardian newspaper, on October 12, also put the US story in question with experts in psychosomatic disorders, with a headline of, Mass hysteria may explain ‘sonic attacks’ in Cuba, say top neurologists.

Among those  experts highlighting this sample opinion was  Mark Hallett, the head of the human motor control section of the US National Institute of Neurological Disorders who said, “From an objective point of view it’s more like mass hysteria than anything else.”

Washington’s one-act farce might have subsequent episodes. We’ll keep reporting.

Source: Juventud Rebelde