Sonic Attacks in Havana: An Act of War?

Let us define our terms: What is an Act of War? There are two types of Acts of War: de jure, which means as a matter of law and de facto, which means as a matter of fact. Unless a nation literally announces (de jure) to the world community, as in a declaration of war, that it committed an attack on the personnel and/or territory of another nation it comes down to a matter of fact (de facto) as assumed by the nation being attacked.

These are the established facts: since late 2016 and continuing into 2017 some 19 U.S. embassy personnel while in the U.S. embassy in Havana (the capital of Cuba) have reported serious medical injuries due to (sonic or electromagnetic?) attacks. These injuries range from some permanent loss of hearing to brain trauma rising to the level of concussion. These attacks have also caused similar injuries to Canadian embassy employees (it is unreported as to both when these attacks occurred and whether the Canadians were in the U.S. Embassy when they were subject to these attacks).

These attacks have occurred since President Obama’s decision to both lift sanctions against and normalize relations with Communist Cuba. This decision is opening the way for renewed mass tourism and the investment of billions, perhaps tens of billions, of dollars in modern hotels and resorts to service those legions of tourists waiting to come to Communist Cuba (along with a host of pedophiles and other sex tourists). Those readers with a sense of history will find it highly ironic that the end of U.S. sanctions and the return of international tourism to Cuba in the 21st century will likely return Cuba to a similar economic situation that its people found themselves in prior to the Communist Revolution that brought Castro to power in the mid-1950s -- that of a nation engaged primarily in sugar production and tourism.

The Cuban government has repeatedly denied any responsibility for any such attacks (so, no de jure Act of War). The host nation (Cuba, in this case) does have a responsibility to provide both outer security for all foreign embassies and to make a thorough investigation of any attacks, which will hopefully result in the prosecution and imprisonment of those responsible for attacks launched from its territory into any foreign embassy, which is considered to be sovereign territory of that other nation.

Given that the attacks have been occurring for nearly a year’s time, it seems very suspect (something does not ring true) that the Cuban authorities, which are not hindered by both the rule of law and civic rights for its subjects (not citizens) have neither been able to stop them, nor make any arrests. Are Cuban authorities either that incompetent (in which case, the FBI can be consulted by the Cuban authorities) that they cannot provide basic security functions in Cuba (a Communist government that cannot maintain internal security in its own capital, seriously?) or is it a cover-up of complicity of Cuban officials or third party in these attacks? I further ask my honest liberal compatriots, what would they have demanded if such attacks occurred in Johannesburg, South Africa in the 1980s during the Apartheid era?

The U.S. government under President Obama never formally accused Cuba of conducting the attacks, nor did it issue any statements about both Cuban protection of the U.S. embassy and Cuban investigations into the attacks. Had the U.S. government reacted it would have publicly undermined the outgoing President’s legacy (a nonstarter politically) and led to U.S. to at least a reassessment or perhaps even reverse those policies (again a nonstarter politically).

The International Left and its U.S. fellow travelers have for decades sought an end to U.S. sanctions on Cuba and thus vindication for their opposition to those policies, which are viewed by them as at least wrongheaded if not evil. I will note that there is no large domestic constituency for President Obama’s policy changes (unless you count the international tourism lobby), so I leave it to the readers to figure out why these policies of many decades long duration (under both Democratic as well as Republican administrations) were so abruptly changed.

As of this writing the U.S. government under President Trump has not formally accused the Communist government of Cuba of these attacks, or issued statements regarding either the Cuban security afforded to the U.S. embassy in Havana and the unproductive nature of Cuban investigations. Congress should use its oversight function to question both previous and current administration officials regarding these matters to illuminate the role of Cuban authorities as well as the number and extent of the injuries and circumstances of those attacks.

Who could have committed these de facto acts of war against the U.S.? Sadly, the list of nations/groups wanting to attack U.S. interests is a long one: Cuban hardline Communists out to strike blows against “the Yankee devil,” Russian factions wanting to punish the U.S. for sanctions against “Mother/Neo Czar Putin’s Russia,” Iranian factions wanting to strike a blow against “the Great Satan,” Venezuelan factions wanting to strike “the Northamericanos” for the self-inflicted collapse of their nation, an Islamo-Fascist group wanting to strike another blow against “the Great enemy abroad,” or yet another international actor.

Basic questions remain: who and why would the Cuban government shield the attackers? The U.S. public deserves a full accounting of the attacks and the extent of the injuries inflicted. The government should demand the Cubans provide a detailed accounting and undertake reparations for those injured. The price tag of noncompliance is a reinstatement and tightening of the U.S. trade sanctions. Perhaps those prospects could motivate Cuban authorities to provide a through accounting of their investigations, to produce their findings and even to turn over the culprits responsible for these attacks.