Sonic terror

More troubling cases of American diplomats being evacuated for medical tests after hearing weird noises — this time in China:

A crisis over a mysterious ailment sickening American diplomats and their families — which began in Cuba and recently appeared in China — has widened as the State Department evacuated at least two more Americans from China on Wednesday.

The Americans who were evacuated worked at the American Consulate in the southern city of Guangzhou, and their colleagues and family members are being tested by a State Department medical team, officials said. It is unclear how many of them are exhibiting symptoms, but a State Department spokeswoman said Wednesday evening that “a number of individuals” had been sent to the United States for further testing.

For months, American officials have been worried that their diplomats have been subjected to targeted attacks involving odd sounds, leading to symptoms similar to those “following concussion or minor traumatic brain injury,” the State Department says.

If this is a form of psychological warfare, it’s cleverly deniable while being very creepy and effective. That said, it’s not at all obvious to me what is going on here. It would not shock me to learn that that a non-state actor is responsible, or even that this is nothing more than mass hysteria.

A detail that strikes me as potentially very significant is buried in the last paragraph:

Mr. Lenzi [a security engineering officer at the consulate, who was evacuated] worked for the diplomatic security department, and he believes that his work could have made him a target. Before joining the Foreign Service in 2011, he worked with the International Republican Institute, funded by Congress, promoting democratic reforms in Ukraine and Georgia — two countries where Russia has denounced American involvement.

Russia is not the only country that has denounced American involvement in those two countries, or expressed its opposition to “color revolutions” in general. Hint, hint.

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