WASHINGTON (AP) — It sounds sort of like a mass of crickets. A high-pitched whine, but from what? It seems to undulate, even writhe. Listen closely: There are multiple, distinct tones that sound to some like they’re colliding in a nails-on-the-chalkboard effect.
The Associated Press has obtained a recording of what some U.S. Embassy workers heard in Havana in a series of unnerving incidents later deemed to be deliberate attacks. The recording, released Thursday by the AP, is the first disseminated publicly of the many taken in Cuba of mysterious sounds that led investigators initially to suspect a sonic weapon.
The recordings themselves are not believed to be dangerous to those who listen. Sound experts and physicians say they know of no sound that can cause physical damage when played for short durations at normal levels through standard equipment like a cellphone or computer.
What device produced the original sound remains unknown. Americans affected in Havana reported the sounds hit them at extreme volumes.
Whether there’s a direct relationship between the sound and the physical damage suffered by the victims is also unclear. The U.S. says that in general the attacks caused hearing, cognitive, visual, balance, sleep and other problems.
The recordings from Havana have been sent for analysis to the U.S. Navy, which has advanced capabilities for analyzing acoustic signals, and to the intelligence services, the AP has learned. But the recordings have not significantly advanced U.S. knowledge about what is harming diplomats.
The Navy did not respond to requests for comment on the recording. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert wouldn’t comment on the tape’s authenticity.
Cuba has denied involvement or knowledge of the attacks. The U.S. hasn’t blamed anyone and says it still doesn’t know what or who is responsible. But the government has faulted President Raul Castro’s government for failing to protect American personnel, and Nauert said Thursday that Cuba “may have more information than we are aware of right now.”
“We believe that the Cuban government could stop the attacks on our diplomats,” said White House chief of staff John Kelly.
Not all Americans injured in Cuba heard sounds. Of those who did, it’s not clear they heard precisely the same thing.
Yet the AP has reviewed several recordings from Havana taken under different circumstances, and all have variations of the same high-pitched sound. Individuals who have heard the noise in Havana confirm the recordings are generally consistent with what they heard.
“That’s the sound,” one of them said.
The recording being released by the AP has been digitally enhanced to increase volume and reduce background noise, but has not been otherwise altered.
The sound seemed to manifest in pulses of varying lengths — seven seconds, 12 seconds, two seconds — with some sustained periods of several minutes or more. Then there would be silence for a second, or 13 seconds, or four seconds, before the sound abruptly started again. Read the rest of this entry »
When Chérif and Saïd Kouachi attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo on Jan. 7, killing 12 people, they were armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles and could easily outgun the police officers who tried to apprehend them with pistols. Their associate, Amedy Coulibaly, had an even greater collection of military-grade weapons.
The size of the trio’s armory has prompted an urgent inquiry into the scale of gun smuggling in Europe, where weapons are smuggled into the European Union from the countries of former Yugoslavia, Albania and elsewhere and then moved without any further border checks to where they will get the best price. Most of the smuggling is carried out by criminal gangs but many jihadis such as Coulibaly are well connected with criminal networks.
Despite the Paris attacks, it seems the weapons are still flowing freely through Europe. Brian Donald, chief of staff for Europol, which coordinates cross-border actions…
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Washington State Legislature to Introduce Metal Napkin Dispenser Control Act to Establish Guidelines for Napkin Dispenser Background Checks, Regulate Production and Ownership of Defensive Full-Metal Napkin Dispensers
BURLINGTON, Wash. — Cops are on the hunt for a serial armed robber and police say his last target was a clerk inside the Lafeen’s Donut shop on November 30.
But thanks to a brave store clerk police now have a clear view of the suspect’s face.
Investigators think the same man is responsible for robberies stretching from Burlington to Bellingham.
“It just makes me mad,” said clerk Sara Mora, “It makes me angry.”
Mora was working in the back of the store when she heard a customer walk in.
But when she saw a man guy holding a gun, she did exactly as she was told.
“Right when he flashes his gun I’m like, whoa,” she said. “This is the end of me, my life ends right here.”
The thief made Sara empty the register. But when the suspect turned to cut the phone lines, Sara made her move and armed herself with a metal napkin dispenser.
During the struggle Sara pulled down the suspect’s hood. Investigators said the image of the man captured on video is their best chance to identify the suspect.
“It gives us a very description of who we’re looking for,” said Officer Jed Cates of the Burlington Police Department. “He’s obviously shown that he’s willing to do it, this has occurred 4 times in Bellingham.”
Investigators believe the suspect is responsible for other armed robberies in Bellingham; several were also captured on surveillance video. Read the rest of this entry »
Apple’s newest designer reimagines the shotgun http://t.co/DnCr6ihd8b
— WIRED (@WIRED) November 22, 2014
Erik Schechter reports: Making a list of failed weapons systems, the temptation is to trot out the infamous ice-and-sawdust ship, the giant tricycle tank, or some other ridiculous doohickey. But the world of military programs is not neatly divided between the sublime and the stupid. There are a lot in-between cases.
In the 1960s, MB Associates developed the Gyrojet, a family of experimental guns that fired tiny rockets instead of bullets and did so in near silence. Despite making a cameo in the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice, though, the Gyrojet ran into plenty of problems. The rocket-bullet picked up speed only once it left the barrel, so the gun was useless at close range. It also jammed frequently and was not very accurate.
Nevertheless, alternatives to the conventional bullet still pop up now and again. Just last year, Sandia National Laboratories researchers developed a laser-guided, dart-like bullet that can hit a bull’s-eye a mile away.
ALLAHPUNDIT writes: Via Ace, carve out 10 minutes for John Sexton’s news mosaic of what the CIA was really up to in Benghazi when the jihadis made their move. The two leading theories for months have been that the agency was either trying to round up surface-to-air missiles that had gone loose before Al Qaeda could use them against western airliners or, more relevant to the news this week, that the agency was shipping weapons to the Syrian rebels from its base in Libya — in violation of a UN arms embargo.