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-   -   Merged: US may close Cuba Embassy over 'health attacks' (http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=323098)

dann 17th September 2017 12:23 PM

US may close Cuba Embassy over 'health attacks'
 
I find it hard to decide where this belongs:
Quote:

Some felt vibrations, and heard sounds ó loud ringing or a high-pitch chirping similar to crickets or cicadas. Others heard the grinding noise. Some victims awoke with ringing in their ears and fumbled for their alarm clocks, only to discover the ringing stopped when they moved away from their beds.

The attacks seemed to come at night. Several victims reported they came in minute-long bursts.

Yet others heard nothing, felt nothing. Later, their symptoms came.
https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/201...er-attack.html
Does anybody have any idea what this is?

MikeG 17th September 2017 12:28 PM

Your headline belongs in the bin. The rest of the OP deals with rather an interesting series of happenings in Cuba. You might just have got more response if your title had reflected the events.

theprestige 17th September 2017 12:30 PM

Alien Attack? Mass Hysteria? Conspiracy?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by dann (Post 11997888)
Does anybody have any idea what this is?

You offer three choices:

Alien attack is absurd. Mass hysteria among trained diplomats is unlikely. So it's probably conspiracy rather than either of the other two.

Quote:

I find it hard to decide where this belongs
Here, or SI&CE, I think.

carlosy 17th September 2017 12:45 PM

I have read about this strange story a few weeks ago and really wondered why there was no thread here already.

No one has a guess about what this could have been?
I mean the technical explanation, not who or why.

Skeptic Ginger 17th September 2017 12:46 PM

I'm torn between mass hysteria and maybe something real. But I certainly don't accept this is a real thing just yet. I've seen too many similar maladies like people with multiple chemical sensitivities and the majority of people who think they've been poisoned by mold.

Belz... 17th September 2017 12:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dann (Post 11997888)
I find it hard to decide where this belongs:

Does anybody have any idea what this is?

Nothing. There's nothing to work with.

dann 17th September 2017 03:17 PM

theprestige: Why is mass hysteria (allegedly) unlikely among trained diplomats?

Let's take a look at the symptoms: "Some felt vibrations, and heard sounds — loud ringing or a high-pitch chirping similar to crickets or cicadas."
When I'm in Cuba and hear chirping similar to crickets or cicadas, I usually suspect them to be caused by … crickets or cicadas - unless I've been to a salsa or rumba concert the night before and forgot to bring ear plugs.
"vibrations", "grinding noises"
Yes, now and then I hear those too, in Copenhagen or in Havana, but in Havana probably more so since it is a very noisy place.
"Some victims awoke with ringing in their ears"
Cause or effect? These are the symptoms of tinnitus
Quote:

Tinnitus involves the annoying sensation of hearing sound when no external sound is present. Tinnitus symptoms include these types of phantom noises in your ears:
Ringing
Buzzing
Roaring
Clicking
Hissing
The phantom noise may vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal, and you may hear it in one or both ears. In some cases, the sound can be so loud it can interfere with your ability to concentrate or hear actual sound. Tinnitus may be present all the time, or it may come and go.
"the ringing stopped when they moved away from their beds"
Tinnitus seems to decrease when there are other kinds of background noise, or when you stop focusing on it. http://sjogrensworld.org/forums/index.php?topic=14696.0

I don't understand why they appear to have refrained from investigating these alleged noises and vibrations in Havana at the time when they occurred.

By the way, I myself suffer from hearing loss, but I'm not a diplomat. My ear doctor claims that it is congenital and age-related, so until now it really didn't occur to me to blame the Cubans. :)

John Jones 17th September 2017 03:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dann (Post 11998004)
theprestige: Why is mass hysteria (allegedly) unlikely among trained diplomats?

Let's take a look at the symptoms: "Some felt vibrations, and heard sounds — loud ringing or a high-pitch chirping similar to crickets or cicadas."
When I'm in Cuba and hear chirping similar to crickets or cicadas, I usually suspect them to be caused by … crickets or cicadas - unless I've been to a salsa or rumba concert the night before and forgot to bring ear plugs.
"vibrations", "grinding noises"
Yes, now and then I hear those too, in Copenhagen or in Havana, but in Havana probably more so since it is a very noisy place.
"Some victims awoke with ringing in their ears"
Cause or effect? These are the symptoms of tinnitus

"the ringing stopped when they moved away from their beds"
Tinnitus seems to decrease when there are other kinds of background noise, or when you stop focusing on it. http://sjogrensworld.org/forums/index.php?topic=14696.0

I don't understand why they appear to have refrained from investigating these alleged noises and vibrations in Havana at the time when they occurred.

By the way, I myself suffer from hearing loss, but I'm not a diplomat. My ear doctor claims that it is congenital and age-related, so until now it really didn't occur to me to blame the Cubans. :)

You sound like a god damn communist.

Kid Eager 17th September 2017 05:35 PM

Cicada infestation - 140dB

theprestige 17th September 2017 06:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dann (Post 11998004)
theprestige: Why is mass hysteria (allegedly) unlikely among trained diplomats?

It's not a cohort with a history hysteria, mass or otherwise. Of the three choices you listed, I rank it more likely than aliens, and less than conspiracy.

I snipped the rest of your post because I can't figure out how it's relevant. Can you summarize your thesis?

This signature is intended to irradiate people.

Sherkeu 17th September 2017 07:01 PM

US may close Cuba Embassy over 'health attacks'
 
What is really going on here?

The US State Department is claiming that, over the last year or so, several of the U.S. Embassy staff in Cuba are suffering from 'health attacks' of a mysterious nature that penetrated invisibly through the walls of their residences. 2 Cuban diplomats were expelled in retaliation in May when the Cubans didn't take action to protect the Embassy staff.

It started with 1 or 2 Americans affected, then a Canadian was added, and is now up to 21 members of mostly American staff and family that claim they also suffered attacks at home and hotels, mostly at night, with a wide array of differing scenarios and symptoms. So far, no one can offer a reasonable method or motive. Science has no explanation.

Castro requested an urgent meeting with a US envoy and was uncharacteristically gracious about an FBI investigation. He welcomes them to come. This response is surprising to the U.S. experts as Cuba has never done anything like this. Even our allies do not throw open the door to the FBI.

As for Trump, he is quiet.

Today, SoS Tillerson said the potential closing of the Embassy is under review:

Quote:

“We have it under evaluation,” Tillerson said of a possible embassy closure. “It’s a very serious issue with respect to the harm that certain individuals have suffered.

I am highly skeptical that any 'real' attacks at all took place but none of the media reports are questioning it.

Sherkeu 17th September 2017 07:14 PM

I just posted about this in US Politics (had not seen this thread).
The political (over)reaction and lack of skepticism is what I find most interesting. We'll see how it plays out. My take: there are no 'remote attackers' to be found in this story.

Lurch 17th September 2017 08:08 PM

Yesterday I was watching some YT vids, and in one (an MSNBC report? Can't recall) this story was highlighted. Apparently the 'attack' would seem to be sonic, and pretty tightly focused. Supposedly some individuals have suffered some medically diagnosed hearing degradation. One of the American personnel reported a rough, screeching sound while in bed that would not be heard out of bed.

It was mentioned that the Cuban government was most willing to have the FBI send investigators down to look into it.

Early days, yet; be interesting to see where this goes...

Roger Ramjets 17th September 2017 08:14 PM

Quote:

A US government official told CNN that the who, where and when point to "an attack" ó the US is investigating whether a third country was involved as "payback" for actions the US has taken elsewhere and to "drive a wedge between the US and Cuba." ...
One guess who the "third country" is.

Russia develops weapons for the future
Quote:

Acoustic, or sonic, weapons

Such weapons use sound and cause fear, panic and terror among enemy soldiers. Even internal human organs can be damaged, leading to death...

the military doctrine of the Russian Federation adopted in 2010 calls for the use of sonic weapons in future wars

Skeptic Ginger 17th September 2017 08:32 PM

I predict it will turn out to be BS, I've seen it before when people think the new carpet at work or some mold in their walls is causing a mysterious illness.

Yes, it's possible there will be something to this, I give it ~1% odds. :rolleyes: But I'm not going to buy into it just because the news media is reporting it as if it is something more than hysteria.

Skeptic Ginger 17th September 2017 08:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets (Post 11998294)
One guess who the "third country" is.

Russia develops weapons for the future

Your source is a tad specious. Mind if I wait for something more reliable?

smartcooky 17th September 2017 08:36 PM

Some years ago I read about the East German "Stasi" using low frequency "infrasonic" sound waves to disturb foreign diplomats and people they suspected of being spies. (I don't have a reference, sorry)

Given that this is a US diplomat in an "unfriendly" country that had close ties with the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War, this sort of malarkey would not surprise me.

Infrasonics can cause people to feel strange and upset.

Skeptic Ginger 17th September 2017 08:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by smartcooky (Post 11998310)
...

Infrasonics can cause people to feel strange and upset.

I believe Mythbusters tested such infrasound to see if it made people think a room was haunted. No effect was seen.

Sadly, now that the news media has taken it seriously it's going to be hard to get valid medical data on these folks.

Skeptic Ginger 17th September 2017 09:45 PM

Personalizing? :confused: :boggled:

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE

dann 17th September 2017 09:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John Jones (Post 11998010)
You sound like a god damn communist.

What gave me away? The hearing loss?

dann 17th September 2017 10:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger (Post 11998327)
Personalizing? :confused: :boggled:

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE

And the the brown note isnít mentioned in any of the newspaper reports Iíve seen.

dann 17th September 2017 10:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by theprestige (Post 11998216)
It's not a cohort with a history hysteria, mass or otherwise.

No, they probably aren’t teenage schoolgirls, but do they have to be?

Wikipedia also mentions this case, but, of course, they also weren’t diplomats …

dann 17th September 2017 10:19 PM

Another Thread about this in Science, Math, Med & Tech.

Sherkeu 17th September 2017 10:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger (Post 11998306)
I predict it will turn out to be BS, I've seen it before when people think the new carpet at work or some mold in their walls is causing a mysterious illness.

Yes, it's possible there will be something to this, I give it ~1% odds. :rolleyes: But I'm not going to buy into it just because the news media is reporting it as if it is something more than hysteria.

I think if the FBI focuses on the first 2 people to complain, they will find that one of them has been interested in gangstalking and "Targeted Individual" material. They will find a history of complaints that 'something' is wrong with their phone and computer that needs debugging. There could be other odd complaints like for lighting, vents, or potential gas leaks. They will find that the move to Cuba was requested (these people think places like Cuba may rid them of covert 'harassment'). They will find the source to be a lower level staffer with no prospects for advancement.

The other injuries will follow knowledge of the first ones and will have been 'medically confirmed" through self-reporting. There will be no children affected. The union rep will support claims 100%.


And I think Castro knows all of this already which is why he welcomes the FBI to find the answer.

theprestige 17th September 2017 10:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dann (Post 11998345)
No, they probably arenít teenage schoolgirls, but do they have to be?

Wikipedia also mentions this case, but, of course, they also werenít diplomats Ö

See what I mean?

Skeptic Ginger 17th September 2017 10:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dann (Post 11998337)
And the the brown note isnít mentioned in any of the newspaper reports Iíve seen.

:D

Skeptic Ginger 17th September 2017 10:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by theprestige (Post 11998333)
Appealing to your personal beliefs is personalizing the debate, is it not?

No, calling someone out as being stupid is personalizing a debate.

As for intelligent educated adults being susceptible to hysteria, it's well documented.

As for personal expertise, actually it is part of my field, occupational health. Workplace hysteria is an uncommon but not unheard of problem. Peter Sandman has done some important work in the field. Some of you may remember the outbreak of events where schools and a 911 dispatch center were not only closed but the buildings torn down over mold fears. If the initial crisis is not handled properly the hysteria cascades out of control.

Are there ever health issues with mold? Yes, but not the overreaction that occurs on a regular basis.

Skeptic Ginger 17th September 2017 10:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dann (Post 11998351)
Another Thread about this in Science, Math, Med & Tech.

The threads should be merged, IMO.

Bob001 18th September 2017 01:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger (Post 11998306)
I predict it will turn out to be BS, I've seen it before when people think the new carpet at work or some mold in their walls is causing a mysterious illness.

Yes, it's possible there will be something to this, I give it ~1% odds. :rolleyes: But I'm not going to buy into it just because the news media is reporting it as if it is something more than hysteria.


The "news media" isn't pulling stuff out of thin air. Foreign Service officers belong to a professional association/union, and that group sounded the first alarms. Injuries like hearing loss and brain injury can be measured objectively. And there's some evidence that they were injured in their homes, not in the office. At least one Canadian diplomat was also affected.
https://www.voanews.com/a/us-diploma...a/4012333.html
http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/01/politi...cks/index.html

There's no reason to think that this isn't real. Who's responsible is a different question.

Checkmite 18th September 2017 01:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dann (Post 11998004)
"the ringing stopped when they moved away from their beds"
Tinnitus seems to decrease when there are other kinds of background noise, or when you stop focusing on it. http://sjogrensworld.org/forums/index.php?topic=14696.0

That's true; but in this instance there's the added note that the sound returned when they stepped back within the immediate area of their beds.

There's also the matter of some medically-verifiable long term symptoms the alleged victims have suffered. The actual, apparently permanent, hearing degradation some of them have experienced may typically accompany tinnitus (I don't know); but it was reported that some of the alleged victims, including one of the Canadians, were diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury (i.e., concussions, or something that presented like a concussion). I don't think tinnitus could do that a person.

It's my understanding, though, that some things which are capable of causing concussions, can also cause tinnitus.

Brainache 18th September 2017 01:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob001 (Post 11998426)
...

Who's responsible...

Well the Doctor does have a sonic screwdriver...

Darat 18th September 2017 01:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Checkmite (Post 11998428)
That's true; but in this instance there's the added note that the sound returned when they stepped back within the immediate area of their beds.

There's also the matter of some medically-verifiable long term symptoms the alleged victims have suffered. The actual, apparently permanent, hearing degradation some of them have experienced may typically accompany tinnitus (I don't know); but it was reported that some of the alleged victims, including one of the Canadians, were diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury (i.e., concussions, or something that presented like a concussion). I don't think tinnitus could do that a person.

It's my understanding, though, that some things which are capable of causing concussions, can also cause tinnitus.

Problem with those types of "medical reports" is that even if we had the detail of what was in the reports we don't know whether the "changes" are outside a normal range for the population. Exploratory testing is looking for something so anything apparently unusual will be reported but it doesn't mean there is even a correlation never mind causation.

dann 18th September 2017 01:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Checkmite (Post 11998428)
That's true; but in this instance there's the added note that the sound returned when they stepped back within the immediate area of their beds.

You are right, that sounds strange, but has it been confirmed (or even measured/recorded) by anybody else, or could it be a delusion?
Quote:

There's also the matter of some medically-verifiable long term symptoms the alleged victims have suffered. The actual, apparently permanent, hearing degradation some of them have experienced may typically accompany tinnitus (I don't know); but it was reported that some of the alleged victims, including one of the Canadians, were diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury (i.e., concussions, or something that presented like a concussion). I don't think tinnitus could do that a person.
Again, you're right, that does sound strange, but I don't know how you go about diagnosing a concussion. I do know, however, that Alzheimer is much more frequent among people who suffer loss of hearing (and I hope that I'm not one of them), so I wonder if the symptoms might be confused with those of concussion. Also, how old were the victims of this syndrome?
Quote:

It's my understanding, though, that some things which are capable of causing concussions, can also cause tinnitus.
Yes, many things may cause tinnitus (see my link above).

Bob001 18th September 2017 01:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darat (Post 11998436)
Problem with those types of "medical reports" is that even if we had the detail of what was in the reports we don't know whether the "changes" are outside a normal range for the population.
.....

I don't know this, but I suspect State employees are given thorough physicals before overseas deployment. It would be possible to document whether they developed a medical condition in Cuba that they didn't have earlier.

Darat 18th September 2017 01:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob001 (Post 11998445)
I don't know this, but I suspect State employees are given thorough physicals before overseas deployment. It would be possible to document whether they developed a medical condition in Cuba that they didn't have earlier.

#

How thorough is thorough - "brain scans"?

Bob001 18th September 2017 01:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darat (Post 11998447)
#

How thorough is thorough - "brain scans"?

Probably not, but a hearing test could be a routine part of an employment physical. And the issue for many of these people is hearing loss.

TragicMonkey 18th September 2017 04:23 AM

I'm not a sciencelord, but one thing I read quoted some scientist who worked with sonic stuff and he said the only way this would happen as a result of sonic..uh, stuff...is if the victims had been underwater at the time. They said air just doesn't transmit enough to do this kind of thing.

They suggested it could be the result of radiation, though. Focused radiation beam? Perhaps it's listening devices gone bad.

Darat 18th September 2017 05:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob001 (Post 11998452)
Probably not, but a hearing test could be a routine part of an employment physical. And the issue for many of these people is hearing loss.

Or a reported hearing loss after they've heard all their colleagues talking about hearing loss.

dann 18th September 2017 05:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TragicMonkey (Post 11998504)
I'm not a sciencelord, but one thing I read quoted some scientist who worked with sonic stuff and he said the only way this would happen as a result of sonic..uh, stuff...is if the victims had been underwater at the time. They said air just doesn't transmit enough to do this kind of thing.

Waterbed?
Quote:

They suggested it could be the result of radiation, though. Focused radiation beam? Perhaps it's listening devices gone bad.
I considered that one, but why choose the bed as the place to listen in on? Because the alleged Cuban spying operation calculated with the US diplomats revealing state secrets in their sleep?

dann 18th September 2017 05:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob001 (Post 11998445)
I don't know this, but I suspect State employees are given thorough physicals before overseas deployment. It would be possible to document whether they developed a medical condition in Cuba that they didn't have earlier.

Conversion disorder: signs and symptoms:
Quote:

Sensory symptoms or deficits:
(Ö)
Impaired hearing (deafness)


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