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Checkmite 5th March 2018 02:35 PM


Originally Posted by TheGnome (Post 12206320)
Now I seem to recall that the signal in question was quite strong.

We have no idea how strong the signal was; just that it was audible.

Jack by the hedge 5th March 2018 03:14 PM


Originally Posted by Checkmite (Post 12206233)
This explanation makes a whole lot of sense. Any embassy is bound to be flooded with radio frequencies, both from listening equipment installed by other nations' intelligence service and jammers installed by the embassy nation's counterintelligence services. These frequencies are normally inaudible of course; but the experiment proves that audible sounds can be produced at foci of frequency interference. This could easily explain the sounds heard by some - specifically the phenomenon reported by some that the sounds were extremely local; that is, that one could move one's body in and out of a small focused "zone" of audible sound. This small area is where the frequency interference happened to produce the audible tones.

This is a much more likely explanation than say crickets, which should be audible everywhere and which it seems unlikely that someone who's lived in the location for months would suddenly start hearing after being long deaf to them.

Every modern home and workplace is flooded with radio waves. We shouldn't confuse those with sound waves.

The article doesn't really help explain anything. It's speculation about a method of producing low frequency sounds by mixing high frequency sounds which is completely familiar to engineers if not well known to the general public. The 'experiment' was a demonstration, not an investigation, because the effect shown is already well understood.

I remember this technique being demonstrated on TV decades ago, as a system intended to produce localised audio descriptions within a museum hall or art gallery which would only become audible near each exhibit.

It doesn't get us anywhere closer to evidence of skulduggery in Cuba. The presence of audible sound doesn't strongly imply the presence of inaudible sounds as its source and even if it did, there's no hint of any mechanism for harming people with ultrasound nor motive for doing so. It still seems to me that rumours of the commies secretly beaming radio waves through diplomatic buildings (again) is exactly the sort of thing that would make people suddenly notice every little sound they'd previously ignored. I'm still persuaded it's just crickets.

Checkmite 5th March 2018 09:18 PM


Originally Posted by Jack by the hedge (Post 12206432)
It doesn't get us anywhere closer to evidence of skulduggery in Cuba. The presence of audible sound doesn't strongly imply the presence of inaudible sounds as its source and even if it did, there's no hint of any mechanism for harming people with ultrasound nor motive for doing so.

The article itself explains that the intent of the exploration wasn't to try and find any mechanism by which people were harmed, but just to provide a possible explanation for a sound which some people could hear and only in certain places, while others heard nothing; a phenomenon that crickets as an explanation fails to explain.

dann 5th March 2018 11:14 PM


Originally Posted by Checkmite (Post 12206383)
We have no idea how strong the signal was; just that it was audible.

Just audible?! That's not how it was described six months ago when it was supposed to impair people's hearing.

TheGnome 6th March 2018 01:03 AM

The way I see it:

Kevin Fu did not examine what people were hearing. How could he? He didn't have access to them. Instead he examined the published audio clip. He then came up with intertmodulation[1] as a possible mechanism and did some experiments that this indeed could be the case.

But this leads to quite a few questions. Maybe he has answered them in the published (or soon to be published) paper, I don't know, but I'll list a couple.

With people experiencing this sound, the intermodulation (IM) would take place in their ears. For the sound clip, the IM would be produced in the recording device. Not all nonlinearities are equal. Are they really comparable in this case?

Do we know the quality and fidelity of the sound clip? What type of recording device was used? If it was digital, are we certain it's not aliasing e.g.? Are there artefacts from a compression algorithm maybe?

All in all I think it's an intriguing hypothesis but, going just from the linked article, I don't think it's much better supported than the crickets explanation.

[1] The choosen expression, intermodulation interference, might be a bit misleading. It just means that an unwanted signal is interferring with the desired signal. It has nothing to do with interference patterns as can be seen in soap films, or are used in interferometry. These do appear in perfectly linear media. For intermodulation to occur there absolutly must be some nonlinearity, in this case either in the recording device, or in the human ear.

Jack by the hedge 6th March 2018 05:56 AM


Originally Posted by Checkmite (Post 12206722)
The article itself explains that the intent of the exploration wasn't to try and find any mechanism by which people were harmed, but just to provide a possible explanation for a sound which some people could hear and only in certain places, while others heard nothing; a phenomenon that crickets as an explanation fails to explain.

I don't recall seeing a report of anyone hearing a noise which another person present couldn't hear, so this may not be a matter of whether some people were able to hear a particular sound but simply whether they noticed it.

My recollection is that one person reported a sound which ceased when they got out of bed or sat up in bed (plausibly turned a light on?) and resumed when they lay down again. Crickets fit that quite neatly.

dann 7th March 2018 02:29 PM

Cuban protests against the permanent cuts at the U.S. embassy in Havana with references to the alleged health attacks:


“It is false that the diplomatic staff of the Embassy is or has been at risk,” added Fernandez de Cossio.
The Cuban diplomat stressed that “it is false that it was allowed in Cuba or that any deliberate action against diplomats of the United States may have occurred in Cuba.”
Cossio criticized on Twitter that Washington continues to use the word “attack”, when “it knows perfectly well that no attack or deliberate act occurred in Cuba against its diplomats.”
“The United States has sufficient evidence that Cuba is a safe country for US diplomats or any country, as well as for Cubans and for more than 4 million foreign visitors every year,” he added.
Cuba Criticizes Trump’s Decision to Maintain Reduction in Embassy Staff (Havana Times, Mar. 3, 2018)


A State Department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, called the Cuban complaint "ridiculous."

"Let's remind Cuba: They are obligated under the Vienna Convention to protect our diplomats. It is very serious that 24 of our U.S. government colleagues suffered health attacks, some with serious and ongoing symptoms. Secretary Tillerson had to protect his staff by limiting our work at the U.S. Embassy in Havana to emergency services," she said.

"While our investigation is ongoing, rather than find excuses, Cuba should focus on helping to locate who or what is responsible for the harm caused to American citizens," Nauert added.
Cuba condemns U.S. cuts to embassy staff over health attacks (VOA News/AP, Mar. 5, 2018)


Asimismo, el Director General para Estados Unidos calificó como otro acto hostil y difamatorio la renovación de la alerta que recomienda a los viajeros reconsiderar las visitas a Cuba, emitida igualmente el 2 de marzo.
En su opinión dicha alerta está basada en motivaciones políticas y no tiene relación con la salud de los funcionarios ni con la preocupación por los viajeros.
«Es falso que el personal diplomático de la Embajada esté o haya estado en riesgo. Es falso que haya sido objeto de ataques. Es falso que se haya permitido en Cuba o que pueda haber ocurrido en Cuba por parte de alguien alguna acción deliberada contra diplomáticos de los EE. UU. Es falso que ciudadanos estadounidenses tengan razones para temer por su seguridad en Cuba», expresó.
«El Gobierno de EE. UU. tiene evidencias suficientes de que Cuba es un país seguro para diplomáticos estadounidenses y para los diplomáticos de cualquier país, como lo es para los ciudadanos cubanos, para los residentes extranjeros y para los millones de viajeros de todas partes del mundo que visitan Cuba cada año».
Minrex: Decisión unilateral del Gobierno de Estados Unidos responde a motivaciones políticas (Juventud Rebelde, Mar. 6, 2018)

dann 14th March 2018 03:56 AM


Pompeo shares much of Trump’s worldview
Beyond his Russia falsehoods, Pompeo is known for a hard-line view of Iran — including “rolling back” the Iran nuclear deal — and his support for Guantanamo Bay and the brutal interrogation of terror suspects.
Mike Pompeo, your likely new — and Trump-friendly — secretary of state (Vox, Mar. 13, 2018)

¿Qué significa la designación de Mike Pompeo para Venezuela y Cuba? (Diario las Américas, Mar. 13, 2018)

There's no reason to think that Pompeo won't continue the lie about the alleged Cuban health attacks.

dann 22nd March 2018 05:46 AM

New JAMA article:


Steven Lewis, MD, coauthor of the editorial accompanying the study, noted that none of the patients underwent similar testing before they arrived in Havana, making it difficult to pinpoint when their problems began. Without reporting the age of each patient or having prior baseline test results, it’s also impossible exclude the likelihood that the neurological findings could simply be due to aging, explained Lewis, chief of neurology at the Lehigh Valley Health Network in Pennsylvania.
For example, he said, age could be a factor in the 3 people who needed hearing aids after they left Havana. “We don’t know if they were 38 or 58. If they were 38 and had hearing loss, maybe that would potentially be a little more significant.” Given the lack of baseline testing, it would be helpful to have blinded evaluators compare the cohort to age- and sex-matched controls, Lewis said.
More Questions Raised by Concussion-like Symptoms Found in US Diplomats Who Served in Havana (JAMA Network, Mar. 20, 2018)

I know from my own experience and that of friends that many people with impaired hearing tend to procrastinate instead of being pro-active about it. Sometimes it may be a question of vanity - even in women, even though it's usually pretty easy for them to cover up the hearing-aid devices you can get nowadays, so it's no surprise that discreet (533.000 google hits!) is a major selling point (efficient 845.000!). It's also no surprise that in a group of 24 people of all ages, you may find three whose hearing is so impaired that hearing-aid devices are recommended.


The key victims were CIA agents. Not a single tourist was affected, and the island remains among the safest countries in the world to visit.
Only after DeLaurentis briefed the entire diplomatic corps at the Havana embassy in late March 2017 did something akin to mass hysteria break out. Some 80 members of the US diplomatic community, including family and non-diplomatic personnel, took a leave to Miami to be tested for symptoms.
But at time when the Trump administration seems determined to undermine better US relations with Cuba, travel to the island has become all the more important. If the State Department is unwilling to engage in the mission of diplomacy, it will be left to the citizen-diplomats to fill the void and, at the people-to-people level, advance the cause of positive relations.
What the US Government Is Not Telling You about Those 'Sonic Attacks' in Cuba (The Nation, Mar. 7, 2018)

The Nation refers to this Pro-Publica article (Feb. 14, 2018), which I already linked to (among many others) in post 390.

dann 4th April 2018 07:01 AM

At least, the alleged health attacks don't seem to have harmed tourism much:


Experiences reported and surveys conducted indicate that visitors have been satisfied with their trips to Cuba, confirming that Cuba is secure, tranquil, and stable, characteristics also recognized by United Nations international agencies, and other specialized tourism groups. At the same time, leading companies have praised the country's standards of quality and comfort.
Cuban tourism: Secure and on the rise (Granma, Mar. 26, 2018)

I hope the sonic blasts will be relegated to the fairy tales where they belong!

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dann 17th April 2018 05:18 AM


The Canadian government says 10 people, including children, are currently being followed for medical care by a doctor hired by Canada’s Global Affairs department and are experiencing symptoms that are similar to a concussion, such as headaches, dizziness, nausea and difficulty concentrating. Two of those people reported symptoms after they returned to Canada.
Canada Recalls Families of Diplomats in Cuba (Wall Street Journal, Apr. 16, 2018)


Canada announced Monday it was bringing home the families of its diplomats in Cuba, after a year-long investigation into a mysterious illness afflicting Canadian and US officials failed to reveal a cause.
The symptoms included dizziness, headaches and a lack of ability to concentrate. "In some cases the symptoms have appeared to lessen in intensity, before reasserting themselves," the government said.
The last two cases in August and December involved individuals who reported having sensed what they described as waves of pressure.
Canada pulls families of diplomats out of Cuba over mysterious illness (, Apr. 17, 2018)

To me the description of the symptoms still sounds like psychogenic illness.

dann 27th April 2018 10:06 PM

In an article describing the findings of Sergio Della Sala and Roberto Cubelli, Neuroskeptic concludes:


Overall, I agree with Della Sala and Cubelli that the JAMA paper is pretty weak. Clearly, something has happened to make these 21 people experience so many unpleasant symptoms, but at present I don’t think we can rule out the possibility that the cause is psychological in nature.
Bad Science of the Havana Embassy ”Sonic Attack” (Neuroskeptic (Discover Magazine), Apr. 7, 2018)

The article is based on this study: Alleged “sonic attack” supported by poor neuropsychology (Science Direct, Apr. 5, 2018)

Their conclusion is:


There is no evidence that the people assessed present with any cognitive deficit (to be linked or not with their stay in Cuba). Subjective cognitive symptoms cannot be supported by the reported data. There is no ‘new syndrome’ to contemplate. Hence, the search for its cause is moot…

The condition suffered by the US diplomats in Cuba has been labelled “mysterious” (Rubin, 2018). The real mystery though is how such a poor neuropsychogical report could have passed the scrutiny of expert reviewers in a first class outlet.

dann 12th May 2018 10:56 AM

The US has fallen silent over its sonic attack theory in Cuba (Financial Times, Apr. 11, 2018)

Well, not quite silent! Marco Rubio is milking the JAMA article for all it’s (not) worth. It is no surprise that he 'forgets' to refer to the leading article in JAMA criticizing the article:
FBI making ‘progress’ in finding answers on health attacks in Cuba, Rubio says (Tampa Bay Times, Apr. 17, 2018)

Cuban newspapers appear to be better sources of reliable news in this case:
The 10 most common lies about alleged health incidents affecting U.S. diplomats in Cuba (Granma, Apr. 26, 2018)

Robert E. Bartholomew has written a new article with a Cuban colleague from Havana University, Dionisio F Zaldivar Pérez:
Chasing Ghosts in Cuba: Is mass psychogenic illness masquerading as an acoustical attack? (International Journal of Social Psychiatry, Apr. 2, 2018)

If you do a Google search for "Cuba JAMA health attacks", you have to go to page 5 and beyond in order to get to the Granma and the Bartholomew/Zalvidar Perez articles ...

LTC8K6 23rd May 2018 03:58 AM

American suffers brain injury after 'sound' incident in China

dann 23rd May 2018 08:36 AM

Interesting. Seems to be long-distance contagious.
MTBI, mild traumatic brain injury, after allegedly having experienced "subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure."


Defined as the result of the forceful (!) motion of the head or impact causing a brief change in mental status (confusion, disorientation or loss of memory) or loss of consciousness for less than 30 minutes.
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury is

So like in the JAMA article, it appears to be a contradiction in terms: concussion without the concussion. Subtle and vague ...
Must be a Cuban-Chinese conspiracy, then. :)
The usual suspects?

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Also in the New York Times, May 23, 2018

The Don 23rd May 2018 08:49 AM

Sounds like an excuse to start a diplomatic spat with the Chinese.....

.....if one is needed to deflect any negative publicity following the Trump Administration's supine performance in the trade war (which is so easy to win :rolleyes:)

LTC8K6 23rd May 2018 08:58 AM


Originally Posted by The Don (Post 12302810)
Sounds like an excuse to start a diplomatic spat with the Chinese.....

.....if one is needed to deflect any negative publicity following the Trump Administration's supine performance in the trade war (which is so easy to win :rolleyes:)

If the story is in the US MSM, I haven't seen it.

I thought the trade war with China was on hold?

The Don 23rd May 2018 09:35 AM


Originally Posted by LTC8K6 (Post 12302819)
If the story is in the US MSM, I haven't seen it.

It's on the BBC website so I'm sure it'll turn up in the US MSM unless it's already there.

I suppose it depends on your definition of MSM, the New York Times article was linked in dann's post


Originally Posted by LTC8K6 (Post 12302819)
I thought the trade war with China was on hold?

After a bunch of rhetoric about putting American workers first, President Trump recently tweeted about protecting Chinese jobs. That kind of supine performance in the face of the mildest of push-back from a country you're starting a trade war with is embarrassing and he even started to get some (mild) criticism from GOP representatives.

edited to add....

Is CNN MSM enough ?

dann 23rd May 2018 11:33 PM

¡Si oyes algo (o no), di algo!

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that an incident involving a US government employee stationed in China who reported "abnormal sensations of sound and pressure" suggesting a mild brain injury has medical indications that are "very similar" and "entirely consistent" to those experienced by American diplomats posted in Havana.
At a congressional hearing in January, US officials detailed how personnel experienced a variety of symptoms including sharp ear pain, headaches, ringing in one ear, vertigo, disorientation, attention issues and signs consistent with mild traumatic brain injury or concussion. In nearly all cases, the ailments were preceded by some sort of "acoustic element," such as a "high-pitched beam of sound" or a "baffling sensation akin to driving with the windows partially open in a car."
Pompeo says China incident 'entirely consistent' with Cuba 'sonic attacks' (CNN, May 24, 2018)

Compare this with LTC8K6’s link from yesterday:


The embassy's health alert says the employee "recently reported subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure."
US staffer suffers brain injury after 'sound' incident in China (Channel News Asia, May 23, 2018)

At this point, the warning’s gotta be: If you hear highpitched sounds, subtle and vague sounds, or even no sounds at all, it’s probably a sign that the enemies of the USA are out to get you!
Be afraid, be very afraid!

(What the only consistency is in these cases should be obvious to everybody who has followed this thread!)

dann 24th May 2018 02:43 AM

While we’re awaiting the next installment of this exciting piece of fiction, those of you who are most impatient may be interested in the old graphic novel by Hergé, The Calculus Affair:


Tintin surmises that Calculus had invented an ultrasonic device capable of being used as a weapon of mass destruction, which both Syldavian and Bordurian intelligence agents are now seeking to obtain.
The Calculus Affair: Synopsis (Wikipedia)

But in order to make the diplomatic health crisis a little more exciting, the CIA should consider adding a couple of cases of spontaneous combustion or something like that. The latest case is neither here nor there, and I’m afraid that people will lose interest in the story if it continues like this for much longer.

dann 24th May 2018 03:01 AM

Good news, finally! Problem solved, and all it took was a little Chinese ingenuity! Guangzhou tackles noise problems in public parks with new rules (GB Times, Beijing, Oct. 10, 2014)

dann 26th May 2018 03:13 AM

China’s response:


China has always protected the safety of foreign diplomatic missions in China, including that of the U.S. diplomatic staff, in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Regarding what was said in those reports, China has carried out an investigation seriously and given an initial feedback to the U.S. By far, we have found no reason or clue for what was reported by the U.S.
China’s Foreign Ministry (May 24, 2018)
(No, I don’t understand it either. Got the translation here: Is China Really Targeting US Diplomats With a 'Sonic Attack'?, The Diplomat, May 25, 2018)


The Chinese state-owned Global Times newspaper said in an editorial on Thursday that the investigation into the US government employee’s condition should be “objective.”
The newspaper said it was “inappropriate” for the US to connect the incident with what American diplomats underwent in Cuba.
“It is completely unthinkable for there to be medical attacks launched against foreigners, particularly diplomats, in China,” the Global Times said.
Innovation: China says no reason found for US staffer’s sonic condition in mysterious incident (The Mercury, Technology section, May, 26, 2018)

dann 28th May 2018 02:13 PM

Professor of ultrasonics and underwater acoustics:


“In the Cuban situation, there was a lot more hype than there was evidence … In Cuba, I don’t think the evidence was there for a sonic attack, and less so in China,” Timothy G. Leighton, Ph.D., a professor of ultrasonics and underwater acoustics at the University of Southampton tells Inverse. “I’m not saying it wasn’t; you’ve just got a heck of a long journey to take before you reach that conclusion.”
China Sonic Attacks Are 'More Hype Than Evidence', Says Acoustics Scientist (Inverse, May 24, 2018)

dann 9th June 2018 01:22 AM

This link to the article More Consulate Workers Evacuated After Mystery Illness Strikes Americans In China (HuffPost, Jun. 7, 2018) appeared in another thread today.


The State Department evacuated at least two more Americans from the U.S. consulate in Guangzhou, China, on Wednesday after they began showing signs of a mysterious illness, The New York Times reported.
US screens more American consulate staff in China over mystery health issues (South China Morning Post, Jun. 8, 2018)
US embassy in new warning over 'unexplained' illnesses in Guangzhou, China (The Independent, Jun. 8, 2018)
U.S. pulls more staff from China over mysterious health issues (CBS News, Jun. 7, 2018)

dann 9th June 2018 11:24 AM

The Guangzhou story has reached The Late Show with Stephen Colbert:

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dann 10th June 2018 10:05 PM

No news:


Cuba's foreign ministry said Sunday that it has not uncovered the cause of mysterious health symptoms that affected an official of the US embassy in Havana last month and characterized the United States' decision to withdraw personnel posted there as "politically motivated."
Cuba says it can't uncover cause of 'sonic attacks' on US diplomats (CNN, Jun. 11, 2018)

MINREX: EE.UU. acepta que desconoce explicación, naturaleza y causa de afecciones de salud reportadas por sus diplomáticos - Declaración del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Cuba (Granma, Jun. 10, 2018)


The new illnesses in China come just weeks after American officials reported finding their first case here in Guangzhou, where a consulate employee got sick. Some American officials in this city live in apartment complexes filled with other foreigners and wealthy Chinese; that is where the ailing employees were subjected to unusual noises.
But it remains unclear whether the illnesses are the result of attacks at all.
Among those who reported symptoms was Mr. Lenzi. In an email sent to the entire staff of the consulate, he complained that the first employee was evacuated in April, but that no one was told of the health concerns until a month later — after doctors in the United States had found evidence of brain trauma. The initial health alert, he said in an interview, suggested it was an isolated case. “They knew full well it wasn’t,” he said.
Even if people are evacuated for further tests, that does not necessarily mean that they have suffered injuries or illnesses, the officials emphasized. Only 25 percent of those evacuated from Cuba, for example, were later found to have health problems.
U.S. Diplomats evacuated in China as Medical Mystery Grows (NY Times, Jun. 6, 2018)

This could indicate that they had been trying to keep a lid on the whole thing in order to avoid (more) mass hysteria/mass psychogenic illness: "no one was told of the health concerns until a month later" (...) The initial health alert (..) suggested it was an isolated case."

What's happening to US diplomats in Cuba and China? Here are 4 theories (Vox, Jun. 8, 2018)


On June 8, Vox followed up with a report which included speculation that mass hysteria could be to blame: "And for mass hysteria, it would mean other US diplomats in China feared so much about what happened to their colleagues that they’ve effectively worried themselves sick. It’s unclear if victims told each other what they were experiencing, and if that made others feel that they had similar symptoms."
Embassy attack accusaions in Cuba (and now China): Reactions 2 (Wikipedia)

dann 11th June 2018 05:36 AM

A couple more about the two very different ways that the USA responds the cases in China and Cuba:


"Until they are certain of the cause, it seems premature to make accusations," said Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "I don't think the US is calling it an 'attack'."
It is in stark contrast to the US handling of the Cuba case, when the State Department lashed out at Havana for failing to protect its diplomats.
Washington expelled 15 Cuban diplomats, arguing the authoritarian state must have either carried out the assaults or known who was behind them. President Donald Trump said he held Cuba responsible, although Havana denied any involvement.
There are clear reasons for the US to avoid rocking the boat so readily this time.
As a rising superpower, Beijing possesses significantly greater clout than impoverished Havana, with the cases coming at a precarious moment in US-China relations.
First Cuba, Then China. Fear Of Mystery Weapon As US Diplomats Fall Ill (NDTV, Jun. 9, 2018)


Cuba said in a statement released by its Foreign Ministry that U.S. officials reported on May 29 that a female embassy official had reported experiencing “health symptoms” after hearing the sounds in her home two days earlier.
Cuba said it sent investigators to the home who found no potential source of a sound and were not granted access to the official.
U.S. officials said Friday that they had pulled two workers from Cuba and were testing them for possible brain injury. There was no immediate explanation of why the Cuban statement only referred to one official.
Cuba releases details of undefined ’sounds incident’ causing U.S. diplomat’s ’health symptoms’ (Japan Times/AP, Jun. 11, 2018)

Drewbot 11th June 2018 06:35 AM

Shouldn't this be under the Mass Hysteria thread?

dann 11th June 2018 09:41 PM

My initial thread title was Alien Attack? Mass Hysteria? Conspiracy?, but it was changed when two threads were merged. Mine and Sherkeu's.
A shame, in my opinion, since it turned out to be two out of three.
It's probably one of very few cases where a country tries to fuel mass psychogenic illness in its own population. I can imagine that it has been tried in times of war in the enemy's population, but I don't know of any cases.

dann 12th June 2018 09:46 AM

More Mystery: US pulls two more from Cuba amid puzzling health cases now affecting China (Ars Technica, Jun. 11, 2018)

The Ars Technica article refers and links to the article by Sergio Della Sala and Roberto Cuballi already mentioned in post 412.


In conclusion, there is no evidence that the people assessed present with any cognitive deficit (to be linked or not with their stay in Cuba). Subjective cognitive symptoms cannot be supported by the reported data. There is no “new syndrome” to contemplate. Hence, the search for its cause is moot.
The condition suffered by the US diplomats in Cuba has been labelled “mysterious” (Rubin, 2018). The real mystery though is how such a poor neuropsychogical report could have passed the scrutiny of expert reviewers in a first class outlet.
Alleged “sonic attack” supported by poor neuropsychology (Cortex, Vol. 103, June 2018, p. 387-388)

dann 26th June 2018 01:38 AM

Alien Attack? Mass Hysteria? Conspiracy?

The only thing researchers have been able to determine is that those afflicted seem to have damage that resembles concussive brain injury.
That is terrifying and bizarre. Some previously unknown environmental condition, terrorists or space aliens, for that matter, seem as likely an explanation as an international conspiracy.
Let’s Talk about This Cuban-Russian-Chines Conspiracy - The oddest diplomatic story in ages shows our penchant for mindless demonization (Rolling Stone, June 11, 2018)

The first sentence should have been:

The only thing researchers have been able to determine is that some, a small minority, of those afflicted seem to have damage that resembles concussive brain injury.

dann 29th June 2018 10:10 AM


Another U.S. Embassy worker stationed in Havana has been affected by a mysterious health ailment that has affected at least two dozen other diplomatic workers and family members in Cuba since late 2016, the State Department said this week.
The individual, whose symptoms were medically confirmed by the State Department, was one of two government workers evacuated from the U.S. Embassy in Havana earlier this month to be screened for possible brain injuries, which the State Department believes are linked to “specific attacks” on its workers and their families. The other worker is still being evaluated
A Mystery illness is still affecting diplomats in Cuba and China (PBS News Hour, June 22, 2018)


WASHINGTON -- Medical tests have confirmed that one additional U.S. Embassy worker has been affected by mysterious health incidents in Cuba, the State Department said, bringing the total number to 25. The new "medically confirmed" worker is one of two who were recently evacuated from Cuba after reporting symptoms.
1 more U.S. worker in Cuba has "confirmed" mystery illness (CBS News/AP, June 22, 2018)

Heather Nauert
Department Press Briefing
Washington, DC
June 21, 2018

On June 21st, following a comprehensive medical evaluation, one U.S. diplomat working at the U.S. Embassy Havana was medically confirmed to have experienced health effects similar to those that were reported by members of the U.S. Havana diplomatic community. This is the first medically confirmed case in Havana since August of 2017. The number of Americans now affected is 25. Previously, that number was 24; it is now 25. The health and well-being of our personnel remains our top priority here at the State Department. The investigation into the origin of these symptoms continues, and it is an interagency effort.
Department Press Briefing - June 21, 2018 (U.S. Department of State)

dann 5th July 2018 02:38 AM

The theme of this thread has been picked up in a thread in the Science, Mathematics, Medicine, and Technology forum:
Mystery illness in US consulate due to non-ionizing radiation?.
PartSkeptic, who started the thread, seems to suffer from a case of mass psychogenic illness (the ems hypersensitivity variation) and thinks that the alleged attacks on U.S. 'diplomats' in Havana and Guangzhou confirm his own ideas, which kind of puts the whole thing into perspective!

PS I’m not 100% sure, but I think I overlooked this one at the time and only noticed it when it was mentioned by PartSkeptic in the other thread mentioned above:
“Sonic Weapon Attacks” on U.S. Embassy Don’t Add Up—for Anyone
Cuban scientists and a new American report both shoot down a list of bizarre theories
(Scientific American, Feb. 16,2018)

dann 7th July 2018 01:48 AM

Three new articles.


The United States termed the Cuba event a "health attack," and it has now issued two separate health warnings to Americans in China. Anyone experiencing "any unusual, unexplained physical symptoms or events, auditory or sensory phenomena, or other health concerns," the State Department said, should seek medical care, urging Americans to be on guard against symptoms including "dizziness, headaches, tinnitus, fatigue, cognitive issues, visual problems, ear complaints and hearing loss, and difficulty sleeping."
Those were no mere ‘health attacks’ on U.S. staffers in Cuba — and now China (Miami Herald, June 25, 2018)

I'm considering a forum poll to determine how many of us have experienced any of the symptoms mentioned above! :)


Even under the best of circumstances governments may manipulate public perceptions of threats. But in the current political environment, with an administration that has shown disdain for science and the scientific method, leaving key science adviser positions unfilled – and a president who once described climate change as a Chinese hoax and vaccination as causing autism – the American public should be wary of what this administration says about these incidents, who perpetrated them, and why.
Sonic attacks: How a medical mystery can sow distrust in foreign governments (The Conversation, June 27, 2018)


During a hearing early this year into the events in Cuba, Senator Marco Rubio, chairman of the foreign relations subcommittee that covers events in the Western Hemisphere, asked State Department officials whether the government was aware of any technology that was capable of launching the alleged attacks in Havana.
“If someone in the U.S. government says, ‘We want to cause these symptoms in people,’ that technology doesn’t exist,” Rubio said. “We don’t know of that technology. Is that accurate? We are not aware of a technology that does this? We’ve never seen a technology anywhere in the world that does this to people?”
“That’s my understanding, senator,” Todd Brown replied. “When going to the subject matter experts both in government and outside government, we have not seen this.”
Attacks Abroad, and What We Don’t Know (Weekly Standard, June 29, 2018)

dann 7th July 2018 02:19 AM

Hysterical crickets
I almost forgot this one, which would have been a pity since it really stands out. Many other articles simply rehash what they've found online. However, this guy, Richard Stone, actually interviewed people employed at the U.S. embassy in Havana. It's an eyeopener!


In April 2017, the embassy clued in all members of its diplomatic corps and advised people to sleep in the middle of a room, away from windows.
"Everybody was in a frenzy about it," says a second U.S. diplomat who was stationed in Havana at the time with young children. "We had a big window in the front of the house. It was a horrible feeling. We just thought, ‘Oh my God, we're in harm's way,’" she says. "You start to feel paranoid."
The Department of State dispatched Hoffer and University of Miami physical therapist James Buskirk to Havana in April 2017 to perform tests on several dozen of the remaining personnel. "A lot of people at the embassy wanted reassurance they weren't affected," Buskirk says. None had experienced symptoms, and they all scored normally on the tests.
Sonic attack or mass paranoia? New evidence stokes debate over diplomats’ mysterious illness (, June 20, 2018)

And where other articles have been very eager to dismiss the cricket hypothesis, Richard Stone writes this:


Other researchers and physicians maintain that mass psychogenic illness could explain some, if not all, of the symptoms. A panel of Cuban scientists that evaluated U.S. evidence and gathered its own data concluded in December 2017 that U.S. recordings of a grating, supposedly unnatural sound match the chirping of the Jamaican field cricket, a notoriously noisy insect that's common in Cuba. People's state of mind determined whether they developed symptoms, the first diplomat asserts. "I don't know anybody who at one point thought we were under no risk and then subsequently decided that they were a victim."

He himself heard a mysterious sound one night last June. "Standing in the atrium of my house, it was so loud and metallic, my brain literally hurt," he says. He called the embassy security officer, who came over and recorded the sound. But his housekeeper knew right away it was a Jamaican field cricket. "She grew up on a farm. She's like, ‘Oh yeah, they drive people crazy.’"

The second diplomat echoes that experience. The sound, she says, "was eerie. A really nasty sound. Not like your head is going to explode, but it's very unpleasant." Then she and her family heard it on several more occasions outdoors. "That was reassuring. We realized it had to be the crickets."

She acknowledges that over time, a divide widened between "the true believers" and those like her who are skeptical that there was an attack.

It makes you wonder if that's the story behind the Associated Press recording, doesn't it?!! :)
(See also calebprime's post.)

dann 7th July 2018 02:48 AM

In view of the cricket story: Could this be the solution to the problem in Guangzhou?


The most commonly eaten insect groups are beetles, caterpillars, bees, wasps, ants, grasshoppers, locusts, crickets, cicadas, leaf- and planthoppers, scale insects, termites, dragonflies and flies.
Insects, a healthy alternative: report by Li Wenfang in Guangzhou (China Daily, Oct. 4, 2013 )

dann 7th July 2018 09:01 AM

I only just discovered this one-hour-long podcast from March 2, 2018, with Dr. Robert E. Bartholomew, the world's leading expert on mass hysteria, talking with Rob McConnell of The 'X' Zone radio show:

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dann 7th July 2018 11:43 PM

Be warned!

I listened to the interview with Robert Bartholomew twice last night, the first time focussed on him only, neglecting the speaker comments and the many commercials. The second time I heard it all - and it's quite a mouthful.
The Canadian radio show The 'X' Zone presents itself as "a place where Fact is Fiction and Fiction is Reality" and these are its usual topics:


11:11, 2012, 666: The Number Of The Beast, 9/11, Alien Abduction, Aliens, Angels, Apocalypse, Astrology, Atlantis, The Bible, Chinese Astrology, Conspiracy Theories, Cosmology, Crop Circles, Cryptozoology, Crystals, Demonology, Dreams And Dream Interpretation, Electronic Voice Phenomena, End Times, End-Time Prophecies, ESP, Exorcism, Extraterrestrial Communication, Fairies, Forbidden Knowledge, Ghosts, Government Cover-ups, Hauntings, Herbalism, Kennedy Assassination, Kirlian Photography, Life After Death, Lost Tribes And Civilizations, Mind Over Matter, Near-Death Experience, Nostradamus, Numerology, Occult, Ouija Boards, Palmistry, Paranormal Hoaxes And Frauds, Paranormal, Parapsychology, Past Life Regression, Precognition, PSI, Psychic Phenomena, Psychic Phenomenon, Psychic Surgery, Raelians, Reincarnation, Remote Viewing, Sacred Geometry, Science Fiction, Séances, Shadow People, Shamanism, Spiritualists, Tarot Cards, The Apocalypse, The Bermuda Triangle, The Dalai Lama, The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Michigan Triangle, Time Travel, UFO Crashes, UFOs, Unsolved Mysteries, Vile Vortices, VooDoo, Wicca, Zombies and much more!

However, the skeptic Robert E. Bartholomew is focussed and unfazed by Rob McConnell's weird questions and obvious misunderstandings until the very end when he is interrupted at a critical point where he is going to explain how cell phones have affected mass psychogenic illness, which appears to have changed since the last millennium - due to cell phones.
Unfortunately, Robert Bartholomew is completely cut off at this point. Now, I think that he was going to say something similar to what I've observed myself: That the social media have widened the affected groups in cases of mass hysteria: They used to be limited to rather confined groups like schools or military bases, but nowadays the rumors, the 'vector' of mass psychogenic illnesses, are sometimes spread by means of the social media. This is what happened with the recent HPV-vaccine scare in Denmark. (Which has now been contained and successfully reversed!)
But the interviewer is obviously thinking of electromagnetic radiation from cell phones as the culprit and doesn't let Robert Bartholomew finish. So it's kind of a confirmed-skeptic-meets-the-dark-side interview - interrupted by commercials for psychics and books by conspiracy fanatics.

dann 8th July 2018 01:13 AM

And now in Singapore ... No, sorry, false alarm!

As President Donald Trump was heading to Singapore for a historic summit with North Korea’s leader, a State Department diplomatic security agent who was part of the advance team reported hearing an unusual sound he believed was similar to what was experienced by US diplomats in Cuba and China who later became ill.
The agent immediately underwent medical screening — part of a new US government protocol established to respond to such potential health incidents anywhere in the world. And while the president was flying to the Southeast Asian city-state, the US delegation preparing for his arrival was exchanging urgent messages with the State Department headquarters back in Washington, including the agency’s diplomatic security and the US Secret Service.
It turned out to be a false alarm, according to four US officials familiar with the matter, who were not authorized to speak on the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
‘Sonic attack’ scare before Trump-Kim summit raises security concerns (New York Post/Associated Press, June 26, 2018)


There have now been 26 Americans confirmed by the US State Department to have been affected by the mysterious condition, with cases reported in Cuba, China, Uzbekistan and — in the past few days — Singapore.
The Singapore case has since been described as a false alarm, but US officials remain on high alert; the State Department has now implemented a policy of immediately investigating any reports from staff of suspicious sounds or unexplained symptoms out of "an abundance of caution".
But Dr Bartholomew is undeterred in his hysteria theory.
"The people who are most susceptible to mass hysteria are those that think they are not susceptible," he said.
"I think what we're seeing is a combination of ever present background noises — crickets, cicadas — and social paranoia, and tinnitus — there's a lot of people who have tinnitus.
"It is the placebo effect, in reverse."
US embassy 'sonic attack' cases 'the placebo effect in reverse', mass hysteria expert says (ABC News, July 2, 2018)

It would be really interesting to know how they could dismiss the alleged case in Singapore, but not the ones in Havana and Guangzhou.


"For me this whole case can be summed up in a single sentence: 'When you hear the sound of hoofbeats in the night, first think 'horses', not 'zebras'," Bartholomew said, referring to people's stereotypical tendency to arrive at unlikely medical diagnoses in the face of more plausible explanations.
"These people at the State Department are thinking, 'unicorns' – they've gone for the most exotic hypothesis, and one that's scientifically impossible [because] sonic weapons cannot cause these conditions."
Those 'Sonic Attack' Victims Are Actually Experiencing Mass Hysteria, Expert Claims - What if there never was any attack? (Science Alert, July 3, 2018)

Dabop 8th July 2018 05:40 AM


Originally Posted by dann (Post 12353131)
Three new articles.

I'm considering a forum poll to determine how many of us have experienced any of the symptoms mentioned above! :)

OMG the USA is attacking my town in outback Australia!!!

In the last week alone I have suffered ALL of the symptoms...


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