International Skeptics Forum

International Skeptics Forum (http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/forumindex.php)
-   Social Issues & Current Events (http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=82)
-   -   Merged: US may close Cuba Embassy over 'health attacks' (http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=323098)

alfaniner 11th January 2021 05:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop (Post 13357395)
Pompeo has just announced that the U.S. is re-designating Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Preparation for nuking it? At this point nothing seems off the table. Doesn't matter that it's so close -- "easy target!!!" :covereyes

Jack by the hedge 12th January 2021 08:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop (Post 13357395)
Pompeo has just announced that the U.S. is re-designating Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Cuba sponsors Trump?

dann 25th January 2021 07:47 AM

Biden doesn't seem to think so:
Biden says he wants to return U.S.-Cuba relations to Obama-era engagement policies (Local21News, Jan. 23, 2021)
It doesn't say anything about the so-called 'Havana Syndrome.'

Planigale 26th January 2021 12:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop (Post 13357395)
Pompeo has just announced that the U.S. is re-designating Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism.

A smart political move (from his PoV). He will force Biden to actively drop sanctions against Cuba, something that can be pointed at in future elections.

dann 26th January 2021 06:52 AM

Isn't it time to recall the pseudo-scientific reports about 'attacks' on American agents and diplomats at the U.S. embassy in Havana?
The 1776 Commission Report has already been ditched.

dann 15th February 2021 07:44 AM

Some Trump restrictions on Cuba to be lifted:
Quote:

The Biden government will remove harsh Trump restrictions that most directly harmed civilian Cubans, administration officials said. First of those are the limits on the amount of remittances that Cuban Americans can send to their relatives on the island. The administration will also restore some of the wiring services, including Western Union, that are used to transmit the money and that the previous government blocked. The money is a lifeline for many Cubans.

Biden’s team also intends to allow more travel between the countries, people familiar with the plans said. U.S.-origin flights to various Cuban cities were opened under Obama, along with a large cruise ship itinerary. But those mostly shut down under Trump
Biden to resume remittances, travel to Cuba, but other Obama-era overtures will take a while (LosAngelesTimes, Feb. 12, 2021)

There is nothing new about the so-called Havana Syndrome, but this would be a recognition that U.S. embassy staff were never attacked:
Quote:

Biden may (!) also rebuild the staff at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana, which sank to a skeleton crew under Trump, and resume issuing visas to Cuban nationals.

Stout 15th February 2021 08:08 AM

Good grief....Why would the Marxist–Leninist paradise of Cuba be even remotely interested in the spoils of bourgeois capitalism like cash transfers, U.S.-origin flights, and cruise ships ?

Trump actually did them a huge favour by insulating them from American influence and this new guy's intended policies smack of good ole American imperialism.

dann 15th February 2021 03:01 PM

I assume Cuba is interested in U.S. American tourism for much the same reason that Latin American capitalist paradises are. Tourism plays an important role in the economy of many Latin American and Caribbean countries, and the pandemic ruined the tourism industry all over the world: The Coronavirus in Latin America (Council of the Americas, Feb. 12, 2021)

However, for Cuba it is one of the ways that the country pays for its schools and health-care system.
In April, Cuba had already sent medical teams to several countries all over the world, but in particular the Caribbean:
Quote:

Italy ... Andorra, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Surinam, Jamaica, Haiti, Belice, Dominica, and the island nations of Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, St Lucia and Antigua and Barbuda.
Cuba has a history of sending medical teams to nations in crisis (Aljazeera, April 1, 2020)
It is the reason why the Council of Canadians nominated Cuba's Henry Reeve medical teams for the Nobel Peace Prize: Cuban Medical Teams for 2021 Nobel Peace Prize (Canadians.org, Nov. 16, 2020)

I don't think it all comes down to the Henry Reeve medical teams, but I get the impression that they must have done something right:

Deaths per million
Cuba: 24
Haiti: 21
Jamaica: 127
Dominican Republic: 271
Bahamas: 450
Barbados: 83
Montserrat: 200

Belize: 778
Guatemala: 339
Honduras: 387
El Salvador: 268
Nicaragua: 26
Costa Rica: 530
Panama: 1,294

Mexico: 1,342
USA: 1,498
Canada: 562

dann 27th February 2021 02:40 AM

Quote:

The Central Intelligence Agency has set up a task force bringing together experts to advance the investigation into a series of mysterious attacks on Americans in Havana, a source familiar with the matter told McClatchy.
CIA creates task force on ‘Havana syndrome’ amid new scrutiny from Biden team (MiamiHerald, Feb. 26, 2021)

Quote:

Polymeropoulos is one of some 40 US government officials across multiple agencies who were victims of debilitating invisible attacks in Russia, Cuba, China and other places around the globe. Just last year, more of these assaults were carried out against Central Intelligence Agency officers, according to a source familiar with the cases.
(...)
The new task force is being stood up as multiple agencies signal that they will re-examine the mysterious attacks and prioritize the investigation. And Secretary of State Tony Blinken, who has been personally engaged on the topic, is elevating the coordinator investigating the incidents to a senior-level position at the State Department.
CIA launches task force to probe invisible attacks on US diplomats and spies as one victim finds some relief (CNN, Feb. 24, 2021)

Somebody should tell the CNN that claims of invisible attacks require just as much evidence as claims of invisible dragons.

Other Cuba-US news:
Cuba pays tribute to victims of coronavirus in the United States (OnCubaNews, Feb. 24, 2021)
Biden extends emergency situation with respect to Cuba (OnCubaNews, Feb. 25, 2021)
And Cuba medical news:
Clinical trials and production of Cuban COVID vaccines advance simultaneously (Granma.cu, Feb. 26, 2021)

xjx388 1st March 2021 02:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dann (Post 13396575)
I assume Cuba is interested in U.S. American tourism for much the same reason that Latin American capitalist paradises are. Tourism plays an important role in the economy of many Latin American and Caribbean countries, and the pandemic ruined the tourism industry all over the world: The Coronavirus in Latin America (Council of the Americas, Feb. 12, 2021)

However, for Cuba it is one of the ways that the country pays for its schools and health-care system.
In April, Cuba had already sent medical teams to several countries all over the world, but in particular the Caribbean:


It is the reason why the Council of Canadians nominated Cuba's Henry Reeve medical teams for the Nobel Peace Prize: Cuban Medical Teams for 2021 Nobel Peace Prize (Canadians.org, Nov. 16, 2020)

I don't think it all comes down to the Henry Reeve medical teams, but I get the impression that they must have done something right:

Deaths per million
Cuba: 24
Haiti: 21
Jamaica: 127
Dominican Republic: 271
Bahamas: 450
Barbados: 83
Montserrat: 200

Belize: 778
Guatemala: 339
Honduras: 387
El Salvador: 268
Nicaragua: 26
Costa Rica: 530
Panama: 1,294

Mexico: 1,342
USA: 1,498
Canada: 562

Man, they sure are good at medicine! Feeding their people, giving them access to basic household necessities, letting them have access to free information, giving them fair and free elections, allowing them to voice dissent, etc etc? Not so much.

dann 1st March 2021 04:13 PM

Yes, they are damn good at medicine. Too bad that the State Department never cooperated with Cuban doctors to attempt to find out what happened to the U.S. diplomats and agents in Havana. I am sure that they would also help the USA fight the pandemic if you asked them.

Cubans don't starve, so no need not worry. Hunger in the USA (Wikipedia)
But it would probably help make it easier for them to feed their people and make their diet more diverse if the U.S. embargo against the country was ended:
Quote:

The Chicago City Council unanimously passed this Wednesday a resolution calling on the U.S. federal government to end the embargo against Cuba, which has lasted for several decades.
City of Chicago calls for end to U.S. embargo on Cuba (OnCubaNews, Feb. 26, 2021)

They don't need any help with fair and free elections. Cuba's elections are freer and fairer than the electoral system of the USA. Their information tends to be more accurate than what the U.S. media delivers, and they are good at voicing dissent, too.
I doubt that Cubans are impressed by your Stop the Steal campaigns or similar QAnonsense. Cubans are well informed about those, too.

xjx388 1st March 2021 05:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dann (Post 13412881)
Yes, they are damn good at medicine. Too bad that the State Department never cooperated with Cuban doctors to attempt to find out what happened to the U.S. diplomats and agents in Havana. I am sure that they would also help the USA fight the pandemic if you asked them.

Cubans don't starve, so no need not worry. Hunger in the USA (Wikipedia)
But it would probably help make it easier for them to feed their people and make their diet more diverse if the U.S. embargo against the country was ended:



They don't need any help with fair and free elections. Cuba's elections are freer and fairer than the electoral system of the USA. Their information tends to be more accurate than what the U.S. media delivers, and they are good at voicing dissent, too.
I doubt that Cubans are impressed by your Stop the Steal campaigns or similar QAnonsense. Cubans are well informed about those, too.


Lol. Cubans don’t starve and Cuba has eradicated poverty. Their elections are freer and fairer than the US. Let me know when you wake up.

Maybe in your dreams, you can come up with a good theory as to why a self-sufficient and utopian country like Cuba would care so much about the US embargoes and such, to the extent that they might be willing to launch “health attacks” on the US Embassy. And detains dissidents. And refuses to allow their people access to information.

steenkh 2nd March 2021 01:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dann (Post 13412881)
They don't need any help with fair and free elections. Cuba's elections are freer and fairer than the electoral system of the USA.

That is som assertion! Without freedom, their elections can hardly be called elections. They may seem fair in theory, but when all alternatives are the same, fairness does not matter.

I might remind you that the election system in the old East Germany also was very fair, and showed support for the Communist Party of more than 90%.

Quote:

Their information tends to be more accurate than what the U.S. media delivers, and they are good at voicing dissent, too.
The dissent is within limits, as befits a dictatorship. I am sure that Cubans are very well informed about issues that suits the government.

The Chinese also are well informed about the worst aspects of America, and they also have elections that presumably are fair, but completely irrelevant.

But all of that does not change the fact that Cuba has a welfare system among the best in the world, considering it is is an extremely poor country, mainly because of the embargo.

And it also does not change the fact that the embassy “attacks” are a result of the fevered imagination of embassy staff and a U.S. government that gratefully accepts anything that can be used to justify maintaining the embargo.

dann 2nd March 2021 04:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by steenkh (Post 13413316)
That is som assertion! Without freedom, their elections can hardly be called elections. They may seem fair in theory, but when all alternatives are the same, fairness does not matter.

I might remind you that the election system in the old East Germany also was very fair, and showed support for the Communist Party of more than 90%.


That is some assertion. What exactly is the freedom they lack? Everybody can run in Cuban elections. I know too little about the electoral system in the GDR, but I don't see the relevance. Is your claim that the two things are one and the same? How so?

Quote:

The dissent is within limits, as befits a dictatorship. I am sure that Cubans are very well informed about issues that suits the government.

I am not sure what you think befits dictatorships. Dissent seems to be wide-spread in many of them, currently in Belarus, for example. I have been to Cuba several times, talked to Cubans from all walks of life, and it surprised me how much they knew about conditions in the rest of the world, in the EU, for instance, and sometimes even in Denmark. I don't think you have actual knowledge of the level of information in the Cuban population. Your ideas seem to be based exclusively on what you have heard Danish media say about Cuba.

Quote:

The Chinese also are well informed about the worst aspects of America, and they also have elections that presumably are fair, but completely irrelevant.

I can imagine, but I have no real knowledge of how the electoral system in China works. China is relevant in the context of Cuba because ....?

Quote:

But all of that does not change the fact that Cuba has a welfare system among the best in the world, considering it is is an extremely poor country, mainly because of the embargo.

Cuba is a poor country, but not extremely poor. I wouldn't describe Cuba's welfare system as being among the best in the world, but relatively speaking, i.e. for a poor country, it may be the best.

Quote:

And it also does not change the fact that the embassy “attacks” are a result of the fevered imagination of embassy staff and a U.S. government that gratefully accepts anything that can be used to justify maintaining the embargo.

We agree on that one. :)

dann 2nd March 2021 04:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xjx388 (Post 13412935)
Lol. Cubans don’t starve and Cuba has eradicated poverty. Their elections are freer and fairer than the US. Let me know when you wake up.

Maybe in your dreams, you can come up with a good theory as to why a self-sufficient and utopian country like Cuba would care so much about the US embargoes and such, to the extent that they might be willing to launch “health attacks” on the US Embassy. And detains dissidents. And refuses to allow their people access to information.


What is the basis for your claim that Cuba has eradicated poverty? And why do you call Cuba a "utopian country"?

You manage to save the idea of "health attacks" by writing that Cuba "might (!) be willing" to launch them, i.e. by reducing them to a mere hypothesis. I guess that's a kind of progress: You won't outright claim that Cuba launched health attacks on U.S. embassy staff, but you are loath to give up on the idea that they might want to. Pathetic!

If this weren't the thread about the alleged "health attacks" on U.S. diplomats and agents, I would ask you to elaborate on the idea that it is possible to prevent people "access to information" in this day and age.

As for the dissidents being detained ... The USA has detained an awful lot of dissidents lately, but they weren't detained for being dissidents. They were detained for launching an actual attack on the Capitol. Dissidents in Cuba also aren't detained for being dissidents. They are detained if they obstruct Cuban society or when they are paid by the USA to do so. Being a dissident is frowned upon but allowed in Cuba, and you can't be jailed merely for disagreeing with the state.

As an American, you would probably be disappointed by the way that Cuban law enforcement works. There is really no comparison.

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

steenkh 2nd March 2021 08:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dann (Post 13413379)
That is some assertion. What exactly is the freedom they lack? Everybody can run in Cuban elections. I know too little about the electoral system in the GDR, but I don't see the relevance. Is your claim that the two things are one and the same? How so?

Enlighten me: are there different parties in Cuba? How strong is the representation of those that want to open up for more private businesses?

Quote:

I am not sure what you think befits dictatorships. Dissent seems to be wide-spread in many of them, currently in Belarus, for example.
Oh, yes plenty of dissent, but not tolerated dissent.

Quote:

I have been to Cuba several times, talked to Cubans from all walks of life, and it surprised me how much they knew about conditions in the rest of the world, in the EU, for instance, and sometimes even in Denmark. I don't think you have actual knowledge of the level of information in the Cuban population. Your ideas seem to be based exclusively on what you have heard Danish media say about Cuba.
You are right, I have never been to Cuba. My information is mainly from German and UK media, and from one colleague and one family member who have been there. They have been unanimous that there were certain things that could not be discussed. Tourist guide could be very forthcoming and honest, but clammed shut when asked about political issues, such as whether they were happy about their government. I have experienced the same thing the two dictatorships I have visited when grown up: China and Uzbekistan. In both places people shut up, or even asked me to ask another question. In one German Weltspiegel documentation a happy Cuban suddenly turned away and left when asked about his opinion of the U.S.

You would not see this behaviour in a free society.

Quote:

I can imagine, but I have no real knowledge of how the electoral system in China works. China is relevant in the context of Cuba because ....?
Because they are both dictatorships.

xjx388 2nd March 2021 11:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dann (Post 13413392)
What is the basis for your claim that Cuba has eradicated poverty? And why do you call Cuba a "utopian country"?

I didn't claim they eradicated poverty, you did by linking to your citations. You should maybe read them? My comments were sarcastic. You seem to think Cuba is utopian since you constantly elevate them and use them as an example.

Quote:

You manage to save the idea of "health attacks" by writing that Cuba "might (!) be willing" to launch them, i.e. by reducing them to a mere hypothesis.
I have never claimed otherwise. I have no idea what's happening with that. However, it's a distinct possibility, especially given the CIA investigations. ETA: Reading a bit more, I see that it's very probable there was an attack targeting personnel. Probably microwave attacks, which are entirely plausible. We have actual injured people. It's clear something happened here. And yes, I think Cuba would be quite willing to attack CIA agents and other US assets on their soil.
Quote:

I guess that's a kind of progress: You won't outright claim that Cuba launched health attacks on U.S. embassy staff, but you are loath to give up on the idea that they might want to. Pathetic!
Of course not, the good and benevolent dictators of the Utopian Island of Cuba would never do any such thing! (If I were in Cuba, it would be necessary for me to say such a thing in order to avoid being jailed. Here in America, I have the freedom to say whatever I want about them).

Quote:

If this weren't the thread about the alleged "health attacks" on U.S. diplomats and agents, I would ask you to elaborate on the idea that it is possible to prevent people "access to information" in this day and age.
If you don't know and realize this for yourself already, I don't know what to tell you.

Quote:

As for the dissidents being detained ... The USA has detained an awful lot of dissidents lately, but they weren't detained for being dissidents. They were detained for launching an actual attack on the Capitol. Dissidents in Cuba also aren't detained for being dissidents. They are detained if they obstruct Cuban society or when they are paid by the USA to do so. Being a dissident is frowned upon but allowed in Cuba, and you can't be jailed merely for disagreeing with the state.
Laughably naive.

dann 2nd March 2021 01:42 PM

You have completely left the theme of this thread, so your post as well as my answer to it ought to be moved to a new thread.

Quote:

Originally Posted by steenkh (Post 13413539)
Enlighten me: are there different parties in Cuba? How strong is the representation of those that want to open up for more private businesses?


1) Yes, but not with the kind of political campaigns that can be bought by billionaires like in Cuba's close neighbor, obviously. 2) Strong enough to open up for some level of private businesses.

Quote:

Oh, yes plenty of dissent, but not tolerated dissent.

The dissent I have seen was obviously tolerated. Cubans like to debate. But they don't like to do so with foreigners they don't trust. More about this below.

Quote:

You are right, I have never been to Cuba. My information is mainly from German and UK media, and from one colleague and one family member who have been there. They have been unanimous that there were certain things that could not be discussed. Tourist guide could be very forthcoming and honest, but clammed shut when asked about political issues, such as whether they were happy about their government. I have experienced the same thing the two dictatorships I have visited when grown up: China and Uzbekistan. In both places people shut up, or even asked me to ask another question. In one German Weltspiegel documentation a happy Cuban suddenly turned away and left when asked about his opinion of the U.S.

I think that you are aware that one colleague and one family member aren't much, so please don't try to pump it up by using a word like unanimous. OK, so all two of them shared an opinion.

Apparently, you think that your "happy Cuban" who turned away from a TV reporter when asked about the U.S. did so because Big Brother was watching him and he was mortally afraid to admit his deep desire to defect to the American paradise. For some reason, it never seems to occur to the foreign press that Cubans are aware of what these questions are meant to convey to viewers of this kind of program. They know about this kind of reporting, they know how Cuba is presented in the western media, and they don't want to contribute to it. (And on the topic of this thread: They know the kind of insane lies that are told about Cuba, in particular in the USA.)
But the interpretation in western media is always the same:
1) A Cuban, say, Yoani Sanchez, for instance, unafraid, describes Cuba as a hellhole.
Western media: 'There you have it: Cuba is a hellhole!'
2) A Cuban describes Cuban life as pleasant, with its ups and downs, and is obviously proud of the country's achievements in medicine and education.
Western media: 'That Cuban must either be brainwashed by the government or afraid to tell the truth.'
3) A Cuban doesn't want to enter into a discussion of political themes, knowing what the reporters are fishing for and not wanting to be a part of it.
Western media: 'That Cuban is a dissident, but afraid to say so.'

As mentioned before, in my experience Cubans tend to be very well informed about conditions in other parts of the world, and they are well aware of the material standards in Europe or North America. For this reason, some of them would like to go there. This is not different from other Latin American countries, but in the minds of many Americans and Europeans, this is turned into the delusion that all Cubans want to escape from oppression to freedom. I have met very few Cubans who actually have this wish. The ones who do want to leave Cuba for another country, usually point to Canada or Europe rather than the USA.

When they complain about conditions in Cuba, it is usually about the wages. However, they are also well aware of conditions in other Latin American countries and consider themselves lucky that they don't live there. It may come as a surprise to many Westerners, but many Cubans know that the alternative to poverty in Cuba isn't the relative affluence of, say, Scandinavia, and they know that U.S. attempts to overthrow the Cuban government doesn't intend to replace it with the Scandinavian welfare system. Like I said, they know about the rest of the world and they have seen what happens to countries that fall prey too U.S. interference. How could they not?!

Quote:

You would not see this behaviour in a free society.

Of course, you would. Let's say that I was interviewed in the street by foreign media. I wouldn't be inclined to avoid criticizing conditions in Denmark that I don't approve of, but if it became apparent to me that I was being used by, say, Fox News or NTV for a propaganda piece, I wouldn't be as forthcoming.
And I would be pissed off if this was interpreted as an example of a Danish citizen's fear of government repercussions ...

Quote:

Because they are both dictatorships.

They are not at all alike. Cuban democracy is different from democracy in Denmark, but it is much more participatory than what we have. I have had discussions with Cubans who had delusions about the influence that ordinary people have on government affairs in Denmark, for instance when they asked me why we chose to wage war in Afghanistan and Iraq. They were shocked when I told them that we were never asked - and later, that it wasn't a big question in the elections.
And yes, some Cubans even know about the wars Denmark wages.

steenkh 2nd March 2021 02:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dann (Post 13413875)
You have completely left the theme of this thread, so your post as well as my answer to it ought to be moved to a new thread.

OK, we’ll leave it at that.

dann 2nd March 2021 02:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xjx388 (Post 13413788)
I didn't claim they eradicated poverty, you did by linking to your citations. You should maybe read them? My comments were sarcastic. You seem to think Cuba is utopian since you constantly elevate them and use them as an example.


Yes, of course you were sarcastic. It is one of the ways you try to hide your ignorance of the topic. You were the one who wrote that "Cuba has eradicated poverty." I linked to a website saying that "Over the last 50 years, comprehensive social protection programmes have largely eradicated poverty and hunger." Do I have to explain the difference between eradicating poverty and largely eradicating poverty - in a third-world country?
I don't constantly "elevate them," but Cuba is often a good example to use in comparison with the USA, for instance in discussions about health care in general or the pandemic strategy in particular.
By the way, this thread is about alleged Cuban attacks on the health of U.S. agents and diplomats in Havana, in case you haven't noticed.

Quote:

I have never claimed otherwise. I have no idea what's happening with that. However, it's a distinct possibility, especially given the CIA investigations. ETA: Reading a bit more, I see that it's very probable there was an attack targeting personnel. Probably microwave attacks, which are entirely plausible. We have actual injured people. It's clear something happened here. And yes, I think Cuba would be quite willing to attack CIA agents and other US assets on their soil.

So now you have actually bothered to find out what this thread is about! Amazing! But no, it's probably a combination of paranoia and crickets, not microwave attacks. The only other hypothesis with something going for it is the Israeli-Canadian study that suggests insecticide as the culprit. You would have known about this if you had read the thread.
Your fantasies about health attacks on CIA agents in Cuba are totally in line with most of the Trump era's delusions, so there is nothing to worry about. CIA and FBI won't suspect you of being a dissident.

Quote:

Of course not, the good and benevolent dictators of the Utopian Island of Cuba would never do any such thing! (If I were in Cuba, it would be necessary for me to say such a thing in order to avoid being jailed. Here in America, I have the freedom to say whatever I want about them).

You have no idea what would be necessary for you to do if you were in Cuba. You actually seem to think that Cubans are afraid to come up with alternative ideas about what happened to the U.S. agents. They aren't. And they have the freedom to utter those ideas, too. But you seem to be happy to live in a country where you have the freedom to believe in any lie the government tells you, for instance that evil Cubans attacked their embassy staff with microwave weapons!
By the way, one of the reasons why Cubans don't buy into the microwave story is that, unlike CIA agents, they know what crickets and cicadas sound like.

Quote:

If you don't know and realize this for yourself already, I don't know what to tell you.

I do know how impossible it is. By the way, the USA shows that the lack of information isn't the major problem nowadays. Disinformation is. The USA is now chock-full of delusional QAnon cultists who have even taken over one of the two political parties. Isn't it great to live in a country where people have the freedom to believe that their political opponents eat children? You must be so proud of the American level of information. I am sure the Cubans envy you!

Quote:

Laughably naive.

Yes, and your post is ignorant, too.

dudalb 2nd March 2021 03:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xjx388 (Post 13412935)
Lol. Cubans don’t starve and Cuba has eradicated poverty. Their elections are freer and fairer than the US. Let me know when you wake up.

Maybe in your dreams, you can come up with a good theory as to why a self-sufficient and utopian country like Cuba would care so much about the US embargoes and such, to the extent that they might be willing to launch “health attacks” on the US Embassy. And detains dissidents. And refuses to allow their people access to information.

I am in favor of normalizingf relations with Cuba, but have no illusions about the kind of government that Cuba has. But it's no worse then othre governments we deal with, and does not pose a threat to the US.
If anything, a flood of American Tourist might do more to undermine the current regime then any boycott.

xjx388 2nd March 2021 05:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dann (Post 13413918)
Yes, of course you were sarcastic. It is one of the ways you try to hide your ignorance of the topic. You were the one who wrote that "Cuba has eradicated poverty." I linked to a website saying that "Over the last 50 years, comprehensive social protection programmes have largely eradicated poverty and hunger." Do I have to explain the difference between eradicating poverty and largely eradicating poverty - in a third-world country?

Yes, but not here. Back to the subject.
Quote:

I don't constantly "elevate them," but Cuba is often a good example to use in comparison with the USA, for instance in discussions about health care in general or the pandemic strategy in particular.
By the way, this thread is about alleged Cuban attacks on the health of U.S. agents and diplomats in Havana, in case you haven't noticed.

So now you have actually bothered to find out what this thread is about! Amazing! But no, it's probably a combination of paranoia and crickets, not microwave attacks.
Paranoia and crickets caused the MRI confirmed TBIs? Please, that's preposterous. Sounds like something the Cubans would say in their propaganda, "The Americans were driven insane by the sounds of our native crickets, proving their inferiority to the fortitude of the Cuban people under the gentle guidence of the noble Communist Party."
Quote:

The only other hypothesis with something going for it is the Israeli-Canadian study that suggests insecticide as the culprit. You would have known about this if you had read the thread.
Your fantasies about health attacks on CIA agents in Cuba are totally in line with most of the Trump era's delusions, so there is nothing to worry about. CIA and FBI won't suspect you of being a dissident.
Pesticides are unlikely as the sole cause of the types of injuries discovered on the MRIs. Unless the Cubans are using a cheap homebrewed pesticide that wouldn't meet a developed country's standards. Which would imply that widespread injuries like this are happening all over Cuba but you don't hear about it for some reason . . .

Quote:

You have no idea what would be necessary for you to do if you were in Cuba. You actually seem to think that Cubans are afraid to come up with alternative ideas about what happened to the U.S. agents. They aren't. And they have the freedom to utter those ideas, too.
They can come up with and utter all the alternative theories they want to, I'm sure -unless such utterances implicate their government. ETA: Or as you put it, they are deemed to "obstruct Cuban society," lol.
Quote:

But you seem to be happy to live in a country where you have the freedom to believe in any lie the government tells you, for instance that evil Cubans attacked their embassy staff with microwave weapons!
By the way, one of the reasons why Cubans don't buy into the microwave story is that, unlike CIA agents, they know what crickets and cicadas sound like.
I don't know for sure it was microwave attacks. I don't even know if such attacks would make a sound. All I know is something happened to Candian and US diplomats and assets, that has happened to them elsewhere, doesn't happen to the locals and causes TBI that you can see on an MRI. One thing I do know is that crickets and cicadas, of which there are plenty in my neck of the woods, don't cause TBIs. We'd all be suffering from the same kind of problems if they did. And to be clear: We don't. The idea is preposterous on its face.
Quote:

I do know how impossible it is. By the way, the USA shows that the lack of information isn't the major problem nowadays. Disinformation is. The USA is now chock-full of delusional QAnon cultists who have even taken over one of the two political parties. Isn't it great to live in a country where people have the freedom to believe that their political opponents eat children? You must be so proud of the American level of information. I am sure the Cubans envy you!
I know they envy our access to free information. I know several ex-Cubans who live here in South Texas now. The Cuban propaganda machine state-controlled-but-totally-definitely-free-press is engaged in a massive disinformation campaign, misinforming Cubans about what actually happens in their own country and what happens abroad, especially in the US.
Quote:

Yes, and your post is ignorant, too.
Given your arguments here, your assessment carries no weight with me. I mean if you don't know what really happens in Cuba, that you can't trust the Cuban government to report the truth through their official mouthpiece and that journalists are arrested, beaten and imprisoned for daring to report the truth, I don't know what to tell you.

steenkh 3rd March 2021 01:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xjx388 (Post 13414026)
Paranoia and crickets caused the MRI confirmed TBIs? Please, that's preposterous.

Could you please link to a trustworthy article about MRI confirmed TBIs?

A lot of material has been brought up in this thread, but I could not find this one, so it must be new.

Without actual objective damage present that can not be explained by conditions that the specific embassy workers had in any case, I believe that instead of referring to unknown super secret weapons, the most likely explanations seem to be hysteria caused by crickets, or disinfectant.

The complete lack of motive for the attack should also be considered: what on earth would the Cubans achieve by attacking embassy staff at a time when they have every reason to try to maintain good relations?

Surveillance and listening devices would be something I would expect, but “sonic” attacks? What should that achieve? If not discovered, the most the Cubans could hope for was an exchange of staff at the embassy. Would it not be more likely that they would attack Americans somewhere else than in Cuba so as not to arouse suspicion?

American diplomats in China have experienced the same “attacks”. Was that also an attempt by the Cubans?

Planigale 3rd March 2021 01:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xjx388 (Post 13413788)
I didn't claim they eradicated poverty, you did by linking to your citations. You should maybe read them? My comments were sarcastic. You seem to think Cuba is utopian since you constantly elevate them and use them as an example.

I have never claimed otherwise. I have no idea what's happening with that. However, it's a distinct possibility, especially given the CIA investigations. ETA: Reading a bit more, I see that it's very probable there was an attack targeting personnel. Probably microwave attacks, which are entirely plausible. We have actual injured people. It's clear something happened here. And yes, I think Cuba would be quite willing to attack CIA agents and other US assets on their soil.Of course not, the good and benevolent dictators of the Utopian Island of Cuba would never do any such thing! (If I were in Cuba, it would be necessary for me to say such a thing in order to avoid being jailed. Here in America, I have the freedom to say whatever I want about them).

If you don't know and realize this for yourself already, I don't know what to tell you.

Laughably naive.

Most scientists who have looked at this think microwave attacks are implausible. If anyone had the technology to do this it would be the US not Cuba. The biology does not fit. We do know about microwave injuries because this happens with high energy radar. Microwave transmissions are widely used. The injuries seen and symptoms do not fit with microwave injury. How would you deliver them? How do you focus them to follow individuals inside?

Right at the beginning I said the symptoms sounded like chronic pesticide damage.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1257680/
https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2012/dec/...ure-pesticides
https://www.beyondpesticides.org/res...stem-disorders

Certainly this is an opinion of many legitimate scientists.

Since the US government would be liable for exposure to pesticides within working and residential areas there is certainly an interest in diverting responsibility elsewhere. This does not need to be a conscious decision.

dann 3rd March 2021 03:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xjx388 (Post 13414026)
Yes, but not here. Back to the subject.
Paranoia and crickets caused the MRI confirmed TBIs? Please, that's preposterous. Sounds like something the Cubans would say in their propaganda, "The Americans were driven insane by the sounds of our native crickets, proving their inferiority to the fortitude of the Cuban people under the gentle guidence of the noble Communist Party."


Yes, it may sound like something that paranoid Americans would attribute to Cuban communists. Well, very early on that was how a maid or a janitor (I don't remember, but it's in the thread!) told one American embassy employee, but it was confirmed by a study very far away from the Cuban Communist Party, which you would have known if you had followed the thread:
Quote:

But a new study indicates that the culprit behind this debacle is in fact… a cricket. According to Alexander Stubbs, a scientist in the Department of Integrative Biology and Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the University of California, Berkeley, the mysterious noise is actually the echoing call of the Indies short-tailed cricket (Anurogryllus celerinictus). Stubbs will present his findings this week at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in Tampa, Florida, based on a paper that was just released through the bioArxive online database.
The Cuban Cricket Crisis: New study identifies insect as the likely culprit behind alleged “sonic attacks” on U.S. diplomats in Havana (Newswise, Jan. 4, 2019)
But it's probably all just a conspiracy of Cuban Communist janitors and American zoologists, isn't it?!

Quote:

Pesticides are unlikely as the sole cause of the types of injuries discovered on the MRIs. Unless the Cubans are using a cheap homebrewed pesticide that wouldn't meet a developed country's standards. Which would imply that widespread injuries like this are happening all over Cuba but you don't hear about it for some reason . . .

No, in combination with mass psychogenic illness, pesticides are actually the only likely cause in this case, home-brewed or not: Havana Syndrome Among Canadian Diplomats: Brain Imaging Reveals Acquired Neurotoxicity (MedRxiv, Sep. 29, 2019)
Cuban and Canadian researchers are cooperating to find out if any Cubans were also affected. At first, that didn't seem to be the case. But I wouldn't find it unlikely that "widespread injuries like this" were NOT "happening all over Cuba," because 1) the embassies had actually asked for more pest-control measures (due to Zika) and 2) Unlike los norteamericanos, Cubans don't usually live in highly insulated houses or apartments with air-conditioning. Most of them rely on natural ventilation (and maybe fans), which wouldn't expose them to health-damaging effects of pesticides to the same degree. As I have described in this thread, I have experienced fumigación in a residential neighborhood in Havana. It seemed to be pretty ineffective because the draft immediately blew the insecticide out of the apartments.

Quote:

They can come up with and utter all the alternative theories they want to, I'm sure -unless such utterances implicate their government. ETA: Or as you put it, they are deemed to "obstruct Cuban society," lol.

Yes, you are indeed very sure - based on nothing but ignorance and bias. I happened to be in Havana in the summer of 2006 when Fidel Castro was reported to be serious ill, which he was, all of Havana closed down and Miami celebrated. One of the popular rumors in Havana was that Castro had actually died and the government was keeping it a secret. It was 100 percent true because whoever told me the story always had a good friend who was a nurse at the hospital where Fidel Castro had died! Cubans aren't very different from everybody else in this respect, obviously. And for some reason, it took them a little more than ten years to bury him.

Quote:

I don't know for sure it was microwave attacks. I don't even know if such attacks would make a sound. All I know is something happened to Candian and US diplomats and assets, that has happened to them elsewhere, doesn't happen to the locals and causes TBI that you can see on an MRI. One thing I do know is that crickets and cicadas, of which there are plenty in my neck of the woods, don't cause TBIs. We'd all be suffering from the same kind of problems if they did. And to be clear: We don't. The idea is preposterous on its face.

Yes, TBIs were detected using MRI. The sound of crickets doesn't cause TBIs. And we don't all suffer from the same kind of problems. So according to you, American embassy employees suffering from TBIs is due to: "Probably microwave attacks." But Planigale has already commented on this idea.

Quote:

I know they envy our access to free information. I know several ex-Cubans who live here in South Texas now. The Cuban propaganda machine state-controlled-but-totally-definitely-free-press is engaged in a massive disinformation campaign, misinforming Cubans about what actually happens in their own country and what happens abroad, especially in the US.
I probably know more Cubans than you do. Ex-Cubans, too. 20 years ago, you might meet Cubans who envied our access to free information, but not any more. Back then, if a Cuban did you a favor, they might ask you for a subscription to a magazine in return, depending on their field of interest or study. To the German Der Spiegel, for instance. The access to that kind of information was limited, not by government restrictions but by finances. If those magazines were forbidden, a subscription would have been useless anyway.

I have travelled with groups of Danes and other Scandinavians, and sometimes one would be nervous about bringing a certain book or magazine to Cuba. One time, it was a book by an anti-Castroist daughter of Fidel Castro, for instance. I would always calm them down and tell them to give the book or magazine to me to take through customs. They never bloody cared about things like that! (Never in this case means since 1998 when I went to Cuba for the first time.)

And nowadays, Cuba has a hidden internet system based on trading USB sticks (NewScientist, June 28, 2021), and recently wifi spots have made the actual internet more accessible to Cubans with smart phones or iPads. And "hidden" is a dramatization of reality. You will probably be disappointed to hear it, but Cubans aren't eager to learn about the latest Miami-based propaganda lies and conspiracy theories. Entertainment seems to be what this source of information is mainly used for.

Quote:

Given your arguments here, your assessment carries no weight with me. I mean if you don't know what really happens in Cuba, that you can't trust the Cuban government to report the truth through their official mouthpiece and that journalists are arrested, beaten and imprisoned for daring to report the truth, I don't know what to tell you.

Unlike you, I happen to know "what really happens in Cuba." I don't trust any government "to report the truth," but in my experience Cuban government "mouthpieces" are usually much more forthcoming than elsewhere, and I seriously doubt your conviction that anybody is "imprisoned for daring to report the truth."
But we do hear a lot of those stories, don't we?!

Since you haven't followed the thread, you probably also won't have noticed what has happened to the Wikipedia page about the alleged Havana syndrome, but since the "study by an expert committee of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, commissioned by the State Department," the Wiki article has been edited to be aligned with the views of Trump's State Department. All other explanations than Microwaves have now been relegated to Previously proposed causes!!!

I have recommended this book already, but since you haven't been following the thread and are as obviously ignorant of the theme as you are, I'll mention it again.
Robert W. Baloh, Robert E. Bartholomew (Author):
Havana Syndrome: Mass Psychogenic Illness and the Real Story Behind the Embassy Mystery and Hysteria Paperback (Amazon)
Unfortunately, most of the (few) reviews look like they were also commissioned by Trump's State Department.

dann 3rd March 2021 08:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dann (Post 13414339)
And nowadays, Cuba has a hidden internet system based on trading USB sticks (NewScientist, June 28, 2021),

Wrong year, obviously: 2018.

xjx388 3rd March 2021 09:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by steenkh (Post 13414255)
Could you please link to a trustworthy article about MRI confirmed TBIs?

A lot of material has been brought up in this thread, but I could not find this one, so it must be new.

Without actual objective damage present that can not be explained by conditions that the specific embassy workers had in any case, I believe that instead of referring to unknown super secret weapons, the most likely explanations seem to be hysteria caused by crickets, or disinfectant.

The complete lack of motive for the attack should also be considered: what on earth would the Cubans achieve by attacking embassy staff at a time when they have every reason to try to maintain good relations?

Surveillance and listening devices would be something I would expect, but “sonic” attacks? What should that achieve? If not discovered, the most the Cubans could hope for was an exchange of staff at the embassy. Would it not be more likely that they would attack Americans somewhere else than in Cuba so as not to arouse suspicion?

American diplomats in China have experienced the same “attacks”. Was that also an attempt by the Cubans?

Here's the study that established brain injury in the Havana victims.
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jam...rticle/2738552

Something happened to them, just as they happened to other diplomats/agents in China and Russia. We don't know who did it. As to what actually caused these injuries, we don't actually know that either. I think, as skeptics who apply just a little bit of critical thinking, we can dismiss hysteria and crickets as the causal agents since those don't cause documented brain injuries or consistent symptoms in a diverse population that doesn't even know each other such as those being described. Similarly, we can dismiss sonic attacks. We can also look to a report released by the National Academy of Sciences published in late 2020: An Assessment of Illness in U.S. Government Employees and Their Families at Overseas Embassies (you can download the full pdf for free with a free account). You will find this in the summary:

Quote:

The committee found the unusual presentation of acute, directional or location-specific early phase signs, symptoms and observations reported by DOS employees to be consistent with the effects of directed, pulsed radio frequency (RF) energy. Many of the chronic, nonspecificsymptoms are also consistent with known RF effects, such as dizziness, headache, fatigue, nausea, anxiety, cognitive deficits, and memory loss. Patient clinical heterogeneity could be due to variability of exposure dosage conditions, differences in interpretation of non-physiological vestibular stimuli, and anatomical differences that could influence individual exposure and/or response.

The committee also considered chemical exposures, infectious diseases and
psychological issues as potential causes or aggravating factors. Although some reports suggested that exposure to organophosphates (OP) and/or pyrethroids from insecticide spraying in Havana could be a cause or contributing factor, the committee concluded that this mechanism was not likely because there was no convincing evidence of acute high-level exposures and the clinical histories of affected U.S. Embassy personnel were not consistent with acute OP poisoning. However, as insecticides can increase the risk or severity of adverse outcomes after exposure to a wide variety of physical or psychosocial stressors, the committee cannot rule out subacute or chronic OP and/or pyrethroid exposures as a possible contributing factor to nonspecific chronic symptoms.

Infectious agents known to be prevalent in Cuba at the time of the U.S. Embassy cases
and capable of causing neurological manifestations most prominently include Zika, which was epidemic in Cuba in 2016-2017. However, after reviewing the medical and public health literature, the committee found it highly unlikely that Zika was the cause of the constellation of signs and symptoms reported among DOS personnel. The acute initial, sudden-onset, distinctive, and unusual symptoms and signs are difficult to ascribe to psychological and social factors. However, the significant variability and clinical
heterogeneity of the illnesses affecting DOS personnel leave open the possibility of multiple causal factors including psychological and social factors. These factors could exacerbate other causes of illness and cannot be ruled out as contributing to some of the cases, especially some of the chronic symptoms or later in the course of illness in some cases. Finally, the committee concurred with the diagnosis of persistent postural-perceptual dizziness (PPPD), a functional (not psychiatric) vestibular disorder that may be triggered by vestibular, neurologic, other medical and psychological conditions and may explain some chronic signs and symptoms in some patients.
If I had to guess, I would say that this was some sort of directed RF attack perpetrated by Russia. Maybe with Cuba's cooperation, maybe under their noses. I think it's reasonable to conclude that Russia has good relations with Cuba (and China for that matter) and that Cuba and China might support or at least turn a blind eye to Russian anti-American personnel attacks. I think another reasonable conclusion is that Russia supplied the tech and Cuba used it. I can't conclude anything with finality, of course, but I do believe the evidence points to a targeted attack by someone using an RF weapon of some sort.

I do not buy the idea that the NAS report or the JAMA study I linked to are "propaganda," as dann asserts.

dann 3rd March 2021 10:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xjx388 (Post 13414676)
Here's the study that established brain injury in the Havana victims.
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jam...rticle/2738552

Something happened to them, just as they happened to other diplomats/agents in China and Russia. We don't know who did it. As to what actually caused these injuries, we don't actually know that either. I think, as skeptics who apply just a little bit of critical thinking, we can dismiss hysteria and crickets as the causal agents since those don't cause documented brain injuries or consistent symptoms in a diverse population that doesn't even know each other such as those being described. Similarly, we can dismiss sonic attacks. We can also look to a report released by the National Academy of Sciences published in late 2020: An Assessment of Illness in U.S. Government Employees and Their Families at Overseas Embassies (you can download the full pdf for free with a free account). You will find this in the summary:


Something did indeed happen to them. But if we apply just a little bit of critical thinking, we might consider that those of us who have been following the story have a bit of knowledge about this that you don't, and that is the reason why we don't dismiss hysteria and crickets and you do:
1) Initially there were many more diplomats and agents complaining of symptoms. After having been examined, most of those 'cases' were no longer cases. The group we are now talking about were the ones who remained. The ones with actual brain damage.
2) Witnesses (American, not Cuban!) have described the hysterical conditions at the embassy at the time. So you can dismiss it as much as you want, but mass hysteria has actually been confirmed.
3) And a recording of the weird sounds they referred to was released at one point, analyzed by independent researchers, and it turned out to be a recording of crickets. The minuscule difference between the released recording and the recordings of crickets used for comparison turned out to be due to the sound of crickets being reflected off of surfaces, i.e. echoes, which the researchers could reproduce. This meticulous study is one of the many reasons why we can dismiss sonic attacks. It sure as hell didn't have anything to do with any of the studies commissioned by the State Deparment!
4) It was not at all a diverse population. On the contrary. It was a close-knit group of people, incensed by paranoia of the 'enemy' and maybe also insecure about what was going to happen to their assignments and jobs when the new administration took over. (Those fears were not unfounded: the Trump administration decimated the embassy staff, using the alleged attacks as the excuse. That's irony, isn't it?!) Case zero was particularly adamant about being the victim of an attack and spread this idea to his Canadian colleagues.
5) So we are left with the report that both you and the editors of the Wikipedia page choose to consider to be the final word. You are obviously uninformed about the Canadian study and prefer the biassed study commissioned by the State Department, but you are also unaware of the criticism of the report.
Maybe you should take a look at it. Isn't that what "skeptics who apply just a little bit of critical thinking" would do?!

Quote:

If I had to guess, I would say that this was some sort of directed RF attack perpetrated by Russia. Maybe with Cuba's cooperation, maybe under their noses. I think it's reasonable to conclude that Russia has good relations with Cuba (and China for that matter) and that Cuba and China might support or at least turn a blind eye to Russian anti-American personnel attacks. I think another reasonable conclusion is that Russia supplied the tech and Cuba used it. I can't conclude anything with finality, of course, but I do believe the evidence points to a targeted attack by someone using an RF weapon of some sort.

I do not buy the idea that the NAS report or the JAMA study I linked to are "propaganda," as dann asserts.

"If I had to guess" ... You are guessing. Based on nothing whatsoever.
Consider what happened:
1) A pretty large group of people of all ages with weird and very diverse symptoms are examined. A lot of those appear to be victims of mass psychogenic illness but otherwise healthy.
2) You are left with a small group of people with actual brain damage.
3) You have no actual idea about when or how that brain damage was caused because they weren't examined before the 'event' that is supposed to have damaged them.
4) And "as skeptics who apply just a little bit of critical thinking," we might consider what we would find if we weren't on a fishing expedition and instead compared our patients with a similar group of people chosen randomly. It is pretty obvious, if we "apply just a little bit of critical thinking" that we shouldn't compare our group of 23 people with symptoms of brain damage to a group randomly selected of the same size. We would have to compare it with a group corresponding to the all of the many diplomats and spies that we started out with.
Do you think that the much smaller group symptoms of brain damage after an MRI scanning that we would end up with had been exposed to "some sort of directed RF attack perpetrated by Russia"?
You are supposed to be some kind of medical professional, aren't you? Have you looked up what may cause "dizziness, headache, fatigue, nausea, anxiety, cognitive deficits, and memory loss" - other than "RF effects"??? Did you even read your long quotation before you jumped to the conclusion: Russians!!!? You are an embarrassment to the trade.

By the way, the investigation in this thread as well as out there in real life by real researchers has been hampered all the way by the unwillingness of the American authorities to reveal medical and other data. What independent researchers have found out is based on the bits of information that they could get hold of despite the attempts of American authorities to keep it hidden.
And even the institution you admire so much, the National Academy of Sciences, didn't get access to all of the information, and yet it was aware that other explanations than the one favored by the press (probably because of the bias of the press release) were possible. (Read your long quotation!!!)

Those of us who have followed this story are aware of this. You turn up in a group of actual skeptics with your bias and your extremely superficial knowledge of one singe report and tell us what you would guess. As "skeptics who apply just a little bit of critical thinking," we have seen the same kind of behavior and attitude numerous times before.

dann 4th March 2021 08:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xjx388 (Post 13414676)
... as skeptics ...


Actual skeptics:
Quote:

In 2019, the U.S. State Department asked the National Academy of Sciences to examine the cause of an array of mysterious health complaints experienced by American embassy diplomats and their families who were stationed in Cuba.
(...)
In early December 2020, a copy of the Academy’s report was leaked to the media, after which they quickly made the study public. Their findings surprised many scientists who had been following the case, by embracing one of the most exotic of explanations: microwaves.
(...)
Someone who is a specialist on the effect, University of Pennsylvania bioengineer Kenneth Foster, is critical of the report, observing that there is no evidence that the Frey effect can cause injuries.
(...)
Foster views any link between his eponymous effect and Havana Syndrome as pure fantasy. “It is just a totally incredible explanation for what happened to these diplomats…. It’s just not possible. The idea that someone could beam huge amounts of microwave energy at people and not have it be obvious defies credibility.” The former head of the Electromagnetics division of the Environmental Protection Agency, Ric Tell, also views the microwave link as science fiction.
Havana Syndrome Skepticism (Skeptic, Dec. 7, 2020)

Quote:

It bears repeating that intense pain from heat bears no similarity to any of the symptoms reported by the embassy workers in Havana. A government report published in 2020, An Assessment of Illness in U.S. Government Employees and Their Families at Overseas Embassies, cited the microwave auditory effect as being consistent with some of the symptoms. But this is a poor match; the only similarity is that some people reported hearing sounds, but completely unrelated types of sounds. Much of the rest of the paper's section on "Plausible Mechanisms" is highly speculative, and indeed its summary of an imaginary microwave weapon includes the blatantly false assertion that "known RF effects" include "dizziness, headache, fatigue, nausea, anxiety, cognitive deficits, and memory loss." No. Radio is all around us, and there is no evidence that it causes any of these things.
Unfortunately, the reporters who trumpeted "microwave weapon" as having been identified as the cause of Havana Syndrome ignored that it was only one of five possible causes discussed in the paper — the last of which was "Psychological and social factors", the only one that checks all the boxes, and the one broadly agreed upon as the true explanation. Regardless, for reasons absolutely unsupported by the data, the authors stated "many of the cognitive, vestibular, and auditory effects observed in DOS personnel are most consistent with modulated, or pulsed, RF biological effects" — and that's all the reporters needed.
Havana Syndrome, Microwaves, and Hearing RF - The lone exception to the science fact that radio cannot hurt you (Skeptoid, Jan. 5, 2021)

Scientists Slam Microwave Theory For “Havana Syndrome” (BuzzFeedNews, Dec. 7, 2020)
Two older articles:
Sonic Weapons in Cuba (Skeptoid, Dec. 26, 2017)
Were The ‘Sonic Attacks’ On American Diplomats Just Sci-Fi? (SkepticalEnquirer, Feb. 5, 2019)

xjx388 4th March 2021 09:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dann (Post 13415363)
Something did indeed happen to them. But if we apply just a little bit of critical thinking, we might consider that those of us who have been following the story have a bit of knowledge about this that you don't, and that is the reason why we don't dismiss hysteria and crickets and you do:
1) Initially there were many more diplomats and agents complaining of symptoms. After having been examined, most of those 'cases' were no longer cases. The group we are now talking about were the ones who remained. The ones with actual brain damage.
2) Witnesses (American, not Cuban!) have described the hysterical conditions at the embassy at the time. So you can dismiss it as much as you want, but mass hysteria has actually been confirmed.
3) And a recording of the weird sounds they referred to was released at one point, analyzed by independent researchers, and it turned out to be a recording of crickets. The minuscule difference between the released recording and the recordings of crickets used for comparison turned out to be due to the sound of crickets being reflected off of surfaces, i.e. echoes, which the researchers could reproduce. This meticulous study is one of the many reasons why we can dismiss sonic attacks. It sure as hell didn't have anything to do with any of the studies commissioned by the State Deparment!
4) It was not at all a diverse population. On the contrary. It was a close-knit group of people, incensed by paranoia of the 'enemy' and maybe also insecure about what was going to happen to their assignments and jobs when the new administration took over. (Those fears were not unfounded: the Trump administration decimated the embassy staff, using the alleged attacks as the excuse. That's irony, isn't it?!) Case zero was particularly adamant about being the victim of an attack and spread this idea to his Canadian colleagues.
5) So we are left with the report that both you and the editors of the Wikipedia page choose to consider to be the final word. You are obviously uninformed about the Canadian study and prefer the biassed study commissioned by the State Department, but you are also unaware of the criticism of the report.
Maybe you should take a look at it. Isn't that what "skeptics who apply just a little bit of critical thinking" would do?!




"If I had to guess" ... You are guessing. Based on nothing whatsoever.
Consider what happened:
1) A pretty large group of people of all ages with weird and very diverse symptoms are examined. A lot of those appear to be victims of mass psychogenic illness but otherwise healthy.
2) You are left with a small group of people with actual brain damage.
3) You have no actual idea about when or how that brain damage was caused because they weren't examined before the 'event' that is supposed to have damaged them.
4) And "as skeptics who apply just a little bit of critical thinking," we might consider what we would find if we weren't on a fishing expedition and instead compared our patients with a similar group of people chosen randomly. It is pretty obvious, if we "apply just a little bit of critical thinking" that we shouldn't compare our group of 23 people with symptoms of brain damage to a group randomly selected of the same size. We would have to compare it with a group corresponding to the all of the many diplomats and spies that we started out with.
Do you think that the much smaller group symptoms of brain damage after an MRI scanning that we would end up with had been exposed to "some sort of directed RF attack perpetrated by Russia"?
You are supposed to be some kind of medical professional, aren't you? Have you looked up what may cause "dizziness, headache, fatigue, nausea, anxiety, cognitive deficits, and memory loss" - other than "RF effects"??? Did you even read your long quotation before you jumped to the conclusion: Russians!!!? You are an embarrassment to the trade.

By the way, the investigation in this thread as well as out there in real life by real researchers has been hampered all the way by the unwillingness of the American authorities to reveal medical and other data. What independent researchers have found out is based on the bits of information that they could get hold of despite the attempts of American authorities to keep it hidden.
And even the institution you admire so much, the National Academy of Sciences, didn't get access to all of the information, and yet it was aware that other explanations than the one favored by the press (probably because of the bias of the press release) were possible. (Read your long quotation!!!)

Those of us who have followed this story are aware of this. You turn up in a group of actual skeptics with your bias and your extremely superficial knowledge of one singe report and tell us what you would guess. As "skeptics who apply just a little bit of critical thinking," we have seen the same kind of behavior and attitude numerous times before.

I am guessing. So is everyone else, including you. You continue to assert that hysteria and crickets are plausible, which is preposterous. Pesticides are more plausible and I am not ruling it out. But remember that this didn't happen only in Cuba. Similar things have happened in Russia and China. What Polymeropolous describes doesn't sound like a pesticide related issue at the Moscow Marriot. Now maybe it's not some unknown RF weapon. Maybe it's a chemical/poison. No one knows what caused this.

This has happened to a diverse population, not just a close knit group in Cuba. That and the documented brain damage rules out mass hysteria or psychogenic illness. As far as prexisting brain injuries go, that has been pretty much ruled out by the sudden onset of symptoms and the very similar types of brain damage found in the victims.

I don't care how long you've been following the story, the information is all out there. We all, including you, bring our biases to the table and it's hard to eliminate them. You refuse to consider that the Cuban government could be involved and you downplay/sugarcoat the situation there. I have a different view. So what? It's a discussion forum and maybe my views will change with good evidence.

xjx388 4th March 2021 09:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dann (Post 13415717)
Actual skeptics:






Scientists Slam Microwave Theory For “Havana Syndrome” (BuzzFeedNews, Dec. 7, 2020)
Two older articles:
Sonic Weapons in Cuba (Skeptoid, Dec. 26, 2017)
Were The ‘Sonic Attacks’ On American Diplomats Just Sci-Fi? (SkepticalEnquirer, Feb. 5, 2019)

OK, let's lower the plausibility of microwave/sound attacks. I still don't see how, given the documented brain damage, mass psychogenic illness is elevated in plausibility. Toxins, at this stage, should be elevated as the most plausible explanation.

Did some paranoia play a part in some of the cases? It's possible. But it does not explain what happened to Polymeropolous in Russia and it does not explain the brain damage. The links you cite don't mention the brain damage at all, just "health complaints." Something happened to these people that caued brain damage and that cannot be explained by hysteria. It could be explained by toxins.

The skeptics you cite are just guessing, like the rest of us. I think it's a particularly bad guess to pin this all on mass psychogenic illness.

dann 4th March 2021 11:26 AM

Man, this is tedious.
Yes, crickets are plausible as a contributing factor to the mass psychogenic illness (or mass hysteria, if you will). Why do you think so many people were examined? Why do you think so many were declared free of actual, physiological symptoms? The Cubans didn't come up with the idea that the crickets were a super-sonic weapon. The Americans did, which is the reason why the release of the recording was celebrated as the ultimate proof of how devious the Cubans are.

And no, "what Polymeropolous describes doesn't sound like a pesticide related issue." Do you think that the diplomats hearing and recording the crickets sounds like a pesticide-related issue? It obviously doesn't, but it also doesn't sound like a microwave-related issue.

And no, it hasn't actually "happened to a diverse population," and having to explain this to you is boring as hell because the rest of us in this thread have already been through this several times: The group of embassy workers, whatever their assignments were, some of them apparently agents pretending to be embassy workers, are a very close-knit group, who know each other and have been told to be aware of the enemy and to report back if they notice anything unusual or suspicious: ¡Si Ves Algo, Di Algo!

Besides, the old definition no longer holds true that outbreaks of mass psychogenic illness only take place in schools, convents or military barracks where people are physically close. A medical researcher in Denmark recently made the mistake to think that this is still how it happens this day and age. He denied mass psychogenic illness as an explanation in a group (!) of girls because they lived in all parts of the country. However, they had been swapping stories on the internet about their alleged symptoms after having had HPV-vaccine shots, which almost put a stop to HPV vaccinations in Denmark after a TV station got hold of the story.
Ever heard of the 12.000 children who were victims of Pokémon contagion?
Quote:

While photosensitive epilepsy was diagnosed in a minuscule fraction of those affected, this explanation cannot account for the breadth and pattern of the events. The characteristic features of the episode are consistent with the diagnosis of epidemic hysteria, triggered by sudden anxiety after dramatic mass media reports describing a relatively small number of genuine photosensitive-epilepsy seizures. The importance of the mass media in precipitating outbreaks of mass psychogenic illness is discussed.
You forget that very few of the Americans in Havana had actual symptoms of brain damage. You are right about one thing only: Their brain damage can't have been the result of hearing crickets even though the particular kind of cricket in this case is very loud and extremely annoying if it finds its way indoors. But very few of the Americans had actual brain damage, so the question remains if you couldn't do the same fishing expedition in a random group of ordinary people and come up with a similar number of until-then-undetected brain damage.

Some of those people complained about hearing loss, which is what happens to many of us. It happened to me, and I have been to Havana and heard crickets, but for some reason it never occurred to me that I been attacked by microwave weapons. My otolaryngologist claims that it is age-related, but that's a pretty boring explanation compared to microwaves.

Then there's "the sudden onset of symptoms," which would only rule out "preexisting brain injuries" if the patients had been brain-scanned before the alleged attacks. And "the very similar types of brain damage found in the victims" might have been significant if it were true. What you seem to be unaware - or maybe in deliberate denial - of is that many of those alleged victims did not have any brain damage at all! Their symptoms may have been similar to those of the victims with actual, physiological brain damage but in their cases no damage showed up on MRIs. So they were eliminated from the rest of the study, which is the reason why I described it as a fishing expedition:

Take a random group of people with a certain kind of symptoms, brain-scan them and keep the ones with brain anomalies, and then claim that they are the victims of a sinister attack.

In this respect, the Canadian study appears to have something going for it: insecticides. The American studies don't. And even the Canadian study stresses that other explanations are possible and doesn't jump to conclusions.

As I have mentioned before, it is not true that "the information is all out there." The State Department has only revealed what it wanted to reveal and did not even give the National Academy of Sciences all of it, which was a way of biassing the study before it even began.

Now you are whining that 'we are all biassed' and I should stop 'downplaying/sugarcoating.'
Your attitude is immature and I have been downplaying and sugarcoating nothing because there is nothing to downplay or sugarcoat. Your weird delusions are way beyond biassed.

dann 4th March 2021 11:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xjx388 (Post 13415800)
OK, let's lower the plausibility of microwave/sound attacks. I still don't see how, given the documented brain damage, mass psychogenic illness is elevated in plausibility. Toxins, at this stage, should be elevated as the most plausible explanation.

Did some paranoia play a part in some of the cases? It's possible. But it does not explain what happened to Polymeropolous in Russia and it does not explain the brain damage. The links you cite don't mention the brain damage at all, just "health complaints." Something happened to these people that caued brain damage and that cannot be explained by hysteria. It could be explained by toxins.

The skeptics you cite are just guessing, like the rest of us. I think it's a particularly bad guess to pin this all on mass psychogenic illness.


I don't care what happened to Polymeropolous in Russia!

Yes, something happened to those people: They got brain damage! When and where their brains were damaged is the question, and they obviously weren't damaged by crickets even though that was the explanation for their symptoms that they came up with. Many more had similar complaints but no brain damage, which is why mass hysteria is the most likely explanation for the 'Havana Syndrome'.

How the brains were damaged in the people whose brains were actually damaged is the question, and there is no reason to assume that they were damaged then and there. It could be age-related, it could be earlier trauma, and it could be chemicals. That a whole bunch of people freaked out at this particular point in time and space, whether their brains were damaged or not, can only be explained by mass hysteria, started by the misinterpretation of the sound of crickets, but I don't expect you to understand this.

xjx388 4th March 2021 01:49 PM

This is just weird...

The JAMA study looked at the brains of 40 victims and compared them to 48 other adults. There was damage present in the 40 subjects that wasn’t present in the control group. The damage was roughly consistent among the subjects.

It’s true that they didn’t have comparison studies from before they developed symptoms, but there is no basis to say that these brain injuries were the result of mere aging and there’s no evidence of prior trauma. It simply stretches credulity to say that the 40 subjects all had some prior brain injury that looks similar on scans but the controls did not have such injuries.

The subjects developed symptoms in Cuba. That indicates pretty strongly that the injuries happened in Cuba. Subjects developed similar symptoms in China and Russia. Something is happening to these people.

You can’t just dismiss the evidence with a “hysteria/crickets” theory that could not possibly account for the damage.

Pesticides are more plausible, but unsatisfactory. The fact that 1)similar events happened elsewhere and 2)that pesticides are widely used for mosquito control without such symptoms and injuries makes it somewhat less likely it was pesticides. You linked to an article that argued scaremongering about non-existent harms from cell towers and radio towers could be used to debunk RF attacks in Havana. RF can’t harm people in that way. If you accept that, then the same applies to pesticides: they don’t harm humans in that way. Farmers would be reporting similar symptoms and damage. Plus, spraying outside isn’t going to have much effect inside. Other people in the same building and the Cuban population in general did not have these symptoms or damage.

Toxins used in a targeted attack are very plausible. Maybe the best theory.

Some scientists seem to think an energy weapon is plausible. Others don’t.

In any case, all of this is necessarily speculative. Anyone who says X was definitively responsible is talking out the wazoo.

dann 4th March 2021 02:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dann (Post 13415909)
I don't care what happened to Polymeropolous in Russia!


I couldn't help myself and looked him up anyway. The following NBC News article tells us that he used to be a recruiter of spies and ran operations against Russia, until 2017 in Moscow, when he fell ill with weird symptoms:
Quote:

“I couldn't stand up,” he said. “I was falling over. I had an incredible sense of nausea and ringing in my ears. I was, frankly, terrified.”
CIA officer suffered crippling symptoms in Moscow. Was it 'Havana Syndrome'? (NBC News, Dec. 7, 2020)
And now he suffers from fatigue and chronic headaches and has latched on to (i.e. "he came to believe") the story about the microwave weapons in Havana.

Quote:

Now, a study by some of the world’s most prominent brain experts — first reported Friday night by NBC News – has validated what some American intelligence officials have long believed, by concluding that the most plausible explanation for the symptoms suffered by at least some of the affected American officers is “directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy,” a type of energy that includes microwaves.

The phrasing "at least some of the affected American officers" makes me wonder: Why not all of them? Why just at least some of them? Why not state exactly how many of them were affected by microwave weapons and how many of them were not?
The reason is pretty obvious: They can't tell because the kind of brain damage these people have does not reveal what caused the damage: concussions, Alzheimer's, sniffing glue, whatever, but some of those cases have just got to be caused by Russians or Cubans, don't they?!

Quote:

While not definitive, the report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is the most authoritative examination of what may have caused the mysterious illnesses. It validates the belief by those affected that something significant happened to them, and repudiates skeptics who chalked “Havana Syndrome” up to psychosomatic illness or distorted the findings of a research paper to blame the symptoms on sounds made by crickets.

Yes, something (!) significant obviously did happen, but that something significant happened doesn't mean that something = Russian microwave weapons.
And none other than the American 'victims' themselves blamed their symptoms on (what turned out to be) crickets! The affected American embassy staff were the ones who blamed their alleged symptoms on weird sounds, but when a recording of the sound was finally released by the AP:
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

- it turned out to sound like crickets. And it sounded like crickets because ... :scared: ... it was crickets!

Claiming that skeptics (!) tried to blame a serious embassy attack on crickets is preposterous. The researchers simply pointed out that the sound that the embassy personnel had interpreted as an attack was made by Jeremy and his friends and not by science-fiction weapons.

Acoustics experts in this thread had already pointed at crickets as the most likely culprit before any research reports were published, and that is the whole picture:
1) CIA agent case zero in Havana doesn't feel well and blames it on weird sounds he has heard. (correlation ≠ causation)
2) He tells everybody else and soon manages to agitate a considerable number of embassy workers and other agents.
3) Some of them also hear strange sounds (no wonder!) and since they now know how dangerous those sounds are some of them also start to feel nauseous etc.
That is mass hysteria classic!

That doesn't exclude the possibility that some of those people suffered from more than mass psychogenic illness. It doesn't even exclude the possibility that some of them got sick from something in the environment, like pesticides, for instance. But it makes it very unlikely that any weapon was involved - microwave or otherwise - unless somebody has seen such a weapon be employed.
There was a trigger, crickets, but there was no gun.

dann 4th March 2021 03:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xjx388 (Post 13416084)
This is just weird...
(...)
It simply stretches credulity to say that the 40 subjects all had some prior brain injury that looks similar on scans but the controls did not have such injuries.


I don't know how to make you understand this!
No, it is not at all weird!
How did they find the control group? Was the control group the result of an elimination process where a much larger group claimed to have symptoms, were then examined, and after eliminating all those who didn't have any signs of actual brain damage, they researchers were then left with 48 people?
No, that was obviously not the way it happened, but that was the way they found the 40 Americans in Havana!
Do you see the problem?!

That their symptoms started in Cuba means nothing. Take NFL players, for example. You might even recommend that they be used as a control group!

That "similar events" happened elsewhere is also not an argument because event only means people got sick. It doesn't mean attack, however much you want it to. People get sick all the time and everywhere. When the HPV-vaccinated Danish girls met each other online, they also discovered that they had all had the HPV shot. And they all (not all the girls who had been vaccinated, but all the girls who joined in on this discussion because they felt ill) felt that the vaccine had made them ill. (As it turned out, many of those with actual symptoms had seen their doctors with those symptoms before they were vaccinated.)

I have already told you why Americans in Cuba would be much more likely to be affected by pesticides than Cubans:
1) The embassy asked for more fumigación because of Zika.
2) Cubans don't usually live in airtight air-conditioned apartments. Americans in Havana do.

"Toxins used in a targeted attack are very plausible. Maybe the best theory."
Except that you have got absolutely nothing going for it. You are talking out of your wazoo.

xjx388 4th March 2021 03:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dann (Post 13416143)
I couldn't help myself and looked him up anyway. The following NBC News article tells us that he used to be a recruiter of spies and ran operations against Russia, until 2017 in Moscow, when he fell ill with weird symptoms:

And now he suffers from fatigue and chronic headaches and has latched on to (i.e. "he came to believe") the story about the microwave weapons in Havana.




The phrasing "at least some of the affected American officers" makes me wonder: Why not all of them? Why just at least some of them? Why not state exactly how many of them were affected by microwave weapons and how many of them were not?
The reason is pretty obvious: They can't tell because the kind of brain damage these people have does not reveal what caused the damage: concussions, Alzheimer's, sniffing glue, whatever, but some of those cases have just got to be caused by Russians or Cubans, don't they?!




Yes, something (!) significant obviously did happen, but that something significant happened doesn't mean that something = Russian microwave weapons.
And none other than the American 'victims' themselves blamed their symptoms on (what turned out to be) crickets! The affected American embassy staff were the ones who blamed their alleged symptoms on weird sounds, but when a recording of the sound was finally released by the AP:
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

- it turned out to sound like crickets. And it sounded like crickets because ... :scared: ... it was crickets!

Claiming that skeptics (!) tried to blame a serious embassy attack on crickets is preposterous. The researchers simply pointed out that the sound that the embassy personnel had interpreted as an attack was made by Jeremy and his friends and not by science-fiction weapons.

Acoustics experts in this thread had already pointed at crickets as the most likely culprit before any research reports were published, and that is the whole picture:
1) CIA agent case zero in Havana doesn't feel well and blames it on weird sounds he has heard. (correlation ≠ causation)
2) He tells everybody else and soon manages to agitate a considerable number of embassy workers and other agents.
3) Some of them also hear strange sounds (no wonder!) and since they now know how dangerous those sounds are some of them also start to feel nauseous etc.
That is mass hysteria classic!

That doesn't exclude the possibility that some of those people suffered from more than mass psychogenic illness. It doesn't even exclude the possibility that some of them got sick from something in the environment, like pesticides, for instance. But it makes it very unlikely that any weapon was involved - microwave or otherwise - unless somebody has seen such a weapon be employed.
There was a trigger, crickets, but there was no gun.

At the end of the day, dann, the crickets/hysteria hypothesis is just a guess. You make some good points. I imagine the crickets and cicadas are everywhere and the subjects correlated the symptoms with this weird noise they had never heard before. But this does not mean the crickets were the trigger. There could have been some kind of attack at the same time the crickets were chirping -and I imagine they chirp quite a bit in Cuba. It can be maddening here in the spring and summertime but no one gets brain damage from the sound.

Hysteria might be able to explain some of the symptoms people felt, but not the damage.

As for the damage, the pesticide Temefos is plausible, but again, unsatisfactory. This chemical is widely used for mosquito control. It was the principal anti-mosquito agent used in Cuba. Why did it seem to only affect the US and Canadian diplomats and their families? Is there evidence that other people not involved in diplomacy, regular everyday Cubans who would be exposed at least as much if not more, had similar symptoms and long-term damage? I can't find any evidence of such.

steenkh 4th March 2021 03:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xjx388 (Post 13416173)
As for the damage, the pesticide Temefos is plausible, but again, unsatisfactory. This chemical is widely used for mosquito control. It was the principal anti-mosquito agent used in Cuba. Why did it seem to only affect the US and Canadian diplomats and their families? Is there evidence that other people not involved in diplomacy, regular everyday Cubans who would be exposed at least as much if not more, had similar symptoms and long-term damage? I can't find any evidence of such.

Perhaps a lot of people who are exposed to extensive fumigacion with Temefos get a brain damage, but the American diplomats were the only ones who thought they were being attacked, and were tested?

xjx388 4th March 2021 04:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by steenkh (Post 13416206)
Perhaps a lot of people who are exposed to extensive fumigacion with Temefos get a brain damage, but the American diplomats were the only ones who thought they were being attacked, and were tested?


The Cuban population would feel sick too. They supposedly have an amazing healthcare system, so if Cubans were getting sick, they should know it. They would have come right out and said, “We see this in our population and we believe it’s the Temefos.”

But we have no reports of sick Cubans, only sick Americans and Canadians. Three possibilities spring to mind:

1)The Cubans are knowingly causing brain damage in their population but don’t want to admit it to their population. As was pointed out before, by dann, Cubans live in unventilated homes, not the sealed and air conditioned homes/hotels the diplomats stay in. Their exposure would be higher than the diplomats.

2)Temefos doesn’t cause such damage in the Cuban population, which would make Temefos an unlikely source of the US/Canadian injuries.

3)Cuba is totally unaware of any such damage because their health system isn’t nearly as good as it’s billed.

Maybe there are more possibilities...

dann 4th March 2021 10:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xjx388 (Post 13416173)
At the end of the day, dann, the crickets/hysteria hypothesis is just a guess. You make some good points. I imagine the crickets and cicadas are everywhere and the subjects correlated the symptoms with this weird noise they had never heard before. But this does not mean the crickets were the trigger. There could have been some kind of attack at the same time the crickets were chirping -and I imagine they chirp quite a bit in Cuba. It can be maddening here in the spring and summertime but no one gets brain damage from the sound.


No, nobody gets brain damage from crickets. How many times do I have to repeat that? But
1) most of the people who got symptoms didn't get brain damage, i.e. they complained of symptoms without any detectable physiological causes (except for the sound of crickets, that is);
2) witnesses, U.S. American witnesses, have described the atmosphere of hysteria at the time; and
3) the ones affected who didn't have any brain damage got back to work very soon; because all they needed was the reassurance that nothing serious was wrong with them, and
4) their symptoms corresponded to the list of Mass psychogenic illness: Common symptoms (Wikipedia).
I have had most of those symptoms at one point or another. Most of us have. In fact, I have watery and irritated eyes right now, but I am aware the strange noises I am hearing are coming from next door where my neighbor who is having her bathroom renovated, and my eyes are irritated by alder pollen.

Quote:

Hysteria might be able to explain some of the symptoms people felt, but not the damage.

Mass psychogenic illness is the only thing that describes the whole scenario at the time.
But then there is a small group with actual physiological damage to the brain whose symptoms were probably due to actual changes in their brain physiology, but it is hard to tell when those changes took place because they hadn't been brain scanned before the 'attack'. Hearing loss was one of their symptoms. The onset can be more or less sudden, but it usually comes gradually, but you often don't discover it until it becomes a problem. (In my case, probably earlier than most because it is pretty debilitating when you teach English and German and can't hear the nuances in your students' pronunciation.) But it is rarely, if ever, due to insecticides.

Quote:

As for the damage, the pesticide Temefos is plausible, but again, unsatisfactory. This chemical is widely used for mosquito control. It was the principal anti-mosquito agent used in Cuba. Why did it seem to only affect the US and Canadian diplomats and their families? Is there evidence that other people not involved in diplomacy, regular everyday Cubans who would be exposed at least as much if not more, had similar symptoms and long-term damage? I can't find any evidence of such.

How many times do I have to explain to you how the fumigation might affect American diplomats but not ordinary Cubans? Cubans don't live in insulated air-conditioned houses. There is a constant draft, which doesn't let the residents breathe in much of the stuff before it's gone again.
The only people who might get affected more than people living in houses with poor ventilation would be the fumigators themselves, and I suppose the Canadian and Cuban researchers have been looking into that possibility.
However, one problem, research-wise, is that the chemical breaks down and leaves the body pretty fast and the body repairs the brain damage that may be caused by long-term exposure to it.
Try googling Alon Friedman + havana symdrome
R. Douglas Fields is another reliable source: Scientific American: R. Douglas Fields
At the Root of the Cuban Embassy Mystery: Bad Science Journalism (Undark, Sep. 29, 2018)


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:19 AM.

Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 2015-20, TribeTech AB. All Rights Reserved.