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Old 4th August 2020, 06:52 AM   #5
Penultimate Amazing
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,982
Originally Posted by Butter! View Post
Hasn't it now been shown that at least a portion of the affected diplomats really do have some kind of brain damage? Or is that misinformation? It's on the Wikipedia article, in any case.

There is a very l-o-n-g thread about the whole thing in Social Issues and Current Events: US may close Cuba Embassy over 'health attacks'. (My title for it was, Alien Attack? Mass Hysteria? Conspiracy?, but that one disappeared when two threads were merged.)

Personally, I thought this whole event sounded like mass hysteria from the start. I was extremely surprised to discover these claims about brain damage.

The consensus here pretty soon was mass hysteria/mass psychogenic illness, which I suspected from the very beginning, obviously, but last year a Canadian-Israeli study suggested an insecticide widely used against mosquitoes during the Zika-virus epidemic as the culprit, and the Cuban researchers did not dismiss that idea. See the last paragraph of the Wikipedia article: Havana syndrome: Theories regarding cause.

The discomfort caused by the (apparentlly temporary) brain damage in combination with the strange sounds, which posters in the ISF thread soon put down to crickets or cicadas, appears to have been what gave rise to the conspiracy theory of nefarious attacks with sci-fi weapons perpetrated by either Cubans, Russians or Chinese.

The American studies were intent on proving this idea, while the Canadians were doing actual research, not cold-war paranoia disguised as science.

After the Canadian-Israeli study last year, the Cuban researchers joined forces with the Canadians to get to the bottom of the whole thing. The Americans had refused to share their data, so no real cooperation with them was ever possible.* However, the Cubans did have one objection: No, Cubans were found with symptoms similar to the ones at the American and the Canadian embassies, but that might be due to these embassies having been sprayed abundantly at their own requests.

I google the story now and then to follow up on what has happened, but so far I don't think that results from the joint Canadian-Cuban research project have been published.

If you are interested in U.S.-Cuban relations in general, you should check out the new Netflix movie Wasp Network (BBC review, Sep. 2, 2019) about the so-called Cuban Five (Wikipedia).
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* There are honest exceptions in the USA: “Sonic Weapon Attacks” on U.S. Embassy Don’t Add Up—for Anyone (Scientific American, Feb. 16, 2018)
"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx

Last edited by dann; 4th August 2020 at 06:56 AM.
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