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Tags crickets , Cuba conspiracies , Cuba incidents , mass hysteria , psychogenic illness , sonic weapons , US-Cuba relations

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Old 23rd April 2019, 06:52 PM   #641
dann
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Originally Posted by Jack by the hedge View Post
I hadn't thought of that until now. Funny.

I rather like the idea of a "neural weapon" whose principle of operation is that in your mind, there's a weapon.


You might like Neal Stephenson's novel Snow Crash (Wikipedia):

Quote:
The book presents the Sumerian language as the firmware programming language for the brainstem, which is supposedly functioning as the BIOS for the human brain. According to characters in the book, the goddess Asherah is the personification of a linguistic virus, similar to a computer virus. The god Enki created a counter-program which he called a nam-shub that caused all of humanity to speak different languages as a protection against Asherah (a re-interpretation of the ancient Near Eastern story of the Tower of Babel).
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"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; 23rd April 2019 at 06:58 PM.
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Old 21st May 2019, 04:39 AM   #642
dann
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No News, No Wonder ...

And don't expect anything soon:


Quote:
A 37-year delay: The U.S. Administration delays the publication of documents about ”sound attacks” on U.S. diplomats
Google translate German --> English:
The US Department of State is using tricks to prevent or delay the publication of documents on the alleged health problems of US diplomats in Cuba. Following a lawsuit filed by The New Yorker magazine and the James Madison Project on February 7 seeking to demand government accountability, State Department attorneys said on May 1, "potentially" 135,000 records so far sensitive documents ". It assured the district court in the district of Columbia, which is responsible for lawsuits against the government, to process 300 pages per month. "It would take the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 13,500 days, or almost 37 years, just to publish the documents already found," US journalist Tracey Eaton predicted in his blog Cuba Money Project. "Such tactics can help the government to suppress much of what is contained in the information."
37 Jahre Wartezeit: US-Administration verzögert Herausgabe von Akten über »Schallattacken« auf US-Diplomaten (junge Welt, May 11, 2019)

Quote:
The State Department has located 135,000 records in response to a Freedom of Information request demanding information about the medical and health problems that U.S. government employees reported in Cuba. The James Madison Project and New Yorker magazine in February sued the State Department for disclosure of information about the supposed “acoustic attacks.”
(...)
"Defendant is still in the process of searching for materials responsive to Plaintiff’s FOIA request and has located over 135,000 pages of potentially responsive records so far. Until the search is completed, a date for completion of the all processing cannot be meaningfully estimated at this time."
(...)
"Defendant further anticipates processing an average of 300 pages of potentially responsive records each month and making future productions on or about the 9th calendar day of each month."
At that rate, it would take the State Department 13,500 days – or nearly 37 years, working holidays and weekends – to process the 135,000 records the agency says it has found so far. And the agency says it is not finished looking for documents.
State Department’s FOIA processing time: A blistering 37 years (Cuba Money Project, May 5, 2019)
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"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
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Old 22nd May 2019, 03:09 AM   #643
dann
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Neither Microwaves, Ultrasound, Diplomats nor Crickets

What is the purpose of all these absurd lies?!

Quote:
The first lawsuits against a company accused of trafficking in confiscated Cuban property were filed Thursday, both targeting Carnival Cruise Lines.
The unprecedented action was made possible following a move by the Trump administration to fully implement Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, also known as the Libertad Act, which allows US nationals to sue for damages over private property seized during the Cuban revolution.
Javier Garcia-Bengochea and Havana Docks Corp. each filed suit in a federal court in Miami on the first day that Title III fully entered into force. Rodney Margol, who is co-counsel on the cases along with Bob Martinez, said the litigation was filed at 12:01 a.m.
The lawsuits allege that the Miami-based cruise company has been using ports that belonged to their family or family's company without compensation.
(…)
The move was met with opposition from Canadian and European Union allies, whose businesses have billions of dollars of investments in Cuba.
Federica Mogherini, a top EU official for foreign affairs, reiterated in a statement Thursday that the EU "deeply regrets" the decision to fully implement the act.
"The EU considers the extra-territorial application of unilateral restrictive measures to be contrary to international law and will draw on all appropriate measures to address the effects of the Helms-Burton Act, including in relation to its WTO rights and through the use of the EU Blocking Statute," she said. "The EU will continue to work with its international partners who have also voiced their concerns in this regard."
First US lawsuits filed over use of 'confiscated'Cuban property (CNN, May 3, 2019)

The BBC has an eye for the irony in all this:

Helms-Burton Act: US firms face lawsuits over seized Cuban land (BBC News, May 3, 2019)
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"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
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Old 2nd June 2019, 08:32 AM   #644
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New article in BuzzFeed News about the research behind the attack claims

Quote:
“Our response continues to be guided by the medical facts,” State Department senior medical adviser Behzad Shahbazian told BuzzFeed News in a statement. “World-class brain injury specialists and other scientists” at UPenn, NIH, and CDC, he said, “continue to examine the medical data to gain a better understanding of the nature and mechanism of injury that caused these patients’ symptoms.”
But according to public records obtained by BuzzFeed News, emails show the teams quarreled, refused to share data, and disagreed over study authorship, as they raced to publish in high-prestige publications. (The UPenn team requested copies of their own emails, and then declined to comment on them to BuzzFeed News. The Miami-led team responded after it was presented with a list of incidents in the emails.)
The US Government Botched Its Investigation Into The Mysterious “Sonic Attack” In Cuba, Emails Reveal (BuzzFeed News, May 29, 2019)

The BuzzFeed News article also mentions ‘attack’ symptoms that I hadn't heard about until now, and they are very bizarre:

Quote:
Shortly after her return (to Havana), there was a second incident in the apartment, accompanied by a buzzing noise. She said, “A sudden force on my face was pulling it up, everywhere above the nose.” Afterward she felt unsteady while walking and had fatigue and difficulty concentrating.

And another alleged victim:

Quote:
He had heard a buzzing noise in his home and the sensation of pressure, followed by problems with vertigo. “I fell out of my chair at work,” he said.

Quote:
In December, the paper by Hoffer and Balaban was finally published in Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology, a journal where Hoffer is an editor. It came to the same conclusion as the draft paper from a year earlier: “It does not seem imprudent to speculate that a highly specific unidentified energy exposure, perceived as a sound or pressure, could be producing an inner ear disturbance or demonstrate findings suggestive of a mild traumatic brain injury.” Among the findings in the paper was that only two diplomats actually had hearing loss, despite the initial headlines about deafness. Both of them had hearing problems before the incidents in Havana.

It is also very interesting that one of the official US research teams may be using the case to promote a new diagnostic tool:
”Neuro Kinetics diagnostic goggles
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"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
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Old 5th June 2019, 05:13 AM   #645
dann
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Those of you who have been following this thread may remember a couple of detours about the Pont-Saint-Esprit incident in 1951:

post 462 to 497 (Sep. 2 to 10, 2018)
post 531 to 535 (Sep. 30, 2018)
post 550 to 555 (Oct. 13 to 21, 2018)

Danish public service channel Danmarks Radio (DR) just showed an American documentary about the case: Landsby på LSD (dr.dk) ’Village on LSD’.

Danes can watch the documentary online for the rest of this month, June 2019:

Quote:
Fransk dokumentar fra 2015.
(CIA - Covert Experiment)
I 1951 bliver indbyggerne i den franske by Pont-Saint-Esprit ramt af hallucinationer, hvilket medfører flere dødsfald. En mand springer ud af vinduet, fordi han tror, han er en guldsmed. Andre løber forvirrede rundt, fordi de tror, de bliver jaget af vilde dyr. Rygterne gik efterfølgende på hekseri eller sindssyge. Men i denne dokumentar bliver den amerikanske efterretningstjeneste CIA mistænkt for at have forgiftet råvarerne i byen med stoffet LSD som et led i et eksperiment.

And everybody else (I hope) can watch it on Youtube:

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

In the context of our discussion of mass hysteria/mass psychogenic illness, the first 10-15 minutes of the documentary are interesting. Villagers are interviewed about the incident, and some of them describe their symptoms. The rest of the documentary is devoted to the history of CIA experiments on civilians as well as military personnel, and it advocates the idea that the inhabitants of Pont-Saint-Esprit were the victims of one of those experiments.
I don’t find it very convincing – it’s much too CT - but it’s worth watching for the eyewitnesses to the Pont-Saint-Esprit incident and for the history of the CIA’s experiments on human beings during the Cold War.

(And I absolutely hate the obvious falsification made when when a document reads:
”It was not ? ergot, it was a ???-like compound.” And they ’transcribe’ it as: ”It was not ergot, it was LSD compound.” (at 52 ff))
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"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; 5th June 2019 at 05:14 AM.
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Old 5th June 2019, 03:29 PM   #646
dann
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A Cuban newspaper in the province of Las Tunas, Periódico 26, has a short summary of the article in BuzzFeed News that I mentioned a few days ago in post 644: US Press Questions Inquiry into Health Incidents in Cuba (Periódico 26, May 29, 2019)
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"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
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Old 13th June 2019, 06:24 AM   #647
dann
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Those of us who are looking forward to Robert E. Bartholomew's book about the sick U.S. diplomats in Havana will have to arm ourselves with patience:

By Robert E. Bartholomew and Robert W. Baloh, MD; published by Prometheus Books, Feb. 2020:

Quote:
This is the story of how much of the world came to believe in something that never happened. In August 2017, the American State Department announced that their embassy staff in Havana, Cuba, had been attacked by a sonic weapon that left diplomats with brain damage and other health problems. Though these embassy officials and their families experienced real symptoms of illness, in fact there was no attack, nor any mysterious “sonic weapon.” Incredibly, the strange sound reported by embassy personnel was probably the buzzing of cicadas nearby.

In this in-depth investigation, a medical sociologist and a neurologist provide convincing scientific evidence that this incident is just the most recent example of mass psychogenic illness, formerly called mass hysteria. The authors explain that psychogenic illness is best thought of as a collective stress response, the opposite of the placebo effect. Just as a belief that one will recover from an illness can aid the process of recovery, a negative belief about an alleged hazard can induce illness. The condition is real and should never be dismissed as “all in their heads.”

The authors go on to show how “Havana Syndrome” fits into a pattern of similar illnesses that have occurred in many places throughout history. There are precedents for acoustical scares, such as “telephone sickness” and “wind turbine syndrome.” There are also documented cases of psychogenic reactions to insects.
Havana Syndrome - The Real Story behind the Embassy Mystery Illness and Modern-Day Hysteria (Penguin Random House)

Apple Books says, "Expected Feb 4, 2020, $11.99"
Kindle has the same date, but the price is $14.99 (Paperback $18)


This is new on Research Gate:
Politics, scapegoating and mass psychogenic illness: Claims of an acoustical attack’ in Cuba are unsound
(ResearchGate, May 30, 2019)
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"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
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Old 17th June 2019, 01:58 AM   #648
dann
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There's a new Canadian article about Cuban-Canadian relations:
Dark days for Canada-Cuba relations (Open Canada, June 13, 2019) Part 2: Symptoms of unease is specifically about the Havana syndrome.

And a new article about Cuba's response to the U.S. implementation of the Helms-Burton Act:
Cuba Supports Foreign Entrepreneurs Ahead of Aggressive US Escalation (Prensa Latina/Radio COCO, June 15, 2019)



I don't really know what this article in The Quietus (a word I've only ever encountered once, in Hamlet's soliloquy) is, but it looks very ... post-modern, maybe. It's probably what J. G. Ballard might have conjured up if he'd been able to imagine the Havana syndrome:

Quote:
A swollen folder, tagged ‘Dossier 37’, slots into the AUDINT archive precisely in the gap between unsound methods, and no methods at all. A very Trumpian phase space. It was compiled by IREX2, AI custodian of AUDINT, scraped together from its adventures in databases both public and secure. Its contents include: geolocation data relating to Havana, Cuba and Guangzhou, China, a long list of names from the worlds of science, government, and media, some of which appear to be computer-generated, a report from the Journal of the American Medical Association, transcripts of Senate subcommittee hearings and White House press conferences, an interview with the director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair, University of Pennsylvania, leaked documents from JASON, a secret group of elite scientists that assist with issues of US national security, the testimony of a paranoid conspiracy theorist recruited to an NSA meme lab in Florida, a communiqué from AUDINT associate Souzanna Zamfe on the subject of Russian deception, and the diagram of a Tensor Flow network developed by a Baltimore-based programmer researching the neurobiology of narrative.
Dossier 37: Unidentified Vibrational Objects on the Plane of Unbelief (The Quietus, June 9, 2019)

ETA:
Quote:
AUDINT entwine imagined realities into conversations with history.
Perhaps AUDINT are a sign of the times: a response to the return of irrationality, bleakness and uncertainty at the heart of global politics and economics. The ending of Martial Hauntology references the “spectral marketing of ghost (war) money“ and the “Bank of Hell… cast(ing) a curse over the global economic system (the unpredictable dimensions of which are still unfolding)”. The question of whether AUDINT are a fictional or real research cell becomes redundant: the fiction is all part of the horror.
The unsound methods of AUDINT (The Wire, Dec. 2016)
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"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

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Old 17th June 2019, 06:37 PM   #649
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dann, could you now solve the current mystery of all the tourist deaths in Dominican Republic?
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Old 18th June 2019, 02:12 AM   #650
dann
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You've probably already guessed that the devious Cubans are to blame, somehow:
Fidel Castro Intervention in the Dominican Republic
You need an awful lot of patience to wait 60 years for your plans to come to fruition, but getting back at the yanquis is all that those bloody commies care about. After all, Trujillo was such a nice guy so it couldn't possibly have been about him.
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"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

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Old 18th June 2019, 02:56 AM   #651
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Seriously: If you consider the number of U.S. American tourists going to the Dominian Republic,

Quote:
Between the beginning of 2017 and the end of 2018, 30 Americans died in the Dominican Republic of non-natural causes, according to the State Department. Those deaths were caused by drowning, accidents, suicide and homicide.
Last year, nearly 6.6 million people visited the country; more than 2.3 million of those were from the United States.
(Washington Post, June 17, 2019)

I am not yet sure that anything at all is mysterious about those deaths. A comparison with Danish tourists abroad:

Danes die on holidays - In the last 18 months, 224 Danes lost their lives on holidays (Berlingske, Aug. 19, 2009)

28% of them died in Spain, which would be approximately 63, many of them probably from alcohol poisoning, which, I guess, would be considered to be "of non-natural causes."

So like in the case of the U.S. diplomats and CIA agents in Havana and Guangzhou, you should probably consider: How many cases out of how many people?!
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"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
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Old 18th June 2019, 11:48 AM   #652
William Parcher
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It's been a news topic for weeks now.

Why are US tourists dying in Dominican Republic?

Originally Posted by BBC News
A New Jersey man has become at least the ninth US tourist to die in the Dominican Republic in a string of deaths the FBI is investigating...
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-48665796

I don't know if I'm creating a derail now. We could do a thread on this.
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Old 18th June 2019, 12:46 PM   #653
dann
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Yes, it should probably have its own thread, but let me add this before we get to that point:

Quote:
More than 1.1 million Danish tourists visit Spain every year, and in recent years the country has become even more popular
More Danish tourists to Spain (StandbyDenmark, May 1, 2017)

So let's take a look at the numbers:
1.1 million Danes visit Spain every year, and approximately 42 of them die.

More than 2.3 million American tourists visit the Dominican Republic so it's not unrealistic to expect 85 of them to die, i.e. almost two a week.

But at this point, it seems as if every American dying in the Dominican Republic adds to a mystery that probably isn't mysterious at all. If the reported deaths all happened at the same resort, there would be reason to become suspicious, but that is not the case.

If I were a Dominican, I would begin to consider the possibility that Team Trump-Bolton are planning an invasion in near future.

If I were an American tourist, I would go to Cuba instead of to the Dominican Republic, but I've always prefered Salsa and Son Cubano to Bachata Dominicana!
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"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
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Old 23rd June 2019, 10:59 AM   #654
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The 'sonic attacks' impact cultural exchange programs between Canada and Cuba and Cuban participation in sports event:

Quote:
Our program is an exchange; an unequal one but an exchange. We bring students to Havana, and we invite one Cuban professor, musician or artist back to Canada. In this way, Canadian audiences have been able to hear about the latest Cuban research, hear a concert from a top-notch musician, or learn about art directly from an artist or curator.
All this is now suspended.
The Canadian government says this is in response to the reduced staff in the embassy as a result of the curious “sonic attacks” experienced by embassy staff.
Canada closes a door on Cuban culture (The Star, May 19, 2019)

Quote:
HAVANA, May 31th Staffing problems at the Canadian Embassy in Cuba stemming from the so-called “Havana Syndrome” are being blamed for delays in granting visas to members of Cuba’s national baseball team, which is about to embark on a series of games in Canada and the U.S.
The games, which include a series against the Ottawa Champions, are only a couple of weeks away.
“As we understand it, the Canadian Embassy is very understaffed following the radio-wave incidents a couple of years ago,” said Champions owner Miles Wolff. “We’re getting a little concerned, although more discussions are planned (and) every string that can be pulled is being pulled.”
Canada’s presence in Cuba is lessened thanks to the Havana Syndrome, a scourge of concussion-like symptoms that appeared in 14 Canadian diplomats in that city over the past couple of years.
Delays in requiring visas putting Cuban baseball team’s games against champions at risk (Havana Live, May 31, 2019)

Quote:
Recently, the Canadian Embassy in Havana closed its Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship section. Now most Cubans wanting to visit Canada or get work/study permits will have to travel to a Canadian embassy in another country to submit their documents. In some cases Cubans will have to travel to another country at least twice to submit information to enter Canada. The draconian measure has already undercut cultural exchange and family visits, as described in a Toronto Star op-ed titled “Canada closes a door on Cuban culture”.
It’s rare for an embassy to simply eliminate visa processing, but what’s prompted this measure is the stuff of science fiction. Canada’s embassy staff was cut in half in January after diplomats became ill following a mysterious ailment that felled US diplomats sent to Cuba after Donald Trump’s election.
Trudeau government squeezes Cuba (Yves Engler, June 3, 2019)
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"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
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Old 24th June 2019, 01:20 PM   #655
dann
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I got an email from Amazon telling me that the book that I pre-ordered (mentioned in post 647) will not be published. Apple Books still mentions it, but the page has been removed from the websites of both Penguin Random House and Amazon:

Originally Posted by dann View Post
By Robert E. Bartholomew and Robert W. Baloh, MD; published by Prometheus Books, Feb. 2020:
Quote:

Apple Books says, "Expected Feb 4, 2020, $11.99"
Kindle has the same date, but the price is $14.99 (Paperback $18)

Strange ...
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"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
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Old 25th June 2019, 02:09 AM   #656
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Apparently, it was just the Kindle version that was cancelled. Amazon still has a page for the paperback version.
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"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
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Old 7th July 2019, 02:29 AM   #657
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Quote:
A number of things are wrong with the “psychogenesis” (hysteria) argument. Most notably, symptoms of hysteria are caused by the action of the mind.
A study led by Dr. Michael E Hoffer, a neuro-otologist at the University of Miami, however, reported problems with the central vestibular system (inner ear) in 36 per cent of American diplomats and their families affected by Havana syndrome.
Lesions in this part of the auditory apparatus would be organic. Inner ear damage is not psychogenic and means that the tissues of the inner ear itself have sustained some kind of assault.
‘Havana syndrome’ symptoms of diplomats in Cuba are not mass hysteria (The Conversation, July 3, 2019)

Also in:
Psychiatrist Argues the 'Sonic Attacks' on Diplomats in Cuba Are Not Mass Hysteria (Science Alert, July 5, 2019)

The psychiatrist seems to have missed that neurologists and other medical experts.have already dismissed the alleged organic symptoms of the U.S. and Canadian diplomats (as well as 'diplomats'). And even if that weren't the case, you would also have to wonder about the other 64 % ...
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"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
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Old 23rd July 2019, 05:13 AM   #658
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New article in The Lancet (Neurology), July 3. The authors (Stoyan Popkirov, David M Baguley, Alan J Carson, Richard J Brown, Jon Stone) disagree with the authors of the JAMA study who examined the American embassy workers and diagnosed physical brain injuries. They consider the symptoms of the U.S. employees at the U.S. embassy in Havana and conclude that they seem to indicate a chronic functional disorder:

Quote:
Their symptoms increased over time. This temporal pattern of worsening and spreading of symptoms is not consistent with brain injury, but is typical of chronic functional disorders. The same is true for the reported day-to-day variability of symptoms. However, the investigators dismissed a functional disorder diagnosis on the basis that patients passed tests of effort and were keen to return to work. This reasoning betrays a troubling conflation of functional disorders with malingering. The implication that patients with functional disorders are work-shy is not supported by evidence.
The neurology of the Cuban ’sonic attacks’ (The Lancet, July 3, 2019)

But they also disagree with the diagnosis mass hysteria/mass psychogenic illness:

Quote:
For the US embassy personnel, mass hysteria insinuates that mainly anxiety and mimicry are at work. In contrast, the symptoms of disorders such as PPPD (persistent postural-perceptual dizziness) reflect physiological maladaptation that might be shaped but are not caused by social factors. The symptoms are triggered by a pathophysiological event, even if their presentation can be influenced by cultural or personal-illness narratives.
Another functional disorder that exemplifies this interplay between a sensory trigger and secondary maladaptation is acoustic shock, first described in professional telephone operators. After being startled by a loud and unexpected noise, these patients develop persistent otological symptoms such as sound sensitivity, tinnitus, and ear discomfort, often combined with headache, neck stiffness, and disturbances of mood, memory, and sleep. These symptoms evolve, persist, and fluctuate.

Without mentioning crickets at all, they still seem to be pointing in that direction: "this interplay between a sensory trigger and secondary maladaptation"


The concepts of mass hysteria/mass psychogenic illness and functional disorders or PPPD have many things in common, so if, like me, you're not a professional health care worker or neurologist, I recommend that you read the (short) Lancet article yourselves ... c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y!


I found a link to the Lancet article in a forum devoted to the discussion of ME/CFS, i.e. Chronic fatigue syndrome (Wikipedia). In the thread, ’Havana Syndrome’ symptoms of diplomats in Cuba are not mass hysteria, they discuss the author of the article I quoted and linked to in the post immediately above this one (#657). They really dislike him:

Quote:
Except it's written by one of the most ardent ME deniers: Edward Shorter. He most likely retains his belief, arguing exactly the other side of this very argument without skipping a beat.
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"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; 23rd July 2019 at 05:20 AM.
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Old 24th July 2019, 12:42 AM   #659
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Edward Shorter’s article (see post 657) hasn’t been mentioned much in other media. One of the very few that do is the Babalu Blog:

Quote:
Cuba’s Castro dictatorship continues to claim there was no such thing as “sonic attacks” on American and Canadian diplomats in Havana. They have done everything they can to deflect the attention away from the Cuban government and the evidence implicating them. The Castros have even gone so far as to call it a CIA operation and blamed crickets for the strange sounds the diplomats heard when they were attacked.
Despite attempts to discredit American and Canadian diplomats, the sonic attacks in Cuba were real (Babalu Blog, July 4, 2019)

Babalu Blog can't be bothered with the fact that there is no evidence at all implicating the Cuban government. Nor does it bother them that in the meantime the sound heard on the released recording from Havana has been confirmed by international researchers as coming from crickets.
It is no coincidence that the blog loves Edward Shorter's article:

Quote:
Babalu Blog is an award-winning Internet weblog written and edited by anti-Castro Cuban-Americans. It provides an unfiltered and opinionated perspective on Castro’s regime.
Fidel Castro’s Cuba (Juvenile Nonfiction, 2012)
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"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
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Old 24th July 2019, 12:28 PM   #660
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New JAMA Study

Quote:
Conclusions
Among US government personnel in Havana, Cuba, with potential directional phenomena exposure, compared with healthy controls, advanced brain MRI techniques revealed significant neuroimaging differences in whole brain white matter volume, regional gray and white matter volume, cerebellar tissue microstructural integrity, and functional connectivity in the auditory and visuospatial subnetworks but not in the executive control subnetwork. The clinical importance of these differences is uncertain and may require further study.
Neuroimaging Findings in US Government Personnel With Possible Exposure to Directional Phenomena in Havana, Cuba (JAMA, July 23, 2019)

The NPR has talked with one of the authors of the study:

Quote:
Advanced brain imaging techniques did reveal some subtle differences in the workers' brains, says Ragini Verma, a professor of radiology at the University of Pennsylvania and an author of the study published in this week's JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association.
But those differences "do not reflect the imaging differences that we see in [traumatic brain injury] or concussion," Verma says.
"All you can say is something happened, which caused their brain to change," she says.
Brain Scans Find Differences But No Injury In U.S. Diplomats Who Fell Ill In Cuba (NPR, July 23, 2019)

However, other researchers cast doubt on the causes of the alleged brain changes. (I have mentioned, quoted and linked to Sergio Della Sala and Douglas Fields several times before.):

Quote:
The differences could have been random or simply the result of different life experiences that can change the brain — like learning a foreign language, says Sergio Della Sala, a professor of human cognitive neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh in the U.K. He called the study in JAMA "half-baked."
(...)
"First of all, these techniques are not diagnostic, they are descriptive," he (Douglas Fields) says. "And they don't provide any clinical evidence of any kind of abnormality or pathology. What they show are minor differences between two groups."
And the existence of some differences is hardly surprising, he says.
"These methods are used to find differences that are associated with being left-handed or right-handed, male or female, low IQ [or] high IQ, whether you are a musician or not," he says. "They're all within the normal range."
(NPR, July 23, 2019)

In Canada they see it as confirmation that the diplomats were attacked:

Quote:
Researchers found, among other things, that the patients, who suffered from concussion-like symptoms, had significantly smaller brain white matter than the control group. White matter is the tissue that contains nerve fibers that connect parts of the brain and signal nerves to talk to each other. Researchers found some changes similar to the brains of concussion patients, which did not surprise them, said Smith.
But they found something else, which Smith said is unique — changes to the signals that help nerves to communicate.
In concussion patients, there might be swelling in the long fibres contained in white matter, researchers found the opposite in the Havana patients they studied. Although further study would have to confirm it, the findings raise the possibility that the brains of Havana patients might have a lower percentage of water in their brain’s white matter, which is significant.
“These type of changes are truly unique and don’t fit any known disorder that we have come across,” said Smith.
'Not just in their heads': Scientists find anomalies in brains of 'Havana Syndrome' patients (Ottawa Citizen, July 24, 2019)

It is worth mentioning that it is a very well-known fact that stress, in particular chronic stress, shrinks the brain and affects the balance between white and grey matter: 5 Surprising Ways That Stress Affects Your Brain (Very Well Mind, March 27, 2019)

Voice of America also mentions Della Sera:

Quote:
Sergio Della Sala, a cognitive neuroscience professor at the University of Edinburgh, called the study "half-baked," in an email to Reuters, noting that 12 of the employees had histories of concussions and none of the controls did.
According to the study, the employee's concussion symptoms had faded by 2016, when reports of illness began.
(Voice of America, July 23, 2019)

CNN suffers from the same kind of alarmism as the Ottawa Observer, the headline more so than the actual article:

Quote:
Differences in connectivity were also observed in the brain's auditory and visuospatial areas, according to the study. However, the authors note that the clinical importance of these findings is uncertain, and they didn't have earlier MRIs of the patients to compare what their brains looked like before the incidents.
Moreover, these patterns don't fit a clear picture of a specific disorder, the authors say.
Cuba 'sonic attacks' (!) changed people's brains, study suggests (CNN, July 23, 2019)

But at least the CNN mentions the crickets!
However, one of the researchers has this explanation: The sound of crickets didn't make the diplomats sick. Their sick brains made them hear cricket sounds!!!

Quote:
"We actually don't think it was the audible sound that was the problem," Dr. Douglas Smith, an author on both studies and the director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Brain Injury and Repair, previously told CNN. "We think the audible sound was a consequence of the exposure."
Cuba 'sonic attacks' changed people's brains, study suggests (CNN, July 23, 2019)

I could have sworn that the AP published an actual recording of crickets, and now it turns out that the cricket sound was produced by the diplomatic brains.
I never thought that I would meet one in real life, but this must be what William Gibson refers to as a consensual hallucination!
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"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
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Old 29th August 2019, 04:38 AM   #661
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Quote:
Extensive imaging tests showed the workers had less white matter than a comparison group of healthy people and other structural differences, researchers said.
Brain scans different in U.S. diplomats who worked in Cuba but significance unclear (CBC.ca, July 25, 2019)

However, a researcher at the University of Edinburgh objects to the the procedure of comparing the allegedly attacked diplomats' brains with the brains of a group of healthy individuals:

Quote:
The University of Edinburgh's Stone said the new study has several other limitations that weaken the results, including a comparison group that wasn't evenly matched to the patients.
"If you really want to suggest that something fundamentally different happened in Cuba ... then the best control group would be 40 individuals with the same symptoms who hadn't been to Cuba and had no history of head injury," Stone said.
Brain scans different in U.S. diplomats who worked in Cuba but significance unclear (CBC.ca, July 25, 2019)


Quote:
An anti-secrecy group and New Yorker magazine today agreed to narrow the scope of their Freedom of Information Act request for documents about the purported sonic or acoustic attacks in Havana.
FOIA case over “acoustic attacks” drags on (Cuba Money Project, Aug. 2, 2019)

But don't hold your breath:

Quote:
The State Department says it has found 194,000 records that may relate to the unexplained acoustic incidents in Havana, but cannot process the documents any faster than 300 pages per month.
At that rate, it will take nearly 54 years to release all the records.
New Yorker magazine and the James Madison Project, a Washington, D.C., group that promotes government accountability, sued the State Department for the documents in February.
Documents will be available in the year 2073 (Cuba Money Project, Aug. 22, 2019)

For those of you who have a particular interest in other theories about the alleged acoustic attacks:

Scientists: Acoustic episodes could be bizarre accident (Cuba Money Project, Aug. 21, 2019)


As a Dane, I find this very curious:

Quote:
State Department employees sent on temporary assignments to Havana are given a $316 daily allowance for lodging, meals and incidentals.
(...)
A hardship differential is established for any place when, and only when, the place involves extraordinarily difficult living conditions, excessive physical hardship, or notably unhealthful conditions affecting the majority of employees officially stationed or detailed at that place.
Havana beats the South Pole (Cuba Money Project, Aug. 7, 2019)

In the Danish city of Aalborg, State Department employees get four US-$ less than in Havana. I assume that it reflects the costs of living rather than the danger they are exposed to. Not that I think that they are exposed to any kind of danger in havana.
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"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

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Old 8th September 2019, 08:29 AM   #662
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60 Minutes at it again

I used to look forward to 60 Minutes on CBS. Not anymore. Their reports on the alleged attacks on U.S. diplomats in Havana and Guangzhou are a disgrace:
Brain trauma suffered by U.S. diplomats abroad could be work of hostile foreign government (CBS News, Sep. 1, 2019)

This time they interview Mark Lenzi, who used to work in Guangzhou:

Quote:
He says that he and his wife began to suffer after hearing strange sounds in their apartment.
Mark Lenzi: Picture holding a marble. Then, picture if you had like a six foot in diameter funnel, metal funnel. The sound that marble would make as it goes around and it progressively gets faster as it gets, goes down towards the hole at the end. It's a sound like I've never heard before.
Scott Pelley: Was this subtle? Like, "Did I hear that?"
Mark Lenzi: No. It was, it was actually somewhat loud. I heard it about three or four times. Always in the same spot. Always over my son's crib and always right before we would go to bed.

What do you say about something like this when you weren't there yourself? It's difficult to deny what he claims as a subjective experience. But then there is this:

Quote:
Mark Lenzi: This was a directed standoff attack against my apartment.
Scott Pelley: It was a weapon?
Mark Lenzi: Oh, of course it was a weapon.
Scott Pelley: An energy weapon--
Mark Lenzi: Absolutely.
Scott Pelley: What sort of energy is this that we're talking about?
Mark Lenzi: I believe it's RF, radio frequency energy, in the microwave range.

Now, I can empathize with ordinary people who fall prey to the idea of electrical fields and microwaves damaging their health. After all, we are talking about phenomena that are invisible and not immediately detectable by the senses that human beings are equipped with. However, in this context, it is important to stress that Mark Lenzi isn't ordinary people:

Quote:
Mark Lenzi believes he was targeted because of his work. He uses top secret equipment to analyze electronic threats to diplomatic missions.

So this guy, who must have access to all kinds of sophisticated electronic recording devices, claims to have heard a very unusual sound that harmed his brain, and he heard it in the same spot at the same time of day: "Always over my son's crib and always right before we would go to bed." And he didn't hear it once or twice, but "about three or four times," and yet all he can give 60 Minutes is his own colorful description of what it sounded like!
And Scott Pelley doesn't even ask him about this! What a despicable piece of journalism!

60 Minutes also interviews Catherine Werner, and Robyn and Britta Garfield, who were also in Guangzhou, Mike Beck, who thinks that he and a colleague got Parkinson's from a microwave weapon in another country (neither Cuba nor China) back in the 1990s, and Mark Lenzi's neurologist Dr. Teena Shetty.
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"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
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Old 11th September 2019, 06:37 AM   #663
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It occurs to me that the White House would have an open ear for the idea that American spies in Havana and Guangzhou were attacked by microwaves as claimed by Mark Lenzi on 60 Minutes:

Quote:
Mark Lenzi: This was a directed standoff attack against my apartment.
Scott Pelley: It was a weapon?
Mark Lenzi: Oh, of course it was a weapon.
Scott Pelley: An energy weapon--
Mark Lenzi: Absolutely.
Scott Pelley: What sort of energy is this that we're talking about?
Mark Lenzi: I believe it's RF, radio frequency energy, in the microwave range.

You tend to forget about the absurdities that come out of the White House, but even before the rest of the world heard about the alleged attacks, they insisted that Obama had used microwaves to spy on Trump:

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
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"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
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Old 12th September 2019, 03:46 AM   #664
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Suspects in 'Attacks' Deceased

I seem to have missed this gem from Robert E. Bartholomew back in April:

Quote:
Suspects in ‘Attacks’ Deceased
Let’s clear up one common misconception: that the culprits are still at-large. Those responsible for the ‘attacks’ on American Embassy staff in Cuba have been identified. They were two separate groups of Cuban nationals. I say “were” because the members of both groups who were involved are almost certainly dead.
The Latest Chapter in the "Sonic Attack" Saga - The "sonic attack" suspects are almost certainly deceased. (Psychology Today, April 2, 2019)
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"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
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Old 12th September 2019, 11:16 AM   #665
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
I seem to have missed this gem from Robert E. Bartholomew back in April:
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Old 15th September 2019, 06:55 AM   #666
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Two other articles in recent months that I didn't notice when they were published, the first one also by Robert E. Bartholomew:

Quote:
Here is what a lot of people do not realize: The stress associated with mass psychogenic illness can cause changes in brain function. The literature on mass hysteria is filled with outbreaks involving patients exhibiting neurological abnormalities. These are not the short-lived cases in which someone detects an unfamiliar odor, falls ill, then quickly recovers, usually within hours and rarely longer than a day. There is a second type of outbreak that is characterized by the appearance of neurological symptoms. These types of cases typically involve exposure to long-term stress that occurs for months and even years. This second outbreak type is what happened in Cuba.
New 'Sonic Attack' Study Mostly Spin, Little Substance (Psychology Today, July 23,2019)

Quote:
The Cuban expert found no correlation between alterations shown in the imaging and the diplomats’ symptoms and no connection between the findings of the two Pennsylvania studies.
U.S. political purposes now intrude. Reflecting such, the dominant media embellished reports on the recent JAMA report with hyperbole. “US diplomats’ brains were shrunk, claimed one UK newspaper. They were “left paralyzed,” declared another. “Cuba ‘sonic attacks’ changed US diplomats’ brains,” the New York Post reported.
Sidelined US Embassy and Mystery Illnesses Spell Trouble for Cuba (Counterpunch, Aug. 2, 2019)

ETA: It's Catching, a list of Robert E. Bartholomew's articles at Psychology Today.
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"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

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Old 15th September 2019, 07:12 AM   #667
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And from another very consistent contributor to the story of the alleged attacks on U.S. embassy workers in Cuba and Guangzhou, R. Douglas Fields.
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"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
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Old 20th September 2019, 07:12 AM   #668
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New Canadian Study: Toxins from Fumigation?

This is the first time that a study pointing at an (albeit still hypothetical) actual physical (or rather: chemical) cause of the symptoms of the embassy workers makes sense to me. I have experienced fumigation in Cuba back in the summer of 2006 when all the neighborhood Committees for the Defense of the RevolutionWP had posters about the precautions to be taken against dengue, but in recent years it seems to have intensified due to the attempts to prevent the spread of the Zika virus.

Quote:
In a Canadian study published on the 24th of May 2019 and cited by a web article of CBC News, researchers on Canadian diplomats affected by the Havana Syndrome have come to the conclusion that neurotoxins are compatible with the symptoms of the syndrome. Their explanation of the root cause is the increased use of fumigation as pest control by the embassies themselves, which is supported by blood analysis.
Havana Syndrome: Theories regarding cause (Wikipedia)

From the CBC article:

Quote:
The embassies actively sprayed in offices, as well as inside and outside diplomatic residences — sometimes five times more frequently than usual. Many times, spraying operations were carried out every two weeks, according to embassy records.
Toxicological analysis of the Canadian victims confirmed the presence of pyrethroid and organophosphate — two compounds found in fumigation products.
There was also a correlation between the individuals most affected by the symptoms and the number of fumigations that were performed at their residence.
Havana syndrome: Exposure to neurotoxin may have been cause, study suggests (CBC, Sep. 19, 2019)

The CBC article also says that at least one of the researchers "categorically" rules out mass hysteria as the primary cause of the symptoms of the embassy workers:

Quote:
While a psychological component cannot be completely ruled out, according to the results of the Dalhousie study, it seems to have played a secondary role.
(…)
Cindy Calkin, a psychiatrist and member of the multidisciplinary research team, said she categorically rejects the idea of mass hysteria.
"I have interviewed all but one or two of [the victims] and I haven't found any evidence of psychiatric disorder. This is a very strong group, very resilient and there is no evidence of mass hysteria," she said. "Part of the diagnostic of mass hysteria is that there is no underlying other medical cause that can be found. And we [found] underlying medical evidence."

The summary of the actual Canadian study:

Quote:
VII Summary
We report the clinical, imaging, and biochemical evidence consistent with the hypothesis of overexposure to cholinesterase inhibitors as the cause of brain injury. To further confirm this hypothesis and potentially study the toxic agent, we initiated collaboration with the National Laboratory of Toxicology at Dalhouse University in order to measure traces of possible toxins and their metabolites in blood and/or urine samples. While other causes cannot be ruled out, our findings point to an environmental risk with immediate implications for prevention, screening, and follow-up of individuals in the context of exposure to neuro-toxins. It will be important to review fumigation procedures, types of agents being used, and environmental levels of exposure. Alternative protective methods for the prevention of mosquito-borne diseases should be considered.
Havana Syndrome: Neuroanatomical and Neurofunctional Assessment in Acquired Brain Injury Due to Unknown Etiology (SCRIBD, May 24, 2019)

It is very interesting that the study also suggests a method to prevent new cases that is very different from the virtual closing down of the U.S and Canadian embassies in Havana that seems to have been the only precautionary measure attempted so far ...
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"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; 20th September 2019 at 07:59 AM.
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Old 20th September 2019, 09:04 AM   #669
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
This is the first time that a study pointing at an (albeit still hypothetical) actual physical (or rather: chemical) cause of the symptoms of the embassy workers makes sense to me. I have experienced fumigation in Cuba back in the summer of 2006 when all the neighborhood Committees for the Defense of the RevolutionWP had posters about the precautions to be taken against dengue, but in recent years it seems to have intensified due to the attempts to prevent the spread of the Zika virus.




From the CBC article:




The CBC article also says that at least one of the researchers "categorically" rules out mass hysteria as the primary cause of the symptoms of the embassy workers:




The summary of the actual Canadian study:




It is very interesting that the study also suggests a method to prevent new cases that is very different from the virtual closing down of the U.S and Canadian embassies in Havana that seems to have been the only precautionary measure attempted so far ...
Yeah overspraying seems the logical explaination. That and panic and hysteria.
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Old 20th September 2019, 09:10 AM   #670
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Originally Posted by dann View Post

You might like Neal Stephenson's novel Snow Crash (Wikipedia):
Bah, David Langford did it earlier. And arguably John Varley and Piers Anthony even earlier.

Quote:
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<>

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Old 20th September 2019, 01:47 PM   #671
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
Bah, David Langford did it earlier. And arguably John Varley and Piers Anthony even earlier.

I think I've read everything by Varley. (And I included one of his stories, The Manhattan Phone Book (Abridged), in an anthology of science fiction for Danish high school students.) But I don't know which story by Varley you are thinking of.
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Old 20th September 2019, 01:50 PM   #672
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About the same study:

Quote:
The report said the diplomats’ illnesses coincided with increased fumigation in and around residences where they lived. One of the authors of the study, Professor Alon Friedman, clarified in an email to Reuters that both Canadian and Cuban authorities were fumigating.
Neurotoxin may have caused diplomats’ illness in Cuba: study (Reuters, Sep. 19, 2019)

Quote:
In total, there were 26 Canadian participants: 23 Canadian diplomats and their family members who lived in Havana were included in the study, as well as individuals who didn’t live in Cuba.
‘We were also able to test several of the subjects before and after they returned from Cuba,’ Dr Friedman says. ‘Our team saw changes in the brain that definitely occurred during the time they were in Havana.’
‘Havana Syndrome’ that Affected Cuba-based Diplomats Likely Caused by Pesticides (Psychreg.org, Sep. 19, 2019)

Quote:
“The study validates the need for us to continue to learn more about the use of pesticides and other toxins,” says Friedman. “It is a global health issue that reminds us how much we still have to learn about the impact that toxins have on our health.”
Israeli researchers believe pesticides as likely cause of Cuban-based ‘Havana Syndrome’ (Jewish News Syndicate, Sep. 20, 2019)
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"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
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Old 20th September 2019, 02:49 PM   #673
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
This is the first time that a study pointing at an (albeit still hypothetical) actual physical (or rather: chemical) cause of the symptoms of the embassy workers makes sense to me. I have experienced fumigation in Cuba back in the summer of 2006 when all the neighborhood Committees for the Defense of the RevolutionWP had posters about the precautions to be taken against dengue, but in recent years it seems to have intensified due to the attempts to prevent the spread of the Zika virus.
I saw this story today and came to see if this thread was still going. It is!! wow.


My leading theory nearly 2 years ago was chemical fumigation. (This thread, Nov 6, 2017). We discussed it for a page or 2. You dismissed my idea at the time.

Starts about here: http://www.internationalskeptics.com...4#post12064554
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Old 20th September 2019, 03:23 PM   #674
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Cuba's reaction to the new Canadian study:

Quote:
The results of Dalhousie University's work differ from unsubstantiated and scientifically unproven theories that mysterious weapons were used to attack diplomats.
This new hypothesis helps to clarify that the different theories about so-called "directional phenomena" and other euphemisms about supposed attacks are baseless.
The Cuban experts who have worked on the issue consider, in a preliminary way, that the hypothesis presented by the Canadian team is a serious explanation to justify the reported symptoms based on scientific research.
Canadian university investigation refutes accusations against Cuba (Radio Rebelde, Sep. 20, 2019)

The Canadian researchers had already shared their preliminary findings with the Cubans in July 2019 in Havana:

Quote:
Durante un encuentro celebrado el pasado mes de julio en La Habana, los investigadores canadienses compartieron su tesis, de forma preliminar, con las autoridades cubanas y el Comité de Expertos que estudia las alegaciones estadounidenses desde hace casi dos años.
(...)
El neurocientífico cubano explica que, de ser acertada la hipótesis, hay dos posibilidades:
«Que ellos pudieran tener una aplicación más intensa de los insecticidas, lo cual causaría algún tipo de afectación, o que existan algunos cubanos en situación similar que no hemos detectado. No descartamos eso. Cuba tiene la voluntad de investigar todo, de examinarlo todo. Vamos a hacer una investigación para verificarlo».
Advierte, sin embargo, que no hay antecedentes a lo largo de los años que se han aplicado los insecticidas en Cuba. «Las personas más expuestas son los trabajadores de la fumigación, quienes rigurosa y regularmente son examinados según los protocolos de Higiene y Salud del Trabajo del Minsap.
«De todas formas, en nuestra investigación seleccionaremos una muestra de ellos y les haremos un examen más completo con pruebas de sangre adicionales e imágenes del cerebro, como hicieron los canadienses».
Cuba está dispuesta a examinar esta hipótesis para buscar la verdad, porque la ciencia se basa en evidencias, agregó.
Confirman que «no hay un síndrome de La Habana causado por misteriosas armas» (Juventud Rebelde, Sep. 19, 2019)

Quote:
Auch wenn die Arbeit des Forschungsteams der Dalhousie University mit wissenschaftlicher Stringenz durchgeführt wird, ist das kubanische Team der Meinung, dass, wenn man nur eine kleine und heterogene Zahl von Proben benutzt, es schwierig sei, zu definitiven Lösungen zu gelangen. Es sei nicht möglich, andere Erklärungen auszuschließen, die auf sehr gewöhnlichen Pathologien basieren.
Nach Meinung der kubanischen Experten bestätigt sich, nachdem man die öffentlichen Daten über die Gesundheitsprobleme der Diplomaten aus Kanada und den USA mit Aufenthalt in Kuba insgesamt überprüft hat, dass nicht alle die gleichen Beschwerden aufzeigten. Tatsächlich könnten man bei vielen positiven Befunde in einigen Studien Untergruppen von Personen festmachen, die ein anderes medizinisches Bild aufwiesen als die übrigen.
Die Untersuchungen zerlegen weiter die politisch kalkulierte und wohlüberlegte US-Strategie um Kuba in Verruf zu bringen (Granma, Sep. 20, 2019)
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"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
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Old 20th September 2019, 04:16 PM   #675
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Originally Posted by Sherkeu View Post
I saw this story today and came to see if this thread was still going. It is!! wow.

Welcome back!

Quote:
My leading theory nearly 2 years ago was chemical fumigation. (This thread, Nov 6, 2017). We discussed it for a page or 2. You dismissed my idea at the time.

Starts about here: http://www.internationalskeptics.com...4#post12064554

You had more than one 'leading theory'. The one about fumigation was much more rational than your full-blown conspiracy theory:

Originally Posted by Sherkeu View Post
The 'health attack' may just be the public face of some activity more serious that is not disclosed, like avoiding WW3 with Russia because we caught them doing 'bad things' there and Cuban forces were complicit.

You actually managed to turn the health-attack idea into a cover story for something far worse! And you claimed that nobody doubted the idea of a "targeted attack":

Originally Posted by Sherkeu View Post
Disagreements do exist on the expulsion of the 2 Cuban diplomats, the "excessive" travel warning, and the stoppage of visa services. But that some sort of targeted attack happened? No one seems to question it.

However, the Canadians never bought into the idea of an attack. They pulled their staff out of Cuba because they got sick, but they never claimed that their symptoms were caused by any kind of attack.

But let's take a look at your insecticide theory:

Originally Posted by Sherkeu View Post
Agree, that particular description is exaggerated but the basics were all in that short article.

As for the attacks, my current theory is insecticide fogging. I bet they fogged/sprayed heavily in late November before visitors arrived for Castro's funeral. Cuba had been fogging a lot that year for the Zika virus.

If that is the case, people would feel sick in bed, but not when they left the room. Not because of the attack, but because of their altitude as the chemicals hang in low spaces.

I argued against it because it didn't fit the story about the sound attacks at all, but it also doesn't fit your description in the last paragraph: It is not an immediate effect, i.e. you feel sick the moment you're exposed to the insecticide, but you feel fine when you get up and get away from it.
But looking at the Canadian study and the findings about malfunction of the blood-brain barrier, the insecticide hypothesis (based on actual science) makes sense in the case of those with real damage. In the case of the others, those whose symptoms weren't recognized as being caused by actual damage of brain tissue, mass psychogenic illness may still be the best explanation.

And the weird noises that seemed so important at first seem to have had nothing at all to do with the damaged brains.
I wonder if the Cuban/Jamaican crickets have acquired immunity to insecticide ...
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"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
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Old 20th September 2019, 06:49 PM   #676
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Yes...I did go down several avenues at once. That's how my brain works to solve things.

I said to you at the time "Haha! Yes, well I have competing theories dueling it out in my own head.

For me, the thing that has caused me to rethink the possibilities is the fact that no one with knowledge of it has come out with a skeptical view. Not even as an anonymous source. It's been presented as this extraordinary claim without any solid evidence of who or what it could be. Where is the usual debate?"

Maybe one day they will have a solid answer. I had fun thinking of all the possibilities back when it held my interest. Good luck to you!
<crickets!>
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Old 22nd September 2019, 03:31 AM   #677
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Quote:
Havana Syndrome has also prompted brain injury research in the United States, although the Dalhousie study notes that Canadian and American diplomats did not report identical symptoms. Most Canadian diplomats did not report hearing unexplained sounds and developed symptoms more gradually over their time in Havana, the study says.
Mysterious ‘Havana Syndrome’ suffered by diplomats caused by Zika fumigation, study suggests (The Star, Sep. 19, 2019)

Quote:
The 15 Canadian victims reported “a gradual development of debilitating symptoms”, the study noted, unlike their American counterparts who described hearing loud grinding or ringing noises, or feeling vibrations in their bodies.
Cuban pesticides, not ‘sonic attacks’, may have caused US and Canadian diplomats’ mystery illness (South China Morning Post, Sep. 20, 2019)

Mark Lenzi, who was quoted in post 663, will donate his brain to researchers:

Quote:
Mark Lenzi on Friday joined the several thousand others, including many former National Football League (NFL) players, who previously signed agreements to have their brains studied after they die by the CTE Centre at Boston University.
US diplomat Mark Lenzi, who suffered mysterious injury while stationed in China, pledges to donate brain to science (South China Morning Post, May 11, 2019)
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"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
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Old 22nd September 2019, 04:18 AM   #678
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Originally Posted by Sherkeu View Post
Yes...I did go down several avenues at once. That's how my brain works to solve things.

I said to you at the time "Haha! Yes, well I have competing theories dueling it out in my own head.

That is as it should be. The alternative to that is to stick to one explanation, the desired one, and look for evidence that confirms that one explanation only, which is what the official U.S. American science investigators, in particular those in Pennsylvania, did, i.e. the people with access to the actual data! (And from the very beginning, the Cubans have complained about the unwillingness of U.S. authorities to share these data!)

Quote:
For me, the thing that has caused me to rethink the possibilities is the fact that no one with knowledge of it has come out with a skeptical view. Not even as an anonymous source. It's been presented as this extraordinary claim without any solid evidence of who or what it could be. Where is the usual debate?"

That is not at all true, but it may have been less false at the time when you still participated in the thread. Before anything else, however, you should consider who the guys “with knowledge of it” are! They are the ones who have monopolized the knowledge they had access to, and you suggested that they did so motivated by nothing but noble intentions – like preventing WW3! (posts 325, 326, 335, 339-41; the insecticide posts: 314-319:

And if you go back - this is a long thread by now - you will find that some people in the know actually did "come out with a skeptical view," so your use of the word fact is as dubious as the president’s!

The ones who did “come out with a skeptical view:”
First and foremost, senior investigator R. Douglas Fields, Section on Nervous System Development and Plasticity, NIH, who has been adamant that the data that he had access to didn't say what the Administration and its mercenary scientists wanted them to say and who has also complained about the willingness of the fake-news media to jump to the very worst conclusions in this case.

There is also the medical sociologist Robert E. Bartholomew, who has also criticized the official JAMA studies and the 'sonic attack' idea from the beginning.
And they have been doing so openly.

There is U.S. Senator Jeff Flake: Jeff Flake says there's "no evidence" Cuban government attacked American diplomats (CBS News, Jan. 6, 2018)

And even the FBI “has steadfastly refused to even use the term “attacks.”” The Strange Case of American Diplomats in Cuba: As the Mystery Deepens, So Do Divisions in Washington (ProPublica, Nov. 9, 2018)

But there are also the anonymous sources that a few investigative journalists dug up, the actual embassy workers and spies who experienced conditions at the U.S. embassy in Havana.
The Sound and the Fury: Inside the Mystery of the Havana Embassy (ProPublica, Feb. 14, 2018)

Quote:
In April 2017, the embassy clued in all members of its diplomatic corps and advised people to sleep in the middle of a room, away from windows.
"Everybody was in a frenzy about it," says a second U.S. diplomat who was stationed in Havana at the time with young children. "We had a big window in the front of the house. It was a horrible feeling. We just thought, ‘Oh my God, we're in harm's way,’" she says. "You start to feel paranoid."
(…)
People's state of mind determined whether they developed symptoms, the first diplomat asserts. "I don't know anybody who at one point thought we were under no risk and then subsequently decided that they were a victim."
He himself heard a mysterious sound one night last June. "Standing in the atrium of my house, it was so loud and metallic, my brain literally hurt," he says. He called the embassy security officer, who came over and recorded the sound. But his housekeeper knew right away it was a Jamaican field cricket. "She grew up on a farm. She's like, ‘Oh yeah, they drive people crazy.’"
The second diplomat echoes that experience. The sound, she says, "was eerie. A really nasty sound. Not like your head is going to explode, but it's very unpleasant." Then she and her family heard it on several more occasions outdoors. "That was reassuring. We realized it had to be the crickets."
She acknowledges that over time, a divide widened between "the true believers" and those like her who are skeptical that there was an attack.
Sonic attack or mass paranoia? New evidence stokes debate over diplomats’ mysterious illness (Science Mag, June 20, 2018)

Quote:
If you retrace the key events and anomalies of the outbreak at the embassy in Havana, every step of the way corresponds to those in classic cases of conversion disorder. The first few staffers hit by the symptoms were C.I.A. agents working on hostile soil—one of the most stressful positions imaginable. The initial conversation between Patient Zero and Patient One referenced only the odd sound; neither experienced any symptoms. Then, a few months later, a third embassy official reported that he was losing his hearing due to a “powerful beam of high-pitched sound.” As word spread quickly throughout the small, tight-knit complex of diplomats and other staff, Patient Zero helped sound the alarm. “He was lobbying, if not coercing, people to report symptoms and to connect the dots,” says Fulton Armstrong, a former C.I.A. officer who worked undercover in Cuba.
According to ProPublica, Patient Zero informed Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, in a telling phrase, that “the rumor mill is going mad.” So a meeting was called, which spread the word even further.
The Real Story behind the Havana Embassy Mystery (Vanity Fair, Jan. 6, 2019)

Quote:
Maybe one day they will have a solid answer. I had fun thinking of all the possibilities back when it held my interest. Good luck to you!
<crickets!>

The answer seems to be growing increasingly solid, but in the meantime I recommend that you be careful with conspiracy theories – in particular the ones that makes you think that the U.S. government is conspiring to secure world peace and keep all well-intentioned people out of harms way when the sinister forces of the world, the evil empires, attack their poor, innocent spies.
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"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
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Old 23rd September 2019, 12:48 AM   #679
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The rest of the world has been informed about the Canadian study:

Quote:
“There are very specific types of toxins that affect these kinds of nervous systems... and these are insecticides, pesticides, organophosphates – specific neurotoxins,” according to Dr. Friedman.
In 2016, Cuban authorities launched aggressive fumigation campaigns to eradicate mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus.
In addition, Canadian researchers found that embassies also sprayed their offices, as well as inside and outside the residences of their diplomats, up to five times more frequently than usual.
Cuban specialists believe that although the work of the Dalhousie University research team has been carried out with scientific consistency, the sample is small, and it is difficult to reach definitive conclusions.
Probable cause of mysterious illness among US and Canadian diplomats in Havana has been found (Radio Havana Cuba, Sep. 20, 2019)

Neurotoxins Used to Eradicate Mosquitoes May Have Caused Diplomats’ Illness in Cuba (Daily News India, Sep. 23, 2019)

Study claims Havana syndrome was neurotoxin (Asia Times, Sep. 20, 2019)

Mystiske symptomer i Cuba: Myggemiddel kan være grunden (DR.dk, Sep. 20, 2019)

Mögliche Ursache für kranke Diplomaten in Kuba entdeckt (Deutsche Welle, Sep. 20, 2019)

From crickets to insecticides: Effects of Cuba ‘sonic attacks’ caused by anti-Zika fumigation, new study claims (RT, Sep. 21, 2019)

But what happened to the big players of the U.S. media? Why don't we hear anything from CBS, NBC, CNN, NYT, Washington Post? The ones that were always very eager to report about microwave and sonic attacks ...

The latest Cuba news from the NBC:

Quote:
The State Department also said it will limit travel within the United States for other officials in Cuba's U.N. mission in New York, essentially restricting them to the island of Manhattan.
(…)
In its announcement on Thursday, the State Department made no mention of the health attacks.
Trump administration expels two Cuban diplomats (NBC News, Sep. 19, 2019)
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"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; 23rd September 2019 at 12:54 AM.
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Old 23rd September 2019, 02:10 PM   #680
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A call to the US Department of State about the study was not returned.

At long last, the CNN is onboard:

Quote:
Zika virus disease is an illness spread through mosquito bites. It can cause birth defects and other neurological defects. After outbreaks began in 2015, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention activated its emergency response to Zika in January 2016, and deactivated it in September 2017.
A call to the US Department of State about the study was not returned.
Cuba 'sonic attack' might be connected to insecticide intended to fight Zika, study says (CNN, Sep. 23, 2019)
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"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
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