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

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Old 15th September 2018, 10:23 AM   #521
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
I find it a little strange that the (CIA? FBI? NSA? Just curious, it doesn’t matter much in the context) agent who was the index case complained of both tinnitus [i]and "a really odd, loud noise that seemed to follow him in the room," since that is what you would expect tinnitus to do unlike an ordinary source of sound: Since it is inside you, you take it with you as if it were a sound coming from earphones. This also seems to correspond with the reports that some people heard sounds that others in the same room didn’t hear!
I'm not sure he did complain of both. The quote starts out saying that he complained of tinnitus and from there seems to just describe the tinnitus symptoms in more detail. I don't think the "sound that followed him" is meant to be interpreted as (or necessarily was, at any rate) something separate from the tinnitus. However, if his coworkers also misinterpreted it that way, it could cause them to be wary of "strange (external) sounds".

This seems pretty smashing, to me. You found the index case, and that person did indeed have tinnitus and some "general malaise", the latter being the kinds of symptoms that it's easy for a person to work themselves up into "experiencing". I think the "trigger" so to speak has been identified.
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Old 15th September 2018, 12:36 PM   #522
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You are right, I think. When Hoffer says that "the "index case" (...) "complained to the embassy doctor of ear pain, tinnitus, vertigo, and feeling "cognitively not perfect," tinnitus might just be Hoffer's (or the doctor's) interpretation of the index case describing a "really odd, loud noise that seemed to follow him in the room."
It could be a layman's way of describing what an MD would diagnose as tinnitus.

I first noticed my own tinnitus when I was still a kid (about 9 or 10, I think), and I don't remember ever thinking that it was a real sound, something existing outside of my own head, but I can imagine that it may be different for somebody who 'hears' it for the first time as an adult.
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Old 16th September 2018, 12:14 AM   #523
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PS

Originally Posted by dann View Post
I don't remember ever thinking that it was a real sound, something existing outside of my own head

But I do remember why I didn't think that it was real: When I turned my head I noticed that the one-sided 'sound' followed. I could turn 180 degrees, and I still heard the sound in the same ear. Source discovered! (or maybe )
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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 16th September 2018, 09:44 AM   #524
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I linked to an RT Youtube video in post 520.

There's also an article quoting professor Foster, a microwave expert at the University of Pennsylvania:

Quote:
Foster, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who studied microwave phenomena while working at the Naval Medical Research Center in Bethesda, told RT that the evidence that these purported injuries were caused by some kind of microwave weapon – which the NBC article alleges – is “science fiction.”
“The kind of effect that has been talked about with the embassy is purely a fairy tale,” Foster said. He noted that while non-lethal microwave weapons exist, they require high-power transmissions and are only able to cause “thermal pain” in people. “I can’t conceive of a microwave weapon as it’s being thought about in this case. And it’s not clear that the symptoms are real.”
‘It’s science fiction’: Professor doubts claims of ‘microwave attacks’ on US diplomats in Cuba (RT, Sep. 15, 2018)
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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 17th September 2018, 07:50 AM   #525
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New article in Granma: Razones científicas que desmienten los supuestos incidentes contra diplomáticos estadounidenses (Granma, Sep. 16, 2018)

In my translation: [/i]"Scientific reasons that debunk/disprove the alleged incidents against U.S. diplomats"[/i]

I can't see how the U.S. allegations would stand a chance in a court of law, for instance, but unfortunately there is nothing remotely similar to an impartial court of law to judge in this case ...
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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 September 2018, 11:00 AM   #526
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The allegations wouldn't make it to a court of law, because the US to my knowledge hasn't accused anyone specific. There are individuals speculating, but we can't keep treating these speculative rumors as if they are official statements or specific claims; they're not.
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Old 17th September 2018, 11:24 PM   #527
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But to this day, the State Department still claims that actual attacks took place - and it can't be more official than that:

Quote:
The ARB found the lack of a single designated senior-level Department official with responsibility for responding to the attacks resulted in insufficient communications with employees and impeded coordination within the Department and with other agencies.
Cuba Accountability Review Board (U.S. Department of State – Diplomacy in Action, Aug. 30, 2018)

The withdrawal of U.S. agents and diplomats from Havana was based on these accusations as was the expulsion of Cuban diplomats in Washington:

US orders 15 Cuban diplomats to leave Washington embassy over sonic 'attacks' (Guardian, Oct. 3, 2017)

I would love to see the sentence changed to "... responding to the alleged attacks ..."
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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 19th September 2018, 03:51 AM   #528
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Cuba is waiting impatiently for the evidence to appear:

Quote:
Cuba’s ambassador to the United States says the ball is now in the U.S. court to present evidence that deliberate attacks caused the mysterious health symptoms reported by American diplomats in Havana.
“In this case you have the conclusion without introducing the evidence,” José Ramón Cabañas, the Cuban ambassador in Washington, said in an interview with the Miami Herald. “They are the ones who have to demonstrate what happened. We are the ones asking.”
(...)
“The logistics of an attack don’t work. How do you get that amount of energy into the house, then direct it at the brain without damaging the skin or affecting anything else in the house?”
Cuba: Show us evidence of weapons behind alleged health attacks on American diplomats (Miami Herald, Sep. 15, 2018)
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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 2018, 06:48 AM   #529
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Miscellaneous

Quote:
The last case from Havana was confirmed in June. The U.S. said two embassy staffers were affected in a single occurrence in late May in a diplomatic residence at which both officers were present. Those were the first confirmed cases in Havana since August 2017.
One U.S. official said Thursday's meeting was organized after Cuba complained that Washington has withheld important details about the affected Americans' medical conditions. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
US, Cuba to Meet on Mysterious ‘Health Attacks’ in Havana (VOA News/AP, Sep. 13, 2018)

Quote:
After meeting with U.S. officials at the State Department, members of a team Cuba assembled to look into the incidents said their requests for patient records and other information had again been rebuffed and rejected anew after Washington’s assertions that the injuries were caused by targeted attacks.
(…)
“Nothing was presented that could add up to sustain such a thing.”
U.S., Cuba fail to clear up mysterious illnesses afflicting diplomats (Global News (Ca)/AP, Sep. 14, 2018)

Quote:
Cuba denies any involvement and government officials have said they believe there were never any attacks, which they described as a pretext to justify conflict.
Diaz-Canel was expected to travel to the United States for the United Nations General Assembly next week but said in an interview broadcast on Sunday he could not talk with Trump as long as his administration kept its “abnormal” attitude toward the island.
Cuba’s President Meets US Senator amid Tense Relations (Tasnim News Agency, Sep. 21, 2018)

Quote:
Were the agents trying to gather information about the Cuban exiles who support a dialogue with the communist country?
Were they looking for intelligence on possible Cuban “spies” who might have contacted them?
Or were their inquiries related to an FBI investigation into the mysterious attacks against U.S. officials in Havana, which have sickened 26 people?
(…)
Some of the Cuban-American activists contacted by the FBI were invited to attend the meeting with the Cuban delegation to the UN, scheduled for Sept. 28 in New York.
The FBI visits to several Cuban exiles’ homes were first reported by the New York Times. But activists cited by the newspaper suggested that the federal agency was singling them out because they support the normalization of relations with Cuba and oppose the harsher rhetoric of Trump.
Yes, the FBI is knocking on doors of some Cuban exiles in Miami. Here’s why (Miami Herald, Sep. 19, 2018)

Quote:
The working theory now is that two forms of microwave signals might be at play: infra, which are considered silent, or ultra, which are more (?) audible, Wilson said.
(…)
“And indeed we’re dealing with a totalitarian state in Cuba, so there is nothing that occurs there that is not without the knowledge of the government and the military,” he said.
SC congressman Joe Wilson: Who’s pointing sick rays at US embassies? Cuba knows, he says. (Post and Courier, Sep. 22, 2018) (Sep. 22, 2018)

I know too little to say if infra and ultra microwave signals are an actual thing. A google search suggests that they aren’t. (But I do know what double negatives are! )
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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; 22nd September 2018 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 23rd September 2018, 05:24 AM   #530
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Quote:
The department has played down or denied reports that investigators have focused on a microwave device as the source of the attacks and that Russia is the leading suspect.
(…)
In congressional testimony last week, State Department medical personnel suggested they had shared more information with China about the incident in Guangzhou than they had with the Cubans about what had happened in Havana.
(…)
In two private classified briefings with congressional aides and lawmakers, the officials repeated that they had not come to any conclusions about what caused the injuries or who might be responsible for them.
U.S. officials frustrated by lack of answers on mysterious ‘health attacks’ in Cuba (The Independent, Sep. 13, 2018)

September 13, 2018. Press conference hosted by the Cuban delegation that participated in a meeting at the State Department on the alleged health incidents reported by US diplomats in Havana.
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Quote:
But in May 2018, two new cases were reported at a diplomatic residence in Havana and confirmed in June. A U.S. government worker in China also was confirmed to be suffering from similar symptoms this past summer.
Tablada said FBI investigators were in Cuba at the time the May incident occurred. When investigators went to the home, the mysterious sound turned out to come from water pump at a neighboring home, she said. Such water pumps often make a shrill, grinding sound when they start up.
Let’s not be so quick to blame a ‘James Bond-type weapon’ for diplomat symptoms, Cuban doc says (Miami Herald, Sep. 17, 2018)
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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 2018 at 05:25 AM.
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Old 30th September 2018, 02:50 AM   #531
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
The Pont-Saint-Esprit incident is another more specific case IIRC; very localized in time, as far as onset of symptoms goes - although IIRC some of those people remained "crazy" for the rest of their lives.

I just received my copy of The Day of St. Anthony's Fire by John G. Fuller, which I ordered several weeks ago. It looks interesting, but I have only just started reading it. However, let me quote from the flap of the dust jacket:

Quote:
Many of the most highly regarded citizens leaped from windows or jumped into the Rhône, screaming that their heads were made of copper, their bodies wrapped in snakes, their limbs swollen to gigantic size or shrunken to tiny appendages. Others ran through the streets, claiming to be chased by "bandits with donkey ears," by tigers, lions and other terrifying apparitions.
Lions, and tigers and ... other terrifying apparitions ... oh my!
And speaking of the animal kingdom, it gets even worse:

Quote:
Animals went berserk. Dogs ripped bark from trees until their teeth fell out. Cats dragged themselves along the floor in grotesque contortions. Ducks strutted like penguins. Villagers and animals died right and left.

I think we can rule out mass hysteria/mass psychogenic illness in the case of Pont-St.-Esprit!


ETA: I would have loved to watch the ducks strutting like penguins, but I haven't been able to find anything on Youtube!
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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 30th September 2018, 11:28 AM   #532
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
I think we can rule out mass hysteria/mass psychogenic illness in the case of Pont-St.-Esprit!
Over this apocrypha? I think not.
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Old 30th September 2018, 01:50 PM   #533
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Why apocrypha? It appears to be the only book written about the case, at least in English.
Do you think that he lied about the animals going berserk? Or that the animals were victims of mass hysteria?
I still haven't read it but look forward to doing so. I probably won't have the time until mid October.
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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 30th September 2018, 03:10 PM   #534
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
Why apocrypha? It appears to be the only book written about the case, at least in English.
Well...that's part of why.

"Apocrypha" doesn't imply a willful lie, necessarily. I will say, if it's objectively true that animals actually were behaving in such ways then yes that would tend to rule out mass hysteria. It would not prove ergot poisoning, or that bread was the source of the issue, but it would rule out mass hysteria.
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Old 30th September 2018, 11:37 PM   #535
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Well, I'll see which references he has for his animal stories. That only pet animals and ducks are mentioned makes bread a pretty good contender ...
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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 4th October 2018, 10:16 PM   #536
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This is a very good (and very short) article that sums up the shortcomings of the U.S. American allegations in just 325 words:

Quote:
Cuba again categorically rejected the use of the term “attack,” without any evidence to support it, during a recent meeting between U.S. and Cuban scientific experts
(...)
The information provided does not support the hypothesis of attacks that resulted in the range of symptoms and brain injuries to diplomats reported by the State Department.
The information exchanged does not demonstrate the existence of a new neurological disorder.
It cannot be claimed that brain injuries usually caused by blows to the head could have occurred without any cranial trauma.
The medical evidence presented has serious shortcomings.
No scientific evidence to prove alleged attacks on U.S. diplomats (Granma, Oct. 4, 2018)

It's a disgrace that this sham is still going on.
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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 October 2018, 10:22 PM   #537
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Maureen Whitefield, Cuba correspondent for the Miami Herald, has written another thorough article. She is one of the journalists (and they appear to be very few!) who actually talk to the people involved in the investigation of the alleged attacks, to U.S. American scientists as well as to Cubans. She has even made a short video interview with one of the people leading the investigation on the Cuban side:

"Dr. Mitchell Joseph Valdés Sosa, head of the Neuroscience Center of Cuba details why Cuba doesn't think U.S. diplomats who suffered health ailments were attacked last year in Havana."

The interview can be found above the article where Robert Bartholomew says that he's "willing to stake his career that the answer is psychogenic illness":

Quote:
If researchers truly wanted to get to the bottom of the Havana illnesses, he said, they should have conducted a social network analysis that looked at how the patients might be acquainted and whether they had knowledge of others becoming ill. “If patients were unaware that others were falling ill, it rules out mass psychogenic illness,” he said.
Asked about the University of Miami/University of Pittsburgh assertion that testing of the Havana patients showed differences in eye movement patterns in the affected diplomats and family members, Bartholomew said: “These results are not definitive and open to interpretation.”
He said he’s willing to stake his career that the answer is mass psychogenic illness. “Think of it as a collective stress response. It happens to normal, healthy people. We are all susceptible,” Bartholomew said in response to Miami Herald questions.
Why no one can agree on what really happened to the U.S. diplomats in Havana (Miami Herald, Oct. 1, 2018)

This part of it, "they should have conducted a social network analysis that looked at how the patients might be acquainted and whether they had knowledge of others becoming ill," is what the Danish researchers also failed to do in the case of the HPV-vaccine scare.
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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 6th October 2018, 05:53 AM   #538
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In the meantime, and not at all surprisingly, the poor handling of the situation is stoking the paranoia of the ‘targeted individual community’. A family member of mine is one of these supposed ‘TIs’, and is more convinced than ever that electronic/microwave harassment of random people is real since some doctors, scientists, and the major news media have finally said so. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article...spiracy-theory
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Old 6th October 2018, 06:38 AM   #539
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Sorry, I should have done my link properly. Been a while since I've posted. Conspiracy Theorists Are Embracing A Microwave Theory About US Diplomats Injured In Cuba (Buzzfeed, October 3, 2018)
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Old 6th October 2018, 07:58 AM   #540
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No wonder! It’s right down their alley.
Did you already see PartSkeptic’s ISF thread? Mystery illness in US consulate due to non-ionizing radiation? (June 9, 2018)

So now the FBI and the Trump Administration have managed to not only cast suspicions on a totally innocent neighboring country. They’ve also contributed to aggravating the mental illness of thousands of Americans.
I guess that they must think it's worth doing so:

Quote:
“We, too, are in search of an investigation as to who and where are those controlling the covert weapons that are adversely affecting the health and well-being of many thousands of Americans daily,” Robinson said, whose group belongs to FFTI. In a mass email sent to reporters in September, Robinson blamed “covert operatives” for the electronic attacks.
(…)
Some psychologists are concerned that many people with these implausible beliefs may have mental health issues. In a 2016 study, David James and a colleague found that of 1,040 people who reported being stalked in a survey, the 128 who said they were stalked by a group or gang were all likely delusional. The diagnosis of delusion was made by two independent psychologists whose assessments were based on American Psychiatric Association guidance for false beliefs that persist despite “incontrovertible or obvious proofs to the contrary.”
The injuries reported by the US diplomats are perfect fodder for people prone to paranoia, a fixed, false belief that you are being harmed or persecuted. As much as 1.5% of the population may report such beliefs to some extent, based on past surveys.
(…)
Some psychologists who have studied people with delusions of electronic persecutiondeclined to comment to BuzzFeed News on this latest claim of diplomats getting zapped, citing repeated threats they received after being quoted in earlier news reports about mental illness leading to beliefs in a microwave conspiracy.
SCIENCE: Conspiracy Theorists Are Embracing A Microwave Theory About US Diplomats Injured In Cuba. “Paranoia has to find an outlet,” said one psychologist. (BuzzFeed News, Oct. 3, 2018)
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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 6th October 2018, 09:06 AM   #541
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No, I had not seen that one in my recent lurkings. Thank you. I do know there's another one in here somewhere about a JREF member who also has a family member who believes the TI conspiracy theory.
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Old 6th October 2018, 01:32 PM   #542
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
So now the FBI and the Trump Administration have managed to not only cast suspicions on a totally innocent neighboring country. They’ve also contributed to aggravating the mental illness of thousands of Americans.
Yes. This. As soon as it began as simply 'sonic attacks', I knew it would have real-life consequences in this direction. But the government needs a villain, and the media needs viewers and clicks. So
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Old 6th October 2018, 11:11 PM   #543
dann
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In post 495, Sep. 9, 2018, I mentioned Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, whose paper was scheduled to be published Sep. 15 in the scientific journal Neural Computation.
In the paper Golomb allegedly “compared rates of described symptoms among diplomats with a published 2012 study of symptoms reported by people affected by electromagnetic radiation in Japan.”

However, I don’t think that Golomb's paper was ever published – in Neural Computation or anywhere else.

And I wonder why ...
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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 6th October 2018, 11:20 PM   #544
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By the way, you hadn't posted since May 1, 2009!!!
Welcome back, Twilek!
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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 October 2018, 05:37 AM   #545
dann
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Originally Posted by Twilek View Post
A family member of mine is one of these supposed ‘TIs’,[/url]

You probably shouldn't show your family member this one from RT, Oct. 1, 2018:

Quote:
Microwave directed-energy weapons are reportedly being tested at firing ranges in Russia. The prototypes are designed to burn missile-homing systems, and may be incorporated in the arsenal of sixth-generation fighter jets.
Russia field-tests ‘microwave guns’ that 6th-gen fighter jets may use – major weapon producer

I have no idea idea if it's information or disinformation.
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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 October 2018, 08:59 AM   #546
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New article in Skeptic by Robert E. Bartholomew:

Quote:
This “mystery” will be solved not through endless speculation, but by following the facts, adhering to mainstream science, and looking for patterns. When we do this, the most plausible explanation remains mass suggestion incubated in an atmosphere of Cold War paranoia, ever-present background noises, and mundane medical conditions such as tinnitus. In short, claims of a “sonic attack” are unsound, and talk of microwave radiation is unconvincing. For a series of events that have been under intense scrutiny since early 2017, to still be unable to present convincing evidence of these “attacks” is revealing.
Reports of Mysterious Attacks on U.S. Diplomats Continue - Separating Fact from Fiction (Skeptic, Sep. 19, 2018)

Since mass hysteria/mass psychogenic illness is Bartholomew's field of expertise, the paragraph about this, Dismissing Mass Hysteria (i.e. what was done by the doctors involved in the study published in JAMA in March 2018), is particularly interesting.

If you missed Robert E. Bartholomew's earlier article in Skeptic, you can still find it online:
The “Sonic Attack” on U.S. Diplomats in Cuba: Why the State Department’s Claims Don’t Add Up (Skeptic, Oct. 25, 2018)

He also had an article in Skeptical Inquirer, Jan. 16, 2018: Sonic Attack Claims Are Unjustified: just follow the facts

Other articles about mass hysteria/mass psychogenic illness by Robert E. Bartholomew in Skeptical Enquirer.
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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 October 2018, 01:20 PM   #547
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
So now the FBI and the Trump Administration have managed to not only cast suspicions on a totally innocent neighboring country. They’ve also contributed to aggravating the mental illness of thousands of Americans.
I guess that they must think it's worth doing so:
I don't think "crazy and/or delusional people might respond badly to this information" is a valid criticism of a claim or reason enough not to make it, because people who are mentally ill in that way are liable to respond just as badly to ANY explanation. If the government took the official position that there were no attacks and the ill effects were completely in the sufferers' heads, these folks would simply take that as evidence that the Government Coverup continues, because doctors have been giving them the same explanation about their own conditions for years and it has never brought them around.
Indeed, schizophrenics have been reporting being physically "attacked" by invisible beam weapons and communication devices since decades before radios were even invented. They are already fully convinced of the existence of such things - this claim by the government won't make a difference, even as "validation" since they don't trust the government.

The existence of social media - or bigger still, the very internet itself - has done far more to aggravate the conditions of the delusional.
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Old 7th October 2018, 03:31 PM   #548
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I can see that you did notice the word aggravating since you use it yourself.

The article that Twilek links to, SCIENCE: Conspiracy Theorists Are Embracing A Microwave Theory About US Diplomats Injured In Cuba - “Paranoia has to find an outlet,” said one psychologist (BuzzFeed News, Oct. 3, 2018), doesn't claim that schizophrenic delusions never existed until now and were somehow caused by the (completely unfounded) attack allegations from the State Department.
And when you yourself come up with the very poor excuse that "the existence of social media - or bigger still, the very internet itself - has done far more to aggravate the conditions of the delusional," you seem to be confirming that the State Department and its hirelings are actually doing their part, too.

I still wonder what your stake in this is: Why is it so important to you to downplay the delusional attack allegations?!

Quote:
News reports suggesting microwaves caused neurologic illnesses among US diplomats in Cuba “stirs them up and offers a form of vindication or ‘proof’ that their delusional ideas have been right all along,” said James, a forensic psychologist at the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre in London.

That "doctors have been giving them the same explanation about their own conditions for years and it has never brought them around" is a very poor argument for claiming that "this claim by the government won't make a difference, even as "validation" since they don't trust the government."
They trust the government enough to appeal to it to help them.
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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 October 2018, 11:52 AM   #549
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In post 453 I wrote that Beatrice Golomb's paper mentioned in post 495 was never published. However, an abstract was published on PubMed, "Epub ahead of print":

Quote:
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE:
Reported facts appear consistent with RF/MW as the source of injury in diplomats in Cuba. Nondiplomats citing symptoms from RF/MW, often with an inciting pulsed-RF/MW exposure, report compatible health conditions. Under the RF/MW hypothesis, lessons learned for diplomats and for RF/MW-affected civilians may each aid the other.
Diplomats' Mystery Illness and Pulsed Radiofrequency/Microwave Radiation.

However, in the abstract I can't seem to find any references to the "symptoms reported by people affected by electromagnetic radiation in Japan," although they featured prominently in the article in Eureka Alert, Aug. 29, 2018:

Quote:
By and large, she said the cited symptoms -- headache, cognitive problems, sleep issues, irritability, nervousness or anxiety, dizziness and tinnitus (ringing in the ears) -- occurred at strikingly similar rates.
Some diplomats reported hearing loss. That symptom was not assessed in both studies so rates could not be compared, but Golomb said it is widely reported in both conditions. She also noted that previous brain imaging research in persons affected by RF/ EMR "showed evidence of traumatic brain injury, paralleling reports in diplomats."Researcher links diplomats' mystery illness to radiofrequency/microwave radiation (Eureka Alert, Aug. 29, 2018)

In fact, in the abstract published in September 2018, all references to "RF/EMR injury" seem to have disappeared. I wonder why, and I also wonder if that may have anything to do with the publication of the paper being delayed ...
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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 October 2018, 11:26 PM   #550
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
Well...that's part of why.

"Apocrypha" doesn't imply a willful lie, necessarily. I will say, if it's objectively true that animals actually were behaving in such ways then yes that would tend to rule out mass hysteria. It would not prove ergot poisoning, or that bread was the source of the issue, but it would rule out mass hysteria.

Originally Posted by dann View Post
Well, I'll see which references he has for his animal stories. That only pet animals and ducks are mentioned makes bread a pretty good contender ...

The Day of St. Anthony's Fire, p. 27:

Quote:
There was still some bread left that night after dinner, and as was her custom, Mme. Moulin fed the scraps to the cat, the ducks, and the dog. Strangely enough, the dog leaped to the platter on the kitchen floor, rushed through the remains of the bouillon gras without hesitation, but only sniffed at and backed away from the bread. Since he had never rejected bread before, Mme. Moulin tasted again the small chunk remaining in her hand, but found nothing wrong with it, except perhaps that it seemed flatter than usual, she thought.
(…)
Cleaning up the kitchen (the next morning), Mme. Moulin was stopped short by an utterly strange and sharp cry from the cat. She looked down on the floor, as the cat screamed in agony again. Then it rolled over, writhed, twisted, shook, and ran screaming toward the wall, trying to climb it. Its hair was literally standing up on end. She ran to it, tried to pick it up, to comfort it, but it hissed and spit at her, then screamed in the most unearthly sound she had ever heard. Alone in the house, she had no one to turn to, and all her efforts to pick up the cat were hopeless. Again and again it batted itself against the wall, then rolled on the floor in convulsions. It was a hideous, frightening sight, she later said, shocking beyond belief. Unable to climb the wall now, it ran into it at blinding speed, as if it were intent on self-destruction. In tears, Mme. Moulin coaxed and pleaded with the cat to come to her, but each time was repulsed. Then with another terrifying scream, clawing wildly at the air, it dropped to the tiles, motionless. In a moment [p. 28] it pulled itself up on its forelegs, then dragged its hind legs across the floor, collapsing again next to the stove.
At this moment Mme. Moulin looked out the open kitchen door to the barnyard. One duck was lying prostrate on its side. Another was staggering, as if drunk, beside it. Three others were clacking ceaselessly, their bills stretched as if they were going to break. They were marching and strutting like penguins, flapping their wings and waddling in a most unnatural way. From the doorway Mme. Moulin watched them in awe. She had been brought up on a mas, lived all her life among domesticated animals. She had never seen anything like this, ever. The three lively ducks were now reaching a crescendo in their quacking and their strutting. Their waddling became more exaggerated, their likeness to penguins even more pronounced. She crossed over the gravel yard to the prostrate duck and lifted its head. It fell back limply. The second was by then turning slowly in circles, then it dropped also. The others continued their wild chorus. She looked anxiously out over the vineyards, but her husband and son and the workers were nowhere in sight. Terrified, she ran back into the kitchen. The cat had not moved from where it had fallen. Carefully, slowly, she picked it up. It was dead.

Another villager had fed leftover bread to his dog:

Quote:
Three hours later the dog limply rose from the kitchen floor, whimpering strangely. It moved out to the farmyard, M. Mison following in astonishment. He had never seen it act this way before. About twenty feet away from the door, the dog stopped in its tracks, leaped grotesquely in the air, and began running swiftly in a wide circle. M. Mison tried futilely to stop him, but each time he got near the dog, it snarled and snapped at him viciously. At moments the dog would seize a rock, crunch it fiercely in its teeth until at last two teeth fell out, and blood dripped from its [p. 29] mouth. For nearly ten minutes the macabre scene continued; Mme. Mison now joined her husband to try to calm the animal. Running more slowly now, dragging its motionless back legs, it finally wobbled to a hollow in the dirt and sunk down in it. Its breathing was labored and heavy, and the dry blood was caked in its mouth. Within the hour, it, too, was dead.
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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 October 2018, 11:30 PM   #551
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As for people, from the very beginning when the symptoms weren’t that bad, the three local doctors suspected food poisoning and asked about what people had eaten, in particular in household where only some of them got ill:

Quote:
Independently, they had arrived at the conclusion that M. Briand’s bread was the source of the trouble. Neither had had a single patient who had not eaten the bread out of the shop on Grande Rue. (p. 36)

Quote:
Not only was there a definite seating arrangement, but, yes, all the children with him in Dr. Gabbai’s office were seated at one side of the table. (…) then one of the children remembered an important thing: She had been sent to the bakery to get one loaf of bread, which had not been enough; when she went out to get a second loaf, she went to a different bakery, the shop of M. Briand. Now she recalled clearly that those who fell ill had all sat on the side of the table where M. Briand’s bread had been served. (p. 31 & 33)

Quote:
Pressed about where the bread he ate came from, M. Guigou related that he always brought his own bread to the hotel, bread he always bought at the shop of M. Briand. He was the only one of the ten boarders who ate the bread and the only one who was ill. (p. 35)

Quote:
Downstairs in the big country kitchen Mme. Testevin was already at work. Both agreed that the trout must have been the cause of their uncomfortable night, for it seemed that everyone in the household, except the visitors from Toulon, had been sick. (p. 36)

But, of course, the visitors from Toulon hadn’t had any of the local bread …
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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 16th October 2018, 10:30 AM   #552
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I have read 75 % of the book by now (Autumn break), and the problems concerning lab analyses of ergot poisoned bread are ... interesting, but I'll get back to those when I've finished the book.

For now, I'm just going to mention the very physiological symptoms that exclude mass hysteria/mass psychogenic illness as a diagnosis in the case of the victims in Pont-Saint-Esprit:
1) They were all sweating profusely, and the smell was described as similar to that of dead mice and stale urine.
2) Insomnia; many of the victims didn't sleep for several weeks, not even when sedatives were administered intravenously.
3) Gangrene/vaso-constriction; even though almost all of the people who hallucinated felt an obsessive-compulsive need to jump out of windows, and a few actually did, that wasn't what killed them. The seven casualties hallucinated, but weren't killed by their hallucinations. They were killed by the cardio-vascular effects of the poison.

When nobody at the time suggested that it might have been a case of mass hysteria, it's not because people were more stupid or ignorant back then. It's because nothing whatsoever suggested that it was mass hysteria and not physiological in nature.
It's the same way that nothing whatsoever suggests that the sick U.S. diplomats in Havana and Guangzhou are the victims of an attack.

It's pretty easy to make the claim that something, whatever, causes the outbreak of a disease, in particular, if you cherry pick the symptoms.
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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 16th October 2018, 10:55 AM   #553
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Ergot: Effects on humans and other mammals (Wikipedia)
Ergotism (Wikipedia)
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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 19th October 2018, 10:35 PM   #554
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Originally Posted by Twilek View Post
No, I had not seen that one in my recent lurkings. Thank you. I do know there's another one in here somewhere about a JREF member who also has a family member who believes the TI conspiracy theory.

PartSkeptic just started a new thread with the same old theme. And I almost missed this one.
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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 21st October 2018, 09:30 AM   #555
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I finished reading The Day of St. Anthony's Fire, but the last 150 pages were tough to get through. It might have been easier if I were more interested in the French judicial system of the 1950s than I actually am.

However, the writer makes a good argument for ergot poisoning as the cause of the whole thing - in spite of the court ruling that it was due to Panogen:
The ergot alkaloids are very volatile, so it is not strange that they weren't found in all the samples. They were found in some, and guinea pigs eating these samples actually died.

The symptoms of the victims might have been those of ergot poisoning. They didn't show any similarities with those of mercury poisoning (Panogen). The medical doctors all agreed that ergot poisoning was what caused the symptoms. The court ruling was based on a report from toxicologists, who didn't take into consideration the symptoms of the patients and that traces of mercury was found in only one sample.

However, I would also consider two of the other hypotheses mentioned in the French Wikipedia article to be possible: mycotoxins and "agène.

Mass hysteria or mass psychogenic illness, however: No, not at all.
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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 21st October 2018, 11:13 AM   #556
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Sometimes Cuba actually does use sound to attack U.S. diplomats:

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


This one is also interesting in this context:
Russia Points to Cuba as Victim of US Biological Attacks (Prensa Latina, Oct. 12, 2018)
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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 26th October 2018, 03:47 AM   #557
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Quote:
The department said 14 of the 15 brought to the U.S. for medical testing earlier this year did not present the 'constellation' of symptoms suffered by more than two dozen diplomats in Cuba that it blames on mysterious health attacks.
Results for the 15th were inconclusive, it said.
Injuries of US diplomats in China differ from those in China (Daily Mail/AP, Oct. 24, 2018)

Now all they need to do is eliminate the cases from "the Havana Cohort" that don't match anything remotely resembling the results of an "attack" ...

Unlike the Daily Mail, at least the WTHR got the title right:

Quote:

I love this excerpt from a Youtube video about nocebo that was posted in another thread:

Quote:
“Please, put on your headphones. I promise there won’t be any loud sounds, but this video is going to hurt. There’s a study about hypersounds and how they cause headaches. These sounds are too high-pitched to hear, like the one added to this video playing right now, but cause headaches they still do. The hyper-sound in your headphones is pressing on your inner ear, stressing the nerves leading to your brain where, if the headache hasn’t started already, it soon will, as the exposure causes headaches after only 10 seconds.
Can you feel it? That pressure in your ears spreading to your now throbbing brain?”

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 26th October 2018, 10:52 AM   #558
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AP itself also got the title right: Injuries of US diplomats in China differ from those in Cuba (AP, Oct. 24, 2018)

Quote:
In more than 50 years, nothing happened to your diplomats in Cuba. We had a Cuban diplomat who was shot and killed here in the United States in 1980, Felix Garcia-Rodriguez, in New York. So why now in November, 2016? We invited the FBI for the first time in 60 years to go to Cuba to investigate, and they have not been able to say, “OK, this is what happened.” We aren’t saying that nothing happened. We have a lot of respect for the US diplomats — they are colleagues for me.
Cuban diplomat Miguel Fraga: ‘The door is open on our side’ (MinnPost, Oct. 22, 2018)
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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 31st October 2018, 02:54 PM   #559
dann
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 6,031
According to a new, very long article in NBC News, the alleged health-attack victims are harassed or under surveillance when they return to the USA:

Quote:
At least six of the evacuated Americans have reported suspected harassment or surveillance in the U.S. to the FBI, four U.S. officials and others familiar with the investigation said. They include evacuees from both China and Cuba, including some who have never met.
Some reported suspected break-ins at their homes or temporary housing, after finding items moved or tampered with, or lights and televisions turned on that had been left off. Some handed over potential evidence to the FBI, including surveillance footage and a laptop suspected to have been tampered with.
Others reported being conspicuously followed — including from their doctors' offices in Philadelphia — and suspicious activity on cellphones. At one point, patients whose treatment was transferred from Penn to Washington's MedStar National Rehabilitation Network were told all of their MedStar appointments were canceled indefinitely due to safety concerns, four people familiar with the cancellations said. The situation was ultimately resolved.
Evacuated after ’health attacks’ in Cuba and China, diplomats face new ordeals in U.S. – Some diplomats and their doctors tell NBC they’re concerned the U.S. wants to downplay what happened. Some suspect harassment has continued inside the U.S. (NBC News, Oct. 29, 2018)
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/dann
"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 31st October 2018, 03:13 PM   #560
dann
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 6,031
I notice that the NBC News article and this more recent one both use scare quotes when they mention the 'health attacks' in Havana and Guangzhou:

Quote:
The NBC story suggests some friction exists between doctors at the Penn Center for Brain Injury and Repair at the University of Pennsylvania who are examining the diplomats and the State Department which decides who is a victim of a “health attack” and who is not.
(…)
Physicians treating the Americans wouldn’t speak on the record. But one of the doctors recalled telling the State Department that a China patient had the same symptoms and findings as the Cuba patients, only to see that patient be “cleared.” He said the Penn doctors are “getting thrown under the bus” by the “doubting voices in the State Department.”
Doctors Who Examined Diplomats Suffering From Mysterious ‘Health Attacks’ Worry The U.S. Is Downplaying The Incidents (HotAir.com, Oct. 30, 2018)
__________________
/dann
"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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