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

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Old 7th December 2017, 04:38 AM   #361
dann
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For those of you who can’t access the Washington Post, this news can also be found at many other sites, for instance:

Brain abnormalities found in victims of US embassy attack in Cuba (The Guardian),
Doctors Find Abnormalities in Brains of Cuba Attack Victims (US News),
Mysterious Cuba Embassy Attacks Left Victims With Brain Anomalies (Popular Mechanics),
Brain abnormalities identified in Cuba ‘attack’ victims (N.Y. Post). (All of them, Dec. 6, 2017)

Leave it to the Daily Mail to come up with the most misleading headline:
Brain abnormalities found in victims of invisible US embassy attacks in Cuba – leading doctors to think MICROWAVES caused their loss of vision, hearing, balance and memory (also Dec. 6, 2017)
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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 December 2017, 08:04 AM   #362
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Perhaps poisoned? https://www.thedailybeast.com/were-t...ually-poisoned
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Old 8th December 2017, 09:11 AM   #363
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I am surprised that one of the experts referred to in the article seems to be very ill informed:

Quote:
But that the victims all suffered a psychogenic episode is probably a faulty conclusion, Lobarinas insisted. Twenty-four people is a lot of people, and to enact that kind of auditory hallucination is difficult to orchestrate, he said.

It was mentioned in some of the early reports that far from all patients reported hearing anything at all, so nobody's talking about 24 people experiencing an "auditory hallucination".

Quote:
“If I were to list what is likely to have caused this attack, I’d start with a drug or some kind of toxin at the top of my list,” Lobarinas said. “Psychogenic would be second. And third—or even lower than third?—would be the use of a sound device.”

Since the chemicals mentioned don't seem to cause white-matter damage, 'only' hearing loss, I would still go with psychogenic as the primary suspect, i.e. a few cases of actual hearing loss, maybe accompanied by tinnitus, and one or two cases of Alzheimer's, the ones where the white matter is impaired, followed by mass psychogenic illness in all the cases where the patients have already recovered - with or without treatment: "Most patients have fully recovered, some after rehabilitation and other treatment, officials said. Many are back at work."
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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 10th December 2017, 07:00 AM   #364
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Originally Posted by dann View Post

The Daily Mail seems to have changed its mind:
Brain abnormalities found in US and Canadian diplomats living in Havana were caused by stress from listening to 'noisy crickets' rather than a mystery sonic weapon, claim Cuban scientists The Daily Mail, Dec. 7, 2017)

I'm not really sure what happened to the "MICROWAVES" , but I can recommend a comparison of the comments to the two articles.
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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 10th December 2017, 10:14 AM   #365
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Crickets have very small hands. When they wave goodbye, they can only give micro-waves.
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Old 10th December 2017, 12:36 PM   #366
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It wouldn't require much effort to turn it into a Trump joke!
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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 14th December 2017, 03:52 AM   #367
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Fox News, Dec. 13, 2017, has found a professor James Lin, who also suggests that the alleged attacks may have been by means of microwaves:

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This has inspired the Daily Mail to return to the micowave-weapon theory:
Brain abnormalities in US and Canadian diplomats living in Havana were caused by a mystery microwave WEAPON and not 'noisy crickets', claims scientist (The Daily Mail, Dec. 13, 2017)
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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 14th December 2017, 02:23 PM   #368
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Originally Posted by Jungle Jim View Post
I haven't said as much directly, but I've been privately entertaining this as a possible explanation for the physical symptoms ever since the "sonic weapon" theory was essentially ruled out as the causative factor several months back.
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Old 16th December 2017, 01:22 AM   #369
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Actually, the sonic-attack idea was the only one that made it at least hypothetically feasible to talk about an attack: (Some) people (thought that they) heard something, and later on they (as well as a number of people who never heard a thing) exhibited various symptoms or defects.

If you seriously consider the idea that poison was used as a weapon instead of ultra sound, microwaves etc., you would still have to explain why most of the alleged victims didn't suffer any long-term effects, and why no residue of toxins was ever found. (I think we can assume that it would have been mentioned.)
I think it's safe to assume that everybody who is alive and well and back to work was probably the victims of nothing but delusions, i.e. mass psychogenic illness, and that the two (?) cases of actual hearing loss and white matter disorders are victims of ordinary, albeit unfortunate, organic diseases.
Why insist on the idea of an attack?
(I know why, but still …)
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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 December 2017, 02:54 AM   #370
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
If you seriously consider the idea that poison was used as a weapon instead of ultra sound, microwaves etc., you would still have to explain why most of the alleged victims didn't suffer any long-term effects, and why no residue of toxins was ever found. (I think we can assume that it would have been mentioned.)
My thinking in this matter isn't so stovepiped. I don't think that it must be "either this and only this, or that and only that".

The fact is, Cuba is a hostile nation - ideologically, politically hostile; and it has extremely close ties with another nation that is also hostile in those ways toward the US. It's a simple reality that US diplomats working in hostile countries are given a hard time. They're surveilled, harassed; bullied, sometimes directly threatened. Their homes are burgled. One American diplomat in Moscow famously came home from work to find his house had been broken into and his dog shot to death. These aren't salacious and scandalous rumors; it's just a simple, well-documented fact of life in this occupation in certain places. The idea is to make American diplomats feel unwelcome and unsafe - to cause stress, which sets up a negative feedback loop that progressively degrades their ability to work effectively.

With that understanding, I would be honestly surprised if it were objectively proved that staff in the newly-opened embassy in Cuba were not the subject of surveillance and harassment of some kind or other; whether by Cuban factors or Russian factors or a combination of these, or maybe even someone else entirely, who knows. Using sound to deliberately irritate and stress people for instance, seemed quite a credible vector of such harassment. Poisoning food to sicken, for another hypothetical example, might seem extreme and incredible, but then so is breaking into a diplomat's residence and killing their dog.

Essentially, my thinking processes starts with: it is credible that American diplomats assigned to Cuba are being harassed in a way that impacts their health and peace of mind; and it is likewise entirely credible that the various symptoms and conditions that have been reported by them, are a result of that harassment - whether directly caused (as from "poisoning" or "sound attacks"), or indirectly caused (i.e., severe mental stress, which in turn leads to psychosomatic symptoms). So now if someone wants to say it was a sound-emitter, I'll entertain that. If someone wants to say that some individuals might've been poisoned, I'll entertain that. Even insisting that most of the complaining "victims" just have sympathetic somatic symptoms - your "mass hysteria" - that still leaves the possibility that the hysteria was provoked by one or two people complaining of effects that were more directly the result of some kind of targeted harassment.

"Why does it have to be an attack"? Because the notion is epistemologically valid and even probable and expected in the current geopolitical reality.
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Old 16th December 2017, 07:49 AM   #371
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
My thinking in this matter isn't so stovepiped. I don't think that it must be "either this and only this, or that and only that".

The fact is, Cuba is a hostile nation - ideologically, politically hostile; and it has extremely close ties with another nation that is also hostile in those ways toward the US. It's a simple reality that US diplomats working in hostile countries are given a hard time. They're surveilled, harassed; bullied, sometimes directly threatened. Their homes are burgled. One American diplomat in Moscow famously came home from work to find his house had been broken into and his dog shot to death. These aren't salacious and scandalous rumors; it's just a simple, well-documented fact of life in this occupation in certain places. The idea is to make American diplomats feel unwelcome and unsafe - to cause stress, which sets up a negative feedback loop that progressively degrades their ability to work effectively.

OK, so let's compare the two nations, Cuba and the USA, in order to estimate the probability of Cuban hostilities against the USA:

1) Sheer size: United States is about 89 times bigger than Cuba. OK, size doesn't really say much: Denmarks-Greenland, so let's take a look at the:
2) GDP: Cuba: $60.81 billion, USA: $15.68 trillion.
3) Population? Cuba: 11,239,224, USA: 325,365,189. But then again, if we're talking about hostilities, it's usually a question of military strength. There are many parameters to compare, but let's just take:
4) military budget: Cuba: "0.2 US$ BN", USA: "682 US$ BN. Ranked 1st. 3410 times more than Cuba".

So no matter how we compare the two countries, it's like comparing mice and elephants. And I think that we all know that the story of mice threatening elephants is a myth - in spite of the Mythbusters:

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The notion that Cuba would be hostile to the USA is absolutely ridiculous. Not because Cubans don't hate US American racism, not because Cubans don't hate US American exploitation of its own population as well as of the rest of the world, but because it's utterly impossible for Cuba to threaten an enemy so much more powerful than itself.
Besides, many people in this thread have already pointed out that Cuba was quite content with the newly established diplomatic relations with the USA and wouldn't have wanted to jeopardize them.
That the US American spies in Cuba are being surveilled and monitored by the Cubans? Sure. They should be. But that they're "harassed" and even "threatened?
Get real!
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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 December 2017, 09:30 AM   #372
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Cuba's failed invasion of Florida and other Cuban acts of terror

Of course, there are a couple of things that might make US American spies in Cuba nervous and fear sonic or other kinds of hostile attack. I won't deny that. If they are old enough to remember the Bay of Wigs, Florida, invasion plans that Fidel Castro had his intelligence agency work out in early 1960, only one year after the Cuban revolution, and implement in 1961. They may also remember how the Cubans first bombed the Patrick Air Force Base and, in and attempt to make US Air Force pilots defect, claimed that the bombing had been done by disgruntled US American pilots who had then defected to Cuba.

And after Cuba’s failed invasion of Florida, some of the old US spies in la Habana may also have been briefed about and still remember the plans devised by the Dirección General the Inteligencia to target Cuban civilians and army personnel and blame the CIA.

And, last but not least, the Operation Woolverine when Castro joined forces with what remained of organized crime on the island in an attempt to destabilize the US Administration under J. F. Kennedy. Delusional as they were, they seemed to actually have believed that the citizens of the USA were ripe for an uprising against the Kennedy regime:

”They need symbols of inside resistance and of outside interest soon. They need something they can join with the hope of starting to work surely towards overthrowing the regime.”

It speaks volumes that in a state as repressive as the one in Cuba, nobody pointed out that the attempts to destabilize the USA were not only unrealistic but also unethical:

"only once in [the] thousand pages of documentation did a [Cuban] official raise something that resembled a faint moral objection to [Cuban] sponsored terrorism."

But that is what you can expect in a nation as brainwashed as Cuba: Nobody dared oppose Fidel Castro, which may also account for the fact that his megalomaniac invasion plans were never contradicted by his followers.

Even the very young spies at the US embassy in Havana, the ones with their hearing unimpaired and white matter fully intact, should be able to remember the Cuban sponsored terrorism targeted, not exclusively but also, at the USA. And it is likely that they may feel some resentment at the US American exiles who were recruited to carry out these acts of terror against the USA, and the fact that some of these state-sponsored terrorists are alive and well and living in Havana, free from any repercussions, even now, after the so-called thaw in Cuba-United States relations.
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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 December 2017, 09:32 AM   #373
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PS Isn't that approximately what you imagine the world looks like, Checkmite?!
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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 December 2017, 12:51 PM   #374
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
The notion that Cuba would be hostile to the USA is absolutely ridiculous. Not because Cubans don't hate US American racism, not because Cubans don't hate US American exploitation of its own population as well as of the rest of the world, but because it's utterly impossible for Cuba to threaten an enemy so much more powerful than itself.
It doesn't have to be Cuba; as stated in the article, Russian harassment of American diplomats takes place all over Europe, not just within Russia itself or even just countries friendly to Russia (the latter of which Cuba is one). Certainly Russia can be argued to have an interest in preventing the US from normalizing relations with Cuba. It might even be arguable that it's more likely that Russia rather than Cuba is responsible (if anything of that sort is going on).

I'm not making a judgment about whether or not America "deserves" to have its diplomats treated this way, or whether or not Cuba may have a right or a justification to be hostile towards the US; or whether Cuba are evil or terrorists or "really bad dudes" as the current American chief executive might put it. Such things aren't really relevant to the question of whether it's happening or not.

But your assertion that it's "utterly impossible for Cuba to threaten an enemy so much more powerful than itself" seems nonsensical in the context of this argument. It is not "utterly impossible" for either Cuban government agencies or some non-governmental ideological group to harass American diplomats in Havana if they want to. It is their country, they are solely responsible for law enforcement and following up on any complaints American diplomats may make - which means they can both essentially refuse to follow up on or do anything about harassment complaints by embassy workers, and actively interfere with any attempt at counteraction by American agencies against Cuban individuals in their own country. So no matter how "powerful", the US really has no options in response to harassment except to draw down or completely close the embassy; and if that's the entire goal of the harassment campaign, why would this be a disincentive to Cuba? It's "mission accomplished".
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Old 16th December 2017, 01:44 PM   #375
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What I almost cannot believe is the idea that "the US really has no options in response to harassment".
The USA is the most powerful nation on Earth, it has all the options it chooses to have. Let's take a look at the options, shall we?

1) Complain to the Cubans: You're harassing our agents. Will you please stop doing that!
2) Consider why the Cubans harass its agents: Well, we are trying to destabilize their country, for instance by having USAID arrange HIV prevention seminars (which, by the way is pretty absurd in a country that is actually much better at this than the USA), in order to turn young Cubans into US agents. Maybe we should stop doing that and instead begin to help homosexuals in countries where homophobia is rampant.
3) Consider if the harassment might simply be a delusion, i.e. all in the head: So two of your agents have fallen ill, and now a whole lot of them have become paranoid and started confusing crickets with sonic attacks. Let's put a lid on this, make sure that the two are properly taken care of (Thank God they have health care!) and see what we can do to calm the rest of them down.
4) Consider how this, in itself insignificant event: happens all the time all over the world, can be used to roll back the thawing of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the USA: Let's blow it out of proportions and claim that the Cubans hurt our innocent diplomats with super-sonic weapons.

And these are just a few of the many options a superpower has.

When you write: "if that's the entire goal of the harassment campaign," you imply that there actually is a harassment campaign. Why do you insist that there is? Do you have access to information that the rest of us don't have because to most the world it appears as if the USA is coming up with one dumb excuse after the other to maintain the myth of an attack that there was never any sign of anywhere.
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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 December 2017, 02:37 PM   #376
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
What I almost cannot believe is the idea that "the US really has no options in response to harassment".
The USA is the most powerful nation on Earth, it has all the options it chooses to have. Let's take a look at the options, shall we?
1) Cuba: "I don't know what you're talking about. Also, no."
2) The US likely does not care why
3) Since we're here entertaining the hypothetical scenario that some activity is taking place, this essentially amounts to suggestion that the US reject the reality of the situation in favor of a politically-convenient excuse. Which the US certainly is good at doing; but this tends to lead to dissent among the diplomatic corps - again, as historically demonstrated in the posted article about the Russian activities.
4) "Thawing diplomatic relations" with Cuba was an initiative of the last president's administration. The current presidential administration is not only openly cavalier or even hostile toward the success of the previous administration's initiatives; the executive has repeatedly attacked his country's own security, intelligence, and diplomatic apparatus when something they report or find contradicts his own opinions or validates those of the previous administration.

This current administration has no desire to protect and maintain the US's diplomatic mission in Cuba.

Quote:
When you write: "if that's the entire goal of the harassment campaign," you imply that there actually is a harassment campaign. Why do you insist that there is?
I thought we were entertaining this scenario for the purpose of discussion?

But at any rate, I think I've already well-explained the reasons for presuming American diplomats are subject to harassment from certain directions. Are you privy to any information the rest of us do not have that suggests this treatment has been discontinued?
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Old 17th December 2017, 12:43 AM   #377
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Well, even in the story about dead canines, which you seem to be particularly fond of, I have difficulties understanding why the US agents assumed that the dog was killed in order to harass somebody. I recently read an article by a Danish insurance company about how to protect yourself from the crime of breaking and entering. They had interviewed a number of convicted felons about their techniques and what might stop them, and one of the things they mentioned was dogs. I see no reason to assume that the dog in your story was killed for any other reason than to get rid of an inconvenient obstacle when breaking and entering.
In spite of the feelings that people have for their pets, killing a dog seems relatively harmless in comparison to giving people Alzheimer's! It goes beyond what I would describe as harassment.

And also, in the case of the dead dog, even if we assume that it was meant to be an act of harassment, kind of like the scene in Godfather:
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(notice the crickets!)

- the point would have been to make it fairly obvious to the agent and his/her family (and thus to the whole agency) that they were being harassed, whereas giving somebody disorders that, on the whole, seem much more likely to have natural causes rather than poison or microwave transmitters seems to ruin the whole purpose of harassment.
It seems to me that when adult field agents in Havana can be scared by crickets to the extent that they were in Havana, you wouldn't have to take it quite as far as dementia.

Besides, I thought that Trump and Putin were buddies, so why make it your congratulatory gift to your newly elected man in the White House that you damage his spies?
Nothing in that scenario makes sense at all.

The natural order of things, old age and senility followed by psychogenic paranoia, does!
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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 December 2017, 05:04 PM   #378
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
Well, even in the story about dead canines, which you seem to be particularly fond of, I have difficulties understanding why...
The specific incident was one of many that established a pattern of harassment targeting specifically American diplomats. Since the Russian government admitted to the existence of this harassment campaign in conversations with then-Secretary of State Kerry, as the Washington Post report I linked explains, I don't see much point in rehashing and scrutinizing the minutiae in an attempt to cast doubt on said campaign's existence; if you have personal credulity issues on the matter I'm afraid you'll have to sort them out on your own.

Originally Posted by dann View Post
And also, in the case of the dead dog, even if we assume that it was meant to be an act of harassment, kind of like the scene in Godfather:
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(notice the crickets!)

- the point would have been to make it fairly obvious to the agent and his/her family (and thus to the whole agency) that they were being harassed, whereas giving somebody disorders that, on the whole, seem much more likely to have natural causes rather than poison or microwave transmitters seems to ruin the whole purpose of harassment.
This seems a rather strange complaint to make considering that after all, rightly or wrongly, the diplomats involved in the Cuba situation did consider themselves to be the victims of some kind of electronic harassment, and the early reports seem to at least suggest that "the whole agency" did find that assessment to be likely true.

Originally Posted by dann View Post
Besides, I thought that Trump and Putin were buddies, so why make it your congratulatory gift to your newly elected man in the White House that you damage his spies?
I'm not completely sure whether this thread is the correct venue to get into Russian geopolitical strategy versus the US, or how Trump fits into that strategy, other than to say your impression of the issue seems remarkably over-simplified and straw-like.
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Old 17th December 2017, 05:32 PM   #379
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Checkmite, you are still operating on the underlying premise this wasn't hysteria. You have not established that fact. Rather you have dismissed professional medical opinions and gone instead with a bunch of people with no credentials or misread into professional medical opinions that were simply worded to not offend a patient and/or coded to get reimbursement which isn't exactly the same as a diagnosis.
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Old 17th December 2017, 05:39 PM   #380
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Checkmite, you are still operating on the underlying premise this wasn't hysteria.
I am humoring the premise that this wasn't hysteria.

If we all want to just agree right here that nothing whatsoever happened except in these people's heads, then there's nothing more to talk about - the entire conversation literally ends right this moment.
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Old 21st December 2017, 02:53 PM   #381
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Mass Hysteria or Microwave Weapons – What’s behind the ’Sonic Attacks’ on U.S. Diplomats in Cuba? (Newsweek, Dec. 16, 2017)
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Old 26th December 2017, 04:44 PM   #382
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There is a much better explanation than sonic weapons for reported attacks against US diplomats in Cuba. (Skeptoid, Dec. 26, 2017)
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Old 12th January 2018, 03:16 PM   #383
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Quote:
U.S. experts have yet to determine who or what was behind the mysterious illnesses that began occurring in late 2016 and heightened tensions between the old Cold War foes. They have seen no evidence it was “an episode of mass hysteria” among the 24 affected U.S. personnel and family members, a senior State Department medical officer told a Senate hearing.
U.S. probing if 'viral' attack sickened diplomats in Cuba: official (Reuters, Jan. 9, 2018)

The ”experts” appear to have heard about diseases causing hearing loss – no secret, it has already been mentioned in this thread – but with their weird interpretation of events, it probably doesn’t surprise anybody anymore that they don’t think that the U.S. diplomats might just have come down with something. No, it must still have been some kind of ”attack”:

Quote:
U.S investigators were considering whether people might have been deliberately exposed to a virus. But he offered no details or evidence.

I can’t wait to hear medical experts debunk that idea …

Other recent news:

U.S. stands by claim workers attacked in Cuba, maybe by virus (Chicago Tribune, Jan. 9, 2018)
Tillerson to weigh in on acoustic events against American diplomats in Havana (Miami Herald, Jan. 8, 2018)
US Havana embassy: New inquiry into Cuba staff sickness (BBC, Jan. 9, 2018)
Documents reveal Canada called U.S. diplomats in Havana targets of "acoustic attacks" months before U.S. acknowledged them (CBS, Jan. 6, 2018)

The CBS article says:

Quote:
The Canadian documents also suggest the injuries were being widely discussed outside governement circles and classified channels even as the governments of both Canada and the U.S. were silent on the situation.

which is quite interesting since discussions like this would be an essential element of mass psychogenic illness/mass hysteria.
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Old 12th January 2018, 03:24 PM   #384
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
... which is quite interesting since discussions like this would be an essential element of mass psychogenic illness/mass hysteria.
According to Peter Sandman (considered the go-to guy teaching employers how to deal with this kind of situation), one of the key interventions an employer must do is NOT ignore the situation. When employees believe they are not being taken seriously or helped, the growing resentment almost always exacerbates the problem.
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Old 14th January 2018, 09:34 AM   #385
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Canadian vs. U.S. response to 'attacks':

Quote:
“Many of the symptoms are similar to signs of extreme stress, and there is the possibility that there could be mental health effects caused by the fear of being targeted. Either way, testing should help to rule out cases and reassure personnel that we have the means to be able to provide duty of care.”

Canadian officials wondered if Cuba staff imagined symptoms from mysterious attacks (Global News, Canada, Jan. 4, 2018)

Quote:
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said he has no intentions of returning staff to Cuba, saying it would be "putting them back in harm's way."
"Why in the world would I do that when I have no means whatsoever to protect them?" Tillerson told the Associated Press earlier this week, adding: "I will push back on anybody who wants to force me to do that.”
A Canadian official has said the country will not be following the U.S.'s lead, however, asserting it will not be removing diplomats from Cuba and had no reason to close its embassy in Havana.

As U.S. accuses Cuba of sonic attacks, Canada keeps diplomats in country despite mysterious illnesses (Newsweek, Jan. 11, 2018)

Rex, you got a little project going on?!

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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

Last edited by dann; 14th January 2018 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 19th January 2018, 12:23 PM   #386
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Quote:
Over the weekend, Sen. Jeff Flake, a longtime proponent of closer U.S. ties to Cuba, said high-ranking Cuban officials told him that the FBI has found no evidence of attacks and that classified U.S. briefings left him with no reason to doubt Cuba's account.
But Sen. Marco Rubio, a vocal critic of Cuba's government, declared on Twitter it was a "documented FACT" that U.S. personnel were "victims of some sort of sophisticated attack" and U.S. officials briefed on the matter know that "full well."
Yet other lawmakers briefed by Tillerson say they were discouraged the Trump administration couldn't or wouldn't answer basic questions on the investigation.
Tillerson tells AP Cuba still risky; FBI doubts sonic attack (ABC News, Jan. 8, 2018)

A Cuban analysis of the incident is that:

Quote:
The “sonic Maine” is already sinking and they could let it sink, after having already achieved their fundamental goal: to roll back the detente between Cuba and the US, which was a result of successful negotiations between presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama.
US State Department without Evidence against Cuba (Havana Times, Jan. 11, 2018)

The "sonic Maine" is a reference to the incident in 1898 when the USA used the explosion of the battleship USS Maine as an excuse to interfere in the Cuban uprising against Spain:The Maine Incident (Wikipedia)
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Old 4th February 2018, 07:53 AM   #387
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Quote:
“Since September 29, the Department of State has been contacted by 19 U.S. citizens who reported experiencing symptoms similar to those listed in the Travel Warning after visiting Cuba,” a spokesperson for the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs told the Miami Herald via email.
Americans who visited Cuba report similar symptoms suffered by US diplomats, report says (Fox News, Jan. 29, 2018)

Considering the number of Americans going to Cuba and the media campaign, I’m actually surprised that only 19 American tourists report ”experiencing symptoms similar to those listed in the Travel Warning after visiting Cuba,” i.e. dizziness, headache, hearing loss, fatigue, difficulty sleeping and ear complaints, among others (The Daily Mail, Jan. 30, 2018)

Quote:
In an event titled CubaMediaDay on Monday in Havana, representatives of U.S. travel agencies reiterated to the invited foreign press that Cuba is “one of the safest tourist destinations in the world.”
19 American travelers to Cuba report symptoms similar to those suffered by diplomats (Miami Herald, Jan. 29, 2018)

However, it still seems to be possible for Americans to vist Cuba as tourists:

Quote:
“I'm not aware of any stepped-up enforcement, stepped up budget, or stepped-up personnel for enforcement at OFAC (the Office of Foreign Assets Control),” said Frank.
“Cuba,” he said, “very much does remain a legal destination for U.S. travelers — even under current OFAC regulations.”
American visitors aren’t flying in droves to Cuba now. Tour operators: Please come back (Miami Herald, Jan. 30, 2018)

For some reason, the alleged attacks seem to affect only U.S. citizens even though they are also reported in European media, but not as extensively as in the USA: Mystisk: Turister vender hjem fra ferieparadis med foruroligende hjerneskader (B.T., Feb. 4, 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 15th February 2018, 11:06 AM   #388
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Report details harm to Cuba diplomats but offers no cause

Originally Posted by Federal Times
Doctors are releasing the first detailed medical reports about the hearing, vision, balance and brain symptoms suffered in what the State Department has called “health attacks” on U.S. diplomats in Cuba. Still missing: A clear diagnosis of just what happened to trigger their mysterious health problems.

All together, the symptoms are similar to the brain dysfunction seen with concussions, concluded a team of specialists from the University of Pennsylvania who tested 21 of the 24 embassy personnel thought to be affected.

Whatever the cause, the Havana patients “experienced persisting disability of a significant nature,” the Penn team concluded.

Cuba has insisted there were no attacks.

The Journal of the American Medical Association released the report late Wednesday, although key findings were first disclosed by The Associated Press in December....
https://www.federaltimes.com/managem...ffers-no-cause
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Old 15th February 2018, 11:31 AM   #389
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Report details harm to Cuba diplomats but offers no cause



https://www.federaltimes.com/managem...ffers-no-cause
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that article mischaracterizes the findings:
Quote:
All together, the symptoms are similar to the brain dysfunction seen with concussions, concluded a team of specialists from the University of Pennsylvania who tested 21 of the 24 embassy personnel thought to be affected.
That implies the affected personnel had consistent set of symptoms between them. I doubt that given what we've already read about this event.

Quote:
Whatever the cause, the Havana patients “experienced persisting disability of a significant nature,” the Penn team concluded.
That is a common finding in hysteria-caused incidents.
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Old 15th February 2018, 12:55 PM   #390
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Very interesting!

From the Federal Times article that William Parcher links to:

Quote:
Advanced MRI scans spotted “a few” changes in what are called white matter tracts of the brain in some patients, with three showing more than would be expected for their age, the report said. But the authors acknowledged those abnormalities could be due to something earlier in life.
Football? Boxing?

The Case of the Sick Americans in Cuba Gets Stranger (The Atlantic, Feb. 15, 2018)
The Sound and the Fury: Inside the Mystery of the Havana Embassy (ProPublica, Feb. 14, 2018)
Doctors find neurological damage to Americans who served in Cuba (Washington Post, Feb. 14, 2018) Notice the comments section! Many of the comments are very … skeptical!
Doctors Still Can’t Explain What Happened to U.S. Diplomats in Cuba (New York Magazine, Feb. 15, 2018)
UM doctor who examined American diplomats in Havana: Symptoms are not caused by stress (Miami Herald, Feb. 8, 2018)

But much more interesting - the two JAMA articles:

Neurological Manifestations Among US Government Personnel Reporting Directional Audible and Sensory Phenomena in Havana, Cuba (JAMA, Feb. 15, 2018)
Neurological Symptoms among US Diplomats in Cuba (JAMA Editorial, Feb. 15, 2018)

Even though the authors of the medical report dismiss mass psychogenic illness as an explanation, the editorial seems to dismiss their reason for dismissing it!

Quote:
The authors also raise the possibility of mass psychogenic illness but seem to dismiss it on the grounds that most of the affected individuals were motivated to return to work as soon as possible. However, it should be emphasized that in psychogenic (functional) illness (rather than malingering), individuals are not consciously motivated by primary and secondary gain.
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Old 18th February 2018, 03:48 AM   #391
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With the new medical report about the damaged Americans in Havana, we seem to have returned to the science-fiction explanation - as reflected in this headline:
US diplomats suffered mysterious brain damage and hearing loss in Cuba – and it could mean there’s new way to cause brain injuries (Business Insider – Nordic, Feb. 16, 2018)

The new idea ought to be considered for the Nobel Prize in medicine:
Quote:
“We all believe this is a real syndrome,” Mr. Smith added. “This is concussion without blunt head trauma.”
U.S. envoys in Cuba suffered mysterious brain injuries (The Hindu, Feb. 18, 2018)

I can recommend this JAMA article as a summary of the current interpretation of the situation:
More Questions Raised by Concussion-like Symptoms Found in US Diplomats Who Served in Havana (JAMA, Feb. 15, 2018)

I also notice that U.S. American politicians don't seem to be afraid of going to the allegedly brain-damaging country:
Rep. Kathy Castor is Cuba-bound - She's part of congressional visit. (Tampa Bay Times, Feb. 17, 2018)
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Old 20th February 2018, 10:57 PM   #392
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Press conference today

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy will be at a press conference about the alleged attacks on U.S. diplomats today, Wednesday:

Quote:
A delegation of six US senators and representatives are paying a visit to the island to discuss with Cuban authorities the supposed attacks suffered by US diplomats stationed in Havana, reported dpa news.
(…)
The agenda of the US politicians has not been made public, but a press conference by Leahy is scheduled to conclude his visit to the island on Wednesday.
US Congress Delegation Visits Cuba to Deal with Alleged Attacks (Havana Times, Feb. 19, 2018)

Another article about the U.S. delegation in Cuba mentions mass hysteria/mass psychogenic illness as the most likely cause of the symptoms suffered by the U.S. embassy personnel in Havana:

Quote:
Mark Hallett, head of the human motor control section of the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, attributed the unexplained ailments experienced by a number of U.S. diplomats to “mass hysteria” prompted by the media, not sonic attacks.
“From an objective point of view, it's more like mass hysteria than anything else,” adding that “mass hysteria” is the term used for outbreaks among groups of people that are either wholly or partly psychosomatic.
US Congressmen Arrive in Cuba to Address ’Sonic Attacks’ (Telesur, Feb. 20, 2018)

Mark Hallett is also quoted in an article in Slate earlier this month about how the media and US politicians have treated (and helped create) the story of the alleged attacks in Cuba:

Quote:
“It’s very powerful,” says Petrie. And often underestimated. “From the comments I read by the physician associated with the [embassy attacks], it was interesting how he dismissed this explanation” Petrie says. “He didn’t seem to understand how easily this can happen.”
Most people don’t. That includes just about everyone involved in the Cuban attacks. Mass psychogenic illnesses are not as intuitive to grasp as cold or a flu, but they are just as serious, and should be treated as such. In Cuba, they have not been. Instead, a fixation on secret weapons has obscured a real illness with real consequences, one which can not only be “medically verified,” but which regularly afflicts people across the world, and to which anyone with a functioning brain is vulnerable.
MEDICAL EXAMINER
Cuba’s Sonic Attacks Show Us Just How Susceptible Our Brains Are to Mass Hysteria
(Slate, Feb. 1, 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 21st February 2018, 05:22 AM   #393
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According to Cuba's most widely distributed newspaper Granma (Feb. 21, 2018), the U.S. delegation met with Cuban president Raúl Castro yesterday to discuss things of interest to both countries, but the 'sonic attacks' aren't mentioned specifically.
No Republicans seem to have participated in the delegation.
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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 21st February 2018, 10:35 PM   #394
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Reports from the press conference on Wednesday:

Quote:
"I have the impression the Cubans have offered whatever cooperation we want, in discovering what if anything happened," Leahy said. "I don't see that they have any advantage to doing something to harm our personnel, the certain result of it is to harm relations between both countries."
US lawmakers say it's time to restore staff at Cuba embassy (ABC News/Associated Press, Feb. 21, 2018)

Quote:
"I have no idea what happened to our diplomats here," said Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts. "U.S. agencies who are investigating this matter, who I met with also, don’t seem to have clue what happened here. And we may never know what happened."
Congressional delegation wraps up 5-day visit to Cuba (Local 10 News, Feb. 21, 2018)

Quote:
La decisión de Washington se intentó justificar con la supuesta ocurrencia de «ataques acústicos» contra sus funcionarios. Sin embargo, tras meses de investigaciones cubanas y estadounidenses no se ha logrado encontrar una sola evidencia sobre dichos acontecimientos ni tampoco pistas sobre las causas o el origen de las afecciones de salud alegadas.
(...)
«Con respecto a los síntomas de salud reportados por diplomáticos estadounidenses en La Habana, Cossío enfatizó que, como se ha dicho categóricamente, Cuba no atacó ni ha permitido ataque contra diplomático de país alguno, incluido Estados Unidos», refiere.

Cossío explicó que la Mayor de las Antillas entiende la obligación de todo Estado de proteger a sus diplomáticos en el cumplimiento de sus funciones, pero afirmó que Cuba es «un país seguro, estable y saludable, para cubanos y para extranjeros, incluidos los diplomáticos; que el país cuenta con las medidas, con los recursos y con la voluntad de seguir protegiendo la seguridad ciudadana y la de los extranjeros radicados en el país, especialmente la comunidad diplomática».
Reclaman congresistas estadounidenses normalización de su Embajada en La Habana (Granma, Feb. 21, 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 24th February 2018, 08:01 AM   #395
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Robert Bartholomew accuses the new medical study (see post 391 above) from the University of Pennsylvania of bias:

Quote:
Robert Bartholomew, an expert in mass psychogenic illness (MPI) who teaches at Botany Downs Secondary College in Auckland, said he was “floored by the study” and claims that it reads like US government propaganda. In the article, the doctors state that their objective is to describe “neurological manifestations that followed exposure to an unknown energy source,” but Bartholomew points out that there is no proof that any kind of energy source affected the diplomats, or even that an attack took place. “It’s like the authors are trying to get us to believe an attack has occurred,” he told the Guardian.
Fresh row over mysterious sickness affecting US diplomats in Cuba (Guardian, Feb. 24, 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; 24th February 2018 at 08:03 AM.
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Old 5th March 2018, 01:23 PM   #396
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Sound engineers' research finds likely explanation for Cuba sounds

Quote:
Looking at a spectral plot of the clip on YouTube, Kevin Fu, a computer scientist at the University of Michigan, noted some unusual ripples. He thought he might know what they meant.

Fu’s lab specializes in analyzing the cybersecurity of devices connected to the Internet of Things, such as sensors, pacemakers, RFIDs, and autonomous vehicles. That work has taught him that modern electronics often behave in unpredictable ways and that such devices can be manipulated—intentionally or inadvertently—using carefully crafted acoustic or radio interference. To Fu, the ripples in the spectral readout suggested some kind of interference.

He discussed the AP clip with his frequent collaborator, Wenyuan Xu, a professor at Zhejiang University, in Hangzhou, China, and her Ph.D. student Chen Yan. “We saw it as an interesting puzzle,” says Xu, whose lab works on embedded security, including the use of ultrasound and radio waves to fool voice-recognition systems and self-driving cars. “It was a lot of fun to try to solve it.”

“I thought it might be subharmonics,” Fu recalls. “But a week later, Chen said, ‘No, Kevin, you’re wrong, and I just did an experiment to prove it.’ ”

Yan and Xu started with a fast Fourier transform of the AP audio, which revealed the signal’s exact frequencies and amplitudes. Then, through a series of simulations, Yan showed that an effect known as intermodulation distortion could have produced the AP sound. Intermodulation distortion occurs when two signals having different frequencies combine to produce synthetic signals at the difference, sum, or multiples of the original frequencies.

When signal processing equipment behaves in a nonlinear way, it can cause this type of distortion. For example, Fu says, microphone circuitry can exhibit nonlinear behavior, and waves propagating through air can also behave in a nonlinear fashion. “As acoustic waves containing multiple frequencies travel through a nonlinear system, you can get these bizarre ripples in the spectrum of the signal,” he explains. “At the same time, intermodulation distortion can produce lower-frequency signals than the original signals. In other words, inaudible ultrasonic waves going through air can produce audible by-⁠products.”

Yan followed up the simulations with lab experiments, in which he used two ultrasonic speakers, one emitting a signal at 25 kHz and the other at 32 kHz. When he crossed the two signals, it produced the telltale high-pitched sound at 7 kHz, which was equal to the difference between the two speakers’ frequencies—and the same frequency as in the AP audio. In a nod to the Internet meme “rickrolling,” Yan was even able to embed an ultrasonic version of the Rick Astley song “Never Gonna Give You Up,” which became audible at the point where the two signals crossed.

Having reverse engineered the AP audio, Fu, Xu, and Yan then considered what combination of things might have caused the sound at the U.S. embassy in Cuba. “If ultrasound is to blame, then a likely cause was two ultrasonic signals that accidentally interfered with each other, creating an audible side effect,” Fu says. There are existing sources of ultrasound in office environments, such as room-occupancy sensors [see, for example, “How an Ultrasonic Sensor Nearly Derailed a Ph.D. Thesis”]. “Maybe there was also an ultrasonic jammer in the room and an ultrasonic transmitter,” he suggests. “Each device might have been placed there by a different party, completely unaware of the other.”
This explanation makes a whole lot of sense. Any embassy is bound to be flooded with radio frequencies, both from listening equipment installed by other nations' intelligence service and jammers installed by the embassy nation's counterintelligence services. These frequencies are normally inaudible of course; but the experiment proves that audible sounds can be produced at foci of frequency interference. This could easily explain the sounds heard by some - specifically the phenomenon reported by some that the sounds were extremely local; that is, that one could move one's body in and out of a small focused "zone" of audible sound. This small area is where the frequency interference happened to produce the audible tones.

This is a much more likely explanation than say crickets, which should be audible everywhere and which it seems unlikely that someone who's lived in the location for months would suddenly start hearing after being long deaf to them.
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Old 5th March 2018, 01:47 PM   #397
dann
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
This could easily explain the sounds heard by some - specifically the phenomenon reported by some that the sounds were extremely local; that is, that one could move one's body in and out of a small focused "zone" of audible sound. This small area is where the frequency interference happened to produce the audible tones.

No, I don't think so. Sound is composed of waves, and these waves spread out. They don't just stay in one "extremely local" spot.


Related news:

State Department Likely to Extend Cuts to U.S. Embassy in Cuba (ProPublica, Mar. 1, 2018)
US Embassy in Cuba makes staff cuts permanent after unexplained health 'attacks' (ABC News, Mar. 2, 2018)
Brain-damaging “health attacks” spur US to permanently cut Cuba embassy staff (Ars Technica, Mar. 5, 2018)

I notice that most news agencies are beginning to use quotation marks whenever they refer to the alleged Cuban health attacks.
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Old 5th March 2018, 02:13 PM   #398
TheGnome
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
Sound engineers' research finds likely explanation for Cuba sounds



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

This is a much more likely explanation than say crickets, which should be audible everywhere and which it seems unlikely that someone who's lived in the location for months would suddenly start hearing after being long deaf to them.
Are you sure you understand what Kevin Fu et al are saying? I ask because it has about zilch to do with radio frequencies.

What they were exploring is intermodulation between acoustic waves of differing frequencies. It always happens when the sensor is not strictly linear. It happens in microphones, it happens in amplifiers or recording devices, and it happens in the ear too.

Now I seem to recall that the signal in question was quite strong. Therefore there is either a lot of nonlinearity (a very cheap recorder?) or the interfering signals are very strong (which of course is quite possible).

But without some further data, and maybe some further explanations by these researchers, I'm not yet ready to accept intermodulation as a more likely explanation than crickets.
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Old 5th March 2018, 02:14 PM   #399
Bob001
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
Sound engineers' research finds likely explanation for Cuba sounds

This explanation makes a whole lot of sense. Any embassy is bound to be flooded with radio frequencies, both from listening equipment installed by other nations' intelligence service and jammers installed by the embassy nation's counterintelligence services.
.....

According to the initial press reports, employees heard odd sounds at their homes.
Quote:
Few details have been released but the Associated Press, quoting officials, reported that some embassy employees reported they experienced bizarre, unexplained and physically uncomfortable noises or vibrations at their residences before they were afflicted.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news...victim-n802326

Their homes might have had similar appliances and electronics, but the question is whether there is one good explanation for every effect that everybody reported.
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Old 5th March 2018, 02:34 PM   #400
Checkmite
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
No, I don't think so. Sound is composed of waves, and these waves spread out. They don't just stay in one "extremely local" spot.
The waves spread out; but points of wave interference will remain stationary as long as whatever objects or devices are emitting the respective waves stay stationary.
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