1. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    US Embassy Havana Cuba Sonic Attack.

    When I first read the stories about the strange events in the US Embassy in Havana, Cuba, I accepted them as fact. Why not, I thought, after all Cuba is not very friendly, and then there's Russia, probably trying to make trouble by zapping the Embassy. It did seem a bit odd though.

    Then things got stranger, Canadians reported being affected, people were "targeted" in hotels. The incidents varied. And then I saw this list of symptoms today in The Guardian:
    This rang a bell for me, as it's quite similar to symptom lists given for conditions that many consider to be psychosomatic. They are all symptom of getting old. Other than "brain injuries" I personally have ALL those symptoms right now at this very instant.

    I'm familiar with this type of list because I used to write a lot about "Morgellons", a label for a similar constellation of symptoms that people self diagnose with after convincing themselves that fibers are emerging from their skin. The Morgellons symptoms, if we remove itching and finding things on your skin, are, in short form:
    • Life altering fatigue
    • Neurological impairment
    • Visual and hearing changes
    • Brain fog and diminished higher cognitive abilities
    • Hair loss
    • GI changes
    • Muscle aches, Joint pain
    • General malaise; intense, life-impacting pain
    • Dental deterioration
    • Sleep disturbances
    • Psychiatric manifestations can include anxiety, depression, new onset of panic attacks, changes in behavior and personality.
    Notice again these are just general issues associated with life and aging, and many are subjective self-reporting signs that cannot be objectively measured. I've had all these symptoms myself. Ask anyone over the age of 35 in depth about changes in their health over the last year, and they will likely respond "yes" to most, if not all, of these symptoms, to some degree. This become increasingly true with age.

    Could the Cuba attacks be mass hysteria? More specifically we'd label it a "mass psychogenic illness"
    Such events are not uncommon, and well documented through history:
    The idea that psychological factor might be at play in the embassy situation was also suggested earlier this month by sociologist Dr Robert Bartholemew:
    Of course the possibilities here are not a binary choice of "Sonic Attack", vs. "Mass Hysteria". There's a number of possibilities. For a start something had to trigger this. It's quite possible that one or more people experienced something - either a genuine illness, some environmental thing, a side effect of something going on nearby, or even an actual "sonic attack" by nefarious third parties. Although experts think that's unlikely:
    Any "real" cause need not be the same for everyone who has non-psychosomatic symptoms. These are an incredibly common group of symptoms. WebMD lists 140 conditions that manifest symptoms of concussion like dizziness, fatigue, headache and hearing loss. Here's just the top 18

    20170929-131222-g90rc.

    If you work in a place where suspicion is normally quite high (like the embassy in Cuba), and people say that building is being subject to an attack that might damage your brain, then you are going to be hypersensitized to whatever your body is telling you. Right now I've got slight ringing in my ears, a headache, fatigue, and now that I think about it I have been having trouble hearing what people are saying on TV, plus my balance isn't what it was, I can't read fine print any more, and I only slept around 4 hours last night!. I've just not paid it much attention because it's just me getting old.

    So even if there's a genuine attack or other cause for some of these symptoms, it's highly unlikely that everyone reporting them was actually affected by that cause.




    [Note: for discussion of possible physical causes, including exotic weapons, see: https://www.metabunk.org/exotic-wea...al-causes-of-the-cuba-embassy-syndrome.t9104/ ]
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2017
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  2. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    As for sonic devices:
    this above article (not sure how great "the Verge" is as a reputable source) suggests possible chemical attack. although i don't see how that would cause 'mild concussion'. ??
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 30, 2017
  3. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I don't think that "mild concussion" is something that you can do a physical test to determine. In fact after you get hit in the head and have symptoms of dizziness etc, they do a CT scan, and if it does not show anything they diagnose you with concussion.

    http://weillcornellbrainandspine.org/condition/concussion/diagnosing-and-treating-concussion
    So they are probably not finding concussion, but rather a set of symptoms consistent with concussion. And since they generally don't have a baseline they are going on the patient's subjective assessment of their own symptoms, which can be highly psychosomatic.

    I suspect the "symptom" of "brain injuries" the stage department listed was probably just this diagnosis being consistent with the symptoms. Which means if I went to Cuba and presented myself to the doctor they would find I had all ten of the symptoms
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
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  4. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    can they test for carbon monoxide poisoning? of course how someone would use it as an attack chemical i don't know.

     
  5. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I'm pretty sure they would have carbon monoxide detectors in the building. But yes, you can do a blood test (Carbon Monxide affects the blood's ability to carry oxygen).

    If it is some kind of mass hysteria, then it's probably not going to be too helpful speculating as to the various causes. Almost certainly there will be a variety of things behind what people are feeling, and most like banal explanations like existing health conditions, or just getting old.
     
  6. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    in what building? i read about 15 articles and the reporting is all over the board. so, really hard to come to any conclusions.

    it sounds like there were only 2 episodes. December 2016 and August 2017. I do agree mass hysteria would eventually take over, it is also speculating a bit to assume everyone is getting old at the same time. :)
     
  7. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Looking at the comments on Bartholomew's blog, the story is also attracting some of the more fringe theorists. There's the DEW (directed energy weapons) enthusiasts who ascribe great capabilities to devices that are largely theoretical. But then there's the "gang stalking" folk who often claim that the government has organized groups of people who beam voices directly into their skulls. Example (of both together):
     
  8. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Again though, speculating as to a single physical cause kind of misses the point - and I think falls into the same mental trap that leads to ideas like the "sonic weapon". This is a constellation of common self-reported symptoms, not everyone in the Cuba situation has the same symptoms, or to the same degree. The symptoms are mostly going to be found in a subset of ANY similar group of people.

    It's possible there's a physical cause in some or any cases. It's even possible that it's the result of being zapped by a microwave weapon. It's possible that here's something in the water.

    But there's no evidence of that. Given that they are withdrawing 2/3 of the staff, you'd think they would have looked into this - set up some monitoring equipment, tested the water. They have no idea what is going on, so they started to speculate. People talked to each other about the sonic ray thing, nobody wants to go deaf, so it's highly stressful, more people feel ill, there's media reports, more people feel ill.

    Investigators trust and respect the embassy staff. So they tend to rule out psychosomatic components prematurely, and then they start speculating.

    A related topic:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8331040
    Like I said, I'd not rule anything out. But my feeling here is that it's not binary, it's complicated. There's some real symptoms here, and some unintentionally magnified symptoms. There seems to be a cluster simply because of the focus of the investigation, the more they focus, the more magnified the symptoms become.
     
  9. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Getting back to the actual events, if it IS an exotic weapon then it's clearly something the US cannot detect, and does not know how it works. So it's going to be something rather unusual. So speculating here is unlikely to be helpful. Let's just say there's a possible exotic weapon. We can't really rule things in or out without the full facts.

    More relevant than figuring out how such a weapon might work is asking if there's actually any evidence at all that it's a necessary explanation for what happened. Exactly how much hearing loss are we talking about here? Has it actually been measured? How many people had hearing loss? How much did they have? Did they all have this localised loud noise event? If there's devices making ultrasound inside the embassy (or embassy housing) then why have none been found after months of investigation?
     
  10. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I've been trying to dig through the repeated and reworded stories to find out exactly what is being reported. The most direct source seems to be the US Embassy web site and this teleconference from yesterday:

    https://cu.usembassy.gov/senior-state-department-officials-cuba/
    So two things there. Firstly "these different attacks" suggests different people experienced different things. Which suggests to me that this is just people connecting unrelated dots, like "my symptoms happened after I noticed a strange smell/heard a noise/saw a flash of light/felt a rumble/felt hot"

    Then the lack of recent mention of brain injury suggests that all along it was simply a diagnosis of something like "symptoms consistent with mild concussion". i.e headache, dizziness, hearing issues, etc.

    There's also no specifics at all on anything serious.

    Then there was a bunch of "no comment" type answers:

     
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  11. Joey

    Joey New Member

    It's Mass Hysteria absolutely. If these were high school girls it would be diagnosed as mass hysteria immediately. But these are people with important jobs, men in suits, they have to find an outside source to blame.
     
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  12. DasKleineTeilchen

    DasKleineTeilchen New Member

    first time I heard this I was like "well, thats a lot of BS and doesnt make a lot of sense". I still think this is all nonsense, at least the "sonic-weapon"-part. how many people working at the embassy? which percentage of them are those 21 people? how old are they? are they kinda top-employees with responsibillitys or just random all over staff? and WHY, why would cuba stage an attack at the embassy?!? still sounds like BS.
     
  13. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    August 23, 2017 press briefing
     
  14. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Still trying to track down more direct sources of info on the more severe claimed symptoms and loud noises. This article is from yesterday:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/29/us/politics/us-embassy-cuba-attacks.html
    Covering all your bases there. But again we have a variety of different symptoms, in different places, and a diagnosis of brain injuries only from other symptoms which can have well over a hundred different causes.

    I think a big problem here is with paraphrasing. Things go from "like concussion" to "concussion" to "traumatic brain injury".

    The root story behind the "traumatic brain injury" thing only goes back to Aug 23, and a report by CBS news.
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/some-u...rious-health-conditions-medical-records-show/
    Again, this seems to be a possible diagnosis of a condition consistent with symptoms, not an actual finding of brain injuries.

    An older Aug 10 story says only:
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/u-s-go...a-report-incidents-causing-physical-symptoms/
     
  15. DasKleineTeilchen

    DasKleineTeilchen New Member

    obviously no evidence at all, but they always talking about "attacks" as it were a proven fact.
     
  16. scombrid

    scombrid Senior Member

    This is one of the ways that the mass media spreads bunk. They get some expert that hasn't actually examined the facts to speculate on what the claimed facts may mean. In this case he is speculating as if the symptoms are verified even though he has examined nothing. It isn't just in matters of health that the media will find someone that sounds authoritative to make declarative impressive sounding speculations even though their "expert" has no direct knowledge of the case at hand.

    Dr. Gizzi has credentials but I don't see in the piece any mention that he has examined the "victims". So where does he or any of these other experts get off speculating to the media when they don't have the first hand knowledge that would be needed to accurately make statements? Are they dumping their ethics because the are getting paid or do they just like the attention?
     
  17. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    US is continuing to take it very seriously.
    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/u-s-plans-tell-cuba-remove-embassy-staff/
     
  18. Clouds Givemethewillies

    Clouds Givemethewillies Active Member

    That is a great bit of building bending, Mick, Is it yours?
     
  19. Critical Thinker

    Critical Thinker Senior Member

    From the NYTimes

     
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  20. Henry Crun

    Henry Crun New Member

    Mass hysteria may explain 'sonic attacks' in Cuba, say top neurologists

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/12/cuba-mass-hysteria-sonic-attacks-neurologists

    I've followed the site for a long time and hadn't even realized Mick was a top neurologist :eek:
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
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  21. skephu

    skephu Senior Member

    AP claims to have obtained a recording of the sound some US Embassy workers heard.
    https://apnews.com/88bb914f8b284088bce48e54f6736d84

    Source: https://youtu.be/Nw5MLAu-kKs
     
  22. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks. I just listened to your video, now I'm fatigued and can't hear. :mad:
     
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  23. Abe

    Abe New Member

    A new AP story on the "sonic attacks" is trying to extend the number of victims:

    https://apnews.com/53d931c2e7e14e2c980644bd10bfef46

    "The tourist from South Carolina had cut short his trip to Cuba two years earlier after numbness spread through all four of his limbs within minutes of climbing into bed at the same hotel where American government workers were later targeted."

    Unless I'm mistaken, numbness is a new complaint.

    This article also illustrates how this story is dominated by rumor and how details cannot be pinned down:

    "The AP has learned that an FBI agent sent down to Cuba this year was alarmed enough by an unexplained sound in his hotel that he sought medical testing to see whether he was the latest victim of what some U.S. officials suspect are “sonic attacks.” Whether the FBI agent was really affected is disputed.

    But there’s no dispute that a U.S. government doctor was hit in Havana, half a dozen U.S. officials said.

    Dispatched to the island earlier this year to test and treat Americans at the embassy, the physician became the latest victim himself. How badly he was hurt varies from telling to telling."

    And it looks like people sort of want to be victims of these attacks, but the evidence for their victimhood is worse than that of the tourist the AP mentions in detail:

    "Since the AP began reporting on the Cuba attacks, roughly three dozen American citizens have contacted the news agency to say they believe they may have been affected by the same or related phenomena. The AP has not published those accounts, because closer examination gave ample reason to doubt their situations were connected."

    Overall, the AP report is a bit too credulous, but they do a pretty good job of pointing out the discrepancies in the "sonic weapon" story.