Soviet Psychotronics Master Thread

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Re: Soviet Psychotronics Master Thread

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:58 am

Was Russia Behind Cuba Sonic Attacks?

And What Happened in Uzbekistan?

US Embassy
This September, the State Department ordered the departure of non-emergency personnel at the US embassy in Havana after reporting that 21 US embassy employees were targets of attack. Photo credit: US Embassy in Uzbekistan and Nataraja / Wikimedia
With the mystery of alleged sonic attacks on American diplomats in Havana still unresolved, a new development has caused some to point to a familiar foe: Russia.

The State Department recently received another report of a possible covert attack on US foreign officials, sources told CBS news. This time, the report came from an American couple based at the US embassy in the central Asian country of Uzbekistan.

This latest incident casts further doubt on the theory that it was Cuba that had allegedly used a mysterious weapon on American diplomats in Havana. Experts tell WhoWhatWhy that Russia stands to gain from both incidents.

The official and his wife experienced a range of symptoms and injuries similar to those reported by the US diplomats in Cuba, including hearing loss, cognitive impairment, insomnia, dizziness and mild brain trauma.

The USAID diplomat and his wife were flown out of Uzbekistan after reporting their injuries to the State Department. An alleged audio recording of the sound heard by Cuban diplomats (released by AP News in October) may have been what prompted the USAID officer to identify the incident in the former Soviet country as a “sonic attack.”

What Was It?

.

Some experts have chalked up the Cuba incidents to “botched surveillance” while others have hypothesized mere “hysteria.” Whatever the explanation, it is clear that the events there have damaged already fragile US-Cuba relations.

This September, the State Department ordered the departure of non-emergency personnel at the US embassy in Havana after reporting that 21 US embassy employees were targets of an attack. In addition to the withdrawal of diplomats, the State Department suspended visa operations and issued a travel warning. In a statement following the withdrawal, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson emphasized that the source of the attacks remains unknown, but the Cuban government is accountable for the safety of US diplomats: “Until the Government of Cuba can ensure the safety of our diplomats in Cuba, our Embassy will be reduced to emergency personnel in order to minimize the number of diplomats at risk of exposure to harm.”

Cui Bono?

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The most likely beneficiary of this development is Russia, says Christopher Sabatini, lecturer on international relations and policy at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.

“Russia will profit diplomatically by gaining more leverage,” Sabatini told WhoWhatWhy. “North Korea will continue to profit because it maintains relations with Cuba. Venezuela will profit because Cubans will remain dependent on Venezuelan oil. All the people that are enemies of US interests would profit.”

Cold War Echoes

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There is a historical precedent of Russia using mysterious nonlethal technologies. During the Cold War, Russia deployed low-level microwaves — known then as the “Moscow signal” — against the US Embassy in Moscow.

“One ambassador told me that the Russians used to do stuff like this,” Sabatini said. “These were not cases of mistakes, they were deliberate efforts of disruption.”

The incident in Uzbekistan raises deeper suspicion that Russia may be involved in both alleged attacks. Its strategic interests and growing influence in both Cuba and Uzbekistan suggest intriguing parallels.

Cuba has condemned the attack. Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez called suspicions that Cuba targeted US diplomats “political manipulation aimed at damaging bilateral relations.” The former Chief of US Interests Section Havana, Vicki Huddleston, explained that the Cuban government is in a tough spot.

“If it was the Russians, can [the Cubans] really tell us? Russia just provided them with a shipload of oil worth about $11 million,” the retired foreign service officer told WhoWhatWhy. “That’s what’s galling to professionals in the State Department. Cuba probably knows but it is unable to say. The Russians might cut them off. They are very dependent on Russia.”

Russia’s motives for trying to disrupt warmer US-Cuba relations seem clear from a zero-sum-game view of Big Power diplomacy: anything that boosts US standing in Havana diminishes Russian influence in its long-time Caribbean satellite.

Russia and the US have also been vying for influence in Central Asia. Uzbekistan declared independence in 1991 during the collapse of the Soviet Union. President Shavkat Mirziyoyev assumed office in 2016 after the death of president Islam Karimov, who had served as a government official since before the fall of the Soviet Union.

Vladimir Putin, Shavkat Mirziyoyev
Vladimir Putin (right) with President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
Photo credit: President of Russia / Wikimedia (CC BY 3.0)

Karimov led an independent and isolationist Uzbekistan but cooperated with the US in the “War on Terror.” At the time of Karimov’s death, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that he hoped a pro-Russian leader would succeed Karimov. Mirziyoyev seems to fit the bill, having agreed to carry out joint military drills with Russia. This development suggests that Uzbekistan plans to join the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization, Putin’s counter-balance to NATO.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, formed in 1998 with the objective of overthrowing the government and installing an Islamic state under Sharia law, has pledged allegiance to ISIS. The US views Uzbekistan as an ISIS recruitment center.

While President Donald Trump and Putin have issued a joint statement on fighting ISIS in Syria, US-Russia relations are still characterized by antagonism and suspicion. Three days after Trump and Putin’s joint statement, Russia’s Ministry of Defense offered “irrefutable evidence” that the US was assisting ISIS forces “to promote the American interests in the Middle East.” The evidence, though, was later revealed to be footage of military operations of the Iraqi air force and a screenshot from the mobile phone game AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron.

Cui Bono, Part II?

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In the case of Cuba, Stanley N. Katz, director of the Princeton University Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies explained to WhoWhatWhy how some segments of the US government benefited from the attack and subsequent withdrawal of diplomats from the Havana embassy.

“There are elements in President’s Trump’s base and alliances that wanted to see this [withdrawal of diplomats] happen no matter what,” he says. “Marco Rubio, particularly Cuban-American Republicans in the House and the Senate, Mario Diaz-Balart, a number of Cuban-American groups, they’ve been pushing for this.”

According to Huddleston, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s response to the alleged attacks in Havana reflected his unwillingness to challenge President Trump on this issue. “It is perfect timing,” she said. “We know from the media that Tillerson has disagreements with the President of significant magnitude on North Korea and Iran’”

“These are issues of war and peace. They couldn’t be bigger. Tillerson’s not going to fight the president over Cuba when he’s [preoccupied with] thinking of nuclear war.”

In contrast, the State Department responded to the alleged attacks in Uzbekistan with outright denial, stating that there has been “no incident” in Uzbekistan.

With speculation rampant in Washington that Trump may be about to fire his Secretary of State, Tillerson may have acceded to Trump’s desire to curry favor with Cuban Americans who are opposed to any rapprochement with the Communist government in Havana.

With no definitive explanation of why the State Department reported the incident in Uzbekistan as a fluke, it’s up to citizens to make a judgment call. Is the State Department acting as a transparent institution, as a Putin puppet, or something else? This incident has attracted a lot of attention, and points to one definitive conclusion: Uzbekistan remains important to both the US and Russia, and suspicion of Russia’s involvement in these sonic attacks is only heightened after the most recent incident.
https://whowhatwhy.org/2017/12/04/russi ... c-attacks/
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Re: Soviet Psychotronics Master Thread

Postby Elvis » Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:02 am

US hasn't found evidence of 'sonic attacks' in Cuba
By Max Greenwood - 01/06/18 04:42 PM EST

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said on Saturday that he has seen no evidence that American diplomats who fell victim to mysterious health symptoms while in Havana were deliberately attacked.

The Arizona Republican said he was told by high-ranking Cuban officials during a meeting on Friday that the FBI informed them it had found no evidence that symptoms were the results of an attack with an unknown weapon, according to The Associated Press.

Flake told the AP that classified briefings from U.S. officials had given him no reason to doubt the Cubans' account.

“The Cuban Interior Ministry is saying the FBI has told them there is no evidence of a sonic attack, even though that term is being used, attack, there is no evidence of it,” said Flake, a longtime advocate for improving ties with Cuba and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“There’s no evidence that somebody purposefully tried to harm somebody. Nobody is saying that these people didn’t experience some event, but there’s no evidence that that was a deliberate attack by somebody, either the Cubans or anybody else."

“As I said, I won’t talk about what I have seen in a classified setting, but nothing is inconsistent with what the Cubans have said, and I think the FBI would say that,” he added.

A total of 24 government personnel and their spouses fell mysteriously ill starting in the fall of 2016, with some experiencing permanent hearing loss, balancing problems and mild traumatic brain injury. Several officials reported hearing loud noises before experiencing the symptoms.

The State Department pulled most of its staff from the U.S. Embassy in Havana over suspicions that the illnesses were caused by a sonic attack from an unknown source. The U.S. also expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from Washington to match the staff reductions in Havana.

The Cuban government denied responsibility for the suspected attacks, despite President Trump saying he believes Cuba was responsible.


http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/3677 ... ks-in-cuba


From the start I've assumed that it was U.S. technology deployed at embassies that caused these problems.
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Re: Soviet Psychotronics Master Thread

Postby elfismiles » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:53 am

Wait wait wait ... "Flake Says Fake on Cuba Sonic Attack News" ??? :eeyaa
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Re: Soviet Psychotronics Master Thread

Postby elfismiles » Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:54 pm

Computer scientists may have solved the mystery behind the ‘sonic attacks’ in Cuba
By Nora Gámez Torres
ngameztorres@elnuevoherald.com
March 02, 2018 07:05 PM
Updated March 03, 2018 07:37 AM

A team of computer scientists from the University of Michigan may have solved the mystery behind strange sounds heard by American diplomats in Havana, who later suffered a variety of medical disorders.

Professor Kevin Fu and members of the Security and Privacy Research Group at the University of Michigan say they have an explanation for what could have happened in Havana: two sources of ultrasound — such as listening devices — placed too close together could generate interference and provoke the intense sounds described by the victims.

And this may not have been done intentionally to harm diplomats, the scientists concluded in their study, first reported by the Daily Beast.

Those who have followed the case closely say the new theory makes sense.

“This is a variation of what I have always thought,” James Cason, a former top U.S. diplomat in Havana, told el Nuevo Herald. “It explains the sonic part, that no one was spotted planting new devices inside the homes and doing it from the outside would require something huge.”

The health incidents — which took place between November 2016 and August 2017 at homes and two Havana hotels — were initially blamed on “sonic attacks.” The cause has perplexed the Department of State, the FBI and other U.S. agencies that have been trying to figure out just what made 24 intelligence officers, diplomats and relatives based in Havana ill. Many reported a variety of symptoms such as hearing loss, headaches, cognitive problems and other ailments that doctors said correlate with concussions.

University of Miami Dr. Michael Hoffer, who led the initial team of physicians who examined the victims, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Michigan report. The State Department said: “We still do not have a cause or source of the attacks. The investigation is ongoing.”

Most of the victims said they heard a shrill sound coming from a specific direction before experiencing the ailments.

Fu and his team used recordings of the sound obtained by The Associated Press and applied reverse-engineering to replicate what was heard by diplomats. By combining various ultrasound signals, they discovered that the resulting distortion produced an audible sound similar to what was heard in the original recording.

“When a second inaudible ultrasonic source interfered with the primary inaudible ultrasonic source, intermodulation distortion created audible byproducts that share spectral characteristics with audio from the AP news,” the university report said.

The Cuban government, which has independently investigated the incidents, has said that it found nothing suspicious in the recordings provided by U.S. agencies and that the sounds are similar to those produced by crickets and cicadas.

At first, Fu and his team did not find anything notable in the recording.

“We wondered for a moment if someone might be playing a joke on us,” they wrote in their report. But then they performed a procedure known as “AM demodulation,” and the resulting signal “sounds like an F1 engine.”

Fu’s theory, focused on ultrasound waves, would help explain why the victims described that the sound came from a specific direction. That is what 21 victims told a University of Pennsylvania medical team, according to an article published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA).

“Ultrasound is more directional than audible sound and infrasound. Ultrasound can be focused on a certain area,” says the University of Michigan report.

So far, the United States has not found what caused the incidents that it has labeled “attacks on the health” of its diplomats. Cuba, for its part, has vehemently denied that it has attacked American personnel and has called the alleged attacks “science fiction.” If Fu’s theory is correct, Cuba’s response may be based on the premise that malfunctioning spy technology is not a form of aggression.

Several Canadian diplomats and their families also experienced similar symptoms, which generated more questions about why Cuba would venture to attack officials from Canada, the No. 1 source of tourism on the island.

Cason, who was in charge of the former U.S. Interests Section in Havana between 2002 and 2005, said that U.S. diplomats have lived for years in the same houses provided by the Cuban government and are aware that there are listening devices in them.

The theory that the incidents were due to malfunctioning devices and not staged attacks could explain why they only occurred in the homes of some diplomats and at two hotels in Havana, while not at the embassy.

“That cannot happen at the embassy in Havana because Cuban personnel are forbidden to enter higher floors,” where many diplomats have their offices, Cason said.

However, many questions remain unanswered: The most important is whether the ultrasound, the resulting sound distortion or both can cause the symptoms presented by the victims.

The doctors from the University of Pennsylvania could not explain the origin of the concussion symptoms, which several of the victims presented, although they ruled out other causes such as poisoning, a virus or collective hysteria.

More explanations on the cause are sure to surface.

“The JAMA report represents a collection of data from a partial sample of individuals seen at random times after an exposure, but not acutely. Our University of Miami team has provided a detailed description of how these individuals presented acutely,” Lisa Worley, a spokesperson at UM’s Miami Miller School of Medicine, said in a statement.

“This data is currently under peer review by a high-impact journal,” Worley said. “As the primary acute care providers in this case, we believe our work represents a high level of comprehensive detail that has not yet been reported. We look forward in the very near future to sharing our findings.”

In the JAMA article, doctors speculated that a new unknown source of “directional” character could cause brain damage. The authors also said there is no evidence that audible sounds could cause the symptoms. Although they did not speculate on what kind of technology may have caused the symptoms, they mentioned that microwaves can cause brain damage.

Many experts and American politicians have pointed to microwaves and to Russia as possible culprits for the attacks. This would imply that the Cuban government must have known whether foreign actors were involved. Other theories have suggested that a faction within the Cuban government could have acted on its own, which many observers believe is unlikely.

The Michigan report notes the lack of consensus and research on damage caused by ultrasound.

“The devices put in by the Cubans could have caused problems that no one knew could happen,” Cason said. “If this finally solves the mystery of sonic attacks, it is likely that Cubans will never admit it. They would have to recognize that they have eavesdropping devices everywhere, and that they will never say.”

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation- ... 21919.html
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Re: Soviet Psychotronics Master Thread

Postby elfismiles » Fri Jun 22, 2018 4:47 pm

25th Cuba Victim...

Department Press Briefing - June 21, 2018
U.S. Department of State
Published on Jun 21, 2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont ... 57s3MZTe98
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Re: Soviet Psychotronics Master Thread

Postby American Dream » Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:05 am

Those weird sonic attacks at U.S. embassies? Microwave weapons, experts say.

Image

Remember the stories over the past year or so about mysterious attacks at U.S. embassies harming diplomatic staff and their families? William J. Broad's story in the New York Times today reports that doctors and scientists are now coming to the conclusion that microwave weapon strikes capable of causing “sonic delusions” and brain damage are to blame.


The strange attacks were first reported in late 2016, and affected over three dozen American diplomats and family members in Cuba and China. They were blamed at one point on 'bad engineering,' and caused a diplomatic rift between Havana and Washington.

The notion that our brains can perceive certain microwaves as sound isn't new, nor is the idea of using them in weapons. 'Directed Energy Weapons' have long been a thing. Russia uses them against drones. The United States military has developed sonic weapons and used them on protesing Americans, but microwave attacks?

Yup.

Strikes with microwaves, some experts now argue, more plausibly explain reports of painful sounds, ills and traumas than do other possible culprits — sonic attacks, viral infections and contagious anxiety.

In particular, a growing number of analysts cite an eerie phenomenon known as the Frey effect, named after Allan H. Frey, an American scientist. Long ago, he found that microwaves can trick the brain into perceiving what seem to be ordinary sounds.

The false sensations, the experts say, may account for a defining symptom of the diplomatic incidents — the perception of loud noises, including ringing, buzzing and grinding. Initially, experts cited those symptoms as evidence of stealthy attacks with sonic weapons.

Members of Jason, a secretive group of elite scientists that helps the federal government assess new threats to national security, say it has been scrutinizing the diplomatic mystery this summer and weighing possible explanations, including microwaves.

The microwave idea teems with unanswered questions. Who fired the beams? The Russian government? The Cuban government? A rogue Cuban faction sympathetic to Moscow? And, if so, where did the attackers get the unconventional arms?

At his home outside Washington, Mr. Frey, the scientist who uncovered the neural phenomenon, said federal investigators have questioned him on the diplomatic riddle and that microwave radiation is considered a possible cause.

Mr. Frey, now 83, has traveled widely and long served as a contractor and a consultant to a number of federal agencies. He speculated that Cubans aligned with Russia, the nation’s longtime ally, might have launched microwave strikes in attempts to undermine developing ties between Cuba and the United States.

“It’s a possibility,” he said at his kitchen table. “In dictatorships, you often have factions that think nothing of going against the general policy if it suits their needs. I think that’s a perfectly viable explanation.”


Continues: https://boingboing.net/2018/09/01/weird ... tacks.html
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Re: Soviet Psychotronics Master Thread

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:51 pm

Scientists say ‘neuroweapons’ were behind Cuba attacks



WASHINGTON — Could a foreign country build a directed-energy weapon tailored to target a single diplomat walking through a house, leaving other occupants unaffected? What about drugs that target a person’s brain, or even a specific part of the brain? Yes, it’s possible, according to scientists who have been studying the possible causes of the mysterious health effects reported among U.S. diplomatic personnel in Havana, Cuba.

Four scientists, including the first doctor to examine the diplomats reporting symptoms in Cuba, took part in a Pentagon-sponsored teleconference on Friday, where they announced new research results, including what they determined to be the probable use of “neuroweapons” in what they called the Havana Effect.

At issue are the more than two dozen U.S. government officials stationed in Havana, who have described hearing strange sounds, followed by a combination of medical symptoms, including dizziness, hearing loss and cognitive problems. More recently, a similar case has been reported in a U.S. embassy worker in Guangzhou, China. For months, a mix of secrecy and speculation has surrounded those incidents, including an increasingly popular theory that the diplomats were the victims of microwave weapons.

Michael Hoffer, an otolaryngologist at the University of Miami, who was the first to conduct tests on the embassy workers, said on the Friday call that the diplomats are suffering from a “neurosensory dysfunction,” which is primarily affecting their sense of balance.

The Friday call was organized as part of a study program sponsored by the Pentagon and titled “Probable Use of a Neuroweapon to Affect Personnel of US Embassy in Havana: Findings, Pathology, Possible Causes, and Disruptive Effects.” It was unclear who the briefing was intended for, and a Pentagon spokesperson was not able to answer questions about its purpose.

A Pentagon official told Yahoo News that the briefing was offered by the scientific team for interested people in the Defense Department and was to gain “general knowledge” about their findings. “This didn’t have an operational element,” the official said.

During the call, Hoffer gave a broad description of his findings, and promised that published results would be out soon. “I’m going tell you that this data is all going to be coming out in more detail in a peer-reviewed publication,” Hoffer said. “That peer-reviewed publication is due out probably in the next three to four weeks.” Hoffer did not say where the results would be published.


A man carries an umbrella past the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China, in June this year. (Photo: Kelvin Chan/AP)
But Hoffer’s results could result in deepening the controversy around the Cuba incidents, since he concludes that the symptoms do not match those of brain injury — as posited by another group of scientists — and instead could be limited to the ear canal. “It’s important to know that that site of injury could be limited to the inner ear,” he said, noting that the diplomats affected appear to have damage to parts of the inner ear, known as the otolith organs, which affect balance.

Injury to those organs can cause dizziness, among other symptoms.

Earlier this year, scientists at University of Pennsylvania, who saw the patients after Hoffer did, determined that affected personnel were suffering from something akin to a mild traumatic brain injury, according to an article they published in the Journal of American Medical Association.

Hoffer did not discuss those published results during the call, and did not respond to a request for comment, but he said on Friday that “the definition of mild traumatic brain injury as defined by the military does not fit these individuals.” The authors of the JAMA study did not respond to a request for comment.

Little has been previously known about Hoffer’s involvement in evaluating U.S. diplomats stationed in Cuba, and the Friday call appears to be his most extensive public comment to date on precisely how and why he became involved.

“I got a call from the State Department in February of 2017, and literally, the call was, ‘This is the State Department, we have a problem.’” he said. “They spoke to me about individuals who began experiencing symptoms late in 2016 with ear pain, ringing in the ear, dizziness and cognitive issues.”

Hoffer said he and his team evaluated 35 personnel in Miami: 25 of those have been exposed to the sounds and were symptomatic, and 10 lived in the same house at the same time as those reporting symptoms but did not appear to be affected. “So they were in the next room and they didn’t get an exposure, they didn’t have any symptoms,” he said.

He then traveled to Cuba, where his team evaluated 105 unaffected embassy personnel. “Those were largely selected for us by the embassy mission, except for a group of U.S. Marines that protect the embassy,” he said. “We requested to see them ourselves, due to my 21 years of active-duty service.”

One important aspect of Hoffer’s research is that he evaluated the affected individuals before there was any media coverage of the event, which could have triggered others into believing they were affected. “This is the only group of individuals who were, in a sense, pure,” he said.


Workers at the U.S. Embassy in Havana leave the building on Sept. 29, 2017, after the State Department announced that it was withdrawing all but essential personnel from the embassy because Cuba could no longer guarantee diplomats’ safety. (Photo: Emily Michot/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images)
Hoffer said he has not examined any U.S. diplomats from China, and indicated he wasn’t allowed to speak about other patients he might have seen. “As regards to foreign countries, I can tell you this much: Great Britain, Germany, Canada and France described it potentially being present in their embassy individuals,” he said. “But we either can’t say, or are not allowed to say if we saw any of those individuals.”

Hoffer’s involvement in examining affected personnel is not without controversy, however. A 2011 article in Time magazine titled, “Dr. Frankenstein — or Military Miracle Worker?” detailed allegations that Hoffer had treated U.S. soldiers in Iraq affected by traumatic brain injury with an untested drug, and that he had a financial interest in the treatment. A Department of Defense Inspector General report harshly criticized the study, calling it “inconsistent with military standards for human subject medical research.”

In a congressional hearing Friday to discuss the Cuba health incidents, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, questioned a senior State Department official about the decision to send the affected diplomats to Hoffer, given his previous research.

“Doesn’t it seem a bit strange that our diplomats suffering from ‘concussion-like’ symptoms would be sent to a doctor who apparently did not use standard concussion assessments?” Engel asked Charles Rosenfarb, the State Department’s medical director. “Isn’t that strange?”

“At the time, we felt he was the best qualified person — the recommendations we received to do the initial evaluation,” Rosenfarb replied.

Rosenfarb said that State Department later determined that the injury “was probably not localized to the acoustic system, that it was more kind of a broader brain injury process” and sent the patients to specialists at the University of Pennsylvania.

This is not the first time Congress has expressed concern about the State Department’s handling of the mysterious health issue. Engel, along with committee’s chairman, Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., wrote to the State Department late last year asking why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had not initially been involved in reviewing the health incidents.

“I think it’s a no-brainer that as our nation’s top experts on health threats, the CDC, should be at the forefront of this investigation with the appropriate experts deployed in Havana,” Engel said Friday.

The State Department made a formal request to the CDC in December of 2017, according to Rosenfarb, and the agency is now involved. “We have been very happy with CDC to this point,” he said.

But a congressional aide, who asked not to be named, said that CDC’s involvement is still limited. The agency’s personnel went to China as soon as a case was reported there, but they haven’t been to Cuba.

“These are our nation’s top experts,” the aide said. “These are the people who should be looking at it.”

The CDC did not respond to questions about the agency’s involvement. A State Department spokesperson declined to comment on the CDC’s involvement.

Hoffer’s involvement is only one aspect of a complex investigation that has given rise to multiple theories, including the possibility that the health issues were caused by exotic weaponry or even just mass hysteria.

While Hoffer’s work is focused primarily on understanding the type of injury causing the symptoms, both he and his colleague on the call Friday seemed to agree that some sort of neuroweapon was used. Their theories for the type of device employed ranged from a directed-energy weapon, such as one using microwaves, to a weaponized microbe or drug designed to cause injury, or a combination of both.


General view of the U.S. Embassy in Havana after the U.S. government pulled more than half of its diplomatic personnel out of Cuba in September 2017. (Photo: Ernesto Mastrascusa/Getty Images)
“Is it possible and probable that drugs alone could do this?” asked James Giordano, a professor of neurology and biochemistry at Georgetown University during the call. “Highly unlikely. Is it possible and probable that ultrasonics can do this? Yes, it’s very possible, and it’s probable. Is it possible and probable that electromagnetic pulse devices that would then be propagated either directly or vectored could do this? Yes, it’s very, very possible and very probable.”

Giordano suggested that an attacker could even model a weapon based on the specific dimension of a person’s head. “Could something like this be developed that actually models specific features that could then be precision or personalized? The answer to that question would be yes,” Giordano said. “If you had anthropometric dimensions on a certain individual, that could be extracted, for example, from pictures.”

Carey Balaban, a professor of otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, who worked with Hoffer, says there are commercial off-the-shelf — known as COTS — devices that could be used in such attacks. “When you take a look at the availability of COTS devices, insect-repellent type devices, and the footprint, there could be something that looks like your thermostat inside the house that is one component of a ultrasound and [radio frequency] type of delivery system, and it could just be there,” he said, speaking on the Friday call. “We don’t know.”

While Balaban said it was unclear what type of device was used, the health effects seemed to indicate it was, in fact, a directed-energy weapon, which could result in cavitation — essentially air bubbles — in the inner ear. “If anything else, the Havana Event is a wakeup call for us, we really have to take a look at these kinds of gray area neuroweapons very carefully,” he said.

Yet much of the information that has come out appears to defy any singular technological explanation.

One theory, for example, is the noise diplomats heard was caused by pulsed microwaves, which can create the perception of audible sound, a phenomenon known as the Frey effect, or the “microwave auditory” effect. That theory, however, would be contradicted by the recordings released earlier this year by the Associated Press, since the microwave auditory effect isn’t caused by sound waves.

Writing Friday in Scientific American, Kenneth Foster, who has published on the microwave auditory effect, called this “theory wildly implausible,” because of the energy levels that would have been required. “To actually damage the brain, the microwaves would have to be so intense they would actually burn the subject, which has never happened in any of these incidents,” wrote Foster, a professor of bioengineering at University of Pennsylvania.

Foster instead speculated that a surveillance device could have inadvertently caused the injuries to U.S. personnel, a theory proposed earlier this year by University of Michigan computer scientists. Their theory, which received widespread press attention, is that overlapping ultrasonic devices intended to spy on diplomats inadvertently emitted sounds at a dangerous frequency.

“There’s something funny going on,” Jonathan Moreno, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, who is not involved in any of the medical research into the affected personnel, said in an interview. “Whether the event itself is real or not, the reaction is real.”

While there’s not enough known to make any conclusions, “I still think the Michigan engineers’ theory seems the most plausible,” says Moreno.

Yet even something less exotic — like a surveillance operation gone wrong — has difficulty making sense of all the facts. Why would an accidental injury caused by surveillance devices leave family members in the same household unscathed? How could a perpetrator target individuals as they moved around from room to room, as has been reported? And an interesting twist to many of the theories is a new detail given by Hoffer: When diplomats opened the front door, the sound they heard went away.

Another critical question — particularly one raised by Cuban government officials, who have vigorously denied any involvement — is why would anyone want to injure diplomats? One theory is that someone orchestrated the attack to fracture relations between the United States and Cuba.


The spying material — codes, notebooks, instructions for using them and radio casting procedure — which Tass, the official Soviet news agency, alleges was used by Oleg Penkovsky, a Russian scientific worker accused of spying for Britain and the United States in 1962. (Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images)
Speaking on the same call Friday, Diane DiEuliis, a senior research fellow at the National Defense University, described these neuroweapons as something that would be “very highly effective” in “gray zones,” where an enemy would use them to have plausible deniability. “Certainly, using these kinds of technologies as a weapon of mass destruction is possible,” she said. “I think what we would be more likely to see as the use of this as a weapon of mass disruption.”

The microwave weapons claims have echoes in the past. In the 1960s, the U.S. government ran a top-secret program to test whether microwaves being beamed at the U.S. embassy in Moscow were intended as mind-control weapons. After several years of research, government scientists concluded the Moscow Signal, as it was called, was being used to activate listening devices in the embassy, rather than controlling diplomats’ minds.

The mystery now, however, is in some ways deeper. The research into the Moscow Signal was sparked by the detection of microwaves, whereas this time, the health effects are what sparked the investigation. And though a number of agencies and outside experts have been consulted on the Cuba health issues, it’s unclear how those efforts are being coordinated, or by whom.

Justin Sanchez, the director of the biological technologies office at the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, confirmed that his division was among those asked to look at the Cuba issue. “We understand the brain. We have expertise in this area,” he said in an interview. “If somebody didn’t ask us, I’d be surprised.”

Sanchez declined to say what DARPA’s experts advised. “I don’t know if there’s a definitive answer yet to what’s going on,” he said, when asked what could be the cause.

“Somebody needs to get the bottom of it,” he said.
https://www.yahoo.com/news/scientists-s ... soc_trk=tw
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Re: Soviet Psychotronics Master Thread

Postby American Dream » Mon Nov 12, 2018 10:20 pm

The Strange Case of American Diplomats in Cuba: As the Mystery Deepens, So Do Divisions in Washington

Trump officials insist the Americans were attacked, even as the evidence fails to materialize. “The Cuba thing is one of the few unsolved mysteries we’ve got,” an official said.


Over the last several months, some officials have raised questions about the continuing difficulties of some of the Havana patients, including several who said they thought they had been surreptitiously monitored or even followed since returning to the United States. FBI agents have dutifully investigated the alleged incidents, but have been unable to corroborate any of them, officials said.

Some medical specialists have also wondered whether some diplomats might have suffered a functional neurological disorder — a disruption of the central nervous system, often triggered by illness or trauma, that can affect the functioning of an organ system even when there is no structural damage. Such disorders include irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. But they can also affect balance and cognition in ways that resemble the difficulties of some of the Havana group.

One syndrome raised in response to the Penn doctors’ February report is a functional disorder called persistent postural-perceptual dizziness, or PPPD. That condition, known by the shorthand 3P-D, is characterized by dizziness, vertigo and other neurological impairments. It can be set off by physical trauma, a panic attack or even chronic anxiety.

Medical experts including Stone, the University of Edinburgh neurologist, said PPPD would not encompass some of the symptoms reported by the Havana patients, such as headaches, problems with recall or sleep disturbances. But he said the condition can commonly occur alongside migraine headaches or cognitive problems.

For months, some of the stricken Havana diplomats felt their condition was not taken as seriously as it should have been amid then-Secretary Tillerson’s chaotic reorganization of the department. The State Department’s administrative and medical bureaucracy was slow to find them further treatment after their Miami assessments, grant them needed leave and even cover their medical bills, officials said.

As they grew more concerned, some of the Havana patients took matters into their own hands. Early on, they enlisted representatives of the foreign-service officers union to advocate for them with the department. Some have also met with Cuban-American and other members of Congress, who have been vocal in their defense. Some patients also hired a lawyer to represent them.

Regardless of how the investigation unfolds, that constellation of forces is likely to give the stricken diplomats some influence over how any conclusions about what happened in Havana. Already, the State Department leadership has been dismissive of the idea that psychological factors could have been part of the medical equation.

“Any suggestion that this is some sort of mass hysteria is simply counterfactual, and the medical community — every doctor I’ve spoken to about this — is unanimous,” the deputy secretary of state, John Sullivan, assured some Cuba patients on a conference call last month that was first reported by NBC News. “It’s real. It happened. And that’s the set of facts.”


https://www.propublica.org/article/the- ... ashington/
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Re: Soviet Psychotronics Master Thread

Postby seemslikeadream » Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:47 am

:)


The Sounds That Haunted U.S. Diplomats in Cuba? Lovelorn Crickets, Scientists Say



Diplomatic officials may have been targeted with an unknown weapon in Havana. But a recording of one “sonic attack” actually is the singing of a very loud cricket, a new analysis concludes.

Jan. 4, 2019
matter

Scientists say a recording of disturbing sounds made by American diplomats in Cuba actually may be of a very loud cricket species.Yamil Lage/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images


Scientists say a recording of disturbing sounds made by American diplomats in Cuba actually may be of a very loud cricket species.Yamil Lage/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
In November 2016, American diplomats in Cuba complained of persistent, high-pitched sounds followed by a range of symptoms, including headaches, nausea and hearing loss.

Exams of nearly two dozen of them eventually revealed signs of concussions or other brain injuries, and speculation about the cause turned to weapons that blast sound or microwaves. Amid an international uproar, a recording of the sinister droning was widely circulated in the news media.

On Friday, two scientists presented evidence that those sounds were not so mysterious after all. They were made by crickets, the researchers concluded.

That’s not to say that the diplomats weren’t attacked, the scientists added — only that the recording is not of a sonic weapon, as had been suggested.

Alexander Stubbs of the University of California, Berkeley, and Fernando Montealegre-Z of the University of Lincoln in England studied a recording of the sounds made by diplomats and published by The Associated Press.

“There’s plenty of debate in the medical community over what, if any, physical damage there is to these individuals,” said Mr. Stubbs in a phone interview. “All I can say fairly definitively is that the A.P.-released recording is of a cricket, and we think we know what species it is.”

Mr. Stubbs presented the results of the analysis at the annual meeting of the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology. He and Dr. Montealegre-Z also posted an early version of their study online. They plan to submit the paper to a scientific journal in the next few days.

When Mr. Stubbs first heard the recording, he was reminded of insects he came across while doing field work in the Caribbean. When he and Dr. Montealegre-Z downloaded the sound file, they found that its acoustic patterns — such as the rate of pulses and the strongest frequencies — were very similar to the songs of certain kinds of insects.

Male singing insects produce regular patterns during courtship. Females are attracted to certain males based on their songs, which has led to the evolution of different songs in different species.

If the sounds heard by the diplomats were made by insects, Mr. Stubbs and Dr. Montealegre-Z reasoned, it might be possible to pinpoint the particular species.

To search for a match, the researchers analyzed field recordings of North American insects stored in an online database at the University of Florida. They found a striking resemblance to one species in particular: the Indies short-tailed cricket.

Yet the cricket’s song differs from the Cuban recording in one important respect. The noises heard by the diplomats were erratic, while the insects make high-pitched, rapid-fire pulses.

Mr. Stubbs suspected that this mismatch might be an artifact of the recording itself. Diplomats made their recordings inside houses, while biologists have recorded the crickets in the wild.

So Mr. Stubbs played the cricket recording in a house. As the calls bounced off the walls, they echoed in a pattern similar to the irregular pulses heard on the Cuban recording.

The song of the Indies short-tailed cricket “matches, in nuanced detail, the A.P. recording in duration, pulse repetition rate, power spectrum, pulse rate stability, and oscillations per pulse,” the scientists wrote in their analysis.

Experts on cricket songs said the analysis was well done. “It all seems to make sense,” said Gerald Pollack of McGill University, who studies acoustic communication among insects. “It's a pretty well supported hypothesis.”

When the American diplomats first complained of the strange noises in Cuba, they dismissed the possibility that insects were responsible. But short-tailed crickets are exceptional: They have long been known to make a tremendous racket.

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“The song of the males of this cricket, here, is a continuous ringing z-z-z-z-z-z- of tremendous volume and penetration which practically fills a room with veritable din,” an entomologist in the Dominican Republic reported in 1957.

Mr. Stubbs recorded short-tailed crickets while in Costa Rica, and he found their songs overpowering. “They’re incredibly loud,” he said. “You can hear them from inside a diesel truck going forty miles an hour on the highway.”

The Indies short-tailed cricket is known to live in the Florida Keys, Jamaica and Grand Cayman. A closely related cricket is known to live in Cuba, and Mr. Stubbs suspects that its Indies cousin lives there, too.

Mr. Stubbs said that his conclusion does not rule out an attack on American diplomats. But the sounds linked to the initial complaints may have been a red herring.

“It’s entirely possible that they got sick with some other completely unrelated thing that was not a sonic attack, or that they were targeted in some other way,” he said.

Dr. Douglas Smith, who led the medical examination of the American diplomats, questioned how much a single recording could reveal about the experience. Some patients didn’t report hearing anything unusual, he noted, while others heard a range of sounds.

“It could be like a low-tone motor, or metal scraping, or like driving in a car with the back window open,” said Dr. Smith, director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Smith wouldn’t rule out the possibility that some diplomats might have heard crickets, but said that had no bearing on the real damage they’ve suffered.

“These patients have gone through a lot,” he added. “I would like to know what the sounds are, but for us the more important thing is really what’s going on in the patients’ brains and what we can do about it.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/04/scie ... myNSE6SqCv
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Re: Soviet Psychotronics Master Thread

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:27 am

Mystery illness sees Canada halve its Cuba embassy staff

A 14th person has now been affected by the symptoms at Canada's embassy in Havana
Canada will cut its embassy staff in Cuba by up to half after a mystery illness affected another person there, authorities in Ottawa have said.

Medical testing after the reappearance of unusual symptoms in November saw a 14th Canadian affected.

Canada's foreign office said the number of staff will now be cut by up to half as a result.

US staff have also been affected by the illness, which causes dizziness, nausea and difficulty concentrating.

Canada has discounted the idea of a "sonic attack" being the cause - a theory previously put forward by the US state department last year.

US tests two more over Cuba 'sonic attack'
What is a covert sonic weapon?

A statement released by Global Affairs Canada said "employees, spouses and dependents" at the embassy were among the affected, and all were receiving ongoing medical treatment.

While the embassy would remain open some services could be affected in the future, the statement read.

Staff numbers will now drop from about 16 to up to eight, the Associated Press reports.

The US says its staff in Cuba have also been affected by the mystery illness
Canada recalled diplomatic families from Havana in April after some minors started showing the symptoms.

More than a million Canadians visit Cuba each year, but there is no evidence they are at risk.

Cuba has repeatedly denied its involvement. Canada says it has worked in "close cooperation" with Havana since the health problems first came to light in 2017.

Unlike the US, Canada never cut off diplomatic relations with Cuba after its revolution in 1959.

Similar symptoms have affected US embassy staff in China.

A State Department release last year said people should watch for "any unusual, unexplained physical symptoms or events, auditory or sensory phenomena".

A US and a British scientist however have put forward another theory - insect noise.

Their study suggests the sound recorded by US staff in Cuba was in fact the song of the Indies short-tailed cricket.
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-47066652
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