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posted by janrinok on Thursday June 07, @10:46AM   Printer-friendly
from the voices-in-my-head dept.

Two American diplomats stationed in China were reportedly evacuated from the region after being sickened by a mysterious ailment linked to odd sounds.

The two Americans evacuated worked at the American Consulate in the southern city of Guangzhou, the New York Times reported Wednesday, adding that their colleagues and relatives are also being tested by a State Department medical team.

American officials have been worried for months that American diplomats and their families in Cuba -- and now China -- have been subjected to a "sonic attack," leading to symptoms similar to those "following concussion or minor traumatic brain injury," the State Department said in a statement Tuesday.

The new cases broaden a medical mystery that began affecting American diplomats and their families in Cuba in 2016. Since then, 24 Americans stationed in Havana have experienced dizziness, headaches, fatigue, hearing loss and cognitive issues, the State Department said.

[...] The nature of the injury, and whether a common cause exists, hasn't been established yet, the department said.

Previously: Sonic Attack? U.S. Issues Health Alert After Employee Experiences Brain Trauma in Guangzhou, China

Related: US Embassy Employees in Cuba Possibly Subjected to 'Acoustic Attack'
U.S. State Department Pulls Employees From Cuba, Issues Travel Warning Due to "Sonic Attacks"
A 'Sonic Attack' on Diplomats in Cuba? These Scientists Doubt It
Cuban Embassy Victims Experiencing Neurological Symptoms
Computer Scientists May Have Solved the Mystery Behind the 'Sonic Attacks' in Cuban Embassy


Original Submission

Related Stories

US Embassy Employees in Cuba Possibly Subjected to 'Acoustic Attack' 12 comments

The US believes several State Department employees at the US embassy in Havana were subjected to an "acoustic attack" using sonic devices that left at least two with such serious health problems they needed to be brought back to the US for treatment, several senior State Department officials told CNN. One official said the employees could have suffered permanent hearing loss as a result.

The employees affected were not at the same place at the same time, but suffered a variety of physical symptoms since late 2016 which resembled concussions.

Conspiracy theory fodder, or actually possible?

alt links:
https://archive.fo/yZB5q
https://web.archive.org/web/20170809231552/http://edition.cnn.com/2017/08/09/politics/us-cuba-acoustic-attack-embassy/index.html


Original Submission

U.S. State Department Pulls Employees From Cuba, Issues Travel Warning Due to "Sonic Attacks" 15 comments

State Department orders nonessential diplomats and families out of Cuba following mysterious attacks

The US State Department is pulling out all families of employees and nonessential personnel from Cuba, after a string of mysterious attacks against US diplomats.

Several US officials tell CNN that 21 US diplomats and family members became ill after apparent sonic attacks. The American embassy will continue to operate with a 60% reduction in staff. The officials said the US will stop issuing visas in Cuba effective immediately because of the staff reductions and the decision is not described as a retaliatory measure. Officials say there will still be consular officials in the embassy available to assist US citizens in Cuba.

The State Department is also issuing a travel warning, urging Americans not to travel to Cuba because they could also be at risk as some of the attacks against diplomats have taken place at hotels where Americans stay, a senior State Department official told reporters Friday.

Also at the Miami Herald, BBC, and NYT:

Some of those attacked have suffered significant injuries, with symptoms including hearing loss, dizziness, tinnitus, balance and visual problems, headache, fatigue, cognitive issues and difficulty sleeping. But despite an intensive investigation by the F.B.I., the cause and perpetrators of the attacks remain a mystery, with some experts speculating that some kind of sonic weapon or faulty surveillance device may have been at fault.

Related: US Embassy Employees in Cuba Possibly Subjected to 'Acoustic Attack'


Original Submission

A ‘Sonic Attack’ on Diplomats in Cuba? These Scientists Doubt It 41 comments

The State Department has not provided further details about the medical condition of the affected staffers. But government officials have suggested anonymously that the diplomats may have been assaulted with some sort of sonic weapon.

Experts in acoustics, however, say that's a theory more appropriate to a James Bond movie.

Sound can cause discomfort and even serious harm, and researchers have explored the idea of sonic weaponry for years. But scientists doubt a hidden ultrasound weapon can explain what happened in Cuba.

"I'd say it's fairly implausible," said Jürgen Altmann, a physicist at the Technische Universität Dortmund in Germany and an expert on acoustics.

Once again, the New York Times gets it wrong. James Bond is not the movie genre they're looking for.

mrpg also brings us this less-critical AP report, What Americans Heard in Cuba Attacks: The Sound.


Original Submission

Cuban Embassy Victims Experiencing Neurological Symptoms 53 comments

Diplomats and other victims of mysterious "sonic attacks" at the American embassy in Havana, Cuba are experiencing neurological symptoms months after being affected:

A preliminary case report on the victims of mysterious "health attacks" in Havana, Cuba details the results of extensive clinical evaluations, concluding that the individuals appear to have sustained "injury to widespread brain networks without an associated history of head trauma."

The report offers the first medical glimpse of the victims—US government personnel and their families who were serving on diplomatic assignment in Havana. From late 2016 to August 2017, they reported experiencing bizarre and inexplicable sonic and sensory episodes. The episodes tended to include directional, irritating sounds, such as buzzing and piercing squeals, as well as pressure and vibrations. Afterward, the victims developed a constellation of neurological symptoms.

In clinical evaluations of 21 of 24 individuals affected, an interdisciplinary team of doctors at University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine retrospectively pieced together symptoms—an average of 203 days after individuals were exposed. They found that the most common issues persisting more than three months after exposure were cognitive impairment (17/21); balance issues (15/21); visual (18/21) and hearing (15/21) problems; sleep impairment (18/21); and headaches (16/21).

Previously: U.S. State Department Pulls Employees From Cuba, Issues Travel Warning Due to "Sonic Attacks"
A 'Sonic Attack' on Diplomats in Cuba? These Scientists Doubt It


Original Submission

Computer Scientists May Have Solved the Mystery Behind the ‘Sonic Attacks’ in Cuban Embassy 11 comments

"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."

Original URL:
Computer scientists may have solved the mystery behind the ‘sonic attacks’ in Cuba

This is an update of previous stories here:
US Embassy Employees in Cuba Possibly Subjected to 'Acoustic Attack'
U.S. State Department Pulls Employees From Cuba, Issues Travel Warning Due to "Sonic Attacks"
A ‘Sonic Attack’ on Diplomats in Cuba? These Scientists Doubt It


Original Submission

Sonic Attack? U.S. Issues Health Alert After Employee Experiences Brain Trauma in Guangzhou, China 27 comments

A U.S. government health alert has sparked comparisons to symptoms experienced by State Department employees in Cuba:

US officials have issued a health alert after a US government employee stationed in southern China reported "abnormal sensations of sound and pressure" that indicated a mild brain injury.

The official, assigned to the city of Guangzhou, reported a range of physical symptoms from late 2017 through to April 2018, and was sent back to the United States for assessment, the State Department said. The US Embassy in Beijing learned on May 18 that the clinical findings of the evaluation matched that of a "mild traumatic brain injury," an embassy spokeswoman told CNN.

The alert will raise comparisons with a series of unexplained incidents in Cuba that led to the withdrawal of most US personnel from the embassy in Havana. The cause of those incidents, reported in late 2016 and early 2017, still remains a mystery.

[...] The State Department said in its Wednesday statement that anyone who experienced "unusual acute auditory or sensory phenomena" while in China should move away from the source of the noise.

Also at BBC, CNBC, South China Morning Post, and MarketWatch.

Related: US Embassy Employees in Cuba Possibly Subjected to 'Acoustic Attack'
U.S. State Department Pulls Employees From Cuba, Issues Travel Warning Due to "Sonic Attacks"
A 'Sonic Attack' on Diplomats in Cuba? These Scientists Doubt It
Cuban Embassy Victims Experiencing Neurological Symptoms
Computer Scientists May Have Solved the Mystery Behind the 'Sonic Attacks' in Cuban Embassy


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Aiwendil on Thursday June 07, @10:58AM (20 children)

    by Aiwendil (531) on Thursday June 07, @10:58AM (#689806) Journal

    Since the most like cause of "sonic attacks" seems to be two interacting ultrasonic devices. Do the US by any chance employ jammers that are part of these interactions?
    I mean, since it basically only seems to be US diplomats that are targeted and only at places where you'd expect jammers (and listening devices) to be but not where it actually would make sense if you wanted to cause harm it would make a lot of sense if one of the interfering devices was of US installation.

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, @11:14AM (17 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, @11:14AM (#689809)

      Maybe some side effects or adverse reactions caused by an "anticommunist vaccine" administered to US personnel, manifested as brain inflammations?

      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by looorg on Thursday June 07, @11:46AM (10 children)

        by looorg (578) on Thursday June 07, @11:46AM (#689818)

        So is it identical issues to the once on Cuba or are they different? If they are not different it would seem likely that there is something the US brings with it to the various countries instead of something someone is doing to them. That is unless China and Cuba are now in secret developing surveillance equipment or share said equipment with each other or if China some how fieldtested their equipment on Cuba.

        • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Thursday June 07, @12:22PM (3 children)

          by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Thursday June 07, @12:22PM (#689825) Homepage
          Not just that, but nobody else apart from those in the US embassy are suffering, despite sound not being particularly directional. I do think the anti-communist vaccine is the simplest explation so far.
          --
          Life is a precious commodity. A wise investor would get rid of it when it has the highest value.
          • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, @01:01PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, @01:01PM (#689834)

            Not true, Canadians were also affected in Cuba.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, @06:12PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, @06:12PM (#689991)

              Yeah but they're Canadian so they needed 2x the vaccine.

          • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday June 07, @07:10PM

            by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 07, @07:10PM (#690024) Journal

            In Cuba, some people in specific hotels which were approved for diplomatic use,
              were also affected.

            --
            No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Thursday June 07, @06:50PM (4 children)

          by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 07, @06:50PM (#690012)

          now in secret developing

          As a model of the world declines, it becomes less effective at integrating its predictions with observations of the real world leading to stress that can create a snap in the (group or aggregate) mind. Nothing is more progressive and globalist than the State department. As their worldview slowly dies because its evolutionary unfit to model reality, its slowly going insane with paranoia because of the stress over observed reality diverging ever further from their cherished legacy beliefs and inaccurate predictive models. So a department of government focused on interacting with the real world via a mix of legit stuff and propaganda is, literally, at an organizational level, slowly going insane, which in a lot of ways is kinda freaky. Expect to hear a lot more about Russian hackers hacking elections and UFO space weapons anal probing innocent diplomats and of course everyone is out to get them because thats what all paranoid nutters think about everyone who's sane. Iran is out to get them, Best Korea is out to get them, Cuba is out to get them, those horrible white people are out to get them, Russia is out to get them, a pretty good symptom of paranoid insanity is thinking every one is after you. Unfortunately State is going to sound like a madman raving on a late night talk show about space alien invasions until the disease burns itself out by gradual aging out of the crazy old people, unless Trump starts some mass firings or sends them as a group to mental health counseling. An entire government department raving "But But But the Chinese, they abducted me from my pickup truck and stuck a probe in my butt to steal my precious bodily fluids and hack the elections, that's why I only drink rain water and grain alcohol!" It would be funny to watch, kinda like CNN, if they didn't have legacy political power, and if the world were not laughing at us because of State. Old fashioned globalist leftism dies different everywhere, yet the same. Paranoid irrational rantings, lashing out at everyone within reach, hate hate hate, random different personality every two minutes, is this CNN infotainment propaganda or a university campus or Pravda in the 80s or the State Department in 2018 or all the same?

          This is the curse of "may you live in interesting times" and we're watching the insane death throes of a legacy worldview, essentially progressivism as a religious outlook is slowly going insane and dying, like an abandoned homeless person ranting on a street corner.

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Azuma Hazuki on Thursday June 07, @07:18PM (2 children)

            by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 07, @07:18PM (#690028) Journal

            And you're masturbating to that thought a good half dozen times a day or more, aren't you? Jesus, but you set some kind of record for lowest signal-to-noise ratio. What do you propose we DO about it? And don't suggest something from the 19th or 20th century that we already tried and that didn't work then, either.

            --
            I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
            • (Score: 2) by VLM on Friday June 08, @03:33PM (1 child)

              by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 08, @03:33PM (#690357)

              Well, what do you do when any other religion dies, push such that the next one isn't messed up, etc.

              And don't suggest something from the 19th or 20th century that we already tried and that didn't work then, either.

              There's some really nice folks who talk about alt this or new this and how 2.0 is so different than 1.0 in the last century and all that. The folks with the dead ideas hate them, but they're the only people out there with new / good ideas, so prod / nurture them along.

          • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Friday June 08, @05:12AM

            by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 08, @05:12AM (#690212) Journal

            That is an impressive display of a crypto-conservative stream of consciousness.

            The State Department is the last bastion of the White Man's Burden, its diplomats being nearly all horrible white people and horrible WASP blue-bloods at that. They game the numbers by hiring mainly black and brown people to be the support staff. They are also globalists to the core. They have scarcely deviated an inch from Bretton Woods.

            So it makes sense that having to answer to a guy like Trump would drive them insane. I, for one, am glad they are. State should be gutted from stem to stern and replaced with actual Americans instead of weird antediluvian dinosaurs who could have come straight out of Central Casting.

            --
            Washington DC delenda est.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, @07:23PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, @07:23PM (#690031)

          That is unless China and Cuba are now in secret developing surveillance equipment or share said equipment with each other or if China some how fieldtested their equipment on Cuba.

          Or a third party, say Russia, has a device and is seeking to damage and undermine US diplomacy in those locations for some reason (field test, trial run, whatever). I'm amazed no one seems to be discussing the rather obvious, perhaps even likely, possibility that the attackers are completely unaffiliated with the host countries where the attacks are occurring.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, @01:57PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, @01:57PM (#689854)

        Wouldn't it be a "Communism Vaccine"? rather than an Anti?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, @02:08PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, @02:08PM (#689859)

        Maybe it is a withdrawal effect of being off some of the meds they take in the US.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08, @04:49PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08, @04:49PM (#690393)

          Flouride you mean.

      • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Thursday June 07, @05:12PM

        by bob_super (1357) on Thursday June 07, @05:12PM (#689955)

        My original was "not-quite-commie", but per US patent rules, you're close enough to owe me royalties.

        https://soylentnews.org/comments.pl?noupdate=1&sid=25752&page=1&cid=683330#commentwrap [soylentnews.org]

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by wonkey_monkey on Thursday June 07, @03:23PM (1 child)

      by wonkey_monkey (279) on Thursday June 07, @03:23PM (#689884) Homepage

      Since the most like cause of "sonic attacks" seems to be two interacting ultrasonic devices

      If it was in any way "sonic" it should have been proven long ago by recording whatever sound is causing the problem.

      --
      systemd is Roko's Basilisk
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, @05:14PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, @05:14PM (#689957)

    Am I the only one that thought of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgwvzQIIM8w [youtube.com] when I heard sonic attack?

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by DannyB on Thursday June 07, @05:32PM (1 child)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 07, @05:32PM (#689970)

      When I think of a sonic attack, I think of Justin Bieber music.

      • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Friday June 08, @01:24AM

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 08, @01:24AM (#690146) Homepage

        Nah, I think China just figured out how to turn the gong around backwards so it creates a narrow beam, rather than a wide one, when that grinning midget with the big grin and bigger spectacles bangs it.

        " BHHHHWWWWANNNNNNGGGGG! "

    • (Score: 1) by paranoid1 on Friday June 08, @01:56AM (1 child)

      by paranoid1 (2904) Subscriber Badge on Friday June 08, @01:56AM (#690153)

      No. I think of Hawkwind.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08, @04:52PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08, @04:52PM (#690396)

        yer old.

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by bob_super on Thursday June 07, @05:18PM

    by bob_super (1357) on Thursday June 07, @05:18PM (#689960)

    "I'm being attacked, like those guys were in Cuba"
    "Close, but no cigar"

    [ducks]

    Also: first three panels are very true [giantitp.com].

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Thursday June 07, @06:32PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 07, @06:32PM (#689999)

    24 Americans stationed in Havana have experienced dizziness, headaches, fatigue, hearing loss and cognitive issues

    Two "fake news" angles.

    The first is that sounds like the result of watching legacy CNN propaganda, sure they're not just bored couch potatoes? I mean, nothing causes dissociation from reality quite like watching CNN or reading the washington post.

    Somewhat more serious, it doesn't pass a diplomatic smell test that one country would use a weapon of mass destruction casually on an entire embassy for a very long time despite continuous media coverage reporting it, outside of a shooting war, of course. Sure kill some individual spy in a dark alley one night, or poison a defector on the street, but this is on the scale of "dirty bombing" an embassy, or putting the entire compound under daily random mortar attack IF its true as reported, which of course isn't the case. My guess is this is a mix of "toyota accelerator jam" problem where the symptoms only appear when the media cameras are providing attention to people who really want attention, or its just outright fake news and god knows why but the legacy deep state wants a war with Cuba because we don't have enough war in this world. I don't know how a war with Cuba benefits Israel or any of that, but clearly someone want a war pretty bad.

    If its not a "fake news" story I suspect its more prosaic like simple industrial waste, just like the inevitable health damage from being posted to work in China, left wing authoritarian regimes are famous for massive pollution damage to the environment, much worse than capitalist countries, so its all a bunch of nothing, just a leaky pipe at the insecticide plant a mile upwind or a buried rusty drum of god-knows-what at some old factory down the road is leaking into the air or similar. Its an extreme Americanism to only worry about a couple diplomats while a dozen or hundreds of times as many citizens in the street are collapsing from the same poisoning or whatever. Humans are only "equal" when they're immigrants promising to vote for the right people in exchange for taxpayer funded giveaways, otherwise F those people let em die, is a very American way to look at it. So if this is a real story and not 100% fake news, what do the doctors say about the sick Cuban neighbors of the embassy who surely are visiting the local (free) medical offices? I mean, if there's 24 American casualties of some area mass destruction weapon, surely there are 240 or so sick locals? Where are they? Why isn't the CDC there in case its viral zika flu or whatever? How do they know its not biological in origin?

  • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Thursday June 07, @10:11PM

    by bob_super (1357) on Thursday June 07, @10:11PM (#690088)

    Wouldn't your brain twist in a knot, if you were posted at an embassy in a sensitive country, having to harvest diplomacy out of the Sonic Attacks from Trump ?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08, @04:20AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08, @04:20AM (#690195)

    There are "ultrasonic ozone vegetable washer" marketed for homes and restaurants so I won't be surprised if some embassies might be using those sort of cleaners [wikipedia.org] in the mail room, water treatment or kitchen.

  • (Score: 2) by Bot on Friday June 08, @10:09AM (1 child)

    by Bot (3902) on Friday June 08, @10:09AM (#690259)

    sonic attacks do not exist. if they existed, every justin bieber album would be a slaughter.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08, @04:54PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 08, @04:54PM (#690400)

      what said it wasn't?

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