Experts Question Study of Attacks on US Diplomats in Cuba

The US embassy in Havana. Photo: cartasdesdecuba.com

 

HAVANA TIMES – A dozen neurologists and other brain scientists have questioned an investigation supported by the US government to consider that 26 of its diplomats suffered an attack of unknown origin and claim that it contains errors, reported dpa news.

The “Journal of the American Medical Association” (JAMA), a prestigious publication of the American medical community, today published four different letters from experts that question the investigation that, commissioned by the US government, was made by a team from the University of Pennsylvania.

The Government of Donald Trump assures that since November 2016, a total of 26 diplomats who worked in Cuba and relatives suffered health disorders due to attacks of unknown origin that caused them hearing loss, dizziness, buzzing, headaches, fatigue, cognitive problems and sleep difficulties, among other symptoms.

The US administration does not accuse Cuba of the attacks but does blame its government for not protecting US diplomats as required by the Vienna Convention. In response, the State Department withdrew the majority of its embassy staff in Havana and expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from Washington as a measure of reciprocity.

The critical scientists who sent their letters to JAMA point out, among other things, that the University of Pennsylvania team’s research misinterpreted test results, dismissed psychological explanations for the symptoms, and overlooked common disorders that could have caused discomfort in the affected.

“More research is needed,” said Gerard J. Gianoli, of the Ear and Balance Institute in Louisiana, and two other experts, who say the results point more to damage to the inner ear than to a concussion.

The results of the study of the team of the University of Pennsylvania “reflect an incorrect interpretation of the results of objective cognitive tests,” says Robert Shura, a clinical neuropsychologist in North Carolina, and two other experts.

In its travel alert on Cuba, the State Department has linked the article about that investigation published in February in the JAMA, which concludes that the diplomats had similar injuries to concussions caused by an extended damage to the brain networks.

Although the origin of these types of health problems remains unknown, the United States continues to classify them as “attacks”. Initially it spoke of “acoustic attacks”, but the State Department later said that it considered other possibilities, such as a “viral” attack.


28 thoughts on “Experts Question Study of Attacks on US Diplomats in Cuba

  • August 21, 2018 at 10:16 am
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    If Nick you mean that folks like Mr. P and Mr. McD regard communism as the “evil” and the alternative of freedom as the “good”, you are correct.
    How about you, are you as usual going to prevaricate or are you going to disagree?
    You choose to ignore the fact that Moses Patterson has repeatedly criticized President Donald Trump in these pages and endeavor to foist some sort of responsibility upon him as an American.
    Just as sensible intelligent people in the US were concerned about the possibility of the narcissistic Trump becoming President, similarly in the UK many sensible intelligent people are concerned about the possibility of the Marxist Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister. If that occurs, should we apportion blame upon you just because you are an English?
    As regards your snide comment about “back street stand-up comic routine” related to US democracy and moral equivalence – do you prefer that form of “democracy” practiced in the communist (socialist) dictatorships? With Corbyn lurking in the shadow of Big Ben, you may yet experience it! Then who will be having a giggle?

  • August 20, 2018 at 3:18 pm
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    So Mr P, it’s that ‘good vs evil’ tune again.
    The historical facts would overwhelmingly point to the USA not caring one damn about how countries are run, by whom they are run or how ‘democratic’ they are perceived to be. The fact of the matter is that the USA favours countries that do what it tells them to do regardless of any other factor.
    Regarding your reference to US democracy and moral equivalence……
    Really ?
    Are you practicing some new lines for some kind of back street stand-up comic routine ??
    And the moral equivalent to the current ‘democratic’ US regime is what exactly ???

  • August 20, 2018 at 2:35 pm
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    Door:
    a hinged, sliding, or revolving barrier at the entrance to a building, room or vehicle, or in the framework of a cupboard.
    slammed:
    shut (a door, window or lid) forcefully and loudly ………move violently or loudly………criticize severely……..score points against or to gain a victory
    shut:
    move into a position so that it blocks an opening………..she shut her lips tight……..she slammed the door shut………stop some activity
    So having quoted the Oxford English Dictionary definitions to help you comprehend Nick, I was describing how Barack Obama had during his vist to Cuba and as the culmination of negotiations that commenced some two years earlier, had opened the door to discussions about lifting the US embargo. That when doing so on March 21st he said that obviously (and as is normal in political negotiations) he said that there would need to be some reciprocation.
    In response, on March 28th, the Castro regime read on State TV a “letter” supposedly from Fidel Castro Ruz (El Comadante) entitled “The man Obama” which took almost exactly ten minutes to read, but the essence of which in addition to the customary abuse of all things American, flatly rejected the concept of negotiations with any reciprocation.
    The following day (March 29th) Bruno Rodriguez the Foreign Minister, gave a speech in which he stated flatly: “There will be no reciprocation.”
    Thus the Castro regime rejected opportunity to hold such negotiations or as I wrote: “Castro slammed the door shut” using the words in the sense of the extracts given above.
    One could in addition indulged in conjecture regarding why the Castro regime (ie: Raul Castro Ruz) was so eager to retain the US Embargo rather than entering into negotiations. In my view it was a desire to retain the Embargo as it has been used for so many years as an excuse for the regimes incompetence, the decline in standards of living (when did Cubans last get a pay rise) and the critical need to retain dictatorial power and control.
    I hope after that explanation Nick that you are able to at least understand – but inevitably disagree – with what I wrote. If not, then I am afraid I cannot help you further. But I do thank you for your compliment in saying that I am effective and persuasive – even if you also think that I lack sincerity.

  • August 20, 2018 at 12:22 am
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    I have followed this thread carefully and I largely agree with Carlyle Macduff. In your big country versus small country argument, you equate sovereignty with moral equivalency. That is, while I agree that Cuba is a sovereign actor, I do not agree that the Castro dictatorship is a moral equivalent to the democracy of the US. So, to the extent possible, short of war, the US has an obligation to “tell” Cuba how it should be governed. How we do so is determined by the degree of suffering being experienced by the Cuban people at the time. If your neighbor is beating his child in his front yard, you have an obligation as a moral actor to intervene immediately. But if your neighbor beats his child in the privacy of his home, does your obligation to intervene lessen? I say no. Only your strategy to effect intervention changes. The US is obliged to lead the effort to spread democracy and freedom, especially in our own hemisphere. Allowing Castro tyranny to continue unchecked would be an immoral act. The struggle between the US and Cuba is not simply a matter of a big country trying to force its will on a small country. If all else were equal, I would agree with you. But instead, the struggle is between good and evil. Right and wrong. What Obama tried to do was change strategy but the end result was to remain the same. Help Cuba to become free.

  • August 19, 2018 at 5:58 pm
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    Mr MacD, You make several points in your comment.
    I won’t take each point in turn because that would require too much of a long drawn out ramble, but I would say that I do not entirely disagree with all of your comment. But are you seriously suggesting that the Good President Obama did not make any allusion in his famous speech as to how he/The USA thought Cuba should be better governed?
    I actually happen to think it was a brilliant speech of massive historic importance.
    It proved that the USA, with all its dodgy dealings with all manner of ‘different’ types of government, could finally come to its senses regarding Cuba.
    But what exactly do you mean by ‘Castro slammed the door shut’?
    What on earth does that mean?
    Or is it merely another example of your rhetoric?
    Thanks to President Obama relations were better than at any time since Cuba managed to find a way to stop being yet another US puppet.
    It was only when Putin exploited the weakening democratic process in the USA and put his boy trump on the White House Throne that US-Cuba relations started to falter once again.

  • August 18, 2018 at 6:33 pm
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    Obama Nick, did not in his speech at the Alicia Alonso Theatre suggest how Cuba should be governed. However he did for example say:
    “We stand on the side of those who want to be free.”
    and repeated some of the points that he first made in his speech to the joint UK Houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall on 25th May, 2012 – with which you are doubtless familiar. (If not I can provide you with quotes).
    He was also careful not to advise Cuba regarding its economy – and it certainly desperately needs advice – but he did say:
    “The wealth of a nation comes not from what it consumes, but from what it produces.”
    That can scarcely be described as saying “how Cuba should be governed”.
    One can only define some parts of the US policy towards Cuba and in particular the embargo, by reading the US Cuba Democracy Act which introduced the embargo and its defined purposes. As you also know, I am opposed to the embargo because after 58 years it is a failed policy serving only as a much utilized tool for the Castro regime which in its propaganda to the (deliberately) ill informed Cuban population as the cause for all the incompetence and economic mismanagement of that regime.
    I would be the first to agree that there are many in the world who care not a fig about the plight of the people of Cuba, including for example the (Italian) foreign Minister of the EU – who at the time of restoring “normal relations” with Cuba represented the UK as a part of the EU.
    Antagonism towards “the cabal of powerful Cuban emigres in Miami” and Donald Trump, is no reason to deny the Cuban people support in seeking the freedom which you and I currently enjoy.
    I shall stick with my comment that that “Castro slammed the door shut.” How else can one describe the termination of any possibility of negotiation? It may be possible that by now both Raul Castro and Bruno Rodriguez realize that they had opportunity with Obama, which they certainly will not have with Donald Trump. But Nick, that was their decision!

  • August 18, 2018 at 2:55 am
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    There you go Mr MacD….
    By quoting yourself you demonstrate that you do indeed have a knowledge of the US/Cuba relationship.
    Good stuff. All the more reason for you to apply this knowledge and grasp the inherent basic logic of what I am saying.
    Whatever the rhetoric on both sides, President Obama took the initiative to move toward a normalisation of US attitude regarding Cuba. The Cuban Government reacted in exactly the way one would expect them to which was to roll out the red carpet and welcome the US President’s initiative to bring the USA in line with the rest of the world. Now obviously if, in his big speech, the US President suggests how Cuba should be governed or what type of system it should have, the Cuban Government reacted in the way that one would expect (and I paraphrase): ‘Don’t tell us how to do stuff. We thought that you coming down here was an attempt to end the long history of your country telling us how to do stuff.’
    What the hell else did you expect them to say??
    Regarding opening and closing doors……
    The world in general respected President for his endeavours and his recognition that the USA policy toward Cuba was a ridiculous anachronism and totally out of step with the rest of the world.
    It has always been led by a cabal of powerful Cuban emigres in Miami who could deliver Floridian Electoral College Votes – A case of the tail wagging the dog.
    The door that President Obama opened with a view to this normalisation of US foreign policy has been somewhat pushed back toward ‘closed’ by his successor (though not slammed shut).
    Indeed trump seems on a personal mission to reverse all the work carried out by his predecessor on a whole variety of issues.

  • August 17, 2018 at 10:52 pm
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    Thanks Lynda – that’s it – deplorables!

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