FBI dismisses sonic weapons in Cuba “attacks”

Cuban embassy

Image credit: Getty.

That’s right, I’m using scare quotes. That’s because there is not and has never been any evidence, at least any that the public is privy to, that U.S. embassy personnel were attacked in Cuba.

It’s a near certainty that whatever happened in Cuba, it wasn’t a sonic attack, as I’ve been saying since September. After a months-long investigation, the FBI has concluded the same thing. According to the Associated Press,

Following months of investigation and four FBI trips to Havana, an interim report from the bureau’s Operational Technology Division says the probe has uncovered no evidence that sound waves could have damaged the Americans’ health, the AP has learned.

In a beautiful example of motivated reasoning, the Trump administration has shifted to an even goofier theory.

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Consumer Reports on naturopathy

Consumer Reports logo

I was pleasantly surprised to see that a new article on naturopathy in Consumer Reports largely resists the temptation to engage in false balance. While it doesn’t come right out and say you shouldn’t waste your money, the article, by Consumer Reports’ Lead Investigative Health Reporter Jeneen Interlandi, is pretty damning.

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“It may seem the stuff of sci-fi novels”

This Associate Press report is almost two weeks old, but it reinforces my impression that the alleged ‘sonic attacks’ on the U.S. embassy in Cuba are imaginary:

New details learned by The Associated Press indicate at least some of the incidents were confined to specific rooms or even parts of rooms with laser-like specificity, baffling U.S. officials who say the facts and the physics don’t add up.

“None of this has a reasonable explanation,” said Fulton Armstrong, a former CIA official who served in Havana long before America re-opened an embassy there. “It’s just mystery after mystery after mystery.”

As I said yesterday, sonic weapons are not a plausible explanation for the range of (often contradictory) reports and health complaints of the affected diplomats.

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Sonic stupidity

You and I may disagree about politics. It’s a near certainty that we disagree about at least some political issues. But I hope we can agree that United States foreign policy shouldn’t be based on pseudoscientific claims with no plausibility.

The Executive Branch is flirting with doing just that. Whether or not you think reversing Obama-era warming of relations with Cuba is a good idea, I hope you agree that we shouldn’t do it based on phantom attacks using a non-existent weapon. I’m talking about the so-called ‘sonic attacks’ that, until recently, were being touted as a reason to close the U.S. embassy in Cuba:

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Dangerous nonsense

I may have to take back some of the things I’ve said about Andrew Weil (“Pseudoscience at the University of Arizona,” “Journey into bullshit with Deepak Chopra and Andrew Weil,” “Andrew Weil advocates cupping“). Not that any of it isn’t true; he really does season his mostly sound health advice with some pseudoscientific bullshit. But damn, Dr. Weil is a paragon of rationality compared to these two:

The article the tweet links to is by Larry Malerba, DO, DHt, “Physician, educator, author, and pioneer of new paradigm medical thinking.” I don’t know what a DHt is: distributed hash table? Dihydrotestosterone? If anyone knows, please share in the comments.

Malerba

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Sorry about the ads

I use an ad blocker. Two of them, actually. I’m willing to add a website to my whitelist(s) if their ads aren’t obnoxious, but if it’s flashing in my face, popping up new windows, or autoplaying audio, forget it.

So I didn’t know; that’s my only excuse. I had actually never seen the ads on Fierce Roller until a friend messaged me on Twitter [Pg-13 below the fold]:

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Andrew Weil advocates cupping

UACIM

Andrew Weil is working to cheapen my degree, and yours if you’re a Wildcat. The director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, Dr. Weil mixes good medical advice, most of which boils down to “eat better and get more exercise,” with rank bullshit. He advocates (among other nonsense) homeopathy, Ayurveda, and osteopathic manipulations for ear infections.  I’ve been on his mailing list ever since curiosity drove me to take his Vitamin Evaluation (which indicated that I need $147/month worth of supplements).  Honestly, most of it’s pretty unobjectionable: foods you should eat more of, healthy recipes, exercise advice…stuff like that. But, as I’ve said before:

I know Dr. Weil gives a lot of good advice. He also advises a lot of nonsense. A doctor who advises his patients to get their chakras aligned is a quack. A doctor who advises his patients to eat a healthy diet, get more exercise, quit smoking, and get their chakras aligned is still a quack.

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Where’s the revolution? More from Drs. Weil & Chopra

WeilChopra

Being on Andrew Weil’s mailing list is entertaining (see “Journey into bullshit“). His latest mailing advertises his upcoming webinar with Deepak Chopra. The website for this event (on chopra.com) starts off

Are Your Genes Your Destiny?

Until very recently, scientists would have said yes.

In fact, it was widely accepted that the genes we inherited at birth controlled everything – from our personalities to our health to our longevity. So if you were unlucky enough to inherit the gene for cancer or heart disease, you were expected – no matter who you were or how you lived – to develop that disease.

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Journey into Bullshit with Deepak Chopra and Andrew Weil

ChopraWeil

From taking Andrew Weil’s vitamin evaluation*,  I am signed up for his email newsletter, which today included the above announcement of a “Mind-body wellness workshop” he is headlining along with Dr. Woo himself, Deepak Chopra (see “On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit“). The workshop promises to help participants

…integrate easy-to-master Ayurvedic healing techniques, which originated in India over 5,000 years ago, into your modern lifestyle.

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