Odd US embassy illnesses

Numbers of US staff at both their Cuban and Chinese embassies have been reported to have suffered from similar mysterious illnesses.

MSN: U.S. evacuates China consulate staffers as illness mystery deepens

The United States has evacuated some Americans from its consulate in the Chinese city of Guangzhou after an employee was confirmed to be suffering symptoms consistent with the mysterious illness that led to the removal of more than half of the U.S. Embassy staff in Cuba, the State Department said Wednesday.

Heather Nauert, the State Department’s spokeswoman, said “several” consulate employees had returned to the United States from China for further evaluation after they were screened as part of a task force Secretary of State Mike Pompeo created last month. The force is investigating reports of hearing, vision, balance and memory damage.

The State Department said in a health alert last month that the employee in Guangzhou reported “subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure” that had no immediate explanation. Pompeo said then that the employee’s symptoms were eerily similar to those reported by the Cuban embassy staff.

Doctors said in February that the symptoms among some 24 Havana embassy staffers were similar to those caused by concussions — headaches, balance problems, sleep disturbances and visual and hearing difficulties.

U.S. experts have said they know of no technology that would explain the symptoms.

But President Donald Trump and other U.S. officials have accused Cuba of having targeted U.S. personnel with some kind of “acoustic sonic weapon” for unknown reasons, an allegation the Cuban government has forcefully denied.

The State Department responded by pulling 60 percent of its workers out of the Havana embassy in early October and expelled two-thirds of Cuba’s staff in Washington.

Have they considered it could be US technology used to screen and block eavesdropping that could be having an adverse effect on their embassy employees?

Whale ill

Cameron Slater has posted at Whale Oil that he is suffering from a debilitating illness – Quick update on my health – it turned out to be not very quick as he responded with details a number of times in comments through the day, and has also commented on it on Facebook.

He says that it is stress related, after a tough year last year.

The stresses of 2016 have come home to roost, and it is something else I can thank Colin Craig and others for.  I’ll make sure I’ll bring this up as one of the outcomes of what happens when a rich angry man uses the courts for personal leverage without any merit to the case.   His last court room encounter with me was thrown out as vexatious before it even went to trial.  So I’m somewhat annoyed my left brain has decided to go all sookie on me and chuck it all in for a bit.

Jokes aside, I’m not in great shape.  I can barely work.  I’m on morphine to keep the worst of the pain at bay.  But you know me, I can still take and make phone calls, and I have a great team I can dictate, direct and delegate to so it is business as usual.

The others at Whale Oil say they are doing more to keep things ticking over on the blog but some are still appearing under the authorship of Slater.

When Slater recovers enough to think things through clearly he should do more than just blame others – it would be an opportune time for him to re-evaluate his approach to blogging.

Many of his old sources seem to have dried up since the ‘Dirty Politics revelations, so continuing to promote himself as a dirty political activist, and promising to get dirtier this year, doesn’t seem a very smart approach.

Slater could be incisive and hard hitting without resorting to murkier dirtier tactics – if he actually tried to be a well informed new media journalist rather than trying to be dirtier and click batier than the old media he keeps criticising he may be able to reinvent Whale Oil as an effective and credible media site.

One problem with Whale Oil is their commitment to half hour posts . This often results in repeats on the same topics, many times on some topics, which either look like fillers, or like promoting an agenda. There are too many petty repeats of whine-posts.

An emphasis on quality rather than quantity would declutter the daily post lists and would probably attract more interest. When skimming 20-30 post titles it’s easy to miss worthwhile posts.

Slater would do well to reassess his approach to blogging. He may not only improve Whale Oil, potentially substantially, but also reduce his stress levels. The latter may be essential if he wants to recover properly and avoid any recurrence of stress induced illness.

A tighter, better focussed and less dirty Whale Oil would be more effective as a media site and also as a political activist site. And it may mean the difference between blog and blogger surviving online or not.