Mystery of the Immaculate Concussion
October 28, 2020 9:27 PM   Subscribe

 
I don't think there is much to wonder about here unless they are wanting specifics. Trump is so obviously compromised by his past and current dealings (and maybe a pee tape) with the Russians generally and Putin specifically. A little spy vs spy barely blips the radar compared to withholding military aid to Ukraine, turning over a military airbase to Russia, and completely ignoring the Russian bounties on service people to name just a few egregious examples of Trump being in Putin's pocket.
posted by Mitheral at 9:41 PM on October 28 [18 favorites]


why would trump help these suckers and losers? it's a little headache is all.
posted by j_curiouser at 9:41 PM on October 28 [6 favorites]


Yeah, when I first heard about these attacks, I was like “This is an act of war. This is beyond just your standard counterintelligence op. Whoever is doing this is engaging in open warfare against our diplomatic corps and intelligence apparatus.”

And then...there was nothing...nothing at all about it. Which made me suspect it was being addressed covertly. It would be seriously bad to find out that basically nothing, in fact, was being done. But, given the current Occupant, not surprising in the least.
posted by darkstar at 9:59 PM on October 28 [17 favorites]


Something something Benghazi something something.
posted by biogeo at 10:10 PM on October 28 [11 favorites]


I'm suspect to believe anything the CIA puts out, even from former operatives. So much so that I would not be surprised if Polymeropoulos truly has unexplainable ailments, and is being honest in his account and the CIA is actually promoting this story to further some agenda that we're not being hard enough on the Russians or who knows. I wouldn't even be surprised if we found out in twenty years Polymeropoulos was subject to CIA experiment or otherwise exposed to something accidentally or not and the CIA is covering it up. They've done all the above and are experts at manipulating the media and the truth.

What I am suspect of is directed energy weapons being magical. This feels really like the paranormal, UFO stories of the 80s and 90s. Children moving in unison in their sleep? Unexplained energy weapons? People getting sick overseas is nothing new and Polymeropoulos even admits he thought it was food poisoning, He had a stressful job, he possibly had unrelated brain injury from being in a war zone...

I don't disbelieve there's something to the Havana stories and there's some possible energy weapon but the fact it is being claimed to being used all over the place is strange. How were Russian operatives able to get a weapon to all these countries? How is even basic research outside of the 1960s really not available? I just don't see how an energy weapon outside of lab conditions be so specific as to target an individual in adjacent room and exist without anyone having an idea of how it really works other than microwave waves?

Again I want to believe there's some cool new technology that's brand new to everyone outside of Russia but I think we have a classic case of modern day hysteria.
posted by geoff. at 10:15 PM on October 28 [24 favorites]


just a few egregious examples of Trump being in Putin's pocket.

Donald Trump owes Russian mobsters, I mean "bankers" over 37 billion rubles, and he can't pay them back, so he has to do whatever "favors" they ask.
posted by mikelieman at 10:20 PM on October 28 [3 favorites]


My O' My. Geoff.

Many diplomats, C.I.A. officers and scientists suspect a weapon producing microwave radiation damaged the victims’ brains


"The Zapping of America"

Sounds like going from SIGNIT to Covert Ops.

I'm puzzled by the Chinese diplomats being targeted though.
posted by clavdivs at 10:26 PM on October 28


In many countries, pissing off your secret police would be a great way to get yourself assassinated.

He's lucky that he lives in one of the more civilized ones where he'll get removed by a ballot.
posted by meowzilla at 10:48 PM on October 28 [2 favorites]


Now, as a CIA investigation points the blame at Russia, the victims are left wondering why so little is being done by the Trump administration

That must be quite the concussion they've got there.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:56 PM on October 28 [27 favorites]


Again I want to believe there's some cool new technology that's brand new to everyone outside of Russia but I think we have a classic case of modern day hysteria.

I'm kinda banking on a the middle ground: the CIA was gifted some information about who was bugged and how, and rather than tip their hand about how the information was discovered, are making it look like the wiretapping itself is faulty to the point of making the targets ill, and pretending that's how they discovered it.
posted by pwnguin at 11:22 PM on October 28 [1 favorite]


Didn’t we just have this story about Cuba? How did that one pan out?

(My memory is, it didn’t really.)
posted by atoxyl at 11:35 PM on October 28 [1 favorite]


The so-called pain ray shows that microwave technology is fully up to the level you'd need for this.

All you would have to do is choose a frequency which would penetrate the skull instead of stopping at the skin, and you could very easily use two or more narrow beams intersecting at the target to make it selective enough to pick one individual out of a group, the other members of which would be largely unaffected. And you could target it with microwaves police forces have already used to image individuals inside a house right through the walls
posted by jamjam at 11:58 PM on October 28 [1 favorite]


This article tells a fascinating story, but it left me with one HUGE question: if it's a microwave weapon, why doesn't the EXTREMELY well-funded CIA prove it by building some small, portable microwave detectors that its employees can carry around? Also, just saying, the anti-EMF people sell Faraday cage sleeping bags...
posted by The Tensor at 12:57 AM on October 29 [12 favorites]


The most laughable part of these stories is American government officials saying they have no idea, none at all, why an enemy nation would be doing such horrid things in the context of American foreign policy. Centrally Oblivious Agency.
posted by polymodus at 3:53 AM on October 29 [9 favorites]


If I were a malevolent intelligence agency of a vastly preeminent hi-tech superpower with an interest in testing out a cool new weapon, I would be much less inclined to risk testing it out on rival states than to disguise myself as a rival and test it out on my own folks
posted by moorooka at 4:06 AM on October 29 [4 favorites]


Obviously it's impossible to diagnose anybody over the internet, but we're discussing a story here, not the person. So here goes: if you listed the various experiences reported by various people in the GC article, including: sudden onset of the syndrome, pain proceeding from the back of the neck, occipital neuralgia, sinus pain, nausea, pain on one side of the face, nothing on MRIs or other diagnostics, non-responsiveness to a wide range of meds and painkillers, and other symptoms, and ran these past a cluster headache support group, they'd say that it could be chronic cluster headache. Even the 'began unexpectedly in middle aged male' is not unexpected.

I'm not saying at all that he has CH but if I met him in a cafe and he described this to me, I'd suggest that he at least look at support group sites to see what else matched. In some senses this could be validation: CH is sometimes called the worst pain you can experience, and is colloquially called the 'suicide headache.'
posted by carter at 4:19 AM on October 29 [9 favorites]


It's not surprising.
The "Russians" have poisoned their enemies in the UK and not faced any retaliation. With Trump totally cowed by Putin (for whatever reason), Putin has likely simply not discouraged actions which otherwise he would forbid.



If you are eligible, Vote! Encourage everyone you know who is eligible to vote!
posted by From Bklyn at 4:29 AM on October 29 [4 favorites]


Aluminum foil hats.
posted by romanb at 6:33 AM on October 29 [1 favorite]


Russian microwave pain weapons have been lore for a long time. The comic book GI Joe even basically started with a plot by Cobra to steal/buy such a weapon. That issue is from 1982.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:43 AM on October 29 [4 favorites]


I'm suspect to believe anything the CIA puts out, even from former operatives.

And also, they're the CIA. These people will torture and kill your dog (with impunity) if they think it will somehow advance the "national" interest (of defense contractors and the oil industry).

I really can't feel too bad for anyone who made the choice to work at one of the most white supremacist institutions in America.
posted by Ouverture at 7:55 AM on October 29 [2 favorites]


Luckily, one need not feel sympathy for the victims of whatever the fuck this is to see that it isn't great to have a GRU/other TLA running around assassinating and/or attacking people in other countries, any more than it is great to have the CIA doing the same.

I have no problem with intelligence gathering, but active measures are acts of war, regardless of who is employing them. CIA, GRU, or anyone else.

Maybe I'm just not in the spook frame of mind, but I don't see why the CIA would be tagging people in Moscow and Havana rather than here at home or in third countries where it would be much easier. It ain't as if there is anything to be gained at this point by making Russia look like the bad guy. They already did that themselves by invading foreign nations and meddling in our elections.
posted by wierdo at 8:57 AM on October 29 [4 favorites]


This is such an odd story. The "energy weapon" hypothesis is a bit like the monster of Loch Ness, in that it surfaces in any wrinkle or anomaly. Last I heard is that a Dr Robert Bartholomew published an An Open Letter to the Diplomats With "Havana Syndrome" likening the symptoms to shell-shock. And I seem to recall some follow-up, but like atoxyl my memory is kind of fuzzy. Must be the energy weapon...

BTW, I can't find the quote in the linked NYT article: "Now, as a CIA investigation points the blame at Russia, the victims are left wondering why so little is being done by the Trump administration. (NYT)". Indeed the article says: "Gina Haspel, the C.I.A. director, is not convinced Russia carried out attacks that caused the illnesses, officials said". Am I missing something?
posted by dmh at 9:08 AM on October 29 [1 favorite]


Canadian diplomats have also been affected by this mysterious syndrome. CBC reports that it could be a neurotoxin.
posted by russilwvong at 9:25 AM on October 29 [2 favorites]


And I seem to recall some follow-up, but like atoxyl my memory is kind of fuzzy. Must be the energy weapon...

To be fair I was skimming. The GQ article references the Havana incidents plenty. My actual memory of the followups at the time is that they went in several directions - from (accidental) organophosphate poisoning (or perhaps intentional?) to mass conversion disorder - without an entirely definitive conclusion, but didn’t leave me convinced that it was directed energy weapons. Neither does this, though I think it’s fair to say the whole thing remains a bit of a mystery.
posted by atoxyl at 11:10 AM on October 29


That issue is from 1982.

I first read of a fiendish device beaming microwaves at nearby people and making them uncomfortable in Inspector Imanishi Investigates, from 1961.
posted by Rash at 12:50 PM on October 29 [2 favorites]


We were working secretly for the military
Our experiment in sound was nearly ready to begin
We only know in theory what we are doing
Music made for pleasure, music made to thrill
It was music we were making here until

They told us all they wanted
Was a sound that could kill someone from a distance
So we go ahead and the meters are over in the red
It's a mistake in the making

Kate Bush, Experiment IV
posted by Jubey at 4:36 PM on October 29 [6 favorites]


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