On Sunday, March 17 2019, CBS 60 Minutes broadcast an alarming report on the Cuban/Chinese, sonic/microwave/neuroweapon attack on US embassy staff and their families.  The report is an example of how a once credible press has been supplanted by tabloid sensationalism and fearmongering.  The program featured interviews with staff and family members at the US embassy in China who believe they have suffered traumatic brain injury from an energy beam weapon of some kind.  This included interviews with a man who had Parkinson’s disease; a woman who developed a rash and experienced dizziness, auditory and vestibular symptoms that accompany many common illnesses; her young toddler who fell down more than once, and a person with preexisting traumatic brain injury, which even the US State Department agrees could not have been caused by the supposed brain-damaging energy beam.  All of these health complaints are experienced routinely in medicine, and many legitimate diagnoses could be made without jumping to such an extraordinary conclusion.  With the proper diagnosis, treatments could be applied to help these people, but CBS 60 Minutes asserts that they were all targeted and injured by a clandestine energy beam weapon, although what type of energy beam the weapon might have used is unclear.

The report claims that the “syndrome” these individuals are suffering matches that afflicting the US embassy staff and their families in Havana, where the sonic weapon scare originated two years ago.  But pooling these people together with their wide-ranging symptoms does not constitute a “syndrome.”  Grouping one person with a headache and dizziness together with another person who has Parkinson’s, and claim a new “syndrome” defies logic.  The embassy employees and their family members at both locations report a wide spectrum of common medical complaints.

Objective medical evidence does not support the claim of “wide spread traumatic brain injury,” as claimed on 60 Minutes.  The sources interviewed on the program voiced only personal speculation, without evidence.

The report lacked verification, fact checking, and failed to provide objective and alternative viewpoints.  It included comments by a member of a team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, which has been roundly criticized in the scientific community as unsound.  This matter has been carefully investigated by scientists and the FBI, but their conclusions debunking the fearmongering, was omitted.  Thus far (after two years of investigation) there is no evidence of injury (as opposed to disease).  No evidence of an attack.  No evidence of a weapon.  No credible means, motive, or perpetrator has sustained scrutiny.  This 60 Minutes program is an example of the disturbing story of our day.  Fact-based journalism has been replaced by fearmongering to promote a political agenda or to whip up a sensational story.

I share with you my recent Op-ed, published in Scientific American, in which I report on a recent scientific meeting in which I, along with other Cuban and American scientists came together to examine the matter scientifically.  On the basis of the current evidence, the panel roundly rejected the fear that these people have suffered brain injury from a mysterious energy beam weapon.  If new evidence comes forth, the conclusions could change, but judgments, policy, and actions, must be grounded in fact.  The fact that 60 Minutes had information from this meeting of scientists, but chose not to present it in their program, makes their report a lie of omission.  That is a disservice to the public, to their profession, and to their once honorable reputation.

If you are interested in what CBS 60 Minutes left out you can read it here, and for further background, see this earlier report.



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