Saturday, May 1, 2010

It's a Hoax, People. No Media Blackout Over North Korean Torpedoing Of Gulf Of Mexico Oil Rig (No Nukes, Either)

There are a number of conspiracy theories going around about the big oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Within minutes of the explosion, as with any disaster, tinfoil hats were donned worldwide and the nutter theories started flying.

The most spectacular theory that I have found comes to us in a May 1, 2010 "report," titled "US Orders Blackout Over North Korean Torpedoing Of Gulf Of Mexico Oil Rig," which claims that "the United States has ordered a complete media blackout over North Korea’s torpedoing of the giant Deepwater Horizon oil platform."

But wait, there's more! The story also claims that the United States might want to stop the oil spill with -- get this -- a thermonuclear weapon!

Wowzers, that's huge! If it's true, that is, and it's probably not. The article, by "Sorcha Faal," goes on a wild spree of sensational claims. It is fraught with bad journalism and unsupported statements, combining grains of truth with complete fiction and exaggeration. In short, it's a complete fraud, and it's dismaying to see how many bloggers have been suckered by it.

To begin with, "Sorcha Faal" is not real. "She" claims to be a Russian academic. However, Sorcha Faal is not a real person. It's a fake name. tells us that “'Sorcha Faal' is actually David Booth, an American computer programmer 'Sorcha' is alleged to be a Russian academic but there is absolutely no record of anyone with such a name in Russian academia." gives a list of some of the insane stories that "Sorcha" has previously published, and calls her the "hoax queen" of the Internet.

Faal (Booth) makes no adequate citation of sources for the theories in the story, and they are so ridiculous that only the most uninformed and naive could believe them without having any doubts. Many of the reference links in the story lead to Wikipedia, which is NOT a reliable source of information because any 14-year old kid can go online and edit or create an entry - as often happens.

I am especially amused by the first paragraph of Faal's story:

Notice that Faal does not actually quote from the "grim report" by Russia's Northern Fleet. (In paragraph #3, she writes, "To the attack itself, these reports continue..."  Inexplicably, it's no longer a single "grim report" but more than one. If it really is more than one, what are they? Faal/Booth is a horrible writer and is a "journalist" only by technicality.
"A grim report circulating in the Kremlin today written by Russia’s Northern Fleet is reporting that the United States has ordered a complete media blackout over North Korea’s torpedoing of the giant Deepwater Horizon oil platform ...."
The Faal article continues, "the United States has ordered a complete media blackout over North Korea’s torpedoing of the giant Deepwater Horizon oil platform..." However, we are not told just what this "blackout" entails, who it was ordered by, how it has been implemented, or anything else. The U.S. Government has no authority to censor the media except under declaration of a national emergency as we had during World War Two. Such a declaration, to my knowledge, has not been made.

The Faal piece is a bit like the Bat Boy stories we've all seen on that crazy supermarket tabloid. If such a story was true, why would the New York Times, USA Today, CBS News, Fox and others be ignoring it?  While Faal claims that US media are blacked out, what's to prevent media in other nations from reporting this "story?" And since when did a government "blackout" on any story stop the New York Times or Washington Post from publishing classified material? They live for that stuff.

Faal may be the "queen" of internet hoaxes, but "she" is a ham-handed sensationalist queen at that. Faal writes about the "great loss of life," but the immediate death toll was only 11 people. That's surely tragic, but is hardly the kind of number that merits the phrase "great loss of life." (Actually, when you think about it, it's amazing that only 11 died in the explosion and resulting fire.) Faal didn't bother with the actual number of deaths until the fourth paragraph of the story.

Faal/Booth reaches seems to revel in the ridiculous and must have laughed aloud as this passage was written (my emphasis added):
To the reason for North Korea attacking the Deepwater Horizon, these reports say, was to present US President Obama with an “impossible dilemma” .... the “impossible dilemma” facing Obama is indeed real as the decision he is faced with is either to allow the continuation of this massive oil leak catastrophe to continue for months, or immediately stop it by the only known and proven means possible, the detonation of a thermonuclear device.
Give - me - a - break. The only way to stop it immediately is with a nuke? A thermonuclear weapon? Simply turning off the leaking well or plugging it up is not sensational enough for Faal, so why not the nuclear option? Faal cites no technical experts to support this wild claim, but does offer the following to "prove" that the claim is valid (my emphasis added):
Should Obama choose the “nuclear option” it appears that he would be supported by the International Court of Justice who on July 8, 1996 issued an advisory opinion on the use of nuclear weapons stating that they could not conclude definitively on these weapons use in “extreme circumstances” or “self defense”.
"Self defense?" Against an oil spill? It's not as if the nuclear weapon referred to by Faal would be used as a weapon against North Korea. Rather, Faal claimed it would be used to stop the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Therefore, the nuke would be used as a tool, not as a weapon.

Faal's claim about the "advisory opinion" of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding the use of nuclear weapons, and how it relates to using such a device to stop a massive oil spill, is absurd exaggeration of fact. In 1996, the ICJ did indeed consider the use of nuclear weapons, but only in cases of international conflict (war). Specifically, the ICJ considered "the use of nuclear weapons by a state in war or other armed conflict" and "the threat or use of nuclear weapons in any circumstance." According to the ICJ website:
The ultimate advice of the Court, approved by seven of fourteen judges, with President Bedjaoui (Algeria) casting the deciding vote, was "... that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict (...). However, in view of the current state of international law, and of the elements of fact at its disposal, the Court cannot conclude definitively whether the threat or use of nuclear weapons would be lawful or unlawful in an extreme circumstance of self-defence, in which the very survival of a State would be at stake."
As to the credulity of Faal's claim, does anybody believe that a thermonuclear explosion in the Gulf of Mexico is preferable to an oil spill? Granted, the oil is not good at all, and will kill much wildlife and make fishing difficult for a long time, but that pales compared to damage to life and property that would be caused by a thermonuclear blast in the Gulf of Mexico. It would make a lot of what is caught in those waters inedible for many years due to radioactivity and its residual effects.
Additionally, there's the little problem of the effect of a thermonuke on neighboring oil rigs, some of which are owned by other nations, not to mention the outcry from the international community for a lot of very valid reasons. There would be no way to keep such a blast secret. Seismometers around the world would pick it up, as would the satellites of other nations.

Did North Korea torpedo the oil rig? I don't know. I doubt it, but whether they did or not, it is less likely that anybody in Washington has seriously suggested nuking the Gulf of Mexico. It's also unlikely that the elements of a torpedo or a nuke being involved in the story could be kept quiet for nearly two weeks. As much as I believe that the Democrats would love to restrict the media, even I don't believe that the Obama Regime would order a "media blackout," let alone is capable of doing so (yet).  

Sorcha Faal (David Booth) is simply not to be believed. You might also reconsider the reliability of any blogger who posted it as fact.