Fact Check

Obama Ousts Top Officers After Nuke Explodes in Ocean Instead of Charleston

Rumor: President Obama ordered the U.S. military to nuke Charleston.

Published Oct. 15, 2013


Claim:   President Obama fired several military officers for disobeying his order to destroy Charleston as part of a "false flag" attack.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, October 2013]

Inquiring about a tactical nuke detonated underwater off the coast of SC during week ending 10-12-13. Obamba fires several generals for not detonating it closer to Charleston.

A shocking new Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) report circulating in the Kremlin today states that President Barack Obama, while in a rage, ousted four of the United States top ranking military officers after they refused to detonate a nuclear device "in/near" Charleston, South Carolina this past week and, instead, exploded it off the Atlantic Coast.

According to this report, Strategic Missile Forces Command (SMF) notified both President Putin and the General Staff this past Tuesday (8 October) that at 01:58:11 GMT/UTC an atomic device was exploded in the seabed off the US Atlantic Ocean, barely 1,000 km (620 miles) from Charleston, causing a 4.5 magnitude earthquake measurement that SMF experts equate to being a 1-kiloton yield, which is equal to the power of 1,000 tons of TNT.


Origins:   This October 2013 article about President Obama supposedly firing "four top ranking military officers" after they refused to detonate a nuclear device "in or near" Charleston, South Carolina, isn't a real news item. And neither is its follow-up which posited that Russia had successfully test-fired a ballistic missile in "direct response to President Barack Obama's attempt to destroy Charleston" as part of a "false flag attack."

Both items are just more fictional "Sorcha Faal" sensationalism originating with a single disreputable source, the whatdoesitmean.com political conspiracy site, of which RationalWiki says:

Sorcha Faal is the alleged author of an ongoing series of "reports" published at WhatDoesItMean.com, whose work is of such quality that even other conspiracy nutters don't think much of it.

Each report resembles a news story in its style but usually includes a sensational headline barely related to reality and quotes authoritative high-level Russian sources (such as the Russian Federal Security Service) to support its most outrageous claims. Except for the stuff attributed to unverifiable sources, the reports don't contain much original material. They are usually based on various news items from the mainstream media and/or whatever the clogosphere is currently hyperventilating about, with each item shoehorned into the conspiracy narrative the report is trying to establish.

In this case the actual news items from which the Sorcha Faal fantasy was spun were the mid-October 2013 announcements that Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael Carey and U.S. Vice Adm. Tim Giardina,

both of whom oversaw the United States' arsenal of nuclear forces, had been relieved of their commands for "personal misbehavior."

Previous examples of WhatDoesItMean nuttery include a May 2013 report that Russian President Vladimir Putin had threatened U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry with a world war over a "bee apocalypse" supposedly caused by American agricultural biotechnology corporations.

Unfortunately, other political conspiracy sites which have more professional-appearing names and layouts than whatdoesitmean.com, such as the European Union Times, republish the former's fantastic "Sorcha Faal" reports, creating the misleading impression that such material is being reported by multiple legitimate news sources.

As RationalWiki notes of the European Union Times:

The European Union Times strays deeply into tinfoil hat territory. For example, it regularly re-publishes the hilarious "reports" of "Sorcha Faal." If you see a headline that is really "out there" (for example, "US Earthquake Weapon Test Fails Again, Destroys New Zealand City"), scroll to the bottom and have a look at the "Source" link. If it points to whatdoesitmean.com, it's the handiwork of "Sorcha". The EUTimes has also re-published material from Pravda Online, another site dedicated to conspiracy theories, such as a 2010 article about alien spaceships attacking Earth in 2012.

In March 2015, an audience member at the South Carolina National Security Action summit posed a rambling question to former senator Rick Santorum that included the claim that "Obama tried to blow up a nuke in Charleston a few months ago":

Y'know, what's goin' on Senator Santorum.

Where do we go from here? Ted told me I've got to wait now till the next election. I don't think the country will be around for the next election.

Obama tried to blow up a nuke in Charleston a few months ago and the three Admirals and Generals. He has totally destroyed our military. He has fired all the Generals and all the Admirals who said they wouldn't fire on the American people if they ask 'em to do so if he wanted to take the guns away from 'em. This man is a Communist dictator. We need him out of the White House now. And the Congress of the United States is the only one — we've lost our Congress. We've lost our executive.

Last updated:   19 March 2015

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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