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Disinformation about the Japan crisis already?

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posted on Mar, 16 2011 @ 01:51 PM
Hi, this might belong in the Disinformation forum, but it's also related to the Japanese nuclear crisis. Given the difficulty of getting good information about the situation in Japan, the fact that people are already trying to spin the crisis through apparently deceptive means should be of concern to us all.

Here's the story. While watching the Reuters live feed of Japan coverage, I saw a user post a link to an article called 'The Strange Case of Josef Oehmen' on a site called Genius Now (bandwidth exceeded, Google Cache ).

The Bait

This article on Genius Now accuses a new website, called, of mis-representing itself as coming from dispassionate nuclear students and faculty at MIT, when in fact the people behind the site are not nuclear engineers, but apparently connected to German energy giant Siemens.

Looking at a screen cap of, you can see why people might find it connected to MIT's nuclear program:

The article has since been edited and re-titled, but the original post was called "Why I am Not Worried About Japan's Nuclear Reactors" by Dr. Josef Oehmen.

As it turns out, Dr. Oehmen is NOT a nuclear scientist, but he has a PhD in 'supply chain risk management'; according to Genius Now, he "works for something called the Lean Advancement Initiative (LAI), which is a military-industrial-academic project...he is not involved with nukes at all."

More of the story from the Genius Now post::

On Sunday, March 13th, I saw an interesting link on Facebook. Since the previous Friday, I’d been posting update information on the Japan disasters, and had been one of the first people to post that there might – and I stressed might – be nuclear problems. So when I saw a link saying “MIT scientist says no problems”, it’s only natural to read it... The site I got linked to, though, was a repost from something called The Energy Collective...The Energy Collective is a Siemens AG lobbying/influence/astroturf organization – it says Powered by Siemens right up front."

His article goes on to talk about how this site was just put up a couple days ago, comments were deleted, the content came from the Siemens P.R. site, and that the link he found was through a suspicious Twitter account.

The Hooks

So it's one thing to put up a misleading Website, playing up your MIT affiliations. But if nobody links to or reads the article, that's a pretty poor propaganda exercise, right?

According to Genius Now: "This ONE instance of the article has been shared over 5000 times on facebook, and over 32k times in total." There are also a ton of Twitter links to this article I found here, too, with tons of comments like "Trustworthy information" and "non-sensational news", "stop being alarmist", "please RT", etc.

So who is putting up all these links to this strange "not quite an MIT nuclear scientist" article? Why were there so many facebook, google, and twitter links? I am sure many were legit from people who fell for the bait, but there are too many too fast for a site that went up a couple days ago.

Very hard to prove, but this description immediately reminded me of the Sock Puppet campaign proposed by HB Gary in the leaked Anonymous emails (via Daily Kos):

To build this capability we will create a set of personas on twitter, blogs, forums, buzz, and myspace under created names that fit the profile (satellitejockey, hack3rman, etc). These accounts are maintained and updated automatically through RSS feeds, retweets, and linking together social media commenting between platforms. With a pool of these accounts to choose from, once you have a real name persona you create a Facebook and LinkedIn account using the given name, lock those accounts down and link these accounts to a selected # of previously created social media accounts, automatically pre-aging the real accounts.

Of course, people believe that the HB Gary proposal was hardly the first of its kind, people have seen similar abuses of social media in other venues. It looks like we could be staring at another one right here, too.


Remember what happened after the BP disaster - once the well was capped, the story disappeared from the mainstream, subsequent health and environmental problems were ignored, nobody was arrested, and drilling program while temporarily halted is on pace to continue as usual.

If by some miracle this nuclear tragedy doesn't escalate, I would expect the same sort of thing: just how close to disaster Japan got will be downplayed, mainstream coverage will fade away, and all these plans to build new nuclear reactors around the world will go unchallenged.

There is too much money involved.
edit on 3/16/2011 by Nicorette because: fix urls

edit on 3/16/2011 by Nicorette because: fixlink

edit on 3/16/2011 by Nicorette because: typo

posted on Mar, 16 2011 @ 01:55 PM
I was sent that same darn article and couldn't stop laughing at it as it's clear from reading the guy has little information to go on, and less knowledge then most users here. Thanks for doing the work and proving it to be BS, now I can happily send a link to this thread to all the morons on my friendslist.

posted on Mar, 16 2011 @ 02:01 PM
I saw it too! I thought what the heck is this about and quickly came to the conclusion that the Japanese Nuclear disaster is beyond the scope of anyone's imagination. Especially if they are going to these extremes, these guys are as bad as Bagdad Bob!!

I heard some bozo say the longer the this thing goes on the less chance of a catstrophic disaster! Where does this thinking come from . . . do they all think we are stupid sheeple!!!

edit on 3/16/11 by mel1962 because: (no reason given)

edit on 3/16/11 by mel1962 because: add more commentary

posted on Mar, 16 2011 @ 02:03 PM
reply to post by phishyblankwaters


Though to be fair, most of the research was done by the author of the Genius Now site.

posted on Mar, 16 2011 @ 02:15 PM
reply to post by Nicorette

Meh i missed that part, in any event, you provided it here

posted on Mar, 16 2011 @ 02:15 PM
I don't know about the incident above..

However it does bring to mind something I have noticed in the past few days... MIT is involved in a lot of pro-nuke propaganda these days....
MIT professors have published letters on facebook downplaying the disaster, Staff of MIT student paper has come up with other articles along the same lines.. ...
Where there is nukes, there is somebody from MIT defending the stuff

posted on Mar, 16 2011 @ 02:28 PM
reply to post by monica86

You are right about that. There is this student op-ed from the MIT school paper which is really kind of ridiculous:

"The widely-hyped possibility of some Chernobyl-like event is inconceivable without a new, catastrophic disaster. Coolant flow has been re-established and the public is in no danger."

A lot of them have probably spent years studying this and went tens of thousands of dollars into debt to the get the education, so they are very emotionally vested in believing nuclear power is totally safe, and they react like Hank Hill if propane is criticized or something.

posted on Mar, 16 2011 @ 04:30 PM
Since I enjoyed your post so much, I decided to share it with another group I am a member of as I had received the first post of all this this morning. I mean what the "Dr." had written. I saw your post later in the day about it. lol Hope that made sense.

Anyhow after I posted it up I got this as a response and thought you might find it interesting. I will paste it all so you can see exactly how it went.. Keep in mind it is a email as it is kind of backwards in how it went...

I wrote to and received a personal reply from this person:

Dr. Steven J. Greene, Physics Division, Subatomic Physics Group, P-25 Los Alamos National Laboratory, Mail Stop H846, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545 voice: (505)667-5607, e-mail: sjgreene@lanl.

He is a PhD nuclear physicist, and also referred me to that same link.

This is more from Dr. Josef Oehman:
I am a mechanical engineer and research scientist at MIT. I am not a nuclear engineer or scientist, or affiliated with Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT, so please feel free to question my competence. The text is based on an email that I send to family and friends in Japan the night of March 12. It was posted on this blog by my cousin Jason, went viral and has been equally popular with people who hate it and love it ever since. It aimed at explaining the events surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi-1 reactor. Great lengths of the text are dedicated to explaining how the reactor works, what the different types of radiation sources are, and what safety features have been implemented. I then continue to describe how these safety features were operated to secure the reactor. To the extent that I could, I have verified this information with experts in the field, while the responsibility for any errors remains with me. The version on is the most accurate, and as you can tell in many parts different to the version that appeared here on Jason’s blog. This post is not keeping track of or explaining events after Mar 12. Events kept developing, and many people keep sharing their discovery with me that one is always smarter after the fact. In my email, preserved through various copies of Jason’s first post around the internet, I expressed my strong believe that my family and friends are safe. This keeps both annoying and reassuring a great many people. Whether my unwavering trust in my fellow engineers of 50 years ago who designed and build the plant, or my complete trust and admiration of my fellow engineers who are currently operating the reactors makes me a level-headed guy or right-out stupid is also hotly debated. Most people hope for the former, but some opt for the latter. As far as I am concerned, I was just doing my job. Fixing things. In this case, a complete lack of understandable context information that would have allowed my family and friends in Japan to make an informed assessment of their situation.

On Mar 16, 2011, at 12:37 PM, I wrote: > > > Hello my friends. I read this email earlier this morning and probably like many of you that read it, may have found a tiny bit of relief from it. Well, since then I have run across another thread on another site I am a member of which concerns this same material and I feel I should share it, least our members are lead astray by faulty representation.

> > Please note this particular line "UPDATE: We have learned that this was written by Dr. Josef Oehmen, a research scientist at MIT. It was originally posted here." > I left this below as well from the original post so that you can see the name clearly. > I tried to be a good member and delete the rest of post as it isnt part of the concern here > >

Now I would like to direct you to where I am going with this. I believe it will be easier for you to read yourself so you can understand a little more of what the bigger picture may be here. I will give you one snip of the article I am leading you to0, to give you a idea.

> > "The article has since been edited and re-titled, but the original post was called "Why I am Not Worried About Japan's Nuclear Reactors" by Dr. Josef Oehmen. > > As it turns out, Dr. Oehmen is NOT a nuclear scientist, but he has a PhD in 'supply chain risk management'; according to Genius Now, he "works for something called the Lean Advancement Initiative (LAI), which is a military-industrial-academic project...he is not involved with nukes at all." > >

There is a lot more too this and I suggest you read it just so you can understand how this came about. It is a real eye opener to say the least. As always, use your own discernment, but I really felt you folks needed to know this. You really only need to read the first post to get the gist of it. > > You can read what I am referring to HERE: Disinformation about Japan Crisis > > > > >

You Can STOP WORRYING ABOUT A RADIATION DISASTER IN JAPAN -- Here's Why > > > > BI Nuclear Expert | Mar. 13, 2011, 4:55 PM | 12,849 | 24 > > A A A inShare This was originally posted as a comment on Japan Death Toll > > Climbs Astronomically As Nuclear Crisis Spreads. > > UPDATE: We have learned that this was written by Dr. Josef Oehmen, a > > research scientist at MIT. It was originally posted here.

edit on 16-3-2011 by onehuman because: typos

posted on Mar, 17 2011 @ 12:37 PM
Hi Onehuman,

Thanks for responding and following up on this through the MIT site and getting a response from Josef Oehmen! Good work! You actually got a better response than reporters who have tried.

There are some serious questions still about how Dr. Oehmer's blog post that was posted on a family friend's blogspot account went viral so quickly and was linked to so many times it ended up being quoted on Discover, Daily Telegraph and CNBC's Jim Cramer.

Justin Elliott on has been doing a fine series covering the nuclear industry's PR machine in action over there, and he did a blog post about this specific, audacious case:

I e-mailed Oehmen to ask if he stands by the claims in the post. He referred me to the MIT press office, which in turn told me that Oehmen is not doing interviews.

The Genius Now site I quoted in my original post also has a follow up post (their web host is also back online):

somehow, Josef Oehman’s original article keeps getting buried deeper and deeper. If I were a cynic, I might think that the entire purpose of this site is to hide the indefensible and fraudulent propaganda that he and Barry Brook engaged in. That gave false hope to thousands, if not millions, of people. That if properly looked at will completely kill any hope he has of a legitimate academic career.

I agree very much with the Genius Now author; this looks to me like a cynical PR con job using social media. The nuclear industry has everything invested in convincing people their technology is not going to lead to catastrophes when, um, clearly it can.

More from Genius Now:

Dr. Oehmen isn’t “giving interviews”, so I can’t ask him about it. And I really hate to make those assumptions, because maybe MIT really is willing to put their academic rep on the line for this fraud and coverup. So here’s a way around that. Asking MIT directly. They’re probably not going to like it much, because either they have to deal with Dr Oehmen, or they have to buy into a blatant cover-up that brings the entire school’s academic integrity into question.

He then lists contact information for MIT's PR representatives, who would be handling media or citizen inquiries about the veracity of the kind of information they are supporting!

Update: I sent this thread to Justin Elliott of, when he answered he said he thinks he saw that response before on Oehner's blog and it wasn't too impressive. The 171 comments on the Salon post are interesting too..

edit on 3/17/2011 by Nicorette because: (no reason given)

edit on 3/17/2011 by Nicorette because: update

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