Hoaxes & Pranks

TheQuixote

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Windsor Castle stunt by multiple hoaxer

Rosie Cowan, crime correspondent
Tuesday January 11, 2005

A hoaxer who admitted tricking his way into Windsor Castle by posing as a senior Scotland Yard detective wasted police time and resources by sending officers on a string of wild goose chases.
Michael Hammond, 36, spent more than an hour wandering the castle grounds after ringing officers stationed there and convincing them he was a policeman accompanying friends of Princes William and Harry.

The incident came just 12 days after a major review of royal security and the appointment of a new security liaison director, Brigadier Geoff Cook.

But yesterday, as Hammond pleaded guilty to one count of being a public nuisance - incorporating 11 instances of impersonating a police officer - and one charge of wasting police time, Isleworth crown court heard how he rang police 133 times in 11 months.

Pretending to be real officers from the Metropolitan and other police forces, he made the phone calls between September 2003 and August 2004.

His wild claims included spotting armed men near Downing Street and in Canary Wharf and a murder suspect at London city airport. Several calls resulted in specialist armed units being deployed to frisk innocent members of the public. Even after being arrested and bailed for the Windsor Castle incident, while travelling on a ferry to Dover on July 15 last year he claimed to be from Interpol and had an Iraqi family stopped and searched.

Last February, he was given a police motor escort after posing as a surgeon on his way to perform life-saving surgery on a sick child.


He was arrested a number of times during his hoax campaign, but it was only when police put together phone records that a full picture emerged.

Over the years, Hammond, the son of a painter and decorator from Bexhill, East Sussex, has posed as a millionaire playboy and claimed to have dated famous women, including Jordan and Dannii Minogue, who have all vigorously denied the claims.

Hammond, who has 102 previous offences, the majority for fraud and deception and two for impersonating a police officer, will be sentenced on February 4.

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005
Guardian Unlimited
 

Mal_Adjusted

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'Ali G' enrages rodeo crowd

greets

Ananova:
'Ali G' enrages rodeo crowd

Ali G comic Sacha Baron Cohen is being blamed for a hoax which enraged cowboys at a US rodeo.

The comedian's other alter ego, bumbling Kazakhstani Borat Sagdiyev, is the chief suspect behind the stunt at a rodeo at Salem, Virginia.

It started when a 'Middle Eastern man in an American flag shirt and a cowboy hat' was introduced to the crowd as Borat Sagdiyev from Kazakhstan, an immigrant touring America.

Speaking in broken English, the man said: "I hope you kill every man, woman and child in Iraq, down to the lizards. And may George W. Bush drink the blood of every man, woman and child in Iraq."

He then told the crowd to be seated, put his hat back on, and launched into a butchered version of The Star-Spangled Banner that ended with the words "your home in the grave".

By then, a restless crowd had turned downright nasty, according to the Roanoke Times.

"If he had been out there a minute longer, I think somebody would have shot him," said local radio DJ Robynn Jaymes. "People were booing him, flipping him off."

Rodeo producer Bobby Rowe added: "Had we not gotten them out of there, there would have been a riot."

A spokesman for Da Ali G Show said it was not currently in production and would make no further comment.
http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_1243181.html

mal
 

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Harvard Man in lesbian mix-up wants satire clearly labeled

Greets

(Contains adult language)

Harvard Man in lesbian mix-up wants satire clearly labeled

By Andrew Orlowski in San Francisco
Published Monday 17th January 2005 08:44 GMT

The two fathers of 'podcasting' have called for jokes and satirical broadcasts to be clearly labelled as such, after they were bamboozled by a comic female impersonator.

Former MTV video jockey Adam Curry and former software developer Dave Winer cooked up the idea of enclosing audio files in some XML code so they could be pulled off the web onto a portable device - a nifty, if not terrible original idea. With real, grassroots webcasting itself in mortal danger, its seems an odd distraction. But people took it and ran with it, making home broadcasts and shoving them onto the web. For a week on their own 'show', Curry and Winer rebroadcast the adventures of a podcaster they admired, Yeast Radio's Madge Weinstein.

Madge Weinstein is really a database programmer called Richard Bluestein, who performs the part of "a domineering Jewish lesbian" - firmly in the tradition of John Waters' diva Divine, and a long-line of female impersonators including Dame Edna Everage. He's been recording his own scatalogical skits for a while.

But Curry and Winer didn't realize that Madge wasn't a woman. An easy mistake to make, looking at the pictures of Madge in action (below), hearing her show, or if you don't have an internet connection, for Madge features prominently as a Bluestein creation on a number of web sites.

Judge for yourselves -

Madge WeinsteinMadge2Madge Weinstein
Madge Weinstein is really a man in drag. Who would have guessed?

Now let Winer himself describe the historic moment in podcasting history where they realized that Madge was actually - gasp - a man in drag!

In a post entitled: "Oh shit, Madge is a hoax" Winer [audio] wrote -

"I looked over at Adam and asked how he felt about this. "Not good." Then he asked how I felt, and I said I had repped Madge as being something other than what she or he was. An act."

The intrepid twosome leapt into action.

"We both agreed we should do an instant podcast to explain and raise questions."

And so they did.

"It's borderline podcast material to do that," opined Winer. "It's like stage material, or fiction. It was scripted - clearly scripted."

The horror! Curry agreed.

"Oh my god, this is scripted" replied the 80s throwback former video jock.

"How much is scripted?" wondered Winer. "I clearly wasn't talking to Madge, a transgender 50 year old jewish guy with a beard. So... it's an act!"

Winer articulated his anxiety further.

"I don't want the feeling that this is a script written by a comedian who just wants to er, entertain us."

Of course, there's no danger that anyone could mistake Curry and Winer's earnest podcasts for entertainment -but the script scare had to be dealt with, urgently. Great issues of morality were at stake. And so Winer demanded that Bluestein report in to the Podfathers to explain hershelf.

"We need to hear from whoever Weinstein to it is as to how we should interpret that other stuff," he declared. "We'll give her another chance."

"I want a direct statement on how we are intended to interpret this podcast. And then I'm going to make my decision," huffed Winer.

These very issues are going to be discussed at a conference he explained, at Harvard, where until last year, on the recommendation of Professor Lawrence Lessig, he was appointed a Fellow of to the Law Schools' internet think tank, the Berkman Center.

"Madge broke the rules" concludes Winer. "I need to know which parts of what's she's doing are real!"
Gender bender

Alas the happy podcast nation didn't take this outbreak of morality very well.

"You guys sound like you are about to start regulating what podcasters can do and your first rule is that you cant be make-believe? What kind of shit is that?" asks 'Dave'.

"You must be the only two people in world of podcasting who thought he/she/it was legit. Get a grip guys!"

" I think podcasting just bit you in the ass" writes Ian.

On Madge's blog, much more incredulity is expressed at the gullible and Pompous Podfathers.

"Do they go out to clubs and think, 'Wow, this place is great! Barbra Streisand AND Carol Channing together on stage! Though I had no idea Barbara had such huge feet." writes one.

"Who they heck are Dave and Adam to define what should and shouldn't be the content of a podcast?". I appreciate that their efforts have been key to the popularity and success of podcasting as a medium,"

"To the fathers of podcasting- wake up. Your revolution is about to start leaving you behind," agrees another 'caster.

"Fuck you" replied Winer, echoing a theme he had developed earlier on this weblog. The great communicator issued a pre-emptive welcome for the press on New Year's Eve.

Here's a screengrab -

Winer Podcast Declaration

And Madge's response?

"I've been accused of being dishonest but that's from people who don't know what the fuck they're taking about," she declares. "I am a lesbian. I am a rock band manager. And most importantly - a former lover of Ethel Merman."

Which should be good enough for anyone. ®


http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/01/17/podcast_drag_queen_confusion/

mal
 
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How a fake doctor helped 1,000 people to get asylum

How a fake doctor took £1½m and helped 1,000 people to get asylum
By Sam Lister, Health Correspondent



A THOUSAND successful asylum applicants face a review of their cases after the doctor who gave expert evidence at their hearings admitted yesterday that he was really a former taxi driver with no medical qualifications.
Barian Baluchi, a career fraudster who used a string of fake qualifications to set himself up as a leading clinician, was behind bars last night after conning more than £1.5 million from the Government, leading charities and patients.



Using fictitious qualifications Baluchi set himself up as an expert counsellor, neuropsychiatrist, plastic surgeon and even a professor who had supposedly trained at Harvard and Oxford. Baluchi also repeatedly gave evidence in court. In one case he was involved in, a sex attacker was jailed for life at Birmingham Crown Court in 2003.

He also frequently gave expert testimony at the Immigration Appeals Tribunal and prepared hundreds of often critical reports about the mental trauma asylum-seekers would suffer if they were sent home.

Baluchi became so confident in his scam that he even operated on patients.

The Home Office said last night that no comment would be made on a possible review of cases involving Baluchi until after he is sentenced next week.

Baluchi, who claimed to be an expert on post-traumatic stress disorder, is understood to have written reports on at least 1,500 asylum-seekers, of whom an estimated 1,000 were allowed to stay in Britain. He acted as a government adviser on health policy for asylum-seekers and received Home Office funding for his clinic in Central London.

He is also the author of a widely read book that calls for a huge cash boost for psychiatric care for refugees. His name is also included in the 2003 Directory of Expert Witnesses, published by the Law Society, which is used widely by the legal profession when members look for specialists.

Baluchi, a twice-married father of two, admitted a total of 30 charges just minutes before his trial was due to start yesterday at Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court. The offences, committed between December 1998 and August 2003, include twelve of obtaining a money transfer by deception, three of committing an act intended to pervert the course of public justice, two of procuring a registration by making false declarations, one of supplying false and misleading information to the Charity Commission, and a string of others involving perjury, other deception charges, causing actual bodily harm, administering a medicinal product, possessing a Class A drug, and having Class B drugs with intent to supply.

He arrived in Britain in 1980, and married his first wife three years later, providing him with a coveted “indefinite leave to remain” stamp in his passport. Even after they divorced in 1990, she remained his most loyal admirer and unwittingly went on to help him to build his illicit medical practice by helping him to prepare successful grant applications.

After dabbling in jobs as a cabbie, a waiter, an employee with an import and export company, and shift work with a cleaning firm, Baluchi struck upon an illicit career in medicine in the 1990s.

He is understood to have registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) in 1998 under EU procedures. He is thought to have told the GMC that he qualified as a doctor and a psychiatrist in Madrid in the 1980s under the name of Antonio Carrillo-Gómez. Detectives from Scotland Yard have contacted a psychiatrist called Antonio Carrillo-Gómez who lives and works in Madrid.

Baluchi, after getting his first wife, who worked for the Migrant Resource Centre, to carry out research that subsequently led to him publishing a study of refugees, milked her experience to prepare grant applications after conning the Charity Commission into giving him charitable status.

He is understood to have pocketed some £440,000 in grants, including two of £30,000 from the Tudor Trust. He also targeted the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, the King’s Fund, and the Baring Foundation as well as other charities and Barking council, the Department of Health and the Home Office.

As his unwarranted reputation grew, he realised that another source of cash was the legal profession. His earnings as an expert witness in court were said to exceed £375,000.

DOCTORED QUALIFICATIONS


Michael Harris, from St Helens, Merseyside, was jailed in 1999 for pretending to be a top heart surgeon and administering drugs to a man who was dying of cancer. A college dropout, his only qualification was a Boy Scout’s first aid badge

Matthew Brafman, an American, was jailed in 1994 for forging a degree certificate and references to lie his way into a job as a hospital doctor, treating more than 40 patients. The General Medical Council failed to spot that the medical college in Alabama where Mr Brafman claimed to have trained did not exist

Mohammad Saeed built up a large practice and worked as a GP for 30 years, despite having no qualifications. Prescriptions included creosote, shampoo and suppositories — to be taken orally

Godwin Onubogu was jailed in 1998 after subjecting hundreds of women to worthless tests for sexually transmitted diseases from his “clinical laboratory” in South London. Although barely educated, he had also made thousands of pounds by posing as an expert witness for motorists in drink-drive cases


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/ ... 49,00.html
 

TheQuixote

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Wednesday, 19th January 2005
Prankster Power jailed for £26,000 benefit fiddle
Andrew Nott

BRITAIN'S most famous prankster will be out of the limelight from today - after being jailed for six months for benefit fraud.

Karl Power, 37, from The Crescent, Droylesden, Tameside, who notoriously lined up at Old Trafford with Manchester United before a Champions League match - falsely claimed more than £26,000 in benefits over a period of years.

Manchester Crown Court heard this afternoon that someone who saw him on TV during the stunt contacted the Department of Works and pensions to name him as a benefit cheat.

After a series of interviews he finally pleaded guilty to falsely claiming £25,000 income support and £1,200 council tax benefit.

Judge Anthony Ensor told him: "You were caught by your own vanity, by your addiction to self publicity in outwitting security at sports events"
Manchester Online
 

Mal_Adjusted

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Wolfowitz story falsified

Greets

Wolfowitz story falsified

UNRAVELLING: A woman lied about being tortured during Saddam Hussein's reign and a US newspaper is having to backtrack on a story it wrote about her

NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , NEW YORK
Saturday, Jan 22, 2005,Page 6


Testifying before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee in July 2003
about the rebuilding of Iraq, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told the story of Jumana Michael Hanna, an Iraqi woman who had recently come to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad with a tale of her horrific torture at the hands of Saddam Hussein's regime.

Hanna's tale -- more than two years of imprisonment that included being
subjected to electric shocks, repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted --
was unusual in that she was willing to name the Iraqi police officials who
participated in her torture, "information that is helping us to root out
Baathist policemen who routinely tortured and killed prisoners," Wolfowitz
said.

But Hanna's story, which 10 days before Wolfowitz's testimony had been the subject of a front-page article in the Washington Post, appears to have
unraveled. Esquire magazine, in this month's issue, published a lengthy
article, by a writer who was hired to help Hanna produce a memoir, saying that her account had all but fallen apart.

And on Thursday, the Post itself published a follow-up article saying that
Hanna, who was granted refugee status by US officials on the basis of her
claims of imprisonment, torture and sexual abuse, "appears to have made
false claims about her past, according to a fresh examination of her
statements."

The articles in Esquire and the Post concluded that none of Hanna's
allegations about torture could be verified. Sara Solovitch, the author of
the Esquire article, wrote that the law under which Hanna was supposedly
imprisoned in Iraq never existed.

And the Post article, by Peter Finn, the correspondent who wrote the
original article in 2003, quoted several of Hanna's in-laws as saying that
Hanna's husband, who she previously said had been executed in the same
prison where she was tortured, was still alive.

David Hoffman, the foreign editor of the Post, said in an interview on
Thursday that the newspaper would likely continue its reporting on the
story, including trying to determine how Hanna got refugee status and
gained entry into the US.

"Clearly this is not the bottom of it," Hoffman said. "We did feel that it
was time to publish what we found."

The apparent debunking of Hanna's story raises questions about her embrace by officials from the Coalition Provisional Authority, who in the summer of 2003 were eager to find Iraqis who would testify to some of the atrocities that the US had used as a reason to attack Iraq. People involved in the investigation of her story for the authority told Solovitch that the case was given high priority by top US officials.

Calls to Hanna on Thursday were not returned. She is currently living in
Chicago, where she moved this month from Northern California. It was there that she spent several weeks talking to Solovitch, who had been recruited by a literary agent to help Hanna put together a book proposal about her life.

Beginning in August of last year, as Solovitch began to try to verify
details about Hanna's experiences, inconsistencies began to appear. An
Iraqi doctor who examined her at the request of US authorities discounted
her story of rape and abuse, Solovitch reported. A National Guardsman who was assigned to investigate Hanna's claims of a mass grave in the yard of the police academy in Baghdad turned up some cow bones but nothing else.

All nine of the men who had been arrested on Hanna's word had been released for lack of evidence, the Esquire article reported, with some of them being compensated for wrongful imprisonment.

Officials at the state department, the successor agency to the Coalition
Authority in Baghdad, and the defense department did not return phone calls seeking comment on Thursday, which was Inauguration Day in Washington.

The Post article on Thursday said that Finn met Hannah in July 2003 at the
Human Rights Society of Iraq in Baghdad and later accompanied her on a tour of the police academy that had served as a prison under Saddam. He
interviewed her three times before the publication of the initial article,
"in the company of an Iraqi interpreter and a Post correspondent who spoke fluent Arabic," the Post said.

While Hanna was apparently imprisoned for some period, the charge is
unclear. The Post quoted a cousin of Hanna's husband as saying "he believed she was jailed for cheating people out of money on the promise of getting them visas."

The Esquire article quoted Hanna as saying that her mother had arranged her arrest -- in order to try to put a stop to a marriage that the mother
opposed -- on charges of prostitution, theft, spying and plotting to
overthrow the government.

Hoffman, the Post editor, said that the newspaper was not aware of the
potential problems in her story until the Esquire article appeared, but
that the newspaper's original interviews "were quite extensive, and we did
do some due diligence with her family."

In retrospect, he said, it was an error not to include a disclaimer in the
original story noting that the Post was unable to independently verify her
allegations of abuse.

"I would point out that she said one set of things to us and then she said
another set of things to the author" of the Esquire article, Hoffman said.
"If you look at those two sets of things, they didn't overlap much."
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/world/archives/2005/01/22/2003220487

mal
 

Mal_Adjusted

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Student faces jail over brain joke

Greets

Student faces jail over brain joke

A US student could be jailed for putting a sheep's brain into a salad dressing in the school's cafeteria.

The 17-year-old, described as the "class clown", has been charged with theft and food tampering.

He allegedly stole part of a sheep's brain from the science lab and put it in a bowl of salad dressing at Vestal High School, New York state.

Classmates described him as a good student who had been voted "class clown", reports the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin.

"I think he meant the entire incident as a joke," said Eric Sansky. "I know he didn't mean anything malicious by it. I hope that people see that he's not a bad kid."

School officials don't believe anyone ate any of the preserved brain matter.

The student could face up to a year in jail, three years probation, or both, plus a fine of up to $1,000 if convicted.
http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_1259614.html

mal
 

Mal_Adjusted

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Kidnapped soldier could be 'Action Man'

Greets

piccie
http://www.ananova.com/images/web/194813.jpg

Kidnapped soldier could be 'Action Man'

Army investigators believe pictures of a 'US marine' taken hostage in Iraq are of an Action Man style doll.

US army investigators say this image of a 'kidnapped US soldier' - posted on a militant Iraqi website - could be a toy doll /AP

An Iraqi militant website posted the photograph of what it claimed was a kidnapped US soldier but doubts quickly arose about its authenticity.

The US military said no soldiers were missing and toy firm Dragon Models USA said the figure in the photograph looked like one of the company's action dolls.

Spokesman Liam Cusack said: "It is our doll... to me it definitely looks like it is. Everything the guy is wearing is exactly what comes with our figure."

He said the figure resembled a military action figure originally produced for sale at US bases in Kuwait.
http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_1268145.html

mal

(unless it turns out to be true!!)
 

Mal_Adjusted

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Bored granny staged fake hold up

Greets

Bored granny staged fake hold up

A bored granny has been given a three year suspended prison sentence after staging a fake bank robbery as a practical joke.

The 80-year-old, named only as Elfriede for legal reasons, threatened a cashier at a bank in Lower Austria with a toy pistol and hissed: "This is a stick up."

Then she started to laugh when she saw the cashier's terrified face.

The bank employee said: "My heart stopped for a second. But when she started laughing I realised that it was just a joke."

The pensioner told the court this week that she had done it "for a laugh".

The judge warned the pensioner that she would not be let off so lightly if she re-offends in the next three years.

Elfriede replied: "If I live that long. But thanks."
http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_1277113.html

mal
 

lopaka

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So many hoaxes either make one angry (they're done to be malicious) or laugh or obviously done for a profit motive. This one just strikes me as being sad. It actually (without anyone being physically harmed) sort of reminds me of Munchausen-by-proxy. Note the "I think I need some serious counseling"...ie we're now supposed to have sympathy for her due to her being a pathological liar...yes, you DO need some serious counseling, not going to argue with that.

Woman admits Iraq heroism story was hoax

Thursday, February 10, 2005 Posted: 7:11 AM EST (1211 GMT)



GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado (AP) -- A woman concocted a heartbreaking story of how her soldier husband died a hero in Iraq -- and then admitted the story was all a hoax.

"I think I need some serious counseling," 24-year-old Sarah Kenney told The Daily Sentinel newspaper on Wednesday editions. "This is the most serious lie I've ever told, but I've been caught in many lies."

The touching story of how Spc. Jonathan Kenney took a bullet meant for an Iraqi child on January 29 was reported by a score of Colorado media after a news release was sent to them by the nonprofit group Homefront Heroes.

In reality, there is no record of a soldier with that name dying in Iraq. Sarah Kenney is married to a man named Michael Kenney, and he is neither currently in the military nor serving in Iraq.

Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger said Tuesday that he had convened a team of investigators to look into the hoax and see if any laws were broken.

Phyllis Derby, founder and president of Homefront Heroes, said Kenney convinced her group the story was true. The account of the fictitious man's death was then released to local media.

"I would have never thought in a billion years that she was lying to me," Derby said. She said the donations on behalf of the fictitious soldier would be returned.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.
http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/02/10/gi.hoax.ap/index.html
 

The late Pete Younger

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Ananova:

Not so ancient ruins

'Ancient Inca ruins' which attracted millions of tourists each year have turned out to be only 12 years old.

Villagers at the Peruvian village of Chucuito built the 'ruins' themselves to attract tourists, reports Las Ultimas Noticias.

The ruins, said to be an ancient site where Inca women would go to cure infertility, attracted millions of tourists.

But experts have discovered they were built by villagers to convince authorities to invest money to attract tourists to the region.

Rolando Paredes, director of the National Culture Institue of Puno, said: "People have literally created a myth."
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Another Iraq inspired hoax:

Military Probes Hoax of GI Death Notice

49 minutes ago

By RUSS BYNUM, Associated Press Writer

SAVANNAH, Ga. - Military police are investigating a cruel hoax in which a man wearing an Army dress uniform falsely told the wife of a soldier that her husband had been killed in Iraq (news - web sites).



Investigators are trying to determine why the man delivered the false death notice and whether he was a soldier or a civilian wearing a military uniform.

"We're taking it extremely seriously. Whatever motivation was behind it, it was a sick thing to do," said Fort Stewart spokesman Lt. Col. Robert Whetstone.

Last month, 19,000 soldiers from the Fort Stewart-based 3rd Infantry Division deployed for their second tour of duty in Iraq. At least eight division soldiers have been killed since then.

Fort Stewart officials would not identify the Army wife who reported to military police that a man posing as a casualty assistance officer came to her door Feb. 10.

"Right off the bat, she noticed some things were not right," Whetstone said. "The individual's uniform wasn't correct — there were no markings or name tags. Plus, the person was alone, and she knew one person does not make (death) notifications."

Whetstone said no similar hoaxes have been reported.

When the 3rd Infantry first deployed to Iraq for the 2003 invasion, some Fort Stewart families reported receiving phone calls from pranksters saying their soldiers had been killed.

This time around, troops and their spouses got pre-deployment briefings that included detailed explanations of how death notices work. Two soldiers, including a chaplain, in dress uniform always arrive to tell the family in person. The Army never makes notifications over the telephone.

Fort Stewart spouses have been spreading news of the latest hoax, said Army wife Michelle Dombrowski, who received an e-mail more than a week ago reporting the incident.

"I can't believe that someone would do that," said Dombrowski, whose husband, Staff Sgt. Joe Dombrowski, is deployed with the 3rd Infantry. "I know the protocol, though."

Military police described the suspected hoaxer as being 6-feet, 1-inch tall and about 180 pounds with black or brown hair and a pale complexion. He was reported to be driving a blue or green pickup truck with chrome wheels, oversized tires and a Georgia license plate.
Source
 

Mal_Adjusted

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The boy who topped NASA but didn't..

Greets

Wednesday, February 23, 2005 ::
The boy who topped NASA but didn't..

On February 17th, Rediff along with many other Indian news agencies reported that a 17 year old boy from Uttar Pradesh, Saurabh Shukla had topped the NASA International Scientist Discovery exam. I thought it was interesting and checked Google News for other related reports, but it seemed that only Indian news agencies were reporting it. Pretty strange for an exam of supposedly high repute. Not even the main Google search engine had anything to say about this exam. Nevertheless, the story kept getting bigger and bigger with newspapers reporting that the Indian president had taken the exam in 1960 and 'finished seventh' while astronaut Kalpana Chawla had 'stood 21st in 1988'.

As they say, it keeps getting curioser and curioser. One newspaper, the Indian Express (check facts? real journalists don't check no facts!) even wrote about the tough exams that he passed. "He scored a mere A+ for Electronics and he is furious with himself". His school announced a scholarship - the Saurabh Shukla scholarship for Rs. 40,000. The UP Legislative Assembly decided to 'honor him' and declared that every member would donate a day's salary to him.

Every bubble of bullshit has to break due to its own pressure. When some enterprising reporter decided to get further facts from NASA, they must have really surprised the folks out there. Of course, NASA doesn't have any such exam, nor did Abdul Kalam or Kalpana Chawla take those fictitious exams. (The Indian Express reported that the President had 'expressed a desire to meet him' - Well, Kalpana Chawla being dead cannot dispute the story, but did someone really get that news from the office fo the President who must have surely remembered that he had never taken such an exam? This must be a new high in news reporting). The whole story would have been ridiculously hilarious, if not for the fact that it shows (sadly) how easily the media and with it, an entire nation can be manipulated!
http://www.ecogito.net/anil/2005/02/boy-who-topped-nasa-but-didnt.html

the url contains responses including :

The student's name is Saurabh Singh, not Saurabh Shukla. Saurabh Shukla is a movie director.

mal
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Another report:

Indian teen's NASA claim 'a fraud'

Saturday, February 26, 2005 Posted: 1148 GMT (1948 HKT)



LUCKNOW, India (Reuters) -- An Indian teenager from one of the country's most backward states appears to have fooled governments, the media and even the president into believing he had topped the world in a NASA science exam.

In a country hungry for international recognition, 17-year-old Saurabh Singh was feted as a national hero after announcing he had won NASA's International Scientist Discovery examination, which he said he took at Oxford University.

The Uttar Pradesh state government rewarded him with a 500,000 rupee ($11,500) prize and more than 100 members of the state's upper house each donated a day's salary to him.

But as he was at the president's official residence awaiting an audience during the week, his story unravelled.

An Indian news portal, rediff.com, contacted NASA, which denied any knowledge of the exam.

"Right now, no one knows where this examination comes from," Rediff quoted NASA education official Dwayne Brown saying.

A meeting planned with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was hastily called off and the boy returned to his village of Narhai, where he is now under police investigation.

Singh had also said President Abdul Kalam and Indian astronaut Kalpana Chawla, who died in the Columbia shuttle explosion in 2003, had sat the test. Kalam's office denies this.

Singh insists he met Kalam, although some Indian newspapers say the meeting was cancelled as he waited to go in.

"It was really inspiring," Singh told Reuters by phone. "And let me tell you, he saw my certificate and praised me for the achievement, while you all are asking all kinds of questions and trying to dub me as a fraud."

The certificate, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, declared "You are the member of NASA" (sic) and is signed by Singh and "Chief of NASA, Cin K. Kif" -- NASA's former administrator was Sean O'Keefe. It also lists the name of Singh's father, common practice in Indian documents.

Singh says he flew to London on Indian Airlines -- which does not fly to the city -- and took a taxi to Oxford University and back every day for the exam from January 4-8, a round trip of about 230 km (140 miles).

Singh told Reuters he stayed in a hotel, but told a Hindi language newspaper he stayed at Buckingham Palace.

The Indian school where he says he sat the preliminary exam along with 200,000 others does not exist. The Bansal institute, where he says he studied mathematics, has never heard of him.

Singh cannot produce his passport to back his claim. That, he says, is with institute director P.K. Bansal.

"How can we possess his passport when we don't even know him?" Saturday's The Indian Express quoted Bansal saying.

---------------------
Copyright 2005 Reuters.
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TheQuixote

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Boa Constrictor in Juke Box Shock

By Laura May, PA

Drinkers in a social club were a little taken aback to find a slippery customer sharing the pub’s juke box.

Stacey Caldwell, 14, daughter of the manager of the Premier Club, in Cwm, south Wales, wanted to put on a few of her favourite songs.

But when she tried to collect her change she grabbed a 2ft boa constrictor coiled in the coin return slot of the machine.

Mother, Jane, said: “Stacey screamed out, she was really frightened. And the customers wouldn’t go anywhere near it all night. Someone must have put it there as a joke, but this a cruel and stupid joke.”

The RSPCA were called to collect the brown and grey common boa and took the reptile to the vet thinking it may be in hibernation but it had already died.

Keith Hogben, RSPCA animal collection officer, said he had no idea how the snake had ended up in the juke box last night.

“It seems that this snake was placed there as some sort of joke, but this a completely unacceptable and cruel act.”

The brown and grey female was the thickness of a pool cue and still not fully grown but had it survived could have reached a length of 13ft in the wild.

The species is native to Central America, said the RSPCA, and only ever found in Wales as an exotic pet.
Scotsman.com
 

Mighty_Emperor

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A proper prankster:

The Boy Who Cried 'Fool'

Joey Skaggs Is Organizing New York's April Fools' Day Parade … And This Time He Really Means It

By BUCK WOLF

Mar. 29, 2005 - Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 20 times, and your name might be Joey Skaggs.

You may know Joey Skaggs as the proprietor of the world's first bordello for dogs or the inventor of a balding remedy that involves transplanting hair from cadavers onto the heads of exceedingly desperate men.

Then again, you may remember Joey Skaggs as the first man to windsurf from Hawaii to California.

In reality, Skaggs is none of those things. That's just some of the ways he's been identified in news reports over the past 40 years -- highlights from his career as a media hoax artist, a life's work devoted to showing just how gullible the press can be.

Just after the O.J. Simpson murder trial, Skaggs convinced CNN that he was head of "The Solomon Project," a mission by a computer scientist at New York University to replace juries with computer software that would determine a criminal defendant's guilt or innocence. Guess what he told CNN? The software found O.J. guilty.

Another time, Skaggs convinced "Good Morning America" that he was leader of "The Fat Squad," a group of former U.S. Marines who would help you lose weight by physically restraining you from eating.

Now, it's time once again for Skaggs' longest-running gag -- New York City's annual April Fools' Day Parade. Every year, Skaggs sends out thousands of press releases promising a star-studded parade down Fifth Avenue. But the only fools who ever show up are reporters and camera crews. To Skaggs and his buddies, it's a joke that never gets old.

Last year, the parade impresario promised an April Fools' gala march of celebrity lookalikes, including Paris Hilton handing out free sex videos, Rush Limbaugh dispensing prescription pain killers and Michael Jackson riding the Giant Bed Float, where parents can hand off their kids to ride down Fifth Avenue.

Now, it's time for the 20th annual April Fools' Day Parade, and this time Skaggs is promising something completely different. This year, he says, there really will be a parade.

Yeah, sure, Joey! Would anyone in their right mind trust this guy? Anyone, I mean, besides me?

Indeed, let it be known, I am going to this year's April Fools' Day Parade. I spoke with Skaggs several times this week, and I am now a believer. Of course, I just may be his next sucker. We'll soon find out.

"Buck, I know it's hard to believe me," Skaggs said. "Any journalist worth his or her salt wouldn't trust me. But mark my words -- on my honor as a prankster -- this time, it's going to happen. New York will have what it always deserved -- an April Fools' Day Parade."

It all seems so crazy. After 20 years of organizing New York's most infamous annual nonevent, why would Skaggs actually follow through this year with a real parade? I spent about a half-hour on the phone cross-examining him.

"Don't make me go out on a limb, Joey, and then make me look like an idiot," I said.

"Buck, this is really happening this year. I'm making calls. I've got commitments," he said. And then, like a school kid trying to get out of a homework assignment, he added, "I'm going to make every effort to be there."

With Skaggs, there's really no way to be sure of anything -- even when you're paying the guy a compliment.

When "Entertainment Tonight" interviewed Skaggs in 1988 for a segment about media hoaxers, Skaggs hoaxed them by sending an impostor for an on-air sit-down with host Mary Hart.

"How could I resist?" Skaggs later told The Associated Press. "I mean, who did they think they were dealing with?"

Over the years, I've written several stories about Skaggs and we've become friendly. Two years ago, he lent me one of his bizarre fish tanks -- a $5,000 "Fish Condominium," which he was selling through the Neiman Marcus catalog -- for an event to celebrate the publication of the "Wolf Files" book.

Like everything else about Skaggs, the fish tank has to be seen to be believed. It's larger than many New York City apartments -- and the fancy decor would impress Paris Hilton, not that that's necessarily a compliment.

Would Skaggs lie to me? Perhaps. The press release for this year's April Fools' Day Parade is just as outlandish as those in the past, promising, among other things, another army of celebrity lookalikes, including Donald Trump handing out pink slips while wearing one, and a Mud Wrestling float featuring Michael Moore, who will take on all challengers.

"It's time to make this thing a reality," Skaggs said. "We're pulling something together that you definitely don't want to miss. Be there."

Skaggs was so emphatic, I just had to believe him. For 40 years, he's been showing just how gullible news reporters can be. I may just prove him right once again, but now, our friendship is on the line.

A few months ago, Joey and I got together. I returned the fish tank to him and I did something a journalist rarely does -- I picked up the dinner check. Maybe it was only a plate of spaghetti, but take this as a warning, Joey: If I'm buying your lies, I'm certainly not buying you dinner. And yes, that's a threat.

So while I can still enjoy it, here's a look back at some of Joey Skaggs' greatest hoaxes.

1. The Miracle Roach Hormone Cure
Remember Kafka's "Metamorphosis"? Skaggs emerged in 1981 as Dr. Josef Gregor, an entomologist who extolled the virtue of consuming cockroach hormones as a cure for colds, acne, anemia and menstrual cramps. WNBC-TV's "Live at Five" featured an interview with the doctor, who claimed to have graduated from the University of Bogota in Colombia. Skaggs says no one checked his credentials. The newscasters only seemed to become suspicious when Skaggs played his organization's theme song -- "La Cucaracha."

2. Celebrity Sperm Auction
Attention ladies: Interested in "certified and authenticated rock star sperm"? Posing as Giuseppe Scagolli in 1976, Skaggs appealed to women who wanted children with sperm provided by the likes of Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix. When "Scagolli" claimed his sperm bank had been robbed, several wire services and Ms. magazine picked up the story.

3. The Dog Bordello
Finally, a place for frustrated pooches -- a cathouse for dogs! Skaggs planted an ad in New York's Village Voice newspaper in 1976 that promised "a savory selection of hot bitches" for your sexually deprived mutt, with the warning: "dogs only." Skaggs posed as a dog pimp, promising every Rover satisfaction for only $50. The media lapped it up, and the story hit all the wire services and local cable shows. Even ABC's New York affiliate covered the event.

4. Gypsy Moth Anti-Defamation League
In a 1982 article in The New York Time, Jo-Jo the Gypsy protested the political incorrectness of the term "gypsy moth" at a time when the little critters were devastating trees in the Northeast. Jo-Jo, another Skaggs incarnation, railed against the injustice of associating the pesky moths with Gypsies, a downtrodden minority that has long suffered from discrimination. Jo-Jo suggested the varmints should be called "Hitler Moths." The New York Post gleefully reported the esteemed newspaper's mistake in an article headlined "Times Falls for the Old Switcheroo."

5. Hair Replacement From the Dead
Hair Today Ltd. gleaned a substantial amount of air time and ink in 1990 as a firm specializing in a cure of baldness through hair transplants from the dead, much the way doctors would transplant a kidney. Skaggs said the ideal recipients would be salesmen or TV news anchors who needed to "look their best" and could afford the $3,500 price tag. The Boston Globe was among the news organizations fooled on this one.

6. The Fat Squad
Skaggs assumed the role of Joe Bones, a former Marine Corps drill sergeant determined to wipe out obesity. He told ABC's "Good Morning America" in 1986 that for "$300 a day plus expenses" his commandos would disarm any dieter who tried to sneak a cookie before bedtime. Host David Hartman later told the press: "We were had, in spades." The Philadelphia Inquirer was also duped.

7. The Final Curtain
Talk about the art of dying: What if cemeteries could be turned into theme parks for conceptual artists who want to go out in style, like Kim Markegard, who wanted her headstone to be a jukebox, so that not-so-well-wishers could dance on her grave. Markegard, of course, was a product of Skaggs' imagination. In 2000, he whipped up "The Final Curtain," an alternative cemetery. Among the customers who supposedly purchased plots were writer Julia Solis, who wanted her body fat rendered into fuel for an eternal flame.

Skaggs conned some 39 newspapers, six TV stations and 10 magazines into believing in The Final Curtain, including the Los Angeles Times and The Associated Press. Two European TV crews inquired about shooting a documentary, and a student at the University of Chicago asked to use The Final Curtain as the basis of her graduate thesis.


-------------------------
Buck Wolf is entertainment producer at ABCNEWS.com. "The Wolf Files" is published Tuesdays.

Copyright © 2005 ABC News Internet Ventures
Source
 

Mal_Adjusted

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toothing hoax

greets

Toothing
April 4, 2005 on 10:19 pm | In Yeah Whatever by ste

I’m tired and sleepy so please forgive my poor sentence construction and lack of inline links. But I had to post this before I go to bed, since Slashdot are asking:

Toothing: The (Abridged) Truth

In March of last year two of us were idly messaging about the Stan Collymore dogging scandal, and how this stupid sexual buzzword had (apparently) come from nowhere. We wondered if we could create our own. We wonder a lot of things, and rarely push them past concept, because we’re as collectively creative as we are frustratingly idle. This particularly concept was simple enough to outstrip the temptations of grinning, saying, “Yeahhhhh”, and wandering off to see what was on TV. Merging dogging with Bluejacking, a tech buzzword that had done the rounds a few months earlier, we came up with the idea of Toothing, defined as using bluetooth-equipped mobile phones to find sexual partners in public places.

It is important that you understand that the concept of Toothing - beaming a sexual text message to a random phone on a commuter-packed tube train - is a bit like going into a crowded nightclub, throwing a brick at the dancefloor with a love letter attached, and hoping that the person it hits will agree to sleep with you. It’s technically possible, and it’s not going to happen. That made it even better when the whole world fell for it.

The whole world. All we did was register a forum (which has now been taken down by the service provider, but we have a backup) and fill it with fictional posts by fictional Toothing ’sceners. A week later, we had what appeared to be a vibrant UK Toothing community all ready to roll, and I sent the link off to Gizmodo, a gadget blog. They reported it (you can see that first story here, with a credit at the end to ‘S’, my super-subtle pseudonym). Everyone else linked to / blogged / ripped off their story. Things started to roll, and we became a ludicrous, implausible meme. In turn, that brought Real People to our forum. Others created forums for their localities - Sweden, Denmark, Italy, whatever.

A few days later, the print media requests started coming. We kept a record at the start of where we were mentioned, but there were soon too many to record in full. There are hundreds of tiny anecdotes, though. I had to write Penthouse-letters-page style sexual adventure stories for a full page article and interview in The Telegraph. So many papers read that and followed up, broadsheet and tabloid, regional, national, all over the planet. One of us made an appearance on Radio 5 Live, and had a Conservative MP declare his interest in Toothing as a way of meeting women. We received a whole host of offers to licensed official Toothing merchandise: sex lines, web pages, even mobile phone software. German TV station RTL agreed to pixellate our faces and change our voices for a pre-recorded interview. We were invited to attend - and promised a stand - at China’s national sex exhibition. And so on, and so on.

Eventually the original Toothing forum was shut down by the Proboards hosts for violating… well, most of their terms, actually. Other forums continue, with some enterprising types masquerading as Toothy Toothing to try and kickstart the whole thing again. They’re doomed to failure, but there are still people out there trying to do the impossible, and there are still people writing about it. Google the word and you’ll find plenty of hits that we had direct input in at the start - Wired, for example, or that Gizmodo mention. But there are even more there that we had nothing to do with, like that Times of India feature, where there are quotes from strange men in cafés who boast about the beautiful women they’ve picked up with this new, wonderful, filthy-relationship-enabling technology. Those are my favourite*.

And, of course, except for us and you, just you, you, you, nobody knows that it’s absolutely fictional. Oh, and our little group of Toothing roleplayers (we needed to get some female friends in on the act for some of the women’s magazine articles - for example, Italian Vogue did an interview with a friend of mine who posed as a student Toother), who were invaluable in helping us make up a word. Despite all the made-up ramblings on websites across the globe, despite the forums and the fan-fiction, the tabloids and the broadsheets, the perverts and the simply curious, no-one has ever ever, ever toothed.

Unless they have, in which case Toothy Toothing is kind of like a technological pervert’s Santa Claus, bringing gifts of genital warts to all the good boys and girls.

Enjoy!

*Actually, my favourite is the mention in the first few pages of ‘Larpers and Shroomers’, Susie Dent’s book on language trends. She is dreamy and being in her book is dreamier.
http://www.thetriforce.com/newblog/

mal
 

Mal_Adjusted

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MIT students pull prank on conference

greets

MIT students pull prank on conference

Computer-generated gibberish submitted, accepted

Thursday, April 14, 2005 Posted: 7:29 PM EDT (2329 GMT)

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (Reuters) -- In a victory for pranksters at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a bunch of computer-generated gibberish masquerading as an academic paper has been accepted at a scientific conference.

Jeremy Stribling said Thursday that he and two fellow MIT graduate students questioned the standards of some academic conferences, so they wrote a computer program to generate research papers complete with "context-free grammar," charts and diagrams.

The trio submitted two of the randomly assembled papers to the World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics (WMSCI), scheduled to be held July 10-13 in Orlando, Florida.

To their surprise, one of the papers -- "Rooter: A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy" -- was accepted for presentation.

The prank recalled a 1996 hoax in which New York University physicist Alan Sokal succeeded in getting an entire paper with a mix of truths, falsehoods, non sequiturs and otherwise meaningless mumbo-jumbo published in the quarterly journal Social Text, published by Duke University Press.

Stribling said he and his colleagues only learned about the Social Text affair after submitting their paper.

"Rooter" features such mind-bending gems as: "the model for our heuristic consists of four independent components: simulated annealing, active networks, flexible modalities, and the study of reinforcement learning" and "We implemented our scatter/gather I/O server in Simula-67, augmented with opportunistically pipelined extensions."

Stribling said the trio targeted WMSCI because it is notorious within the field of computer science for sending copious e-mails that solicit admissions to the conference.

The idea of a fake submission was to counter "fake conferences...which exist only to make money," explained Stribling and his cohorts' website, "SCIgen - An Automatic CS Paper Generator."

"Our aim is to maximize amusement, rather than coherence," it said. The website allows users to "Generate a Random Paper" themselves, with fields for inserting "optional author names."
"Contrarily, the lookaside buffer might not be the panacea..."

Nagib Callaos, a conference organizer, said the paper was one of a small number accepted on a "non-reviewed" basis -- meaning that reviewers had not yet given their feedback by the acceptance deadline.

"We thought that it might be unfair to refuse a paper that was not refused by any of its three selected reviewers," Callaos wrote in an e-mail. "The author of a non-reviewed paper has complete responsibility of the content of their paper."

However, Callaos said conference organizers were reviewing their acceptance procedures in light of the hoax.

Asked whether he would disinvite the MIT students, Callos replied, "Bogus papers should not be included in the conference program."

Stribling said conference organizers had not yet formally rescinded their invitation to present the paper.

The students were soliciting cash donations so they could attend the conference and give what Stribling billed as a "completely randomly-generated talk, delivered entirely with a straight face."

They exceeded their goal, with $2,311.09 cents from 165 donors.
http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/science/04/14/mit.prank.reut/index.html

mal
 

uair01

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I hope this counts because it's not people who are attacked but cars:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/4454485.stm

Artist vandalises cars with key

An artist who randomly vandalised nearly 50 cars for a project said the owners should be happy they were part of his "creative process".
Mark McGowan, 37, will exhibit pictures of himself scratching the vehicles' paintwork in London and Glasgow.

He said he had "keyed" 17 cars in Glasgow's West End in March and 30 in Camberwell, south London.

Mr McGowan added: "I do feel guilty about keying people's cars but if I don't do it, someone else will. "They should feel glad that they've been involved in the creative process. I pick the cars randomly.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Clearly this would be criminal damage and if we receive any allegations we will take them very seriously and investigate."

It is the latest in a string of bizarre stunts by the postgraduate in history of art from the prestigious Goldsmiths College in London.

Mr McGowan, who has described himself as "the British alternative to David Blaine" nailed his feet to an art gallery last year - in protest against leaves.

In 2003, he attracted the media's attention when he pushed a monkey nut with his nose for seven miles to 10 Downing Street in a protest over student debt.
 

TheQuixote

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uair01 said:
Artist vandalises cars with key

An artist who randomly vandalised nearly 50 cars for a project said the owners should be happy they were part of his "creative process".
Mark McGowan, 37, will exhibit pictures of himself scratching the vehicles' paintwork in London and Glasgow.
and the guy has now admitted it was all a hoax...

'Key scratch artist' admits hoax'

An artist who claimed to have vandalised nearly 50 cars in the name of art has admitted it was a stunt.
[...]
He said it had been an art project that had gone "horribly wrong" and said he was "very, very sorry".
BBC News
 

uair01

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:oops: Oh boy, have I been duped! I know quite a lot about performance art and it didn't sound so unbelieveable at all. In fact - it has been done before. See:

Santiago Sierra
LINE MEASURING 200 CM SCRATCHED INTO A CAR’S PAINTWORK

Olbia. Sardinia, Italy. July 2001
A car was hired and a 200 cm line scratched into the paintwork on one of its sides, using a pair of keys. It was later returned to the agency.

http://www.santiago-sierra.com/800/200107_800.htm
 

Mal_Adjusted

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Spain's concentration camp hero is exposed as a fraud

greets

Spain's concentration camp hero is exposed as a fraud

Giles Tremlett in Madrid
Thursday May 12, 2005
The Guardian

For almost 30 years Enric Marco was a living witness to the thousands of exiled leftwing Spaniards who ended up in Nazi concentration camps.

After he revealed how he had been arrested in Vichy France and imprisoned in the camps in the second world war, his plight symbolised the human cost of a secret alliance between Hitler and the Spanish dictator General Franco.

He had been chosen by fellow survivors of the camps, where more than 8,000 Spaniards died, to represent them as they sought, after decades of silence under Franco, to tell their story and demand compensation.

Article continues
Several times a week Mr Marco would recount his tale to classrooms of schoolchildren, journalists and, recently, the Spanish parliament.

"They were not mad, or sadistic, they were worse than that, they were bureaucrats of a fascist Europe that believed it would last for a thousand years," he told the parliament in Madrid this year.

Spanish leftwingers in France had, he said, been rounded up by the Gestapo and sent to camps where the survival rate was little more than one in four.

Yesterday, however, Mr Marco admitted that he had made up the story. He was not prisoner number 6,448 in the the Mauthausen and Flossenburg camps. He had not even left Spain at the start of the war to join the French resistance.

Instead of being released from imprisonment by the allies in 1945, he returned to Spain in 1943 after spending two years in Germany, working in Hitler's armaments factories.

"It is deformed biography, which does not conform to reality," he admitted to Barcelona's TV3 television station yesterday.

Mr Marco insisted that he had only "half-lied". He had been held by the Gestapo for months and charged with treason, he claimed. "All I have done is change the scenario."

He was due to attend the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the end of the second world war this week, together with Spanish prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, at the Mauthausen camp in Austria.

But his fellow concentration camp survivors sent him home after Mr Marco's tale - first told in a 1978 autobiography called Memoir of Hell - was revealed to be a lie by a university researcher, Benito Bermejo.

"The alarm was first rung after listening to what this man had to say ... because normally the ex-prisoners felt a certain reluctance to dwell on the most painful aspects of their life," Mr Bermejo said yesterday.

"They can explain bad things but, precisely because they have lived them, they are reticent about making a 'show' out of them," he said.

Rosa Toran, a historian and vice-president of Spain's concentration camp survivors' association, said its members were stunned but, even as a cheat, Mr Marco had done a lot for their cause.

"It is difficult to decide what is behind a lie of this kind," she said.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1481786,00.html

mal
 

MrRING

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Save then Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus

Obviously a gag animal - OR IS IT? :shock:

http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus.html
About The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus

The Pacific Northwest tree octopus (Octopus paxarbolis) can be found in the temperate rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula on the west coast of North America. Their habitat lies on the Eastern side of the Olympic mountain range, adjacent to Hood Canal. These solitary cephalopods reach an average size (measured from arm-tip to mantle-tip,) of 30-33 cm. Unlike most other cephalopods, tree octopuses are amphibious, spending only their early life and the period of their mating season in their ancestrial aquatic environment. Because of the moistness of the rainforests and specialized skin adaptations, they are able to keep from becoming desiccated for prolonged periods of time, but given the chance they would prefer resting in pooled water.

An intelligent and inquisitive being (it has the largest brain-to-body ratio for any mollusk), the tree octopus explores its arboreal world by both touch and sight. Adaptations its ancestors originally evolved in the three dimensional environment of the sea have been put to good use in the spatially complex maze of the coniferous Olympic rainforests. The challenges and richness of this environment (and the intimate way in which it interacts with it,) may account for the tree octopus's advanced behavioral development. (Some evolutionary theorists suppose that "arboreal adaptation" is what laid the groundwork in primates for the evolution of the human mind.)

Reaching out with one of her eight arms, each covered in sensitive suckers, a tree octopus might grab a branch to pull herself along in a form of locomotion called tentaculation; or she might be preparing to strike at an insect or small vertebrate, such as a frog or rodent, or steal an egg from a bird's nest; or she might even be examining some object that caught her fancy, instinctively desiring to manipulate it with her dexterous limbs (really deserving the title "sensory organs" more than mere "limbs",) in order to better know it.

Map of estimated tree octopus maximum range, including spawning waters. Tree octopuses have eyesight comparable to humans. Besides allowing them to see their prey and environment, it helps them in inter-octopus relations. Although they are not social animals like us, they display to one-another their emotions through their ability to change the color of their skin: red indicates anger, white fear, while they normally maintain a mottled brown tone to blend in with the background.
 

oll_lewis

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It's a fruit salad tree!!! (no it's not)

'Fruit salad' tree hoax exposed

An apple tree which baffled its 94-year-old owner by apparently producing three different kinds of fruit has been revealed as a hoax.
The tree at Harry Tomlinson's garden in north Wales seemed to be growing plums and blackberries as well as apples.

The 'fruit salad' tree was reported in newspapers and on TV news bulletins.

But close inspection revealed that the plums and blackberries had simply been stuck on. The identity of the Abergele practical joker remains a mystery.

'New plants'

Mr Tomlinson's apple tree had grown in his garden for 30 years before it appeared to start to bear plums and blackberries.

Horticulturalists remained sceptical about the apparent discovery before experts confirmed on Wednesday that two of the fruits had been attached.


Dr Colin Norton, of the Welsh College of Horticulture, said: "We're always interested in new plants but this one, from 10 yards away, you can see it's a hoax.

"It was quite evident that the leaves on the tree were the same throughout.

"The second indicator was that the fruits just didn't go with the particular leaves they were alongside."

Mr Tomlinson, who has three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, admitted he had been tricked but remained mystified over who had stuck the fruit to the tree.

He added: "I've found that it isn't true and that somebody has made a joke.

"They've brought some plums from somewhere else and fixed them on.

"I think it's a rotten trick."


Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/w ... 722719.stm

Published: 2005/07/27 19:03:22 GMT

© BBC MMV
 
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Dublin Coastal Development: Hoax or Developer's Hooley?
dublin | housing | other press Monday September 25, 2006 09:16 by d'other
Who's behind this viral video and planning application.

Anyone able to cast their mind back over the Robocop film franchise should be able to recall the many Omni Consumer Product ads featured in the film with their distinct dystopian undertones amidst a sea of promise. A similar style of ad has been circulating on the Irish inter-web as a viral video. Produced by the 'multi-disciplined, multi- talented' Wasaki Global Corporation it details the plans to build three islands off the coast of Dublin, complete with a replica Howth, 42,000 flats, 3 golf courses, several motor-ways and a giraffe only zoo. Yeah right says you., next they'll try and resurrect Atlantis. Word on the blogosphere would suggest that it's the work of an ad agency called Chemistry who conceived it as a stunt to launch new property website Funda Ireland. Clever bastards, eh? Well clever enough to take in a certain Labour politician on Morning Ireland earlier today. (Another Labour politiciian, Cllr Kevin Humphries came on later to say that he thought it was a hoax. ramon)
http://www.dublincoastaldevelopment.com/
http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthre ... 2054993276
http://www.spoilt.ie/


http://www.indymedia.ie/article/78598
 

eburacum

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A giraffe only zoo? I love it!

Presumably humans would be allowed in to look at the giraffes, or would all the customers have to be giraffes too?
 
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