Richard Wilson's blog

richardcameronwilson AT yahoo dot co dot UK

Posts Tagged ‘UKIP

Has UKIP’s website been hacked by satirists?

with 8 comments

This from the CV of the new UKIP deputy leader, Lord Monckton, as published on the UKIP website:

2008-present: RESURREXI Pharmaceutical: Director responsible for invention and development of a broad-spectrum cure for infectious diseases. Patents have now been filed. Patients have been cured of various infectious diseases, including Graves’ Disease, multiple sclerosis, influenza, and herpes simplex VI. Our first HIV patient had his viral titre reduced by 38% in five days, with no side-effects. Tests continue.

Speculation abounds that the UKIP website must have been hacked by satirists. In the absence of very strong medical evidence it would be absurd to claim to have cured a major life-limiting illness like multiple sclerosis (for which mainstream science currently offers no cure) or to treat HIV infection – another enormously complex, incurable, and often fatal condition.

Eye-catching, yet unsubstantiated healing claims have been the hallmark of  cranks and mystics through the ages. How better to discredit the UK Independence Party than to hack into their website and make it look as if their new deputy leader holds such outlandish beliefs?

Rationalwiki has more on the wider issues raised here…

UPDATE – Apparently a company matching the name of “Resurrexi” does exist on Companies House – (HT Tracy King), registered to the office of a chartered accountancy firm in Pitlochray, Perthshire (Klaus Martin Schulte, another well-known critic of climate change science, is listed as a co-director). These UKIP-hating spoofers have really gone to enormous lengths…

UPDATE 2 – George Monbiot reports that, bizarrely, Monckton is seeking to get a US scientist hauled before an academic panel on charges of “gross professional misconduct”, for saying things about him that weren’t satirical and were based on good evidence.

Interestingly, Monkton himself has previously admitted making false claims for marketing purposes, commenting at the time that “History is full of stories that aren’t actually true”.

Written by Richard Wilson

June 10, 2010 at 10:57 am

Posted in Don't Get Fooled Again

Tagged with

Richard North caught white-washing Booker’s Wikipedia entry

with 17 comments

whitepaint

Wikipedia’s article on Christopher Booker is currently the top search result when you type type his name into Google. Alongside a rather impressive biography, the article references “Don’t Get Fooled Again”, and includes a list of Booker’s false statements on global warming and asbestos (including the notorious claim that white asbestos is “chemically identical to talcum powder“), with links to the various corrections issued over the years by the Health and Safety Executive.

Enter Richard North, Booker’s co-author for the surrealist masterpiece “Scared to Death” (which debunks the dangers of passive smoking, white asbestos, eating BSE-infected beef, CO2 emissions, leaded petrol, dioxins, and high-speed car driving), and erstwhile “chief researcher” of the UK Independence Party.

When The Guardian’s George Monbiot took issue with Booker over his pseudo-scientific claims, North mounted a spirited defence – albeit one that relied on further false claims about asbestos science. But it appears that he also went further. Last month, someone calling themselves “Defence of the realm” cut all critical references from Booker’s Wikipedia entry. The change was quickly reverted, so they did it again the next day, claiming that the criticisms were “libellous”. The edit was again reverted, only for “Defence of the realm” to try it one more time a few days later.

The identity of Booker’s pseudonymous champion would have remained a mystery but for the fact that Wikipedia allows us to browse through a user’s previous contributions to the website. These include an online discussion from November in which an anonymous user first identifies himself as Richard North, gives his email address as RAENORTH at aol.com, and then signs in as “Defence of the Realm”.

It might at least be plausible that an entirely different Richard North had chosen to spring to Booker’s defence, were it not for the fact that Booker himself gives the same email address for “my friend Richard North” in several of his Sunday Telegraph articles. Barring an improbably elaborate conspiracy to frame North as a serial wiki-whitewasher, it would appear that, for all his democratic rhetoric and iconoclastic posturing, Richard North is less than keen on the public knowing the full facts about his co-author’s track record…