The Hoax Museum Blog
Stunning Ingratitude of De Gaulle
Posted by The Curator on Sat Nov 27, 2004
In 1945 did Charles De Gaulle really say to Winston Churchill, in reference to the military aid that the Allies provided to France to defeat Germany, that "We shall stun you with our ingratitude"? Monday, November 22 was the birthday of De Gaulle, and a number of right-leaning blogs marked the occasion by posting this quotation (they seem to have picked it up from an article in the Belfast Telegraph). So did De Gaulle really say this? Even though the tense verbal exchanges between De Gaulle and Churchill are well known, this particular remark sounded hoaxy to me. A quick google search…
70-Year-Old Reservist Called Up to Serve
Posted by The Curator on Mon Oct 25, 2004
Ted Wallace thought it was a little odd when he received orders to report for duty at Fort Irwin. Odd, because Ted is 70 years old. Everyone knows that the army is relying heavily on reservists to fight the war in Iraq, but has the situation really become so desperate that they're rounding up the septuagenarians? But Ted was ready to go. He only asked that his call-up be deferred until after his knee-replacement operation. Luckily for Ted, he won't be shipped out to Iraq. The orders turned out to be a practical joke engineered by his son-in-law, who confessed only after Ted and his army orders had been featured on local TV.
Iraqi Urban legends
Posted by The Curator on Thu Oct 14, 2004
Here's an interesting article about Iraqi urban legends regarding the American forces. Here's a few of the more popular beliefs: that the bulletproof vests American soldiers wear actually contain air-conditioning units (I'm sure the soldiers wish this were true) that the sunglasses worn by almost all American soldiers allow them to see through clothing And that American armored vehicles are protected by electrical fields that detonate RPG rockets before they strike, but that this protection can be defeated by wrapping the rockets in electrical tape.
Soldier in Iraq Cuts the Grass
Posted by The Curator on Sat Oct 09, 2004
A picture of a soldier cutting a small square of grass outside his tent is making the rounds. It's accompanied by this text. Sometimes the little things we take for granted - Priceless Here is a soldier stationed in Iraq, stationed in a big sand box he asked his wife to send him dirt, fertilizer and some grass seeds so he can have the sweet aroma and feel the grass grow beneath his feet. If you notice, he is even cutting the grass with a pair of scissors. Sometimes we are in such a hurry that we don't stop and think about the little things that…
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 02, 2004
Captain Bill Jewell, the British submarine commander responsible for carrying out Operation Mincemeat, died last month. Operation Mincemeat was the top-secret WWII military subterfuge that, many argue, helped to ensure the success of D-Day the southern invasion of Europe. A dead soldier's body was launched overboard by Captain Jewell with Allied plans for an invasion of Corsica and Sardinia chained to his wrist. The Nazis found the body (and the plans) when it washed up on the coast of Spain, and believing the plans to be real proceeded to beef up their defenses in the wrong place, thereby diverting attention away from the true site of the invasion (Sicily). The covert operation was turned into a movie in…
Cruise Missile For Sale
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jul 23, 2004
Bruce Simpson is advertising that for a very modest sum he'll show you how to build your very own cruise missile. As he says on his website: "Whether you're a very small nation looking to extend its military capabilities while perhaps creating a highly profitable export industry, or an entrepreneur seeking to enter the massive market low-cost UAVs, RPVs and other pilotless vehicles, or whether you just want a single missile to mount on your SUV as a roof ornament -- I'm your man." Is he joking? Is this just a hoax? Well, I suspect (hope) he's bluffing, but it is true that he could show…
Some Terror and War Related Hoaxes
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jul 16, 2004
While I was away in Virginia I got behind on posting and didn't note some terror/war related hoaxes occurring in the news. So for the sake of completeness, here's a quick rundown of these stories. First we had Marine Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun, a soldier in Iraq suspected of faking his own abduction (tip: if you're going to fake your abduction, don't call your family on your cellphone while you're supposed to be abducted). Then there was the bizarre case of American soldier-of-fortune types in Afghanistan who set up a fake prison in order to interrogate people they grabbed off the street whom they thought might be al-qaeda members.…
Birdman Weapons Systems
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jun 14, 2004
Birdman Weapons Systems offers "unfriendly products for an unfriendly world." For instance, they sell the ShotCaller2000 9mm Telephone (it'll fire one shot into the ear of whoever answers it), the Mountain Dew Shotgun (in case you have the urge to fire cans of Mountain Dew at high velocity), and, of course, the Nuke 50 Micronuclear ("a mind bending MicroNuclear blast in a tiny, convenient and affordable package"). Definitely check out the video of the Nuke 50 in action. Unfortunately it looks like their site hasn't been updated in a while. (Submitted by Sam)
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jun 04, 2004
A guy calling himself Eric Bruderton has some dramatic footage up on his website of people (soldiers or mercenaries? It's hard to tell) being attacked by unseen assailants wielding rocket-propelled grenades. Bruderton himself admits he doesn't know what the footage is about. As he writes, "I don’t know these people, I don’t know who’s shooting at them and I don’t know why they are being targeted. I don’t even know where they are. Maybe the Middle East." But he insists that the footage is important, and that he has somehow put himself in danger by making the footage publicly available. The whole thing reeks of a Blair-Witch-style publicity stunt. But…
Has Rumsfeld Banned Camera Phones in Iraq?
Posted by The Curator on Tue May 25, 2004
Lots of media outlets have been reporting that Rumsfeld has decided to ban camera phones in Iraq, in the wake of the photos of prisoner abuse coming out of Abu Ghraib. For instance, the story is on Yahoo! news, the Washington Times, and The Sydney Morning Herald. The Register, at least, points out that there are doubts about the story, while also noting that it would be almost impossible to actually enforce such a ban. But what's the source for this news. The Sydney Morning Herald refers to some British newspaper called The Business. But what's that? Is there such a paper? The story actually seems to come from The…
The Colonel and The Ketchup
Posted by The Curator on Sun May 16, 2004
While the British military is dealing with fake abuse photos, the Indian military is dealing with a growing scandal involving fake enemy casualty photos. Last week I noted the case of Indian army officers posted on the Siachen glacier inventing fake battles. Now there's another similar case (though in a different location) involving an Indian Colonel. According to the Statesman: The Colonel and a Major are allegedly responsible for filing a false report saying the regiment’s soldiers had killed five militants and asking for medals. Later, they sprayed tomato ketchup on three civilians employed by the army to “forge” a photograph.
Daily Mirror Hoaxed
Posted by The Curator on Sun May 16, 2004
The photos of British soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners published by the Daily Mirror turn out to have been staged, as was speculated since the photos first saw the light of day. The board of the Daily Mirror has apologized for printing them and fired its editor, Piers Morgan. Tip-offs that the photos were fake included:One soldier was carrying a type of rifle not issued to soldiers in IraqThe soldiers were wearing the wrong type of hatOne of the vehicles shown in a photo was a type not deployed in IraqThere was no sweat or injuries on the prisoner who had supposedly been tortured for eight hoursThe people in the pictures looked like they were standing still…
Abu Ghraib Prison Fantasy Camp
Posted by The Curator on Tue May 11, 2004
Something like this was inevitable, I suppose. It's the Abu Ghraib Iraqi Prison Fantasy Camp, situated in scenic Mountain Home, Idaho. I'm assuming this was inspired by Rush Limbaugh's recent comments about the torture scandal. According to the website: "Just want to 'blow off some steam' (as Rush Limbaugh so correctly put it)? Abu Ghraib Fantasy Camp is here for you! (actual opening date set for Summer '04). At Abu Ghraib Fantasy Camp... you'll find dozens of 'Iraqi prisoners' you'll be able to 'discipline.' Don't worry, they (and you) will be perfectly safe. Unlike in Iraq, we've taken every precaution to protect your safety." Update: It…
Posted by The Curator on Sat May 08, 2004
According to this official looking website, the military is now readying for a general draft. But wow, they're sure asking some weird questions of draftees. For instance, under the Mental Fitness Pre-Screening section, they want to know if you suffer from "NPR listenerism." But wait a second. You guessed it. It's not really a military website, despite the official-sounding URL they managed to acquire. No, it's just another gimmick to sell some t-shirts. The site is pretty well-designed, however. It had me going for a second or two.
Fake Battle, Fake Casualties
Posted by The Curator on Fri May 07, 2004
The Indian Army has admitted that some battles fought last year high up on the Siachen Glacier north of Kashmir were completely fake. The reports of enemy casualties were made up, and the video footage of a Pakistani bunker being blown up was staged. The bunker actually had been built by Indian troops. The army officers apparently did all this in order to win awards for gallantry.