Tag Archives: hoax

Who are the troublemakers pretending that Welsh shops will be banned from selling alcohol?

It isn’t true – and that’s official.

Rumours have started circulating that the Welsh Government is to ban the sale of alcohol anywhere in the country from December 17.

But the Welsh Government itself has stated categorically that the claim is a lie.

Clearly somebody thought they could capitalise on the ban on pubs selling alcohol by spreading a scare story. Who are these troublemakers? Name and shame them where you can.

Obviously Christmas is a time when more people like to sit back and enjoy a taste of their favourite tipple (but drink responsibly, folks!) and an alcohol ban would be an extremely unpopular move.

It would also be completely pointless. The ban on alcohol in pubs was to curb the spread of Covid-19 through the hospitality industry and there is no perceived need to stop alcohol entering socially-distanced homes.

So the rumour can only be an attempt to discredit the Welsh Government and score political points.

Let’s find out who started it so we can discredit them instead.

Source: Rumour of imminent ban on buying alcohol in shops in Wales ‘simply not true’ – Nation.Cymru

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Calm down everyone! Jacob Rees-Mogg HASN’T been quoting Rolf Harris

Rees-Mogg: he wanted to be identified with patriotism but ended up being linked with a paedophile instead. That’s what he gets for trying to be cleverer-than-thou.

It speaks volumes about the Johnson government that the public will readily believe that one of its senior members will happily identify with a convicted paedophile.

Today, the following tweet appeared – apparently from Boris Johnson’s Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg:

It appeared that Rees-Mogg was quoting The Court of King Caractacus – which was a well-known song by disgraced broadcaster/convicted paedophile Rolf Harris.

The tweet was met with a range of reactions, from outrage…

… to mockery…

… to humour:

In fact, the tweet was a fake. It was a satirical response to a comment that Rees-Mogg did make, in his usual “I’m better-educated than the rest of you” way:

He was quoting The British Grenadiers, by the way, which is a traditional song – we don’t know who wrote the lyrics. Rees-Mogg wanted to be associated with the heroism and patriotism that the song evokes.

The spoof tweet stole his thunder by associating him with a paedophile instead.

In fairness, it has now been fully acknowledged as a spoof by its author:

Presumably Davey Jones reckons his work here is done. I think he may be right!

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Incompetent: Minister responsible for cyber-security falls victim to email hoaxer

Amber Rudd, pictured speaking this month at a global internet forum to tackle terrorism, was fooled by an email hoaxer [Image: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images].

How can Home Secretary Amber Rudd – the minister responsible for cyber security – continue in her job after falling victim to an email hoaxer?

Ms Rudd was lucky not to have given away any sensitive private information – beyond the fact that she is taking a holiday soon – before the “prankster”, who uses the name “Sinon Reborn” gave the game away.

But she chose to take part in an exchange on a personal email account, rather than the government’s more secure system. Why?

It is also notable that the hoaxer posed as the new Downing Street communications chief, former BBC bigwig Robbie Gibb.

Serious questions need to be asked about this. Ms Rudd’s decisions – to respond to a hoax email address, and to use her personal email account rather than the government’s system – represent a serious security risk.

This is a person with one of the most responsible jobs in the government.

Former US Secretary of State (equivalent to the UK’s Foreign Secretary) Hillary Clinton was investigated by the FBI – twice – after it was revealed that she relied on a personal email account for all her electronic correspondence.

Current US President Donald Trump beat her in last year’s Presidential election because he said she was “guilty as hell” of breaking the rules regarding government emails.

Democrats blamed the way that investigation was handled for Mrs Clinton’s loss of the election.

Now our Home Secretary is found to have been behaving in the same way – and giving out information to a hoaxer.

No doubt this will be treated as a joke and brushed under the carpet.

But who will be on the receiving end of her secrets next time?

The home secretary, Amber Rudd, has apparently fallen victim to an email hoaxer who has previously tricked members of Donald Trump’s inner circle and the governor of the Bank of England.

The hoaxer posed as a senior Downing Street aide and managed to hold an email conversation with the home secretary on her personal email account. Rudd revealed she was working with her special adviser Mohammed Hussein on a series of announcements to be made in August before realising she was corresponding with a hoaxer.

The self-styled “email prankster”, who uses the moniker Sinon Reborn, set up an email address in the name of Robbie Gibb, Theresa May’s recently appointed communications chief, using the free email service GMX. He emailed Rudd’s publicly available parliamentary email address and she replied using a separate personal email account.

The “relative ease” with which the 39-year old website designer from south Manchester claims to have tricked Rudd is likely to be embarrassing for the home secretary, who has overall responsibility for cyber security.

One computer security expert warned that external email systems, such as Microsoft Outlook, which Rudd used with the hoaxer, are more vulnerable to intrusion than government email accounts.

When Rudd realised she was not talking to Gibb, she ended the correspondence, but not before she had talked about plans for “positive announcements” and a forthcoming holiday.

The anonymous hoaxer told the Guardian he decided to see if he could fool UK government ministers when he spotted that the prime minister had hired Gibb, a senior BBC journalist, to run Downing Street’s communications. He set up [email protected] and sent emails to publicly available addresses for Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, the chancellor, and Rudd, saying it was “great to be on board and that I’d be talking to them at some stage and that if they’d got any questions, my door is always open”.

Only the home secretary replied.

Source: Amber Rudd latest to fall victim to email hoaxer using fake account | Politics | The Guardian


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PIP reviews and tribunals: The DWP keeps piling on the pressure

An example of what the change to PIP will mean for disabled people, from a CAB blog article.

An example of what the change to PIP will mean for disabled people, from a CAB blog article.

Further to yesterday’s article on the hoax letters being sent out by (in this case) Atos, summoning benefit claimants to non-existent “assessment” meetings, a couple more developments have come to light.

Firstly, Mrs Mike has received a new letter stating that her assessment has been cancelled and she doesn’t have to attend. This writer shall be going in any case – just to make sure.

Secondly, it seems matters get worse if you are unlucky enough to be denied benefit after an assessment. What follows refers to Personal Independence Payment. First, let’s hear from a commenter who had to go through the ‘mandatory reconsideration’ procedure:

“With the help of my local CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau), I made an application for PIP. As is normal, they refused it. The CAB explained they would, and requested a ‘Mandatory Review’.

“Under the old system, they would write a letter stating their reasons why the decision is wrong. Now, though, Atos will not accept this.

“Instead they are going to phone me at some random time of their choosing. I will then be expected to make the representation myself, without the representation or support I need.

“As a large part of my disability is related to my mental health, this is inappropriate, and causing me some severe anxiety.

Another example of how this caring government is making people more ill – this time by not letting them use the services of the CAB.”

Now let’s hear from a commenter who has gone further along the process and actually appeared before a tribunal:

“Just been to a Tribunal to have my PIP claim reconsidered. That is one of the most awful and scary experiences I have ever had, having to explain things that I fight hard to try to overcome and don’t wish to think about, to people whose decision will greatly affect my future.

“The woman who originally made the decision to deny my PIP application was also there. I felt the questions she asked showed a total lack of understanding of the basics. She seemed to think that a debt management plan was a course of some kind to help me manage money. She also didn’t seem to get that my mental health issues mean I can write something on a calendar, but that doesn’t mean I might not still either forget appointments or really not feel well enough to attend them.

“For anyone with mental health issues to have to go through the PIP claim process, Atos assessment and ultimately a tribunal, it is unbelievably cruel and careless. I have been extremely distressed today.

“I am also not going to find out for a few days due to my appointment time being so late in their working day, which is also upsetting.

“I know some people use mental illness as an excuse, [but] those of us who are genuine (and that surely is the majority) should not have to go though such an ordeal.

My friends in political parties and anyone else who cares and understands, please let it be known: THIS IS WRONG.”

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DWP appointment hoaxes ramp up stress for the sick and disabled

WCAcartoon

Don’t you just hate it when you get a hoax call from the Department for Work and Pensions?

Mrs Mike had one this week, it seems – from Atos.

“Your appointment for an assessment with a healthcare professional” was the heading, beneath which were the words: “We have been asked by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to carry out an assessment in relation to your benefit claim. We have arranged an appointment for you at [date and place]. It is important that you attend this assessment. If you don’t attend, your benefit may be affected.” And so on. It was dated January 30 and we received in on Tuesday (February 3).

Long-term readers will know that this writer is her carer and attended her first work capability assessment in that capacity. I wanted to do so again but on the day we had the letter I was full of a cold that has been going around, and did not feel well enough to deal with grinding bureaucrats until today (Friday).

Phoning up the number on the letter, I gave Mrs Mike’s details, only to be told that there was no appointment booked for her. The person on the other end of the phone – who was very polite and helpful – suggested that her appointment might not be for ESA but PIP, and provided a phone number so I could inquire.

Let’s cut a long story short. She didn’t have an appointment for PIP, or DLA either.

So the letter is a hoax.

I’ll be attending the assessment centre anyway, in advance of her alleged appointment, just to make sure – and if I find that she is listed for an appointment there, somebody will catch it hot because that means the telephone advisers were wrong.

Whichever way you slice it, somebody is trying to create problems for a woman with a long-term illness/disability – and that is not acceptable.

Suppose somebody else had a letter like this. We all know that they create stress – sometimes to extreme levels – because of the stated threat: “If you don’t attend, your benefit may be affected.” Now suppose they don’t have a carer to phone up and find out they don’t really have an appointment at all. They go to the expense of hiring transport to the assessment centre, get there in good time – and find nobody there.

What happens next?

What are they supposed to think? What are they supposed to do? They won’t know.

Up goes the stress.

There’s also the physical strain to consider. People claim incapacity benefits because they aren’t healthy. Having to attend benefit assessments will add extra strain to their bodies.

People have died because of it. They’re ill; their hearts can’t take the extra load.

wcaassessment

And then Iain Duncan Smith counts it as a “positive benefit outcome” and crows in the Daily Mail about how he is shrinking the welfare state.

That’s not right, though. There is a case to be made that it is a premeditated attempt at worsening a claimant’s condition, with the DWP being reckless as to the result.

According to the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act of 2008, a company or organisation is guilty of having killed a person if its activities have been so managed or organised as to cause a person’s death. Would that not apply in cases like this?

The DWP is laying itself wide open to prosecution under this Act of Parliament, by its behaviour towards the sick and disabled.

There only needs to be one successful case for the floodgates to open.

Please circulate this article freely to anybody who may benefit from it including incapacity benefit claimants, their relatives or carers, and relatives or carers of recently-deceased benefit claimants.

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Prank caller gets through to David Cameron

"I've been speaking to @BarackObama about the situation in Ukraine. We are united in condemnation of Russia's actions."

In fact, the call was taken on a mobile phone. Cameron’s expression looks about right, though.

A hoax caller managed to persuade Downing Street to put him through to David Cameron, according to the BBC.

He claimed to be Robert Hannigan, director of government monitoring agency GCHQ.

We can only speculate about the details of the call which, we are told, was “quite brief”.

What was said to the comedy prime minister in those few brief moments?

Did the prankster tell him to stop playing Angry Birds and do some work?

Did he warn Mr Cameron that planned new snooping laws will mean his own phone will be monitored as well as everybody else’s?

Or did he simply say it was a wrong number – he was trying to contact a real, elected prime minister?

We may never know.

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The PIP assessment hoax shows we could believe any claim about our corrupt government

[Image: Getty Images]

[Image: Getty Images]

It seems some of your favourite bloggers – including Yr Obdt Srvt – have been hoodwinked by a hoax claim that assessment criteria for the new Personal Independence Payment have been made much more severe than has been the case until now.

If you were distressed by this article, please be reassured that – from what has been said over the last few hours – it is not accurate.

Vox Political only published the claims because they came here via a colleague of good character who in turn received it from a trustworthy source. There were telltale signs that it was a wrong ‘un – for example the fact that the story is based on unsubstantiated information allegedly provided by an anonymous Atos employee to an equally anonymous source – but here at VP it was felt that the possibility of another DWP betrayal merited a mention.

Much of the hoax article focused on the descriptors used to define the effects of their disabilities on a claimant. These are defined by regulations that can only be changed by Parliament (although not by an Act of Parliament, if I understand correctly) and that should have been evidence enough that the claims were false.

But we know that Iain Duncan Smith, Lord Freud and the other vipers infesting the Department for Work and Pensions like to change the conditions in which people receive benefit – especially if it helps them reach their savings targets. This goes for the rest of the Conservative-led government too; they hide information from us.

Look at the ‘negative resolution’ the government introduced last year, to open England’s health service to widespread competition. This happened after the Conservatives (Andrew Lansley in particular) promised on their honour that they would do no such thing. Their plan was that the new rules would not be discussed, and there would be no vote; instead they would automatically become law. How could any of us know whether the government was planning more of the same?

Let us decide, for the moment, that this was a hoax. Some commentators have suggested that it has been planted by fifth columnists working for the government but claiming to be acting for the people, in order to bring other, more substantial criticisms of DWP policies into disrepute. This seems unlikely.

Instead, it shows us that the policies put forward over the last four years by Mr Duncan Smith and his colleagues, together with the way they have been implemented, have shown ineptitude, underhandedness and treachery of such magnitude that people now believe they are capable of anything at all – even the bizarre and contradictory changes that were publicised yesterday.

This is the government department that changed the assessment rules for Employment and Support Allowance to such a degree that the death rate for people claiming the benefit rocketed. Iain Duncan Smith’s solution: Stop publishing mortality statistics for people claiming incapacity benefits.

This is the government department that, faced with a court ruling that its rules for mandatory work activity were illegal, simply changed the law in order to legalise them. This act alone made the Coalition government a criminal regime.

This is the government department whose behaviour shows only one area of consistency – continually making false or misleading claims about its work. Take a look at DPAC’s excellent Report on DWP Abuse of Statistics from June last year for no less than 35 examples of this.

When you are discussing liars it is easy to believe lies about them.

This is why it will be hard to believe any attempt by the DWP to discredit its critics on the basis of this single hoax.

If Iain Duncan Smith wants us to believe him, why doesn’t he give us those ESA death stats we’ve wanted for so long?

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