Sunday, November 29, 2015

Phuc Dat Bich Name Hoax: Facebook’s Fault?

Even though this “name hoax” could not have gone viral but is Facebook to blame?

By: Ringo Bones 

Name hoaxes are not new and as history had told us they tend to get a life of their own – just like Thomas Nast’s Santa Claus. But in today’s fast-paced social media scene, can a social media platform, like Facebook, tend to inadvertently give name hoaxes a life of its own as it goes viral? 

A few days ago, an Australian man of Vietnamese descent who made global headlines after saying he was fighting to use his “real name” on Facebook, admits it was a hoax. The man had claimed Facebook would not allow his real name as could be considered offensive. But he later said on Facebook that his real name was “Joe Carr” (or perhaps Joker). He said what he started as a joke between friends “became a prank that made a fool out of the media.”  

But he said it also brought out the best in people and gave encouragement to people with “truly interesting and idiosyncratic names”. The hoaxer is of Vietnamese origin. His name was given as Phuc Dat Bich – which when properly pronounced in the Vietnamese language, which is a tonal language, it actually sounds like “Phoo Dah Bi”. At present, Facebook have not responded to the BBC and other news organization’s requests for comment. Not to mention most people's lack of knowledge of the Vietnamese language also plays a part.

Ever since Facebook started, it has been used as a platform for political satire criticizing how the Bush administration and other right-leaning conservative groups conduct their “War on Terror” and how they use religion and their almost unlimited monetary resources to ridicule environmentalist crying out their concerns on climate change and global warming. Such grassroots environmental and social justice movements managed to engender “idiosyncratic” accounts on Facebook like Jesus Hitler Christ, GOP Jesus, Climate Change Jesus, Global Warming Jesus, Crude Oil Jesus, White Supremacist Jesus, etc. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Ahmed Mohamad And The Hoax Bomb Case

Is America’s post 9/11 education scene way different than what has come before when a 14-year-old Arab-American high school freshman gets arrested for being an electronics enthusiast?

By: Ringo Bones 

During a typical Monday morning back in September 14, 2014, a 14-year-old Arab American high school freshman of MacArthur High in Irving, Texas named Ahmed Mohamad was arrested by the local police after his teacher mistakes the clock that he had worked over the weekend and bought to his class’ show-and-tell for a bomb. Later investigation showed that the uproar over the young electronic enthusiast accused of bringing a bomb to school that was later revealed to be a “Hoax Bomb” was primarily racially motivated via the post 9/11 paranoia that is still gripping white Anglo Saxon conservative America, Ahmed Mohamad was later invited by President Barack Obama to the White House and given a commendation. Given the “politics” surrounding the incident, is the post-9/11 paranoia harbored by white Anglo Saxon Protestant America hurting, rather than helping, science education in America?   

The political blowback of the “Hoax Bomb Case” incident made Ahmed Mohamad to decide that he won’t be going back to MacArthur High anymore after being singled-out due to his ethnicity. After all, there are white Anglo Saxon Protestant high school students his age that were carrying loaded assault rifles publicly in the name of the “Open Carry Law” elsewhere in Texas and nobody dared to call them as “Christian Terrorists”?  Which make one also ask if “White Supremacist Jesus” is already the governor of Texas? 

Is post the white Anglo Saxon Protestant Post 9/11 Paranoia destroying the social fabric of diversity in America? Ahmed Mohamad could be a case-in-point of this and it is also ruining the inclusiveness of science education in America where kids of high school freshmen are seeing science education as “uncool” thanks ot former US President George “Dubya” Bush. Ahmed Mohamad’s exceptional abilities in digital electronics should have been nurtured given that when I was his age back in the 1980s, was still learning the rudiments of digital electronics –i.e. still learning about logic gates and J-K flip-flops. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A Dangerous Hoax Bomb Plot Of The Statue Of Liberty?

Even though it is still a hoax, do bomb threats like these still pose a danger by starting a dangerous stampede of tourists scampering for safety? 

By: Ringo Bones 

Given the dirty bomb and anthrax bomb attack scares by Al Qaeda on US soil during the first decade of the 21st Century, the zero tolerance policy adopted by law enforcement agencies on such attack scares – even hoax ones – seem justified. But such draconian policies prove an effective deterrent of such “antisocial activities” such as the recent Statue of Liberty bombing hoax? 

Earlier this year, a man who identified himself as a 1993 World Trade Center bombing conspirator and then threatened to blow up the Statue of Liberty back in April 24, 2015 has finally been arrested on Wednesday, August 19, 2015 by the FBI. Jason Paul Smith, 42, was charged with conveying false and misleading information and hoaxes and could face a 5-year prison sentence. According to a court complaint, Smith said in a 911 call that he was Abdul Yasin, the only conspirator not captured of the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. Mr. Smith was recently arrested in Lubbock, Texas where he is charged with conveying false and misleading information and hoaxes the authorities said. 

Jason Paul Smith of Harts, West Virginia, said he was Mr. Yasin and an “ISI terrorist” when he called 911 from his i-Pad to say “that ‘we’ were preparing to blow up’ the Statue of Liberty,” and FBI special agent Alexander Hirst wrote in a complaint filed in the United States District Court in Manhattan. A federal public defender did not respond to a message seeking comment on the case. The call on April 24, 2015 led to an evacuation of Liberty Island and bomb-sniffing dogs have been brought to make a sweep. The Statue of Liberty was reopened to tourists the next day after no bomb or other deadly device was found. According to FBI agent Hirst, Mr. Smith, who attended a school for deaf and blind students used a service for the hearing impaired in contacting 911 to place his hoax emergency call that got prioritized and thus was only later found out to be a hoax call. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

UK PM David Cameron Hoax Call: Serious Lapse In Security?

Is the recent hoax call debacle of UK Prime Minister David Cameron represented a serious lapse in security of Number 10 Downing Street? 

By: Ringo Bones 

Number 10 Downing Street confirms that the UK Prime Minister ended the call after realizing that that the caller was falsely claiming to be the UK Intelligence Director. Security procedures are being reviewed at Number 10 Downing Street after a hoax caller pretending to be the head of the GCHQ managed to get through to Prime Minister David Cameron on Sunday, January 25, 2015. Cameron spoke to the imposter, who was claiming to be the GCHQ Director Robert Hannigan, but Cameron soon ended the call when he realized that he was being tricked. 

According to Number 10, no sensitive information was disclosed during the conversation between the men, which was described as “quite brief”. In a separate incident, a caller rang GCHQ and managed to obtain Director Hannigan’s mobile phone number. 

A government spokeswoman said “Following two hoax calls to government departments today, a notice has gone out to all departments to be on alert for such calls.” “In the first instance, a call was made at GCHQ which resulted in a disclosure of a mobile phone number for the director. The mobile phone number provided is never used for calls involving classified information. In the second instance, a hoax caller claiming to be the GCHQ director was connected to the prime minister.” The spokeswoman said incidents of this kind were taken seriously and procedures were being reviewed to see whether any lessons need to be learned. 

It is not the first time that the UK Prime Minister David Cameron has been taken in by hoax callers and other hoaxers. In 2013, the prime minister wrote a tweet to an account in the name of the Work and Pensions minister Iain Duncan Smith. The account, however, was a spoof – about which Prime Minister Cameron appeared ignorant.