Net Hoax Convinces Germany of Fake U.S. Suicide Bombing Attempt
Moises Mendoza writes on Threat Level:
All of Germany was bamboozled Thursday by a bizarre scheme that tricked the country’s main wire service into reporting an attempted suicide bombing in a California town — an attack supposedly perpetrated by a non-existent rap group called the “Berlin Boys.”More here.
The work of German filmmakers peddling a satirical movie called Short Cut to Hollywood, the elaborate hoax involved at least two faked websites, a faked Wikipedia entry and California phone numbers for “public safety” officials that were actually being answered by hoaxsters in Germany using Skype.
The hoax has transfixed this country. It prompted a 1,000-word tome on the website of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany’s most respected newspaper, and even a press conference denouncing the incident by the DPA – the German wire service responsible for first disseminating the news about the “attack.”
The hoax’s effect was felt thousands of miles away, as a flood of concerned phone calls from Germany jammed the switchboards at the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s office, which has jurisdiction over the supposed bombing site in California.
“This is frustrating and a waste of our resources,” said office spokesman Arden Wiltshire, who was awakened at 5 a.m. Thursday to try and sort out the crisis. Wiltshire worries that dispatchers could have missed important calls to deal with the Germans.