Friday, 26 October 2007

Wikipedia and Lockerbie

This is a link to an interesting commentary, based on the researches of Dr Ludwig de Braeckeleer, asserting that Wikipedia articles on Pan Am 103 and Lockerbie have been systematically altered by a Wikipedia editor (pseudonym "SlimVirgin" but allegedly identified as Linda Mack -- a well-known name to Lockerbie buffs, and strongly suspected to be a MI5 asset or plant) in order more closely to reflect the "official" UK and US line on the Lockerbie disaster. See


  1. Do you have any actual evidence that this information is accurate? Or is it just something you have repeated?

  2. How about this stuff?

    The most curious reaction to the news of SlimVirgin's identity was demonstrated by the English-language media: apart from personal blogs and web forums, not a single word appeared in any of the major media! Previous scandals such the Seigenthaler case, exposing Essjay, and the WikiScanner program by Virgil Griffith, received wide coverage. But there was silence about SlimVirgin, comparable to the silence on classic themes such as UFOs and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

    This year such themes have been completely ignored by major media, even when new light is shed on these twentieth-century mysteries. First the famous E. Howard Hunt, who personally participated in many covert operations during the 1950s and 1960s, admitted before he died that the assassination of President Kennedy was organized by U.S. intelligence, in conjunction with the Mafia and top administration officials, headed by Vice-President Lyndon Johnson. Several months later a notarized deathbed confession by Walter Haut was published. In 1947 he was the public relations officer at the 509th Bomb Group based in Roswell, New Mexico. First he composed a press release about the crash of a flying disc, and soon followed with a new release about a weather balloon. For the rest of his life he gave evasive explanations of what was really found, but just before he died he dared to tell the truth. In the document he left behind, Walter Haut states that he not only saw the wrecked spacecraft, but also the bodies of aliens recovered from it. They had unusually large heads, and bodies the size of a ten-year-old child. It is clear that the deathbed confessions of people who participated in these extraordinary events deserve serious attention. But the major media ignored both of them.

    Moreover, the sensational confession of E. Howard Hunt did not even get any space in Wikipedia's article on the assassination of John F. Kennedy (at least it is mentioned in the article on E. Howard Hunt). The confession of Walter Haut is reflected in the article about the Roswell incident, but it lacks a direct reference to the document published on the web. Thus, the conclusion: for important Wikipedia articles, the content is gradually approaching the official information available from traditional sources. It is more or less understandable who is behind this. Everyone must decide for himself or herself whether this is acceptable.

    That disc thing is finally cleared up, I see...


  3. Fred wrote:
    'Do you have any actual evidence that this information is accurate? Or is it just something you have repeated?'

    Or, more to the point, what business
    is it of ours what her profession is
    or has been in the past?

  4. Of course, the claims of Roswell and Kennedy are absurd. I'm not sure where our Russian comrade was going with that, and his article is not exactly a paragon of good research. Ludwig De Braeckeleer, is a better source, without that additional nonsense.

    The claims regarding the identity of SlimVirgin are almost certainly true. As a die-hard sceptic, I denied it for months until I saw enough. The evidence is too strong now from multiple sources. And she certainly left her mark on the Lockerbie articles, not to mention the Pierre Salinger article (many edits now removed from the site by shady wikipedians).

    Whether Linda Mack herself was an agent is not something I could speculate on. A gather a couple of sources close to the Lockerbie families, including Jim Swire, had suspicions. Other than that, who knows?

    Anyway Fred Bauder is an Arbitrator of Wikipedia with a strong interest in protecting the anonymity of powerful Wikipedia administrators. Corruption is rife, and these guys have been trying to suppress this story for months. They're now even attacking Professor Black's own biography. One wikipedian describes his "disgust" for Professor Black (that'll probably be removed as well but I have screenshots).

    Make of that what you will. Read the Wikipedia Review for more.

  5. Interestingly, this post of yours has led to a lot of drama on Wikipedia with regards to an article about you: and in relation to whether they should include this blog as a link, given that you've exposed SlimVirgin's real life identity.

    In reality, you have about 9 lines here, of what other people have said, and its a bit silly to make a big fuss about it.

    Naturally, whilst Linda Mack = SlimVirgin = Lockerbie connections made headlines on Slashdot and throughout the Wikipedia-interested internet, it was not as big an issue as the assassination of JFK, a United States president, hence didn't get the same level of coverage. I would be worried if it did! Nonetheless, the amount of coverage that it did get indicates the amount of respect that that notion gained. Ludwig de Braekenleer might not know a lot about the Wikipedia Scanner or about the inner workings of Wikipedia, but he does know a lot about the Lockerbie Bombing.

    The strange thing about this is that this was proven to be true, and there was no denying it, then later on a few people started to deny it and claim that it was merely a rumour.

    If its false, then SlimVirgin isn't being identified, ergo its fine to list it. If its true, then SlimVirgin is a serious worry, ergo it is responsible to list it. Either way Wikipedia has no excuse to hide this.

  6. I have no personal knowledge about the identity of SlimVirgin. I simply report what is already in the public domain that might be of interest or concern to those following the Lockerbie tragedy.

    My knowledge of Linda Mack is hearsay, derived from Lockerbie dramatis personae who encountered her in the flesh and whose views I respect.

  7. Blissyu2 wrote:
    'If its false, then SV isn't being
    identified, ergo its fine to list

    But if it is false, then it is
    damaging to her feelings and
    reputation, no?

    Blissyu2 wrote:
    'If its true, then SV is a serious
    worry, ergo it is responsible to
    list it.'

    If it is true, then what of her
    safety and privacy?

    Robert Black, I thank you for
    writing these things as possibility
    rather than as certainty. There
    are many who would not have been so
    kind. Still, can you see how this
    could be hurtful to Ms. SV?

  8. Just to let you know that we are discussing this (and hence you) on our forums on Wikipedia Review. Out of respect, and in politeness, I advise you of this, and you can sign in and comment if you wish to. The most relevant thread is this one:

  9. Whoever she is, SlimVirgin is a nasty piece of work. No one should lose any sleep about possibly causing harm to her. Anyone who is mistakenly identified as being SlimVirgin would do well publicly to deny it.

  10. What a minefield I have unwittingly entered! However, it has been deeply instructive about the inner workings of Wikipedia. I, for one, will never regard it in the same light again.

    As regards ab's query about whether I can see that revealing her (alleged) identity could be hurtful to SlimVirgin, my answer is: of course I can see this, but in the larger scheme of things (an atrocity in which 270 people died and in respect of which a man has been wrongly convicted) avoiding hurt to a Wikipedia editor comes very low down my list of priorities.

  11. Wow. Certainly an eye-opener.

    Sadly I don't mean the shadowy unreliable 'information' available on WP and it's contributors and/or editors, but that, given all the information that is posted by Prof. Black in regards to the whole Lockerbie tragedy, this particular post seems to have touched a very raw nerve, and exposed a number of interesting views.

    Further investigation on this matter merely reinforces this. I have noticed for some time now, the editing/abuse/vandalism of wikipedia. Notably, much on the Lockerbie/PanAm103 and those pages linked. Even characters on the periphery of the Lockerbie disaster have had entries altered - more often in an attempt to discredit these characters. The most recent example of this was the apparent 'death' of Lester Coleman, and the continued vandalism (which has still to be corrected) of much of his information. A check through this pages 'history' shows some, but not all, of the edits.

    Wikipedia is simply not to be trusted in any capacity. It's really that simple.

  12. I guess our view is that no conspiracy theorist is to be trusted as a source.


  13. How easy and comforting to be able to dismiss anyone you happen to disagree with or to whom you have taken a dislike as "a conspiracy theorist". Just the attitude required of an encyclopaedia editor or administrator!

  14. It's not easy at all. After all, sometimes they are right. So, you look and look. With relationship to the Lockerbie case, it is a commonplace that legal conclusions are often wrong, for variety of reasons.


  15. So far, the 'heat' has surrounded the so-called outing of Wikipedia editor, Slim Virgin.

    Now, let's shine the 'light' at the actual allegation made by Kiwi Bird and nuclear physicist Ludwig De Braeckeleer: that SV has "systematically altered Wikipedia articles on Pan Am 103 and Lockerbie in order more closely to reflect the 'official' UK and US line on the Lockerbie disaster."

    The four Wikipedia articles in question are: Pan Am Flight 103; Investigation into the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103; Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial; and, Alternative theories of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

    It is a simple matter to consult the edit history of these articles to determine whether SV has been 'systematically altering' them. Alright, I hear you say, SV used another pseudonym. But where and how do any of these articles now reflect the 'official' UK and US line?

    The answer is they don't: if anything, the articles diverge markedly from the official line!

    A more interesting question is how did De Braeckeleer become such an 'expert' on Lockerbie? It seems that he has studied the four Wikipedia articles, and all their sources and references, written authoritatively on the subject on the internet, and then copyrighted his work.

    Can you copyright information derived from Wikipedia?

  16. Definitely an original production, so sure, you can copyright it, even if it uses information from Wikipedia.

    I'm not really familiar with those articles, but would be happy to become so if anyone feels the information in them is not accurate. Just keep in mind that Wikipedia requires that the information have been published in a reliable source. Knowing something which has not been published doesn't count, no matter how true it is.


  17. Sorry, fredbaud! How can De Braeckeleer's internet offerings be an original production if they are copied verbatim from Wikipedia?

    Also, why start from your premise that the information in the Wikipedia articles is inaccurate?

    Please don't obfuscate the issue.

  18. More likely I just don't understand something.


  19. I have noticed this with many articles of a similar nature. Wikipedia struggles the most when dealing with issues that have multiple competing viewpoints. When there are two viewpoints they can find the middle ground, but in highly controversial articles where there are many different viewpoints, what often happens is that they pick one primary viewpoint and run with that, with titbits of the others as side notes throughout the piece.

    I am not an expert on the Lockerbie Bombing, and quite frankly I can't make sense of it. But I am an expert in relation to a number of other highly controversial cases, and I know that in relation to those ones, Wikipedia presented an inaccurate perspective, a dangerously inaccurate lie, one that was completely unsourced, and then after they had presented it, that lie was used as a source by a few irresponsible news organisations, and then subsequently Wikipedia's own article on the topic, used the irresponsible news articles as a source for their own article! A how to guide for how to tell a lie on Wikipedia and then make it in to truth!

    Wikipedia is an excellent source of information on what we consider to be "cruft", Simpsons episodes, South Park episodes, Spongebob Squarepants, Naruto etc. They are very good with purely factual topics, like maths and scientific topics. With established history, they are still fairly good. But where Wikipedia seriously breaks down are on the very important issues, the highly controversial topics with multiple points of view.

  20. Fred Bauder says "I guess our view is that no conspiracy theorist is to be trusted as a source." Can he confirm, as one of the most senior people on Wikipedia, that their own official policy is that Wikipedia cannot be trusted as a source? If someone queries a statement in an article and somebody else supplies another Wikipedia article as a reference, is that acceptable? Yes or no!

  21. Yes, the circular laundering of facts you describe can happen, what with BBC and New York Times reporters regularly consulting Wikipedia. They need to carefully check out the cited sources, but may not. Simple repeating of something dubious in a reputable news source, what I call fact laundering, should not somehow sanitize it.


  22. Information in Wikipedia is no better than the source it came from. So, sometimes Wikipedia is very good, sometimes very bad. Citing Wikipedia during a dispute on Wikipedia is ludicrous. That's the circular error that needs to be avoided. Always consider the source the information came from. And remember, an unpublished Wikipedia editor is not going to cite himself, even if that is the source.

    The real problem arises when information in supposedly reputable media is, for one reason or another, poor. We saw that with the New York Times in the run-up to the Iraq war. The BBC is potentially subject to the same phenomenon when the government is feeding or withholding information.

    Wikipedia is not an intelligence service, at least not one with the capacity to independently investigate. However, we notice such limitations in others also.


  23. Robert Black wrote:
    > What a minefield I have
    > unwittingly entered! However, it
    > has been deeply instructive
    > about the inner workings of
    > Wikipedia. I, for one, will
    > never regard it in the same
    > light again.

    Sorry you wound up caught in all
    this. You are, of course, a
    previously uninvolved third party,
    and ought to have been treated
    better. It makes sense for them
    to remove links to your blog, to
    protect their own, but smearing your name on their mailing list
    was really unwarranted, as is
    attempting to punish you.

    I am also afraid the comments area
    of your blog has just become a
    neutral zone in a big, huge
    cross site flame war. Again,

    > As regards ab's query about
    > whether I can see that revealing
    > her (alleged) identity could be
    > hurtful to SlimVirgin, my answer
    > is: of course I can see this,
    > but in the larger scheme of
    > things (an atrocity in which 270
    > people died and in respect of
    > which a man has been wrongly
    > convicted) avoiding hurt to a
    > Wikipedia editor comes very low
    > down my list of priorities.

    I am not a WP editor, so I assure
    you my concern for Ms. SV is as
    a fellow human being, not as a WP
    editor. There is also a certain
    degree of friendship between us,
    but rest assured I do not feel WP
    editors out of all human beings
    deserve any special treatment.

    Anyway, I thank you for your
    understanding. I do not feel
    qualified to offer an opinion on
    the Lockerbie case, not having
    firsthand experience or having
    done any significant research, but
    I take it you feel the the WP
    article in innaccurate.

    Perhaps WP should not have
    articles on such ethically
    important topics. It does allow
    almost anyone with a port 80 to
    edit without providing any
    identifying information. Any of
    the pseudonymous editors could
    have undisclosed conflicts of
    interest. It should be noted Ms.
    SV is by far not the only victim
    of having one's personal info
    disclosed against one's will in
    attempts to find out if one has a
    conflict of interest, and most of
    the time the people disclosing
    private info are in fact
    administrators of WP. It would
    be better if they either asked
    people to willingly disclose their
    IDs up front, or else simply
    avoided topics of ethical
    importance where a conflict of
    interest could do much damage
    beyond WP.

    Note that I am not saying Ms. SV
    has a conflict of interest, only
    than with pseudonyms there is no
    way to be sure without
    compromising the pseudonymity.
    However, most pseudonymous people
    are probably quite innocent.

    If these articles are indeed
    innaccurate, then yes, it is a
    problem, but I don't think
    disclosing people's personal info
    or possible personal info, where
    the evidence is thin, is the
    right way to solve it.

    Fred wrote:
    > Citing Wikipedia during a
    > dispute on Wikipedia is
    > ludicrous. That's the circular
    > error that needs to be avoided.

    On those grounds, all banned user
    templates ought to be deleted as
    violations of the 'Biographies of
    Living Persons' policy, unless
    you can find a non-WP source for
    the banned user template.

  24. Sensible comments from Fred Bauder here. It should be noted that Fred Bauder maintains his own alternative site called Wikinfo, which allows a Sympathetic Point of View as an improvement of the Neutral Point of View that is so damaging with such important articles as the Lockerbie Bombing. It may be possible to create a higher quality article on the Lockerbie Bombing using his system. Sadly, however, Wikinfo is rarely used, and hence has all of the associated problems that a poor utilised web site has.

    I would like to apologise to you, Robert Black, and to Fred Bauder, and anyone else adversely affected by this, as you have all been set up by one of the members of Wikipedia Review, as I was set up over the self same issue. It was all done to harm me and to try to hurt SlimVirgin, and the person doing this didn't care who was hurt in the process. I really object to this kind of cloak and dagger activity, whether it is done on Wikipedia Review or Wikitruth or where it is done, as it causes a lot of harm to a lot of innocent people.

    I got banned from Wikipedia Review for standing up to this person. And I remain the owner of Wikipedia Review too.

    Just put this little incident behind you, Robert Black, and move on.

  25. I am truly grateful for the support and courtesy that has been shown to me by numerous Wikipedia editors and users. This goes a long way towards compensating for the disgraceful personal slurs that appeared in (and, in some cases, were quite speedily removed from) the "discussion" accompanying my bio page in Wikipedia.

  26. Well, these things happen. What can you do, really? Society seems hell-bent on... oh, never mind.

    Anyway, I, too would like to apologize to you, Mr. Black - not for anything in particular, I just enjoy apologizing to people for some reason. For the record, I'm the guy who at one point completely redacted User:SlimVirgin's real name from the aforementioned website, only to have my efforts come to naught when Mr. de Braeckeleer decided to post it on his blog. From my perspective, he ruined everything - and effectively condemed us all to many, many more months of endless tit-for-tat with the Wikipedia folks over this issue.

    Personally, I don't think it's likely that Ms. Ma- oops, SlimVirgin, was being paid or coerced by an intelligence agency (though of course you can never, EVER count out the Bulgarians). On the other hand, the identification of her as you-know-who is almost certainly correct. But because a handful of people have mentioned the possibility of an intelligence connection, the identification is simply lumped in as part of the "conspiracy theory," and dismissed as "ridiculous." In fact, it's being dismissed because it's embarrassing to Wikipedia, and they're simply tired of getting embarrassed, though it's actually the one thing they do really, really well. (And it's not like they're getting paid for it either, of course!)

    As for Mr. Blissyu2, he isn't really "banned" from Wikipedia Review - he's just on what we call a "mandatory holiday." Everyone needs a vacation now and again!

  27. I wrote a blog entry that basically explains why you've been getting all of these odd comments:!5D338A8729E83EAB!892.entry You can read it if you like.

  28. In actual fact, I am now banned from WR, banned from my own site, after Somey saw fit to hack in to my account, both my user login as well as my root login (I am the owner of WR). This is entirely the result of this incident, so it is relevant to note this to you.

    Please Read this blog post about the incident.

    You have been played for a fool, courtesy of Kato aiming for a little power at the expense of others. Kato remains an administrator on Wikipedia Review, of course. While the person who exposed his corruption, me, remains banned, from my own site.

    There are some seriously bad people on the internet, and it seems that you've seen the worst of them here.

  29. I started a blog about western influence on terrorism.
    Lockerbie is mentioned.

    Maybe of interest for author of this blog or subscribers.

    Too quick forget of tragedy.
    Does money solve everything?