Tory security minister accused of false claims of his military service – and strange Wikipedia activity followed

Ben Wallace taken to task on social media – followed by bizarre edit history on the online encyclopedia
Tory security minister Ben Wallace (image: official parliament.uk portrait)

Tory security minister – and former Northern Ireland minister – Ben Wallace last autumn attempted to wax dismissive of the problems posed to the government by the issue of the Northern Ireland border and the EU’s insistence that there must be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

In the process, Wallace claimed to have been an intelligence officer when the 1994 ceasefire talks were underway – but his claim was contradicted by a Northern Irish former serviceman.

Glenn Bradley, a former Royal Irish Ranger who works for peace and human rights in Belfast, took Wallace to task on Twitter over his claim:

Remarkably, Wallace did not argue or claim that Bradley was incorrect. Instead he resorted to a change of tack and a weak jibe at something else:

Strange wiki

Wallace’s Wikipedia entry also currently claims that he was an intelligence officer – but no source reference is provided for the information.

That information appears to have been added only five days ago, on 15 April. A day earlier, on 14 April, Wallace was accused of lying about his service history by a Twitter user who linked back to Glenn Bradley’s tweet – and again, he responded without denying the accusation:

The intelligence claim appeared on Wikipedia the day after the issue was raised again on Twitter.

It was then removed by a Wikipedia editor because the claim was unsourced – but added back on Friday – the day of this blog’s enquiry and the reader tip that led to it – by user ‘Janusfiles‘, the same user who had also added it on the 15th:

But user ‘Janusfiles’ does not exist, as clicking through on the ID shows:

Nor has it ever been deleted, according to Wikipedia’s user deletion history:

The user did exist, however – and it only ever made edits to Wallace’s Wikipedia entry:

The preceding edit made by the now non-existent user – also dated yesterday – removed a fully-sourced reference to Wallace employing his wife as a part-time assistant on as much as £29,000 per year.

Wikipedia does appear to allow users to request a change to their username. However, according to the Wikipedia resource page on username changes any edits made would also show the new username rather than the old one, so that would not explain how ‘Janusfiles’ is non-existent – and any renaming has to be done by a ‘global renamer’ and cannot be done by the user.

The media

Although the original exchange took place six months ago, no ‘mainstream’ media appear to have taken any notice at the time.

After the resurrection of the accusations this week, however, the Scottish pro-independence National newspaper did pick up on the Twitter exchanges and flatly accused Wallace of lying – and again not denying it:

The SKWAWKBOX contacted Mr Wallace for comment. He did not respond by the time of publication.

Edit 20/4/19 15.00hrs: Ben Wallace has responded to the enquiry:

Unfortunately for those trying to smear my military services the facts are I was an intelligence officers with my Regiment in 1994 in East Tyrone , Northern Ireland. I was, at the time aware, of some of the negotiations and intelligence surrounding the PIRA 1994 ceasefire. I never claimed to have been part of the Good Friday agreement as that was in 1998 and I had left the Army the month before. Please can you ensure your piece reflects the facts. The story is total nonsense I am afraid and I have reported the National to IPSO.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

Why didn’t Ben Wallace refute Glenn Bradley’s assertions about Wallace’s military career? Why did a claimed military intelligence involvement appear in Wallace’s Wikipedia entry this month, a day after he was challenged again about it?

Why was it then added back in – and all by an apparently non-existent account that has never been deleted? If the account name has since changed, why so suddenly after the edit and why has the edit entry not been allocated to the new name?

Why was the Janusfiles user only interested in editing Wallace’s profile – and why was it suddenly interested in housekeeping Wallace’s profile on this and other matters yesterday?

Ben Wallace needs to explicitly say whether he denies Glenn Bradley’s accusation – and if he does, he needs to show evidence that his own claimed service in 1994 is true.

And if he does not, he must resign.

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  1. From now on every time he hears a chuckle or giggle, every time conversation stops at his approach, every unacknowledged glance will make him wonder if he’s still a laughing stock.
    The worst thing will be the sympathy of friends. He’ll constantly be looking for signs that their respect for his military service has slipped a notch or two.
    How inadequate the poor boy must have felt to construct a James Bond-ish past for himself.
    Oh well, never mind.
    🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. Suspicions were raised when “intelligence” was used in connection with Ben Wallace.

  2. Just listen to the tone and content of responses given by this so called professional Minister in a position of high office and responsibility. Its positively playground childish.
    And this liar is in charge as Minister of State for Security !
    You have to question the intelligence , not of his so called past which is obviously now a lie , but of the very people who elected him.
    Continues to prove the saying ” never trust a tory ”
    Good grief, we as a nation have such utter piss poor choice of quality calibre candidates as MPs for any of the political parties ,,,,,, Farage anyone ?

  3. Si bloody petty. Simpler solution would be to acknowledge he was a trainee officer then (still an officer) and that it was irrelevant to the point he was making!

    Noooo. Let’s go for the most twisted convoluted situation, and insult some people in the process, that will make him look even more like a dick. That’s the Tory way.

  4. Walts are not popular in forces circles. I am sure the good folk at Walt Hunters HQ might be interested…

    As for his response – if my teenage cousin wrote that, I would be utterly embarassed. A fully grown adult in a normal workplace would be facing the sack for that.

  5. ben wallace?

    Ben Walter-Mitty, more like. He’ll be telling us he’s a direct descendent of William Wallace, next

    1. It makes a change I suppose. They usually claim to have been a member of the (wink wink) “special forces”. I must have met quite a few regiments of “former” SAS troopers in various bars up and down the country. Of course none of them like to talk about it. Yeh right.

  6. The problem isn’t Wallace. It’s what Wallace represents.

    OK – there was never a golden age of political wisdom, honesty and transparency. But the present bargain basement floor of self-seeking pillocks is crammed full of candidates for ‘Idiot of the Month’.

    The aspiration of Wallace to be seen as a significant Rupert at the level of negotiation is truly pathetic. Johnson as Foreign Secretary or Williamson playing with guns and tin soldiers on the living room carpet are both frightening scenarios. But they have happened.

    Worse, the incompetence isn’t exceptional – it’s typical.

  7. “And if he does not he must resign.” I fear you are living in the past. I am old enough to remember when a minister caught out lying resigned as a matter of honour. Now they keep their position and get a regular gig as a pundit on the BBC.

  8. It’s worrying for all Brits that Wallace was apparently deemed to be bright enough to become an intelligence officer and a government minister. Standards have obviously slipped.

  9. A Right Wing Tory Barbarian and these are the right wing political imbeciles we are up against.
    But just read a worrying piece in the New Left Review re the apalling brutality of the French police against the Yellow Vests permitted by Right Wing Neo-Liberal Barbarian Macron.
    According to the latest NLR French police brutality has led to the death of a female pensioner protester, 4 protesters have had a hand blown off, 18 protesters have lost an eye and many have been injured.
    Such is the Barbarianism of the French ‘Centrists’!

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