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Salem Witch Trial: Best ‘Private Eye’ cover on Hackgate

private_eye_rebekah_wade
 
British satirical magazine Private Eye has published one of its best covers in a wee while, commenting on the charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice against former News of the World editor, Rebekah Brooks, her husband and 4 others, over allegations that she tried to conceal evidence from detectives investigating ‘phone hacking and alleged bribes to public officials.

The Eye‘s headline makes reference to Brooks claim she is the victim of “a witch hunt”, which is bloody ironic coming from her. Expect more wailing and gnashing of teeth soon.

Follow Private Eye on twitter.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Rupert Murdoch: ‘Is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of major international company’

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We’ve known it for years, but now it’s official - “Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of major international company”. This is the damning summation of a UK Government Select Committee report into the News of the World phone-hacking scandal. 

The Commons Culture, Media and Sport committee also accused Rupert Murdoch of “wilful blindness” towards the wrongdoing in his organization, and that there had been “huge failings of corporate governance”, whose sole aim was “to cover up rather than seek out wrongdoing and discipline the perpetrators”.

The report accused 3 former senior executives from News International - Les Hinton, Colin Myler, and Tom Crone - of misleading the committee during its inquiries into Hackgate.

James Murdoch’s competence was called into question, and he was said to have had a “wilful ignorance” about events at News International and the News of the World.

But the most damning indictment was made against Rupert “Digger” Murdoch, the report concluded:

“On the basis of the facts and evidence before the committee, we conclude that, if at all relevant times Rupert Murdoch did not take steps to become fully informed about phone hacking, he turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications.

“This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organisation and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International.

“We conclude, therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.”

Read more on the story at the Guardian and at the Daily Telegraph

Read the full 125 page Select Committee Report into the Phone Hacking Scandal here.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The Heavyweights are slowly turning on Rupert Murdoch

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It’s been a hell of a week for the Murdochs.

On Sunday,  Rupert “Digger” Murdoch released his Sun on Sunday, the tawdry replacement paper for the equally tawdry and now defunct News of the World.

On Tuesday, singer Charlotte Church had a David versus Goliath moment when she took on Murdoch’s “massive corporation with endless resources, [and] a phenomenal amount of power” and won £600,000 in damages, for information illegally obtained by Murdoch’s paper on the singer and her family. As Church told the Independent newspaper that News International were not sorry:

“In my opinion, they are not truly sorry, only sorry they got caught.”

Not a truer word said, for the News of the Screws would have carried on their underhand, illicit and corrupt methods if the Guardian had not been assiduous in their investigation of the whole Phone Hacking Scandal. Indeed, Charlotte Church said she only agreed on the settlement with the News International because they planned “to go after my mother again”.

On Wednesday, James Murdoch announced his resignation from News International - this is damage limitation, possibly as a precaution against future criminal proceedings and against the further tarnishing to the family business. But wait - can Murdoch’s brand be even more tarnished and disreputable? An organization currently under investigation for corruption, bribery and extensive illegal activities?

And all the while the Levenson Enquiry continues.

Of course, there will always be those dumb apologists who make the pitch that without Murdoch we wouldn’t have had this or that or the other. Well, this that or the other, just isn’t so, for if one was to take all the good Murdoch’s papers have allegedly achieved, and weigh it up against the bad it has actually perpetrated across the UK and the world, then the Murdochs would be found sadly wanting.

Murdoch’s suitability to be running a business, let alone a newspaper, is the question posed by respected journalist and broadcaster Peter Oborne, in the Daily Telegraph, where he asks:

Is Rupert Murdoch a fit and proper person to run a company?

It may seem an obvious question, but it’s not the sort one expects to find in the conservative Telegraph, where Oborne writes:

Until now, it is only the lesser people who have carried the can for the culture of criminality that flourished inside News International, with the buck stopping with editors such as Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks. The time has come to look higher up – and I am not thinking of hapless James Murdoch, who belatedly resigned as the chairman of News International yesterday afternoon.

Rupert Murdoch, the company’s founder, insists that he never had any knowledge of wrongdoing, and no doubt that is true. But he was the man at the top. He took a very keen interest in the way his British newspapers were run (a newspaperman to his fingertips, last weekend he could be seen hard at work in the newsroom as the Sun on Sunday was launched) and it was he, and nobody else, who set the culture.

We learn more about this culture practically every day. It was a culture of bullying and intimidation, where facts were distorted and lies told. It was a culture which merged the boundaries between police, media and the political class. Though brilliant in many ways, it also did a great deal to debase and even to destroy our public life. Now Rupert Murdoch, an American citizen of Australian heritage, is promoting the break-up of Britain through an alliance with Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party (they met yesterday).

Murdoch’s culture, we now know for a fact, included the criminal culture at the News of the World. We have also heard the corruption allegations from Sue Akers concerning the Sun. Of course nothing has been proved, but if even half of what she says turns out to be true, then it is time to ask whether Rupert Murdoch is a fit and proper person to run not just a newspaper, but any British public company.

Undoubtedly, Murdoch is a wily businessman, but the core values his business seed and promote are the lowest, most insidious and craven, which clearly reveal Murdoch’s true ambition - his thirst for power.

Read Peter Oborne’s article here.

Details of Don’t Buy The Sun here.
 

 
Via the Daily Telegraph
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Hackgate: News International pays out to 37 victims

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The announcement that Rupert Murdoch’s News International has agreed to pay-out to 37 victims of the News of the World phone hacking scandal (Hackgate) should come as no surprise. It only confirms what has been suspected all along - that Murdoch’s papers were up to no good.

The 37 who will receive payments include: the actor, Jude Law who will receive $201,000 (£130,000); Labour politician Lord Prescott $62,000 (£40,000): and former actress and designer Sadie Frost $77,000 (£50,000). The full total of settlements are likely to land the publisher with a bill around $2m. Small potatoes to Murdoch, yes, but the inference is damning.

And it doesn’t stop there.

Today’s allegation that senior management at News Group Newspapers (NGN), the subsidiary of News International that published the News of the World, took part in an orchestrated cover-up by “deliberately deceiving investigators and destroying evidence” is certain to bring criminal prosecutions against journalists and management. Moreover, the fact that NI lawyers did not contest this claim tells us everything.

Full details of pay-outs can be found here.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
James Murdoch resigns from boards of The Sun and The Times

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James Murdoch has quit as director of The Sun and the London Times newspapers, the Evening Standard reports:

Companies House filings show James Murdoch has stepped down from the boards of both News Group Newspapers Limited, publisher of The Sun, and Times Newspapers Limited, which operates The Times and Sunday Times.

NGN used to operate the News of the World and remains embroiled in legal action over phone-hacking.

The departures come as James Murdoch also faces calls to quit as chairman of BSkyB at next week’s annual general meeting. His decision means no member of the Murdoch family now sits on the boards of the flagship UK papers.Rupert Murdoch used to be a director of NGN and TNL but stepped down after his son took over as NI executive chairman in 2007. James Murdoch has also quit at least one other subsidiary, News International Holdings.

Murdoch’s decision to quit is possibly one of damage limitation over the recent News of the World ‘phone hacking scandal.

The Evening Standard quotes Claire Enders, founder of Enders Analysis, who said:

“Because it is inescapable that there will be some kind of censure from the Culture, Media and Sport select committee, it is inevitable that people will say maybe you’ve got too much on your plate, it makes sense to step back from some of the roles.” But Enders said Murdoch still faces intense pressure as the police investigate hacking at the News of the World.

“He can step down from all these positions but he won’t stop any of the other issues surrounding his stewardship,” she said.

Though Enders dismissed talk News Corp would sell the UK papers, Murdoch’s surprise resignation does suggest a shift in relationship between the parent company and the newspapers.

Read the full story here, and here.

Below, video of Murdoch questioned a fortnight ago by Tom Watson MP, who described Murdoch as a “Mafia boss”.
 

 
Via the Evening Standard
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Hackgate: Sky News tweets James Murdoch arrested then deletes it

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Tonight’s breaking news that James Murdoch had been arrested over the News of the World ‘phone hacking scandal, has proved too good to be true. Sky News tweeted Mr. Murdoch had been arrested at 22:00 hours GMT and taken to London’s Paddington Green Police Station for questioning. Shortly afterwards, the tweet was deleted.

The question is: Was Sky News hacked? Or, was it a case of wishful thinking from a journalist?

Business Insider reports:

According to Sky News’ Neal Mann, it’s most likely the account was hacked.

Sky News reporter Mark White tweets:

Don’t get too excited over James Murdoch arrest tweet. Don’t think it’s true. Trying to get to the bottom of it.

If it had been true, then how ironic it would have been that Sky News reported it first. Ah, well, one can live in hope.

Read more here.
 

 
Via Business Insider
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Murdoch offers to settle with Milly Dowler’s family for £3m-plus settlement


 
It’s being reported in The Guardian and elsewhere that Rupert Murdoch’s News International has offered the family of slain teen Milly Dowler a £3 million settlement over the phone hacking scandal, plus another £1 million donation to charity:

It emerged in July that Milly Dowler’s mobile phone had been hacked after her death. Voicemails were accessed on behalf of the News of the World, and messages left for her were deleted to make room for more recordings. This gave the family false hope that she was still alive, because messages were disappearing.

—snip—

Other lawyers bringing phone-hacking cases are privately indicated that they would be advising many of those bringing actions to try and reach a settlement rather than take their cases to lengthy and expensive trials. A handful of cases have been taken forward as lead actions by Mr Justice Vos, to establish a benchmark for settlements in future lawsuits.

Murdoch met with the Dowler family in July, shortly after the original story about hacking into her phone broke, making what the family’s lawyer, Mark Lewis, said was a “full and humble” apology. The News Corporation chairman and chief executive “held his head in his hands” and repeatedly told the family he was “very, very sorry.”

I’ll bet that old vampire is sorry…

This settlement now sets a big money precedent for other victims of Murdoch-funded phone hacking. The attorneys representing the celebrities and 7/7 families who might have had their phones hacked by the News of the World must be smelling blood in the water right about now. Fantastic!

P.S. I updated this post and headline as the amount now being reported that the Fowler family was offered has subsequently been revised one million pounds higher. Nicely extracted!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Another layer of the rotting onion that is the British ruling class


 
George Osborne, Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer (and David Cameron’s college chum and next door neighbor) is pretty much fucked, I think, no matter how you slice it. On Australian television today, Natalie Rowe—a former dominatrix who ran the Black Beauties escort agency, a $500 an hour prostitution ring in the 1990s—dumped a bucket of shit all over Osbourne’s head, reminding viewers of her role in what Osbourne himself called an “absurd smear campaign” against him in 2005.

Ms. Rowe, speaking on ABC Australia:

“I mean it’s been said in the newspapers that he was at university. He wasn’t. At the time he was working for William Hague. I remember that vividly because he called William Hague insipid and I didn’t know what the word meant. I do now. So he definitely was in government by then but I think he was getting more and more of a high profile. So there was definitely, there was cocaine on that night on the table. George Osborne did take cocaine on that night. And not just on that night. He took it on a regular basis with me, with his friends. There were more witnesses, not just me, that witnessed George Osborne taking cocaine. So it’s you know, there are other people out there that know the truth. On that particular night he had taken a line. And I said to George jokingly that when you’re prime minister one day I’ll have all the dirty goods on you. And he laughed and took a big fat line of cocaine.”

But it doesn’t end there, oh no, the sordid mess is even messier, and is now deeply connected to the News of the World hacking scandal.

Mark Lewis, the attorney representing Rowe had this to add, speaking to Australian journalist Emma Alberici:

MARK LEWIS: The editor at the time was Andy Coulson. And I think that’s worth remembering because of the future relationship that we have between the Conservative Party, the prime minister and Andy Coulson… That editorial could have gone completely the other way. It could have said, for example, whilst we do not believe that George Osborne took drugs he showed a serious error of judgement being at the party or being at the flat where drugs were taken, where there was an allegation of prostitution. He showed that error of judgement and therefore he’s not right to be in the heart of politics. Now the decision on which spin to give to the story by the editor of the News of the World particularly was something that determined his future in politics.

EMMA ALBERICI: You think so?

MARK LEWIS: Undoubtedly so because the editorial could have been written the other way. And if it would have been written the other way it would have finished his career I’m sure.

Rowe decided to sell her story to The Sunday Mirror in 2005 after watching Cameron and Osbourne refuse to say whether or not they’d ever taken drugs in a session of the House of Commons. Later that day, she was shocked to see the story on the front page of The News of the World. Police have allegedly told Rowe that reporters working for Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World newspaper had hacked into her phone.

News of the World called Rowe a coke-snorting hooker and used an unnamed source to discredit her story.

MARK LEWIS: The editor at the time was Andy Coulson. And I think that’s worth remembering because of the future relationship that we have between the Conservative Party, the prime minister and Andy Coulson.

EMMA ALBERICI: Andy Coulson also wrote an editorial, or had it written for him, dismissing Natalie Rowe’s story.

MARK LEWIS: That editorial could have gone completely the other way. It could have said, for example, whilst we do not believe that George Osborne took drugs he showed a serious error of judgement being at the party or being at the flat where drugs were taken, where there was an allegation of prostitution. He showed that error of judgement and therefore he’s not right to be in the heart of politics.

EMMA ALBERICI: You think so?

MARK LEWIS: Undoubtedly so because the editorial could have been written the other way. And if it would have been written the other way it would have finished his career I’m sure.

Tory sleaze is back with a vengeance! But Chunky Mark, the angry cab driver is having none of it…
 

 
Via Ian Bone’s blog/Thank you Chris Campion of Berlin, Germany!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Hackergate: Letter reveals major cover-up at ‘News of the World’

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Andy Coulson, former ‘NOTW’ editor and Clive Goodman
 
It looks like the Murdochs and their former News of the World editor Andy Coulson are finally fucked over the ‘phone hacking scandal today, after the publication of a letter by former employee.

Clive Goodman is the former News of the World Royal Correspondent, who was arrested in August 2006, and jailed in January 2007 for illegally intercepting mobile phone messages involving members of the Royal Household. In March 2007, Goodman wrote a letter, published Tuesday, which claimed that ‘phone hacking was widely discussed by editorial staff at the tabloid, until, then editor, Andy Coulson banned any reference to it. The Guradian reports:

Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and their former editor Andy Coulson all face embarrassing new allegations of dishonesty and cover-up after the publication of an explosive letter written by the News of the World’s disgraced royal correspondent, Clive Goodman.

In the letter, which was written four years ago but published only on Tuesday, Goodman claims that phone hacking was “widely discussed” at editorial meetings at the paper until Coulson himself banned further references to it; that Coulson offered to let him keep his job if he agreed not to implicate the paper in hacking when he came to court; and that his own hacking was carried out with “the full knowledge and support” of other senior journalists, whom he named.

The claims are acutely troubling for the prime minister, David Cameron, who hired Coulson as his media adviser on the basis that he knew nothing about phone hacking. And they confront Rupert and James Murdoch with the humiliating prospect of being recalled to parliament to justify the evidence which they gave last month on the aftermath of Goodman’s allegations. In a separate letter, one of the Murdochs’ own law firms claim that parts of that evidence were variously “hard to credit”, “self-serving” and “inaccurate and misleading”.

Goodman’s claims also raise serious questions about Rupert Murdoch’s close friend and adviser, Les Hinton, who was sent a copy of the letter but failed to pass it to police and who then led a cast of senior Murdoch personnel in telling parliament that they believed Coulson knew nothing about the interception of the voicemail of public figures and that Goodman was the only journalist involved.

The letters from Goodman and from the London law firm Harbottle & Lewis are among a cache of paperwork published by the Commons culture, media and sport select committee. One committee member, the Labour MP Tom Watson, said Goodman’s letter was “absolutely devastating”. He said: “Clive Goodman’s letter is the most significant piece of evidence that has been revealed so far. It completely removes News International’s defence. This is one of the largest cover-ups I have seen in my lifetime.”

Goodman’s letter is dated 2 March 2007, soon after he was released from a four-month prison sentence. It is addressed to News International’s director of human resources, Daniel Cloke, and registers his appeal against the decision of Hinton, the company’s then chairman, to sack him for gross misconduct after he admitted intercepting the voicemail of three members of the royal household. Goodman lists five grounds for his appeal.

He argues that the decision is perverse because he acted “with the full knowledge and support” of named senior journalists and that payments for the private investigator who assisted him, Glenn Mulcaire, were arranged by another senior journalist. The names of the journalists have been redacted from the published letter at the request of Scotland Yard, who are investigating the affair.

Goodman then claims that other members of staff at the News of the World were also hacking phones. Crucially, he adds: “This practice was widely discussed in the daily editorial conference, until explicit reference to it was banned by the editor.” He reveals that the paper continued to consult him on stories even though they knew he was going to plead guilty to phone hacking and that the paper’s then lawyer, Tom Crone, knew all the details of the case against him.

In a particularly embarrassing allegation, he adds: “Tom Crone and the editor promised on many occasions that I could come back to a job at the newspaper if I did not implicate the paper or any of its staff in my mitigation plea. I did not, and I expect the paper to honour its promise to me.” In the event, Goodman lost his appeal. But the claim that the paper induced him to mislead the court is one that may cause further problems for News International.

Read the whole article here, and Clive Goodman’s letter here.

As MP Tom Watson explains in the video clip below, if Goodman’s letter is accurate, then the whole foundation of the James and Rupert Murdoch’s and News International’s defense collapses, and if the allegations against former NOTWeditor, Andy Coulson, are proved to be correct, then the game of bluff is over and criminal prosecutions will be inevitable.
 

 
Via the Guardian
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Hackergate: If this is true, then it’s game over for Rebekah Brooks

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The Guardian reports the Police have found evidence that Sara Payne, whose 8-year-old daughter was abducted and murdered in 2000, was a target of News of the World‘s investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who specialised in hacking voicemail.

Police had earlier told her correctly that her name was not among those recorded in Mulcaire’s notes, but on Tuesday officers from Operation Weeting told her they had found her personal details among the investigator’s notes. These had previously been thought to refer to a different target.

Friends of Sara Payne have told the Guardian that she is “absolutely devastated and deeply disappointed” at the disclosure. Her cause had been championed by the News of the World, and in particular by its former editor, Rebekah Brooks. Believing that she had not been a target for hacking, Payne wrote a farewell column for the paper’s final edition on 10 July, referring to its staff as “my good and trusted friends”.

The evidence that police have found in Mulcaire’s notes is believed to relate to a phone given to Sara Payne by Rebekah Brooks as a gift to help her stay in touch with her supporters

.

One of Payne’s close colleagues said: “We are all appalled and disgusted. Sara is in bits about it.”

If this is true then it’s game over for Rebekah Brooks, and one can only surmise a criminal prosecution

must

follow soon.

Read the whole article here.
 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Does Murdochgate spell the end of oldstream media?


Who benefits from Rupert Murdoch sacrificing the ‘News of the World’?


 
Via the Guardian
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Rupert Murdoch eats foam rather than humble pie

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It was a splatter of foam pie rather than any humble pie that Rupert Murdoch received today. It added a surreal touch to an odd day for the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee Hearing, where Rupert Murdoch at first came across as a seemingly frail Wizard of Oz. It was only his hand slamming the table in front of him that gave any hint this is a man used to getting his own way; a man who is rarely questioned, let alone cross examined by a round table of MPs, who were, let’s be fair, rather ineffectual.

Rupert was humbly evasive, while is son, James easily deflected questions, though he did admit the rather shocking news News International has been (and may still be) paying the legal fees of the phone hacking journalist Clive Goodman and private detective Glenn Mulcaire.

Then came the pie master, an alleged comedian called Johnnie Marbles, who may have delivered a better hit than any member of the Select Committee, but in doing so took away from the serious intent of the proceedings.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘News of the World’ Phone-hacking Whistleblower Found Dead

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Sean Hoare, the News of the World phone-hacking whistleblower has been found dead at his home in Watford, the Guardian reports:

Sean Hoare, the former News of the World showbiz reporter who was the first named journalist to allege Andy Coulson was aware of phone hacking by his staff, has been found dead, the Guardian has learned.

Hoare, who worked on the Sun and the News of the World with Coulson before being dismissed for drink and drugs problems, is said to have been found dead at his Watford home.

Hertfordshire police would not confirm his identity, but the force said in a statement: “At 10.40am today [Monday 18 July] police were called to Langley Road, Watford, following the concerns for the welfare of a man who lives at an address on the street. Upon police and ambulance arrival at a property, the body of a man was found. The man was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after.

“The death is currently being treated as unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious. Police investigations into this incident are ongoing.”

Hoare first made his claims in a New York Times investigation into the phone-hacking allegations at the News of the World.

He told the newspaper that not only did Coulson know of the phone hacking, but that he actively encouraged his staff to intercept the phone calls of celebrities in the pursuit of exclusives.

In a subsequent interview with the BBC he alleged that he was personally asked by his then-editor, Coulson, to tap into phones. In an interview with the PM programme he said Coulson’s insistence that he didn’t know about the practice was “a lie, it is simply a lie”.

Earlier this year, Sean Hoare contributed to a BBC documentary, “Tabloid Hacks Exposed”, which examined the extent of illegal activity perpetrated by News International employees when obtaining a story, particularly the interception of computer email communications and phone hacking.

In the program Mr Hoare said that the News of the World commissioned private investigators to access targets’ bank accounts, phone records, mortgage accounts and health records.

“Tabloid Hacks Exposed” was made for the BBC’s Panorama strand, and was first broadcast in March 2011, and is essential viewing.

Phone hacking was once dismissed by executives at News International as the illegal work of “one rogue reporter”. The defence collapsed with one journalist at the News of the World being sacked and the original police inquiry having to be re-opened.

Panorama exposes the full extent of the “dark arts” employed by journalists across the industry to get their story. The programme reveals a dishonourable history of law breaking that went beyond phone hacking and questions the police inaction that let it continue.

 

 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Who benefits by Rupert Murdoch sacrificing the ‘News of the World’?

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The demise of the News of the World, the paper at the center of the UK’s ‘phone hacking scandal, has less to do with guilt, remorse or even people power, and everything to do Rupert Murdoch’s desire for power - no matter the cost.

Tonight Murdoch’s son, James announced the end of the 168-year-old tabloid, claiming it had been “sullied by behaviour that was wrong” and that “wrongdoers turned a good newsroom bad”.

He went on to say:

“Indeed, if recent allegations are true, it was inhuman and has no place in our company.

“The News Of The World is in the business of holding others to account. But it failed when it came to itself.”

James Murdoch also echoed his father in giving his full support to the former NOTW editor, Rebekah Brooks, saying:

“She has a good standard of ethics and her leadership is the right thing for the company.”

Brooks was editor at the time when it is alleged a private detective, employed by the paper, hacked into the voice mail messages of the murdered teenager, Milly Dowler.

Brooks stated earlier this week that it was

“inconceivable that I knew or worse, sanctioned these appalling allegations.”

In light of this week’s revelations, what is truly inconceivable is the fact Brooks has not either

a) resigned

or

b) been sacked.

If she did not know that a private detective had been employed to hack ‘phones, then she failed in her role as editor, and should be sacked.

If she did know about it, then she should resign.

Whichever way you look at it, Brooks has to go.

Instead the Murdochs have pulled together and sacrificed a best-selling tabloid to defend Ms. Brooks.

The question is: Why?

Tonight, it was also announced that another former editor, Andy Coulson, who resigned in 2007 over the NOTW ‘phone-hacking, will be arrested by the police tomorrow.

Why protect Brooks and not Coulson?

What is disturbing about the whole NOTW ‘phone hacking scandal is the glimpse it gives of Rupert Murdoch’s power.

Since the days of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, politicians have courted Murdoch as an ally to win power.

Tony Blair met with him regularly and was a guest at a major News International party in Australia prior to Labour’s victorious election in 1997. Gordon Brown went on pilgrimage once a year to Sun Valley, to court Murdoch. Now David Cameron continues this tradition of fore-lock tugging.

This may seem like something political leaders have to do, but it takes on greater significance in light of the admission of criminal activity by Brooks during a government enquiry, eight years ago. 

It is a criminal offense to pay the British Police for information.

When questioned at a Select Committee hearing in March 2003, Brooks admitted to paying police for information.

“We have paid the police for information in the past.”

When asked if she would do so in the future, she replied:

“Depends.”

 

Rebekah Brooks admits paying the police for information - a criminal offense - in March 2003
 
If it was known back in 2003 that Brooks and the News of the World had committed a criminal offense then why wasn’t she prosecuted?

Are Britain’s politicians too frightened, too cowed, by Murdoch and his tabloid press? And if they are, why? What imaginary power does he hold over them?

And what power does Rebekah Brooks hold over Rupert Murdoch?

The question is: Who benefits by Murdoch sacrificing the News of the World? Does it make easier for Murdoch to now own BSkyB? Does it mean News International won’t have to pay out large sums to victims of ‘phone-hacking if there is no longer a News of the World?

Who benefits?

What David Cameron must do now is initiate a judge led enquiry in to the News of the World, Brooks, Coulson and Murdoch, as the police, in light of their involvement, cannot be trusted to investigate this thoroughly.

Cameron also has to stop Murdoch’s plans to take over BSkyB.

Both are a small step towards severing Murdoch’s influence over parliament. 

To stop Murdoch’s plans to take over BSkyB sign the petition here.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

The phone-hacking scandal that may finish Rupert Murdoch’s ambitions


 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Screwed: The next ‘News of the World’ cover?

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The cover most readers would like to see.
 
Previously on DM

The phone-hacking scandal that may finish Rupert Murdoch’s ambitions


 
Via Frank Chi
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The phone-hacking scandal that may finish Rupert Murdoch’s ambitions

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In 2002, 13-year-old Milly Dowler disappeared. In the hours that followed, her family left desperate messages on Milly’s cell phone begging her to get in touch. There was no response, and the family’s messages soon filled Milly’s voice mail.

Then something strange happened - the messages were deleted. This gave the family hope that Milly was still alive.

But the truth was: Milly hadn’t deleted the messages. She was dead, murdered by Levi Bellfield.

It now turns out that it was a private detective, Glenn Mulcaire, employed by Rupert Murdoch’s paper the News of the World, who had allegedly hacked into the ‘phone and deleted the messages. As the Guardian reported on Monday:

Scotland Yard is now investigating evidence that the paper hacked directly into the voicemail of the missing girl’s own phone. As her friends and parents called and left messages imploring Milly to get in touch with them, the News of the World was listening and recording their every private word.

News International’s Chief Executive, Rebekah Brooks was the paper’s editor at the time. In an email to staff Brooks claimed she was “appalled and shocked” by the allegations, and thought it “inconceivable that [she] knew or worse, sanctioned these appalling allegations.”

Of course, this is what Brooks has to say, until there is evidence to the contrary.

Even if that evidence is forthcoming, it is unlikely that Brooks would have sanctioned such actions on her own, which opens up the whole of Rupert Murdoch’s News International for very serious and critical examination.

British Prime Minister, David Cameron has described the allegations as “a truly dreadful act”

And demanded that the police:

“...pursue this in the most vigorous way that they can in order to get to the truth of what happened.

“I think that is the absolute priority as a police investigation.”

Which may bring interesting results, as another former editor of the News of the World tainted with phone-hacking allegations is Andy Coulson, who was appointed by Cameron as his Director of Communications - a position Coulson eventually quit because coverage of the phone-hacking affair.

For those wondering what they can do to ensure these allegations against the News of the World, and other papers, are investigated vigorously, then Roy Greenslade has some pointers in his Guardian blog:

1. Boycott the paper. Treat it just as the people of Merseyside did when The Sun ran its infamous Hillsborough story in 1989 following the deaths of 96 Liverpool supporters.

2. Pressure advertisers and media buyers not to buy space in the News of the World and to withdraw ads they’ve already booked.

3. Back the call for an independent public inquiry into the whole hacking affair. It will be officially launched tomorrow at a meeting in the Lords.

4. Demand to know who has been, and is, paying the legal expenses of Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator who was jailed for intercepting voicemail messages on behalf of the News of the World.

5. Ask the PCC if it has inquired of News Int whether it, or any of its associated companies, has been responsible for paying the legal fees of a convicted man? If it has not, why not? And is it therefore time that it did so?

Crucially, the ‘phone hacking allegations come just as Murdoch has succeeded in gaining regulatory permission for a 100% takeover bid for the British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB), the UK’s largest pay-TV broadcaster, with over 10 million subscribers.

avaaz.org are currently organizing a campaign to stop Murdoch’s media take-over:

We have just three days to flood the government’s public consultation with requests to stop the deal.

We’ve done it before—in the last consultation Hunt said our avalanche of 40,000 messages delayed the deal as his officials had to read each email carefully, fearing a legal challenge. But the government is pushing the deal through despite the hacking scandal of murdered Milly Dowler—the latest grim episode that shows how Murdoch’s media tramples standards and ignores ethics.

Murdoch already controls more of our media than is legal in many countries – and is notorious for using his power to skew our politics. The official consultation ends this Friday—let’s tell the government we don’t want his media empire to control our largest commercial broadcaster. Send a message now—using your own words to make it stand out—calling on Jeremy Hunt and David Cameron to refuse Murdoch’s BSkyB deal until there’s a full Competition Commission review and a full public inquiry into phone hacking.

You can add your name to the petition here.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment