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Blonde on Blonde: That time two topless models released a disco cover version of ‘Whole Lotta Love’

“Page Three” might not mean much to readers outside of the UK. It was a term used to describe the photographs of topless (sometimes naked) glamor models published on the third page of tabloid newspaper the Sun. It was first introduced by (who else?) Rupert Murdoch as a way to increase sales of his newly acquired but failing newspaper. The Sun was in decline having gone from the popular Daily Herald to a less successful rebrand as the Sun in 1964 before Murdoch bought it in 1968. Old Rupert thought sexy glamor models would bring more male readers to his paper. It did but Page Three wasn’t truly successful until editor Larry Lamb made them topless models. The Sun then started to sell by the millions. Lamb launched the first Page Three in November 1970. “I don’t think it’s immoral or indecent or anything,” said Rupert Murdoch later said of Page Three.

But show it to me in any other newspaper I own. Never in America, never in Australia. Never. Never. Never. It just would not be accepted.

Though it did increase sales and made several of the Page Three models rich and famous it was never quite fully accepted by everyone in the UK. Page Three was a source of great controversy and considerable feminist anger—leading to one famous campaign to have Page Three banned. Eventually the Sun agreed it was no longer suitable and the Page Three girls stopped appearing in the paper in 2015.
Glamor model and former Page Three girl Jilly Johnson on the cover of ‘Hot Hits Volume 19.’
Being a Page Three girl was like being a Playboy Bunny—it was a means to achieving a better career. Among those many women who became famous from appearing topless in the Sun were Samantha Fox (who went onto become a pop star and actress and infamously co-hosted the Brit Awards with Mick Fleetwood), Debee Ashby (who had a fling with Tony Curtis—“He wanted company. It wasn’t just my boobs…”), Geri Halliwell (aka Ginger Spice of the Spice Girls), Penny Irving (who became an actress in Are You Being Served? and House of Whipcord), Melinda Messenger (now a TV host and celebrity), Jayne Middlemiss (TV host) and Jordan (aka Katie Price who’s now a multimillionaire TV star, celebrity and author).
Glamor model and former Page Three girl Nina Carter on the cover of ‘Top of the Pops Volume 44.’
Nina Carter and Jilly Johnson were two of the early Page Three girls. Both were highly successful glamor models in their own right and were famous from their work on fashion shoots, magazines and album covers. Nina and Jilly were two of the best known glamor models working in Britain during the 1970s—both earning the nickname “The Body” long before Elle Macpherson—though they probably weren’t the first.

But wait—we’re not here to talk about Nina and Jilly’s long and successful modeling careers but rather about the time they formed a band in the late 1970s called Blonde on Blonde.
Blonde on Blonde ‘Whole Lotta Love.’
Blonde on Blonde was a short-lived pop band that made little headway in the UK but was a big hit in Japan. “We have Japanese men coming up to is and begging us to let them be our slaves!” Nina told the Evening Times in 1978. Nina and Jilly were serious about their pop career but as Nina explained at the time:

Unfortunately we are having difficulty persuading the music business in this country to do the same. People tend to dismiss us a gimmick.

More from Blonde on Blonde after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Murdoch is evil’: Message hidden in one of his own newspaper’s children’s puzzle!
10:11 am


Rupert Murdoch

Last week, one of Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper’s the Australian Sunday Telegraph published a word search puzzle which included the hidden message:


Which in reverse reads:


The message appeared on page 79 of the newspaper, in “Harry the Dog’s weekly word search.” According to the Guardian:

It took reporters in Australia two days to spot the apparent swipe, which sparked joy among many observers on Twitter.

The Sunday Telegraph refused to comment. It remains unclear if Rupert Murdoch completed the quiz himself.

Perhaps, Mr. Murdoch will let us know?

Meanwhile, here’s an old clip from British satire show with puppets, Spitting Image, of Trepur Hcodrum contriving a “news” story on some English cricketer called Botham.

Via the ‘Guardian

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Rupert Murdoch Unplugged: Secret tape recordings reveal true nature of The Beast
10:49 am

Current Events

Rupert Murdoch

The news that Rupert Murdoch had been indiscreet on a secret tape recording made me imagine what dreadful thing it could be?

Had the media mogul revealed himself to be the Great Beast? Had he dished-up salty tales of hideous orgies at Bohemian Grove?

Alas, neither of these imaginary things—more the pity.

It turned out Murdoch had been caught letting slip his real views on the ‘phoning hacking scandal that eventually led to the demise of his (in)famous organ the News of the World.

Why Channel 4 News, who broadcast the story as an “exclusive,” and investigative news site Exaro, who did likewise and have it hidden behind a pay-wall, should think they had some kind of major scoop, when the always reliable Private Eye published the very same story three weeks ago?

Who knows?

What I can tell you is that the 82-year-old Murdoch was secretly recorded (obviously by more than one person) at a meeting he attended with arrested Sun journalists, at the paper’s HQ in the East End of London, on March 6th, this year.

For most of the meeting Murdoch railed against the treatment of his journalists by police during the Hackgate scandal. This was to be expected, as any boss would have found dawn raids on their staff by the boys-in-blue as more than just a wee bit over the top.

“I mean, it’s a disgrace. Here we are, two years later, and the cops are totally incompetent…

“The idea that the cops then started coming in, kick you out of bed, and your families at six in the morning, is unbelievable. But why are the police behaving in this way? It’s the biggest inquiry ever, over next to nothing…

“And now they’re arresting their own, who never even took money.”

Murdoch went to rave about what had been done to his flame-thrower-haired editor, Rebekah Wade. (One can almost hear the lump in his throat…)

“..what they’re doing, what they did to you, and how they treated people at [******], saying ‘a couple of you come in for a cup of tea at four in the afternoon.’ You guys got thrown out of bed by gangs of cops at six in the morning, and I’m just as annoyed as you are…

“The people who came in and turned over…Rebekah on Monday morning…there were about fifteen or sixteen. Most of them, a dozen, were from Manchester, a murder squad of something.  And there were three local cops. It’s ridiculous.”

Murdoch went on to offer “total support” (Up to a point, Lord Copper) for his journalists, ensuring health care..and er…well, that they should “trust” him. Surprisingly no-one laughed.

There was also the usual raving about the Establishment, which Murdoch has been wittering-on about since he set up his business on British shores back in the Swinging Sixties.

“And we’re being picked on. I think that it was the old right-wing establishment, [Lord] Puttnam, or worse, the left-wing get-even crowd of Gordon Brown. There was a sort of—we got caught with dirty hands, I guess, with the News of the World, and everybody piled in. It was a get-even time for things that were done with The Sun over the last forty-years…

However, all of this is small potatoes compared to the meat-and-two-veg of the recording, when Murdoch admits to being aware of payments-for-information.

“We’re talking about payments for news tips from cops: that’s been going on a hundred years, absolutely. You didn’t instigate it.

“I would have thought 100% … at least 90% of payments were made at the instigation of cops saying, ‘I’ve got a good story here. It’s worth 500 quid’ or something. And you would say, ‘No, it’s not’ … And they’d say, ‘Well, we’ll ring the Mirror…’ It was the culture of Fleet Street.”

This runs contrary to Murdoch’s bumbling performance as a contrite Mr. Magoo at last year’s Levenson Inquiry, where he laid the blame on a couple of rogue journalists.

This tape probably gives a pretty good view of what Rupert Murdoch is really like. (Not that we hadn’t already imagined something quite similar!)

These tape(s) should now be passed onto the Police, who must investigate Murdoch’s comments fully.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Rupert Murdoch and Jimmy Savile: Civil War at the Heart of the British Establishment?
04:38 pm


Jimmy Savile
Rupert Murdoch

Back in 2011, when the UK was being inundated with revelations regarding the extent of News Corp’s nationwide espionage, it was interesting to muse on the hacking victims that weren’t coming forward – and the seamy secrets that weren’t spilled in the tabloids. After all, was there a powerful person in the land whose phone wasn’t tapped – you had to ask yourself what Rupert Murdoch didn’t now know about this country? It was such thoughts that made the subsequent castigation of News Corp so comic, as peasant after peasant was obliged to gingerly hurl a rotten tomato at a master who would all-too-soon be released from the stocks.

And, a few months on from “Hackgate” – wouldn’t you know it – there was “Savilegate.” These consecutive scandals betray a quite provocative symmetry. In the former, a media corporation was raked across the coals because of its perceived callousness towards a victim of pedophilia (the hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone), leading to a limb of that corporation – the News of the World – being lopped off. In the latter, another media corporation (the former’s nemesis, no less) was raked across the coals because of its perceived callousness towards the victims of pedophilia, leading to a limb of that corporation – Newsnight – almost being lopped off. Curious.

The genesis of Savilegate is interesting. An excellent source tells me: “the Savile accusations were going nowhere until the Spectator picked them up. An interesting osmosis then occurred: News Corp spotted it, and Rupert Murdoch himself said ‘we can use this.’” Indeed, who else would have the “great clanking balls” (to borrow Tony Blair’s unforgettable phrase) to break that longstanding media taboo?

While one presumed intention in Newscorp lifting the lid on Savile is obvious enough – “screw you, BBC” – an additional, subtler motivation is also feasible. Put simply, by instructing his media empire to turn up the volume regarding the real Jimmy Savile Murdoch must have known he would be sending very awkward reverberations through the wider establishment that was tentatively standing up to him and holding him to moderate account at the Leveson Enquiry.
Yup, Labour, the Tories, the Royals, the cops – Savilegate must have had the lot of them squirming. You can release all the shtick you like about there being “no pedophile ring” involved (I actually caught some BBC Savile coverage where this reassuring message scrolled ceaselessly across the foot of the screen) but his lifetime license to abuse and access the nation’s children without a hint of trouble suggested otherwise, while his manifest intimacy with the great and the good carried further uncomfortable messages into the national unconscious.

Meanwhile, Leveson was still promising to damage News Corp’s reputation and influence around the world…

Step forward Labour MP Tom Watson, the person deserving of the most credit for the development of Hackgate. Savilegate certainly appeared to have influenced his research and thinking in the logical direction, and so, fresh from inflicting a flesh wound on Rupert Murdoch, Mr Watson thinks “fair enough,” and turns his trusty ole .45 on the Devil Himself, asking at PMQs about that “powerful pedophile network linked to Parliament and Number Ten.”

David Cameron’s expression said it all (“won’t someone rid me of this meddlesome priest”), and the ripple of silence that spread through Parliament betrayed the sense that this had an outside chance of going down as one of the most significant moments in British political history. You can only admire Watson’s chutzpah, but the damnedest things will happen if you try to shoot the Devil, and in this incident it was to transpire that the gun was loaded with some very magical bullets indeed – ones that whizzed away from their intended destination to bury themselves in the enemies of… Rupert Murdoch.
Initially, it had all looked eerily promising, and the effect of Watson’s words on the public imagination was compounded when he revealed the death threats he had subsequently received. Coupled with Savilegate, all this was threatening to wake the British public up from its long, deep sleep. Nothing better illustrated the unlikely places extreme disquiet was creeping into than Phillip Schofield’s outright heroic (and, of course, widely reviled) confrontation with the Prime Minister on daytime television.
Then, of course, there occurred that piece of grandiose chicanery regarding Newsnight’s incorrectly “naming” Alistair McAlpine as an abuser of Steven Messham. Only they didn’t name him – and his name had anyway already been in circulation for years, presumably due to a mix-up with a certain Jimmie McAlpine, his deceased cousin (the less said about him the better). This went almost completely unremarked of course, and most of the public was once again successfully frightened away from waking reality.

Understandably, much has been made on the blogosphere of the following exert from Alistair McAlpine’s 2001 book, The New Machiavelli: The Art of Politics in Business, and the following – shall we say coincidental? prophetic? fishy? – suggestions regarding dealing with the media.

“Another useful ploy is the false accusation. First, create a situation where you are wrongly accused. Then, at a convenient moment, arrange for the false accusation to be shown to be false beyond all doubt. Those who have made accusations… become discredited. Further accusations will then be treated with great suspicion.”

What was really interesting, however, is how the effects of this apparent masterclass in mass manipulation weren’t delimited to “discrediting” those who would like to see powerful pedophiles exposed and prosecuted, but also influenced Leveson, providing a smokescreen behind which Lord Leveson himself could switch costumes – when it cleared he was no longer the judge of News Corp (as he was supposed to be) but of the Internet, and the “online dilettantism” that had supposedly resulted in the conveniently close-to-hand defamation of Alistair McAlpine.
Admire and wonder at the course of those magic bullets! Did someone get to Leveson (or rather the Establishment he represents)? Furthermore, was Savilegate somehow the instrument of this manipulation?

Certainly something is going on behind the scenes. The question is how much the British Establishment is able to put its collective interests (in other words, survival) above its intestine disputes. Since the outbreak of hostilities we’ve seen suspicious deaths (Christopher Shale and Sean Hoare) and death threats (Tom Watson and Steven Messham) – the stakes are clearly high. Meanwhile, there are thousands more people – including some honest and intrepid politicians and journalists – for whom Pandora’s Box is now very much ajar. Certainly the British Establishment can often look too rotten to burn, but you might once easily have thought that about the Catholic Church….

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Leave a comment
Rupert Murdoch’s ‘spooky’ college roadtrip…
10:32 am

Current Events

Rupert Murdoch

It’s nearly impossible to find a photo of Murdoch when he was young. He was born looking middle-aged, apparently

During a week in which no less than two former British Prime Ministers directly contradicted Rupert Murdoch’s recent sworn testimony to the Leveson Inquiry, an apparently much more inconspicuous Murdoch-related story also bobbed up in The Guardian

In his recent memoir Special Relations, the well-regarded academic and historian Asa Briggs relates how, in 1952, when Briggs was a 31-year-old Fellow at Worcester College, Oxford, he embarked upon what The Guardian calls a “somewhat unconventional camping holiday around the Middle East” alongside 21-year-old “Philosophy, Politics and Economics” Worcester undergraduate Rupert Murdoch and two others.

“We met Rupert and George [Masterman –  one of the other two] in what had been Constantinople, now Istanbul. Rupert had traveled there with his father in the Zephyr, which he had promised his father he would send back to Australia by sea from Port Said. They had had trouble… in crossing [communist] Yugoslavia. Curiously, Rupert was to have trouble too in Jordan.”

Curious indeed. At that time Jordan was a strange place to be making a beeline for.

“King Abdullah had recently been assassinated [by a Palestinian gunman], upsetting the whole balance of power in the Arab world, and there were many signs of tension in all the places on our journey beyond Turkey, through Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. There were Arabs who thought the name Murdoch was associated with the name Mordecai.”

In Lebanon, the entire party found themselves short on funds:

“We made contact with the father on an Oxford postgraduate student who generously offered to lend us what we needed. We arranged to meet him in the market the following day. Our benefactor did not turn up; he had died in the night. He had arranged for us to have the money, however.”

Righteo. Whether Briggs’ entire memoir consists of thinly veiled spying anecdotes or not I don’t know, suffice to say that I enjoyed this particular snapshot. The Guardian, of course, relays it all with an entirely straight face, espying nothing suspicious in the timing, destination or identity of the travelers – one thing it neglects to mention, however, is that Briggs was not only an accomplished historian in the early fifties, but an even more accomplished British intelligence asset, as even his Wikipedea entry nowadays knows:

“From 1942 to 1945 during WWII, Briggs served in the intelligence corps and worked at the British wartime codebreaking station Bletchley Park. He was a member of “the watch” in Hut 6, the section deciphering Enigma Machine messages from the German Army and Air Force.”

The aroma of skulduggery rises liberally from these recollections, which I felt especially timely considering that, decades later, Murdoch’s long-rumoured affiliation with the CIA (the accusation has clung to him since the mid-seventies, thanks in part to his business links with known spooks like Michael Hand) is one of the more pressing yet predictably wholly unsung aspects of the ongoing hacking scandal.

No one at the Leveson Inquiry, for example, seems at all interested why this Australian-born businessman is such a vehement opponent of the European Union, or why his newspapers – when not indefatigably cheering on Anglo-American military adventures – appear to have been conducting large-scale surveillance operations (because that’s what they are) on civilians, police and politicians: propaganda and espionage, of course, being the long term specialities of “The Agency.”

As conspiracy theorist Alex Constantine puts it:

“Perhaps the hideous Rupert Murdoch is not merely an independent “conservative” propagandist whose view of the world is parallel to General Pinochet’s, but one deliberately installed to program public opinion.”

Perhaps so.

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Leave a comment
Salem Witch Trial: Best ‘Private Eye’ cover on Hackgate

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’

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
‘Murdoch’s Revolution’: Adam Curtis on Rupert Murdoch
04:54 pm


Rupert Murdoch
Adam Curtis

‘Murdoch’s Revolution’ is a short film about you-know-who that was directed by celebrated BBC documentarian Adam Curtis. It was part of Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe Review Of The Year, 2011 TV special.

Curtis does a nice job of showing the viewer how Murdoch sees himself. As the old man’s fall from grace resembles more and more a Shakespearean tragedy, it’s interesting to see Murdoch when he was a younger man and less cynical about his goals.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Heavyweights are slowly turning on Rupert Murdoch

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

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
‘Get off my content!’: Rupert Murdoch’s pro-SOPA tweets visualized
01:13 pm

Current Events

Rupert Murdoch


You can read Rupert’s pro-SOPA tweets on his Twitter feed.
(via reddit)

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

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.


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’

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
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