HACKGATE DAY 174: When cooperating fully is no longer enough

CEO Rebekah Brooks…a cap that doesn’t fit

Rupert laid bare: a man fit to take over BSkyB?

We shouldn’t be surprised by Newscorp’s role in the Milly Dowler case. Nor should we be surprised by the creepy hypocrisy of the press release that went out as soon as the Murdoch machine realised it had been fingered:

‘We have been co-operating fully with Operation Weeting since our voluntary disclosure in January restarted the investigation into illegal voicemail interception. This particular case is clearly a development of great concern and we will be conducting our own inquiries as a result. We will obviously co-operate fully with any police request on this should we be asked.’

It’s the standard sociopathic, lying-through-its-teeth corporate bollocks we have come to expect from Newscorp. They do not need to ‘make enquiries’ – we know this and they know this. And the ‘voluntary disclosure’ + ‘cooperate fully’ lines are wearing irritatingly thin: quite a lot of Nazis cooperated fully with the Allies at Nuremburg in 1946. It’s what monsters do once they get caught.

The ramifications of this latest predatory attack on grieving parents are obvious, but apparently not in Camerlot. Anyway, for the record:

1. It took place on Rebekah Brooks’ watch, during a campaign she had personally initiated against paedophiles, her being the Editor. She must have known about it. This woman acted as a go-between during talks between senior Newscorp executives and the Prime Minister David Cameron last Christmas….while an enquiry into the BSkyB takeover was at its height. Ms Brooks is up to her silly hair in this. She knows it, we know it, and Downing Street knows it.

2. Her Deputy Editor Andy Coulson was also at the crime scene. Coulson must have known about it. Former colleagues have him directing operations in similar cases. Coulson was the Prime Minister David Cameron’s media adviser until he was forced to resign. The man is a liar. Everyone in Fleet Street knows this, we know it, and the police know it.

3. So little effort did Newscorp make to hide their actions from the police officers on the Dowler case, one is led inexorably to the conclusion that the News of the World was about its foul business with the knowledge of detectives involved in the enquiry. They had done so before, during the so-called ‘fake sheik’ sting.

4. These (and other recent) revelations are miles outside the utterly unreal ‘inclusion zone’ of 2004-06 declared by Murdoch’s organisation. It is painfully obvious that the entire UK News International  stable works on the amoral and unethical principle that they can ignore anything – the police, select committees, Courtroom evidence, the Government, MPs and the Press Council – in order to get their story and get their way. Downing Street must know this by now. Jeremy Hunt must know this by now. But still the BSkyB deal goes ahead.

From the moment of his arrival in Britain, the country he hates with an obsessive passion, Rupert Murdoch has broken promises, abused his position as a rich media owner, ignored directors put on Boards to control him, and broken the laws of privacy routinely. He has had all the last four Governments here in his pocket, as well as half the Republican Party in the US. Wherever he goes, firewalls go up, and the freedom of the internet is denied to all but those of whom he expressly approves.

Now his hobgoblins raise false hopes in a grieving family, while writing lachrymose rubbish about how evil Milly Dowler’s killer was. He, however, is insane. Brookes, Coulson and Murdoch have no such excuse. The journalists hacked into Milly’s mobile phone, confused the evidence, destroyed evidence, got exclusives from the family while posing as sympathisers, blagged BT’s confidential records, tapped detectives’ phones, and ultimately destroyed the case against Levi Bellfield in another case – the attempted killing of Surrey schoolgirl Rachel Cowles.

But the Culture Secretary thinks this the perfect organisation to introduce more ‘plurality’ into the UK’s media scene. Given the amount of double-dealing, double-cross, double-talk and double-standards we have seen from Murdoch’s cess pit over the last 174 days, then plurality is pretty clearly what we are going to get. I am left wondering if Jeremy Hunt is himself morally disabled, or just too thick to understand that spinning off (yeh, right) Sky News in any way alters the open-and-shut case against this bunch of near-necrophiliacs. No…let’s be clear – he’s just a mindless bag of cretinous ambition.

The Weeting Operation under Sue Akers found 11,000 Mulcaire papers when they took over the case. Yet two earlier Yard inquiries had failed to investigate the relevant notes in Mulcaire’s logs. And still there are senior Met officers blithely insisting that there was no cover-up, either by Met officer Andy Hayman (another of the eclectic contents of Murdoch’s grubby pocket) or anyone else.

Well, maybe that’s what Britain is in 2011: a country that doesn’t care any more, a culture  quite happy to accept corrupting media owners, corrupted police, crooked banks, and a political Establishment hiding their activities as a form of self-protection. David Cameron seems oblivious to just how deeply he is mired in this; and despite everything that’s happened, the Opposition leader Ed Miliband has a press secretary (ex-Murdoch, natch) still obsessed with getting his former boss onside with the new Labour leader.

The Big Society, eh? ‘Your voice in hard times’, eh? To quote Nye Bevan, “They are lower than vermin”. Vermin do at least have spines: The British Establishment floats like a jellyfish and stings like a fly. And in its response to Hackgate, we can finally see it for what it so obviously is: an irreparable disgrace.

41 thoughts on “HACKGATE DAY 174: When cooperating fully is no longer enough

  1. It was a good day to bury bad news yesterday, there was another big story, concerning the cover up of the Haut de la Garenne cover up scandal, and Lenny Harper gave damning evidence of government and police corruption.

  2. Did 10 Watt Dave Cameron intervene to plead the Wicked Witch of Wapping’s case with the Dirty Digger? The story in the current Private Eye is ambiguous. Everyone in the UK opposed to the Digger – and his BSkyB takeover in particular, should sign one, single, united petition. And or at a given time, stand in a public place with ‘NO MORE DD’ written or printed on a sign. I’m sure the BBC would give such a protest the coverage it deserves. But would anyone organise such a demonstration knowing what News International does to its enemies? That illustrates the problem; they do not fulfil the fourth estate’s role in a democracy nor behave as the press should.

  3. From Nick Robinsons blog

    The official consultation into whether Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp should be permitted to take over BSkyB closes this week. Aides to the culture secretary say that legally his only consideration can be the impact on what’s called “media plurality” – in other words the impact on the number of different media voices. The question of whether Mr Murdoch or his company are – in the jargon – “fit and proper persons” to take full ownership of the broadcaster cannot now, they say, be added to the process.

  4. I’m really confused how everyone thinks Brooks is the story here.

    Ok, so, she bribed police, thats very bad.

    And yet that means police were taking bribes, which should be viewed as something infinatly worse.

  5. Newspeak?

    Minitrue?

    Orwell’s prescience becomes more amazing with every passing week.
    Why is John the only one to see it – or rather, why are other members of The Fourth Estate deafening in their silence?
    Surely it can’t be as simple as ‘pots & kettles’?

  6. John, one issue that has puzzled me a lot over this whole sick business.

    Even though Newscorp have made a number of £cash payouts (mostly in civilian courts) to victims of their phone-hacking (aka bought them off), it remains a fact that Newscorp’s actions were unlawful (illegal).

    Therefore, WHY have the police not already issued criminal charges against Newscorp employees for their actions? (or private detectives if they were involved)?

    Making £payouts to victims of crime does not relieve perps from criminal prosecution.

    Any thoughts, anyone?

    • Is it related to the difference between Civil and Crimminal Law. I’m not certain where the respective offences are located.

      In this context if it’s proved that they removed messages and thus destroyed possible evidence that I would think that was Crimminal as a result of PACE

      • Well, afaik all the incidents of phone-hacking are being widely described in MSM as “unlawful” and in violation of a 1995(?) Act against Interception of Communications. And there is already some public discussion about future limited criminal prosecutions. But why not for these cases where Newscorp have bought off the vistims?

        I should have thought that buying off a victim would only have the possible effect of reducing any sentence handed out by a criminal court if a case is proven.

        This reminds me of the MPs expenses scandal …only a few of the very worst cases of blatant fraud were actually prosecuted by the police.
        All the other perps were let off the hook simply by claiming “it was a mistake”. Gordon Brown’s own fraudulent claim for cleaning never lead to him being prosecuted, but IMO should have done.

        In a nation operating under the Rule of Law, it is surely for the courts to decide whether a fraudulent claim was an honest mistake or deliberate, not the police or CPS.

        I find this whole aspect of our legal system very worrying.

  7. Wouldn’t it be nice if all Sloggers got together, donated a pound (or more) into a holding account, perhaps in Lichtenstein…wherever, and then this money was “magically” transferred into the personal bank account of Mr Hunt, via one of News International’s accounts, with the covering note “for services rendered”. Copy correspondence to Guardian, Independent, Lord Gnome, etc.

    Nice idea, but I guess only the spooks can do this sort of thing…

    • Oh now there’s no need for that. I’m sure that Murky Murdoch will reward the git more than adequately – probably a *anker’s bonus eh?

  8. John, this is a watershed moment – the point where the story stops being (despite the best of efforts of you and others) something of grave concern in the Westminster and media villages and on the blogosphere and starts being a national outrage with the public fully tuned in and utterly horrified. I’ve been a hack for 30 years and have seen and heard some terrible things. I never for one moment imagined that I’d see anything like this. An innocent abroad? Well, maybe. Truly shocked.

    • You are right. Up to now mere mortals would not have identified with the celebs who were hacked. In a lot of cases like 2 jags they would have positively liked it. With this latest disclosure, people can empathise and see how heinous this hacking was. It is indeed a watershed moment and I think the repercussions and police action will start to bite. When did the police first know about the Dowler hacking? Why was there not an immediate police and CPS investigation? This can not be dressed up as a privacy issue but is an unambiguous criminal act. Was Newscorp being shielded by senior officers in the Met? Lot’s of questions need answering
      now.

  9. And yet the real hack is occuring among our establishment and security services and the silence is deafening.Yesterday,a new satellite dish was activated in Yorkshire by the American military.Details of the material carried was available at Chinese hack sites,with encryption “solutions”at Russian sites.Some Montenegro hacks were accessing this morning and piggy backing.Yet all is secure?

  10. To Everyone
    Compton above says this is a watershed moment. I have the same feeling. But higher up the threads, IATL (whose name suggests he wouldn’t agree) supports his understandable cynicism with a quote of breathtaking psychopathy from Mr Rhyming-Slange’s department:
    ‘Aides to the culture secretary say that legally his only consideration can be the impact on what’s called “media plurality” – in other words the impact on the number of different media voices. The question of whether Mr Murdoch or his company are – in the jargon – “fit and proper persons” to take full ownership of the broadcaster cannot now, they say, be added to the process.’
    After this, Kit Green points out: ‘….but Ofcom can still address the “fit and proper persons” requirement.’
    So maybe this is the place we should bombard with Jon Allen’s ‘No more DD’ suggestion.
    I just feel somehow that blogging alone isn’t enough at this point: nationwide outrage is the only thing that will work.
    What about the Complete Hunt’s seat? Apart from the fact we’d all like to kick it very hard, can we organise a protest there? Get him deselected, or disembowelled or something.
    What about the shared nasal sherbert habits of Cameron and Brooks?
    Throwing paint at Coulson?
    Maybe the time to get nasty – ironically, in favour of getting our decency back – is now upon us?
    I’m starting to make some calls….

    • John
      A short while ago I received a request to add my name to the 38 Degrees petition against Murdoch (see http://www.38degrees.org.uk) who have had some success in putting pressure on UK government over the forests “sell-off” and other matters. Might be worth publicising their aims.

      One small thing, Rachel Cowles was a Bellfield target, she is still alive. It was this second charge that the tabloids managed to abort with their contemptuous articles after the Dowler verdict.

  11. Ah . . . I think that was one of the questions asked last week at one of the parliamentary committees. They asked Yates [John Yates, acting deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police] if it was true that he thought that the NoW had been hacking the phones of friends and family of those girls who were murdered . . . the Soham murder and the Milly girl [Milly Dowler].

    Him Yeah. Yeah. It’s more than likely. Yeah . . . It was quite routine. Yeah – friends and family is something that’s not as easy to justify as the other things.

    http://www.newstatesman.com/newspapers/2011/04/phone-yeah-cameron-murdoch

  12. Hugh Grant : Bugged the buggers….

    Me So they all knew? Wade probably knew all about it all?

    Him [...] Cameron must have known – that’s the bigger scandal. He had to jump into bed with Murdoch as everyone had, starting with Thatcher in the Seventies . . . Tony Blair . . . [tape is hard to hear here] Maggie openly courted Murdoch, saying, you know, “Please support me.” So when Cameron, when it came his turn to go to Murdoch via Rebekah Wade . . . Cameron went horse riding regularly with Rebekah. I know, because as well as doorstepping celebrities, I’ve also doorstepped my ex-boss by hiding in the bushes, waiting for her to come past with Cameron on a horse . . . before the election to show that – you know – Murdoch was backing Cameron.

    Him James. They’re all mates together.

    They all go horse riding.

    You’ve got Jeremy Clarkson lives here [in Oxfordshire]. Cameron lives here, and Rebekah Wade is married to Brooks’s son [the former racehorse trainer Charlie Brooks].

    Cameron gets dressed up as the Stig to go to Clarkson’s 50th birthday party [NB: it was actually to record a video message for the party].

    Is that demeaning for a prime minister? It should be the other way round, shouldn’t it? So basically, Cameron is very much in debt to Rebekah Wade for helping him not quite win the election . . .

    So that was my submission to parliament – that Cameron’s either a liar or an idiot.

    Him I mean – 20 per cent of the Met has taken backhanders from tabloid hacks. So why would they want to open up that can of worms? . . . And what’s wrong with that, anyway? It doesn’t hurt anyone particularly. I mean, it could hurt someone’s career – but isn’t that the dance with the devil you have to play?

    Me Well, I suppose the fact that they’re dragging their feet while investigating a mass of phone-hacking – which is a crime – some people would think is a bit depressing about the police.

    http://www.newstatesman.com/newspapers/2011/04/phone-yeah-cameron-murdoch

    • ” Cameron’s either a liar or an idiot…”

      Why such a strong statement?

      Surely it’s possible – even probable – that he’s both.

  13. Excellent work.

    I have written to ed.richards @ ofcom.org.uk (ceo)
    to express my outrage at these monsters.
    More letters and petition signing will follow.

  14. With respect to Monsieur Hunt, could there be a pay off via his wife and Mlle Deng aka Murdoch? Just a thought from an OAH.

  15. Fantastic piece, John. Sadly that is the way it really is. This is going to be a mother of all scandals.
    This Milly Dowler incident has to be the watershed. I’ve read somewhere about them, possibly, hacking the phones of all involved in the Sowham murders. This is absolutely disgusting and as low as it gets.
    Surely,we can’t let Murdoch takeover over BSkyB now. If he does get it through, after this, then something is very, very wrong and they really are all in it together. Newscorp are a total disgrace. They’re not fit for purpose. Sick even.

  16. Newscorp and the people responsible will hopefully be hung from the highest yard arm, but I do hope that if it comes out that the police knew what was going on, and did nothing, that heads will roll there too. There is a very unhealthy connection between the police and the media. Each rely on the other to promote their own interests and tend to give each other too much leeway as a result.

    • Yeahbut…enter the CPS who have an unwritten role to protect the Establishment (including the 4th Estate) from its own grave errors whenever possible.

      Recall the de Menezes killing and the Tomlinson death at the G20 demo where in the former case, the CPS chose not to prosecute a perfectly valid case and in the latter case only changed their mind and decided to prosecute when it became very difficult to brush it aside.

      This phone-hacking scandal, those two incidents and the MPs expenses scandal are irrefutable evidence that the corrupt CPS (under political control) is overriding the Rule of Law – something which is supposed to be sacrosanct in a healthy democracy.

  17. I think the watershed moment was when Ford pulled their NoW advertising. Hopefully one of many companies that will do the same. I’d cancel my Sky subscription if I had one.

    • Hear hear. Other advertisers are following suit. It’s the rats leaving the sinking ship.
      Newscorp isn’t doomed just yet….we can but hope.

  18. As John has pointed out previously there are some good men/women in the various police forces in the country who are getting a bad name because the rotten apples in the barrel are seemingly in charge and backed up by the Murdoch shilling (with added inflation). Witness the C4 new story that a murder investigation detective was spied on by NOTW possibly because he was getting too close to their own spying network within the force.
    The cleansing of our law custodians are more important than getting rid of Rebekah Brooks or even Murdoch, because without a decent law enforcement agency we will only get more of the same.

  19. http://twitpic.com/5lqnfy
    Tomorrows front page.
    Something disturbing on the horizon…Clarence Mitchell has been talking with the MET this afternoon and trying to involve the Madeleine McCann story suggesting phones were hacked. BBC are now reporting this.

    Now the plot thickens ,recently deceased Clement Freud was part owner of a Villa in Praia da Luz. Kate wrote in her book they had lunch with him in July 2007 enjoying Strawberry vodkas.

    Just watch out for Mitchell and the McCanns running away with the story and burying all the bad news. Murdoch never forgets his friends and neither do the McCanns

    Just watch out for Mitchell and the McCanns taking over this hacking story

    • I hadn’t seen that. Clarence has, in my view, been telling Wappings as well in other areas. I don’t think his phone was hacked at all.

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