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News International knew hacking was widespread in 2007

Evidence of cover-up emerges as Murdoch's bid for BSkyB looks doomed

The Independent

By Martin Hickman, Cahal Milmo, Oliver Wright and Ian Burrell

Monday, 11 July 2011

Rupert Murdoch's takeover of BSkyB appeared to be dead in the water last night after proof emerged that executives at his British newspaper empire mounted a cover-up of the full scale of alleged criminal wrongdoing at the News of the World.

In another extraordinary day in the phone-hacking scandal, Downing Street sources confirmed that Government lawyers were drawing up a strategy to halt the £9bn deal which looked a certainty only a week ago.

As Nick Clegg threatened to split the Coalition by siding with a Labour plan to block the takeover, a senior Government source said last night: "We are working on a plan to suspend the deal while the police investigation is taking place. But we have to ensure it doesn't get thrown out by judicial review."

The U-turn came after one of News International's own papers revealed that an internal report carried out in 2007, after the News of the World's royal editor Clive Goodman was jailed, had found evidence that illegally accessing voicemails was more widespread at the paper – and that payments had been made to police officers.

An anonymous executive was quoted as saying that the report had been like a "ticking time bomb". The report suggests there was a deliberate cover-up by unidentified executives at News International, which had told Parliamentary inquiries in 2007 and 2009 there was no evidence journalists other than Goodman had been involved in phone hacking, nor that it had attempted to suppress evidence of illegality.

The collapse of the cover-up came as:

* Rupert Murdoch flew into London and was seen entering News International's Wapping HQ carrying a copy of the last ever News of the World.

* Labour leader Ed Miliband confirmed his party's opposition to the BSkyB bid and won backing from senior Lib Dems.

* One of Scotland Yard's most senior officers, John Yates, admitted that his decision to fend off demands for a re-opening of the criminal investigation into the NOTW had been "pretty crap".

* The parents of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, whose phone was targeted by the paper, prepared to travel to Downing Street to demand action over the growing scandal.

* The News of the World published its final edition after 168 years with the headline "Thank You & Goodbye", and and an apology for having "lost its way".

* An audacious bid was being made by to resurrect the Sunday paper.

The Government's U-turn over its backing for the BSkyB deal is a humiliation for the Prime Minister, who last week said he was powerless to stop it.

Liberal Democrat officials revealed Nick Clegg would back a Labour parliamentary motion calling for the takeover to be suspended, unless Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt acted before a Commons debate on Wednesday. Ministers are thought to have been hoping Ofcom would block the deal under its "fit and proper persons" test for broadcasters, but with that looking unlikely before the end of the criminal investigation, they are taking action themselves. Lawyers in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport are thought to be looking at whether the assurances given by News Corporation on plurality can be trusted in light of the growing evidence of corporate wrongdoing. Yesterday, Mr Miliband warned Mr Cameron that unless there was action before Wednesday, he would force the issue to a vote in Parliament. He said: "I say this to the Prime Minister: over the next 72 hours I hope he changes his position."

Hours after flying into Britain, Mr Murdoch continued his support of Rebekah Brooks, the embattled chief executive of News International and former News of the World editor. But the company came under further pressure as it emerged that unidentified NI executives knew as far back as 2007 that criminality at the title was apparently widespread. It subsequently insisted that only Goodman had been to blame, telling Parliament that there was no evidence other journalists were involved.

Following allegations that the victims of phone hacking spread far beyond royal aides and the five individuals identified at the trial of Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, News International carried out a "thorough investigation" in 2009. Apart from Goodman and Mulcaire, it said there was no no evidence that "News of the World journalists have accessed the voicemails of any individual" or "News of the World or its journalists have instructed private investigators or other third parties to access the voicemails of any individuals".

Scotland Yard, whose Assistant Commissioner John Yates said in an interview that he had failed to carry out a proper review of the evidence in 2009, now concedes that there are almost 4,000 victims of phone hacking. Company sources last night said that neither Ms Brooks nor James Murdoch, News Corp's European chief executive, had seen the 2007 report until April.

Today the family of Milly Dowler will meet Mr Clegg. The paper that hacked their daughter's phone printed its last edition yesterday, saying it had carried out important investigative journalism. Its front page said: "After 168 years, we finally say a sad but very proud farewell to our 7.5m loyal readers."

How Murdoch's lieutenants pleaded ignorance

06.03.2007 John Whittingdale (DCMS Select Committee chairman): "You carried out a full, rigorous internal inquiry, and you are absolutely convinced that Clive Goodman was the only person who knew what was going on?" Les Hinton: "Yes, we have and I believe he was the only person, but that investigation, under the new editor, continues."

21.07.2009 Tom Crone: "At no stage during their [the police's] investigation or ours did any evidence arise that the problem of accessing [voicemails] by our reporters, or complicity of accessing by our reporters, went beyond the Goodman/Mulcaire situation." Asked whether any journalists other than Goodman dealt with Mulcaire, he said: "No evidence was found."

21.07.2009 After Philip Davies MP suggested journalists other than Clive Goodman must have been involved, Myler said: "No evidence, Mr Davies, has been produced internally or externally by the police, by any lawyers, to suggest that what you have said is the truth, is the case."

21.07.2009 "As far as I am aware, there is no evidence linking the non-royal phone-hacking allegations that were made against Glenn Mulcaire to any member of the News of the World staff. I think that Clive was a rogue case on the News of the World."

15.09.2009 "... There was never any evidence delivered to me that suggested that the conduct of Clive Goodman spread beyond him."

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July 11, 2011

A Detective Alleges the News of the World Spied on Him With Impunity

The New York Times

By JO BECKER and SARAH LYALL

LONDON — On Jan. 9, 2003, Rebekah Wade, until recently the editor of The News of the World, was summoned to an unusual meeting at Scotland Yard, the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service here. Detective Superintendent David Cook, the lead investigator in a gruesome cold-case killing of a man found with an ax in his head, confronted Ms. Wade with a worrying accusation: He and his family were being followed and photographed, he said, by people hired by her newspaper.

Detective Cook said the police had evidence that one of The News of the World’s senior editors, Alex Marunchak, had ordered the illegal surveillance as a favor to two suspects in the case — Sid Fillery and Jonathan Rees, private investigators whose firm had done work for the paper. The lawyer for Mr. Cook, Mark Lewis, said in an interview that the detective believed that Mr. Fillery and Mr. Rees were seeking help in gathering evidence about Detective Cook to derail the murder inquiry.

What happened at the meeting, a less detailed account of which appeared in The Guardian, provides a window into the extraordinary coziness that long existed between the British police and The News of The World, as well as the relationship between the paper and unsavory characters in the criminal world.

None of the parties to this alliance has escaped the stain. The paper, at the center of a widening scandal over phone hacking and corruption, was shut last week by News International, its parent company, in an effort to limit the already extensive damage done to the reputation and business interests of Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corporation.

Scotland Yard has admitted that it accepted News International’s explanation that the hacking was the work of one rogue reporter, and that some police officers had accepted substantial payments in exchange for confidential information.

The News of the World remains the target of several criminal investigations. A number of its former editors and reporters have been arrested, including Andy Coulson, who most recently worked as the chief spokesman for Mr. Cameron, but no one has yet been formally charged. And Prime Minister David Cameron has announced he will appoint a judge to examine both the tabloid’s hacking and its close relationship with the police.

Also present for the meeting that day in 2003, said a spokesman for Scotland Yard, were Commander Andy Baker, who was Detective Cook’s boss, and Dick Fedorcio, Scotland Yard’s chief public relations officer. According to an account Detective Cook provided to Mr. Lewis and others, Ms. Wade excused the surveillance by saying that the paper’s action had been “in the public interest” — the argument British newspapers typically make to justify using underhanded or illegal methods to, say, expose affairs by public officials.

Ms. Wade said that the paper was tailing Detective Cook because it suspected him of having an affair with Jackie Haines, host of the Crimewatch television program on which he had recently appeared. In fact, the two were married to each other, as had been mentioned prominently in an article about them in the popular gossip magazine “Hello!”

Scotland Yard seems to have been satisfied with the explanation of Ms. Wade, now known as Rebekah Brooks and the chief executive of News International. Her paper’s editors and reporters had a long history with the police — paying for tips and sometimes even serving as quasi-police investigators themselves, in return for confidential information (many News of the World stories about criminal matters used to include a reference to the paper’s handing “a dossier” of its findings to Scotland Yard).

It is the closeness between the paper and the police that, it seems, led Scotland Yard to what officials have retrospectively admitted was a major misstep: the decision not to adequately pursue the initial phone-hacking investigation in 2006 and again in 2009. It was in 2006 that members of the royal household notified the police that they believed their cellphone messages were being intercepted by The News of the World.

The subsequent police “raid” at the paper consisted of rummaging through a single reporter’s desk and failing to question any other reporters or editors. Two people were subsequently jailed: Clive Goodman, The News of the World’s royal reporter, and Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator hired by the paper. Even when The Guardian reported that the hacking had extended far beyond the pair, and that thousands of victims might be involved, the police and the newspaper insisted repeatedly that the wrongdoing had been limited to a single “rogue” reporter.

This weekend, Assistant Commissioner John Yates, who was in charge of the initial inquiry and who in 2009 declined to reopen it, said that the police response had been inadequate. “I have regrettably said the initial inquiry was a success,” he told The Sunday Telegraph. “Clearly, now it looks very different.”

After the meeting at Scotland Yard, Detective Cook left “with the impression that the meeting was arranged to placate him and let him get it off his chest, but that nothing else was going to happen,” Mr. Lewis said. “And nothing did.”

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said that “the matter was raised at the meeting at a senior level with the relevant people, and it was dealt with.” When asked how it was dealt with, the spokesman added: “The response to those concerns was the meeting.”

But a former senior Scotland Yard official said that the tailing of Detective Cook should have prompted a full-scale inquiry. “I’m amazed that wasn’t done,” said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

A spokeswoman for News Corporation, the parent company of News International, said the company “had not been previously made aware of the allegation that Ms. Brooks had known about the matter but done nothing, but that they will investigate any allegations that are put to them.”

Mr. Rees and Mr. Fillery could not be reached for comment because their locations are unknown.

Through his lawyer, Paul Jonson, Mr. Marunchak denied any wrongdoing.

No one has ever been convicted in connection with Mr. Martin’s death, despite five police investigations in 24 years, in which Mr. Fillery and Mr. Rees have been repeatedly arrested and charged. The most recent case collapsed this spring.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Tom Watson, a Member of Parliament for the Labour Party, said that the meeting showed the extent of the corrupt relationship between The News of the World on the one hand, and the police and the shady underworld of private investigators with criminal connections on the other.

“News International was paying people to interfere with police officers and was doing so on behalf of known criminals,” he said. (Mr. Fillery was convicted in 2003 of making indecent images of children; Mr. Rees of planting cocaine in a woman’s car to discredit her a child-custody case.)

Speaking of Ms. Brooks, he said: “Rebekah Brooks cannot deny being present at that meeting when the actions of people whom she paid were exposed. She cannot deny now being warned that under her auspices unlawful tactics were used for the purpose of interfering with the pursuit of justice.”

As for Detective Cook, it appears that he, too, was a victim of phone hacking around the same time that the paper had his house under surveillance. But Scotland Yard notified Mr. Cook only eight weeks ago that his name had been found among the papers seized in 2006 in Mr. Mulcaire’s home.

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I was targeted too, Gordon Brown to say

The Independent

By Martin Hickman and Cahal Milmo

Monday, 11 July 2011

Gordon Brown will today break his silence over the News International scandal by accusing Rupert Murdoch's organisation of targeting his personal information, The Independent has learnt.

In a dramatic intervention in the deepening scandal, the Labour former Prime Minister is understood to be about to claim that private investigators working for the UK's largest newspaper group are believed to have accessed details relating to his personal bank account.

It is also alleged that he and his wife featured in Glenn Mulcaire's records.

It is claimed that material based on some of the illicitly-obtained information was subsequently used by one of News International's titles.

Mr Brown's decision to make the accusations is the latest extraordinary twist in a tumultuous seven days which has shaken Mr Murdoch's British newspaper empire and almost certainly killed his £9bn bid for BSkyB.

In a separate development, the Metropolitan Police today effectively accused News International of undermining Operation Elveden, its new inquiry into alleged corruption of police officers by journalists. In a statement, the Yard said it was "extremely concerned and disappointed that the continuous release of selected information - that is only known by a small number of people - could have a significant impact on the corruption investigation."

News International is understood to have said that no information about emails supplied to Scotland Yard relating to the alleged payments would be made public prior to early August.

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Poster's note: I always suspected that Murdoch's illlegal wiretapping would eventually lead of his activities in the U.S. More bombshells should be forthcoming.

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Phone hacking: 9/11 victims 'may have had mobiles tapped by News of the World reporters'

by David Collins, Daily Mirror 11/07/2011

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2011/07/11/phone-hacking-9-11-victims-may-have-had-mobiles-tapped-by-news-of-the-world-reporters-115875-23262694/#ixzz1RoIjV6FM

DESPERATE Rupert Murdoch yesterday flew to London to try to save his ¬crumbling empire.

He arrived in a cowboy-style hat to be hit by claims News of the World reporters hacked the phones of 9/11 victims.

Murdoch held talks with News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, amid fears nine staff and three cops may face jail.

HIS media empire is crashing around him, he’s just shut down a scandal-hit newspaper and his BSkyB bid is in tatters, but Rupert Murdoch still came out grinning yesterday.

And this cosy picture of him giving his backing to smiling Rebekah Brooks will no doubt infuriate the 200 loyal staff at the defunct News of the World who were ¬sacrificed while she clung to her job.

As Labour leader Ed Miliband vowed to scupper Mr Murdoch’s bid to own all of BSkyB, the News Corp boss seemed to brush off his troubles to joke with the under-fire News International chief executive – who was editor when murdered teenager Milly Dowler’s phone was hacked. Asked what his first priority was, he gestured at Mrs Brooks and said: “This one.”

Mr Murdoch arrived in London yesterday, wearing a Panama hat and clutching a final copy of the News of the World, in a bid to save his crumbling organisation after the phone-hacking scandal saw the 168-year-old paper axed.

But he flew straight into another storm as it was claimed 9/11 victims may have had their mobiles tapped by News of the World reporters. And there was more bad news when it was revealed nine reporters -allegedly at the centre of the phone scandal and claims of police corruption could face jail, along with three officers.

After he spent time at News International’s Wapping HQ in East London, 80-year-old Mr Murdoch held crisis talks with Mrs Brooks, 43 - who denies any knowledge of the Milly phone tapping - at his home in Mayfair.

The pair chatted behind closed doors as a former New York cop made the 9/11 hacking claim. He alleged he was contacted by News of the World journalists who said they would pay him to retrieve the private phone records of the dead.

Now working as a private ¬investigator, the ex-officer claimed reporters wanted the victim’s phone numbers and details of the calls they had made and received in the days leading up to the atrocity.

A source said: “This investigator is used by a lot of journalists in America and he recently told me that he was asked to hack into the 9/11 victims’ private phone data. He said that the journalists asked him to access records showing the calls that had been made to and from the mobile phones belonging to the victims and their ¬relatives.

“His presumption was that they wanted the information so they could hack into the ¬relevant voicemails, just like it has been shown they have done in the UK. The PI said he had to turn the job down. He knew how insensitive such research would be, and how bad it would look.

“The investigator said the ¬journalists seemed particularly interested in getting the phone records belonging to the British victims of the attacks.”

The News of the World was shut after 11,000 documents seized from a private investigator revealed the ugly truth behind many of its scoops.

One police source said: “These documents show the hacking was not just one or two attempts at accessing voicemails. More than 4,000 people had their phone hacked. This was hacking on an industrial scale.”

Mr Murdoch’s son James, who is chairman of News International, admitted to approving out of court settlements to hacking victims and misleading Parliament – which he claims was not deliberate.

The fresh tapping claims prompted Mr Miliband to declare war on Mr Murdoch’s bid to control BSkyB.

In his most outspoken attack on the media mogul yet, he said yesterday: “The idea that this organisation, which has engaged in these terrible ¬practices, should be allowed to take over BSkyB... without that criminal investigation having been completed, and on the basis of assurances from that self-same -organisation… frankly that won’t wash with the public.”

Labour will table a motion on Wednesday calling on Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt to delay signing off the takeover deal until the criminal investigation into the hacking allegations is wrapped up. Lib Dem -ministers are thought to be prepared to back the Labour leader.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Business Secretary Vince Cable are said to be “totally united” against the bid.

Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes lent his support yesterday. He said: “I will be suggesting to my colleagues that we as a party, a party that’s never been close to Murdoch, should make clear that we think there should be a postponement of the decision.”

Mr Murdoch also owns the Sun, the Times and the Sunday Times.

Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, 43, was arrested on Friday over phone hacking and police corruption ¬allegations.

Ex-royal editor Clive Goodman, 53, was also held along with a unnamed 63-year-old man. All three were freed on police bail after being quizzed by officers.

Mr Coulson was hired as David Cameron’s press aide, despite warnings to the PM over his possible knowledge of the hacking while at the News of the World.

And last night criticism of Mr Cameron’s judgment grew louder as senior political figures lined up to reveal they had urged him not to take Mr Coulson into government.

Lib Dem Lord Paddy Ashdown and Energy ¬Secretary Chris Huhne claimed they warned the PM after the election - but were ignored.

Mr Huhne said: “Well I raised it with Nick and Nick raised it with the Prime Minister and it was made clear to us that this was a personal appointment to the Prime Minister.

“It wasn’t a Government appointment and therefore we didn’t have any standing to object to it, but it was very clear from what I had said previously that I think there were big reputational risks.

“The Prime Minister has said that he wanted to give Andy Coulson a second chance and that’s very commendable. The reality is that there were very serious risks being run there. We knew with Andy Coulson that anybody in charge of a ¬newspaper needs to know what’s going on and at the very least either Andy Coulson was complicit in criminal acts or, alternatively, he was a very incompetent editor by the ¬standards of Fleet Street.”

Milly Dowler’s parents Sally and Bob and sister Gemma are due to meet Mr Clegg today. They will also see Mr Cameron later in the week, Downing Street has said.

Read more: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2011/07/11/phone-hacking-9-11-victims-may-have-had-mobiles-tapped-by-news-of-the-world-reporters-115875-23262694/#ixzz1RoIjV6FM

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It is a shame that most members of the Forum, with the notable exception of Doug Caddy, who very early noticed its significance, have shown little evidence of being interested in the thread on Rubert Murdoch (although page views show it has been very popular with non-members). Here we have an example of where we are getting dramatic political change because of a media investigation. Much of this has been the result of internet campaigns. I believe this is far more important than Watergate, as this was an investigation that was carefully managed by the power elite.

Here is a good article by George Monbiot on the importance of what is happening:

http://www.monbiot.com/2011/07/11/a-hippocratic-oath-for-journalists/

Is Murdoch now finished in the UK? As the pursuit of Gordon Brown by the Sunday Times and the Sun blows the hacking scandal into new corners of the old man's empire, this story begins to feel like the crumbling of the Berlin Wall. The naked attempt to destroy Brown by any means, including hacking the medical files of his sick baby son, means that there is no obvious limit to the story's ramifications.

The scandal radically changes public perceptions of how politics works, the danger corporate power presents to democracy, and the extent to which it has compromised and corrupted the Metropolitan police, who have now been dragged in so deep they are beginning to look like Murdoch's private army. It has electrified a dozy parliament and subjected the least accountable and most corrupt profession in Britain – journalism – to belated public scrutiny.

The cracks are appearing in the most unexpected places. Look at the remarkable admission by the rightwing columnist Janet Daley in this week's Sunday Telegraph. "British political journalism is basically a club to which politicians and journalists both belong," she wrote. "It is this familiarity, this intimacy, this set of shared assumptions … which is the real corruptor of political life. The self-limiting spectrum of what can and cannot be said … the self-reinforcing cowardice which takes for granted that certain vested interests are too powerful to be worth confronting. All of these things are constant dangers in the political life of any democracy."

Most national journalists are embedded, immersed in the society, beliefs and culture of the people they are meant to hold to account. They are fascinated by power struggles among the elite but have little interest in the conflict between the elite and those they dominate. They celebrate those with agency and ignore those without.

But this is just part of the problem. Daley stopped short of naming the most persuasive force: the interests of the owner and the corporate class to which he belongs. The proprietor appoints editors in his own image – who impress their views on their staff. Murdoch's editors, like those who work for the other proprietors, insist that they think and act independently.

It's a lie exposed by the concurrence of their views (did all 247 News Corp editors just happen to support the invasion of Iraq?), and blown out of the water by Andrew Neil's explosive testimony in 2008 before the Lords select committee on communications.

The papers cannot announce that their purpose is to ventriloquise the concerns of multimillionaires; they must present themselves as the voice of the people. The Sun, the Mail and the Express claim to represent the interests of the working man and woman. These interests turn out to be identical to those of the men who own the papers.

So the rightwing papers run endless exposures of benefit cheats, yet say scarcely a word about the corporate tax cheats. They savage the trade unions and excoriate the BBC. They lambast the regulations that restrain corporate power. They school us in the extrinsic values – the worship of power, money, image and fame – which advertisers love but which make this a shallower, more selfish country. Most of them deceive their readers about the causes of climate change. These are not the obsessions of working people. They are the obsessions thrust upon them by the multimillionaires who own these papers.

The corporate media is a gigantic astroturfing operation: a fake grassroots crusade serving elite interests. In this respect the media companies resemble the Tea Party movement, which claims to be a spontaneous rising of blue-collar Americans against the elite but was founded with the help of the billionaire Koch brothers and promoted by Murdoch's Fox News.

Journalism's primary purpose is to hold power to account. This purpose has been perfectly inverted. Columnists and bloggers are employed as the enforcers of corporate power, denouncing people who criticise its interests, stamping on new ideas, bullying the powerless. The press barons allowed governments occasionally to promote the interests of the poor, but never to hamper the interests of the rich. They also sought to discipline the rest of the media. The BBC, over the last 30 years, became a shadow of the gutsy broadcaster it was, and now treats big business with cringing deference. Every morning at 6.15, the Today programme's business report grants executives the kind of unchallenged access otherwise reserved for God on Thought for the Day. The rest of the programme seeks out controversy and sets up discussions between opponents, but these people are not confronted by their critics.

So what can be done? Because of the peculiar threat they present to democracy there's a case to be made for breaking up all majority interests in media companies, and for a board of governors, appointed perhaps by Commons committee, to act as a counterweight to the shareholders' business interests.

But even if that's a workable idea, it's a long way off. For now, the best hope might be to mobilise readers to demand that journalists answer to them, not just their proprietors. One means of doing this is to lobby journalists to commit themselves to a kind of Hippocratic oath. Here's a rough stab at a first draft. I hope others can improve it. Ideally, I'd like to see the National Union of Journalists building on it and encouraging its members to sign.

'Our primary task is to hold power to account. We will prioritise those stories and issues which expose the interests of power. We will be wary of the relationships we form with the rich and powerful, and ensure that we don't become embedded in their society. We will not curry favour with politicians, businesses or other dominant groups by withholding scrutiny of their affairs, or twisting a story to suit their interests.

"We will stand up to the interests of the businesses we work for, and the advertisers which fund them. We will never take money for promulgating a particular opinion, and we will resist attempts to oblige us to adopt one.

"We will recognise and understand the power we wield and how it originates. We will challenge ourselves and our perception of the world as much as we challenge other people. When we turn out to be wrong, we will say so."

I accept that this doesn't directly address the power relations that govern the papers. But it might help journalists to assert a measure of independence, and readers to hold them to it. Just as voters should lobby their MPs to represent them and not just the whips, readers should seek to drag journalists away from the demands of their editors. The oath is one possible tool that could enhance reader power.

If you don't like it, suggest a better idea. Something has to change: never again should a half a dozen oligarchs be allowed to dominate and corrupt the life of this country.

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Andy Hayman was the Metropolitan Police Service's Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations. He was put in charge of the initial inquiry into the News of the World phone hacking affair. Ken Macdonald, was head of the Crown Prosecution Service during this period. Together they decided that only members of the royal family, who had their phones hacked, should have their cases taken to court and it was not worth investigating the list of over 5,000 people who had their phones hacked. Within months of retiring, both men were working for News International, the owners of the News of the World.

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Just 170 hacking victims contacted

The Independent

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The police chief leading Scotland Yard's phone hacking probe has revealed just 170 of more than 4,000 potential victims have been contacted.

The full scale of the long-running operation was laid bare as Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers admitted "confidence has been damaged" by previous failures.

She admitted there was an "awful lot to do" after saying police had compiled a list of more than 12,000 names and numbers.

Evidence from News International details 3,870 names along with 5,000 landline numbers and 4,000 mobiles, she told the committee of MPs.

She gave MPs her "guarantee" that she would oversee a thorough inquiry, adding: "I hope that I do not have come back here in five years time."

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As the scandal grows, could Murdoch exit Britain altogether?

A faction within the tycoon's empire has long wanted him to shed News International. Now they smell blood, says Ian Burrell

The Independent

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/press/as-the-scandal-grows-could-murdoch-exit-britain-altogether-2312102.html

Will Rupert Murdoch abandon British newspapers entirely? After the dramatic demise of the News of the World, speculation was rife last night that the News Corp media empire might seek to sell off News International to protect the rest of its business from the fallout of the hacking scandal.

Rupert Murdoch's media empire: what News Corp owns - click here to download graphic (170k)

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/press/as-the-scandal-grows-could-murdoch-exit-britain-altogether-2312102.html

With a tsunami of bad publicity threatening the company's bid to take control of BSkyB, the News Corp board in New York is likely to face questions from shareholders on the business case for retaining the News International stable of mostly loss-making titles.

Pressure increased yesterday with news that a group of American institutional investors had brought new charges against the company over the phone-hacking affair. The investors, who are critical of Rupert Murdoch and his son and deputy, James, accused News Corp of "rampant nepotism and failed corporate governance".

Beyond the chairman and chief executive himself, who has a long and sentimental attachment to the UK newspapers on which he built his fortune, News International has few friends at News Corp in the US where it will be held responsible for reducing the company's share price, which was down 6 per cent yesterday.

"There has long been a faction within News Corp which says 'Why do we have these newspapers?'" notes Michael Wolff, contributing editor to Vanity Fair and Rupert Murdoch's biographer. He said that the former president and chief operating officer, Peter Chernin, had taken such a view, and that the current chief operating officer, Chase Carey, the most likely non-family member to succeed the ageing chairman, "has never had any involvement in the newspapers".

Wolff said it was conceivable that News Corp would attempt to put the phone-hacking scandal behind it by selling News International. "It's quite possible that at some point one of the fall-back positions is to blame it all on the newspapers: 'It's newspaper culture and newspapers which are the problem here, not the company, which is a modern media company.' The newspapers were once the motor of this company but they have not been certainly in half a generation. In New York no one has heard of the News of the World."

He said that the board of the US-listed company needed to show that it did not simply act at the behest of the chairman. "As boards of major companies go, this is one of the most docile and least independent. One of the themes that is going to be taken up there is of corporate governance and that these people are not accountable. That's a board-level question and I think the board is going to come under increasing pressure to realise that." The Times and Sunday Times made losses of £87.7m in the year to 28 June 2009. News International, including The Sun and News of the World, made an overall loss of £925,000 in 2010. The Sun is still profitable but its circulation of 2.8 million is down 3 per cent on last year.

The closure of the News of the World is set to significantly reduce UK newspaper revenues which, at £1bn last year, are dwarfed by the £5.9bn made by BSkyB (of which News Corp takes 39 per cent), and represent a small slice of the £21bn revenue which News Corp makes worldwide.

Douglas McCabe, of the media analysts Enders, said the News Corp board would not normally take a great deal of interest in the UK newspapers given their "relatively trivial" contribution to global revenues. "The News Corp accounts are very largely biased towards screen-based media," he said. "Newspaper media have for some time been a declining part of the portfolio. When there are no additional factors [the board] wouldn't spend much time thinking about [uK newspapers], either considering whether to sell or anything else. But when they are brought very much into relief by a situation like this, then you are forced to carefully consider what value they have in the overall portfolio."

Despite the efforts of executives with responsibility for the London operation, such as James Murdoch and News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, the scandal has crossed the Atlantic, being seized on by the US media and threatening to infect other prestigious News Corp brands.

Les Hinton, who runs The Wall Street Journal, is expected to be called to give evidence to a public inquiry on hacking and asked to explain why he failed to appraise himself of the extent of the malpractice when he held his previous position as executive chairman of News International.

Brian Cathcart, professor of journalism at Kingston University, agreed that it was getting harder to maintain a business case for News Corp retaining its interests in the British press. "If you were a shareholder in News Corp you might be looking at it and thinking: 'This is just a small limb of the organisation, we want this BSkyB deal, how can we have allowed this to screw it up?'" he said. He added that people who had purchased shares in News Corp had essentially made a decision to back the judgement of one man. "News Corp is not a normal business, it has grown on the genius of one businessman and if you are a shareholder you are just someone who is betting on Rupert Murdoch."

Mr Murdoch had shown in his purchase of The Wall Street Journal that he still believes in newspapers but, having recently celebrated his 80th birthday, he may soon hand over to a successor who is less enamoured of having ink on his fingers.

James Murdoch showed in folding the News of the World that he had limited sentimental loyalty for a paper that his father bought in 1969. Chase Carey may have even less of an attachment to News Corp's British prints.

Professor Cathcart said: "The Times is a good newspaper now and better than it has been for most of Rupert Murdoch's ownership. Is The Times ever going to find another owner with pockets as deep as the Murdochs'? It's very hard to imagine."

Murdoch's US circle

Chase Carey

As chief operating officer, he is Rupert Murdoch's No 2, running the day to day business of the company. He was brought back to News Corp in 2009 from a US satellite firm it had previously sold. In years past, Murdoch entrusted him with building satellite operations in Europe and Asia.

Joel Klein

He has been handed the task of overseeing the internal investigation into the hacking scandal. Until last year, he was running the New York schools system for mayor Michael Bloomberg. Murdoch hired him as a non-executive for his ties to the Democratic party establishment.

Viet Dinh

The Vietnamese immigrant to the US was Assistant Attorney General under President George W Bush. He is the other News Corp non-executive working on the hacking investigation and public relations fallout.

Arthur Siskind

If anyone knows where News Corp's bodies are buried, he knows, because he buried them. He was Mr Murdoch's senior in-house lawyer for 13 years, and stayed on after retirement in 2004 as "senior adviser to the chairman".

Robert Thomson

Mr Murdoch's last great adventure in the newspaper business, the acquisition of The Wall Street Journal, was cooked up with the former editor of the Times. Now Mr Thomson is editor of the WSJ and remains a trusted adviser.

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http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/6155b970-abe6-11e0-945a-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz1Ru7SyCWn

Brown says Murdoch papers used known criminals

By Ben Fenton, Chief Media Correspondent

Financial Times

July 12, 2011

Gordon Brown on Tuesday accused Rupert Murdochs newspapers of employing criminals to obtain confidential information about his family and others.

The former Labour prime minister told the BBC that early in his time in office it appeared that The Sunday Times owned by Mr Murdochs News International had obtained confidential information on his bank account, legal files and possibly other material.

Im genuinely shocked to find that this happened. If I with all the protection and all the defences that a chancellor or a prime minister has can be so vulnerable to unscrupulous and unlawful tactics, what about the ordinary citizen?, Mr Brown said.

I find it quite incredible that a supposedly reputable organisation makes its money at the expense of ordinary people. I had my bank account broken into. I had my legal files effectively broken into. My tax returns went missing at one point. Medical records were broken into. I dont know how this happened.

I do know that in two instances there is absolute proof that News International hired people to do this and the people who are doing this are criminals, known criminals in some cases with records of violence and fraud.

Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour party said: Everything that has happened to Gordon is disgusting and adds to the list of outrageous practices by newspapers and reinforces the need for comprehensive action to be taken

Mr Brown has been in the vanguard of fresh accusations of illegal and unethical journalistic methods that have descended on the Wapping headquarters of News International.

Friends of Mr Brown confirmed on Monday that private files of highly personal information, from bank records to the medical files of his infant son, were illegally obtained by investigators and journalists working for the newspaper group.

The claims, revealed by The Guardian, drew in Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News International, with the allegation that in October 2006, when she was editor of The Sun, she had contacted Mr Brown and his wife Sarah in the hours after they discovered that their son Fraser had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis to say her journalists were now privy to the secret.

It is the first time that Ms Brooks has been directly linked to the unethical journalistic pursuits that have damaged the reputation of News International newspapers.

Gordon Brown has now been informed of the scale of intrusion into his familys life, his office said in a statement. The family has been shocked by the level of criminality and the unethical means by which personal details have been obtained. The matter is in police hands.

News International said in a statement that it had asked for all relevant information to be provided so it could investigate further.

For the first time, one of Rupert Murdochs upmarket titles was also brought into the frame of suspicion over the use of so-called dark arts.

Friends of Mr Brown confirmed that a private investigator working for The Sunday Times had on six separate occasions obtained information about his personal account with his bank, then known as Abbey National.

According to the reports, the banks senior lawyer wrote to John Witherow, editor of The Sunday Times, accusing his staff of being complicit in this illegal obtaining of data.

Unlike the legislation covering phone hacking, there is a public interest defence on abuses of the Data Protection Act. A person familiar with News Internationals investigation of illegal journalistic methods said the probe was linked to a story about Mr Browns purchase of a flat from a company, of which one director was Geoffrey Robinson, then paymaster-general of the same Labour government, at well below market price.

The same person said of The Sun story about Fraser Browns condition that News International was comfortable that it had come from legitimate sources.

In other developments on the phone-hacking story The Guardian reported that the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were told by police that their voicemails may have been hacked by News of the World. They were among a total of 10 members of the royal household to have been victims of phone-hacking.

Prior to the launch of Operation Weeting, the renewed police investigation, only five royal household members had been identified as targets of the Sunday tabloid.

Edited by Douglas Caddy
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Keith Olbermann says he was "blackmailed" by Murdoch as were other Murdoch employees.

He comments come near 15 minute mark of great program. John Dean's preceding remarks are incisive.

Olbermann promises more "blackmail" disclosures on his program tonight.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0aOFsT0wgA&feature=player_embedded

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Keith Olbermann says he was "blackmailed" by Murdoch as were other Murdoch employees.

He comments come near 15 minute mark of great program. John Dean's preceding remarks are incisive.

Olbermann promises more "blackmail" disclosures on his program tonight.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0aOFsT0wgA&feature=player_embedded

To me there is no such thing like a Murdoch-Gate...Watergate was a CIA/IC-staged affaire/scandal to bring the Nixon presidency to an end...there is no such artificial element in the Murdoch scandal...one cant compare this two cases, except their seize...John Dean should have known better...

KK

Edited by Karl Kinaski
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How about digging into the (unconfirmed) report that Murdoch was a high CIA agent

involved in the Nugan Hand Bank scandal, and that his payoff was control of major

media, where he implements CIA asset control.

Murdoch's Jewish connections are also seldom explored. (See Google)

Jack

Robert Murdoch was protege of British black op specialist "Lord Beaverbrook" aka "Max Aitken(?)"

http://american_alma...avel.htm#direct

Yea,

And Ian Fleming worked at the Sunday Times and was a protege of Beaverbrook too.

Fleming and OSS officers Ernest Cuneo and Ivor Bryce bought North American Newspaper Alliance (NANA) who at various times hired reporters like Ingrid Avid, Mary Meyer, Priscilla Johnson and Virginia Prewett and Goldstein, who would all get tangled up to their ears in nefarious related affairs.

There's a bigger and older journalistic history in the UK, though I think Americans understand the idea of media mogul.

BK

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When I was a teacher I often had to deal with bullying. I always told the child who was being bullied, that the bully is always a coward. My advice was to look them in the eye, stand upright, and tell them what you think of the situation you find yourself in. It is advice that I have used myself, especially against senior members of the organisation I was in. If they are a bully, they will always backdown and unlikely to cause you any trouble.

Rupert Murdoch and his editors are all bullies. They are also cowards and have been unwilling to go before the various parliamentary committees that have been investigating this affair.

Murdoch is in the same position that Joseph McCarthy was in when he was taken on by Joseph Nye Welch on live television. You can see this episode on my webpage on McCarthy. Just look at McCarthy's face at the end of the clip. This marked the end of his power (unfortunately, some of the things he developed, including the blacklist, remained in place).

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAmccarthy.htm

I believe that Murdoch is in the same position as McCarthy was in on 9th June, 1954.

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