Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Phone hacking scandal in Britain


The long-running scandal of hacking of private mobile phones by the “News of the World”, part of the Rupert Murdoch media empire exploded today with further allegations that notes made by Glenn Mulcaire the PI employed by NOTW and later prosecuted and convicted for the offences indicated that phones belonging to missing teenager Milly Dowler, later found murdered, were hacked into and messages listened to and some deleted in pursuit of news stories for the paper.

The British Government faced stinging criticism from both its supporters and opposition in both Houses of Parliament today as the news spread and public anger mounted. The Speaker of the House of Commons allowed a motion for an emergency debate on Wednesday, initiated by Labour MP, Chris Bryant .

Heavy pressure piling on through the day on Rebekah Brooks, current CEO of News International and Editor of NOTW at the time, to resign. Brooks issued a defiant statement saying she would not be resigning and knew nothing of the phone hacking operations. Only hours later a sensational revelation on Channel 4 News revealed that Brooks while editor, had attended a meeting with senior LMP personnel where she was told of police concerns that a senior detective involved in a serious murder investigation was being targeted by NOTW employees. Brooks position has now become untenable and her resignation is expected within 24 hours. This is a staggering blow for the Murdoch Empire; CEO on the rack and advertisers queuing up to ditch NOTW from their lists, Ford Motors and Tesco leading the charge. A flurry of legal actions expected to be lodged in the London High Court within days demanding millions in compensation from News International.

GUBU moment for Brit Prime Minister, David Cameron, having arrived in Afghanistan this week to be greeted by news of a British soldier gone missing and later found shot dead, putting a damper on the high profile propaganda visit. Cameron and Missus, dining buddies of Brooks at her posh pad in the cosy Cotswolds, and only recently having to sack his former head of communications at Downing Street, Andy Coulson, also a former editor of NOTW, mired in the phone hacking scandal, leaves Cameron with an unwanted and unexpected scandal of serious proportions involving his own political and social circle. Cameron, like Blair and Brown before him, bootlicked Morlock seeking favourable notice in the Morlock owned smutrags. Intense public revulsion sweeping the country like a forest fire as Cameron returns to London. Serpents’ eggs now hatching out with demonic rapidity.

Scotland Yard's latest inquiry into allegations of phone hacking by the News of the World took a dramatic turn earlier this year as the paper's chief reporter, Neville Thurlbeck, and its former assistant editor Ian Edmondson were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept mobile phone messages. Thurlbeck and Edmondson were arrested after voluntarily presenting themselves at different police stations in south-west London. Both men were later released on police bail to return in September. Their houses, as well as Thurlbeck's office and computer at the News of the World head offices, were searched by police. This the second and supposedly more thorough police enquiry into the affair. After the first outing in 2006 the Knackers turned up only two culprits for the frying pan Clive Goodman, Royal correspondent at the paper and Glenn Mulcaire, a free-lance PI who was employed by NOTW and subsequently convicted and jailed along with Goodman, much to the relief of the Hackers Ring who thought they had escaped justice.

It is suspected by London Police that Edmondson, who was sacked from the News of the World in January, and Thurlbeck ,have been implicated in the long-running scandal through documents seized from Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator employed by the newspaper. Both Edmondson and Thurlbeck  have denied any wrongdoing.

In another major embarrassment for the Knackers’ Squad, Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, directly challenged the accuracy of evidence given to Parliament by John Yates, the acting deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. Yates has repeatedly claimed there were only 10 or 12 victims of the affair, but evidence has emerged that police in 2006 knew of "a vast number".

Commissioner Yates has told parliamentary inquiries on four occasions that he used the lesser number because prosecutors had advised police to adopt a very narrow interpretation of the law, but in a detailed letter to the chairmen of two select committees, Starmer contradicted Yates's account of the legal advice, insisting that prosecutors "did not limit the scope and extent of the criminal investigation". Labour MP Chris Bryant said Yates should now "consider his position" at the Metropolitan Police.

The DPP's letter was greeted by fury and gnashing of teeth at Scotland Yard. Starmer’s claim that police did not dispute the facts in his letter, setting out the timeline of legal advice given to detectives investigating phone hacking, left top officers "very, very angry" according to British Media. Knacker canteens were abuzz with rumours and derogatory slagging of “the Brass” for once again landing the Met in deep political shit.

Each side has been describing the other in increasingly vitriolic terms, bandying around words such as "disingenuous" and "lying" in private. Such a vitriolic and sustained row between senior brass and prosecutors is unprecedented, according to sources in both organisations. The News of the World until recently insisted that the only phone hacking carried out on behalf of the paper was by a "rogue reporter", Clive Goodman, and the only other arrests linked to the simmering saga took place in 2006, when Goodman, the News of the World's former royal editor, and two associates were arrested. In January 2007 Goodman was given a four-month jail term and Glenn Mulcaire a six-month term for plotting to intercept voicemail messages left for eight public figures.

Suppressed evidence of further phone hacking was not revealed until an investigation in July 2009 by the “Guardian” Newspaper in Britain. “Operation Weeting”, which is responsible for the arrests, is the second investigation into hacking run by Scotland Yard. Previous investigations failed to act on evidence which they obtained in 2006. So far six reporters and executives have been publicly linked to the phone-hacking practice. Lawyers for the actress Sienna Miller obtained papers which implicated Edmondson in the hacking of her and eight of her friends and family’s phones. Thurlbeck's name was brought into the affair by an e-mail which was disclosed to a select committee of the British Parliament by the “Guardian” in July 2009 in which a News of the World reporter sent the transcript of 35 voicemails "for Neville".

In another development, Vodafone agreed to hand over call data relating to Miller, following a legal ruling that could set a precedent for other public figures suing the paper over allegations of phone hacking. The Metropolitan Police hoped that the arrests of senior journalists would prove to the public that the phone-hacking scandal was being aggressively investigated. It hoped it would allow a distance to be drawn between itself and the original investigation, which has been heavily criticised. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers, leading the new investigation, reportedly told one alleged victim, former Deputy Prime Minister in the Gordon Brown government, John Prescott , she was "not satisfied" with the original inquiry. "Whatever the police did before on this investigation is water under the bridge. The new operation is doing a good, thorough job. If that shows that someone in the past did a bad job, then so be it". The arrests were also, she claimed, proof that the operation is flourishing despite being under considerable pressure.The team of 45 full-time detectives is having to review all actions and decisions taken by the previous investigation.

With further revelations spilling out like beans from a barrel, the scandal has proved a mighty embarrassment for media mogul owner of News International, (Not Sir) Rupert Murdoch, the Ozzie Gauleiter of right-wing media lies and propaganda world wide. Morlock, insanely jealous of rival dinosaur “Sir” Dickhead Bransonpickle who was “sirred” by Queen Eliza years ago leaving Morlock fuming in his Castle of Evil, has been desperate to acquire a title for himself as due reward for his support of the Blair and Brown “New Labour” governments and especially the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars in his daily and Sunday smutrags “The Sun” and “News of the World”. Snowball’s chance in Hell now of any such move occurring as Buckingham Palace recently issued a further complaint that royal princess Eugenie’s phone is suspected of being hacked. Morlock will have to face being shunned by the Palace and all its allies for eternity. Definitely no invitations to Royal Weddings or Palace Junkets sent out and blacklisted at all the Courts of Europe, grovelling apologies notwithstanding. 

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer Reptile!

Update; latest: 

Tomorrow's "Independent" in London will headline the fact that besieged CEO of News International, Rebekah Brooks, despite furious denials that she knew anything of the rampaging scandal now engulfing her Company, personally commissioned searches by one of the private investigators used by the News of the World to trace the family of the murdered Surrey teenager Milly Dowler. The "Independent" reveals that Ms Brooks, while editor of NOTW, used Steve Whittamore, a private detective who specialised in obtaining illegal information and provided the paper with the Dowlers' ex-directory home phone number, to "convert" a mobile phone number to find its registered owner.
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), which successfully prosecuted Whittamore for breaches of the Data Protection Act in 2005, said last night it would have been illegal to obtain the mobile conversion if the details had been "blagged"
(illegally obtained) from a phone company.

Looks like a short ride to the guillotine for the Ginger Gorgon now.

Baile Átha Cliath/Dublin
05 Iúil/July 2011.

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