Thursday, September 08, 2011

What's Behind the Murdoch Scandal?

Guardian reporter quizzed by anti-corruption detectives over hacking inquiry leaks
*Amelia Hill questioned over links to inquiry officer
*Journalist broke story of Milly Dowler's phone being hacked and arrest of senior NotW reporter
*Deputy football editor of The Times also arrested
By Rebecca Camber
8th September 2011
Quizzed: Amelia Hill, a Guardian journalist, has been questioned over allegations she aided and abetted misconduct in a public office
A journalist from the Guardian has been questioned by detectives investigating sensitive leaks from within Scotland Yard’s phone hacking inquiry team.
Amelia Hill, who was first with the information that the News of the World hacked into Milly Dowler’s phone, was interviewed under caution about the passing of confidential details of the investigation to the newspaper.
Miss Hill, 37, is understood to have formed a friendship with an officer on the hacking inquiry, codenamed Operation Weeting.
The 51-year-old officer has been suspended and Miss Hill was questioned over suspicions that she might have aided and abetted misconduct in a public office.
As part of their investigation, detectives will also try to establish whether the suspended officer received any expenses paid for passing the information.
Miss Hill is believed to have become close to the officer after she interviewed him in connection with another story.
The development is embarrassing for the paper, whose coverage of the hacking scandal prompted a public inquiry into journalistic standards.
In July, Miss Hill broke the Guardian’s Milly Dowler story – described as a ‘tipping point’ in the scandal – which revealed that private investigators working for the tabloid hacked the voicemails of the murdered Surrey schoolgirl after she went missing in 2002.
And last month she reported the arrest of News of the World reporter James Desborough before he had even been formally detained by police.
The alleged source of these police leaks was arrested at his desk. The officer was said to have called the Guardian in a panic that night asking to speak to Miss Hill.
Breaking news: Hill first reported that Milly Dowler's phone had been hacked, before reporting on James Desborough's arrest before he was formally detained.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers, in charge of Operation Weeting, was furious at the constable’s alleged ‘unauthorised disclosure’, breaking a confidentiality agreement signed by all Operation Weeting officers.
Detectives will be closely examining phone records of the arrested detective in relation to a number of stories written by Miss Hill.
On Monday, she appeared on Sky News to preview the newspaper front pages. She claimed that the Guardian had uncovered a number of documents and tapes in relation to the hacking inquiry.
Dan Roberts, the paper’s national news editor, said on Twitter that it was a ‘bleak day for journalism when reporter behind vital hacking revelations is criminalised for doing her job’. Nick Davies, who has led the Guardian’s phone-hacking coverage, wrote on the website: ‘Scotland Yard
trying to use criminal law to restrict reporting of their own activity.’
A Guardian News & Media spokesman said: ‘Journalists would no doubt be concerned if the police sought
to criminalise conversations between off-record sources and reporters.
Arrested: The Times' Deputy football editor Raoul Simons was arrested yesterday on suspicion of conspiracy to intercept voicemail messages
'While we would never comment on any specific confidential source, we can confirm that Amelia Hill has never paid any police officer for information. Given the ongoing police investigation we have nothing further to add.’
In a separate development, police yesterday arrested the deputy football editor of The Times, Raoul Simons, 35, on suspicion of conspiracy to intercept voicemail messages.
He has been on extended leave since September 2010.
He is the 16th suspect to be held since the scandal broke.
It also emerged yesterday that News International has asked the technology firm HCL to delete emails and other documents 13 times since 2009.
HCL informed the Commons Home Affairs Committee in August that it was aware of the deletion of hundreds of thousands of emails between April 2010 and July 2011, but said it knew of nothing ‘untoward’ behind the requests.


Murdoch scandal: News of the World whistleblower Sean Hoare found dead
By Mark Hughes, Andrew Porter and Gordon Rayner, The Daily Telegraph
July 19, 2011
A former News of the World journalist who blew the whistle on the extent of phone hacking was found dead Monday as the unrelenting scandal took another dark turn.
Sean Hoare, 47, who accused his former editor, Andy Coulson, of complicity in the illegal activity, was discovered at his home days after he made a series of fresh allegations against executives under whom he worked.
Police said his death was "unexplained", but said they did not at this stage suspect foul play.
The news of came as David Cameron cut short a trip to Africa to fly home as another day of developments turned the phone hacking scandal into his gravest crisis as Prime Minister.
Mr Cameron, who employed Mr Coulson as his Downing Street media strategist after the former editor quit his post at the News of the World, faces a barrage of questions from MPs Wednesday after Parliament's summer recess was delayed so he could make an emergency Commons statement.
Meanwhile, News Corp. is considering promoting Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey to the position of CEO to succeed Rupert Murdoch, who would remain as chairman, Bloomberg reported on Monday.
The report said that a decision has not yet been made, and depends on Murdoch's performance before the British Parliament on Tuesday.
In other developments:
-John Yates, the policeman who twice resisted calls to reopen the investigation into phone hacking, resigned as Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police over his links to Neil Wallis, the former deputy editor of the News of the World.
-Boris Johnson was forced to defend himself against allegations that he had personally intervened to secure the resignations of Sir Paul Stephenson, the Met Commissioner, and Mr Yates.
-Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International, announced that she would answer questions from a committee of MPs Wednesday despite being arrested on Sunday by police investigating hacking at the newspaper she once edited.
-James Murdoch is expected to face a fight for his future as chairman of News International when he and his father, Rupert, appear before the same panel of MPs.
Mr Hoare, who worked for The Sun and the News of the World until 2005, became a key figure in the phone-hacking scandal last year when he was the first reporter to go on the record with allegations that Mr Coulson not only knew about hacking, but "actively encouraged" his staff to intercept voicemail messages.
He told the New York Times that Mr Coulson's claims that he knew nothing about phone hacking were "simply a lie." He later told the BBC that his former editor had personally asked him to access phone messages, a claim that Mr Coulson denied.
Mr Hoare, who was later interviewed under caution by police, made fresh allegations last week, when he said News of the World executives paid police officers to locate "targets" by using their mobile phone signal in an operation known as "pinging".
Then he told a Guardian journalist: "There's more to come. This is not going to go away."
Mr Hoare, who was interviewed under caution last September by police, was found dead at his home in Watford, Herts, Monday morning after concerns were raised about his whereabouts.
A spokesman for Hertfordshire Police said: "The death is currently being treated as unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious."
Mr Hoare had been treated in the past for drink and drug problems, and badly injured his foot earlier this month in an accident.
His father, John, of Ickenham, west London, said he was "totally bemused" by his son's death and added: "All I can say is I think eventually he will be proved right."
Masonic Blackmail Behind Murdoch Scandal?
by Henry Makow Ph.D.
July 19, 2011
(left, former Commissioner of London Police, Sir Paul Stephenson.)
"My hunch is that, with police collaboration, Murdoch and his newspaper ran an intelligence gathering operation designed to blackmail England's Masonic elite and ensure they toe the line. "
Clearly there is a lot more to the Murdoch scandal than we have been told.
You don't shutter a 167-year-old newspaper, the largest English-language weekly in the world, just because some reporters were overzealous in their quest for news.
If the newspaper had only hacked the phones of Milly Dowler and the 9-11 victims' families, I doubt we would be hearing about this.
The newspaper hacked the phones, computers, bank accounts, phone and medical records of leading members of the Illuminati establishment, Governors of the Bank of England, the royal family, and politicians and their wives such as Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Jack Straw, Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell.
My hunch is that, with police collaboration, Murdoch and his newspaper ran an intelligence gathering operation designed to blackmail England's Masonic elite and ensure they toe the line.
The hacking has been common knowledge for more than a dozen years, when The Guardian exposed it in 1999. Remember when Prince Charles was recorded in 1989 saying he envied Camilla's tampon? Nothing was done because this was the way power was organized.
In 2003, News of the World Editor Rebekah Brooks admitted to a parliamentary committee that they had paid police for information and intended to continue. This has been public knowledge for some time!
But the times are changing. Something went wrong. Perhaps Murdoch and his cohorts overstepped their bounds. Perhaps they started to monitor the wrong people. Perhaps they got too big for their britches.
I don't know the reason but the time had come to take Murdoch down and reorganize the system of blackmail in England.
It was time to clean house, not just at the newspaper but also at Scotland Yard. It remains to be seen how deeply the Prime Minister David Cameron is involved.
These are dangerous times for Illuminati collaborators. No one is safe from swift demotion: Dominique Strauss-Khan, Muammar Gaddafi, Hosni Mubarak, and now even Rupert Murdoch.
Commentators who bemoan pervasive official corruption refuse to address the underlying cause. Our important institutions all have been infiltrated and subverted by a satanic cult, Freemasonry.
This ancient secret society is dedicated to undermining our institutions and values, and folding every country into a tyrannical world government controlled by its sponsors, the Rothschild central banking cartel.
In his book "The Brotherhood," Stephen Knight showed how Masons secretly control every aspect of British society. There are 500,000 Masons in England. Lodges are associated with every local government, police, bank, military unit, hospital, university, church, court and of course Westminster. What passes for politics is basically members of the same Lodge contending for office to decide how to enact the Masonic agenda. Knight documents how Masons give each other preferment in hiring, promotion and business. Non-Masons are continually hassled. It is no understatement to say that the UK is a Masonic tyranny.
Look at the picture of former Scotland Yard Chief Sir Paul Stephenson (above.) He resigned because he was implicated in the scandal. Look at the checkerboard symbol on his hat, worn by every British constable. #HYPERLINK It is Masonic.
What chance does a society have when its leadership and law enforcement have gone over to the dark side, and the people are too naive and docile to notice?
Jonathan Rees
Last month, The Guardian reported that private investigator Jonathan Rees earned $225,000 a year doing
Murdoch's dirty work:
"Years ago, Jonathan Rees became a Freemason. According to journalists and investigators who worked with him, he then exploited his link with the lodges to meet masonic police officers who illegally sold him information which he peddled to Fleet Street.
"As one of Britain's most prolific merchants of secrets, Rees expanded his network of sources by recruiting as his business partner Sid Fillery, a detective sergeant from the Metropolitan Police. Fillery added more officers to their network. Rees also boasted of recruiting corrupt Customs officers, a corrupt VAT inspector and two corrupt bank employees.
"... The Guardian has confirmed that Rees reinforced his official contacts with two specialist 'blaggers' who would telephone the Inland Revenue, the DVLA, banks and phone companies and trick them into handing over private data.
"...An investigator who worked for Rees claims he was also occasionally commissioning burglaries of public figures to steal material for newspapers. Southern Investigations has previously been implicated in handling paperwork that was stolen by a professional burglar from the safe of Paddy Ashdown's lawyer, when Ashdown was leader of the Liberal Democrats. The paperwork, which was eventually obtained by the News of the World, recorded Ashdown discussing his fears that newspapers might expose an affair with his secretary.
"...Targeting the Bank of England, Rees is believed to have earned thousands of pounds by penetrating the past or present mortgage accounts of the then governor, Eddie George; his deputy, Mervyn King, who is now governor; and half-a-dozen other members of the Monetary Policy Committee.
"Rees carried out his trade for years. His career as a pedlar of privacy stretches back into the 1990s, when he worked assiduously for the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the News of the World."
Remember Dr. David Kelly who was murdered in 2003 for blowing the whistle on Tony Blair and the trumped-up reasons for going into Iraq?
Now another whistle blower, Sean Hoare, has been murdered. Hoare, a former News of the World columnist and friend of Editor Andy Coulson, exposed the hacking scandal. He said there was "more to come...this is not going to go away."
He also feared the "government" would try to murder him. Are we supposed to believe the police who say his death is "not being treated as suspicious?"
Murdoch's British newspapers account for less than two percent of Newscorp revenues. Obviously their real purpose was political power, prestige and blackmail.
We are dealing with internal Masonic politics here, a system of blackmail intended to keep the elite in line. All that remains is the reason why the kingpins, presumably the Rothschilds, pulled the plug on it, and on their trusted lieutenant, Rupert Murdoch.
It appears that the Illuminati are more enslaved than we are. That is the final irony.
How We Broke the Murdoch Scandal
Alan Rusbridger
Jul 17, 2011
Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian. Inset: Cover of The Guardian after the scandal., Dan Chung / Eyevine-Redux (portrait)
Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger on his dogged reporter, a U.S. ally—and a gamble that finally paid off.
Every so often—perhaps once every 18 months—the veteran Guardian writer Nick Davies comes into my office, shuts the door with a conspiratorial backward glance, and proceeds to tell me something hair-raising.
In June last year he wanted to inform me about Julian Assange. He’d read that the (then little-known) snowy-haired hacker was on the run with a data stick full of millions of secret documents that the U.S. Defense and State departments had carelessly hemorrhaged. His plan was to track him down … and then The Guardian
would publish them all. Good idea?
Early in 2009 there had been a similar moment. He’d discovered that James Murdoch, the son and heir of the most powerful private news-media company on earth, had done a secret deal to pay more than $1 million to cover up evidence of criminal behavior within the company. Interested?
The answer to both questions was—of course. Followed by a small inner gulp at the sheer scale and implications of the stories. Followed by the sight of Nick, invariably dressed in jeans and a defiantly unfashionable brown leather jacket, disappearing back out through the door in search of trouble.
Everyone knows how WikiLeaks ended: a global swarm of revelations and headlines, with governments the world over transfixed by the daily drip-feed of disclosures, war logs, classified cables, and diplomatic indiscretions. And now everyone knows how the Murdoch story ended: with a kind of giant heave of revulsion at what his employees had been up to, and with a multibillion-dollar merger stopped in its tracks by the most overwhelming parliamentary vote anyone can remember. A profitable newspaper selling millions of copies a week had been killed off. The British press regulator was dead in the water.
Except the Murdoch story isn’t finished. It reaches so deeply into so many aspects of British and American civic life—including policing, politics, media, and regulation—that the story will continue to play out over the months, even years, ahead. Everyone expects more arrests. There are numerous civil actions wending their way through the British courts. There will be two public inquiries—into the behavior of press and police. And who knows what trouble the News Corp. shareholders or American regulatory authorities might create the more they learn about the management of the British wing of the family business.
Rewind to July 2009 and think how different it could have been. Up to this point the official narrative was straightforward. News of the World’s royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, had been caught “hacking” the palace phones. Or, rather, he had subcontracted the job to a private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, who was expert at accessing voice messages and cracking any security (such as PIN numbers) that a victim might have put in place. The police had pounced. The two men went to jail, and News International told everyone—press, Parliament, police, and regulator—that Goodman was a lone rotten apple. The editor, Andy Coulson, resigned, protesting that he knew nothing about any of it. Game over.
The Guardian’s story on July 9, 2009, blew all that apart. It showed that there had been another junior reporter at work transcribing voice messages left for the Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive, Gordon Taylor, and sending them “to Neville”—a reference to NotW’s long-standing chief reporter, Neville Thurlbeck. So that was two more NotW journalists in the know. Some executive must have instructed the junior reporter, which would make three. And a named executive (who might or might not have been directing the young reporter) had signed a bonus contract for Mulcaire if he landed the Taylor story. So that was three, maybe four, in addition to Goodman.
When he learned about this new case, James Murdoch reached for the checkbook—a decision he now blames on the advice he was given at the time. He did it again with another case involving the hacking of the phone of the showbiz publicist Max Clifford.
But the reactions of other agencies were equally telling. The police announced an inquiry—and then, within hours, issued a terse statement saying there was nothing “new” to investigate. Well, of course not. It was all sitting in the 11,000 pages of Mulcaire’s notes, which they had seized back in 2005 but done so little about.
News International saw the police’s announcement as vindication. The company put out a very bullish statement telling the world that The Guardian had deliberately misled the British public. In due course the Press Complaints Commission announced the findings of its own inquiry: there was no evidence to suggest that the “rotten apple” theory was anything other than the truth. Not even News International was sticking to this line by then, but the watchdog had rolled over like a puppy.
A parliamentary committee did its best to get to the bottom of things. But News International’s chief executive, the former Sun and NotW editor Rebekah Brooks, refused to grace the committee with her presence. One or two of the committee’s members have since said that they felt too intimidated by the threat of what might be done to them by News International journalists if they insisted. So they didn’t.
And the majority of the press weren’t much better. By now—to general astonishment—Coulson had been hired as press spokesman by the man everyone assumed would be the next prime minister, David Cameron. The nearer Cameron edged to the door of No. 10 Downing Street, the less appetite there was to run anything negative about Coulson. I knew (if I didn’t know already) how lonely our chosen track was going to be in November 2009 when an employment tribunal awarded a former News of the World journalist more than $1 million in damages after finding that he had suffered from a culture of bullying under Coulson.
Big story? Not at all. Not a single paper other than The Guardian noted the fact in their news pages the next day. There seemed to be some omertĂ  principle at work that meant that not a single other national newspaper thought this could possibly be worth an inch of newsprint.
Life was getting a bit lonely at The Guardian. Nick Davies had been alerted that Brooks had told colleagues that the story was going to end with “Alan Rusbridger on his knees, begging for mercy.” “They would have destroyed us,” Davies said on a Guardian podcast last week. “If they could have done, they would have shut down The Guardian.”
If the majority of Fleet Street was going to turn a blind eye, I thought I’d better try elsewhere to stop the story from dying on its feet, except in the incremental stories that Nick was still remorselessly producing for our own pages. I called Bill Keller at The New York Times. Within a few days, three Times reporters were sitting in a rather charmless Guardian meeting room as Davies did his best to coach them in the basics of the story that had taken him years to tease out of numerous reporters, lawyers, and police officers.
The Times reporters took their time—months of exceptional and painstaking work that established the truth of everything Nick had written—and broke new territory of their own. They coaxed one or two sources to go on the record. The story led to another halfhearted police inquiry that went nowhere. But the fact and solidity of the Times investigation gave courage to others. Broadcasters began dipping their toes in the story. One of the two victims began lawsuits. Vanity Fair weighed in. The Financial Times and The Independent chipped away in the background. A wider group of people began to believe that maybe, just maybe, there was something in this after all.
Meanwhile, Cameron—against all advice—had appointed Coulson to be his press spokesman at No. 10. There had been a moment just before the election when I had sent a warning to him of evidence that we couldn’t publish for legal reasons but that I thought he should know.
It went like this: in 2005 Coulson’s NotW had rehired as one of its investigators a man named Jonathan Rees, who was just out of prison having served a seven-year sentence for planting cocaine on an innocent woman. Rees was now in prison, awaiting trial for conspiracy to murder his former business partner, a man who had been found in a pub parking lot with an ax in his head. He was acquitted this past March.
It was inconceivable that NotW could not have known about his criminal background: The Guardian had published two long articles about Rees’s previous links with NotW and corrupt police officers back in 2002.
The Guardian couldn’t publish any of this before the general election because British media law bars newspapers from writing about people facing criminal charges. But it seemed to me that Cameron might like to know before he made any appointments to his government team (I told Gordon Brown, then prime minister, and Nick Clegg, now deputy prime minister, as well.)
Cameron said this week that his chief of staff never told him—not that it seemed to have bothered him very much at the time. He appeared rather dismissive of its significance and only a little rattled. Appointing Coulson was a terrible judgment call, and he must know it.
The tipping point came some time around the new year. The stream of civil legal actions became a torrent. The police became seriously engaged at last, appointing a new 45-strong team to do what had so glaringly not been done back in 2006. It has so far said that it has informed 170 out of nearly 4,000 targets. The regulator ripped up its old report as worthless. And then came the revelation by Nick Davies that NoTW had hacked into the phone calls of the missing teenager Milly Dowler, deleting her voice messages so that it could listen to new ones. That single action—which had given Milly’s parents hope during the dark days before it was confirmed that she had been murdered—caused a surge of revulsion from which NotW found it hard to recover.
Rarely has a single story had such a volcanic effect. Suddenly you couldn’t keep the politicians, journalists, police officers, and regulators off the TV screens. Police officers lined up to apologize for oversights and errors of judgment. M.P.s were suddenly saying very publicly things that, a fortnight earlier, they would only have whispered.
Someone christened it the “Murdoch Spring.” There was a widespread acknowledgment that, for a generation or more, British public life had molded itself to accommodate the Murdochs. As the company grew larger, more successful (40 percent of the national press and a broadcaster with twice the income of the BBC), and more aggressive—and with, as we now know, a small team of criminal investigators employed to work over anyone in public life—it became an accepted belief that these were bad people to upset. You needed Murdoch to get elected in Britain—or so most politicians believed. And—always unspoken—Murdoch needed certain things, too. It wasn’t necessarily corrupt. But it was certainly corrupting. And now—with one story and one unanimous vote in the House of Commons—that spell has been broken.
Rusbridger is editor in chief of The Guardian.