rupert murdoch

Error message

  • Deprecated function: The each() function is deprecated. This message will be suppressed on further calls in _menu_load_objects() (line 579 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/menu.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Deprecated function: implode(): Passing glue string after array is deprecated. Swap the parameters in drupal_get_feeds() (line 394 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).

Entire Nation Trying Not To Picture Rupert Murdoch Doing It

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 06/06/2024 - 7:36am in

Australia’s 26 million people have spent the morning trying to get the image of Rupert Murdoch’s wedding night out of their head.

“I’m trying to think of nice things like a beautiful lake with ducks floating on it but it’s no use,” said Wagga Wagga legal secretary Nadine Spackfiller. “Ever since the engagement was announced all I can see is Rupert Murdoch standing at the foot of a bed wearing a pair of loose fitting red polka dot boxer shorts.”

”Football football football football,” said Prahran stockbroker Jake Sprocket. “Oh God, it’s come back. All I can picture in my mind is Rupert Murdoch with a red rose between his teeth whipping off his shirt and slicking back his hair. Urgh.”

“The only way to make it stop is picturing my own mum and dad doing it,” said distressed Adelaide sales rep Tonia Bathplug. “That’s so much better, though I still get residual thoughts of Rupert Murdoch lying back on a heart-shaped motel room bed fluffing up the pillow next to himself.”

The only Australian who seemed content with picturing Rupert Murdoch getting it on was opinion writer Andrew Bolt. Bolt was observed leaning back at his desk yesterday with his eyes closed making satisfied purring noises.

Peter Green

You can follow The (un)Australian on twitter @TheUnOz or like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/theunoz.

The (un)Australian Live At The Newsagency Recorded live, to purchase click here:

https://bit.ly/2y8DH68

Paul Murray Promises Anyone Who Switches Their Vote To Dutton A Free Reach Around

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 30/05/2024 - 6:30am in

Low rating Sky News Australia host, Paul Murray, not to be confused with low rating Sky News Australia hosts, Chris Kenny or Andrew Bolt, has pledged to deliver personally a reach around to any voter who switches their vote from Anthony Albanese to Peter Dutton at the next election.

”The people of Australia need to do the (extreme) right thing and vote for Peter bloody Dutton,” said an almost pleading Paul Murray. Í mean come on, what more do I have to do to get the public on Peter’s side.”

”I’ll happily give put reach arounds or, heck, whatever it will take to get Pete in the Lodge.”

When asked why as a journalist and presenter he was openly barracking for one side over the other, Paul Murray said: ”Peter Dutton is the leader this country needs, I need him, I love everything about him.”

”From his attempts at a smile, to the way his eyes light up as he sees the life drain out of the puppy he has just strangled.”

”Australia, it’s time to do things not just the right way but the extreme right way, vote one for Peter Dutton and vote one for a free reach around.”

Mark Williamson

@MWChatShow

You can follow The (un)Australian on twitter @TheUnOz or like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/theunoz.

The (un)Australian Live At The Newsagency Recorded live, to purchase click here:

https://bit.ly/2y8DH68

The Spectacle of Impunity: Phone-Hacking Cover-Up Claims Cross the Atlantic

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 22/05/2024 - 9:43pm in

This article was first published in the June 2024 print edition of Byline Times

Subscribe now

It’s nearly exactly 10 years since I sat in the hushed court 12 of the Old Bailey to hear the jury forewoman read out the verdicts in the eight-month-long phone-hacking trial of Rebekah Brooks, then CEO of News International, on charges of conspiracy to hack phones and pay public officials for stories, and – along with her assistant Cheryl Carter, head of security Mark Hanna, and her husband, Charlie Brooks – charges of conspiring to pervert the course of justice. All were found not guilty.

The verdict felt momentous.

An estimated £100 million had been spent on the legal teams, police ­investigations, and court costs – more than 70% of that privately by Rupert Murdoch. I’d also been told that, if senior News International executives had been convicted, the police and Crown Prosecution Service were considering ­corporate charges against the company and its ‘controlling mind’. However, all that was swept away by the verdicts.

Minutes later, Brooks’ Deputy Editor at the by then defunct News of the World, and close companion, Andy Coulson, was found guilty of conspiracy to intercept voicemails.

The majority of the other Murdoch journalists in Coulson’s position, with such clear evidence against them, had pleaded guilty before the trial began. But by staying in the trial, Coulson had helped Brooks – the strength of the case against him, made that against her seem ­comparatively weak and more inferential.

Coulson had gone from the News of the World to Downing Street, where he was David Cameron’s head of communications at No 10. Minutes later, the then Prime Minister had to answer questions in the House of Commons from the then Labour Leader Ed Miliband. Cameron said he had given Coulson a “second chance” and regretted it.

It could have been a defining moment.

Boris Johnson, Tony Gallagher, and Rebekah Brooks at the 2020 The Sun Military Awards 2020. Photo: PA

The trial, and the Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practices, and ethics of the press – launched following the full exposure of the phone-hacking scandal by the Guardian in 2011 – had unleashed a torrent of information about the ‘merry-go-round’ of clandestine social contacts between senior news editors and newspaper proprietors and top politicians: Rupert Murdoch meeting prospective British Prime Ministers as if he were the ultimate power in the land, and then being invited through the back door to Downing Street when they succeeded, as if in benediction.

It was as if a light had suddenly been turned on in a dark room.

We saw Brooks herself partying with Tony Blair and David Blunkett, and ­enjoying ‘country dinners’ and horse-­riding trips with her Oxfordshire ­neighbour David Cameron. We glimpsed the plush interiors of an elite political-media class that manipulated the public through a series of back-door deals and revolving-door appointments.

But then the light turned off and we were in the dark again.

The Restoration

At the time of the phone-hacking trial verdicts in 2014, it would have been fair comment to suggest that, though Rebekah Brooks was found innocent of several criminal charges, she was guilty of being one of the most incompetent editors and CEOs in recent history – somehow not noticing what the lead prosecutor called the “criminal enterprise” ­operating beneath her.

People speculated that she would have to find another career. So it was almost as great a shock that, within a year, Brooks was back in her old job as head of the now-rebranded News UK, and one of the most influential figures in British media.

And that is how the spectacle of ­impunity became embedded in our lives.

Thanks to a decade of dogged and detailed civil litigation since, we now know much more about the things the media wasn’t punished for.

News UK had started claiming that phone-hacking was the product of a ‘rogue reporter’ and then, by shutting the News of the World, suggesting that it was a ‘rogue’ newspaper – and the criminal news-­gathering operation had nothing to do with Murdoch’s flagship daily tabloid The Sun, which Brooks also edited.

This turned out to be bunk.

More than 1,600 privacy cases have been settled by the company, many of them claims against The Sun, and News UK has paid out about £1 billion to date. Nor was ‘unlawful information-gathering’ limited to voicemail interception. Many of the settled claims involve blagging, theft, landline phone-tapping, surveillance, and unlawful access to private medical and financial records.

On the corporate scale, the evidence of systematic cover-up has only increased during the last decade. My live tweets from the Old Bailey were the basis of ­lawyers seeking disclosure about News UK’s ‘email deletion policy’ (clever Murdoch lawyers tried to rename this their ‘email retention policy’) and it now appears, according to a ‘concealment and destruction’ claim, that the company destroyed vital evidence every time it was asked to preserve it. Some 31 million emails were deleted as civil and criminal cases loomed.

The journalist Nick Davies, who first reported the phone-hacking scandal in the Guardian in 2009, has come out of retirement to dig deeper into the new evidence lodged in these civil claims for Prospect magazine, now edited by his former Guardian Editor, Alan Rusbridger. He reports on the concerted cover-up by News UK, and how journalists or investigators who might have blown the whistle were rewarded with jobs, or cash payments, and required to sign NDAs (non-disclosure agreements).

Davies reveals that it was not only emails that went missing.

Following Brooks’ arrest in July 2011, 125 items were seized by the police and placed in a secure area at the ­company’s Wapping HQ under the supervision of two Murdoch executives, Simon Greenberg and Will Lewis. When ­detectives returned to complete a detailed search of all the equipment, they ­discovered only 117 items remained. Eight filing cabinets seized from the offices of the Editor and the Managing Editor had been removed. They have never been recovered.

But the sense of lawlessness and ­impunity goes further.

Escalation to Espionage

In an account that sounds more like the actions of the East German Stasi secret police, Davies suggests that News UK continued its unlawful news-gathering even as Parliament was investigating it – and that it was using criminal methods to hack the phones of MPs, not for tittle-­tattle or tabloid sleaze, but for “political and commercial espionage”.

From the payments and phone logs ­disclosed by News UK to the civil ­claimants, Davies reports that News UK “employed numerous private investigators to hack private individuals, and also MPs – including Cabinet ministers”. These criminal methods were used to target politicians of every rank including the Attorney General, Business Secretary, and up to the Chancellor, and Prime Minister.

More than 1,500 suspicious calls from the generic number of Murdoch’s Wapping HQ targeted 16 Liberal Democrat MPs and many MPs from other parties. There were suspicious calls to Dominic Grieve, then Attorney General, when as Director of Public Prosecutions he was considering possible prosecutions against journalists.

Five members of the House of Commons’ Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee – perceived to be hostile to Murdoch’s commercial interests – received hundreds of “inexplicable” calls.

One MP who was hacked told the High Court that the pattern of behaviour was a “cynical and outrageous attempt to ­subvert the legitimate process of ­parliamentary scrutiny”.

Both as Chancellor and then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown was targeted 24 times from the Wapping “hub”. He is now considering joining the civil ­claimants against News UK and has written to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley requesting a meeting as a precursor to a new “criminal ­investigation” into these allegations of espionage. He is also asking the police to look at the ­corporate cover-up at News UK.

Whether the police will reopen its ­investigations remains unclear. There is a civil trial against News UK scheduled for next year.

In the meantime, this spectacle of ­impunity of the last decade has served as a stern lesson to the entire political-media class: if they can lie and cover-up vehemently and shamelessly enough, they can get away with it.

It’s not just Rebekah Brooks. For many prominent parties in the phone-hacking scandal, it seems to have helped rather than hindered their careers.

Will Lewis, the News Corp ­executive who should have been overseeing the disclosures to the police, was recently elevated to the role of CEO at The Washington Post – the newspaper once famed for exposing Richard Nixon’s Watergate cover-up with the fearless reporting team of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

Former Sun Editor Tony Gallagher, now Editor of The Times, faces civil claims of ‘unlawful information-­gathering’ for ­allegedly commissioning private ­investigators during his time at the Daily Mail as a senior editor.

So too, does Victoria Newton, now Editor of The Sun.

Piers Morgan, who a judge last year concluded ‘must have known’ about phone-hacking when he was Editor of the Mirror, was given a reported £15 million a year three-year contract by Murdoch as a host on Talk TV. No bad deed goes unrewarded.

And it’s not just the media figures.

The example of impunity embodied by these press luminaries shines out over the entire political landscape and goes a long way to explaining the forces underlying many of the disasters of the last decade.

The Rot Spreads

It is surely no accident that the media figures and newspapers involved in ­covering up the ‘dark arts’ of Fleet Street were key players in the lies, dirty data, and electoral dark arts of the EU Referendum campaign in 2016.

Nearly all of these papers pushed the propaganda and disinformation of the official Vote Leave campaign, fronted by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, or its unofficial rival Leave.EU led by Nigel Farage. The Sun even registered itself as a campaigning organisation with the Electoral Commission in its fervent ­support for a leave vote in the referendum.

The owners of the Telegraph, having previously been fined for sharing readership data with the Conservative Party during the 2015 General Election, were invited to meetings with the infamous Cambridge Analytica data harvesting company and Leave.EU.

After David Cameron resigned in the wake of the shock result, his successor Theresa May became the next focus of the emboldened political-media class. She was pressured into dropping the overdue second part of the Leveson Inquiry, into the relationships between journalists and the police, which could only take place after the criminal cases had concluded.

Sunday Times columnist Michael Gove and former Telegraph columnist and Spectator Editor Boris Johnson on the Vote Leave campaign bus in Lancashire, during the 2016 EU Referendum campaign. Photo: PA

Her then Culture Secretary Matt Hancock suggested to the House of Commons that Lord Justice Leveson ­himself did not want part two of the inquiry to go ahead – when in fact he had said no such thing, merely that he could not be the presiding judge.

In 2018, when Carole Cadwalladr in the Observer revealed massive data harvesting and misuse, unlawful electoral overspends by Vote Leave, and a riot of meetings between Russians and Leave.EU, these same newspapers did their best to mock or minimise them.
And so the rot spread from Fleet Street to Westminster, undermining all of the norms of political life, both written and unwritten.

The same political-media class went on to topple May and foist Boris Johnson (who called phone-hacking “left-wing codswallop”) on the country.

They applauded his unlawful prorogation of Parliament (the Mail branded the Supreme Court judges who ruled on it ‘enemies of the people’) and his hard exit from the EU. They lauded his handling of the pandemic as ‘following the ­science’ (when Johnson was in fact resisting it).

And, for two years, they ignored the ­multiple breaches of the Ministerial Code, the conflicts of interests with hedge fund donors, and the billions wasted in crony Covid contracts through a ‘VIP’ lane.

During this time, the newspaper cartel benefited from what Johnson’s former chief advisor Dominic Cummings referred to as “bungs” that were “dressed up as COVID relief” – hundreds of millions of pounds in subsidies from the Government in the form of pandemic adverts and VAT relief, as circulation figures dropped during the early days of the crisis.

The rot has not stopped. The impunity lives on.

When Johnson’s self-serving lies and complete lack of standards became too much, the Mail, Telegraph and The Sun boosted his even worse replacement, Liz Truss, whose short tenure in Downing Street caused a run on gilt-edged securities, a near collapse of pension funds, and a massive hike in interest rates.

But both Johnson and Truss are regularly still heralded as ‘true Conservatives’; their historically bankrupt ideas paraded in the pages of the right-wing papers as worthy of our attention. Their past mistakes and misdemeanours papered-over by a press that has too many mistakes and misdemeanours of its own to know the difference.

Who is really ‘blackmailing’ whom? Who is really the client and who is the provider? Or have media and politics so merged that they have become a single entity, corrupting both representative ­politics and the politics of representation?

As we head towards a general ­election, expect this spectacle of impunity to ­intensify and accelerate. Both politicians and the media are like a couple in a danse macabre, locked in an embrace of ­complicity and guilt they cannot escape.

Until the music stops.

Beyond Contempt, Peter Jukes’ account of the phone-hacking trial, is published by Canbury Press

Murdoch Empire Hacked Politicians for Commercial Gain and Hid Evidence, New Report Suggests

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 01/05/2024 - 9:14pm in

Rupert Murdoch's company used criminal methods to hack MPs’ phones for "political and commercial espionage" and deleted nearly 31 million emails as civil and criminal suits threatened to expose their behaviour, a new report suggests.

The claims, which have featured in numerous court actions against the publishers of the now defunct News of the World and The Sun, have been pulled together for the first time in June's edition of Prospect magazine.

Journalist Nick Davies, who first broke the phone-hacking allegations in 2009, sorted through thousands of pages of evidence, according to Prospect, to "piece together a narrative of how the company employed numerous private investigators to hack private individuals, and also MPs – including Cabinet ministers". 

The allegations against Rupert Murdoch's company feature in the June edition of Prospect magazine. Photo: Prospect magazine

Phone-hacking has cost the Murdoch organisation an estimated £1 billion to date, and the ongoing court cases have exposed a cache of new evidence – including documents, invoices, call logs and emails – which weren't available when the story broke.

More than 1,600 cases have been settled by the company, Prospect noted.

Davies, Prospect said, has found evidence that the Murdoch company was using criminal means to target politicians of every rank – including the Attorney General, Business Secretary and Chancellor – and that "some" of the hacking appears to have been done for commercial or political "aims rather than trying to get stories".

Further claims in the Prospect articles include:

  • Sixteen Liberal Democrat MPs, then in the Conservative Coalition Government, received more than 1,500 suspicious calls. 
  • Sixteen Liberal Democrat MPs, then in the Conservative Coalition Government, received more than 1,500 suspicious calls. 
  • There were also hundreds of suspect calls to MPs from other parties opposed to Murdoch business interests. Claimants argue this was "political and commercial espionage". 
  • There were also hundreds of suspect calls to MPs from other parties opposed to Murdoch business interests. Claimants argue this was "political and commercial espionage". 
    • Gordon Brown, while Chancellor and Prime Minister, was allegedly targeted 24 times from the Wapping "hub” – a central phone number located where Murdoch’s newspapers were based.
    • Gordon Brown, while Chancellor and Prime Minister, was allegedly targeted 24 times from the Wapping "hub” – a central phone number located where Murdoch’s newspapers were based.
    • There were suspicious calls to Dominic Grieve, then Attorney General, at a time when the Director of Public Prosecution was considering possible prosecutions against journalists, and when there was the threat of contempt proceedings against newspapers.  
    • There were suspicious calls to Dominic Grieve, then Attorney General, at a time when the Director of Public Prosecution was considering possible prosecutions against journalists, and when there was the threat of contempt proceedings against newspapers.  
    • Five members of the House of Commons’ Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, perceived to be hostile to Murdoch’s commercial interests, received hundreds of “inexplicable” calls. The Murdoch company claims that there may be innocent explanations, but settled a number of claims, Prospect noted.
    • Five members of the House of Commons’ Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, perceived to be hostile to Murdoch’s commercial interests, received hundreds of “inexplicable” calls. The Murdoch company claims that there may be innocent explanations, but settled a number of claims, Prospect noted.
    • John Whittingdale, then DCMS Committee chair, was contacted by the NewsCorp lobbyist Fred Michel by phone call or text no fewer than 431 times during a 22-month period while his committee investigated phone-hacking.
    • John Whittingdale, then DCMS Committee chair, was contacted by the NewsCorp lobbyist Fred Michel by phone call or text no fewer than 431 times during a 22-month period while his committee investigated phone-hacking.
    • One MP who was hacked told the High Court that the pattern of behaviour was a “cynical and outrageous attempt to subvert the legitimate process of parliamentary scrutiny”.
    • One MP who was hacked told the High Court that the pattern of behaviour was a “cynical and outrageous attempt to subvert the legitimate process of parliamentary scrutiny”.
    • After a threat of legal action by the actor Sienna Miller in autumn 2010, the Murdoch company began email deletions which saw some 30.7 million Sun and News of the World emails wiped, along with those from top executives. The claimants say that this was a deliberate attempt to destroy incriminating material. The company says there may be an innocent explanation.
    • After a threat of legal action by the actor Sienna Miller in autumn 2010, the Murdoch company began email deletions which saw some 30.7 million Sun and News of the World emails wiped, along with those from top executives. The claimants say that this was a deliberate attempt to destroy incriminating material. The company says there may be an innocent explanation.
    • Journalists or investigators who might have blown the whistle were rewarded with jobs, or cash payments, and required to sign NDAs (non-disclosure agreements).
    • Journalists or investigators who might have blown the whistle were rewarded with jobs, or cash payments, and required to sign NDAs (non-disclosure agreements).
    • Police seized 125 items after arresting News International’s CEO, Rebekah Brooks, in July 2011. They were placed in a secure area under the supervision of two Murdoch executives, Simon Greenberg and Will Lewis, now publisher and CEO of the Washington Post. It was several weeks before detectives completed a detailed search of all the equipment, at which point they discovered that only 117 of the items were still there. Eight filing cabinets that they had seized from the offices of the Editor and the Managing Editor had been removed. They have not been recovered.
    • Police seized 125 items after arresting News International’s CEO, Rebekah Brooks, in July 2011. They were placed in a secure area under the supervision of two Murdoch executives, Simon Greenberg and Will Lewis, now publisher and CEO of the Washington Post. It was several weeks before detectives completed a detailed search of all the equipment, at which point they discovered that only 117 of the items were still there. Eight filing cabinets that they had seized from the offices of the Editor and the Managing Editor had been removed. They have not been recovered.
    • Police found an under-floor safe in Brooks’ private dressing room which was “filled with hard drives and computers” with thousands of emails from key executives, editors and journalists.
    • Police found an under-floor safe in Brooks’ private dressing room which was “filled with hard drives and computers” with thousands of emails from key executives, editors and journalists.
    • Of the 30.7 million missing emails, only 21.7 million were recovered, leaving more than a quarter of the archive – around 9 million emails – lost for ever.
    • Of the 30.7 million missing emails, only 21.7 million were recovered, leaving more than a quarter of the archive – around 9 million emails – lost for ever.
      • Rupert Murdoch's company used criminal methods to hack MPs’ phones for "political and commercial espionage" and deleted nearly 31 million emails as civil and criminal suits threatened to expose their behaviour, a new report suggests.

        The claims, which have featured in numerous court actions against the publishers of the now defunct News of the World and The Sun, have been pulled together for the first time in June's edition of Prospect magazine.

        Journalist Nick Davies, who first broke the phone-hacking allegations in 2009, sorted through thousands of pages of evidence, according to Prospect, to "piece together a narrative of how the company employed numerous private investigators to hack private individuals, and also MPs – including Cabinet ministers". 

        The allegations against Rupert Murdoch's company feature in the June edition of Prospect magazine. Photo: Prospect magazine

        Phone-hacking has cost the Murdoch organisation an estimated £1 billion to date, and the ongoing court cases have exposed a cache of new evidence – including documents, invoices, call logs and emails – which weren't available when the story broke.

        More than 1,600 cases have been settled by the company, Prospect noted.

        Davies, Prospect said, has found evidence that the Murdoch company was using criminal means to target politicians of every rank – including the Attorney General, Business Secretary and Chancellor – and that "some" of the hacking appears to have been done for commercial or political "aims rather than trying to get stories".

        Further claims in the Prospect articles include:

        • Sixteen Liberal Democrat MPs, then in the Conservative Coalition Government, received more than 1,500 suspicious calls. 
        • There were also hundreds of suspect calls to MPs from other parties opposed to Murdoch business interests. Claimants argue this was "political and commercial espionage". 
          • Gordon Brown, while Chancellor and Prime Minister, was allegedly targeted 24 times from the Wapping "hub” – a central phone number located where Murdoch’s newspapers were based.
          • There were suspicious calls to Dominic Grieve, then Attorney General, at a time when the Director of Public Prosecution was considering possible prosecutions against journalists, and when there was the threat of contempt proceedings against newspapers.  
          • Five members of the House of Commons’ Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, perceived to be hostile to Murdoch’s commercial interests, received hundreds of “inexplicable” calls. The Murdoch company claims that there may be innocent explanations, but settled a number of claims, Prospect noted.
          • John Whittingdale, then DCMS Committee chair, was contacted by the NewsCorp lobbyist Fred Michel by phone call or text no fewer than 431 times during a 22-month period while his committee investigated phone-hacking.
          • One MP who was hacked told the High Court that the pattern of behaviour was a “cynical and outrageous attempt to subvert the legitimate process of parliamentary scrutiny”.
          • After a threat of legal action by the actor Sienna Miller in autumn 2010, the Murdoch company began email deletions which saw some 30.7 million Sun and News of the World emails wiped, along with those from top executives. The claimants say that this was a deliberate attempt to destroy incriminating material. The company says there may be an innocent explanation.
          • Journalists or investigators who might have blown the whistle were rewarded with jobs, or cash payments, and required to sign NDAs (non-disclosure agreements).
          • Police seized 125 items after arresting News International’s CEO, Rebekah Brooks, in July 2011. They were placed in a secure area under the supervision of two Murdoch executives, Simon Greenberg and Will Lewis, now publisher and CEO of the Washington Post. It was several weeks before detectives completed a detailed search of all the equipment, at which point they discovered that only 117 of the items were still there. Eight filing cabinets that they had seized from the offices of the Editor and the Managing Editor had been removed. They have not been recovered.
          • Police found an under-floor safe in Brooks’ private dressing room which was “filled with hard drives and computers” with thousands of emails from key executives, editors and journalists.
          • Of the 30.7 million missing emails, only 21.7 million were recovered, leaving more than a quarter of the archive – around 9 million emails – lost for ever.

            Read more Byline Times stories about Rupert Murdoch:

            Rishi to the Rescue: How the Prime Minister ‘Moved Heaven and Earth to Help the Conservative Press’

            Princess Diana ‘Phone Pest’ Story Links Both Rupert Murdoch and Piers Morgan to the ‘Criminal-Media Nexus’ of Police Corruption

            ‘Starmer Cosied Up to the Murdoch Press in the Same Week It Faced New Allegations of Criminality – Why?’

                            Rishi to the Rescue: How the Prime Minister ‘Moved Heaven and Earth to Help the Conservative Press’

                            Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 25/04/2024 - 9:25pm in

                            An Abu Dhabi-backed consortium wants to buy the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail, News International titles, and some journalists from the Telegraph itself, go mad. Conservative politicians also declare their opposition. Rishi Sunak rushes through legislation to prevent such a takeover from occurring. Deal over. 

                            If ever there was proof of the power of the press to get what they want, this is it. That needs rephrasing: the power of the Conservative press to get what they want, when there is a Conservative Prime Minister only too happy to please, in this, General Election year. 

                            It’s remarkable how Sunak moved heaven and earth to appease the proprietors of the Daily Mail and The Times and Sun titles. 

                            Other interest groups can campaign for years for perfectly sound, bona fide, necessary, reform to reach the statute books. Often, to no avail – reasonable as the new measure is, vital as it is, they are kept waiting. 

                            Yet, along come the big beasts of Lord Rothermere and Rupert Murdoch, aided and abetted by some noisy Conservatives (some of them, anxious to curry favour with the influential newspapers), and the Government crumbles. Appallingly, senior figures in the Government were said to be in favour of the Abu Dhabi bid, believing it would cement relations and lead to further investment from that super-rich country. No, the Conservative media titans are against, so against the government shall be. 

                            Rupert Murdoch, seen above in London in June 2023, was against the deal and wants the Spectator. Photo: PA Images / Alamy

                            No matter that Rothermere and Murdoch had their reasons for kiboshing the Abu Dhabi purchase. Rothermere harbours a desire to own the Telegraph, while Murdoch wants the Spectator, also part of the Telegraph stable. They did declare their interest to their readers, usually towards the end of news reports regarding the progress of the campaign.

                            They devoted plenty of space to the importance of upholding free speech and defending human rights. The giveaway as to their true motive was, surely, that claims by the consortium that Abu Dhabi was only a ‘passive’ investor were largely ignored. Likewise, the suggestion that this marriage could see the resurrection of a device implemented when another foreign newspaper takeover occurred was similarly brushed aside.

                            That was when Murdoch bought Times Newspapers and a separate, independent board was installed to act as an objective cut-off on key matters. This time around, with his eyes set on owning the Spectator, Murdoch was seemingly not prepared to countenance a repetition.

                            Read more: ‘Telegraph Takeover Bid Backed by UAE Doesn’t Matter – Because there’s an Agenda at Every Newspaper’

                            What’s also telling is that plenty of British assets have fallen into foreign hands, many of them to sovereign wealth funds, down the years without the raising of barely a squeak by the same media or MPs. It’s as if the much-touted phrase, Britain is ‘open for business’ has been taken literally to also mean ‘Britain is for sale’.

                            Assets to have gone overseas include:

                          • Heathrow airport belongs to a group of investors that includes Qatar, Saudi Arabia and China
                          • two of our ports are owned by Dubai World
                          • our nuclear power stations are being built by France’s, state-owned EDF
                          • Abu Dhabi is investing in electric charging points across the UK
                          • China is a major backer of National Grid
                          • several life science projects are owned by foreign state funds
                          • Qatar owns Canary Wharf
                          • Thames Water is in the hands of a clutch of foreign investors, several of them state-controlled
                          • other water, energy and railway companies are foreign-owned
                          • likewise, British Airways
                          • Heathrow airport belongs to a group of investors that includes Qatar, Saudi Arabia and China
                          • two of our ports are owned by Dubai World
                          • our nuclear power stations are being built by France’s, state-owned EDF
                          • Abu Dhabi is investing in electric charging points across the UK
                          • China is a major backer of National Grid
                          • several life science projects are owned by foreign state funds
                          • Qatar owns Canary Wharf
                          • Thames Water is in the hands of a clutch of foreign investors, several of them state-controlled
                          • other water, energy and railway companies are foreign-owned
                          • likewise, British Airways
                          • There are numerous examples of all sorts of assets tracing their ultimate ownership abroad. Grocery, retail, hospitality, and fashion brands, many of them historically and iconically ‘British’, have been targeted by foreigners and their money men.  

                            Occasionally there have been protests but they have usually died down. Cadbury’s going to the Americans was an especially emotive one. Royal Mail, no less, may soon join the National Lottery with Czech owners. The newspaper that reports at length on these deals, the Financial Times, is owned by the Japanese. The only sale that attracted a similar amount of column inches, was arguably that of Newcastle United by Saudi Arabia, but, like the rest, it went through. 

                            The pattern is familiar: there’s a bid, there is some disquiet expressed by the employees, unions and stakeholders, then the offer is raised again and perhaps again until the owner’s expectations are met and it’s accepted and the fury, such as it is, falls away. 

                            Fears about Chinese and Russian influence, together with uncertainty surrounding treatments for Covid, saw the government pass the National Security and Investment Act, or NSIA, of 2021, giving the Cabinet Office the ability to intervene and block a transaction on national security grounds. It covers 17 sectors, most of them to do with defence, tech, medicine, bioscience, data and AI.

                            The idea was to stop the asset and/or its intellectual property, the know-how, falling into enemy hands. At first sight, the figures are impressive – the Act is wheeled out regularly. There were more than 1,000 ‘mandatory notifications’ – the bidders in these sectors must inform the Government – in 2022, the latest and first year to be reported. But 95% of these were cleared unconditionally at the initial screening phase. 

                            Only 5% were subject to in-depth scrutiny and most of these received conditional approval. However, five deals were stymied completely, of which four involved companies with Chinese ownership and one a Russian oligarch.

                            Another 14 were approved subject to conditions, and these mostly involved Chinese owners. The restrictions were imposed to safeguard national security, including a UK Government attendee at board meetings, external monitoring, commitments for the IP to remain in the UK, and guarantees to continue to supply specified UK contractors such as the Ministry of Defence or an emergency service.

                            The NSIA might well have been deployed in the Telegraph case. The sectors where it applies are broadly defined and doubtless, a skilled lawyer could have made a case for the paper’s inclusion. 

                            It never reached that stage. Sunak leapt into action and brought forward a new piece of legislation, just to make sure the Abu Dhabi bid perished. Rothermere and Murdoch got their way. The irony is that they may only have made the path easier for another bidder, Sir Paul Marshall owner of Unherd and GB News. Marshall, born in Ealing, is definably British. How the media barons stop him remains to be seen. 

                            Princess Diana ‘Phone Pest’ Story Links Both Rupert Murdoch and Piers Morgan to the ‘Criminal-Media Nexus’ of Police Corruption

                            Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 04/04/2024 - 4:50am in

                            A newly pleaded document submitted by Prince Harry’s legal team last month as part of his ongoing case against Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers for privacy intrusion sheds more light on what former Prime Minister Gordon Brown called the "criminal-media nexus” of journalists, private investigators and corrupt cops during the heyday of the tabloids.

                            In an amended claim over alleged unlawful information gathering in the case of HRH Duke of Sussex v News Group Newspapers, the claimants have lodged a notorious News of the World front page, dated 21 August 1994, carrying an exclusive story alleging that Princess Diana was a ‘phone pest’. 

                            The story can only have come from police sources and so implicates both the then Editor of the now defunct News of the World, Piers Morgan, his then Chief Crime Reporter (now Editor of the Express) Gary Jones, and the proprietor Rupert Murdoch himself in the roaring trade between the tabloids and corrupt police officers. 

                            At the centre of it all – and at the centre of many of the ongoing civil claims against both Murdoch’s newspapers, Mirror Group, and the Mail titles – is the role of the infamous detective agency, Southern Investigations, and the murder of its co-founder Daniel Morgan.

                            Police and Tabloid Corruption

                            Daniel Morgan was alleged to have been investigating police corruption when he was axed to death in a south London pub car park in March 1987.

                            His business partner, Jonathan Rees, was the prime suspect. Rees was arrested a few weeks later, along with one of the lead detectives on the initial murder inquiry, Detective Sergeant Sid Fillery. 

                            At the inquest into Morgan's death in 1988, evidence emerged that Rees and Fillery had colluded in covering up the murder. By this point, Fillery had retired from the Metropolitan Police and taken Morgan’s place at the detective agency.

                            Southern Investigations was now on its way to becoming a one-stop-shop for the ‘dark arts’ of unlawful newsgathering for the tabloids. 

                            Alastair Morgan, his partner Kirsteen Knight, and solicitor Raju Bhatt at the 2021 publication of the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel report. Photo: Kirsty O'Connor/PA/Alamy

                            Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, Southern Investigations became the main hub for selling confidential personal and financial information to the press obtained by phone-tapping, burglary, covert surveillance, and computer hacking.

                            Its major purchaser was Alex Marunchak, News Editor of the News of the World.

                            Rees and Fillery were also instrumental in training up a raft of Fleet Street journalists in subterfuge and surveillance – the most notable of which was Mazher Mahmood, the Sunday tabloid’s famous ‘fake sheikh’.

                            One of the main sources of both this illicit information, and the techniques for gathering it, was a network of corrupt police officers in south-east London. The trade was so extensive the CID in the area was known as the ‘News of the World Regional Crime Squad’.

                            Rees and Fillery’s close relationship with organised crime, and the ‘firm within a firm’ of corrupt Met Police officers, saw them engaged in a roaring trade with News International. But, even if the amounts of money siphoned-off to Southern Investigations didn’t attract the attention of the company’s proprietor, Rupert Murdoch, the political dimensions of their dark arts surely would have.  

                            When the then Culture Secretary David Mellor suggested in 1991 that the “popular press is drinking in the last chance saloon”, Southern Investigations set up the surveillance and bugging devices to expose him in an extramarital affair.

                            Rees and Fillery were also instrumental in the brokering of letters stolen from Paddy Ashdown’s solicitor, showing that the Liberal Democrat Leader had also once had an extramarital affair. The information was revealed just before the 1992 General Election. 

                            In effect, Southern Investigations and Alex Marunchak were becoming masters of politically targeted kompromat – years before the Russian term was well-known. But where do Piers Morgan and Express Editor Gary Jones fit in? And what did Rupert Murdoch know?

                            The Phone Pest Story

                            The following is an edited extract from 'Who Killed Daniel Morgan?’, which I co-authored with Daniel Morgan's brother Alastair Morgan

                            Piers Morgan took over the Editorship of the News of the World at the age of 28 in February 1994, at the height of the tabloid frenzy around the break-up of the marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles.

                            Morgan's only journalistic experience to date was penning the ‘Bizarre’ celebrity column at The Sun. He appointed an even younger Rebekah Brooks to become Features Editor that spring. 

                            Given his inexperience with reporting, Morgan relied heavily on the older guard at the newspaper, especially his then News Editor, Alex Marunchak, whom he described as having a “deadpan, half-Ukrainian, moustachioed visage”.

                            Marunchak’s police sources would soon land Morgan in trouble. 

                            Piers Morgan, who went on to become Editor of the Mirror, after the High Court ruled there was "extensive" phone-hacking by Mirror Group Newspapers from 2006 to 2011. Photo: PA Images/Alamy

                            In his autobiography The Insider, Morgan explains how, in August 1994, Marunchak and Chief Crime Reporter Gary Jones walked into the Editor’s office in Wapping and explained: “Got rather a big one here, boss. Diana’s a phone pest.” Marunchak went on to elaborate: “The cops are investigating hundreds of calls she has made to a married art dealer called Oliver Hoare.”

                            Jones backed up his News Editor with “a read-out from the police report" which he then quoted verbatim. 

                            Hoare had received hundreds of silent, anonymous phone calls and reported them to the police. With the help of British Telecom, the police had traced the calls to Kensington Palace, the home of Princess Diana. 

                            When Hoare was informed of the source of the calls, he told police officers that he and his wife were friends of Charles and Diana and he had been – according to the police report – “consoling her and becoming quite close to her” after her separation from the then heir to the throne.

                            The News of the World called the antique dealer for comment. Hoare did not deny there had been a police investigation. Under the bylines of Gary Jones and Royal Reporter Clive Goodman, the News of the World splashed the story over the front and four inside pages.

                            The details in the exclusive could only have come from the police documents: the date of Hoare’s first complaint, the involvement of BT’s specialist Nuisance Calls Bureau, the special code BT was given to trace the calls, the activation of the code on 13 January 1994, transcripts of six silent calls, and then the tracing equipment which linked the calls to a private number used by Prince Charles.

                            All of this detailed information could only have been sourced from the police.

                            The next day, in a long interview in the Daily Mail, Princess Diana denied the story.

                            Piers Morgan began to worry that he had made a huge career blunder. There were calls for him to resign. Marunchak tried to reassure the News of the World Editor by telling him: “We’ve had the report read to us, she’s lying." But Morgan still feared that the document could be a forgery. 

                            “I felt sick to the pit of my stomach,” Morgan recalled in The Insider. “I couldn’t eat or even drink a cup of tea, it was hellish.”

                            What Murdoch Knew

                            The only thing that finally put Morgan's mind at rest was a call from his proprietor, Rupert Murdoch. 

                            “Hi Piers,” Murdoch said. “I can’t really talk for long but I just wanted you to know that your story is 100% bang on. Can’t tell you how I know, but I just know.”

                            He then instructed his Editor to get on TV and tell the world that Princess Diana is "a liar", and to promise more material in the Sunday tabloid the following week. 

                            Though relieved, Morgan couldn’t help admitting to Murdoch that he didn’t have any more material. Murdoch replied: “Oh, you will have by Sunday, don’t worry. Gotta go. Good luck.”

                            How had Murdoch independently verified the story? It was Alex Marunchak who had seen the police report. Would the proprietor have checked with his veteran News Editor? 

                            At the Leveson Inquiry into the practices, culture and ethics of the press in 2012 – following the exposure of the phone-hacking scandal the year before – Murdoch explicitly denied even remembering meeting Marunchak. But, in careful legal language guarding against any surviving photos, he added: "I might have shaken hands, walking through the office."

                            By that point, Marunchak had served in a number of senior roles at the News of the World from his first days in the Wapping dispute, attending parties with the News International CEO and senior police officers, to being made Editor of the Irish edition two decades later. 

                            Steve Grayson, a freelance photographer who worked at the Sunday tabloid in the late 1990s, recalls Marunchak explicitly saying that he had a direct call from Murdoch on one occasion.

                            Despite his growing global influence, there is also no doubt that, during this era, Murdoch himself still called senior management at the newspaper most Friday or Saturday nights to check what stories were coming up. And there’s more evidence that Murdoch was well aware of the existence of Marunchak, who had served his company for more than 25 years.

                            Prince Harry with his lawyer David Sherborne at the High Court during his recent trial against Mirror Group Newspapers. Photo: PA/Alamy

                            In correspondence from September 1997, the then Taoiseach of Ireland, Bertie Ahern, wrote personally to Murdoch to thank him for the News of the World’s coverage of the country's General Election. He said he particularly “appreciated the very professional approach of your Associate Editor Alex Marunchak”. Ahern even asked Murdoch to pass on “my thanks and best wishes to Alex”.

                            Murdoch replied on 30 September 1997: “I shall be delighted to pass on your comments.”

                            Whatever Murdoch’s uncertain memories of Alex Marunchak, the ultimate source of Piers Morgan’s scoop was a confidential police file. Later, Morgan was careful to say that the source wasn’t a ‘serving police officer’ – partly because that would have opened him, and any police officer, up to criminal charges. 

                            Nobody was censured or sanctioned for the phone pest story. In fact, it was quite the opposite.

                            Gary Jones went on to win the Press Gazette’s Reporter of the Year Award, partly due to his News of the World exclusive about Diana’s anonymous calls.

                            Criticised by the then Press Complaints Council for another intrusive royal splash, Morgan would leave the Murdoch Sunday tabloid in 1995 and take up an even more senior position editing its rival, the Daily Mirror.

                            He would soon bring over Jones and, with him, the dark arts of Sid Fillery and Jonathan Rees.

                            Ongoing Trials

                            While the judge has not ruled whether Prince Harry’s claims can date back to 1994 and the targeting of his mother, the evidence of Gary Jones’ relationship with Southern Investigations has already been heard in the case of the Duke of Sussex and other claimants against Mirror Group Newspapers. 

                            The judge in that case, Justice Fancourt, concluded that Piers Morgan, as Editor of the Mirror newspapers, must have known about phone-hacking and other unlawful information gathering. 

                            Meanwhile, similar evidence is due to be heard in the pending claims by Prince Harry and others (including Baroness Doreen Lawrence) in claims against the publishers of the Mail and Mail on Sunday.  

                            According to the particulars of claim issued so far, Associated Newspapers also procured the services of private investigators involved in illicit information, including allegations that Southern Investigations were involved in targeting the family of Stephen Lawrence, murdered by a racist gang connected to the south-east London underworld in 1993. 

                            Like the tabloids used to say, this story will run and run. 

                            ‘Telegraph Takeover Bid Backed by UAE Doesn’t Matter – Because there’s an Agenda at Every Newspaper’

                            Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 03/04/2024 - 10:16pm in

                            Many years ago, I was a junior business reporter on Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday Times. It had been decided that I was to write that weekend’s main editorial based on an official report castigating Mohamed Al Fayed over the purchase of House of Fraser which included Harrods.

                            Fayed, it seems, had been deliberately opaque about the true origins of his funding. We were having an editorial meeting, me and the paper’s much more senior executives, about what the leader should say, when who should walk in but Murdoch. We all leapt to attention. He made a gesture for everyone to sit down, and then asked what we were discussing. They said that I was just explaining the importance of the report and that it was going to be the paper’s leader and I was going to write it. Murdoch turned to me, inquisitively. Thanks guys.

                            Murdoch fixed me a stare. “Son, who cares? Why does it matter?” he inquired softly and slowly. Nobody else said anything. I was on my own. I was sweating but the room felt chilly. Gulp. I blathered about how we could never be too careful, how it was vital that people didn’t lie about the source of their wealth, how we had anti-money laundering rules to prevent this sort of thing, how organised crime was a growing problem and we had to be more on top of it, and drugs and terrorism…

                            Murdoch looked blank. I could feel the ground opening beneath my feet. Then, a man who was accompanying the press mogul – a tall American in black, shiny, crocodile shoes – said: “Hey, Rupe you remember that Fayed took us for 100 million, down in Texas?” Murdoch turned to him, and said, “You’re right, he did.” He wheeled round to me and added: “Son, write it as hard as you like”. With that, he and his pal walked off.

                            Rupert Murdoch in London in June 2023Rupert Murdoch, pictured at his annual party at Spencer House, St James' Place in London, June 2023

                            The Sunday Times was my first national newspaper and this was my first introduction to how proprietors secure a product that is to their taste and beliefs.

                            This was an overt example, where the man himself was present. Most of the time he did not need to be. It occurred subliminally – self-censorship, reporting a story in such a manner that you knew would please the bosses, would stick to an unwritten agenda and earn you an approving nod from on high.

                            It occurred in the same way at every newspaper where I’ve worked: Sunday Express, Daily Express, Observer, Independent on Sunday, Independent, Evening Standard. Really, it happens everywhere, in every job: you know what the chief thinks and unless you’re desperate to leave you toe the party line. Which is why it is perplexing to read so much guff about the proposed takeover of the Telegraph by a consortium backed by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, vice-president of the United Arab Emirates.

                            The Sheikh also owns Manchester City and, in that regard, his being a member of the UAE government is rarely mentioned; references to him in the football press tend to dwell on his fabulous wealth.

                            A football club is very different from a major newspaper. But, honestly, reading the howls of protest from some journalistic quarters you could be forgiven for thinking they are allowed a free hand in everything they write, that they’ve never been told to temper an argument or as I say, have done it themselves, without being instructed?

                            Perhaps they are, in which case, I must be an oppressed rare species – on my own, wandering through the media landscape, subject to the inability to express myself. I am not, because most articles do not touch the management floor.

                            There have been occasions, though, when I’ve been encouraged to pursue a subject in which the owner has a ‘special interest’. Again, I ask, has anyone else not experienced the same, and provided what I write is true, is it that bad?

                            To that list of titles, I could have added another, The National. That’s right, for the last four years I’ve written a weekly column for the UAE newspaper owned by one Sheikh Mansour. Ah, I hear you cry: "he’s told you to write this, you’re under orders." Not a bit of it. In that period, I’ve had no contact with the Sheikh or his official representatives. I do speak to the paper’s Editor-in-Chief, Mina Al-Oraibi – that’s right a woman in charge of a newspaper, a concept still unfamiliar to those main critics of the Mansour deal, the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and The Times.

                            One piece I submitted was rejected; post-COVID, a firm of consultants produced a study saying that luxury goods were over, that the outbreak had made us turn our backs on excess. I thought this would be a suitable column topic.

                            Colleagues at the paper disagreed; they had plenty of evidence to show the claim was wrong, that bling was very much alive. I said I would choose another subject. As it was, they were right, the consultancy was wrong. Another piece, on Al Fayed, I quoted him using a profanity against Prince Philip. It had to come out, they said, as, to be fair, it probably would have done in any British-based title.

                            It may hurt the anti-Mansour investment (and it is an investment, his people are insisting, saying he will only be a ‘passive partner’ in a US-run vehicle) brigade to learn this but in my experience, The National is run along professional lines. It has a newsroom of the sort they would recognise. To my knowledge there is not a UAE commissar sitting alongside Al-Oraibi and her senior team.

                            It's staffed too by journalists from across Fleet Street, from the Telegraph, Independent, Daily Mail and others. Its editorial offices in UAE, London and Washington DC are fully manned and well-resourced. I deal regularly with the London bureau and as far as I am aware, the editor, Damien McElroy (ex-Telegraph) is free to cover whatever he likes.

                            Because it’s not so tightly constrained and prone to the cycles of advertising as others, The National can keep its website open to all – a breath of fresh air in this age of paywalls and subscriptions. The paper has as its mission ‘The Middle East. Explained’.

                            That’s its USP, writing about the Middle East, and yes, often providing a UAE slant. Is that awful? It’s where the title hails from, it’s home. It’s no different from London newspapers seeing things through British eyes. No different either from pro-Conservative newspapers seeing things through a pro-Conservative prism. Perish the thought.

                            Murdoch’s monster Trump all trussed up and in for a wild ride

                            Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 01/04/2024 - 4:29pm in

                            A hog-tied Joe Biden is depicted in a life-size decal on the tailgate of a pickup truck in an image Donald Trump posts on Truth Social, Good Friday. Cue howls of outrage. Clearly, The Donald wants to make himself centre of attention again, via a “dead cat on the tailgate” decoy, in case we dwell…

                            The post Murdoch’s monster Trump all trussed up and in for a wild ride appeared first on The AIM Network.

                            ‘Starmer Cosied Up to the Murdoch Press in the Same Week It Faced New Allegations of Criminality – Why?’

                            Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 25/03/2024 - 10:57pm in

                            What is the word for a politician who will do anything to get hold of power? 

                            The question arises thanks to the front page of Friday's Sun newspaper, on which, beneath a banner reading "Labour leader at Sun HQ", we were told that "Keir joins revolt over 3 Lions shirt – he blasts woke flag and high price". 

                            There are only two possibilities here. Either the Leader of the Labour Party sincerely believes that the design of the England football shirt is a matter that should properly engage the attention of a leader of the Opposition. Or – surely much more likely – he just doesn’t care what he says so long as it gets him nice coverage in the Sun, in which case he provides an answer to the question above. 

                            It is actually worse than that, because this is only the latest evidence that Starmer is selling his soul to Murdoch.

                            He has already attended the media baron's summer party, paying personal homage to the old man and drinking his champagne. And now he is happy to visit the Sun’s offices and play rent-a-quote in support of a vacuous anti-woke jibe. 

                            In terms of displaying lack of principle, this obviously does not compete with refusing to call for a ceasefire in Gaza and failing to acknowledge the economic disaster that is Brexit, but it is amoral in its own way.

                            For the Murdoch press is not only responsible, over decades, for demeaning everything that could be described as decent about Britain and for wrecking the lives of countless innocent people – it is also responsible for wholesale, proven law-breaking. 

                            And remarkably, Starmer’s visit to ‘Sun HQ’ took place just a day after we were presented with a new and shocking picture of the scale of that criminality – some of it well established as fact, some in the form of fresh and very detailed accusations.

                            It comes in a series of monster documents revealed in court, some of which can be accessed here

                            These latest legal claims allege that law-breaking at the Murdoch tabloids has been even more widespread and systematic, has persisted for much longer and has implicated even more staff and senior executives than previously acknowledged. 

                            The allegations extend far beyond phone-hacking and unlawful information gathering to include, for example, perjury and the deliberate destruction of evidence of criminality – matters which, you might think, would be of concern to a former Director of Public Prosecutions such as Starmer.  

                            And though – yes, this needs to be placed on record – the company continues to deny a good deal of it, the Labour leadership should ask itself why the company systematically chooses to avoid confronting the charges in open court and instead pays off the claimants, thus far at a cost of £1.2 billion. 

                            Quite a few of Labour's new chums are named in the documents.

                            There is an awful lot, for example, about Rebekah Brooks, Murdoch’s longstanding CEO in the UK and a former Editor of the Sun. She knew more and earlier about criminal activities than previously admitted, the documents allege, and they suggest directly that she participated in the cover-up. Again, she has denied these things and was cleared of similar criminal charges back in 2014, but the new claims draw on a wealth of evidence not available back then, including evidence relating to the hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone. 

                            The name of the Sun’s current Editor, Victoria Newton, also keeps turning up in the court documents in very dark contexts. How, for example, will she account for the email she sent Brooks in 2006 saying "just blagged the bill from the Dorchester now – 11 grand – v expensive?" 

                            And there is veteran Sun reporter Nick Parker who, phone records show, phoned a specialist blagger of medical records 1,763 times between 2005 and 2010 – more than once every working day.

                            The catalogue of names and worse-than-doubtful alleged behaviour is very long – and the allegations relate to events up to 2011, including during the Leveson Inquiry into the press, when Murdoch witnesses swore blind they had never done anything dodgy. 

                            Ancient history, people will say. Hardly.

                            These are people Keir Starmer is associating himself with right now. And remember that Murdoch is also still the owner of Fox, a channel that encouraged an insurrection in the US in 2020. 

                            People will also say there is nothing new in it all, because Tony Blair sucked up to Murdoch before the 1997 election and Gordon Brown was pally with Brooks before 2010. Well, we now know that Murdoch people hacked Labour phones behind those leaders’ backs – shouldn’t Starmer and his people see that as a warning?

                            And, of course, people will also say that you need to do unpleasant things to win power, which brings us back to the question we started with. Surely there is a line you don’t cross? And, surely, given all we know about his methods, Murdoch must be on the far side of that line.

                            ‘Media Bill Votes Will Show Us the Real Keir Starmer’

                            Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 29/01/2024 - 8:04pm in

                            Votes in the House of Commons tomorrow, 30 January, will tell us a great deal about the kind of Labour Party Keir Starmer intends to lead into this year’s general election and the kind of government he envisages beyond that. 

                            With the Government’s Media Bill reaching its report stage, Labour must choose whether to back amendments which would keep alive the possibility of Leveson-style reform of press regulation – or to do nothing and allow the Conservatives to bury it for good. 

                            The choice it makes will tell us whether it hopes ultimately to govern the country on an independent agenda or whether it has decided to let billionaire press owners continue dominating the country’s politics by their familiar unscrupulous means.   

                            The Leveson Inquiry – into the culture, practices, and ethics of the press – took place following the exposure of the phone-hacking scandal in 2011-12. It made a number of recommendations.

                            Until now, Labour policy has been pro-Leveson – a position that goes back beyond the Jeremy Corbyn years to when Ed Miliband was leader. But it is also a policy feared and hated by the big national newspaper groups. 

                            In recent months, all the body language of the Starmer leadership has suggested it is now ready to appease the billionaire owners of the Mail, The Sun, The Times and the Telegraph, evidently in the short-term hope that they will give it a softer ride in election coverage.

                            The precise issue tomorrow might seem obscure: whether to repeal section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act of 2013 – a piece of legislation which, thanks to the unscrupulous blocking tactics of the Conservatives, has never been allowed to enter into force. 

                            Section 40 is the key to making the Leveson reforms of press regulation work. It was designed to make possible independent, effective press accountability of a kind that the UK has never known. More than that, it would also give press journalism unprecedented protection against bullying by the rich and powerful.

                            Murdoch, Lord Rothermere and the Barclay family fear press accountability like nothing else – because their newspapers simply could not function as they currently do if they were truly answerable for inaccuracy, distortion, intrusion and other ethical misconduct. 

                            If Starmer’s Labour abandons a decade of commitment to Section 40 tomorrow, therefore, they will be giving the press what they want: licensing the big national newspapers to continue abusing ordinary citizens and misleading the public as a whole. 

                            And everything suggests that that is Labour’s intention.

                            Not only has it failed to table any amendment relating to repeal of section 40 (and amendments are what the parliamentary ‘report stage’ is all about) but the party leadership has dropped heavy hints that it will not even support weak amendments tabled by others. 

                            You might say that it does not matter, since the Conservatives have the votes to get what they want whatever Labour does, and that may be so. But the position Labour takes on this will send a clear signal to Fleet Street and to the public.

                            Appeasing the press is not merely a tactic for getting through an election. It will show that Labour is ready to accept right-wing press influence over its policies when it is in government. 

                            Only a fool could imagine that the Murdoch and Mail papers do not intend to bully and hound a new Labour government, no matter how big its majority. Only a fool could believe that they do not intend to use all their unscrupulous methods to force Labour’s hand on Europe, on welfare, on climate change, on refugees – on their whole bigoted, selfish agenda. 

                            If Labour takes them on, if it makes them responsible to an effective, independent regulator, it will be able to govern in the interests of the public – in other words, of ordinary people. If it does not, it will have its arm twisted permanently behind its back by the press billionaires.  

                            And it would be naive and wrongheaded to imagine that Labour might duck the issue now but turn around and take action on media abuses after it has been elected, without a manifesto mandate. British politics does not work that way.   

                            Tomorrow’s votes will tell us a lot.