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AdLib On July - 12 - 2011


“See, it’s the highest honor they can give you. It means you belong to a family and crew. It means that nobody can fuck around with you. It also means you could fuck around with anybody just as long as they aren’t also a member. It’s like a license to steal. It’s a license to do anything.”

Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) in “Goodfellas”

Many Americans have thought, “What Fox News does should be illegal,” but the recent revelations in the UK about the Murdoch Family seem to unequivocally prove that it’s parent company, News Corp International, is in fact a criminal operation. Does the thug fall far from the “family” tree? Murdoch may not even admit the existence of a News Corp Mafia, he may explain to those he “puts a hit” on, “It’s nuthin’ personal, it’s just business,” but to any citizen of any nation that wishes to preserve their democracy, it’s pretty damn personal.

The fingers of the Murdoch Family reach directly into government and those in power, into 10 Downing Street and under Bush, into the White House. In the UK, they were considered both by themselves and their critics, kingmakers who dare not be crossed if one seeks to win political office. In the US, they were involved in decisions made by the Bush Administration such as going to war in Iraq and they even played a key role in declaring Bush President over Gore despite final election results not being determined (and eventually showing Gore won).

Add to that their attempt this cycle to play kingmaker/queenmaker by having under contract and promoting nearly all of the potential 2012 GOP candidates for the presidency they could envision (Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum). It was their blatant goal to have influence and control over the 2012 Presidential election and hopefully its President…you know, just like most “news” organizations attempt.

From all that’s been exposed in the UK, News Corp International appears to be a de facto criminal operation. According to reports, they conceived of, ran and financed an ongoing series of crimes to gain profit and power, just like all organized crime groups. They appear to have hired and paid criminals to perform crimes on their behalf, acting as gangsters with known criminals on their payroll. It appears that they either bought off Scotland Yard policeman to look the other way or used their criminal operation to spy on them and extort them to do so. They even succeeded in getting the original Scotland Yard investigation into their criminal phone hacking operation to be dropped, likely by using their powers of bribery or intimidation.

In the UK, politicians, police and other media entities feared the News Corp Gang and still do. It is represented as unusual and brave for politicians in the UK, even after all of this is known, to speak out against them. Yes, the tide seems to be turning but what is daunting is to consider how long their oppressive grip on UK government and society has gone on and how hard Murdoch and his crew are working to keep their “territory”.

Though at this time, there is no evidence that Fox News or other parts of Murdoch’s empire in the US participated in this criminal operation, News Corp still looks to have broken US law. Under American law, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) makes it a crime for American companies to offer corrupt payments to foreign government officials. Rupert’s son James who oversaw the UK Murdoch Crime Gang, may be in the crosshairs and even Rupert could have reason to be concerned.

If all of this happened in the US, one would expect RICO (The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) laws to be vigorously pursued, just as they’ve been used against others who have run criminal organizations. On one hand, it would be horrible to discover that such crimes were being perpetrated by The Murdoch Family in the US though on the other hand, it would not be surprising and it could cleanse our democracy and media to shut down criminals exploiting our freedom of the press to corrupt both.

What is indisputable from reports so far, is that News Corp International conducted a criminal operation in the UK with full knowledge and participation of its executives and under Rupert Murdoch’s oversight. Should Americans have a reason to expect anything other from The Murdoch Mafia’s other “family” set up in this country?

Each day, more explosive revelations come out of the UK about the criminal enterprise called News Corp International. To cap this article, especially for those who haven’t been following this as closely, here’s a bit of background about some of what’s come out so far including news that just came out today:

The hacking case broadened with revelations that the tabloid’s operatives are also suspected of hacking into the phones of victims of the July 7, 2005 terrorist attacks on London’s transit system that killed 52 people.

A phone-hacking scandal engulfing Rupert Murdoch’s media empire grew today with claims that Britain’s top-selling tabloid may have listened to the voicemail of relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

From the reporting of Robert Mackey at The New York Times:

Sally and Bob Dowler’s 13-year-old daughter, Milly, was abducted and killed in 2002. The revelation that Milly’s voice mail was hacked into and tampered with by The News of the World during the frantic search for her that year sparked widespread revulsion last week.

Sally Dowler recalled that, during the search, she had been given hope that her daughter was still alive when she discovered that voice mails had been deleted from her account. It later transpired that News of the World operatives had deleted the messages to free up space for more voice mail to be left, to provide the newspaper with more information for stories on the girl.

In a long interview with BBC News on Tuesday, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown was asked how he reacted, as a father, when Rebekah Brooks, who was at the time the editor of the News International tabloid The Sun, called to tell him that her paper had discovered that his infant son, Fraser, had cystic fibrosis, and planned to publish the information.

Mr. Brown said that he was “in tears – your son is now going to be broadcast across the media, Sarah and I were incredibly upset about it, we’re thinking about his long-term future, we’re thinking about our family. But there’s nothing you can do about it, you’re in public life and this story appears. You don’t know how it’s appeared, I’ve not questioned how it appeared, I’ve not made any allegations about how it appeared, I’ve not made any claims about how it appeared, but the fact is, it did appear, and it did appear in The Sun newspaper.”

Mr. Brown attacked News International, the British newspaper division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, for hiring “known criminals” to spy on him and other targets:

“I’m shocked, I’m genuinely shocked to find that this happened because of their links with criminals, known criminals who were undertaking this activity, hired by investigators who were working with the Sunday Times. And I just can’t understand this: if I, with all the protection and all the defenses and all the security that a chancellor of the exchequer or a prime minister has, is so vulnerable to unscrupulous tactics, unlawful tactics, to methods that have been used in the way that we’ve found – what about the ordinary citizen? “

In a prior appearance by Ms. Brooks before the committee in 2003, during which she said: “We have paid the police for information in the past.”

The man sitting next to Ms. Brooks during that appearance in 2003 was her former deputy at The News of the World, Andy Coulson, who resigned in January as Prime Minister David Cameron’s media adviser and was arrested last week in connection with a new investigation into bribery.

After Ms. Brooks hesitated and said, “It depends,” during that appearance, Mr. Coulson interrupted her and told the committee: “We operate within the code and within the law and if there is a clear public interest then we will. The same holds for private detectives, subterfuge….”

Last week, Tom Watson, a member of Parliament, claimed that investigators working for The News of the World when it was edited by Rebekah Brooks, who is now the chief executive of News International, had interfered with a police officer’s investigation of a murder to protect a private investigator who worked for the tabloid.

Sue Akers, the deputy assistant commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police who is leading the new investigation of the phone hacking scandal, told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday that only about 170 of about 4,000 suspected victims of phone hacking have been alerted so far.

John Yates, acting deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police (a/k/a Scotland Yard), telling a parliamentary committee on Tuesday that he is “99 percent certain” that his own phone was hacked in 2005 and 2006.

Two former journalists for The News of the World – the newspaper at the epicenter of the scandal, which the Murdoch family closed last weekend – said police officers had been bribed to use restricted cellphone-tracking technology to pinpoint the location of people sought by the papers in their pursuit of scoops.”

Scotland Yard also had a symbiotic relationship with News of the World. The police sometimes built high-profile cases out of the paper’s exclusives, and News of the World reciprocated with fawning stories of arrests.Within days of the raids, several senior detectives said they began feeling internal pressure. One senior investigator said he was approached by Chris Webb, from the department’s press office, who was “waving his arms up in the air, saying, ‘Wait a minute – let’s talk about this.’ ” The investigator, who has since left Scotland Yard, added that Webb stressed the department’s “long-term relationship with News International.”

That fall, Andy Hayman, the head of the counterterrorism branch, was in his office when a senior investigator brought him 8 to 10 pages of a single-spaced “target list” of names and mobile phone numbers taken from Mulcaire’s home. It read like a British society directory. Scotland Yard officials consulted with the Crown Prosecution Service on how broadly to investigate. But the officials didn’t discuss certain evidence with senior prosecutors, including the notes suggesting the involvement of other reporters, according to a senior prosecutor on the case.

Mr. Hayman, who was Mr. Clarke’s superior, joined News International, as a columnist for The Times of London, after his retirement from the police force. In 2009, after The Guardian first reported that the scale of the hacking had been far greater than initially revealed by the police, Mr. Hayman asserted in a Times column that the initial inquiry was not a “half-hearted investigation – we put our best detectives on the case and left no stone unturned as officials breathed down our neck.”

He also wrote:

“The Guardian has said it understands that the police file shows that between 2,000 and 3,000 individuals had their mobile phones hacked into, far more than was ever officially admitted during the investigation and prosecution of Clive Goodman.”

The Mirror reported:

A former New York cop made the 9/11 hacking claim. He alleged he was contacted by News of the World journalists who said they would pay him to retrieve the private phone records of the dead.

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

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

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

NEWS International found “ticking timebomb” emails in 2007 that appeared to prove cops were being paid for stories – but did not hand the evidence to the Metropolitan Police until last month.

The emails allegedly show a protection officer was paid for the contact details of members of the Royal Family, including Prince Charles and Camilla.

Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson is also allegedly implicated, with emails said to show he knew about payments of £120,000 to three police officers.

The messages are also alleged to provide evidence that hacking at the newspaper was wider than just one rogue reporter – ­seemingly contradicting News ­International’s stance when the scandal was first uncovered.

It was reported yesterday that in one of the dynamite emails, a reporter allegedly requested cash from a senior executive.

He is said to have wanted to buy a confidential directory of the Royal Family’s landline telephone numbers and all the phone numbers – including mobiles – of the household staff.

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

183 Responses so far.

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  1. bito says:

    Phone hacking: Dowler lawyer pursues US legal action against News Corp

    Mark Lewis instructs lawyer of 20 9/11 families over allegations News of the World staff may have bribed police

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/sep/23/dowler-family-news-corp

    The solicitor who represented the family of Milly Dowler in their phone-hacking claims against News Corporation on Friday announced he has teamed up with US lawyers with a view to initiating proceedings targetting Rupert Murdoch and his son James.

    Mark Lewis of Taylor Hampton has instructed Norman Siegel, a New York-based lawyer who represents 20 9/11 families to seek witness statements from News Corp and directors including the Murdochs in relation to allegations that News of the World staff may have bribed police.

    He says he intends to assess whether he can launch a class action against News Corp using American foreign corruption laws, which make it illegal for US companies to pay bribes to government officials abroad.

    “There is a provision within US law, before you start an action to seek depositions from individuals, in this case, such as James Murdoch and Rupert Murdoch and other directors of News Corp,” said Lewis.

    He added Siegel would examine allegations of not just police bribery but also phone hacking and “foreign malpractices.”

    And I hadn’t heard anything about this (sorry Kalima, if I missed it.)

    Separately, it emerged that this week US prosecutors at the Department of Justice have written to Murdoch’s News Corporation requesting information on alleged payments made to the British police by the News of the World. The DoJ is looking into whether the company may have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

    Under FCPA laws, American companies are banned from paying representatives of a foreign government to gain a commercial advantage.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/sep/23/dowler-family-news-corp?CMP=twt_gu

  2. AdLib says:

    Former executives challenge Murdochs’ testimony

    Four former News International executives challenged statements made to Parliament by their bosses — Rupert and James Murdoch — with one saying Tuesday that the media mogul wrongly blamed outside lawyers for improperly investigating his company’s phone hacking scandal.

    For example: Was James Murdoch made aware of a critical piece of evidence unearthed in 2008 which suggested that phone hacking went beyond Goodman, the only reporter ever convicted over the practice?

    The younger Murdoch told parliamentarians in July that he wasn’t. On Tuesday, his former legal adviser Tom Crone repeatedly insisted that James Murdoch was.

    “He realized that the News of the World was involved, and that that involved people beyond Clive Goodman,” Crone said. He was backed by Colin Myler — who replaced Coulson as News of the World editor following Goodman’s conviction.

    “Everybody perfectly understood the seriousness of the discussion,” Myler said.

    And what about the massive payout made to Goodman after he’d been convicted of illegal eavesdropping? Who on earth, one parliamentarian asked, would authorize the payment of a quarter million pounds ($400,000 at current rates) to a criminal?

    In a letter to parliamentarians, James Murdoch said it was Chapman, along with Daniel Cloke, News International head of personnel that authorized the payment to Goodman.

    Not so, the pair said Tuesday. They both testified that it was Les Hinton, one of Murdoch’s most trusted aides — and until recently the publisher of the Wall Street Journal — who authorized the award. Hinton is the most senior Murdoch executive to resign in the scandal.

    http://old.news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110906/ap_on_bi_ge/eu_britain_phone_hacking

  3. bito says:

    Murdoch tabloid private eye delivers hacking names

    (Reuters) -- A private detective jailed for illegally intercepting voicemail messages on behalf of a journalist at one of Rupert Murdoch’s British tabloids on Friday gave lawyers the names of the people he says ordered him to carry out the phone hacking

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/26/us-newscorp-hacking-mulcaire-idUSTRE77P70320110826

    My apologies to Kalima, if she posted this article. The ones the last couple of days in MB on Coulson getting paid by NI while working for the PM were astounding. And know this? When is one of these Humpty-Dumptys going to fall off the wall?

  4. bito says:

    The beat goes on:

    Phone hacking: Police officer arrested over leaks

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-14596815

    The 51-year-old detective constable was arrested at work on Thursday and bailed. He has been suspended.

    The BBC understands a second man arrested on Friday as part of the Met’s Operation Weeting was Dan Evans, 35, a former News of the World reporter.

    […]

    On Thursday, a 38-year-old man, named by the Guardian as former News of the World journalist James Desborough, was arrested and released on bail.

    Operation Weeting has arrested a total of 14 over alleged phone hacking.

    When is someone going to squeal or rollover in the U.S.? Unless everyone thinks that News Corp is clean here in the U.S.
    Murdoch was sleazy in Australia, the UK but they are innocent babes in the US?

    • KQuark says:

      This is one of those drip, drip, drip scandals. It will be going on for quite a while.

      In the US News Corp is so allied with the GOP the scandal is being muted for sure.

  5. AdLib says:

    UPDATE -- 8-16-11(Thanks to Kalima and Morning Blog!):

    Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and their former editor Andy Coulson all face embarrassing new allegations of dishonesty and cover-up after the publication of an explosive letter written by the News of the World’s disgraced royal correspondent, Clive Goodman.

    In the letter, which was written four years ago but published only on Tuesday, Goodman claims that phone hacking was “widely discussed” at editorial meetings at the paper until Coulson himself banned further references to it; that Coulson offered to let him keep his job if he agreed not to implicate the paper in hacking when he came to court; and that his own hacking was carried out with “the full knowledge and support” of other senior journalists, whom he named.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/aug/16/phone-hacking-now-reporter-letter?CMP=twt_gu

  6. bito says:

    “It was as though we were looking at Mao,” recalls Charlie Reina, a former Fox News producer. The Foxistas went wild. They let the dogs out. Woof! Woof! Woof! Even those who disliked the way Ailes runs his network joined in the display of fealty, given the culture of intimidation at Fox News. “It’s like the Soviet Union or China: People are always looking over their shoulders,” says a former executive with the network’s parent, News Corp. “There are people who turn people in.”

    Roger Ailes and the rise of Fox News

    Even Rupert Murdoch is afraid of Roger Ailes, the paranoid boss of Fox News. But ‘the Chairman’ is using his power to make Americans more rightwing, more ignorant and ever more terrified

    I think that the Guardian ran this article before, but it is worth reading:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/aug/10/roger-ailes-fox-news-murdoch?CMP=twt_gu

    or maybe not, I’m sure we can all find “how to boil peanuts” important.

  7. bito says:

    A few updates and MB also has one.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/aug/09/rupert-murdoch-wall-street-analysts-questions

    One from the US that Kalima may have posted the other day, but I missed:

    FBI widens News Corp inquiry after alleged computer hacking by subsidiary

    US authorities reportedly looking into ‘larger pattern of behaviour’ by Murdoch companies following claims of strong-arm tactics

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/aug/04/fbi-news-corp-investigation

    ~~~~
    And two new ones from the UK:
    Anothing hacking casualty: the Met’s press chief Dick Fedorcio has been put on extended leave. (via Twitter)
    ~~~~
    Man arrested by Scotland Yard reported to be former News of the World newsdesk executive Greg Miskiw

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/aug/10/phone-hacking-man-61-arrested

    ~~~~
    More updates:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/phone-hacking?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT6921

  8. AdLib says:

    UPDATE:

    From the Guardian:

    The private investigator at the centre of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal denied suggestions he acted without orders from the newspaper.

    In an attack on the News International, Glenn Mulcaire said he was “effectively employed” by the tabloid publisher from 2002 as a private investigator and had not acted “unilaterally” when he intercepted voicemails. “As an employee he acted on the instructions of others,” a statement issued by his lawyers said.

    His comments came 24 hours after it emerged that Sara Payne, whose eight-year-old daughter, Sarah, was abducted and murdered in 2000, learned Mulcaire may have targeted her phone.

    Hours after his statement, Sara Payne made her first public comments, saying she was “very distressed and upset” that details relating to her may have been found in Mulcaire’s files.

    “I can confirm reports that I was given a phone by the campaign team [for the NoW’s Sarah’s Law campaign] and that my voicemail was only activated after my first aneurysm,” she said. This relates to a report on Thursday that she had not turned her voicemail on the phone until 2009, the year of her first aneurysm. She was given the phone by NoW in 2000.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jul/29/glenn-mulcaire-acted-instructions-hacking

  9. AdLib says:

    NEWS UPDATE:

    James Murdoch has been accused of misleading the parliamentary select committee this week in relation to phone hacking, igniting yet another fire for the embattled News International boss to extinguish.

    In a highly damaging broadside, two former News of the World senior executives claimed the evidence Murdoch gave to the committee on Tuesday in relation to an out-of-court settlement to Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers Association, was “mistaken”.

    The statement came as something of a bombshell to the culture, sport and media select committee, which immediately announced it would be asking Murdoch to explain the contradiction.

    Colin Myler, editor of the paper until it was shut down two weeks ago, and Tom Crone, the paper’s former head of legal affairs, said they had expressly told Murdoch of an email that would have blown a hole in its defence that only one “rogue reporter” was involved in the phone-hacking scandal.

    This contradicts what Murdoch told the committee when questioned on Tuesday.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jul/21/james-murdoch-select-committee-evidence

  10. Khirad says:

    So, if you didn’t watch the 3+ hours of the special session of the British Parliament [separate from Murdoch’s testimony, in case you’re confused] here is the rundown of the backbench Tory talking points.

    a) This is distracting us from more important issues like Eurozone (their “Debt Crisis”)
    b) Labour is trying to gain political capital from a 13 year old’s death
    c) Labour is obsessed with conspiracy theories
    d) Labour did it too.

    I’m sure it’s just a coincidence a few of those sounded like they came from FOX. Near the end, Ed Miliband gave a great speech about how Tories always go after pensioner and services fraud and attack the poor and powerless, but that when it comes to this, they claim there are ‘bigger’ issues. Nailed it.

    There was also Labour frontbencher Margaret Curran, who confronted Cameron at the end to disassociate himself from all the comments blaming Labour for making political hay out of a girl’s death and call them out-of-line. Cameron evaded.

    Edit: I recommend Ed Miliband’s statement which starts from the beginning of this video and goes until the 5:30 mark.
    http://www.c-span.org/Events/Cameron-Addresses-House-of-Commons/10737422967-3/

  11. AdLib says:

    Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 43%, LDEM 11%. It looks as though the bigger Labour leads of up to 8 points that YouGov have shown since the phone hacking scandal hit its peak haven’t quite faded away yet after all.

    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/

    [img][/img]

    [img][/img]

    • bito says:

      Are those Palin numbers or Cain numbers? 😉 Not the best are they AdLib?
      More reading of the Guardian today indicates that he is in no danger of a no confidence vote loss. Like the R’s in our House on the debt ceiling, the Conservatives in the Commons have the same mindset, the public be damned-for now.

      As for the Lib-Dems, their popularity is holding exactly on course according to a study posted on “The Monkey Cage” and libs joining a government. They always seem to lose. They end up getting most of the blame.

  12. bito says:

    Reading some more on the “live blog” at the Guardian, this follows many Planeteers thoughts:

    One of News Corp’s largest shareholders is demanding reform of the family-run company after branding its corporate governance structure as “corrupt”.

    Calpers, one of the world’s biggest pension funds, said it regarded the voting structure in News Corp as a critical issue, my colleague Jill Treanor reports.

    It also signalled it was ready to push for an overhaul of the current arrangements, which favour the Murdoch family.

    Anne Simpson, head of corporate governance at Calpers, said:

    News Corp does not have one share one vote. This is a corruption of the governance system. Power should reflect capital at risk. Calpers sees the voting structure in a company as critical. The situation is very serious and we’re considering our options. We don’t intend to be spectators – we’re owners.

    Calpers is the most high-profile shareholder so far to demand an end to the present structure which is split into non-voting Class A shares and voting Class B shares.

    While the Murdochs own 12% of the company, their special B shares give them voting rights over 40% of the company. Calpers holds 6.4m shares.

    Quick, someone figure out 6.4 million X’s 5 dollars and that’s how much they have lost already. Now add that to the Saudi Prince’s shares, he is the second largest stockholder and there may be a major shake-up in the NewsCorp’s structure.
    I did watch a BBC interview with the prince and he was a bit cagey and noncommittal about a shake up with words like, “Too soon to tell.” and “we will have to see/wait to see…”
    But with these two raising a ruckus….

    Another H/T to Kalima
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/blog/2011/jul/20/phone-hacking-scandal-live-coverage

    • AdLib says:

      Calpers is big and influential. This is not just a promising stand but a fair one. Why should investors have such a reduced vote over the Murdochs? Is this a global corporation or Murdoch’s Family Restaurant?

      I don’t know about the Saudis standing with them, tyrants are attracted to and protect other tyrants…because they could be the next tyrants dethroned.

      In any case, Rupert may have played the dottering old man to escape responsibility in the hearing but he looked like an incompetent, frail and weak old man which any responsible investor in NI should be concerned about being in the driver’s seat.

      • bito says:

        AdLib, point understood on the Saudi Prince but I’m wouldn’t think he is happy about the losses and if he foresees further losses? If he is a greedy tyrant, we may see some changes in the Murdoch empire. Pure speculation on my part, but there may be some head butting behind closed doors.

        “the frail old man.” I have been around many elder and I have seen changes from day to day/week to week, granted, but the last interview I saw with him was night and day from yesterdays show. Just saying. And investors should be concerned if the Chairman and CEO has know knowledge of 2+ million pounds of hush money were made in the corporations name.


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