“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.
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.”
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.