Murdoch hacking scandal crossing the Atlantic

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WASHINGTON - Sen. John Rockefeller, D-W.Va., July 19 called for a congressional investigation of charges that Rupert Murdoch's News of the World journalists attempted to bribe a New York police officer to obtain phone records of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Said Rockefeller, "I am concerned that the admitted phone hacking in London by the News Corp. may have extended to 9/11 victims or other Americans. If they did, the consequences will be severe."

Rockefeller's statement was the clearest evidence yet that the scandal engulfing billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, owner of the Wall Street Journal, Fox News and the New York Post, is crossing the Atlantic.

The evidence stems from a story in the London Daily Mirror which quotes a former New York police officer, now a private investigator, who charged that he was offered money to steal the phone records of 9/11 victims. The officer claims that the person who contacted him "wanted the phone numbers of the dead as well as details of the calls they made and received in the days leading up to the attacks"  on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in which nearly 3,000 people died.

During hearings before a committee of the British House of Commons, July 19, James Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch, said, "Those are incredibly serious allegations.... It's appalling to think that anyone associated with one of our papers would do that."

Tory Prime Minister David Cameron, promised a full investigation of the Daily Mirror charges during an emergency House of Commons meeting July 20. "I am confident the Metropolitan police will get to the bottom of this," Cameron said during the raucous session.

But there is plenty of reason to think Cameron's confidence is misplaced. Scotland Yard and the London police are deeply implicated in the crime itself and efforts to hush it up. Indeed, Cameron denied during the session of the House of Commons that he or his lieutenants met with Scotland Yard or London police to pressure them to squelch the investigation of the phone hacking.  But he did not deny that he  met more than two dozen times with News Corp. executives, including Rupert Murdoch himself, from May 2010 until today.

One of Murdoch's most trusted henchmen, Les Hinton, CEO of Dow Jones, owner of the Wall Street Journal, resigned July 15 amid charges that he orchestrated the coverup starting in 2007 when Murdoch brought him in to deal with the scandal.

Hinton's attempts to quiet the outrage reportedly ranged from destruction of evidence by News Corp. and the police to huge cash payments, including a 600,000 pound settlement of a complaint by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown that Murdoch hackers had spied on his phone messages and personal bank account.

Hinton hired the law firm Harbottle & Lewis to conduct an internal inquiry. It produced a report now called the "Harbottle file," revealing that hacking was a routine practice by many journalists on the staff of News of the World, not the work of "a single rogue correspondent."

Yet Hinton testified twice before a committee of the House of Commons that the hacking was limited to only one person, Clive Goodman, who covered the royal family. It is a crime to lie to a parliamentary committee and Goodman served a prison sentence.

Murdoch rewarded Hinton for his role in the coverup by appointing him CEO of Dow Jones. It was also convenient to get Hinton out of the UK and across the Atlantic to Dow Jones headquarters in New York.

"To risk any perception that Number 10 (Downing Street) was seeking to influence a sensitive police investigation in any way would have been completely wrong," Cameron said.

Ed Milliband, leader of the Labour opposition, accused Cameron of a "catastrophic error of judgement" in hiring Andy Coulson as his spokesperson even though he had resigned as editor of News of the World amid charges he had approved the hacking. Coulson later stepped down as Cameron's spokesman and was arrested earlier this month for his role in the hacking and coverup.

Murdoch, himself, made clear his crony ties to 10 Downing Street in his testimony July 19.

Labour MP Jim Sheridan asked Murdoch about his visits with the Prime Minister. Murdoch replied, "I was asked to come through the back door ... I was invited for a cup of tea for the support we provided Mr. Cameron. I also went in the back door when I visited Prime Minister Gordon Brown."

Photo: Murdoch in 2009. World Economic Forum // CC 2.0

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  • Here’s someone worse than Murdoch. Read then forward this link to everyone you know, so they don’t get scammed: http://texsquixtarblog.blogspot.com/2011/07/foxmurdoch-versus-amwaydevos.html

    Posted by Tex, 07/20/2011 3:18pm (3 years ago)

  • Hacking can only be accomplished by a computer which leaves an IP address and it can be traced to its source. You can be sure that any payments to police etc would be related back to management and they don't pay for information unless it is accurate. My point is all of this is traceable and to be asking Murdoch questions is rather ineffectual at this stage. The important thing is not to miss what this man and his minions are really all about. This is a war for the minds, souls and pocketbooks of all of us. This is what happens when you create anti-terrorism laws that allow governments to break the law, it is certainly not long before wealthy power driven plutocrats take it as a sign that they can start snooping into the private lives of people and re-arranging their lives. We are in the darkest period of human history and at the lowest moral point we have ever been at. Murdoch and his murderous, deceitful associates took Bush's lead and let the murder go on in the world of eternal war and military enhancement while they went quietly after their own private individual targets. This is what happens when one man controls too much just because he's got money. It is what happens when only 5 people, including himself, control all the media in the country and spread propagandistic fluff for news all over the common networks. Here is one of the guiltiest of all and a cream pie in the face somehow makes it all ok. Well its not ok - it's a dog and pony show performed by a bunch of creepy actors in Parliament who a totally guilty of collaborating with him to keep from becoming his target and of sanctioning corporate fascism, the destruction of human and civil rights, three illegal wars, and the manipulation of the corporate world to suppress business and dramatize the need for the further dismantlement of democracy. This man aided a war criminal to quash the forth estate into a bedroom community for the military and to abandon any notion of civil righteousness. He himself is a war criminal as far as I am concerned and that goes for every fake journalist out there. It is naive and stupid to think that a control freak like this is not completely aware at the kinds of things they were doing. No telling how much public opinion has been crushed into obscurity during the last few critical years, how many stories he reinterpreted for us through his Fox, NY Times propaganda machines. No one should buy anything this man is selling. A cream pie is not the result of an investigation in any legitimate nation on earth. Real people and real lives have been consumed by this man’s spiritual lethargy, deceitfulness, and hunger for power over others. And he is but a reflection of a higher personage of dread who has yet to be prosecuted along with his whole legion of deviants.

    Posted by George-Luis Dewey, 07/20/2011 3:15pm (3 years ago)

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