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I'm going to try this again. Not so happy with LJ forecasts for 2012. http://www.fastcompany.com/1809674/the-return-of-livejournal
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Evidence is emerging that describes the machinations of the flame-haired editrix, News International's former chair, Rebekah Brooks, as an unusually brutal and obsequious bloodthirsty operator. First, it is suggested that disgraced former NOTW editor Andy Coulson was placed by Brooks and James Murdoch as the prime minister's communications director to secure James' rise in NI. Second, it's revealed she gave a telephone to the mother of another murdered child -- a phone investigators now believed was hacked by NOTW. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jul/28/phone-hacking-sarah-payne
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Hmmm. And I think we all know who is responsible.
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Per the quote from Michael Wolff I first posted here, Murdoch biographer Wolff has now given an interview to the Independent accusing Rupert of lying in his Parliamentary testimony about his detachment from the newspaper operation.
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And, The Big One, how great was Murdoch's influence over Tony Blair's part in the invasion of Iraq

More difficult for Blair to deny have been claims he owes a debt to Murdoch for his newspapers' support during the Iraq war. Freedom of information requests have confirmed the men spoke three times on the telephone shortly before the invasion started.

A new play, Loyalty, showing at Hampstead Theatre and written by the journalist Sarah Helm, wife of Blair's chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, hints at what the two men may have talked about.

In one scene, Murdoch rings Blair to tell him he has been speaking to the US secretary of defence, Donald Rumsfeld. Murdoch says: "Don's boys need [the UK military base] Diego Garcia, Tony."

Blair signs off: "Right, thanks Rupert." Although the play is a fictionalised memoir, Whitehall insiders say it has the ring of authenticity.

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In other news, I hate to be such an ancient jade, but dude. Heroin addicts are going to die and die young. And weird Ingmar Bergman-cyberloner-evangelical Lutheran-white-supremacist-pervs are going to massacre innocent people.

I haven't scanned all the Amy eulogies, but the NYT guy made the point that ties in the two events:

Her songs, it turned out, would be wiser than she was.

Something along the same lines could be said for Breivik.
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Back to the idea that Murdoch is a supranational nation state, with the newspapers acting as his enforcers.

The solicitors' professional association in Britain has announced a preliminary inquiry into crimes committed by lawyers in phone hacking scandal.

This investigation is launched as lawyers for celebs and other victims of phone hacking begin to discover their phones were hacked too.

Having suborned Scotland Yard, and, apparently, MI5, Murdoch may have corrupted some of his lawyers as well.

Finally, in the suborned lawyers front, the judge appointed by Prime Minister Cameron to sit on lead the inquiry into the phone hacking scandal has socialized with Murdoch's daughter. Whigs demand wigs scalps.

Lord Justice Leveson, not looking very swift.

Meanwhile, his rival the NYT has set David Carr to the task. In the business pages today, Carr sums things up pretty nicely, saying James is doomed since the Crone/Myler "his testimony was mistaken" announcement of last week, and its over for Rupe, too. Ding, dong!

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BSkyB, in a fit of scrupulosity, are talking about taking James Murdoch out as chair at their next board meeting and replacing him with this upright citizen.

What's up with the mother of all toupees, sir?

One shareholder, who asked not to be named, said: "In the longer term it would seem better if there was an independent chairman who wasn't distracted by this sort of stuff. If he's found to have misled the committee then he could not sustain his position. You expect complete veracity in a company chairman."

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Police informant #281, News of the World senior writer, Neville Thurlbeck, keystone of the James Murdoch criminal liability story

This is so bent I'm just gabbling.

Neville Thurlbeck, NOTW's senior reporter, is the name on one of the smoking gun emails that the law firm, Harbottle and Lewis, sat on for four years. James Murdoch claimed in testimony Tuesday not to have known about hacking allegations against Thurlbeck when he settled another case out of court and declared the hacking scandal had been limited to one rogue reporter.

Today NOTW's lawyer, Tom Crone, followed Harbottle and Lewis' example, in disputing Murdoch's testimony before Parliament. Crone said he and NOTW editor Myler did tell James about the Neville email. This is an explosive revelation which implicates James -- who stands by his testimony -- in a coverup his former lawyers don't appear to be inclined to take the fall for.

Meanwhile, Thurlbeck's working as an official Scotland Yard and MI5 informant while he was working as a reporter, in exchange for tidbits from the National Police Computer, pretty much boggles the mind. Any organization which would permit anything like it is moving into the arena of insane. In case you didn't know, it's a big no-no to share your notes with anybody -- much less, the cops, the FBI and the CIA. Holy effin' shit.

...worked closely with Scotland Yard as official police source No 281. He was an unpaid employee of the National Criminal Intelligence Service, a liaison body between Scotland Yard's Special Branch and MI5.

Sources close to Thurlbeck
[I bet this is Thurlbeck himself, threatening to tell all] said that "people right at the top of News International were aware of his role".

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Murdoch denies he knows anything. But the smoking gun in Michael Wolff's biography is that Rupert Murdoch himself gets on the story personally when he wants revenge. His defense that his company employs 53,000 people and he can't possibly know what vindictive reporters are doing on his behalf is pure bullshit:

When Wolff shows him at his desk, eagerly pursuing a news story, it’s not one in the broader public interest. Rather, Murdoch has heard a rumor that a Hillary Clinton aide he greatly dislikes may be a partner in an online pornography venture, and has set himself — and a New York Post reporter — to trying to confirm it at all costs; it’s a personal vendetta disguised as ‘news’.

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This is obstruction of justice, pure and simple.

I've just spoken to Mark Lewis, the lawyer for Milly Dowler's family, who has tonight told the police that he believes he was put under surveillance by News International because of his work representing phone hacking victims.

He reported his concerns to the police after Newsnight informed him today that they had heard from a reliable source that the lawyer's phone had been hacked around December last year, and he had also been followed by a private detective.

"I've now reported this to the police and made a formal complaint," said Lewis.

"It feels like walking into a John Grisham novel. Clients leave messages on my phone. It's not about trying to get a story now it's about getting information that could affect court cases."

He said that earlier this year the lawyers representing alleged victims of phone hacking had shared their suspicions that they were themselves being targeted by the News of the World.

"Things seemed to be happening to our phones and our computers," said Lewis, of Taylor Hampton Solicitors in London.

He added that an alleged victim of phone hacking whom he represents had also been the victim of "blagging" - where someone phones up people and organisations pretending to be someone else.

"One of my clients thinks she was being blagged and those phone calls are now the subject of a police inquiry," said Lewis.

11.27pm: Three solicitors representing phone hacking victims were themselves targets of the News of the World, according to Newsnight. They included Mark Lewis, the lawyer for the family of Milly Dowler and Gordon Taylor, the former head of the Professional Footballers' Association. The programme reported that the solicitors were not put under surveillance for the purpose of writing stories about them.

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Murdoch has been paying Mulcaire's legal fees on a key suit and has now terminated this policy. Mulcaire can now spill the totes beans.

Mulcaire was first ordered to answer questions in November last year. Lawyers acting for Nicola Phillips, a PR consultant who used to work for Max Clifford, secured a court order that he must disclose the identity of the person who instructed him to intercept her voicemail and that he must specifically say whether the then news editor of the News of the World, Ian Edmondson, had asked him to investigate Ms Phillips or other people connected with Max Clifford. A similar order was then made in the case brought by Steve Coogan.

However, News International then paid Mulcaire's legal fees to appeal against the rulings, apparently contradicting its public stance that it wanted the truth to be told about the affair.


Whether or not this helps Mulcaire in copping pleas to the many civil suits he face from individual victims of phone hacking, I cannot figure out.
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It sounds like they're floating a trial balloon in hopes that a witness will step forward with the smoking gun evidence, or that the public will demand the PM fess up.

Nick Raynsford, the Labour MP who was local government minister, said: “I have been approached by an absolutely impeccable source, who has a lifetime of work in the public sector and was a senior official.
“He has told me that last summer he suspected his phone was hacked, his dustbin searched and covert surveillance took place on him.
“At the time, he was the subject of negative media briefing which he suspects was orchestrated by Andy Coulson at No 10. He complained to Sir Gus O’Donnell who advised him on the issue and put him in contact with the police.
“He now wishes this information to be put in the public domain.
“David Cameron must disclose as a matter of urgency whether he was warned of this incident, which suggests that potential criminality may have taken place at the heart of government.”

...Cabinet secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell has dismissed concerns that a senior civil servant's phone was hacked while Andy Coulson was in Downing Street as a "genuine misunderstanding", PA reports.

He said the individual had been subjected to "disgraceful, probably illegal, actions during the period about a year ago in which Andy Coulson was in charge of Government communications".

But O'Donnell said that although the civil servant had raised concerns about media harrassment and possible phone tampering, the matter was "thoroughly investigated" and no evidence of wrongdoing was found.

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Sun features editor Matt Nixson, a former NOTW editor and Coulson crony, has had his computer seized and has been frog-marched out of the Sun's building by its managing editor. He was formerly features editor and news editor at NOTW, under Andy Coulson.

David Rose, assistant news editor of the Times, says the Sun journalist sacked tonight is features editor Matt Nixson.

He said on Twitter: "Matt Nixson features editor of the Sun has been sacked over allegations of serious misconduct while he was working for the News of the World."

Rose later added: "He was marched out of the building by the Sun's Managing Editor. Previously deputy features editor at #notw."

8.33pm: A former News of the World executive has been sacked from the Sun, according to Sky News.




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You read it here first.

NOTW legal manager Tom Crone and editor Myler assert that James Murdoch's testimony before parliament on the payout to soccer exec Taylor -- viewed in this space as where the rubber meets the road on James' criminal liability -- was "mistaken".


When the Guardian pointed out in the wake of his parliamentary testimony that Murdoch's son had sought to blame them for concealment, one friend of the two men said: "To contradict James will be as good as coming out and calling him a liar."

Myler and Crone, the News of the World's then editor and News International's top newspaper lawyer, both of whom have lost their jobs in the wake of the phone-hacking affair, subsequently spent the day debating what to do.

If their statement of Thursday nightis correct, Rupert's son will have proved to have misled parliament. He will also have destroyed the Murdoch family's last line of defence against the scandal – that they knew nothing, and had been betrayed by those underlings they trusted.

Myler and Crone are, in effect, accusing James Murdoch of being part of the cover-up, one in which the company's executives vainly twisted and turned to conceal the truth about phone hacking and blame it on a single "rogue reporter".


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News reports say police want to talk to Miskiw about the burgeoning phone hacking scandal.

While he was at the News of the World, Miskiw famously said: "That is what we do - we go out and destroy other people's lives."

While the world on Tuesday was riveted by top news officials' testimony before Parliament, Palm Beach County once again found itself connected to an international scandal.

A spokesman for American Media Inc. confirmed that Miskiw worked at The Globe in Boca Raton for about two months this year and left several months ago. In June, Miskiw incorporated a company, News Team LLC, according to the Florida Secretary of State's Office.


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There are five issues that relate directly to Cameron in this long-running drama, his appointment of Andy Coulson, his extensive contacts with News International, the activities of his chief of staff Ed Llewellyn, his role in the BSkyB deal that almost came to spectacular fruition and his response to the firestorm of the last three weeks, the first crisis in which he, rather than Nick Clegg, has been the centre of attention. How damaging are each of the issues and is there more to come?


I'd add the explosive issue that Scotland Yard is out to get him, and the question of whether or not NI performed dark arts (hacking, police bribery, intimidation of enemies) for him or at his behest.
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This piece, cited at UK's Open Democracy, sharpened my mind marvelously.

If true, it explains the nugget of the problem: politicians in Britain were afraid to investigate Murdoch for fear Rebekah Brooks would expose them. Scotland Yard has been accused of the same thing. NI was Murdoch's own independent investigating apparatus, suitable to an enormously powerful entity which, like al Qaeda, is not a nation-state.

This is beginning to remind me of the Ken Saro-Wiwa case, in which a journalist was hung by the government of Nigeria because he opposed Royal Dutch Shell's pollution of Ogoniland.

My Ken Saro-Wiwa bumper sticker is the only one I've ever had.


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January 2012



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