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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 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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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".


purejuice: (Default)
...cripples the inquiry by adding the BBC, one of Murdoch's betes noire, to the list of press suspects to be investigated. The Guardian and the Independent, who have lead the phone hacking inquiry, are also to be added to the list of media to be investigated by the judicial inquiry Cameron himself set up two weeks ago to contain the phone hacking scandal.

"And not just at NI but also ... the BBC, the Independent and the Guardian. This is a cathartic moment to sort it out and put it on a proper footing."

This also makes the inquiry untenable in terms of getting it done with dispatch.

The inquiry has been divided into two parts, with the investigation into hacking allegations to start only after criminal allegations have been settled.

In other news of tiny nuggets that are likely flashpoints, the BBC reports that Murdoch has given his lawyers, Harbottle and Lewis, permission to respond to police and judicial inquiries. Harbottle are the people who sat on incriminating hack/bribery emails for years. Harbottle screamed bloody murder Tuesday after the Murdochs' testimony that Harbottle's response to inquiry was limited by attorney-client privilege. In a statement, Harbottle implied that if NI released them from the confidentiality privilege, the story would be very different from the Murdochs' testimony. At issue was the Murdochs' insistence that in every case of malfeasance, they were relying on the advice of counsel -- among other things, on the defense that the hacking was confined to one rogue reporter and that nothing else, including police bribery, apparently, had gone down.

Along with Scotland Yard and its allegations against Cameron, I think Harbottle will be the source of serious allegations against the Murdochs.

I'm hoping this is the beginning of the holy shit story.
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These are the lawyers who sat on the incriminating stash of NotW e-mails (I believe) for four years. Rupe and James frequently testified today that they relied on the advice of counsel to assert that the investigation was over and there was no further "emerging evidence". Harbottle and Lewis quickly issued this denial:

Harbottle & Lewis said in a statement issued this evening:

News International representatives referred to our advice in their statements today before the Parliamentary Select Committee, both as a result of questioning and on their own account.

We asked News International to release us from our professional duties of confidentiality in order that we could respond to any inaccurate statements or contentions and to explain events in 2007.

News International declined that request, and so we are still unable to respond in any detail as to our advice or the scope of our instructions in 2007, which is a matter of great regret.

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Not seen as a suspicious death.

In a subsequent interview with the BBC [former NotW reporter Sean Hoare] alleged that he was personally asked by his then-editor, Coulson, to tap into phones. In an interview with the PM programme he said Coulson's insistence that he didn't know about the practice was "a lie, it is simply a lie".

At the time a Downing Street spokeswoman said Coulson totally and utterly denied the allegations and said he had "never condoned the use of phone hacking and nor do I have any recollection of incidences where phone hacking took place".

Sean Hoare, a one-time close friend of Coulson's, told the New York Times the two men first worked together at the Sun, where, Hoare said, he played tape recordings of hacked messages for Coulson. At the News of the World, Hoare said he continued to inform Coulson of his activities. Coulson "actively encouraged me to do it", Hoare said.


Reading the magisterial 2010 Times piece yesterday, I said to myself, there's a suicide among these sources.

If I'm wrong, we're into the big time now. Murder not out of the question, as the alleged murderer Rees, who was acquitted of charges he sunk an ax into his business partner's head, was a PI hired by the NotW exec Coulson, who went on to become prime minister Cameron's communications director. Acquitted ax murderer Rees was on Coulson's NotW payroll for years, before and after two criminal trials.

Rees, who had worked for the paper for seven years, was jailed for planting cocaine on a woman in order to discredit her during divorce proceedings. After his release from prison Rees, who had been bugged for six months by Scotland Yard because of his links with corrupt police officers, was rehired by the News of the World, which was being edited by Andy Coulson.


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January 2012



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