Make your excuses and leave

The UK is daily seeing revelations of levels of institutional corruption that would have raised eyebrows in Amin’s Uganda. News International seem to have gone for full-scale subversion of any British institution they can get their hands on.

There’s an embarrassment of revelation riches. Scandals are spilling out at a rate that reminds you of the way that a convicted criminal might ask for hundreds of offences to be taken into consideration when he knows he’s going to jail anyway.
As a random instance: The Sun targeting Gordon Brown’s family. Including getting access to his disabled child’s medical records. And even having to invite the buggers to the funeral.
Hacking Brown was not even a well kept secret. It should have been the subject of a court case.

An unexpected ruling by a judge six years ago effectively covered up the chance to publicly expose evidence of the illegal targeting of Gordon Brown, which had been unearthed by a startled team of provincial detectives.
Operation Reproof, by Plymouth police, revealed the first of what became many systematic attempts to gain illegal confidential information on the prime minister and his family, but their findings were suppressed.
The Guardian has now been able to document the facts.
Files buried in police archives detail the discovery of an extraordinary nationwide network of private investigators, whom a corrupt local police officer was feeding with information filched from the police national computer (PNC) (from the Guardian)

Unlike Plymouth Police, the Metropolitan Police were allegedly so entangled in NI’s web of corruption and blackmail that they couldn’t do anything except contribute to the cover-ups.

(Even where NI misbehaviour involved a police detective, Detective Chief Superintendent David Cook, a Crimewatch presenter targetted for daring to investigate the murder of a NI-employed private detective, whose partners – also NI-employed private detectives were suspects. )

You can’t really blame them when it seemed that every member of the British establishment was either cowed or complicit (or, more likely, both.)

Thus, it’s been left to people like comedian Steve Coogan and actor Hugh Grant to mount almost the only serious challenges to the evil empire.

I am pleased to see that the BSkyB bid finally looks unlikely to go through unchallenged. The Murdoch machine has almost brought the BBC to its knees in pursuit of its tv ambitions, so – blameless as Sky channels might be, in terms of hacking dead teenager’s phones – I’d like to see it fail.

Also, it’s nice to see that News Corp investors are finally questioning the company, although it seems a mite hypocritical for institutional investors to insist that Murdoch must have known what his papers were doing. Can investors really have been unaware of the nature of the business they were investing in? If so, I suggest sending them 412 scam letters immediately, because they have money to invest and are naive enough to believe anything.

Ever since Margaret Thatcher signed some Faustian deal with Murdoch, British society has been paying the price. Maybe, as Harriet Harman implied in an interview this week, all UK political parties should get together and ask News Corp “Can we have our country back, please?”

NoW that’s what I call outrage

The News of the World has been shown to have been phone hacking on an industrial scale. Last year, the Guardian had a spreadsheet with a list of over 30 celebs who have been hacked, and that didn’t even scratch the celeb surface, let alone begin to count the lesser mortals – like the families of murdered teenagers – who have apparently also had the full attention of the NoW turned towards their personal messages.

Rebekah Wade Brooks- now News International’s British Chief Exec – has made a statement containing a phrase which I must assume she meant literally – what with her being a newspaper editor and all.

“It is inconceivable that I knew or worse, sanctioned these appalling allegations.”(from the Guardian)

I agree it is inconceivable that the sanctioned the allegations of phone hacking. The phone hacking is, of course, another matter. She’s been the editor of the biggest selling “newspapers” in the UK. Surely she should know how to string a sentence together. Otherwise, I can only conclude that was an accidental, if rare, incidence of a News International employee telling the truth.

Some of us have long memories. And luckily, so does tinternet, so that I can throw this news item from 2005 into the fray.

The ethically-unimpeachable Ms Wade was arrested for beating up her then-husband, Ross Kemp.

Ironically, as editor of the Sun, she had masterminded a domestic violence campaign, according to the BBC. (The word “mastermind” was theirs), Also ironically, her career seems to have been based entirely on carrying out search and destroy missions against other people, largely on the basis of misbehaviours that don’t even begin to rival the heinousness of her own private actions.