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July 18, 2011

News Of The World Hacking Whistleblower Found Dead, But Murder Is Not Suspected

Have you been following this? I sure haven't. I tried to catch up last week but the recent articles all assumed that I was paying attention, and I got lost.

This article, however, explains a lot of it.

Hoare first made his claims in a New York Times investigation into the phone-hacking allegations at the News of the World.

He told the newspaper that not only did Coulson know of the phone hacking, but that he actively encouraged his staff to intercept the phone calls of celebrities in the pursuit of exclusives.


...

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.

In September last year, he was interviewed under caution by police over his claims that the former Tory communications chief asked him to hack into phones when he was editor of the paper, but declined to make any comment.

Hoare returned to the spotlight last week, after he told the New York Times that reporters at the News of the World were able to use police technology to locate people using their mobile phone signals in exchange for payments to police officers.

He said journalists were able to use a technique called "pinging" which measured the distance between mobile handsets and a number of phone masts to pinpoint its location.

Hoare gave further details about the use of "pinging" to the Guardian last week. He described how reporters would ask a news desk executive to obtain the location of a target: "Within 15 to 30 minutes someone on the news desk would come back and say 'right that's where they are.'"

The NYT report mentioned is here, but it's a seven pager. It seems a lot of spying on celebrities (including the royals) was routine. I read somewhere else what really got them into trouble was when they did this to the family of a kid who was murdered.

An assistant commissioner with the Metropolitan Police just resigned. Apparently it was charged that he turned a blind eye to this. He denies wrongdoing, etc.

Murdoch's right-hand man, who is a woman, Rebekah Brooks, just resigned in connection with the scandal, and then was promptly arrested. (It's Rebekah Brooks, not Rebecca Black, as I first wrote.)

So those are the facts.

Janet Daley argues "the BBC Left" is using the scandal as a pretext for removing inconvenient actors from the public debate.

This has gone way, way beyond phone hacking. It is now about payback. Gordon Brown's surreal effusion in the House last week may have made it embarrassingly explicit, but the odour of vengeance has been detectable from the start: not just from politicians who have suffered the disfavour of Murdoch's papers, or the trade unions (and their political allies) who have never forgiven him for Wapping, but from that great edifice of self-regarding, mutually affirming soft-Left orthodoxy which determines the limits of acceptable public discourse of which the BBC is the indispensable spiritual centre. The influence of the BBC as a monitor of what is politically admissible is almost incalculable: the entire Tory modernisation project was effectively made necessary (as its chief architects often admit) by the need to get a fair hearing on its news coverage.

Daley notes that in America, liberals are hoping to use this scandal to finally get FoxNews neutered or off the air.

Interesting bit which I didn't know (or had forgotten): There can't be a FoxNews in Britain because the law requires all news to be delivered "impartially."

And, see, the BBC is by definition "impartial." If you don't parrot the BBC, you can actually be in legal trouble with the state.


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posted by Ace at 02:12 PM

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