By J L Samboma
The “Hackgate” scandal, concerning industrial-scale phone-hacking by journalists at Rupert Murdoch’s now-defunct News of the World newspaper, could have been choreographed by the London authorities to provide cover for the West’s stalled bid to effect regime change in Libya, a review by eBeefs of information surrounding the scandal has revealed.
Our review showed that, at the very least, the disclosures – all of which were at the initiative of the British political establishment – could have been made at any point during the last six years. It reveals that the authorities – the police, the intelligence services and their political masters in Whitehall – sat on the story for over five years, possibly more.
School of Spin-doctoring
This is despite knowledge that the gross invasions of privacy and rampant criminality of the News of the World (NOTW) went beyond infractions into the lives of royalty and celebrities, but also breached those of ordinary members of the public and victims of horrendous crimes, among them the survivors of the London terrorist bombings of 7/7 and the murdered teenager Millie Dowler.
This article will argue that this example of deft news management was deployed to cover the fact that the West’s gung-ho invasion of Libya, under a flawed UN mandate to “protect civilians,” was not going according to plan. They needed a “spectacular,” under which to bury the bad news of their setbacks in Libya. So they activated a dictum out of the Jo Moore School of Spin-doctoring thus using the bright idea to unleash upon the public the spectre of Murdoch’s minions doing the dirty on them.
The revelations had all the hallmarks of an attempt to drown out all other competing news items, not least the blanket coverage given to what was billed as the West’s impending sure-fire success in dislodging the Gadaffi from power.
It was way back in November of 2005 that the NOTW published a story about a knee injury to Prince William, the second in line to the British throne. It contained information which the Royals felt could only have been obtained by someone listening in to their phone conversations or messages. After a lengthy police investigation, two NOTW employees - royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire – were arrested. Both men were convicted for intercepting voicemail messages and jailed in January2007.
The Secret Services
Andy Coulson (right), NOTW’s editor, subsequently resigned, claiming “ultimate responsibility” for the duo’s crimes. This damage limitation gimmick, including statements by executives at News International, owners of the NOTW, assured the public that the cancer of criminality had not penetrated the organism but was limited to a few bad apples which, thankfully, had been removed. The Establishment seemed to be satisfied that the cancer had been excised.
In 2008 and 2009 several noteworthy developments reared their heads: The then head of the Professional Footballers’ Association, Gordon Taylor was paid close to a million pounds out-of-court after launching a phone-hacking suit; and it came to light that NOTW reporters had accessed mobile phone messages of thousands of people, details of which were handed to the Metropolitan Police Assistant Commishioner John Yates, (left) who promised his investigation would “leave no stone unturned.” It is noteworthy that the Press Complaints Commission, on advice from the Police, said they could find no reason to believe any wrong-doing by the NOTW.
The forgoing demonstrates that as long ago as 2005 the police, Special Branch and the Secret Service knew that elements of the Murdoch Empire in were hacking into the mobile phones of the Royals. Under any reckoning, that constitutes a threat to national security. Given the fact that the story about the Royal Knee appeared in November of that year, a few months after the terrorist “spectacular” of 7/7 in London, it would beggar belief if the Security Services were not themselves keeping tabs on the activities of NOTW journalists and their confederates in the criminal underworld who facilitated the phone hacking.
If the spooks want to claim they had not been keeping tabs on such espionage, it would reek of incompetence and their top brass should follow the example of the two police commissioners, Sir Paul Stephenson and John Yates, who resigned recently after being compromised by their inactivity, and possible complicity, in the NOTW’s criminality.
A veritable can of worms
Incidentally, it is noteworthy that, of the many inquiries announced by David Cameron’s coalition government, none has been charged to look into the role – or lack, thereof – of the security services in this sordid affair.
Shouldn’t Sir John Sawers (right), chief (codename “C”) of MI6, the Secret Service – James Bond’s outfit, and Jonathan Evans (below, left), director-general of the Security Service, MI5, be made to answer tough questions about what they knew about the phone-tapping antics of Murdoch’s goons? It is inconceivable that this murky business could have gone undetected had not the police and private citizens come forward with the revelations. If it is the case that the secret security services knew of the phone hacking, what did they do about it, if anything?
Given that, at the very least, the Metropolitan Police knew what was going on, why did they not blow the lid on the whole affair – until about three weeks ago, when they informed the solicitor of the murdered Millie Dowler’s family, Mark Lewis, that NOTW operatives had hacked into their daughter’s phone?
The answer to this question goes right to the heart of my argument in this article. The received wisdom is that it was general knowledge that the paper was hacking into the phones of celebrities and politicians – and that it was only after it was revealed the same thing had been done to the murdered Milly Dowler, that the ensuing “public outrage” blew the lid on this veritable can of worms. As usual, the corporate media - sheep-like – went with this spoon-fed version and amplified it beyond reasonable proportion.
Authorities sat on the story
I would like to differ, if only slightly. As stated previously, the authorities – in particular, the police – had known for several years of the phone-hacking. It is my contention that they sat on the story and waited until an opportune moment – one chosen by them – to blow the lid on it. Some may argue that the police were waiting for the trial of Levi Bellfield, Milly’s murderer, before divulging the information, so as to assist in the killer’s prosecution.
But it would be a bogus argument, for the information was not given to the Dowler legal team before the trial, but over a week after the killer’s conviction. We see from this that the reason for providing the information on the hacking of the 13-year-old’s phone was not to assist in the prosecution, but a cynical ploy to give the impression that the authorities were doing a public service.
This leads us back to the question of the timing of the revelation about the hacking of the teenager’s phone. Again, it could be argued that the police and/or their political masters were afraid of divulging this vital bit of information earlier for fear of Murdoch’s mutts, who would, presumably, have published their innermost secrets and shenanigans. Again, I would say this is another bogus argument. If the information could be revealed in July 2011, why not earlier? What made July 2011 so convenient a time for the release of that information into the public domain?
Regime-change gone awry
It is, simply, this. The assault on Gadhafi’s Libya, which the Western powers had felt would be little more than a walk in the park, was not going to plan. Despite pro-“rebel” propaganda by the BBC, America’s ABC and the corporate rags, it was increasingly becoming clear to Western audiences that this blatant attempt at regime change in North Africa was going awry. Popular support for Gadaffi, and the resistance of his people against the Western invasion and the CIA-sponsored and racist “rebels,” had turned the tide in the conflict.
The news managers and spin-doctors of the political establishments on both sides of the Atlantic knew that the moment the news of the hacking of Milly’s phone hit the fan, all hell would break loose – the ensuing moral outrage would relegate their setbacks and failures in Libya to the bottom of the news bulletins and the inside or back pages of their propaganda rags. And so it has come to pass.
Their fawning corporate media would also be afforded an opportunity to change tack in their biased reporting of the aggression against Libya without their audiences taking much notice. In effect, the bad news of their setbacks in Libya would be buried under the furore which the revelation of Milly’s phone being hacked would engender. And so it has come to pass.
Dowlers should sue the authorities
On both sides of the Atlantic, Hackgate is getting maximum play; it was under its smokescreen that President Obama sent emissaries to persuade Colonel Gadaffi to stand down. Not surprisingly, the Libyan leader showed them the finger.
At the beginning of this piece, I posited that I would argue that Hackgate was timed to provide cover for the setbacks the imperialist were facing in their bid to effect regime change in Libya. I believe I have achieved my goal. If the dear reader is not convinced, then at the very least they would agree that the timing of the revelations was manipulated by the authorities.
Therefore, I believe the family of Milly Dowler (above,left) – who may seek redress against Murdoch in the courts – should also consider suing the relevant authorities for their cynical ploy in sitting on such vital information as they did, thus causing them further distress.