In the British phone hacking scandal and other scandals involving the Rupert Murdoch media empire, right now there is much attention for Ms Rebekah Brooks, former editor of the Murdoch paper News of the World, forced to close down in shame.
Ms Brooks, if found guilty in a court of law, should definitely be punished. However, she is just the organ grinder’s monkey. The focus of attention should be the organ grinder, Rupert Murdoch himself.
The buck for the criminal actions of the News International empire being revealed at last stops with Murdoch, not with any one else. Actions for which the News International kingpin might end up behind bars, with the ill gotten money of his personal fortune and his businesses expropriated.
By Chris Marsden in Britain:
Murdoch and the rule of the oligarchy
11 July 2011
The ongoing exposure of systematic hacking of thousands of phones and computers by employees of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World lifts the lid on the rampant criminality of the corporate and political elite, in Britain and internationally. At least 7,000 people have had their phones hacked and their privacy invaded. The trawl for personal information has targeted a wide range of victims, from politicians and members of the royal family to the families of murder victims and soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
The scandal is revealing the thorough-going decay of democracy and all of the official institutions in Britain, including the major parties, Parliament, the judiciary and the media. The most powerful media corporation in Britain, which constantly trumpets the need for “law and order,” has presided over serious violations of the law, including hacking on what one MP called “an industrial scale.” It has done so year-on-year with virtual impunity.
Murdoch executives and reporters are notorious as well for threatening and bullying politicians and other notables who criticize the operations of News International or otherwise arouse the ire of the Murdoch family.
Now reports have emerged that a News of the World executive destroyed millions of potentially incriminating emails in order to thwart further investigations.
Both of the major parties, Conservative and Labour, are implicated in these crimes, not only because of their refusal to call to account News International, the parent firm of Murdoch’s British media outlets, but because of their intimate relations with Murdoch’s media empire. They never challenged the Metropolitan Police for accepting the patently absurd claim that these illegal practices were the actions of one rogue reporter and a private investigator, even as it surfaced that police officers had received tens of thousands of pounds in bribes from News of the World.
It was only after numerous civil cases had been taken out against the newspaper by celebrities whose phones were hacked that, in January, the Crown Prosecution Service announced it would review material held by police on phone hacking at News of the World to “assess if a fresh criminal trial is likely.”
Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday was forced to acknowledge official collusion with the Murdoch press, stating, “The truth is, we have all been in this together—the press, politicians and leaders of all parties—and yes, that includes me.”
He added, “During the last government, a police investigation was undertaken, it was inadequate and not enough was done. There were reports from the information commissioner and they went unheeded. There were select committee reports on phone hacking and there was no follow-up. Throughout all this, all the warnings, all the concern, the government at the time did nothing. And frankly, neither did the opposition.”
This mea culpa is Cameron’s attempt to limit the damage to his government from the scandal. It came the same morning as the arrest of former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, Cameron’s head of communications until Coulson’s forced resignation in January. However, neither Cameron’s admission of responsibility nor his guarded swipe against former Labour governments do justice to the extent of the incestuous, decades-long relations between the Murdoch empire and Britain’s political elite.
Murdoch is forever associated with the Conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major, and above all with Thatcher’s brutal assault on the working class. He cheered on her deregulation of the City of London, privatisations and tax cuts for corporations and the rich from which he benefited more than most. News of the World’s parent company, News International, carried out an infamous union-busting operation, sacking 6,000 print workers and transferring production to Wapping in London’s East End in 1986.
Then, after Murdoch decided that the Tories had exhausted their usefulness as a vehicle for attacking the working class and enriching the ruling elite, he switched support to Labour—which was more than ready to do his bidding. Murdoch dictated government policy to such a degree that Lance Price, a media advisor to former Prime Minister Tony Blair, called Murdoch “the 24th member of the Cabinet.” Price added, “His presence was always felt.”
Murdoch himself has publicly boasted of setting the agenda of the Labour government on Europe and “the breakdown of law and order in Britain.” The Murdoch press has relentlessly promoted wars of aggression, most notably the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. Blair telephoned Murdoch personally on three occasions in the days leading up to the US-British invasion.
News of the World phone-hacking scandal – latest developments, at the Guardian site, here.
See also at the Independent site, here.
Huffington Post live updates are here.
Blair ‘tried’ to hush up hacking scandal as whistleblower MP told: ‘Rebekah Brooks will pursue you for the rest of your life’: here.
News Corp Withdraw Sky News Spin Off, Deal Referred To Competition Commission: here.
Panic gripped Downing Street today as the phone-hacking scandal threatened to engulf Prime Minister David Cameron and his “Chipping Norton Set” of millionaires and media mandarins: here.
USA: Report: Murdoch’s phone hackers targeted 9/11 victims: here.
USA: If you are outraged tonight by what the Rupert Murdoch empire was up to in Great Britain all these years — and you should be — than you should be doubly outraged by what they’ve pulled off here: here.