Rupert Murdoch spied on Prince Harry

Rupert Murdoch, cartoon

From the BBC:

1 November 2013 Last updated at 17:04 GMT

Phone-hacking trial: Prince Harry message ‘was hacked’

A voicemail message left by Prince Harry, in which he asked an aide for help with an essay, was hacked by the News of the World, a court has heard.

The Old Bailey jury saw a transcript of the message left while the prince was at Sandhurst military academy.

The 2005 document was one kept by former NoW royal editor Clive Goodman, who denies misconduct in public office.

He is one of eight people who deny a series of charges. Five are former News of the World journalists.

Goodman was jailed for phone hacking in 2007 and subsequently dismissed from his job.

Embassy siege

During Friday’s prosecution opening statements, the court was also told:

The then editor of the NoW, Andy Coulson, told a senior journalist investigating an exclusive story on television celebrity Calum Best to “do his phone”
Goodman emailed Mr Coulson in 2003 to ask if he could pay a police officer £1,000 for a royal telephone directory
In that email, Goodman said: “These people will not be paid in anything other than cash because if they’re discovered selling stuff to us they end up on criminal charges, as could we.”
Journalists at the News of the World used hacking as a “perfectly rational but entirely illegal” way of standing up stories
Targets included former Home Secretary Charles Clarke, actors Jude Law and Sienna Miller, and former aide to Prince William and Prince Harry, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton
While editor at the Sun, Rebekah Brooks personally authorised payments to an MoD official to get stories first, some involving the deaths of members of the armed forces

Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC told the court that documents from Goodman’s employment case against News International, which owned the now-closed NoW, had recently become available after he waived his legal privilege.

Goodman kept the documents as evidence to show that what he had done had been sanctioned at a high level of the NoW, Mr Edis said.

The first document shown to the jury was a transcript of the voicemail message Prince Harry left on the mobile phone of Mr Lowther-Pinkerton, an ex-SAS man serving as his private secretary, in which the prince asked for information about the 1980 Iranian Embassy siege in London.

The transcript included the words: “Just wondering if you have any info at all on siege on the Iranian embassy because I need to write an essay quite quickly on that. I need some inf. Have most of the stuff but if you have extra.”

Mr Edis told the jury that the voicemail came to the attention of Goodman, who was interested in it as a potential allegation of misconduct to do with essay writing against Prince Harry.

The prince was doing his officer training when the events took place around December 2005.

The message was accessed by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who was jailed for phone hacking along with Goodman in 2007 and has admitted further phone-hacking charges.

The court heard there were discussions between Goodman and his boss, Mr Coulson, about how to run the Harry story without exposing its source.

Prince Harry’s message was hacked by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire

They decided not to refer to the siege in their coverage as it would be “too precise to get through unnoticed”.

Mr Edis said: “Everyone would know that they hacked his voicemail because obviously Harry and Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton both knew that this voicemail was sent and received.”

Mr Edis suggested to the jury that the reason Goodman had kept the emails was because of his arrest.

Goodman’s prosecution caused Mr Coulson, 45, who denies charges including conspiracy to phone hack, and others at News International to be “extremely worried about what Clive Goodman would do, or say, in the course of defending himself”.

Mr Edis continued: “We can see that they had every reason to be worried.”

Sun job offer’

The court heard that concern about keeping Goodman “on-board” was also felt by Mrs Brooks when she was editor of the Sun.

Mr Edis told the jury about an email exchange between Mrs Brooks and Goodman in which she offered him a job shortly after he had been released from prison in 2007.

The court also heard that a source in the military had provided the Sun with a photograph of Prince William at a party while he was at Sandhurst.

An email from a Sun reporter to Mrs Brooks stated: “My best contact at Sandhurst, who has provided a string of great stuff over a period of months, is offering us a picture of William at a James Bond party dressed as a Bond girl. He is wearing a bikini and an open Hawaiian shirt.

“The chap who has the picture wants £4,000 up front. It will open the door for future exclusives and info.”

The newspaper did not run the photo.

Mr Edis told the court that Mrs Brooks personally authorised payments to an MoD official via a Sun journalist.

He said the only reason for the payments was to make sure the Sun got the story first and some involved the reporting of the deaths of members of the armed forces.

“Sometimes these payments were about things coming into public domain anyway,” he added.

“In which case there was no good reason at all for the MoD source to accept money to leak them early. The only advantage of that was that the Sun would get the exclusive.

“It may concern the death of an active serviceman… it really matters when it is released and how it is released to other people affected by it.”

Mr Edis said: “Mrs Brooks was involved in a conspiracy to commit the criminal offence of misconduct in a public office – and she knew it.”

Mrs Brooks denies conspiracy to phone hack, misconduct in public office, and perverting the course of justice.

The court has heard that three former News of the World journalists, who are not on trial, as well as Mulcaire, had pleaded guilty to phone-hacking charges.

The trial was adjourned until Monday.

Princes William and Harry targeted by News of the World, trial told: here.

Prince Harry comrade ‘was paid over £16,000’ for NoW and Sun tips. Lance corporal allegedly received payments for stories on deployment of prince to Iraq and Afghanistan, court told: here.

The trial of former News of the World editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, and six others, began at the Old Bailey court in London last week. They are charged with a total of 19 offences: here.

Jury hears News of the World repeatedly hacked England manager’s phone over four-year period as it exposed his sex life: here.

Kate Middleton, Prince Harry Hacked By Murdoch Paper, Trial Confirms: here.

Porn is only damaging when it’s not Murdoch’s porn: here.

Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Prince Harry

This video from the USA says about itself:

Was Gatsby Great? The Great Gatsby Part 2: Crash Course English Literature #5

Dec 20, 2012

SPOILER ALERT: This video assumes you’ve read the book.

In which John Green continues to explore F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s novel, The Great Gatsby. In this installment, John looks into the titular Gatsby’s purported Greatness. Gatsby’s single-minded pursuit of Daisy, his checkered past, and his checkered present all play a role in determining whether he was, in fact, great. Here’s a hint: you don’t have to be good to be great. It turns out greatness doesn’t have much to do with whether you’re a good person. Along the way, John explores the relentless forward march of time, the use of poetic language, and ironic titling of novels.

Don’t forget to click the Closed Caption button to follow along with the text of the episode. We think you’ll enjoy Danica’s subtitle handiwork. Pause, rewatch, repeat as necessary.

By David Walsh in the USA:

Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby versus Prince Harry and his polo-playing American friends

17 May 2013

“Prince Harry rounded off his hugely successful week-long tour of the U.S. today very much in his comfort zone – playing polo. … He was greeted by club founder Peter Brandt [sic] and his model wife, Stephanie Seymour. Brandt, 65, – whose wife is 44 – is an American industrialist and businessman, worth an estimated $2.7 billion.” – Daily Mail, May 15, 2013

“According to the anonymous friend, [Prince] Harry was hoping to see Great Gatsby director Baz Luhrmann, a pal of his father [Prince] Charles, but any Hollywood hobnobbing is forbidden.” – New York Post, May 9, 2013

“Mrs. Buchanan . . . and Mr. Buchanan ——” After an instant’s hesitation he [Gatsby] added: “the polo player.” …

“I’d a little rather not be the polo player,” said Tom pleasantly, “I’d rather look at all these famous people in —— in oblivion.” The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

The visit to America in mid-May by Prince Harry of Wales, third in line of succession to the British throne, coinciding with the release of a new film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925), brings into focus a number of issues.

Harry is the younger son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana. He is perhaps best, or at least most revealingly, known for wearing a swastika armband and a German Afrika Korps outfit to a fancy dress party in January 2005. The Sun, a British tabloid, published a photograph of the 20-year-old prince under the unflattering headline, “Harry the Nazi.” Four years later, Harry made the headlines again, after referring on a video to a Pakistani member of his British army platoon as “our little Paki friend.”

The prince’s most recent trip to the US had something of the character of an ongoing effort at damage control, after the fiasco of an August 2012 visit to Las Vegas during which Harry was photographed naked while playing a drunken game of strip billiards in a “high roller suite.”

This month’s tour was designed to present Harry as a responsible, caring and sober individual. The visit’s official purpose was to promote the rehabilitation of US and UK troops, “our wounded warriors,” as his private secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, explained to the media. Harry also traveled to New Jersey, somewhat incongruously, to view the damage caused by last fall’s Hurricane Sandy, in the company of Governor Chris Christie. During his brief visit to the Jersey Shore, the prince commented sagely, “It’s fantastic American spirit, everyone getting together and making things right.”

The final stop on Harry’s trip, however, is what interests us most at the moment. On Wednesday he took part in a charity polo match in Greenwich, Connecticut, hobnobbing with multimillionaires and “celebrities,” America’s aristocracy of sorts.

And in an appropriate setting. Greenwich, in affluent Fairfield County, is one of the wealthiest communities in the US. Money magazine listed Greenwich number two on its list of “top-earning towns” in 2012 (it has placed first in other years), with a median family income of $167,502 and a median home price $1,901,029. If you want to take up residence there, “a magnet for hedge funds and boutique financial service companies,” the magazine counseled, “Bring your checkbook and your Swiss bank account.”

The match was played at the exclusive Greenwich Polo Club. According to one media report, “Guests at the polo dined on grilled peppered fillet of beef, served with an arugla and spring vegetable salad and crispy warm panisse, followed by vanilla bean creme brule, mixed berry trifle, Lemon Curd tart with mixed berries and truffle brownie squares.

“Just 400 seats were available in all, however, making it literally the hottest ticket in a town, with dozens of elegantly-coiffured ladies—both young and old—trying to beg, borrow or steal an invite.” (The regular fee for attending the club’s seven seasonal polo matches is $1,000, but tickets for Harry’s match were not offered for sale at any price.)

The prince’s host at the polo club was its founder, Peter Brant, who inherited a paper company and is now reputedly worth several billion dollars. He currently owns White Birch Paper, one of the largest pulp and paper companies in North America, and Brant Publications. Brant, the owner of a 53-acre estate in Greenwich, is known for his extensive art collection, worth tens of millions of dollars, and his marriage to former model Stephanie Seymour. The couple filed for divorce in 2010 and their nasty relations were fought out in public, with accusations of drug abuse and art theft filling the air. They later reconciled. Also, in 1990, Brant served 84 days in federal prison for tax evasion.

In February 2010 White Birch sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. At the time it employed 1,300 workers at its Stadacona paper mill in Quebec City, Quebec. In January 2012, the company announced it was closing the mill “for good,” after workers rejected a proposal that would have slashed wages and pension benefits. “The union,” noted a CBC report, “said workers over the age of 55 would lose 45 per cent of the value of their pensions under White Birch’s final offer and younger employees would lose 65 per cent.”

The New York Times, in June 2012, dubbed Brant’s sons Peter II and Harry (!) “The New Princes of the City,” in a sycophantic piece in the newspaper’s Fashion & Style section. The piece described the pair as “the well-spoken product of cross-pollination of the Übermenschen. … Despite their youth, the boys are omnipresent on the social scene and staples of Patrick McMullan party photographs. Their every move is tracked on assorted fashion blogs.”

One of these uncrowned princes, Peter, made his way into the news in November 2012 because of a text he sent to a friend, Andrew Warren, in the aftermath of Barack Obama’s reelection. The conversation went like this, reported the Greenwich Time:

“Guess were [sic] poor now,” grouses Warren.

“I have a contingency plan,” Brant replies. “Kill Obama hahaha.”

Warren then wrote: “HAHA well Atleast (sic) women have rights. Oh wait I don’t care.”

Brant replied: “Hahahaahaha exactly.”

Needless to say, neither Brant nor Warren were run in for making terrorist threats.

Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby come into the story of this sordid crowd through the following connections.

First, it was intriguing to learn that the New York Post considers Baz Luhrmann, the Australian-born director, “a pal” of Harry’s father, Prince Charles, and that the young prince hoped to meet up with the filmmaker while in the US. Charles made a well-publicized appearance at the premiere of Luhrmann’s dreadful Moulin Rouge (2001).

It could be proven, and it would not take much effort, that no one enjoying the personal acquaintance of a member of the British royal family has any business tackling Fitzgerald’s novel, which expresses a thorough-going disgust for the idle rich.

One of racketeer Jay Gatsby’s efforts to reinvent himself as a man of wealth and breeding involves his brief period at Oxford and a photograph he always carries. The photo, Gatsby explains, “was taken in Trinity Quad—the man on my left is now the Earl of Dorcaster.”

The narrator continues: “It was a photograph of half a dozen young men in blazers loafing in an archway through which were visible a host of spires. There was Gatsby, looking a little, not much, younger–with a cricket bat in his hand.” The novel hardly has to spell out what the author thinks of the Earl of Dorcaster and his parasitic ilk.

Polo, at which both Prince Harry and Brant apparently excel, is an important social motif in Gatsby. The game is used as something of a synonym for the uselessness and worthlessness of the old moneyed classes and is closely identified with the book’s vilest figure, Tom Buchanan.

The novel’s opening chapter observes that Buchanan’s family “were enormously wealthy … but now he’d left Chicago and come East in a fashion that rather took your breath away: for instance, he’d brought down a string of polo ponies from Lake Forest. It was hard to realize that a man in my own generation was wealthy enough to do that.”

Describing Tom and his wife Daisy, the book goes on: “They had spent a year in France for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together.” Wonderful phrase: “Wherever people played polo and were rich together”!

In Chapter Four, Tom and Daisy attend one of Gatsby’s extravagant parties and the host, in a subtle effort to humiliate Buchanan, as he is in love with the man’s wife and has been for five years, insists on introducing his rival in the manner noted at the top of this article, as “the polo player.” This is a not so subtle means of presenting Tom as a mere idler.

Catching on to the barb, Buchanan tries to reject the appellation. “‘Oh no,’ objected Tom quickly, ‘not me.’ But evidently the sound of it pleased Gatsby, for Tom remained ‘the polo player’ for the rest of the evening.”

Fitzgerald was fascinated by the very rich throughout his life, and it would be false to suggest that his attitude was free from ambiguities. However, when he was clear- and cold-eyed, no American author has ever written so directly, thoughtfully and unsparingly about the wealthy.

Famously, in The Rich Boy (1926), he wrote: “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.” The narrator goes on to observe that the only way he can describe his protagonist, the rich boy of the title, “is to approach him as if he were a foreigner and cling stubbornly to my point of view.”

In 1938, Fitzgerald wrote in a letter: “That was always my experience—a poor boy in a rich town; a poor boy in a rich boy’s school; a poor boy in a rich man’s club at Princeton … I have never been able to forgive the rich for being rich, and it has colored my entire life and works.”

In her autobiographical College of One, Sheilah Graham, Fitzgerald’s companion for the last several years of his life, recalls that “Scott’s library contained two large volumes of [Marx’s] Das Kapital.” Marx’s comment about “The unity of the ruling classes, landlords and capitalists, stock-exchange wolves and shopkeepers, protectionists and free traders, government and opposition, priests and free thinkers, young whores and old nuns, under the common cry, For the Salvation of Property, Religion, the Family and Society,” elicited from Fitzgerald: “Grand prose.”

Graham further notes that the writer “was always so vehemently on the side of the poor and oppressed. He detested people like [heiresses] Barbara Hutton, [Mary] Woolworth Donahue, and especially business tycoons. ‘I don’t know any businessman I’d want to meet in the next world—if there is a next world,’ said Scott.”

It is clear what Fitzgerald would have thought of “Harry the Nazi” and Mr. Brant “the polo player.” And it is improbable he would have had much time either for Luhrmann, a friend of the man next in line to become king of England.

As for the ever-increasing obsession of the super-rich in America with British royalty, this has unmistakable social roots, as we noted in December 2012: “The United States is ruled today by a financial-corporate aristocracy, with infinitely more in common with George III and Jefferson Davis than with [Tom] Paine, [Thomas] Jefferson, [Abraham] Lincoln, the abolitionists, [Mark] Twain and any progressive figure in US history.

“America’s multimillionaires and billionaires, and their hangers-on, envy Britain’s ‘legitimate’ royalty and dregs of a nobility, long for such rank themselves and despise the ‘common people’ with as much fervor as the aristocrats of an earlier age.”

Hence, the intermingling in Greenwich of the human waste of the two countries.

Brown defends racist Prince Harry

From British daily The Morning Star:

Brown leaps to defend racist prince

(Monday 12 January 2009)


ANTI-RACISM campaigners demanded that politicians show “zero tolerance” towards racism on Monday after the Prime Minister leapt to the defence of Prince Harry’s “Paki” comments.

The prince, a British army officer and third in line to be Britain’s unelected head of state, was caught on film referring to a captain and fellow graduate of Sandhurst military academy as “our little Paki friend.”

The prince also called another officer a “raghead” as he trained to be sent to support the US-led occupation of Afghanistan, where his duties included calling in air strikes in a war that has claimed the lives of some 28,000 Afghan civilians.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown went on TV on Monday to defend the prince, claiming that he would be “given the benefit of the doubt” by the public. Although the comments were “unacceptable,” Mr Brown added that he believed that Prince Harry was “a role model for young people.”

But the father of the Pakistani soldier abused by the prince, Muhammad Yaqoob Khan Abbasi, dismissed the attempt to play down the comments.

“I am very, very hurt. I strongly condemn the fact that Prince Harry used that language against my son,” he said. “That word he used is a hate word and should never be used against any Pakistani.”

National Assembly Against Racism spokeswoman Sabby Dhalu was just as direct. “This is a racist remark, pure and simple,” she stormed.

“Attempts at justifying it only serve to make the kind of racist abuse that is experienced in schools and workplaces across the country appear acceptable.”

She added: “Politicians should make clear that such crude racism will not be tolerated, whoever it comes from.”

Anti-monarchist campaigners Republic excoriated the prince’s racist remarks as a “disgrace.”

Spokesman Graham Smith insisted: “There cannot be double standards when it comes to racism in public life.

“Harry Wales has not only demonstrated how he is unfit to be a possible future head of state, he has shown he isn’t even fit to be a leader of men and women in the armed forces.

“It is high time Harry was stripped of his title and privileges and withdrew from public life.”

The prince’s racist comments follow an incident in 2005 when he wore a swastika armband to a party, offending many Jewish people.

Army condemns comments

THE army’s deputy head of recruiting admitted on Monday that Prince Harry’s use of racist language could harm the military’s attempts to attract people from ethnic minorities.

Colonel Paul Farrar said that the use of words that could cause offence was “unacceptable” and “clearly offensive.”

He added: “None of this helps the army and whatever we do to try and encourage people from diverse backgrounds to join.”

Major Glenville Lindsay, a black army officer who is a senior ethnic minority recruiter, said that he thought that language like that used by Harry was “a thing of the past.”

He insisted: “Banter should never offend. I would never make an assumption that it’s OK to use words like that.”

See also here.

With Prince Harry again embroiled in controversy over his latest “unroyal” behaviour—referring to a fellow Sandhurst cadet with a racial epithet—politicians, army brass and the media lined up to draw a line under the unsavoury affair: here.

A magistrate who used the term “Paki shop” in court will not be sacked, the Office for Judicial Complaints has said: here.

British authorities let Prince Harry off the hook about hen harrier killing

In this video from England, ‘A female hen harrier (marsh hawk) systematically searches the area near a river in Warwickshire on a mid-winter day’.

From the BBC:

No charges against Prince Harry

Two hen harriers are alleged to have been shot at Sandringham

Prince Harry will not face charges in connection with the alleged shooting of two protected hen harriers on the royal family’s estate in Norfolk.

Witnesses say the birds were shot dead on the edge of the Sandringham estate.

Police officers identified three suspects – Prince Harry, William van Cutsem and David Clarke, a gamekeeper.

All three have denied any involvement and the Crown Prosecution Service says there is not enough evidence to bring the case to court.

Well, it being, of course, the Crown Prosecution Service, historically prosecuting opponents of the Crown

Hen harriers are extremely rare with 749 nesting pairs in the UK.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds say they are disappointed with the outcome and described the shooting of hen harriers as an extremely serious crime.

They said a warden monitoring the harriers saw the birds being hit and heard a shot but did not see the shooter.

In this case, the Society for the Protection of Birds being Royal does not seem to have an effect, similar to the Crown Prosecution Service’s case.

Also on this: here.

Three gamekeepers admit trying to trap birds of prey: here.

Grouse and Hen harriers living in harmony on Langholm Moor: here.

Why do hen harriers find Ireland so hard to live in? Here.

Hen harrier nest in Belgium: here.

Victor Hugo, Verdi, and monarchy: here.

British Prince Harry quizzed by police about shooting of rare hen harriers

This is a British Springwatch video about hen harriers.

From British daily The Guardian:

Prince Harry quizzed by police about shooting of rare birds

Severin Carrell, Scotland correspondent

Wednesday October 31, 2007

Prince Harry and a close friend have been interviewed by police after two rare and legally protected birds of prey were killed on the royal family’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk last week.

The prince is understood to have been out shooting on the estate last Wednesday evening, with a friend believed to be from the Van Cutsem family, when witnesses saw two hen harriers in flight being shot, an offence under wildlife protection legislation which carries a prison sentence of up to six months or a £5,000 fine.

Sources have told the Guardian that the prince and his friend were the only people known to be out shooting on the estate last Wednesday evening, and were quickly identified to Norfolk police by the Prince of Wales’s staff. It is understood both men were interviewed in person, but have denied any involvement in the incident. …

The deaths have alarmed conservationists. Although widespread in other parts of the UK, hen harriers are rare in England, where there are estimated to be about 20 breeding pairs, compared with 500 pairs in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The RSPB says the species is the most persecuted bird of prey; it is one of only two – the other is the sea eagle [see also here] – birds of prey on the UK’s “red list” of most endangered species.

The deaths, close to Dersingham Bog nature reserve on the edge of Sandringham estate, were witnessed by a staff member of Natural England, the government’s conservation agency which runs the nature reserve, and two members of the public.

A spokesman for Natural England said last night: “We were shocked that two of the rarest birds of prey that we have in England had been shot.” The eyewitnesses on the reserve “were watching the birds, saw them in the air, heard a shot and saw one of them fall and heard another shot and saw that one fall”. An RSPB spokesman said last night that gamekeepers on country estates, particularly in areas known for grouse or pheasant shooting, were the most likely to see hen harriers as an “enemy” because they feed on game birds. “We take any allegations of killing of hen harriers very seriously, particularly because it is one of only two birds of prey on the ‘red list’.

UK: Prince Harry not going to ‘too dangerous’ Iraq

Blair and the Iraq war, cartoon by Martin Rowson

From the BBC:

Prince Harry will not be sent to Iraq, the head of the British Army has said.
The prince had previously stated that he wanted to be involved in active service with his unit.

But the Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt, has confirmed the Prince will not go with his regiment, the Blues and Royals.

Apparently the Royals are not going, but the Blues are.

Also from that BBC report:

But Reg Keys – whose son Thomas was killed while on active service in Basra in 2003 – said he found the decision distasteful and questioned whether insurgents could have told the prince apart from other service personnel.

Mr Keys added: “It would appear that Harry’s life is more valuable than my son or the other nearly 150 service personnel who’ve given their lives.”

Reg Keys is a prominent member of Military Families Against the War.

If Iraq is unsafe for Prince Harry, then it is unsafe for all British (and US) soldiers.

They should come home.

British soldiers in Basra: here.