March 5th, 2012
By: Mike Adams
The hacker community has risen to the challenge of targeting the single most evil corporation in the world — a corporation responsible for countless crimes against humanity and the attempted overthrow of global agriculture. That firm, of course, is Monsanto, which was voted the “Most Evil Corporation in the World” by NaturalNews readers in January of 2011 (http://www.naturalnews.com/030967_Monsanto_evil.html).
AntiSec, which is reportedly affiliated with Anonymous, hacked into Monsanto’s servers, acquired an outdated database of user comments and emails, then dumped it on the web (see link below). While the acquired material was not itself meaningful (and it didn’t reveal any smoking guns), the real news here is that AntiSec has turned its attention on Monsanto and recognizes how incredibly evil that corporation really is.
Hackers have more ethics than government operatives
What’s apparent in all this is that the AntiSec hacker group has ethics. Yes, you heard that right: This group has ethics in the sense that they pick targets who are damaging life on our planet (and driving countless farmers out of business) rather than merely picking targets for their own gain.
Hacking in and of itself, you see, is neither good nor bad. Technology is morally neutral until someone decides to use it for something. From that point, it is the morals and ethics of the user (or group of users) who determines the ethical implications from its use. Government uses technology to secretly surveil all your emails, for example. That’s evil. The military industrial complex uses technology to fire depleted uranium shells at civilian buildings and structures in Afghanistan. That’s evil too (it’s also a violation of UN conventions, but that’s another story).
So what do you call the use of technology to destroy evil? That’s called “good.” Any use of technology to disrupt the operations of evil institutions, or to halt the expansion of an institution that is causing widespread death and destruction, is by definition GOOD.
Monsanto targeted for crimes against humanity
You can’t find a more evil example of a corporation than Monsanto, in my opinion: This company sues farmers whose fields have been contaminated by Monsanto’s GM seeds; it fights against the full transparency labeling of GMOs in order to keep consumers in the dark; it conspires with the USDA behind closed doors to legalize experimental GM crops; it unleashes untold destruction on the global environment through genetic pollution; and it has been involved with everything from Agent Orange to aspartame. This is a company with a reputation of death, destruction and irreversible global damage.
“Your continued attack on the worlds food supply, as well as the health of those who eat it, has earned you our full attention,” AntiSec wrote about the firm. “Your crimes against humanity are too many to name on one page.”
That’s true. Even NaturalNews can’t keep up with all the crimes of Monsanto.
“You have put over 9000 small-time farmers out of business by using your enormous legal team to bury them with your malicious patent lawsuits,” AntiSec wrote in its statement. “You have continually introduced harmful, even deadly products into our food supply without warning, without care, all for your own profit.”
See the full AntiSec statement at:
Edible vaccines and more
The data dump acquired by AntiSec reveals what appear to be user-posted comments for an article posted by Monsanto. Some of these comments involve edible vaccines, and they appear to have once been fully public comments.
In one comment with the subject line “Edible HIV Vaccine based on Scrub Typhus”, a Cornell Ag Graduate student named Henry Brown drools over the possibility of feeding the world HIV vaccines by engineering their local food crops to contain the vaccine.
He gives a contact at Cornell who specializes in plant vaccines: Boyce Thompson (email@example.com). He then goes on to brag about his own gene mapping thesis which he conducted as “Los Alamos”, saying: “I did thesis on Computer Assisted Genetic Mapping at Los Alamos, HIV, Genome, Human Genome, Genbank. I am former Peace Corps Volunteer/Cornell Ag. Grad.” – Henry Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In another comment, someone named Michael Katz talks about how Monsanto needs to indoctrinate children with pro-GMO attitudes by influencing the schools. All the typos are his, by the way, not mine:
“It is amazing to me that so many apparantly intelligent people, including close friends of mine, harbor superstitious views of bio-tech and genetically altered foods and plants. They fail to understand that water and arable land supplies are finite and that world population is not. I would also foward these articles to high schoolers and their teachers. The arguement for bio-tech is going to be a long one and we must include bright youngsters and their teachers in our fight.” – Michael E. Katz
The dump of information also includes a comment from a woman named Heather Stouder who admonishes Monsanto people for their blind ignorance and arrogance about GMOs:
“Why do scientists feel that they can solve the world hunger problem with a simple turn of the corner once again, after so many of those turns (deemed miracles of life science at the time) have failed within the last 50 years… It is completely ridiculous to me that “well-educated” (educated and funded by whom, i wonder…) people cannot see the obvious cultural and environmental disasters waiting to happen with these technologies… Obviously, this message won’t reach many of you in agreement, but I encourage you to take a closer look at the reality of the situation, which is completely masked within this web-site filled with propaganda and half-truths…”
One especially lucid commenter posted on the Monsanto website this powerful explanation:
“The notion that technology itself will save humanity is a dubious assertion, but it is a very modern one. Indeed there is a compelling argument to be made that technology is actually paving the way for humanity’s possible demise. Technology without wisdom leads only to opportunists who seek to use their “ownership” of powerful technologies to control the direction, form and destiny of human civilization for the benefit of their self-interests, neglecting the interests of the world’s population. The common people under democracy were supposed to have been promoted to citizens, instead they have been rendered into consumers: faceless and passive receptacles of mass consumption and production. The key to understanding this is by examining how the mass media operates. The mass media is designed to propagandize the common people in emerging and established democracies who constitute the majority of the burgeoning modern human population, into accepting the status quo as the most viable and practical interpretation of reality.”
Ethical hacking targets destructive institutions
Personally, I enjoy seeing the hacker community go after the bad guys like Monsanto. If government regulators won’t hold these groups accountable, and the mainstream (sellout) media won’t ask the tough questions, who is supposed to keep these institutions honest? There is a great sense of social justice in seeing this take place.
Some people counter and ask, “But isn’t hacking illegal?”
Well yeah, technically, but so is half of what the federal government does every single day. Unleashing genetically modified crops upon the landscape is blatantly illegal and violates numerous provisions of federal law, yet the USDA does that every single week, it seems. Reaching down your pants at the airport and fondling your nut sack is illegal, but the TSA does that countless times each day (and that doesn’t even count the number of children they molest or the number of women they strip search, too).
Former MF Global head Jon Corzine, who has powerful connections to the White House, stole a billion dollars (or more) from investors and hasn’t even been arrested. Countless “green energy” companies with ties to the White House blew through billions of dollars of taxpayer money, creating no products whatsoever, went bankrupt, and then nobody gets in trouble for that either. The banks steal your mortgages, the government steals your retirement, the Fed keeps devaluing your dollar, and the government regulators like FDA, USDA, DEA and DHS are operates entirely as criminal gangs, with absolutely no respect for federal law, the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. Heck, the ATF runs guns into Mexico! (http://www.naturalnews.com/032934_ATF_illegal_firearms.html)
So who’s the real criminal in all this? Government, of course. And the corporations they selectively allow to operate.
A revolution may be brewing…
It is a well-known fact of history that the People will only remain oppressed for a short while, after which they will take matters into their own hands. This targeting of Monsanto by AntiSec is just one sign of many more to come — signs that the People are tired of being poisoned, lied to, exploited and fed an endless stream of corporate B.S. and government lies.
Personally, I think AntiSec is just the beginning of Monsanto’s troubles. I had a weird dream just the other night involving thousands of farmers from across the country physically marching upon Monsanto’s headquarters, conducting citizens’ arrests of all Monsanto employees, then torching the entire complex and watching it burn it to the ground. I didn’t know what to make of it — was this a vision of things to come? Or just my subconscious mind playing out its own creative vision of social justice? My position has always been to avoid violence, of course, so I hope that if such an event does occur, nobody gets hurt.
What I do know is that Monsanto is engaged in the ultimate violence against humankind — the kind of “violence” that is insidious because it happens invisibly, at the microscopic level. Yet it wreaks death and destruction everywhere; not just in the farmer suicides across India (http://www.naturalnews.com/030913_Monsanto_suicides.html), but also in the frustration and despair that inevitably follows a farmer’s decision to plant GM seeds and spray his fields with Roundup. Little does he know that he is destroying his own future and poisoning the land for at least a generation.
AntiSec may very well turn out to be the champion of the People that exposes the lies of biotech and helps end this technological insanity that threatens the future of viable life on our planet. It is my secret hope that they uncover yet more information that may help protect the People and our natural world from exploitation by destructive corporations like Monsanto.
If anyone from AntiSec is reading this, please note that we have a public tip submit system, whereby anyone can send us documents or text that needs to be made public. That URL is: http://www.naturalnews.com/newstips/NewsTips.asp
And for the FBI agents reading this, no I do not know any AntiSec operatives. Their identities are a total mystery to me. But I do believe they are for the most part people of conscience who only resort to hacking as a tool for social justice. And my guess is that they are growing stronger with each insult to freedom and justice that is committed by the federal government working in conspiracy with evil, destructive corporations.
My deepest wish is that we could all coexist in a world of true justice, where even those who claim to be authorities of the law are, themselves, subjected to those same laws. Much of what takes place in government today is outright runaway criminality. I ask: How do We the People stand a chance against runaway tyranny if not for the help of the faceless, nameless, anonymous defenders of justice who put their own freedom at risk to expose the truth that no one else will?
Funding the revolution against genetically engineered poison
By the way, when it comes to social justice, I’m also taking decisive action to expose the truth about Monsanto and its destructive technologies.
Jeffrey Smith of the Institute for Responsible Technology needs additional funding to finish the editing of a powerful film about GMOs. This film, once completed, will blow the lid off the GMO cover-up and may in fact finally turn the tides against GMOs once and for all.
The IRT needs funding to finish this film, so on behalf of NaturalNews, I have pledged $10,000 in matching donations to be used in the editing and finalization of this film. Your support is needed! Please consider donating any amount — $10 or more — at this article page:
With NaturalNews readers donating a cumulative total of at least $10,000, plus another $10,000 from NaturalNews, we can raise the $20K necessary to get this film completed! This is a hugely important film, and NaturalNews plans to help release the film and bring it millions of additional viewers.
So please consider supporting this with whatever donation you can. Thank you for your support, and remember that NaturalNews is working hard right alongside you to help Jeffrey get this film completed and released. There is no commercial gain for any of us in doing this. We do this out of a sense of social justice, not personal gain or profit.
For The Full Report Go To Natural News
February 20th, 2012
By: Steve Watson
The British government has dusted off previously shelved plans to create huge databases, enabling spy agencies to monitor every phone call, email and text message as well as websites visited by everyone in the country.
The Telegraph reports that under the plans, the government will force every communications network to store the data for one year. The plans also extend to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and gaming sites.
The plans, drawn up by MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, the government’s secret eavesdropping agency, may be officially announced as soon as May, according to details seen by the Telegraph. Those agencies would have real time access to the records kept by companies such as Vodafone and British Telecom.
The records would allow the spy agencies to monitor the “who, when and where” of every phone call, text message and email sent, while also allowing for internet browsing histories to be matched to IP addresses.
Unassumingly titled the Communications Capabilities Development Programme (CCDP), the new scheme is set to be implemented under anti-terrorism laws, with the spy agencies saying it will allow them to more closely monitor suspects ahead of the London 2012 Olympics in July.
Critics and civil liberties advocates are calling for mass opposition to the plans, noting that the scheme is open to abuse not only by spy agencies and communications companies themselves, but also by hackers and online criminals.
Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, a civil liberties campaign organization, said: “This would be a systematic effort to spy on all of our digital communications.
“No state in history has been able to gather the level of information proposed – it’s a way of collecting everything about who we talk to just in case something turns up.” Killock added.
Gus Hosein, of Privacy International, said: “This will be ripe for hacking. Every hacker, every malicious threat, every foreign government is going to want access to this.
“And if communications providers have a government mandate to start collecting this information they will be incredibly tempted to start monitoring this data themselves so they can compete with Google and Facebook.”
“The internet companies will be told to store who you are friends with and interact with. While this may appear innocuous it requires the active interception of every single communication you make, and this has never been done in a democratic society.” Hosein urged.
The Open Rights Group has an online anti-CCDP petition, which describes the plan as “pointless,” “expensive,” and “illegal” and urges the public to come together to oppose it.
Back in 2008, the government announced its intention to create a massive central database, gathering details on every text sent, e-mail sent, phone call made and website visited by everyone in the UK.
The programme, known as the “Interception Modernisation Programme”, would have allowed spy chiefs at GCHQ, the centre for Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) activities, to effectively place a “live tap” on every electronic communication in Britain in the name of preventing terrorism.
Following outcry over the announcement, the government suggested that it was scaling down the plans, with then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith stating that there were “absolutely no plans for a single central store” of communications data.
However, as the “climbdown” was celebrated by civil liberties advocates and the plan was “replaced” by new laws requiring ISPs to store details of emails and internet telephony for just 12 months, fresh details emerged indicating the government was implementing a big brother spy system that far outstrips the original public announcement.
The London Times published leaked details of a secret mass internet surveillance project known as “Mastering the Internet” (MTI).
Costing hundreds of millions in public funds, the system continued to be implemented by GCHQ with the aid of American defence giant Lockheed Martin and British IT firm Detica, which has close ties to the intelligence agencies.
A group of over 300 internet service providers and telecommunications firms attempted to fight back over the radical plans, describing the proposals as an unwarranted invasion of people’s privacy.
Currently, any interception of a communication in Britain must be authorised by a warrant signed by the home secretary or a minister of equivalent rank. Only individuals who are the subject of police or security service investigations may be subject to surveillance.
If the GCHQ’s MTI project is completed, black-box probes would be placed at critical traffic junctions with internet service providers and telephone companies, allowing eavesdroppers to instantly monitor the communications of every person in the country without the need for a warrant.
Even if you believe GCHQ’s denial that it has any plans to create a huge monitoring system, the current law under the RIPA (the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) allows hundreds of government agencies access to the records of every internet provider in the country.
If the plans go ahead, every internet user will be given a unique ID code and all their data will be stored in one place. Government agencies such as the police and security services will have access to the data should they request it with respect to criminal or terrorist investigations.
This is clearly the next step in an incremental program to implement an already exposed full scale big brother spy system designed to completely obliterate privacy, a fundamental right under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
It is also clear that the Anglo-American establishment is in lock step when it comes to monitoring and restricting freedom of communications.
A similar plan is fully in the works in the US, in the guise of The Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act, which passed votes in both the House and the Senate in 2011.
The legislation, currently still up for debate, will force Internet providers to store information on all their customers and share it with the federal government and law enforcement agencies.
Described by privacy experts as a “stalking horse for a massive expansion of federal power”, the bill was significantly beefed at the last minute before passing a House Judiciary committee vote to include the enforced retention of customers’ names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers and bank account numbers, as well as IP addresses.
For The Full Story Go To Info Wars
August 22nd, 2011
The Huffington Post
By: Dina Rickman
When the woman who exposed the MPs expenses scandal says she’s uncovered the next big public outrage, it’s impossible not to take notice.
Heather Brooke explains to the Huffington Post UK why data dealing is even bigger than phone hacking and the reasons she lost faith in WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Somewhere in an upmarket central London restaurant over lunch the negotiations started at £100,000. Heather Brooke witnessed the document with the names, addresses and telephone numbers of every voter in Britain go on sale.
The investigative journalist and campaigner says the attempt to sell the electoral register was just one example of data dealing – the burgeoning trade in personal information that could affect any citizen with an online profile.
“I don’t think people have any idea that this goes on all the time. There are corporate private investigators, companies doing very forensic background checks on people. They buy data, they get their own data … They don’t want their industry publicised”, she says.
The phone hacking scandal exposed how the private lives of celebrities and the bereaved had been targeted by journalists. But according to Brooke, her latest investigation will show now everyone’s details are up for grabs, and not by reporters, but by companies.
“Phone hacking, that’s just touching the surface of that whole industry in personal information which is vast, huge, it’s massive,” she says.
Two years ago a wave of public outrage forced the Home Office to abandon plans to set up a so-called ‘Big Brother database’ to collect information about every website you visited, phone call you made and email you sent. In the new information era exposed by Brooke in her forthcoming book, that doesn’t matter, companies can just piece together that information about you anyway.
And she says they can use instant message conversations, pictures, the texts you receive and your Facebook status.
Brooke warns corporations and governments are a “customer” for information, and they want it for a reason: “It’s trying to predict the behaviour of different people and it’s making decisions about who it thinks are going to be trouble makers, not based on what you’ve actually done but based on what they think you’re going to do in the future.”
She doesn’t subscribe to the ‘if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about’ philosophy: “If you believe the promise that an authoritarian state makes that if it has enough knowledge on every citizen it will keep people safe. I think that’s a false promise. It doesn’t actually happen. If that was the case then East Germany would be a really incredible place to live and in fact it wasn’t, it was really horrible, most of these places were really horrible.”
And as the amount of data about people increases – google searches, text messages, emails, chat logs, purchases – so does the value of what it says about you. The websites you like to go to, the products you like to buy, and what exactly you might get up to in your spare time. And with more data comes opportunity for democracy – or suppression.
Brooke explores this in new book, ‘The Revolution Will Be Digitisied’, part crash course in information held by the government and corporations, and part thriller, focusing on the drama surrounding WikiLeaks’ attempts to expose US diplomatic cables and the gradual implosion of the organisation.
For Brooke it comes down to the dangers when there is a concentration of power – either with WikiLeaks or in government. The investigative journalist and campaigner made it clear she was not afraid to take on vested interests during her five year campaign to expose MPs’ expenses. And she says pockets of public outrage when it emerges that iPhones keep track of everywhere you go aren’t enough.
She’s scathing about David Cameron’s response to the riots in Britain, proposing to monitor social networks like BBM and Twitter.
“I think it’s interesting the political reaction is ‘we have to start surveying all the social networks’. That’s the instant reaction. That’s what I mean about how the revolution will be digitised because it totally shakes up power structures, it does put power in the hands of people, including the proletariat, chavs, whatever you want to call them. They’re on social networks now, they can organise, they can communicate. And people that are in power, in the more elitist bastions of power, they find that really frightening. It’s challenging, it’s frightening, they don’t know what to do, their kind of instant reaction is: let’s shut it down.”
For her, governments haven’t “evolved fast enough”: “People are used to getting a lot of information quickly and they’re used to being quite empowered as consumers and they go to governments expecting a similar treatment, they want to find data and they want to influence events quickly and yet they come into this brick wall. The government wants to know everything about them but isn’t willing to share any of that information.”
Julian Assange, of course, plays a part in her quest to free up data. Initially, she’s attracted to him (“He’s the world’s most famous leaker, I’m a freedom of information campaigner so we’ve a lot to talk about”). But he also unsettles her, telling her without fear she can become a “megalomaniac” like him. She says in her book “I couldn’t have felt less comfortable alone in that room with him”, and most strikingly, reveals that he asked her to be his Mary Magdalene and “bathe his feet at the cross”.
Now, Brooke says she would not have been tempted by Assange even if she were not married: “He did strike me as a kind of dangerous person.”
She says it was his domination of the WikiLeaks exposes that left her disillusioned with the founder.
“The values of WikiLeaks have been completely overshadowed by Julian Assange. And he’s trying to conflate the two as one. Which is why a lot of the good people left. The people that I thought were the best people left. It is basically the Julian Assange project now.
“I guess that’s the real disappointment in the book. There was this opportunity in 2010 to really revolutionise the way information was shared, and instead of that cause going forward and being the main thing it was subverted, I felt and I observed by Julian Assange to serve his own personal interest and protect himself from personal problems.”
She says the leaks on Iraq and Afghanistan could have actually changed government policy, if it weren’t for Assange.
“I think they could have had a pretty big effect on America’s view of that war. But … because of the way Julian personalised those stories and made them about him rather than the story itself.”
Suddenly we’re back to the hacking scandal again: “That’s all Nick Davies, right? Does Nick Davies give a press conference himself about Nick Davies? No he doesn’t, he lets the story speak for itself.
“That’s what Julian needs to take on board. If you’re really serious about wanting to change society you have to pull back off the story, let the facts speak for themselves and stop trying to micromanage the way the public interprets it.”
August 16th, 2011
By: Nick Davies
Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and their former editor Andy Coulson all face embarrassing new allegations of dishonesty and cover-up after the publication of an explosive letter written by the News of the World’s disgraced royal correspondent, Clive Goodman.
In the letter, which was written four years ago but published only on Tuesday, Goodman claims that phone hacking was “widely discussed” at editorial meetings at the paper until Coulson himself banned further references to it; that Coulson offered to let him keep his job if he agreed not to implicate the paper in hacking when he came to court; and that his own hacking was carried out with “the full knowledge and support” of other senior journalists, whom he named.
The claims are acutely troubling for the prime minister, David Cameron, who hired Coulson as his media adviser on the basis that he knew nothing about phone hacking. And they confront Rupert and James Murdoch with the humiliating prospect of being recalled to parliament to justify the evidence which they gave last month on the aftermath of Goodman’s allegations. In a separate letter, one of the Murdochs’ own law firms claim that parts of that evidence were variously “hard to credit”, “self-serving” and “inaccurate and misleading”.
Goodman’s claims also raise serious questions about Rupert Murdoch’s close friend and adviser, Les Hinton, who was sent a copy of the letter but failed to pass it to police and who then led a cast of senior Murdoch personnel in telling parliament that they believed Coulson knew nothing about the interception of the voicemail of public figures and that Goodman was the only journalist involved.
The letters from Goodman and from the London law firm Harbottle & Lewis are among a cache of paperwork published by the Commons culture, media and sport select committee. One committee member, the Labour MP Tom Watson, said Goodman’s letter was “absolutely devastating”. He said: “Clive Goodman’s letter is the most significant piece of evidence that has been revealed so far. It completely removes News International’s defence. This is one of the largest cover-ups I have seen in my lifetime.”
Goodman’s letter is dated 2 March 2007, soon after he was released from a four-month prison sentence. It is addressed to News International’s director of human resources, Daniel Cloke, and registers his appeal against the decision of Hinton, the company’s then chairman, to sack him for gross misconduct after he admitted intercepting the voicemail of three members of the royal household. Goodman lists five grounds for his appeal.
He argues that the decision is perverse because he acted “with the full knowledge and support” of named senior journalists and that payments for the private investigator who assisted him, Glenn Mulcaire, were arranged by another senior journalist. The names of the journalists have been redacted from the published letter at the request of Scotland Yard, who are investigating the affair.
Goodman then claims that other members of staff at the News of the World were also hacking phones. Crucially, he adds: “This practice was widely discussed in the daily editorial conference, until explicit reference to it was banned by the editor.” He reveals that the paper continued to consult him on stories even though they knew he was going to plead guilty to phone hacking and that the paper’s then lawyer, Tom Crone, knew all the details of the case against him.
In a particularly embarrassing allegation, he adds: “Tom Crone and the editor promised on many occasions that I could come back to a job at the newspaper if I did not implicate the paper or any of its staff in my mitigation plea. I did not, and I expect the paper to honour its promise to me.” In the event, Goodman lost his appeal. But the claim that the paper induced him to mislead the court is one that may cause further problems for News International.
Two versions of his letter were provided to the committee. One which was supplied by Harbottle & Lewis has been redacted to remove the names of journalists, at the request of police. The other, which was supplied by News International, has been redacted to remove not only the names but also all references to hacking being discussed in Coulson’s editorial meetings and to Coulson’s offer to keep Goodman on staff if he agreed not to implicate the paper.
The company also faces a new claim that it misled parliament. In earlier evidence to the select committee, in answer to questions about whether it had bought Goodman’s silence, it had said he was paid off with a period of notice plus compensation of no more than £60,000. The new paperwork, however, reveals that Goodman was paid a full year’s salary, worth £90,502.08, plus a further £140,000 in compensation as well as £13,000 to cover his lawyer’s bill. Watson said: “It’s hush money. I think they tried to buy his silence.” Murdoch’s executives have always denied this.
When Goodman’s letter reached News International four years ago, it set off a chain reaction which now threatens embarrassment for Rupert and James Murdoch personally. The company resisted Goodman’s appeal, and he requested disclosure of emails sent to and from six named senior journalists on the paper. The company collected 2,500 emails and sent them to Harbottle & Lewis and asked the law firm to examine them.
Harbottle & Lewis then produced a letter, which has previously been published by the select committee in a non-redacted form: “I can confirm that we did not find anything in those emails which appeared to us to be reasonable evidence that Clive Goodman’s illegal actions were known about and supported by both or either of Andy Coulson, the editor, and Neil Wallis, the deputy editor, and/or that Ian Edmondson, the news editor, and others were carrying out similar illegal procedures.”
In their evidence to the select committee last month, the Murdochs presented this letter as evidence that the company had been given a clean bill of health. However, the Metropolitan police have since said that the emails contained evidence of “alleged payments by corrupt journalists to corrupt police officers”. And the former director of public prosecutions, Ken Macdonald, who examined a small sample of the emails, said they contained evidence of indirect hacking, breaches of national security and serious crime.
In a lengthy reply, Harbottle & Lewis say it was never asked to investigate whether crimes generally had been committed at the News of the World but had been instructed only to say whether the emails contained evidence that Goodman had hacked phones with “the full knowledge and support” of the named senior journalists. The law firm reveals that the letter was the result of a detailed negotiation with News International’s senior lawyer, Jon Chapman, and it refused to include a line which he suggested, that, having seen a copy of Goodman’s letter of 2 March: “We did not find anything that we consider to be directly relevant to the grounds of appeal put forward by him.”
In a lengthy criticism of the Murdochs’ evidence to the select committee last month, Harbottle & Lewis says it finds it “hard to credit” James Murdoch’s repeated claim that News International “rested on” its letter as part of their grounds for believing that Goodman was a “rogue reporter”. It says News International’s view of the law firm’s role is “self-serving” and that Rupert Murdoch’s claim that it was hired “to find out what the hell was going on” was “inaccurate and misleading”, although it adds that he may have been confused or misinformed about its role.
Harbottle & Lewis writes: “There was absolutely no question of the firm being asked to provide News International with a clean bill of health which it could deploy years later in wholly different contexts for wholly different purposes … The firm was not being asked to provide some sort of ‘good conduct certificate’ which News International could show to parliament … Nor was it being given a general retainer, as Mr Rupert Murdoch asserted it was, ‘to find out what the hell was going on’.”
The law firm’s challenge to the Murdochs’ evidence follows an earlier claim made jointly by the paper’s former editor and former lawyer that a different element of James Murdoch’s evidence to the committee was “mistaken”. He had told the committee that he had paid more than £1m to settle a legal action brought by Gordon Taylor of the Professional Footballers Association without knowing that Taylor’s lawyers had obtained an email from a junior reporter to the paper’s chief reporter, Neville Thurlbeck, containing 35 transcripts of voicemail messages. Crone and the former editor, Colin Myler, last month challenged this.
In letters published by the committee, the former News of the World lawyer repeats his position. He says this email was “the sole reason” for settling Taylor’s case. He says he took it with him to a meeting with James Murdoch in June 2008 when he explained the need to settle: “I have no doubt that I informed Mr Murdoch of its existence, of what it was and where it came from.”
Myler, in a separate letter also published on Tuesday, endorses Crone’s account. Their evidence raises questions about James Murdoch’s failure to tell the police or his shareholders about the evidence of crime contained in the email.
Watson said that both Murdochs should be recalled to the committee to explain their evidence. Hinton, who resigned last month, may join them. Four days after Goodman sent his letter, Hinton gave evidence to the select committee in which he made no reference to any of the allegations contained in the letter, but told MPs: “I believe absolutely that Andy [Coulson] did not have knowledge of what was going on”. He added that he had carried out a full, rigorous internal inquiry and that he believed Goodman was the only person involved.
Commenting on the evidence from the select committee, a News International spokesperson said: “News Corporation’s board has set up a management and standards committee, chaired by independent chairman Lord Grabiner, which is co-operating fully with the Metropolitan police and is facilitating their investigation into illegal voicemail interception at the News of the World and related issues.
“We recognise the seriousness of materials disclosed to the police and parliament and are committed to working in a constructive and open way with all the relevant authorities.”
July 19th, 2011
By: Eric W. Dolan
News Corporation owner Rupert Murdoch might be replaced by Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey as CEO of the company, but still remain chairman, according to Bloomberg.
People with knowledge of the situation said that whether or not the 80-year-old Australian media mogul steps down as CEO depends in part on his performance before U.K.’s parliament.
Murdoch became embroiled in the phone hacking scandal thanks to his U.K. newspaper News of the World.
The tabloid closed down after an investigation revealed it had participated in the phone hacking of celebrities, British politicians, the families of terrorist attack victims, dead soldiers and others.
Rupert, his son James and former CEO of News International Rebekah Brooks are scheduled to give testimony before the House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport on Tuesday.
News Corp. executives who watched Murdoch rehearse for his Parliament appearance were reportedly concerned with how he answered questions.
So far, 10 people have been arrested in connection to the News International phone hacking scandals.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice have launched their own investigations into whether News Corp. participated in the hacking of 9/11 victims or U.S. officials.
Michael Wolff, author of the Rupert Murdoch biography “The Man Who Owns the News,” has predicted that the phone hacking scandals that have shaken News Corp. in recent weeks will ultimately lead to the resignation of Murdoch and his son.
Afshin Rattansi, a Middle Eastern affairs journalist even suggested that “Fox News is finished” if U.S. authorities can prove that News Corp. employees attempted to hack into the voicemails of terror attack victims killed on Sept. 11, 2001.
July 19th, 2011
By: Amelia Hill, James Robinson and Caroline Davies
Sean Hoare, the former News of the World showbusiness reporter who was the first named journalist to allege that Andy Coulson was aware of phone hacking by his staff, has been found dead .
Hoare, who worked on the Sun and the News of the World with Coulson before being dismissed for drink and drugs problems, was said to have been found at his Watford home.
Hertfordshire police would not confirm his identity, but said in a statement: “At 10.40am today [Monday 18 July] police were called to Langley Road, Watford, following the concerns for the welfare of a man who lives at an address on the street. Upon police and ambulance arrival at a property, the body of a man was found. The man was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after.
“The death is currently being treated as unexplained but not thought to be suspicious. Police investigations into this incident are ongoing.”
There was an unexplained delay in the arrival of forensics officers at the scene.
Neighbours said three police cars and two ambulances arrived at the property shortly before 11am. They left around four hours later, around 3pm, shortly after a man and a woman, believed to be grieving relatives, arrived at the premises. There was no police presence at the scene at all for several hours.
The curtains were drawn at the first-floor apartment in a new-build block of flats.
At about 9.15pm, three hours after the Guardian revealed Hoare had been found dead a police van marked “Scientific Services Unit” pulled up at the address, where a police car was already parked. Two officers emerged carrying evidence bags, clipboards, torches and laptop-style bags and entered the building. Three officers carrying cameras and wearing white forensic suits went into the flat at around 9.30pm.
Hoare was in his mid-40s. He 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 hacking, but he also actively encouraged his staff to intercept the calls of celebrities in the pursuit of exclusives.
In a subsequent interview with the BBC he alleged he was personally asked by his editor at the time, Coulson, to tap into phones. In an interview with the PM programme he said Coulson’s insistence he did not know of the practice was “a lie, it is simply a lie”. At the time a Downing Street spokeswoman said Coulson totally and utterly denied the allegations; he had “never condoned the use of phone hacking and nor do I have any recollection of incidences where hacking took place”.
Hoare said he was once a close friend of Coulson’s, and told the New York Times the two first worked together at the Sun, where, Hoare said, he played recordings of hacked messages for Coulson. At the News of the World, Hoare said, he continued to inform Coulson of his activities. He “actively encouraged me to do it”, Hoare said. In September last year he was interviewed under caution by police over his claim the former Tory communications chief asked him to hack into phones when 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 NoW 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 “pinging”, which measured the distance between a mobile handset and a number of phone masts to pinpoint its location.
Hoare gave further details about “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.’”
He said: “You’d just go to the news desk and they’d come back to you. You don’t ask any questions. You’d consider it a job done.
“The chain of command is one of absolute discipline, and that’s why I never bought into it, like with Andy saying he wasn’t aware of it and all that. That’s bollocks.”
He said he stood by everything he told the New York Times of “pinging”. “I don’t know how often it happened. That would be wrong of me. But if I had access, as a humble reporter … ”
He admitted he had had problems with drink and drugs, and had been in rehab. “But that’s irrelevant,” he said. “There’s more to come. This is not going to go away.”
Hoare named a private investigator who he said had links with the News of the World, adding: “He may want to talk now, because I think what you’ll find now is a lot of people are going to want to cover their arse.” Speaking to another Guardian journalist last week, Hoare repeatedly expressed the hope that the hacking scandal would lead to journalism in general being cleaned up, and said he had decided to blow the whistle on the activities of some of his former NoW colleagues with that aim in mind.
He also said he had been injured the previous weekend while taking down a marquee erected for a children’s party. He said he broke his nose and badly injured his foot when a relative accidentally struck him with a pole from the marquee. Hoare also emphasised that he was not making any money from telling his story.
Having been treated for drug and alcohol problems, Hoare reminisced about his partying with former pop stars and said that he missed the days when he was able to go out on the town.
On Monday evening the curtains were drawn at his home, a first-floor apartment in a new-build block of flats.
A neighbour living opposite, Nicky Dormer, said three police cars and two ambulances arrived at the property at 11am; police left at 3pm, shortly after a man and a woman, believed to be grieving relatives, arrived at the premises.
She and another neighbour described Hoare as a jovial man who would often sit on his balcony, overlooking the block entrance, and talk to residents. They said he lived in the block with his partner, a woman called Jo, who they believed had been away on holiday. Neither had seen Hoare for a few days.
Paul Pritchard, 30, another neighbour, said Sean Hoare was “the most sociable” resident, and they would regularly see him watering the communal front lawn.
“It is just such a shock. About a month ago he said he felt unwell and he said he went to the doctors for a checkup. Then I saw him again and he seemed well.”
July 18th, 2011
By: Vikram Dodd and Juliette Garside
Rebekah Brooks has been arrested by police investigating allegations of phone hacking by the News of the World and allegations that police officers were bribed to leak sensitive information.
The Metropolitan police said a 43-year-old woman was arrested at noon on Sunday, by appointment at a London police station.
Brooks, 43, resigned on Friday as News International’s chief executive. She is a former News of the World editor and was close to Rupert Murdoch and the prime minister, David Cameron.
A spokesman for Brooks said she did not know she was going to be arrested when she handed in her resignation.
Brooks was taken into custody at midday on Sunday, after agreeing to attend a London police station for questioning. Her spokesman, Bell Pottinger chairman David Wilson, said she did not know she was to meet with police until late on Friday, and that she did not know the appointment would result in her arrest.
The News International chief executive announced her immediate departure from the company on Friday morning. She had agreed to give evidence this coming Tuesday to the culture select committee’s inquiry into allegations of phone-hacking at the News of the World.
Her lawyers are currently in discussion with the committee about whether she should attend. Wilson said: “It’s left Rebekah in a very difficult position and has left the committee in a very difficult position”.
An arrest by appointment on a Sunday by police is unusual.
In a statement the Met said: “The MPS [Metropolitan police service] has this afternoon, Sunday 17 July, arrested a female in connection with allegations of corruption and phone hacking.
“At approximately 12.00 a 43-year-old woman was arrested by appointment at a London police station by officers from Operation Weeting [phone hacking investigation] together with officers from Operation Elveden [bribing of police officers investigation]. She is currently in custody.
“She was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, contrary to Section1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977 and on suspicion of corruption allegations contrary to Section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.
“The Operation Weeting team is conducting the new investigation into phone hacking.
“Operation Elveden is the investigation into allegations of inappropriate payments to police. This investigation is being supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
“It would be inappropriate to discuss any further details regarding these cases at this time.”
July 18th, 2011
The New Yorker
By: Ken Auletta
For nearly two weeks, Rupert Murdoch and his people have claimed that the newspaper scandal in London was caused by a few rotten apples. Now that a very large apple, Rebekah Brooks, has been arrested, it is clear that it is the entire barrel that is rotten. Since many editors had to have known of the illegal hacking, and many people on the business side would have had to sign off on large, illegal payments to the police for information, more apples will drop in coming days. And not only at News Corp.: Sir Paul Stephenson, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, resigned Sunday. The best public-relations advice in the world will not help contain what is, for Murdoch, a spreading contagion that is no longer confined to London.
In the United Kingdom, Murdoch and his son James will have to tell a Parliamentary committee on Tuesday what they knew and when they knew it. More than that, they will have to try to rescue their company from multiple government onslaughts and criminal investigations from members of Parliament who think they must impose curbs on News Corp.’s ownership of newspapers and television and sports in England, and from shareholders who claim they have been cheated.
In the United States, News Corp., as an American company, will, among other things, have to explain why it has not violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it unlawful to pay bribes to government officials overseas—a proscription that includes the London police; whether the New York Post (or any of the company’s British newspapers) hacked into the mail or phone calls of celebrities in this country or of the families of 9/11 victims; and why their unethical behavior does not disqualify them under F.C.C. rules that require that those who license TV stations must be of solid moral character. Les Hinton, the head of Dow Jones and one of Murdoch’s senior executives in this country, has already resigned. (I wrote about Hinton’s departure on Friday.)
Murdoch’s influence with government officials here and abroad will not help him escape this time. In the current environment, will politicians, even those who courted him in the past, want be seen at his side, or risk their careers to come to his aid? The dam has sprung multiple leaks, and Rupert Murdoch doesn’t have enough fingers to stop the gushing water.
July 13th, 2011
International Business Times
A powerful American Senator wants to investigate Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. to determine if the phone-hacking scandal has stretched across the water from Britain to the U.S.
The Daily Telegraph of the UK reported that Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), a Senate committee chairman, has”serious questions” regarding whether or not News Corp “has broken United States law”.
The Senator’s demand for a probe could potentially have extremely dramatic repercussions on Murdoch’s media empire and legal liabilities.
Rockefeller, who is chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and great-grandson of the 19th century tycoon John D. Rockefeller, said in a statement: “The reported hacking by News Corporation newspapers against a range of individuals – including children – is offensive and a serious breach of journalistic ethics. This raises serious questions about whether the company has broken US law, and I encourage the appropriate agencies to investigate to ensure that Americans have not had their privacy violated.”
Rockefeller added: “I am concerned that the admitted phone hacking in London by the News Corp. may have extended to 9/11 victims or other Americans. If they did, the consequences will be severe.”
The Senate and House of Representatives has already been asked to investigate if News Corp. has been hacking the voice-mail messages of American citizens, raising the specter of Murdoch and his company having violated US laws.
Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), told reporters: “It’s hard to imagine that the same things [phone-hacking] have not been happening in the United States. Republicans are very tied to Murdoch but not at the expense of constituencies of Americans such as terror victims and soldiers.”
Kevin Zeese, a lawyer acting for the group ProtectOurElections.org, told reporters: “Rupert Murdoch moved to the US and became an American citizen in 1985 in order to take advantage of our laws.”
Apparently US Congress is watching for developments in Britain before considering taking any action on this side of the Atlantic against Murdoch.
“We’re keeping an eye on the situation, but are not planning on looking into it at this time,” said Jodi Seth, press secretary of Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate sub-committee on communications.
“For now, all that is certain is that there was hacking in Britain, which is outside of our jurisdiction.”
The chief executive officer of Dow Jones, a News Corp. subsidiary, is none other than Les Hinton, a former executive of News International, the UK subsidiary that owned the now-defunct News of the World newspaper (which was at the center of the scandal when it broke). Robert Thomson, the Wall Street Journal editor, was also part of News International.
December 11, 2009
By Brian Merchant
What could make a story already brimming with intrigue, flared passions, and global controversy even more outrageous? Throw in the involvement of some ex-Russian secret service members. Yes, the ongoing investigation into the hacked climate emails that the media has dumbly taken to calling ‘ClimateGate’ has revealed some startling findings–the hacking very well may have been carried out by ex-KGB members.
Ex-KGB Hackers to Blame?
According to the British newspaper the Independent,
The computer hack, said a senior member of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, was not an amateur job, but a highly sophisticated, politically motivated operation. And others went further. The guiding hand behind the leaks, the allegation went, was that of the Russian secret services.
Now that’s an interesting allegation. But what’s the evidence of ex-KGB members’ involvement? Well, the hacked emails were first posted on a server of a firm called Tomcity, in the Siberian city of Tomsk. Tomcity is an internet security firm known for harboring hackers.
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), which is comprised largely of ex-KGB officers, has been proven to “invest significant resources in hackers” and there’s been much speculation that the agency works with Tomcity in online espionage. According to the Independent, “the Tomsk office has a record of issuing statements congratulating local students on hacks aimed at anti-Russian voices,” in which the FSB is thought to have a guiding hand.
Furthermore, the “Kremlin has also been accused of running co-ordinated cyber attacks against websites in neighbouring countries such as Estonia, with which the Kremlin has frosty relations,” according to the report.