November 11, 2011
By Jacob Sloan
“The mainstream media is out of control and this proves it.” –KTRN
In America, you watch Fox News, in Britain, Fox News watches you…The tally of individuals whose phones may have been hacked on behalf of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid has been upgraded, first from “a handful” to “hundreds”, and the total stands at 5,795 and counting, the Telegraph reports:
Police have now found 5,795 names notes seized from Glenn Mulcaire, the News of the World private investigator who was jailed for phone hacking in 2007.
A spokesman for Scotland Yard said: “It is not possible to give a precise figure about the number of people whose phones have actually been hacked but we can confirm that as of 3 November 2011, the current number of potentially identifiable persons who appear in the material, and who may therefore be victims, where names are noted, is 5,795. “This figure is very likely to be revised in the future as a result of further analysis.”
Today, Kevin explains where every ailment, every sickness, and every disease can be traced back to and how natural remedies are more effective than drugs and surgery.
Take Trudeau on the Go! Click here to download this show to your iPod, mp3 player, or PC through iTunes!
Today, Kevin explains why it is wrong for America to force the wealthy to pay for their mistakes. Plus, find out why the War on Terror is a joke and why food stamps should be abolished!
Are Vitamin D Levels Linked to Certain Cancers?
Cancer Expert Blames Agencies For Losing War Against Cancer
Are There Toxic Chemicals In Your Kids’ Car Seats? YES!
Processed Meat May Give You Cancer
Chipotle Admits Major Menu Mistake
Why Are Fruits and Veggies Less Nutritious Today?
It’s Easier To Get Prescription Drugs Than You Think!
Lawsuits Pile Up Over Diabetes Drug
Take Trudeau on the Go! Click here to download this show to your iPod, mp3 player, or PC through iTunes!
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 20th, 2011
The Huffington Post
Glenn Beck laughed about the death of a whistleblower involved in the phone hacking scandal and asked listeners to “pray” that Fox News was not involved in the crisis.
On his Tuesday show, Beck joked about the death of Sean Hoare, who was the first journalist to go on the record about the phone-hacking crisis at the News of the World in a 2010 New York Times article. Hoare was found dead in his London home on Monday. Beck said he loved the story of the death.
“I’m not saying that foul play was involved, but it is suspicious that he’s dead,” Beck said, laughing. (On Tuesday, police categorically concluded that no third party was involved in Hoare’s death.)
He then joked that Vladimir Putin was involved in the death, before turning to Fox News, which, like the News of the World, is owned by News Corp.
Beck said he was worried that the scandal would be used by opponents of Fox News to try and bring it down, but that, as far as he knew, there had never been a hint of a scandal at the network.
“Pray that that is so and that they are thwarted,” Beck said. “…They will use this and it will shut down.”
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 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.