The Murdoch's and their former chief executive of News International testified before a House of Commons committee yesterday. Their hours of explanations can be summarized in a phrase: we knew nothing. (Image)
Rupert Murdoch was too busy flying around the world milking his cash cow media properties to be at all involved.
Number two son James was the executive in direct command and he heard nothing.
Rebekah Brooks, editor of the News of the World at the time of the Milly Dowler hacking, completed the trifecta of ignorance. Since she knew nothing, her very frequent contact with the Murdoch father-son team had to be, as the Fugs said, "a whole lot of nothing."
A second House of Commons hearing considered the role of the police in all of this. Paul Stephenson resigned in disgrace recently as head of the London Metropolitan Police. He concluded that the conviction of two News of the World phone hackers in 2007 was a "very successful" end of the investigation. Phone hacking and other invasions of privacy, case closed.
The assistant police commissioner, John Yates, (who also resigned this week) claimed that he barely understood the phone hacking scandal since he was busy with counter terrorism activities. As a result, it was perfectly all right for him to hire "Neil Wallis, the former deputy editor of the News of the World, as a public relations adviser to the Met" (London police)..
The Prime Minister in a bubble, David Cameron, didn't testify. There was no need according to police witnesses. Along with the London police, they decided to keep the PM in the dark.
That's it for the one day committee hearings. Members asked intelligent questions with the Murdoch's responding respectfully. Brooks sought to impress with a sober presentation. She asked to come back when her legal difficulties are cleared up. She also insisted that she and PM Cameron never went horseback riding together in the woods near her home (tell that to neighbor Hugh Grant who saw them together on numerous occasions).
Yesterday's showing by the witnesses was a moment of civilized defiance. They denied the obvious facts. They didn't given an inch. They blamed others and spoke of their own integrity. They were "shocked, oh so shocked" to hear of the awful acts that invaded and exploited the personal and emotional privacy of their victims.
They are either ignorant or lying, as one MP put it to James Murdoch. I vote for lying (except in the case of Brooks who combined both qualities).
Proof of Prevarication
How can there be proof that there was lying all around at the hearings? Don't we need a thorough investigation?
No we don't. There is proof positive that both the Murdoch faction and the police officials were simply ignoring the obvious as they mocked the committee and the citizens of the United Kingdom.
In 2006, the following report was issued by the British governments Office of the Information Commissioner: What price privacy? The unlawful trade in confidential personal information 10 May 2006 The report was "ordered by the House of Commons." In a summary of findings, we discover the smoking gun. Even if all of the witnesses were as ignorant as they could be, they would not have missed this:
"Investigations by the ICO and the police have uncovered evidence of a widespread and organised undercover market in confidential personal information. Such evidence forms the core of this report, providing details about how the unlawful trade in personal information operates: who the buyers are, what information they are seeking, how that information is obtained for them, and how much it costs." (p. 6)
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