Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mirror Group’s Sly Warning Cuts No Ice
Did Sunday Mirror Blag Rio Ferdinand’s Mobile Phone?

Mirror Group CEO Sly Bailey has gone into full Rebekah Brooks mode, issuing threats to the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee, telling them to stop questioning her papers and their tactics. Sky’s Mark Kleinman makes the very good point that just like Brooks, Bailey has issued a denial before instigating any investigation. Given her papers beat all of the competition in the number of blagging cases discovered by the Information Commissioner, Guido would recommend she gets onto this forthwith.

If Sly is going to continue to deny Trinity Mirror didn’t illegally hack voicemails and blag phones, perhaps she would like to explain how they got this Pulitzer worthy Sunday Mirror story:*

Football In Crisis: Rio phone sensation: WHY TEXT HIS DOC?
by JAMES SAVILLE Oct 19, 2003

THE mystery over the Rio Ferdinand missed drugs test takes a dramatic new twist today as we reveal that the first contact he made after leaving the ground was a text message to a private doctor. The Man Utd footballer sent the message within minutes of leaving the club’s training ground and just an hour after being ordered to attend the random check. The Sunday Mirror can reveal that the 24-year-old had his mobile phone on at all times – contrary to reports that his phone was still off after finishing training. And although a desperate phone call and a series of text messages had been left on his phone by club doctor Mike Stone, it took Ferdinand nearly half an hour to call back.

How did the Sunday Mirror know about Rio’s text messages? That his phone was switched on at all times? Where he was when he texted? They of course had illegally blagged acess to the mobile phone records including location data. Plenty more where that came from…

* Emphasis added.

Ex-Mirror Journalist Puts Morgan’s Denial in Doubt
Morgan:“With New Technology Comes New Temptation”

Piers Morgan told CNN on Wednesday: “For the record, in my time at The Mirror and the News of the World, I have never hacked a phone, told anybody to hack a phone or published any story based on the hacking of a phone.” That’s not what one former Daily Mirror journalist who worked for him says though.

“Many of the Daily Mirror’s stories would come from hacking into a celebrity’s voicemail,” James Hipwell said of his time at the Mirror between 1998 and his sacking in early 2000. Morgan was editor from 1995 to 2004. Hipwell was jailed in 2006 for his part in the City Slicker Viglen share tipping scandal. Despite Morgan buying £67,000 worth of shares in Viglen the day before Hipwell tipped them in the Mirror’s finance column, the editor got away with it. 

Talking to the Guardian in 2006, Hipwell added that targets for voicemail hacking during his period at the Mirror had included the Spice Girls. On one occasion a fellow Mirror journalist even deleted a voicemail message from one of the Spice Girls’ phones to stop his rival on the Sun getting hold of it. Hipwell also confirmed that the Mirror found out about Ulrika Jonsson’s affair with Sven-Goran Eriksson from a voicemail left by the then England coach on the TV presenter’s phone, something Guido covered in some depth last week.

While Hipwell and fellow City Slicker journalist Anil Bhoyrul were under fire for writing about the shares in which they had invested, a sympathetic colleague had hacked into Morgan’s voicemail in an attempt to track down any messages from Mirror executives. Morgan confirmed this incident in GQ just five months ago:

“It was pretty well-known that if you didn’t change your pin code when you were a celebrity who bought a new phone, then reporters could ring your mobile, tap in a standard factory setting number and hear your messages. That is not, to me, as serious as planting a bug in someone’s house, which is what some people seem to think was going on.

…loads of newspaper journalists were doing it. Clive Goodman, the NOTW reporter, has been made the scapegoat for a very widespread practice… Not defending him, just expressing sympathy for someone who has been made a scapegoat.

…they used to do it to me. And no, I didn’t like it. But with new technology comes new temptation and new issues.”

Hipwell also mentioned to the Guardian that he was planning a still unpublished book, and had already written four chapters of it, describing the lengths to which the Mirror, when edited by Piers Morgan, went to get stories:

“It details many examples – dozens in fact – of celebrity phone taps… This has been going on for years.”

Guido thinks we have found another prime candidate to testify, under oath, at Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry…

Guido is going to be very blunt about this, Piers Morgan is a bare-faced liar. It will come out in the course of the inquiries that hacking was rife at the Mirror during his time as editor. It will not be in doubt that stories were published based on information obtained by hacking – Piers will definitely be caught out on that one. Morgan is betting that no one will testify that he knew and no invoices or otherwise will be produced in evidence. Exactly the calculation Andy Coulson made. Ask yourself this: Do you believe Piers Morgan, knowing all about how to hack celebrity’s phones, told his staff not to hack phones, refused to run stories based on phone hacks and never asked from where the stories came?

Hat-tip to the eagle eyed Neal Mann of Sky News for spotting the GQ article.

Exclusive: Cricket Balls

Balls told the Chancellor today that he was distracted by Hack-gate and should be doing more about the Euro-crisis. However while Europe burns, it looks like MCC member Charlie Whelan, Kev and Ed are having a lovely afternoon at Lords:

Guido feels one of the old gang is missing. Is Damian just out of shot?

Get Your Vote Out For the Lads

Meet Diana of “Putin’s Army”. She promises to “tear my clothes off for Putin”, and encourages other girls to strip to win an iPad:

Guido predicts an upward surge in the polls.

Quote of the Day

CNN’s Piers Morgan discusses phone-hacking:

“with new technology comes new temptation…”

Lord Goldsmith Knew Extent of Phone-Hacking in 2006
Labour’s Attorney General Did Nothing in Government

One snippet of yesterday’s phone-hacking debate in Parliament struck Guido as slightly odd. QC, and West Devon MP, Geoffrey Cox revealed some damning loose ends about Blair’s Attorney General and Lord Macdonald, the then Director of Public Prosecutions, that the Home Affairs Select Committee report did not clear up. In May 2006 both Goldsmith and Macdonald were given a briefing from the police that stated:

“a vast number of unique voicemail numbers belonging to high-profile individuals (politicians, celebrities) have been identified as being accessed without authority. These may be the subject of wider investigation.”

Cox went on to point out that the CPS decided to instead focus their investigation on Goodman and Mulcaire, and the hacking of two officials at the palace. Despite this, Goldsmith knew about the extent of the phone-hacking, yet seemingly did nothing. Cox was pushing Labour to reveal whether Goldsmith raised the issue at Cabinet, as he had a duty to do with matters of public interest. As he repeatedly hammered home – why was nothing done?

Another Tory MP Mark Reckless, who is on the Home Affairs Select Committee, is going after Lord Macdonald, who is now at Matrix Chambers with Blair’s wife. Reckless has written to Macdonald demanding to know why nothing was done. Reckless also wants to know how much Macdonald has had in writing fees since he stood down at the CPS from, you guessed it, News International. Another layer emerges…

The Met Widens the Net

With Cameron on his feet for three hours, and the reality of the Euro crisis taking the hold, for the first time in weeks the phone-hacking scandal isn’t top of the news. It’s still worth noting the Met’s interest in other newspaper groups though. The Beeb is heavily trailing a Radio 4 documentary that reveals tonight:

“Police have asked for files of an earlier inquiry into the use of private investigators… the files from Operation Motorman, which was run by the Information Commissioners Office in 2003, were requested three months ago. They contain 4,000 requests from 300 journalists and 31 publications for confidential information from a private investigator, which in many cases had been obtained illegally.”

Just what these illegal activities might have been was summed up by Nick Davies in 2009. As Guido revealed graphically last year, this is bad news for Trinity Mirror:

Guido has something up his sleeve for the circular firing squad today. Watch this space…

Quote of the Day

William Hague admitted on the PM program last night:

“Sometimes I go in through the back door”

Watson Was Sent Reply

Downing Street released the text of the letter in reply to Tom Watson regarding Andy Coulson which Tom claimed not to have received. Toby Young reckons the whole thing is a red herring in any case because Tom was merely telling the PM to watch Channel 4′s Dispatches, which had rehashed some of the Coulson allegations. Tom claimed in parliament that he had received no reply. Perhaps he should kick one of his many union funded researchers to re-check the files…


Seen Elsewhere

Ex-Sun Hack Cleared After 582 Days on Bail | MediaGuido
11 Times Boris Denied He Would Stand for Parliament | Buzzfeed
Attacking UKIP’s Posters is Counter-Productive | Guardian
Sarkozy Tried it on With Hollande’s Ex | Times
Another Spare Room Subsidy Cut Success | Harry Phibbs
Rich Now Have Less Leisure Than Poor | Economist
UKIP’s Immigration Policy Promotes Migrant Entrepreneurs | Breitbart
Another Feminist Lecture | Laura Perrins
UKIP Posters Bad Economics But Good Politics | James Delingpole
Tories Losing to UKIP in Scotland | ConHome
UKIPers Will Come Home in 2015 | Sun


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A confused Nick Griffin says Nigel Farage is a shill for the City, forgetting that City banks want to stay in the EU:

“Farage is a snake oil salesman, but a very good one. His supposed anti-immigration stance is all smoke and mirrors, as is his carefully cultivated image as a ‘man of the people’. The truth is that UKIP is a pro-immigration party that exists to lobby for the interests of the City of London.”



Alexrod says:

It’s money innit.


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