Friday, July 22, 2011

James Murdoch Claimed Three Sentence Long
Law Firm Memo “Cleared” News International

Under questioning this week by the DCMS Select Committee, James Murdoch said he “relied upon” media law firm Harbottle & Lewis’s report when he and Rebekah Brooks claimed that hacking was the work of one rogue reporter. According to a Bloomberg newswire report Harbottle & Lewis is now seeking clarification from New York-based News Corp., by whom they were retained, about the extent to which its duty of client confidentiality is waived. The lawyer who first reviewed the emails, Lawrence Abramson told the Guardian that “Professional duty of confidentiality prevents me from commenting on this.”

Guido, in an effort to be helpful, is publishing the report. The report is from Lawrence Abramson of Harbottle & Lewis LLP to Jon Chapman, the in-house counsel at News International Limited, which James Murdoch told the Select Committee cleared News International is published in full below:

Re Clive Goodman

We have on your instructions reviewed the emails to which you have provided access from the accounts of:

Andy Coulson
Stuart Kuttner
Ian Edmondson
Clive Goodman
Neil Wallis
Jules Stenson

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.

Please let me know if we can be of any further assistance.

29 May 2007

Count ‘em, it is three sentences long. Not exactly in-depth is it? Guido is increasingly of the view that James Murdoch is, without being too legalistic, totally f****d.

Handy-cock Likes It Both Ways

Now Guido knows that Mike Hancock, self-confessed teen-fondler and LibDem, must have a lot on his mind, let alone his conscience, but it takes a special level of incompetence to manage to sign two completely contradictory Early Day Motions. The pervy Portsmouth MP signed both EDM 2109 – opposing Christians being able to opt-out of equality laws, and EDM 2081 – supporting Christians being able to opt-out of equality laws. He’s taking sitting on the fence to whole new levels.

In other news, the sex-text pest and Ruski-sympathiser has told his local rag that his phone may have been targeted in the phone-hacking scandal.

It was more likely to have been MI5 listening in…

UPDATE: It seems Labour’s Paul Flynn has fallen into the same trap, but then we knew all along that the die-hard socialist wasn’t quite all there.

+ + + Huhne Re-Interviewed by Essex Police + + +

Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce were  interviewed by the police for a second time on Wednesday, this time in Essex. There are reports that a file will be going to the Crown Prosecution Service. Breaking….

UPDATE: Guido’s boy in blue is being very tight lipped, but did suggest that they “wouldn’t bring him in for a second time so publicly without wanting to charge. Up to the CPS now, spineless bunch,” adding “the hangdog expression on his face was quite something to see.”

UPDATE II: The file will be going to CPS “soon” apparently. Money is piling in on Huhne to be leave the Cabinet.

Mirror Journo Speaks Out Against Morgan’s Version of Events

Today’s guest publication is The Australian, not normally Guido’s first choice for news, but somehow they got the interview that he was chasing all morning. James Hipwell, the former Mirror journalist whose insider information about the paper under Piers Morgan puts the former editor’s denials into serious doubt, has spoken out for the first time in five years. He claims phone-hacking was rife and that “bosses” were in on it:

“I know that for one simple reason: I used to see it going on around me all the time when I worked at the Daily Mirror. I sat right next to the show business desk and there were some show biz reporters who did it as a matter of course, as a basic part of their working day. One of their bosses would wander up and instruct a reporter to `trawl the usual suspects’, which meant going through the voice messages of celebrities and celebrity PR agents. For everyone to pretend that this is some isolated activity found only at the News of the World is ridiculous, it’s just a lie.”

Hipwell says, depending on legal advice, that he is likely to offer his insight to Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry. This is very bad news for Piers Morgan…

UPDATE: This is also pretty bad news for current Mirror editor Richard Wallace. He was Showbiz Editor at the time. Awkward…

Friday Caption Contest (Twister Edition)

Bell Pottinger Trained Rebekah Brooks For Grilling

Having retained the global spinmeisters to handle her press, Guido got a tip-off yesterday that the flame-haired former News International CEO was spotted in Bell Pottinger’s Holborn offices on Tuesday.

There have been unconfirmed rumours that Lord Mandelson was advising Rebekah via Global Counsel on how to deal with tricky questions from politicians, but Bell Pottinger confirmed to Guido this morning that their “public affairs team prepared her for the process she would face at a select committee.” Perhaps they could have a word with James Murdoch about the best bit of advice for dealing with Select Committees – probably best to just tell the truth.

UPDATE: Guido’s spinning eyes and ears suggests the training was done by Bell Pottinger director Alex Deane. Cosily, Deane was Cameron’s former Chief of Staff. Apparently when Brooks arrived she demanded the lifts be cleared so she could be alone.

She might be spending rather longer in a small confined room soon.

Indy Newsroom’s Hari Missing Poster

One of Guido’s co-conspirators at the Indy sent this in. They are clearly worried about Johann Hari and have put this thoughtful missing poster at strategic points around the Indy’s newsroom floor at Northcliffe House.

The Council of the Orwell Prize met yesterday to consider and review Johann Hari’s cut ‘n pasting as well as evidence of plagiarism and passing off helpfully submitted by the public and readers of this blog. We await their judgement. 

Goldsmith’s Non-Denial Denial [UPDATED]

Yesterday Guido highlighted the involvement of former Director of Public Prosecutions Lord Macdonald and the former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith in the phone-hacking scandal. It obviously hit a sore spot with the latter. Goldsmith’s spokesman emailed Guido:

“Lord Goldsmith looks forward to responding to the letter Mr Vaz is apparently sending, but wishes to make it perfectly clear now that there is no truth at all in the suggestion that he authorised or instructed police to narrow their investigations in relation to phone hacking.”

That’s all well and good, but it does not answer the charge that Guido laid yesterday. Goldsmith is attempting to shift the blame down the line to Macdonald for the decision to limit the investigation. However what Guido wants to know is whether Goldsmith subsequently raised in Cabinet that the police had told him in May 2006 that “a vast number of unique voicemail numbers belonging to high-profile individuals (politicians, celebrities) have been identified as being accessed without authority…”

He told Newsnight last night “As background in the briefing that I had about those cases (Mulcaire and Goodman), I was told that the police believed there were other cases as well.” Did he raise this in Cabinet? If not, then why not? If however he did, then why was no action taken by the Labour government?

UPDATE: Lord Goldsmith and his spokesman are keen readers and tell Guido it would it would have been “entirely inappropriate for the Attorney General to share this or any such memorandum with any Cabinet Ministers” arguing that

“the DPP acts independently of government and that the Attorney General, when fulfilling his role of superintendence, does so also.

This memorandum was to keep the Attorney General, as a law officer, updated on the progress in this investigation. It was not for sharing with other Ministers, none of whom should ever be, or perceived to be, in a position to influence prosecution decisions.

I trust the above answers the question you raised. It still leaves Lord MacDonald with some tricky questions to respond to which I see Mark Reckless is pursuing.”

Which is a lawyerly way of saying it wasn’t down to me, it was down to him…


Seen Elsewhere

Does Europe Really Want Britain to Quit? | Nick Wood
Immigration Nation | Hopi Sen
Tories Choose Anti-Israel Candidate in Rochester | JC
Osborne’s Daycare Obsession is a Time Bomb | Kathy Gyngell
BBC Marr Pinko Trying to Ban the Queen | Speccie
Eric Hobsbawm: Companion of Dishonour | Standpoint
Guido Party Gossip | Iain Dale
Russell Brand Comes Out as 9/11 Truther | Guardian
Health Revolution is Underway | Fraser Nelson
UKIP Gets Professional | Red Box
Kelly Tolhurst Wins Rochester Open Primary | BBC


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Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann on Cameron’s refusal to pay the £1.7 billion EU bill by December 1st:

“Well, then he’s gonna pay on December 2nd”



Mycroft says:

Have you read the last bit of Animal Farm?

You know where the animals are looking through the Farmhouse window?

My TV screen was that window at lunch-time today.

Be careful, the sudden self-congratulatory tone, the slightly pudgy outline of indulgence and you become exactly what you should despise.

The jolly face of the Quisling Cameron poses for your camera has mesmerised and deceived you, you who were once not so deceived.

You were no firebrand, you were a damp squib in my opinion, sorry.

You need a damned good kick up the ahse!


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