Friday, July 29, 2011

Quote of the Day

John Stuart Mill on the humane liberal case for capital punishment…

“..the most that human laws can do to anyone in the matter of death is to hasten it; the man would have died at any rate; not so very much later, and on the average, I fear, with a considerably greater amount of bodily suffering. Society is asked, then, to denude itself of an instrument of punishment which, in the grave cases to which alone it is suitable, effects its purposes at a less cost of human suffering than any other; which, while it inspires more terror, is less cruel in actual fact than any punishment that we should think of substituting for it.”

Government Launches e-Petitions Website
Guido Submits “Restoration of Capital Punishment” Petition

As promised:

We petition the government to review all treaties and international commitments which may inhibit the ability of Parliament to restore capital punishment. Following this review, the Ministry of Justice should map out the necessary legislative steps which will be required to restore the death penalty for the murder of children and police officers when killed in the line of duty.

The findings of the review and the necessary substantive legislation to be presented to House of Commons for debate no later than 12 months after this petition passes the acceptance threshold.

One of the problems with our modern unrepresentative democracy is that it is disconnected from the voters. Despite focus groups, polling and intense marketing to voters, politicians are still unable to engage successfully with voters.

There are a number of issues where the political class refuses to carry out the wishes of the people. All polls show that there is majority support for capital punishment, yet there is no majority for it in parliament. It is not even an issue for parliamentarians even though the incidence of homicide is higher now than it was before the abolition of hanging. Now that the government has launched an e-petitions site, Guido will put all the resources at his command into a campaign for a vote on the restoration of capital punishment for child and cop killers. Even if we don’t win the vote on the floor of the House, we shall at least see which MPs believe salus populi suprema est lex, and those that put the welfare of child killers above the wider community. Let them be counted.

Guido intends to launch a campaign website at the end of next week, if you want to help the campaign, in any way, use the contact form below. If 100,000 voters sign the petition we have a chance of getting real justice for the next Baby P…

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Morgan Mocked Macca’s Misery Voicemails

Yet another Piers Morgan phone-hacking implication has surfaced from his own misguided boasts. Writing in the Daily Mail in 2006 when Sir Paul McCartney split from Heather Mills, Morgan went into some extremely voyeuristic detail about their relationship:

“Stories soon emerged that the marriage was in trouble – at one stage I was played a tape of a message Paul had left for Heather on her mobile phone. It was heartbreaking. The couple had clearly had a tiff, Heather had fled to India, and Paul was pleading with her to come back. He sounded lonely, miserable and desperate, and even sang ‘We Can Work It Out’…”

Who played it to Piers? How did they get it? Did he procure the illegal interception of an electronic communication – an imprisonable offence - with a maximum two-year stretch on conviction?  Looks like it to Guido.

How can Piers say he never authorised phone-hacking when he admits to listening to recordings of the voicemail of a distressed old man and his soon to be ex-wife? How can Piers say he never published anything on the back of phone hacking when he regaled this very story to the world in print under his own byline? Where was the public interest here?

It gets worse, Guido has been told Morgan played the recording out loud to the newsroom for fun. Laughing and mocking Macca’s misery.

In fact this is prima facie evidence of criminality on the part of Piers Morgan. We’re taking our dossier to the Metropolitan Police. Time for Piers Morgan to get a lawyer…

Piers de Résistance

Last night Piers Morgan claimed that his 2009 interview with Kirsty Young where he talked about phone-hacking was about generalities, not anything he himself had done. He repeated his bare-faced lie that he had never published anything knowingly based on “hacking”, which in this context is illegally listening in to mobile phone voicemails. So he denies what he said was what he said, relying on a slight ambiguity in Kirsty’s “money quote” question.

It has become, according to some US commentators, a question of Guido’s credibility versus Morgan’s credibility. That isn’t a contest Guido is ever going to lose. Guido has staked his reputation on his story that the Ulrika/Sven affair story that won Scoop of the Year in 2002 for his Daily Mirror paper was based on illegal voicemail interception. Guido has written testimony from a witness that Piers can’t dispute in any way. Himself.*
Piers is as he himself admits, cocky, that cocky quip is the nail in his coffin on hacking. His admission that

“it was the Daily Mirror, under my editorship, which exposed Sven’s fling with Ulrika Jonsson after learning of a similar message left by the then England manager on her phone”

leaves him no wriggle room. He admits publishing a prize winning story derived from a hacked voicemail intercept. Which is what Guido first claimed and Piers has lied about for weeks. He also aggressively called Louise Mensch MP a liar live on CNN, he owes her a massive apology or risks a defamation suit from her. It is over Piers, ‘fess up son. It is time for that live on CNN mea culpa…

*Source: Serialisation, by the Daily Mail, of God Bless America: Misadventures of a Big Mouth Brit: Diaries of an Englishman in the Land of the Free, bylined by Piers Morgan.

Morgan Admits Running Stories From Hacking “Third Parties”
2009 Interview Refers to “Things I Used to Get Up To”

Piers Morgan ‘Desert Island Discs’ interview with Kirsty Young

First broadcast: BBC Radio 4, Sun, 7 Jun 2009

KY: And what about this nice middle class boy who would have to be dealing with I mean essentially people who rake through people’s bins for a living…

PM: Well I…

KY: People who tap peoples phones , people who take secret photographs…

PM: I know but…

KY: …who do all that very nasty down in the gutter stuff, how did you feel about that?

PM: Well to be honest lets put that in to perspective as well, not a lot of that went on. A lot of it was done…

KY: Really?

PM: A lot of it was done by third parties, rather than the staff themselves, that’s not to defend it, because obviously you were running the results of their work. I’m quite happy to be parked in the corner of tabloid beast and to have to sit here and defend all the things I used to get up to and I make no pretence about the stuff we used to do. I simply say the net of people doing it was very wide and a certainly encompassed the high and the low end of the supposed newspaper market.

Morgan of course is claiming this morning that he was speaking in generalities, clearly he wasn’t, he was talking about the things which in his words “I used to get up to”. In a very changed climate post the revelations of the Milly Dowler hacking, with criminal investigations on both sides of the Atlantic, he is now pretending otherwise…

More over at The Daily Beast.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sunday Mirror’s Tina Weaver Isn’t “Fit and Proper” for the PCC

Those of you following Guido on Twitter will know that for weeks Guido has been using the hashtag #CircularFiringSquad to drip out names of journalists from other newspaper groups, in particular the Mirror group, who are as guilty as those arrested at the News of the World. Illegal hacking and blagging, with no public interest defence, has been endemic at Mirror titles. Last night on BBC Newsnight they produced testimony from former employees that at the Sunday Mirror

  • they hired a voiceover artist to imitate celebrities to blag information
  • they “saw Liz Hurley’s phone being hacked and a reporter listen to her mobile phone messages”
  • Ex-Sunday Mirror journalist Richard Watson confirmed hacking took place “pretty much every day”

Last week this blog reported on the record accusations against Tina Weaver, editor of the Sunday Mirror, that she was at the heart of a culture of journalistic illegality. Max Keiser claimed that she personally told him in 2002 about Piers Morgan’s working knowledge of phone hacking – at a time when he was editor of the Daily Mirror. Guido has extensively reported allegations against Piers Morgan dating back to his time at the Daily Mirror which have been followed up worldwide. We have reported testimony that when Mark Thomas was editor of the Sunday People, he was according to Guido’s source – who is a household name, “the biggest phone hacking enthusiast”. The evidence of the Information Commissioner against the Mirror group is compelling.

If it turns out that Sly Bailey’s Mirror group was a criminal enterprise, they will have to face the consequences, with a market capitalisation of only £140 million and damages that could mount up to tens of millions the consequence could be bankruptcy. Plus jail time…

Meantime, and until the due process of the law takes its slow course, Guido thinks it beyond credibility that Tina Weaver is a member of the self-regulatory Press Complaints Commission. Tina should step down.

On a personal note, if Mirror group newspapersgo after Louise Mensch MP, as they are openly threatening to do, they will be making a big mistake. She sits on the DCMS Select Committee and is determined to widen their inquiries out to other newspapers beyond the News of the World. Tina and Sly should remember that it was a similar threat by Rebekah Brooks against Tom Watson that eventually led to News International being brought to crisis point. Louise is just as tough as Tom…

Thursday, July 21, 2011

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…

Friday, July 15, 2011

Russia Today Anchorman Accuses
Sunday Mirror Editor of Phone Hacking Knowledge

Mirror Group CEO Sly Bailey has written to advertisers telling them that “our brands are trusted and respected” providing a “viable and valuable route to this important Sunday market…” Might those words come back to haunt her soon?

Sunday Mirror editor Tina Weaver has been accused directly by Max Keiser of Russia Today of knowing about phone hacking. He makes a series of claims about Weaver’s knowledge of phone hacking including that in 2002 she was aware of Piers Morgan knowledge of the neat little trick. Let the circular firing squad begin…

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Piers Morgan Knew Award Winning Scoop Was Hacked

Last week Trinity Mirror Group were forced to issue a statement denying that they had sourced a British Press Award-winning 2002 scoop from phone-hacking. They claim Trinity Mirror’s position is clear. Our journalists work within the criminal law and the PCC code of conduct.” That’s not what their former journalists say though.

Piers Morgan Knew of Hacked Scoop

James “Scottie” Scott, the Daily Mirror’s showbiz reporter at the time, was listening into Ulrika Jonsson’s voicemails when he was flummoxed by messages in her native Swedish. As fortune would have it, he was able to get a half-Swedish Mirror secretary to translate the mysterious voicemails. It was clear from the translations that the couple were having an affair. The male voice sounded just like the then England football manager Sven Goran Eriksson. The paper put the allegation to the sexy Swedish shaggers and they coughed to the truth of the allegation. It broke on April 19, 2002.

The paper’s editor at the time, one Piers Morgan, was receiving flak for the fact that his 3AM Girls gossip section was dire rubbish and lacked any bite compared to Morgan’s old Bizarre column in News International’s Sun. Morgan decided to let 3AM Girl Jessica Callan break the illegally obtained story under her byline in order to try and rid the column of its banal reputation.

Scottie wasn’t a happy bunny despite being promoted to become news editor of the Mirror Group’s Sunday People by the end of the year. To add insult to injury, however, Piers Morgan, knowing in March 2003 that the story would probably win the 3AM girls the Scoop of the Year at the British Press Awards, arranged for Scottie to go on a far-flung, all-expenses-paid junket. Morgan wanted to make sure that the still smarting Scottie couldn’t make a boozed-up fuss on the night. The story is legend because Scottie has long dined out on the truth. Perhaps he will prefer, in the current circumstances, to let the 3AM Girls continue to claim all the credit…

Friday, July 8, 2011

Times: Coulson Arrested

Times reporting at half-past eight this morning that “Mr Coulson now understood to be at West End Central police station.” A long way to fall…

UDPATE: The Times is backtracking and saying he’s about to be interviewed / arrested.  Journal of record, innit?


Seen Elsewhere

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
Tories Set for Thrashing | Sun
Boris Announcement Imminent | Sun
The Case for Splitting Up CCHQ | ConservativeHome
Why UKIP Should Join a ‘European Union’. | Anna Raccoon
Dave’s Brush With Bed Bugs | Speccie
Farage: No Briton Could Be My Secretary | BBC
Dave and George Can Now Be Seen Together | Ben Brogan


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Francis Elliot reports on No. 10 strategy meetings:

“When discussion veers to subjects that Mr Crosby thinks of concern only to the political and journalistic classes, he treats the offender as a pub bore with a tart request to “pass the beer nuts, mate”.”



Alexrod says:

It’s money innit.


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