Friday, July 29, 2011

Mirror Group Paid Blagger £442,878 for Illegally Obtained Info
65 Invoices Paid by Piers Morgan’s Daily Mirror

Guido has  – completely legally – obtained the raw data from the British Information Commissioner’s ‘Operation Motorman’ investigation.  A number crunching analysis of the data shows that between 1997 and 2003 Mirror Group newspapers were invoiced 948 times by “JJ Services”, run by Steve Whittamore, a notorious blagger who specialised in illegally obtaining personal information. For that six year period the total value of the invoices amounted to £442,878.73.

Many of these invoices are addressed to MGN Ltd, publishers of the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror.  Nevertheless Guido has identified at least 65 invoices, totalling £20,333.31 which are directly to the Daily Mirror. These invoices are dated between 2001 and 2002. Piers Morgan was the Editor of the Mirror throughout this period.

On Desert Island Discs Morgan told Kirsty Young that, “Not a lot of that went on. A lot of it was done by third parties, rather than the staff themselves,” adding, “That’s not to defend it, because obviously you were running the results of their work.” Almost half-a-million quid suggests that quite a lot of that went on.

The “blagging” invoices are for phone records, vehicle registration records, ex-directory numbers, to monitor mobile calls, obtain phone bills and get numbers called as well as paying off bent police officers to provide information. It could be medical records, criminal records or tax records. Blagging is a criminal offence punishable with up to two years jail time. Kate Winslet was blagged and the information was used by Piers Morgan, as he admits in his 10 April 2000 diary entry in The Insider:

“I got back to the office to learn that Kate Winslet, having indicated she would come to our Pride of Britain awards tomorrow, is now saying she can’t. Someone had got hold of her mobile number — I never like to ask how — so I rang her …. ‘Hello,’ she said, sounding a bit taken aback. ‘How did you get my number? I’ve only just changed it. You’ve got to tell me, please, I am so worried now’ ”

“Never liking to ask” is what is known legally as “willful blindness” which is when an individual seeks to avoid civil or criminal liability for a wrongful act by intentionally putting himself in a position where he will be unaware of facts which would render him liable. Or contrives to pretend such. It doesn’t work in Court because the law takes the view that it is criminally reckless to fail to find out. That in a nutshell is what Piers is, criminally reckless…

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Why CNN Will Fire Piers Morgan

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 in Tears

Well it looks like CNN’s Piers Morgan is rather rattled this morning. Instead of addressing his vocal and written confessions that he published hacked stories, Morgan went for the man rather than the ball.

Guido didn’t expect anything less…

One thing that did tickle though, was how quickly Morgan was to use the magazine Private Eye to try to head off some of the shit-storm that he is currently at the centre of. Lets see what he said the them in his now infamous Desert Island Discs appearance:

“Private Eye is one of the most intrusive and inaccurate newspapers in the country…”

Guido is still waiting for an answer to why Morgan wrote in the Mail that he published a story that was hacked, yet told CNN he had never done so. Maybe it’s time to take to the airwaves again Piers…

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.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Insider Blagger

Hat-tip: Private Eye via @theGilf

Friday, July 22, 2011

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)

The caption that gets the most thumbs up in the comments below will win a copy of Piers Morgan’s novel “The Insider”.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

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.

Seen Elsewhere

Ed Balls’ Speech Was Pointless | Dan Hodges
Media Movements: James Lyons to Sunday Times | Media Guido
Rebekah Brooks in Line for £7 Million Payout | Times
A Different Sort of Class War | Telegraph
Labour Candidate’s Links to Ex-BNP Member | Breitbart
McVey Dodges White Dee Debate | Speccie
Labour Candidate: Churchill Was a White Supremacist | Mail
LibDems Stand By Disgraced Sex Offender-Linked Mayor | MK
Has Carol Mills Given Up on Westminster? | Canberra Times
Labour Consider Banning Uber | Asa Bennett
Did LibDems Make Up Hancock Disciplinary Meeting? | Scrapbook


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cynic says:

Can anyone help me? I went on holiday a week ago and returned to find someone has pulled out the stake and Gordon Brown is back and acting as Prime Minister. What did I miss? Has there been a snap election?


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