Mulcaire, Miskiw, Mahmood and the Special Investigations Unit set up by Rebekah Brooks at News of the World

Before Panorama airs at 7.30 tonight, after two delays, it might be worth looking at the background of MazHer Mahmood, aka the Fake Sheikh, at News of the World under the editorship of Rebekah Brooks, from early 2000 to early 2003.

Mahmood’s activities in the decade leading up to this have been covered in  a previous post about his connections with Southern Investigations. But the problems with that notorious private investigations firm, due to police inquiries and arrests of key personnel around this time, may explain what happened next.

Investigations were taken in house.

One of the first things Brooks did as editor of Britain’s best selling paper was to recall Greg Miskiw from New York, where he had set up office, and form an Investigations Team that worked outside both the Features and News Desk. From various bits of evidence show the floating membership from 2000 onwards to consist of:

Greg Miskiw – head
Neville Thurlbeck – reporter
Sarah Arnold – reporter
Paul McMullan – reporter
Glenn Mulcaire (as reported by Geoff Sweet in the sports pages)
Mazher Mahmood – undercover reporter
Bradley Page – photographer who replaced his father in law Steve Grayson
Conrad Brown – technical and surveillance

One of the few surviving emails from Brooks’ time as editor of NOTW is an email to Miskiw after the sting by Mahmood on Sophie, Countess of Wessex, telling him to be careful to ‘stay within the law’. The prosecutor, Andrew Edis QC, pursued this point on Thursday 6 March 2014
“When we did those campaigns we had to be above the law… I mean within the law,” Brooks in a slip. She can’t remember forbidding binology

Greg Miskiw reminded to stay within the law, “Why were you reminding Greg Miskiw of the need to remain within the law?” Edis asks Brooks.

There was quite a large amount of evidence about Miskiw, the Unit, and Mazher Mahmood at the main trial. I’ll attach the relevant evidence below without comment. A storify of the tweets is available here

 

HACKING TRIAL EVIDENCE ON MAZER MAHMOOD

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Timeline – Sven-Goran Eriksson, Faria Alam

Giving evidence – Operation Weeting Detective DC Corinne Young

22/01/06 NOTW article ‘This Man is a Crook’ is a undercover sting by Mahmer Mahood against Eriksson, after Mulcaire hacks

Thursday 14 November 2013

Timeline – Charles Clarke and Hannah Pawlby

Counsel for Andy Coulson cross examines Charles Clarke

Counsel for Coulson explores more direct contact with Clarke – in this case with journalist Mr Mahmood in March 05
A NOTW double page interview with Clarke on 20/03/05 covered issue of illegal immigration with Mr Mahmood (pixilated)

Further Prosecution question to Charles Clarke

Edis talks about interview with Mr Mahmood “the pixilated gentleman”: Clarke thinks this was organised through Ian Kirby not Coulson

Monday 18 November 2013

Witness – Justin Walford (Barrister employed by NGN)

Counsel for Andy Coulson cross examines Justin Walford

Walford on investigations such a Mazher Mahmood “a number of convictions over the years through its journalism”

Monday 27 January 2014

Witness – Dan Evans (Former Sunday Mirror and News of the World Journalist)

Prosecution Counsel questions Dan Evans
Dan Evans was offered work with the Fake Sheikh, Mazmeer Mahmood, at Boots Bar in Wapping in 2004

Thursday 20 February 2014

Rebekah Brooks as Editor of the News of the World

Brooks questioned on appointments she made as Editor

Brooks explains the role of Mazer Mahmoud, and then says Miskiw and Taylor were split at equal rank at Investigations and News departments

Brooks questioned on “Dark Arts”

“It’s absolutely not true,” says Brooks of dark arts allegations. “Mahmoud’s Fake Sheikh… always in the public interest. Did great work.”
11/03/01 another Mazer Mahmoud investigation story from NOTW about a crack den being shut down – after the investigations unit disbanded

Friday 21 February 2014

Rebekah Brooks Contract and Responsibilities at News of the World

Investigations at News of the World

22/10/00 NOTW article shown to the jury: a Mazer Mahmoud byline from investigations department. Laidlaw asks Brooks about her involvement

Rebekah Brooks asked about the Countess of Wessex

Fake Sheikh Operation

Brooks: “Though he was a former employee and therefore ‘disgruntled’ he did have some evidence. Mazer Mahmoud did a ‘Fake Sheikh operation”
Brooks explains the undercover set up, as Mahmoud claimed to be from a golf company and approached Countess of Wessex’s PR company

More Aspects of Brooks Editorship

More detail on Budgets

“Mr Mahmoud is he still in operation,” asks Saunders. “Should we be looking for a Fake Sheikh somewhere?” Brooks says yes.

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Rebekah Brooks Defence Continues on Count 1 – Phone Hacking

Brooks questioned on News of the World exclusives

The email praises Neville Thurlbeck and Mazer Mahmoud among others for setting the agenda with their exclusives in 2002.

Brooks asked about Glen Mulcaire

“The only unit you could say existed was Mazer Mahmoud’s Fake Sheikh operation, but it had lots of people in it.” says Brooks. “3 to 4”

Thursday 6 March 2014

Rebekah Brooks Cross Examination continues on Count 1 – Hacking

Greg Miskiw Promotion

Brooks on Miskiw: “He knew how seriously I took the code… I was quite good friends with Mazer Mahmoud. I’d talk to him directly”

Greg Miskiw reminded to stay within the law

“Mazer Mahmoud might have asked Greg to make some inquiries” says Brooks of this tasking.

Monday 10 March 2014

Rebekah Brooks faces more Question on Count 1 – Phone Hacking

Greg Miskiw and the Sophie Wessex Story

Brook concedes the story appeared extensively for 2 weeks in NOTW, and she was directly involved with Mazer Mahmoud.
“It would depend on Mazer Mahmoud,” says Brooks: “he ran his own stories… It’s very hard to…”
Edis points out that Mahmoud and Thurlbeck also got bonuses for Sophie Wessex story: Brooks “they brought in a big story”

Thursday 13 March 2014

The Defence of Clive Goodman Begins

Goodman’s Career at News of the World

Goodman talks of Mazer Mahmood about a household name model “suggestion was she was working as upmarket prostitute in Europe”

Monday 17 March 2014

Clive Goodman’s Defence Continues

Goodman asked about Phone Hacking

“Greg Miskiw, Mazer Mahmoud and news desk” were conducting this investigation. Goodman says “unfair” to say what it was

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Clive Goodman’s Defence Continues on Phone Hacking

Hacking of Royal Phones

Goodman says Maz Mahmoud was going to be involved in The Lord Frederick Windsor investigation, instigated by Andy Coulson.

Thursday 20 March 2014

Clive Goodman is Cross Examined by Counsel for Andy Coulson

Goodman questioned on Articles and Payments

Goodman is asked about his runner up to scoop of the year. He shared a by line with Maz Mahmoud

Tuesday 15 April 2014

The Defence of Andy Coulson Contines

Contact with the Police

“The NOTW came in contact with the police in regular occasions” says Coulson of the success of investigative reporters such as Maz Mahmood

News of the World Think Tank

25/01/06 Coulson writes to desk heads on 2006 being a tough year – praising Maz Mahmood’s work on Sven, but needing more ‘homegrown’ stories

Subterfuge

Coulson says “subterfuge” was an issue. He speaks about Maz Mahmood’s non Fake Sheikh investigations which required subterfuge

Wednesday 16 April 2014

The Defence of Andy Coulson Continues

Coulson questioned on Charles Clarke

Coulson remembers Clarke having a very “unusual” interview with Mazher Mahmood: “It made a spread in the paper”
Langdale adduces 20/03/05 copy of NOTW: a two page spread 20-21an exclusive Mazher Mahmood interview (his face obscured) with Charles Clarke
NOTW strap on Mahmood interview with Clarke: “The Home Secretary Faces his Toughest Ever Interview”

Hacking Trial Evidence on Greg Miskiw

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Timeline – Sven-Goran Eriksson, Faria Alam

Giving evidence – Operation Weeting Detective DC Corinne Young

22/01/06 NOTW article ‘This Man is a Crook’ is a undercover sting by Mahmer Mahood against Eriksson, after Mulcaire hacks

Thursday 14 November 2013

Timeline – Charles Clarke and Hannah Pawlby

Counsel for Andy Coulson cross examines Charles Clarke

Counsel for Coulson explores more direct contact with Clarke – in this case with journalist Mr Mahmood in March 05
A NOTW double page interview with Clarke on 20/03/05 covered issue of illegal immigration with Mr Mahmood (pixilated)

Further Prosecution question to Charles Clarke

Edis talks about interview with Mr Mahmood “the pixilated gentleman”: Clarke thinks this was organised through Ian Kirby not Coulson

Monday 18 November 2013

Witness – Justin Walford (Barrister employed by NGN)

Counsel for Andy Coulson cross examines Justin Walford

Walford on investigations such a Mazher Mahmood “a number of convictions over the years through its journalism”

Monday 27 January 2014

Witness – Dan Evans (Former Sunday Mirror and News of the World Journalist)

Prosecution Counsel questions Dan Evans

Dan Evans was offered work with the Fake Sheikh, Mazmeer Mahmood, at Boots Bar in Wapping in 2004

Thursday 20 February 2014

Rebekah Brooks as Editor of the News of the World

Brooks questioned on appointments she made as Editor

Brooks explains the role of Mazer Mahmoud, and then says Miskiw and Taylor were split at equal rank at Investigations and News departments

Brooks questioned on “Dark Arts”

“It’s absolutely not true,” says Brooks of dark arts allegations. “Mahmoud’s Fake Sheikh… always in the public interest. Did great work.”
11/03/01 another Mazer Mahmoud investigation story from NOTW about a crack den being shut down – after the investigations unit disbanded

Friday 21 February 2014

Rebekah Brooks Contract and Responsibilities at News of the World

Investigations at News of the World

22/10/00 NOTW article shown to the jury: a Mazer Mahmoud byline from investigations department. Laidlaw asks Brooks about her involvement

Rebekah Brooks asked about the Countess of Wessex

Fake Sheikh Operation

Brooks: “Though he was a former employee and therefore ‘disgruntled’ he did have some evidence. Mazer Mahmoud did a ‘Fake Sheikh operation”
Brooks explains the undercover set up, as Mahmoud claimed to be from a golf company and approached Countess of Wessex’s PR company

More Aspects of Brooks Editorship

More detail on Budgets

“Mr Mahmoud is he still in operation,” asks Saunders. “Should we be looking for a Fake Sheikh somewhere?” Brooks says yes.

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Rebekah Brooks Defence Continues on Count 1 – Phone Hacking

Brooks questioned on News of the World exclusives

The email praises Neville Thurlbeck and Mazer Mahmoud among others for setting the agenda with their exclusives in 2002.

Brooks asked about Glen Mulcaire

“The only unit you could say existed was Mazer Mahmoud’s Fake Sheikh operation, but it had lots of people in it.” says Brooks. “3 to 4”

Thursday 6 March 2014

Rebekah Brooks Cross Examination continues on Count 1 – Hacking

Greg Miskiw Promotion

Brooks on Miskiw: “He knew how seriously I took the code… I was quite good friends with Mazer Mahmoud. I’d talk to him directly”

Greg Miskiw reminded to stay within the law

“Mazer Mahmoud might have asked Greg to make some inquiries” says Brooks of this tasking.

Monday 10 March 2014

Rebekah Brooks faces more Question on Count 1 – Phone Hacking

Greg Miskiw and the Sophie Wessex Story

Brook concedes the story appeared extensively for 2 weeks in NOTW, and she was directly involved with Mazer Mahmoud.
“It would depend on Mazer Mahmoud,” says Brooks: “he ran his own stories… It’s very hard to…”
Edis points out that Mahmoud and Thurlbeck also got bonuses for Sophie Wessex story: Brooks “they brought in a big story”

Thursday 13 March 2014

The Defence of Clive Goodman Begins

Goodman’s Career at News of the World

Goodman talks of Mazer Mahmood about a household name model “suggestion was she was working as upmarket prostitute in Europe”

Monday 17 March 2014

Clive Goodman’s Defence Continues

Goodman asked about Phone Hacking

“Greg Miskiw, Mazer Mahmoud and news desk” were conducting this investigation. Goodman says “unfair” to say what it was

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Clive Goodman’s Defence Continues on Phone Hacking

Hacking of Royal Phones

Goodman says Maz Mahmoud was going to be involved in The Lord Frederick Windsor investigation, instigated by Andy Coulson.

Thursday 20 March 2014

Clive Goodman is Cross Examined by Counsel for Andy Coulson

Goodman questioned on Articles and Payments

Goodman is asked about his runner up to scoop of the year. He shared a by line with Maz Mahmoud

Tuesday 15 April 2014

The Defence of Andy Coulson Contines

Contact with the Police

“The NOTW came in contact with the police in regular occasions” says Coulson of the success of investigative reporters such as Maz Mahmood

News of the World Think Tank

25/01/06 Coulson writes to desk heads on 2006 being a tough year – praising Maz Mahmood’s work on Sven, but needing more ‘homegrown’ stories

Subterfuge

Coulson says “subterfuge” was an issue. He speaks about Maz Mahmood’s non Fake Sheikh investigations which required subterfuge

Wednesday 16 April 2014

The Defence of Andy Coulson Continues

Coulson questioned on Charles Clarke

Coulson remembers Clarke having a very “unusual” interview with Mazher Mahmood: “It made a spread in the paper”
Langdale adduces 20/03/05 copy of NOTW: a two page spread 20-21an exclusive Mazher Mahmood interview (his face obscured) with Charles Clarke
NOTW strap on Mahmood interview with Clarke: “The Home Secretary Faces his Toughest Ever Interview”
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One thought on “Mulcaire, Miskiw, Mahmood and the Special Investigations Unit set up by Rebekah Brooks at News of the World

  1. Pingback: 7 Suppressed Investigations into News of the World in 7 Years – why Leveson II is Needed | Live Tweeting the hacking trial

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