With the exception of a small element in the Nick Parker trial about accessing a stolen politicians iPhone, the third strand of the Met Inquiries into News International, seems to have virtually disappeared. While Operation Weeting dealt with phone hacking, Operation Elveden payments to public officials, Operation Tuleta was set up in 2011 to look at claims of computer hacking.
Finally there is some news of a settlement by News UK of the claim by Jane Winter at the British Irish Rights Watch has been reported by Roy Greenslade. He follows up a blog by Paul Larkin who argues cogently, that politically motivated hacking during such a fraught period in Irish British history, deserves a wider public inquiry
The BBC’s investigative programme Panorama made this revelation in March 2011 and linked the illegal faxes to the then executive officer in Dublin Alex Marunchak. See “News of the World executive obtained hacked e-mails” –
The only quibbles I have with this otherwise excellent Panorama report are that Alex Marunchak was not just a News Of The World executive in 2006 but News International’s senior executive in Ireland. Moreover, the programme didn’t seem to realise the Irish dynamite it had in its hands. Mr Marunchak is at the moment on police bail in England after being arrested in 2012 on suspicion of computer hacking.
It’s my understanding from my own sources that the faxes referred to by Panorama were by no means the only faxed material that contained illegally hacked information sent to Marunchak’s offices in the early to mid 2000s. That there were in fact a large number of faxes containing hacked material. This Irish hacking story, in other words, is not just about Jane Winter and her clients, by any means.
After this settlement between News International and Jane Winter,and precisely because of this apparent link to News International operations in Dublin, the Irish authorities (South and North) must initiate a full inquiry into exactly who and what was hacked on our side of the Irish Sea and whether there was a political motivation in such hacking. The period when this hacking was going on was a fraught time in Irish history and politics.
The Irish media, meanwhile, (which committed thousands of column inches to hacking in England) has shown remarkable homogeneity in simply refusing to even peek at a huge story staring it in the face – why is this? Is it possibly because an element at least of the Irish media has engaged in the same practices using the same hackers and/or their Irish counterparts? If so, this makes the need for a government inquiry all the more pressing.
Waiting and hoping for prosecutions and trials in England and Scotland that might at some later date throw light on hacking in Ireland cannot be an option and has never been so in the past, not least because covert forces within the state may well have had a hand, or at least knowledge, of these hacking operations and their record of suppressing evidence in these matters is well known.