“The Yard’s 1999/2000 Operation Two Bridges had surveillance on Mahmood in The Victory pub, in Thornton Heath, south London by CIB3 officers (also known as the Ghost Squad), who were working from London’s Belgravia police station. An intelligence report dated 26th September 1999 damningly states:
“While in the company of Rees, ‘Maz’ was with a plain clothes officer aged about 45 – officer was selling a story to Maz about inter-race marriage and the payment in dowry in the form of livestock”
The Press Gang have another exclusive on the Mirror Group’s involvement in the dark arts, which has recently been exposed in ongoing civil cases into phone hacking.
But as I’ve discovered over the past few years, phone hacking is only the more benign tip of a much larger murkier iceberg of illegal story gathering, surveillance, burglary and police bribes, which ultimately leads back to the Murder of Daniel Morgan.
Not so long ago, at a press event with Alastair Morgan, a senior Mirror journalist said they could never cover Daniel’s murder and the police cover-up for “political reasons.”
There’s a political reason a major newspaper group can’t cover the most investigated unsolved murder in British criminal history?
With considerable speed and grace, on Monday 16 March, Rupert Murdoch replied to Alastair’s letter, promising to co-operate with the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel inquiry, and explaining how News Corp’s Management and Standards Committee have already complied with requests from the police and the IPCC.
Questions about the role of News of the World and surveillance of chief investigating officer and his family were part of James Murdoch’s formal written submission to the Leveson Inquiry
It’s not widely realised that the first big investigation into corrupt private investigators, police officers and the press, was Operation Nigeria (which morphed into Operation Two Bridges) in 1999, seven years before the first phone hacking inquiry. That investigation specifically looked at two senior named News of the WorldJournalists.
But as Paddy French, who has indefatigably stood up details from this era in his Press Gang site reports today, it wasn’t just the News of the World which was compromised by the ‘No 1 Corrupt Detectives Agency’. The Mirror Group were involved as well. This partly explains why – as Alastair Morgan was told by a Mirror journalist very recently – the story of his brother’s murder is ‘too political’ for the Mirror Group to cover.