How the Guardian was Got At but the News of the World Got Away With It

Crossposted from Byline – the No 1 Journalist Crowdfunding site. Please chip in to support my work there.
15 years ago the Met’s Operation Two Bridges exposed a lucrative illegal trade between corrupt police officers, private investigators and Fleet Street. Nothing was done. But what happened to two Guardian journalists who were writing about police corruption at the same time?

As Joe Public has revealed on Bellingcat, ‘How The Metropolitan Police Covered-Up For Rupert Murdoch’s News International’ senior Metropolitan police officers knew back in 1999 that there was a phenomenal trade in illegal information atNews of the World which predated phone hacking.

A secret probe in the premises of Southern Investigations, ostensibly part of a third inquiry into the murder of former founder Daniel Morgan, caught many connections between the corrupt detective agency and senior Fleet Street journalists. Continue reading

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Some other reasons why Rupert Murdoch may be stepping down from 21st Century Fox

Please support help crowdfund my regular work on the Criminal Media Nexus by crowdfunding a regular column at Byline bylineident Continue reading

Why the Mirror Group find it Hard to Investigate the Dark Arts and the Daniel Morgan Murder

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 World Journalists.

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.

Below are three extracts from Paddy French’s important second chapter on the murder. Please visit his site and real the whole in in full at  ROGUE JOURNALISTS & BENT COPPERS | PRESS GANG. Continue reading

Mazher Mahmood told Met Investigation back in 2005 his informants included “senior officers” and “bent police officers”

A small but telling detail about the proximity of News of the World’s star reporter Mazher Mahmood to the Metropolitan Police.

Over on Bellingcat, Joe Public has noticed that senior Met Officers never even asked about the provenance of the gun used in the Beckham Kidnap fiasco – which saw five people jailed on remand for months. A complaint about this led to Operation Canopus – into the Fake Sheik‘s activities 

 Then, on October 17th 2005 the Guardian ran a Roy Greenslade piece under the headline; “Police probe News of the World stories” – it was a report into the existence of Operation Canopus Two. For the first time a police investigation into Mahmood was out in the open.

But this investigation into Mahmood in 2005 apparently exonerated him, even though he told them:

“I’ve got bent police officers that are witnesses, that are informants.”

via bellingcat – Did Scotland Yard Cover-Up Beckham Kidnap Evidence So The Fake Sheikh Could Be Their Star Witness?.

Earlier during that interview on  26 October 2005 Mazher Mahmood also told investigators from Operation Canopus.

“I’ve got some senior officers in Britain who are also my informants”

This is a full SIX YEARS before the police launch Operation Elveden, into corrupt payments paid to police by News International journalists. Why the delay? And how can we trust the Fake Sheikh’s activities can be fully and appropriately investigated by the same police force he worked so closely with?

In his own words, some were bent. And he was also in contact with senior officers – probably way above the pay grade of those investigating him.

In his autobiography Mahmood boasts of meeting the former Met Commissioner Lord Stevens for drinks, with his then boss Andy Coulson. As the Press Gang notes this was in 2003.

It was shortly after the Crown Prosecution Service decision to abandon charges in the Beckham kidnap affair because one of Mahmood’s informants was considered an unreliable witness …

Continue reading

2014 in Review: Guess the most popular pieces on my hacking trial blog

Was it key pieces of evidence from the Hacking Trial? The revealing messages between Tony Blair and Rebekah Brooks? Or the electrifying evidence of former News of the World reporter and supergrass/whistleblower Dan Evans? Or was it the near disastrous intervention of David Cameron over the partial verdicts on his former head of communications Andy Coulson.

No. The two most popular posts were…. wait for the fireworks….

Continue reading

Contrast the treatment of Mazher Mahmood to that of Tulisa Constavlos: via Press Gang

THE GOVERNMENT has declined to answer questions about a legal bid to stop the BBC Panorama exposé of Sun reporter Mazher Mahmood.

Attorney General Jeremy Wright tried to persuade the Corporation not to broadcast the investigation.

Wright is a political appointee and attends Cabinet.

No. 10 said it didn’t “comment on legal advice provided by law officers.”

The BBC ignored the pressure and transmitted the “Fake Sheik: Exposed” programme on November 12.

Another public body, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is refusing to answer an allegation that it gave out false information about the case.

Sources claim CPS officials said at the end of October that a charging decision on Mahmood was due within two weeks.

Today, two months later, no decision has been announced …

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police have been treating Mahmood himself with kid gloves.

Press Gang has learnt detectives from Operation Silverhawk — the investigation into Mahmood’s false testimony in the Tulisa Contostavlos trial last July — decided not to arrest him.

Instead, officers arranged an appointment with him and his lawyer.

He was interviewed under caution.

No warrant was sought to search his home in West London.

Mahmood’s “kid glove” treatment is in stark contrast to the “iron fist” used for Contostavlos.

She was arrested just two days after he published an article accusing her of conspiracy to supply drugs.

Her arrest — based solely on Mahmood’s evidence — took place by appointment at a police station.

Police also obtained a warrant and searched her home.

via NUMBER 10 SILENT ON “FAKE SHEIK” INTERVENTION | PRESS GANG.