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.
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:
Over the past two years my “regular contributor” has written on all things Leveson, phone hacking, and police corruption, with much of their work gathered on the Brown Moses Blog – Hackgate Files. Now they’ve come to Bellingcat to continue their work, beginning with a look at Mazher Mahmood (aka the Fake Sheikh) and the Metropolitan Police.
Miskiw, Mahmood and the MET
In January 2004, a journalist from the News of the World (NOTW) was interviewed by MET police on suspected criminality resulting from Operation Motorman. It was GREG MISKIW.
Yet just a few weeks later, MET police were enthusiastically commiting to a £1million+ collaboration with the NOTW on a newspaper ‘sting’. This time the journalist was MISKIW’S investigations desk close colleague – MAZHER MAHMOOD.
Neil Wallis has just responded to these new charges:
Neil Wallis (Photo credit: jon_cronshaw)
I’m devastated that more than 3 years after my initial arrest, this swingeing indiscriminate charge had been brought against me. My family and I have already paid a huge price for the police’s very public attention. Perhaps it is inevitable that after being such an outspoken critic of the collateral damage and pain caused by this needlessly vindictive and enormously costly investigation, the ire has been turned on me for something that occurred at NI of which I knew nothing and which I have always said was wrong Regrettably, legal reporting restrictions prevent me commenting further on this sad day.
On December 2013, the Metropolitan Police Service submitted evidence for charging advice to the CPS in relation to Operation Pinetree, an investigation into an alleged conspiracy to hack phone messages by journalists at the News of the World. Additional evidence in the case was provided in June 2014. The file asked for charging advice on eight suspects; all were formerly employed at the News of the World. On 16 July 2014, the CPS announced that six of those individuals would face no further action whilst the evidence in relation to two further suspects remained under review. That review has now concluded.
In response to the advance media storm last night (before the trial had closed) the CPS have released the following statement
“This case was not about whether phone hacking took place or whether public officials were paid for information; there are a significant number of recent convictions which show that both did happen.
“This has been a lengthy and complex trial which was required to explore a culture of invading privacy. Despite a number of applications by the defence to have the case thrown out the Judge agreed that the evidence was sufficient for consideration by the jury.
“The jury has found that Andy Coulson, former editor of a national newspaper, conspired with others to hack phones. Others who have admitted their role in this illegal practice – Greg Miskiw, Neville Thurlbeck, James Weatherup, Glenn Mulcaire and Dan Evans – all now face sentencing for phone hacking.
“We respect the verdicts and will inform the court on Monday of our decision on whether to retry the outstanding counts.
“As closely linked criminal proceedings are underway, I have nothing further to add at this time.”
As Claire Pollard, who usually storifies my tweets, is away for a couple of days, I am reproducing, with kind permission of Rosie Robertson, today’s entry in her excellent Press Reform blog. I don’t think the evidence today from former NOTW Royal Correspondent Clive Goodman needs much comment Continue reading →