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The following news is gaining steam by the day in the UK.

The term 'Gate' is often used in stories that don't come near the foothills of the mountain that was Watergate, but this may well rise to the heights of Snowdon (what passes for a mountain in the UK).

I will try my best to make the details clear of a very complicated tale but was really hoping for a diarist with more skill than myself (Unenergy where the hell are you?) to do this. This is way beyond my pay grade, most things are (I walk dogs for a living). However, here goes................

Andy Coulson is David Cameron's (New British Prime Minister) head of communications.

He is implicated in a huge phone hacking scandal that started when he worked for Rupert Murdoch's News of the World.

Profile of Andy Coulson

Editor of Tim Montgomerie, who identifies Coulson as one of six key staffers in Cameron's "West Wing", wrote yesterday that Coulson "has been central to the revitalisation of the Conservative project since the summer of 2007".

Yesterday's revelations in The Guardian that the News of the World's parent company has paid out more than £1m to settle legal cases that threatened to reveal evidence of journalists' repeated involvement in phone tapping have thrust Coulson back into the spotlight.

The only people reporting on this are, unsurprisingly, The Guardian Newspaper, The Independant Newspaper, the New York Times and the BBC. All other media outlets are steering well clear. I can't imagine why.

The New York Times

Tabloid Hack Attack on Royals, and Beyond

IN NOVEMBER 2005, three senior aides to Britain’s royal family noticed odd things happening on their mobile phones. Messages they had never listened to were somehow appearing in their mailboxes as if heard and saved. Equally peculiar were stories that began appearing about Prince William in one of the country’s biggest tabloids, News of the World.

very large snip, bypassing tales of bullying, police complicity, bribery and corruption....

THAT SAME MONTH, a judge hearing the lawsuit by the public-relations executive Max Clifford ordered Mulcaire to name any journalist for whom he hacked into Clifford’s phone. The names discovered in Mulcaire’s files had been redacted by the police. The lawsuit was something of a professional twist for Clifford, who often brokered stories between the tabloids and people looking to capitalize on their exploits with celebrities, earning him a reputation as the master of the "kiss and tell." He had a particularly productive relationship with News of the World until 2005, he said, when he had a falling out with Coulson over a story about a client using cocaine. Not long after, Clifford’s phone was hacked by Mulcaire. "I was the source of many of their biggest stories, and suddenly that source was gone," Clifford said. "So I was a prime candidate. It’s common sense. Night follows day." But before Mulcaire could obey the order to testify, Clifford dropped his lawsuit. Clifford declined to comment on details of his decision, except to say that his feelings changed after a meeting with Rebekah Brooks, the former News of the World editor who became chief executive of News International. "We sat down and we had lunch," Clifford said, "and it took us no time to sort it all out."

News International agreed to pay Clifford one million pounds in exchange for feeding the paper exclusive stories over the next several years.


BY THE SPRING of this year, News International’s papers had firmly switched their support from Labour to the Tories. An avalanche of unforgiving coverage culminated on April 8, one month before the general election, in a Sun story headlined "Brown’s a Clown." Brown’s strategists assumed that Murdoch’s motives were not purely ideological. They drew up a campaign document conjuring Murdoch’s wish list should David Cameron become prime minister. Among the top items they identified was the weakening of the government-financed BBC, one of Murdoch’s biggest competitors and long a target of criticism from News International executives. On May 11, David Cameron officially assumed the position and elevated Coulson to the head of communications. Within the week, Rupert Murdoch arrived at 10 Downing Street for a private meeting with the new prime minister. Cameron’s administration criticized the BBC in July for "extraordinary and outrageous waste" during difficult financial times and proposed cutting its budget.

All bolding by diarist.

If Coulson Knew, Did Murdoch Know?

Now Michael Wolff, the American writer of The Man Who Owns the
News, a biography of Rupert Murdoch, has suggested that the management structure of News International, the company which owns the News of the World, is such that if Coulson knew his journalists were hacking into the voicemail accounts of high-profile figures, then so did his CEO.

Wolff writes: "In the chain of command at News International, if Andy Coulson knew something then his mentor and boss, Rebekah Brooks, knew it, and if Rebekah knew it, then James Murdoch knew it (this is a very tight office and social circle), and if James knew it, then his father [Rupert] knew it."

Wolff suggests what we have seen so far is only the beginning and that the question of who was responsible for "suborning the investigation" last year is the main attractions. He signs off ominously, referring to the widespread belief in media circles that the New York Times story is the latest shot in a turf war with Murdoch's Wall Street Journal: "Murdoch can control the powers that be in London - and walk free. But if he's going to take the New York Times down, its message is that he and his son are going down, too."

Todays Independant On Sunday brings us up to speed

Read all about it: The secret dossier of lawbreaking that spells trouble for Rupert Murdoch...and David Cameron

The News of the World paid a private detective to provide hundreds of pieces of confidential information, often using illegal means, a confidential document obtained by The Independent on Sunday has revealed.


The disclosure of the extent to which the NoW and its sister titles used the services of private investigators to obtain personal information by questionable means will add to the controversy threatening to engulf News International (NI), whose bosses have consistently denied any wrongdoing over the affair.

The wide-ranging extent of the phone hacking and other activities could damage NI's share price in the long run – and reduce the fortune of its boss, Rupert Murdoch.

One senior MP last night complained that the list revealed "a widespread and casual law-breaking" among people associated with NI.

This article is a must read in my very humble opinion, replete with timeline.

The outside chance that Rupert Murdoch may lose some of his fortune, have to answer awkward questions and may well be exposed to some very bad publicity that he cannot brush under his very expensive rug makes me very happy.


Thank you so much for the tips and recc's.

It may make you smile to read this article.........

News Corp. Is Freaking Out

You don’t get it," a member of News Corporation’s inner circle in London told me last night, about the phone hacking scandal. "If there was a conspiracy in the company, the conspiracy was to keep Rupert from knowing."

That is called the circle-the-wagons defense. That’s called everybody-else-is-expendable. That’s called a total freak-out


Update 2

dweb8231 diaried this story a couple of weeks ago here, before the news exploded, kudos to him/her

Originally posted to AnnetteK on Sun Sep 12, 2010 at 10:20 AM PDT.

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