Monday, July 18, 2011

It May Be Safe To Say This

The lawyer for Rebekah Brooks, who was arrested Sunday in the burgeoning British phone hacking scandal, says she is not guilty of any crime and that police will have to "give an account of their actions" in taking her into custody, the BBC reports.

Brooks, who resigned last week as CEO of News International, the British arm of the Rupert Murdoch media empire, was editor of the tabloid News of the World when the most sensational phone hacking incidents allegedly occurred. The 168-year-old paper was shut down last week by Murdoch in an effort to put the scandal to rest.

The scandal also includes allegations that the newspaper hacking the phones of 9/11 victims and British soldiers killed in action, as well as paid police for tips.

Sir Paul Stephenson, head of Scotland Yard, resigned his post Sunday, but denied any involvement in payment for police or in curbing the initial police investigation into the hacking cases.

It would not surprise me if the attorney's name turned out to be Bruce Cutler. Or Baghdad Bob.

The dance that News International has tried to execute, having Rupert Murdoch come in and profess undying loyalty to Brooks while handing her the stabbing sword to fall on, has all the earmarks of a gangland rubout, minus the bloody, bullet-riddled corpse. Michael Corleone could not have orchestrated a more wide-ranging hit, taking down a 168 year old newspaper, a chief of Scotland Yard and potentially a Prime Minister (who has called for a special session of Parliament to explain his involvement and to answer queries.)
Intriguing. Usually, it's sex scandals that create this much uproar.
Side note: You have to love a country that has a "Serious Fraud Office," an independent government agency that protects the public from "extensive, deliberate criminal deception which could threaten public confidence in the financial system." They may take up this case as early as today.
This story is developing much faster than even I, a dyed-in-the-wool Murdoch hater, could possibly have dreamed it would. While it's sad that Scotland Yard has lost a public face that has been both soothing and authoritative, if Stephenson is involved in this business then clearly he was as fraudulent as FOX "News" is and this scandal calls into account the doings of the entire department since at least 2002 and possibly earlier.
After all, it may just be coincidence that as Stephenson hired a former editor of The Sun, the initial investigation into the phone hackings went away, but it bears investigating to be certain. Likely, this investigation will create problems for the Metro police. It's not hard to see a direct line from Stephenson's office to the offices of News International.
Anymore than it's possible to see the potential of a mole in Prime Minister Cameron's office, too.
And then given the cozy relationship between the Bush administration and FOX News here in the States...