The rehabilitation of News International?

#1
I'm hoping this doesn't descend into a competition to see who can make the most intricate tinfoil hat, but:

The Leveson Inquiry has now heard that it was unlikely that individuals working for News International (NI) deleted voicemail messages from Milly Dowler's phone.

This was the supposed watershed - the action that finally got Murdoch and his empire dragged into an environment where it finally, properly and fuly had to answer for its underhand methods of working. It's led to the closure of the News of the World and some very sticky moments in front of an enquiry for Murdochs Senior and Junior, as well as numerous other NI employees or contractors.

And yet we suddenly hear, after all that has happened so far, that NI may not be the guilty party after all.

Isn't this all a bit odd? Rupert Murdoch was supposed to have been incandescent with rage over the previous celebrity hacking allegations. He was apparently keen to see compensation to the glitterati limited to £20m. Instead, he's lost a major cash cow and seen a lot of dirty laundry aired.

Yet at no stage has anyone from NI mounted a serious campaign to counter the allegations of tampering with Milly Dowler's voicemail messages. Given the amount of money at stake and the ruining of reputations, shouldn't NI have been crowing from the rooftops that 'It wasn't me, Guv'?

Opinions?
 
#2
The majority of the public would forget about it in five minutes anyway, along with Diana The Martyred Princess, Chased By Cruel Paparazzi; Jade Goody, the 'Holy Clack of Bermondsey' and so on. About the only thing that gets them going long term is Brady, Huntley, Thompson and Venables, and that only because they are alive and give the armchair dictators someone to focus their frustrations on.

The chave bark and the caravan moves on; next time some young lass is murdered they'll all be back reading the same bumscratting pap in the same tawdry gutter sheets.
 
#3
Agree with all of that, Pigshyt, but it just strikes me as really odd that there's been no defence mounted. That sits outside any public interest - beyond the fact that the News of the World has disappeared off their required reading lists.
 
#4
The Leveson Inquiry has now heard that it was unlikely that individuals working for News International (NI) deleted voicemail messages from Milly Dowler's phone.

This was the supposed watershed - the action that finally got Murdoch and his empire dragged into an environment where it finally, properly and fuly had to answer for its underhand methods of working. It's led to the closure of the News of the World and some very sticky moments in front of an enquiry for Murdochs Senior and Junior, as well as numerous other NI employees or contractors.

And yet we suddenly hear, after all that has happened so far, that NI may not be the guilty party after all.
They still hacked the voicemails of a murdered schoolgirl while she was missing. The fact that they were deleted automatically is missing the point somewhat.
 
#6
I don't know how the system worked but if they hadn't hacked her inbox and listened to her messages would the phone company have deleted them? I can't see them deleting unheard messages whereas the automatic removal of 'spent' messages makes sense. They may well have contributed to the deletion without physically 'pressing 1 to delete' themselves.
 
B

bokkatankie

Guest
#7
Until we see the Directors and owners of the group admit they knew anything about the business they were running a defence is unlikely, for to defend would be an admittal that they knew it was going on, catch 22 anyone?
 
#8
The problem being is that a number of top peoples phones are/have been hacked. It is amazing how a word in the right ear can get you cleared of a lot of things, I wouldn't put it past Murdoch or any of the NI employees to use such leverage to get the result that they want. NI must have dossiers on people, and there is no way they will disclose what they have unless there is a full scale seizure of all NI's computers and servers.

This will be buried, will have cost us the tax payers millions and no one will be brought to account because the CPS will say "It is not in the public interest"
 
#9
Lots of arrests and not a single prosecution. I reckon it'll stay that way, or maybe one or two minor players will get hung out to dry (like last time).
 
#10
Agree with all of that, Pigshyt, but it just strikes me as really odd that there's been no defence mounted.
Though I've no doubt higher-ups were tacit in phone hacking, I doubt they had specific knowledge of the incident. I'd be very surprised if it were recorded anywhere internally. In short, I doubt they had enough information to launch a defence (not that it would have been much of a defence).
 
#11
Delta Dog/MarkinTime,

Perhaps it's the semantics which go on in my own head but my understanding of the story, at least the ugliest part of it, was not just that hacking took place. It was that the voicemail account was hacked and messages were actively deleted to make room for incoming, and that the family took these deletions to mean that Milly Dowler was picking up messages and was still alive. (Although Lord knows, I agree that 'mere' hacking would have been bad enough.)

It was the deletions and the false hope given to the family that was the biggest/most appalling part of the story. No-one - unless I've missed it thus far - from NI has mounted a spirited 'We weren't responsible for the deletions' campaign despite the huge reputational and revenue implications for the organisation. Then suddenly, out of leftfield, we get the police saying NI probably wasn't responsible.

It seems VERY late in the day and more than a little odd that this has happened. Equally, it's very odd that Murdoch didn't go through his organisation like shit through a goose and get the facts straight such that by the time he was carted in to face an enquiry/custard pie throwing he could stand up, tell the panel his company wasn't responsible for the deletions, raise two fingers and walk out.
 
#12
Though I've no doubt higher-ups were tacit in phone hacking, I doubt they had specific knowledge of the incident. I'd be very surprised if it were recorded anywhere internally. In short, I doubt they had enough information to launch a defence (not that it would have been much of a defence).
... and yet previously NI handed over 'all' of its evidence, only to suddenly 'find' more this time. Given that they were already under scrutiny, I'd've thought this would've been very high on the internal radar - unless hubris got in the way and NI thought it was simply too big to be bullied or taken to task.
 
#13
Delta Dog/MarkinTime,

Perhaps it's the semantics which go on in my own head but my understanding of the story, at least the ugliest part of it, was not just that hacking took place. It was that the voicemail account was hacked and messages were actively deleted to make room for incoming, and that the family took these deletions to mean that Milly Dowler was picking up messages and was still alive. (Although Lord knows, I agree that 'mere' hacking would have been bad enough.)

It was the deletions and the false hope given to the family that was the biggest/most appalling part of the story. No-one - unless I've missed it thus far - from NI has mounted a spirited 'We weren't responsible for the deletions' campaign despite the huge reputational and revenue implications for the organisation. Then suddenly, out of leftfield, we get the police saying NI probably wasn't responsible.

It seems VERY late in the day and more than a little odd that this has happened. Equally, it's very odd that Murdoch didn't go through his organisation like shit through a goose and get the facts straight such that by the time he was carted in to face an enquiry/custard pie throwing he could stand up, tell the panel his company wasn't responsible for the deletions, raise two fingers and walk out.
It would be a little like a child murderer saying "at least I didn't torture the child". That they didn't commit a far worse crime doesn't excuse the lesser crime.

It was the thought of deletion that was the catalyst that brought this whole sorry mess to 'justice'. If the police had known about or mentioned that they may not have deleted the messages at the time then the public outcry may well not have brought the, only slightly, lesser crimes to public attention and scrutiny.

The fact is that there are massive ramifications to this case, not least wholesale police corruption and collusion with NI. These things need to be investigated and, whether or not they are guilty of deleting messages (don't forget, no charges have been brought yet, this is just a Parliamentary Investigation) is immaterial because bribing a police officer is potentially far worse than deleting a few messages, reprehensible as that may be.
 
#15
It would be a little like a child murderer saying "at least I didn't torture the child". That they didn't commit a far worse crime doesn't excuse the lesser crime.

It was the thought of deletion that was the catalyst that brought this whole sorry mess to 'justice'. If the police had known about or mentioned that they may not have deleted the messages at the time then the public outcry may well not have brought the, only slightly, lesser crimes to public attention and scrutiny.

The fact is that there are massive ramifications to this case, not least wholesale police corruption and collusion with NI. These things need to be investigated and, whether or not they are guilty of deleting messages (don't forget, no charges have been brought yet, this is just a Parliamentary Investigation) is immaterial because bribing a police officer is potentially far worse than deleting a few messages, reprehensible as that may be.
Can't disagree at all with your first paragraph.

I'm uncomfortable with your second but see your point. However, NI is a very big tiger to catch by the tail if you're engaging in chicanery and it doesn't come off - what you've suggested is a very high-risk strategy and I remain dubious that some form of gambit was played.

As to your third... hm. Potentially 'just' deleting a few messages hampered an investigation that could have found a young girl alive (probably not, but we didn't know that at the time). That makes those who engaged in the 'lesser' crime of deletion accessories to or facilitators of kidnap and murder.
 
B

bokkatankie

Guest
#16
Can't disagree at all with your first paragraph.

I'm uncomfortable with your second but see your point. However, NI is a very big tiger to catch by the tail if you're engaging in chicanery and it doesn't come off - what you've suggested is a very high-risk strategy and I remain dubious that some form of gambit was played.

As to your third... hm. Potentially 'just' deleting a few messages hampered an investigation that could have found a young girl alive (probably not, but we didn't know that at the time). That makes those who engaged in the 'lesser' crime of deletion accessories to or facilitators of kidnap and murder.
It also makes the management and owners potential accessories, but of course they had no idea it was going on and would never have sanctioned such activity even if they did know about, which of course they did not
 
#17
As to your third... hm. Potentially 'just' deleting a few messages hampered an investigation that could have found a young girl alive (probably not, but we didn't know that at the time). That makes those who engaged in the 'lesser' crime of deletion accessories to or facilitators of kidnap and murder.
You make a fair point although subsequently it would be very difficult to make such charges stick simply because she was murdered and was already dead when NI was doing its worst.

BY lesser I meant less in comparison, I certainly didn't mean trivial. However, wasn't it a policeman that sold NI her mobile number in the first place? In effect then the policeman committed the more serious crime because he would have known the possible ramifications (or bloody well should have known them) and yet he still allowed himself to be bribed into handing over the number. Of course, if he'd been paid for info in the past then then he may have been open to blackmail to give the number out. That is what corruption does, it takes you along a path it's very difficult to get off and impossible to reverse.
 
#18
You make a fair point although subsequently it would be very difficult to make such charges stick simply because she was murdered and was already dead when NI was doing its worst.

BY lesser I meant less in comparison, I certainly didn't mean trivial. However, wasn't it a policeman that sold NI her mobile number in the first place? In effect then the policeman committed the more serious crime because he would have known the possible ramifications (or bloody well should have known them) and yet he still allowed himself to be bribed into handing over the number. Of course, if he'd been paid for info in the past then then he may have been open to blackmail to give the number out. That is what corruption does, it takes you along a path it's very difficult to get off and impossible to reverse.
...which is why I agree there was a moral obligation, finally, for politicians to put a stop to all this. The beaut of this whole sordid affair is that, cross party, our exalted leaders had to unite in outrage, rather than play to the half-offerings of supporting/damaging headlines from NI. Murdoch couldn't play party politics with this one.

As for the copper, he should be shovelling shit for the rest of his life - just as an example, you understand.

No, out of all of this (and I've become a broken record, apologies all), the 'who done the deletions' thing comes very late. I'd want some pretty big ducks in a very neat row before I went out looking to upset NI. This was the story of the summer, don't forget: the papers were full of cod analysis of Murdoch, how old he looks, how the younger man would never have allowed this to happen. His son has been accused of being economical with the truth by several involved parties and a major national 'news'paper has been closed.

The central issue, the deletions, has now been called into question after months of high-profile activity. It just doesn't feel right.
 
#19
... It was the deletions and the false hope given to the family that was the biggest/most appalling part of the story. No-one - unless I've missed it thus far - from NI has mounted a spirited 'We weren't responsible for the deletions' campaign despite the huge reputational and revenue implications for the organisation. Then suddenly, out of leftfield, we get the police saying NI probably wasn't responsible....
You seem to be missing two key points.
1. The enquiry hasn't yet finished, and there could be more testimonies to be heard relating to this, so it would be wiser to reserve judgement until all the evidence has been presented.
2. As has previously been pointed out, whilst NI or their agents may not have actively deleted voicemail messages, if they set in motion a chain of events which led to their automatic deletion, then effectively and to all intents and purposes, they deleted them.

PS Why hasn't The Sun gone under yet?
 
#20
You seem to be missing two key points.
1. The enquiry hasn't yet finished, and there could be more testimonies to be heard relating to this, so it would be wiser to reserve judgement until all the evidence has been presented.
2. As has previously been pointed out, whilst NI or their agents may not have actively deleted voicemail messages, if they set in motion a chain of events which led to their automatic deletion, then effectively and to all intents and purposes, they deleted them.

PS Why hasn't The Sun gone under yet?
1. No, I'm not. I'm asking questions and engaging in debate because my interest is piqued, not passing judgement or trying to assert that a given set of events took place.

2. 'Set in motion a chain of events'... such as? We have two assertions thus far, that NI employees were responsible for the deletions, which has been a central plank of the enquiry, and the assertion very late in the day that deletions may somehow have been automatic. There's been no suggestion of a third option, nor what/whom that might be/have been. I'm quite happy for you to put me right on that if you're able - as I say, this is debate.

Broken record again: it's very odd that no-one before launching a very public and expensive enquiry checked properly whether those deletions could have happened in any other way(s). That's an assumption on my part but I'd be expecting someone to be in for a very one-sided conversation on the wrong side of a very big desk for not having checked, checked and checked again before this juggernaut got under way.

As to The Sun: because people continue to buy it, simples. Because, as we've debated on ARRSE over and over, there remains a market for the trash it contains - which is why the hydra we're purporting to be trying to kill now was ever able to live. An awful lot of people are complicit in what's gone on by extension and by dint of having put their hands in their pockets and paid for copies. Uncomfortable but true.

[/Sanctimoniousness off.]
 

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