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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Murdoch Family Allegedly Attempts To Thwart Parliament Investigation (Media "Mafia")

Its Being Reported The Murdoch Family Is Allegedly Attempting To Block Or Thwart Parliament's Ability To Publicly Interrogate/ Inquire About How So-Called "Journalists" Within Their Employ Operated & Obtained Information For Stories.

I'm NOT Surprised!

Now The Whole World Knows What's REALLY Going On!

The Murdochs & "Sopranos" Appear To Both Fall Into The Same Category If You Know What I Mean.

My Tea Leaves Tell Me That It May Be Time For Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch To Go.

The Question Is Will He Go Quietly Or Attempt To Destroy Everyone In His Path Who Tries To Make Him Go?

British Leader Defends His Actions in Hacking Case

Prime Minister David Cameron went before a loud and rowdy session of Parliament on Wednesday to offer a spirited defense of his record in Britain’s phone hacking scandal. For the first time, he seemed to distance himself from a former Murdoch employee he had hired to work in 10 Downing Street.

Mr. Cameron’s appearance before a special sitting of the House of Commons offered one more remarkable moment of passion and spectacle, following the separate appearance of Rupert Murdoch and his son James before lawmakers on Tuesday for nearly three hours of questioning of one of the world’s most powerful media moguls by British legislators.

Their appearance — made yet more dramatic by a protester’s attack on Rupert Murdoch with a plate of shaving cream — did not seem on Wednesday to have come close to answering many of the questions the father and son faced about phone hacking in the British outpost of their media empire in 2002.

Indeed, one of the two parliamentary panels investigating the widening scandal released a scathing report on Wednesday accusing Murdoch companies of “deliberate attempts” to thwart its investigations, and said police inquiries had been a “catalog of failures” to investigate the issue.

The events played out against a backdrop of huge public revulsion over the central allegation that The News of the World, a now-defunct tabloid closed down by Mr. Murdoch earlier this month, ordered a private investigator to hack the voice mail of Milly Dowler, a 13-year-old girl abducted and murdered in 2002. So great is the interest in the affair that the BBC devoted live television coverage on Wednesday to what it said was the Murdochs’ executive jet flying out of Luton airport north of London. Its destination was not announced.

The gathering of so many emotive issues, laced with big money deals, tabloid scandal and long-running British suspicion of the Murdoch machine, has crystallized into the most serious crisis of credibility and confidence of Mr. Cameron’s 15 months in office — a crisis in which he seemed to be trying on Wednesday to regain some of the initiative seized earlier by the Labour opposition leader, Ed Miliband.

Mr. Cameron returned home early from an African trade tour late Tuesday to face questions about his relationships with former senior figures at News International, the British subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s global News Corporation, particularly his choice of a former Murdoch employee, Andy Coulson, as his director of communications.

Mr. Coulson, a former editor of The News of the World tabloid, resigned from the prime minister’s office in January and was among 10 people who were arrested in the affair.

Referring to his decision to hire Mr. Coulson, Mr. Cameron said, “I regret and I am extremely sorry about the furor it has caused.”

“With 20-20 hindsight and all that has followed,” he said, “I would not have offered him the job and I expect that he wouldn’t have taken it. But you don’t make decisions in hindsight, you make them in the present. You live and you learn and, believe you me, I have learned.” He added that Mr. Coulson had been properly vetted before joining his staff and had given “assurances” that he had not been involved in phone hacking.

It was the closest Mr. Cameron has come to an apology, and seemed to show that the prime minister was distancing himself from his former aide.

But Mr. Cameron continued to defend Mr. Coulson’s work as director of communications and said he had “an old-fashioned view about innocence until proven guilty.” If it is proved that Mr. Coulson lied to him, he said, “that will be the moment for a profound apology.”

“It was my decision” to hire Mr. Coulson, Mr. Cameron said, “and I take responsibility.”

Ed Miliband, the leader of the Labour opposition, responded by saying Mr. Cameron’s position had been compromised by his association with Mr. Coulson. “Why doesn’t he do more than give a half-apology?” Mr. Miliband asked.

Referring to Mr. Cameron, Mr. Miliband said: “He says in hindsight he made a mistake by hiring Mr. Coulson. He says if Mr. Coulson lied to him, he would apologize. That isn’t good enough. It’s not about hindsight, it’s not about whether Mr. Coulson lied to him. It’s about all the information and warnings the prime minister ignored. He was warned and he preferred to ignore the warnings.”

Mr. Cameron was questioned repeatedly about a New York Times investigation into The News of the World that was published in September 2010.

“There was no information in The New York Times September 2010 article to make me change my mind about Mr. Coulson,” Mr. Cameron said.

The article found that hacking was widespread, and quoted two former News of the World journalists as saying that phone hacking was discussed in Mr. Coulson’s presence.

One of the former journalists, Sean Hoare, who was found dead this week at his home of unexplained causes, was quoted on the record as saying that Mr. Coulson encouraged him to do it.

Shortly after the Times article was published, an opposition Labour lawmaker, Tom Watson, said he raised his concerns about Mr. Coulson with Mr. Cameron in a letter but never received a reply.

Mr. Miliband noted that the article led the police to reopen their investigation. Why, Mr. Miliband asked, did alarm bells not ring in the prime minister’s office?

Mr. Cameron also was asked why, following the article’s publication, his chief of staff, Ed Llewellyn, declined to be briefed by police officials. Mr. Cameron said Mr. Llewellyn had not acted improperly in turning down the offer.

“Ed Llewellyn’s reply to the police made clear that it would not be appropriate to give me or my staff any privileged briefing. The reply that he sent was cleared in advance by my permanent secretary, Jeremy Heywood. Just imagine if they had done the opposite and asked for, or acquiesced in receiving, privileged information — even if there was no intention to use it,” Mr. Cameron said.

“There would have been quite justified outrage,” he said. “To risk any perception that No. 10 was seeking to influence a sensitive police investigation in any way would have been completely wrong.”

He also said there had been no breach of regulations when his government was considering a $12 billion bid by the Murdoch family to assume full control of Britain’s biggest satellite broadcaster.

The Murdochs have since withdrawn the bid for British Sky Broadcasting under strong political pressure. Mr. Cameron said he had had no “inappropriate conversations” with News Corporation executives about the bid at the time it seemed likely to be approved by his government.

Mr. Cameron also said that “to the best of my knowledge” he had not known that Mr. Coulson had had consultations with another former News of the World executive, Neil Wallis, who has also been arrested. Mr. Wallis had not been employed by or contracted by his Conservative party, Mr. Cameron said.

British political analysts said that, with his appearance in Parliament on Wednesday, Mr. Cameron was seeking to draw a line under the crisis — at least for the time being — as Parliament goes into summer recess until Sept. 5 and many lawmakers leave the capital for vacations or their home areas outside London. Mr. Cameron appealed for cross-party cooperation in facing the crisis. “Over the past two weeks, a torrent of revelations and allegations has engulfed some of this country’s most important institutions. It has shaken people’s trust in the media and the legality of what they do, in the police and their ability to investigate media malpractice, and, yes, in politics and in politicians’ ability to get to grips with these issues,” he said.

“People desperately want us to put a stop to the illegal practices, to ensure the independence and effectiveness of the police and to establish a more healthy relationship between politicians and media owners,” he said.

“The public want us to work together to sort this problem out,” he said, “because until we do so it will not be possible to get back to the issues they care about even more, getting our economy moving, creating jobs, helping with the cost of living, protecting them from terrorism, restoring fairness to our welfare and immigration systems.”

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Sources: AP, CNN, Hollywood Reporter, NY Times, TIME, Youtube, Google Maps

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