It has finally been confirmed in court by the police themselves that, despite previous denials from Rupert Murdoch and senior staff of the Sun newspaper, police and other senior public officials were illegally paid by the shoddy tabloid. TheOpinionSite.org reminds readers that Rebekah Brooks, editor of the Sun at the time of the phone-hacking scandal and before that the editor of the disgraced News of the World, has repeatedly denied any knowledge of ‘illegal’ payments being made; she even denied it again in front of a parliamentary select committee.
Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch, who claims that such illegal practices in his newspaper are a thing of the past, seems only interested in celebrating the launch of the replacement for the defunct News of the World, the Sun on Sunday. The NOW was closed down because of the phone-hacking scandal
Commentators have described the new Sunday Sun rag as ‘dull’, ‘bland’, ‘uninteresting’ and as being ‘moronic rubbish obsessed with a worthless culture of fake celebrity’.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers told the Leveson Inquiry that evidence suggested a “culture of illegal payments” at the Sun newspaper, a statement that will hardly come as a surprise to anyone who visits TheOpinionSite.org on a regular basis. It is nevertheless a total disgrace that it has taken the phone-hacking saga and the moral blackmail of politicians by the public to bring this abuse of trust out into the open.
Lord Prescott, formally Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott under Tony Blair, stated that he was always ‘uncomfortable’ that politicians were always too close to News International and Rupert Murdoch ( the owners of the Sun and NOW) and that the tabloids had ‘too much influence’ over government policy.
It might therefore be reasonable to presume that Prescott is in fact now a raving hypocrite, given that he said nothing of the sort when he was seated at the right hand of Tony Blair and was only too ready to cuddle up to the tabloids whenever he got the chance.
It should be remembered that Blair introduced more than 3,000 new criminal offences during his time, many of which were created as a direct result of pressure and influence of Murdoch’s papers and Prescott did nothing to stop him.
DAC Akers went on to tell the inquiry that the payments being investigated were not ones that “just involve the odd drink or meal,” she said. They were “regular, frequent and sometimes significant sums of money to public officials”.
Payments by journalists to public officials were identified in the “police, military, health and government”, she said.
What this actually means is that as TheOpinionSite.org has previously made clear, Murdoch has had enormous influence over almost every part of British life and British government policy; a situation brought about by the selfishness and ignorance of politicians on all sides who are only ever interested in themselves and in being re-elected.
It fair to say that it is extremely rare for such a detailed account to be given in public about any ongoing police investigation, let alone one as sensitive and potentially important as the current investigation into illegal payments to police officers and other officials.
It is highly probable therefore that on top of the 30 or so arrests we have
The nature of the police investigation and the zeal with which it is being undertaken by DAC Akers may also suggest that some former, very senior police officers who have previously denied knowledge or involvement in illegal practices, may now themselves be waiting for a knock on the door from their ex-colleagues.
Giving evidence, former Scotland Yard deputy assistant commissioner Brian Paddick alleged that there was a ‘revolving door’ between the Metropolitan Police and News International, something that the rest of us have known or suspected for years.
It also emerged that, despite protestations to the contrary made in recent months, police briefed Ms Brooks, then editor of The Sun, about their investigation into the illegal interception of voicemails within weeks of the arrest of royal editor Goodman and private detective Glenn Mulcaire and reassured her that unless direct evidence came to light, the investigation would not be extended.
Police also told Ms Brooks they uncovered evidence of more than £1 million in payments by News of the World publisher News International during the phone-hacking investigation.
That any of this has happened at such a high level within the police and government is bad enough but there is also a much more important point:
What happens at the top tends to be emulated further down the food chain. Local newspapers also have very close ties with local police forces and police officers are sometimes only too ready to leak information to the press, particularly where there is insufficient evidence to prosecute an individual and the police have already decided that he is guilty.
Where this occurs, confidential information may be circulated to the press in order to draw out other ‘victims’ of the accused, whether those ‘victims’ are genuine or not.
What is more, the fact that every aspect of people’s lives now comes under the gaze of policemen all over the country, together with the seeming desire of every successive government to give the police more and more power over the rest of us, does not sit easily with the revelations coming out of Lord Justice Leveson’s Inquiry.
There was once a time, ‘a long time ago in a country far, far away’, when the police were largely trusted by the community. It has also been a fundamental principal that in the UK, we are policed ‘by consent’, though it would be hard to come to that conclusion today, even though it is still supposedly the case.
Now however, given these latest revelations, TheOpinionSite.org would suggest that neither of these things are true and, in view of the nature of what is now being revealed by the police themselves, we should all perhaps be very worried indeed.
The inquiry was not, the court was told, about “a journalist buying a copper a pie or a pint”. Rather it was looking at payments by Sun journalists to a “network of corrupted officials” which were frequent and which were authorised at a senior level. Authorised by whom one may ask?
Any normal, reasonable person might conclude, even only on the evidence so far, that if the police are not corrupt, they must be pretty close to it. Either way, given the power that they have and their impatience to use it, particularly among younger officers out to prove themselves, it is all very worrying – and that’s putting it mildly.