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Thursday 9 June 2011

Murdoch Is Served (38)

Just as the previous rash of disclosures had been cleared up, the itch of Phonehackgate scratched itself back to life once more yesterday. After the relatively minor matter of Sienna Miller settling her action against Rupe’s Troops earlier in the week came the spectre of one Jonathan Rees, an ex-con who had been peddling confidential and illegally obtained information on an industrial scale.

Rees is a significant figure: not only does his involvement in phone hacking mean that the previous tally of 91 targets would be substantially increased were he to be investigated with the same vigour as Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire, but he also worked for a number of titles, including both the Daily and Sunday Mirror.

And Rees’ trade not only included blagging banking and other confidential information, but also a steady feed of stories from corrupt serving Police officers, along with the occasional burglary. Officers who were not already corrupt effectively became so through Rees’ routine use of blackmail.

We know all of this because Nick Davies, the man who brought us the indispensible Flat Earth News, has been on the case once more, and has brought us the further revelations that Glenn Mulcaire was one of around a dozen investigators working for the press, and that Davies has identified a former Met detective as being one of them. Davies even gives details of this man’s Modus Operandi.

But one name has not been mentioned, and that is the “Senior Executive” at the Screws who personally ordered Mulcaire to target Jude Law. At the time I wondered if the name in the frame might be Andy Coulson, but thanks to Private Eye, I can confirm that Young Dave’s former spinmeister was probably not on this occasion responsible.

In issue 1241 (Page 8), the Eye discusses the appearance of Nick Davies and Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger before a Commons select committee. The piece asserts that Rusbridger asked Davies not to mention one item of information: that a request had been made to another investigator, Steve Whittamore, to trace an address from a phone number.

That request came from the then editor of the Screws, one Rebekah Wade, now Rebekah Brooks, and head of News International. If the phone number in the Eye article belonged to Law, then Rupe and his troops are in this up to their necks. Small wonder that the Beeb’s June Kelly called it a “bombshell moment”.

The good news for La Brooks is that HMP Holloway has been rebuilt and refurbished in recent years.

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