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Wednesday 3 October 2012

Murdoch Is Served (85)


Those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet, and plenty of their hangers-on, have watched in horror as a steady stream of Rupe’s troops have been nicked and bailed as Operations Tuleta, Weeting and Kalmyk have proceeded apace. But, they have reassured themselves, despite the finger of suspicion pointing their way, PI Jonathan Rees and former Murdoch man Alex Marunchak stayed free.

Both men – Marunchak was a long time employee at the Screws, and an equally long time contact of Rees’ business partner Sid Fillery – were consistently mentioned in connection with computer hacking, and a recent BBC Panorama fingered them both. Rees’ defence was, more or less, that the Beeb was also using his services, a line which the Daily Mail bought into enthusiastically.

After all, why bother doing some proper investigative journalism when there was a slice of Beeb-bashing available for free? And so much of the Fourth Estate was, once again, caught lamentably flat footed, and possibly of their own free will, as the hacking investigations continued. Well, now it seems the BBC were right all along, because both Rees and Marunchak have been duly nicked.

And they have been nicked under the aegis of Operation Kalmyk, which has been set up to look into potential computer hacking. The Panorama programme showed one potential way of doing this, via what is called a Trojan Horse virus. But Rees and Fillery were into a whole lot more than that, as I’ve previously shown. That one of them eventually fell foul of the law should be no surprise.

The bad news for Rupe is that Marunchak, who served his empire for 25 years from 1981 to 2006, and who was also, bizarrely, employed by the Met as a Police translator regularly between 1980 and 2000, has finally been apprehended after more than a year of denials. “We recognise that ... some professions may be incompatible with the role of an interpreter” said the Met. No shit, Sherlock.

Even worse for the Murdochs is that Marunchak was also fingered by Labour MP Tom Watson, scourge of News International (NI), and whose likening of that organisation to the Mafia was widely dismissed as over-dramatic and excessive. It’s looking less and less excessive with every new revelation and every new arrest. Watson is keeping quiet so far on these arrests. He’s said his piece already.

What these arrests show once again is that the Screws and the Met were not merely close, but too close. And, with Rees and his pals always on the lookout for dirt on serving officers, the Met had some difficulty in breaking free of this relationship. For the Murdochs, the impression is given that they, and their employees – the ones now carrying the can – were perfectly happy with keeping it that way.

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