The Murdoch Sun is in post-Christmas panic mode today, bringing forth an extra editorial telling readers “FIGHT FOR OUR FREE PRESS Help fight new law that would silence investigative journalism and stop you reading vital stories like these … MPs’ expenses scandal, naming the killers of teenager Stephen Lawrence, and Fifa corruption could all have been scuppered by Section 40”. Note use of the word “could”.
Because this is all victimhood playing, another attempt to see off not only Section 40 of the Crime And Courts Act - which would not trouble the press if they joined a truly independent press regulator, rather than the sham that is IPSO - but also Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry, which for the Murdoch goons may be the most worrying. The late George Michael left us rather a lot of clues as to why that might be the case.
Leveson 2 would examine the relationship between the Murdoch press and the Police: it would look at the murder of private detective Daniel Morgan, and the interference of the now-defunct Screws in at least one investigation into the killing. It would also look at the way in which bent journalist Mazher Mahmood co-opted the Police into many of his sting operations. And it would look at some of Michael’s experiences.
Those did not extend just to the homophobic campaign waged by the Sun and Screws against the singer: as he related on Twitter back in 2011, “Rebekah Brooks sat two feet from me in my own home and told me that it was never the public that came to them with information … on celebrities, and that the Police always got there first”. Note the way he worded that “came to them … the Police always got there first”.
One example of this was the case of Amanda Watts, a former officer at a Category C prison where Michael served part of a sentence. She passed information to the Sun, was paid £2,100 for her trouble, and would have thought no more about it until the paper’s management shopped her to the cops. She was jailed for 12 months last December.
And there is potentially a lot worse for the Murdoch goons in George Michael’s Twitter back catalogue: Liberal Conspiracy put together a Storify featuring several of these, in which he reprises the assertions about Police running to the press, and also names one Jonathan Rees, who was Daniel Morgan’s business partner at Southern Investigations. Michael claims Rees benefited to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Not only does Rees stand accused of receiving a six-figure sum from the Murdoch empire, he is also named as a computer hacker. Michael reminded his followers that Rees had done a stretch in prison before Andy Coulson re-hired him to work for the Screws. Rees was one of two men arrested in 2012 under Operation Kalmyk, which was an investigation into journalism related computer hacking. The year after Michael made his claims.
And that, folks, explains why the Sun is churning out more panicked editorials. The Murdoch mafiosi do not want Leveson 2 to happen, not because of what it might cost the taxpayer, but because of what it might cost them. And their bosses.