As more information emerges on the often illegal activities of John Ford on behalf of the Murdoch Sunday Times - you can see the latest instalment at Byline Media HERE - one thing comes clear: Ford has the names of 20 journalists who tasked him to act illegally, yet not one of them got so much as a rap across the knuckles. None of them were prosecuted, let alone convicted, of being a party to all that law-breaking.
Indeed, all that Ford got, after he was rumbled trying to get his hands on a biography of former Labour leader Tony Blair, was a Police caution. The information on his laptop could have identified several ST journalists, yet either the Police saw nothing, or did not bother. And what is worse is that this is not the first example of a failure to follow through and make an example of the perpetrators, as Nick Davies told some years ago.
John Ford - says it's still going on
Back in 2003, after the cops, on behalf of the Information Commissioner, busted Steve Whittamore in what was known as Operation Motorman, those caught trading in often illegally obtained information had been brought to court. In Flat Earth News, his go-to book on the machinations of the Fourth Estate, Davies sets the scene.
“The prosecutor was just explaining how the ultimate paymasters for all this activity were journalists, how the prosecution had traced nineteen separate occasions on which this group of men had been paid to obtain Police information by Fleet Street newspapers including the Sunday Mirror, the Mail on Sunday and the News of the World, when the judge, John Samuels QC, interrupted and asked a highly relevant question. Where were the journalists? Everybody else was in the dock. Where were the paymasters, the people who had commissioned this illegal activity? The prosecutor could not explain”.
And now we have a more or less identical case: John Ford engaged in a series of illegal acts on behalf of at least 20 Murdoch journalists, yet none of them has thus far faced criminal sanction. In the intervening period, the song has been very much the same.
When phone hacking first interested the cops, it took interference in the voicemails of Royalty before they sat up and took notice. Only then was the Screws investigated. And only two individuals - Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire - were convicted. Yes, Andy Coulson resigned as editor, but still came back soon afterwards as Young Dave’s chief spinner. It was “One Rogue Reporter”, we were told. That wasn’t true.
Nick Davies - also says it's still going on ...
After the phone hacking scandal finally burst open with the Milly Dowler revelations, and the Murdoch mafiosi closed the Screws, we were told it was “One Rogue Newspaper”. This, too, was untrue, and known to be untrue. Then we discovered the Sunday Mirror, Sunday People and Daily Mirror were at it too. Then came the Murdoch Sun.
... so guess what the Minister did?
So the excuses changed from “One Rogue Newspaper” to it being only the tabloids. Now we know that claim is also untrue. The Sunday Times was at it. So, we are now told, was the Telegraph (this will not be news to Zelo Street regulars, see HERE). So now we are being told it was “historic”. But John Ford says it’s still going on. So does Davies.
Yet the Government wants to stop the second part of the Leveson Inquiry, which would get all this out into the open. Why would they want to can an Inquiry which would expose their press cheerleaders? You might wish to ask that - I couldn’t possibly comment.