Rupert Murdoch had quite a remarkable day in court today for the Levenson Inquiry.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012...acking-coverupRupert Murdoch has admitted to the Leveson inquiry there was a "cover-up" at News International over the phone-hacking scandal.
Murdoch, the News Corp chairman and chief executive, giving his second day of evidence to the inquiry in London, said he was "misinformed and shielded" from what was going on at the News of the World, adding that there was a "cover-up".
Robert Jay QC, counsel to the inquiry, said there had been a consistent theme of cover-up during the phone-hacking scandal, and asked Murdoch where he thought this emanated from. "I think from within the News of the World," he replied.
Murdoch said there were "one or two very strong characters" on the now-defunct Sunday paper who, according to reported statements, had forbidden people from talking to Rebekah Brooks and James Murdoch, at the time News International chief executive and chairman respectively.
Murdoch said a News of the World editor was appointed – referring to Colin Myler, although he did not name him at this point – "with specific instructions to find out what was going on". "He did, I believe, put in two or three new steps of regulation but never reported back that there was more hacking than we had been told."
Myler was appointed in January 2007, after the News of the World royal reporter, Clive Goodman, and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire admitted phone hacking and went to prison. His predecessor, Andy Coulson, denied any knowledge of phone hacking but resigned, saying he took responsibilty for what happened.
Murdoch told the inquiry Myler "would not have been my choice" and that he was the choice of Les Hinton, who at the time was News International's executive chairman. He said he thought at the time there were stronger candidates from News International sister title the Sun.
Jay then asked if Myler was a weak individual and wrong man for the job. "I would say that was a slight exaggeration," replied Murdoch. "I would hope Mr Myler would do what he was commissioned to do."
When asked by Jay whether News Corp had managed the legal risk of phone hacking by covering it up, Murdoch replied: "No. There was no attempt either at my level or several levels below to cover it up. We set up inquiry after inquiry, we employed legal firm after legal firm. Perhaps we relied too much on the conclusions of the police.
"Our response was far too defensive and worse, disrespectful of parliament."
Murdoch later revealed he wished he had closed the News of the World earlier and also admitted he panicked when the phone-hacking affair blew up into a major scandal in July 2011.
"When the Milly Dowler [story] was first given huge publicity, I think newspapers took the chance to make this a huge national scandal. It made people all over the country aware of this, you could feel the blast coming in the window," he told the inquiry.
"I'll say it succinctly: I panicked, but I'm glad I did. And I'm sorry I didn't close it years before and put a Sun on Sunday in. I tell you what held us back: News of the World readers. Only half of them read the Sun. Only a quarter, regular."
Murdoch said he also made a major mistake listening to lawyers when Goodman alleged that others on the News of the World knew about the phone hacking.
"I should have thrown all the lawyers out of the place and seen Mr Goodman one on one and cross-examined him myself and made up my mind, maybe rightly or wrongly, was he telling the truth? And if I had come to the conclusion that he was telling the truth, I'd have gone in and torn the place apart and we wouldn't be here today," he added.
Earlier during the hearing, Murdoch agreed with Jay that the phone-hacking scandal had forced News Corp to drop its controversial £8bn takeover bid for BSkyB in July 2011.
He told the Leveson inquiry the scandal spiralled into a "great, national" issue after it emerged that the News of the World intercepted the voicemail messages of the murdered teenager Milly Dowler.
News Corp withdrew its bid for BSkyB in July last year, nine days after the Guardian revealed that Dowler's phone had been hacked by the Sunday tabloid.
Asked by Jay whether the Dowler claims ultimately derailed the bid, Murdoch said: "Well, I don't know whether we can put it down to the Milly Dowler misfortune, but the hacking scandal, yes."
He added: "The hacking scandal was not a great national thing until the Milly Dowler disclosure, half of which - look, I'm not making any excuses for it at all, but half of which has been somewhat disowned by the police."
Murdoch also said he was surprised at the extent of lobbying of the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt's office by Fred Michel, the News Corp public affairs executive, while the Sky takeover bid was under regulatory scrutiny between June 2010 and July 2011.
Murdoch refused to criticise Michel, but said he may have used "a bit of exaggeration" to tell his son James about his alleged closeness to the culture secretary.
Michel's activities were revealed in a series of emails between him and James Murdoch, the News Corp deputy chief operating officer, that were submitted to the Leveson inquiry and published on Monday.
Hunt's special adviser who dealt with Michel during the Sky bid, Adam Smith, resigned on Wednesday.
Hunt made a statement to the Commons defending his conduct over the takeover bid, but is still facing calls from Labour leader Ed Miliband to resign.
It looks like Murdoch is pointing the fingers at his son, Brooks and Andy Coulson.
Daily Heil in fraudulent, bigoted article shocker!
Today, Egypt's state-owned Al Ahram newspaper published an opinion piece by Amr Abdul Samea, a past stalwart supporter of the deposed Hosni Mubarak, that contained a bombshell: Egypt's parliament is considering passing a law that would allow husbands to have sex with their wives after death.
It was soon mentioned in an English language version of Al-Arabiya and immediately started zipping around social-networking sites. By this afternoon it had set news sites and the rest of the Internet on fire. It has every thing: The yuck factor, "those creepy Muslims" factor, the lulz factor for those with a sick sense of humor. The non-fact-checked Daily Mail picked it up and reported it as fact. Then Andrew Sullivan, who has a highly influential blog but is frequently lax about fact-checking, gave it a boost with an uncritical take. The Huffington Post went there, too.
There's of course one problem: The chances of any such piece of legislation being considered by the Egyptian parliament for a vote is zero. And the chance of it ever passing is less than that. In fact, color me highly skeptical that anyone is even trying to advance a piece of legislation like this through Egypt's parliament. I'm willing to be proven wrong. It's possible that there's one or two lawmakers completely out of step with the rest of parliament. Maybe.
But extreme, not to mention inflammatory claims, need at minimum some evidence (and I've read my share of utter nonsense in Al Ahram over the years). The evidence right now? Zero.
There was a Moroccan cleric a few years back who apparently did issue a religious ruling saying that husbands remained married to their wives in the first six hours after death and, so, well, you know. But that guy is far, far out on the nutty fringe. How fringe? He also ruled that pregnant women can drink alcohol. Remember, alcohol is considered haram, forbidden, by the vast majority of the world's Muslim scholars. Putting an unborn child at risk to get drunk? No, that's just not what they do. Whatever the mainstream's unpalatable beliefs (there are plenty from my perspective) this isn't one of them.
It's important to remember that the structure of the Muslim clergy is, by and large, like that of a number of Protestant Christian sects. Anyone can put out a shingle and declare themselves a preacher. The ones to pay attention to are the ones with large followings, or attachment to major institutions of Islamic learning. The preacher in Morocco is like the preacher in Florida who spent so much time and energy publicizing the burning of Qurans.
Stories like this are a reminder of the downside of the Internet. It makes fact-checking and monitoring easier. But the proliferation of aggregation sites, newsy blog sites, and the general erosion of editorial standards (and on-the-ground reporters to do the heavy lifting) also spreads silliness faster than it ever could before.
'There are moments, Jeeves, when one asks oneself, "Do trousers matter?"'
'The mood will pass, sir.'
German experts are pretty damn sure that the North Korean rockets phalically shown off at a big-ass military parade after the missile failure are.... made of wire and tin, basically.
We struggled against apartheid in South Africa, supported by people the world over, because black people were being blamed and made to suffer for something we could do nothing about; our very skins. It is the same with sexual orientation. It is a given.
- Desmond Tutu
Getting married? Check http://www.fandgweddings.com/
stop trying to photshop real life, North Korea
Support your local roller derby league
Well, yes, those are a lot of circles and squares. I don't doubt them, but I have no idea what laypeople are supposed to be seeing there.
"The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it." - Neil deGrasse Tyson
"Can it, you nit!" - Violet Beauregard
"And Paradox is never correct. About anything."- Kid Omega
Decorum & Friends (A City of Heroes archive)
Still, you figure if anyone would know the difference between real and fake rockets, it'd be the Germans.
"If you can't say anything good about someone, sit right here by me." - Alice Roosevelt Longworth, on manners
"It's not whether you win or lose, it's whether I win or lose." - Peter David, on life
A blind dissident in China has escaped from house arrest, eluding his police guard and is now hiding somewhere in Beijing and making webcasts describing the abuse he and hs family received from the police.
Chen Guangcheng was jailed in 2005 for revealing abuses of the One child Policy in shandong.
He was released in 2010 but has been under house arrest ever since and claims he and his family have been repeatedly assaulted and harassed since hsi release.
Chen became famous for representing ordinary Chinese workers and farmers against abuses of power by Party and state officials.
After events in Yukan (I've written about that before) and the revalations abotu massive abuses of power by Bo XiLai and other partry officials in Chongquing, this is another major embarassment for the Chinese leadership.
Essentially, Chen was being punished for doing what the people of Yukan are now being praised for.