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Dial M for Murdoch – The Shadow State of News Corporation

19 Apr

Dial M for Murdoch: News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain

by Amy Jackson

Dial M for Murdoch: News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain, written by Tom Watson and Martin Hickman, comes out today. Revealing previously unpublished information, the book uncovers the  inner workings of one of the most powerful companies in the world: how it came to exert a poisonous, secretive influence on public life in Britain, how it used its huge power to bully, intimidate and cover up, and how its exposure has changed the way we look at our politicians, our police service, and our press.

Joining up the dots of the now infamous hacking scandal, the book explains that it was only after a trivial report about Prince Williams’s knee in 2005 that detectives stumbled upon a criminal conspiracy. A five-year coverup then concealed and muddied the truth. Dial M for Murdoch gives an account of the extraordinary lengths to which the Murdochs’ News Corporation went to ‘put the problem in a box’ – James Murdoch’s words – how its efforts to maintain and extend its power were aided by its political and police friends, and how it was finally exposed.

Tom Watson speaking about Dial M for Murdoch

The book is full of stories never before disclosed in public, including the smears and threats against politicians, journalists and lawyers. Exciting revelations include:

– Tom Watson was told by Neville Thurlbeck, the former chief reporter of the News of the World, that in July 2009 News International launched a smear operation against MPs carrying out the parliamentary inquiry into its illegal activities. As a result, in January 2012 the Committee’s members, whose private lives has been under investigation, decided not to summons Rebekah Brooks, the Chief Executive of News International. Parliament had effectively been intimidated.

– At the end of 2010, Watson was told by an insider at News International about the existence of a second email server at Wapping, where deleted emails would be stored if they had been deleted from the main server. Watson passed this information to the police.

– In June 2011, Watson was approached by intermediaries from News International with a deal: they would ‘give him’ Andy Coulson, Cameron’s former press secretary, but Rebekah Brooks was ‘sacred’. Nevertheless, before she resigned, Brooks’ own office was being bugged. The book does not state who by.

– On his release from prison, Glenn Mulcaire went to work for a private security company headed by Sir John Stephens, the former Commissioner of the Met Police.

– The Director of Public Prosecutions regularly met NI executives over meals both before and after the criminal investigation.

– Tommy Sheridan, former Scottish Socialist MP, wrote to Watson from prison: They are bullies of the worst kind and as with any bully, running away only invites them to become more aggressive. Murdoch must not be allowed to assume the role of Pontius Pilate in the whole sorry affair.’

– Max Mosley, the head of international motor sport and victim of News of the World front page splash, states: ‘The Murdoch empire is a really sinister presence undermining the whole of our democracy. They are capable of suborning the police, Parliament and the government.’

Dial M for Murdoch is now on sale here. Left Out is lucky enough to have a copy – it’s a must-read.

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