Is News Corp Finished - Senator Rockefeller Tells Feds to Investigate Fox Hacking of 9/11 Victims

There are some crimes so universally offensive that even mentioning the suspected crime  has devastating effects.  Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) raised just such a question yesterday.  In a brief press statement, the Senator said:

"The reported hacking by News Corporation newspapers against a range of individuals - including children - is offensive and a serious breach of journalistic ethics. This raises serious questions about whether the company has broken U.S. law, and I encourage the appropriate agencies to investigate to ensure that Americans have not had their privacy violated. I am concerned that the admitted phone hacking in London by the News Corp. may have extended to 9/11 victims or other Americans. If they did, the consequences will be severe." Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, July 12

UPDATE July 14 FBI launches investigation into allegations that 9/11 victims' phones were targeted

 

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has used voicemail hacking and other forms of privacy intrusion in the United Kingdom as far back as 2002.  The goal is to get the most intimate insider information, stay ahead of the news cycle, and beat the competition.  Where better to get information than the voicemails and other electronic data belonging to those in the news.  The News of the World, Murdoch's flagship paper, hacked the voicemails of a kidnapped 12 year old, the widows of fallen soldiers, and even  the powerful.  In 2006, the Murdoch papers invaded the private medical records of former Labour Party leader Gordon Brown. 
 
A July 4 article by Nick Davies of the Guardian ignighted the most recent focus on illegal actions by the Murdoch papers with the revelation about the hack of the 12 year old kidnap-murder victim.  The outrage and subsequent revelations have laid waste to News Corporations plans for the total acquisition of a highly successful pay per view entertainment network, BSkyB.
 
Rockefeller’s statement comes just five days after reports  by London’s Daily Mirror claiming that a Murdoch UK paper sought hacking services targeting the phone traffic and voicemails of  9/11 victims.  David Collins of the Mirror wrote:
 
“This investigator is used by a lot of journalists in America and he recently told me that he was asked to hack into the 9/11 victims’ private phone data. He said that the journalists asked him to access records showing the calls that had been made to and from the mobile phones belonging to the victims and their ­relatives.”  Daily Mirror, Juy 7
 
The yet to be verified source said that the investigator making the inquires was particularly interested in the phone data on British 9/11 victims.
 
John Del Signore of The Gothamist said this of the Mirror’s reporting:  “Of course, this has only been reported in The Mirror, which is reveling in its rival's downfall, and eager to see Murdoch's bid for full control of British Sky Broadcasting go down in flames.”
 
Senator Rockefeller is a long standing member of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee and was its chairman from 2007 through 2009.  It’s not likely that he relied on the Daily Mirror newspaper to form the basis for his concerns.  It is highly unlikely that Rockefeller issued this brief but potent release without some evidence that the charges have merit.  At this point, the Senator is just asking questions, in a public and very pointed way.
 
Rockefeller is not known for grandstanding or histrionics, although he can be very  forthright at times.  He chaired the Senate intelligence committee when it released a report on intelligence before the Iraq invasion, Rockefeller said:
 
“In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent.  As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed.”  Senate Intelligence Committee Unveils Final Phase II Reports on Prewar Iraq Intelligence June 5, 2008
 
A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse! Richard III
 
Murdoch will need more than a horse to retreat from the bloody battlefield that he created of his own free will.  During the just ten days following the explosive Guardian report on phone hacking by Murdoch’s News of the World, he has sustained repeated attacks on his UK media properties, pending deals, and his personal integrity.  Now a senior, well connected US Senator is questioning his integrity.
 
Last week, the man Murdoch helped elect Prime Minister, David Cameron, indirectly defended Murdoch,  then abandoned him yesterday. PM Cameron took just two days to agree with the July 7 motion in Parliament to oppose Murdoch’s “must have” acquisition of pay cable giant BSkyB.  The PM’s surrender is all the more significant since it was put forward by his  harshest critic, Labour Party leader Ed Miliband.
 
All the while, the evidence of sleazy and scandalous behavior of the Murdoch papers has expanded geometrically.
Rockefeller’s statement is the harbinger of corporate death. Every time a real reporter is within shouting distance of Murdoch, the questions will be asked
 
"Mr. Murdoch, sir:"
 
Did you hack the phones or other media of 9/11 victims?
 
How many?
 
What possessed you to do that?
 
How many other invasions of privacy have the foot soldiers for your media empire conducted?
 
Is anyone safe from the spying of News Corporation?
 
Murdoch’s answers matter less than the fact that Senator Rockefeller's statement opens the door to devastating inquiries.  Increasingly, Murdoch will be seen as a toxic entity, someone requiring great distance, a Uriah Heep of the corporate elite.  He’s simply not bankable anymore or fit for civil company.
 
But at long last, Murdoch has no shame.  That requires a moral center, a set of beliefs consistent with the importance and integrity of civil discourse and governance.
 
Murdoch has inflicted great pain on the world and never flinched, never apologized.  He is, after all, the owner of Fox News.  Murdoch worked hand in hand with former President George W. Bush to justify the invasion of Iraq.  Many  who believe Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks got that information from the drumbeat of misinformation provided by Murdoch’s US media outlets.
 
The war cost lives, caused suffering, and has a lot to do with bankrupting the nation.  It also cost the lives of a million Iraqi civilians who died in the civil strife directly caused by the war.
 
Murdoch never apologized for his central role of supporting the Iraq invasion or for the needless death and carnage that followed.  Why would he apologize for hacking phones to invade the lives of innocent citizens caught in a big news story or those at the top of society and politics.   His character is now his destiny.
 
END

Also see by Michael Collins in Economic Populist:

 

 
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Legacy corruption: Culture of corruption

Although NPR News is 99% seamlessly of the same stinking cloth as privately owned corporate news media, NPR programming does include two NPR-sponsored news shows worthy of the term "jouranalism" -- Fresh Air and This American Life. In interview 13 July 2011, Fresh Air interviewed Louise Story of the New York Times, about why there are so few prosecutions of Wall Street corrupt practices that greatly contributed to the current economic problems coming to be known as 'The Great Recession".

Louise Story is building a reputation as a financial reporter. She appears to be one of that vanishing breed of 'investigative reporters' capable of doing the whole thing -- from initiating an investigation to the 'leg work' involved, to writing it up and even presenting it in-person on television and radio.

Here's my take on the main points made by Louise Story:

1. Department of Justice prosecutions continue few and minimal in scope because referrals to DoJ by regulators are few and minimal in scope. Louise Story relates what regulators tell her, namely that back in the 1990s Congress signaled intent of Congress to rely on banks to police themselves!

2. Guidelines issued by the Justice Department in 2008 (Bush's post-Gonzales Micheal Mukasey) have promoted a  softer approach to corporate crimes. For example, no high-level executive has been charged in a case related to the 2008 financial crisis, and this situation continues to the present day.

3. Back in 2008 Fed intervened on behalf of banks with SEC lawyers and auditors to go easy on the banks, and part of that Fed intervention involved Timothy Geithner, now Secretary of the Treasury and then President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

I know everybody likes to blame Attorney General Holder, and no doubt that is justified to some extent although Holder, in my opinion, has done a better overall job than any AG since the Carter administration. However, it appears to me that Congress and the federal courts (up to and including the SCOTUS) are also implicated and seldom called to account. What we really have is an entrenched culture of corruption, centered in Washington, D.C.. (Thank you, Hilary Clinton for airing that insight, whatever your reasons may have been!)

Along with the three branches of government and the lobbyists, another major component of the culture of corruption is the "Fourth Estate" -- corporate media.

 

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Media empires supplant freedom of the press

The problem is that technological changes in how information is disseminated have allowed private governments (media empires) to subvert intent of the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press. Has anyone considered the possibility that the United States Post Office at one time was a bulwark of freedom of the press by way of ensuring equal access and preventing over-concentration of ownership of print media?

Proof is in the pudding.

Either in the last congress or the present congress, how much play do committee investigations into corporate wrong-doing get in corporate media? If there are any real investigations, and if these are allowed any teevee news time, how much of it is reported as 'Republicans versus Democrats' and how much is reported on the substance of the investigation? I can recall back in the 1950s when Senator Kefauver's hearings into, for example, Big Pharma, were widely aired and reported. Does that happen today?

Of course, there is C-Span, but how many people watch it? Probably more than Murdoch would like.

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Murcoch's imperial government

Since we have the First Amendment, guaranteeing independence of "the press," we traditionally think of "the press" as separate from "the government," but in fact "the press" is a multitude of governments. Use of the airwaves or of the internet or of the postal service or of public streets and highways -- these governmental functions are essential to the press and assure that concentrations of ownership of for-profit media will result in corruption of all governmental functions relating to operation of the press.

Any news or propaganda organization is a government interfacing with many other governments. It is best that concentrations of media power be broken up, although our current SCOTUS would almost certainly find that to be in violation of the First Amendment.

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Murdoch is a POLITICIAN

Look at the humungous salaries, personal jet planes and other perks, enjoyed by media personalities such as Rush Limbaugh. These media celebrities ... what is the proper word for them? ... I wouldn't insult 'working girls' ... I'll just call these darlings of corporate media what they are ... POLITICIANS ... politicians who are spared the rigors of ever actually running for office ...

... these never-elected media POLITICIANS ... how they love to make sure that the word 'politician' is a bad name!

Meanwhile, justices of the Supreme Court -- who are also POLITICIANS -- continue largely above criticism except as either 'liberals' or as 'conservatives', according to which tendency is portrayed as the source of all evil as explained by one or another of the darlings of corporate media.

Corporate CEOs are generally protected from real criticism on corporate media, although they too are actually POLITICIANS.

General officers (top generals and admirals of the military) are invariably treated with great deference, although they too are POLITICIANS.

Although somewhat tarnished in the public's view, it is understood by all the talking heads (politicians!) of corporate media that the Chair of the Federal Reserve Board is, of course, a very wise man possessed of a degree of understanding far beyond the grasp of us mere mortals ... and, of course, the Fed Chair would never be called a 'POLITICIAN'.

The entire legislative endeavor is held hostage to the game of Republicans versus Democrats, 'liberals' versus 'conservatives', while elected members of legislative bodies are honestly called 'POLITICIANS' -- even as they themselves often use the word in a derogatory sense!

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What is a 'POLITICIAN'?

Although the Urban Dictionary claims that the etymology of 'politician' is from 'poly' meaning 'many' and 'tics' meaning 'blood-sucking parasites', the actual meaning of politician is, of course, someone who practices politics. In turn, 'politics' derives from a Greek word meaning "of, for, or relating to citizens" and refers to any process by which decisions are made for the collective of all affected individuals.

We have come to expect so little of our public leaders that even Merriam-Webster includes a derogatory meaning as a second definition, namely, "a person primarily interested in political office for selfish ... reasons."

Suppose a person were interested in the office of CEO of a major MNC for selfish reasons! Would that not be totally shocking? But, of course, if a person aspires to become the POTUS, that person is expected to be free of all selfish motivation!   

Anyway, the primary Merriam-Webster definition of 'politician' is along these lines: "one actively engaged in conducting the business of a government."

The difficulty is with the word 'government'. People often refer to 'the government' -- even Robert Oak sometimes uses that term as though it had an unambiguous meaning in the U.S.. In reality, there are many governments, some democratic and some not. The meaning of 'government' is the same as 'management', and the word derives from an ancient Greek word for "steering, pilotage, guiding."

Thorough-going anarchists are opposed not only to government but to management. Wannabe anarchists (such as self-styled 'libertarians') generally think of themselves as pro-management but anti-government, ignoring the obvious contradiction. What such pseudo-liberatarians mean is that they are anti-democratic, and some of them will even admit to that prejudice.

Generally, anarchists and wannabe anarchists must be reminded that if you are part of a power grid, that implies a government, whether subject to democratic control or not. If you access public roads, that implies that you are subject to a government, whether subject to democratic control or not. If you are subject to the laws of the United States of America, that implies that you are subject to the interpretation of those laws by a government called 'Supreme Court of the United States', whether subject to democratic control or not.

Pseudo-libertarians often get around the necessity for much more government than they like by pretending that expanding the scope of power of courts in equity, and related enforcement mechanisms, somehow amounts to less government! Well, at least that is better than the Morality Party posing as part of the Money Party, which seeks to get around the necessity for bigger government than they like by pretending that expanding the scope of power of the criminal courts somehow amounts to less government!

Corporations, of course, are governments, although they are generally plutocratic or autocratic rather than democratic.

Since we have a federal system and separation of powers, we have many governments. The federal judiciary is a government. Each district of the federal judiciary is a government. Each state is a set of governments, down to the precinct level.

Government is a part of the natural state of humanity and can hardly be thought of as inherently evil, except in that the natural state of humanity may be thought of as evil. In any case, the multiplicity of governments should never be considered a bad thing. From a fundamental libertarian point of view, an essential goal of any free people is to prevent or break up concentrations of power.

In the UK there is a specific meaning to the term "the government," but in the US, there is no such thing as "the government." It's a myth.

 

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Excellent commentary on this thread 2OLDFOROKEYDOKEY

We're at a critical juncture in this affair with Rockefeller's comments. The 'big boys' are squaring off and it may be quite a fight, although Rockefeller is not quite the typical big boy. He humiliated the CEO of one of the big banks is a fashion that warmed my heart. His motivation isn't ours. He was astounded at how stupid the banker sounded, how indifferent to the people. Rockefeller knows you can't pick every apple in the orchard and take a hike.

The use of 9/11, however, is the key. In the AM talk circuit, which I saw for the first and last time ever today, they mentioned his criticism but nothing about 9/11. That was the whole purpose of the statement. But those who needed to hear it got an earful. Murdoch must be just appalled that he's getting this on his purported safe flank. Rockefeller's comment was like dropping a tactical nuke on News Corp USA. If that's where he's starting, Murdoch must be thinking, where will e go. Rupert, he'll drag you to Hell, drop you off, and have a nice car waiting to take him back. T

The British Civil War gave us the form of our Revolution which we implemented based on local conditions. Slavery ruined everything. It skewed voting. In addition, the notion of the people as a viable force was very clear to the Army at the Putney debates. They called for one legislative chamber, based on equally proportioned districts. We have a Senate, our Lords.

But the Civil War of Putney and Fairfax was a noble effort. Now we have the spontaneous noble effort of a people with enough basic moral strength to know when they've been affronted by Murdoch's crimes. It's Antigone. Murdoch is Creon (they're all Creon) committing the act that is an affront and insult to the common decency. Instead of Antigone, a heroic character from a rival clan aligned against Creon/Murdoch, we find the entire British public.

The power of these people and their fundamental code is so strong, even the pols paid off by Murdoch can't resist. That could be their gift to us, a clear model of what can be done when we unite. This isn't over yet but the first act has come to a close with Murdoch losing Cameron. What will he do without his political arm? He can't survive without regulatory favors (personal/business favors in the mask of governance). He can't attack specific groups or politicians. His dirty tricks are no longer effective. If he tries any of that in the UK, they'll file for his extradition.

Murdoch is a tyrant without power among those against whom he has used power with such cruel intent.

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"spontaneous noble effort ...

... of a people with enough basic moral strength to know when they've been affronted."

Thank you, Michael Collins!

About the Olde Countrye and democracy, I always think of the quote something like this:

"The virtue of the throne lies not in the power in wields but in the power it denies to those who would greatly abuse it."

(I think that's been attributed to G.K. Chesterton, but I can never fix it for certain.)

So, you know, we might all be better off if George Washington had accepted a crown ...

Instead, we have our presidential system, which has never operated as was intended, with the possible exception of the presidency of George Washington.

Recently, John Boehner has attempted a kind of charades where he pretends to be Sir Winston Churchill, and in that effort, some speech writer has come up with: "The value of the majority lies not in the opportunity to wield great power, but in the chance to use power to do great things."

Yah, yah sure. The money is nothing, it's what you buy with it, right? The sentence construction echoes some classical grandeur, but it turns out to be nothing but a gray balloon full of ordinary politicians' flatulence.

Boehner's sentence is about a majority in the House, so it should have been: "The truth of the majority lies not in the pleasing platitudes it professes but in the ugly lies that it cannot hide."

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Their specialness derives from their immunity

Imagine that you and I start a business, bilk the customers, and fritter away almost all of the core assets. We have lunch and calmly decide that we're going to do. What else, since we're made men in the Money Party. We go to the Feds and get a $5.0 bil contract for something or other and we're whole again. Wd're special so we don't get arrested. They we spread around some joy at our good fortune and it starts all over again.

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devil's advocate question

Why is it phone hacking is a major crime and a violation of privacy yet Google and Amazon can profile and track my every movement and thought, as can AT&T and Verizon and use that data not only to try to sell me stuff, but also limit what I see online? Why is it legal for credit ratings agencies and banks to profile me, literally lowering my credit score if I use my credit card at Walmart or for food purchases in groceries?

Think about geotargeting, that means these companies are not just profiling you, they know where you physically are, so why is one such a crime yet another considered the new business model?

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Friend of the devil

In this case, "friend of the devil is a friend of mine."

The devil here, btw, is regulatory law.

We do know, of course, that all regulatory law is inherently evil

 

Of course, corporate policies of Google and Amazon and TransUnion and Equifax -- since these are profit-driven entities -- are inherently GOOD 

 

Don't worry. The market will take care it or, in extreme cases, we can count on our courts to correct any excesses. See your local attorney! (Bring $$$)

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prospect of Rupert Murdoch abandoning his British media interest

The prospect of Rupert Murdoch abandoning his British media interests became a real possibility last night as News Corp dropped plans to take control of BSkyB and it emerged that the media mogul has discussed selling his News International newspaper titles.

The decision to withdraw the £8bn bid for BSkyB came ahead of a House of Commons vote on a motion, backed by the leaders of all three main political parties, to block the News Corp deal. But even News Corp's current 39 per cent stake in the satellite broadcaster is now at risk from a "fit and proper" test being conducted by the media regulator, Ofcom.

Rupert on the run: News Corp's UK future in doubt as MPs turn on Murdoch

Also

Murdochs agree to give evidence

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7/14 FBI launches investigation into allegations

7/14 FBI launches investigation into allegations that 9/11 victims' phones were targeted

Even if the information contained in the Mirror article could be verified, there might be a problem with moving forward with an investigation because the events were so long ago. Several legal experts, including a former top lawyer for the FBI, said that prosecution under federal wiretapping laws is subject to a five-year statute of limitations.

While the FBI inquiry gets under way, News Corporation also faces the prospect of possible prosecution under other US laws. Several Congress members have called for the company to be held accountable under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a federal law that punishes firms based in the US that engage in bribery abroad.

It has emerged that News of the World staff paid police officers in the UK in the course of their phone-hacking activities.

 

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So is it merely ironic that...

...One of the Rockefellers is ordering the FBI to investigate a right-wing news megacorporation? Aren't they all supposed to be "in on it," so to speak, in terms of 9/11? This was cross-posted at 911truth.org so I assume you adhere to at least one of the reamining conspiracy theories, which require the complicity of all three of these players.

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I don't adhere to any 9/11 theory. I would like to know more

The last line of the article says permission to reprint entirely or in part. I'm glad it's at 9/11 Truth or any other site that wants to post it, including all of the 9/11 sites.   By your logic, Rockefeler adhere's to some 9/11 theory since it was his mention 9/11 that caused me to mention it. My hope is that there will be a more serious investigation than we have had to date. What's your point?

The theory related to 9/11 that I do subscribe to is the one advanced by Gen Wesley Clark. He said that the Iraq invasion was primarily motivated as a coverup for the "command failure" surrounding 9/11. I think that is a big part of it. But that doesn't explain 9/11. I think this resource,Congressional Report: Joint Inquiry ... 9/11, supports Clark's assertion.

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"Fox finished" -

The Guardian:  "Worst o"f all for News Corp, the FBI has launched an investigation into accusations that NoW journalists asked a former New York police officer for the phone records of relatives of 9/11 victims. If that toxic allegation is shown to have been true, one thing is certain: Fox News is finished. The emotional supercharge of 9/11 in the US is many times greater than Milly Dowler in the UK – and look what happened here. In the US, even Republicans would join the clamour for News Corp to be stripped of the 27 federal licences it holds under the banner of the Fox Broadcasting Company network."  Guardian 7/14

There must be some truth to this since the radical Republican Rep.  Peter King of NY has jumped off the Fox ship and is now attacking them.  What's that about little creatures deserting the ship.

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Murdoch's last tango: aging Fox viewers

I'll need to check with some Fox News 'true believers' before accepting that Fox News in the U.S.A. is approaching its demise, although it appears to be slowly and inexorably dying.

According to Pensito Review, citing the Nielsen organization's publication, Hollywood Reporter  (August 10, 2010) --

Fox News has the oldest audience among fully distributed cable networks. The network’s average viewer last season was 65 years old, according to Nielsen. Heck, it’s viewers are even older than viewers of Hallmark Channel, Military Channel and Golf Channel.

Pensito Review cites other supporting sources besides Hollywood Reporter and examines the case of the formerly influential Rush Limbaugh radio show.

My local sources on Fox News are in their 80s, and they'd rather die than quit.

On the other hand, I believe that quite a few relatively younger folk do sometimes watch the regular Fox Network's evening news, appreciating especially the extensive coverage of fires and drive-by shootings in the nearest metropolitan area. That seems to fit nicely with the ever popular Fox Network cartoon shows for adults (popular when first showings, much less attentively viewed when re-runs).
 

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65, oh my - A gated community of the mind

That's not good. I just think of Peter King, a Fox favorite, turning on them. The UK actually has some relatively free major newspapers. We don't. So if it happens, it's an organized hit.

A good while ago, when I was looking at the Citizens United case before it was decided, it seemed to me that the case represented a counter move to an pending attack by the Obama folks. The big guy said something about it being a political operation, not news. That meant that under the former FCC rules, Fox violated FCC guidelines every election since there was a 60 day ban prior to campaigns for corporate contributions. Fox, by it's very nature, is a Republican campaign tool, hence they violated the law and were vulnerable. Citizens United took that off the table. I think one faction of The Money Party is very pissed off at Murdoch and they're about to do him in. If that's the case, then it doesn't matter what the Fox viewers think. It's happening.

They'll let the Genie out of the bottle if the pubic freaks out over tapping phones of 9/11 survivor families (if that proves to be the case). People will note that and think, well, what's next.

Very interesting. If it's just the British, great too! They deserve to get rid of Murdoch.

But they've already got News Corp for bribing foreign officials, the British police. Oops!

Btw. as I recall, Pensito Review is quite good. I was sort-of banned there once;) and I still like them.

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