Running Rupert to Ground – Vox Populi, Vox Dei

How will they get rid of Rupert Murdoch and his toxic enterprises?

July 4, 2011 may turn into the people's Independence Day.  On that day, stellar journalist Nick Davies of the Guardian released his story; Missing Milly Dowler's voicemail was hacked by News of the World.  Twelve year old Milly Dowler had been kidnapped with foul play feared.  The Murdoch tabloid couldn't resist.  News of the World (the News) hired a private detective to hack Milly's voicemail.  Finding the mail box full, the News or its hired dick deleted existing messages to make room for new ones, all to fuel their ongoing coverage.  The deleted messages raised hopes by Milly's parents that she was still alive and using her voicemail. (Image)

The Davies story elicited a reaction of near universal shock, outrage, and revulsion.  Milly had already been murdered by the time the Murdoch paper began its illegal tapping.

The public revulsion resulted in immediate and fervent popular demands for justice.  Those demands were compounded by follow-up stories on other Murdoch media hacking.  As it turned out, the News also broke into the voicemails of war widows to capture their most intimate exchanges on the loss of fallen soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq.   All in all, at least 4,000 citizens had their voicemails hacked to boost the Murdoch publication's circulation and profits.

Driven by broad public ire, Murdoch's empire began unraveling immediately.  He became a target for those he'd tormented, particularly in politics.  In just a few days, he became anathema for those he'd placed in power, indicating the focused intensity and force of public outrage.   Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron fell in line with Labour Party Leader Ed Milliband's call to stop Murdoch's critical acquisition of pay TV network BSkyB.  The Independent spoke of Murdoch having to abandon his United Kingdom media properties.

The crisis spread across the Atlantic when Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller demanded that law enforcement look into possible voicemail and other electronic surveillance of 9/11 survivors in the United States by  Murdoch's News Corporation.

"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

The very next day the FBI announced an investigation.  Ominously for Murdoch, Rep Peter King (R-NY), endorsed the effort immediately.  King has been a friend of Fox for some time and a frequent guest on the network;s news programs.

Ignored in all of this well justified outrage is the ultimate sin of the Murdoch media empire, enabling and encouraging the lethal invasion of Iraq by supporting the insane plans of former President George W. Bush and his collaborator, former Prime Minister Tony Blair.  The war took a terrible toll in injuries and deaths of US forces.  The anticipated  civil strife that followed the invasion resulted in a million dead Iraqi civilians, several million refugees, and, at one point, five million orphans.

Forced Exist Strategies for Murdoch

The legal options in the United Kingdom are fairly straight forward.  Two  former News editors have already been arrested, Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks.  Those devastating blows followed proposals in Parliament block Murdoch's acquisition, a near certainty now, and to break up his media empire.  Murdoch beneficiary, PM Cameron, supported the former and may be forced to support the latter.

The public outrage in the UK shows no signs of waning.  The pressure to do something dramatic will reach a fever pitch after Tuesday's hearings by the Culture, Media, and Sport Select Committee.  Murdoch and others News Corporation luminaries will face a robust interrogation.

Murdoch has already withdrawn his bid for total control of the lucrative BSkyB cable network.  He may lose the ability to keep his current 39% if he's found an "unfit person" for media ownership.

In addition, the UK has anti-bribery legislation that may apply, the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.  News Corporation and executives are vulnerable to charges under the act.   A "corrupt transaction" [bribe] is defined as occurring when "any person corruptly gives or agrees to give or offers any gift or consideration to any agent as an inducement or reward" in return for a favor of some kind.  Former chief executive of News International, Rebekah Brooks, already admitted "corrupt transactions" in 2003 (see below).

Beyond the specific admission by Brooks, there are a number of allegations that the London Metropolitan Police were bribed to limit and impede the investigations into the News phone hacking.

A combination of phone hacking plus violations of the Prevention of Corruption Act await Murdoch.  This would go beyond what the The Independent suggested when it wrote of Murdoch, "abandoning his British media interests."

The rapidly unfolding catastrophe in the UK does something to Murdoch that he can ill afford.  It shows that he is vulnerable.

Who shows any sympathy to a vulgar, amoral bully when his time is up?

Rockefeller's Broadside

Senator Rockefeller's demand for an investigation of News Corporation is a work of political art.   How could a 20 year member of the Senate intelligence Committee raise a question about harassing victim families of the 9/11 attack without knowing the answer in advance?   Was the 9/11 question raised to open the door for a broad based attack on Murdoch in the US?

Murdoch is clearly a toxic force in politics and a menace to rational governance even by the standards of oligarchs.  His propaganda for the Iraq invasion left dead and injured, a shattered reputation for the nation, diminished effectiveness overseas, and added four trillion dollars in debt.  The Tea Party movement with its cast of borderline politicos is out of control.  Sarah Palin's targeting rhetoric was closely associated with the assassination attempt on Rep.  Gabrielle Giffords, (D-AZ).

Most recently, the fruit of the Fox fueled Tea Party juggernaut, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, showed a willingness to take the nation and the world into a devastating economic depression with their impossible requirement for a balanced budget before raising the US debt ceiling.  This indicates a massive disconnect with reality.

Murdoch's News Corporation has the power to create all of this havoc and more.  It is autonomous and subject only to the profoundly distorted political whims of its tottering leader.   Murdoch mischief amounts to very real threats that are unacceptable for those with the ability to put Murdoch out of business.

Running Murdoch Out of the US

If Murdoch's time has come, a variation of this scenario is available as you read these words.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is used to prosecute bribes of foreign officials.  Created in the late 1990s, the act was signed by thirty-four nations, including the US and the UK.  The Justice Department has used the act frequently in recent years.

News Corporation's Rebekah Brooks has already admitted giving cash to the London Metropolitan Police at a 2003 public hearing.  Brooks was editor of the News at the time.

Federal prosecutors have combined the FCPA with The Travel Act of 1961 to increase the penalties and convictions for foreign bribery.  Brooks is a citizen of the UK.  However, her acts are the ultimate responsibility of Murdoch's News Corporation, incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in New York City.  The act outlaws travel and communications from one state or country to another country with the intent of violating the law.  Federal prosecutors can indict perpetrators using applicable state law.  New York State law classifies bribing a public official as a felony as is interfering with the administration of justice..  Therefore, News Corporation could be charged with felonies under The Travel Act, FCPA, and New York criminal code.

Here is the Brooks testimony admitting cash payments to the London police. Also at the inquiry was Andy Coulson, News of the World Editors, 2003-2007. Brooks the News editor form 2000-2003.

Culture, Media, and Sport Select Committee, March 2003

Committee:   And I might just ask have they [the News] ever paid the police? Just the one element of whether you ever pay the police.

Brooks: We have paid the police for information in the past and it's been …

Committee:  And will you do it in the future.

Brooks:  It depends on…

Committee:  Will you operate within the code and within the law.

Andy Coulson:   We operate within the code and within the law and if there's a clear public interest and the same holds for private detectives, for subterfuge, for video bags, whatever you want to talk about…

Committee:  It's illegal for police officers to receive payment

Coulson: No, no, no, we don't, I just said, ‘within the law.'

This testimony fits in neatly with the accusations that the News paid off London police to slow-roll the phone hacking investigation.

If they want Murdoch, they've got him.  Wide spread speculation that Murdoch is subject to indictment will drive down News Corporation shares, costing Murdoch billions, and threaten the viability or even profitable sale of his US properties.  The picture may turn grim very soon for the once but not future grand master of media manipulation.

The Voice of the People

Public reaction in the UK has put the entirety of Rupert Murdoch;s British holdings at risk.  Since July 4, the public reduced the press overlord who made and controlled British politics to the status of a flight risk.  Can Murdoch relax for a moment in his London mansion knowing that if he ever faces a trial, he will surely have a jury that would do everything it could to make sure he served the rest of his life in a British prison.

These rapid and dramatic shifts have much more to do with the outrage of citizens than with the popular proposals of Labour Leader Ed Miliband that would break up News Corporation's UK operations.  This leader is following the people.

The prospect of a similar public outrage in the US is currently a function of the FBI investigation.  Confirmation of the shameless act of spying on the  families of 9/11 victims would cause an eruption of anger that would spread across the nation at warp speed.  Murdoch would be finished here, one way or another.

Powerful forces will work against this, challenging Rockefeller and others who are, without much doubt, intent on sending Murdoch away.  Questioning News Corporation exploitation of 9/11 families is a charge, a deep mark, that will firmly attach to the Fox news outlets, cable, broadcast, and print properties for decades.

The people of the United Kingdom found their voice and demonstrated that they cannot be stopped when they act in unison.  The precedent is set.  For decades, the citizens of the United States have not had a moment where their unified will caused a rapid policy change.  If the opportunity arises, manufactured or not, the precedent may be set here and generalize to broader interests.  It is time to stop the extraction of nearly all of the nation's wealth and power by the very few at the expense of the overwhelming majority.


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The problem I have with this is other media is highly corrupt. I cannot count the number of corporate lobbyist plant "stories" I've seen and they pretty much run the gamut of every media outlet. I find that odious, putting corporate lobbyist plant spin out there as "news".

It misleads people to the extremes.

One is a start, more is the goal

The spin machine here is still very much in place Murdoch is in free fall in the UK. There is nothing quite like it, in my opinion, in the history of modern media - the rapid dissolution of the largest media empire over a matter of days. But here, it has just started and the outcome is not certain. It needs to be. He needs to go as an example and the rest of them should get the message that they're viability depends on the audience, which happens to be capable of bringing down habitual liars. GE's NBC brand, plus CBS and ABC, are fundamentally as distorted as Murdoch. They just lack the flare for the grotesque. We need to make the case that they too are culpable for the nonstop lies and fantasies that have taken us so low. How can people make a rational decision when they lack the facts - negative job growth for a decade, out sourcing the nations wealth and talent, the free ride on taxes for the ultra rich and powerful, the concentration of wealth in the extreme. These are all events that are described here and elsewhere but rarely touched for any length of time by "the majors." They'd better start playing catch up or this neglect wlll catch up with them.

corporations just have too much $$, power

It's like living in the days of Standard Oil. One may cut off the head of the dragon but this is Medusa and another will simply grow.

Even when the press does report accurately and frankly the WSJ does do some good reporting and they don't paint a pretty picture on the jobs front for example, owned by Murdoch, it doesn't matter.

We have politicians try to say, straight faced, corporate lobbyist wish lists are great policy and literally will try to pass corporate lobbyist written bills in Congress.

I mean Obama has turned into the latest prime example and we know all of his GOP counterparts will do the same thing.

Murdoch is less protected than Roger Ailes

Unless Ailes is found to be engaged in criminal activity, Murdoch's control over the US news agenda and right wing politics will continue. There are indications Ailes is vulnerable, however.

1) News Corporation achieves "synergies" by using a single news platform for all of the publication and television media in the company. This saves the company money by avoiding duplication of research efforts, but it also ties everyone together through a dependency on a few concentrated sources. To the extent NOTW was sharing information through the system, and their research efforts involved bribery, illegal wire tapping, and other crimes, then FOX News was participating indirectly.

2) What Rockefeller needs to find out is whether FOX News ran its own phone hacking operation. Without any doubt, the culture of News Corporation was based on these illegal activities, and this culture came straight from Rupert Murdoch. Anybody who has worked in a corporate environment knows how the entire corporation takes on the personality of the chairman. Murdoch ran a corporation that was more than most based on a cult of the chairman; his direct deputies have been described as "sycophantic and obsequious" - people who will take orders from Murdoch or be booted out. Murdoch will have all sort of plausible deniability regarding his knowledge of illegal activities, but it is impossible to have a company run with his degree of control over the news content without him knowing how the "scoops" and information were sourced. He could have imposed this culture on FOX News, though there are some indications he was intimidated by Ailes and let him run his own ship.

3) Ailes has a "Black Ops" department located in the basement of his FOX News fortress in midtown Manhattan. It's a little like Bernie Madoff's back office - off limits to everyone at the company but a handful of people. There are some sketchy reports from people who have been in there that phone hacking was either done, or was very easy to do.

Now let's look at the other side of all this.

First, Ailes is not running a tabloid operation. FOX News is not interested in celebrity gossip. He is running a political operation, usually described as the propaganda arm of the Republican Party, but increasingly described as the tail which is wagging the dog. If Ailes is doing any black ops work, it is not to hack into phones of nobodies like Milly Dowler. It is to get dirty information on Democratic politicians and candidates, to find out what is going on within the Obama administration and campaign headquarters, and to pass this along to the likes of Karl Rove, who says he will have $120 million of secret money to spend on the 2012 campaign.

This is not information that would benefit FOX News. The news anchors and commentators there distort and lie their way so often that they don't need real dirt unless some major scandal can be created. This is information that is mostly for campaign purposes, though it possibly might be used to extort something from Democratic politicians caught with their pants down (Eliot Spitzer?). There would also likely be a nexus between Ailes and certain trusted corporate lobbyists and major donors (Charles and David Koch, e.g.). All part of what Hillary Clinton called the "vast right wing conspiracy".

Is the FBI willing to probe into this? Based on Obama's track record of accommodation and appeasement to the right wing in the interest of bipartisanship, the answer is no. Also, the Democratic Party may have a similar effort going on somewhere. You don't raise $750 million dollars in a presidential campaign just to run television ads. Obama and Congressional leaders in the party may not want the status quo upended. In this respect, Obama is Roger Ailes' best shield.

On the other hand - there may be some old-line Republican party politicians, like Orrin Hatch or John McCain, who have had enough of Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes, Rush Limbaugh, and the Tea Party. They may want to reassert their control over the party and restore some semblance of sanity to its deliberations. Another group that might want to join in this effort is the Bush family. This is Roger Ailes' biggest weakness. He may have become too powerful, and too destructive for the likes of the old-line party leadership, and attacking Rupert Murdoch might be the first step to attacking him.

If these people join in on the plan to investigate Murdoch, then there might be hope that Ailes will be overthrown. If not, he may be untouchable. Remember, first you needed an appalling abuse of the little guy for the British public to take notice of what Murdoch has been doing all these years, and then you needed the public establishment primed to extract revenue on him. Both of those are currently lacking in the US.

Murdoch's fate subsumes Ailes

These are very good points. Ailes is simply awful and probably close to the cynicism quotient of Murdoch. His fate, however, is tied to and controlled by Murdoch's. There are three outcomes: 1) Ailes works for a discredited boss who subject to unfolding horrors from the UK for the next two years - nothing happens here other than the bad press; 2) Ailes works for an executive and organization that hacked the voicemails of 9/11 families in the United states - Sayanora Roger; 3) Ailes works fr an executive and organization that is found to have committed other atrocities - depending on what those are and Ailes role it's either Sayanora or good luck finding a job at Heritage.

Imagine Murdoch's horror at hearing that Senator Rockefeller was after him. The question tarnishes Murdoch in perpetuity. It won't go away. The 9/11 families are stalwart and will pursue this to the extent they believe the story, no matter what the FBI says.

Senator Rockefeller certainly doesn't read this site and is not a sympathizer with our broad critique of The Money Party (he's in the equivalent of the Mayflower Society for that exclusive club). But he's a rational person who knows that we can't have a Murdoch running around egging on the realty challenged, very noisy Tea Party. That ties into Hatch and McCain. The three Senators are operatives at varying levels for the vestiges of an establishment that sees everything collapsing. Rid the nation of Murdoch and there's a chance to restore some order.

My idle speculation is that this is another round of Obama's attacks on Fox in 2009 when he referred to them as a political machine not a news organizations. That had very specific meaning to Murdoch, namely that he was systematically violating election law by using corporate funds to advance specific candidates from one party. The Citizens United decision was the answer. But the forces that unleashed are out of control, hence adios Rupert.

Things don't always go as planned. If there is a 9/11 link, the reaction from the public will consume Murdoch and expand far beyond that one source to the broader elements of control who seem to turn everything they touch to ash.

(How did you like the image?)

Murdoch WhistleBlower Found Dead

The Whistleblower of the entire phone hacking was just found dead. Report is death "not suspicious".

Oh my tin foil hat is on. Visions of that lovely hot shot between the toes ala Michael Clayton. (One of the most horrifying murder scene from a film of all time!)

Nice commentary from America Blog

Lulz Sec hack

LUlZ SEC SUN HACK - Fake Murdoch death notice

LONDON (Associated Press) - A group of internet hackers claims to have tampered with the website of Rupert Murdoch's Sun newspaper.

Visitors to The Sun's website late Monday were redirected to a page featuring a story saying Murdoch's dead body had been found in his garden.

Lulz Security took responsibility via Twitter, calling it a successful part of "Murdoch Meltdown Monday."

Lulz Security has previously claimed hacks on major entertainment companies, FBI partner organizations and the CIA.



In the fake death notice, the reference Palladium being found in Murdoch's kitchen.  That may be a veiled and ironic reference to the poisonous role of Rebekah Brooks.  Paladium derived from Pallas Athena, Brooks being the font of stupidity rather than wisdom. Highly literate hackers.  The world is improving.  Of couse, it could also be a reference to palladium's distribution into the environment through car exhaust. 

In any case, nice work Lulz Security.


Here in New Mexico we have a

Here in New Mexico we have a scandal a day, as judges, police and other 'titans' are brought down in unheard of stings and scandals.

America is yearning for a good hanging judge. And any titan will do for the gallows.

It's a tidal change, subtle but unstoppable, that will probably wash away the empires of the mandarin class.

In my 63 years, I've never witnessed this level of hostility toward the privileged - even by old school Republicans, held hostage to the GOP by cultural conservatism.

They may hate Mexicans and socialists... but they hate Wall St more.

It is crazy what Murdoch did

It is crazy what Murdoch did to boost his newspaper sales. He should be put in jail and News Corp should be broker up. Scary what big corporations can do to you.

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