News International, Parliament and the state

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THE revelation yesterday that the News of the World (NoW) newspaper had quietly suspended its assistant editor (news), Ian Edmondson, just before Christmas, has turned the spotlight once again on the activities of Rupert Murdoch’s News International Group and in particular its close relationship with the police, politicians and the capitalist state.

Edmondson – described as a senior member of the NoW inner circle of management – was suspended after serious allegations emerged that he had been directly involved in the phone hacking scandal.

This scandal resulted in one senior NoW reporter and a private detective, employed to carry out illegal phone tapping and hacking, being jailed back in 2007.

The then editor of the NoW, Andy Coulson, whilst claiming that he had no knowledge of these criminal activities that were happening under his nose, resigned his position.

Coulson left News International and had no problem transferring to being director of communications for Tory leader David Cameron, who at that time was seen as being certain to become the next Prime Minister.

What characterised the entire sordid affair concerning phone tapping and hacking from the outset was the unwillingness of the Metropolitan Police to pursue the case with any enthusiasm.

They accepted entirely at face value the assertion by NoW executives and News Group that the bugging and hacking was the responsibility of a ‘rogue’ journalist and a corrupt private eye.

Fantastic as it sounds, the police did not even bother to interview anyone else in connection with the crime, despite a plethora of evidence that, far from being a ‘one off’, the entire newspaper was up to its neck in these illegal activities.

Moreover, these activities covered not just a couple of royals but literally thousands of people ranging from sports stars, actors to politicians.

None of these people were informed that a crime had probably been perpetrated against them, or that their personal security had been compromised – the police just kept it quiet.

Only through information dripping out into the public domain as a result of private prosecutions for damages against the NoW has any of this information been forced from the police or the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The investigation by the Met was led by assistant commissioner Andy Hayman, the supremo at Scotland Yard who resigned in 2007 after allegations relating to expense claims.

Since his departure, Hayman has been employed by the Murdoch press as a journalist.

The police subservience to the Murdoch empire is mirrored in Parliament itself.

Cameron resolutely defends the increasingly exposed Coulson, while Vince Cable – the LibDem business secretary in the coalition – was firmly put in his place when it was revealed that he was hostile to Murdoch gaining 100% control of BskyB, making him the most powerful media owner in the country.

Cable was forced to make a humiliating apology and climb-down. He was stripped of any responsibility for dealing with the proposed takeover – a major part of his job.

The neutering of Cable is not the only example of Murdoch’s power over Parliament.

A former Plaid Cymru MP, Adam Price, revealed that a Parliamentary select committee had attempted to question leading News International executive Rebekah Brooks, but its members were warned by a senior Tory MP that attempts to force her to attend would cause the Murdoch press to ‘go for’ them.

Brooks refused to attend and the committee backed off from issuing a warrant compelling her to attend and answer questions about what has been described as hacking on an ‘industrial scale’ in the NoW.

With the phone tapping scandal showing both the police and parliament firmly in tow by the Murdoch empire the diseased facade of British democracy has exploded in the face of all the jumped-up bourgeois politicians who like to pretend that they run the country.

The only way out of this political sewer is to sweep it away forever through the socialist revolution.