Monday, July 18, 2011

British News Corp Whistle-Blower Found Dead

In a fantastically convenient turn of events for Rupert Murdoch, the whistle-blower who'd claimed now-defunct News of the World editor and former British government spokesperson Andy Coulson knew all about the phone hackings roiling the United Kingdom was found dead Monday in his home in Watford, near London, England.

In a statement, police said, "The death is currently being treated as unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious," without specifying how they figured a death wasn't suspicious even though it hadn't been explained yet. Maybe it was a technical thing, like when an injured football player is listed as "questionable" instead of "doubtful." Maybe they meant anybody who messed with Murdoch should just expect to wake up dead.

To be fair, the police had quite a lot of bangers and mash piled on their plate Monday, as back at the Yard, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates was in the middle of resigning over the News Corporation phone hacking flap. He was following in the cubicle-clearing footsteps of his boss, Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson, who'd resigned Sunday. All that, and Sherlock Holmes was no where to be found.

The dead man, Sean Hoare, was the former Sun and News of the World reporter who'd been telling anyone in earshot that Andy Coulson, his former boss and later Prime Minister David Cameron's press secretary, knew his minions were hacking into folks' voicemails.

Hoare told the BBC Coulson had been "well aware" of the hacking, and that "to deny it is a lie. Simply a lie."

Regarding rummaging through all those celebrity voicemails, he'd told The New York Times that Coulson "actively encouraged me to do it."

The Hertfordshire police statement said, "At 10:40 am today (Monday, July 18), police were called to Langley Road, Watford, following the concerns for the welfare of a man who lives at an address on that street," in its thoroughly British way. "Upon police and ambulance arrival at a property, the body of a man was found. The man was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after." Spot of bad luck, that.

Well, Hoare was a bit of a drinker and snorted coke and all that.

"He made no secret of his massive ingestion of drugs," said fellow journalist Nick Davis of the Guardian. "He told me how he used to start the day with a 'rock star's breakfast' - a line of cocaine and a Jack Daniels."

It was not immediately known whether Murdoch ever said, "Will no one rid me of this turbulent cokehead?"

Hoare had contradicted Coulson's declaration that he'd, "never condoned the use of phone hacking, and nor do I have any recollection of incidences where phone hacking took place." Coulson has since been arrested, released on bail, and told not to leave town.

Sunday, News Corp honcho Rebekah Brooks, another Cameron pal, became the tenth person arrested in the scandal, giving the British PM the unsavory distinction of having as many jailbird cronies as some cheap third-world dictators.

In the United States, News Corp owns Fox News and The Wall Street Journal, and actively supports the Tea Party.

Hoare had also been telling everyone that News of the World was getting the local PD, aka Scotland Yard, to "ping" the whereabouts of celebs and pols. Hoare told the Guardian that reporters just had to go to their editors and ask for someone's whereabouts.

"Within 15 to 30 minutes, someone on the news desk would come back and say, 'Right, that's where they are.'" Hoare said.

The police have the ability to surreptitiously signal a cellular phone, and triangulate its location in relation to nearby cell sites. The practice supposedly required case-by-case authorization and was restricted to high-priority cases, such as to pinpoint the whereabouts of an Al Qaeda terrorist running around with a dirty bomb, not to pinpoint the whereabouts of Angelina Jolie running around with dirty underwear. She's got a wonderbra! Get her!

The brouhaha that police allegedly received News Corp bribes and gave News Corp inside info and generally cozied up to Murdoch's minions led to Stephenson's and Yates' resignation. That and some piddly stuff like Stephenson accepting from News Corp about $20 grand worth of spa treatments at posh Champney's and Yates conveniently ignoring 11,000 pages worth of hacking-related files piled up in Scotland Yard's basement.

In 2009, Yates refused to look into the phone hacking mess, saying there wasn't any evidence worth looking into.

"I'm not going to go down and look at bin bags," the British equivalent of dumpster-diving, said Yates. Never mind the dumpster was actually neatly stacked evidence boxes containing those 11,000 documents.

Now, it was Yates and Stephenson who'd been consigned to the dust bins. That's British for garbage cans.

And poor Sean Hoare was a-mouldering in his unexplained yet somehow unsuspicious grave.

Now, the US Justice Department and the FBI have started poking around Rupert Murdoch's empire.

It was not immediately known whether Murdoch has said, "Will no one rid me of this turbulent Justice Department probe?" but Tea Party loyalist Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) said Monday, "We're going to find out if the Tea Party's still there in force in the next few weeks on this debt limit because we're trying to recruit Americans right now..."

Unless the US government raises its debt ceiling by Aug. 2, it will no longer be able to fund operations, send out Social Security checks, pay off obligations, or run Justice Department investigations.

With so many eager Murdoch Tea Party minions champing at the bit to prove their worth to their Lord, one has to hope that the federal government won't wake up dead Aug. 3.

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