1281

 

http://private-eye.co.uk/sections.php?section_link=in_the_back&issue=1281

THEY HAVEN’T GOT A CLOUSEAU…
 
 
UNFAIR COP: Members of the Space
Hijackers who were arrested for
impersonating police officers
 

THE Met Police’s belated admission that its secret policeman Mark Kennedy was undercover at the 2009 London G20 protests throws new light on these demonstrations – not least for 11 protesters who were arrested on the day for themselves “impersonating a police officer”.

The “Space Hijackers” group donned blue boiler suits and drove a blue armoured car labelled “police” and “riot” to the demonstration to send up the Met’s fevered warnings of disorder. The police “bronze commander” responded to these cartoon coppers with radio warnings to his officers about “persons in possession of police uniform”. The 11 were arrested, charged with “wearing a police uniform with an intent to deceive”.

The knowledge that police were pretending to be demonstrators at the same protest where demonstrators were arrested for “pretending” to be police underlines the absurdity of the arrests. The Met finally dropped all charges against the group last year, and the 11 are now suing the police for false imprisonment. One protester lost their job after the arrest, while another was not allowed to take medicine for a painful condition while under arrest.

A job for Austin Powers…
Meanwhile the revelations also show how, four years ago, Heathrow Airport was a fuller nest of spies than previously thought during the Climate Camp 07 protests. Three undercover officers joined in the protest, with officer “Lynn Watson” being heavily involved in planning the protest campsite – and being arrested that same year in another Heathrow protest. This means the undercover police officers were involved at the same time as private spies were infiltrating the anti-Heathrow protests.

As the Eye reported in 2008, private spy company “C2I” sent its agent Toby Kendall undercover into the “Plane Stupid” protest group. His Austin Powers-style blunders, however, led to his unmasking and the closure of C2I.

Justin King, the former army officer who ran C2I, has now resurfaced in charge of a security company called Lynceus, which offers similar services to C2I – “a variety of covert tactics, covert observation, covert search techniques, close target reconnaissance and foot surveillance”. With some irony Lynceus tells prospective clients: “There are many ways in which a company’s reputation can be damaged. Firms whose corporate reputation is severely damaged frequently don’t recover.” It should know: C2I’s reputation never recovered from the Agent Toby scandal.

King’s new company has some serious help, however: one of its “senior advisers” being John Dearlove. The firm says Dearlove was “a member of the Cabinet Office Security and Intelligence Secretariat during the premiership of Mr Blair” but it does not mention that he is also the brother of Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6.

The firm’s second adviser, Sir Neil Thorne, former MP for Ilford, has excellent security contacts: he founded the Armed Forces and Police Parliamentary Schemes, which allow MPs to play at being soldiers and policemen.

 

- INTERNSHIPS
Stella McCartney can’t afford to pay interns who work for her for months at a time – but she can afford to pay a PR man to threaten legal action against those who complain.



 

http://private-eye.co.uk/sections.php?section_link=street_of_shame&issue=1281

 

PHONE-HACKWATCH SPECIAL
 
 
LONE ROGUES’ GALLERY: James Murdoch (top left),
Rebekah Brooks, Colin Myler and Andy Coulson, all of whom
insisted there was only ever one bad apple at the NoW
 

NO ONE in Fleet Street ever believed the protestations of ignorance by former News of the Screws editor Andy Coulson. Did he really have no idea any of his scoops were obtained by telephone interception? Did he never ask why hacker Glenn Mulcaire got an annual retainer of more than £100,000?

Or why he received tens of thousands more in cash payments? As we said in 2006, either Coulson was lying or he was recklessly negligent – and it’s not hard to guess which is the more plausible explanation.

Coulson stated on oath in the perjury trial of Tommy “Shagger” Sheridan, a former Socialist member of the Scottish parliament, that the Clive Goodman case was a one-off. “I knew his [Mulcaire’s] consultancy was used in an entirely legitimate way during my time as editor,” he told the high court in Glasgow in December. “As far as my reporters are concerned the instructions were very clear: they were to work within the law and within the PCC code.”

If Inspector Knacker now finds that phone-hacking was rife, this will lay Coulson open to a possible criminal charge of perjury.

Cleaning the Augean stables after the horse has bolted…
Last week, while packing his snow-shoes for the annual jaunt to Davos, the BBC’s business editor Robert Peston suddenly started reporting and blogging about the scandal at News International. “Executives at News are engaged – so they tell me – in finding out everything they can about who was hacked by the News of the World,” he announced on the Monday.

As soon as they had the details they would offer settlements to the victims, “to cut out the requirement for huge lawyers’ fees.” Or, perhaps, to cut out the embarrassment of NI having its smelly underwear aired in open court – though this seems not to have occurred to Peston. His sources also assured him that “any culpable News International executives will be sacked.”

It’s more than four years since Screws hack Clive Goodman and phone-hacker Glenn Mulcaire were jailed. Why has News International only now got round to finding out who else was involved? This was another question Peston failed to ask in his fusillade of upbeat dispatches. Two days later he revealed that the Screws had sacked its head of news, Ian Edmondson, and sent his emails to the police. This proved that News International was now “aggressively investigating the involvement of its employees”.

Peston, it should be noted, is a close friend of former Telegraph editor Will Lewis, who is now the group general manager at NI. What are friends for if you can’t return the occasional favour, only a few weeks after Lewis did Peston the favour of leaking him Vince Cable’s unguarded comments about the Dirty Digger?

Thirsty Will is in bullish mood, and no wonder: he’s one of the few Murdoch lieutenants at Wapping who can’t be harmed by the scandal, having only arrived last summer. But many other current and former NI grandees are in a blue funk – and, again, no wonder.

Pathetically inept investigator
Take Colin Myler, the man brought in to run the Screws after Coulson’s departure. In 2009 he assured the Commons media committee that he’d carried out a thorough internal inquiry and found no evidence that anyone other than Goodman knew about – still less condoned – phone-hacking. “I conducted [this] inquiry with our director of human resources – over 2,500 emails were accessed because we were exploring whether or not there was any other evidence to suggest essentially what you are hinting at,” he told the MPs. “No evidence was found; that is up to 2,500 emails.”

From his involvement in settlements with Max Clifford (whose silence was bought for £1m) and PFA boss Gordon Taylor (£700,000), Myler should have known this was untrue. We now learn that he didn’t even bother to check the emails of Ian Edmondson, one of the executives who dealt with Mulcaire. So he is not only a useless editor – he had to quit his previous job at the Sunday Mirror after being fined £75,000 for contempt of court – but a pathetically inept investigator.

The heart of the cover-up
Although Myler wasn’t present during the Clive Goodman debacle, it was he who (along with in-house lawyer Tom Crone) told James Murdoch that they were about to pay £700,000 to Gordon Taylor for illegally hacking his phone. This case had zilch to do with Goodman – who, lest we forget, was the paper’s royal correspondent and had no discernible reason to listen in on the head of the Professional Footballer’s Association – but everything to do with other senior executives and hacks.

This in turn brings Murdoch Junior to the very heart of the cover-up. Did he ask why the company was compelled to shell out such a vast sum, complete with gagging clause? If he did, he knew long ago that NI’s official defence given to the Commons media committee – that Goodman was a lone “rogue reporter” – was dishonest, yet he continued to go along with it. If he didn’t ask, he’s a negligent half-wit who is clearly unfit to run a major corporation.

From cocktail party to cock-up queen
Then there’s Rebekah Brooks, who has been desperately trying to settle various pending civil actions out of court at vast expense to News International – a desperation that may be partly driven by the fact that the use of dodgy private investigators goes back to her own tenure at the News of the Screws, when Andy Coulson was her deputy.

Recent events confirm the assessment of several senior execs at NI that Rebekah is a great cocktail-party networker who can charm the likes of David Cameron and the Murdoch family, but is essentially a lightweight in journalism and business, who deluded herself that the whopping early settlements to Gordon Taylor and Max Clifford, plus endless recitals of the “lone rogue” mantra, would prevent the truth ever emerging.

Enter the Moron
And what of her predecessors? Screws hacks have been chuckling over the hysterical TV interviews and Tweets in which two previous editors, Phil Hall and Piers “Morgan” Moron, try to defend Andy Coulson and accuse the Guardian of running a “witch-hunt”. What might be revealed by close scrutiny of their own records?

Any exposure of dubious methods wouldn’t exactly help their new careers. Hall has gone from poacher to gatekeeper, with a new career as a celebrity PR, and has already been embarrassed by his nephew, a Screws hack in the Coulson era, admitting that he transcribed hacked messages for sleazy Neville Thurlbeck, then as now the paper’s chief reporter.

Moron, meanwhile, is enjoying the limelight as a celeb interviewer on cable TV. Former Mirror hacks have this week been reminiscing about the occasion when Moron serenaded their newsroom with the Beatles song “And I Love Her” during a period of pre-wedding froideur between Paul McCartney and Heather Mills, and then informed them that “It’s the message he sang to Heather to make it up – you should hear the tape.”

Wallis and vomit
Nor should we forget Neil “Wolfman” Wallis, who first championed the now exposed Ian Edmondson during his inglorious stint as editor of the People. When he became Andy Coulson’s deputy editor, Wallis recruited his protégé to the Screws. “Wallis and Edmondson were so tight it’s ludicrous to suggest Wallis wouldn’t know Edmondson’s modus operandi,” says one now-departed senior Screws hack. “Even the office cat knew the score!” Like Phil Hall, the Wolfman is now a showbiz PR, as managing director of Alan Edwards’s Outside Organisation. What do his celebrity clients think about Wallis being on the inside of Outside, in light of recent disclosures?

PS: Screws insiders point out that it was George Osborne rather than David Cameron who originally championed Andy Coulson’s case as the Tories’ spinmeister. They also recall that in his latter days as editor a couple of embarrassing stories on the Osborne family never appeared in the paper, at the insistence of Coulson and his mentor, Rebekah Wade/Brooks. Oddly enough, a story about the private life of Andy Hayman, the Scotland Yard detective heading the hacking probe, also never made it into print. This is the same Andy Hayman who since leaving the Met has acquired a lucrative column in the Times, published by News International. Small world!

 

 

 

 

http://private-eye.co.uk/sections.php?section_link=hp_sauce&issue=1281

FILIBUSTED FLUSH
 
 
PEER REVIEW: Lord Taylor, whose conviction for expenses
fiddling, like Lord Strathclyde’s daytime Ugandan
discussions, was ignored by their filibustering colleagues
 

Gavel Basher writes: For years the main excuse for having a House of Lords was that it behaved in an adult, non-partisan way, improving laws and raising the tone at Westminster. The Lords contained wisdom, sobriety, independence of mind. No longer.

With childish time-wasting, a guilty verdict in an expenses trial and a classic tabloid sex scandal, the Lords has been behaving much like the Commons. Bufton Tuftons who say “it’s not the place it was” actually have a point. In the past six months the House of Lords has been ruptured.

Tory Lord Taylor of Warwick’s conviction for expenses-fiddling went unmentioned in the chamber – shades of Basil “Don’t mention the war” Fawlty. Ditto the shagging antics of the leader of the House, Lord Strathclyde. The rotund swordsman was maybe a little less visible on the frontbench after the Sunday Mirror’s kiss-and-tell exposé, but no one taunted him about it in debates. Instead, peers guffawed quietly in the lobby and corridors and in the Bishops’ Bar, rejoicing over the details of Strathclyde’s Ugandan discussions.

Given Labour’s filibustering in the parliamentary voting system and constituencies bill, it is perhaps understandable that Strathclyde sought afternoon relief with Miss Rita Chevrolet when the alternative was listening to Neil Kinnock and Clive Soley.

Labour pains
The bill proposes reducing the number of Commons MPs by 50 and changing constituency boundaries to even out the vote. This would rob Labour of its in-built advantage whereby it needs to win a much smaller percentage of the popular vote to win an election.

Lords left-wingers are horrified. How dare the coalition try to reduce the size of the political class! Filibustering – the practice of talking gibberish to gum up parliament – is against the rules. But filibustering, despite their denials, is what has been happening. Hence the all-night session and days which have stretched far into the small hours as Labour peers have sought to block the bill.

Lord Lipsey – sometime pisspoor Fleet Street hack David Lipsey – brought the House the benefit of his detailed reading of “British Political Facts” and launched into a précis of the history of Speaker’s Conferences. He did so in one of those nasal, now-here’s-an-interesting-thing voices sometimes adopted in comedy sketches by Peter Cook. Lipsey has been loving the Labour delay game. For years he has lurked on the sidelines, regarded as an Olympic-sized bore. At last here was a use for his droning talents.

Many of the Labour filibuster crowd are ex-MPs, among them Quentin Davies (Lord Davies of Stamford to give him the title he bagged after defecting to Labour from the Tories in 2007). Davies, during the course of one verbose contribution, spoke about the importance of MPs staying in contact with their constituents’ views. This will come as a surprise to the staunch Tory electors he dumped by crossing the floor for his own personal benefit.

Another Tory MP who joined Labour, Lord Howarth of Newport, was aghast at a reduction in the number of MPs. It would make it so much harder to find recruits for all-party parliamentary social groups. He told the House about the all-party Archaeology Group to which he had belonged. From examining fossils to sitting in the Lords? You get the picture.

Blair’s boys
Ex-Blair flatmate Charles “Fatty” Falconer, Labour’s ringleader, heard the government condemn the number of politicians and asked: “Why have this government made so many new peers?” Lord Strathclyde, having briefly looked in from his horizontal PT, said: “That’s rich! Tony Blair made more peers more quickly than any prime minister ever, including Lloyd George.” Lord Falconer: “At least we were not hypocritical.”

But Strathclyde had hit the G-spot of the current Lords shenanigans. The Lords is stuffed with Blair peers. With most of them comparatively young, we could have years of this sort of legislative blockage.

On and on the filibustering continued. Blairite apparatchik Sally Morgan, Baroness Morgan of Huyton, coughed up a long essay about Merseyside. Lord Graham of Edmonton spoke at length about his memoirs, From Tyne to Thames. Lord McAvoy (Labour’s former deputy chief whip in the Commons, a notorious thug), spoke about Rangers football supporters in Corby. Lord (Paul) Boateng started citing “a paper presented to the parliamentary affairs journal of Oxford University Press entitled, ‘Far Too Elaborate About So Little’: New Parliamentary Constituencies for England, by three academic, impartial observers of our system”. He then proceeded to read much of an article from the London Evening Standard.

Notorious Blair brown-noser George Foulkes (best known for once nosediving into a gutter after a whisky reception), launched into a travelogue of his home area. Around him peers slept deeply. “Moving on a little,” said Foulkes, after an age, “we find Auchinleck and Cumnock, both mining townzzzzzzzzz...”

Foulkes boasted that he took his title from a place called Cumnock, “where James Keir Hardie lived for a while and is now buried – the cradle of the Labour movement.” This was all most fascinating. But what would Keir Hardie think of these so-called socialists in an unelected House of Lords, defying the Commons and trying to keep a system which skews elections to one party’s distinct favour? Would he have been proud? Or, like Ed Miliband, distinctly embarrassed?

 

 

Stella McCartney, Veggie Ratbag Of The Year
Page 29
INTERNSHIPS
As graduate unemployment hits 20 percent, competition for jobs and even unpaid internships is fiercer than ever. Nowhere is that felt more keenly than in the fashion world where, it seems, even illustrious companies are lapping up free labour even if it means potentially flouting national minimum wage laws (see Eye 1277). At fashion house Stella McCartney, for example, unpaid interns in the press office outnumber paid employees by more than two to one.

One fed-up intern posted her story on the website of the internship campaign group, Interns Anonymous. In the post bluntly entitled "I had a horrible experience working for Stella McCartney", she described how interns regularly steamed clothes and mailed envelopes and worked until midnight, all unpaid. "One intern had been at Stella for five months and I could see she could never get a real job out of it," she wrote, adding that she left because the atmosphere "was toxic".

Zealously safeguarding McCartney's image, the company's worldwide communications director, Frenchman Stephane Jaspar, immediately contacted the intern, reducing her to tears, and then the website's administrator. "I was shocked and baffled," said the administrator. "Jaspar began threatening me, saying 'I'll make it very difficult for you with your employers' and 'this is a big man's world'. It was totally bizarre and more like a parody from 'Allo 'Allo."

Jaspar then told the website administrator that the intern had signed a confidentiality agreement and that if the post wasn't taken down he would be calling in McCartney's lawyers.

The administrator duly obliged. But not content with that, Jaspar began personally contacting everyone on Twitter who had re-tweeted a link to the post. In one email he wrote: "You don't want to be associated with this messy situation with legal ramifications." When asked what they should do, Jaspar wrote: "Just remove your re-tweet."

Clearly the Gucci group, which owns McCartney and made €455m profit in 2009, is not paying Jaspar enough for his dedication to the job.