What would the Met get in return for not looking hard at News of the World phone hacking?

You might not have noticed because most of the British press seems curiously reluctant to cover it, but earlier in the week, the New York Times produced some new evidence that the Conservative party's chief spin doctor Andy Coulson knew much more about the phone hacking scandal of 2006 than he was letting on. Maybe they were too busy covering allegations regarding William Hague's sexuality, and his emotional revelations about not being gay that came out at the same time, handily and totally coincidentally for the Conservatives' spin doctor. Ahem.

The New York Times' full investigation is due to appear on Sunday. Maybe the press haven't covered it because they're waiting for that.  (Hat tip - TabloidWatch). 

Perhaps the most disturbing revelation in the New York Times Story, as Tom watson says in this post at Jack of Kent, is this:
The New York Times also suggests, for the first time, direct police collusion with a commercial media organisation, an unnamed senior investigator alleging that a Scotland Yard press officer stressed the department’s “long-term relationship with News International”.
A Scotland Yard press officer allegedly urging the police to go easy on the News of the World because of an alleged "long-term relationship with News International"? Whatever could he have meant?

In June 2006, the Metropolitan Police carried out a disatrously bungled raid on the home of two brothers, Abdul Koyair and Abdul Kahar, alleged to be in posession of chemical weapons. They actually weren't. The 250 police involved in the raid found no explosives or chemical weapons, but did manage to shoot one of the brothers, Abdul Kahar, in the process of turning up nothing.

The BBC reported at the time:
One report suggests his brother Abul Koyair shot him. Both are under arrest and deny involvement in terrorism.
Guess which paper reported that the police didn't shoot Kahar in the raid, but his own brother did - an allegation that turned out to be totally false, by the way.

Later, after the police bungling was revealed for what it was, allegations that Abdul Kahar had been found with child porn on his mobile phone was leaked to the press. Guess which paper broke the story.

Another allegation that appeared in the press that had the handy effect of making the brothers look a bit dodgy was the revelation that they were found with large amounts of cash - not so odd when you realise that devout Muslims often avoid banks as interest is seen as forbidden. Which paper broke this news I wonder?

A week after the raid, one paper alleged, falsely, that one brother had a criminal record, while another alleged, falesly, that one committed an offence as a juvenile.  Guess which company owns these papers.

The Forest Gate raid was not the only bungled operation by police in 2005 and 2006. Jean Charles de Menesez was infamously shot dead by armed police who mistook him for an attempted suicide bomber in 2005. In 2006, while the News of the World was being investigated for the phone hacking scandal, completely false allegations that de Menezes had raped a woman appeared in the press. Which part of the press broke that story?

The first two stories appeared first in the News of the World. The third appeared first in News of the World sister paper, the Sun.  The fourth appeared first in News International's the Times, and the fifth in the Sun.  The sixth seems to have been broken by the Sun.

The Scotland Yard press officer involved denies attempting to repress information and says he cannot recall the events in the New York Times article, of course.

But if there was a "long-term relationship" between the Metropolitan Police and News International that led to the police perhaps not investigating phone hacking at the News of the World quite as hard as they could, what sort of thing could the Met expect in return, do you think?


Zefrog said...

No to mention that (as per the NYT article - page 8):

"Andy Hayman, who ran the case for Scotland Yard, has since retired. He declined to comment for this article. He is currently a columnist for The Times of London, where he has written in defense of the police investigation and maintained there were “perhaps a handful” of hacking victims. The paper is owned by News International. "

gregorach said...

"You might not have noticed because most of the British press seems curiously reluctant to cover it"

The first rule of the British press is: you do not talk about the British press.

The second rule of the British press is: you DO NOT talk about the British press.

exclarotive said...

I think the fact that the info about the rape allegations appeared in NI papers before any others is pretty damning. But the fact they were false/unproven is less so, unless you think the (admittedly unnamed) accuser was made up by the Met.

Five Chinese Crackers said...


You're quite right. It's more of a problem that NI papers were tipped off with the story than it turned out to be false.

exclarotive said...

There's definitely scope for a good look at the Met and the media generally, too - what about Parameswaran Subramanyam and the Big Macs while on hunger strike? That information came from somewhere...

Green Goddess said...

The Brutish Press have finally broken ranks because a lot of them don't want to go down with Coulson. If they can establish there was a pattern of lawlessness, bullying and general thuggishness at the NOTW under Coulson, they can give evidence against him in any final prosecution. I think there has to be one, he's a nasty bully and now right at the heart of Government which just makes you wonder what David Cameron's judgement is like when it is at home.
Interesting to see if they'll leap-with caution - after the rest of the investigation is published this Sunday.

Katabasis said...

Good blog Crackers, though as people have been noting elsewhere, this appears to be a scourge affecting the whole British MSM:

For example.

All of the calls for an investigation appear to be begging the question, because at this stage I don't know who any of us could trust to carry one out.

Tony_E said...

I wonder if we are all looking at this from the wrong angle. Newspapers are expected to behave badly, they always have and they always will. But the state has usually done so too, it's just that we rarely knew about it in the 50s or 60s because the press were either complient, or slapped with D notices.

So what if there is more to the Police collusion that meets the eye? The police is investigating cash for honours, illegal donations and various other high profile cases which may involve politicians or celebrities. They have a discreet meeting with someone from a newspaper and says - 'we can't get a warrant for this without it becoming public, and if there's nothing there we will have caused a lot of trouble. Why don't you do some digging on our behalf and we will promise to allow you to use what you find as soon as the case is broken - or if turns out to be just embarrasing rather than criminal. We've got your back, you won't get prosecuted as long as you are discreet.'

It's a good deal for Scotland Yard, it's a great deal for the newspapers. Impossible? Not really, intelligence services made all sorts of deals all over the world during the cold war - very little is impossible if the incentives are there.

Cassas said...

The examples you give are fairly damning but I can't help feel that it is boarding on a conspiracy theory.

You could just be cherry picking evidence. I mean it is not like the tabloid press in general need any help from the Met Police to be anti Muslim or in their eyes anti-terrorist.

I'm not saying there isn't grounds for an investigation but the examples you give could be just a coincidence that the tabloid anti Muslim rhetoric happened to fit in with the Met Police's version of events.

The phone hacking scandal is bad enough on its own but a conspiracy in which the Met Police provide false information to News International in order to pervert the course of justice is very serious indeed.