At the press conference for the release, Watson called News Corporation a "toxic institution" that operated as a "shadow state" in Britain, subverting law and ethics at will, intimidating and/or bribing any official who tried to stand in its way.
One of the News Corporation employees Watson charged with intimidation was former News of the World editor and current New York Daily News editor-in-chief Colin Myler:
Tom Watson, joint author of Dial M for Murdoch, said that the book also featured allegations that Murdoch's News of the World set out to search for "secret lovers" or "extramarital affairs" of MPs on the culture, media and sport select committee in 2009.
At a packed press conference, Watson, a member of the Commons culture select committee, said that the surveillance revelation – passed to him by former News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck – demonstrated how the Murdoch organisation tried to intimidate parliament.
Thurlbeck gave Watson an interview, with a witness present, in which he said that the then News of the World editor, Colin Myler, told journalists on the Sunday tabloid to "find out everything you can about every single member".
At the time, the select committee was conducting its second inquiry into phone hacking, in the wake of revelations in the Guardian that the practice went beyond a single "rogue reporter" at the tabloid.
The aim was to discover "who was gay, who had affairs, anything we can use," according to Thurlbeck, as quoted in the book. "Each reporter was given two members [MPs] and there were six reporters that went on for around 10 days."
The Guardian blog from yesterday has additional details about Myler's orders to try and dig up dirt on politicians in order to subvert justice and just how successful that gambit was:
I am sorry to say that this tactic was successful, the committee's legitimate investigation was undermined and parliament was, in effect, intimidated. News International thought it could do this, that they would get away with it, that no one could touch them, and they actually did it, and it worked.
Although the committee wanted Brooks to give evidence, its members, whose private lives News International had pored over, capitulated and decided not to summons her…
The gay Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price … claimed that the committee's members had been warned that if they had called Brooks, their private lives would be raked over.
He said later: "I was told by a senior Conservative member of the committee, who I knew was in direct contact with executives at News International, that if we went for her, they would go for us - effectively they would delve into our personal lives in order to punish [us].
If this allegation is proven true, Colin Myler doesn't belong at the helm of the New York Daily News printing smear stories about NYC public school teachers with titles like PERV TEACHERS CAN'T BE TOUCHED - he belongs in jail.
In Britain the phrase perversion of justice refers to
a criminal offence in which someone prevents justice from being served on himself or on another party. It is a common law offence carrying a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Perverting the course of justice can be any of three acts:
- Fabricating or disposing of evidence
- Intimidating or threatening a witness or juror
- Intimidating or threatening a judge
Also criminal are (1) conspiring with another to pervert the course of justice and (2) intending to pervert the course of justice.
If Colin Myler ordered News of the World reporters to dig up dirt on Parliament members to intimidate them from continuing an investigation into phone hacking by News of the World employees, he is guilty of perverting justice and ought to be arrested.
Former News of the World reporter Neville Thurlbeck gave this information to Watson in an interview in which there was a third party present. Thurlbeck today walked back the allegation saying he was
"surprised and disappointed" with Watson, because he said that the MP had chosen to make a private conversation public. He said that he had "no evidence" to support the belief that the monitoring request came from the editor's office and added:
"All the staff were very reluctant to carry out this surveillance for logistical and ethical reasons and they introduced a degree of procrastination until the plan was suddenly and unexpectedly halted by executives 10 days later and before any surveillance had taken place."
This matter needs further investigation.
While Thurlbeck now denies he has direct evidence that the dirt digging order came from Colin Myler, he doesn't deny that someone at News International did order NOTW reporters to look very deeply into the personal lives of Parliament committee members.
An investigation can determine just who that person or persons were.
So again I ask, did former NOTW editor and current NY Daily News editor-in-chief Colin Myler order NOTW reporters to dig up dirt on committee members in order to intimidate them from calling Rebekah Brooks to testify before the committee investigating phone hacking charges?
Has anybody in the press asked Mr. Myler this?
Has anybody at the Daily News asked Mr. Myler this?
Daily News reporters Ben Chapman likes to cover the crime beat, especially stories about "perverts."
This looks like a story right up his alley - an editor charged as a "pervert of justice."
What say you, Ben?
Why not get right on this story?