Saturday 23rd of August 2014

doctor blair is in...


doctor blair

Former British prime minister Tony Blair offered to act as an "unofficial adviser" to Rebekah Brooks and Rupert Murdoch during the phone-hacking scandal, a London court has heard.

Brooks, the former head of Mr Murdoch's British newspaper arm, is facing trial at London's Old Bailey court on hacking-related charges.

Prosecutors have told the court that Brooks had an hour-long phone conversation with Mr Blair in July 2011 at the height of a furore over the hacking allegations.

The jury was read an email she wrote to Mr Murdoch's son James summing up the advice Mr Blair allegedly gave her.

"He (Blair) is available to you, KRM and me as an unofficial adviser but needs to be between us," said the email from Brooks to the younger Murdoch, who at the time ran News Corp's operations in Britain.


advice from Dr Weasel...

Rebekah Brooks email on Tony Blair advice - PDFEmail exchange between News International chief executive and James Murdoch that has emerged at the phone-hacking trial

Blair advised Brooks on phone-hacking scandal, court hears

of course...

Blair actually advised Brooks to take "sleeping" pills... No kidding!... But Gus made a Freudian slip...


According to the email the advice was given in an hour-long phone conversation. Blair advised her to "tough up" and not to make any "rash short-term solutions as they only give you long-term headaches." He also told her to "keep strong" and advised her to take "sleeping pills".

Prosecutor Andrew Edis read out the entire email exchange between Brooks and James Murdoch to the jury as part of the formal conclusion of the Crown's case.

no idea....

Rebekah Brooks has told the phone-hacking trial in London she was not aware the practice was illegal while working at the News of the World.

Brooks said she had never been asked to sanction phone hacking during in her time as editor of the now defunct Murdoch publication between 2000 and 2003.

She said it was only when a private detective working for the paper, Glenn Mulcaire, and the paper's then royal editor, Clive Goodman, were arrested in 2006 that she became aware the practice was illegal.

The revelation in 2011 that murdered schoolgirl Millie Dowler's phone had been intercepted by the tabloid while the 13-year-old was missing led to widespread public condemnation that caused Mr Murdoch to shut the 168-year-old paper and forced Brooks to resign.


like a pretty flower in a field of weeds... did not know it was illegal to be a weed...

the blair virus...

By Toby Manhire In The Internaut


A lot of people don’t like Tony Blair. He’s used to that, perhaps, given the titanic animus he attracted from many of his own colleagues when British prime minister. But since he began his post-parliamentary career, which has in large part resembled a Madame Tussauds waxwork being wheeled around the world, the venom has just mounted.

He was the “man who turned amorality into an art form”, said one commentator, not untypically. He had “become a George Galloway with a Learjet at his disposal”, said another (and that’s from a former Blair cheerleader, one who really loathes George Galloway). There’s even a global campaign devoted to getting him arrested for his and Britain’s part in the war in Iraq.

And now he’s had a disease named after him, and it sounds nasty. Blair Disease.

Describing “the growing propensity of former heads of government to monetise their service”, Simon Kuper writes in the Financial Times’FT Magazine, the condition afflicts former leaders who amass great wealth as they become mouthpieces for all sorts of characters, some of them unsavoury.

The exemplar of the form, Blair “has shilled for JPMorgan Chase, Qatar and Kazakhstan’s cuddly regime”. But he’s not alone. “Former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder and former French president Nicolas Sarkozy have terrible Blair Disease too.”

A year before Schröder left the chancellorship, he identified Vladimir Putin as a “flawless democrat”. Soon afterwards, as if by magic, Schröder was hired by the Russian gas company Gazprom. Last month he was chastising German media for their bias against the Sochi Olympics. He himself discerned a “wonderful atmosphere” in Sochi.

Sarkozy leapt nimbly from ruling France to speaking at banking conferences. At a Goldman Sachs do in November he announced, in English, “I am ready to run a business” – and with friends like that it won’t be a start-up in his garage.

While the disease is relatively new among European leaders, it has long infected America’s ruling class, says Kuper. “Most ex-leaders link up with the plutocratic class while still in office,” he writes. “These people have been planning their careers since kindergarten.”

The sight of ex-leaders joining the 0.1%is the perfect election present to populist parties. Blair, a notional leftist, is Britain’s most vivid symbol of elite self-enrichment. Populists couldn’t have made him up …

Blair after Downing Street could have helped Britain. Running a state is the sort of job that you only get your head around by the time you leave it. Shortly before resigning, Blair bowled over some visitors to Downing Street with a brilliant analysis of Putin. That’s what 10 years as PM gives you. If only he’d then become a disinterested voice in British politics. Whenever his ousted predecessor John Major spoke in parliament on his special subject, Northern Ireland, MPs actually listened. In Germany, the word Altkanzler – former chancellor – long denoted a moral institution, a servant of the nation who spoke with unmatched experience. That could have been Schröder.

Kuper is not just in the business of diagnosis, however. He has a remedy, too: “ex-leaders from doing paid work for private interests. This free measure would instantly deflate populism, keep experience inside government and attract a better class of person to the job.”

Still, at least one commentary this week pipes up in Blair’s defence – and from an unlikely quarter, too: Zoe Williams in the Guardian. She argues that the British left is hamstrung by its widespread inability, or refusal, to consider Blair’s achievements beyond the Iraq war and his reductive “war criminal” epithet. I daren’t read the comments beneath, which already number about 1,000. She doesn’t mention Kazakhtan, either.


read more:


See toon at top...

when the underlings are taking the pot-shots for the boss...

Andy Coulson has admitted his affair with fellow Murdoch newspaper editor Rebekah Brooks was wrong, as he gave evidence for the first time in Britain's long-running, phone-hacking trial.

The former editor of the now-defunct News of the World, who became prime minister David Cameron's communications chief, finally entered the witness box at the Old Bailey court in London, more than five months into the case.

The 46-year-old, married father-of-three acknowledged the "pain" the on-off relationship with co-defendant Brooks had caused his wife.

"There was an affair that started in 1998. It ended quite soon after but it did restart," Coulson said.

"It was not by any means continual. There were very long periods, very long periods, where the relationship was what it should have been.

"But I don't want to minimise it or excuse it. It was wrong and it shouldn't have happened and I take my full share of responsibility for the pain it has caused other people, not least my wife."

Coulson denies one charge of conspiracy to hack phones and two of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.

Formerly the show business editor on sister tabloid The Sun, Coulson became the News of the World's deputy editor in 2000 under Brooks.

He then replaced her as editor in 2003 when she moved up to become chief executive of Rupert Murdoch's whole British newspaper stable.