Jarod Kintz once wrote: ““I once saw a snake having sex with a vulture, and I thought, It’s just business as usual in Washington DC.?” Apparently it’s also business as usual among the elites in the UK as well. We submit to you the case of one former Prime Minister named Tony Blair, who was quietly advising Rebekah Brooks behind the scenes in the phone hacking scandal involving Rupert Murdoch-owned news outlets:
Tony Blair advised Rebekah Brooks to launch a “Hutton style” inquiry into phone hacking at the News of the World at the height of the scandal over the issue, according to an email that has emerged at the Old Bailey trial.
The revelation emerged in an email that was read to the jury in the hacking trial on Wednesday, and followed what Brooks said was an hour-long phone call.
According to the email, sent the day after the News of the World’s final issue and six days before Brooks was arrested, Blair also told her he was “available” to her and Rupert and James Murdoch as an “unofficial adviser” on a “between us” basis.
The advice was said to have been given on 11 July 2011 and contained in an email she sent at 4.20pm to James Murdoch, the then executive chairman of News International.
According to Brooks’s note, Blair advised her to set up an “independent” inquiry, suggesting it could have “outside counsel, Ken Macdonald [the former director of public prosecutions], a great and good type”.
He said the inquiry would be “Hutton style” – a reference to Lord Hutton’s inquiry into the death of David Kelly – and would “clear” her, but warned that “shortcomings” would have to be accepted as a result of the report.
This is the kind of smelly corruption often portrayed in films. In the case of Blair, his political stock has plummeted in recent years as more and more info came out about how then President George Bush was determined to invade Iraq and Blair knew Sadaam Hussein actually had few weapons of mass destruction. But, like Bush, Blair made a pitch to citizens of his country that was peppered with exaggerations and was at best inaccurate, at worst, a lie that he knew was a lie.
If you want a glimpse into the utterly corrupt British Establishment under Tony Blair, look no further than the evidence produced yesterday at Rebekah Brooks’s trial in charges of phone-hacking. At the time, the Labour Party leadership was demanding full accountability from the various Murdoch papers involved in hacking phones. The former PM was privately backing the Murdochs….
But the real news here is his proposal of a “Hutton-style” report. What does that mean? It refers to the Hutton Inquiry into the death of David Kelly, a top government scientist who committed suicide after his skepticism of the Blair government’s claims about Saddam’s WMDS went public. That inquiry was widely viewed at the time as a total whitewash – a way to seem to be investigating a deeply troubling matter while essentially rigging its conclusions in advance. And that was the view of Tory papers as well as Labour ones. So why would Tony Blair be looking for a way for the Murdochs to avoid the reckoning they now face?
Blair is sort of like New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie: it’s evident more tidbits will come out about him and its highly likely it’s going to be damaging to his reputation. Meanwhile, expect some enterprising journalists to be curious about whether the Hutton Inquiry deserves another look…
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.