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Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate provides the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

U.K. police chieftain resigns as his officers arrest Murdoch confidante Rebekah Brooks

Things just got worse for for­mer News of the World edi­tor Rebekah Brooks:

Rebekah Brooks has been arrest­ed by police inves­ti­gat­ing alle­ga­tions of phone hack­ing by the News of the World and alle­ga­tions that police offi­cers were bribed to leak sen­si­tive information.

The Met­ro­pol­i­tan police said a 43-year-old woman was arrest­ed at noon on Sun­day, by appoint­ment at a Lon­don police station.

Brooks, 43, resigned on Fri­day as News Inter­na­tion­al’s chief exec­u­tive. She is a for­mer News of the World edi­tor and was close to Rupert Mur­doch and the prime min­is­ter, David Cameron.

A spokesman for Brooks said she did not know she was going to be arrest­ed when she hand­ed in her resignation.

Per­haps she did­n’t know on Fri­day that her arrest this week­end was immi­nent, but she had to have had some inkling that the police were going to be clos­ing in on her at some point. After all, she was in charge of the now defunct News of the World when most of the alleged crimes we’ve heard about were committed.

From our van­tage point halfway around the world, the writ­ing was on the wall.

Mean­while, Britain’s top law enforce­ment offi­cial,  Sir Paul Stephen­son, has announced his res­ig­na­tion from Scot­land Yard.

“I have tak­en this deci­sion as a con­se­quence of the ongo­ing spec­u­la­tion and accu­sa­tions relat­ing to the Met’s links with News Inter­na­tion­al at a senior lev­el and in par­tic­u­lar in rela­tion to Mr. Neil Wal­lis,” Stephen­son said.

(Neil Wal­lis is a for­mer exec­u­tive edi­tor of the News of the World who was hired by Stephen­son as a con­sul­tant  in 2009. The police recent­ly arrest­ed him in con­nec­tion with the phone hack­ing affair).

How­ev­er, he main­tained that his integri­ty had nev­er been compromised.

Sep­a­rate­ly, Labour’s Ed Miliband issued a call for new media own­er­ship rules, say­ing he believed cur­rent reg­u­la­tions were out­dat­ed and new require­ments are sore­ly need­ed to lim­it Rupert Mur­doch’s “dan­ger­ous” and “unhealthy” degree of con­trol over the media land­scape in the Unit­ed Kingdom.

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Nick Clegg, the leader of the Lib­er­al Democ­rats (who forged a coali­tion gov­ern­ment with the Con­ser­v­a­tives last year) said he would be “very hap­py to sit down” with the Labour leader to dis­cuss ideas.

If Labour and the Lib­er­al Democ­rats agree on a pro­pos­al, the Con­ser­v­a­tives, led by Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron, may have lit­tle choice but to go along, since by them­selves, they con­sti­tute a minor­i­ty in Parliament.

Last week, Miliband led the way in insist­ing that Par­lia­ment hold a vote express­ing its oppo­si­tion to News Cor­po­ra­tion’s BSkyB bid. When the Lib­er­al Democ­rats made it clear they would vote for Miliband’s motion, it did­n’t take long for Cameron and the Con­ser­v­a­tives to decide they would fol­low suit. That cre­at­ed a unit­ed front against Mur­doch in the House of Commons.

Rupert Mur­doch and his son James Mur­doch are cur­rent­ly prepar­ing to be grilled before the House of Com­mons’ Cul­ture, Media, and Sport Select Com­mit­tee on Tues­day, accord­ing to news reports.

The Dai­ly Tele­graph has a run­down of who will be ques­tion­ing the Mur­dochs. Among them is Labour’s Tom Wat­son, a dogged crit­ic of News Cor­po­ra­tion who has been after the com­pa­ny for years. Long derid­ed by Mur­doch’s papers, Wat­son has become a hero in Britain overnight for his courage. He stood up to Rupert’s evil empire at a time when oth­ers were afraid to.

The Guardian has an extreme­ly well writ­ten sto­ry explain­ing how Wat­son became a crit­ic of News Cor­po­ra­tion and how he land­ed on the Cul­ture, Media, and Sport Select Com­mit­tee. It’s def­i­nite­ly worth a read.

If the last few days are any indi­ca­tion, the phone hack­ing scan­dal will con­tin­ue to gen­er­ate head­lines for days to come.

This is like Water­gate, only on a short­er timeline.

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  1. […] Philadel­phia Inquir­er. “This is like Water­gate, only on a short­er time­line,” writes the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute Advo­cate. “For this reporter,” says Carl Bern­stein him­self, “it is impos­si­ble not to consider […]

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