As the years go by, the smell intensifies. 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. It was an email from the former prime minister to the disgraced editor offering his personal assistance and help as she faced down the scandal of the criminality on Fleet Street. 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. Money quote from Brooks’s email to James Murdoch:
I had an hour on the phone to Tony Blair. He said:
1. Form an independent unit that has a outside junior council, ken macdonald, a great and good type, a serious forensic criminal barrister, internal council, proper fact checkers etc in it. Get them to investigate me and others and publish a hutton style report.
2. Publish part one of the report at same time as the police closes its inquiry and clear you and accept short comings and new solutions and process and part two when any trials are over.
3. Keep strong and definitely sleeping pills. Need to have clear heads and remember no rash short term solutions as they only give you long term headaches.
4. It will pass. Tough up.
5. He is available for you, KRM and me as an unofficial adviser but needs to be between us.
He is sending more notes later.”
Not exactly a disinterested party is he? 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? Developing …
(Photo: Former British prime minister Tony Blair leaves after giving evidence at the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics at the High Court in central London on May 28, 2012. Blair told a press ethics inquiry Monday that he got too close to Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. By Carl Court/AFP/GettyImages. Illustration: the front cover of the Independent newspaper after the publication of the Hutton Inquiry’s findings.)