It Could Happen Here: Beware of Hackers Like Rebekah Brooks
I hope that the US authorities are keeping a close eye on proceedings in little old London town involving Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, and that of one of his former closest colleagues, the editor of the now closed News of the World newspaper, Rebekah Brooks. She and her husband have now been charged with perverting the course of jutice. Translated this means that she and her husband, Charlie Brooks, a long term friend of the Prime Minister, David Cameron, have been accused of hiding or destroying evidence that might be incriminating against them.
All of this is related to the hacking of personal telephones on an industrial scale by tabloid titles in Britain owned by Murdoch. This practice was especially rife at the intensely low brow News of the World, and goes osme of the way to explaining why so many politicians, celebrities and other prominent figures lived in fear of provoking Ms Brooks and her newspaper - for vengeance could be swift and unmerciful. Those deemed 'enemies' could find that retribution wasn't long in coming their way.
I had a couple of run-ins with Rebekah Brooks, most notably on the Brighton seafront after her newspaper had begun publishing the names and addresses of accused paedophiles. For one of the first vicitims of the mob justice that followed was in fact a man from Port Talbot in South Wales, who had a brass plaque outside his practice which read 'Paedriatrician'. I went up to Brooks, and told her that I thought her campaign was 'utterly disgusting' and that she 'should be ashamed of herself'. Shame and Rebekah Brooks should be regular bed fellows, that they were not and are not, possibly goes some way to explaining her current predicament. Shortly afterwards we published her picture and address on the front cover of Tribune, the newspaper I was then editing.
A number of people have already won substantial damages from News Corporation following the discovery that their phones had been hacked. So I'm rather grandly hoping that the same fate may have befallen my cell phone after my run-ins with her - and that I too could be in line for a Murdoch pay off.
Rebekah Brooks, who has accused her accusers of a 'witch hunt', is now appearing on the front cover of satirical magazine Private Eye, as an accused in the infamous Salem trials. She is literally being thrown to the wolves by a new political Establishment in Britain anxious to put as much distance between themselves and her as possible.
Yet, Rebekah Brooks and the News of the World were most certainly not the only newspapers who hacked into people's cell phones. She is not the only editor or ex editor who sanctioned this activity - and, as we are likely to find out in the not so distant future also sanctioned hacking into emails.
Which is why I do hope that the US authorities are indeed watching very carefully what is happening on this side of the pond. For if hacking could be done on such an industrial scale here, why couldn't it have been done in the United States?