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back to article Sunday Times accused of blagging Gordon Brown's records

News International journalists from multiple papers persistently tried to get gossip on the former prime minister Gordon Brown by "blagging" access to his bank account, legal documents and even his son's medical records, it has been alleged. Previously, allegations of phone hacking and other illegal activity have centred upon …

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Flame

Journalistic pondlife

Scumbags, shysters and tabloid journalists...

Not even politicians should have to put up with these cretinous dregs of society. "In the public interest"? A child's personal medical records will NEVER be something that should be in the public domain. There is no benefit to society.

I hope a damned good example is made of these assholes.

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Megaphone

The collective noun for tabloid journalists....

....a "shyster".

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I always thought it was

"a gaggle of cunts"

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Pint

Well...

I too find it despicable that these lowlife scum would go after a child's details however who is it that schmoozes these scum to ensure that Joe Public is goaded to vote "correctly"? The PM's PR office is on very good terms with the various papers to ensure the public's conscience is tweaked appropriately come election time. Mr Cameron and Mr Coulson were not best bud's simply because they may share the same tailor.

I think all politicians and media corps are utter scum as they feed of each other then feign indignation when the other get's caught with their pants down, it's just a shame that innocents have to be caught in the middle.

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How many extensions do you need

on your ladder to mount that high horse?

I read NotW was the biggest selling British newspaper so obviously plenty of public were interested in their stories however they got hold of them.

I personally don't give a rats arse about what is wrong with the prime minister's kid, I equally don't give a rats arse about anyone else knowing it.

We absolutely need a free press and investigative journalism. The press deserve a slap on the wrist for what they did the beheading we got and petit-bourgeois lynch mob screaming for the rest of them.

Shame the NotW folded like a wet tissue, I would have like to see them ask their readers to vote with their pockets, then we might have seen what real public rather than politician/media opinion is.

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WTF?

@JP19

To describe what the News of the Screws did as "investigative journalism" or the actions of a "free press" simply shows that you have *no* idea what these terms actually mean.

They have managed to twist the definition of "public interest" from "of benefit to the public" to "what people will pay to read" so asking their readers to "vote with their pockets" is nonsense because they and Murdoch know full well that all they had to do was peddle the modern equivalent of Bread and Circuses to keep the money rolling in.

Why should *anyone* apart from the Prime Minister and his family and their doctors be entitled to know anything about the health of his child? I could see a public interest justification if he was abusing his political powers to eg get drugs on the NHS that everybody else has to pay for privately, but otherwise it's nobody's business but theirs whether you give a "rat's arse" or not.

A free press is not one that can simply "publish and be damned", there is a duty of responsibility that goes along with the right to freedom of expression and the NOTW and Murdoch have stepped way over the line.

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@Graham Marsden - their readers to "vote with their pockets" is nonsense becuase...

You know best and the opinion of those scummy people who read the 'tabloids' is worthless.

Tell them that to their face and you would be told to eff off or worse. How sweet it must be to be able to break their toys from a safe distance hiding behind a smoke screen of offence taken on behalf of a handful of politicians, celebs, and poor poor Millie's family.

Of all things about this story that make me want to puke what the NotW hacks did is far from the top of the list.

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Anonymous Coward

@JP19

"Your average facebook using moron"

High horses? Hypocrite. That is all.

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Re: @JP19

Savour this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/9535374.stm

I've watched it 3 or 4 times, simply because I was amazed at the self belief and insightlessness of the 'journalist' who sat outside of Steve Coogan's house.

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FAIL

@JP19

Do you want a job? I understand there's a new publication, apparently to be called The Sun on Sunday coming out and they can probably use people like you who manage to twist the words of others into something that they never said.

I am not hiding behind *any* "smoke screen", I know for a fact that the News of the Screws has *LIED* deliberately and repeatedly. misrepresenting facts in stories going back decades but have managed to weasel out of it because the Press Complaints Commission (controlled by newspaper editors *for* newspaper editors) has accepted their BS claims of it being just "a difference of editorial opinion"

Their interest is solely and exclusively to peddle whatever salacious tittle-tattle or scaremongering "isn't it dreadful" garbage which will sell more of their rag, pandering to the lowest common denominator and exploiting those who they claim to be "protecting".

If you think my aim is simply to "break their toys", you have, once again utterly failed to comprehend the issue.

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Happy

Re: I always thought it was

Ooh Betty, I shall report you to (Shadow) Deputy Obergruppenführer Harriet Harman. She'll be on your roof in the morning! ;-)

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Humanity

You have to wonder what sort of a person obtains a sick child's medical records through illegal means and then phones the parents to let them know they're going to see that information splashed across the front of the papers. Rebekah Brooks might not face criminal charges, but she deserves to be reviled every time she appears in public.

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Anonymous Coward

I'll tell you what sort ...

The sort of people the stocks were reserved for.

They ought to bring 'em back. Just this once.

Maybe *that* might wipe the permanent fucking inane grins off their repulsive, lying faces.

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Alert

The thing is...

You have to wonder what sort of a person obtains _anyone's_ medical records through illegal means etc etc.

Sure, the attachment to a sick child makes it worse, but the threshold for outrage should have been crossed a good ways back. Introduce a sick child or your granny into any argument and it will sound really bad - take boxing for example: how would you like it if your granny was repeatedly hit, for sport, with the express aim of knocking her out?

The way these stories have been unfolding are some strange variant on Niemoller's First They Came, but where everyone speaks out at some point. While I'm heartened that they never come for me in this version, I rather think that some allegoric Jews and/or communists and/or trade unionists have been taken away unnecessarily.

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a title

I suppose the fact that the information came from a friend of the Brown family has just passed you by, but then Brown has to jump on the band wagon because the papers dumped him before the last election.

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Hopefully Murdoch is dead meat

I get the impression that politicians of all colours hate having to kow tow to the man & agree to help his business interests. They now smell blood and seem to be united enough to rid themselves of the Murdoch yoke. The country will be the better for it - as long as they don't allow someone else to wear the mantle.

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Agreed

I'm heartened to know that as he approaches the end of his life, that Murdoch will now see before he dies, that history will remember him the way it remembers Randolph Hearst - an evil, manipulative megalomaniac whose grave will be collectively pissed on and whose death will make the world a nicer place.

Just hurry up and die, Murdoch. The world can't be rid of vile filth like you soon enough.

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Rupe had better shut it down immediately then

I look forward to more News International revelations...

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Good for them

The investigation into Brown's finances and purchase of a flat from the Maxwell empire (at an absurd price) is unconnected to the story about Brown's child.

If the British press is legislated into a cage where it can't investigate possible corruption among public figures, we will be in a very unhappy place indeed. Except for politicians and bureaucrats on the take.

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Er, except they didn't

It seems the details were passed to the Sun by a 'friend'. Funny that they also had the Brown's birth card in the paper too. Oh, and a story appeared in the Guardian about the same thing the day before. Including interviews with the Browns.

Also funny that Sarah Brown organised Rebekah Brooks 40th birthday party two years later, and both the Browns attended her wedding. Obviously they really hated what she did.

NI may need kicking, but never, ever believe something that Gordon Brown says. Especially regarding boom and bust.

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He's not from Anonymous

Try not to believe everything Guido Fawkes tells you to believe. Most of it is wrong. I think the last true story he published was the Damian McBride thing, and apparently that was also the result of hacking.

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Stop

@IDoNotThinkSo

^^ TROLL ALERT ^^

Yes, details appeared in The Guardian the day before the Sun splash - and in other papers as well. The reason? Because Gordon Brown was enraged at the Sun announcing that they were going to splash the story the next day and he refused to allow the Sun to have an exclusive - and so made an announcement to the Press Association (note the Guardian article is credited to the PA). There was no interview with the Browns on that day.

And why don't you quote your authorative source that the details were passed by a "friend"? Oh wait, you can't.

Muppet.

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Facepalm

It gets better

Apprently, Brooks was so enraged about Brown having released the details to PA to prevent the Sun exclusive, she threatened him that she would stop him from ever becoming PM!

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Mushroom

Oh look, no medical records were hacked

Source was another visitor to the hospital. Brown was asked about the story by the Sun and he said he'd put out a press release, rather than giving them an exclusive. If he'd told them not to print, then they probably wouldn't have.

http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=1&storycode=47489

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Trollface

Play the man, not the ball

If you don't believe Guido Fawkes, will you believe The New Statesman? This story from Oct 2008 also says Sarah Brown arranged Rebekah Brooke's 40th. http://www.newstatesman.com/uk-politics/2008/10/brown-murdoch-party-press . It covers the whole Brown - NI relationship.

And it's not hard to find a story from June 2009 that the Browns attended her wedding.

But don't let that stop you from saying the Fawkes used emails from hacked email accounts, although no one ever had any evidence of it other than claims raised to deflect from what McBride was planning. It was more likely that someone one the Left actually had a conscience, and shopped McBride and company

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Won't someone think of the children?

The "Damian McBride thing", if it is indeed the result of hacking, is a pretty good example of why such practice is entirely warranted in the right circumstances. That's why there's a public interest test in the UK that weighs against prosecution in such cases - and that same test would apply in the investigation of Brown's purchase.

Corrupt politicians want newspapers to shut the hell up about corruption.

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Big Brother

What?

Do you mean that it comes as a shock that Times journalists came from the same stable at the rest of the scum sucking trotters that worked for NI? No-one realised it? Really?

I thought it was well known that an genteel interview with a Times journalist one day automatically leads to a Sun's 'Vicar's gay lover latex hamster canabalism' headline the next.

Shows how wrong you can be.

P.S. Remind me again who 'outed' the Detective who wrote the Nightjack blog and could not see why it was a bad thing?

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WTF?

Simple

Stop buying the shite they are printing.

Around 8 million copies of the last NOW paper were bought on Sunday thus fuelling the very shite these papers print. I mean seriously, WTF?

All those sheeples outraged at all the allegations and then rush out to buy the bloody companies product.

I am ashamed to be British.

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@ Jim Booth

It won't let me upvote you more than once otherwise I would.

Agree completely with you.

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Ah yes...

...the same sheeple that gawp at the 17 year-old big tits on page three, yet scream to have paedos strung up and would have a near coniption if their own offspring were ever up in print doing a £500 peeling session!

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Flame

Buying Sunday's NOTW

It was announced that all the money for that day was going to charity.

I was going to buy one, but then i thought "meh"

Flames, 'cos that's what I'd have done with it, and then refused to piss on it. Would have made a great photo.

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FAIL

Re: Ah yes...

"the same sheeple that gawp at the 17 year-old big tits on page three, yet scream to have paedos strung up "

WTF? A seventeen year old girl is of the age of consent, probably sexually active and quite frankly it's perfectly natural for a heterosexual male to be attracted to her. If you think a man liking a 17 year old is "peadophillia" then you have no idea what peadophillia actually is. Peadophillia is attraction to prebuscenents, not upper-teens.

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Will the contagion spread?

I've always suspected that other papers used 'phone hacking', just because it's so damned easy, once you know the trick. I remember enabling remote voicemail access on Orange, back in the 90s, and thinking that with a default password of 0000, anyone could get in... I seem to remember although you had to enable it, but it was also a side effect of allowing use of v-m when abroad.

Maybe others had more scruples, but I've got strong suspicions not, either in the tabloids, or on big investigations in the broadsheets.

I'm pretty sure they all use blagging though. I suspect some people would say the ends justify the means then. If it's an investigation into corruption, maybe OK, fucking over someone because their kid is seriously ill, not so much...

Didn't the ICO report that the tabloids were using private investigators hundreds of times over a 3 year period they investigated?

Also all the tabloids (at least) have been paying the police for info for decades. Would be a bit harsh to put someone in prison for that, when the police, politicians and journos (and everyone else) have all known it's been rife. Makes you wonder about the story on all the Merseyside police guys accessing Steven Gerrard's record (Reg story last week I think)... Who wasn't just doing it for fun?

If the investigation doesn't spread to other papers soon, then Murdoch's empire is going to be in deep, deep shit. What if they fail him on the fit and proper persons test, and make him sell up, and maybe Sky as well? Or other countries where he's unpopular start investigations?

I've heard a few journos over the last few days admit that they've had no training on what's legal or ethical in investigations, and their papers don't have rules to consult. So it's all down to gut feeling, what the editor allows afterwards, or you can get away with. Some have compared this to the Beeb, or other TV stations, where there are huge rule-books - but I think broadcasting is much more tightly regulated than print.

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Something odd here

"I've heard a few journos over the last few days admit that they've had no training on what's legal or ethical in investigations, and their papers don't have rules to consult. So it's all down to gut feeling, what the editor allows afterwards, or you can get away with."

Yet I hear of new journalists being expected to have degrees in Journalism.

Isn't this sort of necessary knowledge part of the degree course? If it isn't, it ought to be.

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Pint

A degree in blagging is much more useful

"Expected to have a degree in journalism" in much the same way as mall Santas are expected to have a degree in children's entertainment.

In other words, what you hear is almost entirely the product of the fertile imaginations of those whose job it is to sell degrees in journalism.

It's an unregulated profession. If you can convince the editor or proprietor that you're the journalist material you're looking for, then you're in. What part a degree plays in that decision depends pretty much entirely on who you're dealing with.

And long may it remain so. The last thing the economy needs is yet another profession closing itself off to people just because they don't have the right paperwork.

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@ Dave Bell

I heard someone who runs a journalism degree course on the radio last night. Apparently ethics is a one-year mandatory course on all degrees. However it's not part of the diploma courses you can take - although these do cover the law.

However journalism degrees aren't the only source (or even main source) of recruits. Of the journos I know, 1 took a diploma, and one sort of fell into it. Of the several that I've heard interviewed about how they got into it, I don't remember any having taken a degree. The old route was get into local paper, and work your way up. How recruitment is done now, I don't know - although quite a bit of it is: Know someone in industry, become intern (get paid nothing for a year), get job if they like you.

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@IDontThinkSo

This would be very newsworthy if true - headline material in fact for a company under such pressure. It would also be really easy for them to check through their archives.

So I went to both the Sun and the Times homepages - nope. Not a sausage. No news on the Sun homepage anyway and the Times indeed has the Brown story but - you guessed it - no mention of the 'facts' you present. None on the Guardian either, but of course you'd probably say they have a bigger vested interest in kicking NI than in catching out a former PM in a flagrant and obvious lie.

Interesting that... I'll keep an eye out for it though. I always keep an open mind

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Try here

If you want information on this, try The Guardian....

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/blog/2011/jul/12/phone-hacking-scandal-live-coverage?commentpage=17#start-of-comments#block-14

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Still open-minded?

Which 'facts' are you seeking to verify - that NI's defence is that there was no hacking of the child's medical records?

http://paidcontent.co.uk/article/419-the-sun-denies-brown-allegations-as-murdochs-brooks-brace-for-mp-questi/ may be of some help.

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Black Helicopters

If they were hacking his records while he was a sitting PM

it's a national security issue. Get the terror squad in and send the bastards to Gitmo.

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Mushroom

Re: If they were hacking his records while he was a sitting PM

And at the airport give Gary McKinnon the best seat in the house to wave the bastards off.

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Black Helicopters

Troll? I don't think so.

The Sun are indeed suggesting that their source was a friend of Brown:

http://twitter.com/tombradby

I don't think for one minute that the Sun should have published it, but I'm prepared to believe this is one story that didn't involve illegal activity.

And why didn't the Browns just take out an injunction? Seems to be a good case for one here.

And if they really thought the Rebekah Brooks was to blame, why invite her to parties, attend her wedding etc etc?

Gordon just can't accept that he lost he election because he was cr*p, not because of a Murdoch conspiracy.

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Megaphone

If the bridge fits...

>And if they really thought the Rebekah Brooks was to blame, why invite her to parties, attend

>her wedding etc etc?

Gee, maybe because Screws International has too much influence on British politics and keeping your enemies closer is a well know tactic? Same reason Murdoch could make any sitting PM fetch and carry.

>Gordon just can't accept that he lost he election because he was cr*p, not because of a

>Murdoch conspiracy.

What the one when no one got an absolute majority, speaks volumes to the crapness of the rest of them really.

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WTF?

my bullshit radar is starting to tingle

... if voicemail hacking were *that* easy, then the field was open for loads of contrived stories to be planted in peoples voicemails ... I know I would have had a field day. And given the general wiki-copying fact-checking track record of the british press (i.e. fuck all) there should have been loads.

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Boffin

Oh yeah?

So , how many Murdophobes here will be cancelling thier Sky contracts?

Hello?

Hello?

Thought so.

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Go

@Elmar Phud

or just maybe we never pay for that shite in the 1st place

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Big Brother

Um, me, actually ...

Tonight. Always loathed the digger, now's as good a time as any. Freesat + Orange, here I come. Shame the telco's ran out of money before they got cable up my street.

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Stop

We're all to blame

Perhaps some less than others but how many complained about was done in the past, railed against press intrusions, tried to get things changed?

We may be outraged now (*) but we all stood by and let evil flourish. Martin Niemöller also had some apt words on the lack of concern as we have exhibited.

(*) Some truly are, but many are simply jumping on the bandwagon, lynch mob mentality as usual, which is how we got ourselves into this mess in the first place. It's quite amusing really.

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Hmmm

I accept that the Guardian piece was a spoiler to the Sun article but why didn't Gordon shout about the Sun's tactics after the Sun had published?

I do not believe that the public would consider it acceptable in any form for the child's medical records to be "blagged" and splashed over the papers. It would also show up the "medical databases are safe" nonsense which many have spoken about for a long time.

It could have kick started a data privacy debate and taken a bit of power away from the media - but oh no, Gordon (or the Labour spin machine) tried to use it for his own advantage rather than any public good.

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