Socialist Worker

Murdoch’s newspapers paid for spook on spook crime

Issue No. 2575

The Force Research Unit in 1988, Ian Hurst circled on the left and Philip Smith circled on the right

The Force Research Unit in 1988, Ian Hurst circled on the left and Philip Smith circled on the right

Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers apologised in court and agreed to pay damages to a former army officer whose computer and emails were hacked.

At the high court News Group admitted that a private investigations firm had hacked the computer of Ian Hurst. The computer was hacked by Philip Smith.

Oddly, Smith and Hurst both served in the Force Research Unit (FRU), a secret unit of the British army in Northern Ireland. The unit armed and organised Loyalist death squads. They are pictured together above.

Private detective Jonathan Rees employed Smith as an investigator. Smith was jailed for stealing secret information from the Police National Computer.

Hurst recorded Smith saying he was in contact with Andy Coulson who went on to be a spin doctor for David Cameron.

Alex Marunchak, a News Of The World executive and Metropolitan Police employee, requested the hacking of Hurst’s computer.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)—now known as the National Crime Agency—found out about the hacking and passed the info to the Met in 2006.

The cops then did precisely nothing with the information.

Hurst was involved in naming former IRA interrogator Freddie Scappaticci as a British spy.

Smith and Hurst both published tenuous accounts of their role in Northern Ireland.

Hurst’s former colleagues turned on him. Smith sent out 100 emails revealing Hurst’s real identity.

Smith was charged with intimidating a witness to an inquiry into British collusion with Loyalist paramilitaries.

The current case was between Hurst and News Group, Rees, Smith and Marunchak.

The Murdoch company had previously denied any computer hacking but settled and admitted it last week.

Defending the realm means abuse cover up

Former Tory prime minister Edward Heath would have been quizzed by police over claims he raped and abused seven men and boys, a cops report revealed.

The suggestion from the cops’ that a politician abused children caused right wing outrage.

Yet this week an inquiry was told that prosecutors lied to journalists about their decision not to press charges against the late MP Cyril Smith.

They ruled out prosecuting him in 1970 but denied having ever considered the case.

MI5 knew about the abuse but took no action as its role was “to defend the realm”, the inquiry heard.

Further a report given to Lancashire police’s chief constable in 1970 read, “He has used his unique position to indulge in a sordid series of indecent episodes with young boys towards whom he had a special responsibility.”

The inquiry heard that Margaret Thatcher had been informed about Smith’s abuse before giving him a knighthood. in 1988.


  • The number of claims the Independent Police Complaints Commission has received that cops have taken advantage of vulnerable contacts since the start of April.
  • Cops are being accused of sexually exploiting crime victims and witnesses every three days, new figures show.

Conditions in prisons get even worse

Prison inmates have to eat meals sitting on a bed feet away from an open toilet.

Many cells have broken windows, poor ventilation and heating, graffiti, damp, exposed wiring or vermin infestations.

Without access to cleaning materials, prisoners often have to resort to using T-shirts as makeshift mops.

In many prisons, nearly a third of those held report that they are locked in their cells for at least 22 hours a day.

The latest report from Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke says poor conditions are made worse by overcrowding.

One prisoner in four is held in conditions officially categorised as overcrowded.

Navy torpedo nearly goes nuclear

A navy operator accidentally fired a frigate’s torpedo at a nuclear dockyard during a test.

The unarmed 9ft missile from HMS Argyll shot over a jetty into a fence.

No one was injured in the blunder at Devonport Naval Base, Plymouth, in 2014, a Freedom of Information request revealed.

The unnamed operator returned to work under supervision.

Pauper Boris Johnson needs more money

Boris Johnson raked in almost double his reported income through outside earnings.

The foreign secretary pleaded poverty to friends, saying he struggled to live on his £141,405 ministerial salary because of his “extensive family responsibilities”.

But the register of MP’s interests shows he has made a further £96,676 since being appointed to the cabinet.

Between July 2016 and July 2017, he received £88,678 in royalties from his books and receives at least £10,000 a year in rental income. It’s likely to be higher than that, but the register only requires MPs to specify if it is over £10,000.

So in total, that’s at least an annual income of £238,081—eight times the average wage of full time workers.

But being a minister means he can no longer pursue other money spinning activities like his Telegraph column, from which he earned almost £1 million.

Poll goes south for Tory MP

A Tory MP flouted parliamentary rules by using House of Commons envelopes for sending surveys to constituents ahead of the general election.

Chris Davies MP was criticised by Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Kathryn Hudson. She said the polls were party political and “served to increase awareness of his name”.

Davies apologised and agreed to pay £5,037.


Lesson learned?

University bosses have apologised for using an image of Auschwitz on the front of a welcome pamphlet for new students.

It was on a leaflet for a service at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. After complaints college dean Rev Jeremy Caddick said it referred to a sermon on evil.

The things they say

‘Disenchanted young people are not after Marxist revolution—they want to own a decent house’

Former higher education minister David Willetts

‘What do you think you are doing you nutters?’

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson on those in the Tory party who are disloyal to Theresa May

‘Nimbyism—and it needs to be put down’

Former Tory cabinet minister Lord Tebbit on anti-fracking

‘In 2002 I bet Nigella £15,000 that Boris would be party leader within 15 years’

The odious Toby Young’s wager with Nigella Lawson is running out soon

‘Beef consomme, cream cheese and curry powder blended and topped with jellied soup and a black olive’

Margaret Thatcher's favourite receipe for a “mystery starter” in newly released papers

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