UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Cameron two steps away from the axe?

What links David Cameron to a murder in a South London pub in 1987 the year the News International dispute at Wapping ended? And could this be one of the reasons he will be forced to quit? Pressure is mounting.

On 10 March 1987 the body of a young private investigator called Daniel Morgan was found in the car park of a south London pub. An axe was embedded in his face.

Note the coincidence of the date, it was one month after the collapse of the print worker’s struggle against Murdoch. News International's strategy at Wapping had strong support from Thatcher and the Metropolitan Police and enjoyed almost full production and distribution capabilities and a complement of leading journalists.

The company was therefore content to allow the dispute to run its course. With thousands of workers having gone for over a year without jobs or pay, the strike eventually collapsed on 5 February 1987 ultimately breaking the NUJ, the NGA and SOGAT.

Back in March this year, a former business partner of Morgan’s, Jonathan Rees, together with others, were acquitted at the Old Bailey after the case against the three was dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service. Sid Fillery, a former police detective from Catford, had been cleared of attempting to pervert the course of justice. Rees has previous convictions for serious offences. Rees served seven years from December 2000 for planting drugs on an innocent woman he was trying to frame.

On his release, he was immediately re-engaged by his previous client, the News Of The World, the editor at the time was none other than Andy Culson.

An employee of Morgan’s and Rees’s firm, Southern Investigations, said in evidence 23 years ago that a business contact had talked of wanting Morgan dead and that his police contacts at Catford would help bring this about. We may never know who murdered Daniel Morgan.

In this case there are questions about the role of the police. There have been five police investigations into the Morgan murder, the first of which is now admitted by the Police themselves to have been obstructed by police corruption.

After the collapse of the case Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell, expressed his personal feelings to the Morgan family, describing the outcome as “wholly regrettable.” He went on: “This current investigation has identified, ever more clearly, how the initial inquiry failed the family and the wider public. It was quite apparent that police corruption was a debilitating factor in that investigation…Significant changes have occurred since that time; nevertheless, there are important issues which we need to examine in order to understand what led to today’s decision.”

The only newspaper to have given this case extensive coverage has been the Guardian - from which most of the information in this article was obtained http://shirazsocialist.wordpress.com/2011/07/07/from-the-archive-daniel-morgan-jonathan-rees-and-the-anatomy-of-a-murder/

The Murdoch press has largely ignored it, which is, perhaps not surprising: the main customer of the information that Rees obtained by bribing cops and hacking into phones was the News Of The World (though the Mirror also paid him for information).

Acting Deputy Commissioner John Yates who has recently resigned from the Met and has been heavily criticised by a Parliamentary Committee they stated last night that John Yates made a "serious misjudgment" in deciding in July 2009 that the Met's criminal investigation should not be reopened.

But if Yates has some explaining to do, David Cameron and Nick Clegg have even more: this time-line shows that Andy Coulson (until recently, Cameron’s communications director) must have known about Rees’s activities when he was Deputy Editor and then Editor of the NOTW – and that Cameron must have known this when he gave Coulson his job with the Tories and the coaltion government. Clegg must have known about the prosecution of Rees and its implications when he signed up to Cameron’s coalition.

Cameron is two steps removed from a man, employed by Andy Coulson, who was tried in March 2011 for the axe murder of his former business partner.

The whole business stinks of criminality, police corruption and Tory/Lib-Dem complicity. Meanwhile the killers of Daniel Morgan and their police friends have gone free, while his family are left to grieve. Morgan’s brother Alistair told the Guardian: “It was obvious my brother was going to blow the lid off the links between the police and criminals.”