Tuesday 25 September 2012

Alastair Morgan On The Latest Hackgate Revelations

In this past week it seems the Hackgate scandal has begun to make comeback, with new claims in the Independent and Evening Standard which have included allegations that the News of the World ordered Southern Investigations to carry out burglaries on their behalf, a police mole at Southern Investigations being exposed by a hacker with links to the News of the World, and other allegations relating to the blackmailing of ministers and MPs using information obtained by Southern Investigations.

This has all been of great interest to Alastair Morgan, whose brother, Daniel Morgan, set up Southern Investigations in 1984 with Jonathan Rees, and was murdered in 1987 after attempting to expose Southern Investigations' involvement in alleged police corruption.  A number of police investigations into the murder were seemingly undermined by the police's close relationship with Southern Investigations, and the latest revelations in the press are linked to the work of a police undercover operative, Derek Haslam, who was supposedly placed at Southern Investigations as part of an inquiry into Daniel Morgan's murder.  Earlier today I spoke to Alastair Morgan about the latest allegations in the press:

What do you think of this quote from Jonathan Rees' video interview in the Independent, re Daniel's murder?
I think that's one of the biggest deceptions of all time.  I don't think any of the senior MET police officers whatsoever cared less about the Morgan murder - they couldn't care less.
I never comment on anything that Mr Rees says.

Do you believe then that Operation Nigeria was just used as an excuse to get a listening probe into Southern Investigations to find out what information they were gathering about the MET and senior officers?

I believe that this was part of the Met’s motivation.

Firstly, Operation Nigeria was carried out behind our backs after a meeting between my former MP (now Lord Chris Smith of Finsbury) and the then Deputy Commissioner John Stevens. My family were not allowed to know what was going on in that inquiry. That alone creates suspicion, given the history of the case up to that time. We also know since the Leveson Inquiry that Lord Stevens (as he is now) says he was not briefed about the evidence of extensive police/media (NoW) corruption that was uncovered during that investigation, despite the fact that Bob Quick - who took over responsibility for that operation from John Yates in January 1999 - wrote a report recommending further investigation and prosecutions for his superior, Andy Hayman. Mr Quick told the Leveson Inquiry that Scotland Yard had refused to provide him with a copy of his report to help him prepare his statement for Leveson. As Deputy Commissioner, John Stevens was responsible for force discipline and, given the evidence of extensive police/media corruption uncovered, he must at the very least have not been in control of his command. The fact that he was coached for his interview for the Commissioner’s post by Neil Wallis and took on a columnist contract for NoW after he left the Met has left  a very bad taste in my mouth. 

At this time, I know of only one instance when the probe deployed in Southern Investigations was used specifically to gather evidence on Daniel’s murder. This took place at a time when police knew they were going to have to close the operation down to make arrests  in an ongoing conspiracy by Jonathan Rees and others (including a serving police officer, Austin Warnes) to plant cocaine on an innocent woman in order to discredit her in a child-custody battle.

Tom Watson MP has called for all Operation Nigeria tapes to be transcribed. What other action do you now think is needed?

This would be very much in the public interest, as would a full judicial inquiry into the police’s handling of Daniel murder.

How does this new information help your call for a full inquiry into Daniel's killing?

Much of the recently publicised allegations only amplify the deeply unhealthy relationship between the Met, NoW and Southern Investigations that became evident during the Leveson inquiry, most specifically in the evidence that NoW interfered with an investigation into Daniel’s murder in 2002, when DCS David Cook and his family were placed under surveillance by journalists from NoW. Since the collapse of the prosecution in March 2011, we have become aware that two witnesses allege that Daniel actually approached NoW with an expose of police corruption shortly before he was murdered. The most recent allegations only underline the need for a full judicial inquiry. 

With new and increasingly serious accusations against Southern Investigations being made all the time do you think it's time for there to be an inquiry in to their activities, including their possible links with the murder of your brother?  If so, what form would you like that inquiry to take?

A full judicial inquiry or a possibly panel of inquiry as in the Hillsborough disaster are the only real options, in my view.

You can read more about the Morgan family's campaign at the Justice 4 Daniel Website, as well as following the campaign on Twitter.

Related Articles
Alex Marunchak - Presumed Innocent
The Milly Dowler Hacking - Part 1: Questions Still Unanswered
Operation Tuleta - A Second Look
The Cook-Hames Surveillance : A Watched Kettle...
Hackgate for Beginners - The Murder of Daniel Morgan

You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at brownmoses@gmail.com

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