[See also: Andy Coulson and Andy Hayman: Friends]
Lately, we have been treated to the ‘earnest’ opinion of one Tory cloaca after another reminding us that Andy Coulson is innocent until proven guilty… as if there is no cause for concern about the way London’s Metropolitan Police Service repeatedly turned a blind eye to available evidence and re-opened their investigation into phone-hacking only hours after Tom Watson demanded it be handed to another police force. You couldn’t shut these fuckers up about the stench of corruption they insisted they could smell everywhere before the Tories took over. In fact, one of Coulson’s loudest cheerleaders even repeatedly assured us of the guilt of Tom Watson during ‘smeargate’, based on evidence he knew to be false at the time. Iain Dale later part-justified this deliberate libel on his assumption that Tom Watson must have known something because he worked in the same office as Damian McBride of Satan*.
However, in this instance, Iain Dale tells us that “Coulson’s accusers can go to hell”, even though Coulson ran the relevant office, and it was and is standard protocol for him and every other editor in the land to check the source of every major story. For Dale to pretend not to know this when he big-notes himself as a responsible publisher goes beyond the absurd; it is an insult.
Dale, like other tabloid scum of his type, is entirely flexible on the matter of ‘innocent until proven guilty’, and his position appears to depend entirely on whose side the accused is on.
(*Psst! Iain’s still rewriting history on this one, too. His latest self-serving interview with Watson is enough to make you sick and, strangely, during this same interview, the subject of Coulson and Watson’s ongoing attempt to hold him to account never comes up. Yet Dale still claims his junk-mail magazine Total Politics couldn’t possibly be biased, when it couldn’t be otherwise with old tilt-head at the helm. Dale is a proven liar, and even his categorical denials about this have turned out to be outright lies. Strangely, even though he has all that Ashcroft money lining his pockets and claims Bloggerheads.com is chock to the brim with libel about him, he has yet to sue. In fact, the only time a claim of libel was ever raised formally, his lawyer quietly dropped the matter after he was challenged to identify a single instance of libel on this site. I guess that’s what you get for signing off on a client’s letter instead of doing your own homework.)
Oh, I do apologise. I’ve inadvertently strayed into an area where the stakes are merely a minor smear about my stalking people that’s been put about by Iain Dale and his dirtbag mates, and how that feeds the accusations/delusions of the man who’s been watching my house (see: irony), when what I really want to do today is show you how flexible Andy Coulson is on the concept of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ when someone gets shot in the head.
Here we turn the clock back to the opening days of June 2005.
Following the rejection of a third inquest into the shooting of Harry Stanley by London Metropolitan Police, the two officers involved in the shooting had just been arrested and interviewed, following an investigation by Surrey Police involving new forensic evidence.
Andy Coulson was at this time the editor of News of the World, and he came out hard in defence of London police in several subsequent editions of this ‘news’ paper. After some research at the British Library Newspaper Reading Room in Colindale (soon to be closed, er, I mean ‘improved’) I have to hand some full-page scans from two of those editions, and I invite you to inspect them.
The first of these scans is dated June 12, 2005, and it presents to readers what the article describes as “dramatic new evidence that could clear two police firearms officers,” stating that “these amazing pictures, uncovered by News of the World, show the policeman could not know he wasn’t holding a gun”:
1. They show that, do they? Looks a tad contrived to me.
2. I’d rather police only killed someone when they were left with no choice because they were certain that person was carrying a gun. (Or maybe wearing a bomb vest. Or perhaps taking part in a peaceful protest.)
3. Gosh, I wonder how News of the World uncovered these amazing pictures.
Note also the
reader ‘jury’ survey, conducted on the back of an earlier opinion piece by Michael ‘Deathwish’ Winner, that clears police. Oh, and also take a look at the enormous picture caption under their ‘evidence’ that echoes a letters-page call to “end this witch hunt”.
Public pressure was a major factor in the subsequent investigation/inquiry process (Coulson’s paper even makes a big deal about the expenditure to date), and this clearly prejudiced stance by the News of the World was a major push to influence public thinking in favour of the police.
The next week, Coulson even had the audacity to run the dead man’s police record past readers as if this somehow excused the decision by officers to shoot him. Without a lick of shame, News of the World describe it as the ‘rap sheet from hell’ (i.e. this is where he must have ended up after police shot him) and even imply that Stanley may have intended suicide (i.e. he deliberately goaded police into shooting him):
See? The blood they shot him in wasn’t cold at all. Why, if you stir it fast and furious enough, the friction alone generates just enough heat to justify a bullet. (Or maybe two, just to be sure. There’s no margin for error in this job.) That, or it was Harry Stanley’s idea to get shot in the first place, perhaps even to make police look bad. Surely no dastardly act was beneath him; one need only look at his record.
Again, one can only guess at the possible source of this amazing scoop.
It should be obvious from his stance on this issue that Andy Coulson contended that the police were innocent until proven guilty (and so incredibly innocent that an external investigation into their conduct must stop), but the bloke they shot in the head must have earned it, because he totally looked guilty… judging by what
the police a unnamed source told him.
Less than a month after the latter article, Andy Coulson was busy making excuses for some other London police who shot another innocent man; Jean Charles De Menezes. The same man in charge of that botched operation was also in charge of the later lackadaisical investigation into the conduct of staff at News of the World.
I put it to you that the London Met may have deliberately held back on their investigation into News of the World and the conduct of Andy Coulson and his staff as a favour to a mate (and/or a source of auxilary income), if not a special allowance for a tabloid scumbag who knows where the bodies are buried. Literally.
Inquiries to date by the London Met should be subject to an external/independent inquiry, regardless of any new evidence they and their News of the World cronies claim to have found behind a cupboard. If it turns out that any hint of corruption is evident, the London Met should be taken off the case immediately.
Hell, I’ll go even further than that; what should happen here is exactly what Andy Coulson was trying to halt/prevent after Harry Stanley was shot by police; there should be a full investigation by Surrey Police that looks into any new evidence of alleged phone-hacking.
Anything less risks corruption if not loss/destruction of evidence and a dramatic downturn in public confidence in London’s Metropolitan Police Service and the criminal justice system generally; not something police need in the capital, especially when they are tasked with policing major demonstrations against the Conservative machete-without-a-mandate that Andy Coulson worked for at the highest level until just last week.