|Red Flashes From Syria|
|SIX months after the Syrian
uprising began it seems clear
that peaceful protests aimed at
overthrowing the regime and
ousting President Bashar al-
Assad have failed. With no prospect of
meaningful national dialogue in sight,
the conflict now appears to be shifting
into a new, infinitely more hazardous
phase: the weaponisation of the revolution.
Syria is moving inexorably from
Arab spring to an ever darker, dangerous
winter of discontent.
The inability of unarmed civilian
demonstrators to bring down Assad, or
at least bring him to the negotiating
table, has several causes. One is the
lack of a unified, well-led opposition
with clear objectives...
|THE LOST DECADE &
FUTURE OF AMERICA|
|IF you want a big swig of
despair, listen to the people
who know something about
the global economy. Roger
Altman, a former deputy
Treasury secretary, is arguing that
America and Europe are on the
verge of a disastrous double-dip
recession. Various economists say
it will be at least another three
years before we see serious job
growth. Others say European
banks are teetering - if not now,
then early next year.
Walter Russell Mead, who teaches
foreign policy at Bard College,
recently laid out some worst-case
scenarios on his blog: "It is about
whether the international financial
system will survive the next six
months in the form we now... |
News of the World paid spies for scoops
LONDON NO one suspected the secretary.
Efficient, well-dressed and well-liked, Sue Harris was at the heart of the Sunday People, the smallest of Britain’s weekly tabloids. She booked flights, reserved accommodation, and tallied expenses for the populist paper’s dozen or so fulltime reporters. A petite, 40- something south Londoner who’d spent most if not all of her working life at the tabloid, journalists there trusted her implicitly.
Maybe they shouldn’t have.
In 1995 Harris was dismissed over an allegation that she’d been feeding her paper’s juiciest scoops to the Piers Morgan-edited News of the World, betraying her coworkers for a weekly payoff of £250 – then worth about $375. Although People journalists had long believed there was a traitor in their midst, they were shocked when Harris was exposed.
“Everybody knew there was a mole,” said a former senior journalist with the People.
“We never thought the person we were looking for was her.” The journalist, who was there when Harris was fired, was among three former colleagues who recounted her story, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Harris’ alleged spying on behalf of the News of the World wasn’t unique.
Interviews with three more former journalists and published accounts suggest that Rupert Murdoch’s flagship Sunday tabloid engaged in a pattern of payoffs aimed at rival newspaper employees.
The News of the World was closed in July as evidence of illegal conduct there became inescapable. Although accusations that the paper hacked into phones and corrupted police officers to win scoops have been widely aired, the paper’s efforts to subvert rival newspaper employees have seen less attention.
American investigators are already examining whether the News of the World’s parent company, New Yorkbased News Corp, broke US anti-corruption laws by bribing British officials. Legal experts now say that payments made to rival journalists could make it more difficult for the media conglomerate to defend itself against any potential prosecution.
The corporate espionage campaign also calls into question the ethics of Morgan, who edited the News of the World between 1994 and 1995 and who once boasted that having rivals on his payroll meant that he and his colleagues “always know exactly what our competitors are doing.” Story theft has long been a big worry for Britain’s Sunday tabloids, who only get one shot a week at making an impression on their readership.
Particular concern surrounds the “splash” – the front page story which acts as an advertisement for a paper’s journalism.
At the People as with other tabloids, journalists took extreme measures to keep a potential splash under wraps.
Sources would be paid compensation in return for exclusive access or sequestered at out-of-the way hotels for days at a time to keep them away from rival reporters.
Keeping the splash secret was particularly important for the cash-strapped People. If the News of the World got wind of a story, the Murdoch tabloid’s massive budget meant it could easily outbid the People for interview rights.