Thursday, July 25, 2013

How it works in the UK

You're a major UK bank. Like your friends in the media, for the past decade you've been using corrupt private investigators to illegally snoop on people, hacking their voicemail, stealing their financial information and phone records, even acquiring police witness statements. All of this is against the law and carries serious criminal penalties. But that's fine, because the agency which is supposed to be investigating you - the Serious Organised Crime Agency - will instead cover it all up to protect your reputation:

Banks and pharmaceutical companies are on a secret list of blue-chip firms that hired private investigators who break the law, The Independent has learned.


Illegal practices identified by Soca investigators went well beyond the relatively simple crime of voicemail hacking and also included police corruption, computer hacking and perverting the course of justice.

Meanwhile, in an extraordinary joint admission on the Soca website, Mr Pearce and Commander Neil Basu of the Metropolitan Police admit the agency sat for years on evidence of criminality, until it was finally forced to act in May 2011 by former British Army intelligence officer Ian Hurst whose computer was allegedly hacked by corrupt private investigators.

Mr Hurst told The Independent: “For reasons that remain unclear, the Leveson Inquiry did not touch the sides with regard to the police. In the final analysis, law enforcement agencies are going to have to justify why they conspired for years to protect the offenders and their clients, which extend way beyond the media.”

The joint statement also failed to address why Soca has still not passed all its historical evidence to Scotland Yard, which is currently investigating the crimes that the agency ignored.

The information has now apparently been passed to a parliamentary select committee, but in a final insult, SOCA has classified it in order to protect "financial viability of major organisations by tainting them with public association with criminality". Which tells us what is really going on here: SOCA apparently sees its job not as catching criminals, but as protecting the banks. Like the rest of the UK establishment, they work for the wealthy, and fuck the law.

The good news is that that select committee is so outraged by the evidence they've seen and by SOCA's tawdry coverup that they are planning to release it anyway under parliamentary privilege. Here's hoping. And then, maybe, there can be the sort of cleanout the UK desperately needs.