Flat Earth News: An Award-Winning Reporter Exposes Falsehood, Distortion and Propaganda in the Global Media
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other and worked with each other, swapping contacts and making deals together in their corner of the information black market. All of them were traced and raided and questioned by the Information Commission or police, who found yet more paperwork. Armed with this evidence, the Information Commission and police in London and Devon prepared a sequence of four different court cases. This was the most powerful attack ever mounted on the information black market in Britain. It threatened to knock a
he ran a security business in south London, called Southern Investigations, which hired serving officers who went moonlighting from their work at Scotland Yard to do jobs for him. This gave him a highly effective network of contacts. Rees soon became a prolific source of leaked information, especially for the News of the World, for whom he provided a steady series of leaks from active police inquiries and sensitive data from Yard records. By the late 1980s, the paper was the main client for
scoop, which would rattle governments around the world. But it had one great danger attached to it. The source was deeply vulnerable. Mordechai Vanunu had spent eight years at a special installation in Dimona in southern Israel, working on Israel’s undeclared and illegal development of nuclear weapons. Now he was offering the Sunday Times’s Insight team detailed inside information and even photographs to expose the Israeli secret. If the paper were to do the story, they had to protect Vanunu.
legitimate investigative journalism’. But, to most reporters this criticism looked like a collective tantrum from ruffled politicians attacking a story which had been exclusive and accurate. Calvert had simply held out a carrot to see who would take it, whereas Barry Beardall had done his best to force the carrot down his targets’ throats and then complained bitterly when they spat it out. This success may well have misled Witherow into believing that he was running a healthy newspaper, and not
had kept his security clearance and had stayed in touch with his former colleagues and was able to get access to highly classified documents. Second, he had a big story: through these contacts, he knew that, contrary to everything that was being said by the American and British governments, the CIA were reporting that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction. Looking back at it now, that seems almost like a cliché, but in 2002 it was highly important. Only a handful of journalists had