Hugh Grant tells the BBC about his encounter with:
"Paul McMullan, one of two ex-News of the World hacks who had blown the whistle (in the Guardian and on Channel 4's Dispatches) on the full extent of phone-hacking at the paper, particularly under its former editor Andy Coulson. This was interesting, as I had been a victim - a fact he confirmed as we drove along. He also had an unusual defence of the practice: that phone-hacking was a price you had to pay for living in a free society. I asked how that worked exactly, but we ran out of time, and next thing we had arrived and he was asking me if I would pose for a photo with him, "not for publication, just for the wall of the pub".
"About truth, you should try some real journalism, Paul. You are not an idiot. You could probably do it"
Also read his earlier account at the New Statesman
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That is what Mr Amar Singh had asked about the controversial CD that mysteriously surfaced a few days back.
In a press conference today Mr Prashant Bhushan rubbished the CD by pointing out that it was examined by two of the top-most forensic labs specialising in this kind of audio analysis -- US expert George Papcun and Hyderabad-based Truth Labs -- who confirmed that it had "multiple gaps and signs of electronic editing at very very critical places".
How brazen this whole attempt at discrediting the Bhushans was is demonstrated by the fact that "virtually all portions" of the conversations of Mr Mulayam Yadav in the doctored CD have been "bodily lifted" from the 2006 tapes, which have purported conversations of Amar Singh with various personalities, as was evidenced by playing sections of the 2006 tapes and the 2011 doctored CD. Ironically, it was possible for Mr Bhushan to do so only because he himself had been fighting in the Supreme Court for these conversations to be made public and had access to these tapes.
In the absence of these give-away lines, the mud-flingers would perhaps have succeeded in having some of it stick on the Bhushans, as their critics would have argued that it was a case of one lab versus another.
Mr Bhushan said that he would also be filing a case against Congress leader Mr Digvijay Singh for saying that the Bhushans evaded stamp duty for a property they bought in Allahabad: "I will file a defamation suit against Digvijay Singh in the next two days."
Mr Bhushan also asked that the two publications that claimed to have had the CD independently forensically examined -- by a well-equipped laboratory by experts and an agency that specialises in such examinations -- to name the agencies that had declared that “the conversation was continuous — without any break and (the) said audio file appears to be not tampered" and that "the CD was not spliced and ran as a continious conversation".
Postscript: Rushed transcript of the English portion of the Press Conference by Mr Prashant Bhushan:
You are all aware that the copies of a CD have been circulated to the media over the last 4-5 days which purport to contain the conversations between Mr Shanti Bhushan, Mr Amar Singh, Shri Mulayam Singh Yadav. The purport of this conversation is to suggest that Mr Shanti Bhushan is telling Mr Mulayam Singh that I can get some work done for him for the payment of some 4 crores. 21 That is the purport of the conversation.
Some sections of the media have also run stories saying they have verified the authenticity of these conversations, of this CD, from some forensic lab which they have not named, experts that they have not named.
Well, at least we have now got this CD subjected to forensic examination from two of the top-most forensic labs specialising in this kind of audio analysis. One is a lab based in the United States and the expert who has done that analysis is not merely a PhD in accoustic phonetics, he has been employed by the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Aerospace Corporation and the University of Phonetics laboratory. He has subjected the CD to a very, very intensive analysis, though he has only had a little over a day -- a day and a half to do that and therefore the further work on that is still in progress.
But the other lab which has examined the CD forensically is a laboratory called Truth Labs whose headquarters are in Hyderabad and which has been examined by a former director CSFL, CBI. This lab called Truth Labs is one of the leading independent labs in the country. They have also subjected the CD to a detailed analysis.
But what is most interesting is the finding that actually virtually all the portions of Mr Mulayam Singh's speech in this purported conversation between Mr Amar Singh and therafter between my father and Mr Mulayam Singh have been bodily lifted from a conversation between Mr Amar Singh and Mr Mulayam Singh which was recorded sometime prior to February 2006 and which had been filed in the Supreme Court by me in a CD in March 2006. Since then that CD as well as the transcript of the CD have been in the Supreme court and at least three critical part of Mr Mulayam Singh's speech which is essentially all that he speaks in that fabricated CD are just bodily lifted from that CD of Mr Amar Singh which was filed in Supreme Court in 2006! And from one conversation of 3 minutes 22 seconds which Mr Amar Singh had with Mr Mulayam Singh has been just spliced and inserted into this purported conversation between Mr Shanti Bhushan and Mr Mulayam Singh.
Not only that, both these laboratories have confirmed with full spectrographic analysis -- detailed spectrographic analysis -- that there are large number-- multiple gaps and multiple signs of electronic editing in these conversations at very, very critical places.
In Mr Shanti Bhushan's speech itself, Mr George Papcun, who's the expert from the US, he has opined that in his speech itself there are at least six clear signs of doctoring -- of either electronic editing or gaps in the conversation suggesting that these are different conversations recorded at different points of time, and some words of different conversations have been put together in a digital audio file in order to create an impression that it is one conversation. You will get all the reports -- both the forensic reports of both the labs as well as the transcript of this fabricated CD and as well as the transcript of Mr Mulayam Singh's conversation with Mr Amar Singh which had been filed in the Supreme Court.
So this confirms the initial impression that I had, that I had expressed in the press conference day before yesterday that though the voices appear to be genuine, the CD appears to have been prepared by splicing different conversations obtained from different places and different parts and having put them together in a purported conversation.
Even more ominous...now, what this shows is that there was a clear conspiracy on the part of some people which appears to have the blessings of many, many powerful people in this country, not only to discredit me and Mr Shanti Bhushan and the civil society membership of the Lokpal Drafting Committee but even more ominously an attempt appears to have been made through the fabrication of this CD and its circulation to try and interefere and derail judicial proceedings in two very important cases which are pending judgement in the Supreme Court. If you .. those of you have heard the cD will recall that in this CD initially when Mr Amar Singh speaks, there is a reference to a particular judge of the Supreme Court and a suggestion that I can influence that particular judge, that I have very good relationship with that judge and that I can influence the judge. That judge happens to be the presiding judge dealing with two very important cases in which hearing has been concluded and judgements have been reserved.
The first is the Amar Singh tapes case itself where we had filed an application in the Supreme Court, saying that the tapes should not be restricted, should be allowed to be released to the media because they show evidence of all kinds of conspiracies between Mr Amar Singh and various other people including businessmen etcetera.
The other case is the 2G Spectrum Scam case where judgement has been reserved by this bench on our petition filed by me for cancelling all the licences. This CD, by purporting to suggest that I have some links with the presiding judge in that case and that I can influence him appears to be an attempt to derail the judicial proceedings and interefere with the judicial proceedings in that case which to my mind amounts to very serious contempt of court.
This conspiracy to first fabricate the CD and thereafter to disseminate it in the media clearly involves a large number of people. And the manner in which some sections of the media have reported that they have verified the forensic authenticity of these tapes and have found them to be genuine without even reporting which lab, which expert etc seems to suggest that some persons and some sections of the media are also involved in that conspiracy.
As I said, it is a very, very serious conspiracy involving several very serious offences, that is forgery, with the intention of defaming people, punishable under section 469 of the Penal Code, which is a very serious congnisable offence, apart from that it involves contempt of court. Since a very large number -- or at least several -- very influential people appear to be involved in this conspiracy it is absolutely essential that one goes right to the root and the bottom of this conspiracy in order to find out who all were involved -- whether they are involved in the fabrication of the CD or whether they are involved in the knowing and malicious dissemination of the CD to media... all those are the persons who are involved in this conspiracy.
We are going to file a contempt petition in the Supreme Court within the next day or two about this and we hope that the Supreme Court will ensure that a credible investigation is conducted because the Delhi Police where the FIR was registered as far back as on Thursday have been reported to have said that till yesterday -- in fact, I spoke to that IO [Inspecting Officer] myself yesterday -- and he said that till yesterday he had not even been able to procure a copy of the CD, though the CD had been circulated to every part of the media. He said that he went to the office of the Indian Express. They told me that it is with that reporter, who has gone away, that when I contacted the reporter, then the reporter said that no, it is with my lawyer, when I contacted the lawyer, the lawyer said that he was ill and therefore he had not even been able to procure a copy of the CD. Of course, this shows the Indian Express in very poor light that they have not co-operated with a proper police investigation by seeking to evade and avoid even giving a copy of the CD, seeking to evade and avoid the questions of the Delhi Police as to how they got the CD, who gave it to them etcetera.
So now, we will play for you... first, I will ask Arvind to say a few words and then we'll play the CD.
Later, after the introduction in Hindi, Mr Bhushan plays part of a 3:22 long file of conversation between Amar Singh and Mulayam Singh from the CD filed in Supreme Court in 2006 in which Mulayam Singh Yadav is heard saying:
in ko kaun samjhaayeN, ye chaahe griha mantri hoN, chaahe koii ho, aeraa gairaa, inko kyaa samjhaayaa jaaye...
[This is also part of the 2006 transcript filed in the Supreme Court, in which, incidentally Mr Abhishek Manu Singhvi was defending Mr Amar Singh]
Then he plays the 2011 CD:
in ko kaun samjhaayeN, chaahe griha mantri hoN, chaahe koii ho, aeraa gairaa, inko kyaa samjhaayaa jaaye...
Mr Bhushan also mentions two other passages from the same 3:22 audio file of 2006 which seem to have simply been copied and pasted into the 2011 CD.
In response to a question, Mr Bhushan then explains that the Truth Lab report also corroborates the gaps and editing at exactly these points, just as there is a cut before where Mr Shanti Bhushan's voice is heard saying 4 crores:
So the whole thing is a cut and paste job and even 2-2, 3-3, 4-4 words have been cut and pasted in this conversation
When asked if there is any difference between the two lab reports where Mr Bhushan got the CD examined, Mr Bhushan said:
No, they are very similar. Of course the laboratory in the US has only done a spectrographic analysis so far in order to determine.... see, there work is still work in progress...they have identified 5 critical places where there are clear signs of editing or splicing in my father's speech. Then the Truth Labs here has also identified here several evidence of editing and splicing and in particular, they have identified a cut just prior to the word "four crore"... a gap.
When asked to name the powerful people who could be behind the whole thing, Mr Bhushan said:
It seems to me that the first part of this conversation clearly appears to be Mr Amar Singh's voice in which he says: 'Shanti Bhushanji mere paas baithe hain'. Now my father has said that he has never, ever, physically met Mr Amar Singh. Therefore the question of his sitting next to Amar Singh does not arise. Now, that appears to be his voice. That appears to be a continuous conversation that will be objected to further forensic analysis. If there is no evidence of editing in that part of the conversation where Mr Amar Singh starts by saying ke "Shanti Bhushanji mere paas baiThe hain, unke beTe Prashant Bhushan haiN vo PIL vagerah karte hain" -- if there is no editing in that, then it will become crystal clear that Mr Amar Singh has made himself, has involved himself, in the fabrication of the tape. That will become absolutely clear.
Feb 2011 File Photo
As I said, the timing of this release and the kind of statement that Mr Digvijay Singh made recently, not about the tape but about a house property that we have in Allahabad, seems to suggest that there are political forces-- perhaps even corporate forces -- behind this. As I said, this is also an attempt to derail the 2G case where the validity of these licences is pending judgement in the Supreme Court.
On being asked how one could trust these lab reports and not those of the two newspapers who claimed [See above for links, as also in the previous blog post] that their forensic analysis had shown no tampering in the CD, Mr Bhushan pointed out that unlike those two newspaper reports, which were anonymous, here the labs concerned were not only giving an opinion but also the detailed spectroscopic analysis of the CD.
Mr Kejriwal added:
We called them up and asked them: Can you tell us the lab? They refused. Can you tell us the expert? They refused. So why are they anonymous and why are they secretive about it? [A question your blogged also asked yesterday while linking the HT report]. Why aren't they publishing their reports? Why aren't they at least telling us the names of the labs in their own reports. And the experts?
And then Mr Bhushan underlined once again:
No, no, not only this. You see the first thing that proves that these tapes are fabricated is irrespective of any labs, you just have to listen to these two -- you see this tape of 2006 has been in the Supreme Court since 2006. I had filed it in Supreme Court in 2006 along with their transcripts which I showed you. Now how is it possible that a conversation between Amar Singh and Mulayam Singh has exactly these words spoken by Mulayam Singh exactly in the same tone and exactly in the same sequence as the labs have shown as appear in the purported conversation that appears between Mr Shanti Bhushan and Mr Mulayam Singh? I mean, it is absolutely, crystal clear that this tape has been fabricated. And these two labs, they are not saying it on a , they are saying it on a detailed spectrographic analysis of every micro-second, one thousandth of a second they have analysed. And after a full spectrographic analysis of the audio file they have been able to make out that there are clear signs of multiple editing signatures and gaps in this.
On investigations by the Delhi Police: Delhi Police claims that instead of accepting a CD from the Bhushans, since Mr Shanti Bhushan's FIR had named Indian Express, they would rather summon the Indian Express for the CD, though in four days so far they have not been able to get the CD. Mr Kejriwal added that the intent seemed to be very clear:
It was not just to get the Bhushans resign from the Lokpal Drafting Committee, but perhaps also hope that this would put pressure on the Supreme Court judge presiding over the 2G and Amar Singh cases to recuse from the case, judgements on which are going to hurt the interests of very powerful lobbies in the country.
On how the 2006 CD conversations were found, Mr Bhushan said that when his son contacted the US expert and the Truth Lab:
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...they wanted some voice samples of these persons. And then we realised we had the Amar Singh tape. So we dug out this file and brought these tapes out....
Siddharth Varadarajan in the Hindu:
In an interview to NDTV and the Indian Express on Saturday — two media houses that have so far avoided covering the tapes — Ratan Tata has called the recordings a “smokescreen” designed to hide the real truth. He is wrong. Utterly wrong. No doubt we know very little about who leaked the recordings and why these were cherry-picked from a wider set of 5,000 recordings the Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax authorities made as part of their surveillance of Ms Radia. But even if the story they tell is partial and designed to expose only a fraction of the corporate lobbying which has been going on, we would be naive to ignore the contents of the tapes or be dismissive about their significance.
In the science fiction film, “The Matrix”, Morpheus tells Neo, “You're here because you know there's something wrong with the world.” The Matrix, he says, is the world that has been pulled over everyone's eyes to blind them from the truth that they are slaves. He offers Neo the choice of a blue or red pill. “You take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill ... and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”
The Niira Radia audio archive loaded on to the Internet by Open and Outlook magazines last week is the red pill of our time...
Read on at the Hindu: Welcome to the Matrix of the Indian state
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