The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

There was another story about a material called red mercury, which nobody seems to know what it is, that was allegedly being imported by a wheeler dealer in London and was going to be used for bomb-making purposes. Well, the stuff was never found. There was no end-user. The Mr Big that Mr Mahmood was constantly writing -- all his stories seemed to feature a man called Mr Big, in this case a man from Saudi Arabia, which he quoted as being "a hotbed of Al-Qaeda", in order, you know, to suggest that it was a terrorist thing, and he explains that Mr Big from Saudi Arabia was also sympathetic to Muslim causes. Well, presumably, Mr Big, if he came from Saudi Arabia -- it is a Muslim area, so it's not unreasonable. But it's all these little weasel words that get inserted into the stories to give a suggestion of fear and possible danger, based in this case on absolutely nothing at all, and once again people were locked up, awaiting trial, on remand and the cases collapsed almost instantly. And yet no redress was put on the paper or Mazher Mahmood himself for this tremendous waste of public time and money.

And what is more, if I may add, at the same time, talking of that kind of thing, on many instances he's used people buying cocaine or being prepared to procure cocaine for him and he has produced funds, presumably from petty cash -- he's been asked about this in court -- to buy cocaine in order to propagate a sting so that he can then go back and write a stories about how Johnny Walker, for instance, or the Earl of Hardwicke, or several other individuals were prepared to buy him cocaine, usually under quite a lot of duress from the fake character that he was playing at the time. And curiously, he's never been charged with the illegal purchase of cocaine, although there are no legal grounds on which he can do this to perpetrate a sting.

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