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Hillsborough: Families Braced For Revelations

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Re: Hillsborough: Families Braced For Revelations

Post by tiny on 13.09.12 18:55

@russiandoll wrote: I have seen both late arrivals and drunken fans at football matches. I am a woman of the world, not some naive fool ! How was your comment about ladylike behaviour when referring to predominantly male fans not sarcastic? You could have said well-behaved, you didn't.
Yes I did see it unfold. Overwhelmed is the right word. No one knew what action to take to avoid the tragedy. That is what has been covered up, that is the crime, and the orchestrated tactics which began straight away to divert from the truth is what is unforgiveable imo.

Please read the report. It is firm in its conclusions. There is no reference to all fans behaving well. It states that fans being drunk did not create or contribute to the disaster.
I am not going to argue about this, people can believe what they want. Only the report will convince you of the truth.
Would you kindly answer my question.....do you accept the report or not?

well said russiandoll,and i hope with all my heart that thoes responsible for what happend on the fatefull day will have to answer to a law court.

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Re: Hillsborough: Families Braced For Revelations

Post by jd on 13.09.12 19:12

I agree that football in the 80's was rife with violence and hooliganism. No doubt about this whatsoever. I used to be a season ticker holder for a London club in the 80's (while prices were affordable!) and went to both home and away matches. I have been in the Kop end at Liverpool. I have witnessed violence on a number of occasions during the 80's whilst watching my team, inside the grounds, outside the grounds, a memory of getting off the train at Liverpool Lime Street where we were greeted by 1000's of Everton supporters waiting for the trains from London to arrive to then cause a massive unprovoked riot, it was scary. Even Luton Town fans were causing riots when I went there for a cup match, Leeds were one of the worst along with Millwall. Virtually every single team had its core hooligans and it became like a 'badge of honour' for them to smash the hell out of the opposing team whoever they were. I remember after getting off a train seeing a high road littered with injured and bloodied bodies after a riot between team fans that had just happened minutes before. I remember once that an Arsenal fan was killed as he got into his car by West Ham fans after their match at Highbury, only because he wore a red/white scarf

I remember Hillsborough as it happened watching in on Grandstand. I understand and agree that the police of the day would view football supporters of every club as 'animals' as every team had its core of animals which was spreading like the plague in the 80's, even though this would spoil it for the rest of us who went to enjoy a game of football supporting our team honestly. The violence was always there and we needed the police to protect the rest of us and as a whole they did a fantastic job

However whatever their feelings, the police in this country are there to do a professional and honest job, in a country that is civilised and not corrupt. What totally disgusts me to the core are these facts:

* 41 lives could have been saved that fateful day......Thats nearly half the victims could still be alive today. Medical staff were not allowed to go into the stadium to save these lives. They were falsely told by the police that the Liverpool fans were fighting when infact the Liverpool fans were helping each other in trying to save lives after being crushed by the sheer volume of people in one area

* Blood samples were being taken from the dead for alcohol! instead of saving the people that were lying badly injured and still alive. Already building their case imo

* Police altered 164 documents/statements.....They purposely altered documents/statements just to cover up their backsides & hide the truth. One is bad enough.....164!

* 96 victims and a whole city were smeared and blamed by police, governments, Sun comic newspaper for 23 years when they knew all along Liverpool were innocent. Sick

* Inventing the story that the cause was supporters who were 'drunk' when it was the way the police handled the crowds that was the real cause

This particular match was played a year previous with the same 2 teams and at Hillsborough. On that occasion the police were checking tickets 100 yards from the ground and the whole event went through smoothly. On the fateful day in 1989, the police did not check anybodies tickets which caused anybody who was there to go to the ground thereby causing the massive crush of which there was no escape to the people at the front, all standing people where directed to one entry of the tunnel. Its so very common for people to turn up to big football matches without a ticket in the hope of getting one, and in those days the grounds used to open the gates after halftime so you could if you wanted get in free for the 2nd half. The police made a huge error of judgement that day in controlling the crowds, one that can be forgiven as they are human and mistakes are always made.

I think the police did a terrific job during those times in the 80's especially under extremely difficult and trying circumstances, I certainly wouldn't have liked to have been a policeman dealing with those 'animal' football fan crowds. But what is terribly sick, disgusting and disgraceful is instead of admitting their mistakes they then went about a cover up and for 23 long whole years allowing all the victims, their families and the city of Liverpool take all the blame on a 'lie' and allowed them to be tarnished and smeared...knowing all along the real truth

They tried to escape taking accountability and responsibility and instead went on to tell a huge disgusting lie. This is not how I expect or wish for the authorities of my country to behave. I expect the authorities to take accountability and responsibility, and above all be honest. I feel for all the families that have had to really fight and give up a large part of their own lives for 23 whole years to clear their name and seek for the real truth be known. What is this country that allows this to happen. The truth should have been known that day in April 1989

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Re: Hillsborough: Families Braced For Revelations

Post by jd on 14.09.12 0:14

Hillsborough: South Yorkshire Police consider IPCC referral

The force is considering referring itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

And so it should

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-19592455

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Re: Hillsborough: Families Braced For Revelations

Post by Guest on 14.09.12 21:18

14 September 2012 Last updated at 14:08

Hillsborough police officers may face manslaughter inquiry




http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-19598228

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Hillsborough compassion

Post by cristobel on 14.09.12 22:21

Many thanks to russiandoll and jd for measured and thoughtful posts.
The sobriety or otherwise of the fans is not the issue, nor is whether or not some may have had a criminal record. Everyone there had a right to life, and a right to protection, and a right to medical help when in distress.
A civilised society does not refuse help and protection to people because it's worrying about alcohol levels or criminal convictions.
Totally innocent people died unnecessarily because the powers-that-be - the very people getting paid to protect them - messed up.
And having messed up, they then tried to hide their mistakes by slandering the victims.
It isn't right that it's only the families who needed the truth - the whole city did. Unlike many cities, where people are disconnected from each other, in Liverpool there are still large areas where everyone knows everyone, and has done since childhood.At the time of Hillsborough I was working in Liverpool, and I knew 12 families who lost someone at that match. It truly is the whole city that needed the truth told. In the months following the tragedy, the Liverpool city centre was like a ghost town, silent, heavy, the grief and shock were tangible.
Please try to keep a sense of perspective and compassion when commenting about the fans. Whether or not they were drunk or disorderly, people still didn't deserve to die.
Listen to some of the mothers who were denied the chance to see their children grow up because they were refused medical help. Listen to the words of the families torn apart because the death of their loved ones, only to have their grief added to by condemnatory, bitter,lying words, spoken with contempt and arrogance by a whole host of people who knew full well they were lying.
Try to imagine the unimagineable pain of hearing that a legal/medical official said that it was 'neither here nor there whether anyone drew a breath, or had a heartbeat after 3.15' .
At 3.50, a child was asking for his mother, and died without any attempt at medical aid. Why?
I, too, saw that day unfold, and I would like to ask, along with russiandoll - do you accept the report?

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Re: Hillsborough: Families Braced For Revelations

Post by Guest on 14.09.12 22:25

Good first time post, cristobel.

I agree with all you've said.


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Re: Hillsborough: Families Braced For Revelations

Post by Guest on 14.09.12 22:41

Welcome cristobel, good post.



It could get a bit confusing, we now have 2 members with almost identical names ........



cristobel, and Cristobell

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Re: Hillsborough: Families Braced For Revelations

Post by Lioned on 15.09.12 0:30

It was an accident waiting to happen.Those on duty that day did not mean to kill those people.The police,stewards,ambulance crew and others on duty that day will have been as shocked and saddened as everyone else at the outcome which they too have to live with.What we saw that day,in the worst possible demonstration,was the culmination of years of ignorance and greed.
Those fans died because they were caged in and could not escape the crush,not because some top cops decided to change the statements,shocking though that is.
The football league chairmen who decided to put up the fences rather than modernise the grounds and spend the proper amounts on stewarding and safety are more to blame for the fatalities than any corrupt officials after the event.

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Re: Hillsborough: Families Braced For Revelations

Post by tigger on 15.09.12 7:18

thumbsup

Nowhere do I see the then owners mentioned by name, the Sun insurance company (who should at least have inspected the grounds) even mentioned, the committee or person who decided on erecting fences.
(Remember that any modification to a car or a house legally had to be reported to an insurance company and safety issues had to be in order.)

Nowhere have I seen other grounds with fences compared to Hillsborough, in short the same 'crime' was going on in other places, the same neglect, except they were lucky enough to escape such a disaster. No doubt because of Hillsborough, their grounds were 'adjusted' in no time.

I really feel that the daily rags are after the Hillsborough story like a pack of hyenas. I would have expected the police and those who were helping, the few ambulance men (and how on earth could ambulances get through and also in those days I don't think there were small units on motorcycles) were traumatised themselves.

I've taken the trouble to read the statements of the police that PeterMac posted. Did the police know there were no stewards on the terraces? That imo is an unanswered question and it falls on the clubs themselves and the owners of the stadium to answer this.

A disaster is defined as a number of circumstances coming together to create it. Like the Titanic.

The people who changed the police statements should be taken to court, the Sun should be taken to court as well, they obviously knew they were printing lies. The insurance company and the owners of the stadium, the people who took the decision on the fencing, those should be in the dock.

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Re: Hillsborough: Families Braced For Revelations

Post by PeterMac on 15.09.12 9:49

If you ask people what the police are for they will say things like traffic control and solving crime and being nice to little old ladies.
They are not. That is not, and has never been their prime function. That is what they do when there is nothing else happening.

The police are there to keep the country governable. To keep control, and ultimately to prevent the military from taking over.

Walking in front of every military parade, even Remembrance Sunday, there is a police officer. Often on foot, sometimes on a motorcycle. He is not there for show. He is there because he alone has been granted by Parliament the power to close the road to others and to permit the parade to pass.

So to go back to Hillsborough

It doesn’t matter IF they were drunk and had no tickets
It doesn’t matter THAT they were drunk and had no tickets

That is not the issue
.
The police failed to keep the situation under control.
They surrendered. They gave in. They opened the gate.

That is the issue.

Leppings Lane should have been a 20th Century Rorke’s Drift.
No matter what casualties are sustained, on either side, the mob cannot be allowed to win.

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Re: Hillsborough: Families Braced For Revelations

Post by aquila on 15.09.12 11:00

@PeterMac wrote:If you ask people what the police are for they will say things like traffic control and solving crime and being nice to little old ladies.
They are not. That is not, and has never been their prime function. That is what they do when there is nothing else happening.

The police are there to keep the country governable. To keep control, and ultimately to prevent the military from taking over.

Walking in front of every military parade, even Remembrance Sunday, there is a police officer. Often on foot, sometimes on a motorcycle. He is not there for show. He is there because he alone has been granted by Parliament the power to close the road to others and to permit the parade to pass.

So to go back to Hillsborough

It doesn’t matter IF they were drunk and had no tickets
It doesn’t matter THAT they were drunk and had no tickets

That is not the issue
.
The police failed to keep the situation under control.

They surrendered. They gave in. They opened the gate.

That is the issue.

Leppings Lane should have been a 20th Century Rorke’s Drift.
No matter what casualties are sustained, on either side, the mob cannot be allowed to win.

Please tell me PeterMac that officers in the police service are not exclusively male. Otherwise I shall have to call my female friends who are serving police officers and tell them to quit.

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Re: Hillsborough: Families Braced For Revelations

Post by PeterMac on 15.09.12 11:28

I hold myself bound by the provisions of the Interpretation Act of 1978.
. . . unless the contrary intention appears,-

(a) words importing the masculine gender include the feminine;
(b )words importing the feminine gender include the masculine;

Or, as the story was, that the first draft said
- The Male embraces the female, and vice versa !!!

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Re: Hillsborough: Families Braced For Revelations

Post by PeterMac on 15.09.12 14:48

An urban myth is begining to being created.
Across the comments columns people seem to be interpreting the report to mean that there were no drunken and ticketless fans.

But this is nonsense.

When they say ”This is not about drunken and ticketless supporters,” they do not mean that they were not drunk and that they all had tickets. They mean that the report is focussing on an entirely different level of responsiblity.

It means that drunkenness and ticketlessness was normal, but that it is the job of the police to deal with it. Why else would there be so many police on duty b both inside and outside the ground ?
Police also have the responsibility to make proper plans for anything that can go wrong.
That is why police were there in such numbers.
Controlling those drunken and ticketless fans and preventing them from entering and causing mayhem was precisely what they were there for.

But they failed.

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Re: Hillsborough: Families Braced For Revelations

Post by tigger on 15.09.12 16:59

http://soccerlens.com/football-violence-worst-football-riots/23093/

Just to add to the above post, background reading. Rotterdam, as I posted before, was because they got drunk on the way over because the drink was so cheap on the ferry (it isn't! Far from it) and they couldn't eat Dutch food, since it's full of garlic. One ingredient notable for its absence in Dutch cuisine.

This is just as background to the times.

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Re: Hillsborough: Families Braced For Revelations

Post by PeterMac on 15.09.12 18:02

And google Paul Scarrott.
One of Nottingham's finest !
He had "Forest" tattooed inside his lower lip.
Then sat innocently drinking in an away supporters' pub until the appointed time when he pulled the edge of the glass hard against his lip, so that they could see the tattoo.
All hell broke loose, and of course it wasn't his fault. He was defending himself !
A lot of energy was spent before each match trying to find out where he was.
Mercifully for everyone he is now dead. Drank himself to death and died in a gutter in Barcelona.

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Re: Hillsborough: Families Braced For Revelations

Post by Guest on 15.09.12 18:50

There's also a Paul Scarrott who's the Detective Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire police!

I'm going to read up about his less than glorious namesake.

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Re: Hillsborough: Families Braced For Revelations

Post by PeterMac on 15.09.12 22:16

Deputy, not Detective.
But what a ghastly coincidence. Should change his name.

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Re: Hillsborough: Families Braced For Revelations

Post by Guest on 15.09.12 22:21

Sorry of course I did mean deputy. It's an unusual surname and, in view of the Nottingham connection, I wonder if they could be related.

There are some YouTube clips of news reports about the football hooligan but of very poor quality with flickering images so I couldn't watch them.

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Re: Hillsborough: Families Braced For Revelations

Post by jd on 15.09.12 23:52

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4539918/Furious-Hillsborough-cop-Martin-McLoughlin-calls-for-police-bosses-to-be-charged-with-conspiracy-to-pervert-justice.html

Nail police chiefs over ‘conspiracy’
Hillsborough PC's fury: I'm appalled my evidence was changed

A FURIOUS Hillsborough cop yesterday called for his police bosses to be charged with conspiracy to pervert justice.

Ex-PC Martin McLoughlin said he was “disgusted” at the way the notes of 116 officers were doctored to deflect criticism from the force. He found out for the first time in 23 years thanks to the Hillsborough independent inquiry — which blamed cops and exonerated fans — that his OWN account of the tragedy was altered.

References he made to “desperately asking for help and getting more and more frantic” were changed to protect bosses.

Martin, 54 — so traumatised by the disaster he quit South Yorkshire Police with post-traumatic stress — said: “This has disgusted and appalled me. There needs to be a full criminal inquiry, there has to be. It could only have come from the very senior level of police management. I am overwhelmed by the size of it. We are talking about a major conspiracy.”

The dad of four, from Rotherham South Yorks, said: “If I remember rightly it is a criminal offence to tamper with a statement. “The fact that so many police statements have been altered in such similar ways cannot be mere coincidence. It smacks of a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.”

Two whole paragraphs of Martins’s account were removed.. One was a criticism of the fact that while traffic wardens all had police radios, ordinary cops did not — only the sergeants did.

Martin was outside Sheffield Wednesday’s ground (Hillsborough) directing Liverpool fans before the 1989 FA Cup semi-final with Nottingham Forest when the disaster that was to claim 96 lives began. After the emergency call went up he waited with hundreds of other officers to be told what to do. He said they hung around in groups, “shocked, stunned and in disbelief” — many openly weeping.

One of his colleagues asked a chief inspector what they should put in their pocket books. He added: “He turns round and says, ‘Don’t put anything in your pocket books, it’ll all be covered in the disaster log’. In those days a copper’s pocket book was sacred.

“We knew it was a national disaster and for a chief inspector to say that goes against every grain of your police work.”

Meanwhile the names emerged yesterday of four of the 41 dead who the Hillsborough report said could possibly have been saved with proper treatment. They were Michael Kelly, 38, Philip Hammond, 14, Kevin Williams, 15, and Ian Glover, 20.

- A SOCCER star who was in the crowd as an 11-year-old with his dad yesterday slammed the cover-up as “sickening”. Burnley defender Michael Duff, who was a Forest fan, remembers it vividly.
He said: “You’d like to think that the government and the police force can be trusted — but they tried to pin the blame on the fans. It’s sickening.”

He has signed a petition calling for an independent inquiry.


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Re: Hillsborough: Families Braced For Revelations

Post by PeterMac on 16.09.12 10:29

The bullet kills, but the person who fired it bears responsibility for the death.
The police fired the bullet when they opened the gate.


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Re: Hillsborough: Families Braced For Revelations

Post by PeterMac on 16.09.12 17:16

There is a piece in one of the papers from a fan who admits being there, going through the open gate and then turing left rather than going down the tunnel, thereby not becoming involved.
Is anyone aware of any of the 3,000 or so fans who did arrive late and tanked up and go down the tunnel and push against the people in the pen, having come forward and told his (OR HER !!!! ) story ?
Or did they all just fade into history (or HERstory ), and have they all been part of a pact of silence since.

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Re: Hillsborough: Families Braced For Revelations

Post by jd on 17.09.12 0:22

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-19617029

Families of those killed in the Hillsborough disaster have announced they are to seek new inquests.

Relatives of the 96 who died have formally met with legal representatives at Anfield for the first time since an independent report was published.

Trevor Hicks, from the Hillsborough Families Support Group, said there was also pressure for criminal charges.

The report found police tried to blame fans for the crush on 15 April 1989.

Mr Hicks said: "This goes beyond Hillsborough. What happened on Wednesday was a disgrace to the nation, not just the families. This goes across society.

"The findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel have finally vindicated the families in their 23-year struggle to establish the truth.

"However, after truth must come justice. We have spoken today to our lawyers and taken initial advice.

"We will be petitioning the government, the attorney general, the Director of Public Prosecutions on all these various matters and these letters will be going out tomorrow".

The group is now looking at three avenues to follow up. They are urging the attorney general to apply for new inquests, demanding full and immediate investigations into criminal prosecutions and, where appropriate, applying for civil proceedings to be reopened.

Mr Hicks said: "We believe if wrongdoing, civil or criminal, has happened people should be held accountable."

He also said the families want any new inquests to take place in Liverpool and not Sheffield.

High-profile lawyers for the campaign, Michael Mansfield QC and Lord Falconer, appeared at the meeting via an internet videolink.

Ninety-five fans were crushed to death and hundreds more injured on the overcrowded terraces of the Hillsborough stadium, which was hosting an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

400,000 documents
The 96th victim, Tony Bland, was left in a coma after the disaster and died in 1993.

The victims' families have always challenged the original inquest, which concluded all the victims were dead or brain dead 15 minutes after the game had kicked off.


Panel members, chaired by Bishop of Liverpool the Right Reverend James Jones, spent two years looking through more than 400,000 documents relating to the disaster at Sheffield Wednesday's ground.

Their report showed police amended 164 of the police statements made about the tragedy, with 116 of those substantially changed to remove or alter "unfavourable" comments regarding the policing of the match.

It also showed the lives of 41 of the victims could potentially have been saved if the response of the emergency services had been swifter.

It was announced on Saturday a complaint against a senior officer involved in the disaster, Sir Norman Bettison, was to be investigated.

The complaint involving the West Yorkshire Chief Constable was being referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Sir Norman, who was with South Yorkshire Police at the time of the disaster, said he welcomed the step.

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Re: Hillsborough: Families Braced For Revelations

Post by PeterMac on 17.09.12 7:46

It really is a ghastly mess.
Sooner or later a conspiracy will unravel. The only question is when.
Which is strangely similar to another topic we have been discussing for the last few years.

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Re: Hillsborough: Families Braced For Revelations

Post by russiandoll on 17.09.12 12:21

@PeterMac wrote:There is a piece in one of the papers from a fan who admits being there, going through the open gate and then turing left rather than going down the tunnel, thereby not becoming involved.
Is anyone aware of any of the 3,000 or so fans who did arrive late and tanked up and go down the tunnel and push against the people in the pen, having come forward and told his (OR HER !!!! ) story ?
Or did they all just fade into history (or HERstory ), and have they all been part of a pact of silence since.

Another fan speaks of going to the ground in a previous year, and the tunnel being closed off to avoid crushing after a gate was opened to relieve pressure. It did not happen in 1989. Maybe some fans were so tightly packed they could not turn left or right. It is not true that all deaths occurred at the front of the pen and I am angered at statements and insinuations by some posters here that the fans killed were innocent implying other fans were guilty.
There is no evidence of 3000 latecomers. Lord Justice Taylor stated that late arrivals, ticketless fans and drink played a negligible if any role in the disaster.
The police failed to control the situation down the road well before the crowds entered the ground.
There was a refusal to delay kick off, the ground was unsafe and the surge when Peter Beardsley hit the bar cause a lot of problems.
The report published last week is a devastating read and it is black and white.
There have been suicides,long term depression and anxiety for fans who thought they were to blame.
There is a hoologan element at all big games, as there is drinking before arrival and late arrivals with or without tickets.
That ground was a death trap. The police failed. They covered up and an entire city was smeared. Lord knows how the families are coping with the revelations. Also the survivors. I think it is a disgrace that they could read comments like the above and others if they visited this forum. I am outraged.
The whole thing is the biggest scandal involving the police in years, bigger than JP de Menezes and other miscarriages of justice. And that is saying something. It is a national disgrace.
This forum with its desire for truth and justice should not allow the Liverpool fans to be spoken about in this way after the findings of last week.
I had hoped for better, it has been an interesting year here but I no longer wish to be a member. I am unsure how to delete my account so maybe admin would do this, thank you.
Good luck to all with what you are trying to establish for Maddie McCann, it has been nice and interesting knowing you.
This is not a flounce, btw, it is because of my belief in justice that I am going. I will not respect myself if I stay on a forum where such comments are allowed.

Please read the following from yesterday's Observer Newspaper.

Hillsborough: a culture of secrecy still pervades public life

The depth and breadth of the cover-up over 96 deaths reveals how much needs to change in the establishment


Editorial
The Observer, Sunday 16 September 2012
Jump to comments (20)

It is four days since the report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel demolished 23 years of lies and slurs about the catastrophic day that resulted in the deaths of 96 football supporters and the besmirching of an entire community. Today, the families of the victims of that disaster, led with dignity and commitment by Trevor Hicks and Margaret Aspinall, meet their legal advisers. The truth has finally been established, now justice is required. The current flood of mea culpas, including the very necessary apology of David Cameron, must not wash away the need for both criminal prosecutions and radical reform.

Sir Norman Bettison, chief constable of West Yorkshire, accused of manipulating a "black propaganda" campaign, belatedly apologised on Friday following, among others, Boris Johnson, David Bernstein of the FA, Kelvin MacKenzie and former Tory MP Sir Irvine Patnick, who fed the lies that shaped the Sun's infamous front page. The length of the list of those culpable, leading members of the establishment who denigrated their fellow citizens, and behaved perniciously, indicates that sorry is not enough. What Michael Mansfield QC, representing 60 of the families, rightly calls, a "calamitous failure in democratic accountability" demands to be properly addressed.

We now know that lives, many of them young, were lost on 15 April 1989, because of an unsafe football ground and the negligence of senior officers, camouflaged by the subsequent perjury of dozens of police and emergency services staff. It beggars belief that blood samples were taken from the victims, one as young as 10, to scrabble for evidence that alcohol had fuelled the tragedy. The truth was just visible in the inquiry of Lord Chief Justice Taylor, soon after the disaster; however, much of the media and many politicians preferred the fabricated "evidence" that the behaviour of drunken, ticketless louts caused the loss of life. That calumny has survived two decades, reinforced by snobbery, and contempt for working-class football supporters whom it was alleged had brought it upon themselves.

Recompense is required not just for the dead but also for the survivors, scarred mentally and physically (further wounded because they were deemed responsible for the carnage). For the families there is also new knowledge. Forty-one victims were alive beyond the cut-off point arbitrarily decided by the coroner, Stefan Popper. Today, Anne Williams is cruelly aware that her 15-year-old son Kevin was calling for her long after 3.15pm. Individuals must be called to account. It is also vital for the re-imposition of standards in public life. Without that, the public's last vestiges of trust, confidence and respect for those who are supposed to protect citizens and deliver justice when events go horrendously wrong will be shredded still further.

Beyond the restitution of individuals, the system itself requires repair. A botched inquest, a flawed inquiry, a farcical review of evidence, a series of unsympathetic governments, an unsatisfactory judicial process and an unforgiving press, tells us so. Hillsborough demands a robust, long-term legacy that radically tackles a system still riddled with deceit, secrecy and snobbery. One that licenses crude cover-ups and permits toxic myths to take hold – the cases of the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes, an electrician smeared as a terrorist, and the shooting of Mark Duggan that triggered the London riots, come to mind.

Of course, society has changed significantly over the past two decades. It is less deferential and more questioning. The advent of social media means that the transgressions of the state have a greater chance of being exposed. In addition, there is stronger legislation to protect the rights of the individual. The Freedom of Information Act 2000, for instance, has been instrumental in providing the facts that the Hillsborough families sought for more than two decades. It was the refusal to disclose material under the act that led to the admirable actions of Labour MPs Andy Burnham and Maria Eagle in establishing the independent (and crucially non-adversarial) panel that has finally opened the lock on Hillsborough.

However, while there are reasons for optimism that a disaster and cover-up on such a scale is less likely to occur, there is no justification for complacency. The servants of the state continue to invest corruptly to avoid culpability and evade the twin duties of accountability and responsibility that are an essential part of leadership. The families fought magnificently to expose that malignancy; it is imperative that that malignancy is now properly excised. The question is how?

We have seen a stream of miscarriages of justice over the years including the Guildford Four, the Cardiff Three, Stephen Lawrence and numerous deaths in custody. The Independent Police Complaints Commission's record is unimpressive, evidenced, for instance, in the case of newsvendor Ian Tomlinson. Now led by the respected Dame Anne Owers, it needs to show teeth, autonomy and integrity. Many members of the police do an excellent job under immense pressure. However, it is time too for a major inquiry into the quality of policing and what needs to change to establish a force fit for the 21st century. This should not be in the hands of lawyers but follow the impressive model of the Hillsborough Independent Panel.

The coroners' courts, too, require attention. Lack of disclosure, the poor resourcing of families seeking justice, cover-up and misinformation continue to be a pattern for relatives seeking the truth when their loved ones die in the hands of the police and in the care of other public bodies. Against the initial wishes of the government, a chief coroner has recently been appointed and that is a positive step. Since Hillsborough, the Human Rights Act has come into force. However, the powers of the coroner remain limited; families are often marginalised and those coroners who do challenge the establishment are frequently sidelined. In addition, if the Justice and Security bill, currently going through parliament, becomes law, even greater secrecy and unaccountability is likely.

The story of Hillsborough is one of epic courage and a belief in the power of social solidarity. The families – backed by a handful of dedicated MPs, among them the Labour MPs for the Liverpool Walton constituency where Anfield lies, Peter Kilfoyle and his successor Steve Rotheram – demonstrated that it is possible for the citizen to successfully take on the darkest side of the state. That the establishment of the truth took such a woefully long time signals how much is yet to be done


Good luck and goodbye.

____________________



             The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate,
contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and
unrealistic.
~John F. Kennedy


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Re: Hillsborough: Families Braced For Revelations

Post by PeterMac on 17.09.12 12:51

I think, with respect, that my question is still a valid one.
The statements of the officers, mounted and foot patrol who were on duty in that area, are very clear.
The order to open the gate was given because they feared that someone would be killed.
Yes, that was a mistake. Everyone accepts that.
The police were responsible for the safety of the fans outside the ground and knowing the likelihood of various behaviours which were "Normal" outside grounds shortly before kick off in those days, should have planned for and responded to events differently.
That is why the reports have both said what they did.
The behaviour, attitude, and numbers of the fans is irrelevant, and forms no part of those enquiries. it is simply a matter of historical note.
However many there were, however late it was, however many did or did not have tickets - it was the duty of the police to stop them.
And they didn't.

So my question remains, has any one of those who were pushing against the police horses and the gate, or who climbed over the wall, or who were themselves being pushed against the gate from behind, ever given his or her version to the press, or to anyone else ?

It is a question, to which I do not know the answer. Nothing more.

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