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From The Socialist newspaper, 18 September 2013

Hillsborough: even more cover-ups revealed

Matt Gordon
Militant newspaper (forerunner of The Socialist) 21 April 1989 issue 941, on the Hillsborough disaster

Militant newspaper (forerunner of The Socialist) 21 April 1989 issue 941, on the Hillsborough disaster   (Click to enlarge)

Twenty four years on from the Hillsborough Disaster there have been yet more revelations about the apparently limitless mendacity of the South Yorkshire Police.

Not only were the statements of police officers systematically altered, but the statements of ordinary witnesses may have been altered as well.

The inquiry that reported its findings last year had trawled through 450,000 documents relating to the disaster and finally revealed without doubt what has long been known by the people of Liverpool - that the police orchestrated a massive 'black propaganda' campaign to blame the tragedy of the 96 deaths on the fans themselves. They had done this with the tacit support of the tabloid media and the government.

Not only did the report point to the falsifying of statements, but it also found examples of the police requesting to use money donated to the families for themselves - on holiday homes and gym equipment! These accusations went right to the top of the South Yorkshire Police.

Following this report, in December 2012, the High Court quashed the original verdict of accidental death and Theresa May was forced to announce a new criminal investigation. Senior figures fell over themselves to apologise.

Altered statements

The latest developments reveal that 238 police statements have been altered, an increase from 164 in the original report, as well as an unknown number of witness statements.

There have also been 90 pocket books uncovered, written by officers on duty during the disaster, which have never before been looked at and may include vital evidence about what happened.

These findings will give campaigners further impetus to keep fighting, but one year on it represents slow progress and is still a long way from justice.

It is hard to have any trust in either the Independent Police Complaints Commission or in the criminal investigation which is led by former senior officers.

These institutions have been severely undermined, not just by revelations about Hillsborough, but by the parallel revelations about Stephen Lawrence, the scandals about Jimmy Savile and other public figures, and the role of the police in the miners' strike of 1984-85.

It is more and more apparent that for the powers-that-be 'black propaganda' is less a job on the side and more a full-time occupation.

Delaying tactics are still being used by the police, with reports that officers will refuse to give evidence and that this current round of investigation may go on for years.

Only a genuinely independent public inquiry, involving the families, campaigners and trade union representatives, with the power to prosecute those responsible, will finally get justice for the 96.

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In The Socialist 18 September 2013:


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