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Finally, the TRUTH about Hillsborough

The Truth. Finally, after 23 years of blatant lies and cover-ups, the families of the 96 and survivors of the Hillsborough Disaster have the truth.

The details of the findings released by Hillsborough Independent Panel on Sept. 12, 2012 are shocking to say the least:

  • 41 of the 96 victims “had the potential to survive” had the 3:15 p.m. cut-off set by the coroner not been in place.
  • The South Yorkshire police and South Yorkshire Ambulance Service actively sought to deflect blame off of their own mishandling of the situation and onto supporters of Liverpool Football Club.
  • 116 of 164 police statements were “amended to remove or alter comments unfavorable to South Yorkshire Police.”
  • The SYP sought to “impugn” the reputations of the victims by searching their names in national crime indices.
  • Furthermore, the SYP carried out blood alcohol readings on victims – including children – in order to justify their false claim that the cause of the disaster was drunk and ticketless fans – a claim long rejected by the Taylor Inquiry.

For the families of the victims, the survivors, Liverpool Football Club and its supporters around the world, this is a victory and an international recognition of the truth. The Sun’s infamous “The Truth” banner headline – based on Sheffield-based Whites Press Agency’s reports from four SYP officers and Tory MP Sir Irvine Patnick – was the most profound example of a hideous distortion of truth set out by the failings of the SYP. According to the Panel’s findings, the SYP actively sought to create a “rock solid story” bases purely on fabrication to cover their own mistakes.

The front page of the Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 edition of the Liverpool Echo

The result was a damaging reputation of not only LFC, but Liverpudlians in general. “Self-Pity City” as the city would be callously called by those who never listened to the truth being spoken by a then minority.

But today is different and finally the truth – the very truth that the families of the victims and the survivors of that fateful day on April 15, 1989 knew all along – is finally exposed to the majority.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking in Parliament, said, “The new evidence that we are presented with today makes clear that these families have suffered a double injustice.

“The injustice of the appalling events – the failure of the state to protect their loved ones and the indefensible wait to get to the truth.

“And the injustice of the denigration of the deceased – that they were somehow at fault for their own deaths.”

Cameron offered a full and complete apology on behalf of the government and further stated, “Today’s report is black and white. The Liverpool fans were “‘not the cause of the disaster.’”

For the families, the official apology, while appreciated, is perhaps 23 years too late.

As are the half-baked, insincere apologies from Kelvin MacKenzie – then editor of The Sun – and the South Yorkshire police, who actually got the date of the Hillsborough Disaster wrong in a statement on their website before fixing the mistake. Their words of apology can never fully rectify the damage they have done.

Still, there are numerous questions to be answered in light of the Panel’s findings:

  • Why did it take 23 years to release the 450,000 documents – which don’t include documents relating to Margaret Thatcher’s administration?
  • Why was Hillsborough even allowed to be used as a football venue, having not had a certificate of safety since 1981?
  • Why did Sheffield Wednesday Football Club not make the proper adjustments and fixes on their football ground to ensure the safety of spectators?
  • Why did the Football Association, with that knowledge, still use Hillsborough for an FA Cup semi-final match?

In spite of everything released today, ultimately the most important things relating to Hillsborough are the families of the victims and the survivors – both of whom have had to live without their loved ones and have been forced carry on with their lives. Their quest for the truth and justice – in spite of the odds and in spite of the bureaucratic walls that kept shutting them down – is remarkable.

The work done by the Hillsborough Family Support Group and the Hillsborough Justice Campaign among others should make all people – not just football fans and Liverpool supporters – proud. They actively sought the truth beyond the lies and cover-ups. Today we have that truth.

The deaths of the 96 were all preventable. But now, hopefully, some closure can begin for the families and the survivors.

The TRUTH is finally out. Now the quest for JUSTICE truly begins.


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