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Tags Liverpool incidents , police misconduct charges , UK incidents

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Old 14th September 2012, 04:08 AM   #1
Shankly
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Hillsborough Disaster:The truth at last

After 23 years of fighting for the truth, the families of the Hillsborough victims have finally been vindicated in the report published by an independant enquiry.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2...led?intcmp=239


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Throughout a momentous day at Liverpool's Anglican cathedral for the families of the 96 people who died so needlessly at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough football ground, one phrase dominated above all else: the truth. These were the words most infamously abused by that headline in the Sun, above stories we now know, in extraordinarily shocking detail, were fed by the South Yorkshire police to deflect their own culpability for the disaster on to the innocent victims.

Margaret Aspinall, whose son James, then 18, died at what should have been a joyful day out, an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in spring sunshine, said the families had been forced to fight, for 23 years, for just that: the truth. Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said that although the families' loss would never fade, she was "delighted" at the unequivocal, "profound" apology given for Hillsborough's savage failings by David Cameron.

...

And there was that word again. After so many years, so much pain, so long and terrible a battle waged by families who would not give up for their loved ones, it has been finally reclaimed. The truth.

Edited by LashL:  Snipped for compliance with Rule 4. Please do not copy and paste lengthy tracts or text from elsewhere. Instead, cite a short quote and a link to the source.

The full report can be found here http://www.official-documents.gov.uk.../0581/0581.pdf

Last edited by LashL; 15th September 2012 at 09:15 AM.
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Old 14th September 2012, 05:03 AM   #2
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I'm currently on page 95. Shocking, and yet in a way I'm not even slightly surprised. Bloody Sunday, the Birmingham Six, Harry Stanley, Jean Charles de Menezes, Ian Tomlinson. The police have repeatedly shown themselves to be primarily concerned with covering their own backsides, and willing to lie and distort the truth to do that.

Hey - shouldn't this be under "conspiracy theories"?

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Last edited by Rolfe; 14th September 2012 at 05:48 AM.
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Old 14th September 2012, 05:22 AM   #3
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For me one of the most pressing things is to find out exactly who it was that removed any negative comments about the performance of the police that day from the reports filed by officers on duty. That is evidence tampering and the guilty parties should be tried and jailed. Absolutely disgusting behaviour.

I get the feeling this is going to run and run. Hopefully the pressure will be kept up to get to the bottom of this whole disgusting, fraudulent cover-up.

Justice for the 96
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Old 14th September 2012, 05:25 AM   #4
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Incidentally Rolfe, Alex Thomson from Channel 4 covers this very issue. He pulls no punches calling it a "British disease".
http://blogs.channel4.com/alex-thoms...h-disease/2671
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Statements Richard G cannot back up - "You may not own a rifle, or a pistol in the U.K.. Period. One shotgun per person is allowed, under heavy regulations. Most owners have turned those in also, because the regulations, and registration are too difficult and burdensome"

Last edited by Shaun from Scotland; 14th September 2012 at 05:34 AM.
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Old 14th September 2012, 05:31 AM   #5
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The Channel 4 news report that covered that issue included a snippet referring to Lockerbie, and asking whether that was another one still to come out. In my view it is. That investigation was run by a Scottish police force, not an English one, but as the man says, it's a British phenomenon and I see nothing in the Lockerbie documents to indicate that the Scottish police are in any way exempt.

I've been consistently banished to the Conspiracy Theories forum for discussing this subject, but see my most recent post on this matter, dated ten days ago.

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...postid=8591935

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Old 14th September 2012, 05:36 AM   #6
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Conspiracy to pervert the course of justice (tampering with witness statements) and manslaughter by gross negligence are a couple of charges I am glad not to be facing. Some people are looking at serious jail time. If there were an offence of dishonest, unprofessional, complacent, cowardly, establishment-friendly, so-called journalism we could put the repulsive Kelvin Mackenzie in the dock too.
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Old 14th September 2012, 06:05 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
.... That investigation was run by a Scottish police force, not an English one, but as the man says, it's a British phenomenon ....
Just a question here: How are British police forces structured? Are they centralized under a national authority, or does each city or town have its own independent force? In the U.S., there are thousands of independent city and county police departments and plenty of examples of police misconduct, but there are multiple levels of responsibility, so allegations about a city department might be investigated by state or federal authorities, and allegations against a state police department might be investigated by other state authorities and the feds. There are also Freedom of Information laws that make many official records accessible to reporters and other independent investigators. If a citizen has a problem with the police in Britain, who does he complain to, and who investigates?
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Old 14th September 2012, 06:11 AM   #8
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Each country in the UK has a number of regional police forces, who pool resources and assist each other for major incidents. There is currently a proposal to incorporate all the Scottish police within a single Scottish police force, for reasons of economy of scale. This proposal is controversial.

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Old 14th September 2012, 06:11 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
Just a question here: How are British police forces structured? Are they centralized under a national authority, or does each city or town have its own independent force? In the U.S., there are thousands of independent city and county police departments and plenty of examples of police misconduct, but there are multiple levels of responsibility, so allegations about a city department might be investigated by state or federal authorities, and allegations against a state police department might be investigated by other state authorities and the feds. There are also Freedom of Information laws that make many official records accessible to reporters and other independent investigators. If a citizen has a problem with the police in Britain, who does he complain to, and who investigates?
They are divided regionally. In this case, we are talking about the South Yorkshire Police. There is an Independent Police Complaints Authority and probably internal complaints handling systems also. Can't say I am an expert. And while we have a Freedom of Information Act and while this may be a sweeping generalisation, those in authority seem to be constitutionally disposed to subvert it. The woman who got to the bottom of the MPs expenses scandal started out merely trying to get her local authority to fix the lights in an underground subway and encountered unbelievable levels of obstruction.
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Old 14th September 2012, 06:25 AM   #10
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This is the reason why there is so much "unnecessary" (according to the government) paperwork for the police. Unless they are tightly controlled and monitored and everything is documented we see time and time again the police forces will abuse their power and even when we have such oversight they will actively work to subvert it. (Of course this is not unique to the police, it's just a part of human behaviour but the results can be devastating when it is an organisation with the power of the police.)

What I couldn't believe over the last few days were people saying "oh things have changed, couldn't happen today". Well unless the changes happened on Tuesday we know it does still happen, from the like of the "phone tapping" investigations to the travesty of the investigation into the entirely unnecessary death of Ian Tomlinson.
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Old 14th September 2012, 06:30 AM   #11
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I would also add, regarding organisation of the British Police, that it is quite common for officers of Chief rank (Chief Constable & Assistant Chief Constable for extra-London Forces, Commander, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner and Commissioner for the London Metropolitan force) to be appointed from outside the force the serve in.
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Old 14th September 2012, 07:12 AM   #12
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The Police absolutely should not get a free pass on this but I'd just like to point out that they behave the same way as most homogeneous groups with a strong bond. Yes you'll get the occasional whistle-blower but generally "they" will close ranks to protect their own.

The Police have a lot more scope but closing ranks to suppress the truth is an allegation I've seen made against doctors, lawyers, judges, politicians, editors, members of the armed forces and many other groups.


edited to add......

I have re-read my post and I came across as a Police apologist. I want to make it entirely clear that the Police (both individually and collectively) behaved disgracefully and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

The point I wanted to make is that it's not just the Police that behave in this way to cover up misdeeds.

Last edited by The Don; 14th September 2012 at 07:16 AM.
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Old 14th September 2012, 07:14 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
This is the reason why there is so much "unnecessary" (according to the government) paperwork for the police. Unless they are tightly controlled and monitored and everything is documented we see time and time again the police forces will abuse their power and even when we have such oversight they will actively work to subvert it. (Of course this is not unique to the police, it's just a part of human behaviour but the results can be devastating when it is an organisation with the power of the police.)

What I couldn't believe over the last few days were people saying "oh things have changed, couldn't happen today". Well unless the changes happened on Tuesday we know it does still happen, from the like of the "phone tapping" investigations to the travesty of the investigation into the entirely unnecessary death of Ian Tomlinson.

I couldn't agree more with this post. I would add, however, that institutional culture has a lot of influence. A firm institutional culture which makes it absolutely clear that this behaviour will not be tolerated and will be subject to disciplinary action if identified can do a lot to mitigate "human behaviour". The problem with the police however is that the culture has been (and clearly still is) doing the opposite. It's not just rank-and-file personnel covering their own individual backsides, it's senior management doing it on an industrial scale, and even ordering junior personnel to lie to that end.

And of course it's happening today. The Tomlinson affair demonstrated that absolutely clearly. The police requested a pathologist they knew to be incompetent to perform the PM, although he was under disciplinary investigation at that time. They covered up on an industrial scale. The de Menezes affair isn't that long ago either, and that was absolutely shocking. The degree of "blame the victim" that went on, although the poor man had simply been shot in the head while he was sitting on a train reading a newspaper, is astounding.

[As an aside, Darat, and obviously not to be pursued in this thread, in this context I don't understand why you are so adamant that exactly the same thing didn't happen in the Lockerbie fiasco.]

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Old 14th September 2012, 07:39 AM   #14
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Who won the game?
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Old 14th September 2012, 07:44 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
Who won the game?
Oddly enough, once they started pulling dead fans out of the stands they lost interest in the game.

Edit: A senior copper who had been in charge of a past tribunal has been saying that fans made it "harder than it needed to be". Which as an exercise in tactless behaviour very nearly beats Scrut's comment, but not quite.

Another edit:

There's an article here that was written a couple of months after the disaster, and makes interesting reading:

Quote:
The police see us as a mass entity, fuelled by drink and a single-minded resolve to wreak havoc by destroying property and attacking one another with murderous intent. Containment and damage limitation is at the core of the police strategy. Fans are treated with the utmost disrespect. We are herded, cajoled, pushed, and corralled into cramped spaces, and expected to submit passively to every new indignity.
The implication is that “normal” people need to be protected from the football fan. But we are normal people.
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Old 14th September 2012, 08:07 AM   #16
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So, will The Sun apologise now as well?
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Old 14th September 2012, 08:12 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by richardm View Post
Oddly enough, once they started pulling dead fans out of the stands they lost interest in the game.

I was startled to realise how late it was before they abandoned the game. After 3.30, apparently. When according to the original coroner's report, all the fatalities occurred before 3.15.

Originally Posted by richardm View Post
Edit: A senior copper who had been in charge of a past tribunal has been saying that fans made it "harder than it needed to be". Which as an exercise in tactless behaviour very nearly beats Scrut's comment, but not quite.

There was some creep on TV last night still trying to blame the fans even after the publication of the report. Is that who you mean?

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Old 14th September 2012, 08:14 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by richardm View Post
Oddly enough, once they started pulling dead fans out of the stands they lost interest in the game.

Edit: A senior copper who had been in charge of a past tribunal has been saying that fans made it "harder than it needed to be". Which as an exercise in tactless behaviour very nearly beats Scrut's comment, but not quite.

Another edit:

There's an article here that was written a couple of months after the disaster, and makes interesting reading:
There are two sides to this, of course. The preoccupation of the cops and Sheffield Wednesday Football Club was with order rather than safety. The fans themselves had brought that about with decades of violent behaviour. I am not excusing the cops. There is no excuse for doctoring statements and smearing the dead but you need a short memory not to recall the excesses of the English football hooligan, now displaced who knows where by higher prices, seating and CCTV. Actually, I know where - until comparatively recently the worst of them followed the national team.

Another major issue seems to have been the last-minute replacement of Mole with Duckenfield. It seems handling the particular problems of the Leppings Lane entrance required experience which Duckenfield lacked.

It needed courage and integrity to face what happened, or firm and disinterested external review, which British society seems not always to have on offer. The establishment, whatever it is, seems to resist and resist and then suddenly turn upon some hapless individual, offering them as a sacrifice to appease the baying mob, before reverting to type.
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Old 14th September 2012, 08:20 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Damien Evans View Post
So, will The Sun apologise now as well?
Kelvin Mackenzie, the editor at the time, and a deeply annoying and unpleasant person, has tendered an apology. It has not gone down well I understand.
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Old 14th September 2012, 08:28 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
What I couldn't believe over the last few days were people saying "oh things have changed, couldn't happen today". Well unless the changes happened on Tuesday we know it does still happen, from the like of the "phone tapping" investigations to the travesty of the investigation into the entirely unnecessary death of Ian Tomlinson.
The science of crowd control has advanced massively since 1989. So its every unlikely that such an event could happen at something as well organised as a modern british football match.
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Old 14th September 2012, 08:41 AM   #21
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If the same cages were still in place it could happen again, they were a disaster waiting to happen. If it wasn't a crush it was going to be a fire in a caged in stand that did it.

Football matches are different places to the 80s. Sanctions against clubs, All seater stands, bans on drink and much higher ticket prices have changed the nature of the fan and the event.

Now it is saved up for trips abroad to international matches.

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Old 14th September 2012, 08:45 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by geni View Post
The science of crowd control has advanced massively since 1989. So its every unlikely that such an event could happen at something as well organised as a modern british football match.

I don't think Darat was talking about the actual disaster.

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Old 14th September 2012, 09:07 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
If the same cages were still in place it could happen again, they were a disaster waiting to happen. If it wasn't a crush it was going to be a fire in a caged in stand that did it.
Post Bradford there had been a reasonable review of fire safety.

Quote:
Now it is saved up for trips abroad to international matches.
In fairness even that has increasingly been brought under control. In any case I suspect its less of case of being saved up and more a case of being in an enviroment where is there is less control over events.
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Old 14th September 2012, 09:09 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by geni View Post
Post Bradford there had been a reasonable review of fire safety.

One of the reasons for not having sorted out the problems with the Leppings Lane terrace was that SWFC had to spend a bundle of money sorting out fire safety problems in one of the other stands after Bradford.

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Old 14th September 2012, 09:50 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Damien Evans View Post
So, will The Sun apologise now as well?
I feel a little bit sorry for The Sun as they ran the story based partly on information from four senior police officers. They have now apologised and I hope they use their clout to make sure the police responsible for the lies told after the disaster get soundly punished.
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Old 14th September 2012, 09:59 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
If the same cages were still in place it could happen again, they were a disaster waiting to happen. If it wasn't a crush it was going to be a fire in a caged in stand that did it.

Football matches are different places to the 80s. Sanctions against clubs, All seater stands, bans on drink and much higher ticket prices have changed the nature of the fan and the event.

Now it is saved up for trips abroad to international matches.
If you look at the context of what happened that day, I can see why a certain faction of football 'fans' have to accept some responsibility for what happened that day. Fact is there had been so much violence and trouble at games, fences had become the standard to be able to go and watch games. Without fences there would have been no disaster. Then, initially any problems would be viewed by the police as just yet more trouble until it became apparent that was not the case. That delayed and influenced emergency service actions.

Any football 'fan' who was violent and participated in disturbances that lead to the creation of fences and, not just the police but societies attitude towards proper fans becoming less tolerant, has to accept their part in the blame.

Its like the boy who cried wolf, when he did need help, no one believed him until it was too late.
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Old 14th September 2012, 10:11 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by geni View Post
The science of crowd control has advanced massively since 1989. So its every unlikely that such an event could happen at something as well organised as a modern british football match.
Wrong end of the stick - the rest of us are discussing the police cover-up.
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Old 14th September 2012, 10:15 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
I feel a little bit sorry for The Sun as they ran the story based partly on information from four senior police officers. They have now apologised and I hope they use their clout to make sure the police responsible for the lies told after the disaster get soundly punished.
I have to admit (very, very reluctantly) that you have point, it seems as if the Sun was in its usual crass way reporting what they had every reason to believe did happen. Hell is suffering a cold snap.
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Old 14th September 2012, 10:49 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
If the same cages were still in place it could happen again, they were a disaster waiting to happen. If it wasn't a crush it was going to be a fire in a caged in stand that did it.

Football matches are different places to the 80s. Sanctions against clubs, All seater stands, bans on drink and much higher ticket prices have changed the nature of the fan and the event.

Now it is saved up for trips abroad to international matches.
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Old 14th September 2012, 11:14 AM   #30
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Any hint of a police cock up and there needs to be an independent investigatory authority with powers to get full disclosure of all evidence.
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Old 14th September 2012, 02:12 PM   #31
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It's not the police cock-up that's the main issue now, it's the systematic cover-up. The cock-up was negligent, but accidental. The cover-up was absolutely deliberate, calculated and constitutes a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice starting at the highest level.

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Old 14th September 2012, 03:25 PM   #32
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This is interesting. The main point I'm getting relates to lying about what happened at the equivalent match the previous year. Then there was a less severe occurrence of the same problem, and disaster was averted by police closing the tunnel into the affected terraces. Junior constables unanimously testified to this, and to the fact that they acted on instructions from their superiors when they closed the tunnel. However, these superiors flatly denied all knowledge of the entire incident.

The junior officers were told to remove these statements from their evidence. The senior officers then said that they knew nothing about crowding or crushing in 1988, or about the gate being closed. If the gate was closed it was entirely on the initiative of the people who closed it. And they tried to imply it was SWFC stewards who did that.

As the report says, knowledge of what happened in 1988 seems to have been in inverse ratio to rank. And yet the junior constables all said they were acting on instructions from their superiors. It was all about those responsible trying to maintain the fiction that they had no way of anticipating what happened in 1989. The behaviour was clearly grossly dishonest.

I'm also very intrigued by the way the post mortem reports all stated unequivocally that the victims were already beyond help by 3.15. This allowed the coroner to refuse to examine the efficiency of the emergency response. It appears to be orchestrated, and false. How was that done? I'm not going to be able to keep fighting off the CTer who maintains that the pathologists were systematically falsifying the Lockerbie post mortems to conceal evidence of a much larger bomb, at this rate!

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Old 14th September 2012, 06:09 PM   #33
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Cue ignorant reaction

YAY the fans, stadium designer and event organizers are all guilt free! It was entirely those bloody police who were at fault. They somehow violated laws of causality when they murdered people by testing them for alcohol in the morgue!
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Old 15th September 2012, 12:41 AM   #34
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Read the report, why don't you? It's absolutely gripping.

The stadium was old and had been modified for various reasons over the years. It was an accident not just waiting to happen, but one which had already happened twice, just not so badly. That's a major point. The authorities were trying to claim they had no idea of the danger, which is quite a difficult trick to pull off when it had actually happened, most recently the previous year.

The event organisers are mixed up in it along with the police, though the major culpability seems to be with the police, to whom the organisers deferred. There is no evidence the fans did anything to contribute to the disaster. They weren't drunk, and they weren't violent, and they didn't storm the exit gate - all of which they were accused of doing by the police.

Travis, we know what happened. The story here is about the cover-up. The conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. This seems to involve the highest echelons of the hierarchy - the senior cops and the coroner and the expert witnesses. All colluded to blame the fans and conceal the culpability of the senior police. That's where the blood alcohol measurements come in. They were irrelevant, but the coroner ordered the tests to be done and then placed inordinate significance on levels which were essentially trivial in order to portray the victims as a rampaging drunken mob.

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Old 15th September 2012, 02:32 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Read the report, why don't you? It's absolutely gripping.

The stadium was old and had been modified for various reasons over the years. It was an accident not just waiting to happen, but one which had already happened twice, just not so badly. That's a major point. The authorities were trying to claim they had no idea of the danger, which is quite a difficult trick to pull off when it had actually happened, most recently the previous year.

The event organisers are mixed up in it along with the police, though the major culpability seems to be with the police, to whom the organisers deferred. There is no evidence the fans did anything to contribute to the disaster. They weren't drunk, and they weren't violent, and they didn't storm the exit gate - all of which they were accused of doing by the police.

Travis, we know what happened. The story here is about the cover-up. The conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. This seems to involve the highest echelons of the hierarchy - the senior cops and the coroner and the expert witnesses. All colluded to blame the fans and conceal the culpability of the senior police. That's where the blood alcohol measurements come in. They were irrelevant, but the coroner ordered the tests to be done and then placed inordinate significance on levels which were essentially trivial in order to portray the victims as a rampaging drunken mob.

Rolfe.
It's funny how people prefer their own preconceptions over readily accessible facts, as here. It is precisely the background of known problems and previous incidents that necessitated the cover up. Plus the last minute substitution of Duckenfield to control a complicated (but known) crowd control problem. So much is human nature. What is much more worrying is the extended failure to get to the bottom of what really happened. The main sources of information: the FA, SWFC, SYP all shared the same vested interest in blaming the fans.
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Old 15th September 2012, 02:45 AM   #36
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I have some sneaking sympathy with Duckenfield. He probably had no idea what a hot potato he'd been handed, just three weeks before the match. There was something weird about Mole being removed from the job, which the report isn't explaining.

So Duckenfield is appointed, when the plans are already mostly in place, and it's just a re-run of the previous year's match anyway, which the official briefings say went like clockwork. He thinks that all he has to do is show up and look pretty. He didn't find out that there had been a serious crushing incident the previous year. He wasn't told that Mole was actually quite pro-active in tinkering with the detailed crowd control strategy. Nobody flagged up the dangerous potential of these two central pens and the importance of ensuring they didn't become over-full.

It was his job to find out of course, but he only had three weeks and nobody told him. He seems to have gone in absolutely complacent, to have done nothing that Mole had done to keep an eye on things, and then been taken by surprise when the incident unfolded. The cover-up seems to a large extent to be about asserting that nobody in any senior position knew what had happened the previous year. Which is obviously absolute mince.

Duckenfield was obviously complacent and not nearly pro-active enough. He also made a fatal error in not formally activating the major incident plans. However, he was also massively unlucky to have been put in that position where his shortcomings really mattered and became such an issue.

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Old 15th September 2012, 03:03 AM   #37
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The report by Nicholl which purported to show that the later a person arrived at the match the more alcohol they had consumed is an absolute shocker. You only need to glance at the raw data to see that the vast majority of victims had not consumed any significant amount of alcohol, and only six might have been a bit on the merry side. And that there was no particular pattern linking alcohol levels to time of arrival (which could only be very approximately estimated anyway). However, Nicholl clearly saw it as his remit to torture the data into showing what the police wanted it to show.

The new report clearly shows that just about any which way you analyse these data, there's nothing significant. Nicholl must have had to analyse and re-analyse and try it this way and that before hitting on the one way to present it that seems to show what was required to be shown. And even then, his stats were invalid.

That wasn't his job. His job was to say to the police, I'm sorry but these data simply don't support your assertion, go away. He didn't do that.

Another thing was the obsession with the drink-drive alcohol limit. As the report says, that limit is set to prevent people who might appear perfectly compos mentis from driving a motor car at speed, because their reaction time will be compromised. It's inappropriate to rely on it in the context of a social leisure event where the people involved were not driving or operating heavy machinery, and castigate them as if they were roaring drunk. Worse than that, most of the victims had alcohol levels below that limit, and these were still read out at the inquests and treated as if they were in some way significant. They were the equivalent of half a pint of beer, or just artefacts of decomposition.

The entire culture was about blaming the fans and excusing the police and other authorities, and the medical personnel who were at the interface between the medical and legal professions simply lock-stepped into that culture. These people (the coroner in particular) then controlled their own colleagues so that they were singing from the same hymn sheet. It's clear that the coroner had made up his mind what had happened, and then oversaw the post mortem reports so that they backed up that interpretation. It was only when the factual records of the post mortems were looked at rather than the conclusions that it could be seen the conslusions did not follow from the observations.

Only now has the prevailing culture changed so that criticism of the police and their fellow-travellers is "allowed". Only in that culture can a report such as the present one be issued. And unfortunately that change in culture only happens for a specific incident, and then usually decades after the event. New incidents are still subject to the default culture of the police being right, and everyone is supposed to fall in with that. And in their turn, it may be 20 or 30 years before someone changes the way they are looked at.

Rolfe.
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Old 15th September 2012, 05:07 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
This is interesting. The main point I'm getting relates to lying about what happened at the equivalent match the previous year. Then there was a less severe occurrence of the same problem, and disaster was averted by police closing the tunnel into the affected terraces. Junior constables unanimously testified to this, and to the fact that they acted on instructions from their superiors when they closed the tunnel. However, these superiors flatly denied all knowledge of the entire incident.

The junior officers were told to remove these statements from their evidence. The senior officers then said that they knew nothing about crowding or crushing in 1988, or about the gate being closed. If the gate was closed it was entirely on the initiative of the people who closed it. And they tried to imply it was SWFC stewards who did that.

As the report says, knowledge of what happened in 1988 seems to have been in inverse ratio to rank. And yet the junior constables all said they were acting on instructions from their superiors. It was all about those responsible trying to maintain the fiction that they had no way of anticipating what happened in 1989. The behaviour was clearly grossly dishonest.
As the report states:
Quote:
In 1981 before the FA Cup Semi-Final between Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton Wanderers there was serious congestion at the Leppings Lane turnstiles and crushing on the confined outer concourse. This led directly to severe compression on the Leppings Lane terrace and injuries to fans. Hillsborough was not used again for an FA Cup semi-final until
1987, and then again in 1988.
....following the 1981 incident, there was a breakdown in the relationship between SWFC and SYP. SWFC refused to accept the seriousness of the incident and held SYP responsible for the mismanagement of the crowd. SYP considered that the maximum capacity for the Leppings Lane terrace, set at 10,100, was too high, a view strongly contested by SWFC.

From the earliest safety assessments made by safety engineers commissioned in 1978 by SWFC, it was apparent that the stadium failed to meet minimum standards under the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 and established in the Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (known as the ‘Green Guide’), 1976. Documents released to the Panel confirm that the local Advisory Group for Safety at Sports Grounds carried out inadequate and poorly recorded inspections.

Following the near tragedy in 1981, Hillsborough was not used for FA Cup semifinals until 1987. During this period the Leppings Lane terrace underwent a series of significant modifications and alterations, none of which led to a revised safety certificate. The introduction of further lateral fences created two central pens accessed via the tunnel beneath the West Stand. Recommendations to feed fans directly from designated turnstiles into each pen, thus monitoring precisely the distribution of fans between the pens, were not acted on because of anticipated costs to SWFC.

It is evident from the disclosed documents that SYP were preoccupied with
crowd management, segregation and regulation to prevent potential disorder. SWFC’s primary concern was to limit costs. The Fire Service, however, raised concerns about provision for emergency evacuation of the terraces. As the only means of escaping forwards was onto the pitch, concern was raised specifically about the width of the perimeter fence gates which was well below the standard recommended by the Green Guide.
It was a disaster that could, and should, have been anticipated and prevented.

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I'm also very intrigued by the way the post mortem reports all stated unequivocally that the victims were already beyond help by 3.15. This allowed the coroner to refuse to examine the efficiency of the emergency response. It appears to be orchestrated, and false.
Yes the report indicated that many of those who died could have been saved by prompt removal and medical treatment. On-site medial response was poor at best. The South Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service also seems to have been desperate to avoid blame.

Originally Posted by Travis View Post
YAY the fans, stadium designer and event organizers are all guilt free! It was entirely those bloody police who were at fault. They somehow violated laws of causality when they murdered people by testing them for alcohol in the morgue!
As the report says the root causes of the disaster were unwillingness to modify the stadium design and lack of consideration of safety.
The police actions were responsible for some of the problems, and didn't help remediate the disaster. Then they began lying and smearing.

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Read the report, why don't you? It's absolutely gripping.
Indeed.

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
The stadium was old and had been modified for various reasons over the years. It was an accident not just waiting to happen, but one which had already happened twice, just not so badly. That's a major point. The authorities were trying to claim they had no idea of the danger, which is quite a difficult trick to pull off when it had actually happened, most recently the previous year.

The event organisers are mixed up in it along with the police, though the major culpability seems to be with the police, to whom the organisers deferred. There is no evidence the fans did anything to contribute to the disaster. They weren't drunk, and they weren't violent, and they didn't storm the exit gate - all of which they were accused of doing by the police.
The problems were apparent even back in 1981, the 1987/88 incidents should have sounded a general warning.

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Travis, we know what happened. The story here is about the cover-up. The conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. This seems to involve the highest echelons of the hierarchy - the senior cops and the coroner and the expert witnesses. All colluded to blame the fans and conceal the culpability of the senior police. That's where the blood alcohol measurements come in. They were irrelevant, but the coroner ordered the tests to be done and then placed inordinate significance on levels which were essentially trivial in order to portray the victims as a rampaging drunken mob.
Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
The report by Nicholl which purported to show that the later a person arrived at the match the more alcohol they had consumed is an absolute shocker. You only need to glance at the raw data to see that the vast majority of victims had not consumed any significant amount of alcohol, and only six might have been a bit on the merry side. And that there was no particular pattern linking alcohol levels to time of arrival (which could only be very approximately estimated anyway). However, Nicholl clearly saw it as his remit to torture the data into showing what the police wanted it to show.

The new report clearly shows that just about any which way you analyse these data, there's nothing significant. Nicholl must have had to analyse and re-analyse and try it this way and that before hitting on the one way to present it that seems to show what was required to be shown. And even then, his stats were invalid.

That wasn't his job. His job was to say to the police, I'm sorry but these data simply don't support your assertion, go away. He didn't do that.

Another thing was the obsession with the drink-drive alcohol limit. As the report says, that limit is set to prevent people who might appear perfectly compos mentis from driving a motor car at speed, because their reaction time will be compromised. It's inappropriate to rely on it in the context of a social leisure event where the people involved were not driving or operating heavy machinery, and castigate them as if they were roaring drunk. Worse than that, most of the victims had alcohol levels below that limit, and these were still read out at the inquests and treated as if they were in some way significant. They were the equivalent of half a pint of beer, or just artefacts of decomposition.

The entire culture was about blaming the fans and excusing the police and other authorities, and the medical personnel who were at the interface between the medical and legal professions simply lock-stepped into that culture. These people (the coroner in particular) then controlled their own colleagues so that they were singing from the same hymn sheet. It's clear that the coroner had made up his mind what had happened, and then oversaw the post mortem reports so that they backed up that interpretation. It was only when the factual records of the post mortems were looked at rather than the conclusions that it could be seen the conslusions did not follow from the observations.

Only now has the prevailing culture changed so that criticism of the police and their fellow-travellers is "allowed". Only in that culture can a report such as the present one be issued. And unfortunately that change in culture only happens for a specific incident, and then usually decades after the event. New incidents are still subject to the default culture of the police being right, and everyone is supposed to fall in with that. And in their turn, it may be 20 or 30 years before someone changes the way they are looked at.

Rolfe.
As the use (and misuse) of expert evidence is a hobby-horse of mine I consider the selective and biased use of the alcohol levels to smear fans to be utterly disgraceful. Though the post morten examinations don't exactly stand out as a model of good practice; there appears to have been a deliberate attempt to avoid dealing with the poor on-site medical response and the potential saving of many of those who died.
I hold out little hope of anyone even being censured.
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Old 15th September 2012, 05:29 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by catsmate1 View Post
I hold out little hope of anyone even being censured.
The desire for justice for the 96 victims has not been diminished by the previous incomplete, inaccurate or even made up inquiries: I don't think this is over by a long shot.
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Old 15th September 2012, 06:13 AM   #40
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There appears to be big division between junior and senior police ranks. All of this has come from the senior ranks and hopefully the junior ranks can be used to get the necessary prosecutions. Now we have to see how senior police will react to junior ranks giving evidence against them.
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