Friday, September 14, 2012

The 23-year-old Cover-up

Ninety-six Liverpool supporters died in a fatal crush at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium on April 15, 1989 where their team were to meet Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final.

But the disclosures made by the Hillsborough Independent Panel, which has been overseeing the release of thousands of official documents relating to Britain's deadliest sporting disaster compelled Prime Minister David Cameron (first photo, middle) on Wednesday to offer a "profound" apology to the families of the 96 people who died that "the Liverpool fans were not the cause of the disaster" after newly-published documents revealed official attempts to cover up that truth.

Cameron said that the said report revealed that the Hillsborough families had suffered a "double injustice", both in the "failure of the state to protect their loved ones and the indefensible wait to get to the truth", and in the efforts to denigrate the deceased and suggest that they were "somehow at fault for their own deaths."

Cameron was very right to point out in no uncertain terms that:

“It was wrong that the responsible authorities knew Hillsborough did not meet minimum safety standards and yet still allowed the match to go ahead.

It was wrong that the families have had to wait for so long – and fight so hard – just to get to the truth. 

And it was wrong that the police changed the records of what happened and tried to blame the fans.

We ask the police to do difficult and often very dangerous things on our behalf.

And South Yorkshire Police is a very different organization today from what it was then. But we do the many, many honorable police men and women a great disservice…if we try to defend the indefensible.

It was also wrong that neither Lord Justice Taylor nor the Coroner looked properly at the response of the other emergency services.

Again, these are dedicated people who do extraordinary things to serve the public.

But the evidence from today’s report makes very difficult reading.”

In fact, the Police and emergency services made "strenuous attempts" to deflect the blame for the Hillsborough disaster onto innocent fans. In fact, the Report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel found that 164 statements were significantly amended – and 116 explicitly removed negative comments about the policing operation – including its lack of leadership.

[A public Inquiry at the time by Lord Justice Taylor actually found that the main cause of the disaster was “a failure of police control.” But it didn’t have access to all the documents that have since become available. And it didn’t properly examine the response of the emergency services and this was followed by a deeply controversial inquest and a media version of events that sought to blame the fans.].

Hopefully, when the BN government is voted out, Malaysians too can uncover our own truths about the many shameful events that happened in this country.

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