19 thoughts on “‘After Hillsborough verdict, investigate British police’s anti-miner violence’

    • I hope there will be justice for Orgreave as well; though maybe there will be even more Conservative political resistance against exposing the Orgreave cover-up than about Hillsborough.

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  1. Saturday 30th April 2016

    posted by Morning Star

    Attila the Stockbroker

    JUSTICE for the 96. AT LAST. Fans unlawfully killed. Lying police, lying press. Evil calumny on Liverpool fans, the city, the people. Evil calumny on football fans in general.

    The fact that The Sun didn’t even print an apology on its front page the day after the verdict is the final insult. It must be forced to close through popular pressure — as happened to its stinking stablemate, the News of the World. It’s not a newspaper, it is not even a toilet accessory: no self respecting person would even wipe their arse with it. Shut it down!

    And the Taylor Report, which followed the disaster was nothing more than a disgusting Thatcherite stitch up.

    The fans have now been completely exonerated and the fact that the Tory government of the time used the deaths of those innocent people to tar ordinary football fans as “troublemakers” and impose all kinds of ludicrous conditions on us has been exposed for what it was — cultural class war.

    Any club at any level of the game which seeks to introduce safe standing should now be given the right to do so. Prices could be reduced and the sanitised atmosphere at many stadia would become a thing of the past. Look at what happens in Germany — a carnival of colour and celebration. It works there, it would work here. We want our terraces back.

    Now the Justice for the 96 Campaign has won, let us redouble our efforts to get a similar result for the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign — another battle to expose a whole festering nest of Tory lies and police cover-ups from the ghastly heyday of Thatcherism. The truth will out!

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-6970-The-nightmare-ends-for-the-96,-their-relatives-and-friends#.VyZVN3pnU4A

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  2. Wednesday 4th April 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    How can South Yorkshire Police continue to lie about 1984 now its later cover-up has been exposed? asks GRANVILLE WILLIAMS

    THE 14 jury verdicts delivered at the Hillsborough inquest on Tuesday bring to an end one stage of the tireless campaign by the bereaved families to establish the truth about who was responsible for the terrible disaster.

    The verdicts were a stunning vindication of the stamina and determination of the Hillsborough campaigners. But now another campaign opens up — one for justice. David Duckenfield, the South Yorkshire Police (SYP) chief superintendent in command at the match, should now face criminal charges.

    So should the SYP for the way they conducted themselves on the day and in the aftermath, spreading deliberate and cynical lies blaming the fans; and its unreformed conduct seeking to maintain these lies during the inquest and right up until the jury’s verdict on Tuesday.

    The role and conduct of West Midlands Police, who investigated South Yorkshire Police’s conduct for the original inquiry, should also be part of this criminal investigation.

    But the issues highlighted by the Hillsborough inquest, and the earlier Hillsborough Independent Panel (HIP) report in 2012, have uncanny parallels with the role and conduct of SYP during the policing of the battle at Orgreave in 1984 and the reporting of the event afterwards.

    Mark Twain observed: “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” In the case of Orgreave and Hillsborough, the “truth” was a lie disseminated rapidly (with one or two honourable exceptions) through an unquestioning media willing to accept a plausible narrative promoted by the SYP.

    The lead story on BBC1 early evening news on June 18 1984 was the battle at Orgreave. Behind the newsreader, Moira Stewart, was a single violent image: a man, presumably a miner, taking a running kick at a policeman. The film extract of miners attacking the police from which this image was taken was shown again and again on BBC programmes over the next week.

    This was the scene-setting introduction: “Over 5,000 pickets at Orgreave fought a pitched battle with over 2,000 policemen … Mr Scargill, who had been directing operations on a two-way radio, was found sitting on a kerb looking stunned after policemen with riot shields had run by under a hail of stones … He believes he was hit by a riot shield. A senior police officer says he saw him slip off a bank and hit his head on a sleeper but doesn’t know whether he’d already been injured.”

    John Thorne’s on-the-spot report followed, presenting three themes: the military-style planning of the operation by Arthur Scargill; doubt about whether the head injuries he sustained were actually inflicted by the police; and the essentially defensive and reactive nature of the police’s role in the conflict.

    The violence at Orgreave was presented unequivocally as picket violence with Thorne saying: “The attacks on individual policemen were horrific. The police commanders said it was a marvel that no-one was killed.”

    Over the course of the miners’ strike it was the narrative of “picket-line violence” which dominated broadcast news (with the exception of Channel 4 which stood out for the balance of its reporting). This was powerfully reinforced by national newspaper coverage of the dispute.

    The front page of The Sun, the day after Orgreave, had the bold headline “CHARGE” and the standfirst read “Mounties rout miners.”

    Bullet points listed “Scargill’s Toll of Shame” and their report started: “Mounted police made an amazing cavalry charge on picketing miners yesterday. The officers faced a hate barrage of bricks, bottles and spears as they broke up a bloody riot.”

    But newsreel footage of the day merely demonstrates miners in T-shirts spread out peacefully across the ground.

    Challenging the distortions and misrepresentations firmly embedded in people’s minds as a result of the media coverage was very difficult for miners who were at Orgreave. They knew the truth but, as with the Hillsborough campaigners, for years they were powerless to tell it.

    All this began to unravel when the HIP revealed the way police statements were amended to remove or alter comments unfavourable to the SYP. It traced the process by which the SYP spread “unproven and unsubstantiated” allegations across broadcast and print media.

    In October 2012 a BBC Yorkshire Inside Out programme suggested the SYP had deliberately moulded the statements of police officers so that they could prosecute the miners arrested at Orgreave for the serious charge of rioting, which carried a potential life sentence.

    The programme made the link between the doctored police statements and the culture which five years later would see the cover-up at Hillsborough.

    These revelations spurred us to set up the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) which has been tenacious in building widespread support, and in pursuing the Independent Police Complaints Committee (IPCC) over its investigation into the policing of Orgreave.

    Their report last June concluded the events happened too long ago and that they didn’t have the resources to mount such an inquiry. The OTJC then began to assemble an impressive body of evidence to support the case for a public inquiry which was presented to the Home Secretary last December.

    What is now abundantly clear after the Hillsborough verdicts is that the same questions about the role and conduct of the SYP which were raised at the Warrington inquest are also at the heart of the conduct of the SYP at Orgreave and afterwards.

    That’s why the Hillsborough verdicts are a tremendous boost to our campaign and we are urging the Home Secretary to set up a public inquiry into the policing of Orgreave.

    The scales are falling from sceptical eyes and people are coming around to the view that both campaigns revealed the SYP to be not “citizens in uniform” but out-of-control and unaccountable officers operating above the law. Both Hillsborough and OTJC now want justice, and for those officers to be held to account.

    Granville Williams is a founder member of the OTJC. He is the editor of Settling Scores: The Media, The Police and the Miners’ Strike (www.cpbf.org.uk)

    Find out more about the OTJC at otjc.org.uk and follow it @orgreavejustice.

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-92e5-Hillsborough-shows-that-Orgreaves-truth-will-out#.VypnKuQYMdU

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  3. Thursday 5th May 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Britain

    SOUTH Yorkshire police must open up its archives, Orgreave campaigners demanded yesterday as they sought justice for victims of the force’s brutality against striking miners.

    The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign’s challenge follows the inquest ruling that the 96 Hillsborough disaster victims had been unlawfully killed.

    South Yorkshire interim chief constable Dave Smith offered to listen to both Orgreave activists and the families of the Hillsborough victims.

    The Orgreave campaign’s secretary Barbara Jackson said they will take up Mr Jones’s offer but said they did not want it to be a “token gesture.”

    She tasked the chief constable to intervene in their legal bid to push Home Secretary Theresa May to hold a public inquiry into the events at Orgreave in 1984.

    It took place at a coking plant on the borders of Rotherham and Sheffield, when large numbers of pickets were attacked by around 6,000 police.

    A total of 95 miners were charged following the disturbances but their trial collapsed. Former miners’ leader Arthur Scargill, who was arrested at Orgreave, has also called for a public inquiry into what happened.

    His intervention came as the Yorkshire Post said it had seen redacted sections of an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) report.

    The paper said the hidden sections reveal that the same senior officers and solicitor were involved both in the aftermath of Orgreave and Hillsborough in 1989.

    South Yorkshire Police referred itself to the IPCC in 2012 over allegations officers colluded to write court statements relating to Orgreave.

    The watchdog later said there was “support” for the allegation that senior police exaggerated pickets’ use of violence.

    Now the commission is considering whether an unredacted version of the report can now be made public.

    Mr Scargill told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I want to see a full open public inquiry and the individuals responsible should be named. I accuse those individuals now.”

    A spokeswoman for the IPCC said the report it published last year was redacted partly because of the ongoing Hillsborough inquests.

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-38a3-Orgreave-campaign-calls-on-South-Yorks-to-open-up-archives#.VyuuNeQYMdU

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  4. Friday 6th May 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Britain

    A FORMER Manchester police chief called yesterday for a public inquiry into Margaret Thatcher’s use of the police during the 1984-5 miners’ strike.

    In a surprise move, retired Greater Manchester chief constable Sir Peter Fahy said Thatcher’s government had deployed police as shock troops to break the strike.

    Mr Fahy said the use of officers to serve a political agenda had created a “them and us” culture that was still harming police reputations.

    “It’s time for a public inquiry … not just Orgreave and the role of the police, but also the role of politicians,” he said.

    Community campaigners fighting to expose that very agenda at the Battle of Orgreave in 1984 welcomed the news.

    “This is absolute dynamite and supports everything we have been saying for years,” said the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign’s Barbara Jackson. “For such a senior figure, presumably steeped in the culture of the force for many years, to recognise the politicisation and militarisation of the police is very welcome.”

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-d72e-Ex-top-cop-Open-probe-on-political-policing#.VyxXO-QYMdU

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  5. Wednesday 11th May

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    by Granville Williams

    “A rabble of prejudiced lobbyists,” was how the Press Gazette branded the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom (CPBF) when we organised a public meeting at the Bluecoat in Liverpool in the weeks after the Hillsborough disaster to discuss the appalling media coverage.

    The magazine’s May 22 1989 editorial didn’t pull any punches. We were accused of “promoting heated and emotional judgements” and “knee-jerk slagging off of the tabloids and some qualities.”

    We held the meeting in Liverpool because of the anger and outrage being expressed about the media’s behaviour. The Sun, Mirror, Daily Star and Today were all invited. The Mirror and Today declined; the others didn’t reply.

    The sheer scale of 96 deaths in the Hillsborough disaster on Saturday April 15 had attracted massive press and broadcasting coverage; journalists flocked to both Sheffield and Liverpool.

    The disaster, unlike many others, was comprehensively recorded live and by the sports photographers there for the match. The result was that several of the Monday papers published close-up photos of Liverpool supporters either trapped, injured or dead behind the wire, graphically showing their terror and torture.

    The Sun cleared page after page for different pictures of people crushed or lying on the pitch with the tacky logo “Gates of Hell.” The official death list had not been published so they had no way of knowing whether the individuals pictured were alive or dead. Robert Maxwell’s Mirror had recently moved to colour printing and carried 16 pages on the story, filling the front page with a grisly picture of fans who appeared dead or dying, jumbled together on top of each other, and showing how their faces had turned blue as they were asphyxiated.

    I intended to buy all the newspapers that Monday to monitor coverage, but I was so appalled by the Mirror that I couldn’t buy it.

    For the general public these pictures triggered revulsion; the Press Council was flooded with complaints and set up an inquiry. Newspapers too were deluged with angry callers and letters. For Liverpool’s bereaved families, however, the pain and anguish of such exposure was indescribable. The next wave of horror for Liverpool was the invasion of hacks charged with the grisly task of getting pictures of the dead and tear-jerking stories from their parents, relatives and friends.

    This media assault continued on Wednesday April 19 when the notorious “The Truth” Sun front page appeared. The Sun was the worst, but the same allegations were repeated in other national and regional papers. Then, to add to it all, the media intruded into private grief at victims’ funerals.

    The speakers at the CPBF Bluecoat meeting were Eamon McCabe, picture editor of the Guardian (substituting for Michael White), Steve Kelly, a former Granada producer and author of the official history of Liverpool FC, and Rogan Taylor of the Football Supporters Association. It was a packed, emotionally charged meeting of over 150 people who were struggling to cope with lies and the gross media intrusions.

    Kelly described how his phone rang continuously. “A week after Hillsborough I was telephoned by the producer of a leading BBC current affairs programme. ‘Would I like two days’ work?’ They wanted someone to go and knock on the doors of the bereaved and ask them if they could film the funerals and do some interviews.”

    McCabe slated the cruel and insensitive use of close-up pictures in many of the tabloids, and Rogan Taylor attacked the way the coverage of the disaster fitted into a narrative demonising football fans, and particularly Liverpool supporters. From the audience, Brian Brierley had facts and figures relating to Hillsborough and the Sun and argued for a boycott of the paper.

    But the key issue highlighted was how powerless people felt to challenge the lies being printed about Liverpool supporters and prevent the gross intrusion into people’s grief. The tabloids seemed to be able to act with impunity in the absence of effective press regulation.

    Less than a week after the disaster, on April 21, home office minister Tim Renton announced the Calcutt inquiry into press standards. The announcement was designed to undermine the CPBF Right of Reply Bill, which was talked out at its third stage on the same day in the Commons.

    During the Calcutt inquiry another home office minister, David Mellor, attacked the tabloids for publishing the close-up pictures of the dead and dying. In a phrase that would come back to bite him, Mellor also said on the excellent Channel 4 Hard News programme in December 1989: “I do believe the press — the popular press — is drinking in the Last Chance Saloon.”

    The Calcutt Report, published in June 1990, recommended the abolition of the “ineffective” Press Council. Instead it recommended a new independent complaints body, the Press Complaints Commission (PCC). But there was a strong warning issued: if self-regulation didn’t do its job, an alternative statutory body would replace it.

    In July 1992, Mellor, now national heritage minister, asked Sir David Calcutt to conduct a second review of press self-regulation. Calcutt’s second report, published in January 1993, reached brutal conclusions about the PCC: “A body set up by the industry, financed by the industry, dominated by the industry, and operating a code of conduct devised by the industry and which is over-favourable to the industry.” He recommended the establishment of a statutory Press Complaints Tribunal.

    Unlike with current Culture Minister John Whittingdale, there was no discretion in the story the tabloids published on David Mellor a week after the second Calcutt report. The People revealed he was having an affair with an actress, Antonia de Sancha, and Mellor was soon out of a job. Coincidence or what?

    The PCC survived Calcutt’s devastating assessment, and continued until it too went down in flames in the aftermath of the 2013 Leveson report. The PCC, which incidentally had investigated and dismissed phone-hacking allegations, closed in 2014. Ignoring the proposals for press regulation put forward by Leveson, the newspaper industry replaced it with the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) which is a PCC clone.

    The incredibly brave and determined Hillsborough families finally secured justice after a staggering 26-year battle. But there is still unfinished business. A second Leveson is urgently needed in the light of the Orgreave and Hillsborough revelations about South Yorkshire Police. We need an inquiry looking forensically at police and press relations. And we still need to sort out press regulation so that we have independent, trusted and effective system rather than the flawed IPSO the newspaper proprietors want to fob us off with.

    These issues, raised at that Liverpool meeting 26 years ago, still need resolving.

    • Granville Williams is on the CPBF national council. His book is Pit Props: Music, International Solidarity and the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike is available from cpbf.org.uk, along with information on how to join.

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-1926-Decades-on-from-Hillsborough,-our-medias-still-broken#.VzOAjuQYMdU

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  8. Tuesday 17th May 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Britain

    by Our News Desk

    LINKS between key individuals involved in South Yorkshire Police’s investigations into the Battle of Orgreave and the Hillsborough disaster strengthened the case for a public inquiry into state brutality during the miners’ strike, campaigners said yesterday.

    The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) said the attitudes to police statements after the 1984 coking plant battle was echoed in the way the force dealt with the footballing tragedy five years later.

    Ninety-five miners were charged after defending themselves in the melee sparked by police’s violent attack on pickets but the cases collapsed after the validity of police accounts were brought into question.

    During the Hillsborough inquest it was revealed that solicitor Peter Metcalf had been involved in both investigations, as had two senior police officers.

    During the inquests, coroner Sir John Goldring decided not to allow questioning about what happened at Orgreave because he said it would open a “Pandora’s box” and divert the hearings into a much broader investigation of the events of 1984.

    OTJC secretary Barbara Jackson said she believes the evidence of links between the investigation of both events and some of the individuals involved cannot be ignored.

    “We have not been able to talk about this until the end of the Hillsborough inquest but it was the same police, the same chief constable, the same senior police team and, now, the same solicitor.

    “It was the same issues over the falsification of statements and it was the same solicitor advising.”

    South Yorkshire Chief Constable Dave Jones marked the moment he took over temporary control of the South Yorkshire force by offering to listen to the Orgreave activists, as well as families of the 96 people who died in the Hillsborough disaster but Ms Jackson said the group has not yet heard from him.

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-103f-Hillsborough-briefs-links-to-Orgreave-helps-inquiry-call#.Vzy24OQYMdU

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  9. Saturday 21st May 2013

    posted by Morning Star in Arts

    Undermined

    Old Red Lion Theatre, London EC1

    4/5

    AS THE lies told by South Yorkshire Police about the events at Orgreave in 1984 continue to unravel, there’s no better time time to see this hard-hitting one-man show on the longest industrial dispute of the 20th century.

    Danny Mellor plays south Yorkshire pitman Dale, who narrates the turbulent events of that year with fierce energy and irrefutable poise as he takes the audience beneath the surface of the betrayal the miners suffered at the hands of Thatcher’s government and its police force. Mellor, who also wrote the play, multi-roles with aplomb, balancing blood-soaked anger with melancholy reflection.

    On a completely bare stage, he uses nothing more than a chair and a pint to demonstrate the complexities of what is so often painted, by the Establishment at least, as a clear-cut dispute.

    Those nuances are particularly striking in his relationship with his best mate Billy.

    As the pressures of the strike drive their boyhood friendship to breaking point, the emotional havoc the strike inflicted on so many in that fateful year comes to the fore.

    The total fixation of the audience throughout is testament to a show which appeals to heart and mind as the voyage into what those fighting for their livelihoods and communities endured unfolds.

    Huge credit must go to the director Ben Butcher who reins the action in at points when its sheer speed threatens to overwhelm.

    He delivers a masterclass in managing the fluctuating pace of a text to keep the audience guessing.

    Whether you know the history of the miners’ strike inside out or know nothing about it, you will take a lot from this show which is touring throughout the rest of the year. If you get a chance, go.

    Review by Mayer Wakefield

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-a500-One-man-view-of-miners-strike-hits-hard-and-true#.V0Lz7uRnU4A

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