THE HILLSBOROUGH TRAVESTY

This blog is about far more than Karla and her whereabouts or even the whole bloody Bernardo/Homolka fiasco about which few know anything substantive and most could give a rat’s ass. It’s over. The fat lady sang. The only truly interesting questions the case raised were the same issues that most large, complicated criminal cases raise: How is it possible for the individual police officers and various prosecutors and other officials involved to fuck up so badly and not only escape indictment, but retire with full pensions? Serve and protect my ass.

I do not have an abiding interest in crime let alone the prurient details of its commission.

Anyone who has actually read my books on the Bernardo/Homolka cases or anything else I have written knows that my interest is derived from the revelatory opportunities such horrendous events invariably provide for insight into the machinations of those secretive institutions that are otherwise inaccessible.

The judicial system in general and the Ministries of the Attorneys General and police in particular are among the most insular and clandestine in modern society.

They have far more in common with the Stasi than “Car 54 Where Are You” or its sequels such as “Law and Order”.

In his song “The Future” Leonard Cohen praised cracks because they let the light in. Complicated and horrendous criminal cases create fissures in the medieval castle-thick carapaces that our purveyors of law and order have assiduously grown over the past few decades.

I say “grown” because it has been a deliberate and organic as well as carefully nurtured and cultivated process that distinguishes these democratic institutions from all others. (Not to suggest that secrecy is not a hallmark of power and authority in general.)

This blog is also about the globalization of the police state, a phenomenon that is incorrigibly corrupt and unaccountable.

There is no better example than the behavior of the police and authorities in England in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster.

A British friend in New York recently brought the formal apology by Prime Minister David Cameron in the House of Commons to my attention. It is of historic and horrific proportion and should be attended and fully understood by anyone who has an abiding interest in corruption.

What happened is a classic and all too common example of collusion between police and the media to create a self-serving fiction in which the 96 victims of a crime are portrayed as the perpetrators of their own demise.

Cameron described it as a ‘double injustice” – a complete failure of police, fire officials and other authorities to anticipate the disaster or curtail its scale once it occurred while successfully covering up those failures by altering and/or suppressing all kinds of documents including autopsy reports and witness statements.

On April 15, 1989, 3,000 supporters of the Liverpool soccer team crowded into standing room terraces approved for half that many at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, about 150 miles north of London.

All but one of the 96 victims perished that day, most within minutes of the terrace’s inevitable collapse. One poor soul languished on life support until 1993.

The New York Times described the incident “an open wound” in Britain since the day it occurred because the families directly effected and hundreds of eyewitnesses knew that the media and the “official” conclusions were total fabrications.

There was no “hooliganism” involved.

Many of the dead would have survived if they had received prompt medical attention.

The new findings – 21 years after the fact when most the players involved are retired or dead – show that there were 41 victims who did not have traumatic asphyxia that caused most of the deaths and therefore would probably have survived.

116 witness statements presented to previous inquiries into the Hillsborough disaster over the ensuing years were altered by police “to remove or alter comments unfavorable to police.”

Police conducted extensive computer checks on the victims in order “to impugn the reputations of the deceased.”

At the time, the coroner measured the blood alcohol levels of all who died – including the children – a report withheld from all previous inquiries – only to discover the levels of alcohol consumption were “unremarkable and not exceptional for a social or leisure occasion.” In other words, those who died were not drunken soccer hooligans.

“The families years of protest drew aggressive mockery from some quarters, including an article in 2004 in “The Spectator”, a conservative weekly, in which Boris Johnson, now mayor of London, accused the people of Liverpool, particularly the one-third of the population that is of Irish descent, of “wallowing” in their “victim status” over Hillsborough.

Here is a link to the recent article in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/13/sports/soccer/britain-apologizes-for-blaming-victims-in-hillsborough-disaster.html?pagewanted=all

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5 thoughts on “THE HILLSBOROUGH TRAVESTY

  1. As I read Invisible Darkness, I am finding myself having an extremely difficult time comparing your skills as an investigative reporter to those of Truman Capote, as apparently some Canadian critics, well, at least one, have. I would not even compare it to Ann Rule’s. At least she gets her facts straight. I cannot tell you which page your mistaken fact is on, as I am reading the Kindle edition, but Neil Young did not perform “Horse With No Name.” It was America. It was not even written by Young and PERFORMED by America. You ARE Canadian, correct?

  2. I thought the singer was Neil Young too, perhaps understandable given this quote from Wikipedia: “The song’s resemblance to some of Neil Young’s work aroused some controversy. ‘I know that virtually everyone, on first hearing, assumed it was Neil”, Bunnell [the song’s author] says. “I never fully shied away from the fact that I was inspired by him. I think it’s in the structure of the song as much as in the tone of his voice…’

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