Posts Tagged ‘Hillsborough’

John Pilger on Hillsborough and the S*n

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Clip taken from “Breaking the Mirror (The Murdoch Effect)”

(poor quality video but a must watch).

Click: for another good piece by John Pilger.

The below video is also worth a watch:

Don’t Buy The Sun: A 22 year-strong boycott from Don't Buy The Sun on Vimeo.


RIP the 96 – 22nd anniversary of Hillsborough

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Rest in Peace

Hillsborough memorial in Sheffield

Gone but never forgotten

You’ll Never Walk Alone


It was 21 years ago today…

Monday, April 19th, 2010

On the 19th of April 1989, four days after 94 (which eventually rose to 96) Liverpool supporters lost their lives at Hillsborough, Kelvin MacKenzie (editor) and The Sun newspaper printed the following headline:

“The Truth.
Some fans picked pockets of victims
Some fans urinated on the brave cops
Some fans beat up PC giving kiss of life.”

While families of the bereaved and survivors of the disaster were still coming to terms with what happened four days earlier, they were hit with another blow, they were being blamed for killing their own.

It was all of course a pack of lies, printed for the sole reason of selling more papers. Evidently, with a 21 year-strong boycott of the newspaper on Merseyside, it has had the opposite effect. Despite thinly veiled-so called ’apologies’ from the rag many years after MacKenzie had left, the boycott has stood strong and has been justified after the following quote from him:

“I only apologised because Rupert Murdoch told me to. I wasn’t sorry then and I’m not sorry now because we told the truth.”

Although the boycott is strong, there are still a number of Liverpool supporters who still buy The Sun, hopefully this website will go some way in educating them.

Here’s a video to mark the 21 year-strong boycott:

Don’t Buy The Sun: A 22 year-strong boycott from Don't Buy The Sun on Vimeo.


21 years on, gone but not forgotten

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Ninety six friends we all shall miss, and all the Kopites want justice.

RIP the 96

21 years without justice, 21 years too long.

Please take a minute out of your day at 3:06, to remember the 96.

You’ll Never Walk Alone


An excerpt from Brian Reade’s “43 Years with the Same Bird”

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

Taken from Brian Reade’s book, ’43 Years with the Same Bird,’ and posted with Brian’s permission.

And then, on Wednesday, the shit hit the fans. It was the single costliest miscalculation by a newspaper this country has seen, and it pushed the people of Liverpool over the edge. Under the headline THE TRUTH the Sun cleared its front page to tell the world: ‘Some fans picked pockets of victims; Some fans urinated on the brave cops; Some fans beat up PC giving kiss of life.’ The words that accompanied it claimed that ‘drunken Liverpool fans viciously attacked rescue workers as they tried to revive victims’ and ‘police officers, firemen and ambulance crew were punched, kicked and urinated upon’. One anonymous copper was quoted as saying that a dead girl had been abused, while fans ‘were openly urinating on us and the bodies of the dead.’

The Sun’s editor, Kelvin MacKenzie, had willingly bought the Police Federation lies, dressed them up, and sold them on in a typically sensationalist style designed to steal the moral high-ground and sell papers. There was only one Truth. And it was the Sun wot pronounced it. And anyone who thought differently could stick it up their junta.

It was war. Scousers, regardless of their football leanings, were apoplectic. To accuse them of killing their own was bad enough, but to state as fact that they picked the pockets of their own as they were dying was a call to arms. A paper that was already regarded by many on Merseyside as loathsome due to its rabid Thatcherite stance, Loadsamoney tone and obsession with tits and bums, was now seen as the spawn of the devil. It had slandered an entire people. And it would pay.

Overnight thousands of copies were stolen and destroyed. There were public burnings. Delivery men refused to touch it, shopkeepers refused to stock it. From selling 200,000 copies a day on Merseyside it plunged to a couple of thousand. Nineteen years on that figure hovers around 12,000, and humiliations are still handed out when copies are spotted being read in public.

The Sunhas tried many times to win back Scousers, and failed dismally, mainly because each attempt at rapprochement was viewed as a cynical ploy to win back lost readers. When Kelvin MacKenzie revealed in November 2006 that he only apologized at the time because the paper’s owner Rupert Murdoch ordered him to, it showed that Scousers had been right to boycott it all along.

I admire them deeply for sticking to their guns. For once a community showed the solidarity can deeply hurt a business which is trying to hurt you. But be in no doubt, ‘The Truth’ front page was really all about one man. MacKenzie.

They were decent journalists working on the Sun in 1989 who were as appalled at the front pages as any Liverpudlian. In their book Stick It Up Your Punter(an account of MacKenzie’s time at the Sun), Peter Chippindale and Chris Horrie described what happened that night:

’As MacKenzie’s layout was seen by more and more people, a collective shudder ran through the office [but] MacKenzie’s dominance was so total there was nobody left in the organisation who could rein him in except Murdoch. [Everyone] seemed paralysed, ‘looking like rabbits in the headlights’, as one hack described them. The error staring them in the face was too glaring. It obviously wasn’t a silly mistake; nor was it a simple oversight. Nobody really had any comment on it—they just took one look and went away shaking their heads in wonder at the enormity of it. It was a ‘classic smear’.

The reality is that every national newspaper had the story fed to it, but only MacKenzie chose to run it in the manner he did. A couple of others carried the claims as part of a report, and immediately retracted them when it was clear how false and offensive they were.

But MacKenzie revelled in it. He had a tale that fitted neatly with his prejudices. It was Our Boys in Blue, the same brave lads who stood up to the scumbag miners, who were now standing up to scumbag Scousers. It was his patriotic duty to back them, regardless of The Truth. For years afterwards the hurt it caused, not simply to the Sun’s circulation, was incalculable.

Back then almost four million people were buying the Sun, meaning 12 million people were reading it, the majority of whom were probably believing all that they read. Despite Lord Justice Taylor’s report denouncing the report as lies, Liverpool fans have literally had to fight against the slur over the years. I’ve had at least three brawls with people who have argued that there was clearly no smoke without fire. That our police would not tell a paper such a story, nor would a paper publish it, if there were no truth in it.

All down to the owner of one twisted mind, one gargantuan ego, who to this day is convinced tanked-up, ticketless Liverpool fans caused the deaths and is proud to admit, ‘I was not sorry then and I’m not sorry now.’

When MacKenzie eventually suffers the same fate as the ninety-six, there is a line in Elvis Costello’s ‘Man Out Of Time’ which should be chiselledon his headstone: ‘He’s got a mind like a sewer and a heart like a fridge.’


An excerpt from Kenny Dalglish’s Autobiography

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

Taken from ‘Dalglish: My Autobiography,’ Published by Hodder & Stoughton Ltd. For educational purposes only. (Original link

The press coverage was difficult to comprehend, particularly the publication of pictures which added to people’s distress. There was one photograph of two girls right up against the Leppings Lane fence, their faces pressed into the wire. Nobody knows how they escaped. They used to come to Melwood every day, looking for autographs, and that photograph upset everyone there because we knew them. After seeing that I couldn’t look at the papers again.

I was invited to Walton jail where the prisoners were having a service for Hillsborough. Before I went in, the governor asked me to give them words of reassurance. The inmates were very upset by what they had read. It was a creepy experience. There was silence apart from the clinking of keys, the rattle of doors sliding back. I went into the chapel and the inmates were sitting there, with hardly a murmur from anybody. Then they clapped me in. It was really appreciative applause but unnerving as well. I remembered the governor’s words and told them not to be upset by what they had read in the papers, because it wasn’t true.

The Sun’s allegations were disgraceful and completely groundless. Ticketless fans try to get into every game. Any well-supported club playing in a semi-final is going to attract ticketless fans. If handled properly, as they had been at Hillsborough a year earlier, ticketless supporters do not present a problem.

The shameful allegations intensified the anger amidst the trauma. We spent the week consoling the bereaved and attending funerals. On the Saturday we held a service at Anfield. At six minutes past three there was a minute’s silence across the country. Then everyone at Anfield sang ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone.’ We tied scarves between Anfield and Goodison. We just wanted to show the unity existing on Merseyside. The following day, there was a final service on the pitch. It was really quiet, just the wind rustling the scarves tied to the crossbar. When somebody shouted out ‘We all loved you,’ we all broke down.


The Truth

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

The Truth by Nick Harman (OTK) (Original link

The “Truth” – The background, the actual publication, and evidence
exposing the claims as being false.

Truth –
1. the quality of being true, genuine, actual, or factual
2. something that is true as opposed to false
3. a proven or verified fact or principle
4. faithful reproduction or portrayal
5. honesty, accuracy

The start of the reporting of the ‘untruth’s’ can be traced back to around 4.15pm on Saturday 15th April 1989, when Graham Kelly, the then Chief Executive of the FA, was interviewed by the BBC and he told them that the police had implied (Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield – match commander, who was in charge of his first major match and who gave the order for the gates into the ground to be opened earlier, had told spoken in the police control box that Liverpool fans had rushed the gate) that the gates had been opened unauthorised by the fans, thus causing the tragedy.
Mud had been thrown and a lot of it was to stick…….Stories flashed around the world and many newspapers (that extended way beyond The Sun – most, if not all papers originally condemned Liverpool fans) reported that drunken Liverpool fans were the real cause of the disaster.

I put the dictionary meaning of ‘truth’ at the start of this publication……….please keep referring to the actual meaning of ‘TRUTH’ and you will see a common theme of lies, cover ups, lack of honesty and even less accuracy. The truth – far from it.

On Wednesday 19th April 1989, tabloid reporting reached a new gutter low when The Sun newspaper (with Kelvin MacKenzie the then editor and on his personal instruction) ran the hard hitting front page headline ‘THE TRUTH’.
The newspaper ran three bulleted sub-headings with the following text –
‘Some fans picked pockets of victims’
‘Some fans urinated on the brave cops’
‘Some fans beat up PC giving kiss of life’

The story that accompanied these headlines talked of ticket-less drunken fans forcing the gates and attacking rescue workers (police, firemen, ambulance crews, etc). It spoke of the dead and dying being pick-pocketed and being urinated on. A quote, which was attributed to an unnamed policeman (isn’t it funny how they, in the main, remain nameless), claimed that a dead girl had been abused and that Liverpool fans ‘were openly urinating on us and the bodies of the dead’.

The Truth – far from it.

This sensationalism journalism was used at a time when the media circus had already labeled and painted the picture that the city of Liverpool (and its’ people) were rebellious and anarchistic.
Negative images and stereotypes of ‘scousers’ were important elements in debates about complex political-economic issues affecting the city. Much of the national press reporting in the immediate aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster echoed well-worn themes and assumptions.
What better way to fan the flames to the world than to run headlines, only days after the disaster, that virtually said they had killed their own and that those involved were less than innocent victims – a political agenda to further put down the people of Liverpool and to sell more newspapers, without any regard for the grieving families or survivors feelings.

In their history of The Sun (Stick It Up Your Punter), Peter Chippendale and Chris Horrie wrote:’As MacKenzie’s layout was seen by more and more people, a collective shudder ran through the office [but] MacKenzie’s dominance was so total there was nobody left in the organisation who could rein him in except Murdoch. [Everyone] seemed paralysed, “looking like rabbits in the headlights”, as one hack described them. The error staring them in the face was too glaring. It obviously wasn’t a silly mistake; nor was it a simple oversight. Nobody really had any comment on it—they just took one look and went away shaking their heads in wonder at the enormity of it. It was a “classic smear”.’
The legacy for those directly affected by the disaster was one where grieving relatives, trying to deal with their loss, were faced with an additional burden of defending the innocence of loved ones, mainly due to these rash, early, sensationalised, headlines. Survivors, many of whom had witnessed profoundly traumatising events and suffered terrible injuries, both physically and mentally (and are still suffering), were themselves subjected to the ‘finger of blame’. Despite the efforts of the all connected with the Hillsborough disaster to counteract the persistent myths relating to blame and causation, misconceptions continued to (and still do) influence debate.
The Sun’s coverage of the Hillsborough Disaster was both extremely inaccurate and damaging for the newspaper. By all accounts it was entirely the doing of the then editor Kelvin McKenzie, the man who coined ‘Gotcha’ to celebrate the deaths of 368 Argentine sailors during the Falklands War.
‘The Truth’ headlines brought out feelings of anger in Merseyside (and beyond) and an immediate ‘boycott’ was successful. Thousands of copies were stolen and burnt, and even to this present day many shopkeepers refuse to stock this comic of a newspaper. The Hillsborough Justice Campaign also organised a national boycott of the ‘paper’, which again hit its sales. Even fifteen years after the Hillsborough disaster, the circulation of The Sun in Liverpool is still believed to be only 12,000 copies a day where previously it was around 200,000.
As stated earlier, it wasn’t just The Sun (in the immediate aftermath of the disaster) that peddled the vicious lies but it was The Sun’s hard hitting headlines and their refusal to back down (a quick apology, etc….) that would stay, rightly, in the minds of many in the region.

Lord Justice Taylor’s official inquiry into the disaster disparaged The Sun’s story and was unequivocal as to the disaster’s cause: ‘The real cause of the Hillsborough disaster [was] overcrowding, the main reason for the disaster was the failure of police control.’
Taylor had clearly laid the blame of the disaster with the police and general organisation (choice of venue, etc…..).
Nowhere did it mention drunken fans pick pocketing the dead or dying.
Nowhere did it mention fans urinating on the emergency workers.
Nowhere did it mention fans beating up a PC who was giving someone the kiss of life.
All the lies The Sun had peddled (which had been allegedly fed to them from un-named police sources) had been proved to be completely un-true……lies, lies and more lies had been used to cover up the real reasons of the disaster, from a panicking police force (amongst others), possibly worrying about their pension funds and early retirements, rather than the truth.
Taylor’s report proved that all these unsupported allegations from anonymous police officers or quotes from the Police Federation, were found to have been distorted or completely fabricated.
MacKenzie tried to explain his newspapers reporting on the disaster (specifically The Truth headlines and report) in 1993 when talking to a House of Commons National Heritage Select Committee.
Trying to wash his hands of any blame for publishing ‘The Truth’ headlines and story (and it’s not the last time) he said “I regret Hillsborough. It was a fundamental mistake. The mistake was I believed what an MP said. It was a Tory MP. If he had not said it and the chief superintendent (David Duckenfield) had not agreed with it, we would not have gone with it.” This explanation (explanation not apology take note) was not accepted by the families and survivors of the disaster.
The Sun itself attempted a rather, to say the least, pathetic attempt at an apology. The apology was so called issued ‘without reservation’ saying it had ‘committed the most terrible mistake in its history’. This was issued on the 7th July 2004, over 15 years (yes, 15 years) since the tragedy and was also in response to criticism aimed towards Wayne Rooney, who had sold his life story to the rag. The so called apology was again widely not accepted.
So was ‘The Truth’ really the truth (or intended to be anything like the truth) ?
Truth –
1. the quality of being true, genuine, actual, or factual
2. something that is true as opposed to false
3. a proven or verified fact or principle
4. faithful reproduction or portrayal
5. honesty, accuracy
The answer to all 5 points above, in relation to the ‘The Truth’ headlines of The Sun would unanimously be false. The truth – far from it. ‘The Truth’ was based on un-named sources, who, from minutes after the disaster, tried to cover up the real truth, to enable them to clear their guilty consciences.
I will end with an extract from Kenny Dalglish’s autobiography:
Kelvin MacKenzie, the Sun’s editor, even called me up.
“How can we correct the situation?” he said.
“You know that big headline – ‘The Truth’?” I replied. “All you have to do is put ‘We lied’ in the same size. Then you might be all right.”
Mackenzie said: “I cannot do that.”
“Well,” I replied, “I cannot help you then.”
That was it. I put the phone down. Merseysiders were outraged by the Sun. A great many still are’.
After reading this, if you were in any doubt before, there is absolutely no excuse to buy or even read The Sun newspaper, Liverpool fan or not. Please continue to educate people of ‘The Truth’.


Lies, damn lies

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

Article by John Pilger, and posted with his permission. (Original link

Murdoch’s papers have relentlessly assaulted common truth and decency, but their most successful war has been on journalism itself
I met Eddie Spearritt in the Philharmonic pub, overlooking Liverpool. It was a few years after 96 Liverpool football fans had been crushed to death at Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield, on 15 April 1989. Eddie’s son, Adam, aged 14, died in his arms. The “main reason for the disaster”, Lord Justice Taylor subsequently reported, was the “failure” of the police, who had herded fans into a lethal pen.

“As I lay in my hospital bed,” Eddie said, “the hospital staff kept the Sun away from me. It’s bad enough when you lose your 14-year-old son because you’re treating him to a football match. Nothing can be worse than that. But since then I’ve had to defend him against all the rubbish printed by the Sun about everyone there being a hooligan and drinking. There was no hooliganism. During 31 days of Lord Justice Taylor’s inquiry, no blame was attributed because of alcohol. Adam never touched it in his life.”

Three days after the disaster, Kelvin MacKenzie, Rupert Murdoch’s “favourite editor”, sat down and designed the Sun front page, scribbling “THE TRUTH” in huge letters. Beneath it, he wrote three subsidiary headlines: “Some fans picked pockets of victims” . . . “Some fans urinated on the brave cops” . . . “Some fans beat up PC giving kiss of life”. All of it was false; MacKenzie was banking on anti-Liverpool prejudice.

When sales of the Sun fell by almost 40 per cent on Merseyside, Murdoch ordered his favourite editor to feign penitence. BBC Radio 4 was chosen as his platform. The “sarf London” accent that was integral to MacKenzie’s fake persona as an “ordinary punter” was now a contrite, middle-class voice that fitted Radio 4. “I made a rather serious error,” said MacKenzie, who has since been back on Radio 4 in a very different mood,aggressively claiming that the Sun’s treatment of Hillsborough was merely a “vehicle for others”.

When we met, Eddie Spearritt mentioned MacKenzie and Murdoch with a dignified anger. So did Joan Traynor, who lost two sons, Christopher and Kevin, whose funeral was invaded by MacKenzie’s photographers even though Joan had asked for her family’s privacy to be respected. The picture of her sons’ coffins on the front page of a paper that had lied about the circumstances of their death so deeply upset her that for years she could barely speak about it.

Such relentless inhumanity forms the iceberg beneath the Guardian’s current exposé of Murdoch’s alleged payment of £1m hush money to those whose phones his News of the World reporters have criminally invaded. “A cultural Chernobyl,” is how the German investigative journalist Reiner Luyken, based in London, described Murdoch’s effect on British life. Of course, there is a colourful Fleet Street history of lies, damn lies, but no proprietor ever attained the infectious power of Murdoch’s putrescence. To public truth and decency and freedom, he is as the dunghill
is to the blowfly. The rich and famous can usually defend themselves with expensive libel actions; but most of Murdoch’s victims are people like the Hillsborough parents, who suffer without recourse.

The Murdoch “ethos” was demonstrated right from the beginning of his career, as Richard Neville has documented. In 1964, his Sydney tabloid, the Daily Mirror, published the diary of a 14-year-old schoolgirl under the headline, “WE HAVE SCHOOLGIRL’S ORGY DIARY”. A 13-year-old boy, who was identified, was expelled from the same school. Soon afterwards, he hanged himself from his mother’s clothesline. The “sex diary” was subsequently found to be fake. Soon after Murdoch bought the News of the World in 1971, a strikingly similar episode involving an adolescent diary led to the suicide of a 15-year-old girl. And Murdoch himself said, of the industrial killing of innocent men, women and children in Iraq: “There is going to be collateral damage. And if you really want to be brutal about it, better we get it done now . . .”

His most successful war has been on journalism itself. A leading Murdoch retainer, Andrew Neil, the Kelvin MacKenzie of the Sunday Times, conducted one of his master’s most notorious smear campaigns against ITV (like the BBC, a “monopoly” standing in Murdoch’s way). In 1988, the ITV company Thames Television made Death on the Rock, an investigative documentary that lifted a veil on the British secret state under Margaret Thatcher, describing how an SAS team had murdered four unarmed IRA members in Gibraltar with their hands in the air.

The message was clear: Thatcher was willing to use death squads. The Sunday Times and the Sun, side by side in Murdoch’s razor-wired Wapping fortress, echoed Thatcher’s scurrilous attacks on Thames Television and subjected the principal witness to the murders, Carmen Proetta, to a torrent of lies and personal abuse. She later won £300,000 in libel damages, and a public inquiry vindicated the programme’s accuracy and integrity. This did not prevent Thames, an innovative broadcaster, from losing its licence.

Murdoch’s most obsequious supplicants are politicians, especially New Labour. Having ensured that Murdoch pays minimal tax, and having attended the farewell party of one editor of the Sun, Gordon Brown was recently in full fawn at the wedding of another editor of the same paper. Don Corleone expects nothing less.

The hypocrisy, however, is almost magical. In 1995, Murdoch flew Tony and Cherie Blair first-class to Hayman Island, Australia, where the aspiring war criminal spoke about “the need for a new moral purpose in politics”, which included the lifting of government regulations on the media. Murdoch shook his hand warmly. The next day the Sun commented: “Mr Blair has vision, he has purpose and he speaks our language on morality and family life.”

The two are devout Christians, after all.


96 Reasons to never buy The Sun

Friday, February 5th, 2010

John Alfred Anderson (62) 
Colin Mark Ashcroft (19) 
James Gary Aspinall (18) 
Kester Roger Marcus Ball (16) 
Gerard Bernard Patrick Baron (67)
Simon Bell (17) 
Barry Sidney Bennett (26) 
David John Benson (22) 
David William Birtle (22) 
Tony Bland (22) 
Paul David Brady (21) 
Andrew Mark Brookes (26) 
Carl Brown (18) 
David Steven Brown (25) 
Henry Thomas Burke (47) 
Peter Andrew Burkett (24) 
Paul William Carlile (19) 
Raymond Thomas Chapman (50) 
Gary Christopher Church (19) 
Joseph Clark (29) 
Paul Clark (18) 
Gary Collins (22) 
Stephen Paul Copoc (20) 
Tracey Elizabeth Cox (23)
James Philip Delaney (19)
Christopher Barry Devonside (18)
Christopher Edwards (29)
Vincent Michael Fitzsimmons (34) 
Thomas Steven Fox (21)
Jon-Paul Gilhooley (10) 
Barry Glover (27) 
Ian Thomas Glover (20)
Derrick George Godwin (24) 
Roy Harry Hamilton (34) 
Philip Hammond (14) 
Eric Hankin (33) 
Gary Harrison (27) 
Stephen Francis Harrison (31) 
Peter Andrew Harrison (15) 
David Hawley (39) 
James Robert Hennessy (29) 
Paul Anthony Hewitson (26) 
Carl Darren Hewitt (17) 
Nicholas Michael Hewitt (16) 
Sarah Louise Hicks (19) 
Victoria Jane Hicks (15) 
Gordon Rodney Horn (20) 
Arthur Horrocks (41)
Joseph Daniel McCarthy (21) 
Peter McDonnell (21) 
Alan McGlone (28) 
Keith McGrath (17) 
Paul Brian Murray (14)
Lee Nicol (14) 
Stephen Francis O’Neill (17) 
Jonathon Owens (18)
William Roy Pemberton (23) 
Carl William Rimmer (21)
David George Rimmer (38) 
Graham John Roberts (24) 
Steven Joseph Robinson (17) 
Henry Charles Rogers (17) 
Colin Andrew Hugh William Sefton (23) 
Inger Shah (38) 
Paula Ann Smith (26) 
Adam Edward Spearritt (14) 
Philip John Steele (15) 
David Leonard Thomas (23) 
Patrik John Thompson (35) 
Peter Reuben Thompson (30) 
Stuart Paul William Thompson (17) 
Peter Francis Tootle (21) 
Christopher James Traynor (26) 
Martin Kevin Traynor (16) 
Kevin Tyrrell (15) 
Colin Wafer (19) 
Ian David Whelan (19) 
Martin Kenneth Wild (29) 
Kevin Daniel Williams (15)
Graham John Wright (17)
Thomas Howard (39)
Thomas Anthony Howard (14)
Eric George Hughes (42) 
Alan Johnston (29) 
Christine Anne Jones (27) 
Gary Philip Jones (18) 
Richard Jones (25) 
Nicholas Peter Joynes (27) 
Anthony Peter Kelly (29) 
Michael David Kelly (38) 
Carl David Lewis (18) 
David William Mather (19)
Brian Christopher Mathews (38)
Francis Joseph McAllister (27) 
John McBrien (18) 
Marion Hazel McCabe (21)
Get Adobe Flash player