The devastating exposure of what really happened at Hillsborough 23 years ago, which the police tried to cover up by systematic tampering with their own written records in order to desplace blame for the tragedy on to the fans themselves, is now being matched by similar tampering with the evidence by the same South Yorkshire Police force at Orgreave 5 years previously. Statements by 40 police officers have been found to contain identical descriptions of alleged disorder by the miners, and 34 police statements, claimed to have been compiled separately, used the idential phrase: “periodically there was missile throwing from the back of the pickets”. One paragraph had identical wording in 22 supposedly separate polic statements. The culture of fabricating evidence with impunity developed among South Yorkshire police at the height of the Thatcher ascendancy casts a dreadful light on police unaccountability, especially since there has never been a hint of remorse at any point since from the Chief Constable responsible, Peter Wright.
It was he who decided (unless he was acting on a hint from No.10) that a charge of disorderly conduct was inadequate, and that the evidence should therefore be manipulated to make the much more serious charge stick of unlawful assembly and riot. Nor has this dishonesty and perjury of the evidence been confined since then to South Yorkshire Police – witness the deceptive police account put out to explain away the death of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests, the initial false statement that Mark Duggan had been holding a gun when he was killed by police, or the false evidence used to entrap the environmental protesters near Nottingham without revealing that undercover officers had slept with activists they were sent to spy on.
Equally there is now abundant evidence of MOD and MI5/6 involvement in UK acts of torture and rendition which the UK authorities have gone to enormous lengths to deny and conceal, and which the so-called Justice and Security Bill now before Parliament is designed to prevent in future ever being revealed. The Gibson inquiry into Britain’s participation in these illegal activities was suspended and then terminated, only one example of Iraqi prisoner abuse (Baha Mousa) has ever been concluded, and the private inquiry by the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) is allegedly a shambles (half of those working for it come from G4S). Most seriously, the fate of at least 64 Iraqi prisoners who were being transported by helicopter to an unknown ‘black site’ has still never yet been investigated. And it is now known that a British national, Martin Mubanga, was unlawfully rendered from Zambia in 2002 when the Foreign Office Consular Division was ordered by No.10 to refuse him consular protection which would have saved him from rendition to Guantanamo.