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The head of the police watchdog has written to Hillsborough survivors and relatives to reassure them it well get to the bottom of allegations of a cover up.
It follows a scathing report by the Home Affairs Select Committee, which described the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) as "woefully under-equipped and hamstrung", and lacking the public's confidence.
The IPCC is investigating claims there was a coordinated cover up by South Yorkshire police to blame the Liverpool supporters for the tragedy in 1989, which left 96 people dead.
The IPCC has described the probe as its biggest test, yet questions are already being asked about whether it is up to the job.
The report by MPs found the body does not have the power or resources to get to the truth, has a backlog of appeals and often fails to take immediate control of a potential crime scene during the crucial "golden hours" of an investigation.
The MPs also found it may not be independent enough as it has so many former police officers working for it.
IPCC chair Dame Anne Owers admits it is stretched. "We do not have the resources and the powers to do all the things that the public expect of us, and and in some cases that the public needs us to be able to do. And I think this report reinforces that," she said.
One family that feels let down by the IPCC is that of Olaseni Lewis, 23.
The post-graduate student returned home to Croydon from a night out feeling agitated and unwell in August 2010.
His parents persuaded him to go to A and E to get checked out. Within hours he was on life support having been restrained by up to 11 police officers, but the circumstances are still unclear.
His father, Conrad Lewis, says the memory haunts him: "You wake up in the morning, it hits you, you read the news item about another kid or you talk to somebody.
"You wonder where did you go wrong, what did I do wrong, shouldn't I have taken him to the hospital? You know, you beat up yourself."
The IPCC admitted "confusion" and "oversights" in its initial investigation, which it is now reviewing. It has meant the inquest into his death has been delayed, which distresses Olaseni's mother, Ajibola.
"He was a gentle giant. He stood up for people. He hated injustice. He didn't like bullies, and I don't know.. we just don't know until we have the inquest the exact facts, so we're just waiting," she said.
For the relatives of the Hillsborough victims, and the survivors, there is also an anxious wait. Ms Owers has emailed them to tell them extra funding has been promised by the Home Office for its inquiry.
Lord Falconer, who is acting as an adviser to the Hillsborough Families Support Group, says it is crucial the IPCC gets the investigation right.
"To see a state body mess up again would be absolutely appalling," he said. "And to entrust an investigation of this difficulty and this intenstiy to an organisation that has performed so badly in the past seems to us to be a big mistake."
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For many years in
Since 1993, Channel 4 in
While a fossilized remnant of Empire delivered her message by a Christmas tree in Buckingham Palace’s Blue Drawing Room, Snowden’s setting was sober and devoid of the trappings of privilege or connotations of a violent colonial past. His message concerned the
Snowden referred to George Orwell. He stated that Orwell warned us about the dangers of microphones, video cameras and TVs that watch us, but concluded that these are nothing compared to what is used to infringe our personal privacy today. Edward Snowden feels that privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be.
Snowden finished his message by arguing that the conversation occurring today about mass surveillance will determine the amount of trust we can place both in the technology that surrounds us and the government that regulates it.
Back in June, British Foreign Secretary William Hague tried to dismiss Snowden and the concerns he was raising about mass surveillance by saying that if you are a law abiding citizen, going about your business and your personal life, you have nothing to fear. The message was clear: trust us, the government.
But why should we?
Stephen Lawrence was a young black man who was lawfully ‘going about his business’ in
Notwithstanding the lies, disinformation and misinformation used to elicit the public’s support for illegal military campaigns in the likes of Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya, only the foolish (or the ignorant) would eagerly place their trust in officialdom and believe that we have ‘nothing to fear’ from it.
Much of the illegal surveillance exposed by Snowden is spuriously justified by the likes of William Hague on the basis of the bogus ‘war on terror’ in a futile attempt to stop any discussion on surveillance in its tracks. However, ordinary people need to turn the tables by holding the powerful to account. It should not be the case of them stripping away our privacy. We need to strip away their secrecy and privacy, not to blithely acquiesce to their needs as Hague advocates.
We need to do this to help guarantee our safety, our privacy, our freedoms and threats to democracy. We need greater transparency within government to ensure decisions are properly scrutinized and genuinely open to pubic debate. In the absence of this, we have free trade deals being hammered out behind closed doors and the revolving door between government and big business, which makes a complete mockery of the term ‘democracy’.
In the absence of genuine democracy, we have food safety/regulation authorities being hijacked by corporate interests. We have armaments companies using politicians as their sales lackeys.We have police and intelligence agencies infiltrating and harassing legitimate groups that have every right to protest. And we have a wide range of powerful players that buy political influence, manipulate markets, impose ‘austerity’ and salt away their stolen wealth in tax havens.
The reality is that ‘public servants’ fool us into thinking they serve us, while all the time bowing down to elite interests. We are told that the ‘fourth estate’ mainstream media, the self-proclaimed protector of democracy, is credible even though it largely serves a corporate agenda. A media that too often has little to say about exposing the privacy surrounding the back room stitch ups which take place in banks, boardrooms and the corridors of power - because it involves ‘sensitive’ information; but a media that is readily on hand to support policies that result in the curtailment of the privacy and freedoms of ordinary folk – because its for our own good.
If Edward Snowden and Julian Assange have shown us anything, it is that the official line can never and should never be taken at face value. It is for that reason that Assange remains incarcerated in the Ecuadorian embassy in
Snowden says that privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be. Ultimately, as the
“If you are a law-abiding citizen of this country, going about your business and your personal life, you have nothing to fear.” British Foreign Secretary William Hague, responding to the revelations of mass surveillance in the
and the US (BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show on 9 June). UK
“We are dependent on being able to act and not being entirely at the mercy of the terrorists. And today, it’s on the Internet that communication takes place.” (6)
“You don’t have to follow conspiracy theories in order to suspect that data collected for fighting terrorism will also be used in other areas.” (6)
Whitehall that really runs the country with a close-knit Mafia-like clique… made up of a handful of powerful, but low-key, City brokers and financiers; the top brains at the Foreign Office, the Treasury, the Ministry of Defence and the Trade Department. Key figures in the security forces… and…at least one key member of the prime minister’s secretariat… the police and judiciary… through the Home Office… can certainly be manipulated. The Super-Establishment’s power is based upon its ability to manipulate the level below it – the individuals that most people believe are governing our country. The elected government is almost irrelevant… The world in which the Super-Establishment exists is a grey and murky world in which sensitive matters of state are planned and executed in gentlemen’s clubs. It is where manipulation plots are hatched, whether it is manipulation of a certain minister towards a certain viewpoint, or the wholesale orchestration of a Foreign Office ploy to bring down a foreign government… It is almost the divine "mission of the secret services to protect the status quo, and hitherto it has been their full intention to thwart anyone who tried to disrupt it. The actual existence of the Super-Establishment is not a flight of fancy. It is entirely manipulative and exercises a great deal of power behind the scenes. (9)
But don’t worry about any of this. There is no need. If that nice Mr Hague says we’ve nothing to fear, he must be right.