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Kelvin Mackenzie says he has been “deeply affected by the affair.
He says he is not a victim but has “suffered collateral damage”
Were he to visit Liverpool he would “literally be in mortal danger”, he writes in tomorrow’s Spectator.
MacKenzie printed a front page story about Liverpool fans, shortly after the
1989 Hillsborough disaster in which 96 people were killed headlined “The Truth”.
The Hillsborough Independent Inquiry report, which was published two weeks ago, said there was no evidence to support the allegations in the paper.
It stated: “The documents disclosed to the panel show that the origin of these serious allegations was a local Sheffield press agency informed by several South Yorkshre Police (SYP) officers, an SYP Police Federation spokesperson and a local MP.
“They also demonstrate how the SYP Police Federation, supported informally by the SYP chief constable, sought to develop and publicise a version of events that focused on several police officers’ allegations of drunkenness, ticketlessness and violence among a large number of Liverpool fans.”
Describing the circumstances that led him to publish the false claims, he said a “trap was sprung” when he was handed copy from a reputable news agency.
The story was sourced from four senior South Yorkshire police officers, he says, and “copper-bottomed” by a Conservative MP.
“I thought nothing of running the story with the headline ‘The Truth’,” he writes.
“There was not a doubt in my mind – and I was by no means the only man in Fleet St who believed the police’s story.”
His piece concludes: “This week my lawyer, Ian Rosenblatt, sent a letter to South Yorkshire Police explaining that the lies their officers told to the news agency had led to my personal vilification for decades and that on that basis I was seeking an apology in terms to be agreed between us. I hope that after 23 years we can all agree on the truth.”
A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said the force “awaits Mr MacKenzie’s letter with interest”.
“It is well-known that many media outlets ran similar stories at the time based on the same sources but chose to treat them differently,” he said.
“Mr MacKenzie was responsible for the particular headline he chose to run with.”
The drone attacks are carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency and not the US military since Pakistan is not a zone of armed conflict, unlike neighbouring Afghanistan.
Earlier this year, President Barack Obama insisted the strategy was “kept on a very tight leash” and that without the drones, the US would have had to resort to “more intrusive military action”.
The report, by Stanford University and New York University’s School of Law, says top commanders only account for an estimated 2% of drone victims.
The report also details hundreds of civilian casualties and the effects of drone strikes on the local population. It cites data from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimating that between 474 and 881 civilians have been killed in strikes between 2004 and 2012.
“In the United States, the dominant narrative about the use of drones in Pakistan is of a surgically precise and effective tool that makes the US safer by enabling ‘targeted killings’ of terrorists, with minimal downsides or collateral impacts. This narrative is false,” according to the report, Living Under Drones.
“Publicly available evidence that the strikes have made the US safer overall is ambiguous at best,” it says, adding that targeted killings and drone attacks undermine respect for international law.
The report says that the US government rarely acknowledges civilian casualties, though there is significant evidence that civilians are being injured and killed.
The report highlights the impact of drone attacks on civilians in Pakistan’s tribal regions. Citing “extensive interviews with the local population”, the authors say:
- children are being taken out of school out of fear of a drone-strike or to compensate for income lost from a dead or wounded relative
- there is “significant evidence” of the practice of “double-tap” strikes in which rescuers arriving at the scene are targeted in follow-up attacks
- drones flying overhead have led to “substantial levels of fear and stress… in the civilian communities”
- as well as injury or death, the attacks cause property damage, severe economic hardship and emotional trauma for the injured and their families
- people are afraid to attend gatherings such as funerals for fear of attack
Datta Khel drone strike
According to the report, 42 people were killed, mostly civilians, when they gathered at a bus depot on 17 March 2011 for a “jirga” (community meeting) to settle a dispute over a nearby mine.
The Pakistani military commander said the local military post had been alerted 10 days beforehand so those at the meeting were not concerned by drones overhead.
Several missiles were fired. Nearly all those who died were heads of large households.
The jirga had been chaired by Malik Daud Khan, a political liaison between the government, military and other tribal leaders.
Source: Living Under Drones – Stanford Law School and NYU School of Law
A man has been remanded in custody after appearing in court charged with murdering two police officers and two men in Greater Manchester.
Dale Cregan is accused of murdering PC Fiona Bone, 32, and PC Nicola Hughes, 23, in Mottram, Tameside on Tuesday.
The 29-year-old also appeared before Manchester magistrates accused of murdering David Short and his son Mark.
Another man held on suspicion of conspiracy to murder the officers has been released without charge.
Armed police surrounded Manchester Magistrates’ Court on Friday morning before Mr Cregan’s appearance.
He was remanded in custody to appear at Manchester Crown Court on Monday.
Mr Cregan sat down as he was brought into the dock but got to his feet after he was asked to stand by District Judge Jonathan Taaffe.
Wearing a dark blue sweatshirt, Mr Cregan had also grown a thick beard. He spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth.
Judge Taaffe then read out the eight charges the defendant faces, including that of murdering PC Bone and PC Hughes.
An Israeli soldier and three militants have been killed in a clash inside Israel near its southern border with Egypt, the Israeli military has said.
A second soldier was moderately wounded in the incident, near Mount Arif.
The militants had opened fire on the soldiers after crossing the border from Sinai.
The troops were guarding a site where work is continuing on a new security barrier along the border with Egypt.
The violence comes amid a crackdown by Egypt on Islamist militants operating in the Sinai Peninsula, launched after an attack last month left 16 Egyptian soldiers dead.
In that incident, the militants subsequently crossed the border with Israel in an apparent attempt to carry out another attack. However, they were killed in Israeli air strikes.
In June, militants fired an anti-tank missile at a vehicle convoy carrying construction workers helping to build the new border fence. One Israeli construction worker and two of the attackers were killed.
A soldier killed in Afghanistan has been named as Capt James Townley of the Corps of Royal Engineers. died in Helmand province on Friday – the day before his 30th birthday – in a shooting incident not thought to be the result of hostile action.
His death brings the number of British military deaths since operations began in Afghanistan in 2001 to 431.
Of the 342 coalition soldiers who have lost their lives this year, 257 come from the US with the UK the next highest with 37.
A total of 3,189 Nato soldiers have died since the conflict began in 2001, with the US losing 2,121 in the Af-Pak region.
In a ruling on Thursday, Ofcom said: “In July 2011, in light of the public debate about phone hacking and other allegations, Ofcom confirmed that it had a duty to consider whether Sky was fit and proper to continue to hold its broadcast licences.
“Ofcom considers that, on the evidence currently available and having taken into account all the relevant factors, Sky is fit and proper to hold its broadcast licences.”
Ofcom said, however, that “should further evidence become available” it may review the issue. Criminal investigations into phone hacking continue and several court cases involving senior executives from News International are pending.
However, the conduct of James Murdoch, who resigned as chairman of BSkyB in April (but remains a non-executive director) and has also relinquished his role at the UK newspaper group, was questionable, Ofcom concluded.
The regulator said: “Ofcom considers on the basis of the evidence available to date… James Murdoch’s conduct in relation to events at NGN [the newspaper group] repeatedly fell short of the conduct to be expected of him as a chief executive officer and chairman.
“However, Ofcom considers that the evidence available to date does not provide a reasonable basis to conclude that James Murdoch deliberately engaged in any wrongdoing.”
While acknowledging that many of the circumstances over phone hacking were outside of Mr Murdoch’s control or unknown to him, Ofcom criticises severely his failure to make himself aware of the deepening scandal.
“We consider James Murdoch’s conduct, including his failure to initiate action on his own account on a number of occasions, to be both difficult to comprehend and ill-judged.
“We consider that the events… raise questions regarding James Murdoch’s competence in the handling of these matters, and his attitude towards the possibility of wrongdoing in the companies for which he was responsible,” Ofcom said.
The regulator said that Mr Murdoch’s non-executive role on the BSkyB board did not impact on its “fit and proper” test, because there were other “experienced individuals who would be expected to be capable of exercising effective independent oversight”.
Ofcom continued: “We recognise that whether it is appropriate for James Murdoch to be a director in light of the events is a matter for the board and shareholders of Sky.”
ANALYSIS As the Muslim World vents its fury at a film that they say is offensive to the Prophet and Islam, guess who should come out of the woodwork.
The Satanic Verses propelled what was a little known writer to world attention – alas, it wasn’t what Salman had written that brought this new-found fame, but a death sentence.
The year was 1989, and an ailing Ayatollah Khomeini had attempted to spread the ideas of the Islamic revolution for one last time.
Iran’s standing in the islamic World had suffered because of a long and bloody war with Iraq and this fatwa showed that Muslims could unite behind a single issue, that despite their differences there were things that were sacred.
So, how did that leave the author?
Ordinarily, one would feel considerable sympathy for someone in this predicament.
But nothing Salman did or said endeared him to anyone.
He took an aggressive tone which got more and more entrenched as time went on.
It wouldn’t have hurt him to have said sorry – instead, he spent the better part of his time in captivity appearing on television clearly enjoying his celebrity.
At a time, when the West was openly showing racial hostility to its Asian/black citizens, Salman did not seem to understand that for many Muslims an attack on the Prophet of Islam was one step too far, even in a climate of ‘Paki-bashing’.
As a result of the controversy, Salman became a millionaire, and got many plaudits within his own circle and became a poster child for the racist National Front.
The British taxpayer forked out a million pounds or more for his protection.
He continued to court controversy also – calling Princess Diana’s death a ‘sublimated sexual assault’.
Yet, even today he has not shown the maturity of a grown up.
So, Salman the question remains – why do you find it so difficult to acknowledge someone else’s pain, pain that came from your hands.
Police said both unarmed officers suffered fatal injuries during a “routine operation” in Hattersley, Tameside.
They were named at a police press conference as Fiona Bone,32, and Nicola Hughes, 26. (pictured at the bottom)
Fiona had five years of police service behind her, and had come out of her shell after being initially reserved. She was planning to marry her partner.
Whilst Nicola, it was revealed, had spent three years in the police force and was known to be a chatterbox. She always had time for everyone. She loved Karate.
One of the police offiicers had died at the scene, the second at hospital.
They were attending a call that had come at 10 am, that there had been a burglary and were attacked with gun shots and a grenade.
A witness in Abbey Gardens said they had heard 10 gunshots and an explosion.
A short time after, Dale Cregan, 29, (pictured below) was arrested in connection with the officers’ deaths and two previous murders. He had walked into Hyde police station shortly after the incident.
Police believe that Cregan had called police to report the burglary.
Dale Cregan: on bail over fatal pub shooting
Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said it was “a tragic day” for Greater Manchester Police.
“A long and dark shadow has been cast across Greater Manchester and my thoughts are with the officers’ families, friends and colleagues.
“We will be doing everything we can to support them over the coming days and weeks.”