Tag Archives: Ultras

Football mourns the loss Of Atlético Chapecoense

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Today the world of football is rallying around the small Brazilian club Atlético Chapecoense after most of its players and staff, as well as the sports journalists accompanying them, were killed when their chartered plane crashed in the Medellin region of Colombia. Chapecoense had, against all expectations, qualified for the final of the Copa Sudamericana, the South American equivalent of UEFA’s Europa League competition.

chapecoenseblackribbonThe Brazilian FA have canceled tomorrow’s cup final and all matches this weekend as a mark of respect. Other clubs have called for solidarity with Chapecoense and requested that the club be exempt from relegation for a period of 3 years as it tries to recover from the tragedy. They have also pledged to loan players to Atlético should it elect to continue to fulfill its fixtures for the rest of this season. The Colombian side Atletico National that would have been their opponents in the 1st Leg of the final have requested that Chapecoense be declared Copa Sudamericana champions.

Some Celtic fans have also asked our club to stock the jersey of Atlético Chapecoense in the Celtic shops and to donate all profits from sales back to the Brazilian club. Every act of solidarity with the club and its fans should be embraced. In an era where greed has become the definition of football, there are still some acts of human solidarity that we as fans can participate in, with or without the consent of those at the top. Our humanity will always eclipse their greed.

Every incident that results in the loss of life is a tragedy, but some tragedies hurt more when those who died carried the hopes and dreams of the people, of thousands of fans, of whole families. The Atlético Chapecoense Football Club just a few days ago celebrated one of its greatest football achievements, and today it suffers the worst episode of its entire history.  TAL Fanzine extends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of the victims and to the fans of Atlético Chapecoense.

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Israel – The Apartheid State

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By Phil Thornton (Author of Casuals)

The Zionist regime of Israel despises the ‘apartheid’ description of their cruel oppression of the Palestinians.

This is the definition of apartheid:  “a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race.”

Now, I don’t believe in using words such as ‘race’ as that term implies differences in humans that don’t actually exist, apart from in the warped minds of evolution deniers.

The Nazis believed in racial purity, as did the architects of apartheid in South Africa. The Zionists obviously believe that the Palestinians are ‘culturally’ different to them, not only in terms of religion and language but also ‘race.’

There are some who still believe in the ludicrous genealogies of the Bible right back to Adam and Eve or at least back to Shem, y’know Noah’s lad who founded the ‘Shemite’ race.

Such people still use these spurious and childish arguments to justify their ‘right’ to land and natural resources and to remove others from it and place them in what amount to huge open prisons.

Like the South Africans, they believe that they are intellectually, morally and culturally superior to these lower, savage races. They dress up their barbarity in cloaks of sophistry.

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They use words such as these:

“Because America and Israel, we share a common destiny, the destiny of promised lands that cherish freedom and offer hope. Israel is grateful for the support of American — of America’s people and of America’s presidents, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.”

– Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the US congress in 2015

‘Promised lands?’   Who promised them to you? Your God? Oh, OK then, crack on!

‘Cherish freedom and offer hope!’   You’d have to laugh at such nauseating lies if it wasn’t for the pathetic reality of the world’s richest state giving tacit approval for its client state’s (or is the other way around) illegal and disgusting treatment of the Palestinians.

Israel needs to be treated with similar contempt shown to the South African regime in the 70s and 80s. If the waving of a Palestinian flag at a football match in Glasgow can be regarded by Uefa as an illegal act then maybe it’s UEFA that needs to examine itself, not Celtic fans.

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Meanwhile, the campaign to ‘Match the fine for Palestine’ continues to build and is now standing at around £140,000 – a phenomenal sum of money raised by Celtic fans in solidarity with the Palestinian people, in aid of two very worthwhile charities working in the occupied territories. The original modest target of £15,000 set by the Green Brigade has been bettered almost ten times over! It is an unequivocal answer to the oligarchs who run the game that these football fans will not be silenced when it comes to matters of injustice, inequality, racism and apartheid.

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The beauty of Celtic fans’ solidarity with Palestine

In just 24 hours Celtic supporters have raised more than £50,000 for humanitarian projects in Palestine. This was their response to the threat of a UEFA fine for the club as a result of their display of Palestinian flags at the Champions League play-off match against Be’er Sheva. A demonstration of their understanding of the issues and a display of international solidarity with the people of Palestine.

By John Wight

The worldwide response to the stance that thousands of Celtic fans took in solidarity with the Palestinians during their Champions League tie with Israeli side, Hapoel Beer-Sheva, leaves no doubt that in the second decade of the 21st century internationalism remains more powerful than any number of Apache helicopter gunships, cruise missiles, and tanks when it comes to shaping the world. For the Palestinian people, living in a de facto open prison in Gaza and under the longest military occupation in modern history in the West Bank, the sight of Celtic fans flying and waving a flag that means more to them than life itself will have made their hearts soar, reminding them they do not stand alone in defiance of an oppressor dedicated to their subjugation, cultural annihilation and despair.

While no one is suggesting that a free Palestine is just around the corner, the growth in international support for this righteous objective, with the spread and growth of the international campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel, makes the status quo evermore untenable and unsustainable.

A people who find themselves living under occupation, subjected to a racist system of apartheid at the hands of a colonial power, can never be anything but politically aware. Under such conditions you don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind is blowing, and neither does it take a PhD in politics or economics to gain an understanding of the world. Thus the struggle waged by generations of Irishmen and women against British colonialism entrenched the worldview and core values that underpin Irish republicanism. A key plank of those values is the unshakeable belief that standing on the side of justice in the matter of oppression is more than a choice it’s an obligation and a duty. When it comes to the Palestinians this takes on added force when we consider the solidarity they have shown towards the Irish struggle in the past.

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One of the most moving documents I have ever encountered in my political life was a letter written by Palestinian political prisoners in tribute to Bobby Sands and the other hunger strikers upon Sands’ death. The letter was smuggled out of the Nafha prison in the Negev desert, where they were incarcerated, and arrived in the Falls Road soon after.

It reads:

To the families of the martyrs oppressed by the British ruling class. To the families of Bobby Sands and his martyred comrades.

We, revolutionaries of the Palestinian people who are under the terrorist rule of Zionism, write you this letter from the desert prison of Nafha.

We extend our salutes and solidarity with you in the confrontation against the oppressive terrorist rule enforced upon the Irish people by the British ruling elite.

We salute the heroic struggle of Bobby Sands and his comrades, for they have sacrificed the most valuable possession of any human being. They gave their lives for freedom.

From here in Nafha prison, where savage snakes and desert sands penetrate our cells, from here under the yoke of Zionist occupation, we stand alongside you. From behind our cell bars, we support you, your people and your revolutionaries who have chosen to confront death.

Since the Zionist occupation, our people have been living under the worst conditions. Our militants who have chosen the road of liberty and chosen to defend our land, people and dignity, have been suffering for many years. In the prisons, we are confronting Zionist oppression and their systematic application of torture. Sunlight does not enter our cell. Basic necessities are not provided. Yet we confront the Zionist hangmen, the enemies of life.

Many of our militant comrades have been martyred under torture by the fascists allowing them to bleed to death. Others have been martyred because Israeli prison administrators do not provide needed medical care.

The noble and just hunger strike is not in vain. In our struggle against the occupation of our homeland, for freedom from the new Nazis, it stands as a clear symbol of the historical challenge against the terrorists. Our people in Palestine and in the Zionist prisons are struggling as your people are struggling against the British monopolies and we will both continue until victory.

On behalf of the prisoners of Nafha, we support your struggle and cause of freedom against English domination, against Zionism and against fascism in the world.

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On Wednesday August 17, 2016, thousands of Celtic supporters answered this message of solidarity from Palestinian political prisoners in 1981 with a message of their own. They did so in the face of UEFA threats of disciplinary action against the club and a hefty fine. Celtic FC and its fans should be proud to pay any such fine, viewing it not as punishment but as an investment in their humanity. As Malcolm X said, “If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.”

The world now knows that in an age of cynicism and indifference to suffering, Celtic supporters most assuredly do stand for something.

Follow John on Twitter @ JohnWight1

You can see more of his writing at Medium, RT, Sputnik, and Counterpunch.

To make a donation to the #matchthefineforpalestine appeal click here

Green Brigade Statement: Flying The Flag For Palestine

 

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Prior to last night’s match with Hapoel Beer Sheva a collective of Celtic fans and Palestinian activists in Glasgow called on fans to show our support for the Palestinian people and fly the flag for Palestine. Like many fans throughout the stadium, the Green Brigade answered this call. From our work with grassroots Palestinian groups in the West Bank and the refugee camps of Bethlehem, we know the positive impact international solidarity has on those living in the open prisons of the Occupied Territories. We also know that their suffering cannot be ignored by the international community and last night’s actions also sought to raise awareness of the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS) campaign which seeks to challenge the normalisation of the Israeli occupation.

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Some have argued that football and politics do not mix, including European football’s discredited governing body. In Palestine, however, there is little dispute. The occupation has seen the Palestinian national stadium destroyed twice by Israeli bombs and footballers killed, maimed and imprisoned. In 2013 we were proud to welcome Mahmoud Sarsak, a Palestinian international footballer detained without crime or trial for three years in an Israeli prison, to Glasgow. Mahmoud had only recently been released from prison after a 96-day hunger strike and widespread international protest.

The BDS campaign builds on the success of earlier anti-apartheid campaigns. In the 1980s fans and citizens protested against South African sports teams and ultimately shamed the authorities into excluding apartheid South Africa from sporting activity. The late anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela, whose death was marked by a minute’s silence at European matches on UEFA’s instructions, famously remarked that ‘we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians’.

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Mandela was right, and like the wider Celtic support we will continue to fly the flag for Palestine.

The response we have had since last night has been overwhelming, with messages of support pouring in from our fellow fans, human rights organisations and the global Palestinian community. We would like to thank them sincerely for their backing and tonight re-iterate our support for justice and freedom in Palestine.

We also understand that a downmarket tabloid newspaper may tomorrow run a story suggesting our group in some way mislead Celtic plc and told them that we would not be displaying our support for Palestine. This is a complete fabrication and we condemn anyone who spreads smear stories attacking football fans to The Sun.

Until the last rebel.

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Politicians To Arrange ‘Proper Naughty Offs’ In Europe

igorlebedev-russianMP“I do not see anything terrible in fans fighting. On the contrary: well done to our boys – keep it up!”

  • Russian MP, Igor Lebedev (Deputy Chair of Russian Parliament & Executive Member of Russian Football Union)

In light of these outrageous comments by an elected member, several other elected dicks have also added fuel to the fire… allegedly

CameronFlags‘England’s best option is to remain in the EUros, unless Wales jolly well kick our arses on Thursday, in which case we will all be stronger together and rally around the British team.’

  • David Cameron, British Prime Minister & leader of the campaign to remain in the EUros.

boris-johnson-boxing‘Crikey chaps! Those Ruskies are a rum lot. Head for Dunkirk immediately!’

  • The Man Who Would Be Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, leader of the ‘Get Me Out Of Here, I’m An Upper Class Twit’ Campaign.

carwynjones_OneNationLabour‘We’re just glad to be here and taking part and as a net gainer from the EUros, we are firmly in favour of remaining on the gravy train all the way to the final (vote)’

  • Carwyn Jones, Prince of Welsh Labour and nothing to do with those mad Corbynistas down in that London.

Sturgeon1‘The very fact that Scotland are not at the EUros only further demonstrates the oppression of our nation by the Westminster Elite (apart from our 59 revolutionary guerillas bravely elected to Westminster by a subjugated and downtrodden nation). It’s very clear that only a second referendum will now guarantee Scotland its rightful place at the head of a group that will fail to win a single argument in Europe. Wha’s like us, eh?’

  • Bonnie Nicola Sturgeon, Monarch of the Glen & Queen of the (nearly) Independent Scottish non-Republic in Europe.

nigel-farage‘I’ve always enjoyed the company of my many Russian friends, though I do draw the line at sharing a continent with them. Like the English, they love a drink and a cigarette inside a smokey pub, unlike this so-called EU-UEFA Elite who want to dictate that the beautful game – which we English invented incidentally – should be played in an entirely separate space to the drinking, smoking and fighting. It’s political correctness gone madski!’

  • Nigel Farage, man of the people, beer drinker, smoker and jolly well English & Drunk.

Hillsborough – The Tip Of The Iceberg

HJC_duckenfieldDavid Duckenfield, the commanding officer at Hillsborough in 1989 is not the only senior South Yorkshire Police Officer potentially now facing criminal charges and disciplinary procedures. It is no accident that this police force was central to the defeat of the miners in 1984/85, a force fetted by Thatcher and her government for defeating ‘the enemy within’ – the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). After the Miners Strike and Hillsborough, these officers continued to be promoted up the ranks. Perhaps the greatest insult to the Hillsborough Families and the people of Liverpool was the appointment of Sir Norman Bettison as Chief Constable of Merseyside. Bettison (pictured below left) was a Chief Inspector at the time of the disaster and he led the ‘dirty tricks’ team from South Yorkshire Police who attempted to assassinate the characters of the victims, their families and the supporters of Liverpool FC.

JFT96SYcopsBy Phil Thornton

“Blaming Liverpool fans for Hillsborough is like blaming the passengers on the Titanic for hitting the iceberg.”

FA Cup Semi-finals were always frenzied games in the 70s and 80s when the noble art of the jib became almost obligatory and ‘to pay is to fail’ was a mantra for hardcore fans across the land. Those held at Hillsborough were notorious for the Leppings Lane and it was the same at Villa if you didn’t get the Holte End.

Let’s rewind to 85. A van load of us went to watch the FA Cup final between Man United and Everton. None of us had tickets. We all got in. This was only 11 days before the Heysel Disaster in Brussels. We bribed turnstyle staff,  jumped the barriers and then either bought stubs from grafters or placed pressure on the terrified security staff to open the gates onto the already overcrowded terraces.

We knew sooner or later they’d let us in and so it was. Once inside that shithole of a national stadium we strained to watch a game in a standing section that was so packed I could barely stand, never mind see Norman’s winner.

This was par for the course. Nothing unusual. You wanted to get one over on the snidey FA who only distributed a pathetic percentage of tickets for finals, as they hived vast numbers off to corporate cronies, pals and touts.

This was all possible because the ‘culture’ of the game in the 80s was always semi-militaristic. You hated ‘them’ and ‘they’ hated you and everyone hated the bizzies because the bizzies hated everyone. Mob survival was essential and although the violence was often sporadic and over-stated, nevertheless you were always aware that a kick off was probable at some point in the day.

Some people stayed sober, most drank or had a smoke, some got pissed and or stoned. Some got twatted. That too was part of the ritual.

So, those who continue to peddle this line about Liverpool fans being partly to blame for the death of the 96 at Hillsborough, then remember how you used similar tactics and that even if you had a ticket, you understood the semi final frenzy.

HJC_tv-footageBlaming Liverpool fans for Hillsborough is like blaming the passengers on the Titanic for hitting the iceberg. They paid for their tickets, they entered into a contract with the shipping line, they expected to be treated like valuable customers, they deserved to get to their destination. They hit an iceberg and drowned because of the negligence and incompetence of the crew and the company charged with protecting them. Even the odd stowaway didn’t deserve to drown.

Football fans were never treated like customers. Not by their own clubs, not by the FA, not by the political class and certainly not by the police. Fans were there to be fleeced and brutalised in appalling stadia that remained in the poorest areas of our inner cities.

This bred an attitude of open hostility and whether some of it was deserved or not, the comparison with how fans were treated in other countries was testimony to how divided by ‘class’ Britain was and still is. It’s still them and us.

It’s still THEM and US.

HJC_CameronFor all their mealy mouthed platitudes, the likes of Cameron and his Tory pals will be saying very different things about the despised scousers in private. Jack Straw and Tony Blair will no doubt share the same belief that this would have all been better if, as Nick Robinson, said on Radio4 this morning, scousers had just ‘moved on.’

They always want us to move on and ‘draw a line in the sand’ when they fuck up but never the other way around. If you dare to expose their lies and corruption, their hypocrisies and failures, then YOU are branded a cynic, a spoiler, a militant, a rabble rouser, a malcontent, a subversive, a traitor.

They will use every tool at their disposal to demonise you, their pet media, their spies, their pals in low places and they will try to dig enough dirt to create a smokescreen which they can then hide behind.

It has worked every time. So far.

HJC_sun‘The Truth’ as published by Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper was a conspiracy of lies… The Sun newspaper will never rise again on Merseyside

Like many I don’t believe that ‘the truth’ – the full truth – about Hillsborough will ever be revealed and that the cowed media will have enough nerve to dig where the faceless men who work in nameless offices keep tabs on those who seek to uncover such facts.

To reveal the truth about the fit ups, the bribes, the murders, the lies, the cover ups, the stitch ups, the propaganda, the everyday dealings of those charged with ‘OUR’ national security would be to place their carefully orchestrated fantasy of One Nation Under A Groove at risk.

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We Have The Truth, Now We Want Justice For The 96…

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Fans hold a banner reading “We climbed the hill in our own way”

 

“In due course the CPS will formally consider whether any criminal charges should be brought against any individual or corporate body based upon all the available evidence.”

– Sue Hemming, head of the special crime and counter-terrorism division at England’s Crown Prosecution Service.

margaret-aspinall-hjcMargaret Aspinall of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign
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It took 27 years but JUSTICE is almost done today with the jury returning a verdict of UNLAWFUL KILLING to the inquest into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans at Hillsborough Stadium in 1989. The truth has been confirmed, justice must now follow. In the words of Hillsborough Justice Campaigner, Margaret Aspinall, whose 16 year old son died in the stadium, those responsible for the disaster and subsequent cover-up must be held to account.
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“Thank you, thank you”

– Response from one member of the public gallery when the verdict of unlawful killing was announced.

“Justice for the 96”

– Chant repeated by relatives and friends outside the courtroom in Warrington, near Liverpool, after the verdict was announced.

“You’ll Never Walk Alone”

– Relatives and friends sing the Liverpool anthem outside the courtroom.

“I think we’ve changed a part of history now.”

– Hillsborough campaigner Margaret Aspinall, whose 18-year-old son James died in the disaster, outside court.

“We’ve done it”

– Trevor Hicks, the president of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, whose teenage daughters Sarah and Vicki died in the disaster.

“The FA reaffirms its deep sorrow and regret that these tragic events, which occurred at one of its fixtures, led to the loss of life of 96 football supporters on 15 April 1989…Ultimately, the inquests stand as testament to the struggle undertaken by the families so the truth might be brought to light…In looking forward, it is important we never forget.”

– Statement issued by The Football Association, the English game’s national governing body.

“Fantastic to see the reaction of the families outside the court! Very emotional as well. The truth is out AT LAST. Take note all the doubters!”

– John Aldridge, a member of the Liverpool team that played Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough on the ill-fated day.

“Finally, thankfully, justice for the 96! Rest in peace.”

– Former England striker turned BBC television football presenter Gary Lineker.

“Finally and way, way, way overdue, the truth prevails and justice is served. jft96.”

– Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen, using an abbreviation for the slogan “Justice for the 96”.

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“After so many years fighting for justice I am really pleased to see the verdict today, which confirms what we have been saying for a long time.“I am especially pleased for the families of the 96 who have sought justice for so long and with such dignity, as well as for the people of Liverpool and for football fans in general.

“Hopefully this verdict today will ensure that this kind of tragedy can never happen again.”

– Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez, Liverpool’s manager from 2004 to 2010.

“Everton Football Club salutes the Hillsborough families and their total vindication as Fighters for Justice. Theirs is the greatest victory in the history of football.

“RIP, the 96. Good night, God bless. From us across the Park.”

– Statement issued by Everton, whose Goodison ground is on the other side of Stanley Park from city rivals Liverpool’s Anfield.

“This has been the greatest miscarriage of justice of our times. But, finally, it is over.”

– Labour MP Andy Burnham
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While it is certainly the case that the truth has now been established beyond question, full justice for the 96 and their loved ones has not yet been delivered. Today’s mealy-mouthed words of of sympathy and apology from politicians, police and media is not enough. These same politicians, police and press were only too willing to muddy the waters at the time and to blacken the characters of the victims by throwing doubt on the eye-witness accounts of the supporters who were at Hillsborough 27 years ago.
British Prime Minister, David Cameron’s apology and words of support are too little too late. What was Cameron’s position at the time of the disaster? He was a young Tory high-flyer who had been an adviser to Margaret Thatcher’s government. We do not know David Cameron’s personal view back in 1989, but we can say with some certainty that Thatcher was not sympathetic to the plight of the fans and their families and held a political grudge against Liverpool, a city that she and her government regarded as a ‘Red stronghold’ (and we are not talking football colours here). 
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We know that one of Cameron’s key political allies and a personal friend since his days at Eton and Oxford had little in the way of sympathy for the Hillsborough families and a low regard for the city of Liverpoool and its inhabitants in general. The London Mayor and Tory MP, Boris Johnson is the favourite to succeed Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party,  it was his apparent lack of empathy that struck home when, a full 15 years after the disaster, he described the people of Liverpool as having ‘a predeliction for welfarism’ and ‘wallowing in their victim status’. He also repeated the outrageous lies of the South Yorkshire Police and The Sun newspaper that the fans were drunken hooligans who had contributed to the cause of the disaster.
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It took Boris Johnson a full eight years to apologise for those words which were published in the Spectator as part of a piece on the kidnapping and murder of Liverpool man Ken Bigley by Al Qaeda in Iraq. Even then the apology was half-hearted and qualified by Johnson who lodged the unlikely defence that, ‘a big boy did it and ran away’. In 2012, in evidence to the Hillsborough Independent Panel, Johnson disowned the article, citing it’s real author as the right-wing journalist, Simon Heffer. However, Johnson was happy in 2004, as editor of The Spectator, to commission the piece from Heffer, which he then put his own name to. He is as responsible as editor and attributed journalist for that piece of writing as the person he commissioned to author it on his behalf.
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As Margaret Aspinall of the HJC commented after Johnson’s apology in 2012: “What he has got to understand is that we were speaking the truth for 23 years and apologies have only started to come today from them because of yesterday. It’s too little, too late. It’s fine to apologise afterwards. They just don’t want their names in any more sleaze. No, his apology doesn’t mean a thing to me.”[
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One of the key campaigners for truth and justice, Mrs Aspinall has said today that now  we know the truth, the people responsible have to be held to account. That includes the police, politicians and press that contributed to and repeated the lies about Hillsborough and its victims for the last 27 years.
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