“Martin McGuinness was more likely than not to have been in possession of a Thompson sub-machine gun”

Saville made no finding on whether Martin McGuinness had “fired a Thompson sub-machine gun from the Rossville Flats”.  But, despite Eamonn’s ‘not proven’ claim, it’s more a case of ‘not [fully] tested’.  From the Saville Inquiry’s Consideration of the evidence relating to Martin McGuinness [scroll down]

147.349 We were unable to obtain a written statement from Infliction, or call him to give oral evidence. Nor was Martin McGuinness able to question him or even be told who he was. The same applies to the account given by the RUC interviewee. Were we conducting a criminal trial there would in our view be substantial grounds for the submission that it would be unfair to admit this material or to place any reliance upon it. However, we are not conducting a trial but a public inquiry and we are not bound by the rules of evidence. We have to consider what weight, if any, we should give to this material, in circumstances where it has not been possible to question Infliction about his account. We also have to consider whether in the circumstances it would be so unfair, in the context of a public inquiry, to make any findings based on it, that we should refrain from doing so.

147.350 We have already expressed the view that Infliction was generally reliable and did give the information in question to the Security Service. Officer A told us that he had no grounds for believing that what Infliction had told him was the result of holding a grudge against Martin McGuinness. Furthermore, it should be noted that he said to Officer B during his debriefing that “the Brits murdered thirteen people ” on Bloody Sunday,1so it would not appear that he was inventing what he told Officer B (or Officer A) about Martin McGuinness in an attempt to provide the soldiers with a reason for opening fire. If Martin McGuinness did tell Infliction that he had fired a Thompson sub-machine gun from the Rossville Flats on Bloody Sunday, it is in our view likely that this is what Martin McGuinness did.

1 KB3.4

147.351 Nevertheless, our inability and that of those representing Martin McGuinness to question Infliction on such matters as his relationship with Martin McGuinness and the circumstances in which Martin McGuinness is said to have made the remarks in question, and otherwise to test the truth of Infliction’s account and the accuracy of his recollection, have led us to conclude that it would be unwise (and indeed unfair) to place much weight on that account. On this basis we consider that this account by itself does no more than raise the possibility that, notwithstanding his denial, Martin McGuinness did fire a Thompson sub-machine gun on “single ” shot from the Rossville Flats on Bloody Sunday.

147.352 We bear in mind two further factors.

147.353 Firstly, there is the evidence, apart from that of Infliction, to the effect that on Bloody Sunday Martin McGuinness was in possession of a Thompson sub-machine gun in the area of Chamberlain Street and William Street. We have concluded that on balance, though far from certainly, this was the case. In reaching this conclusion we have taken into account that Martin McGuinness had no opportunity to question the RUC interviewee who said that he had seen Martin McGuinness with such a weapon. We are, however, unpersuaded that Martin McGuinness was in Duffy’s bookmakers at any stage.

147.354 Secondly, we have concluded that Martin McGuinness probably did see Margaret Deery being carried after she was wounded, which means that he was probably not (as he told us) to the south of the Rossville Flats when the soldiers came in and started firing, but still somewhere from where he could see Margaret Deery being carried, ie somewhere on the car park side of the Rossville Flats.

147.355 We should note at this point that in the course of considering the events of Sector 2, we have concluded that someone probably did fire a number of shots at the soldiers from the south-west end of the lower balcony of Block 3 of the Rossville Flats, close to one of the walkways joining Block 3 to Block 2 of the Rossville Flats, probably at a stage after soldiers had opened fire in that sector. From that position Margaret Deery could have been seen being carried to a house in Chamberlain Street after she had been wounded in the thigh. The evidence that we have on these shots suggests that they were fired from a carbine, but in our view this does not necessarily establish that it could not have been a Thompson sub-machine gun. Unless the weapon can be clearly seen and identified, for reasons given elsewhere in this report1a Thompson sub-machine gun fired on “single ” shot (ie not repeatedly on automatic) could be mistaken for some other type of weapon being fired more than once. After firing there would have been an escape route away from the soldiers and out of their sight by the stairs that led down to ground level in the gap between Blocks 2 and 3 of the Rossville Flats. However, Infliction’s account is to the effect that Martin McGuinness told him that he had fired the first shot, not a number of shots, so that there is little to connect this account with the firing from the south-west end of the lower balcony of Block 3 of the Rossville Flats.

1 Paragraphs 65.182–202

147.356 We have found that Martin McGuinness was more likely than not to have been in possession of a Thompson sub-machine gun in the area of Chamberlain Street and William Street, and that he probably had not reached the area south of the Rossville Flats when the soldiers came into the Bogside and opened fire. We cannot conclude, however, that he fired a Thompson sub-machine gun from the Rossville Flats. The Infliction material raises the possibility that he did. We have set out above our reasons for not giving much weight to this material. Accordingly, we can in this report make no finding on the point. [added emphasis]

147.357 On one matter, however, we have no doubt. If Martin McGuinness did fire from the Rossville Flats he could have come to believe, as Infliction reported he had said, that his firing had precipitated what happened on Bloody Sunday, by which we would understand that he believed that what he had done had led to a response from soldiers that resulted in the numerous casualties of Bloody Sunday. In fact, as appears from our consideration of the events of Sector 2, he would have been mistaken in this belief, since none of the soldiers who in our view shot Jackie Duddy, Margaret Deery, Michael Bridge or Michael Bradley in that sector suggested at any stage that they had fired at people in response to fire from the Rossville Flats; they all claimed to have targeted people with bombs at ground level. Nor have we found any evidence to suggest that the casualties in any of the other sectors were targeted by soldiers because of fire from the Rossville Flats.

Conclusions on the activities of the Provisional IRA

147.358 Later in this report,1we discuss other incidents of firing on Bloody Sunday that occurred before the firing of the “symbolic ” shots at the end of the day, to which we have referred earlier in this chapter. We should note at this point that we consider it probable that before these “symbolic ” shots were fired, a Provisional IRA member fired at soldiers on the City Walls, as described by Reg Tester, whose account we discuss in the course of considering below the organisation and activities of the Official IRA on Bloody Sunday. So far as other incidents are concerned, we express below our views on whether it is possible to tell whether it was members of the Provisional or the Official IRA who were responsible for this firing.

1 Chapter 151

147.359 What we have concluded, however, is that there is no evidence that suggests to us that any member of the Provisional IRA used or intended to use the march itself for the purpose of engaging the security forces with guns or bombs. Nevertheless, we consider it likely that Martin McGuinness was armed with a Thompson sub-machine gun on Bloody Sunday and we cannot eliminate the possibility that he fired this weapon after the soldiers had come into the Bogside. Furthermore, we are unable, notwithstanding their evidence, to exclude the possibility that other members of the Provisional IRA may also have carried arms. As we have already pointed out, we do not accept the evidence that suggested that the Provisional IRA had no nail bombs available for use on Bloody Sunday. However, in our view no-one threw or attempted to throw a nail bomb on Bloody Sunday in any of the sectors. [added emphasis]

And on ‘Infliction’, the Saville Inquiry reports

147.233 His evidence was that Infliction gave no information relating to Martin McGuinness that the Security Service ever came to regard as dishonest.1 On occasions Infliction, when refusing to give information, provided reasons for his refusal that the Security Service regarded as dishonest. None of those occasions was one on which the information sought related to Martin McGuinness.2 On the occasions on which Infliction did lie, he did so in order to protect his security.3

1 Day 326/84 2 Day 326/95  3 Day 326/94; Day 326/101 

147.234 Officer A also told us:1

“Infliction produced an enormous amount of information on which he had direct knowledge, either by talking directly to people or by seeing an event or whatever. Now, with that information – on those areas he was very rarely, if ever, mistaken and most of that material, we are confident, was truthful and subsequently much of it was corroborated. ” 

1 Day 326/96-97 147.235 Officer A contrasted this type of information with that provided by Infliction in circumstances in which Infliction was less certain of the origin of the material. In the latter instances, the information could be inaccurate. Although in these cases Infliction might have appeared untruthful, for the most part the inaccuracies were simply mistakes.1

 1 Day 326/97

147.236 Officer A said that there were very few instances in which the Security Service considered that Infliction was embellishing his reporting or seeking to bluff. Officer A could not recall any particular instance in which this had occurred.1

1 Day 326/98-99

147.237 According to Officer A, Infliction was paid between £15,000 and £25,000 a year for his work for the Security Service. These sums were at the top end of amounts paid at the time to agents. He was not given payment in return for specific pieces of information but received bonuses when he had worked particularly hard to obtain information in a difficult subject area and when his information over a period had been extremely good. His payment was at the top end of the scale to reflect his level of access to the IRA, the potential of the information and the risks that he ran to obtain information.1 [added emphasis]

1 Day 326/85-87 

, , , , , , , ,

  • Hedley Lamarr

    “…none of the soldiers who in our view shot Jackie Duddy, Margaret Deery, Michael Bridge or Michael Bradley in that sector suggested at any stage that they had fired at people in response to fire from the Rossville Flats; they all claimed to have targeted people with bombs at ground level. Nor have we found any evidence to suggest that the casualties in any of the other sectors were targeted by soldiers because of fire from the Rossville Flats.”

    It’s a case of the soldiers not being aware of any threat to their lives when they killed the four people in the area in question. They are soldiers- they wouldn’t have misheard gunfire for bombs. They obviously were not aware of any gunfire.

    The evidence states that on balance the Official IRA were using firearms and the soldiers fired the first shot. They found after extensive research and examination that on balance Martin McGuinness didn’t fire a weapon. They can’t eliminate that possibility but that is a lower standard than ‘balance of probabilities’.

  • Brian Walker

    Just for the record, on C4 News, he again denied carrying a weapon, scoring the reliability of the claim and asking: ” if I was carrying a submachine gun, surely a lot of people would have seen it?”

  • redhugh78

    ‘We were unable to obtain a written statement from Infliction, or call him to give oral evidence. Nor was Martin McGuinness able to question him or even be told who he was. The same applies to the account given by the RUC interviewee. Were we conducting a criminal trial there would in our view be substantial grounds for the submission that it would be unfair to admit this material or to place any reliance upon it’

    In other words we just include this as a sop to people determined to deflect the truth from what actually happened.
    Saville even states that if it had of been a criminal trial this submission (Infliction’s) would most likely not have been admitted.

  • Oracle

    Thompson sub machine guns are only good for use in packed pubs or football matches……
    the most ridiculously inaccurate weapon since the muzzle loaded musket, it only highlights the poor leadership qualities of any “urban guerilla commander” (deputy) that would have one about his command let alone person!

  • Pete Baker

    Well, Brian, some people seem to have seen it.

  • PaddyReilly

    Well that settles it then.

    The soldiers, the Officers, the Conservative Government and the deceased are all innocent.

    It was all Martin McGuinness’s fault.

  • Pete Baker

    “They found after extensive research and examination that on balance Martin McGuinness didn’t fire a weapon.”

    Not quite, Hedley

    “[They] cannot conclude, however, that he fired a Thompson sub-machine gun from the Rossville Flats.”

    But by the same measure, “we consider it likely that Martin McGuinness was armed with a Thompson sub-machine gun on Bloody Sunday and we cannot eliminate the possibility that he fired this weapon after the soldiers had come into the Bogside.”

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    PaddyReilly,

    To be fair to Pete I dont think he is trying to say just – it is rather just a simple case of Unionist deflection or as they like to put it in these parts whataboutery.

  • Pete Baker

    Actually, Sammy Mac, it’s just further information.

  • slappymcgroundout

    We interrupt this broadcast to bring you the following emergency report:

    An admitted revolutionary was believed to be in possession of a firearm.

    Now back to our regularly scheduled program, in progress…

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Pete,

    I tihnk it a safe bet that this ‘further information’ (deflection /whataboutery) will form a large percentage of the illuminating Unionist reaction over the coming days.

  • Brian/Biff1 .

    AAH !! I have now , Pete Baker is actually Gregory Campbell ? . silly me ,and all this time I thought he was just an ordinary spaceman.
    The mind boggles .

    Brian / Biff1 v.

  • Co. Down Man

    Who Peter? an unnamed agent, you are, as always clutching at straws when it come to sinn fein.

  • Alias

    “As we have already pointed out, we do not accept the evidence that suggested that the Provisional IRA had no nail bombs available for use on Bloody Sunday.”

    Which, of course, contradicts the evidence given to the Inquiry by McGuinness:

    64: “I have also been referred to paragraph 19 of Michael Quinn’s statement which deals with an incident he saw which he concluded was an IRA man telling two boys to put nail bombs away. I can say that there were no IRA armaments in the Bogside arca of any description. There were no explosive devices there. There were no explosions that day, none at all.”

    65: “Certainly the IRA had nail bombs, but not in that area. The nail bombs were in a number of dumps.”

    66: “There were no IRA nail bombs or explosive devices on the streets of Derry that day.”

    http://report.bloody-sunday-inquiry.org/evidence/K/KM_0003.pdf

  • redhugh78

    this video of Col Derek wilford interviewed by c4 in 1998 is interesting after Savilles findings.

    http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/politics/domestic_politics/channel+4aposs+role+in+the+bloody+sunday+inquiry/3681327

  • Wilde Rover

    This of course is a natural reaction by those who feel aggrieved by the conclusions reached by the enquiry but it really should be seen holistically.

    In the words of Henry Kissinger, military men “are dumb, stupid animals to be used” as pawns for foreign policy. Therefore it is only fitting that the squaddies, and not their superiors who directed policy, take the fall.

    It seems quaintly naïve on the part of bloggers like Pete Baker to be searching for some kind of justice in this matter. History has shown that there is no justice, only the leaden punch of Britannia. Martin McGuinness is a Crown Minster, and someone who many suspect has been on Her Majesty’s Secret Service for quite some time.

    The reality is that only people like Bosnian Serbs get sent down for war crimes, while people like John Reid hold press conferences with the new Celtic manager, or people like Tony Blair contemplate yet another position as a director.

    Just as there will be no justice for the Iraqi families, there will be no justice for unionist families.

    But that’s just part of the rich tapestry that is being British.

  • Brian

    1. Two boys having nail bombs doesn’t prove much. They easily could have been hooligans unconnected from the PIRA.

    2. A crude nail bomb is actually fairly easy to put together. I didn’t live in Derry at the time but I’m sure the knowledge of how to make one was hardly a secret of the Provo’s.

    3. If they were in dumps, then they were not available for use.

  • Brian

    This part of the report is completely worthless. They cannot “eliminate the possibility” that this massacre was cold blooded murder orchestrated by the top brass to teach these paddies a lesson. Why isn’t that in the report?

  • Alias

    “If they were in dumps, then they were not available for use.”

    That is what McGuinness told the Inquiry. It is not, however, a statement that Saville believed to be true [“…we do not accept the evidence that suggested that the Provisional IRA had no nail bombs available for use on Bloody Sunday.”]

    No nail bombs were found on any of the victims or in the relevant vicinity, despite what a plethora of soldiers falsely claimed at the Inquiry.

    Effectively, Saville is claiming that the Deputy First Minister gave false testimony.

  • Mick Fealty

    That’s a solid red for you then USA (post removed)…

  • sammymehaffey

    It seems to me that the real villans apart from the out of control trigger happy paras are Widgery and the army spin doctors. Had the truth been told at the time of Widgery and had he not been a stooge then the Saville inquiry would not have been necessary. Seems like Widgery was a bit like Hutton, a useless establishment yes man. Is he still alive. perhaps he should be prosecuted,

  • castrosghost

    Probably carrying a machine gun is an assumption not a stated fact.Just like Jackie Duddy was PROBALY carrying nail bombs….even though a civilian doctor then a military doctor who having searched him deny seeing any device…It doesn’t make sense for saville to make these assuptions, based on the total lack of evidence.

  • padraig

    Since a Big T is accurate only up to 25 yards I would advise that the Deputy First Minister of our very own Wee Province should if placed in such a position in the Future urinate in policemen below as he would be much more likely to do damage in so doing. But of course Marty would never involve himself in such traitorous goings on now.

    I would give similiar advise to Gerry A as well but of course he has never, ever, never been involved in the RA in his life, as he has repeatedly assured us…and Gerry would never tell fibs.

  • Onionbag

    I think the 2IC of the IRA can very easily if needs be, hide a firearm, even if it means getting a patsy to carry it for him. He was 21 and plenty of wannabe 17 year olds etc were in the area wanting to be big lads. This story of “no-one saw me with it” from a man involved in an organisation that used victimisation and intimidation to meet its ends frankly does not rub.
    Yes the Paras made some horrendous decisions and i back Saville on that, but its sickening to see McGuinness celebrate, even though he has blood on his hands. A truely bittersweet day. I’m glad the families saw justice, but the price seems to be vindication for an international terrorist organisation.

  • Hedley Lamarr

    Pete

    The key phrase is “we cannot eliminate the possibility” that Martin McGuinness fired a weapon. That is a much lower hurdle to cross than “balance of probabilities” which is itself a much lower hurdle to cross than “beyond reasonable doubt”. So they can’t say beyond reasonable doubt that he fired a weapon, they can’t even say that on the balance of probabilities he fired a weapon. They can only say that it is possible. Of course it’s possible. Anything’s possible.

  • propaganda

    Question for one and all why is Mc Guinness named and why are the soldiers not?

    The claims about him most likely are there to raise suspicions from the fringes of Unionism of the man. Perhaps feeding the nonsensical idea in the heads of some it was the Fenians fault all along. Its a smear simple.

    Paras fired the shots. The demonstrators found innocent.
    That is the real story after 38 years. End Of.

  • midulsterunionist

    “That is the real story after 38 years. End Of.”

    it is nothing more than probable events in savilles own mind… he was told to blame the soldiers and he did and just because that fits in with the IRA propaganda doesn’t mean it is the truth…

    there are too many “probbably” statements for this to be taken as truth.

    it’s a bit like me saying Martin McGuinness was probably the first man to visit the moon in 1968 one year before Neil Armstrong… and he probably did it while eating a mars bar…

    Probably doesn’t stand up in court.. either prove it or stop going on about it.

  • Mick Fealty

    Good question. But it was not just soldiers who hid their identity, there was also Observer A and Observer B and OIRA1 and OIRA2.

  • Pete Baker

    And a number of PIRAs

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Not having gotten round to reading the report yet can anyone summarise briefly, what if anything, Saville said about Widgery?

  • Johnny Boy

    “That is the real story after 38 years. End Of.”

    The preceeding months of violence had no bearing on the cirumstamces and atmosphere in which the killings on Bloody Sunday took place?

  • Propaganda,

    There were loads of anonymous witnesses. I think the OIRA numbers went up to 10, and the PIRA ones into the 20s. Then you have the soliders, Witness X who denied accusations he was a provisional, and civilians referred to by numbers as well (although I’m not sure if they were witnesses or this was a consequence of their names being redacted in the evidence).

    Witnesses were entitled to apply for anonymity. This was granted to a lot of people, including McGuinesses O/C. Presumably he didn’t apply for anonymity. Probably a sensible thing to do as the guess who Martin McGuiness is game would have become a sideshow in itself.

  • Kathy C

    posted by Kathy C

    Sinn Fein and mcguiness have credibility issues. IF sinn fein and mcguiness accept the report’s findings that the british soldiers were wrong and that the protestestors did not poise a threat to the military….THEN they should accept the report’s findings regarding mcguiness and the gun. Sinn Fein and mcguiness want it both ways…the british soldiers were/are guilty yet marty is not.

    Interesting tid bit…on the US news like CNN and fox…they are just reporting that the report came out regarding bloody sunday 30 plus years after the event….however they do not report that the report found the british soldiers fired upon innocent civilians who did not poise a threat to the military’s safety.

    Question….who is a terrorist now? A crime is a crime is a crime per Thatcher and the british soldiers committed a crime….and yes, mcguiness might have committed a crime as well.

  • Jean Meslier

    MMcG standing on top of the Rossville flats -“to the echo of a Thompson gun”.

    What an absolutely incredulous picture.
    But it still made its way into Cameron’s Westminister speech.
    Perhaps in the interest of “balance”

    Down here in NA they used to refer to the Thompson as – the vomitting nannygoat!!

  • An Phoblacht Abu

    As much as id love to be able to snipe at McGuinness (pun intended) the report clearly states that allegations about him wouldnt stand up in court, its based on an anonymous intelligence ‘witness’ who refused to be cross examined, i believe its only included to give Unionist’s some little tiny bit of something in the report.
    The 14 killed and 13 wounded were innocent, none were a threat and the british army opened fire first, no sane person ever doubted these facts, it just took an awful long time for the british to admit the truth.
    And its to the utter shame of unionists that they attack this report, it seems many of them find that the marchers got what they deserved, harking back to the days of ‘croppies lie down’ well newsflash my unionist fellow irish men, those days are gone and are never ever coming back.

  • I hope the families of the deceased and injured are now able to begin to recover from their long fight for justice and that claims for compensation are given serious and speedy consideration.

    As for Martin McGuinness I think he is the best hope for taking SF closer to a real democratic party. Having said that, I would need to check, very carefully, before I believed anything he or any other senior member of SF told me.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Lots of people in McGenniss Bar……………..Robert McCartney murder ?? Sorry Guv’,never seen nuffin….????

    Come on here !!!

  • HeinzGuderian

    He was using it as a tin opener…………………

    Look,the Brits done it !! The Brits are to blame for everything,from Global Warming to world poverty !! The Holocaust,acid rain,C02 emissions,ayeee,even Tsunamis …………the Brits !! Even the Thompson sub machine gun !!!!! END OFF !!!

  • pretty much my reading of it. If one of my family members was shot dead by security forces and there were known terrorist elements knocking about I wouldn’t look the other way while they attempt to turn things into a legitimisation exercise.

    But then do the families get a choice in Derry?

  • I’m confused – if we really are to believe that people are serious about understanding what’s went on, should these facts not be discussed?

    Certainly with gunmen running about the city a certain scenario emerges. The armed forces are expected to walk a fine line between peace protection and enforcement. Philosophically a tragic incident such as this is in likelihood to be expected over the course of 30 years.

    It’s the families day here and if it gets them some closure then it seems to be widely welcomed by everyone, puzzling as the SF sideshow is.

  • 200 million only goes so far I guess

  • yeah.

  • stewart1

    I blame Gerry Adams

  • who attacked the report exactly? serious question.