“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