23 October 2003 Edition

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General Jackson under pressure



General Mike Jackson appeared before the Bloody Sunday Inquiry for a second time last week to answer accusations that, together with a junior officer, Major Ted Loden, who actually signed the document, he had concocted a handwritten, so-called Shot List of 'gunmen' and 'nail-bombers' killed and injured on Bloody Sunday. It was put to him that this was an attempt to justify the actions of his men, once the scale of the atrocity had begun to become apparent.

Jackson originally denied, under oath, creating the list and indeed said he had no knowledge about it when he first appeared before the inquiry. However, when he was shown it during the course of his evidence, he was obliged to admit that it was in his handwriting. He has continued to claim since that he must have done it from information provided to him by Major Loden.

The inquiry heard that the manuscript list had only come to light when a British Army corporal had stumbled across it in an unlocked cupboard in the administration office of the 8th Brigade. The corporal had been engaged in a debate with his brother about Bloody Sunday and when the Saville Inquiry was announced in 1998, he sent a copy of this list to his brother. According to Christopher Clarke QC, counsel to the inquiry, the soldier "thought the material would assist him to substantiate his own opinion" about Bloody Sunday.

However, his letter was intercepted by senior officers. He was court-martialled, found guilty of "conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline" and discharged from the British Army "with disgrace".

Throughout his second appearance at the inquiry, General Jackson continued to assert that he had written the list purely on information he had received, although he could not explain the differences between the handwritten list and a later, typed version submitted to the Widgery Inquiry. He could also not explain why the list bore little resemblance to the accounts of the British Army shooters on the day.

He was asked why no soldiers were identified on his list. He said that naming those who had fired was unnecessary as the list was merely part of an "operational reporting process", a claim which was repeatedly questioned by Michael Mansfield QC for the families.

During some fractious exchanges with Mr Mansfield, it was repeatedly put to Jackson that the list did not explain any of the 13 civilian dead. "Well, it is not the way I read it at all," he replied. "I am sure you would not General," said Mansfield, "but do you appreciate that this list does not begin to explain how 13 civilians - never mind others who were injured - were killed; that is why there is a question mark over this list. The point is, the ones who were killed were not bombers and were not firing weapons. That has been accepted on behalf of the Army."

"I know that," replied Jackson but adding that he did not understand the point being made. "This list refers to people being 'hit' and people being 'killed', it makes no attempt here to say civilian or whatever."

The whole point of the list, suggested Mr Mansfield was "in order to justify publicly why people had been shot, so they were described as 'nail bombers', 'pistol firers', 'carrying rifles'. Do you see every single one of the 15 describes a target?" But, he continued, "none of the 13 were carrying nail bombs; none of the 13 were carrying pistols; none of the 13 were carrying rifles; do you follow that"?

"I hear what you are telling me," said Jackson, "but this is surely a matter for the Tribunal."

"It may be," replied Mansfield "but it is a matter for you at this minute."

Jackson responded that "we are going around in circles" and continued to insist on his explanation that it was based on reports he had received. However, he could not explain why he had not made even the most cursory of checks of the soldiers' accounts, even when it must have been clear to him that they were inconsistent.

Gun battle report

'Shot list' by Mike Jackson:

Following engagements took place during gun battle

from approx 16.17 to 16.35 hours:

1 Nail bomber shot. Hit in thigh (back of Chamberlain St)

2 Petrol bomber shot. Apparently killed (car park)

3 Bomber (at top floor flats) shot. Apparently killed

4 Gunman with pistol behind barricade shot. Hit

5 Nail bomber (lighted fuse) (at car park) shot

6 Nail bomber at car park shot

7 Gunman with pistol fired 2 rounds at soldier armed only with baton gun at alleyway. Soldier fired one round and withdrew swiftly

8 Nail bomber (William St) shot. Hit

9 Three nail bombers (at Glenfada Park) shot. All hit

10 Gunmen, pistols, (at G Park) shot at. One hit, one unhurt

11 Sniper in toilet window. Fired upon. None hit

12 Gunman, rifle, (at 3rd floor Rossville flats) shot at. Poss hurt

13 Gunman with rifle at (ground floor R flats) shot. Hit

14 Gunman, rifle (at barricade), shot. Killed. Body recovered

15 Gunman, rifle (at barricade), shot. Killed. Body recovered

Informer's account dismissed as "pure fantasy"

The claims of the informer Paddy Ward, who has been giving evidence to the Saville Inquiry, have been dismissed by Martin McGuinness as "pure fantasy".

Ward's allegation that the IRA planned a nail-bomb attack on Bloody Sunday and that parts for the nail bombs were distributed by Martin McGuinness on the day is also contradicted in the written statements of six former members of the Fianna and IRA who are due to give evidence to the inquiry when it returns to Derry at the end of this month.

Unlike most of the British soldiers who have given evidence, none of the six, Seán Keenan, Gearóid Ó hEara, Patsy Moore, Gerard Doherty, Eddie Dobbins, and Michael Clarke, have applied for anonymity or for screening when they appear before the inquiry. All unequivocally reject Ward's account.

The inquiry heard his claim that the alleged nail-bomb attack, planned to take place in Guildhall Square, was abandoned when he and other members of the Fianna realised that they could not get through the British Army barriers. He said that all the nail bombs were returned apart from those issued to Gerry Donaghy, who was photographed with four nail bombs in his pockets as he lay in the back of a vehicle stopped by the British Army and taken to Craigavon Bridge. There is a great deal of evidence, however, to suggest that the bombs were planted on Donaghy's body.

Ward, who was screened, claimed at the inquiry on Monday that he was OC of the Fianna in Derry at the time of Bloody Sunday, whereas Gearóid Ó hEara says that he has "no recollection of Paddy Ward being on the scene. He was not in Fianna group and was certainly not the leader of it. I can categorically state that in the period leading up to 30 January 1972 Paddy Ward was not the OC of the Fianna."

Ward also said that he later became a member of the IRA without having to go through any formal swearing-in process. He said that he simply found himself regarded as a member. In contrast, Martin McGuinness in his statement says: "It has been suggested to me that Paddy Ward has said that a Fianna Volunteer was effectively a member of the IRA because it was possible to seamlessly graduate from the Fianna into the Republican Army. This is simply wrong."

He also dismisses Ward's account of the training he received during his time in the Fianna - of being trained in the use of machine guns and other arms and in handling explosives - saying "the Fianna were never used as part of an IRA operation. They certainly never handled weapons either for training or for storage purposes. The idea that someone who had just turned 16 would have had such a level of responsibility, such access to weapons and explosives, or the degree of experience and training claimed by Ward is ludicrous. Ward's claims are pure fantasy."

Ward was questioned by Christopher Clarke QC about an interview he had given to Sunday Times journalist Liam Clarke in 2001, a partial transcript of which has been handed to the inquiry.

Christopher Clarke spent some time pointing out the numerous and significant mistakes Ward had made in the interview - names, dates, places, events and almost all of his account of his movements and actions on Bloody Sunday - mistakes Ward attempted to explain away by saying that he had talked to Liam Clarke without really thinking. In a lengthy and somewhat incoherent response, he said that "the stuff we talked about was just off the cuff, there is a few misquotes and a few things I did say to Liam Clarke without giving any real thought because I had no idea he would print all of it; it was just in the comfort of my own home. I sat and had a chat with the guy ... It is mostly my own fault for basically talking off the cuff."

He denied that he had been motivated to provide the evidence he had to the inquiry because of the shooting of his brother Willie by the IRA. "There is no vendetta against anyone," he said.

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