Loughgall Truth & Justice Campaign

       

 

 

   The May 1987 Loughgall Killings

             

 

                                   BY:

        DORFMAN, LYNCH & KNOEBEL, ESQS.

              LEGAL COUNSEL TO THE

              LOUGHGALL CAMPAIGN FOR

              TRUTH & JUSTICE

 

                                                                      1998

 

 

      INTRODUCTION

       

            Over one year ago the Loughgall Campaign for Truth and Justice sought an independent investigation of the events 8 May 1987.  On that day, nine individuals were killed and one person was left for dead at Loughgall, Northern Ireland.  The killings were done admittedly by members of the British Military’s elite Special Air Services (“SAS”).

 

     Loughgall was the birthplace of the Orange Order and a RUC Barracks was located there.  The RUC Barracks was manned only on a part-time basis.  In a planned attack on a Barracks when it was scheduled to be unmanned, Eight Volunteers of the Irish Republican Army (“IRA”) and one civilian were killed that day.  To date, the circumstances of the 8 May 1987 killings have never been examined by any independent investigation body.

 

     The Loughgall Campaign for Truth & Justice (the “Campaign”) retained the services of a law firm experienced in civil rights matters to investigate the circumstances surrounding the events of 8 May 1987.  This Special Report is the product of that year long expert investigation.

 

 

 

  SPECIAL REPORT INVESTIGATIVE BACKGROUND

 

    

    The immediate background of events regarding the Loughgall Killings are undisputed.  On 8.30PM on 7 May 1987 British SAS Soldiers were briefed by their Commanding Officer about a raid that was planned by the IRA on the Loughgall Barracks.  SAS soldiers deployed in the field around the Barracks beginning at 2.30AM on 8 May 1987.  At 7.00PM on 8 May 1987 the SAS soldiers were aware that a JCB digger was acting “in a suspicious manner” driving “up and down” past the RUC Barracks.  The SAS soldiers were likewise aware that a Blue Van was also being driven accompanying the JCB digger.  The JCB Digger and blue Van drove past the SAS soldiers hiding in the fields surrounding the RUC Barracks at least twice without the SAS trying to stop the vehicles.

 

    According to a Deposition of the Commanding Officer of the SAS forces,  the mission of the British soldiers was  “to protect Loughgall RUC Station from possible”  attack by the IRA.  Simply stated,  the mission was to prevent an attack.  Besides the Commanding Officer there were twenty-three (23) other SAS soldiers used in this Operation.  According to the sworn deposition of this SAS Commanding Officer, sometime after 6.15PM that evening of 8 May 1987 the Blue Van that was previously hijacked first passed by the RUC Barracks.  Since the attack on the RUC Barracks by the IRA took place approximately 7.30PM the evening of 8 May 1987, the SAS had over one (1) hour of time to prevent the attack after being aware that the IRA Active Service Unit was about to attack.

 

 

These events led the Campaign to question whether this SAS operation was truly to prevent a raid on the RUC Barracks that evening as testified to under oath by British military personnel.

 

     As a result of this investigation,  it is clear that neither the SAS soldiers nor any other military or paramilitary personnel for the British Government did anything to prevent this attack on the RUC Barracks which took place the evening of 8 May 1987.  As a result,  all eight IRA volunteers involved in the attack were killed.    And, one innocent civilian was also killed.  Another innocent civilian was left for dead by the SAS and survived only after receiving near fatal wounds.

 

 

REPORTS OF EXPERTS RETAINED FOR THIS SPECIAL REPORT

 

     To assist legal counsel in conducting an investigation two experts in parliamentary matters were retained as well as a pathologist.  The results of their reports are as follows.

    

     First, a Company with extensive international experience in paramilitary and security matters,  AMTI of Virginia Beach, Virginia,  USA was hired to review all evidence supplied in an Inquest that was conducted in 1995.  This Inquest was officially sanctioned by the Northern Ireland Government and the evidence approved by the Northern Ireland Government was used for expert review purposes.  Annexed hereto as Exhibit “A” is the results of that expert review.  As noted, this independent expert has confirmed that the British Military forces “took no action to prevent” the IRA attack on the RUC Barracks that evening.

 

     Second,  an experienced paramilitary operative,  Kenneth J. Cummings, also examined the identical evidence supplied by the Northern Ireland Government.  This paramilitary operative who had “extensive knowledge of SAS activities” reviewed the aforementioned  documents.  Based upon that expert review annexed hereto as “Exhibit B”  it was concluded:

 

             (I)t is clear to any reasonable prudent professional

              involved in paramilitary matters that a classic

              elimination plan of these eight IRA individuals

              was executed by the SAS on May 8, 1987.

             

             (T)he SAS operation on the day of the incident

              was not intended to prevent an attack on a

              RUC Barracks.  Instead, the operation was

              planned and executed to kill all IRA personnel

              involved in the incident.  Otherwise stated,

              on May 8, 1987 the SAS acted as judge, jury

              and executioner for nine residents of Northern

              Ireland,  including one totally innocent civilian.

 

 

    

 

       Third, the report of a noted Pathologist, Dr Hiroshi Nakawaza, M.D. has confirmed that wounds on the nine deceased individuals involved are consistent with close-up weapons discharges evidencing an execution-type killing to the dead and dying people involved in this event.  Therefore, in addition to any shoot-to-kill policy, evidence exist of execution style murders by British and Northern Ireland Government forces.

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

          Based upon a year long investigation and expert reports obtained by the undersigned,  it has been established beyond a reasonable doubt as follows:

  

The SAS has advanced warning of the IRA attack on

             a scheduled unmanned RUC Barracks at least one day

             before the attack took place;

 

With advanced knowledge of the attack, the SAS

             forces were deployed in a fashion not to prevent

             the IRA attack on his unmanned Barracks;

 

Although aware at least one hour before the IRA

             attack on the Barracks that an Active Service Unit

             of the IRA was ready to attack, the SAS and other

             British and Northern Ireland military and

             paramilitary forces did nothing to prevent the

             attack although well able to do so;

 

The IRA volunteers were allowed to enter a killing

             zone established by the SAS on 8 May 1987 and all

             IRA personnel were killed pursuant to a “shoot-to-

             kill” policy in effect that evening;

 

One innocent civilian was also killed as part of

             that “shoot-to-kill” policy and another innocent

             civilian received near fatal injuries;

 

Established procedures of due process under law

             were not followed in a determination of legal

             responsibility by those British and Northern

             Ireland officials who sanctioned this “shoot-to-

             kill” policy for the events of 8 May 1987.

                                            

 

 

 

 

                                        DENNIS E.A. LYNCH, ESQ.

                                     A member of the law firm of

                                     DORFMAN, LYNCH & KNOEBEL

                                     51 North Broadway

                                     Nyack,  New York USA

                                     914-353-3500

 

 

 

 

 

                          Exhibit “A”

 

 

                     Report of AMTI, Inc.

                   Virginia Beach, Virginia                                                                    

      

 

           EVENT ANALYSIS OF THE BOMBING/GUN BATTLE

             AT LOUGHGALL,COUNTY ARMAGH

                     ON MAY 8, 1987

 

 

 

Purpose.I reviewed the documentation cited in paragraph 2 to ascertain whether:    

                           the British Army and RUC forces involved in the incident were deployed

                          and utilized for the purpose of preventing an attack on the RUC station;

 

 

 

2.    Documentation.  The following materials were reviewed and analyzed:

Minutes of the Coroner’s Inquest of 30 May 1995 by C.A.J.

Deposition of Soldier A of 39 Infantry Brigade.

Deposition of Soldier B of 39 Infantry Brigade

Deposition of Soldier C of 39 Infantry Brigade

Deposition of Soldier D of 39 Infantry Brigade

Deposition of Soldier K of 39 Infantry Brigade

Deposition of Soldier S of 39 Infantry Brigade

Deposition of Soldier T of 39 Infantry Brigade

Deposition of Soldier U of 39 Infantry Brigade

Deposition of Soldier V of 39 Infantry Brigade

Deposition of Peter Corr

Deposition of Patrick Gerald Mackle

Deposition of Oliver James Hughes

Deposition of Constable A

Deposition of Constable C

Report of Autopsy ico Patrick Joseph Kelly

Report of Autopsy of Anthony Hughes

Report of Autopsy of Seamus Donnelly

Report of Autopsy of Michael Anthony Gormley

Report of Autopsy of Eugene Kelly

Report of Autopsy of Declan Arthurs

Report of Autopsy of Gerard O’Callaghan

Report of Autopsy of Patrick Oliver McKearney

Report Autopsy of James Lynagh

              

Judgement on Appeal by Amelia Arthurs for Judicial Review and the                            

   Matter of a Ruling of Her Majesty’s Coroner for County Armagh by McCollum J.

 

3.      Opinions.  The opinions contained in this analysis are based upon the documentation cited in the preceding paragraph and my personal experiences gained during 20 years of active military service with U.S. Special Operations Forces to include the national counter-terrorist forces.

                Were the British Army and RUC forces involved in the incident deployed and utilized for the purpose of preventing an attack on the RUC station?

 

               The deployment of the British force was sufficient to cover the approaches to the RUC Station in Loughgall.  The troops deployed to six different positions as outlined in Soldier A’s deposition.      From these positions they could detect the approach of suspicious personnel and vehicles.  They did, in fact, detect suspicious personnel and vehicles as supported by the statements of the soldiers.

 

              The crux of the issue is whether or not the British force was utilized to prevent an attack on the RUC station.   It is my opinion that the British soldiers and the RUC constables were not utilized to prevent the attack.  The following points are offered to support this conclusion:

 

The British forces had prior intelligence regarding a planned attack on the  RUC station.

The deployed forces were informed that a blue Toyota Hiace van had been  stolen by the IRA.

A van fitting the description of the stolen vehicle was observed by the forces  surrounding  the RUC station and permitted to drive by the RUC station  several times.

A JCB digger was sighted traveling on the Loughgall Road and that it had  grass in its bucket.  The soldiers knew that such a vehicle had been used in  terrorist attacks on police Stations in the past.

No attempt was made to and investigate either of the vehicles as they

                             passed the deployed soldiers surrounding the RUC station.  At least one 

                             of the   soldiers (Soldier S) was carrying a “caltrops” which is a portable          

                             device that can  rapidly deployed to establish a vehicle roadblock.  It

                             contains spikes that will puncture a vehicle’s tires.  The “caltrops” was          

                             never deployed.

The Toyota van was permitted to stop in front of the                             RUC station and discharge personnel who took the RUC station under

                             fire.

The JCB digger was permitted to drive pass the RUC station and

                             then to return and enter the RUC station with its explosives.  Only after

                            the JCB crashed through the front gate of the police station during the

                            gun battle was  it engaged.

 

               The above actions support the opinion that the British soldiers and the RUC      constables acted only in response to the attack and took no action to prevent  it.      Even though they had sufficient intelligence and equipment to stop the two vehicles before they arrived at the RUC station ,  they chose not to do so.

                                                                     

 

 

 

 

                                                        Exhibit  “B”

 

                                                         Report of

 

                                             Kenneth J. Cummings, President

                                          International Information Services

 

 

 

 

                                                    R E P O R T

 

    The undersigned being requested by Dorfman, Lynch & Knoebel, legal counsel to the Campaign for Truth and Justice,respectfully

states the following information.

 

    The undersigned is currently employed in the field of forensic

investigative services.  These services entail the collection of evidence for presentation in legal proceedings and otherwise in support of fact-finding in court room proceedings.

 

    Prior to my current employment,  I previously received extensive training and was involved in active service with the United States Military Forces. I have trained with British Special

Operations Groups and I have been briefed by members of 14 IN.  Additionally, I have also been a member of and trained by the United States Navy Seal Team.

 

    As I do not wish to compromise any past or current activities of the United States Military Forces, I represent that I have received training about practices of the Special Air Services (“SAS”). Due to certain restrictions on disclosure of information, I cannot reveal other background and operational matters.  I have however, extensive knowledge of SAS activities through cross- training and sharing information.

 

    Based upon my background and knowledge of the SAS operations at that time,  I was requested to review and provide an objective report concerning the events of May 8, 1987.  Specifically,  I reviewed photographs of the scene of the May 8, 1987 incident involving an active service unit of the Irish Republican Army  

( “incident” ).      I have also personally reviewed autopsy reports,     crime scene investigation by the  Royal Ulster Constabulary  (“RUC”).  In addition, sworn deposition testimony of various individuals identified as Soldiers “A” etc.. was also reviewed by the undersigned.  In addition to the foregoing I have also personally reviewed the autopsy report of a civilian identified as Anthony Hughes and the medical reports of his brother, Oliver Hughes.  I have also viewed maps of the incident and accounts of the incident reported in several newspapers, as well as video recordings of news reports depicting the actual scene of the incident.

 

      Based upon the foregoing evidence, it is clear to any reasonable prudent professional involved in paramilitary matters that a classic elimination plan of these eight IRA individuals was executed by the SAS on May 8, 1987.    

 

    Specifically, based upon my experience with paramilitary matters involving counter-insurgency situations, the SAS forces

received advance notification of a planned IRA operation.  Those SAS forces were deployed with a specific plan to surround, surprise

and eliminate the IRA personnel involved.  This was not an

operation intended to halt or capture IRA personnel, and it was not

an operation intended to prevent an attack on an RUC barracks. This

operation was intended to eliminate these IRA personnel and to also send a message to demoralize other IRA personnel.  I specifically

have read, incorporate and confirm the report of ATM, Inc., with regard to this matter.

 

      In addition, based upon the standard practices of the SAS in such operations as well as the review of medical records,  it is

clear that the SAS forces involved as part of their   operating

practices proceeded to kill by shooting in the head any individuals who apparently survived the SAS operation.

 

      Specifically with regard to Oliver Hughes,   the evidence  

reviewed is consistent with the practice of the SAS to inflict

mortal wounds by point blank shots to the head of anyone who may

have survived the initial.  The standard SAS practices in any

operation such as employed for this incident would be to eliminate

all potential witnesses who could inform others about SAS operation or identify SAS or other personnel involved.

 

     In conclusion, the SAS operation on the day of the incident

was not intended to prevent an attack on a RUC barracks.  Instead,

the operation was planned and executed to kill all IRA personnel involved in the incident.  Otherwise stated, on May 8,1987 the SAS

acted as judge,jury and executioner for nine residents of Northern Ireland, including one totally innocent civilian.  The fact that a second civilian was not also killed is the only mistake in the SAS plan of operation of that incident of that day.

 

     This report was prepared without prejudice or ill-feeling toward the operation involved.  This report was based upon the foregoing experience, knowledge and study of the pertinent documents.

 

                            INTERNATIONAL INFORMATION SERVICES

                         by:  Kenneth J. Cummings, President

Loughgall Truth & Justice Campaign