Sydney Hilton Bombing - Accusations of Conspiracy

Accusations of Conspiracy

The Indian prime minister Morarji Desai claimed that Ananda Marga had attempted to kill him due to the imprisonment of the organisation's spiritual leader, Shrii Shrii Anandamurti. (There had been other alleged attacks by Ananda Marga, namely on 15 September 1977 the military attaché at the Indian Embassy, Colonel Singh and his wife, were attacked in Canberra. Just over a month later an Air India employee in Melbourne was stabbed.) ASIO had infiltrated the Ananda Marga and were monitoring it.

There were a number of unusual circumstances surrounding the bombing, namely:

  • The driver of the truck, Bill Ebb, stated that police had prevented three earlier trucks from emptying the bin which was overflowing with rubbish.
  • The garbage bin had not been searched for bombs. Searching bins is normally a high priority, and is specified in New South Wales police permanent circular 135.
  • The entire truck and all bomb fragments were dumped immediately afterwards at an unrecorded location. This prevented forensic evidence, such as the type of explosive used, from being gathered . (This was compared to the detailed evidence retrieved from the Pan Am Flight 103 that exploded at 30,000 feet.)
  • Army dog handler Keith Burley said that his dogs could smell very small quantities of explosives, and were expected to be used for the event. He said they were unexpectedly called off a few days prior without explanation.
  • The officer-in-charge of police immediately after the bombing, Inspector Ian MacDonald, claimed there had been a "cover-up"
  • Former Attorney General of New South Wales Frank Walker and Federal Government Senator Gareth Evans had been told by a CSIRO scientist that under pressure from ASIO they had made two fake bombs in the week prior to the bombing. The bombs were designed not to explode but could do so in a garbage truck compactor.
  • William Reeve-Parker provided a statutory declaration that an army officer had admitted planting the bomb by switching rubbish bins 24 hours earlier. Reeve-Parker denied knowledge of who the officer was, although he "had helped his son". Reeve-Parker was never called as a witness at the coronial inquest.
  • The principal private secretary of a federal senator was told that the bomb squad was waiting nearby at this early hour of the morning. That would suggest that they knew about the bomb. The government would not permit people from the bomb squad to be called as witnesses to the inquest.
  • Sgt Horton stated that he saw an occurrence pad entry that showed the warning call was received at 12:32, 8 minutes before the bomb exploded. It was not relayed instantly to the police out front. At the inquest four other versions of this pad were shown, each timing the call at 12:40. (It may not have been relayed because police already knew about the bomb and the call was merely a pretext to call the waiting bomb squad.)

Many of these issues were identified by Terry Griffiths, a former policeman who was seriously injured in the bombing, who has called for an inquiry. Barry Hall QC, counsel for Griffiths, argued that ASIO may well have planted the bomb in order to justify their existence. The 1982 Walsh inquest had been terminated prematurely due to the finding of a prima facie case of murder, which was based on discredited evidence by Richard Seary.

Sometime around 1983, police sergeant Ernie Tees visited the offices of publishers Wild & Woolley and asked to see the manuscript for Free Alister Dunn and Anderson by Tim Anderson. Pat Woolley turned him away. 'It's at the National Library.' Several years later, in the 1990s, Richard Seary's father came to the same office where Wild & Woolley had set up its on demand print system Fast Books, and asked about self-publishing his son's 'real story'. He never returned. The manuscript is now at the State Library of NSW.

In 1991 and 1995 the NSW Parliament unanimously called for a joint State-Federal inquiry into the bombing to examine whether there had been an official conspiracy. However, the Federal government vetoed any inquiry, and none has been held.

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