Australia (NSW)
Ananda Marga Trio
Feb, June 1978

At 12:40 a.m. on February 13, 1978, a bomb exploded outside the Hilton Hotel on George St. in Sydney, Australia. The explosion occurred during a prime ministers' conference attended by 12 prime ministers of Asian and Pacific British Commonwealth countries. All were staying at the hotel. The bomb had been placed in a trash bin in front of the hotel and exploded after it was emptied into a trash truck. It killed two trash collectors and a policeman who was standing in front of the hotel. It also injured eleven others.

Following the blast, police got an informant, Richard Seary, to infiltrate a Hindu based religious group named Ananda Marga. Police theorized Ananda Marga may have wanted to target the prime minister of India because India had jailed its spiritual leader. Within three months Seary was working in a soup kitchen run by the the Ananda Margis, feeding homeless people. That same month, after telling police he would borrow a car, Seary stole a car several blocks from police headquarters and picked up Marga members Paul Alister, Ross Dunn, and Tim Anderson to engage in a graffiti run.

The plan was to write graffiti on the fence of a right-wing activist named Robert Cameron at his home in Yagoona. Anderson was dropped off at a Marga center, but the other two continued with Seary until Seary's car was pulled over by police and a bomb was found in the back seat. According to Seary they were planning to use the bomb to murder Cameron. Alister, Dunn, and Anderson were arrested and tried for the attempted murder of Cameron. The trio's first trial resulted in a hung jury, but they were convicted at their second trial. During the second trial Seary helped to prejudice the jury by telling them that Dunn had confessed that he bombed the Sydney Hilton. The trio were so closely associated with the Hilton bombing that most Australians thought they were convicted of the bombing. All three were sentenced to 16 years of imprisonment.

In 1983 the trio appealed their convictions to the Australian High Court. Although the appeal was denied, Justice Lionel Murphy opined that Seary was “one of the the most unreliable persons ever presented as the principle prosecution witness on a charge of a serious crime.” Another Justice, James Wood, then conducted an inquiry into the case and found 50 inconsistencies in Seary's testimony. In addition, evidence was given that some years earlier Seary had tried to entice the Hare Krishnas into blowing up the Homebush Abattoirs, a meatworks on the site where Sydney's Olympic Stadium was later built. In 1985, the judge pardoned the trio, although their convictions were not quashed.

In 1989, Anderson was arrested for the Hilton bombing. A prison informant, Ray Denning, claimed Anderson had told him, “I did the Hilton.” It was later shown that Denning was never in the same prison at the same time as Anderson.

The day after Anderson' s arrest a former Marga member named Evan Pederick came forward and stated he had placed the Hilton bomb on orders from Anderson. According to a record of interview, Pederick said he made the bomb and that it contained 50 sticks of gelignite. Pederick's interviewer then prompted him to revise his figure to 20 sticks of gelignite apparently after realizing that a 50-stick bomb was too big to have been placed in the Hilton's trash bin. Pederick said that he planted the Hilton bomb hours before the actual explosion. He then said he stood across George Street with a remote control and tried unsuccessfully to detonate the bomb as Australian Prime Minister Fraser greeted Indian Prime Minister Desai in front of the hotel. However, Fraser said he never greeted Desai at the George St. entrance to the Hilton, but instead greeted him at the Pitt St. entrance. Also, George St. was heavily photographed and videotaped in the hours before the blast, but no one was able at to pick out Pederick as being present on the street. Thirdly, the trash bin in front of the Hilton had been overflowing for some time and there was no space to place even a 20-stick bomb. Despite hopes for an acquittal, Anderson was found guilty. Nevertheless, he was pardoned many months later.

Evidence which surfaced over time showed that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) had placed the bomb in front of the hotel as a means of justifying its existence. ASIO was an anti-terrorist organisation, but was beginning to be dismantled because Australia did not have any terrorism. The bomb was a “fake” bomb that had no working means of detonation. The police were alerted to the bomb by anonymous phone call some minutes before it exploded. However, before word of the bomb reached the hotel, trash collectors unexpectedly came 20 minutes early and emptied the trash bin into their compactor truck. Although the bomb lacked a working detonator, its compaction in the trash truck caused it to explode without one.

Following the blast police dumped the entire truck and all bomb fragments at an unrecorded location to prevent forensic evidence from being gathered. Testimony indicated ASIO had made two fake bombs in the week prior to the bombing. During the prime ministers' conference the trash bins in front of the hotel were never searched nor were dogs trained to detect explosives allowed there. Police had refused to allow the bins to be emptied during earlier attempts at collection, even though they were overflowing. All attempts at investigating ASIO regarding the hotel bombing were thwarted. Even a unanimous vote by the New South Wales parliament for an inquiry into the matter was vetoed by the Federal government.  (Wilson's Almanac) (WS) (Video)  [10/09]