Extracts from Pippa Wilson's Almanac on the Hilton Bombing http://www.wilsonsalmanac.com/hilton.html
The Hilton Bombing
At 12.42 in the morning of Monday, Feb. 13, 1978, a bomb exploded in the back of a garbage truck, killing two garbagemen and a policeman who was on guard duty outside the hotel where the leaders of 12 Asian and Pacific member nations of the British Commonwealth were staying for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Regional Meeting (CHOGRM).
William Favell and Alex Carter emptied the garbage bin into the back of the truck as they did every morning, but little did they know that a warning had been phoned to the CIB (Central Investigation Bureau of the N.S.W Police) saying Dere is a bomb in der bin outside der Hilton Hotel. They and Police Constable Paul Birmistrow were as much victims of CIB inaction as they were victims of the person or persons who planted the bomb.
The Political Climate
The bombing of the Hilton occurred at a significant time in Australian politics and the history of police intelligence agencies. Australia is a confederation, or commonwealth, of states, and each state has its own police force. The N.S.W police are the ones most involved in the unsolved Hilton case, because the bomb went off in Sydney, the capital of New South Wales.
Many people on the left of Aussie politics during the 1970s had become very concerned about police surveillance. A Cold War culture had developed in the various state Police Special Branches the agencies of criminal intelligence gathering. Many political activists on the left felt they had files being kept on them by reactionary police, for political purposes.
In 1977, the Premier of South Australia Dunstan initiated a judicial inquiry, under Justice White, into the Special Branch of his state. Justice Whites report revealed that Dunstan's suspicions were correct: many people had Special Branch files on them: peace activists, members of the Australian Council for Civil Liberties, anti-Apartheid activists, trade union members, Labor Party members, even Labor candidates and Members of Parliament. Justice White said that an arbitrary definition of subversive had been set by S.A. Special Branch police, in consultation with ASIO (Australian Security and Intelligence organisation), Australias version of the CIA, with which it has always worked closely, as it did in the Cold War and does today in the current Iraq crisis. Dunstan, never a meek man, and proudly progressive, was furious.
S.A. then Police commissioner, Harold Salisbury, urged Dunstan not to publish the report, saying it would have a volcanic effect on Special Branches in every state, as well as ASIO and even foreign intelligence services. On January 17, 1978, less than a month before the Hilton, Dunstan fired Salisbury for having misled him on what was in all those files. On the same day, Dunstan tore up the relationship enjoyed by SAs Special Branch with ASIO, and wrote telling the Liberal Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Fraser, why he was doing it.
Salisburys predicted volcano erupted all around Australia: spooks, spies, and their traditional cronies in politics, the media and big business no doubt saw the writing on the wall, and knew the good old days were soon to end.
Labor's Don Dunstan had uncovered Special Branch dirty dealings that reached right into the Sydney buildings of the Parliament of the State of New South Wales, and on February 9, just four days before the Hilton bombing, the Labor Premier of NSW, Neville Wran, announced that in five days time a judicial inquiry would commence in NSW, similar to the Dunstan-White inquiry of South Australia. This inquiry was to be equipped with particular terms of reference for the examination of certain alleged political abuses by ASIO and Special Branch involving the then Liberal Leader of the NSW Opposition, Peter Coleman.
1. The judicial enquiry was terminated after the bombing.
2. Subsequently the person found to be involved by the NSW Police and Security Services for the bombing however he was let off on appeal after widespread public concern about his guilt. The case remains unsolved.
4. Then NSW opposition leader Peter Coleman was previously the editor of the reactionary Quadrant magazine, a journal set up in Australia in the 1950's by money provided by a subsequently exposed CIA front group. A self admitted security services asset & the father in law of the current Federal Treasurer Peter Costello.
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