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Who Bombed the Hilton?

 

 

Army man's

Letter

 

 

Pederick or

Ananda Marga

 

 

The Hilton

Bombing Inquest 

 

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Uncovered

Army Man's Letter

Below is Keith Burley's letter to Member of Parliament Allen Barry, dated Monday 4th November, 1991.

Dear Allen,

As discussed on the telephone, I am and have been for some time, concerned at the ongoing enquiries into the Hilton bombing affair. More to the point, the fact that maybe not all is being told. I'm not exactly sure what format this type of letter should go, but I think if I tell you what I know to be fact and what I know was said at the time it will suffice.

At the time of the bombing I was a Corporal with the Military wing, at the School of Military Engineering, Casula N.S.W. The role of this unit was to breed and train German Sheperd dogs for sniffing out explosives. At the time we had what was called an operational team. This consisted of myself and my dog plus two other handlers and their dogs. We were on standby 24 hrs a day in case of emergencies involving explosives such as bomb scares. The dogs and handlers were very proficient at their jobs.

Approximately two weeks prior to the Hilton bombing the operational team was placed on standby for the CHOGM Conference. We were told specifically to train the dogs on such things as letter bombs and parcel bombs. This we did by making up these articles using live explosives. We trained specifically for this task for almost two weeks. On the Thursday before the Hilton bombing (Monday) we received information at the kennels saying that we were no longer required. This we thought was very usual to say the least. We attempted to find out why but were unable to determine where the cancellation came from. All I know is that it came through Victoria Barracks in Sydney.

(Note: Keith eventually located the call from the Prime Minister's security office)

Early hours Monday morning we received the news that the bomb had gone off at the Hilton and the operational team was required. I don't think there is any need to describe the sight that was before us upon our arrival in George Street. We spent all day Monday searching areas around George Street, the entrance, the garbage bins, the downstairs area around the car park, etc. We went home that night and returned on Tuesday. It was decided that we should stay on site and accomadation was arranged. We continued to search areas designated by security officers up until Friday when we finished our commitment at the Hilton. The security staff I refer to include NSW police and plain clothed persons identified to us as both police and ASIO personal.

(Note: ASIO spokesman denied on TV that they had anything to do the the Hilton security after the bombing--contrary to what Keith has just stated.)

By Wednesday it was quite clear to us that we were being used mainly for cosmetic purposes. That is to say that anytime there was a camera crew around someone called for the dogs to search a convenient location were we could be seen. It was bullshit in my opinion. We expressed that to the people in charge and they were not impressed.

There was a lot of rumour and innuendo going around at the time we were on the scene. The strongest being that ASIO had stuffed up. It was common comment around at the time that ASIO had in fact planted the device and planned to find it for whatever purpose, but the garbage men were early that morning. There was also mention of someone referred to as the woodchip bomber from Western Australia. At first it was blamed on him and later the stories about the Ananda Marga started to emerge.

It is hard to describe in words exactly what the atmosphere was like, but I spent time overseas [dealing with actual terrorist attacks] and it was totally different to that. There was definitely something going on at that time. I hope that this information is of some help to you and as discussed by phone, feel free to pass this on to Terry Griffiths.

Yours sincerely,

Keith Burley

The outcome of this letter was discussed in NSW State parliament but nothing came of it. Keith said after the bombing there was a sick joke going around the police/army subculture:"ASIO two, garbo's none." [The third man died later.]