Hilton Bombing and Richard Seary
On February 13, 1978, a bomb went off outside the Hilton Hotel in Sydney, Australia, killing three people and injuring eleven. Shortly after, a reformed drug addict and occasional writer by the name of Richard John Seary offered his services to the police as an informant. He then infiltrated the Ananda Marga society, which some suspected of being responsible for the bombing. On June 15, Seary informed police that the "Margis" (affectionately known as Maggots to Special Branch in Sydney), planned to bomb the home of a neo-Nazi, Robert Cameron, in the Sydney suburb of Yagoona, that night. Police then intercepted Seary along with Ross Dunn and Paul Alister at Yagoona, and took possession of a bomb in their car. Another member, Tim Anderson, was arrested later at Ananda Marga headquarters in Newtown, Sydney. Dunn and Alister said they had no knowledge of the bomb, and claimed that Seary had brought it.
The three arrested men were put on trial in February 1979, but the jury was unable to come to a verdict. In July 1979, they were convicted after another trial. Hilton bombing charges against Dunn and Alister were soon dropped, but they and Anderson were convicted of conspiracy to murder Robert Cameron.
In 1985, the Wood Inquiry recommended that the men be pardoned; they were released that year. Richard Seary took part in the Inquiry in early 1985, in spite of holding back for some time. The Inquiry found his evidence unreliable and the convictions unsafe.
In 1989, a member of Ananda Marga, Evan Pederick, stated that he had carried out the Hilton bombing on the orders of Tim Anderson. Anderson was re-arrested for the Hilton bombing and convicted, but was subsequently acquitted by the Court of Criminal Appeal in 1991. Seary's evidence was considered unreliable. Pederick served eight years for his part in the bombing. Doubts have been expressed about the reliability of his evidence, but no-one has explained why he would say he did the bombing if he did not.
The case has been highly controversial. In the light of Seary's apparent "unreliability", there have been accusations that he and the police set the Margis up. There have also been allegations that the Hilton bombing was carried out by Australian security organisations, but these allegations have never been investigated.
A Personal Statement
At this stage, let me say that I knew Richard Seary from around 1977, when we both did volunteer work as Crisis Centre counsellors at the Wayside Chapel in Potts Point, Sydney. In view of the fact that his evidence against the Margis was considered unreliable, and in view of the fact that I know he was a bit of a bullshit artist, I accept the possibility that he may have fabricated evidence against the Margis. If so, why?
There are three possible scenarios. The first is that he may have been motivated by the desire for the $100,000 reward that was posted after the Hilton bombing. This scenario assumes that he was so morally bereft that he would frame innocent people just to get the reward. The second scenario is that he believed the Margis were guilty of the Hilton bombing -- not to mention the Yagoona alleged attempted bombing -- and were dangerous people who should be put away, even if it meant fabricating evidence.
The third scenario is that Seary may have been pressured or manipulated by the police. In his book Bombs, Bliss and Baba, Paul Alister describes Seary as a "wild card" who seemed to have his own agenda (p.88). He seemed to have a mixture of motives, and seemed to dislike the police. Seary's girlfriend indicated that he was pressured by the police to find evidence that incriminated the Margis. There was even the possibility that he was being blackmailed into informing because of his old activities as a drug addict. He had also, on one occasion, been present when someone had died of a drug overdose, which could have led to a criminal charge. This may have given the police leverage over him (p.91).
Having known Richard Seary quite well, I think the second and third scenarios are the most plausible, because I do not think Seary was so low that he would frame innocent people just to get his hands on the money. Richard Seary was a fantasiser and not a particularly reliable source of information, but he was basically a decent person at heart. I don't believe he would have framed the Margis just to get the reward. Initially, he may have spied on the Margis in the hope of getting the reward, but that is not the same as setting them up.
I think the situation was most likely that Seary saw the Margis as guilty and dangerous. He might well have fabricated evidence expressly for the purpose of getting them locked up so as to protect society from people he regarded as dangerous. He may even have been acting as an agent provocateur. There is also the possibility -- as Alister says in his book -- that Seary may have been manipulated by the police.
Many people -- especially the politically correct, who love a good victim -- have been happy to accept the Margi version of events and put them in the role of innocent and persecuted victims, but I am not so sure. There are a few reasons for this:
1. Dunn and Alister claimed that Seary was responsible for taking the bomb to Yagoona on the night of 15 June 1978. However, when police asked Dunn what the situation was with the bomb, he said, "It's safe." Why would he say that if he knew nothing about the bomb?
2. Dunn accompanied an Army man who had to look at the bomb. Again, why did he do that if he knew nothing about the bomb?
3. Neither Dunn nor Alister said to the police, at any stage, "Ask Seary about the bomb. He's the one who brought it." This would have been the natural thing to say if they had genuinely had nothing to do with bringing the bomb.
4. Evan Pederick stated that he did the Hilton bombing. Why would he say that if he did not do it (unless he was insane, but as far as I know, no-one has diagnosed him as psychotic)?
5. In 1992 I knew a man who had been involved with Ananda Marga for a while. I will call him John. He told me that a certain member of Ananda Marga, who figured in the above events, admitted to him (John) that Ananda Marga had carried out bombings. The abovementioned member of AM also told John that if he went to the police, his children would be killed.
6. Seary was not the only spy in Ananda Marga. ASIO (Australian Security Intelligence Organisation) also had a spy in AM, and he reported on more than one occasion that members of AM had told him that other members of AM had done the Hilton bombing.
In a case like this, it is impossible to be sure of the truth. All we can do is put the pieces together to create a picture. If we look only at Richard Seary, we get a certain picture. If we look at the above material, we might get a different picture.
In 2012, Seary published a book on Amazon.com, under the title of Smoke'n'Mirrors: How the Australian People Were Screwed. In the book, he described himself as a spy and secret agent. He also said he was dying. I have no way of knowing if he is now dead; if he is, the only people who know the truth about this case are Ross Dunn, Paul Alister and Tim Anderson.
Richard Seary in Sydney, 1985
Richard Seary at the Yagoona bust, 1978
Ross Dunn, Paul Alister and Tim Anderson when released, 15 May 1985
Life of Seary
* Born 1952, Paddington, Sydney
* Father, John Seary, deserts the family
* Mother deserts Seary and siblings not long afterwards.
* Kids are farmed out to various institutions, Seary ends up in Queensland because his father is there
* Spends some time with his father but is abused by a stepmother he describes as an undiagnosed psychopath
* Leaves a Brisbane institution and goes to Sydney in 1968
* Becomes a drug addict and is convicted of possession of heroin in 1971, but manages to kick the habit
* Has chronic lung problems, goes on disability pension in 1973
* Marries Sally, girl he met in Hare Krishnas, they go to England 1974, have three kids
* Returns to Australia 1976
* By 1977 is doing volunteer work as a counsellor at the Crisis Centre, Wayside Chapel, Potts Point, Sydney
* Bomb goes off at Sydney Hilton Hotel, February 13, 1978, killing three people
* Joins Ananda Marga as a police informant not long after Hilton bombing
* On June 15, 1978, tells police that Margis are going to bomb Robert Cameron's home at Yagoona. Ross Dunn and Paul Alister are arrested at Yagoona while in car with Seary. Tim Anderson is arrested at AM headquarters in Sydney suburb of Newtown
* Jury unable to decide in February 1979, but Dunn, Alister and Anderson found guilty in July 1979
* Seary goes to England shortly after trial in 1979
* Returns to Sydney for Wood Inquiry in early 1985, then returns to England
* Publishes book The Way of the Sea (Green Books) 1987
* Returns to Australia in 1991, is hit by a car in December
* By 1992 is doing welfare work at a church in Sydney, meets Tim Guider, brother of Michael Guider
* In July 1992 is told he has a heart disease that will eventually kill him
* Late 1992, flees interstate after an attempt is made on his life
* Divorces Sally, September 1993
* Remarries late 1993
* Sally dies of lung cancer, August 26, 1996
* In 1997, Paul Alister publishes Bombs, Bliss and Baba, discusses how Seary may have been pressured by police
* Is studying theology by 2000
* In 2012, publishes (at Amazon.com) a partly autobiographical book, Smoke'nMirrors': How the Australian People Were Screwed, says in introduction that he is dying