íJack Roars Free Andersoní by Geoffrey Forrester
Published in On the Street, 13 March 1991, p. 17.
Roaring Jack have recently released a single, ĎFramedí, in support of the Campaign to Free Tim Anderson.
Anderson, whose name and claim to innocence is graffittied all over this city [Sydney], was convicted of the 1978 bombing of the Hilton Hotel in which three people died. Two city council garbagemen were killed instantly when one of them emptied a bin containing the bomb into a garbage truck. A policeman died later of injuries sustained.
At the time of the blast, the Hilton was the venue for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Regional Meeting, with the heads of 11 Commonwealth countries in attendance. The Indian Prime Minister claimed that the bombing was an attempt on his life by the Ananda Marga, an organisation to which Anderson belonged.
The Anderson case has been riddled with controversy from the start, with allegations of a frame up and conspiracy on the parts of ASIO and Special Branch running rife (an excellent article on the case can be found in the March Rolling Stone).
An appeal by Anderson against his eleven year sentence is due to be heard in May. GEOFFREY FORRESTER spoke to Roaring Jackís Alistair Hulett about the case.
How did Roaring Jack become involved in the Tim Anderson case?
Weíve been interested for some time, going back to the 1978 Yagoona frame up. Briefly, Tim and two others (Ross Dunn, Paul Alister) were jailed for sixteen years and released after serving seven, on charges of conspiring to murder the head of the National Front, Robert Cameron, out at his home in Yagoona. This was later proved to be a police frame up and it came to create a public perception of the guilt of the Ananda Marga (to which Alister and Dunn also belonged) in the Hilton bombing.
After Tim was arrested again last year in a second attempt to try and link him to the Hilton bombing we began to speak about it at our gigs. Tim came down to check us out and I got to know him. Since then weíve become quite good friends. Quite apart from not believing Tim is personally capable of such an atrocious act, itís inconsistent with Timís politics.
Is public perception regarding Tim Andersonís innocence or guilt changing in once particular direction, is CEFTAís (Campaign Exposing the Frame Up of Tim Anderson) campaign making inroads?
CEFTA is not the only organisation which is trying to clear Timís name. CEFTA is a group of mainly quite young people, many of them students who know Tim. Thereís also an organisation called Academics for Justice. Jim McClelland (former Whitlam cabinet minister , QC, Royal Commissioner) was prepared to go surety for him, so obviously Jim McClelland is very sympathetic. So is Gerry Hand (Hawke minister). There was a statement issued by the NSW Shadow Attorney General saying he believed Tim Anderson should be released on bail, pending an appeal. Heís got support from a broad cross-section of the community, itís not just lefties who believe Tim Anderson is not the Hilton bomber.
Itís been reported that at the time of the Hilton bombing ASIO (Australian Security Intelligence Organisation) stood to have its functions downgraded. Does the conspiracy theory of ASIO planting the bomb, with the intention of Ďdiscoveringí it in order to justify its existence as an organisation really hold water, or are ASIO simply a necessary enemy?
I donít believe that any hard evidence will come to light that will substantiate that. If that actually is the case, that ASIO is responsible, then that was twelve years ago Ė by now any evidence that links ASIO directly will have been destroyed.
Compared to other nationsí intelligence organisations, ASIO is a bit of a joke. Would it really have gone to the extent of staging something like the Hilton Bombing?
That whole thing with the ASIO/Special Branch theory is simply hypothesis. Itís a more plausible hypothesis than the Ananda Marga bomb plot theory. With that one thereís no evidence to substantiate it other than the allegations of Evan Pederick (Pederick confessed to the bombing, claiming Anderson put him up to it).
The story that Evan went to the police with and that he was sentenced to twenty years jail for was proven to have been untrue.
Do you believe, as has been conjectured, that Pederick hated Anderson to such an extent that he was prepared to go to jail, just to take Anderson down with him?
Iím not prepared to speculate. I mean, again, itís outside the agenda of Timís defence, itís outside the agenda of CEFTA, itís outside our agenda as supporters of Tim Anderson to make any conjectures about ASIOís role either Ö we have our beliefs but we donít have to come up with an explanation as to why Evan Pederick would confess to a crime which he obviously did not commit.
One idea espoused by Roaring Jack in the song ĎFramedí, and by others, is that if Anderson has shut up and shipped out of town like Alister and Dunn, rather than remaining politically active, [in causes] such as the Gundy killing, he would be free today. Was he that much of a thorn in the side of the authorities?
Shortly before Tim was arrested again, he was sat at the international law conference and he was asked to speak about the corrupt elements of the NSW Police Force. Present at that conference was a detective who was a participant in the Yagoona frame up. Tim named him, actually pointed him out in the presence of an international law seminar, and listed a number of his crimes.
To argue that Tim was no great threat to the corrupt elements of the NSW Police Force would be absurd. The present atempt to get Tim Anderson is not an isolated incident. Most recently youíve got the Koori activist Arthur Murray, who has just been charged with inciting a riot, a charge he claims heís completely innocent of; thereís the attempted frame up of Darren Brennan; the on-going case against Kerry Browning down in Canberra, who is an anti-apartheid activist.
The attempt to get Tim Anderson is certainly not an isolated event in Australia.
How did you first become involved with socialist politics?
When I was about sixteen or so I joined the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in Scotland. I donít remember whether I got interested in left wing politics and then got interested in Celtic folk music, or whether it was the other way round. I think it happened at the same time because every time the CND had rallies there would always be folk singers.
A concrete road-siding in downtown Glebe, which was for a long time emblazoned with the legend ĎFREE ANDERSONí, has recently been whitewashed. This could be saying something Ö then again, it might just be the local council doing its job, cleaning the streets.
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