Loading...

Friday, July 24, 2009

15TH ANNIVERSARY OF DAVID WILSON KIDNAPPING/MURDER

26 July will mark the 15th anniversary of the kidnapping and later murder of Melbourne backpacker David Wilson in Cambodia. Three months earlier Brisbane backpacker and model Kellie-Anne Wilkinson was also killed in Cambodia (1994).

On 7 September 1994 Wilson, Englishman Mark Slater and Frenchman Jean-Michael Braquet were executed

Could they have been saved?


UNCOMFORTABLE ANNIVERSARY: David Wilson murder in Cambodia 1994

By Sasha Uzunov
copyright 2009

Some of Australia's biggest ex-politicians such as former Prime Minister Paul Keating and Foreign Minister Gareth Evans will look upon the 15th anniversary of the controversial kidnapping and later murder of Australian David Wilson in Cambodia with great discomfort.

The man at the centre of this controversy was Gareth Evans, now playing international firefighter on behalf of the Rudd ALP Federal government. Last year Prime Minister Kevin Rudd appointed him co-chair of the International Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Commission.

On 26 July 1994 an Australian backpacker in Cambodia, Melbournian David Wilson was kidnapped and later killed and three months before Brisbane model Kellie-Anne Wilkinson suffered the same fate. Both Keating and Evans have not said much on the issue.

Michael Costello, a Foreign Affairs adviser during the Paul Keating ALP Federal government, said he would not be commenting on the upcoming 15th anniversary of the kidnapping and murder of Australian David Wilson in Cambodia.

Mr Costello was the Secretary of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) from 1993 to 1996, and later became a Chief of Staff to then Federal ALP Opposition Leader Kim Beazley (1999 to 2001). He is now Chief Executive Officer of Actew AGL, Canberra’s power utility.

The former diplomat, released a statement through Actew AGL spokeswoman, Ms Stephanie Luelf back on 25 March 2009:

“Thank you for your enquiry but we won't be making a comment.”

As a serving soldier in 1997, I remember speaking to a short, tough, wiry Corporal, a former plumber and surfer, who had been on the Rwanda United Nations peacekeeping mission in 1994. The Corporal, who is probably a Sergeant or a Warrant Officer in the Special Forces by now, revealed that there were elite SASR soldiers putting their hands up, without even being prompted, to undertake a rescue mission to save Australian backpacker David Wilson, who was kidnapped and held for ransom by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia but it had been vetoed by those in Canberra. Wilson was later killed by his Khmer Rouge kidnappers on 7 September 1994.

Australia, at Gareth Evans’s urging, had sent a large peacekeeping force to Cambodia in 1993 and was an influential player in that part of the world when Wilson was taken from a train along with two other westerners, Frenchman Frenchman Jean-Michel Braquet and Englishman Mark Slater, who also later were killed.

A 1998 Victorian Coroners Inquest into the death of Wilson heard the testimony of an Australian Foreign Affairs official, Alastair Gaisford:

“Evans was advised to but did not use his direct personal connections with senior Cambodian officials to secure Wilson's release.

"He (Evans) did not pick up the phone, as we advised him to do, to say, 'Stop this military build up, stop or we will cancel our aid or punish you in a diplomatic meaningful way'."

Gaisford said the Australian Government did not debrief embassy staff in Cambodia after the kidnapping and murder of Brisbane model Kellie-Anne Wilkinson three months earlier in Cambodia.

We do not know if the Wilson inquest will be restarted as the then coroner Graeme Johnson retired two years ago and it was put on hold.

Whatever the failings of the Howard Coalition government (1996-2007), it did not pussyfoot around when Australian contractor Douglas Wood was kidnapped in Iraq in 2005. It sent in the SASR who rescued Wood.

The moral of the story for politicians is let the professionals handle it and give them the tools to finish the job.

VICTORIAN STATE CORONER:

After a 3 month chase for a response, a spokeswoman from the Victorian State Coroner's Office revealed today that no one was sure when the Wilson inquest would be re-started.

"You can register as an interested party," the spokeswoman said. "You'll be notified if it's restarted."

DON WATSON: PM KEATING SPEECH WRITER

On 19 March 2009, a response from prominent academic and social critic, Dr Don Watson, a former political speech writer for Prime Minister Paul Keating, was sought over his thoughts on the Wilson tragedy.

An email was sent to Melbourne University academic Professor Stuart McIntyre, who kindly suggested Dr Watson could be contacted via Ms Louise Adler, publisher of Melbourne University Press.

An email was sent to Ms Adler, as well as Ms Hilary McPhee, Dr Watson's wife, and a letter posted to Dr Watson's business address.

So far there has been no response.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Previous stories

http://teamuzunovmedia.blogspot.com/2009/03/keating-man-no-comment-on-wilson.html
Wednesday, March 25, 2009

KEATING MAN: NO COMMENT ON WILSON
KEATING’S MAN WONT TALK ON WILSON CASE

By Sasha Uzunov
Copyright 2009

Michael Costello, a Foreign Affairs adviser during the Paul Keating ALP Federal government, said he would not be commenting on the upcoming 15th anniversary of the kidnapping and murder of Australian David Wilson in Cambodia.

Mr Costello was the Secretary of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) from 1993 to 1996, and later became a Chief of Staff to then Federal ALP Opposition Leader Kim Beazley (1999 to 2001). He is now Chief Executive Officer of Actew AGL, Canberra’s power utility.

The former diplomat, released a statement through Actew AGL spokeswoman, Ms Stephanie Luelf on 25 March 2009:

“Thank you for your enquiry but we won't be making a comment.”

A story on http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/ , Australia’s premier e-journal on politics, revealed last week that the Australian government had turned down an offer of a military rescue mission to save David Wilson and two other western hostages being held by Cambodia’s notorious Khmer Rouge in 1994.

All three were later murdered.Mr Costello was asked why the government rejected the military plan. He was also asked, considering his position in DFAT when Prime Minister Paul Keating had committed Australian troops into combat in Rwanda in 1994, why he Mr Costello had not volunteered for military service as a youngman and fight in the Vietnam War (1962-72).

In 1998 the Victorian State Coroner began an inquest into the death of Wilson but was stopped when the then Coroner, Graeme Johnstone, retired in 2007.

The Who’s Who of Australia book reveals that Mr Costello was born on 23 March 1948 and joined Foreign Affairs in 1971 and did a stint as Head of Current Intelligence Office with the Office of National Assessment (ONA).

(end)

Link:http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=8673&page=0

When politicians should step aside

On line opinion article on David Wilson - 19 March 2009
By Sasha Uzunov

extract:

"...Prior to their murder, in early August 1994, the French government had sent a rescue team of intelligence officers (DGSE) to the Kampot province where the hostages were being held. Headed by the infamous Major Alain Mafart of Rainbow Warrior bombing fame, it conducted a four-day surveillance mission, then returned to its team to standby near Angkor Wat, awaiting the order to rescue Wilson, Braquet and Slater.

"Also by early August, the British had their own SAS (Special Air Service) rescue team on standby in Bangkok, Thailand, like the French team already in Cambodia, waiting for their governments' green light. Fearing failure, the Australian government’s opposition to such a snatch and grab raid, forced the French and British governments to call any rescue mission off, ensuring the hostages murder three weeks later..."

4 comments:

observer said...

i'm glad you bring this up

if this had happened these days, with all the web 2.0 stuff, there would be saturation coverage

ask any "traveller" who david wilson was, or who kellie-ann wilkinson and dominic chappell was , and the vast majority will give you blank stares

Anonymous said...

Hello,
The Death of David Wilson affected my family deeply. David Wilson was best friends with my Uncle and grew up to together. My family continues to pay respect every year but whenever I ask my father about what exaclly happens he fails to tell me clearly and I know its hard for him to talk about. I just wanted to know if you could give me any information on who the killers were and what their punishment was? I dont know if you reply to this or anything but feel free to email mre with information on; megan.live.laugh.love@hotmail.com
Thank you for paying tribute.

DA said...

As a young American traveler in 1994 I briefly traveled with and befriended David Wilson in northern Malaysia and southern Thailand, and weeks later I bumped into him again in Bangkok just prior to his fateful trek into Cambodia.

I remember David's charisma, his engaging smile, his open and expansive heart, his unique ability to engage people from all walks of life, which can only come from an empathetic and compassionate heart. He was the consummate laid-back, self-confident Australian. Around the backpacker hangouts his humor and positive energy were contagious.

The experience of witnessing David's ordeal through the media
was heart-wrenching, to say the least, and is permanently seared into my memory. Most of all it caused me to reflect on the time when our paths crossed and to honor him by remembering his personality and life-loving spirit.

In the years since then and to this day, I remember David when I travel. He reminds me to stay curious, to engage people along the way, to look for hidden gems in the nooks and crannies of travel, and most of all: to have fun.

I knew David just long and well enough to appreciate what he must have meant to his family and friends back home in Australia. He was an exceptional person, deserving of remembrances and tributes.

It is tragic that there were, and remain today, political and social environments around the globe cultivating people who place no value on human life.

Anonymous said...

I knew Kellie when she was in Bali in 1994.

I waved good bye to her, whilst she headed off into the distance on the back of a car.

For some strange reason a feeling of finality swept over me.

Weeks later I heard reports of her capture and murder.


I watched this case unfold....but never knew about the RSAS boys wanting to go in and rescue the hostages. It's sad they were not allowed.

Martin Griffin