I got an interesting email on Christmas morning.
My theory is that the bombing was likely an “inside job“, carried out, or commissioned by the SUP to gain sympathy for the union movement.
This theory was based around claims made during interviews with former SUP members.
I was told that Bert Shipp regularly boasted that he and another party member had been trained in bomb manufacture and sabotage techniques in the Soviet Union.
Secondly, one informant claimed to have attended a secret meeting, held immediately after the bombing.
This meeting was attended by several senior SUP and Labour Party figures-all prominent trade unionists.
The meeting was used to plan how the union movement could use the bombing to propaganda advantage.
My informant strongly suspected that the meeting was pre-arranged.
So, if the information is correct, the SUP had both the motive and the means.
Here’s the email
Up till now I’ve treated your blog as a source of amusement. Now I’ve read this I have to view your writings in a much harsher light.
I knew Bert Shipp well, yes I was in the SUP, and I knew Ernie. So did Bert. To imply that he may have had a part in this without him able to defend himself because he’s dead is beneath contempt.
Yes the SUP had a hard nosed pragmatic approach to using current events to their advantage, but to make a wild jump from this meeting to saying they were behind the bombing beggars belief.
If your ex SUP source is who I think it is, then you have been dealing with a deluded individual who unfortunately was given too much creedence for too long because his mentor was a high ranking party official.
The only way you can even attempt to justify this scurrilous accusation is to name the names of both your source and the comrades involved in this meeting.
Anything else is just baseless innuendo and does you no credit.
Firstly, I have no conclusive proof that the SUP were behind the bombing. My contact was called to a meeting already in progress, a very few minutes after the bombing.
There was no discussion of who was behind the attack, only how it could be used to benefit the union movement.
Bert Shipp regularly boasted of his sabotage training in the Soviet Union.
This was confirmed by an ex Party member in a comment on the post’s thread. I suspect this comment came from TJ who was in the Lower Hutt branch and used to drink with Bert Shipp at the Panama Hotel.
With no proof whatsoever, the unions blame “rightwingers” for the murder to this day. Ernie Abbott has become a union martyr like Evans of Waihi in 1913.
If Bert Shipp and at least one other SUP member had bomb-making skills it shows the party had the means to carry out such an attack. Whether Bert Shipp was involved I do not know, but it does raise the question of why the SUP was training bombers at all? Certainly the party was not averse to criminal activity in other areas.
There is also doubt as to whether Ernie Abbott was actually the target. Whoever moved the suitcase first was a dead man. Was Ernie Abbott a marked man, or just unlucky-who knows?
I exposed Bert Shipp’s claims to bomb-making expertise in a 1989 pamphlet which I circulated all over the country. He was still alive then-and I know the SUP studied my leaflet-but Bert Shipp did nothing.
I have interviewed several former SUP and Communist Party members, as well as some trade unionists, NZ/USSR Society activists etc-always keen to talk to more if you’re interested.
As you well know, the SUP were not angels and well deserved attention from the SIS etc.
I have recently released the name of one of my informants in a magazine article published in Australia. I will probably publish parts of it on this blog. I am sure you will know the person and will email me your opinions.
My informant told the story of the meeting to several of my colleagues, who found it credible.
We checked out much else of what this person told us and found it to be kosher.
Perhaps I will publish the names at a later date-who knows?
If the story is bogus, those named have nothing to worry about.
If it is true-let them sweat.