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We can build you - APEC and the rise of military urbanism

Stephen Smith is a Webdiary contributor. His last piece was Opinion polls - the poll(ution) of ideas and debate. And see Fences will divide Sydney for APEC.
 

The future of warfare lies in the streets, sewers, high-rise buildings, industrial parks, and the sprawl of houses, shacks, and shelters that form the broken cities of our world. (journal of the US Army War College)

It seems incongruous that constant warnings about the terrorist threat should lead to  APEC staging itself in the very place most likely to be a magnet for such acts. However, APEC has good reason for not meeting on some tropical island. Far from seeking to avoid the week long APEC chaos diary, the event seems to have a fetish with securing these set pieces. As I shall argue here, APEC serves the cause of military urbanism.

We can define military urbanism as the way in which global power works to inscribe political violence and war into the planning and design of cities. It is more than an APEC like pause to business as usual. It is the marking of the city as a permanent zone of conflict. What they learn from APEC's laboratory in the CBD they can apply to Sydney's more 'feral' postcodes.

The disruption leading up to and during APEC raises this question. Might strategic parts of cities such as Sydney be developed or redeveloped for militarised readiness? If so, architects and planners would be coopted to design fast emergency access routes and entry points. Of course, none of it would be obvious until they deploy their units next time. But the whole process would be at the cost of public space.

Long after the walls come down, the road show that travels with APEC might not so easily depart. Rather, it hovers and waits over the 'hotspots' it has already mapped out. If terrorists and their cells are invisible for long periods, then military urbanism treats entire communities as 'the enemy'.

Events such as APEC divide and quarantine areas by means of walls; and these walls look the same as the images we are already familiar with in terrain such as the West Bank or Baghdad.

We can hardly miss the reinforced concrete fence snaking its way across much of Sydney's CBD. In fact, the state of emergency extends well beyond. The suburbs are already under scrutiny; and from the height of buzzing jets we are all 'persons of interest'.

Thus, The Australian was able to inform us that, “Police flight crews have been training for APEC since April, targeting 149 hotspots across western and south western Sydney.” Most helpfully, we are told that these spots include railway stations, shopping centres, car parks, roadways, reserves and parks.

Access and freedom of movement is now conditional. There is a separation between the 'Us' and 'Them' sides of the street. As geographer Professor Stephen Graham argues in a conversation with Subtopia, the city divides itself into two classes: "Citizens who are deemed to warrant value and the full protection of citizenship, and those have been deemed threatening as real or potential sources of 'terrorism': in essence, the targets for the blossoming national security state."

APEC obliges with a ready example. Special APEC powers take in a so-called 'excluded persons' list of those banned from entering the city centre. It sounds like the Sheriff in a bad Western. “We hope that will be deterrent sufficient for them to say they will not come into town”, said the NSW Police Commissioner. ”If they chose to, they will be dealt with”, he warned. (It would certainly be foolish to ride into town wearing a black hat.)

A distinguishing feature of military urbanism, then, is the exclusion of certain groups as 'the other' and the consequent ramping up of security. The 'war on terror' now takes in not just broken cities from the endless Third World war we see on the TV news. What has changed is that all cities are now the 'battlespace' of the future. The tactics that flow on from this go by the term Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain - also known by its acronym MOUT. [1]

As the helicopters clatter overhead, APEC begins to look like another large scale simulation where the actors and real participants are interchangeable. Leaders such as George W Bush move around in their motorcade bubbles, seeing little more than a blur and hearing nothing but the whisper from their ear buds. While they call the security 'temporary', practice makes for quick re-assembly, if not in the CBD then on any page of the UBD. The pieces are all Military IKEA; and the technology already in place via surveillance gear and digital fibre. There is even a touch of the archaic, with inner city street corners dressed with loudspeakers on poles standing silent but ready for an Orwellian voice to announce itself.

As the typical MOUT scenario, we think of broken cities such as Baghdad or Beirut. While these nightmare alleys are the worst of the worst, there is also the prospect that MOUT-lite zones will appear - if they have not already - in the badlands of Greater Sydney.

The Daily Telegraph, in covering an APEC drill, described a state of alert that was not so much unique to Sydney in September, but already part of a pattern of events:

Angry crowds yelled and abused officers as explosions and fireworks went off around them. Many scenes were reminiscent of some of the force's toughest challenges over the years, including the riots at Redfern, Macquarie Fields and Cronulla.

Indeed, in his Subtopia interview, Stephen Graham points out that the urban sprawl of the Third World does not stand far from the metro skylines of the West. Rather, the favelas, barrios (and all such local names for slums) have much in common with the 'internal colonies' of inner urban cores in US or UK cities, or the Parisian banlieues. As Graham argues, there are wealthy urban enclaves in all nations, but also counterpoint 'no go' areas. For these are places the state regards as “Hobbesian spaces housing the dangerous, racialised other”. Closer to home, well we might say: welcome to Redfern or Punchbowl.

Events such as APEC represent the cross over between war industries and policing; and the link extends its way to event management, border control and entertainment. They all “work to permeate and normalise cultures of war and militarism”, says Graham. Here, he says, separations between the 'inside' of nations and the 'outside' begin to fall away.

APEC, then, is part of a 'world series' - a security spectacle than encompasses G8 summits, Olympics, World Cups etc. Each event, as Graham describes, is “set up and policed by cosmopolitan roaming armies of specialists”.

Let us now follow the circuit to Sydney's APEC summit. Here we find, prior to APEC, sporting metaphors running rampant. The Daily Telegraph delighted in the mise en scene of APEC training drills taking place at the Mount Panorama motor racing course. Like a riotous Top Gear segment, there were burning cars; and in the photo gallery, 3 of 8 shots seemed to flash back to images of Glasgow airport's burning jeep.

The newspaper went to great lengths to extend the sporting analogy that extra yard. The cops were labeled as the “Dog Squad” as a tribute to their attendance at a Rugby League match. As we read here:

Unruly fans at tonight's Bulldogs-Eels blockbuster will risk an up close and personal preview of the police riot squad's tactics for this month's APEC summit.

In the blurring of these lines between simulation and reality, is it possible that APEC needs a fix of small doses of violence? At the recent North American leaders' summit in Montebello, Quebec, protesters exposed a group of police 'agents provocateurs' trying to incite violence. The use of small hand held cameras helps to expose such dirty tricks; and you can see the YouTube video of the incident here. The fake 'protesters' are wearing exactly the same boots that the police arresting them are wearing; the duct tape on the boots is an attempt at 'anarchist chic'.

At Montebello, Naomi Klein noted the use of surveillance as infotainment. Security shut off protest from the leaders. But bizarrely, inside their enclave, they could watch it all live on screen. Camera tents in the crowd also invited people to send a message to the meeting. As Klein says, it was “Big Brother meets, well, Big Brother”.

Images like these can be instantly loaded to the network. Such networks - news, social media or surveillance - all compete for the best shots from the closest angle. Do they compete? Or are the pictures all complicit? And while we watch the evening news - or YouTube - does our consumption of these images imply consent for what might take place? By watching, we make no distinction between ways and means. Surveillance is just another face of Facebook. Just more file sharing.

As we see from the marginalisation of genuine protest, the city has become a stage set for projecting out media product. Instead, it needs to be a living space enlivened by the flow of people through it. By effective measure, we need to reclaim the public space under our feet.

As a community, are there any positive actions we may take part in to reclaim our ground?

The solution, I believe, is to plan, legislate and gazette zones and corridors of public access. These would be equivalent to national parks or heritage sites. After what has been the greening of the streets, we must act to protect the modern face of the city. In this respect, we need to uphold the concept of the cosmopolitan, open city. In this popular urbanism, meetings, market stalls and art spaces would be accessible and welcoming for all. And they would remain so without exception.



Endnotes:

[1] We can define the term MOUT as all military actions that are planned and conducted on a terrain where man made construction affects the tactical options available to the commander.

Posts by Bryan Finoki at Subtopia and Geoff Manaugh at BLDGBLOG help us track this theme. To know what it must attack, the US military turns urban sprawl into simulation models. Thus, by 2010, the US plans to have over sixty MOUT training zones around the world. One such place is the Zussman Village at Fort Knox, Kentucky. It has a 30-acre quasi-city where soldiers learn to attack districts built in Military Arabesque style.

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Human Rights Monitors Media Release

 
Human Rights Monitors act on anonymous policing and aggression
 
Human Rights Monitors had 30 observers at the main APEC rally and march held on Saturday September 8. There were an additional 40 solicitors and barristers providing legal advice for the week leading up to and including the main protest.
 
During the protest Monitors observed police
 
 -  using disproportionate force by the use of “snatch squads” for minor offences such as offensive language, where the issuing of a Court Attendance Notice would have been more appropriate.
 
  -  confusion over the geographical coverage of the special declared areas, such that banner poles of more than a metre long were confiscated at Town Hall, some hundreds of meters away from the areas where they had authority to seize such items.
 
 - the arrest of two people on the excluded persons list for by mistake, such that they were aggressively arrested but relased minutes later. 
 
 - threats by police to “stop filming” the actions of police officers or be arrested
 
- the widespread refusal of at least 100 officers to wear identification   tags, so that such officers could be identified later in case of complaint.
 
- the failure of police to correctly authorise the use of “Cronulla Riot” or similar powers to lock some people into the Hyde Park area for periods of up to two hours.
 
Human Rights Monitors will be releasing an interim report within the next week detailing our concerns.

Hey Richard

Hey Richard! I,Iike Jenny, salute you.Your good natured repartee is much appreciated.

 Your endurance is second to none !

If ever you visit the west, I'll buy you a beer mate.

Cheers.

 

Police Response Appropriate? Crap Crap Crap

I've just got back, seen the Nine footage, heard the cops say what a great job they did.

I have never been so angry in all my life.. it was like being at the Eureka Stockade from the inside.   The pigs (and I use the word with control) forced and coerced a violent situation, and waited till most of the journos had gone to file for the evening.

I'm going to have a stiff whiskey, watch the ABC report, translate my hieroglyphical notes, look at my video, and stop my hands from shaking so I can compose myself to write, I'll see you after tea.

Hey, I stayed calm all day,I think I'm having a bit of a nervous reaction.  Trying to keep tears back as I type this

No matter what they say, this was a horrible act of aggression by police against what was a happy, peaceful group of people.

thanks richard, let's see the documentation-take it al the way

Hi Richard, have a whiskey you brave man. Despite all the verbal threats of violence from the police and the inclement weather you truly "braved" it all.

I am so interested in what you say as I noticed a similar tactic in the Sydney antiwar marches in 2003 ,when a group were encircled and then harassed and charged.

I also have linked the proven provocateur actions by police agents in Canada last month.

Here is an interesting bit from the SMH:

"....In another incident, five policemen grappled one male protester to the ground on Park Street. The man was led away by other officers as surrounding demonstrators chanted: "shame, shame".

One witness later alleged that the man had been throwing objects at some marchers in an bid to provoke trouble.    ..."

Such persons need to be I.D.ed  by photo (anyone catch his face?) and then demand the name at the police station. You cannot arrest someone without taking their details.  It is up to the police to Prove that any provocateur has been properly charged and any group that he represents is identified. I already linked that the Mutiny people have routing through Kansas from the email on Sydney Indymedia.

We know our own police have been lying -yes,following the Haneef transcripts - to serve a  political message, usually one of fear of dissenters and muslims. To silence such groups is probably the aim of the terrorist language used by police against protest groups planning such. It also provides a reason to increase funds and toys to the worst members of the squads. This is not what our society needs. It is more of the real Good Guys,not the ones who get off on a bit of sadistic power that are sometimes attracted to the force and otherwise end up in places like US contractor torture services.

I have three high level police in the family who tend to support all that is done, but they also decry quietly some of their colleagues who should have been weeded out but now have even more weapons of violence against civilians protesting.

Again police allegedly over reacting with aggression and false arrest:

"...Paddy Gibson - who had helped organise today's march - said he was in  cafe in the park when he saw police grab and take away one man. "When I started complaining and they said 'take him away as well'," he told smh.com.au.

Witnesses saw Mr Gibson grappled to the ground and then escorted from the scene. Both men were released 20 minutes later...."

There should be enough footage available of this to decide whether a case is there against the police for this.

As a right wing conservative family with detectives in the family and military  I would have found it impossible to believe that such provocation occurs as it is toooo shameful and against all the princicples that honest cops go by. However ,having the experience in my first ever march in 2003 of seeing it happen and seeing the evidence from the Canadian footage, it is clear that such police black ops happen and such should be thoroughly investigated and the officers jailed or at least sacked and the approving agent also charged. if it is illegal to be violent in a demonstration, how much worse to provoke such!

Go, Richard, rest recover and get together your documentation and let us put it here or on YouTube for the world to see what a fascist group we have in power. 

Is it a few bad eggs or is it from the highest? Time for an immediate investigation ,and an independent one, not the usual Howard type by those being investigated.

Thanks Richard for defending democracy and the right to protest, right to association and right to call for accountability..

There are more reports and videos coming in now.

cheers 

Think before you squirt

Allan, hi!

I have on many occasions asked Mary J to provide sources to figures or other empirical evidence in support of statements she has made on this blog, almost invariably to no avail.

By the way, if you all thought The Chaser stunt was funny, it wasn't as hilarious as the anti-APEC protester shown on the Ten Network squirting a pro-American demonstrator with a large bottle of tomato sauce that the anti-APEC guy just happened to be carrying in the pocket of his long overcoat. Size of a milk-carton.

Kinda gave the game away, the sauce doubtless being a prop intended for the TV news cameras later as "blood" in evidence of "police brutality".

Hope he had a chit from the "Stop Bush Collective" make-up department so he could get another bottle.

Also, Richard, did you see the television news report on the complaint by Melbourne anti-APEC demonstrators against police who stopped and searched their busses on the way to Sydney?

As in, busses?

"Me Too"? Or "LIttle Sir Echo"?

What was it that Bush said? Something like this: "Terrorists hate us for the way we live"?

And Howard said: "They hate us for the way we live"?

Bush also said: "They will not change our way of life".

And Howard said: "They will not change our way of life".

So the PSCC and Howard's Prime Minister's department and the Cabinet organises his re-election campaign called APEC.

An estimated total $330 million in taxpayer's funds with at least $170 million for "security" alone.  But - "they will not change our way of life".

Bush says: "Australia should go nuclear".

And Howard says - of course.

NE OUBLIE.

Excuse me, who dragged the Bakhtiyari kids around Australia?

Alan,  I didn't leave Adelaide, visit Woomera or Baxter or drag the Bakhtiyari kids to anywhere - if you bothered to find out you would know I have condemned the actions of those morons in the strongest possible terms for all of the years since they did it.

As for you claiming them now as poor little kids I don't remember you giving a toss at the time that they had been illegally detained for 4 years before being illegally deported without documents to the wrong country.

What I find incredible is that I got hate mail last week about these kids - they were 3, 6, 8, 10 and 12 when they were locked up in Woomera yet they have been treated worse than mass murderers.

What the hell is that about?     As for the death toll, what on earth makes you think I made it up?

In Australia in the 54 months since we invaded and occupied Iraq there has been 600,000 deaths, not one of them by terrorism, and that is in optimal conditions with clean water and decent food.

Extrapolate that into a war zone with no clean water, no decent food or electricity and thousands of soldiers killing civilians and see what number you come up with.

WAS AKKIMOTO DRIVING THE CHASER MOCK MOTORCADE LIMO????

Akka: snarling at MJ Shepherd a quick Google of your name shows that on numerous occasions people have disputed your figures because they are a figment of your imagination.

MJ Shepherd conversationally sobs back What I find incredible is that I got hate mail last week about [the Bakhtiyari] kids - they were 3, 6, 8, 10 and 12 when they were locked up in Woomera yet they have been treated worse than mass murderers.

Just a tip, MJ – try to ignore him. He’s not well. They (APECalypse Now!'s predecessor, the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Scheme's starving and demoralised anti-terror security forces) had to eat the corpses of their own on the long scramble back down to the coast from the Owen Stanleys, while Digger militia gave it to them every step of the way.

He may still carry 9mm slugs in his hide from the burst of an Own Gun as he slithered through the jungle mud, impeded by his cumbersome Arisaka and all the time screaming for the Emperor and his mum in the little old house at the foot of Fujiyama.

So treat the poor devil with a bit of compassion, too, MJ.

(Still a full colonel in Australia’s Viet Minh allies) Woodforde, OAM, VC, Ho Chi Minh Star, and aboard one of the first tanks to chase out the imperialists, rolling into the heart of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon/Cholon) back in 1975. If only we had a few T36s and T54s to roll over the top of the Bush cavalcade in 2007. Then the Bushidos might be glad they had Janettesque matching Kirribilli-brown raincoats as they scuttled back to their AirFart One Killer Jumbo, escorted by Consigliere Scipione’s Sniper Choppers, hovering and swooping like evil bat TexAmericana Death Machines over the once free city of Sydney.

Substantiation.

Alan Curran, you addressed the following to Mary J Shepherd:

 As for Iraq, I will check your figures because a quick Google of your name shows that on numerous occasions people have disputed your figures because they are a figment of your imagination.

Some clarification please - are you saying that the people you found disputing Mary's figures said she was imagining them or is that  your own invention?

Would it not be the proper procedure to check Mary's figures before posting the above accusation?

If you do check the figures, although a regular reader of WD should not need to, and find that such numbers have been quoted, disputed as they might be, then, your apology should be prompt and fulsome. If you dispute the figures then evidence should be provided to support your position.

Alan Curran..

Obviously we're not talking about the same thing, but I'm having trouble typing.

The Happy (APEC) Hooker

I've just had a giggle at this:

[BBC extract]

One Sydney brothel is offering an Apec special called The Presidential Platter, which apparently includes a variety of pleasures.

Then there is the United Nations option, which features escorts from a range of countries.

Other possible menu titles spring to mind..:

Crocodile Dundee -Putting a shrimp on the Barbie

Panda's Delight- assistance for the reticent

The Ruddock- funded by spectators watching through a one way window

Little Johnny- Bush on top

The Dubya- Expected to turn up for service, but...

The Hu- discretion assured. A must for Pete Townshend fans.

Kevin Andrews Special- Cowboys 'n' Indians role-play 

The Downer- Self-explanatory

Any other suggestions?

Happy Hooker

The Rudd - Mandarin Style. A bit like a Fortune Cookie.

The Gillard- Just don't touch the hair.

The Bob Brown-For those who want a bit each way.

Nibbles

Er, Alan, I wasn't going to go that far but if you insist

The Liberal- Leaning to the right, "Star Spangled Banner" muzak supplied

The Economy- lots of make-up but nothing really special

The Country- fine when Howard started ten years ago, but..

Oh Alan Please !

Do you actually think China and Russia just bought our gas because of APEC or John Howard ?. Give us a break-they'd buy the stuff if Jack The Ripper was running Australia- even you must know that.

And I don't think Kevin Rudd is in the position as Opposition leader to actually do deals is he ?. But given the ovation he got with his fluent Mandarin greeting to the Chinese president it looks like it will be him doing the deals by 2008.

Oh please

Michael de Angelos, I think they were applauding because they thought he was ordering another course of Beef in Black Bean sauce and some Short soup.

A few facts about the stupid gas deal.

It will cost $31 billion to develop this big lie.

Alan Curran, you are a trip

Hey Alan, how do you think the Iraqis liked it when the bosses bombed their country to bits, murdered 1 million people, made 4.5 million homeless and left 25% of their children on the verge of starvation?    So much more petty than knocking down the doors of parliament house 20 years ago though isn't it?

I think the Chaser was the funniest thing I have seen in years.    All that pompous bullshit about securing the world's worst war criminal, a couple of brutal communist dictators and some pathetic also rans and a comedy group get through with police permission.

As for that stupid gas deal?    That same deal with Woodside has been signed for the last 4 meetings but we have so far not sold a drop of the stuff to China.    And to do so will mean partially destroying the Burrup peninsula with thousands of pieces of ancient aboriginal rock art.

It will also mean we continue to fuel the vile slave labour machine where our kids' Barbie dolls and other toys are made by girls in slave factories working 80 hours a week for 15 cents an hour and using lead paint.

Good one Alan.

 Mary j Shepherd

 Mary J Shepherd, I thought you would like the Chaser bit, it was about as funny as you, when you dragged the poor  Bakhtiyari kids around the Australia.

Perhaps Rudd could explain to the Chinese President (in Mandarin of course) how vile his slave factories are, and we want him to stop. It's not going to happen is it.

As for Iraq, I will check your figures because a quick Google of your name shows that on numerous occasions people have disputed your figures because they are a figment of your imagination.

At the 'OPEC' fiasco

George Bush must be breaking all protocol be continually endorsing John Howard as his Man of (rusted) Steel. Especially with an election due soon. It's outrageous to be doing so and implying that Howard is the reason the Aussies and Yanks have always held each other in high regard. However obviously his advisers haven't told George that his efforts are likely to backfire electorally.

Interesting speculation in crikey that Howard may have already been given a tap on the shoulder by Alexander Downer and an announcement could be made next week either about retirement or an election.

The Chaser crew should be congratulated as showing up the overblown APEC security for the complete fiasco it is. And a busload of young socialists were stopped on their way to Sydney by police with a search warrant looking for drugs-although none were found. This type of intimidation is really out of control.

And what has Australia got out of this madess so far ?-a huge bill for the taxpayers and a bell !.

Richard:  I wonder what intel the busload raid was made on?  An insider perhaps?

Fiasco

Michael de Angelos, And what has Australia got out of this madness so far ?  How about the $35 billion gas deal with China and the uranium deal with Russia. Compare that to Rudd's contribution, a few lines of mandarin (which pleased his teacher).

Richard:  Cuttingly cryptic, Alan?

All Rudd has to do now is take lessons in Gobblydook from Garrett and Gillard. I would have loved to have seen the look on Bush's face when Rudd gave him the Curtin book, why didn't he give him Latham's book too,\?  They are of about the same value.

CHASERS WAR ON APECALYPSE NOW! STUNS ONLOOKERS

Pig Iron Akka: I would have loved to have seen the look on Bush's face when Rudd gave him the [pop-up] Curtin book … Yep, Akka, You’ve never got over what we did to you at Milne Bay and Kokoda. Dodder off somewhere to a Shinto Shrine and weep over the non-payment for the pig iron.

But Akka-san, don't miss next week’s Chaser's war on APECalypse Now! Should pistol packin' Consigliere Scipione not overcome his foaming-mouthed and near sexual urge to "pop a k'n cap in their goddam friggin' spick nigger asses," as he puts it with his characteristic pithy dignity and respect for minorities. Or not overcome it, which should push Chaser ratings into the troposphere. I think they live for jokers like Andrew MiniSkip. And his loony minister.

Yes, the classic reaction was from that red-faced Sussex St blimp who, suitably roused beforehand, roared maniacal threats and vitriolic expletives at the insanely funny and subversive Chaser mob, who seem to be disaffected Young Liberals.

Not to be outdone, the lop-eared bunny rapists at Sir Rupert Warlock’s Daily Telegraph put out a loud grunting noise (poll quiz): Do you think the Chaser boys took the joke too far by posing as Bin Laden? Yes - Somebody could have been injured or killed. 60% (5643 votes) No - It exposed the flaws in the summit's security system. 39% (3699 votes). Yeah, well … so, a serious poll attempt there, NOT. But this is the paper which would rape the Pieta if it felt like it. Or was drunk enough.

Air Vice Marshall Sir Donald Sholto McWoodforde, OAM, VC, assistant Chaser scriptwriter for Lady Cynthia da Cocque a’Roche, battle axe-grande, Lady-in-Waiting and handmaiden to the Mad Marchioness of Wollstonecraft, Commander of Kirribilli Birthing Centre and wine cache (signed semi-pornographic photographs on their way, Akka-san).

Richard:  Fancy a beer tomorrow afternoon?  Name the pub!

APEC Metaphore

The lockout of people going about their normal business is a metaphor for what is happening in Australia under the Coalition Government. In the recent past the Coalition government has been making hasty decisions in relation to the Murray-Darling River system, Aboriginal matters, and Hospital issues. They have made plans without consultation with the people effected and affected.

Thank God for the Chasers War on Everything we should not be blindly allowing our Government to lock people out of free space. Democracy is meant to be about freedom, not legions of Police and high barriers. Conservative Governments have generally had law and order on their agenda, the Howard Government and Government of NSW have taken it to extremes.

Margo: Hi Keith. Didn't ya love the footage of serious, all in police assault on the harmless bloke who tried to squeeze tomato sauce in the direction of the pro-Bush group? Easy, easy. Squash democratic protest, but let the clever boys from Chaser get to Bush's door because they're in a limo! Sums it up, really.   

Chaser Claims Innocence

Which is the greater farce?

[SMH extract]

ABC TV which airs the satirical The Chaser's War on Everything, and the program's producers, said in a statement last night that the Chaser team had no intention of entering the APEC restricted zone.

They had no knowledge that they had entered a restricted zone, the statement said.

"The motorcade proceeded down Macquarie Street with the permission of police.

"When the Chaser reached the perimeter of what they thought was the APEC restricted zone, they voluntarily turned around.

"The police only detained the Chaser motorcade when it was turning around and after Chas Licciardello emerged from a car dressed as Osama bin Laden.

The statement said the Chaser team members were wearing mock "insecurity'' passes, which expressly stated they were a joke.

But the head of the APEC investigation squad, NSW Police Force Detective Superintendent Ken McKay was not amused.

He issued his own statement last night, but he didn't mention police had given permission to the comedians.

Bush At The Maritime Museum

I love the irony.  While I was watching that security display yesterday, Dubya was heading in to admire my cousin's scrimshaw artwork.

Scrimshaw is a bit of a Kennedy thing, JFK having been buried with his favourite pieces.  Gary Tonkin is one of the most respected artists in the US.  His exhibition on the Catalpa escape is about to tour capital cities.

Of course, he was probably having a squizz at the tall ships, and the submarine.  The destroyer parked in the middle of them, however, didn't look like too much of a relic,  not that I know a lot about radar gear, but I would've thought the sensor arrays would've been removed if it had been decommisssioned ;)

Osama Bin Chaser shows how easy it was to get into the zone.

"The motorcade proceeded down Macquarie Street with the permission of police.

"When the Chaser reached the perimeter of what they thought was the APEC restricted zone, they voluntarily turned around.

"The police only detained the Chaser motorcade when it was turning around and after Chas Licciardello emerged from a car dressed as Osama bin Laden.

Millions of dollars spent on security, still it didn't prevent the Chaser team from entering the security zone. What if this had been a real attempt?

Makes a mockery of all that security. Its all for show, a real terrorist would have been able to pick off targets at will.  

Osama Bin Chaser in the paddy wagon

The stunt involved driving a fake motorcade into the northern part of the CBD including Macquarie Street, with one of the crew dressed as Osama bin Laden.

Mr Campbell says the situation is not funny and is being treated seriously by the APEC Investigation Squad.

"This is an extremely serious issue," he said.

"The Government has made the point time and time again, that we've got the most serious, the biggest security operation in Australia's history.

I don't know about you, but I thought it was pretty funny. My wife and I are still kaking ourselves.

Funny

John Pratt, I suppose you and the missus thought it funny when the union thugs broke down the doors at Parliament House.

Sydney Harbour Crews

It all seemed like a non-event at the start of the day.  I'd taken the train into Circular Quay, as you can't do that tomorrow, for a ferry ride around to Darling Harbour.  Fairly solid police presence at the docks, but nothing major.  A little ring of white buoys 100 metres out from the docks, and one of those little inflatables with the scuba divers.  No uniformed jet-skiers, in fact bugger all.

Even around at the shopping centre in front of the hotels where the delegates are staying, a couple of uniforms here and there, one to two guards on each entry point to the barricades.  The young bloke with his shirt hanging out seemed to get a longer questioning than most.  Nothing much to see.

I'd crossed back over at the footbridge near the IMAX when wockawocka went the first police chopper as it made a near-hover recce. It was closely followed by a second.  Then above them appeared what I guess was an army helicopter (silver grey) which sat about 300 feet above the hotels, the blue-and-whites beneath them doing low-level swoops of the area.  There was a fourth, but I couldn't work out what it was.

I went up to the footpath of the Anzac Road bridge for a better look, standing above the middle of the waterway scribbling some notes.  Thought I might try my luck crossing over the barricaded area from above.  It wasn't to be.  A very polite constable came up and out to ask me what I was doing, if I was a visitor, etc.  I explained to him I was thinking about going to my cousin's scrimshaw exhibition at the Maritime Musuem, which was partly true.  I told him I didn't want to be a bother, as I understood he had a job to do.  He explained that things were a bit tense at the moment, and I bid adieu and returned from whence I came, to head into the CBD.

Police everywhere.. marked and unmarked cars whizzing around with lights flashing, foot patrol after foot patrol.  I was getting concerned when the Police Rescue van rushed by.  As a bloke next to me was exclaiming into his mobile,  "There are F#ing copes everywhere!"  And there were. 

The air was full of sirens and the sound of helicopters.

This was around two o'clock till three, and half an hour later you'd never have know it had happened if you weren't there.

But I was, and I'll never forget it.

Head of the KGB and President of Russia.

Mary j Shepherd says:

Putin is a rank amateur.

Yeah, what would he know?

how about head of the CIA and President? Nice pair they'd made

Eliot, is that a bit like being head of the CIA and President?  

Putin wasn't actually head I think. Colonel of East German division . Some claim he then installed loyal KGB heads in governor rolls. Not a bad ploy when your country is under attack from within. Drunken Yeltsin gone, the Oligarchs flee to buy football teams and pay for Ukraines "revolution"  

 http://en.rian.ru/russia/20070903/76264554.html  , the assets of the nation grabbed back by an elegant nationalisation of Yukos,  and other energy companies ,the Cossacks back, push back of the US encirclement and stabilising forcefully the foreign backed breakaway groups , military co-operation with China, energy power over EU, a bit of their own false flag terrorism-heck it's all the rage aint it this decade- national security attained, teh economy bakc in the black and public debt repaid in total, and national pride rejuvenated and now the most popular elected  leader of all the visitors to APEC. And he hasn't lost half a dozen nuclear missiles lately.

What, er,is Bush's poll standings again,er,and Johnny's?

All the same, I wouldn't be a  journalist criticising him. And don't drink that drink. I have had a close and cosey chat with KGB and they are much scarier than any of our chaps.  Just no sense of humour and smart.  But all the same I think Putin has been the best thing for Russia, and the question is will he need to keep up the internal security ? I think so ,looking at how the US has failed from not doing so.A failed defeated state is a horrible condition to be in.

Cheers

snes, insensable, dispensable...

Actually, ...when one considers the alternative theories as to the various terrorism events, and considering that Bogota military have now admitted to car bombings, one might consider the threat is really to Putin and fBush goes to then we will have Cheney in the button seat and the plane apparently transporting Ready nukes to the ME zone makes a bit of sens.Any one wondering where those nine antitank missile are?

But then , nothing really make sense when one considers the people who forged documents and deliberately decieved the people to lead us all to a War of Aggression , al al Nuremberg Trials, are still in place and not held accountable.

Thus ,one must indeed consider all the scenarios, even the ones that "don't make sense".

Cheers 

Eliot you border on cretinism sometimes

Bush is a war criminal of the lowest order and is responsible for the murder of over 1 million people, Gitmo Bay, Abu Ghraib, the atrocities in Afghanistan, the arming of Israel to murder Lebanese civilians, the arming of Israel to murder Palestinians, his refusal to engage in climate change and so on.

Putin is a rank amateur.

Richard:  Mary J apparently there's a problem with some links on your last post.  Could you have a look?  I'm flat strapped timewise.

 

Howard is "international gestapo and a criminal" - Zimbabwe

Michael de Angelos: "George Bush and John Howard who proclaim (despite the evidence) that Iraq is a monument to freedom whilst ignoring the many other ghastly situations in the world-Burma,  Chechnya. Zimbabwe ..."

Oh, yeah. John Howard never says anything about Zimbabwe...

"Australia is funding terrorism and Prime Minister John Howard is a war criminal, Zimbabwe's Information and Publicity Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu says.

Zimbabwe's latest attack on the Australian government comes after Mr Howard banned the one-day cricket team from touring the southern African nation this September because of the despotic regime of President Robert Mugabe.

"The Australian people should really stand against John Howard's gestapo tendencies and interference with other states. He wants to cause insecurity in our country and that we will not allow," Dr Ndlovu told ABC Radio today.

"He is the international gestapo and a criminal ... he is worse than anybody else, his actions in banning the cricket is just one example of being the gestapo," Dr Ndlovu said of Mr Howard."

Then again, the official Zimbabwean line about John Howard are echoed more or less verbatim in wine bars and cafés from Toorak to Glebe.

Maybe that's why you haven't noticed it?

 

A bit of truth about the withdrawal from Iraq

Protesteth too loud?

Michael de Angelos: "George Bush and John Howard who proclaim (despite the evidence) that Iraq is a monument to freedom whilst ignoring the many other ghastly situations in the world-Burma,  Chechnya. Zimbabwe ..."

Maybe just a tad unfair there, Michael, given the Bushes' recent (I guess) activism with regard to Burma, of which just a random sample...

I've been impressed, to a limited degree, with Mr & Mrs Bush's rhetoric on Burma. Whether all that translates into any kind of decisive action remains to be seen.

And of course the First Couple's past record leaves something to be desired (e.g., we haven't heard much lately from Laura about the plight of Afghani women since things began to go awry there after the fall of the Taliban).

I've no doubt that some Aussie protestors will target the Burma problem at the APEC protests, but whether that will be heard above the anti-Bush din, again, remains to be seen.

Dear Eliot

You put a heavy burden upon Sydney protesters who have already stated their reasons for demonstrating against APEC-and that means the 21 leaders who will be at APEC-and ignore the un-democratic actions of both Federal and NSW State governments in attempting to stifle those protests.

A TV interview does not equal  the free and unfettered right of all people to protest and have their voices heard.

Your logic could also be apply to those bastions of democracy, George Bush and John Howard who proclaim (despite the evidence) that Iraq is a monument to freedom whilst ignoring the many other ghastly situations in the world-Burma,  Chechnya. Zimbabwe and some we even embrace-China and Saudi Arabia. 

But I'm all for the continued spotlight upon anti-APEC protests. They have completely nullified any bounce Howard would have got from his grand show. The demonstrators-who haven't event taken to the streets yet- have petrified every bullying goon from the State premier to the PM, a variety of Ministers and tough sounding coppers and my straw poll of the general public is that the whole escapade is one giant yawn. 

The demonstrators have actually already won the political war with political bullies handing them so much power on a plate with their over-reaction, whether there is a violent or a peaceful march.

That's real power.

John and Janette should really just enjoy their swansong and order in the packing cases to Kirribilli House as soon as the last APEC guest has departed.

 

Wish Michael was right

I wish you were right Michael, unfortunately I think the heavy handed security meassures will bait the protestors into giving up the highground. The senario is summarised here.

Richard:  James, welcome to Webdiary.

StopBush Protest March To Follow Police-Requested Route

In an effort to promote an atmosphere of safety and goodwill, the Stop Bush Coalition has decided tonight to march on a route recommended by NSW Police.

The decision was made on a vote which passed 62 in favour, 41 against.

An attendee of meeting told me that "the message we're sending is that an eighty year old grandmother could bring her four year old grand-daughter without fear of repression.

Meanwhile, a source with close ADF connections told me tonight that the Ghost Dancers and Trajectories Of Dissent organisers were of particular interest to ASIO.

Why here?

Thanks Stephen.

This gives a possible reason for staging these things.

As a friend of mine asked: Why not have it on an aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean?

Yours is at least one answer.

 

No protest against President. Putin, that is.

Richard:  QED to what?

That clearly there's one set of standards for anti-APEC protesters when it comes to demonstrating against elected leaders of western, especially English speaking countries, and another set of standards entirely when it comes to un-elected or positively corrupt leaders like Presidents Hu and Putin.

Two darlings from the 'Stop Bush' committee were on the Seven Network this morning explaining at lenght why they were organising protests against George W Bush.

Completely deadpan, they included 'reasons' such as the USA's involvement in Iraq (but not Russia's involvement in Chechnya, Georgia or the Ukraine nor China's in Tibet, North Korea or Taiwan), the USA's environment policies (but not China's or Russia's), the "hypocrisy" of Bush's and Howard's "public statements on democracy" (but not Putin's or Hu's), etc, etc, etc..

They also added they were organising protest demonstrations against for the right to protest and the lack of freedom of speech in Australia.

On network television.

Without so much as a hint of irony.

One little sweety even said she was taking the day off from school to do this.

Try that in China.

Criticism of Bush not Putin

We are not an uncritical ally of Putin.

APEC ,sharing ideas with our great trading countries

Actually I can just see them trying it in China:

"We wish to announce the dangerous protestors have been rounded up before the visit,the protests themselves are too dangerous as we know from our intelligence that violence is planned, and any one who does protest will be breaking the law,arrested and held without trial,or shot with water canon,rubber bullets, gas,or electrocuted and any organisers of such disgusting democracy ideas shall be deported as threats to our security."..."hey ,wasn;'t that a great APEC meeting ,look at all the great ideas we get, pass me the Chow en Li. ...and that kid porn thing might the way to block all those troublesome internet politicial sights like Webdiary" 

Cheers 

Greatly exaggerated threat is increased, er, rather greatly

Richard Tonkin asks

"Have the Copenhagen Al Qaeda arrests gotten everyone scared of infiltrators?  I wonder if they were on their way to Sydney.  I wonder who else is."

Well, as you know, the threat of terrorism in Australia is:

  • barely existant at all and merely greatly exaggerated in order to curtail our freedoms, but
  • greatly increased because of our involvement in Iraq.

Downer thinks George W Bush a 90-pound weakling

Alexander Downer is worried that if Labor wins the imminent election, Australians will have a government that "kicks sand into the eyes of the American president."

Perhaps Dolly could tell poor widdle George about the Charles Atlas program.

Or perhaps someone could explain in simple terms to Dolly — who could then gently explain to George — that criticism does not equate to having sand kicked in one's face.

Half a million people petition APEC on Climate Change.

Climate change campaigners have appealed to world leaders attending the APEC summit to take notice of a petition signed by half a million people around the world.

Believed to be the largest worldwide petition on climate change, it contains the names of about 91,000 Australians.

Progressive political group GetUp, which coordinated the collection of Australian signatures, unveiled a hard copy of the petition, which filled 18 cardboard boxes.

We can't all make it to Sydney to flash our bums at Bush, Howard and their mates, but we can sign the petition, lets make it 1 million people.
 

On Being Banned

The fact that 21 or so demonstrators are banned from Sydney during APEC reflects in a minor way what is happening in the US with 100,000 Americans placed on “watch” and “no fly” lists as described by Naomi Wolf ( who tells how she is harassed at airports every time she travels ) in her book The End Of America. Strident Bush critic and long time senator Edward Kennedy is on the list, being repeatedly hassled at domestic airports as was a 6 year old Muslim English kid on holiday in Florida.

bums for Bush mass moon ...

In a move that may eclipse other recent moon stories, our most famous desecrater of APEC meeting halls, Will Saunders, has come up with another innovative demo: a world record mass moon at the howl. Friday 3pm Hyde Park North.

 

 Bush is coming to Sydney. Thousands of police, total CBD lockdown, draconian new laws to stifle all protest. Just so nothing disturbs Howard’s moment of glory. APEC’s agenda is more free-market madness, more nuclear power, more warmongers deciding how best to fuck the world over. Is this the future we want? Let’s tell Bush what we really think about his visit. Only 4000 cheeks are needed to make the biggest moon in history – a world record Australia can really be proud of. There will also be an official ‘21 bum salute’ for the 21 countries in APEC. Hyde Park is not a ‘Declared’ or ‘Restricted’ area, you’ve every right to be there. Bring your friends, bring the family, bring your humour, bring a cheeky message. This is one APEC protest we can all enjoy. www.bumsnotbombs.org

Thank Our Judges

Again-an independent judiciary is one of our most treasured assets. How dare the police get up and tell unmitigated lies in court. What scoundrels they are but it happens every day with full support from gutter rags like the Daily Terror with so-called news bulletins from commercial TV now getting in on the act.

You would think that Sydney had been riven with dozens of violent demos over the years but with the focus upon a few thousand marchers lawfully displaying their displeasure to the ideals of APEC it must be driving the Howard government quite insane. The impression given is that the Sydney has been fenced off because of anti-Bush protesters thus negating Howard & Cos message that 'terrorists' are hiding under every bed.

Perhaps Mini Me Morris Iemma is part of a Labor plot to shift focus upon the demonstrators with his constant harping about getting tough with these mythical violent protesters

APEC Police Powers Inflammatory- Supreme Court Judge

I like this man.

[Age extract]

Justice Michael Adams acknowledged there were real issues of public safety, but said the police powers could serve to inflame an already highly sensitive event.

"The powers given to police are very unusual in Australia, I think indeed unprecedented," he said.

"There's no question that there would be many people in the community, and I'm not talking about most, but many would resent the extension of such powers to the police, even for such a limited period of time.

"There might be many who would be tempted to test the police ... in this kind of situation and indeed perhaps to provoke the police into action ... for the reason of obtaining publicity and putting into debate ... the suitability of giving police these powers in a democracy like ours."

Justice Adams also emphasised any order he made would be formal only, and neither the court nor the police had the power to prohibit public assembly or free speech.

"It's quite wrong that legislation should be made in a way that is misleading to the public," Justice Adams said.

The protesters have conceded that the Martin Place route is unviable due to the streets declaration as a restricted area, but are still fighting to be able to gather at the fence.

Footy more important than Bush

PRIME Minister John Howard did not greet the most powerful man in the world when he arrived in Sydney last night, instead deciding to attend the Dally M National Rugby League Player of the Year awards.

Howard didn't even bother to meet Bush on arrival. I am sure Howard had his priorities right. More votes in football than international politics.

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