According to The Daily Telegraph the dubious honour of hosting APEC (a kind of evil twin of the 2000 Olympics — thanks, John!) is going to lead to mega-disruption, some of it physical.
A HUGE reinforced concrete fence will be built across much of Sydney’s CBD during next month’s APEC meetings to stop attacks from demonstrators.
The Daily Telegraph can reveal the 2.8m high “ring of steel” is meant to protect businesses which police believe could become “soft targets” for protesters prevented from taking aim at world leaders. Business leaders have told The Daily Telegraph police hold fears well-known operations such as McDonald’s and Starbucks could be hit during next month’s APEC summit. Leaders from about 100 large businesses including Coca-Cola, the Australian Stock Exchange, major banks, Myer and shopping centres were given a two-hour private briefing on the radical security arrangements on Monday.
The Daily Telegraph has learned that cranes will be deployed to help install the cage-like fence, reminiscent of the Berlin Wall which divided the European city for much of the post-war period, over five days from August 31.
Police refused to say which streets the fence will occupy but it is understood work will commence around the Hotel Inter-Continental at the corner of Bridge and Macquarie Sts. An area from Macquarie St across to George St and down to Circular Quay has been identified as a no-go zone.
That is, the best part of the city. Bad luck if you needed to see a Macquarie Street specialist…
If like many you are thinking of protesting, just remember that the slightest thing during that week will be a leg up for John Howard in the coming election, and don’t think John hasn’t thought of that. Why else is the bloody thing happening in Sydney? My personal view is that keeping as far away as possible will be the best strategy. Rant about it on your blog, write to the paper, protest outside the immediate area of the conference, but otherwise don’t give Howard the press coverage he wants. If you happen to be around when GWB and his entourage come through — and you won’t be allowed anywhere near them anyway as he is bringing his bubble with him — just turn your back, or spit on the ground. Pretend he isn’t here.
I mentioned yesterday I had downloaded the 4-page dossier SBS revealed last night. One line says “Alleged links with Al Qaida“; another line says he “must have come into contacts with the members of terrorist entities and assisted”; the most interesting line refers to his possession of a key to a “bank locker” not his own. That’s it. That’s all. Nothing more, and all of it written after recent events in the UK and Australia.
I am in no position to judge, but I am sure if this were The Bill Jack Meadows (right) would be telling the troops they needed just a bit more than that…
The new Indian newsagent is actually from India and used to work in our Department of Immigration. He (and his brother) are not Muslims, still maintain close contact with India and watch the Indian news. He picked up some nuances about Haneef and his family which only an Indian could, matters like dress and language/accent. They are undoubtedly from the more conservative and orthodox in Islam in India, which has, believe it or not, the second-ranking Muslim population in the world (138 million) — more than Pakistan. Indonesia ranks first. You would expect some radicals, and indeed some terrorists, to emerge from this group. You would not, however, expect there to be 138 million terrorists. In fact to think that is probably insane. Whether Haneef is one remains to be established. But the bank locker is interesting*. We await explanation.
FUN TO DO:
The National Fear Survey on ABC Science.
* If the document is genuine, because now we have Gopal Hosur, Bangalore’s deputy police commissioner, saying police in Dr Haneef’s hometown do not even have a file on the doctor! SOURCE.
Saturday 4 August
Bruce is worth reading on the Haneef case: Quote of the week #11 – The Editor on Haneef’s catch-22.
Later: Bruce has written a backgrounder on Haneef: A bit of context on Haneef and terrorism in Australia for the Barefoot Bum.