Friday, June 29, 2007

'Mobile Prisons' Readied For APEC Summit

Stripping Away Democratic Rights For The Sake Of 'Democracy'

Photo from the Sydney Morning Herald website

It's always nice to be reminded of the kind of democracy you're living in.

31 buses are reportedly to be used to detain protesters during the APEC summit in September, when some 70 world leaders will converge on Sydney and turn most of the central business district into a two week preview of a high-tech police state.

Sorry, did we say "mobile prisons"? Apparently, according to the NSW State Government, the correct terminology is "mobile holding cells".

Each bus can hold some 70 people. To turn them into mobile prisons, the buses have had their back windows blocked by a panel and the windows replaced with wire mesh.

Considering that the rear window in these buses double as the emergency exits, it will be interesting to see how they are going to provide the necessary safety measures that any bus in New South Wales is legally required to have in case of a fire or a traffic accident.

Or are these buses just yet another attempt by the government to intimidate the thousands of peaceful protesters who are planning to exercise their democratic rights during the APEC summit?

Interesting that they would need so many buses to deal with the presumed troublemakers. The NSW police, and ASIO, have a hit list of those they believe are likely to try and protest violently, and there are reportedly less than 60 names on that list. Or one bus load. And the police have already stated they intend to "round these people" up if they even think about heading into the Sydney CBD while the APEC summit is underway.

So not only will you need an approved ID card to access entire blocks of downtown Sydney in the first two weeks of September, you will need to pass through checkpoints, get used to being subjected to random body searches, the sight of snipers on rooftops and armed soldiers patrolling the streets, but you may also find yourself thrown into an escape-proof bus just because you happen to look like someone who might be thinking of causing trouble.

Plus, if you are detained because you are protesting incorrectly, you can be held without charge for "the entire duration" of the APEC summit.

Of course, all these rules won't apply to the undercover agents who regularly infiltrate peaceful protests around the world to make sure there are some dramatic scenes of violence and chaos for the media to fill their news bulletins with. It happened all the time during the anti-war protests of the late 1960s, you seriously don't believe that it doesn't happen today?

Haven't you wondered why virtually none of those arrested for kicking in shop windows and tearing up chunks of pavement never end up in jail? Or even facing a court of law?

At any huge protest, there will be a few dickheads. But there are also people who are paid to be dickheads. They are usually the ones who get on television, but rarely get arrested.

Mobile prisons in the streets of Sydney. No wonder the government has already advised people "to leave town" while the APEC summit is being held.

There's nothing more ironic, or New World Order iconic, then stripping away the vestiges of a democracy to welcome the leaders of the world's democracies to a summit, where spreading democracy in the Middle East will be under discussion.

APEC : Random Body Searches And Detention Without Charge - Sydney To Become A Mini-Police State

Sydneysiders Told To Leave Town During APEC World Leaders Summit

APEC Security Will Cost Taxpayers A Mind-Boggling $24 Million Per Day