Nine Army Rocket Launchers Still Missing As APEC Summit Begins In Sydney - President Bush To Arrive Tuesday
Frantic Scramble By Security Agencies To Protect Motorcades From Terror And Rocket Attacks
On Monday morning, the APEC summit will begin in Sydney. A five kilometre long 'steel wall' is now being constructed through the centre of the city, and 2500 police, the Australian military, dozens of security agencies and literally thousands of secret service agents from across the Asia-Pacific region are now preparing for the arrival of their leaders.
US President George W. Bush arrives early Tuesday morning, and a much greater, far more expansive security 'lockdown' than previously disclosed to the public is expected to be launched.
This is expected to include blanket mobile phone blackouts when the president is on the move, helicopter gunship escorts and the clearing of boats and cruisers from the harbour for two to five days. If credible terror or security threats are uncovered, all people without the mandatory APEC security clearances may be blocked from entering the fenced off 'security zone' encompassing the Opera House, numerous city hotels and a wealth of tourist attractions.
It would appear every precaution has been taken to keep potential terrorists, assassins or so-called "violent" protesters well away from the hotels and conference centres where the presidents and prime ministers of 21 nations, including Indonesia, China, the US and Russia will converge.
But after more than nine months of intensive searching, arrests, surveillance operations and raids, Australian Federal Police and the ASIO intelligence agency have reportedly still not located at least nine anti-tank rocket launchers stolen from an Army base late last year.
The rocket launchers, capable of destroying a tank from two hundred metres away, can be unpacked, ranged, fired and dumped back into the boot of a car within minutes.
A news report tonight claimed that the anti-tank rockets could rip through the side of a presidential limousine, but that seems a little hard to believe. President Bush's vehicles are supposed to be able to withstand mines and rocket attacks, and support vehicles are said to be equipped with anti-rocket technology and other munitions systems that have never been disclosed.
But despite all the precautions, President Bush, and numerous other world leaders, will still be exposed to potential attack from rocket launchers when they travel in heavily secured motorcades across Sydney and its suburbs, traveling to and from airports and through city streets at speeds most Sydneysiders, used to near day long gridlock, have only ever dreamed about.
Dozens of American, Chinese and Russian secret service and intelligence agents are believed to have been working in Sydney for weeks in preparation for the APEC summit, scouring all possible locations from where attacks by car bombers, or from rocket launchers, could be unleashed on motorcades.
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According to news reports this evening, Australia intelligence agencies and the Australian Federal Police also fear that terrorists may choose the APEC week to attack a 'soft' target elsewhere in Sydney, or Australia, while vast police and military resources are tied up with APEC security arrangements.
More than 1500 international journalists and media representatives are flooding into Sydney to cover the APEC summit, where China is now expected to announce literally world-changing plans to tackle global warming.
If terrorists wanted to capture worldwide attention, security experts fear, next week will provide ample opportunities for maximum exposure.
Another reason why, in the age of the 'War on Terror', such mass gatherings of world leaders should be held away from large population centres.
Prime minister John Howard's decision to hold the APEC summit in the heart of Sydney, instead of in Canberra, or on one of the numerous tropical island resorts off the north coast of Australia, literally laid down the welcome mat for terrorists who wished to gain the attention of the world's media by killing civilians.
Yet John Howard would have us all believe that the greatest threat to the people of Sydney is posed by anti-war and anti-globalisation protesters.
You can imagine the scramble to find those rocket launchers is now unfolding at a fever pitch.
The APEC summit, and the presence of President Bush in town for four to five days, has made the people of Sydney sitting ducks for a terror attack.
Sydneysiders can take some comfort knowing that thousands of police, security guards and soldiers will be out in force to keep them safe.
We won't know, however, until next Sunday evening whether all of the ultra-security measures know being deployed across Sydney will have been enough.
April 2007 : Army Captain And Army Officer Arrested For Stealing, Selling 10 Rocket Launchers - Army Captain Was Munitions Expert
January, 2007 : Stolen Army Rocket Launchers Allegedly Sold Onto Man Being Held On Terror Charges
December 2006 : Rocket Launchers Go Missing From Army Base, Intelligence Agencies Begin Hunt To Track Them Down
Sydney To Be Cut In Half By Ten Foot High, Five Kilometre Long 'Steel Wall'
Protesters On Alert For Agent Provocateurs Aiming To Turn APEC Marches Into Riots
Sydneysiders Told To "Leave Town" During APEC Summit
Sydney Set To Become 'Mini-Police State'