What Happened To "Not If, But When" Threat Of Terror Attacks?
Don't worry. Everything's okay. APEC will benefit Sydney and Australia's international reputation enormously. As long as the tourists stopped in the streets of Sydney and questioned by police for up to half an hour by a police squad, for simply taking photographs, don't go home telling tales of fear and paranoia and Sydney becoming a mini-police state.
Taking photos and using your video in Sydney isn't illegal. But your ID information will be run through police and immigration databases, just in case, if you get caught. Pre-crime is now a reality in Sydney, Australia :
German tourist Thomas Gannopp was among those stopped on Bridge Street and forced to delete images from his digital camera as police watched on.
Mr Gannopp said he was quizzed for close to 25 minutes with police wanting proof of his identification down to the exact number of his tourist visa before having him checked through the immigration department's computers.
"I didn't expect all of this just because I wanted to take a photograph of the fence," he said.The fence. The precious 'steel wall' now cutting Sydney in half. The security fence originally designed and planned to stop terror attacks is now simply to keep the "ferals" away from the world leaders.
Of course, John Howard can't admit that Sydney is at a heightened risk of a terror attack because President Bush is in town because that would cause an association between Bush's foreign policy, supported by Howard, and the threat of terrorism.
The corporate media are allowed to photograph the security fence as much as they like. Photographs of the fence are all over online newspapers and every evening news bulletin had extensive footage filling their stories.
But if you're some homeless guy and you get caught using your camera phone inside the security zone, you may be taken away for further questioning.
A Melbourne documentary maker, Pip Starr, had the gall to shoot footage of the fence and wound up being questioned by police and federal agents for "more than an hour."
"Having police going through my personal diary just for filming on Sydney streets is pretty appalling," he said.
As the full measure of the chilling ultra-security now enveloping the streets of one of the most casual and laidback cities in the world clarifies in the collective mind of the Australian media, the tone changes dramatically.
The most conservative newspaper in Australia is now making reference to "Fortress Sydney" in its headlines and the security fence has become "the wall".
Wait until the first photographers and journalists caught up in protests get hit with pepper spray, water cannon bursts (it's like being smashed with a block of concrete wrapped in carpet) and loose some ankle flesh to police dogs.
As the chant goes, "The Whole World Is Watching."
The first APEC related arrests of protesters occurred in Newcastle, when twelve Greenpeace activists were detained and charged for painting an anti-coal exports slogan on the side of a ship.
UPDATE : As commenters below point out it was very, very strange to see Sydneysiders forced to walk through a surveillance checkpoint on the morning news.
And still no news on those missing rocket launchers. What happened to the threat of terrorism being the reason for the Steel Wall through the heart of Sydney? Howard, Rudd, Iemma, the police chiefs all blame the threat posed by "violent protests". So terrorism is no longer a threat to Sydney and to the world leaders gathering for APEC?
Protesters On Alert For Agent Provocateurs Aiming To Turn APEC Marches Into Riots
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'