Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Welcome To Sydney President Bush, But Watch Out For The Rocket Launchers

When Will The 'Security Threat' Related Curfews For Sydney Be Announced? Thursday? Or Friday?

The search for nine Army rocket launchers, stolen last year and allegedly sold on through a ring of organised crime members and religious extremists, goes on even today, as President Bush arrives in Australia.

Police and ASIO agents have reportedly spent many long nights digging up sections of national park near Sydney, searching for the missing rocket launchers, believed to have been hidden away inside lengths of PVC tubing, and then buried.

So far, all those night-time searches have turned up nothing.

It's easy to imagine the conference calls between the CIA, Bush's secret service detail, the Australian Federal Police and ASIO :
"Have you found those fucking rocket launchers yet."

"Err, no."

"Well, we're following some leads, and we believe they've been buried in a patch of land somewhere between Sydney and Wollongong, and we're very confident that..."

"The President of the United States is coming to Sydney and you've lost NINE FUCKING ROCKET LAUNCHERS! Find them!"
"Yeah, righto...(click)...bloody Seppos."

The Australian has a detailed story about the intensive, and sometimes bizarre, search for the missing rocket launchers :

The fact that there are nine rocket launchers believed to be in the vicinity of Sydney as a meeting of world leaders begins has meant in recent months this operation has become one of the highest priorities of ASIO.

It is one of the reasons Australian and US security advisers are insistent that protesters will be at least 300m from the President at all times.

Theoretically, the launchers can fire from that distance but an amateur would generally be able to fire them only 125m.

The most worrying aspect of the weapons is that they are concealable - when folded, they are about 67cm, which means they can fit into a backpack. They can be painted any colour to blend with carry bags.

The M-72 launchers are designed to carry warheads that can cut through metal with a small hole then explode. The warheads are designed for a "blast effect". They are often used in warfare to attack bunkers, as they cause maximum damage.

Despite all the claims by prime minister John Howard that "violent protesters" are the reason why the entire Sydney area of APEC conference centres and hotels are surrounded by a ten foot high, five kilometre long 'steel wall', it's clear that the missing rocket launchers are the most active, realistic and dire security threat facing President Bush while he's in town.

It has been occasionally mentioned in the media that the 'steel wall', reinforced by a few tons of concrete blocks every dozen metres, could stop car and truck bombs, it's clear once you've had a look at it that it has also been designed to stop rocket launchers.

Prime Minister Howard has worked hard to make sure that the unlikely threat of "violent protesters" fills news bulletins and newspaper front pages, but some in the media now know they've been conned, and distracted from the bigger, far more dramatic story.

The real story of APEC security threats is, of course, the Missing Rocket Launchers. And today, the media will begin making them the focus of their headlines.

They will make for some very wide-eyes amongst the APEC world leaders, delegates and international media when they pick up their morning newspapers outside their hotel room doors.

The question now is, when will some "new security threat" (which will not be revealed in the interests of national security) be announced, which will lead to the announcement that parts of the city will be put under curfew?

Thursday? Or Friday?

Under the raft of new laws NSW Police have been granted to deal with APEC security, we've been told they have the authority to declare entire blocks of Sydney completely off limits to non-APECers, under a dawn to dusk, or 24 hour long, curfew.

Back to back curfews may be announced due to "ongoing security threats" which would keep everyone but the APECers out of the key security zones for all of Saturday and Sunday.

A dawn to dusk curfew inside and surrounding the fenced off security zone would mean that anybody who doesn't posses APEC accreditation will not be allowed inside the 'steel wall' of Sydney, which takes in the conference centres and hotels where APEC leaders are staying and meeting.

Which means Stop Bush Coalition protesters could be stopped from attempting to march through parts of the city on Saturday.

And which would also mean a weekend long ban on any member of the public getting anywhere near the Opera House on Sunday night, where leaders and their partners will gather on a balcony overlooking Sydney Harbour for the biggest private fireworks show in Australia's history.

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