APEC Conference in Sydney Social Engineered

The APEC conference is a big deal in Australia right now, and the security is serious. They've blocked off a major part of Sydney, implemented special APEC laws allowing extra search powers for the police, and even given everyone in Sydney the day off -- just to keep people away.

Yesterday, a TV comedy team succeeded in driving a fake motorcade with Canadian flags right through all the security barriers and weren't stopped until right outside President Bush's hotel. Inside their motorcade was someone dressed up as Osama Bin Laden.

Excellent.

Most excellent:

The ABC later released a statement saying the team had no intention of entering a restricted zone and had been wearing mock "insecurity passes" that stated the convoy was a joke.

"It was a piece testing APEC security and the motorcade looked pretty authentic," the Chaser source said.

"They approached the green zone, and they just waved them through ­ much to their amazement, because the sketch was meant to stop there with them being rejected.

"They were then waved through into the red zone, but rather than go all the way through they made the call to turn around."

"Apparently that was the first time the police realised it was not authentic and they swooped in and arrested everybody."

Eight members of the comedy team, including the film crew, were arrested, as well as three hire car drivers.

The fake motorcade ­ three cars and a motorcycle escort ­had Canadian identification.

"We just thought Canada would be a country the cops wouldn't scrutinise too closely," said Chaser performer Chris Taylor.

Another article.

I've written about these large-scale social engineering pranks before (although at this point I doubt that the Super Bowl prank was real). The trick: look like you fit in.

I've also written about the Australian comedy group before. They're from a television show called The Chaser's War on Everyhing, and they've tested security cameras and Trojan horses. And interviewed ignorant Americans.

And APEC security is over-the-top stupid:

On the same day police won a court battle to stop protesters marching down George Street through the APEC security zone, it emerged yesterday that at least one cafe near George Bush's hotel has been ordered by police not to set outdoor tables with silverware, lest it fall into the wrong hands.

And office workers in Bridge Street's AMP tower have been told to stay away from the windows, draw the blinds and not to look at helicopters.

EDITED TO ADD (9/7): Video of the motorcade and the arrests. Photo of the fake security pass.

Great video from The Chasers on APEC and security, including some very funny footage about what normal people are willing to do and have done to them in the name of security.

Posted on September 7, 2007 at 1:53 AM • 63 Comments

Comments

PaulSeptember 7, 2007 2:45 AM

This is getting a lot of attention in Australia right now and it seems that most of the population think it's pretty funny.

Laugh, it's so much better than the alternative.

KeesSeptember 7, 2007 2:52 AM

According to a BBC news article, "Police only moved in when one of the crew emerged from the car wearing a long fake beard and robes, close to the InterContinental Hotel where President Bush."

The lesson: Don't wear a fake beard if you're a terrorist.

MarkoSeptember 7, 2007 2:59 AM

Basic response on discovering a vulnerability.
"You will hear from our lawyers and could face a sentence."
If a black limo is all you need to get through - well...

CharlesSeptember 7, 2007 3:01 AM

Just as funny was the edition of their program that aired 2 nights ago. A guy dressed up in a fake security uniform and went around Melbourne (800KM from where the APEC summit is actually being held). He was getting people to submit to searches, stand up and twirl around on a bus, stay inside a public toilet for several days, all in the name of 'APEC Security'. He even got a few security guards in public shopping malls to comply with this demands.

Without fail, almost everyone they confronted just complied with the most ridiculous requests because it was someone in a vaguely official looking uniform with a large ID pass round their neck. He didn't need to threaten or intimidate them in any way, he just kept saying 'APEC Security, top secret, thank you for your assistance' and they went along with it.

the earl of tamaSeptember 7, 2007 3:08 AM

The best part of it was the police spokesman interviewed afterwards who declared - in a straight-faced imitation of the old Monty Python skit - "Look, I enjoy a laugh as much as the next man, but that was not funny!". Wonderful. More of him, please.

msoosSeptember 7, 2007 4:00 AM

Funnny :) So much for "security". My suggestion: don't make a fuss out of security. Keep minimal, well-trained teams, and they won't mess things up.

Ari ManiatisSeptember 7, 2007 4:21 AM

I'm writing this now from just outside the barbed wire fence they have put around Sydney. The reaction on the whole from the press and the population has been rather sad. Although Australians like to portray the image that we are a bunch of larrikans ready to laugh at ourselves, this hasn't been the case for some years. Mainly Australians feel marginalised and insecure in the world - most feel that without the USA 'protecting' us, we will be overrun by some unknown evil, that about the only thing we do well is sport (and only games which almost no-one else plays). So the security response to APEC has been extreme, as if to prove a point to the world about how we 'play with the big boys'.

But I suspect the police forces have been taking their cues from Hollywood - multiple helicopters flying 24 hours a day over the city for the last week. What exactly do you imagine they are guarding against from up there? But the sound does a nice job of freaking people out. Locking down the entire city - can you imagine London or Paris doing that for a conference of twice this size? I think not. They don't have the inferiority complex which drives them to imagine that the wellbeing of a city, its residents and tourists is so secondary to one weekend of meetings.

Popular news reports in Sydney have dwelled mostly on what George Bush had for lunch (this isn't an exaggeration - I mean exactly that - what he had for lunch), as if Australia is somehow important because he ate our food.

Finally, some of the most distressing news is that we've adopted an American style anti-democracy approach to protesting. It is apparently very important that George Bush and other leaders not be allowed to see or hear protesters even when driving past. So exclusion zones and legislation has been drafted specifically for that purpose. Protesters are allowed to do protest as long as they do it at least 10km away. To make it clear that protesters are the cause of all world evil, several politicians including our prime minister have made it clear that all fencing and security provisions are there ONLY because of protesters. No mention of terrorists (small mercies) - just those evil protesters with those deadly placards.

MozSeptember 7, 2007 4:31 AM

The "security" is pretty intense - on the local photo forums it seems that most people wandering around with cameras are watched and if they take photos of anything to do with security they're questioned. I had my memory card confiscated after taking photos of them putting the fences up last weekend, and was told that I wouldn't be released for a week if they arrested me... oddly, just after I asked for a receipt for it. No receipt was given, but they have my details and apparently I will get it back.

Next time I think I'll hire a limo for my photographic expedition.

Chris LloydSeptember 7, 2007 5:45 AM

The chaser have a big following over here. Apparently though, they are finding it harder to do pranks like this because everybody recognises them and realises they are apart of a prank. If you want to see more of their show, you can watch every episode (in full) from their podcast on iTunes:

http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/...

KiloSeptember 7, 2007 6:20 AM

@ Posted by: Ari Maniatis at September 7, 2007 04:21 AM
> "Although Australians like to portray the image that we are a bunch of larrikans
> ready to laugh at ourselves, this hasn't been the case for some years. Mainly
> Australians feel marginalised and insecure in the world - most feel that
> without the USA 'protecting' us, we will be overrun by some unknown evil, that
> about the only thing we do well is sport (and only games which almost no-one else plays)."

What a complete crock of shit.
I have never heard anyone in this country who has even REFERRED to our place in the world, let alone had an opinion about it, let alone "most people feel marginalised".

We either won or lost the last World Cup, or beat someone else in the pool at the Olympics. That is the extent of what Australians give a toss about our world standing, you fraud.

KiloSeptember 7, 2007 6:35 AM

@ Posted by: Ari Maniatis at September 7, 2007 04:21 AM
> Finally, some of the most distressing news is that we've adopted
> an American style anti-democracy approach to protesting. It is
> apparently very important that George Bush and other leaders not
> be allowed to see or hear protesters even when driving past.

No, I think you'll find it's important that anti-capitalist protesters not run amok smashing up whatever they can in the heart of Sydney, as they tend to do at every economic summit.

> So exclusion zones and legislation has been drafted specifically for that
> purpose. Protesters are allowed to do protest as long as they do
> it at least 10km away. To make it clear that protesters are the
> cause of all world evil, several politicians including our
> prime minister have made it clear that all fencing and security
> provisions are there ONLY because of protesters.

Sounds reasonable. Was there a different group of wankers that habitually destroy property at every economic summit?
Mormons? NASA? The Harlem Globetrotters? No?
The protesters it is then chump.

TarkeelSeptember 7, 2007 6:57 AM

@Ari Mniatis: Well, I guess you could say that terrorists are just very violent demonstrators...

matt21811September 7, 2007 6:57 AM

The obvious solution is to host the conference in Canberra away from expensive property and business. But of course its totally justifiable to shut down the CBD of an international city for 5 working days costing hundreds of millions of dollars and just blame it all on protesters.

Nick LancasterSeptember 7, 2007 6:58 AM

Lesson: sometimes, it's not the complicated plot, it's the simple and direct approach.

At least one checkpoint should have had a list of license plates and visual IDs of the drivers. Given that the conference was one of world leaders, wouldn't your security include who belongs there, and which vehicles? (I imagine the limousines carrying dignitaries are swept daily, and the drivers, if it was a contracted firm, all went through background checks.)

MikeSeptember 7, 2007 7:22 AM

"Mormons? NASA? The Harlem Globetrotters? No?
The protesters it is then chump."

Kilo, not so fast. At a summit in Montebello Quebec a few weeks ago, the police were caught in the crowd trying to incite this very kind of violence. Search youtube for it....there are nice videos.

And besides, even if a few protesters smash things, that is not a reason to prevent the majority from peacefully exercising their rights.

This is what we have come to - world leaders, making import decisions that affect all of us, doing so without our feedback, sequestered away behind armed guards our of fear of the regular people. Yes, that sounds like democracy and freedom doesn't it?

Perhaps we need to break out the Guy Fawkes masks....

AntonSeptember 7, 2007 7:39 AM

The Australian SBS evening news mentioned that there was an incident but did not explain that a fake bin ladin got through security. This security farce should be splattered all over the evening news with all its hilarity so people wake about and realize they are being manipulated because of their fear.

bobSeptember 7, 2007 7:48 AM

While I think Mr Bush is an OK person, he is not god; he is first citizen among equals. This "nth degree" security is stupid, it is WAAAY off the edge of the cost/benefit ratio. Raising the bar from a 1:100,000,000 chance of assassination to 1:100,000,009 chance by spending the GDP of Denmark on obstreperous, offensive, "in-your-face" security like this at each function he attends is inappropriate and a waste of money; not to mention trampelling roughshod over civil rights defeats the reason to have a "free" country in the first place. This is the kind of crap that made the soviet union a "not worth saving" place. And it seems like the supreme court (at least the folks who said it was OK for a city to steal your home in order to sell it commercially) would probably find assassination a protected form of political free speech anyway.

And concerning Mr "its not funny", apparently its even tougher to see the forest if you ARE one of the trees.

John RidleySeptember 7, 2007 7:50 AM

NPR aired a clip a few days ago where GWB took a question from an Australian reporter who talked about the ridiculous level of security garbage their country was having to put up with. GWB said "Well, at least I hope you feel safer." The guy said "Uh, well, actually...." and GWB responded something like "or maybe just inconvenienced."

RoySeptember 7, 2007 8:05 AM

The pranksters proved that the security is a fraud. The perpetrators are counterfeiting security, using their extraordinary powers to intimidate and frighten the citizenry, cowing them, while pretending they are serving some public good.

The perpetrators should be prosecuted for counterfeiting and fraud, and by any means necessary the money they got should be taken back.

They like heavy-handedness, so give them a dose of their own medicine.

KiloSeptember 7, 2007 8:13 AM

@ Posted by: Mike at September 7, 2007 07:22 AM
> Kilo, not so fast. At a summit in Montebello Quebec a few weeks
> ago, the police were caught in the crowd trying to incite this
> very kind of violence. Search youtube for it....there are nice videos.

I'm sure there are. Just like I'm sure searching for "violent protest" on youtube will turn up all the protesters who need no incitement. Which I'm sure you'll find equally nice.

How'd the mounties do anyway ? Convince anyone to smash vehicles, shopfronts and set fire to shit ? Or does that occur without such assistance. Yeah I think we both know the answer.

> And besides, even if a few protesters smash things, that is not
> a reason to prevent the majority from peacefully exercising
> their rights.

Well yeah it is a reason. In fact it's the one cited here for exactly what's been done here, which makes it remarkably topical.
How's that working out ?

> This is what we have come to - world leaders, making import
> decisions that affect all of us, doing so without our feedback,
> sequestered away behind armed guards our of fear of
> the regular people. Yes, that sounds like democracy and
> freedom doesn't it?

You could say "this is what we have come to - using metals instead of rocks as our primary hand tools" and sound just as current.
Seriously, when was this not the case ?
What do you think has changed in this regard ?

> Perhaps we need to break out the Guy Fawkes masks....

No, I think that's kinda the problem. You've been watching too many movies. The world leader pulls the average joe off the street and consults him on world affairs there and nowhere else.

not in SydneySeptember 7, 2007 9:16 AM

A little off topic, but thank God that I no longer live in Sydney. The NSW state government is have a great job of stuffing up Sydney over the past 10 years (crap rail system, tol road love, ...). The inconvenience of the APEC summit is just the icing on the cake.

Glad to have left Sydney 10 years ago.

HarrySeptember 7, 2007 9:25 AM

From the Sidney Morning Herald:
'But the NSW Police Minister, David Campbell, said that rather than being an embarrassment in front of 21 visiting world leaders, the breach was a success for security arrangements.

'"I think this reinforces that APEC security has been successful by the mere fact that 11 people have been arrested," he said. "I offer my congratulations to those police officers for their diligent work," he said, adding that he "did not see the funny side at all"'

Police Minister Campbell is a very imaginative man. The 11 were arrested where and when they were because they voluntarily decided to turn around. There's no data on how much farther they could have gotten, had they not stopped their prank themselves.

Spoof o maticSeptember 7, 2007 9:45 AM

that's pretty funny :) seems like they shouldn't be arrested for helping the authorities find gapping holes in their security measures though

DSSeptember 7, 2007 9:47 AM

I read on ABC that this farcical security cost AU$250M, as much as the annual grant to SBS!

BillSeptember 7, 2007 9:48 AM

From http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/story/...

Officers involved in this country's largest security operation revealed last night that the police manning CBD roadblocks are frequently not told whether motorcades coming toward them are legitimate.

"We're amazed at the lack of communication that allowed this to happen but how are they to know whether a motorcade is legitimate when they're not supposed to stop them and nothing is broadcast over the (police) radio," an officer said.

KiloSeptember 7, 2007 10:05 AM

> Kilo, here's a link:
>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=St1-WTc1kow

That is a link to a video of a guy with a rock. What are you not understanding here ?

Did you think we're discussing whether that rock might have been shipped to Australia ? Is it the same one used to destroy property in cities around the globe at other economic summit protests ?

> SQ, not Mounties were involved, and they admitted those were
> undercover cops in a press release:

Correct. However this also wasn't something anyone questioned or disputed.

The question was how did they go in convincing other protesters to assault police and destroy property.
The answer is of course, they didn't. Just like they never do. The protesters do that shit on their own.

Are we up to speed now ?

> All done in the name of security...
> Posted by: Daniel Haran at September 7, 2007 08:49 AM

And this has been in the name of redundant explanations for simple concepts.

geekasylumSeptember 7, 2007 11:08 AM

What concerns me as a Sydney-sider, is suggestions in the media (both from officials and some members of the public, in comments) that The Chasers endangered themselves, and "might have been shot". We have snipers on rooftops, and patrolling in helicopters, as well as the fence around a large area of the Sydney CBD.

If we are now living in a time where its possible for a few well known Aussie comedians to be shot for pulling an innocent stunt, aimed only at humiliation and pointing out the stupidity of the APEC security, then something is SERIOUSLY wrong with our country.

Police are becoming more and more militant. I have seen them patrolling the city in packs (6, 8 or more, rather than the usual pair) dressed not in regular uniforms, but in dark overalls, similar to those of the riot squad.

Indeed, 3000 out of the 15,000 police employed in NSW are on duty this weekend in Sydney. Thats 20 percent of the state's police force, not to mention the 1500 ADF (Australian Defence Force) personnel also assigned.

Tourists are being stopped and told to delete photographs taken of the security fence, and police.

Friday was declared a public holiday to keep people out of the city, and it appears to have worked as TEN news reported on the many many people "fleeing the city" causing major traffic delays on Thursday night.

The Government has released all weekend detention inmates from Gaols (Jails, for you Americans) in Sydney this weekend, to make cells available for protesters, and its clear they are well prepared for a fight.

Sydney has gone mad! Im outraged at what our Government (both state and federal) has done to Sydney. Im afraid to leave my house and walk 10 minutes into the CBD for fear of being stopped and unnecessarily searched, or being caught up in the protests planned for later today.

Canberra would have been a much more appropriate place to hold such a summit!

Aussies are well known for their humour and for having a go at those who take themselves too seriously. We are we in danger of losing our culture if a few larikins like the Chasers, cant do what Aussies do best.

On top of all that, its my birthday today (Saturday). I dare not venture into the city to a classy restaurant, and harbour "Dinner Cruises" (enjoyed on many previous occasions) are not operating. It looks like im going to be stuck here at home.

Thanks Howard, Thanks Iemma!
You can both wave Goodbye to my vote. I wont let you fence my city and get away with it!!

dragonfrogSeptember 7, 2007 11:15 AM

@Kilo

Actually, the undercover cops in Montebello were the ones inciting people to attack. The uniformed cops stood there waiting for a fight, while union leaders were the ones who stopped the provocateurs from attacking.

Or you could just be a good citizen keep believing what the media tell you. It's easier than taking the five minutes to watch a video.

Ed T.September 7, 2007 11:46 AM

So, does anyone know if the Sydney 11 have been put on a plane to Club G'itmo yet?

Seems like they should be experiencing a bit of "harsh interrogation techniques" Real Soon Now.

~EdT.

EricSeptember 7, 2007 12:06 PM

Maybe we need a new term. What is going on in Sydney isn’t “Security��? or “Security Theatre.��? It is beyond both. Maybe we should call it “Security Opera?��?

Chris SSeptember 7, 2007 3:06 PM

For even more natural security, host the event at Alice Springs. Nothing like a little distance to slow people down.

That's what Canada did for the 2002 G8 summit. It was in Kananaskis, Alberta. According to Wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kananaskis ), it has a population of 429.

The next trick is to hire the local population as part of your security force, since rural populations are really good at detecting intruders.

AlbatrossSeptember 7, 2007 3:34 PM

It's all fun and games until somebody's rights get trampled http://tinyurl.com/yw93qf . A year from now the capital of Minnesota will host the Republican National Convention. Many groups are already preparing: protesters have begun organizing http://tinyurl.com/3cszpo , the local police are polishing their technique http://tinyurl.com/2pdr65 , and sex workers across the metro area are clearing local politicians off their August 2008 calendars in favor of visitors.

While the question of effective versus ineffective security is an interesting academic exercise, yours truly is more concerned with the likely inevitability of his own arrest next summer, and whether or not medical insurance will pay for taser burn treatments... that's when it all gets personal.

David WilfordSeptember 7, 2007 3:38 PM

If they walled off downtown St. Paul, Minnesota during the 2008 Republican convention, would anyone notice?

This is not a rhetorical question.

KanlySeptember 7, 2007 5:02 PM

The NSW Police have been acting like a bunch of thugs ever since APEC was announced. They dragged off a woman Linda Chen who was peacefully holding up a sign about civil rights abuse in China, from where she is a refugee.

The NSW Police Comissioner has been on TV venting venom and bile against the Chaser boys: More embarrassment at having his incompetency shown up.

Security theatre at its worst

hiddenSeptember 7, 2007 5:03 PM

As always the over-the-top measures of those on their power trip is pointless.

Just look at about any airport. If it's to catch so called terrorists, then how come they only harass normal people with some fluid, a too large laptop, a second camera, ... and have not even one terrorist in custody caught at one of these checkpoints.

Unfortunately making fun of those on their power trip will work the other way they'll not get the reaction to tune down their show, but they'll use it as an excuse to do even more over the top idiotic actions.

That'll continue till the rest of us tells them it's been enough with their harassments.

KiloSeptember 7, 2007 10:02 PM

Jim -- you'd have to actually write something before I could guess as to what you were assessing here.

MaxSeptember 8, 2007 2:18 AM

The West is a high trust society. We frown on violations of trust like writing bad checks, for example. People like that are shunned and marginalized. The general high level of trust is the principle reason the West has advanced and functions at a high level.

Trust is easy to violate. Kids try it a few times and outgrow it quickly. It's not a clever thing to do or a smart thing to do. If you don't believe that then try living in a low trust society for a while. Somewhere like tribal Pakistan or some poverty and violence plagued hell hole in Africa.

jamesSeptember 8, 2007 7:20 AM

@ Eric: security opera? I love it.

@ Chris S: I suggested Yalara. Just taking it one step further than the Alice. At least they would have pics with Uluru in the background.

If anyone's interested, here are some of the NSW police snipers. This is on top of the Intercontinental - Where GWB is staying.
http://picasaweb.google.com/...

Terry ClothSeptember 8, 2007 8:15 AM

From the Sydney Morning Herald (first of Bruce's references):

[T]he fake motorcade with bonnet-mounted flags sailed past the checkpoints to drive within metres of the InterContinental hotel

I always love comments of the form ``within X of...'' I'm within metres of the hotel, too. It just happens to be roughly a million of them, but still...

Pat CahalanSeptember 8, 2007 10:30 AM

@ Mike

> Maybe we need a new term. What is going on in Sydney isn’t “Security��? or
> “Security Theatre.��? It is beyond both. Maybe we should call it “Security Opera?��?

Coffee out the nose on that one. Genius.

qSeptember 8, 2007 10:43 AM

@ kilo & dragonfrog
funny thing is, you are both right - you have agent provocateurs now and then, and not only at just this summit in Canada dragonfrog mentioned. And you have militant left activists, who will explain to you that nothing sasy "smach capitalism" quite the way a smashed front of a bank does. Riots have often been the only way to make an antagonism against a summit visible, they can't be denied in the media (as other protest so easily can) and they make clear that it's not about a dialogue with the powerful, but about fundamental dissent, about a perspective beyond capitalism and the state. From the cops perspective, an escalation of a situation at a time of their liking is often preferreble to one at a moment or place chosen by the militants - after the riots on June 2. in Rostock, Germany, the police explicitly wrote that to them, it was advantagues that the whole thing happened near the harbour, and not in the inner city, because of the expected property damage.
Then you have the moderates, who distance themselves from the militants by claiming it was *all* agent provocateurs. Many militants will deny this of course, I could give you examples of those discussions from the aftermath of the last g8 in germany, sadly they are all in german.

But back to the topic: fencing of parts of a city is probaby more expensive than cleaning up the debris after the riots, and remember that we are not talking about a civil war here - we are talking about barricades, plundered shops*, smashed banks, major graffiti ... no such big deal, and usually no danger to the life of any citizens.

Also, think about the political cost you pay by locking down an area and locking out (any) protest.

* If possible, militant activists often use this as an occasion to redistribute property to the neighborhood.

ModeratorSeptember 8, 2007 3:43 PM

>> WTF is wrong with your fkn brains you retards ?

>Kilo -- you fail.

Indeed.

Kilo, feel free to repost your message if you rewrite it without the insults.

Deux-centimesSeptember 8, 2007 8:47 PM

Comments about over-the-top-stupid security possibly miss the point. The police very likely had several objectives in planning the security operation, one of which was to avoid the over-the-top-stupid violence of demonstrations at previous economic summits at Melbourne, Seattle, Genoa, etc.

If this was so, then the security theatre appears to have worked in this case - only 9 arrests and little violence, while still allowing protestors to have their say. Some accusations of excessive police zeal, but basically a quiet time. This means a lot of over-the-top-stupid injury and damage was avoided, so in this respect the operation has to be seen as a success.

JamieSeptember 8, 2007 10:20 PM

@Deux-centimes: While the police were busy cracking skulls and feeling self important, the Chaser boys drove their fake motorcade within the security zone which shows if Al Queda had chosen to attack, they would have done it. This security operation has been a failure. Commissioner Andrew Scipione should have been sacked for incompetence.

Deux-centimesSeptember 9, 2007 3:16 AM

@Jamie.

Violent demonstrations were the most probable events, "Al Queda" [sic] the least probable. They directed their efforts at the most probable events and had a pretty good result. Probably not good for those who wanted to make a big impact in demonstrations, but you can't please everyone.

Vlad the ImpalaSeptember 9, 2007 6:16 AM

What the Chaser guys did was not just funny, they performed a valuable service to Australian taxpayers (like myself). If we're going to spend $165 million dollars, or $250 million according to other sources, we want effective security, not a bunch of clowns disrupting the city of Sydney but barely even inconveniencing terrorists. What we actually got was a joke, security opera of little value. The Chaser should be thanked for exposing that.

The other point is that they've put the lack of terrorist attacks in a completely different light. There were no terrorist attacks on the conference, not because security was so tight that terrorists couldn't get near the place, but because terrorists are so rare. We're clearly over-reacting to a rare threat.

More here:
http://northernplanets.blogspot.com/2007/09/...

Me - a name I call myselfSeptember 9, 2007 10:27 PM

It shouldn't matter that a man dressed as Osama Bin Laden got into the area - what matters is his intent. It may be embarrassing but it certainly wasn't a security breach. The breach was that *ANYONE* got in there who shouldn't have. We regularly see how identity based security is failing.

As for locking down Sydney - There's millions of square miles of desert in this country - why don't they have the summit out there - no protesters, a huge buffer zone, and no inconvenience to non-conference goers. But then, if Howard couldn't move to Canberra to become prime minister, he wouldn't leave Sydney for a mere APEC summit.

Petrified Tree HuggerSeptember 10, 2007 1:16 PM

"I think this reinforces that APEC security has been successful by the mere fact that 11 people have been arrested,"

Ahhh, someone's been drinking the American-security-kewlaid!

AnonymousSeptember 10, 2007 5:09 PM

@me
A real benefit to moving the conference into the middle of the desert --- even if someone does something really nasty to the conference goers with a WMD or two, everyone else will still be safe. And better off for it....

JamieSeptember 10, 2007 7:03 PM

Nicely said @Vlad.

Spin control is now active. The Sydney Morning Herald has a headline that there were 266 complaints to the ABC about the Chaser Prank. The Age says "mixed response" and The Brisbane Time says "Chaser Prank Unfunny"

http://www.smh.com.au/news/tv--radio/...

Yet there were 177 goodonya's to the ABC too, and the ABC said they rarely get positive feedback.

Egg all over their faces but the Premier and Police Commissioner are busy congratulating themselves on an "outstanding job". (The Premier's actual words) Incompetency and self-congratulation hand-in-hand. Wonder how many of those complaints are failed security personel and embarassed cops trying to save face.

grendelkhanSeptember 11, 2007 11:19 AM

I agree with the cop who said that it's not funny. Because it's definitely no laughing matter that their uber-expensive security theater is worth nothing. It's no laughing matter that just about any idiot could waltz by their vaunted security. It's no laughing matter that despite the crew providing a valuable service by exposing flaws in the security system and not exploiting them destructively, they're now in serious hot water.

Not very funny at all, that.

BillSeptember 12, 2007 6:03 PM

I guess suspending "civil liberties" as done in Sydney by the court and police and NOT being in a war zone (unless you accept WMD excusses) are something to joke about.

I guess watching police beat up not one but several peaceful protestors along lines similar to the beating of "Rodney King" in the U.S. is something to just accept.

If this is the case than Not only Sydney but Australia as a whole has some very serious reflection to do if it considers itself a real democracy.

happySeptember 14, 2007 6:13 AM

This article has been around the media a bit http://www.theage.com.au/news/National/...

If its half right it shows APEC security was allabout keeping the peasants away from royalty. Australia has wasted a fortune, not providing security. But nobody will investigate because we don't want to prove that the world is not as scary a place as we are told.

If security for APEC is so important, build a conference centre on Nauru (a pacific island nation who currently aren't APAEc members). Security on an island is so muh easier to manage, even if protestors, terrorists, journalists, whatever can swim. when APEC isn't in session the country might be able to resurect its economy.

Phil BoondiSeptember 17, 2007 6:08 AM

Interesting comments on APEC, Particulary The Chaser team. It has turned out that the APEC organisers complained to the police that their security procedures were slowing down the event - to wit, delagates were arriving late to venues due to security. They were requested to step aside for motorcades. Enter The Chaser team, who were unaware of this development, and voila! Shit sandwich. They got lucky...Given the history of such events,G7,WTO etc, the security was excellent, with few incidents.
I might remind everyone that the Australian Risk Management Standard ASNZS:4360 is recognised as one of the best, if not the best risk management standard in the world.

Freddo FrogOctober 3, 2007 11:37 AM

That is a fairly stupid observation.

Presumably the ASNZS standard must have some qualification which means security is incredibly tight unless whoever is trying to break that security "got lucky" at any point. It is therefore possible to imagine that either this standard was not reached, or it is meaningless anyway. Such a standard really only matters for internal purposes. It is irrelevant to the general public, who are only interested in the outcome.

And overall this is what people have been talking about; the security was, in reality, actually shit and the same time put quite stunning, puzzling, and unnecessary restrictions on the public's usual freedoms.

Also, how can you possibly measure security by counting the raw number of incidents? Why not just anaesthetize the entire, superfluous population for two weeks? Flood a ring around the exclusion zone with gas? Why not dump the population at the city limits and tell them to rack off for a week (and not to come back to the city without a "reasonable excuse")?
Because these are the measures of totalitarian regimes, who of course, often have excellent 'security'.

"Security", therefore, has to be measured by the safety and convenience of people not directly involved in an event too. By that measure the security was atrocious. By the measure of the Chaser Team, the security was atrocious.

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