Open mouth, insert foot: Security theater exposed by street theater

From what I’ve read, it seem s that the Chaser team got through at least one, possibly two, checkpoints, before they decided that the joke had gone far enough, turned around, and started to leave the secure area. It was only at this point that police realised something was amiss, and in an attempt not to look completely useless, immediately arrested everyone in sight.

I’m not really surprised that 170+ million in security spending buys you guards who wave through any car that looks vaguely expensive and has a $2 flag flying on the hood. Security theater is more and more often replacing real security these days – I’d have been more surprised if there were any actual security involved.

I’m not really surprised that everyone would be arrested – no-one responds well to being exposed as foolish, especially people in supposed authority positions. I am a little surprised that they’ve apparently been let out – why did our parliament have to pass special laws enabling people to be locked up without charge for the duration of APEC if we’re not going to use them even on people who’ve demonstrated they can bypass the security system at will?

What does surprise me is some of the stupid, stupid things that some of our top police have been willing to say in front of the press.

Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said he was furious at the stunt which could have had the comedians shot by snipers.

“The snipers are there for a reason . . . Clearly they are there because they mean business. They’re not there for show.”

(taken from news.com.au)

Wow. The Police Commissioner is admitting that he’s put on our rooftops snipers so poorly trained they might shoot any random person who happens to be within the restricted area and being shown some attention by police.

Did I mention that I’m glad I’m in Brisbane?

From the ABC, this gem:

New South Wales Police Minister David Campbell says …

“This is the most significant security event in Australia’s history. It’s the most significant, international, diplomatic event in Australia’s history and therefore is extremely serious.

Yep. More significant than random indian doctors trying to visit their wives; more significant than bombs going off in bins outside Hiltons – yep, a crew of comedians being waved through checkpoints on the basis of a $2 flag on the bonnet of their car ranks right up their with September 11 and the London Underground bombings.

My favorite statement has to be this, a little further down the page:

Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer says The Chaser team were not going to harm anybody and the arrests are proof the security measures are working.

Firstly, I think Mr Downer’s people need to have a chat with Mr Campbell’s people – one of them is saying that this is the most significant security event in Australia’s history, the other is saying that “they weren’t going to harm anybody”. Pick one, any one, but please try to be consistent.

Secondly – how can anyone think that security measure are “working” when the police only notice something wrong becuase the Chaser guys decided they’d gone far enough and voluntarily turned back? It’s a good thing they really were harmless..

Just in case you had any doubt that the security was anything other than security theater, here’s Mr Campbell again, from the same ABC link again:

“The Government has made the point time and time again that we’ve got the most serious, the biggest security operation in Australia’s history…. and it needs to be taken seriously.”

That’s right – it doesn’t have to work, it doesn’t have to be effective – it just needs for all of us to pretend that it’s working.

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