Sunday, September 09, 2007

APEC Security in Action

Photo: Police arrest Greg McLeay

Popping out of the office to have yum cha can be a dangerous business in APEC Sydney. In the words of Mrs McLeay:

"The children are traumatised. We spent the night sleeping together on the sofa. How does walking to yum cha with your 11-year-old son end up with 22-hours in jail and no access to a lawyer?"

You will find the story here. I begin to think that I was very lucky not to get arrested when I approached the police to find out what the reason for delay was, how to get home.

It appears that Mr McLeay was not the only one to strike trouble with APEC security.

According to Laurie Oakes, Opposition Leader Rudd almost did not make it to the Opera House lunch for Russian president Vladimir Putin at which he was to support Mr Howard’s speech of welcome.

Mr Oakes reports that Mr Rudd's Commonwealth car was turned back at three entry points to the secure zone, even though he and all members of his party — including the driver — had appropriate passes.

The Labor leader was told his car could not get past the checkpoints because it was not part of a motorcade!

Eventually Mr Rudd got out, walked through a check point, and set off on foot along Macquarie Street. Realising that he had no hope of getting to the lunch on time that way, Mr Rudd finally got a lift from friendly Sydney cop.

I cannot comment on the detail of these cases because I do not know all the facts. I in response to a ninemsn on-line question "Are police being too harsh on APEC protestors?", the no vote is presently 25,982 to a yes vote of 14,481.

I wonder what the response would be to an alternative question, "Are the APEC security precautions over the top?" I would like to think that the majority of Australians would answer yes. If not, we have a problem in that we are accepting what has happened as a new benchmark for appropriate security enforcement action.


Never let it be said that Australians lack a sense of humour. Cartoonists and photographers both have been having a field day.

I goggled at one photo and then roared with laughter. As youngest said, only the Chasers would go into enough detail in their stunt to have a car with the number plate MUFTI!

Postscript two

I see that Neil has put up a post on this issue. Now I know that Neil does not like Miranda, and I also find some of her comments objectionable, but the fact that this (the arrest of Greg McLeay) happened to one of her close friends means that the matter will get continuing coverage.

This may be unfair in regard to others who do not have the same linkages, the German tourist who had his film siezed comes to mind, but it is important in providing protection for the rest of us. And we do need this.

Postscript three

I had not intended to add such a fast third postscript, but I was struck by the traffic patterns on this blog. Of the last twenty search engine referrals, 14 have been searches on Greg McLeay. I haven't seen this before with quite this intensity. This topic is hot!

Postscript four

This unbelievable. While the blogosphere has yet to really pick the matter up, I have been refreshing the vistor page every few minutes. Hit after hit on Greg McLeay. Today's traffic is already the highest this week. I am trying to cook lunch. I will check again in a little while.


Anonymous said...

It seems we were both struck by this story.

Jim Belshaw said...

Yes indeed. I did not realise the Miranda connection until I clicked through your link. This story has the potential to run and run. As indeed it should.

Anonymous said...

We are failing as a community to provide proepr guidelines to the police. The reality is that the police believe they have the green light lock down things to such an extent. Fences, water canons (how many times is that going to get used compared to expense), speical designed to circumnavigate our legal rights.

In the case of Greg Mcleay police attempted to deny him bail, we can all see exactly what happened yet the police try and justify it by attempting to make it more serious .

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you, anon. The approach adopted to things such as the APEC meeting is set by the powers that be.

In this context, a story in the SMH reported:

But Andrew Scipione, the new Chief Commissioner, said tactics were clearly defined and practised. "That's the way that we do business in NSW now."

I found this chilling. I am sure that Mr Scipione does not recognise that that's just my point. I do not like the way that we do business in NSW now. Only the Government can change this.

Jim Belshaw

Anonymous said...

Eventually a different truth.

Too many people are ready to bag the police because it's easy and it's cool.

How is this for another side of the story.
I found this posted on the following forum.

I saw this event happen firsthand. Start to finish. (well, not including the underground bit). Even came back to the office afterwards and was telling it to people, as this was the most exciting thing to happen on a very very slow day.

I was downstairs having a smoke (working on a public holiday type thing).

Saw the police cars drive up and block the street. Cops around, one in the middle of the road blocking traffic. Pitt St, just near Martin Place. More cops on the sidewalk stopping people walking past on both sides of the road. Maybe 10-20 people total, waiting on both sides of the road. Lots of guys in dark suits with earpieces near the driveway to the hotel.

Anyway, I'm leaning on the wall having a smoke when this starts to occur, shooting the sh1t with a hotel security guard. Motorcade comes along.

Then we see the guy in question, he's walking on the far side of the road towards the motorcade (approx 100m away and closing slowly).

Cops say to stop, the people around him do so (later to learn his kid and someone else). He walks around the cop like you'd walk around someone handing you a flyer. Cop turns and goes 'sir, sir!' and moves after him.

Cop stops him and says something to him. Dude gesticulates wildly, and says something. then turns at like 90degrees and walks diagonally across the street deliberately. Cop is stunned for a half sec, then moves really quickly after him 'Sir , Sir' grabs the guys arm, and not quite forcefully walk him to the other side.

Dude is yelling take your hands off me or something. Cop walks him into like a little alcove. Another cop comes over. Lots of cops standing around a little way away watching both him and the motorcade.

Cop is giving the dude a lecture. Dude is firey and answering back. No one else has moved.
A senior cop comes over. Asks the dude for his ID. Things seem to quieten down (Security guard and I have moved around, the pylon so we can still see. Maybe 15m, away).

First cop is still giving a lecture, I hear things like APEC and whatnot. Dude is clearly not happy, but looks under control. Motorcade comes and goes. People allowed to move. Kid and some other guy comes over and start watching from maybe 5m.

Dude seems to fire up again, waving his arms. Senior cop is talking now, I clearly hear him say 'Calm down'
All of a sudden Dude double handed pushes the first cop in the chest, like a shove before a bar fight. This changes everything.

First cop arm grabs the dude, turns him, armlock, bangs him up against the wall, not particularly hard, but it's not like the dude had a choice. Lots of yelling now. Cop goes 'right, that's it. Your under arrest'
Dude tries to kick out backwards. Cop and 2nd cop spin him round a half push half wrestle him to the ground. Cops are coming from everywhere now. Now it's a pile on. Maybe 6-8 cops piled on this dude, as he yells his guts out.

People start to gather, dude with a camera is right there, like a metre from the pile on. They pick dude up and start to walk him away.
Some angry cop comes from the pack and starts yelling at people to move away, he wasn't mucking around , I got out of there.

This dude fully brought it on himself, I'm no real fan of the cops (thanks to being done speeding at 5.20am on the way to work), but they handled this well considering the tension in the air around APEC.

Dude came across like a arrogant dick 'No politician motorcade is going to get in MY way' type of thing. I do feel sorry for his kid though, saw a whole bunch of cops jump on his old man then frogmarch him away. I read the news article just this morning, and am struck by the differences in what 'happened', and what I saw.

Jim Belshaw said...

Thanks, Anon, for providing a different perspective. Will provide a proper response later.
Jim Belshaw

Anonymous said...

No comments Jim??... interseting when the truth comes out hey... He was a twit and deserved everything he got.... not news worthy the truth is it????.... Miranda has some interesting friends...

Jim Belshaw said...

Unfortunately, anon 2, my internet connection has been down for 48 hours. I have not been able to post, although I was able to put up two comments from another computer at worl. But I cannot post from there. I will respond in a formal post tonight.

Anonymous said...

Still no comment Jim... Gee your computer must really be down hey... Funny how there is no life in this storey when the truth comes out. This guy has a long criminal history for assault matters and was NOT arrested for J walking... He WAS arrested after assaulting a policeman who was just trying to do his job. If he wasnt such an arrogant A_Hole he would have walked on to have his lunch... but he assaulted a policeman, in front of his son (Nice lesson that one) and he suffered the consequences... bad luck buddy.. you deserved it!!

Jim Belshaw said...

Anon 2, I did not know whether to delete your post or not. I thought that it left you and perhaps me open to lefal action.

In the end, I have left it stand for the moment because I do want to encourage discussion and censorship is against the policy of this blog.

I said in my response to you that I would put up a post. And indeed I have done so -

You may not agree with my argument. Feel free to comment.

Anonymous said...

At least you replied jim... What possible legal action could be taken. We are commenting on a blog thats all. The Australian Newspaper printed this article.,25197,22397434-5006784,00.html

About McLeay and his shady past on the 11 September... all the info is there. Hmmm once you join the dots... an interesting picture is being painted... NO? Poor Mr.McLeay..Thanks for your interesting reply. Glad your computer is fixed...

Jim Belshaw said...

Thanks, Anon. On the legal point, a blog is a publication and is subject to the same legal strictures as any other publication. I don't have the references with me, but there have now been a number of actions against blogs. See, for example,

You did not source your statement: "This guy has a long criminal history for assault matters." On the surface, this statement seemed potentially defamatory. Having now read the Australian article, thanks for the link, I am not sure that the article actually supports it.

An interesting feature of the Australian article is its very careful wording. I would almost bet you London to a brick that they had their lawyers cast an eye over it before publication.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link.. Dont worry Jim. I have many sources ;) that support me.... And I am not concerned in the slightest... we will see hey... :) ha ha ha...

Anonymous said...

side-walk? what's that?
must be from a US Agent

Jim Belshaw said...

Latest anon. It took me a while to find the side walk reference. At first, I thought that I must have used it and was wondering why.Then I found it in the comment.

I would love to think that this blog had become so influential that it warranted a salted story! And from a US agent. Seems unlikely though.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jim. I just watched the channel 9 video on youtube and had a look to find what the result was. Your blog came up high in the results but Im yet to find the final answer. Funny enough, I immediately thought anons story sounded like a policeman's report. They often use sidewalk rather than footpath in reports and the amount of detail and way it was placed screams cop, exactly like a police accident report. As your blog was one of the highest articles on this incident in a google search I have no trouble believing police would post comment to make their case anonymously. Without hesitation I laughed to myself and said, oh, a police statement. My father was an ex CIB detective and was set up by other corrupt police who were supposed to be his freinds because he wouldnt take cash from their rackets. It took 7 years for him too be cleared and the corrupt police to be jailed. I never put anything past someone with police powers.

Jim Belshaw said...

H Anon, Interesting comment. I am not sure what the final outcome was. Like you, I went searching, but coud not find it.

I feel for you re your father. The comment could have come from a policeman, no way of knowing now, although I suppose I could possibly have checked it at the time by looking at the ISP address.

The climate was very heated at the time.