CHOGM 2011 is the largest ever gathering of world leaders in Australia and will address challenges of food security, sustainable development, climate change, GFC recovery and economic growth. The official theme is Building National Resilience, Building Global Resilience. According to Terry Crane, Director of the CHOGM Taskforce “The only thing left to deliver is the weather”.
Over the previous two years, Western Australia Police have undertaken their largest security operation ever conducted in preparation for Tier 2 Security, supported by the largest private security contingent ever seen in WA assisting Federal agencies with Tier 1 Security. Tier 3 Security, which provides the national intelligence overlay has also been challenged with recent world events and national trends.
Despite Perth’s isolation but booming activity, CHOGM is being held amidst a constantly changing and challenging international, national and state political environment, with each having significant influence over each security tier and associated security operations. The State budget for CHOGM is AU$48 million, with 85 per cent allocated to WA Police and the Federal Government is spending AU$34 million. Revenue injections into WA and nationally has grown from initial estimates of $40 million to now between $80 – $100 Million.
The recent London riots highlighted that civil disruption can erupt and take law enforcement by surprise and the Oslo bombing provided yet another reminder of the danger still posed by the inherent loner with a warped sense of justice. Existing geo-political issues involving a number of the CHOGM members such as India, Pakistan and the Malaysian Solution for asylum seekers are all prominent, emotive issues. In WA, Outlaw Motor Cycle Gangs (OMCGs) will conduct a regional ride through WA and approximately 500 asylum seekers will be moved to Northam’s detention centre, further stretching WA police and their 700 reinforcement contingent.
Added to all this is the revelations, published in the last issue of ASM about radical Islamists on CHOGM protest social media sites. This revelation gained particular attention from local and national authorities as to their potential influence. CHOGM protestors have also confirmed they will not be contained away from the opening ceremony. There are 4 main issues for protest organisers, namely;
1. Aboriginal rights – land rights and sovereignty
2. Mandatory detention of refugees
3. Afghanistan Conflict
4. Renewable energy and anti-nuclear
Mr. Alex Bainbridge, Protest Organiser of a ‘United March on CHOGM’ told ASM “We expect 1,000 protesters, more or less. Our intention is to march from Forest Place, down Murray Street mall, down William Street, along Hay Street south into Milligan Street then along Mounts Bay Road which will take us past the Convention Centre and then to finish up at The Esplanade, near the train lines”….he added “we have spoken to police a number of times but no official approval has been given”. When asked if the protest may become disruptive or violent, Mr. Bainbridge responded “We can’t have responsibility for what individuals do outside of our protest. The protest community in Perth has a long track record of protesting in a way to getting its message across, but peaceful. There is no reason to expect any different.”
When taskforce planners conduct their security risk assessment in the days and hours leading into the event, they will naturally not be restricted to publicly available information. Snippets of open source information suggests a great deal of non-public information should only heighten specific threats and the targeted heads of state. As an example, the Queen’s visit to Ireland earlier in the year experienced three IEDs (improvised explosive devices) being placed on buses, in addition to over fifty or so personal threats Her Majesty is subject to at any one time.
ASIO Director General Mr. David Irvine confirmed publicly last month “ Currently ASIO has quite a large number of investigations going on into Australians, mostly Australians, who are toying with the ideology of extremism and could at any point tip over into extremist acts.”
Such extremism was experienced in May this year with letters sent to media outlets threatening attacks at Melbourne airports and provided explicit information as to the weapons to have been used in the attack…
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