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Missiles 'necessary' at Olympic Games -

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Missiles 'necessary' at Olympic Games

The World Today - Wednesday, 25 June , 2008 12:35:00

Reporter: Karen Barlow

TANYA NOLAN: Surface to air missile launchers are not the friendliest Olympic welcome, but a
Beijing Games security adviser says they are very necessary.

A camouflaged military compound - with a battery of missile launchers - has been set up close to
the main Olympic venues, including the birds nest stadium.

Similar security measures were used at Sydney and Athens and games organisers are expecting that
anti-Chinese demonstrators will try and disrupt events.

Olympics reporter Karen Barlow.

KAREN BARLOW: Just south of the Olympic venue for soccer and modern pentathlon is no go area.

A two metre high barbed wire fence keeps onlookers out of a military compound - inside dozens of
Chinese soldiers are exercising next to large vehicles and hardware.

Everything is camouflaged but on the ground it is easy to spot the Hongqi-7 missile launchers -
they are in place to knock threatening aircraft out of the sky.

NEIL FERGUS: Look unfortunately and it goes back to '96 in Atlanta, there has to be an aviation or
airspace protection plan.

KAREN BARLOW: Neil Fergus is an Australian security consultant to the Beijing Games.

He was also a consultant at the Sydney, Salt Lake City and Athens Games and has been working on the
London Games.

NEIL FERGUS: It is exactly the same precepts for what we did for the APEC leaders meeting in Sydney
where there was restricted airspace over the Opera House.

We go back to Atlanta and that was the first time that F16s actually circling in the sky over the
Opening Ceremony. Sydney we did something similar but it really reached a particular I suppose a
crescendo after 9/11 and of course the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics occurred just three months
after that horrific event.

So it is fairly complicated process but it does involve ultimately the possibility of extreme
action being taken against any aviation interloper that is coming into the airspace.

KAREN BARLOW: There could be mistakes though as well?

NEIL FERGUS: Well having worked on these systems now for three events, there are all sorts of
checks and fail-safe systems that are built in. Look 100 per cent guarantee; I don't think anyone
could ever give that.

KAREN BARLOW: Neil Fergus says al-Qaeda is a credible threat to the games through the China based
group called the East Turkistan Islamic Movement or ETIM.

Six weeks out form the Games, he says security preparations are going very well, particularly the
domestic stages of the Olympic torch relay, but he says there may be problems as the torch nears
the Opening Ceremony.

NEIL FERGUS: Yeah, crowd crush is going to be an issue. I mean, I think from memory four days of
the torch running around municipal Beijing and the crowds are going to be huge.

It is going to be quite spectacular with some very famous runners predominantly Chinese sports
stars and Olympians but also a few others, including at least one Australian will be running the
torch in Beijing and I think people who are arrived in time to see part of that should enjoy the
moment, but should be careful about the crowds and whether they get caught up in it all.

KAREN BARLOW: How do you balance out the security with what the fans and the athletes want?

NEIL FERGUS: Well it is tightrope to walk. I think at the moment it still remains to be seen
whether the balance is got right. There are efforts being made. General Ma who is running the
public security or policing operation for it, is acutely conscious of that and a great deal of
effort has gone into training over 50,000 Beijing public security bureau officers in how to deal
with foreigners, learn some basic English.

But you know, I think that it would be somewhat idealistic to think it will go seamlessly and
without a problem. But at the same time I think that an event of this magnitude it is reasonable to
expect there are a few glitches along the way.

TANYA NOLAN: That is Beijing Games security consultant Neil Fergus with Karen Barlow.