If you haven't been to Sydney for a few years, and you're familiar with Communist-era East Germany, you will be shocked at what you see if you happen to be in town come September.
September is, of course, the month that central Sydney is turned over to 21 of the world's most powerful regimists, dictators, Communists, war makers and mega-capitalists. In short, 21 of the world's most powerful leaders.
Sydneysiders will be greeted by police and soldiers sporting machine guns, checkpoints, sniper nests, random full body searches and special badges that restrict the movement of people through the centre of the city where the APEC summit is being held.
Although the State government denies it, the APEC summit is also the reason why light poles and traffic lights in 40 locations around Sydney are now being fitted with large speaker systems, just like in the China of Chairman Mao, from which messages of warning, instruction, control, conformity and behaviour modification can be blasted, thrummed and inaudibly toned.
APEC is the reason the speaker systems are going up, but "unspecified emergencies" is the reason why they will still be there, long after the world leaders have gone home.
First you will hear a wailing siren, then you will hear the messages telling you what to do, where to turn, where to hide, in the case of an "attack", straight from Police Central.
Are we living in Israel now? Is Newcastle or Wollongong about to start launching homemade rockets into our suburbs?
Less detail is know about the 'Text Message Boards', which will also spring up in time for APEC, and will allow police, or Chairman Iemma, to relay glowing, flashing instructions to the people of Sydney from a mobile phone.
Tied in with all this is the fact that the public and private surveillance cameras, red light cameras and traffic cameras are now being united into a combined surveillance system stretching the length and breadth of Sydney and its suburbs.
Terrorism is the excuse. The mega-billion dollar security industry is the reality.
All of the above also gels nicely with extraordinary new super police powers :
Privacy Is An Illusion.
Police and security agencies will be given unprecedented "sneak and peek" powers to search the homes and computers of suspects without their knowledge under legislation to go before Federal Parliament next week.
The extensive powers - which also give federal police the right to monitor communications equipment without an interceptions warrant - come amid growing public disquiet about counter-terrorism powers following the bungled handling of the Mohamed Haneef case.
Under the laws, officers from the federal police and other agencies would be able to execute "delayed notification warrants", allowing them to undertake searches, seize equipment and plant listening devices in businesses and homes.
Police and security officers will be able to assume false identities to gain entry and conduct the surreptitious searches.
But the person affected by the raid does not have to be informed for at least six months, and can remain in the dark for 18 months if the warrant is rolled over.
The Greens senator Kerry Nettle said the handling of Dr Haneef's case served as a reminder that law enforcement and intelligence agencies made mistakes, and already had extensive and intrusive powers.
"Given the Haneef debacle, now is not the time to be giving more powers to the Australian Federal Police," she said.
The bill also deals with "controlled operations" - undercover operations where federal agents are permitted to undertake criminal activity in order to further their investigations.
'Mobile Prisons' Readied For APEC Summit
APEC To Cost A Staggering $24 Million Per Day For Security - Sydneysiders To "Leave Town" During Summit
Detentions Without Charge, Random Body Searches, Machine-Gun Armed Soldiers To Hit The Streets Of Sydney