[LINK] Fyi: nationalsecurity.gov.au

Stilgherrian stil at stilgherrian.com
Mon Apr 6 10:12:21 AEST 2009

On 06/04/2009, at 8:19 AM, Chris Gilbey wrote:
> I was interested to see when visiting this page that it states that  
> the
> current level of alert for Australia is "Medium"
> So does that mean that I need to be "medium" paranoid?
> What if anything does this actually communicate?

It communicates that the government wishes to indicate that it's  
"doing something".

 From http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/agd/WWW/NationalSecurity.nsf/Page/Information_for_Individuals_National_Security_Alert_System_National_Counter-Terrorism_Alert_System 

     While the Alert System may not directly affect your day
     to day life, it is important that you are aware that
     these arrangements exist. All Australian governments
     are committed to ensuring that you can have confidence
     in Australia’s ability to respond to any terrorist risk
     or situation.

In a "real" level-of-alert system, each level of alert has matching  
procedures or activities which are to be followed.

As a hypothetical example, at a Level 1 alert the gate might be  
guarded by two people with small arms who visually inspect ID cards.  
In a Level 2 alert, they might carry automatic weapons and phone  
through the ID card details across-check. In a Level 3 alert, there  
might be six people at the gate, all armed, and the gate will only be  
opened once vehicles have be searched and all occupants patted down.

However levels of alert systems with no matching procedures are purely  
political. Th number of alert levels was increased from 3 to 4 in  
Australia, and 4 to 5 in the US, precisely so governments could "raise  
the alert" and make us more afraid while still having room to  
manoeuvre at the top level -- i.e. things are getting worse, but  
they're not as bad as they could be.


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