Saturday, 9 January 2010

Another Australian report casting doubt over CWG security

International security consultant Lloyd Bromfield, who has had 10 years' experience at the Sydney, Athens and Beijing Olympic games and who will work on the London Olympics in 2012, said he was alarmed by New Delhi's lack of preparation.

(Click here to read Commonwealth Games Federation's response)

The concerns have been supported by Australian terror expert Prof Clive Williams, who has described the Indians' approach to security as "a bit lackadaisical". Mr Bromfield said he had spoken out about his concerns because it did not sit well on his "conscience" and he feared the worst for athletes if they went to in India.

"Worst-case scenario could be a major bombing," he said. "It could be a Mumbai-style MO where you have a team of Osamas running around with hand grenades and small arms. It could be anything.

"While I wouldn't suggest it would be an airplane into a stadium, you've got to consider everything because these people have the capability, they have the intent, the motivation.

"They are not crazies; they are well-trained, highly disciplined operatives willing to die for their cause. How do you stop that? You can't.

"That's the environment. I've thought about it for a long time, I've discussed it with colleagues and we all feel the same. I've been talking to sports managers who say they are getting close to saying something (to their athletes) as a conscience thing.

"I'm not saying don't go, but ... somebody has to say something."

Triple Olympian marathon runner Lee Troop said he planned to go to the Games, but some team mates could pull out.

"I'm sure there are going to be some athletes who have probably decided they are not going to go because they feel like it's probably not going to be safe," Troop said.

He said he was 90 per cent sure he would go, but would follow official recommendations.

"At this stage I'd still like to go and I've always had my hand up, but that's not to say if July or August rolls around that I could (not) potentially change my mind or opinion based on other factors that may arise."

Kookaburras star Jamie Dwyer said he felt security "over there" was "not very comforting".

Tennis star Lleyton Hewitt has indicated he is unlikely to go, stating his regular schedule will clash with the Games.

Mr Bromfield said he negotiated with Indian authorities in planning security for the Games, but withdrew his proposal because he was concerned by the potential terror chaos that could occur because of lack of organisation within the ranks of Indian officials.

Security for the Games has been under added scrutiny since 2008's terrorist strikes in Mumbai and the attack last March on Sri Lanka's cricket team while touring Pakistan.

The Australian Federal Police is reportedly planning to send two or more officers to provide security assistance for the 400-plus Australian athletes expected to attend, but Prof Williams thought there should be more.

"My point is maybe we should consider some of our AFP people- people from the Operational Response Group - along with them," he said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Travel Advice for India notes "the high risk of terrorist activity by militant groups".

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