Sunday, February 15, 2009

Presidential limo coming with Obama to Ottawa

The media gets all excited by the big auto executives flying about in their corporate jets. Obama not only gets to fly around in a special jet but his limousine also gets flown about too so he can travel by it when he lands. No doubt the limousine is a hybrid that get great gas mileage with its huge weight and armour!
Given the humungous security costs it would seem more in tune with the times to have a friendly secure conference call but then where would all the hoopla and media bytes be and all the photo ops? The circuses must go on but where is the bread? I guess that is supposed to be the stimulus packages.


Presidential limo coming with Obama to Ottawa TheStar.com - Canada - Presidential limo coming with Obama to Ottawa
Security detail: Duty and the beast
February 15, 2009 Richard J. BrennanOTTAWA BUREAU
OTTAWA – When the president and the beast come to town Thursday, the scene will be right out of a Hollywood movie.
There will be a specially made limo – "the beast" – black SUVs, rooftop police snipers, U.S. Secret Service agents talking into their sleeves and bomb-sniffing dogs working overtime.
Behind barricades, thousands of adoring fans will strain to get a glimpse of Barack Obama.
Homeowners and the few businesses along the Colonel By Dr. route, which runs parallel to the Rideau Canal, will be told they can't open their doors or windows when the motorcade goes by. Unlike in the movies, the manhole covers won't be welded shut.
"He is an international superstar and a head of state who will receive the highest level of security," said a senior security source, who asked not to be identified.
Before Air Force One – a specially configured Boeing 747-200B – arrives in Ottawa, the air space will be closed. Restrictions will be in effect around the city, affecting aircraft movements in and around the Ottawa International Airport from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The airport will be closed from 10:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. and then again from 5:10 p.m. to 5:55 p.m., which hints at Obama's arrival and departure times.
During the day, there will be a no-fly radius of 12 nautical miles around Parliament Hill, with a ceiling of 12,500 feet, except for police and military aircraft, regularly scheduled commercial flights, and approved emergency or humanitarian flights.
All this for a man whose popularity around the world is enormous. Unlike the visit to Ottawa in 2004 by president George W. Bush, protesters will be few, if any bother to show up.
Ottawa police will draw on officers from as far away as London, Ont., to help out. Canada's military will provide backup in the event anything unusual occurs during the visit.
"We are well-equipped and well-positioned to handle it, that's for sure," said RCMP Supt. Brendan Heffernan. "There will be a visible heightened security presence in the city without question."
On Parliament Hill, everyone entering Centre Block, with the exception of MPs, will be required to go through metal detectors. As well, reporters who ordinarily cover Parliament will have to carry special credentials.
In a surprise move, however, members of the public are being allowed to gather on the lawn in front of the Parliament buildings.
The trick will be to see Obama as he emerges from "the beast," which was airlifted in for the event. The vehicle was specially developed by GM in Detroit based on a Cadillac chassis. It features bulletproof glass and armoured plating and is hermetically sealed to withstand chemical weapons.
At the airport, Obama will be met by Governor General Michaëlle Jean.
After entering the Centre Block on Parliament Hill, he will be met in the rotunda by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and officials of the House of Commons and Senate.
Obama will meet with Harper and lunch in Senate Speaker Noël Kinsella's dining room. Then Obama and Harper will give a news conference.
Obama will meet the leader of the Official Opposition, Michael Ignatieff, when he returns to the airport.
Even though Obama is on foreign soil, the U.S. Secret Service, known for its zealousness when protecting the president, has been calling the shots on security, sometimes to the irritation of the RCMP, sources say.
"We don't discuss very much when it comes to protection or moving the president," said Secret Service spokesperson Ed Donovan, who denied the agency dictates to local authorities.
Reid Morden, former director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said many Secret Service agents would have been in Ottawa for several days to "suss out the route" and determine the threat level.
"I think where the president of the United States goes, (security) probably doesn't vary terrifically whether he's going to Topeka, Kansas, or Ottawa, Ontario ... these are just the times we live in," Morden said.


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