27 July 2004.
James Atkinson calls upon Kerry and Edwards to tear down the protestors' pen:
26 July 2004.
James Atkinson writes 26 Jul 2004 15:51:07 -0400:
Yahoo has just restored access to the TSCM-L list. They are refusing to tell me why they muzzled it in the first place, but given that Yahoo has been all over my website today I suspect they realized that the governments attempt to muzzle me backfired.
James also reports on the protesters' pen -- the "Free Speech Zone":
No building permit was obtained for the enclosure and it lacks an occupancy certificate for a place of public assembly required by law. There are insufficient exits, the fence netting is made of flammable materials and there are no fire extinguishers. The pen is unsafe should not be used willingly by the public. It should be preserved as a historic landmark to Boston's loss of liberty in the name of illusory security.
25 July 2004. DNC, government security and Yahoo try to muzzle James Atkinson:
25 July 2004. James Atkinson answers a reader's questions:
At 12:42 AM 7/25/2004, A wrote:
A: I would like to make some comments and ask some questions about your recent essay on Cryptome about the security at the DNC in Boston. First of all, I would like to thank you for the extensive essay and photographs that you provided. I was a bit shocked at what I saw, or perhaps, what I did not see. What I am curious about, though, is whether or not there were plans to put in the proper cables and straps to link the Jersey barriers shown in your photos that were not anchored to each other.
JA: There was no provisions made to link the Jersey barriers together, and as of 9 PM tonight there were no cables in place or staking pins used. There was plenty of time to do this in the past, there is not time now.
The security fencing they are setting up has similar problems as you need to both pin them together AND attach an "integrity cable" to the tops (none of this has been done).
Also, the base of these fences are designed so that first you put down the panels, then put in the pins and chain, then set down Jersey barriers on the "foot" of the fence. Failing to do this will allow protesters to scale the fence and use their body-weight to pull the fence over.
A: It is hard for me to tell when those photos were taken. Could there have been enough time between the time that you took those photos and now (with the security zone around the Fleet Center now in place).
JA: Some pics were taken on 7/16, some between 7/19 and 7/23, and a few (not yet published) taken 7/24.
A: Also, I note with interest your essay and photos about the HVAC system. Now, with the security zone buttoned-up around the Fleet Center, could there be a chance for them to do a sweep of the HVAC system now that the public and unauthorized people are excluded? Perhaps with bomb-sniffing dogs and other tools?
JA: Such a sweep would be useless as the hostile substance would have already been blown around the ventilation system for two weeks. You have to create a sterile corridor at least 3-4 weeks in advance, NOT 48 hours. During this 3-4 weeks you can lockdown the area in a more effective manner, but you simply can not do it in 2 days.
A: I have also noticed in the Boston Globe (www.boston.com) that they are planning to block access to the Fleet Center using large dump trucks filled with dirt. Could this tactic alone alleviate any issues regarding the Jersey barriers? Could the Jersey barriers be only for temporary protection until the emplacement of the dump trucks, which would be impossible to move aside with any vehicle that is smaller than a fully loaded dump truck?
JA: They are light-duty dump trucks used to haul salt for the city. When fully loaded the trucks generally weigh less then 25,000 lbs. Given that the dump trucks are positioned with the engine closest to the sidewalk, and the tail of the truck hanging across the center of the road they actually provide little security. This is a simple case of barrier mechanics, with the back of the barrier vehicle being the most easiest to push out of the way.
The requirement is that the "battering ram" or breaching vehicle weigh at least a fourth or more the weight of the vehicle to be knocked out of the way. Then it is only a case of correctly aiming the attacking vehicle straight-on and at a high enough speed to "bounce" the barrier vehicle out of the way.
A 20- or 24-foot-long U-Haul truck filled with drums of water driven at a speed of 30-50+ MPH could easily bounce one of the dump trucks out of the way with no problem. You could also "bounce" the dump truck with a Chevrolet Suburban, but the driver would need to impact the dump truck at a speed of at least 40-45 MPH, and 55-60 MPH would be ideal.
The proper dump trucks to use would be ones much large, and much heavier, with 20 times the load of the ones they are using now. The key is the number of axles on the back of the dump truck, so in this application you would need three axles in back.
23 July 2004. James Atkinson writes:
I spent a few more hours out at the DNC location, and noticed the following.
First, there are a few more uniformed police officers present today (I counted four), plus a half dozen plain clothes sitting around trying really hard to be undercover, and invisible. It's rather funny as their observation points were poorly selected, but i guess they could have just been practicing..
Much of the fencing that was across the front of the Pavillion was been taken down, but someone visiting the area can just walk into the pavilion and wander around. No security present.
The Verizon trailers and trucks scattered around the building are not secure in any way, the door(s) were either propped open and unoccupied, or the doors were unlocked. NO security around these communications facility.
The HVAC systems are still insecure, the access hatches still are not locked down, and the area is easily accessible by anyone who cares to open and play with them. No security, nothing to keep someone from sabotaging the units, and contaminating the units with a nerve agent, of biotoxin like anthrax, etc.
Zero access covers on the streets and sidewalks have been secured, zero sewer grates have been welded or secured, and I could not find even one manhole cover that had been secured. No security, major liability.
While there has been juggling of the jersey barriers over the past few days in the area, the problem has just gotten worse as many jersey barriers have been clustered together, but have not been anchored, or interconnect. Also, quite a number of the new placements are not solidly on the ground, and could be easily twisted out of the way by 3-4 college students. A number of gaping holes has also been created around the Tip O'Neill building that are wide enough to drive a really large truck through (if someone wanted to park a semi truck or Ryder truck in the steps of the Federal building). Also, no visible security other that a small number of really poor quality video cameras and speed domes. No visible FRP weenies outside the Federal building, nor the surrounding area.... Walmart has better security at one of their stores, then this convention has.
The "Free Speech Zone" is a joke, and it nothing more than a way to intimidate protesters and to keep them locked up and out of site in what is best referred to as "an Ashcoft Monkey Cage". The "zone" is poorly designed, poorly built, and serves no legitimate purpose from a security perspective. The fence posts are not anchored into the Jersey Barriers, and the fence fabric is so poorly attached to the poles that it can be easily torn off. Also, the fence posts can be very simply broken free of the fence fabric due to the small number of poorly installed soft aluminum staples/wires. This would give the protester a very heavy steel pole that can be used as a lethal weapon, a battering ram, and to cause a huge amount of damage. If protesters are not allowed to protest they tend to become violent, and go on a riot, with the Fleet Center being the likely focal point of any riot.
The security arrangements for the convention are screwed up really, really badly and it presents a very grave situation. Instead of implementing effective security measures the government has opted for gadgets and gimmicks, pork barrel projects, and press releases about the government is trying to look busy, but is not really doing anything to protect the public. Hopefully they remembered to buy extra body bags as they may need them.
It's too bad that the government really doesn't care... and that they are just giving the DNC security lip service.
19 July 2004. Other comments on Fleet Center insecurity by James Atkinson:
18 July 2004
A report from James Atkinson, Granite Island Group, on what's wrong with security at the Democratic National Convention at Fleet Center, Boston, MA, based on a survey of the facilities. Photos were taken recently during an unencumbered tour of the facilities and area.
1. Single security official on duty.
2. Inept security barrier installation.
3. Unprotected Media Pavillion adjoining Fleet Center.
4. Unprotected Media Pavillion ventilation system.
5. Unprotected telephone installation trailer.
6. Unprotected Fleet Center.
7. Unprotected temporary tents.
8. Insecure manholes.
9. Other vulnerabilities.
See Eyeballing the Fleet Center Boston: http://cryptome.org/fleet-eyeball.htm
Fleet Center web site:
Traffic Information for the Democratic National Convention
The Democratic National Convention is coming to Boston and the FleetCenter from July 26-29. This is the first national political convention to take place since the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the United States Department of Homeland Security has declared it to be a National Special Security Event. Accordingly, a number of road and lane closures will take place from Monday, July 26th through Friday, July 30th that will have a major impact on traffic in the region. Please click here to download a detailed version of all the transportation restrictions or for information specifically for businesses and residents in the Bulfinch Triangle area. For continually updated information, please visit www.boston04.com, the official website of the Convention Host Committee.
Construction photos of the pavillion in June 2004 (located at Future Development in map above).
This first series of images is that of a "dark sedan, with tinted windows, and kept just a little too clean",which was illegally parked in a handicap spot. The Placard in the dash identified the vehicle as belonging to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security", with the second line of the placard reading "U.S. Secret Service". The antenna on the rear of the vehicle, and quasi-covert blue strobes indicates the vehicle is likely that of someone responsible for the (in)security of the area. The driver of the car made several trips between the bar were it was parked, and when he finally left he appeared to be somewhat impaired, and was driving erratically, almost running down three pedestrians in a crosswalk. As the license plate number is clear in these picture is should be easy to track him down and explain to him about illegal parking and drunk driving. The vehicle was also emitting signals created by a GPS tracker/beacon which indicates the vehicle is likely bugged.
The "Jersey Barriers" and barricades that have been erected around these areas are a complete joke, and serve no purpose than to give people a place to sit while eating lunch. The barriers are scattered in an extremely haphazard arrangement, and are not effective as a security measure against anything larger than a Toyota Echo driven by a drunk freshman. The have not been staked down with heavy steel bars about 5-6 ft long. Also, most of the barriers lack the "J-hooks" that lock the barriers together, and then extends into the ground. Also, these Jersey barriers also have to be bound together with either grade 80 or 100 3/8-inch chains, or three strands of 3/8-inch steel cable.
The barriers are in extremely poor conditions, are not properly installed, and provide nothing more than an illusion of security. Anybody with even a small pickup truck could push several out of the way. Anyone with a larger truck (i.e., a 24-ft Ryder Truck) would have no problem slamming into these barriers, knocking them out of the way, and engaging in a nefarious action.
In these first few images we see gates that are unlocked, and being that there is no security (or anybody else in the area) someone with nefarious intentions could easily enter the building and wreak all kinds of havoc, or leave something to provide a dramatic incident during the convention. Note the gate that is unlocked, and the chains just hanging there. Other construction areas are equally un-protected, and the security people are just, well... missing. Sadly, the local Walmart Store has better security that this.
These modular generator and ventilation systems are extremely dangerous to use as the intakes are not protected, and the access doors into the system are not secure. This means that, currently, anybody could open and sabotage any of these systems. A biologic or radiological agent could be inserted here as such the system would ensure it is well distributed thoughout the complex very quickly. Also, due to the noise, strong smells, and vibration present in these modules someone with nefarious intentions could plant a fairly large (hundreds of pounds) infernal device. Note that these access panels are completely exposed and not protected, they are not blocked by a fence, and there is no police officer nor security people near any of them.
There are several of these Verizon special event communication trailer, and as you will no doubt notice there are no police or security people anywhere near it. Both the door, and the access panels are unlocked. Also, notice that the fence are not properly secured to the trailer, and that someone could easily slip between the trailer and the fence and gain full, unrestricted access to the DNC areas for hours at a time. These communications trailers are a major vulnerability as any damage to these during the DNC would cripple security and logistics (in the event of a security anomaly). Look carefully at the pictures and you may see a DNCC Security pass laying on the ground nearby (evidence of a clumsy workman). If someone were to pickup this security pass they could really cause some mayhem.
These photos show vulnerabilities of Fleet Center due to contruction, almost no security personnel and free access to the facility.
These photos show a temporary tents being provided which are unprotected during installation.
These photos show unsecured manholes, access panels and grates around Fleet Center. One appears to have been welded shut at one time, but was since re-opened to access the manhole. None of these grates and covers have been secured, and you really can not secure the cover until the area below it has been deemed safe. As this has not been done and the covers have not been secured there was no security concerning these underground areas. It would be EXTREMELY easy for someone to hide hundreds, if not thousands of pounds of explosives of chemical weapons in these unsecured areas at the DNC.
Even if all of these areas were secure and the covers tack-welded shut the hammer at lower right can easily break tack-welds.
These photos show other vulnerabilities:
Upper left -- unprotected VIP parking.
Upper right -- unprotected parking below the facility command center.
Middle left -- uninspected taxis adjacent to Fleet Center.
Middle right -- uninspected large backpacks in and around the facility.
Lower left -- unprotected access to upper level of causeway adjoining Fleet Center.
Lower right -- unprotected access to area below causeway adjoining Fleet Center.
The VIP parking areas are completely void of anything remotely resembling security, and, sadly, the area is directly below the security office at the Fleet center/DNCC. This very sensitive area could be easily destroyed by someone driving a car bomb into this parking area and taking out at least a fourth of the building. In fact someone driving a Hummer, Suburban, or other large SUV filled with explosives would easily collapse the building and cause thousands of casualties. Note that there are no security people present in this area, nor cops, nor FPS, and not anything but a void.
People carrying very large, heavy backpacks were walking around and though the unsecured DNCC areas, and sadly the security and cops were simply absent. Any of these people could have easily slipped something nefarious into the hundreds of unsecured area in and around the DNC. They were not being challenged or questioned by the Police as there simply were none present, nor was there anything resembling a security force protecting the preparations for this extremely high profile event.
All photos Copyright 2004, Granite Island Group, All Rights Reserved.