plot to blow up dam! must read.

  1. dub
    29,583 Posts.
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    'Plot' to blow up dam
    By Hedley Thomas
    January 22, 2003

    A MAJOR police operation has begun into the discovery of a suspected plot to blow up Wivenhoe Dam west of Brisbane with plastic explosives.

    A sketch of the dam in the Brisbane Valley is being scientifically tested for clues to a possible terrorist plot after it's discovery by the side of a road yestery.

    A five-hour search by police and emergency service workers of the dam's wall today had so far failed to find anything suspicious, a police spokeswoman said.

    A taskforce of detectives, forensic specialists and Security Intelligence Branch officers has begun preparing a threat assessment and is examining a number of items found in a container near the dam.

    Premier Peter Beattie and Police Minister Tony McGrady were briefed late yesterday and Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson has instructed officers to take the matter "very seriously".

    Even in the drought, the Wivenhoe Dam is holding 942,000 megalitres, about 65 per cent of its capacity, which is twice the amount of water in Sydney Harbour.

    Destruction of the dam wall and the ensuing flood would devastate thousands of homes and businesses in surrounding districts.

    Police, who were unsure whether to fear the worst or write it off as a hoax, are examining a hand-written map indicating four positions on the dam wall for "C4", a plastic explosive.

    The map also indicates where police would approach from and highlights an escape route along the little-used Kipper Creek Road, which leads back over Mount Glorious to Brisbane.

    Mr Atkinson said last night: "The sketched map outlined the Wivenhoe Dam and a reference to C4, a term for an explosive material.

    "A full investigation is being undertaken together with appropriate security arrangements for the Wivenhoe Dam.

    "At this time, however, there is no information to suggest any threat beyond the sketched map."

    Police last night were preparing to inspect the dam wall and surrounding infrastructure.

    Farmer Shane Williams told The Courier-Mail late yesterday how he stumbled on to the map as well as a pair of new leather gloves, a pen and clothing inside a bag in a new white bucket near the roadside, about 500m from the dam wall.

    At about 3pm, Mr Williams, 35, was loading hay to provide feed for animals starving from the fires in and around Canberra when he spotted the bucket, which was not visible to passing motorists.

    "I'm a bowerbird, I'll pick up anything," he said. "So I threw the bucket in the ute."

    After driving home, he looked inside, took out the map and began to panic.

    "Once I started reading it I knew exactly what it meant. They want to blow up the dam wall with C4," he said. "It all looks very suspect. The bucket was placed at a specific site under a roadway sign. When I saw the map with the C4 on it, I called the police."

    Detectives from Ipswich CIB went immediately to Mr Williams's home, which he shares with his wife Melissa, an accountant, and their twin toddler sons.

    They took away the map and other items and rushed to the dam after alerting senior police, who briefed Mr Atkinson.

    The dam wall is almost 60m high and was made out of clay-cored earth and rock 20 years ago to supply Brisbane and surrounding regions with water and to lessen the impact of floods.

    Mr Williams provided a statement to detectives at Lowood last night about the circumstances of his finding.

    Members of the public with any information about the items found near the dam yesterday are urged to contact CrimeStoppers.

    AAP also contributed to this report
    ***************************************

    bye.dub (in Brisbane, downstream from the dam!)

 
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