- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 26, 2002

KANANASKIS, Alberta In the serene mountains of southern Alberta, the laser-guided anti-aircraft missiles are in place. So are the tanks and helicopters, and the police and soldiers patrolling hiking trails.
Every vehicle on the road to the site of the G-8 summit this week of leading industrial nations gets searched by Mounties asking who had packed suitcases or loaded equipment, and whether the vehicle had been left unattended. A man with a mirror on wheels slides it underneath cars, looking for anything awry.
This is all part of Canada's largest peacetime security operation, intended to guarantee the safety of the leaders of the Group of Eight, which is made up of United States, Britain, Germany, France, Canada, Japan, Italy and Russia.
With the intense security measures, anti-globalization demonstrators who have become a fixture at such global meetings won't get near the summit resort. They were expected to protest in Calgary, about an hour to the east.
"September 11 has clearly raised the bar about the kinds of threats that exist," said Cpl. Jamie Johnston of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, standing near vehicles being searched Sunday at the Barrier Lake Information Center on Highway 40, the lone paved road to the summit venue at Kananaskis.
Cpl. Johnston called the police and military presence, with thousands of officers and troops creating an eight-mile-wide security zone around the resort, "strictly precautionary."
"There are no longer merely threats here in North America. They're reality," he said. "We've never lived in this world before. We need to be prepared, and we need to reassure all of those governments and diplomatic corps that are coming to visit here that they are as safe here as they are at home."
That means mountain patrols. And freezing samples of the food the leaders will eat, so these can be tested later if someone gets sick.
Services such as water supply were checked for vulnerability to sabotage. A notice from the TransAlta power company posted at a shopping center in April warned residents that helicopters would be checking power lines before the summit.
There was a scare Sunday night when more than 30 officers in the security zone at Kananaskis came down with nausea and illness. Three were hospitalized, said Constable Charlene Lewis, and one had been released. The other two were being treated for dehydration. Officials initially said the symptoms were consistent with those of food poisoning but later ruled that out.
Along Highway 40, the anti-aircraft missiles, with camouflage netting over them, seemed surreal in the mountain setting.
Police checkpoints were up, starting a few yards south of Highway 1 between Calgary and the mountain attractions of Banff and Lake Louise.
At the third checkpoint, vehicles passing by were directed for inspection to the parking lot of the information center. Once cleared, they waited until a police escort guided them along the road past Kananaskis. No stopping allowed.
Cpl. Johnston said that ensures "pedestrians aren't let off along the highway to make their way in through the woods."


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