Presidential Caprices of the G-20 Summit in Cannes

Obama’s tank-limo, ‘The Beast’

Tomorrow I’ll be reporting from the big anti-G20 demonstrations in Nice, but today, here is a little bit on the arrangements taking place in Cannes and a few things to watch for.

If you are stuck at the airport while security clears a presidential entourage, take a moment to check out the impressive array of 25 Boeing 747’s that will be lined up on the tarmac, including Air Force One. (…and don’t forget ‘plane spotting’… see comment below)

The police escorts from the airport to Cannes for the 25 entourages (the G-20 actually has 25 members) will cause major freeway tie-ups on Wednesday, but one cortege to watch for is Obama’s, who will be transported in Cadillac One, also known as ‘The Beast’, the armor-plated sci-fi limo that thinks it’s a tank, and goes with him everywhere.  This specially designed rolling command center is sealed against bio-chemical attacks, has thicker armor than a Boeing 747, night laser vision, tiny tear gas launchers below the bumpers, special tires that can roll at high speed even if blasted away, an iron-plated gas tank surrounded by foam to prevent an explosion even with a direct hit, pump-action shot guns in the doors, fire fighting equipment, an oxygen supply, bottles of the President’s blood in case he needs an emergency transfusion, and a Navy Seal for a driver.  Price: $300,000.

As for hotels, Obama’s first choice was to take over the Eden Roc with his 800-person entourage (…yes, 800: basically a mobile White House including a 150 person security detail and 6 doctors), the Chinese president wanted to take over his favorite Riviera hotel, Le Negresco in Nice, with his 200-person delegation, and Russia’s Dmitri Medvedev (presumably with a much smaller entourage) just wanted to crash at the villa of his billionaire buddy, Roman Abramovich …but the powers-that-be quashed these presidential caprices, and all Heads of State must stay in the ultra-secure Cannes perimeter: at the Carlton (Obama, Italy’s Berlusconi, Canada, the Saudis, India, Mexico, Spain, Brazil), The Majestic (Sarkozy, Angela Merkel, Russia’s Medvedev, Argentina, Japan), The Marriott (David Cameron, Australia, South Korea, Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey, and Ban-Ki Moon of the UN), and the Grey d’Albion, which will be taken in its entirety by the Chinese delegation.

It won’t be just Heads of State in Cannes; among the speakers will be Bill Gates who will present a report on innovations and partnerships in health and agriculture on behalf of his foundation.

Tomorrow I’ll report on the flip side of the G-20, in Nice.

Nice-Matin: Dans les coulisses du G20 de Cannes 

Photo credit Connect2Canada licensed under Creative Commons

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