Seven years ago, when Great Britain won the tender for the Summer Olympic Games in 2012, there were expectation that the City of London will be gorging on cheap credit and mega-bonuses. A few days later, terrorists staged a series of explosions on public transport in London, killing 52 people. Then came the global financial crisis and expectations of easy money have failed. The Olympics are prepared in a tight economy, where the only areas not subjected to savings are security measures and business thriving on fear.
The London Olympics to be held from July 27 to August 12 will be attended by 150,000 athletes from 205 countries. Nearly two million people have obtained entry visas. The opening ceremony is expected to be attended by one hundred and twenty heads of state.
The initial budget for the Games of £2.37 billion exceeded £10 billion and, according to Sky News, will reach 24 billion. Over one billion pounds have been spent on safety. It is no coincidence that the Olympic mascot – the one-eyed creature “Wenlock” – is dressed as a policeman.
RAND Corporation has developed and described in detail 27 possible scenarios of threats. To counter them, 48,000 policemen and 13,500 soldiers were involved, which is more than the size of the British troops in Afghanistan. Missile batteries “Earth-to-air” and sound weapons that create an intolerable sound inside the victim’s head were placed on the roofs of houses. Drones are ready to control the air space.
All the major Olympic venues are surrounded by a fence with high voltage, 55 teams of trained patrol dogs have been created. In addition, an aircraft carrier anchored at the Thames. This ship has equipment capable of conducting electronic surveillance and intercepting any suspicious negotiations. On board there are 40 helicopters for the landing of two thousand marines and 20 fighters. The aircraft carrier is equipped with impressive missile defense systems. It is the largest mobilization of the security forces of the United Kingdom since the Second World War.
We are talking not only about the means of the reflection of external aggression, but also invasion into the privacy of citizens, because now the terrorists are searched for within the country as well. “The law on the Olympic Games in London”, adopted in 2006, mentions the use of police, security forces and the army against any expression of protest.
At the time of the Games, strikes, street trading, and any corporate meetings that did not receive official approval are prohibited. Volunteers will watch after the streets. Police was granted the right to arrest beggars and suspicious persons lazily strolling around and wearing hoodies, and those who disseminate advertisements of anything other than the Olympic sponsors.
The British capital has a record number of surveillance cameras. Locations where crowds are possible have installed biometric scanners to check ID cards, surveillance systems that recognize license plates of cars, epidemics control system, and new police stations, especially in Muslim areas of Westminster.
London police are afraid of making London the center of prostitution. Dennis Hof, owner of the largest brothel in Nevada, said to the BBC that he expected an influx of merchants in London, and at least, “1,000 girls have to be imported from Southeast Asia and Africa by Albanian gangs dealing in sex and drugs.” His prediction is based on what he saw at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Of course, the Olympics have never been safe. Think back to the massacres of students in Mexico City in 1968, an attack gangs in Los Angeles in 1984 and the murder of Israeli athletes in Munich in 1972. But do sports festivals need to be protected by aircraft carriers, air defense systems and unmanned aerial vehicles? Today’s Olympics have lost their meaning “to unite the nations as a community” through sports. Today the Olympics are the neo-liberal Trojan horse aimed at business expansion and reversing the basic civil liberties.
During the crisis real benefit will be obtained only by Qatari and Saudi tycoons who bought the Olympic real estate and business built on fear. The British authorities had chosen the British private military company G4S that patronizes Israeli checkpoints in the occupied West Bank, as well as security at the infamous prison in Ramallah Ofer, as the official developer, distributor and exploiter of the security. Ofer prison is infamous for torture of Palestinian political prisoners, including children. The British Parliament sharply criticized this choice and is trying to figure out the grounds on which the firm became an official partner of the Olympic Games.
Journalist Tony Gosling, who was quoted by RT, sounded an alarm saying that this was a private company that is leaking into and privatizing the British police. One of world’s largest private companies in the security business employs 630,000 people. It maintains order in prisons, detention; protection of oil and gas facilities, VIP-persons, embassies, airports and operates in 125 countries. The website states that G4S focuses on what it calls “life support in extreme conditions.”
Security is now a commercial boom. With the threat of global catastrophe that is as close as ever, the rich and powerful elites around the world aspire to a more calm and confident way of life. In fact, we are talking about corporate security and extracting huge profits by using the fear created after September 11. In this case there is another process – the expansion of privatization and outsourcing of the security sector (transfer of public functions to private traders) under austerity measures.
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