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Olympics 2012 security: welcome to lockdown London

Olympics 2012 security: welcome to lockdown London

March 18, 2012 - As a metaphor for the London Olympics, it can hardly be a lot more stark. The much-derided "Wenlock" Olympic mascot is presently available in London Olympic outlets dressed as a Metropolitan police officer. For GBP 10.25 you, as well, can easily own the ultimate sign of the Tournaments: an associate of easily the most significant as well as most pricey security operation in recent British past packaged as tourist investment. Eerily, his single panoptic-style eye, experting out from underneath the police safety helmet, is the all-seeing eye of God so commonly depicted at the top of Enlightenment art works. In these, God's eye sustained a custodial as well as omniscient monitoring on His unruly subject matters far beneath on terra firma.


The imminent Olympics are going to take place in a city still recuperating from riots that the Guardian-LSE Studying the Riots project revealed were partly fuelled by resentment at their luxurious price. Last month, the UK spending watchdog advised that the general expenses of the Sports were set to be at least GBP 11bn-- GBP 2 bn over even just recently inflated finances. When main infrastructure enterprises such as Crossrail, accelerated for the Tournaments, are factored in, the figure may be as higher as # 24bn, according to Sky Headlines. The assessed expense put forward merely seven years back when the Sports were attained was GBP 2.37 bn.

With the demanded amounts of security staff more than doubling in the last year, appraisals of the Sports' prompt security costs have certainly duplicated from GBP 282m to GBP 553m. Perhaps even these figures are most likely to wind up as remarkable underestimates: the final security budget of the 2004 Athens Olympics were around GBP 1bn.

All this in a city convulsed by large welfare, housing benefit and also lawful help cuts, spiralling joblessness and also rising community protests. It is darkly odd, indeed, that substantial swaths of London and also the UK are being thrown into at any time before deeper insecurity while being asked to pay for a substantial security operation, of unparalleled scale, mostly to defend rich as well as effective folks and also businesses.

Doubters of the Olympics have definitely certainly not been slow-moving to point out the dark paradoxes surrounding the police Wenlock figure. "Water cannon as well as steel cordon sold separately," mocks Dan Hancox on the influential Games Monitor web site. "Baton rounds may be improper for little children."

In addition to the concentration of boasting natural talent and world-wide media, the London Olympics will certainly host the biggest mobilisation of military and also security forces viewed in the UK since the next industry war. More troops-- around 13,500-- are going to be deployed than are presently at war in Afghanistan. The growing security force is being estimated at anything between 24,000 and also 49,000 in sum total. Such is the secrecy that no one seems to know for sure.

In the course of the Sports an aircraft carrier will dock on the Thames. Surface-to-air missile systems will scan the skies. Unmanned drones, thankfully without lethal missiles, are going to loiter over the gleaming stadiums as well as creating as well as closing ceremonies. RAF Typhoon Eurofighters will fly from RAF Northolt. A hundred armed US diplomatic and FBI agents as well as 55 puppy groups will definitely patrol an Olympic area partitioned off from the wider city by an 11-mile, GBP 80m, 5,000-volt electric powered fence.

Past these security spectaculars, even more stealthy changes are advancing. New, punitive and possibly intrusive statutes such as the London Olympic Tournaments Exploit 2006 are in force. These legitimise the use of force, potentially by confidential security firms, to proscribe Occupy-style protests. They likewise permit Olympic security personnel to deal forcibly with the presentation of any commercial product that is considered to test the full management of London as a "clean city" to be branded for the worldwide TV audience wholly by prime commercial sponsors (incorporating McDonald's, Visa and also Dow Chemical).

London is also being wired up by having a brand-new variety of scanners, biometric ID cards, number-plate and facial-recognition CCTV systems, disease tracking systems, new police control centres and checkpoints. These will magnify the sense of lockdown in a city which is presently a byword across the industry for incredibly intensive surveillance.

Numerous such systems, intentionally set up to manipulate unprecedented security budgets and comparatively little investigation or protest, have definitely been fashioned to stay long after the athletes and also VIPs have certainly left. Currently, the Dorset police are happily gloating that their brand-new number-plate recognition camera equipments, developed for travelling events, are letting them to capture wrongdoers better.

In Athens, the $ 300m "super-panopticon" CCTV and also data system built for the Games observing strong US tension stayed after the occasion, along with the disused games facilities. In fact, the system has indeed been made use of by Classical police striving in vain to control the mass uprisings responding to the crash and also savage austerity procedures in the country.

It is necessary keep in mind that all this is seemingly produced to secure the sight of 17,000 athletes tussling for 17 days.


Sources and more information:

Lockdown London: how the Olympics will turn London into (more of) a police state

In the Guardian, Stephen Graham describes the militarized security that will transform the UK capital into "Lockdown London" for the Olympics. London is set to meet and exceed Beijing for civil liberties violations, violent suppression of dissent, and overwhelming surveillance during the games, from the rule that says you're not allowed to display...


( via guardian.co.uk )


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