Tag Archive: Olympic


Politics, Legislation and Economy

Post Games UK: full-blown police state

Press TV

London that is widely known as a perfect example of surveillance society with its watchful CCTVs, is now a perfect example of a police state after the massive Olympics militarization, a fact even organizers implicitly acknowledge.

Organizers decided earlier this year to dress the official mascot for the 2012 Olympics in London, where the security and surveillance cordon are nicknamed the Ring of Steel, in a Metropolitan police outfit.

The mascots, “Wenlock” and “Mandeville”, feature a huge single eye that is actually a camera lens that organizers said can “record everything.”

The dolls effectively create an explicit symbol of the pervasive surveillance state and suggest an unwelcome addition to British social life that is now subject to an even more intrusive surveillance system thanks to the biggest and most expensive British security operation in decades for the Olympics.

The irony has been taken up by critics of the Games.

“Water cannon and steel cordon sold separately. Baton rounds may be unsuitable for small children. A more perfect visual metaphor for 2012, I cannot imagine,” Games Monitor mocked.

One can only appreciate what the Olympic mascots have been ironically symbolizing when a few figures on the military deployment during the Olympics are taken into consideration.

The British government deployed more than three times as many regular troops as former US president George W. Bush administration did in 2002 for the Winter Olympics at Salt Lake City, which began only six months after the 9/11 incidents and four months after the US invaded Afghanistan.

A total 41,000 troops, police officers, private security staff, etc were deployed in London.

There also comes a long list of equipment on the ground and in the air: a Navy aircraft carrier HMS Bulwark and the force’s largest warship HMS Ocean will watch the city, Typhoon fighter jets, Apache Helicopters, eagle-eyed surveillance drones and E-3 Sentinel spy planes will swarm the skies, radars and surface-to-air missiles will scan the skies while an 18km, 5,000-volt electrified security barrier partitions off the Olympic zone.

The police state was further intensified by a de facto suspension of civil liberties.

Public protests were banned — and remain so — during the Games in “exclusion zones” near key locations and protesters face police with enhanced powers including the right to use force to enter private properties, seize political posters and prevent the display of any material that challenges the image of London as a “clean city”, which advertising sponsors including McDonald’s and Coca-Cola kept promoting.

Security measures also included new police checkpoints, number-plate and facial recognition CCTV systems, biometric ID cards and disease tracking systems.

And is that all set to be removed now that the Games have ended?
The answer is no as there are speculations that the government is using the opportunity to impose limitations on the British social life that would be otherwise impossible thanks to civil rights campaigners.

The idea for the continuation of the draconian measures would be that Britain faces threats from terrorists lurked inside its own cities and increasingly bigger surveillance would be needed to predict and contain such threats.

Here, victims would be the ethnic minorities and in particular Muslims.

The police did announce in May 2011 that 290 CCTV cameras formerly installed in the Muslim areas of Birmingham will be back online for the Games and there is no end visible to the extra surveillance.

What is more is that Olympic hosts have been unwilling to shelve the security measures taken up for the Games as the example of Greece’s high-tech surveillance cameras showed back in 2004.

After all, dissent is not desirable especially in the surveillance society of Britain and police began preparing London for the Games by predicting crimes early before the Games.

Back in July, officers reportedly arrested several graffiti artists in pre-emptive raids, which serves as a good example of the state intrusion into legal private activities of individuals in the police state the Olympics have helped intensify.

After media reports of 30 arrests, police claimed they arrested only four people for illegal wall paintings.

However, one of the detainees Darren Cullen turned out to be a known graffiti businessmen whose company Graffiti Kings has carried out graffiti projects for big names including Microsoft, Olympic sponsor Adidas and even for Team GB.

In a separate incident in Cardiff in July, police faced human rights campaigners’ call not to turn the city into a “police state” after a Wales Online journalist was stopped and searched outside their headquarters.

The concerned journalist said he was “shaken up” by the police behavior and their violation of their guidelines.

“Working in the city centre, it feels like this place is turning into a police state,” he added.

That was echoed by anti-surveillance campaigners Privacy International.

“Olympics shouldn’t be an excuse to turn Britain into a police state,” it said.

AMR/HE

Olympics: Bhopal victims organize protest Games

by Staff Writers
New Delhi (AFP)

Terra Daily

 

photo

clean up Bhopal now
unauthorized rally for Bhopal (Mumbai, India - 2002)

Disabled children suffering the effects of the 1984 Bhopal disaster in India are to take part in a “Special Olympics” on Thursday to protest against London 2012 sponsor Dow Chemical.

The event is aimed at raising awareness about the legacy of birth defects and pollution from the accident at a factory owned by US chemical company Union Carbide, which was bought by Dow in 1999, organizers said Tuesday.

The plant leaked poisonous gas into neighboring slums in Bhopal, killing thousands instantly and tens of thousands more over the following years in the world’s worst industrial accident.

The “Bhopal Special Olympics” will see at least 100 physically and mentally disabled children compete on a sports field in the shadow of the defunct factory, which still contains toxic waste left untreated by local authorities.

The contests in Bhopal — the day before the London Games officially open — will include football, an “assisted walk” and a “crab walk”, in which participants unable to stand on two feet race on their hands.

“We are doing this mostly due to Dow’s attempt to greenwash its crimes,” Rachna Dhingra, a spokeswoman for the five survivors’ groups behind the initiative, told AFP.

“We all find it ironic that a corporation that has disabled people in Bhopal is sponsoring the Olympic Games.”

Organisers are also targeting Britain and its colonial crimes, particularly in India. The Bhopal Olympics “will open with songs and dances focusing on matters that British people could be ashamed of,” Dhingra said.

The decision by London 2012 organizers to stick by Dow Chemical has caused anger in Bhopal and led to complaints from the Indian government, which asked for the company to be dropped as a sponsor.

“Our biggest qualm with (British Prime Minister) David Cameron and (chief Olympics organizer) Lord Sebastian Coe is the simple reason that they never gave the survivors of Bhopal the chance to express themselves,” Dhingra said.

Dow bought Union Carbide more than a decade and half after the disaster and insists all liabilities were settled in a 1989 compensation deal that saw Union Carbide pay the Indian government $470 million.

The local and federal governments have also faced criticism in India for failing to clear the site and prevent further contamination of groundwater more than 25 years after the disaster.

Dhingra said the children in the Bhopal event were all willing participants.

“I would say 60 percent (of the children) have had training. This is part of their rehabilitation,” she said.

“This is what Dow has done. There is no better way to show their crimes.”

The organizers of the London Olympics and the International Olympic Committee have faced consistent questions over their choice of sponsors, including fast-food giant McDonalds and soft drink maker Coca-Cola.

After an outcry in India and speculation about a boycott by Indian athletes, London organizing officials said Dow’s branding would not appear on a giant fabric wrap around the main stadium in the east of the British capital.

 

Related Links
Our Polluted World and Cleaning It Up

 

 

 

 

Olympic organisers should consider the ethical, environmental and human rights records of multinational companies before awarding them lucrative sponsorship deals, according to London’s elected politicians.

The London Assembly today passed a motion criticising the International Olympic Committee’s selection of Dow Chemical Company as a worldwide partner, in a deal said to be worth $100m over 10 years.

The Assembly said that the decision to do business with Dow, which is the 100 per cent shareholder of Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), whose Indian subsidiary was responsible for the world’s worst ever industrial disaster in Bhopal, had damaged the reputation of London 2012.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympics and Paralympics Games (Locog) was also criticised today for doing a ‘local deal’ with Dow, to provide decorative wrap for the main stadium which was described by one assembly member as a an “architectural nicety, but totally unnecessary.”

Dow, which denies that it has any responsibility for the Bhopal disaster or outstanding contamination of water and soil in the Indian city, bought UCC in 2001 – 17 years after the gas disaster claimed as many as 25,000 lives.

Several members of the London Assembly said Dow could not absolve legal or moral responsibilities with regards to Bhopal.

Darren Johnson, Green Party member, said: “Dow was not involved at the time and did not own the Union Carbide plant at the time. But it now owns the company wholly, including those subsidiaries involved the water contamination today, and so it cannot absolve those liabilities because of a take-over a deal.”

Labour’s Navin Shah, who proposed the motion, said: “The issues around Dow’s on-going court cases are complex but they are on-going and very real. The Olympics have become a big business, and money talks in the end. The IOC remains a faceless and shameless organisation, colluding with organisation involved in environmental and human rights abuses.”

Tory member Andrew Boff, whose Party members opposed the motion, accused his Assembly colleagues of relying on media reports rather than the facts. “The idea that Dow Chemicals has a responsibility for the tragedy does not meet the test for natural justice,” said Boff.

Concerns about other major sponsors and Olympic partner such as McDonalds, criticised on the basis of the obesity epidemic, were also raised during the debate. The world biggest McDonalds has been built in the London Olympic park.

Mr Shah said it was too late for London but that the IOC should act for future Games and “[have] criteria for partners that conform to their own priorities and keep out the likes of Dow Chemicals.”

Lib Dem Stephen Knight said the IOC was good at protecting the commercial brand of the Olympics, but not the ethical brand – which should be kept “sacrosanct”.

The following motion was passed with a majority of 16 to seven:

 

Read Full Article Here

 

Cloned horses may compete in the 2012 London Olympics, while anti-doping testing for humans becomes more sophisticated

By Simon Victor,

(NaturalNews) While performance enhancement drugs and techniques may be banned for humans, the gate has been opened for genetically modified horses to compete in the Olympic games.

In a surprising but not shocking development, the Federation Equestre Internationale has decided to overturn a ban previously placed on cloned equines.

According to The Chronicle of the Horse at their recently held sports forum it was said, “The FEI will not forbid participation of clones or their progenies in FEI competitions. The FEI will continue to monitor further research, especially with regard to equine welfare.”

Whereas in 2007, the stance of the FEI was the polar opposite; “The competitive equestrian couple of horse and rider are both acknowledged as athletes by the FEI. The cloning of either with a view to competing at international level would be unacceptable to the FEI. The FEI opposes cloning for it goes against one of the FEI’s basic objectives: to enable FEI athletes ‘to compete in international events under fair and even conditions.”

This announcement comes in light of the London 2012 Olympics being touted as having “the most sophisticated anti-doping operation in the history of the Games.” According to CNN, for the first time in Olympics history, a private company will provide its facilities – $30 million state-of-the-art laboratory – to aide in the testing of samples from Olympic participants to detect illegal performance enhancements. This is being provided by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). According to GSK, the facilities will offer “enable expert analysts from King’s (College, London) to independently operate a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory during the Games.”

Although the FEI announcement has come too late for cloned horses to participate in the London 2012 Olympics, the implications will be far reaching, placing pressure on other equestrian governing bodies to relax the generally held stance of not allowing physiologically altering performance enhancement to be used by any participants.

This action has set a precedent for all sports, and the broader implications of such a development may mean that the rules pertaining to human performance enhancement may be contested, and become relaxed amid pressure from those who advocate its use.

Currently, the world’s biggest companies offering cloning are ViaTech in Texas and Cryozootech in Sonchamp, France.

They have both welcomed the news, and stated that their main aim is to allow the genes of top horses that have died or been gelded to be available again.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.chronofhorse.com

http://edition.cnn.com

http://www.gsk.com/media/london-2012/index.htm

About the author:
Simon Victor is a health health and fitness enthusiast who believes in being practical with healthy living.
his personal journey can be followed at http://veganonabudget.net