Stephen Lendman, Contributor
Olympism today differs vastly from its Athens roots. A previous article explained that it is more about profiteering, exploitation, and cynicism than sport.
Militarized London reflects something more. A 2011 “Total Policing” brochure explained. In September 2011, Bernard Hogan-Howe became Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service.
Straightaway he announced a “total policing” policy. Effectively it means anything goes. He said it’s “about total war on suspects and total victim care.” Take the latter concern with a grain of salt.
An 11-page brochure said police intend to use section 60 of the 1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act. It gives them “the right to search people in a defined area at a specific time.”
It also “provides powers to require the removal of disguises at public order events.”
Essentially it gives cops and other security forces carte blanche to enforce police state authority. Increasingly they’re taking full advantage.
Police and other security forces are authorized to lock down areas, clear them out or remove people there, confront peaceful protesters, instigate violence, make arrests, criminalize dissent, and prosecute alleged offenders.
Expect protesters for social justice, democratic values and peace to face militarized crackdowns.
An alleged terrorist threat is more hype than real. No evidence whatever suggests possible dangers. Secretary of State for Defense Philip Hammond said “there is no specific threat to the Games.”
What’s involved is confronting growing numbers down and out Londoners demanding rights they’ve long been denied.
Office for Security and Counterterrorism general director Charles Farr said the most likely threat involves public crime and disorder. Militarized readiness for war will confront peaceful protests if they occur.
At issue is austerity at a time of unaddressed public need during severe economic crisis conditions. One-fourth of the population is impoverished. Child poverty approaches 50%. Homelessness is increasing. Kids are starving on streets. They’ll be swept out of sight and mind before the games begin.
Political and corporate enrichment comes at the expense of growing poverty, unemployment, homelessness, hunger, and other unmet needs.
Social inequality is growing. State resources go largely for militarism, imperial wars, banker handouts, and other benefits for corporate favorites and rich elites.
London is militarized and ready. For the first time since WW II, soldiers will patrol city streets. Keeping the “rabble” in line is policy.
City authorities elevated tactics to an unprecedented level. Preparations reflect readiness for war, not protecting public order. Expect police state harshness writ large.
Protests will be dealt with severely. Suppressing them is prioritized. Encampments close to venues are banned. Forcible removals are planned. Power brokers and profiteers demand it.
Billions went for constructing venues, an 80,000 seat stadium, infrastructure, luxury hotels, other accommodations, Olympic Park, acquiring land, and more. Nothing’s spared except long-denied people needs. Creating London’s biggest ever extravaganza comes first.
The city is militarized and occupied. Thousands of police, military troops, private security guards, and intelligence operatives are deployed. Last week, adding thousands more was announced.
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FBI contingents and other US elements are there. Estimates range up to 1,000. Supposedly they’re in a supportive role.
Nearly 50,000 uniformed and covert forces will keep London on lock down. The scale of the operation is unprecedented. It’s three times the size of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics five months post-9/11 and four months after George Bush attacked Afghanistan.
Costing nearly $9 billion, it way exceeds the $1.2 billion for Athens 2004 and $300 million for Beijing 2008. Ordinary Londoners will pick up much of the tab.
In January, Sky Sports estimated a total Olympiad cost exceeding $19 billion. It said it may approach double that amount with all related expenses included.
Its investigation used figures obtained from freedom of information requests and other public documents.
When London bid for the games, it estimated less than $4 billion in total costs. If spending reaches $38 billion, it’ll be nearly ten times the original figure. It comes at a time public needs go begging.
Sky Sports said no one ever accurately predicts final costs. Only months later will they be known. According to Taxpayer Alliance campaign director Emma Boon:
In some cases it is very difficult to pick apart Olympic spending and separate it out.
For example, if you look at things like police budgets particularly, it’s very difficult to say (whether) those officers would have been on duty that day anyway and whether they are specifically doing Olympic duties or not….To a degree we will never know.
High Velocity Missiles (HMVs) are positioned atop Olympic complex sites. They’re “designed to counter threats from very high performance low-flying aircraft. They can travel at more than three times the speed of sound.”
For the first time since WWII, fighter jets at stationed at RAF Northolt near London. Warplanes and drones will patrol overhead. Assault helicopters will carry snipers to intercept unauthorized aircraft in restricted airspace.
HMS Ocean equipped with attack helicopters is involved. It’s berthed at Greenwich to patrol the Thames. Other naval assets are deployed in Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour.
An amphibious assault ship carrying Sea King helicopters is included. It’s able to send large numbers of troops ashore. Airborne surveillance and control aircraft will direct operations.
Training exercises were conducted last spring. This type militarism is unheard of in peacetime. It reflects readiness for war, not public security.
It’s also about hyping fear to advance Anglo-American imperialism. Battlegrounds exist everywhere at home and abroad.
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Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] His new book is titled How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.