WAKE UP!! WAKE UP!! It's yer opening soon on Broadway ...
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The deployment of up to 13,500 military personnel, two of the navy's largest warships, unspecified numbers of military attack helicopters staffed by snipers, typhoon fighter jets, surface to air missiles, support from the SAS and Navy Marines 12,000 police officers, 300 MI5 agents, 20,000 private security guards and up to 1000 US agents including 500 FBI. The extension of Section 44 of the Terrorism Act across the whole of Britain. All costing in the region of £6million.
So the invasion of Iran? The military contingent sent to join Arab Spring rebel groups? The recent deployment in Libya? No – it's a just a few folk running and seeing who can throw something the furthest. In the capital city of a country that according to the Country Risk Index is one of the most stable in the world. East London is set to resemble a warzone (again) as the Olympic Games 2012 rolls into town.
Despite constant assurances from Home Secretary Philip Hammond that Olympic Security is a 'civilian lead' (hopefully not as in Cast Lead) force the number of military personnel now involved has escalated from it's original commitment of 3,000 troops to 13,500. This is 4,000 more soldiers than in Afghanistan, and will be Britain's biggest peace time mobilisation on home soil. The army on the ground will be assisting police to search people entering the stadiums and provide 'venue security'. There is also a team to help with logistics and planning, as well as contingency teams for bomb disposal, military working dogs and maritime support.
THE SHIP HITS THE FANS
HMS Bulwark and HMS Ocean will be berthed on the Thames, equipped with a whole host of military bells and whistles. HMS Ocean is an amphibious assault ship and is the largest ship in the Royal Navy. She is staffed by up to 830 Royal Marines, 40 vehicles, 285 officers and crew and 180 Fleet Air Arm staff for the 18 helicopters she carries. Also on board are 7 radar guided missile launchers and four landing craft capable of carrying troops and vehicles.
HMS Bulwark is the flagship of the Royal Navy and is fresh back from the Libyan conflict. She can house 256 Royal Marines with their vehicles and combat supplies, as well as up to 405 troops. Armaments include two automatic radar guided cannons, four 7.62mm machine guns and two 20mm cannons. Both ships are designed to launch missiles to take down aircraft flying in 'Olympic airspace' and provide logistics support, accommodation, helicopter landing sites, maritime command and control and small boat basing.
In addition to the sea-faring killing machines, an SAS military base is under construction at the main Olympic site in Stratford, and Typhoon jets fresh back from Libya will be deployed along with the helicopters based on the warships to patrolling London's airspace. The Lynx and Puma aircraft will be staffed with snipers able to shoot 'enemies' from 1,000 yards using night light and infra red laser technology, and had their last outing in Iraq.
And that's just the military forces. Police from over 20 constabularies and external organisations will also be roaming around. Those organisations range from the Fire and Ambulance Emergency Services, UKBA, Ministry of Defence and a special team to represent the twelve Police Golds running their operations in the venue forces. See- Britain's got 12 Golds before the Olympics have even started, who could possibly complain? And what will all those officers being doing with their time? They'll be stopping and searching whoever the hell they like: Section 44 of the Terrorism Act will be enforced over the whole of Britain. Yes, all of it. They'll also be storming on to private property and tearing down 'advertising' of any kind. The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 specifies that police have the right to use force to enter any property, including people's homes and places of work, to remove unsanctioned advertising in the vicinity of the Olympic sites. However, their description of advertising is decidedly vague. The official definition includes: “announcements or notices of any kind; advertising of a non-commercial nature; the distribution or provision of documents or articles; the display or projection of words, images, lights or sounds; things done with or in relation to material which has or may have purposes or uses other than as an advertisement”. So basically, if you live in East London or any other of the Olympic locations and have an anti-cuts poster in your window or possibly even play Killing in the Name of... slightly too loud, the coppers can storm yer humble abode, rough you up a bit, then grab your leaflets and boombox. These regulations, and the imposition of Section 44 are both for indefinite periods of time, making you wonder whether this is just another excuse to push through yet more draconian laws which continue to limit freedom of speech and expression. The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games are looming and there seems to be no sign of stopping until at least then.
In addition to the more officious forces of repression, 20,000 private security agents, trained by companies such as well-known hippy bashers G4S will also be putting the boot in. Despite a track record which includes the death of deportee Jimmy Mubenga whilst being restrained by G4S staff (see SchNEWS 763), the organisation won a £100million contract to provide 10,000 thugs to help police the games, including the main Olympics site which is currently surrounded by 17 kilometres of electrified fencing, with up to 900 cameras. New software has integrated the entire CCTV network, enabling an individual to be followed across the whole of London.
Various countries who are involved will be bringing their own security teams and there has been recent controversy over the number of FBI agents the US wants to bring into the country and whether they will be allowed to carry weapons. The national security coordinator for the games has stated there will be no foreign armed personnel at the Olympics, but with rumours circulating of massive pressure from the US to direct the whole security effort, it's probably not worth believing. And don't think that just cos the FBI won't have them that there won't be any guns. The British Transport Police are to start regular armed patrols on the London Underground network soon in preparation for their operations during the games, which will see over 100 officers with submachine guns going round the circle line.
It's not just those with a passion for thuggery that are getting to swing their dicks. The Olympics are fast turning out to be an excuse for the corporate elite to show exactly what they're made of. Each corporate brand that is an official sponsor for the games (Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and others) will be bringing their own security teams - no doubt to help protect their advertising rights by prohibiting the expression of any other opinion apart from “I'm lovin' it” in a two hundred mile exclusion zone of the games.
The Olympic authority is shipping in 4,000 brand-new luxury BMW 3 and 5 series vehicles from Germany to ferry the officials and 'dignitaries' around in style. These state-of-the-art limousines will be equipped with special traffic censors, so as they are cruising round the hundreds of miles of public roads that will be shut off exclusively for their use, traffic lights will turn to green and their approach and red on as they drive off. Canary Wharf and the Royal Docks are being cleared to make way for dozens of billionaires' super yachts to sail in, with a speedboat service complete with Michelin star chefs to transport them directly to Olympic sites. And in these austerity gripped times, not even the aristoparasites in Buckingham Palace can afford to miss out on earning a quick buck, as private rooms in the royal reptile residence are being hired out for £30,000 a day.
All of this set to the background of a city crippled by the economic insanity of the last few decades. With the lottery fiasco of Olympic ticket allocation that has seen, predictably, wealthy and influential applicants cream the best of the seats and over a million ordinary families missing out on even the most obscure of events, this complete suspension of civil liberties and obscenely gross spending of millions of pounds is the final insult. The unprecedented security measures being put in place make a mockery of even the draconian Beijing Olympics in 2008 hosted by the Chinese Communist Party. These are the actions of a government that is very, very scared - not only of the 'threat of international terrorism' but also of its own people.
Israeli arms dealers do business at Farnborough Airshow even as the bombs drop on Gaza.
Anti fracking campaigners have got their hands on a Sussex Police report that details an 'emerging' nationwide strategy on protests against the controversial drilling technique. The report has been exposed in a report about the policing of the protests at Balcombe, West Sussex, last summer.
We started writing about three interesting but unrelated things happening in June. Here is an amalgamated version, which is worth a read.
Smash EDO is back in the game of making an arms company an unpleasant place to work by playing broken musical instruments and cheesy songs outside
Is this the last March for England? “They have become the fools in a carnival of anti-fascism” Stop MfE protestor
A national week of solidarity with Afghanistan - drone capital of the world - takes place with Fly Kites Not Drones day, with our local event hosted by anti-militarists Smash Edo.
Brighton students demo in favour of teachers' strike attracts police attention.