The corporate-political Olympics – endorsement for Dow Chemicals and great business for the security and arms companies
In December a Bradford contact wrote in response to PCU’s post: A militarised London 2012 Olympics:
“It is very depressing to think we’ll be on a war footing for what was intended to bring countries together under the peaceful banner of international sport.
“We attended the Athens games and although there was a bag check going into the stadium, it was all very low key. The image I’ll remember was of ordinary people from every continent on the planet strolling round the concourse just talking, laughing and generally enjoying the atmosphere.”
Dow Chemicals has at least had to remove its huge red logos from the top of each strand of wrapping provided.
This week a contact from Poland sent a link to a Guardian article by Stephen Graham, professor of cities and society at Newcastle University:
“With the required numbers of security staff more than doubling in the last year, estimates of the Games’ immediate security costs have doubled from £282m to £553m. Even these figures are likely to end up as dramatic underestimates: the final security budget of the 2004 Athens Olympics were around £1bn.
“All this in a city convulsed by massive welfare, housing benefit and legal aid cuts, spiralling unemployment and rising social protests. It is darkly ironic, indeed, that large swathes of London and the UK are being thrown into ever deeper insecurity while being asked to pay for a massive security operation, of unprecedented scale, largely to protect wealthy and powerful people and corporations . . .
“In addition to the concentration of sporting talent and global media, the London Olympics will host the biggest mobilisation of military and security forces seen in the UK since the second world war. More troops – around 13,500 – will be deployed than are currently at war in Afghanistan. The growing security force is being estimated at anything between 24,000 and 49,000 in total. Such is the secrecy that no one seems to know for sure.”
Much more can be read here.
PCU notes that despite its less than perfect record and past and present charges against its employees, the main security contractor for the London Olympics is G4S, formerly Group 4, which operates the world’s largest private security force – 630,000 people – in 125 countries.
The Bradford contact ended:
I have tickets for this year but I’m going to cancel – which is what I’d like to see happen with the games. There have always been the problems of over-commercialisation and expensive facilities, etc; but the essence of peaceful coming together has been lost and we need to find some other way of celebrating sport – A Peace Games maybe?