Saturday, July 28, 2012

Critical Mass London 27/7/12 .....Mass arrests as London police attack ‘Critical Mass’ cycle ride during Olympic ....

Between thirty and fifty people were arrested today 27/7  en-masse as a result of their participation in the traditional monthly critical mass.
pre-arrest detention

cop presence

London police have used pepper spray against “critical mass” cycle ride as the British capital holds the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Games. “Large number of people” arrested said a police tweet.
Critical Mass is a cycling event typically held on the last Friday of every month all around the world.
Some witnesses said police pushed the cyclists aside to get David Beckham through traffic.

The helicopter was already tracing circles above Waterloo Bridge at 6.30pm. The mass left the meeting point earlier than the usual 7.30pm. A van with police inside was emitting some unintelligible words and there were police on bikes, too, something unseen in years now, even since the House of Lords decided that the mass was indeed not a protest.

Some people crossed Blackfriars Bridge, some others Southwark Bridge. London Bridge was blocked by police to traffic when the Critical Mass arrived there. A police officer said to all there: “Guess what's waiting for you on Tower Bridge!” There were some scuffles and what looked like an arrest. A small portion of the mass sneaked through the line on the pavement, which was then joined by the rest in the City.

The mass then proceeded without major incidents until Rick Roberts Way. All riders that had reached thispoint were kettled under section 12 of the "Public Order Act", for disobeying the order apparently given by police to stay South of the river, and about an hour later, arrested, taken to a police station in Central London in a bus hired by police, and have their bikes put on another bus.
Critical Mass is a mainly bike ride that has taken place from 6.30pm onwards on the last Friday of every month for the last 15 years. The House of Lords ruled in 2008 that it is not a protest but a customary ride.

 arrest buses 

Mass arrests as London police attack 'Critical Mass' cycle ride during Olympic ceremony (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

During Critical Mass London, police escalate violence and aggression. Police took a rider around the corner and a mounted officer placed his horse between the other riders and the person they had on the ground. A rider in grey holding two bicycles steps off the road onto the pavement and is shouted at by the mounted officer. He is then dragged off the pavement by an officer who then attempts to take a bicycle he was holding. Another rider attempts to take the bicycle back which causes a struggle. A third rider who is facing away from a mounted police officer and posing no threat is then struck from behind by the mounted police officer with an extendable baton. Later this officer attempted to justify this by saying he was threatened. Near the end you will also see a person who is apparently a police officer in shorts showing people his warrant card. Earlier on he had assaulted a person and become involved in the situation without making it clear he was a police officer. We witnessed him grabbing a rider by the neck and only then said to uniformed officers that he was a police officer when they attempted to stop him assaulting a rider.

. Fuck the 2012 Olympics

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Graffiti Raids Across London as Police Sanitise City Ready For Olympics

Update #1: The New Statesmen spoke to the British Transport Police about this story, who claimed that only four people were arrested, not thirty. The New Statesman shares our opinion, however that process should not be used as pre-emptive punishment. We posted the story as it was told to us, and do apologise if there are any inaccuracies.

It’s not uncommon for us to be contacted by respected ex-graffiti writers. That said, we certainly weren’t expecting the late night phone calls that we received from some past artists last night, who got in touch to tell us that they had been raided by the police yesterday (17th July). While graffiti writer’s homes being raided by the police is not a rare phenomenon, this series of raids came as quite a shock to many of the artists as most had given up painting illegal graffiti some 15 years ago.

Some of the people who were arrested had stopped painting graffiti without prior permission over a decade ago, and now paint commissioned artwork for corporate clients, while others haven’t touched a spray can at all in many years. For both types of ex-graffiti enthusiast, a knock on the door from the British Transport Police was the last thing they were expecting.

As they were escorted by officers back to the BTP headquaters in Victoria, the retired graffiti artists overheard radio chatter which made it clear to them that raids were being carried out on addresses across the length and breadth of London. Once they arrived at the station, the ex-graffiti writers spotted thirty or more familiar faces from the past – and realised that they weren’t the only ex-graff scene dweller to be arrested. Retired graffiti artists had been pulled in a big way.

It was around then that the graffiti artists realised what point the police were trying to make with them. Having been arrested, they were questioned about what they considered petty matters – accusations of criminal damage in the ’90s, questions about websites and magazines that they were involved in. After being briefly questioned about these seemingly irrelevant matters, they were told that they were to be bailed until November on the condition that they did not use any form of railway in London (overground, tube or tram), carry spray paint (or other graffiti tools, presumably) at any time, or travel within a mile of any Olympic area. That includes the Olympic Park, the ExCel center and other Earls Court locations, Greenwich park, Hampton Court Palace, Hyde Park, Lord’s Cricket Ground, North Greenwich Arena, The Mall, The Royal Artillery Barracks, Wembley Arena, Wembley Stadium, Wimbledon and a host of out-of-London locations.

They felt that they were arrested for one reason – in order to place bail restrictions upon them that would supposedly discourage graffiti from being painted during the Olympics.

It’s no secret that graffiti and street art are being targeted in the run up the London 2012 games. Each day stories emerge of artworks treasured by locals being removed by excited councils, or of graffiti that had remained untouched for years suddenly being washed brown by the over-zealous buff. Even so, we didn’t expect that unsolicited artwork would be considered such a threat to the image of the country that the authorities would manipulate the legal system to send a message out the graffiti artists – picking up anyone they could with a past in graffiti and slapping them with harsh bail conditions. Whether the BTP ‘s arrests served any genuine purpose, or if they were simply a tool used to issue people with draconian bail conditions, only they can say.

Assuming our contact was right, the British Transport Police were trying to send a message to them. A message that says graffiti would not be tolerated during the Olympics. Quite why the BTP decided to target a group of mainly retired writers, no one is quite sure. If they were trying to make a point to these men that they shouldn’t attempt to gain graffiti notoriety during the Olympics, they are most likely a decade or two too late to advise these men.

These men have told us that they are not currently involved in painting illegal graffiti. These men are living law-abiding lives, but can no longer travel on public transport or enter large areas of London due to harsh bail conditions. In addition, laptopsmobile phones and other devices were taken into evidence by police. How these men are supposed to work and look after their families under these conditions, they are not sure.

While thousands of people every year travel to cities like Barcelona, Los Angeles and Berlin to enjoy the graffiti and other vibrant youth movements, the heavy handed actions of government and law enforcement in London could see our fair capital descend into the cultural deadzone. The growing sanitisation of the city threatens it’s status as a creative hub, and now the authorities are harassing legitimate artists in their never ending pursuit of those who dare to create art without permission.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Vandals target town's Olympic rings twice uk

E YORKS: Olympic rings installed at the clock tower in Boothferry precinct, Goole, have twice been attacked by vandals.

In the first incident they were damaged before the Olympic Torch parade, which brought thousands on to the streets of the town on June 19.
They were able to be repaired before the big moment came.
Then, the weekend after the relay, the rings, which had been installed by Goole College and made of plywood with a metal frame, were damaged again.
This time they cannot be repaired.
Elsewhere in Goole, graffiti has been scrawled on sports facilities in West Park.
The walls of the changing rooms have been spray-painted.
The buildings were installed as part of a joint initiative by Goole Town Council and the Football Foundation.
The regional mini- soccer facility cost £20,000.
Goole PCSO Mike Simpson was called to the scene but nobody has been arrested.
Despite looking a mess, the graffiti does not affect the operation of the changing facilities, which are still in use.

'Don't play games with our lives': Londoners protest against plans for Olympic defence systems on top of flats

The Rapier system has a world-class radar on it and is particularly good at picking up low and slow-moving objects in the sky.
'It means we’re able to get the very best picture of what is happening in the skies of London.'
Air Vice Marshall Stuart Atha added: 'We want the focus to be on Usain Bolt this summer and not us. We’re very proud to be part of this plan to deliver a safe and secure Olympics.'
The Lexington Building in Tower Hamlets as well as the Fred Wigg Tower in Waltham Forest, both in east London, have been identified as potential sites for the High Velocity Missiles.
Repurposed: The Fred Wigg Tower in Waltham Forest, London, has been chosen as one of six sites around London to form a 'ring of steel' to safeguard the Olympic Games
Repurposed: The Fred Wigg Tower in Waltham Forest, London, has been chosen as one of six sites around London to form a 'ring of steel' to safeguard the Olympic Games
Rapier missiles would be positioned on Blackheath Common and in Oxleas Wood, both in south east London, and at William Girling Reservoir Chain in Enfield and Barn Hill at Netherhouse Farm in Epping Forest, both in north London, should the Air Security Plan be approved by the Government.
Col Campbell said the sites had been chosen to avoid having weapons inside the Olympic Park.
He added: 'We’re trying to de-militarise this and let the sport do the talking. The Lexington Building is the best available location away from the Olympic Park.'
Action stations: The army have a practice of how the surface-to-air missiles would be stationed, and if necessary, used to protect the games
Action stations: The army have a practice of how the surface-to-air missiles would be stationed, and if necessary, used to protect the games
Training time: A member of the Royal Artillery aims the Starstreak High Velocity Missile System, part of the ground based air defence systems that may be deployed during the Olympics, at Blackheath, London
Training time: A member of the Royal Artillery aims the Starstreak High Velocity Missile System, part of the ground based air defence systems that may be deployed during the Olympics, at Blackheath, London
Training time: A member of the Royal Artillery aims the Starstreak High Velocity Missile System, part of the ground based air defence systems that may be deployed during the Olympics, at Blackheath, London

Monday, July 9, 2012

Serco targeted in South Oxfordshire uk

An anonymous group targeted Serco, the detention profiteers (and all-round capitalist outsourcing wrong-uns) at their offices in Culham Science Park tonight. Several prominent signs were redecorated and bus stops nearby were postered explaining why.

large sign at the entrance painted
large sign at the entrance painted
...and the other one too
...and the other one too
another sign also flyposted - photo taken without flash then enhanced
another sign also flyposted - photo taken without flash then enhanced
..and the bus stops nearby - again without flash, sorry!
..and the bus stops nearby - again without flash, sorry!

Corporate Watch have done plenty of good dirt-digging on Serco over the years; here's some background:

Poster text:

Serco run racist prisons

Serco runs Colnbrook and Yarls Wood Immigration Removal Centres, racist prisons where people whose only "crime" is to cross borders are locked up without time limit, sometimes for years. Many detainees have complained of abuse and assaults. In July 2010, two detainees in Colnbrook were found dead in their cells. Around the same time, a leaked memo by SERCO revealed that the company had dismissed similar incidents in Australia, instead accusing detainees of "creating a self-harm culture" and using it as a "bargaining tool".

Serco torture - now proven in court

An Algerian man ("FGP") was restrained and attached to Serco staff at all times, 24/7, during nearly 9 days hospitalisation.

This included while showering and using the toilet, as well as during medical consultations and treatment and while asleep. There was nothing in FGP's history to suggest he would abscond from custody. The High Court found that to have restrained FGP in this way throughout his admission to hospital was a violation of his right not to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment.

Prison guards shouldn't be landlords

Serco have won a £175 million contract to accommodate asylum seekers in Scotland, Ireland and the North West of England. While Serco rake it in, asylum seekers are forced to live in substandard housing and often face eviction and destitution if they do not, have a good lawyer or the UKBA makes a mistake in their case. Serco's involvement in detention makes their involvement in providing housing, health or welfare services totally inappropriate. As one Zimbabwean asylum seeker in Sheffield declared "I do not want a prison guard as my landlord."

Fuck Serco.
wild rabbit

Saturday, July 7, 2012

BP F***ing the Future subverts (uk)

With the Olympics now only three weeks away, protests against Olympic sponsor BP are escalating. Today dozens of BP logos across London were sabotaged, including the UK’s most prestigious billboard site at Cromwell Road. Around the capital, protesters hit petrol stations, BP-sponsored cultural institutions and advertising hoardings, protesting against one of the world’s most environmentally destructive companies being a major sponsor of the London Olympics. Signs were splattered with oil and BP’s tagline ‘Fuelling the Future’ was subvertised with the URL ‘’.





BP has continuously been slammed for its systematic disregard for the environment, human rights and worker safety, including its failure to clean up after the Gulf of Mexico disaster of 2010, its decision to enter the devastating Canadian tar sands, and its plans to drill for Arctic oil. This criticism has increased dramatically since BP was announced ‘Sustainability Partner’ of the London 2012 games, and today’s protests follow a series of recent actions targeting BP’s Olympic sponsorship:
* On the eve of BP’s AGM in April, protest group CAMSOL posed online as LOCOG and announced BP had been dropped as Sustainability Partner.
* In April, the UK Tar Sands Network nominated BP in the Greenwash Gold campaign as ‘worst Olympic sponsor’.
* Since April, the Reclaim Shakespeare Company has been invading Shakespearean performances across the country to protest against BP’s sponsorship of the Cultural Olympiad.
* Last week, acclaimed actor Mark Rylance spoke out against BP’s sponsorship of the Games, revealing he had questioned his own involvement in the Opening Ceremony.
One of those taking part in the action, Brendan Pierce, said, “BP is paying tens of millions of pounds to clean up its tarnished image, in what could well be the most expensive use of propaganda in history. But with even its own business projections preparing for a six degree temperature rise, BP knows it is damning us to a future of runaway climate change.”
Another activist, Deborah Dudley, said “Reports suggest that BP’s sponsorship of the Olympics has been highly effective at laundering its filthy image, so we’re revealing the dirt behind the glossy branding. I’m proud to be taking direct action as part of a worldwide movement for climate justice. I encourage others to get involved.”
A website,, shows pictures of the action and outlines the problems with BP’s sponsorship of the Olympics.
For more information, interviews and high-resolution photos, email:

What the website says:
Why shouldn’t BP sponsor the Olympics?
BP’s green logo is plastered all over the Olympics. The company is ‘Official Fuel and Gas Provider’ and also sponsor of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival.
Worst of all BP is ‘Sustainability Partner’. That’s right, the organisers of the Olympics have decided to allow BP, one of the dirtiest companies on earth, the opportunity to rebrand itself as socially responsible and take an active role in proposing how society should approach climate change.
Do you remember images of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico from BP’s deep-sea Macondo well back in 2010, coating the ocean and its inhabitants? Have you heard of BP’s plans in the tar sands, the world’s second largest oil deposits after Saudi Arabia, that can only be extracted by using four times as much greenhouse gas and have been labelled the most destructive project on earth? Have you heard about BP’s deals to extract oil from the depths of the pristine Arctic, despite the potential risk of a catastrophic spill even harder to clean up than the Gulf?
Do you think BP has earned the right to be ‘Sustainability Partner’ to the London 2012 Olympics?
Does BP have the right to have any association whatsoever with the Games, whose founding statement speaks of ‘universal fundamental ethical principles’, whose 2011 Charter declares that the Games should be ‘promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity’, and require ‘mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play’?
Do you think oil and sport shouldn’t mix?
Do you sometimes have the feeling that wherever you turn these days, advertising has intruded a little further, uninvited, into your personal space?
BP is a corporation that feeds off injustice and the destruction of the natural world that we and countless other species rely on. That destruction comes most threateningly from the current brutal destabilisation of the world’s climate.
BP is deeply embedded in British society – our energy, our pensions, our investments, our culture… It pumps serious money and effort into keeping things this way. Marketing works. Shiny advertisements around the capital do change the way people perceive a company. By sponsoring activities like the Cultural Olympiad, the London 2012 Festival, the World Shakespeare Festival and the Games themselves, BP is able to continue its catastrophic, though increasingly profitable, operations. That’s why we had to act.
Remember, if you see any ‘improved’ BP advertisements, please take a photo and email them to – and don’t worry, we won’t assume that you have any responsibility for them!

Here are a few more things you can do:
  • Take action for climate justice! See Rising Tide UK and Climate Justice Collective for ways to get involved.
  • Learn more about BP’s enormous environmental and human rights atrocities. Start with tar sands.
  • Move your money away from banks and other institutions who will lend it to fossil fuel-based projects
  • Harness your creativity to a more caring, conscious future, possibly by contributing to Art Not Oil‘s ‘Cutural or Vultural 2012?’ gallery.
  • Be part of a movement for real, deep, positive and lasting social and ecological change: http://www.occupyuk.info
  • Cut your carbon! Cut out short-haul flights, minimize car use, minimize your meat consumption, insulate your house. There are plenty of things you can do…but whatever you do, try to challenge the overarching mindset and system that’s allowng this insanity to happen!
(NB. These links are not connected to us, we just like ‘em!)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Calais: Olympic Evictions of Migrant Squats

- June 26th, 2012

The lead up to the Olympics has seen a rapid increase of police brutality against migrant communities in Calais and their supporters. Calais is an ‘Olympic village’ during the Games and in preparation the authorities have begun cleaning up the streets to make Calais ‘migrant free’.

Over the last few months there has been a big sweep of people’s living spaces, evicting and demolishing many of the buildings where people sleep and driving people out of the city.
After the eviction in March this year of the biggest squat, known as Africa House, many people with and without papers have been depending on smaller squats for shelter to avoid sleeping on Calais’ violent streets.
But these spaces have continually been raided and at least another 10 squats have been evicted since, including an Iranian squat, an Eritrean squat, a Somali squat, a Palestinian and Egyptian squat, a Sudanese squat and some mixed ‘global’ squats with people from Sudan, Eritrea, Chad, Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq.
All the long-standing squats have also gone within the last few months, including Palestine House, Paradise House and the Villa, which have been home to people for years.

There has also been continued destruction of migrant camps in the jungle, in town, in the parks or under bridges as well as constant evictions of the food distribution area – a concrete yard surrounded by barbed wire where people have resort to sleeping when they have no-where else to go.

It’s not that raiding and evicting sleeping spaces is anything new, but these last months they have gone for everywhere and it has been near impossible for people to find shelter to sleep for any length of time.
It seems obvious this has been a part of a push to clear up the city for the Olympics.

At the end of March there was also a big round up and pre-emptive arrest of migrants and No Border activists during an official Olympic visit by the new UK ambassador Sir Peter Ricketts. People were held in custody for the duration of his visit and some people were badly beaten by the cops. (See and

Evictions of squats have largely been illegal. In France residents must be informed beforehand, notices placed in City Hall and on the building set to be evicted, and people should be allowed to contest the decision and how to do this should be included in the notice. The police are also meant to show the judgement when making the eviction. This very rarely happens.

There has been some effort more recently to at least get court orders for a few of the evictions of the bigger squats, but most evictions are still being carried out illegally. The police consistently raid and evict when and how they like.

A social housing organisation, The Office Public de l’Habitat de Calais (OPH), is largely complicit in these evictions. They own a lot of empty buildings and have been authorising the evictions and demolition of these buildings, and showing up whilst police are kicking people out from their buildings onto the street.
For the Olympics the regional council are launching a dual operation, running an artificial ‘Welcome the World’ campaign to boost tourism from passing athletes and spectators whilst at the same time cracking down on migrants, driving out ‘foreigners’ who do not have cash to spend.
Over 100 million euros have been pumped into the area for the Olympics in order to build gymnasiums and boost tourism. There is 34 Olympic and Paralympic training sites in Nord Pas-de-Calais and foreign teams have, and will, be traing there. Last year 47 foreign delegations passed through, including for example from Pakistan and Senegal, visiting to use these facilities.

Last Thursday June 21st Manuel Valls, the French Interior Minister, visited both Calais and London, to discuss the Franco-British security during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In Calais he met with officials to talk about high security and surveillance of the port. In London he met with his counterparts, Theresa May, the Home Secretary and Damien Green, Minister for Immigration, as well as James Brokenshire, Minister for Security and Counter-terrorism, to discuss ‘terrorist’ threats and immigration during for the Olympics.

During this meeting Theresa May also announced plans to hold a G6, bringing together the interior ministers of the six most populous European countries, in London in November 2012.

Security for London Olympics will see police and private security occupying the streets, flyer drones for aerial surveillance, warships docked up in the Thames, ground-to-air missiles on stand-by and snipers on rooftops.
State ‘security’, or in other words the attempt to control people, for ‘immigration’ purposes and against ‘terrorism’ is becoming very much hand in hand, with multinational arms companies and defence industries increasingly expanding into the realm of immigration control and merging surveillance systems.
The ‘clean up’ of cities in London and Calais in the name of keeping the Olympic industry and its spectators secure, is in reality an opportunity for reinforcing the deployment of draconian surveillance systems and arsenal of security measures to protect the privileged and their profit-making.
Call out for the summer: people needed on the ground in Calais to support people with and without papers in the lead up and during the Olympics.
Call out for squatters: supporting people find places to sleep would be much appreciated at the moment!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Drones, Israeli surveillance tech to be used during London Olympic games

Fighter jets thunder above the English countryside. Missiles stand ready. And Big Brother is watching like never before.

The London Olympics are no ordinary games. Not since World War II have Britain and the United States teamed up for such a massive security operation on British soil.

Hundreds of American intelligence, security and law enforcement officials are flying across the Atlantic for the games that begin July 27. Some will even be embedded with their British counterparts, sharing critical intelligence and troubleshooting potential risks. Dozens of Interpol officers will also be deployed.

The unique collaboration is rooted in common threats the partners have faced since the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the U.S. and Britain's own deadly suicide bombings in 2005.

Britain was America's closest ally in Afghanistan and Iraq, making it a prime target of Islamic terror groups. And dozens of recent terror plots, including the 2006 plot to blow up nearly a dozen trans-Atlantic airliners, have been hatched within Britain's sizeable Muslim population, more than 1 million of whom have ties to Pakistan.

Although other Olympics have taken place since 9/11 -- Salt Lake City, Athens, Turin, Beijing and Vancouver -- London poses a different breed of security challenge.

"I'm confident that there is more than adequate security here for these games," Louis Susman, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.K., told The Associated Press. "That said, we live in a tumultuous world, whether that be in New York or London."

Intelligence officials say there has been an expected increase in chatter among extremist groups but there are still no specific or credible threats to the London games. The terror level is labeled substantial, a notch below severe and what it has been for much of the past decade. A substantial threat level indicates that an attack is a strong possibility.

"There is a perception in some quarters that the terrorist threat to this country has evaporated," said Jonathan Evans, head of Britain's domestic spy agency of MI5. "Bin Laden is dead, al-Qaida's senior leadership in Pakistan is under serious pressure and there hasn't been a major terror attack here for seven years. (But) in back rooms and in cars and on the streets of this country, there is no shortage of individuals talking about wanting to mount terrorist attacks here."

The potential threats to the London games are broad and diverse -- a lone wolf attacker such as Norway's Anders Behring Breivik who confessed to killing 77 people; a possible non-Asian Muslim convert who could slip by security with a European passport; a coordinated strike like the Sept. 11 terror attacks or a debilitating cyber-attack.

Although al-Qaida has been weakened by targeted U.S. strikes, its affiliates in places like Somalia and Yemen have stepped up their activity and increased their capabilities. They've even been working on bombs that can go undetected in airport scans.

British security officials fear that dozens of nationals who went to train in Somalia and elsewhere could eventually return.

"Terrorist problems have a long tail," said Evans. "They very rarely just stop."

Up to 1 million visitors are expected for the games, putting added strain on border security agents at airports like London's Heathrow, which has been criticized for its long lines and lack of staff to screen those arriving from other countries.

On site, some 300,000 people are expected to flow into Olympic Park in east London each day during peak times.

One of the key functions for Interpol, the international police organization, will be to speed intelligence data sharing between countries so threats can be deterred. U.K. officials scan Interpol data 130 million times per year, Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble told the AP during an exclusive interview at the agency's Lyon headquarters.

"The truth is, and we know this from Norway, that you can't identify one ethnic group and say that's the ethnic group that should only concern us," Noble said. "But this Olympics -- from all that I know and based on all the information that Interpol has -- should be a safe Olympics."

Shared intelligence, better technology and boosted resources have allowed security officials to crack organized plots before they happen but the possibility of a self-starter extremist who operates below the radar remains one of the biggest fears.

In the case of Breivik, there were few warning signals that the self-styled anti-Muslim fanatic was about to kill 77 people last summer. The same essentially was true for Mohamed Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian descent who in March killed three paratroopers, a rabbi and three Jewish school children in southwest France.

Security officials say unless people are already known to authorities, they can go virtually undetected as they plan atrocities.

The overall security numbers are staggering. The games will be protected by some 12,000 police officers during peak times and 23,700 security staff -- a number that includes some 13,500 troops on standby, which is more than the 9,500 British troops currently in Afghanistan. A no-fly zone will also be established over Olympic venues from July 14 to August 15.

More than 100,000 people have applied for jobs at Olympics venues, being vetted for employment history and possible criminal backgrounds. The more rigorous checks are done by the government for accreditation to get into the games, according to Ian Horseman Sewell with G4S, a global company providing most of the training and security staff for the Olympics.

Still, Sewell admits London is different than past games.

"London is a proven terrorist target and it is the first time the summer Olympics have been operated in a post 7/7 environment in a place that isn't a totalitarian state," Sewell said, referring to the 2005 suicide bombings in London and the 2008 Beijing games. "From a security perspective, London is breaking new ground."

G4S will also help secure venues outside of the park and protect athletes.

Some specific teams from places like Belarus, Belgium, New Zealand and Vietnam will be training in northern France to keep costs down -- a move that prompted a joint Franco-British security exercise earlier this year.

Protecting athletes has been a concern since a terror attack at the 1972 Olympics in Munich killed 11 Israeli athletes and coaches.

"Israeli athletes will be staying away from the others in a more secluded area and with more security," a senior Israeli intelligence official told the AP, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of his job. "But a repetition of what happened in Munich is considered unlikely because Israel is ready and also because it isn't the kind of attack Palestinians would want now."

Technology has also advanced from past games.

Special Israeli surveillance technology has been rolled out for the Olympics across Britain, a country already known for its 4 million closed-circuit television cameras. Even more cameras have been installed at the Olympic Park.

Advanced facial and image recognition software will be used to identify suspects and connect multiple crime scenes. Cameras will be used to capture suspicious behavior. And special drones will be used for crowd surveillance, according to a salesman at an Israeli company who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

And remember the movie "Speed" where a bomb would allegedly go off if a bus went slower than 50 mph (80 kph)? Hundreds of public transport vehicles and VIP buses being used in the London games have already been equipped so authorities can tell if a driver is acting erratically -- something that might happen in a hijacking.

Authorities will also be able to stop a vehicle remotely or keep it going at a certain speed -- technology that could be useful if a terrorist were carrying explosives and threatening to crash a bus full of athletes into a crowded venue.
The British military has already made headlines with the weapons it will have available -- surface-to-air missiles, RAF Typhoon combat aircraft and an aircraft carrier docked on the Thames, the river that cuts across London close to several Olympic sites.

Security officials had worried that Irish dissidents could target the games, but those fears have dissipated.

Despite the U.S.-U.K. collaboration, there will still be differences in how the London Olympics is policed. Most of the security personnel will be unarmed -- a striking difference to operations in the United States.

Adding to security issues, leaders from around the world will want to visit during the Olympics. The American delegation will be led by first lady Michelle Obama while President Barack Obama focuses on his re-election campaign.

"I've not heard any American who has said they were concerned about security here," said Susman, the ambassador. "London has made an effort to showcase London for the world and I think it's going to be terrific."

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Defend Our Right to Protest: the Olympics and Beyond

Tuesday 26th June, 7 - 9pm
Harmony Hall, Truro Road, Walthamstow, E17 7BY

Speakers include:
Simon Moore: Campaigner and recipient of Olympic ASBO
Alfie Meadows: Student charged with violent disorder after his skull was fractured by police
Caroline Day: Save Leyton Marsh Group
Speaker from Newham Monitoring Project
Brian Richardson: Barrister & author of ‘Tell it Like it is – How Schools Fail Black Children’

Our campaign against the theft and destruction of Leyton Marsh has been handled by the authorities in the most punitive manner possible. As a result of our protest to try and save our marsh against unnecessary destruction for the Olympics, we have been served with 3 High Court injunctions, three peaceful protestors and a local journalist have been jailed and the first ever Olympic ASBO has been issued.

Leyton Marsh and our campaigners have fallen victim to the most commercial and militarised Olympics ever. Worse is to come. East London will soon see over 20,000 police, 21,000 private security staff, MOD staff & FBI descend on our streets armed with a host of new powers to supress dissent.

All this follows the criminalisation of students following last year’s protests. It is becomingly increasingly difficult to protest against injustice in any meaningful way; any protest with an impact is banned and criminalised.

This meeting will to be an opportunity to discuss the issues, share experiences and build solidarity between groups and individuals who wish to defend our civil liberties in the face of this Olympic assault.

Friday, June 22, 2012

G4S security undercover: London Olympics is wide open to terror or false flag

Exclusive interview with investigative journalist Lee Hazledean who is training undercover as a security guard for the London olympics with private security firm G4S. The olympics start in 4 weeks time.

Lee Hazledean is a filmmaker and investigative TV journalist. He has also been involved in major stories on the IRA and how British Army infiltrated the organisation and carried out false flag operations. He has managed to get undercover as part of the security team at the 2012 Olympics with G4S. He has found there is a media black out on all major news outlets to do with the Olympics unless the story is broken in a news paper or foreign news agency it’s unlikely to see the light of day. Security training and officers are so appaling that the safety and security of the London 2012 Olympics are in jeopardy. A few example’s: The security training is woefully inadequate run by a training company called Contemporary International. Lee has been assigned to work in a PSA (Pedestrian Screening Area) the main security for the stadiums. During an exercise he was asked to pose as a would-be terrorist and managed to get knives, guns and IED’s through security screening on every occasion and every exercise. The X-Ray operators have only two days of training, they aren’t trained properly and miss the most obvious prohibited items gun’s, knives, IED’s, ammunition etc. Bag and physical searchers again are missing dangerous weapons, trainees can’t use vital security equipment like the HHMD (Hand Held Metal detectors) they can’t even communicate properly with the public on a basic level. Worryingly the ‘Rapiscan’ walk through metal detectors don’t work properly and aren’t sensitive enough to pick up large knives, ammunition and other metallic threats. He was told that they would be set to go off only after 50 people have walked through to limit queuing time and to get spectators into the venue. So a Terrorist if they basically queued up would probably get through wearing a suicide vest. G4S are dragging the job centres to recruit the long term unemployed for security officers regardless of how suitable they are for the role. In classes there are drug deals going down, people can’t speak any English whatsoever and others who find people with disabilities offensive and are constantly making disabled jokes. People with no security experience are being rushed through training for their SIA licenses. People who haven’t even completed their SIA licenses yet are being picked to be Team Leaders over highly trained security officers, ex soldiers and ex police. Being a team leader is an important role as the first and last line of defence. Lee is concerned that weapons or worse will be getting into the games. However, what’s more disturbing is that uniforms are already going missing or being stolen from the uniform distribution centre/training facility. The training facility is an accurate mock-up of the actual security measures at the Olympic venues. Lee has witnessed several people taking photos on their mobile phones in the training facility and whilst they have been a few people caught by trainers most aren’t noticed. Even when they are caught they are just told to delete the photos and they continue on the training. We know that terrorists take surveillance photos to gain intelligence. Contemporary International claim that they have mobile phone ‘jammers’ in the facility, however trainers admitted to Lee that there were no ‘jammers’ at all, it was a verbal deterrent. The training facility is a non sporting Olympic venue and a terrorist target. Therefore G4S can’t even secure a school let alone the Olympic Venues.
Also there are plans for the evacuation of London G4S are going to be at the forefront, as well as 100,000 troops coming in via Woolwich barracks made up of regular British Forces, American regular army and European troops. Lee was not told why there would be any need for an evacuation of the whole of London, they just said it was to be a “defining moment in the history of London”. This could just be a precaution but the public should be made aware of the foreign invasion which is taking place right now. The troops are being held across London in various barracks once they’ve been through Woolwich barracks. I also have this information confirmed by an army doctor who was shocked at all the foreign troops coming into London. There is also a shipment of what are being described as casket linings, each casket can hold four or five people and 200,000 casket linings have been delivered we believe from America. This could all be precautionary in the event of a major terrorist attack. Also we were shown videos of drones attacking targets in Afghanistan and were told that drones will be patrolling the sky’s over London during the Olympics carrying out surveillance and search and destroy missions if necessary. Lee believes there is something fundamentally wrong with how the security for the Olympics is being implemented by G4S. With exactly 4 weeks to go until the games Lee feels he needs to expose the inadequate security in place in the hope that it can be improved so that the London 2012 Olympics can be a safe environment for spectators and Athletes alike, and not a cause for national and international embarrassment for Great Britain.

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London olympics security 'wide open', undercover exclusive

Monday, June 18, 2012

UK police chiefs are expecting more riots during the Olympics. There is large military personnel stationed in London. And still the media do not wish to dwell on why London must become a war zone.

This is John Robles, you are listening to an interview with Tim Summers – a political activist and the former national campaign’s officer of the Green Party of England and Wales in the UK. He is also a former political cartoonist.
Hello Tim! How are you today?
I’m very well, thank you John.
It’s a pleasure to be speaking with you. What can you comment about scant coverage by the BBC and the British media regarding unrest in the country and in particular about the riots of last year?
Well, rather grim news about that, really John. The riots started early August last year in Tottenham of London when the local riot spread of the shooting by a police of a young unarmed black man Mark Duggan on the 4th of August. And even today as I speak the 31 police involved including the gunman are refusing interview with the circled Independent Police Complaints Commission. And the media has largely ignored that whole origin of the August riots. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is already a notorious cover-up crimes organization regarding its cover up of the murder by a police of Jean Charles de Menezes.
So, when 31 police refuse an interview with the IPCC it really does not looks good for them, and particularly when riots are expected again this summer. Last August it broke out from London, it spread all over London and then all across England, a lot of places. There were market towns circled, Croydon was the worst hit. And riots became awesome and militant as they tend do but this followed not with a careful examination but with a huge crackdown and very heavy jailing sentences to create a sort of moral panic by the Government and by the media in intention.
And the causes which I think I’ll go into have not been addressed. Several weeks ago six rioters in eastern Birmingham had shot handguns at police and were jailed for totally 124 years, that’s over 20 years each. That’s a measure of how serious the riots were and how serious the sentencing is. But instead of them asking the obvious political and economic questions a huge sycophantic media coverage of the monarch’s diamond jubilee party fortnight ago or the coverage of this great sensational Olympics showcase that diverts the masses consciously from all kinds of questions of social policy.
Unemployment for example is up, particularly regarding youth and black people. The gap between rich and poor has widened and continue to widen wiht years. Private rents, house prices go up, wages stay static, the Government’s austerity cuts (20% so far) have removed grants to formers, cut housing benefit, cut mental health services, huge amounts of public sector jobs, cut social housing, all this is causing very deep grief beneath the surface not reflected in the corporate media’s reporting. Particularly the relations between the youth and police continue to deteriorate. Many young people hate the police because police are the only interface between them and the Government they have come across. And these increased complaints of police racism, hardly twelve have been investigated. Homelessness has risen by 13% just during the first three months of this year.
So, it is becoming very hard social conditions and therefore the police chiefs are expecting more riots during the Olympics. They are stationing a huge national police force in London throughout the Olympics. But the Olympics charter of the young elected International Olympics Committee declares no kind of demonstrational political or religious propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas. But what are these other areas the media won’t tell us. This is a recipe for absolute chaos.
The London Olympics has deliberately gone out to invite the sponsorship of major corporations – McDonald’s, Coca Cola and even Dow Chemical whose chemical pollution caused 25 000 deaths in Bhopal in 1984. And now Dow Chemical are making wraps for the Olympic Stadium and there is a ban on demonstrations. This is really absurd. Protests are inevitable and are already planned. So, the police have stockpiled 10 000 plastic bullets ready for their forces in London. The mass media and the corporations are related and allied to the British Government. This is coming out every week in the Leveson Inquiry where Rupert Murdoch’s News International Corporation is being exposed for its links with the Government and its direct influences.
Are they similar to the BBC, I mean Murdoch’s coverage, was it in line with the BBC coverage in the country?
Murdoch’s line is even more harsh, particularly in terms of warmongering of the Iraq war, he really tells governments what to do. And the BBC hasn’t been so exposed yet but there is something really bland about the BBC which just blanks out all the important questions and just gives you daily echoing of very sort of sycophantic coverage.
They won’t tell you why the London Olympics has become a war zone, why there is 3 500 military personnel stationed in London over the Olympics, snipers in helicopters. Listen to this – six ground-to-air anti-aircraft missile bases are around London. Typhoon jet fighter planes at Northfield Airbase. An unknown force of American armed paramilitaries will be around in London plus 10 400 G4S Private Security Guards, 3 000 students to it, a whole navy battleship packed with marines more than London's pool, 8 000 volunteer systems raised by Mayor Brois Johnson. And still the media do not wish to dwell on why London must become a war zone.
And why is that?
Well, I think we must assume that some retaliation for Britain’s recent resource wars and war crimes is imminent but that could mean Afghanistan or Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Uganda and recently Britain supplied arms to Syria via Saudi Arabia and Qatar. That’s possible retaliation of these deeds but you find them listed in the corporate media in Britain which as I say is so absolutely embed with the Government.
So, if you add all this together – you have the riots, the war retaliations as expected, the protests, the war zone, add to that 11 million extra visitors. Many of London's main roads are being closed as VIP lanes, overloaded public transport all for the huge over heated, vain, glorious, unsustainable spectacle and you have one thing apart Olympics signifying and showcasing the whole global decline of the Western powers. Please take my warning because you won’t find it in Britain's media.
Alright! Thank you very much Tim for agreeing to speak with me.
It’s really been my pleasure, any time John.
Ok, thank you Sir. We appreciate it.
You were listening to an interview with Tim Summers – the former national campaign’s officer with the Green Party of England and Wales in the UK and the former political cartoonist and a political activist.

Friday, April 13, 2012

PDF Leaflet: No Military on our Streets (UK)

325 receives and transmits : Click for PDF version

In the last couple of years, the ‘Help for Heroes’ army PR campaign has tried to make us love Britain’s military forces. We have been told they are ‘our boys’, ‘our troops’. We have been encouraged to think of them as our friends, and our comrades. They are not. An army needs an enemy to be an army. They are an occupying force fighting the enemies of the bankers, the politicians, and the new social order. The people are this enemy. And so ‘our boys’ are our enemy. War abroad, repression at home. This summer, and already, a military state will be rolled out on the streets of Britain for the security of the Olympic games, as the Tories and Security Services continue their unrelenting demolition of people’s freedom and means of survival. The Army is being trained to quell future riots and widespread social unrest which is inevitable as we struggle to live in intolerable conditions. The people have been at the receiving end of intense propaganda via the ‘Help for Heroes’ campaign for years now, in order to make us accept the occupation which is coming and the role of the Army in breaking the back of any industrial action or strike which has the possibility to create any rupture of the ‘Queen’s Peace’.

The Olympics is the excuse to put the Army on the streets, arm massive numbers of police and create a surveillance state which will not end when the gold medals are given out. The Army will never be withdrawn from their role of social control after the Olympics, nor will the cops give up their murderous role. Britain is now a modern fascist State. Just like Italy, where the army is in occupation in city and town squares, public transport hubs and urban streets – all to defend the State and the capitalist system against the people. This is happening just as soon in Greece, with the emergence of a new Junta – which is the only way that ‘democracy’ can stop the people taking what they want and need using the methods of self-organisation – self-organisation for their own survival against the capitalist austerity. Austerity is not for the rich and included, it’s for the poorest and most vulnerable sections of the population. The economic crisis and the rise in food and fuel prices will not just go away, the entire modern industrial-technological system is based on consuming vast amounts of natural resources which are now running out. This is a problem which cannot be solved by strike-breaking armies and by turning societies into open prisons under the gaze of millions of surveillance cameras.

Those who join the world’s armies are not heroes. They are, by definition, mercenaries – invading, occupying, murdering and terrorising in return for a pay-check. There is nothing heroic about this. Heroes do something extraordinary and spontaneous for no reward, monetary or otherwise. All soldiers – whilst they agree to murder and dominate on behalf of the oppressors – are mercenaries.

The only heroic thing that armies have done in history is to defend each other against danger in the theatre of war, to refuse the senseless orders of their political masters, to refuse to occupy their own or another’s country, to refuse to act as scabs against striking workers, and to refuse to carry arms or use force against their own people. Only when the troops understand that they are pawns in a game played only for the benefit of the rich and which is hurting the freedom of their family, friends and society at large, only when the troops turn their guns on our masters, will they be considered heroes. It has happened many times in history, and it can happen here.

Revolution – Now and Always

leyton marsh resistance this morning - report/pics forest hackney London

Three jailed, one bailed

Four protestors appeared in court charged under section 14 of the Public Order Act. One took legal counsel and pleaded not guilty. He will be re-tried at a later date and his bail condition was a restriction not to go within one mile of the Olympic Park and ice rink.
Three of the protestors represented themselves admirably and pleaded guilty to ‘protecting the community’, for which they received a £640 fine. They will not be able to pay this and in consequence will spend a further 4 days in jail.
Free the Marsh Three!

Arrested Protestors in Custody

Court cases today at Thames Magistrate Court, 58 Bow Road, E3 (between Bow Road and Bow Church Tube stations).
We believe two of the cases will be heard at 2pm. More details will follow as we establish them. A group of supporters will remain at the courts until the cases are heard.
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Protestors are forcibly evicted trying to stop lorries and save the marsh

Bailiffs were on site from 7.30am this morning. At 9.33am bailiffs moved to the camp where they ordered that campers leave their peaceful protest or would be removed by force. Most did so, but some remained in order to demonstrate that they were not leaving voluntarily.
Some protestors were arrested trying to block a lorry entering the site under section 14 for a ‘breach of the peace’ and ‘intimidation of workers’; the workers at this time were in the compound more than 25m away (and were overheard saying they were just about to have a cup of tea) whilst the protestors were on the floor in front of the lorry surrounded by around 50 private security and policemen.
Work has resumed on site and soil continues to be excavated and moved, despite our very real concerns about possible contamination.
The campaign continues and we will be challenging their breaches of the planning regulations and treatment of peaceful protestors in court.
Some revealing photos of today’s events can be found here

Friday, March 30, 2012

Leyton Marsh Camp update (London north

Here is a report from the camp at Leyton Marsh next to the site of a planned 'temporary' Olympics basketball training facility.  The camp is here to support the local community and the Campaign to Save Leyton Marsh.
Community Support!
Food kindly donated by locals
The tent occupation which sprang up on Saturday in solidarity with the Campaign to Save Leyton Marsh has entered its 5th day.  The camp continues to grow with supporters arriving every day.  Local residents and campaigners visit all day long providing support, bringing supplies and chatting with the campers.  Basic facilities have been setup including a field kitchen and washing up area.  There is also a communications tent.
No construction work has taken place on the Leyton Marsh site since Friday when local campaigners from the Save Leyton Marsh group stood in front of lorries preventing them from entering the site.  On Monday, the occupation campers joined with local residents standing in front and lying down under lorries.
Today a Police Community Support Officer arrived at the camp in the early morning to inform the group that the Olympic Delivery Authority will be coming to the camp on Friday morning.  The PCSO said that the purpose of the visit was to negotiate with the Save Leyton Marsh Campaign and Campers about the situation (an update will be published when more info is known).
The occupiers welcome any and all support. There is plenty of space for more people to get involved. It is located Behind Lee Valley Ice Cente on Lea Bridge Rd, Leyton Map:
For more info check out:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Save Leyton Marsh - Update London

Save Leyton Marsh - Update

local resident | 26.03.2012
The Occupy movement have joined Hackney and Waltham Forest residents in their struggle against the Olympic land grab.
the plan for the marsh
the plan for the marsh

Since planning permission was granted in January by Waltham Forest council for a large indoor basket ball arena for Olympic and paralympic athletes to practice on, local residents and marsh users have been organising and campaigning to save Leyton Marsh.

Leyton Marsh is metropolitan open land and is managed by the Lea Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA) on behalf of the people. It is land that is not supposed to be built on, unless in exceptional circumstances. Waltham Forest have designated the Olympics as such “exceptional” circumstances and have leased the land to the Olympic Development Authority for £138,000. The structure that will house the two practice basketball courts and associated facilites is temporary and the ODA and LVRPA are assuring us that they will take the structure down and return the land to its previous condition by the 11th October 2012.

Many of us who use the marsh and who have witnessed the destruction of the site over the past few weeks do not believe that there is the will, never mind the way, to return the site to its previous condition and are determined to stop this build going ahead.

There has been organised resistance to the building works and local residents have been successful on a number of occaisions in halting building work on site. On Friday 23rd March, a determined bunch of people exercised their rights to use the Marsh freely with a 6 hour game of boules that resulted in £40,000 of cement being spoiled as the trucks carrying it were blocked from getting on site.

Local residents have been meeting weekly since January and the Save Leyton Marsh group has been formed, who have been having weekly Saturday demonstrations and last Saturday the 24th of Marsh saw the occupy movement join the fight to protect our communal land and collective legacy.

Occupiers from the Finsbury Square occupation marched to the marsh and over the past few days an intentional community of tents and people have joined the communities of Leyton, Walthamstow and Hackney in fighting against the Olympic land grab.

Lorries containing hard core were prevented from entering the Marsh today and we are hopeful that if we are able to significantly delay building work from taking place we may be successful in halting this destruction of Leyton Marsh.

Leyton Marsh is a beautiful bit of open land bang in the middle of Hackney and Leyton. I would encourage all those who live nearby to come and visit the site and the camp. This battle is winnable and I would encourage all those interested in defending the land, fighting against the Olympics, protecting our environment, challenging capitalism, building community, etc etc to come and get involved.

For more information visit
local resident

Occupation on Leyton

March 28, 2012

An occupation has sprung up next to the site of a planned Olympic 'temporary' basketball training facility on Leyton Marshes, Leyton.
It is there to show solidarity with the Campaign to Save Leyton Marsh.
tent occupation
tents 2
having a chat
lorry blockage
lying under lorry

An occupation has sprung up next to the site of a planned Olympic 'temporary' basketball training facility on Leyton Marshes, Leyton.

It began on Saturday when a group of concerned people went to the Marsh to show solidarity with the Campaign to Save Leyton Marsh (CSLM).  Some had marched from Occupy London's Finsbury Sq.
The CSLM was formed to challenge the decision by Waltham Forest Council to grant the Olympic Delivery Authority permission to build a temporary basketball training facility on Leyton Marsh, which is designated 'Metropolitan Open Land'.  As well as opposing the decision through a media campaign, the group has also engaged in several acts of peaceful disobedience: by standing in front of lorries attempting to enter the site where the facility is due to be built.

On Monday this week, the new occupiers joined with the local campaigners preventing any vehicles entering the site.  By today, there were no vehicles at all and all work on the site stopped.
Many locals are very upset at what is happening to this piece of open, communal land.  Kev, a local resident from Hackney expressed his feelings:
'' What they have been doing in Hackney on the East Marsh has shown the local people the devastation caused by the Olympics.  Even if we're told this is just temporary we do not want it.  East Marsh is too late but here there is a chance to stop it''. 

Health and safety concerns have also been raised by local residents who point to the possibility of contamination.  Caroline, a local resident and campaigner from Leyton said:  ''They are churning up contaminated soil from WW2 and leaving it in mounds around the site.  There could be asbestos in there.''
Locals are also concerned that by building on Metropolitan Open Land which is supposed to be protected, a precedent is being set for further land grabs, development and privatisation of public space.  They also question the promise made by Waltham Council that the land would be returned to its original state by October 15th which seems hard to imagine if tons of concrete is laid.  Caroline commented: ''It will take 1 year minimum for the turf to grow back, and the eco-systems will take far longer''

This morning a police officer reported that members of Waltham Forest and Hackney Council held a meeting.  Presumably the fledgling occupation an peaceful direct actions by locals and occupiers will be a hot topic of discussion.
The site where the occupiers are camping is part of the Lea Valley Park and is subject to byelaws which forbid camping and barbeques.  It is possible that the police may be instructed to clear the camp soon.
In the meanwhile though, the sun shines and local people come and talk with the occupiers and share their views on the situation, with some delighting in the obvious lack of work and silence on Olympic site.  Lots of food, blankets and supplies have been donated: an indicator that many are glad to have the presence and action of the occupiers.

The occupiers welcome any and all support.  There is plenty of space for more people to get involved.  It is located   Behind Lee Valley Ice Cente on Lea Bridge Rd, Leyton Map:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The 10,500 athletes participating in the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, the world's greatest celebration of human physical endeavour and progress, will be guarded by a security force of some 40,000.

The 10,500 athletes participating in the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, the world's greatest celebration of human physical endeavour and progress, will be guarded by a security force of some 40,000. This beats the 3:1 ratio of guards to athletes at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, as the London Games continues the Olympian trend for record-breaking security contingencies. Indeed the home secretary, Theresa May, only last month crowed that the Games' security would constitute "the UK's largest ever peacetime logistical operation". Never mind the performance of athletes: the Olympics is about government and business delivering security solutions.

And it's a great show. Armed officers from the Metropolitan police and the Royal Marines hammering along the Thames in speedboats and helicopters, ground-to-air missiles scanning the skies, hovering spy drones scanning the land, security services scanning the internet for nascent plots or cyber attacks – it's all being co-ordinated by a bevy of Olympic-themed security agencies.

The police-led multi-agency National Olympic Coordination Centre co-ordinates the forces to deal with the threats identified in the Olympic Intelligence Centre's "national Olympic threat assessments, while the Olympic Clearing House is screening 380,000 people, from athletes to voluntary litter pickers, seeking accreditation for the Games. Meanwhile the UK Borders Agency boasts the UK is to be the first country to welcome arriving athletes by funnelling them up dedicated "Olympic lanes" at airports for fast-track fingerprinting.

Locals are also in the firing line, in subtle, privatised ways. Houseboaters on the River Lea have been priced out of a controlled mooring zone around the Games, while the £60m Prevent strategy has screened the five Olympic host boroughs for what threat they pose for brewing local extremism, with "engagement officers" dispatched to each borough.

Random security screening has been carried out on cars parked at Stratford City's Westfield shopping centre, by officers from the staggering 23,700-strong private security contingent of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and G4S. Westfield isn't even in the Olympic park, itself a hotbed of embedded biometric scanners and CCTV with automatic facial and behaviour recognition technologies, amid which LOCOG's forces can search anyone and use "all available powers" to dispose of troublemakers, particularly anyone caught with anything that could be used … in a tent.

Who LOCOG's bouncers are accountable to is not clear, but they are backed by 13,500 military reservists, apart from countless police deployments, and international contingents such as up to 1,000 US agents, possibly armed. The Games' security costs exploded from £282m in 2010 to £553m by end-of 2011, with another £475m for policing. Under the host city contract, the chancellor of the exchequer signed a guarantee "bearing the costs of providing security" – a blank cheque signed by the taxpayer for Olympic security planning that industry lobby body the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) has proudly been involved with from the outset.

Olympic security is booming business. The $1.7bn security budget for the 2004 Athens Games was over four times that of the 2000 Sydney Games, while $6.5bn went on security at the 2008 Beijing Games, mostly going on security technologies supplied by firms like General Electric and Panasonic – two major sponsors of the London Games. Beijing also saw innovations like armed police zipping around on Segways, or tickets inserted with radio-frequency ID chips to enable the real-time tracking of ticket holders.

Bureaucrats and lawmakers have internationalised efforts to use the Olympics to install and expand intrusive, permanent surveillance measures. The 2005 European Prüm Treaty justified the mass sharing of data among Europe's security forces on convicted criminals, suspects, possible protesters and anyone deemed suspicious for seeking to attend a big sporting event. Britain didn't sign Prüm but certainly shaped and aped its aims, as it did from a 2006 EU manual that standardised how the security forces should respond to threats arising from major events, "political, sporting, social, cultural or other".

Amid the greater alarm of security and the Games, the coalition is soon to wheel out the Communications Capabilities Development Programme – an old, dusted-down plan to force companies to hoard of all text, phone call, email and internet data.

Meanwhile, installed gadgetry always finds other uses. CCTV set up to monitor traffic during the Athens Games were later used to monitor public gatherings. In addition, a communications system set up to co-ordinate the Greek emergency services has, at great cost, been expanded into a surveillance command system dealing with "Greek post-Olympic security needs", presumably in great use now in the bankrupt land where the Games were born.

And so thousands of impoverished teenage Londoners who've lost playing fields to highly secured Olympic carparks, missed out on sports training or couldn't afford tickets, instead of rioting, may take up X-ray screening and door supervision qualifications backed by LOCOG, the BSIA and Home Office, securing their own futures by becoming part of the industry that's securing all our futures. Everyone's a winner.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

BP’s Olympic branding defaced throughout London

Today hundreds of BP signs across London were targeted by activists protesting against the company’s role as ‘Sustainability Partner’ of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Around the capital, protesters hit petrol stations, advertising hoardings, and BP-sponsored cultural institutions[1], disfiguring hundreds of the famous BP ‘sunflower’ logo. Advertisements with the company’s Olympic strapline ‘fuelling the future’ were altered with the addition of three asterisks to make ‘f***ing the future’.
Wenlock & Mandeville at the National Maritime Museum
King's Cross Underground poster
Activists said the ‘subvertising’ action, dubbed ‘Brand Piracy’ day, would escalate public debate[2] of BP’s sponsorship after headlines in recent months had focused on the Dow controversy.[3] The action was said to be “the first of many” with “more BP branding to be targeted in the run up to the Olympics”.

One of those taking part in the action, Bridget Peterson, said, “BP has just closed its solar business[4] and is now plunging into highly polluting tar sands[5], exploring the pristine Arctic[6] and restarting its deepwater drilling operations[7]. These extreme forms of energy extraction are incompatible with stopping climate change,[8] yet BP pursues them greedily while gloatingly advertising itself as ‘Sustainability Partner’.”

Another activist, who wished to remain anonymous, explained, “The Olympics gives BP the chance to look ethical and yet lead the public down the garden path. BP pays millions to manufacture a false reputation as a ‘sustainable’ company,[9] and deflect all attention from its actual operations. This sickening marketing spree amounts to a major cover-up – and so today we took our own action to cover it up.”

A website,, shows pictures of the action and outlines the problems with BP’s sponsorship of the Olympics.  

For more information, interviews and high-resolution photos, email or phone Bridget Peterson on 07741 103 248


[1] Cultural institutions, especially the Tate, have long been targeted by activists concerned at oil companies using arts sponsorship to cover up their environmental and human rights atrocities. See e.g. and

[2] Concern over BP’s sponsorship of the Olympics entered the news last week when a coalition of NGOs and individuals wrote an open letter to Olympic organisers. See

[3] See e.g.

[4] BP closed its solar business in December 2011. See

[5] For more information on tar sands, see

[6] See

[7] Deepwater operations were announced to be restarted in April 2011. See The company still faces a civil court case over the Deepwater Horizon disaster due to start at the end of February. See

[8] NASA Climate Scientist James Hansen has shown that a safe level of CO2 can only be reached if coal is phased out and unconventional fossil fuels are not explored. See

[9] Research shows that BP’s sponsorship of the Olympics has indeed improved its public image. See