Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan or London 2012: spot the difference

You have probably already heard that G4S failed to fulfill their contractual obligations for providing security at the Olympics. If not, then here’s yesterday’s [July 12th] BBC news:

Theresa May [Home Secretary] said it was discovered only on Wednesday — 16 days before the Games begin — that contractor G4S did not have enough trained security staff. […]

G4S was contracted by the London 2012 Organising Committee to supply 10,400 staff out of the 23,700 security staff needed for the Games.

It said it had 4,000 people already working across 100 venues.

It also said there were a further 9,000 people going through the final stages of extensive training, vetting and accreditation.

The same BBC report also includes a more detailed breakdown of the shortfall as follows:

The remaining security staff were to be made up of 7,500 from the military, and about 5,800 students and volunteers.1

So this huge private security firm have been relying not only on military personnel but also on the recruitment of volunteers, and let’s face it, what self-respecting individual would work for nothing in the service of a highly profitable global corporation?

I have Craig Murray to thank for drawing my attention to the penny-pinching truth behind this particular side-plot in the unfolding London Olympics farce. Murray, who was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan before he resigned his position over issues of human rights violations, writing yesterday on his blog that:

The extra 3,500 military personnel it was today announced will be used at the games cover a shortfall in Group Four personnel. Group Four were providing 4,000 paid staff and 6,000 unpaid volunteers. It is the unpaid volunteer numbers which are short by 3,500.

Most people are not stupid. They may volunteer happily for sport or for charity, but to work for nothing to make tens of millions of pounds of profit for Group Four as it exploits them, plainly does not have universal appeal. Those 2,500 who have volunteered to work for nothing for G4S are the idiots in this story. How gullible can you be?

In the same post, which is bluntly entitled “Martial Law Britain”, Murray also offers his unflinching personal and (given his former role as a high ranking diplomat) professional opinion regarding what visitors to London are about to face:

Those coming from Central Asia, Bahrain, Qatar or Saudi Arabia to the Olympics, interested to see what life in a democracy feels like, will find it seems exactly like life at home in their dictatorship. 17,000 soldiers will be glowering over the venues, checking identity documents, stopping and searching. The military will occupy residential buildings, be buzzing overhead, rolling down the streets and patrolling the river. There will be missiles on land, sea and air, though nobody knows what the threat is that this is supposed to counter.

What will make our dictatorship resident visitors feel especially at home is the contempt for the ordinary citizen. Not only will they have the military all over them and be subject to frequent stopping and questioning, they will be expected continually to get out of the way of their betters. Special VIP lanes on the road will allow officials to sweep by, while normal citizens will simply have to sit in gridlock and stew. Who cares? The military will stick missiles on your roof if they wish. What they are going to shoot down, and which bit of London it will land on, is not to be questioned.

I couldn’t agree more. So apologies for repeating myself (see my post from July 8th), but here’s another reminder of that banner we need to hang above the arrivals lounge at Heathrow. The message again, captioned in big, bold letters: “Welcome to Airstrip One!”

Click here to read more of Craig Murray’s latest post.



As if that wasn’t enough to be dealing with, Sky News reports on July 17th that the now notorious US Transportation Security Agency [TSA] “will arrive one week before the Olympics, and leave around a week after the end of the Paralympics”:

US security agents are to be based at Heathrow and some other UK airports for the duration of the Olympic‬ Games, according to Sky sources.

The Department for Transport has reached an agreement with the US Transportation Security Administration for specialist agents to be working at several UK airports.

Click here to read the full article.

A few days earlier on July 13th, Sky News also reported that in spite of more than £1.5 billion spent on security, many of the newly recruited staff have received such poor levels of training that there are “so many security loopholes” and “a 50-50 chance someone could carry a bomb into one of the Olympic venues”:

The whistleblower, who contacted Sky News, has extensive military and professional security training and is an expert in weapons and IED detection.

He said: “I can see so many security loopholes for this event. Security staff are given a very short time to achieve their training and there is a very slack approach.

“During my employment I planted pretend IEDs, decommissioned weapons, knives and other large metallic objects on students and sent them through the metal detectors.

“They’re not being seen by X-ray staff and they’re not being picked up during physical searches, so the training is completely insufficient.

“The people making these mistakes are then given a tick in the box at the end of the day, sent round the corner to collect their uniform and sent home to await an email with their start date.

Click here to read the full article.

1 From a BBC news article entitled “Olympics security not compromised, Theresa May says”, published on July 12, 2012.

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Filed under Britain, Craig Murray, police state

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