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July 7th People's Independent Inquiry Forum > Current News & Affairs > 2012 Olympic Bid

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Title: 2012 Olympic Bid

Bridget - May 28, 2006 04:39 PM (GMT)
2 companies with links to the Underground have bid for the project manager contract for the 2012 London Olympics:,,2095-2046975,00.html
Amec and Balfour Beatty team up for Olympic gold
Tracey Boles
AMEC has teamed up with Balfour Beatty to form an all-British consortium to bid for the prestigious project manager role for the 2012 London Olympics. The role is to oversee the design, construction and maintenance of the multi-billion-pound Olympic village and venues.

The two British infrastructure firms, which previously worked together on London Underground’s Jubilee line, agreed to join forces last week as the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) issued a new tender for the role of “delivery partner” on the Olympics.

Ian Thomas, Amec business-development director, said: “Amec and Balfour Beatty are joining up to develop a strong British consortium with access to resources and delivery facilities from across the whole of the UK.” The ODA is the government body charged with building the key venues, facilities and infrastructure for the 2012 Games. As well as the Olympic village, there are plans for the main stadium, swimming pools, a hockey pitch, gym and velodrome, all at Stratford in east London. The resulting Olympic Park will be seven minutes by train from central London.

The project-manager role has been greatly expanded from providing the infrastructure, as was originally envisaged. It will now cover many more stages in the life of the Olympic sites, from early planning to their transformation after the Games have finished.

ODA chairman Jack Lemley, appointed last November, scrapped the original short list already drawn up for the job, which included Amec, KBR, Mace, Lend Lease, Arup and Parsons Brinckerhoff.

The ODA said: “The complexity of the task has been redefined. It is no reflection on the original applicants.”

While the bulk of the work will be at Stratford, other sites will also come under the auspices of the project manager. They include a shooting range in Surrey, a yachting facility, and several training camps dotted around the country.

The tender stipulates that only firms with an annual turnover of £100m or more may apply. The ODA wants its project manager to have sufficient resources to pitch in should any of the projects run into difficulty. Expressions of interest for the new role, which can come from consortiums or single companies, must be in by March 28, followed by bids on April 25. The contract begins this July.

Amec said it would bring its programme-management expertise to the new consortium with Balfour, which will be run as a special-purpose vehicle. Amec is project manager on the final fit-out of Heathrow’s Terminal Five.

Balfour Beatty’s Tim Sharp said: “We have comprehensive infrastructure capabilities. We and Amec are sensible partners to look at this important challenge. Our experience dovetails with Amec’s.”

The firms are already paired on the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) to rebuild University College Hospital.

Bridget - October 9, 2006 12:38 AM (GMT)
There's a lot of money to be made out of terrorism ....
Bomb detector plan for Games

Jamie Doward, home affairs editor
Sunday October 8, 2006
The Observer

Explosives detectors may have to be fitted at many of London's sports venues, in Underground trains and in bus depots to minimise the terrorist threat when the capital hosts the Olympics in 2012, according to the Games' chief security adviser.

The plan is likely to cost hundreds of millions of pounds, but Peter Ryan, who was head of security at the Sydney Olympics and was a chief adviser to the Athens Games, said the changing nature of terrorism means the capital will have to look at new ways of minimising risks to the public.

'What we've seen is the rise of the lone bomber, the suicide bomber, the willingness of someone to sacrifice themselves,' said Ryan, who will tomorrow tell the Intelligent Transport Systems Conference in London that it is important to start testing technology that could screen hundreds of people per minute.

Such devices are already used in airports and high-risk facilities such as prisons, courtrooms and embassies. BAA, the company that runs many of Britain's airports, has also tested a new air sampling system that can detect the presence of explosives at Heathrow.

But Sandra Bell, the director of homeland security at the Royal United Services Institute think-tank, said that she was sceptical about claims that the new technology would not cause big delays, and said that, with each explosives detector costing about £1.5m, installing devices across London could prove too expensive.

freedomfiles - October 9, 2006 07:54 AM (GMT)
Any idea what the Olympic Games will cost excluding security ? ;)

I wonder what costs more, the event, or the security surrounding it....

Bridget - September 29, 2008 09:05 AM (GMT)
UK will pay 'whatever it takes' to protect the Olympics
29/09/2008 12:00:00 AM

The London Olympic Games budget will break through the 10 billion ($A22 billion) barrier, largely because officials have ''vastly underestimated'' the cost of protecting the event from terrorists, The Independent on Sunday has revealed.

Security costs for the 2012 Games were now likely to reach $A3.3 billion nearly three times the original estimate, a senior official involved in planning the event said.

The army was to be drafted to help protect athletes and spectators from an atrocity, the official revealed. Military helicopters would patrol overhead and jets would be on standby to intercept any suspect private plane heading for the main Olympic stadium in east London. Under Treasury rules, the Ministry of Defence would charge the Olympic authorities for such a deployment.

The security operation is expected to be the largest in peacetime Britain, with the two-week event classed in Whitehall as a major terrorist target. Yet detailed planning for policing and security has barely started.

Insiders said a price could not be put on preventing a large-scale terrorist attack on the main Olympic site or in London's parks, where thousands will watch the events on giant TV screens.

The London bombings of July 7, 2005, took place the day after the capital celebrated winning the 2012 bid.

''It will cost whatever it takes to ensure terrorism does not once again try to rob London of celebrating the 2012 Games,'' a source said.

The insider said security planning was ''basically starting from scratch. There are no detailed plans yet but of course it will cost far more, around 1.5 billion [$A3.3billion].''

Balancing security concerns with ensuring spectators can enjoy a friendly and open atmosphere in contrast to Beijing's rigid controls is proving to be the greatest headache for organisers, alongside transport.

Officials want the experience of 2012 to be open and shared by all Londoners, with street parties similar to those in Sydney at the turn of the millennium. Giant video screens will be placed in Hyde Park and at other sites where events will take place.

In addition to police officers from Scotland Yard and other forces, tens of thousands of volunteers will be needed to check bags and tickets. Unmanned military planes, as used to monitor the Taliban in Afghanistan, could be deployed to monitor suspected terrorist aircraft.

The transport network is likely to carry 240,000 passengers an hour during the Games. Extra officers will be needed to identify suspected bombers, and stadiums will be built with special blast-proof material, including shatter-proof glass.

Officials from the Cabinet Office and the Home Office have been meeting regularly to discuss the operation.

If organisers are to keep to budget promises, cuts will have to be made elsewhere, such as in the construction of stadiums and the Olympic village to house 17,000 athletes, and in the funding of the 2012 ''legacy'', intended to promote sport in the community. Independent


Bridget - October 27, 2008 12:16 AM (GMT)
From The Times
October 27, 2008
Police are warned of Ramadan tensions during Games
Richard Kerbaj and Ruth Gledhill

Specialist advice is being given to Scotland Yard on how to reduce tensions between police and Muslims during the London Olympics because of growing concerns about the Games clashing with the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast during the day, The Times has learnt.

Experts will also warn the Metropolitan Police to ensure that the planned commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the massacre of Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists at the Munich Games does not offend local and travelling Muslims.

The recommendations have been made by inter-faith advisers to Scotland Yard, where antiterrorism police are preparing to combat any possible Islamic terrorist threat to the Games.

Community tensions in the lead-up to the games have already been raised by a controversial Muslim movement, Tablighi Jamaat, which plans to build Britain’s largest mosque and Islamic complex near the 2012 Olympic stadium site.

Michael Mumisa, an Islamic scholar, and one of four experts hired by Scotland Yard who began training the police this week on inter-faith issues, said that the commemoration of the 11 Israeli athletes, killed by Palestinian militants from the Black September Organisation at the 1972 Munich Games, could become a national security threat if it was not managed properly and was perceived by Muslims to be “hijacking” the Games.

Edward Kessler, executive director of the Woolfe Institute, which deals with inter-faith dialogue, teaching and research, said that police needed to have a “minimum level of faith literacy” to help them deal with religious issues during the London Games. Dr Kessler said: “During Ramadan you’re going to have a lot of tired, hungry, less evenly tempered people because they haven’t eaten for 18 hours.”

Bridget - January 31, 2009 01:05 PM (GMT)
Olympic security being hampered by bureaucrats, Army chief says

The future head of the Army has said "bureaucratic rivalries" between Government departments was hampering security plans for the 2012 Olympics.

By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent
Last Updated: 10:24PM GMT 27 Jan 2009

Gen Sir David Richards also told MPs that advanced technology being used to defeat insurgents in Afghanistan could be used to counter terrorist threats to the London Games.

It was also revealed in a memorandum to the Commons Defence Committee that MI5's assessment of the threat from international terrorism to Britain was "more ambitious in scope than we have seen before and will probably be with us for the foreseeable future".

But giving evidence to the Commons Defence Committee, General Sir David Richards, Commander-in-Chief Land Forces, said the Armed Forces still do not know what their role will be in providing security for the Games.

And, if they were to plan effectively, the military needed to know what would be required of them "as soon as possible".

Asked by committee chairman James Arbuthot "What keeps you awake at night?" in relation to UK security, Gen Richards replied: "I suppose at the back of my mind is 2012.

"The Government Ministries are all alert to the necessary work and are getting on with it.

"I would like to get clarity on what might be required from the Armed Forces as soon as possible.

"If we do have to re-train, create new units, IED (improvised explosive device) specialists, all that sort of thing, the sooner we get clarity the better."

Gen Richards said procedures for command and control, logistics and tactics "has not yet permeated through" to planners.

"There are bureaucratic rivalries that we have to ease out. It could be worse, it could be better," he said.

There were "risks" surrounding the 2012 Games and "we want to be fully prepared for it in good time".

But some of the terrorist scenarios put forward by a "horizon scanning" team had acted as "a catalyst to accelerate the work" of preparing the security system.

Security for the Olympics currently rests with the Office of Security and Counter Terrorism that reports directly to the Prime Minister.

Gen Richards was asked, with 12,000 troops deployed abroad in Iraq and Afghanistan, that those remaining in Britain would be sufficient to deal with a national emergency.

"If there was a catastrophic multi-city emergency the fact that we have lots of people deployed does make our response to that more difficult. That said this is what we train to do to - respond to the unexpected."

He added there was "still a lot of the Army" left back in Britain.

The officer, who will replace Gen Sir Richard Dannatt as head of the Army in August, was asked if advanced technology being used in Afghanistan and Iraq would have a use for Olympic security.

"I cannot go into details but undoubtedly there are things in certain scenarios being looked at," he said.

He suggested the equipment used would in particular be "intelligence and understanding what's going on".

The MPs were then shown a secret document by Brig James Everard, the Army's director of commitments, which gave the type of military capabilities available to the civil authorities. In addition to the SAS's counter terrorism squadron this is also thought to include eavesdropping devices and bomb disposal teams.

With only three Metropolitan police helicopters available, military aircraft could also be used for surveillance. While aerial drones have been a significant success in tackling the Taliban their use over London could be restricted by commercial airline routes.

The MoD memo added that the military had contributed "significant assets" to overseas operations aimed at "preventing terrorist attacks and pursuing terrorists".

While much of the information was confidential there was a "range of capabilities to conduct disruption operations against potential terrorist attacks".

The committee also heard that the Defence Secretary John Hutton had ordered a two-day seminar to consider a restructure of the Armed Forces to meet the challenges of future conflicts.

Crispin Blunt, the shadow security minister who watched Gen Richards give evidence, said: "Over half the time has gone between the award of the Olympics and the actual games in 2012 and the Armed Forces still don't know what is expected of them, not even an outline. The plan for Olympic security needs to be gripped and gripped fast."

A Home Office spokesman said: “The Government is committed to ensuring a safe and secure London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games.

“Our plan for security has already been circulated to key stakeholders."

The spokesman added: “A draft Security Strategy, together with an accompanying Concept of Operations and the broad funding package, will be presented for sign off to the relevant Ministerial committee next month.”

Bridget - June 21, 2009 08:21 PM (GMT)
Terror alert system too late for Olympics

A £1.4bn emergency network to deal with bomb scares, fires and floods is unlikely to be in place for the 2012 games and could even end up scrapped

    * Jamie Doward, home affairs editor
    * The Observer, Sunday 21 June 2009

A £1.4bn critical response system to ensure emergency services can deal with a major incident such as the 7/7 bombings is now running so far behind schedule that it is unlikely to be ready in time for the London 2012 Olympics, according to leaked documents.

The revelation has alarmed fire chiefs and prompted private outrage from ministers, who are said to have been kept in the dark by civil servants as to how late the state-of-the-art project is running.

The FiReControl system is described as critical for "protecting public safety and increasing the nation's resilience" and the government claims that once it is up and running it will meet "the challenges of today's world such as industrial accidents, terrorist threats and weather-related incidents" - a reference to the spate of dramatic floods in recent years.

The system, which will link all fire and rescue control centres via nine regional hubs and will cost £380m to set up, automatically channels emergency calls to available operators if telephone lines jam during a national emergency.

Satellite positioning equipment monitors the whereabouts of each emergency vehicle so control centres can establish whether it is the best resource for an incident. All vehicles will be fitted with mobile data terminals that carry constantly updated information, including hydrant locations. Running costs over a 25-year life cycle put the overall cost of the project at £1.4bn, according to unions and independent consultants.

The system was supposed to be completed at the end of 2007, but a series of delays has pushed its roll-out back years. According to the Department of Communities and Local Government(DCLG) website, the first three regional control centres are supposed to go live next summer, "nine months later than previously expected, with the full system expected in place by spring 2012 - five months later than planned".

The fire service wanted the system in place at least 12 months before the games started to allow it to sort out any teething problems. But documents leaked to the Observer indicate the project has been delayed by at least another 10 months, which means the national roll-out of the system will not actually be completed until after the London games.

"It is deeply concerning that the government has not got a grip on a project that they deem vital to security and our resilience to a terrorist attack," said Tom Brake MP, the Liberal Democrats' Olympics spokesman. "When you spend over a billion pounds of taxpayers' money making them safer, they should not have to wait five years for it."

Delaying the system's introduction until after the games raises questions about whether the capital could cope with a major incident during the event.

A DCLG email to those involved in the project asks them to treat with "sensitivity" issues involving further delays in the system's roll-out.

"The project is in meltdown and may not be properly tested and in place for the 2012 Olympics even if they can make it work," said the Fire Brigades Union assistant general secretary, Andy Dark. "Fire services needed the entire network to be bedded down and tested by summer 2011 and that will not happen."

The delays threaten to have political implications. The Conservatives have repeatedly said that any control centre that is not operational if and when they get elected will be cancelled, suggesting the entire project faces the axe.

A DCLG spokeswoman said: "Schedules for projects of this kind are kept under constant review. The department's focus is making sure the benefits of this project are delivered to the fire and rescue service and the public."

Dark said the only option was to improve the existing system rather than introduce a new one. "The project is years late, over-budget, and government remains unable to convince the fire service they can make it work properly," he said. "To continue with these plans in this state is entirely irresponsible."

Bridget - September 22, 2009 10:58 PM (GMT)
The Daily Mail not the Daily Mash:
Police given powers to enter homes and tear down anti-Olympics posters during 2012 Games

By James Slack
Last updated at 6:36 PM on 21st July 2009

user posted image
Police have been given new powers to stop protesters during the London 2012 Olympics

Police have been handed 'Chinese-style' powers to enter private homes and seize political posters during the London 2012 Olympics.

Little-noticed measures passed by the Government will allow officers and Olympics officials to enter homes and shops near official venues to confiscate any protest material.

Breaking the rules could land offenders with a fine of up to £20,000.

Civil liberties groups compared the powers to those used by the Communist Chinese government to stop political protest during the 2008 Beijing Games.

Anita Coles, of Liberty, said: 'Powers of entry should be for fighting crime, not policing poster displays. Didn't we learn last time that the Olympics should not be about stifling free expression?'

The powers were introduced by the Olympics Act of 2006, passed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, supposedly to preserve the monopoly of official advertisers on the London 2012 site.

They would allow advertising posters or hoardings placed in shop or home to be removed.

But the law has been drawn so widely that it also includes 'non-commercial material' - which could extend its reach to include legitimate campaign literature.

Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: 'This is a Government who just doesn't understand civil liberties. They may claim these powers won't be used but the frank truth is no one will believe them.'

Liberal Democrat spokesman Chris Huhne said: 'This sort of police action runs the risk of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. 'We should aim to show the Chinese that you can run a successful Olympics without cracking down on protestors and free speech.'

Scotland Yard denied it had any plans to use the powers.

Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison said: 'We have no intention of using our powers to go in and take down demonstration posters.'

But critics said that - given the powers were now law - it was impossible to predict what would happen in three years time.

Campaigners said the existence of the powers was 'dreadful'. Peter McNeil, who is against the holding of equestrian events in Greenwich Park said: 'It's bullying taken to another level. It's quite appalling that this should happen in a democracy.'

The power emerged as the Home Office and police outlined the £600million security operation for the Games, which will cost more than £9billion in total.

They said hundreds of flights could have to be diverted every day, with planes prevented from passing over the main venue for the London games.

Olympic security chiefs said they expected to have to 'manage' the airspace over the Olympic Park in east London.

A senior Home Office official said: 'We do expect there will have to be some management of the airspace. We do not expect that any airports will have to close.'

The officials said they had no evidence of a specific terror threat against the Games at the moment.

But current preparations assume the terror threat level will be at 'severe' during the event, despite it being reduced to 'substantial' for the UK earlier this week. It is the lowest threat level nationwide since before the July 7 attacks in 2005.

A DCMS spokesman said: 'The advertising provisions in the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 are there to prevent ambush marketing and the over-commercialisation of the Games, not to prevent or restrict lawful protests.

'The measures will only apply to areas within a few hundred metres of the London 2012 venues. The Government is currently developing detailed regulations for advertising during the Games which will enable these powers to come into effect. The Government will be consulting on the regulations in 2010.'

Bridget - January 8, 2010 12:11 PM (GMT)
Olympics bill for anti-terror measures could soar to £2bn
Matthew Beard, Sports News Correspondent


The cost of security at the London Olympics could more than double to £2 billion, the Standard has learnt.

Tougher anti-terrorist measures to protect the 2012 Games are expected to send the security bill soaring above its current £838 million budget.

Ministers have been warned that the budget - revised three years ago after the 2005 London bombings - is already insufficient to cover a heightened terror threat.

Senior sources told the Standard that the extra measures could bring the total security bill to more than £2 billion.

Such measures may have to include deterrents to a cyber-attack on the 2012 organising committee and tougher controls around the Olympic park and training camps for at-risk teams such as the United States and Israel.

The revelation comes alongside calls for full body scanners to be introduced to the Olympic Park.

Opposition MPs say the Government will "bury" the extra costs until after the general election to avoid a breach of the £9.3billion budget.

They claim the costs will be hidden within the budget of the Home Office, which is responsible for security at 2012 but not responsible for the Olympic budget, which comes under the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Ministers denied such a move but refused to be drawn on details of the security measures.

The issue was raised by Lord Patten in a Lords Olympics debate this week. He said: "The most difficult challenge is achieving a balance between security concerns and ensuring that spectators can enjoy the competitions in an open and friendly atmosphere.

"That our UK security task in 2012 is both formidable and likely to rise in cost is self-evident in what has been done in the run-up to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver which has seen a fivefold budget increase."

Lord Patten, who advises the British Olympic Association, warned of possible cyber attacks which would cripple ticketing, transport and hotel booking systems. He called on Games chiefs to consider whole-body scanners for 10,000 workers and 70,000 volunteers at the Olympic Park in addition to existing hand and eye biometric scans.

The 600-acre Olympic Park must be protected against infiltration by terrorists planting explosive devices ahead of the Games, Lord Patten said.

The Home Office today said security would be delivered within the current budget, made up of £600million with a £238million contingency fund.


Bridget - February 9, 2010 09:51 AM (GMT)
From The Times
February 8, 2010

Unlawful anti-terror powers planned for use during 2012 Olympics

Adam Fresco and Fiona Hamilton

Police are planning to use an anti-terror law deemed unlawful by the European Court of Human Rights across the country during the London Olympics, The Times has learnt.

Senior officers are considering using Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 at every Underground and railway station nationwide.

Privacy campaigners criticised the proposal yesterday. The powers would enable police to stop and search members of the public without any suspicion that they were involved in terrorism.

The Times understands that this would be the first time that the powers would have been used across such a wide area. Police said that Section 44, which must be granted by the Home Secretary for a designated area, would be used only in the event of an escalated terror threat. Officers are being trained to use behavioural profiling to spot suspicious characters during stop- and-search operations.

Privacy experts said that the plan could heighten tensions between the public and police. Simon Davies, the director of Privacy International, said: “The history of stop and search in this country is abhorrent. I wouldn’t trust the police to make the right judgment.

“It is well known that stop-and- search powers have created extraordinary tensions among a range of ethnic groups,” he said. “There’s no doubt that extension of the use of those powers would exacerbate those tensions.”

Last month the use of the terror law was criticised by the European Court of Human Rights. It found that Section 44 violated individual freedoms guaranteeing the right to private life.

The court said that the power to search an individual’s clothing and belongings in public involved an element of humiliation that was a clear interference with the right to privacy. Judges also attacked the arbitrary nature of the power as well as the way in which its use was authorised.

Despite this, Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, said that police would continue to use Section 44. The Home Office is appealing against the European Court ruling.

The Metropolitan Police agreed last year to limit its use of the powers after critics claimed that it was discriminating against minority groups. However, Assistant Chief Constable Steve Thomas, of the British Transport Police, told The Times that the powers would be considered for 2012.

Mr Thomas, the Olympic National Transport Security Co-ordinator for the Home Office, said: “If there is a severe level of threat we will be looking to use Section 44 at every Underground and railway station. We are planning on the assumption that there will be a severe threat to the UK during the Games, on the basis that we can then scale down rather than quickly scale up.” He said that if Section 44 was put in place across the country it would not mean that every station would be flooded with officers, but individual stations would be targeted as part of an operation.

Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, the campaigning organisation that brought the European Court case, said that while there was an obvious need for heightened precautions during the 2012 Games, Britain’s antiterrorism laws need to be “tightened up”. She said: “It would be incredibly dangerous to build Olympic security on such a legally flawed foundation".

The Antagonist - February 22, 2011 01:04 PM (GMT)
Original URL:
Huawei to gift underground coverage to London
From one Olympic nation to another
By Bill Ray
Posted in Mobile, 21st February 2011 12:27 GMT

Huawei is apparently planning to give away the kit necessary to connect up the London tube, with O2 and Vodafone paying for installation the underground could be covered by the Olympics.

The Chinese kit supplier will make money maintaining the systems, and will get a decent foothold in the UK market by supplying the hardware as a loss leader, the Sunday Times revealed yesterday. But it is an expensive way to get into the country, with the network expected to cost around £100m all together.

No contracts have yet been signed, so quite how free the kit will be remains to be seen.

The Financial Times reckons that large discounts are on the table [1], despite the fact that Huawei is the only supplier still being considered for the scheme. Once in operation, the network – which will carry calls for all the operators – will be maintained by Thales, who will share the job with Huawei.

Getting mobiles operating underground is tough – London's tube network is very deep and very old, lacking the conduits and access pathways (not to mention fire escapes) of more-modern networks, all of which makes mobile coverage extremely difficult to supply.

There is strong feeling that despite the technical issues it would serve London well to have ubiquitous mobile coverage by the Olympics, but to do that a contract will need to be signed in the next month or two. More likely they'll cover the Central and Jubilee lines, on which Olympics-attending tourists are likely to travel, while the rest of us wait patiently to see if Huawei's kind offer extends beyond 2012. ®


Bridget - March 22, 2011 11:23 AM (GMT)
G4S wins £100m Olympic security deal

Security firm to provide 10,000 guards to patrol London Games venues in 2012

    * Owen Gibson and Matthew Taylor
    *, Monday 21 March 2011 18.23 GMT

Organisers of the 2012 Olympic games have signed a £100m deal with the security firm G4S to provide 10,000 guards to patrol venues during the event.

Under the £757m security plan developed for the Games, the government is responsible for policing outside the venues and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games must provide security inside the park in east London.

Mark Hamilton, G4S's managing director of security services for the Games, said it would dwarf similar events in terms of size and complexity.

"Nothing compares to the Olympic Games in scale and complexity. But we've got decades of experience managing large-scale events such as Wimbledon, the Grand National at Wembley, music festivals and the G20 summit in London," he said.

"This is where the breadth of our experience comes in, in particular across the field of sports. We're well versed with managing security needs for large sporting events and understand the need for maintaining the visiting experience. It's about making sure staff are aware this is a unique visitor experience."

Like the police, the company's staff will have to walk the line between tight security and a welcoming atmosphere.

Hamilton also said the company was working on new methods of reducing queuing time by ensuring that entrance searches were conducted as quickly as possible.

But the appointment of G4S could prove controversial if the Crown Prosecution Service decides to pursue a case of corporate manslaughter against the company. Last week it emerged that Scotland Yard is considering charging G4S over the death of an Angolan deportee.

Passengers on the British Airways flight in October told police they saw three G4S guards heavily restraining Jimmy Mubenga, who had been complaining of breathing difficulties before he collapsed. The guards were later arrested and have been bailed until 4 May. They could face manslaughter charges.

However, sources with knowledge of the case have said police are also considering passing a file to the CPS recommending a corporate manslaughter charge against G4S.

The company earns more than £600m from the UK government for services including the running of four prisons, three immigration removal centres and 675 court and police cells, and is the second-largest private employer in the world, boasting a £7bn turnover.

G4S said in a statement last week: "As this is the subject of an on-going investigation, we are unable to comment as this time. We can confirm that G4S has received no approach at this time from the authorities in relation to the company's position and potential liabilities.

Bridget - March 24, 2011 01:06 PM (GMT)
^ G4S:
Outcry in Denmark over firm's involvement in occupation
Adri Nieuwhof, The Electronic Intifada, 15 December 2010

The Danish-British security firm G4S has come under scrutiny after it was revealed last month that it supplies equipment and services to Israel for use at checkpoints and settlements in the occupied West Bank and at Israeli prisons. The company's own promotional material describes how it has provided "security systems" to the Israel Prison Service, which detains thousands of Palestinian political prisoners.

The outcry over G4S's role in the Israeli occupation was reported in the Danish media and was the subject of a presentation at the second international session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine held in London on 20-22 November.

Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs Lene Espersen called on G4S "not to carry out activities that might help to sustain illegal settlements," as was reported in Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende on 28 November. Additionally, a group of university students and teachers at the University of Copenhagen and the University of Roskilde are urging their administrations to end the contracts they hold with G4S.

A number of large Danish pension funds hold shares in G4S, according to Berlingske Tidende, which reported that the country's leading provider of corporate benefit plans, PFA, asked its ethics screening company to check if the fund should divest. The Danish National Procurement Service (SKI) -- which is owned by the Ministry of Finance and an association of local municipalities, and assists more than 30,000 customers in their procurement of public services -- has also asked G4S for a written explanation of the company's activities in the West Bank.

The director of SKI, Soren Jakobsen, said the contract with G4S will be terminated if the company's clarification does not satisfy the requirement that G4S shows respect for UN Global Compact principles (Studerende vil boykotte sikkerhedsgigant," 26 November 2010). The Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative launched in 2000 for businesses that are committed to sustainability and responsible business practices. The principles include support and respect for the protection of international human rights and the avoidance of complicity in human rights abuses.

G4S is the result of a merge between the Danish security company Group4Falck -- which bought one of the largest Israeli security companies, Hashmira, in 2002 -- and the British Securicor company.
Former Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller criticized Group4Falck in 2002 for its activities in the West Bank, prompting the company to leave the West Bank. Two years later the company merged with Securicor and established a new name. G4S's approximately 600,000 employees provide security services and equipment to governments, major companies and industries, financial institutions, ports and airports in 110 countries. G4S holds 91 percent of the shares of G4S Israel (Hashmira). The company is quoted at the stock exchanges in London and Copenhagen, and the chairman of the board is Danish.

Research by Danish financial watchdog DanWatch and the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) revealed that G4S has resumed its activities in the occupied West Bank. Hashmira's armed security guards were seen on duty in a supermarket in Modiin Illit settlement and in the East Jerusalem settlement of Ramat Shlomo (G4S Israel (Hashmira)). DanWatch and CWP found on G4S subsidiary Moked99's website that the company is active in the settlements Adar, Maale Adumim and in occupied East Jerusalem (

Meanwhile, G4S provides technology for several military checkpoints in the occupied West Bank. Occupation industry watchdog group WhoProfits -- a project of CWP -- documented that Hashmira has supplied luggage scanning equipment and full body scanners to several Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank, including Qalandia checkpoint near Ramallah, Bethlehem checkpoint and Irtah checkpoint near Tulkarm. The company provided full body scanners to the Erez checkpoint in Gaza.

By providing services to Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank, G4S has contributed to Israel's violations of international law. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) affirmed in 2004 that Israel's wall and checkpoint regime in the West Bank impede Palestinians of "the right to work, to health, to education and to an adequate standard of living" and are contrary to international law.

G4S involved in Israeli prison infrastructure

In addition to the company's services to settlement businesses and military checkpoints, G4S also provides security systems to Israeli prisons. In a promotional brochure distributed at a security conference in Tel Aviv this summer and obtained by WhoProfits, G4S describes a perimeter defense system supplied for the walls around the Ofer prison compound, which has a capacity to detain 1,500 prisoners. G4S installed a central command room in Ofer prison from which the entire prison compound can be monitored.

In their presentation on G4S at the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in London this November, Dalit Baum and Merav Amir of WhoProfits explained that Ofer prison compound, which is also the site of an army camp and a military court, is specifically for Palestinian political prisoners. The prison is situated in the Israeli-controlled "seam zone" in the occupied West Bank. Baum and Amir stated that visits to Ofer compound by Palestinians from the West Bank are highly restricted. Family members of detainees and their lawyers need a special access permit to attend court sessions or visit detainees.

G4S writes in its promotional material that it also provided all the security systems in Keztiot prison and a central command room in Megiddo prison; both facilities are within Israel's internationally-recognized boundary. According to G4S, the two prisons can detain 1,200-2,200 "security" prisoners -- the majority of whom are Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian prisoner support and human rights organization Addameer reports that as of the end of September, 6,180 Palestinian political prisoners are being held in Israeli prisons in relation to "security" offenses. This number includes 212 administrative detainees who are held without charge, 264 children, 199 Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, 691 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and 200 from occupied East Jerusalem ("Quarterly update on Palestinian prisoners," 20 October 2010 [PDF]).

The majority of Palestinian political prisoners are charged with offenses under Israeli military orders. These orders employ a broad definition of "security," which includes the banning of protest marches, meetings and the distribution of political articles and pictures. Palestinians can be arrested and imprisoned for practically any form of public activity regardless of whether they present a legitimate security threat to Israel; according to Addameer, Israel arrests and detains Palestinians as a means of repressing the national movement for liberation and self-determination.

Violations of international law

G4S's involvement in the Israel Prison System apparatus abets the violation of international law. Israel transfers Palestinian detainees from the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip to prisons within its internationally-recognized boundary, in contravention of international humanitarian law which forbids an occupying power from transferring prisoners outside the occupied territory.

Moreover, the conditions of Israeli prisons fail to meet international legal standards. According to Addameer, "prisoners held in Megiddo, Ofer and Ketziot prisons live in threadbare tents that do not provide adequate shelter against extreme weather in the winter or summer. In general, hygiene facilities are dire" (Palestinian prisoners of Israel).

In addition, Palestinian political prisoners are not allowed to have telephone contact with family members or friends. According to Addameer's October 2010 update, detainees in Ofer smuggled mobile phones into prison to circumvent their isolation but the Israel Prison Service installed signal disruption equipment to prevent any communication by detainees. After detainees destroyed the equipment, Israel Prison Service units raided Ofer prison and violently searched the prison sections. The prisoners protested and the Israel Prison Service units sprayed tear gas into the rooms of all sections, beating detainees with batons and using police dogs to intimidate them.

G4S's involvement in these human rights abuses contradicts its commitment to the ten principles of the UN Global Compact as expressed in a 20 September 2010 letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. "Securing our world, for our Company, means more than just physical security. It means caring for people -- our employees, customers, suppliers, our local community and the public at large -- in a way which support fundamental human rights and freedoms in a just society, whilst working together to protect each other from all potential challenges to a safe and a secure world," the company wrote (G4S Israel ... supports the principles of the UN Global Compact [PDF]).

Governments, local municipalities, public institutions and public investors all over the world have relations with G4S. They should follow the example of Denmark: not renew or enter into new contracts and divest from the company until it has ended its involvement in Israel's violations of international law.

Adri Nieuwhof is a consultant and human rights advocate based in Switzerland.

ei: Outcry in Denmark over firm's involvement in occupation

Bridget - July 5, 2011 12:01 PM (GMT)
Olympics 2012: police to take part in terror exercises ahead of games

Olympics officials are to announce a series of exercises to see how they would cope with a terrorist attack on the games.

Police have been rehearsing security sweeps of Olympic venues

By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent

8:54AM BST 05 Jul 2011

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, will announce the tests today and said she wanted to assure those attending the games next July that the government would “leave nothing to chance.”

There will be a minimum of ten exercises involving the police, Olympic security officials, transport operators and emergency services to see how they would react to a number of scenarios.

Sources told the Daily Telegraph that they would include suicide bomb attacks, truck bombs and a Mumbai-style attack on the games.

The exercises will begin on a “table-top” level similar to Operation Atlantic Blue that tested the response to bomb attacks on the Tube, three months before the July 7 attacks.

But there will also be a “live” exercise with personnel on the ground next spring and the exercises will aim to avoid the confusion that dogged emergency responders following the London bombings six years ago.

Police have also been rehearsing security sweeps of Olympic venues to see how long it takes sniffer dog teams, abseillers and finger-tip search teams to check each Olympic venue before the games begin.

LOCOG, which will run the games, will also test bag-searching procedures at the major Olympic venues at “test events” later this year although police are not expected to step-up search procedures in the rest of the capital.

“Our exercises will test how those involved will manage the unprecedented nature and scale of the games which involve multiple sporting events and parallel celebrations, often at the same time across the country,” a Home Office spokesman said.

“The exercises will test how government departments, police, emergency services and other partners respond to a range of incidents, how they work together, how they work with the games organiser and how information is shared with the public.

“The UK continually hosts major sporting events, state visits and world summits and there is a huge range of experience but the scale of the Olympics means we have to step up a gear and testing our plans is key part of ensuring that the games are a success.”

Scotland Yard has already set up the Olympic Intelligence Centre to try and piece together information about security risks and criminal gangs who may target the games.

The police are also setting up the National Olympic Coordination Centre to oversee safety and security operations during the games.

The Airwave digital radio system has been expanded to make sure that every police officer working on or around the Olympic venues will be able to stay in touch with their control room.

Olympics 2012: police to take part in terror exercises ahead of games - Telegraph

Bridget - August 20, 2011 01:34 PM (GMT)
Welcome to London 2012. But first take a walk through the shopping centre

Take the train or tube to the Olympics and you'll have to walk through Westfield Stratford City

        Esther Addley, Friday 19 August 2011 17.41 BST
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Welcome to London 2012? Welcome to Westfield - with its red logo stamped on buildings at almost every vista - first.

No matter which sport you are going to see when the third London Olympics begin, a visit to 2012 park will mean one thing – walking though a very large shopping centre first.

The high-speed Javelin train from King's Cross – set to deliver 25,000 spectators an hour to Stratford International – exits to a busy row of shops and restaurants, constructed by the Westfield Group.

Crowds arriving at Stratford's tube and mainline station can exit either via a concourse leading directly into Westfield's complex or walk across an elegant rusted steel bridge – again built by Westfield, again delivering sports fans into the heart of the retail development.

In all, for 70% of visitors, the entrance to the Olympics will be through the vast shopping development. Welcome to London 2012? Welcome to Westfield first. There are now fewer than four weeks until the 13 September opening of what claims to be the biggest "in town" shopping centre in Europe.

Thousands of workers in fluroescent vests and hard hats race to and fro across the Westfield bridge to hang panelling, finish the electrics and install street furniture on the 180-acre site.

Behind closed doors or plywood screens, the 300 shops, 50 restaurants, three hotels, 17 cinema screens and casino are being fitted out. The complex is already heavily branded, with the red Westfield logo stamped on buildings at almost every vista.

Westfield Stratford City – as the vast retail and leisure complex has immodestly been named– is far from beautiful but there is no disputing that this enormous retail sprawl is remarkable.

Most striking, perhaps, is the degree to which it and the Olympic park development, nearing completion just to the east, are entangled.

The history of Westfield's east London outpost ("Westfield East" and "Eastfield" were never considered as names, despite reports to the contrary, insists the company) began in 2004 when it acquired the struggling developer Chelsfield, and with it plans for an enormous retail and leisure complex in Shepherd's Bush, west London, and a 25% stake in an even bigger project earmarked for east London. There was no question which was the more attractive prize.

The brownfield Stratford site, unlike the Shepherd's Bush project which has become a lucrative flagship for the Australian group, required vast investment in infrastructure. At that stage, says John Burton, the development director of Westfield Stratford City, no one expected London to win the Olympics. "So while we knew there was an opportunity here, what we couldn't get our minds around was when that might occur."

Hosting the Olympics focused minds. "I suppose, if it hadn't been that our chairman and MD said that we would deliver this in time for the Olympics, we probably would have delayed it."

The developer gave the Olympic Delivery Authority a significant leg-up, having already secured planning permission for 5,000 homes – most of which will serve as the athletes' village before being resold – and investing heavily in transport infrastructure. One might consider unprecedented free global publicity, and a vast, captive and carefully shepherded audience for a fortnight, a rather nice thank you.

Of course, aside from the "city" of the developer's fantasies (a sense underscored by the fact that its postcode will be E20, until now existing only in BBC1's EastEnders), there is a real Stratford.

Cross Great Eastern Road from Stratford station rather than bearing left over Westfield's bridge, and there is palpable apprehension among locals who have watched the complex rise from the ground.

The suburb already has a shopping complex, the Stratford centre; if it was ever glossy, it isn't now, with its low ceiling and over-bright strip lighting and tired lino floor. There is a 99p shop, and a cheap fashion shoe store, and traders selling plastic flowers and clothes on rails marked £3, £4, £5.

Through the arcade, on High Street, is a row of market traders under permanent steel gazebos. They are being moved, they are not sure when, to the top end of the street, even further from any Olympic crowds or, post Games, Westfield shoppers who might lose their way and stumble into real east London.

"It's probably going to kill us," says Mike Wischnia who is minding his girlfriend's clothes stall. She has traded here for a decade, but business is horribly slow and he fears they'll have to pack in. "Everything is going to be over the other side," he says. "What's the incentive to come over here?"

Other traders, like many shoppers, are prepared to be open-minded for now. "It could be good, Westfield," says one stallholder, selling nail varnish and hair accessories. "We haven't got any 'name' shops any more."

Mostly, however, they feel uncertain and a bit apprehensive, she says.

"The traders want to know what's happening, I get that," says Sir Robin Wales, the ebullient and refreshingly frank mayor of Newham, who has been cheerleader for the retail and sporting developments.

"The centre and the market stalls are a value offer, which is really important for people who live in Newham, and we'll defend that. I don't want gentrification that drives people out. I want jobs for our people, and I want them to be able to shop in places where they can afford to. They may or may not shop at Westfield. I don't care. My issue is to make sure they are able to work."

"Jobs, jobs and jobs" has been Wales's mantra since the earliest days of the development. On this, he says, Westfield and many of its client retailers, including John Lewis, have been "absolutely stunning".

It has been his aim to ensure that 2,500 of the 10,000-plus jobs at the development go to local, long-term unemployed. The developer agreed to a "retail academy" to train locals.

It's all part of a longer-term, and vastly more ambitious, plan of convergence says Wales, where the six host boroughs want to raise east London, historically and intransigently poor, to average levels for the capital in jobs , poverty and health.

About 20,000 long-term unemployed people will need to get into work for Newham to come close. "A century of deprivation. This is us trying to tackle it."

The challenge for the complex – and the city-changing powers it claims for itself - will come on 10 September next year, almost a year after its opening, when the Paralympics are over, and the crowds have peeled away, and Westfield Stratford City becomes just another shopping centre.

See amtte's post on the Olympics and shopping centres here.

Bridget - October 10, 2011 09:12 AM (GMT)
Over 200 UK-based terrorists planning 2012 Olympics attacks

Published: 09 October, 2011, 23:37

UK intelligence chiefs are warning the country’s government that it is practically impossible to prevent a well-planned terrorist attack. The most likely target for suicide bombers is the upcoming Olympic Games in London.

The report was published on October 9 in the Daily Mail newspaper. According to the paper, MI5 says that the figure of 200 terrorists is a “conservative estimate”. In reality the threat is likely to be much greater.

This information is part of a secret government report on possible threats from Al-Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist organizations. The greatest concern surrounds home-grown terrorists.

Despite the recent killings of such prominent Al-Qaeda leaders as Osama Bin Laden and Anwar Al Awalki, intelligence agencies say that the organization is still strong.

MI5 and MI6 say that terrorists are developing new measures for all new counter-measures. They are more security aware, they know what kind of signs the police will be looking for, and they will avoid things like wearing heavy coats or praying before the attack.

Next year’s Olympic Games will be subject to the UK’s biggest security operation in its history. Security experts believe that terrorists will be unlikely to target the highly-patrolled sporting venues and will target public transport instead.

Another fear is that UK Islamic extremists might adopt the deadly tactic used in other parts of the world and pack explosive vests with shrapnel to harm more victims.

The Daily Mail cites a report that reads: 'The internal threat is growing more dangerous because some extremists are conducting non-lethal training without ever leaving the country. Should these extremists then decide to become suicide operatives, intelligence resources, eavesdropping and surveillance would be hard pressed to find them on any radar screen.'

British Islamic terrorists have already carried out suicide bombings, when on 7 July 2005, 52 people were killed and more than 700 injured in attacks on public transport in London.

Over 200 UK-based terrorists planning 2012 Olympics attacks — RT

amirrortotheenemy - November 8, 2011 03:22 PM (GMT)
8 November 2011 Last updated at 14:29

London 2012: Spurs accused of 'spying' by Olympics chief

The Olympic Stadium in Stratford, east London A fresh application process has been launched to find a sporting tenant for the Olympic Stadium

A man has been arrested over claims that London 2012 executives were put under surveillance by a potential tenant of the Olympic Stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur FC monitored all 14 board members of the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC), according to the OPLC's Chair, Baroness Ford.

The Premier League club said it "totally rejects the accusation in the strongest possible terms".

A 29-year-old man was detained in Sussex in connection with the claims.

Spurs and League One club Leyton Orient launched a legal battle when West Ham were chosen to occupy the stadium after the Games.

The bidding process collapsed and a new round of applications has been invited.
'Frivolous and vindictive'

Baroness Ford told the London Assembly: "My board were put under surveillance by Tottenham Hotspur and the chairman of Tottenham Hotspur felt confident enough to say that in the Sunday Times several months ago, that all 14 members of my board were put under surveillance.

"The Metropolitan Police are now conducting an investigation into that surveillance.

"There has been all kinds of behaviour here that I could not have anticipated which, believe me, has not been pleasant in the last 12 months.

"I'm expecting the unexpected because that's what the last 12 months has told me.

"Our job now is to narrow, as far as we possibly can, the scope now for legitimate legal challenge in this next process. That is all that we can do.

"If people want then to be vexatious, frivolous and vindictive or whatever they want, they will do that."

But Tottenham said it "did not undertake, instruct or engage any party to conduct surveillance on any member of the OPLC committee".

"We consider the making of this baseless accusation to be wholly inappropriate and irresponsible," it added in a statement.

'Beggars belief'

The Chair of London Assembly's Economy, Culture and Sport Committee, Dee Doocey, said the suggestion that board members had been spied on was "reprehensible" and "absolutely disgraceful".

It "almost beggars belief that this thing can happen", she added.

"I personally find it appalling, and I'm sure I speak for the rest of the committee, at the very idea of your board being put under surveillance."

Scotland Yard said officers had searched homes in Sutton, south London, and in Sussex, as part of their investigation.

Business premises in Westminster, central London, and in Sussex were also examined.

West Ham and the OPLC "have made allegations to the Metropolitan Police in respect of the unlawful obtaining of personal information", a spokeswoman added.


Bridget - November 30, 2011 09:20 AM (GMT)
7/7 Victims And Families To Attend Olympics

Tuesday, November 29th 2011 12:08

The victims and the families of those killed in the July 7 London bombings will get free tickets to the Opening Ceremony and athletics finals at the Olympic Games, Sky has learnt.

The Greater London Authority has gained 263 tickets to the Olympics to honour a promise made by former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone.

Mr Livingstone vowed to allow family members of the 52 people killed and the 39 people who suffered the most serious life-changing injuries during the 2005 terrorism acts to watch the Games.

The total cost of the tickets is £219,685.

The GLA have purchased 203 opening ceremony tickets on July 27 at a cost of £201,985 and 60 tickets to the athletics final session on August 3 at a cost of £17,000.

There will also be three free carer tickets to accompany those who need them.

The attacks on three London tube trains and a London bus came just a day after London was announced to have won the bid for the 2012 Games.

A spokesman said current Mayor Boris Johnson "is committed to honouring the promise made by his predecessor that the family members of the 52 people that were killed during the attacks on London on July 7, 2005, and the 39 people who suffered life-changing injuries will be offered free tickets to the Games.

"The Mayor has secured 266 for this purpose."

The Mayor of London has also applied for an additional 506 tickets for the Games for his office to further business interests in London.

7/7 Victims And Families To Attend Olympics | National | News - The Wolf

Bridget - December 15, 2011 06:09 PM (GMT)
London 2012 Olympics: 13,500 military personnel to provide security for Games
London will be protected by a consignment of 13,500 military personnel during the Olympic Games next year after a recalculation of security needs.

By Jacquelin Magnay, Olympics Editor

3:07PM GMT 15 Dec 2011

Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, said the three services would be involved during the Games security operation, with about 7,500 of the armed forces working as security guards checking visitors to Olympic venues.

Another 5,000 military, including a 1,000-strong "quick reaction force" will assist the Met Police operation, which will have 12,000 officers deployed. An extra 1,000 military will provide logistic support.

The Royal Marines, who led the Libya attacks earlier this year, will be based on the Navy's largest ship, HMS Ocean, just off Greenwich.

Additional measures include placing snipers in helicopters, putting rapier air-defence missiles on high alert and scrambling fighter jets close to the Olympic site, particularly during the opening and closing ceremonies. Air force jets will also be shifted to RAF Northolt to be closer to London.

The total number of people involved in the security operation has been increased to 41,700, forcing a rapid escalation in the total security budget to beyond £1 billion.

Originally the military was to have a low-key presence, providing just small naval support off the Weymouth area near the Olympic sailing venue and the total number of security personnel was around 15,000.

But a comprehensive security review, based on a 'severe' threat level, has prompted the Government to change its plans. The HMS Bulwark and Royal Fleet Auxiliary Mounts Bay will now patrol off Weymouth as well as supplying specialist equipment to the Met Police operation in that area.

Specialist military units such as explosive disposal teams and sniffer dog units will also be engaged in the operation.

"Next year's Olympic and Paralympic Games are once-in-a-generation events for the UK," Mr Hammond said. "We want them to be secure, so that all those competing and attending can enjoy the Games.

"The Royal Navy, Army, and Royal Air Force between them will provide up to 13,500 personnel.

"Up to 7,500 of them will support the smooth running of Olympic sites while the remainder will use their specialist capabilities and equipment to contribute to the delivery of Olympic security."

The number of security staff required at Games venues has risen from an initial estimate of 10,000 to 23,700.

The military contribution of 7,500 staff will be for the 17 days of the Games and costs are expected to be recouped from the £553 million Olympics security budget.

Mr Hammond said: "These numbers will be in addition to the ceremonial role which the armed forces will play during the Olympics, which will showcase our armed forces to the world.

"This defence contribution is on a similar scale to that deployed at other recent Olympic Games and will contribute to ensuring a safe, secure and enjoyable 2012 Olympics."

Mr Hammond stressed that operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere would not be affected by the deployment.

"My priority will remain the troops we have deployed on operations, including in Afghanistan, before, during and after the Olympics."

London 2012 Olympics: 13,500 military personnel to provide security for Games - Telegraph

The Antagonist - December 15, 2011 07:41 PM (GMT)
Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, said the three services would be involved during the Games security operation, with about 7,500 of the armed forces working as security guards checking visitors to Olympic venues.

Hammond continued, "After all the venues are filled to capacity, all exits will be sealed and manned by armed guard as the 'visitors' are put to work in an effort to save the fictional economy from its own inevitable demise."

Sinclair - December 16, 2011 09:40 PM (GMT)

UK calls for probe into Dow's sponsorship of 2012 London Olympics
Published: Sunday, Dec 11, 2011, 14:55 IST
Place: London | Agency: ANI

A British MP has urged Parliament to launch an investigation into Dow Chemical's sponsorship of the 2012 London Olympic Stadium.

Labour's Barry Gardiner said there were grounds to believe the entire procurement process was a sham.

London Olympics organizers' decision to name controversial Dow Chemical Company as the sponsor of its seven million pounds fabric curtain has caused anger as the US chemical firm played a role in 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.

It neither owned nor ran the pesticide plant from which gas leaked, killing nearly 4,000 people, but it bought the company responsible, Union Carbide, in 2001. Campaigners are demanding more compensation for Bhopal victims.

According to, Gardiner is writing to John Whittingdale, chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee, about his concerns.

The suspicion is that Dow Chemical, which seven months earlier paid the Inter­national Olympic Committee about 75million pounds to become a worldwide ­commercial partner, was always the favourite.

"The public and Parliament have been led to believe that appointing Dow as sponsor would save 7million pounds," Gardiner said.

"It would appear in fact that the saving was just 1.5million dollars. This and the entire procurement process needs to be investigated to ensure it was not biased," he added.

Bridget - December 17, 2011 01:03 AM (GMT)
Bit of an aside, but if anyone missed the Yes Men on Bhopal:

Bhopal Disaster - BBC - The Yes Men - YouTube

Bridget - January 10, 2012 12:26 AM (GMT)
U.K. police smuggle fake bomb onto Olympic site

LONDON (AP) – U.K. police managed to smuggle a fake bomb into Olympic Park in a security test, overshadowing a special U.K. Cabinet meeting held at the park Monday marking 200 days until the Summer Games begin.

user posted image
    Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron holds a Cabinet meeting in the handball arena at the 2012 Olympic Games site on Monday.

The Olympic Delivery Authority declined to comment directly on whether a fake bomb was involved in last year's failed test, but said "testing is standard practice" in all major security operations.

"Such tests have a key role in developing our capability to ensure that London 2012 is safe and secure and that we are best prepared to detect potential threats before and during the Games," the statement said Sunday. "Members of the public with tickets should be reassured that such exercises are being staged to ensure their safety, our number one priority."

Olympic security experts downplayed the significance of the test, arguing that such tests are routine and conducted by experts trained at exposing vulnerabilities.

Peter Fussey, author of "Securing and Sustaining the Olympic City," which looks at the London 2012 games, said the only thing that was unusual was that the public heard about it.

"You can't make something completely terrorist-proof," he said. "There's always going to be some risk."

Margaret Gilmore, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, said with six months to go, a successful dummy device is not the problem one might think it to be. The whole point of such tests is to expose vulnerabilities, she said.

"The key thing is that they are putting this real ring of steel around the Olympic sites," she said.

The terror threat is the biggest security worry for the London Olympics, which take place July 27 through Aug. 12. Security has been an intricate part of the games since an attack at the 1972 Olympics in Munich killed 11 Israeli athletes and coaches. London itself has not been immune from terror attacks — four suicide bombers killed 52 commuters in 2005 when they targeted the city's transit network.

But creating enough security to satisfy the experts has proven to be costly — and more complicated than initially envisioned. Authorities vastly underestimated the number of people needed to search spectators and otherwise secure venues and other Olympic sites, like hotels and power stations.

Britain will have up to 13,500 troops deployed on land, at sea and in the skies to help protect the games — twice as many as had been envisioned. That's not counting the 10,000 security guards and about 12,000 police officers also working to secure the event.

But the threat goes beyond the event itself. Transit sites, shopping malls and other public gathering points, such as where people will watch the games on big-screen televisions, are also being scrutinized.

Britain's government has said it expects the terror threat level to be set at "severe" during the Olympics, meaning an attempted attack is considered highly likely.

The terror concerns, and more ticketing problems, surfaced as Britain's Cabinet gathered at the Olympic Park to mark the "200 days to go" milestone. As part of the festivities, the Olympic Delivery Authority formally handed over control of the park to games organizers.

"This is the perfect time for the Cabinet to come together and ensure we are doing absolutely everything we can to make the most of this unique opportunity to showcase all the great things the U.K. has to offer to the rest of the world," Prime Minister David Cameron said.

Meanwhile, organizers grappled with yet another ticketing problem: A limited ticket sale has been suspended indefinitely after computer problems kept causing trouble for buyers.

The tickets came from customers who decided to submit them for resale, but the online system did not work properly and sales remained suspended Monday, a spokeswoman for the organizing committee said.

The tickets are only being sold in Europe. Customers can still go to the site and get tickets for soccer and the Paralympics.

Organizers have struggled with ticket sales from the start. A complicated lottery system in which people blindly registered for tickets and handed over their credit card details before learning what tickets they obtained frustrated thousands who wished to see the spectacle.

Two-thirds of ticket seekers failed to obtain any in the first round of sales, with 22 million requests for 6.6 million available tickets.

Another round was blighted by computer problems and there is no indication when the resale efforts would be resumed.

Olympic authorities, meanwhile, also announced they had signed contracts specifying the post-Olympics use of six of eight of the permanent venues, including those used for swimming and handball as well as the ArcelorMittal Orbit observation tower.

Police smuggle fake bomb onto Olympic site –

Bridget - February 21, 2012 09:44 PM (GMT)
London Olympics security ‘will learn from 7/7 bombings’
Posted on 20 February, 2012 by Owen Gibson

Prior to two-day emergency services exercise in capital, Olympic security chief says 7/7 inquest recommendations will play part

The Metropolitan police have promised to draw lessons from the 7/7 bombings inquest in policing this summer’s Olympic Games, ahead of a major “live test” on the streets of London this week.

Announcing plans for the two-day live exercise, called Forward Defensive, the national Olympic security co-ordinator, assistant commissioner Chris Allison, said it would highlight the complex co-operation required between emergency services, City Hall, Transport for London, Olympic organisers, the government, and counter-terrorism units.

Allison said the conclusions of Lady Justice Hallett’s report in the wake of the inquest into the deaths of 52 people on 7 July 2005 – the day after London won the right to host the Olympics – had informed much of the planning.

“A significant amount of work has been done in relation to those recommendations. At their heart, they’re about further developing partnership working, and further developing the response that has to be put in place, not only by the three emergency services but also by Transport for London,” he said.

“A lot of work has been done since the recommendations [were made] and a lot more will be done. But part and parcel of the exercise is to test that joint working, to ensure it is going to occur as we think it’s going to occur next year.”

On Wednesday and Thursday the 2,500 individuals taking part in the test event will be asked to assume the incident takes place on August 8 and 9 – two of the busiest days during the Olympics across London.

“It is for testing our first responders’ capabilities, and what we have learned to make sure that we have got that in place from 7/7. Then there is the follow-up across all these commands and communications nodes who normally do not work together,” said Allison.

“Here we are doing it in a live exercise. It is testing communication flows right from the very bottom from the constable or fire officer who is responding, right the way up to Cobra.”

Cabinet ministers will also be involved in the two-day exercise, which will centre on the disused Aldwych underground station in central London.

Around mid-morning on Wednesday the public will see emergency services racing to the scene. In all, around 2,500 people will be involved in what Allison said was the most complex “live play” exercise ever staged in London.

On the busiest days of the Games up to 12,000 police will be on duty, augmented by an unspecified number of counter-terrorism officers.

A series of other ongoing “table-top” exercises have highlighted other aspects of security planning, while a major military test exercise will take place in May.

There have been concerns that the 30 miles of so-called “Games lanes” that will be cordoned off during the Olympics would not be accessible to ambulances that weren’t in emergency response mode, but Allison insisted he was happy with the arrangements.

James Brokenshire, the crime and security minister, said: “As I understand it, lots of discussions have taken place between all the blue light services, Transport for London and the ODA to ensure that there is emergency service access to the Olympic route network. We note the comments in the newspapers over the weekend, but these discussions have been ongoing for some considerable time and we understand all appropriate access has been given to the requests that have been received.”

He added: “This is something we will continue to review and monitor. But to be clear, all emergency service vehicles will have access if it is an emergency, blue light situation.”

Defence secretary Phillip Hammond also announced on Monday that up to 2,100 reservists would be called up as part of the 13,500 strong military presence at the Games.

After Olympic organisers underestimated the number of security guards required in venues by 13,700, it was revealed in December last year that the military would have to step in to help out, as well as supply thousands of personnel to support police operations.

Some reservists will provide a range of specialist capabilities and expertise but the majority will be used to support the Olympic venue security operations.

The total number of reservists called up for the Games is more than three times the number currently on duty in Afghanistan.

London Olympics security ‘will learn from 7/7 bombings’ | GoLondon2012

Bridget - February 24, 2012 12:57 AM (GMT)
Every movement of London's Olympics will be monitored – including yours

It's the greatest show of security solutions on earth, and look out for the legacy of intrusive, permanent surveillance measures

    Robin Tudge, Wednesday 22 February 2012 08.00 GMT

The Olympic velodrome in London: the Games' security costs now stand at £553m.

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.

Bridget - March 23, 2012 12:25 PM (GMT)
7/7 survivor Gill Hicks to carry Olympic torch

user posted image
Peace campaigner describes huge honour and pride felt at being selected for Camden relay

Published: 22 March, 2012

A SURVIVOR of the 7/7 bombings who lost both legs is among the handful of people selected to carry the Olympic torch through Camden this summer.

Gill Hicks, who dedicated her life to promoting peace after the terror attack, was nominated for her charity work with Peace Direct and her own charity M.A.D (Making a Difference) for Peace.

Ms Hicks, who was born in Australia but now lives in Somers Town, said: “It’s a huge honour. I landed in London 20 years ago and I am a very proud Londoner.

“This symbolises my affection for London and it’s a great source of pride that it’s in Camden. I’m filled with pride.”

The 16 torchbearers will each carry the flame for 300 metres through Camden on July 26, the day before it arrives at the Olympic Stadium.

In 2005 a suicide bomber blew up a Piccadilly line Tube travelling between King’s Cross and Russell Square, killing 28 people.
Ms Hicks was on the busy train making her way to work at the Design Council in Covent Garden.

She lost both legs in the blast and around 75 per cent of her blood drained from her body as she lay in the wreckage of the train.

Speaking about the bombing she told the New Journal: “Firstly, I’ve come through this. It’s not for me to say if it’s extraordinary or not, but I think the greatest gift I’ve been given is a lack of hatred.

“It meant I could go forward to use my life to honour what I had been given, to look at how atrocities keep happening throughout the world.”

Julie Siddiqi of the Islamic Society of Britain said Ms Hicks was the first person that came to mind when she heard you could nominated someone for the honour.

Ms Siddiqi said: “She is amazing in terms of her approach to life. She has no hatred for what happened to her.

“I’m really glad she got selected to carry the torch. From a Muslim perspective we completely condemn anything that happened on 7/7. We all have to stand up to these people.”

She added: “Symbolically, that Ms Hicks is able to walk through London is amazing.

“Not only is she living, but she is living in a positive, proactive way.”

Ms Hicks, who has learnt to walk using prosthetic legs and founded M.A.D for Peace in 2007, is an ambassador for UK charity Peace Direct, who support communities looking to build peace in war zones worldwide.

Carolyn Hayman OBE, Chief Executive of Peace Direct, said: “Gill’s ability to reach down inside herself and find strength to survive has been an inspiration to so many people, including the peace builders battling against conflict who she supports as Peace Direct’s ambassador.”

7/7 survivor Gill Hicks to carry Olympic torch | Camden New Journal

The Antagonist - May 21, 2012 08:58 PM (GMT)
Alex Thomson on an episode of Channel 4 News last week:
"A curious act of history, of course, this [Olympic flame relay] was all invented by a certain Josef Goebbels in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Well, some things about that era have survived, and this is certainly one."

Audioboo / Olympic Torch & Flame

Bridget - May 24, 2012 08:50 AM (GMT)
Twitter suspends account for using London 2012 Olympics logo

Activists who set themselves up as 'official Olympics protesters' are suspended after complaint from London 2012 organisers

    Shiv Malik, Wednesday 23 May 2012 19.43 BST

user posted image
Space Hijackers' Twitter page after they removed the logo

Twitter has cracked down over online infringement of the Olympic logo after the Games' organisers, Locog, complained that an activist group had used the trademark 2012 image to parody the London sporting festival.

A week after Space Hijackers set themselves up as the "official protesters of the London 2012 Olympic Games", Twitter suspended the account without warning, saying the satirists' use of the logo as a Twitter picture was an abuse of its rules as it meant they could be "confused" with an actual Olympic sponsor.

In correspondence with the group, Twitter is understood to have written: "We have received reports from the trademark holder, London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Ltd [Locog], that your account, @spacehijackers, is using a trademark in a way that could be confusing or misleading with regard to a brand affiliation. Your account has been temporarily suspended due to violation of our trademark policy."

The group says that after it wrote to Twitter, the account was unlocked late on Wednesday afternoon and it had been given 48 hours to comply with Twitter's orders or face having the account, with its 2,700 followers, permanently suspended.

A spokesman for the group who used the name "Bristly Pioneer" said he was surprised at Twitter's decision. "Our latest project is to do with the Olympics and obviously they have got an official chocolate bar and an official TV and the rest of it and we thought what they were missing was an official set of protesters," he said.

"We were kind of surprised that Twitter, after having after having supported everyone through the Arab spring … shut down our account without even asking any questions … they locked us straight out of the count, no questions."

The group, who once tried to sell a tank at a UK arms fair, said it was clearly not trying to sell "fake tickets to the Games" and that what it was engaged with was "purely social commentary".

"These trademark laws are set up so that Pepsi don't infringe on Coca Cola's branding. It is not set up so Locog can stamp down on a school fete because they've got some Olympic rings on their iced buns."

The spokesman added that the group had had "instant support" including from the comedian Mark Thomas, who changed his Twitter avatar to that of Space Hijackers' redesigned Olympic logo in anarchist black and red.

Pioneer also described the logo as a "social meme" that had become part of the London landscape. However, despite its ubiquitous presence, he said, it could not be used by ordinary people. "It's like Voldemort – you're not allowed to mention it otherwise you'll invoke the wrath of Locog."

Locog said it had complained to Twitter using normal channels open to any member of the public.

A spokesperson added that Locog was not taking issue with Space Hijackers' politics: "This is purely about our logo."

Bridget - May 30, 2012 09:27 AM (GMT)
Olympic chiefs bill taxpayers £221,000 to pay for July 7 survivors and bereaved families tickets to attend Games

    Move has been branded 'bad taste' by critics

By Louise Eccles and Katherine Faulkner
PUBLISHED: 00:02, 30 May 2012 | UPDATED: 08:52, 30 May 2012

Olympics organisers are charging taxpayers £221,000 to send July 7 survivors and bereaved families to the London 2012 Games, it has emerged.

The Greater London authority spearheaded a scheme to allow people affected by the 2005 suicide bombings to watch the opening ceremony or athletics finals.

But in a move branded in ‘bad taste’ by critics, privately funded Olympics body Locog then charged the authority £221,000 for the tickets.

It means that taxpayers, who have already paid £9.3billion towards the Games, will fund the charitable gesture.

Dania Gorodi, whose 46-year-old sister Mihaela Otto was killed by the blast at Russell Square, said: ‘We are very grateful for them, but I thought it was a free gift.

‘When you think of all the families who are getting them, it is an enormous amount for the taxpayer to pay.

‘I can’t see why the companies funding the Olympics can’t give them out for free.’

user posted image
Families and friends of victims lay flowers at the Hyde Park memorial. The GLA offered tickets to the families of the 52 people killed in the attacks and to 91 others who sustained 'serious injuries'

Kim Beer, 54, who lost her 22-year-old son Philip Beer in the attacks, said: ‘It’s disgraceful that they are charging for these tickets.’

Alan Fatayi-Williams, whose only son, Anthony Fatayi-Williams, 26, was killed in the blast at Tavistock Square, added: ‘This is a very difficult time of year for us, and for all the families.

‘I do feel the Olympic authorities should give the tickets up for free.’

The GLA offered tickets to the families of the 52 people killed in the attacks and to 91 others who sustained ‘serious injuries’.  This was particularly poignant because the attacks on July 7, 2005, happened the day after the capital won its bid to host the Games.

In total, 67 people took up the offer, most for four tickets each, requiring 205 to the Olympic Games opening ceremony at a cost of £201,985 and 65 to the athletics finals, including the 100-metres men’s finals, costing £18,880.

Survivor Danielle Kolias, 26, was injured in the explosion at Tavistock Square, but was not offered a free Olympics ticket because her injuries were not deemed ‘serious’ enough.

She was deafened in the blast and had to leave her job as a pharmacy assistant because of the after effects.

Miss Kolias said: ‘If Locog had given some money to this then more people could have been invited.

‘There were hundreds of people injured, some very badly, and they deserve the opportunity too.’

The idea was masterminded by Ken Livingstone, who was Mayor of London in 2005, and was continued by current mayor Boris Johnson.

Darren Johnson, who is a member of the London Assembly for the Green Party and sat on a July 7 review panel, said: ‘Given that Locog get millions of pounds from big commercial sponsors, it seems mean spirited of them not to minimise the charge for this.

‘This is a relatively small act of public generosity, but it is going to bring a lot of joy to a few of the 7/7 victims.’

A Locog spokesman said: ‘The Mayor, like many of our stakeholders has purchased an allocation of tickets from us.

‘The Mayor is using these tickets in a number of ways, including to fulfil the commitments his predecessor made to those people and families most severely affected by the events in London on July 7, 2005.’

London 2012 Olympic chiefs bill taxpayers £221k to pay for 7/7 survivors and bereaved families tickets | Mail Online

amirrortotheenemy - June 6, 2012 11:03 PM (GMT)
London 2012 security operation investigating 500,000 people

Home Office refuses 100 applications for accreditation in biggest vetting process since second world war

Nick Hopkins, Owen Gibson and Sandra Laville, Tuesday 5 June 2012 16.30 BST

The backgrounds of up to 500,000 people are being scrutinised in an unprecedented security screening designed to stop the Olympic Games being disrupted by criminals or terrorists, the Guardian has learned.

In what is understood to be the biggest vetting process since the second world war, the Home Office has so far refused about 100 applications for Games accreditation, mostly because of concerns about the extent of people's criminal records.

However, some people have been denied accreditation on the advice of MI5, which has to assess whether a person might pose a significant threat to national security.

The 500,000 figure includes anyone seeking employment at the Games, as well as athletes, coaches and officials from more than 200 competing nations.

The Guardian has been told the threshold for refusing accreditation has been set high, which means some of those working at the Olympics this summer will have "come to the notice of" the police or MI5 in the past.

"To be rejected, they have to pose a significant potential threat to the safety of the Games," said a source. "They won't be rejected on the basis that information is held about them.

"A judgment has to be made, not on the basis that there is an official record, but does this person pose a significant threat to security."

Police and MI5 have been taking a careful look at all those who may end up working at the Olympic sites. It is an obvious way for would-be terrorists to gain access to venues, and police are aware that terrorists may masquerade as casual workers looking for temporary jobs.

However, those involved in the security of the Games say they have found no evidence so far that al-Qaida sympathisers have tried to infiltrate the civilian workforce.

The vetting process began in earnest last October and officials are more than two-thirds of the way through the process, which is expected to be completed in the coming weeks.

It has been one of the core tasks of counter-terrorism officials but the scale of the operation, and the depth of the checks required, has made it a drawn-out affair.

Among those still to be vetted are many of the 10,000 security guards who will be employed by G4S, the private firm which is contributing 23,700 personnel at the Olympic venues.

A big recruitment drive was launched by G4S when the number of guards it was expected to provide grew from 2,000 to 10,000, after it emerged that the Games organisers, Locog, had seriously underestimated the number required. The 70,000 volunteers recruited by Locog, who are considered crucial to the success of the Games, are also being screened.

Home Office officials said that many of the 10,500 athletes taking part in the Games and those accompanying them were used to travelling to international events and were unlikely to pose any security problems.

There remain outstanding questions surrounding a handful of high-profile individuals, including members of the Syrian Olympic committee with close links to the Assad regime.

It is believed that discussions are continuing over whether to bar General Mofwaq Joumaa, the president of the Syrian national Olympic committee, from entering the UK.

Scotland Yard and MI5 are understood to have hundreds of investigations "live", with the Olympic security operation likely to reach a new pitch as teams arrive for training before the event.

It is understood that the security service has not set up a separate Olympic security unit, believing it would be wrong to draw a distinction between terrorism and Olympic terrorism.

The security service is said to be bracing for a possible deluge of intelligence from foreign police forces and intelligence agencies, who will not want to sit on any information just in case it reveals a potential threat to the Games. MI5 remains confident it will be able to cope, and the Home Office said it will leave nothing to chance when it comes to security.

"We are undertaking stringent checks on all those seeking accreditation," a Home Office spokesman said. "This rigorous process has been designed to ensure those working at the Games are fit to do so. We will leave nothing to chance in our aim to deliver a safe and secure Games that London, the UK and the whole world will enjoy."


London 2012: MI5 expects wave of terrorism warnings before Olympics

Security service braced for deluge of unsifted intelligence tipoffs concerning Games from foreign agencies

Nick Hopkins and Sandra Laville, Tuesday 5 June 2012 16.27 BST

Olympics security on the Thames
A Royal Marines landing craft, centre, with patrol crafts in a security exercise on the Thames as part of London 2012 preparation. Photograph: Sang Tan/AP

The digital clock in the foyer of Thames House, the headquarters of MI5, is a constant reminder to visitors and staff of the security service's main priority over the coming weeks.

At first it was set to count down to zero, to coincide with the arrival in the UK of the Olympic torch in May. It has now been reset to a date nearer the start of the Games in London next month.

Leave has been deferred so the agency has a full complement of staff. Some non-essential duties, such as training, are likely to be suspended so there are extra bodies on hand during the busiest periods of the summer.

The Olympics has already proved a huge test for MI5, just as it has for Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist branch.

The threat to the UK is more diffuse now than four or five years ago, which reflects the disintegration of al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the scattering of extremists to places such as Yemen and, to a degree, Somalia.

With less infrastucture to rely upon, there has been a growth in the phenomenon of the "lone wolf" terrorist – homegrown self-starters, some of whom have researched how to become a terrorist by reading Inspire, the online magazine published by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Inspire has essentially told its followers to get on with it, rather than waiting to be asked or trained.

The loners are far harder to identify, but the police and MI5 are also aware of hundreds of networks in the UK and abroad, a small number of which pose a credible, if not immediate, terrorist threat. Some of them have been trying hard to launch an attack here over the last five years without success, and the question facing investigators is whether they can realistically try any harder for the Olympics, when security will be far tighter than usual.

Security, that is, around the Olympic village and at the venues. If there is a group out there plotting an attack, or a loner with a gun considering a rampage, they would not have to pick a sporting arena to disrupt the Games – an attack anywhere in the UK would have a huge impact.

Liaising with a myriad of other agencies across the world has been a big task: keeping them up to date with security plans in the UK, reassuring those with extra concerns – with the US and Israel thought to be chief among them – and cajoling others who should have them. Giving advice to the Home Office about who can be given security accreditation for London 2012 has involved sifting through 500,000 domestic and foreign applications – another monumental effort.

MI5 has been in a period of expansion and transition, which has coincided with, and to some extent been accelerated by, the need to protect the Games.

The security service has not recruited extra people specifically for the event because it was growing anyway after the 9/11 and 7 July attacks. Its staff of more than 3,500 means it has doubled in size in a decade, and numbers will be supplemented further with help from MI6, the secret intelligence service, and GCHQ.

The Guardian understands that MI5 has not set up a specific Olympics unit because it believes the systems it has in place are robust enough, and that it would be wrong to draw a distinction between terrorism and Olympic terrorism. Improvements in investigating methods and updates to IT systems are said to have made a real difference.

Scotland Yard and MI5 remain hopeful that the likelihood of an atrocity remains low, but as the weeks pass, they acknowledge that attitudes to risk will inevitably change. Managing these "collapsing timescales", as investigators call them, are likely to test officers to the limit, even if no specific plots are found.

In the days before the Olympics start, their teams are likely to be deluged with extra intelligence from foreign agencies, who will feel less inclined to vet potential information before it is passed on. The network of MI5 agents in the UK may also start to provide more intelligence too, for the same understandable reasons. The front end of this intelligence funnel has been expanded to cope with the extra material, with all the usual criteria applied; is the intelligence specific, is it credible, who is the source, and just as importantly – is there anything that can be done with it?

This "triage" process will help to distil the reports, and if there is any lingering concern, the police, MI5 – and potentially the Crown Prosecution Service – will have difficult judgments to make.Scotland Yard and the security agencies can convene executive liaison groups to discuss the most serious potential threats.

The questions they will have to ask include, can we let this situation run any longer? What risks are we taking if we do? Should we disrupt and do we have enough evidence to arrest and charge?

Nobody is talking openly about them, but it is believed the number of the most serious potential threats does not appear to have increased in the last few months. But some still exist.

Over the last 10 months, the police have made a series of counter-terrorism arrests in places such as Luton and Birmingham, and more are likely to follow. The threat from international terrorism is currently rated as substantial – the third highest of five levels. This is set by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, based within Thames House, though it is independent from MI5. When planning for the Olympics, it was presumed the level would be at the second highest available – severe.

If the threat level rises in the coming weeks, it will not be to keep people on their toes, sources say. It will go up because credible intelligence has emerged that is causing investigators immediate concern. That does not mean there is a specific plot afoot; but it might mean, with time running out, and risks to be managed, the police will make an early move. The police expect bomb hoaxes and stunts this summer, which will cause irritation. But if that is the sum of the disruption to the Games, then no one at Thames House or at New Scotland Yard will be too discomfited.


Sinclair - July 10, 2012 10:26 PM (GMT)

10 July 2012 Last updated at 17:56
London 2012: Missile tenants lose legal ruling

user posted image
Map showing the locations of the six sites that will have surface-to-air missiles

Residents have lost their High Court battle to prevent surface-to-air missiles being stationed on the roof of their tower block during the Olympics.

They had said having them on Fred Wigg Tower in Leytonstone, east London, would make them a terrorist target.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said the missile deployment is legitimate and proportionate.

A judge said residents were "under something of a misapprehension" regarding the equipment and risks.

Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said he agreed with the MoD that a tower block was the only suitable site for missiles and the facts of the case were "not susceptible to a sensible challenge".

He added the MoD's voluntary engagement with the community over the plans was "immaculate" and the residents who challenged the missile sites had misunderstood the facts.

'Evil statement'

Justice Haddon-Cave said the MoD had no duty to consult, had not promised to and  no "conspicuous unfairness" was caused by not consulting.

He added: "The law and the facts militate against the claim for judicial review.

"In my judgment the MoD's voluntary engagement with the community and residents in this matter were immaculate".

The 15-storey tower block is one of six locations selected for missiles to be stationed.

David Forsdick, appearing on behalf of the MoD, said the deployment would "happen imminently and will not be stayed".

The residents' barrister, Marc Willers, said any appeal move would be made quickly, "possibly" on Wednesday morning.

He added the tenants who do not want to stay during the Olympics may be found alternative accommodation.

On Monday, Mr Willers, said their block could become the "focus of a terrorist attack" to make an "evil statement".

The defence secretary was accused by the local residents' association of breaching Article 8 and Article 1 of Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

These protect an individual's right to a private life and peaceful enjoyment of their home.

The MoD was also accused of failing to carry out an equality impact assessment to take into account the needs of disabled residents.

Mr Forsdick said the decision over where to position the missiles was taken at the "highest levels after rigorous scrutiny".

He said it was signed off by the prime minister, deputy prime minister, home secretary and defence secretary in "defence of the realm".

He told the court: "The MoD, intelligence agencies and the Metropolitan Police do not consider there is any credible threat to the Fred Wigg Tower from terrorism."

That view, he said, was supported by a witness statement from Dr Campbell McCafferty, head of UK counter-terrorism at the MoD.

The Antagonist - July 10, 2012 10:31 PM (GMT)
I can't recall if I posted this here or not, but there's a blog post and comment thread on the subject of missiles on My comments are archived here and here, with an edit or two.

Once again, the left balks at challenging all too convenient 'the narrative'.

Bridget - July 11, 2012 05:50 PM (GMT)
11 July 2012 Last updated at 18:43

Armed forces on Olympics standby

The UK's armed forces are on standby to provide an additional 3,500 troops to help with security at the 2012 London Olympics, the BBC has learned.

It comes amid fears that private contractor G4S would not be able to provide enough trained staff in time.

The armed forces were already providing some 13,500 personnel - this could now reach 17,000, meaning summer leave for some troops will likely be cancelled.

G4S said it had "some issues in relation to workforce supply".

G4S is being paid £300m to guard the Games, but the BBC understands it has not been able to guarantee it can supply the 10,000 guards it has been contracted to deliver.

'No impact on security'

A G4S spokeswoman said the company had accepted "that the government has decided to overlay additional resources."

She added: "This has been an unprecedented and very complex security recruitment, training and deployment exercise which has been carried out to a tight timescale.

"We have encountered some issues in relation to workforce supply and scheduling over the last couple of weeks, but are resolving these every day and remain committed to providing a security workforce for the start of the London 2012 Games."

The armed forces were already due to provide some 13,500 personnel to help at the Games, with more available as a contingency plan.

Whitehall sources are keen to stress that there is no impact on security at the Games, and that the plan was always to have a mix of civilian and military working.

BBC defence correspondent Caroline Wyatt said the move would come as an embarrassment to G4S.

She said there was anger within the military that they were being asked to step in, not least at a time that the armed forces were being downsized.

G4S said its planning with organising committee Locog and other security agencies allowed for "a variety of contingencies which have been reviewed in the build-up to the Games."

BBC News - Armed forces on Olympics standby

amirrortotheenemy - July 11, 2012 09:12 PM (GMT)
Keep an eye on the skies for saucers during the Olympics Games, warns former MoD UFO expert
•UFO expert Nick Pope says massive summer events like the Olympics would be a prime time for an alien encounter
•Ministry of Defence 'has planned for the worst outcomes - attack and invasion'
•'We should be prepared for even the most seemingly unfathomable'

By Eddie Wrenn

PUBLISHED: 14:11, 7 June 2012 | UPDATED: 16:13, 7 June 2012


World’s powers will fake alien invasion at the Olympics closing ceremony to keep us living in fear
— Ian Crane at Exopolitics Expo By JENNA SLOAN

Published: 08 Aug 2011


The notion that the Government is covering up the truth is the strongest theme in Ian Crane’s DVD stall at the expo. Dad-of-three Ian, 55, is hoping to spread the word that the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games on August 12 could be a target for a full-scale “alien invasion”.

He said: “I think it will be the perfect setting for a ‘false flag’ invasion, in other words the event will be made to look like an extra-terrestrial invasion but in fact it will be a deception and really the work of the world’s governments, to keep us all living in fear.

“I don’t care if people call me a nutter, I hope that by spreading the word about what’s going to happen I can help save thousands of lives.”

“If enough people know about it in advance then the attack will not be carried out. I’m simply sowing the seed in the mind of the public.”


Police given powers to enter homes and tear down anti-Olympics posters during 2012 Games
By James Slack
UPDATED: 18:36, 21 July 2009

Police have been handed 'Chinese-style' powers to enter private homes and seize political posters during the London 2012 Olympics.

Little-noticed measures passed by the Government will allow officers and Olympics officials to enter homes and shops near official venues to confiscate any protest material.

Breaking the rules could land offenders with a fine of up to £20,000.

Civil liberties groups compared the powers to those used by the Communist Chinese government to stop political protest during the 2008 Beijing Games.

Anita Coles, of Liberty, said: 'Powers of entry should be for fighting crime, not policing poster displays. Didn't we learn last time that the Olympics should not be about stifling free expression?'

The powers were introduced by the Olympics Act of 2006, passed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, supposedly to preserve the monopoly of official advertisers on the London 2012 site.

They would allow advertising posters or hoardings placed in shop or home to be removed.

But the law has been drawn so widely that it also includes 'non-commercial material' - which could extend its reach to include legitimate campaign literature.
Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: 'This is a Government who just doesn't understand civil liberties. They may claim these powers won't be used but the frank truth is no one will believe them.'

Liberal Democrat spokesman Chris Huhne said: 'This sort of police action runs the risk of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. 'We should aim to show the Chinese that you can run a successful Olympics without cracking down on protestors and free speech.'

Scotland Yard denied it had any plans to use the powers.

Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison said: 'We have no intention of using our powers to go in and take down demonstration posters.'

But critics said that - given the powers were now law - it was impossible to predict what would happen in three years time.

Campaigners said the existence of the powers was 'dreadful'. Peter McNeil, who is against the holding of equestrian events in Greenwich Park said: 'It's bullying taken to another level. It's quite appalling that this should happen in a democracy.'

The power emerged as the Home Office and police outlined the £600million security operation for the Games, which will cost more than £9billion in total.

They said hundreds of flights could have to be diverted every day, with planes prevented from passing over the main venue for the London games.

Olympic security chiefs said they expected to have to 'manage' the airspace over the Olympic Park in east London.

A senior Home Office official said: 'We do expect there will have to be some management of the airspace. We do not expect that any airports will have to close.'
The officials said they had no evidence of a specific terror threat against the Games at the moment.

But current preparations assume the terror threat level will be at 'severe' during the event, despite it being reduced to 'substantial' for the UK earlier this week. It is the lowest threat level nationwide since before the July 7 attacks in 2005.

A DCMS spokesman said: 'The advertising provisions in the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 are there to prevent ambush marketing and the over-commercialisation of the Games, not to prevent or restrict lawful protests.

'The measures will only apply to areas within a few hundred metres of the London 2012 venues. The Government is currently developing detailed regulations for advertising during the Games which will enable these powers to come into effect. The Government will be consulting on the regulations in 2010.'

the Channel 4 News segment from the 06 July talked about the advertising bans on competitors for the Olympics

'London 2012 terrorist threat' adverts banned

ASA describes direct mail campaign using images of the 7/7 attacks to sell bomb-blast window film as 'shocking'

Mark Sweney, Wednesday 13 June 2012 07.48 BST 

The campaign used an image of the bus destroyed in Tavistock Square in the 7 July 2005 bombings. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images/PA


While information on police plans for CCTV use during the Olympics is scarce, it has previously been reported that a central police control room will be given the ability to remotely tap-in to any CCTV network in London and plot the information on a detailed 3D map. Given the number of cameras in operation in the Capital this could effectively allow for targeted, real-time, surveillance of individuals without any of the safeguards currently provided for when such intrusive powers are sought.

It has also been reported that police are planning to use unmanned spy drones (as controversially deployed in Afghanistan) at the London Olympics. 

The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act (2006)

This legislation  creates institutions and powers that are specific to the 2012 Games. Among other things it provides for Regulations to curb advertising near Olympic venues and protect the commercial brand of the London Olympics. The Act is broadly framed and allows for the banning of "advertising of a non-commerical nature, and […] announcements of notices of any kind". Section 22 of the Act allows a "constable or enforcement officer" to "enter land or premises" where they believe such an advert is being shown or produced and destroy the materials. Powers of entry should be for fighting crime, not policing poster displays.

While the type of material that could be banned under the Regulations is potentially very wide, Regulation 7 provides that advertising activity which is intended to “demonstrate support for or opposition to the views or actions of persons or bodies of persons, or to publicise a belief, cause or campaign or mark or commemorate an event” is excepted from the banning regime. If the right of peaceful dissent is to be protected at the London Games, this exception must be widely construed by police and “enforcement officers”.

Sonic weapons

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that the controversial Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) will be used during the London Olympics. LRAD, which has reportedly been spotted aboard a landing craft on the Thames, has two very different functions. When it is in ‘loud hailer mode’, it is a useful way of communicating clearly over long distances, however its second function is far more sinister. When switched to ‘tone mode’ Liberty understands that the device can be used as a sonic weapon.

Plans to use LRAD during the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver were revised after civil liberties campaigners complained that the device could be used as a sonic gun, forcing protesters to disperse by emitting piercing, high pitched sounds at high decibels which may cause lasting damage to hearing. Vancouver police ultimately confirmed that they would disable LRAD’s tone function ensuring it was used solely as a method of communication. Unfortunately our MoD has made no such commitment. In a statement given to the BBC, a spokesperson confirmed only that the device was ‘primarily to be used in loud hailer mode’ – we can only assume that use of the device as a sonic gun to curb protests or disperse crowds remains a possibility.

Liberty has consistently opposed the use of indiscriminate weapons which sweep the innocent up with the guilty, create general panic and can fan the flames of disorder. We are particularly concerned about the pain, distress and potential long-term health consequences of this device which has reportedly been used by the Israeli military against protesters and by US forces to control crowds in Iraq.

Olympic advertising ban: a pre-emptive ambush?
December 12, 2011 by John Halton Leave a comment

One of the key measures proposed to protect the interests of sponsors for the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics is a prohibition on unauthorised advertising, including “ambush advertising”, around Olympic event sites.

The regulations imposing this advertising ban have now been implemented, as The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Advertising and Trading) (England) Regulations 2011, and the LOCOG website has guidance on the regulations and how to comply with them. Crucially, this includes the maps of the “event zones” where advertising will be banned around the time of the Games.

The ban will apply for different periods for each event zone, as listed in Schedule 2 to the regulations, with the longest ban being around the Olympic Park itself: from 23 July to 13 August (for the Olympic Games), and then from 28 August to 9 September (for the Paralympic Games).

Anyone wishing to display advertisements within event zones during the relevant period (including existing traders) will need prior authorisation from LOCOG.

The types of “advertising activity” banned under the regulations are very broad, ranging from conventional billboards and signs to leaflet distributions and even the wearing of “advertising attire”.The thoroughness of the regulations is perhaps best shown by their express application of the ban to:

(i) an advertisement to be displayed on an animal, or

(ii) an apparatus by which an advertisement is displayed to be carried or held by an animal.

The mind boggles.

There is an exemption for people (though not for animals!) wearing clothes which carry advertisements, provided this isn’t part of an ambush marketing campaign, and also for “not-for-profit bodies”.

The regulations have been attacked by both advertisers and campaigners as “draconian” and an assault on freedom of expression. LOCOG, however, argues that the rules will “not only help protect the investment of sponsors”, but are also intended to ensure “a welcoming environment for spectators”.

It is also the most expensive sports event to stage. The present estimate for the cost of London 2012 is £9.3 billion. Even in times of economic prosperity this is a significant sum of money, particularly as the risk of an unsuccessful Games is huge. Famously, the 1976 Olympic Games held in Montreal effectively bankrupted the city with a £1.99billion debt (in modern money); a debt which was not finally paid for until December 2006.


Since the Atlanta Games in 1996, there have been increasing concerns about so called ambush marketing by intrusion; in 1996 it was Nike adverts all around the Olympic venues which caused concern. The London Games therefore has very strict rules to preserve the clean zone around each of the event venues. So there is a ban on advertising activity in and around the Olympic venues. That is an absolute ban. It is so total that exceptions are needed for railway signs! And it applies to everyone. The regulation is so precise that the wearing of branded t-shirts or carrying of a party balloon has to be said to be permissible, and even they are only permitted as long as they are not worn or carried as part of an ambush marketing campaign. Similarly, special provision is made for moving vehicles, bicycles, or taxi cabs — allowing tradespeople to work in the area. And if a trader breaks these rules, the police can break down his or her door to remove any offending advert.

Of course, it is not just advertising which is affected. There are strict rules on trading within an event zone, rules to prevent the resale of Olympic tickets (these are on top of the normal rules making it a criminal offence to give away a football ticket to a friend), and rigorous traffic regulation.

The Olympics is coming to town and that is a great thing, but the modern Olympics is not simply a sporting spectacle. It comes with iron rules to protect the Olympic brand. The exclusive Olympic brand started in earnest in 1984 with the Los Angeles Games and it appears that the date is apt: the rules now protecting it are Orwellian.

London 2012 Olympics: Ministry of Defence to control London airspace during Games for first time since Second World War
London airspace will be controlled by the Ministry of Defence for the first time since the Second World War during the Olympic Games to prevent terrorist attacks.

22 May 2012

Military personnel will take charge of airspace over much of south east England in seven weeks' time and fighter jets will be stationed near the capital to respond to threats.

The MoD will control most of the airspace over the South East, in a wide area which pans from Brighton on the South Coast to locations 15 miles north of Stansted and Luton airports further north of London. The Thames estuary, from the east of the captial to the west, passed Reading, will also be carefully monitored.

Working out of the National Air Traffic Services (Nats) control centre at Swanwick, Hants, MoD staff will monitor all aircraft in the area during the Olympics.

However, civilian air traffic controllers will continue to guide jets carrying the extra 500,000 visitors expected during the Games into London airports.

The area under military control will stretch from Brighton on the south coast to positions 15 miles north of Stansted and Luton airports to the north, the Thames estuary in the east and to the west of Reading.

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RAF jets will be stationed at Northolt, close to Heathrow, for the duration of the Games.

Charles Farr, head of the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism, who is in charge of the anti-terror strategy for the London Olympics, said that he was confident the aircraft would be able to respond to any airborne threat in good time.

He defended the deployment of Rapier missiles, mobile ground radar systems and the Navy as similar to the response at other recent Olympics.

A Home Office counterterror official told The Times: “The military have to exercise the capability they may be called on to use.”

The official added that ministers would make a final decision about the deployment of the military response.

The news of the MoD's takeover comes as Heathrow Airport bosses have insisted they are ready for the Games, and the extra visitors, despite concerns about queues and security.

They believe that August 13, the day after the Olympics closing ceremony, will be the busiest day in the airport - the third largest in the world, according to a report last year - 93-year history.

Almost 138,000 passengers will be departing from Heathrow and the airport will have to deal with 25 per cent more luggage than usual, which amounts to 200,000 bags.

On Tuesday the Director of the Border Force for Heathrow, Marc Owen, said that customers would not endure long queues while going through passport control. All border desks, Owen said, would be manned from mid-July until the end of August and that be expected time targets to be met.

More than £20million has been invested in to Heathrow to help preparation, to ensure athletes and tourists can travel without any issues.

Welcome to our continuing coverage of the riots. Here are few of today's main developments in parliament following David Cameron's statement:

• Instant messaging services will be reviewed:
"We are working with the police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality," said the prime minister.

• The police will have new powers to order people to remove facemasks.
"On facemasks, currently [the police] can only remove these in a specific geographical location and for a limited time," Cameron said. "So I can announce today that we are going to give the police the discretion to remove face coverings under any circumstances where there is reasonable suspicion that they are related to criminal activity."

• Curfew powers will be reviewed. "On dealing with crowds, we are also looking at the use of existing dispersal powers and whether any wider power of curfew is necessary," he said.

• Sentencing powers will be kept under review to ensure that the courts have the powers they need.

• Individuals and companies will get compensation for damage caused by rioting. "On repairing the damages, I can confirm that any individual, homeowner or business that has suffered damage to or loss of their buildings or property as a result of rioting, can seek compensation under the Riot Damages Act, even if uninsured," he said.

• The police will receive "the funds they need to meet the cost of any legitimate aims".

• The government will set up a £20m fund to help high street firms affected by the rioting. Businesses affected will be able to defer tax payments.

• The government will allow councils to grant business rate relief. Whitehall will fund three quarters of the cost of such schemes.

• Gang injunctions will be extended across the whole of the UK.

• A ministerial group will prepare a programme of action on gang culture. It will report in October. People like Bill Bratton, the American police chief, will be consulted.

The tensions flared after Cameron delighted the Tory right by announcing:

• Police will be given discretion to remove face masks from people on the street "under any circumstances where there is reasonable suspicion that they are related to criminal activity".

• No "phoney human rights concerns" about publishing CCTV images of suspects involved in rioting would be allowed to "get in the way of bringing these criminals to justice".

• Rioters could face eviction from social housing as rules on benefits are tightened. At the moment tenants can be evicted if they riot in their locality. This will be widened to include other areas.

• The government would work with the police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be possible to stop people communicating via social websites to plan disorder, violence or criminality.

• Police should be allowed to examine "all available technologies", the prime minister said, after the Tory MP Andrea Leadson asked for rioters to be sprayed with indelible chemical dye.

• May will work with Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary,, the work and pensions secretary, to produce a cross-government action programme on gangs. This would be a "national priority". May would report to parliament in October amid evidence that gangs co-ordinated some of the attacks on the police and some of the looting.

• The army could be used for guarding duties if there were a repeat of such widespread riots in order to free up police to deal with violence.

• Any homeowner or business person whose property was damaged could seek compensation under the Riot Damages Act even if they were uninsured.

amirrortotheenemy - July 11, 2012 09:51 PM (GMT)
Tower Block residents launch legal challenge to Olympic Missile site

28th June 2012 - Howe & Co will file Judicial Review legal proceedings today in the High Court in London challenging MOD plans to station Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD) missile weapon systems on the roof of the Fred Wigg Tower in Leytonstone, East London.

Fred Wigg Tower is a local authority residential block of 117 flats.  It is tenanted by families, many of whom have large numbers of children. It was damaged in a significant fire in December 2011, which involved the evacuation of the entire building.

Howe & Co are instructed by the local Residents Association, Harrow Community Support Ltd, to challenge the MOD’s Olympic security plans which include placing a High Velocity Missile (HVM) system on the roof of the block of flats.  The missile site is to be manned 24 hours a day with military personnel and the flats are to be patrolled by armed police with further police support stationed outside in the street.

The challenge is made on the grounds that the residents were not consulted at all about the plans to place explosive missiles on the roof of their home; that no assessment has been carried out under the Equality Act to comply with the MOD’s Public Sector Equality Duty; and that the siting of missiles above the heads of the residents is a breach of their human rights and in particular their right to family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)and their right to peaceful enjoyment of their homes under Article 1 of Protocol 1 of the ECHR.

Lawyers will be attending the High Court at 10:30 am on 28 June 2012 to issue the proceedings and they will seek an urgent hearing of the issues as the Olympics are due to start in less than a month.  They are seeking an injunction to stop the MOD placing missiles on the roof of  Fred Wigg Tower, and a court order seeking a lawful consultation process which involves the residents.

Martin Howe, Senior Partner at Howe & Co said:

“It is incredible that the MOD think it acceptable to present women, children and men living in a block of flats in a densely populated residential area of East London with the fait accompli of having a live high explosive missile salvo above their heads whilst they go about their daily chores and whilst they sleep at night. Security of the Olympics is of course extremely important but could the MOD not find any other way of protecting the Olympic village than by putting the lives of hundreds of innocent council tenants at risk by turning their homes into a military battlefield position?  The risk of accidental explosion or indeed incoming terrorist attack on the block of flats is now a real issue.  Who on earth had heard of Fred Wigg Tower before the MOD brought it to the attention of the world by announcing its intention to station a missile battery on top of the block? There has been zero consultation with the tenants.  There has been no regard for their legitimate concerns and worries.  There has been no consideration of the needs of disabled people living in the block. There has been no offer of alternative accommodation during the  Olympics and Para Olympics. The Olympics should be a time of national celebration and pride not fear and worry.  Watching the Games on TV terrified that a powerful rocket missile may be launched above your head at any moment is not the way to enjoy the Games!  The MOD has had 7 years to work out its security plans and it needs to rethink this issue swiftly.”

Kieran O’Rourke, the solicitor acting for the residents’ association said:-

“The residents of the Fred Wigg Tower are not against the Olympics Games, but why should ordinary families and young children have to endure the daily fear of an explosive missile accident or a terrorist attack, as well their homes becoming an army fortress for 2 months, when the skyscrapers belonging to the bailed-out bankers in Docklands would seem to be a much more suitable place for the MOD to locate their rockets?  Many residents have asked me whether the International Olympic Committee (IOC) members and their families would agree to explosive missiles sitting on the roofs of their luxury five-star hotels, whilst they stay in London during the Olympic Games?

I am very confident that we can win this important test case, just like we won the Gurkha legal battle, because I have absolute faith in the judges not to be swayed by the hype that surrounds the Olympic Games – what better image to present to the world than to show that English law still protects fundamental rights and that an Englishman’s home still remains his castle.  We expect a hearing in the coming days, given the importance and urgency of the issues the High Court must address before the Olympic Games start.”

For more information please contact Martin Howe or Kieran O'Rourke on 020 8840 4688 or email partners [at] howe [dot] co [dot] uk

Martin Howe interviewed about the Olympic Missile Case
With the residents of Fred Wigg Tower having launched legal proceedings against the missiles' siting on the roof of their homes reaching the High Court on 9 July, Martin Howe, the solicitor representing them was invited to debate the topic along with Margaret Gilmore a Senior Research Fellow with the Royal United Services Institute who analyses UK Public Policy on National Security on the Politics & Media programme. This was first broadcast on the Islam Channel on 2nd July 2012.

The programme can be viewed here

PRESS RELEASE - Tower Block residents launch legal challenge to Olympic Missile site

Howe & Co solicitors, the lawyers acting for a resident association at the Fred Wigg Tower (FWT), Leytonstone, on top of which the MOD plans to site Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD) High Velocity Missile (HVM) systems, will have their legal challenge considered by a High Court judge, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, on Monday 9 July 2012, from 10:30 am, in Court 19. They are seeking an injunction via a Judicial Review to prevent the MOD from using the FWT as a missile battery.

86 residents in the FWT, from 61 of the 108 occupied flats in the 15 storey tower block, have signed a petition opposing the deployment of missiles on the roof of their homes. The petition has been submitted to the court by Howe & Co to support the case.

The Defence Secretary has submitted papers to the court which state:-

“Following the on site evaluation and my review, officials entered into discussions with the landowners to secure rights to use and access sites. In respect of the FWT [Fred Wigg Tower], confidential discussions with the Chief Executive (and through him the leader and leading councillors) of the London Borough of Waltham Forest led them to agreeing to grant a lease [of the FWT roof], on 19 April.”

The residents of the FWT were only informed of the MOD’s plans, when letters and leaflets were dropped through their door on 27 April 2012 ie after Waltham Forest Council and the MOD had already agreed use of the roof of their homes as an explosive missile battery.

Martin Howe, the solicitor representing the residents at the Fred Wigg Tower, said:

“It is astonishing that a secret deal was done with democratically elected council leaders and council officials, for the MOD to use the roof of the Fred Wigg Tower as a missile battery and place explosives over the heads of men, women and children, without any form of consultation with them. The residents were handed a ‘done deal’ and effectively told to ‘like it or lump it’. If there had been a consultation from the outset, representations could have been made for the MOD to build a large firing tower or platform for the missiles, much like the “supersanger” towers used by the army in Northern Ireland, in the extensive fields behind the Fred Wigg Tower or for the MOD to agree to relocate worried and genuinely concerned residents and their young children elsewhere during the period of the missile deployment”

Earlier this week the MOD announced the finalisation of their plans, announcing that a legal challenge had been started by a few “activists”. The residents’ association bring the Judicial Review challenge represents 14 resident-members, and it has the backing of 86 residents within the FWT (excluding the many children of those residents) . Papers lodged with the court show the plan to deploy the missile systems was made at the highest levels of Government, including the Prime Minister, but the residents were not consulted.

Martin Howe, solicitor for the residents, said:-

“The residents of the Fred Wigg Tower recognise that there is a need to protect the Olympic Games, and none of them are saying that there should be no security for the Games. The MOD ‘spin’ teams have been working hard in recent announcements to describe the residents bringing this case, some of whom are ordinary mothers with young children, disabled and pensioner residents, as “activists” just because they do not wanting explosive missiles over their heads during the Olympic and Para Olympic Games. I am confident that the Court will protect the fundamental right of ordinary citizens, not to have the army literally take control of the roof over their heads, and force them to live under missile systems”

Mr Howe has further said:-

“In a highly unusual move the army has taken the unprecedented step of deploying surface to air missiles on top of a large residential block of flats in a densely populated built up area of London. It is incredible that the army thinks it acceptable for civilians to be placed effectively in a military forward base without their consent. It is like oil and water. Active military missile units and ordinary citizens do not mix”.

Residents have indicated that they will be attending the High Court to protest against the plans to deploy missiles in residential areas. Other residents from around London, and areas affected in the 5 other sites selected for missile batteries have also stated that they will come along to show their support for the residents of the FWT in Leytonstone.


Notes to Editors

1. The lawyers conducting the case will be available to for interviews before the hearing, outside the Royal Courts of Justice, to discuss the implications of the case with members of the press and media. Interviews need to be arranged by contacting the telephone numbers below.

2. Mr Justice Haddon-Cave conducted a review into the RAF Nimrod’s airworthiness, following the crash of a Nimrod over Afghanistan in 2006. His report was critical of the Ministry of Defence.

URGENT PRESS RELEASE - Missiles Case Fred Wigg Tower
The judgement on this case will be handed down today (10th July 2012) at 2pm at the Royal Courts of Justice, Strand. \

Martin Howe & David Enright will be available for comment thereafter on the steps of the Court from circa 2.30pm.

PRESS RELEASE - 11 July 2012: RESIDENTS OF FRED WIGG TOWER TAKE THIER CASE TO PARLIAMENT Residents decide not to appeal to the courts
Howe & Co solicitors, the lawyers acting for a residents’ association at the Fred Wigg Tower (FWT), Leytonstone, at which the MOD plans to site Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD) High Velocity Missile (HVM) systems by Friday 13 July, have met with John Cryer MP and John McDonnell MP in Parliament after yesterday’s High Court hearing. The MPs are so concerned with the MOD’s placement of missiles on residential homes, and the lack of any security for residents at FWT, that they will be writing to the Secretary of State for Defence and laying down an Early Day Motion in Parliament today.

86 residents in the FWT, from 61 of the 108 occupied flats in the 15 storey tower block, submitted to the High Court a petition opposing the deployment of missiles on the roof of their homes.

Yesterday Mr Justice Hadden-Cave refused the residents’ application to apply for judicial review.

Martin Howe, the solicitor representing the residents at the Fred Wigg Tower, said:

“The residents are deeply disappointed that the Court refused them protection and assistance in regard of their genuine fears for themselves and their children arising directly from the intended imminent deployment of troops, armed police and missiles in their homes.”

“The residents live on a council estate in East London. They do not have deep pockets to fund litigation and although their legal team will not charge them a penny they cannot take the risk of appealing and facing a huge legal bill from the Government. Requests to the Government’s lawyers to limit their costs to allow a matter of significant national importance to be litigated in our highest courts was rejected. The residents are therefore forced to seek help other than through the courts. They look to Parliamentarians to come to their aid and they look to family and friends to give them safe haven during the course of the deployment. They cannot afford to seek alternative accommodation without MOD help which has been absolutely refused”.

David Enright of Howe & Co said:

“This issues raised in this case are of the utmost importance. In time of peace is it right that the Armed Forces can take over one’s private home without asking your permission or even consulting you? The court has endorsed the MOD’s right to do just this. The MOD’s new powers are exercised under the Royal Prerogative, and as such this fundamental change in the rights of British people has never been scrutinised by Parliament. We and the residents of FWT are calling on David Cameron to bring this matter before the House urgently so that Parliament can decide if it is right that British people’s homes are no longer their castles, but potential forward operating bases for the MOD. “



Martin Howe (Partner, Howe + Co Solicitors)

T: 07710 921256 or 020 8840 4688

David Enright (Partner, Howe + Co Solicitors)

T: 0798 4465923

Fred Wigg Tower is one of two 1960s public housing towers on an otherwise low-rise street, and its appeal to the Ministry of Defense is obvious. The upper floors and roof offer an unimpeded view over east London, the Canary Wharf business district and the Olympic Park, about 2 miles (3 kilometers) away.


And for some residents, the prospect of the missiles comes as a relief. The tower has had its share of problems, including a fire in December that destroyed several apartments and forced dozens of residents to flee. Two months later, burglars stole possessions from the still-unoccupied apartments.
In the High Court, lawyers representing those living in the 1960s tower block said siting a missile station on the roof would make it a terrorist target.
Marc Willers told Mr Justice Haddon-Cave that their fears were not just genuine and legitimate – but justified in the climate of the current threat level, said to be ‘substantial’.

Yet there had been no consultation and no offer to relocate families during the Games. Mr Willers added: ‘Had the residents been consulted properly, or at all, their concerns would have been communicated.’

He accused the Ministry of Defence of being ‘extremely complacent’ about the risk of the tower being targeted by terrorists seeking to make an ‘evil statement’.

But David Forsdick, representing the MoD and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond,  told the court: ‘The MoD, intelligence agencies and the Metropolitan Police do not consider there is any credible threat to the Fred Wigg Tower.’

Stationing missiles there was ‘essential’ to protect the many thousands of people who would be at the Olympic Park.


Mr Forsdick said it was ‘essential for public safety, national security and the defence of the realm’, adding: ‘There are thousands of potential terrorist targets across the country.

‘At the Olympics – and I have no wish to scare the public – there will be 7,500 troops at the entrances.’

Leytonstone residents lose High Court battle to prevent Fred Wigg Tower being used as a missile base in Olympic Games
2:57pm Tuesday 10th July 2012 in News By Joe Curtis 

TENANTS have lost a High Court battle to stop missiles being based on top of a tower block during the Olympics.

Residents of Fred Wigg Tower on the Montague Road Estate in Leytonstone feared the missile launchers would make their homes a terrorist target.

But Mr Justice Haddon-Cave dismissed the concerns on Tuesday, agreeing with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) that the block overlooking Wanstead Flats was the only suitable site to host the surface-to-air weapons.

The tower will now be one of six locations in and around London used to house missiles during the games, including the William Girling Reservoir in Chingford.

The residents' solicitor, Kieran O'Rourke, of Howe & Co Solicitors, claimed the residents had been ignored and had not been given time to prepare a legal challenge.

He said: "It's really disappointing.

"I feel very sorry for the residents because they have not been consulted and now their lives could well be at risk.

"We feel it's politically wrong and legally wrong but of course we have to respect the decision of the judge."

Mr O'Rourke argued that the block would be an attractive target for terrorists, providing an opportunity to kill soldiers and civilians.

  But the MoD argued Olympic venues were more at risk. There will be no security at the entrance to the tower, which Mr O'Rourke believes leaves it vulnerable to suicide bombers and explosives left in vehicles.

He added: "The MoD had seven years to prepare for this but we had just a couple of months.

"The whole process has been undemocratic. This should have been discussed in Parliament."

Waltham Forest Council, which owns the tower block, signed a secret deal with the MoD to allow the building to be used earlier this year.

The tenants and their representatives are now considering an appeal, which must be submitted by tomorrow (July 13), when the missile sites are expected to be activated in preparation of the opening of the Olympic Village on Sunday.

angryofwalthamforest says...
3:21pm Tue 10 Jul 12

I hear the judge thought the MODs consultation was immaculate. They never had one, we had the opportunity to meet the MOD after the decision was made.

Thank god for the lawyers and the MP sending us his correspondence with the MOD.

Immaculate! What a fool.

London tower block residents lose bid to challenge Olympic missilesJudge rules against review of government decision to place high-velocity missiles on flats near Olympic Park
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Email Richard Norton-Taylor, Tuesday 10 July 2012 16.00 BST Comments (…) Lawyers speak out after residents lose court battle over missiles Link to this video Residents of a 17-storey tower block near the Olympic Park have no right to challenge an unprecedented decision by the army to deploy high-velocity missiles in a residential area, a high court judge has ruled.

Residents of the Fred Wigg Tower in Leytonstone, east London, argued that the missiles could expose them to a terrorist attack. The block is one of six sites in the capital where missiles, including Rapier air defence weapons and high-velocity systems, will be deployed for the duration of the Games.

The Fred Wigg residents applied for permission to seek judicial review of the government's decision to deploy the missiles, saying it was a "disproportionate interference" with their human rights, and they were not consulted properly over the siting of the ground-based air defence system.

They argued that those who wanted to move out should at least be relocated in hotels by the MoD or a gantry should be erected for the missiles away from the tower block.

Marc Willers, representing the residents, told the judge: "It is the unprecedented siting of a military base or missile site in peacetime on English soil that brings us to this court."

But Justice Haddon-Cave said on Tuesday: "In my judgment, the MoD's voluntary engagement with the community and residents in this matter were immaculate."

He said the MoD had no duty to consult, had not promised to and no "conspicuous unfairness" was caused by not consulting. He agreed with the MoD that a tower block was the only suitable site for missiles and the facts of the case were "not susceptible to a sensible challenge".

The judge said residents had expressed "shock, anxiety and worry" over the prospect of missiles being stationed at the tower. But they had been under "something of a misapprehension" about the nature of the equipment to be deployed and the risks deployment would bring.

Lawyers for the residents on Tuesday were considering an appeal against the ruling.

General Sir Nick Parker, commander of UK land forces, told the court in a written statement that the defence secretary, Philip Hammond, could personally order missiles placed on top of a tower block in east London to shoot down an "unauthorised" aircraft approaching the Olympic Park, following a secret agreement reached with the local council.

"The ability to shoot down an airborne threat using HVM [high-velocity missiles], in this location provides further options to ministers, and means that more time would be available for such a momentous decision. Ministers have been assured that shooting down a plane in such circumstances would be lawful."

Other sites chosen to guard against any Olympic air threat are the Lexington Building in Tower Hamlets, east London; Blackheath Common and Oxleas Wood, both in south-east London; William Girling Reservoir in the Lea Valley reservoir chain, Enfield; and Barn Hill at Netherhouse Farm in Epping Forest.

The navy's helicopter carrier, HMS Ocean, will be moored in the River Thames, RAF Typhoon fighter bombers have been deployed to RAF Northolt in west London, and Puma helicopters will be based at a Territorial Army centre in Ilford.

Outside the law courts, the residents' solicitor, Martin Howe, said: "We are very disappointed with the decision." He would have to sit down with the residents "and explain that by this Friday missiles will be on their roof".

Howe added: "The judge looked at the possibility of a gantry being built for the missiles to be placed on, instead of on the roof of people's homes.

"He dismissed the idea. The fact is a scaffolding company phoned my firm today and said that within a couple of days they could construct such a tower. I am sure it is not beyond the wit of the MoD to be able to do so as well."

Howe's partner,David Enright, said the clear implication of the judgment was that "the MoD now has power to militarise the private homes of any person" even when there was no war on, or state of emergency declared.

Enright said: "They do not need to ask you, do not need to consult you, but can take over your home and put a missile on the roof, a tank on the lawn and soldiers in the front living room, exercising powers under the royal prerogative.

"Parliament has not been consulted on this dramatic change in the English way of life.

"We have always believed an Englishman's home is his castle – not a forward operating base.

"It is vital that parliament look at this. We have passed the Rubicon in the way we live our lives."

Enright said in times of war and national emergency "any one of us would open our doors and assist the armed forces".

But the 2012 Olympics were taking place "in peace time – a happy time".

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "We are pleased the high court has found in our favour … we acknowledge that the deployment, albeit temporarily for the Games, of military equipment and personnel can be unsettling particularly where the community may not be used to a military presence. We will continue to engage with local communities to provide reassurance and reduce any impact on residents as far as possible."

It felt to me from the David Enright statement that he was delivering a message on behalf of the Cavaliers. (also see here

MoD fury as soldiers forced to carry out menial security tasks for Olympic Games
Thousands more Armed Forces personnel will be forced to carry out “menial” security work for the Olympic Games, leaving defence chiefs furious.

5:41PM BST 11 Jul 2012
The British Army has been ordered to provide more troops for the Games to make up for a shortfall in staff provided by private security contractors.

The Daily Telegraph understands that defence chiefs have angrily complained to Olympic organisers, accusing them of mismanaging their security contract and leaving the Armed Forces to bear the burden.

The Ministry of Defence last year said that 13,500 military personnel would be assigned to Olympic duties, with 7,500 of them in security roles at Olympic venues.

It is understood that another 3,500 troops have now been told to prepare for duties at Games sites. More troops have now been given ‘notice to move’ orders, an Army source revealed.

Defence sources said that the total military contribution to the Games is now likely to reach 20,000 personnel – more than a tenth of the entire Armed Forces.

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Many of the troops assigned to the Games are Afghan veterans. They will be ordered to carry out rudimentary security work including bag searches at venue entrances.

Commanders are particularly angry about the conditions in which Service personnel are being required to work.

Troops who arrived at Olympic sites this week for security duty were said to have been left without basic facilities including toilets.

One senior military officer said the Olympic work was “demeaning” to Service personnel.

"It is very demeaning that highly professional soldiers and Marines who have served two or three tours of duty in Afghanistan now find themselves doing bog-standard security checks because the Olympic organisers can't get their act together,” he said.

“The organisers have failed to deliver on their promise to make their own security arrangements.”

Should Afghanistan veterans be searching the bags of Olympic visitors?

It is understood that Gen Sir David Richards, the Chief of the Defence Staff, has personally raised concerns about the management of Games security with Olympic organisers.

Defence chiefs are preparing to make up a shortfall they say has been left by G4S, the private security firm contracted to provide civilian guards for the Games. The company is said to struggling to meet the required numbers of civilian staff.

The Home Official initially estimated that 10,000 security staff would be needed for London 2012, but last year, that estimate was increased to 23,500.

G4S was initially contracted to provide 2,000 security staff . The contract has been renegotiated and the firm is now obliged to provide 10,400 guards and train 3,300 students and 2,500 unpaid volunteers.

Locog, the organising body for the Games, said: Locog said: "We would be surprised if there are concern being raised about the involvement of military personnel as all parties have signed up to the security plan. The allocation of military personnel was based on clear agreement of their roles and responsibilities."

G4S said: "We have encountered some issues in relation to workforce supply and scheduling over the last couple of weeks, but are resolving these every day and remain committed to providing a security workforce for the start of the London 2012 Games."

The MoD said: “Military personnel being deployed as part of the overall police and civilian-led Olympic security effort are providing niche capabilities as well as taking on a range of vital roles from air security, to the provision of bomb disposal and maritime security capabilities.

"Those personnel carrying out venue security roles will conduct important tasks such as vehicle screening, pedestrian screening as well as perimeter security tasks. All of this will help to keep the public safe at the world’s biggest sporting event.”

The security shortfall has led to tensions in Whitehall, with MoD sources privately blaming the Home Office for “cocking up” the initial security contract.

Dame Helen Ghosh, the senior civil servant at the Home Office, admitted last year that the 10,000 figure had been a “finger in the air” estimate.

I suspect that some of the Operation Griffin trained personnel will be used for some of these tasks on at least one occasion and that the soldiers will be freed up to be used on other 'duties'.

CAA approves new segregated airspace for unmanned aircraft

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) today announced its endorsement of the Airspace Change Proposal (ACP) which will create a unique environment within the UK for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to fly in segregated airspace. The revised airspace will become effective from 28 July 2011.

Sinclair - July 11, 2012 10:13 PM (GMT)

Neutral Citation Number: [2012] EWHC 1921 (Admin)
  Case No: CO/6767/2012


  Royal Courts of Justice
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

B e f o r e :

- and -



Marc Willers and Owen Greenhall (instructed by Howe and Co) for the Claimant
David Forsdick and Jacqueline Lean (instructed by Treasury Solicitors) for the Defendant

Hearing date: 9 July 2012

    Mr Justice Haddon-Cave:


    The 2012 Olympics

#1 London has the privilege of hosting the 2012 Olympic Games. A magnificent Olympic Park has been constructed in Stratford to the east of the City. The Olympic Park includes the Olympic Stadium and other major sports venues as well as the Olympic Village which will house thousands of Olympic athletes from all round the world. The Games are due to commence in just under three weeks time, following the opening ceremony on Friday 27th July 2012. Hundreds of thousands of spectators are expected to attend the events daily over the period of the Olympics from 27th July to 12th August and the Para-Olympics from 29th August to 9th September 2012. The eyes of world will be focussed on the Olympic Park.

#2 A wide variety of security measures for the 2012 Olympics have been planned. This includes an Air Security Plan. This case concerns a challenge to a decision by the Secretary of State for Defence to locate a Ground Based Air Defence ("GBAD") system and military personnel (part of the Air Security Plan) on the roof of a residential tower block in Leytonstone for the duration of the 2012 Olympics.

#3 The urgency of this matter arises because the Air Security Plan needs to be deployed and operational before the Olympic Village opens in just 5 days time, on Sunday 15th July, to begin to receive the athletes.

#4 The claim for Judicial Review was served and filed on 28th June 2012. Mr Justice Burton immediately ordered an inter partes 'rolled-up' hearing to be listed before 13th July 2012.

#5 The parties appeared before me yesterday, on Monday 9th July, with Counsel and argued the matter fully. Given the urgency, I am delivering my decision and judgment as soon as possible.


#16 Mr David Forsdick, who appeared with Ms Jacqueline Lean of Counsel, for the Secretary of State for Defence, submitted in response:

(1) First, in the circumstances here pertaining to national security, operational deployment and the exercise of the Royal Prerogative to defend the State and its citizens and lawful visitors against threats, there was no duty on the Secretary of State to consult the residents of FWT or anyone else.


Witness Statement from Joint Commander UK

#18 The Court has had the benefit of a full statement from General Parker, the Standing Joint Commander (UK) at the Ministry of Defence ("MOD") responsible to the Chief of the Defence Staff, Sir David Richards, for the provision of Defence support to the Civilian Authorities tasked with delivering the military contribution to the safety of the Olympic and Para-Olympic Games in support of the Home Office and Police.

#19 General Parker explained in his statement that, at the request of the Home Secretary, who is responsible on behalf of the United Kingdom for the safety and security of the Olympic and Para-Olympic Games, Air Command in the MOD has formulated an Air Security Plan to protect the Olympic Park from air attack. The Plan is necessarily 'multi-layered' to ensure that the Olympic Park is protected by concentric lines of defence. This will include the following: (a) temporarily restricted airspace over London for the period of the Games to be in place for the opening of the Olympic Village (mid July); (B) Typhoon fighter jets operating from RAF Northolt; © Helicopters operating from HMS OCEAN moored on the Thames at Greenwich and elsewhere; (d) a network of air observers and radars; (e) four Rapiers sites (Blackheath, Oxleas Meadows, Barn Hill, William Girling Reservoir) providing the first part of the Ground Based Air Defence ("GBAD") system in a ring within 7-14 km of the Park; and (f) two High Velocity Missile ("HVM") sites overlooking the Park and covering the airspace above and around it forming the inner part of the GBAD system.

#20 The Background Facts

The air defences for the 2012 Olympics

The following background facts are clear from the evidence before me and I find as follows:

(1) It is clearly necessary to protect the Olympic Park from potential terrorist attack, both from the air and ground. Previous Olympics have similarly had to be protected (particularly since 9/11). The 2012 Olympic are potentially a "major target" (as David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorist legislation, was reported as pointing out in the press only a couple of days ago). It is worth noting, however, that the threat state in London remains only at 'substantial' where it has been for much of the past decade (rather than 'severe' or 'critical') as emphasised by the Treasury Solicitors in a letter to the Claimant's solicitors dated 5 July 2012 which was specifically approved by the Head of Counter-Terrorism, Dr Campbell McCafferty CBE.

(2) The Air Security Plan, as described by General Parker (without disclosing valuable operational information), necessarily has to be multi-layered so as to ensure that the Olympic Park is protected by a number of inter linked lines of defence broadly consisting: (1) an outer layer based on fighter aircraft (based at RAF Northolt); (2) a middle layer consisting air observers and attack helicopters (including those based on HMS Ocean); and (3) an inner layer formed by ground based missiles – the GBAD.

(3) The GBAD consists of two parts: the Rapier sites which provide a ring of ground based missile defence at 7-14 km from the Olympic Park and two HVM sites within that ring close to and overlooking the Olympic Park. The GBAD arrangements are designed as an integrated whole providing complete surveillance and 360 degree coverage of the airspace over and around the Park. The two HVM systems are an essential part of this package as a 'last resort' measure in the unlikely event of any hostile air attack and the extremely unlikely event of any hostile aircraft being able to penetrate the outer layers of the GBAD.

(4) In 2011 surveys were conducted to identify suitable sites which could meet the technical and operational requirements for the GBAD, and in particular the HVM sites. Only six sites were identified which would meet operational and technical requirements (including only two HVM sites) and all are required to meet the operational requirements and integrity of the Air Security Plan.

(5) FWT was selected specifically because of its proximity to the Olympic Park, its clear sight lines towards the Olympic Park and the lack of obstructions from its roof, and its 360 degree views of the airspace. There was no alternative site which could perform this essential function as part of the last line of defence.


Bridget - July 16, 2012 11:51 AM (GMT)
Ten to a room and one shower for 75 people: Inside the 'slum' camp for Olympic cleaners

    They sleep in portable cabins, some of which have been leaking in the rain, at the campsite in East London
    The bad weather has left the site flooded with stagnant water, forcing the cleaners to use abandoned crates as makeshift ‘stepping stones’
    ‘It is like a slum inside,’ says one worker from Hungary

By Katherine Faulkner

PUBLISHED: 23:23, 15 July 2012 | UPDATED: 08:23, 16 July 2012

Cleaners at the Olympic Park are being housed ten to a room at a huge temporary compound.

The campsite in East London, hidden from public view, has 25 people sharing each toilet and 75 to each shower.

They sleep in portable cabins, some of which have been leaking in the rain.

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Grim: Cleaners at the Olympic Park are being housed ten to a room at a huge temporary compound, pictured. The campsite in East London, hidden from public view, has 25 people sharing each toilet and 75 to each shower

And the bad weather has left the site flooded with stagnant water, forcing them to use abandoned crates as makeshift ‘stepping stones’ to move around the site.

Hundreds have come from abroad to work at the Olympics despite promises that the jobs would go to Londoners.

On arrival, some were horrified to be told there was no work for two weeks. But despite this, they were made to pay the cleaning company £18 a day in ‘rent’ to sleep in the overcrowded metal cabins, which works out at more than £550 a month.

Others who had come to the UK desperate for the jobs turned back, describing  the camp as ‘horrible’, with showers and toilets ‘filthy’ from over-use.

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Poor conditions: The bad weather has left the site flooded with stagnant water, forcing the cleaners to use abandoned crates as makeshift 'stepping stones' to move around the site. This image shows how close the camp is to the Olympic Stadium
M4 lane

Andrea Murnoz, 21, a student from Madrid, said: ‘I couldn’t believe it when I saw the places people were sleeping.

‘When I first saw the metal gates and the tall tower in the middle, it reminded me of a prison camp. It looks horrible.

'I was thinking I would apply for a job, but I have changed my mind. My two friends signed up, but I think they are regretting it.’

Cleaners at the camp have signed gagging orders preventing them from talking to the Press and have been banned from having family and friends visit ‘for security reasons’.

One worker, from Hungary, said conditions were ‘very bad’ inside the camp but he had nowhere else to live. ‘It is like a slum inside,’ the 24-year-old said.

‘The toilets are dirty and the space is very little.’

Another, also from Hungary, said: ‘When we saw the camp, we were shocked. When we came to England we thought accommodation would be much nicer.

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Employment: Hundreds of people have come from abroad to work at the Olympic Park

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‘Some of the cabins have been leaking and we have been told to fix them ourselves.

Two girls have left already because they did not want to sleep in a room with men they didn’t know.’

Plans for the accommodation were backed by London 2012 organiser Locog and waved through by the local council, Newham, even though environmental health officers said the toilet and shower facilities were ‘unlikely to be adequate’, while landscape architects said the sleeping arrangements were ‘cramped’.

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But councillors decided that because the camp would be only temporary, concerns about the housing and welfare of the workers were not ‘justifiable reasons for refusing planning permission’.

Any accommodation where more than two adults have to share a room is considered ‘overcrowded’ under housing laws. Health and safety guidelines state that employers should provide at least five toilets and five washbasins for every 100 people.

Craig Lovett, of Spotless International Services which runs the camp, said the number of toilets and  showers per person exceeded requirements for temporary accommodation and that there were internet, medical and entertainment facilities on-site.

He said shift patterns would reduce pressure on the facilities.

He said unexpected heavy rain had been a ‘pain’ but the company was working tirelessly to sort things out.

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Messy: Some who had come to the UK desperate for the jobs turned back, describing the camp as 'horrible', with showers and toilets 'filthy' from over-use

He added: ‘This is not a prison. Nobody is forced to stay there. Many of our staff have come from areas where there is extremely high unemployment and are very happy to be working in the Games.

‘There will always be a couple of disgruntled people on site, but it’s a shame they didn’t come to talk to us to air their grievances because there are certainly processes in place for them to do that.’

A Locog spokesman said: ‘Cleanevent [part of Spotless] have assured us that the accommodation they are providing their workers is of a suitable standard.’

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Plush: The conditions at the cleaners' camp are in stark contrast to the Olympic Village where the athletes will stay
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Luxurious: Athletes in the Olympic Village will have access to a nice bar area complete with comfy armchairs and games

London 2012 Olympics: 10 to a room and 1 shower for 75 people: Inside the 'slum' camp for Olympic cleaners | Mail Online

justthefacts - July 17, 2012 11:39 AM (GMT)

Now the Army is giving the orders

As foreign athletes start to arrive, military sends officers to G4S HQ to tackle security shambles

Kim Sengupta, Nigel Morris

Army chiefs have been dispatched to the headquarters of G4S to take a more active role in controlling security for the London Olympics, The Independent has learnt, following the company's failure to fulfil its £250m contract to guard the Games.

The move marks an escalation in the military's involvement in the saga and results from a sense of mounting concern and anger within Whitehall about G4S's inability to provide the promised security guards to guard athletes and spectators over the coming month. It will be viewed as a further wounding blow to the firm's credibility.

Police officers from nine forces are also now being drafted in to bolster the security operation at Olympic venues and athletes' hotels after G4S staff failed to appear.

The military may be asked to supply another 2,000 personnel, after already increasing numbers deployed to 17,000 following the failure of G4S to present the full quota of guards needed for the Olympics.

The planning for further reinforcements has been hampered, however, because both G4S and the Games organizers, Locog, have been unable so far to specify in which areas the latest shortfalls have occurred.

The dispatch of Army officers to G4S headquarters follows a growing feeling in the Ministry of Defence that it would be necessary to set up a combined headquarters with the military taking a more active role in the overall command of the Games.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, admitted yesterday the Government still could not predict how many G4S guards would turn up for duty next week at the Olympic Park. In her second emergency statement in four days on the crisis, she insisted ministers were only alerted to the crisis last week. But her version of events was contradicted by London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Currently, General Sir Nick Parker is the head of the Standing Joint Command for the security contribution of the armed forces, with G4S running its own operational centre, which has seen the arrival of three more officers from the military in the last few days to work alongside others already there.

But with such large numbers of forces personnel now involved in the security operation, MoD officials believe there has to be closer integration. A senior Whitehall official said: "It's become obvious G4S not only needs help with the numbers but also administration. That's the reason a small number of extra military personnel have been sent in. This may have to be increased and there's a case for further integration when it comes to command and control."

Nick Buckles, the embattled chief executive of G4S, will today be pressed by the Commons' Home Affairs Select Committee on the extent of the security shortfall and why ministers were not alerted earlier to the looming crisis.

Asked in the Commons how many guards would be supplied by G4S, Mrs May gave no figures, replying: "The precise balance of the number who will be provided will become clear over the next few days." Yvette Cooper, the Shadow Home Secretary, said: "It is incomprehensible that with 11 days to go the Home Secretary still doesn't know how many staff G4S are likely to provide."

Ms May repeated her insistence that the Home Office only discovered on Wednesday G4S would not be able to supply enough guards. But Mr Johnson said it emerged six or seven months ago the "sheer volume of security, the need, was perhaps greater than expected... Everybody organising the Olympics knew this was coming up... ages ago".

Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said: "This is the world's biggest security company – it's got 650,000 employees. They could have used some employees – 10,000 isn't a large proportion. Instead G4S choose to recruit from scratch for the greatest show on earth." His committee is to summon Ms May to give evidence about the debacle, as well as Charles Farr, head of the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism, who is in charge of the Olympics' anti-terror strategy.

Security sources pointed out that although G4S is getting pilloried for the security debacle, part of the problem was caused by a cabinet committee headed by David Cameron approving a 500 per cent rise in the numbers of security guards from the original total of 2,000 in December. The request was passed on by Locog, which accepted the assurance of G4S they could deliver the extra numbers without problem. "G4S saw more pound signs and Locog didn't scrutinize at all the process G4S had in place for all this" said one official.

A MOD spokesman said: “Olympic Security remains a civilian and police led operation which has not changed. For many months the MOD has been working closely with G4S with military personnel embedded as Olympic security plans have developed. As you would expect, the level of liaison has increased as the Games has drawn closer and the military contribution has increased.”

G4S in numbers

657,000 Number of G4S employees. The company operates in 125 countries

£7.5bn Annual turnover last year for the firm, which was founded in 2004

£1bn Turnover in the UK, where it employs 45,000 staff

6 The number of UK prisons it runs, plus three secure training centres and two immigration centres

8.7 The percentage fall in G4S's share price yesterday

£300bn The value of the cash transported around Britain by G4S each year in its 2,300 secure vehicles

Bridget - July 17, 2012 05:36 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (Bridget @ Mar 22 2011, 11:23 AM)
G4S wins £100m Olympic security deal

Security firm to provide 10,000 guards to patrol London Games venues in 2012

    * Owen Gibson and Matthew Taylor
    *, Monday 21 March 2011 18.23 GMT

Organisers of the 2012 Olympic games have signed a £100m deal with the security firm G4S to provide 10,000 guards to patrol venues during the event.

Under the £757m security plan developed for the Games, the government is responsible for policing outside the venues and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games must provide security inside the park in east London.

Mark Hamilton, G4S's managing director of security services for the Games, said it would dwarf similar events in terms of size and complexity.

"Nothing compares to the Olympic Games in scale and complexity. But we've got decades of experience managing large-scale events such as Wimbledon, the Grand National at Wembley, music festivals and the G20 summit in London," he said.

"This is where the breadth of our experience comes in, in particular across the field of sports. We're well versed with managing security needs for large sporting events and understand the need for maintaining the visiting experience. It's about making sure staff are aware this is a unique visitor experience."

Like the police, the company's staff will have to walk the line between tight security and a welcoming atmosphere.

Hamilton also said the company was working on new methods of reducing queuing time by ensuring that entrance searches were conducted as quickly as possible.

But the appointment of G4S could prove controversial if the Crown Prosecution Service decides to pursue a case of corporate manslaughter against the company. Last week it emerged that Scotland Yard is considering charging G4S over the death of an Angolan deportee.

Passengers on the British Airways flight in October told police they saw three G4S guards heavily restraining Jimmy Mubenga, who had been complaining of breathing difficulties before he collapsed. The guards were later arrested and have been bailed until 4 May. They could face manslaughter charges.

However, sources with knowledge of the case have said police are also considering passing a file to the CPS recommending a corporate manslaughter charge against G4S.

The company earns more than £600m from the UK government for services including the running of four prisons, three immigration removal centres and 675 court and police cells, and is the second-largest private employer in the world, boasting a £7bn turnover.

G4S said in a statement last week: "As this is the subject of an on-going investigation, we are unable to comment as this time. We can confirm that G4S has received no approach at this time from the authorities in relation to the company's position and potential liabilities.

Jimmy Mubenga death: G4S guards will not face charges

Crown Prosecution Service says three escorts will not be charged over death of Angolan refugee on deportation flight

    Paul Lewis and Matthew Taylor, Tuesday 17 July 2012 16.11 BST

Jimmy Mubenga collapsed and died while being escorted on a flight from Heathrow to Angola

Three guards who worked for the security firm G4S have been told they will not face manslaughter charges over the death of Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan refugee who collapsed while being escorted on a flight from Heathrow airport in London 21 months ago.

The men worked as guards for the firm, which was contracted to escort deportees for the Home Office when the incident occurred. G4S has come under intense criticism in recent days after admitting it has failed to supply enough guards for the Olympics.

Mubenga, 46, died after losing consciousness on British Airways flight 77 to Angola, as it waited to take off on the runway.

The Crown Prosecution Service said that in order to prosecute the guards for "gross negligence manslaughter" they would need to prove he was held in a "severely splinted position" – bent over with his head either on or below his knees and his diaphragm restricted – for a sufficient period of time to show that the actions of the security guards were more than a minimal cause of his death.

Gaon Hart, senior crown advocate in the CPS special crime division, said there were "conflicting witness accounts" about the manner of the Angolan's restraint, although counsel found there was a "breach of duty" in the way Mubenga was held.

"In light of this, the experts unanimously concluded that given Mr Mubenga's physiological condition, having been in an agitated state before he died, they could not rule out that his death may have been caused by a combination of factors such as adrenalin, muscle exhaustion or isometric exercise," he said.

"It is not enough to tell a jury what may have caused a person's death; I have to have sufficient evidence that there is a realistic prospect of proving it to them beyond reasonable doubt, and in these circumstances the evidence did not satisfy that test."

Hart said that while there were shortcomings in the training G4S provided its guards, there was insufficient evidence to bring a charge of corporate manslaughter against the company.

"I have considered whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute three security guards, or their employer, G4S Care and Justice Services UK Limited (G4S) for the tragic death of Jimmy Mubenga," he said.

"After very careful consideration of all the evidence, and consultation with medical experts and experienced counsel, I have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to bring any charges for Mr Mubenga's death."

Makenda Adrienne Kambana, Jimmy Mubenga's wife, said the family was "distraught". "He was crying for help before he was killed. We can't understand why the officers and G4S are not answerable to the law as we or any other member of the public would be," she said.

The Home Office initially said Mubenga had been "taken ill" while on the flight on 12 October 2010. G4S used similar wording, saying Mubenga "became unwell", forcing the plane to return to Heathrow. Passengers were taken off the flight, which was postponed for 24 hours, and interviewed by detectives from Heathrow CID.

However, after an investigation by the Guardian, which tracked down witnesses on the aircraft who said Mubenga had been forcibly detained by the guards, and was complaining he could not breathe, the Metropolitan police's homicide unit took over the case and arrested the three guards. They were later interviewed under caution for suspected manslaughter.

For months, Met detectives have been looking for passengers who were on the flight, and have sought expert medical opinion about the possible causes of Mubenga's death. The case has been with the CPS since January. There is now likely to be an inquest.

Mubenga had been in the UK for 16 years after fleeing Angola with his wife, Makenda Kambana, in 1994. His wife arrived with the couple's first son in March 1994 and Mubenga joined them three months later. After a protracted legal battle he was granted exceptional leave to remain. Over the following 16 years the couple moved across London and had another four children. Mubenga worked as a forklift driver and was a devoted family man, his widow said, and the couple eventually settled in Ilford, Essex, with their children, now aged 16 to seven months.

In 2006, Mubenga was convicted of actual bodily harm and sentenced to two years in jail following a brawl in a nightclub. After serving his sentence he was transferred to an immigration detention centre and his lawyer said he has been in and out of detention ever since as the family fought to stop him being deported.

Four G4S whistleblowers who submitted evidence to the home affairs select committee in the aftermath of Mubenga's death said the company had been warned repeatedly by its own staff that potentially lethal force was being used.

Hart said that in light of the perceived shortcomings in G4S training, the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer, had asked him to write to the UK Border Agency, the National Offender Management Service and the security firm to highlight the concerns raised by the experts in this case.

The co-director of Inquest, a charity that helps the families of people who die in custody, said the decision was extremely disappointing.

"Yet again, there is a failure of the state to prosecute following the use of force," Deborah Coles said.

"This is a shameful decision that flies in the face of the evidence about the dangerous use of force used against people being forcibly removed and the knowledge base that existed within G4S and the Home Office about the dangers of restraint techniques. It once again raises concerns about the quality of the investigations into deaths following the use of force by state agents and the decision-making process of the CPS."

She called for a "far reaching, effective and prompt inquest, with the full involvement of his family".

Mark Scott of Bhatt Murphy the family's solicitor said, "The family are devastated that the circumstances of Mr Mubenga's death and the people restraining him will not be called to explain their actions in criminal proceedings. The DPP's decision not to prosecute is deeply troubling. The evidence is that Mr Mubenga died after crying for help whilst under restraint."

G4S said in a statement on Tuesday that the care and welfare of those in its custody had "always been its top priority".

"A death in custody is both tragic and unacceptable. It will be for the UK Border Agency, working with the current contractor to assess whether a review of the existing guidelines on control and restraint may be appropriate."

Bridget - July 26, 2012 09:34 AM (GMT)
7/7 Survivor To Miss Olympic Torch Relay
Doctors block double-amputee Gill Hicks from taking part in the event, and the paramedic who saved her life will take her place.
9:01pm UK, Wednesday 25 July 2012

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Gill Hicks pictured with paramedic Tracy Russell who saved her life

By Tom Parmenter, Sky News Correspondent

A survivor of the 7/7 bombings has been forced to miss her opportunity of carrying the Olympic torch.

Gill Hicks lost both legs in the terror attacks that killed 52 people on the day after London won the games back in 2005.

She has since moved back to Australia, and was awarded the honour of carrying the torch through Camden on the penultimate day of the relay.

However before she was due to fly doctors advised her not to make the long-haul flight due to her injuries.

Speaking to Sky News from Australia, she said: "I was just overwhelmed with the honour of carrying the torch, particularly through my beloved Camden.

"London will always be in my DNA, in my heart - it is the place where I have made so many close bonds with people."

7/7 bombings London was attacked the day after the city won the Olympics.

One of those people is London Ambulance Service medic Tracy Russell who Gill has asked to carry the torch in her place.

Tracy was one of the first medics to treat Gill after she was removed from the Piccadilly line carriage.

Tracy said: "Even though we have become close friends, Gill's email asking me to carry the Olympic torch for her, came completely out of the blue.

"She was due to carry the flame in Camden, where she used to live, but because of my shifts, I was unable to do it there, and will be part of the relay in Wandsworth.

"I'm absolutely thrilled to do it for her and very honoured that she has asked me. I just want to make Gill proud."

Tracy will carry the torch from Lavender Hill at 12.58pm on Thursday.

Ms Hicks added: "London is where I was given my second life, where I survived and where I was fortunate enough to meet the people, like Tracy who I will forever be grateful to.

"I will be watching her online with incredible pride."

7/7 Survivor To Miss Olympic Torch Relay

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