The 2012 Olympics, to be held in London, have been the focus of increased scrutiny from civil liberties advocates around the globe, due in the main to the intense and, according to some, excessive security measures planned for the event.
A recent article in the Daily Mail points out that police officers in London are beginning to look more like soldiers than cops. In response to last week’s attempted suicide bombing, members of the police force turned out sporting firepower that would be more at home on battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan than in the streets of suburban London. The Daily Mail reports:
In addition to a Heckler and Koch MP5 sub-machine gun, [the police are] carrying not one but two Glock self-loading pistols and a CS gas grenade. It is difficult to imagine anyone further removed from the traditional bobby on the beat.
And this isn’t the extent of the security beef-up as the opening ceremonies for the 2012 Olympics approach. It’s emerged that the UK government is seeking to install surface-to-air missiles on the tops of numerous high-rise residential buildings which surround Olympic Park, in case of an aerial terrorist attack. Again from the Mail:
Surface-to-air missiles may be stationed on top of flats as the last line of defence against a suicide jet targeting this summer’s Olympic Games…From there, they could use a multi-million-pound laser-guided system developed for modern warzones to shoot down a helicopter attack or suicide bombers piloting an aircraft. The range of the missiles is 3.4miles, which means they could reach St Paul’s Cathedral, Canary Wharf or parts of the North Circular from the flats in Bow, East London.
This is cause for concern in the minds of numerous residents whose homes would be occupied and turned into defensive bunkers by the UK military:
Resident Brian Whelan, 28, said his suspicions were raised when he saw soldiers examining [a] water tower a few weeks ago.
He said: ‘I don’t think in a democracy the military go round occupying private property and turning it into a military base without communicating with people.’
Local MP Rushanara Ali said she would be raising the matter in Parliament tomorrow. She said it was ‘unprecedented’ for missiles to be placed on residential buildings, adding: ‘This is a heavily built-up area. There has been no consultation – people have been told that this is what is likely to happen and people are very worried.’
All of this in a country that has already come under fire from civil libertarians for its Big Brother style surveillance of the English people. A report from The Guardian in May of 2011 stated that there are currently 1.85 million CCTV cameras in the UK, amounting to 1 camera for every 32 people living in the country.
Is this increase in security a sign that London expects terrorist activity at the 2012 games?
Perhaps the most chilling piece of information to emerge regarding the upcoming Olympics is a prediction made by the Rockefeller Foundation in a study entitled Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development, first published in May of 2010.
The study, which ostensibly explores the ways in which “technology could profoundly alter how we address some of the most pressing challenges in the developing world”, presents four “very plausible” visions of the future, each of which explore the positive and negative consequences of our increasing reliance upon technology.
In the third hypothetical narrative, entitled “Hack Attack”, described as a vision of “an economically unstable and shock-prone world in which governments weaken, criminals thrive, and dangerous innovations emerge,” the time in which we’re currently living (2010-2020) is labeled “the doom decade” due to all of the disastrous events that are predicted to unfold over that ten year period.
An earthquake in Indonesia killing 40,000, a famine in China and a tsunami off the coast of Nicaragua are among the grim natural disasters which the Rockefeller Foundation puts forward as part of their dystopian vision of the future.
And on page 34, specifically, they describe a horrific terrorist attack which will claim the lives of 13,000 people at the Summer Olympics in London. The report reads:
Devastating shocks like September 11, the Southeast Asian tsunami of 2004, and the 2010 Haiti earthquake had certainly primed the world for sudden disasters. But no one was prepared for a world in which large-scale catastrophes would occur with such breathtaking frequency. The years 2010 to 2020 were dubbed the “doom decade” for good reason: the 2012 Olympic bombing, which killed 13,000, was followed closely by an earthquake in Indonesia killing 40,000, a tsunami that almost wiped out Nicaragua, and the onset of the West China Famine, caused by a once-in-a-millennium drought linked to climate change.
Some have compared this to the infamous Project for the New American Century report, published in early 2000 and authored by numerous soon-to-be members of the Bush administration, that called for a “new Pearl Harbor” in order to facilitate the authoritarian changes the report’s authors desired.
Is the Rockefeller prediction simply hypothetical speculation? Or could this constitute a veiled warning regarding a terrorist attack planned for the 2012 games?
Whether or not an attack occurs, we can all be certain of one thing: that governments around the world will continue to use the threat of terror to further consolidate their power, and to strip the citizenry of their rights and civil liberties.