The personal saga of WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange has been used to overshadow the ground-breaking journalism of WikiLeaks in exposing the secrets of governments and corporations around the world.
There have been outrageous abuses of power before and during the Olympic Games in London this year. These include a police attack on, and mass arrests during, a "critical mass" bike ride, the placing of missiles on civilian roofs despite protests by affected residents, and special “Olympic lanes” on roads whose use is limited those granted special permission by games organisers.
British Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne's desperate efforts to put an Olympic shine on Britain's economy are failing to get off the starting blocks. As they postured on the sidelines, the world saw the reality of an economy teetering on the brink of an unprecedented triple-dip recession. Asset management company Schroders chief economist Azad Zangana believes gross domestic product (GDP) will rise by 0.5% this quarter due to the Olympics.
Olympic organisers and their corporate sponsor Visa were still keeping mum on August 1 after yet another ironic twist to their “cashless Olympics”. Hungry spectators at Wembley to see Team GB women's victory over Brazil took to social networks on the night of July 31 to complain of a second breakdown in three days of payment systems at food counters “proud to only accept Visa” under the company's exclusive sponsorship deal.
In a victory for free speech, the Counter Olympics Network held a demonstration of 500 people on July 28 against the corporate takeover and militarisation of the Olympic Games. Under pressure from local campaigners, Tower Hamlets Council was forced to lift its ban on the arranged speakers for the demonstration. Speakers included MP John McDonnell, Ruth Tanner from War on Want, and Stop the Olympic Missiles campaigner and vice-chair of Stop the War Coalition, Chris Nineham.
What an ideal opportunity that was, to at last engage the local residents with the Olympics. When it turned out there weren't enough security staff, they should have employed east London's famous criminal community.
This is a story of two letters and two Britains. The first letter was written by Sebastian Coe, the former athlete who chairs the London Olympics Organising Committee. He is now called Lord Coe.
It has not even begun, but a world record has already been set for the London 2012 Olympic games. The games, which begin on July 27, are the most corporatised, militarised and draconian Olympics of all time. Every day there are fresh stories that reveal that, to British Prime Minister David Cameron, the Olympic spirit means giving corporations and governments free reign to do what they like.
The London Olympic Games kick off on July 27 and already British authorities have pretty much everything in place.
Global Friends of WikiLeaks is an independent collective of WikiLeaks supporters. It is not affiliated with WikiLeaks. The letter below was originally posted here on June 20. You can sign an online petition to the government of Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa in support of Julian Assange's extradition request. * * *
Pro-democracy campaigners Republic continued their campaign against the monarchy with a protest outside St Paul's Cathedral on June 5. The Queen and her royal sidekicks were attending a service at the cathedral, which was the long-term site for the Occupy Movement camp in London. Members of Republic, unintimidated by taunts of God Save the Queen, held up placards saying: "9,500 nurses or one Queen?" and "Republic Now!"