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. In the New Statesman of June 21, I reported an urgent appeal to Coe by the Vietnam Women's Union that he and his IOC colleagues reconsider their decision to accept sponsorship from Dow Chemical, one of the companies that manufactured dioxin, a poison used against the population of Vietnam. See also
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!"
A group of unemployed people slept on the streets last weekend before being coerced into working for free — at the queen’s jubilee. It is the latest shocking story of life under the Tories’ Work Programme. Up to 30 jobless people were bussed into London from Bristol, Bath and Plymouth to work as stewards. Workers from Bristol say they were dumped in London at 3am on Sunday. Some said they had originally been told they would be paid for the work. But when they got onto coaches they were told they’d be doing the work for free—or lose out on a chance of paid work at the Olympics.
Who's the vindictive bastard who made Tony Blair give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry? This was heartlessly cruel, to all decent people who have tried to put Blair behind us and get on with our lives. But there he was again, tormenting us, making us feel like someone just coming to terms with their years in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp and then the bloke who used to electrocute us every morning comes on daytime television, justifying himself and leaving us screaming and dribbling and eating an eight-pack box of Toffee Crisps as all the memories come washing back.