Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Newham to get its own Surface-to-air missiles



Make of it what you will then, but today I am not what you would call a very un-happy person. I have discovered that here in Newham it is likely now, that we are to have Surface-to-air missiles deployed during the Olympics if deemed appropriate, the defence secretary, Philip Hammond, said yesterday, insisting "all necessary measures" would be taken to ensure security.

It would be the first time surface-to-air missiles have been deployed in Britain since the end of the Second World. And I ask, would it be thought of as insensitive to those many thousands who lost their lives during that war defending and living in a community that was hammered, pounded and pulverised by Luftwaffe during that terrible time in our local and national history, and of course it goes without saying let’s not forget what they the Royal Air Force did to the German nation, and just for the record: In the first months of the war, British strategic bombing (aerial attacks on the enemy’s industry and infrastructure) were bound by the belief that deliberate attacks on civilians and private property were illegal and unjustifiable. But by 1945, RAF Bomber Command was obliterating historic German cities overnight. It was a terrifying transformation in the nature of war, which saw industrial towns across Europe smashed to pieces and hundreds of thousands of civilians killed.

In the East End of London, from September 1940 to April 1941 East London was exposed we cannot forget, and perhaps, to one of the most constant and sustained periods of aerial bombing on record, the constant air raids took a heavy toll on the local population and because of this and the fact that the local population were still expected to man the docks with the loss of life inescapable, and the senior amongst us now still hold childhood memories, the vivid memories of the war, which they will never forget, it's as though it happened yesterday, they can tell many unique stories about the blitz. They recall the wailing air-raid sirens, the drone of enemy bombers, the sky filled with searchlights, thuds of heavy ack-ack, and then bombs screeching to earth and then the explosions, many escaped nightly to underground air-raid shelters, and in the morning, after the 'all clear' sounded, walked through streets of smouldering rubble and desolation in the aftermath of the air-raids, and often were to find their homes and shops destroyed and incendiary fires still burning. It is this memory etched, imprinted and still held by many here, that I would suggest that the deployment of Surface-to-air missiles is an insult and say’s in so many ways’- that the world has not moved on.

The Guardian newspaper recently reported that the United States was concerned about security at the Games and planned to send up to 1,000 of its agents, including 500 from the FBI, to protect American contestants and diplomats.

A decision to install air defence weaponry in London would follow a precedent set by previous Olympic hosts. China deployed a battery of surface-to-air missiles a kilometre south of its showpiece venues for the Beijing Games in 2008.

Greece placed dozens of US-made Patriot missiles around Athens around six weeks before the 2004 Olympics, the first summer games after the September 2001 attacks on the United States.

More than 6,000 British soldiers dressed as civilian security guards are expected to boost security at London’s Olympic venues, a source divulged to Reuters earlier this month, enhancing a force of at least 10,000 civilian guards and 12,000 police who are to have their own barracks built, so I suppose you could say that my neck of the woods, this impoverished London borough where the Olympics will make no real difference to the lives of many struggling with the reality of unemployment, poverty and homelessness  are now to have weapons of mass destruction in addition to the imposition of thousands of state, civilian and private security personnel all for the Olympics, which is nothing more than a plaything of commercial convenience.

Corporate sponsors are paying £1.4billion towards the Games, but British taxpayers are thought to be stumping up £12billion – more than four times the original estimate.

Ticket sales are expected to offset just £500million of this. It has also emerged that the ballot for tickets favoured the wealthy, with more than half of those applying having had to risk bidding more than £1,000 to stand a chance, according to analysis. The corporate sponsors include Lloyds TSB – one of the banks bailed out by taxpayers – French energy firm EDF who have gained gold for constantly mugging their customers in this country, and Cadbury’s, sold to U.S. food giant Kraft. The following companies are what they call top Partners for the London 2012 Olympic Games: Coca-Cola, Acer, Atos, Dow, GE, McDonald's, Omega, Panasonic Corporation, P&G, Samsung and Visa International.

Some of the above mentioned corporate sponsors will be household names to many like Coca-Cola or McDonald’s whose inclusion on this list says a great deal about the so-called Olympic movement, the promotion of healthy living and lifestyles particularly to the science they cast-out towards the young.

I personally found Atos to be interesting they earn millions from the DWP in connection with work they carry out on IT systems and have recently been chosen by Accenture to partner them in work for DWP IT services contract that will deliver the application development and maintenance services for its customer-facing systems including delivery of elements of the IT solution for the Universal Credit, the U.K. government’s program to simplify working-age benefits systems into a single streamlined system. The value of the Accenture contract could range from £50 million to £70 million per year. And of course Atos are one and the same company that runs the government "cruel" back-to-work interviews who include the terminally ill or those currently undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy being threatened with benefit cuts if they do not even attend the meetings, need I say any more.

             

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