London Olympics Security Focuses on Deterrence: Use of Drones, Electric Fences, Missiles and More. 2012 Summer Olympics: US-UK security experts unite for London Games. LONDON — Fighter jets thunder above the English countryside. Missiles stand ready. And Big Brother is watching like never before. The London Olympics are no ordinary games.
Not since World War II have Britain and the United States teamed up for such a massive security operation on British soil. View full sizeAP Photo/SAC Phil Major RAF, MODThis is a Aug. 18, 2011 file photo released by Britain's Ministry of Defence shows Royal Air Force Puma helicopter is pictured flying over the 2012 Olympic Stadium during a training flight over London. Hundreds of American intelligence, security and law enforcement officials are flying across the Atlantic for the games that begin July 27. The unique collaboration is rooted in common threats the partners have faced since the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the U.S. and Britain's own deadly suicide bombings in 2005.
Britain was America's closest ally in Afghanistan and Iraq, making it a prime target of Islamic terror groups. Despite the U.S. Olympics 2012: London is starting to look like a militarised zone. The previously unthinkable: a Starstreak high velocity missile system in Blackheath.
Photograph: Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images With the Olympics less than a month away, small but noticeable changes are transforming London. Special signs in Olympic pink that guide visitors to venues have appeared, announcements at major London Underground stations have become multilingual and the first of the Olympics traffic lanes have been painted. More immediately disconcerting, however, is the appearance of Royal Military police in London. For those out in Leicester Square last Saturday night the Olympic-prompted mutual aid between the Metropolitan police's territorial support group and service personnel from the army and Royal Navy police was certainly a startling and confusing sight. Olympics 2012 security: welcome to lockdown London. As a metaphor for the London Olympics, it could hardly be more stark.
The much-derided "Wenlock" Olympic mascot is now available in London Olympic stores dressed as a Metropolitan police officer. For £10.25 you, too, can own the ultimate symbol of the Games: a member of by far the biggest and most expensive security operation in recent British history packaged as tourist commodity. Eerily, his single panoptic-style eye, peering out from beneath the police helmet, is reminiscent of the all-seeing eye of God so commonly depicted at the top of Enlightenment paintings. In these, God's eye maintained a custodial and omniscient surveillance on His unruly subjects far below on terra firma. The Militarisation of the London 2012 Olympics. Typhoon fighter jets, snipers in RAF helicopters, Royal Navy assault ships, tens of thousands of military personnel, crowd surveillance drones and missile systems on top of apartment blocks.
Welcome to London 2012. Welcome to the largest mobilisation of military in this country since the end of WWII. Beyond the white elephant concerns of an Olympic budget that will run into the tens of billions during a period of deep economic calamity, London is finding itself at the centre of a debate that polarises people like few others. Are we entering into the next phase of a forthcoming police state, or are these measures an appropriate and ‘benign’ response to the socio-political landscape of the 21st century? The topic is of extraordinary depth, and just getting one’s head around the true scope of the security planning for the London 2012 Olympics – not to mention the transportation, service, medical, accommodation, and entertainment logistics – is a difficult task. London 2012: An Olympic-Sized Target For Terrorists - DOTMIL. Take the world's premier athletic spectacle. Then, place events at 100 venues across the United Kingdom.
And finally, scatter tens of thousands of athletes, coaches, spectators and vendors to those sites. What you get are the 2012 Olympic Games. You also get what security officials and would-be terrorists see as the definition of a target-rich environment. As U.K. officials begin setting up the massive security apparatus that will guard the Games, they have determined the task is even more daunting than they initially believed. London announced Thursday it is adding 3,500 military troops to what will be a 27,000-person Olympic security detail, meaning 17,000 British troops will be deployed around the island nation during the August games.
U.K. officials upped the number of troops after determining a private security firm, G4S, needed reinforcements—though they say there's no specific threat to the Olympics, which run from July 27 until Aug. 12. London 2012: RAF has 'lethal force option' 13 July 2012Last updated at 12:56 ET The RAF showed off some of its hardware at a press event on Friday The RAF is ready to use "lethal force" if the Olympics are threatened, the Games air security commander has said.
TSA agents to staff UK airports during Olympics. With the Summer London Olympic Games approaching, London is gearing up to handle pre-show nerves over security. By M. Alex Johnson, NBC News Agents of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration will be stationed at British airports during the Summer Olympic Games, British media reported Tuesday — the latest indication that authorities are scrambling to shore up security before the games open in 11 days. Sky News, citing security sources, reported that the agents would begin arriving at Heathrow and other major UK airports next week. Olympic organizers have come under withering criticism after G4S, the private contractor coordinating security preparations, said last week that it might not be able to supply enough guards.
"I knew it was going to happen," Sarah Hubble, a former G4S employee, told NBC News. "I think that, given the world stage as it is, it certainly sets an environment that is perfect," Southers said in an interview with NBC Los Angeles. More world stories from NBC News: Olympic security farce: now MI5 sacks systems experts after anti-terror supercomputer collapse. £1m device for tracking suspects will not be ready in time for the Games By Robert Verkaik Published: 22:32 GMT, 14 July 2012 | Updated: 08:45 GMT, 15 July 2012 A supercomputer that was supposed to help Britain’s security service track terror suspects will not be ready in time for the Olympics.
MI5 has sacked a firm of IT consultants after the company failed to meet deadlines to implement the new intelligence-checking system. The computer system is designed to help MI5 officers carry out secret searches on suspects, including those who may pose a threat at the Olympics. Posing a threat: The computer system is designed to help officers at MI5 (pictured) carry out secret searches on suspects But spy chiefs have admitted that the software will not be ready in time to be safely trialled before the start of the Games later this month.
For example, it would alert officers more quickly to archived intelligence on a terror suspect who had been dormant or lying low for a number of years. Now the Army is giving the orders - Home News - UK. 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. G4S in numbers 657,000 Number of G4S employees. London 2012 Olympics: extra 3,500 troops for Games - live blog. London residents lose Olympic missiles case - video. London 2012: missile defence deployment goes ahead despite protests.