(eng) Olympic Security

The Anarchives (tao@lglobal.com)
Tue, 28 May 1996 16:19:13 +0000 (GMT)


Posted LONG_ELAINE@mercury.csg.peachnet.edu Sun May 26 22:56:23 1996
Organization: Columbus College, Columbus, GA
Date: Mon, 27 May 1996 01:56:43 EST
Subject: security paper

i finished a ten page paper on politics and security at the olympics
... its an assignment for my mass media class and i also expect to
publish it in my newsletter MAXINE'S PAGES ... am sending it to see
if you can use it on your list

Interview subjects are:

Lt. Butch Beach, Columbus Police Department
Lt Beach is assigned to handle Olympic security for the city

Ron Martz, writer, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
he is assigned to cover matters related to Olympic security

Don Romine, Imperial Wizard, S.W.J.MKKKK, which is focused in the
Chattanooga TN, Fort Payne AL, Rome GA area ... Don and his people
and associated organizations routinely hold public demonstrations and
engage in resistance activities in the North Georgia and Greater
Atlanta area

Marc Crandlemire, formerly a newsman for WRBL tv3 in Columbus,
currently a tactical instructor at GPSTC Police Academy

"Frank", with the Black Fist Collective of Houston TX, he is involved
with organizing resistance activities in Atlanta during the games

THE POLICE, THE PRESS AND THE PEOPLE

In the midst of a wave of terrorism, Georgia hosts the
Olympics. In this area, where the largest part of the games
and all of the activities and complications that go with them
have nearly taken over our collective consciousness, this piece
of reality has been a common topic of conversation for the last
two years. The talk, and the concern, intensify with each
passing day.
The approaching extravaganza and the hectic preparation
for it have isolated and highlighted one of the identifying
characteristics of our national personna. That is the tangled
relationships between and among our free press, our rabble
rousers and our police. All three are revered, all three are
hated and all three are fiercly protected and preserved by our
society.
I have selected six people with varying perspectives
on the topic to interview. They too have been thinking and
talking about this pig-in-the-python passage of the Olympic
games through Georgian history. In the following pages I present
their thoughts to you, in their own words, edited for clarity.
(My own words, where it is necessary to include them, will
be in parentheses.)

Lt. Butch Beach, Columbus P.D., May 14, 1996
(Lt. Beach is in charge of security for Olympics related
activities in Columbus.)
The media is usually the first contact. That's the first
thing that people hear and its human nature, we tend to believe
what we hear first. In that regard the media has a tremendous
amount of influence. The power of the media comes from being
able to get the information out.
They're in the business to make money, bottom line that's
why all the media exist. I think the news report what the people
want to hear. I think the people want to hear what the news
reports.
Its the same thing with the laws, you have laws that govern
what people want governed and you have laws that don't govern
what people don't want governed. There's nothing in the world
that can be enforced that the people don't want to be enforced,
and there's nothing in the news or reported in ways, unless
the people want it reported in those ways. I do think the media
influences the way people think. but the way people think
influences what the media does to put it out.
Our local media is very good to this police department.
I can tell you, when we have things that are very controversial
they allow us to put out the full story, and we work well with
the media here. I think you have to, if you're going to survive
in our society you're going to have to work well with the media.
Most of the people inside the Olympic venue will be
accredited press. We know who they are, they've had background
history checks and they have a card that says, I am a legitimate
media person from NBC or wherever. There are several thousand
... we expect to have several hundred in Columbus. I think
we're looking at somewhere between 500 and 750 of assorted media,
whether it be electronic or press. Now NBC of course has
bought the rights, they are the sponsor and they have the right
to the production. The Olympics are doing their own production,
so we won't have that type of folks here. The folks that we
will have with cameras will be Olympic people. ACOG people.
We're securing the Olympic venue of course but we also have
the rest of the city, that sometimes we skip when we start
talking about Olympic security, but you really can't separate
the two.
We have an obligation under the first amendment to allow
everyone to make their statement, whatever it is. We have a
city ordinance that governs the way we allow that to happen.
Its been tested and its constitutional. We don't allow sticks,
we have certain spaces between the people. Nothing that could
be used as a weapon. They can have signs and the signs can say
what they will. There's no attempt to govern what the signs
say. There is an attempt to govern what the people do. They
can't run out into traffic and stop traffic and they can't speak
to passersby. They can't hound them up and down the sidewalks.
They can chant or speak over a broadcast system. We can
designate the place that its safe for them to do that, as close
as possible to wherever they ask. We can do that on a public
safety basis, and we have done that with our Olympic venue.
We have a particular area that is laid aside for those type
of situations. (Permits for designated time slots would be
obtained at the police department.) If there's a lot of them
they're going to have to work with each other. Otherwise the
demonstration won't be allowed. Most organizations I have ever
dealt with will follow the rules and regulations once you lay
them out because they don't really want to do it wrong. They're
just asking for a time to say what they think and we allow that.
The trouble with this will be that the crowd will begin to
gather. You really have to be careful where you allow the crowd
to gather. What we've tried to do is give them a place where
they can do what they want and still get the public exposure.
You really can't take them and stick them off in the south forty,
you have to give them an opportunity to have the message heard.
That's one of the constitutional issue.
Its (political activities attracted by the games and the
press) just another one of those parts to the puzzle that has
to be managed. Columbus is going to go well. Its been well
planned from the beginning. Its going to be done well in
Columbus. Its going to be first class and its going to be smooth.
Its going to be good for the people. In Atlanta, if you get
beyond the traffic problem, I believe its going to be done
equally as well. The traffic problem is not something they can
change. Its something they just have to accept and work with
because of the nature of the city. (You can spend long periods
in slow or standstill traffic even on an ordinary day. Visitors
who bring their own cars might want to remember to keep the
gas tank full and carry some bottled fluids in the car. If
your car does not have air conditioning, add in some wet
towelettes to that supply.)

Ron Martz, writer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
(Martz is assigned to matters related to security and the
Olympics.)
The media probably doesn't have as much power as we like
to think it does. I think we do have a tendency to influence
things. What comes to mind are Somalia and Bosnia. I think
we do influence, but as far as actual power and actually being
able to do things I think that is relatively dilute.
(What about sharing space, or lending the media's voice
to those who wish to speak?) Newspapers are vastly different
from t.v. and radio. The airwaves are considered public domain
so they are much more responsible for getting on opposing voices.
Print media are private enterprises where people can choose
to read a particular publication or not. Its not something that
is foisted on them as are tv signals or radio signals (there
are only so many channels, if you don't like what's on those
you can't just go out and create more), not public property.
One of the things that we need to do is be responsible
in the types of things we print in terms of security related
issues. I have an awful lot of rumors come across my desk about
this group or that group is going to going to try to sabotage
the Olympics or try to blow up the Olympic Village or try to
do this that and the other. I think a perfect example of that
was with the CBS report that these two guys who were arrested
for making pipe bombs down in central Georgia were targeting
the Olympics There was very little fact to that. Whether they
were actually making pipe bombs I don't know but if they were
they were not targeting the Olympics. CBS went with what was
largely an unsubstantiated rumor about that and it created all
kinds of problems for not only Olympic officials but for law
enforcement people, and heightened what I think is already a
sense of anxiety about security during the Olympics. I'm saying
that the media should be a lot more responsible about the types
of things that they print or broadcast about the security.
If I printed every rumor that came across my desk we'd have
people running and screaming from the city. But then of course
if we had something, if we did come across something that was
truthful, that was really important, nobody would pay any
attention to us. I think in that respect we need to be much
more circumspect about the kinds of things that we report on.
But by the same token the strange phenomenon that's taking
place at the moment, the federal government has really muzzled
the local law enforcement agencies that are dealing with the
Olympics When I say local I'm talking about federal, state
and city law enforcement people that have worked Olympic security
for the last two years in Atlanta and who know the issue.
They are being told by official Washington to say as little
as possible about Olympic security in terms of reassuring the
public. The general feeling now is that if you don't talk about
Olympic security people are not going to be concerned about
it. What is happening now is that the White House has told the
Justice Department, the Treasury Department and the Pentagon
that any information about the Olympics will come out of
Washington. Its very politically oriented, this being an
election year. The White House wants to make sure that it gets
credit for the Olympics going off well even if it may not.
This is going to be a giant photo-op for Clinton. The security
for the games are becoming politicized.
(Have recent acts of terrorism affected citizens and police
and media people and caused them to react more fearfully?) I
think they still look at terrorism, whether its domestic or
international, in sort of abstract terms. Its always some major
huge plot to blow up the Olympics or to blow up the federal
building or whatever. These same people who express this kind
of concern, if they got onto an bus or a Marta train and saw
a briefcase there, their first thought would be, somebody left
their briefcase behind ... this is something that I could either
steal or I should turn into lost and found. Their thought
wouldn't be that there may be a bomb in there. Whereas if you
go to England now or go to Israel and people see that sort of
thing their immediate thought is, its a bomb. To most people
in this country terrorism is this thing that's out there but
its not something that has yet infringed on their day to day
lives.
I don't think there's really going to be that much of an
opportunity (for major demonstrations at the games or in the
city during the games). Just because of the size of the crowds
that are going to be here I don't think that any activists
or protesters who show up here are going to be able to marshal
enough of their own numbers to do a whole lot. They're going
to get lost in this mob of people that's going to be here.
(Managing a large group would create logistical problems of
lodging and transportation.) Any sort of organized protest is
going to be quickly herded into the protest area. I don't
think that you will see any kind of a major event by an organized
group. What you may have is the random incident or two by the
isolated individual nutcase,

DON ROMINE, Imperial Wizard, J.W.S. Militant Knights of the
Ku Klux Klan, April 27, 1996
(Romine's Klan is centered in the general area of Chattanooga,
TN; Fort Payne, AL; and Rome, GA. He and associated
organizations routinely engage in resistance activities and
public demonstrations in North Georgia and the Greater Atlanta
area.)
There's going to be so many that's coming into the area
for the coverage and to be identified. But you're going to
have some that's going to be after the press. (He believes
the press will be a target during the Olympics.)
Security in Atlanta is going to be so tight, but somebody
is going to make a mistake. Somebody is going to shut their
eyes, somebody's going to shut their ears and boom ... its
happened. Just to show it can be done and it was done.
(So you really believe something is going to happen in
Atlanta?)
Yes ma'am I sure do
There's going to be press from all around the world, from
I forgot how many countries. And the press better be on their
toes ... they better be on their toes.
(You expect the press to take their share of flack this
time?)
Oh, they're going to get it
(Any ideas how, anything more specific?)
No
(He points out that the press ignores the fact that Klans
do charitable things.) They pay people's electric bills, we
buy them groceries, we buy their kids shoes and clothes.
naturally they're White. They only want to know about lynch
mobs
(Politically incorrect descriptors omitted) Janet Reno
says we have to accept 20,000 Cubans into the United States
a year. In three years that's 60,000. Where's my kids, my
grand kids and my great grand kids going to be? The Black and
the White better quit this arguing with each other and start
fighting the federal government to change the law about these
illegal aliens coming into this country and taking their jobs,
because its getting now where White people and Black people
don't have a job. For one, they don't want to work, that's
why they're coming into this country taking the jobs. They're
going to have to realize, the Blacks and the Whites, they're
going to have to work to get somewhere. The way they're working
now, they're sitting on their tails and this country is slipping
away from us.
(Does he have any suggestions for media to prevent trouble?
What can they do?)
Nothing. They are going to do what they want to do and
it might cost some of them their life, because they are going
to make a mistake. With that many people there's going to be
a mistake made. And the people that you better worry about is
these unknowns that's wanting to get known, that's who they
better watch.
You're going to have so many that's going to be down there
for the coverage. I'm talking about the White supremacy groups,
skinheads. But there's somebody going into that city that's
going to be known, that's going to take all the coverage away
from all the people that's down there demonstrating against
the Olympics)
(What classification ... right wing? left wing?)
Probably both because all of them's going to be mentioned.
(By both do you mean they're going to team up or ...)
Yes
Who would ever thought the Klan would want to talk to the
Blacks to turn on the federal government?
I wouldn't be close to Atlanta. I'm in my house and that's
where I'm going to stay til after the Olympics, because I don't
want to be there when something happens.
(You're expecting to see something good on CNN)
I'll watch the local station.
(You believe in that? Watching local news?)
Well sure you learn a lot, what's going on in your area.
(Do you think local media are more responsible to their
communities than mass media?)
Yes ma'am I do. The local news will be on and something
happens ... well take Oklahoma City bombing ... the local news
was on and all at once it come on about the Oklahoma City
bombing. I mean, just shut the whole little town out and you
had to watch national news. Which it was national news, it
was pitiful what happened in Oklahoma City.
All you learn on the news is how to make bombs. After
that Oklahoma City bombing they sat right there and told people
how make bombs, how to order a book to make bombs. (He said
there were broadcast instructions on a local station after
some students were caught with several pipe bombs.) Now tell
me that the news media didn't want somebody else to go out and
make pipe bombs.
(Well, I've read a few books, I suppose I could put together
an explosive or an incendiary device, how about yourself?)
Well if you have a problem, I'm going to watch the news
and learn how to do it right

Marc Crandlemire , GPSTC Police Academy, May 6, 1996
(Crandlemire formerly worked for WRBL tv3, CBS affiliate in
Columbus from 1968 to 1971. He is now employed as a tactical
instructor at the police academy and has been involved in the
training of officers for Olympic duty.)
Going by our constitution and right to a free press they
have broad and almost unlimited powers. The press toppled a
presidency. It is extremely powerful. You know the old saying,
the pen is mightier than the sword. There's a lot of truth
to that. You can destroy somebody on paper. Its a question of
ethics. You have good cops and you have bad cops. In that
profession you have some people who have ethical standards and
there are others who just want to abuse their powers of the
press and run roughshod over people.
The eyes of the world are going to be on Atlanta, Georgia
in July and August of this year and the news media from all
over the world is going to be here. If you want to make some
type of a statement what better place to be? As long as you've
got a news media that's going to give them the attention that
they are looking for, then they are going to be there to conduct
the protest. If the news media ignores them then they'll go
home. But the news media's not going to do that because they're
there to sell newspapers or they're there to sell broadcast
time. They're in business to print the news or broadcast the
news, but in so doing if what they're printing or broadcasting
is a threat to national security then I don't think that they
should have the right to do that.
I pray that it will go well and there won't be any serious
incidents but this is the largest modern Olympics in history.
This is the centennial. Every wacko group in the world is going
to be here. I know that we've been doing a lot of training,
i know that various law enforcement agencies have been doing
a lot of training, but can we plan for every contingency If
somebody wants to do some damage, can they? Yes. They can,
no matter what we do. I feel something bad's going to happen
here. I hope it doesn't. But I feel something bad's going to
happen. They just need to take this very, very seriously and
be very, very alert to it.

"Frank", Black Fist Collective
The Black Fist Collective, of Houston, Texas, in association
with other organizations, is planning to engage in resistance
activities in Atlanta during the Olympic games.
Sometimes using the media is a good thing, you can use
it to reach a lot of people. But there are a great majority
of people that go out to a demonstration who don't know how
to use the media. They end up being a product. You have this
minute of fame and you use this minute to scream in somebody's
face instead of trying to get across your message.
(Attracting the attention of the press means you have to
address your activities to the press rather than to the people.
A lot of activists get sidetracked on whether or not they made
it to t.v.)
I know lots of people like that. Hell I used to be one
of those kids at one time or another. It was a cool thing.
Its cute and all that but fine, what happens after that? Once
you're off camera, once your little minute on t.v. comes, what
have you done. Nothing.
There's a lot of activism that doesn't use or need any
media. I work with a program here in Houston that basically
goes into abandoned homes in the Chicano community here and
renovates the houses and sells them back into the community
and helps them create cooperative housing. We've never had
a story written up about us at all. You don't need that. There's
so much that you're able to just go ahead and do, by word of
mouth.
That's one of the problems that I have with the leftists
in general, nobody is into word of mouth anymore. No one wants
to talk to anybody. They want to stand on a soapbox. You miss
so many people by not talking. This is just because of the
education system in America, a lot of people are illiterate.
A lot of people don't understand these broad concepts that people
want to get across in their little newspapers or whatever else,
and they (the people with the little newspapers) don't want
to talk to anybody. You get across so much by showing people
through example and through your action, what you're about and
then you're able to talk to them. But few people are willing
to talk, few people are willing to lead by example.
(Activists I knew during the sixties claimed to loved
everybody in the whole world, they wanted to feed and liberate
the whole earth's population. But they hated nearly everyone
they actually knew. Their parents, the police, their teachers.
People they actually met and could have done something for,
they hated.) Its easy to go ahead and love somebody who's far
away. Its easy to go ahead and idealize somebody but most of
the people who are like that are just condescending as shit,
honestly. They think they have some kind of lock on advancement
and knowledge, blah blah blah, and they can't relate to anybody
on that level, they can't relate to another person within their
proximity on their level. There are still all kinds of people
like that. 'Let's go help the ...' whatever. I could give
examples til the cows come home. Its easy to go ahead and
idealize somebody who's far away. Its even easy, especially
if you're a white leftist or whatever else, to idealize somebody
who's right here. Its easy to idealize the Black Panthers or
its easy to idealize the people of the Black Liberation Army
who are imprisoned right now. Its easy to idealize that because
its not part of your experience. Those people are so far removed
from you, you're not involved with that community and you
can't necessarily criticize that community or realize that
there are faults within that.
(I spent five years as 911 dispatcher and my son works
for Americorps ... we compare notes sometimes, and people who
are badly in need of help are the least lovable people on the
face of the earth) Yes, exactly, and they're the least able
to idealize. Everybody wants to idealize. Everybody wants
to idealize the Panthers, everybody forgets that quite a few
of them were completely fucked up and strung out. And there's
nothing wrong with that, that's a symptom of the society that
we've been raised in.
(People in need are often busy trying to save themselves,
often in ways that are conterproductive to their own progress.)
Exactly, and the Zapatistas are a perfect example. Its easy
to go ahead and say oh, they're wonderful, we support them,
whatever. Its easy to go ahead and say that because you're
not part of that struggle and you don't understand the
complexities of what they've had to go through, and you don't
understand that they've had to stumble and struggle a lot to
get where they're at right now. They've been doing that for
over ten years, this is not something that has automatically
popped up. Its been on the horizon for a long time. Its easy
to idealize people because they're at a certain point, without
understanding that they have had to struggle for a very long
time. You can't relate to that if you've not been in that
experience.
(It would be really hard for the media to capture that
struggle and development. They don't want to capture it.
Media can't change the situation. The more media that show
up, the more freaks that are going to show up just to get the
attention. Its not their fault its really not.
(What do you expect, regarding to political demonstrations,
in Atlanta?) Lots of people marching around, lots of people
carrying signs, lots of people going home afterwards. That's
pretty much it. Pretty much a standard thing. Your standard
leftist demonstration; people walk out, people hold signs and
people do chants and people leave. Few people are actually
able to do something, walk out of here with something
substantive.
(Having said that, he told me that he still engages in
public protest activities. He is a regional coordinator of
the Chicano Moratorium in his community and plans to attend
a march in August.)
(What about the plans his people are making for
demonstrations in Atlanta.) Its still kind of up in the air,
they're still working on a couple of things at this point.
(Will this be a major demonstration to the world or a solidarity
move for the participants?) Maybe a combination of both. They
have come up with a bunch of plans that they've thrown out.
I think they've been a bit stymied by the security and at the
same time they've been just trying to motivate people.

Al Johnson, Vice President and Executive Editor, the Columbus
Ledger-Enquirer
(Mr. Johnson is responsible for setting policy for his
paper and therefore has a heavy influence on how his people
will handle themselves on the street.)
We have a tremendous amount of power to influence, although
I don't see that as our primary role and responsibility. I see
our primary role and responsibility to inform and to present
information to help people make decisions and to help people
understand what's going on around them in their lives,
nationally and internationally. We do have a part of our charge,
if you will, that says we should influence and that's what the
editorial pages attempt to do. But the editorial pages is the
only place in the newspaper where that should be done and it
should be confined to that.
(Does the paper have any obligation to share space?) Oh
absolutely, absolutely. Part of our obligation is to understand
how much power we have and to respect that power and to go to
the lengths that we must to make sure that other people, people
who don't necessarily agree with us and people who have things
to say that don't get into the newspaper ordinarily, find their
way into the newspaper. With that power comes a responsibility.
Its a responsibility to be fair, its a responsibility to be
complete, its a responsibility to be inclusive, and its a
responsibility to open ourselves up to the views of others and
give them an opportunity to speak as often as they feel they
need to.
(Although technology has not yet allowed "the masses" to
engage in broadcast journalism, it has enabled small presses
to flourish. How does the responsibility of a large daily like
the Ledger-Enquirer compare with that of a very small one like
MAXINE'S PAGES?) There is a part of the constitution that allows
us more freedoms to be involved in events. You have those same
rights, but you don't have the same resources that we have to
do those things. We say to people everyday, give us 50 cents
today and we will guarantee that we will give you all the news
that you need to understand what went on around you yesterday.
It'll be fair, it'll be accurate, it'll be complete, it'll be
what you want to read. So if we're going to make good on that
promise then our responsibility far exceeds yours as a single
individual because our roles are different.
(The hard line in print journalism is: I have mine, you
have yours and anybody who doesn't like what either of us print
can start his own) This is true, but the fact is economically
that's not feasible or possible for 95 percent of Americans.
Again, I don't know how effective in terms of ability to collect
information the Ledger-Enquirer would be if we were not part
of a corporation. That's helpful. Although we don't get any
money from Knight-Ridder, we tend to send Knight-Ridder our
money, there are those resources that we do get from
Knight-Ridder that help us operate day in and day out. Those
resources include accounting mechanisms, human resources
mechanisms and other mechanisms that aren't visible in what
you put out on the street, which is the newspaper.
(The Olympics attract the press and the press attracts
political demonstrations, possibly even terrorists. How much
responsibility does the press bear for that situation?)
Terrorists tend to thrive on attention, and the more attention
they get ... we're responsible to a degree and I think all
citizens are responsible to a degree. Our responsibility lies
in how well we write stories that deal with some crucial issue,
and that is whether we examine security measures and talk about
how safe citizens are likely to be as a result of those security
measures. We're obligated to look at all security issues
surrounding the games and explain to readers and anyone who
picks up our paper what those are and how safe they are to feel
during the games. We are to hold people accountable, people
who are responsible for security. We as a newspaper are to
hold them accountable to make sure that what they're doing is
good enough, that they have taken reasonable steps to ensure
the safety of everyone attending the games, the athletes and
the spectators. We have the same policies that we have for
all the stories that we cover. We ask people to exercise good
judgment and to understand security requirements as stated by
local authorities and to abide by those. (That is, media
responsibility lies in doing a good solid job of what they
do anyway.)
We'll do well. I think in terms of the Ledger-Enquirer's
chronicling and reporting of and capturing of the Olympics during
the two weeks that they are in Columbus, I think people will
look at us in the end and say that my home town newspaper did
as well as I would have wanted them to do. They may not say
that we did everything that they wanted us to do but they will
say we did well. Its an exciting opportunity for a newspaper
and to have part of the games here in Columbus ... how many
time are we going to live through this? Probably no more.
This is it. I think things will be fine, I think things will
be great, I think people understand the enormity of the job
and the things that have to be done to make the games a success
and I think we'll do all right