(eng) ANTIFA INFO-BULLETIN, '96 Olympics [2/2]

Tom Burghardt (tburghardt@igc.apc.org)
Fri, 14 Jun 1996 10:02:52 +0200


more information on the rally, sponsored by the Coalition for New
Afrikan Self-Determination, call 404-288-9880 or 601-354-8731.

Other voices of dissent will also be heard in Atlanta,
attempting to counter the media hype and pierce the media veil on
the occasion of the Games. The Atlanta Olympics Protest
Committee is calling for progressive alternative music acts,
political hip-hoppers, radical poets and music performers of all
types from around the world to come to Atlanta during the
Olympics, to take part in a concert/political protest against the
Olympics to be held July 19-20, 1996. The theme is "Rock Against
Racism - Rap Against the State," although reggae, folk and all
other forms of music are welcome. This concert is to be a
political forum, according to the organizers, "to expose the
commercial nature of the Olympics, the warlike nation-state basis
of the 'competition,' the police state activities of Atlanta and
the United States government to prepare for the Olympics, the
farce of the 1996 American elections, and the deteriorating
economic and political condition of the U.S.A. and the world in
general, which the Olympics is designed to cover up."

The concert is a benefit for the Foundation for Radical
Social Change, a nonprofit funding organization which will
dispense the proceeds to pre-designated organizations fighting
racism, for human rights, prisoner support and other issues. If
your music organization or band/group is interested in playing at
or participating in the event, please contact the Atlanta
Olympics Protest Committee c/o the Georgia Antiauthoritarian
Group, Box 144, Hiram, GA 30141, or call Kris Freeman at
1-770-443-9186

"PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN!"
THE CORPORATE MEDIA HAND IN GLOVE WITH THE NATIONAL SECURITY
STATE

In preparation for the Olympics, Atlanta's bourgeoisie has
established a new private downtown security organization, the so-
called "A-Force", to augment the cops. Part security operation,
part public relations tool, the distinctively attired 55-member
A-Force is one of several Olympics-inspired initiatives by
Atlanta's corporate and civic elite to turn downtown into an
attraction for tourists and suburbanites. As in other cities
strapped for cash because of the state's fiscal crisis, with
shrinking tax support, Atlanta's business community is taking
control of services that once were considered the responsibility
of government. Downtown property owners have formed a special tax
district to pay for this private security. Simultaneously, they
have gotten local authorities to write laws to clear the streets
of the poor and homeless, including one ordinance that makes it
illegal to enter a parking lot if you do not have a vehicle in
it! Using the excitement generated by the summer Games to push
through the transformation of downtown has garnered wide support
for even the most repressive measures.

Central Atlanta Progress, the downtown business association
behind the initiatives, unveiled its master plan in March. The
centerpiece is the creation of residential and entertainment
districts near a privately financed 21-acre park now under
construction, in a section called COPA, for Centennial Olympic
Park Area. The plan also calls for capitalizing on the city's new
identification with sports to create a 50-acre "sports business
park," a still-vague scheme to foster sports-related business
development downtown. $2 billion in construction tied to the
Games is underway. These are both public and private projects
that include stadiums, swimming pools, and parks.

Central to the plan's success is overcoming the perception,
long cultivated by the media, that downtown and other poor and
Black areas are dangerous and frightening places. Business
leaders now see this propaganda created perception, which served
its purpose in helping to create the booming white enclave collar
counties that provide Newt Gingrich with a secure home base, as
the city's No. 1 problem. When the Atlanta daily paper reported
that the city had the worst record for violent crime in recent
FBI statistics, city leaders quickly forced a re-analysis of the
figures and a retraction. "This is not representative of a lack
of preparation for the Olympic Games," A.D. Frazier, chief
operating officer of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games
(ACOG), said. "If people who come here ... follow instructions, I
think they'll be in the most secure place on earth," he told the
Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

For the moment, the "war on crime" hysteria fomented by the
media has outlived its usefulness. With the need to assuage long-
cultivated fears of crime in mind, business leaders pushed an
anti-loitering ordinance through the City Council and began
lobbying for tougher laws on panhandling. They also are seeking a
special court for minor crimes that they say are too often
dismissed by Municipal Court judges. The A-Force is an integral
part of the effort. The 55 A-Force "ambassadors," who underwent
200 hours of training, do not carry weapons, but are expected to
improve the perception of safety through their visibility as they
patrol the streets downtown. The ambassadors carry two-way radios
and are trained to call for police assistance.

ACOG has mounted a massive security operation to protect the
Centennial Olympics, with as many as 20,000 guards, 10,000
soldiers and thousands of agents from the FBI, CIA, secret
service and Georgia state patrol staff taking part. The committee
refuses to disclose the price tag for the operation. Security
staff went briefly on red alert late last month when two men were
arrested in central Georgia accused of making pipe bombs. Early
reports said they planned to disrupt the Games, but police and
security officials later denied any Olympic connection.

As was the case with the security planners for the L.A.
Olympics, ACOG security chiefs have traveled to Israel to receive
advice on anti-terrorist tactics. Again as in L.A., where police
cordoned off the Black neighborhoods around Olympic venues at
U.S.C. in "Operation Cul-de-Sac" (dead end), billed as the city's
first foray into so-called 'community based policing,' many
Olympic venues in Atlanta are close to high-crime areas and
public housing projects with substantial gang activity,
drug-dealing, and other social ills of colonization. Given this
social tinder, repression must be increased to make sure that
neither the vast disparities of wealth, heightened and exposed by
the Games, nor the presence of political activists and
alternative perspectives, ignite the potential conflagration.

In a May 14, 1996 interview with Elaine Long, editor of the
'zine "Maxine's Pages," Lt. Butch Beach of the Columbus GA P.D.,
who is in charge of security for Olympics-related activities in
Columbus, stated, concerning demonstrators at the Games, "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 issues. It's just another one of those
parts to the puzzle that has to be managed."

Managing the demonstrations, the news, and mass
consciousness appears to be the key to elite planning for the
Games. Ron Martz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution told Long,
"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 [how] 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." How
Martz knows what he knows, or what he doesn't know, is unclear.
"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."

However, while Martz has internalized the elite's concern
about disturbing the public's restive consciousness with too much
troubling information, he also testifies to the increasingly
narrow and top-down limits being placed on information, let alone
political discourse, as the social contract wears thin. "By the
same token," he told Long, "the strange phenomenon that's taking
place at the moment, [is] 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."

Long also interviewed Don Romine, Imperial Wizard of the
Militant Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, in April, 1996. "Romine's
Klan is centered in the general area of Chattanooga, TN; Fort
Payne, AL; and Rome, GA," says Long. "He routinely engages in
public demonstrations in North Georgia and the Greater Atlanta
area." Romine predicts that many white supremacists are going to
be "coming into the area for the coverage... But you're going to
have some that's going to be after the press." According to Long,
he believes the press will be a target during the Olympics.
"Security in Atlanta is going to be tight," Romine says, "but
somebody is going to make a mistake. Somebody is going to shut
their eyes, somebody's going to shut their ears and boom -- it's
happened. Just to show it can be done and it was done... [T]he
people that you better worry about is these unknowns that's
wanting to get known, that's who they better watch. ... 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."

Long talked with Marc Crandlemire, of the GPSTC Police
Academy. Reflecting the realities of the national security tele-
communications state, he formerly worked for WRBL-TV, the CBS
affiliate in Columbus GA, and is now employed as a tactical
instructor at the police academy. Crandlemire has been involved
in training officers for Olympics duty. He provides further
evidence of the intent to "manage" and marginalize dissent.
Crandlemire apparently sees a need to restrain press freedom. He
told Long, "In journalism, you have some people who have ethical
standards and ... 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 and the
news media from all over the world is going to be here. If you
want to make some type of 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. ... They're in business to print 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."

-----

Just as media corporations are closing ranks to protect
"national security," private security corporations are
perfecting, and profiting from, technology that will receive
wider applications in police state functions long after the Games
end. Researchers at Center for the Application of Science Toward
Law Enforcement, or CASTLE, set up a p.c.-based command, control,
and scheduling system for the Atlanta P.D. Bob Hunter of the
company says, "Most events will be concentrated in a 3-mile
circle. There could be congestion ... crime and terrorism." It's
based on JFAST, Joint Flow and Analysis System for Transportation
software, first used by the army in Desert Storm. It's funded by
the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. The
Office wants the system to be readily transferable to other
events that could shatter existing infrastructures -- such as a
California earthquake, or perhaps, a rebellion.

Symbol Technologies Inc. announced in April that it will
provide scanning technology to Sensormatic Electronics, the
official electronic security systems provider for the Games. PDF
encoded identification badges and hand-held computers are part of
the security system for more than 150,000 athletes, support
staff, media and guests, using a two-dimensional bar code that
encodes more than a kilobyte of information on a postage-stamp
sized symbol. It can encode digital photographs, signatures and
hand geometry coordinates, and can be encrypted for additional
security. It has been approved as a standard by the Department of
Defense and if a national ID system is put in place through
current anti immigrant legislation, you can expect to see it soon
in a neighborhood near you.

*****

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