Security and surveillance in the Athens 2004 Olympics: Some lessons from a troubled story

  • Samatas M
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This paper presents an ongoing sociological study of the Athens 2004 Olympics security & surveillance, the first summer Olympic Games after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. International interconnected governmental & corporate interests have exploited real & perceived terrorist threats to significantly prescribe extremely high security requirements & a triple more expensive security budget compared to previous Olympics. Athens 2004 Olympics, as a mega sports event was used as a testing ground for the latest anti-terrorist super panoptic technology, which actually failed. In fact, the dubious security-surveillance system (C4I) was impossible to work on time for the Games ; hence the security of the last Athens Olympics was mainly based on conventional means. Based on documents revealed after the Olympics regarding the inefficiency of the expensive security panoptic C4I system, the ruthless foreign intelligence activity long before , during & after the Olympics -- including telephone tapping against the Greek government -- it is argued that the successful Athens 2004 Olympics were actually more secure not merely due to the latest & costly "super panopticism" but substantially due to the friendly relations of Greece with Moslem & Arab nations, & especially to the non military involvement of Greece in the Iraq war.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Athens 2004 Olympics
  • C4I
  • Olympic security
  • Olympic surveillance
  • Science Applications International Corporation
  • Superpanopticon
  • Surveillance-industrial complex

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  • Minas Samatas

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