Next month’s summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will take place under watchful eyes of 10,000 Brazilian soldiers and police officers and all have been highly trained for the job by Israelis, according to a report on the Israel NonStop website, based on details broadcast by Israeli Channel 2 television news reporter Nir Dvori.
Dvori said the International Security & Defense Systems (ISDS), Israel defense company took on the several million dollars project, assisted by the Israeli Ministry of Defense. However a report written by Charlotte Silver in May 2015 on the pro-Palestinian Authority Electronic Intifada blog contradicted news of the contract won by the firm.
“Brazil’s government has excluded an Israeli ‘security’ company from working at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro following a campaign by Palestine solidarity activists,” Silver wrote.
ISDS had indeed won the contract with the Brazilian government “to coordinate security” for the Games in October 2014, the blog conceded.
“But on April 8 a division dealing with large events at Brazil’s justice ministry denied that ISDS had been awarded any contract,” Silver wrote, extrapolating from a letter written by the ministry that said: “Any contract made by Rio 2016 won’t result in compromises by the Brazilian government.”
Silver cited a statement by CUT workers’ union executive director Julio Turra as further proof, celebrating it as a success for the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement:
“We are glad that the government distances itself from ISDS. It would be illegal and shameful to hire a company that develops its technologies in complicity with Israeli crimes and that accumulates complaints about its participation in Central American dictatorships.”
ISDS instead raised 35 Israeli security companies for the project, which have brought to the table new systems and intelligence methods that will be activated by the 10,000 Brazilian police and military personnel who are now responsible for Rio and the city.
Argus Corporation, Kaylor, Kela and others are all involved in helping to secure the 10,000 athletes who will compete from 26 nations in 1,000 competitions to determine who is the “best of the best” on the planet.
Along with the 10,000 security personnel making sure that everyone stays safe before, during and on the way out of the event, will be 26,000 journalists whose lives also will hang in the balance and who must be protected at the 50 different stadiums and facilities. In less than two weeks, the Games begin.
Meanwhile, the security director of the Games has told media: “This is an international collaboration between government agencies from different countries.”
Rousseff and Lula
Brazil’s suspended president Dilma Rousseff and her predecessor and left-wing ally Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will boycott the opening ceremony at the Rio Olympics, officials have said.
Their absence at the August 5 ceremony highlights the political crisis in Brazil, with Rousseff facing possible removal from office in an impeachment trial shortly after the Games end.
Lula at the same time, who as president was instrumental in Rio’s winning bid as Olympic host, faces serious corruption allegations.
“She will not go,” said a source from Rousseff’s office at the Alvorada Palace residency in the capital Brasília. “Lula will not go,” echoed Jose Chrispiniano, a spokesman at the Lula Institute in São Paulo.
Rousseff, who was first elected in 2010, is on trial in the Senate on allegations of breaking government budget laws. A judgment vote is scheduled for late August and could see her removed from her post.
The populist leader says the impeachment process is a coup in disguise mounted by her former vice president, Michel Temer, who has been acting president ever since Rousseff’s suspension in May. If she is removed permanently Temer would retain the presidency until 2018.
Temer is expected to preside over the Games as Brazil’s leader.
On Monday, Rousseff said in an interview with French radio RFI that she would refuse to attend the opening ceremony with anything less than presidential status.
“I do not intend to take a secondary role in the Games in Rio,” she said.
O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper recently reported that the invitation to Rousseff is similar to that sent out to several ex-presidents of Brazil, including her predecessor Lula, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Fernando Collor de Mello and José Sarney.
Lula, who founded the Workers’ Party and eased Rousseff to power after serving two presidential terms himself, was a key player in Rio’s successful 2009 bid to stage the Games, the first ever in South America.
While Rousseff faces ejection from office, Lula is also struggling against serious corruption allegations related to the vast embezzlement conspiracy at state-controlled oil multinational Petrobras and construction corporations.
Security at Airports
Stepped-up security screenings are producing long lines for travelers at Brazil’s main airports, in the aftermath of the truck attack in Nice, France and weeks ahead of the Olympic Games.
Scores of passengers lost domestic flights after authorities began patting down travelers and checking their luggage after passing through metal detectors, screening previously required only for international flights.
Authorities insisted the new screenings were not related to attacks abroad, but were in line with international security standards.
Brazilian officials, reviewing preparations for the Games after the Nice massacre, stepped up security cordons, added roadblocks and planned to frisk more visitors in Rio de Janeiro. Local authorities expect more than 500,000 foreign tourists to land in the city of Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic
Despite the long lines, few flights were delayed or canceled, according to Brazil’s state-run airport operator Infraero.
Brazilian customs workers last week started an indefinite strike to demand higher wages, slowing down the inspection of luggage and imports arriving at airports and other entry points.
A crippling political and economic crisis as well as the spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus have raised questions about Brazil’s ability to successfully host the global sporting event for the first time ever in South America.
Apology to the Aussies
Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes gave the city key to Australia’s Chef de Mission Kitty Chieller, as a way to ask for a formal apology for the problems in the Olympic Village. He also apologized for having said that he was “almost putting a kangaroo” in front of their building.
Australia was the first delegation to identify problems in the village, and they refused to move to the apartments where they found exposed wiring, leaking pipes, and blocked toilets. When commenting the Australians refusal to move, the mayor said that putting the animal from the Australia’s fauna there would please the athletes.
“It was not a moment for jokes, and it actually caused a misunderstanding,” said Paes. “I’m offering a formal apology. I never wanted to make fun of Australia because of the kangaroo. I know this is one of the country’s symbol. It’s like an amulet.”
Australia’s chef de mission gave Paes a boxing kangaroo — a traditional symbol that travels with the Australian delegation to the Olympic Games since the 80s. In addition to the city key, Kitty Chieller received a plush toy of Vinícius, the Olympics mascot.
“I have always said that this is the best village I’ve been to in five Olympics,” said Kitty, who considered normal the need for adjustments in a village for 20,000 people. “Thank you very much. We are very happy to be here,” she said in Portuguese.
Australia’s delegation already has 50 people at the village and 17 will move today to the apartments of Building 23, which is shared with smaller team delegations from the Oceania, with the exception of New Zealand.
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