SBD/December 5, 2011/Olympics

India Looks To Raise Issue Of Dow Olympic Sponsorship With LOCOG

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Chauhan is urging Indian government to boycott Games
The Indian government has asked its Olympic association “to raise the issue of the London Olympic Games' sponsorship deal with Dow Chemical, the latest sign of pressure on organisers to reconsider involvement of a company linked to the Bhopal gas disaster,” according to Amlan Chakraborty of REUTERS. An Indian sports ministry spokesperson said, "We have written a letter to the IOA (Indian Olympic Association), asking them to take up the matter with the organisers of the London Olympics." The sponsorship “has caused anger across India, but nowhere more so than the central state of Madhya Pradesh, where chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan is urging the Indian government to boycott” the Games. Chauhan said that instead of sponsoring the Games, Dow “should spend that money on Bhopal survivors” (REUTERS, 12/5). Former London Olympics Minister and LOCOG BOD member Tessa Jowell insisted that she “is not undermining the reputation of the London Olympics despite leading a campaign against Dow Chemical over its [US$11M] support for the Olympic stadium, a sponsorship she describes as ‘provocative.’” The FINANCIAL TIMES’ Blitz & Kortekaas note Jowell is “spearheading the campaign, which is supported by MPs and groups such as Amnesty International but has attracted little interest in India beyond Bhopal.” Jowell has “asked to see the documentation that led to the decision to agree [to] the deal with Dow.” But she “denied a conflict between her campaigning and her role on the Olympic Board.” Jowell said that she “was seeking a ‘negotiated solution’ to the Dow sponsorship issue, offering one of two solutions -- that Dow withdraws from sponsoring the stadium wrap or offers what she called ‘a substantial programme of mitigation’” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 12/5).

SECURITY THREATS: U.K. National Security Advisor Peter Ricketts said that a “dedicated cyber unit is to guard the London Olympics against attack by online fraudsters, extortionists and spies.” Ricketts said there were 12 million “cyber security incidents” at the ’08 Beijing Olympics. He said that the U.K. government “is braced for even more next year.” In London, Roland Watson notes with “millions of pounds expected to change hands online in the coming months for tickets, hotel rooms and flights, the Government has already put months of work into tightening the security of IT networks.” One “particular concern is the threat from online protection rackets to hotel and ticket booking companies, where criminals take over a site and threaten to bring it down with the loss of huge sums of money unless a ransom is paid” (LONDON TIMES, 11/5).
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