Olympics Time Bombs

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Reuters reports on something all Olympics watchers have been worrying about:

Just 100 days before the start of the Athens Olympics, three bombs exploded on Wednesday outside a police station in the Greek capital raising new security concerns about the world's biggest sporting event.
The Greek government said there was no evidence so far to link the pre-dawn blasts to the summer Games….

"This is an isolated incident which does not affect whatsoever the Olympic preparation of the country," Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis told reporters. "Our cooperation with the EU, NATO and the U.S. authorities guarantees the safety of the Athens Olympics."

A Greek police official said initial evidence pointed to small local anarchist and leftist groups that regularly stage minor bomb attacks around Athens.

But he added: "You have three sophisticated time bombs going off outside a police station, that's serious enough for police."

It's a good sign that someone is taking this seriously. Athens is a notoriously open city for this sort of thing and the odds are disturbingly high that some sort of Atlanta-like mayhem will take place.

Oddly, the first installment of what we used to call "Editor's Links" at Reason Online discussed possible terrorist activity at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. It's online here.

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  1. Maybe they should make brick-laying an Olympic event, and start the games a month or two early.

  2. Douglas: I thought that’s what the Canadien basketball team was for.

  3. I predicted the demise of the Olympics a few years back because I considered it an anachronism. Sports are accessible 24/7. They are ubiquitous. Who needs a contrived TV extravaganza
    on tape-delay?

    But I was wrong. It looks like preposterously ambitious budgets, regional ineptitude and terrorism will finally throttle the Olympics.

    But I may be wrong again.
    Nationalism never dies…

  4. I hope they built everything for the Olympics with union labor. Otherwise these folks may show up uninvited. I’m expecting some Israeli atheletes to be attacked while they’re in Athens.

  5. I was actually in Atlanta, at the spot where the bomb was, about 15 minutes before it detonated, and I can vouch for the fact that at least back then, security was completely inept and they had done almost no useful emergency planning. Here’s hoping Athens does a little better. This is apparently the first Olympics for which the organizers have taken out insurance to recoup the costs if the games have to be cancelled, moved, or postponed due to violence or act of god. Unfortunately, it doesn’t cover the increasingly-likely scenario in which the Athens organizers are unable to get the venues completed in time for the games to begin. I’ll look forward to the international incident that will ensue in that event, but probably only because I’m not a sports fan.

  6. Umm, you’re trusting the Greeks to provide adequate security when they can not even get the venues built? Not likely.

  7. I blame the Greeks hyperventionaist neocon policies.

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