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Contamination

Prison Diary of a Games Monitor Contributor

Security Fence: While in jail I couldn't help noticing the similar aesthitic of the prison and the Olympic enclosure which is surrounded by 17.5km of electric fence, on which there are 900 day and night vision cameras   © Mike WellsSecurity Fence: While in jail I couldn't help noticing the similar aesthitic of the prison and the Olympic enclosure which is surrounded by 17.5km of electric fence, on which there are 900 day and night vision cameras © Mike Wells

An Olympic Prison Diary

Prisoner Number A6379CN
HM Prison Thameside
Somewhere in South East London

Introduction
This diary was written by Mike Wells while incarcerated in Stoke Newington and Leyton police stations, and then in Thameside prison. Mike Wells was arrested after an incident which occurred on Leyton Marshes, site of a contentious Olympic construction project. He is currently free on bail. His bail conditions state that he should not go within a certain distance of a certain Olympic venue. His bail conditions last until his trial is over. The trial date has been set for the last day of the Olympics. He could be imprisoned for a breach of these bail conditions. He will answer a charge of common assault with a not guilty plea. He is a journalist, writer, photographer, and film maker.

Prison Diary
No way of knowing if it is day or night unless you ask and are told what time it be. Ten minutes or an hour, or three, time stands on its head...


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HypocritiCoe!

The row about Dow at London 2012 goes on. @BhopalMedicalAppeal recently pointed out that Coe had failed to respond to an open letter from AthletesAgainstDowChemical. Coe also promised to meet Dow Campaigners but, unsurprisingly, has failed to do so. Coe has a history of failing to keep promises. He also promised to visit Clays Lane when the estate was facing demolition but failed to turn up or get in touch. Yet a while later, when he was watching the tower blocks at Park Village being demolished along with Radio 4's You and Yours team, he was described by the presenter as having been at the 'sharp end' of dealing with those facing eviction. Coe did not demur and went on to mutter words of sympathy with the evictees.


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Paralympic Row Erupts Over Dow Chemical Sponsorship

Press Release from Drop Dow Now

Monday the 21st May is 100 days to the Paralympic Games, a date marked with controversy due to Dow Chemical’s Paralympic sponsorship.

Campaigners have called for Dow’s sponsorship of the London Paralympic Games to be dropped due to Dow’s ownership of Union Carbide, the company responsible for the Bhopal gas disaster in 1984. The disaster killed over 20,000 and caused injury and illness to thousands more [1]. Hundreds of children continue to be born every year with birth defects [2].


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drop in, tune out

Anyone whose experience of ODA 'drop-in' style consultations has been one of bitter frustration and disappointment might enjoy letting this 2-hour recording play in the background.


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Vote for the Greenwash Gold 2012!

Which dodgy company most deserves the Greenwash Gold medal in 2012? Who is covering up the most environmental destruction and devastating the most communities while pretending to be a good corporate citizen by sponsoring the Olympic games?


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Letter To Denis Hone CEO of ODA from Mike Wells, re Leyton Marshes

5th April 2012

Re: The Olympic Delivery Authority’s (ODA) recent works on Leyton Marshes, close to London’s Olympic enclosure.

Dear Mr Hone, CEO of the ODA

I am writing to you in response to your recent letter addressed to “Dear Resident” in which you attempt to persuade local people that the ODA’s plan to construct a building on Leyton Marshes (classified as Metropolitan Open Space) is justifiable.


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Statement by Save Leyton Marsh Campaign in response to ODA's injunction

Statement by the Save Leyton Marsh group published on Indymedia. This is accompanied on Indymedia by a statement of support for the campaign from two Leabridge Ward Hackney Councillors, Ian Rathbone and Deniz Oguzkanli, detailing the failures of the ODA to communicate with them and the people living around Leyton Marsh. The behaviour of the ODA is reminiscent of its treatment of the residents of Leabank Square.

The ODA claim they have "no option" but to take legal action against this peaceful protest in order to fulfil their obligations "to provide practice facilities for the Olympic and Paralympic athletes". This is fundamentally untrue. Eleven questions were put to them in December by a number of local councillors and still remain unanswered, including why the ODA chose not to utilize one of several alternative sites that would not require destroying this much loved green space.

Kelmscott Leisure Centre is less than 10 minutes from Leyton Marsh with recently refurbished basketball courts suitable for disabled athletes, it will be shut for the duration of the Games. Walthamstow dog track is a disused brownfield site within 30 minutes of the Olympic park - specified as a requirement for the training facility. These both appear to be reasonable alternatives, but whether these sites were even considered has not been forthcoming despite requests for the selection process to be made available to the public.

Since planning permission was granted for these two huge 11m high 3 storey structure on Metropolitan Open Land, the ODA have refused to engage with local people and their very serious concerns relating not just to loss of green space but alarming health and safety irregularities arising from the construction. From the very beginning, local campaigners pointed out to the authorities concerned that Leyton Marsh was used for landfill and was known to contain unexploded bombs from WWII. Unsurprisingly work had to be halted during the first week of excavations when a bomb was discovered, workers were evacuated but not the surrounding area.

The ODA's own injunction mentions the discovery of asbestos on site, which is highly hazardous to health. Three of the five samples taken from the site survey prior to work commencing had such high concentrations of lead that they constituted 'hazardous waste', it is therefore extremely troubling that the planning application sought to avoid an Environmental Impact Assessment by claiming that only 15 cm of topsoil would be removed. Ian Ansell from Waltham Forest planning department has confirmed that the ODA have already excavated to at least 50cm in breach of their planning permission. Mounds of exposed soil several metres high containing significant concentrations of rubble are piled all around the site.

Whilst Lea Valley Park Authority claim that they are concerned with unlawful use of their land and are "keen to safeguard Leyton Marsh", they saw fit to let the majority of Leyton Marsh for a huge construction project requiring significant concrete foundations, in the process destroying a habitat that has taken years to establish itself and in no way can be restored to its previous condition in October as claimed.

Why have the ODA and WFC failed to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment when excavating several feet deep into the marsh? Why have the ODA and WFC not published the restoration plan that was part of planning conditions? Why are the ODA and WFC committed to destroying protected public land when viable alternatives which provide legacy and regeneration benefits exist? These are the questions to which local residents and councillors want satisfactory answers.


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Open Letter to Meredith Alexander former Commissioner on the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012

30th January 2012

Dear Ms Alexander

I wholeheartedly congratulate you on your decision to resign from the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012. As far as I am aware you are only the second person involved with London 2012 who has had the integrity, courage and conviction to take such a morally justifiable action.


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