07/26/2012 04:29 pm ET | Updated Sep 25, 2012

Olympics: Britain Mobilizes 20,000 Armed Personnel in Country's Largest Security Operation Since WWII

Britain has launched its largest peacetime security operation ever for the Summer Olympics. Nearly 20,000 armed personnel are now providing security -- almost double the number of British troops currently serving in Afghanistan. The Olympic Games are estimated to cost British taxpayers a staggering $17 billion.

Democracy Now! speaks with professor and former U.S. Olympic athlete, Jules Boykoff, in London about the various political protests being staged against the Olympics and the sweeping censorship laws enacted at the behest of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

"If you want to understand the crass commercialism of the Games, if you want to understand the intense militarization of the Games, it makes sense to start with the IOC," Boykoff says. "And the IOC has always been a privileged sliver of the global 1 percent."

Activists are outraged that the Olympics' long list of sponsors, including companies such as Dow Chemical and BP. They say the corporations' human rights records are at odds with the Olympic ideals of global peace and goodwill.

At the same time, Brits near the Olympic Park have been subjected to sweeping censorship laws enacted by their government at the behest of the IOC. The laws limit the use of Olympic language and imagery to -- strictly to official sponsors, such as Visa, McDonald's, and GE.

Democracy Now! has reported on dissent at summer and winter Olympic games for years. See these reports in our news archive, click here.

Click here to read the complete transcript of this interview and for more information about Democracy Now!, an independent, global weekday news hour.

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