Forty-eight hours into the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games, the largest and buffest muscles belong to the international media body flexing mightily to avoid linking Olympic-related violence to anti-American sentiment.

Prior to the August 8th opening ceremonies, coverage of the August 5th terrorist attack on sixteen policemen out for a morning training run in the Xinjiiang province made barely a ripple in the international media, despite claims by Chinese authorities the event was China’s worst terrorist attack in the past decade.

Security officials were on high alert for such an attack after receiving information extremists representing eight million Muslim Uighurs threatened to disrupt the Olympic Games in the days leading up the opening ceremonies. Historically, security officials have been slow to accept that Islamic fundamentalists would target the Olympic Games, despite their status as a world-wide symbol of capitalist excess and globalization, believing the extremists’ interest lies in severing the Xinjiiang province’s ties with Chinese rule and not causes farther-reaching.

The August 9th stabbing which killed and seriously injured an American tourist and his wife, respectively – in-laws of a US volleyball coach – is a tragic, bizarre and unusual event by Chinese standards. After the attack, the suspect plunged to his death off the Drum Tower – an Olympic attraction some eight kilometres from the main Olympic site and the investigation continues into what his motive may have been.

All of this should serve as a wake-up call for VANOC President John Furlong, but he was busy imploring the world’s media to lay off China’s human rights and organ-harvesting violations so we could all fall collectively prostrate at the bar-raising spectacle of excess that was the Opening Ceremonies . Furlong has been silent on the American tourist tragedy thus far, perhaps buying into the generous media line that this was an isolated incident, unrelated to the Games and reassuring us that everyone continues to love all things Olympic. Or maybe that was the dream John had last night, the same one where no one targets Vancouver for having a Prime Minister desperate for the attention of George Bush, for sharing a border with that fast-deteriorating global power, or for jumping into bed with that pack of global bloodsuckers known as the IOC. Cue the sinking ship clichés – strike that, they really are using a ship.

Kind of makes one wonder if putting the entire Vancouver 2010 security corps on a cruise ship at Canada Place is such a great plan. It’s the supposed War on Terror’s equivalent to painting a giant “kick me” on the hull. The RCMP’s credibility and competence for this assignment must be called into question: this is an organization that could not even manage the intelligence file of one Canadian citizen in the Mahar Arar disaster, its blunders are legion over the past decade and lives have been lost as a result.

But don’t tell John Furlong that. He’ll ask you to hush so he can enjoy the splendour of China’s coming out party, the one designed to make us all forget everything we ever knew about the country before the athletes walked in the door.

Much more on this to come, but, for now, John wants us to sit back and enjoy the show. Pass the remote and get me a Coke.

Advertisements