Customer Spotlight – Worldwide Counter Threat Solutions

With the 2016 Rio Olympic opening ceremony right around the corner, one thing that still seems to be on everyone’s mind is the health and safety of the athletes and attendees in Brazil.

Take a moment to read an article from our client Worldwide Counter Threat Solutions on the terrorism and public health concerns at the Olympic games in Rio.

Terrorism and Public Health Concerns Cast a Shadow Over Worlds Largest Sports Spectacle

As we draw closer to the Rio Olympics, athletes and spectators alike are publicly announcing public safety and health concerns, and some expressing intentions to stay away from the event altogether. With global terrorism on the rise, political turmoil in Brazil and several public health issues looming, there are plenty of reasons to exercise caution.

The world has seen ISIS grow very quickly and take over huge areas of land, which recently had been relatively peaceful. Areas around Baghdad that had been secured by American troops and handed to Iraqi security forces have now been over-run. These areas are now in a humanitarian crisis as hundreds of thousands of people are living under the brutal ISIS insurgents and trying to flee the barbarism.

The ISIS threat does not stop with the people suffering in Iraq and Syria, however.  An April CNN report totaled 90 ISIS attacks in 21 countries since its rise. The San Bernadino terror attacks, Paris attacks, the most recent Istanbul attacks and many others in Western Europe have understandably put Olympic travelers on edge.    [SEE:]

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article:

“Following the November attacks in Paris that killed 130 people, Maxime Hauchard, a French member of Islamic State, posted a tweet reading, “Brazil, you are our next target.”

Brazilian officials have said that while the warnings are credible, the country is already taking all necessary measures to provide security services and safeguard the Games, which will be held August 5th through the 21st. Brazilian security and intelligence agents said they are monitoring an undisclosed number of Brazilians and foreigners living in Brazil who may be sympathetic to terrorist organizations.”


It doesn’t stop with the terror threat, however.

Fears about the Zika virus have prompted several high-profile athletes to cancel plans to attend the games. There is the US Volleyball coach, John Speraw, who is having his sperm frozen ahead of his trip to ensure that any future children are not plagued by the effects of the virus.

A water pollution problem is also presenting a problem.  Sidney Levy, CEO of the Rio Organizing Committee, expressed concern that areas of the Guanabara Bay are not safe; one of the five areas, in particular. “The fifth area is closer to the shore, and we’re testing that and depending on the rain and the wind sometimes good, sometimes not so good.  If closer to the games we see that this is not good enough, we’re going to change the location to further down the sea. We’re very committed to not put at risk any athlete during the competition.”  Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that extraordinarily high concentrations of viruses may be present.

The terror threat and public health concerns are all set against a backdrop of political turmoil that has security and public health funding strained. According to the AP:

“Rio de Janeiro’s acting governor warned Monday that the Olympic Games could be a “big failure,” because of budget shortfalls that threaten to compromise security and mobility during the games.

In an interview with Rio’s O Globo daily, Francisco Dornelles said the state is still awaiting a 2.9 billion Brazilian real ($860 million) payout from the federal government aimed at shoring up state coffers ahead of the Olympic 2016 Games. The funds were allocated last week but have not yet reached the state, and Dornelles warned that without them, police patrols might grind to a halt by the end of the week, for lack of gas money.

“How are people going to feel protected in a city without security,” Dornelles was quoted as asking.”  [SEE:]

There are many concerns and questions arising from this difficult situation:

  • Will the construction work be finished in time?
  • Can an underfunded security service provide effective protection form high levels of criminality and potential terrorist activity?
  • Are those athletes attending the games exposing themselves to risk of serious infections?
  • What assurances have the Brazilian Government made to reassure the global community that all will be as promised?
  • Should we be pulling out, can we justify sending competitors with the risks so high?
  • What about the visiting supporters who will face the same risks should we be warning them against travel?
  • If we stop the supporters what is the point of the games?
  • Would you be willing to go?

There are many reasons to have serious public safety concerns as we head into the 2016 Olympics. We’ll keep a sharp eye on the situation.