Former commander warns of London 2012 chemical attack

Galatas Ioannis

A former Commandant of the Olympic Hospital CBRN Response Unit from the 2004 Athens games has said that the planners of the London 2012 games have not effectively reached out internationally to assess the risk of a chemical attack.

Retired Brigadier General Galatas Ioannis said in an interview that U.K. CBRN response leaders and agencies had been inclined to poor planning.

“If somebody is deeply involved in planning for this specific area, it is difficult for that person to identify any gaps or deficiencies [than] if you allow an outsider to have a fresh look at the plan," Ioannis said. "That was the reality with the international advisory security team at Athens.

"Whenever I am in a conference in which British officials are presenting, they distribute a feeling that everything is perfect and ready so that they can do the Olympics tomorrow. Then when someone from the audience starts to ask specific questions, you can see long faces, and they get offended because they think we are trying to embarrass them in public. This is not the purpose."

Other specialists in the industry also shared similar feelings and believe that the British government agencies were relying simply on inadequately trained emergency services.

Ioannis and the other specialists were speaking prior the 2011 CBRN Resilience conference, which will take place in London from March 29 through March 30 and will bring together various responders, specialists and military to talk about training and improved operability.

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