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In February 2009 we posed the question: “Does Greece have an internal security problem”? Then, our answer to the question was affirmative. In light of recent developments, we cannot but return to the same question, this time with the emphasis on the rapidly evolving urban guerrilla challenge to the Greek Government and valid expectations of “revolutionary” escalation, if the situation is allowed to develop according to familiar Greek political standards and long-established criteria of not acting in order to demonstrate tin-plated “democratic sensitivity”.

On October 22, the new leadership of the Citizen’s Protection ministry unceremoniously fired the chief of the Greek National Police over an incident in the anarchist-infested (or ‘bohemian’ according to some press) neighborhood of Exarchia in downtown Athens.

During the incident, police arrested several individuals belonging to one of Greece’s miniscule leftwing parties. Within the hour following the arrests, the Citizen’s Protection minister had personally intervened to order the release of all those in custody, had repeatedly apologized publicly for this “unacceptable” police behavior, and had, of course, demanded the resignation of the police chief, which he promptly received.

Intelligence organizations are complex, sophisticated entities with very specific operational, managerial, and administrative requirements. An intelligence organization has a deeply layered job description that involves a mind-boggling number of priorities. In Greece, this most critical business of national intelligence has been addressed for the most part in a bureaucratic, fragmented way heavily influenced by the surrounding environment of political instability and bitter partisan politics. Greece’s central intelligence bureau, now called the National Intelligence Service (NIS) has seen various incarnations depending on the political climate of any given period under study. Its predecessor, the Central Intelligence Service (CIS) was primarily deployed in domestic political infighting, suppressing communists and persons of “anti-national ideology,” an involvement that reached its crescendo during the military dictatorship of 1967-74.

Crystal balling is a favorite pastime of editorialists. While its success in accurately predicting events ranges from limited to nonexistent, it is done fervently nevertheless if only because of man’s natural tendency to seek explanations to things that have not yet actually occurred. With a new government installed in Greece after the election of October 4, crystal balling is again having a field day, especially because the country is going through its worst economic crisis in decades in addition to facing severe problems in so many other areas.

Fallacy: A misconception resulting from incorrect reasoning

In November 1920, Greek voters went to the polls and sent prime minister Eleftherios Venizelos packing. Venizelos, modern Greece’s most brilliant leader and an international statesman of caliber never seen in these shores before or since, had just completed the grand scheme of almost tripling Greece in size and winning the support of (some of) the Great Powers for realizing the Nation’s dream of uniting all the Greek populations of Asia Minor with the Motherland. None though of these monumental achievements seemed to count with the voters, who had other, more pressing, concerns in mind that ultimately proved enough to scuttle what amounted to a veritable miracle of statesmanship. Such was Venizelos’s rout at the ballot box that even he, himself, failed to be elected to parliament.

One of the many anecdotes of the early reign of King Otto, the first king of modern Greece installed on the throne by the Great Powers in 1832, recalls how the young Bavarian prince turned Greek sovereign would be confronted by his new subjects over appointments and perks.

Turbaned, kilt-wearing roughs, carrying scimitars and engraved pistolas, men who had spent the previous decade or more fighting the Turk in a pitiless war of extinction, would arrive at the palace, petitions in hand, to almost invariably ask for pensions, cash awards, and commissions in the army that did not really exist. The Kingdom of Greece, and its paltry budget backed by the Rothschilds of London, could barely meet all these demands which, if honored in full, could have easily scuttled the anemic little state’s finances. Nevertheless, the petitions kept coming and King Otto’s Bavarian advisors kept frowning over their high collars at the cheek of these Greeks.


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