Sit down for Sunday's exclusive: an in-depth view of Greek independent journalist and Junior Analyst & Coordinator at the World Security Network Foundation (Southeastern Europe Office), Ioannis Michaletos on the context of the recent spate of wildfires in the country. The article in which he lays down his insights was published yesterday as Security Briefing on the site of the Research Institute for European & American Studies.
Let me start by stressing that the opposition's denouncing of the incumbent government's handling of the biggest crisis since World War II as 'a national humiliation' and 'organised incompetence' - given the timing (a number of fires are still raging, while funerals are yet taking place), is distasteful towards the victims, demagogic towards the electorate and irrelevant, if one takes the trouble of looking a little deeper than just subsurface at the data, underlying the problem.
On the causes of the orchestrated wildfires Michaletos writes: "one has to take into consideration the important economic-political and geoeconomic events that took place over the past few years in Greece and in the wider Balkans-Eastern Mediterranean region. New pipeline networks, importation of Chinese, Arab, Russian, and new American capital and corporations, along with the political instability that hinders an area from Bosnia to Iran and from Sudan to Caucasus."
"Furthermore, the all-pervading criminal networks have gained a lot of strength over the past decade due to the opportunities the globalization process provides for their communication, transfer of funds and recruitment. A combination of political aims, ill-aimed business strategies, and abundance of 'executive personnel', is a first clue of what might have caused the current situation and what lies ahead, not just for Greece but for the whole world" ... which touches rather deeper than a government that is simply 'incapable'.
Some figures: in the three months of summer one million hectares of forests and arable land have been destroyed, thousands of buildings, 77 people have died and an estimated 30,000 people have become homeless. As much as three hundred fires erupted on any given day, in remote regions of Greece, and at night time.
"The current available information points to a coordinated arson plan that aimed to destabilize the country’s social and political climate, as well as, a sort of wide range punitive measures against the incumbent Greek administration."
- TV Station ANT1 revealed last week that Europol had informed the Greek government of 'a plan'.
- The weekly newspaper 'To Paron' revealed an effort by the National Intelligence Service to apprehend arsonists throughout the summer.
- The Greek press reporting warnings issued by Interpol over the past few months.
What remains unreported in the international press, is that these series of arson attacks aren't isolated cases. The list of occurrences reads like a war of intimidation being waged against the Greek state. Michaletos:
"Another element that further attests to the scenario of a well-coordinated destabilization plan, is the continuous arson near power factories, such as the case of Aliveri, Megalopoli, Domokos, Lamia transmission network and Parnitha peripheral power center, amongst other."
"The prefecture of Ileia was also the target of a bombing attack against a dam of the river Alfeios, last spring. "Up to date there is no tangible evidence on who participated in this terrorist action, that failed to most extent because the dam was not destroyed, saving thus the lives of many citizens and the agricultural production of the area ..."
"There are continuous attacks against Athenian police stations since late 2006 with machine guns and hand grenades. There were tens of suspicious homicide attempts against police officers, patrolling the city of Athens."
"The only organizations having the logistics in place for the series of arson attacks are international criminal networks. "... only an internationally networked factor could have organized the whole scheme, preferably associated with illegal industries such as narcotics, trafficking and weapons smuggling."
It has become fairly obvious in recent years that the authorities can hardly distinguish the criminal from the terrorist elements. Terrorist groups and organized crime are using each others facilities; terrorism is financed with criminal activities. The article "Terrorists Teaming with Drug Cartels" in the Washington Times describes some surprising directions that this cooperation is taking and what the DEA is having the deal with.
On the Greek disaster front, the media are porting on very sophisticated methods of operation. A device that can be ignited by mobile phone at any desired time - case need even operated from abroad - which was also the method of choice in the Madrid bombings in March 2003. It is pointed out that the first time this method was used globally, was in the Greek city of Larissa, outside a provisional court by an obscure ultra-left wing terrorist group.
"That evidence alone reveals the interconnection between local 'anti-systemic' groups in Greece with international terrorism and consequently with the organized crime in and outside the Greek borders. It is safe to assume that this could well be the case in this summer's arson."
Greece is well endowed with Left wing groups: besides the main opposition Socialist party, it is even host to an old-fashioned, pro-Soviet style Communist Party, priding itself on steadily scoring just under ten percent of the vote. RevLeft is another party making up the spectrum of the Leftist opposition. The unofficial Leftist scene consists of the universally rebellious student folk, besides anarchists and nihilists.
Michaletos describes yet another arson device that could be used months after installation, in any remote forest area and easily monitored via GPS. "It provides a tremendous advantage to the arsonists in they can control the space and time they want to ignite fire and confuse the fire brigades and the police."
"If the hypothesis that it is a transnational well-organized plan is valid, then the Greek state should be prepared for more asymmetrical-nature challenges at least for the near future ... not just for Greece but for the whole world."
Personally I don't know what to make of the recent statement by the EU Commissioner Franco Frattini on 'territorial terrorism' and linking that directly to the 'construction mob'. But according to Michaletos this is "crystal-clear evidence that the EU has been to an extent prepared to face tough challenges for the future relating to a new form of terror aimed into subduing governments and the whole society under the realm of transnational criminal entities that have to be dealt with sooner or later."
To my mind the destabilization efforts across the country, just a few days before the general elections, is pointing to a Spanish scenario, by which a right wing government that is seen by the forces of darkness as unsympathetic to the cause, is forced out of office by an electorate in denial about the pressures of intimidation.
"By 2012 Greece will have finished its infrastructure investment program and it will have the most advanced road, port, airport and telecommunication network in the Balkans-Eastern Mediterranean and beyond." International organized crime and terrorist organizations want to establish bases in Greece. Kosovo and the Balkans will form the hinterland, while headquarters may be located in Greece."
"The current administration has exposed many types of high level corruption in the past three years: record narcotics busts, scandals in the judicial sector, scandals in the finance sector, the scandal with the telephone surveillance, etc. Thus it is not seen as 'positive in assisting' the expansion of organized crime."
While the recent polls show a neck and neck race between the two main parties, the Socialist opposition sending a few thousand supporters by mobile phone and email bursts to the main cities' central squares to protest against the government, sounds positively vacuous in its lack of proportion and insight. The buying of votes in the largest of the stricken areas by promises of major investment must sound specifically hollow to the victims that happen to be living in other areas of the country.
This reaction lays bare the moral bankruptcy that is characteristic of the Left today, as they cry foul over the temporary loss to the environment, while the permanent loss of human life has become something of an afterthought.
The Left at this moment in time has become the victim of their own autistic, Narcissistic rage, that is only capable of waging suicidal politics through a one-track irrational mind: by hysterically decrying, scandalising and obstructing right-of-centre governments across the globe at every possible turn, and the issues - however vital and existential - be damned.
It seems to be the curse of Fourth Generation Warfare that it is defined by an adverse public relations battle at the home front.
- 28th August - "Greece: The Political Fall-Out Begins"
- 27th August - "No Let up: Devastating Wildfires, Earthquakes and Calculating EU Politicians!"
- 26th August - "Burning Our History"
- 26th August - "Who's Burning Greece?"