Greece’s most prominent neo-nazi party Golden Dawn have leaked a tape of a conversation with a government official in Greece, aimed at blocking the lifting of the parliamentary immunity of 8 of its members. It did not help much, as three Golden Dawn MPs have been stripped of their parliamentarian no-prosecution privilege, and will face court for their involvement in a criminal organization.
The leaked video (see transcript below) however backfires at both of them – the neo-nazi Golden Dawn and the ruling party New Democracy – and in fact, also at the conservatives dominating the EU who have been trying to keep their neoliberals in power in Athens. It proves that the neo-nazi Golden Dawn and the conservative ruling party in Greece are bedfellows, as the video exposed the government official being – a close aide to prime-minister Samaras – in a position of subordination incriminating the government’s crackdown on the Neo-nazi party after their men assassinated antifascist rapper and working class activist Pavlos Fyssas.
The leaked conversation was first uploaded on a Russian site, but the transcripts were released by Kasidiaris in parliament, hours before a vote on sending more Golden Dawn parliamentarians to face trial: “The footage was presented by Kasidiaris in Parliament during a discussion regarding the lifting of his parliamentary immunity so he can face charges of arms and explosives possession.”
Golden Dawn hoped to derail this vote as government secretary Takis Baltakos claims the government pressured the justice to crackdown on the Neo-nazis because they were attracting votes from New Democracy (they became the third most popular party in Greece as of last year), the ruling party in Greece, not because they were worried about the fascist pit they threw Greece into – the Neo-nazis got to the point where they were recruiting children.
The tape also features the government official using the anti-Semitic rhetoric of Golden Dawn, by explaining the crackdown on GD as a “Zionist” conspiracy (all while laws in Europe forbid Nazi propaganda of any kind): “Takis Baltakos says the Justice Minister Haralambos Athanassiou and Interior Minister Nikos Dendias appealed to the devout beliefs of Supreme Court chief prosecutor Efterpi Goutzamani to convince her that Golden Dawn were “pagans, idolaters, Nazis and opposed to Christianity”. Baltakos has resigned, after he admitted the conversation was real.
Here is the English translation of the conversation Golden Dawn put its hopes into, which, quite relevantly, was posted on a Russian channel:
“Kasidiaris: To begin with when I came out [of remand], can you tell me how Samaras took it?
Baltakos: He was in America then.
Kasidiaris: Yes, he was in America , but I learned you nearly had a stroke.
Baltakos: It was massive! It was crazy, fucking hell … he didn’t call me, I told him what you were doing … I had told him. He wouldn’t [therefore]tell me about these things. He got the other two and he fucked them out it: [Justice Minister Haralambos] Athanassiou and [Interior Minister Nikos] Dendias. “You made a fool out of me, you tricked me, you humiliated me.” Because the day before, Samaras had made a statement at the American Zionist conference [American Jewish Congress] that “They are finished, I busted them, busted them, it’s all over!” And the next day you’re released from jail.
Kasidiaris: What happened with the investigating magistrates who let us out at the crucial moment? After they let us out, they got the others and did a U-turn.
Baltakos: They let you out for the simple reason that there is no evidence.
Kasidiaris: Yes, good, there was nothing.
Baltakos: And no one picked up the phone to pressurize them because everyone thought it was so obvious … everyone took it for granted: “But what can the investigating magistrate do?” The investigating magistrate had no evidence! Nothing!
Kasidiaris: And he had none for the others either …
Baltakos: But there was for the others … [he makes the gesture of holding a phone with his hand]
Kasidiaris: Who’s to blame for that?
Baltakos: Both of them.
Kasidiaris: Dendias, Athanassiou?
Baltakos: Who else?
Kasidiaris: And did Samaras have to say? Was he aware of what what was going on?
Baltakos: No, he didn’t at the start … but when he saw the opinion polls … he thought, the bourgeois that he is, that all this terrible. “They’ll [Golden Dawn] will go down to 2%, he says” … And I said: “I’m telling you, they will go up to 20%.” He says: “You’re an asshole.”
Kasidiaris: Who told him to do all this?
Baltakos: First of all, he’s afraid for himself. Because you are cutting his lead over Syriza.
Kasidiaris: We take votes, is that it?
Baltakos: That makes sense.
Kasidiaris: And because we take his votes he puts us jail?
Baltakos: Motherfucker … an incredible thing, unbelievable.
Kasidiaris: And what about what [former justice minister]Roupakiotis said?
Baltakos: That’s for sure, since he did it the week he was going there.
Kasidiaris: [Supreme Court chief prosecutor Efterpi] Goutzamani, the things she did, I have information that she is totally on the right.
Baltakos: [Makes the sign of the cross]
Kasidiaris: She’s so devout.
Kasidiaris: How did she do these disgraceful things with [Supreme Court deputy prosecutor Haralambos] Vourliotis and come up with these findings?
Baltakos: They convinced her that “they are pagans, idolaters, Nazis and opposed to Christianity”.
Kasidiaris: Who persuaded her of all that?
Baltakos: Athanassiou and Dendias.
Kasidiaris: You should go to the prosecutor and tell him who set up this whole conspiracy: that Athanassiou gave orders to Goutzamani, that Samaras had given orders to Athanassiou, and all of them should go on trial. If you are a just man, this is what you should do.
Baltakos: If I’m do this now, she will order a preliminary investigation lasting a half an hour and they will shelve it.
Kasidiaris: You think so?
Baltakos: Well, of course! Am I going to do that with Samaras in government? To which prosecutor would I go? Goutzamani is a prosecutor. I’m going to denounce Goutzamani to herself ?
Kasidiaris: How did Goutzamani become Supreme Court prosecutor?
Baltakos: Because she’s from the same village.
Kasidiaris: So now she’s repaying the debt.
Baltakos: Yes , she’s from the same village. Ok, not from the same village, but from a nearby village. They’ve been in the same competition, they are almost the same age. They are compatriots, there’s nothing more to it.”
Baltakos has been appointed to the influential government position in 2012, he’s one of the most far-right members of the ruling party. He opposed the crackdown on Golden Dawn, which was never for real, anyway.
Last week he said he was an anti-communist since he was “a little baby”: “That’s how I was born, that’s how I grew up and that’s how I will die.”
If anyone still had doubts that Neo-nazi Golden Dawn is “just mainstream politics by other means”, the leaked conversation is more proof that the fascists are the creation and the tools of the state, used to smash working class anti-capitalist struggles.
This report, “Mapping Ultra-Right Extremism, Xenophobia and Racism within the Greek State Apparatus”, though not from a class society perspective, is quite explicit about the profound relation between the state and the Neo-nazis, which anarchists relentlessly expose:
“On 17 September 2013, around midnight, a Golden Dawn official murders Pavlos Fyssas. This assassination immediately becomes the catalyst for crucial developments in the position of Golden Dawn on the Greek political map. The dismantlement of the organization begins…
The corrosion of the Hellenic Police by Golden Dawn pockets is one of the reasons – not the only one – why there first had to be a dead anti-fascist Greek citizen before the Greek State would take action.
On 25 September 2013, a few days after Fyssas’ assassination, in an interview to BBC, the manifestly most right-wing minister of Samaras’ (already very right-wing) government gave the following answer to a journalist who asked directly if there are affiliations between Golden Dawn and the police: “Very unhappy to say that to some point it’s true”.
Of course, the minister added to this astonishing statement the remark that “some people within the police, though they are not Nazis themselves, are fond of this particular party, because they have not realized how dangerous it is.” Obviously, he was trying to mitigate the disgrace of this political affiliation by downplaying the police officers’ accountability. In other words, the problem was the public confession of the crime, not the crime itself.
There is no point in trying to hide it: a rot had taken hold inside the Hellenic Police for quite some time. The mourning of the conservatives had to be profaned, and a Greek lad, “one of us”, had to be killed (the murder of a Pakistani a year earlier was not enough), before the boil could be lanced. Moreover, a police officer who only happened to be at the crime scene had to identify the murderer and, above all, his motives. As she testified: “[At some point, someone approached us, told us that he was a colleague and that] things had settled down. When we asked him what happened, he told us that there had been some kind of quarrel in a coffee shop between some people who were watching the football match, Olympiakos vs. Paris St. Germain, but they had already left and there was no problem. Let me add that the person who presented himself as a colleague was not a police officer, but an external guard at Korydallos Prison.” This member of the special guards is the emblematic personification of the Greek State: although he had witnessed the coordinated action of a Golden Dawn attack battalion (consisting of 30-40 people, according to the police officer’s testimony), he saw it as “a quarrel between football fans.” This is exactly how it was reported the next morning by a private TV station that, through its keynote commentator (a fervent supporter of the neo-liberal restructuring) had a few days earlier advocated for a more “proper” Golden Dawn.
A week after the assassination, the developments in the Hellenic Police are shattering: first, there is the sudden resignation of the police Inspector General for Southern Greece and the chief of the General Division of Sterea Hellas Region, both “for personal reasons,” according to the Hellenic Police communiqué. But the same communiqué also reads: “Following an order by the Minister of Public Order and Citizen Protection, the Chief of Police assigned to the Director of the Division of Internal Affairs, Police Brigadier General Panayiotis Stathis, shall conduct a thorough investigation regarding complaints published in the press about an active implication of police officers in the activities of the party Popular Association – Golden Dawn and their possible participation in the perpetration of crimes …
The Chief of Police communicated to the Chief Officer of the Division of Internal Affairs the will of the Minister not to leave a single shadow over the Police Force.” What follows is extraordinary. In order to absolutely secure the objective conduct of the investigation by the Division of Internal Affairs, a series of chief officers are replaced and relocated. Among them are a major general of the police who heads the Security Division at Police Headquarters; a police colonel who commands the Special Anti-terrorist Unit and his deputy, a lieutenant colonel; another police colonel who heads the Division of Weapons and Explosives, Subdivision of State Security, Attica Police Directorate; a police major who commands the DELTA squad; a police major and precinct chief in Nikaia; and the commander of the riot police platoon in Keratsini. The members of the latter, according to photos and testimonies, threw stones at demonstrators during the riots of 18 September 2012, without being hindered or arrested by their colleagues.
Three days later, on 27 September 2013, the press reports the additional removal of the head of the Third Counter-Intelligence Division of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), who had been responsible for an investigation of Golden Dawn activities that included systematic telephone tapping. The counter-intelligence director was deemed to have served the organization as its chief informant! The same day sees the arrest for unrelated misconduct of a police sergeant who had effectively acted as an instructor for Golden Dawn members. A newspaper photo shows this particular police officer giving lessons in self-defence to members of the organization at an ancient stadium on the island of Rhodes. The next day, Saturday, 28 September 2013, two police officers of the DIAS squad were arrested, along with the leader of Golden Dawn, after incriminatory evidence had been collected in wiretaps of their phone calls. A further chief of precinct, in Agios Panteleimon, was then arrested on 1 October. This is the Athens neighborhood where, for three years, Golden Dawn has maintained its operations centre, amidst numerous complaints that the precinct was functioning more as a Golden Dawn office than as a service of the Hellenic Police.
The first Golden Dawn MPs were arrested that same morning. The operation was kept highly confidential, and even the police officers of the anti-terrorist unit that conducted the arrests did not know whom they were going to arrest until the very last moment. This indicates the fear of a leak, not to the press, but within the police force itself. A Golden Dawn MP put a fitting point on the proceedings at the moment of his arrest, proclaiming: “They dismantled the whole of the police and the NIS in order to arrest us”. Touché.” …
“A few weeks later, in late November 2012, another Golden Dawn MP visits Heraklion, Crete. There, he stumbles upon a leftist counter-demonstration trying to prevent the Golden Dawn gathering. Numerous police forces promptly take position to repel the leftists, but the MP asks the police to open their lines and sets about repelling the demonstrators all by himself, cursing and threatening. The MP tells the chief police officer: “I will fuck them all. I promise you that by the end of the day you will have dead bodies!” The police officer listens, eyes to the ground. The MP keeps cursing and threatens to sue the police for “neglect of duty”, adding: “They come here and ruin cars, while you sit around and jerk off. How am I supposed to do my thing?” His interlocutor continued to listen without reacting. Later on, the MP issued a statement in which he threatens that Golden Dawn will sue anyone responsible for neglect of duty and abetting criminals.
Naturally it is uncommon for the Hellenic Police to appear on camera as the administrative inferiors to Golden Dawn MPs. In this sense, these two snapshots are indeed unique. Nevertheless, the image, the discourse and the posture of both the police officers and the Golden Dawn MPs evoke a bizarre hierarchy that must be deemed politically excrescent.” …
“The events of September 2013 and the aftermath have, sadly, served to altogether confirm our working hypothesis: The intrusion and infiltration of the ultra-right extreme into the Hellenic Police until that point was systematic and deep-seated. …
“Therefore, what one must understand first and foremost when one studies the consolidation of ultra-right ideology and the intrusion of pockets of ultra-right extremism into the Hellenic Police is that the 1967 dictatorship was not a rupture in the hegemony of these apparatuses. It was a culmination. The culture of torture that was dominant within the Greek security forces during the seven-year dictatorship should also not be viewed as an aberration but as the culmination of a firmly established and functional work culture.” Source