Category Archives: Politics

Samaras’ best time for sex

An outtake from PM Antonis Samaras’ 2012 campaign with New Democracy was leaked yesterday evening and it quickly flooded Greek Facebook & Twitter users. In it, Samaras discloses what’s the best time of the day for sex.

The fact that the video makes the otherwise strict and distant Greek politician look more human has raised suspicions that the video was not leaked by accident but on purpose.

The Greek Prime Minister prefers having sex in the morning but, unfortunately for him, most young people do it at nights…

New Democracy’s electoral base is mainly composed by older generations. I remember going to their main pre-election rally in June 2012 and almost 80% of the people there were more than 50 years old.

Which is why one of the jokes around, about why Antonis Samaras’ party hasn’t made up its mind yet on whether they will have an outdoors rally in Athens, is that they are afraid that the elders will catch a cold and won’t go to vote for their party.

Grey-haired men pestering children

The Greek political parties have started broadcasting their political ads and thought it might be interesting to translate some of them for (fun) you.

New Democracy (ruling party) has produced three videos so far. The first one is a desperate (in terms of acting, at least) attempt to show Antonis Samaras close to the younger generation (the majority of ND’s voters are above their 40s or even 50s).

The reference to the stadium is one more cheap attempt to attract votes of supporters of AEK Athens football club. They have been asking for a new stadium for more than a decade now and New Democracy is promising to make their dream too. I loved two details in this video.

The first one is that our PM indirectly admits that Greece, the country he has been governing for the past 2,5 years, is not a normal and serious country yet.

The second one is a symbolism. Greek youth faces unprecedented high unemployment and Samaras tells them “keep on training and we will keep on working”. I hope this was not some sort of subliminal message.

Their second video is even more ridiculous and desperate to use anything that happens in order to demonise SYRIZA. In this video New Democracy plays the security card in the same way it has adopted scare-mongering as its main strategy not only to win the 2012 elections (I can still remember them saying that we will be queuing for bread if SYRIZA won) but to control reactions and unrest during their administration. Samaras goes as far as using (again) the Charlie Hebdo story in order to stress his alignment with the “Fortress Europe” approach.

Their third video is an ode to individualism. A working man, insecure and alone, is having his thoughts about Greece.

He is scared he will lose his job if SYRIZA wins. This is how they want people to think. Just keep on xeroxing and shut the fuck up.

SYRIZA tried to play around with more positive words. Lots of crisis porn footage, the usual lock somewhere and a wind of change somewhere in between. Big nice words like dignity and justice that verify the vagueness of what they want to do.

Another video by SYRIZA is this.

It reminded me of an older ad produced by PASOK, the ailing coalition partner of New Democracy. Papandreou and Tsipras get prepared to address the crowd, they walk from the backstage to the main scene like Rocky Balboa was heading to face his opponents. Lots of former PASOK politicians have jumped to SYRIZA in the meantime and there are more and more people calling SYRIZA as the new PASOK. So this similarity looks even funnier now.

And last but not least, the video of Independent Greeks. I decided to translate it because it’s funny, despite the fact that the party might not manage to gain any seats at the Parliament after the elections. Their only hope is to reach the 3% threshold, gain 5-10 seats and be invited by SYRIZA to govern together.

As Greek satirical site Luben.tv put it “Why on earth do you keep showing us grey-haired men caressing children?”

Greek demo dress code: plain clothes

An interesting video was filmed last night during the extensive riots that took place after the demo in honour of 15-year old Alexis Grigoropoulos who was assassinated by a policeman on December 2008.

Greek demonstrators often mention the existence of plain clothes policemen and the infiltration of agent provocateurs in demonstrations in Greece. I too used to believe that this was some kind of a conspiracy theory until I started attending demos after 2009. International media have been reluctant to report on this (with some exceptions) with correspondents finding it difficult to believe that such totalitarian practices are still being used in an EU country.

But this video, filmed last night in Exarchia district of Athens and posted on YouTube by Sto Kokkino radio, shows clearly a big number of what would otherwise look like “a band of hoodies or violent rioters” passing by a team of riot police, heading towards the district’s square where anarchists had set up barricades.

The Greek government does not acknowledge the use of such practices, nor is it expected to comment on the issue after the publication of this video.

Upd: Here’s a second video from the same place/time (Thanks Janine Louloudi).

Same old shit

Lots of you have asked me why I haven’t been writing any more in the past three or four (or five?) months of this blog’s hibernation. My answer is “same old shit”. Like this one.

It’s been a bit more than a year since the government decided to suddenly close down ERT, the public broadcaster. One of the main arguments was that the government wanted to create something new, a new broadcaster without the political dependencies of the past. Today they have proved (once more) what a big fat lie that was. So here’s the story.

There’s this journalist and anchorman called Nikos Evaggelatos. NERIT, which is the brave new sister of the old corrupt ERT, announced today that it’s hiring him for a news show. Credible Typologies blog wrote that initially NERIT’s BoD was a bit wary of the deal because (wait for it…) New Democracy approved him but PASOK (New Democracy’s government partner) didn’t! 

The happy end was announced today with PASOK’s acquiescence, God knows in exchange for what.

But who is Nikos Evaggelatos and why would a newly-born broadcaster hoping to gain back its lost credibility and the society’s trust, hire him?

Evangelatos

He is one of those journalists for who Wikipedians dedicate a special, not so honorary, paragraph titled “Problems of deontology”.

In 1998 Nikos Evaggelatos forgot that he was an anchorman for SKAI TV’s news bulletin and was self-proclaimed negotiator when he started talking live on TV with Sorin Matei, a Romanian fugitive who was holding a hostage. His negotiating skills, together with those of the then leadership of the Greek Police, were bad enough to get the hostage killed. BBC and Channel 4 have made documentaries about this case. Evaggelatos went back to journalism. 

In 2001, during the bombing of Afghanistan, Evaggelatos was the main anchorman and News Director of Tempo TV. He aired a show which he called “In the camps of the Taliban” claiming that his team managed to get access to these camps. In fact, it was later proved that they never visited these camps. They never managed to enter Afghanistan either. They were so naive that they thought they could film places in Pakistan and sell them for the Afghan warzone. I still remember the shot of a Coca-Cola ad in that report – despite how few things I knew about Afghanistan back then, I was aware that they’d never have the evil drink sold on the streets.

Apart from the case above, he has been suspended from the Athens Journalists’ Union three more times. For involving someone’s name in the case of November 17 terrorist organisation, for using an actor in what was a fake interview and for accepting to star in a commercial advertisement (a practice prohibited by journalists’ unions in Greece).

And the funniest thing? During the discussions about his new job, I read that he proposed to work without pay. In exchange, he wanted to advertise his (and his wife’s) websites through NERIT. Can you imagine NERIT, with its own news portal, advertising another news portal?

Instead of the epilogue, check this out – another reason for the government’s decision to close down ERT was that it was loss making. Typologies blog published today its budget for 2013. Guess what. It was still making profit!

So, “same old shit” as I said. May we have a nice (and warm) winter!

 

Baltakos Gate

Here’s a video that is expected [or should] cause tremors in the Greek political scene. Golden Dawn MP Ilias Kasidiaris leaked this video today where he secretly filmed a discussion with cabinet secretary Takis Baltakos.

During the conversation, Baltakos can he heard saying that there was no evidence to substantiate the crackdown on Golden Dawn following Fyssas’ fatal stabbing by a Golden Dawn supporter last September.

He says that Justice Minister Haralambos Athanassiou and Interior Minister Nikos Dendias appealed to the chief prosecutor at the Supreme Court, Efterpi Goutzamani, a so-called devout Christian, that Golden Dawn were “pagans, idolaters, Nazis and opposed to Christianity”.

Baltakos also said that the crackdown on Golden Dawn was to stop the party drawing support from New Democracy.

Some initial conclusions:

  1. The Samaras administration has secret channels of communication with Golden Dawn.
  2. Prime Minister Samaras has appointed the Supreme Court Prosecutor simply because she comes from a nearby village.
  3. This otherwise independent prosecutor is paying back favors.
  4. Ministers of the Samaras administration can order arrests by picking up the phone.
  5. A case can be “put in the archive” with a short 30 minute investigative committee at the parliament.
  6. There’s no one to turn to if someone wants to file a claim for corruption against the current administration.

This is probably going to create an avalanche of events so stay tuned. By the time I managed to subtitle the video Baltakos has resigned but, in a modern functioning democracy, both Athanasiou and Dendias should resign too. If not Samaras himself too!

As to who is Takis Baltakos, I copy below some facts from EnetEnglish.

Takis Baltakos was appointed by Antonis Samaras to the key political position of government general secretary in June 2012.

He has been identified with the most rightwing section of New Democracy, and is said to have “led opposition” to proposals crackdown on neonazi Golden Dawn.

In December 2012, he told the head of the National Commission for Human Rights, Kostis Papaioannou, that “he doesn’t care, in his capacity as a representative of the government and New Democracy, about the committee’s work and human rights, nor about the country’s international obligations”. Papaioannou was presenting his annual report to the government. He said Baltakos opened it at a chapter on racist violence and threw it on the table, saying, “We are not interested in the human rights of foreigners.”

In 2013, he is alleged to have said that cooperation between New Democracy and Golden Dawn in future elections was “undesirable but not an unlikely possibility”.

In May 2013, it was reported that he was one of the key officials involved in holding up an antiracism bill on the grounds that it could “potentially cause problems”. The bill would have outlawed incitement against people because of their race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation, and impose jail sentences of up to six years on offenders”.

Baltakos was a leading voice against moving against Golden Dawn, up to September 2013, when the government was pushed into taken action after the murder of Pavlos Fyssas. According to the Wall Street Journal, Baltakos said that a crackdown “would backfire, winning the party sympathy from voters disgusted with the establishment and alienating conservative constituencies such as the army and church.”

Last week, he said he has been an “anticommunist” all his life and that the Greek left has “plagued” the country since 1942, the year it took up arms against the occupying Nazis.

The Politics of Knives

Here’s a short video on the current situation in Greece, produced by Ross Domoney. I found it interesting and informative and thought you will too.

Summary:

The neo-Νazi party Golden Dawn has been active in Greece since the mid-1980s. Through the years, GD has attacked migrants, antifascists and homosexuals, often with the tolerance or even the collaboration of parts of the Greek police force. In recent years, the party saw a largely unexplained soaring in its funding, a broad coverage of its activities (whether real or fictitious) by mainstream media and the opening up of more than fifty local branches across Athenian neighborhoods and Greek cities.

The ostensibly meteoric rise of the GD in mainstream political discourse came at an extremely critical conjuncture, amidst the global financial crisis that hit Greece hard from approximately 2008/09 onward. In the 2009 national elections, GD had received a mere 0.2% of the vote; in 2012, its share sky-rocketed to approximately 7%. The electoral success of GD was matched by the introduction of anti-migration policies by the government coalition, often-encountered police operations specifically targeting anti-fascist activists in Athens and other Greek cities and the rise of racist attacks in the country.

On September 18th a self-confessed GD member, Giorgos Roupakias, stabbed anti-fascist rap musician Pavlos Fyssas (aka Killah-P) to death. In the aftermath of the assassination the GD leader, Nikos Mihaloliakos, and key GD MPs and members have been arrested and charged. Only now, after decades of presence in the Greek political landscape, the GD’s connections to the country’s security forces and political establishment are untangled and exposed in mainstream political discourse and in the media.

Produced by Ross Domoney, Klara Jaya Brekke and Dimitris Dalakoglou.
Filmed and edited by Ross Domoney.
Script edited by Klara Jaya Brekke.
Music by Giorgos Triantafillou.
Special thanks to Lena Theodoropoulou and Yiannis Chri.

On ship-owners, bishops and Golden Dawn

The crucial journalistic question on Golden Dawn has been one for the past year. Who funds Golden Dawn?

For a long time there have been rumours that one or some ship-owners were behind them but no one has managed to document something tangible. It seems that this is changing.

Greek financial portal sofokleousin.gr has published a very interesting article a while ago. Though the portal quotes well-informed sources who spoke under the condition of anonymity, it mentions that there is an ongoing investigation of the Financial Crime Unit (SDOE) on the funding of neonazi party Golden Dawn.

The investigation, according to the article, has shown so far that several ship-owners, businessmen and even bishops are behind the far-right party and its criminal activities.

The article also says that among the party’s funders there are people beyond any suspicion, though some of the involved businessmen are serving a sentence in prison while others have trials pending. The data found so far imply a link between the members/local Golden Dawn offices and businessmen who have night clubs or are involved with sports (I guess some football team – not the cleanest sport in Greece). The data are already being used to document crimes like blackmail, threats or even paid assassinations.

The Financial Crime Unit has already asked the opening of several bank accounts so that they can document these investigated financial links with facts and proofs

According to the article, the investigation has showed that among the clergy there are even some bishops (!!!). The Prime Minister’s office has been briefed about the investigation, says sofokleousin.gr, and the PM’s advisers are doing their best to avoid any early leaks to the press.

Which they just failed to do.