[sixties-l] Demands for a terrorist crackdown irk Greece

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Wed Mar 28 2001 - 23:13:37 EST

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    THURSDAY, MARCH 29, 2001

    Demands for a terrorist crackdown irk Greece


    By Andrew Marshall
    Special to The Christian Science Monitor

    Even by the shadowy standards of terrorist groups, the Revolutionary
    Organization November 17 is a mysterious entity. In the past 26 years, it
    has killed 23 people, including four American officials, a US Embassy
    employee, and a British military attach.
    While the CIA, the FBI, and Britain's Scotland Yard have at times assisted
    Greek authorities in their investigations, no one has ever been arrested
    for the murders.
    Families of some of the victims - frustrated with the lack of results -
    have begun a lobbying campaign that they hope will achieve what Greek
    police haven't: bring those responsible to justice. And they hope the
    attention Greece gets leading up to the 2004 Olympics, in Athens, will help.
    Critical documentary
    On March 18, the BBC ran a highly critical documentary - which speculated
    on possible ties between the terrorist group and an influential Greek
    political party.
    Nicos Peraticos, a London-based businessman whose brother was killed by
    November 17 in 1997, says the families want "to take the opportunity to
    remind anyone who would listen that there's this terrible unresolved
    The US State Department and Congress have both criticized Athens for its
    record on terrorism, charging the government with a lack of political will.
    Some in Congress have even called for sanctions.
    Behind the name
    The name November 17 commemorates a student uprising against the military
    junta that ran Greece from 1967 to 1974. Its first victim, in 1975, was
    Richard Welch, the CIA station chief in Athens. Others followed, each
    accompanied by a rambling justification based on a struggle against
    The murder last year of Brig. Stephen Saunders, the British defense attach
    in Athens, brought the group back to public attention in Europe. November
    17 said its ambush was in response to his alleged involvement in the 1999
    NATO airstrikes against Yugoslavia.
    His widow, Heather Saunders, made a tearful appeal to Greek authorities at
    the time: "For the sake and future of Greece within the European Community,
    these wicked men must be brought to justice." Officers from Scotland Yard
    flew to Greece to assist in the investigation. But since then, the case
    seems to have dried up.
    Mrs. Saunders and Mr. Peraticos, who are leaders of the lobbying effort,
    hope that bringing the issue before policymakers and the public will
    pressure the Greek government to take a more aggressive stance. On Sunday,
    Saunders will unveil a plaque in her husband's memory at the British
    Embassy in Athens.
    The BBC's hour-long documentary ran on the eve of a visit to London by
    Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis. What most infuriated Greek officials
    was its mention of one of many conspiracy theories that circulate about the
    group: that November 17 has been shielded because it has ties to senior
    members of PASOK, the socialist party that has been in power in Greece for
    most of the past quarter-century. Ties may have been formed under the junta
    between members of the group and leading socialists, the BBC program
    That view is "absolutely preposterous," says Nicos Papadakis, press
    counselor at the Greek Embassy in London. The program was prejudiced and
    ill-informed, he says, noting that the great majority of November 17's
    victims have been Greeks, not foreigners. What's more, he says, several of
    the governments in power since the group appeared have been conservative -
    including the current administration.
    Mr. Papadakis expressed sympathy for the victims' families, saying Heather
    Saunders is "a very dignified lady, and our heart and our sympathy go out
    to her."
    He says Greece's failure to catch any of the killers, "is a legitimate
    "We are the first to recognize we have a problem," Papadakis adds.
    The mysterious November 17
    That problem lies in the lack of police resources and training, and in the
    methodology and structure of November 17, he says. The group kills
    irregularly, it appears to be very small, and it has never engaged in
    indiscriminate acts of mass terror of the sort that might persuade others
    to turn in the culprits.
    November 17 is "a small, tightly compartmentalized organization," says
    Bruce Hoffman, an expert on international terrorism at the Rand Corp. The
    group is "not vulnerable to informants or agents provocateurs," he says.
    And in terms of their professionalism, "their tradecraft is very good."
    Papadakis says new legislation designed to combat terrorism and organized
    crime will help. Among other provisions, it introduces a witness-protection

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