Greece: anti-mafia law is used to suppress civil resistance to destruction of the historic and natural environment

A while ago, I reviewed a ‘corrupt deal’ over the Skouries gold mine in Greece, which was ‘financially as well as socially, economically, environmentally and culturally bad for both the community and the country’, and the consequent community resistance and police repression. Now, exploiting the public distraction of the anti-mafia crackdown on neo-Nazis, the state is using the same anti-mafia legislation to crack down on (historic and natural) environmentalists…

I’d forgotten that I’d noted in the review that twenty resisters had been charged with forming a ‘”criminal organisation” (which, if it translates legally as well as literally, is anti-mafia law)’. Unfortunately, it does translate well, the latest supposed criminal organisation now has ‘29 members [targets]… and counting’, and the politics and danger are worse than ever.

You call that a criminal organisation? This is a criminal organisation…

After neo-Nazi Golden Dawn’s pack-hunting and assassination of the anti-fascist rapper Killah P (Pavlos Fyssas), the Greek police finally made a show (a true spectacle) of cracking down on the fascist militia. In order to be able to do so, they first had to crack down on… themselves: police have been arrested as members of the gang and police and (counter-)intelligence – including the heads of the special forces, internal security, organised crime, the armed response unit, and the notorious DIAS emergency motorcycle police (which stood by and watched Pavlos Fyssas’s assassination) – have resigned or been reassigned.

Golden Dawn’s claims of ‘3,000 people ready for everything…. about 50 phalanxes for street fights and about as many 6-man commando strike forces for organized attacks,…. special attacks against immigrants or reprisals against enemies of the organizationmay be self-promotional bullshit. But its Führerprinzip (Führer-principle)-organised military operation has been confirmed by confessors’ informant testimony, phone taps and phone records. And its infiltration of every level of the police is beyond doubt (or denial).

Its crimes range from the disappearance (mass murder) of a hundred migrants, to ‘the extortion of migrant street salesmen and shop owners, to smuggling and money laundering‘.

The “terrorists” of Halkidiki

In the past year, while Golden Dawn were murdering Shehzad Luqman (Σαχτζάτ Λουκμάν) and others in the street and systematically terrorising immigrant communities with impunity, Greek police supposedly busted three organised crime gangs in one village.

As the fourth such ‘terrorist organisation”s attorneys observed, ‘the timing is not at all coincidental: the minister is attempting to equate the Nazi murderers of Fyssas with the resisting residents of Halkidiki [Δεν είναι καθόλου τυχαίο το τάιμινγκ: ο υπουργός επιχειρεί να ταυτίσει τους ναζί δολοφόνους του Φύσσα με τους αντιστεκόμενους κατοίκους της Χαλκιδικής]’.

In total, (so far, at least) 25 residents have been charged for misdemeanors, 25 for felonies and 56 for serious and organised crime. A progressive opposition (Syriza) MP, Katerina Iglezi, stated that the police were trying ‘to characterise an entire community as a criminal organisation [να χαρακτηρίζει μία ολόκληρη κοινωνία ως “εγκληματική οργάνωση”]’.

They are accused of ‘production, supply and possession of weapons and explosives, grievous bodily harm, repeated attempted grievous bodily harm, exceptional damage to foreign property [of the mining corporation], disturbing the peace (with the aggravating circumstance of hoodedness [face-covering]) [κατασκευή, προμήθεια και κατοχή όπλων και εκρηκτικών υλών, βαριά σκοπούμενη σωματική βλάβη, απόπειρα επικίνδυνης σωματικής βλάβης κατά συρροήν, διακεκριμένη φθορά ξένης ιδιοκτησίας, διατάραξη κοινής ειρήνης (με την επιβαρυντική περίσταση του κουκουλονόμου)]’.

I believe that the protesters’ dousing of mine security guards in petrol (even if “only” to frighten them) was reprehensible. However, the back-and-forth physical violence between villagers and police is more difficult to judge as assault instead of self-defence, because police have tear gassed moving vehicles, fired tear gas canisters at protesters’ heads, beaten old women, hospitalised children by tear-gassing their school grounds and kidnapped and tortured children. And the burning of company property could convincingly be defended as morally-acceptable property damage to prevent greater harm.

Ierissos village’s environmentalists are being prosecuted as organised crime groups, ‘a) [which] involve at least three persons who commit specific crimes, b) [where] action has duration and c) [where] there is a structure [α) Να συμπράττουν τουλάχιστον τρία άτομα που διαπράττουν συγκεκριμένα αδικήματα, β) η δράση τους να έχει διάρκεια και γ) να υπάρχει δομή]’, because it gives police licence to monitor and harass the residents, to punish machine sabotage as mafia activity, and to fabricate evidence of a left-wing extremism as violent and dangerous as Golden Dawn, thereby to excuse state and para-state violence against civil resistance. And that poses a huge threat to the protection – and the protectors – of Greece’s cultural and natural heritage.

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