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Pictures Worth a Thousand Words: “If I Had a Hammer . . . ”

Voridis’ axe/hammer and two of his fel­low craftsmen

COMMENT: The Euro­zone cri­sis and the advance of fas­cism in its afflicted nations has afforded us some telling imagery. Mus­solini took the name for his “Cor­po­rate State” from the fascis–a bun­dle of rods bound together with an axe head joined to it.

In the wake of the for­ma­tion of the pro­vi­sional gov­ern­ment in Greece, we looked at the inclu­sion of doc­tri­naire fas­cists in that government.

Of par­tic­u­lar inter­est here is Makis “The Ham­mer” Voridis, the new Greek min­is­ter of Infra­struc­ture and transportation.

Seen at left as a law stu­dent in the 1970’s, Voridis earned his nick­name by car­ry­ing a home­made weapon with which to attack fel­low stu­dents with whose pol­i­tics he disagreed.

In the inci­sive Mark Ames post, the weapon is var­i­ously described as a “ham­mer” and an “axe,” and may be viewed in mag­ni­fi­ca­tion in the cen­ter panel.

The sim­i­lar­ity between the axe head of the fas­cis and Voridis’ cho­sen instru­ment of destruc­tion is eerie.


Discussion

22 comments for “Pictures Worth a Thousand Words: “If I Had a Hammer . . . ””

  1. @Dave: To me, it’s just another piece of proof of Voridis’ fas­cist sym­pa­thies. BTW, was this guy ever arrested for harass­ing peo­ple back then or did he just get off scot-free?

    Posted by Steven l. | January 11, 2012, 4:48 pm
  2. Who knows why the rat­ings agen­cies still have cred­i­bil­ity, but you have to give S&P credit for going against the “aus­ter­ity for­ever” group-think in their lat­est round of euro­zone down­grades. And I guess Merkel gets gold star for per­sis­tence in duplic­ity:

    Jan­u­ary 14, 2012, 11:31 am
    S&P On Europe
    Paul Krugman

    S&P’s down­grade of a bunch of Euro­pean sov­er­eigns was no sur­prise. What was some­what sur­pris­ing — and which went unmen­tioned in almost all the news sto­ries I’ve read — was why S&P has got­ten so pes­simistic. From their FAQs:

    We also believe that the agree­ment [the lat­est euro res­cue plan] is pred­i­cated on only a par­tial recog­ni­tion of the source of the cri­sis: that the cur­rent finan­cial tur­moil stems pri­mar­ily from fis­cal profli­gacy at the periph­ery of the euro­zone. In our view, how­ever, the finan­cial prob­lems fac­ing the euro­zone are as much a con­se­quence of ris­ing exter­nal imbal­ances and diver­gences in com­pet­i­tive­ness between the EMU’s core and the so-called “periph­ery”. As such, we believe that a reform process based on a pil­lar of fis­cal aus­ter­ity alone risks becom­ing self-defeating, as domes­tic demand falls in line with con­sumers’ ris­ing con­cerns about job secu­rity and dis­pos­able incomes, erod­ing national tax rev­enues.

    And today we read about the response:

    Ger­man chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel has called on euro­zone gov­ern­ments speed­ily to imple­ment tough new fis­cal rules after Stan­dard & Poor’s down­graded the credit rat­ings of France and Aus­tria and seven other second-tier sovereigns.

    Still bar­rel­ing down the road to nowhere.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 14, 2012, 9:03 pm
  3. ahh­hhh! need new shows!

    Posted by Mast | January 16, 2012, 1:13 am
  4. @Mast: I’d like to see him back some­time, too. =)

    Posted by Steven L. | January 16, 2012, 9:48 pm
  5. Losses for Greek bond­hold­ers?! Oh the human­ity!

    Hedge Funds May Sue Greece if It Tries to Force Loss
    By LANDON THOMAS Jr.
    Pub­lished: Jan­u­ary 18, 2012

    LONDON — Hedge funds have been known to use hard­ball tac­tics to make money. Now they have come up with a new one: suing Greece in a human rights court to make good on its bond pay­ments.

    The novel approach would have the funds argu­ing in the Euro­pean Court of Human Rights that Greece had vio­lated bond­holder rights, though that could be a mul­ti­year project with no guar­an­tee of a pay­off. And it would not be likely to pro­duce sym­pa­thy for these funds, which many blame for the lack of progress so far in the nego­ti­a­tions over restruc­tur­ing Greece’s debts.

    The tac­tic has emerged in con­ver­sa­tions with lawyers and hedge funds as it became clear that Greece was con­sid­er­ing pass­ing leg­is­la­tion to force all pri­vate bond­hold­ers to take losses, while exempt­ing the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank, which is the largest insti­tu­tional holder of Greek bonds with 50 bil­lion euros or so.

    Legal experts sug­gest that the investors may have a case because if Greece changes the terms of its bonds so that investors receive less than they are owed, that could be viewed as a prop­erty rights vio­la­tion — and in Europe, prop­erty rights are human rights.

    ...

    At the root of the dis­pute is a grow­ing insis­tence on the part of Ger­many and the Inter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund that as Greece’s econ­omy con­tin­ues to col­lapse, its debt — now about 140 per­cent of its gross domes­tic prod­uct — needs to be reduced as rapidly as possible.

    Those two pow­er­ful actors — which con­trol the purse strings for cur­rent and future Greek bailouts — have pres­sured Greece to adopt a more aggres­sive tone toward its cred­i­tors. As a result, Greece has demanded that bond­hold­ers accept not only a 50 per­cent loss on their new bonds but also a lower inter­est rate on them. That is a tough pill for investors to swal­low, given the already steep losses they face, and one that would be likely to increase the cumu­la­tive hair­cut to between 60 and 70 percent.

    ...

    But with their con­sid­er­able finan­cial resources, some funds may be will­ing to pur­sue such a route, and they point to sim­i­lar cases won by hedge funds in Latin Amer­ica. While the prospect of Greece pay­ing an investor any time soon is slim, the coun­try wants to avoid a parade of law­suits across Europe, which would restrict its abil­ity to raise money in inter­na­tional markets.

    Argentina, which defaulted on its debts in 2002, still faces legal claims from investors that have made it nearly impos­si­ble for the coun­try to tap global debt markets.

    “It can­not be Angela Merkel that decides who suf­fers losses,” said one aggrieved investor who was con­sid­er­ing legal action and did not want to be iden­ti­fied for that rea­son. “What Europe is for­get­ting is that there needs to be respect for con­tract rights.”

    It is not just the legal cud­gel that investors are threat­en­ing to use. Some hedge funds have dis­cussed among them­selves the pos­si­bil­ity of demand­ing a side pay­ment, as they describe it, as a price Europe and Greece must pay if the two want the funds to par­tic­i­pate in the agreement.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 19, 2012, 10:35 am
  6. [...] post by anti-fascist researcher and radio host Dave Emory is rem­i­nis­cent, as he points out, of the fas­cis, « a bun­dle of rods bound together with an axe head joined to it ». [...]

    Posted by Makis « Hammer » Voridis: The return of Thor and the rise of Wotan in Greece? | Lys-d'Or | February 2, 2012, 7:31 pm
  7. Regard­ing the recent wave arson in Athens amidst the anti-austerity protests, note that eye-witnesses are report­ing that it was crim­i­nal gangs try­ing to extort pro­tec­tion money from busi­ness, and not left-wing pro­tes­tors, that were start­ing the fires. Hmmmm...

    Feb­ru­ary 17, 2012 6:04 pm
    Grim effects of aus­ter­ity show on Greek streets

    By Kerin Hope in Athens

    Hud­dled in a sleep­ing bag under a porch, his few pos­ses­sions stashed in a black bin-liner, Rover­tos awaits a visit from a lawyer who man­ages the graffiti-covered build­ing in cen­tral Athens where he took refuge six weeks ago.

    “He said maybe I could stay if the own­ers didn’t object. It might keep bur­glars away,” says the 38-year-old unem­ployed con­struc­tion worker, who started sleep­ing rough after he was evicted last year for unpaid rent.

    Rover­tos is one of an esti­mated 20,000 Greeks in the cap­i­tal made home­less over the past year.

    As Greece’s cri­sis deep­ens, the social fab­ric is show­ing signs of unrav­el­ling, rais­ing ques­tions about how much more aus­ter­ity the coun­try can take. Job losses, along with pen­sion cuts, have cre­ated a new class of urban poor.

    ...

    Along with the home­less come the scav­engers. Shariq Aziz, an unem­ployed fac­tory worker from Pak­istan, wheels a bat­tered super­mar­ket trol­ley through an upmar­ket res­i­den­tial dis­trict, pick­ing through rub­bish con­tain­ers for use­ful mate­ri­als to sell.

    “Any­thing made of metal is good, but leather and glass is also OK,” he says. “I sell what I find to a dealer from Alba­nia with a truck ... he pays enough money for me to get by.”

    Immi­grants like Mr Aziz, who shares a room with six other Pak­ista­nis, face phys­i­cal threats as Greek far-right groups grow more assertive.

    ...

    Vio­lence against prop­erty reached new heights dur­ing this week’s anti-austerity riots in the city cen­tre, in which almost 50 unpro­tected build­ings were set ablaze and loot­ing was widespread.

    For many Athens res­i­dents, feel­ings of anger and out­rage over the arson attacks were mixed with fears that pub­lic order in the cap­i­tal was at risk of break­ing down.

    While police rou­tinely detain dozens of pro­test­ers after vio­lent riots, only a hand­ful come to trial or face sen­tenc­ing for caus­ing dam­age to prop­erty, mainly because of lack of evidence.

    Ange­los, who man­ages a cloth­ing store owned by an expa­tri­ate Greek that was dam­aged in the riots, said crim­i­nal gangs, not left­wing extrem­ists, were behind this week’s attacks.

    “The guys in masks asked busi­nesses for money so that they wouldn’t get fire­bombed,” he said. “We had wire-mesh over the shopfront so we didn’t get looted but smoke and soot par­ti­cles ruined most of the stock on dis­play. My boss is ready to close the business.”

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 27, 2012, 8:48 pm
  8. Anti-German sen­ti­ment over the eurozone’s treat­ment of Greece is lead­ing to a surge in Greek neo-Nazi sen­ti­ments. I think Pavlov­ian gulli­bil­ity just jumped to shark:

    NYTimes
    Hard Times Lift Greece’s Anti-Immigrant Fringe

    By RACHEL DONADIO and DIMITRIS BOUNIAS
    Pub­lished: April 12, 2012

    ATHENS — On a recent morn­ing in the upper-middle-class neigh­bor­hood of Papagou here, mem­bers of the Greek ultra­na­tion­al­ist group Golden Dawn stood at an out­door veg­etable mar­ket cam­paign­ing for the com­ing national election.

    ...

    He approached an older woman, who recounted how a rel­a­tive had been robbed of about $800. “They threw her on the ground, they took the 600 euros she had with­drawn from the bank to pay for her husband’s nurs­ing home,” the woman said. “She was even a Com­mu­nist, and she told me, ‘I’m going to Golden Dawn to report this.

    The exchange was a telling sign of how the hard-core group — bet­ter known for its vio­lent tan­gles with immi­grants in down­town Athens and for the Nazi salutes that some mem­bers per­form at ral­lies — has been try­ing to broaden its appeal, cap­i­tal­iz­ing on fears that ille­gal immi­gra­tion has grown out of con­trol at a time when the econ­omy is bleed­ing jobs.

    Many polls indi­cate that in the national elec­tions sched­uled for May 6, Golden Dawn may sur­pass the 3 per­cent thresh­old needed to enter Par­lia­ment. The group has been cam­paign­ing on the streets, some­thing that main­stream politi­cians have avoided for fear of angry reac­tions by vot­ers who blame them for Greece’s eco­nomic collapse.

    But even if Golden Dawn fails to enter Par­lia­ment, it has already had an impact on the broader polit­i­cal debate. In response to the fears over immi­gra­tion and ris­ing crime, Greece’s two lead­ing par­ties — the Social­ist Party and the center-right New Democ­racy Party — have also tapped into nation­al­ist sen­ti­ment and are tack­ing hard right in a cam­paign in which immi­gra­tion has become as cen­tral as the economy.

    Experts say the group is thriv­ing where the Greek state seems absent, the most vir­u­lent sign of how the eco­nomic col­lapse has empow­ered fringe groups while erod­ing the polit­i­cal main­stream, a sit­u­a­tion that some Greek news out­lets have begun com­par­ing to Weimar Germany.

    “Greek soci­ety at this point is a lab­o­ra­tory of extreme-right-wing evo­lu­tion,” said Nicos Demertzis, a polit­i­cal sci­en­tist at the Uni­ver­sity of Athens. “We are going through an unprece­dented finan­cial cri­sis; we are a frag­mented soci­ety with­out strong civil asso­ci­a­tions” and with “gen­er­al­ized cor­rup­tion in all the admin­is­tra­tion levels.”

    ...

    The Social­ists, who were in power when Greece asked for a for­eign bailout, have seen their pop­u­lar­ity plum­met, and they are des­per­ate for a way to recon­nect with vot­ers. This month, Greece’s pub­lic order min­is­ter, Michalis Chriso­choidis, a Social­ist in the interim gov­ern­ment of Prime Min­is­ter Lucas Papademos, said Greece would set up deten­tion cen­ters for ille­gal immi­grants. And the Social­ist health min­is­ter caused a stir when he said that Greece would require ille­gal immi­grants to undergo checks for infec­tious diseases.

    But the estab­lished par­ties are also warn­ing of the dan­gers of extrem­ism. Last week, Evan­ge­los Venize­los, who is run­ning in the national elec­tions as Social­ist Party leader, warned that “Par­lia­ment can­not become a place for those nos­tal­gic for fas­cism and Nazism.”

    Golden Dawn is unabashedly nos­tal­gic for both. Founded in the early 1980s by sym­pa­thiz­ers of the mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship that gov­erned Greece from 1967 to 1974, Golden Dawn has always espoused a neo-Nazi ide­ol­ogy. Its sym­bol clearly resem­bles the swastika, and copies of “Mein Kampf” and books on the racial supe­ri­or­ity of the Greeks are on promi­nent dis­play in its Athens headquarters.

    In the early 1990s, it cap­i­tal­ized on wide­spread oppo­si­tion to the use of the name Mace­do­nia by a for­mer Yugoslav repub­lic; a Greek region shares that name. And in recent years, Golden Dawn has muted the neo-Nazi talk and focused on anti-immigrant actions in down­town Athens, where the num­ber of ille­gal immi­grants, most from South Asia, Alba­nia and Africa, has exploded.

    The group has fos­tered grass-roots “cit­i­zens’ groups” that it says are intended to pro­tect Greek cit­i­zens from crime by immi­grants but that crit­ics say are just vig­i­lante squads.

    I..

    “Up to now, Golden Dawn was not polit­i­cally dan­ger­ous but actu­ally dan­ger­ous,” said Tas­sos Kostopou­los, an expert on Greek pol­i­tics. He and oth­ers said Golden Dawn had his­tor­i­cally had ties to the Greek state, espe­cially the police. In a tele­vi­sion inter­view last year, Mr. Chriso­choidis, the Social­ist pub­lic order min­is­ter, said that when he took office in 2009, “guys from Golden Dawn and a num­ber of fas­cist types were par­tic­i­pat­ing in actions that assisted the police.”

    Athana­sios Kokkalakis, the Greek police spokesman, acknowl­edged episodes of racist vio­lence in Athens but said that the police force had not ver­i­fied ties between its mem­bers and Golden Dawn.

    Golden Dawn has been run­ning unsuc­cess­fully in national elec­tions since 1994, but it took a big step toward legit­imiza­tion in 2010, when its leader, Nikos Michalo­li­akos, was elected to the Athens City Coun­cil. In an inter­view, Mr. Michalo­li­akos called the group “national social­ists” and said it was con­cerned about crime and the finan­cial crisis.

    He said that the group opposed Greece’s agree­ment with its for­eign lenders and that the country’s polit­i­cal lead­er­ship was too beholden to “inter­na­tional bankers.” The Nazi salutes by Golden Dawn mem­bers were not offi­cial pol­icy, he said, adding that “we can’t con­trol thou­sands” of peo­ple. (Soon after his elec­tion, Mr. Michalo­li­akos him­self was cap­tured on video doing a Nazi salute in the City Council.)

    Asked if he believed that the Holo­caust had hap­pened, Mr. Michalo­li­akos said, “I think all his­tory is writ­ten by the winners.”

    Another lead­ing Golden Dawn offi­cial, Ilias Kasidiaris, was more blunt. “The main view in Europe is that six mil­lion Jews were killed. His­tory has shown that this is a lie,” he said in an interview.

    Mr. Kasidiaris added that he believed that all ille­gal immi­grants should be “deported imme­di­ately,” and that Greece should plant mine­fields along its bor­der with Turkey “Not to kill the immi­grants,” he said, “but to clearly define an area that would stop any­one from think­ing of access­ing the country.”

    Although Golden Dawn is clearly still cozy with neo-Nazi ide­ol­ogy, it has also tapped into ris­ing Greek nation­al­ist sen­ti­ment, which is now anti-German. “It’s right to hate Ger­many, because it is still the leader of the banksters and the Euro­pean Union,” Mr. Michalo­li­akos, the group’s leader, said, using a deroga­tory term for bankers.

    ...

    Let’s just hope the Greek youth can see through the Golden Dawn/Bankster unac­knowl­edged alliance, because the banksters seem to really hate the Greek youth:

    UPDATE 1-One in five Greeks unem­ployed, half of all youth

    Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:55am EDT

    By Harry Papachristou

    (Reuters) — Greece’s job­less rate rose to a record of 21.8 per­cent in Jan­u­ary, twice as high as the euro zone aver­age, sta­tis­tics ser­vice ELSTAT said on Thurs­day, as the debt cri­sis and aus­ter­ity mea­sures took their toll on the labour market.

    Youth unem­ploy­ment remained at lev­els where more are job­less than in work.

    Bud­get cuts imposed by the Euro­pean Union and the Inter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund as a con­di­tion for sav­ing the debt-laden coun­try from a chaotic default have caused a wave of cor­po­rate clo­sures and bankruptcies.

    Greece’s aver­age annual unem­ploy­ment rate for 2011 jumped to 17.7 per­cent from 12.5 per­cent in the pre­vi­ous year, accord­ing to ELSTAT fig­ures. December’s rates was 21.2 percent.

    For the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive month, those aged between 15–24 years were hit hard. Unem­ploy­ment in that age group stood at 50.8 per­cent, twice as high as three years ago.

    Greece’s econ­omy is esti­mated to have shrunk by about a fifth since 2008, when it plunged into its deep­est and longest post-war reces­sion. About 600,000 jobs, more than one in 10, have been destroyed in the process.

    A record 1.08 mil­lion peo­ple were with­out work in Jan­u­ary, 47 per­cent more than in the same month last year, accord­ing to ELSTAT fig­ures. The num­ber in work dropped 8.6 per­cent to a record low of 3.88 million.

    As an increas­ing num­ber of peo­ple claim unem­ploy­ment ben­e­fits, the gov­ern­ment is find­ing it increas­ingly dif­fi­cult to meet its bud­get targets.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 12, 2012, 7:00 pm
  9. Aaaand humanity’s case of con­gen­i­tal Stock­holm Syn­drome chugs along...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 12, 2012, 8:04 pm
  10. Full polit­i­cal rights for racially pure Greeks only? Well, at least there should be a thriv­ing sec­tor of the Greek econ­omy sell­ing racial purity test­ing kits. Sort of like 23andMe for fas­cists:

    Fas­cist Salutes Return to Greece as Anti-Immigrants Chase Vot­ers
    By Tom Stoukas — Apr 29, 2012 4:00 PM CT
    Bloomberg

    Theodore Couloumbis expe­ri­enced the Nazi occu­pa­tion of Greece as a boy and 70 years later he’s wor­ried he’ll wit­ness the return of stiff-armed salutes and fas­cist flags.

    The Golden Dawn party may enter the par­lia­ment in Athens for the first time after May 6 elec­tions, cur­rent polls show, as ris­ing anti-immigrant sen­ti­ment among austerity-hit Greeks spurs sup­port for groups for­merly on the polit­i­cal fringes. Ninety per­cent of peo­ple sur­veyed for a To Vima news­pa­per poll pub­lished on April 9 said immi­grants are respon­si­ble for an increase in vio­lence and crime.

    “The last thing I would want to see in the Greek par­lia­ment is a bunch of peo­ple who give the Hitler salute,” said Couloumbis, 76, a pro­fes­sor of inter­na­tional rela­tions at the Uni­ver­sity of Athens. “I’m old enough to remem­ber the absolute ugli­ness of that par­tic­u­lar occupation.”

    The group is known for its vio­lent clashes in immi­grant neigh­bor­hoods and for a red and black party logo resem­bling a dis­en­tan­gled swastika. Mem­bers of the group have said it’s not Nazi or fas­cist and they reject any con­nec­tion of its logo to a swastika, say­ing it’s an ancient Greek sym­bol. A video of Golden Dawn leader Niko­laos Michalo­li­akos shows him giv­ing the fas­cist salute.

    Golden Dawn’s char­ter says its “main ideal and belief is the nation-tribe” and that “only men and women of Greek descent and con­scious­ness should have full polit­i­cal rights.” Michalo­li­akos declined to com­ment for this story when called on his mobile phone.

    Land Mines

    The party wants land mines placed on the Greek-Turkish bor­der to stop ille­gal immi­grants enter­ing the coun­try and can­cel­la­tion of Greek loan accords with the Euro­pean Union and Inter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund.

    It also calls for wip­ing out debt accu­mu­lated since 1974 that’s deemed “ille­gal and bur­den­some.” Greek banks that get state funds should be nation­al­ized, as should all nat­ural resources, the party’s pro­gram says.

    Golden Dawn is bol­ster­ing sup­port by orga­niz­ing secu­rity patrols in immigrant-heavy neigh­bor­hoods and by run­ning food banks for Greeks suf­fer­ing from five years of reces­sion and unem­ploy­ment of almost 22 per­cent.

    “I’m vot­ing for Golden Dawn because I want all the immi­grants to leave,” Maria Papa­geor­giou, 52, said in an inter­view in the Athens neigh­bor­hood where she has lived all her life. “There’s a high crime rate, it’s a mis­er­able sit­u­a­tion. They should leave and go back to their coun­tries. Or maybe the Ger­mans can take them.“
    Euro Status

    At stake in the elec­tion is whether the next Greek gov­ern­ment can imple­ment the aus­ter­ity mea­sures on which bailout funds and euro mem­ber­ship depend.

    The Athens Stock Exchange has lost 61 per­cent of its value over the last two years. An index of Greek banks dropped 73 per­cent in the last 12 months. Greek gov­ern­ment bonds matur­ing in Feb­ru­ary 2023 are yield­ing 20.55 per­cent com­pared with 18.28 per­cent on March 14, the day after the country’s credit rat­ing was lifted out of the default cat­e­gory by Fitch Rat­ings fol­low­ing the agree­ment of a debt swap.

    Polls show Golden Dawn win­ning as much as 5 per­cent of the vote, enough to enter par­lia­ment for the first time. The party, which was founded two decades ago, won its first seat on the Athens city coun­cil in 2010.

    Golden Dawn’s rise comes as far-right or nation­al­ist par­ties are surg­ing in a num­ber of Euro­pean coun­tries includ­ing Hun­gary, Aus­tria, the Nether­lands and France, where anti– immi­grant National Front leader Marine Le Pen won 17.9 per­cent in the first round of pres­i­den­tial elec­tions on April 22.

    ...

    In addi­tion to Golden Dawn, the Inde­pen­dent Greeks party has polled near 10 per­cent. It was set up on Feb. 24 by Panos Kam­menos after he was expelled from New Democ­racy for cast­ing a vote against the interim Papademos government.

    Laos, a nation­al­ist party that wants immi­grants to be shipped to unin­hab­ited Greek islands before being deported, is also vying for anti-foreigner vot­ers. Polls show as many as 10 polit­i­cal par­ties could enter Greece’s parliament.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 30, 2012, 8:22 am
  11. These guys aren’t men­tally ill or any­thing like that. Nope:

    Greek polit­i­cal smack­down on live TV as extreme right fig­ure punches female rival
    June 8, 2012 — 7:15AM
    AP

    A Greek politi­cian is being hunted by police after the country’s elec­tion cam­paign turned into an ugly brawl on live TV.

    The spokesman of the extreme-right Golden Dawn party, after trad­ing insults of “com­mie” and “fas­cist” with two left-wing politi­cians, lunged at the women, smack­ing one three times across the face and throw­ing a glass of water at another.

    The vio­lent dis­play a week and a half before cru­cial elec­tions has stunned Greeks as they seek to avoid a cat­a­strophic exit from Europe’s com­mon euro currency.

    ...

    Dis­cus­sion went off on a tan­gent about polit­i­cal his­tory in Greece, which suf­fered a vicious civil war between Com­mu­nists and the right-wing after World War II, and a seven-year mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship that ended in 1974.

    Kasidiaris shot an insult of “you old Com­mie” at 58-year-old promi­nent Com­mu­nist Party mem­ber Liana Kanelli, after she called him a “fascist”.

    Kasidiaris, 31, also took offence at a ref­er­ence by Dourou to a court case pend­ing against him.

    It all careened into vio­lence when Dourou said there was a “cri­sis of democ­racy when peo­ple who will take the coun­try back 500 years have got into the Greek parliament”.

    Kasidiaris bounded out of his seat and hurled a glass of water at her, shout­ing an insult: “You cir­cus act.”

    Talk show host Gior­gos Papadakis ran over to Kasidiaris, attempt­ing to calm him down. But he turned on Kanelli, who appeared to throw a news­pa­per at him.

    Kasidiaris hit Kanelli three times — with hard right-left-right slaps to the sides of her head.

    Papadakis tried and failed to restrain him.

    The chan­nel cut to a com­mer­cial break, and returned five min­utes later with­out Kasidiaris.

    Papadakis and Kanelli later said attempts had been made to restrain Kasidiaris after the scuf­fle by shut­ting him in a room in the TV channel’s build­ing, but he broke through the door and left.

    ...

    Well, at least this inci­dent didn’t involve “The Hammer”.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 7, 2012, 1:38 pm
  12. The clip I watched of this was accom­pa­nied by some min­i­mal com­men­tary by the news­reader. What was strik­ing was that after ini­tially iden­ti­fy­ing Kasidiaris as a neo-nazi from a neo-nazi party with racist and vio­lent ten­den­cies, the anchor said that the party “appears to have tapped into some kind of nation­al­ist sen­ti­ment among the Greeks.”

    I doubt dis­tinc­tions could be blurred any­more than is accom­plished by this man’s spongy sum­mary descrip­tion. This is mas­ter­ful newsspeak.

    Inci­den­tally, he men­tions that the party has attracted about 7 per­cent of the Greek elec­torate. That hap­pens to be, by some esti­mates, about the per­cent­age of sociopaths in any given population.

    http://www.wivb.com/dpps/news/offbeat/greek-extremist-party-member-in-tv-assault-ob12-jgr_4200191

    Posted by Dwight | June 8, 2012, 6:36 am
  13. One out of two police­men voted for these guys. That’s right, sta­tis­tics on the May 6 elec­tion indi­cate that up to 50% of Greek police­men voted for the party of vig­i­lante neo-nazi hooli­gans:

    Party lead­ers set aside econ­omy to focus on secu­rity
    ekathimerini.com , Fri­day June 8, 2012

    Party lead­ers largely set aside eco­nomic issues on Fri­day as they con­tin­ued cam­paign­ing for the June 17 elec­tions and focused on crime, immi­gra­tion and the rise of the neo-Nazi Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) party, whose spokesman remained at large after punch­ing a fel­low par­lia­men­tary can­di­date on live TV on Thursday.

    New Democ­racy leader Anto­nis Sama­ras sought to cap­i­tal­ize on the furor cre­ated this week as a result of the behav­ior of Golden Dawn can­di­date Ilias Kasidiaris and the fatal shoot­ing of a rob­ber on the out­skirts of Athens. Con­ser­v­a­tive party sources said ND sees the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion as an oppor­tu­nity to appeal to con­cerned house­holds and to limit the num­ber of tra­di­tional ND sup­port­ers that will vote for par­ties fur­ther to the right.

    ..

    SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said that his party would “not tol­er­ate any­thing that threat­ens the safety of ordi­nary cit­i­zens.” He also pledged to rein­tro­duce the con­cept of a neigh­bor­hood police­man. “The policeman’s place is in neigh­bor­hoods and on the streets,” he said. “It is not in the cor­ri­dors of power or in Parliament.”

    The police, mean­while, rejected claims that they were not mak­ing proper efforts to track down Golden Dawn spokesman Kasidiaris. Sta­tis­tics indi­cated that as many as one in two police­men voted for the far-right party on May 6, but police spokesman Thana­sis Kokalakis denied that offi­cers’ polit­i­cal lean­ings had any influ­ence on the force’s work. “We are check­ing all the known spots where this indi­vid­ual is likely to be,” he said.

    One almost has to hope that the police were vot­ing for their own job secu­rity because there’s noth­ing quite like rov­ing neo-nazi street thugs for cre­at­ing a demand for more cops! The alter­na­tive expla­na­tions are pretty hor­ri­fy­ing for a soci­ety strug­gling to main­tain some sem­blance of law and order.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 8, 2012, 12:22 pm
  14. Oh my, this is just too pre­cious. This lunatic is now suing the two women he assaulted on live tv for “unpro­voked ver­bal abuse”:

    Golden Dawn spokesman sues can­di­dates he attacked on TV
    ekathimerini.com , Mon­day June 11, 2012 (13:53)

    Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris filed suits on Mon­day against the two par­lia­men­tary can­di­dates he attacked last week dur­ing a TV panel discussion.

    Kasidiaris accused Liana Kanelli of the Com­mu­nist Party (KKE), who he punched three times, and SYRIZA’s Rena Dourou, who he drenched in water, of unpro­voked ver­bal abuses.

    The Golden Dawn rep­re­sen­ta­tive also sued Antenna TV, which hosted the pro­gram, of attempt­ing to hold him against his wishes and jour­nal­ist Anto­nis Dela­to­las, who was on the panel, of abuse of power.

    ...

    Kasidiaris issued a state­ment over the week­end say­ing the inci­dent had been staged with the aim of mak­ing him and Golden Dawn look bad.

    Kasidiaris was due to appear in court on Mon­day to face charges of being an accom­plice in a vio­lent attack on a stu­dent in 2007. The neo-Nazi politi­cian denies dri­ving the car that car­ried the victim’s attackers.

    ...

    I think I fig­ured it out...this is all part of a bril­liant elec­toral scheme:

    The Golden Dawn: We may be thugs, but at least we’re hilar­i­ously out­landish thugs. This was just a pre­view. Want to see the next episode? Vote for us.

    I really wish that was entirely in jest.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 11, 2012, 1:42 pm
  15. There are those with a pair of brass balls and then there’s the Golden Dawn. Ladies and Gen­tle­men, this year’s Golden Globes award for “most suc­cess­ful imple­men­ta­tion of thug­gish clown­ish­ness in the cause of fas­cist dom­i­na­tion” goes to...

    Last updated: Sep­tem­ber 21, 2012 5:33 pm
    Greece grap­ples with shadow of Golden Dawn

    By Kerin Hope in Corinth

    Alexan­dros Pnev­matikos draws a line across his throat with one fin­ger, mim­ic­k­ing a threat by a mem­ber of the far-right Golden Dawn party dur­ing a recent protest.

    The two-term social­ist mayor of the south­ern Greek city of Corinth was jos­tled, then pushed vio­lently to the ground, by a group of men in black T-shirts bear­ing the party’s the swastika-like sym­bol. He claims he was attacked for declar­ing a few days ear­lier that “fas­cism will never pre­vail in Greece”.

    “Golden Dawn have taken to throw­ing their weight around ever since they won a seat here at the elec­tion,” Mr Pnev­matikos says in his spa­cious office hung with paint­ings of Corinth port and its ancient ruins.

    Golden Dawn, which won 7 per cent of the vote in June’s elec­tion and entered par­lia­ment for the first time, is on a roll, pulling estab­lished par­ties to the right – includ­ing Corinth’s socialists.

    The party is tap­ping into the despair of many at the country’s down­ward spi­ral, offer­ing an imme­di­ate out­let – and tar­get – for their rage. But here in one of its main strong­holds Golden Dawn is also tak­ing polit­i­cally effec­tive mea­sures in response to Greeks’ fear of crime, and to their poverty.

    Polls sug­gest the party has gained ground since the elec­tion as anx­i­ety deep­ens over a pos­si­ble Greek expul­sion from the euro. A poll this week showed a near dou­bling in the num­ber of peo­ple express­ing “pos­i­tive opin­ions” about Golden Dawn, up from 12 per cent in May to 22 per cent now.

    Thanos Veremis, a his­to­rian and polit­i­cal ana­lyst, says: “They address people’s feel­ings of inse­cu­rity in dif­fi­cult times, they offer the unem­ployed some­where to belong ... and the immi­grant issue gives them momentum.”

    Ilias Kas­sidiaris, the party’s spokesman, denies that Golden Dawn is neo-fascist, despite its sym­bol and the Nazi-style salute with which mem­bers greet Nikos Michalo­li­akos, its leader. “We are pure Greek nation­al­ists,” he says.

    ...

    Golden Dawn’s posi­tion takes no account of Greek leg­is­la­tion allow­ing immi­grants to obtain res­i­dence and work permits.

    “There is no such per­son as a legal immi­grant,” says Mr Kas­sidiaris, a for­mer Greek army com­mando whose approval rat­ing soared after he slapped a female Com­mu­nist par­lia­men­tary can­di­date on a break­fast tele­vi­sion talk-show.

    This week Mr Kas­sidiaris revealed that he had asked to be stripped of his par­lia­men­tary immu­nity from pros­e­cu­tion ahead of an appeal court hear­ing of an armed rob­bery case in which he is accused of dri­ving the get­away car. He denies involve­ment in the robbery.

    The case has high­lighted alleged con­nec­tions between Golden Dawn and the Greek crim­i­nal under­world. “We get reports their mem­bers are involved in pro­tec­tion rack­ets, some­times in col­lu­sion with the police,” Mr Dama­los says.

    Yet Golden Dawn has also tried to build an image of social respon­si­bil­ity, through reg­u­lar food dis­tri­b­u­tions to needy Greeks reg­is­tered with the party and by pro­vid­ing a ser­vice to accom­pany pen­sion­ers to the bank in neigh­bour­hoods where mug­gings – which they blame on immi­grants – are frequent.

    Maria Tsal­patura, a 75-year-old retired school­teacher, says she calls Golden Dawn every month before she goes to col­lect her pen­sion. “They come on time and they’re very polite, I think they offer a real ser­vice,” she says.

    ...

    No, we aren’t crim­i­nal neo-nazis dri­ving get­away cars and foment­ing anti-immigrant ten­sions and pick­ing on the weak­est mem­bers of that pop­u­lace for crass per­sonal gain while poi­son­ing the nation’s pol­i­tics and crip­pling its future. No, that must have been some­one else. We were too busy help­ing old ladies cross the street.

    24k.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 22, 2012, 11:33 pm
  16. http://www.jta.org/news/article/2012/09/23/3107701/greek-neo-nazi-party-sets-up-new-york-office

    Greek neo-Nazi party sets up New York office

    Sep­tem­ber 23, 2012

    ATHENS, Greece (JTA) — The Greek neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party report­edly set up an office in New York City in a bid to bol­ster its sup­port among expa­tri­ate Greek communities.

    The pop­ulist ultra­na­tion­al­ist party has been col­lect­ing food and med­i­cine at dri­ves in New York for Greeks left des­ti­tute by the country’s mas­sive finan­cial cri­sis and recently dis­trib­uted the aid in Athens, accord­ing to the Kathimerini daily.

    The web­site of the Golden Dawn New York branch, which fea­tures the party’s black swastika-like sym­bol across a dark New York sky­line, promises the aid will be donated “only to Greek people.”

    Sim­i­lar dri­ves also have been held in Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia, and Mon­treal, Canada, Kathimerini said.

    Golden Dawn swept into the Greek par­lia­ment with 19 law­mak­ers in recent elec­tions cam­paign­ing on an anti-austerity, anti-immigrant plat­form, prey­ing on the fears of Greeks who have seen the coun­try flooded with immi­grants amid a ter­ri­ble recession.

    Greek and inter­na­tional Jew­ish groups have con­demned the party repeat­edly as racist and anti-Semitic. Golden Dawn leader Niko­laos Michalo­li­akos uses the Heil Hitler salute and in recent inter­views denied the exis­tence of gas cham­bers at Nazi death camps dur­ing World War II.

    The New York chap­ter of Golden Dawn vows to help its brethren in Greece “resist and over­come the geno­ci­dal multi-culturalist and anti-Hellenic agenda of the New World Order,” and com­bat the “unholy alliance of the bankers, the media, cor­rupt politi­cians and the edu­ca­tional system.”

    How­ever, it “sup­ports the Amer­i­can Con­sti­tu­tion and respects all U.S. laws,” the web­site states.

    Posted by Vanfield | September 24, 2012, 4:25 pm
  17. Mon­sters indeed:

    Greece’s ‘Mon­ster’ Debt Prob­lem Haunts Europe
    Pub­lished: Mon­day, 12 Nov 2012 | 8:31 AM ET
    By: Holly Elly­att and Kelly Evans

    Euro zone finance min­is­ters meet­ing in Brus­sels on Mon­day won’t make a final deci­sion on aid for Greece, despite Athens pass­ing a new aus­ter­ity bud­get. But one for­mer Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank (ECB) offi­cial has told CNBC that Europe must give Athens more time.

    Urg­ing Europe to extend Greece’s debt matu­ri­ties,for­mer ECB board mem­ber Lorenzo Bini Smaghi told CNBC that it was a crit­i­cal moment for Europe to help and not hin­der Greece.

    “Greece was asked to do a series of things that they have done. Now it’s the rest of Europe that needs to find a solu­tion and help Greece come out from this sit­u­a­tion,” he said, stat­ing that there were sev­eral options avail­able to Europe to assist Greece.

    “They can lengthen the matu­ri­ties, they can reduce inter­est rates — there’s no point ask­ing for high inter­est rates. There are so many ways in which the offi­cial sec­tor can con­tribute, they need to do that,” Bini Smaghi said in an inter­view at London’s Chatham House.

    On Sun­day night, Greece’s par­lia­ment approved a 2013 aus­ter­ity bud­get that could save the coun­try from bank­ruptcy but aid for Athens could be delayed, because of dis­agree­ments between the Euro­pean Union and the Inter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF), accord­ing to the Finan­cial Times, over how much debt relief should be afforded to Greece.

    Bini Smaghi said that meth­ods to deal with coun­tries with high debt were known to orga­ni­za­tions such as the IMF and that the pub­lic sec­tor doesn’t have to “mark to mar­ket,” a ref­er­ence to paper losses that would have to be borne by the ECB and Euro­pean gov­ern­ments if Greece was given more time or lower inter­est rates.

    “If you lengthen the matu­ri­ties, the net present value may be reduced but that’s the way to ensure debt sus­tain­abil­ity is assured.”

    Bini Smaghi added that Greece also needed “much more time” to intro­duce aus­ter­ity mea­sures and needed more bridge loans to tide it over.

    “They [Europe] need to put an end to this sit­u­a­tion,” he said, deny­ing that it could set a prece­dent for other strug­gling economies such as Spain and Por­tu­gal. “The heads of state always say that Greece is special..they went to very spe­cial mea­sures that do not apply to other countries.”

    ...

    Europe to Blame for Greece

    Mean­while, one econ­o­mist told CNBC that Greece’s prob­lems were of Europe’s mak­ing and that any moves by the euro zone to save Greece could be in vain any­way as Greece will prob­a­bly leave the euro zone in 2013.

    Costas Lapavit­sas, pro­fes­sor of eco­nom­ics at SOAS Uni­ver­sity in Lon­don said Europe has cre­ated a “mon­ster” out of Greece through its eco­nomic mis­man­age­ment of the country’s debt sit­u­a­tion and the work going into sal­vaging Europe’s most trou­bled econ­omy will likely come to naught.

    “I would be amazed if Greece remained a mem­ber of the euro zone in 2013,“ Lapavit­sas told CNBC on Monday.

    “But that is not the end of the story. Greece can­not han­dle the euro dis­ci­pline, it needs to get out, it needs to revive its com­pet­i­tive­ness,” he said.

    In a sig­nal to its Euro­pean and inter­na­tional pay­mas­ters, Greece’s frac­tured coali­tion showed a rare sign of unity in its approval of the bud­get. That fol­lowed another vote last Wednes­day when Greece’s par­lia­ment passed fur­ther aus­ter­ity mea­sures. The show of sol­i­dar­ity under pres­sure showed Greece’s sense of urgency in secur­ing a fur­ther tranche of cru­cial for­eign aid — which will save it from immi­nent bankruptcy.

    Pro­fes­sor Lapavit­sas told CNBC Europe’s “Squawk Box” that Greece needed to leave the euro rather than adhere to an end­less set of puni­tive aus­ter­ity measures.

    “It needs to put its econ­omy back on track and the cur­rent set of mea­sures don’t do that,” he said, allud­ing to the vote on fur­ther aus­ter­ity mea­sures that have slashed 9.4 bil­lion euros ($11.9 bil­lion) from the pen­sion, wel­fare and pub­lic sec­tor wage bill amid a back­drop of grow­ing pub­lic anger and protest.

    Though the Greek prime min­is­ter Anto­nis Sama­ras has said there would be no more spend­ing cuts for Greece, Pro­fes­sor Lapavit­sas said the mea­sures, approved against a back­drop of wide­spread pub­lic oppo­si­tion, would lead to “severe con­trac­tion and long-term stag­na­tion.”

    “I would expect polit­i­cal and social unrest sooner, rather than later, unless Greece gets out of the euro,” he said, adding that under the appar­ent unity of the Greek coali­tion, “the weak­ness remained.”

    ...

    “Debt is the major prob­lem and that must be dealt with through a write-off,” he said, adding that though he doesn’t exon­er­ate Greece from the part it played in its own eco­nomic dis­as­ter, Europe was to blame for debt mis­man­age­ment in Spain, Por­tu­gal and Greece.

    “Europe has cre­ated a mon­ster out of the Greek debt problem…Debt for­give­ness for Greece– which is absolutely nec­es­sary, is now much, much more com­pli­cated,” he said. “Greece owes a lot of money, this is not a small amount. We’re talk­ing about hun­dreds of bil­lions of euros.”

    Pro­fes­sor Lapavit­sas said that the vol­ume of Greek debt had increased since offi­cial involve­ment from euro zone mon­e­tary insti­tu­tions.

    “After two and a half years of so-called debt man­age­ment and res­cue, what’s hap­pened is that the total vol­ume of debt has actu­ally increased and the com­po­si­tion has changed against Greece,” he said.

    “Greek debt used to be about 300 bil­lion euros, it was in Greek bonds and could’ve been writ­ten off under Greek law…Now, [how­ever] it’s mul­ti­lat­eral debt — debt owed to offi­cial lenders. It’s a mat­ter of pub­lic pol­icy in Europe about who’s going to take the losses.”

    Over 70 per­cent of Greece’s debts are now owed to offi­cial lenders such as the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank and Inter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund. Private-sector bond­hold­ers agreed to a hair­cut on their bond hold­ings ear­lier in the year but Ger­many is so far resist­ing calls for fur­ther debt relief for Greece.

    More patience is all that is required while we wait for the the ben­e­fits of the austerity-measures to take effect. Remem­ber, it’s not just about debt relief. Aus­ter­ity is needed for social renewal and a new civic spirit of hard work and per­sonal respon­si­bil­ity. The mon­sters of sloth and insti­tu­tional cor­rup­tion must be slain:

    Spe­cial Report: Greece’s far-right party goes on the offensive

    By Dina Kyriakidou

    ATHENS | Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:15am EST

    (Reuters) — Arm raised in a Nazi-style salute, the leader of Greece’s fastest-rising polit­i­cal party sur­veyed hun­dreds of young men in black T-shirts as they exploded into cheers. Their bat­tle cry rever­ber­ated through the night: Blood! Hon­our! Golden Dawn!

    “We may some­times raise our hand this way, but these hands are clean, not dirty. They haven’t stolen,” shouted Niko­laos Mihalo­li­akos as he stood, flood­lit, in front of about 2,000 diehard party fol­low­ers fill­ing an open-air amphithe­atre at Goudi park, a for­mer mil­i­tary camp near Athens.

    “We were dozens, then a few hun­dred. Now we’re thou­sands and it’s only the begin­ning,” cried the leader of Golden Dawn, a far-right party that is see­ing its sup­port soar amid Greece’s eco­nomic col­lapse. Last month’s rally revealed the party, which describes itself as nation­al­ist and pledges to expel all ille­gal for­eign­ers, has a new-found sense of tri­umph, even a swag­ger, that some find menacing.

    Rid­ing a wave of pub­lic anger at cor­rupt politi­cians, aus­ter­ity and ille­gal immi­gra­tion, Golden Dawn has seen its pop­u­lar­ity dou­ble in a few months. A sur­vey by VPRC, an inde­pen­dent polling com­pany, put the party’s sup­port at 14 per­cent in Octo­ber, com­pared with the seven per­cent it won in June’s election.

    Polit­i­cal ana­lysts see no imme­di­ate halt to its mete­oric ascent. They warn that Golden Dawn, which denies being neo-Nazi despite openly adopt­ing sim­i­lar ide­ol­ogy and sym­bols, may lure as many as one in three Greek voters.

    “As long as the polit­i­cal sys­tem doesn’t change and doesn’t put an end to cor­rup­tion, this phe­nom­e­non will not be stemmed,” said Costas Panagopou­los, chief of ALCO, another inde­pen­dent polling com­pany. “Golden Dawn can poten­tially tap up to 30 per­cent of voters.”

    The party now lies third in the polls, behind con­ser­v­a­tive New Democ­racy and the main oppo­si­tion, the rad­i­cal left­ist Syriza. Vio­lent behav­ior by Golden Dawn mem­bers, who often stroll through run-down Athens neigh­bor­hoods harass­ing immi­grants, seems to boost rather than hurt the party’s standing.

    As the gov­ern­ment imposes yet more aus­ter­ity on an enraged pub­lic, the col­lapse of the rul­ing conservative-leftist coali­tion remains on the polit­i­cal hori­zon. The pos­si­bil­ity that Golden Dawn could cap­ture sec­ond place in a snap elec­tion is slim but real, say pollsters.

    Ana­lysts believe that, ulti­mately, the party lacks the broad appeal and struc­ture needed to gain mass trac­tion. In World War Two Greece suf­fered mas­sacres and famine in its fight against the Nazis, and the spec­tre of the 1967–1974 mil­i­tary junta still hangs heavy over its mod­ern pol­i­tics. So why are many Greeks now turn­ing to a party whose emblems and rhetoric, crit­ics say, resem­ble Hitler’s?

    Golden Dawn denies any such resem­blance. In an inter­view with Reuters at an open-air cafe in the Athens dis­trict of Papagou, a tra­di­tional neigh­bour­hood for mil­i­tary per­son­nel, Ilias Pana­gio­taros, a Golden Dawn law­maker and spokesman, explained the party’s appeal. “Golden Dawn is the only insti­tu­tion in this coun­try that works. Every­thing else has stopped work­ing or is par­tially work­ing,” he said.

    “We oper­ate like a well-organized army unit, because the mil­i­tary is the best insti­tu­tion in any coun­try.“
    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 12, 2012, 8:24 am
  18. This is a reminder that the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and affil­i­ated Islamists aren’t the only ones push­ing for blas­phemy laws lately. The Golden Dawn, it turns out, has also been assert­ing that it can dis­cern god-approved speech:

    Chris­tion Sci­ence Mon­i­tor
    Blas­phemy in democracy’s birth­place? Greece arrests Face­book user.

    A Greek man could face two years in prison after being arrested last week for blas­phemy after post­ing a Face­book page that sat­i­rized a famous Greek Ortho­dox monk.

    By Niko­lia Apos­tolou, Cor­re­spon­dent / Octo­ber 2, 2012

    Athens

    Blas­phemy laws have been the sub­ject of hot debate in recent weeks around the world, par­tic­u­larly in the Mus­lim world, where such laws are com­mon­place. But the lat­est con­tro­versy isn’t some­where in the Mus­lim world, it’s the cra­dle of West­ern civ­i­liza­tion: Greece.

    A man was arrested last week in Evia, Greece, on charges of post­ing “mali­cious blas­phemy and reli­gious insult on the known social net­work­ing site, Face­book” accord­ing to a press release by the Greek police.

    The accused, whose iden­tity has not been made pub­lic, had cre­ated and man­aged the Face­book page Elder Pastit­sios the Pasta­far­ian, a name that plays on a com­bi­na­tion of Elder Paisios, a famous, late Greek-Orthodox monk, and the Greek food pastit­sio, a baked pasta dish made of ground beef and béchamel sauce. The term “pasta­far­ian” is a ref­er­ence to the satir­i­cal pseudo-religion “Church of the Fly­ing Spaghetti Mon­ster,” which has been used to lam­poon cre­ation­ism. The pic­ture of Elder Pastit­sios has a pastit­sio where the monk’s face should be.

    Paisios, who died in 1994, is well-known in Greece for his spir­i­tual teach­ings. There have been dozens of books pub­lished about him and his prophe­cies, includ­ing such top­ics as the end of the world, the upbring­ing of chil­dren, cou­ples’ rela­tion­ships, even the diet Paisios sup­pos­edly fol­lowed. Some high-ranking priests have pro­posed that the Ortho­dox Church sanc­tify him – a kind of ele­va­tion to saint­hood.

    “Pastit­sios was pure satire and with­out any vul­gar lan­guage or insults,” the accused said in an inter­view with the Greek web­site Pan­do­ras Box, where he explained how he wanted to crit­i­cize the com­mer­cial­iza­tion of Paisios. “I take the books and crit­i­cize them. I use satire.”

    Greece is among the few coun­tries in the Euro­pean Union with active blas­phemy laws. Under Arti­cle 189 of the Greek Crim­i­nal Code, those con­victed of break­ing the law can be impris­oned for up to two years.

    ...

    The issue of the Pastit­sios page was brought to the atten­tion of the min­is­ter of pub­lic order by a mem­ber of par­lia­ment belong­ing to Golden Dawn, the neo-fascist party that entered the Greek leg­is­la­ture for the first time in May. Golden Dawn’s pop­u­lar­ity has been ris­ing, and as a result it is able to influ­ence the pub­lic agenda, with the help of the pop­ulist Greek media and the government’s fear of los­ing its more con­ser­v­a­tive voters.

    “Obvi­ously, the law is irra­tional since God doesn’t need to be pro­tected by any crim­i­nal code,” says Pro­fes­sor Katrouga­los. “What the young man did was express him­self. For some, it may have been in a dis­taste­ful man­ner but you can’t pros­e­cute taste.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 3, 2012, 9:59 am
  19. Well, at least he didn’t punch a 12-year old girl while tak­ing a swing at the mayor of Athens. That counts as progress, right? I mean, we’re talk­ing about the Golden Dawn here. When your polit­i­cal move­ment is this infan­tile baby steps are about the best one can expect. So con­grats to the Golden Dawn law­maker, your gun went off at the air­port but at least you didn’t shoot a 12 year old girl. Job well done:

    Far-right politician’s air­port gun gaffe prompts review of Greek law­mak­ers’ firearms licenses

    By Asso­ci­ated Press, Pub­lished: May 30

    ATHENS, Greece — A Greek extreme far-right law­maker who wanted to travel with his licensed hand­gun on a domes­tic flight drew unwanted atten­tion after the firearm acci­den­tally went off dur­ing check-in pro­ce­dures Thurs­day. Police said nobody was hurt in the inci­dent in a secluded area of Athens Inter­na­tional Airport.

    But the gaffe drew broad con­dem­na­tion from main­stream par­ties and prompted a quick gov­ern­ment deci­sion to review all gun licenses granted to mem­bers of Par­lia­ment. About 50 of Greece’s 300 law­mak­ers have such per­mits, in a coun­try where legal gun own­er­ship is uncom­mon and strictly regulated.

    Author­i­ties said Thursday’s acci­dent occurred in an office away from the busy airport’s pub­lic areas, as Golden Dawn law­maker Anto­nis Gre­gos was hand­ing over the gun to air­line offi­cials. Police have ordered an inves­ti­ga­tion into how a round was appar­ently left in the cham­ber after the ammu­ni­tion clip was removed.

    Nation­al­ist and anti-immigrant Golden Dawn, which rejects the neo-Nazi label attached to it by main­stream par­ties and inter­na­tional rights groups, holds 18 of Parliament’s 300 seats. More than a dozen of its law­mak­ers are believed to hold gun per­mits, although police have declined to issue full details, cit­ing secu­rity concerns.

    A party law­maker has been accused of try­ing to pull a hand­gun as he was being restrained by police guards after allegedly try­ing to punch the mayor of Athens this month.

    A police offi­cial told the Asso­ci­ated Press that author­i­ties will now re-examine all politi­cians’ gun per­mits to see why they were ini­tially issued, what secu­rity con­cerns were cited and whether they are valid.

    “They will also check whether the nec­es­sary psy­chi­atric doc­u­men­ta­tion has been sub­mit­ted,” the offi­cial said on con­di­tion of anonymity because he wasn’t autho­rized to talk to the media on the record. “And obvi­ously the behav­ior of each law­maker will play a part — that is whether they were involved in inci­dents where they threat­ened to use a gun or made intim­i­dat­ing moves.”

    The inci­dent fol­lows a heated debate over gun-packing politi­cians, which prompted Par­lia­ment to for­bid its mem­bers to enter the build­ing armed.

    “You can’t have law­mak­ers who are loony, fas­cists, pop­ulists or idiots walk­ing through (Par­lia­ment) with guns,” con­ser­v­a­tive mem­ber of Par­lia­ment Fotini Pip­ili argued before the ban was imposed.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 31, 2013, 9:10 am
  20. One of the rea­sons there are so many anti-fascists in places like Greece is because it’s hard not to notice that the anti-anti-fascists are often pro-murder:

    Anti-fascist protests across Greece turn vio­lent
    AP 4:47 p.m. EDT Sep­tem­ber 18, 2013

    KERATSINI, Greece (AP) — Vio­lent clashes broke out in sev­eral Greek cities Wednes­day after a musi­cian described as an anti-fascist activist was stabbed to death by a man who said he belonged to the far-right Golden Dawn party. More than 75 peo­ple were detained.

    The death of Pav­los Fys­sas, 34, drew con­dem­na­tion from across Greece’s polit­i­cal spec­trum and from abroad. While the extrem­ist Golden Dawn has been blamed for numer­ous vio­lent attacks in the past, the overnight stab­bing is the most seri­ous vio­lence so far directly attrib­uted to a member.

    Golden Dawn leader Nicholas Michalo­li­akos denied that the party had any­thing to do with the attack.

    Fys­sas, a hip-hop singer whose stage name was Kil­lah P, died in a state hos­pi­tal early Wednes­day after being stabbed twice out­side a cafe in the Ker­atsini area west of Athens.

    Police said a 45-year-old man arrested at the scene admit­ted to attack­ing Fys­sas and said he belonged to Golden Dawn. A knife with traces of blood was found near his car.

    Clashes broke out Wednes­day evening between riot police and thou­sands of pro­test­ers hold­ing anti-fascist demon­stra­tions in Fys­sas’ mem­ory in Ker­atsini and another five cities.

    In Ker­atsini, vio­lence broke out near the scene of the stab­bing, with hun­dreds of pro­test­ers attack­ing a nearby police station.

    The con­fronta­tion lasted more than two hours, with riot police using tear gas to repel youths, who set fire to trash bins and smashed up side­walks with ham­mers to throw rocks at police.

    ...

    Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Evan­ge­los Venize­los, whose Social­ist party is part of the coali­tion gov­ern­ment, said Golden Dawn had “vio­lence as its pri­or­ity and must be dealt with as a crim­i­nal organization.”

    Hannes Swo­boda, pres­i­dent of the Social­ists and Democ­rats Group in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, urged Greek author­i­ties to exam­ine ban­ning the party altogether.

    “Golden Dawn’s openly xeno­pho­bic, neo-Nazi hatred even goes as far as mur­der­ing polit­i­cal oppo­nents. This is shock­ing and intol­er­a­ble by any stan­dards, and more so in a Euro­pean Union coun­try,” he said.

    The rights group Amnesty Inter­na­tional called on author­i­ties to pre­vent any fur­ther incidents.

    “Polit­i­cally moti­vated vio­lence of this kind is unac­cept­able any­where, and his­tory has shown the grim con­se­quences if it goes unchecked,” said Jez­erca Tigani, Amnesty’s deputy Europe and Cen­tral Asia pro­gram direc­tor. “The Greek author­i­ties must send a clear mes­sage that attacks like this will not be tolerated.”

    The sus­pect, who was not named in accor­dance with Greek law, appeared before a pros­e­cu­tor Wednes­day evening along with his wife, who was arrested on sus­pi­cion of con­ceal­ing evi­dence. Another cou­ple also appeared in court on sim­i­lar charges. Five pros­e­cu­tors have been assigned to the case.

    Golden Dawn, whose senior mem­bers have expressed admi­ra­tion for Adolf Hitler although they deny being neo-Nazi, won nearly 7 per­cent of the vote in 2012 gen­eral elec­tions. Recent opin­ion polls show its sup­port has since risen to around 12 percent.

    Party mem­bers and sup­port­ers, often clearly iden­ti­fi­able in black T-shirts and com­bat pants, have been sus­pected of beat­ings and stab­bings across the coun­try, usu­ally of dark-skinned migrants. In Jan­u­ary, two men iden­ti­fied as party sym­pa­thiz­ers were arrested for the fatal stab­bing of a Pak­istani migrant worker.

    But Wednesday’s killing was the first attrib­uted to a Golden Dawn mem­ber, and the most severe attrib­uted to polit­i­cal rather than racial motives.

    “I am shaken by the event,” said Pub­lic Order Min­is­ter Nikos Den­dias, who can­celled a visit to Rome sched­uled for Thurs­day. The killing and other recent vio­lent inci­dents “show in the clear­est pos­si­ble way the inten­tions of the neo-Nazi creation.”

    Michalo­li­akos, the Golden Dawn head, said his party “unre­servedly con­demns the mur­der of the 34-year-old at Ker­atsini and denies any involve­ment of the party.”

    “All the polit­i­cal par­ties must assume their respon­si­bil­i­ties and not cre­ate a cli­mate of civil war, giv­ing a polit­i­cal char­ac­ter to a tragic event,” he said.

    Police spokesman Chris­tos Parthe­nis said the sus­pect drove to the scene of an alter­ca­tion between two groups of peo­ple, got out of the car and stabbed Fys­sas. Friends of the vic­tim told Greek media they had been attacked by a large group of men as they left the cafe.

    Golden Dawn law­maker Michalis Avrani­tis offered a dif­fer­ent ver­sion of events, say­ing the vic­tim and the sus­pect had ini­tially argued about a soc­cer match.

    “Yes, this man, as it turns out, has declared him­self to be a mem­ber of Golden Dawn. But Golden Dawn has 1 mil­lion sup­port­ers,” Avrani­tis said in Par­lia­ment. “If, in a restau­rant, two drunken idiots have a fight and some­one is stabbed, should we look at their ide­ol­ogy and blame that?”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 18, 2013, 1:33 pm
  21. While Capone’s mur­der of Joe Howard, for instance, does indeed share an eery sim­i­lar­ity to the Golden Dawn’s cam­paign of vio­lence in Greece, the ghost of Al Capone must be tak­ing seri­ous issue with the com­par­i­son:

    Greece inves­ti­gates police links to far-right party after killing

    By Harry Papachristou

    ATHENS | Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:51pm BST

    (Reuters) — Greece sus­pended sev­eral senior police offi­cers on Mon­day and launched an inves­ti­ga­tion into pos­si­ble police links with a far-right party, after the killing of an anti-racism rap­per raised con­cerns about the force.

    Pav­los Fissas’s stab­bing by a sup­porter of the Golden Dawn party last week revived accu­sa­tions that police were turn­ing a blind eye to its activ­i­ties or had even been infil­trated by it.

    A man who said he had a “loose” con­nec­tion with Golden Dawn has been charged with Fissas’s mur­der but the party, Greece’s third most pop­u­lar, has denied involvement.

    The inves­ti­ga­tion comes as Prime Min­is­ter Anto­nis Samaras’s gov­ern­ment tries to rein in a party that has surged in pop­u­lar­ity dur­ing Greece’s eco­nomic cri­sis. With its vehe­mently anti-immigrant rhetoric, Golden Dawn is often blamed for attacks against immi­grants, some­thing it denies.

    The pub­lic order min­istry ordered the inves­ti­ga­tion after media reports alleged police were “actively involved” with the party’s activ­i­ties and may have par­tic­i­pated in ille­gal acts.

    Five senior national police offi­cials as well as the police chiefs in the Athens neigh­bour­hoods of Nikaia and of Ker­atsini, where the killing occurred, have been replaced, the police said in a statement.

    “The min­is­ter is deter­mined to dis­pel any shadow of doubt that hangs over the force,” the state­ment said.

    Four police offi­cials in Evia, in cen­tral Greece, were sus­pended for fail­ing to inves­ti­gate why peo­ple had been found car­ry­ing weapons, includ­ing base­ball bats, near Golden Dawn offices in the area, the pub­lic order min­istry said.

    Two other high-ranking police offi­cials also resigned, cit­ing per­sonal rea­sons, it added.

    ...

    Golden Dawn leader Nikos Mihalo­li­akos said moves to ban the party would not succeed.

    “Golden Dawn is every­where. It has spread to every city, to every vil­lage,” Mihalo­li­akos said in a video live-streamed on the party’s web­site. “It’s in every neigh­bour­hood and you will not be able to con­tain it. Deal with it!”

    Mihalo­li­akos said the party was vic­tim of a “dirty attack by a cor­rupt sys­tem” and vowed to prove its innocence.

    “We are asked to prove that ... I am not Al Capone, that we are not the mafia,” he said. “And I would like to ask — it is a rhetor­i­cal ques­tion of course — is there a big­ger crim­i­nal gang than that which bank­rupt the country?”

    Police have often refused to inves­ti­gate racist attacks by Golden Dawn mem­bers on immi­grants, news­pa­per Eleft­herotypia reported on Mon­day, cit­ing a leader of the Pak­istani com­mu­nity in Athens.

    he party, with an emblem resem­bling a swastika, denies accu­sa­tions of vio­lence. Its mem­bers have been seen giv­ing Nazi-style salutes but the party rejects the neo-Nazi label. Mihalo­li­akos has pub­licly denied the Holocaust.

    Golden Dawn rose from being a fringe party to win 18 par­lia­men­tary seats in a June 2012 elec­tion. But sup­port fell by 2.5 per­cent­age points to 5.8 per­cent after the stab­bing and most Greeks believe it threat­ens democ­racy, a poll showed on Monday.

    When asked to described the party, 47 per­cent of those polled called it a “fas­cist organ­i­sa­tion”, 31 per­cent called it a “crim­i­nal organ­i­sa­tion under the guise of a polit­i­cal party”, and 16.9 per­cent saw it as a “pop­ulist nation­al­ist movement”.

    It isn’t always easy being the ghost of Al Capone.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 23, 2013, 7:51 pm
  22. Clas­si­cal fas­cism in action: With sup­port col­laps­ing fol­low­ing the mur­der of an anti-fascist musi­cian, it looks like the Golden Dawn is going to play the “for­eign­ers are out to get us!” card:

    Golden Dawn remains defi­ant amid Greek revul­sion at musician’s murder

    Far-right party’s leader threat­ens to ‘open the gates of hell’ as inquiry presents evi­dence of col­lu­sion with secu­rity forces
    Helena Smith in Athens
    theguardian.com, Wednes­day 25 Sep­tem­ber 2013 13.29 EDT

    Thou­sands of Greeks have taken to the streets to denounce the mur­der of a rap musi­cian stabbed to death by a mem­ber of the far-right Golden Dawn as a gov­ern­ment inquiry pre­sented evi­dence of wide­spread infil­tra­tion of secu­rity forces by the ultra-nationalist party.

    The organ­i­sa­tion has denied any involve­ment in the killing of Pav­los Fys­sas and the party’s leader, Nikos Michalo­li­akos, warned that what he described as mud-slinging and slan­der “would open the gates of hell”.

    Golden Dawn, whose emblem resem­bles the swastika, said the media was behind a “dirty war” to anni­hi­late it and sin­gled out the Guardian – “the news­pa­per of cap­i­tal­ists in the City” – for incit­ing vio­lence against the group. “[All of which] proves, exactly, the role of cer­tain embassies in the entire oper­a­tion to dis­man­tle [Golden Dawn],” it said.

    The state­ment was posted on the party’s web­site after a sur­vey by the polling com­pany Alco showed sup­port for the group drop­ping by four per­cent­age points, from 10.8%, in the wake of the fatal stabbing.

    The over­whelm­ing major­ity of respon­dents blamed Golden Dawn – whose mete­oric rise on the back of eco­nomic dis­con­tent has made it Greece’s third-largest party – for the esca­lat­ing violence.

    Last week’s killing not only con­vulsed Greek soci­ety but prompted a num­ber of for­mer Golden Dawn sym­pa­this­ers and cadres to break their silence. The pic­ture that has emerged is of an organ­i­sa­tion run as a chain of cells with a strict chain of com­mand lead­ing all the way up to Michalo­li­akos, a math­e­mati­cian who founded the party more than 20 years ago.

    Mem­bers have spo­ken of col­lu­sion with the police – who in one video are seen giv­ing cover to Golden Dawn sup­port­ers dur­ing street bat­tles against anti-fascists – and spe­cial forces from whom they have claimed to have received train­ing in clan­des­tine camps.

    Step­ping up inves­ti­ga­tions into whether Golden dawn acted as “a crim­i­nal neo-Nazi” organ­i­sa­tion, judi­cial author­i­ties have sig­nalled that at least five more party cadres will be charged in con­nec­tion with Fyssas’s murder.

    Pub­lic order min­is­ter Nikos Den­dias, who ordered the probe into Golden Dawn, said he had sent fur­ther evi­dence of the extrem­ists’ com­plic­ity in attacks on immi­grants, left­ists and trade union­ists to Greece’s supreme court. The file chron­i­cles more than 150 inci­dents in a dossier of vio­lence dat­ing back to 1992. It comes in addi­tion to human rights groups link­ing the neo-fascist party to over 300 assaults, mostly on dark-skinned migrants, in the three years since debt-stricken Greece descended into eco­nomic cri­sis.

    Anto­nis Sama­ras’ frag­ile coali­tion has pledged to cut off state fund­ing to the party if it is found to be con­nected to the mur­der. Golden Dawn has vehe­mently denied any involve­ment in the crime, despite the man who has con­fessed to the killing claim­ing alle­giance to the group.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 26, 2013, 9:02 pm

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