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Cable 344: 2010 US Embassy Report on Security and Counter-Terrorism in Greece

Cable 344: 2010 US Embassy Report on Security and Counter-Terrorism in Greece

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Published by Andres
This is a 2010 US embassy report on the rise in domestic terrorism incidents and other security concerns in Greece.
This is a 2010 US embassy report on the rise in domestic terrorism incidents and other security concerns in Greece.

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Published by: Andres on Jul 27, 2011
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07/27/2011

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O R 181809Z FEB 10FM AMEMBASSY ATHENSTO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1552C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ATHENS000119SUBJECT: GREEK SECURITY INCIDENTS AT 20-YEAR HIGH-- POLICE YET TOROLL UP TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS
REF: ATHENS 27; 09 ATHENS 1679; 09 ATHENS 1519; 09ATHENS 213009 ATHENS 1972; ATHENS 30CLASSIFIED BY: Deborah McCarthy, Charge; REASON:1.4(B), (D)¶1. (SBU) Greece has seen a steep increase over thepast ten years in security incidents related todomestic terrorists, extremists, and anarchists.This increase has been especially dramatic inrecent years. The Embassy recorded over 430security incidents in 2009, defined to includeincendiary and explosive attacks, as well asattacks involving small arms, grenades, and otherinfantry-style weaponry. This was far more thanrecorded in any of the previous twenty years, andnearly triple the total in 2000. It surpassed theprevious record of 310, set the year before in2008.¶2. (SBU) The increase in the number of attacks hasbeen accompanied by the use of more powerful bombs
 
and bolder tactics in major attacks. In recentmonths we have seen the explosion of a powerfulbomb outside the headquarters of the NationalInsurance Corporation in central Athens December27, 2009, and the January 9, 2010, blast outsideParliament which, although smaller in size,attracted major Greek and international attentionbecause of its prominent location (ref A). TheConspiracy of Cells of Fire and the Guerilla Groupof Terrorists - two groups previously known forsmaller and less visible attacks - issued jointstatements claiming responsibility for bothattacks. On February 16, a small explosive devicedetonated outside the office building housing theAthens office of J.P. Morgan bankers in theKolonaki neighborhood of Athens. No group has yetclaimed responsibility.¶3. (SBU) Minister of Citizens Protection MichalisChrysochoides, who came into office with the newPapandreou government in October 2009, appears tohave had some success in preventing the majorviolence that many expected on key anniversariesNovember 17 and December 6. He has also instituteda large police show of force in anarchiststrongholds in central Athens. But the policecannot be everywhere at once, and the rise ofsecurity incidents has been a major topic in theGreek press. The police have not been successfulin rolling up any of the major terroristorganizations. Police arrested four alleged membersof the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire in a September23, 2009, raid on a house in the Halandri sectionof Athens, and continue to hold three of them incustody: Charilaos Hatzimihelakis, Emmanuel Yospas,and Panayotis Masouras (ref C). The fourth suspect
 
arrested, Myrto Panteloglou, was given supervisedrelease, as was another woman arrested in the caseon November 14, Antigone Heliotis-Hadjidimitrou,who was suspected of being friends with one ofthose in jail. Police arrested another suspect,26-year-old university student NIkolaosBakovassilis, on January 2, 2010; he was grantedsupervised release several days later. On February1, 2010, police arrested a 21-year-old not named inthe media, who police say was a friend of Masourasand whose fingerprints were found in the Halandrisafehouse. In addition, prosecutors have issuedarrest warrants for the following individuals inconnection with the investigation: GeorgiosNikolopoulos, Michalis Nikolopoulos (brother ofGeorgios), Damiano Bolano, Georgios Karayannides,Konstantina Karatkatsanis, and Eleni Kontopoulou.(See refs D-F for post's Visas Viper information onsuspected members of Conspiracy of Cells of Fire.)The arrests thus far do not appear to haveprevented the group - or perhaps other individualsusing the group's name - from increasing itsattacks.¶4. (C) Comment: Combined with the acute economiccrisis, which has produced public demonstrations inresponse to the GoG's planned austerity measures,and a rising crime rate, the increasing activity ofdomestic terrorist groups has contributed to apublic sense of insecurity. Chrysochoides haspublicly thrown down the gauntlet to violentextremist groups - as well as to the organizedcrime organizations to which he believes many areconnected – but he has not yet been able to bringcharges against major figures or to prevent furtherattacks. Much of the problem can be traced to

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