Throwing light onto the alleged links to the Stasi

Documents from the archives of the now-defunct East German security services (Stasi) and recent letters from existing German authorities are once again the focus of attention in domestic affairs. Two specific matters have fired debate: The first regards new evidence in the much-publicized case against software tycoon Socrates Kokkalis and his alleged involvement with the Stasi – documents which show that Kokkalis also had links with the Russian military intelligence service. The second matter – completely new – concerns the possible infiltration of terror group November 17 by secret agents from the former East Germany. There is a common denominator that applies to both cases. Although the Greek government knew about the existence of this evidence from before, it avoided taking systematic and exhaustive action to set the record straight. On the other hand, the Germans – who have had to deal with far more complex cases than the aforementioned ones (especially after WWII) – have been much clearer in their conclusions. And if one were to ask them about their investigations into alleged Greek connections, one would receive an even clearer response. Because the German State, upon acquiring the evidence, probed and illuminated a very specific aspect of the matter: to what extent capital belonging to the SED (the Communist Party of the former East Germany) was transferred to Greece and whether the now-reunified Germany has the right to claim it back. That was the only aspect of the affair investigated by Helmut Kohl’s administration at the time. Moreover, similar probes were conducted into other operations, both within and outside Germany. Whether Greek citizens and businessmen had links to the Stasi and were providing East Germany with intelligence was not the focus of the investigation conducted by German authorities, despite the existence of piles of documents and intelligence that attest to this. But those who were questioned, chiefly former Stasi officials, are on German state records and continue to reside in Germany today, so they would be quite easy to track down. If Greece really wants to discover the truth about the cases linking it to the Stasi, it can undertake the necessary investigations and legal action, overcome some bureaucratic loopholes, talk to the right people and pool information so that, after a long but enlightening process, it can finally draw some important conclusions. This is the only way to penetrate these murky cases. And resolving a matter neither Mitsotakis, Papandreou nor Simitis dared to broach would be a tough task for any new government.