NEWS

Fighting Revolutionary Popular Struggle, Revolutionary Nuclei

Police and security forces are close to achieving their first success in the fight against terrorism. Sources say that the work of decodification is almost complete and has provided evidence that will lead to the breakup of two organizations which have carried out numerous attacks and which are connected. They are the now defunct Revolutionary Popular Struggle (ELA) and the Revolutionary Nuclei. According to one theory, the Revolutionary Nuclei is a continuation of ELA, which is thought to have stopped making terrorist attacks once the archives of the Stazi, the former East German secret police, became public. The files revealed the names of ELA members and other details connecting them to the terrorist Carlos the Jackal. Immobilized Some members of the organization (believed to be the largest terrorist group ever active in Greece) feared discovery and decided to disband the organization, which made its last attack in January, 1995. But other members are thought to have disagreed with that decision and to have continued their activity, forming the Revolutionary Nuclei, whose first attack was in October 1996. Both ELA and the Revolutionary Nuclei frequently used explosives taken from unexploded bombs dropped during World War II. Police found that one of the chief sources of this material was near the island of Kalymnos, where many bombs fell into the sea. The Kalymnians, who are skilled divers, found the bombs intact underwater and removed the explosives, initially to use in fishing. But much of the material wound up elsewhere, and there is evidence that much of it has been used both by terrorists and common criminals. Parcels on Parnitha The authorities believe that by breaking up these organizations, they will at last be close to November 17. Parcels left on Mt Parnitha in the late 1970s, which were directly linked to November 17, contained notes about two of their targets, the AEG factory and a police interrogator during the junta, both attacked by ELA. A Simca car key found in a hideout on Kalamas Street was used by November 17 in January 1980 in an attack on police officers Pandelis Petrou and Sotiris Stamoulis. The key bore a handwritten note by Christos Tsoutsouvis, initially a member of ELA and later of the group Antistate Struggle. The authorities are also investigating an eyewitness report of one of November 17’s last rocket attacks. The witness describes one of the suspects as having features resembling those of someone listed in Stazi files as an ELA member. Concentrating on N17 members The security forces have been running what might be called a cleanup operation for some time now. The Public Order Ministry has referred to it as methodical work being done to break up terrorist organizations operating in Greece. This operation has concentrated mainly on November 17. Since 1975, when the group carried out its first attack, the names of dozens of suspects have emerged, and many of them have been mentioned in the press. Some names came via police investigations, while others were on the infamous lists of suspects drafted by police authorities, chiefly in the USA. Dozens of suspects The outcome was that the officials engaged in investigating terrorism in Greece found themselves faced with dozens of suspects. There had to be some kind of clearing up, primarily so that investigators could focus on certain people for whom there was tangible evidence of involvement, and so as not to be distracted by all kinds of stories in the media about supposed suspects. There was also pressure from the USA for arrests. This was frequently accompanied by hints as to the identity of certain individuals. The Greek authorities are trying to thin out this confusing crowd of suspects, so they can give a clear response as to whether individuals are truly suspects and what evidence exists to justify suspicion. The first task was to look at the ages of the suspects. Strange as it may seem, some of the lists included people who were either too young or too old to have participated in terrorist activity. The investigators into November 17 have clearly divided suspects into two groups. There are the leaders and theoreticians, who select targets and draft announcements, and the executive branch, which carries out the attacks. The investigators have not ruled out the possibility that mercenaries may sometimes have formed part of the second group. In order to comb through the suspects, the authorities look one by one at the names of all the people said to have been involved in terrorism. They examine whether suspect individuals belong to the leaders’ group, with the help of specialists who evaluated the language, writing, and general behavior of the suspects to see whether they fit the profile of terrorists or could have drafted the organization’s announcements. When investigating those suspected of carrying out the attacks, the investigators try to discover where they were at the times of the attacks, and to what extent they are capable of carrying out such missions. An obese person, for example, would have difficulty performing such tasks. The investigation is still in progress, and the evidence found has excluded a large number of suspects. Attention is now being focused on the remainder. Sartre and Liberation Another crucial element, according to some observers, is the fact that the first announcement made by November 17 was handed to Jean-Paul Sartre, who gave it to the Paris-based Liberation newspaper. There is much discussion about the identity of the person who handed the announcement to Sartre, and who is obviously a vital link in the chain. Inside sources say no such investigation is possible, as the main characters have been dead for years. They also note that a number of authorities abroad destroy certain evidence after five years, hinting that the French authorities may have possessed some evidence in this case but would have already destroyed it.