Beyond the talkers in windows of television and into reality

Terrorism doesn’t look like it’s leaving our television screens. All summer long it was the sole topic of the news programs, which lost all sense of proportion, far exceeding all previous such occasions. Controversial personalities, unreliable and problematic people, obsessive fabricators of stories and suspicious types, agents and minor agents who had formerly been condemned by public opinion and who didn’t dare show their faces, began to dominate the screen. They returned to the limelight as judges and prosecutors, creating a squalid environment dominated by oversimplification and facile statements. These months have shown Greek television to be more primitive than that of developing countries, revealing what shortcomings this country still has. Notions of respect for democratic rules and rights proved to be non-existent, empty of meaning. The pressure on the police and judicial authorities was unprecedented. In such pressurized and problematic circumstances, one might expect precipitous action on the part of the authorities, possibly even hasty and risky ventures. So far, to general surprise, they have acted with exceptional care, given the level of organization, education and culture. And there is every indication that they will continue to do so. The complexity of the matter is such that it does not permit any other kind of behavior if the aim is to completely uncover and expose every aspect of the notorious case which for 27 years has influenced developments in this country. And so far nobody has been able to say that there is any desire to cover up any aspect of the terrorists’ actions. If this is the case – and events so far do not allow us to think any differently – then delays in the investigation must be due to the need for detailed proof. Finding this proof demands effort and the methodical, detailed filling of gaps, since time has passed, memories have faded, and the evidence has been altered by time. The existing evidence, and the ease with which the police have uncovered it show that there is information, particularly about the Revolutionary Popular Struggle terrorist group (ELA), that was useful for groups employing armed violence. Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis believes that uncovering the historic truth about ELA will provide clear answers about the origins and development of terrorism in Greece. Special Prosecutor Ioannis Diotis is quietly working away at this task. He is methodically covering all the actions of November 17 in detail, opening doors that lead to ELA and guiding the police investigation in that direction so as to solve the puzzle, uncover the May 1 gang, show the role played by the Anti-state Struggle group and the parallel paths of the Revolutionary Nuclei, so that the connections among all of them become obvious. Putting all this together will support the concurrent investigation into the connections and collaboration which Greek terrorist organizations demonstrably had with Carlos the Jackal’s group. This is of particular interest to the authorities, as it explains numerous other illegal activities and is the basis for the investigation of cases involving Palestinian and other Arab organizations. It has long been known that in Greece, especially in the 1980s, members of Arab organizations involved in smuggling weapons moved about Greece with relative ease. At that time of unreserved support for the Palestinian struggle, there were also dark areas involving local and foreign secret services as well as business interests. This is where any infiltration of terrorist organizations and possible influence on the selection of some targets must be sought. It was then that the contacts between the extremists that have now become known occurred. They were contacts that provided the basis for the legendary blackmail of business families in the name of November 17, and of course the wider circle of connections and many other mysteries of life since the return to democratic rule. As is evident from the above, putting together the evidence of these multiple aspects of the terrorist phenomenon cannot happen on television’s terms. It calls for care, dedication to the country’s democratic traditions, and faith in the judicial system. And this is why it cannot go along with the undisciplined stars of the small screen, or their interlocutors in the television windows.