OPINION

Defenders of corruption

Arecent incident in Parliament, involving PASOK Deputy Pythagoras Vardikos, showed once again that there are two basic ways to defend corruption. The first is to lend open support to «suspects»; this calls for a sense of responsibility, courage and, naturally, the presentation of evidence proving their innocence. As in this case, the «counsel for the defense,» if he is a politician, could be unaware of any real evidence of guilt, or might feel equally accountable if the case at hand were backed up by evidence and punished. The second way to support corruption is a matter of both glaring irresponsibility and a basic lack of integrity. The «advocate» does not openly defend the «suspect,» but rather tries to discredit those who have supplied the evidence against him. Note that the defender is not concerned with the evidence itself, and thus makes no effort to refute it. He is mainly interested in demonstrating that the accusers lack credibility and, therefore, are equally suspect. It is this latter route that the above-mentioned PASOK deputy chose while Parliament was debating an ND question on scandalous kickbacks in the armed forces. When ND Deputy Aristotelis Pavlidis raised a question in Parliament regarding a December 2001 report in Kathimerini on a «rotten racket» in the armed forces, Vardikos, without asking for the floor, shouted from his seat: «Who was Kathimerini promoting then?» ND Deputy Panayiotis Kammenos’s reply – «since journalists and politicians are neither sold nor do they serve vested interests» – is not likely to have been understood by the new PASOK deputy, who clearly wants to believe there are no honorable or uncorrupted people in either politics or the press. P.S. This writer has his own reasons for being angry with the PASOK deputy, as he was Kathimerini’s editor-in-chief at the time the report was published.