The third party

It looked so simple. In the spirit of purging the country, the New Democracy government launched a parliamentary inquiry into alleged irregularities in arms procurements by the PASOK government. This appeared to be part of the political ritual of our mature democracy, in which a new government sets the agenda and members of the former one try to limit the damage as best they can. What no one anticipated was that the stage would not feature just these two players. The third protagonist – none other than the representatives of international arms merchants – made a dynamic entry this past week, greatly complicating matters. Our parties may have thought the inquiry was politics by other means, but the issue involves interests far greater than they can imagine. They run the risk of becoming mere extras in a play whose outcome they cannot control. Suddenly, the probe into the purchase of the Russian TOR-M1 air-defense system and the US-built TPQ radar has become very complicated. On the one hand, we have DVDs and suchlike in which people allied to the present government allegedly consort with Russian arms dealers. On the other hand, we hear of foreign bank accounts allegedly linked to PASOK’s people. The air is thick with secret agents. Arms dealers have bought people all over the planet, why would they not do the same here? On Thursday, the Defense Ministry official who initiated the probe, former prosecutor Giorgos Zorbas, said illegal rackets are still at work in the ministry. It appears they intend to ensure their deals go through as well as to muddy the waters of the investigation. They would like to instill in citizens the disgusted sense that «everyone is involved» in corruption. Our politicians now have to prove that they can arm the country without letting in the shadiest rackets under the sun.