Arresting the bad guys in Greece

by on September 30, 2013 at 7:50 am in Current Affairs, Law, Political Science | Permalink

Probably most of you know by now that the Greek government has moved to arrest leading members of Golden Dawn, their neo-Nazi Party, including parliamentary members and leaders of the party.  These members seem to be bad people, even by the low standards of neo-Nazi parties worldwide.

Still, it is odd to arrest the leadership the leadership of an elected political party — even a bad one — all at the same time.  At least the typical foreign sources are not completely clear on the exact nature of the “criminal gang” charges (there is a slightly more detailed summary here, and here, see also @Yiannisbab, and one reads that the charges themselves have been leaked only in part to the press).  I understand full well that this is an attempt to preserve democracy for Greece, not an attempt to eliminate it, but still the resulting situation is rather awkward.  And what if some of the key players cannot be convicted?  What kind of new elections are required?  And until conviction, what kinds of political powers, and claims to political funds, do the defendants have?  As Gideon Rachman wrote: “Mass arrests of legitimately elected politicians should always spark unease.”

From this distance, it is difficult to judge whether the right thing has been done.  In any case, when you feel you have to arrest your neo-Nazi party to limit their influence, things have gone far indeed in a very bad direction.  Some sources indicate that fifty percent of the police voted for Golden Dawn.

Addendum: Interestingly, for all of their anti-immigrant stances, the Golden Dawn party seems to have used migrants to sell products illegally on black markets as a revenue raiser.

Andrew' September 30, 2013 at 8:11 am

“Mass arrests of legitimately elected politicians should always spark unease.”

Always? Don’t be hasty.

dearieme September 30, 2013 at 12:49 pm

We had to destroy democracy to preserve it.

Tarrou September 30, 2013 at 8:37 am

As usual, tribalism will mean that most people are fine with this, because hey! We’re not nazis eh? Eh? Those who whined and beat their chests about the removal of “legitimately elected” communist-supported strongmen will be solidly behind this action. Politics is tribal, not principle.

Andrew' September 30, 2013 at 9:00 am

First, they came for the Nazis…

prior_approval September 30, 2013 at 10:10 am

…and Americans were happy that at least this time, the U.S. military wouldn’t be required to stop a group of Nazi worshippers from wreaking havoc.

Rahul September 30, 2013 at 8:43 am

Does Tyler lose sleep after every arrest about “cannot be convicted” scenarios? Or is there special reason to believe that the arrested persons are especially innocent here?

Popular election is hardly a good defense against criminal conspiracy.

albatross September 30, 2013 at 9:08 am

If there’s not enough evidence to convict the party leadership, then wouldn’t this look pretty much like an attempt by the current government to use the police to shut down one of their more effective and scary opponents? How would that play within Greece? It would sure look bad to me, but since I’m a poorly-informed foreigner, that probably doesn’t matter much.

Rahul September 30, 2013 at 9:39 am

OTOH, if there is enough evidence it’d put a bunch of blood-thirsty misanthropes out of politics. Many prosecutions are a calculated risk: conviction is never a certainty.

Anon. September 30, 2013 at 10:02 am

That’s the thing though, they’re not effective at all. They’re virtually powerless. The communists on the other hand came VERY close to actually winning the election last year.

Evan Harper September 30, 2013 at 12:15 pm

I’m hardly a Greece expert but comparing the Syriza to the Golden Dawn seems way off. Syriza’s platform looks pretty similar to 1960s era UK labor – nationalize the banks, tax high incomes at 75%, etc. Golden Dawn denies the Holocaust, commemorates Hitler, claims most of Western Turkey as Greek territory, etc. The false equivalence here is pretty glaring.

Art Deco September 30, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Golden Dawn denies the Holocaust, commemorates Hitler, claims most of Western Turkey as Greek territory, etc.

Sounds like a bunch of Arab nationalists.

So Much For Subtlety September 30, 2013 at 7:55 pm

So Syriza has better PR. The fact is it is largely made up of deeply undemocratic Stalinist parties who sided with the Soviet Union during the Cold War and sought to murder their fellow Greeks in really heroic numbers.

And they are utterly unrepentent about it.

The threat to Greek democracy is not Golden Dawn.

Thursday September 30, 2013 at 2:33 pm

This is the thing. If a party is powerful enough to be a real threat, arrests will tend not to happen because at that point they will usually have enough power to prevent it from happening. It is only parties that are already weak that can be affected by arrests.

Also, if certain ideas become popular enough there are going to be no shortage of new and talented leaders to take the place of those arrested. It’s only marginal movements that have trouble finding good leaders.

This tactic is rarely effective.

JWatts September 30, 2013 at 10:10 am

Rahul – OTOH, if there is enough evidence it’d put a bunch of blood-thirsty misanthropes out of politics. Many prosecutions are a calculated risk: conviction is never a certainty.

Once you start arresting people who didn’t break a law, just because they are bad people, you’ve started down a dark path. You might still have a functioning Democracy, but you don’t have a Democratic Republic.

Rahul September 30, 2013 at 10:40 am

“who didn’t break a law”? You are sure of that? How?

Isn’t that the million dollar question here? Why else are we debating the quality of the evidence and the prosecution?

I think there’s a good chance they broke laws. Michaloliakos’ priors aren’t exactly those of a straight, law abiding citizen. With a history of torture, assault & possession of explosives, a dishonorable military discharge and a one year prison stint it isn’t outside the realm of possibility that the guy has broken laws again.

JWatts September 30, 2013 at 11:27 am

“who didn’t break a law”? You are sure of that? How? Isn’t that the million dollar question here? Why else are we debating the quality of the evidence and the prosecution? I think there’s a good chance they broke laws.

If it’s not clear that any law was broken, then that should be a pretty big red flag. If on the other hand the government can produce clear evidence of wrong doing, I’ve got no problem at all with them arresting criminals. However, currently, this looks a lot like guilt by association vs direct criminal activity.

Rahul September 30, 2013 at 11:31 am

@JWatts:

That clarity will only come at trial stage. At arrest stage all they need is probable cause, a much lower standard than clear evidence of wrongdoing. So I don’t see that as a red flag. OTOH, conflict of interest is a red flag but can’t be helped I guess.

JWatts September 30, 2013 at 11:50 am

At arrest stage all they need is probable cause,… Probable cause of what?

Adrian Ratnapala September 30, 2013 at 10:38 am

I assumed the “cannot be convicted scenarios” are where it turns out there was no evidence against these guys. And Rahul, taken on it’s own your second sentence turns the presumption of innocence its head.

You are right that popular election ought to be no defense, but that does not mean the actions of the government cannot be questioned. In this case opposition politicians have been arrested on pretty vague conspiracy charges – it is a least a reason for the public to keep its eyes open.

George September 30, 2013 at 8:48 am

This is not good. Golden Dawn has a lot of popularity on the street because they are one of the only parties that don’t seem beholden to the powers that be in Brussels. This will only increase their popularity on the streets and likely lead to far more violence than Greece has seen to date.

Therapsid September 30, 2013 at 8:51 am

I applaud Tyler for being consistent in criticizing anti-democratic measures by Erdoğan’s government in Turkey and in at least raising serious questions about Greece rounding up and arresting Golden Dawn’s leaders and lawmakers.

Greece seems to have taken a page from General Sisi.

Cambias September 30, 2013 at 9:10 am

Hitler spent some time in jail after the failure of the Beer Hall Putsch. He came out more popular than ever.

8 September 30, 2013 at 9:34 am

This. Golden Dawn’s support base is the police and army. The Muslim Brotherhood couldn’t effectively govern Egypt in part because the police and military were not cooperating. More worryingly, if you think of the groups most capable of carrying out a coup, it is the military and police. If they decide that democracy doesn’t work in Greece, goodnight democracy.

And let’s not forget the Troika’s role here. Greece is not a sovereign democracy and it is the actions of the Troika that have hurt Greece. They stuck a punitive treaty on the Germans in the 1920s and now the Greeks are suffering the same fate. As someone pointed out though, a coup may be the only way out of the EU, that is if they enforce the rules.

Anon. September 30, 2013 at 10:05 am

>And let’s not forget the Troika’s role here. Greece is not a sovereign democracy and it is the actions of the Troika that have hurt Greece.

In what kind of dream world are you living? Greek governments have been completely ignoring pretty much all the reforms the Troika has been asking for. Anything that would boost growth but hurt special interests is simply ignored. The Troika pretend to demand reforms for more money, but the Greek politicians are playing them like a fiddle, knowing very well that the Troika has no alternative but to keep funding them.

Z September 30, 2013 at 12:41 pm

This. The military has been making noises that have scared the ruling parties. These idiots in Golden Dawn are not a real threat to topple the government. The military is a real threat. It makes me think that maybe this is a message being sent to the military that the government is prepared to fight and the police are in their camp.

There are a lot of cross currents here, but it is reasonable to say that the people will eventually start looking to the fringe if things remain bad for too much longer. As is always the case when the status quo begins to crumble, there are a series of shocks and after shocks, before the whole thing collpases.

Mr. Econotarian September 30, 2013 at 3:04 pm

The 1920′s comparison is silly – It was insane to ask a defeated Germany to repay the victors.

Greece, on the other hand, wants other countries to pay for its fiscal problems. No one is forcing Greece to stay in the Eurozone, Greece can default on its loans whenever it wishes.

Rahul September 30, 2013 at 9:35 am

What’s the counterfactual? Not arresting Hitler would have led to better outcomes? Or a more successful prosecution that’d have kept him in jail longer?

Andrew' September 30, 2013 at 9:39 am

Maybe we’d have Mein Kampf II: This Time It’s Personal

8 September 30, 2013 at 9:56 am

There’s no counter-factual. The only comparison I see between Germany in the 1920s and Greece today is how foreign European powers are interfering in its politics and imposing punitive financial rules. Wiemar Germany was in a state of civil war in the 1920s; Greece is not. Hitler, as well as communists and other groups, were trying to or successfully seizing control of cities. In Greece, a rapper got stabbed.

The Anti-Gnostic September 30, 2013 at 10:50 am

The counter-factual isn’t the issue. The Greek government is saying it can’t allow competition at the polls. Historically, that’s a sign a government is vulnerable to being overthrown.

Thus, by its actions, the government is 1) signalling its vulnerability and 2) taking away the middle ground.

If you’re going to be arrrested anyway, might as well crack some skulls on the way down.

Rahul September 30, 2013 at 11:00 am

Yes, that’s true.

OTOH, is Golden Dawn the real competition to the ruling party at the polls? They had only ~7% of the popular vote.

Z September 30, 2013 at 9:13 am

It seems pretty clear from the reporting that the party had nothing to do with the killing of the rap guy. The government is using it as an excuse to go after these guys. Golden Dawn is an odious group so it is easy to support the move. On the other hand, it may indicate serious weakness in the ruling coalition. You don’t round up members of a political party on trumped up charges because they pose no threat. With the military union demanding the government resign, this development may indicate Greece is headed for some sort of coup/martial law.

Ray Lopez September 30, 2013 at 11:45 am

Having lived in Greece and read a few books, making me an authority of sorts, I can say that indeed Hitler lauded the (ancient) Greeks, but that did not keep him from invading in 1941. But there were many Nazi collaborators, almost exclusively right wing, and the Greeks have a very strong right-wing slant, in fact a certain German-trained strongman named Metaxas, who died just at the start of 1941, was very popular in Greece and still is admired today. Now let me see if I can translate this to Greek… Bing Translator is your friend here.

(Let’s see if this site supports extended ASCII characters) cut and paste (not a bad translation, though there’s something lost in the translation of the English idioms):

Έχοντας ζήσει στην Ελλάδα και να διαβάσετε μερικά βιβλία, μου κάνει μια αρχή του είδους, μπορώ να πω ότι πράγματι ο Χίτλερ επαινείται (αρχαίοι), αλλά που δεν ακολούθησαν τον από την εισβολή το 1941. Αλλά υπήρχαν πολλοί συνεργάτες των Ναζί, σχεδόν αποκλειστικά τη δεξιά πτέρυγα, και οι Έλληνες έχουν μια πολύ ισχυρή δεξιά κλίση, στην πραγματικότητα ένα ορισμένα γερμανικά εκπαιδευμένο ισχυρός που ονομάζεται Μεταξά, ο οποίος πέθανε μόλις στις αρχές του 1941, ήταν πολύ δημοφιλής στην Ελλάδα και ακόμα θαυμάζεται σήμερα. Επιτρέψτε τώρα μου να δούμε αν μπορεί να μεταφράσει αυτό στα Ελληνικά… Bing μεταφράσει είναι φίλος σας εδώ.

Z September 30, 2013 at 12:34 pm

I don’t know why, but it always makes me laugh when I hear the Euro-version of left wing and right wing. From the US perspective, they look like two hogs eating from the same trough. From a Greek perspective, GD is the polar opposite of Syriza.

prior_approval September 30, 2013 at 9:59 am

‘Still, it is odd to arrest the leadership the leadership of an elected political party’

Tell that to any defender of Pinochet. And then listen to Kissinger guffawing in the halls of the CSIS.

JWatts September 30, 2013 at 10:23 am

Once again, you post an inane and irrelevant point. I assume as some form of trolling.

prior_approval September 30, 2013 at 11:02 am

What is odd about using an example where an American backed ally decided to perform mass arrests of elected representatives, likely with active, if not provably high level, American encouragement and support. It isn’t odd in the least actually, especially to anyone old enough to remember when the United States was a proud supporter of arresting elected members of political parties that did not earn American approval (back when the domino theory was all the rage). Heck, we even used to replace entire elected governments – just ask any Iranian about Mohammad Mosaddegh ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d'état )

Arresting a bunch of not exactly neo-Nazis isn’t that troubling – at least when they write stuff like this –

‘In an article published in 1987 in the Golden Dawn magazine titled “Hitler for 1000 years”, its editor Michaloliakos showed his support for Nazism and white supremacy.[124] Specifically he wrote, “We are the faithful soldiers of the National Socialist idea and nothing else” and “[...] WE EXIST, and continue the battle, the battle for the final victory of our race”.[124] He ends the article by writing “1987, 42 years later, with our thought and soul given to the last great battle, with our thought and soul given to the black and red banners, with our thought and soul given to the memory of our great Leader, we raise our right hand up, we salute the Sun and with the courage, that is compelled by our military honor and our National Socialist duty we shout full of passion, faith to the future and our visions: HEIL HITLER!”‘ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Dawn_(political_party)#Allegations_of_Nazism

The man that wrote that article, Nikolaos G. Michaloliakos, is still the head of Golden Dawn, by the way.

However, I will venture that the Greek government is not up to Pinochet’s standards of dealing with even potential members of an elected party, post-arrest. Though I would bet that Golden Dawn is – and to continue in that ever so special full throated Golden Dawn way, just imagine them shouting SIEG HEIL in rhythm as they march their prisoners into a sports stadium. ( ‘… tens of thousands of people were arrested during the coup and held in the National Stadium. This was because the plans for the coup called for the arrest of every man, woman and child on the streets the morning of 11 September. Of these approximately 40,000 to 50,000 perfunctory arrests, several hundred individuals would later be detained, questioned, tortured, and in some cases murdered.’ – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1973_Chilean_coup_d'état#Casualties )

JWatts September 30, 2013 at 11:29 am

As I said, inane and irrelevant.

Bernard Guerrero September 30, 2013 at 11:37 am

So, are you arguing that the U.S. and the current Greek government were/are correct in taking preemptive action against elected governments with loathsome political views, or are you arguing that the correct move would be to leave Golden Dawn alone? :^)

Da September 30, 2013 at 10:23 am

Another merry round on the downward slope…

Steven Kopits September 30, 2013 at 10:25 am

I think all of this shows that democracy is only functional within a certain range of conditions, both (and separately) economic and cultural.

It is interesting to see what a beating democracy has taken as of late. The OECD democracies are functioning none too well. The Arab Spring demonstrated that democracy may bring fundamentalist theocracy in the Middle East. And the various forms of dictatorship (China, Singapore) are functioning rather better (in terms of GDP growth) than democratic regimes. Thus, we do no see the Obama administration even discussing the notion of bringing democracy to, say, Syria–something quite unlike the attitude of the Bush administration regarding Iraq, for example.

It would be a good time to write “Twilight of Democracy”. It would be quite popular, I think, even if it would almost certainly exaggerate the condition of democracies as in “permanent decline” with “dictatorship threatening without and within.” Maybe Jeffrey Sachs would write it.

anon September 30, 2013 at 10:33 am

The decline of democracy around the world could bolster notions of American exceptionalism here at home, except the anti-imperialist kind that we saw in the late 1800s and that we’ve seen reemerge with libertarian politicians today.

The Anti-Gnostic September 30, 2013 at 10:38 am

Hans-Herman Hoppe has already written it.

Ironically, the “Arab Spring” is being funded and promoted by the world’s last true monarchies.

I think, in the future, we will see countries organized more around ownership than incorporeal democratic ideals.

anon September 30, 2013 at 10:54 am

I think someone else raised this point on MR at one time, but it was the Arab “democracies” that had trouble with protests, not the monarchies. Perhaps when there is no pretext of democracy, people’s expectations are managed. So maybe we can expect a resurgence in monarchy or dictatorship without superficial democratic niceties.

Steven Kopits September 30, 2013 at 11:39 am

Anon -

Personally, I think American exceptionalism is under attack, and I see it very much as an eroding concept. When the median voter depends on the state for handouts, let me assure you, you are not exceptional.

I think there is a broad retreat from the internationalist, Republican (or even Democrat) vision that characterized the US from WWII until, say, 2005. I have become a regular lecturer on the Chinese conference circuit, and the points of friction between the US and China are often raised by the Chinese participants. As I’m in the energy biz, I often speak of the challenges of transitioning from a US dependent on Middle East oil to a China dependent on Middle East oil. I don’t see that anyone is Congress has the broader vision to deal with this issue. The Democrats are just wishing foreign policy away; and the Republican Party has become something of a “Little England” party, in which foreigners are strange and engagement with them is to be assiduously avoided.

Let me give you an example: We’ve thrown our hat in the ring to do a project for DOE on the strategy for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Now, by 2020, we forecast US oil import dependence to be something like 22%, compared 60% in 2005. At a low level of import dependence, the US would be essentially buffered from an oil shock, that is, the consuming sectors (say, Rhode Island drivers) would be hard hit, but the producing sectors (say, Texas shale oil producers) would benefit. But overall, the US would be reasonably buffered, and therefore the rationale for a US SPR is diminishing–if I view the US in isolation.

At the same time, China’s oil import dependence, about 60% today, will rise to over 80% by around 2020. And the volumes involved will be large compared to global oil production. Thus, China will be heavily and increasingly exposed to oil shocks over time. Now, if you intend to deploy the US SPR, you will do so in the hopes of managing primarily the global, not domestic, economy. In an important way, the US SPR will serve to buffer the Chinese economy in the event of an oil supply disruption.

Should we do it (leaving aside the inherent desirability of having an SPR for the moment)? Is protecting China’s economy a legitimate goal of US policy? I think it is. To my mind, US leadership should think in global terms, about the global system as a whole. But to my Republicans friends in Congress, this is a hard sell. (The Democrats won’t even talk to me–so I’m not sure they’re even in the market for a discussion on the topic.) The Republican view is that these sorts of interventions are always too politicized, too late, and mis-targeted. And there’s some (plenty of) justification for that point of view, but it risks being insular and small-minded.

So in these conferences, I sit in a room of a hundred Chinese harboring some real sensitivities about US attitudes and intentions. At the same time, they can see and feel that they are the up-and-coming power. And they ask me pointed questions about US policy for oil, gas and coal regarding Chinese production and consumption–as well as the related military implications. “It’s a tricky transition,” I say, and I think that’s genuinely true. There is a bigger picture to manage.

I would find comfort in knowing that, down in Washington, the political establishment is actively engaged with the topic. But I don’t think it is true today.

8 September 30, 2013 at 12:02 pm

What do you think all the bomb dropping and revolutions is about in the Middle East? It’s great to have be buffeted from oil supply shocks, but it’s even better if you control the supply of oil (via influence in the region) over your soon to be largest economic competitor. There isn’t going to be pro-Chinese leadership in D.C. There will be protection for a Chinese vassal state, or Switzerland on steroids, which would be protective of China for a price.

Bernard Guerrero September 30, 2013 at 11:45 am

Hmmnn? To which monarchies do you refer? I’d bet heavily on the idea that the Saudis and Company, at the ruling level, are none too fond of most if not all of what has come about due to the Arab Spring. Including Morsi and the Brotherhood coming to power, trouble next door is not good for business.

The Anti-Gnostic September 30, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are trying to advance the second Mohammedan conquest.

The emirates are a different world. The monarchs literally own their countries. For some reason, they are allowed to get away with it but Ghadafi, Sadaam Hussein and Bashar Assad are not. Libya, Iraq and Syria have been transformed into violent, chaotic hellholes thanks to US/NATO and Sunni monarch intervention.

Art Deco September 30, 2013 at 4:56 pm

The Arab monarchies of the Arabian peninsula are antique (even the parvenus having arrived on their throne 180 years ago) and dignified. They have congenial business relations with the world and cause only nuisance problems. There is not an obvious alternative.

Syria, Iraq, and Libya were governed by regimes which were military in origin. The last ended up a personalist dictatorship and the first a sectarian state with a fascist party-state veneer and the middle a fusion of fascist party state and tribal patrimonial regime. Iraq in particular was for thirty years one of the most horrendously abusive governments in the world. All three were disruptive, hostile, and revanchist.

There is simply no comparison between Qatar and Saudi Arabia on the one hand and the others. They have nothing in common but literary Arabic and tribal social configurations.

The Anti-Gnostic October 1, 2013 at 8:54 am

The Arab monarchies are decadent, cultural disasters exporting Wahabbism among the ignorant all over the world.

Art Deco October 1, 2013 at 10:21 am

Decadent? Cultural disasters? Compared to where? Have you had a look around you?

uair01 September 30, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Fukuyama states (in Origins of Political Order) that the number of democracies rose from 1970 to 1990 but then started to decline in 2000. He calls it “a democratic recession”. “Many countries reverted to authoritarianism of suffered an erosion of democratic institutions.”
A pretty bleak outlook …

Givco September 30, 2013 at 11:38 pm

started to decline in 2000.

It’s just a 13 year pause.

Mr. Econotarian September 30, 2013 at 3:06 pm

“It would be a good time to write “Twilight of Democracy”

I believe Dr. Hayek wrote that in 1944, it was called “The Road to Serfdom”.

Yancey Ward September 30, 2013 at 10:45 am

The Greek government had better have good evidence of perfidy, and it had better win convictions- otherwise they have given Golden Dawn gift that will keep on giving for years to come.

anon September 30, 2013 at 10:49 am

This shows once again that the EU needs better democratic accountability. When people don’t feel they have a voice in how their country is run, they’re going to elect people who want out of the EU, and this view could be bundled with some other more unsavory political views.

The Anti-Gnostic September 30, 2013 at 10:59 am

Is ‘nationalism’ Public Enemy Number One now? Is anybody asking Israel to be less nationalistic? Mexico? Bosnia-Herzegovina or Kosovo?

How much money, resources and human activity are going to be wasted on the EU for the indefinite future? We fought two world wars to keep Germany from dominating the European continent. In retrospect, we should have just given them the run of the place.

JWatts September 30, 2013 at 11:33 am

Yes, but the first two times Germany tried to steal it. This time they bought Europe. However, it might well have turned out to be a bad deal for them.

Art Deco September 30, 2013 at 4:46 pm

The EU is not an appropriate unit of government. A customs union, a military alliance, a common immigration and customs inspectorate are proper co-operative measures. Having pests in Brussels dictating social policy is not. Mass migration across the continent is not.

Latin America has many problems, but nearly all of their violent conflicts since 1895 have been intramural. The Chaco War is the only notable exception. You do not need supranational authority to avoid a general conflagration.

A Europe of Nations, please.

Jose September 30, 2013 at 11:06 am

Communists and socialists have killed more people than any other type of political group.
That’s why all admitted Communists should be arrested and sent to the camps, right?
Clearly they are murderous scum so we don’t need to waste resources on unnecessary trials.

Roger September 30, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Agreed.

prior_approval September 30, 2013 at 11:18 am

It just occurred to me – people here are aware of Greek history, right? And why a full throated not so neo Nazi party does not actually garner much support in Greece?

‘The occupation brought about terrible hardships for the Greek civilian population. Over 300,000 civilians died in Athens alone from starvation, tens of thousands more died because of reprisals by Nazis and collaborators, and the country’s economy was ruined.[1] At the same time the Greek Resistance, one of the most effective resistance movements in Occupied Europe[citation needed], was formed. These resistance groups launched guerrilla attacks against the occupying powers, fought against the collaborationist Security Battalions, and set up large espionage networks.

———————————–

Increasing attacks by partisans in the latter years of the occupation resulted in a number of executions and wholesale slaughter of civilians in reprisal. In total, the Germans executed some 21,000 Greeks, the Bulgarians 40,000 and the Italians 9,000.[10]

The most infamous examples in the German zone are those of the village of Kommeno on 16 August 1943, where 317 inhabitants were executed by the 1. Gebirgs-Division and the village torched, the “Holocaust of Viannos” on 14–16 September 1943, in which over 500 civilians from several villages in the region of Viannos and Ierapetra in Crete were executed by the 22. Luftlande Infanterie-Division, the “Massacre of Kalavryta” on 13 December 1943, in which Wehrmacht troops of the 117th Jäger Division carried out the extermination of the entire male population and the subsequent total destruction of the town, the “Distomo massacre” on 10 June 1944, where units of the Waffen SS Polizei Division looted and burned the village of Distomo in Boeotia resulting in the deaths of 218 civilians and the “Holocaust of Kedros” on 22 August 1944 in Crete, where 164 civilians were executed and nine villages were dynamited after being looted. At the same time, in the course of the concerted anti-guerrilla campaign, hundreds of villages were systematically torched and almost 1,000,000 Greeks left homeless.’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axis_occupation_of_Greece

The Greeks are still actively pursuing war reparations from Germany for such acts, by the way. Here is a taste –

‘The demand of Greece for payment has been made continuously from the end of the war up to date, to the generation responsible for the crimes and to their children. It is the Germans that requested and succeeded, with the London Agreement of 1953, to postpone payment of their obligations, and transfer them to their children and grandchildren. These children and grandchildren benefited greatly from the deferral of payments. Germany’s affluence today is greatly due to the fact that Greece and other countries accepted to defer payment of reparations, and to give the opportunity to the Germans that committed the crimes to rebuilt and build a better future for their children, while the Greeks had to build on the ruins left behind by the German war machinery after a brutal and completely unprovoked war.’ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/constantine-tzanos/are-the-greek-claims-for-war-reparations_b_3439287.html

I think that it would be useful for a number of commenters here to actually understand a bit of not exactly buried European history before thinking that there are a large number of hidden Nazi supporters in Europe, or that most Europeans are sympathetic to anyone proudly proclaiming their allegiance to Hitler.

The Nazis are not heroes in Greece, they are seen as despicably evil villains. Who still need to be forced to pay for their crimes.

8 September 30, 2013 at 11:35 am

It is the European media that continually paints Golden Dawn as Nazis because it fits the narrative. Now the media is trying to hang Golden Dawn on Fidesz in Hungary, the other right-wing “bad boys” of Europe.

The Anti-Gnostic September 30, 2013 at 11:38 am

Terms like “Nazi” and “fascist” get thrown around a lot even though few people alive today have any real world context for them. Golden Dawn is a nationalist movement made up of ethnic Greeks. They couldn’t replicate Nazi Germany if they wanted to. And plenty of purported anti-fascists actually do believe in the State uber alles.

JWatts September 30, 2013 at 11:47 am

The Nazis are not heroes in Greece, they are seen as despicably evil villains. Who still need to be forced to pay for their crimes.

You appear to be arguing in favor of guilt by association. Furthermore, it’s a distant and intangible association at that. I doubt that most of the members of the Golden Dawn were even alive when the Nazi’s were carrying out their atrocities. The Golden Dawn may be despicable, but rounding them up on bogus conspiracy charges is turning away from Liberty, not toward it.

prior_approval September 30, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Nope, it is all about free association.

Let me repeat, again, the words Nikolaos Michaloliakos, the founder and still head of Golden Dawn, wrote in the Golden Dawn Magazine – in ”’1987, 42 years later, with our thought and soul given to the last great battle, with our thought and soul given to the black and red banners, with our thought and soul given to the memory of our great Leader, we raise our right hand up, we salute the Sun and with the courage, that is compelled by our military honor and our National Socialist duty we shout full of passion, faith to the future and our visions: HEIL HITLER!”‘

I do enjoy seeing just how many people think that the actual words spoken by actual leaders should mean nothing when talking about those actual leaders’ actual beliefs. But maybe Michaloliakos has a secret out he uses among the devoted followers raising their right hands up and speaking a couple of German words – he didn’t write in Fraktur, so it doesn’t count.

JWatts September 30, 2013 at 2:40 pm

And once again you miss the obvious point. It doesn’t matter what kind of crappy ideology the Golden Dawn represents. You don’t arrest people on specious charges, just because they are bad people.

The End does Not justify the means.

Art Deco September 30, 2013 at 4:40 pm

I have forgotten which early 20th c pol said, “If the end doesn’t justify the means, what does?”

Art Deco September 30, 2013 at 4:38 pm

They have reached a situation – as did Spain in 1934 and Chile in 1973 – where optimizing suggests authoritarian rule if reasonably competent and public-spirited officials are there to run it. The first duty of a government is to govern; the second duty is to govern as justly as it practicably can; the third is to govern with all the benevolence it can – with as much true liberty as it can extend; the last is to govern through elective and deliberative bodies. Electoral politics gave you a collection of crooks and liars in Greece, and the reaction to that was to empower a collection of fruitloops and a collection of malicious buffoons. What if our choices in America were the insider crew that gave you Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (Barney Frank et al), a mess of okupiers (using Bill de Blasio as their mouthpiece, and Prussian Blue (w/ skinheads)?

John Hall September 30, 2013 at 12:18 pm

The German constitution has language that allows a political party to be declared a threat to the constitutional order and outlawed.

mike September 30, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Pretty sure Golden Dawn does not describe itself as “neo-Nazi”, so by using the term it appears that you are trying to advance an agenda.

prior_approval September 30, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Well, Golden Dawn doesn’t publicly say that it is neo-Nazi – in Greece, you have to be pretty stupid to call yourself a follower of Hitler. But then, that is exactly what Nikolaos Michaloliakos, the founder and still head of Golden Dawn, wrote in the Golden Magazine – ‘”We are the faithful soldiers of the National Socialist idea and nothing else” and “[...] WE EXIST, and continue the battle, the battle for the final victory of our race”‘

Of course, maybe he was just kidding around when he continued by saying in ’1987, 42 years later, with our thought and soul given to the last great battle, with our thought and soul given to the black and red banners, with our thought and soul given to the memory of our great Leader, we raise our right hand up, we salute the Sun and with the courage, that is compelled by our military honor and our National Socialist duty we shout full of passion, faith to the future and our visions: HEIL HITLER!”‘

But hey, who are you going to believe, a self-professed follower of the great leader, or someone who is just a mealy mouthed liar if he says he isn’t.

At least Franz Schönhuber, the head of the truly and completely neo-Nazi Republikaner (because the Republikaner were not going to make any of the same mistakes given a second chance) was an honest man when he said the best days of his life were spent serving in the SS. No one ever needed to worry that anything Schönhuber ever said about his beliefs was just public posturing – after all, Schonhuber was not actually a neo-Nazi, he was a true one, having sworn a true oath to his nation’s leader, unlike some Greek proclaiming HEIL HITLER! in print.

The Anti-Gnostic September 30, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Lots of countries practice national socialism. The only sticking point is who’s eligible for membership in the nation. If everybody’s going to attempt to live off each other, there are good arguments for limiting the common weal to members of the ethnic nation-state.

Martin Keegan September 30, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Greek Economist Vicky Pryce, in her recent book “Greekonomics” predicted that Greece’s involvement with European integration would so undermine democracy as to lead to military rule. Greece has already seen an elected Prime Minister lose power after defying Europe. These arrests of the Eurosceptics, following the Eurosceptic defeat in the German federal elections, will chill opposition to EU integration across the whole Union.

It is a complete disgrace to use the criminal justice system in this fashion; I am very concerned that Greece’s government, which is prepared to do these sorts of things, retains its vote in the Council of Ministers, effectively contributing to laws I have to obey here in the UK.

prior_approval September 30, 2013 at 1:46 pm

‘effectively contributing to laws I have to obey here in the UK.’

Hey, how did that purely non-EU sponsored broadcast ban of Sinn Fein work out?

‘On 19 October 1988 Tory Home Secretary Douglas Hurd announced that organisations in Northern Ireland believed to support terrorism would be banned from directly broadcasting on the airwaves.

The ban affected 11 loyalist and republican organisations but Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA, was the main target.

It meant that instead of hearing Gerry Adams, viewers and listeners would hear an actor’s voice reading a transcript of the Sinn Fein leader’s words.’ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/4409447.stm

Oh yes, the good old days.

Art Deco September 30, 2013 at 4:28 pm

The question at hand is whether the military high command is Chilean or Argentine in character. The former might undertake an effective reconstruction of the political economy; the latter would create more ruin. The country’s political culture currently makes it one giant scum village.

Art Deco September 30, 2013 at 4:30 pm

The EU is just godawful. Time to blow it up.

Martin Keegan September 30, 2013 at 2:52 pm

I think you’ll find the ban was introduced in the Republic in the 1970s under Labour minister Conor Cruise O’Brien, and the Tories were just copying them (or following suit pursuant to some agreement).

My non-sequitur detector has exploded, however, so I’ll not be responding again.

radical centrist September 30, 2013 at 8:18 pm

what really upsets the establishment about golden dawn is that Golden Dawn is both anti-immigrant AND anti-austerity.

The neoliberal media and establishment want to keep the Rightwing platform focused on cutting taxes on the rich, keeping the workers poor, hungry and desperate, and giving workers fewer rights.
At the same time the neoliberal media and establishment want to keep the Leftwing platform focused on identity politics, pro-immigration, etc.

That way the neoliberal establishment wins if either party is in power.

Golden Dawn violates this sacred division of Left and Right. Golden Dawn is both anti-immigration AND anti-austerity. Golden Dawn is against immigration (oh no, no cheap labor for the neoliberal establishment!) and against austerity (the rich investors have to pay more in taxes to support the welfare state and high wages and the workers are less dependent on the establishment. Oh no!).

That is why golden dawn is demonized by the establishment. They give the people what they really want–an all white nation with a strong welfare state and strong workers rights and benefits.

Art Deco October 1, 2013 at 10:23 am

The country is bankrupt. No amount of magical thinking will change that.

Anthony October 1, 2013 at 1:26 pm

“the Golden Dawn party seems to have used migrants to sell products illegally on black markets”

I can’t imagine that selling illegally on the black market is a job that Greeks won’t do.

Floccina October 1, 2013 at 3:55 pm

I still do not understand why Greece is sting in the Euro zone.

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