Alexis Tsipras’ Failed Attempt at Democratic Socialism

The prime minister who lost his bluff with international creditors in 2015 is now striking another radical pose by giving holidays to assassins, writes John Kiriakou. 

Tsipras Has Betrayed the Greek People

By John Kiriakou
Special to Consortium News

The Greek word “syriza” means radical or from the grass roots.  That, however, does not describe the man who leads Syriza, Greece’s ruling party of the same name. 

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras mishandled the dramatic standoff with the EU and international creditors three years ago. He is now meddling with the country’s anti-terrorism laws concerning the Revolutionary Organization 17 November, a far-left group formed in 1975 that has carried out numerous assassinations.

I am not unbiased on this issue.  I was a CIA officer in Athens from 1998-2000 working against 17 November, which has killed 23 people, including foreign diplomats, a Greek publisher of a right-wing newspaper, a member of parliament, a CIA station chief in Athens, two U.S. defense attaches, and a U.S. Air Force sergeant. 

I left Greece abruptly in August 2000 after 17 November assassinated my neighbor, British Defense Attache Stephen Saunders.  The group said in a subsequent communique that they had set out to kill me that morning, but they saw that I was driving an armored car and they knew that I was armed.  I was evacuated two hours after the communique was published.

“Anti-imperialist March 23/5 German Embassy” “Whoever is afraid is already dead.”  (John Kiriaou)

Under Tsipras’ reforms, any prisoner who has significant physical disabilities and who is serving a life sentence may be released unconditionally.  That law affects only one person, Savvas Xiros, the 17 November assassin whose bomb went off in his hands as he was positioning it to kill a shipowner in the port city of Pireaus.  Xiros lost his hands and an eye.  He thought he would die from his injuries, so he confessed everything to the police.  Then he lived. So far he’s still in prison.

Another provision gave furloughs to all of the 17 November terrorists serving life terms for murder, including the group’s founder Alexandros Yiotopoulos and its two lead assassins, Christodoulos Xiros and Dimitris Koufondinas. They are all serving terms of more than 1,600 years each.  Two years ago, while on a two-week Christmas furlough, Christodoulos Xiros simply walked free. He was caught a year later.  But instead of being punished with a longer sentence, he is scheduled for another furlough this Christmas.

Tsipras’ Betrayal

After becoming prime minister in January 2015, Tsipras, then 44, almost immediately began hinting that Greece would exit the Eurozone and return to the drachma as its national currency unless the “evil troika”— the European Central Bank, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund—eased demands to slash government spending, primarily on pensions. 

He sent his finance minister at the time, Giannis Varoufakis, who is now working with Sen. Bernie Sanders to form an international progressive movement, to Berlin and London to hold the Greek position as forcefully as possible. Varoufakis did as he was asked. He made it clear that Syriza was willing to leave the European Union and default on its loans to defend Greek citizens from hardship. His comments rattled foreign exchange markets and weakened the euro against the dollar.

 Tsipras: Broken promises. (Wikimedia)

As part of these hardline and high-stakes negotiation, Greece missed a payment deadline of its international creditors by 24 hours, further escalating tensions. Tsipras then pulled an infamous publicity stunt. He called for a national referendum on withdrawing from the Eurozone, calculating that it would fail. He had no intention of dropping the euro and returning to the drachma. But voters approved the referendum.

Varoufakis, who is a personal friend, told me that he was with the prime minister the night of the referendum. When it was clear it would pass, he said, Tsipras looked at him and said, “Shit.  We’re going to actually win this.”

Tsipras decided to ignore the voters. Instead of fulfilling his party’s essential, opening promise—to resist demands for massive budget cuts and layoffs from the public sector for Greece—Tsipras capitulated.

Varoufakis Takes the Fall

Tsipras also threw Varoufakis to the wolves. Varoufakis was forced to resign and the country’s chief prosecutor wound up charging him with “undermining the national currency” by weakening the euro against the dollar with his threat to withdraw from the Eurozone in meetings with the Germans. 

Varoufakis was arraigned on a charge of treason and still faces trial, although he may not see the inside of a courtroom for another 20 years.  That’s the Greek justice system, where treason cases typically drag on for decades and then fizzle out. The last treason conviction was in the 1970s, when the leaders of the 1967-74 military junta were convicted and sentenced to life in prison.  They all died there.

In the years since Greece’s drastic face-off with the EU, unemployment has fallen to 19 percent from 30 percent to.  Tourism is way up.  And the country is no longer on the brink of insolvency. But none of that has anything to do with the Syriza Party, its platform or its leader. The economy is turning around because it has finally found a natural equilibrium, albeit at a much-reduced size from before the crisis, and in spite of Syriza’s policies.

Syriza is a comparatively new party in Greece, founded in 2001 after the socialist PASOK party collapsed under the weight of its own corruption.  It’s a coalition of stragglers from PASOK and five small Eurocommunist parties.  Its platform is socialist and nationalist at the same time:  oppose neoliberal economic policies, protect Greek workers, clean up the environment, provide for the elderly, maintain good relations with neighbors, oppose counterterrorism laws and welcome refugees. 

Capitalist Moves

But in accordance with the EU’s bailout conditions, Tsipras wound up firing thousands of government workers, taking 10,000 priests off the government payroll and selling state monopolies to foreign investors. Thousands of Greeks either lost their pensions or had them slashed. For the first time in generations, many Greeks went hungry and became homeless. 

None of that was socialist. It was capitalist. A truly socialist leader would have increased spending to stimulate the economy, while allowing public ownership of key industries.  He would have increased exports from already socialized sectors, such as concrete and olive oil production.

Skouries Mine(Wikimedia)

Another notable failure of Tsipras concerns the Skouries mine in northern Greece, which is operated by the Canadian Eldorado Gold Corporation. Greece is a rather important producer of gold, but Eldorado’s operation has stirred intense demonstrations to protect the local water supply. Stridently anti-Eldorado graffiti in the northern part of the country expresses some of the local outrageInstead of taking over the mine, cleaning it up, and selling mining rights to any number of “green” gold mining companies, Tsipras did nothing.  As a result, miners went on strike last year and the company has announced layoffs.

On the heels of these failures, Tsipras looked for ways to recover his credentials as a “democratic socialist,” bringing him to his current debacle.

Tsipras’s predecessors, prime ministers from both the conservative New Democracy and socialist PASOK parties, all asked U.S., British and Israeli intelligence services for help against 17 November. Flouting that precedent, Tsipras decided to weakened the country’s anti-terrorism laws. Since many of these laws were pushed by the United States, he saw it as a way to set himself apart from Greek conservatives.

I’ve been a Greek citizen since 2008. The Tsipras government hired me to help it write a new whistleblower protection law, enacted in April.  But Tsipras has turned his back on democratic socialism.  He’s turned his back on the poor, the elderly, the environment, and even the victims of terrorism for no good reason.  Tsipras has set back his professed democratic socialism by a generation.

John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act—a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration’s torture program.

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80 comments for “Alexis Tsipras’ Failed Attempt at Democratic Socialism

  1. Carey
    December 18, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    Excellent comment. I just wonder, though, if Tsipras and Varoufakis weren’t part of an act, a going-through of motions.
    That’s how it looks to me from the outside.

  2. R Davis
    December 18, 2018 at 4:19 am

    What were the odds that SYRIZA would ever win an election … ZIT – ZERO – NIL.
    But …
    Sometimes life gives you the ball.
    “Ella Vre, Esi Ise Tora”
    A deal was done to show the Greek people that there was no way out & SYRIZA was that way.
    Oh , they would give it their best shot & fail against the might of the EU.
    “You see, we have tried & even your way & it is to no avail.” they would say to the people.

    But there is always a plan B

    Where SYRIZA agreed to hand the head of Greece to the EU on a silver platter – they could have actually – given it their best shot & run the EU ragged.
    You say that Yanis Varoufakis went to the EU & did his best & I laugh at your gullibility.
    Varoufakis, in true Greek tradition, is a great & melodramatic ham.
    I expected at least a few tantrums – skirmishes – a scuffle or 2 on the EU negotiations floor – not unlike a passionate tsifteteli.

    NOTHING – N O T H I N G.
    Are we sure that Tsipras & varoufakis are even Greek ??

    • R Davis
      December 18, 2018 at 4:23 am

      A song to commemorate the ineptness of SYRIZA –

      Stelios Kazantzidis – piase varia tsigara mou – Youtube

  3. georges vadeboncoeur
    December 16, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    ALL STATISTICS ARE VERY IMPORTANT. THEY THEY RARELY COMPLETE.

    How many greeks have left since 2016 to find work elsewehere in other countries.
    to say that unemployment is reduced, is not accurate if we don’t mention the amount of greeks that
    left to seek work elsewhere.

    The same thing apply to statistics given on unemployment in us -uk – france – germany etc.
    it should states: A) unemployment rate – B) percentage of people on welfare – (C percentage of people
    on disability leave (specially from goverment employees) D) refugees or immigrants that receive money from the goverments after the 12 months integration programs.

    People pay for their statistics department that is a huge budget but keeps them uninformed by
    their goverments. Then we could vote on the performance of our goverments

  4. XBarbarian
    December 15, 2018 at 7:27 am

    Thanks John for the essay.

    As mentioned below, the role of wall st (goldman Sachs, JPM, etc) and London banksters is overlooked, though. the creation of the EU itself, a massive attempt at centralization of power and more important, control, set these miserable atrocities in motion.

    how many more islands and such, previously state like commons, have been sold off to the globalist oligarchs?

    F. v Hayek, radical “libertarian” idealogue, proposed a 4 plank plan to which the elites have followed:

    Friedrich Von Hayek, Austrian economist, proposed a 4 plank plan to establish economic “freedom”. Of course, that “freedom” was only for the inbred elitists, the “rentier” class, the “new” feudal lords. His ideas support and justify their creation of absolute monopoly of the entire world’s resources, by a few. Monopoly always was the real intention, the people’s only real enemy. No wonder Hayek was found, then promoted, by Rockefeller.

    “Competition is a sin” J. Rockefeller.

    Hayek’s plan: peddled as Libertarian, supporting “Liberty”, but based on the deceitful notion that “government” is evil and root of all corruption. A self serving LIE. Government IS the people, established by the People’s consent, but the monopolist’s have hijacked government, use “government” as a simple false target, a straw man, a proxy. In practice, government today, has become merely a puppet manipulated by the generational wealth.

    Hayek’s Ideas (planks)

    1) Deregulate global financial markets – DONE

    2) Deregulate global trade – DONE

    3) Create the illusion of national bankruptcy (thereby neuter a nation’s capability to enforce laws – eliminate the people’s ability to defend against being consumed by the 1%) – DONE

    then lastly, the kill shot:

    4) Privatize Everything. recreate us all as permanent rent payers of even the most basic necessities of life (Air, water, food, shelter). – Almost COMPLETE

    #AusterityIsCode4Looting

    #PrivatizationIsTheft – privatization today is STRICTLY about prioritizing money away from the commons and general welfare and giving it to the inbred 1% rent-seeking parasites (EXTREME SOCIALISM FOR BILLIONAIRES, and NOTHING for the people)

    Implemented globally by force, using their “super sovereign” (above the laws of nations) global banking control entities, WTO, WB, IMF, BIS, etc. and of course, actual militaries.

    We are 99.99% there.

    we are already debt slaves to a global 1%, they have already monopolized everything.

    this condition will not, nor can not, be changed with BS “elections” run by the very 1% we seek to depose.

    that brief moment of political hope with Tsipras and Varoufakis “election”, was predictably SMASHED by the globalist banksters. this is the case globally. politicians come and go, but old, inherited, generational wealth in the hands of a few, are permanent. only their interests will be served. clearly, the west in general, is on the precipice of economic collapse. Agenda driven, as we march into global centralization, economic reset, and petro dollar’s demise, to be replaced by SDR, or something similar. difficult times ahead, friends. good luck.

    • Single Colodactylon
      December 17, 2018 at 5:27 am

      The Barbarian speaks truth. Thank you, Sir.

  5. December 12, 2018 at 11:04 pm

    How is that Tsipras turned his back on the most vulnerable part of his constituency and fell for the “evil troika’s” demands when things were going better for his people? Is it just another example of selling out to the imperialist interests?

    • Tsigantes
      December 13, 2018 at 7:05 am

      Because he is well paid to do so by the PTB! Wake up! All the political chatter of left & right ideology is mere distraction for babies.

  6. December 12, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    My friend Jason in Athens says that this is a very fair representation of what is happening in Greece. I had linked to this story on my blog.

    He points to the high unemployment rates that still persist, the huge decline in GDP which remains even now, and the lack of leadership and the will to reform.

    Here is what he had to say:

    “I think we are in what is called ‘secular stagnation’.

    What worries me is that the society is falling apart. In modern Greek history we have experienced bankruptcies. However there was social cohesion and the will of the people to move forward. You don’t see this now. In addition, there is a severe demographic problem with a net decrease in the Greek population. So how this society will keep on going?

    Let’s say in technical terms that there is an ‘equilibrium at lower levels’ for us. Ha.ha! GNP has shrunk by about 40% of its 2008
    level and there is a 20% total unemployment rate, which reaches 46% at the youth level.

    https://tradingeconomics.com/greece/gdp

    Crime and corruption are out of hand, and so is the immigration issue.

    I saw that you had a link on your site about Greece. [to this article at Consortium News]. The author is correct.

    An indication of the economic swamp we are living in is that today the stock market value of the Greek banking system is 4.5 billion Euros only!

    A tourist may not feel the dire situation, but if that person visited Greece prior to 2009 they will see things that they did not see then, like homeless people, and people searching in the garbage. This is what scares me.”

    Greece is not an isolated example.

    One only has to look at what is behind the protests of ‘the yellow vests’ in France to see a similar struggle against the corrosive effects of neoliberalism as the prescribed remedy.

    https://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/2018/12/why-are-yellow-vests-protesting.html

  7. Northern Observer
    December 12, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    The November 17 members in custody should be executed by slow cutting. This punishment is proportionate to their crimes and the empathy and compassion they showed to their victims. The University Sanctuary laws need to be rescinded and the Athenian anarchists who terrorize civilians next to the University should be shot if they chose to re-offend. Regarding the mine in the North either it is a legitimate contract or not, either the company is operating within the law or not. If they are not then the bid should be rescinded and put back out to tender. If they are then the demonstrators who are disrupting lawful operations should be placed on unlimited detention until they sign peace bonds. For every peace bond they break they should serve an exponential number of years behind bars 1 = 1 year 2 = 2 years 3 = 4 years 4 = 8 years etc…. If they want to turn themselves into Terry Nichols and die in prison it is their choice. As for the economy, drachmatization is the only solution that will work long term. I’ve heard stories of factory owners moving operations to Turkey because Greece is too expensive, that should not be possible and is a product of the mismatch between the euro and the Greek economy. Before currency reform Greece’s defense position must be worked out as messing with the EU and weakening the currency will leave Greece isolated and vulnerable, this is a danger in the presence of an AKP run Turkey. The only viable solution in my mind is for Greece to secure 3 submarines with 4 to 6 nuclear warheads each and place them on constant maneuvers in the Mediterranean so they can not be preemptively hit. This is the only kind of force that will deter the opportunistic maniacs that make up the Turkish elite. Russia is the only possible source for such a technological transfer and it would have to be done with some secrecy. Once the deterrent is in place it will be safe to transition to a new economy with national fiscal control. Tsipris is just another dick in a suit, a continuation from before, what Greece really needs will take men of a different caliber than today’s snails and serpents, fortunately for Greece, these hard times are producing future leaders that will be cunning and hard enough to lead the people.

    • Anne Jaclard
      December 13, 2018 at 7:49 pm

      What horrible, vile words! “Snails and Serpents?” Unlimited detentions? Slow cutting? Execution of anarchist students? Nuclear warheads? This appears to be a Golden Dawn extremist who has no qualms about the butchery of the left and is just proof that the N17 members were unpleasant killers but on a lesser and far more excusable scale than these sadistic and crazed Nazis/GLADIO/Far-right internationalists. Despite your apparent dislike of Erdogan, you apparently have a lot more in common with him and Ukrainian fascism, Netanyahu Israel, Bolsonaro and the like than any humanist or free-minded person. Sick and sad.

  8. Bessarabyn
    December 12, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    Thank you. Efcharisto poli !

  9. Jerry Efremides
    December 12, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    Thank you for your article.

  10. Babyl-on
    December 12, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    Alexis Tsipras was always and is now a Neoliberal sycophant. He betrayed the will of the Greek people, democracy and respect for the lives of innocent people.

    To say he failed at something which might have been noble in any way is to soft peddle the reality of his willing and even gleeful support of Imperial domination.

  11. Single Colodactylon
    December 12, 2018 at 8:19 am

    If I were Greek King, I would..

    – declare the country neutral unitlaterally (screw Team Blue AND Team Red!)
    – kick out all the Troikas, NATOs, foreign bankers and “investor” pirates
    – kick out all foreign businesses, whose principal strategies are based on tax evasion, tax theft and espionage (Amazon, Google, etc..)
    – kick out all NGOs, UN approved or not (..just because!)
    – temporarily nationalize all banks and key industries
    – tear all memoranda, odious debts and EU laws to pieces
    – put in place strict Visa procedures, especially for German, Turkish, British, US and Dutch travellers/visitors
    – set all military to red alert, protecting territorial waters and resources, and close all strategic borders until further notice
    – go full Israel style self defense mode against ANY motherf*cker trying to pull any more stunts

    ..until the Greek demos has had enough time to properly analyze the ruinous last decade, hold the key traitors responsible and develop its own regional strategy for the future.

    ..until the international demos figures out how to punish their very own neoliberal pest, that has been screwing their societies for decades also.

    Having said all this.. kings and queens really really suck, and any country that continues to rely on monarchs, symbolic or not, is a living anachronism.

    • Bessarabyn
      December 12, 2018 at 1:54 pm

      Entax !

    • dionissis mitropoulos
      December 12, 2018 at 7:39 pm

      @Single Colodactylon

      You said:

      “If I were Greek King, I would..

      – put in place strict Visa procedures, especially for German, Turkish, British, US and Dutch travellers/visitors

      – set all military to red alert, protecting territorial waters and resources, and close all strategic borders until further notice

      – go full Israel style self defense mode against ANY motherf*cker trying to pull any more stunts”

      You do sound like an Israeli, indeed. I mean all this militarized mindset of yours.

      • December 15, 2018 at 9:12 pm

        I found it kind of offputting. Is that how progressives think and behave?

        • Single Colodactylon
          December 17, 2018 at 8:42 am

          Arby, frankly, I have no idea how “progressives” are supposed to think and behave. This question seems to be of some relevance in the academic US discourse on matters left and right, however, Europe and especially Greece has very urgent and serious problems that need to be addressed pronto and pragmatically, without ideological dogmatism.

          I would be very much interested to hear the “progressive” position on Greece’s big f*ckover and how to deal with the culprits.
          If progressivism means “yellow vests”, then hell yeah, welcome progress!
          But if it means, keep your head low and occupied with secondary issues for a smoother transition from neoliberal nihilism to 4th Reich digital fascism, then progressivism is just another facet of the monster. Some gloomy progress indeed.

      • Single Colodactylon
        December 17, 2018 at 7:32 am

        I am a left wing greek patriot who is sick of being pushed around and watch the paradise that is my country being GIVEN FREELY to the gangsters, thieves, fraudsters and murderers of this planet. May Zeus strike their crown chakras with lightning bolts, when they are sitting on the morning toilet, contemplating who they will rob and push over the edge next.

        Mr Mitropoulos, my call for “protect and defend” is of quite a different quality than the “attack, loot, injure, and then add a barrage of insults” mindset of the criminals, who play imperial monopoly games on the backs of the good and decent people of the world. Unfortunately, unlike Iceland, Greece is stuck on the fault line between NATO and whatever new empire is emerging in the east. If we don’t want to be gradually crushed between these power blocks, we better start coming up with long term strategies. My little list above is merely a short term strategy aimed at demonstrating sovereignity and some spine, thus allowing Greeks to find their own consensus. This, however, will never happen, if we keep avoiding the geostrategic elephants in the room.

  12. Charles
    December 11, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    What has the Tsipras government done to break up the violent fascist organization Golden Dawn?

  13. KiwiAntz
    December 11, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    What isn’t mentioned in the article is the role Goldman Sachs had in meddling in Greece’s affairs, that enabled the Greeks to join the EU in the first place?? Based on previous financials, Greece should not have been able to join, but thanks to dodgy accounting practices from GS which hid the Greeks debts off the balance sheets like a Enron shell game, this accounting trickery led to Greece becoming a fully fledged member of the EU? It would have been better for Greece if they hadn’t joined the EU as the would have had their own Sovereignty & Currency with the drachma! Haven’t your own currency enabled you to have more fiscal control because it allows devaluation, it if ever get into trouble? Once Greece gave up this tool & became part of the EU they lost their Sovereign rights as a Independent Nation!

    • Tsigantes
      December 13, 2018 at 7:11 am

      Not disputing your point about Goldman Sachs, but what is the bigger picture? The bigger picture was that the euro was originally slated for the north only – Germany, France, Benelux – until they realised they would have no one to sell too. Thus the Mediterranean countries were brought on board….and Greece was certainly not the only recipient of Goldman Sachs ‘magic’, just the only example exposed (and as if it was Greece’s fault).

  14. KiwiAntz
    December 11, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    Tsipris is just another bagman for the EU. His capitulation to EU austerity demands testified to his deception & was the main reason why Yanofaukis resigned! And despite Socialism taking the blame! There has never been a true Democratic Socialism model that’s been successfully implemented due to the pressure bought about by the Capitalist Elites? The only socialist system that’s wirked is a form of socialism for the Rich & austerity for the poor who pay for the bailouts & handouts for the rich!

    • Tsigantes
      December 13, 2018 at 7:20 am

      Varoufakis may be Kyriakou’s personal friend but he was no asset to Greece as finance minister: in the first meeting with Eurogroup he took Greece’s ONLY bargaining chip – leaving the euro – off the table and declared that Greece would pay back its debt. The rest was downhill except for the self-aggrandising Varoufakis bandwagon, complete with designer clothes & horrendously expensive motorbike ir ‘Mr. Sexy’.

      Today Varoufakis leads not a political party but a ‘movement’ (like Macron), declares that all Greeks must support Macron. declares that nation states are a passing phase brought about by industrial capital, wholeheartedly supports and believes in the EU and Open / No Borders. He denies vehemently that he is linked to Soros, despite his position in YNET and other factors. He is presently standing for EU parliament in Germany, whose language he does not speak and where he has never resided.

  15. factCheck
    December 11, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    This article is a classic brainwashing trick. It mixes two arguments, the first to catch the attention and the trust of the reader the second to feed the lies. I won’t comment on the argument about 17 November story, but the rest is the classic anti-EU propaganda. Truth is that socialism or keynesianism work when corruption is limited, otherwise they become a mean to drain resources from the majority and feed the elites. In the case of Greece the majority was fully drained and the elites were unwilling to give anything, Tsipras was forced to abandon his promises simply because he was unable to fulfill them.

    The writer claims that Greece recovered notwithstanding Europe directives, but actually what was asked by the EU authorities was never fully implemented and in any case Greece survived because notwithstanding the way they insulted Europe and used them as a scapegoat for the crimes of their elites Europe kept supporting them.

  16. JonhDoe
    December 11, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    This article is a classic brainwashing trick. It mixes two arguments, the first to catch the attention and the trust of the reader the second to feed the lies. I won’t comment on the argument about 17 November story, but the rest is the classic anti-EU propaganda. Truth is that socialism or keynesianism work when corruption is limited, otherwise they become a mean to drain resources from the majority and feed the elites. In the case of Greece the majority was fully drained and the elites were unwilling to give anything, Tsipras was forced to abandon his promises simply because he was unable to fulfill them.

    The writer claims that Greece recovered notwithstanding Europe directives, but actually what was asked by the EU authorities was never fully implemented and in any case Greece survived because notwithstanding the way they insulted Europe and used them as a scapegoat for the crimes of their elites Europe kept supporting them.

  17. Alex V
    December 11, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    Regarding Xiros, what is the purpose of keeping him in prison? Punishment or to prevent him re-offending? Since we cannot predict someone’s lifetime, life in prison is then by definition arbitrary punishment, as it will be served a random amount of time no matter the details of the case. What is the likelihood of his committing further acts of terror?

    • Tsigantes
      December 13, 2018 at 7:28 am

      Agreed. And Mr. Kyriakou despite his own unjust imprisonment fails to appreciate a more humane approach.
      Meanwhile there has always been the question (unanswered to this day) of exactly who was behind November 17. They were a convenient tool to keep the Greek state in line not least through terrorism warnings from the US State Department.

  18. Andrew Thomas
    December 11, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    People who worked for evil organizations and then, despite the overwhelming cultures of those organizations that demand strict adherence to those cultures, and who nevertheless at some point say “enough is enough” and at great personal risk disclose to the public the evil which was done are to be admired. What Jon Kiriakou has done took courage that 99.99% of us could never come close to. The same for Ellsberg, Binney, Ray McGovern, et al. Ad hominem attacks should never substitute for substantive argument. They should be off the table when people like this are involved in the discussion.That said, it should be pointed out that, as Varoufakis has said, the Euro was a trap. There was no practical way of exiting the Eurozone and reinstituting the Drachma as the Greek currency that would not have caused horrific immediate problems for the Greek people. See Varoufakis “And The Weak Suffer What They Must”, pp. 139-140 for the short version. The fact is that any government that lacks its own currency, that it controls, cannot really govern. So it engages in whatever largely or wholly symbolic acts that it thinks will appeal to its base. That is what Tsipras has done. He has not so much betrayed the left as illustrated why it isn’t possible to do what Siriza set out to do in the present context. The honorable thing to do-three years ago- was to resign. Whether that would have just pushed Greece in Hungary’s direction earlier rather than later is arguable. But it is impossible to not see Golden Dawn making huge inroads in the next elections given the straight jacket the country is in. I hope I am wrong. If someone thinks that, please tell me.

  19. December 11, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Thank you, John, for this information. I was starting to explore the bona fides of Varoufakis, and your explanation means a lot to me.

  20. Vincenzo
    December 11, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    It’s very simple. People in Greece get sentenced and they’re behind bars, because they owe money to the Government and can’t get rid of their debts losing their homes, because of this clown and his government policies, while he’s letting loose terrorists with weekend and holiday absences of leave. This country needs a patriot leader. 7 years of military rule (1967-1974) was not enough. They should have ruled the country for at least 40 years, just like Franco ruled Spain.
    Parasites that have ruled this beautiful country for the past 44 years should have been hanged in the Constitution Square in Athens, in front of the Parliament building, exposed to the public.

  21. Michael Kenny
    December 11, 2018 at 9:59 am

    I would regard this as classic American EU-bashing and sour grapes. In practice all Mr Kiriakou is accusing Tsipras of is seting back “his professed democratic socialism by a generation.” That doesn’t sound like anything very serious! What Mr Kiriakou admits but then tries to sweep under the carpet is that things are slowly but surely getting better in Greece. As the first country attacked, Greece became the symbol of the American attempt to re-assert cold war-era US hegemony over Europe and the success of the bailout symbolises the failure of that attempt. Incidentally, Greece could not “return to the drachma”. Once a currency is abolished, it cannot simply be revived. Greece could have abandoned the euro and created a new currency, whether called the drachma or otherwise, but, in the circumstances, that new currency would have been totally worthless and, since Greece’s debts were denominated in euros, the effect would have been to precipitate an even worse economic collapse. In addition, Tsipras grasped that as long as Greece remained in the eurozone, the other eurozone countries, and in particular Germany, were, in practice, forced to bail it out. That gamble payed off. That some Americans are displeased at that outcome doesn’t surprise me.

  22. Paora
    December 11, 2018 at 2:23 am

    Agreed, Tsipras is a traitor and an embarrassment to the Left, in fact to anyone who has any regard for democracy. His betrayal pretty much handed the peoples of Europe to the far-Right on a silver platter. Varoufakis has not come of this debacle smelling of roses either, with his DIEM25 movement seemingly more interested in rehabilitating the ‘European Idea’ and opposing ‘populism’ than preparing to lead Europeans out of the 21st century’s ‘Prison House of Nations’. As an internationalist (ie a consistent nationalist, not an anti-nationalist or ‘globalist’) I’m all for peaceful and cooperative relations between the nations of Europe, but that goal cannot be achieved in today’s EU. As the old school Marxists used to say (and still do) the political structure of Europe must be ‘smashed’ (the German term is more artful) and rebuilt in the interest of the popular classes (‘the people’ who seem to scare Varoufakis and the critics of populism so much).
    That being said I support Tsipras’ efforts to bring a small measure of humanity to Greece’s judicial system, only Americans believe that justice is served by locking someone in a cage ‘for the rest of their lives’, especially someone with someone with severe health problems (as most lifers do as they age in prison without adequate health care). You would think the author would have more sympathy as someone who left a much more murderous organization and seems genuinely interested in making amends, and has experienced imprisonment personally. With many years to actually read Marx rather than living in fear of capture or death most 17 Nov members are probably in a similar place, leaving them to rot serves no just purpose.
    As for the innocence of Nato military attachés, Eichmann never personally killed any Jews or Communists, he was just a large cog in a murderous machine. As to how big a cog you have to be to held accountable for the machine’s actions, reasonable people may differ. I think it’s best to come down on the site of humanity and mercy wherever possible.

    • David G
      December 11, 2018 at 5:38 am

      Considerably more lucid and well-founded analysis in your comment, Paora, than in this rather addled article by John Kiriakou. Thanks!

  23. rosemerry
    December 11, 2018 at 2:06 am

    What an interesting article and comments! Thanks to Consortium News!

  24. December 11, 2018 at 1:19 am

    I read Kiriakou pieces and I see someone who stepped across the line to speak truth to power…and got worked. Why he wasn’t assassinated is a surprise because that’s what this country does. Rubs people out the controlling wealth and power elite doesn’t like. And they don’t like tattletales on damn bit!

    But just like the Vietnam Vets against the war, Veterans for Peace and other groups, who all went and murdered people in their own countries for the profits of corporations because they were ‘following orders’ and ‘patriotic’ and all the rest of the trigger words used to control the dumb-ass public and the cannon fodder. Should they all be dismissed as killers or liars because of what they did? Or should they be judged by WHAT THEY ARE DOING NOW?

    Marine Brig General Smedley D. Bulter did the same, turned on his masters and wrote a tiny little book named ‘War is a Racket.’ So shouldn’t he also be dismissed because he, too, is a murderer of innocent people just like the vets from Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq, along with all the whistleblowers who were part of the machine and switched sides to try to change what they see is wrong?

    Kiriakou and the rest of the whistleblowers who tried to wake up the ignorant intolerant sleepwalkers infesting this continent got hammered for it by the so-called ‘progressive Democrat’ Obama who prosecuted more truthtellers than any other president before him… And the triple comment gang-up here to snarl at him forgetting the serious sacrifice that will last the rest of his life, is absolutely uncalled for.

    I’m reading Daniel Ellsberg’s ‘Doomsday Machine’ Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. I’m in chapter 6. Not fun reading what so ever. But since he was the top Rand guy in the late 50s-60s and knew the reality of the US nuclear war plans (rah-rah patriotism!), his Pentagon Papers release should have been dumped in the trash and all the work he has done since against war, including this documentary-book, should be discounted because he was…a bad guy, right Skip?

    So AnneR, Sergio, and Skip Scott, this sounds rational to you three? That is what you are proposing for Kiriakou. And probably Ray McGovern and other whistleblowers who have stepped across the line and are facing back at who they used to be. Who are all pariahs of this society; Enemies of the State in truth. Do any of you have that courage or moral outrage?

    John Kiriakou, keep pushing buttons and telling truth. You are appreciated.

    sealintheSelkirks

    • Skip Scott
      December 12, 2018 at 9:16 am

      Actually I am a big fan of Ray McGovern and Bill Binney, and I sympathize with John Kiriakou. I am not all that familiar with him, but he seems like a good guy. You are jumping to conclusions. I would be interested in finding out more about how all these guys got caught up in the CIA in the first place. Was it just the naivety of youth? I am also curious if John was aware at the time he was in Greece of “Operation Gladio”? It would seem to me that he must have been largely ignorant of the evildoings of the CIA right up until he did his whistleblowing over torture. Or maybe is was a more gradual realization?

      I agree with you completely that people should be judged by who they are now. We all learn as we go along. I am very thankful for the work they are doing now, and realize that it takes a lot of courage.

  25. mrtmbrnmn
    December 11, 2018 at 12:22 am

    Tsipras showed himself to be a coward and a poltroon back in 2015 when he sold out the country formerly known as Greece to the
    EU(nuch) and the German banksters. He has not changed.

    http://news.jornal.us/article-681199.Go-Greece-Gone-Greece.html

  26. mike k
    December 10, 2018 at 11:18 pm

    My comments are not being published, Why?

  27. mike k
    December 10, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    My comment was not published, just now?

  28. mike k
    December 10, 2018 at 11:15 pm

    Greece is only a tiny pimple on the great cancer that is humankind’s failure to create a world based on truth and love, instead of the world we have based on treachery and violence. Until we solve this deep problem shadowing the world, local problems anywhere will find no lasting solutions, and serve only to further delude those who are over concerned with them.

  29. bobzz
    December 10, 2018 at 10:21 pm

    It’s seldom we see a writer respond to critiques. I like it. Perhaps it should happen more.

    • December 15, 2018 at 9:15 pm

      It has to be a scary experience though. I don’t get much feedback on my blog, but I wonder how I’d handle it if I did.

  30. Nick
    December 10, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    Pure idiotic drivel. I really cannot comprehend how complete morons like the writer of this garbage get highly paid jobs, and important positions that carry immense responsibility.

  31. Ort
    December 10, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    Thanks– this informative article should enlighten anyone who still thinks that the odious Tsipras was a “victim” of the EU banksters. I was really rooting for Syriza, but when Tsipras essentially unilaterally “annulled” the referendum results it became clear enough to me that Tsipras either had been secretly collaborating with the EU authorities all along, or panicked and acquiesced after the unexpected (by him) outcome and was “scared straight”– “straight”, in this case, meaning straight into continuing cringing subservience to the authoritarian EU capitalist overclass.

    The article does make me somewhat more sympathetic to Yanis Varoufakis. Given Tsipras/Syriza’s treacherous capitulation, it was impossible to resist the assumption that Varoufakis, too, was “in on” the plan to betray the Greek people– and reverted to a sort of post-referendum “Good Cop” to Tsipras’s “Bad Cop”.

    It was disappointing that the Greek people didn’t run Tsipras out of town on a rail, so to speak, but I guess it’s not that simple.

    However, I wonder if Varoufakis isn’t like one of those well-meaning romantics who have a penchant for choosing the worst partners. Sorry, but Bernie Sanders is Tsipras writ elderly; if Tsipras lasts another thirty years or so, he’ll be Greece’s Bernie Sanders– i.e., another demagogic pseudo-socialist.

    • Tsigantes
      December 13, 2018 at 4:31 pm

      We should remember that we only have Varoufakis’ description of what happened the night of the 2015 referendum. A description that has morphed and flowered over time in the face of Tsipras’ silence – a pox on them both!

      Varoufakis is a talented writer and energetic self promoter but the twists and turns of his career since c 2010 have made it impossible to take him seriously, nor to believe anything he says. Greece needs patriots and men of principle to stand for her: “Yanis” proved to be neither ; he is not only temperamentally incapable of this kind of vision (being petty, dishonest and self regarding) but also incapable of shouldering serious responsibility. In short he is a well paid clown who has progressively lost legitimacy across Europe through his own actions. Varoufakis is a creature of the Atlanticist establishment – CFR, EU, George Soros etc. Let the Germans and Americans have him!

      • Calgacus
        December 13, 2018 at 8:01 pm

        Tsigantes:Varoufakis may be Kyriakou’s personal friend but he was no asset to Greece as finance minister: in the first meeting with Eurogroup he took Greece’s ONLY bargaining chip – leaving the euro – off the table and declared that Greece would pay back its debt.

        This is not true, and as I noted above, odious or not, Greece’s debt was actually payable – it had been renegotiated at long terms and low interest.

        Varoufakis may be a self-aggrandizing clown etc and I would not defend his later excessively pro-European positions once he was out of power, which aren’t too consistent with his actions as FM. Varoufakis is a very rare bird who can walk the walk, but he can’t talk the talk! But I think his right actions speak more than his wrong words. He did a great job as a negotiator, as FM.

        But what you are saying and implying about his actions as finance minister is just not true. Even before Syriza came to power he said that if push came to shove – as it did – Syriza would wave goodbye to the EZ – as it tragically didn’t. Varoufakis was a member of parliament. Essentially, he chose Grexit. He voted against (or abstained, was absent – under the rules it was essentially the same thing) Tsipras’s betrayal of the referendum. For this he was personally booed by Tsipras loyalists in Parliament.

        The tragedy (or farce) was that Greece’s, Varoufakis’s, Tsipras’s strategery – had succeeded! Schauble offered a negotiated Grexit plan – the best outcome that could be hoped for. It would have led to a “robust recovery” in a matter of months (Mark Weisbrot). But Tsipras madly chose to continue the torment, for no reason at all. Out of nothing but unreasoning fear of freedom. Varoufakis’s true failure was as a teacher, as an adviser to Tsipras, to not counsel him well, to not dispel irrational fear with reason. He understands basic economics well enough to do the right thing, but not well enough to explain it to others. The main problem is undersimplifying, not oversimplifying, making things so incredibly much more complicated and confusing than they really are.

  32. anon4d2
    December 10, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    Thank you John Kiriakou for this insight, although without far more study of Greece, I cannot evaluate the complex economic and political alternatives. And thank you for taking the great risk and penalty of exposing the Bush admin torture program.

    I often wish for more precise use of the term “terrorism” as extremist insurgents with specific political targets are more focused than those with quite innocent targets. Perhaps “militant” or “insurgent” to avoid having to choose sides before knowing all of the facts.

  33. December 10, 2018 at 7:11 pm

    I lost my respect for and belief in Leo Panitch over the Alexis Tsipras betrayal of the Greek people. Then I learned a thing or two about the fakey ISO Panitch is connected to. I can’t support Varifakis’s support for ultra faker Bernie either.

    • wendy davis
      December 11, 2018 at 10:09 pm

      had you expected pepe escobar to show up to answer comments? ‘special to consortium news’ and all? pffft. (no offense to you, just the revamped site).

  34. December 10, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    Why even have a comment section if the comments aren’t posted in a timely manner?
    Why did you take a good thing and wreck it?

  35. michael
    December 10, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    “I was a CIA officer in Athens from 1998-2000 working against 17 November, which has killed 23 people” 23 people in 27 years?? That’s like a wedding party bombed in Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan on a Saturday night, collateral damage. Why even take 17 November seriously? George H.W. Bush used the 1975 death of CIA station chief Richard Welch in Greece to undermine much leaded reforms suggested by the Church committee and saved the CIA, as we know it. If anything, 17 November may be a CIA-trained group like ISIS or the Contras or Osama bid Laden and the Mujahideen. Would anyone be surprised if Welch was a Khashoggi of his time, perhaps a double agent and potential embarrassment? Tsiparis is an incompetent politician who was afraid to call the IMF’s bluff and pull off a GREXIT (surely he would have if BREXIT had come first). But he is Greek, as were 17 November (who dissolved 15 year ago) “terrorists”; let the Greeks sort out their troubles without foreign intervention.

    • cal
      December 10, 2018 at 8:50 pm

      In someways, the lead-in was more personal reflection and not so much relevant to the main thrust of Syriza’s collapse under Tsipras’ compromised leadership. I’d actually be curious what the origins of the 17 November were, especially as many of the leftist guerillas of the mid-20th century were themselves highly compromised by fascist paramilitary and deep-state agents, sometimes at the behest of CIA handlers. But even if not, just because the retail-terrorism of this group is so much smaller than the wholesale-terrorism of US clients (to use Herman’s terms), it doesn’t mean the bit-players are not deserving justice.

    • Tsigantes
      December 13, 2018 at 5:07 pm

      @ micheal
      Most Greeks take for granted that November 17 was projected and protected by TPTB, in the same way the Muslim Brotherhood was created by the English and taken over by the Americans post-war to use for the same purpose, This should throw another light on al Sisi, Erdogan, Huma Abadin etc). Not to mention Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, “Isis”, the Mujahideen and that’s only west Asia.

      . .The CIA doesn’t back a side: they create theatre for their own purposes of destabilisation and control. Thus bogeymen of both left and right are created and promoted….such as Golden Dawn in Greece, Jobbik in Hungary etc. Thus the wholly undemocratic, corporatist, neoliberal [= fascist] EU – which was created by and is run out of Washington -can make laughable claims such as: only the EU stands between Europeans and fascism. For proof of this terrible threat they can point their to totally marginal parties like Jobbik and Golden Dawn.

      I’m just sorry that John Kyriakou is also pushing this. And the lie that Greece’s economy is getting better.

  36. December 10, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    Anne, I agree with you in part and disagree in part. First, I’m profoundly disappointed in Tsipras. I really believed that there would be change and that Greece would finally stand up to the rest of Europe. That didn’t happen. Where I disagree with you is that I don’t think there is any way at all, ever, to explain away murder, whether it’s by the CIA or by 17 November. The charges against 17N are not at all “melded with myths.” The point of the group, simply, was to murder people whose politics they didn’t like. My neighbor, BG Stephen Saunders, had never done anything to anybody. Why did he deserve to die in the middle of the street? Why was a hit put on me? What about Thanos Axarlian, an innocent bystander who was killed by 17 November? Certainly Pavlos Bakoyiannis didn’t deserve to die just because he had reached out to the communists to try to find common ground. There’s nothing romantic about 17 November. Its members deserve to spend the rest of their days in prison. And I would say exactly the same thing about CIA officers and leaders guilty of similar crimes.

    • December 11, 2018 at 2:05 pm

      I quite appreciate your overall observations John and very much agree with your assessment of Tsipras betrayl, but what is a comment like: “Why was a hit put on me?” supposed to mean? You were working for the CIA John – no? Given the post-WWII history of MI6 and CIA involvement in crushing the Greek left & legal Greek progressive political movements (including but not limited to false-flag terrorism by NATO/CIA Operation Gladio & facilitating the military coup in 1967), I would think even if you were the world’s most enlightened and benevolent CIA agent you’d understandably (from the Greek left’s perspective) still have a target on your back. However, you stated – “I was a CIA officer in Athens from 1998-2000 working against 17 November. . .” I think I could hazard a “guess” as to “why a hit” was put on you. Just saying.

      • December 12, 2018 at 11:04 am

        True, Gary. My comment was no well-thought-out.

    • David Horsman
      December 11, 2018 at 11:07 pm

      And you be right. There is nothing romantic about it but a life sentence is too much.

  37. Sergio
    December 10, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    You made a very basic factual error: the referendum Tsipras put to the Greeks was not on whether to leave the Euro. Greece’s clear plan was to stay in the Euro. The referendum was whether to accept the bailout conditions set by the troika. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_Greek_bailout_referendum.
    Another factual error, you state that Varoufakis was not forced to resign, he resigned on principal because he was not going to sign onto another extend and pretend deal.
    A third point, to claim that Greece is recovering is at best controversial and shows a certain bias. Debt to GDP went up under and due to Troika policy discredited now even by the IMF https://tradingeconomics.com/greece/government-debt-to-gdp. Note the unemployment statistics, when unemployment goes down it doesn’t necessarily mean employment goes up, in the last quarter enployment was up only 0.5 percent. This is not a real recovery, it’s show, it’s painful and for the youth a tragedy where unemployment is still over 35 percent.
    I respect consortium news but this article was not properly researched and fact checked.

    • December 10, 2018 at 4:06 pm

      Sergio, Sure, the referendum was whether to accept the bailout conditions. But the real point of it was whether to accept European domination or to go back to the drachma. Everybody in Greece knew that was the bottom line. Varoufakis himself told me that he resigned on principle, but he did not defend himself when Tsipras and others told the press that he was forced out. Varoufakis had done exactly what Tsipras had told him to do. He threatened the Germans and weakened the euro. When Tsipras saw that wasn’t going to work and Varoufakis saw that Tsipras would no longer defend him, he resigned.

    • Calgacus
      December 11, 2018 at 1:05 pm

      Yes, that is how the referendum was portrayed in the Greek media- as a referendum on the Euro, and by statements of the EU authorities to that effect, attempting to scare the Greek populace . So it is reasonable to take it that way. The actual vote was 61-39; I’ve seen estimates based on earlier polls that it would have been even more one-sided – around 70% if not for the last minute threats from Eurocrats. Before his betrayal, I searched quite hard for explicit clear statements from Tsipras on what he would do – there were none. But there were repeated ones from Varoufakis – “we’d wave goodbye”. So it looked like dignity and common sense might prevail. It didn’t.

      “None of that was socialist. It was capitalist.”

      That’s kind of an insult to capitalism.
      Tsipras’s behavior was entirely mad. And so was the behavior of the Greek people re-electing him.
      Greece. Had. Won. Schauble was offering a better deal than I had expected possible- a negotiated, friendly Grexit.
      Tsipras had a great majority of the Greek people behind him. The “enemy” was surrendering. The economic prospects were good – Greece’s Euro debt was probably not hard to pay in full – if he just left the Euro and restarted the economy – “Socialist” “Capitalist” whatever – just spend enough to employ all the Greeks.

      So he snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory. It cannot be repeated enough. “The most potent weapon in the hands of an oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” If you have the mindset of Tsipras and those who did not vote against this – slaves in love with their chains – what do oppressors need with tanks and guns and banksters and flunkies?

    • JohnDoe
      December 11, 2018 at 2:23 pm

      “Debt to GDP went up under and due to Troika policy …”

      You rightly pointed two factual errors, but then you introduced a new factual error. Greece GDP was inflated by debt accumulation, waste and fake accounting. Introducing a more honest accounting and reducing waste brought the GDP to its real value, but obviously by doing so the debt to GDP ratio changed, it’s math easy to understand even for primary school children.

    • bill
      December 11, 2018 at 6:22 pm
  38. AnneR
    December 10, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Quite. Of course, Kiriakou was a member of the CIA, specifically its “counter”-terrorism section, so I suppose that it is not overly surprising that he would vilify November 17 and play down the extreme right-wing military junta of the late 1960s-early 1970s. The US government and its CIA operatives (in country) supported their coup. A continuation of UK-US earlier policy and action in Greece – against Greek interests and (as always) for the Anglo-American ones.

    Although Kiriakou was something of a whistleblower and served time for giving information to a reporter (on CIA torture, I believe), I nonetheless have some reserves about the political leanings and worldviews of someone who willingly worked for the CIA or FBI or NSA et al, given the heinous crimes that the former two agencies have definitely committed over the decades since their inception.

    • December 10, 2018 at 4:11 pm

      AnneR,

      I would never, ever “play down the junta.” It was the same junta that imprisoned members of my own family. I don’t mind at all if you don’t trust my analysis because I once worked for the CIA. I’ll pass your concerns on to Ray McGovern and the children of Philip Agee.

      • David Horsman
        December 11, 2018 at 11:14 pm

        Respect. It was good of you to reply and speak to the concern.

      • December 15, 2018 at 5:14 pm

        Why ‘that’ specifically change Anne’s mind, I don’t get.

        I absolutely agree with exercising an extra degree of caution when dealing with progressives who come out of the intel community. Progressives who came out of the unwashed masses switch sides almost daily. It’s hard to keep up with the betrayals.

        It’s only fair, though, to give the benefit of doubt to whistleblowers like John who give us no good reason for shutting them out, while giving us good reasons for welcoming them to our struggle for justice.

        I try to judge books based on their contents and, as long as I haven’t been very put off by a book’s cover, or title, that’s how I’ll proceed.

  39. December 10, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    I agree. But what can we expect from an ex-CIA counterterrorism officer who is obviously still defending his ex-colleagues?

  40. Bob Van Noy
    December 10, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    Thank you John Kiriakou for helping explain the political dynamic in Greece. I have been a long time follower of the J.K. Galbraith family having been introduced by beloved college Professor to Mr. Galbraith during the Sixties. I too am a fan of Yanis Varoufakis. May I suggest to interested CN readers the very excellent book by James K. Galbraith (Son Of J.K.) Of the inside dialogue which took place in those early meetings in Greece. It is truly fascinating drama.

    Thank you for the insights…

    https://www.amazon.com/Welcome-Poisoned-Chalice-Destruction-Greece/dp/0300220448/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1544465212&sr=8-1&keywords=welcome+to+the+poisoned+chalice

  41. Skip Scott
    December 10, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Great comment Anne! I wonder if John Kiriakou has any sense of irony, considering the CIA’s record of assassinations and worse. Terrorism is terrorism, no matter the perpetrator.

    • December 10, 2018 at 4:12 pm

      Skip Scott,

      And if you read anything I write, you’ll see that I agree with you.

      John

      • Chris Reed
        December 11, 2018 at 4:24 am

        Great article that gets to the heart of the matter.

      • Skip Scott
        December 11, 2018 at 8:10 am

        John-

        Thank you for your reply. I wonder if within the convoluted nature of the CIA if it would be possible to have a scenario in which a CIA counter-terrorism unit winds up pursuing CIA sponsored terrorists?

    • dfnslblty
      December 11, 2018 at 10:00 am

      I’m sure there is a “sense of irony” in the writings.
      Get to your point.
      That which is addressed in the essay seems factual/fact~filled – no matter who wrote it!
      People change; people grow.
      Conscientious objection to violence seems to be at the root of the essay.
      Hurrah for the author and his writing.

  42. Anne Jaclard
    December 10, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    It would make sense to attack Tsipras by pointing out that this is an electoral ploy to maintain the far-left vote, and everyone knows that Tspiras is a traitor to the left whose name belongs alongside those of Blair and Mitterrand. Attacking left wing guerilla groups on the pretext of them being anti-“democratic,” however, is a right-wing angle that is immoral. The CIA in Greece and globally committed thousands of murders and attempts to install rightwing despots during the 1970s (Operation Condor) when N17 was born. They earned the widespread hate of the Greek population for maintaining the fascist Junta that killed students and communists. N17 was hardly a bastion of morality, but much of the charges around it are melded with myths (see The Intercept on how Bush used the 1975 killing of a CIA officer to seize the CIA boss job and stoke GLADIO false flag against left (https://theintercept.com/2018/12/08/george-hw-bush-cia-director/).

    • Thomas Persson
      December 15, 2018 at 4:49 pm

      This is the problem with Kiriakou. He wraps himself in the flag of being a courageous whistleblower but he’s no Phil Agee. In the grand scheme of CIA terrorism his disclosures were very minor things and he continues to defend the institution. After all we know from the Phoenix Program through Operation Condor and the spin offs from these in central America as well as the activities in western Europe, Italy and Greece in particular, the CIA as an institution has faced no repercussions nor has any individuals. The CIA is a terrorist organization and if you associate yourself with it, whether as an officer, contract agent or asset, you should expect that a consequence might be that people might meet out their own justice. Instead we get this whining and hypocrisy.

    • December 15, 2018 at 5:21 pm

      You mean Pierre Omiyar’s Intercept? The same Pierre who helped fund the murderous Maidan movement in Ukraine?

Comments are closed.