Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Greece: The November 17 Terrorist Who Got Away

According to The Guardian and http://www.ekathimerini.com, two weeks after going underground, a convicted member of November 17, once Greece's most formidable domestic terrorist group, has vowed to return to an armed insurgency against Greece, reigniting fears of a resurgence of political violence.

In a video manifesto released on Monday (January 20), Christodoulos Xiros, 52 who was serving multiple life sentences when he vanished on furlough from prison, pledged to wage war against all those he claimed were destroying the debt-stricken country.

"I've once again decided to make the guerrilla rifle resound against those who stole our lives and sold our dreams to make a profit," said the 52-year-old, one of November 17's chief assassins until his arrest in 2002, just prior to the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Against a backdrop of pictures depicting Che Guevara and heroes of Greece's war of independence, the escapee called on leftists and anarchists everywhere to bridge their differences and unite against the judiciary, police, state and media.

COMMENT: Xiros' ability to elude authorities after being granted temporary leave from the high-security Korydallos Prison, which a maximum-security penal facility for both men and women. is near the Port of Piraeus. Its most famous detainees are November 17 terrorist alumni. 

Unfortunately for law enforcement worldwide, while visiting his family in Halkida, northern Greece, over the New Year, he escaped. Of course, most reasonable people would be puzzled by the question: "Why was he released to see family when he was facing multiple life sentences?"

Until its dismantlement, the Marxist-Leninist November 17 was regarded as one of the world's most dangerous terror organizations. US, British and Turkish diplomats were among its 23 victims during a 27-year reign of terror.

One of 19 to be unmasked as members of the gang, along with two of his brothers, Xiros was among the few to remain behind bars. In the wake of his failure to report to authorities, revelations have emerged of all-night parties in the prison and of Xiros having been able not only to move freely between wards but to exchange plans and well-honed skills with other convicted terrorists.

Understandably, anyone remotely responsible for Xiros' confinement should hopefully be in search of employment after Monday's revelations, as it is unforgivable that he would be released for any reason.

The sad part is that no one even knows where Xiros is, but it is a safe bet that not only is he beyond the reach of Greek police, who frankly should all be ashamed of themselves for ever releasing Xiros.

Worse, knowing November 17 as I do, having investigated him while serving in Greece and Cyprus, someone with his unique expertise will no doubt find a ready home with extremists that would be happy to take him in so they could learn from his years of experience as a Merchant of Death.