Thursday, February 09, 2006

BushCo ain't only tapping Greek government...

From Le Monde via :

US Suspected of Having Tapped Greek Leaders' Phones
By Didier Kunz
Le Monde
Thursday 09 February 2006

One week after the revelation of telephone taps that targeted the entire state apparatus during the Olympic Games in Athens in summer 2004, the Greeks are still wondering about the source of the operation. But hypotheses favor the United States. "Of course, everything points in their direction," asserted one security expert under the cover of anonymity. "One may broadly suppose that the Americans put Greek officials under surveillance to make sure the work was being done to assure the Games' security, but also for early detection of any threats that might have developed," he added. Yet the Greeks, accused in the past of being lax about terrorism, had deployed considerable effort for the Games' security. International experts had been called upon, from Europe, but also from Israel and the United States. NATO, Europol, and Interpol were put to the task, and international intelligence cooperation was established with Russia, China, Italy, and the Balkan countries neighboring Greece.

Greece was much praised. "After a gigantic effort of modernization and organization, Greek security forces made a great leap forward; it's rather remarkable," stressed Director of the National Institute for Advanced Security Studies (Inhes) Régis Guyot in this regard, during a visit to Athens.

The announcement of the wiretapping on Thursday, February 2, struck like a bomb, and the shock wave is still reverberating in all the national media. The list of people targeted is impressive: Prime Minister Costas Caramanlis was personally targeted, as well as the Ministers for Defense, Foreign Affairs, Public Order, Justice, and the Merchant Marine. Several senior Army officials, the Mayor of Athens, Dora Bakoyannis, leftist activists, and a dozen people with Arab-sounding names figure among the other targets. Before a Parliamentary commission Tuesday night, Minister of Public Order Georges Voulgarakis added the names of the heads of the police, of Games' security, of anti-terrorism and of the secret services (EYP) to the list.


According to the government, the wire-tapping began two months before the Olympic Games and continued until March 2005, when an official from the Greek subsidiary of the Vodafone telephone company, who was investigating technical dysfunctions customers complained of, discovered a modern telephone tapping mechanism. Officials deactivated the wire-tapping software before alerting the authorities, thus preventing investigators from following the trail. The authorities, who up until now have discovered only the operating method and the persons tapped, kept the affair secret until it was revealed a week ago by the major newspaper Ta Néa. Since the day following, the Greek press has suspected "American espionage against Greece."

The Socialist Party Pasok deems that the government itself designated that lead by specifying that the relay station for the eavesdropping was situated in the part of the capital where numerous western embassies, including that of the United States, are located.

Several leftist and labor groups were supposed to organize a protest demonstration outside the American Embassy Thursday, February 9. They denounce American Secret Services, but also accuse the conservative government of Mr. Caramanlis and Vodafone of having done everything possible to cover up the scandal.


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