Tuesday, December 27, 2005

MI6 in Athens part III


/ cover-ups / royal /
I've been following both here (1, 2) and on the European Tribune (1, 2) the saga of this summer's abductions of Pakistani immigrants in Athens by "unknown captors". The story just acquired a new twist which is why I'm writing a third post instead of updating the last one...

On Christmas day, the Athens Weekly "Proto Thema" published a list of Greek Secret Service operatives involved in the abduction as well as the name of a British agent described as the MI6's stationmaster in Athens (who was possibly in command of the whole operation). The newspaper is a rather sleazy/muckraking tabloid - with connections however to a lot of people in high places. The leak probably came from within the secret services - and the veracity of the story is strengthened by the Greek Government's and the Greek Intelligence Service's panicked reactions. It is interesting that no other Greek newspaper that I know of - and certainly no British or International publication on the web has published the MI6 agent's name - pointing to a gag order:
THE Government tried last night to block the naming of an MI6 officer alleged to have orchestrated the torture of terrorist suspects in Greece.
It issued a warning to media organisations after a leading Athens newspaper identified the British intelligence officer and 15 Greek agents, alleging that they took part in the arrest and abuse of 28 Pakistan-born detainees who were held in connection with the July 7 bombings in London.
The disclosures sparked a row in Athens, with opposition leaders and human rights groups demanding to know why British agents were allowed to operate in Greece...

The MI6 agent is named Langman and probably is the same bloke who was also implicated in the various Diana-related MI6-scenarios - and thus already compromised, I would say, never mind that his name was published on the front page of the Sunday newspaper with the largest bleeding circulation in Greece, so I don't understand why the fuss.

Anyway, the Greek government has a whole load of problems with this right now as the public prosecutors' office is stating that the complaints are "absolutely valid" and is preparing to call the named Greek Intelligence officers to testify. This is something that the Intelligence Service (EYP) has already stated that it will not allow its employees to do, on grounds of "national interest". The lawyer of the abducted immigrants, however, is preparing to sue the named EYP officers. This will make not appearing in court difficult for the agents accused. The conservative government is already suggesting that it was Socialist party sympathizers inside EYP who leaked the story for political gains (or disgruntled officers skipped on the promotion lists) and insists that there is nothing to it, a position that is getting harder to defend with each passing day.

[cross posted in a slightly different form in the European Tribune]

13 comments:

kouk said...

Yesterday night I heard Triantafylopoulos (one of the owners of the "Proto Thema" tabloid) claim that the names were divulged to his newspaper by _three different_ sources, of which none came from within EYP. In his usual secretive style he seemed to indicate that he didn't connect the leaks with PASOK, but he didn't hint at any alternative.

He also offered some funny comments on EYP who are, as it seems, a greek-style secret service: they hold annual union gatherings and parties where everybody appears with their proper name, enters through the front door etc. Triantafylopoulos was wondering what the big fuss was about since anybody can just sit outside the Diogenis restaurant under the Acropolis and take photographs of those that enter on the day of the EYP annual party :-P

ιονκ said...

Actually, the so called "agents" attending the meetings at the Diogenis taverna are hired actors, the real agents work 24/7 for a well known reporter looking for roaches, rats and all sorts of garbage in our food, matresses, et al. Soon they will find some of that in our tv's, yep and it don't matter if you got plasma screen, they are still gonna find'm
Then, someone from the public ("laoutzikos") will appear on the 8 o'clock news, (somewhere near the infamous Ahens flea market, of course, cause all major political strategies are carved out there - rumor has it, in the basement of a butchers shop), and declare, hey! we knew already that our tv's are full of crap so the government must do something to protect us. So, then the roach-hunt will change course and everyone, I mean everyone (politicians, lawyers, priests, tv stars..etc..etc) will go after the tv establishment. I am guessing that's more likely next years season..

Anonymous said...

Despite a D Notice from the UK government, you have published the MI6 agent's alleged name - the only place on the world wide web where it can be found (in English). Some friendly advice from a fellow blogger: I suggest you withdraw it before someone comes knocking...

talos said...

Dear anonymous:

a. the only place on the world wide web where it can be found (in English)

Demonstrably, not true.

b. I'm not British. True, the country I'm living in used to be a British protectorate, but that was back in the day when the UK was some sort of superpower. Anyway the D-Notice is "advice" to the british press - not an order, so even if I were british I don't think I'd have any trouble with this.

c. The name is all over the Greek media as I pointed out in the post. If the British government thinks that it can prevent people from finding out stuff like this, someone should speak to them about those internets...

d. Most importantly (and thank you for giving me the opportunity to expand on this): This is the name of a person who, in connivance with the Greek government, conspired to trample on the constitution of my country. It's not simply my fucking right to reproduce his name (which is public knowledge anyway) over the web, it's my fucking civic duty. The only way I hope to ever see this alleged bloody torturer (a tool, I should add, of war criminals and international outlaws) in my country is handcuffed, under custody and accompanied by his lawyer on his way to trial - where he will be able to rebuff his accusers, I'm sure. The odds against this are immense, I know - yet, I hear, that if you cross your fingers and try hard enough *miracles do happen*.
More seriously, I hope this utter embarassment for the Greek government, leads to the downfall and the disgrace of our local imperial collaborators and those that think the constitution is a document that one can interpret selectively and at will.

Sara said...

A "Pireotisa" born of American and British parents I wholeheartedly support the naming of this agent. If he has done nothing wrong, he can clear his name in a court of law. If he has, then he (and the UK government) will have to suffer the consequences of the very same international law the UK is so keen for everyone else to follow. Compromising any, let alone Greek sovreignty is an unacceptable practice and the more governments are brought to task for it, the better. Civil liberties are paramount at a time when hypocrisy appears to rule. What's the UK government going to do anyway...chase everyone who knows this guy's name? I got it from my dad's friend in Athens, a British reporter (also in Athens) and from various members of the ex-pat community (in, where else, Athens)...

Anonymous said...

I applaud your decision to publish the MI6 agent's name.
First of all, the name is in the public domain anyway - the newspaper printed it, loud and clear.
Secondly, it is your civic duty to defend Greece's constitution and sovereignty. Let me remind you of Article 120 para.4 of the Greek Constitution which, in effect, says that preserving the rights and liberties enshrined in the Constitution is every citizen's duty.
Well done.

Cian said...

I must say you seem right not to be overly worried about a d-notice to british press. Certainly if they chase you for publishing they are going for low-hanging fruit. The initial source/namer is the one to find in any normal british libel/related trial (i think).
On the issue of torture itself, this has clear and obvious implications for the Uk and since it is perpetrated within the EU stands a better chance of being punished. That better chance is still tiny.
Happened across the blog while surfing. Cosy spot.
RR

talos said...

Thanks Sara - (Pireotissa - not an Olympiakos fan surely!) I can't take credit for the naming of this agent, I just passed on what was public knowledge anyway - albeit in the Latin alphabet. I hope it had some effect.

Anonymous 2: Indeed. What's good for the MI6 is bad for civil liberties everywhere I suppose.

Red Rover: yes, I doubt that even a British newspaper would have any legal problems with this naming of a named (also twice in the past 12 years) MI6 agent. I'll be surprised if there is any sort of meaningful inquiry in Britain anyway.

European citizen said...

The justice, the governments, intelligence services, the Press, the Internet bloggers and everybody are protesting and shouting and on and on dealing about the supposed abductions of Pakistani immigrants. I agree of course that the issue has to be explained.

But,

Whereas everybody is protesting as regarding the abductions, nobody is protesting as regarding the way thousands of Pakistani immigrants have illegally entered Greece; as regarding the fact that the Greek government not only illegally omits to deport them, but gives them green cards too, without even examine their possible liaisons with islamist extremist organizations.

Concluding, everybody is protesting about the (supposed) illegal disappearance of the Pakistani immigrants, and nobody is protesting about the (fact) illegal APPEARANCE of the Pakistani immigrants; the latter being itself the very reason of all the problems.

Selective sensitivity or hypocrisy?

European citizen said...

The justice, the governments, intelligence services, the Press, the Internet bloggers and everybody are protesting and shouting and on and on dealing about the supposed abductions of Pakistani immigrants. I agree of course that the issue has to be explained.

But,

Whereas everybody is protesting as regarding the abductions, nobody is protesting as regarding the way thousands of Pakistani immigrants have illegally entered Greece; as regarding the fact that the Greek government not only illegally omits to deport them, but gives them green cards too, without even examine their possible liaisons with islamist extremist organizations.

Concluding, everybody is protesting about the (supposed) illegal disappearance of the Pakistani immigrants, and nobody is protesting about the (fact) illegal APPEARANCE of the Pakistani immigrants; the latter being itself the very reason of all the problems.

Selective sensitivity or hypocrisy?

Aris said...

European Citizen, I suggest you stop comparing apples to oranges.

Your beef regarding the illegal entry of immigrants and subsequent tolerance by the government has absolutely nothing to do with a government that engages in unconstitutional behaviour.

By and large, an illegal Pakistani immigrant will come to Greece for a better life. Yet, you will see him selling tissues or cleaning windshields at stoplights. Perhaps he'll be pumping gas into your car for peanuts just so he can support his family back home. He will be meek, polite and harmless. I couldn't give a sweet fuck if he goes to a mosque and prays to Allah as long as he minds the law (which 99% of Pakistanis or other Arabs do). Now, if the police have any evidence against him regarding supporting terrorism, I'm sure they could take him in for questioning [i]the legal way[/i].

In your shoes, European Citizen, I would be much more concerned of the fact that the Greek government allowed MI6 agents (along with EYP) to illegally detain and interrogate [i]anyone[/i], whether they be Pakistani, Greek or a donkey for that matter.

If they can shove due process, legal representation and the constitution up our asses over illegal immigrants today, who's to say they won't do it for you or me tomorrow? Do you see how the Bush administration is illegally spying on anyone it deems an enemy of the state, even its own citizens? Do you see how it (and our western governments in tow) are doing whatever the fuck they want, especially when it comes to kidnapping, ghost detainees and torture? Have you been paying attention to the news? And you're gonna compare that to immigrants staying within Greece illegally?

Let me ask you a question: what would you say if you found out that the CIA or MI6 sent agents to Greece which then kidnapped an illegal immigrant and sent him for torture to Egypt or Syria? It's happened recently to innocent people such as that Syrian-Canadian, that German-Arab and God knows who else we'll never hear of. Judging by your comment, you would probably say "good riddance". That would make you an accomplice to that man's misfortune, though.

Personally, I would rather that the Greek government had the capability and balls to respect human rights, which immigrants, whether they are here legally or illegally, should never be stripped of.

Just because someone is here illegally doesn't mean you can abduct them and do whatever the heck you want to them.

Either you haven't learned much from the dictatorship or you're a bigot.

Aris said...

BTW, European Citizen, in closing you mentioned, "the latter (illegal APPEARANCE of the Pakistani immigrants) being itself the very reason of all the problems."

What problems are these and what does any of it have to do with, much less justify, the kidnapping of innocent human beings?

Hmmm, come to think of it, now I'm [i]sure[/i] you're a bigot because only pathetic bigots pin all their woes on the immigrants.

If you're Greek, I suggest you research history a little bit and see how Greek migrants were treated in other countries in the 50s and 60s. Anglo-Saxons used to kick the shit out of them on the Danforth in Toronto because they felt that they were "the very reason of all the problems", just like you do.

Renegade Eye said...

This blog has done a great job with this story.