Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 11:08:15 AM EST
John Brady Kiesling is a former American diplomat who distinguished himself by becoming one of the very few US diplomats of notable rank, who resigned ahead of the US invasion of Iraq. His letter of resignation, republished in the NYT, made headlines and spread around the web, a significant PR weapon for those of us vehemently opposed to the coming Iraq catastrophe.
So given his diplomatic background and the fact that he was serving the US Embassy in Athens before his resignation, his article yesterday in the Nation , where he implies that the US Embassy was in fact responsible for the recent wiretapping scandal [more] that is still rocking the Greek political scene [latest, well if you don't count the fact that a "suicide" of a key Vodafone technical executive, a day before the wiretaps were reported seems less and less likely to have been an actual suicide], seems rather significant.
From the diaries, with format change ~ whataboutbob
Kiesling in his article titled "An Olympian Scandal", states that the reasons he considers it a given that the US Secret Services were behind the mobile phone taps because:
The intercepted calls were forwarded from four cellular antennas. Their coverage circles overlapped atop the US Embassy. The list of victims was also damning. Anyone might eavesdrop on a defense minister, but only one organization still cares about the electrician whose brother-in-law was implicated in the 1975 murder of CIA station chief Richard Welch by the terrorist group called 17 November [wikipedia article, the trial stuff is not really accurate IMHO]. One telephone was listed to an inconspicuous Greek-American at the US Embassy. Journalists learned the phone had been lent to the embassy's Greek police security detail.
Note that Kiesling's "evidence" for US involvement is apparently based on what we already know and not on any "inside" information (though the fact that he has written such an article might conceivably be construed as an indication that he knows more than what he admits). So on the one hand this could be dismissed as speculation (which indeed it is), but on the other, the fact that a former diplomat actually accuses his former employers of spying against an allied country, is hard to ignore.
The US embassy in Athens has stated that J.B. Kiesling is no longer an employee of theirs but a journalist and as such he is entitled to speculation. The Greek government stated that there is an investigation underway, that they are hiding nothing and that anyway Kiesling was never a Greek government employee - passing the ball to the Embassy.
Well the fact of the matter is that no one in his right mind believes that the investigation would be allowed to point the finger at the American Embassy, no matter what the evidence is. Especially since there is a dead body involved now, which can't be as easily swept under the carpet.
BTW this spells more trouble for the Greek Conservative Government. Demands are being made that range from accelerating the investigation's pace, to expelling the US ambassador, and shutting down the US base at Suda on the island of Crete. It was becoming rather clear in the past few days that the government apart from sitting on the story for approximately one year, did little else and showed no great eagerness to pursue this story until after it was forced to go public with it.
The labor unrest combined with the wiretap scandal, could conceivably lead the country to early elections at the time when the Conservative's popularity is falling from pretty consistent high marks during their first year and a half. A poll has recently predicted that the Socialists would win the elections if they were held now, and this is the first time since the last elections, that the Conservatives are trailing in any poll.