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Former US diplomat on Athens wiretaps: "the US embassy did it"

by talos 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.

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Thanks for the update on this story...we aren't hearing too much about it outside of Greece...is it getting bigger play there? And how is Kiesling's article being received?

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 10:04:37 AM EST
Yes, it's, as you can imagine, still a huge and open story here. Unforunately there is more rumor produced than substance. The two things that we do now know, is that a. the company knew that something was wrong a month before they initially claimed, and that b. the Tsalikidis suicide was most probably not a suicide.

The government is trying to divert attention from this embarassing story as much as it can, and Kiesling's article (despite not revealing anything that wasn't already known in Greece) reopened that can of worms with a vengeance.

Kiesling, I think, that everybody likes over here, if solely for the guts it took (he quit 5 years short of a full retirement) to tell the whole neocon cabal to go to hell. He writes a monthly column for the English language Athens daily, Athens News.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 11:08:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there a more than hell freezes over chance that an elected Socialist government will ask the US base to go away?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 11:22:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No. The current Socialist leadership is, if anything, more pro-American than the Conservatives.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 11:54:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sigh...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 11:55:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It wouldn't be a good thing if Greece did that anway. That's the kind of upheaval you don't want right next to Turkey, the Middle east and the Balkans.

One key thing to remember, for every base you lose, you need to start a new war to establish another base.

by Upstate NY on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 02:13:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Quote:
One key thing to remember, for every base you lose, you need to start a new war to establish another base.
*
Yap...so right!

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat Mar 4th, 2006 at 01:14:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
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.

Who exactly "demanded" these things? I hope you don't imply that the socialist opposition "demanded" the expulsion of the US ambassador. The socialists didn't dare pronounce the words "americans" and "wiretapping scandal" in the same sentence!

by Greco on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 11:47:20 AM EST
No [see above]. Actually Alekos Alavanos of the small Coalition of the Left party, did so today in Elefterotypia. Demanded is probably too strong a word: he implied that should the investigations conclude that the US government was indeed behind the wiretaps (as the Coalition has been arguing since day 1), the Greek government would have to implement drastic measures including closing down the Suda base whose exact activities no one seems certain about, but which is rumoured to include a "special" detention center for select prisoners from Iraq.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 12:02:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, have you heard the scenario that Karamanlis gave so much clues about the wiretapping as a political move against the Americans? That he tried with this move to say "buck off, I am not going to put Dora Bakoyanni in the Foreign Ministry". Of course, Kostakis lost.
by Greco on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 01:05:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Doesn't that seem a bit far fetched though? I mean Dora Bakoyianni was among the Vodafone users under surveillance...

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 01:12:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The wiretapping of the greek officials had nothing to do, I think, with persons, only with their offices. Bakoyanni was the chosen one for the americans. They really didn't like Molyviatis at all. I could say that Bakoyanni is the female greek edition of... Adil Abdul Mahdi.

Anyway, it is a little bit conspirational, I admit it.

by Greco on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 01:27:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Could you tell the rest of us who these persons are?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 4th, 2006 at 09:52:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dora Bakoyanni: Former Mayor of Athens, current Foreign Minister, daughter of Constantinos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister 1990-1993, widow of Pavlos Bakoyiannis, journalist and conservative MP murdered by November 17, in one of their many "unfathomable" operations. The Mitsotakis family has very good personal relations with the Bush family.

Petros Molyvatis, former Foreign Minister, until a few days ago, more hard line on "National issues" (such as, notably, Cyprus) than either the socialists were or Bakoyianni is expected to be, former right hand diplomat of Constantine Karamanlis (the original Karamanlis - the current PM is his nephew).

Adel Abdul Mahdi is a current Iraqi vice-president under the Vichy-on-the-Tigris regime in Baghdad.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sat Mar 4th, 2006 at 04:27:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks! Dora Bakoyanni is also the one who took over the overseeing of the Olympics preparations after the elections, wasn't she? Now the only thing I don't understand is in what sense Kostakis lost (according to Greco).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Mar 5th, 2006 at 08:57:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kostakis (Karamanlis) lost because he was forced to make Dora Bakoyanni Minister of Foreign Affairs. She is thought to be his chief internal opponent. She will probably work against him during the next elections.
by Greco on Sun Mar 5th, 2006 at 06:27:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Forced - by circumstances, by the Americans, by his party?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Mar 6th, 2006 at 06:10:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is what I didn't get - as the PM, wasn't he free to decide?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Mar 6th, 2006 at 06:11:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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