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The Road To Syntagma Square

Author bio: 
Richard Cottrell

Usually at this time of the year the unlovely concrete mess that is the sprawling Greek capital is settling in for the usual swarthy summer of hot, sticky heat, relieved at dusk by breezes, parfumed by slight hints of the Orient, blowing in from Homer’s wine dark sea. This year the only scent in the Athens air comes from the huge quantities of highly toxic tear gas sprayed by the thugs who pass for what is known as the police force. Policemen in Greece belong to that species of the law enforcement class who form a race apart from all others around them. These are moronic, poorly paid and under educated, easily-inflamed robocops, human battering rams who thoroughly enjoy roughing up anybody foolish enough to call themselves peaceful protestors. But in Greece this summer it is not just broken heads that Greeks are nursing. It is the Greek state itself, traumatized , sodomized and broken on the wheel by the bankocracy and faceless bureaucrats of the global fiscal money-go-round, who prowl around small countries like this with the poise of professional kleptomaniacs.

One way or another I have been involved with Greece and Greeks for a large part of my professional life. I wrote a book (Blood On Their Hands) which told the story of a bright young girl from London called Ann Chapman, who was tortured to death in the cellars of the Greek secret police. But at heart the book was really about the terminal pathological stress which makes both Greeks and Greece ungovernable. It may seem strange to say this but in this the sawn-off rump of the cradle of democracy there has never been any such thing as democracy. I suppose that poor old Byron must be weeping somewhere in the Great Upstairs, that matters should come to this. Of course, he has wept, copiously, before: at the endless meddling of foreign powers that introduced Greeks to the first flush of fascism in the lead up to WW2: the plague of the Nazis and then a ghastly civil war incited by Winston Churchill, who thought Greek communists (they who so roundly beat the Germans) intended to seize the Suez Canal: then came real, full-throated fascism, gulped down in huge draughts when a NATO-fashioned plan called Prometheus was employed by a bunch of loutish soldiers to take over the country in 1967. Long queues quickly gathered for the torture chambers.

After all that punishment Greece, was a made a ward of the European Union, and that is where matters stand now. Before Greece was arm-twisted into joining the club in 1981, I got into a pack of trouble in the European Parliament with a virtual one-man campaign to prevent it happening. I explained to all who would listen that Greece is a pretend marshmallow democracy, burdened with what is little more than a subsistence economy. Her political system is an endless performance of primitive musical chairs played by two powerful clans, the Karamanlis and Papandreou families. Between them they sucked the country dry of what little substance it possessed, like merciless house burglars. Crime, corruption ran amok to such an extent that honesty in public life could be said not to exist. Things got so hot I was called in for a ritual dressing down by Lord Jenkins, who was president of the high and mighty European Commission. But I paid more attention to the thousands upon thousands of letters I received from ordinary Greeks in every walk of life, praising my efforts and urging me on.

It was, of course, the perfect lost cause. The powers that be were determined to colonize the place and that is exactly what happened, just as Eastern Europe has been taken over and colonized in like fashion right now. I can assure you, gentle readers, based on personal experience of working and living in those quarters, that you may search for a year and a day anywhere in the old Soviet empire and never discover even a green shoot of democracy, let alone a lusty stripling. Hungary, as I have previously written, has already slipped into a quasi one party state. The idea the EU spreads democracy like butter from its famous food mountains, is pure tosh.

The process of capture is generally completed by ousting the local currencies in favour of the euro. That happened in Greece and to that end, all the books in creation were cooked, by Greek and EU bureaucrats and Wall Street, to rig a case for the switch. Of course it all came out in the wash about five years ago, that every claim made for the robust strength of the economy bore about as much substance as an empty flask of ouzo. The truth is that Greece should never been admitted to the enchanted circle called the European monetary system. Further, there was a good case for using the excuse to throw her out of the EU altogether, or at least confined to some marginal camp reserved for serial offenders. I can assure you the mass cheers and hosannas from Greeks would have brought the columns of the Parthenon down.

Syntagma Square (it means Constitution Square) is a place of immense sanctity to all Greeks. It is the true arena of the people, where they pour out their collective hearts in times of trouble and danger. The civil war began there, just before Christmas in 1944, when British and government agents provocateurs rained lead from surrounding rooftops on jam-packed thousands, crammed there demanding Greece for the Greeks. We are watching the repeat performance right now. I just plucked this sentence from one mournful blog: ‘Groups of masked extremists are embedded in the peaceful protest. The police are striking back with chemicals and some people are hurt.’

Yes, the current uproar in Greece is once again about Greece for the Greeks and nothing else. The international banking cartel may demand their pound of flesh, but I suspect they will, like Shylock in eerily chiming circumstances, be denied it unless the foreign occupying powers go the fully monty and stage some kind of coup. That is why the agents provocateurs are once again mixing with protestors, goading trouble while making sure the cameras are rolling right on cue. Every picture you see of a masked stone-thrower frozen in action is a work of perfectly posed fiction. Of course all avenues will be explored, like some work of fiction called ‘a government of national unity.’ National unity my foot. The ‘national unity’ is reflected the rage of the angry assembly, day after day, night after night, in Syntagma Square, and the ones who are out of step are the broken, criminalized, corrupt and incompetent embezzlers making up the political class who sold out their own people, over and over again.

Greeks are too savvy, too accustomed to the mores and ways of the politicians, to expect a figment of democracy. Any replacement shower they cared to usher in would be overtaken by cross-infection, like political lepers, in no time at all. But of course they will not get the chance, in any event. It seems to me that 1967, the year the morbid podgy colonels staged their putsch, is indeed in the air again. The Balkans have long been a NATO parade ground, and I just don’t see the EU and the Gnomes of Frankfurt, the bankers and bondholding lootsters, those salivating vultures circling the promised juicy morsels in the shape of unbundled state assets and properties, letting the parrot fly free from the cage right now. They might cow the Greeks into sullen obedience, as so often before. They will be left with the elderly and infirm, the young and able-bodied having fled once and for all to better climes.

Tumbleweed will roll along the boulevards of Athens. Victory at last. All hail the New World Order.

Richard Cottrell is an author and journalist and a former elected member of the European Parliament (Conservative). His new book Gladio: NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe will be published by Progressive Press in September.