Saturday, February 04, 2006

Washington Suspected In Greek Eavesdropping Scandal

(above picture is a map of the suspected sites of eavesdropping)
Oh, are the Greeks pissed! And when you piss off a Greek, let me tell ya! I should know, I am one!
Some revelations that some of Greece's most prominent political & military figures have had their phones tapped during the year of the Olympics, have set off a firestorm in Greece! Many Greeks feel certain Washington's responsible. And to add to that, according to an article from France's Liberation, is the mysterious suicide of a Vodafone employee & the company's odd behavior after it uncovered the eavesdropping.
During the year of the August 2004 Olympics, the cell phones of the Prime Minister, Costas Caramanlis, 5 of his secretaries (including Foreign Affairs & Defense), high military officials, the Mayor of Athens, & a European Commissioner, were all listened in on.
The goverment officially released the facts of the case on Thursday, announcing that the Justice Department will lead the investigation on trying to find out who was responsible.
Greece's left-wing press seems to have no doubt who's guilty. The headlines in Greek leftist newspapers were : " America Is Spying Against Greece", "America Is Listening", "Four Antennas For One American Embassy". But this theory also seems prevalent by the most popular right-wing paper, Eleftheros Typos, as well.
Ghirorgos Voularakis & Anastasis Papaligourvas, secretaries of Public Order & Justice, revealed a list of 46 names targeted by the eavesdropping. Both of them were on that list, as well as a former Socialist Secretary, journalists, businesmen, peace activists, & a dozen foreign citizens mostly of Pakistani & Iraqi descent. One, a journalist from Al-Jazeera.
The phones were tapped between June 2004- March 2005. The eavesdropping ended when Vodafone Greece, subsidiary of the British Co., uncovered it & informed the Greek authorities.
But when Vodafone cut the taps, it made the identification of the suspect's impossible to detect. Almost a year of preliminary investigations have led nowhere. The only evidence was that the hacking took place somewhere in downtown Athens, where the American & British Embassies are located.
But the question of, why did Vodafone deactivate the system before informing the authorities, persists in Greek media.
The Greek goverment denies that they are trying to blame Washington, & Vodafone executives say they were legally obligated to deactivate the software as soon as they uncovered it- they also deny the link between this case & the suicide of one of their employees on March 9th 2005.
In Brussels on Friday, the Greek European Commissioner, Stavros Dimas, made a joke when his cell phone rang, saying, " It's Vodafone, I'll speak loudly and intelligibly to make it easier for them!" At least he has a sense of humor about it!
Right now the Justice Department has only taken legal action against an undisclosed party for "violations of telephone secrecy", & dosen't exclude the possiblilty of further actions for "spying".