9 May, 2021: News Roundup

A weekly news roundup of events posted by The WannabeWonk on Twitter dot com

Marfin Bank, 2010, Athens (Greece)

(Members of urban guerrilla group, the Organization for Revolutionary Self-Defense (OEA), sentenced; attack claim in solidarity with hunger-striking anarchist prisoners in Chile; attack claim in solidarity with members of OEA; imprisoned members of Revolutionary Struggle (EA) release communique in solidarity with anarchist prisoners on hunger-strike in Chile; New Democracy (ND) revisits the fatal 2010 firebombing of the Marfin Bank branch in Athens; neo-Nazi MEP, Ioannis Lagos, to be extradited to Greece from Belgium; a truly wild homicide on the island of Zakynthos)

Organization for Revolutionary Self-Defense: Sentencing (Greece)

Two members of the dismantled Greek urban guerrilla group, the Organization for Revolutionary Self-Defense (OEA), were sentenced this week on terrorism and weapons charges, as well as their alleged involvement in the October 2019 robbery of an OPAP gaming (gambling) store in the eastern Athens suburb of Cholargos. Vangelis Stathopoulos was sentenced to 19 years in prison after having already spent one-and-a-half years incarcerated. Dimitris Chatzivasileiadis was sentenced in absentia to 16 years in prison. Chatzivasileiadis has been on the run since accidentally shooting himself in the leg with a rifle during the 2019 casino robbery. He continues to release occasional communiques while in hiding, including a call to action in revenge for the police killing of US antifa member and so-called “Portland Shooter,” Michael Reinoehl. Following Hellenic Police raids on homes connected to OEA in November 2019, Chatzivasileiadis released a debriefing describing the Cholargos robbery from his perspective:

On the 21st of October, around 11pm, together with one more person, I made an appropriation of a state casino shop in Cholargos (suburb of Athens). Before our departure from the shop the rifle that was used for our self defense passed from the other person’s hand to mine. An automatic rifle, if available, is a convincing deterrent during any act that may come into confrontation with the murderous mercenaries of capitalism. Bastards like those who tortured to death George Floyd, the same bastards who gang killed Zak Kostopoulos, who was already wounded by the fascist shop-owners in a pedestrian road, in the middle of the day, in the city center, bastards who, shortly after, killed Embouka Mamasoubek inside a police station, and whose names are still kept secret, having enjoyed the full cover of the then leftist government and bourgeois justice, these bastards don’t understand any other language than the one they have learned to implement.

The moment I took the weapon, it fired, due to my negligence. The bullet hit my leg. After leaving the place, I sought refuge at the nearby home of an old friend. Estimating that very soon the repression mechanisms and their minions, the regime’s journalists, would publish my photo, I decided to evacuate a flat in which I was storing a number of tools for the resistance, with the aim to rescue them. So these tools ended up in the house where I had gone wounded, and from there into the warehouses of the militarist-statist rulers, about two weeks after my injury.

Presumably, Stathopoulos is this old friend and, according to Chatzivasileiadis, not a member of OEA.

Among these “tools for the resistance” were five AK-pattern rifles, four CS gas grenades, two handguns, a submachinegun (unclear if functional), 17 detonators (9 remote-controlled), and along with various other explosive materials, “gelatin dynamite”.

Unlike some of OEA’s contemporaries, the group’s very first attack had the potential to take human life, as they fired on the political offices of now-defunct left-wing party, PASOK. Their second attack featured the same method of spraying a building with indiscriminate gunfire, this time the Mexican Embassy. A police officer was injured in their third attack, in which a guerrilla hurled a hand grenade at the French Embassy. A year later, members of OEA opened fire on a Hellenic Police bus, whose retinue was guarding PASOK offices. At least one officer was injured. Their final recorded attack was similar in nature, where members opened fire on a van transporting officers of the riot unit in the vicinity of Athens’ Exarcheia neighborhood.  

Perhaps because its members were slightly older than those charged with connections to the anarcho-nihilist urban guerrilla movement of the same generation, Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei (CCF in English, SPF in Greek), and thus possibly had more advanced connections to older generations of terrorists or other criminal elements, OEA began its operational career with a greater military capability than SPF and similar groups. Notable is the amount of explosive material and detonators seized during raids in connection with OEA. (One other Greek outfit of the same generation, the Popular Fighters Group, also demonstrated a sophisticated bombing capability.)

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Claim: Firebombing of a COSMOTE company vehicle in Thessaloniki (Greece)

Anarchists claimed the firebombing of a COSMOTE Mobile Telecommunications S.A. vehicle in the Thessaloniki suburb of Triandria on April 25th. The attack was claimed in two identical communiques posted to two separate websites, though the group chose to use two different operational names in each: the “Riot Squad Burglars” and the “Arsonist Troublemakers group”. Motivation for the attack is established in the claim as action in solidarity with Chilean anarchists on hunger-strike in prison since March 22. Over the past decade, Greek anarchists have shown increased affinity for their Chilean counterparts, and vice versa. Anarchists in both countries communicate via various protest actions and online, and remain incredibly sensitive/responsive to developments within the movement in one another’s country.

COSMOTE’s vehicle was targeted due to the private telecommunications sector’s role in modern surveillance and their cooperation with law enforcement and intelligence agencies across the world. It appears to have been destroyed using an incendiary device such as a Molotov cocktail or similar.

Leaders of Revolutionary Struggle Release Communique from Prison in Solidarity with Chilean Anarchists on Hunger-Strike (Greece)

Pola Roupa and Nikos Maziotis of Revolutionary Struggle (RS in English, EA in Greek) have released a communique in solidarity with the anarchist prisoners on hunger-strike in Chile. From the communique:

We express our Solidarity to the imprisoned comrades in Chile who as of March 22 2021 have launch a mobilization with the characteristics of a long-term hunger strike demanding the release of anarchist prisoners, of prisoners for subversive activity, of prisoners from the bloody uprising of 2019 as well as the prisoners from the native Mapuche liberation struggle.

EA immediately stepped into the shoes of Greece’s most notorious urban guerrilla group of the (arguably) original movement-generation, the Revolutionary Organization—17 November (17N), after the latter’s dismantling in 2002. In fact, EA’s major operational debut was a bombing of the Evelpidon Court Complex in Athens, timed to coincide with the start of the 17N trials. Answering 17N’s 1996 mortar attack on the US Embassy in Athens, EA fired a rocket propelled grenade (RPG-7) at the building in 2007. Perhaps as tactically sophisticated as their predecessors in 17N, EA even graduated to the use of car-bombs employing ammonium-nitrate/fuel oil (ANFO) before their eventual dismantling over a period from 2010 to 2017.

The fatal day for the future of EA’s ongoing guerrilla campaign came on March 11, 2010, when EA member Lambros Fountas and an associate were spotted by police in a stolen vehicle. Fountas and the other person emerged from the vehicle firing handguns at the police, and Fountas was killed in the exchange, while the other person managed to escape. In Fountas’s backpack was a bomb similar to those used in previous EA attacks, as well as vital intelligence leading law enforcement to other members of the outfit. EA’s operational leader, Nikos Maziotis, was eventually captured by authorities in 2014, and his partner, Pola Roupa, was arrested in 2017.

Claim: Attack on Tax Office in Cholargos in Solidarity with Members of OEA (Greece)

Anarchists claimed the attack on a tax office in Cholargos, in which windows were smashed out of the front façade and property inside the office was destroyed by an incendiary device. The attack was in solidarity with imprisoned members of OEA, as well as with Dimitris Chatzivasileiadis, who remains on the run. The operational name given in the communique is the “Flame Diffusion Gang”. It is noteworthy that the attack took place in the same Athens suburb as the 2019 robbery that led to OEA’s downfall, and the office targeted is located on the same street as one of the prominent houses raided in connection to OEA.

The claim also contains a shout-out to anarchist prisoners on hunger-strike in Chile:

PS We do not forget the prisoners / anarchists of the uprising in Chile who have been on hunger strike since March 22. Comrades, many greetings and fire signals.

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New Democracy is Reinvestigating the Fatal 2010 Marfin Bank Firebombing (Greece)

This week, Prime Minsiter Kyriakos Mitsotakis of New Democracy (ND) marked the 11th anniversary of the fatal Marfin Bank firebombing, in which three Greeks lost their lives to smoke-inhalation. The incident occurred during the zenith of the anti-austerity protests in Greece, and on that day, presumably still-unidentified individuals threw Molotov cocktails into the Marfin Bank during business hours as a crowd of angry demonstrators surged past the Athens-based branch.

In March, Mitsotakis’s Citizen Protection Minister, Michalis Chrisochoidis, announced that the case into the Marfin Bank incident would be reopened, citing new audiovisual evidence. Previously, two bystanders had been unsuccessfully prosecuted for the crime—one of whom might have been trying to save people in the bank at the time.

Acrimony has gone back and forth between the right and left in Greek society over who is to blame for the deaths of the three employees: the anti-austerity protesters for firebombing the building during business hours, or the bank manager for neglecting to provide fire extinguishers and meet other safety standards. Needless to say, the reopening of the investigation and any subsequent trial will be highly politicized.

Neo-Nazi Member of European Parliament to Be Extradited from Belgium to Greece

Former member of the now-defunct Greek neo-Nazi party-cum-militia Golden Dawn (XA in Greek, GD in English), Ioannis Lagos, is to be extradited from Belgium to Greece to serve the 13-year prison sentence handed to him along with other members of XA in October 2020 for their participation in a criminal organization. The downfall of XA came after a couple dozen members of its street cadre confronted antifascists in a suburb of Athens as the latter watched a football match at a café, and neo-Nazi Giorgos Roupakias stabbed left-wing rapper, Pavlos Fyssas (aka “Killah P”) to death. All but one member of the party, who apparently absconded with the help of radical Serb monks, as well as Ioannis Lagos, are currently serving their time in prison, including the party’s founder and leader, Nikolaos Michaloliakos.

Lagos was arrested last month after European Parliament voted to strip him of his diplomatic immunity.

A Wild Assassination on the Greek Island of Zakynthos

Very little is known about the broad-daylight slaying of 54-year-old Dionysis Korfiatis last week. Korfiatis had previously been charged for drug possession and was known to have survived a previous attempt on his life, in which his wife was killed. The well-known local businessman was gunned down Friday while in the offices of a civil servant. Witnesses say two gunmen leapt from a car and began firing into the business with a Kalashnikov-style rifle. The car was burned elsewhere on the island with the rifle inside. The gunmen are believed to have escaped the island by inflatable boat.