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The Direct Action Cells End 2022 by Claiming Attacks on the Homes of Greek Judges
On November 5th, 2022, Greece’s anarchist urban guerrilla network, the Direct Action Cells (DAC), released a communique claiming two separate attacks on the heels of another claim at the end of October, which broke the group’s brief operational hiatus from July to the fall. This apparent pause in activity was part of a greater lull in attacks claimed by DAC across 2022, which is possibly related to the police take-down of an affiliated cell in Thessaloniki, the Organization of Anarchist Action (OAA), in February 2022. From the end February to the end October of last year, DAC made only two claims, one on July 3rd and another on July 20th. The DAC and affiliates such as OAA had a more active year in 2021.
The November 5th communique claims two alleged attacks on the homes of Greek judges, likely employing DAC’s usual improvised incendiary devices (IID), which are commonly fashioned from butane gas canisters bound together along with a separate ignition device—a bottle of petrol with a large firework attached to it, for example. (Though the attacks could also have been more simple hit-and-run Molotov cocktail attacks in the early hours of the morning, which the group also employs.)
The first of the two judges targeted in the (yet unconfirmed) attacks presided over the infamous Dimitris Lignadis case. Lignadis is a prominent actor, stage director and now-former director of Greece’s National Theatre, a position he held until 2021 when he resigned after rape allegations were brought against him by two former child stage actors. Lignadis was found guilty of the rapes and given a 12-year suspended sentence to the outrage of much of Greek society. The claim’s author(s) describe the judge as “one of the many servile puppets of the gang that operates under the name of Greek justice. [They] presided in the trial of the child rapist and member of the Mitsotakis family,” referring to the politically powerful family of current prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, “Dimitris Lignadis, who was released from prison after being found guilty of raping underage children.” They add that the jusdge “is part of the influential entourage of the drug-dealing shipping tycoon Vangelis Marinakis, having issued a series of provocative rulings in favor of his interests during [their] term as a judge in Piraeus.” Finally, they draw a sharp contrast between the judge’s allegedly harsh treatment of powerless and financially dispossessed defendants and their leniency when dealing with wealthy and influential defendants.
The second judge whose house was allegedly targeted has a much longer list of grievances associated with them, according to DAC and the claim’s author(s). They first mention the Novartis scandal, which involved serious misconduct on the part of the pharmaceutical company’s business practices in the United States, Greece, South Korea and Vietnam, and led to the company paying $642 million in separate settlements. The claim’s author(s) accuse the targeted judge and their court of being “a white-washing machine for sections of the political elite who are involved in the Novartis scandal.” In a broader condemnation of the Greek justice system, the claim’s author(s) enumerate a sweeping list of individual court cases and political scandals that have tarnished the institution’s reputation in recent years. These range from the aforementioned Novartis scandal, to a serious wire-tapping scandal in which it appears the political opposition in Greece was targeted by the government using Israeli-made spyware, to various scandals involving the purchase and transfer of arms to the Hellenic Army and Navy (at one point alluding to a separate arms scandal involving a Swiss national accused of bribing Greek officials), and notably among the cases of individuals in Greece, the highly controversial decision to grant an appeal to former Greek police officer Epaminondas Korkoneas, which saw him released from prison. Korkoneas shot and killed an unarmed 15-year-old teenager in the downtown Athens neighborhood of Exarcheia, December 2008, sparking three weeks of violent riots and clashes in the biggest mass mobilization the country had seen since the 1945 Dekemvriana fighting. Making an indictment of the greater system, the author(s) add:
No one has ever been punished by this three-legged dragon for any crime committed by the ruling class against any of us in this country. For no financial scandal, for no crime committed by the repressive mechanisms. No law restricting the “freedoms” and “rights” of citizens, even as defined by the bourgeois constitution, has ever been found unconstitutional. Those who signed the memoranda that ceded national sovereignty to the global organizations of economic dictatorship, impoverishing and enslaving the population of the colony called the Greek state, have ever been held accountable. For this much-feared national sovereignty, which was then ceded by law to the jackals of the IMF and the ECB, while nowadays our bourgeoisie wears the costumes of nationalism and irredentism so that we can spill our blood over which capitalists will get rich from the exploitation of the Aegean. No court decision has vindicated the thousands of murdered refugees and migrants at the borders, the thousands of crippled workers in the workplaces, the thousands of women raped and extradited by the trafficking rings, controlled (almost always) by high-ranking members of the Greek police.
The claim then touches on a series of high-profile sexual abuse scandals that have plagued Greece recently, many of them involving human trafficking, often of minors. At the top of the list is the previously mentioned Lignadis case; another shocking case alluded to in the claim is that of two officers accused of raping a young woman in the Omonia, Athens, police station, after luring her there for a fake tour; yet another notable mention in the communique is that of Ilias Michou, accused of raping and trafficking a 12-year-old girl out of a shop he owns. A DAC cell claimed an IID attack on Michou’s residence in October, 2022.
As Direct Action Cells we have made it clear that we do not consider that we are dealing with an intangible mechanism of exploitation, but with people who operate it and have names and addresses. And if we want to get a message across to these scumbags who staff the judicial apparatus, it is that we will do everything in our power to return to them the violence they use every day on the marginalized, the oppressed and those who don’t fit into their barbaric system.
The author(s) end the communique by dedicating their attack to a number of individuals and in solidarity with various causes, beginning with hunger-striking Italian prisoner and founding member of insurrectionary anarchist guerrilla group, FAI, Alfredo Cospito—in solidarity with whom several attacks have been carried out internationally, including in Greece and in Bolivia. Two of Cospito’s hunger-striking comrades are also mentioned. Separately, the author(s) give a shoutout to four Greek anarchist comrades facing trial in what is known as the “Piraeus traffic case,” in which the accused are said to have ambushed police with Molotov cocktails before fleeing on a motorbike and being apprehended at a police roadblock. They then offer their solidarity with imprisoned member of the anarchist urban guerrilla group, Revolutionary Self-Defense, Dimitris Chatzivasileiadis, and his friend accused of aiding and abetting him, Vangelis Stathopoulos. Next, solidarity is offered to 11 Turkish revolutionaries affiliated with the Marxist-Leninist group DHKP-C, swept up in a large 2020 counterterrorism raid and currently incarcerated in Greece. Finally, they sign off:
Internationalist Solidarity to all political prisoners in Greece, Italy, Chile, Germany, Mexico, Turkey and in every corner of the world.
We are organizing Direct Action Cells to strike against the state and capital.
Direct Action Cells
Sacco and Vanzetti Cell
The DAC might have had a quiet year in 2022 compared to their debut year in 2021. The police raids that brought down the well-established cell predating DAC itself, the OAA, likely dealt a significant blow to the network, especially impacting their operations in Thessaloniki where the latter has been prolific since at least 2016. Nonetheless, their capabilities hardly seem diminished, as they continue to select high-profile targets that cover a list of Greek society’s shared grievances, and do so employing the tried and true methods for which they have become renowned in Greece.