The Next European Government to Fall Could Be in Athens
The Greek government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis could become the fourth NATO government to collapse since the June 29 NATO summit in Madrid – following the demise of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the resignation of Mario Draghi in Rome and the ouster of Kiril Petkov’s ruling coalition in Bulgaria.
The Mitsotakis government has acted as the most pro-American and pro-NATO of any in Athens since the military dictatorship in the 1960s and 1970s, and its recent decision to send heavy weapons to Ukraine is not at all popular.
But the spying scandal at the origin of what is now being called “Mitsotakis’ Watergate” involves the wiretapping of Nikos Androulakis, the leader of PASOK-KINAL, the country’s third largest political party and member of the opposition, as well as of journalist Thanasis Koukakis.
On Aug. 5, Grigoris Dimitriadis, the General Secretary of Prime Minister Mitsotakis (and also happens to be his nephew) submitted his resignation over the case. Although he claimed no responsibility, the Greek secret services do come under his responsibility. His resignation was quickly followed by that of the commander of the National Intelligence Service (EYP), Panagiotis Kontoleon. He had admitted to a parliamentary committee a few days before that, while the wiretapping was legal (since it had been approved by a prosecutor), there were “wrong actions found in the process”. The actual motivation for the surveillance has not been revealed – although it was done obviously for political considerations.
An outraged Androulakis has called for a parliamentary committee to carry out a thorough investigation. Alexis Tsipras, leader of the main opposition party, SYRIZA, has also demanded a thorough investigation. On Aug. 8, after three days of silence, Mitsotakis finally called the wiretapping politically “unacceptable”, but claimed “I was not aware of it and, obviously, I would never allowed it!”. Needless to say, very few believe him.
There is an even more disturbing angle to Panagiotis Kontoleon, who was personally chosen to head the National Intelligence Service by Mitsotakis, as his first act after entering the PM office. Prior to his appointment, Kontoleon was the CEO of the Greek subsidary of Great Britain’s largest private security company, G4S where he had spent his entire professional career. That raises obvious questions as to whether a British private security company, with close ties to the British military and intelligence, and even to NATO, has been making the decisions of Greece’s national intelligence…
This is just the beginning of the scandal and it will most likely end with Mitsotakis’s resignation and/or new elections.