A conversation with Panos Kammenos

Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos called me last Thursday afternoon demanding – and threatening  – that I retract my commentary entitled “Trickery without Limits”, claiming that it was inaccurate and that I was “creating a negative climate” about his visit to Washington.

It goes without saying – at least for those who are familiar with the National Herald – that I would be eager not only to retract, but to also publicly apologize, in case that the article had indeed contained inaccuracies, which is what I naturally pointed out to him.

The Minister – who leads his own small party and provides the majority votes in Parliament to SYRIZA, that make possible Prime Minister’s Alexis Tsipras government – insisted that he had evidence that confirmed my inaccuracies.

So, I insisted, he send it to me.

And he indeed did. But what he sent me was the invitation he had received from the Greek American Inaugural Reception to attend the reception in honor of Archbishop Demetrios, the Greek-American officials in the Trump government and congressman Bilirakis .

I shall refrain – out of respect for his position – to characterize the… evidence.

Had he read my commentary carefully, he would have noted that I did not write that he had not been invited. I wrote that both he and State Minister Nikos Pappas had invited themselves.

I also wrote that they are deceiving the Greek people by spreading information through their “parrots” that they would be having substantive discussions with Mr. Priebus and others in the new government.

For the sake of fairness, I reprint my commentary so as to enable each of you to judge for yourselves:

“…Naturally, when the Greek diplomatic authorities in America learned about the reception they requested and, of course, secured seats at the reception for two senior members of the Greek Government: Nikos Pappas, the Prime Minister’s right hand man, and Defense Minister Panos Kammenos.

Why not? You might ask.

I would agree, provided that they would not attempt to misinform the Greek people about allegedly… having meetings with high White House officials about substantive issues such as the national issues of Greece the IMF role there and Cyprus, as their “parrots” are propagating in Greece.

Such behavior is unworthy of Greece.

It is certain that they will be photographed with Priebus and Gigicos at the reception. Everyone will be photographed with them in the short time that they will be present.”

I must admit, however,  that I have indeed made a mistake: I never imagined that the Greek Minister of Defense would grant an award from his country’s Armed Forces to someone at an unrelated event.

First of all its not clear why he awarded Mr. Reince Priebus the ward. Has Mr. Priebus had the chance to do something, anything, for the Greek Armed Forces, before his boss even took the oath of office?

Secondly, one might think that there is a time and a place for bestowing awards.

The way he did it displays provincialism of the worst kind, which is unacceptable for a Minister of Defense.

Now, regarding his threat to sue me if I don’t retract: I would consider it as insignificant, as a statement made in the heat of the moment, if he was not a Cabinet Minister, if it wasn’t for his history with reporters in Greece, and if he was not a member of a government wth a history of attempting to intimidate – and thus control – the media.

Kammenos apparently is not familiar with us, nor with the American legal system, according to which the truth is an absolute defense in all cases and even more so with regard to public figures.

Therefore, if this story proves anything, it is the authoritarian tendencies of Greece ’s leftist government, a testament of incompetent people who unfortunately hold high government positions.