Antonis Diamataris on the Truth, Slanders and Manipulations

Former Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs with responsibility for Greeks Living Abroad, Antonis H. Diamataris. Photo by Eurokinissi/Giorgos Kontarinis.

Dear Readers,

During the first ten days of December, part of the Athenian press, in collusion with former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, launched waves of slanderous attacks against me, demanding my head on a platter and my removal as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs with Responsibility for Hellenes Abroad.

The “crimes” that my opponents claim I committed are the following:

  1. I lied on my resume.
  2. I changed information on my CV while it was posted on the Government’s official website.
  3. I hired “as a consultant” someone who had allegedly cheated the Greek state.
  4. While I was Deputy Minister I was also CEO of The National Herald and Diamataris Properties LLC.

Now it’s time to answer each of the accusations:

Accusation 1: The first and biggest of my alleged “crimes” was that according to Giorgos Likomitros’s tabloid blog kalami.us, I “presented myself” on the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as “a graduate” of Columbia University in New York with a “Master’s in Business Administration (MBA).”

This so-called “information” did not come from, as kalami.us falsely and proudly writes, “Columbia University itself” but instead the information was extracted from a third-party site called National Student Clearinghouse-DegreeVerify. It is with this third-party source that the particularly unusual term “enrollment only” was found.

That phrase is where Mr. Tsipras and the various yellow journalists thought they had me hook, line and sinker – it is what they ultimately used to slander me.

Unfortunately, they weren’t the only ones. Even ‘Kathimerini’ fell for it, even though they knew better.

Mr. Tsipras, with no fact-checking, seized the supposed condemnations of Mr. Giorgos Likomitros, a noted sycophant, with a substantial police record, who attacks anything and anyone for his own benefit.

I would at this point like to extend my thanks and gratitude to Mr. Tsipras for elevating me to such a lofty level as a political opponent of a former Prime Minister and, of course, for considering my tenure at the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an existential threat to the status quo.

In his speech in Alexandroupolis last week Mr. Tsipras said:

“Mr. Diamataris, publisher of The National Herald, a newspaper in the Diaspora, who for 4.5 years did nothing but discredit, insult … the then-government of SYRIZA, had stated in his biography that he holds a Master’s Degree from Columbia University – something that is denied by this university… I expect him to at least be expelled from the government for this great fraud.”

It is surreal to not only be attacked by a man, whose diploma was acquired by actual questionable means – as we all know – not to mention his former right-hand man Nikos Pappas and his former Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias – but also to be accused by a politician who is not on good terms with the truth overall, as anyone who followed his career knows.

As for the criticism of him and his government, it turns out that in hindsight it was much too soft…

So after the noise generated by the attacks I issued a statement saying that for financial reasons I did not “obtain the relevant degree” and that “I am sorry if the wording caused any misunderstanding that I am a holder of that degree,” meaning, the physical paper, the diploma.

So what is the truth regarding this accusation?

The truth that I seek to impress upon all readers of this text is confirmed by a letter from Columbia University. It took a few days to get a response to my request since, not only have almost 43 years passed since I attended my final courses there, but those records are on microfilm and the university finds itself during a very busy end-of-the-year period:

“December 11, 2019

To whom it may concern:

This letter certifies that the following student has completed all the requirements for the Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business on January 26, 1977…

Name: Antonis H. Diamataris…

In a second letter sent by Columbia Business School on December 16, 2019, the school stated that “the information in [their] possession indicates that [I] satisfied the requirements for the receipt of the MBA from Columbia’s University’s Graduate School of Business in 1977…

The letter also stated that “more than 40 years have passed since [my] completion of the degree requirements” and thus it will take some time to “solidify” why the actual paper – the diploma – was not previously conferred.

(Indeed, even my transcript – which also confirms the completion of the 20 required courses for an MBA – was found on microfilm!) But time is of the essence – so while Columbia searches its archive, I will reiterate what I said in my public statement: to my knowledge it was as a result of financial difficulties – unpaid debts that I owed the school – money that I just did not have at the time. My focus during those last few years of the 1970’s was the survival of the newspaper. For better or worse, I did not need a piece of paper nor was it going to prove something to anyone, especially back then.

The bottom line: all of the Columbia MBA requirements were met in 1977.

So what do my cruel slanderers have to say now? What does Mr. Tsipras have to say? I wonder: will he find the courage to apologize publicly?

Accusation 2: On Wednesday, December 4, they accused me of deliberately altering basic information on my biography posted on the Government’s official website.

Here is SYRIZA’s statement:

“The staff handling the official website of the Government… has deleted [Mr. Diamataris’] postgraduate degree, but it has also removed the degree in Economics from Queens College, New York, again raising questions. The surprises, however, do not stop there. This specific biography, which, we repeat, is located on the Government’s official website, states that the Deputy Foreign Minister was born in 1959.”

The truth is far more simple and boring than what would appear to be the case.

It was not part of my job to have access to the Hellenic Government’s official website and furthermore neither did any of my coworkers. Not to mention that it would not make any sense for me to make those or any other changes.

Again, it begs the question, will anyone find the courage to apologize publicly?

Accusation 3: As I embarked on my long-planned trip to visit the Diaspora communities in Australia, I was accused of hiring, as an advisor, someone who defrauded the Greek state.

The truth: Once again, the critics missed their mark. I hired Mr. Tassos Filippakos as my associate, to prepare economic analyses that I planned to be presented to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance. Mr. Filippakos was well-qualified for this task as he had previous years-long work experience at Moody’s and later went on to serve as president of the state-owned Hellenic Aerospace Industry (EAB).

For example, I hired him to study whether it was in Greece’s national interest to incentivize expatriates to renovate their homes in the cities and villages of Greece.

I think it’s a good idea. However, I had to support this opinion with an economic analysis in order to present it to the Prime Minister.

I also believe that the certifying/decertifying of automobile license plates given to those of us living abroad is a third world practice that needs to stop. But, again, I needed an economic analysis of the impact this would have on state finances.

These analyses, and many more like them, could have been done in a competent way by Mr. Filippakos.

This commonsense approach of policy dictated by in-depth analysis would have been undertaken by the Deputy Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Greeks Abroad – incredibly, for the very first time.

Concerning the charges against Mr. Filippakos pertaining to his tenure as president of EAB, the truth of the matter is that he was acquitted in six separate trials with one currently pending in Greece’s Supreme Court on a motion to dismiss by the public prosecutor.

Still I wonder, will anyone find the courage to apologize to both Mr. Filippakos and me?

Accusation 4: Finally, on Friday, December 6 (Australian time), upon arriving in Sydney, I was informed that there was news that I continued to hold CEO positions – at The National Herald and Diamataris Properties, LLC.

The truth: This accusation is true and I take responsibility.

After I was sworn in as Deputy Minister, I immediately removed my name from the newspapers’ mastheads and web sites, replacing it with the names of my children – of whom I am very proud because they are doing a great job. However, I delayed in starting the process of removing my name from the companies and when I did, thanks to those delays in addition to bureaucratic ones, the process was not completed in time. Now they have been.

As I recently realized, in Greece, a businessman cannot become a politician!

Meanwhile, on the same day, SYRIZA issued the following statement:

“On what basis does Mr. Mitsotakis ‘keep’ Mr. Diamataris and does not expel him? Mr. Diamataris, contrary to what he has stated: Has no Master’s degree, no undergraduate diploma – and it remains unknown if he even has a high school diploma… It was Mr. Mitsotakis’ right to plunge into the unprecedented fiasco of the supposed “government of excellence” he has created with his relative – the Deputy Foreign Minister…”

His “relative – the Deputy Foreign Minister”? It is news to me that I am related to Mr. Mitsotakis and I wish to thank SYRIZA for providing me with an updated, amended version of my family tree. It boggles the mind that SYRIZA can unrepentantly say so many consecutive falsehoods – they can’t even get one true thing squared away in their official statements.

It was after this issue came to light – the conflict of being a Deputy Minister and a CEO – that it became clear to me that this situation was going to be blown completely out of proportion.

I was thus concerned that if I continued to serve in the government, I would hurt Kyriakos Mitsotakis politically. Consequently, I decided to submit my resignation with “pain in my soul,” as I also characterized it in my official resignation announcement.

The pain in my soul was not for me, but for the work that we did for the Greek diaspora and service to mother Greece that was abruptly cut off. I was pained for all the things we dreamed of, the things that we had planned and for the things that we could’ve done but weren’t afforded the chance to.

Kyriakos accepted my decision – he had to.

My fellow Hellenes, those ten days were not pleasant for me.

I knew from my long journey in the public eye, that my decision to leave behind my family, my home and my job to come to Athens to offer whatever I could for the Hellenes Abroad and the mother country would bother some people.

But I must concede that not even in my wildest dreams did I expect such filth and slander. Even from various U.S. based “journalist colleagues.” (More about them later.)

I thank my family for demonstrating, once again, how lucky I am. I would go through this same ordeal all over again to feel the boundless love, the total support, the lack of any doubt whatsoever, the sweet warmth that I felt deep inside my soul from them.

I thank all of my coworkers who stood by me as a unit against the slanderers.

Thank you to all of you, my brothers and sisters, the members of the diaspora, for your truly touching, over-the-top support. I will never forget the enthusiasm with which you received the news of my appointment, as well as your support during these difficult times.

I also thank hundreds of my fellow Greeks in Greece for their heartfelt moral support. I will never forget them either.

I wish to also thank Kyriakos Mitsotakis for affording me the honor to serve when he appointed me Deputy Foreign Minister with Responsibility for Hellenes Abroad.

It was a unique experience, honor, and responsibility.

In those five months we achieved a lot. And we laid the foundations for much more.

Specifically, to mention just a few: our contribution to the cause of the voting rights of the Diaspora (even though it is far from perfect), the start of the process of upgrading the services offered by consular authorities; the transfer to Athens of the former Patriarch of Jerusalem Eirinaios, which put an end to a long-lasting and damaging church dispute; the event which honored Mr. Athanasios Paleologos, a Greek-American from Los Angeles  who donated $600,000 to the University of the North Aegean; my visit to retired Senator Paul Sarbanes, when I expressed our community’s and Greece’s gratitude for his work and presented him with letters of thanks from the President and Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic; the settlement of retirement issues for expatriates stemming from month-overdue pensions.

As to the question that some of my friends ask me, whether I believe that I would have been the subject of such cruel and slanderous accusations if I were not an ‘omogenis,’ my answer is as follows:

“Unfortunately, I think not. I wouldn’t have been.”

Some do not want us. They are afraid of us.

Some consider us to be second-class Greeks, which was on full display during the process leading up to the law on voting from abroad and the changes demanded by SYRIZA and KKE.

But we will not do them the favor of just walking away. Greece belongs to us too. It is not the property of a small group of unrepenting slanderers who do everything they can to keep the country trapped in the past.

Greece, led by Kyriakos Mitsotakis, can and will thrive.

The future is in our hands.

Let us remember the words of the great poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936):

 

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too… 

 

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise…

 

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

   Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,

   And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools…

 

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it…

 

I am closing with these words:

If we are determined to uncover those who wish to hold Greece hostage and those who wish to bully us Greeks abroad, then yes, Greece will move forward.

Greece deserves to move forward; just give her the chance.

Thank you.

 

13 Comments

  1. Andonis is a good man, a good Greek patriot, an honorable man. Politics are too dirty for him. Honesty is not known to be a part of politics. Cut throat culture is the norm. Welcome back Andonis.

  2. Although do not agree with many things. This time I do, since you did no the truth, and yes it would take time to prove. Still need time it seems. As with most politics, especially Greek false accusations are thrown around easily, with no grounds of truth. Yet it’s out there, they got what they wanted either a disgraced Minister or an Ex Minister and you provided them with that, the eventual truth did not win they won out of evil. You are vindicated by the truth. But still lost too a petty victory of useless politicians. The truth lost. The liars won. So we all lost, Greece especially since it shows how much a third world country we continue to be…

  3. No it’s just the left wing Greeks that are the problem (syriza, kke). They are the ones who feel threatened by the diaspora. Because it goes against their ideological beliefs. They don’t believe in country, faith and heritage. The diaspora reinforces those things and yes walking away would only do them the favor. So we must continue to fight.

  4. No, Pooree… it is not just the left wing Greeks, that are the problem…but in fact …the Diaspora of America that threaten not only Greece, but all the independent countries of the world, who support white supremacist Aristocratic Elitist Oligarchs, bankers, corporate and Private billionaires ..who own the likes of Marxist Mobsters and fascist like …Ahepan Robert Menendez, Geoffrey Pyatt, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, George Bush Jr. Donald Trump and Barack Obama to impose an International Police State government foreign Policy of regime change wars ..to remove anybody in the foreign governments of the independent countries of the world who do not support the ideological beliefs of America ..which is to control the economic, political, and military sovereignty of the world!

    It is the Greek American Despora of Diamataris ..Glory to America and Israel Ahepa Masons who support.the depraved ideological beliefs of Ahepan Robert Menendez and Diamataris brothers in MSM to wage wars for power and money , and provided the script to Syriza on how to remove anybody from a government, they consider to be an enemy to their beliefs or power!

    How appropriate, that Diamataris publisher of TNH, has himself become a victim of regime change warfare.like those he promoted with Geoffrey Pyatt, Ahepan Robert Menendez, George Bush Jr and Joe Biden which demonized and remove the elected Ministers of middle East and Europe,.like Yugoslavia, Ukraine, and of course..Tsipras!

    1. cont.
      Diamataris, it is appropriate for you to be the victim of fabrications or lies to fool the public as was j.the slaughter of million of foreign citizens to remove their elected official, by your Best Aristocratic mobster friends and indicted pay to play friends.. Ahepa Robert Menendez , Joe Biden , and of course George Bush Jr. . All of them , glorified by your Greek Secret Society of Ahepa Masons publication to serve right wing Neocons in not only America,.but Greece!

      However, unlike the regime change victims in the Middle East and Europe ..you have your own personal newspaper to refute any lies and have the last word, in defending your honor, which no one can dispute or challenge..something not afforded by you and western media to the removed leaders by your Ahepa member of your Secret American government.

      Who can forget ..your indignation of the lies of another fake news empire…N.Y.times, that your boss Mistotakis was running a radical extreme right wing government in Greece!

      You used your newspaper with the Greek Oligarchs of America to refute another lie against Mistotakis..by publically printing in a letter,that “We the unelected and un appointed Leaders of the Greek Community..and condemn the slanderous portrayal of Mistotakis and his government!

      Where rage of Despora,.in watching the same people, like Menendez, Biden, Pelosi, Nadler , Pyatt and the entire Marxist democratic impeachment committee. fabricate lies and distortions…

  5. cont..

    already proven false, but continuing with the help of journalist like yourself, to remove Donald Trump from his elected office. because he goes ..””AGAINST THEIR FANATICAL IDEOLOGICAL BELIEFS” , LIKE THE GENOCIDAL REMOVAL OF THE FOREIGN LEADERS OF THE INDEPENDENT COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD..WHO REFUSE TO BE PART OF THE HILLARY CLINTON AND ROBERT MENENDEZ. POLICE STATE GOVERNMENT OF AMERICA!

    Of course,Diamataris used his newspaper to buy himself a Minister’s position in the Mistotakis government.and like CNN.should be legally prosecuted for donating media time and publicity on behalf of a political party of a foreign country, Greece…

    Of course ,Diamataris lied that he had an MBA based on the fact, that when I received my MBA,.it is confirmed with a document signed by the Board of the School and with a sealed emblem of certification, and the National Student Clearinghouse-DegreeVerify which Diamataris claims as the source of information which alleged no record of Mr. Diamataris degree is also the source for human resource managers in vetting out candidates for positions in American corporations!

    Which begs th Diamataris vett out his TNH journalist and writers as to the reliability of there credentials!

    Diamataris would like us to believe that ” financial difficulties – unpaid debts that I owed the school – money that I just did not have at the time” is still after 40 years, why a University Board in 1977, never confirmed a degree on him!

  6. Good poem by Rudyard Kipling, but a more germane would have been
    “Your Misfortune Greece” by George Souris.

    1. Cont..

      While Kipling poem may bring comfort to politicians who are delusional hero’s , like George Bush Jr., Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Robert Menendez ..they do not provide comfort to Diamataris..who has never been held accountable for distortions and lies ..that he has spit out in his newspaper to make them Mythical heros of the Greek Community!

      John Swinton (1829-1901), A Journalist who worked as a writer for a newspaper, and had a career writing for more than a few stated in America, about the independent press, and why Diamataris should have been removed from his despotic appointment as the personal propaganda minster of Mistotakis… as follows….. . …

      “There is not ONE of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did you know beforehand that it would never appear in print!

      I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with… The business of journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread…

      We are the tools of rich men behind the scenes. We are jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men.
      We are intellectual prostitutes!“

    2. Chris Hedges summed it up eloquently:
      “We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the press destroys information, religion destroys morals, and our banks destroy the economy.”

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