New Pressure on Greece over Golden Dawn

Golden Dawn supporters

Τhere was plenty of news on Dec. 5. Nevertheless, I am sure that those who were on the website of the Wall Street Journal were surprised to see a story on Golden Dawn prominently displayed.

And it was not there for an instant, as is sometimes the case. It was featured there for at least an hour.

The photo showed the police arresting an enraged party member and they also showed a graphic image with the following depiction: “The appearance. The victims. The murder. The politicians. The end?”

The print version of the article begins at the bottom of page one, and then covers an entire inside page.

It is obvious that three journalists worked on the story for a long time.

The general flavor of this article in one of the major U.S. newspapers is negative: The government did not have the courage to face Golden Dawn. In the end it was forced to confront them by circumstances – the murder of singer Pavlos Fyssas – but that was still not handled properly, serving only to enhance the party’s popularity

This is not the first time this criticism has been heard. The Journal cites lawyers who argue that it will be difficult to convict the party leaders who have been charged with operating a criminal gang and that there isn’t enough evidence, that telephone wiretaps reveal no ordering of the murder and that the testimony of former Golden Dawn members is not credible.

One informant told police he had hidden weapons in a monastery. The monks burst into laughter when they were visited by the police.

Generally the article, as it is framed, greatly increases the pressure on the Greek government to confront Golden Dawn. That is the essence of the article, and it’s not that friendly to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

Among other revelations, the article says the Samaras government is being undermined from within. Even worse, it shows him vacillating on the Golden Dawn issue and attributes his behavior to a political “split personality.”

The WSJ writes that, “Mr. Samaras was reared by a liberal mother from Athens’ commercial aristocracy and a right-wing father from a poor anti-Communist village. His career has swung between fiery nationalist rhetoric and statesmanlike sobriety.”

I do not think such characterizations – political psychoanalysis – have a place in responsible journalism. Such personal analyses in the media are rare. They are seen only in those cases where the objective is to weaken a targeted politician.

Neither does Greece’s Minister of Public Order Nikos Dendias come out looking good. Dendias is portrayed as having acted hastily.

The article reveals that Dendias woke Samaras at 4 a.m. when the Premier was in Washington, D.C. to tell him that a judge had released three of the six Golden Dawn hierarchy that had been arrested. I am sure the Prime Minister was not happy.