This was the choice that convicted November 17 terrorist Christodoulos Xeros, 55, serving six life sentences for the murders of six people, including officials attached to the U.S. Embassy in Athens, had after being allowed to take vacations from his jail cell: walk away and keep up with a young female teacher he’d met on a Greek island with all that offers, or go back to prison for the rest of his life.
Why is anyone surprised? But Greek authorities, starting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the tough-on-crime law-and-order guy, were caught sleeping at the wheel when Xeros vanished from his eighth furlough on Jan. 6.
The first clue should have come when he and fellow terrorists from the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire, another bunch of anarchists who want to destroy the country that created democracy, were allowed to have a New Year’s Eve bash in the alleged high-security Korydallos Prison, which has seen more scandals and breakouts since the TV series Prison Break.
Here’s the second clue: another convicted terrorist, Nikos Maziotis, who led the group Revolutionary Struggle that bombed an Athens courthouse, a Citibank office, a police station and a rocket attack on the American Embassy, disappeared after he, too, was allowed to have a furlough that he – as did Xeros – promised and crossed their hearts and hoped someone else would die that they would come back.
Let’s see…hmm, freedom, young women, making bombs and attacking yellow running dog imperialist capitalists or rotting in jail? Life is full of tough decisions unless you live in Greece and can kill people and get holidays. Charles Manson picked the wrong place for mass murder.
So far, no one has yet identified the rocket scientists on a kind of parole board that granted furloughs, although Greek authorities said the law doesn’t differentiate from people jailed for too many parking tickets from serial killers and terrorists when they’re allowed to have a few days off.
Beyond the sheer stupidity, incompetence, gross criminal negligence, and naivete to the Nth degree shown here is the real danger: anti-terrorist officials believe that Xeros, who’s more dangerous than a crooked politician, had the help of organized crime in his escape and now will hook up with gangsters as well as other terrorists and strike again.
If they do, it will be on the heads of Antonis Samaras, the New Democracy Capitalist leader and his coalition partner, PASOK Anti-Socialist chief Evangelos Venizelos, who’ve been so busy chasing the whack jobs of the super ultra-extreme (some even say neo-Nazi) Golden Dawn Party that they somehow didn’t close the loophole that lets guys who know how to make bombs get away.
Officials said they believe Xeros developed a close relationship with jailed members of Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire and believe the guerrilla organization may have provided him a hideout.
The contacts between Xeros and the jailed guerrillas reportedly had one key goal: the revival of “revolutionary violence.” Security service officials told Kathimerini a crime syndicate convict was in frequent contact with the jailed guerrillas with the aim of providing members of the organization who remain at large with weapons to help them resume attacks.
Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire conducted a parcel bomb campaign in November 2010 that targeted embassies in Athens as well as the offices of European Union leaders in several foreign capitals, but they were amateurs compared to November 17 and if they align with each other it could create a new level of violence.
Already, other disparate groups said they were planning to go after politicians, businessmen, journalists, judges and others on their long list of perceived enemies, so this threat is real and wouldn’t have happened if Xeros and Maziotis simply had not been allowed – ever, never until the end of time – to get out of jail. Not just for a holiday, but until they were dead in their cells.
Police and the Public Order Ministry are worried that Xeros might help members of Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire improve their knowledge and techniques, particularly in the manufacture of explosives.
Despite that, they said that they don’t think, however, that Xeros and Maziotis would work together, but what would happen if the 86 known terrorist groups in Greece decide to collaborate? That’s a bigger threat than Golden Dawn or even politicians stealing the country blind.
Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias said 28 criminals, including terrorists, are roaming Greece free because they didn’t return from furloughs. Here’s the third clue: after the first one didn’t come back, shut down the program. Victims don’t have furloughs because they’re dead.
Apparently, Samaras didn’t follow the career of Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, who lost the 1988 Presidential elections largely because of a furlough he granted to a vicious killer, Willie Horton.
That was in 1987 and less than a year later Horton twice raped a woman in Maryland after pistol-whipping, knifing, tying, and gagging her friend, courtesy of the leniency he was shown.
After he was caught, a Maryland Judge sentenced him to two life terms, plus 85 years, and refused to return him to Massachusetts, saying: “I’m not prepared to take the chance that Mr. Horton might again be furloughed or otherwise released. This man should never draw a breath of free air again,” the words Xeros and Maziotis should have heard.