One certainty about terrorists, who, by definition, are zealous nuts, is that they will never change their ways, which is what Christodoulos Xiros from the dreaded November 17 group proved almost as soon as he walked away from a holiday vacation he was given despite serving six life sentences in the alleged high-security Korydallos Prison in Athens.
He was there for his role in the killing of six people, among them five Americans attached over the years to the U.S. Embassy, including CIA station chief Richard Welch in 1975; U.S. Navy Capt. George Tsantes in 1983; Navy Capt. William Nordeen in 1988; and Air Force Sgt. Ronald Stewart in 1991.
That’s why the United States said it was “concerned” (translation: we can’t trust Greece to capture or keep these cuckoos locked up) after Xiros just strolled away on Jan. 6.
Greek police, who can’t even find convicted terrorists, claiming they operate in secret cells, were so alarmed that 24 hours later someone decided it might be a good idea to look for him.
So while Greece employed the aid of Interpol for a global manhunt for two people who were allegedly involved in a bad loan scheme at the failed state-run Hellenic Postbank that was a revolving ATM of corruption for the rich and connected, the search for Xiros was limited apparently to a couple of cafes. Too bad he hadn’t bilked the bank or Greece might have taken this seriously.
But on Jan. 20, two weeks after he vanished, Xiros popped up again on the Internet issuing a chilly manifesto that should have scared the bejesus out of everyone.
Xiros, who looks like a scary Moe Howard who hears voices telling him to kill, railed in quiet rage against the austerity measures being continued by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the New Democracy Conservative leader, and his coalition partner, the PASOK Socialists, on the orders of international lenders.
That’s a sure sign someone should be starting the cars of political leaders by remote control until, or if, Xiros is caught before he can kill, although if he is he can just look forward to his next furlough.
The posting includes an apparently recent photo and a video of Xiros making the statement.
“I have taken the decision once more to blast my guerrilla rifle against those who steal our lives and our dreams to make a profit,” Xiros says. “We want our rights and will win with a gun in our hand.” He vowed never to be taken alive but “will fight to the bitter end”.
The statement, published on the Athens Indymedia website and dated Jan. 14, was accompanied by a video and photograph of Xiros, against a backdrop containing the images of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara, Greek war of independence fighters Georgios Karaiskakis and Theodoros Kolokotronis, and Greek Second World War resistance leader Aris Velouchiotis.
In the statement, Xiros claims that “Democracy is long since dead and the abortion that remains is so blatantly fascist that it has the arms of the swastika sticking from it.”
Xiros showed his anger at the pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions implemented on the insistence of the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) which put up $325 billion in two bailouts to save the economy.
“We will not be fooled any more. Nothing will save you, nor the Dachau that you are planning, nor armies of mercenaries. Whatever you do, very soon the river of rage will swell and will drown you!” he said, adding he was directing his vitriol at people he identified as the “scum” he said had destroyed the country and are the enemy of the people.
Quoting a verse from the song Karaiskakis by Vasilis Papakonstantinou, Xiros added: “When I return, I’ll f–k you.”
Earlier, his lawyer, Frangiskos Ragousis, who should be disbarred, defended his client’s escape and said he had no idea where he was. In the United States, even defense attorneys are officers of the court and have to report if their clients are going to kill someone, but in Greece they apparently are officers of the checkbook.
Ragousis said his client was right to flee from justice and be a fugitive. “We did not take this decision together. But I stand behind his decision. I cannot come out and say that I condemn this action,” he said.
Now Greece has to worry if the real terror is coming back, courtesy of a government that handed the terrorist the keys to escape, a supreme embarrassment to the self-styled law-and-order guy Samaras.
A spokeswoman for the Justice Ministry told The National Herald that all prisoners in Greece who serve eight years – regardless of whether they’re in for a bank scandal, serial murder or terrorism – are eligible for furloughs.
Xiros had six before he decided planning terror outside the walls was more fun. “He returned every time promptly and he never showed any misconduct in jail,” she said.
Xiros spent New Year’s Eve in Korydallos Prison in the company of the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire, partying with the apparent consent of guards.
Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias isn’t worried. “The only thing I can do is to assure Greek society that authorities are faithfully carrying out their duty to put in jail those who belong there,” he said. And then let them out again.