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Letter from Athens: Something’s Rotten in The State of SYRIZA

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SYRIZA Headquarters in downtown Athens. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Sotiris Dimitropoulos)

Through all the reneging on anti-austerity promises, lying about helping workers, pensioners, and the poor, breaking the 40 points of a 40-point vow to reform Greece in its own sad image, the former ruling Looney Left SYRIZA could fall back on saying: “At least we’re not corrupt like other governments.”

That too, was a lie, of course, the party’s core morally corrupt, and the sewage is rising to the top now, a year after the Leftists and then-Premier Alexis ‘Clueless’ Tsipras were bounced in July 7, 2019 snap elections by New Democracy and now Prime Minister Kyriakos ‘Deep Blue’ Mitsotakis.

While Tsipras and his band of not-so-merry-men and delusional women in his cabinet pretended to be the champions of the underprivileged and the working class and believe in what Che Guevara espoused – he did, they didn’t – their charade was quickly uncovered.

Tsipras said he would take Greece out of NATO, remove any American military presence from the country where there’s a U.S. Naval Base in Souda Bay on Crete, and bellowed, “not one home in the hands of banks!” Yadda yadda yadda yadda ad infinitum.

At least with the Conservatives you know up front their agenda is Uber-Capitalist, designed to protect the rich and privileged and bankers and oligarchs, and roll out some token measures to help the middle class to have a base that’s not a mile wide and an inch deep.

New Democracy has had its share of scandals and a former Conservative government and its then-coalition partner, the now-defunct PASOK Anti-Socialists, got 250 million euros ($280.45 million) in loans from banks with the collateral being taxpayer money generously given to political parties in power.

Not all the money was repaid and there’s no way to force it because the loan officers were given immunity. And there’s no accounting of where the money went but it sure wasn’t to salaries of party workers and rent because New Democracy and PASOK stiffed some of them.

The problem with jousting on high horses is that it’s a long way down when you fall off, which is happening to SYRIZA and its alleged leader Tsipras, who finds himself ensnared in a corruption problem by association.

His former minister of state and closest aide Nikos Pappas, among the most insufferable of them (which is saying a lot for the holier-than-thou’s who enrich themselves while burying workers, pensioners, and the poor with harsh austerity) was caught on an incriminating secret recording.

He was talking about another of the SYRIZA geniuses, ex-alternate justice minister Dimitris ‘Rasputin’ Papangelopoulos, who's being probed over allegations he interfered with an investigation into whether 10 rival politicians took bribes from the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis.

A U.S. investigation found the company did pay off Greek doctors who took the Hypocritical Oath, theirs saying, “First, Take the Money and Run,” but the investigation didn’t incriminate politicians.

Tsipiras, of course, pointed to the word “officials” in the finding to mean it was New Democracy and former PASOK politicians who took bribes as it’s a ‘well-known fact’ that SYRIZANS hands are cleaner than Pontius Pilate’s.

The tape made covertly by Greek-Israeli businessman Sabby Mionis has Pappas saying that Papangelopoulos had his “own agenda” and was “making a lot of money” from backroom deals, or “outsourcing,” with the indication Papangelopoulos wanted a bribe from Mionis, all vehemently denied, of course.

Tsipras pushed Pappas toward the bus but not under it, saying his aide got some ‘splain’ to do, with former finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos jumping in to say yes indeed some answers were needed, but none came.

There’s so much phoney-baloney in SYRIZA it should be packaged for the meat counter or used to open a deli but be careful what you spread on it because Papangelopoulos might want a cut, so to speak, meat-wise.

Pappas, who said the tape was edited to incriminate him and that he wasn’t talking about Papangelopoulos in portions that discussed alleged bribery, was scorched again when an audio forensic expert hired by the parliamentary committee investigating Papangelopoulos said it wasn’t doctored.

Citing sources not named, Kathimerini said Pappas was under pressure from other members of the political council for apparently embarrassing the party that has claimed it’s squeaky clean but with the cool ability of its members to slide off sandpaper, but everyone understanding Pappas was doing a SYRIZA tap dance.

Tsipras ripped New Democracy and Mitsotakis who ousted him in July 7, 2019 snap elections. “Faced with such a ruthless system of power, all of us, and chiefly officials on the front line, must watch our every action and word,” Tsipras said, Kathimerini said.

Despite the light chiding of Pappas, he said his party is not corrupt and has integrity – during his 4 ½-year reign he blamed previous governments for being on the take.

But, he added that given the revelation that, “each of us must assume the responsibility for their mistakes, oversights and slip-ups” and not repeat them.

After being defiant, Pappas pulled back and said he now takes responsibility for part of the “illegally obtained conversation,” indicating he now said what he said he didn’t say before backing off in the face of Tsipras’ call for him to explain what was going on, although the Marx Brothers will have to translate that.

Pappas now said after he said he wasn’t talking about bribery what he said didn’t reflect his true values and what he was doing was trying to calm down Papangelopoulos from being so cranked up like crazy.

“Mistakes in tone and substance were the pretext for attacks against us,” he said. But the ex-minister doth protest too much, methinks.