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Saturday, August 28, 2004


Secretary of Lies Colin Powell will not go to Athens for the closing ceremonies. The State Department of course denied that massive protests in Athens had anything to do with it.
The State Department said the cancellation was forced in part because of events in Iraq and Sudan.

U.S. and Greek officials denied Powell changed plans because of protests against U.S. foreign policy that were dispersed when police hurled tear gas on Friday at about 1,000 demonstrators headed in the direction of the U.S. Embassy in Athens.

But Greek activists, who said the threat of street protests also forced Powell to cancel a trip in 2003, were crowing with victory.

"Of course, the cancellation was linked to our protests," activist Yiannis Sifakakis told Reuters. "This is a huge victory for the anti-war movement which protested by the thousands in the streets of Athens last night."
Even the talking heads of NBC's Olympic coverage were rolling their eyes at the lame excuses for the cancellation.

I was reading in The Sorrows of Empire about the legacy of American meddling in Greece. Here are some selections:
In the case of Spain there is some plausibility to the argument that the United States had to deal with the leader it found there, even if he happened to be a fascist. But the story was different in Greece. We helped bring the militarists to power there, and the legacy of our complicity still poisons Greek attitudes toward the United States. There is probably no democratic public anywhere on earth with more deeply entrenched anti-American views than the Greeks. The roots of these attitudes go back to the birth of the Cold War itself, to the Greek civil war of 1946-49 and the U.S. decision embodied in the Truman Doctrine to intervene on the neofascist side because the wartime Greek partisan forces had been Communist-dominated. In 1949, the neofascists won and created a brutal right-wing government protected by the Greek secret police, composed of officers trained in the United States by the wartime Office of Strategic Services and its successor, the CIA.
[In 1964] when the Greek ambassador told President Johnson that his proposed solution to the Cyprus dispute was unacceptable to the Greek parliament, Johnson reportedly responded, "F**k your parliament and your constitution. We pay a lot of good American dollars to the Greeks. If your prime minister gives me talk about democracy, parliament, and constitutions, he, his parliament, and his constitution many not last very long." And they did not.

The CIA, under its Athens station chief, John Maury, immediately began plotting with Greek military officers they had trained and cultivated for over twenty years. In order to create a sense of crisis, the Greek intelligence service, the KYP, carried out an extensive program of terrorist attacks and bombings that it blamed on the left. Constantin Costa-Gavra's 1969 film, Z, accurately depicts those days. On April 21, 1967, just before the beginning of an election campaign that would have returned Papandreou as prime minister, the military acted. Claiming they were protecting the country from a Communist coup, a five-man junta, four of whom had close connections with either the CIA or the U.S. military in Greece, established one of the most repressive regimes sponsored by either side during the Cold War.
The leader of the junta, Colonel George Papadopoulos, was an avowed fascist and admirer of Adolf Hitler. He had been trained in the United States during World War II and had been on the CIA payroll for fifteen years preceding the coup. His regime was noted for its brutality. During the colonel's first month in power some 8000 professionals, students, and others disliked by the junta were seized and tortured. Many were executed.
Last night, the NBC talking heads were saying that the protests and other anti-American sentiment that they had seen in Athens all seemed to be directed at our government, not Americans in general. Amazingly, this seems to be widespread. People I met in Mexico and Venezuela who detest our government and pretty much everything it (in reality) stands for were still wonderfully nice and gracious towards me and the other Americans with me. How long this can last is hard to say. Osama bin Laden seems to have turned the corner about 13 years ago, and surely many more have followed, especially in the last two years. Apparently much of the world realizes what most Americans do not--that we are no longer a democracy, so your average American can no more be held accountable for U.S. atrocities than the average Russian could have been blamed for Stalin's. Or maybe it's that they believe that we do still have a democracy, but that most Americans are just totally ignorant about the effects of U.S. policy around the world. Certainly in Venezuela and Mexico there were many people who were desperate to explain to me how U.S. actions had negatively impacted their country, hoping that I'd come back and spread the word. So that's what I'm doing.