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Repression Greece's Anniversary

By Theodore Sedgwick

TODAY is the third anniversary of the coup death in Greece. On that night, two unknown Greck colonels and a Brigadier General gained control of the central military communications room in Athens and put through a military plan-entitled "Prometheus"-an American-inspired NATO plan designed to prevent a Communist take-over in Greece.

When the Colonels took power, they insisted that they would move quickly to restore democracy, that their historical role was merely transitory, and that they would step down as soon as they had cured Greece of her cancers. The events of the past three years should have made it obvious to all but the most innocent that the Colonels are playing out their game for keeps.

The Colonels have consolidated their power by using the most modern and sophisticated military apparatus (brought to Greece by NATO and the Americans) to run an efficient police state. The U. S. tried to hide its full military and political backing of the Greek regime by announcing after the coup that it would cut down military aid to Greece and bar "major items" from its military aid program. "Major items" has never been defined, and it was discovered five days ago that the Pentagon is secretly supplying $20 million in surplus military stock above and beyond the $25 million in military aid authorized by Congress this year. Optimists would have us believe that America is a democratic society when even our own elected representatives are powerless to do anything about the crimes the U. S. military commits abroad.

U. S. support of and complicity with the Greek regime has made the U. S. unpopular not only with the Greek people but also with the nations of Western Europe. The Council of Europe has proved through its Commission on Human Rights that torture in Greece does not occur in isolated instances, but is a policy of the Greek government. This revelation led to the expulsion of Greece from the Council of Europe, in spite of U. S. lobbying against expulsion. The Bonn government is threatening to break diplomatic ties with Greece, also to the displeasure of the U. S. Most importantly, the Common Market's Executive Commission announced that it would reconsider Greece's treaty of association because of "reported infringements of human rights." Since the coup, the European Economic Community has suspended aid and blocked progress in economic cooperation until democracy and civil liberties are restored in Greece. The upshot of this state's increasing isolation from Europe is her increasing dependence on the U. S. The current U. S. policy towards Greece-full military, political, and economic support-clearly proves the worthlessness and horrible irony of the preamble to NATO. "The parties are determined to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilization of their peoples founded in the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law."

INGREECE, as in America, trials are becoming a major political focal point. In both countries, people have been convicted without recourse to any serious defense. In Greece, however, they have even dispensed with the legal trappings. Thirty-four people were tried and convicted for jail sentences in spite of the public declarations of ten that their confessions had been extracted by torture. In another important trial, five editors of a most resistant newspaper. Ethnos, were sentenced to jail on April 2 for printing an interview calling for a return to democracy. The fines were such that the paper, whose circulation in Athens had risen from 17,000 to 45,000, was forced to close down. Police harassment had prevented its circulation in the countryside. During the trials, the Sixth Fleet pulled into Piracus, sanctioning with its presence the mockery of justice which was taking place in Athens.

Apart from the active support of the American Military Mission in Greece, the Pentagon's representative, the Colonels receive help from, and probably owe their jobs to, the CIA. Before the coup, Colonel Papadopoulos was chief liaison between the CIA and its Greek counterpart, the KYP. The latter is directly financed and controlled by the CIA. The head of the CIA in Greece, James M. Potts, refers to Papadopoulos as his "son." Thomas Pappas, a Boston Greek-American businessman who owns Esso-Pappas, the leading oil company in Greece, has publicly declared how proud he is to work for the CIA. After the coup his contracts with the Greek government suddenly doubled. Pappas also boasts that it was he who suggested Agnew to Nixon for vice president.

American policy in Greece will ironically work against American interests there. Ever since the King's attempted counter-coup in December 1967, the competence of the armed forces has declined considerably. Royalist purges have weakened the Air Force and the Navy, which have traditionally backed the monarchy. Ships are given only fifteen minutes of fuel because the military leaders are afraid they will try to seek asylum in another country.

The only organized political group which is making any gains in Greece at this time is the Communists-the group which the Americans and the Greek Colonels want to suppress. If the junta remains in power for a long time, a Communist guerrilla war will be inevitable. Hence. U. S. policy is not only immoral and oppressive, but foolish from its own self-serving point of view.

Resistance within Greece is minimal because all Greeks know that the U. S. is backing the regime and that they are therefore impotent to resist the junta. It is up to Greek exiles and knowledgeable Americans to do whatever they can to force the U. S. government to topple the junta for which it is responsible. This afternoon, in commemoration of the third anniversary of the coup, Greeks and Americans will demonstrate in front of the Greek Consulate in Boston. Beyond this, it is important that all Americans know that Vietnam is not an isolated instance of American imperialism.

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