The radical leftist Greek organization, the Group of People's Fighters (OLA), which claimed responsibility for the December 22 bombing of the Athens Court of Appeal, has been committing terrorist attacks on governmental targets since 2013, when the country entered its serious debt crisis. According to the Greek authorities the OLA has ties with the terrorist organization "Revolutionary Struggle" (EA), and attacked at the past the offices of New Democracy political party, a Bank, the Greek Industrialists Association and the German Ambassador's home in Athens.
Police examine the scene of a car bomb explosion in Athens, Greece on April 10, 2014. The bomb exploded outside a Bank of Greece building. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)
The OLA boasted of this and other attacks on the "bourgeois, imperialist and capitalist" government institutions, the media and businesses in a 4,500-word manifesto published on the anarchist website Indymedia. Among the declarations in its lengthy rant is a message of
"solidarity to the Palestinian people who accept the raging attack of American imperialism and Zionism, after Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In this context, it is our imperative international duty to sabotage by any means the reactionary axis of Greece-Cyprus-Israel-Egypt, as well as all kinds of Greece's cooperation with reactionary regimes such as that of Saudi Arabia. The weapons of the Palestinian Resistance organizations, the stones, the knives and the Molotov cocktails of Intifada will win!"
On Christmas, three days after the Court of Appeal bombing, members of Rouvikonas, an anarchist group, sprayed the entrance to the Israeli Embassy in Athens with paint. In an online video claiming responsibility for the vandalism, the group also expressed solidarity with the Palestinians, to whom it referred as "the people who for decades has been the victim of oppression... [and] ethnic cleansing at a low intensity level."
Rouvikonas is the group that attacked the Saudi Embassy in Athens earlier in December, smashed its windows with rocks, staged a protest near the El Al Airlines counter at the Athens International Airport in 2016, and shouting slogans against Israel and the Mossad.
Both the OLA and Rouvikonas use the propaganda tactics of more veteran Greek terrorist organizations, such as the now-defunct 17 November, to achieve their geopolitical goals. They present themselves as modern-day Robin Hoods, "robbing from the rich" capitalists and metaphorically "giving to the poor" -- or, as the OLA manifesto says, "protecting the public interest" [from] the "robbers of usury."
In the 1980s and 1990s, although Greece's political-institutions system of governance enjoyed social legitimacy, there were many Greeks who viewed left-wing terrorism as a fight for social justice against the state's control over politics and the economy. Today, when all the institutions of Greek democracy have failed, and the country is hostage to creditors and European austerity policies, a much larger portion of the public is prepared to embrace the anti-government, anti-Western positions of the terrorists.
It is extremely difficult for angry, misinformed citizens to distinguish between lies and the truth, particularly when there is much more than a grain of truth to the terrorists' claims that the Greek legal system is corrupt. The judiciary has played, and still plays, an active role in the economic and political deprivation of the Greek populace. It is the Greek people's sense of injustice that is being exploited by far-Left activists, whose real goal is to spread a radical anti-Western ideology, including open hostility to Israel and the United States.
Ironically, a recent poll showed that a majority of Greeks favor the enhancement of ties with the Trump administration. This could be the result of a growing fear of global jihad, the Islamic world's influence on the Greek political echelon, and weariness over decades of anti-Semitism cultivated by both the radical Left and Right.
This is causing the radical groups in Greece's "deep state" to increase their violence and vandalism, an end to which we are not likely to see any time soon.
Maria Polizoidou, a reporter, broadcast journalist, and consultant on international and foreign affairs, is based in Greece. She has a post-graduate degree in "Geopolitics and Security Issues in the Islamic complex of Turkey and Middle East" from the University of Athens.