Ανάμεσα στα άλλα, στο τμήμα της έκθεσης του State Department για την χώρα μας αναγράφεται ότι “η ελληνική κυβέρνηση παραμένει ένας συνεργάσιμος εταίρος στη μάχη κατά της τρομοκρατίας”.
Προστίθεται δε, ότι η Ελλάδα “έχει ενισχύσει τα εργαλεία και την ανταλλαγή πληροφοριών, με στόχο την αναζήτηση μη καταγεγραμμένων μεταναστών, οι οποίοι συνεχίζουν να καταφθάνουν στη χώρα”.
Παράλληλα, το ελληνικό κεφάλαιο της έκθεσης του αμερικανικού Υπουργείου Εξωτερικών αναφέρει ότι Ουάσιγκτον και Αθήνα συμμετέχουν σε ευρείας κλίμακας κοινές ασκήσεις εναντίον της διεθνούς τρομοκρατίας.
Διαπιστώνεται δε, ότι κατά τη διάρκεια του 2018, δεν υπήρξε κάποιο σημαντικό τρομοκρατικό συμβάν στην Ελλάδα. Παρ’ όλα αυτά, σημειώνεται ότι οι εγχώριες οργανώσεις πραγματοποίησαν μικρής κλίμακας επιθέσεις.
Μεταξύ αυτών, η έκθεση του State Department επισημαίνει:
Την έκρηξη στα γραφεία του ΣΚΑΙ τον Δεκέμβριο του 2018.
Την τοποθέτηση εκρηκτικού μηχανισμού έξω από εκκλησία της Αθήνας στις 27 Δεκεμβρίου του 2018 και,
τις κατά καιρούς επιθέσεις αναρχικών ομάδων σε κυβερνητικά κτίρια, ξένες πρεσβείες και αστυνομικά τμήματα.
State Department για Έλληνες δικαστές και… Κουφοντίνα
Σε ό,τι αφορά στους Έλληνες δικαστικούς λειτουργούς, η έκθεση του αμερικανικού υπουργείου Εξωτρικών αναφέρει ότι είναι “επαγγελματίες, έμπειροι και καλά εφοδιασμένοι για την αντιμετώπιση της εγχώριας τρομοκρατίας.
Ωστόσο, επισημαίνεται ότι “η Ελλάδα στερείται εμπειρίας για την καταπολέμηση της διεθνούς τρομοκρατίας”.
Τέλος, ξεχωριστή αναφορά γίνεται στη χορήγηση άδειας στον καταδικασμένο τρομοκράτη της “17 Νοέμβρη”, Δημήτρη Κουφοντίνα.
Ακολουθεί το πλήρες κεφάλαιο του State Department για την Ελλάδα:
Overview: The Greek government remained a cooperative counterterrorism partner in 2018, and enhanced tools and information exchange to vet undocumented migrants who continue to arrive in significant numbers. Greece passed legislation permitting collection and analysis of PNR data in implementation of European law and international best practices. U.S. and Greek forces participated in a large-scale joint counterterrorism training exercise. There were no major terrorist incidents in Greece in 2018. However, domestic groups carried out intermittent small-scale attacks. Greece is a member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.
2018 Terrorist Incidents: Several terrorist incidents occurred in 2018:
On December 13, a bomb exploded outside private television station SKAI TV in Athens causing extensive damage but no injuries. An anonymous call to a news website provided advance warning and the police evacuated the area before the bomb detonated. The militant group known by the acronym OLA (often called Popular Fighters Group or Group of People’s Fighters) later claimed responsibility for the incident in an online statement.
On December 27, a small explosive device detonated outside an Athens church, causing minor injuries to a police officer and church employee. A group called the Iconoclastic Sect later claimed responsibility in an online statement that indicated the objective of the explosion was to kill people inside the church.
Greece also experienced a number of small-scale attacks conducted primarily by domestic anarchists often acting in solidarity with incarcerated terrorists, protesting what they view as corrupt acts by government or private individuals, or opposing foreign policy decisions. Examples of these attacks included exploding incendiary devices targeting academics, firebombing police vehicles and stations while officers were inside, and targeting government buildings and foreign missions.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: On November 28, the Greek Parliament approved into law the EU PNR Directive for the prevention, detection, investigation, and prosecution of terrorist offenses and serious crime, bringing Greece in line with Visa Waiver Program requirements, European law, and international standards. Greece’s law enforcement and border security officials make use of watch lists, databases, and biometrics to detect, deter, and prevent acts of terrorism. The porous nature of Greece’s borders remained a concern; migrants continued to arrive in Greece, though the number of arrivals has decreased significantly from the peak of the migrant crisis in 2015. Greece’s national identification card remained extremely vulnerable to alteration and photo substitution; it has not incorporated security features, such as a digitized photo and biometrics. The Greek government has committed to address this vulnerability through the introduction of a biometric national identification card in the near future.
Greek authorities took action against terrorists in several high – profile arrests and convictions:
On January 27, Greek officials detained an Afghan national caught carrying dozens of detonators and charged him with illegal possession of explosives.
On March 19, a Greek court convicted a 33-year-old Syrian man, who first came to Greece as a refugee in 2016, on murder and explosives charges related to his time with ISIS in Syria.
On May 8, Hellenic National Police arrested 14 people in a single operation on charges of terrorist financing and money laundering in connection with the 2017 parcel bombings by Konstantinos Giatzoglou, which targeted European institutions and wounded former Prime Minister Lucas Papademos.
On June 11, a criminal appeals court sentenced convicted terrorist Paula Roupa to life in prison plus 25 years for her leadership role in the April 2014 bomb explosion in front of the Bank of Greece claimed by the terrorist group Revolutionary Struggle. The court found Roupa guilty of a series of charges including forming a terrorist organization and supplying, possession, and use of explosives.
Greek judges and prosecutors are professional, experienced, and well-equipped to confront domestic terrorism. However, Greece is less experienced in the prosecution of international terrorism. Greece has not implemented all aspects of UNSCR 2396 that could help strengthen the legal framework to prosecute FTFs.
Despite objections from the U.S. government and others, Greek officials granted convicted terrorist Dimitris Koufontinas five furloughs from prison in 2018. Koufontinas is serving 11 life sentences plus 25 years for the murder of 11 people and his leadership role in November 17, the terrorist group that targeted and assassinated members of the U.S. Mission to Greece, as well as British and Turkish diplomats, Greek politicians, and Greek citizens. On August 3, prison authorities transferred Koufontinas from Greece’s highest – security prison to an agricultural prison where inmates live in open conditions and participate in farm work resulting in a net reduction of their sentences.
Prison authorities also transferred fellow November 17 member and convicted terrorist Christodoulos Xiros from Greece’s highest-security prison to a lower-security prison on August 6. On December 10, a court of appeals rejected convicted terrorist Savvas Xiros’ request for conditional release from prison for health reasons on the grounds that he should spend 25 years in prison before he is able to apply for conditional release. Xiros is serving five life sentences for his key role in the November 17 terrorist group as a bomb maker.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Greece is a member of FATF and its FIU, the Hellenic Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing Commission (HAMLC), is a member of the Egmont Group. Greece is currently undergoing its fourth FATF Mutual Evaluation Review. The Foreign Ministry’s Sanctions Monitoring Unit ensured that Greece met its commitments to enforce international sanctions, including terrorism-related sanctions. The HAMLC inspected more than 2,000 suspicious transactions in 2018 but did not report evidence of terrorist financing in Greece. Greece freezes terrorist assets until completion of judicial proceedings and requires banks to report suspicious transactions of any kind, regardless of the type of entity (for – or not-for – profit). The Greek government directly monitors such entities if necessary.
Countering Violent Extremism: There were no significant changes in Greece’s CVE efforts since the 2017 report.
International and Regional Cooperation: U.S. and Greek forces collaborated in a large-scale, interagency joint counterterrorism exercise in 2018.