Is another military coup in Greece possible?

When the socialist prime minister, Papandreou, announced in 2011 he would call a referendum on the cutbacks demanded by the ‘troika’ of EU, IMF and European Central Bank, he was told by ‘Brussels’ to drop that plan straightaway. Because he was also abandoned by his own cabinet, he had to resign and was replaced by Loukas Papademos, a ‘technocrat’—or rather, a banker from Goldman Sachs. But because Papandreou did not trust three particular generals, he did not miss the chance to fire them before leaving, because in Greece people know what to be fearful of in critical political situations. 

In 1967 ‘the colonels’ (pictured above) seized power in Greece to keep socialists out of the government. Led by Giorgios Papadopoulos, a Nazi collaborator who was brought to the US after the war and was re-trained as a CIA agent, and with the support of the big NATO countries (the US, West-Germany and Britain), the colonels kept a terror regime going for the next seven years. Tens of thousands were arrested, thousands, including senior military men, were tortured. More than a hundred thousand Greeks fled abroad.

When the Syriza prime minister, Aleksis Tsipras, last week also called a referendum, the indignation in the European capitals and the media was again unanimous. After Tsipras and his minister of finance, Varoufakis, had been depicted as irresponsible idiots for months on end, one could have expected little else.

The media confidently reported that after an initial, small advance by the ‘no’ votes (against further social demolition), the ‘yes’ camp was advancing rapidly in the polls. The Greeks would recognize that their future was in ‘Europe’, and so it could not be otherwise (at least not in the dream world of the Eurocrats and their spokesman, Jeroen Dijsselbloem), than that they would again accept that wages, pensions and social security would continue to be lowered and dismantled, and what was still in state hands, privatised.

But the Eurocrats do not always have their way.

Earlier this week the IMF ignored a ‘European’ request that a report in which it had been calculated that even if an economic miracle would happen, the Greek debt would be too large to ever be paid back, would be kept under the lid. And although it was hardly reported in the media, that kind of information works in favour of those who claimed exactly that for many years—Syriza and its allies.

Luckily there is always the army and the police. The London Times revealed that they were ready to intervene in the expected disturbances, because the ‘no’ voters would resort to violence after their defeat, or otherwise in case of a close call. Under the heading of ‘Operation Nemesis’ the army would appear in the streets of the large cities. The Times did not fail to notice that several ministers in the Syriza government are communists, something also highlighted by the German Social Democrats. (Syriza indeed includes the Eurocommunist wing which under the colonels’ regime split off from the Communist party, KKE. The highly sectarian KKE, which is much smaller, earlier this year refused to help Syriza to the majority needed to form a government and again today, along with the fascist Golden Dawn, is the only party not pledging its support to Tripras in the forthcoming negotiations).

In March, Victoria Nuland, the US Under Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs and notorious for her role in the coup d’état in Ukraine, was in Athens to warn Tsipras that Greece would have to pay its debts in full. Nuland’s spouse, the neoconservative columnist, Robert Kaplan, on 30 June wrote in The Wall Street Journal that Syriza might be a bridgehead for a growing Russian influence. After an agreement was concluded with Cyprus in February last to allow Russian naval vessels access to the island’s harbours, the Greek rapprochement with Moscow would mean a grave danger. That the planned Turkstream pipeline will pass through Greece is only further reason to have a pro-NATO, pro-EU government in Athens—which then could block the deal.

The Greeks have voted in overwhelming majority against the EU stranglehold, so the army and the police can stay in the barracks—or wouldn’t they?

Kees van der Pijl

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