Committee of Solidarity to George Balafas

alfanarc@compulink.gr
Thu, 24 Oct 1996 13:07:24 +0300 (EET)


THE NATURE OF THE COMMITTEE OF SOLIDARITY TO GEORGE BALAFAS

The Committee of Solidarity to George Balafas was created in November 1995
immediately after his conviction an sentencing to ten years imprisonment.
The Committee was composed by activists of the politically far - left as
well as the anti-authoritarian movement. The Committee is surrounded by
forces of what may be called the wider left while there is also the
significant presence of comrades that in the last decade have become victims
of persecution by state suppression. The Committee is part of a sequence of
collective action and direct confrontation, groups; groups that have played
a leading role in the fight against state suppression and especially in the
movement of solidarity toward political prisoners both in the period of
political change in Greece (1974) as in the respective period from 1985 to
the present.

The movement of solidarity toward political prisoners in Greece - and
especially toward those accused for armed activity - constituted the
previous component of the anti-authoritarian movement. It generated a large
number of massive and militant strife. (Demonstrations, occupations, hunger
strikes, e.t.c.). It won significant victories in setting free many fighters
as it discredited the authority of the state together with the worth of
percecuting authorities and of course it radicalised the consciousness of
significant parts of Greek society. Part of this tradition is the Committee
of Solidarity to G. Balafas as among other things the majority of people
that surround it has taken active participation in the anti-authoritarian
struggle of the previous years.

The =ABpolitical sport=BB of the Committee may be found in the following:
It denounces;
the upgrading of state suppression with the pretence (or not...) of the need
to crack down terrorism;
the subdjucation of Greek authorities - and the government in general- to
the US;
the continuous and careful plannings of the judiciary power not only in as
fur as the case of G. Balafas is concerned, but against all those it
considers =ABenemies of the state=BB or =ABenemies of the society=BB.
The Committee is also fighting to expand the solidarity towards G. Balafas
and to include his case among the targets and the mobilisation of the wider
social movement and to prove the expediency that fabrication against him and
to succeed in his liberation.

The Committee=92s core of action is composed of interventions of social
character (gatherings, concerts, demonstrations e.t.c.) of course without
downgrading the legal backing of this prisoner, the surrounding of his case
by wider social and political forces - as long as they accept the framework
that himself and the Committee have set up - and the briefing of society
through the media. In this first year of it=92s operation the Committee has
realised shows of supports in many cities of Greece. More significant of
these is the great consert of solidarity that took place in May at Athens
and ended with a march of a thousand people to the Parliament and the
American Embassy. The Committee has also given several press conferences as
it has also pyblished texts in newspapers of large circulation. It has also
collected signatures of support from hundreds of leading unionists, mayors,
artists, and university faculty.

The Committee is active systematically with another political prisoner the
Palestinian fighter Mohammed Hammdan who also is in the last eight and a
half years in Greek prisons sentenced in fifteen years of imprisonment
literally specified by American persecuting authorities.
The Americans accused M. Hammdan for planting a bomb in a TWA flight which
lead to the death of a passenger. On this account they request his release
to the USA. The accusations were entirely unfounded and it became quickly
obvious that M. Hammdan=92s persecution was relevant to his extermination=
-he
was already one of the more active members of PLO -and to the slandering of
indifanda, which was at its peak then.

Since his arrest on May of 1988, significant proportions of the social
movement as well as personalities from a wide spectrum of politics stood by
his side demanding his immediate release and the imperialist blackmail. The
great mobilisation of solidarity for the Palestinian fighter (mass
gatherings and protests occupation of the Ministry of Justice in the fall of
1989 e.t.c.) accomplished the prevention of his extradition to the USA but
could not accomplish his release. So in his trial which was composed by a
special court created by a law made especially for his case by the New
Democracy right-wing party and under the suffocating pressure of FBI agents
who brought the case against him M. Hammdan was convicted 18 years
imprisonment for the 1st degree and 15 years for the second degree. Today M.
Hammdan has served the require time so as to be set free, however the USA
are pressing the Greek Government to keep him as a hostage.=20

A FEW WORDS FOR THE =ABANTI - TERRORIST=BB CONTEXT OF SUPPRESSION IN GREECE

Already from the beginning of the 1980=92s the Greek repressive mechanism=
are
attempting to become aligned with the European and the American =ABanti -
terrorist=BB context in a political institutional and =ABoperational=BB=
level.
Until that time the Greek police because of the civil war past and because
of the dictatorship was not seen too kindly by the majority of society. At
the same time the persecuting authorities had to confront a serious, for
Greek reality, armed activity not in the sense of quantity but rather in the
sense of frequency and level of impact these armed organisations had many of
which enjoyed vast social acceptance. Also during that period there grew
within the anarchist and to a lesser degree in the far - leftist sphere a
fighting tendency which on the one hand freed itself from the restrains of
traditional dead - ends of past historical revolutionary currents and on the
other attempted to list it=92s own stately and differentially through the
initiative of direct confrontation with the suppression mechanisms and more
generally with the state.

The forces of persecution in order to show productivity in the field of
=ABantiterrorist=BB activity and especially in order to bring to a hold the
fighting tendency that we described earlier released o pogrom of
persecutions against the most radical components of the anti - authoritarian
strife, the peak of that persecution being the arrest of many fighters and
their trial for armed activity. This attempt was correlated with the
penalization of entire political areas through a campaign of slander against
members of that area (called agents of crime, traffickers of narcotics and
so on, together with the cultivation of a climate of fear among the
conservative parts of Greek society in an attempt to increase tension and to
bring about the generalisation of state repression.

In the decade of the 90=92s, no matter how many important victories were won
against the forces of persecution, vast changes of antidemocratic and
antisocial nature, are taking place. Victories for civil rights that were
gained during the decade of the 70=92s that implemented the exercise of
personal and collection rights are no more in existence. For the first time
value is shifted form the protection of civil rights and liberties to the
protection of social order. The accused is judged according to his or her
political beliefs and moral character. Greek prisons are filled with people
addicted to narcotics to whom are applied several sentences of imprisonment
while in 1996 alone hundreds of accumulated years of imprisonment are given
to 500 occupants of the Polytechnic School who were arrested after a
violation of the right of asylum by the special MAT units of police.
American agents have officially taken over the office of =ABantiterorrism
activity=BB in police headquarters.

In the person of G. Balafas there is expressed during this period a
confrontation that exceeds the importance of his case. On the one hand the
US and the Greek repression mechanisms are attempting to bring forth the
creation of a process were by the accused for =ABterrorism=BB will be bought=
to
court only as means of validating their conviction neutralising any possible
attempt for judiciary defence. On the other hand the movement of solidarity
to the person of G. Balafas composes not only the defence of basic social
and civil rights but also the fight against neoliberal barbarism and
imperialist domination.

=20
SOME DETAILS ON THE CASE OF G. BALAFAS

The persecution of G. Balafas started in the Spring of 1985 immediately
after the death of his relative and friend Christos Tsoutsouvis in an armed
confrontation with police. The police, with a single piece of evidence being
a finger print of G. Balafas on a box of biscuits (!) found in Tsoutsouvis
home, accused him of participation in the confrontation and in the death of
three police officers. G. Balafas starts hiding temporarily because he
believes there do not exist any guarantees for his life until some time
later on when the authorities accuse him anew of involvement in the
execution of Public Prosecutor Theophanopoulos and in the armed robbery of a
super - market that resulted in the death of two guards. For seven years,
which is how long G. Balafas is a fugitive, the police accuses him of more
participation in various acts making him appear as the No 1 wanted=
terrorist.
When G. Balafas is arrested in November of 1992 they attempt, without
success, to present him as a member of organisation =AB17 November=BB. They=
then
accuse him of possession of six kilos of hashish and bring him to court on
that basis together with his companion Vaso Mihoy. Reverse countdown begins
and soon it appears that the plans of the security police are so weak that
large portions of Greek society begin to support G. Balafas. His trial
begins in February 1994 and ends five months later where by G. Balafas is
found innocent on twenty counts. The percecuting mechanisms react to his
release and first - time acts of his sort attempt to prolong his arrest.
They are not successful because G. Balafas begins a two month hunger strike
and also because of the social reaction to his condition. G. Balafas is
released in September of the same year.

G. Balafas=92 release become the great shame for the persecuting=
authorities.
Very soon these mechanisms take the offensive and in the annual report of
the US State Department on =ABterrorism=BB the Greek government is reputed=
for
allowing G. Balafas to go free. High standing Judiciary officials and
members of the New Democracy right wing party pressured for G. Balafas=92
arrest. The result was that in November of 1995 from a case that should have
been dismissed in the first place and for which in 1988 two other persons
were found innocent G. Balafas was convicted and sentenced to ten years
imprisonment.

Today G. Balafas has to confront three scheduled trials. The trial that will
be held because of the request of the Public Persecutor back in 1994; the
trial that is related to his appeal; and the trial concerning the matter on
drug possession. Mainly, however G. Balafas has to confront the plans of the
Greek repression mechanisms and of the Americans.

OUR PROPOSAL

In relation to what we have already mentioned the Committee looks forward to
the expansion of its solidarity to G. Balafas among a greater anti -
capitalist, anti - imperialist context and to correlate its actions with all
other available groups from other countries of Europe with related interests
and orientation. We would like to organise in Greece a series of events
under the general theme =ABPolitical Prisoners - Repression in Europe=BB and=
we
invite you to participate with your representatives. If you are interested
please send us your views soon as possible.

Our address
=ABCommittee of Solidarity to G. Balafas=BB
Valtetsiou 35, Exarchia - Athens
GREECE
FAX: ++01 38 40 390

Or
E-mail : alfanarc@compulink.gr (note: to Committee...)

=20
***********************
=20
Committee of Solidarity to G. Balafas
=20
************************

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
" ALFA "
Weekly anarchist newspaper
P.O.Box 31 809=20
10035 Athens, Greece
fax : ++01 64 58 112
e-mail: alfanarc@compulink.gr
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~