NEW DEMOCRACY “TRUTH TEAM”: FORGERS WITH THE PRIME MINISTER’S APPROVAL

The New Democracy “Truth Team” made its appearance before the national elections of 2012. Its official mission is stated as “political analysis”. In reality, it is devoted to political propaganda on behalf of New Democracy, the main party in Greece’s government coalition, aiming at the defamation of the party’s rivals, systematically distorting facts and fabricating so-called “evidence”. Based at New Democracy party offices, and formed by close associates of the Prime Minister, the “Truth Team” enjoys his unequivocal support. Scarier still, a former participant in the team currently heads Greece’s National Intelligence Service.

Although there has been and there still is an attempt to present the “Truth Team”, as these people call themselves, as a group of New Democracy sympathisers with no formal relationship to the party, this is an ill-concealed lie: The “Truth Team” operates in the offices of the party and it was formed by very close associates of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, first among which is George Mouroutis, Head of the Press Office of the General Secretariat of the Prime Minister.

THE ADJUTANT Mr. MOUROUTIS

“Everyone else left. The only one who stayed was George Mouroutis”

When Antonis Samaras left New Democracy and founded his own party, Politiki Anixi (literally: Political Spring), in June 1993, among others who followed him was an unknown young man, named George Mouroutis. The very short lifespan of Politiki Anixi was an opportunity for George Mouroutis to find his life task. In the elections of 1996, Politiki Anixi failed to get into Parliament and, although it continued to nominally exist until 2004, it disappeared from the political map – along with its leader, Antonis Samaras.

“They had an office at that time in Patision Avenue, near the building of The General Workers Union of Greece”, says an interlocutor from the old circle of A. Samaras. “Everyone else left. The only one who stayed was Mouroutis”.

“What for?” we asked. “What did they do?”

“I don’t know” he replied. “Maybe they were just massaging each other psychologically. There was no political activity, there was nothing. They were saying to each other that they will come back into the political arena. That’s all.”

Everyone who knows the environment of Samaras – which was never particularly large – has the same story to tell: Everyone left and the only one stayed was G. Mouroutis. All this period between the failure of Politiki Anixi and the return of Samaras to New Democracy in 2004, George Mouroutis remained at his side, even without a specific job.

“It was impossible for a piece of information to arrive to the Minister, if Mouroutis didn’t want it to”

Beyond his capacity as a “psychological masseur”, G. Mouroutis took on more tasks after 2004. Since then and until 2007, he was spokesperson for Antonis Samaras through his stint as MEP. In 2009 Samaras was appointed Minister of Culture in the last months of the government of Costas Karamanlis. George Mouroutis followed him there, too. Those who got to know him in the Ministry got a glimpse of the way he conceived of his position: “It was impossible for a piece of information to arrive to the Minister, if Mouroutis didn’t want it to” he says. During the same period, however, G. Mouroutis appeared as a member of the executive board of OPAP, the state owned sports gampling company (February-November 2009), and then as a member of the executive board of another company that belonged to OPAP, OPAP Services (until December 2009). In June 2012, the newly elected Prime Minister Antonis Samaras appointed G. Mouroutis as Head of the Press Office of the General Secretariat of the Prime Minister.

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WOMEN IN THE ARAB SPRING

On November 23rd 2012, Amnesty International screened this film by Constantine Mylonas and Stefania Mizara at the “Role of Women in the Arab Spring” event, which took place at the Cervantes Institute in Athens, one of a series of initiatives for the rights of women in the Middle East and North Africa.

From the beginning of the revolution and protests in the area, Amnesty International has called on all authorities to respect human rights and shall continue to do so. At the same time the organization is closely monitoring developments, sending out regular investigative missions, and publishing recorded content on human rights abuses.

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