A torrent of world-wide publicity has followed the murder of leftist musician Pavlos Fyssas by Golden Dawn supporter Giorgos Roupakias, two nights ago. In Greece, understandably, the discussion is even more tense. But what is missing in this discussion -partly obscured by the horrific, if murderously delayed, realization that this gang of thugs is out of control, and partly purposefully concealed by the mainstream media- is that there is a very profound sense in which Golden Dawn is not “the problem”; the problem is rather this perverse coalition of “socialist modernizers” and far-right nationalists, who are governing Greece ostensibly to safeguard its “European perspective”. Next to the thugs themselves, it is the Greek government who must bear the full responsibility not only for Golden Dawn and its crimes, but also for the fact that a brutal, racist, totalitarian agenda now forms a significant part of the Greek state’s attitude towards democracy and its institutions.

It is not Golden Dawn who created concentration camps for immigrants. Centre-left and centre-right politicians did that. Concentration camps for immigrants, drug users and homeless people were first talked about in pre-Olympic Greece, in 2004, with the purpose of “improving” the image of the streets of Athens. The Olympics were planned by the centre-left government of Kostas Simitis and took place during the centre-right government of Kostas Karamanlis. The first concentration camp was to be constructed in the old NATO army base, in Aspropyrgos. The plan never materialized due to the reaction by NGOs and left-wing parties. It was discussed again when Christos Markogiannakis took over the Ministry of Public Order, in 2009, but again was not put into practice. The one who finally gave life to the idea that a modern democracy should imprison immigrants without due process or trial in containers fenced off with barbed wire was Minister of Public Order Michalis Chrysochoidis, a “socialist” with centre-left PASOK, currently Minister of Transport in our coalition government. The creation of concentration camps was hailed as a major breakthrough by Andreas Loverdos, Minister of Public Health at the time, another “socialist”. And the practice came into full bloom under the direction of current Minister of Public Order Nikos Dendias, an MP for New Democracy, a self-described “liberal”.

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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.


“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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