Anarchist and far-left terrorist groups aim to draw from a large, disaffected population, and particularly from a pool of young people.
By Andy Dabilis for Southeast European Times in Athens -- 26/09/13
Greek police arrested 20 people with reported connections to The Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire (SPF), which is suspected of targeting judges and prosecutors. [AFP]
Greek law enforcement authorities are targeting a new generation of terrorist groups after a judge and prosecutor were targeted with bombs and extremists called for more violence against judicial personnel.
A bevy of anarchist and self-styled revolutionary groups have vied to replace the notorious November 17 group that assassinated 23 people in 103 attacks on foreign targets following the arrest of its leaders a decade ago.
Chief among them, officials said, is The Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire (SPF), which urged attacks against members of the judiciary after sending a letter bomb to Judge Dimitris Mokkas, in retaliation for arrests of anti-government rebels who were charged with sending another letter bomb to a former police anti-terrorism chief.
Authorities said they are concerned that SPF posted a message on a website boasting that many judges lack police guards and are easy to find, beat, bomb or assassinate.
SPF is dangerous but relatively unsophisticated, said Ioannis Michaletos, an associate with the Athens-based Institute for Security and Defence Analysis.
"They pose a threat [similar to] November 17 but lack serious training. The main problem for the authorities is the number of young people already involved and their networking structure, which makes it difficult to disband it completely," Michaletos told SETimes. "They could be around for quite some time and strike or even assassinate people before eventually they are all caught."
Effi Lambropoulou, a criminologist at Panteion University in Athens, said the new breed of anarchists and terrorists is different from November 17.
"The old terrorism in general and that of 17 November attempted to change the social system directly through violence and threats. The new terrorism's effort is to win the sympathy and acceptance of the general population," Lambropoulou told SETimes.
SPF have said it is angry at the government for imposing strict austerity measures, which were required following decades over overspending that threatened to destroy the Greek economy and damage the euro.
Police said the group has already warned of an "upgraded" hit. It arrested 20 suspects and uncovered a number of the group's safe houses.
Law enforcement has reportedly increased security to protect the international envoys who regularly visit Athens to check the progress on austerity and of other potential targets.
Additional security may not be necessary, said John Nomikos, a security specialist and head of the Research Institute for European and American studies in Athens.
"There is a lot of scepticism in the security and intelligence community about a forthcoming terrorist act on a politician or a businessman," Nomikos told SETimes.
Law enforcement has a difficult task because Greece is a breeding ground for extremists. The Athens neighborhood of Exarchia is the home of many anarchists who even target the police station there.
Other groups include the Sect of Revolutionaries and Revolutionary Struggle and the little-known Group of Popular Rebels. The latter said it wanted to link up with other radicals who have targeted journalists and politicians.
Anarchists and terrorists appeal to Greece's disaffected populations such as the youth, whose unemployment has reached 65 percent, said Antonis Derventis, 26, an unemployed physicist.
"I am not a fan of their methods. What they are doing is not just a reaction to the crisis; the real crisis is moral. They think what they are doing is romantic or utopian, and some people believe in some of what they do," Derventis told SETimes.
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