Greece Paid Journalists $130 MIllion To Promote The "Greekness Of Macedonia"
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
During 1989 to 1993 from secret funds of the Greek Foreign Ministry
headed by Andonis Samaras, Greek journalists received $130 million dollars
(US) to promote the "Greekness of Macedonia"!
Although these funds were originally intended for external promotion
(read disinformation), they, according to the testimony of former Prime
Minister Constantinos Mitsotakis, ended up in pockets of Greek journalists.
- All of the funds were in black plastic bags, like those black trash
bags you see, filled only with 5,000 bank notes. There were never checks,
it was always cash. The money was mainly for propaganda over Macedonia's
name, but instead of going abroad, this propaganda was directed towards
the inside, our country - said Mitsotakis in front of a commission summoned
to clarify the case.
The payment of huge lump sums coincided with the independence of Macedonia
and the strengthening of internal propaganda and the so called "Macedoniazation"
This scandal, which was first actualized by Athens based Eleftherotypia
was buried in 1994 though it re-emerged once again after Andonis Samaras
was elected as leader of New Democracy, which suffered a defeat by PASOK
in the fall elections.
Samaras had been dismissed in 1992 as a Foreign Minister by then-Prime
Minister Mitsotakis, who, like Papandreou, has now himself assumed the
The investigation was completed without conclusions. These secret payments
were investigated by Mitsotakis successor, the Greek Foreign Ministry,
Government and current president Karolos Papoulias. The Greek Government
issued no information and closed the investigation in the name of "higher
The dilemma whether the Greek Government bribed journalists as well
as publishers across the country to publish material that would promote
Athens agenda hangs in the air.
Andonis Samaras publicly acknowledged large amounts of money were paid
to publishers, journalists, even local officials, adding all money were
used for national useful purposes.
It is indicative that all documents were destroyed prior to Mitsotakis
takeover of Greeces FM from Samaras - on April 13, 1993. Samaras
himself attested that the documents were destroyed on March 17 that
year. The only thing left are the total amounts and recorded statements
- the money were distributed by (Manolis Kalamidas close to Samaras
and Dimitris Avramopoulos, a man of trust to Mitsotakis).
The scandal itself surfaced following the collapse of the Mitsotakis
government in October 10, 1993. To make things more interesting, the
Foreign Minister of the new government of PASOK - after Mitsotakis and
Samaras - was none other than the current present President of Greece
Papoulias engaged a United States attorney, former judge, who practically
discovered the secret funds. The investigation never revealed the names
of journalists and news organizations that were at the receiving end
of these payouts.
According to documents from the investigation on March 10, 1994 Mitsotakis
before the Commission confirmed that there were secret funds from the
MFA, adding funds also became available from banks and other large companies.
Since taking office, Mitsotakis described the situation in the MFA as
"bad" adding presently we have only 40-48 million drachmas (220
thousand dollars), while large sums of money are directed to unknown
persons without the appropriate paperwork.
Mitsotakis explained the funds were distributed by the Minister, and
controlled by three member commission appointed by the Minister. All
documents, if any, were destroyed twice annually.
The former Greek prime minister asked Samaras to explain where the
money went. Samaras never provided a concise answer, saying the money
were spent on Advertisement.
Mitsotakis testified that he "personally knows journalists who received
cash from the Government. On the question to further explain how
this was done, Mitsotakis provided further details: "There were bags
of money. They were in black plastic bags, like those used in trash
bins. Filled with 5,000 bills. All payments were in cash only, no checks.
The money was mainly for propaganda over Macedonia's name, but instead
of spending the money abroad, the propaganda was aimed inside."
Mitsotakis had knowledge that some of the money were intended for specific
journalists to build Samaras political image. This current leader
of New Democracy, Samaras, on April 21, 1994 before the committee denied
that any funds were given to journalists in order to build himself up.
Asked where did the huge amounts of unregistered payments went, he said
"all the payments for practical purposes had been placed under item
In Greece, the law entitles the minister to dispose of secret funds
for the costs of "national interest" and how they will use these funds
depends on the Minister's "patriotism".
To all future 'journalists': move to Greece. The pay is good, you never
have to write anything, all information comes pre-packaged.
Year ... Planned Payment ... Paid to Journalists ($132m)
1989 ... $12,2 million ... $18 million
1990 ... $11 million ... $11,3 million
1991 ... $13,8 million ... $27,8 million
1992 ... $22,6 million ... $41,1 million
1993 ... $23,9 million ... $34, 4 million
Also in 1993, The Independent Newspaper in Britain Reported...
Nationalist Greece muzzles dissidents (CORRECTED)
LEONARD DOYLE, West Europe Editor
Monday, 16 August 1993
CORRECTION (PUBLISHED 18 AUGUST 1993) APPENDED TO THIS ARTICLE
GREECE is cracking down on citizens who publicly challenge the government's
hard line on Macedonia and is pressing ahead with a series of extraordinary
criminal prosecutions of dissenters.
Even criticising the long-dead Alexander the Great can get Greeks into
trouble. A newspaper columnist, Michail Papadakis, who called Alexander
a 'miserable slayer of people' has two legal cases pending against him.
He has been called a 'national traitor' by the general secretary of
the ruling New Democratic Party,
The severity of the government's crackdown against Greeks claiming
Macedonian heritage and against the artists who have publicly supported
them, is proving a deep embarrassment to the country's European Community
partners. Athens has further annoyed the EC by tarnishing its reputation
for tolerance of political dissent. The naming of the Former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia, which borders Greece, could spell greater trouble.
Athens remains unhappy about it because its northern province is also
On arrival at Athens airport, the visitor is confronted by a series
of posters proclaiming in English that 'Macedonia was, is, and will
be Greek'. For Greeks who dare to offer a contrary view or suggest the
country's Balkan neighbours are not necessarily its enemies, the result
can be stiff fines and a lengthy jail sentence.
None of those prosecuted under Greece's draconian penal code has been
charged with violent acts or other criminal behaviour, and the human
rights group Helsinki Watch says the trials are violations of the basic
right to freedom of expression, protected under international law.
In one case two Macedonian minority activists, Christos Sideropoulos
and Tasos Boulis, were sentenced to five months in prison and a fine
of 100,000 drachmas ( pounds 390 pounds) for telling Ena magazine that
they 'feel Macedonian'.
More damaging from the government's point of view was their claim that
there are one million Macedonians in Greece. That would put them at
about 10 per cent of the population, a clearly unacceptable situation
given that Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis claimed recently that
'We are the only Balkan country not to have minorities. The small Muslim
community in Thrace has full rights.'
In September, an Athens court will hear an appeal by four members of
an anti-nationalist group, convicted and sentenced to 19 months in prison
last year for distributing a leaflet entitled Our Neighbours are not
our Enemies. No to Nationalism and War.
Although the leaflet called for peace in the Balkans and criticised
Greece's policies towards ethnic minorities, the four were charged with
diseminating false information, attempting to incite acts of violence,
and disturbing friendly relations with another country.
Not content with those convictions, the public prosecutor is said by
Helsinki Watch to be preparing a case against the 169 artists and intellectuals
who signed a petition on behalf of the four, who are out of jail on
The political columnist in Greece being harassed by the government
for insulting Alexander the Great is Takis Michas and not Michail Papadakis
as was reported on 16 August.
Mr Papadakis, a student, has already been convicted and sentenced to
one year in prison for distributing pamphlets calling Alexander a 'war
criminal'. Mr Michas still has two legal cases pending against him.