The secret training, the strikes, and the organisation’s concealment tactics
‘Golden Dawn has a full military structure and at least three thousand men ready for anything! We have around 50 strong squads prepared for street clashes and equal number of six-men strong hit groups – commandos for organized-targeted hits which are decided by three persons in the organization. The hit groups carry out assaults against immigrants or revenge hits against enemies of the organization. Whatever that means. Our training is not simily what the people know about camps etc. We undergo special training even with weapons in places lie Rafina, Parnitha, Fyli, Porto Germeno, Mani, central Euvoia and elsewhere. Our trainers are military from the special forces who support our structure. Our main concern is to hide certain weapons, even at hooligans’ clubs or in apartments so that they cannot be traced back to us by the police. The local group of Nikaia that was involved in the Amphiali affair had at least four squads and around 250 people and it is perhaps the most active in Attica lately. They protected the offices some months ago during clashes with the police after we had tried to hand out food in Syntagma. They were also giving the signal during the last manifestations in Meligalas and elsewhere.’ These are some of the things one of the most senior members of Golden Dawn told ‘To Vima Tis Kyriakis’, as he has followed its course over the years and know what happens in the backstage of the organization. His sayings, having experienced even groups that preceded Golden Dawn, reveal its paramilitary organization, unknown aspects of its actions, as well as internal ‘problems’ of the far-right formation [...]. On the other hand, police lieutenants with whom ‘Vima’ communicated, noted that ‘they have been informally debriefed on Golden Dawn’s secret activity, but they have not managed to locate any training camps or find evidence of members’ partaking in para-military activities…’
The person who reveals to ‘Vima‘ the secrets of the far-right party notes that ‘Golden Dawn is organized in a manner that is unknown to most people and resembles a Nazi style organization, but mostly, that of the Ethniki Organosi Neolaias [National Youth Organization] (EON) that Metaxas instituted in 1936. Golden Dawn, just like EON has phalanxes, tetrarchs, group leaders and the like. Special attention is paid to military training of members which begins with boxing, swimming and climbing and ends by training with weapons of all types. What you hear about being beaten up or games of obedience is what happens in the army’s special forces. Such training takes place in semi-urban areas of Attiki or elsewhere, usually under full secrecy and without the police perceiving it. Many people who form the phalanxes are, by priority, from the special forces.’
Yet, the most basic units of Golden Dawn’s ‘army’ are the ‘hit groups’ which, according to the allegations, receive orders centrally.
As the member of Golden Dawn says, ‘these groups can hit like armed, urban guerilla groups, holding on to rules of covering up their traces or planning escape routes. The hit groups are used in special occassions, for example in a hit against a foreigner after a crime with a Greek victim or in cases of Golden Dawn supporters who have betrayed it. Many of these 31 cases of aggravated assault attributed to Golden Dawn, but probably also other that you are not aware of, have been carried out by these ‘hit groups’. They operate in such way that it is impossible to gather evidence against anyone. They may however take on other missions against enemies of the party or deal with internal issues.’
‘Nikaia was our pride’.
The same person refers specifically to the activities of some local organizations of Golden Dawn.
‘Nikaia’s organization was our pride, together with that of Athens, during the last few years. It success is due to MP Giannis Lagos’ supervision and control. They were in charge during the last mobilizations of Golden Dawn at the centre of Athens and in the periphery. They also initiated the assault against KKE’s activists in Perama ten days ago. In the past, the local cell of Ano Liosia was playing a more important role, but a leader was injured by gypsies. We are still hunting down those who hit him…’
What is even more interesting is what the informer, ex-member of Golden Dawn, says about connections with mafia networks. As he says ‘in the headquarters we sometimes get informed about members of local organizations taking advantage of their operational capacities acquired during their training and transforming into groups that blackmail and sell protection to shop owners. This is not wanted by the leadership of the party because it may have unforeseen consequences and damage the image of the party. Recently, a whole cell in the south suburbs of Athens because it was established that nearly all its members were engaged in blackmailing schemes. Similar issues came up with three groups in Peloponisos which are now in limbo. Another one, also in Peloponisos underwent full renewal when its members started to show seccesionist trends and wanted to have autonomous elections…’
‘Vima’ communicated with the competent police lieutenants who claimed: ‘we have information from various sources about the transformation of the far-right party into a paramilitary organization. But there is yet no evidence. We have connected members of Golden Dawn to 31 assaults and illegal actions and we have good indications that they are involved in tens of other cases. Further, the racist violence bureau of the security department in Attiki has filed another 31 cases for attacks against illegal immigrants. But there is nearly no possibility of proof of actions that could bear heavy charges in court. Some months ago a high-rank member of the local organization of Nikaia was arrested because he was incited by a another national to attack some Albanians. He was eventually only charged with usupring of authority! Even in the case of the KKE members who were attacked in Perama, there were charges made against four individuals, without proving any relationship to Golden Dawn. Actually in the beginning one of the accused was an Alabanian for whom later we established he was imprisoned in Korydalos. I estimate though that with the investigations taken further by the antiterrorist division under charges of forming a criminal organization and with the whole re-examination of the cases a lot may change. It will become possible to request suspension of communications privacy of high-rank members or use other methods of tracking down how the organized assaults are carried out’.
[Translated from 'Vima', 22 September 2013. Available online at: http://www.tovima.gr/politics/article/?aid=531359]