[This is an article from March 2012. Read in combination with the previous related report it makes clear that paramilitary groups like the ‘Patriotic Civil Guard’ have been organising themselves openly and unobstructedly for more than a year now]
‘Overly Greek’ Greeks in arms
Self-appointed militias recruit and train citizens with the purpose to take the law into their own hands and deal with crime.
Self-appointed civil militias, whose organisation and activity strongly resemble paramilitary groups, attempt to take the law into their own hands. Organised groups with a far-right orientation recruit civilians and provide them with training. These dangerous phenomena keep spreading, evoking memories from the past.
With clear far-right rhetoric, the members of these groups attempt to make use of criminal incidents and take upon themselves the role of “assisting” the security forces and the army. Nationalist discourse dominates as they highlight the “threat from the East” while these groups resemble “storm troops”.
A multitude of connected websites highlight the importance of creating a “patriotic civil guard”, with the aim to “be prepared for when the crucial time arrives”.
The group has been organising “training” sessions in the mountains, so that “volunteers” will learn how to confront an… armed riot and to intervene in the chaos that will be caused. The campaigns for recruiting “volunteers” are organised through social media, where the groups not only disseminate all the information relevant to the recruitment of members, but also justify their activity by attributing it to the situation of emergency in the country.
They recruit school-age pupils
The “Hellenic Arms Control Center” (!) adopts a different approach, as it declared the formation of a Greek civil guard following the American one and recruiting even… school-age pupils.
On the grounds of increasing crime, the Hellenic Arms Control Center founded the Greek civil guard insisting that it is neither a private security company nor a commercial enterprise.
The Greek civil guard can be staffed by active men of the security forces and, as underscored: “…they will maintain their ranks and will also have the opportunity to get promoted, something that will also be the case for the younger ones”.
These groups will do patrols 24 hours a day detecting all kinds of criminal offences and claim to prove to be “particularly useful in case of fires and all sorts of natural disasters and social unrest”.
A relevant post on the internet invites young people to contribute… as “in the case of an uprising the Greek Police will not be able to meet the safety requirements of Greek citizens”.
At the same time it is emphasised that the militia will not be involved in the suppression of demonstrations.
The recruitment campaign also addresses children older than 16 and provides them with online training. Pupils will be monitoring aggressive behaviour around the school yard and will patrol constantly. This way “they will ease their youthful momentum without getting stigmatized and subjugated by shady groups”.
The Greek civil guard “will not hide in hideouts nor wear hoods or carry clubs and spears, but it will cooperate with all state and social agencies, and will have public recognition and acceptance”.
Invitations for the Special Forces
There is a special invitation addressed towards the reservist commandos because of their tough training. They are offered the position of group leaders of the Greek Civil Guard, something that will enable them to train the rest of the Greek militiamen of the Civil Guard.
The structure of the Civil Guard is based on the model of the reservists of the US armed forces and, as noted, the aim is “to integrate the local reservist clubs into a public benefit national security scheme”, something that will allow them make the passage from the “reserve” to action.
They admit that the reservist clubs will not be easily accepted by Greek society as “security forces” and this is why there is a need for a public benefit organisation, like the Hellenic Arms Control Center, that will help them to acquire the desired dimension.
These groups will patrol the streets and during their patrol “they will be wearing the usual camouflage uniforms with the insignia of the Greek Civil Guard”. These groups will appoint an administrator, and will have subscription booklets. 70% of membership fees shall be deposited in the account of the local organization for expenses such as equipment and training and the remaining amount will be deposited in a central account for operational expenses.
Mercenaries and… tax exemptions
The Hellenic Arms Control Center goes even further. As a bait, they promise “paid employment to those militiamen that have demonstrated zeal and merit during the first stages of the founding of the civil guard”.
The resources of the Greek arms centre “Athena” still come from donations and contributions, sponsorships and grants from public organisations and municipalities and from other individuals or legal persons from the public and private sectors, local and foreign.
It is emphasised that any money donated to “Athena” is deductible from one’s taxable income, since “Athena” has the status of a research/technology institution and is, therefore, legally a research center (a legal person for national non-profit private law purposes) of a charitable public-benefit character that provides scholarships (codes 059-060 of the tax assessment form).
“We need combatants, not clerks”
Another body resembling a paramilitary group has been created with the name “patriotic civil guard”. Their purpose is to organise the “patriots” – this is what they call themselves – into a coordinated and disciplined patriotic military force “to fight for national security”.
The texts have been uploaded by the “hawk of the Aegean” who encouraged all patriots to join the “patriotic civil guard”. As he argues, bankruptcy is unavoidable and the chaos to which this will lead will be exploited by some armed “anti-Greek” forces. Thus, there has to be an organised group with “the features of an operational military unit prepared for immediate response”.
Till that time this unit will keep getting organised and trained – dozens of videos of their training in the mountains have been uploaded – as they claim, “through totally legal channels”. They are inviting volunteers to wear the “grey and green” uniform noting that “the citizens are trained safely”.
Talking about the upcoming… chaos they sketch the “desired targets”. In the expected chaos the patriotic civil guard and the “veterans” will have to take action. As their slogan says, “We need combatants, not… clerks”. As pointed out, the “patriotic civil guard” will keep the national campaign going – by any means – until they “have the necessary power for keeping things under [their] control”.
In the announcements that they post on allied social media regarding the military training, they mention, amongst other things, the following: “One more regular weekly Mountain Military Training – the sixth one – of the Patriotic Civil Guard was completed successfully and with an even greater participation of fellow fighters… We added new material and training areas and what has lingered from the day is … the boosted morale and enthusiasm… another plus that we have to add is the increasing ‘coordination’ of the Unit…”.
Another announcement says that “we are now pleased to decide, as Staff of the Unit, the formal establishment of the 2nd Platoon… Honouring the 2nd Patriotic Group that supported with patriotic passion, faith and matchless vigour our National-Patriotic venture, the 2nd Platoon, this group of fellow fighters, takes the name ‘Platoon PHOENIX’…”.
To the questions asked by “experts” – this is the label attached to them – such as “… well, why is the Patriotic Civil Guard training by carrying out descents with ropes on a steep slope 20 meters high and full of unstable rocks? What is the mountainous slope doing in the urban battlefield where a Civil Guard Force will have to operate in the future?” they respond: “… can you picture a city crushed by extensive dynamic explosions? To form a picture, try to think of a big earthquake… what do you think the buildings will look like? They will look like massifs full of stones… They will look like the mountainous slope where the Civil Guards are training…”.
On the web
A website that appears to be working together with the “patriotic civil guard” has uploaded a related piece from the far-right newspaper “Stochos” about the 25th of March [TN: Greek Independence day] parade in Athens.
Referring to tomorrow’s interministerial meeting, the comment reads as follows: “Greeks should know that the parade of the 25th of March will take place INDEPENDENTLY of any… decision made by the regime! What will depend on their decisions is who will go to the parade, in which direction, and over whose bodies…”
They have already had 23 mountain training sessions
According to what they have uploaded on their website, “patriotic civil guard” members have organised 23 mountain military training sessions so far.
[Translated from ‘Ethnos’ newspaper, 10/03/2012. Available online at: http://www.ethnos.gr/article.asp?catid=22768&subid=2&pubid=63628607]