[Another translated interview with a Golden Dawn member from ‘Ethnos’ newspaper. This is the complete interview as it came with the printed version of the newspaper on the 22nd of September 2013. It has not yet appeared on the newspaper’s website]
Can you describe how things work within Golden Dawn?
There is a lot of respect for the chain of command. There is martial law in Golden Dawn. This is how we have always been functioning. Michaloliakos has always been telling us that we are soldiers.
Didn’t this annoy you?
No. I used to like it. Brainwashing is so extended that you stop existing as an individual. You do not have a personality; you do not have and cannot express an opinion. You have to say yes to everything.
Even when they tell “go now to Rafina to beat immigrants”?
Yes. First of all, this is something you want yourself. The adrenaline is so high at that moment that you feel very nice. When we were going for beating immigrants we were feeling beautiful. We were feeling we were doing something very good.
Why did you break the code of silence?
Because I completely disagree with murdering a Greek. I am a national-socialist. My idol was Hitler; and he still is – I am not hiding this. Real Golden Dawners are neo-Nazis; we used to declare this with pride. We believe in Hitler. In Diligianni Street [where the central Golden Dawn offices are located] they used to sell “Mein Kampf” till the elections. Then they were replaced with Kasidiaris’s books.
Which of the party executives we know belong in the old core of the party?
The MPs. Kasidiris, Panagiotaros. I used to be in their team. Plapoutas was also there, but he was kicked out 1.5-2 years ago because he had been involved in violent incidents without approval from above. On his own. And he was expelled by the leader because nobody is allowed to act this way. You cannot do something like this.
Why do you think the Golden Dawners murdered a Greek?
We always used to say that work comes before fun. By ‘work’ we mean hunting anarchists and by ‘fun’ beating Pakistanis. This was the slogan. “Work comes before fun”.
So, the murder was not fun, but work?
I believe that Fyssas became a target because of his songs that were annoying. I believe there clearly was an order for his murder. The purpose of the one who hit him on the heart cannot have been to intimidate Fyssas.
How could Lagos make such a decision without first telling Michaloliakos?
This is not possible.
Therefore Michaloliakos knew that they were going to murder Fyssas?
In my view, yes. There is a hierarchy. This means that a member reports something to the leader of local core; the core leader passes this to the MP who is in charge of the local branch; and the MP passes it to the leader.
According to some information, the lifting of the secrecy of communication has shown that Patelis spoke to the perpetrator and Lagos spoke with Patelis.
Of course, they would contact Patelis and then he would call Lagos.
Could Lagos, transgressing the hierarchy, not have contacted Michaloliakos?
I cannot be sure about this. From what I have experienced, the leader is always informed so that he can give permission.
It is said that Roupakias’s strike was intended to kill.
You don’t strike at the heart if you do not want to kill. Roupakias and his wife, who are not particularly intelligent, paid 20 euros each to local branch of Nikaia around a year ago and became members. Let me pause here and tell you that in the older days becoming a member required two years during which you had to prove with your actions that you are a self-conscious nationalist Golden Dawner. They would issue a member’s card for you only after this. After the elections anyone could pay 20 euros and get a card.
Where does the registration money go? Have they ever informed you?
No, never. Neither have we been informed about the money from the cafeteria, the T-shirts, the hats, the mugs, the one-euro lighters, the flags. We have no idea where all this money goes.
Let’s get back to Roupakias. You are saying that he was not a very intelligent person, he was dependent on GD and he just went there when Patelis asked him to?
When Roupakias joined Golden Dawn everyone was making fun of him. Some people that did not have a personality and could be used to do all sorts of favours were put there to act as henchmen and follow orders. Roupakias was an instrument.
Alright, but how does one reach the point of committing a murder?
Brainwashing. When this moment comes you just do not think of anything. Maybe we was promised something.
In the murder there 30 individuals dressed in black and blocked the road. Is this how the storm troop always functions?
What do these 30 individuals do? Do they offer coverage? Do they assist in the escape?
Just for showing off. And when 30 individuals go there wearing the “urban” outfit (the black and white camouflage uniforms) and block the road, even if Roupakias was not caught, the whole Nikaia knew who these guys were. It was as if they wanted to show it.
What exactly do you do in activities like the ones at Neda river?
Camping, survival training, exercises. And they teach us how to use guns. They give you a flag and they leave alone in the night. You are told that you should not allow anyone take it from you. Then they attack against you. Aiming with pistols, air guns, etc.
Is Golden Dawn’s storm troop the one from Nikaia, as our newspaper was told by former GD members?
This is the strongest core group. It is the ones you saw in Thermopylae next to Kasidiaris, everywhere. But in the past there were no local offices. There were only the central ones in Athens and Piraeus.
And to whom were they reporting back then?
To Panagiotaros’s ‘Phalanx’.
Does this mean that Panagiotaros used to be in charge of the storm troops?
Kasidiaris and Panagiotaros were the ones in charge of the actions.
So these two MPs were informing Michaloliakos telling him “tonight we are going to attack foreigners” and he would tell them “go for it”?
Yes. You know, they had groups of men that would go out in the night exclusively for this.
Have there been stabbings before?
Yes. Two years ago in Bournazi when we were there to distribute newspapers. When we were done and were about to leave we were attacked by anarchists with crowbars and our guys attacked back. An anarchist was stabbed, I cannot remember his name now. Then we did not get out of our houses for 48 hours.
Are there policemen helping you?
In Golden Dawn we never had problems with the police. There may have been some police attacks against GD, but they have always been on our side. We never had them against us with exception of Agios Panteleimonas, where they could not have done differently. They cover us in all our demonstrations.
What does this mean exacly? Are there policemen who are Golden Dawners?
There are individuals who are former army officials, other individuals who are policemen, who are not members so that they will not be visible, but are supporters of GD.
Do they also come to the offices?
No, they never set foot in the offices.
How do they communicate with the leaders?
Through the internet and mainly through Facebook, using fake profiles.
You have been an active Golden Dawn member for a long time. What kind of incidents have you experienced?
Pakistanis getting beaten…
Why is there such an obsession with the Pakistanis?
It is their skin colour. It’s black. They are not an Aryan race.
Have you stabbed Pakistanis?
In the past we used to stab them in the bums.
They have never stabbed with the purpose to kill?
It has happened, and there are some individuals that got in prison for this, but they had acted on an individual basis.
So is this the first time there is a murder?
Yes, it’s the first time.
Why do you think it happened at this point?
I cannot know this. What I know is that Golden Dawn had reached 15% in the polls and Kasidiaris was about to get elected as a mayor. What happened traduces the whole movement and all of us who are part of it. Kasidiaris, who I have known for several years from since he was young, is intelligent, educated and is the one who has provided a lot of support for the Golden Dawn. And he made it fashionable. Because he was the only one who could come out and speak. Kaiadas cannot speak and the same goes for Iliopoulos, Michos, Barbarousis. These guys are uneducated. Pappas can speak. The only that can do it are Kasidiaris and Pappas.
How about Michos, Iliopoulos and the rest?
We did not even know these guys. They just ran in the elections and got elected.
And how do the members feel about those who do not belong in the initial Core group of Athens?
We were always in disagreement and there have always been conflicts about this.
You were close to Kasidiaris. Who recruited him?
Michaloliakos recruited Kasidiaris. He came to Golden Dawn in 2008. Panagiotaros is an older member. Kasidiaris is a cold and remote person who never smiles. Ilias [Kasidiaris] is ruthless. Panagiotaros is somehow different.
I suppose that Kasidiaris has stopped participating in certain actions since his purpose is to be elected as a mayor.
Yes, of course.
Is Lagos in charge of the muscled ones?
Lagos used to be a fighter and now he has become a psycho.
Why are you saying this?
I don’t know. Maybe it’s the money or power… Maybe he got seduced by these? I am not sure.
It he the man for the dirty work?
In anything that takes place within the area of Piraeus, Salamina, Nikaia, Perama, yes.
If there is something going on in a different area, for example if some men are needed for beating Pakistanis or there is a need for the henchmen in black to show up in order to do some bullying, would Nikaia go there?
If a local Core summons Nikaia, they would go. If their help is asked, they would go.
Who decides which actions are to take place? Who is the one saying go out to distribute newspapers or have your batons ready and prepare to attack?
There is a discussion in the five-member council (a council consisting of five members that is governing each local branch) and they reach a decision. They pass it to the relevant MP who then passes it to the leader. The leader says OK and then we move into action.
So the leader knows everything? There is no chance Michaloliakos in not informed about anything?
No, there is no such possibility. At least this is what we have been told. Michaloliakos used to always say that if you act on an individual basis you will not have the movement’s support. We should always act as a team.
Why are they now denying Roupakias?
I don’t know. They are attempting to save something that cannot be saved.
Whenever there are violent incidents, we have seen Golden Dawn denying any relations with the persons arrested. Do they tell you once you are caught you become unknown to them and that you are on your own from that point on? Why are they denying the relation of GD with Roupakias?
There is evidence Roupakias was in Golden Dawn. Even more, he has been a member for a year and he has been one of the five members of Nikaia’s council. But he is not ideologically related with the movement and I cannot know if he was offered something.
You mean he could have been given money?
None of us was getting money. We used to pay money with our own money; even when we were unemployed we would give our last euro for our activities. All of us in Golden Dawn are unemployed and we have never received a single euro. We were doing everything because we were so fanatic. I used to prefer to participate in an action rather than go for a drink. I used to find it so exciting that I would abandon my friends and everything. I never considered what consequences this could have for me.
Do you regret?
I regret because I do not believe in murder.
Would you like Golden Dawn to collapse after what happened?
I would like all the fakes to get out. I don’t agree with murder, either it is the murder of a foreigner of a Greek. There is respect for human life. Beating is one thing and killing is another.
Have you ever experienced any preaching by Michaloliakos, Kasidiaris, Lagos, Panagiotaros, where they praise Hitler?
In the past yes. But this stopped after the decision to participate in the elections. Once we decided to participate in the elections everything stopped. There were orders to stay a bit quiet on these and to abstain from action and not to beat anyone in order not to give to society the impression that we are the ‘bad guys’.
What is the worst experience you have had in Golden Dawn?
I believe the problem starts from the leader. I think he is the worst in there. We are all the leader’s instruments. Even the MPs follow orders from the leader.
Will Kasidiaris and the other MPs support the leader to the end?
I am not sure, because Kasidiaris is clever and, in my view, better than Michaloliakos. That is, I believe he would not have taken such a decision. He is violent, he has outbursts, but I think he would have taken the decision to murder right now.
Why didn’t the other 30 that were present at the murder try to prevent Roupakias? Did they know they were out to murder?
Those who participate in this storm troop and go out for actions are informed about what they are going to do. They receive orders in advance from the office. They arrange who is going to provide coverage and who is going to do what.
What is the climate in the movement after the murder?
After what happened they all need to open a hole, jump in and never get out of there again. The MPs should quit, apologise and pay for this murder.
Does the leader have Pavlos Fyssas’s blood on his hands?
We all have blood on our hands; all of us who supported this movement. Our hands are dirty and we are responsible.
Do they try to foster a climate of violence?
Yes, but they never say it openly. They have their way. They used to keep records of with the achievements of each of us. If you had faced disciplinary action, if you were had been present in all actions, if you had beaten, how many you had beaten. And depending on these you would get awarded and move up in the hierarchy. These would take place in the Closed Core. There were people doing such things and feeling really great about it. But in reality we were all nothing but sheep.
Have you changed you mind now?
Yes, of course. What if tomorrow they kill one of my relatives? If this is what they do now, who knows what they’ll do if they get in power.
From what you know, do you confirm what was revealed to ‘Ethnos’ by the former Golden Dawn member about Nikaia’s storm troop and G. Patelis?
Yes. Patelis has been in Golden Dawn for two years.
How did he get to become the chief in Nikaia?
Because he has been serving their interests and doing whatever they wanted.
Have you heard about the business they have been doing with the Pakistanis in the street markets?
Yes, I’ve heard about these.
How come the MPs and Michaloliakos allow something like this?
I will just tell you this: They have no faith in democracy and they are in the Parliament. I believe that what they do is sham. They would simply beat immigrants and mainly Pakistanis and we stopped beating Albanians because they are part of the white race and, potentially, our voters. If the Pakistanis were given voting rights we would change our views about them as well.
And I will also tell you this: Why don’t they go to the Nigerians in Omonoia where they do drug-dealing and instead they go 40 individuals against 5 Pakistanis? Because we are chickens. All this machismo is fake, only groups of 40 going against one. It’s fake. If you are a man and you want to defend your fatherland, you go to the ghettos and the drug laboratories and you burn them. You don’t go to the poor Pakistani. And you cannot get in the Parliament and get 8 thousand a month while Greeks are hungry and look for food in the garbage. What does Golden Dawn have to do with all these?
But they say that they give the money to the party…
Yes, sure! Just like with their pretentious food hand-outs which they have present as a charity.
Do you think that polls will show a decline in the support for Golden Dawn?
Yes, they will drop. But in my opinion they should dissolve it on their own. I am really surprised when I see Kasidiaris’s statements on the television.
So if Lagos had acted on his own, would he get expelled?
Certainly. The movement was traduced. All of the members, we were traduced. Everyone disagrees with the murder. If Lagos had acted on his own, the leader would have abandoned him. Just like what had happened with Periandros a few years ago. Periandros got in jail and Golden Dawn abandoned him; they did not even get a lawyer for him. Periandros’s name is prohibited within Golden Dawn. He had the courage to say after so many years that Golden Dawn would get dismantled if he opened his mouth. After all these years. The only reason he has not already done anything is because he is on a 16-month probation.
Do you think Periandros will do something after these 16 months?
According to what I know if that he is thinking of starting a new movement, independent from the Golden Dawn.
Would you participate in such a movement?
Yes. All of the old guys would. The head of the Core group of Chania got expelled from GD and he started the Nationalist Movement of Crete. And he has gathered all those who got expelled.
We have always been against Golden Dawn entering the Parliament. We do not believe in democracy, even more so in the Parliament. We knew that if Golden Dawn entered the Parliament in would become fashionable, which has been the case. We had people from all sort of backgrounds joining the party. These guys feel they are important just because they put a black T-shirt on. Disappointed by the crisis and all these things that have been happening, they decided to follow this fashion. Going around wearing a black T-shirt and showing off as a macho guy is fashion. Perhaps these are individuals with no personality that try to feel important through the movement. But a zero always remains a zero.
Have you ever been with GD members who are so fanatic that swear to get stabbed themselves or stab others if they are asked to?
Yes. Everyone says this. I’ve also said this. We all are excited about stabbing. But not for murder. We only stab in the bum.