Spyware scandal: Time up for Mitsotakis?
Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis came under fire this week in Athens as Syriza leader Alexis Tsipris revealed six more victims of illegal spying while tabling a motion of no confidence against the government. Meanwhile in Brussels, Mitsotakis’ dodgy decision-making provoked ire in the Pegasus committee of inquiry.
With the temperature continuing to rise, how long will the embattled prime minister cling on to power for?
This week, the European Parliament presented draft recommendations calling on Greece to restore and strengthen legal safeguards. They underline the absurdity of rules that prevent victims of illegal spying being informed about their surveillance. The recommendations also call for the law that placed national security services under the control of Mitsotakis to be repealed and for the independence of the National Transparency Authority to be guaranteed.
Left MEP Stelios Kouloglou (Syriza) said: “For Greece, it establishes, not only the government’s methods to cover up the revelations, but also locates the starting point of institutional decline, with the subordination of the National Intelligence Service to Mr. Mitsotakis.”
For Stelios Kouloglou the recommendations attempt to resolve an important dilemma: going forward, how do we make sure that this software is used for its intended security purpose and not for political purposes?
“In Greece, everyone was under surveillance: the head of the national defence general staff, ministers, MEPs, journalists, members of the opposition, the prime minister’s sister, nephews and nieces. The only one not under surveillance in the prime minister’s close circle might be his dog, Peanut! If he had a cell phone he would be too!”
The draft recommendations found that contraventions and maladministration in the implementation of Union law, something “the government did not deny,” says Kouloglou. “It is therefore important that the European Commission finally assumes its political responsibilities and conducts an investigation. So should Europol: It needs to get involved and help the investigation move forward.”
For almost a year, the list of those illegally spied on by the Greek National Intelligence Service continues to grow and currently counts 39 alleged victims.
The European Parliament’s inquiry committee on Pegasus issued a damning draft report last November on the illegal use of spyware in Greece calling it a “disturbing story of an intricate and opaque network of relations, political and business interests, favours and nepotism, and political influence”. It’s easy to get lost in a maze, but one pattern is clear. The report found that “spyware, possibly combined with legal interception, is used as a tool for political power and control in the hands of the highest political leadership of the country.”
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- New Left