Androulakis: 'The Mitsotakis government's goal is to cover up the deep state it created'

Nikos Androulakis PASOK

The president of opposition PASOK-Movement for Change, Nikos Androulakis, asserted on Tuesday in Brussels during his address to the European Parliament's PEGA Committee that "the goal of the Mitsotakis government from the start was to cover up the deep state it had itself created."

The PASOK leader was presenting the Socialists and Democrats during the hearings of the head of the Hellenic Authority for Communications Security and Privacy, Christos Rammos, and of the head of the Hellenic Data Protection Authority, Konstantinos Menoudakos.

Androulakis said his claim was based on two facts: "After the monitoring of Mr. Koukakis, a law was passed forbidding the victims, whose surveillance had found nothing, from being informed."

"After the revelation of my own case - in other words the attempt using predator and the monitoring of my mobile phone - even though the government said that it wanted light to be shed and transparency, it passed a law that permitted giving information, in some cases, three years later," he continued.

"Namely, after the national elections. This proves that the target was a cover up and not to reveal the guilty parties in this deep state mechanism."

PASOK-KINAL's leader also commented that, in any European country where the rule of law is working properly, the prime minister's nephew, the public prosecutor involved and the then head of the Greek intelligence service would have been asked to explain themselves before justice.

"It is abundantly clear that after this blatant violation of human rights and the Constitution, Mr. Mitsotakis could not remain as prime minister either," Androulakis added.

Instead, however, there was "an unbelievable reaction of an authoritarian view" and instead of the guilty being uncovered and led to justice, "the victims and the unimpeachable judges that are trying to find out and make public what has happened in this case are being targeted with attacks on their ethics and for their political extermination," he said.

He expressed support for Rammos, who he said had been targeted by sections of the media and specific ministers for doing his job.

The PEGA Committee had invited Rammos and Menoudakos to inform MEPs on the situation in Greece concerning illegal surveillance software such as Predator and the protection of data privacy, as part of an ongoing parliamentary investigation.

Rammos has been the key investigator of the surveillance scandal that has engulfed the Athens government and its leader, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, since the summer, and is piling pressure on the ruling conservative party New Democracy ahead of the next election, which will likely take place as soon as April 9 (or by mid-July the latest).

The 72-year-old bespectacled former judge leads the Hellenic Authority for Communication Security and Privacy (ADAE), a previously inconspicuous regulator that is now leading some of the hardest-hitting investigations in government services' use of spyware to snoop on top politicians, senior state officials and journalists — a scandal that has spiraled into Greece's own version of the U.S.'s 1972 Watergate intrigue.

To the government's supporters, Rammos is a "delivery boy" of the political opposition who has reached "far beyond the limits of his role" in investigating the scandal.

But for opposition and civil society groups, the chief regulator is a hero who broke Greece's code of silence around political snooping — a glimmer of hope in keeping the government's powers in check and restoring balance to Greek democracy, where press freedom has suffered setbacks and insiders complain of cronyism politics.

The surveillance scandal unfurled in August, when it was revealed that the government had wiretapped the phone of Socialist Pasok leader Nikos Androulakis — a move the government itself called legal but wrong.

It has since led to the resignation of top government officials like Grigoris Dimitriadis, the prime minister's chief of staff who's also Mitsotakis' nephew, and Panagiotis Kontoleon, who was head of the National Intelligence Service.

Revelations by investigative journalists, civil rights organizations and Rammos' own regulator ADAE told a labyrinthine tale of how the country’s state spy service had an ever-expanding network of politicians and journalists under surveillance, while controversial spyware like Predator was planted on the phones of some people at exactly the same time by as-yet-unknown perpetrators.

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