Just to show that being three bricks shy of a load and having toys in the attic isn’t limited to the ruling Coalition of the Looney Left SYRIZA of Prime Minister Alexis “Che” Tsipras, the government has a book-end whack job in Defense Minister Panic “Loose Cannon” Kammenos.
The leader of the frantic, nationnalist-populist far-right (make that extremist because this guy is not playing with a full deck) Independent Greeks (ANEL) is making enemies for Greece as fast as he can spit out the poppycock that comes out of his mouth, with his brain not in gear.
Kammenos is a minister only because he gave his lame, sixth-place in Parliament party’s 13 votes to Tsipras when SYRIZA won 149 seats in the Jan. 25 elections, two short of a majority needed in the 300-member body.
If not for that, he’d be in the back rows writing up conspiracy theories or watching X-Files re-runs believing the Martians aren’t on Maple Street but somewhere in Athens, disguised as Turks or Americans or the other many imagined culprits he holds responsible for Greece’s insolvent state.
First, he should be facing charges of obstruction of justice, if Greece has them, because in the run-up to the vote for a Greek President that former Premier and New Democracy Capitalist leader Antonis Samaras lost because he nominated his own Vice-President, Kammenos upped the ante on incredulity by claiming he had proof that bribes were offered.
He had no proof, no bribes were offered that we know of (this being Greece the caveat always goes before the stick) and not only is he not being prosecuted, he holds a position that has a recent history of preferring miscreants and the corrupt.
Maybe that’s why commentator Andreas Petroulakis, a cartoonist for the newspaper Kathimerini, wrote on the Protagon website that Kammenos comes from a “frantic, nationalist-populist far-right” background.
That prompted Kammenos to join SYRIZA in attacking the messengers and saying he would sue Petroulakis and To Potami party leader Stavros Theodorakis, a former TV journalist who had a stake in the site, for one million euros each.
As truth is a defense against libel, Kammenos has no leg to stand on and given that he hasn’t responded to allegations, as Petroulakis noted, about offshore firms and an unregistered yacht he’d be better off provoking Turkey and Germany and trying to get the bats out of his belfry than going after journalists and the leader of another party.
Petroulakis said the lawsuit was aimed at “suppressing criticism and public dialogue,” which used to be a favorite trick of New Democracy – and criticized by Tsipras when he was out of power – but now the rulers have found it’s a convenient out to distract voters from the government’s mountain of failures, deceit and treachery.
Kammenos also failed to note, To Potami said, that Theodorakis had sold his interest in the website before setting up the party so the man charged with protecting Greece is 0-for-2 in this fight. Circle the battleships, please.
Greece needs enemies right now like the Yankees need a Red Sox section in the centerfield bleachers but Kammenos has antagonized Germany, the country’s biggest lender in international bailouts, saying that “Europe is governed by German neo-Nazis,” and accusing German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble of conducting “psychological warfare” on Greece.
And, remember he’s the DEFENSE Minister – he threatened to unleash Jihadists on the rest of Europe unless Greece got more money it doesn’t want to pay back.
“If Europe leaves us in the crisis, we will flood it with migrants, and it will be even worse for Berlin if in that wave of millions of economic migrants there will be some jihadists of the Islamic State too,” he said, grounds for firing on the spot right there although he tried to wiggle out of it later by backtracking.
That almost led to U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, an Indiana Republican, from holding up a Greek Independence Day Resolution, fearful Greece’s Defense Minister was courting terror in Europe and beyond.
Before it was cleared up, Coats said, “the Minister threatened the security of his country’s own allies.” He added, “Since holders of European Union travel documents also travel easily to the United States, this threat extends to our own security interests as well.” There’s your Defense Minister.
And the man suing people for libel and malicious talk said on Greek TV that Greek Jews don’t pay taxes, drawing fire from the country’s Jewish community who called it “conspiracy theories, lies and slander.” Maybe they should have asked for a million euros to get this guy to shut up.
The man in charge of defending Greece has no background for the job – his is in psychology and economics – but in Greece ministers are chosen not on merit or qualifications but political loyalties and other benchmarks that don’t matter.
Since Tsipras needs Kammenos and his votes the Defense Minister can keep going off like a drunk on a soapbox with impunity but let’s hope someone checks his meds at least and take his finger off the trigger for ordering any strikes anywhere, especially with Turkey regularly violating Greek air space and waters now too.
After all that he went to the US for an official visit, another Greek national embarrassment on display, this one a frantic, nationalist-populist far-rightist.