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May 25, 2006

Greek immigrant abduction scandal - coming to a political leader near you soon?

So, living here, I'm starting to get more of an appreciation of political comedy like Dario Fo's farces. It seems quite a regular part of political life here for people to say things with a straight face that are blatently ridiculous, yet everyone carries on as if it were perfectly normal.

You might be hearing a bit more about one such case in the UK soon. Last year in the wake of the London bombings 20 or more Pakistani imigrants in Greece were illegally abducted and interrogated for at least a week by a mixture of Greek and English speaking "persons unknown". It is currently being investigated, and last week the prosecutor decided to press charges against these "persons unknown" - which appears to be Greek legal speak for knowing that a crime has taken place, but being as yet unable to prove it.

Despite the sudden offer of cash and residence permits to eight of the Pakistanis pressing charges, the government here has denied all involvement, as has the EYP, the Greek secret service. The prosecutor's report suggests otherwise.

The denial by EYP director Ioannis Korantis is a classic - he claims that the EYP doesn't have the necessary staff to carry out such an operation, nor does it have the facilities to hide and interrogate 28 suspects. He suggest instead that the men have been the victims of "inner rivalry" within the Pakistani community.

Let me just run that by you again - the Greek secret service claims it doesn't have the facilities to carry out a sophisticated abduction and interrogation programme, but expects us to believe that the immigrant Pakistani community does?

Anyway, the press over here have also named a suspected MI6 agent, who couldn't be prosecuted in Greece because of diplomatic immunity. However, he has now returned to the UK, and Greek lawyers are following, asking "for the criminal investigation to go as high as Tony Blair" because they believe he was aware of the abductions. Watch this space.

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