HomeVoulgarakis 200613-03-2006:The Minister of Public Order gives an interview to ALPHA Radio Station

13-03-2006:The Minister of Public Order gives an interview to ALPHA Radio Station

JOURNALIST: Today`s guest has come to us after two years of self-exile, am I right Mr. Polydoras? Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Vyron Polydoras, the new Minister of Public Order, is here with us today.
JOURNALIST:  Welcome, thank you very much indeed for being here today.
JOURNALIST:  It is a pleasure to have you Mr. Minister, thank you very much.

V. POLYDORAS: I am really glad to be with the two Vassilis`s here at the Alpha Studio, in other words with Vassilis Hiotis and Vassilis Skouris. Let me first state in public that this is my first appearance in the media, either radio or television, since I became Minister.
JOURNALIST:  This makes your job even more difficult, since you have so many things to say.
V. POLYDORAS: For instance, let me say that unfortunately there is a superstition around the number 13. This is unfortunate indeed, since 13 were the people attending the Secret Supper, 12 students and Christ Himself. This is my way of dealing with all kinds of superstitions, since 13 could very well be a blessed number. I am happy to be with you today on a 13, there is a lot to be said; you call the shots.

JOURNALIST:  Should we start right away then?
V. POLYDORAS: Fire off!
JOURNALIST: Let us first tell our listeners that we can receive your sms text messages. Write AR, space, your message and send it to 4220. Ms. Katerina Antoniou shall answer your phone calls if you dial 212 10 48 00, and note down whatever question you would like to put to the Minister, regarding issues concerning the Ministry of Public Order or the world of politics in general or whatever else you might wish to ask. It will be a pleasure for all of us to have your questions.
JOURNALIST: Let`s start with the first crisis – or `minor crisis`, as I would put it – that you had to overcome in the past weekend. I have been reading the newspapers which are criticizing you for this extreme mobilisation of the Police Forces in order to receive Ms. Bourboulia. They have been quite condemning of the so-called `show` you pulled, on the occasion of Ms. Bourboulia`s extradition to Greece.
V. POLYDORAS: Indeed, I saw that and I was puzzled with such critics. Actually, I congratulated the Police Force and all the participants in this operation for fully completing their mission. This was a very sensitive case. It is a case of an international transportation of an accused person. A great job had already been done at the level of the Minister of Justice, which had undertaken all the necessary legal and judicial action and the only thing left to do, was to arrange for the transportation. We sent 3 Police Officers to France to receive Ms. Bourboulia, board the plane and come back to Eleftherios Venizelos Airport on conditions of absolute secrecy, so as to take her to the Attica General Police Division. Two were the main points that determined our policy and could not be ignored. On one hand, there was this written statement by Ms. Bourboulia in France that her life would be in danger in Greece; therefore, we had to guarantee, indeed in a spectacular way also, the non-risky, the safe, the secure handling of an indicted detainee. On the other hand, there was a written demand filed by Ms. Bourboulia to the Public Prosecutor of the Supreme Court asking not to be subject to the television cannibalism; this is my own word, to be more precise, Ms. Bourboulia was asking not to be abused by the TV media…

JOURNALIST:  She did not want to come into contact with the mass media.
V. POLYDORAS: These are in a way both the demands and the rights of an indicted person. In practical terms, all the Police jeeps, motorbikes and generally speaking the secure transit of the indicted person, as provided by the International Law, were a part of our obligation and the Chief and the Hellenic Police Force did a wonderful job. The Chief had already the experience of providing for the safe transportation of the accused persons from the November 17 terrorist group. Let me present to you the following hypothesis: had we allowed for one vehicle to circulate, there would be a television raid and this is why we placed Police escort at the lateral sides of…

JOURNALIST:  Certainly, the cameras would be watching closely.
V. POLYDORAS: So this is why we had lateral security for the vehicles both leading and following the way.

JOURNALIST:  This indeed is what constitutes an even greater provocation. I mean the fact that some people have the possibility to avoid this so-called television cannibalism and others do not.
V. POLYDORAS: This is a very correct observation that has preoccupied me a great deal…
JOURNALIST: And this has nothing to do with the Police as such.
V. POLYDORAS: I have been bearing a great interest in this issue since the time I was in the world of law, working as an active lawyer. The criterion is the objective seriousness of the case and not the person as such. As persons, all people are equal against the law, against the constitutional, legal and penal order. Nevertheless, the conditions are unequal. The gravity of the conditions varies from one case to the other and this is what makes each situation different and this is what makes you, journalists, differentiate as to the interest you bear in each case. Sometimes, the persons involved in a case make you become more interested but it is mainly the seriousness or gravity of the case that is the key player. For instance, an unknown individual entering the cyclone of a penal trial becomes upgraded – so to speak – in public, whereas this person was completely unknown before and this indeed is happening quite often in the case of a very cruel and excruciating crime. Things are changing every minute.
JOURNALIST: So what you are actually saying is that not everything is the same.

V. POLYDORAS: No, I am not saying that and I can indeed give you a legal counter-argument. It has been said that we should maybe pull an anti-show regarding the mobile phones eavesdropping case that has been tormenting some peoples` brains. As a member of the Police now, I have too become cunning and this is why I am saying that if we were indeed to pull a counter-show to diverge the attention, we could have directed some very spectacular scenes and not what we did, in other words a convoy of Police vehicles passing by in a neutral manner from the point of view of staging. We would have done other things to diverge public attention, we would have let the television cannibalism to take things over and indeed draw people`s attention elsewhere in a successful way. Wouldn`t you love this cunning thought?
JOURNALIST: Very much indeed. So, after you came in office, you have gone through this first briefing session and now you probably have the full picture of the situation you are facing. Since we were just discussing the transportation conditions of the detainees for the November 17 case and since we have been through a lot in the previous months, the question that comes into my mind regards the pockets of potential terrorist groups that may exist in Greece, if any. Recently, I read a statement by the Justice Minister Mr. Papaligouras, saying that there may be some pockets of terrorism – however ridiculous replicas – but still possibly connected to the old terrorist groups. Do you share this view?
V. POLYDORAS: I would like to stick to the classic assumptions. The first assumption is that the executing arm of the formerly mighty November 17 has been dismantled, they are in jail, currently going through the court of appeal and this is a victory of democracy.

JOURNALIST: So there is nobody else out there that might be arrested, as it has been said in the past…
V. POLYDORAS: I believe not, as to the executing part of November 17. Nowadays, we witness some activity and some action of assuming responsibility by two groups. They are groups aspiring to acquire self-substance and they have been insinuating that they would probably constitute the continuity of terrorist groups of the past. However, they have not made such clear statement of intentions as yet. All this has been analysed and processed by our Services. These two groups that sign their actions and assume responsibilities need to present more evidence as to what they are and what they wish to become. I have been studying the world of terrorist groups myself as an amateur and I can tell you that the identity, the ideological background, the targets are existential matters, they are matters of paramount importance in the world of terrorism. They, who sign under the statements of these two groups, must confess that there certainly is some confusion in their statements and I hope that this lack of clarity continues until both two groups are dismantled as well.

JOURNALIST: Lack of clarity as to what?
V. POLYDORAS: In all three chapters. The third chapter has to do with the self-made gas explosive devices. I know the kind of people who do that, there is a series of groups (and this word means `a few`, otherwise I would have used the word `plethora`) indulging in gas-explosive devices. This is not completely deprived of seriousness, I do not like to trivialize matters; however, I have said that these are `heroes` of semi-terrorism, because the matters of identity, ideological beliefs and targets are more serious when it comes to the two big groups. This is the point where we currently are, the point of data processing and analysis.
JOURNALIST: Did you spot them at some point?
V. POLYDORAS: I will not pay any attention to your question to avoid using the words of my predecessors.
JOURNALIST: If there is some data that you process, this means that you have some information.
V. POLYDORAS: Do you really expect me to tell you that? I am not allowed to.
JOURNALIST: But you published your briefing at the Council of Ministers, stating that `the action of the so-called heroes of semi-terrorism shall be overpowered as fast as possible`.
V. POLYDORAS: Indeed, and I insist on this statement.
JOURNALIST: What does `as fast as possible` mean?
V. POLYDORAS: This is a figure of speech to express political will, this is not a time-schedule of operational planning and programming.
JOURNALIST: So, to sum things up, you do not believe that there is, in this period of time, some serious action on behalf of terrorist groups in Greece. After dismantling the executing arm of November 17, as you have just said, there seem to be no organized actions worrying you that much; still, there are some movements by some people that are not even clearly oriented as yet and you know of these movements, you have some evidence, you analyze it and you are waiting to see what`s next.
V. POLYDORAS: This is correct. I do not wish to trivialize the incidents or to make them look more serious than what they really are. The analysis of the special weight of each incident shall determine the degree of seriousness of each case.
JOURNALIST: This data-processing is being done exclusively by the Greek prosecuting authorities or have you been continuing the cooperation you have had with foreign secret services during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games?
V. POLYDORAS: You are referring to two different things. For instance, the know-how of the Hellenic Police Force to analyze and closely examine those incidents of domestic activity, to put it that way, is sufficient for the Police to clear up things. Of course there is an international level of cooperation but not regarding those incidents. We have a serious cooperation going on at the international level, bound by legal texts, commitments and obligations that we have assumed and that we are continuing to assume.
JOURNALIST: And this cooperation has not been disturbed by the `noise` from this case of mobile phone eavesdropping. Some people presume that since it has been insinuated from the investigation of this case up to now that the US secret services might have something to do with it, it would be possible that a more chilly ambiance has been developed between the US secret services and the Greek government.
V. POLYDORAS: This happens only in the imaginative minds of some journalists. In practice I have not witnessed anything that might even to the least disturb the path of our legitimate, international cooperation. Indeed, one of the first visits that I had the honour to attend to, was the visit of the US Ambassador with whom we had a wonderful cooperation at the level of briefing and although I am currently going against the protocol right now with this statement, let me point out that not even a word has been said related to this case of mobile phone eavesdropping.
JOURNALIST: The case of the Pakistanis that was at the limelight for so long, Mr. Minister, is it considered to be over?
V. POLYDORAS: Yes, we are over with this case. There is still something pending in terms of Justice, but in terms of substance and as to the Police Force, this case is closed.
JOURNALIST: Do you still receive such demands from abroad? These inquiries took place at that time because some foreign secret services had then again some information on such kind of activity on behalf of foreigners in Greece. Do you still receive demands for investigating such people?
V. POLYDORAS: No, but I do not exclude the possibility for something like that to happen tomorrow. This, of course, is in the sphere of hypothesis. I am very much interested in clearing out the whole Pakistani issue and I need to point out that – according to the briefing from our Services and according to the statements made at the National Parliament by my predecessor Mr. Voulgarakis – all surveillance actions deployed were legal and took place under judicial guarantee. This is actually our gold argument.
JOURNALIST: Has the Police investigated this case and examined the results?
V. POLYDORAS: Certainly, There has been an investigation, not by me but by the Hellenic Police Force and all cases and all possible versions were examined. There has been a significant number of surveillance always after the agreement of the Public Prosecutor and under judicial guarantees. And I wish to insist on this point. I intend to reiterate this argument in this talk that we are having and in any other case, in my official capacity and assuming full responsibility for my words; the only thing pending is the judicial part. We have filed our conclusions to the judicial system that can judge the legitimate or illegitimate of each action, if any.
JOURNALIST: So the file has been transferred to Justice?
V. POLYDORAS: Certainly.
JOURNALIST: Therefore, they will also investigate.
V. POLYDORAS: They are properly investigating.
JOURNALIST: You are certainly aware of the attack to Mr. Polyzogopoulos. Have you made arrests?
V. POLYDORAS: I was very much annoyed with this case. I think that it is under police investigation and it will probably close, I cannot let this pending for ever. According to the first conclusions from the Hellenic Police Force, there are no responsibilities to be assumed, because we took into account the distance separating the victim and the Police vehicles that were properly manned and the distant location of some Police guards. This was a very unfortunate incident…
JOURNALIST: Do we have some arrests?
V. POLYDORAS: I am not ready to answer to this question; there will be new arrests, if needed. I mainly wish to state that Christos Polyzogopoulos is a classic case of an attack to an institution. He belongs to the Greek Trade Unions Confederation and regardless of their arguments against the employers and against the government and regardless of the fact that there might be a sort of conflict between the government and the Greek Trade Unions Confederation, I am mainly interested in the fact that some people are indeed willing to attack the institutions, as the latter are embodied in the political map of the government and the opposition. This is the crux of the matter and this is what I ordered to be analyzed so that I can have a clear picture of the degree of cruelty in the actions of certain groups of people.
JOURNALIST: The Minister of Public Order Mr. Vyron Polydoras, who is here with us today at the studio of Alpha Radio Station, has expressed the political will to do away as fast as possible with the groups that organize attacks using gas explosive devices.
JOURNALIST: The new Minister of Public Order, Mr. Vyron Polydoras is also a Writer and a Poet. What will happen in the area of Exarchia Mr. Minister?
V. POLYDORAS: This is a nice and interesting question. I find it useful to point out that I respect Exarchia, since it is an area where ideas have been developing. This is a classical feature of this area for more than thirty years, this how I know this area and this why I respect it.
JOURNALIST: Excuse me, have you not seen those people?
V. POLYDORAS: Let me tell you that I respect this area and that is why I will not accept it as a starting point for violent actions. Let`s set things straight here. I intend to make it clear so that I do not leave the Police Force uncovered as to its operational plans with this statement. I accept the area as a melting-pot of ideas; nevertheless, all kinds of arrangements or analysis regarding Exarchia have nothing to do with the so-called invasion to clear the area. Let`s be clear about it. We wish to deal with the illegal uses of violence and we have our own plans as to that. Violence cannot be accepted nor can the gas-explosive devices or the burning down of vehicles or the smashing of shop-windows be accepted.
JOURNALIST: Could the Police be over-reacting Mr. Minister? I have heard the opinion that Exarchia has become a stage for operations by the Hellenic Police Force so that it can have public proof that it is being active…
V. POLYDORAS: No, no, no, this is an exaggeration, we do not wish to reap the fruit from the transformation of Exarchia; this is not our intention. Am I not the Minister, am I not the competent Officer?
JOURNALIST: Of course you are.
V. POLYDORAS: I mean that it is a human right to develop political ideas, even including the opposition germs as to the forces of power. However, I cannot accept that as a base for violent actions.
JOURNALIST: Do you accept the asylum as a base for action?
V. POLYDORAS: What do you mean?
JOURNALIST: I am asking you if you accept the University asylum.
V. POLYDORAS: In no case do I accept it as a base for such actions.
JOURNALIST: But you are not asking for a change in law or something like that?
V. POLYDORAS: Wait a minute, you asked me whether I accept the University asylum as a base for such actions.
JOURNALIST: Yes, rightly so.
V. POLYDORAS: No, I do not accept the University asylum as a base for such actions. I am not saying that I will break this rule; I am saying that if such a case is produced, we will assess the data and the information at that moment and we will decide on what is of major importance. If there is a terrorist pocket there, if there is a base for violent actions there, we will draw the attention to the responsibilities of the Rectorate and the Professors, as provided by the legal clauses.
JOURNALIST: Of the Rectorate! So you are not asking for a change of law. Shall you propose a change of the existing status quo or an amendment maybe?
V. POLYDORAS: This shall be the product of dialogue. I have been following the whole issue since I was the spokesperson of the Parliamentary group of my party. What I have been thinking of will not be a unilateral raw material for adopting political decisions but it will constitute a commonly shared source of knowledge in order to draw joint conclusions. This is a peaceful democratic society under the rule of law and we wish to utilize all our forces to keep things like that. The University asylum is a part of our conscience, there is no doubt about it. However, what needs to be discussed is the use of asylum as a pretext in order to do away in a violent manner with the elements of democracy in our society. I think that each and every one of us should assume their proper responsibilities. And I mainly mean the Academic World and the Rectorate Authorities.
JOURNALIST: Let me ask you something else, since a lot has been said about it, is there a probability of re-assigning the Head of the National Intelligence Service Mr. Korantis?
V. POLYDORAS: I already made it clear the day before yesterday, saying that we are not concerned with this matter, we think that this Agency functions well, that its administration is responsible and that is why I do not wish to introduce any changes there. I mainly wish to take care of the goal we are pursuing, in other words, more efficiency at the national level, something into which I have not delved as yet in a systematic way.
JOURNALIST: Nevertheless, you are indeed setting up your own team at the Ministry of Public Order.
V. POLYDORAS: It is not my own team.
JOURNALIST: To start with, you did not just change the Chief of the Hellenic Police Force, a change justified by some well-known arguments you had presented in the past but the General Secretary has also been replaced.
V. POLYDORAS: Not yet, but he will be.
JOURNALIST: OK, can you reveal to us the new name?
V. POLYDORAS: Not yet, in a few days. We have reached an understanding with Mr. Evaggelidis and this is something that will happen mainly due to his own reasons and not that much, due to reasons related to the Service, for he is a competent man, an efficient diplomat that has achieved considerable results in his field of competence at the Ministry, regarding international cooperation; therefore, this change is the result of an agreement…
JOURNALIST: Will the new Secretary be a political figure or will s/he come from the Security Forces?
V. POLYDORAS: Not from the Security Forces, we have agreed with Karamanlis upon that because on one hand, a parallel hierarchy is thus being created in the Security Forces and on the other, there are many competent retired Officers, so we cannot have recourse to biased solutions…
JOURNALIST: So, it will be a political figure.
V. POLYDORAS: Or someone from the world of diplomacy. 
JOURNALIST: Another question, Mr. Minister, everybody keeps asking themselves why on earth would you want to set up a Rural Police? You will now recruit people from the 1993 competition that are probably of our own age.
V. POLYDORAS: It is valuable, valuable.
JOURNALIST: Can it be of value, if it is manned with people that succeeded in a competition 13 years ago?
VPOLYDORAS: Let`s not delve into this trivial dimension of the case. The importance lies within the moral aspect and the aspect of administrative law. 1993 has to do with the concept of administrative law, the concept of the state`s continuity and the concept of trust towards the public administration.
JOURNALIST: But the younger will be 35 years of age, Mr. Minister.
V. POLYDORAS: Beware, I am mainly referring to their administrative right. 
JOURNALIST: Not the political right.
VPOLYDORAS: Administrative right. 
JOURNALIST: So you are not saying what Mr. Mitsotakis had been saying, that `you are the law`.
V. POLYDORAS: I am talking about an administrative right, you are not paying attention.
JOURNALIST: I am but there is plenty of time.
V. POLYDORAS: There is not enough time, so please listen and take notes.
JOURNALIST: Off we go then.
V. POLYDORAS: Administrative right. I have been telling you that the file of this competition remained open ever since the PASOK government.
JOURNALIST: And whenever they come to power they will do away with the Rural Police that you are about to set up.
V. POLYDORAS: They were in power from 1993 to 2004, for eleven continuous years and they still kept this pending.
JOURNALIST: Off we go then…
V. POLYDORAS: Wait a second, the first questions remained unanswered and you must receive a response. To start with, this is a matter of administrative law providing for the `continuity of governance` and for the principle of justified trust on behalf of the citizen to the state and to the public administration. Then there is a moral argument in favour of those people and in the third place, if you consider these people already old of age, then do not worry too much about it because I have seen a lot of ink being shed in the press and a lot of voices being heard in the other media to their defence when commenting on the 1995 and 1998 competitions. So, let all those who have been saying such things, do the same for the 1993 competition…
JOURNALIST: Mr. Polydoras…
V. POLYDORAS: Last but not least, you are all townsfolk, you have the urban mentality and you do not seem to realize that the countryside is deprived from any kind of surveillance. Nevertheless, there is countryside in Greece and there is a wide space out there. If, for instance, the fields remain unsupervised, we have a problem. I am not just talking about the fields but about the entire environment, there are several crucial issues such as the issue of land-grabbers and of arsonists. The Rural Police can play a significant role in this field in cooperation with the Urban Planning Services and the Fire Brigade. Besides, a man of forty years old is no longer through with his life; life expectancy in Greece is very high, so please spare me the irony.
JOURNALIST: Like Aris Velouhiotis…
V. POLYDORAS: Listen to this: today, I had a meeting with the Chiefs of the Hellenic Police Force and the Fire Brigade and the Armed Forces in order to come to the decision we have made, and that is not to have a single human casualty in Evros and this is an order.
JOURNALIST: What exactly is the problem in Evros?
V. POLYDORAS: This is an order and our decision is to proceed to evacuations and to all necessary measures, whenever needed. Beyond all theoretical talks and analysis, we also aim at being practical, therefore, whenever we adopted in the past the decision to take people away from their homes due to the up-coming natural disaster of flooding and to the fact that their homes were at the centre of risk, more than once we were not able to do that because of lack of countryside resources. All you urban people may well be sarcastic about it but if we do not have a field supervisor, if we do not have a water resources supervisor out there, we cannot be successful.
JOURNALIST: So, when will the Rural Police be created and how many will you recruit?
V. POLYDORAS: First of all, we have the given number of a thousand people that succeeded in the competition and I hope to be able to pass the bill in Parliament right before or after the Easter holidays.
JOURNALIST: Will you also recruit people at the Fire Brigade?
V. POLYDORAS: There is a 30% lack of human resources or even more. This is a matter of budget, it depends on what the Ministry of Economics and Finance gives to use so as to partially cover some needs in the Fire Brigade.
JOURNALIST: One of our listeners wishes to ask whether the call for the Fire Brigade competition will be issued until the end of this month. I guess it would be too early for you to answer.
V. POLYDORAS: I do not think that I am able to answer right now.
JOURNALIST: However, the fire-fighting period starts in spring and since this is your goal, I guess you will be able to hold the competition before that.
V. POLYDORAS: We are through with all the exercises for this summer as to the fire risks of the summer and we have finalized the lists of seasonal fire-fighters. We are mainly examining the possibility of regular staff members of the Fire Brigade based on several criteria and mainly, the professional experience. Still, there is this conflict with the budgetary restrictions and we are waiting to see what happens in terms of the Ministry of Economics and Finance.
JOURNALIST: What have you asked Mr. Alogoskoufis to do? If I remember your campaign promises correctly, the New Democracy Party had been envisaging the recruitment of three thousand fire-fighters plus the one thousand five hundred that would be pooled from the competition held by the previous government that was then cancelled. This brings us to a deficit of four thousand five hundred Fire Fighters. How many are you asking for? Given the fact that you already have three thousand pending…
V. POLYDORAS: I cannot tell you that.
JOURNALIST: The Minister is waiting for the budgetary decision, there is no point in talking about this.
JOURNALIST: It`s Alogoskoufis`s call.
V. POLYDORAS: I cannot tell you that because I do not wish to look undermined by the proposals of Mr. Alogoskoufis.
JOURNALIST: We have to take a short advertising break and we will be right back.
JOURNALIST: I would like to ask you whether you will keep the promises you had given to the police agents before the elections, that is that you would recognize their profession as a hard and unhealthy profession, giving them the rises in salary you had promised.
V. POLYDORAS: We are currently in the phase of dialogue with the police trade unions to do the best we can on the sole basis of the budgetary restrictions, since our political will towards this direction cannot be questioned.
JOURNALIST: So budgetary restrictions are the only criterion?
JOURNALIST: In other words, this is a justified demand on their behalf but you do not have the financial capacity to pass the law.
V. POLYDORAS: As the ancient Greek Menippos used to say, `one cannot take from someone who does not have anything`.
JOURNALIST: In other words, you are saying to them that `guys, you are right but do not hope for anything`.
V. POLYDORAS: We are in a phase of dialogue though.
JOURNALIST: I cannot believe that the famous phrase by H. Trikoupis also goes, that is `unfortunately we are bankrupt`.
V. POLYDORAS: Τhis is just as relative.
JOURNALIST: Is the situation so bad?
V. POLYDORAS: Well, nobody can apply politics of provisions in the context of budgetary restrictions. I am at a stage of dialogue with all the police trade unions and we will achieve the best possible and feasible result.
JOURNALIST: Let us now change the subject and finally enter into the sensational case of mobile phones eavesdropping, which we cannot indeed avoid. Your predecessor left you with a situation that remains somehow blurred. Can you tell me the conclusions you have personally drawn? What happened? Who did the eavesdropping? To start with, you have excluded the possibility of being somebody in Greece doing such a thing, since everybody keeps talking about people from abroad, people who are not Greek citizens. Do you, in principle, agree with this assumption?
V. POLYDORAS: It would be better for you not to try to drug me in the logic of your information in order to get my answers. My thoughts on this issue are fully tuned to the explanations provided by Mr. Voulgarakis and Mr. Papaligouras at the Parliament. Besides, I think that all this fuss about the eavesdropping case is due to the mental confusion existing in the brains of all those who make such fuss about it and not because there is indeed something substantial in it.
JOURNALIST: Three Ministers gave a press conference.
V. POLYDORAS: I repeat: I am talking about the excessive fuss about it. I think that the Ministers who gave the press conference were convincing. Those who were not convinced, see their motives for not being convinced exposed in open air.
JOURNALIST: At the press conference your predecessor showed us two centres of mobile phone eavesdropping and then four came out. How can we be convinced?
JOURNALIST: Do not over-react, there were only three.
JOURNALIST: There is a fourth one too.
V. POLYDORAS: I tell you that I followed the matter both at the press conference and the briefing by the two Ministers of the competent Parliamentary Commission. Electronic crime is very difficult to prove and to investigate. Nowadays, everybody aspires to become an electronics` expert and all the more, a holder of all secrets of digital electronic technology. Besides, do not underestimate the fact that the Government and the Prime Minister were the ones who mainly suffered the damage from this case, way ahead of all the other persons in the list of mobile phone users that were being followed.  Apart from that, I would also like to add something that I believe is worth mentioning, that is that the actions of the government and the entire case were under judicial guarantees. This is something that both satisfies and calms me. This is why I am not at all preoccupied with the hysteria of George Papandreou and the rest of them. Why? Well, we were faced with a dilemma in the crucial period, in the month of March 2005. Had I been in charge, I would have done the same. I would not inform the not-ripe-as-yet Authority for the Guarantee of Telecommunications` Confidentiality but I would have had recourse to the thousand-year old institution of Justice.
JOURNALIST: So you would not brief the Telecommunications Confidentiality Authority either.
V. POLYDORAS: Since it was decided that this should be classified as confidential in order to protect our national interests, why would I have done that?
JOURNALIST: So you think that this Authority would not have kept the secrecy about it.
V. POLYDORAS: I did not say that. My objections do not have anything to do with trust, I certainly trust the Authority. However, I raise some objections as to its real competences in practice. The Chairman of the Authority himself has stated that the meetings of the Authority were held at his own home at that time.
JOURNALIST: But he also claims that he was ready then.
V. POLYDORAS: The Authority was convening meetings at his home for a long time after that.
JOURNALIST: Still, he found some evidence in one month while during 11 months…
V. POLYDORAS: What a great question! Did you ever think of whether this material that the Authority has acquired so lately, originates from the briefing and the demands for the provision of information and the respective answers by VODAFONE and ERICSSON? Did you ever examine whether the Authority has made one single original discovery and whether it is competent to do so?
JOURNALIST: So you think that the Authority is still not capable to be efficient.
VPOLYDORAS: I am just raising a question. You, journalists, you are always playing scouter and path-finder, so why don`t you do some part of the work too. I am only asking myself in a loud manner.
JOURNALIST: I understand that and this is why I am asking you this question.
V. POLYDORAS: Let me ask you once again and I am really curious. Can you single out one thing that the Authority originally discovered by itself? I would very much like to see that and I will fully respect that. But this is precisely the difficult part in electronic crime as I have been telling you.
JOURNALIST: Should Mr. Papandreou be convened by the Commission of Institutions of the Parliament? A lot of people from your Party have been saying that.
V. POLYDORAS: I do not wish to come before the Commission, let us leave the Commission make the assessment and reach a conclusion.
JOURNALIST: In this eavesdropping case, indeed, the main victims were the Prime Minister, members of the Government and a very wide range of other people. Do you exclude the possibility of domestic para-state mechanisms being involved in this case?
VPOLYDORAS: Can you be more specific in your question?
JOURNALIST: Is there a branch of the National Intelligence Service involved or some group of retired NIS officers or some other domestic group that infiltrated the system?
V. POLYDORAS: One thing is to say that there is a self-made organization of secret agents which I intend to find and nail down if this is true, and it is a completely different thing to say that you know of the existence of peculiar pockets within the state structures.
JOURNALIST: I am not saying that the State was condescending. All those mechanisms had always been working like that, with the state ignoring their existence.
VPOLYDORAS: Not through state structures.
JOURNALIST: Do you exclude this possibility?
V. POLYDORAS: I overrule this possibility, having examined this in detail by myself.
JOURNALIST: But you cannot exclude the possibility of free shooters?
V. POLYDORAS: How can there be free shooters on the hill that I watch? 
JOURNALIST: Are you in the position to see them?
V. POLYDORAS: I watch the hill. I do not exclude this but I will nail them down wherever I find them. However, as to the NIS…
JOURNALIST: The NIS did a good job in this case, found information, shared evidence, contributed to the work of Justice.
V. POLYDORAS: There is no chance that the NIS was involved in this process before March 2005. The NIS has scored quite well, in my point of view, as an investigator, path-finder and provider of evidence to Justice.
 JOURNALIST: Tell me something, since this question has still remained unanswered. Is there any legal, joint listening of telephone conversations going on today in the mobile phones companies? Some people say that we do not have the infrastructure.
VPOLYDORAS: It would not be right for me to speak but never mind, since this is everybody`s secret. We are way behind. It is not possible to catch sound, not even through a digital land line.
JOURNALIST: As a consequence, no legal surveillance can de facto take place.
V. POLYDORAS: There can be a legal investigation tracing that number 6572XXX called number Z. This is indeed possible. But it is impossible to seize the content of this phone call in terms of sound.
JOURNALIST: Not even today you can do that.
V. POLYDORAS: No, it is not possible.
JOURNALIST: What a shame!
V. POLYDORAS: Unfortunately.
JOURNALIST: Why unfortunately?
V. POLYDORAS: Because this proves the lacking behind of our services from the point of view of technology.
JOURNALIST: Tell me something else, Mr. Minister: today, I read the `NEA` newspaper stating what we probably all know, that the CIA had always been passing by the Greek territory unhindered and that it most probably will continue to do so. Today, newspaper `NEA` is revealing that 3 CIA aircrafts had landed in the city of Herakleion during the Olympic Games, whereas we had no idea of what or whom they were transferring.
VPOLYDORAS: I have no idea. I saw this publication but I have no idea, nor do I wish to deal with this.
JOURNALIST: Is the CIA passing by the entire Greek territory unhindered?
JOURNALIST: A former official from the US embassy said that, it is not I who said that.
V. POLYDORAS: I do not know. Several rhetorical analysis have been taking place in the US rallying the criteria of the government to those of the opposition, after all, it is the US that we are talking about. It is possible that this joint stance between the government and opposition, as to the criteria, is being exported up to Athens or any other point in the world. Personally, I am not interested in following this debate. However, what I am really interested in is the fact that our international cooperation brought peace during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and that our Police Force, our services, our voluntary work and the peaceful Greek society contributed a great deal to the secure organization of the fabulous Olympic Games. I would like to point out that the key word here is `international cooperation`.
JOURNALIST: You have been clear, thank you very much for being here with us today; I wish we had more time.
VPOLYDORAS: Thank you too. Time has gone by very quickly, we talked about the main subjects but there are still many interesting issues to be discussed. 
JOURNALIST: If things go well, we will be inviting you again shortly.
V. POLYDORAS: Thank you very much.

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