In 1981, Andreas Papandreou and his radical Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) won the national general elections. A spellbinding orator, he rode a political platform pledging to remove U.S. military bases from Greece and take Greece out of both NATO and the then European Community. Since then, Athens and her surrounding towns have played host to various conferences and meetings by terrorist representatives and spokespeople, including PLO officials, Hamas, Sinn Fein, and Libyan terrorists.
In 1986 Papandreou, himself addressed one such meeting, calling “liberation movements” the “instruments for the historical change and progress of our times.” Qaddafi underwrote Papandreou’s 1981 election victory, who secretly transferred an estimated $4 million via a significant Greek bank to help finance the campaign. Eventually, Qaddafi’s economic largess towards the Greek socialist grew to as much as $20 million yearly.
PASOK itself is an outgrowth of an underground organization called the Panhellenic Liberation Movement (PAK), which Papandreou created while in exile in Sweden and Canada to fight the military dictatorship then in power in Greece (1967-1974). Several former PAK radicals trained and indoctrinated in the Middle East terrorist camps and eventually became members of the various Socialist administrations.
One of them is Kostas Tsimas, then head of the Greek Information Service–the Intelligence Agency and, as such, in control of its principal intelligence apparatus. Tsimas trained in Palestinian terrorist camps in Syria and Lebanon. He has retained close contacts with them and has been among their most influential protectors in the Greek political establishment.
Sifis Valyrakis, second in command of the Ministry of Public Order in the 1980s, controls Greece’s national police, trained at camps in Lebanon. In 1976, two years after the overthrow of the Greek military dictatorship, authorities arrested authorities and sentenced them to seven months in prison for smuggling forty Kalashnikov assault rifles into Greece. He never served a day, and the following year Papandreou nominated him as a PASOK candidate for parliament. Citing intelligence files, former Athens police detectives claim that Valyrakis is one of several PASOK associates tied to November 17.
Another Greek official linked with international terrorism is Vassilis Konstantineas, a senior foreign ministry official and influential member of PASOK’s international-relations committee. Western intelligence sources and Greece’s police files revealed that in 1983 Konstantineas and Tsimas secretly met Abu Nidal upon his arrival at Athens Airport (Nidal disguised as a Greek Orthodox priest). Later they held negotiations in a small hotel in downtown Athens. On the table was an arrangement under which the Abu Nidal organization would have residency and transit privileges in Greece and operate a clandestine headquarters in Athens.
Since then, various terrorists have traveled via Athens. The names mentioned above still played an influential role in Greek politics. Another influential socialist politician with dubious contacts is Costas Laliotis, specifically, he is the president of extreme far left-wing gay and anarchist groups in Greece. In addition, he served as top minister in various ministerial posts in the Papandreou and Costas Simitis administrations.