215th Hearing, Women’s Wing, Korydallos Prison, January 17th, 2018
I. Access to the Court
The courtroom remains open to the public upon presentation of a state ID card, which is retained by court authorities for the duration of the session, until all audience seats in the courtroom are filled. There was increased attendance by the public and members of the press.
II. Presence of defendants
None of the defendants was present at the hearing.
III. Testimony of witness Christos Katsotis continues
A. Examination of the witness by the civil action counsels
The witness responded to questions by civil action counsels Sapountzakis, Theodoropoulos, and Kabagiannis, and stated that Golden Dawn is a criminal organization that is trying to make inroads in the Greek society by committing crimes such as the murder of Fyssas, the murderous attack on the Egyptian fishermen, the attacks on various street markets against immigrants, which are all condemned by communists and antifascists. They have weapons which they use in their planning, as well as assault squads which have been seen in every murderous activity during the previous period.
The witness added that nothing goes forwards unless it has the greenlight by the Leader, and then went on to discuss a series of exchanges that took place before the attack between Lagos and Develekos, one of the right-hand men of Michaloliakos, who gave him constant updates. Among the people that set down the central planning towards the organization’s goals, the witness numbered the Leader himself, MPs Barbaroussis, Michos, Iliopoulos, Panagiotaros, and others.
Responding to a relevant question, the witness stated that both the shipping moguls and Golden Dawn stood to gain from a reduction in the wages in the Shipping Yards, because that way they would have a pool of people to give jobs to, and they would get a political boost, especially now that the people don’t have great expectations. According to the witness, Golden Dawn puts into effect the incendiary rhetoric they use in Parliament, when night falls, both with and without covering their faces. The witness also said that Golden Dawn did not gain followers among the workers in the S/Y because they understood that this is not politics, but simply murderous actions, since this trial itself concerns itself with the criminal actions, not with the political aspects of the case. The witness also said that there is a video which shows Michos, in the capacity of Golden Dawn’s Head of the Evia region, carrying a long list of unemployed persons, going to local landowners to tell them to give work to Greek workers, paying only with olive oil, no wages.
B. Examination of the witness by the defense counsels
The witness responded to questions by civil action counsels Tsagas, Roussopoulos, Zografos, and Oplantzakis.
The witness said that since 2010 the collective labor agreements as well as the post-termination effect have been de facto abolished, and the individual work contracts reigned supreme as well as contracts signed with groups of people in order for employers to reduce workers’ wages. The union convinced the workers that there was a need for a collective labor agreement, and it was signed with an increase in daily wages. The witness, to support his argument, stated that Golden Dawn has made in Parliament 135 questions in support of shipping magnates and was against the government’s proposition to tax them.
Concerning the murderous attack on Poulikogiannis, the witness stated that he was hospitalized with head wounds and that the only reason he is alive today is because his comrades stood united at the time of the attack. The witness went on to say that the attack had been planned in advance since at the time the KNE festival was coming up, like every year, and it is advertised with posters, and when the Golden Dawners saw that the PAME members were gathering to go out and put up posters, they started planning the attack.
When the witness was asked what is the meaning of the word “ambush”, he said that it is a surprise attack planned in advance by a specific group which is always an assault squad. Concerning the German war restitutions, the witness stated that Michaloliakos himself has said that “we are the seed of the vanquished of ’44. We are nationalists-socialist, we are fascists” and went on to say “that in order to sweep all that under the rug, they are now talking about restitutions, but nothing can undo their whole stance on the matter, which has been very hypocritical”.
IV. Testimony of witness Giorgos Margaritis
A. Examination of the witness by the court
The witness stated that he is a professor of modern political and social history in the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, in the department of political science. He has written many articles and books about Golden Dawn and as he said there are periods when he receives anonymous threatening phone calls from people that don’t like what he writes or he is targeted in one of the [far-right] “rags”. He has been writing about the present trial and about a personal experience which he made the basis of one of his articles. The witness stated that he has written 3,000-4,000 articles and the cause is the extreme antisemitism in the newspapers, magazines, and printed material of Golden Dawn.
Concerning his own personal experience, he said that in May 2011 he had just arrived in Athens from Thessaloniki and he was on a bus, when the doors opened and Kasidiaris entered with an escort of 5-6 other men, shouted “Long live the Nation!” and checked the faces of the passengers. Those that were deemed foreigners were thrown out of the bus. He added that among the passengers were women and children, and that what he can’t forget are the beatings, and he said that these people are born to hit others.
When the incident was over and everyone on the bus was terrified, the driver too, the witness called the police and when asked if he was attacked, he said no and asked them to do something about the matter. The police officer then told him “And what is your problem, sir?”. At the time of the attack the witness realized what the politics of fear and the threat of a crime really are.
The witness said that all of the above are also the subject matter of the postgraduate courses in the school that he is a professor, which is the analysis of Golden Dawn’s political discourse, its connection to Nazism, etc. When asked about the reasons for the attacks of Golden Dawn the witness stated that from an academic standpoint, the organization follows the guidelines of Nazi methodology which offers the system the “heavy hand”, i.e. violence. It can’t exist in itself but is merely the handmaiden to the interests of various social groups and classes. He went on to say that Golden Dawn serves, in times of crisis, as a severe threat that will transfer guilt from the real culprits to the victims and to advance practices that will target the victims of the crisis themselves.
According to the witness, the fascist and Nazi organizations at some point turn into movements, at the moment when the system needs to use them. That’s what happened in September 2013 with the declarations of Golden Dawn and the murder of Fyssas and this is their service to the system. According to the witness, “this is the methodology and none can stop them”. They turn violent, openly, militarily, in a very organized manner. Our society, the witness stated, has a hierarchical structure and by “system” we mean what is sovereign.
B. Examination of the witness by the civil action counsels
The witness answered questions in turn by civil action counsels Sapountzakis, Antanasiotis, Vrettos, Theodoropoulos, Malagaris, Papadopoulou, Kabagiannis, and Skarmeas.
He said that the idea of a “nation” is formed according to the conditions at any given historical period. According to the witness, when Golden Dawn says “nation” they mean those that possess the racially “correct” blood quality. When asked if someone who says he’s a Greek can also be an admirer of the conqueror, he said that in any case they are the servants of the powerful and that when the people in power will put into effect a racial hierarchy, the “New Europe” as it was called back then, then we have the theory of the three concentric circles. At the center are the Aryans, then the rest, and at the outer circle are the sub-humans. If you aren’t at the side of the chosen ones, then you are outside legal protection. The Jews, as “sub-humans”, could have never enjoyed the protection of the judicial system and appeal at Auschwitz.
Furthermore, according to the witness, they have military-style hierarchy based on discipline. An organization like that can’t engage in deep political analysis, since in reality it lacks an ideology. One moment it is nationalistic and the next is with the conqueror. They have criminal intentions when they have to serve the system, they declare their allegiance to the Leader, and they believe in a mystical system that undermines any possibility of rational thought. According to the witness, this last thing can be shown when at the level of symbols, mysticism is used to explain the practice and activity of Golden Dawn. Furthermore, when they organize such a military, SS-type movement, they don’t do it to give out charities, but to strike. And Golden Dawn strikes hard. They strike immigrants, unionists, and whoever does not share their opinions. And they need to strike because that’s how they make their threat real.
Concerning the slogan “Blood, Honor, Golden Dawn”, the witness said that blood is the marker we have that we are of the race. The clean blood. All those who are against are thrown outside the purview of legal order. “Honor” means that blood is defended with honor. “To pick up immigrants and beat them up. To invade the homes of fishermen”, he said. He went on to say that for Golden Dawn honor is to hunt down all those whose blood is not like ours.
The witness numbered among the common characteristics of the attacks the modus operandi, the intention, the extreme use of violence, the desire to strike terror into the society, and the differences are mainly tactics of magnitude. The witness went on to say that Golden Dawn’s foundational texts mention as their pillar the Führerprinzip and in Nazism the Leader is the expression of God’s will, it is a person godly in a pagan manner. The chain of command cannot operate in the absence of a leader who expresses God’s will. He is faith. Common sense dictates -according to the witness- that even if we didn’t possess all this evidence, organizations of this type would have serious problems if the Leader wasn’t the beginning or end of everything. According to the witness, the leadership is comprised by Michaloliakos and those that are presented as prominent members.
Furthermore, the witness said that Golden Dawn assumes the political responsibility when the evidence against them is undeniable (since there is no criminal responsibility, because they believe that their victims lie beyond the law) stressing that their right to attack anyone they want is an inalienable political right.
Concerning the Führerprinzip, the witness said in a Nazi organization the nature of the Leader is a metaphysical notion, and in order to oust him a large number of its members must gather in a general assembly and shout him out. Concerning the feelings that Golden Dawn’s attacks incite in their followers, the witness believes that the crime will be perpetrated by a hand that has been prepared to commit a crime and that the initiation process serves to make the members of Golden Dawn the perpetrators of crimes. The crimes are not committed by the voters but by the mechanism with its own, known, members.
Furthermore, concerning the text message that was found in the cell phone of the leader after the attack on Poulikogiannis, which read “bless your hands” and “Freikorps”, the witness said that “Freikorps” were volunteer far-right squads which were formed after the end of the war and which were responsible for the murder of a great number of people, among them Rosa Luxembourg. According to the witness, the fact that Golden Dawn uses this word to describe their own activities confirms the intention to make politics using these assault squads, and the receipt of such a message meant that the plan was executed in a satisfactory manner.
The main targets of Golden Dawn according to the witness are the immigrants, the unionists, homosexuals have been threatened, as well as other groups, and we can see an intense antisemitism towards those that survived the onslaught of Nazism. Concerning the fact that they claim to be nationalists, the witness stated that this is a false claim, because their nationalism is an excuse, it serves as discourse to support the racial hierarchy. The witness believes that their success in the elections was an encouragement to put their full plan into effect. A party which succeeds in some part of their plan will enter the next stage, which is to get the good graces of those in power, which in turn leads to a spike in violence.
C. Examination of the witness by the defense counsels
The witness answered in turn to questions by defense counsels Tsagas, Zografos, Oplantzakis, Roussopoulos, and Markopoulos, and stated that he didn’t press charges for the incident that took place in the bus, neither did he appear at the investigator when he learned that an inquiry had begun, because he thought that compared to the rest of Golden Dawn’s crimes, this was a very minor one, when we are facing murderous attacks and ambushes.
When asked whether the claims about racial continuity betray mysticism, the witness stated that they do, because such claims cannot be proven scientifically and so must be set in ideological terms. Furthermore, the witness said that the political scene has changed since the crisis started, and when asked whether a Nazi party can have as a member a Jew, the witness said that indeed there were important Jewish families who were members of the Nazi party because they were powerful and they made sure to finance the Nazi cause when the time was right. According to the witness, Nazism is very flexible and if a Jew is rich, they will gladly accept him in their fold.
The presiding judge adjourned for Monday, January 22nd, in the Women’s Wing of Korydallos Prison.