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Biosafety and Bioterrorism Preparedness in Greece

The Biosafety challenges Greece is facing today, one year after the unthinkable refugee crisis, under unbearable austerity terms, while Europe and the West are on the alert for any possible BW attack…

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Is Hungary next on Islamic State’s hit list?

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which monitors jihadi communications traffic, has reported finding an article published by Al-Wafa that says Hungary is a possible target of Islamic State terrorist. The article says:

“Today It Is Brussels and [Its] Airport, and tomorrow it might be Portugal and Hungary”.

 

The Hungary Times online reported that nearly two-thirds of Hungarians (65%) consider it possible that Hungary can be the target of a terrorist attack. This is based on the findings of a new public opinion poll conducted by the Hungarian think tank NézőpontIntézet.

Go to source: New Europe article 

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This is the #Borders Management List for #Greece. #Cruise and #yacht travelers will also be screened

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According to the draft Council implementing decision that set the 50 points  Recommendation for Greece to address deficiencies identified by the European Commission in the 2015 Schengen evaluation, vacationers on crusie ships or yachts should also be checked on the Aegean islands of Greece, among other measures on refugees identification and relocation proceedures.

Greece’s Urgent to-do List

The draft was leaked by Satewatch, the European civil liberties watchdog.These are some points :

  •  irregular migrants not to be allowed to stay or enter EU countries

Greece should “clearly state in the documents of ‘suspension of removal’ which are provided to the irregular migrants during the registration process, that the document does not give the irregular migrant the right to stay and enter other member states, and include, where necessary, certain obligations aimed at avoiding the risk of absconding”, the paper reads.

  • illegal immigrants to be returned

The Council also asks Greece to immediately start the procedures for returning illegal immigrants who do not apply for asylum and are not in need of international protection, and rapidly transfer them to Turkey in accordance with the bilateral readmission agreement between Athens and Ankara.

  • Athens to safeguard surveillance on whole sea border

Athens is also asked to improve sea border surveillance by creating an integrated and effective coastal surveillance system covering the “whole” sea border between Greece and Turkey.

“The surveillance system should provide the possibility to detect all vessels, including small boats that are crossing the sea border from Turkey to Greece; in order to identify, detect and apprehend illegal border crossers, the system should be supported by an offshore element: offshore patrol boats and vessels, helicopters, fixed wing aircraft and other means, as well as a sufficient number of land patrols on the island.”

  • first line border guards on alert

The recommendation also says that Greece should familiarise first line border guards with foreign terrorist fighters risk indicators, as well as consider cooperating with the Turkish border control authorities at the local level “as it exists at the land border with Turkey”.

  •     checks on crusie ships and pleasure yachts

The recommendation provides for checks on cruise ships based on the crew and passenger list, and on pleasure yachts coming from third countries at a border crossing points

 

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Criminalizing Volunteers 

Since the end of January 2016,  the European civil liberties watchdog Statewatch, had also released confidential documents revealing  the European Union plans to criminalize charities and volunteers who help refugees arriving on Greek islands.

The documents revealed that EU interior ministers who met in Amsterdam on January 27, 2016 want to criminalize as “smugglers” charities, local people, volunteers and scores of international humanitarians who have traveled to Greece to help pull drowning refugees from the sea and feed and offer dry clothes as they land on Greek island, Euractiv wrote.

Instead, the Council wants to create a state-run mechanism that forces people to register and work under EU-sanctioned rescue and relief plans, added Euractiv

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, stated that

“The (European) Council proposals would criminalise NGOs, local people and volunteers who have worked heroically to welcome refugees when the EU institutions did nothing, while other plans would incorporate those who “register” with the police to work under state structures. In a humane and caring EU it should not be necessary to “register” to offer help and care to people who have suffered so much already.”

 The story was first broken by The Times in London and all corresponding documents, including the leaked European Commission report, have been placed on Statewatch’s website. Statewatch’s full report is here.

 

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Right-wing Germany asking for shootings 

Frauke Petry, leader of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) told the Mannheimer Morgen newspaper that Germany needed to reduce the influx through agreements with neighbouring Austria and a reinforcement of the EU’s external borders.

Deterrence includes the use of armed force ,Frauke Petry said

She said it should not be shy about turning people back and creating “border protection installations” – and that border guards should, if necessary, shoot at migrants trying to enter illegally.

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 Merkel’s promise to turn All refugees back  

Mrs Merkel has said: “We need … to say to people that this is a temporary residential status and we expect that, once there is peace in Syria again, once ISIS has been defeated in Iraq, that you go back to your home country with the knowledge that you have gained.”

Mrs Merkel said 70 per cent of the refugees who fled to Germany from former Yugoslavia in the 1990s had returned.

She urged other European countries to offer more help “because the numbers need to be reduced even further and must not start to rise again, especially in spring”.

 

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Greek Minister :Nato will blow the smigglers networks

 “[The smugglers] have used networks, infrastructure, the sea, and land roads through which they have been trafficking weapons, drugs, human trafficking, and cigarettes in the Mediterranean,”

Alternate Minister of  Greecce’s International Affairs , Xydakis stressed today talking to the Euractiv.

Referring to NATO’s role in Aegean, Xydakis said: “We know that NATO’s military assistance will be a deterrence means, it cannot rescue but it can collect information and deal a blow to smugglers.”

Asked by EurActiv whether that could take place at sea, the Greek official said that operations should also take place in the coastal areas of Turkey.

“As long as Turkey is part of NATO, we believe that something positive could happen. We need to break the smugglers network.”

 

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  Europeanising the Hotspots 

Belgian Interior Minister Theo Francken said that Greece “clearly lacks” the ability to handle the situation and that is why he called for the “Europeanisation of the hotspots in Greece.”

In essence, the Minister suggested that hotspots should act as a European waiting room, from where migrants that are not entitled to international protection (asylum) are returned to their country of origin.

Theo Francken for whom the Greek Migration Minister Mouzalas revealed that he  told him to “drive them back into the sea; go against the law; I’m sorry, but I do not care if they drown.”

 

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The EU Commission is to blame. Nothing was done 3-4 years ago

Europe is on the brink of collapse due to the “foolish and short-minded illusions” of EU member states, Gianni Pittella is the Socialists & Democrats (S&D) chief in the European Parliament said in an interview on Euractiv.

We are now facing the crumbling of Schengen, because nothing was done 3-4 years ago, when Greece and Italy were saving people from drowing in the Mediterranean, to the general indifference of all other member states. Having said this, we should all thank Greece for continuing to save thousands of refugees on an everyday basis, despite its difficult economic outlook. I do believe that Greek authorities must be helped concretely by Europe in order to fill gaps in the registration process. Again and again, selfish national rhetoric means that member states continue to look at the finger rather than the moon. Greece is not the problem.

The problem stems from the fact that the relocation system doesn’t work, nobody knows where to go, and who should pay, to return those who have no right for refugee status. The outdated Dublin system must be revised and Frontex has not yet started supporting member states in the control of external borders. Do we want to blame Greece for this? That’s a far too simplistic a response.

Honestly, the EU Commission has delivered here. Who is lagging behind? Who is not living up with the expectations? The member states.

Europe risks collapse as a result of the foolish and short minded illusion that we can face this problem by raising walls, closing borders, setting thresholds, discriminating on the basis of religion, or building a mini-Schengen.

Let’s start by penalising non-cooperation and rewarding those who cooperate.

 

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“Schengen countries are just watching  “, Mayor of Lesvos to CNN

But instead of financial support, the European Union is now slamming Greece, claiming that it has not acted properly to patrol the continent’s borders.aid Spyros Galinos, Mayor of Lesvos, talking recently to the CNN 

“The Schengen countries are just watching this crime happening in the world and they didn’t take any action when it was happening”

 

 

 

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Iraqi man arrest in #Athens airport with passport stolen by #ISIS

 

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A 37-year old Iraqi who traveled from Istanbul to Athens with one of the false passports that were stolen by fighters of ISIS from Iraq, was arrested in El. Venizelos airport.

The 37-year old Iraqi , who lives in Athens and is married to Greek woman, argued that he received the disputed passport in Athens by mail, having sent only his a photograph of him to his cousin in Iraq, because since he could not go to Iraq himself to renew his passport , due to exit ban restrictions from Greece by which he had been charged in 2008, for human trafficking and the professional set up of criminal organization .
The whole batch of passports were stolen by jihadists from Iraqi citizens in Iraq. The police had received information from the Division of International Police Cooperation for the stolen passports, and as soon as the Iraqi’s passport was spotted, the man was arrested.

The Greek Police had been informed since the summer 2015, that a large number of vacant passports had been stolen by ISIS terrorists in the Iraqi province of Nineveh from the citizens they belonged to, during June, and that Iraqi authorities had canceled the whole batch of these passports in order to secure the entry of ISIS fighters to Europe.
The 37-year old who was arrested when he arrived from Constantinople with the morning flight, was working in an Athens restaurant and is also a co-owner, along with his two brothers, of a furniture manufacturing company based in Kurdistan.

He claim to the Greek that he visited Istanbul for a purchase of timber for his company, and also to meet his mother and one of his six sisters

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Two days earlier, two terrorists carrying long knives and military uniforms arrested in Northern Greece with Swedish  passports in  suspected of attempting to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group.

Since last August , 2015, the presence of ISIS  has been a reality in the islands of Aegean, and has set the Greek Police on Error Alert. In the first days of September, in the city of Mytilene, Lesvos, as Greek to me had exclusively reported at least four ISIS suspects had been arrested. One of them had been referred to have been driving a car, playing ISIS music around the tents of the Syrian refugees in the city downtown. He was identified by an Iraqi refugee due to the symbolism of wolds, and special music tune “related to ISIS Propaganda songs”. The Iraqi refugee had notified the authorities, who spotted the ISIS suspect and arrested him.

The other three have been arrested by the Police, after being recognized by citizens, while they were walking around the waterfront of Mytilene city. The symbols of their blouzes have been recognized by local citizens, and Police was informed. They were arrested by the assistance of National Intelligence Agency.

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Despite the vigilance the Greek Police has up to now tried to show for the ISIS entrance to Europe threat, the emergency  response of the whole Western world finds Greece inadequate to secure from the terrorists the external borders and the EU Commission warned that Greece could face border controls with the rest of the passport-free Schengen area if it fails to act within three months.

The European Commission on Tuesday endorsed a damning report into Greece’s border controls that concluded: “Greece is seriously neglecting its obligations and there are serious deficiencies in the carrying out of external border controls that must be overcome and dealt with by the Greek authorities.”

The Commission wants Greece to boost staff numbers at its borders to better register migrants, and to step up checks of new arrivals’ details against Interpol and the Schengen Information System (SIS).

Greece has promised to use its military to oversee its response to the refugee crisis. On Tuesday, Defense Minister Panos Kammenos heralded the opening of the Central Coordinating Body for the Management of Migration, to be headed by a senior military official.

The body will be based in the country’s Ministry of Defense and will monitor the creation of five “hot spots” for the processing of migrants on islands off the country’s mainland, as well as improving transportation of refugees within the country.

400.000 #refugees’ capacity camp demanded in #Athens by #EU, @imouzalas revealed

 

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Belgium’s interior minister has suggested Greece build a camp in Athens to accommodate up to 400,000 migrants, Greece’s minister of immigration policy @mouzalas told national media Tuesday.

“The Belgian minister raised the issue of camps for 300,000 to 400,000 migrants in Athens,”

Ioannis Mouzalas told Greece’s Skai TV broadcaster.

The EU interior and justice ministers met in Amsterdam on Monday, where they attempted to find institutional solutions to the migrant crisis that saw over a million people arrive in Europe last year.

EU’s “big and unfair blame game against Greece is despicable”,

Greek alternate minister Yiannis Mouzalas told to reporters after the meeting of European Union interior ministers in Amsterdam on Monday.

At the EU Ministers’ meeting the Greek Minister had asked for 100 new Frontex vessels, and 1000 more Frontex personnel to assist Greece to repatriation of those migrants denied to asylum, to Turkey,  shouting angrily to the EU miniters “We need Frontex in Greece!”

Europe, Ioannis Mouzalas  said on Monday Jan 25, later to the international and Greek reporters, has shortchanged Greece by providing smaller-than-promised numbers of everything from cots and fingerprinting machines to border guards.

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“It’s a myth that the Greek-Turkish border can’t be protected,” said Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner of Austria, which last week set an upper limit on new arrivals. Mikl-Leitner said the Greek navy has “sufficient capacity” to keep refugees out.

Nikos Toskas, a deputy interior minister, said it’s hard to stop some refugee-laden boats “except via sinking or shooting”, emphasising that

‘Cemetery of Souls’: Greece Hits Out at Plans to Exclude It From Schengen, Sputnik news article title wrote

The continent-wide name-calling harked back to the worst days of the debt crisis when Greece’s membership in the euro zone was imperiled. Germany and Austria pressured Greece to seal off its Aegean Sea border with Turkey, warning that the unchecked march of refugees from the Middle East would lead to longer-lasting passport controls at internal borders in western Europe,Bloomberg Business wrote

Mouzalas said Greece, as a frontline country that receives most of the new arrivals, was prepared to open new registration centers in early March.

The European Commission sought to tamp down speculation that it might be bolstering Macedonia’s border to bar Greece from the EU’s passport-free travel area known as the Schengen zone. “We have never discussed a Schengen suspension or an exclusion of a Schengen member,” Natasha Bertaud, a commission spokeswoman, said on Monday.

(sources: Sputnik, New Europe, Bloomberg Business )

 

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Refugees in thousands arriving in Athens from Lesvos, and the other Aegean islands, September 2015

 

 

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Greek-American “Translation Affairs” : When missing words make the relations…

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Annual Parade NYC Greek Independence Day

Greek -American relations have been recently through some tough moments concerning the comprehension of what, finally, the “real” terms of terrorism protection in Greece, and the western world, might be .
After the extensive interview, the Greek Prime Minister gave on Monday 27 to enikos tv show of journalist  Nikos Hatzinikolaou , the US Ambassador David Pearce appeared “angry” according to the enikos.gr headlines, the day after the interview
US ambassador angry response to Tsipras’ interview in enikos.gr
 
Alexis Tsipras reference to the Greek terrorist Savvas Xiros during his interview at enikos.gr and journalist Nikos Chatzinikolaou has caused the intervention of US Ambassador in Athens David Pearce.
US Ambassador David Pierce, had strongly earlier expressed, Monday April 20, 2015, his deep concern over the legislation coming the same day to a final vote in the Greek parliament, which “could include cases of convicted terrorists”, as he had said, referring to the law abolishing high security prisons and the provision which would allow convicted terrorist Savvas Xiros to serve the rest of his multiple life sentence from his home.
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US Ambassador to Greece David Pearce with Alexis Tsipras , Maximos Mansion 2015

U.S. Ambassador David Pearce had said by a statement, -one week before the interview of the Prime Minister-, on Monday April 20,  that
allowing Savvas Xiros, to leave prison would be regarded by the U.S. as “a profoundly unfriendly act”
and that the new Greek law is “inconsistent” with the good partnership between the two NATO allies.
While prison reform and improving humanitarian conditions are important, the US Ambassador had underlined,
“the issue is that convicted terrorists and murderers … should serve their full sentences in prison,”

David Pearce had stated, describing possibilities of letting the terrorist the chance to “activate contacts”  that potentially could threaten threaten the public safety.

No terrorist will be released,  assured John Kerry, some hours later,  Greek Foreign Minister in DC

“The new law in Greece about the prisoners will not let any terrorists become free.”

They will be “placed under house arrest, under the conditions provided by the law” Kotzias noted, during the meeting with  John Kerry

Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Kotzias meeting John Kerry, Washington DC , April 20, 2015

Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Kotzias meeting John Kerry, Washington DC , April 20, 2015

Indeed, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, reassuring his Minister’s of Foreign Affairs statements in Washington, emphasised on his interview to Nikos Hatzinikolaou that terrorist Savvas Xiros, due to the 90% dissability, if included in the law to serve his sentence at home he would be guarded and would be monitored by the bracelet.

But the detail  “guarded” was never reported,  by the media covering the interview neither has been included on the transcript of the interview that was posted the day after.

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Alexis Tsipras at Enikos interview to Nikos Hatzinikolaou, star channel, April 27, 2015

Tsipras on his interview repeatedly underined  that the “Greek Prisons are out of control”,  emphasising that  the Greek government’s new prison law is determined by the fact that there are 11 decisions of the European court of Human Rights concerning prison conditions. Because in lots of cases, the legislation system itself has condemned to death prisoners that have no death penalty, the reform of the new govt law concerns prisoners’ cases of 80%+ disability allowing them to serve the remainder of sentences at home, by wearing electronic tagging devices at least.

He also declared his thesis pro the repentance statement of such prisoners , something that terrorist Savvas Xiros has repeatedly denied since long time.

Alexis Tsipras, Maximos Mansion 2015

Alexis Tsipras, Maximos Mansion 2015

As a follow up of the Prime Minister’s interview the day after, it had been translated by voice over by a translator on Youtube, on a video where Alexis Tsipras, by the voice of the translator, appeared, disastrously accidentally, to call terrorist Savvas Xiros  “a gentleman” .This was followed up by writen the phrase  “gentleman …” on the transcript that followed  posted on the web, which unfortunately made the round of the international media.

A. TSIPRAS: Mister Chatzinikolaou, as I read from the press , ( Xiros) himself that refuses to go out wearing this ankle monitor. He has refused it, so it is not true.

is word-by-word the translation

A. TSIPRAS: Mister Chatzinikolaou, as I read from the press , that this gentleman refuses to go out wearing this ankle monitor. He has refused it, so it is not true.

The day after the interview Peter Spiegel, the Financial Times journalist, twitted, the day after, the translated part of the interview, by the lead, Tsipras  defending law denounced by US ambassador , that could free the  November17 terrorist .

This tweet was sent from Peter Spiegel to David Pearce, and the Ambassador’s response was immediate

Apr 28


@SpiegelPeter@atsipras Xiros should not set foot out of prison before his sentences are served 11:46 PM – 28 Apr 2015

US ambassador angry response to Tsipras’ interview in enikos.gr – VIDEO

Pearce replying to a tweet by Financial Times journalist Peter Spiegel, who uploaded the relevant video, said that ‘Xiros should not set foot out of prison before his sentences are served’.

Pearce replying to a tweet by Financial Times journalist Peter Spiegel, who uploaded the relevant video, said that ‘Xiros should not set foot out of prison before his sentences are served’.

On the tiny edge that Greece is finding itself during these moments by the overt unfriendly stance of Greece’s lenders towards the country, noone, from the Greeks at least, would desire to stir, the country’s foreign relationships, especially with Greece’s major ally.
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But it is Greece’s missluck, on these critical hours, the diplomatique press experience not to have been existed till now by the major awareness needed for the sensitivity of a “word-by-word” hype of making international headlines by Greece, that is routinely happening since the start of 2015.
Still, by missing words and missunderstandings ,damage is done, additionally to the  US Ambassador’s primer irritated reaction.
In between the first statements of David Pearce and his tweet concerning the PM’s interview, the Ambassador  had visited the Maximos Mansion (where the PM’s office is) for a meeting with the Greek governmenet’s Minister of State, Nikos Pappas.
The Ambassador  had been extraordinary invited after his first statements on April 20,- by which he was  expressing  the US “frustration” for the possibility the convicted terrorist to be let free,- as a good-will diplomatic “response” by the Greek govt side “to defuse tension caused on the two countries’ relations” as it was announced.
An undouptedly “accute” tension, expressed unprecedently for what is expressed till now, by the Greek-American longterm friendship on Diplomatic Affairs .
“Both sides expressed their commitment to the two countries’ multi-level cooperation”
said the governement’s official statement by the Maximos Mansion, after the visit.
 Alexis Tsipras on his interview that followed stated , when asked by N.Hatzinikolaou,
“The friction, the intense disagreement [with the U.S.] which took place,  has not spoiled the two countries’ relationships, and has not influenced negatively  the negotiations “
 “Personally, and also on what it may concern our government,” Alexis Tsipras had added “we  are twice or thrice more sensitive (against terrorism), not by definition, but by necessity, because crimes have been committed in the name of left-wing ideals. We are all the more anxious, terrorism actions NOT to be called revolutionary; these are not revolutionary actions, they are actions of exerting power. I wanted to make that clear.
Alexis Tsipras, Maximos Mansion 2015

Alexis Tsipras, Maximos Mansion 2015

Ironicaly, where the Greek PM seats today, has been the seat of the US Ambassador….

…after the German Occupation times. It was just after the war, and actually, the American Ambassador in Athens transcended the German Admiral of the Aegean Sea who was using the mansion as his residence during the German Occupation. After the war the building was shortly used as the seat of the U.S. Ambassador in Athens. In 1952 Dimitrios Maximos sold the mansion to the Greek State at a favorable price. Consequently the building fell to misuse until 1982, when it was decided by the government to renovate it and use it as the seat of the Prime Minister.

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Angela Merkel hosted in Maximos Mansion by Antonis Samaras

Executive Order, also issued by the Depatment of State, on April 21,  for November17  terrorists Christodoulos Xiros and Nikos Maziotis

Terrorist Christodoulos Xiros, Savvas Xiros brother was multiply times given permissions for some days to leave prison under Samaras’ government for quite long time, which helped him to easily escape for a whole year, between January 2014 to January 2015, by   simply by failing to report to authorities while visiting his family during a nine-day leave from prison

By a Media Note released by the Departement of State, on April 21 2015, Greece was informed that two of the Greek terrorists who have been active during the last years in the country are designated under Executive Order of the United States. In the same List where Christodoulos Xiros and Miaziotis are targeted had been Osama Bin Landen and the most Wanted terrorists for the USA.

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the Department of State
Washington, DC
April 21, 2015
The U.S. Department of State has designated Christodoulos Xiros and Nikolaos Maziotis under Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. As a result of these designations, all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which Xiros and Maziotis have any interest is blocked and any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen. U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with Xiros and Maziotis, or to their benefit.
Christodoulos Xiros was one of the chief assassins of 17 November, until his arrest in 2002. In January 2014, Xiros was serving multiple life terms at the Korydallos Prison near Athens, Greece, when he disappeared while on furlough from the prison, after being granted temporary leave to visit his family in northern Greece. 17 November was active beginning in the 1970s through the early 2000s, claiming attacks against Greek politicians and businessmen, as well as Western interests. After his escape, he publicized a manifesto focusing on his discontent with the Greek government. Xiros was re-arrested by Greek police in January 2015 while planning to carry out armed assaults in Greece, possibly with the intent to free other prisoners. At the time of his arrest, Xiros was likely coordinating with members of Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei, a group designated by the State Department under E.O. 13224 in 2011.
Nikolaos Maziotis is the leader of the Greek terrorist organization, Revolutionary Struggle. He was arrested with six other alleged members of Revolutionary Struggle in 2010, but went missing in the middle of his trial. In April 2014, under the leadership of Maziotis, Revolutionary Struggle claimed responsibility for a bomb blast in central Athens outside the branch offices of the Greek central bank. On July 16, 2014, Maziotis was re-arrested by Greek police after a shootout in Athens’ central tourist district, which left four people wounded. Revolutionary Struggle was designated a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. Department of State on May 18, 2009 and is most well-known for a rocket-propelled grenade attack on the U.S. Embassy in Athens in 2007.

The Department of State took this action in consultation with the Departments of Justice and the Treasury. We will continue to take such actions against terrorists and terrorist groups in Greece and elsewhere.

Christodoulos Xiros and Nikos Maziotis , designated by the US Departmeent of State

Christodoulos Xiros and Nikos Maziotis , designated by the US Departmeent of State

On April 24, John Brady Kiesling,  Former diplomat in in the U.S. Foreign Service, wrote on his article on Huffington Post :

More than half the known members of 17N are out of jail already, and all of them are now docile good citizens. Xiros’s current obsessions, at least his public ones, are not revolutionary. Sending home a mostly blind, somewhat deaf, partly mangled, and mystically addled icon painter will not encourage more terrorist attacks on U.S. interests.

Yianis Varoufakis in the White House on Greek Independence Day, April 2015

Yianis Varoufakis in the White House on Greek Independence Day, April 2015