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The Tragic Nikos and Elli Era


It is reasonable to expect that the Wikileaks will influence somewhat the ordinary Americans. However, even the hundreds of thousands of pages of shame will not reveal the historic "roots" of the deeds done, in the name of these same ordinary Americans, during the last half century, by some of their hometown neighbors, in the employ of the US leaders. 

 

Take Robert (Bob) Driscoll. He worked, probably for the State Department or the then "young" CIA, in Athens, Greece, during the late 1940s and the early 1950s. Let us follow this tragic story.

 

In my last ZNet Commentary of September 26, 2010 as a "Post Script" I mentioned:

 

"Also, I would suggest that he [US journalist Michael Lewis, of 'Vanity Fair']  should try to read the book by Elli Pappa, 'Account of a Passage', published posthumously a few days ago. Elli was not executed by the CIA in 1952, because in prison she had a 7-month old baby. The father of the baby was Nikos Belogiannis, an intellectual of the Greek left, who was executed, although he was innocent, and whose face was secured for posterity through a sketch by Picasso. All honest people in the world will learn a lot from Elli's 'Passage' ".

 

Elli Pappa was born in 1920 ["Elli" from now on]. The surname "Pappa" is met in Homer and means "father", as uttered by infants. Later on, it was used to denote the Orthodox Christian priests in the form of "papas". The name is known to the entire world, thanks to the "Pap smear", the cancer detection test devised by Papanicolaou. Also, widely known is Papadopoulos (meaning the son of the priest), the dictator "chosen" by the CIA to control the Greeks for the benefit of Johnson and Nixon in 1967. A great percentage of the Greek names have the prefix "papa". In the Athens phone directory there are about 90,000 such entries. 

 

Nikos Belogianni was born in Peloponese, the southern part of Greece, in 1915 ["Nikos" from now on]. His parents were poor and had only partial Elementary School education. To better the economic situation of the family, his father, after the birth of Nikos, immigrated to the USA where he worked for a few years and with the money he earned he built a small hotel in his home town. Most Greeks think that the family surname "Belogiannis" means the "handsome Giannis" (Italian "bello" plus "John"). However, the name is a compound of the Turkish word "bela" which means "trouble", and "Giannis" ("troublesome John") and was given to one of Nikos' forebears during the Turkish occupation of Greece.  

 

Nikos, at the age of 17, in 1932, joined the Communist Youth of his home town. The same year he entered the Law School at the University of Athens. Two years later he joined the Greek Communist Party (KKE), was expelled from the university and was exiled to the small Aegean island of  Ios. In 1936, at the age of 21, he was tried in absentia, while on the island, and was condemned to 2 years in prison, but he was pardoned, released and drafted in the army. Two years later, in 1938, he was condemned to 5 years in prison and 2 years of exile, "for propagating communist ideas".

 

When the Nazis occupied Greece in 1941 Nikos was still in prison. The British, the enemies [!] of the Nazis, ordered the then Greek government to hand the communist prisoners to the Nazis! In 1943, Nikos escapes and joins the Greek Resistance against the Nazis. He was 28 years old.

 

He fights the Nazis on the mountains in the area of Sparta. He evolves into an expert in military strategy and tactics and becomes a leading officer in the Resistance. He is described as a joyful and cheerful person. His comrades-in-arms give him the nickname "The Eagle".

 

After the Nazi occupation and the defeat of the Greek Resistance fighters by the… British "liberators" in 1945, Nikos is publishing a magazine and a newspaper for the KKE. He also, manages to write two books: "Economic Development of Greece" and "The history of the Modern Greek Language". He is 30 years old.

 

By the end of 1946, Nikos is back on the Greek mountains fighting the British and US supported "regular" Greek army of 200,000 with an army of only 10,000 rebels, in what is called the Greek "civil war". As expected, the rebels are defeated in 1949. Nikos is the last to leave the country in rearguard action and finds refuge in the countries of the Eastern Block.

 

Not more than a year later, in April 1950, Nikos returned to Greece with a false passport on assignment by the exiled KKE leadership to organize the, by then illegal, communist party in Athens.

 

To have a better grasp of what follows in this article the reader should bear in mind some information and some facts  that have been rather ignored up to now:

 

The contribution of the late Philip Agee in understanding what is going on in the world is as important as that of Daniel Ellsberg, of the Pentagon Papers, and that of the Wikileaks of Julian Assange. Agee's book "Inside the Company; CIA Diary" (Penguin Books, 1975), was [and is] a unique "guide" into the evil world of the CIA, this murderous entity.

 

He writes:

- "Penetration of communist parties…are standard bread-and-butter operations of practically every CIA station" (p. 59).

 

- "PRIORITY  A: Effect agent and/or technical penetration of the highest possible level of the Communist Party of Ecuador" (p. 114).

 

- "Quito [Ecuador], 20 November 1961. The station programs for penetrating the PCE [Communist Party of Ecuador] is suddenly in better shape than ever…This gives us three agents on the eight member committee…" (p. 212). The agents: Basantes, Cardenas, and Luis Vargas.

 

The Nikos and Elli story that follows confirms Agee's words in the most tragic way.

 

Also, if the US had CIA agents in the highest levels of the communist parties of the world and could affect the decisions at such a level, then what the hell was the "Cold War"? Was the US government theatrically fighting her own self? For what reason? Oil?

 

But, let us go on with the story as narrated by Elli in her posthumous book:

 

After Nikos arrived in Athens he had to contact the underground mechanism of the party so that he could find a place to hide. Elli writes: "Ever since the spring of 1950 we expected the arrival 'of a comrade from abroad'…By now it was the beginning of June, when Ploumbidis [see below] told me that the comrade we were expecting had arrived and that he had fixed a meeting with him so that I could take him to the house of Koulis… The meeting was to take place early in the afternoon at a spacious vacant plot at Kypseli…"

 

[Note: In 1950, Elli was 30 years old. I was 20 and I was a student of civil engineering at the Athens Polytechnic. The vacant plot that she mentions at Kypseli, a neighborhood of Athens, was about 200 yards from my home and at that time of the day I probably was returning home from the Polytechnic. In the present article I intend to add 'Notes' as this one, so that the reader could compare the drama of Nikos and Elli with the ordinary life going on around them.]

 

Elli goes on: "[T]o recognize me I was wearing a white dress with a red belt. I saw him from afar… he was wearing a dark suit.. which did not look very 'Greek'… My first thought was that he had to get a new suit. My second thought when he came closer, let me also admit it, was that he had a radiant smile. And the third was… Phaedra [the teenage daughter of Koulis]. 'He is a handsome man let us hope that Phaedra will not fall in love with him', I told myself… worrying, very… altruistically that this could complicate things" [The self-sarcastic 3 dots belong to Elli's original text] . 

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