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December Today in Terrorism

December 14, 1976: Leftist assassination in Greece of police officer

The leftist November 17 Revolutionary Organisation claimed the assassination of a Greek police officer in Athens in December 1976

ATHENS, GREECE – What better way to get attention as a terrorist group than to carry out two high profile attacks one year apart?

Pity the average terrorist group (I’m kidding!). Most are largely unsuccessful in their exploits and only hang around, on average, for three years. Yep, you read that right. Three years.

There are of course exceptions to the rule. Al Qaeda has been with us, in one form or another, for four decades. The IRA has been around for a century. Both of these have been responsible for thousands of deaths and injuries.

As for the rest – losers overall. Sure, they all talk big and puff their chests out, making proclamations and threats here and there, but most are incapable and ineffective. So much for that ‘striking fear’ in the hearts of their victims!

Nope. Still can’t hear you! (Source: keep-calm.net)

So, what better way to get noticed than to carry out not one but two high profile terrorist attacks almost exactly one year apart, to the day?

This is what transpired in Athens, Greece on this day in 1976. A group calling itself the November 17 Organisation (N-17), leftist in nature, assassinated Evangelos Mallios, a former police officer who had been convicted of torturing political prisoners during the military regime that ruled the country until 1974. In all, N-17 went on a murderous rampage for a quarter century, killing 23 people in all.

OK, OK, you may say, that is not even one person per year. Big deal! But just less than a year before the Mallios murder N-17 had killed Richard Welch, the US CIA ‘station chief’ in Athens as he returned from a Christmas party. CIA station chief? Now THAT’s a big deal!

So, where is N-17 now? I have no idea. Greece is still rocked now and then by terrorist attacks from the far left, and increasingly the far right (Golden Dawn is a virulently anti-immigrant neo-Nazi bunch these days).

Two noteworthy assassinations one year apart. That will give you a legacy!

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Director of the National Security programme at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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