DE RUEHTH #0170/01 0251500
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 251500Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY ATHENS
TO RUEHSW/AMEMBASSY BERN PRIORITY 0448
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7944
RUENAAA/OLA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY UNCLAS ATHENS 000170
H FOR MARK SMITH
H PLEASE PASS TO CODEL SMITH
DEPT FOR EUR, EUR/SE
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: GREECE: COUNTRY CLEARANCE AND THREAT ASSESSMENT
FOR CODEL SMITH
REF: A. STATE 006300
B. STATE 08759
C. ATHENS 108
1. Embassy warmly welcomes and grants country clearance for
the visit of the Congressional Delegation led by Senator
Gordon Smith (reftel B for names of all participants), to
travel to Athens, Greece, January 28 - 29, 2007. Embassy
point of contact is Political Officer Patrick Connell, who
can be reached during office hours at 30-210-720-2551, on
cellular at 30-694-405-7009, and via email to
ConnellPD@state.gov. The Embassy,s after hours duty
receptionist can be reached at 30-210-729-4444. Lodging is
at the Hotel Grande Bretagne, Constitution Square, tel. (30)
2. Embassy assistance has been arranged per reftel A for all
meetings, lodging, and transportation. Ref C provided
scenesetter for CODEL's meetings with GOG officials and
relevant background information. Per e-mail from H, security
information is provided below.
3. It is important that all visitors carefully read the
information and instructions provided below. Post wants to
ensure the best possible service to all official visitors and
will work closely to arrange details of each visit.
4. Documents required: Diplomatic and official passport
holders must have Greek diplomatic visas, a valid Schengen
visa or diplomatic ID from any other Schengen country, in
addition to their passport, in order to enter Greece.
Holders of tourist passports do not/not require visas.
5. Currency: Greece is a member of the European Monetary
Union, and the Euro is the currency of the country.
Accommodation exchange will be provided upon arrival and
prior to departure.
6. Security information:
A. Embassy Athens is designated &high8 for indigenous
terrorism. In the past, local Greek terrorist groups have
targeted prominent Greeks as well as certain non-Greek
Officials, including Americans. We believe that the threat
to official US Government personnel on short-term assignments
to Greece or visiting for tourism is relatively low. The
indigenous groups historically have engaged in extensive
operational surveillance over long periods of time. In 2003
and again in 2004, the Greek Government made significant
progress to combat domestic terrorism by successfully
convicting the leader and key hit men of the November 17
terrorist organization and of the ELA. 17N was responsible
for assassinating prominent Greeks and five members of the US
Mission over the course of its 30-year history. Convicted
ELA members were responsible for several bombings, attempted
murders and were involved in at least one assassination.
These convictions likely impacted on the operational
capabilities of 17N and ELA, however the threat from domestic
terrorism has not been completely eliminated. We urge
vigilance and caution, as the worldwide threat from other
terrorist groups against Americans in general remains high.
Official Americans should assume they are potential targets.
B. On January 12 of this year, the U.S. Embassy was struck
by a rocket-propelled grenade. Over the past year the
Embassy has experienced numerous bomb threats, protest
marches, and anti-U.S. demonstrations. These protests are
generally peaceful though a few provoked random acts of
violence. Travelers to Greece are advised that protests or
demonstrations could occur at any time; unwitting observers
or bystanders might be identified, to their disadvantage, as
Americans. RSO recommends that official U.S. travelers in
Greece remain alert when moving about in public places and
avoid certain places where demonstrators frequently
congregate. These places include the Polytechnical
University area, located on 28 October (Patission) Street
between the National Archeological Museum and Omonia Square;
Exarchion Square, located near Kolonaki; Omonia and Syntagma
Squares, which are often used as launch sites for large
demonstrations; and Mavili Square, located near the U.S.
Embassy. Visitors should keep abreast of news about large
demonstrations and avoid these areas and metro stops.
C. Crime is rated &medium8 in Greece. For TDY visitors,
pick-pocketing and purse snatching are the most common
crimes. Taxis are generally safe though metered cabs are
recommended. Taxis too will often pick up more than one
passenger unless prior arrangements are made. Crimes of
opportunity ) thefts, break-ins, and occasional scams ) are
on the rise. Travelers should be especially cautious with
wallets, purses, and parcels when traveling on crowded
streets, public buses, trolleys, and/or subways. There have
been several instances of motorcyclists approaching cars
stuck in traffic, reaching through open windows or smashing
closed ones, and stealing whatever is within reach. We have
also recently learned of a new scenario in which
motorcyclists open the trunk of a vehicle and remove the
contents. The Embassy recommends keeping purses, parcels,
handbags, etc. out of sight under the seat or on the floor of
the car. Windows should be kept closed and doors locked.
Pedestrians may also be confronted by beggars and other
street people who may attempt to divert attention, then steal
unprotected valuables ) either by pick-pocketing or
snatch-and-grab techniques. Women are generally safe from
violent crime in Greece. Men are aggressive by American
standards however when pursuing women.
D. Traffic in Greek urban areas, especially Athens and
Thessaloniki, is undisciplined. Greece has a poor record
within the European Union for traffic fatalities, mainly due
to excessive speeding. Road rage is always a risk.
Accidents can result in fistfights. Drivers in Greece should
exercise caution and common sense. Drivers and pedestrians
alike should exercise extreme caution when operating motor
vehicles or when walking along roadways. Moreover, tourists
who rent motorbikes either on the Greek mainland or its
islands must wear helmets and must take special precautions
on the local roads that are typically poorly maintained and
frequently pothole-ridden. Greece also has a poor record
within the European Union in motorcycle deaths.
This website hosts an archive of all 251,287 US Embassy diplomatic cables that were released by WikiLeaks between November 28, 2010 and September 2, 2011.
While the cables are generally available at http://wikileaks.org/cablegate.html
, we find it hard to search or even navigate the site to read the cables.
We have made all 251,287 cables available here at Dazzlepod with the hope to make it easier for readers to browse, search, share and discuss about the released cables.
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