* Every year southern European forests are burning, set alight by mysterious arsonists. Sometimes we are told that ‘land-speculators’ are behind it, (the Jooozzz come to mind since they are always to blame, although no one ever offers any proof…) and sometimes, when arsonists are caught, their names are usually withheld, because their ‘privacy must be respected’- so once again, we ask: Who is burning down the ancient forests of Greece, Spain, the cork-oak forests in Portugal, and the forests in the Provence? Could it have anything to do with the economic jihad that OBL promised to wage against us, anything at all?
Saturday’s high winds helped spread wildfires across Greece, scorching villages and sending smoke across the Ionian Sea, as seen in this satellite image from NASA.
By Nicole Itano | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
ATHENS – The scenes of desperation played out on television: residents phoned local media outlets begging to be saved as walls of fire descended on their houses and villages, while overstretched firefighters battled more than 170 blazes that erupted seemingly simultaneously.
On Sunday, at least 51 people were confirmed dead in the worst series of fires to hit Greece in decades. And still, fires, many of them blamed on arsonists, continued to spread across the country, fanned by gale-force winds and fed by vegetation dried out from long months of drought.
Now, as authorities struggle to deal with the immediate crisis, the fires have pushed the environment to the top of the political agenda in a country where such issues previously won little attention. With Greek national elections less than three weeks away, questions are being raised about how seriously the government takes the protection of the country’s open spaces.
Calling the fires an “unspeakable tragedy,” Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis declared a state of emergency Saturday, along with three days of mourning. For the time being, campaigning in the election has been called off and some analysts suggest that the election may even be delayed. Indeed, the fires have spawned outrage and anger across the country.
“Right now we’re in state of hiatus, and no one knows how it will finally shake out, but clearly it will be a key issue,” says John Psaropoulos, editor of the Athens News, from near Zaharo, one of the hardest hit areas of Greece where dozens have been killed.
This has been one of the hottest and driest summers in recent history, and much of southern Europe has been plagued by forest fires. In Greece, the dry conditions have played a role. But many of the fires, government and forestry experts say, have been set by arsonists, hoping to clear land for development.
“So many fires breaking out simultaneously in so many parts of the country cannot be a coincidence,” Mr. Karamanlis said in a nationally televised address Saturday. “The state will do everything it can to find those responsible and punish them.”
Already, at least three people have been arrested for setting this weekend’s fires; one, accused of setting a blaze that killed six people, is being charged for murder as well as for arson. But in the past, local activists say, the state has had a poor record of catching and prosecuting these types of arsonists. The problem persists, they say, and in large part perpetrators have previously gotten away with it.
Mysterious indeed. Why do you think that is?
* Comment from a reader:
There were fires recently in Montenegro near the Albanian border. The local villagers caught a native of Albania in the act. There are currently some fires on the administrative border between Kosovo and the rest of Serbia. No word there on who’s responsible. And then no less than 40 fires in Greece right now. The Greek authorities arrested some people but haven’t released any names. We’ll see.
The positive side of the story is that Cyprus, Serbia, Israel, Italy and some others are all helping Greece with this calamity.
Panagiotis Efstathiou, a senior Health Ministry official, said more than 50 bodies were taken to hospitals.
“We still have missing (people) who haven’t been found. We have about 10 missing,” Zaharo Mayor Pantazis Chronopoulos said, adding that soldiers had begun checking burned houses for more victims.
In what is being described as the worst fires in Greek history, fears for destruction of the ancient ruins of Olympia, a world heritage site and home to the first Olympics, Greece’s devastating forest fires close in. .
So many fires breaking out simultaneously in so many parts of the country cannot be a coincidence,” Karamanlis said in a nationally televised address. “The state will do everything it can to find those responsible and punish them.” ABC News
Frank asked the most obvious question that the mainstream media deliberately ignores. Who set Greece afire? This comes from Skai tv station in Greece, a very unbiased source of news:
The police, the armed forces and the Greek antiterrorism authorities have found arson devices in Greek forest areas which are triggered by mobile phones.
Satellite images reveal that within a space of a single hour, many fires appeared in different locations of Greece. The plan was to make the fire brigate forces overstretch.
It is certainly a terrorist attack. George Karatzaferis, the leader of the right wing party, LAOS, called the day, ‘Greece’s 9/11’.
Prosecutor Orders Probe Into Greek Fires
ATHENS, Greece â€” A top prosecutor ordered an investigation Monday into whether this summer’s arson attacks in Greek forests could be considered terrorism, the Public Order Ministry said.
Dimitris Papangelopoulos, who is responsible for prosecuting terrorism and organized crime, ordered the investigation to determine “whether the crimes of arsonists and of arson attacks on forests” could come under Greece’s anti-terrorism law, the ministry said in a statement.
The probe also will seek to establish the identities of the alleged perpetrators.
Update: GREECE’S 9/11: WHO SET THOSE FIRES?
GREECE FIRES RULED ARSON – “Greece’s 9/11” Seven arrested
A woman and her four children killed Friday, their charred bodies found with the woman’s arms around the youngsters, might have been safe if they had stayed at home. It was the only house left untouched in the village of Artemida in the western Peloponnese. The house’s white walls and red tile roof were unscathed, surrounded by blackened earth. CBS News – like the woman could ever possible know that – CBS – just report the news, not your retarded sense of irony.)