ΧΑΘΗΚΑΝ ΟΙ ΕΛΠΙΔΕΣ ΓΙΑ ΟΥΣΙΑΣΤΙΚΗ ΔΙΕΘΝΗ ΠΡΟΒΟΛΗ ΤΗΣ ΕΠΕΤΕΙΟΥ ΤΟΥ ΜΑΡΑΘΩΝΑ

Άλλη μια Ελληνική προσπάθεια φαίνεται ότι καταστράφηκε λόγω της λαιμαργίας και της φαγωμάρας μεταξύ αρκετών αρμοδίων παραγόντων που έχουν σχέση με την επέτειο των 2.500 χρόνων από την παγκοσμίου φήμης μάχη του Μαραθώνα και της αρχικής εμπνεύσεως για τον αγώνα Μαραθωνίου δρόμου.
Το χειρότερο είναι ότι η ευκαιρία για την ουσιαστική διεθνή προβολή της επετείου αυτής, που με την σειρά της θα σήμαινε ευρύτατη διεθνή πολιτιστική και τουριστική προβολή της χώρας, χάθηκε διότι εξαπατήθηκαν από Έλληνες αρμοδίους ακριβώς αυτοί που θα έκαναν την προβολή πραγματικότητα – παράγοντες των διεθνών ΜΜΕ.
Αυτό τουλάχιστον διαφαίνεται λεπτομερώς πια από μια έκθεση που διέρρευσε σε διάφορα υπουργεία και στον Τύπο και που εξιστορεί πώς μια ομάδα ξένων ανταποκριτών – δημοσιογράφων «ανακάλυψαν» την επέτειο και παρουσίασαν τους τρόπους προβολής σε όλους τους αρμοδίους. Οι αρμόδιοι αυτοί όμως, σύμφωνα τουλάχιστον με την καταγγελία, αντί να συνεργαστούν μαζί τους έκλεψαν τα σχέδια και προσπάθησαν να τα κάνουν μόνοι τους. (Το όλο περιεχόμενο της έκθεσης – καταγγελίας το παραθέτουμε παρακάτω στην αρχική του μορφή στα Αγγλικά).
Λέμε ότι το σκάνδαλο αποκαλύφθηκε πια «λεπτομερώς» ακριβώς τους μήνες της επετείου (Σεπτέμβριος-Οκτώβριος 2010), διότι εδώ και αρκετά χρόνια κυκλοφορούσαν φήμες για την κλοπή της πνευματικής ιδιοκτησίας των ξένων δημοσιογράφων (και ακολούθως τον αποκλεισμό τους) από τους Έλληνες «συνεργάτες».
Μάλιστα, η έκθεση αποκαλύπτει όλα τα ονόματα που φέρονται ως υπεύθυνα για την κλοπή και τελικά την υπονόμευση της διεθνούς προβολής της επετείου. Και τα ονόματα είναι αρκετά εντυπωσιακά: Υπουργοί Πολιτισμού και Τουρισμού από το 2005 μέχρι σήμερα (οι περισσότεροι φαίνεται ότι μάλλον αδιαφόρησαν ή αδράνησαν ενώ μόνο ο νυν Υπουργός Πολιτισμού Παύλος Γερουλάνος το «έκλεψε» για τα καλά), ο πρόεδρος του ΣΕΓΑΣ Βασίλης Σεβαστής, ο πρόεδρος της Οργανωτικής Επιτροπής του Κλασσικού Μαραθωνίου Αθήνας Κώστας Νικολόπουλος, ο Δήμαρχος Μαραθώνα Σπύρος Ζάγαρης, ο πρόεδρος του Ελληνικού Κέντρου Κινηματογράφου Γιώργος Παπαλιός (φέρεται ότι έδωσε το όλο σχέδιο των ξένων δημοσιογράφων και την υποβολή του κινηματογραφικού σεναρίου τους στην σκηνοθέτιδα….σύζυγό του Μαρία Χατζημιχάλη – Παπαλιού!), ο υπεύθυνος προβολής της Αθήνας Παναγιώτης Αρκουμανέας, κλπ.
Αποκαλύπτονται επίσης τα ονόματα συμβούλων ή στελεχών του Υπουργείου Πολιτισμού και Τουρισμού που φέρονται ότι κινήθηκαν πολύ συγκεκριμένα με μοναδικό σκοπό να αποκλείσουν τους ξένους ανταποκριτές – δημοσιογράφους και δημιουργούς της όλης διεθνούς προσπάθειας για την προβολή της Επετείου. Σ΄ αυτόν τον τομέα δίνεται ιδιαίτερη έμφαση στην παρέμβαση κάποιου συμβούλου με το όνομα Γιώργος Αλοίμονος, ο οποίος φέρεται να ανέτρεψε την προγραμματισμένη συνάντηση της πρώην Υφυπουργού κυρίας Άντζελας Γκερέκου με τους ξένους δημοσιογράφους – ιδρυτές της Επετείου καθώς και την συνάντηση τους με τον Υπουργό Πολιτισμού Παύλο Γερουλάνο.
Για να είμαστε σαφείς, θέλει πολύ διάβασμα το μακροσκελές αγγλικό υπόμνημα για να καταλάβει κανείς τί έγινε τα τελευταία πέντε χρόνια και πώς τελικά κατέρρευσε αυτή η προσπάθεια των ξένων δημοσιογράφων λόγω της φερόμενης ως «κλοπής πνευματικής ιδιοκτησίας» του σχεδίου τους από ελληνικής πλευράς, και ακολούθως του μειωμένου διεθνούς ενδιαφέροντος από τα διεθνή ΜΜΕ.

Διαφαίνεται όμως σαφώς ότι υπήρχε επίσημη πρόταση των ξένων ανταποκριτών να προβληθεί η επέτειος σε συνεργασία με την Οργανωτική Επιτροπή Ολυμπιακών Αγώνων του Λονδίνου. Δηλαδή, σε κοινή εκδήλωση ακριβώς 2 χρόνια πριν από την έναρξη των Ολυμπιακών του 2012, ώστε να συμπίπτει με την μεγάλη ελληνική και ευρωπαϊκή επέτειο του Μαραθώνα (δηλαδή μία καλή ιδέα να γινόταν κάτι από κοινού και με διεθνή αντίκτυπο στο τέλος Ιουλίου 2010). Το βρετανικό ενδιαφέρον όμως βασιζόταν μόνο σε αποδείξεις ότι οι ελληνικές αρχές συνεργάζονταν έμπρακτα στο σχέδιο αυτό – κάτι το οποίο δεν κατέστη δυνατόν ακριβώς διότι η κάθε ελληνική αρχή φαίνεται ότι «έκλεβε» το σχέδιο και προχωρούσε μόνη της αντί να συνεργαστεί με τους ανταποκριτές. Έτσι η αγγλική έκθεση αποτελεί πρόταση για απόρριψη του σχεδίου συσχέτισης της Μαραθωνιακής Επετείου με τους Ολυμπιακούς Αγώνες (προφανώς απορρίφθηκε από κάποιους Βρετανούς κριτές της πρότασης) εξ αιτίας των αρνητικών εξελίξεων στην Αθήνα.
Το μόνο που μαθαίνουμε στην Αθήνα είναι ότι υπάρχει ασυνεννοησία μεταξύ των ελληνικών παραγόντων που τελικά πήραν την επέτειο στα χέρια τους από τους ξένους ανταποκριτές – δημοσιογράφους. Μη βοηθούμενη από την οικονομική κρίση, ασκούνται πιέσεις προς το Υπουργείο Πολιτισμού για χρηματοδότηση από αρκετές πλευρές. Τελικά ο ΣΕΓΑΣ πήρε κάποια χρήματα για να πληρώσει την συμμετοχή «μεγάλων» ονομάτων στον Επετειακό Αγώνα Δρόμου που θα γίνει στα τέλη Οκτωβρίου με ρεκόρ συμμετοχών Ελλήνων και ξένων αθλητών.
Ο Δήμος Μαραθώνα τελικά φαίνεται ότι έμεινε απέξω και χρησιμοποίησε δικούς του πόρους για διάφορες πρωτοβουλίες και επετειακές εκδηλώσεις που έγιναν στις 12 Σεπτεμβρίου, οι οποίες μάλλον έπεσαν στο κενό και δεν προσήλκυσαν διεθνές ενδιαφέρον. (Σημειώνεται ότι η αγγλική έκθεση είναι ιδιαιτέρως σκληρή όσον αφορά τον Δήμαρχο Μαραθώνα Σπύρο Ζάγαρη, ο οποίος φέρεται ως υπεύθυνος για μια σειρά κλοπών του όλου σχεδίου με σκοπό την προσωπική του προβολή).
Παραθέτουμε τώρα ολόκληρο το μακροσκελές αγγλικό κείμενο κριτικής μαζί με όλα τα ονόματα. Προηγείται ένα σημείωμα στα Ελληνικά απ’αυτόν (ή αυτή ή αυτούς) που διέρρευσαν την έκθεση προς τους αρμόδιους φορείς. Όσοι ξέρουν καλά αγγλικά, ας καταλήξουν στα δικά τους συμπεράσματα.

Ελπίζω να κατανοείτε την ανάγκη τήρησης της ανωνυμίας μου, καθώς και ότι δεν μπορώ να αποκαλύψω ούτε τους συντάκτες αυτής της έκθεσης-καταγγελίας ούτε τους παραλήπτες (ομολογώ πως έχω απαλείψει τα ονόματα τους, για ευνόητους λόγους). Λυπάμαι επίσης διότι δεν έχω το χρόνο να σας παραθέσω λεπτομερή μετάφραση. Σας στέλνω το κείμενο στ’Αγγλικά απλώς επειδή αναφέρεται το όνομά σας και ο φορέας σας. Θέλω να τονίσω ότι, λόγω των γνώσεων και της ανάμειξής μου στο θέμα σαν πρώην σύμβουλος, συμφωνώ με το μεγαλύτερο μέρος της έκθεσης που σας εσωκλείω, αλλά δεν συμφωνώ σε όλα. Γι’ αυτό θα ήθελα απλώς να σας δώσω την ευκαιρία να είστε έτοιμοι να αμυνθείτε επί των κατηγοριών, σε περίπτωση ανάγκης.

Η έκθεση αυτή θεωρείτε ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ (εμπιστευτική), παρουσιάστηκε τον Ιούλιο φέτος (2010), και αφορά την Επέτειο (2.500 χρόνια) της Μάχης του Μαραθώνα και του Μαραθωνίου Δρόμου. Το μόνο που μπορώ να σας πω είναι ότι το κείμενο αυτό στέλνεται από άτομα (που είναι μάλλον Άγγλοι ή Αμερικανοί) σε μία ομάδα εγκρίσεων ή ομάδα μεσολαβητών που αποφασίζουν ή προτείνουν ποιες επιμέρους εκδηλώσεις θα εγκριθούν για συμμετοχή σε γενικότερες εκδηλώσεις που αφορούν τους Ολυμπιακούς Αγώνες του Λονδίνου. Ως εκ τούτου, το σκεπτικό ήταν να δοθεί μεγάλη πολιτιστική, αθλητική και τουριστική προβολή στο θέμα του Μαραθώνα μέσω των εκδηλώσεων προετοιμασίας των Ολυμπιακών Αγώνων.

Η συγκεκριμένη περίπτωση στο εν λόγω κείμενο αφορά πρόταση για την συμπερίληψη της Επετείου 25 αιώνων του Μαραθώνα στο εορταστικό πρόγραμμα, μαζί με τις εκδηλώσεις για τα 2 χρόνια πριν από την έναρξη των Ολυμπιακών Αγώνων του Λονδίνου (27 Ιουλίου φέτος).

Όπως φαίνεται από την έκθεση (που αφορά την όλη προσπάθεια που ξεκίνησε και ακολούθως ανέπτυξε τα τελευταία χρόνια μία ομάδα ξένων δημοσιογράφων στην Ελλάδα σε συνεργασία με συναδέλφους στη Βρετανία και σε άλλες ευρωπαϊκές χώρες), η πρόταση για την επέτειο του Μαραθώνα μάλλον τελικά απορρίπτεται.

Όπως θα δείτε, οι αιτίες που αναφέρονται στην έκθεση για τη δυσαρέσκεια και προτεινόμενη απόρριψη του Ελληνικού αυτού θέματος είναι η φερομένη «κλοπή πνευματικής ιδιοκτησίας» του όλου σχεδίου των ξένων δημοσιογράφων που έγινε από Ελληνικά Υπουργεία, φορείς και συγκεκριμένα άτομα (τα οποία μάλιστα κατονομάζονται στο Αγγλικό κείμενο που εσωκλείεται).

Εάν βρω κι άλλο αποδεικτικό υλικό σχετικά με το όλο ιστορικό αυτής της καταγγελίας και οποιεσδήποτε σχετικές εξελίξεις, θα σας τα στείλω. Ευχαριστώ.
July, 2010
Dear Sirs / Madam,
As requested, we are responding to your request for a full presentation on the ‘Marathon Anniversary Project, the prospects of using it to promote Greek tourism and culture internationally and, more important for you, to examine the possibility of linking it to the London 2012 Olympics. We completed our investigation after six months of research and are now hastening to submit it before the end-July deadline. Due to the time limit and haste with which it was written, please excuse any grammatical errors, typos and repetitiveness.

You may remember that you had considered any time before July 2010 as the absolute latest in making a conclusion for a connection of the Athens Marathon to the forthcoming Olympics, as this marked the two-year anniversary before the 2012 Games. Unfortunately, and to start with the conclusion, our recommendation to you is a negative one. We do not consider it appropriate to connect the London Olympics with the Athens Marathon 25th century anniversary, for specific reasons which we present in detail below.

Contents of our Findings in Brief

n In brief, we feel that we have come across a major and rather blatant case of intellectual property theft of the original plan. The creators of the plan were the group of Athens-based foreign journalists that we have long known about [which we will henceforth call the Foreign Press Team or FPT], and the perpetrators of the intellectual property theft are the government and some related public and private sector agencies and individuals.
n The extent of the intellectual theft could in fact be compared to the Greek deception of international bodies as to the true state of the country’s finances (the ‘Greek flu’ as it is popularly known, which has shaken confidence in the European economy overall). Indeed, the general economic malaise in Greece and internationally, and the coincidence of Greece’s poor international image, was an unfortunate one which also hindered the success of this effort. But the quality of the FPT plan was such that it could still have captured the attention and support of the world community -- if the involved foreign journalists were allowed access to Greek authorities, if their project was not stolen, and if certain local and national government functionaries had not blocked it for their own personal reasons.
n It should be noted that the FPT journalists have a large number of documents and witnesses in Greece and abroad that would embarrass Greek authorities, at a time when Greece cannot afford further international embarrassment. Our own feeling is that they will not proceed with legal action against Greek authorities because of the cost involved, but on the other hand they will not reveal to them the other two plans they have for the international promotion of Greece’s tourism and cultural image.

n In this report we name ministers and other officials involved. We conclude that Greek authorities from middle-ranking advisers to cabinet ministers, even the prime minister to a certain extent, share the blame. But we also blame the foreign journalists themselves for being so naïve and trusting, especially when they had similar high-level international projects stolen from them before by Greek authorities.

n We describe the history of the group’s effort, admittedly based to a considerable extent on their on their own accounts. But this report is also based on the evidence of an insider who used to work for them but gave up, and on independent research with elements within the Ministries of Culture and Tourism. We also checked out other bodies like the Greek Film Centre, SEGAS (the country’s athletics federation), the Athens Classic Marathon Organizing Committee (MOC), the ‘Major Marathons of the World (i.e. the eight cities with the leading world marathons), the International Marathon Committee (IMC), etc.

n Our conclusion is that, based on the documented evidence and on verbal information we collected, the Athens-based foreign journalists were indeed the ‘inventors’ or pioneers of the 25th century Marathon Anniversary celebrations. Subsequently, they developed and copyrighted proposals for the international promotion of Greece’s cultural and tourism image and their connection to European ideals in general. We are convinced that not a single Greek government or private agency would even have been aware of the anniversary had they not been alerted by the foreign press research group, and yet they proceeded to methodically and systematically steal the plans and exclude the group from any participation.

n As mentioned, the FPT have two more quality projects which could greatly boost Greece’s tourism and culture image and bring in considerable revenues, but only if they are discreetly allowed to use the media mechanisms they know. However, in our own opinion it is now very doubtful whether this group or their younger associates will want to cooperate any more with central or local Greek authorities. We ourselves are interested in one of the two projects on a long-term basis, but again this would require the cooperation of Greek authorities. And we just do not know if there will be a change of mentality over the next year.

n Their other project is also of international interest, but it is again likely to fall foul of local jealousies and rivalries, in this case especially among archeologists and historians.

Who are the foreign journalists who first discovered and proposed the Marathon Anniversary celebrations?

As you know, the Marathon anniversary movement was founded and developed several years ago, both on a Greek and international basis, by the team of Athens-based Greek-international journalists which you briefly dealt with at the start of their effort. (Apart from our reference to them as ‘FPT’, they have also appeared with the names ‘Olympic Action Media’ or ‘Marathon Action Media’). And you agreed to cooperate with them, but only on condition that they would report convincing evidence that Greek authorities and private sponsors would get seriously involved in the project – and on a quality basis.

The three main foreign correspondents involved (over the years there have been about a dozen others, including specialized associates) are:

JOHN RIGOS – the former, long-time president of the Foreign Press Association, bureau chief of United Press International and writer for several other publications. He had the prestige and popularity that made him suitable to be at least the nominal head of the team. Unfortunately, he has retired now, is getting on in age, and is rather ‘spiritually broken’ by the disappointments over the three projects stolen by the Greek state from this creative group over the past eight years.

PAUL ANASTASI – still an active foreign journalist for the British press and other English-language international media, and an author. He is in effect the leader of the group, the most active, and the original ‘inventor’ (if one can use that term) of the proposals for the international promotion of the 25th Century Marathon Anniversary celebrations. The reason we chose to cooperate with him when he made the proposals back in 2006 was:
n he and his associates had already also first pioneered the international plan for the Culture Olympics and for the Olympic Truce – which were very quickly also stolen by the Greek government of the time.
n He had experience as the founder and director of the City of Athens International Media Department and as the city’s press spokesman for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
n He had the required determination and ability to do it because, for example, along with a group of foreign press and Greek journalists he had led the investigation and disruption of the Soviet KGB’s infiltration of the Greek press in the eighties (his findings had an international impact in exposing KGB media and psychological warfare tactics overall).
n He had won the international competition announced by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg (in the early eighties) and was appointed representative on Greek media affairs.
n He founded the English-language radio station for Greece with the BBC World Service (until it was abruptly taken over by the family and political friends of former foreign minister Mrs. Dora Bacoyannis, when she was Mayor of Athens for the period running up to the 2004 Olympic Games).
n It appears that he is about to solve the mystery concerning financial corruption within the Foreign Press Association of Greece, something that may give additional credibility to this team’s efforts.

JOHN CARR – the Athens correspondent of the London Times and an author. He has made in-and-out appearances for the Marathon project and focused mainly on research. Unlike the other two above, he has recently come to the conclusion that it is “hopeless” trying to cooperate with Greek authorities. He argues that there is no point in pursuing the Marathon project anymore, because whichever government is in power the decision-makers will just take the proposals of creative persons in the private sector and then employ their political and family friends to carry them out (and benefit accordingly). He points out that, unlike in England, the U.S. and other developed countries, there are no proper, independent ‘evaluation committees’ that will summon private sector creators of a project and then make an honest evaluation and take a decision.

As mentioned, we continue to believe that the FPT’s plans (and some that still remain undisclosed) appear to be good, sound and safe, despite the very difficult international financial environment. And yet the FPT journalists must also take some responsibility for the failure. For they exhibited naivety and too much confidence that the Greek state and private bodies would respond efficiently and with integrity, even though this same team had several previous bad experiences as to ‘Greek realities’.

Once again, therefore, our conclusion is that the original rather ingenious plan by the FTP to develop the international promotion of Greek Culture and Tourism (as well as other sectors like sport and business and even cultural - political influence through such popular themes as peaceful co-existence and the environment) has been abused by Greek state and private sector interests. As such, it is advisable that the London Olympics and other European bodies do not get involved in any way in supporting this project, because it has gone off track.

Our findings in greater detail

To the best of our knowledge, our checks have confirmed that nowhere in the world (and certainly not in Greece) had anybody even realized that 2010 was the 25th century anniversary of the internationally significant (particularly to Europe) 490 BC Battle of Marathon and of the original inspiration for the Marathon Run. The only evidence of such action taken by Greek private and state authorities at any level was a long time after the FTP presented their proposals to Greek national and local government authorities. In all cases these proposals and plans were promptly taken from them without A) any kind of acknowledgement for their work and B) worse, they were excluded from the crucial work they could have done in the foreign press to drum up long-term international interest in the project and its various spin-off benefits for Greece and the international community at large (in culture, tourism, sports, goodwill international relations, global peace and inter-cultural cooperation, the environment, etc.)

In our opinion, in almost any other European Union member state the members of the FPT would have been given some public acknowledgement, letters of thanks, even a nominal distinction, plus the ‘seed’ or ‘start-up’ financing to proceed. At the very least, they would have gone before a committee of experts to answer questions, and their plan would have been discussed in detail. After that, their Marathon Anniversary project would either have been rejected in part or in whole, or they would have been fully supported in specific efforts by the appropriate bodies (cultural, sporting and tourism).

Instead, the worst possible scenario happened: all authorities were so impressed by this project (in terms of its long-term value for Greece), that they simply took it for themselves and for their own private benefit (for various self-serving reasons, depending on whether it was a state minister or an involved body).
That is what me mean by saying that the FPT made a critical mistake: they were too well-intended, believed they were acting within the norms of a Western European country, and forgot what is generally referred to as ‘Greek realities’. In that sense, they were somewhat naïve, by Greek standards if not by international ones.
Indeed, although they were wise enough to safeguard their intellectual property rights at all the most important international and Greek levels, we believe they now fully realize that to take the Greek government and others to court would be an extremely costly and time-consuming business – even though in the end they would most probably win.

Other examples of Greek state intellectual property theft

All the same, they should have been even more careful in revealing the project, because they had suffered the same theft and disregard over two other impressive brainchild projects they initiated and developed for Greek authorities. For, however hard it is to believe, this very same group were the ‘founders’ of:

1. The ‘Olympic Truce’ initiative launched prior to the Athens 2004 Olympic Games specifically for the Greek experience, which was taken from them by a former MP who then became Euro-MP and subsequent deputy minister in the current PASOK government. It was given by him to no-one less than then Foreign Minister and current Prime Minister George Papandreou. In all fairness of course, Mr. Papandreou is probably not aware that this project, which he then presented to the IOC and the United Nations (see public references in 2002 and 2003), had in fact been stolen by his associates from the same foreign press team.

2. The Culture Olympics or Culture Olympiad, also introduced shortly before the Athens Olympics and in this case hijacked from the press team by junior associates of then Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos (currently second in the hierarchy of the PASOK socialist government).
As known, in both cases the Greek government at the time again ‘stole’ the projects and along with the IOC presented them as their own joint ventures. In both cases the Greek government drew substantial state funds for these two projects, but they failed in their objectives and the money was squandered among political friends and clientele. For the projects did not have any particular success in terms of international media coverage. They had a quick death and no long-term impact or benefit for Greece or Europe – or indeed for anyone in the world, considering that the Olympic Truce (or Peace) project could have been particularly useful nowadays.
In all three cases, therefore, we repeat that the FPT’s work (which had no financial support whatsoever but the journalists’ own very modest resources) was hijacked without any thanks or acknowledgement. This is another reason why we are concerned about the suggested involvement of the London Olympics. For even if you do propose support for the FPT’s excellent idea and tactics to promote both the Marathon, Greece and the London Olympics through their proposed action plan (just as the IOC supported the other two Olympic projects without even knowing that the FPT had created them), the London Olympics are likely to be tarnished by such intellectual and organizational theft that is so often practiced in Greece. And this year in particular is not the best for Greece’s international image.
Hard though it is for us to mention in this report, in the popular international mind and media Greece has been badly discredited as a country with corrupt politicians / governments and with dishonest people in general (although admittedly they are not the only country in the region with such an image). The trouble is that the intellectual theft in this case was performed on a group of foreign journalists, and on a persistent and systematic basis.

A record of the Media Team’s work

As mentioned, the Media Team made the mistake of showing their plans to Greek authorities without being accompanied by international lawyers, or at least by local lawyers who could not be politically intimidated. It is in that sense that they were naïve, especially considering their previous bad experiences. However, having suffered badly from the theft of their first two Olympic Games projects, the Team this time was admittedly somewhat more careful than before (but not enough). They did as many correct moves as possible. Specifically:
-- one or two of them traveled to London to seek cooperation for a documentary and subsequently participated in internal forums for documentary development and submitted their script and well-produced film trailer to the Greek Film Centre.
-- they presented the project to almost every appropriate authority in Greece and abroad (for example SEGAS the Greek athletics federation, the Athens Marathon Organizing Committee, the international Major Marathons, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Tourism, the City of Athens Mayor and local government and its relevant office for the city’s promotion.
They also presented it to the World Council of Greeks Abroad at a special conference in Athens, where all 7 of the participating presidents from each continent voted in favour of the project. The World Council voted unanimously in making the FPT’s project a key vehicle for the country’s international promotion in the sphere of cultural diplomacy –but then did nothing about it.

In all cases, as far as we understand, the foreign press team presented the plan in a detailed and coherent way (keeping back the best details until they could see the government ministers themselves), and protecting them intellectually (copyright) at all necessary forums: under European law, American law, and Greek law.

Finally, they made contact with the appropriate person at the London Olympics – where it was agreed that their plan would be seriously discussed, but only once the FPT Team had proof that Greek authorities and related bodies were actively cooperating with them. (And the tragic irony of it all is that the theft of the project by Greek officials and organizations eventually made it impossible for the plan to eventually reach the appropriate decision-taking levels, either within Greece or internationally.)

While all these moves by the FPT appear to us to be very correct by European or American standards, what followed in Greece is particularly surprising (to say the least). And that is what has prompted us to rule out any significant European cooperation with the Marathon Project (from a cultural and tourism point of view). Similarly, as emphasized above, we advise you not to recommend the use of the London Olympics to help this Greek venture, simply because you are likely to get embroiled in local rivalries and ambitions. Indeed, we note that rifts and jealousies have already began to appear even within the organizers of the Athens Marathon at the end of October 2010 and within the related bodies dealing with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

The Guilty Parties

To be more specific, and based on our research and questions, the Foreign Press Team presented their internationally copyrighted project on the Marathon Anniversary to the highest possible authorities (either through personal visits to them or in written reports, or both). Specifically to:

n the former President of the Greek Republic Mr. Costis Stephanopoulos (they had a personal meeting with him, at which he expressed his enthusiasm and willingness to participate in a Greek-International Committee, and advised that the participation of the Ministries of Culture, Sport and Tourism be secured as soon as possible)
n former Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and former opposition leader and current Prime Minister George Papandreou (two letters and phone talks with their aides)
n every Culture and / or Tourism Minister who was in office over the past few years (Messrs. George Voulgarakis, Aris Spiliotopoulos, Michalis Liapis, Antonis Samaras – who is currently the leader of the opposition conservative New Democracy party); the Alternate Minister of Culture and Tourism Mrs. Angela Gerekou; the president of the National Tourism Organization of Greece Mr. Kanellopoulos; the current Culture and Tourism Minister Paul Geroulanos; the leadership of SEGAS (which is the country’s athletics federation and organizer of the Marathon Race) and specifically its president Vasilis Sevastis and Organization Coordinator Makis Asimakopoulos; the Athens Classical Marathon Organizing Committee (its president Kostas Panagopoulos); the former Deputy Mayor of Marathon and then Mayor Spyros Zagaris; the Greek Film Centre (its president, George Papalios, and the head of the Greek Film Commission Mark Holevas); the international presidents of the World Council of Greeks abroad (they are apparently divided according to the continents the Greek communities live in – and in effect that means every corner of the world!) and a host of other officials and potential private sponsors.
n At the same time the FPT group fully prepared the research, reports, maps and photos, a film trailer and the visual material for the international promotion of the cause. This culminated in the writing and publication of a well-argued and illustrated book (“Marathon Mysteries”) by the Athens News weekly newspaper of the Kyriakides publishing group. The book has a large amount of photographs, exhibits and maps and some new arguments as to the Battle of Marathon and the Marathon Run that genuinely makes it news-worthy for the international press. This book in fact, has provided an interesting new approach to what really happened on that day after the morning of the Battle of Marathon, which Greek authorities have totally failed to see or understand – simply because they focused more on hijacking the project than actually receiving the FTP team to listen to explanations. This approach by the researchers and writer would, in our opinion, have provided a major boost to international interest in the Battle of Marathon anniversary.
The FTP group, in cooperation with a good Greek film production company (Stefi Films), also undertook all the expenses for the production of a 6-minute ‘trailer’ or promo tape for a dual, English and Greek language documentary (that was also to be called ‘Marathon Mysteries’).
This planned documentary was presented at international forums organized in cooperation with the Greek state-controlled National Radio and Television organization (ERT) and the European Documentary Union (EDU), but also ended up being stolen as a concept by the president of the Greek Film Centre, by two other production companies which attempted it, and even (so we are informed, but have not confirmed it yet), by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) or a company cooperating with it. We also understand that Greek Skai radio and television network (not to be confused with the British-based SKY TV), is involved in some kind of plagiarism or indirect theft of certain aspects of the project and will somehow be cashing in on it (again, we are not sure of the details, but these will probably become evident soon). A similar theft of the FTP team’s proposals to international producers has also been hijacked by international producers (either by National Geographic, History Channel or one of the well-known networks – again, we are not sure of the details at this stage).





The specific individuals involved in the theft

Specifically, while every single body expressed their enthusiasm for the plan, privately they hijacked it or tried to do so (in many cases with poor results, even though the entire plan of action had been served on a plate for them). More specifically:

THE MAYOR OF MARATHON, Spyros Zagaris, was one of the first to have had the plan presented to him by the journalists. At about the same time that ex-president Costis Stephanopoulos was briefed in person, and the prime minister and opposition leader in letters, Mr. Zagaris was briefed in a visit by the team at his Marathon office. At that time, he was only deputy mayor and is said by some to have used the project idea to a certain extent to be elected to the post of mayor. In the months ahead liaison with him was maintained through a lady called Lilly Christoforidou, who had been assigned both this task and to pursue EU funding for the project. Mr. Zagaris subsequently took every single item of the proposed list of actions and presented them as his own, eliminating the FPT in the process. This included the production of a book, an (attempted) documentary, plans for an epic film, international conferences, etc.
Most recently, and after seeing the FPT’s initiative to develop an ‘international committee’ to support the Marathon anniversary cause, Mr. Zagaris hastened to imitate or pre-empt the move by forming the ‘International Association of the Friends of Marathon’ (www.friendsofmarathon.gr). In effect it is an attempt at creating an instrument for his own local and international promotion. The ‘association’ is under the control of himself, his wife Dina and a small group of personal friends.
To be fair, one of the mayor’s own ideas was that of the ‘Marathon Flame’, namely that every Marathon race staged around the world should get the starting flame from Marathon town. This is a quite charming idea, although a bit costly and complicated because of the large number of marathons every year (there are about 700 of them), and is a copy of the idea of the Olympic Flame that starts off at Ancient Olympia in southern Greece prior to every Olympics. This Marathon Flame idea was not an idea of the FPT.
Similarly, these days, as the London Olympics reach the mid-way mark or two-years-to-go until the July 2010 Games, and the date that the FPT had all along proposed as the occasion for the simultaneous international promotion of the Marathon Anniversary, mayor Zagaris is behind the staging of an attempt to emulate the alleged legendary run by Pheidipides (or Philipides) to Sparta to seek aid against the invading Persian war machine.
The run is to be undertaken by former Greek women’s marathon record-holder Maria Polizou and by Panayotis Skoulis, a runner who some 20 years ago had been the first to repeat the alleged feat of running about 250 miles or 530 kilometres to Sparta and then back to Athens. The two runners are likely to achieve this feat (it is the equivalent of 12 marathons in a row), but they will have a lot of modern technical support, sleep, etc.
What the organizers don’t realize is that even if this is achieved in a week, they will only succeed in disproving the legend that Pheidipides or Philipides did it in two days (especially over much rougher and dangerous terrain without any support). They will thereby prove the FPT’s argument that only a team of horsemen could have been used on such a crucial mission to seek aid for Athens while the Persians were invading. The key FTP argument and content of the ‘Marathon Mysteries’ book is that it also did not make sense to send a runner back from Marathon to Athens to announce victory, at a time when the Persian second offensive was underway. (This second offensive has been almost totally ignored by Greek historians). The press team argues that, again, only a team of horsemen or sun-ray and military smoke signals would have been used.
The FTP’s well-argued ‘proof’ -- that the real marathon run was not staged by any solitary runner but that something far more spectacular took place: the feat of the 11,000 Athenian and Platean soldiers who rushed back to Athens to save the city from the planned second landing at Phaleron -- has apparently never reached the ears of Greek government authorities. And this, simply because it was prevented by the interest groups and advisers who stole the project for themselves. Therefore, the great opportunity has been lost to raise the interest of the international media, to apply the FPT plan and to boost Greece’s international cultural and tourism image through the new findings.


The President of the Greek Film Centre (GFC or EKK)

As explained above, this was perhaps the crudest example of intellectual property theft. The president of the GFC, a man called George Papalios, met with Anastasi twice and received all of his documentary material as well as that of the latter’s chosen director, Mrs. Maria Douza of Stefi Films. They applied for financing through the normal GFC channels along with several other candidates, but little did they know that Mr. Papalios was channeling all the material to his wife Maria Hajimichali-Papalios, herself a director, who went ahead and produced an imitation documentary of her own (it got bad reviews as a shoddy production).
Also present at these talks was a man called Markos Holevas, responsible for what is the equivalent of the British Film Council, which is designed to attract foreign productions to Greece. He is reputed to be a much milder mannered and honest person than Mr. Papalios, knows quite a lot about several efforts that were made by production companies to steal the Anastasi documentary plan on Marathon, and may testify should the case ever be taken to court.


SEGAS (Athletics federation) and the Marathon Organizing Committee

The very first to steal the plan and to rush ahead in a major way (pushing the FPT aside in the process and anxiously attempting to mobilize Greek authorities and international participants and to raise money) was the country’s athletics federation (called SEGAS), long headed by a man called Vasilis Sevastis. Acting with them was the Athens Classical Marathon Organizing Committee, headed by Mr. Sevastis’ personal friend Kostas Nikolopoulos. SEGAS and the Athens Classic MOC are in fact two sides of the same coin, with the Organizing Commttee constituting a more flexible means of raising sponsorship and other money.
Our research shows that not even these bodies, the very organizers of the annual Athens Marathon Race, had the slightest idea that the Marathon Anniversary was coming up. But once presented with the proof and the documentary trailer by the foreign pres representatives, they saw the golden opportunity presented by the FPT plan to raise money and to give the ailing Athens marathon a boost. Unwisely and greedily, they stile the project, pushed the FPT aside and plunged ahead on their own course. Two visits by an FPT delegation to SEGAS and numerous calls to the Marathon Organizing Committee were ignored.
However, the stolen FPT project gave SEGAS the opportunity to attract a record amount of money (including from the Culture Ministry via the OPAP, state-controlled sports betting agency) and to organize the largest ever Athens marathon (an estimated ceiling of 20,000 participants are expected for the race at the end of October 2010). They also drew upon the FPT’s plan to attract participants and sponsors such as the hoteliers’ associations, banking sponsors, sports product producers, etc.

The Ministries of Culture and Tourism

When possible legal action was being planned in Greece and internationally (the FPT had copyrighted or registered the plans at the appropriate authorities in the U.S., Europe and Greece), a list of documentary proof was presented to lawyers. It showed that about 50 different reports or letters had been sent by the FPT to these two ministries and related bodies in Greece and abroad in order to rouse their interest, to cooperate with them and especially to examine the role the foreign press could play. Parallel to these scripts were constant efforts to visit the officials, efforts that were ignored or blocked by several Greek ministers and their associates in these domains, irrespective of whether the conservative New Democracy party or the socialist PASOK party were in power. But at the same time the state authorities absorbed the information, obviously preparing actions of their own.
When they actually did get going, once the current socialist PASOK party came to power at the end of 2009, the Anastasi-FPT group at first manage to attract the interest of Deputy or Alternate Minister of Culture and Tourism Mrs Angela Gerekou (a former model and TV celebrity in Greece). They had scheduled a meeting with her in December 2009 after they were astonished to see her giving a press conference with the SEGAS president and Mr. Panagopoulos of the Marathon Organizing Committee. Similarly, they saw Mrs. Gerekou reveal the Marathon anniversary project at the prestigious, annual Berlin exhibition on international tourism, where she announced plans as if they were their own. No acknowledgement or thanks were extended by her to the FPT for their pioneering work, probably because SEGAS (Mr. Sevastis) and the Marathon Organizing Committee (Mr. Nikolopoulos) never told her they had stolen it all from the FPT.


Deputy Minister Gerekou and the role of George Alimonos

The group’s meeting with alternate minister Gerekou was suddenly and inexplicably cancelled only 18 hours before the scheduled talks, on some false pretext (purportedly an emergency government cabinet meeting). Her office said that her press director (a lady called Ms. Anesti, or something like that) would see them and discuss the project, but even this press director failed to turn up at the re-scheduled meeting at the ministry, when the FPT group went there. Instead, the journalists were met by two young men / advisers, one of them called George Alimonos and the other Lucas Germanos. Mr. Alimonos had the title of (something like) ‘adviser on media and international relations’, and he was given the ‘Marathon Mysteries’ book and project yet again. In effect, no substantial discussion took place, but Mr. Alimonos promised to give an answer in about two weeks, around the end of the year (2009). But in fact that proved to be a ploy simply to get rid of the FPT and allow the ministry to proceed with the stolen project. The two men provided no answer, never phoned, and avoided the issue altogether when they were contacted again.
Our own conclusion from the research we have done is that Mr. Alimonos probably turned out to be the most unfortunate element within the Culture & Tourism Ministry, in destroying the effort to internationalize the project via the media mechanisms known to the FPT. Though a generally good-natured person, he (wrongly) advised deputy minister Gerekou, then the president of the National Tourist Organisation of Greece (Kanellopoulos) and then the Minister himself (Paul Geroulanos) that they should not have any contact with the foreign press members. The reason he gave them was that cooperation with the FPT for the Marathon Anniversary project would have been misunderstood as “payment of foreign journalists” and would have created an international scandal for the government.
Mr. Alimonos was wrong for a number of reasons, but the inexperienced Greek government officials (inexperienced, on this subject at least) believed him and were misled into not meeting the FPT group. Mr Alimonos was wrong because:

A) There was no ethical dilemma, as the large majority of foreign journalists in Greece (and in many other countries) already worked for or had worked for government-supported media operations or semi-governmental agencies (eg. prestigious state-owned news organizations like the BBC, Agence France Press, the Athens News Agency, press offices of ministries or embassies. Many other national news agencies are government-supported, without this meaning that the correspondents are government propagandists or do not send impartial reports to their own media.)
B) With rare exceptions, the newspapers or media of the freelance or independent foreign correspondents do not care if one of their writers gets involved in a semi-state project. It is quite normal for them to have a second job or additional project. All editors want is for their correspondents to send them good news material. They would not be concerned at all if they were involved in the foreign press promotion of the Marathon project.
C) In their numerous written petitions the FPT group never once asked for money. From what we know of the way they operate, they would have sought official ‘approval or auspices’ to show both to the London Olympics and all other international bodies as proof that they had a certain cooperation with the proper authorities. They would have sought a small amount of “seed” or ‘start-up’ money for 6 or 9 months to pay for 2-3 advertising and secretarial staff until they could raise their own funds from private sponsors in Greece and abroad.
D) An issue that had temporarily arisen in the Foreign Press Association (FPA) of Greece in 2009, over whether or not an FPA member could also work in a state-related news agency or quasi-governmental initiative, was soundly defeated after a second round of voting. It became totally clear that the FPA was a social organization that could not interfere in a journalist’s professional relationship with the media he or she represented. The whole issue had been fuelled by professional rivalries between three women journalists, plus the attempts of some executive members to cover up apparent embezzlement of FPA funds. As an ethical issue, the use of professional and experienced foreign correspondents / writers is of no concern to the international promotion of the Marathon anniversary project. In fact it would have been strongly recommended (as is practiced in the U.S. and Western Europe, where skilled journalists and editors go on to become consultants and writers for major organizations and initiatives).
E) Already the use of experienced foreign correspondents had proved to be a successful formula at the Athens 2004 Olympics, at a time when Greece was suffering badly due to foreign press criticism because the Olympics press department initially was staffed only by Greek journalists and associates. The entry of a few foreign correspondents (including, incidentally, 1-2 members of the FPT group) brought results. So did the founding and development of an International Media Department for the City of Athens by Mr. Anastasi, using only foreign correspondents (when Dora Bakoyanni was Mayor of Athens for the Olympics). The techniques the foreign journalists used were much cheaper and more effective than using costly and non-convincing international public relations firms, and as a result the favourable foreign press reports began to multiply in the last months leading up to the Olympics.

When the FPT group decided to call Mr. Alimonos’ bluff, and offered to resign as journalists, he fumbled. He did not know what to say or do. He replied nearly one month later and in effect said nothing. He also did nothing, and just stuck to the original wrong advice he had given his superiors. (This is quite a common phenomenon, whereby an adviser makes a wrong recommendation, but does not have the courage to admit his mistake and just keeps on sticking to it. It happens in many walks of life).


Our own conclusion is that what Mr. Alimonos was really concerned about what his own position. As is common in Greece and indeed (in all fairness) in many countries of south-eastern Europe and elsewhere in the world, he was probably given the job at the ministry because of his socialist party membership or because of his personal ties to some senior official of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. However, lacking the experience to deal with the foreign press that the FPT group had, he may have felt insecure and threatened by their presence and proposals. He probably wanted to remain totally “in charge” of media and foreign press relations, not realizing that his cooperation with the FPT would not have been a threat but a very beneficial one for a specific period and for a specific project. He should have known that none of the FPT team had any interest whatsoever in long term government ties.

Speaking of the present Culture ministry’s response to the FPT’s persistent (almost desperate) attempts to see the appropriate government leaders as the London Olympics 2-year deadline approached, we understand that these days they had a meeting with another, more senior personal adviser to Minister Paul Geroulanos. They saw a certain Mr. Bikos, and this time they were accompanied by a lawyer. From what we understand (there is no time any more for us to pursue the matter), they were convinced that Mr. Bikos was a more responsible person and understood the significance of the Marathon Anniversary. But they also realized he had no idea whatsoever as to the vast amount of work the FPT had put into the project.

The City of Athens Local Government and Mayor Kaklamanis

Some two months before this final effort, there had been a sudden turn to the better and a ray of hope when the Athens Mayor, Nikitas Kaklamanis, received Paul Anastasi, another FPT member and Yannis Retsos, the president of the Athens Hoteliers Association. The Mayor was enthusiastic over the proposals submitted to him, and there was sudden hope that everything could be saved with only three months left until deadline, simply by focusing on the anniversary’s importance for Athens (Ancient Athenian democracy and European civilization, etc.). This would have been an alternative to dealing only with central government authorities, and there would probably have been a favourable spill-over for the whole country, in terms of international promotion and publicity.
Mayor Kaklamanis gave instructions to Mr. Anastasi to draw up a letter that would appeal to all relevant bodies to participate in a committee for the cultural and other celebrations (focusing on Athens), which the mayor would quickly sign and send out to all concerned.
Unfortunately, and again unexpectedly, the FPT group came across another ‘Alimonos phenomenon’ or ‘bureaucratic jealousies’ phenomenon. For the Mayor had as his advisor on such promotional matters a man called Panayotis Arkoumaneas, head of the City of Athens’ Tourism and Economic Development Company (responsible for the city’s promotion through booklets and events).

The latter was appointed to this comfortable post because he was a close friend of the mayor. The renovation of the building for use as HQs for Athens’ promotion after the Olympic Games was in fact (quite ironically) the proposal of Mr. Anastasi himself and was supervised by him in 2004. At the time he was serving as Director of International Media and press spokesman for the City of Athens under Olympics Mayor (and subsequent foreign minister) Dora Bakoyanni. (Mr. Anastasi was dismissed by Mrs Bakoyanni just a few weeks before the Olympic Games, to put her young son Constantine -- or ‘Costis’? – in charge of international press affairs).
Mr. Arkoumaneas, probably also feeling threatened (again for no real reason), quickly undid the idea and made sure the Mayor’s letter was never distributed. He argued that “a committee already exists” (obviously meaning the Marathon Organizing Committee, MOC), not realizing that it was the MOC which had stolen the FPT’s project in the first place.
So the hopes for Athens’ badly needed international promotion through the foreign journalists was quickly destroyed, and the Mayor himself probably never even realized what Mr. Arkoumaneas had done behind his back.


The World Council of Hellenes (Greeks) Abroad

We do not want to give the impression that all contacts by the FPT press specialists were blocked or sabotaged due to greed or misconceptions. While the former President of the Republic was particularly encouraging in the FPT’s request that he head a prestigious Greek-international organizing committee (but always on his condition that whichever government was in power would also actively cooperate), the project was nearly adopted by the World Council of Hellenes (Greeks) Abroad.
This is the main international organization that could broadly be described as representing the ‘Greek lobby’. It attempts to mobilize ethnic Greeks or persons of at least some Greek origin in various parts of the world, especially where they can be found in large numbers (the United States, Canada, Germany, the UK, South Africa, Australia, etc.) It is divided organizationally according to continents, with each continent having a president and executive board that is responsible for organizing the ethnic Greeks in the countries of that continent. These ‘continent presidents’ and executives appear to meet once or twice a year, although communication is also greatly facilitated nowadays by the internet revolution.
However, the World Council of Hellenes Abroad is rather ineffective today, divided by personal rivalries and ambitions (again, a common phenomenon not only in Greece but in many underdeveloped or developing countries where individualism prevails over team work). At the time of the FPT group’s extensive cooperation with them (2007 and 2008), it seemed to us that it was a very good idea. After all, the World Council appeared to be an ideal solution for stimulating Greek-international backing for the FPT’s project, since they had a Greek interest due to their background but were already internationals since they lived abroad and could mobilize broader interest in their countries.
More specifically, the Marathon Anniversary project ‘invented’ and pioneered by the FPT group is probably one of the best tourism &-culture projects of the century (probably the best for Greece but also one of the best for all of Europe and the western world). Therefore, despite the international financial crisis, it would be very difficult for anybody to deny its appeal, thereby making it easier to raise funding – especially among the wealthier Greeks abroad.
This was reflected in the initially enthusiastic response the FPT proposal received from the World Council of Hellenes Abroad. It was included as part of the official agenda at their annual meeting of presidents in 2008, and Mr. Anastasi was asked to make a presentation and a screening of the film trailer he had prepared with his associates (it took place at the King George Hotel in Athens’ Constitution Square). It was then put to the vote, resulting in approval for its adoption as an international campaign cause with a resounding 7 – 0 majority in favour.
And yet, nothing happened! The World Council presidents went home, the president himself (businessman Mr. Steven Tamvakis) went back to his base in Egypt, and then they didn’t even lift a finger. It would seem, yet again, that it was a case of ‘Balkan bombast’ – lots of words but little action.

Mr. Marantos and the Culture Ministry’s ‘Cultural Action’ Department

All the same, there was one very encouraging development that came out of this gathering of World Council presidents in Athens. The session on the Marathon Anniversary project proposed by the foreign press group was attended by a man called Athanasios Marantos, director of the Culture Ministry’s ‘Cultural Action department’. For indeed it was cultural (and touristic) action that the Marathon Anniversary projected needed to get it moving internationally.
At the conference Mr. Marantos described the FPT project as “one of the best ideas, if not the best, that I have heard in my career and certainly in recent times. In fact, it is so good that I think it should be established as a permanent annual or at least a biennial event, as a basis for various cultural, touristic and sporting events with a global appeal”.
Well, well said, but Mr. Marantos apparently never received any approval to do anything, despite his appeal to his superiors in the Culture Ministry to support the FPT’s proposals.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we repeat once again that all available evidence shows that the Marathon Anniversary project was first thought of and subsequently developed by a group of foreign journalists based in Athens, headed by John Rigos and Paul Anastasi. Our group jointly evaluated the latter’s proposals (not all of which have become known to Greek authorities simply because he has been deliberately prevented from meeting them) as unique, attractive and of both Greek and global value. And we supported his plan (still undisclosed apart from his talks with a few individuals in London) to connect it to the London Olympics as extremely promotional both for Greece and Marathon lovers around the world, but also for the London 2012 Olympics.
However, the extent of cultural theft of the plan that we are convinced took place in Greece leads us to the firm conclusion that the London Olympics should not get involved, and that any internationalization of the event should be put under international supervision (an international committee, definitely with an FPT participation since they were the founders). For, in the long term, such international control would be better both for Greece and the marathon movement internationally.

Greece has one of the worst records in the developed world for intellectual property theft (there has been a long-lasting, serious problem with U.S.authorities), and has the highest number of counterfeit products on the market (according to recent official international statistics). It is also very low on the list of Transparency International (the international organization which monitors corruption and honesty in public life), registering the lowest position in the European Union along with Romania and Bulgaria and is even comparable to several African and Asian states. The theft of the foreign press correspondents’ hard-worked plan of action and their total