Greek fires and terrorism
Surprisingly, no one has yet blamed the fires on global warming which seems to be the designated scape goat these days. The term "Greek fire" was used to describe a secret weapon of the Eastern Roman Empire. It description resembles the napalm used in flame throwers. Apparently it was so secret, the recipe has been lost in antiquity.
A top prosecutor ordered an investigation Monday into whether recent arson attacks in Greek forests could be considered terrorism, the Public Order Ministry said.
Meanwhile, a fire broke out on the fringes of Athens a day after a massive effort prevented the birthplace of the Olympicsfrom being devastated by flames.
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.
Greece has been ravaged by hundreds of massive wildfires since Friday that have left at least 61 people dead. The country also suffered fires in June and July, although they were not nearly on the same scale.
"So many fires breaking out simultaneously in so many parts of the country cannot be a coincidence," Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said in a nationally televised address on Saturday. "The state will do everything it can to find those responsible and punish them."
Several people have been arrested on suspicion of arson since Friday, although some were accused of starting fires through negligence rather than intent. One man, however, was charged with arson and homicide in connection with a fire near the southern town of Areopolis on Friday that killed six people.
Forest fires are common during Greece's hot, dry summers — but nothing has approached the scale of the last three days.
It reminds me of an old chef at the Houston club whose ginger bread had become somewhat famous and an attraction for the club. When he was asked to put the recipe on paper he refused, knowing that it meant job security. He was eventually asked what the club would do when he was no longer around. His response, "There want be anymore ginger bread."