Greek Police Arrest 8 in US Embassy Paint Attack

Diplomatic Security Sit-Rep 01/08/2019

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek police say they have detained eight people after the U.S. Embassy in Athens was vandalized with paint.
Police said Monday the eight were detained after about 10 people on motorbikes threw red paint at the embassy’s parking entrance at around 3:30 a.m. local time. An anarchist group known as Rouvikonas claimed responsibility for the attack in an internet post.

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It cited “American imperialism” as well as Greece’s deal with neighbouring Macedonia for the latter to change its name to North Macedonia in return for NATO membership, and the recent US decision to pull out of Syria, a move it said delivers Kurdish forces there “to the semi-fascist state of Turkey.”

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Rouvikonas has carried out similar paint attacks in the past against embassies, Greek state organisations and political party offices.

us embassy paint attack

————–Back Story From AFP

Two Greek anarchists were arrested Monday after hurling red paint at the US embassy in Athens, police said.

A further eight members of the Rubicon Anarchist Collective were also detained but later released over the incident, which caused minor material damage but no injuries, police added.

The Greek foreign ministry condemned an action it said undermined “longstanding friendly relations between the two peoples and the strategic relationship between Greece and the United States (which is) crucial for our country and the region.”

The Rubicon group, which regards Washington’s interventions in numerous regions including the nearby Balkans as “imperialism”, arrived outside the embassy in the early hours and sprayed the entrance before police intervened.

Another gripe is the planned US withdrawal of troops from Syria, which the group said would “abandon the Kurds into Syria’s hands”.

Rubicon has carried out a number of similar acts on embassies, banks and public buildings in recent years, causing some material damage but no injury.

Last October, the group daubed paint over the facade of the Canadian embassy to protest the presence of a Canadian gold mining firm in northern Greece.

A month earlier, Rubicon targeted the Iranian embassy in “solidarity” with Iranian Kurds. Media reports say it plans to join a January 17 meeting of other anarchist organisations in Rome.

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Colombia Investigates a Possible Plot to Assassinate President

By The Associated Press

Diplomatic Security Sit-Rep 01/02/2019

Diplomatic Security Situation Report

BOGOTÁ, Colombia — Colombia is investigating a possible plot to assassinate President Ivan Duque that may involve Venezuelan nationals arrested while carrying “weapons of war,” according to a top official.

Without providing evidence or any further details, Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes posted a 90-second video on Twitter Saturday night that said Colombia’s intelligence services had been hearing chatter about alleged plans to kill Mr. Duque, a conservative.

He said the recent arrests of three Venezuelans who had assault weapons in their possession had heightened the authorities’ concern.

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“With immense concern and the utmost condemnation, I want to inform the international community that, in effect, for the past several months intelligence investigations have been taking place about possible attacks on the president’s life,” Mr. Holmes said in the video.

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Carlos Holmes Trujillo@CarlosHolmesTru

ATENCIÓN: Rechazo enérgicamente posibles atentados contra la vida del Presidente @IvanDuque3,1936:21 PM – Dec 29, 20183,575 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

The video did not say whether the authorities had verified the existence of a conspiracy.

Blu Radio reported that the Venezuelans, who were arrested in the cities of Valledupar and Barranquilla this month, had in their possession an assault rifle with a telescopic scope, as well as an Uzi, ammunition and stun grenade.

Colombia

Blu, citing unidentified sources, said any plot would have likely had the support of armed Colombian leftist rebels or drug-trafficking organizations, and would have been timed to coincide next month with the start of the second term of President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela.

There was no immediate reaction from Venezuela’s government.

In his video, Mr. Holmes appealed to Colombians to share any information that could affect the president’s safety. He expressed appreciation for the cooperation of unidentified foreign intelligence agencies for helping to protect the Colombian president.

Mr. Duque, 42, who took office in August, has been leading a diplomatic effort in Latin America to isolate Venezuela’s socialist government as Mr. Maduro looks set to cement his hold on power amid a devastating economic crisis that has spurred millions of Venezuelans to flee to neighboring countries to escape widespread food and medicine shortages and hyperinflation.

The Colombian leader has been a strong critic of the socialist government of Mr. Maduro, whom he has called a “dictator.”

The two neighboring countries have had tense relations for years, with soldiers and helicopters from the Bolivarian National Guard of Venezuela regularly crossing the porous border into Colombia.

Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and other nations have struggled with the strain of thousands of desperate Venezuelans pouring into border towns.

Colombia, the United States and other governments have said that Mr. Maduro’s election victory in May, amid an opposition boycott and allegations of vote-rigging, was illegitimate.

They have urged the embattled leader to call new elections in which all of his opponents, several of whom have been exiled or banned from holding office, be allowed to run.

Mr. Maduro has been ratcheting up his rhetoric against Colombia in recent weeks, accusing his neighbor of plotting with the United States to violently oust him from power. He accused Colombia of helping “terrorists” after an attempted armed drone attack in August. Colombia has denied the accusations.

In a notable rebuke in September, five Latin American countries and Canada urged the International Criminal Court to consider prosecuting senior officials in Venezuela for extensive human rights abuses, the first time that member nations had referred another member to the tribunal.

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