Cramm for 8/12/22
Greece is dealing with a wiretapping scandal.
Meet Greece’s National Intelligence Service (aka EYP). Established in 1953 and originally modeled after the US Central Intelligence Agency (aka CIA), EYP is responsible for things like counterintelligence, criminal activities, terrorism, espionage, civil rights violations…to name a few. It reports directly to the prime minister of Greece.
Now meet Nikos Androulakis. He’s the leader of Greece’s Socialist PASOK party - and a political opponent of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Earlier this week, it came out that Androulakis’s mobile phone was tapped by EYP. We’ll repeat: Prime Minister Mitsotakis’s political opponent was tapped by the intel agency that answers directly to the prime minister.
Greece’s intel chief and Mitsotakis’s chief of staff quit within minutes. Prez Katerina Sakellaropoulou called for an investigation, saying that protecting the right to privacy is “a fundamental condition of a democratic and liberal society.” And a gov spokesperson said that EYP had tapped Androulakis’s phone…but the surveillance was lawful and Mitsotakis was informed about it last week. Separately, Mitsotakis said that if he had known about the wiretapping he “would have never allowed it.”
The scandal is already being dubbed Greece’s Watergate. TBD, TBD, TBD.
USA: Everyone’s talking about the FBI’s search of ex-Prez Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Case in point: Attorney General Merrick Garland just announced that he had personally approved the search after trying (and failing) to use “less intrusive” methods to retrieve material Trump took from the White House. That material reportedly includes info on the most highly classified programs run by the US, with one informer saying Trump had classified nuclear documents. Now, it looks like Garland is asking a court to unseal the Mar-a-Lago search warrant. Also making headlines: yesterday, a man tried to break into the FBI’s Cincinnati office. He was killed after an hourslong standoff with law enforcement officers. Authorities are looking into whether the man had ties to far-right extremist groups.
WORLD: Recently, a senior Ukrainian official suggested that the casualty toll from the Crimea air base attack is much, much higher than previous estimates. Think: 60 pilots and technicians were killed and 100 people were injured. This comes after Russia attempted to downplay the extent of the damage on its air base. In other news, South Korean Prez Yoon Suk-yeol just pardoned Lee Jae-yong (as in the vice chairman of Samsung Electronics). ICYDK, Lee was released from prison on parole last August after being convicted of bribing one of Yoon’s predecessors. Speaking of which, an off-duty Virginia police officer who stormed the US Capitol on January 6 was just sentenced to more than 7 years in prison. It’s one of the longest prison sentences so far among hundreds of Capitol attack cases.
HEALTH: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is easing covid guidelines. See: the CDC will no longer require people who are unvaccinated to quarantine after exposure to the virus. Instead, the agency recommends that they mask for up to 10 days and get tested 5 days after they were exposed - the same guidance given to vaxxed and boosted people. Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson is ditching talc-based baby powder worldwide - and replacing it with cornstarch-based baby powder. This comes more than two years after the biz ended sales of the product in the US due to tens of thousands of lawsuits claiming the talcum powder caused ovarian cancer.
WHAT TO KNOW
“Sturgeon Moon:” what lit up the sky last night as the last supermoon of the year. Super cool.
“Evocado could be a ‘greener’ alternative to avocados” - a recent headline.