IT IS extremely difficult to believe that the chief of our bungling secret service KYP Andreas Pentaras tendered his resignation because it was revealed that the service had bought phone surveillance technology. It is a bit like the National Guard chief resigning because he had purchased machine guns for the army.
Surveillance tech is the tool of the state security business and without it Kypites would be playing solitaire and watching porn on their PCs all day. There is no state security service in the world that does not use surveillance technology and software.
The Italian company from which KYP bought the ‘platform suite’ that intercepts communications and data on smart phones and tabloids has several countries on its list of customers, according to the information publicised by hackers last Sunday, so it wasn’t as if KYP was doing something unheard of.
This being Kyproulla in which there is not much respect for rule and regulations, there may have been a little monitoring of communications, unrelated to state security, but this was standard practice and everyone knows it goes on. During the Papadopoulos presidency, with referendum paranoia at its peak, the phones of all suspected traitors were tapped. KYP even knew what extra toppings Alvaro de Soto’s associates had on their pizza.
So it is impossible to believe that the chief Kypite resigned because he bought surveillance tech, especially as the purchase would have been authorised by the Prez Nik himself.
AFTER the story broke, Pentaras issued the obligatory statement on Tuesday, saying that KYP did not comment on matters touching on national security.
This turned out to be a lie because the next day the agency did comment, saying that “this technology is used solely within the national security remit of KYP and the need and importance of maintaining a reliable and operational intelligence service….” It also said it “understands and fully respects the need for transparency and accountability,” which it did not a day earlier.
KYP, the statement said, had on its own initiative submitted to the House a legal framework which would govern the agency’s operation and “incorporates best international practices in the field of democratic control of the intelligence service.” So why, if everything was hunky dory, did the guy tender his resignation which was announced on Saturday?
And why had prez Nik accepted it? Did he not know that the surveillance equipment, the purchase of which he had authorised, might be used for tapping communications?
OUR ESTABLISHMENT has learned that DISY chief Averof Neophytou may have pushed for Pentaras’ resignation, because he wanted to settle an old score with the former National Guard officer.
People may remember that a few months ago, completely out of the blue, Averof issued statement listing his assets and his bank loans. What possessed him to do such a thing, as there had been no press reports about his personal finances or business dealings, was a mystery which was never solved.
We now know that his reason for doing this was related to KYP eavesdropping. He had been tipped off that the agency, while using its surveillance technology “solely within the national security remit of KYP” had obtained information about his personal financial dealings and that it would leak this to the press. He therefore decided to give out this information himself and limit the damage that could have been done by his enemies, if they got hold of it.
Pentaras may have had nothing to do with this, but Averof held him responsible and seized the opportunity to get his own back last week. Good for him even though it should be said that the Kypite chief may have been following orders from higher up.
But if Kypites have no qualms about eavesdropping on the conversations of the leader of the pro-government party and monitoring his electronic communications, no legal framework on “the democratic control of intelligence services” will stop them.
THE TWO amigos really pissed off the Cyprob negativity salesmen on Wednesday when they appeared before businessmen from both communities to give their shared vision about the many benefits for the economy after a settlement.
Never before in the antagonistic history of the Cyprob have the leaders of the two communities been transmitting the same message. This unity of purpose got the vitriolic juices of the opposition leaders flowing. They all issued nasty announcements attacking poor old Nik.
“The campaign undertaken by Mr Anastasiades and DISY, to bribe the people with the hope of economic benefits after the solution of the Cyprus problem constitutes political vileness, insult and provocation,” said DIKO.
Two parties also used haircut metaphors to make a point. Diko said: “Mr Anastasiades administered a haircut to the deposits of citizens. We will not allow him to administer a haircut to the future of Cypriot Hellenism.” The Alliance of Lillikas believed “the haircut of deposits cannot be fixed with the haircut of the Cyprus Republic.”
This childish, relentless and miserable negativity could certainly do with a haircut, preferably a number one.
POOR old Ethnarch Junior, apart from suffering the anguish caused by the progress in the Cyprob talks also has the stress of split DIKO to deal with. Half the Dikheads of the central committee ignored his invitation to attend a meeting on Wednesday, while rumours were rife that former leader Marios Garoyian was planning the creation of a new party.
Several deputies are set to follow the uninspiring motor-mouth Marios who has the support of the scheming Prez Nik. This support was shown in practice when Nik appointed the retired public parasite Giorgos Papageorgiou – a Garoyian man – as president of the Public Service Commission, which decides promotions and appointment in the public service.
With his man in a position with big rusfetological powers, Garoyian’s drive to set up a new party were given a big boost. Now that he has the power to offer rusfeti, he will be able to attract many principled Dikheads to a new party.
SPEAKING of Garoyian, he continues to take money from the state under false pretences, a disgraceful practice which was recently censured in the Auditor-General’s annual report. The money-grabbing Garoyian takes a total of €4,000 per month for secretarial services – a thousand as deputy and three thousand as a former president of the House. Considering he hardly ever uses secretarial services this is taking money from the state under false pretences. Even more scandalous is that this four grand he pockets every month is not taxed because it is for the imaginary payment of secretarial services.
POLICE have almost completed the investigations into the incident reported by AKEL deputy Irini Charlambidou, who accused her DISY colleague Andreas Kyprianou of trying to take a photograph up her skirt. What was there to investigate? Kyprianou admitted to trying to take the picture because, as he said, Charalambidou was sitting ‘indecently’ on a table.
Kyrpianou had reportedly turned aggressive after Charalambidou tried to photograph him smoking in the legislature, which is against the law. What was interesting was that only women deputies publicly condemned the sexist, bullying behaviour of the Limassol deputy. Male deputies stayed quiet, probably fearing they would be thought of as gay or effeminate if they took a stand against a sexist bully.
YOU CAN always rely on our loaded countrymen to show off their wealth given half an opportunity to do so. Mega-wealthy businessman Lykourgos Kyprianou, who is wanted in the US for a share scam involving hundreds of millions of bucks, seized the opportunity provided by his daughter’s wedding to flash his cash.
Exclusive pictures of the wedding were posted on a gossip website named ilovestyle.com and showed the proud father, in a smoking jacket and bow-tie taking his girl to church. The car that drove her to church was a shiny black convertible Rolls Royce.
There were aerial photos of the grounds of the wanted man’s palatial residence in Tseri (said to be the biggest house in Kyproulla) in which the wedding party was held. One photo showed the glass stands on which huge balls made of white roses were arranged, while in the background the fugitive businessman’s Tseri version of the palace of Versailles was majestically lit up so we could all get an idea of its hugeness.
The close-ups of the tables – arranged around the swimming pool over which there were wooden decking bridges in the shape of a cross with railings decorated with flowers – were an exhibition of opulence and bling, of the type you see in old movies featuring 19th century dinners of royalty. Even the loukoumi on each plate was wrapped in expensive lace, while there were crystal glasses, gold-rimmed wine glasses, an array of shiny silver cutlery etc.
Lykourgos did not spare any expense for his girl’s bling wedding and he wanted everyone to know about it, including the Yanks whom he defrauded. If you’ve got flaunt it, they say.
PHIL has been plugging a three-volume publication on “Great Cypriots” which includes 150 “pioneers in politics, economics, business, the arts, culture, science, education, sports.” The standards set by Phil could not have been very high if it found 150 Cypriots who touched greatness. Believe it or not, there was also a Turkish Cypriot among the greats.
What was strange was that the books were sponsored by OPAP and the Bank of Cyprus. It seemed weird that a hard-nosed Yank businessman like Wilbur Ross, the vice-chairman, would waste the bank’s money to sponsor such a pointless, vanity publication from which the bank had absolutely nothing to gain. The sponsorship, worth tens of thousands of euros had been sanctioned before the arrival of Ross by the happy bunny former chairman, a great Cypriot, who scandalously was not included in the book. And neither was Lykourgos despite having pulled off one of the biggest share scams in US history.
IT IS NOT the policy of this establishment to respond to criticism, because it is of the philosophy that if you dish it out you have to take it. However, because we noticed some readers of the online version declared that reading the Coffeeshop ruined their Sunday we have thought they may be interested in our new service which is designed to help these people avoid the unnecessary stress of having to read it.
They could submit an application, requesting that their email address is blocked from accessing the Coffeeshop and we would be happy to oblige, because our establishment does not want to be blamed for ruining anyone’s Sunday. If readers of the newspaper version feel the same way, they should also submit an application and we will ban them from buying the paper, by sending their picture to all periptero owners instructing them not to sell the Sunday Mail to them.