Reportage. On June 28, to everyone’s surprise, former Syriza minister Valavani’s byline appeared on an article in the new Greek newspaper, a mouthpiece of the right. She thought she had been asked to write for the real manifesto.

How the fake ‘manifesto’ conned a former Greek minister

Nadia Valavani was deputy economy minister in the first Syriza government. She resigned after the July 2015 agreement with the creditors, leaving the party. She can be called the first and most prominent victim of the deception set up by the mysterious figures behind “to manifesto”, the Athenian newspaper that stole our masthead and graphics. It was an experience that she herself, in a very brief interview she gave us, called “extremely unpleasant.”

On June 28, to everyone’s surprise, Valavani’s byline appeared on an article in the new Greek newspaper. It was a polemical article, in which she reiterated the reasons for her break with the former Tsipras government. The right-wing paper shot it to the front page with a sensationalist headline: “Fiery revelations: the great 86 billion euro scam.”

After general astonishment and the criticism published by the leftist newspaper Efsyn, Valavani explained in a letter that she had been conned. A little-known writer for to manifesto had asked her for an article on the events of summer 2015, with the promise that it would be published in the newspaper Ethnos but also in “the manifesto newspaper.”

Unaware of the Greek paper’s existence, the former minister searched online for this “manifesto,” believing it to be a left-wing newspaper or site. She was reassured when she came across our website, the original one.

The little game of exploiting internal left-wing differences to support the right continued with Dimitris Stratoulis, another former Syriza minister who later distanced himself from the party.

His piece, entitled “A political coup or making the referendum null and void,” was also about the tough confrontation with the Eurozone that took place in the summer of 2015. Much to the delight of those behind the newspaper, and even more so of its mysterious editor, the content of the article boiled down to a harsh attack on the Tsipras government for not wanting to break with Berlin and pull Greece out of the Eurozone.

Stratoulis, who is now part of the extra-parliamentary LAE (People’s Unity) party, did not comment on his collaboration with the right-wing paper.

After Valavani denounced the scam perpetrated by the newspaper, controversy mounted and editor-in-chief Theodosis Papandreou saw fit to respond. His argument was that the former minister must have known for which publication she was writing, since “the daily Ethnos has been out of circulation for several years.” That argument makes little sense: it is true that the print version of Ethnos no longer exists, but the newspaper is still very much active in digital format – a fact that the editor conveniently failed to mention.

Thus, amid obsessive attacks on Syriza, fake news, intellectual property theft, dirty tricks and big cons, never-heard-of contributors and “star” columnists who are Twitter trolls, specializing in slanderous hit pieces and hiding behind the pseudonym “Georgy Zhukov,” this propaganda rag of the Greek right is desperate to get some attention, ahead of the elections.

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