UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ATHENS 000900
H FOR PETROSINO AND CARTER
H PLEASE PASS TO CODEL HASTERT
EUR/SE, SA/INS, EAP/BCLTV
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OREP AMGT ASEC AFIN GR IN NP VM
SUBJECT: COUNTRY CLEARANCE FOR CODEL HASTERT (APR 8-9)
REF: STATE 49265
Â¶1. Embassy Athens warmly welcomes and grants country
clearance for Representative J. Dennis Hastert, Speaker of
the House of Representatives, and accompanying members of his
delegation. The Control Officer for the April 8-9 visit is
Karen Grissette. She can be reached during office hours
through April 6 at 30-210-720-2551. She departs for Iraklion
the evening of April 6 and can be reached on her cellular at
30-693-249-5019 or at the hotel GDM Megaron at
30-281-030-5400. Ms. Grissette's fax number until April 6 is
30-210-729-4307 and her unclassified e-mail addresses are
(office) GrissetteKE@state.gov and KGrissette@aol.com.
Please send all e-mail to both e-mail addresses.
Additionally, Ms. Grissette can be reached via the Embassy's
after hours duty receptionist at 30-210-729-4444.
Â¶2. Reservations have been made at the GDM Megaron Hotel, 9
Â¶D. Beaufort, Iraklion 71202, Crete, Greece. The hotel phone
number is 30-281-030-5300; fax 30-281-030-5400; website
www.gdmmegaron.gr. We understand CODEL's fiscal data cable
will authorize actual room rates and embassy will pay for
rooms out of fiscal data. Room rates will be charged in
euros, and these rates are inclusive of taxes and breakfast.
M&IE, plus any additional allowance, will be provided in
Euros to each traveler authorized per diem. Travelers are
expected to pay their own hotel incidental expenses prior to
departing. If a room reserved will not be used, the
reservation must be canceled 24 hours prior to expected
arrival date, otherwise the CODEL or traveler will be
responsible for the cost of the unused room.
Â¶3. The official schedule for Iraklion will begin on
Saturday, April 8. The schedule will include a country
briefing by DCM Thomas Countryman and Captain Sale, NSA Souda
Bay, as well as cultural activities.
Â¶4. It is important that all visitors carefully read the
information and instructions provided below. Post wants to
ensure the best possible service to all official visitors and
will work closely to arrange details of each visit.
Â¶5. Transportation is being arranged as requested and as per
e-mail correspondence from the control officer.
Â¶6. Documents required: Diplomatic and official passport
holders must have Greek diplomatic visas, a valid Schengen
visa or diplomatic ID from any other Schengen country, in
addition to their passport, in order to enter Greece. The
Embassy will be unable to obtain plane-side visas for USG
employees arriving in Greece without proper documentation.
Holders of tourist passports do not/not require visas. USG
employees who plan to operate a motor vehicle while in Greece
must be in possession of a valid U.S. drivers license as well
as a valid International Drivers License and must carry proof
of third party liability insurance while operating the
Â¶7. Embassy DSS agents will provide information to the CODEL
doctor and accompanying Special Agent on medical facilities
in Iraklion. We strongly recommend that TDYers bring with
them proof of current medical insurance coverage and medevac
coverage if obtained.
Â¶8. Each visitor requiring support from the embassy,
regardless of length of stay, must bring/forward fiscal data
to pay for direct costs of the visit. Each military TDYer
requesting embassy support should be able to provide the
sponsoring military entity at post fiscal data, even if
staying at post less than thirty days. Each agency,
organization or visiting delegation will be charged for the
actual costs attributed to its visit. Direct charge costs
include, but are not limited to: American and LES overtime
(for such services as airport expediting, cashier
accommodation exchange, control room staffing,
representational event support and costs incurred by NSA
Souda Bay), travel and per diem costs incurred by post
personnel in support of visitor's field travel, rental of
vehicles and other equipment, long distance telephone calls,
office supplies, gasoline and other vehicle maintenance
costs, departure tax and other airport fees. Post will not
provide service if fiscal data is not provided for the direct
Â¶9. Currency: Greece is a member of the European Monetary
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Union, and the Euro is the currency of the country.
Accommodation exchange and reverse accommodation will be
provided as per e-mail correspondence with the control
officer. However, ATMs are readily available throughout the
country; they will accept U.S. debit cards. In addition,
most banks and major hotels provide accommodation exchange
services, and accommodation exchange is available 24 hours
per day at the GDM Megaron.
Â¶10. Office space/laptops/mobile phones: CODEL control room
will have computer connectivity and accessibility as per
CODEL request, and hotel GDM Megaron has wireless
connectivity for a fee in rooms and free in public areas.
For those employees planning on bringing laptops and modems
to use in their hotels, please remember that this equipment
can be used for processing unclassified (non-SBU) information
only. Current here is 220 volt, 50 cycles, and outlets are
two-pronged. Embassy will provide and pre-position 10
transformers as requested. Laptops are not permitted in
controlled access areas of the Embassy. European GSM mobile
phones function normally in Greece.
Â¶11. Presidential Directive - Trafficking in Persons: All
TDY personnel are reminded that President Bush has signed a
National Security Presidential Directive to advance the fight
against trafficking in persons. The United States is
committed to eradicate trafficking both domestically and
abroad. Trafficking in persons exists in Greece. A
significant number of the people involved in prostitution,
pornography and the sex tourism phenomenon, are trafficked.
They are compelled by force, fraud and coercion to submit to
sexual exploitation. TDY personnel are advised that any
involvement with the commercial sex industry is unacceptable
in light of the diplomatic and foreign policy goals of the
United States and the ethical standards of the Department of
State and this Mission. Embassy Management will not tolerate
any such involvement by Mission personnel and, in this
regard, will enforce all relevant regulations regarding
conduct and suitability of U.S. Government employees
Â¶12. Security information:
Â¶A. Embassy Athens is designated "high" for indigenous
terrorism. In the past, local Greek terrorist groups have
targeted prominent Greeks as well as certain non-Greek
Officials, including Americans. We believe that the threat
to official US Government personnel on short-term assignments
to Greece or visiting for tourism is relatively low. The
indigenous groups historically have engaged in extensive
operational surveillance over long periods of time. In 2003
and again in 2004, the Greek Government made significant
progress to combat domestic terrorism by successfully
convicting the leader and key hit men of the November 17
terrorist organization and of the ELA. 17N was responsible
for assassinating prominent Greeks and five members of the US
Mission over the course of its 30-year history. Convicted
ELA members were responsible for several bombings, attempted
murders and were involved in at least one assassination.
While these convictions likely impacted on the operational
capabilities of 17N and ELA, it is too soon to assess whether
the threat from domestic terrorism is completely eliminated.
There have been several attacks against Greek police over the
past 2 years. We urge vigilance and caution, as the
worldwide threat from other terrorist groups against
Americans in general remains high. Official Americans should
assume they are potential targets.
Â¶B. Over the past year, the U.S. Embassy has experienced
numerous bomb threats, protest marches, and anti-U.S.
demonstrations. These protests are generally peaceful though
a few provoked random acts of violence. Travelers to Greece
are advised that protests or demonstrations could occur at
any time; unwitting observers or bystanders might be
identified, to their disadvantage, as Americans.
Â¶C. Crime is rated "medium" in Greece. For TDY visitors,
pick-pocketing and purse snatching are the most common
crimes. Taxis are generally safe though metered cabs are
recommended. Taxis too will often pick up more than one
passenger unless prior arrangements are made. Crimes of
opportunity (thefts, break-ins, and occasional scams) are on
the rise. Travelers should be especially cautious with
wallets, purses, and parcels when traveling on crowded
streets, public buses, trolleys, and/or subways. There have
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been several instances of motorcyclists approaching cars
stuck in traffic, reaching through open windows or smashing
closed ones, and stealing whatever is within reach. We have
also recently learned of a new method in which motorcyclists
open the trunk of a vehicle and remove the contents. The
Embassy recommends keeping purses, parcels, handbags, etc.
out of sight under the seat or on the floor of the car.
Windows should be kept closed and doors locked. Pedestrians
may also be confronted by beggars and other street people who
may attempt to divert attention, then steal unprotected
valuables ) either by pick-pocketing or snatch-and-grab
techniques. Women are generally safe from violent crime in
Greece. Men are aggressive by American standards however
when pursuing women.
Â¶D. Traffic in Greek urban areas, especially Athens and
Thessaloniki, is chaotic. Greece leads the European Union in
traffic fatalities. Road rage is common. Accidents often
lead to fist fights. Drivers in Greece should exercise
caution and common sense. Drivers and pedestrians alike
should exercise extreme caution when operating motor vehicles
or when walking along roadways. Moreover, tourists who rent
motorbikes either on the Greek mainland or its islands must
wear helmets and must take special precautions on the local
roads that are typically poorly maintained and frequently
pothole-ridden. Greece also leads the European Union in