20150626

ARI

For 7 years between April 1967 and July 1974, Greece was under the military rule of the Junta. The clique (also known as "the Colonels") led by Colonel George Papadopoulos who had fought in Greece's 1946-49 civil war included Brigadier Stylianos Pattakos, Colonel Nicholas Makarezos, Ionnis Ladas and Michael Roufogalis. It was because of political infighting that culminated in the bloodless coup d'├ętat which saw the Junta seized power from an elected government and vowed to "purify and cleanse Greece of disorder and corruption and restore old-fashioned values." One commentator recalled, "The old cry that the freedoms of Greece was being threatened by a barbarian communism was raised and promptly believed by Greece's allies." 

It was understood the Junta take-over of Greece had the support of the King of the Hellenes because Constantine "wanted monarchists in power". However the Junta rejected the idea of giving the monarch "a decisive role". Constantine must "stay out of politics – reign, not rule." After some resistance, the Greek Royal family which included Constantine's wife, Queen Anne-Marie (the daughter of King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid of Denmark) and the King's Mother, Dowager Queen Frederika, went into exile, reportedly "'subsisting' on $2000-a-week in Rome". 

Although the Junta was said would be "happy to have the King back as an attractive figurehead, who would attract hard-currency tourists and, during earthquakes and floods, pay condolence calls on disaster areas," the Junta cabinet ministers "took office with an oath that pledged faith to the 'Constitutional Monarchy' but not to Constantine." The Junta was reportedly condemned in the West.  At the time Greece was a key member of NATO. Since the Greek civil war, the United States had been supplying billions of dollars in military assistance. Greece was the first European nation to receive American aid under the Truman Doctrine. It was reported the U.S. would temporarily banned arms sales to Greece. However the London Sunday Times and the New York Times reported Vice President Spiro Agnew supported the Junta because of his association with the biggest businessman in Greece at the time, the Greek-American Tom Pappas who was "also a vigorous supporter of the military regime and has been used by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to siphon secret funds to Greece, reportedly to influence Greek politics, through his various foundations." As a result, the Junta government "decided they no longer need to spend their $250,000 budget which they had allocated for public relations work in the United States." 

In exile, the King called for free elections. After the take-over, the Junta had repeatedly stated it would "restore democracy after Greece's old Constitution had been revised by a 20-man committee of legal experts to strengthen the Executive branch of government over the Legislative branch and stripped the King of his right to appoint premiers and ministers, virtually reducing the King to a mere figurehead monarch." Greece was the birthplace of democracy.

Nearly 2 years after the coup, Phil Newsom of the United Press International reported the Junta was "counting heavily on Jacqueline Onassis' charm and her husband Aristotle's money to pull Greece out of the red. The former (Jackie), it is hoped, will be a powerful drawing card in restoring the Greek tourist trade. The latter (Ari), as one of the world's largest shipowners, courted on for a $200 million investment in an oil refinery and aluminium project." Stephanos Zotos wrote the 1968 book, 'Greece: The Struggle for Democracy' and Fred Sparks explained "politics and business are always closely allied in Greece." It was understood Onassis, who had hoped to become – next to George Papadopoulos – the most powerful man in Greece (at the time), interrupted his honeymoon with Jackie on his private island of Skorpios to spend 7 hours negotiating a $360 million with tax concessions deal with the Junta. Onassis had already given Greece the country's greatest tourist attraction – Jackie. Now he would build Greece an aluminium plant, an airline terminal in downtown Athens, and new tourist attractions guaranteed to instantaneously separate travelers from their American express checks. In return, Onassis wanted to construct and operate an oil refinery which, in the 1968 world market, was bound to make more money than all the action in Las Vegas.

A spokesman told reporters, "Despite intense competition from Dutch, British and American interests, Onassis already has the refinery in the bag, thanks to his package deal…With his taste for power – and, now that he's married to Mrs. Kennedy for public acceptance – Mr. Onassis can be expected to get involved in running the country himself. He's that big." Helen Lawrenson reported in 1979 "through his influence with the Greek Junta then in power, he had a law passed to provide that after the death of a Greek citizen married to a foreigner, the foreigner would have no claim on the citizen's estate, contract or no contract."

Ari only shown interest in large enterprises in Greece because the Junta was in power. "Like the other Greek shipowners he has kept his money in more secure and presumably more profitable capitals, avoiding with Argentine citizenship paying the taxes that would otherwise have to be paid and sailing under foreign flags." In May 1973, a group of Royalist naval officers attempted a failed coup which led George Papadopoulos to abolish the Monarchy and declared Greece a Republic. In November 1973, George Papadopoulos was ousted by Brigadier Dimitris Ioannides who himself fell from power in July 1974 after unsuccessfully "plotting a military take-over of Cyrpus" which provoked the Turkish invasion and left the island on the Mediterranean Sea remained divided between Greek and Turkish speaking zones. 

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