Conspiracy of Fire Cells: Who are the Greek militants claiming Paris IMF bomb?

Militant group Conspiracy of Fire Cells claim responsibility for letter bomb, but who are they?

Police officers attended the scene at the IMF offices in Paris

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Greek militant group Conspiracy of Fire Cells has claimed responsibility for a letter bomb in Paris, just hours after doing the same for a parcel bomb sent to German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

This is probably the first time most talkRADIO followers will have heard of the group. But they've actually been on analysts' radar for almost a decade, driven by the financial crisis which has engulfed Greece.

The Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium claims the organisation first surfaced in 2008, sending 11 bombs to banks and luxury car dealerships - thereby targeting the wealthy 'fat cats' who bore much of the popular frustration at Greece's financial plight. 

Their reign of terror continued in 2010, with a wave of parcel bombs targeting European politicians at embassies in Athens. One of the packages was said to be addressed to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, according to the BBC, and the attacks resulted in Greece suspending international airmail for 48 hours in November 2010.

Since then the group has maintained a dripfeed of activity; since 2009 police have accused the Conspiracy of around 150 criminal acts. Little wonder it is designated a terrorist organisation in the US. 

Initially the group was notorious for its arson attacks, but today its 'signature' is a device containing a small amount of explosive, packed tightly into pressure cookers or containers. The devices do not appear to be particularly sophisticated; the device discovered at the German Finance Ministry reportedly had wires protruding from the envelope. Yet the group appears completely unperturbed when one of its slap-dash bombs is detected.

Much like Islamist movements such as Islamic State, the Conspiracy revels in the violence it causes, and is happy to laud its fellow anarchist organisations. In 2012, for instance, it greeted the murder of nuclear energy executive Roberto Adinolfi with the words "it is a wonderful moment, the moment that the enemy kneels and falls from the determination of your brothers and sisters." 

The Conspiracy's primary raison d'etre, its most productive energy source, lies in channelling the popular resentment caused by Greece's financial crisis, which has brought the country to its knees since the global downturn began in 2007. Indeed today's bombing at the offices of the International Monetary Fund carries obvious significance, given the IMF was one of the 'troika' of lenders which oversaw Greece's fraught and hugely troubled bailout.

Yet there is a wider mission at work here; a desire to promote the spirit of anarchism. For this reason the group published a manifesto in September 2016 lauding Italian-born American anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartholomeo Vanzetti, almost a hundred years after their execution for committing an armed robbey in Massachusetts.

Given their political orientation, it is not surprising the group is firmly opposed to Golden Dawn, the far-right neo-Nazi group which became notorious during the Greek debt crisis for its intimidation of political rivals. Like Golden Dawn, the Conspiracy is largely a product of Greece's financial turmoil; yet they remain fierce enemies, a fact which led police to suspect Conspiracy militants were behind the execution-style murders of two Golden Dawn henchmen in 2013.

Several Conspirators have been caught by police and handed lengthy jail terms; in 2011, for example, six members were given sentences ranging from 11 to 37 years. Yet, even in jail, they have remained prominent by organising high-profile hunger strikes, ensuring journalists - and the terror authorities - cannot take their eyes off them.

Now the group is embarked upon the 'Nemesis Plan' which the letter bomb in Paris is said to be a part of. The plan is said to be "an international proposal to make a list with the names of people in power and to strike at their safe rear, where they feel certain about themselves…to strike them in their own homes.”

So far, it seems the plan has, quite literally, failed to ignite. Yesterday's bomb was discovered before it could explode; today's attack did little damage, bar one slight injury. The terror authorities will be hoping the next step in the 'Nemesis' offensive is equally fruitless.