Bohemia’s Greek Tragedy: Arrested Pair Were Tourists

By John Walker on September 17th, 2012 at 11:00 am.

A thing that likely didn't happen.

Update: We’ve just had it confirmed from Bohemia that the pair have been accused of “espionage”, and according to Greek investigators, “they had in their possession materials that may endanger the national security of Greece.”

Original: It seems that much has been invented when it comes to the news about Bohemia‘s employees arrested in Limnos, Greece. For one, the studio is saying the two were absolutely not in the country researching the game. In a statement intended to clear up a lot of the miscommunication that abounds, the Czech developers of the ArmA series make it abundantly clear that the arrested pair were only in the country as tourists.

Rather than heading to Greece as research for ArmA III, as many first assumed, instead the pair were there on holiday say Bohemia, inspired to visit by having developed the game. Bohemia representatives visited Greece and the employees currently being detained, as well as spoke to lawyers involved. They say in their statement that far from photographing military bases,

“They took photographs and videos in public areas, as countless tourists arriving to enjoy the beauty and hospitality of Greece may well do. These included a short video as they drove through the main road passing around the international airport, where in one short part of the video off in the distance some hangars and other buildings of the complex can be seen. It’s very likely that many tourists may have pictures similar to those taken by Ivan and Martin in their own family albums, without being aware that they put themselves or their families at risk.”

The company goes on to state that the in-game version of Limnos is close to completion, and as such they aren’t in need of any illicit footage captured from the country. They also state that it’s “far from an identical replication of the real place,” pointing out that their game is set in 2035. So unless the pair were also time-travelling, it’s unlikely they were on a reconnaissance mission.

The two employees, Martin and Ivan, relayed the following message to friends and family:

“The conditions are tough, but the people we meet treat us fairly and correctly. It is all a completely absurd misunderstanding that will certainly be quickly explained. We mainly think of you, our families; you have to stay calm and not to worry about us. We hope we will meet soon.”

It’s very hard not to think of the ludicrous case where two Dutch and twelve British plane-spotters were arrested in Greece in 2001 on spy charges, for taking photographs of aeroplanes, and “acting suspiciously” at a public airshow. Astonishingly, they were found guilty in a Greek court. Fortunately this was overturned on appeal, but not before they’d spent a month in jail, and many months in court.

Bohemia are currently pledging all possible efforts toward supporting the two detainees, and their families. They add that “any form of support for our imprisoned colleagues and friends will be more than welcome.”

Frankly, if Greece believes photographing things in public view constitutes endangering their national security, they probably ought to hide stuff better.

, , .

230 Comments »

  1. Drayk says:

    If the information in this post is indeed true, then Greece’s justice is worrisome.

    • Tatourmi says:

      I certainly hope you are not american, don’t mean to be offensive or anything, but this situation seems pretty standard to me. It is a witch hunt, not a patent troll, or worse. It is not like they still have the death penalty.

      I think their current geopolitical situation forces their army to act this way, they probably know they were not spies, they just cannot let it go so easily.

      EDIT: Actually I am not so sure about their death penalty system. Well, it IS abolished for all crimes but there is apparently still something, but only in wartime for “most important crimes of a military nature”. Then again the article I have seen this in dates back to 2004 and there was some other changes to the law since then. So yeah.

      EDIT 2: Yeah, not the smoothest first paragraph I’ve done. I explain myself a little bit further down the page.
      But essentially: I think it is understandable that taking pictures of what you know is a military base will put you in big troubles, and although I am sad it happened to them, I don’t think this is a symptom of a “bullshit system”.

      • Kaje says:

        Greece, once the cornerstone of civilization. Now, an international laughing stock.

        • Tatourmi says:

          Is it really how you perceive it? Their country has suffered a lot in the past few years. Four years of regular fighting and general protests against their government and they are a laughing stock? I feel pretty sad for them.

          • HexagonalBolts says:

            Tatourmi I think it is absurd for *any* country’s justice system to detain two geeky blokes for taking holiday snaps in public areas, whether or not I live there

          • Kaje says:

            Tatourmi – it’s exactly as I see it.

            They are quickly becoming modern Europe’s answer to Eastern Germany. But with tourism involved.

            Money issues and employment issues abound, civil rights up and down and even though they crave tourism to boost the economy they are quick to label anybody tourist taking a slight interest in the country as a spy and must be punished as such.

            It has already, almost single handedly, brought the Euro crashing to it’s knees forcing the rest of the continent to make sacrifices to keep it afloat. It was like an 18 year old with it’s first credit card and the rest of Europe as it’s parents who are now forced to work a second job to pay the debts.

            A genuine laughing stock of a country.

          • kataras says:

            @Kaje: I don’t know which country you re from but when the crisis arrives at your doorstep you will be forced to come down from your high horse. Take a look around at all the countries of the European South + Ireland. Soon to come France, the Netherlands etc etc.

            edit: Just to be clear, Greece has loads of problems and the Greek people are to be blamed for many things. But you ‘paying’ for anyone else is not one of them.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @Kaje – I don’t know where you got your economics degree, but I don’t think the Greeks did almost single handedly bring the Euro to it’s knees.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            I’m guessing that Kaje is American.

          • Kaje says:

            I’m not American, I’m British and proud to be. A country (or collective thereof if we’re using the British title) who was very shrewd to vote against going into the Euro.

            Greece’s problems and subsequent bail out were absolutely instrumental in the fall of the Euro and the economic issues which have since swept across Western and Southern Europe.

            Also note I said ‘almost’ single-handedly. Ireland’s issues most certainly contributed.

            And the ‘soon to come’ problems with France and the Netherlands are indirectly resulting from the bail outs that had to be formed to assist countries like Greece.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            So you don’t think that the irresponsable lending by the banks and the housing bubble bursting were major factors in the euro crisis. Just Greece and Greece alone caused all this, right? Nothing to do with the lack of a Euro fiscal union, a decision the Greeks were not involved in. Nothing to do with the globalisation of finance, just Greece? Nothing to do with the global recession, just Greece? Nothing to do with banks lying, cheating, price fixing, scamming the public, refusing to lend. Its all Greece, right?

            Wrong.

          • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

            @Skittle

            Glad to know you think so highly of Americans, though.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            @hamburger_cheesedoodle: I only brought it up because most Americans have a very skewed outlook on foreign politics. That’s simply because they get their news from pretty biased sources (i.e. the AP).

            I’m American, BTW. :)

          • Kaje says:

            @Sheng – Did I say it was ALL Greece? Please properly read and absorb posts.

      • Real Horrorshow says:

        - I certainly hope you’re not British where religious courts are allowed to convene with the backing of the secular government.
        - I certainly hope you’re not Norwegian where a mass murderer might get only 20 years in a country club.
        - I certainly hope you’re not French where they ban Muslim head scarves.
        - I certainly hope you’re not Swiss where they ban minarets.
        - I certainly hope you’re not Russian where dissidents are imprisoned on bullshit charges (Pussy Riot).

        I think you get the point. Be classy and don’t always go for the low hanging fruit while simultaneously assuming the nationality of a poster with no information.

        Every country has miscarriages of justice, but that’s besides the point. You don’t need to live in a utopia to point out other countries bullshit.

        So, to reiterate, Greek justice is worrisome. Problem?

        • coldvvvave says:

          >dissidents
          >Pussy Riot

          I know what you are saying and kind of agree that it was a cangaroo court, but this is still hilarious. Dissidents? Immature imbeciles. They had it coming, long before. Huge fine would be a better choice, sure.

          • Premium User Badge

            Rinox says:

            @ coldvvvave

            You may not like what they did and how they did it, but it takes a lot of guts to take a stand against Putin’s thinly veiled dictatorship. They didn’t ‘deserve’ anything, except maybe our respect.

          • Kaje says:

            They had it coming?

            They used their human right to free speech and you say they had the unlawful imprisonment coming?

            I hope you’re on a wind-up, because if not then your education system has failed you.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            I hope that what coldvvave meant when he said “They had it coming” was actually “What happened to them was always going to happen, no-one should be surprised. This is what makes their stand so brave”

          • battles_atlas says:

            @ coldvvvave

            An amusing assumption implicit in your words, namely that ‘mature’ people passively accept gross abuses of power. Or it is just that there is a mature way of standing up to totalitarianism? Tutting perhaps?

          • coldvvvave says:

            @Rinox

            > take a stand against Putin’s thinly veiled dictatorship

            Everyone could take a stand at elections. I did. Those dumb broads just shouted random words based on a mythology popular in their circle( see “artgroup War” if you want). Protest? Nope, a stupid prank. Your media sure glorified them to a ridiculous degree.

            Before you accuse me of being pro-Putin, I’d like to state that I didn’t vote for him.

          • coldvvvave says:

            Read up, smartasses.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voina

            vandalism and burning cars sure is “brave”.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @Coldvvave – So, you’re happy to live in a world where teenagers who “just shouted random words based on a mythology popular in their circle” can get arrested for it, forcibly separated from their young, innocent children and sentenced for 2 years?

          • Dragon Master says:

            What he meant by “had it coming” was that they were doing the same shit before. 3 times in fact. It’s not about what they did it’s about how they did it. They barged in the biggest church in Russia, ruining the mass for everyone gathered there, to practice their “freedom of speech” in the form of punk rock. It’s their choice to be believers or not but nobody has to put up with such insolence without being even given a choice to it. Should I go to a mass, I’ll be expecting a mass, not a few brats farming attention in a way not in any way befit for a church. A we’re-here-now-so-get-lost-or-put-up-with-it-situation, which happened other times before, is something that I’ll agree with coldvvvave and classify as “had it coming”. They can practice their “freedom of speech” all they want as long as that they don’t barge into other people’s freedom like this. Should you go to a lecture you want to hear, and some punks go in uninvited and start practicing their “freedom of speech” and “protesting” for how corrupt is Obama for example, and ruined the whole thing for you, and then do it even more times and finally somebody catches them and make them take responsibility for that, I’m pretty sure you won’t then start saying how their civil rights are trampled, but you’ll also think they had it coming.

            It’s easy to bash and comment on something when everything you know of it is from TV.

            Edit: Sorry if I’m going too off-topic here.

          • Contrafibularity says:

            Something funny about the fact that they sought to expose how Putin and the Orthodox Church conspire to make money, oppress free speech and opposition? Oh right, it’s actually funny, because that was the point.

            For example, the head of the church where the performance took place, himself personally acts as a tax-evasion business, has a sizeable import-export business of selling luxury cars, “holy” candles and tourist trinkets. All tax-exempt, of course. In return he calls his flock to vote for Putin as “god’s candidate” and badmouths the opposition. If that’s not laughable I don’t know what is. Russia probably wouldn’t survive without a sense of humour (but then who would?).

            Pussy Riot were smart to attack this particular aspect of corruption, because it’s one of the most insidious forms of oppression and corruption. I only wish people in the West still cared enough about their societies to even criticize how religion actively seeks to influence our political leanings as well, or does anyone actually believe it a random co-incidence that there is a bloc of right-wing Christian political parties in the EU and EU countries (like Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Italy etc.) whose only purpose is to grease the wheels of corruption & business? Hmmm, no, this is corruption by design.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @Dragon Master – People do stuff like that all the time in every country of the world. I remember I sat in a lecture once and the two boys behind me chatted all through about their stupid night out. But they don’t deserve to have criminal convictions for it.

            And this is the problem. They have a civil case to answer for their actions on that day, yes. What they should not have to face is criminal action, because – and this is important – Free speech is a fundamental human right. They were given criminal convictions for saying blasphemy.

            God does not exist.

            There you go, a little blasphemy of my own. Do I too deserve to be separated from my family and put in prison for two years? After all people came here to read about two tourists and look, I derailed it to express my opinion on the existence of some peoples beliefs.

          • coldvvvave says:

            >Something funny about the fact that they sought to expose how Putin and the Orthodox Church conspire to make money

            We know thats nothing new, all of that comes from 90′s, back when we were “friends” and Russia was in “an era of Democracy, a Golden Age”. Hell, your media liked it when people who protested had tanks firing at them back then.

          • woodsey says:

            @ Coldvvvave

            ‘Before you accuse me of being pro-Putin, I’d like to state that I didn’t vote for him.’

            I’m sure that made all the difference against the guy who is widely accused of cheating his way back into office.

          • Dragon Master says:

            @Sheng-ji
            Talked behind you? I’m talking about a few people flat out kicking the professor out and start dancing and shouting on the desk effectively stopping the lecture while erasing everything written on the blackboard.
            And what you talk about is expressing opinion. It’s your choice. But if you go out on the street see somebody religious and start tackling them while shouting in their face, not your opinion but say: “F**k your god, f**k everything you believe in…” and then continue to insult them, tackle them and generally mock them, then yes, something should be done about you. And if you do it as much times as they did, in as many places as they did, you should probably serve some time a bit as well. You do know they were arrested for hate crime against religion(read up a bit and you’ll see why) and not for any of the protests they did and they did a lot. They weren’t touched then. But in my opinion they crossed the line.
            @Contrafibularity You call that exposing? If what you call “exposing” is go into a random place and start shouting everything and anything you ever heard on the matter, make up some of your own, and then not even try to back it one bit, then okay, they were doing “exposing”.

            And because we’re really going off-topic I’d like to say that I’m on the “Greek army severely overreacting” camp.

          • coldvvvave says:

            @woodsey

            Widely accused by whom? The “liberal opposition”? All three of them? Madonna? New Zeland LGBT-groups? Western media? What proof do they have? Who’d win if not Putin? Zuganov? Oh, wait, he isn’t “liberal” so he doesn’t exist as far as your media is concerned. Fucking Le Figaro claimed that Navalniy would win elections if they were “honest”. A fucking nobody from Livejournal in a country where like only 20% of people have internet. What a joke your media is, at least its free.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @ People discussing the election – I thought the rule was bald – not bald – bald – not bald etc

            @ Dragon Master – Then why weren’t they convicted of assault. You’re telling me that they performed all sorts of criminal actions on that day, but they weren’t convicted for one single one of them. They were convicted for blaspheming. The only evidence of a crime that could be brought against them in the courts was that they said something which offends religious people. This directly contravenes their human rights. Simple as that. Yes, I agree, they were being dicks about it, but isn’t that just the way with revolutionaries throughout history and across the world, every action which has ultimately bought about better living conditions for the general population has annoyed other people quietly accepting their lot.

          • woodsey says:

            @ Coldvvvave

            Does New Zealand have a large LGBT movement?

          • Dragon Master says:

            @Sheng-ji
            Vandalism, unauthorized protesting, desecrating. Where in any country did you see such behavior bothered by the police authorities in any active manner? I guess you could say the were practicing their “freedom of speech”, but that’s neither the appropriate manner, nor quite the legal one. They were disbanded on the spot if caught and sent home, probably having a 24h stays in the police stations on occasions but that’s it. Treated as typical vandalism. And tell me, if they brought it up in court along with the hate case, what do you think would’ve happened? I’m pretty sure that then, the Russian legal system would’ve been accused of nitpicking, because they just want to bring them in jail and cover the entire reason they are in court in the first place. They upped their game too far, commit a crime that should be legally pursued one time too much and are now serving for it. In my opinion this is both “having it coming” and “getting what they deserved”. It’s not to say that they accidentаlly offended religious people, because they are easily offended(which is not quite true and a matter of different discussion entirely), it’s an actual pursuit of bashing on someone’s beliefs and trampling on their freedom, which you and the above commentators oh so verily cherish, by commiting actions and crimes that should in no way be tolerated. Or do you think religious people should have any less freedom and rights than the rest, just because you think what they believe in to be silly?

          • Kaira- says:

            @coldvvvave

            How about Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe? Leader of the delegation from Council of Europe said “effectively, we can’t say these were fair elections”, due to flaws in the secrecy of voting and abusing of administrative resources. Amnesty International has criticized, that there have been laws restricting non-government organization, police breaking up demonstrations and harassing criticis. Freedom House also has criticized election, as Putin’s party’s victory “was achieved under patently unfair and non-competitive conditions calling into doubt the result’s legitimacy.” Russian government has acted to actually prevent outsiders from observing the elections. Wikipedia has a good quick list of the criticism. Hell, Putin himself has denounced that Russian “democracy” is not like in the west, whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean.

          • Jenks says:

            Sorry, Pussy Riot are idiots, and deserve jail time. I’m an atheist but I know better than to go shit on people’s religion like that. If they had gotten life in prison I wouldn’t have lost any sleep. This isn’t a free speech issue, it’s an idiots with no respect for anyone else issue.

          • jalf says:

            Sorry, Pussy Riot are idiots, and deserve jail time. I’m an atheist but I know better than to go shit on people’s religion like that. If they had gotten life in prison I wouldn’t have lost any sleep. This isn’t a free speech issue, it’s an idiots with no respect for anyone else issue.

            Oh wow…

            I…. I don’t know what to say.

            That is all.

          • Jenks says:

            Say that you think running into a church full of conservative religious people and shitting on them is a fine use of free speech, because you’re smarter than them. Right?

          • Chris D says:

            There’s a difference between a religious protest and a political protest that happens to take place in a church. The Pussy Riot situation is very clearly the latter.

          • Jenks says:

            A church may be a meaningless building to you and I. That doesn’t mean that’s all it is.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            Jenks, the Pussy Riot story isn’t about atheism, it’s about political corruption and the injection of religion into Russian politics.PR’s intent wasn’t to embarrass the church building.

          • Dragon Master says:

            @Chris D Some of their previous actions and the way the acted in court says otherwise. It’s attention whoring above everything else.

          • Chris D says:

            You know who else went into a place of worship full of conservative religious people and “shit all over them”? No one who uses religion as an excuse to prop up an oppressive regime has any business trying to associate themselves with Christ.

            @Dragon Master

            Two years in a Russian prison purely motivated for desire for attention? I find that incredibly hard to believe and very much at odds with their closing statement.

          • Jenks says:

            Sounds like someone is getting ready to run into a church and shit all over those idiots! Go Chris go! Enlighten them! :D

          • Dragon Master says:

            @Chris D I’m speaking of their motivation. They were judged for their actions, not for the attention whoring.

          • Chris D says:

            @Jenks

            I’m a reluctant atheist these days but I was a christian for the best part of thirty years before that. I’m not about to call anyone an idiot for believing in God or not. I know all too well that that question is not nearly as straightforward as some on both sides make out. But faith does not excuse you from moral responsibility and any time a christian finds themself on the side of those in power against those who have none then that’s a sign something has gone badly, badly wrong.

          • Edradour says:

            The whole Pussy Riot thing made me question the way i used to look at media, everyone in the western world shouted about how the bad evil russian regime accuses the poor girls of random terms because they dared to attack putin in public.
            Then i read an article in a renowned newspaper how the whole song actually was nothing but verbal attacks on the orthodox church and its believers with a single anti-putin line. It was actually planned that way ( and they did this kind of thing in the past they just weren’t as succesful ) they knew that western media would happily just take that single line and ignore the rest.
            And the whole children thing, 2 of them have children but abandoned them giving them into their own parents and grandparents care.
            One of the guys in their “group” actually took his child to a demonstration where he threw feces at the police and when they intervened another member took a picture to demonstrate “police violence” in russia.

            They staged the whole thing solely to get the attention of western media and while the putin regime is corrupt and certainly not very democratic imo the pussy riot thing can’t be excused with the right for freedom of speech.

          • Dahoon says:

            @Edradour:

            Thank you! Finally someone who have actually read what the hell this is about and not just some BS opinion by heavily biased western media (AP, FOX, etc.). Putin is a fool who shouldn’t be in power, but this is about religion, not Putin.

        • Drayk says:

          Thank you for posting this!

          And to reply to the gentleman/fair lady (Tatourmi) above. I am Belgian and the justice in my own country has it’s whole share of problems (liberation at 1/3 of the sentence, 1-2 years prison sentences not served because lack of room in the prisons, Not enough prisons because of costs and Nimby effects, reinsertion plans not working, etc…) .

          But this situation (if properly depicted) is silly and worrisome. It would be even more sad when you think about what it used to represent; the craddle of a civilization.

          • EPICTHEFAIL says:

            Funny, if you just add “corruption at every level of the justice system” that sounds exactly like Serbia. Oh well, I guess we all have our problems.

          • Tatourmi says:

            I don’t know, once again I repeat myself, but is that really so surprising? I am pretty sure taking unauthorized pictures of military bases is understandably against the law in most countries. And they are not in a stable situation either. I am certainly saddened that it happened to them, but not surprised.

            The only real bullshit case I see is the “suspicious fly” which I think was over-zealous of the military to say the least.

          • Dahoon says:

            “the cradle of civilization” is in the middle-east, not Greece.

        • Lemming says:

          Err, you do know the 20 year prison sentence in Norway is merely a formality? It’s their ‘official’ maximum sentence, but he’s not getting out of there, ever.

          • woodsey says:

            Exactly. I believe his case is reviewed once that time is up and he’ll either be released or sent back to prison for another 5 years. Once that time is up, the whole thing repeats again and again until he’s released. Which he won’t be, obviously.

          • aldo_14 says:

            Doubly so. The reason the trial recorded his crimes in such detail was to preserve them for future parole hearings (as in ‘denial of’).

          • Jenks says:

            Sounds like a good use of their tax dollars.

        • Vander says:

          France didnt ban Muslim head scarves, they banned the burqa, the clothe who cover the entire body, face included.

          • Tatourmi says:

            Wel, according to wikipedia: As of 11 April 2011, it is illegal to wear a face-covering veil or other mask in public places such as the street, shops, museums, public transportation, and parks. Veils such as the chador, scarves and other headwear that do not cover the face, are not affected by this law and can be worn.[4] The law applies to all citizens, including men and non-Muslims, who may not cover their face in public except where specifically provided by law such as motor-bike riders and safety workers and during established occasional events such as some carnivals. The law imposes a fine of up to €150, and/or participation in citizenship education, for those who violate the law.[5][6] The bill also penalises, with a fine of €30,000 and one year in prison, anyone who forces (by violence, threats or by abuse of power) another to wear face coverings; these penalties may be doubled if the victim is under the age of 18.

            So it was not really about the burqa in the first place but it did stray that way in the end, which is a bit of a shame really.

        • coldvvvave says:

          wrong thread sorry

        • iniudan says:

          Real Horrorshow says:
          - I certainly hope you’re not French where they ban Muslim head scarves.
          ===========================================================
          Hope you know that Turkey has banned the head-scarves, from public institution, for almost 90 years now, actually, it is even part of the founding rules of their Constitution.

          • Dahoon says:

            “a ban from public institution” is not a ban. It’s a ban from public institution. Like a priest that is not allowed to take a cross with him, when at work in the Parliament as an elected official, and speaking to the public. That’s not a ban, it’s separating church/religion and state.

        • coldvvvave says:

          oh, I get it now

        • Tatourmi says:

          Yes, you are right, that wasn’t a classy move and a lot of justice systems have problems. I can recognize that. Now you have to understand that what I meant was that it was not really completely broken, as opposed to some other systems in my opinion, and that this decision is understandable given their current situation. I don’t like it, albeit I am pretty sure they WILL be alright in the end, but I don’t think it is a mess.

          It seems understandable for me that they did a mistake taking pictures of that base. ESPECIALLY since they know it was a military base in the first place (Their job pretty much excludes any other option).

          And yeah, once again, not classy, but I don’t think your reaction was appropriate either. My argument was not well formed, I acknowledge that, and I actually knew when I was writing it that people would expose that, but it was not a direct ad hominem, which I kinda feel yours was. I don’t think fighting fire with fire is the right way to go.

          One last semi-related thing, I am french and Muslim head scarves are NOT banned in france, I realise that you were trying to make a quick point but there is a little bit more to it than that. The point was to ban any visible religious sign from public elementary schools and high schools, which includes crosses as well as kippas. Discreet religious signs are still authorised however. It is still a little bit fucked up in a way, and the system still is far from perfect. But that was not a perfect example in my opinion, and would have given people ideas, and people already have enough misconceptions and prejudices about french people like that…

        • codename_bloodfist says:

          Except the Britain bit (no idea about that), I find all those perfectly reasonable.

          I was actually quite surprised when the comments section on Huffington Post almost uniformly sided with the FEMEN member that chainsawed down a cross in the middle of Kiev. A cross that was erected in memory of those who died during the Holodomor and those who suffered from religious prosecution. =/ The devil is in the details, something that has to be said about every single one of the points you’ve raised. The very same details that you’ve quite dishonestly omitted.

        • sqparadox says:

          Replied to wrong comment

        • Dahoon says:

          nt

      • tetracycloide says:

        Unfortunately you’re absolutely right, security theater is the norm just about everywhere now in the days of ‘ERMAHGERD TERERERSTS!’

      • Premium User Badge

        lurkalisk says:

        I’m curious about the bit about being American. Are you asking because Drayk would therefore live in happy ignorance of how many Governments kinda suck where secrets and justice are concerned? Or because you think the US has an awful justice system?

        The former would make sense, as Americans tend not to really know or care much about the outside world. The latter would not.
        Generally speaking, at this point in time, you can’t find national secrets in publicly viewable spaces, and even those places where photography is not allowed, you’re barred by… You know, guns and gates and complete visual obfuscation, so as to actually keep the secret.
        As to the justice system, it is flawed, is some ways rather badly, but it’s not this bad. Espionage is usually a charge carried out when carefully hidden facts are allegedly known to the suspect, not when a camera has pictures of an easily observable hangar. In situations like those, the camera would likely just be confiscated and the suspect escorted away (not that that would ever happen, as I said above).

        • Dahoon says:

          What?

          The occupy movement is being harassed as much as possible, monitored with video surveillance without having done anything wrong, cameras and microphones are installed in busses, people are send off to dark places of the world to be tortured with no evidence, Guantanamo exists, human rights are being broken every single day, lobbying and money is what sway the elections….

          I could go on and on for hours. I don’t hate on the U.S. but you got to be kidding? Russia is no worse than the U.S. in breaking human rights and having a fucked up, broken, corrupt election and justice system.

    • Premium User Badge

      tumbleworld says:

      Having lived there, and being half-Bubble myself, Greek justice _is_ worrisome. But then…
      *cough* Paul Chambers, Gary McKinnon, Bradley Manning *cough*
      …so is everyone else’s.

      • shaydeeadi says:

        Don’t forget Richard O’Dwyer, and Christopher Tappin..

      • Donjo says:

        So, because the justice system in a persons country of origin is suspect it means they can’t point out that another’s is “worrisome”? Irish justice system is a joke, the economic system is facing a further (and probably) astonishing melt down in the next few years, this doesn’t stop me from commenting on how messed up it is elsewhere.

        EDIT- this was a reply to Tatourmi

        • Tatourmi says:

          You are right, you don’t have to be an artist to be a critic, my point was just that the system was not really worrisome, or at least that it didn’t seem like it to me. Something which other systems really are in my opinion.

        • Universal Quitter says:

          As long as someone is at least attempting to stick to facts, isn’t resorting to personal attacks, avoids a derisive tone, and isn’t relying entirely on anecdotal evidence, they’re okay in my book.

          If a french person criticized the US, only a STUPID American would reject it, simply because it came from a foreigner. Unless you suspect prejudice or a lack of good faith, address the merits of their statement.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        I couldn’t agree more, which is why a free and properly regulated press is so important.

        • Axess Denyd says:

          I don’t think it can be free AND regulated.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            I guess that depends on whether you use the word free to mean that you can do what you want, or whether use of the word free does not preclude you from having to stay within the law.

    • Universal Quitter says:

      They’re just trying to distract their citizens from their devastated economy and civil unrest. It’s probably working, too. It usually does, and many countries do it as a matter of course.

  2. trjp says:

    It’s a shame they don’t have a large amount of marble that the Greeks want back – then they could bargain for it.

    Of course we could give it back on account of keeping it makes us look like pikey thieves – but that’s another issues altogether.

    • Didden says:

      I wonder if the greeks will then give back the stuff they stole from the ancient persian empire, back to the iranians?

      • Dahoon says:

        No! Greece is the cradle of civilization! Everything good started there. There is nothing to give back!

        …….. or was that the Middle-east? Hmmm, I’m confused.

  3. royaltyinexile says:

    Local authorities have accused them of espionage; according to the investigators, they had in their possession materials that may endanger the national security of Greece.

    • Donjo says:

      We know this. People are charged with crimes they might not have committed every day, and it can be shown that they have illegal materials in their possession, even if they did not previously. I think Greeks should be more worried about Golden Dawn than a couple of tourists.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        That whole Golden Dawn thing has got to be the most bizarre political story I’ve read about in a long time.

  4. caddyB says:

    What a silly little country.

    • Mordsung says:

      Well, to be fair, they arrested some guys they think were spying and are giving them all the legal rights they should have.

      In the states, a foreigner could be indefinitely detained with no actual charge or reason.

      Greece may be acting a little silly, but they’re not a fascist police state yet.

      • caddyB says:

        That’s also true I suppose. But is this the kind of advertisement they want right now, when they need all the tourists they can get?

        Come visit our country, and we might accuse you of being a spy and arrest you if you take too many pictures.

        And this is even regardless of whether Bohemia is honest or not.

        I’m pretty sure that “foreign powers” that they are trying to protect their bases from is just codeword for Turkey, who probably know all about that base anyway.

        • Dr I am a Doctor says:

          Maybe the tourist shouldn’t be spying on military bases

          just a thought

      • Premium User Badge

        lurkalisk says:

        The difference is that the US almost certainly wouldn’t. As worrisome as some of the Governments powers are in the US, they actually have the good sense not to use them like this *most* of the time.

    • battles_atlas says:

      What an obnoxious comment

  5. Eraysor says:

    Not sure why RPS is so happy to go along with Bohemia’s story given that this is exactly what you would say if you were trying to get people off the hook for espionage charges. They obviously aren’t spies, but they could easily have been doing research which is now being explained away as a “holiday”.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      because it makes sense for one thing. There’s no reason not to believe them

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Because the “research” idea makes no sense – we all know how close the game is to completion and we all know it is set far enough in the future to make such research redundant.

      Also the Greeks version that they are spies makes very little sense. We know who they are employed by and we know what conditions are like in game studios. They wouldn’t have the energy or time to hold down a second job as a spy. Unless you are a tinfoiled, bunker in the back garden type, you know this is a ridiculous assertion.

      So whats left. Genuine holiday makers, on a holiday to a major destination that they have been studying as part of their jobs for years. Making a tourist video, with some buildings in the background. Lets face it, Greece have track record for this. Also it would make no sense to try to decieve the public as to the content of the videos or pictures because they will get released at some point.

    • Lemming says:

      I don’t know what world you live in where an employer would lie to a government on your behalf to get you out, because there is absolutely no reason for Bohemia to be lying.

      I’m sure there are plenty of people who’ll sleep better at night knowing that their manager at McDonalds would hatch a prison-break plan should they get arrested. Right.

      • njursten says:

        Or knowing that their manager at McDonalds would say that it must’ve been by mistake that an employee kicked a ball through a competing burger joints front window. Right.

  6. kataras says:

    What is not clear to me is how they got arrested in the first place. Was it near a base? Was it during a unrelated routine check? It makes a lot of difference.

  7. Hoaxfish says:

    They also had €20 in their pocket which could destabilise the Greek economy

  8. DickSocrates says:

    I think Greece’s politicians have done enough already to… *sigh* I can’t even be bothered to make my lame joke about the economic crisis.

    Pro Tip: Avoid going to countries that are falling apart.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Don’t they say that we are all 3 meals away from anarchy – basically if a population large enough to overwhelm the police forces of a country doesn’t eat for 2-3 days, it is thought that it is almost certain that a revolution will be attempted.

  9. peschi says:

    wow Bohemia are really milking that PR cow.

    • John Walker says:

      Wow, that’s the most vile thing I’ll likely read today.

      • Alextended says:

        All the hateful remarks about Greece/Greeks based on nothing but the “other side’s” statements (which even if true don’t really excuse the kind of shit talk thrown in here) and this is what you find offensive? Okay.

        • Premium User Badge

          lurkalisk says:

          I haven’t seen any statements about Greeks themselves. Stop with the strawman. You may find it offensive that people are maligning a Government, which is weird of you, but that’s all people are really doing.

          • Alextended says:

            How about you start reading properly then, the comments referring to politicians are the minority.

  10. kataras says:

    Also John, does the use of the word ‘tragedy’ in the title mean that you implicitly think that the 2 devs knew how it was going to end but they went through with it anyway? If so, does that mean you support the Greek army in this case?

    • CommanderJ says:

      *wooosh*

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      I think it means that one of them bargained his wife back from the underworld but then lost her again, and the other one unwittingly had sex with his mother.

    • EPICTHEFAIL says:

      Arrested in a way that only makes sense if everyone within 200 miles, including them, suddenly starts behaving like an idiot? Sounds about right.

    • John Walker says:

      I’ll go with “no”.

  11. asshibbitty says:

    Yea that sounds like horseshit to me. If I had to choose sides I’d still pick the devs, but I don’t like how BI are handling this.

    • Premium User Badge

      PoulWrist says:

      So instead they should be like, “yea, we sent guys to do espionage” even if the two are on holiday? What I dislike is the rampant speculation here where its’ all “BI are totally spying and now they’re trying to cover it up”. How about we get some facts to back that up?

      • asshibbitty says:

        This scenario they are presenting is implausible. Two guys, who are working on a mil shooter set on an island, go to that same island as tourists, accidentally take a photo of some hangars, and get arrested. Greek prisons should be filled with tourists if that’s not an enormous coincidence.

        • Unaco says:

          As opposed to the scenario that they are actual spies and were engaged in espionage? Right. I know what I find more plausible.

          • asshibbitty says:

            Eh, no.

            First scenario, which is what I think had happened, they did intentionally take some naughty shots. Maybe as reference for a future project, or they were just feeling cocky, or they wanted to post it on some forum for military nuts as these guys do.

            Second scenario, which is what the Greeks are probably worried about, they were collecting data to put in BI’s training software.

        • Pindie says:

          Greece has been trying to get Bohemia to remove their island from their game, this might be their way of getting there.

          Also, allow me to point out: if Greece has more evidence than a couple of frames from video where you see the outer walls of air base they are free to show it to the public. Actually if they wish to refute Bohemia they SHOULD.
          They did not show any other evidence to their defense lawyer either.

          If Bohemia was lying they could be proven wrong in a heartbeat.

          If they were not trespassing you have to question how the Greek LE got a warrant in the first place? Could it be their hotel room was searched illegally? Were they arrested preemptively?

        • Dahoon says:

          Taking a picture of a hangar and putting it in the game would still not be espionage.

  12. SuperNashwanPower says:

    I’m amazed they managed to use their cameras at all, considering how many buttons Bohemia’s technology usually requires you to press.

  13. coldvvvave says:

    Yes. They were on a holiday. Just like Iranian Revolutionary guards were on the piligrimage in Syria.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      Wait, Bohemia Interactive is an elite military organisation?

      • coldvvvave says:

        I heard most of them are ex-military, so they are like AIM from JA2.

        What I’m saying is that B’s official denial is just official denial. It was expected but as usual it doesn’t really mean anything, they are just saying that they are not to blame.

      • ReV_VAdAUL says:

        We shouldn’t trust Iran, a country with good reason to prop up Syria claiming that captured people aren’t special agents without independent confirmation just like we shouldn’t trust Bohemia saying they’re innocent when they have a vested interest in looking after their employees and their reputation, especially given the fact they produce military training simulators.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      This. Absolutely this. The Bohemia employees may be innocent but we really cannot trust Bohemia’s assertions on this issue because if the employees were there at the company’s behest then the company might be liable for charges being brought against them.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      I’m still not entirely sure how the elite section of a country’s military providing covert ops support to a faction in a civil war compares to a private software company, even one that produces military simulations, sending its employees to Greece. But sure, it’s entirely possible that BI and the Greek government have fallen out over this before and that BI is sending its employees over in an unofficial capacity to take photos. As Tim Stone said, it’s really not necessary to photograph real military installations when you can take data from a non-militarised island and paste bases over it.

    • zeekthegeek says:

      Yes I’m sure the art designers are the parts of the studio that are ex-military. Oh wait no that’s retarded and you would have to be a complete imbecile to believe it.

      What ever happened to ‘innocent until proven guilty’?

  14. Alexandros says:

    “Frankly, if Greece believes photographing things in public view constitutes endangering their national security, they probably ought to hide stuff better.”

    So John, two people taking photos and video footage outside of a military installation, on an island just a few miles away from the greek-turkish border, it doesn’t sound at all suspicious to you? You don’t think that the authorities should detain them until the can be sure that there’s indeed nothing fishy going on?

    “Hey sarge, there are some people taking photos of our base, what should we do?”. “Meh, they’re probably tourists, I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about”. Yeah, that sounds about right. Right?

    • bob. says:

      Actually yeah that DOES sound right to me. I don’t get what’s the big deal. But then again, I am not Greek so they may see things differently. Although I am wondering: what would be the use of these photos in the first place IF they WERE spies?

      • Alexandros says:

        You can’t imagine how photos depicting the specific layout of a base would be useful in a potential hostile action? Reconnaisance and intelligence gathering is always a big deal in warfare.

        • ReV_VAdAUL says:

          In addition in espionage people gathering covert intelligence use disguises and, I’m sorry to say, tell untruths in order to acquire information their opponent doesn’t want them to have. Thus while Bohemia are putting forward a plausible story (that we have no way of verifying), a plausible story alone simply is not enough reason to ignore suspicious behaviour like photographing a military base close to a border with a long time enemy.

        • TormDK says:

          They send people by foot these days? How delightfully low-tech.

          I’d worry more about the tons of cameras in the sky than I’d worry about people that might/might not be tourists.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            They most likely do! Although, they would send people with good memories, not cameras. Why go so expensively high tech when you can accomplish the same with google earth and a bunch of people who can remember enough to make sketches an hour later.

          • Premium User Badge

            Gap Gen says:

            Getting eyes on the ground is still pretty important, whether you’re a military organisation sending in planes to blow things up or a terrorist organisation looking to get past security guards and cause maximum damage inside a target. Watching things like guard patrol routes is useful intel, as anyone who played the Commandos series will know. It’s also an easy way to get burned, as innocent people don’t tend to sit in one place for ages watching security guards move about.

        • tetracycloide says:

          You’re starting with your premise and working backward. You see the information as potentially useful to an aggressor and are using that as justification for arresting them without actually asking the real question: “Should it be illegal to take a photograph in a public place if you’re facing the wrong direction near a military base?” It’s not even relevant at all how useful the information in such a photo would be to an invasion army. Tons of public information would be useful to an invasion army, detailed maps of the surrounding terrain for example, and that doesn’t mean possessing that information is or should be a crime.

          • Premium User Badge

            Gap Gen says:

            Depends if you’re looking at the problem from a civil rights perspective or from a national security perspective. The former assumes innocent until proven guilty, taking time to build a case out of the evidence. The latter assumes that even a small event could be a risk, and acts proactively with the idea that if nine out of ten times you’re wrong, that one out of ten times you’ve stopped a security threat. I assume the people who arrested them were looking at the latter. Still sucks for the people who were arrested, but then geopolitics is nothing if not brutal and sociopathic.

      • Tim Ward says:

        “So, as you can see from the layout of the hangers and runways, if you drop bombs here, here and here you can completely put this air base out of action for at least 3 days”

        “We’ve analysed the photos of the Greek military aircraft and our experts are fairly sure they’re configured with [x. y, z] weapons systems”

        “Based on intelligence from key human sources within the Greek military establishment, in conjunction with evidence in these photographs *slapped onto the table*, we’ve determined that the likely Greek procedure for responding to an intrusion into their air space is [blah blah blah], draft your invasion plans accordingly.”

        “These photos show Private Such and Such at the Greek airbase is doing something he shouldn’t. Use them to blackmail him into giving us the good stuff.”

        Need I go on?

        • tetracycloide says:

          So, as you can see from the layout of the hangers and runways, if you drop bombs here, here and here you can completely put this air base out of action for at least 3 days

          The premise that it’s feasible and/or advisable to hide macro details of the physical layout of the base is ludicrous.

          We’ve analysed the photos of the Greek military aircraft and our experts are fairly sure they’re configured with [x. y, z] weapons systems

          If you want to keep the weapon system configuration a secret why is it visible from a public place close enough to accurately analyze said weapon system?

          Based on intelligence from key human sources within the Greek military establishment, in conjunction with evidence in these photographs *slapped onto the table*, we’ve determined that the likely Greek procedure for responding to an intrusion into their air space is [blah blah blah], draft your invasion plans accordingly.

          Leaks from human sources with clearance are an entirely different thing. The photos aren’t the problem, the existence of ‘key human sources withing the Greek military establishment’ are the problem and it’s unfair and unethical to take out issues with the later on the photographers of the former.

          These photos show Private Such and Such at the Greek airbase is doing something he shouldn’t. Use them to blackmail him into giving us the good stuff.

          Again, this is a personnel problem. Your own people shouldn’t be engaging in activities they could be blackmailed over, that’s the security problem not the photos of said activies. More-over this weakness exists anywhere they go, not just the base, and I don’t think you’re seriously arguing that pictures of, say, diners at a restaurant is espionage simply because private such and such at the Greek airbase was in attendance with a woman other than his wife.

          • Tim Ward says:

            The guy asked what the use of the photos might be. I gave a few examples. Whether they were right to arrest them over it is another matter.

        • EPICTHEFAIL says:

          Yes, because you missed the point by a country mile. They took the photos from a publicly accessible location, while sightseeing. If anything, their game, or hell, the existence of Google Earth and similar satellite image databases would be a greater threat to Greek military security than two blokes with a Nikon.

          • Alexandros says:

            Normal tourists photograph the sunset, or villages and beaches. Not military bases and missile batteries.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @Alexandros – What if the sun is setting over a military warehouse, what if the quaint village you are photographing is on the road to the airport, what if your friend is telling the camera how much he will never drink again after a heavy night out and behind him is a glimpse of some military thing. You get the idea.

          • Alextended says:

            So anything that’s not undeground is fair game regardless of local laws and signs indicating them to foreigners? Don’t be ridiculous. Oh, and why act like some innocent bunny got convicted, it’s an ongoing process. If you can prove they’re innocent then go ahead and do them the favor, if you can’t then wait for the results while others do that job.

          • Premium User Badge

            Stellar Duck says:

            I’ll grant that I may not be the typical tourist but I take pictures of a lot of stuff.

            From my trip to Greece a few years back I got, aside from copious amounts of temple related pictures and a weird fascination for Doric columns, shots of the following list:

            A purple crane in a construction site.
            A police officer with a god damn machine gun. *shivers*
            An embassy.
            A rally for something or other.
            An amusing sign that said Kiddy Love above a kinder garten.
            A small lizard.
            Some soldiers doing some soldier stuff in from of some place. Guarding, most likely.
            A bus that rear ended a police car (and some delightful shouting that sadly didn’t come across in the picture).

            So, really, tourists take pictures of whatever catches their fancy. But I do have some sun sets as well.

          • Tim Ward says:

            As an experiment, why don’t you go and stand outside RAF Lossiemouth and take a bunch of pictures and let me know how you get on?

          • olemars says:

            Are you kidding? Lossiemouth is surrounded by planespotters. Here’s a handy guide to good photographing locations with the best view of the facilities:

            http://www.thunder-and-lightnings.co.uk/spotting/lossiemouth.php#VIEW

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      It is worrying how John is so willing to buy into Bohemia’s line. Bohemia has a much better PR operation, especially among the gaming community, so they are much more able to get their interpretation of the story out there. As I’ve said a couple of times in this comments section Bohemia has plenty of reason to bend the truth in their favour.

      Might the Greek military be overreacting or just completely wrong? Sure, but we can’t give so much credence to the other side of a he said, she said argument, especially when one side has such a PR advantage.

      • Pindie says:

        The Greeks said they had evidence, Bohemia says they do not.
        If Bohemia was lying the Greeks could prove them wrong. They did not.

        If Greece had more evidence the defense lawyer would have had seen it.

    • olemars says:

      The “military installation” in question is co-located on the civilian international airport. If they were worried people might see their hangars then perhaps they should have built them somewhere secluded instead of right next to the parking lot.

      Satellite photo: http://goo.gl/maps/Jm5lm
      The military portion are the revetment areas and hangars northeast and southwest of the main terminal building.

      • Donjo says:

        I was going to link the same thing. Fairly detailed satellite imagery would surely be more useful than some stills from a video taken from within a car (if this is actually what they had, as they claim)… ReV_VAdAUL, I understand where you’re coming from, it’s hard to trust BI, especially when they have such close ties with military training, but this does seem a bit absurd.

        • ReV_VAdAUL says:

          The issue is we can’t trust BI. This does not mean that the two suspects should not get a fair trial and it certainly does not mean Greece shouldn’t be held to considerable levels of scrutiny about why the pair were arrested.

          Both sides have potential vested interests in saying what they’re saying and so essentially stating the assertions of a BI press release as fact is worrying. Just as if RPS ran a story saying “Noble Greek Military catches villainous spies” based on a Greek military press release we can’t trust the assertion the pair were innocent tourists just because the people who might’ve made them commit a crime says they’re innocent.

          I am no fan of any military but I can still see why the Greek military has acted as it has and do not think those actions should be wholly dismissed out of hand.

          • Donjo says:

            Yeah, the more I think about it the more I agree with you: I usually don’t trust articles that reassert information from a press release in an unquestioning way, such as this. Irish newspapers print police press releases over a balanced view every day and it’s infuriating.

        • olemars says:

          My point wasn’t that you could see details of this thing on Google Maps, my point was that the military airfield in question is also a civilian airfield.

    • Lemming says:

      Hold your fucking horses.

      The Greek island in question is a tourist destination. They can’t realistically expect to run it as such and not let people take holiday snaps. If they are so paranoid and worried (even if with good reason, as you asert) then they shouldn’t be allowing tourists there. OH WAIT, THEY NEED MONEY!

      This is hypocrisy, and it’s disgusting.

      • Alexandros says:

        You can travel the island freely and phtograph anything you want, except military installations. There’s warnings about the fact everywhere.

        • Bruwin says:

          I’m sorry, but tourists don’t take pictures of military installations? Yes they most certainly do! Military bases are fascinating to look at. And is it a stretch that guys who specialize in creating milsims would actually be interested in the military? Especially when an upcoming game that they’ve helped create features that country in it?

          I find it funny how willing some people are to throw these guys under a bus. If they were actually involved in espionage, then most certainly they should be punished for it. But curiosity is not espionage.

        • zeekthegeek says:

          The military base in question is part of the public airport.

    • John Walker says:

      My point was, if you can stand in a civilian area and see things that are supposed to be secret, then they aren’t secret.

      Suggestions that I’m taking sides here are somewhat misplaced. I’ve reported everything as Bohemia’s statements, not my own. And then I make my own remark at the end. We are still waiting for the facts, including any official charges.

      • Alexandros says:

        My point is that, at this point, there’s no way of knowing what it is that these people photographed. If it is some shots of some buildings in the distance, then I would agree with you that it’s stupid. However, if they were found in possession of close-up photos of military installations and weaponry, then the authorities were right to apprehend them.

        Until such info is released, we have no way of knowing who is at fault, so your personal comment should really include both sides of the story.

        • Pindie says:

          First of all lack of additional statements and press releases from Greek authorities is a tell-tale sign IMHO that they have no real evidence.

          Second, I am assuming Bohemia would not make a lie that can be so easily proven false.

          This story has taken a weird spin in comment sections. Suddenly Bohemia is a great and Machiavellian company that has PR people make up lies for them and we need to beat them into the ground? Bohemia does not even have a PR section. It’s an independent game developer.

          To me this statement pretty much explains the whole case, unless the Greeks decide to show evidence to refute it (which they should have if it was not the case) it stands true.

          I would expect people here to have more sympathy for DICE or Bioware employees at this point.
          This is really scary. The whole innocent until proven guilty went out of window and I am reading tirade after tirade about how foolish and irresponsible the devs were, all based on assumptions going way beyond even what the Greek authorities said.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            In all fairness – if the Greek authorities were correct and the pair were taking photographs of sensitive military stuff, the last thing they would do is release those photographs to the public – that would be kind of doing what they just prevented spys from doing, allowing those photographs to get into unfriendly hands.

      • Donjo says:

        John- Fair enough.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      Note that in UK law, (quoting Wikipedia, yes): “It is also an offence under section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 to take a photograph of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or possessing such a photograph.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photography_and_the_law#United_Kingdom – note also that this law existed before 9/11)

      So it’s not unusual for Greece to have such a law, or to have enforced it. It’s debatable whether whether the UK law is also a breach of civil rights, or whether individual interpretations of the law have gone too far in the past.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        Every country has these laws, of course but it’s how they are applied that is controversial. There have been many instances of section 44 being abused in the UK to arrest photographers and as a result it is also very controversial.

      • Donjo says:

        Most countries have vague laws that can be used in almost any way to justify whatever is wanted. Yes, that is a vague point.

        • Premium User Badge

          Gap Gen says:

          That’s a fair point. I guess it allows states to apply force where they feel is necessary and have legal backing for it, but in terms of civil rights it’s not fantastic.

  15. Gentlemoth says:

    I’m not surprised. Greece has a very active military, and a very strong military even in a place of fiscal crisis. They still perceive Turkey as a large threat, and will take any steps to ensure their national safety.

    Personally I think that their threat is severely overplayed by their social-military elite. There are a lot of benefits in Greece if you are part of the military. Last I visited, I spotted plenty of officer lounges, reserved small private bars for officers only. I even spotted a really large hospital on the road out of Thessaloniki, which I later found out was a military hospital, reserved for the military or their families.

    And this is for a country which is in no wars, has not been in any serious one since World War 2(excluding the Cyprus crisis, as that’s was more of a conflict than a war) and have no substantial amount of War-veterans they need to care for. My Father can tell me how it was in his time during the military, a lot of boot-licking the higher-up officers and a surprising amount of privilege once some seniority had been established.

    It was not that long ago Greece was in a military Junta. That power never really disappeared, it only slipped into the background, and is still there in a way to this present day. They paint up this image of the threat against the evil Turks and reinforce it to the public eye. Greeks are told a lot of stories of the “bad old days” when they were under Ottoman rule. A lot of tales about how oppressed they were, and how Greek these days must be stronger than ever!

    • Alexandros says:

      I agree with you, I tοο think that Turkey’s threat is overplayed and that a war is highly unlikely in this day and age. However there have been a few relatively recent incidents that caused tensions to heat up. It’s a complex situation and sadly both countries see a need to prepare for the worst.

    • Bobby Oxygen says:

      ” I even spotted a really large hospital on the road out of Thessaloniki, which I later found out was a military hospital”

      YOU DIRTY SPY!

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      I’d argue that if I were a Greek leader I’d be very, very worried about Turkey. It’s a large country with increasing regional power and a booming economy, whereas Greece is a small-ish mountainous country with a broken economy. While things might be fairly stable now, remember that things can change very quickly. I’d bargain that Greece is taking growing Turkish power very seriously, not because there might be a war in the next year, but because Turkey could easily dominate Greece in a few decades, as it has done in the past.

      • Vander says:

        Except that if Turkey attack Greece, then they have the entire European Union against them, no? So it is very very unlikely.

        • Alexandros says:

          In theory, yes. In practice, military history has shown that treaties are little more than toilet paper in times of war.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Which is why after the 1914 invasion of Serbia by Austria-Hungary, Russia didn’t honour it’s treaty with the Serbs and didn’t protect them. And even if they had done, Germany certainly wouldn’t have honoured the Dual Alliance and assisted Austria against Russia. And even if they had, France certainly wouldn’t have honoured her treaty with the Russians and attacked Germany on her Western Front, why is why it remained so quiet I suppose. And even if France had have honoured her treaties, Britain certainly wouldn’t have respected the paper thin, easy to get out of defence of France clause in their treaty. That was why the Austrian-Hungarian invasion of Serbia remains such a footnote in European history, overlooked and forgotten by historians.

          • Premium User Badge

            Gap Gen says:

            Actually, WWI is an awesome example of how what was seen as a stable and prosperous continent tore itself apart in a huge war for basically no reason. Even though France and Germany were closely economically linked and stood to lose a vast amount by going to war, they did it anyway.

            Treaties exist, but it’s the underlying security reality that governs whether they’re worth anything or not. Britain’s treaty with Poland before WWII didn’t save it (despite Britain going to war with Germany over Poland), and despite being Georgia a prospective member of NATO, no-one did anything when Russia fought Georgia in 2008. As I’ve said, neither the EU nor NATO particularly have a unified foreign policy since the fall of the USSR, and each nation tends to set its own policy. With the current tensions from the euro crisis, I don’t see that changing soon. So it’s conceivable that parts of the EU could tacitly support Turkey over Greece in a confrontation if it suited them at the time.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @Gap Gen. That’s right, Britain’s treaty with Poland didn’t save it, which is why Poland doesn’t exist now… Oh.

          • Premium User Badge

            Gap Gen says:

            Poland was conquered by Germany and the USSR in 1939, and was then a satellite state of the USSR until that collapsed fifty years after Poland was initially invaded. I’m not sure it was Britain’s treaty particularly that granted its political autonomy. It did give Britain a nice casus belli for WWII, although I don’t know if that’s particular comfort to the Poles who lived (and died) under the rule of Germany or the USSR.

          • Vander says:

            WWI ,like said above. But id also point out that the EU is a little more than a piece of paper. If Greece was to suffer an attack from Turkey without Casus Belli, do you really think that the Eu will let that go without intervention?

          • Premium User Badge

            Gap Gen says:

            I assume not, although I cited Georgia as an example of a military ally of NATO that was not aided when directly attacked by Russia in 2008. But like I say, a lot can happen in a few decades, and military planning can’t just take account of security threats in the next five (say) years. I concede that as long as Greece is in a currency union with the big EU countries it may have protection by them, but this isn’t a guaranteed thing in the long term.

            Further, hostile actions these days are often not direct military attacks. Turkey only has to have naval control over Greece’s shipping lanes to have control over its economy. The US and Israel are engaged in a covert war with Iran, which is also engaged in a proxy war trying to prop up the Alawite regime in Syria, without any side fighting the other in the open. One possibility could be that in the event of a civil war (assuming the political situation in Greece deteriorates due to economic collapse, or if something unexpected happens), Turkey backs one side in order to gain influence over Greek politics. This has happened multiple times throughout history, without the external power needing to send in conventional forces or directly attack a sovereign nation.

        • Grape Flavor says:

          Yeah, go to Poland and ask them what they think of the way France and Britain carried out their treaty obligations in 1939:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saar_Offensive
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoney_War

          At the end of the day it’s just a piece of paper and if your “allies” just want to sit around and wring their hands while your country is destroyed, that’s what they’ll do.

      • Premium User Badge

        Gap Gen says:

        Depends if the EU exists in a few decades. It certainly doesn’t have a unified military or foreign policy at the moment. It’s possible that if Turkey builds economic and diplomatic links with Germany and France, they’d look the other way at any power plays short of military action. EDIT: Equally, Greece has played a part in European attempts to weaken Turkey in the past, as with their support for Greece in the war of independence.

        Besides, political control can extend beyond military conquest. Neither Iran or the US have started sending conventional forces into Syria, but both are covertly trying to steer the result of the civil war their way. If a very powerful country exists next door to a much less powerful one, expect the powerful country to exert a lot of influence over the less powerful one. This is especially problematic for Greece because it relies on access to the Mediterranean, given how mountainous it is – if Turkey comes to dominate the Eastern Mediterranean, Greece relies on Turkey to allow its shipping through. So Turkey in this scenario has influence because if necessary it can turn off Greece’s economy with a word to its navy.

    • Prokroustis says:

      Everyone with a basic knowledge of international relations can see that it is not overplayed in the slightest.

  16. mbp says:

    I don’t speak Greek but a few minutes spent browsing Greek news sources makes me very worried about the fate of this unlucky pair of game devs.

    I couldn’t find any Greek sources that dismissed the affair as a misunderstanding. In fact Greek public opinion seems to be fully aware of the video game connection and seems to think that that makes things far worse because a “military simulator could be used by Turkey to practice base penetration”.

    I sincerely hope that the base in the game is completely different to the real one. Bohemia’s stance of distancing themselves from the actions of the pair may seem callous but actually it is probably the only hope of those guys avoiding a long jail term.

    Try this link for example (you need to scroll down):
    http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&hl=en&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=auto&tl=en&twu=1&u=http://www.skai.gr/news/technology/article/212289/tsehiki-etaireia-se-diakopes-oi-sullifthedes-sti-limno-idi-uparhoun-leptomereies-tis-vasis-tou-nisiou-sto-paihnidi/&usg=ALkJrhg4m4gcPRw7vkLbUpCaYKk3yDOeUg

    or this one:
    http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&hl=en&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=auto&tl=en&twu=1&u=http://www.emprosnet.gr/article/37273-ypothesi-kataskopias-me-erotimatika&usg=ALkJrhgQlzMAxkf4ubsVbWij2l0zddldjw

    • kataras says:

      Well the first article says that copies of the game have already been distributed to ‘some’ gamers and then focuses on a Greek guy who plays Arma3 who ‘warned’ them some months ago.

      The second has more info: that they also had nightvision cameras and that they had on them photos and videos of many other places like the Military Command building, alternative routes to/from the airport, refueling spots etc. It also says that the police ‘knew about them’ as soon as they arrived but waited to apprehend them with the material in their possession. They were taken to the police station for a ‘normal check’ (of papers I guess) and there they found the material.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        I’ve just looked through mine and my partners camera collection. Both our main cameras, both our video cameras and a couple of my old ones have “night vision” modes on them. I wonder how reputable these sources are, lets assume they are good, not making stuff up, which means they are repeating what the Greek authorities are saying. This means the Greeks are looking to make this sound as serious as possible, a bad sign for the pair, assuming they are innocent (If they were conducting espionage, they deserve everything the Greek law throws at them, but I feel it is highly unlikely).

        • kataras says:

          I don’t know, bearing in mind the police/army’s tendency to overstate things, I would take it with a pinch of salt. I just summed up the articles. It’s worth bearing in mind that in Greece, newspapers just copy/paste the police’s press releases and pass them off as news pieces.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Sorry, I agree with you completely, I was just trying to say, in my own clumsy way that the two links make things seem very obvious that they were going out to commit espionage, but actually, read between the lines, taking everything reported as factual, it can be worded very differently to make the whole thing sound innocent.

            Thank god Bohemia Interactive are not a Turkish company, though one suspects if they were, they would be making a game set elsewhere.

        • zeekthegeek says:

          Not a very reputable source, nobody has ARMA 3 yet. The community alpha was pushed back to later this fall.

    • Alextended says:

      Maybe because they don’t know this for a fact, just as you don’t, but they have the decency to be honest and not judge things they haven’t seen for themselves. Their material could be incriminating, if it’s not then I’m sure their lawyers are better than you are and regardless of the current PR wars happening online with the help of fanboys and other easy to sway folks will get them out. If it is incriminating they’re in trouble with good reason. Ignorance of the law, or other people breaking the law too, isn’t a good excuse anywhere.

  17. SanguineAngel says:

    I’m surprised by many of the comments here.

    • Donjo says:

      Well, it’s a weird situation… on one side, the employees of a company with close ties to military training around the world (IDF, UK MOD, USMC, and quite a few more it seems) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VBS1 and on the other, the Greek military. If only the Greek military had used BI’s services in the past, just to make it a bit more convoluted.

  18. CPLDANABD says:

    I fail to see why Greece is bothering, they don’t really have the money to be chasing down game developers and charging them with espionage, come to think of it, they don’t really have the money for well, anything. Even if the devs were spies, who’s going to invade Greece? They are if I remember correctly part of the EU right? Which means they can count on the UK, France, Germany etc to leap to their defense in the event of a war who are in turn part of NATO which means if things really fall apart, the US may step in, so that’s a massive deterrent to any prospective invader, not to mention the whole economic collapse thing…

    • kataras says:

      Nothing better to distract the masses than an external threat!

      • Prokroustis says:

        Nothing better than commenting on a situation you have no apparent knowledge about.

    • caddyB says:

      Come on, I’m told that Greece is under constant threat from Turkey who are trying to invade, they just lack the photographs of the exterior of the military bases on the islands that you can see from the Turkish shores.

      Or they could just buy the country, come to think of it.

    • Premium User Badge

      RaveTurned says:

      Point of Info: Greece and Turkey are both members of NATO.

    • Alexandros says:

      When it comes to international politics, rules and treaties often go out the window. In the event of a greek-turkish war, allegiances would be determined by each country’s interests first, treaties later.

  19. vrekman64 says:

    Come on guys….
    There are many signs with “No Photos” near every military installation in Greece. They are enforced by law. You can take photos of everything except when “No photos” signs are present.

    This was the second trip of the photographers. Limnos was in ARMA last year as well. That was a big deal and was discussed in the Greek parliament. No action was taken back then.

    They were not arrested because they took photos. They were arrested because the locals saw 2 strangers for many days walking around. They probably thought they were thieves or something. Police found the photos later. Photos of the “no photos” areas. They had to arrest them.

    There is no death penalty in Greece. Even if they are to be imprisoned they will simply pay some money and get out. Last time I checked, ARMA was financed by the American army, so finding the money is trivial. Those programmers will have a good story to tell to their girlfriends when they return home

    • Alexandros says:

      Actually, if they are found guilty of espionage they will most certainly not be able to pay some money and get out. Buying out your sentence is only applicable for smaller crimes.

  20. caddyB says:

    What we need is a military simulator in which Turkish and Greek soldiers fight together, both being part of NATO and all.

    They can fight against, North Korea, nobody likes them.

  21. Premium User Badge

    RaveTurned says:

    - “You there? What are you doing with that camera?”
    - “Taking holiday photos. We’re tourists!”
    - “What’s that? You’re TERRORISTS?!”

    …aaand it all went downhill from there.

  22. MistyMike says:

    A somewhat pathetic overreaction of Greek authorities. In most legal systems the crime of espionage is defined as collecting data in the interest/on behalf of a foreing agent of some description. That means all the where and whens would need to be proven before court in order to convict somebody of espiongage: the details of the accused’ relationship with foreign intelligence agencies etc. Which is of course out of the questions in case of some Czech game developers. If that element is not present the only charge would possibly be some administrative fine for violating the prohibition of taking pictures in certain places.

    • Enough. says:

      You think about the wording too much…

      Instead, you should investigate the history behind the events, trust me – Greece has its reasons.

  23. christos says:

    ‘Frankly, if Greece believes photographing things in public view constitutes endangering their national security, they probably ought to hide stuff better’…..

    Mr Walker here is a task for you:
    1).Go close to a military base , 2).take pictures, 3).wait and see what happens.
    I’m tired of seeing this story in gaming sites. You don’t know what they photographed. Neither do i. Stop taking sides.

  24. MythArcana says:

    Greece isn’t making their situation any better with this news. You mean to tell me they have international secrets hiding right in front of visitors right off the airport? Dare I say it, but it sounds like Mexico over there these days. See, kids; this is what happens when you don’t pay your taxes.

  25. Enough. says:

    Most people have no idea about the ‘situation in Greece’.

    What you heard about in recent years is the economic crisis. This has nothing to do with that.

    This has to do with the Cyprus War in the ’70′s, where Greece “fought” Turkey over ownership of Cyprus. They take this VERY SERIOUSLY. So does Cyprus. They are genuinely afraid of a Turkish invasion (they have good reason to be).

    Ever since the war, there is a mandatory 1 or 2 year stay in the military.

    I can’t believe all the people that are acting like Greece did something wrong. America imprisons people that take pictures at civilian airports, and people expect other countries who are under constant threat of war to overlook people that go near and photograph military bases?

    Also, before you comment something entirely retarded about Greece, at least read the wikipedia article on it.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      As far as I’m aware, the U.S. has never imprisoned anyone for taking pictures. Harassed? Yes. Arrested? Yes. Detained? Oh yeah. Imprisoned? Not quite.

      You might want to follow your own advice there.

      • Alextended says:

        Right, so because you call it detainment when you send people to guantanamo bay for no reason whatsoever, it’s so different to and better than prison, lol. It’s not like these guys have been sentenced. It’s an ongoing process, and there will be an actual trial if it goes that far, unlike the situation many poor folks faced over there.

  26. ultimafrost says:

    Couple of things here:

    1) Laws are laws, no matter how stupid they are, they exist (and yes most of the times laws regarding the military are amazingly stupid, served in the Greek military, not because i wanted to, it is obligatory in Greece)
    2) Where there is smoke there is fire, this PR bull-crap by BI that the poor tourists is getting to my nerves. Really? You had another incident regarding the same thing one year ago, and instead of steering away from the “crazy stupid” country with distasteful laws, your employees come back to the SAME ISLAND as tourists? (which is not even close to the best island for tourist attraction) Sorry don’t buy it.
    3) Haters leaving thoughtless comments about the Greek PEOPLE (say what you will for the traitorous scum of politicians we have), piss off.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      1) Yes but, lets imagine for a second that these people are not spies. Now, with that thought in mind, does Greek law allow enough flexibility to not detain these people any longer if it is blindingly obvious they are not taking these photos with the intention of allowing a foreign power to invade. (Spoilers – yes it does)

      2) Ever seen charcoal being made – plenty of smoke, no fire.
      Ever seen a politician lie for political reasons, even if it screws up someone else’s life?
      Ever seen the effect a threat to national security has on a population in fairly dire circumstances?

      3) There are about 2 haters, maybe 3. Don’t tar us all with the same brush.

      • ultimafrost says:

        Did i say all posters here piss off, or just haters? I Think haters thank you very much. And we are talking about Military law, not civic law, a very different law set in each country, especially in a country where unfortunately the military has a much higher place than it should. Also everybody here knows just about everything that he reads from the press, no more no less. And i know that the espionage accusations are stupid, they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, although they had the same problems before and they knew what was going to happen if they did it again…

    • Pindie says:

      1) Some laws are crafted in such a way they can be applied to almost anything. The sort of laws you use when you know someone is guilty but cannot prove it, so you charge them with other thing by stretching the vague law.
      2) RPS asked them for comment and they print the answer.
      PR spin in Greek media is the silly part. All cameras nowadays have a night vision setting…
      The Greek authorities are silent so far.
      I think the fact they did not expect to get in trouble testifies to both their innocence and to the fact they had great faith in your country.
      3) Those are your elected officials, they might not represent you but at one point in the past they got voted there. Greek people often act as if they were an occupied territory.
      You get awfully defensive about your country. The comments were mostly about how your authorities cannot be trusted. Apart from a couple of people who were just trolling.

      • ultimafrost says:

        Yes being caught for espionage is pretty vague, i believe it is used as a means to an end, but they were not just some random tourists, they had a history with the specific island and knew that it was a touchy subject. It’s like going to a country with a stupid law (i.e. don’t pick your nose in public), do it, get a warning and then just go and do it again… About the faith part… please…. You know only what you’ve heard from the media, as do i. Also yes Greece was an political unstable Country, apart from the last 20-25 years where the political system started to mature after 400 Years of Ottoman Occupation, WWII, Monarch, civil war, Junta and intrusion to an Greek related island, so yea you can say that occupied can be a spot-on word (not the territory part only but you get the meaning). And defensive is the least i can be for a Country where it falls to my hands the duty to clean up the mess done by my fathers and their fathers before them.

  27. mrmalodor says:

    Guess they have to make up frivolous charges to keep their jobs in this economic climate, haha.

  28. srgill says:

    Some interesting updates on this story. Recent article on ARS Technica quoted Bohemia as stating.

    Bohemia says that employees Ivan Buchta and Martin Pexlar did not actually enter any Greek military bases, as some reports suggested, but simply took video of the international airport that included images of a far off military complex in the distance. The videos and pictures, Bohemia says, were taken from a public road that was accessible to visitors to Greece. “It’s very likely that many tourists may have pictures similar to those taken by [Buchta and Pexlar] in their own family albums, without being aware that they put themselves or their families at risk,” the company said in a statement.

    That’s a lot less sinister than some of the speculation going around.

    The article goes on to say that “Their holiday was a product of their interest in the island, triggered by their work on Arma 3 over the past two years of development,”.

    Thats certainly a much more plausible reason for them vacationing there after working on a virtual version of the island for 2+years

    • Alextended says:

      Did you expect BI to reveal something sinister to the public in the middle of a PR war to help their defense? Seriously? I’m not saying there’s something to reveal but expecting the side of the defense to give ammo to the prosecutor instead of provide tidbits exactly like what you posted is a bit silly. I should also add being accused of espionage doesn’t imply anyone thinks you’re some undercover agent of a foreign nation or someone intending to sell information to someone specific. Even unwillingly you could do the same harm, and ignorance isn’t going to cut it as an excuse anywhere, really.

  29. User100 says:

    So… nobody finds it a bit strange that two (presumably straight) guys go on “vacation” together??? “Just vacation, no work at all—we’re just enjoying the nice scenery.”
    Even though one of them actually has a wife and kid at home?
    Why did he decide to go with another developer, rather than with his family?
    After all, it’s VACATION. And you don’t normally spend your vacation with your CO-WORKERS.

    The more I think about the whole situation, the less the official story makes sense.