"Conditions Are Tough" For Game Dev "Spies"

"Conditions Are Tough" For Game Dev "Spies"

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The Arma 3 developers arrested for spying in Greece say they're being treated "fairly and correctly," and don't want their families to worry.

The Bohemia Interactive employees who were arrested last week for espionage in Greece remain in custody, but in an update released today the studio said it remains hopeful that the situation can be resolved as just "an unfortunate and deep misunderstanding." The duo, Ivan Buchta and Martin Pezlar, were arrested after a search of their camera and camcorder revealed images of military installations on the Greek island of Lemnos; they claimed that they were researching the island for the upcoming military shooter Arma 3, which includes among its locales a fictionalized version of the island.

In a statement released today, Bohemia Interactive reiterated that the claims of espionage are "completely false and without substance." The developers were on the island as tourists, inspired to visit it by their work on Arma 3, and as many people do, took photos and videos in public areas.

"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," the studio said. "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 studio also reiterated that the in-game version of the island, renamed (very slightly) to Limnos, is almost complete and "far from an identical recreation of the real place." It's been heavily modified to fit the game's 2035 plot and "does not attempt to display any real world military installations" on the island.

The detained developers passed on a message saying, "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 worry about us. We hope we will meet soon."

Bohemia Interactive apologized for not being able to provide more information, but also invited members of the Arma/Operation Flashpoint community and anyone else who wants to join in to show their support for the imprisoned pair at helpivanmartin.org. A Twitter feed is up as well at @HelpIvanMartin.

"Ivan and Martin are no spies, but passionate community members, dedicated to the game and its experience for the player. Many of us have witnessed Ivan talking in interviews passionately about the progress of Arma 3 and all the new features, also developed by Martin," the site says says. "It's time to show our support, not only as a community, but as players and concerned citizens, for two developers, who now face a lifetime in prison for an unfortunate misunderstanding."

Source: Bohemia Interactive

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this is just fucked up. its not like they were sneaking around the bases or anything. If Greece dosnt want its bases in pictures maybe they need higher walls?

Greece is already looking pretty bad with all the economic stuff, riots and other shenanigans. This certainly isn't helping their image...

There goes that Greek holiday I was planning. Back to Spain this year, I think!

"Does not attempt to display any real world military installations"
Well not anymore it won't.

joeman098:
this is just fucked up. its not like they were sneaking around the bases or anything. If Greece dosnt want its bases in pictures maybe they need higher walls?

Look, sad they got captured and are facing time and stuff, but (from the last Escapist article about this):

"We have a statement from the Greek police," said Czech foreign ministry spokesman Vit Kolar, "saying they were taking pictures and video footage of military facilities on the island on which they were detained, and that they entered the military facilities despite a warning."

Listen to the police when they tell you not to enter military facilities.

There's been such a case before, when a bunch of tourists got arrested. They got a scam trial and were convicted to extremely harsh prison sentences, so it looks pretty bad for these two.

What I want is the EU to move on this. This is a ridiculous case. It's a scam, a political trial. These two are political prisoners, hostages to insane Greek nationalism. Treat Greece accordingly and drop all forms of support to them, including the ongoing loans, untill the political prisoners are released and the charges dropped.

This is standard practise already, it's just the first time it needs to be used against and EU member state.

Azuaron:
Listen to the police when they tell you not to enter military facilities.

Except there are no military installations of any kind on that island. I looked on google maps' satelite view: No blurry places, no places that may look like a military base, outside of a small distinctly civilian-looking one runway airport.

I've got a bachelor in human geography specialising in GIS applications, remote sensing and have been trained as a satelite recon and remote sensing specialist for the Dutch armed forces and worked as that in Afghanistan for nine months.

I'd say that if I can't see a clue of a military installation on images that cover the entire island, there are no military installations worth mentioning.

Here's an example of a military base that's been blurred out, the Dutch naval base in Den Helder, Noord-Holland province:
https://maps.google.nl/?ll=52.958243,4.791477&spn=0.010754,0.033023&t=h&z=16

well next time try to get hold of plutonium rods to be able to make the in game illumination more realistic..

The moral of the story: don't go poking around military installations with a video camera.

Also, the Greek military is well known in Europe for being extremely touchy about people being nosy around their bases.

Wow, how much you want to bet Arma 4 will go the "fictional country route" now.

Blablahb:
Except there are no military installations of any kind on that island. I looked on google maps' satelite view: No blurry places, no places that may look like a military base, outside of a small distinctly civilian-looking one runway airport.

I've got a bachelor in human geography specialising in GIS applications, remote sensing and have been trained as a satelite recon and remote sensing specialist for the Dutch armed forces and worked as that in Afghanistan for nine months.

I'd say that if I can't see a clue of a military installation on images that cover the entire island, there are no military installations worth mentioning.

Here's an example of a military base that's been blurred out, the Dutch naval base in Den Helder, Noord-Holland province:
https://maps.google.nl/?ll=52.958243,4.791477&spn=0.010754,0.033023&t=h&z=16

Not all Military bases are blurred out. Portsmouth naval base http://goo.gl/maps/qEspm is celarly visable as are devonport and Faslane, home of the Vanguard class nuclear missile subs and the Astute class attack subs. Indeed a brief search of a few I've lived on or near none are.

Rather tellingly the airport on Lemnos looks similar to RAF Mount Pleasant, a dual purpose military and civilian airport. Except on Lemnos I've identified military jet aircraft. My conclusion (as a member of the Royal Navy) is that Lemnos is a civlian and military airport and has miltary aircraft stationed there likely phantom IIs. Wikipedia also lists Lemnos airport as supporting the hellenic airforce.

Time to hand in that degree....

Blablahb:
What I want is the EU to move on this. This is a ridiculous case. It's a scam, a political trial. These two are political prisoners, hostages to insane Greek nationalism. Treat Greece accordingly and drop all forms of support to them, including the ongoing loans, untill the political prisoners are released and the charges dropped.

Whoa there Bessie, hold on a bit there. Cutting all worldly ties with Greece over this seems a bit much. What about this points to a case of them being political prisoners? If they were being treated badly, beaten, given an unfair trial, or anything like that, I could see your reaction as a bit more sensible. However, seeing two guys somewhat wrongly arrested(not imprisoned yet, mind you) for being suspected spies and then seeing that they said they were being treated fairly and politely by their captors is not a time for branding it a scam and blaming suspicion on "Insane Greek nationalism".

I love the dual use of the quotes in the title. One of them is quoted to add authenticity to the statement and one of them is quoted to remove authenticity. Can you spot which one :)

Blablahb:
There's been such a case before, when a bunch of tourists got arrested. They got a scam trial and were convicted to extremely harsh prison sentences, so it looks pretty bad for these two.

What I want is the EU to move on this. This is a ridiculous case. It's a scam, a political trial. These two are political prisoners, hostages to insane Greek nationalism. Treat Greece accordingly and drop all forms of support to them, including the ongoing loans, untill the political prisoners are released and the charges dropped.

The EU won't do a thing.

Back in 2001, some Dutch and English tourists were convicted and sentenced on espionage. The tourists were plane spotters and they had taken photographs of military jets at an air show.

mad825:

Blablahb:
There's been such a case before, when a bunch of tourists got arrested. They got a scam trial and were convicted to extremely harsh prison sentences, so it looks pretty bad for these two.

What I want is the EU to move on this. This is a ridiculous case. It's a scam, a political trial. These two are political prisoners, hostages to insane Greek nationalism. Treat Greece accordingly and drop all forms of support to them, including the ongoing loans, untill the political prisoners are released and the charges dropped.

The EU won't do a thing.

Back in 2001, some Dutch and English tourists were convicted and sentenced on espionage. The tourists were plane spotters and they had taken photographs of military jets at an air show.

And 13 out of 14 were acquitted on appeal having had their sentences suspended while they appealed. The 14th didn't return to Greece for the appeal hearing. Europe didn't need to do anything drastic.

elilupe:
Whoa there Bessie, hold on a bit there. Cutting all worldly ties with Greece over this seems a bit much. What about this points to a case of them being political prisoners? If they were being treated badly, beaten, given an unfair trial, or anything like that, I could see your reaction as a bit more sensible.

Well, since there's no military bases on that island at all, none worth mentioning anyway, I think I can safely conclude that charges they say they spied on military secrets on a military base, are bullshit.

It's like being accused of murdering John, when John's standing right next to you alive and well. How can they have been spying if there's nothing on that entire island you can possibly spy on?

Furthermore, there's a motive for a political trial: The Greek authorities don't like it that ARMA 3 takes places on their island. That makes it this scam is likely a way of hindering the game developer.

Petromir:
Rather tellingly the airport on Lemnos looks similar to RAF Mount Pleasant, a dual purpose military and civilian airport. Except on Lemnos I've identified military jet aircraft. My conclusion (as a member of the Royal Navy) is that Lemnos is a civlian and military airport and has miltary aircraft stationed there likely phantom IIs. Wikipedia also lists Lemnos airport as supporting the hellenic airforce.

So it's impossible to spy on that, since it's open to the public to begin with, and there's nothing of any sort of secrecy found there.

By the way there's nothing on the background info of that airport to suggest the military even using it. It's run by civil authorities, and ranks as a civilian airport according to pretty much anything that has the official aviation information as a source:
http://www.worldaerodata.com/wad.cgi?id=GR68515

Apparently the locals were pissed to say the least Arma3 was going to use their island for a videogame war zone so I suspect that has more to do with it than anything else

So,would you like someone who is Greek,has actually been to Lemnos and has a best friend there explain a few things?

First of all.The vast majority of the locals(and I mean vast) are not even aware about the fact that the game is being made,and the few who are don't really care.The only opposition there was came from the Mayor of one town in Lemnos as a way to gain attention and support.

Also,yes there are installations in Lemnos.People are stationed there as part of their mandatory national service.Besides the airport there are 3 or 4 troop garrisons,machine gun posts all over the island,and a few armored vehicles. Also,there supposedly is a fortified bunker and base inside a hollowed mountain,but for that I cannot be sure.Lemnos is very close to Turkey and serves as an outpost of sorts.

The incident itself is unfortunate and wherever on the Greek internet I've been,people actually show support for the devs. However,the authorities are not completely at fault here. These guys were found with various footage,and reports from here indicate that it wasn't only the video the post mentions. Now,if you were a member of the local authorities with no idea of the game being made,and found two tourists with that footage what would you do? Or what do you expect any other authority in any other part of the world would do? These guys themselves say that they are ok and that they are not mistreated.These processes take some time but I am sure everything will be worked out.

P.S. After a year and a half of forum lurking,I finally welcome myself on the escapist community.Man,this is certainly not what I had in mind for a first post.

Because all the top secret surveillance networks are just itching for new intelligence on Greece.

Blablahb:
Except there are no military installations of any kind on that island. I looked on google maps' satelite view: No blurry places, no places that may look like a military base, outside of a small distinctly civilian-looking one runway airport.

Lemnos is a military base of Greece as it stands on a strategically important part of the Aegean Sea.

-http://www.mylemnos.gr/limnos/eng/Lemnos-History.htm
-http://www.mlahanas.de/Greece/Cities/Lemnos.html

Apart from these productions, the economy of the island is based on fishing, farming and on the military base that has been established there.

-http://www.greeka.com/eastern_aegean/lemnos/lemnos-geography.htm

The island has been an important military base for a very long time.

-http://www.travelpage.gr/greece/Limnos.htm

Inferniac:
Also, yes there are installations in Lemnos. People are stationed there as part of their mandatory national service. Besides the airport there are 3 or 4 troop garrisons,machine gun posts all over the island,and a few armored vehicles.

That's a fair few people disagreeing with you.

Boudica:
Lemnos is a military base of Greece as it stands on a strategically important part of the Aegean Sea.

An island by itself can't be a military base. Not unless you declare it a closed military zone in it's entirety, which it is not.

What's really going on is that the evil Muslims satanical archenemy (to paraphrase the silly Greek nationalism) Turkey is pretty close by, so they suffer from delusions that a bunch of conscripts trudging around there pretending to be soldiers gives it military importance.

That's not the case however, and it's impossible to spy on something like that because there's no military value of any kind. To be able to spy, there must be sensitive information. The Arma devs can't possible have come across sensitive information, and thus can't have been spying. This is also easily demonstrated by showing that the island's airport, a supposed 'military base' is in fact a civilian airport open to the public, and thus subject to all relevant rights in the public space including freedom of speech and press.

Like nikki191 already wrote, this has a lot to do with the local authorities not wanting the game to feature their island. So they had those two men arrested in a shameless political move. They are thus political prisoners, and Greece deserves to face everything that countries that keep political prisoners face, including being shut out of EU support.

Blablahb:

I've got a bachelor in human geography specialising in GIS applications, remote sensing and have been trained as a satelite recon and remote sensing specialist for the Dutch armed forces and worked as that in Afghanistan for nine months.

I'd say that if I can't see a clue of a military installation on images that cover the entire island, there are no military installations worth mentioning.

Blablahb:
Well, since there's no military bases on that island at all, none worth mentioning anyway, I think I can safely conclude that charges they say they spied on military secrets on a military base, are bullshit.

Apparently you are not really good at your job because I can inform you that Lemnos is one of the few islands of the Aegean sea that have substantial military presence. Furthermore Lemnos is actually one of the few greek islands in the Greek-Turkish borders that is allowed to have permanent military presence granted by the Treaty of Lausanne and recognized by the turkish ambassador in Greece.

There are about 12 military factions operating in the island with their own military command. There are also a number of weapons and fuel caches spread throughout the island. Of course there is very little published information about them and all most of them are covered in various ways against satellite imagery. Actually almost all of the weapons caches are carved inside mountain sides and covered with vegetation.

There is also an air force combat group operating inside the international airport that was built mainly for military purposes with funding from NATO. Also there are 2 fixed radars outside the airport.

Blablahb:
I looked on google maps' satelite view: No blurry places, no places that may look like a military base, outside of a small distinctly civilian-looking one runway airport.

There are not burry places because most of the actual operating facilities are in places were the satellite view is extremely blurry by itself which means that there is probably a reason for having almost half of the islands satellite images with really low resolution.
For example I can show you one of the radars, but you can't make it out because the satellite image quality in the area is really bad.

Also worth mentioning is the fact that the Czech Minister for Foreign Affairs acknowledged the case and said that, although they are no spies, they are just stupid.
So apparently even the czech government acknowledges the facts and does not believe that they are political prisoners.

So I don't know the reasons that you posted all that but it looks like you have no basis for your defamation of Greece and your charges about unfair conditions, so please stop posting misleading posts that look like negative propaganda against foreign countries.

KouThan:
Apparently you are not really good at your job because I can inform you that Lemnos is one of the few islands of the Aegean sea that have substantial military presence.

Then where is it? Because apparently those are invisible bases, or too small to see from a satelite.

Oh wait, there aren't any bases and there are no closed military bases on Limnos at all.

And you can never ever spy on something which is open to the public and not secret. That's why this is a shameless political trial that disgraces Greece.

KouThan:
There is also an air force combat group operating inside the international airport that was built mainly for military purposes with funding from NATO. Also there are 2 fixed radars outside the airport.

Irrelevant. The airport is civilian, civilian-operated, and open to the public. Spying there is impossible by definition.

I have said this twice times in the topic already. Read.

KouThan:
There are not burry places because most of the actual operating facilities are in places were the satellite view is extremely blurry by itself which means that there is probably a reason for having almost half of the islands satellite images with really low resolution.

Yeah, because nothing is there. But it's still high enough to spot a fence with a little effort. You'd definately notice bunkers, and the typical patrol roads that characterise the outer perimetre of a closed military area.

But no such areas exist on Limnos.

KouThan:
For example I can show you one of the radars, but you can't make it out because the satellite image quality in the area is really bad.

Give some coordinates. Major strategic-sized radar dishes are a dead giveaway.

Small civilian ones or simple 'maintainance' coverage trackers however aren't. Then again, those have no strategic value and can't be spied upon.

KouThan:
So I don't know the reasons that you posted all that but it looks like you have no basis for your defamation of Greece

How about the fact that the case is bullshit, and looks like a political arrest because they don't want Greece to be in Arma 3? Also something I wrote a bunch of times already.

Read. Read. Read.

And how can I defame Greece? It's Greece that's defaming Greece here. Not my fault they're demonstrating they have the justicial system of a third world country.

DVS BSTrD:
"Does not attempt to display any real world military installations"
Well not anymore it won't.

exactly what i was thinking.
Well arma always tried for realism (wasnt it the most realistic shooter engine?) and doing their research is definitely nice. too bad the greeks dont agree. Imagine if the island was replicated ingame, the tourism traffic there would be enough to bring greece back up :D

Blablahb:
Give some coordinates. Major strategic-sized radar dishes are a dead giveaway.

Small civilian ones or simple 'maintainance' coverage trackers however aren't. Then again, those have no strategic value and can't be spied upon.

Well go to 39.986706, 25.399854 what you see there is a covered radar under a huge spherical dome. As you can see by looking at the nearby village the image resolution is so poor that you can't even make out the houses or some of the roads.

Also as you might notice the side of the island that has really poor satellite image resolution is the side that is closer to the see facing the turkish shore. The other area with really low resolution is the area that has the highest altitude which is at the northwest of the island for obvious reasons. The only military installation that is clearly visible in the island is the 88th Signal Company and this is because it is located almost inside the city.

Also as I have said before even czech republic officials such as the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the czech ambassador in Greece make no accusations of political imprisonment and claim that it was a fault of the two men that were arrested. Czech channel report on the incident

KouThan:
Well go to 39.986706, 25.399854 what you see there is a covered radar under a huge spherical dome. As you can see by looking at the nearby village the image resolution is so poor that you can't even make out the houses or some of the roads.

That can't be a radar dome. The ground pattern intrudes into what's the supposed dome, meaning it's not one building. And there's no indication of brush clearing, patrol roads or fencing to close the area down, which would always be the case with a closed military zone.

Looks more like a house (left side, yellow) with a small square in front of it. The black spot could be a well, and is no more than 15 metres in diametre. Radar domes are also never painted black and are a dead giveaway because of the shadow cast on their form.

Here's an example of a civilian radar dome at Schiphol Airport.
https://maps.google.nl/maps?q=schiphol+control+tower&hl=en&ll=52.307376,4.762463&spn=0.000686,0.002064&sll=52.298336,4.75163&sspn=0.010918,0.033023&t=h&hq=control+tower&hnear=Schiphol,+Haarlemmermeer,+North+Holland&z=20

KouThan:
Also as you might notice the side of the island that has really poor satellite image resolution is the side that is closer to the see facing the turkish shore. The other area with really low resolution is the area that has the highest altitude which is at the northwest of the island for obvious reasons. The only military installation that is clearly visible in the island is the 88th Signal Company and this is because it is located almost inside the city.

I gave an example of a blurred-out area before, and the difference is very, very visible. Limnos has no blurred-out areas on it, meaning no classified military areas.

By the way: The example blurred out area is Den Helder naval base. Taking photos of it is completely legal, unless one were to enter a restricted area.

KouThan:
Also as I have said before even czech republic officials such as the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the czech ambassador in Greece make no accusations of political imprisonment

That's because they have to remain diplomatic, and can't call Greece on their bullshit. Just because they don't throw a public shitstorm doesn't mean that agree.

So far however this case stinks of political persecution on all sides and there hasn't been the slighest evidence against the two.

 

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