by Postfataresurgo for the Saker Blog
Years ago, as Italy’s real estate market was spiraling upward after the euro came into effect, I strived to be of assistance to a couple of friends from the Bay Area who had set their minds on becoming home owners in Tuscany. After reading what had become a popular book among Tuscany cognoscenti about a lady who buys an abandoned home in southern Tuscany and embarks on the project of bringing it back to life, with all related challenges of living in a foreign country and dealing with the locals without speaking the language, my friends had at least half a dozen real estate agencies scouting all corners of Tuscany searching for the right place.
In the book eventually the lady succeeds in her project, despite the plethora of misunderstandings, setbacks and cultural differences. The property she had chosen had been neglected for many years because of a not so favorable position which made it rather unattractive at first sight. That was not the case for the property my friends fell in love with, a hilltop farmhouse with sweeping views of the Tuscan countryside plus several hectares of adjacent farmland. The property had been highly recommended by one real estate agency who claimed to have the exclusive right of sale by the owner, a Swiss who had owned it for only two years, started the restoration project, and then stopped altogether.
The asking price seemed to be reasonable, in fact so reasonable I volunteered to pay a visit and have a friendly chat with the agent before my friends would take the next flight to Tuscany to make a written offer. The real estate agency was in one of those quaint medieval Tuscan towns still avoided by throngs of gelato licking day tourists where locals know something about everybody else. The conversation with the agent only lasted a short time, as I sensed there was more to be told about this property from someone not directly involved in the sale. As for my direct question about the motives of the sale by the Swiss, the agent remained rather ambiguous and sibylline, as for a meaningless detail not even worth talking about: he had had some “health issues” that eventually prevented him to continue on his initial project of an upscale agriturismo.
I decided to have lunch in a local trattoria which appeared to be also the local hangout, and where I was sure I’d get some answers to my queries. Those answers came in the form of the sardonic looks the locals gave each other when they heard the property mentioned: “ nemmeno lo Svizzero ha resistito con quel vicino” quipped an older fellow. Even the Swiss didn’t make it with such a neighbor. So the Swiss was the last of a long list of owners who – over the years – had bought the property, started all kinds of restoration projects, and gave up, eventually losing a great deal of money.
So, who was this dreary neighbor who made it to turn away all who tried to live a peaceful and serene existence in quintessential Tuscany? It reminded me of the so called Innominato, a character from Alessandro Manzoni’s The Betrothed, who refers as to someone so powerful it could not even be called by his real name. The Innominato in this case was a powerful judge of Italy’s Supreme Court, who apparently had used his discreet power over the years for the very simple reason he didn’t want any ongoing restoration works to bother him when he would be present in his adjoining estate, about a kilometer away, much less other tourists to drive back and forth on the same dirt road he considered his own.
How did he use his power? Quite simply, having Italian notoriously mind boggling burocrazia to its fullest extent. When the hapless new owners started the lengthy and complicated process of applying for all necessary restoration and – in the case of the Swiss – agriturismo permits, they encountered all sorts of difficulties, inconveniences, delays, you name it. Especially in rural areas, unless you are a simple tourist, life in Italy can be complicated. Unless, of course, you know the right people, or strings to pull.
And strings to pull the powerful roman judge must have had quite a few, as no one succeeded in their projects, after seeing their requests turned down by unfathomable and incomprehensible technicalities, or countless inspections by all sorts of state and local agencies checking every potential irregularities with either the project or the workers present on the site, threatening both owner and contractors on site with stiff fines and/or immediate halting of the project altogether.
This anecdote is just a petty example of how ugly life can become if all of a sudden you are dealing – as a potential victim – with Italy’s judiciary system, in any of its forms, may that be, like in this case, a single judge. Anyone who has had anything to do with Italy’s courtrooms in search of “justice” will invariably dispense this lapidary comment: “stay away, period.”
A reliable edition of an English language dictionary quotes – among others – the meaning of the word caste as follows: “a division of society based on differences of wealth, inherited rank or privilege, profession or occupation “. No better word could describe Italy’s judicial system, or, better yet, the mother of all castes. A true state within the state, a formidable apparatus of power with no other apparatus able – or willing – to have any check or balance upon it. In Italy is absolutely irrelevant who wins the elections, as long as you can pull the strings of this ultracaste no one has ever been able to control, or bring down to reality.
Italy’s justice system has been repeatedly classified by international and reliable statistics as the least efficient and most expensive in the western world. In terms of efficiency it ranks along with sub-Saharan African countries. But in terms of costs and privileges to its members it is undoubtedly the best in the world, no questions asked. And the headquarters of this infamous system are to be found in its Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura, or CSM. You can be a popular elected politician elected with a wide mandate, but if you are on someone’s black list within the CSM your days are counted, and, just like a foreign homeowner in Tuscany, you will eventually throw up your arms and resign.
The CSM is, in short, the real power within Italy’s judiciary, and the last word should be a prerogative of the President of Italy, as per art. 104 of the Italian Constitution. The President should therefore be aware of what’s going on with Italy’s justice system, but obviously he’s too busy with all other state affairs to bother with such minor details such as the integrity of Italy’s judiciary, especially its absolute fairness.
These days Italy’s mainstream media is doing its best in downplaying – or not mentioning altogether – a story that would make headlines in any other (normal) country or have any law abiding citizen worried about the integrity of the country as a whole. The story is about a powerful magistrate – much like the Innominato – who has been wiretapped on his cell phone and appears to be the main character in a story that did make the headlines in the summer of 2018. Matteo Salvini, then Interior minister of Italy, is formally accused by Agrigento’s prosecutor Luigi Patronaggio for a variety of heinous crimes – including kidnapping of minors – because of his refusal to allow ashore “migrants rescued at sea” by one of the many vessels whose task is to ferry “migrants” from Libya to Italian shores, in this case the German NGO Seawatch, which was receiving orders nonetheless than from the German government, as admitted by a former director of German intelligence.
But this time the wiretapped Innominato has a name, and is widely recognized as a forefront mover and shaker within the apparatus, with a glamorous career and – most important – an impressive network of connections with politicians within the PD (Democratic Party): his name is Luca Palamara.
When Salvini in the summer of 2018 was becoming increasingly popular among Italians, Palamara is “assigned the task” of attacking him, no matter what. When another magistrate – in the wiretapped recordings – objects that Salvini is simply doing his job as minister of the interior, applying existing laws, therefore not breaking any of them, Palamara’s answer is: “I know that, but we have to do it anyway, we have to stop him”. Just imagine hell breaking loose if Salvini, or any politician for that matter, would have been caught making such remarks toward a judge. But that is but a tiny fraction of what emerges out of this story. The whole picture sounds like a tale in which even a child can easily perceive that Palamara feels nothing short than omnipotent, navigating between his wife, his mistress, other magistrates who ask him all kinds of favours and what not.
Technically, in a normal country, you’d expect a shred of official reaction – or actions – from Palamara’s direct superiors, namely the Ministry of Justice and the President of Italy. But that isn’t happening, as both of them seem to be interested in other matters. Italians would like to know – among many other things – who Palamara is referring to, when he says “we have to stop him”. Does the “we” in this case refer to magistrates affiliated to the PD (Democratic Party of Italy)?
Incidentally, three of the “migrants” allowed ashore and admitted as “asylum seekers” thanks to the services of German directed NGO Seawatch, have just been charged with a string of crimes such as conspiracy to smuggle and enslave human beings, rape, torture, murder. But the gracious German captain Carola Rackete was so busy in her noble endeavor to save lives and incidentally ram an Italian police vessel standing in her way, how could have she noticed such nice fellows?
If you think this is something new in Italy’s political scene, think again. As stated before, the real movers and shakers behind the curtains – external powers – know all too well who is to control in Italy. Even if a political movement temporarily seizes power toward a possible change, as long as Italy’s judiciary is on your side, nobody can beat you, no matter how popular. In countries like Italy, a politician’s fortune can change like the wind, as history repeatedly shows us.
Italy’s economy in the early 1990s was robust and growing, despite widespread corruption of its politicians, in fact so robust it must have become quite attractive to someone in the world. The complete annihilation of an entire generation of politicians was flawlessly executed by a team of incorruptibles, and the end of the so called Prima Repubblica was achieved. Ultimately, the master plan was to take possession, at sale price, of Italy’s state assets just like it was done with Yeltsin in post-soviet Russia, or with Menem in Argentina. Dèja-vu with Berlusconi who was finally forced to resign in 2011, after almost two decades of tireless attacks by the judiciary. When you have at your disposal an ultracaste of untouchables that is sure it won’t lose in any case its privileges and benefits no matter how much the country is suffering, you are sure to control Italy.
If you live in the US, you know: the same thing.
While the anecdote that starts the article is a mere annoyance (but who is to say that foreigners should own italian farmland), the article ends up highlighting the real problem: control of key political (or judiciary) parts of the system, backed up by a press owned completely by TPTB. Mattarella, Renzi, and any technocrat since 1992 are part and parcel of the control system. I do not think any Euro country can free itself without freeing the press first.
wow – revealing article – thank you. Putin is very good friends with Berlusconi – and I didn’t really understand the article about Berlusconi, was he a good guy or a bad guy ? It seems like he was trying to protect the state assets but had to resign after judiciary attacks for 11 years.
Mafia still alive and well in Italy – along with Vatican its hopeless. So awful If only the world had listened to Rudolf Steiner after the first world war, maybe things wouldn’t be so dire across the globe with oligarchs and corrupt politicals. Courts should really be in the hands of the people.
Truth be told, under Mussolini the Mafia had been smashed. But after WWII they got friends in high places, they turned out the vote for their friends, and the rest is history…
Well, contrary to popular opinion Mussolini was a communist accordingly to one of the old cadre of Greek Communists in an interview, which I found on youtube. He said that Mussolini at some point in his life slept in the famous communist newspaper (do not ask me which though). I am not surprised that he targeted Mafia, as Mafia was meant to be very conservative and had ties to the Church.
Interestingly enough, just like the article above says everything can be corrupted.
To be accurate, Mussolini was a socialist, a journalist for the only socialist newspaper, Avanti!. He incorporated socialist elements in his tenure, such as starting a pension system. He crushed the Mafia, IMHO, simply as a mean to advance the country. The pact with the Church, Il Concordato, struck some sort of balance between the two powers. I run Italy as I see fit, you get to be the state religion but will not interfere with Italy’s affairs. And it worked until the Church switched sides in 1943.
Yes DRB, July 25th 1943 was when Mussolini was “fired”, by the US/UK/VATICAN/FIAT/MAFIA/MASONRY etc… He didn’t crush the mafia, just because the mafia is still there as we talk, with the other guys above still working with it. The pension system etc.. was introduced like in the rest of the west, to compensate what was going on in the USSR, as a counterbalance for the western masses. And hundred of thousands of Italian soldiers died in Africa, Greece, Russia, etc. and of course Italy, for nothing – and more African, Greek, Russian and Italian civilians -. But everything changed after the fall of the Berlin wall. Yes he was a “socialist”, like his successors Prodi, Napolitano, D’Alema and so on, all former commies now office boys of Goldman Sachs, Lockheed etc. And Italian taxpayers are still paying to the Vatican for the Concordato. Conclusion: there is no left or right, if you follow the money trail
Luca, I am actually scratching my head about who were the Italian “deserters” who joined up with Greek ELAS and there were few thousands of them. One of them was Victorio my father’s friend and gunner. Were they Italian Greeks (Siciliani, Calabrese, Apuliani, etc) or Communists or simply anti-fascists? My father never talked about it much, yet he had no problem communicating with Victorio.
Well Anonius, ELAS was a Greek resistance movement, supposedly anti fascist
Luca, you are close but not quite. EAM (M-Metopo-Front) was the movement, ELAS was it’s army (S -Strastos – Army). Do not mean to argue your point. And yes, although it’s considered a communist movement, many in its ranks were men who served in Greek Royal Forces which were (the Forces) resolved after the capitulation to the Germans. Mind you, this is what used to be a common behavior in many armed forces, it’s commanding General, who signed the capitulation, who was allowed to keep his sabre as sign of respect for the bravery of his men, shot himself.
But, I do not mean to hijack otherwise excellent article, which calls it like it is.
Well Anonius, I frankly don’t know much about it. I just recall Tsipras, a “leftist”, recently cheating Greece. The funny part is that now also guys like Soros are called “leftists”, like the former Italian leftists that now get Goldman Sachs’ or JP Morgan’s pay checks, or Varoufakis kissing Macron’s ass – and I suppose you know who Macron was working for -.
“I didn’t really understand the article about Berlusconi, was he a good guy or a bad guy?”
That would depend on whether you are his friend or not. If you can do something for him, you will be his friend.
I recently saw a Youtube video of a lime/lemon grove owned by a judge in Sicily and how the Mafia tried to capture it but was thwarted. I now realize the irony
Italy is a glorified mafia and Papal fascist nation masquerading as a “democracy.”
Beyond that, like all these malignant Western democracies, Italy is a war criminal country that has participated in Western crimes against humanity like 2003 aggression against Iraq and the 2011 humanitarian bombing and subsequent destruction of Libya–which as evidenced by the recent battle of Tripoli–is ongoing to this very day.
NATO Nazi nations like Italy have blood dripping from their hands and lips.
You could say that Italy’s economic problems are merely a case of receiving Karma for its crimes around the world.
A pox on Italy.
On Monday Italian American Yew Yorker podcaster Frank Valbiro, in his discussions with Tracy Beanz on their Dark to Light podcast despaired of the conditions in America, and for the sake of his daughter expected to be born this September, he voiced the possibility of emigrating to Italy….said to be automatically approved if Italian lineage is documented.
Right here at the 26 minute mark….he explains why:
Basically decrying the lack of any cultural foundation of identity, where the opposite red and blue sides of the political divide cannot even agree (past the knee on Floyd George’s neck being applied there WAY too long……after that everything is 100% opposite….). on this clearest facts appearing before both their sets of eyes.
After reading this jarring anecdotal article on the challenges of acquiring a dream villa in Tuscany. I sent Frank an email…………with the heading:
I heard your discussion with Beanz about emigrating…….back to Italy. Consider the above article first. LOL
Methinks people from all over Europe…..not just Italy…left the old country because things there were just too locked up ……. by entitled castes, for generations…for centuries.
As bad as it seems in America….we probably have a better chance of reversing the evils of Feudalism/Oligarchism (the malignant root of all “In Name Only” — in terms of positive purported contents inside the bottle, behind the label on the bottle–“ISMS” ) than virtually anywhere else.
Other than what Putin accomplished (partially, but notably) in Russia since 2000…..I think you’ll find that’s the case….and that your best chance is to stand your ground where you are. Or switch coasts.The East one IS closer to all those Old European Evils….on the one hand but also the rich cultures….on the other hand. Out west here it’s more wide open…..and also more empty…of real culture…..
Conditions are very different between America and Russia…….but there are certain similarities as well.
I think you have to take the attitude, “If they can do it, so can we!”
And give it your best shot..Probably where your deepest roots are.
FINALLY……. consider the irony that two of the politicians you most want to get away from in New York…Gov Andrew Cuomo…..and NYC Mayor DeBlasio……ARE ITALIAN!
If I could lend a word of practical advice to italian-americans thinking of “moving back” to the old country: do NOT buy property in Italy, at least initially.Just rent something in the area where you think you’d like to live.
THEN, but only then, when you know – or you think you know – the environment around you, you could consider buying.
Last but not least, Italy’s current minister of interior is one who said openly in several occasions she would “not rule completely” seizure and confiscation of second homes of italians to assign them to “migrants”. PFR
My parents left in 1958 because my mother couldn’t get a teaching job in Rome, only in Naples, and she decided to make her way to where the streets were paved with gold to avoid nepotism. Sometimes I wish my parents hadn’t moved because I lost all ties to my blood family. There are times, like now, when I realize that for better or worse, the U.S. is my country and it’s worth fighting for while we still have the appearance of a Constitutional Republic.
(BTW, Warren Wilhelm is de Blasio’s birth name. He changed it twice for political expediency. His parents were Communists and he honeymooned in Cuba when supposedly U.S. citizens weren’t traveling to Cuba.)
Well PFR ( postfataresurgo ), Italy has been a colony much earlier than becoming Italy in 1860. And not a single colony, but a puzzle of colonies, each with its own history, that now compose its administrative regions. Two, three hundred years ago in Rome, they used to say “Franza o Spagna, basta che se magna”: France or Spain, fine, as long as we can eat. By “eat”, please read “speculate”, because eating is a daily problem for the common people, not for the elites. In South America those elites are called “Compradores”, meaning agents of the colonizers, profiting from the looting of material and human resources. Who are the colonizers now you know well, as who the Compradores are, like in your article http://thesaker.is/italys-worst-enemies-domestic-as-always/
I would rather call the “ultracasta” ultragladio”: a military Gladio, NATO. One financial/administrative, the EU. Both heading the local countries’ legislative, executive and judiciary ( I would change “countries” with “markets”. Rather, “supermarkets” having the main purpose of destroying the local SMI on behalf of super national monopolies ). And on top of that the biggest Gladio, the long time privatized “central banks”, and their BIS bosses in Basel. Everything, everybody else is Comprador, office boys with various levels of salary, exchanging seats like Dems and Reps, left, right, up, down. In other words, legalized kleptocracy.
Thanks, all this about Italy was news to me but not too surprising. The judiciary in most countries is one of the most corrupt arms of the government and the most sly as well as hidden. Along with corrupt lawyers they mostly get away with their scams cloaked in legalese.
Here’s a riddle for you-
Why does a lawyer get taller when he takes a Viagra pill??
It is a stunning article but I should not really be surprised. These judges are not at the top of the food chain but I have no doubt they do as their masters tell them. The entire west is like this.
I watched a short clip regarding the deadly virus (sarc). Pompeo was speaking and to the side was Trump with Fauci and that other female doctor in the back. After accusing China Pompeo called this ‘an active exercise’, that is an ‘operation’. And Trump leaned over and said “You should have told us”. Trump personally has no power. He will do as he is instructed or bribed or he will be shown the exit. They are not averse to the slow convertible drive around Dealy Plaza with streets packed with people. Anything could happen to a passenger on that cruise.
It seems to always boil down to internecine battles, doesn’t it?
One short note., which I think somehow goes along with the article and Luca’s comments, which I agree with.
While I was looking for one specific Greek book, which I can’t find, I found translated book written by Massimiliano Parente: Scemocrazia. Come difendersi dal pensiero comune
I love the picture on the cover:
Mind you I think I like the Greek title better:
Ηλιθιοκρατία – Οδηγίες προστασίας από τις κοινές δοξασίες
Ηλιθιοκρατία means in short means “IdiotCracy” and I love this front page as well “full of sheep”
I do not promote either one of the books since I haven’t read them, I just go by the title and the pictures.
Luca, Italy and Greece have the same problem, which is thousands of years under the banner of Rome and no sense of national identity. This is why they all support the EU just like the sheep they are.