by postfataresurgo for The Saker Blog
Anyone watching from outside Italy the unfolding of the news about the Italian government this summer may be left a little puzzled. On one side, we have the government of Italy –namely, the Ministry of the Interior headed by Salvini – timidly enforcing the rule of law and acting like a sovereign country, therefore trying to prevent foreign vessels operated by foreign NGOs to unload foreign nationals on Italian soil. Then you have another side of Italy acting against its own government: a good portion of the government itself (the other side of the coalition), most of the media, opposition political parties and organizations, the newly reformed Bergosorosian church, in short, the anti-Salvini armada.
Then, when the whole Sea Watch affaire together with its young german pseudo-heroine faded away, a new Shakespeare-like much ado about nothing had to be created and the next day BuzzFeed comes out with mysterious encounters between Russian envoys with briefcases full of Roubles (or other currencies) to finance Salvini’s party through spy-like meetings with Salvini’s men at the hotel Metropol (where else?) in Moscow, with the result of the political opposition parties in the government going up in arms in a hypocritical rampage that would not convince an 8 years old child. As professor Giulio Sapelli openly points out in a recent interview : “What we have here is a national/international plan to get rid of Salvini, the same way it was done with Craxi. And the French are at the forefront of this” (1)
Sapelli refers to the 1992 Tangentopoli affaire, which led to the annihilation of an entire generation of politicians at all levels and the end of the Prima Repubblica executed by the judiciary arm of Italy. What started as a seemingly low level corruption investigation about a Milan’s municipal official in February 1992 soon expanded to the highest levels of the Italian government, including numerous members of Craxi’s Socialist Party. The result was that you had the whole country convinced that Milan’s investigative panel was a heroic bunch of fearless heroes who had taken on about eradicating Italy’s ubiquitous corruption. Never mind that the one who was to become the most popular prosecutor in Italy, Antonio Di Pietro, had been a regular visitor at the US consulate in Milan and the US embassy in Rome, never mind he took frequent trips to the US even in gracious company of the omnipresent – in italian affairs- Michael Ledeen. They are all – of course – just coincidences. (2)
Michael Ledeen by the way is an interesting character, and would definitely deserve a lengthy description. Most likely a Mossad asset, a good friend of Matteo Renzi and his eminence grise Marco Carrai, which has close ties with Israel, he has been somehow always present, off and on, in Italian affairs. Suffice it to say he was involved in the Aldo Moro affaire, the assassination attempt of John Paul II, the fabricated story of the uranium trade deal between Niger and Iraq (which led the Iraq war in 2003) just to name a few.
Almost three decades later it now appears that Italy in 1992 was under a well orchestrated strategy coming from abroad. And in Italy more than elsewhere foreign actors can always rely on plenty of domestic help. After all, Italians have been steadily fighting each other since the fall of the Roman empire, it’s hard to see how that should change today.
As historian and publisher Nicola Bizzi explains in one of his essays : “Italy’s deep political divisions have their roots in the fact that the original sin, that is, the lack of creation and nurturing of a national consciousness has never succeded, and 150 years after the birth of Italy as a united nation, Italians are still plagued by a chronic lack of national identity.” (3)
Again, Sapelli explains in few simple words what was really behind the whole Tangentopoli affaire: “ In 1992 -1994 we had an international master plan that had its headquarters in London”. This master plan was to take possession, at sale price, of Italy’s state owned industrial assets, just like it was done with Yeltsin in post-soviet Russia or with Menem in Argentina.
The summer of 1992 was crucial for Italy, and things were going to be as never before. In addition to the judiciary storm that was making headlines on a daily basis, at the end of May well known judge Antonio Falcone was assassinated by the Mafia with a spectacular Colombian style hit, blowing up an entire stretch of the Autostrada in Sicily where he was driving with his personal escort and his wife. Italians were shaken, disoriented, confused. Which reminds us of an old Italian proverb: “in murky waters is often the best fishing”.
This “best fishing” of Italy’s state assets was decided on a special location, namely aboard Her Majesty’s royal yacht Britannia on June 3rd, 1992. The Britannia had docked away from unneeded curiosity off the coast of Rome, with the queen herself aboard acting as host, after a state visit to Malta. The selected list of passengers included a gotha of the international finance at the time known as British Invisibles and another selected list of Italy’s top execs of the country’s most important state owned companies. But, interestingly enough, among the crowd of top managers and financiers, you had then seemingly lesser known characters such as Beppe Grillo, who was to become to founder of the M5S and Emma Bonino, currently serving as the more or less official spokeswoman for George Soros in Italy. Coincidences.
And then comes Mario Draghi. At the time general director of the Italian Treasury, he had been chosen as the one to take the floor for the introductory speech aboard the Britannia. He is credited with pronouncing the ominous sentence: “ we are about to go from words to deeds”. He was referring to the fact that the Italian government was about to proceed in the direction of selling its state-owned assets, (payed by generations of taxpayers) to a consortium of international financiers, all in the name of making state economy “more flexible” and “open to the markets”. The list of those assets would simply be too long.
This (only apparently) rank and file figure was to be highly rewarded. Draghi had been before 1992 a high level exec at the World Bank, from 1984 to 1990. That year he moves back to Italy to be appointed, shortly thereafter, General Director of the Treasury, a position he will hold for 10 years, as head of the aptly named Comitato per le Privatizzazioni. After his job as chief seller of Italy’s state assets (at sale price) was done, he is named vice chairman and managing director of Goldman Sachs in 2002. In 2006 he’s back in Italy to become governor of Bank of Italy, apposition he holds for 5 years before being at his present post as President of the ECB. Talk about having doors always open for you.
We are left to wonder if anybody in the government of Italy, or its judiciary branch, had anything to object or question. Michele Rallo, member of the Italian parliament as a representative of Alleanza Nazionale party between 1994 and 2001, wanted to know more about what happened on the Britannia that fateful day of June 1992 and therefore presented numerous parliamentary questions, never to receive any answer. He recalls the whole story in his book “La crociera del Britannia”, in which he’s eager to point out that the one and only reply to his enquiries actually came from Her Majesty’s ambassador in Rome, Patrick Fairweather, with a letter to a senator member of the same party of Rallo. In this letter, needless to say, the ambassador dismisses the whole affair as nothing but “ a seminar on privatization ” held aboard the royal yacht. How curious that Her Majesty chartered her private yacht for a seminar. But then again to run such a huge boat is costly so why not recoup some expenses.
Actually, the presence of Britain in Italian affairs is nothing new, and it goes back a long way, since practically the creation of Italy herself as an independent state. Recent serious archival studies have shown that Britain has had its velvet or iron glove on Italy on a constant basis, depending on the circumstances, from the invention of Garibaldi to the backing of a possible bloody coup d’etat in 1976 to prevent the entrance of the Italian Communist Party in the government. But that would require more than just few pages.
The whole Britannia story can leave us wondering. What could be the next voracious appetites of the “markets” for Italy? After selling off – at sale price – its best industries, banks, insurance companies, energy and oil companies and what not, what else could they lay their hands on? The answer may come from Greece.
Just like Greece, with the right methods, Italy may be forced in a not so distant future so sell off its artistic heritage, which tops the world with 55 sites listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. It may not be just a dystopian phantasy to think that one day part or all of the ticket you pay to see Michelangelo’s David, Rome’s Colosseum or the Leaning Tower of Pisa will go to a foreign company. In 1992 a judiciary storm was needed to bring the Prima Repubblica on her knees and with it all her assets. It was nobody’s secret that Italy’s politicians were –to a large degree – not the most honest politicians in the neighbourhood. But beyond their propensity to corruption –somehow – they ran the country to a degree that in the 80’s Italy rose to be the 5th largest economy in the world. Today, nothing is left of that.
Rumors abound on a daily basis, these days, on what may happen if this strange coalition government in Italy falls. New elections? Or, better yet for the markets, a Monti-like “technical government” which toppled in another coup d’etat manner the Berlusconi government in 2011? This time, a solid excuse would be needed to bring about a similar, non-elected government, whose only function would be to slash, in a Greece-like manner, whatever is left not only of Italy’s assets, but also what’s left of social welfare. Again quoting Professor Sapelli: “if you want to run the country, you must be aware at all times that they are out there trying to eliminate you.” Salvini is warned.
- Nicola Bizzi, La crisi della Repubblica dei partiti edizioni Aurora Boreale Florence Italy 2017
- Michele Rallo, La crociera del Britannia, Grammatico edizioni, Palermo 2019