Sunday, May 31, 2009

On Berlusconi's decline, the Mafia and the Bilderberg Group

It's already crystal clear how much I dislike the current Italian premier, Silvio Berlusconi, and in this blog I have written a few posts expressing my contempt.

That's why, the last thing I would have thought myself, was that one day I would have written something in the opposite direction. Not a proper defence, that would be too daring, but at least some interrogation marks, to try to understand what is going on in Italy and worldwide.


The persisting hammering of the international media against him, the odd case of "Noemi" and the fact that Berlusconi might be a clown but he's not stupid, got me thinking. As for the English press, it's well-known that they usually make fun of important things when they are told to carry out a political agenda, so their mock-chic jokes aimed at the middle-class bankers count nothing or almost nothing.


The latest scandal of the premier involves Noemi Letizia, 18-year-old girl who, according to the media, was first seen at a lunch with the Premier as his official company when she was still under age. Of course Berlusconi has denied any private or sexual involvement with this girl and said she's just his friend's daughter.


What's very weird is how Berlusconi has served himself up on a silver platter to photographers and journalists. He's a media tycoon after all, he does know how the media market works. And he also knew the press, especially his competitors' one, was waiting for some of his ill-considered moves.


This media campaign, both in Italy and abroad, around the Italian premier's clumsiness is becoming boring and somehow uninteresting, the attacks are always the same, and concentrating the whole evil in the world around only one person is ridicolous and misleading.


In fact, what can be found behind the "Noemi" scandal? Noemi's father, Elio Benedetto Letizia, could be close to the infamous Camorra clan of the "Casalesi", operating in Casal del Principe, in the southern province of Caserta. This
hypothesis stems from the fact that Benedetto Letizia could be related to two exponents of this clan, Franco and Giovanni Letizia, close to the boss Giuseppe Setola. This possibility, however, is still under investigation of Naples' magistrates.

According to this scenario, Benedetto Letizia (Noemi's father) could be the link between the Camorra and the institutions, represented in this case by Berlusconi. The Italian prime minister could have been forced to appear at that official lunch at Villa Madama with Noemi, when the girl was still under age and completely unaware of the fact that she was used as the sign to publicly show that a representative of national institutions was still in terms with that particular family.


It's well known, in fact, how the Mafia (and its local versions, such as the Naples' Camorra) uses signs, meaningless for most people, to communicate, and in this case the physical presence of a national politician might have meant more than any official declaration.
Many allegations of a possible involvement of Berlusconi in the affairs of Cosa Nostra (Sicilian Mafia) and Camorra have been made, but they still are allegations and under the secrecy of ongoing investigations.

In this regard, although Noemi's family refuses to clarify the terms of their relationship with Berlusconi, Italian newspaper
Europa believes that the premier got close to the Letizias after the tragic car accident that caused the death of Yuri, Noemi's 19-year-old brother.

The wall of silence around the whole case, carefully protected by both the Letizias and Berlusconi, who preferred to make it appear as a morbid sexual affair, makes at least wonder why the mainstream media don't want to move away from their first account that has proved too simplistic. Berlusconi might be
sleazy, as the Daily Mail likes defining him, but he's certainly not a fool, and this story stays wrapped up in a mystery.

As it was predictable in a country like Italy, where newspapers are at direct service of political parties, the media reporting to centre-left coalitions, whose job is to constantly and mindlessly attack right-wing parties, started complying with their duties: give the kiss of death to Berlusconi's already tottering reputation.

To be honest, here they had a very easy job since the premier himself was not offering any exhaustive explanation about his alleged steamy relationship with an underage Noemi.


So, as it happens, media and people all over Italy and abroad were swift to judge him and treat him as an old paedophile. Actually, the international media campaign against Berlusconi, especially in the UK, has been going on for a very longtime so this seems the occasion they couldn't miss for anything in the world.


But why do English media hate Berlusconi? Do they really care that much about Italy's destiny? If that were the case, I would be truly moved. However, Italian newspaper
Libero, whose director is openly pro-Berlusconi, suggests a theory to explain the over-mentioned conspiracy against Italian prime minister. I've always laughed out loud at this theory suggesting an "international conspiracy" against him, but today I laugh much less, if nothing at all.

Why do I take it seriously? A couple of days ago Fausto Carioti from the pages of Libero
mentioned a possible connection with the Bilderberg Group, and when it comes to this "club" there really is nothing to laugh about.

The Bilderberg Group takes its name from the Hotel de Bilderberg in The Netherlands, where its first meeting took place in 1954. These invitation-only reunions gather highly influential representatives of the major corporations and political groups, more or less known by the main public, coming from all wealthiest nations.


Some of the Italian attendees to these unofficial meetings are (or have been), among the others, Rodolfo De Benedetti (son of Carlo's, and currently in the Board of Directors of
Gruppo Editoriale L'Espresso, publisher of daily paper La Repubblica, that has recently addressed the famous "10 questions" to Berlusconi, immediately backed by the English Guardian), Walter Veltroni (former leader of the centre-left coalition and former mayor of Rome) and economists Mario Draghi and Giulio Tremonti, the latter being the current minister of the economy.

Recently there has been an argument between Giulio Tremonti and Mario Draghi over the long-awaited reforms, with
Tremonti pointing out that it's the government's task to carry out economic policies, not of other bodies', because "sovereignty belongs to the people and, for better or for worse, the political responsibility belongs to the government that works for the people." If these intentions are followed by an honest defence of people's interests against banks' and corporations' profits, three cheers for Tremonti.

As for Mario Draghi,
his past actions don't really seem to be aimed at protecting Italian people's interests: he would have started in the early 1990s the process of letting Anglo-American major banks take control over big Italian firms, such as Buitoni, Locatelli, Galbani, Negroni, Ferrarelle, Perugina. When, in 1992, the centre-left coalition led by Giuliano Amato came to power, its first move was to privatise national agencies. How this government can be defined "left" is still a mystery to me.

I'm not implying that the centre-right coalition wouldn't have done the same, but in the records this was a policy adopted by the so-called Left. And, in a more recent past, one of the harshest criticisms to the Berlusconi's government has been for its lack of enthusiasm towards liberalising reforms.


After the G20 summit, held in London on April 2nd, all newspapers cheerfully reported on the front page the solution the twenty leaders had come up with: a new world order. Solution that, by the way, hasn't shown its benefits as yet.


I was reminded of the outcome of the G20 by a recent announcement made by
Mario Draghi, yes the same Draghi who boasts striking connections with Anglo-American banks: we are on the way towards "a world government of the economy". This, said in the wake of the last Bilderberg Group meeting, is not very reassuring.

Still
Libero has mentioned the possibility that the US administration doesn't particularly appreciate the good relationship between Putin and Berlusconi, being Russia's prime minister in not very good terms with the United States, even after Obama (the change we can believe in) took office.

Why is Berlusconi doomed? Because he's already too exposed to the public opinion and his business irregularities are already extensively described in articles and books? After all, Italy, differently from other European countries, is the nation where secrets don't manage to be kept for longtime.


Or because of his closeness with Russia and the dangerous possibility of a good relationship with other "rogue states"? This risk cannot be taken, being Italy a strategic US colony since the end of World War II.


All these possible scenarios, apparently coming from completely different environments, if considered somehow intertwined will open a scary situation.


Berlusconi's political career is at the end, he knows and finds himself having to deal with the choices he has made, very likely quite dodgy ones, and now is probably regretting some of them. Entering the system of corruption can bring only short-lived benefits.
What appears from Berlusconi's latest public declarations is an already former prime minister, attacked from every front and ridiculed by the international press, who's trying to keep afloat despite the apparent commitment of not breaking the wall of silence built around him.

Many are enjoying this moment, I'm not. First of all because things look too fuzzy to draw rushed and final conclusions and especially because I'm afraid of who the financial élite will put in office as Berlusconi's replacement.
The media that keep shooting against this too easy target, without considering the bigger picture, might risk to mislead the public opinion and divert the general focus from something potentially crucial for Italy's destiny, and sake.

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