May 15

- Geithner Confirms Mafia-Linked Berlusconi’s Forced Ouster, But Says US Did Not “Have Blood On Our Hands” (ZeroHedge, May 14, 2014):

Silvio Berlusconi – ironically nicknamed “The Teflon Don” – has been found to have done business with the Sicilian Mafia for nearly two decades, according to Italy’s Supreme Court of Cassation in Rome. Having attacked the “biased judges” who called his actions “a continuous crime,” Berlusconi wriggled out from under this result since the link to the Cosa Nostra was, as The Independent reports, via his conduit and former senator Marcello Dell’Utri who was sentenced to 7 years for mafia association. While this confirms as fact yet another conspiracy theory, the bigger story was the confirmation of a broad-based bloodless coup to ouster the Italian Prime Minister at the peak of the credit crisis. “At one point that fall, a few European officials approached us with a scheme to try to force Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi out of power,” Tim Geithner writes in his new book, and after telling the President about “this surprising invitation,” they decided not to get involved (publicly): “We can’t have his blood on our hands.”

Conpsiracy “Fact” #1: Berlusconi linked to the Mafia

As The Independent reports,

Silvio Berlusconi – Italy’s former Prime Minister and one of the world’s most recognisable politicians – did business with the mafia for nearly two decades.

Continue reading »

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Nov 27

- Italy Senate expels three-time ex-Premier Berlusconi (USA Today/AP, Nov 27, 2013):

ROME  — The Italian Senate on Wednesday expelled three-time ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi from Parliament over his tax fraud conviction, ending, for now, his two-decade legislative run but not his political career.

Berlusconi has warned that the unprecedented move would embarrass Italy internationally. He maintained his defiance as the Senate voted, declaring Wednesday a “day of mourning for democracy” before thousands of cheering, flag-waving supporters outside his Roman palazzo.

Even though Berlusconi won’t hold a seat in Parliament, he is expected to remain influential in Italian politics. He has relaunched his Forza Italia party and he still commands millions of loyal supporters.

Continue reading »

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Sep 30

- Meanwhile In Italy… (ZeroHedge, Sep 30, 2013):

UPDATE: Reuters reports that 20 senators from Berlusconi’s party are preparing to create new party if Berlusconi does not soften stance against PM Letta – EUR and Italian Bonds are ramping.

*AS MANY AS 20 BERLUSCONI SENATORS MAY LEAVE PDL: REUTERS

Via Bloomberg,

Berlusconi faces demands from his lawmakers to back down on confrontation with Letta, Reuters reports citing party official.

We can’t help but feel this is well-placed Reuters propaganda as we saw in 2011 – later to be denied but for now it is having the desired effect…

Before this we noted: Continue reading »

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Sep 29

- Berlusconi Has Last Laugh As Italy Scrambles To Contain Fallout From Government Collapse (ZeroHedge, Sep 29, 2013):

Following yesterday’s unexpected (if not shocking) news that ministers from Berlusconi’s PDL have resigned en masse in order to push for new elections, leading to the latest Italian government crisis (in a long and distinguished series), Italy’s premier Letta and president Napolitano are scrambling to preserve some stability, and not only they but moments ago Ansa reported that the management and supervisory boards of Italian megabank Intesa are set to meet at 6 pm, as not even the most optimistic see an easy way out of the political dead end Italy has found itself in now.

Continue reading »

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Jun 24

- Berlusconi Convicted In ‘Sex-With-Minor’ Case; Sentenced To 7 Years In Jail (ZeroHedge, June 24, 2013):

While appeals will be quick to come, the ‘Ruby’ trial has resulted in former PM Silvio Berlusconi being convicted in the ‘sex-with-minor’ case:

  • *MILAN COURT RULES ON BERLUSCONI’S SEX-WITH-MINOR TRIAL
  • *ITALY’S BERLUSCONI CONVICTED IN RUBY TRIAL
  • *BERLUSCONI CONVICTED ON ABUSE OF POWER IN MILAN TRIAL
  • *BERLUSCONI SENTENCED TO 7 YRS IN JAIL
  • *BERLUSCONI BARRED FROM PUBLIC OFFICE FOREVER: MILAN COURT
  • *ITALY’S BERLUSCONI CAN APPEAL CONVICTION

With the central bank backstop seemingly being removed, the impact on Italian politics is unclear (aside from increased uncertainty as his own party may splinter its support for the colaition) but for now his empire – MediaSet is halted down 5.2%…

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May 12

- Inside the Bunga Bunga room: First picture emerges of the location where Berlusconi held his infamous sex parties (Daily Mail, May 12, 2013)

Related info:

- Silvio Berlusconi sentenced to 4 years in prison after tax fraud verdict upheld (CBS News, May 8, 2013)

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Mar 07

- Berlusconi Sentenced To One Year In Prison For Wiretapping (ZeroHedge, March 7, 2013):

It is no secret that one of the main reasons why Italy’s former PM, and resurgent soon to be member of government, Silvio Berlusconi, is so adamant to be in parliament, is simply to obtain the immunity he would need to stay out of prison as a result of countless lawsuits which he has valiantly fought, and lost. As of this morning, a rather convenient time for sure just as Italy is preparing to create a coalition government, Silvio has one more lawsuit he will need to appeal, and evade in Parliament, following news that he was convicted in a 2006 wiretapping scandal, and will have to serve a one year prison sentence. Will he serve even one day? Of course not – the appeals process alone will take at least several years, and when that runs out, well, the 76 year old Silvio is a billionaire, and will have ample opportunity to spend his money to buy himself enough freedom to last him until the end of his life.

From Bloomberg:

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was convicted in a wiretapping case related to the 2006 battle for control of Banca Nazionale del Lavoro SpA, the first of three corruption rulings he faces this month.

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Feb 22

- European “Democracy” Full Frontal – EU Parliament Head Tells Italians Not To Vote For Silvio (ZeroHedge, Feb 21, 2013):

To say that Germany does not love Silvio Berlusconi would be an understatement. But not even we thought European “democracy” would stoop so low as to tell Italians not to bring Bunga back or else. As Reuters reports, the German president of the European Parliament, once compared to a Nazi concentration camp guard by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, warned Italians on Thursday not to back the scandal-ridden media tycoon at the ballot box. Martin Schulz is the latest in a line of German politicians to express fears about a possible Berlusconi comeback largely due to worries he will halt Rome’s reform drive that has helped to lift investor confidence in the euro zone. “Silvio Berlusconi has already sent Italy into a tailspin with irresponsible behavior in government and personal escapades,” Schulz was quoted as saying in German daily Bild.

Ironically, as today’s PMI data confirm, it is somewhat hypocritical of Germany to accuse Italy of anything since in the Zero-Sum mercantilist union, it is only Germany, now that France has careened off the cliff, that benefits from everyone else’s misfortune. The irony is that Germany should be rooting for Silvio - after all they need that EURUSD some 1000 pips lower to boost German exports, and when all hell breaks loose with Italian bond spread, Germany will simply inject another €500 billion in current account liquidity via Target2 (even if it means crushing PIMCO and their long Italy bond position). To pretend that anything in Europe at this moment is about solidarity is hypocrisy of the nth degree. Continue reading »

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Feb 16

- Berlusconi: “Bribes Are Necessary – They Are Not Crimes” (ZeroHedge, Feb 15, 2013):

With a week to go until the Italian elections, things are getting a little odd to say the least. The somewhat scandal prone Berlusconi, who self-declared himself leading in the polls just recently, has come out swinging in defense of his fellow business leaders’ ethical egressions. The Bunga party banner-man defends bribery, “These are not crimes,” he notes, as The FT reports, “bribes are a phenomenon that exists and it’s useless to deny the existence of these necessary situations…” This apparently on the heels of the Finmeccanica CEO’s Indian helicopter deal bribes and Monte Paschi’s derivative debacle. It would appear his argument lies somewhere betweeen, ‘if everyone’s doing it – then it’s ok’, and ‘everyone’s been doing it forever so why stop now?’ One Italian paper, though, disgusted at the state of their nation, describes the entire political and elite establishment of ‘guilty inertia’ - calling for an end to what Berlusconi appears to be saying is corrupt business-as-usual. And yet we are to trust these technocrats when they say ‘crisis over’, all is well, recovery is here? Continue reading »

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Jan 26

You can’t make this stuff up!


- Italian Scandal Widens As Italy’s Third Largest Bank Set To Get Third Bailout In 3 Years; Draghi, Monti Implicated (ZeroHedge, Jan 26, 2013):

While little has been said in the mainstream western press about the ongoing fiasco surrounding Siena’s Banca Monte dei Pasci, Italy’s third largest bank and the world’s oldest which may get its third bailout in three years - or even be nationalized – as soon as today, for fears that it may break the thin veneer of “recovery” in the European financial system, the situation on the ground in Italy is getting more serious by the minute, and will have implications on both next month’s general election, on Mario Monti, on Silvio Berlusconi, on frontrunner for the Prime Minister post Pier Luigi Bersani, and reach as far up as the head of the ECB – Mario Draghi.Several hours ago, on Saturday morning, the four-member board of the Bank of Italy – this time without its prior president Mario Draghi – met to consider the position of scandal-hit bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena and decide whether to authorize its request for 3.9 billion euros ($5.3 billion) of state loans.

Continue reading »

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Dec 19

Got gold and silver to preserve your wealth in case of a necessary currency reform and devaluation?


- Berlusconi: “Italy May Be Forced To Leave The Eurozone And Return To The Lira” (ZeroHedge, Dec 18, 2012):

Reminding the world of just the kind of truthiness that got him sacked originally by that other Italian, the Ex-Goldmanite Mario Draghi, back in November 2011, and which the world has to look forward to when Silvio Berlusconi returns to power some time in 2013, even if not as PM (a position he currently has a snowball’s chance in hell of regaining based on current political polls), Reuters informs us that the Italian, who certainly has not read the Goldman book on status quo perpetuation, just said the unimaginable: the truth. To wit: “If Germany doesn’t accept that the ECB must be a real central bank, if interest rates don’t come down, we will be forced to leave the euro and return to our own currency in order to be competitive.” Berlusconi said in comments reported by Italian news agencies Ansa and Agi. The 76-year-old media tycoon has made similar remarks in the past about the possibility of Italy, or even Germany, leaving the euro, but has often at least partially rectified them later.” Not this time. Now with Germany and the Buba folding like a broken chair, Silvio is coming back and knows he can demand anything and everything, and Germany has no choice but to accept, Merkel reelection in a few months be damned.

Perhaps the former PM who recently got engaged to this 28 year old girl who obviously loves him for his personality has read our little primer on what happens in a Europe in which external devaluation (i.e., FX) is not a possibility, and where another 30-50% drop in PIIGS salaries would be neccesary to restore competitiveness. That, or a return to the Lira of course. And Berlusconi has seen that in the duel between Greece and Germany so far the former (and specifically its creditors) have gotten all the advantage. It is only a matter of time before he parlays that negotiating approach to Italy as well, and in the process destabilizes whatever artificial balance the ECB may have created.

More from Reuters: Continue reading »

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Dec 10

- Italian PM Monti quits as Berlusconi withdraws support (Irish Examiner, Dec 9, 2012):

Prime minister Mario Monti has told Italy’s president he is resigning because he can no longer govern after Silvio Berlusconi’s party withdrew crucial support.

The move paves the way for early elections a year after the unelected economist helped pull the country back from the brink of financial disaster.

Only hours earlier, 76-year-old billionaire media baron Mr Berlusconi had announced he would run for a fourth term as premier, aiming for a dramatic comeback after he quit in disgrace last November.

Continue reading »

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Oct 27

- As Thousands Of Italians March Against Austerity On “No Monti Day”, Berlusconi Threatens To Scuttle Monti Government (ZeroHedge, Oct 27, 2012):

First, it was Greece who failed to stick with the “do not rock the boat until the US election” script so meticulously crafted by Tim Geithner, and now it is Italy’s turn as Europe threatens to come unhinged precisely in the week when complete peace and quiet is needed to avoid deflecting attention from the peak season of the US presidential theater. As Reuters reports, “Tens of thousands of people marched through Rome in a “No Monti Day” on Saturday, some throwing eggs and spraying graffiti to protest against austerity measures introduced by Prime Minister Mario Monti’s government. Appointed in November when Italy risked being sucked into the euro zone debt crisis, Monti has pushed through painful austerity measures to cut the country’s massive debt, including tax hikes, spending cuts and a pension overhaul. “We are here against Monti and his politics, the same politics as all over Europe, that brought Greece to its knees and that are destroying half of Europe, public schools, health care,” said demonstrator Giorgio Cremaschi… In another demonstration in northern Italy, a small group of protesters scuffled with police near where Monti was addressing a rally on the theme of family values.” Continue reading »

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Oct 26

- Bunga Behind Bars: Court Sentences Berlusconi To 4 Years In Prison (ZeroHedge, Oct 26, 2012):

It seems Berlusconi’s recent comments on not running for office were very prescient as he has just been slapped with a four year jail sentence for tax fraud and banned from politics for five years:

  • *EX-PREMIER BERLUSCONI GUILTY OF TAX FRAUD IN TV RIGHTS TRIAL
  • *ITALY EX-PREMIER BERLUSCONI SENTENCED 4 YEARS BY MILAN COURT
  • *MILAN COURT BARS BERLUSCONI FROM POLITICS FOR 5 YEARS    :MS IM

Bunga Bugga? We do note the farce of all this as DPA notes: Berlusconi will not serve his sentence if he appeals against the first instance judgement.

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Sep 08

- Silvio Berlusconi’s ‘James Bond-style’ underground cave (Telegraph, Sep 7, 2012):

Silvio Berlusconi’s summer retreat on Sardinia’s exclusive Costa Smeralda, which gained notoriety for parties with topless models, features an underground cave, complete with an emergency escape exit to the sea.

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Aug 06

- Quarto Reich: Italy Goes “There” Again (ZeroHedge, Aug 6, 2012):

Just because Italy’s 2 Year bond yield has plunged, bringing its cost of short term funding to manageable levels, if only for a day or two, it is suddenly “obvious” that it will not need Germany’s goodwill ever again. Sure enough…

The Daily Mail explains:

An Italian newspaper owned by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has caused controversy by printing a front page headline which said ‘Fourth Reich’ above a picture of German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Continue reading »

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Jul 11

- Bunga Is Back: Berlusconi To Run In 2013 (ZeroHedge, July 11, 2012):

Back in November 2011, when Silvio was forced out of his PM position with a combination of plunging Italian bonds and strong globalist pressure in an attempt to restore confidence in the Italian economy and administration, and was replaced with a Goldman-affiliated technocrat, we said that it is only a matter of time before Monti fails in his task of turning the Italian economy around, and revisionist power vacuum forces put Silvio right back in his throne. Sure enough, Corriere writes that the man whoe made the term Bunga Bunga legendary may run for premier next year. Specifically, the ex-prime minister may seek top job in a “ticket” together with his party’s current leader Angelino Alfano, quoting him as saying that this is “A choice that I didn’t want to make.” Berlusconi’s PDL party could garner 30% of vote in next election if the ex-premier seeks top job, Corriere says, without elaborating. Of course, what guaranteed that he would run was his statement last year that he would not run in the next election, making this outcome a foregone conclusion. And the funny thing is that he just may win.

From Corriere:

He has spent the last few weeks to study the surveys, to analyze the scenarios for the vote in 2013, listening to the PDL leaders, entrepreneurs and international representatives. But ultimately the decision is made: be standing for re-election as premier.

The role of noble father does not heat his constituents who ask a more direct engagement, the engagement she had ruled at the time of the investiture of Angelino Alfano as secretary of the PDL. The latest polls, arrived on his desk, some data have shown that, according to Knight, one can not ignore. Three scenarios submitted to respondents: a PDL without Berlusconi would not reach 10% of the votes and the nomination of the premiership Alfano, Berlusconi in the field as party chairman, would lead to a result around 18%. If, however, Berlusconi was still in the running for the presidency of the Council, in a ticket with Alfano and a team of young executives, the polls would arrive, according to surveys, including a 30%. A result that might not be enough to win the leadership of the country but would give the Knight and his party a decisive role in the next term, especially if you come to a coalition government called upon to continue the path of fiscal consolidation and exit from economic crisis.

Continue reading »

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Nov 09

- Berlusconi’s gaffes, quips and pranks (Reuters, Nov 9, 2011):

Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who has announced that he will step down after a new stability package is approved in parliament, has a sense of humor that often lands him in trouble. Here are some of his memorable quotes. NOV 2011: Berlusconi comments on the state of Italy’s economy. “Life in Italy is life in a prosperous country. We see that on every occasion, consumption has not gone down, the restaurants are full, you have trouble booking seats on airplanes, holiday areas are totally booked out on long weekends. I don’t think that if you went to live in Italy that Italy is feeling anything that could resemble a serious crisis.”

OCT 2011: In remarks to party deputies in parliament, Berlusconi suggests his ruling PDL party should rename itself “Forza Gnocca!,” a play on the name of his original Forza Italia! (Go Italy!) party, using a slang term for female genitals.

SEPT 2011: In widely reported wiretapped conversations, Berlusconi brags of fending off a line of young women outside his door and “doing only eight girls, because I couldn’t do more.”

Continue reading »

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Nov 09

- Silvio Berlusconi compares himself to Benito Mussolini (Telegraph, , Nov. 9, 2011):

Silvio Berlusconi has compared himself to Benito Mussolini, saying that he lacked power and has been reduced to making “suggestions” rather than ruling.

The outgoing prime minister, in an interview with Italy’s La Stampa newspaper, said: “I am tired of not being able to dictate the line or be able to do the politics I want to do. I feel more powerful as a free citizen than as prime minister.”

The 75-year-old premier, who has announced he will resign by the end of the month under intense pressure from the markets, said he was reading a book of letters written by Fascist dictator Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci.

“At a certain point he says: ‘But don’t you understand that I don’t count for anything anymore, I can only make suggestions’,” Mr Berlusconi said, adding: “I have felt in the same situation.”

When pushed by La Stampa on the similarities between his rule and the Fascist dictatorship, Mr Berlusconi said: “Of course, I’m not a dictator, even if you have written as much over the years.”

“But the fathers of our constitution, for fear of history repeating itself, have excessively weakened the executive.”

Mr Berlusconi announced his intention to resign following a shock parliamentary revolt on Tuesday and fears in the eurozone that Italy could be the next victim of the debt crisis.

The colourful tycoon said he will not run for office in the next election and said he felt “liberated” by the decision.

In September 2004, Mr Berlusconi, in one of his trademark gaffes, told Britain’s Spectator magazine: “Mussolini never killed anyone. Mussolini sent people on holiday in (internal) exile”, adding that he agreed with the thought that the Second World War dictator was “benign”.

- Berlusconi betrayed by his own hand (New Zealand Herald, Nov 10, 2011)

Opponents within his own party would have been relieved at his decision to quit after another photograph showed him with a list of “traitors” who had told him they would not back him in the budget vote.


Silvio Berlusconi with a note in Parliament. It reads: ’308, -8 traitors; Government upturn; Vote; Take note; Resignation; Italian President; One solution; Let’s move.’ Photo / AP

- Scheidender Premier Berlusconi vergleicht sich mit Diktator Mussolini (Spiegel, Nov. 9, 2011):

Silvio Berlusconis politische Karriere mag zu Ende gehen, doch er tritt weiter in jedes Fettnäpfchen. In einem Zeitungsinterview verglich sich Italiens Noch-Regierungschef nun mit dem Diktator Mussolini. Seltsam mutete auch eine “Verräter”-Liste an, die er im Parlament anlegte.

Continue reading »

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Nov 09

The rat is leaving the sinking ship:

- Alert: Italian Bonds: 2-Year Note Yields Rise Above 10-Year Rates, 5-Year Debt Climbs Above 7.5 Percent!

This is what happens when the ECB stops buying Italian bonds…

‘Ciao Berlusconi!’

Mission accomplished!


- Berlusconi says he’s resigning for good of Italy (Businessweek/AP, Nov. 9, 2011)

ROME — Premier Silvio Berlusconi says his decision to resign after parliament passes economic reforms is for the good of the country, and to settle financial markets that have lost confidence in Italy’s ability to rein in debt and spur growth.

Berlusconi said late Tuesday that he would prefer to call early elections, but that the decision rests with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.

In comments that marked a dramatic shift from his normally defiant tone, Berlusconi conceded he had lost his parliamentary majority during a routine vote Tuesday and that “things like who leads or who doesn’t lead the government” is less important than doing “what is right for the country.”

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

ROME (AP) — Premier Silvio Berlusconi promised Tuesday to resign after parliament passes economic reforms demanded by the European Union, capping a two-decade political career that has ended with Italy on the brink of being swept into Europe’s debt crisis.

Berlusconi met for about an hour Tuesday evening with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano after the premier lost his parliamentary majority during a routine vote earlier Tuesday. In a statement, Napolitano’s office said Berlusconi had “understood the implications of the vote” and promised during the meeting to resign once parliament passes economic reforms designed to spur growth and rein in Italy’s public debt.
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Nov 09

See also:

- Italian Bond Yields Reach Point Of No Return (Telegraph, Oct. 20, 2011):

Italian bond yields back at 6 percent are a deeply ominous sign that the eurozone’s third largest economy is reaching the point of no return, where markets essentially become too expensive for funding.

This is what happens when the ECB stops buying Italian bonds…


- Italy 5-Year Yield Tops 7.5% on LCH Charge as Berlusconi Quits (Bloomberg, Nov. 9, 2011):

Italian bonds slumped, driving two- five-, 10- and 30-year yields to euro-era records, after LCH Clearnet SA raised the deposit it demands for trading the nation’s securities.

Two-year note yields rose above 10-year rates, with five- year debt climbing above 7.5 percent as Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s offer to resign left his weakened government struggling to implement austerity measures to reduce borrowing costs. German 10-year bunds outperformed all their regional peers as the drop in Italian bonds boosted demand for the safest fixed-income assets. The euro sank and U.S. Treasuries jumped.

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Sep 23

You can’t make this stuff up.



YouTube Added: 20.09.2011

What do you do when you’re a small-time crook and former cruise-ship lounge singer who went into business – with a partner now in prison – and bought a radio station, then a TV station, then a newspaper, then another radio station, then another TV station, then another newspaper, then a radio network, then a TV network – and ended up owning about 95 percent of the media seen in Italy? That’s what Silvio Berlosconni did – and then created his own political party, ran for Prime Minister with his billions and the full support of his own wholly-owned versions of Fox News, Fox Radio, and Fox Newspaper – and – surprise! – won. Three times!

The saga of the Berlusconi sex scandals heated up again in Italy over the weekend as newly-released wiretaps of Berlusconi’s telephone conversations dominated the headlines all across Italy. The wiretaps were released at the conclusion of an investigation into entrepreneur Gianpaolo Tarantini – a man who is accused of paying women to sleep with Berlusconi at his homes in 2008 and 2009. In the transcripts of the wiretaps, Berlusconi is quoted as telling Tarantini that, “Last night I had a queue outside the door of the bedroom….There were eleven…I only did eight because I could not do it anymore….Listen, all the beds are full here…this lot won’t go home, even at gunpoint.” In another conversation recorded in September 2008, Berlusconi told Tarantini that he needed to reduce the flow of women for a few days because he had a “terrible week” coming up full of scheduled meetings with Pope Benedict, Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel and Gordon Brown. So what do we learn from this latest development? Well – I guess despite the 74-year-old’s sexual braggadocio – he isn’t much of a multi-tasker!

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Aug 27


YouTube Added: 26.08.2011

The UN has called for restraint in Libya amid reports of abuses and alleged summary killings by both rebels and Gaddafi loyalists. The Security Council has also agreed to release 1.5 billion-dollars in Libyan assets to help deal with humanitarian needs. The opposition continues to claim that Tripoli is largely under its control, while the National Transitional Council says it’s moved from its stronghold of Benghazi to the capital. There are reports of heavy resistance by Gaddafi forces, with the Colonel’s whereabouts still unknown. Meanwhile, Gaddafi has aired another radio message, claiming he’s fighting on the frontline. NATO has denied previous reports that it’s assisting the rebels in the hunt to find him. Now more analysis on the latest developments in Libya from author and investigative journalist Webster Tarpley, who’s in Washington.

See also:

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Jul 16

- Italy And The Euro On The Edge: By Engulfing Italy, The Euro Crisis Has Entered A Perilous New Phase – With The Single Currency Itself Now At Risk (The Economist, July 14, 2011):

FOR more than a year the euro zone’s debt drama has lurched from one nail-biting scene to another. First Greece took centre stage; then Ireland; then Portugal; then Greece again. Each time European policymakers reacted similarly: with denial and dithering, followed at the eleventh hour with a half-baked rescue plan to buy time.

This week the shortcomings of this muddling-through were laid bare (see article). Financial markets turned on Italy, the euro zone’s third-biggest economy, with alarming speed. Yields on ten-year Italian bonds jumped by almost a percentage point in two trading days: on July 12th they breached 6%, their highest since the euro was created. The Milan stockmarket slumped to its lowest in two years. Though bond yields subsequently fell back, the debt crisis has clearly entered a new phase. No longer confined to the small peripheral economies of Greece, Ireland and Portugal, it has hurdled over Spain, supposedly next in line, and reached one of the euro zone’s giants. All its members, but especially Germany, face a stark choice.

Consider the stakes. Italy has the biggest sovereign-debt market in Europe and the third-biggest in the world. It has €1.9 trillion ($2.6 trillion) of sovereign debt outstanding, 120% of its GDP, three times as much as Greece, Ireland and Portugal combined—and far more than the €250 billion or so left in the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), the currency club’s rescue kitty. Default would have calamitous consequences for the euro and the world economy. Even if the more likely immediate prospect is sustained stress in the Italian bond market, that will surely prompt investors to flee European assets, making the continent’s recovery ever harder. Meanwhile in the background there is the absurd pantomime of Barack Obama and congressional Republicans feuding over how to raise the federal government’s debt ceiling to stave off an American “default” (see article). That may have distracted American investors briefly; once they realise how much is at stake in Italy, it will not help.

From Rome to Brussels, Frankfurt and Berlin

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Jul 10

- Phone Hacking: Chris Bryant compares Rupert Murdoch to Silvio Berlusconi (Telegraph, July 6, 2011)

News of the World phone hacking: Chris Bryant ‘Murdoch has too great a sway over national life

YouTube Added: 06.07.2011

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Apr 10


The revival of Mussolini’s National Fascist Party has been banned since the 1950s

A group of Italian senators is pressing for a decades-old ban on Benito Mussolini’s Fascist party to be lifted in a move that has provoked fierce condemnation from political opponents and Jewish leaders.

The five members of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s ruling People of Liberty (Pdl) party, led by Senator Cristano De Eccher, presented a bill to the Italian senate arguing that a constitutional rule that prohibits the “reorganisation in any form [of the dissolved Fascist party]“, is outdated and should be scrapped.

Mussolini rose to power after the end of the First World War and by the mid-1920s established a fascist dictatorship. His National Fascist Party ruled the country until 1943 and was a key ally of Nazi Germany. The party’s reformation has been explicitly banned since the 1950s, when Italy’s post-war constitution also outlawed Fascist symbols.

Senate Speaker Renato Schifani, also of the Pdl, was said to be “aghast” at the attempt to lift the ban, says a report by the news agency Ansa.

Emanuele Fiano, the Democratic Party’s home affairs spokesman, told The Independent: “A founding basis of this Italian republic is its opposition to fascism. The laws banning the reformation of the Fascist party or apologising for it should remain untouchable.”

Roberto Pacifici, leader of the Jewish Community of Rome, said: “It’s an extremely worrying proposal.” James Walston, a politics professor at the American University in Rome, said: “This is another manifestation of the long-term rehabilitation of fascism in Italy. It might not happen soon, it might never happen, but it’s been under way since 1994. People are setting out to revise Italian history.” In 1994, during Mr Berlusconi’s first term as Prime Minister, direct heirs to Mussolini’s Fascist party were given jobs in government for the first time since the party was banned.

One neo-Fascist was Mirko Tremaglia, the Minister for Italians Abroad, who as a young man defended Mussolini’s Salo’ Italian Social Republic, as recently as 2002 lamented the Second World War pivotal defeat of the Italians and the Afrika Korps at El Alamein. A senior figure in Mr Berlusconi’s present cabinet, Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa, is also often accused of being a neo-Fascist. He was part of the old National Alliance party, which had its roots in the neo-Fascist Italian Social Movement formed by Mussolini supporters in 1946.

The present Speaker of the lower house, Gianfranco Fini, was head of the National Alliance, until it merged with Mr Berlusconi’s Forza Italia two years ago. But over a period of several years he has renounced his former neo-Fascist sympathies and appears to have made a remarkable transition to a modern-right politician.

His description in 2003 of the “absolute evil” of the fascist era, prompted Mussolini’s granddaughter, Alessandra, to quit the party to form her own Social Action grouping with other disgruntled right-wingers.

Press reports suggest that a senator from Mr Fini’s own small centre-right Fli (Future and Freedom) party signed the proposal but was immediately threatened with expulsion from the party unless he rescinded his support for the initiative.

By Michael Day in Milan
Friday, 8 April 2011

Source: The Independent

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Mar 09

Silvio Berlusconi helped Col Muammar Gaddafi to gain the leadership of the African Union in 2009 with the help of two escort women.


Opponents have criticised Berlusconi for failing to condemn violence in Libya and saying he did not want to ‘disturb’ Gaddafi during the revolt Photo: REUTERS

Italy’s prime minister has himself been involved in several sex scandals and is said to have arranged the sending of the escorts to an opponent of Mr Gaddafi’s as a favour to the Libyan leader.

Col Gaddafi was the surprise choice as leader of the 53-nation African Union in February 2009 much to the unease of countries such as Tanzania and Nigeria.

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Feb 17

See also:

- Italy: Day of Protests in 200 Cities Against Berlusconi

- Silvio Berlusconi’s Harem of At Least 14 Young Women Revealed


Italian prime minister to stand trial on 6 April on charges of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and abuse of office


Silvio Berlusconi, who faces up to three years in prison on a charge of paying an underage prostitute, and up to 12 years on a charge of abusing his authority. Photograph: Andrew Medichini/AP

Silvio Berlusconi is to go on trial on 6 April, charged with paying an underage prostitute and then trying to cover up the alleged offence by abusing his position as Italy’s prime minister. All three judges named for the trial are women.

Berlusconi heard the news while in Sicily, where he made no comment, but immediately cancelled a scheduled press conference and flew back to Rome.

As opposition MPs called for the prime minister’s resignation, his justice minister, Angelino Alfano, said the judge’s decision had implications for “the autonomy, sovereignty and independence of parliament”. Alfano said that, by indicting Berlusconi, the judge had ignored a vote on 3 February in which the chamber of deputies voted not to agree to a search request from prosecutors investigating the prime minister on the grounds that they did not have the necessary jurisdiction.

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Feb 14

Hundreds of women will take to the streets of Italy’s cities today calling on scandal hit Premier Silvio Berlusconi to resign after prosecutors requested he be sent to trial for having sex with an underage prostitute.


A protester bang pots and pans as they take part in a demonstration calling for the resignation of Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi on Saturday. Photo: REUTERS

Protesters say evidence leaked from the probe into Berlusconi, 74, allegedly paying for sex with then 17 year Moroccan belly dancer Karima El Mahroug, and show he has little respect for female dignity.

Wiretaps leaked from more than 600 pages of the prosecution file suggest he surrounded himself at parties at his home with starlets and other women hoping to use their looks to gain positions in politics or within his Mediaset TV empire.

Protests are scheduled to take place in 200 cities and towns across Italy as well as London and New York, with the largest due to be held in Rome and Milan and counter demonstrations by activists from Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party area also planned.

Organisers have called the protest ”If Not Now, When?” which is also the title of a famous novel by the Italian award winning writer Primo Levi and which tells the story a group of Jewish partisans behind German lines during World War II as they seek to continue their fight against the occupier and survive.

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Jan 24

This is Webster Tarpley’s opinion and I do not agree with all of it.



Obama White House NSC Russia Director Michael McFaul Deploying IMF Shock Therapist Boris Nemtsov as Wheelhorse of Feeble “Stop Putin in 2012″ Bid

Awareness is growing around the world that the Wikileaks-Julian Assange theater of the absurd is radically inauthentic – a psyop. Wikileaks and its impaired boss represent a classic form of limited hangout or self-exposure, a kind of lurid striptease in which the front organization releases doctored and pre-selected materials provided by the intelligence agency with the intent of harming, not the CIA, nor the UK, nor the Israelis, but rather such classic CIA enemies’ list figures as Putin, Berlusconi, Karzai, Qaddafi, Rodriguez de Kirchner, etc. In Tunisia, derogatory material about ex-President Ben Ali leaked by Wikileaks has already brought a windfall for Langley in the form of the rare ouster of an entrenched Arab government.

At Foggy Bottom and Langley, a manic fit has been building since the flight of Ben Ali. US imperialist planners now believe they can re-launch their shopworn model of the color revolution, CIA people-power coup, or postmodern putsch against a whole series of countries in the Arab world and far beyond, including Italy. The color revolutions had been looking tarnished lately, as a result of the failure of the Twitter Revolution in Iran back in June 2009. Previously, the Cedars Revolution of 2005 had failed in Lebanon. The Orange Revolution in Ukraine had been rolled back with the ouster of NATO-IMF kleptocrats Yushchenko and Timoshenko. In Georgia, the Roses Revolution was increasingly discredited by the repressive and warmongering regime of fascist madman Saakashvili.

US Seeks to Mobilize a New Generation of Young Nihilists Across the Globe

But now, NSC, State, and CIA believe that the color revolution has a new lease on life, thanks to their estimate that the United States, because of Wikileaks and Assange, has captured the imagination of a new generation of young nihilists across the globe who are described as the post-9/11 generation, estranged from governments and opposition parties, and thus ready to follow Langley’s peroxide Pied Piper.

Assange started his intensive deployment phase this year with video of a Class A US war crime in Iraq, which was very graphic but which dealt with an incident which was already widely known. The second document dump focused on Iraq, but now the targeting had shifted to Prime Minister Maliki, and the Iranian asset whom the US by some strange coincidence was trying to oust as leader of Iraq in favor of the US puppet Allawi. With the third document dump, this time involving State Department cables, we found out much derogatory gossip about such classic CIA targets as Russian prime minister Putin, Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi, the Russian-Italian strategic alliance, President Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina, and President Karzai of Afghanistan, along with jabs at supposed US allies who need to be kept off-balance and dependent, including the Saudi Arabian royal family, French President Sarkozy, and others. Wikileaks thus directs the vast majority of its fire against figures who are part of the CIA’s enemies list.

No Equal Time for CIA Covert Operations

Assange also provides a splendid pretext for draconian censorship and limitations on the freedom of the internet. The totalitarian liberal Senator Feinstein wants to bring back Woodrow Wilson’s infamous Espionage Act of 1917 in honor of Assange. Assange must be seen not as an activist, not as a journalist, and not as an entertainer, but rather as a spook. John Young of Cryptome, according to some reports, has denounced Wikileaks, to which he formerly belonged, as a CIA front. In a December 29 RT interview, Young described the internet as “a very large-scale spying machine.”1 The internet is indeed a vast battlefield, where the intelligence agencies of the US-UK, China, Israel, Russia, and many others clash every hour of the day, with commercial spies, hackers, anarchists, cultists, mercenary trolls, and psychotics all getting into the act as well. Intelligence agencies deliberately feed real and doctored material to various websites, sometimes using their own disgruntled employees as cutouts, conduits, and go-betweens. This means among other things that Bradley Manning cannot be taken at face value, although it is also clear that he like anyone else should not be tortured.

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