(By Alessandra Nucci, Fondazione Lepanto.org) How would you feel if you were to help debtors out, to the tune of billions of euros, then were to find yourself painted in the media as being a recipient of bailouts? This is what is happening to Italy. At the end of June, and then again at the beginning of July the headlines in the international press carried news of the “bailout of Spain and Italy”, placing the two on the same level. Yet it was Spain that was being bailed out while Italy is one of the most generous contributors to the funding.
This is just the latest blow to the reputation of the Euro-Zone’s third-largest economy (and the world’s eighth –largest) , dealt like all the others in a seemingly innocent manner by an international press which is either superficial or conniving in what amounts to the looting of Italy,
By looting I mean the process of cheapening the country, its name and its worth by means of discredit nonchalantly but relentlessly sown in every possible way and direction, from within and without, to drive the value of its assets down and make them more … affordable. This has quietly been going on since 1992, but was stepped up with a double-barrelled aggression, on a military and financial level, in 2011.
The Philosophical Divide
The world, and the stock markets, being told today that the countries insultingly referred to with the acronym “PIIGS” are a bunch of lazy, irresponsible spendthrifts who, after piling debt upon debt, are now squandering other people’s hard-earned money. Therefore they deserve whatever degree of impoverishment they may get. Well, the truth is mostly the exact opposite. The financial élite gathered around the EU buildings in Brussels have been quietly at work undermining the economies of Southern Europe, out of the need to save their own.
I have written about this here:
I don’t think it is a coincidence that the “PIIGS” countries (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain) all have a historically Catholic or Christian Orthodox background, which the common assumptions underlying the culture have maintained as a basic frame of reference, even if the number of liturgically practicing faithful is at a minimum. On the other hand, the countries that are aggressively posing as having been economically wise and virtuous (Germany, France, Belgium) are leaders on the road to the predominance of a secular culture.
In Italy’s case, we are clearly a big disappointment to the EU secularists. Once the showcase land of successful inroads against Catholic norms (our 1978 law provides abortion free of charge to all, within the first three months of pregnancy, for whatever reasons of health, including the prospective mother’s psychological duress), Italy now identifies with a firm and widespread resistance against the pressure of gay lobbies and pro – euthanasia activism (described in my piece “The Struggle For Italy’s Soul”: http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/512/The_Struggle_for_Italys_Soul.aspx )
The irony of this all is that Italian citizens find themselves being told they must look up to those who have cleverly installed themselves in power, and be grateful to those who are actually ruining the economy under the guise of fixing it. Like the Masonic élite who took power in the XIX century, they are impoverishing us while declaring themselves Catholic, and then coming, like the elders to Job, to lecture and teach us our lessons.
Until ex-EU commissar Mario Monti was sent in to help, Italy was doing better than all of the other EU countries, bar only Germany. We had a higher surplus than France, a higher surplus than the UK, and only a slightly lower surplus than Germany. Our banks had almost none of the toxic assets that glutted the banks of France and above all of Germany. Our unemployment was manageable. Our companies and trade marks were and still are so successful that they are constantly being bought up by foreign companies. Yes, we did have a huge public debt, but the private debt was almost non-existent, the which fact, together with the solid economy, guaranteed that the bonds would be paid back. In other words, our debt, like Japan’s even bigger one, was manageable.
Some figures? Italy’s GDP in 2010 was $2.1 trillion. We were the 8th exporters in the world ($448billion foreign exports), and the 6th preferred nation for investors (source: World Bank). Unemployment was at a manageable 8.3%, which was lower than the Euro-zone average of 10.2% and also lower than the US’s 9.1 %- and that is despite our very high population density.
Without the interest on our national debt, we would have been way past France and Germany. The prospects for 2012 were that France would have a deficit of 2.4% of its GDP while Italy was slated to have a 2% surplus, which was to be even greater than Germany’s, estimated at 1.4%.
The debt was bringing us down, of course, but the real debt parade, which must include private debts, has the United Kingdom in N.1 position. The international media, however, take care not to point that out, like they considerately avoided making a fuss when Prime Minister Gordon Brown turned the UK into the first European country to nationalize a bank (Northern Rock) to prevent it from failing, in 2008.
So, well, Italy had it fairly good. Russia guaranteed the flow of oil from the North, and Libya guaranteed it from south of the Mediterranean. Most importantly, a costly treaty with Libya had finally put a stop to the flow of illegal immigration that had been overwhelming the country, weighing down on the economy (and the debt) and
almost literally crowding out Italians themselves, thanks to leftist quotas discriminating against Italians.
Why am I writing all this in the past tense? Because this was the situation before ex-EU commissar Mario Monti was sent in to help. Mr Monti is a past official advisor to Goldman Sachs and to Moody’s, president of the Trilateral Commission for Europe and a member of the Bilderberger clique. Since his sudden appearance on the scene in mid-November 2011, not elected but appointed single-mindedly by our ex(?)- communist President Giorgio Napolitano to head the Italian government, Italy’s sole negative economic index, the public debt, rather than diminishing has soared. At the end of 2011 it was 1897.9 billion euros, four months later it was 1948.5 billion: a 50 billion increase in a matter of 120 days. And we are now officially in a recession, whose beginning is vaguely being retro-dated to precede November’s unacknowledged coup d’état.
How the Looting Works
I will venture to suggest that there must be a blue-print out there on how to manage a country after a revolutionary takeover, such as what has been done to Italy.
I would say that basically, after A) overwhelming the system, the revolutionary leader should aim at B) impoverishing the people in order to prevent their every chance of rebelling. This can be done in various ways, which should include: 1) continuous price hikes in utilities 2) a credit crunch 3) tax –tax- tax 4) media influence used to a) scare investors away, b) deflect attention from what is really going on and c) create an iron-clad reputation for the revolutionary “good guys”, 5) sale of the nation’s property at bargain prices.
This sequence is coming full circle in Italy.
A. Overwhelming the system: In the years prior to 2011 the hard-working Italian people had been saddled with a bloated bureaucracy and progressively swelling taxes, due to the unquenchable demands imposed on our welfare system by competing leftist and populist parties, goaded on by trade unions with a finger in every pie. The most telling example of legislation foisted on the people is, I think, a law that was passed by another technocratic administration in 1992 (also unelected but at least concerted by the elected political parties) whereby immigrants over 65 were entitled to old age pensions (whether or not they had paid into the pension funds), and a law of 2007, passed by ex-EU Commission president Romano Prodi, whereby the old-age pensions were extended to the relatives of immigrants who joined them in Italy. In 2009 the Conservative government managed to limit this provision to relatives who could prove they had t least lived in Italy for ten years, but the burden on Italy’s budget remains enormous and climbing. In 2015 it is estimated that old-age pensioners in Italy from outside the EU will cost over €1.5 billion yearly.
This all preceded Monti, who was called in precisely to put a stop to all this, lower the debt and put Italy back on course. But what he has done is the exact opposite, in other words: phase B. Adding taxes upon taxes, wiping out liquidity, scaring investors away, protecting certain privileges and playing the media with expertise. Very creative.
Now he comes to the bargain sale of the family jewels.
It goes like this.
Italians, who are notoriously very attached to their offspring and grandchildren, were used to judiciously setting aside their savings, usually investing them in real estate. This was highly prized collateral that should have avoided all the pernicious alarmism about the national debt.
But the alarms were contrived (See video where Monti states that crises are good: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HORaWaxi6io&feature=related ) Now having set inordinately high property taxes, Monti has crippled their prices, thereby reducing at waving of magic wand the value of Italy’s financial collateral.
Then Monti announces that Italy is all set to sell off huge amounts of prestigious State-owned real estate.
Funny, the Bank of Italy announced the very same thing more or less at the same time. Which means the housing market will be glutted with fine property from one moment to the next. The technocrats know that the glut will make the tax-depressed prices collapse even lower, but it will appear as if it were no one’s fault, apart from the usual culprit: the free market. This way they can sell off the family jewels at bargain prices to their foreign friends (the rest of us in Italy not having the liquidity left, as explained above).
This is a tragic déjà vu.
For the looting of Italy began back in June 1992, with the now notorious, but then super-secretive meeting on the HMS Britannia, anchored off of the shores of Latium . The British royal family yacht had been lent for the occasion to a group of Anglo-American financiers.
What did these invisible financiers want from Italy? Well, just like they do today, they wanted to get their hands on Italian banks, telephone and energy companies, the “family jewels”. Their main target is probably Eni – but more about that later.
To go about this they had to speed up the changing of paradigm, making politics subordinate to the economy, and making the economy in turn to hinge on volatile finance.
In 1992, Italy’s I.R.I. (Institute for the Reconstruction of Italy), the world’s largest state-run holding company, started selling off its assets, at bargain prices, thereby starting the rush that has led an avalanche of private industries to follow suit and seek a foreign buyer for their “Made in Italy” products. In the intervening 20 years, hundreds, if not thousands, of famous Italian brand names have been sold off to foreign companies.
A never-ending flow of illegal immigrants overburdens Italian welfare
Very little is ever said about the immigration load, which together with bureaucracy is largely responsible for the burgeoning debt. It is routinely downplayed, while Italy gets lectured to for supposedly not living up to impossible standards that are provably not expected of any other country. The Italian coast guard and carabinieri have saved countless lives and generous Italian welfare, including old age pensions, is doled out not only to illegal immigrants but, incredibly, to their relatives back home. Nonetheless Amnesty International feels free to scold us on the subject, and periodically issues press releases condemning the heartlessness of Italy alone, never anyone else. As I write they are holding a big meeting on Lampedusa, the island closest to Africa, where the avalanche of immigrants normally first disembarks. The purpose: to force Italy to forgo its new treaty with the new Libyan authorities, which aims to hold back the tide of illegal immigration which risks overwhelming us. Even if Mr Monti does not take heed, the news is there in the papers and on the internet blogs: Italy’s attempt to defend itself is painted as racist, xenophobic, discriminatory, heartless…. All of course being implicitly connected with the Vatican in Rome.
The sudden deluge of illegal immigrants started being tossed onto our shores by the shiploads, starting in 1993, for no apparent reason. The reason actually being, as we have come to realize, the deliberate attempt to overwhelm the Italian welfare system by sheer numbers.
The first time they arrived, Italy flew them right back. Then in 1997, with Romano Prodi, the leader of leftist Catholics, as Prime Minister, they were allowed to stay. Temporary residence units were set up and gradually special benefits started being allotted to the illegal immigrants, sometimes to the exclusion of Italians.
The flooding continued, to the self-righteous glee of Italy’s powerful lefists, until it was stopped by a costly “friendship” treaty with Libya’s Muammar Kaddafi in 2009.
Since then Italy had been able to get a grip on its welfare bills and its employment charts, and was progressing towards some social peace.
Would they let us? Of course not. This is when the West suddenly discovered the pressing need to get rid of Kaddafi, and Sarkozy led the way in Nato’s ….humanitarian bombing.
It has been proven that the attack on Libya was based on a flagrant lie. There were no mass graves and Kaddafi was demonstrably not killing his own people.
But the testimony of the archbishop of Tripoli and other witnesses went unheeded, the forgery of the mass grave pictures was brushed aside, and the “humanitarian” bombing went on until the bitter end: the brutal on-camera lynching of Kaddafi.
But this attack was not just about Kaddafi. It was also about Italy; a frontal attack on
1) Italy’s major companies, which all had legitimate business with Libya and costly infrastructure built up with years of work on the Libyan coast,
2) The treaty which had put a stop to the wholesale invasion of Italy by impoverished immigrants, who happened to come prevalently from Muslim countries.
Both of these were enormous blows to Italy, but the second one was made particularly odious by the double standards that were flagrantly applied: with Italy being required to take in any and all who came (were placed) on boats to our shores, while France – whose raids had started it all – literally closed its borders. When refugees from Tunisia (a French colony) showed up expecting to get into France, they were shoved back into Italy, with France even demanding that Brussels make a rule that would assign immigrants to the EU country whose territory they first set foot on, and Italy being a stone’s throw away from Libya means that the boat people obviously come here as their first choice.
There were dark intimations here and there in the press about Italy having to face its responsibilities, and if one googled Italy+ colonialism on Wikipedia one found an endless list of Italian colonies, which actually corresponded to the Roman empire, along with charts of what amounted to dictator Mussolini’s 1930s colonial …. wish list.
At one point the Washington Times attributed the colonization of Tunisia to Italy, which makes one wonder whether people have been led to believe that maybe all of Northern Africa was an Italian colony…? (Actually, only Libya was, from 1911 to the II world war; the rest were French colonies: Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, with Egypt being under British rule for a time)
The illegal immigration forced on Italy is a large part of what has caused our huge national debt. Yet whenever Italy is concerned, the EU applies a sort of right of anyone in the world to come and live here, with their families, and be supported by us as well.
Last May, 2012 the EU High Court in Strasbourg even fined Italy for repatriating 24 illegal immigrants from Eritrea and Somalia who had tried to enter the country three years earlier, 2009, on board a boat that was setting sail from Libya. These people were not harmed in any way, they were merely prevented from setting sail, in accordance with the then existent Treaty between Italy and Libya, which allowed the Italian coast guard to halt the massive illegal immigration that has brought immigrants to our shores in uncounted multitudes.
Ironically, despite having as Prime Minister a media tycoon, Silvio Berlusconi, whose supposed expertise in manipulating media coverage might have served Italy in good stead, the international spotlight has remained firmly projected onto the negative clichés and the sole unfavourable numbers of Italy’s external debt. And when the man’s ludicrous private lechery made him the butt of world-wide ridicule, it dragged Italy down with him – to the looters’ delight.
The Attack Begins In Earnest
2011 is when they began in earnest to train their guns on us, with the military aggression that began with Nato’s attack on Libya culminating in half-truths calculated to stampede investors away from Italy in the direction of German bonds.
After the attack on Libya pulverized this country’s infrastructure, mainly built by Italy, as well as the many giant Italian industries that lined the coast, the banksters sprang into action. In July, Germany’s heavily leveraged Deutsche Bank, which a month later was revealed to be one of the prime recipients of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s tremendous secret bailout, for $354 billion (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-21/wall-street-aristocracy-got-1-2-trillion-in-fed-s-secret-loans.html), dumped over 7billion euros’ worth of Italian bonds onto the market in one swoop, loudly trumpeting this fact to the press and then just as dramatically buying up unnecessary swap options that bet on Italy’s going bust.
This of course signalled to all investors to follow suit, lest they remain saddled with bonds that might never be paid back! After which the panic inevitably spread to the shareholders’ market, driving the price of wealthy banks and huge joint-stock companies down to levels of craziness where one could buy a mega-multinational concern at the cost of maybe a single one of its properties. (http://www.corriere.it/economia/11_agosto_19/bocconi-saldi-folli-piazza-affari_e78f4e7a-ca3b-11e0-9ddb-a6b1d988da8e.shtml)
Der Spiegel may have let the cat out of the bag recently when it wrote that documents in its position show that Angela Merkel is holding out against the Euro-bonds, which would guarantee the debt of all the Euro-zone countries, because in exchange for relenting, she is planning to demand privileges for foreign buyers of choice property in Southern Europe.
This may or may not be. What is certain is that they have had this on their minds for a long time. For it was last October, a month before the financial putsch in Italy, that Deutsche Bank openly issued a request to the German government concerning the detailed assets of the weaker “PIIGS”.
So here we are today, with Mario Monti siphoning money out of the economy.
Could this be what is routinely done to countries when there is a leftist takeover? Could they purposely be using the power to legislate money away, isolate the country from investors so as to tear the system down for good and render the people powerless to recreate it? That is the only explanation I can find to the inexplicable way the technocrats are sending money abroad as if there were no need at home. 5 million to Albania to buy equipment for doctors’ offices. 3 million to Bolivia to help protect its biodiversity. 1.3 billion to help Ethiopians guard against a new drought. A mere 400thousand for a school for tour operators in Mozambique. It goes on and on.
Perhaps it is no wonder that Monti’s supposedly un-political, technocratic administration is actually made up of 99 % left-wing ministers. Why else would our (ex?) communist President Giorgio Napolitano – whom the NYT enthused about last August dubbing him “King Giorgio” – have installed Monti in the Premier’s office the minute the stock markets’ plunge finally managed to dislodge the entrenched incumbent? Overriding all Parliamentary prerogative, this unprecedented power grab amounted to a virtual coup d’etat, but this has become an embarrassing detail that it is impolite to even mention anymore.
But no one bothers to delve into anything that regards Italy. Journalists have us conveniently shelved under the categories of fashion, pizza, the mafia, the leaning tower and the Pope. Investors care only about what the herd will do next in order to follow suit and try and turn a profit on the stock exchange. As a result, no one ever writes about Italy except if there is a sex scandal, a mafia crime, or talk of corruption. Or, today, if the press says Italy is being bailed out.
All of the good things, the 95 percent of hardworking honest Italians, who are the first victims of corruption, the Mafia, etc, are invariably ignored. (Ironically so, having had a media tycoon at the helm for so many years).
I believe that in this globalized world, relying solely on the mainstream media for news about other countries is a mistake that can prevent a needed comprehension of what is going on. Because, the globalist players being a tight-knit clique, the blueprint they follow can eventually come round to harass other countries in their turn.