First They Came For the Migrants

And let’s just be clear Roberto Maroni & the Northern League are fascists, just as torture is not called torture, fascists are never called fascists. Thanks media, heck of a job…

Italian lawmakers on Thursday gave final approval to controversial legislation that makes illegal immigration a punishable offence and allows mayors to form civilian anti-crime patrols in towns and cities. The bill was approved by 157 votes for to 124 against, in the upper house Senate. The lower house Chamber of Deputies had already approved the package in May. A provision to triple the time illegal immigrants can be detained in holding centres, is also included in the package which is now law.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government relied on confidence votes in both houses of parliament to ensure approval of the measures which are strongly supported by the ruling coalition’s junior partner, the anti-immigration Northern League party. Italy’s centre-left opposition, the Catholic Church and human rights activists have slammed what they say is the criminalisation of would-be immigrants.

The law won’t help defend Italian citizens from crime and “seriously violates the civil rights of immigrants whose work is indispensable to keep thousands of businesses going,” said leading centre-left Democratic Party senator, Anna Finocchiaro. But in his response Maurizio Gasparri from Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party said the government “is proud” of achieving an objective which helps fulfill promises to “combat crime”. Under the provisions, people entering Italy without permission face fines of up to 10,000 euros (14,084 dollars), while anyone renting housing to an illegal immigrant faces up to three years in prison. Critics also allege the citizen-patrols would amount to vigilante groups who are likely to harass foreigners. But Interior Minister and senior Northern League official, Roberto Maroni, has said the patrols would mostly consist of unarmed, retired police officers.

Many immigrants are afraid to seek medical care in Italy because they fear they will be expelled from the country, according to a survey by the Italian-based human rights group EveryOne. The group’s survey was released on Thursday as the Italian parliament approved a law making illegal immigration a crime.

“Reports have confirmed the recent sharp drop in the number of migrants seeking medical care for serious illnesses,” said Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, co-presidents of the EveryOne Group in a media statement.

The new Italian law provides for anti-crime patrols in towns and cities and triples the amount of time illegal immigrants can be detained in holding centres from two to six months. Apart from doctors and school principals, every one is required under the law to report illegal migrants to the authorities.

The denial of medical care and fear among migrants is similar in the UK, maybe that is why the fascism in Italy goes unremarked upon by the Neoliberal EU establishment, it is something they really rather admire.

Italian Fascist Ally of Berlusconi Suggests Segregated Buses

 At the same time they deny asylum rights to migrants by interdicting at sea, the EU need to stop being diplomatic with the Italian fascists less they appear (and become) yet another weak body that failed to stem European fascists. Or does that interfere with their Neoliberal outlook, which will end in authoritarian capitalist corporate states, hmmm-

A proposal to introduce racial segregation on trains, trams and buses in Milan provoked an outcry from Italian opposition politicians today. The scheme was put forward by a representative of the anti-immigrant Northern League, the prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s main ally in government. Matteo Salvini, the league’s secretary in Milan, told a rally to launch his party’s European election campaign that he wanted “seats or carriages reserved for the Milanese” on local public transport.

 Dario Franceschini, leader of Italy’s biggest opposition group, the Democratic party, said: “One’s thoughts go back to the affair of Rosa Parks, the black woman who refused to give up her place on the bus and inspired Martin Luther King’s struggle.” Salvini tried to downplay the row, insisting: “It was just a provocation to say the residents are now in a minority and, as such, need safeguarding.” But the Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano, spoke of a “worrying” increase in intolerance, while the opposition Italy of Principles party called on the government to disown the idea publicly.

 However, Berlusconi, whose government is already under attack for its immigration policies after the Italian navy returned to Libya more than 200 boat people without letting them apply for asylum, said: “Salvini himself has said it was a quip, a provocation.” The interior minister, Roberto Maroni, a Northern League member, hailed it as a “turning point” in his battle to stem the flow of immigrants through Italy’s Mediterranean islands. But the UN and human rights groups accused the government of violating international treaties to which Italy is a signatory.

 On Thursday the occupants of three boats adrift, reportedly in Maltese waters, were escorted back to the Libyan coast by Italian naval vessels. It was the first time that Libyan authorities were known to have accepted back migrants who set off from their coast. The shift appeared to reflect recent agreements between Berlusconi’s government and Libya. According to UNHCR, three-quarters of migrants who arrive in Italy by sea apply for asylum and, of those, half are recognised as genuine refugees. Maroni said that, in the latest instance, Italy was not bound to consider the asylum requests because the 227 migrants had not reached Italian waters,

 But the UN’s high commissioner for refugees, António Guterres, said the operation was a “source of very serious concern”. Human Rights Watch said Libya had a terrible record in dealing with migrants, who it said were sometimes subjected to indefinite detention “in inhuman and degrading conditions”. The EU justice commissioner, Jacques Barrot, carefully avoided joining the chorus of protest. He said his department was still gathering information on the circumstances.

Berlusconi’s Party Merges With Mussolini’s

The flames are going out all over Italy. Tomorrow, the flame which for more than 60 years has been the symbol of neo-Fascist continuity with Mussolini, will disappear from mainstream politics. The National Alliance, the last important home of that inheritance, is “fusing” with Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party to give the governing bloc a single identity and a single unchallenged leader.

According to Christopher Duggan, the British author of Force of Destiny, an acclaimed history of modern Italy, the fusion of the two parties does not mark the disappearance of Fascist ideas and practices but rather their triumphant insinuation. “This is an alarming situation in many, many ways,” he says.

“The fusion of the parties signifies the absorption of the ideas of the post-Fascists into Berlusconi’s party … the tendency to see no moral and ultimately no political distinction between those who supported the Fascist regime and those who supported the Resistance. So the fact that Fascism was belligerent, racist and illiberal gets forgotten; there is a quiet chorus of public opinion saying that Fascism was not so bad.”

One example of the way things are changing is the treatment of the veterans of the Republic of Salo, the puppet Fascist state ruled by Mussolini on the shores of Lake Garda in the last phase of the war. Under the thumb of Hitler and responsible for dispatching Jews to the death camps, Salo was seen by Italians after the war as the darkest chapter in the nation’s modern history.

But steadily and quietly it has been rehabilitated in the Italian memory. The latest step, before parliament, is the creation of a new military order, the Cavaliere di Tricolore, which can be awarded to people who fought for at least six months during the war – either with the Partisans against the “Nazi-Fascists”, with the forces of the Republic of Salo on behalf of the Nazis and against the Partisans, or with the forces in the south under General Badoglio.

In this way, says Duggan, the idea of moral interchangeability is smuggled into the national discourse, treating the soldiers fighting for the puppet Nazi statelet “on an equal footing morally and politically with the Partisans”.

Duggan contrasts the post-war process in Italy with that in Germany, where the Nuremberg trials and the purge of public life supervised by the Allies produced a new political landscape. Nothing of the sort happened in Italy.

“There was never a clear public watershed between the experience of Fascism and what happened afterwards. It’s partly the fault of the Allies, who after the war were much more concerned with preventing the Communists from coming to power. [Gladio]

“As a result very senior figures in the army, the police and the judiciary remained unpurged. Take the figure of Gaetano Azzariti, one of the first presidents, post-war, of Italy’s Constitutional Court, yet under Mussolini he had been the president of the court which had the job of enforcing the the race laws. The failure of the Allies to put pressure on Italy also reflects a perception that still exists: that the Fascist revival is not to be taken seriously because Italy is ‘lightweight’. Whereas if the same thing happened in Germany or Austria, you’d get really worried.”

The coalition of the shilling made us allies with (open) fascists-

Italy cannot escape blame, however, for its refusal to confront the true shame of what happened under Mussolini – his order to Badoglio, his commander in Libya, for example, to “employ any kind of gas… even on a massive scale”, which was duly carried out. When Berlusconi insisted that Mussolini was not nearly as bad as Saddam, he was voicing standard saloon-bar wisdom.

Gladio Redux- Old Fascist Imparts Wisdom To Newbies

“Maroni should do what I did when I was secretary of the interior. He should withdraw the police from the streets and the universities, infiltrate the movement with secret (provacateurs) agents, ready to do anything, and, for about 10 days, let the demonstrators devastate shops, set fire to cars and lay waste the cities. After which, strengthened by popular consent, the sound of ambulance sirens should be louder than the police cars. The security forces should massacre the demonstrators without pity, and send them all to hospital. They shouldn’t arrest them, because the magistrates would release them immediately, but they should beat them up. And they should also beat up those teachers who stir them up. Especially the teachers. Not the elderly lecturers, of course, but the young women teachers.”

Francesco Cossiga, the former president of Italy

The writer of this Guardian piece Roberto Mancini then goes on to say-

Hence the interest in the recent interview, which sheds light on one of the most secretive periods of Italian history – the so-called “strategy of tension” that began with the 1969 bombing of Banca Nazionale dell’Agricoltura in Milan (carried out by the far-right and blamed on anarchists) through to the events at the G8 summit in Genoa in July 2001 where the mysterious “black-blok” group created the mayhem and destruction which brought forth the police violence against thousands of anti-globalisation protestors.

Hmmm…Chris Floyd also on this. And Gladio for the uninformed- yes we and the US paid Nazis & Italian Fascist war criminals to perform terrorist attacks the left was framed for. Neocon Michael Ledeen was there at the time, y’know- Rome, forged yellow cake documents, WMD’s, Iraq…blah blah blah

And as we have often noted here, similar operations — the “El Salvador option,” death squads, “High-Value Targeting,” etc. — have been an integral part of the Anglo-American subjegation of Iraq. Indeed, they are a pillar of the “counterinsurgency doctrine” proclaimed by the other president-in-waiting, David Petraeus, and now avidly embraced by the War Machine. As Tara McElvey reports in The American Prospect, the Pentagon is eager to apply “High-Value Targeting” and refinements of the “Phoenix Program” — in which U.S. forces and local proxies murdered more than 20,000 people — and the whole panoply of “psy-ops” to imperial imbroglios around the world, applying them “to Afghanistan, then Pakistan, the Philippines, Colombia, Somalia, and elsewhere.”

Huge March Against Berlusconi’s Fascism

(Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of Italians marched through Rome on Saturday to protest against Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative government, which the left accuses of flirting with fascism. Opposition leader Walter Veltroni, who lost to Berlusconi at an April election, addressed a crowd at Rome’s ancient chariot track Circus Maximus which organisers say numbered 2.5 million.

The rally was not aimed against any particular policies — unlike dozens of smaller demonstrations over recent days protesting reforms to the school system — but was meant to buoy centre-left voters who feel their opinions are being trampled.

In an alliance with two right wing parties, the 72-year media tycoon Berlusconi has a strong majority in parliament.

Among his earliest policies have been the dismantling of gypsy shanty towns, putting soldiers on city streets and guaranteeing immunity from prosecution for himself and a handful of other top officials.



The NYT notices something might be amiss in Italy, but…

During the altercation, the attackers shouted “dirty black,” lawyers for both sides said.

Although there is some debate about whether the killing was racially motivated, the attack on Mr. Guibre was the most severe in a recent spate of violence against immigrants across Italy.

And completely manages to avoid saying fascism entirely.

Posted in Media. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Huh?

Fascist FC

One of Silvio Berlusconi’s players at AC Milan has declared he is a fascist. Christian Abbiati, 31, an Italian international, said: “I am not ashamed to proclaim my political beliefs. I share [the] ideals of fascism, such as the fatherland and the values of the Catholic religion.”

The goalkeeper’s remarks, published today in Sportweek magazine, come amid debate over Italy’s fascist past and rightwing present under the leadership of AC Milan’s billionaire chairman.

The minority partner in Berlusconi’s parliamentary alliance, the Freedom People, is a party spun out of the country’s neo-fascist movement. Some members remain unabashed apologists for the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini.

The defence minister, Ignazio La Russa, sparked a row this month after he paid tribute to Italian soldiers who fought alongside German troops in the second world war. His comments came after the mayor of Rome, Gianno Alemanno, told a magazine he did not consider fascism an “absolute evil”. Berlusconi dodged a question on his own views, replying: “I think only of working to resolve the problems of the Italian people.”

Troops on the streets, Roma being persecuted. So how will the EU deal with the fascism of in its midst? Fascism we helped keep ticking over.

Italy Dammit 2!

An Italian court has found 15 officials guilty of mistreating protesters following violent protests at the G8 meeting in the city of Genoa in 2001. A judge handed down prison sentences ranging from five months to five years to the accused – who include police, prison officials and two doctors.
Another 30 defendants were cleared of charges including assault.

Protesters said they were beaten after being strip-searched by police. The prosecution said they were tortured. All of those convicted are expected to appeal against the guilty verdicts. The BBC’s David Willey in Rome says it is unlikely that any of those sentenced will actually serve time in prison because their offences will have expired under Italy’s statute of limitations before the appeal process is completed. However, the Italian government will be forced to pay out millions of pounds to those who were victims of police brutality during their detention.

Scores of people were arrested during the raid and taken to a temporary prison camp outside Genoa, at Bolzaneto. Among them were protesters from Italy, Britain, Poland and Ireland. Prosecutors said those arrested were beaten, made to sing fascist songs, and that some women were stripped naked, had their heads shaved and were threatened with rape.

Mark Covell’s -one of the detained- experience-

“The first eight of them attacked me as I shouted “Prensa! Prensa! (Journalist!)” One of them said to me in English ‘You are Black Bloc and we’re going to kill Black Bloc.

“They didn’t ask me any questions or try to handcuff me or anything. I wasn’t resisting arrest, even if I could have done against eight six-foot coppers kitted out in the latest riot kit.

‘I was used as a football’

“I fell to the floor after being batoned around the kneecaps. They kicked me in the spine and I was used as a football. Eight of my ribs were broken. One lung was shredded, not punctured but shredded.

“I had two bones broken in my left hand and a vein twisted around my spine.

“I lay on the floor for a while and then more police came along. One hit me in the back of the head with a baton and another one kicked me in the face, which is when I lost my 10 front teeth.”

At this point Mr Covell passed out. He spent the next 14 hours unconscious and when he woke up he was in hospital but under police guard being treated like a dangerous criminal.

Video interview here.

This was not a few bad apples,this was not simply brutality, this was fascists with the state authority of Italy running a temporary torture camp to terrorise protesters. And what does that really tell us about the G8? Now Italy is emerging shamelessly into full fascist mode. But the truth is thanks in part to our meddling it never really shrugged it off and now it is taking control. The extent to which neoliberalism is comfortable with authoritarian systems is a matter of record, what those pushing it claim- that it and democracy are allied if not interchangeable- is a sales pitch, for Europe, Italy might be serving as an early indicator of authoritarian capitalism, although each G8 member will slide into it in its own idiosyncratic ways. For Britain fear of crime and the ‘better safe than sorry’ justification for surveillance and loss of liberty are working well, along with the usual Terror!!! suspect-

A central database holding details of everyone’s phone calls and emails could be a “step too far for the British way of life”, ministers have been warned. Plans for such a database are rumoured to be in the Communications Data Bill. But Information Commissioner Richard Thomas said “lines must be drawn” to defend “fundamental liberties”. The government says the growth of the internet means changes must be made to the way communications are intercepted in order to combat terrorism and crime.

Italy Dammit!

The thing about having a billionaire running your country is- his interests coincide with only about 500 other people, for the millions of other Italians, you screwed baby!