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The political chips in this is that all the suspected senators on the left are forced to be good boys. Yesterday, the Prodi government resorted to three confidence votes in the Senate without undue tension.
Concerning your question, these are the actual audio tapes, the smoking gun so to say, with the verbatim transcripts. The publication of the more frivolous tapes is a clear signal that the papers are sitting on the worst tapes.
If you recall the election thread we had up here, you may remember that for long periods there were no results from Palermo and Campania. The publication of the results was being held up deliberately by Mediaset-RAI, according to taped conversations. Why? Your hypothesis is as good as mine.
The whole matter is now a matter of criminal inquiry. We'll see how far that goes.
However, I may have not made myself clear; only your last sentence answers my question. So the consequence so far is a criminal inquiry. What about RAI (and Mediaset) news magazine editors/journalists in the first released tapes? Were any fired by the RAI board, or resigned voluntarily? And what about government politicians: how much did they capitalise on the scandal? Were there calls for resignations or such? Violent attacks on B?
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
Ms. Bergamini, who was Berlusconi's personal secretary before becoming a RAI director, is the only person suspended. (It is nearly impossible to fire people in Italy even with just cause.)
The new case stems from an investigation into a well known Berlusconi ploy to create illegal funds abroad through false overbilling. It is suspected that the funds are then used for corruption and kickbacks in Italy. While following the money trail, the Naples investigators ran into Agostino Saccà, the major power broker within the national television for all fiction programs. And on the other end of the line, one day, was Silvio asking "favours" or, rather, dictating orders in a very friendly way.
Saccà suspended himself before being suspended. The RAI has announced that it will take sanctions. I'm not holding my breath on that. That Saccà and Bergamini be sanctioned is to be expected. But the likes of Vespa, Rosella, del Noce will pass through this without a scratch.
This is very complex as all Italian political intrigue goes. I think the government is capitalizing on the matter by pushing legislation through the Senate without problems by resorting to confidence voting. In two days they liquidated the annual budget law and the welfare law. No center-left Senator would dare vote against the government under this climate of suspected corruption.
Most political leaders on the left issued lacklustre routine statements deploring the decay of political customs. Big deal. Some left leaders joined the rightwing whorus that the publication of the tapes violates privacy and parliamentary immunity (sic). Mastella, Minister of Justice and head of the micro-party UDF, called for a government decree to regulate (read, "severely sanction") the publication of investigative acts by the press. Were the law to be go into effect as originally conceived it would make it a crime to publish investigative material even when it is no longer covered by judiciary secrecy. (The Bergamini-Crispi tapes were in the public domain when published.)
What appears to be happening is a no-holds barred war between la Repubblica and large segments of both coalitions. By exposing the belly of the beast to public ridicule the press has resumed its role as a political protagonist.
As for "violent attacks on B," no, there were violent attacks by B. Berlusconi characterized the judiciary as the Red Army. His attack was so virulent that the governing body of the judiciary issued a unanimous statement in defense of the Naples investigators, repelling B's crass attacks. The president of the Republic, Napolitano, also deplored the attacks. However, the parliament has asked Naples for the investigative material to verify if there was an irregular conduct by investigators towards the parliamentarian, Silvio Berlusconi. In effect, in Italy one need only get elected to parliament to be above and beyond the law, seemingly authorized to delight in crime sprees.
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