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There are two well known criminal inquiries into unrelated facts that exposed key RAI personnel in cahots with Berlusconi. The first exposée was an offshot of the investigation of Luigi Crispi for fraudulent bankruptcy. He turned out to be a key figure along with Deborah Bergamini, otherwise known as Cartimandu, Queen of the Celts. They both colluded to fix and drug news during the Berlusconi regime allegedly along with prominent rightwing journalists (Clemente Mimum, Bruno Vespa, Carlo Rosella, Fabrizio del Noce) all notoriously well known for having falsified news over the decades (I have no problem in asserting this, cases at hand for each of them).

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.

And what about government politicians: how much did they capitalise on the scandal? Were there calls for resignations or such? Violent attacks on B?

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.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat Dec 22nd, 2007 at 05:55:21 PM EST
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