February 9, 2015

Passaparola - The genetic mutation of the Democratic Party, Prof. Alessandro Pace

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Nicola Morra- Hello everyone. We are here in Prof. Alessandro Pace’s study. He is one of Italy’s major constitutionalists and we came here to hear Prof. Pace’s opinion on what happened after the 24th December and, more specifically after Il Fatto Quotidiano let many Italians know that, although never approved by the Council of Ministers itself, one specific article, namely Art. 19-bis [pg.8, attached], would pardon Silvio Berlusconi and many others for the crimes for which the time had come for a criminal conviction. Responsibility for this addition was fully assumed by the Prime Minister who, after having allowed many names to be named of people who were responsible for all of this and after many days of delay, finally entered into the debate stating that he was the one that proposed this art. 19-bis. Now let’s hand over to Prof. Pace since we are here to hear his thoughts and what he has to say.
Prof. Alessandro Pace- This is a very serious thing. What we’re dealing with here is a regulation, namely ’Art. 19-bis of the so-called “Delega Fiscale” which, according to what has been stated, written and admitted even by the politicians themselves, no one knew anything about it at the Council of Ministers meeting held on 24 December last year. Subsequently, the Il Fatto Quotidiano newspaper found out about this art. 19-bis, which will have some very positive consequences for a number of individuals, not least of which is Cavaliere Berlusconi, who will now once again be allowed back into politics. From a legal point of view, this is extremely serious because what we’re dealing with is material falsification of a public act which, having only been discovered after the fact and with Renzi himself admitting to being the perpetrator, is no longer punishable by three to ten years of incarceration, but is punishable as an attempted crime, in other words a sentence of 1/3 to 2/3. So the crime remains and the Judge with jurisdiction on this matter is the Tribunal of Ministers, but what interests us the most, or at least interests me the most, is the seriousness of this political move because what we’re dealing with is an abuse of office by the Prime Minister, at the expense of the other Ministers that sat with him in the Council of Ministers meeting of 24 December. What it means is that if a Constitution stipulates that the Government of the Republic must be guided by a Council of Ministers, except in exceptional cases where the President of the Council of Ministers, i.e. the Prime Minister has overriding powers, such as when it comes to matters of security and state secrets, then all other matters must be decided by the Council of Ministers, then the Council of Ministers must look at everything and you can’t have certain things decided unilaterally, and then by the Prime Minister who is supposed to be the highest ranking Minister in our constitutional arrangement and the person that has the greatest individual power, then why does he do this kind of thing so surreptitiously? Well, for one of two reasons, either of which is pretty serious all on its own, namely, either because the Ministers are like doormats, in other words a bunch of Yes men and Yes women, he is able to use this, or otherwise because he wanted to conceal the seriousness of what he was about to do, as he did back in 2011 attempted to help Berlusconi, without the knowledge of the Treasury Minister and without the knowledge of the Lega’s ministers, by delaying an effective amendment to the Finance Law, which would then allow Fininvest to delay payment to De Benedetti’s CIR, all those millions for which he was sentenced to 5 or 6 years. There too the journalists found out. Rather naively I wrote an article for the Repubblica, believing that I had uncovered heaven knows what, but instead not a word was said about it! I wouldn’t want the same thing to happen again now, not because I would like to send Renzi to jail, where he would never land up anyway and not to take pleasure in disturbing the Tribunal of Ministers, but so as to make the politicians realise that we simply cannot continue with a democracy in which the ways and means must be transparent and that they cannot decide things in this way.
Nicola Morra- As regards, for example, false accounting, as regards tax evasion and as regards the need for transparency that you stated was necessary for a democratic life in a transparent country, do you think that there has been continuity or a break compared to the executives of the past?
Prof. Alessandro Pace- Particularly compared to the Berlusconi Government there has been absolute continuity. That is evident what is coming out of the Democratic Party minority, namely that there has been a definite change in that Party’s DNA.
Nicola Morra- They say that we are living in changing times, but in reality the provisions essentially reveal a very real basic continuity, particularly from those who would rather overlook dodgy dealings than raise any objection.
Prof. Alessandro Pace- What surprises me is the fact that the amendment of the Constitution is done by agreement with someone like Berlusconi, a man who until very recently considered our Constitution to be Bolshevik. The Treasury Minister wanted to add something to article ’Art. 1 to eliminate social benefits and I don’t who it was, but someone else wanted to eliminate references to sovereignty from Art. 1, so is it by some miracle perhaps that in the past three years they have all become supporters of the Constitution? I am amazed that in good faith, never mind Renzi, but so many of those Deputies and Senators who, until a short while back were going into the streets to sing the praises of the Constitution are now suddenly accepting this genetic mutation of the Party. Let the Minister of Reforms tell us that when there is a majority in place then we must respect the will of the majority, but beware! What we’re dealing with here is no Constitutional Reform because party voting orders don’t count in the case of Constitutional Reform. It was a serious error by Renzi, just as it was a serious error by Letta to implement Constitutional Reforms promoted by the Government, which has the power to amend the Constitution, and then to allow Parliament to review it! I’m not saying that they shouldn’t officially table a Bill, but thereafter they mustn’t say that it was the Government that did it, at times even risking a confidence vote, or removing Mineo because Mineo or someone else could say something against it. This is blasphemy from a constitutional point of view. As the proverbial man in the street, I am horrified by such a-Constitutional if not totally anti-Constitutional behaviour by our Parliamentarians and Senators.
Nicola Morra- Professor, I thank you very much and hope that many people take these words of yours to heart and above all mull them over carefully because the love that everyone, both in the streets and in the halls of power should feel for our Constitution should guide us to act with great prudence and wisdom, whereas here it would seem that the virtue that is most extolled in all of Renzi’s programmes is speed, without realising that speed alone, without knowing how to steer the vehicle properly very often leads to some sort of damage! Thank you

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January 2, 2015

The CIA's coup in the #Ukraine, by Oliver Stone

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"I interviewed Viktor Yanukovych for four hours in Moscow for a new English language documentary produced by Ukrainians. He was the legitimately elected President of the Ukraine until he was suddenly removed from his post on 22 February of this year.
All the details will be revealed in the documentary itself, but it seems clear to me that the so-called "shooters" that killed 14 policemen, injured 85 people and assassinated 45 civilians that were protesting were agents provocateurs who were infiltrated from abroad. Many witnesses, including Yanukovich himself and a number of police officials believe that these foreign individuals were sent in by pro-west groups with the aided and abetted by the CIA.
Do you remember the regime change/coup d’état back in 2002 when Chavez was temporarily thrown out after pro- and anti-Chavez protesters had been hit by mysterious snipers hiding in the office buildings? It also resembles the technique used at the beginning of this year in Venezuela when the legitimately elected government of Maduro was almost overthrown using violence aimed at anti-Maduro protesters.
All you need to do is create a bit of chaos, just as the CIA did in Iran back in 1953, in Chile back in 1973 and in countless other coup d’états and the government can be overthrown.
This is the American “soft-power” technique known as "Regime Change 101".
In this case the "Maidan massacre" was described by the western media as the result of Yanukovich’s unstable and brutal pro-Russian government. You must remember that on 21 February Yanukovich entered into an agreement with the opposition parties and three EU foreign affairs ministers who wanted to get rid of him by calling early elections.
By the next day that agreement was worthless when radical neo-Nazi groups armed to the teeth forced Yanukovych to flee the Country following repeated assassination attempts were made against him. The next day a new, pro-west government was installed, which was immediately recognised by the United States (as happened with the anti-Chavez coup back in 2002). A dirty business all in all , but in the tragic aftermath of this coup, the west gave the dominant version of affairs, namely the "Russia in Crimea one". The real version however is the one of "the USA in the Ukraine".
The truth is never told in the West. What is happening here is once again the surreal manipulation of history, just like that which occurred during the Bush pre-Iraq election campaign, the one that was all about the weapons of mass destruction. However, I do believe that the truth will finally come out in the West, I just hope that it does so in time to put a stop to yet another folly. For more detail, see Pepe Escobar’s analysis entitled" A new arch of instability in Europe", which indicates growing instability in 2015 given that the United States simply cannot tolerate any sort of economic rival entity. Also see the tenth episode of "The history never told", where we discuss the damage done by previous colonial powers that never allowed the birth of economically competitive countries." Oliver Stone

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December 30, 2014

Renzi Herod and the children of Taranto


Renzie challenged in Taranto
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Is Renzi more interested in saving Ilva or the children of Taranto?

"The Government has announced a save-Ilva Decree to be passed by the end of this year. In his own words, Renzi was so “excited” that he didn’t even wait for the official text to be released before rushing out to put on a show for the journalists at a news conference. Here too he once again blew smoke in everyone’s eyes. With effect from January the giant steel plant that has belonged to the Riva family for almost twenty years will be placed under special administration by the government, which has undertaken to set the company right. Just in time to put it back on track with its debtors and to renegotiate the environmental reclamation requirements imposed by that 'bad boy ' that is the European Union that does not want to save the children of Taranto. It will all be done within 18 to 36 months maximum. Not bad as a Christmas fairy story, just a pity that there are many unknowns. The Premier has got us used to politics consisting of pompous announcements that are difficult to respond to in kind because once again the final text of the provision has not yet been made available. All there is is a news conference and an announcement over the radio.

The children of Taranto
Renzi announces that he wants to save the children of Taranto while at the same time stating that he wants to make the href="http://www.isprambiente.gov.it/it/garante_aia_ilva" target="_blank">AIA for Ilva (autorizzazione di impatto ambientale = environmental impact permit) less restrictive. Does he perhaps want to make poisoned air legal? The company has a pending European Union infraction procedure against it at the moment because they never did apply the required standards. Now, instead of simply acknowledging that an offence was committed, the Premier claims that the obligations imposed by the AIA for Ilva do not exist for the other European steel plants. That’s not true. In March 2012 the more restrictive regulations for the AIA came into effect and it’s all written on the Environmental Ministry website. So now Renzi has coined a new slogan: he wants to save the children of Taranto and, relying on a good bit of disinformation, he said: “if Europe wants to stop us from saving them then they have lost their way home... I am faithful to the children of Taranto, much more than I am to Europe’s abstruse clauses. Pity that during the course of his latest stroll through the Ionic town he refused an invitation to meet the paediatricians that wanted the government to listen to them. These are the very doctors that are trying their level best to really save these children.

Once again Renzi is exploiting the very ones that, given their undeniable innocence, should be called upon gently, carefully and respectfully, namely the children. Those children of Taranto, asphyxiated between heaven and earth by fumes and blame, by stench and private profits, by illness and speculation, become his shield for his umpteenth announcement of nothing, mixed with a bit of pretend war against Europe, to which he is instead totally obedient. Instead of hosting press conferences, Renzi should rather go and speak to the citizens of Taranto, to the workers, to the mothers that are unable to breastfeed their children due to the presence of dioxins in their milk, to the livestock farmers whose animals are being put down, to the farmers and the fishermen, but above all, go to the hospitals and visit those who are ill. Let the LILT explain to him what’s happening, and then act accordingly. M5s Senate

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December 29, 2014

The strategy of a little tenseness


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From Piazza Fontana to the can of petrol. From tragedy to farce.

"Within 24 hours of the ruling handed down by the Turin Court of Assizes that acquitted the militants of the No Tav movement on all the terrorism charges against them (finally a legally decent ruling!), a series of attacks were launched against the trains by the “insurrectionalist anarchists. Obviously the chorus made up of ministers and various politicians immediately responded by stating that the court’s ruling was a mistake and that this is terrorism. During the course of the next few days a group of neo-fascists were placed under arrest in Pescara. In particular, a subversive group known as the Avanguardia ordinovista was apparently planning the murders of dozens of politicians , magistrates and progressive priests in order to overturn the country’s institutions, for which the group had already drafted a new Constitution which, inter-alia, would have abolished the right to vote.
In other words we are re-living the Seventies, “anarchistic”attacks on the trains, neo-Nazi conspiracies and all. There are some differences however, if truth be told: for example, this time the railway bombers may well be anarchists and not fascists as was the case back in 1969, but it remains to be seen whether or not there is perhaps someone with very different origins amongst their number. Just as it is totally plausible that a group of poor provincial misfits, perhaps under the influence of alcohol, may have planned a spate of political assassinations and dreamed of a new, fascist Italy. It remains to be seen just how dangerous this group really is and whether there was anything concrete in the preparation for those murders. It is always a possibility that a group of ten or twenty hotheads that are absolutely unable to subvert the institutions could nevertheless be capable of committing a murder and it is only right that they be prevented from doing so. However, from this to talking about a dangerous fascist plot” is quite a jump. For a moment I also pricked up my ears upon hearing the name of an old acquaintance, Rutilio Sermonti, an idealist and one of the top leaders of Ordine Nuovo. Sermonti is neither a fool nor someone who, even at ninety years of age, would get mixed up with some unknown and inconsequential village group, so this raises some doubts that those arrested may be merely a faction of some larger and more complex grouping. But it didn’t take long to realise that Sermonti has absolutely nothing to do with this inconsequential replay of past new-order splendour.
The fact remains that, as Marx once said, history does sometimes repeat itself, but the second time around in the form of a farce. For a long time I worked on the strategy of tension and in my opinion this is a poor imitation thereof that smells decidedly fake. At worst what we have here are two very small groups of mentally unbalanced people. There is nothing to justify the media uproar that is being made about it, with huge front-page headlines. Let’s be serious, the only thing here that is truly a remainder of the Seventies is the convenient coincidence of certain events taking place just when political, social and economic tenures are expiring, namely the upcoming Presidential elections immediately after the regional elections, the approval of the institutional reforms, a probable recovery from the crisis in the short term and the impending trade union protests against the reform of Art.18,… all of which are situations in which the spectre of terrorism could be very useful indeed. Especially on the eve of a decidedly uncertain State Presidential election, which could degenerate into unprecedented chaos and it is therefore necessary to force the hands of the “big voters”just a little.
These are numbers that we have seen too many times before and even the details are tediously similar: the attacks on trains, the fascist tools, the terminology of the claims of responsibility and even the selection the name of the group from Pescara, which coincidentally just happens to be convenient mixture of “Avanguardia Nazionale” and “Ordine Nuovo. All that is missing are the banks and the Br. Su: come on, at least a bit of imagination please.…
This said however, there is still enough to be concerned about: we wouldn’t want this TV mini-series called “The return of terrorism ” to lead to something far more serious, turning on the screws on the opposition perhaps.
Even though we may be bored, we need to keep our eyes open ." Aldo Giannuli

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December 28, 2014

Jobs act. Ever increasing rip-offs



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"In just a few days time the sales will be kicking off and this year the Government is holding a sale on worker’s rights. Were you fired without just cause? Don’t worry, you will be given a small payment and so we’ll be able to make as if nothing happened. No actual protection but merely a financial remedy, real moral blackmail that plays upon the fragility of those who cannot afford to lose their jobs in these times, those who are forced to make do in order to survive, as per the old saying “better a bird in the hand than two in the bush”. You may well be forced to shut more than one eye so as not to see that they are trampling your basic rights. Your boss may be able to offer you a cashier’s cheque (for an amount equivalent to between 2 and 18 month’s salary). By accepting the cheque you accept the termination of your employment and waive the right to contest your dismissal. Today the newspaper men are congratulating the Government on their attempt to encourage “conciliation” rather than disputes following dismissal. In this way, an employer can always try to buy you off with 4 pieces of silver.
As of today we are born without the right to work that you acquire one day at a time and then in certain cases you somehow seem to lose it along the way. They are calling it "increasing protection", but we know that this is a rights violation.
Greta news for new engagements that take the overall organisational structure to more than 15 employees: new employees will see the "increasing rip-offs " system applied to them, but the same fate lies in store for veterans (long-serving employees) who still believed in the myth of acquired protection.
The aim of reforms should be to provide people with better opportunities to grow and to improve their lives, but instead the reality that this reform creates is that of greater social instability, greater precariousness of life and no way of building any sort of future. With this reform we are not supporting the family because there is no way to pay rent or to take out a mortgage to buy a house so it is not enabling people to live a decent life. Today, re-reading Calamadrei’s speech on the Constitution, you suddenly realise just how badly the men that have had its tools in their hands have failed over the years. Politics has failed to translate that which Calamadrei spurred us on to achieve sixty years ago after having given us the most beautiful Constitution in the world into deeds, actions and good examples. "...So from this you now understand that our constitution is partly a reality, but only partly so.
It is partly still just a plan, an ideal, a work in progress that is still to be completed. How much work you still have to do! How much work still lies ahead of you!"
".
Laura Castelli, M5S spokesperson and deputy

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December 27, 2014

Person of the Year 2014: Mr. Honest






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The Man of the Year is Mr. Honest, a very rare breed indeed, but one that we still have in this Country of ours. It may seem like a case study from a psychotherapy manual. A gentleman (or lady for that matter) that won’t allow him/herself to be corrupted, that pays his/her taxes, that does not double-park and that teaches his/her children the joy of being honest. A problem in a country where the son of a …. always seems to get ahead and the worthy people have to emigrate and where the honest magistrate gets isolated by the institutions. He is a negative example for the corrupt and the acquiescent. Indeed where there is an honest one, the dishonest appear in all their filth. Every now and then the honest one asks himself why he does what he does, but then he thinks about his children and about making the world a better place and refuses to be discouraged. His adrenalin comes from Napolitano’s end of year addresses, which he collects assiduously and uses as a drug in times of discomfort. They are like Renzie’s daily bullshit and Berlusconi’s face , the one who founded Forza Italia with Dell'Utri who was pally-pally with the Mafia and is now sitting in jail. A trio that would wear out a donkey, but not him. Sometimes, while he’s eating his soup in the evening, between one mouthful and the next his wife asks him "But what kind of life have you chosen for yourself?" and he doesn’t quite know how to answer. The truth is that he could not be himself and he could not face his own reflection in the mirror if he was one of the dishonest ones. He did not make a conscious choice, it’s just that he simply cannot do something illegal, lie, bribe others or not keep his word. It’s simply something bigger than him, like an illness. So he keeps quiet across the table from his wife, takes another mouthful and thinks about the many bills waiting to be paid, the utilities, the mortgage and the taxes while in the background the television goes on about all of Renzie’s amazing exploits and the daily arrests of yet more corrupt politicians. He is the black sheep, a bad example of honesty, consistency and altruism that only serves to highlight the dishonesty of others. What can be worse than the light for those that live in the shadows? His honesty is intolerable in a Country of dishonest people, like a member of the Taleban that must be struck down without mercy. Forced to emigrate. Prezzolini was wont to classify Italians into two groups, the smart ones and the fools, where the fools were the honest ones. But are we absolutely sure that the Honest one really is the fool? The only reason why Italy manages to carry on at all is because there are the fools that work, pay and die. The ones that make out that they are working to make Italy a better place are instead the smart ones that don’t do anything, spend and live the good life. Will honesty ever come back into fashion or will the Country sink down completely into the shit? Tertium non datur. O honest one, please don’t give up.

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December 26, 2014

Beppe Grillo meets the blind and partially sighted youngsters of Ageranvi


Beppe with the youngsters of Ageranvi
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On Saturday 20 December I went to visit the blind and partially sighted youngsters of the Ageranvi Association at the Blind Institute of Milan. The video contains a summary of the meeting, which is followed by an extract of what we discussed with the youngsters

"Casaleggio, Dario Fo and I have written a book which we have now put on sale and the proceeds will be going towards the funding of institutions that need it. At this moment in time, what is needed is substance, not mere words. If we don’t help each other, then the so-called institutions are missing in action: unless you have some money of your own set aside, it really is a mission to utilise the available facilities and the services they provide. First they said they were going to defer the taxes but then they demanded payment nevertheless: it’s absolutely incredible! It’s as if there was absolutely no money available but actually there is: there is always money available for gambling, for arms, for missions to Afghanistan, plus there is always money to pay for their expenses and for the 5-thousand Euro a month plus super-pensions that they award themselves. There is money to spare! What about all those anti-riot squads. The common people simply cannot take it anymore! And when the people cannot take it anymore, especially the good people, then they may just lose their self-control!
I also came to give you some strength if I can, whatever I can do because we need money and we look aim to get it wherever we can! We will get the money but we have to believe that the world is not as it seems because if we do nothing but hope and hope, well... I always hear people saying “let’s hope hey . It’s sufficient to hope! Well, we’re not merely hoping any longer, now we want the things that we have hoped for! We must have them! Enough simply hoping! Hoping makes you stand still and say “someone will change it ”. We ourselves are going to change the future!" Beppe Grillo

"The book proceeds, which already began rolling in last year, have mainly been put towards early intervention activities, an activity that we are conducting at a day care centre for the disabled in Monza, in conjunction with a number of therapists that are specialised in the area of stimulating blind or partially sighted children and even children with multiple handicaps. This is one of our association’s biggest expenses since these therapists have professional skills that go a bit above and beyond the normal everyday skills. Even in order to be able to utilise the facilities, the materials used are very expensive and in this way we have been able to guarantee the programme for one year, so we will continue to sponsor this project for the year. What doesn’t get put towards the early intervention activities we will be putting towards activities for the older children, namely adolescents and adults, who are getting some additional experience outside of the home environment, so they spend weekends outdoors with instructors, learning about direction-finding, mobility and personal domestic independence both in Milan and in various other Italian towns so that they can learn to deal with their own situations and so that they can learn to interact with each other, move around and share in this experience that makes them grow very much, very much indeed." Silvia Seno Truccolo, President of Ageranvi

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October 28, 2014

Passaparola: The State-Mafia negotiations, by Sabina Guzzanti

Watch the video
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Tomorrow Mafia Boss Totò Riina’s attorney will be able to question the Head of State and put certain questions to Napolitano as part of the trial relating to the State-Mafia dealings.
Today’s Passaparola is by Sabina Guzzanti, director of the film entitled ”La Trattativa” (Literally “The Negotiations”), a film that all Italians should go and see in one of the few cinemas that have agreed to show it before the film disappears from circulation in just a few days time. A film that should be shown in our schools and that, on the contrary, has not received a single cent of public or public funding
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Sabina Guzzanti’s Passaparola
These days everyone is talking about the fact the State President Napolitano is going to have to go and give his testimony to the Palermo Prosecutor in the trial regarding the negotiations and many people are asking themselves: "What on earth has Napolitano got to do with the negotiations?". In theory, Napolitano actually has bugger all to do with the negotiations as far as we are aware in the sense that Napolitano was never actually involved in those negotiations, except for the fact that he jumped in head-first against the Palermo prosecution, so much so that everyone immediately thought: "What the hell, a State President is supposed to be impartial and above all else should hope that we get to the truth". Instead, Napolitano made a major blue by putting pressure on the Court of Cassation and on National Public Prosecutor Grasso to help Nicola Mancino, who was then under investigation and is now the accused in the trial regarding the State-Mafia negotiations.
But above all, Napolitano is involved with the negotiations from a political perspective: what is one supposed to think? What was happening in those years? Italy was changing at that time. After 40 years in which the Christian Democrats were constantly at the helm of government and the same leaders were in power, finally, since the international balance of power was busy changing, the Tangentopoli scandal emerged. There was Falcone, who had brought the Cosa Nostra to its knees, negative public opinion was mounting, as was democracy. The Country was set to change.
All those like me who lived through that era were convinced that nothing would ever be the same again. Instead the massacres began and during those massacres there was also something else going on, namely the negotiations, perhaps followed by a political pact. But what do we actually know about that pact? Well, nothing, but we do know what the consequences were: how did Italy change from that moment onwards?
Within the MoVimento 5 Stelle it is often said ironically that the centre left and the centre right, the PDL and the PD without an L are in fact one and the same thing. Very true indeed! Before the massacres that was not the case.
Before there was a left wing party and a right wing party whereas instead, after the massacres, suddenly this right wing party emerged with characteristics that had never really been seen before in Italy and above all the opposition changed shape completely. From after the massacres the policies of the centre right and the centre left began to follow the same line regarding justice, information, participation, education and privatisation and from that moment on both those political forces remained the same, simply to make sure that no real change would ever again be possible.
Within the scope of this political discussion Napolitano emerged as someone who is in perfect harmony with this plan and indeed he was one of the precursors of this political plan. He was a member of the Communist Party and when, in ’84, Berlinguer said that the system needed to be changed because it would only have put great wealth in the hands of the few and misery into the lives of many, that it would make us unhappy, in other words an unviable system, Napolitano was plotting behind his back by talking to Craxi behind the scenes, all this while Berlinguer was being heckled at the Socialist Party congress. Napolitano plotted behind Berlinguer’s back to push the Communist Party to go in the direction that it eventually did.
All the main players in the negotiations, or rather those suspected of being the major players, from Violante to Amato, who were aware of what was going on (and here we’re talking about the entire Christian Democrat left wing that then became the PDS, DS, and finally the Democratic Party) then became the main players in the political transformation that involved the centre left above all. Before then the centre left had in fact been a totally different thing to what it became.
This is why it is so important to understand the facts regarding the negotiations. The Italians must know that the negotiations was not limited merely to concessions granted to the Cosa Nostra by the institutions in order to stop the massacres, not even maybe, but the fact that the massacres themselves were actually planned from within the institutions themselves and were used to obstruct the natural course of democracy. Not only, they also prevented this Country from evolving. It is thanks to that evil pact of which D’Ambrosio spoke prior to his death shortly after, and about which Napolitano is now being called upon to testify, that Italy is now paralysed, a failure in economic terms, run pretty much as a criminal organisation by a bunch of criminals and annihilated as a cultural entity. As a matter of fact, from that moment on Italy’s "dominant culture" has been one that looks exactly like that of the Mafia.
It is important that the facts about the negotiations be made known and discussed. In my case, I did my bit with a film made a few years ago, a film that was only released in the cinemas October, a film that will carry on notwithstanding all the difficulties encountered in its making and release in the cinemas, for all those who want to change this Country. Spread the word. Sabina Guzzanti

Watch the trailer of the film entitled "La Trattativa"

List of the Cinemas where you can go and view “La Trattativa”
Gravina - SIDION, Lecce - DB D'essai, Calimera - ELIO, Bologna - RIALTO, Ravenna -ASTORIA, F. Freddo - MACHERIONE, Palermo - AURORA, San Giovanni Gemini - VITTORIA, Milano - CENTRALE, Conegliano Veneto - MELIES, Riva del Garda - COMUNALE, Tesero - COMUNALE, Roma - 4 FONTANE, Montefiascone - FLAVIA, Torino - MASSIMO

Official film website

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September 22, 2014

Passaparola - The other side of Renzi - Enrica Perucchietti

Renzi’s Side B.
09:00
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" In Renzi’s government team we not only have 5 individuals who are currently under investigation but another 27 people, including Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Undersecretaries that have been recycled from Enrico Letta’s Government, plus another 30 current and former Christian Democrats.
So somehow the players are much the same as before and this is obviously more of a simple paint job rather than a total rebuild.
" Enrica Perucchietti

"Hello to everyone and thank you for welcoming me here to Beppe Grillo’s Blog. My name is Enrica Perucchietti and I am a journalist and author, as well as the one who drafted the dossier entitled Side B. of Matteo Renzi, the unauthorised biography.
The current premier presented himself as the one that would break down the old system that was in place until 2010, in other words from the first Leopolda Station event he has therefore built his entire image on this idea of incarnating the new way and therefore as being Italy’s best hope, much as American President Obama had done in the United States.
In reality however, he has subsequently proven not only that he is extremely ambitious and in a great hurry to get into power, but also totally inconsistent in terms of all the things he said previously compared to what he has actually done. As regards the idea that he is the breaker of the old system, even to the point of the old Christian Democrat system, it’s sufficient to examine his background. For example, his father, Tiziano Renzi, is precisely one of the former Christian Democrats and so it’s sufficient to examine his government team, in which we not only have 5 individuals who are currently under investigation but another 27 people, including Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Undersecretaries that have been recycled from Enrico Letta’s Government, plus another 30 current and former Christian Democrats.
So somehow the players are much the same as before and this is obviously more of a simple paint job rather than a total rebuild.
Inter alia, there appears to be an unadulterated consistency with the ideas of the other governments , even as regards the European Union feelings and perhaps the most glaring example of this is the appointment of Minister Padoan who seems to be following the line of favouring the major players and the bankers.
Another point of similarity with the old system, and more specifically the Berlusconian “basin”, are the influential names of the major players of industry, those who supported Renzi’s rise to power. There are a number of these major players, ranging from Carlo De Benedetti, whose name seems to have come up the most, even in negative terms, through to the likes of Paolo Fresco, Farinetti and even including Giorgio Gori, a man who was very much in the Berlusconian “basin” and who helped him very much in terms of image and also helped him to garner votes from the world of entertainment , thereby almost creating a reality show aura linking him to the world of Mediaset and Berlusconi.
Then there are let’s call them “friends” like Marco Carrai who has been a friend of Renzi’s for over thirty years, as well as Davide Serra. The former a businessman and the latter very much a financial speculator who is considered to be the Golden Boy by many people in the world of international finance, both of whom helped to raise funds for Matteo Renzi’s election campaign. Sufficient to remember the famous fund raising dinner in Milan, a very exclusive affair indeed which, in order to be able to attend, guests were required to deposit an amount of €1,000 a head into a banking account, the number of which was provided in advance. Most of those invited were the big names in the business and banking world and, at the end of the dinner, banker Guido Vitale was interviewed, the man who two years before spoke about the existence of a financial third world war that was actually happening. While leaving this dinner in Milan, Vitale himself expressed his esteem for Renzi, stating that he was the only Italian left-winger who had never read the works of Karl Marx, something that Vitale felt was a good thing because it meant that Renzi could now be of help to the world of liberal entrepreneurship that the major players support.
Davide Serra instead had already been at the centre of a major row with Bersani, who had accused him, albeit unjustly, of speculating with funds in the Cayman Islands although the headquarters of his financial empire was based in London. Through Messrs. Carrai and Serra Renzi built up a spider’s web of contacts that reached out as far afield as Washington, since both Messrs. Serra and Carrai even boast of having links with the White House, and on the other had all the way through to Jerusalem. For example, Carrai has Pacifica s one of his financial partners and has an excellent relationship with Republican Hawk Michael Liden, which is sometimes more than a little disturbing. His name has been linked to history, including Italian history, over the past 30-40 years, starting with the strategy of tension, on to the Moro murder and through to the Piazza Fontana massacre. He has also been linked to Licio Gelli although Liden has steadfastly denied being a card-carrying member of the P2. Above all, Liden is a supporter of permanent war and is therefore part of world politics and so we come back to the issue of European Union feelings, precisely because these are the major players that backed Matteo Renzi’s lightning fast rise to power.
Amongst those that funded Renzi’s election campaign were not only Davide Serra who, together with his wife, spent more than 100,000 Euro on Renzi’s election campaign, but also Guido Ghisolfi and his wife Tanzi, Alfredo Romeo’s ISVAFIM, as well as many other big names including Paolo Fresco, former Chairman of FIAT who also just happens to be in a partnership with Stefano Carrai, Marco Carrai’s brother.
According to many people this is why Matteo Renzi is definitely no breaker, but rather the keeper of the old system , a man who continues on with the same old policies and the entire old system. His image and his policies appear to be entirely based on a shrewd, ambitious and masterful media image that even utilises, for example, NLP techniques rather than technology itself. Then he also has this ability to make a barrage of promises, in fact that many Florentines used to talk about the Mayor’s volleys, which are aimed more at the media impact than the feasibility of those promises, so much so that right there in his Florentine feudal lands the people likened Matteo Renzi’s ability to fire of promises to derivatives, in other words Renzi fires off a veritable barrage of promises at such a rate that he creates the same sort of virtual effect that you get with derivatives: by the time he gets to the last promise, everyone has forgotten those that he made earlier, thus making it very difficult indeed to go back and check whether any of the promises were ever kept. Thanks for your attention and please spread the word” Enrica Perucchietti


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September 9, 2014

The Internet economy: Gianroberto Casaleggio's address to the Ambrosetti Forum

Thanks to Ambrosetti for repeating last year’s invitation to us. In general terms, the topic I will be addressing here today is the Internet economy, of which schooling, which is often referred to as “the school of the future, is a component part. Let’s begin with the situation in which Italy currently finds itself with regard to innovation and, indirectly, also the schooling system.

Broadband in Italy

A Stella article from a few days ago that appeared on the front page of the Corriere della Sera talked about download speed and then about downloading data from the Web, as well as where our country stands compared to the rest of the world as regards download speed. It turns out that we are in 98th position, after Greece and just ahead of Kenya. In recent years we have been sliding backwards since 2010 when we were in 70th place and by 2012 we were already down to 84th place. With our 8.51 megabytes per second we are bottom of the list of G8 countries. Canada, which is sitting second from bottom, nevertheless has three times our speed. A quarter of European tourism relies on the Web, growing to 39% in the United Kingdom and dropping to only 17% in Italy. The Web creates jobs and here in Italy it employs 6 times as many people as does the chemical industry, we’re talking about 700,000 posts. This notwithstanding, judging by the drafts of the “Sblocco Italia” (literally “unblock Italy”) bill, financial assistance for extending broadband services are being limited. In the last World Economic Forum Report, the competitivity of countries was assessed. In this report, which is available online for anyone who wants to look for it, Italy is lying in 49th place, ahead of Kazakhstan and just below Lithuania. According to the OECD, the average penetration in industrialised countries is currently 26%, while here in Italy it is 22%. Many other countries have achieved far more flattering results. It is estimated that every 10% increase in broadband services results in a 1.21% increase in Gross Domestic Product. We also see that in terms of international stock exchanges, in the past 10 years the American technology exchange, namely the Nasdaq, has seen an 8.72% growth, the Dow Jones about half of that at 4.91 and the top five hundred listed companies have grown by 5.75%. So investing in technology and in innovation not only causes the GDP to grow, but also industry and society, in addition to creating more jobs. In the past ten years, more or less all countries’ large companies have embraced the world of technology, not only the traditional ones in the United States, but also in China, Japan, Russia and even Argentina there are important new players whereas here in Italy there don’t appear to be any.

Monopoly and the Internet economy

In order to illustrate the main trends and models from which to find inspiration for developing organisations of online companies, I have used the Monopoly game, which most of you will certainly have played and probably also won at, given that you are here today. I have used the English version of the game board even though we are more used to the Italian version, the one that bears the names of the streets and squares of Milan since it was imported and translated back in the Thirties when fascism prohibited the use of any foreign languages. The game was again revised after the end of the war because a number of street names were linked to the fascist era, such as Via del Fascio.

Disintermediation

So at this point, let’s begin the game and let’s go to the start, namely the GO square. We throw the dice and land on the disintermediation square. In the case of the Internet, this is essentially the elimination of intermediaries that do not add value, which are to be found in any process as well as in any organisation, be it a manufacturing or other type of organisation. Therefore, the producer or service provider interfaces directly with the client, understanding his needs, and the client thus becomes the sole point of reference. What opportunities does this involve? Well, the reduction of costs relating to the cutting of useless intermediation processes. The risk, on the other hand, is that the entire sector in which you operate may disappear. The case I would like to put to you is that of the postal services, more specifically two cases in particular. The first is that of the US Postal Service, which handled 200 billion letters in 2000 and then thirteen years later, that number dropped to 160 billion, reflecting a loss of 16 billion Dollars. If this trend continues, hardcopy postal services are certain to disappear completely. In Canada they have already forecast this phenomenon. The Canadian Postal Service decided to stop hardcopy mail delivery within 5 years and this decision has already resulted in the cutting of eight thousand jobs within the Canadian postal service. This is a global phenomenon. Every year traditional mail volumes decline by 4%, which means that everyone in the postal sector must take note and must restructure their costs and revenues accordingly, otherwise they will find themselves without any reference market and without any company.

The Free Economy

The Free Economy is essentially a way of generating profits by giving something away for nothing, in other words free of charge.
A number of free economy models have already been established and have become part of our everyday lives, and with great success. The first one that I will mention today is the “Direct Cross Subsidy” model in which something is given away in order to create a market and aiming to satisfy some future demand, for example the free use of an application or free basic playing of a game, as is the case with Angry Birds.
Then there is the Advertising Supported model, where the advertising and sponsorship revenues subsidise free information services or search engines such as Google.
Then there is Freemium, where a limited number of paying users subsidize all the others. The basic functions of a product or service are given away free of charge and a payment is required in order to access the entire service. One example of this is Flickr, which is used to manage your photographs.
The last one is the Gift Economy model, in which the user receives a gift in exchange for their activity. This is activated online by many charitable organisations and independent artists who, in exchange, then get to publish their songs or other artistic material free of charge.
The most important example of this is the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, which does not advertise at all and relies entirely on donations.
Chris Anderson, who became famous for his book of a few years ago, entitled “The Long Tail”, has said that the free model should always be evaluated in any online business.
According to Anderson there are two economies, namely the Atomic Economy, in which the price of goods and services tends to increase over time due to inflation-type mechanisms, and the Bit Economy, in which prices instead tend to decline over time due to deflation-type mechanisms and even approaching zero.

Globalisation

The definition that the OECD gives for globalisation linked to the Internet is as follows: “The Internet is busy changing our society in that it facilitates interconnectivity between people and information, with a major impact on our society, economy and culture.”
At no other time in history has this kind of global communication and access to information been so pervasive. With globalisation there are no longer any borders. The internet has no barriers so the Internet can be considered to be a global market and anyone with money and ideas, but above all ideas, can access it immediately. In globalisation, anyone that doesn’t participate is cut out because at this point you can no longer think in terms of a domestic market, but only in terms of a planetary market as regards services produced online.
One phenomenon that is linked to globalisation is that of so-called preferential aggregation, which is one of the web rules described in “Linked”, a famous book written by the mathematician Barabasi. The book essentially states that a hub, for example a company, depending on its qualities, immediately tends to attract other hubs with similar qualities, in that market, in a very short space of time and excluding all other hubs. This is essentially what happened with the Google search engine. 12 years ago there were various search engines and all were well-utilised. These days however, anyone doing an Internet search usually goes straight to Google only and the others have disappeared. Number two seldom survives on the Web, only number one survives. One example of the change resulting from globalisation is that of Kodak versus Instagram.
Kodak used to employ up to 140,000 people but then, following the company’s bankruptcy in February 2012, they stopped manufacturing photographic material. Instagram, which operates in the same market sector and had only 13 employees at the time, was bought out by Facebook for one billion Dollars in 2012.Globalisation is not the same as decentralisation, so it is not a case of relocating a production facility to somewhere where the labour costs are lower, thereby essentially spreading slavery, but it is linked to two factors, namely network efficiency, in other words the ability to create added value by linking up with other company to generate overall revenue for your own service and product, consistently , and then to always select the right hub, a company with the highest quality, and then the so-called income inequality, in other words mass participation in the creation of added value, as happened in the case of the social media like Facebook and Twitter, where the real value lies the content published on a daily basis by millions of people. The Internet is becoming an increasingly global phenomenon that is not limited to the United States and this is revealed by the continuous growth in the number of Internet users in the most disparate of countries. From 2008 to 2012, the growth in the number of Internet users in China alone amounted to 264 million while in India that figure was 88 million. By the end of 2012, China had double the number of Internet users than the United States. Nevertheless, amongst the 15 top countries in the world in terms of growth between 2008 and 2012, there are countries like Egypt and Colombia, which you would expect to find at the bottom of list when it comes to growth, yet Italy does not appear anywhere on that list.
Still within the scope of globalisation, there is the emerging phenomenon of Big Data, in other words the continuing increase in the amount of data available on which to base all kinds of market-related decisions or more generally even social or political decisions.
90% of all the data that exists in the world today was generated in just the past two years.
By 2020 there will be 50 times as much available data as there was in 2010. According to the MIT, the productivity, and therefore also the competitivity of companies with the ability to analyse data will be 5 or 6 times greater than that of companies that instead don’t have this ability.

Mobile technology

The speed with which mobile Internet is spreading is unprecedented in the history of technology. Mobile Internet began spreading in the mid-2000s, around 2005 – 2006. Mobile traffic as part of the overall Internet traffic has grown exponentially in recent years, from 0.9% in2008, to 10% in 2012, to around 19% in 2013 and it is estimated that it will hit 28% in 2014.
Given the speed at which it is spreading, if a company manages to set up a mobile business model, which has nothing to do with the previous business models like those linked to the desktop and the PC, it will see an immediate return in terms of ROI. If instead the company stays out of this market, which is set to become the online market of reference over time, the company could find itself sidelined and therefore no longer able to compete. In 2013 in the United States, 16.5% of the online purchases made on Thanksgiving Day were made via mobile devices.

E-commerce

E-commerce is essentially the sale of products and services via the Internet. One of the advantages of e-commerce is the possibility of accessing new markets that may be either domestic or foreign. At the same time there is also the risk that international players may come and sell their products here in Italy and thus
Compete with Italian firms. Another fact linked to the growth of e-commerce is that last Christmas in the Great Britain, online transactions amounted to 4.7 billion pounds, 10% of which was done on mobile. It is estimated that this will be 4 times greater by 2017. Every year Casaleggio Associati does a study on Casaleggio Associati ogni anno produce una e-commerce in Italy, which is then presented to the Milan Chamber of Commerce in April. I have extracted certain data from the last study done.
From 2004 to 2013, the e-commerce sector in Italy has grown constantly, slowing down slightly in the past two years, but nevertheless almost always with a double-digit growth rate that has reached 22.3 billion Euro, totally in contrast to other markets and the GDP, which has declined to 0.2. Via e-commerce, Italy is able to sell its products and services abroad, particularly in the fields of tourism and top quality foodstuffs and farm products.
The majority of sales by Italian companies are made to Europe, in other words to France, Germany, Switzerland and England, followed by the United States and Russia. Then there are also Japan and China, where sales could potentially become much greater than what they are at present.
E-commerce is growing explosively worldwide: the figure of 1000 billion Dollars in revenues was exceeded in 2012 and in 2013 that figure rose to 1300 billion Dollars. Now let’s go on to the last but no less important step in this game of Monopoly, which is linked to the school of the future.
The school of the future
According to futurologist David Houle, university education is set to change drastically in the next few years between now and the year 2020, and the model adopted until now, which has been around for 500 years, is set to change more in the next 10 years than it did in the past 100. Here are some facts on what is happening in terms of education at the university colleges in the United States. As regards the quality of online education, 51% of the deans have stated that the quality of online courses is the same as that of traditional classroom courses. 77% of college deans have stated that their institutions currently offer online courses. Overall, some 89% of all American public colleges and universities currently offer online courses. 23% of all graduates have taken at least one online course, but this figure doubles to 46% in the case of students who have graduated in the last 10 years. Of all the students that have taken at least one online course, 39% feel that the quality of online lessons is just as good as that of the traditional lessons.
As regards the future of online education, college deans forecast a substantial increase, with 15% of them stating that students currently working on their degrees are taking online courses and 50% of them forecast that within the next 10 years the majority of students will be studying via online classes. As regards computerised testing, 62% of college deans believe that within the next 10 years more than half of the all tests will be entirely digital.
One example of this change is the EDX site, created by MIT and Harvard University in May 2012. EDX hosts university courses in a wide variety of different disciplines and is open to everyone, in other words to a global user pool, without any costs whatsoever.
EDX is a non-profit initiative that uses open source software and is therefore not linked to any private property.
By 22 July 2014, EDX had reached 2.5 million users taking 215 online courses.
One negative example is that of EU funds. The European Commission has criticised the Italian plan for the utilisation of 41 billion of EU funding, in particular for the lack of a digital strategy, lack of action against early school-leaving and the significant decline in the amount of funding set aside for innovation.
Of the 41 billion Euro of funding provided, a mere 1.3 billion have been set aside for digital development.
Worldwide, the increase in the spread of technology and network innovation is leading to a scarcity of human resources available to companies, countries and organisations. Therefore, the future is going to be a global competition between individual nations in terms the development of technology and innovation, something that is already happening in the United States with programmes aimed at attracting engineers, IT specialists and people with strong technology skills to make up for the chronic shortage of human resources. The same thing is going to happen in the rest of the world and obviously here in Italy as well, and this Country will have to work hard to attract technology talent for its own development. I am going to quote two examples to help you to understand the difference that there was, and unfortunately still is, between us and the rest of the world.
Back in 1998 I happened to be in Denver. I went into a library where there was a huge hall with hardcopy books lining the one side, which no one was using, while on the other side there was an extremely long line of desks filled with children accessing the Internet and being assisted by teachers who were teaching them how to browse the Web. In the 2000’s, I heard stories about engineers attending classes at Italian polytechnics who had to ask for the keys in order to be able to gain access to the institutions’ desktop computers or PCs because the room in which they were housed was kept locked.
Conclusions/Game lessons
So what conclusions can we reach from all of this? And what action can be taken?
The first is to develop start-up technologies funded by the state and by private parties in order to establish a network of companies in this sector right here in Italy.
Then we must create technology development hubs along the lines of the San Francisco Bay Area, call it a birth or indeed a re-birth if you will because here in Italy we have had groups such as Olivetti, which was an Italian company and a major international player. These development hubs must be able to compete globally in the fields of technology and IT and must be integrated with the public sector.
We have to attract people with technology skills to Italy from abroad and even getting back those science graduates who chose to go abroad due to the lack of future prospects here in Italy.
We need to provide incentives to attract innovative companies to come to Italy, whereas currently they are actually being discouraged by our high levels of taxation and our excessive bureaucracy.
We need laws that favour the development of new technologies, unlike the protection of lobbies and the status quo that we have today. One example is the current taxation of e-books, which are subject to 22% tax whereas hardcopy books are only taxed at 4%.
Then we also need to have at least a three-year plan for the introduction of digital schools here in Italy.

Thank you for your attention.

Gianroberto Casaleggio.

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Passaparola - Let's take on the #SLAsfida challenge together - by Silvia Giordano

The M5S's Silvia Giordano's appeal to Renzi
03:15
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"16 days! Exactly 16 days have gone by since my letter to Renzi. I wrote it trembling in my shoes, sometimes with my sight obscured by tears caused by a succession of emotions over a period of time that was too short to allow any room for rationality. A somewhat vague part of me, somewhere between my stomach and my gut, that area of the body that twists when we experience a very strong emotion, be it positive or negative, the kingdom of that classical “feeling of grief”, was the only part of me that wanted to speak out, that wanted to express itself and be heard. That feeling of grief has never gone away in these past 16 days and at certain times the tears continue to return, sometimes due to sadness, at other times due to anger and yet at other times simply due to resignation. Pure and simple resignation. Resignation because the world never seems to change, resignation because of the realisation that when luck turns its back on you in life, those who should be supporting you and helping you through it instead do the same and you feel totally abandoned, twice over. You feel it, you know it, you are aware of it and this awareness grows day after day.
My mother has been living with SLA for the past four years and we have somehow managed to find a balance in this time, but I want to be heard, at least so that I can try to describe this hell in the hope that this uphill battle can at least become a little less steep for those who are just now starting to face it. I’m a dreamer, I know that, I have always known that and that’s why I have experienced many delusions, but at least this time I feel like this delusion is not only mine to bear.
There are those that have accused me of using my mother’s illness to make headlines, to increase my own visibility and to get elected. The truth is in fact entirely the opposite: this illness has exploited me! If I didn’t have to confront this situation, if I didn’t have to discover at my own expense how bad the healthcare services really are, if I didn’t have to wake up at least five times a night during that first year of her illness in order to help her turn over in bed, if I didn’t have to urgently and immediately call on the nearest available person because mom had fallen for the umpteenth time and it was too difficult for me to help her up on my own, if I didn’t have to stand in endless queues at the ASL to get a prescription, if I didn’t have to face the stark reality of not knowing whether or not I would receive the oxygen, if I had not lived through this and much, much more, I would never have decided to stand for election. From that day onwards, every battle, every action and every one of my investigations have been aimed at achieving one sole objective, namely to change this crazy, undignified, uncalled for and humiliating reality.
Then there are the buckets of ice cold water in support of SLA research and a premier that participates, perhaps in an attempt to show his sensitivity as regards this issue. So why not ask, why not try. He has the power to act immediately, his job allows him to do so. It doesn’t matter what kind of person he is. People have asked me “Why him?” How is it possible that we have become so unused to the idea that not only should assistance be provided, but that it should be provided by the State? I had to try. 16 days, precisely 16 days have gone by without any response whatsoever from Renzi. Instead I have received thousands and thousands of e-mails from common people who, in our everyday lives, are the centre of the universe for a much loved person suffering from a disabling illness.
Renzi may not have bothered to respond but you all did, you great little everyday heroes. In each and every one of your stories we perceive that kind of support that is so typical of someone who has experienced that pain and the weariness that results from a situation that is no longer bearable but, above all, at the same time refuses to give in. It is for this reason that I am now writing to every one of you that wake up every day and look into the eyes of you father, mother, husband, wife, son or daughter and realise that in that look they are giving you everything of themselves and all you would want to give them in return is that which they deserve and that life has taken away from them. I also want to appeal to all those of you who can no longer bear to be represented by people who constantly turn their backs on you. Dedicate 2 minutes of your time to log on to www.slasfida.it website and together let’s ask them to increase the funding for scientific research, let’s ask them to increase the funding for providing assistance to people who are no longer self-sufficient, let’s ask for assistance and let’s ask them not to leave us in the lurch once again." Silvia Giordano, M5S spokesperson in the Chamber.

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September 1, 2014

Passaparola - Police offices without any safety equipment, by Igor Gelarda - Secretary of CONSAP

Watch the complaint video!
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The Passaparola of Igor Gelarda, Secretary General of the police Trade Union CONSAP

"In recent days we as the police trade union CONSAP have started a class action lawsuit against the Ministry of Internal Affairs , but what has happened? What has happened is that thousands of my colleagues in the National Police Service, as well as the Carabinieri and other forces of law and order have been involved in various capacities in illegal immigrant processing operations. Invariably these illegal immigrants come from places where certain illnesses that had disappeared here in Italy still persist and resist. Amongst these illnesses there is tuberculosis.

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TB in Italy
Just the other day I was looking through the World Health Organisation statistics (WHO), which revealed that one person dies every day from tuberculosis here in Italy. To date we have around 40 policemen that have tested positive to the Mantoux Test, which is that little machine that makes 4 little holes, the one they used to use to test us at school in the back in the good old days. Those 4 little holes act as indicators in that, if you have been in contact with tuberculosis, the skin around the holes will swell up and become irritated. More than 40 of my colleagues have tested positive. What seemed strange to us was that whenever you see Navy guys on TV or in real life who were on ships and busy intercepting these migrants, they were all wearing safety goggles, white safety suits, breathing masks and gloves and then, initially, we would see our colleagues wearing only thin gloves and the kind of air masks that the dentists use.

The Class Action lawsuit lodged by the policemen abandoned by the State
After having protested, because Consap is fighting hard in this regard, masks with air filters attached began to appear, which are the only ones that provide at least some sort of protection. Please note that I’m talking specifically about tuberculosis, but there are some even worse diseases out there! There is alsoMeningococcal infection and Ebola, for which there is currently no known treatment or treatment facility. I also remind you that in addition to the personal suffering, an infected policeman is also in contact with members of his family and is thus an involuntary vector for the infection! So what did we do about this? Well, we came to an agreement with Assotutela, an association that protects the rights of consumers, and in particular with Attorney Cicchetti who is extremely good at what he does. So what kind of safety equipment does the Ministry say that police officers must have at their disposal? At least those involved in the Mare Nostrum operations and operations involving migrants? In the rules we read that they should have masks, white suits and all the rest of the personal protective equipment. The police almost never had them. For that reason we set up this class action lawsuit, which has unfortunately produced little success to date because it is a bit o fan uncomfortable topic. We held a press conference and we are now getting dozens of colleagues joining. The numbers of colleagues that have come into contact with the virus have swelled considerably and many of them have contacted us wanting compensation for damages because of the worry or fear of returning home to their little sons and daughters. To know that you have come into contact with tuberculosis and that the organisation that you work for has failed to protect you like it should have is worrying, very worrying indeed. After the launch of this class action lawsuit on 7 August, within two days the Ministry circulated an instruction with a whole lot of slides to inform all colleagues and to say that: "No! Beware! What is needed are gloves, masks, safety glasses and overalls" and they drafted a circular in which the Ministry delegates the responsibility for sourcing these things to the police station commanders, which in itself is a good thing, except for the fact that the police station commanders are finding it difficult to get their hands on this equipment that should in fact be supplied to the provincial police healthcare but have not yet been distributed. We have had a meeting with Minister Alfano and we have consulted the Ministry on numerous occasions, more specifically the Director of Immigration, Dr. Pinto, the very man that we are trying to spur on. We are not battery hens. We not only have our personal dignity but also our professional dignity and families that are waiting for us back home. If the State calls, we go without question, however, the State that calls us must also provide us with the tools that we need in order to do our jobs properly and safely.

Cursory medical examinations conducted on migrants
They do do very quick, and we may add superficial medical examinations on board ship, carried out by a doctor who merely looks to see if he can spot anything that may warrant placing an individual in quarantine. Then, when the migrants are taken over by the refugee centres they are medically examined, but what we’re talking about here are viruses, bacteria and vibrios, all things that had the scientists over a barrel for around 1800 years before they were finally isolated because they can only be seen using certain instruments. So we have hundreds of cases of Scabies. Now Scabies won’t actually kill you but it’s a terrible thing to have: an insect that burrows tunnels under the skin and is extremely difficult to get rid of! In a healthcare system such as ours, which is already having problems coping, this overload has become very difficult to handle and is set to get much worse. Migrants are about 15 times more likely to contract infectious diseases than a person that lives here in Italy: we are dealing with extremely high percentages here. They are involuntary carriers, of this there is no doubt whatsoever, they definitely are. We have been told that Ebola has an incubation period of around three weeks. Let’s say that someone who has just contracted Ebola climbs aboard a vessel where, if the trip takes one or two days, that’s more than enough time for that person to infect everyone else on board. Now these people arrive in Italy, they don’t appear to be ill at all because insufficient time has passed, however, after two or three weeks the symptoms begin to appear.

The deafening silence of the newspapers
While some newspapers gave this issue some minor coverage, we have noticed however that, except for a few rare exceptions, no one has actually bothered to investigate this matter in any depth, which is something that would have instead made us very happy indeed. We are not a bunch of newspaper vendors that want to strike fear into people. All we want to do is to explain what the working conditions are like in our Police Services. In addition to attempting to improve the working conditions in the Police Services and improve their efficiency, this is also a way to reduce the gap that unfortunately occurs sometimes between the police officer and the public. Many bad things have happened as a result of one individual’s mistake, but then everyone pays the price. Explaining to the public how we work, what our working conditions are like and the fact that we carry on doing our jobs regardless is yet another way of closing that gap. At this time we, as a civil society, need everyone to unite." Igor Gelarda, Secretary General of Consap

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 4:43 PM in Information | Comments (0) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

August 26, 2014

Passaparola - The A.la.t.h.ha Non-profit Welfare Community

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A.la.t.Ha. is a Non-profit Social Cooperative that has been working to make the lives of people with physical and motor disabilities easier for almost twenty years. A.la.t.ha. was born of a man’s dream to turn himself from pure businessman into a welfare entrepreneur …, that man is Donato Troiano, founder of A.la.t.Ha and today we are posting his Passaparola.

"Hello and welcome to Alatha. Here at Alatha our aim is to create many job opportunities for both normal and disabled people, in other words total, general integration and provide the simplicity and normality of that which should be for everyone.
Everything that we have, such as physiotherapy kits and vehicles that transport the disabled, has been obtained thanks to the support provided by sponsors: we have never received any funding from anyone except for private donations from the public that has stood behind Alatha and its activities for the past twenty years now.
We have a gym where the elderly, the handicapped and normal people come to us for treatment.
We also run a welfare dentistry centre. Here there is a medical clinic where a doctor comes in once a week to treat patients. It was set up in collaboration with the dental academy, an association of dentists. We called it welfare dentistry because it was designed to provide people who cannot otherwise afford dental care, in other words the disadvantaged and the poor, to receive the dental care they need. We are also talking to the council in order to provide a top quality service. They have done it all at their own expense and it did not cost us a cent, all we did was provide a chair. All of this was born because one of the dentists, Dr. Acciarini, a very caring person, has always been one of our greatest supporters and has always remained very close to Alatha and to welfare dentistry.
In recent years The Via Amoretti community has hosted people who have major physical disabilities but whose cognitive abilities are perfectly normal. We have tried to set up our centre to duplicate a family atmosphere as closely as possible even though it is in fact a community staffed by shift workers (in other words not quite like a true family) and we try to allow our guests to enjoy as much independence as possible. As a matter of fact we only host 5 people, so it is indeed a very small community. We have three single rooms and every guest is able to furnish their room with items that they like, to have a private telephone line installed and therefore to lead a life that is as independent as possible. Furthermore, our guests are involved in a variety of very serious activities outside of the community as well. We have two girls who are involved in the Italian disabled athletics championships, we have guests that are involved in theatre and others that frequent associations outside of Alatha, outside of the community and the community aims to act somewhat like a springboard towards a normal independent life wherever this is possible. So much so, in fact, that we have one guest who has been with us for the past 10 years and was the kind of founding member of the community since he was the first individual to move in, the very first in fact, and is now about to leave us to go and live independently, in other words on his own, in his own home. This success is as much his own as that of our Mountain Community project and we are very happy indeed!
Alatha was born of my desire and I’m not sure whether it is a calling or whether I was simply destined to work with disadvantaged people that need to live well. Almost twenty years ago now I closed down all my businesses and I created Alatha to provide a service to improve the quality of life of disadvantaged people.
It may seem like a cliché but you can tell what a country is like by the way the weaker members of its society live. I think that we will increasingly carry on doing what we have been doing so far, in other words we will continue along the same path that we have chosen to tread because it is helping and it is really taking care of people in need.
We do it quite naturally and perhaps, as I said earlier, we don’t even realise it but I believe that success or the positive outcome of all of this, call it what you will, lies in the simplicity of what we are doing. Respect for the individual, nothing more and nothing less, that’s what makes us get up in the morning, do our jobs and continue along this path. In thanking Beppe Grillo and his Blog I wanted to make a point regarding Alatha. Alatha is a public asset, a territorial asset and something that does not belong only to the disabled, not only to the disadvantaged, but an asset that benefits the entire community." Donato Troiano, founder of Alatha.

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Posted by Beppe Grillo at 8:10 AM in Information | Comments (0) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

August 18, 2014

Passaparola - He who controls the money controls the world - Nunzia Penelope

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"Here in Italy we have the Agnellis, the Bulgaris, the Delvecchios, the Marzottos, the Pesenti Group, the Prada Group, Dolce and Gabbana, the Riva Family, the Rocca Family, the Montezemolos, the Della Valles, the Ferreros of Nutella fame and even the Delonghis of Pinguino fame; the list is pretty long and all of them have a string of companies with the top of the line is always based in Luxemburg, Holland and other countries that offer tax breaks; however, If I have a little pipe manufacturing firm in the Valtellina, I cannot take it anywhere so I land up getting nailed with a 70% tax rate while the big groups don’t. "Nunzia Penelope, author of the book entitled “Caccia al tesoro, Ed. Ponte alle Grazie (Literally “The treasure hunt” published by Ponte alle Grazie).

"As usual we are desperately looking for more money. Italy is preparing itself to introduce a new interim budget sometime during the autumn, Germany is slowing down and even though their GDP is in positive territory and they are not in recession like we are, there are hard times ahead. Everyone is looking for more money and capital but strangely enough they are not going looking for it there where there is plenty of money available, in other words in the tax havens.
We always think about the Caymans, palm trees and American crime novels but in reality we need only look much closer to home. Obviously in Switzerland, but also in Luxemburg, Lichtenstein, Austria and even in Germany. Something that few people are aware of is that there are special banking networks where confidentiality reigns supreme just as it does in Switzerland. In essence, Europe is a huge open-air tax haven, the same Europe that has been pleading poverty and has been in crisis for the past seven years, so we don’t understand why nothing has been done to recover its substance.
The tax havens are holding the biggest booty in history, we’re talking here about thirty thousand billion Dollars, a figure that is equivalent to the entire wealth produced in Europe and the United States in a year. We Italians are contributing quite a bit to this wealth because according to a study conducted by the Italian Central Bank, we are top of the list in terms of illegal exportation of capital. As we know, the bulk of our illegal capital land up in Switzerland, however, there are certain specific interests that prevent the repatriation of money from Switzerland and it is said that the stock of Italian money that has accumulated in Switzerland over the decades now amounts to some one thousand billion. If we take into account that our public debt currently stands at two thousand billion, it means that effectively half of it is hidden in Switzerland so perhaps the time has come to do something to go and take that money back.
This huge amount of capital originates from three sources, firstly from the large multinationals, which put their money there thanks to the favourable laws that allow them to get away with it, secondly from tax evasion, there too escaping from the grasp of the tax authorities of all the countries, and thirdly from organised crime.
The channels that move the capital from one country to another are always the same, namely the banks, the financial institutions and professionals such as notaries, accountants, etc., who indiscriminately handle the money from all three of these sources. This means that the mingling of the pseudo-clean economy and the dirty economy has now become absolutely total, so half of the global economy is stewing in the same tax haven pot.
The tax havens as such are actually legal, so much so that basically all the large Italian companies, all the queens of the Stock Exchange, have their head offices in one or other tax haven, each and every one of them from Enel to Eni and the major Italian banks such as Banca intesa and Unicredit, all have Head Offices in one of the offshore countries.
The problem is that these companies are not being transparent because once you set up an offshore companies, no one can go and sniff around and you can therefore do whatever you wish.
So what’s the difference? Well, the difference is that this money, and let’s forget about the criminals for now, is tax-free capital and therefore the large multinational that, thanks to the agreements in place with Ireland rather than Luxemburg, manages to pay a mere 0.05% tax compared to the small entrepreneur who pays 70%, so they can afford to then repatriate the capital and make more investments. Obviously then people complain about the small businessman because no one is investing here in Italy any more. I can well believe that no one is investing here any longer, but that’s because no one here has a dime to invest these days.
Here in Italy they tried to promulgate a serious law so that all the tax arrears on the money taken to Switzerland or other countries would be paid, but above all it demands that the person declare how that money was made, who helped to get it out of Italy and whether it resulted from a bribe or perhaps used to pay a bribe. You are aware, of course, that asking all these questions here in Italy is deemed to be subversive. So much so, in fact, that the law that was brought to life at the time of the Monti government simply died right there. It was then resuscitated at the time of the Letta government, which approved the law by decree on 28 January and then on 14 February he went home but surely that was mere coincidence wasn’t it? Thereafter, the same law was again resuscitated by the Renzi government and it went on tour via the Financial Commission and then the Chamber, then it sank, was turned upside down, changed, transformed, etc and was finally approved again by the Finance Commission not many days ago, after which it disappeared once again.
For example, a study was conducted by the Zurich Polytechnic, one of the most serious and rigorous institutions in the whole of Europe and that you can easily find online, which stated that the entire global economy is controlled by 50 multinationals. At the top of the list is a bank, namely Barclays, followed by some other well-known banks such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Deutchbank, Merrill Lynch and Bank of America. 25 of these multinationals are American however we also appear on this list, namely with Unicredit Bank in 43rd place. In most cases these 50 multinationals are the very same companies that we find in the tax havens and they are also the same ones that ran the entire global derivatives operation, which is the famous time bomb that will explode sooner or later and overwhelm the entire world.
If the global economy really is in these people’s hands then I very much doubt that, even with all the best will in the world, the OCSE and I also doubt whether any government, will manage to fight the tax haven system and, because I have always remained rather naïve, I still believe that if the citizens start making their voices heard then maybe the governments would manage to at least do something about it.
When you read in the newspapers that banking secrecy is a thing of the past in Switzerland, don’t believe it because others are busy being born elsewhere. Just imagine, Tibet is now busy gearing up to become a huge tax haven. So if all citizens in all the European countries and America were to realise that the reason why they are starving and paying exorbitant taxes is precisely this, where the banks, the multinationals and the tax havens are creating a parallel economy entirely for their own benefit, then I believe that the governments would perhaps find the strength to finally do something about it. For example, when I see that Jean Claude Junker gets elected as head of the European Commission, a worthy man by all means, but a man who was the custodian of one of the most secure tax havens for twenty years, namely Luxemburg, then I begin to have some doubts. On the other hand, the Financial Times was the only newspaper that published a huge article against Junker precisely because of his background as former leader of a tax haven.
Why did Great Britain oppose this appointment? Well, simply because Great Britain is the other major European tax haven, that’s why! Then people talk about conspiracy theories.
Getting back to Italy, we have the Agnellis, the Bulgaris, the Delvecchios, the Marzottos, the Pesenti Group, the Prada Group, Dolce and Gabbana, the Riva Family, the Rocca Family, the Montezemolos, the Della Valles, the Ferreros of Nutella fame and even the Delonghis of Pinguino fame; the list is pretty long and all of them have a string of companies with the top of the line is always based in Luxemburg, Holland and other countries that offer tax breaks; however, If I have a little pipe manufacturing firm in the Valtellina, I cannot take it anywhere so I land up getting nailed with a 70% tax rate while the big groups don’t.
The problem is that Italy cannot lower its tax rates because these companies are based elsewhere and they don’t pay tax here in Italy anyway!
This is an example of the snake that bites its own tail and it is also the reason why it is so difficult to get out of this situation. The moment that Switzerland and Luxemburg stop doing what they are doing, that will be the end of them! The first one to make a move will be dead so either they all have to act jointly or not at all and we all remain hanging over the abyss knowing that sooner or later we are bound to fall.
We have FIAT, which has just transferred its tax residence to England and this was certainly not done just because, or because it is more “International, but simply because the company will pay less tax there than they would over here, like everyone. Is there any way to prevent this kind of thing, you ask? Well yes, by changing the law, however, we will remain at square one. Why has Obama, President of the United States of America and the most powerful man in the world, still not managed to stop Apple stealing one million Dollars per hour from him? He still hasn’t managed to stop it.
Could he introduce a law to prevent this? Yes, of course he could, but then it remains to be seen whether or not the Senate approves the law for him and whether or not the powerful forces that funded his election campaign will let it go through, not to mention the fact that he has four tax havens right in his back yard, namely Delaware, Wyoming, Nevada and Florida, safe as houses tax havens that attract companies and offshore capital from all around the world.
This is a very complex issue and the problem always remains the same, namely that: he who controls the money controls the world and politics is totally powerless against this. I continue to hope for some sort of leadership with regard to monetary policy, but I haven’t seen any so far." Nunzia Penelope

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 5:08 PM in Information | Comments (1) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

August 11, 2014

Passaparola - RianimaMi, let's save our hearts, by Claudia Buccellati

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"Good day to all the friends of Beppe Grillo’s Blog. My name is Claudia Buccellati and I am President of the Associazione Per il Policlinico Onlus, an Association that is linked to our most important hospital that has been looking after the people of Milan since the mid 1400s and it is no coincidence that it is called Cà Granda, the hospital of the Milanese people. This year, in conjunction with a defibrillator manufacturer, we have been taking part in an initiative called Progetto RianimaMi..(Literally the ResuscitateMe Project), set up by the Milan Municipality.
More than 70% of deaths from cardiac arrest occur not in hospital but outside, many of them out there on the streets. Cardiac arrest can strike members of all population groups. The worst affected group are people between the ages of 55 and 64 years of age and includes almost twice as many men than women. When a cardiac arrest occurs, we have to act immediately otherwise the patient cannot be saved. After 4 minutes there is no longer any blood flow to the brain, which results in permanent damage. After 10 minutes death is inevitable.
So what has the RianimaMi Project done to ensure the speedy arrival of a defibrillator? We are equipping all of the municipal police units with portable defibrillators, in other words every motorcycle and motor car deployed throughout the entire city. These vehicles normally arrive on site before the ambulance gets there. There is a single call-centre number for the entire Lombardy Region, a toll-free number that sorts and redirects emergency calls so whenever you call the 118 emergency number, the nearest available vehicle equipped with a defibrillator will arrive. An ambulance takes a lot longer to get there so in the event of a cardiac arrest, the first thing to do is to call 118. The 118 emergency call will automatically despatch the nearest patrol unit. Here we are very close to a permanent defibrillator location, the first one that we have set up here in Milan, in Piazza Duomo. There are many passing foreigners here who are used to seeing the defibrillator sign, namely a heart crossed by a lightning bolt, and know how to use it since abroad you don’t have to have completed a special course in order to use a defibrillator.
We have to contribute towards creating a cardiac arrest rescue culture. Remember that every year some 60-thousand people die from cardiac arrest here in Italy, which is no small number. We must start at our schools and begin teaching people how to use a defibrillator and how to do a cardiac massage. These are two things that could mean the difference between life and death or between a normal or vegetative life.
As the “Associazione per il Policlinico”, each year on the occasion of World Heart Day we organise the "salita al Duomo gratuita", a free climb to the top of the Duomo, where our squad of cardiology specialisation interns are on hand to take your readings before and after the 211-step climb, which you can all do at your own pace. By comparing the before and after readings you can judge your own state of health, your level of fitness and this data is then processed by the Polyclinic to provide statistics on the status of the population as a whole. Lately we have noticed, for example, that the women are far less fit than the men, even though they are less likely to die from cardiac arrest.
Each year we add new data to this database in order to monitor how the situation is changing. This year’s appointment is for Saturday 27 September at the Spires of the Duomo in Milan. These are very smart machines indeed and if anyone tries to use the defibrillator when it is not necessary, the machine simply won’t start up. This provides assurance both for the person using the machine and for the person on whom it is being used.
This project of ours is a very ambitious one which requires help from everyone. We received assistance from one of the banks for this first totem but we are looking for opportunities to raise money to pay for these defibrillators. The aim is a dream, but dreams help to achieve real things, namely to cover every corner of Milan. We want to make defibrillators available at every sports centre, every gathering place, every supermarket, every gym, every school, every cinema, every church and any other place where people get together. Visit our website and who knows, someone may just decide to take this initiative back with them to some other town and perhaps even create an entire network throughout Italy that could save our hearts, so we are asking everyone to help.
Saving a life is something that could one day very well save our life. Spread the word!" Claudia Buccellati

Banking code for contributions to the project: IBAN IT 41 Q 03268 01603 052848679860

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 3:44 PM in Information | Comments (0) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

August 4, 2014

Passaparola - Will the Caliph get to Saint Peter's - Massimo Fini

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Isis is the most serious threat that the West has faced in recent times. Already from the name (the Islamic caliphate of Iraq and Levant) you understand what their intentions are, namely not merely to conquer Iraq but a much larger area. Isis not only gets fighters in from Iraq and Syria, but also from Somalia (members of the Somali Al-Shabaab) and guerrilla fighters from the Niger delta. In other words, a whole section of radical Islam. Furthermore, it is also ideally connected with other anti-West organisations and even though at the moment the conflict appears to be between the Sunnis and the Shiites, their actual target is the West, in other words to build a much wider power base. Much like it was said that Bin Laden was trying to do – assuming of course that Bin Laden ever actually existed (in the classic sense of the term) -, a starting point from which to declare war on the West as a whole. I don’t believe that this has yet been understood by either the western leaders or the western media. More importantly, the Isis fighters are highly motivated, fearless and able who are fighting on their home turf and the West doesn’t have the necessary means since these are not the kind of people that you can fight simply with drones or aircraft, so much so that Iran has been asked to assist because the Iranians still have the ability to fight on the ground whereas the western troops are no longer able to do so, they simply no longer have the moral fibre to do so. The leader of Isis has said that “We want to conquer Rome". It may well simply be a hyperbole, that’s true, but it is also a declaration of war against the West. In a potential war, I don’t necessarily think that Italy would be the first target, but if these guys should decide to wage a campaign of international terrorism they would be unstoppable because they have men that are prepared to blow themselves up and the sensitive targets here in the West are so many and widespread that there is no way to secure them all! Furthermore, many of the Caliphate’s fighters come from Europe in the first place. They are almost always Muslims, but they are citizens of various European countries, including not only Italian citizens but also British and French. There is simply no way to stop them. There is a real risk of an unbalanced war in which one side is made up of powers with exceptional means. But all of this merely foments terrorism because terrorism is the only way to fight back against superior forces. But terrorism often means kamikaze and that’s the risk that the West runs, not forgetting its own accountability because we must not forget that the attack on Iraq in 2003 is precisely what brought about this state of affairs. Before that there was also the war on Afghanistan, which was a real folly since the Afghans were only worried about their own country anyway so the conflict never actually crossed that country’s borders and they never exported terrorism or anything else out of Afghanistan. This repression in Afghanistan is what has caused all the rest of the problem to spiral.
They want Mosul because it is petroleum hub and they not only get funding from other countries but they also fund their own operations. They have gathered the weapons from the pseudo-Iraqi army set up by the Americans under the leadership of that puppet of an Iraqi President, Al- Maliki. This army fell apart immediately because no one actually had any desire to fight, so these guys simply came along and gathered up all the arms, ammunition and everything else too. They will not attack the Kurds for two reasons, one being that they have no gripe with the Kurds and the other being that the Kurds have the weapons to defend themselves on the ground and they are renowned as being fearless warriors. Therefore they will avoid attacking Kurdistan. They are not interested in Kurdistan at all. When all is said and done, what they are really after is the West. Obviously at the moment there is this conflict going on between the Sunni Muslims and the Shiite Muslims but in my opinion this is merely a temporary thing. In the end they will come to some agreement because the real enemy of enemies is the West. Elsewhere, the name Boko Haram clearly shows what these radical Islamists really think since the name literally translates as “western education is sin”. So I believe that in the end all these groups will unite. They have two points of view: one is the issue of religion while the other is historical, namely that the West is the coloniser and the rapist of their values. Therefore they see the West as the economic usurper and the destroyer of not only their religious culture but also their traditional culture. The West has no single binding agent whatsoever. Not only does it not have any religious values, it is total lacking in any values whatsoever. Let’s take an extreme example, these guys blow themselves up but here there is not a single person that would be willing to cut their own finger to save any so-called Western values, which are nonexistent anyway. Switching from Porsche to BMW is not a value. Consumerism has deprived us of all our values and any form of moral and ethical compass. This is the real weakness of the West. So you can be as well armed as you wish, but it is not worth anything if you no longer have anyone who is willing to fight.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 4:01 PM in Information | Comments (1) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

July 22, 2014

Passaparola - Mothers in crisis

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We are the "Mothers in Crisis", about 100 healthcare and social workers that worked at Milan’s Mangiagalli Polyclinic for many years. We formed this group by attending a Healthcare and Social Workers course at our own expense. Then the Polyclinic held a public selection testing process to fill 29 posts. In the end they took around 90 people, but we were all left at home.
After having discarded us, they even expected us to train the new employees that had come through the selection process, in other words the ones who would be replacing us, forgetting however that you cannot train a person in just a week, nor in 15 days for that matter because it takes years to acquire all the skills that we had.
They had promised us a permanent employment contract through a temporary employment agency. We signed these contracts and were promised that once out of here, we would be given another job. Instead, all we received were letters of termination. It must be said that 33 other temporary workers like us were kept on at the Polyclinic, but we don’t understand what selection criteria were used and we would like to know this. At this point we are all sitting around at home and what we are asking at the very least is that we be rotated with these 33 others.
We have been on the roof of the Alfieri since the 30th June. All the Healthcare and social workers that were left out have been living here at the Polyclinic 24 hours a day and we have no intention whatsoever of coming down until they give us some sort of guarantee of re-deployment in the healthcare field. We have gained years and years of experience and it would be a sin to simply throw it all away. There are single-income women and mothers who simply cannot afford not to bring home a salary. We are asking for new jobs, after all, that’s what we were promised.
One of the many oddities of this affair is the fact that the temporary employment agency had no idea whatsoever that a selection testing process was being held. It came as a surprise to everyone. They held selection tests to fill 29 posts, but with a pre-selection based on a general culture quiz that many of the people did not manage to pass. What they’re saying is that after fifteen years of work, including working in the operating theatres and as nurses, now suddenly we are not suitable to be employed … but we are suitable to train up those that got through the tests! Obviously there is something very wrong indeed.
I don’t know whether it’s normal not to have any entitlement... because we went to work in the morning, they put us with those that came through the selection tests and we knew only too well that these were the people that were going to replace us yet we had to train them... but how do you train someone adequately in just a week or a fortnight? I mean, getting trained means, at least initially, learning how a department works, yes, however, experience is gained over a period of years... so here you have 100 new people who will need years, and I mean years, before being fully trained.
Yet we who have all those skills were just chucked out into the street!
In cases such as ours, these selection testing processes need to be reviewed. Otherwise it means that they kept us on for twenty years even though we were not suitable for the job? We provided assistance to women who had undergone operations, we assisted in the operating theatres and we assisted during births. But now, suddenly, we are no longer good enough?
We held 117 posts for 15 – 20 years and as the agencies and the cooperatives before them were getting awarded labour contracts, we continued to work there. This time as well, the current agency believed that things would continue as normal. However, this time the Polyclinic had other plans.
Then there is the matter of the 33 temporary workers who kept their jobs. What were the criteria used to make that choice? We were told that they would be looking at length of service and age and that they would give preference to single income people. Instead, those who were kept one did not meet these criteria. It wouldn’t perhaps have anything to do with union membership would it? Someone has to explain this to us. We are asking anyone who can give us some answers: the Region, the Municipality or the Hospital. Why not rotate us all, let’s have a mutual agreement and let’s all of us work.
We were promised that we would get 750 Euro per month, but some of the girls who have already been at home for a couple of months have only received letters of termination.
In recent weeks there have been some job offers made: they call you up in the late afternoon to go and cover a night shift in the emergency ward of the San Gerardo hospital in Monza, but everyone knows that you cannot simply go and work in an emergency ward for the first time without the necessary knowledge. This results in a refusal so they simply send you letter of termination.
Then, to add insult to injury, we cannot even claim unemployment benefits due to the nature of our employment contract. But we are not interested in unemployment benefits or any other type of welfare for that matter, all we want are the jobs that we were promised. They exploited us for many years in this hospital and we worked some pretty impossible shifts. We needed that work and we would even come to work when perhaps we had a fever. Particularly in recent years when we were employed on monthly contracts. Anyone who dared to get sick found that their contract was simply not renewed. And now they treat us like this?
We are temporary workers like many, many other temporary workers here in Italy. We want to retain our dignity and have a real job. All you temporary workers must join us because being a temporary worker means not having any rights and not being able to look forward to any kind of future.
We are here, battling on to have direct contact with the city’s residents. Many of them come here and support us and we are busy gathering signatures (we already have more than 2500 of them). We are also doing shifts to ensure that there is always someone here. We won’t give up, the battle goes on and we are going to stay here until we get some real answers.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 6:21 AM in Information | Comments (0) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

July 15, 2014

Passaparola - Israel Palestine, no winners - by Manlio Di Stefano

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10:00
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«I don’t believe in borders, barriers or flags. I believe that, irrespective of latitude and longitude, we all belong to one family, namely the human family.» Vittorio Arrigoni

"To fully understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict we have to go back to around 1880 when the roots of Zionism were expanding in central and eastern Europe. Zionism, the national awakening movement conceived by Theodor Herzl, went so far after his death to claim that Palestine was no longer merely a place of pilgrimage but rather a land occupied by strangers that had to be liberated and inhabited by the Jews, going beyond the very origins of the Jewish religion, which preaches that the Jewish people must await the coming of the Messiah before being able to return to Palestine. Therefore, Palestine has never been viewed as a future secular state. This brief introduction is essential in terms of understanding the unwillingness to accept any solution based on peaceful coexistence that the International community believes is common sense but that in reality have never been properly investigated.

A little bit of history

1882 – the first colonies: urged on by the rising Zionist ideology, the first Jewish colonies begin to take root in Palestine;
1918 – British occupation: Palestine becomes a British colony. The Zionists constitute no more than 5% of the Country’s population;
1948 – birth of the State of Israel: with the end of the British mandate in Palestine, the advent of UNO Resolution No. 181 on the division of the Country and the withdrawal of British troops led to the first war between the Jewish people and the Arab-Palestinians supported by neighbouring Arab Countries. The newly established Israeli Army (The Tzahal) gained the upper hand and the Arab forces only managed to occupy minimal sections of Palestine (namely the Gaza Strip and the West Bank). A number of Jewish paramilitary forces (the Haganah, the Stern Group and the Irgun) set in motion the so-called “Dalet Plan”, which included, inter alia, the destruction of Palestinian villages and the expulsion of the inhabitants over the border, aggression that triggered the flight of tens of thousands of inhabitants over the next few months. The United Kingdom did not support the Plan but did nothing to prevent its implementation. Here we must remember the Deir Yassin massacre of 9 April, under the leadership of future Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin;
1956The Suez crisis: France, the United Kingdom and Israel attempt a military occupation of the Suez canal to oust the Egyptians. The crisis ends when the USSR threatens to intervene in support of Egypt and the United States;
1959 – birth of Al-Fatah: This is a Palestinian political and paramilitary organisation founded by Yāser ʿArafāt, historically at odds with Hamas (a Palestinian political and paramilitary organisation and a terrorist organisation according to the European Union) over the control of Palestinian territory;
1963The Ba'’ath Party comes to power in Iraq and Syria: one of the main aims of the Ba'ath Party is to support the Palestinian cause;
1964 – birth of the PLO: the Palestinian Liberation Organisation is a political paramilitary organisation that the Arab League considers to be the legitimate "representative of the Palestinian people". The PLO’s main aim is the "liberation of Palestine" by means of armed struggle;
1967The Six Day War: a war between Israel and Egypt, Syria and Jordan. This was the point of no return and the beginning of all the current problems. The “Black September” if you will. This was the start of Israel’s real occupation: Syria lost the Golan Heights, Egypt lost the Gaza Strip, which it had occupied since 1948, as well as the Sinai Peninsula all the way to the Suez Canal and Jordan lost the West Bank and East Jerusalem;
1973The Kippur War: on 6 October, the day of Yom Kippur (one of the most important Jewish holy days), Egypt and Syria attack Israel in order to reclaim the territories they had lost 6 years earlier, however, the Israeli forces defeated their adversaries in a matter of just three weeks. In 1978, tank to the mediation of US President at the time, Jimmy Carter, Egypt and Israel signed the Camp David peace treaty , which included the return of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt and thus strengthening Israeli control on the West Bank. The agreement with Israel cost Egypt its expulsion from the Arab League;
1987 – 1991The First Intifada: This marked the Palestinian’s first public revolt against Israeli occupation. It led to the deaths of an estimated 1100 Palestinians at the hands of Jewish soldiers and colonists. In turn the Palestinians killed around 160 Israelis and another 1000 Palestinians accused of collaborating with the enemy;
1993The Oslo Accords: signed by Yāser ʿArafāt for the PLO and Shimon Peres for the State of Israel, they are still considered to be fundamental to this day in terms of resolving the conflict since they establish a number of key principles, such as mutual recognition and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from certain parts of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank; furthermore these agreements also confirm the right to Palestinian self-determination by means of the creation of a Palestinian National Authority;
2000 - 2005The Second Intifada: this was the second Palestinian revolt. According to the Arabs it broke out on 28 September as a result of the visit, which was deemed to be provocative, by the then head of the Likud Party, Ariel Sharon, to the Temple Mount, a holy site for Muslims and Jews alike and situated near the Old City. The Intifada triggered a series of violent acts that went on for years, taking on the nature of a true war of attrition;
2004 – The concept of “Occupied Territory”: The International Court of Justice classifies the Palestinian territories taken by Israel (including East Jerusalem) during the Six-Day War as being “under Israeli occupation”. In February 2011 the United Nations tables a resolution condemning the Jewish settlements, which was backed by 122 countries including Italy,;
2006 - Hamas wins the elections in the Gaza Strip: since it is classified as a terrorist organisation, Hamas’ election victory sparks a halt funding to the Palestinian Government by the European Community as well as other Western and Arab institutions. This triggered a serious political, and sometimes even armed conflict between Hamas and Al-Fataḥ;
2009 - Operation “"Molten Lead": defined by the Arab world as the “Gaza massacre”, this Israeli operation was aimed at weakening Hamas. In the end, there were 13 Jewish and around 1300 Palestinian victims;
2012 – Palestine is granted “Non-member Permanent Observer Country” status by the United Nations Assembly: The UN Resolution, approved by 138 votes to 9, with 41 abstentions, ratifies Palestine’s entry into the United Nations.

Modern day

Let’s get back to the modern day, in other words sixty years after what Israel calls “The War of Independence” and the Arabs call “al-nakba” or «the catastrophe». The situation is virtually unchanged as regards political tension but dramatically different in terms of territory. Indeed, Israel has occupied large parts of Palestinian territories with their illegal settlements and has built a dividing wall (declared illegal by the UN’s International Court of Justice) that oppresses and reduces huge Arab residential areas, notwithstanding the fact that the Oslo Agreements stipulate exactly the opposite.
Various associations have expressed themselves with regard to the living conditions in the occupied territories; Human Rights Watch does a detailed analysis of Israeli operations including arbitrary and mass arrests, unjustified detentions, illegitimate use of force, unjustified destruction of private property, demolition of the homes of families of suspected wrongdoers and other members of Hamas, attacks on private residences and media offices and the disproportionate use of deadly force.
The Pax Christi Italia organisation reports on arbitrary killings, night-time searches, damage done to medical and commercial centres, as well as electricity cuts and cutting of telephone lines and the organisation questions whether the aim of all this is perhaps to “strike the local population indiscriminately, thereby making it impossible for them to lead normal day to day lives, this with the aim of continuing Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian territories with impunity”.
Defence for Children International warns of “alarming and systematic violence by settlers against Palestinian children”.
Israeli journalist Gideon Levy maintains that “Israel has never ever, not even for a moment, treated the Palestinians as human beings with equal rights. They have never viewed their suffering as an understandable human and National suffering. The most evident reason for Israel’s refusal of peace is obviously the settlement plan”.
It is within this context that the Palestinian Government of National Unity was established on 2 June 2014 in an attempt to gain more leverage in the peace negotiations. This historic agreement between Al-Fatah and Hamas marks an historic about turn for an all-inclusive technical government with the blessing of the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. The mere announcement of the agreement was sufficient to trigger a response from Israel which, via the Country’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, announced that they would not tolerate Hamas’ presence at the negotiation table given its anti-Israeli nature. As a matter of fact, the ANP has controlled part of the West Bank and collaborated with Israel since 1984.
The new Government’s intention is clear from the words of President Abbas “the Palestinian vision of peace is clear and firmly based on the principles of International Law […] Consequently, the sovereignty of the Palestine and Israel, as defined by the borders established in 1967, must be respected.” Essentially, until that moment, Israel had dealt exclusively with the ANP on the West Bank and considered Hamas to be the enemy to be wiped out in the Gaza Strip, but now they no longer have that certainty. This move probably signals the start of the collapse that we are seeing at the moment and the event that sparked off the fire fight was the discovery of the bodies of the three young Jewish men kidnapped on 12 June on the West Bank, whose murder was pinned on Hamas by Benyamin Netanyahu with a promise of retaliation, notwithstanding the unanimous denials and the stand taken by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Since then we have been seeing vendettas like the horrendous murder of the seventeen year-old Palestinian, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, and Hamas’ rockets on the Gaza border but, above all, we are witnessing the Israeli military’s collective punishment meted out first on the whole of the West Bank and later also on Gaza. Amongst the most indicative statements I have found is the one made by Miko Peled, Israeli activist and son of a former general who later became an activist for Palestinian rights: “what has happened (again) in recent days is a direct consequence of the criminal blockade that Israel has imposed on Gaza for many years in violation of International Law and the basic human rights of the civilian population”.

Legal violations

The violation of human and International rights is the most indicative feature of the entire Jewish-Palestinian history. It may seem somewhat cynical but if this was a “simple” war of attrition between two neighbouring Countries, just like many others that we are unfortunately witnessing in Europe these days, there is no way that we could fail to consider the principle of people’s right to self-determination and therefore ignore any interventionist actions or international pressures. The Jewish – Palestinian issue, however, smacks heavily of rights violations. On the Palestinian side, Hamas has set itself up as a paramilitary group and constitutes an ongoing military and terrorist threat, especially for the areas bordering the Gaza Strip, due to the launching of rockets. Also to be condemned is Hamas’ utilisation of human shields and the arbitrary detention and torture of political opponents.
Israel has, in turn, been hit with more than 80 UN Resolutions for violations of the Palestinians’ human rights and International laws regarding the running of the occupied territories. In particular, the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, reports serious human rights violations against the Palestinians in the occupied territories, the ongoing illegal settlement activities in violation of International Law, and the practice of administrative detention. All these violations, which do not appear to be temporary but rather part of a long-term plan, should draw harsh International condemnation and perhaps the new political dispensation in the Middle East could influence matters in this regard.

The new geopolitical scenarios

Compared to the past, this latest escalation of violence has a totally different connotation because it is linked to new geopolitical scenarios.
Obama’s stand on this matter has not gone unnoticed when he called for a cease-fire and an end to the bombing without threatening any external intervention as he would have done in the past. The Middle East has totally changed in the past decade. The advances made by ISIS in Iraq (with cells throughout the Muslim world) and the instability in Syria have created an anomalous dependence of the United States on Iran, breaking the historic conflict with the “axis of evil” and forcing the USA to exercise unusual restraint.
On the other hand, Russia’s increasing influence in the eastern part of the world, clearly demonstrated in Syria and the Ukraine, has once again set Cold War-type territorial control mechanisms in motion, thereby forcing Israel to seek potential new allies. This is where Egypt comes into play. In fact, until 2013, under the Muslim Brotherhood government of Muḥammad Mursī ʿĪsā al-ʿAyyāṭ, Palestine was able to make use of the Rafah Gateway on the Egyptian border to bring in basic goods, humanitarian aid and unfortunately also arms for Hamas. Instead, with the fall of the Egyptian Government, the installation of ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ Khalīl al-Sīsī’s military dictatorship and the persecution of the Muslim Brotherhood, that access route was blocked as well resulting on the one hand in the weakening of Hamas’ political control and a consequent loss of control on those militants who are more inclined to take the guerrilla warfare route (which explains the continuous launching of rockets into Israel notwithstanding the net military inferiority) and, on the other hand, a new opportunity for Israel.
An alliance with Egypt would in fact annihilate Hamas’ military power in the Gaza Strip and may perhaps eventually even open the way for Egypt to re-annex the Gaza Strip. This may seem to be outside the realm of Zionist thinking, but it isn’t actually. Israel's biggest problem today is that of demographics because, notwithstanding the plan to provide support to families with numerous children, the overall numbers of Arabs and Palestinians are rising constantly. In fact, it is estimated that there are around six million Jews in Israel compared to three and a half million Arabs on the West Bank and almost another two million in the Gaza Strip (amongst the areas with the greatest population densities worldwide). The “peaceful” annexation of these two areas by Israel would make the Arab presence over the entire area too threatening and would distance the Country from the original Zionist idea, which made no provision for a secular state. In light of this and the expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank territory, it is likely that Israel’s plan involves the annexation of only this area given its size, which would enable a better Arab distribution in the territory. One thing is certain however and that is that Israel’s plan is far from being ditched.

Europe’s role and “rule-bound cooperation”

But what is Europe actually doing about all this? It is not easy to even imagine the immense power that Europe has, or could have in terms of this scenario. In fact, the very close ties between Israel and the EU were born with the Euromediterranean Association agreements of 1998. These agreements establish the free circulation of goods between the EU and the Mediterranean Countries via the progressive elimination of customs duties and the prohibition of quantitative restrictions on imports and export between signatory parties.
For years we have made the mistake of separating our economic activities with Israel from our diplomatic conflict resolution activities: this has done nothing other than allow Israel to ignore our political suggestions and to continue to gain economic strength and improve its strategic international position. In recent years however, we have witnessed a gradual but unstoppable change in strategy.
In 2013, for the very first time, the European Union issued certain guidelines stipulating that «all agreements between the State of Israel and the European Union must unequivocally and explicitly specify that they shall not be applicable to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, in other words the Golan Heights, the West Bank including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.».
The guidelines are based on a decision adopted by the European Council in 2012 and previous EU declarations, which confirm that the Jewish settlements are illegal in terms of International Law. As a result, most European Countries are now adapting their internal legislation by inserting the concept of “rule-bound cooperation”, which inextricably links any form of cooperation (whether economic or not) with respect for a number of specific rules. It is however disturbing to note Italy and Spain’s delay in this regard. For the first time ever, European Countries are sending a message loud and clear: either Israel respects the rules of ’67 or we won’t do business with them. The effects of this strategy are clear. Instead of slamming the door in Europe’s face, Israel has signed the agreements, thereby acknowledging its dependence on the help it receives from the old continent.

The next steps for Europe could be as follows:

- Issue new guidelines regarding the labelling of Jewish products so as to enable European citizens to make educated choices regarding products originating from one of the illegal settlements (as tabled by Ms. Ashton and still blocked, to date, by the usual objection that “it undermines the peace process”);
- Notify all businesses regarding the risk of fines resulting from entering into any business agreements with companies operating in any of the settlements;
- Re-assess the ’98 customs agreements and eliminate all benefits for products originating in the settlements;
- Encourage the customs authorities to implement a control mechanism based on postal codes for Israeli products;
- Demand reimbursement in the event of the destruction or seizure of humanitarian aid, particularly in C areas (in other words those that are fully under Israeli control);
- Initiate the re-evaluation of the veto right that has allowed Israel to ignore, with absolute impunity, the more than 80 resolutions against that country’s human rights violations. Iraq has in fact been treated very differently and, with “a mere” 16 resolutions, it has been labouring under sanctions since 1990.
In our opinion, this is the only way to enforce respect for International Law.

Italy’s role

Italy has the opportunity to greatly influence the peace process, both by making a clear stand with regard to respect for human rights and International Law, and in terms of Europe. With regard to the former, we must immediately make it clear that the historic friendship between Italy and Israel is not enough for us to overlook the latter’s illegal actions. We must immediately update our national legislation to include the new European guidelines and then we must go one step further, namely by suspending the military agreements in place between our two countries (worth 473 million Euro of exports authorised in 2013 alone) as specified by Italian Law No. 185/90, which prohibits the sale of arms to Countries in conflict or Countries that violate human rights. As regards our role in Europe, we must not underestimate the huge opportunity that we have during the six months of the Italian Presidency of the EU to direct the acknowledgement of the above.

The future

The actual situation regarding the geographic distribution and demographics of the Israeli and Palestinian populations, as well as the absence of any real will to achieve a two-state solution means that it is extremely limiting to insist that the Oslo agreements be respected. Notwithstanding the fact that the International community is still thinking along those lines, there is an ever growing “think-tank” of more or less illustrious people that are leaning towards a sole secular state. Unfortunately this solution, which would involve the two peoples living together, does not fit in totally with the ideas of the new President, Reuven Rivlin who, unlike his predecessor Shimon Peres, is more inclined to go for the Single State solution, but with the so-called “Jordan option” whereby all the Arabs would be expelled from Palestine and moved to Jordan. All in all, we are still a very long way away from resolving the conflict however, in the meantime, we can do our bit in terms of International pressure to increase awareness, day by day, of the fact that it is Israel’s duty to respect human rights and International Law and hope this will result in the cessation of all military action by Hamas."

Manlio Di Stefano – – M5S spokesperson in the Chamber of Deputies

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 9:30 AM in Information | Comments (1) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

June 30, 2014

Passaparola - The Ukraine: 2014-1914 ? - Massimo Fini

The Ukraine: 2014-1914 ?
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Journalist and author Massimo Fini's Passaparola

It has to be said that until some fifteen years ago there was a principle of international law that made it illegal for anyone to intervene militarily in the internal affairs of any sovereign state. In my humble opinion, this was quite a reasonable principle that was aimed at preventing the development of a situation in which everyone was at war against everyone else, however, this principle was trashed by the Americans’ intervention in Kosovo.

At this point it is rather difficult to accuse Russia of having annexed Crimea because naturally the Americans had absolutely nothing to do with Kosovo. At least Crimea was and still is a Russian speaking area that Khrushchev had given to the Ukraine even though something that made sense during the Federal Soviet Union era no longer makes any sense in the world we live in today.
So let’s just say that we cannot really blame the Russians for annexing Crimea because the reality is that the people themselves, including the duly elected, Russian leaning Ukrainian President Yanucovich, were more or less overthrown by a public revolt, which turned the whole situation upside down, so in turn the Crimean Russians rebelled and turned back to Russia and let’s just say that this is the nuts and bolts of the argument.
The problem with the Ukraine is that it is split into two parts. One part is European leaning, let’s say German, Polish, I don’t know, while the other part is Russian leaning from a historic perspective, for what it’s worth, the one was in favour of neo-fascism while the other had communist leanings and this can be traced back in history. So the Ukraine is actually a Country split down the middle and that could, if the situation was calmer, quite happily be divided into two, as happened with Checoslovacchia where there was Cechia and Slovacchia, two different countries, which split up very peacefully indeed.
In this case it’s somewhat more difficult because the interests of the major poker are at play here, namely Russia and Europe, however I believe that the situation will eventually be resolved by means of peaceful compromise because the economic interests of both parties, in other words Russia and Europe are too big to be put at risk. As we know, Russia supplies Europe with gas but the Russians equally need Europe for market reasons so I don’t believe that the real risks are represented by this situation since they will somehow inevitably find a mutually acceptable compromise.
Having taken Crimea, etc…, at this point the Russians are being a little more careful and although they are raising their voices, they are holding back somewhat and in the end they will undoubtedly accept the deal in any event.
In my opinion the European interests are in fact secondary to the existing American interests that are backing Europe anyway, even though Obama is rather sitting on the fence, and the wish is to push the eastern front, or what used to be known as the iron curtain, as close as possible to the borders of the former Soviet Union. Indeed, the major issue and diatribe between the Americans and the Russians was precisely the fact that this is where that Americans wanted to put up their “Shield”, which was supposedly intended to combat terrorism but was in fact only intended to contain Russia.
So in this case I see far more than just European interests, but rather American interests too.
In this case geo-political rather than economic interests.
Russia can be satisfied about what it has achieved, and Europe too, so the only problem still outstanding is that of the borders of the West on that side and who the Russians are, and this will still lead to further conflict.
The key to resolving conflict is economics, in other words ensuring that Russia continues to supply gas via the Ukraine, that Europe continues to invest in Russia and that there is free trade between Europe and Russia.
I repeat, because nowadays economic interests are far more important that ideological or national interests, a resolution will undoubtedly be found and once the issue of the Ukraine and a few other minor border regions have been sorted out, then there will be nothing left to fight about.

The Ukraine as a member of Nato is one of those things that would really bother Russia, precisely because it would essentially mean that the geo-political borders within Nato would shift, in other words in America’s favour, across to the Ukrainian border, so there is going to be quite a fight about this. However, in America I see such weakness on all fronts that I don’t know whether they will be able to impose their will, namely for the Ukraine to join Nato. However, we should also ask the Ukrainians themselves whether or not they even want to be part of Nato because membership of Nato means accepting, as in our case, first military and then political, economic and cultural subjugation to the United States at a time when America is no longer the superpower that it once was.
So I say again, we should find out what the Ukrainians think, or at least the western part of the country because while it’s one thing to join the West, it’s totally another thing to join Nato.
Now let’s say that while the Ukraine issue will slowly slowly fade from view, other far more significant issues will rise in prominence, such as the advance of ISIS in Iraq and obviously that of Boko Haram in Nigeria. There is a whole radical Islamic block that is anti-West, although at the moment in Iraq its Shiites fighting against Sunnis, and in the final analysis the target remains the West, like Boko Haram, but what does Boko Haram mean literally? It means “western education is sin”, so now they’re fighting against anti-Islamists in Nigeria that are closer to the West, but their final target is still the West. So I think that these will be the big issues in the very near future.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 4:59 PM in Information | Comments (0) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

June 23, 2014

Passaparola - The thorny issue of Iraq that has the West running scared - Massimo Fini

The thorny issue of Iraq that has the West running scared
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Journalist and author Massimo Fini's Passaparola

What is happening in Iraq, namely the unstoppable advance of ISIS, in other words the Islamic State of Iraq and the East, is a phenomenon that could change the history not only of that region but also the West in the sense that this is no longer merely an internal war in Iraq between the Sunnis and Shiites which really didn’t matter to anyone since they were fighting amongst themselves. In reality, these ISIS guys are actually a kind of international branch of Islamic radicalism. There are the Sunnis (from eastern Iraq), but they have now been joined by Islamists from various other Countries from Syria to through to Somalia. And there are even a number of European volunteers. There are some 500 Brits, 300 French… so ISIS’ objective is not simply to take over Iraq but to wage an all-out war against the western world. So it is no longer just an Iraqi internal matter.
This situation is kind of paradoxical in a way because what did the Americans do? They created this puppet regime, like they did in Afghanistan, and they financed an army (equally a puppet). Indeed, in the face of the advance of ISIS, it immediately went into meltdown without putting up any resistance whatsoever. The only Country able to put up any resistance now is Iran, namely by sending in its troops. This would create a very strange unholy alliance between the United States and their long-time enemy, the biggest threat and one of the Countries in the axis of evil, namely Iran. So the Americans have really done it this time … Now they are faced with having to ally themselves with Iran and there is still no guarantee that they will manage to repel ISIS because those guys are infinitely more highly motivated since, as I said earlier, what we’re talking about here is the international branch of radicalism. They’re pretty much all involved, the only Country missing is Turkey. Turkey is sitting back quietly and watching the situation cautiously because the ISIS advance has not affected the Kurds at all, with whom they have no bone to pick. In fact, they are advancing towards Baghdad, in other words towards the middle of Iraq. Furthermore, Turkey has always been very afraid that the Iraqi Kurds could form a guerrilla army by allying themselves with the Turkish Kurds, which number around 12 million people. And if the Turkish Kurds cut loose then Turkey is buggered. That’s why the Americans have hammered the Kurds for years, as Turkey’s proxy, precisely to prevent Kurdish independence aspirations spreading to Turkey as well. We must keep in mind that the Kurds are the only people who would have the right to their own State because it is no mere coincidence that that entire area is known as Kurdistan (which includes Iraq, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Iran).
I say again, the fact is that ISIS is not encountering any resistance whatsoever from the Iraqi army, in other words Malik’s army. That’s because the soldiers don’t want to fight and when that happens then it is the beginning of the end. A bit like the October Revolution in Russia, where the Tsar kept on sending entire armies out against the revolutionaries, who were very few in number, but these armies simple dissolved along the way. That is precisely what is happening in Iraq now. There is no real army currently defending the Iraq created by the Americans, Al-Malik’s Iraq.
The Americans are moving in ships, drones, etc., but the only way to stop these people is by putting soldiers on the ground and the Americans are not prepared to put soldiers on the ground because they don’t have the balls for it. No matter how well-equipped they may be. That’s why Iranian intervention is required, because those guys are used to waging real war, like they did for 10 years against Saddam Hussein. Thinking that you can wage war just with drones, intelligence and aircraft is unthinkable in this kind of situation. Also, the Americans cannot afford any more deaths after the large numbers of fatalities suffered in Afghanistan (even though the statistics are hidden).
So it all depends on the battle and who will win the battle between ISIS and Iran in the end. Iran is a highly structured country, but it is no International brigade and is therefore hard to control and not easily beaten. Furthermore, they continue to appropriate the arms left behind by others and therefore they continue to grow in strength.
We should ask ourselves why things have gotten to this stage. Iraq is a Country that was bizarrely created by the British back in 1930 by putting together three different peoples that had nothing in common and that could only be held together by a ferocious dictator like Saddam Hussein. Far be it from me to defend Saddam Hussein, but eliminating him cleared the way first for the civil war between the Sunnis and Shiites and now this war (something totally new) involving these international brigades that some would classify as terrorists. They are Islamic radicals that have had enough of the west and of the Shiites because they are Sunnis.
I have always believed that war has a life of its own and if you go and stick your nose in it you land up creating a worse mess that the one you were trying to avoid. Certain situations do actually make sense and here I’m thinking about Libya. You kill Geddafi after having fornicated with him until just the day before and the result is that now Libya is a totally ungoverned and ungovernable place that is becoming a threat to the French and to the West in general, in other words the ones that attacked it.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 4:16 PM in Information | Comments (0) | Comments in Italian (translated) | Write | Sign up | Send to a friend

June 10, 2014

Passaparola: The masters of the Veneto Region, Renzo Mazzaro

The Masters of the Veneto Region
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