Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D.
March 27, 2013
It has been about a month since the Italian elections, and no new government has been formed to replace the hated IMF austerity regime of economics professor and Goldman Sachs consultant Mario Monti.
The power vacuum is largely the work of the right-wing demagogue Beppe Grillo and his band of enraged petty-bourgeois novices. During the current negotiations to form a government to replace Monti and his sociopathic technocrats, Grillo’s position has been the same as that of Hitler after the German election of July 1932, when the Nazi leader, citing the fact that he controlled the largest single political party (although not an absolute majority), refused to support anyone but himself to head the next government.
This is Grillo’s precise position today. And despite Grillo’s repeated boast that he is now the largest political force in Italy, the social democratic PD turns out to have more votes for both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate now that the votes of Italians living abroad have been counted.
The resulting log jam of un-governability plays into the hands of the Anglo-American financiers, among other things by preventing Italy from rolling back the destructive austerity measures decreed by Monti and his IMF technocrats.
In 1932, German President von Hindenburg refused to make Hitler the Chancellor even though he had 37% of the votes. Grillo, by contrast, has about 25% right now. It is assumed that neither the Bersani social democrats nor Berlusconi’s center-right group could accept serving in a cabinet under the mentally unstable narcissist Grillo, whose political style always places him on the cusp of a carpet-chewing apoplectic fit.
Grillo’s actions reveal him as a cynical and power-hungry manipulator much worse even than traditional figures like Bersani or Berlusconi. He is a purveyor of infantile rage, verbal violence, obscene slander, and the voices of the infantile id. Grillo’s megalomaniac strategy is plainly to provoke another round of elections in the late spring or summer, with the hope that he will emerge with an absolute majority or at least with enough parliamentary seats to demand the role of Prime Minister.
It is a calculation dictated by Grillo’s insatiable ambition, and not by the welfare of his hapless followers. Some 8 million Italians voted in desperation for Grillo in the hope of immediate relief from the crushing austerity enacted by Monti. They would be best served if Grillo immediately announced his willingness to support a government pledging to pass a short-term program of stopping all foreclosures on homes and factories, abolishing the onerous IMU property tax and other tax increases decreed by Monti, and guaranteeing an immediate minimum guaranteed income of €1,000 per month for pensioners, the disabled, and the unemployed, paid for by a more robust version of Italy’s new Euro ‘Tobin levy’ on financial trading. But Grillo wants more power for himself, not a concrete rollback of austerity for working people.
Instead, Grillo’s sinister amateur hour focuses on such trifling gestures as cutting the pay and perks of members of Parliament, eliminating provincial governments altogether, and demanding an end to the public financing of political parties – which would weaken the social democrats and make Italian politics into the playground for millionaires and billionaires, just like the United States after the Citizens United ruling. Needless to say, savings from such changes represent mere chicken feed, and would do nothing to alleviate the suffering and desperation of Italian families.
In the meantime, Grillo’s status as a US tool for the destabilization of Italy is now a matter of public record. When the new US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Rome, he told a small group of Italian political leaders that the United States was in no way hostile to Grillo. It was revealed that the previous US ambassador, Ronald Spogli, had informed the State Department that Grillo should be considered a credible partner.
US ambassador tells Italian students to support Grillo
On March 13, the current US ambassador David Thorne, Kerry’s Yale roommate and a fellow member of the infamous Skull and Bones freemasonic cult, told a group of high school students in Rome that Grillo and his neo-totalitarian Five Star Movement were the preferred alternative from Washington’s point of view. “You can take your country in hand and act, like the Five-Star Movement, for reform and change,” said Thorne to an assembly at the Liceo Visconti.
Thorne’s comment represented a crass and blatant interference in the internal affairs of Italy, and a deplorable diplomatic incident. A number of Italian politicians from the social democratic PD party demanded that the State Department repudiate Thorne’s remarks, but no such statement was forthcoming. Grillo, for his part, prominently displayed Thorne’s outrageous endorsement on his flagship blog, which is on the equivalent of the daily Pravda or Volkischer Beobachter for his besotted legions.
Grillo’s movement represents a further step in the development of that basic Anglo-American destabilization tool, the color revolution. Growing out of CIA operations in Portugal in the 1970s, the Philippines in the 1980s, and later subversion in Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine, the standard color revolution has tended to follow a somewhat crude and mechanistic assembly-line approach: to target a country with a strong government, use the Madison Avenue branding techniques of a color and a slogan, plus a telegenic “reform” demagogue and a fake exit poll to mobilize swarms of naïve adolescents to undertake public demonstrations designed to portray the existing government as intolerably unpopular.
Then set up an IMF-NATO puppet regime and let the foreign banks asset-strip the country. This cookie cutter approach was perfected by Otpor of Belgrade, which transformed itself into a highly lucrative international consultancy in the service of Washington and London. The main failures of this standard model of subversion came in Lebanon, where the hollow “Cedars Revolution” did considerable damage but was defeated by the organized power of Hezbollah, and in Iran, where the Ahmadinejad government refused to be stampeded.
Italy, the seventh largest industrial power in the world, is a complex Western European society with the remains of a once powerful labor movement and labor-based political party, as well as Berlusconi’s bourgeois mass party. During 2011, US-UK intelligence attempted to mount a Purple Revolution against Berlusconi, but this feeble effort was unable to provide much camouflage for the coup d’état of November 2011 which ousted Berlusconi and replaced him with the incompetent Monti and his gaggle of austerity ghouls.
The persistence of at least two major political parties has forced the bankers to turn to Grillo, seen more as a short-term wrecking ball for the existing political system than as a long-term dictatorial solution. Once Grillo has further demolished the existing parliamentary democracy, Washington and London can pull out their next option, quite possibly the telegenic Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi, already celebrated by Time magazine as Italy’s white Obama, who mounted an unsuccessful challenge to the traditional hack leadership around Bersani in the PD primaries for prime minister. Wall Street and the City of London hope that, with a little bit of luck, Grillo might also be able to wreck the Euro and pitch continental Europe into the abyss of total economic breakdown.
Goldman Sachs welcomes Grillo as a Trojan horse for new speculative attacks on Italian bonds
The notorious Jim O’Neill, outgoing boss of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, has joined Thorne in his enthusiastic support for Grillo and his myrmidons, the grillini. O’Neill is responsible for coining the insulting label of “PIIGS,” used as a catchphrase by cynical hedge fund hyenas and zombie bankers to organize the attack on the government bonds of Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain starting in 2009 – all as a means of stabilizing the US dollar and the British pound by wrecking the euro while making enormous speculative profits in the process.
O’Neill welcomed the results of the late February Italian national elections, obviously because this chaotic situation weakens the Italian Republic and gives more power to predatory financiers like O’Neill himself and his colleagues at Goldman Sachs. According to Business Insider, O’Neill had the following to say about Grillo:
“Firstly, perhaps somewhat oddly, I find the outcome quite exciting because it seems to me for a country whose GDP has basically not changed since the EMU started in 1999, something big needs to change. Maybe this election outcome and the peculiar mass appeal of the Five-Star Movement could signal the start of something new? Secondly, for the establishment of Italy and, crucially, the other ‘power centers’ of old Europe, in particular Berlin and Frankfurt, these results are pretty close to a nightmare.” (“The Political Nightmare Unfolding in Italy Has Got Me Excited,” Business Insider, March 1, 2013)
But at the same time, O’Neill and Goldman Sachs were reported to be dumping any remaining holdings of Italian government bonds, even as they made a series of large-scale bets against Italian government debt with the aid of credit default swaps, the toxic derivatives which speculators use to increase the destructive power of the hot money they deploy against national economies.
On March 8, Fitch Ratings took advantage of the chaos and un-governability generated by the funnyman Grillo, lowering its Issuer Default Reading (IDR) for Italy from A- to BBB+, with a negative long-term outlook. Actions like this are at the heart of the Anglo American arsenal used to attack European government bonds as a means of damaging the euro. The Fitch downgrade was all the more outrageous because, as O’Neill has admitted, Italy’s cyclically adjusted fiscal position is actually in modest surplus, and is much better than that of the United States, Britain, and France, and slightly better than Germany.
Pro-fascist leads Grillo’s caucus in chamber of deputies
Like Mussolini and Ron Paul, Grillo has long claimed to represent the transcendence of the left-and right dichotomy. Grillo has used this sophistry to declare himself open to cooperation with the neofascist Casa Pound, a slimy operation named after the American fascist traitor, mental case, and poetaster Ezra Pound. In a dialogue with Casa Pound leaders, Grillo refused to describe himself as anti-fascist, and claimed instead to be “ecumenical” – meaning ready to work with the heirs of Mussolini. And of course, if Grillo wants to follow through on his plan to wipe out all labor unions while at the same time drastically cutting government pensions as part of his debt-reduction strategy, he may need all the help he can get from the fascist squadristi.
Grillo’s hand-picked chief enforcer for the Five Star caucus in the Italian chamber of deputies is Roberta Lombardi. The petty bourgeois Lombardi is nostalgic for the early years of the fascist movement, commenting: “Before it degenerated, fascism had a sense of national community (which it took directly from socialism), the highest respect for the state, and the will to protect the family.” With these words, Lombardi is endorsing the fascist movement which met in Piazza San Sepolcro in Milan in 1919, made up of ex-socialists, war veterans, disillusioned trade unionists, and the self-styled creative intelligentsia. There are in fact many parallels between this primitive
Grillo trying to stop jailbreak among his parliamentarians
Ironically, Grillo’s calling card has long been a promise of total netroots democracy, with a referendum on every important decision. So far, Grillo and his guru Casaleggio have been making all the decisions on their own. The Five Star Movement has a structure which can only be called autistic. There are no clubs, locals, citywide or regional organizations. There are no party conventions or conferences on any level. There are simply the atomized, alienated, and isolated grillini at their computers, each relating solely to Il Duce and his decrees. Most of Grillo’s new members of Parliament had never met each other.
This would appear to be the Bilderberg/CIA/MI-6 answer to the question of how to create a mass anti-government political party while keeping all of its members in total passivity and isolation, lest they get any ideas about mounting a real challenge to the power of financier oligarchs. Because Grillo and Casaleggio were looking for doglike loyalty and not exceptional ability, many of the Five Star candidates are marginal people, unemployed or underemployed. They are now delighted to be getting the generous salaries paid to deputies and senators, and want very much to avoid the dissolution of Parliament for early elections. They fear the loss of their livelihood, either by getting the ax from Grillo for some petty infraction, or by defeat at the polls. This group is eminently susceptible to bribery, be it through cash-filled envelopes now, or through the promise of lucrative jobs on the other side of the revolving door.
The obvious alternative for the new parliamentary grillini is to ignore the raving directives issued by Grillo’s blog, and to vote in ways that will provide a minimum of institutional stability for Italy, along with a continuation of their own salaries. Grillo is acutely aware of the threat of a jailbreak among his minions. Soon after the elections, he exploded in rage against Article 67 of the Italian Constitution, which bans any so-called imperative mandate subordinating individual members of Parliament to their party organizations.
Article 67 was part of the backlash against the fascist one-party state of Mussolini. In practical terms, it means that according to Italian law every grillino deputy and senator is free to dump Grillo and stay in office as a member of the independent (or “mixed”) caucus of Chamber and Senate. Grillo, while claiming not to be a political party, wants instead a complete party dictatorship, as during Italy’s two decades of fascist rule. In response to these outbursts, Grillo’s blog – until then a theater of unanimous adulation for the unkempt leader – registered its first serious wave of criticism and dissent.
Grillo’s rage escalated on the Saturday after the Ides of March when about fifteen grillino senators (more than a quarter of his total strength of 53 in the upper house) broke ranks and voted for the social democratic judge Grasso over the Berlusconi candidate for the presidency of the Senate. Grillo, always seeking chaos, had ordered them to vote blank ballot so as to prevent anyone from being elected. In a psychotic outburst on his blog, Grillo demanded the resignation of all senators who had violated the party line. Part of the issue was Grillo’s unit rule, by which all grillini must vote together. The unit rule was of course a lockstep favored by southern segregationists at Democratic Party conventions through the 1960s.
In response to Grillo’s arrogant authoritarianism, the comment pages on his blog – filled up to now with fawning idolatry – exploded with anger and scorn for the new Duce. One of the most popular posts accused Grillo of an authoritarian turn aiming at political gains by wrecking the overall Italian situation as much as possible. Grillo was indicted for “deliriums of omnipotence,” and his hand-picked caucus chiefs scored as messianic acolytes. Many were the comments warning Grillo that he had lost their vote forever.
Up to this point, Grillo’s blog had been a one-way conveyor belt for top-down orders, with no feedback other than wild applause. But now Grillo and Casaleggio, faced with an overwhelmingly negative reaction, began to show their true dictatorial colors by censoring the comments they did not like. In the dead of night, they removed some 2,250 heretical posts, including some of the most popular ones.
Grillo has long been extremely paranoid about leading rank and file members of his Five Star Movement take part in Italy’s popular weeknight television talk shows. He obviously wanted to keep the attention focused on himself. To better browbeat these wretched senators and deputies, Grillo and Casaleggio now sent in two commissars, overseers, or enforcers – one for each house of parliament – to make their factions toe the line. Grillo decreed a policy of “press silence,” similar to wartime radio silence, to prevent nosy journalists from asking embarrassing questions. The press replied by reminding the grillini that press conferences without questions were a contradiction in terms, superfluous since a press release would get the job done. Grillo gives selected interviews to foreign reporters, but never to Italians. Grillo was thus working a true miracle: making the Italian press corps look good.
Grillo wages war against dissident ‘trolls’
In another apoplectic fit, Grillo lashed out on his blog against “hordes of trolls, freaks, and multinicks” hired by his political adversaries, who for several months had been guilty of lèse majesté against his greatness. With his usual obscene rhetoric, Grillo accused these “locusts” of creating “a filthy mess.” The most popular reply to this demanded that the Five Star Movement agree to vote a limited motion of confidence in a social democratic government based on a specific agenda of clean government process reforms like conflicts of interest, anticorruption, and a new election law. These symbolic petty bourgeois process reforms, needless to say, would do absolutely nothing for hard-pressed Italian working families. Even among Grillo’s internal opposition, mass traction material demands remain few and far between.
Grillo is obsessed that members of his caucus will vote for a social democratic government under Bersani. Bersani had announced soon after the elections that he was “scouting” for potential backers among the new grillini. Grillo’s witch-hunt will therefore continue. But there is one “ex-communist” that Grillo seems ready to support: the current President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano, who is one of the principal Anglo-American assets in Italian politics. It was Napolitano who carried out the November 2011 coup d’état which ousted Berlusconi and installed the brutal austerity regime of Goldman Sachs employee Monti. A Napolitano-Grillo government would therefore continue and escalate the savage austerity measures which are at the root of the Italian crisis. And this, of course, is what Grillo’s controllers want most.
If Italy is ever to get out of its current economic depression, a massive program of modern infrastructure will have to play a central role. The American New Deal, with agencies like the WPA, PWA, and TVA, makes this point absolutely clear. But not for Grillo and his myrmidons, who often sound like reactionary Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey attempting to block the needed new tunnel under the Hudson River.
This past weekend, numerous grillini renewed their protest against the high speed rail link for freight and passengers now in the advanced stages of construction in the Val di Susa between Turin in northwest Italy and Lyon in France. This segment is part of the trans-European Corridor Five, which stretches from Lisbon, Portugal to Kiev, Ukraine. This is exactly the kind of infrastructure Europe as a whole requires to recover from the long deficit of the East-West rail links still left over from the decades of the Cold War.
The existing Fréjus-Modane railroad line was built between 1850 and 1870, and despite successive modernizations, it must now be considered hopelessly obsolete because of its winding path. Building the 57-kilometer tunnel at the heart of this project would enhance the worldwide reputation Italian civil engineering has enjoyed the Italians helped build the Aswan High Dam in Egypt. Economic modernization and job creation make projects like this one indispensable if Italy is to have a future. Interestingly, Grillo’s hand-picked Senate faction leader who attended this protest was peppered by demands from militant workers about the Five Star Movement’s friendliness to neofascism.
Another way in which Grillo is already weakening Italy is by reviving the secessionist movement among the German-speaking population in the Alpine region of Alto Adige/South Tyrol. A leader of the South Tyrol separatists has now started a new campaign to get out of Italy using the specter of a Rome government dominated by Grillo.
Is Grillo a neofascist?
Across Europe, there is a growing awareness that Grillo represents a controlled opposition designed to ward off any serious attacks on the political dominance of the finance oligarchs. In articles published by the, British New Statesman, the leftist Wu Ming Foundation of Bologna argues that Grillo has been a shock absorber for the Italian bankers, since he directs the rage of the masses overwhelmingly at the “caste” of political flunkies, letting the bankers off relatively unscathed. Wu Ming laments that mass mobilization against the IMF austerity in Italy has been hindered by the Grillo, who is personally a multimillionaire and one of the 1%. His blog alone is thought to be worth €10 to €15 million per year.
London Guardian lumps Grillo together with the reactionary US Tea Party, the UK Independence Party, and similar demagogic movements. But Painter cannot grasp that only the killer austerity cuts imposed across southern Europe over the last several years by the IMF and the European Central Bank have made the success of Grillo and his ilk possible.
Der Spiegel of Hamburg has a better analysis, pointing to the obvious parallels between Grillo and Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, who ruled the country from 1922 until 1943-45. Spiegel underlines the point with a cartoon portraying the Genoese comedian in a Mussolini uniform. The method of both is to focus mass rage on politicians in general and the parliament in particular, with bankers and economic issues getting far less attention.
As Spiegel notes, Grillo’s “anti-establishment rhetoric sounds appealing, [but] at heart it’s actually anti-democratic. And very similar to that of an infamous Italian from the past.” The German Social Democratic Chancellor candidate Peer Steinbrück is thus very wrong to lump Grillo and Berlusconi together under the heading of “clown.” Grillo also resembles Il Duce in his claim of overcoming the left-right dichotomy, and of not representing a political party in the traditional sense. (Spiegel, “Green Fascism: Beppe Grillo is the most dangerous man in Europe”) Grillo’s recent raving that, “We are young. We have no structure, hierarchy, leaders or secretaries. We take orders from no one,” and his slogan of “uno vale uno” – anybody is as good as anybody else – echo the clichés of the young Mussolini.
Washington Post sees Grillo as “thrilling example” of grassroots power
This growing awareness of Grillo’s fascistoid traits contrasts sharply with the whitewash of Grillo dished up by the Washington Post, house organ of the US Federal Reserve. Here Anthony Faiola offers a puff piece comparing the current Italian destabilization to Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. We read: “For 60 million Italians and political junkies of every stripe, the triumphs of a movement encompassing disenfranchised voters from both the left and the right – think of the tea party, if it included everyone from Michael Moore to Rush Limbaugh – are a thrilling example of the power of the grassroots…. The rise of the Five-Star Movement, led by a former TV comedian, is the latest manifestation of a growing backlash in Europe to the crippling austerity and entrenched cronyism in the halls of power. It is nothing less than a social experiment underscoring what happens when voters decide to radically alter the status quo.”
There is nothing about Roberta Lombardi’s praise of fascism, nothing about Grillo’s flirtation with the fascists of Casa Pound, and of course nothing about the close connections between Grillo’s handlers at Casaleggio Associates and the Aspen Institute, the Bilderbergers, and the American Chamber of Commerce in Italy. (Anthony Faiola, “Newcomers Shake up Politics in Italy: Legislators from Grassroots Movement Promise Change as Leaderless Nation Grapples with Economic Crisis,” Washington Post, March 25, 2013)
Italian media veteran: Grillo is controlled opposition designed by Bilderberg
Grillo’s personal Svengali is the aging hippie ideologue and reputed freemason Giancarlo Casaleggio, whose apocalyptic predictions about imminent World War III with billions in deaths are available in his film Gaia, a movie festooned with freemasonic symbols. Italian media insider Carlo Freccero, the director of RAI-4, the fourth program of Italian state television, had earlier called attention to the indispensable role of the well-heeled Milan internet marketing, advertising, and political consulting firm Casaleggio Associates in the creation of the Grillo movement.
Freccero noted that Casaleggio’s film attributes most of the evil in the world to conspiratorial organizations such as the Bilderberg group, which dictate the policies of governments from behind the scenes. How then, Freccero asked, did Grillo and Casaleggio explain the presence as a partner in Casaleggio Associates of Enrico Sassoon, a member of the board of the Aspen Institute of Italy? Sassoon’s fellow Aspen board members are largely drawn from the Bilderberg group, for which the Aspen Institute functions as a kind of think tank and cadre school. Freccero was only underlining the obvious when he speculated that the Grillo movement is in fact a controlled opposition to the transatlantic financier oligarchy represented by Bilderberg. Sassoon resigned from Casaleggio Associates soon after Freccero made these remarks.
Has Grillo already peaked in the polls?
The most recent poll shows the Berlusconi forces reclaiming first place among the competing coalitions with 31.3%, with the Bersani coalition at 29.3% and Grillo in third place with 26.2%. The Monti forces are down to 7.1%. The SWG poll of a few days earlier shows Grillo at 26.9%, but falling a full 3.1% from the euphoria of his post-election uptick. Judging from internet postings, many Italians are coming to view Grillo as lots of smoke and not much roast beef, as the idiom goes. According to the Rome political website Dagospia, “the grillini risk becoming the biggest flop in the history of the Italian Republic” if they are unable to bring home for their voters “results that are concrete, tangible, and immediately beneficial.”
Is Dr. Benjamin Carson the American Grillo?
Anglo-American intelligence sees in Grillo a model for new generation of color revolutions and destabilizations that can be applied in Europe and North America. One possible candidate for the role of American Grillo is Dr. Benjamin Carson, a well-known black neurosurgeon from Johns Hopkins University. Carson, who has been well known for decades as a reactionary ideologue operating under the spurious cover of evangelical Christianity, captured right wing accolades last months by spouting primitive anti-government platitudes at the National Prayer Breakfast, with Obama sitting nearby and forced to listen.
Immediately thereafter, the Wall Street Journal, the flagship organ of the financier oligarchy, began discussing Carson as a possible presidential candidate. According to the Style section of the March 25 Washington Post, Carson has been calling not just for cuts in the social safety net, but rather for its total abolition: “at the Conservative Political Action Conference… Carson suggested that government should rely on churches to provide a safety net for the poor and get out of the social welfare business. ‘Why is the government trying to duplicate what [churches] are supposed to be doing?’ he asked.” Time will tell if Carson can match Grillo’s success as a demagogue and mass manipulator.