Democracy in Southern Europe: out for the count
By Richard Cottrell
Contributing writer for End the Lie
How fast things are moving.
In Italy, the new techno-premier installed by the EU, the Trilateralists and the Bilderberg Group, has just effectively suspended parliamentary democracy.
There are no civilian ministers in Prime Minister Mario Monti’s government. All ministerial posts are in the hands of technocrats, soldiers and diplomats.
MP’s have been told they can sit in the wings for the next two years while the new prime minister goes around restoring order.
One glance at the list of ministers was sufficient to convince me that this blatant coup d’état has been in the works for at least the best part of a year.
In Greece, Monti’s lookalike Lukas Papademos has ushered extreme right wing sympathizers with the former Greek military junta (1967-74) back into power.
Just over a week ago I wrote that a Greek military coup had been narrowly averted by the former civilian government headed by Georgios Papandreou summarily sacking the entire general staff.
I suggested that a military putsch had been averted for the time being.
Then, presto, the new head of the defense ministry is Dimitris Avramopoulo, from the right wing New Democracy party which is known for its closeness to the Greek Pentagon and the CIA.
So the Greek military is now effectively underpinning the new government. Something remarkably similar has happened in Italy.
A navy admiral, Giampaolo Di Paola, is now defense minister, thus severing civilian command of the armed forces for the first time since the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini.
We can regard him as NATO’s minister in Rome.
Are the new techno-dictators of Greece and Italy expecting widespread public disorders, real or staged?
It certainly looks that way. Indeed, as I write there are protests breaking out all over Italy. Crowds are gathering in Rome, Milano, Palermo Bari and many other cities protesting the “rape of democracy.”
Italians, of all peoples, know a coup d’état when they see one.
We can judge the flavor of these new governments by inspecting the cast list.
Il Nuovo Duce Mario Monti has appointed himself as finance minister in addition to holding the premiership.
In a move that is bound to raise suspicions that the banksters are taking over the country, Corrado Passero, the CEO of Intesa Sanpaolo, the country’s largest mainstream bank, has been awarded the infrastructure and investment portfolio.
Meaning, I guess, no investment; just what Wall Street ordered.
Italy’s ambassador to the US, the aristocrat Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, becomes foreign minister. I suspect that he will effectively act as Monti’s deputy.
What I found most disturbing at the rush of events in Italy is the language that the chief spokesman for the junta, namely Professor Monti, is using.
He states that the “absence of political personalities in the government will help rather than hinder a solid base of support for the government in the parliament and political parties because it will remove one ground for disagreement.”
He is either demonstrating his complete contempt for parliamentary democracies or effectively making them redundant. It may just be more of that latter.
After all, he is on record for saying that he has always been fascinated by politics – but not party politics.
The crumpled, dejected Silvio Berlusconi that we saw in the wake of his public humiliation is back on his best bunga-bunga bouncing form. He is crowding the channels of his own television stations denouncing the new regime as authoritarian, autocratic and isolated from public opinion.
One headline, in the left-leaning la Repubblica of all organs, talks of “nostalgia” for Berlusconi breaking out everywhere.
What may happen as Italians come to terms with what amounts to a transparent a putsch is an unknown for the time being. Parliament is still sitting. If it makes a fuss there will be rule by decree.
The promised cuts to health and welfare services, public transport, and public sector wages, all dear to the heart of Professore Monti, will earn their own rewards in terms of political support, such as it is, for a government which has made no presence of requiring public consent.
But we are in untested waters. Mussolini’s coup rested on a wide base of public support.
Over the two decades that he was in power, he made sure to court and flatter the public piazza, until he made his big mistake of entering the war.
This new administration in Rome has no roots in popular consent. In the circumstances, it will be quite easy to ban strikes, which I expect to happen.
In Greece, the situation is little different even though the two main political forces, New Democracy on the right and Pasok on the left, are supporting the new government. They currently have ministers in the new government, but as the unpopularity of the new regime swells, so will theirs.
The really disturbing factor is the inclusion of the far-right grouping called LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally) in the government.
LAOS was founded in 2000 by a disenchanted New Democracy MP George Karatzaferis as a gathering ground for far-right and fascist sentiments.
His great idol is the former Greek military dictator Georgios Papadopoulos who died in prison a few years back, after being convicted of overthrowing the state. The LAOS program calls for a State Council which includes military representatives and the clergy.
By the look of things, it is half way there. The military junta of 1967-74 made church attendance for all university and college students compulsory.
A prominent figure in the new coalition is Makris Voridis, who back in the 80’s was renowned for his hammer wielding attacks on protesting students. His own designer party, the Hellenic Front, collapsed through lack of support. What is more significant is the fact that it was in touch with neofascist forces around Europe.
One can scarcely believe that Hammer Voridis has given up on these ambitions. In the meantime he is the new transport minister, and three other LAOS politicians sit alongside him.
If anything polarizes opposition to the Papademos regime, then it will be the presence of such figures in the government.
This being Greece, it is the extra-parliamentary opposition that may count the most. Memories are still fresh of the long years of urban guerilla violence attributed to the pseudo Marxist group calling itself November 17.
The name was taken from the massacre of anti-junta protestors at the Athens polytechnic on that day in 1973. Within a year the US and NATO backed junta collapsed.
The N17 founders are all in jail. But their many imitators and copy cats (some of them government agents) are free on the streets. My guess is that Greece is about to witness another bitter round of urban violence.
[Editor’s note: Cottrell was indeed correct, within 24 hours of him sending me this piece (I apologize for the delay) a new round of violence indeed broke out in the streets of Greece. Police said that 27,000 people in Athens and 15,000 in Thessalonika joined protests against the austerity measures demanded by the new Greek government.]
The imposition of autocratic governments in Rome and Athens will do nothing to cure the ills, to the extent that they are real, of two countries which are always prone to authoritarian forces.
Greece is the home of tragedies; the Greek civil war after WWII wrecked the country.
In proportional terms, it was worse than the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39. In practical terms, it never recovered.
The imposition of a fascist orientated military government in 1967 postponed practically all efforts to heal the wounds.
Italy is a frail democracy at the best of times. There has been hardly anything that might be called normality since WWII.
Yet, understanding as we do that these regimes have been installed by powerful forces to preserve the Euro, and thus international order, then it will not be easy to get rid of them.
This, for the time being at any rate, is my pessimistic judgment.
UPDATE: Richard Cottrell adds:
The speed with which Sgt. Mario Monti assembled a government of technocrats suggests long-laid plans to depose Silvio Berlusconi.
I can now reveal that the overthrow of the Italian premier and his government was decided at the Bilderberg summit held at St. Moritz in June this year. Monti was one of the five attendees there representing Italy.
Another important attendee was the long standing Bilderberger Herman von Rompuy, the so-called “elected” President of the European Council. Rompuy has never made any secret of his intensive personal dislike of Berlusconi and his disgust at the man’s personal lifestyle.
In June the Italian debt crisis was still a relatively small cloud on the EU horizon, although steadily inflating thanks to Rompuy and the European Central Bank
However, with no obvious crisis in the air that time, the Bilderberg Group decided to stage an EU/NATO sponsored coup against the elected prime minister of Italy and his colleagues.
But first it would be necessary to promote an artificial crisis concerning Italy’s public debt and the threat to the euro currency. Once this matured, someone, I think von Rompuy, pressed the destruct button.
We have travelled a long way towards a proto-fascist continental technocratic system when a government of a large country can be cast aside by an elitist secret cabal.
No government that demonstrates disobedience can henceforth be safe.
I suspect the Italian putsch, more so than the one in Greece staged at the same time, was intended as a rehearsal, a trial run for future outings.
Berlusconi’s fate was signed off at the G20 economic summit attended by Barack Obama. It may be remembered that one of Berlusconi’s famous gaffes included a remark of extremely poor taste concerning the president’s skin color.
I feel no remorse for Berlusconi, a vain and vulgar popinjay who would himself have staged a coup if he thought he could get away with it. But the principal matters more than his punctured pride.
What government may now call itself safe if unelected officials in the European corporate-techno galaxy decide otherwise?
Edited by End the Lie