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Samantha Power blames Russia for anti-establishment success in Italy’s elections

RT | March 6, 2018

One of the key people behind the policies that destabilized Libya and Syria, causing a flood of refugees to Europe, accused Russia of influencing the Italian elections after voters gave the cold shoulder to establishment parties.

Russia’s utility as the universal scapegoat cannot be underestimated these days. A historically-separatist region votes for independence? Russia! Somebody on the internet smeared your candidate? Russia! Extreme cold comes from the east? Er… Russia probably still wants “thousands and thousands and thousands” killed by the cold, as one member of the UK cabinet claimed, and sells its gas to freezing Britons as deception.

So it’s no surprise that the outcome of the latest election in Italy, which resulted in a surge of anti-establishment forces, would be blamed on Moscow. For instance, here is Samantha Power, formerly a senior official in the Obama administration, sharing an article in the Spanish newspaper El Pais about how Russia allegedly spun an immigration discourse in Italy.

The Spanish article is a hit piece based on social media analysis done by a private firm, claiming the Russian news outlet Sputnik and the almighty Russian bots made the discourse in Italy radicalized on the issue of immigrants. Because Italians, obviously, cannot be genuinely unhappy to be living in a country that also happens to be a primary destination for refugees departing across the Mediterranean Sea from Libya and have no right to feel betrayed by Brussels’ immigration policies.

But the criticism is precious coming from Power, a staunch advocate of America’s “humanitarian interventions” by the military since Yugoslavia and onward. During her tenure as member of the National Security Council and later ambassador to the UN in the Obama administration, this pretext was used to destroy Libya, which had served as a barrier for irregular immigration to Europe under strongman Muammar Gaddafi and has now turned into a hotbed for people smugglers. It was also used to justify the arming of militants in Syria, perpetrating the war that displaced millions of people. Power advocated a direct military intervention, Iraq-style.

The Twitter post has gained plenty of angry responses. People reminded Power of numerous interventions Washington had its fingerprints on, calling her position ‘ludicrous’. But don’t let them shake your convictions – they are all surely just Russian bots doing the Kremlin’s bidding.

Sunday’s election has shaken the political scene in Italy, seeing voters ditch the ruling center-left parties and switch to anti-establishment forces. The Euroskeptic Five-Star Movement came out as the top individual party, winning over 32 percent of the vote, while anti-immigrant Lega Nord party outperformed expectations, garnering over 17 percent.

A center-left bloc led by ex-Prime Minister Matteo Renzi from Italy’s Democratic Party, gained some 23 percent, admitting “a very clear defeat” in the election. Political analyst Daniele De Bernardin believes that people voted for change on Sunday, not for a particular party.

“In the last five years we had a lot of party switching in the country. Five Star Movement is a movement that puts together very different people with different views,” he told RT, adding that the party can be viewed as a “post-ideological movement.”

What’s putting people together is in fact “a sentiment of changing the country,” he concluded.

March 6, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

US should have withdrawn its estimated 200 nukes from Europe long ago – Moscow

RT | December 18, 2017

The US should withdraw the nuclear weapons it has deployed in Europe rather than upgrading them, a senior Russian diplomat has said. Moscow is concerned that the upgrades are making the bombs more suitable for actual combat.

The US stores an estimated 200 of its B61 nuclear bombs in countries like Germany, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey as part of NATO’s nuclear sharing program. Russia has long considered the continued presence of American nuclear weapons in other nations as a hostile gesture after the Cold War.

“Russia has long withdrawn its nuclear weapons to its national territory. We believe that the American side should have done the same a long time ago,” Mikhail Ulyanov, head of the non-proliferation and arms control department in the Russian Foreign Ministry, told RIA Novosti.

“They are actually planning to upgrade them to be, according to some retired American military officials, ‘more suitable for combat use’ thanks to better precision and somewhat reduced power,” the diplomat said, adding that Moscow suspects that the US may have plans to deploy additional nuclear bombs to Europe under the guise of an upgrade.

In August, the US National Nuclear Security Administration announced a second successful test of the B61 – the 12th version of the bomb with no nuclear warhead. The first test was conducted in March. The Mod12 version is meant to replace a number of older designs by refurbishing them, with the process expected to start in 2019.

Moscow criticized the US not only for keeping nuclear weapons in non-nuclear nations, but also for training its NATO allies in their deployment. Such actions, Russia believes, violate the spirit of America’s non-proliferation commitments.

The Trump administration plans to spend over $1 trillion upgrading America’s nuclear arsenal, claiming it is necessary to keep up with Russia.

December 18, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Biden was wrong: Intel agencies find no evidence of ‘Russian meddling’ in Italian polls

RT | December 14, 2017

Italian intelligence services did not find evidence to back up allegations voiced by former US Vice President Joe Biden. He claimed Moscow had meddled with Italy’s polls before and plans to do it again.

Two Italian intelligence agencies did not find any evidence of the alleged Russian interference into last year’s constitutional reform referendum, despite conducting “attentive monitoring” of possible foreign meddling, ANSA news agency reported. The chiefs of the Internal Information and Security Agency (AISI) and the External Intelligence and Security Agency (AISE), Mario Parente and Alberto Manenti, respectively, faced the parliamentary intelligence committee this week.

The parliamentary hearings were triggered by an article by Biden, dubbed, “How to stand up to the Kremlin,” published earlier in December by the journal Foreign Affairs. Among the numerous accusations, largely repeating the mainstream media “Russian meddling” narrative, Biden claimed that Moscow interfered in the Italian Constitutional referendum and warned about alleged meddling in the country’s upcoming parliamentary elections.

“A Russian effort is now under way to support the nationalist Northern League and the populist Five Star Movement in Italy’s upcoming parliamentary elections,” Biden stated, without providing any proof to back up the claim. The allegations prompted an angry response from the parties accused of getting Russian support.

Matteo Salvini, leader of the Northern League (Lega Nord), said that Italy’s ruling Democratic party “lost the referendum and will lose the elections, because the Italians have good sense, and not because Putin wants it,” as quoted by La Repubblica.

The 5 Star Movement responded to Biden by stating that “we all must respect the vote” and “know how to lose.” President Barack Obama’s former deputy simply did not get over the Democrats’ defeat last year, and was seeking to blame the Russians for everything he didn’t like, the party said in a Facebook post.

“Today, Biden says it is Russia’s fault, as he says it is Russia’s fault that Trump won and his party lost. Biden goes further and says Russia is helping the 5 Star Movement. He does not provide any evidence, this is unacceptable,” the post reads. The party’s candidate for prime minister, Luigi di Maio, dismissed Biden’s allegations as “fake news,” stating that millions of Italians voted ‘No’ during the referendum on their own, without “being paid by the Russians.”

The 2016 Constitutional referendum was aimed at reorganizing the Italian Senate and redirecting more powers from the regions to central government. The reform, however, failed spectacularly, as nearly 60 percent of Italians voted against it, prompting the resignation of then-PM Matteo Renzi, who currently leads the Democratic Party.

December 14, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

With anti-BDS laws and a pro-Israel parliament, Zionist hasbara is winning in Italy

By Romana Rubeo and Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | November 15, 2107

A proposed law awaiting consideration by the Italian parliament is set to punish those calling for a boycott of Israel. In the past, such an initiative would have been unthinkable. Alas, Italy — a country with historic sympathies for the Palestinian cause — has shifted its politics in a dramatic way in recent years. Most surprisingly, though, is that the Left is as implicated as the Right in the rush to please Israel, at the expense of Palestinian rights.

The sad reality is that Italy is moving into the Israeli camp. This is not only pertinent to political alignment, but in the reconfiguration of discourse as well. Israeli priorities, as articulated in Zionist hasbara (official propaganda) have now become part of the everyday lexicon of Italian media and politics. As a result, the Zionist agenda is now Italy’s political agenda too.

Italy’s anti-Fascist, anti-military occupation and revolutionary past is being overlooked by self-serving politicians, who are susceptible ever more frequently to the pressures of a burgeoning pro-Israel lobby.

Re-writing history

During the so-called “First Republic” (1948 to 1992), Italy was considered to be the West European country most sympathetic to the Palestinian struggle, not only because of a widespread feeling of solidarity among Italians, but also because of the political environment at the time. Italian leaders were perfectly aware of the country’s unique position in the Mediterranean zone. While they were keen to display loyalty to the Atlantic Alliance, they also established good relations with the Arab world. Maintaining this balance was not always easy and led to what are being perceived as “radical choices”, which are now being disowned and criticised.

The pro-Israel trend has been in motion for years. In a famous interview with the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth in 2008, former Italian President Francesco Cossiga declared, “Dear Italian Jews, we sold you out.”

Cossiga was referring to the so-called “Lodo Moro”, an unofficial agreement which was allegedly signed in the 1970s by the then Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro and the leadership of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The deal supposedly allowed the Palestinian group to coordinate its actions throughout Italian territory, in exchange for it keeping Italy off its operational target list. The Lodo Moro is often used in Israeli hasbara to highlight Italy’s supposed failures in the past, and to continue associating Palestinians with terrorism.

In his interview, Cossiga went further, blaming the PFLP for the Bologna terrorist bombing and massacre, which devastated the city’s main railway station in 1980, killing 85 people. Cossiga’s words may have pleased Israel, but were baseless. The [false flag] attack was actually the work of an Italian neo-fascist organisation. Unfortunately, his nonsensical allegation was not an isolated example; it remains representative of the general change of attitude towards Palestine and Israel, one that is largely predicated on re-writing history.

Then and now

In 1974, the Italian government advocated for Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s participation in the UN General Assembly. In 1980, it committed to the EEC Declaration of Venice, which recognised the Palestinian “right to self-determination”. As expected, this was strongly opposed by Israel and the US.

Throughout the 1980s, the attitude of successive Italian governments was openly pro-Palestinian, which often led to foreign policy clashes with Israel and its American benefactors, especially during the so-called Crisis of Sigonella in 1985. During a speech at the Italian parliament, socialist Prime Minister Bettino Craxi went as far as defending the Palestinian right to armed struggle. In 1982, the Italian President Sandro Pertini used his traditional end of year address to the nation to talk at length about the horror of the Sabra and Shatilla massacre of Palestinian refugees.

While centre-left political forces supported Palestine to keep good relations with Arab countries, left-wing parties were mainly motivated by the anti-imperialist struggle, which then resonated within Italian intellectual circles. However, this has changed; Italy is now living in its “post-ideological age”, where morality and ideas are flexible, and can be reshaped as needed to conform with political interests.

Today, left-wing parties don’t feel the need to stand up for oppressed nations. They are too beholden to the diktats of globalisation, and are thus driven by selfish agendas which, naturally, brings them closer to the US and Israel.

While neo-liberal politics has ravaged much of Europe in recent years, Italy has proven that it is not the exception. In October 2016, Italy abstained from the vote on the UNESCO resolution condemning the Israeli occupation of Palestinian East Jerusalem. Even that half-hearted move angered Israel, prompting the Israeli ambassador in Rome to protest.

The Italian Prime Minister moved quickly to reassure Israel, speaking harshly about UNESCO’S proposal. “It is not possible to continue with these resolutions at the UN and UNESCO that aim to attack Israel,” insisted Matteo Renzi. One year earlier, Renzi had officially reaffirmed Italy’s commitment to Israel in the Israeli Knesset (parliament), when he declared, “Supporters of ‘stupid’ boycotts [of Israel] betray their own future.”

During his inaugural speech, Italy’s current President Sergio Mattarella addressed the “menace of international terrorism” by mentioning the 1982 attack in front of the Great Synagogue in Rome. His words “deeply touched Italian Jews,” according to the right-wing Jerusalem Post.

Rising Zionist influence

Zionist groups constantly try to sway Italian public opinion. Their strategy is predicated on two pillars: infusing Israel’s sense of victimhood (as in “poor little Israel fighting for survival among a sea of Arabs and Muslims”) and using the anti-Semitism card against anyone who challenges the Israeli narrative.

The hasbara weapons are working, as Italian politics and even culture (through the media) are increasingly identifying with Israel. Worse still, the pro-Israel feeling is now also completely acceptable among left-wing political parties.

According to Ugo Giannangeli, a prominent criminal lawyer who has devoted many years to defending Palestinian rights, the Italian parliament is working on several laws whose sole purpose is to win Israel’s approval. One of these initiatives is Draft law 2043 (Anti-discrimination Act). It ought to be called the Anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] Act. The signatories compare the boycott of Israel with “disguised anti-Semitism”. If approved, the legislation will sanction exemplary punishment for BDS campaigners in Italy.

Among the signatories of the draft law is Emma Fattorini, a member of the Italian Democratic Party as well as the “Committee for the protection and promotion of human rights”. Palestinian rights, of course, are of no concern to Fattorini at the moment; they are nowhere to be found in her “human rights” agenda.

Another signatory is Paolo Corsini, who abandoned the Democratic Party and moved to the left-wing MDP – Articolo 1. Corsini was also the rapporteur of the “Agreement between Italy and Israel on public safety”, already ratified by the Italian parliament. The agreement strengthens the relationship between the two countries in a more effective way, in exchange for Israel’s sharing of information on public order and how to control mass protests.

Only a few voices are being raised against Italy’s political and cultural subordination to Israel. Italian politician Massimo D’Alema, a former Foreign Minister, has criticised the change in Italian policies. In an interview with the Huffington Post, he was critical of Italy and Europe over their willingness to please Israeli leaders. He called on the left to reclaim its historic role in support of the Palestinian people.

Activists and progressive politicians can learn from the Italian experience: solidarity with Palestine begins at home. There is a need for strong opposition to any attempts to criminalise BDS, as well as strong countermeasures against pernicious Israeli hasbara that is penetrating every aspect of society on a daily basis.

November 16, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 2 Comments

Italy Ramps Up Weapons Supplies to Saudi Arabia in Spite of EU Calls for Embargo

Sputnik – September 16, 2017

European countries such as Italy continue to increase arms exports to Saudi Arabia in spite of European Parliament resolutions calling for an embargo on sales to Riyadh in light of violations of human rights and international law in Yemen.

A recent European Parliament resolution which calls for an arms embargo against Saudi Arabia is no deterrent to Italy, which continues to increase its arms sales to the Middle East despite concerns that the flow of weapons is contributing to instability there.

Enrico Piovesana, an Italian journalist and director of the Center for Monitoring of Arms Expenditures (MILEX), told Sputnik Italia that Italy’s exports have risen dramatically.

“According to the most recent data, for 2016, income from arms exports doubled in comparison with the previous year, from €7.9 billion ($9.4 billion) to €14.16 billion. This figure is even more impressive if we compare it with data for 2014: €2.6 billion.”

“This is significant growth, and the Italian foreign ministry considers it a triumph: in its last report, it said that this sector has finally emerged from the [economic] crisis thanks to the flexibility of its supply.”

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Italy was the world’s eighth largest arms exporter in 2016.

Italy is also third on the global ranking of arms exporters by number of countries to which it exports, Piovesana said.

“Saudi Arabia is the sixth largest client for Italian weapons producers,” he explained.

The non-binding resolution passed by the European Parliament on Wednesday is the third call in two years by EU parliamentarians to enforce EU Council rules on the arms export control and impose an embargo on exports to Saudi Arabia.

On September 5, the UN Human Rights Office issued a report recording violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law which occurred in the two-and-a-half years since Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners launched a bombing campaign in Yemen to overthrow the Houthi rebels who ousted former President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.

Between March 2015 and 30 August 2017, at least 5,144 civilians have been documented as killed and more than 8,749 injured, according to the UN figures. Some 3,233 of the civilians killed were reportedly killed by Coalition forces, whose airstrikes continued to be the leading cause of civilian casualties.

Giorgio Beretta, an analyst from the Union of Italian Disarmament Associations, told Sputnik that Italian-made bombs are known to have been used in airstrikes on civilians.

“The UN report talks about documentation confirming the use of Italian bombs in civilian areas in Yemen. These are bombs manufactured by the Italian company RWM, which were produced and exported with the permission of the Italian government. Both the Gentiloni government and the previous Renzi government gave permission for the export of these bombs.”

“Some EU countries, such as Sweden and the Netherlands, have suspended the supply of military equipment to Saudi Arabia. Other countries, such as Germany, decided to suspend the supply of weapons that could be used by Saudi Arabia in the conflict with Yemen. The UK, France and Italy continue to deliver supplies. In 2016, Italy delivered nearly 20,000 aerial bombs worth more than €411 million, which is the country’s largest supply of bombs since the end of World War II. It is absolutely clear that this is a political decision,” Beretta said.

Saudi Arabia has become the world’s second largest arms importer after India, with an 8.2% share in the market. While Italy has increased its supplies, they are still dwarfed by the US, which exports 52% of Riyadh’s imports, and the UK, which exports 27%, according to the SIPRI.

“It should be noted that that Italy is not the largest supplier to Riyadh. Trump signed a contract to sell $110 billion million of weapons to the Saudis. But nevertheless, supplies from the EU are important since there are European components in many military systems that Saudi Arabia buys.”

Beretta said that the European Parliament’s resolution and the EU Council’s Common Policy on arms exports are rather toothless in the face of lobbying from arms producers.

“International norms, as well as EU norms, don’t provide for sanctions for those who violate the International Arms Trade Treaty, as well as for those who contradict EU position. This is a big mistake, but it’s not surprising [because] these same countries exerted strong pressure to prevent the introduction of sanctions measures. At the international level, the only competent authority that can actually impose or remove sanctions is the UN Security Council. At the EU level, this is the EU Council.”

“However, there is another way: in the case of Riyadh, if one of the member countries violates the embargo, another country may legally refuse to sell arms to them. For example, if the UK violates this possible embargo, Italy could stop supplying arms to London. It can break the vicious circle. But let’s not forget that lobbyists and large arms corporations will exert pressure and try to prevent sanctions measures for violators of the embargo,” Beretta warned.

September 16, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smears Backfire

By Ann Wright | Consortium News | March 1, 2017

An often-used tactic to squelch criticism of Israeli state policies toward the Palestinians is to call the criticism anti-Semitic. The sponsors of the event become afraid of the label, anti-Semitism, false as it is, and cancel the event to avoid any controversy. The tactic is used widely across Europe and the United States.

This week, the talk that I was to give in a room at the Rome City Hall about the Women’s Boat to Gaza and the conditions in Gaza was cancelled 24 hours before the event by the council member who had agreed to arrange for the room. His staff revealed that he had gotten intense pressure from the Israeli Embassy and Rome’s Jewish Community Association to stop the presentation.

But that was not the end of the story. In a fast-moving media blitz, organized by Italy’s Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions program, two of Rome’s newspapers wrote of the cancellation and several radio stations reported on it. BDS Italy scheduled a press conference about the cancellation in the plaza in front of the City Hall at the time the talk was scheduled. About 20 representatives of the news media attended, a much larger number than would have attended the talk itself.

Due to the number of media and the questions concerning the cancellation, Marcello de Vito, President of the Rome City Council, invited three of us to come into the City Hall to discuss the cancellation. This invitation provided us with the opportunity to discuss the conditions in Gaza and the West Bank and the nonviolent tactics such as BDS and Boats to Gaza to bring international attention to the harmful policies of the State of Israel.

From the questions, it was apparent that the President, another City Council member and their staff knew little about the Israeli blockade of Gaza, the illegal settlements, the apartheid wall, the numbers of Palestinian children and youth held in Israeli jails, and the theft of Palestinian resources by Israeli companies.

Something similar happened last year in Bayreuth, Germany, when the prize for Tolerance and Peace, which had been awarded to CODEPINK: Women for Peace, was cancelled by the Mayor after two reporters, known for writing spurious articles, alleged that CODEPINK was an anti-Semitic organization. Following an extensive letter-writing campaign from members of the German Parliament and others who know that CODEPINK’s actions challenging the policies of the State of Israel are not anti-Semitic, the Bayreuth City Council voted to reinstate the award amid much publicity.

Also, last year, a conference in which grandmothers who had been through World War II were to speak was cancelled because of similar allegations. Defenders of Israeli policies targeted 90-year old Hedie Esptein, a vocal critic of Israeli treatment of Palestinians, although her parents had been killed in the Holocaust and she had survived by being sent to England as a part of the Kindertransport,

Responding quickly to false allegations of anti-Semitism is key to blunting the Israeli government’s offensive toward those who challenge the illegal and inhumane policies toward Palestinians. In the case of the Rome cancellation, the pushback from BDS Italy created more publicity about the plight of the Palestinians than the event itself would have.

Ann Wright served 29 years in the U.S. Army/Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel.  She was a U.S. diplomat and served in U.S. embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia.  She resigned from the U.S. government in March, 2003 in opposition to President Bush’s war on Iraq.

March 1, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | 2 Comments

Israeli Companies Accrued $1 Billion From F-35 Deals

Sputnik – 15.02.2017

Israeli defense contractors have generated more than $1 billion in revenues since 2010 for assisting with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the most expensive weapons program in history.

The Israeli Defense Ministry reported Sunday that 2016 was a banner year for F-35 partners. Contracts tied to production of the F-35 shot up 33 percent last year for a total of $258 million in new deals for Israeli companies. Since Israel inked a deal to buy 19 F-35 fighters in 2010, Israeli firms have won more than $1 billion in ‘buy-back contracts.’

“The scope of industrial cooperation between [Lockheed Martin] and Israeli industry, in just the last year, shows the immense potential inherent in this arrangement for the Israeli economy,” Col. Avi Dadon, deputy director of purchasing at the Ministry of Defense, noted.

A bulk of the new revenues stemmed from the F-35 virtual reality helmets. Elbit Systems and Rockwell Collins scored a $206 million contract for headgear production.

Like the F-35 project as a whole, the F-35 helmets have faced their share of struggles. The 4.5-pound helmets are reported to cause neck problems for pilots. What’s more, the visor has been seen to pop off the heads of pilots during take-off. Since the helmets are critical for pilots to visualize flight, mission, and target information, this essentially leaves pilots blind. In a separate incident, Tom Briggs of the US Navy described the helmets as being comparable to “looking through a dirty window” due to a green glow in the display area.

Meanwhile, Italian officials have complained recently that Lockheed Martin and the US are not following through on jet maintenance contracts. Guido Crosetto, head of Italy’s aerospace and defense industry association said Washington has not “honored promises” made when Italy joined the list of US allies to buy the F-35s.

Back in 2002, Italy was told that it would receive contracts for maintenance work worth 65 percent of the $1 billion Rome invested to buy 90 joint strike fighters, Italian media outlets reported. Italian firms currently have contracts valued less than 20 percent of its initial investment, the official added. Instead, contracts went to places like the UK, the Netherlands and Australia “because the competition favored large companies,” Crosetto said.

February 15, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Italian Populists Lead Parliamentary Push to Alter NATO Ties

Sputnik – February 12, 2017

Italy’s Five Star Movement party has proposed a way of altering how the country participates in NATO, party member Manlio Di Stefano told Sputnik Italy.

In an interview with Sputnik Italy, Manlio Di Stefano, a parliamentary deputy from the country’s populist Five Star Movement, said that the party has proposed a bill which would alter the way in which Italy participates in NATO. The interview came amid the Italian government efforts to prevent the country’s parliament from altering Italy’s relationship with NATO.

In 2008, 600,000 people signed a petition to review Rome’s stance on the alliance, but the government still refuses to heed their demands.

Di Stefano said that the Five Star Movement’s proposal urges the parliament to once again vote on all decisions related to the use of military bases or transportation of weapons within Italy.

“We want all this regulated by parliament, not just the government alone. It is very important to move in this direction in order to ensure the protection of the environment and the health of citizens, first of all in areas where a NATO contingent is based. They include Sardinia, Sicily, Dal Molin base, Camp Darby and others,” he said.

Apart from risks related to health and the environment, there is also a nuclear threat, Di Stefano said, adding that many non-NATO members have already sent their response systems to the Aviano and Ghedi bases, where 90 nuclear bombs are deployed.

“It seems obvious that Russia may also have a similar response system aimed at Italy, and I think that it is normal. But we do not need these risks. Even one B61-12 bomb dropped on our territory will be enough to destroy the whole country,” he added.

Di Stefano said that it’s necessary to clarify that Italy withdrawing from NATO is out of question because it could “destabilize the entire European system.”

“We only call for a change in the format of our participation in NATO, and it is quite another thing. Article 12 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization stipulates that any NATO member can demand the review of the contract,” he said.

He added that the Five Star Movement’s bill would “normalize the decision-making procedures, as well as to introduce a vote on these decisions.”

Late last month, about 1,000 protesters participated in a demonstration against NATO bases in the Italian city of Vicenza.

“We are standing against the continued existence of the Dal Molin NATO base, we want to use the territory for the construction of the so-called Peace Park,” one of the organizers said.

The march was headed by the No Dal Molin Movement, which opposes US airbases located in the north of the city. The protesters carried a huge banner, saying “Protection of land for a future without military bases.”

The demonstration was sanctioned by local authorities and was accompanied by a police escort. Italy has been a member of NATO since April 4, 1949.

Italy’s attitude toward NATO airbases soured in 1998, when a US Marine Corps prowler aircraft clipped the cable of a cable car at a ski resort in the Italian Alps, resulting in 20 deaths. Although Italian prosecutors initially demanded that the four crew members stand trial for involuntary manslaughter and negligent homicide in Italy, an Italian court recognized that NATO treaties gave jurisdiction to US military courts.

The four were acquitted after a brief trial in North Carolina, according to The Independent, outraging the European public.

See also:

How Italy Became a ‘US, NATO Military Laboratory’

Italy ‘No Longer Sovereign State, It is on NATO’s, US’ Tight Military Leash’

February 12, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some 1,000 People Participated in Anti-NATO Protest in Northeastern Italy


Sputnik – 22.01.2017

VICENZA – About 1,000 protesters participated on Saturday in a demonstration against NATO bases and major infrastructure projects of the local authorities, such as construction of a motorway and a railway for high-speed trains, in the city of Vicenza, located in northeastern Italy.

According to a RIA Novosti correspondent, the march was headed by the No Dal Molin Movement, opposing a US airbase located in the north of the city. The protesters carried a huge banner, saying “Protection of land for the future without military bases.”

“Until the people do not mobilize, until they put pressure on the government to expel the US military from our territory, politicians will do nothing as they are not interested in it. Politicians should be forced to give us an answer, and now they do not want to do this at the moment,” one of the march’s organizers Francesco Pavin told RIA Novosti.

The demonstration was sanctioned by local authorities and was accompanied by a police escort.

There are a total of four NATO bases in the Vicenza area.

During his presidential campaign, US President Donald Trump repeatedly stated that the United States should decrease the support of other NATO member states and protect only those members of the alliance, who “fulfill their obligations” in respect to Washington.

January 22, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Europe’s Mixed Feelings About Trump

By Andrew Spannaus | Consortium News | January 9, 2017

Few in Europe expected Donald Trump to win the U.S. Presidential elections last November. The picture painted by the media and political class was convincing: despite the pent-up anger being expressed through protest candidates, Hillary Clinton was headed towards a decisive victory, as the majority of Americans couldn’t stomach someone as outrageous and unconventional as the reality TV star turned politician.

That’s not what happened, of course, as Trump earned an Electoral College victory by winning enough votes in key Midwestern states that have suffered from a loss of manufacturing jobs in recent decades. His victory has shaken the Western world to its core, making it clear that business as usual is no longer possible in terms of both economic and foreign policy.

In Europe the signs of the anti-establishment sentiment that dominated the U.S. election campaign have been present for some time. The most obvious example was the Brexit vote in June 2016, in which the population of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. But protest movements have actually been on the rise for several years now, driven by the same basic issues as in the United States: a sense of economic and social insecurity – accompanied by a rise in anti-immigrant sentiment – driven by an economic policy that has made life harder for the middle class while enriching those at the top.

The growing anger against the institutions of the European Union, considered the main culprit for the failed economic policies, has made the élites desperate for some sense of stability, to help them weather the storm. As a result, a potential Clinton victory was openly welcomed by most political leaders.

After Trump’s victory, there were numerous press reports of worries among European governments regarding the incoming Administration’s foreign policy. Trump is understandably seen as unpredictable, but the key point revolves around his attitude towards Russia, the same issue that is currently dominating the institutional fight in the United States right now.

Just after the election The New York Times ran a story entitled “For Europe, Trump’s Election is a Terrifying Disaster,” suggesting that under the new President, the United States may embrace authoritarianism and no longer defend democracy. It was a theme that other mainstream news outlets also pushed.

On Nov. 17, The Associated Press wrote: “NATO members and other European countries are worried that under Trump, the U.S. will stop trying to police Russia’s behavior the way it has under Obama. Most concerning to U.S. allies are Trump’s effusive comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin, one of the first world leaders he spoke to after winning the election.”

Seeing Benefits

While it is true that former Soviet bloc countries such as Poland and Latvia would prefer to maintain the current hardline position towards Russia, the reality is that the largest E.U. members – France, Italy and Germany – actually stand to benefit from the diplomatic approach promised by President-elect Trump.

This doesn’t mean they supported his candidacy, though. First of all, they were told that he couldn’t win; and second, a Trump victory would seem to encourage the anti-establishment movements already on the rise in Europe, which threaten both the E.U.’s status quo and the jobs of key leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Hillary Clinton was seen as representing continuity, and for the many politicians who seek to curry favor with the transatlantic elites, it was best to show their Clinton bona fides in view of the upcoming change in power. For example, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi – now out of office due to a stinging anti-establishment vote in a referendum on proposed constitutional reforms – repeatedly broke diplomatic protocol and publicly criticized Trump during the election campaign.

However, over the course of 2016 it became clear that Clinton’s foreign policy was far more aggressive than Barack Obama’s, as the President had actually been seeking collaboration with Russia for several years on issues, such as constraining Iran’s nuclear program and negotiating an end to the Syrian conflict, despite heavy opposition from within his own administration.

Indeed Trump’s openness towards Vladimir Putin seems even more heretical now because most have chosen to forget that Obama himself had sought close cooperation with Putin on several key issues. For instance, Secretary of State John Kerry’s diplomacy last year on Syria almost succeeded in implementing intelligence sharing and joint airstrikes by the two powers, before being effectively thwarted by the Pentagon and other U.S. institutional opposition in September 2016.

Now Obama seems to have forgotten his former position, and decided to fully toe the anti-Russian line, apparently convinced that he must do his part in the campaign to weaken Trump and prevent him from being an effective president, even in areas where their positions are not far apart.

It is possible that Trump will accelerate the timid attempts of his predecessor to abandon the “regime change” policies that have led to numerous disasters in the Middle East, and heightened tensions with Russia. The President-elect seems determined to pursue this path more openly than Obama, who worked slowly towards this goal while seeking to placate his critics with more bellicose language in his public statements.

Doubts About the U.S. Hardline

Although European nations have been heavily involved in recent regime change adventures (the U.K. in Iraq and France in Libya, for example), there is a widespread preference in Western Europe for avoiding further conflict with Russia. The U.S. position on the events in Ukraine, for example, is often seen as one-sided, and the notion of NATO expansion to Russia’s borders seems like an unnecessary and dangerous provocation that can only makes things worse.

Western sanctions against Russia, and Russia’s retaliatory sanctions on food imports, have cost European economies over $100 billion in trade, according to some estimates, hitting the agricultural sector especially hard. In addition, Russia has been concluding more economic agreements with countries such as China, leading to fears of permanent consequences for Europe.

For this reason, France, Italy and Germany have all repeatedly stated their desire to reduce or remove the sanctions altogether. The hope is that an agreement can be reached to defuse tensions in Ukraine, based on support for the Kiev government but broad autonomy for the ethnic Russian areas in eastern Ukraine.

Despite this desire to head off further conflict, European governments are usually careful not to openly break with U.S. policy; they are key members of NATO and have no desire to distance themselves from the leader of the alliance. However, if Donald Trump follows through on his stated goal of working “together with Russia,” the countries of Western Europe in particular may welcome the opportunity to advance their own economic interests and avoid finding themselves in the middle of a new Cold War.

Andrew Spannaus is a freelance journalist and strategic analyst based in Milan, Italy. He is the founder of, that provides news, analysis and consulting to Italian institutions and businesses. His book on the U.S. elections Perchè vince Trump (Why Trump is Winning) was published in June 2016.

January 9, 2017 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Berlin – Another False Flag? Government Complicity? Part of New World Order Agenda?

By Peter Koenig | Global Research | December 27, 2016

12 dead, about 40 injured, is the result of the latest terror attack in Berlin, when on 19 December, a truck plouged into a Christmas market at Berlin’s Bretscheideplatz, near the lush Kurfuerstendamm.

Is it not a ‘déjà-vu’ of not even half a year ago, when in Nice, France, on 14th July a truck mowed down hordes of people celebrating Bastille Day?

In Berlin, the first ‘culprit’ was a Pakistani who apparently ‘escaped’. When later he turned up and explained with proof his innocence, they had to let him go. In the cabin of the truck they also found a dead man of Polish origin. He couldn’t be accused, since he was dead.

Then the chase was stalled, until miraculously, about a day later, they found in the truck identity papers of a Mr. Anis Amri (24) of Tunisian citizenship beneath the driver’s seat.  As is usual with these terrorists, they like to leave their ID cards behind. It seems to be part of their strategy to be caught and killed.

Then, once more there was a ‘suspect’, who could be chased, throughout Europe.

At three in the morning of December 23, again miraculously, Anis Amri turned up on a plaza in Milan, got allegedly into a confrontation with two policemen, who claimed he pulled a gun, when one of them shot and killed him. No witness, no proof.

Two Italian policemen killed a young man, whom – they say – they didn’t even have a clue who he might be. They became heroes, literally overnight. Italy’s new PM, Paolo Gentiloni, thanked and congratulated them; and so did Mme. Merkel and her Interior Minister, Thomas de Maizière.

The same pattern all over again.

DEAD MAN CAN’T TALK. It’s Paris (Charlie Hebdo and Bataclan); Nice; Brussels; Munich; Orlando, Florida; San Bernardino, California …… all over again- and again – and again.

The ‘plowing-through-a-celebrating-crowd’ is in many regards “a carbon copy” of  the 14th July massacre in Nice (see image below). At the end, the designated ‘Muslim’ terrorist was  killed. No witness. No testimony.

Questions to be fully investigated: Were the secret services, the core of which are the CIA, Mossad and MI6, with the collaboration of Germany’s BND involved. Was it a false flag?

Don’t believe one minute that your respective governments didn’t and don’t know what’s going on.

Who are the real perpetrators?

The real perpetrators are not Muslims. They are your own spineless puppet governments, all of which (covertly) support the ISIS and al Qaeda. They obey orders to demonize the Muslim faith and society.

That’s what the west knows best – denigrating and discriminating, accusing the innocent, to serve their purpose, sanctions for those who do not submit.

In reality, no change for the last 800-some years, colonizing, exploiting, murdering the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Today’s ‘leaders’ are the descendants of the colonial era killers of times past.  They form the core of our “western killer civilization”.

These western ‘leaders’ are mere puppets, because they have been put in ‘power’ by the the elusive elite, also called the “Deep State” – the Deep State gone global.

Democracy is dead. It’s become a useless defunct slogan. No so-called election over the past decade or so, in the western world has been democratic. They were all scams and manipulations of peoples’ minds and wills.

And if they didn’t conform to what the Washington masters and their supreme masters needed, Plan B of ‘regime change’ kicked in.

They have become experts of semi-clandestine ‘regime change’ through parliamentary coups – i.e. Paraguay, Ukraine, Brazil, Greece, Portugal, Spain and many others.

If these eventually ‘elected’ western leaders (sic-sic), from Obama, to Merkel, Hollande, May, Gentiloni – and the entire EU / OECD clan, don’t behave, they are ‘cooked’, the target of political destabilizaion. That’s the extent of impunity which drives this hegemonic and criminal process towards the New World Order, or the One World Order, led by the global finance and war industry.

The finance clan, the lords of money, the Rothschilds, Rockefellers, Morgans, et al, the FED, BIS (Bank for International Settlements, the secretive central bank of all central banks) and Goldman Sachs, have to act fast; otherwise they might lose the key instrument of their power – the sham dollar pyramid economy – may fall apart, before they have actually reached their goal – a world under constant chaos, never-ending conflicts and wars.

A world under which a small elite, enslaves the 99.99% of ‘Us, the People’ — under ever worsening life conditions, unemployment, misery, disease, privatized social services, all contributing to a steady decline in life expectancy.

Among their instruments is permanent chaos. Economic dislocation and social crises.

Open borders forced by trade lobbies and WTO (World Trade Organization) will wipe out small farmers and manufacturers in developing countries, thus eventually handing monopolies to large, mostly US corporations, to the detriment of already impoverished nations, whose vulnerability will be further abused to extract their natural resources for a pittance, so they may repay their IMF / World Bank imposed and leveraged debt.

Floods of refugees from war zones to industrialized wealthy countries, currently happening from the war-torn Middle East to Europe, will disrupt the labor market, push down wages, create massive unemployment. These are all tools towards enslavement of populations. People who have to fend and fight for daily food and often for sheer survival, have no energy or time to take to the streets and protest. That’s the plan; already being enacted. Just look at Greece.

What does all that have to do with the Berlin massacre? – Everything. Berlin, like Paris, Brussels, Munich, Orlando… is just a cog in the wheel of the monster’s drive towards full world hegemony.

Unexpected, haphazard carnage and terror acts are spreading misery, poverty and fear.

People who are afraid will call for more police and military protection.

They will voluntarily give up their human and civil rights for what they hope will be more ‘protection’, being totally oblivious to the fact that the very governments from whom they are seeking more protection are those that commit these acts of treason and terror, those who are behind the killings. The Anglo-american  controlled presstitute mainstream media is in permanent brainwashing mode. Unless you search the news and information for yourself on alternative media, they will never tell you the truth, but their lies, after lies, after more of the same lies will fabricate the public truth.

Peoples’ fear and absence of civil rights are easy steps towards increased militarization of the west, already happening – look at France – President (sic) Hollande was just able to extend the State of Emergency through July 2017. [The Paris November 2015 terror attacks played a key role in justifying the State of Emergency.]

The goal is to include it into the French Constitution, basically putting the French people under permanent actual or threat of Martial Law. Others might follow – Germany, Italy – all those whose constituents are ever warier of the EU and their ‘monopoly money’, the euro, and who may seek EUREXIT. This would break the camel’s back, so to speak, or at least put a wrench in the boundless onslaught of the hegemon.

Peoples’ fear may also re-strengthen the faltering justification of NATO. The fall of NATO must be halted. NATO is the Deep State’s warrior flagship, the military fear- and war monger vis-à-vis Russia and eventually China – the last vestiges to be conquered by the self-styled almighty empire, the invisible elite that pretends to rule the globe. Fortunately, they cannot stand up to the Russia-China chess duo which is gradually outsmarting the west’s ostentatious killer exploits.

Imagine, your own spineless governments, following orders of the globalized Deep State – in Berlin, Munich, Nice, Paris, Brussels, Orlando, and an almost endless list of false flags.

How can we respect our so-called leaders? They have zero esteem for us, who are their bread-earners. They kill us, no hesitation, if it pleases them and serves their purpose – and their greed.

In the case of Berlin, is the German government complicit? Blaming Muslims, finding a pre-identified victim, Mr. Anis Amri, who most likely had no clue that he was framed.

In Italy, the police catch him (or somebody who has been given the pre-identified Tunisian victim’s name), they kill him – and, bingo – case closed. Another fear-inflicting false flag was born and concluded, advancing the bulldozer of empire’s destruction a notch closer to Full Spectrum Dominance.

The MSM will do the rest – until the next fake exploit. Be prepared. But this can happen only if we let our governments get away with it, if we close our eyes to reality; if we keep believing the presstitute media.

People wake up! – Boycott the MSM. Take the time to seek the truth elsewhere, for example, on RT, TeleSur, Global Research, ICH, New Eastern Outlook (NEO), CounterPunch, The Saker, Voltairenet — and many more. The Deep State cannot win without your participation.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 4th Media, TeleSUR, TruePublica, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.

Copyright © Peter Koenig, Global Research, 2016

January 6, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brexit-Style Referendums Idea Gains Popularity in Three EU States After UK Vote

Sputnik – 01.12.2016

The idea of conducting a referendum on exiting the European Union has become more popular in EU countries, including Italy, Poland and Spain ever since the Brexit vote, while large numbers of people in other states of the bloc would support holding such a referendum, IFop pollster revealed in a survey for Sputnik.

According to the poll, the number of people who would support such a referendum has increased by 7 percent in Italy since July and now stands at 53 percent. The number of supporters of a vote on EU membership has also increased in Spain and Poland by 5 percent, to 39 percent and 38 percent, respectively.

The Brexit-style referendum is also popular in other European countries. Almost half, or 47 percent, of French nationals polled backed such an idea. The number of supporters of holding a referendum on exiting the European Union in Germany stands at 43 percent. The survey was carried out by France’s IFop pollster on October 22-26. As many as 5,019 people took part in the poll. The maximum sample error stands at 3.1 percent.

On June 23, the United Kingdom voted on referendum to leave the European Union. UK Prime Minister Theresa May said the country would trigger Article 50 by the end of March 2017, thus kick-starting withdrawal negotiations.

December 1, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | Leave a comment