So many people sent this one, I have to blog about it. But there's another reason I've got to blog about it, and that's because for some time I've been saying "Watch Italy." And there's a reason for that. There is "pushback" against Mr. Globaloney and the technobrusselsprouts in Brusselcratia almost everywhere one looks in Europe: France, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Hungary, Poland, even in Sweden. So what sets Italy apart? It's very simple, in my opinion: Italy is the first major economic and technological power in Europe to have that "pushback" actually constituted as a government. One might argue that Mrs. May's post-Brexit referendum government constitutes such, but it's increasingly difficult to figure out what - if anything - Mrs. May actually stands for amid her muttered obfuscations.
Not so Italy's Matteo Salvini, who according to the following article from Zero Hedge, has allegedly called for an end to Italy's central bank, and jail time for its banksters (we'll get back to that crucial "allegedly" in a moment):
Matteo Salvini, the outspoken head of the anti-immigrant League party, said the Bank of Italy and Consob, the country’s stock market regulator, should be "reduced to zero, more than changing one or two people, reduced to zero", or in other words eliminated, and that “fraudsters” who inflicted losses on Italian savers should "end up in prison for a long time."
As the FT notes, this latest broadside against Italy’s financial establishment comes as the two parties which are increasingly at odds with each other amid speculation Salvini may hold elections to become the sole leader of Italy, prepare to run against each other in the European parliamentary elections in May, a contest widely seen as a proxy for national polls. Meanwhile, both leaders have also increased their attacks against targets including the EU and French president Emmanuel Macron.
In other words, the populist coalition government is breaking down, but that does not mean that that wing of Italian politics is any weaker; it means rather than it's large and strong enough to have factions within it, divided over future direction. We'll get back to this point in a moment.
A little further in the article, there is this:
Separately, Di Maio and other Five Star ministers said they want to block Luigi Federico Signorini, the deputy director-general of the Bank of Italy, from renewing his term, according to La Repubblica. The newspaper reported that the Italian cabinet was divided on the issue.
As previously reported, in the latest anti-establishment shot across the bow, several days ago the government nominated Paolo Savona, a veteran economist and prominent Eurosceptic who had previously served as minister for European affairs, as the new president of Consob. Savona was last year been blocked as the coalition’s first choice as economy minister by Italian president Sergio Mattarella, following strong pressure from Brussels and a revolt in the Italian bond market.
In other words, if at first you don't succeed in installing people into the bureaucracy who are friendly toward your policy, try try again, and try it somewhere else. All of which is bad news for the Italian central bank and securities markets and their masters in Brusselcratia.
It's that part about "fraudsters" that caught my attention, because it implies a willingness to probe deeply into the wobbly Italian banking system, and why it's so wobbly. A few years ago, when stories began to break that Italy's and one of the world's oldest banks in continuous operations, the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena was in trouble, threads began to unravel that took one all the way back to the European Central bank, to Italian Mario Draghi (its current head), and to - you guessed it - that bank that seems to be at the epicenter of a great deal of financial skullduggery and "boondogglty," Deutsche Bank (remember those puts before 9/11?) So when Signor Salvini starts talking openly about dismantling the Italian Central bank and putting fraudsters in prison, I suspect he's sending messages, and they're not just intended for folks on the banks of the river Tiber, but north of the Alps on the banks of the river Main.
And that brings us back to that tricky word "allegedly" that I said we'd get back to. One member of this website, who resides in Italy, pointed out that that Zero Hedge may have got part of its translation from the Italian incorrect, and that the word azzerare does not mean the elimination of the central bank itself, but rather, it means a call for the total replacement of the personnel of the bank.
And that, in the context of my speculation that Signor Salvini is sending messages - very strong ones - makes sense: if one is going to clean out (and investigate) fraud, it makes no sense to keep the very people one intends to investigate in their positions of management and policy-making. In effect, what Salvini is proposing is a kind of "central bank governing board packing scheme."
Which brings me to the end of my high octane speculation twig: suppose for a moment, just suppose the most wild scenario: that Salvini intends to let Italy's Guardia di Finanza, its financial police, loose to do a top to bottom investigation. You might recognize that name; they're the same guys that arrested those two Japanese gentlemen back in 2009 on the Italian-Swiss border. The gentlemen were said to be carrying, in the false bottom of a briefcase, $134.5 billion dollars in US bearer bonds, some of which were denominated in billion dollar bonds. (See my series: Japan: Connecting some Dots: Parts one-six, 2012). There was such a hue and cry over the story that President Obama had to deny their authenticity in a press conference later that year. Funny thing, though, the two Japanese gentlemen were not arrested by the Guardia di Finanza for counterfeting, but rather, inexplicably released, whence they disappeared. So I have to wonder, are these stories of Salvini's call for prison time for central bank fraudsters and that strange story from 2009 connected? Well, of course, there's no evidence that they are. But at the time of the Japanese Bearer Bond Scandal, it was pointed out that the amount of the bonds in question - $134.5 billion - was equal to the amount of assets in the USA's "Troubled Asset Relief Fund," and hence, there may have been a connection between the Japanese Bearer Bond Scandal and the whole mess of mortgage fraud, robo-signing, fraudulent accounts and mortgages, and the financial bailouts of 2008.
So while there's no evidence connecting Signor Salvini's statements to a much wider, and deeper, picture of fraud, consider only this: do you believe for a moment that the Guardia di Finanza simply walked away from the whole story, investigated no further, and washed its hands of the affair? I don't. And if they therefore have continued quiet investigations of the whole thing in the last ten years, doubtless with considerable assistance from Italy's old "financially connected" families, they might have built up quite a (top secret) picture by now. And Signor Salvini may have access to much if not all of it.
See you on the...
... oh, did I mention, Italy has invited always-byzantine-never-to-be-trusted-Russia's evil-super-genius-criminal-mastermind-master-conspirator-who's-behind-it-all-Mr. Putin for a state visit? What do you want to bet that they might be "comparing notes"? Remember the Russian economist Tayana Koriagina, who published an article in Pravda in July 2001 that the USA would shortly be attacked on its own soil by an international cabal with assets in excess of $300 trillion dollars? And how, one wonders, did she come by that figure?
Anyway... see you on the flip side...