From the homeland of the ever so popular Godfather series and the source of most popular mafia stories, Italy is no stranger to corruption and behind-closed-doors political deals. Italy has been seeing a lot of reform recently since the change of power from the broadcast and print media giant Silvio Berlusconi’s regime which was Center-right in its political agenda, to the center-left regime of Romano Prodi. A drastic change this week occurred when the heads of all three Italian intelligence agencies were removed from their posts. One was not extraordinary because he was scheduled for retirement, but the other two still had some time left in their public service careers, until President Prodi stepped in, and said, “no more.”
Some of the reasons for this change in power is due to problems that have been reported in all levels of the intelligence services of Italy. The SISDE is accused of conspiring to topple democratically elected governments. The SISMI allegedly took part in the kidnapping of a prominent Muslim cleric, Abu Omar, and taking him to Africa to be tortured. The suspicion is that the head of the agency carried this out himself.
Most recently, an espionage ring was discovered within the Telecom Italia agency, a privatized communications agency, which seems to have worked with both private and public intelligence agencies. Not all the facts have become public, but enough has been discovered to remove SISMI’s department head, General Pollari. From this ongoing investigation, evidence has been found that past-President Berlusconi may have ordered the, “traumatic, even bloody” treatment of people who spoke against him.
So dirt dirt dirt, and some more dirt. That’s all politics seems to be once it hits the limelight, but isn’t some of this to be suspected? Past-President Berlusconi was within hours of being thrown out of office several times throughout his tenure when he would just change the law and save himself. He was seen largely as a corrupt politician, but since he owned almost all media outlets in Italy, he was able to keep the public’s favor. All of this first which is being exposed, and the drastic change of important figures within the Italian government are all to be expected now that the government has taken a drastic and long-anticipated shift. The future of Italy looks bright, but it will have to clean up the dirt first.