THE DOT - if this turns orange or red be alert

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday brainstorming - Berlusconi special

0. Sony came up with quite a coup as they not only lowered the price more than most asked for but came up with a big improvement on the console itself at 299$ it will be one of the top selling items for Christmas - will have a look of the charts to see how much potential/scope is left.

1. Bloombergs very manipulative and false reports as they claim China has entered a bear market in August - fact is the whole world is still in a major bear market within an economic depression cycle. The fact that mass media and politicians try to deny that does not change the reality. All other markets will follow Chişna's move shortly as the stocks are completely overpriced. Goldman just 4 months ago insisted earning for 2010 SPX would be around 42 $ around the lows now at the highs they come up with 70$ - that speaks volumes with me commenting it. Never forget Bloomberg total income resource are banks who need bull markets to make money hence Bloomberg will always participate naturally in a very manipulative upside scam.


Excerpt
China Stock Index Plunges, Briefly Enters Bear Market

Aug. 19 (Bloomberg) -- China’s stocks fell, briefly driving the benchmark index into a so-called bear market, on concern tighter lending will damp economic growth.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 4.3 percent to 2,785.58, as China Shenhua Energy Co., the nation’s largest coal producer, sank 6.8 percent, the most since Feb. 18, and Citic Securities Co., the biggest brokerage, sank 7.8 percent.

The gauge has slumped 19.8 percent since this year’s high on Aug. 4, after more than doubling from November’s low as China rolled out a 4 trillion yuan ($585 billion) stimulus package. A plunge in new bank loans in July, disappointing earnings and concern the government will seek to damp property market speculation has sapped confidence.

2. Interesting is that Berlusconi is suddenly in the center of sex scandals - not because he is a decent man as his bias for the ladies is obvious and I have no doubt he participated or organized wild parties - if you ever have seen the movie 'Eyes wild shut' - that were not fantasies but pure reality of the escapades the elite is having. Those kind of things never changed through history- ancient Egyptians did is as the Romans and slavery is a common practice again where Manhattan is full of imported child slaves working for families as 'servants'. Degeneration and perversion of societies signal the end of those and are very common in those stages. Even Obama could not help to look after a juicy young lady at the Italian Summit. Coming back to the Berlusconi situation I think that he is having powerful people playing him into the foul zone as he always has done what he does know but that it is pulled out to the open means he must have fallen to disgrace within their ranks. After Berlusconi graduated University a bank gave him a big credit to start a real estate company right away. The bank which did that was famous for being the Mafias hub and his father was a director at this bank. He was never a real businessman just the camouflage puppet to develop legal 'Mafia' business. Interesting is that his biggest official enemy in mass media is the 'Economist' - fully owned by Rothschild's as we have here to competing forces - one is the Jewish bank and oil gang Rothschild,Rockefeller and their opponent the Vatican right wing gang - who are 2 of a handful powerful secret rulers of this planet now for a few hundred years. Interestingly communism was invented by this Jewish Banker families to destabilize the old rulers in kingdoms power and they were quite successful in that operation over centuries. The current attack on Berlusconi could be an attempt to weaken the right wing competitors influence over Italy which is their home turf.

Excerpt

Clear record up to now

Silvio Berlusconi has an extensive record of criminal allegations, including mafia collusion, false accounting, tax fraud, corruption and bribery of police officers and judges. Berlusconi has been tried in Italian courts in several cases. In three of them accusations were dropped by the judiciary because of the laws passed by Berlusconi's parliamentary majority shortening the time limit for prosecution of various offences and making false accounting illegal only if there is a specific damaged party reporting the fact to the authorities.[78][79] In all of them, but one, he was acquitted, either by a court of first instance or on appeal, or when proceedings came to a halt because the statute of limitations had expired. Therefore he has a clear record up to now. Berlusconi claimed that "this is a manifest judicial persecution, against which I am proud to resist, and the fact that my resistance and sacrifice will give the Italians a more fair and efficient judicial system makes me even more proud",[80] and added that "789 prosecutors and magistrates took an interest in the politician Berlusconi from 1994 to 2006 with the aim of subverting the votes of the Italian people" reeling off statistics that he said have constituted a "calvary including 577 visits by police, 2,500 court hearings and 174 million euros in lawyers' bills paid by me".[81][82][83] Berlusconi has always been able to afford top lawyers, for example Nicolas Sarkozy was one of his french top advocates.[84][85][86] Some of his former prosecutors are members of the parliamentary opposition. Some of his attorneys are also members of parliament.

Delaying tactics

The Italian legal system allows the statute of limitations to continue to run during the course of the trial. Consequently, the delaying tactics adopted by Berlusconi's attorneys (including repeated motions for change of venue) have served to nullify pending charges on many occasions. Some of Berlusconi's close collaborators, friends and firm managers have been found guilty of related crimes, notably his brother, Paolo, who in 2001 agreed to pay 100,000,000 Italian Liras (52,000 Euros) as a plea bargain for various charges including corruption.

False testimony regarding membership of the "Propaganda 2" (P2) masonic lodge

Receipt for membership of Silvio Berlusconi to "Propaganda 2" (P2) masonic lodge

In 1981, a scandal arose after the police discovery of Licio Gelli's secret freemasonry lodge Propaganda 2 (P2), which aimed to change the Italian political system to a more authoritarian regime to oppose communism. The list of people involved in P2 included members of the secret services and some prominent characters from political arena, business, military and media. Silvio Berlusconi, who was then just starting to gain popularity as the founder and owner of "Canale 5" TV channel, was listed as a member of P2.[87][88] The P2 lodge was dissolved by the Italian Parliament in December 1981 and a law was passed declaring similar organizations illegal, but no specific crimes were alleged against individual members of the P2 lodge.[citation needed].

Berlusconi later (in 1989) sued three journalists for libel for writing articles hinting at his involvement in financial crimes. In court, he declared that he had joined the P2 lodge "only for a very short time before the scandal broke" and "he had not even paid the entry fee". Such statements conflicted with the findings of the parliamentary inquiry commission appointed to investigate the lodge's activity, with material evidence, and even with previous testimony of Berlusconi, all of which proved that he had actually been a member of P2 since 1978 and had indeed paid 100,000 Italian liras (52 Euros) as an entry fee. In 1990 the court of appeal of Venice found Berlusconi guilty of false testimony in front of the Court of Verona, however the court did not proceed to sentence because the wrongdoing had been extinguished by an amnesty passed in 1989.[89]

Some political commentators claim that Berlusconi's electoral programme followed the P2 plan.[90]

"Jowellgate"/David Mills bribery case

The link between him and the difficulties of British Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell, has attracted less media attention in Italy than in the United Kingdom, where the media has sensed a whiff of something scandalous (or at least hypocritical and embarrassing) for the government. David Mills, lawyer husband of the British cabinet minister in the Blair government, had acted for Berlusconi in the early 1990s and has been accused by Italian prosecutors of money laundering and of accepting a gift from Berlusconi in return for friendly evidence given as a prosecution witness against Berlusconi. However, Mills has asserted that the money in question did not come from Berlusconi but from another client. No formal indictment has yet been issued but on 10 March 2006 it was reported that prosecuting magistrates in Italy had submitted evidence to a judge, seeking an indictment for bribery against Berlusconi and Mills27: all parties vehemently deny wrong-doing and Berlusconi commented that the timing showed that the prosecution is political. Berlusconi denied meeting Mills. The British media have not yet unearthed anything to warrant Jowell's resignation or which proves the guilt of Mills, Berlusconi or their intermediaries. Mills separated from his wife around this time. On 17 February 2009, Mills was found guilty of accepting a bribe of about 400,000 Sterling Pounds, allegedly from Silvio Berlusconi. Mills was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison. Appeal still pending. [14]

Controversies

The debate about motives

According to journalists Marco Travaglio and Enzo Biagi, Berlusconi entered politics to save his companies from bankruptcy and himself from convictions.[91] From the very beginning he said it clearly to his associates. Berlusconi's supporters hailed him as the "new man", an outsider who was going to bring a new efficiency to the public bureaucracy and reform the state from top to bottom.

While investigating these matters, three journalists noted the following facts:

  • Mediobanca's annual report about the 10 biggest Italian companies showed that, in 1992, Berlusconi's media and finance group Fininvest had about 7,140 billion lire of debts, 8,193 billion lire of assets (with 35% of liquidity) and a net worth (that is, assets minus debts) of 1,053 billion lire. The asset-debt ratio represented a patrimonial situation bordering on bankruptcy.[citation needed]
  • Between 1992 and 1993, Fininvest was investigated several times by prosecutors in Milan, Turin and Rome. The investigations regarded: alleged bribes (to political parties and public officials with the aim of getting contracts), alleged fake invoicing by Publitalia, the financing of political congresses and abuse of television frequencies.
  • On the other hand Dr. Bruno Vespa notest that "In January 1994, Silvio Berlusconi was under no proceedings. Two members of the staff from the Ministry of the Finances were charged to be corrupted for a minor episode by a Fininvest manager, but the accusation would have later fallen. Aldo Brancher, who was working with Fininvest at the time, was charged for having financed some stands at the "Feste dell'Unità" and "L'Avanti!", and he would have been declared fully not guilty only in 2004. Paolo Berlusconi [Silvio Berlusconi's brother] was instead arrested [...] after the Cavaliere went into politics." After having decided to enter the political arena, Berlusconi was investigated for forty different inquests in less than two years. [92]

Bettino Craxi

Berlusconi's career as an entrepreneur is also often questioned by his detractors. The allegations made against him generally include suspicions about the extremely fast increase of his activity as a construction entrepreneur in years 1961-63, hinting at the possibility that in those years he received money from unknown and possibly illegal sources. These accusations are regarded by Berlusconi and his supporters as empty slander, trying to undermine Berlusconi's reputation of a self-made man. Frequently cited by opponents are also events dating to the 1980s, including supposed "favour exchanges" between Berlusconi and Bettino Craxi, the former Socialist prime minister and leader of the Italian Socialist Party indicted in 1992-94 for various corruption charges. Berlusconi acknowledges a personal friendship with Craxi.

On some occasions, which raised a strong upheaval in the Italian political opposition, laws passed by the Berlusconi administration have effectively delayed ongoing trials on him. Relevant examples are the law reducing punishment for all cases of false accounting and the law on legitimate suspicion, which allowed defendants to request their cases to be moved to another court if they believe that the local judges are biased against them. 7,8 Because of these legislative actions, political opponents accuse Berlusconi of passing these laws on the purpose of protecting himself from legal charges; Berlusconi and his allies, on the other hand, maintain that such laws are consistent with everyone's right to a rapid and just trial, and with the principle of presumption of innocence (garantismo); furthermore, they claim that Berlusconi is being subjected to a political "witch hunt", orchestrated by certain (allegedly left-wing) judges 11.

For such reasons, Berlusconi and his government have an ongoing quarrel with the Italian judiciary, which reached its peak in 2003 when Berlusconi commented to a foreign journalist that judges are "mentally disturbed" and "anthropologically different from the rest of the human race", remarks that he later claimed he meant to be directed to specific judges only, and of a humorous nature12. More seriously, the Berlusconi administration has long been planning a judiciary reform intended to limit the flexibility currently enjoyed by judges and magistrates in their decision-making, but which, according to its critics, will instead limit the magistrature's independence, by de facto subjecting the judiciary to the executive's control. This reform has met almost unanimous dissent from the Italian judges 13,14 and, after three years of debate and struggle, was passed by the Italian parliament in December 2004, but was immediately vetoed by the Italian President, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi 15, who said some of the passed laws were "clearly unconstitutional".

Berlusconi has also been indicted in Spain for charges of tax fraud and violation of anti-trust laws regarding the private TV network Telecinco, but his status as a member of the European Parliament allowed him to gain immunity from prosecution until 2005.16 All the accused have been acquitted by the Spanish "Corte de Casacion" in July 2008.[93][94]

Alleged links to the Mafia

Silvio Berlusconi has never been tried on charges relating to the Mafia, although several Mafia turncoats have stated that Berlusconi had connections with the Sicilian criminal association. The claims arise mostly from the hiring of Vittorio Mangano, charged for Mafia association, as a gardener and stable-man at Berlusconi's Villa San Martino in Arcore, a small town near Milan. It was Berlusconi's friend Marcello Dell'Utri (convicted of extortion in association with Cosa Nostra in 2004) who introduced Mangano to Berlusconi in 1973. [95][96] Berlusconi denied any ties to the Mafia. Marcello Dell'Utri even stated that the Mafia did not exist at all.

Heated debate on this issue emerged again in 2004 when Dell'Utri, the manager of Berlusconi's publishing company Publitalia '80 and a Forza Italia senator was sentenced to nine years by a Palermo court on charge of "external association to the Mafia",[96][97] a sentence describing Dell'Utri as a mediator between the economical interests of Berlusconi and members of the criminal organization. Berlusconi refused to comment on the sentence.

In 1996, a Mafia informer, Salvatore Cancemi, declared that Berlusconi and Dell'Utri were in direct contact with Salvatore Riina, head of the Sicilian Mafia in the 1980s and 90s. Cancemi disclosed that Fininvest, through Marcello Dell'Utri and mafioso Vittorio Mangano, had paid Cosa Nostra 200 million lire (100 000 euro) annually. The alleged contacts, according to Cancemi, were to lead to legislation favourable to Cosa Nostra, in particular the harsh 41-bis prison regime. The underlying premise was that Cosa Nostra would support Berlusconi's Forza Italia party in return for political favours. [98] After a two-year investigation, magistrates closed the inquiry without charges. They did not find evidence to corroborate Cancemi’s allegations. Similarly, a two-year investigation, also launched on evidence from Cancemi, into Berlusconi’s alleged association with the Mafia was closed in 1996.[95]

According to yet another mafia turncoat, Antonino Giuffrè – arrested on 16 April 2002 – the Mafia turned to Berlusconi's Forza Italia party to look after the Mafia's interests, after the decline in the early 1990s of the ruling party Christian Democracy, whose leaders in Sicily looked after the Mafia's interests in Rome. The Mafia's fall out with the Christian Democrats became clear when Salvo Lima was killed in March 1992. "The Lima murder marked the end of an era," Giuffrè told the court. "A new era opened with a new political force on the horizon which provided the guarantees that the Christian Democrats were no longer able to deliver. To be clear, that party was Forza Italia." [99] Dell'Utri was the go-between on a range of legislative efforts to ease pressure on mafiosi in exchange for electoral support, according to Giuffrè. "Dell'Utri was very close to Cosa Nostra and a very good contact point for Berlusconi," he said.[100] Mafia boss Bernardo Provenzano told Giuffrè that they "were in good hands" with Dell'Utri, who was a "serious and trustworthy person". Provenzano stated that the Mafia's judicial problems would be resolved within 10 years after 1992, thanks to the undertakings given by Forza Italia.[96][99] Giuffrè said that Berlusconi himself used to be in touch with Stefano Bontade, a top Mafia boss, in the mid 1970s. At the time Berlusconi still was just a wealthy real estate developer and started his private television empire. Bontade visited Berlusconi's villa in Arcore through his contact Vittorio Mangano.[101] Berlusconi's lawyer dismissed Giuffrè's testimony as "false" and an attempt to discredit the Prime Minister and his party. Giuffrè said that other Mafia representatives who were in contact with Berlusconi included the Palermo Mafia bosses Filippo Graviano and Giuseppe Graviano.[102] The Graviano brothers allegedly treated directly with Berlusconi through the business-man Gianni Letta, somewhere between September/October 1993. The alleged pact with the Mafia fell apart in 2002. Cosa Nostra had achieved nothing.[103]

Dell'Utri's lawyer, Enrico Trantino, dismissed Giuffrè’s allegations as an "anthology of hearsay". He said Giuffrè had perpetuated the trend that every new turncoat would attack Dell'Utri and the former Christian Democrat prime minister Giulio Andreotti in order to earn money and judicial privileges.[101]

The Economist

One of Berlusconi's strongest critics in the media outside Italy is the British weekly The Economist (nicknamed by Berlusconi "The Ecommunist"), which in its issue of the 26 April 2001 carried a title on its front cover, 'Why Silvio Berlusconi is unfit to lead Italy'.[104] The war of words between Berlusconi and The Economist has gained notoriety, with Berlusconi taking the publication to court in Rome and The Economist publishing letters against him.[105] The newspaper claimed that the documentation contained in its article proves that Berlusconi is 'unfit' for office[106] because of his numerous conflicts of interest. Berlusconi claimed the article contained "a series of old accusations" that was an "insult to truth and intelligence".

According to The Economist's findings, Berlusconi, while Prime Minister of Italy, retained effective control of 90% of all national television broadcasting. This figure included stations he owns directly as well as those over which he had indirect control by dint of his position as Prime Minister and his ability to influence the choice of the management bodies of these stations. The Economist has also claimed that the Italian Prime Minister is corrupted and self-serving. A key journalist for The Economist, David Lane, has set out many of these charges in his book Berlusconi's Shadow.[107]

Lane points out that Berlusconi has not defended himself in court against the main charges, but has relied upon political and legal manipulations, most notably by changing the statute of limitation to prevent charges being completed in the first place. In order to publicly prove the truth of the documented accusations contained in their articles, the newspaper has publicly challenged Berlusconi to sue The Economist for libel. Berlusconi did so[108], losing versus The Economist, and being charged for all the trial costs on 5 September 2008, when the Court in Milan issued a judgment rejecting all Mr Berlusconi's claims and sentenced him to compensate for legal expenses.

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