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Tremonti Under the Spotlight,
But the Figure at the Center Is LaRouche

Feb. 13, 2009 (EIRNS)—Italian Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti's recent statements against bailout policies for the first time have been covered in a prominent way by major international media on the eve of the G7 financial meeting. The words are those of Tremonti, but the figure at the center is LaRouche. Of course, the most important part of Tremonti's article, on Chapter 11, is not mentioned. Nevertheless, for the first time, Tremonti is taken seriously in the role he is playing among world government leaders. This comes as no surprise, since the danger of a short-term blowout of the system couldn't be more dramatic, and it is exactly that which is expressed in the flurry around Tremonti.

The Washington Times, under the headline: "Italy: Treasury Shook World Markets," writes: "Earlier Thursday, an Italian newspaper published a scathing essay by Italian Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti, who will serve as Mr. Geithner's host at the G7 meetings. 'If the problem is an excess of debt, the cure is not adding more debt, whether that debt is public or private,' wrote Mr. Tremonti, who criticized Bush Administration policies and the Obama Administration's economic-stimulus package in a broad critique of 'the American way' of dealing with the crisis. 'Without new rules, the way out of this crisis, whether by the various rescue plans or with a "bad bank," will only be sowing the seeds of the next one,' he wrote."

Reuters ran a newswire with those same quotes, which were also picked up today by the London Financial Times.

The Washington Times also quotes Italian Ambassador Gianni Castellaneta, who says that Tremonti's remarks should be construed as "a provocative approach to open the discussion. 'For us, it was a setback when Wall Street reacted to Secretary Geithner's plan,' Castellaneta says."

Yesterday, Süddeutsche Zeitung ran an article in anticipation of the G7 summit, where they report that Tremonti is the only finance minister who has so far given no money for bank bailouts and has ignored calls for joining the stimulus clowns. "Tremonti is not worried that the Italians might gain the reputation of freeloaders in the world economic crisis. 'You cannot fight drugs with drugs,' the Minister argues. The drugs of the global financial system would be the latter astronomic private debts, he has diagnosed."

In Italy, Tremonti's article has provoked a broad debate in the news media, with several articles in support of his idea of "Biblical solution." That is probably what he wanted to achieve, in order to work at the non-official level. Il Tempo writes that "Tremonti calls for an epochal commitment. There is some doubt on the will by some countries to innovate, instead of walking along the usual, old paths." Corriere della Sera's economic analyst Massimo Mucchetti calls for a "good bank" approach: Instead of taking the bad stuff out, let us take the good stuff, and the state should run it. The rest, the old banks should decide what to do with it. The "good bank" approach, Mucchetti writes, was followed in the Ambrosiano bankruptcy in the early 1980s, when Ambrosiano chief Roberto Calvi was found hanging under London's Blackfriars Bridge. Out of the "good Ambrosiano," what is today Banca Intesa was born. The difference is that then, the state took the burden of the "bad" Ambrosiano; today, this should not occur.