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Guest Article by Benjamin Sanders
Many readers will be familiar with America’s ‘deep state’, which is the bureaucratic, judicial, intelligence and media force which has focused its powers to oppose President Trump and his populist agenda. Well now it seems that Italy’s very own ‘deep state’ is ramping up its campaign, as revealed this week in a series of tumultuous events.
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who is head of the populist Lega Party, refused to allow the estimated 150 migrants aboard the Diciotti ship to land on Italian soil. The migrants reportedly started a hunger strike, as the boat continued to remain off shore at the port of Catania, Sicily. It was reported that Italian authorities did allow children to disembark, as well as some adult migrants who required medical attention.
However Salvini was adamant that the rest of the migrants must not be allowed to set foot in Italy. It was reported that most of the migrants were from Eritrea, with the others from Somalia, Syria and Sudan. Coming under pressure from the European Commission, Italy’s populist government did not back down, and instead threatened to cut funding to Brussels unless other countries took in the migrants.
As this drama was unfolding, a meeting with representatives from 12 EU countries took place, though according to Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, no progress was made with regards to the migrant crisis.
The supposedly ceremonial Italian President Sergio Matarella and the populist government have also been at each other’s throats. Matarella is an open borders globalist, and has undermined Salvini’s border controls on at least one occasion already. Materella urged port authorities to disembark the migrants from the Diciotti ship for humanitarian reasons.
On top of all of this, Italian prosecutors are threatening to question Salvini over his detention of migrants. According to article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights, asylum seekers must be released after 48 hours and allowed to apply for refugee status. Prosecutors are adamant that Salvini, who as Interior Minister holds responsibility for such affairs, has broken this convention. However he remains steadfast and defiant, and robustly hit back:
‘If someone is thinking about arresting me, they’re mistaken, because the Italian people are asking for order, rules, respect and controlled immigration.’
The mainstream media in Italy has also been unrelenting in its criticism of the populist government’s border controls, with some journalists so blatantly hostile it beggars belief. However thankfully there are some dissenting voices within the media. Alessandra Bocchi, a freelance journalist, exclaimed on twitter:
‘What is happening in Italy is unprecedented. The entire establishment: the head of state, judiciary, & media is threatening Salvini, including with jail time, for refusing to disembark the migrants on the Diciotti ship. Salvini stands alone with the Italian people behind him.’
In a week of political turmoil, Italy’s populists definitely needed a lifeline, and it looks like they may have found one. It was reported on Friday that Donald Trump has offered to help buy Italy’s sovereign bonds, something which could help ease the country’s debt crisis. Whether the timing of this news was on purpose or was just coincidence has raised speculation, but whatever the truth, it will help Salvini and his allies in the battles to come.