Another Conspiracy Theory Becomes Fact: Meet The Men With The Plan Behind Italy's Bloodless Coup

Tyler Durden's picture

The chart below is very familiar to anyone who was observing the hourly turmoil in the European bond market in November of 2011, when Italian bonds crashed, when yields soared to record levels, and every downtick of the Euro could have been its last.

What the chart may not show are the dramatic transformations in Italy's government that took place just as the Italian bond spread exploded, which saw the resignation of career-politician Sylvio Berlusconi literally days after yields soared, and the instatement of Goldman technocrat Mario Monti as Italy's next Prime Minister.

In fact as some, and certainly this website, had suggested the blow out in Italian yields was merely a grand plan orchestrated to usher in a new Italian government that would, with the support of yet another Goldman alum, the ECB's then brand new head Mario Draghi, unleash a new era in Italian life, supposedly one of austerity (ignoring that two years after Berlusconi, Italy's debt to GDP ratio has never been higher), and which would give the impression that Europe is being fixed all the while preserving the broken European monetary system for at least another year or two. In other words a grand conspiracy theory of a pre-planned bloodless coup. That all this would take place under the auspices and with the blessing of Italy's president Napolitano, only made things worse since Italy is not a parliamentary republic but a parliamentary democracy, where such cloak and dagger arrangements are certainly not permitted under the constitution.

And so, as lately so often happens, courtesy of the narrative by Alan Friedman of what really happened that summer, this too conspiracy theory has just become conspiracy fact. Thanks to the FT's "Monti’s secret summer", we learn with painful detail (especially for those of our readers who may be Italian), just how the grand conspiracy to out Berlusconi took shape, and how it was deviously executed with the assistance of none other than the European Central Bank.

It all started on In the summer of 2011 when Carlo De Benedetti, the Italian industrial tycoon, hosted Mario Monti, Italy's then former prime minister and an old friend of De Benedetti's in the St Moritz-based alpine retreat of the industrialist for dinner, and a private chat to discuss "a development that was to have profound public consequences." We go to the FT for the full details:

“Mario asked if we could get together, and I chose a typical little Swiss trattoria for dinner, just outside of St Moritz. But at the last minute he said he wanted to talk in private and so I said ‘Sure, stop by my house before dinner’ and so he came by,” Mr De Benedetti says. “And it was then he told me that it was possible that the president of the republic, Napolitano, would ask him to become prime minister, and he asked my advice.


Mr De Benedetti says the two men “discussed whether he should accept the offer, and when would be the right moment to do so. This happened at my house in August, so in fact he had already spoken with President Napolitano.”


The offer from Giorgio Napolitano, the Italian president, to Mr Monti of the job of prime minister – a post that was still very much occupied by Silvio Berlusconi, the billionaire centre-right politician – is at the core of serious questions of legitimacy in Italy. What happened in Italy that summer and autumn as policy makers battled the crisis gripping the eurozone is still a subject of intense debate.

Here, the story takes a detour to a glimpse of the denouement, by advising readers that the president's "planning the replacement of the elected Mr Berlusconi by the unelected technocrat Mr Monti – months ahead of the eventual transfer of power in November – reinforces concerns about Mr Napolitano’s repeated and forceful interventions in politics. His outsized role since the crisis has led many to question whether he stretched his constitutional powers to their limits – or even beyond." Of course, he did - and so did all other European bankers and business tycoons who knew they had to perpetuate the legacy status quo as long as possible or else their fortunes would come crumbling down before their eyes. But we already knew that. What we did not know were the explicit details of how the immaculate plan to wrest control of Italy from the playboy billionaire and hand it over to what essentially were Goldman's key European tentacles, were conceived. So we read on:

Outside the calm of St Moritz that summer, the eurozone crisis was raging. Market speculation against Italian and Spanish sovereign debt was rampant and the spread between Italian Treasury bonds and German Bunds was rocketing. As its borrowing costs rose there was talk that Italy could default. Italy was in crisis – politically as well as economically.


In Rome, Mr Berlusconi was presiding over a rancorous, unstable coalition and increasingly distracted by allegations over sexual relations with Karim el-Mahroug, a Moroccan nightclub dancer. All of Europe seemed to be lambasting him.


Yet despite the controversy engulfing Mr Berlusconi, he was still the sitting prime minister and his government was legitimate under the rules of Italy’s parliamentary democracy.


How long that might last was a subject of conversation between Mr De Benedetti and Mr Monti that August.


“I told Mario that he should take the job but that it was all a question of timing. If Napolitano formalised the offer in September then that was fine, but if he left it until December then it would be too late,” recounts Mr De Benedetti.

So now we know the timeframe for the upcoming coup: ideally sometime, in October or November of 2011. But before that, it was the turn of another element - this time the European connection Romano Prodi - to give his blessing and to explain to Monti why he would soon be the "happiest man alive:"

Romano Prodi, a former president of the European Commission and another old friend of Mr Monti’s, recalls a similar conversation, but even earlier, towards the end of June 2011. “We had a long and friendly conversation,” Mr Prodi says, “and he asked for my thoughts, and I told him, ‘look here Mario, there is nothing you can do to become prime minister but if the job is offered to you then you cannot say no. So you should be the happiest man alive’.”

Finally, the only missing link was the codification of the "reforms" that Italy would undergo the second Berlusconi was booted out.

Corrado Passera, a leading banker who was to become Mr Monti’s minister for economic development, infrastructure and transport, was meanwhile given the green light that summer by Mr Napolitano to prepare a confidential 196-page document containing his own proposals for a wide-ranging “shock therapy” for the Italian economy. It was a programme of proposed government policies and reforms that went through four successive drafts as Mr Napolitano and Mr Passera discussed it back and forth that summer and into the autumn.

With all that in place, it was time to put the plan into effect.

Italy’s crisis intensified throughout the autumn of 2011. All Italians still remember the smirk of scepticism on the faces of Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, when they were asked at a press conference in October if they had confidence in Mr Berlusconi’s ability to cut the deficit or reduce the debt, which was then at 120 per cent of gross domestic product. (The latest figure is 133 per cent.)

So yes, for anyone still confused - since total debt/GDP has risen by 13% in the past two years, the last thing Italy engaged in was austerity designed to moderate its out of control public spending. What it did engage in, was epic capital misallocation, even greater corruption, and gross incompetence. All of these, however, were conveniently scapegoated on the only well-known traditional fallback.

At this point, we should remind readers of a concurrent story, one involving Italy's then-member of the ECB executive council, Lorenzo Bini-Smaghi, who revealed in a recent book that at just around this time Berlusconi was realizing that the trap was closing. Bini-Smaghi revealed that Berlusconi had "discussed (threatened?) Italian withdrawal from the euro in private meetings with other EMU governments, presumably with Chancellor Angela Merkel and France's Nicolas Sarkozy, since he does not negotiate with underlings."

And so the ECB went to task, and under its new boss, yet another Italian, former Goldmanite Mario Draghi, allowed Italian bond yields to crater and take the country, and the Eurozone, and thus the entire developed world, to the edge of collapse. Just so Italy's president had a pretext to accelerate the demise of Berlusconi and catalyze his replacement with a technocrat crony of the financial establishment. Once again, as a reminder, here is the dynamic of bond yields soaring just as Berlusconi was threatening to end the European dream in which "so much political capital is invested":

What happened after that moment is part of the public record:

On November 9 2011 Mr Napolitano appointed Mr Monti a senator for life, thus making him a member of parliament. On November 12, at a meeting with the president, Mr Berlusconi resigned, ending his third stint as prime minister. Within 24 hours – rather than call for fresh elections – Mr Napolitano named Mr Monti, the economics professor and former European commissioner who had never held elected office, as prime minister. The full cabinet was sworn in three days later.


Mr Berlusconi’s supporters cried foul and made noisy claims that there had been a “coup”.

They were right, and now - from the horse's mouth - we know the facts.

In a lengthy videotaped interview with Mr Monti, he confirmed the conversation with Mr De Benedetti in St Moritz. He also acknowledged the conversation with Mr Prodi in June 2011, though at first he played down these talks, saying that the idea of him becoming prime minister “was sort of in the air”.


He recalled with a giggle that “Yes, Prodi came to see me at the end of June and the spread [between Italian and German government bond yields] was then about 220 or 250 basis points, and he told me: ‘Get ready, because when the spread hits 300 you will be called in’. And then the spread hit 550!”

... as if by magic. Supposedly Draghi wasn't quite willing to do "whatever it takes" just yet.

Mr Monti confirmed that he knew all about the Passera document being prepared for the president. “Corrado Passera told me he was working on this and he said he would show it to me, and he did, and he told me he had given it to Napolitano and would give it to me,” Mr Monti said. “And on one occasion I discussed the Passera document with Napolitano, and then later on, months later, when I was named prime minister, I immediately asked Passera to join the Cabinet.”


But when asked if it was made clear to him in the summer of 2011 in his talks with Mr Napolitano that the president was asking him to be ready to take over from Mr Berlusconi, Mr Monti hesitated. “Well, President Napolitano and I had been talking for a long time, for years, not about this, but then things sort of came to a head.”


When pressed further to explain if Mr Napolitano had explicitly asked him to be on standby during their talks back in June and July 2011 – four to five months before he replaced Mr Berlusconi as prime minister – Mr Monti demurred: “Look here: I will not reveal details of conversations that I had with the president of the republic.”


Pressed again, and asked if he wished to deny on the record that in June and July of 2011 President Napolitano had either asked him explicitly or had made it clear that he wanted him to be available to become the new prime minister, Mr Monti replied falteringly, in a voice that became almost a whisper: “Yes. He, uh, he gave me a signal in that direction.” After this revelation a look of extreme discomfort spread across Mr Monti’s face and he stared off to one side.

Perhaps because Monti had just realized he admitted that Italy had undergone presidentially-blessed government coup - one whose execution stretched far beyond any constitutional powers awarded to the president, and one which involved numerous foreign (and financial) interests (and conflicts thereof).

At this point attention turns to Italy's president, 89-year old Giorgio Napolitan0, whose direct intervention was instrumental in allowing this carefully laid "bloodless coup" plan of bankers and technocrats to proceed:

Mr Napolitano did not agree to an interview despite repeated requests. His spokesman had no comment on a series of written questions, including one about which month in 2011 Mr Napolitano had first sounded out Mr Monti to become prime minister.


But last week Mr Napolitano commented for the first time on the controversy over his naming of Mr Monti. During a visit to the European parliament in Strasbourg, Mr Napolitano said that while some had described his naming of Mr Monti “as almost invented by me as a personal whim”, in fact he had done so on the basis of indications given to him by parliamentary and political leaders “in the course of consultations as is required”.


This explanation could raise further questions in Italy, where such “consultations as is required” would typically have begun only upon the resignation of the prime minister. In Mr Berlusconi’s case, these would have begun upon his November 12 resignation.

We now know that all such consultations took place well before said resignation. But where it gets better is just how grand the chess game truly was:

The Monti government acted swiftly to introduce harsh austerity measures, spending cuts, a value added tax rise and new property duties as well as reform of the pensions system. Praise was duly heaped on him by the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and financial markets.


Many Italians still despise Mr Monti for the austerity programme and see him as a pawn of the European Commission or of Ms Merkel. In retrospect he lacked a political touch but was a useful transition figure at a time of crisis.


Mr Monti says his greatest achievement was to jump into electoral politics during the election of February 2013 at the expense of Berlusconi’s party. “Had it not been for my taking votes away from the centre-right,” Mr Monti said in the interview, “Berlusconi today would be either the president of the republic or the prime minister, so I did achieve a concrete result in blocking that.”

Of course, Berlusconi's star has now faded, and with it the danger that the supposedly irrational politician, who once had threatened to dissolve the Eurozone and thus saddle Germany with a TARGET2 bill amounting to almost $1 trillion. Which meant that the status quo of the "equity tranche" (read - the global banker aristocracy) had been preserved. In this way, Napolitano, Prodi and Monti, assisted by their fourth Italian friend - ECB's Mario Draghi - effectively subjugated the Italian population to call it austerity, call it gross and premeditated capital misallocation, but certainly call it the will of the bankers. And all without firing a shot.

Which brings up the question of just how constitutional, if at all, was the overthrow of Berlusconi.

Adopted in 1948 after more than 20 years of chaos and brutal fascist rule, Italy’s constitution is one of the few documents universally respected by Italians. It guarantees their most basic rights. It is sacrosanct.


Planning in secret, even as a contingency measure, to appoint a new prime minister when a parliamentary majority is in place may be a prudent and responsible action for a president but it is not an explicit power assigned by the constitution, even if there is a financial crisis under way in half of Europe as was the case in the summer of 2011.

Most ironic, however, is that the only person who seems to care about the trampling of the constitution is...  a former comedian.

Whatever one thinks of Mr Berlusconi, serious constitutional questions are raised by the behind-the-scenes manoeuvring that resulted in the appointment of his successor. Perhaps the loudest voice to raise these questions is that of Beppe Grillo, the comedian-turned-politician who garnered 25 per cent of the national vote last year.


Mr Napolitano, an 89-year-old former communist, has reacted with anger at Mr Grillo’s incessant accusations of the subversion of democracy. Mr Grillo has frequently called for Mr Napolitano’s impeachment.


Today, Italy is emerging from recession slowly, with an exceedingly weak and uneven economic recovery. This year is expected to bring less than 1 per cent growth in GDP. 


Italy remains sharply divided over the events of 2011 and Mr Napolitano’s role in them. The issue of whether Mr Napolitano went beyond his constitutional powers during the summer and autumn of 2011 can be left to future historians. But what is clear now – thanks to Mr Monti’s own admission – is that he and the president had been discussing the prospect of his taking over from Mr Berlusconi long before his official appointment in November of 2011. For Mario Monti it had been a long and secret summer.

Indeed it had. And now we know that in order to effectuate the banker plan of preserving Europe's "political capital" which is simply another name of trillions in wealth on paper (and on funny-colored pieces of European currency) that would evaporate if and when the Eurozone inevitably dissolves, it took just four Italians - Monti, Prodi, Napolitano and, of course, Draghi - willing to trample their constitution in order to achieve the goal of perpetuating the status quo no matter the cost.

As for the fallout, namely "youth unemployment is at a record high of 41.6 per cent, nationwide joblessness is 12.7 per cent and almost a third of families are near the poverty line. Productivity and competitiveness have dropped sharply in recent years. Mr Monti’s successor, Enrico Letta, another leader championed by Mr Napolitano, is under fire for his handling of the economy"... well, all those are problems of the "99%". And as everyone knows by know, the 99% is the last thing on the mind of the global ruling class.

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Occams_Chainsaw's picture

All your pizza are belong to us.....

ACP's picture

Bloodless coups are the best, because bloody ones are "bad for business."

Occams_Chainsaw's picture

Hey....that's NOT pizza sauce......

Mister Kitty's picture

Italy is more than pizza.  The boot also has great wine.  Bitches.

idea_hamster's picture

Corzine has GOT to be pissed.

synergize's picture

Bastards! Time for the Italians to take back their country and let the Euro burn!

Ness.'s picture

As "we" like to say here in the States nowadays, "Fuck the EU."

dariomilano's picture





BanksterSlayer's picture

Italy is also home to one of history's most corrupt humanity-destroying powers that masquerades as a religion. Looking at you, Pope Francis.

Spumoni's picture

Geezus, y'all. Pizza wasn't invented in Italy. It came from Brooklyn, Chicago or Florida (depending on where you eat at Italian restaurants).

James_Cole's picture

A European friend of mine (not even Italian!) went fucking bananas on me when I claimed at the time Monti wasn't legitimate. Look forward to her reaction to this.

So, considering this about Italy - no one cares to offer up theories on Argentina? Or Kirchner is just a giant fuck up and we should believe the current narrative. 'Cause I have some acquaintances with big $$ invested in Argentina who would very much love to see her out and some Goldman cronies in, and they're certainly not the only ones. 

I'm not a conspiracy theorist in general, but this shit seems to be everywhere now.. be paranoid:

Bananamerican's picture

Thanks James, I needed that...I think...

Fussy critiques of scientific experiments have become integral to what is known as the “sound science” campaign, an effort by interest groups and industries to slow the pace of regulation. David Michaels, the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, wrote, in his book “Doubt Is Their Product” (2008), that corporations have developed sophisticated strategies for “manufacturing and magnifying uncertainty.” In the eighties and nineties, the tobacco industry fended off regulations by drawing attention to questions about the science of secondhand smoke. Many companies have adopted this tactic. “Industry has learned that debating the science is much easier and more effective than debating the policy,” Michaels wrote. “In field after field, year after year, conclusions that might support regulation are always disputed. Animal data are deemed not relevant, human data not representative, and exposure data not reliable.” In the summer of 2002, two scientists from the E.P.A. visited Hayes’s lab and reviewed his atrazine data. Thomas Steeger, one of the scientists, told Hayes, “Your research can potentially affect the balance of risk versus benefit for one of the most controversial pesticides in the U.S.” But an organization called the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness petitioned the E.P.A. to ignore Hayes’s findings. “Hayes has killed and continues to kill thousands of frogs in unvalidated tests that have no proven value,” the petition said. The center argued that Hayes’s studies violated the Data Quality Act, passed in 2000, which requires that regulatory decisions rely on studies that meet high standards for “quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity.” The center is run by an industry lobbyist and consultant for Syngenta, Jim Tozzi, who proposed the language of the Data Quality Act to the congresswoman who sponsored"
Motherfuckers abound...

AlaricBalth's picture

Coups seem to be de rigueur these last few years.

"The American people have suffered a coup d’etat, but they are hesitant to acknowledge it. The regime ruling in Washington today lacks constitutional and legal legitimacy. Americans are ruled by usurpers who claim that the executive branch is above the law and that the US Constitution is a mere “scrap of paper.”

fonzannoon's picture

Beppe Grillo was unavailable for comment and his manager at Panera Bread asked that we respect his privacy.

NoDebt's picture

Yeah.  Hopefully people are starting to understand that these motherfuckers are NEVER going to lose control.

unrulian's picture

the 99% is the last thing on the mind of the global ruling class


Taper the EBT and we'll see

Atomizer's picture

Another Circle Jerk caught in a Progressive Coup D'etat alignment? Say it’s not so.



nmewn's picture

They sure talk a good line of bullshit don't they?

Its gonna come down to simply this, on a global scale..."If you stop us from stealing your future, you will have no future!" Thats how insane this has become.

Atomizer's picture

We just may have a new twist on a upcoming film called Fugitive II. Featuring actors from the Central Banking/Policy makers attempting to stay one footstep ahead of the serfs. I have been laughing all day long, based on the news pouring in. / LOL


No way to go

Which way to go

Where did we go

Why did we go

Why did we go

Where did we go

How did we go

Why did we go

No way to go


Cognitive Dissonance's picture

This kind of stuff only happens in banana republics.


disabledvet's picture

again...not true.

like Argentina Italy is an industrialized many ways more "advanced" than Spain.

This looks like a very complex chessboard.
It's very easy to make fun of the French as the "sick man of Europe" but they have an awful lot of gold.

I do agree if that trillion dollar LTRO had blown sky high you would have seen some unhappy French and Germans.

It's hard to determine cause and effect...was Berlusconi causing the high interest rates via threatening the LTRO or vice versa?

Most of the evidence seems to have pointed to the latter since interest rates have now dramatically declined...not only in Italy but in Spain as well.

Unsurprisingly Germany has acceded to the European "Court of Justice" to determine the legality of the (Frankfurt based) ECB actions.

The whole thing looks like a disaster to me.
Interestingly there has been a big increase in coal importation:

Atomizer's picture

That best be clean energy efficent green fossil coal or our fearless Czar won't pay your invoice.

Grande Tetons's picture

A few people will be outraged...most can not find their asshole with a flashlight and a map. 

Spumoni's picture

Truth is, nobody can find their asshole with a flashlight and a map - you need a mirror. 

LoneStarHog's picture

Today's Conspiracy Theory Is Tomorrow's News Headline -- When will people finally wake the hell up (Read Karl Denninger).

edotabin's picture

Kinda sad, but I think we need to wake up and realize that they aren't gonna wake up.

It is taking too long, the process is too slow and that's too bad.

NoDebt's picture

I woke up a long time ago.  It doesn't help.  All it means is you see the strings on the puppets.  The show goes on regardless, it's just a lot less fun to watch.  

Silver_K-9's picture

Jesus and they let this story get out?! WHY?!

Grande Tetons's picture

Whether it is true or not...matter not.  People do not give a shit anymore. 

Grande Tetons's picture

Funny thing, I used to be entertained. I found it amusing that my fellow bioped could be so stupid and clueless and yet somehow retain the power to walk upright. Now, I look at my dog licking his balls so effortlessly and I wonder if all this bipedal movement is all that is cracked up to be. 


Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Well done!

I remember as a small child asking my Dad why our dog did that to himself? His reply:  Cause he can!

seabiscuit's picture

Relax. They have it under control. Same as it ever was.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Shall we christen it "Operation Gladio Part III" for the history books?

Spitzer's picture

This is what brought down MF Global and John Corzine. So since I am not a raving wop, I don't care.

It was so bitter sweet to see Corzine get clobbered, WOP constitution be dammed...

FredFlintstone's picture

Spitzer, did you and that psycho chick that was harassing you ever get together?

Spitzer's picture

I should have got a cut from that bitch. Hustler and Playboy had a bidding war on her...

Anusocracy's picture

A constitution is a document written to restrict the elite so that they can do only what they want to do.

Nearly always a smashing success because they rarely do what they don't want to do.

Unknown Poster's picture

Goldman's Corzine was a couple of weeks off. I guess he misread the memo, or Berlusconi took too long to get out.

Reaper's picture

When the sheeple's trust is lost, it's replaced by hope. Their shepherding government cannot serve two masters.  It loves its bankers' cash and despises its sheeple's hopes.

williambanzai7's picture


Monti and Draghi at ease

Ignoring financial disease

Their new fool-proof plan

For kicking the can

Is this time they'll try saying "Please!!"

The Limerick King

Solon the Destroyer's picture

For some reason I always thought it was spelled Bigguthh.

Seasmoke's picture

Corzine and Beppo have just become ZeroHedge members !!

logicalman's picture

So one 'family' got ousted by another - still the fucking Mob.

There can't be many 'conspiracy theories left - they have a habit of becoming fact.

ChacoFunFact's picture

did u know that "conspiracy" is recognized by US law?  that's why conspiracy to committ murder is a crime...

KickIce's picture

And why believing in a conspiracy theory will get you labeled a terrorist.