Any lingering doubts as to which political direction the European Union is now heading in were cleared up once and for all in 2008 when Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini announced plans to fingerprint and screen all visitors who cross its borders. From 2009 it will become mandatory for all EU passports to include a digital fingerprint and photograph and, from 2011 non-EU citizens who apply for a visa will have to give their biometric details.
Frattini’s plans currently envisage taking the fingerprints of children as young as six, but Security officials predict that records will eventually be taken at younger and younger ages as the technology develops. If approved by all 27 member states, the plan would represent one of the largest security overhauls ever undertaken in the European Union and cost billions of dollars.
So who exactly is Franco Frattini and why do he and his associates seemingly want to turn Europe into a “Big Brother” society where the privacy rights of individuals are routinely violated? And what about the Mafia connections of Mr. Frattini?
Appointed to the Commission in 2004 – having previously been Italian Foreign Minister and a loyal aide of the then Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi – Frattini’s selection was immediately mired in controversy amidst accusations that he was a Freemason.
Freemasonry has been a highly sensitive issue in Italy since 1981, when a secret and illegal right-wing Masonic lodge known as P2 – Propaganda Due – was broken up amid public scandal. Notably therefore, Silvio Berlusconi was revealed to be amongst the almost one thousand names listed as its members – who included senior figures in banking, business, the intelligence services, journalism, the military and politics.
Currently campaigning to return to power in Italy as Prime Minister, Berlusconi is alleged to have joined P2 in 1978. Over the years he has subsequently found himself involved in more than a dozen different criminal trials, appeals and other investigations and been accused of fraud, false accounting, bribery and Mafia connections.
The Italian Senator Marcello Dell’Utri, who is also the Italian delegate at the Council of Europe, has been convicted of collusion with the Mafia. Whilst his case is still under appeal, his job at the Council of Europe will shelter him from the verdicts of Italian courts due to the immunity from prosecution it provides.
It turns out that Berlusconi is in good company however. One of his closest friends and business colleagues – the Italian Senator Marcello Dell’Utri, who is also the Italian delegate at the Council of Europe – has already been convicted of collusion with the Mafia. Whilst Dell’Utri’s case is still under appeal, his job at the Council of Europe will shelter him from the verdicts of Italian courts due to the immunity from prosecution it provides, as enshrined in article 15 of the European Union’s general agreement, signed in Paris in 1949.
Historically, P2 is well known to have had links to Nazism and extreme right-wing groups. Licio Gelli, its former grandmaster, was jailed in 1998 for corruption and fraud in connection with the Banco Ambrosiano scandal and has been openly described by the New York Times as “a known Fascist.” The investigative writer David A. Yallop, in his book ‘In God’s Name: An Investigation into the Murder of Pope John Paul I’, even alleges that Gelli was involved in a conspiracy that led to the murder of Pope John Paul I, who reigned for only 33 days, in 1978.
Even more disturbingly, some sources, including the New Zealand Herald and The Observer newspaper in the UK, allege links between P2 and state terrorism. Others meanwhile, such as the BBC, state it had connections with both the Mafia and right-wing terrorist groups.
Is this the sort of Europe that you want to live in? A Europe controlled by the likes of Franco Frattini and powerful, super-wealthy individuals such as Silvio Berlusconi? A Europe where your privacy rights and freedoms are routinely violated and in which you will have no democratic means of expressing your opinion?
Unless these people are stopped, it is clear that Europe will increasingly turn into an “Orwellian continent” where dictatorship, not democracy, is the sole order of the day.