Wikileaks su G8 Genova: Berlusconi e polizia contro diritti civili

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AS PREDICTED, ITALY’S HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT GENERATES FODDER FOR DOMESTIC POLITICAL MILLS

CLASSIFIED BY: POL MINCOUNS THOMAS COUNTRYMAN

1. (C) SUMMARY: AS POST PREDICTED, THE U.S. COUNTRY REPORT FOR ITALY PROVIDED IMMEDIATE GRIST FOR DOMESTIC POLITICAL MILLS. PAPERS POUNCED ON THE REPORT TO TRUMPET “HUMAN RIGHTS: U.S. ‘FLUNKS’ ITALY;” “POLICE ABUSES IN ITALY;” AND ESPECIALLY “MISTREATMENT OF DETAINEES” BY THE ITALIAN POLICE DURING G-8 MEETINGS LAST JULY, WITH THE ONGOING STORY THAT “THE FIFTEEN PAGES THAT THE REPORT DEVOTES TO ITALY LOOK LIKE A FULL-FLEDGED INDICTMENT OF THE BEHAVIOR OF THE GOVERNMENT DURING THE G-8 IN GENOA.” ABSENT THE GUIDANCE REQUESTED FROM THE DEPARTMENT (REFS B AND C), WE HAD TO IMPROVISE IN OUR DISCUSSIONS WITH THE FOREIGN MINISTRY, WHICH WAS NOTICEABLY IRRITATED BY THE REPORT. INTERIOR MINISTER SCAJOLA EXPRESSED HIS DISAPPOINTMENT IN A MARCH 5 MEETING WITH THE AMBASSADOR. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) POLOFF DELIVERED THE ITALY HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT TO MFA NORTH AMERICA OFFICE DIRECTOR GERI SCHIAVONI AND HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE COUNSELOR ALBERTO CECCARELLI MARCH 5. (MUTUAL SCHEDULING CONFLICTS HAD PREVENTED DELIVERY THE AFTERNOON OF MARCH 4, PRIOR TO WASHINGTON PUBLICATION, BUT THE MFA WAS AWARE THAT THE REPORT WAS TO BE RELEASED AND THAT WE WERE SEEKING TO DELIVER IT IN ADVANCE OF ITS PUBLIC RELEASE.)

CONFIDENTIAL

AS WE HAD PREDICTED, THE ITALIAN PRESS HAD A FIELD DAY WITH THE REPORT. SOME OF THE CHOICER HEADLINES INCLUDED: “’NO-GLOBALS’ WERE MISTREATED. THE U.S. CRITICIZES ITALY” (CENTRIST CORRIERE DELLA SERA); “POLICE ABUSES IN ITALY” (LEFTIST LA REPUBBLICA); “HUMAN RIGHTS: U.S. FLUNKS ITALY” (CENTRIST LA STAMPA); “HUMAN RIGHTS: DEPARTMENT OF STATE – THE U.S. TO BERLUSCONI: ‘LEGALITY IN DANGER’” (LEFTIST L’UNITA). LA REPUBBLICA CONTINUED THAT “THE FIFTEEN FULL PAGES THAT THE REPORT DEVOTES TO ITALY LOOK LIKE A FULL-FLEDGED INDICTMENT OF THE BEHAVIOR OF THE GOVERNMENT DURING THE G-8 IN GENOA. THERE ARE ALSO EMBARRASSING REFERENCES TO SILVIO BERLUSCONI, WHO IS MENTIONED REGARDING FREEDOM OF THE PRESS AND THE LEGAL SYSTEM.”

4. (C) OUR MFA INTERLOCUTORS MADE CLEAR THEIR DISSATISFACTION WITH THE REPORT. “THE ITALY REPORT IS THAT LONG?” SCHIAVONI ASKED IN AMAZEMENT. “WHY WOULD YOU WRITE SO MUCH ON ANOTHER DEMOCRACY?” SCHIAVONI, NORMALLY AMONG OUR MOST GRACIOUS AND GOOD-NATURED OF CONTACTS, CHASTISED POLOFF AT LENGTH ABOUT THE NEED FOR POST TO ENSURE THAT WHAT WAS REPORTED ABOUT ITALY WAS CONVEYED IN THE PROPER CONTEXT AND PROVIDED WITH SUFFICIENT NUANCE. “THAT’S WHAT AN EMBASSY’S RESPONSIBILITY IS,” HE INSISTED. (COMMENT: WE AGREE. END COMMENT.)

5. (C) IN THE ABSENCE OF THE GUIDANCE REPEATEDLY (REFS B AND C) REQUESTED, WE WERE FORCED TO “WING IT” IN OUR CONVERSATION AT THE MFA. (FOR BETTER OR WORSE, PRESS REPORTS WERE WRITTEN BY WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENTS. ROME-BASED MEDIA HAVE NOT CONTACTED US FOR CLARIFICATION OR COMMENT.) WE  CONFIDENTIAL EMPHASIZED THAT THE ITALIAN REPORT WAS WRITTEN UNDER THE SAME GUIDELINES AS THOSE FOR ALL COUNTRIES, AND URGED OUR INTERLOCUTORS TO COMPARE THE ITALIAN REPORT WITH THE ONES FOR GERMANY OR FRANCE, FOR EXAMPLE. (SCHIAVONI AND CECCARELLI WERE NOT IMPRESSED.) WE URGED THEM TO READ THE REPORT ITSELF AND NOT PRESS ARTICLES “INTERPRETING” IT. WE ESPECIALLY CLARIFIED THAT THE REPORT DRAWS NO CONCLUSIONS AS TO THE GUILT OR INNOCENCE OF THOSE CONNECTED WITH EVENTS SURROUNDING THE JULY G-8 SUMMIT, NOTES ACCURATELY THE CONTEXT OF THE EVENTS, AND EXPLAINS THAT A GOVERNMENT INVESTIGATION INTO THE EVENTS IS ON-GOING. WE URGED THE GOI ALSO TO REFRAIN FROM DRAWING INFERENCES ON THE BASIS OF THE REPORT.

6. (C) IN A MARCH 5 MEETING WITH THE AMBASSADOR, INTERIOR MINISTER SCAJOLA — WHO REMAINS UNDER FIRE FROM THE OPPOSITION FOR LAST JULY’S EVENTS LARGELY, AS WE HAVE REPORTED, BECAUSE THE CENTER-LEFT HAS SO FEW ISSUES THAT RESONATE AMONG THE ITALIAN PUBLIC — EXPRESSED HIS DISAPPOINTMENT WITH THE REPORT, BASED ON PRESS REPORTING. THE AMBASSADOR URGED SCAJOLA TO READ THE REPORT ITSELF, NOT MEDIA ACCOUNTS OF IT. DCM CLARIFIED THAT THE REPORT WAS WRITTEN IN ACCORDANCE WITH DEPARTMENT GUIDANCE AND THE ITALIAN REPORT WAS SIMILAR TO THAT FOR CANADA, GERMANY, FRANCE OR ANY WESTERN COUNTRY. SCAJOLA ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THE SECTIONS OF THE REPORT HE HAD TRANSLATED INTO ITALIAN DID NOT ENTIRELY MATCH PRESS STORIES ABOUT IT, BUT REMAINED DISAPPOINTED THAT THE REPORT HAD PROVIDED AMMUNITION TO THE OPPOSITION.

7. (C) COMMENT: POST WILL CONTINUE TO FOLLOW THE LINE. G-8 DEMONSTRATIONS OR PM BERLUSCONI’S JUDICIAL PROCESSES. IN PARTICULAR, STATEMENTS OF FACT IN THE REPORT SHOULD NOT BE READ AS JUDGMENTS OR AS A SCORECARD. WE REMAIN DISSATISFIED WITH THE ITERATIVE PROCESS OF DRAFTING THIS YEAR’S REPORT. ALTHOUGH SEVERAL OF OUR CONCERNS WERE ADDRESSED AT THE END, THE FINAL PRODUCT IS NOT AS CONSISTENT OR DEFENSIBLE AS IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN.

8. (C) COMMENT, CONTINUED: WE DO NOT WANT TO SEE AN ALREADY DELICATE SITUATION — WHERE THE USG HAS BEEN DRAWN INTO THE CENTER-LEFT OPPOSITION’S PREVIOUSLY LARGELY UNHEARD ACCUSATIONS AGAINST A RELATIVELY POPULAR GOVERNMENT — MADE WORSE. ABSENT ANY OTHER ATTRACTIVE ISSUE, OPPOSITION PARLIAMENTARIANS AND THEIR PRESS COUNTERPARTS WILL CONTINUE TO RESURRECT THE GOVERNMENT’S HANDLING OF THE G-8 AND BERLUSCONI’S JUDICIAL CASES. AND FROM NOW ON, THEY WILL — RIGHTLY OR WRONGLY — PROCLAIM USG “SUPPORT” FOR THEIR POINT OF VIEW. WE HOPE THAT OUR MFA CONTACTS, LIKE MINISTER SCAJOLA, WILL READ THE REPORT AND MOVE ON — ALTHOUGH WE EXPECT TO HAVE AT LEAST ONE FURTHER EXCHANGE ONCE THEY HAVE HAD TIME TO READ THE REPORT CAREFULLY. UNFORTUNATELY, WE ARE NOT ABLE TO CONTROL THE TENOR OF MEDIA REPORTS, AND AS WE NOTED REF E, MEDIA WARS ARE A CONTINUATION OF POLITICS BY OTHER MEANS. ITALY’S OPPOSITION WILL CONTINUE TO HURL THE STONES THAT COME TO HAND IN THEIR EFFORTS TO UNSEAT A POPULAR PRIME MINISTER, AND WE JUST HANDED THEM SOME NEW ONES.

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