its editorial on May 4, the paper reportedrnthat Prodi had been the subject of tworncriminal investigations, both revolvingrnaround allegations of cronyism, abuse ofrnoffice, and conflicts of interest, more orrnless the crimes that brought down the lastrnE.U. Commission. “It is important tornstress that Mr. Prodi has not been foundrnguilty of breaking the law,” the editorialrnsaid. ‘Tet, as we reveal today, the casesrnleave several unanswered questions thatrnthe Italian judiciary, mindful perhaps ofrnMr. Prodi’s position, has been reluctantrnto probe. When Mr. Prodi was simply anrnItalian politician, this was none of ourrnbusiness; but now that he aspires to highrnEuropean office, it is.”rnProdi —Mr. Clean —responded tornthese attacks the following day by distributingrncopies of the Rome court judgmentrnfrom 1996 that cleared him of therncharges that he had acted unlawfully inrnthe privatization of a business when hernwas head of the state holding companyrnIRI [htituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale).rnIn an editorial on May 6, the DailyrnTelegraph insisted that Prodi’s defensernwas not good enough “to lay the matter tornrest.” The paper then disclosed that RomanornProdi had been placed under investigationrnat least four times on differentrncharges. (Not bad for somebody whornpromised “total honesty and transparency”rnin the running of the E.U. Commission!)rnHe was acquitted every time, thernTelegraph noted, and probably rightly so,rnbut the paper recommended that the EuropeanrnUnion set up its own commissionrnof inquiry into his business past in orderrnto reach an independent conclusion. Afterrnall, why should Europe be satisfiedrnwith verdicts handed down by Italianrnmagistrates?rnThe Telegraph pointed out that “therncriminal justice system has frequentlyrnbeen misused in Italy to settle politicalrnscores. But this does not appear to havernbeen the case with Prodi.” Massimo Pini,rnformer head of privatization at IRI,rnwas quoted in the conservative daily asrnsaying: “He was never prosecuted withrnthe same harshness as others.”rnThe British paper is not alone in questioningrnthe evenhandedness of the Italianrnjudiciary with regard to the Tangentopolirnanti-corruption crusade, which wasrnspearheaded by a Milan-based team ofrnmagistrates referred to as the Mani Pulitern(“Clean Hands”) pool. U.S. foreign-policyrnexpert Stanton Burnett wrote in hisrnbook. The Italian Guillotine, that thernClean Hands anti-corruption investigationrnwas a political revolution which usedrnthe judiciary to get rid of moderate partiesrn(the Christian Democrats first) in orderrnto clear the way for a communist blocrnto take over. (Incidentally, for having reportedrnBurnett’s opinion in an interviewrnin Italy’s major opposition paper II Giornale,rnjournalist Stefano Zurlo was suedrnby two judges who served in the ManirnPulite.) Burnett’s book has been releasedrnin the United States, Great Britain, andrnCanada, but despite its subject, no Italianrnpublisher will touch it.rnIf Burnett’s thesis is mistaken, whyrnhave the communists and their left-wingrnChristian Democrat confreres opposedrnthe establishment of a parliamentaryrncommission of inquiry into the Tangentopolirninvestigations? II Giomale speculatesrnthat such a commission would havernunearthed the “omissions, violence andrnfalsehoods of a great deal of probesrnwhich, for them to remain legitimate,rnhad to be confined to the darkness ofrnprosecutors’ offices.” More recently, 11rnGiomale reported the opinion of Russianrndissident Vladimir Bukovsky, who believesrnthat the Clean Hands investigationrnwas a ploy masterminded by the Italianrncommunists to divert public attentionrnfrom disclosures of their funding byrnMoscow. “Clean Hands has helped thernItalian communists… to ascend to power,”rnhe claimed.rnIf Bukovsky is correct, it would also explainrnwhy the present leader of the oppositionrnin Italy’s parliament, media tycoonrnSilvio Berlusconi, is enduring prosecutionsrn(which smack of persecutions) onrnthe grounds that, as head of his companies,rn”he was not in a position not tornknow” what his subordinates were doingrn— allegedly committing financialrncrimes to facilitate their business operations.rnBut the same concept did not applyrnto Communist Party leaders and theirrnallies, including Prodi, whose cases wererndismissed for the opposite reason: Sincernthey were unaware of what their subordinatesrnwere doing, they could not be heldrnresponsible. Prodi may well have beenrnsaved on purpose, in anticipation of hisrnpossible role as an Italian Kerensky inrnbroad communist-dominated coalitions.rnLenin himself was the theorist of theserncoalitions, or “united fronts,” as a basic elementrnof the Marxist strategy for seizingrnpower. Without an alliance with noncommunists,rnhe believed, communismrncannot be built. Lenin did not disdainrneven the most fickle allies, however “temporary,rnvacillating, unstable, unreliablernand conditional” they might be. And thisrn”applies equally to the period before andrnafter the proletariat has won politicalrnpower.”rnBe that as it may, Prodi appears to havernembraced his new role with the utmostrnzeal, despite an unexpected hurdle: Eollowingrnthe European elections of Junern13, 1999, the Christian-inspired centerrightrnEPP (European People’s Party) is,rnfor the first time, in a dominant position,rnwith 233 seats out of 626, compared torn180 seats for the ESP (the socialist party).rnThis situation is not reflected in the newrncommission, which serves as the E.U. executive.rnIn the words of veteran leftistrnMEP Glyn Ford, “it will be a red executive.rnEor the first time, the left will have arnmajority.” The EPP has already decriedrnas a “myth” Romano Prodi’s claim thatrnhis 20-person team is politically balanced:rnIt contains only six members ofrnthe EPP’s political family. Moreover, thernEPP’s German deputies were particularlyrnirked by a generous concession tornChancellor Gerhard Schroeder: Germany’srntwo commissioners both comernfrom his socialist-led government, despiternthe unwritten rule that one candidaternshould be named by the opposition.rnThis shortchanging is all the more glaringrnin the wake of what Schroeder himselfrntermed the “massive election defeat”rnof his governing coalition in the recentrnEuropean election. The German conservativernopposition CDU-CSU won almostrn50 percent of the European voternand is the major party in the E.U. parliamentrnwith 53 MEPS, but it has no say inrnthe E.U. commission!rnThe EPP’s British, Spanish, andrnGreek deputies are increasingly suspiciousrnof Prodi. His leftist bias has becomernall too evident, to the point that hisrnDonkey-Democrats party has joined thernLiberal-Democrat caucus rather than thernEPP’s. No less disquieting are his politicalrnassociates: mayors like Rome’srnFrancesco Rutelli and Venice’s MassimornCacciari, and former anti-corruptionrnprosecutor Antonio Di Pietro. Rutelli, arnformer member of Italy’s Radical Party, isrna staunch supporter of free divorce, abortion,rnand drugs; Cacciari is an ultra-rnMarxist philosopher whose books promoterna violence-fueled chaos as a meansrnto “regenerate” society; and Di Pietro,rnwhose sudden resignation from the judiciaryrnwas never fully clarified, is a formerrnleader of the “Clean Hands” pool, whornclaims to be prepared to eradicate corruptionrnunder an E.U. mandate.rn40/CHRONICLESrnrnrn