The Moroccan girl, the president, the dental hygienist, and the 'bunga-bunga parties'

Here's Italian President Silvio Berlusconi's underaged girl scandal #4,080:

At the heart of it all is a Moroccan girl nicknamed Ruby, who turned 18 on Monday, but was still a minor last May when she was held in a police station in Milan, accused of theft until Mr. Berlusconi called and demanded she be released, Italian newspapers reported.

The details of what happened that night are now in the cross hairs of Milanese prosecutors, who must determine whether laws were broken or procedures ignored when Ruby was placed into the custody of Nicole Minetti, a former showgirl and Mr. Berlusconi’s dental hygienist. In March, Ms. Minetti was elected to the regional assembly in Lombardy as a candidate of the prime minister’s People of Freedom Party....

During the past week, Ruby’s accounts of parties at Mr. Berlusconi’s private villa outside Milan have turned mainstream newspapers into the trashiest of tabloids.

Prosecutors are said to be wary of the outlandish descriptions of sexual activities that Ruby said took place during what she called “bunga-bunga” parties, a term that has now spawned several You Tube spoofs by popular Italian comedians. Ruby has also said she received money and presents from the prime minister. Mr. Berlusconi has discounted these accounts as “trash."

Berlusconi doesn't deny that he sent an aide to secure the girl's release, claiming, "I'm a person of the heart, and I take action whenever there is someone in need of help." Some Italian media have reported that the president may have told police (incorrectly) that Ruby was the granddaughter of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

This clearly isn't good. And in any normal country it would probably be enough to force the president to resign, as parliamentary speaker and Berlusconi opponent Gianfranco Fini now says he should. But Berlusconi's survived so many of these scandals already that I feel like the marginal impact of new revelations is swiftly diminishing. Most people already imagine that Berlusconi's personal life resembles a Felliniesuqe orgy of prurience and corruption. Fini and his allies are going to have to try a new approach if they're going to put an end to all the bunga-bunga.


Russia's FSB to WikiLeaks: We could destroy you

Russia's internal security service, the FSB, seems to be taking WikiLeaks' threat to spill dirt on the Kremlin pretty seriously, according to Russia Profile:

Preliminary analysis shows that there is no threat posed to Russia by Julian Assange's resource. You have to understand that if there is the desire and the right team, it's possible to shut it down forever," an expert from the FSB’s Center for Information Security was quoted by Life News as saying on Tuesday.

Links between hacker cells and the FSB made in the past lend credence to this thinly veiled secret services threat. In his recent book on Russia’s secret services, investigative journalist Andrei Soldatov details how the Russian FSB "maintain a sophisticated alliance with unofficial hackers, such as those who carry out cyber attacks on the Web sites of enemies of the state," drawing attention to hacker forums such as 

Another interesting wrinkle of this story is Assange's claim that he's receiving help in his Russia investigations from "the Americans." Inferring right off the bat that he's getting help from U.S. intelligence -- I'm not saying he is but that's certainly the inference that will be drawn in Russia -- would seem to undercut the validity of his documents right off the bat. If Assange has claimed that "the Chinese" helped him in assembling the Iraq war logs it would have changed the story quite a bit.