Headlines were made in Italy a few days ago when a "casual, unidentified photographer" happened to walk in the streets of Florence and had the uncanny ability of taking a snapshot of an inside wall of the Carabinieri barracks that are literally steps away from the city center.
The flag was not hanging outside a window, as it was inside the private dormitory of military personnel, but it could be partially visible from the outside as the window was open.
The drums of politically correct outrage ("a nazi flag in a Carabinieri barrack") started beating in the media, and the frontrunner of this public outcry was the Minister of Defense Roberta Pinotti.
Pinotti is another minister, in this fourth consecutive non-elected government of Italy, for which one comes to wonder (not knowing Italy, of course) how she became head of such a sensitive department. According to her official resumé, she started her political career "from the bottom", within her party, that is the old Communist Party of Italy (PCI) which then transformed itself into the now Partito Democratico. With a degree in Humanities, she became a teacher in secondary schools, and worked her way up the ladder of local politics in the Genoa district. So much for an extensive and consolidated expertise in military affairs.
The day after the first headlines, somebody started to question the minister's knowledge not just about the single episode, but about flags and symbols in general. She joined the public outcry without the slightest investigation into the case, after having heard from the news that "a Nazi flag", was "spotted" at a Carabinieri barrack in Florence. It turns out that the flag is simply a historic Reichskriegsflagge of Germany's Imperial Navy, never used by the Nazi regime (1933-1945).
Pinotti makes no apologies for her lack of knowledge about historical flags nor for her impromptu behaviour, which, given her official position with direct jurisdiction over the Carabinieri (which is a military corp) would have called for a more careful investigation prior to an expected official statement. "It's a flag often seen at neo-Nazi rallies in Germany", quips the minister, and that's enough to satisfy her ego and to placate the politically correct media.