Italian right-wing government persecutes anti-mafia author

This 28 May 2016 video says about itself:

‘I’ve lived with death threats for 10 years’: Roberto Saviano – BBC News

Speaking out about the mafia can come at a price and for writer Roberto Saviano that has meant 10 years living under police protection. In a book published in 2006, he exposed the activities of the Camorra, a mafia organisation based in Naples, described as Italy’s most bloody and ruthless criminal group. Matthew Price spoke to Mr Saviano, for the Victoria Derbyshire programme, about living with a death threat from the mafia.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Gomorra author Saviano sued after denunciation by Lega minister

The public prosecutor in Rome prosecutes Roberto Saviano, the writer of the bestseller Gomorrah, for defamation and slander. Minister Salvini of the Interior, also leader of the right-wing … Lega [party], had filed a complaint against him.

Saviano is a fierce critic of the Italian government and in particular of the Lega. In the media and on Twitter and Facebook, he regularly criticizes fiercely Salvini’s harsh migration policy. The writer also denounces the, in his eyes, dubious Lega financial sponsors.

The tweet that prompted Salvini to report the writer dates from more than a month ago, when the dead bodies of a woman and a child were found in the sea near the Italian coast. “What joy do you derive from the death of innocent children at sea?” tweeted Saviano. “The hatred that you have sown will turn against you.”

Nickname of the mafia

Saviano also called Salvini the “minister of Mala Vita”, which is one of the mafia‘s nicknames. The Lega minister has already threatened to stop the police protection that the writer receives because of death threats from the Neapolitan mafia, the Camorra.

These threats came after the publication of the novel Gomorrah in 2006. The book is a non-fiction work about the Neapolitan mafia. Later on, a TV series was also made based on it.

Berlusconi, mafia crony, Italian judge rules

This video says about itself:

10 May 2014

Italy’s highest court has upheld the mafia collusion conviction of a longtime adviser to former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Marcello Dell’Utri was handed a seven-year jail term in 2010 by a court in Palermo.

He was convicted of acting as a go-between linking the Sicilian mafia and business leaders in Milan.

Formally Dell’Utri served as an executive in Berlusconi‘s extensive business empire and as a senator for Berlusconi’s party.

Dell’Utri was detained in Lebanon after being declared a fugitive from justice.

He was discovered staying at a Beirut hotel. Dell’Utri is currently being detained in hospital in the Lebanese capital after falling ill.

The court’s decision is final and could pave the way for his extradition back to Italy.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV, 20 April 2018:

Judge: Berlusconi’s regime negotiated with mafia in the 1990s

by Mustafa Marghadi, correspondent in Italy

Silvio Berlusconi suffered a severe blow from a court in Palermo. According to the court, it is proven that the Italian state in the 1990’s negotiated with the mafia to stop a wave of bombings. In 1994, Berlusconi became Prime Minister of Italy for the first time.

In the case, three former police chiefs and two mafia bosses were sentenced today. But more importantly, Marcello Dell’Utri was also found guilty. He is a former senator and co-founder of Berlusconi’s party, Forza Italia. According to the prosecutor, it is proved that Dell’Utri was the channel for the mafia to transfer requests to the Berlusconi government.

End of political career?

The smell of the mafia has been hanging around Berlusconi for some time, mainly because his right hand Dell’Utri is already serving a prison sentence for ties with the mafia. Berlusconi has always denied involvement with the mafia. Even now he is furious and he threatens to sue the public prosecutor for defamation.

This statement can have major consequences for the government formation that is currently under way in Italy. The anti-establishment Five Star movement has so far refused to work with a coalition of center right parties because Berlusconi‘s Forza Italia is part of it. Berlusconi, according to the politicians of the Five Star Movement, stands for the corrupt politics they want to clean up.

The anti-immigration [extreme right] party Lega [Nord], on the other hand, especially wanted to form a government with Berlusconi. But after this ruling, the Five Star movement demands that Berlusconi will no longer participate in a government. If the Lega now agrees, then something may happen that has often been predicted wrongly: a definitive end to the political career of Silvio Berlusconi.

Six weeks after the March 4 parliamentary election there is still no new Italian government in sight. On April 13, President Sergio Mattarella also broke off the second round of consultations without any result: here.

Italian neofascist’s anti-journalist violence

The video in this Twitter message is about neofascist violence in Ostia in Italy.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

In Ostia, a seaside town near Rome, an Italian was arrested for headbutting a journalist. The arrested man, Roberto Spada, was interviewed about ties of his family with the extremely right-wing CasaPound party.

The neofascist CasaPound party is named after United States author Ezra Pound, who during World War II did propaganda broadcasts for Mussolini and Hitler.

CasaPound received 9 percent of votes at local elections last Sunday. The state broadcaster RAI made a report about it.

Because the camera crew continued to film, there are clear images of the violence. Spada suddenly does a headbutt near the entrance of his gym and then smashes the journalist, who shouts that his nose is broken, with a stick as well. …

Spada is accused of causing serious injury “with mafia methods”. His brother Carmine is imprisoned for ten years for extortion and ties with the mafia.

French President Macron, minister in Las Vegas financial scandal

This video from the Organized Crime Channel in the USA says about itself:

When the Mob Ruled Vegas | Las Vegas and the Mafia Documentary – Sin City Mafia Casino

31 May 2017

Vegas and the Mob, History of the Mafia and Las Vegas, The Legendary Mafia Skim and how the mob built Vegas. Just Like in the famous mob movie Casino based on a true story.

Vegas existed before the mob came to town but not in any way that would be familiar to the millions of people who flock to the city today. It took the vision of legendary mobster Bugsy Siegel to start the transformation of Vegas and his monumental Flamingo Hotel became the anchor of “the strip.”

Follow the influence of the mob in Vegas from Siegel through the “Strawman Trials” which today’s gaming giants claim marked the end of mob influence in Vegas. See how Jimmy Hoffa worked with the mob to help build the heart of Vegas while attracting the attention of J. Edgar Hoover.

The boss for life of the FBI, who denied the mafia existed.

Trace the story of legendary front-man Allen Glick the basis for the hit movie Casino and meet mob lawyers, Nevada officials, gambling moguls and entertainers who reveal the hidden history of Vegas. From the Flamingo to the Luxor, this is the complete story of how the mob exploited legal gambling to make billions of dollars.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

French justice department is investigating trade mission which included Macron

Today, 12:52

The French justice department has launched an investigation into irregularities in the financing of a commercial mission to Las Vegas. It also included President Macron, then Minister of Economic Affairs.

The trip was organized by Business France, a group representing French business interests. Destination was a major technology fair, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Macron wanted to promote new French technology companies. However, the trip may have been financed illegally.

Macron gave a speech to the CES, but according to French officials, he had nothing to do with the organization of the trip.

However, the investigation can now hurt Minister Pénicaud. She is now [Macron’s] Labour Minister, but during the trip to Las Vegas she was the bigwig of Business France.

On July 13, after only a few days’ debate, the French National Assembly approved the draft enabling act presented by French President Emmanuel Macron’s government on July 10. The Assembly is thus authorizing the government to drastically rewrite labor laws by decree, without any further input from parliament. This vote, newspapers wrote, marked the start of Macron’s term in office: here.

Mafia-run refugee camps in Italy

This video from Italy says about itself:

Italian Mafia declares war on Muslim migrants, Gambian migrant shot dead in the streets in Sicily

5 September 2016

Mafia bosses have ‘declared war’ against migrants on the holiday paradise of Sicily as one thousand new arrivals pour on to the island every week. The feared Cosa Nostra are desperate to maintain supremacy … An innocent Gambian man was shot through the head by an assassin in broad daylight sparking fears of a wider bloodbath.

Mayor Leoluca Orlando told MailOnline: ‘Palermo is no longer an Italian town. It is no longer European. You can walk in the city and feel like you’re in Istanbul or Beirut.’ … The mayor of Palermo, Leoluca Orlando said: ‘In the past, when the Mafia was more powerful, it prevented any immigrants from entering the city. Until I was 30 years old, I never saw an African or Asian in Palermo.’

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Again, mafia infiltration at refugee camp in Italy

Today, 11:20

In southern Italy, police has arrested 68 members of a group that ran a camp for refugees. Among them are a priest and the boss of a [Roman Catholic] relief organization [Misericordia], Italian media report.

The group is suspected of ties with the mafia, arms trafficking and fraud. The Arena clan of the Calabrian mafia, the ‘Ndrangheta, is said to have been in control of the camp in Isola Capo Rizzuto for more than ten years. The clan reportedly put a third of the 100 million euros of European Union subsidies for the camp into their own pockets.

The boss of a local relief organization is said to have helped the ‘Ndrangheta with the infiltration. He is also said to have ensured that the mafia received big contracts for, among other things, the care in the camp. The refugee camp near the port city of Crotone is one of Europe’s largest.

“It’s not for the first time that the mafia infiltrates in refugee shelters in Italy,” says NOS correspondent Rop Zoutberg. Previously, the presence of the mafia was already discovered in camps in and around Rome and at the big Mineo camp in Sicily.

Due to the larger refugee flows in recent years, refugee camps have become very attractive to the mafia, says Zoutberg. “The mafia is everywhere where money can be made. And the refugee stream is now at least as big a source of income as, for example, arms trade.”

Like anti-refugee violence is also a source of profits for mafia-like organisations like Blackwater mercenary corporation (of Erik Prince, the brother of Donald Trump‘s secretary of miseducation Betsy DeVos in the USA).

RT reports:

In 2013, a health inspection revealed that migrants were being given tiny portions of out-of-date food, and that the facility was housing 70 unaccompanied minors who went barefoot and slept in a hangar with only two toilets.

Italian, Ukrainian criminals swap weapons for ISIS’ stolen art

This video says about itself:

ISIS bought anti-aircraft missiles in Ukraine via Kuwait terrorist cell

21 November 2015

Kuwait has uncovered an international cell that supplied Islamic State [ISIS] with weapons bought in Ukraine, as well as funds and new recruits. The cell was involved in making arms deals on behalf of Islamic State [ISIS] leaders in Syria. Details revealed that the weapons were first shipped from Ukraine to Turkey, before being smuggled into Syria, the Kuwait news agency KUNA cited the statement as saying.

Translated from Jarl van der Ploeg, 18 October 2016, 18:30, in Dutch daily De Volkskrant:

Mafia and ISIS swap weapons for archaeological treasures

Kalashnikovs and RPG rocket launchers from Ukraine and Moldova in exchange for archaeological treasures looted from Iraq, Syria and Libya. The Italian newspaper La Stampa writes on the basis of its own research that the illegal trade between the Calabrian mafia ‘Ndrangheta and the terrorist group Islamic State [ISIS] is rampant.

Undercover journalist Domenico Quirico posed as a really wealthy art collector from Turin looking for new artifacts. In a former slaughterhouse of an otherwise empty salami factory a ‘Ndrangheta affiliated art dealer offered him a marble statue of Emperor Augustus. The ancient statue will cost 66 thousand euros and comes from the ancient city of Leptis Magna in Libya.

I myself have seen the beauty of Leptis Magna in 2006, along with Libyan and foreign visitors; and reading this now, I cry. If NATO would not have started its ‘humanitarian’ war on Libya in 2011, then the murdering and stealing thugs of ISIS would never have been in Libya and other countries, as the Tunisian government remarked correctly. They would never have been able to do these dirty deals with Italian, Ukrainian or other criminals.

For another, larger statue of a Greek cyclops the trader asked really a million, but Quirico could have it for a friendly price of 880 thousand euros.

The ‘Ndrangheta is said to ship sculptures stolen by ISIS from Libya to the Calabrian port of Gioia Taura in exchange for Kalashnikovs and rocket launchers. The artifacts are then sold by them on the black market to private collectors …

So the smuggler told Quirico he had to decide quickly because of strong interest from the United Arab Emirates. He also said “a famous American actor” had sent a liaison to Calabria to buy an archaeological treasure for 50 thousand dollars.

Trafficking in drugs and weapons

With annual sales of 55 billion euros the ‘Ndrangheta is considered one of the most powerful criminal organizations in Europe. They deal mainly in drugs and arms, but also earn much money by smuggling and dumping chemical waste, according to the responsible chief public prosecutor in a comment on the article. He said that he is aware of the links between the mafia and jihadist terrorist movements such as ISIS, and therefore takes the La Stampa article seriously.

The Italian Interior Minister said that the illegal art trade is a major source of income for terrorist organizations. Late last month, for example, two Van Gogh paintings stolen from Amsterdam were found in a safe of a Neapolitan mafia boss.

Earlier this year, [Russia’s] UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin estimated that ISIS made 150 to 200 million dollars per year with the illegal sale of tens of thousands of artifacts from Libya, Syria and Iraq.

See also here.

Dutch corporations accused of financing al-Qaeda terrorism: here.

Van Gogh paintings, stolen by mafia, found again

Sea at Scheveningen by Vincent van Gogh

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Police find stolen Van Gogh paintings in Mafia house in Italy

Today, 09:55

After fourteen years, two stolen Van Gogh paintings have been found in Italy. They were found in fairly good condition during a police investigation near Naples. According to Italian media they were in the hands of the Mafia.

They are the works Sea at Scheveningen made in 1882, and Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen from 1884/1885. They are estimated to be worth millions of euros.

The Italian newspaper La Repubblica reports that the paintings were found in a house in Castel Marie di Stabia, near Pompeii. There they were said to be in the hands of the big shots of the Neapolitan Mafia.


The paintings were stolen in 2002 from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The thieves climbed early in the morning with a ladder to the first floor of the museum. There they struck a window with a sledgehammer, and climbed through inside.

Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen, by Vincent van Gogh

Now, let us hope that all of the ancient Dutch art, stolen by Ukrainian criminals with links to the Ukrainian political establishment, like the Italian mafia has to its political establishment, will return as well.

Berlusconi-mafia connection arrest in Italy

This video, recorded in Italy, is called Ex-Berlusconi minister arrested in Mafia investigation.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Former Berlusconi minister arrested over mafia ally collusion

Friday 9th May 2014

A FORMER minister in Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing government was arrested in a luxury Rome hotel today for allegedly helping a political ally convicted of mafia collusion to flee abroad.

Claudio Scajola is accused of helping Amedeo Matacena to flee to Dubai, evading a five-year jail sentence, said anti-mafia prosecutor Arturo de Felice.

Mr Matacena was declared a fugitive last summer. He was tried for ties with the Calabrian ’ndrangheta crime syndicate.

Mr Scajola resigned as industry minister in 2010 amid allegations that he paid far below market value for a luxury apartment overlooking the Colosseum in Rome.

He was later tried and acquitted of wrongdoing.

Mr Scajola is the second close Berlusconi aide to come under judicial scrutiny.

Marcello Dell’Utri has been declared a fugitive in Italy and detained in Lebanon, where he fled before a decision on an appeal against his conviction for mafia links.

Silvio Berlusconi has spent hundreds of thousands of euros on 21 young women, to ensure their silence over events at his “bunga bunga” parties, Italian prosecutors allege, as they prepare to wrap up the probe that could see the mogul indicted for judicial corruption – and therefore facing charges of tampering with witnesses: here.

Liking sleazy sex was embarrassing. But trying to cover up the presence of an underage sex worker at his ‘bunga bunga’ parties was deadly serious. Michael Day, author of a new book on Berlusconi, explains how Italy’s ex-PM lost the plot: here.

Federica Gagliardi: Berlusconi’s ‘White Lady’ jailed for 3 years for cocaine smuggling. A video has emerged showing how Gagliardi, 34, feigned surprise as Italian police officers extracted brick after brick of solid cocaine from her wheeled suitcase and backpack: here.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Berlusconi-mafia contact man arrested in Lebanon

This video from Italy says about itself:

Berlusconi calls “hero” the Mafia member Vittorio Mangano [English subtitles]

27 March 2009

Once upon a time, Berlusconi hired a man to work as broom at his villa: his name was Vittorio Mangano and, incidentally, he was also a Mafia member,who will be sentenced to imprisonment for murder and similar nice stuff.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Silvio Berlusconi associate to appear in Beirut court over Lebanon arrest

Marcello Dell’Utri, suspected of escaping justice, awaits ruling over appeal against sentence for colluding with Sicilian mafia

John Hooper in Rome

Sunday 13 April 2014 16.02 BST

Silvio Berlusconi‘s longstanding associate with whom he co-founded Italy‘s main rightwing party is expected to appear before a magistrate in Beirut on Monday at a hearing for a decision on the legality of his arrest.

Marcello Dell’Utri, who allegedly acted as a mediator between the Cosa Nostra and Berlusconiwas detained at a five-star hotel in the Lebanese capital at the end of last week. This has come before a final ruling by the Italian supreme court, due on Tuesday, on his appeal against a seven-year sentence for colluding with the Sicilian mafia. The 72-year-old senator’s lawyer said it was illogical to think his client was seeking to escape justice, since he had used his own name and credit card to book into the hotel.

Berlusconi was quoted on Sunday as having said it was he who had sent Dell’Utri to Lebanon. The daily La Repubblica said the former prime minister told a delegation from his Forza Italia (“Come on Italy”) party that he was responding to a request from Vladimir Putin. The Russian president had asked him to do what he could to help the leader of Lebanon’s Kataeb party, Amine Gemayel, to regain the presidency.

The warrant for Dell’Utri’s arrest cited a bugged discussion between the senator’s brother and a friend which the judges said showed there was a “serious and concrete danger” of Dell’Utri’s trying to establish himself abroad before the supreme court ruling. Some Italian newspapers on Sunday published extracts from the transcripts of the recordings.

Speaking on 8 November 2013, Alberto Dell’Utri, the senator’s twin, said: “Ten days ago, Marcello dined in Rome with … an important politician from the Lebanon who has been president and is putting himself up in the forthcoming elections and on 14 November he is planning to go to Beirut to see.”

However, the two men, whose conversation was taped as part of a separate investigation, also discussed the possibility of the senator might in future shuttle between Lebanon and west Africa on a diplomatic passport issued by the authorities in Guinea-Bissau as part of a scheme to exploit the country’s mineral riches. The transcripts indicated that Alberto Dell’Utri was proposing his brother should make a big donation to the country through an NGO set up by Berlusconi for building hospitals in Africa. Alberto Dell’Utri’s friend suggested a figure of €5m (£4.1m) might be appropriate.

“All that Marcello needs to do is go to Silvio and tell him: ‘Silvio, I’m going to Guinea-Bissau’: explain everything to him … ‘I’m founding a soccer school for the kids,'” Alberto Dell’Utri commented.

Marcello Dell’Utri – then the head of the advertising arm of Berlusconi’s vast business empire – created Forza Italia! from scratch in 1993, appointing his own executives to be its earliest officials. His conviction for collaboration with Cosa Nostra refers only to a period ending the previous year.

Lawyers expressed conflicting opinions on the difficulties of extraditing Dell’Utri from Lebanon if the supreme court upholds his conviction on Tuesday.

Super-rich septuagenarian Silvio Berlusconi will have to spend four hours a week serving the elderly to repay Italian society for tax fraud: here.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Yakuza gangsters ‘clean up’ Fukushima, oppress workers

This video says about itself:

Atomic Mafia? Yakuza cleans up Fukushima, neglects basic workers’ rights

20 Nov 2013

Japan’s mafia is reportedly cashing in on the Fukushima disaster by running the clean-up efforts at the damaged nuclear plant. Workers complain of being understaffed and mistreated by contractors who think nothing of throwing them into areas of high radiation.

From Melanie’s Japan Safety blog:

Homeless men employed cleaning up the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, including those brought in by Japan’s yakuza gangsters, were not aware of the health risks they were taking and say their bosses treated them like “disposable people.”

RT’s Aleksey Yaroshevsky, reporting from the site of the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl, met with a former Fukushima worker who was engaged in the clean-up operation.

“We were given no insurance for health risks, no radiation meters even. We were treated like nothing, like disposable people – they promised things and then kicked us out when we received a large radiation dose,” the young man, who didn’t identify himself, told RT.

The former Fukushima worker explained that when a job offer at Fukushima came up he was unemployed, and didn’t hesitate to take it. He is now planning to sue the firm that hired him.

“They promised a lot of money, even signed a long-term contract, but then suddenly terminated it, not even paying me a third of the promised sum,” he said.

While some workers voluntarily agreed to take jobs on the nuclear clean-up project, many others simply didn’t have a choice.

An investigative journalist who went undercover at Fukushima, filming with a camera hidden in his watch, says that many of the workers were brought into the nuclear plant by Japan’s organized crime syndicates, the yakuza.

“In Japan, quite often when a certain construction project requires an immediate workforce, in large numbers, bosses make a phone call to the Yakuza. This was the case with Fukushima: the government called Tepco to take urgent action, Tepco relayed it to their subcontractors and they, eventually, as they had a shortage of available workers, called the Yakuza for help,” Tomohiko Suzuki told RT.

According to Japanese police, up to 50 yakuza gangs with 1,050 members currently operate in Fukushima prefecture. Although a special task force to keep organized crime out of the nuclear clean-up project has been set up, investigators say they need first-hand reports from those forced to work by the yakuza to crack down on the syndicates.

Earlier this year, Japanese police made their first arrest, detaining one yakuza over claims he sent workers to the crippled Fukushima plant without a license. Yoshinori Arai regularly took a cut of the workers’ wages, pocketing $60,000 in over two years.

Meanwhile, according to Tepco’s blueprint, dismantling the Fukushima Daiichi plant will require at least 12,000 workers just through 2015. But the company and its subcontractors are already short of workers. As things stand now, there are just over 8,000 registered workers. According to government data, there are 25 percent more openings for jobs at Fukushima plant than applicants. Tomohiko Suzuki says these gaps are often filled by the homeless and the desperately unemployed – people who have nothing to lose, including those with mental disabilities.

Due to the fact that the Japanese government has been reluctant to invite multinational workers into the country, its nuclear industry mostly uses cheap domestic labor, the so-called “nuclear gypsies” – workers from the Sanya neighborhood of Tokyo and Kamagasaki in Osaka, known for large numbers of homeless men.

“Working conditions in the nuclear industry have always been bad,” the deputy director of Osaka’s Hannan Chuo Hospital, Saburo Murata, told Reuters. “Problems with money, outsourced recruitment, lack of proper health insurance – these have existed for decades.”

The problem is that after Japan’s parliament approved a bill to fund decontamination work in August 2011, the law did not apply existing rules regulating the profitable construction industry. Therefore, contractors engaged in decontamination were not required to share information on their management, so anyone could instantly become a nuclear contractor, as if by magic.

It is now emerging that many of the cleanup workers, including those recruited to work at the power plant by the yakuza – mostly with gambling debts to the organization or family obligations – often had no idea what they were dealing with.

“They were given very general information about radiation and most were not even given radiation meters,” Tomohiko Suzuki told RT. “They could have exposed themselves to large doses without even knowing it. Even the so-called Fukushima 50 – the first group of workers sent there immediately after the disaster – at least three of them were recruited by the yakuza.”

Suzuki published details of what he says is solid evidence, but Tokyo Electric Power Company officials strenuously deny that any mistreatment or organized crime involvement is taking place.

There are no exact figures on how many people have worked on the Fukushima cleanup operation. Rough estimates suggest that this may be up to a quarter of a million people. With experts saying it may take another 40 years to completely liquidate the aftermath of the disaster, the lives of millions could be affected.“

Fukushima nuclear disaster is warning to the world, says power company boss — The Guardian: here.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi power plant, officially started transferring nuclear fuel rods from the damaged reactor 4 building on November 18. The dangerous process could result in the release of large amounts of radioactivity if anything goes wrong. It is a critical step in decommissioning the plant, which TEPCO estimates will take 30 to 40 years: here.

Typhoons spreading Fukushima fallout — Australia Network News: here.