Father Luigi Ciotti, the good priest who heads the anti-Mafia group Libera which converts seized mob property into socially responsible businesses, is the target of new death threats from Cosa Nostra or the Sicilian Mafia, and Ciotti says even if he's killed "a network of wonderful people has been created that will fight back" as reported by ANSA.
Italian prosecutor Nicola Gratteri has been awarded the Civil Courage Prize from the New York-based Train Foundation for his fearless campaign against the drug-trafficking 'Ndrangheta or Calabrian Mafia as reported by The Associated Press: "'in attacking 'ndrangheta, prosecutor Gratteri is attacking something even more dangerous -- the sense of fatalism and futility that allows organized crime to grow,' Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a speech shortly before the prize was awarded."
In recent years the 'Ndrangheta has eclipsed Cosa Nostra or the Sicilian Mafia as Italy's most powerful crime group due to its obscene profits from the cocaine trade in Europe, and further has become entrenched in Australia, Canada and the United States.
Mob watchers in Canada suspect that the Calabrians have backed a breakaway group from the Rizzuto clan of the Sicilian Mafia for control over the drug rackets in Montreal and New York, and the turf war has resulted in dozens of murders over the last few years.
Earlier this year Italian and American police arrested dozens of suspected mobsters on both sides of the Atlantic for their alleged roles in a joint drug smuggling plot between the Gambino family and the Calabrian Mafia.
Sebastiano Brunno, the boss of the Nardo clan from Cosa Nostra or the Sicilian Mafia who has been on the lam since 2009 to avoid a life sentence for his role in a turf war during the early 1990s, was apprehended yesterday on the island of Malta as reported by ANSA.
Intelligence officials from Italy's now-defunct spy agency Sisde apparently paid highly-ranked members from Cosa Nostra or the Sicilian Mafia "for information during several of the years when Silvio Berlusconi was premier" as reported by Frances D'Emilio for The Associated Press. Claudio Fava, vice president of Parliament's anti-Mafia commission and the son of a journalist slain by the Mafia in 1984, "said he suspects the information might have been used to derail investigations into whether politicians had links with the Mafia."
Mobster-turned-informant Gaspare Spatuzza testified at the ongoing trial targeting an alleged deal between Cosa Nostra and government officials to end the mob's stragismo -- strategy of terror -- against the state in the early 1990s, and for starters the dirtbag wants everyone to know that he's really sorry about all the murders -- about forty of them -- for which he's responsible including "the Nencioni sisters, an infant and a nine-year-old, who were killed with their parents in a May 1993 bombing near the Uffizi Gallery in Florence" as reported by ANSA:
"I participated in monstrous things and I have had terrible experiences. We have sold our souls to Satan. I am now freeing myself of the evil I carried inside, beginning with a painful path of repentance and distancing myself from everything that represented for me the environment in which I have always lived."
Only God knows whether Spatuzza's expressed remorse is genuine but in the meantime keep the terrorist mobster in prison for the rest of his miserable life.
In the down-at-heel Kalsa quarter of Palermo, I watch as a man, bold as brass, pulls up a chair on the pavement and receives his "pizzo" - protection money handed over by local stallholders and restaurant owners. In the background, you can hear the choir practising for Sunday through the doors of the nearby church. There is no protest, no rancour, no questioning of the status quo.
As British philospher and politician Edmund Burke once famously said: "all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
Six suspects from Cosa Nostra or the Sicilian Mafia have been arrested in the wretched towns of Corleone and Palazzo Adriano as reported by ANSA: "the operation, initiated by investigations opened in 2012, uncovered the secretive power structure of mobsters loyal to incarcerated boss Totò Riina as well as details of their control over tenders and extortion tactics on local entrepreneurs."
The fight against the Mafia in Italy increasingly is becoming a youth movement, and includes the grassroots campaign known as Addiopizzo which encourages businesses not to make protection payments known as "pizzo" to Cosa Nostra as reported by Philip Jacobson for Newsweek Magazine: "in the decade since Addiopizzo was founded, its youthful volunteers have proved startlingly effective at encouraging public resistance to extortion and intimidation (hence 'Goodbye Pizzo')," and "today, around 800 organisations . . . have pledged never again to pay off the crooks."