Terrorists may be coming to Italy on migrant boats, Milanesi said. “Many elements lead us to believe that on the boats there are returning fighters and there may be people bringing a terrorist threat, so there is a direct interest with respect to the NATO defence clause,” he said on the eve of the NATO summit in Brussels.
“We will forcefully ask at the NATO summit for a rebalancing of the Atlantic Alliance’s commitment towards the Mediterranean. We must have the same commitment towards the south as to the east”.
There was no alternative to working with the European Union on the issue for Italy, he added. “I can’t see alternatives to an active participation by Italy in the process of European integration,” he said. “I have a dim view of isolationism and attempts at pure hindrance”.
Milanesi used the example of the UK, where Brexit has yet again launced a the latest government crisis. “You know well what you leave, you know less well what you find and that is also shown by what is happening in Britain”.
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini meanwhile used strong language to blast the Calabrian-based ‘Ndrangheta mafia on Tuesday as he paid a visit to a property confiscated from the Gallico clan in the town of Palmi that is set to be transformed into a police station. The clan is believed to be involved in human trafficking from Libya.
Italian crime families have cashed in on the “refugee industry”. In 2014, an investigation known as “Mafia Capitale” found that a mafia-style association had siphoned off millions of euros by infiltrating asylum centres across the country, buying and selling names and details of migrants who had long disappeared, in order to tap into the per-person state funding.
During the investigation, one of the alleged bosses of the group, Salvatore Buzzi, boasted: “Do you have any idea how much I earn on immigrants?” he told an associate. “They’re more profitable than drugs.”
In 2017, anti-mafia police arrested 68 people, including the local parish priest, in the Calabrian town of Isola di Capo Rizzuto, where one of the country’s largest migrant and refugee reception centres has been in operation for more than a decade. Investigators say the mafia stole tens of millions of euros in public funds intended for asylum seekers to live on while their applications were heard.
Chief of the anti-mafia forces, General Giuseppe Governale, said the centre was a lucrative source of funds for the Calabrian mafia, the ‘Ndrangheta.
“An all-out war has started against organized crime, not just in Calabria, but in all of Italy, because the ‘Ndrangheta is a shit, a cancer, that has spread to the whole of Italy,” said Salvini, who is also deputy premier and leader of the League party.
“But I’m stubborn and I’ll keep fighting it until we have taken away even the underpants of these people”.