Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI condemns ‘Ndrangheta

Looks like the Vatican isn't a fan of this new mob replacing their old one. They'll launder Sicilian money but not Calabrian?  After all the allegations of God’s Banker linked to the Sicilian Cosa Nostra I guess it doesn’t come as much surprise that the Pope is coming out against their competition.  The pope has stated that they are "tearing at the social fabric", what by displacing Vatican allies?

Not that I am condoning either group, both are a haven for psychopathic killers and are responsible for the majority of drugs imported to the Western World, with the 'Ndrangheta apparently importing 80% of the cocaine into Europe but it is classic catholic double speak to protect their allies while calling out their adversaries for the same practices.  “Thou shalt not kill”; except if they get in the way of the Pope spreading the word of an all loving god.  But this isn’t about the pope and his church’s long history of corruption.

With a strong presence in Canada especially in the GTA, the ‘Ndrangheta are a group of Calabrians from southern Italy who have operated there for quite some time but have only recently become known globally.  Most recently, Carmelo Gallico was arrested in Barcelona where extradition proceedings are in the process of sending him back to Italy to face numerous charges including  homicide, extortion and money laundering with other charges currently pending.  He had been living in the Spanish city in an attempt to evade these charges.  Perhaps he should have come to Canada where so many of his brethren are living openly without seeming to have any fear of extradition.

The Siderno Group, the most powerful clan from Calabria, has an estimated eight members living openly in the GTA who are wanted for serious crimes back home.  While it is true that in 2005 two of their leaders were extradited the majority seem to be operating with impunity.  With their ties in Columbia they appear to be the major importers of cocaine in the western world, with an estimated $50 billion a year into Europe.  They operate in clan structures closely bound by family ties with an estimated 10000 made men, a small army enforcing their will across the globe from their historic home in Italy across Europe to North and South America and as far as Australia.

Similar to their Cosa Nostra rivals, they use brazen and brutal acts to keep people in line.  “The 'Ndrangheta wields violence to settle scores, eliminate those who pose a threat, or simply to terrorize the locals. Their methods can be gruesome: In 1991, the 'Ndrangheta murdered a butcher in the village of Taurianova in broad daylight, in front of his own shop, by cutting off his head with one of his own knives and then using the head for target practice in the main piazza. Not one eyewitness to this public slaying came forward.”  (National Post)

Unlike the Cosa Nostra, ‘Ndrangheta membership is strictly regulated by blood relations.  It is expected that the sons of uomini d’onore (men of honor) will be groomed from a young age as giovani d’onore (boys of honor), giving this group remarkable cohesion.  This has allowed them to spread their influence globally through the simple migration of Calabrians throughout Europe, North and South America and Australia.

While they are new to the mainstream media, they are not a new entity.  Historically, the first reference to them comes from the prefect of Reggio Calabria who notes their presence in 1861, at the time referring to them as camorristi in reference to the Camorra who operate in the urban center of Naples.  It is not until the 1880s that there is mention of the onorata societa or honoured society.   By 1906 their influence had spread to the new world, with ‘Ndrangheta running an intimidation racket on Pennsylvanian mines.  It was around this time that they began operating in Australia as well, with the Sergi, Barbaro and Papalia clans ruling the east coast, beginning with Queensland.  The Siderno Group, one of the richest and most powerful clans, have been operating in Canada since the 1950s.

With the decline of the Cosa Nostra, as illustrated by the recent Rizzuto deaths in Montreal, it looks like this group is the dominant force.  The profits estimated from the importing of cocaine into Europe alone ($50 billion) puts them in the running to be more profitable than many countries.  With resources like this it is hard to imagine that they will be going anywhere anytime soon.


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