May 25. 2005 Code of the Camorra
For centuries, mafia families and clans have been deeply ingrained in the Italian social fabric accepted as part of 'a l'Italia', the Italian way
That said, by the 1980s Italian authorities were eventually forced to confront the mafia and its political backers. But despite early success of the
much-vaunted clean hands operation, the mafia wasn't dead, it was just underground. The old clan structure and its hold on local communities through
a so-called 'code of honour' survived. Recently though, the mafia has resurfaced with a vengeance. On the streets of Naples, mafia clans now act
with a new brutality and an impunity that is quite terrifying. At some personal risk, reporter Nick Lazaredes has been in Naples investigating the
resurgence of that city's brand of the mafia, the Camorra
Like in the past when the mafia had a powerful presence in Italy, their licence to operate is only possible because of high-level links to the Italian
AMATO LAMBERTI, CRIMINOLOGIST, (Translation): In Italy organised crime has never had such a freehand as it has today. That's the basic fact. Of
course the loss of moral fibre also means that certain connections between public administration, politicians and organised crime that had been
loosened, today have resumed in full.
For the hordes of international visitors Naples is a striking gateway to Italy's south, and Pompeii, Italy's biggest tourist attraction.
Naples ranks among the top cities in the country. But the city has always had an edge. And it has lived under the shadow of the Camorra, for a very
MAURIZIO CERINO, (Translation): Historically, the Camorra had its beginnings around 1700 as a substitute for the non-existent power of the Bourbon
king. The Camorra was created to keep the peace, to collect debt, to impose marriage on women who had been raped, a whole host of things. It took over
the authority of the state.
The key to the Camorra's capacity to generate so much wealth is due to Naples' position as a cargo hub a major gateway to Europe. But along with the
legitimate cargo, this port is also the backbone for the Camorra's international network drug imports from South America and Asia, and arms
trafficking to the Middle East. Experts say that as organised crime continues to expand its operations the Italian Government becomes more susceptible
to its influence.
AMATO LAMBERTI, (Translation): My impression is that today Italy is becoming the weakest link in the fight against organised crime. That’s because
objectively we are seeing an expansion of the organised crime in the economy that is much stronger than it used to be.
Amato Lamberti is Italy's most renowned criminologist and expert on organised crime. He's also a long-time resident of Naples and a professor at the
city's university. He says there's now clear evidence that the mafia clans are again wielding influence at the highest levels of government.
AMATO LAMBERTI, (Translation): We can't just look at what happens locally, the shootings, the petty crimes, all that. There are bigger interests at
stake that involve the government through the secret service. Because organised crime has money, it controls people, controls activities and it also
makes it easier for politicians to make money for themselves.
To explain his point about collusion between organised crime and state authorities, Lamberti points to recent arms deals in the Middle East, in
violation of international sanctions.
AMATO LAMBERTI, (Translation): If I were to go to Iran, I’d see that the Iranian police have an Italian Beretta in the holster. Who sold it to them?
In Iran, the guided missiles, the anti-tank ones, they are Italian-made. It is written on them, BPD (Bomprini, Parodi and Delfino). How did those
missiles arrive in Iran from Italy? Arms factories are controlled by the state and by the customs police, nothing can escape them. How do they get
there? There's a link between industry, state and organised crime. They organise the traffic and its all money that goes into the state coffers.
Professor Lamberti believes that the growing power of the Camorra is connected to the policies of Italy's flamboyant Prime Minister, Silvio
Berlusconi. Berlusconi has been fighting Italian magistrates for years over persistent corruption allegations. Recently he has attempted to restrict
AMATO LAMBERTI, (Translation): The Berlusconi Government has weakened the judiciary, because it has damaged its credibility. Many Magistrates are
unwilling to do their job, because it’s not an easy direction to follow, as proven by the judges killed by the Mafia.
What's alarming some commentators is that Berlusconi now wants to change the Italian constitution, in an effort to weaken the separation of powers
between the executive and the Judiciary.
MAURIZIO CERINO, (Translation): He's changing the constitution, which is the foundation of any state, and is twisting it in order to limit the power
of the judiciary, and in particular to have control over it
In the last election in 2001 Berlusconi's party Forza Italia won a massive share of the vote in Sicily. Professor Lamberti investigated the result
and concluded that an understanding existed with the local mafia.
AMATO LAMBERTI, (Translation): The resounding success of Forza Italia in Sicily is directly connected to the fact that it didn’t antagonise the
Mafia, it made an alliance with it. So, with the help of those who control the territory, with the help of those who control a large section of the
population, with the help of those who can bring people to vote.
Just an interesting story i saw not too long ago. There is a video with the transcript to go along. what can I say? The more things change the more
they stay the same.