Continues from yesterday. This part concludes this series by someone known to me.
Dom Mintoff stifled and persecuted the private sector with his centralised economy. Inevitably, private businessmen flocked to the Nationalist Party. The latter party was enriched with donations irrespective of whether they were solicited or not. This was in support of the Nationalists’ plan of stimulating the private sector to become the main motor of the economy as part of its decentralisation policy. Stimulating the construction industry was one facet of this controlled and measured strategy. The donations continued rolling into the party’s coffers because of the EU issue. It was in the private sector’s interest to attain EU membership. That these donations were not protection money was attested by the fact that once the EU issue was irrevocably decided, the donations dried up. With the election of MLP (Mafia Labour Party), the situation changed overnight to become identical to Cosa Nostra’s modus operandi.
The omertà code of silence and secrecy is handed down from medieval times as a way of opposing oppressive colonisation. In Sicily this necessitated the prohibition of cooperation with state authorities or of the reliance on the state’s legally constituted bodies. It is not “manly” to do so. Instead one must seek redress and justice through vendettas.
The MLP refers to these people as “suldati tal-azzar”. In other words, the Italian mafia was born as a resistance movement seeking freedom from a foreign controlled state. In modern Italy, it created a state within a state, becoming a law unto itself. Like the MLP, they adopt self-effacing, sanctimonious attitudes to the public so as to avoid unwanted attention to their unsavoury activities. They are very secretive, spreading deliberate lies about their past and they actually come to believe their own myths. Mintoff took a leaf out of their book when he re-founded his Labour Party along Sicilian lines. He fashioned the myth that he was the saviour who finally freed the long-suffering people from the centuries-long oppressive rule of colonialism.
The Italian penal code defines a mafia type association as one where its members exploit:
- the potential for intimidation which their membership gives them and
- the compliance and omertà which membership entails
and which leads
- to the committing of crimes,
- the direct or indirect assumption of control of financial activities, concessions, permits, enterprises and public services,
for the purpose of deriving profit or wrongful advantages for themselves or for other members.
The MLP fulfils all the stated criteria. It doesn’t help that a consigliere has succeeded the capo boss who won the award for the most corrupt leader of the year. It doesn’t help that the succession of the anointed one was done along the lines of the Yeltsin/Putin/Medvedev election. Nor does it help that the new prime minister seeks to have it both ways. Nor does it help that the new prime minster is more concerned with his charm offensive as a way of deflecting attention from the rot in Castille.
The prime minister has struggled to convince in his honeymoon period. Robert Abela preaches what the audience at that time wants to hear. But his acts fall kilometres short of his beguilingly humdrum rhetoric. He has postured and flexed his muscles but he has not delivered the right punches. He is an exhibitionist not a true boxer. He merely shadowboxes. Even in the training ring, he throws empty punches at his imagined demons and wilfully avoids the big punching bag in the middle of the ring. His is like the doctor who focuses entirely on the symptoms but ignores the cause of those symptoms precisely because he is part of the cause. By persisting with that practice, he merely perpetrates that cause.
The MLP now is the state and applies its omertà across the country. Any attack against one of its members is an attack against the MLP which is, in turn, an attack against the country. That is how the picciotto Josef Caruana justified his call for the elimination of incisive independent journalists who criticise the MLP. This explains the extreme hostility the MLP demonstrates to anyone who dares cross the MLP, be it members of the opposition, Nationalist MEPs or the independent press.
The MLP considers this breach of omertà as a despicable act of treachery and the betrayal of the state by colluding with a foreign colonial power, be it the EU or the Council of Europe. Through its rampant use of protection racketeering, embezzlement of public funds, wholesale bribery and intimidation, it has severely weakened and divided the opposition. States dominated by crime such as Mexico and Venezuela, have similarly weak oppositions and effectively there is one party rule. The overwhelming victories at the polls of these engineered “democratic elections” merely serve as a legitimate cover for the corrupt, omnipotent famiglia.
First, the picciotto approaches a prospective client with the question ”kif nistgħu naqduk?” This is the offer of public funds in exchange for a vote. The MLP can afford it as it sits on a heap of plundered gold like Smaug the dragon in the cavern of Lonely Mountain that Castille has now become. (Apparently, it’s so dark and eerily silent there that its occupants cannot see or hear anything and they don’t do anything there other than talk about football. These grotesque trolls are in the dark about everything else).
Next, comes the invitation to the profiteering client to pay protection money. In return, the MLP protects the integrity of the client by covering up for all the illegal transactions conducted in the underworld of Castille. Multimillions of our money has gone missing in that glorious Vital/Stewart contract probably hidden in who knows whose off-shore companies. But the mafiosi are serene because they know that the mighty dragon will spit its fire at any inquisitive undesirable who dares venture into that dark cavern. The dragon occasionally emerges from its Castille den on retaliatory fire spewing missions. That is the formula the MLP uses to build up its huge 40,000 plus vote majority and thereby avoid being flushed out of its goldmine.
Hollywood’s mafia films glorified mafiosi as anti-heroes, men who made their earnings through crime but who possessed a certain nobility and grandeur of character. This is the line that the MLP adopted for its heroes. Following high profile murders, the general feeling in Italy was that the mafia was out of control. In response, their production companies screened a series of realistic, gritty films that depicted the mafia as an unstoppable force that had completely corrupted almost everyone and silenced the few honest people willing to stand up to it.
Films such as La piovra, La scorte, Palermo-Milano sola andata and Gamorra had as their heroes a solitary policeman, magistrate or journalist alone, clinging to their honesty and integrity. They had to battle not only mafia assassins and their corrupt superiors and colleagues, but also the prevailing apathy of Italian society.
In Malta, Daphne Caruana Galizia was that real-life heroine who stood up to the Mafia Labour Party (MLP).