The story of police wiretaps of a mafioso accountant laundering billions for the ‘Ndrangheta, one of the biggest and most dangerous crime syndicates in the world, should hopefully chill some people here into a realisation of what we’re dealing with.
Around the time that Matthew Caruana Galizia first hit this sceptical, uncomprehending island with the term ‘Mafia State’, a mafioso from Reggio Calabria was on the phone mocking Matthew’s mother, telling whoever was listening to him that four days after her killing ‘they’re still picking up pieces of her’.
Mafiosi clinked glasses over the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that a memo went round the offices of mafiosi and a vote was taken on killing Daphne. Mafia interests are varied and multi-layered and few, if anyone knows everything everyone else is up to. The octopus has a life of its own but not every tentacle is aware of what all the other tentacles do that would benefit the whole.
There is the temptation to go the other extreme. To be so utterly overwhelmed by the complexity of the interests and the benefit that is enjoyed by people not directly connected to a mafia crime, that one assumes they can never understand how a mafia murder happened and who was directly involved in it. That is a mistaken, though not unlikely reaction, designed by the mafia to ensure impunity for its people.
Daphne had been an obstacle for the mafia’s continued exploitation of Malta as a paradise for their billions: drug money, arms trading money, extortion money, slavery money, fraud, corruption, shadow gambling, prostitution, racketeering, you name it, they do it. And they used this country to slosh their billions around.
It wouldn’t need all those mafiosi to stop her. Just the one best placed to do so.
Even now, three years later, you hear people refusing to accept that the killing of Daphne was a mafia crime. They still take comfort in simple, alternative explanations they can believe in, so they don’t have to fear what this country has become. You still get people writing on Facebook that people demanding justice for Daphne are only really interested in making Labour look bad.
Daphne’s killing makes Labour look bad because the criminal interests of their leadership were and are intricately intertwined with the rest of the tentacled complexity of cross-border organised crime. They opened the doors for the laundering of the proceeds of the crime of others in order to be able to launder the proceeds of their own. And now we’re in this octopus’s grip.
The cliche is to ignore elephants in rooms. Elephants in rooms are relatively harmless. We have allowed the devil in, to whom we have sold our souls and before we share as an accepted truth that concerns us all the simple fact that the mafia is very much in our midst, we won’t even begin the process of reclaiming our souls.