Mafia Cash In On Lucrative EU Wind Farm Handouts – Especially In Sicily

An ill wind is blowing over Italy’s green revolution, as the Mafia seek to capitalise on generous grants for renewable energy.

mafia-cash-in-on-lucrative-eu-wind-farm-handouts-especially-in-sicily
Photo: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

They rise up high above the sun-scorched countryside, looking out over hilltop villages, palm trees, neatly-tended vineyards and olive groves.

But for all their promises of a clean, green future, Italy’s windfarms have now acquired a somewhat dirtier whiff – as the latest industry to be infiltrated by the country’s mobsters.

Attracted by the prospect of generous grants designed to boost the use of alternative energies, the so-called “eco Mafia” has begun fraudulently creaming off millions of euros from both the Italian government and the European Union.

And nowhere has the industry’s reputation become more tarnished than Sicily, where windmills now dot the horizon in Mafia strongholds like Corleone, the town better known as the setting for the Godfather films.

“Nothing earns more than a wind farm,” said Edoardo Zanchini, an environmental campaigner who has investigated Mafia infiltration of the industry. “Anything that creates wealth interests the Mafia.”

It is not just Italian criminals, however, who have spotted the potential for corruption. Recent research by Kroll, the international corporate security firm, has discovered examples all over Europe of so-called “clean energy” schemes being used to to line criminals’ pockets rather than save the planet. Some involve windmills that stand derelict or are simply never built, while others are used to launder profits from other crime enterprises.

“Renewable energy seems like a good thing, run by saintly people saving the world,” said Jason Wright, a senior director with Kroll, which performs background checks on renewable energy schemes on behalf of legitimate investors, and which has documented a sharp rise in the number of wind farms with suspect ownership.

“But a lot of people want to jump on board a sure-fire revenue spinner. I wouldn’t say the entire sector is corrupt, but there is a small percentage of corrupt projects.”

The level of fraud has prompted calls for tighter restrictions on the use of public money in funding renewable energy, for which EU bureaucrats have grand ambitions. Brussels has ordered all 27 EU nations to ensure that one-fifth of their energy is renewable by 2020, and in recent years has given out an average of €5 billion (£4.1 billion) annually in loans and grants. The levels of subsidy allow some wind farm owners to claim generous premiums for every watt of electricity they generate.

In Italy, for example, power from wind farms is sold at a guaranteed rate of €180 per kwh – the highest rate in the world. In a country where the Mafia has years of expertise at buying corrupt politicians and intimidating rivals, the result is perhaps inevitable, creating a new breed of entrepreneur known as the “lords of the wind”.

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Yakuza keep an iron grip on Japanese companies

The yakuza are the members of traditional organised crime gangs in Japan. They are said to have evolved from groups of traders who sold stolen or shoddy goods in local markets in the period when the country was under the control of the shogunate.

They eventually took over the allocation and protection of market stalls set up during shinto festivals and were given official recognition by the shogun of the time. With this came the right to carry swords, which was until then reserved only for samurai and nobles.

Other yakuza are said to derive from groups that ran illegal gambling dens on the edges of towns.

Many of their members are burakumin — a group discriminated against in Japanese society because they are descendants of outcast communities in the feudal era. There were mainly executioners, undertakers or leather workers.

There are five main yakuza gangs, known as “families”, which have their own formal crest or logo and are based in different cities and territories. They run loan-sharking businesses, protection rackets, drug and pornography smuggling and prostitution rings using girls smuggled in from the Philippines and China.

Unlike the Mafia they are not secret. They have offices with their crests on the door and openly take part in festivals.

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Max Keiser on Greece: ‘The IMF is a Financial Mafia’

Don’t miss:

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, on April 26, 2010:

Greek Junk Contagion Presses EU to Broaden Bailout – ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet at CFR (April 26, 2010)


Translation via Helen Skopis of the recent interview with Max Keiser in Proto Thema newspaper in Athens.

Article in Proto Thema online – April 23, 2010 By Vassili Daliani

“The IMF is a Financial Mafia”

At a time when Greece is being dragged through the mud by the international press, Max Keiser, one of the most radical and outspoken financial analysts, stands by our side and talks openly about a “financial mafia” and “financial terrorists” that drove this country to its destruction.

As a former Wall Street broker for almost 25 years, he knows how the financial system operates. Max Keiser had foreseen the financial collapse of Iceland, he asks for the arrest of Goldman Sachs bankers and encourages Greeks to hold a referendum on whether the country should turn to the International Monetary Fund.

He is a presenter of financial shows on major worldwide TV networks, including the BBC, the English Al Jazeera and Russia Today. Max Keiser told “THEMA” that the government’s measures are unsubstantial maintaining that the IMF will impose the real measures. He believes that Greece is a country that will be sacrificed by the international markets and urges the Greek people to fight this prospective.

PT: Is the International Monetary Fund Greece’s only solution, or are there other alternatives?

MK: The only solution for Greece is to arrest the Goldman Sachs bankers immediately and all those involved in the fabrication of Greek economic data in 2000, when you became a member of the eurozone. The next step is to nationalize all banks like Sweden did in 1993. The International Monetary Fund is that last thing you need. You will lose your sovereignty. It exercises terrorism. You will be raped in such a way, that it will be the worst pain you have ever felt.

PT: There are those who believe that the IMF is not the “bad wolf” but the only solution for Greece

MK: If someone burns down your house in order to sell you charcoal, would you consider this logical? That is exactly what Goldman Sachs did to the Greek economy. They burned you down like arsonists and then they tell you not to worry they’ll give you charcoal. It’s outrageous. The IMF has said that it can provide Greece with help. The Wall Street investment hedge funds are attacking Greece’s bond market so that the Greek economy collapses. And they’re doing this for a simple reason; to force the Greek people to ask for help from the IMF. The IMF will say, we came because you asked for our help. Wall Street bankers work very closely with the IMF. It’s a financial mafia and the hedge funds are the assassins. Research conducted on Goldman Sachs in the USA and in Europe show how big a mafia it is. They are involved in illegal activity throughout the world.

PT: Where is the European Union? How would you explain the stance of France and Germany?

MK: Germany is on the side of the Wall Street bankers. Germany doesn’t care about Greece or the euro. The euro replaced a cheap capital in order to uphold competitiveness in its export market. As long as Greece is a problem, the euro falls, which is something that is in Germany’s interest.

The European Union and the euro are competing with the dollar. Unfortunately, the crisis will destroy the euro. The financial terrorists on Wall Street intend to destroy Portugal, and other countries, after Greece. The destruction of the euro will allow the dollar to be the only international currency, the only fiscal reserve. If a country wants to buy petroleum, it must purchase dollars first. If a country wants to buy copper, it must purchase dollars first. Because these and many other commodities are only sold in dollars. This means that the U.S. is making a continuous profit. The whole world is obliged to buy dollars. The euro threatened the empire of the dollar. It was naturally not appreciated by Wall Street bankers. They are using the crisis to destroy the euro. The Greek people must stand up to the bankers, just like the Icelandic people did.

Read moreMax Keiser on Greece: ‘The IMF is a Financial Mafia’

Italy: Mafia sank 30 ships full of nuclear, toxic wastes


Underwater footage of the sunken ship that could contain nuclear waste

A shipwreck apparently containing toxic waste is being investigated by authorities in Italy amid claims that it was deliberately sunk by the mafia.

An informant from the Calabrian mafia said the ship was one of a number he blew up as part of an illegal operation to bypass laws on toxic waste disposal.

The sunken vessel has been found 30km (18 miles) off the south-west of Italy.

The informant said it contained “nuclear” material.
Officials said it would be tested for radioactivity.

Murky pictures taken by a robot camera show the vessel intact and alongside it are a number of yellow barrels.

Labels on them say the contents are toxic.

The informant said the mafia had muscled in on the lucrative business of radioactive waste disposal.

But he said that instead of getting rid of the material safely, he blew up the vessel out at sea, off the Calabrian coast.

He also says he was responsible for sinking two other ships containing toxic waste.

Experts are now examining samples taken from the wreck.

Other vessels

An official said that if the samples proved to be radioactive then a search for up to 30 other sunken vessels believed scuttled by the mafia would begin immediately.

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Who Wants To Be CEO of a Red, White and Blue Kakistocracy*?

*Kakistocracy is government by the very worst, least principled, and most incompetent people. You will be forgiven for thinking that the word, kakistocracy, perhaps derives from the word, “caca”, itself derived from the Latin, “cacare”. In fact, kakistocracy derives from the Greek, kakos, meaning “bad”.)

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Canadian consular staff sells visas to members of the Chinese mafia and China’s intelligence service

For Canadian diplomat Brian McAdam, it wasn’t that he had uncovered the lucrative sale of Canadian visas during his posting at Canada’s Hong Kong consulate.

Both Canadian and Chinese consular staff, he says, were selling visas to members of the Chinese mafia and Communist China’s intelligence service. The price, he heard, ranged from $10,000 to $100,000 per visa.

It wasn’t that reports he sent to his bosses in Canada — details on murderers, money launderers, smugglers and spies trying to enter Canada — were met with silence or mostly destroyed.

It wasn’t dozens of threatening calls — “Stop what you’re doing or you’re going to find yourself dead” — from Triad members during his 1989-1993 stint in Hong Kong.

What finally broke him down, he says, was “the incredible feeling of betrayal from my colleagues. I’d worked with these people for years.”

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Italy is stealing cars

Italy has begun confiscating the cars of people driving under the effect of drugs or alcohol in the latest attempt to lower one of western Europe’s highest rates of road casualties.

Two drivers in their early 20s, a woman under the influence of alcohol and a man who had smoked a cannabis joint, have had their cars seized in northern Italy since the legislation came into effect at the end of last month.

The new legislation states that any driver who tests positive for any illegal drug or has blood alcohol levels exceeding set limits can have their car confiscated, as well as toughening fines and jail sentences.

The cars are to be auctioned off or used by the police, as is already the case for vehicles confiscated from mafia offenders and drug dealers.

Breathalyzer testing is not frequent in Italy, where 5,669 people died on the roads in 2006, the most recent data available. National statistics bureau ISTAT said the authorities must focus on curbing drunken driving to make the roads safer.

Wed Jun 4, 1:09 PM ET

Source: Reuters

Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear

Monsanto already dominates America’s food chain with its genetically modified seeds. Now it has targeted milk production. Just as frightening as the corporation’s tactics-ruthless legal battles against small farmers-is its decades-long history of toxic contamination.

No thanks: An anti-Monsanto crop circle made by farmers and volunteers in the Philippines.
By Melvyn Calderon/Greenpeace HO/A.P. Images.

Gary Rinehart clearly remembers the summer day in 2002 when the stranger walked in and issued his threat. Rinehart was behind the counter of the Square Deal, his “old-time country store,” as he calls it, on the fading town square of Eagleville, Missouri, a tiny farm community 100 miles north of Kansas City.

The Square Deal is a fixture in Eagleville, a place where farmers and townspeople can go for lightbulbs, greeting cards, hunting gear, ice cream, aspirin, and dozens of other small items without having to drive to a big-box store in Bethany, the county seat, 15 miles down Interstate 35.

Everyone knows Rinehart, who was born and raised in the area and runs one of Eagleville’s few surviving businesses. The stranger came up to the counter and asked for him by name.

“Well, that’s me,” said Rinehart.

As Rinehart would recall, the man began verbally attacking him, saying he had proof that Rinehart had planted Monsanto’s genetically modified (G.M.) soybeans in violation of the company’s patent. Better come clean and settle with Monsanto, Rinehart says the man told him-or face the consequences.

Rinehart was incredulous, listening to the words as puzzled customers and employees looked on. Like many others in rural America, Rinehart knew of Monsanto’s fierce reputation for enforcing its patents and suing anyone who allegedly violated them. But Rinehart wasn’t a farmer. He wasn’t a seed dealer. He hadn’t planted any seeds or sold any seeds. He owned a small-a really small-country store in a town of 350 people. He was angry that somebody could just barge into the store and embarrass him in front of everyone. “It made me and my business look bad,” he says. Rinehart says he told the intruder, “You got the wrong guy.”

When the stranger persisted, Rinehart showed him the door. On the way out the man kept making threats. Rinehart says he can’t remember the exact words, but they were to the effect of: “Monsanto is big. You can’t win. We will get you. You will pay.”

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