LOADING ...

Italian Police Seize Air-to-Air Missile, Dozens of Firearms in Raids on Neo-Nazis

Tom McKay Jul 16, 2019. 14 comments

The Italian General Investigations and Special Operations Division (DIGOS) seized an arsenal of weaponry ranging from bolt-action rifles and automatic weapons to a “combat-ready” air-to-air missile from a neo-Nazi group in a series of raids supported by police in Milan, Varese, Forli and Novara, the BBC reported on Monday.

In a statement to the BBC, police described the missile as “in perfect working order.” According to the Drive, the missile is a French-made, semi-active radar-seeking Matra Super 530F, contained within a casing that identifies it as purchased by the Qatar Armed Forces in 1980. That year the Qatari government purchased 14 Dassault Mirage F1 fighter jets from France with armaments, though Qatar’s F1s have largely been superseded in active service by Mirage 2000 jets that fire the newer MICA missiles, the Drive wrote.

The Guardian reported that police said the missile lacked its explosive charge but could be easily re-armed by munitions specialists.

Italian authorities also seized neo-Nazi propaganda and made three arrests. According to La Repubblica, the raids were the product of a year-long investigation into Italian nationals that had fought in the ongoing conflict between Ukraine government forces and Russia-backed separatists.

La Repubblica wrote that authorities claimed the suspects were trying to sell the missile for about $529,000 (400,000 euros), with Turin Police Chief Giuseppe De Matteis saying that the seizure had “few precedents for the quality of the weapons and their violent potential.” The paper named those arrested as 60-year-old former customs inspector and neo-fascist Forza Nuova militant Fabio Del Bergiolo, 51-year-old Fabio Bernardi, and 42-year-old Swiss national Alessandro Monti.

Del Bergiolo unsuccessfully ran for Senate in Gallarte on the Forza Nuova ticket in 2001, La Repubblica wrote, and was involved in a 2003 corruption scandal while working in customs. The weapons cache was found in his home, according to CNN.

Italian police have launched several recent raids on Forza Nuova, including the arrest of its Turin chief Luigi Cortese on charges of “apologizing for fascism,” as well as other neo-fascist groups including Rebel Firm and Legio Subalpina. According to a report in France-Soir (a French tabloid), however, those prior raids turned up knives, shields, ammunition, and baseball bats emblazoned “Dux Mussolini.”

It’s not clear who the suspects were allegedly trying to sell the Super 530F to, but La Repubblica wrote an unnamed “public official of a foreign country” had been among the prospective buyers.

The Super 530F is an ageing missile “compatible only with a limited number of aircraft,” per the Drive, though current operators of the F1 jet include the UN-backed Government of National Accord in Libya. The GNA has been waging a desperate and extremely violent battle against the forces of General Khalifa Haftar, who has been trying to take over the nation. Iran also operates F1 fighter jets.

It is also possible that another buyer could strip down the Super 530F for parts or seek to convert it into a ground-to-air missile, though an unnamed expert told AFP it would be “extremely dangerous and risky” to perform the latter task without specialized knowledge and equipment.

According to Reuters, police said the neo-Nazis were communicating with possible customers via WhatsApp. Forza Nuova has denied any involvement in the arms-dealing plot or having current ties with the three suspects.

In a statement to CNN, Del Bergiolo’s lawyer Fausto Moscatelli attempted to portray his client as a “weapons enthusiast” who was merely maintaining a private collection.

“My client is a collector and they sequestered weapons that were in his home,” Moscatelli told CNN. “These weapons were not registered, but they were not connected to terrorism... There was a misunderstanding with the Nazi paraphernalia, he also had fascist and USSR paraphernalia, but they (the police) only took things with swastikas.”

“The far right in this country trafficks weapons of war, and even missiles,” Maurizio Martina, the former head of Italy’s center-left Democratic Party, told AFP. “It’s an incredible, very serious event.”

14 Comments

Other Tom McKay's posts

Democratic Senators Urge FCC to Delay T-Mobile-Sprint Merger Vote, Seek Public Comment Democratic Senators Urge FCC to Delay T-Mobile-Sprint Merger Vote, Seek Public Comment

In July, the Department of Justice cleared T-Mobile’s planned takeover of Sprint , paving the way for the nation’s third and fourth largest wireless carriers to merge into a titan to rival AT&T and Verizon. Sixteen states are suing to block the merger , and now some congressional Democrats are lobbying to have the Federal Communications Commission delay an...

List of Former Googlers Claiming Google Hates Conservatives Just Keeps Getting Dumber List of Former Googlers Claiming Google Hates Conservatives Just Keeps Getting Dumber

In 2017, the world was introduced to James Damore , a Google engineer who published a document to the company’s internal message boards claiming (inaccurately ) that genetic differences between men and women explain disparate representation in the engineering profession and that the company’s diversity initiatives had created bias in its hiring processes.After Google fired Damore, he started palling...

Ohio AG Yanks Access to State Facial Recognition System for Over 4,500 Officers Ohio AG Yanks Access to State Facial Recognition System for Over 4,500 Officers

The attorney general of Ohio, Andrew Yost, has suspended facial recognition database access for approximately 4,500 law enforcement personnel after the release of a Washington Post report in July indicating that federal agencies, including the FBI and Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), had obtained access to such systems in several states, per the Toledo Blade. That report indicated that...

Pop! Goes the Uber Pop! Goes the Uber

Things haven’t been going so hot for Uber, which is burning through billions of dollars a year with no fleet of driverless taxis in sight to stop it. Now, the party is really over: According to a report in Crunchbase News, Uber has decided to stop buying hundreds of thousands of dollars in celebratory balloons annually.Crunchbase wrote that in...

Suggested posts

Democratic Senators Urge FCC to Delay T-Mobile-Sprint Merger Vote, Seek Public Comment Democratic Senators Urge FCC to Delay T-Mobile-Sprint Merger Vote, Seek Public Comment

In July, the Department of Justice cleared T-Mobile’s planned takeover of Sprint , paving the way for the nation’s third and fourth largest wireless carriers to merge into a titan to rival AT&T and Verizon. Sixteen states are suing to block the merger , and now some congressional Democrats are lobbying to have the Federal Communications Commission delay an...

Report: Huawei Could Get 90 More Days to Buy American Parts to Fill Pre-Blacklist Orders Report: Huawei Could Get 90 More Days to Buy American Parts to Fill Pre-Blacklist Orders

Though U.S. trade sanctions are still in effect, Huawei Technologies will have an additional 90 days to buy from American companies so it can wrap up work with existing customers, according to a Reuters report. The world’s largest telecom gear supplier received a “temporary general license” shortly after the ban that was initially set to expire on August 19....

List of Former Googlers Claiming Google Hates Conservatives Just Keeps Getting Dumber List of Former Googlers Claiming Google Hates Conservatives Just Keeps Getting Dumber

In 2017, the world was introduced to James Damore , a Google engineer who published a document to the company’s internal message boards claiming (inaccurately ) that genetic differences between men and women explain disparate representation in the engineering profession and that the company’s diversity initiatives had created bias in its hiring processes.After Google fired Damore, he started palling...

Ohio AG Yanks Access to State Facial Recognition System for Over 4,500 Officers Ohio AG Yanks Access to State Facial Recognition System for Over 4,500 Officers

The attorney general of Ohio, Andrew Yost, has suspended facial recognition database access for approximately 4,500 law enforcement personnel after the release of a Washington Post report in July indicating that federal agencies, including the FBI and Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), had obtained access to such systems in several states, per the Toledo Blade. That report indicated that...

Pop! Goes the Uber Pop! Goes the Uber

Things haven’t been going so hot for Uber, which is burning through billions of dollars a year with no fleet of driverless taxis in sight to stop it. Now, the party is really over: According to a report in Crunchbase News, Uber has decided to stop buying hundreds of thousands of dollars in celebratory balloons annually.Crunchbase wrote that in...

Terrorist Who Allegedly Killed 51 People in New Zealand Gets Letter Published to 4Chan From Jail Terrorist Who Allegedly Killed 51 People in New Zealand Gets Letter Published to 4Chan From Jail

The white supremacist accused of killing 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, currently has no access to internet, TV, newspapers, and radio. Yet he’s still able to get his hateful ideology out into the world, all thanks to extremists on 4Chan and lax rules about letter writing in New Zealand prisons.Brenton Tarrant, the 28-year-old Australian national...

FAA Bans Some Recalled MacBook Pro Models From Flying, Citing Fire Risk FAA Bans Some Recalled MacBook Pro Models From Flying, Citing Fire Risk

The Federal Aviation Administration has “banned select MacBook Pro” units from flying in the air after Apple issued a warning that some contained batteries that pose a fire risk, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.The ban applies to some 15-inch MacBook Pros with Retina Displays sold between September 2015 and February 2017; these were subject to a June 2019 Apple recall...

Nothing to See Here, Just Someone or Something With a TV for a Head Leaving TVs on Porches at Night Nothing to See Here, Just Someone or Something With a TV for a Head Leaving TVs on Porches at Night

In the dead of night this weekend, someone or something left dozens of ageing TVs on the porches and lawns of Virginia homes.According to reports from CNN and WWBT, at least 60 different people in Glen Allen in Henrico County woke up on Aug. 11 to discover that old rear-projection television sets had been left on their porches—with security...

Over 10,000 Guns Handed Over in New Zealand Buyback Program After Livestreamed Christchurch Attack Over 10,000 Guns Handed Over in New Zealand Buyback Program After Livestreamed Christchurch Attack

The people of New Zealand have handed over at least 10,242 firearms since July 13, the start of a nationwide buyback program in the wake of a terrorist attack in March that killed 51 people and injured dozens more, according to a new report from CNN. The alleged white supremacist terrorist livestreamed his attacks on two Christchurch mosques, leading...

Dozens Arrested at #JewsAgainstICE Protest at Amazon Store in NYC Dozens Arrested at #JewsAgainstICE Protest at Amazon Store in NYC

Jewish community groups protesting Amazon Web Service’s (AWS) cloud computing contracts with and other technical support for Immigration and Customs Enforcement say that dozens of their members were arrested at an Amazon Books store in Manhattan on Sunday.Sophie Ellman-Golan, volunteer organizer with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) and one of the leaders of Never Again Action, told...

Language