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purchased 14 Dassault Mirage F1 fighter jets from France with armaments, though Qatar’s F1s have largely been superseded in active service by Mirage 2000 jets that fire the newer MICA missiles, the Drive wrote.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

I Want That on a T-Shirt I Want That on a T-Shirt

Artists on Twitter say that their work is regularly stolen by armies of bots that generate t-shirts from popular designs—and they’ve got the receipts to prove it.Here’s the scam: Bots linked to popular t-shirt sales platforms appear to be crawling Twitter for replies to artists that mention phrases like “I want that on a t-shirt” or “Can I get...

The President Has Toilet Problems The President Has Toilet Problems

President Donald J. Trump is having some toilet trouble—extremely normal toilet trouble that happens to all of us on a regular basis. Like how we sometimes have to flush 10-15 times before it all goes down, and that is totally due to wacko liberals demanding environmentally friendly toilets.At a roundtable at the White House on reducing the supposedly onerous...

Social Media Companies Aren’t Even Close to Fixing Their Bot Problem, Report Finds Social Media Companies Aren’t Even Close to Fixing Their Bot Problem, Report Finds

Researchers with the NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence released a report this week showing that—shocker! —it remains as easy as ever to buy followers and engagement on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.The researchers wrote in the report that they tested the preparedness of the four sites by purchasing engagement on 105 separate posts on...

Members of Cybercrime Group Evil Corp Indicted for $100 Million In Heists and No One Can Touch Them Members of Cybercrime Group Evil Corp Indicted for $100 Million In Heists and No One Can Touch Them

The governments of the U.S. and the UK on Thursday announced the unsealing of indictments against two Russian members of a major cybercriminal operation called Evil Corp.The first individual, Maksim V. Yakubets, goes by the name “aqua” online and is wanted in relation to “two separate international computer hacking and bank fraud schemes spanning from May 2009 to the...

Suggested posts

I Want That on a T-Shirt I Want That on a T-Shirt

Artists on Twitter say that their work is regularly stolen by armies of bots that generate t-shirts from popular designs—and they’ve got the receipts to prove it.Here’s the scam: Bots linked to popular t-shirt sales platforms appear to be crawling Twitter for replies to artists that mention phrases like “I want that on a t-shirt” or “Can I get...

Social Media Companies Aren’t Even Close to Fixing Their Bot Problem, Report Finds Social Media Companies Aren’t Even Close to Fixing Their Bot Problem, Report Finds

Researchers with the NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence released a report this week showing that—shocker! —it remains as easy as ever to buy followers and engagement on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.The researchers wrote in the report that they tested the preparedness of the four sites by purchasing engagement on 105 separate posts on...

Members of Cybercrime Group Evil Corp Indicted for $100 Million In Heists and No One Can Touch Them Members of Cybercrime Group Evil Corp Indicted for $100 Million In Heists and No One Can Touch Them

The governments of the U.S. and the UK on Thursday announced the unsealing of indictments against two Russian members of a major cybercriminal operation called Evil Corp.The first individual, Maksim V. Yakubets, goes by the name “aqua” online and is wanted in relation to “two separate international computer hacking and bank fraud schemes spanning from May 2009 to the...

Enjoy Galt's Gulch, Assholes Enjoy Galt's Gulch, Assholes

It’s finally happening: Our self-proclaimed betters are leaving for that big Libertopia in the sky, or under the sea, or in space, or whatever.Per a report in Bloomberg on Thursday, data from staffing firm Challenger, Gray, & Christmas shows that a “record” 181 tech CEOs have left their posts from January 2019 through October—up 46 percent from the same...

Twitter: We Did Not Mean to Delete the Dead Twitter: We Did Not Mean to Delete the Dead

On Tuesday, Twitter announced that it would soon be launching a purge of inactive users to free up choice usernames for others, potentially allowing users to claim sweet handles like @badguy, @vomit, @logoff, or @gillbates. Just one problem: Twitter forgot that some of those accounts may belong to people who are dead.In a tweet on Wednesday, Twitter Support acknowledged...

Report: ByteDance Isolating TikTok From Rest of Chinese Operations Over Espionage Concerns Report: ByteDance Isolating TikTok From Rest of Chinese Operations Over Espionage Concerns

China’s ByteDance, owner of wildly popular (and often deeply annoying) music app TikTok, has moved to segregate much of the app’s operations from the rest of its business in a bid to convince the U.S. government user data is safe from the prying eyes of Chinese spies , Reuters reported on Wednesday.ByteDance acquired the U.S.-based app Musical.ly in 2017...

Facebook Loses Only Fact-Checking Partner in the Netherlands Over Lies in Political Ads Facebook Loses Only Fact-Checking Partner in the Netherlands Over Lies in Political Ads

Facebook has lost its only fact-checking partner in the Netherlands, Dutch digital newspaper NU.nl, over its policy of allowing politicians to openly lie in ads on the platform, according to an article on NPO 3.NU.nl’s decision to bail comes amid widespread blowback over the Facebook policy. Critics, including some of its own employees , have argued it incentivises online...

Jordan Peterson, Sir, Mr. Surrogate Dad Sir: Please Return My Ten Dollars Jordan Peterson, Sir, Mr. Surrogate Dad Sir: Please Return My Ten Dollars

Jordan Peterson’s Thinkspot has not one, not two, but ten of my stinkin’ dollars, and I want them back.I should probably explain how Peterson, a Canadian psychology professor who gained sprawling, cultish following among a conservative-leaning audience by ranting about about LGBTQ+ peoples’ preferred gender pronouns and “cultural Marxism,” has my ten dollars. It is because Peterson is now...

Report: Rev Asked Workers to Transcribe Audio Involving Sexual Assault, Child Abuse Without Warning Report: Rev Asked Workers to Transcribe Audio Involving Sexual Assault, Child Abuse Without Warning

Rev, the $1-a-minute audio transcription gig economy platform that’s been in the news lately for slashing payouts to contractors and an ensuing backlash , had its transcribers listen to content “relating to sex and child abuse without prior warning,” Business Insider reported on Friday.According to Business Insider, one Rev transcriber from Ireland said she felt as though she was...

The Cybertruck Is Good, Fight Me The Cybertruck Is Good, Fight Me

On Thursday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled the company’s latest electric vehicle, the aptly named Cybertruck, in the process snapping every neuron in my brain that has braved the long march of the past few years.The Cybertruck supposedly has great specs like a 3,500-pound payload, up to 14,000-pound towing, an adaptive air suspension, and three ranges (200, 300, and...

Language