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Italian police arrest 40 Mafia members, capture secret initiation rite on video

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Secret mafia initiation rites have been caught on camera for the first time by Italian police, who on Tuesday arrested 40 suspected gangsters in raids across the north of the country.

The arrests, on charges of criminal association, illegal arms sales and extortion, followed a two-year investigation using wire-taps and hidden cameras in locations known to be frequented by mobsters, police said.

“For the first time the swearing-in ceremonies have been recorded live,” Milan prosecutor Ilda Boccassini told journalists at a press conference following raids which saw 37 people landed behind bars and another three placed under house arrest.

“For the first time we heard it from the voice of the mafia,” instead of relying on details from police informants, she said.

Those arrested are believed to belong to three clans based near Milan but affiliated with the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta, an organised crime group made up of networks of hundreds of family gangs even more feared and secretive than the Sicilian Mafia.

Police said the arrests were fresh proof of the deadly southern group’s expansion into the rich industrial north of the country. Those in handcuffs include a 17-year old boy and boss Giuseppe Larosa, known by the nickname “Peppe the Cow,” according to Italian media reports.

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The video and audio recordings revealed the swearing in of ‘Ndrangheta mobsters to an elite membership known as “Santa”.

New members swore allegiance “in the silence of the night and under the light of the stars and splendour of the moon” to “safeguard my wise brothers”.

– Bullet with your name on it –

An unnamed boss leading the rite in police videos published on Italian newspaper websites can be heard telling the new Santa that they are now expected to be their own executioners should they stray from the ‘Ndrangheta’s code.

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“From now on it will not be other men who judge you, you will judge yourselves,” the man says.

In what he describes as the “oath of poison”, he says there are two alternatives open to the disloyal: “Either you poison yourselves or you take this (gun) which shoots. There must always be a bullet reserved; one for you.”

Boccassini said the Santa’s affiliation “is in their DNA and under their skin and they can leave the ‘Ndrangheta either by collaborating with the state or through death”.

The name ‘Ndrangheta comes from the Greek for courage or loyalty. Its tight clan structure has made it famously difficult to penetrate.

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She referred to a conversation wiretapped in July last year, where boss Michelangelo Chindamo was heard saying that “the music may change but the rest remains… we can never change”.

He warned mobsters with him that “having a mobile phone in your pocket… is like having a policeman in your pocket,” and cited anti-mafia magistrate Boccassini and police wiretaps as exactly the sort of threat the clans faced.

Notebooks were discovered during the police raid which detailed the rites, investigators said.

Boccassini said the proof gathered by the police was so solid that those arrested would be dealt with under a fast-track trial procedure which would do away with preliminary hearings.

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Watch a video report on the arrests, as posted online on Tuesday, below.

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CNN

CNN panelist stumps host with Trump logic: ‘You can statistically say anything but I don’t see it’

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A Trump supporter on Thursday brushed off statistics showing that hate crimes have been rising since President Donald Trump's election by claiming that he has not personally seen any additional hate crimes.

During a CNN voter panel, host Alisyn Camerota quoted from official statistics showing a significant increase in hate crimes committed since Trump's upset victory in 2016.

Trump supporter Darrell Wimbley, however, wasn't buying it and he cited his own personal experiences to prove his point.

"You can say that, but I truly don't believe it because I don't see it," he said. "I can statistically say anything but I don't see it."

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CNN

Andrew McCabe rains hell on ‘insanely stupid’ Trump in epic rant before calling for impeachment hearings

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Appearing on CNN's "New Day" on Thursday morning, former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe unleashed hell on President Donald Trump for launching yet another unprovoked attack on him, saying the president says lots of "stupid things."

On Wednesday evening, the president smeared McCabe, with Trump calling him "terrible" and saying he couldn't do anything -- including go to the bathroom -- without former FBI Director James Comey's permission.

Given a chance to respond by CNN's John Berman, McCabe didn't hold back.

"You know, I've been listening to the president say insanely stupid things for years now about me personally, about my organization, and about the investigation, we undertook to find out if the president posed a threat to national security," McCabe began. "I won't get down in the weeds with the president and exchange insults on Twitter or TV or anywhere else, but the question we should be asking is: why do we have a president who feels necessary to attack individuals? Individuals -- private citizens, individuals who serve in our government -- to attack personally when he's scared of the truth that they have to offer."

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CNN

‘Out of his depth’: Trump holding back on Iran because he understands it’s harder than ‘swinging’ at a primary foe

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During a discussion on news that Iran has shot down a U.S. drone over international airspace on CNN, New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman explained that Donald Trump is in no rush to respond militarily because, for once, he knows he's "out of his depth."

Speaking with hosts John Berman and Alisyn Camerota, Habermann said that the president will likely get advice from national security adviser John Bolton to push back militarily, but that Trump doesn't seem interested in taking on as large a task as going to war.

"He usually responds to a provocation when it's a smaller thing that he can punch and knock down," Haberman explained. "He's pretty aware he can't actually do that with Iran. So I don't think you're going to see the typical, you know, as if he were swinging back at a primary foe. I think he is going to actually be a little more careful in what he says."

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