Postcard from... Rome


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To fight dirt you have to fight dirty. That’s the Rambo-esque reasoning behind the Mafia’s most notorious Godfather suggesting he be allowed out of jail early to fight Isis infiltrators in Italy.

Salvatore “Toto” Riina, the Cosa Nostra boss of bosses who blew up judges, policemen and members of the public in the early 1990s, has supposedly told the Sicilian journalist Michele Raimundi, from behind bars, that’s he prepared to get stuck into the jihadists if released from his life sentence.

“Isis has the structure of a criminal organisation, one with a limited lifespan. The Italian mafia groups, like Cosa Nostra, however, are destined to endure because they live with popular support and therefore aren’t extraneous to society,” said 84-year-old Riina, simultaneously explaining his qualification for the job and why he wasn’t as bad as the press had made him out to be.

It’s a little hard to imagine Palermo magistrates working with “The Beast” Riina, who blew up two of their colleagues in his brief war on the Italian state. In the past year he’s issued new death threats against one of their number. Indeed, one scornful local paper had another take on Riina’s reported offer of help.

“Let’s go out and hunt Isis and use them to chase Cosa Nostra,” it said.