Whistleblower Who Reported Migrant Transport NGO Smuggler Links Lives in Fear After Death Threats

Turmoil exploited by people smugglers since the 2011 overthrow of Moamer Kadhafi has made Libya the main gateway for African migrants seeking to make dangerous Mediterranean crossings
AFP

A former member of security staff for a migrant transport NGO in Italy has received death threats after blowing the whistle on allegations that the NGO had been cooperating with people traffickers.

Pietro Gallo received the death threat in the mail earlier this week saying that he was worried for his family now that far-left extremist open borders supporters clearly knew where he lived, Il Giornale reports.

While working security aboard the migrant transport vessel Vos Hestia operated by NGO Save the Children, Gallo alerted Italian authorities of potential links to people traffickers which led to an investigation by the prosecutor of Trapani.

Gallo said the letter held him responsible for the 1,800 or so deaths of migrants that had occurred at sea so far this year.

“Merde, merde, merde [French for ‘shit, shit, shit’] 2018 = 1,800 dead. Salvini, Matteo – dead. ML – dead. SS – dead. Gallo Pietro – dead,” the letter said, making clear death threats towards populist interior minister Matteo Salvini and two other individuals Gallo did not want to name publicly.

The testimony of Gallo to the authorities led to the seizure of the Iuventa vessel, operated by Jugend Rettet, in August of last year while it was docked at the port of Lampedusa.

Since his testimony, far-left pro-open borders activists have labelled him and other security workers as “spies” and right-wing sympathisers but Gallo rejected the labels saying, “If we had not been there, nobody would have said anything.”

“Yet there was the Coast Guard, the Guardia di Finanza… everyone knew everything, but nobody spoke. Because it was inconvenient to do it,” he said.

“Migrants claimed to be 17 years old when it was clear to everyone they had at least 25. Yet they were recorded as unaccompanied minors,” he added.

He also described having to “fight” with people smugglers who wanted to reuse dinghies they had used to bring migrants and noted the NGOs “filmed and knew everything. They didn’t want any information to come out of the ship without their approval.”

The investigation has also taken its toll on Gallo personally.

“We regretted having denounced what we saw in the Mediterranean, we have been cast aside. For a year and a half, they took away my phones, as well as those of my children. They searched my house, my information was on all the parts of the investigation and it ended up in the papers. I can’t even work on ships anymore. If I had shut up it would have been better,” he said.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com

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