History Podcasts

Origins of the Mafia

Origins of the Mafia

The Mafia, a network of organized-crime groups based in Italy and America, evolved over centuries in Sicily, an island ruled until the mid-19th century by a long line of foreign invaders. Sicilians banded together in groups to protect themselves and carry out their own justice. In Sicily, the term “mafioso,” or Mafia member, initially had no criminal connotations and was used to refer to a person who was suspicious of central authority. By the 19th century, some of these groups emerged as private armies, or “mafie,” who extorted protection money from landowners and eventually became the violent criminal organization known today as the Sicilian Mafia. The American Mafia, which rose to power in the 1920s, is a separate entity from the Mafia in Italy, although they share such traditions as omerta, a code of conduct and loyalty.

The Mafia’s Sicilian Roots

For centuries, Sicily, an island in the Mediterranean Sea between North Africa and the Italian mainland, was ruled by a long line of foreign invaders, including the Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, French and Spanish. The residents of this small island formed groups to protect themselves from the often-hostile occupying forces, as well as from other regional groups of Sicilians. These groups, which later became known as clans or families, developed their own system for justice and retribution, carrying out their actions in secret. By the 19th century, small private armies known as “mafie” took advantage of the frequently violent, chaotic conditions in Sicily and extorted protection money from landowners. From this history, the Sicilian Mafia emerged as a collection of criminal clans or families.

Although its precise origins are unknown, the term Mafia came from a Sicilian-Arabic slang expression that means “acting as a protector against the arrogance of the powerful,” according to Selwyn Raab, author of “Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America’s Most Powerful Mafia Empires. Raab notes that until the 19th century, the word “mafioso” did not refer to someone who was a criminal, but rather a person who was suspicious of central authority. In the 1860s, a play called “I Mafiusi della Vicaria” (“Heroes of the Penitentiary”), about a group of inmates at a Sicilian prison who maintained their own hierarchy and rituals, toured Italy and helped popularize the term Mafia in the Italian language.

The Mafia on the Rise in Italy

In 1861, Sicily became a province of recently unified Italy. However, chaos and crime reigned across the island as the fledgling Italian government tried to establish itself. In the 1870s, Roman officials even asked Sicilian Mafia clans to help them by going after dangerous, independent criminal bands; in exchange, officials would look the other way as the Mafia continued its protection shakedowns of landowners. The government believed this arrangement would be temporary, lasting just long enough for Rome to gain control; instead, the Mafia clans expanded their criminal activities and further entrenched themselves in Sicilian politics and the economy. The Mafia became adept at political corruption and intimidated people to vote for certain candidates, who were in turn beholden to the Mafia. Even the Catholic Church was involved with Mafia clans during this period, according to Raab, who notes that the church relied on Mafiosi to monitor its massive property holdings in Sicily and keep tenant farmers in line.

In order to further strengthen themselves, Sicilian clans began conducting initiation ceremonies in which new members pledged secret oaths of loyalty. Of chief importance to the clans was omerta, an all-important code of conduct reflecting the ancient Sicilian belief that a person should never go to government authorities to seek justice for a crime and never cooperate with authorities investigating any wrongdoing.

The Mafia in the 20th Century and Beyond

The Mafia’s influence in Sicily grew until the 1920s, when Prime Minister Benito Mussolini came to power and launched a brutal crackdown on mobsters, who he viewed as a threat to his Fascist regime. However, in the 1950s, the Mafia rose again when mob-backed construction companies dominated the post-World War II building boom in Sicily. Over the next few decades, the Sicilian Mafia flourished, expanding its criminal empire and becoming, by the 1970s, a major player in international narcotics trafficking.

The American Mafia, a separate entity from the Mafia in Sicily, came to power in the 1920s Prohibition era after the success of Italian-American neighborhood gangs in the booming bootleg liquor business. By the 1950s, the Mafia (also known as Cosa Nostra, Italian for “Our Thing”) had become the preeminent organized-crime network in the United States and was involved in a range of underworld activities, from loan-sharking to prostitution, while also infiltrating labor unions and legitimate industries such as construction and New York’s garment industry. Like the Sicilian Mafia, American Mafia families were able to maintain their secrecy and success because of their code of omerta, as well as their ability to bribe and intimidate public officials, business leaders, witnesses and juries.

For these reasons, law-enforcement agencies were largely ineffective at stopping the Mafia during the first part of the 20th century. However, during the 1980s and 1990s, prosecutors in America and Italy began successfully employing tough anti-racketeering laws to convict top-ranking mobsters. Additionally, some Mafiosi, in order to avoid long prison terms, began breaking the once-sacred code of omerta and testified against fellow mob members. By the start of the 21st century, after hundreds of high-profile arrests over the course of several decades, the Mafia appeared to be weakened in both countries; however, it was not eliminated completely and remains in business today.


160S: The Mafia: Origins, History, and Images

We all know that the mafia is a popular subject for books, movies, and TV shows – whether in Italy, the United States, South America, or elsewhere still. Organized crime is good for the entertainment business. It appeals to the imagination, even though in real life there is nothing to admire about the mafia. But what is it? In this course we take a close look at where it all began: southern Italy, especially Sicily. Under what circumstances did this state-within-the-state, or shadow state (as it is often called), emerge? What political, social, and economic conditions made it possible – or even needed, depending on your point of view? And how has it survived, even thrived, despite all the efforts to eradicate it?

Our texts will include analyses from anthropology and history of the social codes (such as honor and silence) that famously characterize mafia societies, and great works of literature and cinema that have created or refined the mafia’s mediatic image. In addition to the four books ordered through the bookstore, we will have readings drawn from (among others) Schneider, Banfield, Campbell, and Hobsbawm, and watch films from the 1960s (such as Lattuada’s Mafioso) to the 2000s (Garrone’s Gomorra) – including, of course, the well-known The Godfather sequence by Francis Ford Coppola. Readings in addition to the books on order will be posted on bCourses.

Grades will be based on preparation, attendance, and participation written work and a midterm exam.

Prerequisites: none.

Taught in English with readings in English.

Dainotto, Roberto
The Mafia: A Cultural History
Reaktion Books
paperback
2015
978-1780234434

Dickie, John
Cosa Nostra: A History of the Sicilian Mafia
St Martin’s Griffin
paperback
2005
978-1403970428

Saviano, Roberto
Gomorrah: A Personal Journey into the Violent International Empire of Naples’ Organized Crime System
Picador
paperback
2008
978-0312427795

Sciascia, Leonardo
The Day of the Owl
New York Review of Books
paperback
2003
978-1590170618

6303 Dwinelle Hall - Berkeley, CA 94720-2620 - (510) 642-2979 - [email protected]

© 2017 UC Regents. Reproduction of images, sounds, or content without permission is prohibited


Do you know the history behind the infamous word 'mafia'?

The more commonly accepted, dictionary-defined meaning says: The word mafia derives from the Sicilian adjective mafiusu, which, roughly translated, means ‘swagger’, but can also be translated as ‘boldness’ or ‘bravado’.

Synopsis

Donald Trump’s way of running things was likened to the mafia by former FBI director James Comey.

A look at the history of the word:

'Godfather' and countless other Western movies and books have given the world a peek into the gun-toting life of the notorious mafia. And just like there are two types of infamous mafia — American and Sicilian, the word also has two distinct etymologies.

The more commonly accepted, dictionary-defined meaning says: The word mafia derives from the Sicilian adjective mafiusu, which, roughly translated, means ‘swagger’, but can also be translated as ‘boldness’ or ‘bravado’.

In 1865, the police in Sicily were using the term ‘mafia’, especially the phrase ‘delitto de Mafia’ to describe a man who plans crimes and pays others to carry them out.


Contents

The word mafia originated in Sicily. The Sicilian adjective mafiusu (in Italian: mafioso) roughly translates to mean "swagger," but can also be translated as "boldness, bravado". In reference to a man, mafiusu in 19th-century Sicily was ambiguous, signifying a bully, arrogant but also fearless, enterprising and proud, according to scholar Diego Gambetta. [7] In reference to a woman, however, the feminine-form adjective, "mafiusa", means beautiful and attractive. The Sicilian word mafie refers to the caves near Trapani and Marsala, [5] which were often used as hiding places for refugees and criminals.

Sicily was once an Islamic emirate, therefore mafia might have Arabic roots. Possible Arabic roots of the word include:

  • maʿafī (معفي) = exempted. In Islamic law, Jizya is the yearly tax imposed on non-Muslims residing in Muslim lands. Those who pay it are "exempted" from prosecution.
  • mahyāṣ (مهياص) = aggressive boasting, bragging
  • marfūḍ (مرفوض) = rejected
  • muʿāfā (معافى) = safety, protection [8]
  • Maʿāfir (معافر) = the name of an Arab tribe [9] that ruled Palermo[10]

The public's association of the word with the criminal secret society was perhaps inspired by the 1863 play "I mafiusi di la Vicaria" (it) ("The Mafiosi of the Vicaria") by Giuseppe Rizzotto and Gaspare Mosca. [11] The words mafia and mafiusi are never mentioned in the play. The play is about a Palermo prison gang with traits similar to the Mafia: a boss, an initiation ritual, and talk of umirtà (omertà or code of silence) and "pizzu" (a codeword for extortion money). [12] The play had great success throughout Italy. Soon after, the use of the term "mafia" began appearing in the Italian state's early reports on the group. The word was first documented in 1865 in a report by the prefect of Palermo Filippo Antonio Gualterio (it). [13]

The term mafia has become a generic term for any organized criminal network with similar structure, methods, and interests. But Giovanni Falcone, the anti-Mafia judge who was murdered by the Mafia in 1992, had objected to the conflation of the term "Mafia" with organized crime in general:

While there was a time when people were reluctant to pronounce the word "Mafia" . nowadays people have gone so far in the opposite direction that it has become an overused term . I am no longer willing to accept the habit of speaking of the Mafia in descriptive and all-inclusive terms that make it possible to stack up phenomena that are indeed related to the field of organised crime but that have little or nothing in common with the Mafia. [14]

According to Mafia turncoats (pentiti), the real name of the Mafia is "Cosa Nostra" ("Our Thing"). Italian-American mafioso Joseph Valachi testified before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the U.S. Senate Committee on Government Operations in 1963 (at what are known as the Valachi hearings). He revealed that American mafiosi referred to their organization by the term cosa nostra ("our thing" or "this thing of ours" or simply "our cause" / "our interest"). [15] [16] [17] At the time, Cosa Nostra was understood as a proper name, fostered by the FBI and disseminated by the media. The FBI added the article la to the term, calling it La Cosa Nostra (in Italy, the article la is not used when referring to Cosa Nostra).

In 1984, Mafia turncoat Tommaso Buscetta revealed to anti-mafia Italian magistrate Giovanni Falcone that the term was used by the Sicilian Mafia, as well. [18] Buscetta dismissed the word "mafia" as a mere literary creation. Other defectors, such as Antonino Calderone and Salvatore Contorno, confirmed the use of Cosa Nostra by members. [19] Mafiosi introduce known members to each other as belonging to cosa nostra ("our thing") or la stessa cosa ("the same thing"), meaning "he is the same thing as you — a mafioso."

The Sicilian Mafia has used other names to describe itself throughout its history, such as "The Honoured Society". Mafiosi are known among themselves as "men of honour" or "men of respect".

Cosa Nostra should not be confused with other mafia-type organisations in Southern Italy, such as the 'Ndrangheta in Calabria, the Camorra in Campania, or the Sacra Corona Unita and Società foggiana in Apulia.

Socio-economic definitions Edit

In 1876, Leopoldo Franchetti described the Sicilian Mafia as an "industry of violence". In 1993, the Italian sociologist Diego Gambetta called it a "cartel of private protection firms". [a] The core business of the Mafia is protection racketeering, i.e. providing extralegal protection against criminal activity and dishonest conduct through violence and vandalism. The Mafia does not serve the general public as the police do, but only specific clients who pay them for protection. [20]

The mafia's principal activities are settling disputes among other criminals, protecting them against each other's cheating, and organizing and overseeing illicit agreements, often involving many agents, such as illicit cartel agreements in otherwise legal industries.

The Sicilian Mafia is not a centralized organization. Rather, it is a cartel of independent criminal gangs who sell their services under a common brand. This cartel claims the exclusive right to sell extralegal protection services within their territories, and by their labels (man of honor, mafioso, etc.), they distinguish themselves from common criminals whom they do not allow to sell protection.

Hence the term mafia found a class of violent criminals ready and waiting for a name to define them, and, given their special character and importance in Sicilian society, they had the right to a different name from that defining vulgar criminals in other countries.

Franchetti argued that the Mafia would never disappear unless the very structure of the island's social institutions were to undergo a fundamental change. [23] Over a century later, Diego Gambetta concurred with Franchetti's analysis, arguing that the Mafia exists because the government does not provide adequate protection to merchants from property crime, fraud, and breaches of contract. Gambetta wrote that Sicily (in the early 1990s) had "no clear property rights legislation or administrative or financial codes of practice", and that its court system was "appalling" in its inefficiency. Gambetta recommended that the government liberalize the drug market and abolish price-fixing of cigarettes so as to move these commodities out of the black market to increase transparency in public contracting so that there can be no rigging, which mafiosi usually arbitrate and redesign the voting process to make it harder to buy votes. Fixing these problems would reduce the demand for mafioso intervention in political and economic affairs. [24]

Mafia-type organizations under Italian law Edit

Introduced by Pio La Torre, article 416-bis of the Italian Penal Code defines a Mafia-type association (Associazione di Tipo Mafioso) as one where "those belonging to the association exploit the potential for intimidation which their membership gives them, and the compliance and omertà which membership entails and which lead to the committing of crimes, the direct or indirect assumption of management or control of financial activities, concessions, permissions, enterprises and public services for the purpose of deriving profit or wrongful advantages for themselves or others." [25] [26]

Cultural perspectives Edit

Some observers saw "mafia" as a set of attributes deeply rooted in popular culture, as a "way of being", as illustrated in the definition by Sicilian ethnographer Giuseppe Pitrè:

Mafia is the consciousness of one's own worth, the exaggerated concept of individual force as the sole arbiter of every conflict, of every clash of interests or ideas.

Other scholars such as Gaetano Mosca say:

. with the word Mafia, the Sicilians intend to express two things, two social phenomena, that can be analyzed in separate ways even though they are closely related. The Mafia, or rather the essence of the Mafia, is a way of thinking that requires a certain line of conduct such as maintaining one's pride or even bullying in a given situation. On the other hand, the same word in Sicily can also indicate, not a special organization, but the combination of many small organizations, that pursue various goals, in the course of which its members almost always do things that are basically illegal and sometimes even criminal.

Like Pitrè, some scholars viewed mafiosi as individuals behaving according to specific subcultural codes but did not consider the Mafia a formal organisation. Judicial investigations and scientific research in the 1980s provided solid proof of the existence of well-structured Mafia groups with entrepreneurial characteristics. The Mafia was seen as an enterprise, and its economic activities became the focus of academic analyses. [29] Ignoring the cultural aspects, the Mafia is often erroneously seen as similar to other non-Sicilian organized criminal associations. [30]

However, these two paradigms missed essential aspects of the Mafia that became clear when investigators were confronted with the testimonies of Mafia turncoats, like those of Buscetta to Judge Falcone at the Maxi Trial. The economic approach to explain the Mafia did illustrate the development and operations of the Mafia business but neglected the cultural symbols and codes by which the Mafia legitimized its existence and by which it rooted itself into Sicilian society. [29]

There are several lines of interpretation, often blended to some extent, to define the Mafia: it has been viewed as a mirror of traditional Sicilian society as an enterprise or type of criminal industry as a more or less centralized secret society and as a juridical ordering that is parallel to that of the state – a kind of anti-state. The Mafia is all of these but none of these exclusively. [31]

The genesis of Cosa Nostra is hard to trace because mafiosi are very secretive and do not keep historical records of their own. They have been known to spread deliberate lies about their past, and sometimes come to believe in their own myths. [32]

Post-feudal Sicily Edit

The Mafia began as an extralegal force in the 19th century, during the reign of the Bourbons of Naples, and coinciding with Sicily's transition from feudalism to capitalism. Under feudalism, the nobility owned most of the land and enforced the law through their private armies and manorial courts. After 1812, the feudal barons steadily sold off or rented their lands to private citizens. Primogeniture was abolished, land could no longer be seized to settle debts, and one fifth of the land became private property of the peasants. [33] After Italy annexed Sicily in 1860, it redistributed a large share of public and church land to private citizens. The result was a huge increase in the number of landowners — from 2,000 in 1812 to 20,000 by 1861. [34]

With this increase in property owners and commerce came more disputes that needed settling, contracts that needed enforcing, transactions that needed oversight, and properties that needed protecting. The barons released their private armies to let the state take over the job of enforcing the law, but the new authorities were not up to the task, largely due to clashes between official law and local customs. [35] Lack of manpower was also a problem there were often fewer than 350 active policemen for the entire island. Some towns did not have any permanent police force, and were only visited every few months by some troops to collect malcontents, leaving criminals to operate with impunity in the interim. [36] Compounding these problems was banditry. Rising food prices, [34] the loss of public and church lands, [33] and the loss of feudal commons pushed many desperate peasants to steal. In the face of rising crime, booming commerce, and inefficient law enforcement, property owners turned to extralegal arbitrators and protectors. These extralegal protectors eventually organized themselves into the first Mafia clans.

In countryside towns that lacked formal constabulary, local elites responded to banditry by recruiting young men into "companies-at-arms" to hunt down thieves and negotiate the return of stolen property, in exchange for a pardon for the thieves and a fee from the victims. [37] These companies-at-arms were often made up of former bandits and criminals, usually the most skilled and violent of them. [34] This saved communities the trouble of training their own policemen, but it may have made the companies-at-arms more inclined to collude with their former brethren rather than destroy them. [34] Scholars such as Salvatore Lupo have identified these groups as "proto-Mafia".

The Mafia was (and still is) a largely western Sicilian phenomenon. There was little Mafia activity in the eastern half of Sicily. This did not mean that there was little violence the most violent conflicts over land took place in the east, but they did not involve mafiosi. [37] In the east, the ruling elites were more cohesive and active during the transition from feudalism to capitalism. They maintained their large stables of enforcers and were able to absorb or suppress any emerging violent groups. [38] Furthermore, the land in the east was generally divided into a smaller number of large estates so that there were fewer landowners, and their large estates often required its guardians to patrol it full-time. The owners of such estates needed to hire full-time guardians. [39]

By contrast, in the west, the estates tended to be smaller and thus did not require the total, round-the-clock attention of a guardian. It was cheaper for these estates to contract their protection to a mafioso rather than employing full-time guards. A mafioso in these regions could protect multiple small estates at once, which gave him great independence and leverage to charge high prices. [39] The landowners in this region were also frequently absent and could not watch over their properties should the protector withdraw, further increasing his bargaining power. [40]

The early Mafia was deeply involved with citrus growers and cattle ranchers, as these industries were particularly vulnerable to thieves and vandals and thus badly needed protection. Citrus plantations had a fragile production system that made them quite vulnerable to sabotage. [41] Likewise, cattle are very easy to steal. The Mafia was often more effective than the police at recovering stolen cattle in the 1920s, it was noted that the Mafia's success rate at recovering stolen cattle was 95%, whereas the police managed only 10%. [42]

In 1864, Niccolò Turrisi Colonna, leader of the Palermo National Guard, wrote of a "sect of thieves" that operated throughout Sicily. This "sect" was mostly rural, composed of cattle thieves, smugglers, wealthy farmers, and their guards. [43] [44]

"affiliates every day of the brightest young people coming from the rural class, of the guardians of the fields in the Palermitan countryside, and of the large number of smugglers a sect which gives and receives protection to and from certain men who make a living on traffic and internal commerce. It is a sect with little or no fear of public bodies, because its members believe that they can easily elude this." [45]

It had special signals for members to recognize each other, offered protection services, scorned the law, and had a code of loyalty and non-interaction with the police known as umirtà ("code of silence"). [44] [46] Colonna warned in his report that the Italian government's brutal and clumsy attempts to crush crime only made the problem worse by alienating the populace. An 1865 dispatch from the prefect of Palermo to Rome first officially described the phenomenon as a "Mafia". [13] [47] An 1876 police report provides the earliest known description of the familiar initiation ritual. [48]

Mafiosi meddled in politics early on, bullying voters into voting for candidates they favored. At this period in history, only a small fraction of the Sicilian population could vote, so a single mafia boss could control a sizable chunk of the electorate and thus wield considerable political leverage. [49] Mafiosi used their allies in government to avoid prosecution as well as persecute less well-connected rivals. Given the highly fragmented and shaky Italian political system, cliques of Mafia-friendly politicians exerted a strong influence. [18]

In a series of reports between 1898 and 1900, Ermanno Sangiorgi, the police chief of Palermo, identified 670 mafiosi belonging to eight Mafia clans, which went through alternating phases of cooperation and conflict. [50] The report mentioned initiation rituals and codes of conduct, as well as criminal activities that included counterfeiting, kidnappings for ransom, murder, robbery, and witness intimidation. The Mafia also maintained funds to support the families of imprisoned members and pay defense lawyers. [51] In an attempt to annihilate the Mafia, Italian troops arrested 64 people of Palermo in February 1898. [52] The trial began in May 1901, but after one month, only 32 defendants were found guilty of starting a criminal association and, taking into account the time already spent in prison, many were released the next day. [51]

A 2015 study in The Economic Journal attributed the emergence of the Sicilian Mafia to the resource curse. Early Mafia activity was strongly linked to Sicilian municipalities abundant in sulphur, Sicily's most valuable export commodity. The combination of a weak state and a lootable natural resource made the sulphur-rich parts of Sicily vulnerable to the emergence of mafia-type organisations. A valuable natural resource in areas where law enforcement is weak or absent creates a demand for private protection (which mafia-type organizations can supply) and opportunities for extortion (also by mafia-type organizations). [53] A 2017 study in the Journal of Economic History links the emergence of the Sicilian Mafia also to the surging demand for oranges and lemons following the late 18th-century discovery that citrus fruits cured scurvy. [54] [55] A 2019 study in the Review of Economic Studies linked Mafia activity to "the rise of socialist Peasant Fasci organizations. In an environment with weak state presence, this socialist threat triggered landowners, estate managers and local politicians to turn to the Mafia to resist and combat peasant demands." [56]

Fascist suppression Edit

In 1925, Benito Mussolini initiated a campaign to destroy the Mafia and assert Fascist control over Sicilian life. The Mafia threatened and undermined his power in Sicily, and a successful campaign would strengthen him as the new leader, legitimizing and empowering his rule. [57] He believed that such suppression would be a great propaganda coup for Fascism, and it would also provide an excuse to suppress his political opponents on the island since many Sicilian politicians had Mafia links.

As prime minister, Mussolini visited Sicily in May 1924 and passed through Piana dei Greci, where he was received by mayor/Mafia boss Francesco Cuccia. At some point, Cuccia expressed surprise at Mussolini's police escort and whispered in his ear: "You are with me, you are under my protection. What do you need all these cops for?" After Mussolini rejected Cuccia's offer of protection, the sindaco felt that he had been slighted and instructed the townsfolk not to attend the duce ' s speech. Mussolini felt humiliated and outraged. [58] [59]

Cuccia's careless remark has passed into history as the catalyst for Mussolini's war on the Mafia. Mussolini firmly established his power in January 1925 he appointed Cesare Mori as the Prefect of Palermo in October 1925 and granted him special powers to fight the Mafia. [58] Mori formed a small army of policemen, carabinieri and militiamen, which went from town to town rounding up suspects. To force suspects to surrender, they would take their families hostage, sell off their property, [60] or publicly slaughter their livestock. [61] By 1928, more than 11,000 suspects were arrested. [62] Confessions were sometimes extracted through beatings and torture. Some mafiosi who had been on the losing end of Mafia feuds voluntarily cooperated with prosecutors, [63] perhaps as a way of obtaining protection and revenge. Charges of Mafia association were typically leveled at poor peasants and gabellotti (farm leaseholders), but were avoided when dealing with major landowners. [64] Many were tried en masse. [65] [66] More than 1,200 were convicted and imprisoned, [67] and many others were internally exiled without trial. [68]

Mori's campaign ended in June 1929 when Mussolini recalled him to Rome. He did not permanently crush the Mafia as the Fascist press proclaimed, but his campaign was very successful at suppressing it. As Mafia informant Antonino Calderone reminisced: "The music changed. Mafiosi had a hard life. [. ] After the war the mafia hardly existed anymore. The Sicilian Families had all been broken up." [68]

Sicily's murder rate sharply declined. [69] Landowners were able to raise the legal rents on their lands, sometimes as much as ten-thousandfold. [70] Many mafiosi fled to Canada and the United States. Among these were Nicolo Rizzuto and Vito Rizzuto, who became powerful Mafia bosses in Montreal, Canada, as well as Carlo Gambino and Joseph Bonanno, who settled in New York City in the United States.

Post-Fascist revival Edit

In 1943, nearly half a million Allied troops invaded Sicily. Crime soared in the upheaval and chaos. Many inmates escaped from prisons, banditry returned, and the black market thrived. [18] During the first six months of Allied occupation, party politics were banned in Sicily. [71] Most institutions were destroyed, with the exception of the police and carabinieri, [72] and the American occupiers had to build a new order from scratch. As Fascist mayors were deposed, the Allied Military Government of Occupied Territories (AMGOT) simply appointed replacements. Many turned out to be mafiosi, such as Calogero Vizzini and Giuseppe Genco Russo. [73] [74] They could easily present themselves as political dissidents, [75] and their anti-communist position gave them additional credibility. Mafia bosses reformed their clans, absorbing some of the marauding bandits into their ranks. [76]

The changing economic landscape of Sicily shifted the Mafia's power base from rural to urban areas. The Minister of Agriculture – a communist – pushed for reforms in which peasants were to get larger shares of produce, be allowed to form cooperatives and take over badly used land, and remove the system by which leaseholders (known as "gabelloti") could rent land from landowners for their own short-term use. [77] Owners of especially large estates were to be forced to sell off some of their land. The Mafia had connections to many landowners and murdered many socialist reformers. The most notorious attack was the Portella della Ginestra massacre, when 11 people were killed and 33 wounded during May Day celebrations on May 1, 1947. The bloodbath was perpetrated by bandit Salvatore Giuliano, who was possibly backed by local Mafia bosses. [78] [79] In the end, though, they were unable to stop the process, and many landowners chose to sell their land to mafiosi, who offered more money than the government. [80]

In the 1950s, a crackdown in the United States on drug trafficking led to the imprisonment of many American mafiosi. Cuba, a major hub for drug smuggling, was taken over by Fidel Castro and associated communists. In 1957 American mafia boss Joseph Bonanno returned to Sicily to franchise his heroin operations to the Sicilian clans. Anticipating rivalries for the lucrative American drug market, he negotiated the establishment of a Sicilian Mafia Commission to mediate disputes. [81]

Sack of Palermo Edit

The post-war period saw a huge building boom in Palermo. Allied bombing in World War II had left more than 14,000 people homeless, and migrants were pouring in from the countryside, [82] so there was a huge demand for new homes. Much of this construction was subsidized by public money. In 1956, two Mafia-connected officials, Vito Ciancimino and Salvatore Lima, took control of Palermo's Office of Public Works. Between 1959 and 1963, about 80 percent of building permits were given to just five people, none of whom represented major construction firms they were likely Mafia frontmen. [83] Construction companies unconnected with the Mafia were forced to pay protection money. Many buildings were illegally constructed before the city's planning was finalized. Mafiosi scared off anyone who dared to question the illegal building. The result of this unregulated building was the demolition of many historic buildings and the erection of apartment blocks, many of which were not up to standard.

Mafia organizations entirely control the building sector in Palermo – the quarries where aggregates are mined, site clearance firms, cement plants, metal depots for the construction industry, wholesalers for sanitary fixtures, and so on.

During the 1950s, the Mafia continued their deep penetration of the construction and cement industries. The cement business was appealing because it allows high levels of local economic involvement and is a good front for illegitimate operations. [85]

First Mafia War Edit

The First Mafia War was the first high-profile conflict between Mafia clans in post-war Italy. (The Sicilian Mafia has a long history of violent rivalries.)

In 1962, mafia boss Cesare Manzella organized a drug shipment to the United States with the help of two Sicilian clans, the Grecos and the La Barberas. Manzella entrusted another boss, Calcedonio Di Pisa, to handle the heroin. When the shipment arrived in the United States, however, the American buyers claimed that some heroin was missing, and paid Di Pisa a commensurately lower sum. Di Pisa accused the Americans of defrauding him, while the La Barberas accused Di Pisa of embezzling the missing heroin. The Sicilian Mafia Commission sided with Di Pisa, and the La Barberas were outraged. The La Barberas murdered Di Pisa and Manzella, triggering a war. [86]

Many non-mafiosi were killed in the crossfire. In April 1963, several bystanders were wounded during a shootout in Palermo. [87] In May, Angelo La Barbera survived a murder attempt in Milan. In June, six military officers and a policeman in Ciaculli were killed while trying to dispose of a car bomb. These incidents provoked national outrage and a crackdown in which nearly 2,000 arrests were made. Mafia activity fell as clans disbanded and mafiosi went into hiding. The Sicilian Mafia Commission was dissolved it did not re-form until 1969. [88] A total of 117 suspects were tried in 1968, but most were acquitted or received light sentences. [89] The inactivity, plus money lost to legal fees and so forth, reduced most mafiosi to poverty. [90]

Smuggling boom Edit

The 1950s and 1960s were difficult times for the mafia, but in the 1970s their rackets grew considerably more lucrative, particularly smuggling. The most lucrative racket of the 1970s was cigarette smuggling. [91] Sicilian and Neapolitan crime bosses negotiated a joint monopoly over the smuggling of cigarettes to Naples.

Heroin refineries operated by Corsican gangsters in Marseilles were shut down by French authorities, and morphine traffickers looked to Sicily. Starting in 1975, Cosa Nostra set up heroin refineries around the island. [92] Cosa Nostra sought to control both the refining and distribution of heroin. Sicilian mafiosi moved to the United States to personally control distribution networks there, often at the expense of their U.S. counterparts. Heroin addiction in North America surged from the mid-1970s into the early 1980s. [93] By 1982, the Sicilian Mafia controlled about 80 percent of the heroin trade in the northeastern United States. [94] Heroin was often distributed to street dealers from Mafia-owned pizzerias, and the revenues could be passed off as restaurant profits (the so-called Pizza Connection).

Second Mafia War Edit

In the early 1970s, Luciano Leggio was boss of the Corleonesi clan and a member of the Sicilian Mafia Commission, and he forged a coalition of mafia clans known as the Corleonesi with himself as its leader. He initiated a campaign to dominate Cosa Nostra and its narcotics trade. Leggio was imprisoned in 1974, so he acted through his deputy Salvatore Riina, to whom he eventually handed over control. The Corleonesi bribed cash-strapped Palermo clans into the fold, subverted members of other clans, and secretly recruited new members. [95] In 1977, the Corleonesi had Gaetano Badalamenti expelled from the Commission on trumped-up charges of hiding drug revenues. [96] In April 1981, the Corleonesi murdered rival member of the Commission Stefano Bontade, and the Second Mafia War began in earnest. [97] Hundreds of enemy mafiosi and their relatives were murdered, [98] sometimes by traitors in their own clans. By manipulating the Mafia's rules and eliminating rivals, the Corleonesi came to completely dominate the Commission. Riina used his power over the Commission to replace the bosses of certain clans with hand-picked regents. [99] In the end, the Corleonesi faction won and Riina effectively became the "boss of bosses" of the Sicilian Mafia.

At the same time that the Corleonesi waged their campaign to dominate Cosa Nostra, they also waged a campaign of murder against journalists, officials, and policemen who dared to cross them. The police were frustrated with the lack of help that they were receiving from witnesses and politicians. At the funeral of a policeman murdered by mafiosi in 1985, policemen insulted and spat at two attending politicians, and a fight broke out between them and military police. [100]

Maxi Trial Edit

In the early 1980s, magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino began a campaign against Cosa Nostra. Their big break came with the arrest of Tommaso Buscetta, a mafioso who chose to turn informant in exchange for protection from the Corleonesi, who had already murdered many of his friends and relatives. Other mafiosi followed his example. Falcone and Borsellino compiled their testimonies and organized the Maxi Trial which lasted from February 1986 to December 1987. It was held in a bunker-courthouse specially built for the occasion, where 475 mafiosi were put on trial, of which, 338 were convicted. In January 1992, the Italian Supreme Court confirmed these convictions. [101] It is considered to be the most significant trial ever against the Sicilian Mafia, as well as the biggest trial in world history. [102]

War against the state and Riina's downfall Edit

The Mafia retaliated violently. In 1988, they murdered a Palermo judge and his son three years later, a prosecutor and an anti-mafia businessman were also murdered. Salvatore Lima, a close political ally of the Mafia, was murdered for failing to reverse the convictions as promised. Falcone was killed on May 23, 1992 with 400 kg of TNT positioned under the highway near Capaci, Sicily. [103] Borsellino was also killed by a car bomb on July 19, 1992. This led to a public outcry and a massive government crackdown, resulting in the arrest of Salvatore Riina in January 1993. More and more informants emerged. Many paid a high price for their cooperation, usually through the murder of relatives. For example, Francesco Marino Mannoia's mother, aunt, and sister were murdered. [18]

After Riina's capture, numerous terror attacks were ordered as a warning to its members to not turn state's witness, but also in response to the overruling of the Article 41-bis prison regime. [104] Tourist spots were attacked, such as the Via dei Georgofili in Florence, Via Palestro in Milan, and the Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano and Via San Teodoro in Rome, leaving 10 dead and 93 injured and causing severe damage to cultural heritage such as the Uffizi Gallery. The Catholic Church openly condemned the Mafia, and two churches were bombed and an anti-Mafia priest shot dead in Rome. [105]

The choice to hit cultural and church targets was partly to destabilize the government, but also because the Mafia felt that the Roman Catholic Church had abrogated an unwritten hands-off policy toward traditional organized crime in Southern Italy. [106]

After Riina's capture, leadership of the Mafia was briefly held by Leoluca Bagarella, then passed to Bernardo Provenzano when Bagarella was captured in 1995. [107] Provenzano halted the campaign of violence and replaced it with a campaign of quietness known as Pax Mafiosa. [108]

Provenzano years Edit

Under Bernardo Provenzano's leadership, murders of state officials were halted. He also halted the policy of murdering informants and their families, with a view instead to getting them to retract their testimonies and return to the fold. [109] He also restored the common support fund for imprisoned mafiosi.

The tide of defectors was greatly stemmed. The Mafia preferred to initiate relatives of existing mafiosi, believing them to be less prone to defection. Provenzano was arrested in 2006, after 43 years on the run. His successor as boss is Messina Denaro. [110] [111]

Modern Mafia in Italy Edit

The incarcerated bosses are currently subjected to strict controls on their contact with the outside world, limiting their ability to run their operations from behind bars under the article 41-bis prison regime. Antonino Giuffrè is a close confidant of Provenzano who turned pentito shortly after his capture in 2002. He alleges that Cosa Nostra had direct contact in 1993 with representatives of Silvio Berlusconi who was then planning the birth of Forza Italia. [112] [113] [114]

The alleged deal included a repeal of 41 bis, among other anti-Mafia laws, in return for electoral support in Sicily. Nevertheless, Giuffrè's declarations have not yet been confirmed. The Italian Parliament reinforced the provisions of the 41 bis, with the full support of Forza Italia. The bill was to expire in 2002 but has been prolonged for another four years and extended to other crimes such as terrorism. However, according to one of Italy's leading magazines L'Espresso, 119 mafiosi have been released on an individual basis – one-fifth of those incarcerated under the 41 bis regime. [115] The human rights group Amnesty International has expressed concern that the 41-bis regime could, in some circumstances, amount to "cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment" for prisoners. [116]

Deceased politician Giulio Andreotti and High Court judge Corrado Carnevale have long been suspected of having ties to the Mafia, in addition to Salvatore Lima mentioned above. [119] According to a verdict of the "Corte d'Appello", Italian appellate court, Andreotti "had, not without personal advantages, knowingly and deliberately nurtured a stable relationship with the criminal organization, contributing to its strength by manifesting his availability to favor its members" [117] [118] the same court did not incriminate Andreotti due to the statute of limitations, which had been reached at the time of the ruling.

By the late 1990s, the weakened Cosa Nostra had to yield most of the illegal drug trade to the 'Ndrangheta crime organization from Calabria. In 2006, the 'Ndrangheta was estimated to control 80 percent of the cocaine imported to Europe. [120]

In 2015, the Mafia Capitale investigation revealed that the Mafia profits from the European migrant crisis and exploits refugees. [121] [122]

In October 2017, members of the Renzvillo crime family and 2 Carabinieri military police officers were arrested for involvement in the drug trade and large-scale extortion. Altogether 37 people were arrested and over 600 officers were deployed. €11 million ($12 million) in real estate and goods were seized by police. [123] A business owner was forced to pay €180,000 ($212,000). The Renzvillo mafia family have allegedly set up alliances with the 'Ndrangheta and Camorra. The leader is suspected of previously sending members of his organisation to Karlsruhe and Cologne in Germany. [124]

On 22 January 2018, 58 people connected to 16 mafia families were arrested by Carabinieri police in Caltanissetta, Palermo, Enna, Ragusa, Agrigento and Catania. Some of the most common charges were mafia association, drug trafficking, extortion, fraud and vote buying. [125] The mayor of San Biagio Platani, Santino Sabella, was among the arrested and accused of agreeing on candidates for the 2014 local elections with the Sicilian Mafia and exerting pressure on the allocation of council contracts. Two companies running migrant reception centres in Sicily were targeted as protection rackets, overall 27 businesses were targeted and extorted. [126]

On 1 February 2018, 31 people with ties to a crime family based in Palermo were arrested and charged with money laundering, fraud and drug trafficking, as part of Operation "Game over". [127] Benedetto Bacchi, reportedly controlled over 700 betting shops across Italy and was earning roughly €1 million per month, using an online gambling operator licensed in Malta his license was suspended. [128] According to investigators, Bacchi bought a construction company, and a villa formerly owned by footballer Giovanni Tedesco for €500,000 [129] the next day Bacchi listed the house for sale at the price of €1.3 million. [130] He also allegedly considered taking over a news publication with his criminal proceeds. Investigators also alleged that the American Mafia in New York had set up a profitable food export company with the Sicilian mafia.

The Cosa Nostra has traditionally been the most powerful group in Palermo. [131] After the arrest of the alleged new mafia boss in July 2019, a CNN article in July 2019 indicated that Sicilian Mafia activity in Palermo was particularly notorious in one area: the Sicilian town of Passo di Rigano with involvement "in business such as wholesale food supplies, online betting and gambling." [132] News articles also confirmed links between the Cosa Nostra and New York's Gambino crime family. According to Italian newspaper La Repubblica, "Off they go, through the streets of Passo di Rigano, Boccadifalco, Torretta and at the same time, Brooklyn, Staten Island, New Jersey. Because from Sicily to the US, the old mafia has returned". [133]

Cosa Nostra is not a monolithic organization, but rather a loose confederation of about one hundred groups known alternately as "families", "cosche", "borgatas", or "clans." (Despite the name, their members are generally not related by blood.) Each of these claims sovereignty over a territory, usually a town or village or a neighborhood of a larger city, though without ever fully conquering and legitimizing its monopoly of violence. For many years, the power apparatuses of the single families were the sole ruling bodies within the two associations, and they have remained the real centers of power even after superordinate bodies were created in the Cosa Nostra beginning in the late 1950s (the Sicilian Mafia Commission). [134]

Clan hierarchy Edit

In 1984, mafioso informant Tommaso Buscetta explained to prosecutors the command structure of a typical clan. [18] A clan is led by a "boss" (capofamiglia or rappresentante) who is aided by an underboss (capo bastone or sotto capo) and supervised by one or more advisers (consigliere). Under his command are groups (decina) of about ten "soldiers" (soldati, operai, or picciotti). Each decina is led by a capodecina.

The actual structure of any given clan can vary. Despite the name decina, they do not necessarily have ten soldiers, but can have anything from five to thirty. [135] Some clans are so small that they don't even have decinas and capodecinas, and even in large clans certain soldiers may report directly to the boss or underboss. [136]

The boss of a clan is typically elected by the rank-and-file soldiers (though violent successions do happen). Due to the small size of most Sicilian clans, the boss of a clan has intimate contact with all members and doesn't receive much in the way of privileges or rewards as he would in larger organizations (such as the larger Five Families of New York). [137] His tenure is also frequently short: elections are yearly, and he might be deposed sooner for misconduct or incompetence. [138]

The underboss is second in command to the boss. The underboss is sometimes a family member, such as a son, who will take over the family if the boss is sick, killed, or imprisoned.

The consigliere ("counselor") of the clan is also elected on a yearly basis. One of his jobs is to supervise the actions of the boss and his immediate underlings, particularly in financial matters (e.g. preventing embezzlement). [139] He also serves as an impartial adviser to the boss and mediator in internal disputes. To fulfill this role, the consigliere must be impartial, devoid of conflict of interest and ambition. [140]

Other than its members, Cosa Nostra makes extensive use of "associates". These are people who work for or aid a clan (or even multiple clans) but are not treated as true members. These include corrupt officials and prospective mafiosi. An associate is considered by the mafiosi nothing more than a tool, someone that they can "use", or "nothing mixed with nil." [18]

The media has often made reference to a "capo di tutti capi" or "boss of bosses" that allegedly "commands all of Cosa Nostra". Calogero Vizzini, Salvatore Riina, and Bernardo Provenzano were especially influential bosses who have each been described by the media and law enforcement as being the "boss of bosses" of their times. While a powerful boss may exert great influence over his neighbors, the position does not formally exist, according to Mafia turncoats such as Buscetta. [141] [142] According to Mafia historian Salvatore Lupo "the emphasis of the media on the definition of a 'capo di tutti capi' is without any foundation". [142]

Membership Edit

Membership in Cosa Nostra is open only to Sicilian men. A candidate cannot be a relative of or have any close links with a lawman, such as a police officer or a judge. There is no strict age limit men as young as sixteen have been initiated. [143] A prospective mafioso is carefully tested for obedience, discretion, courage, ruthlessness, and skill at espionage. [18] [143] He is almost always required to commit murder as his ultimate trial, [18] even if he doesn't plan to be a career assassin. The act of murder is to prove his sincerity (i.e., he is not an undercover policeman) and to bind him into silence (i.e., he cannot break omertà without facing murder charges himself).

To be part of the Mafia is highly desirable for many street criminals. Mafiosi receive a great deal of respect, for everyone knows that to offend a mafioso is to risk lethal retribution from him or his colleagues. Mafiosi have an easier time getting away with crimes, negotiating deals, and demanding privileges. A full member also gains more freedom to participate in certain rackets which the Mafia controls (particularly protection racketeering).

Traditionally, only men can become mafiosi, though in recent times there have been reports of women assuming the responsibilities of imprisoned mafiosi relatives. [144] [145]

Clans are also called "families", although their members are usually not related by blood. The Mafia actually has rules designed to prevent nepotism. Membership and rank in the Mafia are not hereditary. Most new bosses are not related to their predecessor. The Commission forbids relatives from holding positions in inter-clan bodies at the same time. [146] That said, mafiosi frequently bring their sons into the trade. They have an easier time entering, because the son bears his father's seal of approval and is familiar with the traditions and requirements of Cosa Nostra.

A mafioso's legitimate occupation, if any, generally does not affect his prestige within Cosa Nostra. [5] Historically, most mafiosi were employed in menial jobs, and many bosses did not work at all. [5] Professionals such as lawyers and doctors do exist within the organization, and are employed according to whatever useful skills they have. [147]

Commission Edit

Since the 1950s, the Mafia has maintained multiple commissions to resolve disputes and promote cooperation among clans. Each province of Sicily has its own Commission. Clans are organized into districts (Mandamenti) of three or four geographically adjacent clans. Each district elects a representative (capo mandamento) to sit on its Provincial Commission. [148]

Contrary to popular belief, the commissions do not serve as a centralized government for the Mafia. The power of the commissions is limited and clans are autonomous and independent. Rather, each Commission serves as a representative mechanism for consultation of independent clans who decide by consensus. "Contrary to the wide-spread image presented by the media, these superordinate bodies of coordination cannot be compared with the executive boards of major legal firms. Their power is intentionally limited. And it would be entirely wrong to see in the Cosa Nostra a centrally managed, internationally active Mafia holding company," according to criminologist Letizia Paoli. [149]

A major function of the Commission is to regulate the use of violence. [148] [150] For instance, a mafioso who wants to commit a murder in another clan's territory must ask the permission of the local boss the commission enforces this rule. [150] Any murder of a mafioso or prominent individual (police, lawyers, politicians, journalists, etc.) must be approved by the commission. [151] Such acts can potentially upset other clans and spark a war, so the Commission provides a means by which to obtain their approval. [152]

The Commission also deals with matters of succession. When a boss dies or retires, his clan's reputation often crumbles with his departure. This can cause clients to abandon the clan and turn to neighboring clans for protection. These clans would grow greatly in status and power relative to their rivals, potentially destabilizing the region and precipitating war. [153] The Commission may choose to divide up the clan's territory and members among its neighbors. Alternatively, the commission has the power to appoint a regent for the clan until it can elect a new boss. [153] [154]

Initiation ceremony Edit

One of the first accounts of an initiation ceremony into the Mafia was given by Bernardino Verro, a leader of the Fasci Siciliani, a popular movement of democratic and socialist inspiration which arose in Sicily in the early 1890s. In order to give the movement teeth and to protect himself from harm, Verro became a member of a Mafia group in Corleone, the Fratuzzi (Little Brothers). In a memoir written many years later, he described the initiation ritual which he underwent in the spring of 1893:

[I] was invited to take part in a secret meeting of the Fratuzzi. I entered a mysterious room where there were many men armed with guns sitting around a table. In the center of the table there was a skull drawn on a piece of paper and a knife. In order to be admitted to the Fratuzzi, [I] had to undergo an initiation consisting of some trials of loyalty and the pricking of the lower lip with the tip of the knife: the blood from the wound soaked the skull.

After his arrest, mafioso Giovanni Brusca described the ceremony in which he was formally made a full member of Cosa Nostra. In 1976, he was invited to a "banquet" at a country house. He was brought into a room where several mafiosi were sitting around a table upon which sat a pistol, a dagger, and a piece of paper bearing the image of a saint. They questioned his commitment and his feelings regarding criminality and murder (despite his already having a history of such acts). When he affirmed himself, Salvatore Riina, then the most powerful boss of Cosa Nostra, took a needle and pricked Brusca's finger. Brusca smeared his blood on the image of the saint, which he held in his cupped hands as Riina set it alight. As Brusca juggled the burning image in his hands, Riina said to him: "If you betray Cosa Nostra, your flesh will burn like this saint." [18]

The elements of the ceremony have changed little over the Mafia's history. [157] These elements have been the subject of much curiosity and speculation. Sociologist Diego Gambetta points out that the Mafia, being a secretive criminal organization, cannot risk having its recruits sign application forms and written contracts which might be seized by the police. Thus they rely on the old-fashioned ritual ceremony. The elements of the ceremony are made deliberately specific, bizarre, and painful so that the event is both memorable and unambiguous, and the ceremony is witnessed by a number of senior mafiosi. The participants may not even care about what the symbols mean, and they may indeed have no intrinsic meaning. The real point of the ritual is to leave no doubt about the mafioso's new status so that it cannot be denied or revoked on a whim. [158]

Introductions Edit

There is always a risk that outsiders and undercover policemen might masquerade as a mafioso to infiltrate the organization. To ensure that this does not happen, a mafioso must never introduce himself to another mafioso whom he does not personally know, even if he knows the other through reputation. If he wants to establish a relationship, he must ask a third mafioso whom they both personally know to introduce them to each other in a face-to-face meeting. This intermediary can vouch that neither of the two is an impostor.

This tradition is upheld scrupulously, often to the detriment of efficient operation. For instance, when mafioso Indelicato Amedeo returned to Sicily following his initiation in the United States in the 1950s, he could not announce his membership to his own mafioso father but had to wait for a mafioso from the United States who knew of his induction to come to Sicily and introduce the son to the father. [6]

Etiquette Edit

Mafiosi of equal status sometimes call each other "compare", while inferiors call their superiors "padrino". [159] "Compare" means "comrade", while Padrino is the Italian term for "godfather".

Ten Commandments Edit

In November 2007, Sicilian police reported discovery of a list of "Ten Commandments" in the hideout of mafia boss Salvatore Lo Piccolo, thought to be guidelines on good, respectful, and honourable conduct for a mafioso. [160]

  1. No one can present himself directly to another of our friends. There must be a third person to do it.
  2. Never look at the wives of friends.
  3. Never be seen with cops.
  4. Don't go to pubs and clubs.
  5. Always being available for Cosa Nostra is a duty - even if your wife is about to give birth.
  6. Appointments must absolutely be respected. (probably refers to formal rank and authority.) [161]
  7. Wives must be treated with respect.
  8. When asked for any information, the answer must be the truth.
  9. Money cannot be appropriated if it belongs to others or to other families.
  10. People who can't be part of Cosa Nostra: anyone who has a close relative in the police, anyone with a two-timing relative in the family, anyone who behaves badly and doesn't hold to moral values.

Pentito Antonino Calderone recounted similar Commandments in his 1987 testimony:

These rules are not to touch the women of other men of honour not to steal from other men of honour or, in general, from anyone not to exploit prostitution not to kill other men of honour unless strictly necessary to avoid passing information to the police not to quarrel with other men of honour to maintain proper behavior to keep silent about Cosa Nostra around outsiders to avoid under all circumstances introducing oneself to other men of honour. [162]

Omertà Edit

Omertà is a code of silence and secrecy that forbids mafiosi from betraying their comrades to the authorities. The penalty for transgression is death, and relatives of the turncoat may also be murdered. Mafiosi generally do not associate with police (aside perhaps from corrupting individual officers as necessary). For instance, a mafioso will not call the police when he is a victim of a crime. He is expected to take care of the problem himself. To do otherwise would undermine his reputation as a capable protector of others (see below), and his enemies may see him as weak and vulnerable.

The need for secrecy and inconspicuousness deeply colors the traditions and mannerisms of mafiosi. Mafiosi are discouraged from consuming alcohol or other drugs, as in an inebriated state they are more likely to blurt out sensitive information. They also frequently adopt self-effacing attitudes to strangers so as to avoid unwanted attention. [163] Most Sicilians tend to be very verbose and expressive, whereas mafiosi tend to be more terse and subdued. Mafiosi are also forbidden from writing down anything about their activities, lest such evidence is discovered by police. [164]

To a degree, mafiosi also impose omertà on the general population. Civilians who buy their protection or make other deals are expected to be discreet, on pain of death. Witness intimidation is also common.

Scholars such as Diego Gambetta and Leopold Franchetti have characterized the Mafia as a "cartel of private protection firms". The primary activity of the Mafia is to provide protection and guarantee trust in areas of the Sicilian economy where the police and courts cannot be relied upon. The Mafia arbitrates disputes between criminals, organizes and oversees illicit business deals, and protects businessmen and criminals from cheats, thieves, and vandals. This aspect of the Mafia is often overlooked in the media because, unlike drug dealing and extortion, it is often not reported to the police.

In one of his books, Gambetta illustrates this concept with the scenario of a butcher who wishes to sell some meat to a supermarket without paying sales tax. Since the transaction is essentially a black market deal, the agents cannot turn to the police or the courts if either of them cheats the other. The seller might supply rotting meat, or the purchaser might refuse to pay. The mistrust and fear of being cheated with no recourse might prevent these two agents from making a profitable transaction. To guarantee each other's honesty, the two parties can ask the local mafia clan to oversee the transaction. In exchange for a commission, the mafioso promises to both the buyer and seller that if either of them tries to cheat the other, the cheater can expect to be assaulted or have his property vandalized. Such is the mafioso's reputation for viciousness, impartiality, and reliability that neither the buyer nor the seller would consider cheating with him overseeing the deal. The transaction thus proceeds smoothly. [5]

The Mafia's protection is not restricted to illegal activities. Shopkeepers often pay the Mafia to protect them from thieves. If a shopkeeper enters into a protection contract with a mafioso, the mafioso will make it publicly known that if any thief were foolish enough to rob his client's shop, he would track down the thief, beat him up, and, if possible, recover the stolen merchandise (mafiosi make it their business to know all the fences in their territory). [5]

Mafiosi have protected a great variety of clients over the years: landowners, plantation owners, politicians, shopkeepers, drug dealers, etc. Whilst some people are coerced into buying protection and some do not receive any actual protection for their money (extortion), by and large, there are many clients who actively seek and benefit from mafioso protection. This is one of the main reasons why the Mafia has resisted more than a century of government efforts to destroy it: the people who willingly solicit these services protect the Mafia from the authorities. If one is enjoying the benefits of Mafia protection, one does not want the police arresting one's mafioso. [5]

It is estimated that the Sicilian Mafia costs the Sicilian economy more than €10 billion a year through protection rackets. [165] Roughly 70 percent of Sicilian businesses pay protection money to Cosa Nostra. [166] Monthly payments can range from €200 for a small shop or bar to €5,000 for a supermarket. [167] [168] [169] In Sicily, protection money is known as pizzo the anti-extortion support group Addiopizzo derives its name from this. Mafiosi might sometimes ask for favours instead of money, such as assistance in committing a crime.

The amount of money that the Mafia extorts from firms in Sicily correlates weakly with the revenue of the firm. As a result, smaller firms end up paying a higher share of their profits to the Mafia than larger firms sometimes as high as 40% of profits for smaller firms and as low as 2% of profits for larger firms. The pizzo is thus a sort of regressive taxation that hurts small businesses more. This presents a barrier to entry for entrepreneurs in Sicily and makes it difficult for small businesses to reinvest in themselves since the pizzo takes a disproportionately larger share of their profits. This is in turn results in oligopolistic markets, where a few large firms dominate, selling low-quality products at high prices. Mafia extortion thus mires the Sicilian economy in a poverty trap. [170]

Protection from theft Edit

Protection from theft is one service that the Mafia provides to paying "clients". Mafiosi themselves are generally forbidden from committing theft [171] (though in practice they are merely forbidden from stealing from anyone connected to the Mafia). [172] Instead, mafiosi make it their business to know all the thieves and fences operating within their territory. If a protected business is robbed, the clan will use these contacts to track down and return the stolen goods and punish the thieves, usually by beating them up. [173] Since the pursuit of thieves and their loot often goes into territories of other clans, clans routinely cooperate with each other on this matter, providing information and blocking the sale of the loot if they can. [173]

Protection from competition Edit

Mafiosi sometimes protect businesspeople from competitors by threatening their competitors with violence. If two businesspeople are competing for a government contract, the protected can ask their mafioso friends to bully their rival out of the bidding process. In another example, a mafioso acting on behalf of a coffee supplier might pressure local bars into serving only their client's coffee.

The primary method by which the Mafia stifles competition, however, is the overseeing and enforcement of collusive agreements between businesspeople. Mafia-enforced collusion typically appears in markets where collusion is both desirable (inelastic demand, lack of product differentiation, etc.) and difficult to set up (numerous competitors, low barriers to entry). [174] Industries which fit this description include garbage collection.

Client relations Edit

Mafiosi approach potential clients in an aggressive but friendly manner, like a door-to-door salesman. [175] They may even offer a few free favors as enticement. If a client rejects their overtures, mafiosi sometimes coerce them by vandalizing their property or other forms of harassment. Physical assault is rare clients may be murdered for breaching agreements or talking to the police, but not for simply refusing protection. [176]

In many situations, mafia bosses prefer to establish an indefinite long-term bond with a client, rather than make one-off contracts. The boss can then publicly declare the client to be under his permanent protection (his "friend", in Sicilian parlance). This leaves little public confusion as to who is and isn't protected, so thieves and other predators will be deterred from attacking a protected client and prey only on the unprotected. [177]

Mafiosi generally do not involve themselves in the management of the businesses they protect or arbitrate. Lack of competence is a common reason, but mostly it is to divest themselves of any interests that may conflict with their roles as protectors and arbitrators. This makes them more trusted by their clients, who need not fear their businesses being taken over.

Protection territories Edit

A protection racketeer cannot tolerate competition within their sphere of influence from another racketeer. If a dispute erupted between two clients protected by rival racketeers, the two racketeers would have to fight each other to win the dispute for their respective client. The outcomes of such fights can be unpredictable (not to mention bloody), and neither racketeer could guarantee a victory for their client. This would make their protection unreliable and of little value. Their clients might dismiss them and settle the dispute by other means, and their reputations would suffer. To prevent this, mafia clans negotiate territories in which they can monopolize the use of violence in settling disputes. [178] This is not always done peacefully, and disputes over protection territories are at the root of most Mafia wars. [179]

Vote buying Edit

Politicians court mafiosi to obtain votes during elections. A mafioso's mere endorsement of a certain candidate can be enough for their clients, relatives, and associates to vote for that candidate. A particularly influential mafioso can bring in thousands of votes for a candidate such is the respect that a mafioso can command. [180] Between its 630-member Chamber of Deputies and 315+ member Senate, the Italian Parliament has a huge number of seats (roughly 1 per 64,000 citizens) and a large number of political parties competing for them, meaning that a candidate can win with only a few thousand votes. A mafia clan's support can thus be decisive for their success.

Politicians have always sought us out because we can provide votes. [. ] between friends and family, each man of honor can muster up forty to fifty other people. There are between 1,500 and 2,000 men of honor in Palermo province. Multiply that by fifty and you get a nice package of 75,000 to 100,000 votes to go to friendly parties and candidates. [181]

Politicians usually repay this support with favours, such as sabotaging police investigations or giving contracts and permits. [182]

They are not ideological themselves, though mafiosi have traditionally opposed extreme parties such as Fascists and Communists, and favoured centre candidates. [183]

Smuggling Edit

Mafiosi provide protection and invest capital in smuggling gangs. Smuggling operations require large investments (goods, boats, crews, etc.) but few people would trust their money to criminal gangs. It is mafiosi who raise the necessary money from investors and ensure that all parties act in good faith. They also ensure that the smugglers operate in safety. [184]

Mafiosi rarely directly involve themselves in smuggling operations. When they do, it is usually when the operations are especially risky. In this case, they may induct smugglers into their clans in the hope of binding them more firmly. [185] This was the case with heroin smuggling, where the volumes and profits involved were too large to keep the operations at arm's length.

Bid rigging Edit

The Sicilian Mafia in Italy is believed to have a turnover of €6.5 billion through control of public and private contracts. [186] Mafiosi use threats of violence and vandalism to muscle out competitors and win contracts for the companies that they control. [5] They rarely manage the businesses that they control, but take a cut of their profits, usually through payoffs (Pizzo). [187]

Loan sharking Edit

In a 2007 publication, the Italian small-business association Confesercenti reported that about 25.2 percent of Sicilian businesses were indebted to loan sharks, who collected around €1.4 billion a year in payments. [188] This figure has risen during the late-2000s recession, as tighter lending by banks forces the desperate to borrow from the Mafia. [189] [190]

Forbidden crimes Edit

Certain types of crimes are forbidden by Cosa Nostra, either by members or freelance criminals within their domains. Mafiosi are generally forbidden from committing theft (burglary, mugging, etc.). Kidnapping is also generally forbidden, even by non-mafiosi, as it attracts a great deal of public hostility and police attention. These rules have been violated from time to time, both with and without the permission of senior mafiosi. [191]

Murder Edit

Murders are almost always carried out by members. It is very rare for the Mafia to recruit an outsider for a single job, and such people are liable to be eliminated soon afterwards because they become expendable liabilities. [192] Mafia violence is most commonly directed at other Mafia families competing for territory and business. [193] Violence is more common in the Sicilian Mafia than the American Mafia because Mafia families in Sicily are smaller and more numerous, creating a more volatile atmosphere. [194]

Reputation Edit

The Mafia's power comes from its reputation to commit violence, particularly murder, against virtually anyone. Through reputation, mafiosi deter their enemies and enemies of their clients. It allows mafiosi to protect a client without being physically present (e.g. as bodyguards or watchmen), which in turn allows them to protect many clients at once. [195] [196]

Compared to other occupations, reputation is especially valuable for a mafioso, as his primary product is protection through intimidation. The reputation of a mafioso is dichotomous: he is either a good protector or a bad one there is no mediocrity. This is because a mafioso can only either succeed at preventing an act of violence or fail utterly should any violence take place. There is no spectrum of quality when it comes to violent protection. [197] Consequently, a series of failures can completely ruin a mafioso's reputation, and with it his business.

The more fearsome a mafioso's reputation is, the more he can win disputes without having recourse to violence. It can even happen that a mafioso who loses his means to commit violence (e.g. his soldiers are all in prison) can still use his reputation to intimidate and provide protection if everyone is unaware of his weakness and still believes in his power. [198] However, in the tough world of the Mafia, such bluffs generally do not last long, as his rivals will soon sense his weakness and challenge him. [199]

When a Mafia boss retires from leadership (or is killed), his clan's reputation as effective protectors and enforcers often goes with him. If his replacement has a weaker reputation, clients may lose confidence in the clan and defect to its neighbours, causing a shift in the balance of power and possible conflict. Ideally, the successor to the boss will have built a strong reputation of his own as he worked his way up the ranks, giving the clan a reputable new leader. [200] In this way, established Mafia clans have a powerful edge over newcomers who start from scratch joining a clan as a soldier offers an aspiring mafioso a chance to build up his own reputation under the guidance and protection of senior mafiosi.


Contents

The word mafia (Italian: [ˈmaːfja] ) derives from the Sicilian adjective mafiusu, which, roughly translated, means "swagger", but can also be translated as "boldness" or "bravado". In reference to a man, mafiusu (mafioso in Italian) in 19th-century Sicily signified "fearless", "enterprising", and "proud", according to scholar Diego Gambetta. [11] In reference to a woman, however, the feminine-form adjective mafiusa means 'beautiful' or 'attractive'. In North America, the Italian-American Mafia may be colloquially referred to as simply "the Mafia" or "the Mob". However, without context, these two terms may cause confusion "the Mafia" may also refer to the Sicilian Mafia specifically or Italian organized crime in general, while "the Mob" can refer to other similar organized crime groups (such as the Irish Mob) or organized crime in general.

Origins: The Black Hand Edit

The first published account of what became the Mafia in the United States dates to the spring of 1869. The New Orleans Times reported that the city's Second District had become overrun by "well-known and notorious Sicilian murderers, counterfeiters and burglars, who, in the last month, have formed a sort of general co-partnership or stock company for the plunder and disturbance of the city." Emigration from southern Italy to the Americas was primarily to Brazil and Argentina, and New Orleans had a heavy volume of port traffic to and from both locales.

Mafia groups in the United States first became influential in the New York City area, gradually progressing from small neighborhood operations in poor Italian ghettos to citywide and eventually national organizations. The Mafia groups also thrived in white-collar areas, as they were always involved with business’ and organizations on Wall Street. The Black Hand was a name given to an extortion method used in Italian neighborhoods at the turn of the 20th century. It has been sometimes mistaken for the Mafia itself, which it is not. The Black Hand was a criminal society, but there were many small Black Hand gangs. Black Hand extortion was often (wrongly) viewed as the activity of a single organization because Black Hand criminals in Italian communities throughout the United States used the same methods of extortion. [12]

Giuseppe Morello was the first known Mafia member to immigrate to the United States. [8] He and six other Sicilians fled to New York after murdering eleven wealthy landowners, the chancellor and a vice chancellor of a Sicilian province. [8] He was arrested in New Orleans in 1881 and extradited to Italy. [8]

From the 1890s to 1920 in New York City the Five Points Gang, founded by Paul Kelly, were very powerful in the Little Italy of the Lower East Side. Kelly recruited some street hoodlums who later became some of the most famous crime bosses of the century such as Johnny Torrio, Al Capone, Lucky Luciano and Frankie Yale. They were often in conflict with the Jewish Eastmans of the same area. There was also an influential Mafia family in East Harlem. The Neapolitan Camorra was also very active in Brooklyn. In Chicago, the 19th Ward was an Italian neighborhood that became known as the "Bloody Nineteenth" due to the frequent violence in the ward, mostly as a result of Mafia activity, feuds, and vendettas.

New Orleans was also the site of the first possible Mafia incident in the United States that received both national and international attention. [8] On October 15, 1890, New Orleans Police Superintendent David Hennessy was murdered execution-style. It is still unclear whether Italian immigrants actually killed him, or whether it was a frame-up by nativists against the reviled underclass immigrants. [8] Hundreds of Sicilians were arrested on mostly baseless charges, and nineteen were eventually indicted for the murder. An acquittal followed, with rumors of bribed and intimidated witnesses. [8] On March 14, 1891, the outraged citizens of New Orleans organized a lynch mob after the acquittal, and proceeded to kill eleven of the nineteen defendants. Two were hanged, nine were shot, and the remaining eight escaped. [13] [14] [15]

Prohibition era Edit

On January 16, 1919, prohibition began in the United States with the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution making it illegal to manufacture, transport, or sell alcohol. Despite these bans, there was still a very high demand for it from the public. This created an atmosphere that tolerated crime as a means to provide liquor to the public, even among the police and city politicians. Not explicitly related to Mafia involvement the murder rate during the Prohibition era rose from 6.8 per 100,000 individuals to 9.7 and within the first three months proceeding the Eighteenth Amendment, a half-million dollars in bonded whiskey was stolen from government warehouses. [16] The profits that could be made from selling and distributing alcohol were worth the risk of punishment from the government, which had a difficult time enforcing prohibition. There were over 900,000 cases of liquor shipped to the borders of U.S. cities. [17] Criminal gangs and politicians saw the opportunity to make fortunes and began shipping larger quantities of alcohol to U.S. cities. The majority of the alcohol was imported from Canada, [18] [19] the Caribbean, and the American Midwest where stills manufactured illegal alcohol.

In the early 1920s, fascist Benito Mussolini took control of Italy and waves of Italian immigrants fled to the United States. Sicilian Mafia members also fled to the United States, as Mussolini cracked down on Mafia activities in Italy. [20] Most Italian immigrants resided in tenement buildings. As a way to escape the poor lifestyle, some Italian immigrants chose to join the American Mafia.

The Mafia took advantage of prohibition and began selling illegal alcohol. The profits from bootlegging far exceeded the traditional crimes of protection, extortion, gambling, and prostitution. Prohibition allowed Mafia families to make fortunes. [21] [22] [23] As prohibition continued, victorious factions went on to dominate organized crime in their respective cities, setting up the family structure of each city. The bootlegging industry organized members of these gangs before they were distinguished as today's known families. The new industry required members at all different employment levels, such as bosses, lawyers, truckers, and even members to eliminate competitors through threat/force. Gangs hijacked each other's alcohol shipments, forcing rivals to pay them for "protection" to leave their operations alone, and armed guards almost invariably accompanied the caravans that delivered the liquor. [24] [25]

In the 1920s, Italian Mafia families began waging wars for absolute control over lucrative bootlegging rackets. As the violence erupted, Italians fought Irish and Jewish ethnic gangs for control of bootlegging in their respective territories. In New York City, Frankie Yale waged war with the Irish American White Hand Gang. In Chicago, Al Capone and his family massacred the North Side Gang, another Irish American outfit. [22] [26] In New York City, by the end of the 1920s, two factions of organized crime had emerged to fight for control of the criminal underworld, one led by Joe Masseria and the other by Salvatore Maranzano. [8] This caused the Castellammarese War, which led to Masseria's murder in 1931. Maranzano then divided New York City into five families. [8] Maranzano, the first leader of the American Mafia, established the code of conduct for the organization, set up the "family" divisions and structure, and established procedures for resolving disputes. [8] In an unprecedented move, Maranzano set himself up as boss of all bosses and required all families to pay tribute to him. This new role was received negatively, and Maranzano was murdered within six months on the orders of Charles "Lucky" Luciano. Luciano was a former Masseria underling who had switched sides to Maranzano and orchestrated the killing of Masseria. [27]

The Commission Edit

As an alternative to the previous despotic Mafia practice of naming a single Mafia boss as capo di tutti capi, or "boss of all bosses," Luciano created The Commission in 1931, [8] where the bosses of the most powerful families would have equal say and vote on important matters and solve disputes between families. This group ruled over the National Crime Syndicate and brought in an era of peace and prosperity for the American Mafia. [28] By mid-century, there were 26 official Commission-sanctioned Mafia crime families, each based in a different city (except for the Five Families which were all based in New York). [29] Each family operated independently from the others and generally had exclusive territory it controlled. [8] As opposed to the older generation of "Mustache Petes" such as Maranzano and Masseria, who usually worked only with fellow Italians, the "Young Turks" led by Luciano were more open to working with other groups, most notably the Jewish-American criminal syndicates to achieve greater profits. The Mafia thrived by following a strict set of rules that originated in Sicily that called for an organized hierarchical structure and a code of silence that forbade its members from cooperating with the police (Omertà). Failure to follow any of these rules was punishable by death.

The rise of power that the Mafia acquired during prohibition would continue long after alcohol was made legal again. Criminal empires which had expanded on bootleg money would find other avenues to continue making large sums of money. When alcohol ceased to be prohibited in 1933, the Mafia diversified its money-making criminal activities to include (both old and new): illegal gambling operations, loan sharking, extortion, protection rackets, drug trafficking, fencing, and labor racketeering through control of labor unions. [30] In the mid-20th century, the Mafia was reputed to have infiltrated many labor unions in the United States, most notably the Teamsters and International Longshoremen's Association. [8] This allowed crime families to make inroads into very profitable legitimate businesses such as construction, demolition, waste management, trucking, and in the waterfront and garment industry. [31] In addition they could raid the unions' health and pension funds, extort businesses with threats of a workers' strike and participate in bid rigging. In New York City, most construction projects could not be performed without the Five Families' approval. In the port and loading dock industries, the Mafia bribed union members to tip them off to valuable items being brought in. Mobsters would then steal these products and fence the stolen merchandise.

Meyer Lansky made inroads into the casino industry in Cuba during the 1930s while the Mafia was already involved in exporting Cuban sugar and rum. [32] When his friend Fulgencio Batista became president of Cuba in 1952, several Mafia bosses were able to make legitimate investments in legalized casinos. One estimate of the number of casinos mobsters owned was no less than 19. [32] However, when Batista was overthrown following the Cuban Revolution, his successor Fidel Castro banned U.S. investment in the country, putting an end to the Mafia's presence in Cuba. [32] Las Vegas was seen as an "open city" where any family can work. Once Nevada legalized gambling, mobsters were quick to take advantage and the casino industry became very popular in Las Vegas. Since the 1940s, Mafia families from New York, Cleveland, Kansas City, Milwaukee and Chicago had interests in Las Vegas casinos. They got loans from the Teamsters' pension fund, a union they effectively controlled, and used legitimate front men to build casinos. [33] When money came into the counting room, hired men skimmed cash before it was recorded, then delivered it to their respective bosses. [33] This money went unrecorded, but the amount is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Operating in the shadows, the Mafia faced little opposition from law enforcement. Local law enforcement agencies did not have the resources or knowledge to effectively combat organized crime committed by a secret society they were unaware existed. [31] Many people within police forces and courts were simply bribed, while witness intimidation was also common. [31] In 1951, a U.S. Senate committee called the Kefauver Hearings determined that a "sinister criminal organization" known as the Mafia operated in the nation. [8] Many suspected mobsters were subpoenaed for questioning, but few testified and none gave any meaningful information. In 1957, New York State Police uncovered a meeting and arrested major figures from around the country in Apalachin, New York. The event (dubbed the "Apalachin Meeting") forced the FBI to recognize organized crime as a serious problem in the United States and changed the way law enforcement investigated it. [8] In 1963, Joe Valachi became the first Mafia member to turn state's evidence, and provided detailed information of its inner workings and secrets. More importantly, he revealed Mafia's existence to the law, which enabled the Federal Bureau of Investigations to begin an aggressive assault on the Mafia's National Crime Syndicate. [34] Following Valachi's testimony, the Mafia could no longer operate completely in the shadows. The FBI put a lot more effort and resources into organized crime activities nationwide and created the Organized Crime Strike Force in various cities. However, while all this created more pressure on the Mafia, it did little to curb their criminal activities. Success was made by the beginning of the 1980s, when the FBI was able to rid Las Vegas casinos of Mafia control and made a determined effort to loosen the Mafia's strong hold on labor unions.

Mafia involvement in the US economy Edit

By the late 1970s, the Mafia were involved in many industries, [8] including betting on college sports. Several Mafia members associated with the Lucchese crime family participated in a point shaving scandal involving the Boston College basketball team. Rick Kuhn, Henry Hill, and others associated with the Lucchese crime family, manipulated the results of the games during the 1978–1979 basketball season. Through bribing and intimidating several members of the team, they ensured their bets on the point spread of each game would go in their favor. [35]

One of the most lucrative gains for the Mafia was through gas-tax fraud. They created schemes to keep the money that they owed in taxes after the sale of millions of dollars' worth of wholesale petroleum. This allowed them to sell more gasoline at even lower prices. Michael Franzese, also known as the Yuppie Don, ran and organized a gas scandal and stole over $290 million in gasoline taxes by evading the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and shutting down the gas station before government officials could make him pay what he owed. Franzese was caught in 1985. [36] [37]

Labor racketeering helped the Mafia control many industries from a macroeconomic scale. This tactic helped them grow in power and influence in many cities with big labor unions such as New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit and many others. Many members of the Mafia were enlisted in unions and even became union executives. La Cosa Nostra was a Mafia group that rose to economic power through their heavy involvement in unions. The Mafia has controlled unions all over the U.S. to extort money and resources out of big business, with recent indictments of corruption involving the New Jersey Waterfront Union, the Concrete Workers Union, and the teamster union. [38]

Restaurants were yet another powerful means by which the Mafia could gain economic power. A large concentration of Mafia-owned restaurants was in New York City. Not only were they the setting of many killings and important meetings, but they were also an effective means of smuggling drugs and other illegal goods. From 1985 to 1987, Sicilian Mafiosi in the U.S. imported an estimated $1.65 billion worth of heroin through pizzerias, hiding the cargo in various food products. [39] [40]

Another one of the areas of the economy that the Mafia was most influential was Las Vegas, Nevada, beginning just after World War II with the opening of the first gambling resort "The Flamingo". [41] Many credit the Mafia with being a big part of the city's development in the mid-20th century. [42] It was through millions of dollars in capital flowing into new casino resorts that laid the foundation for further economic growth. This capital didn't come from one Mafia family alone, but many throughout the country seeking to gain even more power and wealth. Large profits from casinos, run as legitimate businesses, would help to finance many of the illegal activities of the Mafia from the 1950s into the 1980s. [41] In the 1950s more Mafia-financed casinos were constructed, such as the Stardust, Sahara, Tropicana, Desert Inn, and Riviera. Tourism in the city greatly increased through the 1960s and strengthened the local economy.

However, the 1960s was also when the Mafia's influence in the Las Vegas economy began to dwindle. [41] The Nevada State government and Federal government had been working to weaken Mafia activity on the Strip. In 1969, the Nevada State Legislature passed a law that made it easier for corporations to own casinos. This brought new investors to the local economy to buy casinos from the Mafia. The U.S. Congress passed the RICO Act a year later. This law gave more authority to law enforcement to pursue the Mafia for its illegal activities. There was a sharp decline in mob involvement in Las Vegas in the 1980s. Through the RICO law, many in the Mafia were convicted and imprisoned. [43]

RICO Act Edit

When the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO Act) became federal law in 1970, it became a highly effective tool in prosecuting mobsters. It provides for extended criminal penalties for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. Violation of the act is punishable by up to 20 years in prison per count, up to $25,000 in fines, and the violator must forfeit all properties attained while violating the RICO Act. [44] The RICO Act has proven to be a very powerful weapon because it attacks the entire corrupt entity instead of individuals who can easily be replaced with other organized crime members. [8] Between 1981 and 1992, 23 bosses from around the country were convicted under the law while between 1981 and 1988, 13 underbosses and 43 captains were convicted. [31] Over 1,000 crime family figures were convicted by 1990. [44] While this significantly crippled many Mafia families around the country, the most powerful families continued to dominate crime in their territories, even if the new laws put more mobsters in jail and made it harder to operate.

A high-profile RICO case sentenced John Gotti and Frank Locascio to life in prison in 1992, [45] with the help of informant Sammy Gravano in exchange for immunity from prosecution for his crimes. [20] [46] Aside from avoiding long prison stretches, the FBI could put mobsters in the United States Federal Witness Protection Program, changing their identities and supporting them financially for life. This led to dozens of mobsters testifying and providing information during the 1990s, which led to the imprisonment of hundreds of mobsters. As a result, the Mafia has seen a major decline in its power and influence in organized crime since the 1990s.

On January 9, 2003, Bonanno crime family boss Joseph Massino was arrested and indicted, alongside Salvatore Vitale, Frank Lino and capo Daniel Mongelli, in a comprehensive racketeering indictment. The charges against Massino himself included ordering the 1981 murder of Napolitano. [47] [48] Massino's trial began on May 24, 2004, with judge Nicholas Garaufis presiding and Greg D. Andres and Robert Henoch heading the prosecution. [49] He now faced 11 RICO counts for seven murders (due to the prospect of prosecutors seeking the death penalty for the Sciascia murder, that case was severed to be tried separately), arson, extortion, loansharking, illegal gambling, and money laundering. [50] After deliberating for five days, the jury found Massino guilty of all 11 counts on July 30, 2004. His sentencing was initially scheduled for October 12, and he was expected to receive a sentence of life imprisonment with no possibility of parole. [51] The jury also approved the prosecutors' recommended $10 million forfeiture of the proceeds of his reign as Bonanno boss on the day of the verdict. [52]

Immediately after his July 30 conviction, as court was adjourned, Massino requested a meeting with Judge Garaufis, where he made his first offer to cooperate. [53] He did so in hopes of sparing his life he was facing the death penalty if found guilty of Sciascia's murder. Indeed, one of John Ashcroft's final acts as Attorney General was to order federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty for Massino. [54] Massino thus stood to be the first Mafia boss to be executed for his crimes, and the first mob boss to face the death penalty since Lepke Buchalter was executed in 1944. [55] Massino was the first sitting boss of a New York crime family to turn state's evidence, and the second in the history of the American Mafia to do so [56] (Philadelphia crime family boss Ralph Natale had flipped in 1999 when facing drug charges, though Natale was mostly a “front” boss while the real boss of the Philadelphia Mafia used Natale as a diversion for authorities.) [57]

In the 21st century, the Mafia has continued to be involved in a broad spectrum of illegal activities. These include murder, extortion, corruption of public officials, gambling, infiltration of legitimate businesses, labor racketeering, loan sharking, tax fraud schemes and stock manipulation schemes. [58] Another factor contributing to the Mafia's downfall is the assimilation of Italian Americans, which left a shallower recruitment pool of new mobsters. Although the Mafia used to be nationwide, today most of its activities are confined to the Northeast and Chicago. [59] While other criminal organizations such as the Russian Mafia, Chinese Triads, Mexican drug cartels and others have all grabbed a share of criminal activities, the Mafia continues to be the dominant criminal organization in these regions, partly due to its strict hierarchical structure. [59] Law enforcement is concerned with the possible resurgence of the Mafia as it regroups from the turmoil of the 1990s, although FBI and local law enforcement agencies now focus more on homeland security and less on organized crime since the September 11 attacks. [60] [61] In 2002 the FBI estimated that the Mafia earns $50–$90 billion a year. [62] To avoid FBI attention and prosecution, the modern Mafia also outsources a lot of its work to other criminal groups, such as motorcycle gangs. [59]

The American Mafia operates on a strict hierarchical structure. While similar to its Sicilian origins, the American Mafia's modern organizational structure was created by Salvatore Maranzano in 1931. He created the Five Families, each of which would have a boss, underboss, capos, soldiers—all only full-blooded Italian Americans—while associates could come from any background. [63] [64] [20] All inducted members of the Mafia are called "made" men. This signifies that they are untouchable in the criminal underworld and any harm brought to them will be met with retaliation. With the exception of associates, all mobsters are "made" official members of a crime family. The three highest positions make up the administration. Below the administration, there are factions each headed by a caporegime (captain), who lead a crew of soldiers and associates. They report to the administration and can be seen as equivalent to managers in a business. When a boss makes a decision, he rarely issues orders directly to workers who would carry it out but instead passes instructions down through the chain of command. This way, the higher levels of the organization are insulated from law enforcement attention if the lower level members who actually commit the crime should be captured or investigated, providing plausible deniability.

There are occasionally other positions in the family leadership. Frequently, ruling panels have been set up when a boss goes to jail to divide the responsibility of the family (these usually consist of three or five members). This also helps divert police attention from any one member. The family messenger and street boss were positions created by former Genovese family leader Vincent Gigante.

  • Boss – The boss is the head of the family, usually reigning as a dictator, sometimes called the Don or "Godfather". The boss receives a cut of every operation. Operations are taken on by every member of the family and of the region's occupying family. [65] Depending on the family, the boss may be chosen by a vote from the caporegimes of the family. In the event of a tie, the underboss must vote. In the past, all the members of a family voted on the boss, but by the late 1950s, any gathering such as that usually attracted too much attention. [66] In practice, many of these elections are seen as having an inevitable result, such as that of John Gotti in 1986. According to Sammy Gravano, a meeting was held in a basement during which all capos were searched and Gotti's men stood ominously behind them. Gotti was then proclaimed boss.
  • Underboss – The underboss, usually appointed by the boss, is the second in command of the family. The underboss often runs the day-to-day responsibilities of the family or oversees its most lucrative rackets. He usually gets a percentage of the family's income from the boss's cut. The underboss is usually first in line to become acting boss if the boss is imprisoned, and is also frequently seen as a logical successor.
  • Consigliere – The consigliere is an advisor to the family and sometimes seen as the boss's "right-hand man". He is used as a mediator of disputes and often acts as a representative or aide for the family in meetings with other families, rival criminal organizations, and important business associates. In practice, the consigliere is normally the third-ranking member of the administration of a family and was traditionally a senior member carrying the utmost respect of the family and deeply familiar with the inner-workings of the organization. A boss will often appoint a trusted close friend or personal advisor as his official consigliere.
  • Caporegime (or capo) – A caporegime (also captain or skipper) is in charge of a crew, a group of soldiers who report directly to him. Each crew usually contains 10–20 soldiers and many more associates. A capo is appointed by the boss and reports to him or the underboss. A captain gives a percentage of his (and his underlings') earnings to the boss and is also responsible for any tasks assigned, including murder. In labor racketeering, it is usually a capo who controls the infiltration of union locals. If a capo becomes powerful enough, he can sometimes wield more power than some of his superiors. In cases like Anthony Corallo they might even bypass the normal Mafia structure and lead the family when the boss dies.
  • Soldier (Soldato in Italian) – A soldier is a member of the family, and traditionally can only be of full Italian background (although today many families require men to be of only half Italian descent, on their father's side). Once a member is made he is untouchable, meaning permission from a soldier's boss must be given before he is murdered. When the books are open, meaning that a family is accepting new members, a made man may recommend an up-and-coming associate to be a new soldier. Soldiers are the main workers of the family, usually committing crimes like assault, murder, extortion, intimidation, etc. In return, they are given profitable rackets to run by their superiors and have full access to their family's connections and power.
  • Associate – An associate is not a member of the Mafia, but works for a crime family nonetheless. Associates can include a wide range of people who work for the family. An associate can have a wide range of duties, from virtually carrying out the same duties as a soldier to being a simple errand boy. This is where prospective mobsters ("connected guys") start out to prove their worth. Once a crime family is accepting new members, the best associates of Italian descent are evaluated and picked to become soldiers. An associate can also be a criminal who serves as a go-between in criminal transactions or sometimes deals in drugs to keep police attention off the actual members, or they can simply be people the family does business with (restaurant owners, etc.) In other cases, an associate might be a corrupt labor union delegate or businessman. [66] Non-Italians will never go any further than this, although many non-Italians like Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, Murray Humphreys, Mickey Cohen, Gus Alex, Bumpy Johnson, Frank Sheeran, Gerard Ouimette, and James Burke wielded extreme power within their respective crime families and carried the respect of actual Mafia members. [citation needed]

The Mafia initiation ritual to become a made man in the Mafia emerged from various sources, such as Roman Catholic confraternities and Masonic Lodges in mid-19th century Sicily. [67] At the initiation ceremony, the inductee would have his finger pricked with a needle by the officiating member a few drops of blood are spilled on a card bearing the likeness of a saint the card is set on fire finally, while the card is passed rapidly from hand to hand to avoid burns, the novice takes an oath of loyalty to the Mafia family. The oath of loyalty to the Mafia Family is called the Omerta. This was confirmed in 1986 by the pentito Tommaso Buscetta. [68]

A hit, or murder, of a made man must be approved by the leadership of his family, or retaliatory hits would be made, possibly inciting a war. In a state of war, families would "go to the mattresses"—means to prepare for a war or be prepared in a war-like stance. It was mainly derived from the film, "The Godfather" as the origin of the phrase, is unknown. [69] Omertà is a key oath or code of silence in the Mafia that places importance on silence in the face of questioning by authorities or outsiders non-cooperation with authorities, the government, or outsiders. [70] [71] Traditionally, to become a made man, or full member of the Mafia, the inductee was required to be a male of full Sicilian descent, [72] later extended to males of full Italian descent, [73] and later further extended to males of half-Italian descent through their father's lineage. [72] According to Salvatore Vitale, it was decided during a Commission meeting in 2000 to restore the rule requiring both parents to be of Italian descent. [74] It is also common for a Mafia member to have a mistress. [75] Traditionally, made members were also not allowed to have mustaches—part of the Mustache Pete custom. [76] [77] Homosexuality is reportedly incompatible with the American Mafia code of conduct. In 1992, John D'Amato, acting boss of the DeCavalcante family, was killed when he was suspected of engaging in homosexual activity. [78]

The following is a list of Mafia families that have been active in the U.S. Note that some families have members and associates working in other regions as well. The organization is not limited to these regions. The Bonanno crime family and the Buffalo crime family also had influence in several factions in Canada including the Rizzuto crime family and Cotroni crime family, [79] [80] [81] and the Luppino crime family and Papalia crime family, [82] [83] respectively.

During World War II Edit

U.S. Naval Intelligence entered into an agreement with Lucky Luciano to gain his assistance in keeping the New York waterfront free from saboteurs after the destruction of the SS Normandie. [85] This spectacular disaster convinced both sides to talk seriously about protecting the United States' East Coast on the afternoon of February 9, 1942. While it was in the process of being converted into a troopship, the luxury ocean liner, SS Normandie, mysteriously burst into flames with 1,500 sailors and civilians on board. All but one escaped, but 128 were injured and by the next day the ship was a smoking hull. In his report, twelve years later, William B. Herlands, Commissioner of Investigation, made the case for the U.S. government talking to top criminals, stating "The Intelligence authorities were greatly concerned with the problems of sabotage and espionage…Suspicions were rife with respect to the leaking of information about convoy movements. The Normandie, which was being converted to war use as the Navy auxiliary Lafayette, had burned at the pier in the North River, New York City. Sabotage was suspected." [86]

Plots to assassinate Fidel Castro Edit

In August 1960, Colonel Sheffield Edwards, director of the Office of Security of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), proposed the assassination of Cuban head of state Fidel Castro by Mafia assassins. Between August 1960 and April 1961, the CIA, with the help of the Mafia, pursued a series of plots to poison or shoot Castro. [87] Those allegedly involved included Sam Giancana, Carlos Marcello, Santo Trafficante Jr., and John Roselli. [88]

Recovery of murdered Mississippi civil rights workers Edit

In 2007, Linda Schiro testified in an unrelated court case that her late boyfriend, Gregory Scarpa, a capo in the Colombo family, had been recruited by the FBI to help find the bodies of three civil rights workers who had been murdered in Mississippi in 1964 by the Ku Klux Klan. She said that she had been with Scarpa in Mississippi at the time and had witnessed him being given a gun, and later a cash payment, by FBI agents. She testified that Scarpa had threatened a Klansman by placing a gun in the Klansman's mouth, forcing the Klansman to reveal the location of the bodies. Similar stories of Mafia involvement in recovering the bodies had been circulating for years, and had been previously published in the New York Daily News, but had never before been introduced in court. [89] [90]

In several Mafia families, killing a state authority is forbidden due to the possibility of extreme police retaliation. In some rare strict cases, conspiring to commit such a murder is punishable by death. Jewish mobster and Mafia associate Dutch Schultz was reportedly killed by his Italian peers out of fear that he would carry out a plan to kill New York City prosecutor Thomas Dewey and thus bring unprecedented police attention to the Mafia. However, the Mafia has carried out hits on law enforcement, especially in its earlier history. New York police officer Joe Petrosino was shot by Sicilian mobsters while on duty in Sicily. A statue of him was later erected across the street from a Lucchese hangout. [91]

Kefauver Committee Edit

In 1951, a U.S. Senate special committee, chaired by Democratic Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver, determined that a "sinister criminal organization" known as the Mafia operated around the United States. The United States Senate Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce (known as the "Kefauver Hearings"), televised nationwide, captured the attention of the American people and forced the FBI to recognize the existence of organized crime. In 1953, the FBI initiated the "Top Hoodlum Program". The purpose of the program was to have agents collect information on the mobsters in their territories and report it regularly to Washington to maintain a centralized collection of intelligence on racketeers. [92]

Apalachin meeting Edit

The Apalachin meeting was a historic summit of the American Mafia held at the home of mobster Joseph "Joe the Barber" Barbara, at 625 McFall Road in Apalachin, New York, on November 14, 1957. [93] [94] [95] [96] [97] [98] [99] [100] Allegedly, the meeting was held to discuss various topics including loansharking, narcotics trafficking, and gambling, along with dividing the illegal operations controlled by the recently murdered Albert Anastasia. [101] [102] An estimated 100 Mafiosi from the United States, Italy, and Cuba are thought to have attended this meeting. [102] Immediately after the Anastasia murder that October, and after taking control of the Luciano crime family, renamed the Genovese crime family, from Frank Costello, Vito Genovese wanted to legitimize his new power by holding a national Cosa Nostra meeting. As a result of the Apalachin meeting, the membership books to become a made man in the mob were closed, and were not reopened until 1976. [103]

Local and state law enforcement became suspicious when numerous expensive cars bearing license plates from around the country arrived in what was described as "the sleepy hamlet of Apalachin". [104] After setting up roadblocks, the police raided the meeting, causing many of the participants to flee into the woods and area surrounding the Barbara estate. [105] More than 60 underworld bosses were detained and indicted following the raid. Twenty of those who attended the meeting were charged with "Conspiring to obstruct justice by lying about the nature of the underworld meeting" and found guilty in January 1959. All were fined, up to $10,000 each, and given prison sentences ranging from three to five years. All the convictions were overturned on appeal the following year. One of the most direct and significant outcomes of the Apalachin Meeting was that it helped to confirm the existence of a nationwide criminal conspiracy, a fact that some, including Federal Bureau of Investigation Director J. Edgar Hoover, had long refused to acknowledge. [102] [106] [107]

Valachi hearings Edit

Genovese crime family soldier Joe Valachi was convicted of narcotics violations in 1959 and sentenced to 15 years in prison. [108] Valachi's motivations for becoming an informer had been the subject of some debate: Valachi claimed to be testifying as a public service and to expose a powerful criminal organization that he had blamed for ruining his life, but it is also possible he was hoping for government protection as part of a plea bargain in which he was sentenced to life imprisonment instead of the death penalty for a murder, which he had committed in 1962 while in prison for his narcotics violation. [108]

Valachi murdered a man in prison who he feared mob boss, and fellow prisoner, Vito Genovese had ordered to kill him. Valachi and Genovese were both serving sentences for heroin trafficking. [109] On June 22, 1962, using a pipe left near some construction work, Valachi bludgeoned an inmate to death who he had mistaken for Joseph DiPalermo, a Mafia member who he believed had been contracted to kill him. [108] After time with FBI handlers, Valachi came forward with a story of Genovese giving him a kiss on the cheek, which he took as a "kiss of death." [110] [111] [112] A $100,000 bounty for Valachi's death had been placed by Genovese. [113]

Soon after, Valachi decided to cooperate with the U.S. Justice Department. [114] In October 1963, Valachi testified before Arkansas Senator John L. McClellan's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the U.S. Senate Committee on Government Operations, known as the Valachi hearings, stating that the Italian-American Mafia actually existed, the first time a member had acknowledged its existence in public. [115] [116] Valachi's testimony was the first major violation of omertà, breaking his blood oath. He was the first member of the Italian-American Mafia to acknowledge its existence publicly, and is credited with popularization of the term cosa nostra. [117]

Although Valachi's disclosures never led directly to the prosecution of any Mafia leaders, he provided many details of history of the Mafia, operations and rituals, aided in the solution of several unsolved murders, and named many members and the major crime families. The trial exposed American organized crime to the world through Valachi's televised testimony. [118]

Commission Trial Edit

As part of the Mafia Commission Trial, on February 25, 1985, nine New York Mafia leaders were indicted for narcotics trafficking, loansharking, gambling, labor racketeering and extortion against construction companies under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. [119] On July 1, 1985, the original nine men, with the addition of two more New York Mafia leaders, pleaded not guilty to a second set of racketeering charges as part of the trial. Prosecutors aimed to strike at all the crime families at once using their involvement in the Commission. [120] On December 2, 1985, Dellacroce died of cancer. [121] Castellano was later murdered on December 16, 1985. [122]

In the early 1980s, the Bonanno family were kicked off the Commission due to the Donnie Brasco infiltration, and although Rastelli was one of the men initially indicted, this removal from the Commission actually allowed Rastelli to be removed from the Commission Trial as he was later indicted on separate labor racketeering charges. Having previously lost their seat on the Commission, the Bonannos suffered less exposure than the other families in this case. [123] [124]

Eight defendants were convicted of racketeering on November 19, 1986, [125] with the exception of Indelicato who was convicted of murder, [126] and were sentenced on January 13, 1987, as follows: [127] [128]

In the early 1990s, as the Colombo crime family war raged, the Commission refused to allow any Colombo member to sit on the Commission [129] and considered dissolving the family.

2011 indictments Edit

On January 20, 2011, the United States Justice Department issued 16 indictments against Northeast American Mafia families resulting in 127 charged defendants [130] and more than 110 arrests. [131] The charges included murder, murder conspiracy, loansharking, arson, robbery, narcotics trafficking, extortion, illegal gambling and labor racketeering. It has been described as the largest operation against the Mafia in U.S. history. [132] Families that have been affected included the Five Families of New York as well as the DeCavalcante crime family of New Jersey and Patriarca crime family of New England. [133]

Film Edit

The film Scarface (1932) is loosely based on the story of Al Capone. [134]

In 1968, Paramount Pictures released the film The Brotherhood starring Kirk Douglas as a Mafia don, which was a financial flop. Nevertheless, Paramount's production chief Robert Evans subsidized the completion of a Mario Puzo novel with similar themes and plot elements and bought the screen rights before completion. [135] Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather became a huge success, both critically and financially (it won the Best Picture Oscar and for a year was the highest-grossing film ever made). It immediately inspired other Mafia-related films, including a direct sequel, The Godfather Part II (1974), also (partly) based on Puzo's novel, and yet another big winner at the Academy Awards, as well as films based on real Mafiosi like Honor Thy Father and Lucky Luciano (both in 1973) and Lepke and Capone (both in 1975).

Television Edit

An ambitious 13-part miniseries by NBC called The Gangster Chronicles based on the rise of many major crime bosses of the 1920s and 1930s, aired in 1981. [136] The Sopranos was an award-winning HBO television show that depicted modern day American-Italian mob culture in New Jersey. Although the show is fictional, the general storyline is based on its creator David Chase's experiences growing up and interacting with New Jersey crime families. Ex-members of the Mafia came together in Inside the American Mob documentary where they spoke about the different rules of the five families, and how they remained virtually untouchable for quite some time. The documentary also features the Mob's decline over time due to infiltration by the FBI.

Video games Edit

The Mafia has been the subject of multiple crime-related video games. The Mafia series by 2K Czech and Hangar 13 consists of three games that follow the story of individuals who inadvertently become caught up with one or multiple fictional Mafia families while attempting to rise in their ranks or bring them down as revenge for something they did to them. The Grand Theft Auto series by Rockstar Games also features the Mafia prominently, mainly in the games set within the fictional Liberty City (based on New York) the games set in the "3D universe" canon feature the Forelli, Leone and Sindacco families, while those in the "HD universe" have the Ancelotti, Gambetti, Lupisella, Messina and Pavano families (a reference to the Five Families), as well as the less-influential Pegorino family. In all games, the different Mafia families serve as either employers or enemies to the player. In 2006, The Godfather was released, based on the 1972 film of the same name it spawned a sequel, itself based on the film's sequel.


The Hidden History of the Incredibly Evil Khazarian Mafia

by Preston James and Mike Harris

100-800 AD – an incredibly Evil Society Emerges in Khazaria:

Khazarians develop into a nation ruled by an evil king, who had ancient Babylonian black arts, occult oligarchs serving as his court. During this time, Khazarians became known to surround countries as thieves, murderers, road bandits, and for assuming the identities of those travelers they murdered as a normal occupational practice and way of life.

800 AD – The Ultimatum is delivered by Russia and other surrounding nations:

The leaders of the surrounding nations, especially Russia, have had so many years of complaints by their citizens that, as a group, they deliver an ultimatum to the Khazarian king. They send a communique to the Khazarian king that he must choose one of the three Abrahamic religions for his people, and make it his official state religion and require all Khazarian citizens to practice it, and socialize all Khazarian children to practice that faith.

The Khazarian king was given a choice between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. The Khazarian king chose Judaism and promised to stay within the requirements laid out by the surrounding confederacy of nations led by the Russian czar. Despite his agreement and promise, the Khazarian king and his inner circle of oligarchs kept practicing ancient Babylonian black-magic, also known as Secret Satanism. This Secret Satanism involved occult ceremonies featuring child sacrifice, after “bleeding them out”, drinking their blood and eating their hearts.

The deep dark secret of the occult ceremonies was that they were all based on ancient Baal Worship, also known as worship of the Owl. In order to fool the confederacy of nations led by Russia that were watching Khazaria, the Khazarian king melded these Luciferian black-magick practices with Judaism and created a secret Satanic-hybrid religion, known as Babylonian Talmudism. This was made the national religion of Khazaria and nurtured the same evil that Khazaria was known for before.

Sadly, the Khazarians continued their evil ways, robbing and murdering those from surrounding countries who traveled through Khazaria. Khazarian robbers often attempted to assume their identities after they murdered these visitors, and became masters of disguises and false identities — a practice they have continued even to this very day, along with their child-sacrifice occult ceremonies, which are actually ancient Baal Worship.

1,200 AD – Russia and the surrounding nations have had enough and take action:

About 1,200 AD, the Russians led a group of nations surrounding Khazaria and invaded it, in order to stop the Khazarian crimes against their people, which included the kidnapping of their young children and infants for their blood sacrifice ceremonies to Baal. The Khazarian king and his inner court of criminals and murderers came to be known as the Khazarian Mafia (KM) by neighboring countries.

The Khazarian leaders had a well-developed spy network through which they obtained prior warning and escaped from Khazaria to European nations to the west, taking their vast fortune with them in gold and silver. They laid low and regrouped while assuming new identities. In secret, they continued their Satanic child blood and sacrifice rituals and trusted Baal to give them the whole world and all its riches, as they claimed he had promised them, as long as they kept bleeding out and sacrificing children and infants for him.

The Khazarian king and his court Mafia plotted eternal revenge against the Russians and the surrounding nations that invaded Khazaria and drove them from power.

The Khazarian Mafia invades England after being expelled for hundreds of years:

To accomplish their invasion, they hired Oliver Cromwell to murder King Charles 1, and make England safe for banking again. This began the English Civil Wars which raged for nearly a decade, resulting in regicide of the royal family and hundreds of the genuine English nobility. This is how the City of London was set up as the banking capital of Europe and launched the beginning of the British Empire.

From David Icke’s website www.davidicke.com. David Icke was the first ever to courageously expose the Rothschilds publicly in front of hundreds. This, of course, makes him an international hero and we need more with his kind of courage to break open the coverup hiding the Khazarian Mafia and bring an end to their worldwide illegitimate power.[/caption]

The Khazarian Mafia (KM) decides to infiltrate and hijack all World Banking using Babylonian Black-Magick, also known as Babylonian Money-Magick or the secret art of making money from nothing also using the power of pernicious usury to accumulate interest:

The KM used their vast fortune to enter into a new system of banking, based on secret Babylonian black-magic money-magic that they claimed to have learned from the evil spirits of Baal, in return for their many child sacrifices to him.

This Babylonian money-magick involved the substitution of paper credit certificates for gold and silver deposits, which allowed travelers to travel with their money in a form that offered easy replacement should they lose the certificates or have them stolen.

Interesting how the very problem that was started by the Khazarians also had a solution provided by them. Eventually, the Khazarian king and his small surrounding court infiltrated Germany with a group that chose the name “the Bauers” of Germany to represent them and carry on their Baal-powered system of evil. The Bauers of the Red Shield, which represented their secret blood-based child sacrifices, changed their name to Rothschild (aka “child of the rock, Satan”).

The Rothschilds as the front Men for the Khazarian Mafia (KM) infiltrate and Hijack British Banking and then hijack the whole nation of England:

Bauer/Rothschild had five sons who infiltrated and took over European banking and the City of London Central Banking System through various crafty covert operations, including a false report of Napoleon winning against the British, when actually he lost. This allowed the Rothschilds to use fraud and deception to steal the wealth of the English nobility and the landed gentry, who had made business investments with the City of London Banking institutions.

The Rothschilds set up a private Fiat banking system that specialized in making counterfeit money from nothing — charging pernicious usury for the British people, using what should have been their own money.

This was the black art of Babylonian money-magick they claimed to insiders that such technology and secret money power was provided to them by Baal, because of their frequent child bleeding-out and sacrifices rituals to Baal.

Once they had infiltrated and hijacked the British banking system, they interbred with the British Royals and infiltrated and completely hijacked all of England and all its major institutions. Some experts believe that the Rothschilds genocided the Royal Family members by staging secretly-managed illicit and adulterous breedings with their own Khazarian men in order to replace the Royals with their own pretenders to the throne.

The Khazarian Mafia (KM) wages an international effort to eradicate Kings who rule by the Divine Right of God Almighty:

Because the KM claims to have a personal partnership with Baal (aka the Devil, Lucifer, Satan) because of their sacrifices to him. They detest any kings who rule under the authority of God Almighty because most feel a responsibility to make sure their own people are protected from infiltrators and treasonous “Enemies within the Gates.”

In the 1600s, the KM murder the British Royals and substitute their own fakes. In the 1700s, they murder the French Royals. Right before WWI, they murder, Austrian Archduke Ferdinand to start WW1. In 1917 they assembled their KM army, the Bolsheviks, and infiltrate and hijack Russia, murder the Czar and his family in cold blood, bayonet his favorite daughter through the chest and steal all the Russian gold, silver and art treasures. Right before WW2, they murder the Austrian and German Royals. Then they get rid of the Chinese Royals and disempower the Japanese ruler.

The Khazarian Mafia’s intense hatred of anyone who professed faith in any God but their god Baal has motivated them to murder kings and royalty and make sure they can never rule. They have done the same with American presidents — running sophisticated covert operations to disempower them.

If that doesn’t work the KM assassinates them, as they did to McKinley, Lincoln, and JFK. The KM wants to eliminate any strong rulers or elected officials who dare to resist their Babylonian money-magick power or their covert power gained from the deployment of their human compromise network.

The Rothschilds create international narcotics trafficking on behalf of the KM:

The Rothschilds then covertly ran the British Empire and crafted an evil plan to recover the vast amounts of gold and silver the British had been paying to China for its high-quality silk and spices that were unavailable anywhere else.

The Rothschilds, through their international spy network, had heard of Turkish opium and its habit-forming characteristics. They deployed a covert operation to buy Turkish opium and sell it in China, infecting millions with a bad opium habit that brought back gold and silver into the Rothschild coffers, but not to the British People.

The opium addictions created by Rothschild opium sales to China harmed China so much that China went to war on two occasions to stop it. These wars were known as the Boxer Rebellions or the Opium Wars.

The money the Rothschilds gained from the sale of opium was so vast that they became even more addicted to the easy money than the opiate addicts were to the opium.

The Rothschilds were the funding source behind the establishment of the American Colonies, by incorporating the Hudson Bay Company and other trading companies to exploit the New World of the Americas. It was the Rothschild’s who ordered the mass extermination and genocide of the indigenous people of North America to allow for the exploitation of the vast natural resources of the continent.

The Rothschild’s also followed the same business template in the Caribbean and in the Asian sub-continent of India, resulting in the murder of millions of innocent people.

The Rothschild’s next big project was to start the worldwide slave trade, buying slaves from crooked tribal chiefs in Africa who worked with them to kidnap members of competing tribes for sale as slaves.

The Rothschild slave traders then took these kidnapped slaves on their ships in cramped cells to America and the Caribbean where they were sold. Many died at sea due to bad conditions.

The Rothschild bankers learned early on that war was a great way to double their money in a short time by lending money to both warring sides. But in order to be guaranteed collections, they had to get taxation laws passed, which could be used to force payment.

The KM Rothschild private Fiat Counterfeit Banksters plot eternal revenge against the American Colonists and Russia who assisted them for losing the Revolutionary War:

When the Rothschilds lost the American Revolution, they blamed the Russian czar and the Russians for assisting the colonists by blockading British Ships.

They swore eternal revenge on the American colonists, just as they had when the Russians and their allies crushed Khazaria in 1,000 AD.

The Rothschilds and the English oligarchy that surrounded them plotted ways to retake America, and this became their main obsession.

Their favored plan is to set up an American central bank, featuring Babylonian money magic and secret counterfeiting.

The Rothschild KM attempts to retake America in 1812 on behalf of the Khazarian Mafia but fails, once again because of Russian interference:

This failure enraged the Rothschild KM, and they once again plot eternal revenge against both the Russians and the American colonists and plan to infiltrate and hijack both nations and asset strip, tyrannize and then mass-murder both nations and their populace.

The KM’s attempts to set up a private American central bank are blocked by President Andrew Jackson, who called them Satanic and vowed to route them out by the grace and power of Almighty God.

The Rothschild banksters regroup and continue their covert attempts to install their own Babylonian money-magick bank inside America.

Finally, in 1913, the Rothschild KM succeeds in establishing a major beachhead inside America — and an evil enemy of all American enter the gates of America:

In 1913, the Rothschild KM was able to establish a beachhead by bribing crooked, treasonous members of Congress to pass the illegal, Unconstitutional Federal Reserve Act on Christmas Eve without a required quorum. The Act was then signed by a crooked, bought-off President, who was a traitor to America, like the members of Congress who voted for it.

The Rothschild KM then create an illegal taxation System in America:

The KM put an illegal, Unconstitutional tax system in place, in order to make sure that Americans would have to pay for high-level USG spending, approved by a bought-off, crooked Congress and Presidential puppets, put in place by corrupt KM campaign finance.

It is easy for the KM to garner enough money to elect anyone they want because when you control a bank that is a secret major counterfeiter, you have all the money made for you that you desire. At about the same time that they created their illegal tax system in America, they also bribed members of Congress to approve the Internal Revenue Service, which is their private collection agency incorporated in Puerto Rico.

Soon afterward, they set up the Federal Bureau of Investigation to protect their banksters, to serve their cover-up needs and prevent them from ever being prosecuted for their child sacrifice rituals, pedophile networks and to also serve as a covert Intel operation on their behalf.

Note that the FBI has no official charter, according to the Library of Congress, and has no right to exist or issue paychecks.

The Rothschild KM deployed the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia to extract incredibly savage, bloody revenge on innocent Russians, which they had plotted for many years, ever since Khazaria was destroyed:

The Rothschild KM pre-staged and engineered the Russian Revolution by using its central banks to pay for the Bolshevik infiltration of Russia and their Revolution on behalf of the Khazarian Mafia (KM).

The Bolsheviks were actually created and deployed by the Khazarian Mafia (KM) as the essential part of their long-planned revenge on the Russian Czar and the innocent Russian people for breaking up Khazaria in about 1,000 AD for its repeated robbery, murder and identity theft of travelers from countries surrounding Khazaria. This little-known fact explains the extreme violence taken out on Russia as long-standing revenge by the Rothschild-controlled Khazarian Mafia (KM).[/caption]

In a well-planned savage and inhuman bloodletting that stunned the world, the Bolsheviks were unleashed in full fury on behalf of the KM to gain revenge on the Russians. This had been planned since the destruction of Khazaria.

The Bolsheviks, at the direction of the Rothschild KM, raped, tortured and mass-murdered approximately 100 million Russians, including women, children, and infants. Some of the torture and bloodletting were so extreme, we are not going to mention it here in this article.

But readers who want to know can do some in-depth internet research on the “Red Terror” or the “Bolshevik Cheka” or watch the classic movie “The Checkist (1992)”.

The Rothschild Khazarian Mafia (KM) once again decided to sheep-dip themselves and infiltrated and hijacked all Judaism:

The Rothschild KM created a master plan to control all of Judaism and mind-kontrol Judaics. The Rothschild KM has hijacked Judaism, patterned it off of Babylonian Talmudism (Luciferianism or Satanism), and gained control over the banking and Wall Street professions in general, Congress, the major mass media along with most wealth and economic means of success.

Thus, the Rothschild KM could pass out wealth and success to those Judaics who drank their Kool-aide and use them as cutouts, assets, and Sayanims. In this manner, the Rothschilds hijacked Judaism.

Their financing of the Israeli Knesset and construction of it using Freemason occult architecture displayed their commitment to the occult and Babylonian Talmudism and all the evil accompanying it, including child sacrifice to their secret god Baal. They set up a NWO system called World Zionism which taught and inculcated susceptible Judaics with a paranoid group delusion of racial superiority, which assumed that all Gentiles were intent on mass-murdering all Judaics.

Freemasonry architecture was used in the building of the Knesset and the Israeli Supreme Court viewed through windows.[/caption]

They called this racially-paranoid mass Judaic delusion of world conquest, “World Zionism”, which is really a form of covert Babylonian Talmudism or Luciferianism that had been unknown to mainstream Judaics. The system was designed to use Judaics as cover, but also to anoint them with Babylonian money-power, in order to use them as cutouts, and to later be sacrificed to Lucifer in two stages.

The first stage would be their planned WWII in Nazi work camps, cut off from supplies, resulting in the deaths of about 200,000 Judaics from starvation and disease, along with about 90,000 non-Judaic inmates from the same causes, according to respected Red Cross official figures. This number is 5% of what the Khazarian Mafia (aka the World Zionists) claim.

The second great sacrifice would be a final one, when their New World Order Luciferian King would be placed into power, and when all three Abrahamic religions would be eradicated — especially Judaism, which would be blamed for all the wars and destruction of the world.

By then, the Rothschilds would once again morph themselves into a complete new identity not associated with Judaism in any form, not even World Zionism.

It is important to realize that the Rothschild KM took Germany down to nothing after WWI, created a vacuum for Fascism, and then rebuilt it, creating Naziism and installing Hitler as a counter-force to their Russian Bolshevism.

Hitler became a problem for the KM when he broke free and begin acting in the interests of the German people and the free people of the world, and developed his own banking system free of the Rothschilds.

Hitler introduced a financial system that was free of usury and beneficial to the working class. This mandated the utter destruction of Germany and the German people because the Rothschilds and the Khazarians could never allow an economic system that did not depend upon usury to exist.

We see the same thing today with the Khazarian war against Islam because Islam forbids usury. That is why Israel is so vocal and aggressive about destroying the Islamic people of the world.

The KM expected this to be a large WWII and when they supported both sides, this could be used to industrialize the whole world and maximize their bankster money-power.

The Rothschild KM then bribed and induced Members of Congress to send American Soldiers to their pre-stage and engineered WWI:

As a continuance of their well-proven pattern of financing both sides in any war to maximize profits, the acquisition of more federal tax monies and increased international power, the Rothschild Khazarians once again bribed, blackmailed and induced members of Congress to declare war against Germany in 1917.

This was facilitated by a KM false-flag attack with the sinking of the Lusitania.

The Rothschild KM has since developed the usual pattern of covertly staging false-flag attacks as a standard operating procedure for inducing Americans to fight wars for the Khazarian Mafia.

After WWII was finished, the Rothschild KM deployed the Cold War and used this as an excuse to bring Nazi scientists and mind-kontrol experts to America under Operation Paperclip.

This allowed them to set up a worldwide spying and espionage system that far exceeded any of their prior efforts.

Under this new system, they continue to infiltrate and hijack all American institutions, including the various American church systems, Freemasonry (especially the Scottish Rite and York Rite), the US military, US Intel, and most private defense contractors, the Judiciary and most agencies of the USG, including most State governments, and both major political parties as well.

The Rothschild KM sets up Nazi Work Camps as a pretext to later manipulate the Allies into granting them their own private colony in Palestine, using land stolen from the Palestinians:

The Rothschild KM was able to use their self mislabeled, so-called “holocaust” to serve as a mind-kontrol trigger to thwart and resist any criticism of their Zionist ways.

The truth of the matter was that the Rothschild KM set up the Nazi work camps to make huge profits for their corporations that ran their work camps and supplied their Nazi war machine.

Once the Rothschild KM gained their own private homeland in Israel in 1947 through their covert political manipulations, they began to secretly view all of Palestine as their New Khazaria, and began plotting how to genocide all the Palestinians and steal all of Palestine for themselves. Their plans include their fantasy of constructing a “greater Israel” by taking over the whole Middle East and manipulating dumb American Goyim to fight and die on their behalf, taking all the Arab lands for Israel and the Khazarian Mafia (KM), so they can asset strip their wealth and natural resources, especially their crude oil.

Recent peer-reviewed Johns Hopkins genetic research by a respected Judaic MD shows that 97.5% of Judaics living in Israel have absolutely no ancient Hebrew DNA, are therefore not Semites and have no ancient blood ties to the land of Palestine at all. By contrast, 80% of Palestinians carry ancient Hebrew DNA and thus are real Semites, and have ancient blood ties to Palestinian Land. This means that the real anti-Semites are the Israelis who are stealing Palestinian lands in order to build Israeli settlements, and it is the Israelis who are the ones tyrannizing and mass-murdering innocent Palestinians.

The Rothschild KM decides to morph again and expand their ranks:

In the meantime, the Rothschild KM realized that they could not stay hidden much longer from the public unless they morphed again and expanded their secret leadership.

So they worked hard to further infiltrate and hijack Freemasonry and its secret offshoots and inducted top members into their pedophile network and child sacrifice rituals.

The Rothschild KM decides to Mind-kontrol the American masses to make it much easier to manipulate them into approving their illegal, Unconstitutional unprovoked, undeclared, unwinnable, perpetual wars needed to make huge profits and gain more world power:

The Rothschild KM decided to gain complete control over all public education by setting up the Department of Education and creating globalist and socialist curriculums based on political correctness, diversity and “perversion is normal” teachings. Fluoride is added to the public water and toothpaste, and dentists are mind-kontrolled to believe that fluoride prevents cavities, and is not harmful to brain function or thyroid function, which it is.

The addition of fluoride to the public water supply and to toothpaste is to dumb-down Americans by on average lowering the operational IQ and making folks much more docile than they would normally be. Programs to develop and deploy vaccinations to dumb-down children and create huge numbers of future chronic health problems were initiated.

Doctors have been mind-kontrolled and misled by biased research that was cherry-picked, ignoring any studies that were negative — and that included most of them. All vaccine cell lines are contaminated with SV-40, a known carcinogenic slow-acting virus.

The KM used its monetary power to gain control over all of the allopathic medical schools, and set up and controlled the American Medical Association and other medical societies, in order to make sure their agenda based on lies and deceit was continued.

Part of this massive plan to dumb-down and mind-kontrol the American masses was the KM’s buying up and consolidating all the American mass media into six controlled major mass media (CMMM), owned and controlled by their cutouts on their behalf. The CMMM functions as an illegal news cartel, and it should be broken up under antitrust laws and for inflicting espionage and illegal propaganda as a weapon of war against the American people.

The Rothschild KM Chieftains decide that it is time to use America to complete their final take-down and occupation of the Whole World by instituting a major False-Flag attack inside America to blame on the Islamics whom they want America to wrongly attack on their behalf:

So the KM Chieftains use their top Israeli-American “Israeli-first” dual citizens living in America (aka, the PNACers and top NeoCon Cutouts) to plan a major nuclear attack on America on 9-11-01.

Bibi Netanyahu, the operational head of the KM, deployed the Mossad and these Dual Citizens to set up and institute this attack on America which was to be blamed by the CMMM on Muslims.

They informed their top Rabbis and “Friends of World Zionism” not to fly on that day and to stay out of NYC, as did “Larry Silverfish”, one of the primary men involved in the operation.

They used their main cutout in the DOD to lure the Able Danger investigators to the Pentagon Naval Intel meeting room, where they would be assassinated by a Tomahawk cruise missile that was fired from an Israeli Dolphin class Diesel submarine bought from Germany.

Thirty-five of the Able Danger investigators who were investigating and tracking the Israeli theft of 350 decommissioned W-54 Davy Crockett nuclear pits out of the backdoor at Pantex in Texas were murdered by this Tomahawk hit, which was timed with the detonation of bombs pre-planted in the Naval Intel wing, which was newly hardened to no avail.

The Israeli Mossad front company, Urban Moving Systems, was used to transport the mini-nukes made from the stolen W-54 nuclear pits from Pantex (and originally made at the Hanford processing plant), where they were stored in the Israeli Embassy in NYC and transported to the Twin Towers for detonation on 9-11-01.

Baal aka Moloch, Lucifer, Satan. Take your pick it’s the same evil spirit that wants to mass-murder all humans. In exchange for doing his “dirty work,” he rewards those who allow him to snatch their souls by giving them incredible riches, fame, and power. This is the secret blood contract called “selling one’s soul.”

The incredibly Evil Secret Agenda of the Khazarian Mafia (KM) is now revealed publicly for the very first time by Veterans Today’s own Gordon Duff. We now know that Bibi Netanyahu ran the nuclear attack on America on 9-11-01 and did it as an overall Khazarian Mafia (KM) Agenda.

Hold on to your chair, this is a very big secret and explains a lot of what has been going on inside America, all caused by Israel and the Khazarian Mafia (KM) which has infiltrated almost all of America’s institutions of Government and society.

Now for the first time ever the very specific secret incredibly Evil Agenda of the Khazarian Mafia (KM) is going to be revealed, thanks to an interview that Mike Harris had with Veterans Today Senior Editor and Director Gordon Duff on his talk-show “The Short End of the Stick” on 3-10-15.

I have heard a lot of shocking insider’s secrets over the years but this one really takes the cake and explains exactly what Israel and its minions in America have been to us on behalf of the Rothschild Khazarian Mafia (KM) that has screwed up almost every aspect of our lives creating a poor economy, lots of unemployment and underemployment, massive crime, alcoholism and drug, screwed up schools that dumb down the kids, various eugenics programs like fluoride in the public water and toothpaste, and mercury in vaccines which are a big fraud, and rampant political corruption.

This interview is now sending shock-waves around the world and when you consider the content that Gordon Duff disclosed for the first time anywhere publicly, you will be shocked. And you will understand that Bibi Netanyahu is the Operational Head of the Khazarian Mafia (KM) and was the one that ordered and supervised the Israeli Nuclear Attack on America on 9-11-01.

In this interview, Gordon Duff disclosed from a written transcript of what was said at a meeting between Bibi Netanyahu and American traitor and some other spies in 1990. Gordon Duff disclosed that Netanyahu was a KGB spy like Jonathan Pollard. And we know now that Israel was started as a satellite of Bolshevik Russia and was quite unhappy when the Soviet Union fell.

Benjamin Netanyahu was meeting in at Finks bar in Jerusalem, a well-known Mossad watering-hole. Here is what he said as taken directly from the transcript of the recording which was witnessed and has been 100% fully authenticated:

“If we get caught they will just replace us with persons of the same cloth. So it doesn’t matter what you do, America is a Golden Calf and we will suck it dry, chop it up, and sell it off piece by piece until there is nothing left but the World’s biggest welfare state that we will create and control. Why? Because it’s god’s will and America is big enough to take the hit so we can do it again, again and again. This is what we do to countries that we hate. We destroy them very slowly and make them suffer for refusing to be our slaves.”

This is exactly what the Rothschild Khazarian Mafia (KM) has been doing to America since it successfully infiltrated and hijacked America in 1913. Knowledge of what Bibi said on behalf of the Rothschild Khazarian Mafia (KM) should make us all furious and get motivated to drive these evil creatures out of America and take our great Republic back.

When Bibi Netanyahu mentions god’s will, the god he was referring to is Baal (also known as the Great Owl or Moloch), the god these Khazarians believe requires them to worship him by constant bloodletting and painful human sacrifice and mass-murder and that if they “sell their souls” to Baal (aka Lucifer or Satan) do this they will be rewarded with incredible riches, fame and great power. When they “sell their souls” what actually happens is that their souls are snatched away and they become inhuman or soulless and take on the characteristics of Baal, that is they become increasingly psychopathic and evil.

What Bibi Netanyahu was discussing was the upcoming nuclear attack on America on 9-11-01, and when he mentioned “they will just replace us” he was referring to the top Circle of Twelve, the group he answers to that Veterans Today’s own Columnist and talk show host Stew Webb disclosed to the World by identifying 11 of the 12 who call themselves the “Illuminati” or “Disciples of Satan.” These men do semi-annual child sacrifices in Denver and eat the hearts of children, drink their blood after they pedophile them.

Folks, we must get this information out to everyone we can, then unite and drive these soulless Baal worshiping scum out of every nook and cranny of America and bring them all to justice and final judgment for all their incredible evil.

Anyone who understands what Bibi Netanyahu thinks of Americans as a golden calf to asset strip and slaughter should be enraged and driven to community organizing, and political action against Israeli espionage inside America through the Federal Reserve System, AIPAC, JINSA, the Defense Policy Board, the CFR and the like.

The Rothschild KM planted has 25 nukes in major American cities and other major cities in Europe in order to blackmail the associated government. This is referred to as their Samson Option, and was first discovered and disclosed by Seymour Hersh:

The Rothschild KM also gained some S-19 and S-20 Warheads from a corrupt Member of Congress assigned the task to buy up Ukrainian Mirvs on behalf of the USG in order to decommission them. Instead, he sold them to the Israelis and split the money with other key Congressmen involved.

This is high treason and a capital offense punishable by execution. Right after their attack on America, the Rothschild KM told the US Administration that they would detonate city-buster sized nukes in some American cities, including DC, if the Administration refused to allow Israel to create their own large police state occupation force inside America, based on the consolidation of all American Law Enforcement and alphabets under one central Israeli control.

This new Israeli occupation force called Homeland Security (DHS) was initially run by dual citizens and perverts. Former DHS Director Janet Napolitano is being sued for sexual harassment of men working at DHS whom she ordered to move their offices into the men’s lavatory.

Dual Citizen traitor Michael Chertoff, (a name translated from Russian as “son of the devil”), was the criminal mastermind that set up DHS, along with the former head of the East German Stasi, Marcus Wolfe, who was hired as a special consultant and died mysteriously as soon as his mission was completed.

The Rothschild KM never thought they would get exposed for their nuclear attack on America on 9-11-11, but they made one of the biggest tactical mistakes in history and overplayed their hand from excess hubris, based on too much easy success due to their extreme money power in the past.

Soon mainstream America will know that Bibi Netanyahu and his Likudist Party deployed the attack on America on 9-11-01 on behalf of the Rothschild KM:

They thought that they had complete control over the CMMM and could prevent any of the secret IAEA and Sandia Labs investigation from ever being released to the American public.

This incredible tactical error by the KM is so great that it will actually doom them to the complete exposure and eventual complete destruction they deserve. Bibi Netanyahu’s order to proceed and deliver the nuclear attack on America on 9-11-01 will go down in history as one of the KM’s biggest mistakes, and the one that will be blamed for their exposure and destruction by the world that is now ganging up against them.

The Russians have now leaked the IAEA and Sandia Labs and Able Danger files given to them by Edward Snowden. Soon all of these files will be provided to all Americans and the world via the Internet, and this cannot be stopped.

A number of Russians in the High Military Command in Russia, and in the highest positions of leadership in the Russian government realize that it was the same Organized Crime Cabal that organized the Khazarians into Bolsheviks to mass-murder 100 million innocent Russians — and these men want payback.

That is why they are making sure that the Rothschild banksters will be put out of business, which will decapitate the Khazarian Mafia from its endless, elastic counterfeit money supply. This is why the BRICS Development Bank was created — to replace the US Petro Dollar as the world’s reserve currency, but this one, unlike the US Petro Dollar is backed by gold, silver and real commodities, with NO counterfeiting allowed.

The CMMM is failing, and most Americans no longer believe any of their prime-time national stories, especially the under-thirty crowd, who cherry pick facts from the Internet and construct their own beliefs.

So many Internet users now reject the CMMM that the truth about the Israelis attacking America on 9-11-01 is becoming easier each day to believe. Soon all of mainstream America will know that Bibi Netanyahu and his Mossad and dual citizens did the 9-11-01 attack on America.

The American Military High Command knows that Bibi Netanyahu ordered his Mossad and stateside Dual Citizens to attack America using nukes on 9-11-01 on behalf of the Rothschild Khazarian Mafia (KM):

Various deep cover covert operations are now being deployed globally to expose and decapitate the Rothschild KM from their endless, elastic money supply.

Their days of anti-human power are now limited. The secret, incredibly well-trained US team called the “Nuclear Snake-Eaters” is now hard at work searching all incoming Israeli diplomatic pouches and shipments driving by and flying over synagogues and Israeli embassies and Mossad safe-houses with high tech gamma-ray and helium-3 neutron detectors and using ultra-high-tech custom-tuned and -focused satellites to search for any stored nuclear pits, as well as working hard to recover all stolen nuclear pits by the Israelis anywhere in the world outside of Israel.

This super-elite team was alerted by Michael Shrimpton’s phone call to MI-6 notifying them that an Israeli “City Buster” was planted near the Olympic stadium. This call wrongly has landed him in jail. The City Buster was recovered by the “Nuclear Snake-eaters”, who entered England and recovered and disarmed a large city buster. Sadly MI-6 wanted this nuke detonated in order to gain more power for the Khazarian Mafia in England — their home base inside the City of London Financial District — since it has been losing power fast.

A secret name for these KM Chieftains which run much of the world out of the City of London is Gog and Magog, despite what so many historians believe is the secret name of Russia which it is not. It is the secret name of the top KM, and apparently represents where they originally came from.

The secret team of super-elite “Nuclear Snake-eaters” is ready to be deployed to Israel anytime, should the nation collapse after most European corporations divest from Israel, and the US cuts off all aid, in order to comply with American law. It is illegal to give aid to a nation that has nukes, and which has not signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Agreement. Israel has nukes detectable from satellite-based Helium-3 sensors and has never admitted it, nor has it signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Agreement. We must all demand that our Congress and Administration obey the law and immediately cut off all aid monetary and military aid to Israel, and arrest all Israeli espionage front directors of AIPAC, JINSA, the Defense Policy Board, the “Joint” in NYC, and the ADL, etc.

It is unknown but suspected that a significant number of these stolen nukes have been already recovered. It has been reported by insiders that a very solemn message was communicated to Bibi Netanyahu and his Likudists, as well as all top members of Israeli espionage fronts in America, like AIPAC, JINSA, the Defense Policy Board, the ADL and the like.

What was this serious warning? If insider reports are accurate, these folks were told that if there is one more Israeli-based false-flag attack, those who ordered it or were involved will be hunted down under American National Security and eliminated, and the Israeli defense structures associated with such will be turned to dust.

The rest of Rothschild KM history will likely be determined by YOU:

The future of the Rothschild KM will likely be determined by Veterans Today readers and We The People who learn the secret, forbidden history of the Khazarian Mafia that was excised from the history books and libraries by the KM to protect their evil history that no one would accept if it was known.

So share this story with your family, friends, and associates and take it viral. Be clear about this — unless the KM is able to operate in abject secrecy, it will be attacked from all sides and destroyed forever. So take away their secrecy by exposing their hidden history for all Americans to know and understand.

That is why they have worked so hard to buy up and control the CMMM and public mass education including colleges and universities, to make sure the people of the world would never find out about their secret evil, which is so inhuman, so homicidal that the whole world would gang up on them and attack them from all sides at every level they exist at.

The big question remains: Was the true cause of leaders of the Khazarian Mafia’s incredible evil and savagery toward the human race a byproduct of nature or nurture? Some believe that this gross parasitism and inclination to mass-murder, engagement in pedophilia and child bloodletting and child sacrifice is due to a toxic culture, best described as malignant Tribalism, characterized by a paranoid group racial superiority delusion.

Others think the leaders of the KM are the bloodline of Cain, that is, “children of Cain”, that are the Devil’s own and have absolutely no soul or human conscience but are pure predators like a wild beast — while at the same time being incredibly two-faced, that is able to put on a good con and a nice face on the outside. Perhaps it could be both factors. In any case, it is time to expose this evil, the greatest evil the world has ever experienced. It is time for the world to work together to eradicate this problem now and forever, by whatever means necessary.

Mike Harris is the Financial Editor of Veterans Today, a radio host, a former GOP Finance Chairman, a Gubernatorial Candidate for Arizona, and a Senior Vice President of Adamus Defense Group, Switzerland. Mike is an expert in full-contact mixed martial arts. His long-term expertise in such has gained him a lot of respect and the nickname “Iron Mike”. Mike was a part of the Veterans Today group that attended the Damascus Conference to Combat Terrorism and Religious Extremism. Mike gave about twenty-five televised interviews that were broadcast to millions of viewers in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Iran. In these interviews, Mike emphasized and supported the historical declaration by Keynote Speaker, Veterans Today Senior Editor, and Chairman Gordon Duff that the real problem behind World Terrorism is a large Organized Crime Syndicate.

For those who have time and interest on the Head of the Khazarian Mafia (KM) Snake.


Vito Genovese

Photo: Louis C. Liotta/New York Post Archives /©NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images

With an insatiable appetite for money and power, Vito Genovese is known for having both empowered the American mafia as well as compromising it by the end of his reign. Born in 1897 in a province in Naples, Genovese moved to Manhattan as a teen. He rose to power during Prohibition and had close ties with Luciano, helping him build the Commission.

Attempting to avoid a murder charge, Genovese fled to Italy and ran heroin operations in the U.S. from there. During WW II, he supported Benito Mussolini&aposs fascist efforts but was eventually caught and shipped back to the U.S. to face his murder charge. After a key witness for the trial was murdered, Genovese was set free and proceeded to clean house — murdering a number of his enemies without discretion — and reinstituting his power among the crime families in New York City. Genovese&aposs intimidation of his underling, Joe Valachi, prompted the latter to be the first American gangster to reveal many secrets about the organization and to become a government witness. In 1958 Genovese went to prison for possessing and distributing narcotics and died from a heart attack in a Missouri prison 11 years later.


Mafia

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Mafia, hierarchically structured society of criminals of primarily Italian or Sicilian birth or extraction. The term applies to the traditional criminal organization in Sicily and also to a criminal organization in the United States.

The Mafia arose in Sicily during the late Middle Ages, where it possibly began as a secret organization dedicated to overthrowing the rule of the various foreign conquerors of the island—e.g., Saracens, Normans, and Spaniards. The Mafia owed its origins and drew its members from the many small private armies, or mafie, that were hired by absentee landlords to protect their landed estates from bandits in the lawless conditions that prevailed over much of Sicily through the centuries. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the energetic ruffians in these private armies organized themselves and grew so powerful that they turned against the landowners and became the sole law on many of the estates, extorting money from the landowners in return for protecting the latter’s crops. The Mafia survived and outlasted Sicily’s successive foreign governments because the latter were often so despotic that they alienated the island’s inhabitants and made tolerable the Mafia’s peculiar system of private justice, which was regulated by a complicated moral code. This code was based on omertài.e., the obligation never, under any circumstances, to apply for justice to the legal authorities and never to assist in any way in the detection of crimes committed against oneself or others. The right to avenge wrongs was reserved for the victims and their families, and to break the code of silence was to incur reprisals from the Mafia. By about 1900 the various Mafia “families” and groups of families based in the villages of western Sicily had joined together in a loose confederation, and they controlled most of the economic activities in their respective localities.

In the early 1920s Benito Mussolini’s Fascist regime came close to eliminating the Mafia by arresting and trying thousands of suspected mafiosi and sentencing them to long jail terms. Following World War II, the American occupation authorities released many of the mafiosi from prison, and these men proceeded to revive the organization. The Mafia’s power remained somewhat weakened in the rural areas of central and western Sicily, however, and its activities henceforth were directed more to urban Palermo—and to industry, business, and construction, as well as the traditional extortion and smuggling. During the late 1970s the Mafia in Palermo became deeply involved in the refining and transshipment of heroin bound for the United States. The enormous profits sparked fierce competition between various clans within the Mafia, and the resulting spate of murders led to renewed governmental efforts to convict and imprison the Mafia’s leadership. In a 1987 “maxi-trial” 338 Sicilian mafiosi were convicted on a variety of charges.


Origins of the Mafia - HISTORY


While much is published - both fact and fiction - regarding the Sicilian Mafia, there is a great deal of misunderstanding about the historical origins of this form of organised crime. Even the etymology of the word mafia is hotly debated.

The word itself probably has Arabic roots. Into the early decades of the eighteenth century one might hear the Sicilian word as an adjective describing something of high quality, for example un cavallo mafioso (a good horse), with no intended reference to organised crime. Not until the nineteenth century did the word connote criminality. (Here, whenever the word "Mafia" is used it refers to Sicily's Mafia unless otherwise indicated, and we are talking about the organisation as it existed during its infancy, long before 1900.) Whatever the root of the word, it is ridiculous to associate the Mafia directly with Sicily's Arab period or indeed with any medieval phenomenon.

As an organisation, the Mafia originated sometime after 1700. The (retrospective) tales of its establishment during the War of the Sicilian Vespers, or as a "revolutionary" reaction against "foreign" domination, are fanciful at best, lacking in any historical foundation. That said, several social developments may have fostered the development of the Mafia, perhaps influencing popular attitudes and even a few of its practices (especially its secrecy) to some extent.

One was the Inquisition, formally abolished in Sicily only in 1782. The Beati Paoli are the best-known example of a secret society active - to some limited degree - against the Inquisition. Even if the Beati Paoli existed more in fantasy than in reality, their legend might have encouraged the development of other secret societies, such as the Mafia.

Freemasonry was never very powerful in Sicily, though freemasons (even aristocratic ones such as the counts Federico) were instrumental in aiding Garibaldi's invasion of Sicily in 1860. Though the Mafia had no direct links to freemasonry, the movement may have served as an indirect influence, even if it was not a model.

The Sicilian Vespers probably involved a pro-Swabian (and anti-Angevin) conspiracy planned by John of Procida. Although a few early Mafiosi of the eighteenth century may have known of this historical event (which occurred in 1282) there is no evidence of any direct continuity leading from thirteenth century politics to anything like the Mafia.

Sicily's social culture itself fed the Mafia. Political favours were normal and corruption was commonplace. So was extortion and perjury. To this day, raccomandazioni (preferments) are the norm for anybody seeking a job in the public sector or, more often than not, the private one. The Mafia was not a cause of Sicily's social problems so much as a reflection or symptom of them.

It is often observed that other regions in southern Italy have criminal organisations similar to the Mafia. The Camorra of Naples is the best-known and, like the Mafia, was formerly organised along geographical lines rather than, strictly speaking, familial ones. However, the Ndrangheta of nearby Calabria differs from the Mafia in that its organisation is primarily familial (more about this later). Only early the nineteenth century did the Mafia become a loose network of criminal clans covering the entire island before then it was a localised, if widespread, phenomenon - more a kind of rustic criminality rather than a specific organisation having a highly-sophisticated structure and hierarchy. The "Cupola" was a centralised concept based on the Americans' "commission" and introduced following the Second World War. Before Calogero Vizzini, who emerged as something akin to its leader only following the war and died in 1954, the Mafia did not have a distinct apex of power overseeing the numerous local mafias. Then came the Cupola, a kind of governing council.

Compared to organised crime elsewhere, such as Japan's Yakuza, the Mafia was never very ritualistic. The quaint practice of an inductee bleeding from a finger onto a burning holy card while reciting a simplified "oath" is neither universal nor very old. Unlike members of the Yakuza, Mafiosi do not tattoo themselves or manifest any outward signs of their association. In fact, contrary to popular belief, many live without much ostentation or conspicuous consumption. Even before the 1980s, when Italy finally began to rein them in, Mafiosi and their associates were unlikely to be seen driving Ferraris or living in palatial homes that lifestyle was preferred by the politicians who dealt with the Mafia but were not formally part of it as "made men" (called uomini d'onore in Italy). This is not to suggest a quasi-monastic asceticism, just practical discretion. Calogero Vizzini oversaw the Sicilian Mafia's commission for a number of years but lived quite simply despite his corpulence (he was short and stout, residing in the interior where people consumed much meat and cheese).

Two myths should be dispelled. The first concerns the Sicilian Mafia purely as a form of gangsterism. In the United States the Mafia, Comorra and "Black Hand" evolved during Prohibition into the organisation exemplified by the leadership of Al Capone and immigrants such as Charles "Lucky" Luciano. In Italy the Mafia, at least initially, was more subtle than its American incarnation, though no less inclined toward murder. Given its historical roots, it enjoyed more intimate links to politics and the very fabric of society.

Then there's the "Mafia Family" myth. Cinematic depictions present the Mafia as a family-based organisation because it was largely so in America and because - even in Sicily - it is not too unusual for the son of a Mafioso to follow in his father's criminal footsteps. In general, however, the Sicilian Mafia cosche (clans) are geographical rather than familial, based on localities (Corleone), quasi-urban districts (San Lorenzo and Villabate bordering Palermo) or specific urban ones (Porta Nuova and Brancaccio within Palermo). Zones of influence rarely overlap geographically as they might in New York or Chicago. True, a certain father-and-son team, such as the Lo Piccolos of San Lorenzo, may operate at the summit of their clan for a while, but their geographical area of influence is not a hereditary fiefdom.

It was fiefdoms, and more specifically feudalism, that spawned the Mafia, albeit gradually and indirectly. By 1700, most of the more important noble families who controlled "urban" fiefs (including towns as well as land) were spending ever more time in the larger cities (Palermo, Catania, Messina, Siracusa, Agrigento, Marsala) where political power was centred - particularly Palermo, which was the capital. In doing so, they left the day-to-day administration of their estates to others. There were several practical problems with this, apart from the obvious one of estate managers stealing from the "absentee landlords" who employed them.

Chief among the drawbacks was the question of justice. Not only did feudatories enjoy specific feudal rights (abolished with feudalism in 1812), some also had the authority to mete out justice for certain petty crimes (such as theft of sheep, poaching of game or encroachment of property). In delegating the everyday exercise of such authority to others (who may have been dishonest), the landholders were, in effect, permitting the local social landscape to change. Feudalism itself was already oppressive. Under corrupt local opportunists it became even more so.

Even the Church, which owned much territory, entrusted certain tasks to these estate managers, known colloquially as gabelloti (a gabella was a tax on produce sometimes correlated to a unit of farmland and some gabelloti were actually leaseholders). The gabelloto would hire farm workers (or foresters or cattlemen) and collect the taxes due the feudatory, typically a prince, duke, marquis or count in Sicily barons were usually holders of smaller territories which did not include towns or villages.

Banditry was endemic, but in the gabelloti the bandits found willing accomplices. Lax law enforcement, along with Sicilians' natural distrust of authority, facilitated development of this parallel power structure. As the criminals enjoyed the cooperation of the corrupt gabelloti, who legally represented the landholders, there was little to be done. Most people accepted the status quo, being poor, illiterate and disenfranchised (they could not vote).

By way of example, let's say that a band of bandits stole a hundred sheep, perhaps at night (tying up the shepherd or whoever was tending the flock). Ransom might be more profitable than trying to resell the sheep to other shepherds or - over time - to various butchers (or dairymen or wool merchants) in neighbouring localities. While the sheep may belong to a smallholder, the pasturage was obviously owned by the feudatory and the sheep taxed as an asset (hence his indirect involvement in any transaction). Law enforcement was virtually absent (there were few constables or police) and the sheep owner might lack the funds to pay the ransom, so the gabelloti became involved by necessity.

In another scenario, cattle rustlers controlling their trade in a specific area might demand "protection money" from a shepherd who otherwise (if he did not pay) would have his sheep stolen. As the nobles were not present, having abdicated their responsibility to enforce the law, any response would have to come from the gabelloto, who more often than not was complicit in the crime, from which he expected a cash commission. Moreover, the gabelloto himself probably had his own band of hired thugs who could bully the local peasants (typically over 70% of the local population) into compliance if need be, though this was rare in practice. For example, the gabelotto could discourage demands for wage increases. The Church did little to oppose such practices because it too benefited from the peasantry's hard work at miserable wages.

Bad as this situation was, one particular aspect of feudalism made it worse. In the decades before the abolition of feudalism, certain gabelloti purchased feudal land, and with it feudal rights, authority and nobiliary titles. To this day, Sicilians - and aristocrats in particular - are understandably suspicious of barons ennobled in the decades immediately prior to 1812, when this practice ceased. (This is an academic issue today when titles of nobility are not recognised, but it was more important until 1948.) In the 1860s it was the gabelloti and rich bandits who bought much Church land (including that of monasteries) confiscated by the new regime installed under the King of Italy, and these estates entailed considerable power in the agrarian economy of the day even though their owners were not thereby ennobled.

Bandits and Mafiosi didn't dress too differently from anybody else. The ubiquitous coppola cap (shown here), which some people identify with Mafiosi or compliant peasants willing to collaborate with them, was introduced into Sicily only around 1800. A play, I Mafiusi della Vicaria, first performed in 1863, which described the Mafia as an organization complete with initiation rites, was one of the earliest literary references. The interpretation of Mafia history advocated by folk historian Giuseppe Pitré has been discounted as mere fantasy.

In the end, it was the nobility that created the conditions necessary for organised crime to flourish. At the national level, had tax revenue been invested in roads, police and schools, the bandits and gabelloti might have been brought under control. Into the twentieth century, it was convenient for both Church and State to ignore these deplorable conditions, and poor social conditions often breed crime. By then, the idea of omertà (literally "manhood") had become a collective code of silence not until the 1960s did ordinary citizens even begin to think of reporting Mafia crimes. They simply could not trust the legal authorities to protect them from reprisals, and in some cases the police themselves were bought off.

Within a few decades of unification (1860) many of Sicily's small towns had four local power centres: the Church, the local nobleman (who might still be a prominent landholder entitled to collect rents but not taxes), the official political structure (the mayor and town council), the local "patriarch" or galantuomo (gentleman mafioso).

In fact, the galantuomo was a Mafioso or the prototype of one. He might not threaten or kill anybody himself, but he had a private "army" of thugs to do it for him. Ostensibly, his minions might themselves be land managers, performing other duties (murder or extortion) as needs be. The Mafia had been born. The phrase "cosa nostra" (literally "our thing") is an Americanism.

Its partial suppression came about only during the Fascist era, under Mussolini's "Iron Prefect," Cesare Mori. By then, however, the Mafia was effectively part of Sicilian culture and society. As the police and judges were unreliable - while the Mafia per se was not considered illegal or even recognised in law - organised crime gripped most of the economy. Fortunately, times have changed.

Our overview of the Mafia presents more current information.

About the Author: Filippo Spadafora is a Sicilian historian based in Rome. This article (like most of those in this online magazine) was translated from the Italian by our staff.


Was Frank Sinatra Really Involved with The Mob? The Origins of The Story

Without a doubt, Frank Sinatra was one of the most influential entertainment personas of the 20th century. His deep low voice as a crooner stole the hearts and souls of millions, his phenomenon acting performance got him an Academy Award, and he was the iconic member of the Rat pack.

Was Frank Sinatra Really Involved with The Mob? The Origins of The Story

“Every woman wanted to have him every man wanted to be him!” But if you see through all the stardom and the glorification, you might be able to see a darker image. He is a character coming straight out of the pages of The Godfather!

You see, Sinatra didn’t join the mafia families later in life. It was destined since his birth as he was the godson of Genovese underboss Willie Moretti.

Sinatra was born in 1915 in a Genovese controlled turf in New Jersey. The head of the Genovese Mafia family was Vito Genovese. Yes, the legendary, infamous Vito Corleone was themed after him. During the early to mid-20th century, American societies were heavily influenced by the Italian mafia families. These families were so powerful that everyone looked at them with respect and fear.

Was Frank Sinatra Really Involved with The Mob? The Origins of The Story

In fact, Johnny Fontane, the adored godson of The Godfather, was a fictional portrayal of Frank Sinatra!

So, did Willie Moretti “made an offer that producers of Sinatra couldn’t refuse?” Yes! Tommy Dorsey let go of the Sinatra for only $1 at gunpoint!

The mafia family helped Sinatra in his early careers. By the 1940s, Sinatra rose to the highest peak of fame. The credit goes to his talent as well as his connections to the criminal world.

Was Frank Sinatra Really Involved with The Mob? The Origins of The Story

He fell under the FBI radar during the recruitment period of World War II. FBI believes that Sinatra bribed $40,000 to the medical officer to declare him unfit to join the war. Although, Sinatra publicly claimed that he was genuinely disappointed with the news, ”I am very unhappy about it. If I had been accepted, I would have preferred the Army or Marines.”

FBI also accused him of having a close connection to the Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana. The organization claims to have proofs of Sinatra and Giancana being “very close friends.”

Things get even darker as the FBI speculates Sinatra introduced Giancana to soon-to-be President John F. Kennedy! Giancana promised him the union votes in the 1960 presidential election. Later, Sinatra introduced Judith Campbell Exner to Kennedy. Exner was the girlfriend of Giancana. Exner acted as a communication bridge between Giancana and Kennedy.

Exner even testified before a Senate committee saying that Kennedy and Giancana curated a plot to assassinate Fidel Castro together.

This is not the whole story of Sinatra’s connection to the American mafia. He had many other mafioso friends. He received gifts Joseph and Charles Fischetti, the mob brothers from Chicago who ran illegal gambling operations and other racketeering.

Was Frank Sinatra Really Involved with The Mob? The Origins of The Story

He attended the wedding of the daughter of Angelo Bruno, another mafia family leader from Philadelphia. Some say that his appearance at the wedding ceremony inspired Mario Puzo to write Johnny Fontane’s appearance at the wedding of Constanzia “Connie” Corleone.

Despite knowing all these pieces of information, the FBI kept silent because of Sinatra’s stardom and social influence. Only after his death in 1998, the FBI disclosed all these files to the public eyes.


The expression coincides with the history of the Sicilian people, considering it as an oppressed society and ruled by foreigners. At the same time, being a gangster was not seen as something bad, despite the discrediting in the state apparatus and in accordance with what Hobsbawn indicated, the mafiosi “. . . made himself respected and safe by winning a reputation of toughness and courage, and settled his differences by fighting”. In turn, the historian adds that the only obligations that were possessed was “. . . those of the code of honor or omertà (manliness), whose chief forbade giving information to public authorities.”

Following the reading of Raab, there was no unification of the clans nor a centrality to the whole island they were grouped into regional bands to protect specific interests of foreign aggressors and invaders from other areas. This vision of manliness and guards led them to be considered as “partisan patriots” in the mid-twentieth century. These clans were also called “families” with a leader for which was awarded with the title of padrinoor capo di famiglia, and it corresponded to arbitrate disputes and controversies in their territory.

With the unification of Italy, the Mafia was consolidated by the conditions of release and removal of the old feudal pillars present on the island, thus the cosche organized themselves better and were able to mobilize a small group of armed guards. Also used in their favor the disorganization of the recent republic, creating an instance where the gaps left by the government and judiciary were met by criminal activities.

Among these gaps, was part of the Mafia and the government endorsed it. It was a “local government instrument” thanks to its “violent industry” that was used to help in the capture of the most violent no mafiosi thugs.

Thus, according to Raab, by the help of the Mafia,

[…] the nascent government in Rome secretly pledged that the cosche continue without interference their own refined style of plunder and economic domination over sections of Sicily. The Rome officials, mainly from north and central Italy, were unfamiliar with the nuances of Sicilian culture and viewed the private deal as an expedient compromise. Overconfident, they believed the Mafia leaders would serve as temporary middlemen between themselves and the island’s population, and would help to maintain order until the young constitutional monarchy gained the strength to impose its own will.

The secret pact made with the Mafia generated consequences and granted a strengthening in the northwest of the island, near Palermo, increasing its radius of action, since the central government was to the north. Thus, it became the government’s replacement in this area.

This substitution caused the mobsters would use violence and extortion for payment protection, tax payment, etc. Among his collaborators was the Catholic Church, given the opportunity to get more land, thanks to the methods used by cosche, promising, in turn, did not denounce the heavy weapons tactics used by mobsters. In addition, when the unification brought the Sicilians men the right to vote, the mobsters made sure to use it in favor or against candidates. In a more specific analysis it is clear that democratic reform contributed to the Mafia even more magnified.

Thus, despite the new form of government representation, this did not contribute to the prosperity of the people, to the point that many landless and impoverished workers emigrated to the United States, opening a whole new chapter (even chapters) in this piece of history.


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