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From the code of silence to the impossibility of leaving the "family": 8 myths about the Italian-American mafia
From the code of silence to the impossibility of leaving the "family": 8 myths about the Italian-American mafia

Mafiosi do not eliminate everyone and do not hesitate to sell drugs.

From the code of silence to the impossibility of leaving the "family": 8 myths about the Italian-American mafia
From the code of silence to the impossibility of leaving the "family": 8 myths about the Italian-American mafia

1. Mafia is any organized criminal group

Today, almost every organized criminal group is called the mafia: Mexican, Irish, Russian, Ukrainian, Albanian, Jewish and others. But in general, the mafia is a specific Italian mafia. History and myths. RIA Novosti cultural and historical phenomenon.

Mafia, or cosa nostra (cosa nostra - from Italian "our business"), originated in the 19th century in Sicily. Its appearance is dictated by the complex history of the island, which was ruled by the Arabs, the French, or the Austrians. Because of this, many bandits appeared there, robbing foreigners. This is largely due to the emergence of Omerta - the Sicilian code of silence and non-cooperation with the government.

Initially, the mafiosi were called Origins of the Mafia. of those who have a negative attitude towards the state. Their orders largely "emigrated" to the United States along with the Italian settlers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. One of the first such "newcomers" was Giuseppe Esposito, who fled to New York after the assassination of the vice-chancellor of the Sicilian province, and 11 other wealthy landowners.

In Italy, the mafia is still alive and well. But it is Cosa Nostra from the United States that first comes to mind when talking about the mafia. Key Sources Hamilton B. The new Mafia is wising up and keeping quiet. In the New York Post, her income is drug dealing, usury (something like microcredit), bookmaking (including online), running strip clubs, racketeering, and the control of Smith G. B. Gambino ‑ linked mob thugs build profit with taxpayers’dollars. New York Daily News Trade Unions and Money Laundering.

2. The mafia does not have a clear and well-functioning structure

In fact, the structure of mafia clans is similar to the structure of a medieval feudal kingdom: lower figures do all the dirtiest and most dangerous work and give part of the income "up".

At the head of the "family", or clan, there is a boss, he is a don. Only he can order to kill someone. Don usually distances himself as much as possible from those associated with crimes ("captains" and "soldiers") in order to avoid trial in case of anything. One step below is the underboss - the right hand and possible successor to the boss. Next come the "captains" (kapo, kaporejime), who manage groups of 10–20 "soldiers" - the clan's rank and file fighters. All of them are considered official members of Cosa Nostra: the murder of even an ordinary “soldier” carries with it major consequences, as it offends the entire mafia “family”.

Cosa nostra structure
Cosa nostra structure

Below in the Italian-American criminal hierarchy are all sorts of accomplices, partners and other criminals. They can be both people of Italian origin, who can later be adopted into the "family", and other bloodlines.

The consigliere (advisor) is standing a little to the side. Usually this is an elderly gangster who has no real power - only one bodyguard is assigned to the consigliere. The advisor helps the boss in resolving controversial and complex issues, discourages him from hasty decisions.

Above all the clans of the United States is the Five Families Commission of New York (Bonanno, Gambino, Genovese, Colombo, Lucchese), which oversees general operations and helps resolve conflicts. True, founded in 1931, it did not meet in full force Marzulli J. Boss rat Joseph Massino admits to court that the Mafia Commission hasn’t met in 25 years. New York Daily News. since 1985. But the bosses continue to contact each other and sometimes hold face-to-face meetings.

3. Mafia does not deal with drugs

In The Godfather, Don Corleone refused to sell drugs on principle. But the reality is more like the events of Scarface.

For example, the most influential bandit of the 1920s and 1930s, Lucky Luciano, traded in the U. S. Ends Narcotic Sales to Cuba While Luciano Is Resident There; LUCIANO COSTS CUBA ITS U. S. NARCOTICS. The New York Times Drug Trafficking. Vito Genovese (Don Vito), surnamed by a New York family, and several smaller criminals in 1959 were GENOVESE GUILTY IN NARCOTICS PLOT; He and 14 Are Convicted as Operators of Heroin Ring After 14 ‑ Week Trial. The New York Times convicted of heroin trafficking. His sale has earned the gang billions of dollars over several decades.

Lucky Luciano in 1948
Lucky Luciano in 1948

There was even a special chain called Mike La Sorte. Gaetano Badalamenti and the Pizza Connection. American Mafia, dubbed the Pizza Connection, when, under the guise of Italian restaurants in the United States, mafiosi were selling heroin from Sicily and Corsica.

However, there are cases where bosses actually banned Binder J. J. The Chicago Outfit. American Mafia is trading "crap" to its followers. For example, Vincent Gigante (Chin) from the Genovese clan or Paul Castellano (Big Paul) from the Gambino. Gangster Salvatore Gravano (Bull Sammy), testifying in 1993, claimed Lubasch A. H. Drug Dealing Was Banned By Mob, U. S. Witness Says. The New York Times that any of the Gambino clan who dared to sell drugs risked their lives.

Cosa Nostra: still from FBI operational footage
Cosa Nostra: still from FBI operational footage

But, most likely, this was due not to a noble contempt for prohibited substances, but to the high danger of this business - after all, it is very easy to get caught selling drugs. In addition, in the 70s, the US government tightened Dufton E. The War on Drugs: How President Nixon Tied Addiction to Crime. The Atlantic. fight against drug trafficking.

4. Mafia never associates with other criminal gangs

In the movies, it is most often shown that mafiosi act on their own, without involving other criminal groups. And this was indeed the case from the late 1940s to the 1970s, when the Italian mafia was the largest player in the illegal business in the United States. An exception is the ties between Italian-Americans and their Sicilian counterparts from their homeland.

But those days are over, and although the Italian-American mafia remains the largest criminal organization in the United States, it is no longer so closed and homogeneous. Thus, Michael Franchese, who held a high position in the New York mafia "family" of Colombo, collaborated in the 80s with Wilson J. Former mafia boss Michael Franzese sounds warning over match-fixing. The Telegraph with Russian gangsters from Brighton Beach, conducting a gas tax scam: they bought fuel in a tax-free zone and sold it at exorbitant prices. On these and other shenanigans, Franchese sometimes earned Shaffer L. Mob boss calls a stock bubble. CNBC up to $ 8 million a week.

Also, the "families" of different US cities were often associated with the biker group Pagans ("Pagans"), which traded in methamphetamine.

And if initially only immigrants from Italy could occupy key positions in Cosa Nostra, over time such an opportunity opened up for representatives of other ethnic groups. It was no longer just a collaboration: the "outsiders" were privy to the mafia. For example, the California Japanese Ken Eto (Tokyo Joe) hosted Tokyo Joe. ABC7 underground casino games of the Chicago mob. And the Polish Jew, Jake Guzik (Fat Finger), was in charge of accounting and resolving political issues for Al Capone. Although it should be said that these and other "foreigners", who took high places in Cosa Nostra, did not become its full-fledged members. They can only be Italians.

5. Mafiosi would rather die than reveal the secrets of the clan

The Italian mafiosi had a code of silence Nelli H. S. The business of crime: Italians and syndicate crime in the United States. Chicago. 1981, but gradually its effect came to naught.

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, the code was called omerta and appeared in Sicily long before the mafia. He prescribed that a member of a criminal organization cannot cooperate in any way with the state and the police. Therefore, the mafiosi is obliged to remain silent during interrogations, not to testify against anyone, not to cooperate with the investigation and not even recognize the existence of the mafia.

Omerta worked for a long time, but in 1963 Their Thing violated the code of silence. TIME Joseph Valachi (Joe Cargo). He was convicted of drug trafficking alongside Vito Genovese. In 1962, they were in the same prison. At the same time, Valachi killed a cellmate, mistaking him for a contract killer sent by Genovese. Fearing for his life, Valachi testified in the US Senate at a special hearing. It was he who first said that the mafia itself was called Cosa Nostra by its members.

Tired of being a "man of honor" and the American gangster Tommaso Buscetta, who gave Suro R. SICILY AND THE MAFIA in 1986. The New York Times. testimony leading to 11 trials in New York alone.

In the 20-plus years since Valachi's confession, six more gangsters from New York, Cleveland, Los Angeles and Boston have joined McFadden R. D. The Mafia of the 1980's: Divided and under Seige. The New York Times collaborated with the authorities, and by the end of the 1980s, the omerte was virtually over. A significant role in this was played by the 1970 RICO (Racketed and Corrupt Organizations) Act, which made it possible to condemn entire organizations associated with criminal activity. Prosecutors can now enter into court agreements and convict the perpetrator for less serious crimes in exchange for his testimony against the leaders of criminal associations.

6. The ritual of initiation into the "family" is a huge secret, unknown to anyone outside the mafia

Largely thanks to the confessions of some mafiosi and their cooperation with representatives of the law, the rite of passage into the "family" and the mafiosi's oaths are well known today. In 2011, New York mobster Joseph Massino, who was facing life in prison for his involvement in eight murders, became Mafia boss breaks ‘omerta’ to give evidence against the New York crime family. The Telegraph. cooperate with the investigation. He also talked about how his initiation ceremony took place back in 1977.

To the right of the car - Joseph Massino
To the right of the car - Joseph Massino

But more revealing is the story of George Fresolone, 48; Mob Informant. Los Angeles Times. George Fresolone. He was a rank-and-file member of the Philadelphia-New Jersey mafia and went to jail in 1988. Due to the fact that the gang did not help his poverty-stricken family in any way, Fresolone became an agent of the Department for Combating Organized Crime. In total, he recorded over 400 gang talks that brought about 40 mafiosi to trial, as well as his initiation ceremony in 1990. Four years later, Fresolone co-authored the book Fresolone G., Wagman R. J. Blood Oath. Simon & Schuster. 1994. Blood Oath and died in 2002 of a heart attack while in the witness protection program.

So, the initiation ritual is held by Fresolone G., Wagman R. J. Blood Oath. Simon & Schuster. 1994. as follows. To become an official clan member, you need to prove yourself and prove your loyalty. Therefore, there is nothing surprising in the fact that Fresolone, from adolescence involved in dark affairs, was initiated only at the age of 36. The process begins with the candidate's finger being pierced and formal questions are asked. Then the blood is erased with a card with the image of a saint. They crumple it, put it in the hands of the candidate and set it on fire while he reads the oath, promising to live and die for the “family” and “burn like this saint” if he betrays her. In different clans, the ritual may differ, but in general, the scheme is about the same everywhere.

7. Mafiosi easily eliminate all unwanted

In the United States, mafiosi are much less likely to kill (especially police and judges), in contrast to their Sicilian counterparts. Also, members of Cosa Nostra try to prevent casualties among ordinary citizens. And the point here is not at all in the high moral character of the mafiosi, but in the fact that the murder carries with it serious consequences.

So, because of the case of 18-year-old Matteo Speranza, who fell under a stray bullet, most of the Colombo “family” turned out to be James G. Killing Is Tied To Mafia War In Brooklyn. The New York Times. behind bars.

It is also important that a person who has testified against the mafia does not have to worry about his life, since the witness protection program works well in the USA. By the way, the correct name for this service is the Witness Safety Program. Since its inception in 1971, it has successfully defended about 19,000 witnesses (not only in mafia cases) and their relatives.

Cosa Nostra: US marshals escort a witness
Cosa Nostra: US marshals escort a witness

However, there are those whom the mafia leaves alone and so. For example, Salvatore Gravano left the security program in 1995 and lives quietly under his own name in Arizona. He was Don Gambino's right-hand man (underboss). In the 90s, Salvatore Gravano gave Fried J. P. Ex ‑ Mob Underboss Given Lenient Term For Help as Witness. The New York Times. testimony, thanks to which the entire top of the Gambino clan, including John Gotti, who was sentenced to life imprisonment, ended up behind bars.

The story of Joseph Pistone, better known as Donnie Brasco, also demonstrates that the mafia is not omnipotent in eliminating its enemies. It was for her, or rather, according to the book Pistone J. D., Woodley R. Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia, a True Story. New American Library. 1989. Pistone in 1997 filmed Donnie Brasco with Al Pacino, Johnny Depp and Michael Madsen.

Pistone was Span P. The FBI's Veiled Threat. Joseph Pistone Spent Six Years Inside the Mafia and Lived to Tell the Tale. The Washington Post. as an FBI agent and from 1976 to 1981 worked undercover for the Bonanno and Colombo mafia groups in New York. The result of his activities was hundreds of cases and sentences, as well as a reward of 500 thousand dollars for his head from the mafia leaders. But at the same time he is still alive - now Pistone is 81 years old.

Cosa Nostra: Operational footage captured during Operation Donnie Brasco
Cosa Nostra: Operational footage captured during Operation Donnie Brasco

However, the danger of the mafia should not be underestimated. In 1985, by order of John Gotti, "Franky Boy" Cali's murder highlights mafia's violent history in NYC was shot dead in his car right on the street. CBS News then Gambino boss Paul Castellano. In 2003, Queens, New York bakery owner Angelo Muniolo was injured by Marzulli J. Mob hit man out of the closet: Robert Mormando is gay and regrets life of crime, his lawyer says. New York Daily News near his home. It was "ordered" by Vincent Gotti, brother of John Gotti. Vincent suspected that his wife was cheating on him with the baker.

John Gotti
John Gotti

Mafiosi still do not shun murder, but it is becoming more and more difficult to commit them. In 2016, New York's Lucchese mobster Joseph Datello (Joey Points) headed to Fisher D. FEDS: MOBSTER WENT TO NH TO KILL INFORMANT. The Telegraph in New Hampshire on behalf of the boss. There he intended to find and kill a police informant, but was detained.

However, there are also "successful" examples. So, in 2019, Garcia ‑ Roberts G. Gambino murder sparks Mafia rumor mill was shot and killed because of family squabbles: ‘A couple of guys got to get killed now’. USA Today. head of the Gambino clan Frank Kali (Frankie Boy).

8. Joining the mafia "family", you can not return to a peaceful life

This traditional cliche from cinema is not entirely true. Yes, leaving the clan is difficult, but you can. In most cases, the mafia was left by contacting the authorities, and we have given such examples above.

But there is the case of the aforementioned Michael Franchese of the Columbo "family" who retired without the cooperation of the FBI. In 1986, Fortune magazine included him in the list of "50 richest mafia bosses", and then Franchese went to jail for the first time. Released in 1989, he again found himself Lubasch A. H. Mobster Sentenced in Probation Violation. The New York Times behind bars two years later. During his second term, Franchese became interested in reading the Bible. Freed in 1994, he tore up From Captain to Coach: Ex-Goodfella's New Life. The New York Times with the mafia and left for California with his family. He had to leave New York because of numerous threats and contracts for his murder, including those approved by his father, the mafioso John Franchese.

Michael Franzese now inspires gangsters to turn their lives around. WGNTV Books, acts as a motivating speaker and attends Christian events.

Of course, many ideas about the mafia are just myths, but some scenes from movies and books about Cosa Nostra are quite realistic. For example, family wars and internal squabbles for power, the symbolism of murder - say, the placement of the canary Mangan D. CANARY WAS MESSAGE TO MOB ‘PIGEONS’. New York Post into the mouth of a murdered police informant. And although the position of the mafia has been greatly shaken, it is still alive. Five Families retain Franky Boy Cali’s murder highlights mafia’s violent history in NYC. CBS News has a huge impact on the underworld of all American states.

21st century threats such as terrorism and Mexican drug cartels distract the FBI's forces, giving the Mafia considerable respite and time to gather its strength. And while other criminal groups appear and disappear after their leaders, Cosa Nostra has existed for more than a hundred years.