Life is what happens when you are making other plans~ John Lennon
An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind~Gandhi
The time is always right to do what is right~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Italian Mafia

The Italian Mafia
Origins: Sicily, founded in New York
Years Active: late 19th century
Territory: Northeast U.S., Chicago, Detroit, Florida
Ethnicity: Full members(made men) are Italian or Italian American. Must be 100% Italian
Criminal activity: racketeering, counterfeiting, drug trafficking, extortion, prostitution, blackmailing, illegal gambling, fencing, murder

-The American Mafia, or for short, the Mafia or the mob, is a society comprised of Italian American men mostly. The American Mafia, has no name, unlike the Sicilian Mafia in which it's based on. The American Mafia is a secretive society. It's Italian translation is La Cosa Nostra or in English "This thing of ours."
-The Mafia came out of the Lower East Side of New York, following scores and scores of immigrants in the 19th century, most of them being Italian immigrants.
-They are currently active in New York, where the Italian population is highest, New Jersey, Philadelphia, New England, Detroit and Chicago.
-In New York, there are 5 main "families". The Gambino, Lucchese, Columbo, Bonanno, Genovese.

-The term 'Mafia' does not have to apply to just the Italians. It can apply to the Russian Mafia, which is the most feared form of organized crime, the Triads(Chinese Mafia), the Yakuza(Japanese Mafia), Mexican Mafia, Jewish Mafia.

Russian Mafia

Chinese Triads

Japanese Yakuza

Origins of the Black Hand.
-The Mafia got it's start in New York, starting with jobs in poor Italian neighborhoods, growing with every job and moving on to being citywide.
-The first ever known Sicilian Mafia member to immigrate to the U.S. was Giuseppe Esposito
-On Jan. 17, 1920, Prohibition began. When alcohol was made illegal to consume, sell, or make, there was a high demand for it.
-Gangs saw this as an opportunity to make some money making illegal alcohol in illegal stills
-Gangs and "families" began duking it out for territory. In Chicago, Alphonse "Scarface" Capone and his family murdered the North Side Gang, an Irish American gang. In New York, Frankie Yale started a war with the Irish American White Hand Gang.

Alphonse 'Al' "Scarface" Capone

Frankie Yale

-Then one man emerged as a true 'mobster'. Salvatore Maranzano. He divided New York into 5 "Families". Maranzano was responsible for setting up the Code of Conduct, the families and structure, and procedures for solving problems in the world of the Mafia. He set himself up as the Boss of All Bosses, making all families pay "tributes" to him.

-He was murdered within 6 months on the orders of Charles "Lucky" Luciano
The Commission
-This is the governing body of the American Mafia
-One of the rules was that if you were in a family, you had to make a pledge to uphold omerta(code of silence). You were forbidden from talking to the police or being seen talking to the police. Failure to do this results in you getting killed, or whacked in Mafia talk
-In 1963, Joe Valachi became the first Mafia member to turn state's evidence, and he gave information about the workings of the mob.
The RICO Act
-This stands for Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
-The main focus for this act was organized crime
-This became a highly effective tool in prosecuting mob members
-Violation of this act results in 20 years or more in prison per number of charges of this
-In 1991, Sammy "The Bull" Gravano helped turn state's evidence and gave them information leading to convict some of the top Mafia leaders in New York
Sammy "The Bull" Gravano

-The Mafia is known for all kinds of activities, such as tax fraud, stock manipulation, gambling, murder, corruption of public officials, racketeering.
-Members inducted into the family are "made men." This means they are untouchable and any harm on them will result in something bad
-The 3 highest jobs are administration. Below that, people are headed by a caporegime(captain), who leads a crew of soldiers and associates. They report to the higher ups.

-Boss: Leader of the family. Sometimes called "Godfather" or "Don". May be chosen by votes of caporegime of family.

Joseph "Big Joey" Massino, head of the Bonanno Family
-Underboss: usually is chosen by the boss. Runs day-to-day operations. Gets percentage of money earned. First in line to become acting boss is something befalls the boss, like imprisonment or death
Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, underboss to the Gambino Family
-Consigliere: Advisor or consultant to the family. Boss' right hand man. Used as a mediator in disputes, representive or aide at a meeting with other families. Consiglieres are usually someone who is very close or someone who can be trusted who is voted by the Don.
Carmine Sessa, Columbo consigliere
-Caporegime: Captain. In charge of a crew. Each "crew" contains 10-20 guys, usually soldiers and associates. They reprort to the underboss. In some cases, like the case of Anthony "Tony Ducks" Corallo, they might lead the family if the boss dies
Joey Gambino, Bonanno Family capo
-Soldier: Soldato in Italian. Member of the family and traditionally can only be of full Italian descent. Once he is amde a member or "made" he is untouchable, meaning orders must be given before he is killed
Nicodemo Scarfo Jr. Soldier to the Phildelphia Crime Family
-Associate: Not a member of the mob. But works for the family.

-The induction ritual into a mob family is the person who is getting inducted will be led usually into a dimly lit room for dramatic effect with all the bosses and underbosses present. One of these men will prick the inductee's finger, arm or hand and tell him to smear the blood onto an image of a saint, saying that they will burn in hell like the saint if they betray them. That is how the oath of loyalty is made.
-In a state of war, families will "go to the mattresses", an Italian phrase for going into a fight

-Omerta: Code of silence. Never talk to the cops
-Ethnicity: only men of Italian descent are allowed to be members(made men).
-Family secrets: Not allowed to talk about family business to non-family members
-Blood for blood: if a family member is killed, no one can go and commit murder until the boss gives the go ahead
-No fighting amongst members: Fist fights to knife fights
-Tribute: Every month, members are to pay the boss
-Adultery: Members are not allowed to commit adultery with another family member's wife
-No facial hair: members are not to have any and that means ANY facial hair.
-Also, homosexuality is supposed to be not good. In 1992, John D'Amato, who was the acting boss of the DeCavalcante family, was killed when it was discovered he had sexual relationships with other men.

Symbolism in murder
-For letting an FBI agent name Joseph D. Pistone, aka "Donnie Brasco" to infiltrate the Bonanno crime family, caporegime Dominic "Sonny Black" Napolitano had his hands cut off after he was killed. This was because he allowed Pistone to shake hands with other members, saying he was "A friend of ours", a made man, when he wasn't.

Dominic "Sonny Black" Napolitano and Joseph D. Pistone, aka "Donnie Brasco"
-When Lucchese soldier Bruno Facciolo was killed, a dead canary was stuffed in his mouth after being shot to death
-On April 18, 1980, Philadelphia Mafia Consigliere Antonio Caponigro had Angelo "The Gentle Don" Bruno and his brother in law Alfred Salerno taken to an empty house in upstate New York to be tortured to death. Salerno was shot 3 times behind the right ear and once behind the left ear. A rope was tied around his neck, wrists, and ankles and most of his neck and face bones were shattered. Caponigro had been suffocated, beaten, repeatedly stabbed and shot, and was found in a garbage bag. $300 was stuffed into Caponigro's rectum as a sign he had become greedy.
-Chicago, IL: Chicago Outfit
-New Jersey: DeCavalcante Family
-New York: The Five Families

"Big Paul" Castellano

John "The Teflon Don" "The Dapper Don" Gotti
Gregory "The Grim Reaper" Scarpa
Joseph Bonanno
Angelo Prisco
-N.E. Pennsylvania: Bufalino Family
-Tampa, FL: Trafficante Family
-New England: Patriarcha Family

During WWII
-U.S. Naval Intelligence entered a deal with Lucky Luciano to get his help in keeping New York wanterfront free of saboteurs after the destruction of the SS Normandie

Recovery of Civil Rights Workers
-In 2007, Linda Schiro testified in court that her boyfriend, Gregory "The Grim Reaper" Scarpa, who was a capo in the Columbo crime family, had been recruited by the FBI to find the bodies of 3 murdered civil rights workers who were killed in 1964 by the Ku Klux Klan. He had threatened a Klansman by placing a gun in his mouth in order to force him to reveal the location of the bodies.

Popular Culture
-The most praised mob films are The Godfather and its sequel, The Godfather, pt. II
-Others have been released as well, including Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas, Casino.

L-R: Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta

Joe Pesci and Frank Vincent
-Other movies about the Mafia include: The Untouchables, Mobsters, Donnie Brasco, and made for TV film Gotti

-Other films portraying the Mafia include: Once Upon a Time in America, A Bronx Tale, Analyze This, Carlito's Way, The Departed.

The Departed
South Boston Irish mobsters

Carlito's Way
Puerto Rican mobster named Carlito Brigante
-TV includes The Sopranos, an HBO series about a fictional Mafia family in North Jersey

Famous Mafia Men
-Thomas "Tommy Karate" Pitera
-Anthony "The Gemini Twin" Senter
-Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal
-Benjamin "Lefty" Ruggiero
-Dominic "Sonny Black" Napolitano
-Alphonse "Sonny Red" Indelicato
-Samuel "Sam Flood" Giancana
-Michael "Trigger Mike" Coppola
-Michael "The Yuppie Don" Franzese
-Anthony "Tony Ducks" Corallo
-Angelo "The Gentle Don" Bruno
-Johnny "Handsome Johnny" Stompanato
-Vincent "The Chin" Gigante
-Anthony "Tony the Ant" Spilotro
-Alphonse "Scarface" Capone
-John "The Dapper Don" "The Teflon Don" Gotti
-Vito "Don Vitone" Genovese
-Charles "Lucky" Luciano
-Samuel "Sam the Plumber" DeCavalcante
-Paul "Big Paul" Castellano
-Thomas "The Pitbull" Bilotti
-Thomas "The Chinaman" Sinito
-John "Johnny Boy" D'Amato
-Russell "The Old Man" Bufalino
-Joseph "Joe Bananas" Bonanno
-Gregory "The Grim Reaper" Scarpa
-Michael "Mickey" Spilotro
-Sammy "The Bull" Gravano
-Henry Hill
-Thomas "3 Finger Brown" Lucchese
-John Gambino
-John "Peanuts" Tronolone

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