Sicilian Mafia Cosa Nostra (Info)

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Sicilian MafiaFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to: navigation, search"Cosa Nostra" redirects here. For the American counterpart, see American Mafia.Sicilian Mafia

Sketch of the 1901 maxi trial of suspected mafiosi in Palermo. From the newspaper L'Ora, May 1901

Founding locationSicily, Italy

Years activec. 1800spresent

TerritoryItaly, mostly Sicily, Lombardy, Piedmont, Liguria and Lazio

EthnicitySicilian, with some associates of various ethnicities


Criminal activitiesRacketeering, drug trafficking, murder, corruption, pornography, human trafficking, fraud, illegal waste management, gambling, extortion, assault, terrorism, weapons trafficking, prostitution, loan sharking and various trafficking

AlliesVarious Camorra's clan, 'Ndrangheta, Russian Mafia, Chinese Triad and, formerly, the Banda della Magliana

RivalsVarious Camorra's clan, 'Ndrangheta

The Mafia (also known as Cosa Nostra, in English "Our Thing") is a criminal syndicate in Sicily, Italy. It is a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organizational structure and code of conduct, and whose common enterprise is protection racketeering. Each group, known as a "family", "clan", or "cosca", claims sovereignty over a territory, usually a town or village or a neighbourhood (borgata) of a larger city, in which it operates its rackets. Its members call themselves "men of honour", although the public often refers to them as "mafiosi".According to the classic definition, the Mafia is a criminal organization originating in Sicily.[1] However, the term "mafia" has become a generic term for any organized criminal network with similar structure, methods, and interests.The Mafia proper frequently parallels, collaborates with or clashes with, networks originating in other parts of southern Italy, such as the Camorra (from Campania), the 'Ndrangheta (from Calabria), the Stidda (southern Sicily) and the Sacra Corona Unita (from Apulia). Giovanni Falcone, the anti-Mafia judge murdered by the Mafia in 1992, however, 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 organized crime but that have little or nothing in common with the Mafia.[2]Giovanni Falcone, 1990The American Mafia arose from offshoots of the Mafia that emerged in the United States during the late nineteenth century, following waves of emigration from Italy. There were similar offshoots in Canada among Italian Canadians. The same has been claimed of organised crime among Italians in Australia.[3]Contents 1 Etymology 1.1 "Cosa Nostra" and other names 2 History 2.1 Post-feudal Sicily 2.2 Fascist suppression 2.3 Post-Fascist revival 2.4 Sack of Palermo 2.5 First Mafia War 2.6 Smuggling boom 2.7 Second Mafia War 2.8 Maxi trial and war against the government 2.9 Provenzano years 2.10 Modern Mafia in Italy 3 Definition 4 Structure and composition 4.1 Clan hierarchy 4.2 Membership 4.3 Commission 5 Rituals and codes of conduct 5.1 Initiation ceremony 5.2 Introductions 5.3 Etiquette 5.4 Ten Commandments 5.5 Omert 6 Protection rackets 6.1 Protection from theft 6.2 Protection from competition 6.3 Client relations 6.4 Protection territories 7 Other activities 7.1 Vote buying 7.2 Smuggling 7.3 Bid rigging 7.4 Loan sharking 7.5 Forbidden crimes 8 Violence and reputation 8.1 Murder 8.2 Reputation 9 Notable Sicilian mafiosi 10 See also 11 References 12 Sources 13 External linksEtymologyThere are several theories about the origin of the term "Mafia" (sometimes spelled "Maffia" in early texts). The Sicilian adjective mafiusu (in Italian: mafioso) may derive from the slang Arabic mahyas (), meaning "aggressive boasting, bragging", or marfud () meaning "rejected". 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.[4] In reference to a woman, however, the feminine-form adjective "mafiusa" means beautiful and attractive.Other possible origins from Arabic: maha = quarry, cave[5] mu'afa = safety, protection[5]The public's association of the word with the criminal secret society was perhaps inspired by the 1863 play "I mafiusi di la Vicaria" ("The Mafiosi of the Vicaria") by Giuseppe Rizzotto and Gaetano Mosca. The words Mafia and mafiusi are never mentioned in the play; they were probably put in the title to add a local flair. The play is about a Palermo prison gang with traits similar to the Mafia: a boss, an initiation ritual, and talk of "umirt" (omert or code of silence) and "pizzu" (a codeword for extortion money).[6] 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 phenomenon. The word made its first official appearance in 1865 in a report by the prefect of Palermo, Filippo Antonio Gualterio.[7]According to legend, the word Mafia was first used in the Sicilian revolt the Sicilian Vespers against rule of the Capetian House of Anjou on 30 March 1282. In this legend, Mafia is the acronym for "Morte Alla Francia, Italia Avanti" (Italian for "Death to France, Italy Forward!"), or "Morte Alla Francia, Italia Anela" (Italian for "Death to France, Italy Begs!").[8] However, this version is now discarded by most serious historians.[4]"Cosa Nostra" and other namesAccording to Mafia turncoats (pentiti), the real name of the Mafia is "Cosa Nostra" ("Our thing"). When the Italian-American mafioso Joseph Valachi testified before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the U.S. Senate Committee on Government Operations in 1963 (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").[9][10][11] At the time, it was understood as a proper name, fostered by the FBI and disseminated by the media. The designation gained wide popularity and almost replaced the term Mafia.[citation needed]. The FBI even 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).Italian investigators initially did not take the term seriously, believing it was used only by the American Mafia .[citation needed]. In 1984, the Mafia turncoat Tommaso Buscetta revealed to the anti-mafia magistrate Giovanni Falcone that the term was used by the Sicilian Mafia as well.[12] 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 to describe the Mafia.[13] 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, a mafioso, as you".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 organizations in Italy such as the 'Ndrangheta in Calabria, the Camorra in Campania, or the Sacra Corona Unita in Apulia.HistoryThe genesis of Cosa Nostra is hard to trace because mafiosi are very secretive and do not keep historical records of their own. In fact, they have been known to spread deliberate lies about their past, and sometimes come to believe in their own myths.[14]Post-feudal SicilyModern scholars believe that its seeds were planted in the upheaval of Sicily's transition out of feudalism in 1812 and its later annexation by mainland Italy in 1860. Under feudalism, the nobility owned most of the land and enforced law and order through their private armies. 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 was to become private property of the peasants.[15] The oldest reference to Mafia groups in Sicily dates back to 1838, in a report of the General Prosecutor of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, although the term "mafia" was not used. The report described the phenomenon rather than the name: "In many villages, there are unions or fraternities kinds of sects which are called partiti, with no political colour or goal, with no meeting places, and with no other bond but that of dependency on a chief."[8][16][17]

The Brigand family, 19th centuryAfter Italy annexed Sicily in 1860, it redistributed a large share of public and church land to private citizens. The result was a huge boom in landowners: from 2,000 in 1812 to 20,000 by 1861.[18] The nobles also released their private armies to let the state take over the task of law enforcement. However, the authorities were incapable of properly enforcing property rights and contracts, largely due to their inexperience with free market capitalism.[19] Lack of manpower was also a problem: there were often less than 350 active policemen for the entire island. Some towns did not have any permanent police force, only visited every few months by some troops to collect malcontents, leaving criminals to operate with impunity from the law in the interim.[20] With more property owners and commercial activity came more disputes that needed settling, contracts that needed enforcing, transactions that needed oversight, and properties that needed protecting. Because the authorities were undermanned and unreliable, property owners turned to extralegal arbitrators and protectors. These extral