Secret societies and Mafia

These laws that were made to combat the Mafia were not flexible enough to be used, as an example the restrictive and rigid description of what constituted a Mafia group. As it was seen in P2, all levels of government were involved in secret societies and in a bold effort to strike a blow at the Southern Problem, the government launched the Cassa per il Mezzogiorno (Fund for the South) in 1950.

A major investment in southern infrastructure and economic development, the Cassa poured substantial sums into the region, producing both visible results and widespread criticism of corruption and political influence peddling. One result was to increase southern demand for northern products by means of an infusion of cash into massive public works projects. Too often Cassa resources were controlled by such criminal organizations as the mafia (as well as the camorra and 'Ndrangheta), which, in turn, used the funds partly to strengthen alliances with the major political parties.

13 On 30th April, 1982, the PCI regional secretary Pio La Torre with his driver was murdered. La Torre had become a target after he had co-sponsored a new draft law in March 1980 that would allow the judiciary to view bank records so that they could follow money trails, and would defined membership of the mafia as a crime. 14 As part of the legislative package the freezing and confiscation of Mafia assets would be for the first time, due to the interpretation of 'Mafia Type organisations.

. This legislation was to be some of the most powerful tools that an investigator or judge could use. Following La Torre's death, General Carlo Dalla Chiesa who himself was an experienced antimafia investigator wanted equally firm powers to deal with the Mafia. This never happened because he did not receive the political backing or the increased powers of investigation that he needed and was also murdered with his wife and bodyguard on 3 September 1982.

The public's reaction to these murders was shock and disgust and legislation was quickly passed through, the proposal and draft laws became Law 646 of 13 September 1982 (Rognoni-La Torre Law) and the later Law 726 of 12 October 1982 established the Anti-Mafia High Commissioner. These laws are significant to the curbing of Mafia power, it provides for the following penalties: – Three to six years' imprisonment for anyone belonging to a Mafia-type conspiracy group with 3 or more individuals; – imprisonment of between 4 and 9 years for anyone promoting, managing or organising a Mafia conspiracy.

– A conspiracy is of a Mafia type when the members use intimidatory force deriving from the bond of membership and the fact of being subjected and bound by the vow of silence to commit crimes, directly or indirectly acquire the management or in any way control of economic activities, franchises, licences and permits, public contracts or services, or make unlawful gains or acquire unfair advantages for themselves or for others. – If the conspiracy is armed, the penalty is raised to between 4 and 10 years in the former case, and between 4 and 15 years in the second case.

– A conspiracy is considered to be armed when the members have available to them, to pursue the purposes of the conspiracy, weapons or explosive materials, even if these are concealed or held in a depot. – If the economic activities which the members of the conspiracy intend to take over or to continue controlling are wholly or partially financed with the money, the fruit or the profits from criminal activities, the penalties previously referred to are increased by between one-third and one-half.

– Anyone found guilty of Mafia conspiracy is subject to the mandatory seizure of any property previously used or intended to be used for the commission of crime, and anything constituting the price, fruit or profit from using them. – These provisions apply equally to the Neapolitan Camorra and other associations, regardless of their local name, which use the intimidatory force of the bond of membership to pursue purposes similar to the Mafia like conspiracies. 15 Following Dalla Chiesa's murder there developed an informal antimafia pool of judges and magistrates.

They combined their efforts to compile histories and develop new investigate and prosecutional strategies, they assumed collect responsibility for bring for ward mafia prosecutions. 16 The whole pool signed order to overcome individual threats of death and violence. They encouraged the people they were prosecuting to give information about others and in return they would get a possibility of lesser sentence, financial aid for families, better prison accommodation and maybe the ability to give their enemies a stiffer sentence17

Judge Giovanni Falcone instrumental in exposing the link between the mafia and the international heroin ring and worked with international law enforcement agencies, ie, Belgians, French US, turkey. He got 74 convictions, spatula case, he used bank and travel records, seized heroin shipments, handwriting analysis, tapped conversations. Luciano Violante, Chairman of the Antimafia Commission from 1992 to 1994, summed up the contribution of Falcone: "Until Falcone there was no antimafia fight; individual crimes like murder, extortion and dynamite attacks were pursued but the organization itself was untouched.

" 18 With the new legislative powers in place and a new pool of investigating judges and magistrates, some 15,000 individuals were reported for Mafia association between 1982 and 1986 and over 20 000 asset-tracing investigations were carried out. By the end of 1982, a major report was passed to the chief examining magistrate Rocco Chinnici. Unfortunately Chinnici was murdered via a car bomb six months later this prompted another investigation which resulted in weaker connections between the mafia and the Christian Democrats which was evident in the results of the next vote.

19 Antimafia pool was continually being murdered in retaliation for prosecutions against the mafia. Eventually Falcone and other members of the mafia pool and their families were forced to live in prison for own protection, while mafia fugitives were walking around freely before the maxitrial. In 1986, maxitrial 344 Mafiosi were found guilty and sentenced to 2665 years imprisonment. In 1988 the mayor of Palermo was killed by the mafia because of his links to the maxitrial. The judge responsible for hearing the maxitrial appeals was also killed.

The head of the instructional magistrates retired and was replaced, not be Falcone, but by someone who had little experience, which halted the Antimafia pool. The Antimafia investigators were given peripheral things to investigate, while assigning mafia cases to magistrates who neither had the memory or appetite to prosecute them. 20 The government stood down 1988-9 in their Antimafia campaign In 1989 the instructional office was eliminated as mandated by a reform in the criminal justice system, prosecutors such as Falcone, were folded into the procura, under a new head.

Borsellino criticised the state for not supporting the anti mafia effort and dismantling Antimafia pool. After several attempts the mafia finally succeeded to murder Falcone and his associate Borsellino. Following the 2 judges assassinations in 1992, the parliamentary Antimafia commission was reinvigorated setting the stage for different reports including the connections between mafia and freemasonry.

At the same time the number of police was increased to specialise in organised crime, the investigating thereof. The mafias strategy of reacting with violence always seemed to backfire Trying to force the states hand just produced public distaste and anger On the day of Falcone funeral Oscar Luigi Scalfaro Christian democrat was called to the president of the republic instead of Andriotti because he had better record of opposing crime

These murders caused an outcry as many before them had done but it was the catalyst used to bring forward much new legislation, following guidelines of Falcone himself, that resulted in may more prosecutions including that of the alleged head of the Cosa Nostra, Salvatore Riina released due to insufficient evidence, all in a remarkable event to reversing mafia destiny. Ginsborg feels that even after all this legislation and public discontent, the battle might already be lost as 12%+ of Gross Domestic Product is the result of criminal activity.

21 In conclusion, although the true involvement of secret societies and Mafia have never been revealed, there will always be those judges, magistrates and investigators that will continue to uncover the darkest sides of politics and criminality. The legislation that has come since 1980, has shown that the power of the Mafia is being curbed, but at the same time the Mafia will exercise control elsewhere in different countries and will ensure its eventual survival.

Bibliography Lupo Salvatore, "The Mafia", Patrick McCarthy (ed. ), Italy since 1945 (Oxford: Oxford, 2000). Sassoon, Donald, Contemporary Italy, Economy, Society, and Politics since 1945, 2nd Edition (Longman: London, 1997) Jamieson, Alison, The Antimafia: Italy's Fight Against Organised Crime (Palgrave: New York, 2000) "School and Culture against Mafia in Sicily", www. scuolaantimafia. org [last accessed 3rd January 2004]