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Les narco-comptoirs des mafias italiennes en Amérique latine

Les narco-comptoirs des mafias italiennes en Amérique latine

Quelques éléments historiques de géopolitique

Par Fabrice Rizzoli

Les acteurs criminalisés qui  prospèrent  dans certains territoires précis dérogent totalement aux règles du système légal. Pour contrôler le secteur concerné, ils imposent mêmes leurs règles à la collectivité.

Cependant leurs réseaux et les flux de diverses natures qu’ils véhiculent s’articulent, et sont relayés, bien au-delà des frontières de ces espaces de non-droit, capables même de se projeter et d’opérer à l’échelle transnationale. C’est ce qu’illustre l’article de Fabrice Rizzoli sur les « narco- comptoirs » latino-américains des mafias italiennes.

La série de visuels de cette enquête principalement historique met en évidence la persistance dans le temps entre organisations mafieuses des deux côtés de l’Atlantique, et l’étendue des liens tissés depuis des dizaines d’années. Cliquez : Revue OGC

Naples : les boss de la Camorra acclamé

Mafias.fr publishing adore les « récidivistes »

Guillaume Origoni remet ça (cf « La plage »)

L’article ci-dessous est une traduction/résumé du compte rendu de cette fête locale, paru dans « Il fatto quotidiano ». Mafias.fr a jugé bon de vous le faire partager car il illustre parfaitement le contrôle mafieux du territoire.

Fête des « Gigli »(Lys) dans le quartier Barra : les boss de la criminalité organisée arrivent à bord d’une Excalibur blanche dans une marée de ballons, de musique (the godfather version jazzy) et d’applaudissements. Par la suite les parrains invitent à une minute de silence pour « nos morts ». Les festivités se termineront par la bénédiction du prêtre (cf.Eglise et mafia)

C’est à 11 heures du matin que commence cette mémorable journée. La foule bat la mesure sur la musique du chef-d’œuvre de Francis Ford Coppola qui relate la saga des Corléonais. La marée humaine se fend au passage de l’Excalibur blanche sur laquelle se déplacent les parrains. Liesse et applaudissements, calicots dégringolant des fenêtres, lâchés de ballons bleus et rouges. Nombreux sont ceux qui immortalisent le moment grâce aux Smartphones dernière génération. Les deux parrains descendent de l’auto et saluent les organisateurs des festivités qui appartiennent à la même famille. Une poignée de main, un baiser sur la bouche, l’aspect théâtral de la scène peut faire penser à un film hollywoodien, alors que c’est la réalité dans sa forme la plus crue.

Tout ceci a bien eu lieu le dimanche 18 septembre à Naples au cours de la cérémonie d’ouverture de l’une des fêtes les plus populaires et les plus anciennes : la fête des « Gigli » de Barra dans la zone orientale de la ville. L’Espresso, avait fait état il y a un an, du pacte passé, toujours au cour de cette fête de quartier, entre le clan de Rione et les sécessionnistes sanguinaires de Secondigliano, entre Angelo Cuccaro et Arcangelo Abete. La direction du District Antimafia de Naples a lancé une enquête, mais rien n’a vraiment changé. Bien au contraire. Le symbole est fort et marque la prédominance du « Capo » et de ses hommes sur le territoire (…)

A Barra, la fête a duré jusqu’au cœur de la nuit. Personne n’oublia cependant « la minute de silence pour l’honneur de nos morts ». Peu après retentirent les notes d’une chanson qui ratifia le pacte de sang scellé entre Angelo Cuccaro et Andrea Andolfi, autre boss de la zone. Le titre est éloquent « Tu es grand » et laisse peu de place aux doutes « Je fus grand et maintenant je suis encore plus grand… »

Ainsi, une fête destinée avant tout au divertissement devient un vecteur de communication mafieuse, un message lancé aux rivaux. Pas de pizzini ( NDLR : messages écrits ou dactylographiés sur papier et pliés de façon à attirer le moins d’attention possible.Il capo di tutti i Capi Bernardo Provenzano communiqua de cette façon avec son entourage au cours de ses décennies de cavale cf.L’arrestation du chef de la mafia : une victoire à point nommé), tout se déroule à la lumière du jour. Le Boss prétend à ce qu’il y a de mieux : les hommes les plus forts, les meilleurs musiciens, la fête doit être la manifestation esthétique de sa domination totale du territoire. Car c’est lui, et lui seulement, qui a la possibilité matérielle d’apporter travail et bien-être, mais aussi de semer la mort et la désolation. Il peut doser les joies et les douleurs, autoriser ou interdire la fête à la manière d’un empereur. Tout le monde sait cela, et tout le monde sait aussi qu’aucun des prêtres du quartier ne s’est soustrait à la bénédiction de l’obélisque du clan sur la place principale. Voilà ce qu’il est possible de voir en pleine journée à Naples sans que personne ne juge nécessaire de devoir intervenir.
La vidéo :

« La plage » : un film de Guillaume Origoni avec Antonino Agostino…

… Emanuele Piazza, Giovanni Falcone, Toto Riina… ect

Le 5 août 1989, la mafia assassinait le policier Antonino Agostino mais ce crime est toujours frappé du sceau de l’impunité. La famille demande justice et nous lui dédions ce billet. En effet, la maison d’édition mafias.fr remet le couvert avec un article de Guillaume Orgoni qui traite de l’attentat manqué , en 1989, contre le juge  Giovanni Falcone et donc de l’assassinat de ce policier et de son collègue.

  • Guillaume Origoni, d’origine italienne (nul n’est parfait :) ) et diplômé de sciences politiques, a travaillé en Sicile et en Calabre. Il s’interesse à la stratégie de la tension et  aux années de plombs et, dans le cadre de ses recherches, il lui arrive donc de rencontrer un autre sujet : la mafia.

En ce 11 juin 1989 sur une « plage » de Palerme, Giovanni Falcone en discussion avec des magistrats suisses fait l’objet d’un attentat à la dynamite qui n’explose pas. S’agit-t-il d’un avertissment ou d’un « raté ». Les magistrats suisses sont-ils visés? En effet, dans les banques hélvétiques il n’y a pas que l’argent des mafieux… D’aprés l’auteur, les services de renseignement italien ne sont pas loins de la scène ; ce qui  aliment une thèse, celle d’un rapport entre Mafias italiennes et relations internationales, et du rôle du terrorisme mafieux dans la crise du système politique italie (cf.12 janvier 2002, un étudiant et un colloque sur les attentats de 1992-1993).

Bonne lecture :-)

 

 

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2011, toujours la crise des déchets à Naples : le dossier

Les Napolitains, pas si fous, vient d’élire Luigi de Magistris, ancien magistrat, à la tête de la mairie. Ils savent que les promesses de Berlusconi en 2008 n’étaient que des « balle » (cf.Berlusconi : lapsus contre référundum). Ils croulent toujours sous les déchets. Voici, le résumé en français d’un dossier écrit par Céline Torrisi (cf. Mafias : ancrage local, pouvoir transnational)

La crise des déchets à Naples.

Le Cavaliere et « l’emergenza rifiuti » : analyse du travail de légitimation et de résolution des conflits.

Qui ne se rappelle pas des images diffusées par les médias du monde entier montrant Naples et sa Région enfouies sous des tonnes de déchets? Nous sommes en 2007-2008 sous prétexte d’une grève des éboueurs les ordures s’empilent dans les rues de Naples et de la Campanie. L’incompréhension gagne les esprits des européens qui se demandent comment une des plus grandes métropoles européennes peut se retrouver dans une telle situation.
Une nouvelle fois la crise des déchets touche Naples. Cette situation n’est pas nouvelle puisque la situation d’urgence est déclarée depuis 1994! 1994? (cf. 12 janvier 2002, un étudiant et un colloque sur les attentats de 1992-1993). N’est-ce pas la période à laquelle M. Berlusconi entre en politique? (cf. Biographie Berlusconi). Ainsi, comme Silvio Berlusconi, cette crise apparait comme un leitmotiv dans l’histoire récente de l’Italie. En jetant un rapide regard sur la carrière politique du Cavaliere et sur l’histoire de la crise, on pourrait presque affirmer que Silvio et la « Crisi dei rifiuti »1 sont deux « compagnons de route ». C’est en remportant les élections législatives du 27 mars 1994 que Silvio Berlusconi apparaît véritablement sur la scène politique italienne. C’est la « la discesa in campo », « la descente ». Un mois plus tôt, la même année, est déclaré l’état d’urgence pour la ville de Naples qui ne parvient plus à évacuer ses déchets. Certes le premier gouvernement Berlusconi tombe en janvier 1995 et résoudre la crise en un an est chose particulièrement difficile. En juin 2001 le Cavaliere reconquit le pouvoir. C’est le gouvernement « Berlusconi bis », connu en Italie pour avoir été le plus long gouvernement de l’après-guerre. Le Président du Conseil se trouve une fois de plus confronté à la « crisi dei rifiuti » de Naples. En effet, au début de l’année 2001, on assiste de nouveau à une lourde crise à Naples. Pour y faire face, on procède à la réouverture des décharges de Serre et de Castelvolturno, et on envoie des milliers de tonnes de déchets vers d’autres régions italiennes, telles que la Toscane, l’Emilie-Romagne, ou à l’étranger vers des pays comme l’Allemagne. Au cours des deux années successives, 2002 et 2003, entrent en fonction sept appareils de production de combustibles dérivés des déchets. Cependant ces mesures sont largement insuffisantes et la Campanie ne parvient pas à traiter de manière efficace les milliers de tonnes annuels de déchets. En 2006 le gouvernement « Berlusconi bis » tombe et Naples est toujours en état d’urgence. En 2007 la crise connaît un nouveau pic. Le gouvernement Prodi est contraint à intervenir sans plus attendre. Il définit alors de nouveaux sites destinés à accueillir des décharges et propose comme solution la régionalisation du traitement des déchets. Cependant le 6 février 2008, le gouvernement tombe pour la deuxième fois en 650 jours alors même que la situation à Naples tend à s’accentuer. Comme chacun le sait, les élections des 13 et 14 avril 2008 portent au pouvoir Silvio Berlusconi. Une fois n’est pas coutume, le Cavaliere entame son troisième mandat avec pour fidèle « compagnon » la crisi dei rifiuti di Napoli. Si nous avons retracé très brièvement le parcours politique de Silvio Berlusconi c’est pour souligner le fait que, la crise existe à Naples depuis que Berlusconi existe sur la scène politique italienne. Bien évidemment ceci est une simple observation vide de tout lien de causalité.
C’est donc ce constat qui nous a conduits à orienter notre analyse de la crise des déchets à Naples, non sur la crise en soi mais bien sur l’existence d’un lien entre la crise et le retour du Cavaliere. Il s’agit alors de nous pencher de plus près sur la nature même du lien que l’on suppose exister entre le nouvel épisode de la crise des déchets à Naples et le retour de Silvio Berlusconi sur la scène politique italienne. Dans quelle mesure peut-on dire que, dans le contexte électoral de 2008, la crise des déchets à Naples a servi le travail de légitimation du Cavaliere, à la fois dans sa conquête du pouvoir et dans ses prises de décision?
Le travail de légitimation pré-électoral s’est effectué par une véritable instrumentalisation de la crise des déchets (I), qui a été définie comme un enjeu électoral (Section 1) autour duquel S. Berlusconi a construit son discours et son programme politique ( §1) et grâce auquel il a su réaffirmer et reconstruire sa position de leadership (§2).
Cependant une fois l’élection remportée, le travail de légitimation s’est révélé être d’un tout autre aspect. C’est autour de la capacité à résoudre la crise qu’il devait se réaliser. La résolution de la crise se présentait alors comment un enjeu à la fois national et local (Section 2). Malgré des décisions effectives mais hautement symboliques (§1), le Cavaliere a finalement été contraint de suivre le chemin tracé par son prédécesseur (la notion de path dependancy) (§2). On peut expliquer ceci en partie par l’analyse du rôle des mouvements sociaux. Ainsi,l’épisode 2008 de la crise des déchets à Naples illustre bien l’idée selon laquelle une légitimité obtenue par le vote n’induit pas forcément une légitimité dans l’action (II). Les mouvements sociaux se sont ainsi posés en frein au travail de légitimation du Cavaliere (Section1). Malgré une mobilisation immédiate (§1) des faiblesses propre à la nature de ces mouvements viennent en limiter la portée de l’action (§2). On est alors amené à s’interroger sur la pertinence, voir sur l’existence effective d’une société civile napolitaine/italienne (Section 2). On observe alors que la crise des déchets « version 2008 » ne serait autre que « l’explication globale d’une réalité » (§1) où l’intérêt général n’existe plus que dans de lointains écrits et où guette la menace du triomphe de la microsociété que constitue la mafia (§2).

Le dossier :

Expo Camorra : « voci dentro »

Expo photos et débat avec l’auteur

Semaine italienne – mardi 21 juin – 18H – mairie du 13ème

noir et blanc, carabinier au prmier plan avec mitraillette et jeune derrièreLa settimana italiana ospita la mostra “Camorra. Le voci dentro” del fotografo napoletano Stefano Renna. Questo reporter, titolare dell’agenzia AGN Foto ha lavorato a lungo negli ambienti della camorra catturando momenti significativi della lotta a questo male che attanaglia il nostro paese e dilaga anche all’estero. Ne è scaturita una mostra multimediale composta da poesie, immagini, un video e un libro. Tutto questo dovrebbe e vorrebbe servire per far conoscere le persone più che i fatti perché “i fatti sono conseguenza di un modo di pensare e di essere ancora lontano dalla realtà condivisa. – spiega l’autore – Se non conosceremo meglio queste persone, la loro realtà e il loro modo di pensare, non potremo mai venire a capo di questi problemi”…. la suite

TPE : le premier magazine économique sur la mafia

Dans le cadre d’un TPE, 2 brillantes étudiantes de première au lycée Marie Laurencin de Mennecy (91) ont élaboré un journal économique sur le phénomène mafieux ; très réussi!
Non?
Le pdf du journal :

The hold of the mafia on the world of politics

Italy : The hold of the mafia on the world of politics

in Grande Europe No. 27, December 2010

Original title: “Italie : L’Emprise de la Mafia sur le Monde Politique”

Fabrice Rizzoli, PHD graduate Italian mafias and international relationships

Translated from French by Silvia Caccia

By exercising “sovereignty” in a given area, the mafias (Cosa Nostra in Sicily, the ‘Ndrangheta in Calabria, the Camorra in Campania, and the Sacra Corona Unita in Apulia) reign in Italy through a system based on violence [Rizzoli, 2010]. With a deeply rooted but flexible cultural code, they benefit from a relative consensus in the population thanks to an extensive network of complicity, a true criminal social body called “mafia bourgeoisie” [Santino, 1997] where relations with politicians play a major role. Historically, the mafias can be considered as an instrument of governance of the Italian State. As long as they participated in the struggle against communist influence within the framework of the American strategy of containment, the mafias benefited from a great level of impunity [Rizzoli, 2009]. With the end of the Cold War, the relations between politics and mafias entered a new era. Cornered by the judiciary, the Sicilian mafia for its part had to choose a terrorist strategy to find new political alliances.

For a long time the relationship between mafias and political circles was missing from public debate, due to a lack of evidence and investigation. A first breach was opened in 1975 by the court in Turin on the occasion of a defamation trial. In one of his books, the progressive Sicilian writer, also a deputy, Michele Pantaleone traced the career of Giovanni Gioia, several times minister and also secretary of the branch of the Christian Democratic Party in Palermo during 25 years, and highlighted this high representative’s acquaintances with the mafia [Pantaleone, 1966]. Summoned to appear before the court to justify his allegations, M. Pantaleone gave proof of a classified document by the Parliamentary Commission for the Inquiry into the Mafia, of which he had been a member. The report was from Colonel Dalla Chiesa, who confirmed at the hearing that he was indeed the author. The judges acquitted the writer M. Pantaleone and gave up prosecuting his publishing house: for the first time, a court in the Italian Republic recognized that one of its ministers was mafioso [Dalla Chiesa, 1984]. Nearly twenty years later, on October 15, 2004, the Supreme Court of Cassation acquitted the former President of the Council of Ministers, Giulio Andreotti, charged with mafia association, after recognizing that the politician, the most powerful of the First Republic (1948-1992), had been an accomplice of Cosa Nostra before 1980. The facts being statute barred, this high representative, who held three times the position of President of the Council,1 escaped justice, but this episode has nevertheless provided those who study the mafia phenomenon with evidence of long-lasting collusion.

These two examples illustrate the links between politics and mafia. For, if the latter interferes in political affairs, on the other hand the political world can also act as the mafia. This is known as “mafia-like production of politics” [Santino, 1994].

The influence of the mafia on power

The mafia influences political life by resorting to violence (established as a system) and by weighing on elections. As it fails to recognize the monopoly of legitimate violence of the State, the clan refuses to
rely on the judiciary to solve its internal conflicts, and defends its own system of values. Far from obeying any drive, the mafiosi use violence as a resource and a mode of communication with their affiliates and the citizens. The use of violence allows a relatively small number (estimated to be 24,000) of “soldiers” to control the population in a panoptic way [Foucault, 1975]. Because they possess in addition to their own norms a coercive power and a parallel administrative apparatus, the mafiosi are able to impose their laws. This system of “planned violence” [Chinnici, 1989] creates a network of invisible occupation, leaning on the territories of the different mafia families [Claval, 1978]. Through this domination, the mafia society becomes partially institutionalized and largely influences the activity of local authorities. The smaller the geographical scale, the stronger the power of the mafia. Thus, since 1991 the State has disbanded 172 town councils infiltrated by the mafia.

The interference of mafia organizations in electoral competitions is a proven fact, as repeatedly demonstrated by the “confessions” of the collaborators of justice, still erroneously called “repentants”. The offer of “cooperation” can come from both sides. Thus, when elections approach, mafia families offer financial support for the political campaign of some candidates or electoral support, in exchange for the assignment of markets subject to invitations to tender.

In 1994 the collaborator of justice Salvatore Annacondia explained to the chairman of the parliamentary antimafia commission that he could in this way control up to 60,000 votes in Apulia: “[…] In this constituency, out of ten people who voted we could find nine who had followed the instructions. Then it was easy to identify the one who had not obeyed.” And as the president asked: “And was he punished?” S. Annacondia replied: “Eh! What a question!”2

The impact of voting instructions given by the mafia has been the object of a case study. In the parliamentary elections of June 14, 1987, the mafia enjoined the traditional voters of the Christian Democracy to vote for the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) and the Radical Party. These two groups offered indeed a political program that substantially strengthened the rights of the defense, with the risk of excessively reducing the power of the judge. In the areas of Palermo with high mafia density, the number of votes obtained by the PSI reached 10% against a previous average of 6.6% at municipality scale. In the district of Ciaculli, stronghold of the Greco clan, the result of this party went from 5.6% to 23.47%, well beyond the result obtained by the same party at national level. Since then, the results of no other ballot have been studied, we are therefore reduced to speculation. At the parliamentary elections of 2001, however, the center-right won all the constituencies in Sicily and many were the politicians belonging to this coalition who have subsequently been convicted of complicity with the mafia (see below). Along with this interference of the mafia in the governance, elected officials and political leaders in turn participate in mafia-like activities.

Politics and mafia-like policies

The world of politics sometimes helps to perpetuate the mafia phenomenon by guaranteeing a certain degree of impunity to its authors. However, unlike what was observed during the years of the
Cold War (1948-1992), impunity has become relative at the judicial level, as evidenced by the imprisonment of a large number of mafiosi. On the other hand, in Palermo, 80% of the companies
and shops are still paying the
pizzo (the mafia tax). By not efficiently fighting against the practice of racketeering, public powers legitimize de facto, and unwillingly, this source of income for the mafias.

Every year the EURISPES (European Institute for Political, Economical, and Social Studies) presents a geo-economical state of the Italian mafias. In 2008 they stored up 130 billion Euros, which represent 10% of the brought-in wealth in Italy. The main source of illegal accumulation of capital is drug trafficking (59 billion Euros). “Ecomafias” [Muti, 2005], whose criminal activities (cement and waste cycles, illegal trade of works of art and animals) undermine the environment, yield 16 billion Euros, whereas the illegal trade of weapons and other kinds of illegal trade yield 5.8 billion. Racketeering, with an annual turnover of 9 billion Euros, and usury, 15 billion Euros, let the mafia earn some 250 million Euros a day.

Some brave politicians pay with their lives their determination to denounce these crimes. In 2008 and 2009 two mayors and a town councilor were murdered for resisting to the Neapolitan Camorra. However, the most significant murder was that of the vice-president of the Regional Assembly of Calabria, Francesco Fortugno, killed in October 2005 for trying to put an end to the arrangements between mafia and politics in the health sector.

By contrast, the president of the Region of Sicily, Salvatore Cuffaro, and Senator Marcello Dell’Utri (right-hand man of Silvio Berlusconi and founder of the Forza Italia party) were sentenced on appeal in 2010 for complicity with a mafia association. Moreover, it is not uncommon that members or close associates of the government engage in complaisant statements with regard to the mafia. The most emblematic came from the former Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Pietro Lunardi, who on August 22, 2001 acknowledged on the news of Canale 5: “Mafia and Camorra have always existed and will always exist: unfortunately, they are there and we must live with this reality; […] these Camorra problems, everyone will solve them as he wishes.”3 Pronounced in the aftermath of the electoral victory of the center-right coalition (May 13, 2001), these words in the mouth of the person in charge of all public invitations to tender are to say the least ambiguous. Recently, it was the turn of the Secretary of State for the Application of the governmental program of the team in power, Daniela Santanchè, to declare: “We must limit phone-tapping because the mafiosi as well are entitled to a private life.”4 Also, these words come along with certain political decisions that do not help in the fight against the mafia phenomenon. For instance, on January 31, 2002 the government refused to grant the association Libera the authorization to teach in schools what should be legality face to the reality of the mafia phenomenon.5 The high number of conflicts of interests is also a good example of behaviors that are incompatible with the antimafia fight. It is common for some lawyers, also center-right-wing deputies, to conduct the defense of the mafiosi.6 The judges who pursue conniving politicians are accused of “doing politics,” to “engage in a civil war”7 or else to be “serving the communists.”8 While 2,000 mafia homicides were committed in the 1990s, at the same time9 the government removes police escorts to some judges in a country where 24 judges were murdered between 1971 and 1992.

The different governments led by S. Berlusconi have sponsored several laws and regulations not very compatible with the antimafia fight. During his mandate, one can count three amnesty laws allowing the repatriation of illegally exported capital (2001, 2003 and 2009); several regulations of unauthorized construction favoring the “ecomafias”; the reduction of the limitation period for the offense of false statement in account, reduced from fifteen years to seven for companies listed on the Stock Exchange and to four for other companies (law No. 366 passed by the Parliament on October 3, 2001); the non-ratification of the treaty with Switzerland aiming to improve cooperation in the fight against crime (law No. 367 of October 5, 2001); the promulgation of laws complicating the collection of evidence by investigating judges; the refusal to vote the extension of the European arrest warrant for crimes concerning corruption, fraud and money laundering;10 the ban on publishing phone-taps contents in the media (the so-called gag law) in June 2010. This list is to say the least eloquent when one also considers the fact, for example, that at regional level the vice-president of the Regional Assembly and delegate to Town and Country Planning in Sicily, Bartolo Pellegrino, took part in 2002 in a meeting with the head of the mafia family of Monreale. The politician went so far as to give legal advice to allow his interlocutor to recover some property seized by the judiciary.

In October 2008, the press revealed that a “repentant” had stated, for the first time, the name of the Italian media tycoon, Silvio Berlusconi, who was according to him the speaker of the mafiosi when they organized several bombings in 1993. These bombings stopped when the Cavaliere came to power in 1994. From that year on, the fourth parliamentary antimafia commission, which met from 1992 to 1994, published a report on relations between mafia and politics11 mentioning the tight links between the entourage of the candidate for the Presidency of the Council and the mafiosi. This document shows how mafia-like terrorism fueled the crisis of the Italian political system (1992-1994), which lead to the establishment of the Second Republic. If the mafia is after all in its role when it uses violence, on the other hand one can wonder about the motivations of conniving politicians. Indeed, while the mafia cannot exist without the connivance of politicians, politics without mafia is possible.

The antimafia fight

Italy is often considered as a laboratory for political sciences, because even if the Italian mafias are secret criminal associations the available sources for researchers are legion. Now, transparency and antimafia fight make Italy a case in point in Europe. Transparency arises from the fact that the judiciary in this country is independent, in that it is governed by the constitutional principle of the obligation of the criminal action (the prosecutor receiving a complaint is required to initiate an inquiry, regardless of the case) and from the fact that careers of the staff of the judiciary as well as case management depend on the Superior Council of Magistracy, a principle introduced by the members of the Constituent Assembly of 1946-1948.12

Regarding the antimafia fight, it goes back to 1962, when the first parliamentary antimafia commission meets, whose antimafia report, although shy, paved the way for Members of Parliament.13 After many years of practice, a useful legislative device could be developed despite the mafia violence that hit the ruling elites of the Italian Republic. In 1982, the head of the Sicilian mafia, responsible for the assassination of the Deputy and regional Secretary of the Italian Communist Party Pio La Torre and of the General and Prefect of Palermo Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa, makes a huge strategic mistake. On September 3, 1982, the Members of Parliament enact a law on the crime of mafia-like association [Rizzoli, 2010] and on the seizure and confiscation of mafia property (No. 646), and establish a high commission for the antimafia fight. In the early 1990s, in a geopolitical context marked by the end of the bipolar world, the deputies introduce strict clauses in various areas: the prison system is hardened (article 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, laws No. 203 of July 12, 1991, and No. 185 of August 7, 1992) in order to cut the mafioso from his territory as much as possible (as it should also respect human rights) and thus to weaken his power; invitations to tender are subject to strengthened control (law ​​of May 13, 1991, No. 152); the dismantling of an elected assembly because of mafia infiltration is made easier (law of July 22, 1991, No. 221); the resort to collaborators of justice called “repentants” is established (law of March 15, 1991, No. 197). This last legislative device, crucial for the antimafia fight, provides information on these criminal organizations and gives back to the legally constituted State all of its place. To this day, thanks to this law, at least 3,000 mafiosi have thus left the world of crime. Realizing the extent of the threat, the Sicilian mafia decided then to use the ultimate stage of planned violence, terrorism, committing from 1992 to 1993 some six murderous attacks.

Determined not to be overawed, the center-left majority (1996-2001) leads an efficient economic policy that manages to bring the unemployment rate below 20% in the South of the country. During this period, the government also strongly supported the civil society, which fully involved in the antimafia fight. As a results from a national petition promoted by Libera, the largest association for antimafia fight, the government passed a law14 that plans to reintroduce in the legal system all confiscated property likely to have a socially useful function, such a text being unique in the world. While after the seizure properties are usually sold or abandoned, this law makes it possible to recycle them for the benefit of the population: some houses that previously belonged to the mafiosi are for example transformed into cultural centers, care facilities for drug addicts, or accommodation places for illegal immigrants, the very same people to whom the mafia sells drugs or that are exploited in its farms. The latter can also be dismantled to make way for cooperatives, to the great displeasure – it goes without saying – of the mafiosi.

Drawing on the laws relating to the seizure and confiscation of illicit property, the government takes great care to undermine the economic power of the mafiosi. Thus, according to estimates by the Confcommercio,15 240 billion lire (equivalent to 124,8 million Euros) were seized from the mafias and were returned to the circuit of the legal economy during the mandate of Romano Prodi.16

The implementation of this law has proved so efficient that the objective is now to vote in all European Union member countries a similar text, as advocated by the European Commissioner to Justice, Jacques Barrot. Indeed, since the killing of August 15, 2007 in Duisburg (Land of North-Rhine-Westphalia, in Germany) when six Calabrians were murdered by the ‘Ndrangheta,17 Europe has really become aware that the mafia is not just an Italian problem.

Works Cited

Antimafia Investigation Department publishes an annual report (since 1993), available on the Internet.

Chinnici, Giorgio, and Umberto Santino. La Violenza Programmata: Omicidi e Guerre di Mafia a Palermo dagli Anni ’60 ad Oggi. Milan: F. Angeli, 1989.

Claval, Paul. Espace et Pouvoir. Paris: PUF, 1978.

Dalla Chiesa, Nando. Delitto Imperfetto. Milan: Mondadori, 1984.

Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Trans. Alan Sheridan. New York: Vintage, 1995.

Fourth Parliamentary Antimafia Commission of the 11th Legislature. “Relazione sui rapporti tra mafia e politica (reporting member: Violante).” Mafie e Antimafia: Rapporto ‘96. Ed. Luciano Violante. Rome: Laterza, 1996.

Maccaglia, Fabrizio. “Italie: Anciennes et Nouvelles Mafias.” Questions Internationales 26, July-Aug. 2007.

Muti, Giuseppe. “La Criminalità Ambientale, Analisi Geoeconomica e Geopolitica Territoriale nella Regione Europea.” PhD thesis. U. de la Sorbonne – U. La Sapienza, 2005.

Pantaleone, Michele. Antimafia Occasione Mancata. Turin: Einaudi, 1996.

Rizzoli, Fabrice. “De San Luca à Duisburg, la faida et la ‘Ndrangheta.” Les mafias: analyse au quotidien d’un phénomène complexe. 28 Oct. 2011 <http://www.mafias.fr/?p=208>.

Rizzoli, Fabrice. “L’État Italien Face au Terrorisme et à la Criminalité.” État et Terrorisme: Actes du Colloque du 12 Janvier 2002, Paris. Ed. Démocraties. Paris: Lavauzelle, 2002.

Rizzoli, Fabrice. “L’Italie, Ses Déchets, Son Béton, Ses Mafias.” Libération 16 July 2008.

Rizzoli, Fabrice. “Les mafias et la Fin du Monde Bipolaire: Relations Politico-Mafieuses et Activités Criminelles à l’Épreuve des Relations Internationales.” PhD thesis. U. Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne), 2009.

Rizzoli, Fabrice. “Pouvoirs et Mafias Italiennes: Contrôle du Territoire Contre État de Droit.” Pouvoirs 132, January 2010.

Cliquez : POWERS AND THE ITALIAN MAFIAS

Santino, Umberto. “Per una Storia Sociale della Mafia.” Cited in: Augusto Cavadi. A Scuola di Antimafia Palermo: Centro Impastato, 1994.

Santino, Umberto. L’Alleanza e il Compromesso: Mafia e Politica dai Tempi di Lima e d’Andreotti ai Nostri Giorni. Soveria Manelli: Rubbettino, 1997.

Violante, Luciano. Il Ciclo Mafioso. Rome: Laterza, 2004.

1 Giulio Andreotti was chief of the government from February 1972 to June 1973, from July 1976 to March 1979 and from July 1989 to April 1992.

2 Antimafia parliamentary commission, 11th Legislature, hearing of Salvatore Annacondia, cited by Luciano Violante, Mafie e Antimafia (Rome: Laterza, 1996) 163.

3 Francesco Viviano and Alessandra Ziniti, “‘Convivere con la mafia’ – Lunardi nella bufera,” La Repubblica, 22 Aug. 2001.

4 “Santanché difende privacy dei boss – Pd e Idv: ‘Governo prenda le distanze,’” La Repubblica, 18 May 2010, 28 Oct. 2011 <http://www.repubblica.it/politica/2010/05/18/news/santanch-4163399/>.

5 Decree of January 10, 2002: Luciano Violante, Il Ciclo Mafioso (Rome: Laterza, 2004) 38.

6 See in particular the case of the under-secretary of the Ministry of Interior, debated in the Chamber of Deputies, shorthand proceedings, session No. 15, 12 July 2001, 81.

7 Comments of the President of the Council, cited by the weekly magazine Panorama on November 8, 2001 and repeated during a press conference in Granada in front of the Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar on November 13, 2001, Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (Ansa), November 13, 2001.

8 This accusation has been uttered several times by the President of the Council in person. For the last one, see: “Berlusconi a sorpresa a Ballarò – ‘Mills? I giudici sono comunisti,’” La Repubblica, 27 Oct. 2009, 28 Oct. 2011 <http://www.repubblica.it/2009/10/sezioni/cronaca/processo-mills/berlusconi-ballaro/berlusconi-ballaro.html>.

9 Between 1992 and 1993, annual report of the Minister of the Interior to the Parliament: Violante 17.

10 On December 4, 2001, in Brussels, the representatives of the governments of the European Union met in order to decide on the list of crimes subjects to a European arrest warrant. Member States agree on a list of 32 crimes, but Italy suggests only seven crimes, among which corruption, fraud and money laundering are not included. Totally isolated on the European stage, Italy ends up by coming around to this measure after the European summit of Laeken on December 14-15, 2001: La Repubblica 15 Dec. 2001.

11 Fourth antimafia parliamentary commission of the 11th legislature, Report on the relations between mafia and politics (by Luciano Violante), approved on April 6, 1993.

12 Two thirds of the Superior Council of Magistracy are composed of judges elected by their peers and the Bench really controls the judicial police.

13 Act of Parliament, Chamber of Deputies, 5th legislature, Parliamentary commission for the inquiry on the mafia phenomenon in Sicily, final report (by L. Carraro), Rome 1976, 113.

14 Passed in 1995 (No. 575/95) and reinforced in 1996 (No. 109/96).

15 The Federation of Italian Traders issues yearly statistics on the Italian economy.

16 This amount of money corresponds to some 865 real-estate properties. Only 6 to 7% of the patrimony of the mafia could be seized, and only about 3% was confiscated and allocated for social purposes: Violante 38.

17 Fabrice Rizzoli, “De San Luca à Duisburg, la faida et la ‘Ndrangheta,” Les Mafias: analyse au quotidien d’un phénomène complexe, 28 Oct. 2011 <http://www.mafias.fr/?p=208>.

Violence programmée chez La Cosa Nostra

Mafias.fr, le site, open source et gratuit, d’information sur les mafias n’en finit pas de publier :-)

L’auteur du texte La Cosa Nostra se porte bien remet le couvert et c’est toujours aussi réussi. Avec un soucis du détail qui nous plonge dans l’univers des mafieux italo-américains, Antoine Diaz enrichit la pauvre prodution de ce site en matière de mafia itlalo-américaine ; un seul article (cf. Un boss de La Cosa Nostra se livre au FBI).

Il faut dire qu’avec 4 mafias en Italie, il y a déjà faire… mais surtout, il est difficile de « maîtriser » une mafia quand on ne lit pas avec aisance les sources dans la langue du pays d’origine. Ici, le texte transpire le terrain racconté par des acteurs américains. J’adore apprendre que le mafieux de la rue est nommé « chat de goutière ». Enfin, l’auteur du texte a toujours ce petit regard moral qui me sied (cf. Mafia et différences) mais il ne conditione pas l’analyse comme en témoigne l’élaboration d’une typologie de la violence mafieuse outre-atlantique (photo en hommage au film Donnie Brasco)

Click and enjoy :

Mafias : ancrage local, pouvoir transnational

Mafias.fr devient une bibliothèque universitaire :-)

L’étude du phénomène mafieux amène à penser les notions de territoire et d’expansion. On constate souvent qu’une mafia ne peut se démunir du contrôle d’un territoire donné (cf. ‘Ndrines, armes et contrôle du territoire) mais tire aussi profit de la mondialisation  (cf. Vengeance transversale ou conséquence de la mondialisation?) au point  d’être une force transnationales (cf. ‘Ndrines transnationales).

Nous publions ici un mémoire universitaire (résumé et texte intégral en PDF) qui traite de cette dualité. Il est écrit par Céline Torrisi, diplômé de l’IEP de Grenoble et actuellement en master 2 recherche « Administration, Droit et Développement Territorial »  à la faculté de droit de Grenoble. Celine Torrisi prépare un doctorat (quelle idée! cf. Mafias italiennes et relations internationales) en co-tutelle avec l’université Federico II de Naples sur un des deux thèmes suivants: « Etat, mafia et territoire: la structuration territoriale de l’Etat à l’épreuve du crime organisé, l’exemple de l’Italie » ou sur « le phénomène des infiltrations mafieuses au sein des administrations locales. » Sur le plus long terme, Céline pourrait préparer les concours de la magistrature en Italie (elle doit être subversive puisque d’après le président du Conseil, les magistrats sont dans la logique du coup d’état). Celine  Torrisi est retournée vivre en Italie depuis 4 ans, ( aucun avenir pour elle donc :-) ), ce qui n’a fait que confirmer sa passion pour la vie politico-institutionnelle de ce pays (irrécupérable!).

Résumé :

paridis fiscaux carteDepuis le 11 septembre 2001, les démocraties occidentales n’ont de cesse de focaliser leur attention sur un élément qu’elles considèrent comme leur plus grande menace : le terrorisme. De cette façon elles semblent laisser de côté un autre danger : la criminalité organisée. Le choix des mots n’est pas anodin. L’effet que l’on désire susciter est altéré selon que l’on parle de criminalité organisée ou de mafia. En effet parler de la criminalité organisée confère davantage de pesanteur au discours et peut être davantage de crédit. Cependant parler de la mafia fait souvent sourire, ou suscite une certaine fascination chez les individus. Pourtant ces deux expressions désignent un même phénomène, bien plus redoutable qu’on ne se l’imagine et ce pour plusieurs raisons. D’une part parce que la mafia n’apparaît que comme un mythe pour la grande majorité des individus. D’autre part parce que la lutte contre la criminalité organisée est devenue un objectif secondaire tant au sein des Etats occidentaux qu’au sein des organisations internationales. Enfin parce que contrairement à ce qu’on pourrait nous laisser croire les mafias ont su parfaitement s’adapter au processus de la mondialisation. Ce dernier a même accentué le danger qu’elles représentent. Si la criminalité organisée n’a jamais été un phénomène purement et uniquement sicilien, il n’empêche que le processus de mondialisation, compris comme un processus neutre de diffusion de certaines normes traduites au niveau local par l‘ Etat, a largement favorisé la criminalité organisée lorsqu’il ne l’a pas renforcé. La facilitation des communications et des déplacements, la déréglementation de l’économie, la création d’un espace mondial ouvert ont eu des conséquences néfastes dont le renforcement et l’expansion des mafias.
Affirmer que le processus de mondialisation a eu des effets négatifs ne doit pas être interprété comme relevant d’un dialogue altermondialiste. Notre but n’est pas d’expliquer exhaustivement le processus de mondialisation de la criminalité organisée mais d’essayer de voir en quoi la mondialisation a fait des mafias des puissances capables de contrôler un territoire local tout en rayonnant sur la scène de l’illégalité transnationale. Ainsi nous partirons d’un constat : la criminalité organisée est aujourd’hui un phénomène transnational. Mais les mafias présentent une caractéristique particulière : pour exister elles ont besoin d’un ancrage local sans lequel elles sont comme la pieuvre sans la tête, vide de toute capacité d’action. Ce n’est que par souci d’étendre leur puissance qu’elles se sont mondialisées. On se demandera alors comment il est possible qu’une organisation transnationale, illégale, menace d’envergure pour les démocraties les plus solides, organisation à l’origine de nombreux détournements de fond, de catastrophe sanitaire telle la crise des déchets à Naples, retienne si peu l’attention des organisations internationales, des Etats, et des individus ? Selon nous, les mafias sont aujourd’hui des réalités qui ont su tirer profit de la mondialisation mais dont la nature réelle est voilée par la persistance d’un mythe au sein de l’imaginaire collectif. Aussi nous semble-t-il que les mafias opèrent un va et vient constant entre mondialisation et ancrage territorial. Or les Etats et les organisations internationales sont impuissants face à au nouveau visage de la
criminalité organisée.
En s’appuyant sur l’exemple de la crise des déchets à Naples, symbole de la puissance de la Camorra et de la faiblesse de l’Etat italien on s’attachera à démontrer que la mondialisation permet à la mafia de s’ériger en puissance transnationale en intégrant illégalement l’activité légale(I). Mais elle lui permet également de renforcer sa territorialisation par le contournement discret des normes internationales et nationales (II). Ce contournement est d’autant plus dangereux que les Etats et les individus ne semblent s’attacher qu’aux phénomènes visibles et exceptionnels et non aux phénomènes invisibles et constants comme la criminalité organisée (III).

Le mémoire :

 

POWERS AND THE ITALIAN MAFIAS

POWERS AND THE ITALIAN MAFIAS

TERRITORIAL CONTROL VS. THE LEGALLY CONSTITUTED STATE

Fabrice Rizzoli phd graduate Italian mafias and international relationships

translation of this article in french politi and constitutional revew

In Italy, the mafia does not exist. The Sicilian mafia-like organization is called Cosa Nostra, in Calabria it is called the ‘Ndrangheta, in Campania, the Camorra, and in Apulia, the Sacra Corona Unita. The four mafia-like organizations, which are generically referred to as the mafia for the sake of simplicity, look alike without being identical. The reader can visualize their historical areas of influence in the following map.

Unlike the Chinese or the Russian phenomena, the Italian mafias are scientifically known, because Italy is a democracy (police, public freedom, independent magistracy, press freedom, pluralism of political parties, university researches, etc.), a political system enabling the production of sources. From 1962 to January 2006 the Parliamentary Commission for the Inquiry into the Mafia was regularly in session and the opposition could present its own report, called “the report of the minority”. Although a verdict on the culpability or innocence of a person under investigation does not give an account of the intensity of the connections between the mafiosi and the ruling class, it is possible to analyze the deeply motivated decisions of the legal system on the other side of the Alps. More recently, geopolitics – the study of the interaction between the territory and the actors on the political stage, their objectives and their strategies – has proven effective for overcoming the interdisciplinarity of the subject “mafia”. By the reappropriation of the instrument of inquiry, geopolitics enables to link seemingly isolated facts together, to rationally interpret them to gain a complete picture between politics, business and criminal associations. Source analysis shows that the history of Italian mafia-like organizations is a history of power management.

The mafia is a political actor that exerts an authority by means of violence. The power of the mafia is based on the accumulation of capitals and their exploitation in a business-like manner. The mafia benefits from social consensus and possesses a political dimension that makes it indispensable for part of the ruling class. The Italian State is one of the best equipped against mafia-like powers.

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE MAFIA: SYSTEMATIC VIOLENCE AND RETICULAR TERRITORIAL CONTROL

A political entity rival to the State, which competes with it for the legal use of violence, the mafia shows its power by means of intimidation. The mafia uses systematic violence to obtain a social network. Systematic violence, sparingly used by a small number of criminals, provides them with a comprehensive control of the populations. Indeed, thanks to violence, which breaks up solidarities and isolates individuals, the mafioso is at the center of society.

Mafia-like violence, also called “planned violence”, founds a parallel legal order. Within the clan, violence awards prestige. Mafia-like execution is a decision of justice used symbolically, as a language. In 1993 a bomb in a church means that the Sicilian mafia holds a grudge against the pope for taking a stand against it. On August 15, 2007, in Duisburg, the clan Nirta-Strangio orders the killing of seven members of a rival family on the day of the Assumption of Mary, as a response to the murder of Maria Strangio on December 25, 2005. When a citizen does not respect the rules imposed by the mafia, they can be murdered even years after their default, in order to make mafia-like law everlasting and more powerful than that of the legally constituted State. Thus, in Calabria, a clan killed a farmer eight years after he refused to sell a piece of land. The mafia eliminates in particular those people that have eluded the Italian law. In a symbolical manner, it takes away from the State its prerogative “justice”. For instance, in September 2008, in a small town near Reggio Calabria, two drivers argue over a parking spot. One of them pulls out a gun and kills the other driver, who is the son-in-law of the local mafia boss. Understanding the extent of his gesture, the murderer runs away. The relatives of the victim arrive on the scene of the accident and try in vain to transport the boss’s son-in-law to the hospital. They leave the corpse in front of the cemetery to gain time against the Italian law. The Calabrese mafia family must indeed apply “planned violence”. The person who committed the crime and who has not turned himself to the Italian law is found murdered with a bullet in the back of his head in Rome twenty-four hours later. The Calabrese clan has just relegated the Italian State to an entity inferior to the mafia: a mafia capable of dealing out a lightning justice.

Violence is equally used to prove the ability to govern the territory. To carry out the checkering of the terrain, the mafias lean on a military power. The four mafias, an army without a uniform, have 24,000 armed soldiers who control the territory of the mafia. In Naples, since the earthquake of 1980, the Camorra has taken control of some areas. The clans seized some reconstructed buildings to accommodate some families without the authorization of the town council. Families feel indebted to the camorrists and protect them in their escape. These “forts” of the Camorra are unique in Europe. Sicily is divided into provinces, which are divided into mandamento, cantons that group together at least three mafia families. In Calabria, the territorial unit is the locale. The cities of Palermo, Naples, and Reggio Calabria are divided into areas as shown in the following map.

Using this type of criminal political subdivisions, the Italian mafias “levy taxes” by systematically extorting money from economic businesses. In Palermo and in Reggio Calabria, 80% of all storekeepers pay the pizzo, the “tax” imposed by the mafia. Racketeering is a demonstration of power and an opportunity to accumulate capitals.

FROM THE ILLEGAL ACCUMULATION OF CAPITAL TO THE INFILTRATION IN THE LEGAL ECONOMY

Every year, the EURISPES (European Institute for Political, Economical, and Social Studies) presents a geo-economical state of the Italian mafias. In 2008, they stored up 130 billion Euros, which represent 10% of the brought-in wealth in Italy. The main source of illegal accumulation of capital is drug trafficking (59 billion Euros). “Ecomafias”, the criminal activities that undermine the environment (cement and waste cycles, illegal trade of works of art and animals), yield 16 billion Euros, whereas the illegal trade of weapons and other kinds of illegal trade yield 5.8 billion. Racketeering, with a turnover of 9 billion, and usury, 15 billion Euros, let the mafia earn 250 million Euros a day.

Since the beginning of the economic crisis, the great amount of available funds has allowed the mafias to win contracts and to invest in the legal economy. According to the Association of Italian Traders, clans invest in construction (37.5%), agriculture (20%), tourism (9%), shops and restaurants (7.5%), due to the strong flow of money that characterizes these activities. We will not go in depth into the topic of this type of infiltration, as it has been effectively treated by other researchers, but we will insist on the porosity of the boundary between illegal and legal activities, of which the “ecomafias” are a paradigm.

The “ecomafias” are a perfect example of the convergence of mafias, economic circles, and certain parts of the administration. The entrepreneurs and the “white collars” – real driving force behind the “ecomafia” system – address mafia-like associations to bury waste in southern Italy or in Africa. In this, the “ecomafias” are a symbol of the perverse effects of globalization and an indicator of the vitality of the mafias. These, which are not the result of economic underdevelopment, as evidenced by their deeply-rooted presence in the United States and northern Italy, are a cog in a dynamic economy (see map below).

The numerous investigations of the magistracy show for instance a strong presence of the four mafias in one of the richest provinces in Europe. The mafiosi extort money, distribute drugs and have many legal businesses.

However, on the territories of the mafia, the population lives in a state of relative underdevelopment. In the South, the unemployment rate is twice as large as in the rest of the territory (about 20%) and reaches 50% in the disadvantaged areas of Naples and Palermo. In these areas, the mafiosi cut off access to drinking water to make the population obey them. These “favors” are in fact rights that the Italian State does not guarantee: a job, a loan, a place in a hospital, etc. These rights do not exist because southern Italy lives in an “organized underdevelopment” that allows the mafiosi to create consensus around their power.

FROM SOCIAL CONSENSUS TO THE “MAFIA BOURGEOISIE”

To receive the consensus of the population, the mafias lean on a system of values (clan organization, secret, rituals, myths) that compete with the foundations of democracy.

Any mafia is based on the notion of clan. Members – male, white, Catholic – form in a given territory a mafia family, a cosca in Sicily, a ‘ndrina in Calabria… The Sicilian cosca is not based on biological ties. One enters by cooptation and by a very special curriculum, which should not show any relationship with the police or with judges called “infamous”. The typical Calabrese mafia family is built on blood ties. The husband of a woman (biologically belonging to a mafia family) may be part of the clan. Indeed, the groom is bound to her by the “mixed blood” that flows in the veins of their children.

The mafia family ensures group cohesion, protects its members from external threat and maintains client-like relationships with people outside the organization. In return, the mafiosi are fully available to the organization and implement all instructions from their superiors. The mafia family has always priority on the biological family. In southern societies, where the trust in institutions is lacking, the mafia family, tyrannical but sympathizing, presents an image of power that reinforces its aura among populations.

The mafia has a cultural code by which there exists a myth common to the three main mafias. The legend sings the praises of Osso, Mastrosso, and Carcagnosso, three knights fleeing the Spanish Inquisition to form secret justice societies, respectively Cosa Nostra in Sicily, the ‘Ndrangheta in Calabria and the Camorra in Campania. Tracing the mafia back in time and making people believe it is based on an idea of ​​justice help create a consensus among the population.

The code states that the mafia-like organization is based on secret. Affiliates must hush up its existence. Like organized crime, the mafia, pragmatic, works underground to protect itself from repression, but in the mafia world secret possesses a symbolic power, emphasized by the mystical-religious rite of affiliation. The recruit, “baptized” by his peers and sworn to become a “man of honor” (the mafiosi do not use the word “mafia”), has the impression of belonging to a higher world. The rite of affiliation is a line of demarcation between the mafia and the rest of the society, a border that makes the mafia an entity higher than the State.

The mafiosi impose secrecy to outsiders by killing those who do not respect the law of silence, the omertà. In Campania, the Casalesi clan ordered the murder of a witness seven years after he had made his statement to the police. By killing those citizens who speak, the mafiosi have made the omertà a “myth”, to the point where they make people believe that the omertà is an integral part of the southern society. By murdering, the mafia turns omertà into a cosmogonic law, higher than human values, ​​and persuades many citizens that one cannot overcome it. In Catania, a mother delivered her 18-year-old son to the clan so that he could be killed. The young man, already a seasoned killer, wanted to collaborate with the law.

All these cultural constructions (the clan, secret, myths, and the law of silence) lead to the idea that the mafia is all powerful and therefore invincible. With the myth of invincibility, populations accept the existence of the mafia as inevitable and can become the silent victims or accomplices.

The cultural code creates a “humus” that is conducive to the natural reproduction of complicity. Around the clan there is always a supportive community. This safety net is essential to the mafias and, ultimately, the strength of the mafiosi relies on their ability to accumulate and use social capital. The network of the mafia, a constellation where people with heterogeneous social background, culture, and appearance coexist, is an instrument, or even a component of power. “The poorest social groups are the recruiting area of labor for the mafias. The heads of the mafia-like organization are able to seal a pactum sceleris with the highest levels of political and economic power, high society”. In Sicily, the Cosa Nostra criminal organization has 5,500 members, that is 0.11% of the Sicilian population. Each mafioso operates within a frame of relationships of complicity that form a network of a hundred thousand people. These people belong to the world of politics, business, freelance professions and administration. This forms a social body, a “private club”, a “mafia bourgeoisie”, capable of influencing politics.

THE INFLUENCE ON POLITICS

Mafia power feeds on its relation to politics. This relation expresses itself in a tortuous way. However, it follows a perennial logic. Confronted with a political mafia, the world of politics symmetrically reinforces the power of the mafia by making decisions favorable to the mafia and securing a certain degree of impunity. This is known as “mafia-like production of politics”.

The actions of politicians perpetuate this phenomenon in a particular cycle. Mafia-like organizations do not recognize the State monopoly on the use of force and employ planned violence. Institutions do not impose their judicial prerogatives by not preventing, for example, the use of extortion: impunity reigns. By legitimizing de facto the non-recognition by the mafia of the monopoly of violence by the State, public powers promote it as a sovereign and rival institution.

The mafia, which is a political actor but not the main character on the political stage, has never expected applying this prerogative as a substitute of the official representatives. This is why it promotes the election of people who are “available” to defend its interests. By influencing the vote of the citizens, the mafias switch parties easily, or willingly rely on currents in a large formation. Pragmatism, economic interest, protection, or even impunity, are the reasons for creating or breaking an alliance. Mafia encourages duplicity in politicians and tolerates that a conniving politician passes laws against it. The mafioso acts respectfully towards the politician and likes to deal with them as an equal. The relationship between the mafia and politics is based on reciprocity: their relations feed on influence, pressure, reciprocal interaction and exchange of favors (support during political campaign in exchange for public contracts). Complicity is evident on a local scale: since 1991 the State has disbanded 171 town councils because of infiltration. At the national level, the grounds for the decision of the release of Giulio Andreotti are emblematic. The Supreme Court says in its final decision on October 15, 2004 that the most important political figure of the first Italian Republic is guilty of participating in a mafia-like association until 1980, but the facts are statute barred.

Since the beginning of the second Republic in 1994, other trials have underlined collusion between political and business circles and the Sicilian mafia, at a time when the latter was planting bombs in Sicily (1992), and in Florence, Milan and Rome (1993). The purpose of these attacks was to establish a new political system after the collapse of the system supported by the Christian Democracy. Indeed, the second Republic was born in 1994 with the accession to power of a coalition of new right-wing parties. Defeated in parliamentary elections in 1995, but again in power from 2001 to 2006, the center-right-wing coalition has engaged in a major mafia-like political production. On August 22, 2001, the Minister of Infrastructure Pietro Lunardi said during an interview on the news of channel Cinque that it was necessary to “coexist” (convivere) with the mafia. Is this statement – favorable to the power of the mafia – the result of ignorance or an appreciation for the victory of the center-right in all of the 61 Sicilian constituencies? Then, from 2001 to 2006, the policies of the center-right were marked by the absence of political will for the implementation of a European arrest warrant, by laws intended to avoid criminal punishment for false statement in account, by the impunity for those who repatriate illegally exported capital, by laws on conflict of interest and especially by the non-respect of justice. These policies are guided by a neoliberal ideology: that of an economy without rules, without transparency and governed solely by the balance of power. Indeed, the economic ideas promoted by the center-right are the same that the mafias support.

Despite this mafia-like production of politics, the Italian State fights against the mafia with sophisticated legal instruments.

THE LEGALLY CONSTITUTED STATE AND THE MAFIA

In September 1982, the legislator inserted into the Criminal Code (in Article 416 bis) an ad hoc incrimination for belonging to a mafia-like association. The main purpose of the new law was to compensate for the inadequacy of the law on criminal conspiracy. The legal successes resulting from the introduction of this article are undeniable. Article 416 bis has overcome many difficulties in terms of the conducting of trials against the mafias. After the first doubts about the constitutionality of these laws were quickly dispelled, interpretative difficulties disrupted the work of the judges. Indeed, willing to define what the mafia is from a sociological point of view, the legislator introduced a number of technical legal problems. The definition of 416 bis is based on the “mafia-like method”, characterized by the use of intimidation in conjunction with the associative link that influences the population. The problem here is convicting people who profit from the reputation of their mafia family. Taking “planned violence” into account, it is understandable that a request for extortion from a mafia family is more daunting than that from a short-lived clan. Sometimes the threat needs not be expressed. The mere fact that the name of a mafia family circulates in an invitation to tender suffices for other competitors to withdraw their bid. In addition, the legislator has even given the mafia a political dimension since 1992 with Article 11 bis and ter, by depicting it as a criminal association capable of influencing the electoral votes: “[…] the association is mafia-like when those who are part of it […] prevent or interfere with the free exercise of vote or provide votes for themselves or to others on the occasion of elections”. In fact, the electoral exchange is difficult to prove, because the complicity expresses itself in a subtle way, as evidenced by the crime of external participation in a mafia-like association.

In the late 1980s, the introduction of the crime of complicity in a mafia-like association formalized the existence of a criminal social body. Originally, the crime was not contemplated by the Italian Criminal Code. Indeed, Article 416 bis punishes members of the mafia for participating in a mafia-like association. The judge therefore has to prove that the person under investigation is a member of the criminal organization. This law is poorly adapted to fight against the network of the mafia, thus the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court has developed the concept of “external participation in a mafia-like association” to convict the conniving politician, banker, or agent of the intelligence services. Although not part of the mafia, the fiancheggiatori (those who are on the side) contribute to a system of favors and collusion that reinforces the power of the mafia. The crime of complicity in a mafia-like association is the legal instrument that aims to fighting mafia bourgeoisie and the political weight of the mafia. Out of 7,190 proceedings started in Italy between 1991 and 2007, 2,959 resulted in a dismissal (archiviazione), 1,992 were sent to a trial court, and 542 convictions were pronounced (against 54 judgments of non doversi procedere). The high number of dismissals of charges impedes the assessment of the effectiveness of the current definition of “external participation”. However, thanks to this legal construction, the court of first instance sentenced Marcello Dell’Utri – founder of the Forza Italia party – to eight years in prison for having objectively strengthened the power of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra.

Italian law loves nuances. It also provides for the figure of the favoreggiatore, a word that derives from favorire (support, promote), which can be translated as an act of complicity, but which denotes the act of helping a mafioso in his business without necessarily supporting the mafia organization as a whole. In January 2008, the President of the Region of Sicily Salvatore Cuffaro welcomed being convicted only of the crime of favoreggiamento at first instance. Salvatore Cuffaro has nevertheless allowed the richest man in Sicily (a member of Cosa Nostra) to “accredit” the care of his private clinic, so that they could be reimbursed by the State. Salvatore Cuffaro resigned. He is now a senator and he is protected by the “impu-immunity”.

Italian law provides for the “extended confiscation” of illegally acquired properties, for their use for social purposes (Act of March 7, 1996), for the legal control of invitations to tender, and for the dismantling of an elected assembly because of infiltration. Finally, the introduction in 1992 of the law on cooperators with the police – criminals who have turned state’s evidence – allowed the study of the phenomenon from the inside and caused a crisis in certain mafias. Above all, by providing a legal framework for the mafioso, so that he can quit the mafia, the State promotes legality against the abuse of mafia-like power.

Violence, accumulation of capital, social consensus, and political collusion are “extra-legal powers” that underpin the longevity of the mafias and form the mafia-like political system. This systemic criminality seems to be a structural way of governance in Italy.

Since the end of the antagonism between the two blocs, which had ordained the mafias as containment against the communist threat, the Italian State has weakened the power of the mafia. In particular, it counters impunity by imprisoning a large number of mafiosi. However, the mafias control the territory at all scales (region, province and municipality), as evidenced by the maps presented in this paper. They also have a transnational dimension, embodying those movements of information, money, goods, and people in which State actors become scarce. Main characters of the integrated global economy and a reflection of this new order, the mafias are structural and systemic phenomena of a globalization that has blurred the boundaries between “legal” and “illegal” (need for labor but criminalization of the immigration, prohibition of drugs that are increasingly consumed, etc.).

Given the 59 billion Euros that the Italian mafias alone store up each year through drug trafficking (main source of illegal accumulation of capital), given the increase in drug use despite prohibition policies, one wonders whether it is time to create the conditions for a calm debate on a possible public regulation of drugs across the European Union. States would thus have a chance to resize the economic power of the mafias and to increase their own authority in the eyes of the population.

SUMMARY

The four Italian mafia-like organizations are secular political entities that control a territory through the application of systemic violence. They accumulate capital and infiltrate the legal economy. Constantly in search of social consensus, they form with their accomplices a criminal social body – the “mafia bourgeoisie” – that strongly influences politics. The Italian State is constantly trying to confine this competition.

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Mafia (en italien)
Observatoire Géopolitique Criminalités