Saturday, May 6, 2017

George Anastasia: Five Myths About The Mafia

Veteran organized crime reporter and author George Anastasia (seen in the below photo) offers a piece in the Washington Post on five myths about the mafia.

The Tribeca Film Festival ended last month with screenings of “The Godfather” and “The Godfather: Part II.” The purpose was to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the first film, which pumped new life into a genre that had dominated the movie industry in the 1930s. Released at a time when the American Mafia was losing its hold on the underworld, the movies offered a romanticized version of “the life,” a version that celebrated “men of honor” and omerta. In many ways, the movies have served as training films for second- and third-generation Italian American gangsters, who moved from the urban centers of their immigrant grandparents to homogenized suburbs where Sunday dinner is served at the Olive Garden and espresso comes in four flavors at Starbucks. The movies have also reinforced several myths about the Mafia that, ironically, the actions of those in the next generations quickly dispelled.


The Mafia doesn’t deal drugs.

In “The Godfather,” Michael Corleone became a gangster after his brother Sonny was brutally slaughtered on the causeway in a dispute over drugs. Don Vito Corleone’s avowed opposition to narcotics trafficking helped create the perception that drug dealing was against the rules. Testimony at real-life mob trials reinforced that canard. “Our policy was against drugs,” mobster turned government witness Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano said while testifying against mob boss John Gotti in 1993.

 The reality is that as far back as Lucky Luciano, the mob has been in the drug business. In 1959, Vito Genovese — who gave his name to one of the five New York families — was imprisoned on drug charges, as was his low-level crime family soldier Joe Valachi. Drugs have generated billions of dollars in income for the mob over the decades.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Note: Myth number six about the Mafia: They don’t call themselves the Mafia. According to former members who became cooperating witnesses and wiretap recordings, the word Mafia is never used. 

Cosa Nostra, “Our Thing,” which Mr. Anastasia notes in his piece, is the name insiders call the organized crime group. And not La Cosa Nostra, which in Italian would be “The Our Thing.”   

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