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Living in Italy - Related Articles and Further Reading
By: Sharon White, Tue Jan 30th, 2007
For most people when they hear the word Mafia, it is the Sicilian Mafia that comes to mind. Those who belong to the Cosa Nostra, prefer to call themselves 'men of honour' or 'men of respect' rather than Mafia. The original Mafia finds its roots in the local land protection and thuggery but during the Fascist years they were repressed and in many areas contained, but in 1945, the Mafia developed an alliance with the United States armed forces.
It was the state that bestowed authority on Mafia families so that they might collect the taxes from the people. This was lucrative as 10% commission was taken by a few leading mafia families; this money was invested either in legal enterprises, or sent to Swiss and Latin America banks.
The economic problems of the 1970's showed that the political elite could not fulfil the commitments of law and order, which the mafia had been allowed to control by the use of protection rackets and intimidation. There solution to the problem was to throw money at the South, which bred violence and it was at this time that the mafia gained real economic power and 'became its own master.'
The Mafia's growing control on the state's legislation, economy, politics and even education made the government start Antimafia policy which aimed to evolve new laws, judicial reforms and bank controls to fight against Mafia.
One of the key turning points in the fight against the Mafia was the discovery in May 1981, of a membership list detailing Propaganda Due (P2), a renegade Masonic lodge. It was revealed within the list that almost one thousand of Italy's leading establishment figures belonged to this lodge, including 12 generals of the Carabinieri, 22 army generals, 8 admirals, 4 Air Force generals, the head of the Navy chiefs of staff and the heads of Italy's secret services as well as judges, journalists, and media tycoons, including the current Italian Prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi.
Another key turning point in the fight against the Mafia occurred a year later. 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. 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.
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.
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 can exercise control elsewhere in different countries and would ensure its eventual survival.
The article was produced by the writer of masterpapers.com.
Sharon White is a 5-years experienced freelance writer and a senior manager of computer research paper services support team. Contact her to get cover page for term paper tips.
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