Globalization and Organized Crime

The Sicilian Cosa Nostra and the Breakdown of Omertà

Frank Costello - Kefauver Committee
Globalization and Organized Crime : The Sicilian Cosa Nostra and the Breakdown of Omertà - Carsten Schmiedl


Prior to the 1986 Maxi Trials, relatively little was known about the Sicilian Cosa Nostra. Its omertà, or code of honor, had held strong. But the success of the trials was only possible through the testimony of pentiti, or turncoats, at the expense of the code of honor. What caused this breakdown? As the organization became increasingly globalized, the older bonds of trust and honor that originally defined the omertà became weaker, facilitating the conditions for defection. The effects of globalization are visible in five areas: profit-making opportunities, organizational structure, the code of honor, political ties, and the anti-mafia movement. The Cosa Nostra’s continued existence today has implications for perceptions of the Italian government's legitimacy.


The 1992 bombings that killed magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino — only weeks apart near Palermo, Italy — were a response to growing threats to the Sicilian Cosa Nostra. The ‘Maxi Trials,’ spearheaded by Falcone and Borsellino, had devastated the organization: 342 guilty verdicts were handed down to its estimated 3,000 members by 1992.[1] The guilty verdicts would not have been possible without the testimony of pentiti, or ‘turncoats’ – former members turned witnesses. The most prominent and important of these was Tommaso Buscetta, a former high-ranking Cosa Nostra ‘man of honor,’[2] whose testimony and discussions with Falcone were indispensable to today’s understanding of the organization. His testimony also had a cascading effect as pentiti numbers rose: by 1996, more than 400 turncoats from the Cosa Nostra had provided testimony under witness protection, including other ‘star witnesses’ such as Salvatore Contorno.[3]

Testifying was not without risk. The Maxi Trials themselves were held in a bunker courthouse with reinforced concrete walls to protect against violent retaliation. Furthermore, by testifying, ‘men of honor’ were breaking the sacred rule of Cosa Nostra membership: the code of honor, or omertà, which prohibits cooperation with government authority at all costs.[4] Given these risks and the organization’s long-standing structural continuity until that point,[5] why did the code of honor break down?

Several scholars have posited explanations. For example, Sterling contends that new “Mafiosi logic” had destroyed all Cosa Nostra principles, leaving only “furor, way, and blood…all for money.”[6] Arlacchi makes a similar argument, claiming that Mafiosi priorities became wealth-oriented in the 1960s and 1970s, weakening organizational ties.[7] Dickie argues the rise of the Corleonesi made both of Buscetta’s worlds — Sicily and abroad — no longer safe for him or his family, so defection with witness protection was the best option.[8]

While these explanations have merit, this paper argues that this breakdown must be viewed within the context of globalization. To do so, it first defines ‘Cosa Nostra’ and ‘globalization.’ It then explores the effect of globalization on five aspects related to the organization: profit-making opportunities, organizational structure, the code of honor, the anti-mafia movement and political ties. As the Cosa Nostra became more globalized, increasing profit-making opportunities and a growing but less-coherent organizational structure undermined the older bonds of trust and honor that originally defined the omertà. As a result, the anti-mafia movement gained momentum, lowering the disincentive for defection. At the same time, while the Cosa Nostra’s seemingly vast political ties could be viewed as a mechanism of protection from the effects of globalization, they were ultimately ineffective and are a better indication of its adaptability. Nonetheless, despite its apparent weakening, the Cosa Nostra continues to exist, which has implications for Italy today.

Defining Terms: 'Cosa Nostra' and 'Globalization'

For the purposes of this paper, ‘Cosa Nostra’ refers to the Sicilian ‘mafia,’ the criminal organization that began in western Sicily in the early 1830s and has largely remained there since.[9] Other southern Italian ‘mafias’ such as the Calabrian ’Ndrangheta and Neapolitan Camorra have been grouped with the Cosa Nostra in scholarly analyses,[10] but as Dickie argues, “no other Italian illegal society is nearly as powerful, as well organized, or as successful” as the Cosa Nostra.[11] Furthermore, a wealth of information is available on the Cosa Nostra due to the Maxi Trials. This facilitates analysis of a subject where information is generally scarce due to criminal organizations’ inherent secrecy. This paper therefore focuses exclusively on the Sicilian-based criminal organization known as the Cosa Nostra.

It is also necessary to define ‘globalization’: the “widening, deepening, and speeding up of worldwide interconnectedness” such that as time passes there is “increasing evidence [of globalization] in every sphere, from the economic to the cultural.”[12] This includes the criminal sphere: as Ceson argues, “all markets [are] tending towards globalization, and illicit markets are no exception.”[13] ‘Globalization’ is undoubtedly a broad term. Using such a term to pinpoint a specific time when the organization became ‘globalized’ may therefore be inherently challenging. Nevertheless, as the following sections reveal, this is sufficient for the purposes of this analysis because it seeks to explain the effect of an overall trend whose effects are visible through inter-temporal comparison.

Profit-Making Opportunities

The breakdown of omertà began with profit-making opportunities increasingly made available to the Cosa Nostra as result of globalization. When the Cosa Nostra was originally formed in the early nineteenth century, Sicily was relatively isolated — both politically and economically — compared to the twentieth century. The organization originally profited from the lucrative citrus industry in Sicily, threatening to destroy slow-growing lemon tree groves if they did not receive a share of the wealth.[14] While only one example, it is indicative of the limited sources of revenue available in relative economic and political isolation.

As Italy became increasingly interconnected during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, increasing profit-making opportunities in Sicily became available to the Cosa Nostra. For one, following the Second World War, higher investment in Sicilian development by the Italian government led to a greater number of high-demand public sector jobs. As a result, Palermo’s population increased by 20% between 1951 and 1961.[15] This created lucrative urban business opportunities, such as construction contracts, that the Cosa Nostra took advantage of.[16] So even locally in Sicily, the Cosa Nostra benefited from the forces of globalization.

But the Cosa Nostra’s most lucrative opportunities came from its involvement in smuggling contraband. In the 1940s and 1950s, cigarettes were smuggled between Sicily and the mainland by ‘men of honor’ such as Tommaso Buscetta.[17] But it was the Cosa Nostra’s rapidly increasing involvement in narcotics that made them millionaires almost overnight.[18] In the mid-1950s, the U.S. adopted harsher laws increasingly designed to punish narcotics trafficking. In response, an agreement was reached in 1957 between the Cosa Nostra and American mafia leadership to involve the Cosa Nostra in importing heroin to the U.S.[19] This was a win-win situation: it created a lucrative source of financial gain for the Sicilian organization while lowering the risk of domestic prosecution for its U.S. counterpart. In the 1970s, when President Nixon’s war on drugs intensified and prison sentences for narcotics violations increased further, the U.S.-based La Cosa Nostra closed its heroin production plants in Marseilles. The Cosa Nostra filled the supply void immediately by bringing the chemists from Marseilles to Sicily to re-establish heroin factories there.[20] And in 1975, a Turkish arms and narcotics dealer opened a direct supply of morphine from China and the Golden Triangle to Sicily, where single contraband shipments weighed up to five hundred kilograms.[21] As a result, annual averages of world heroin seizures increased dramatically from 187 kilograms between 1947 and 1966 to 6,153 kilograms in 1982, largely due to the Cosa Nostra’s involvement.[22] Thus, lucrative profit-making opportunities resulting from increased economic interconnectedness led to dramatically increased income flow.

The organization attempted to further increase profits in narcotics in the late 1980s by gaining a foothold in the cocaine market. At one point, it was receiving shipments of up to 560 kilograms of pure cocaine from Colombia for distribution.[23] But this was ultimately less successful as the Maxi Trials began shortly thereafter. In sum, the effects of globalization on profit-making opportunities are clear: as interconnectedness increased, so did lucrative — but illegal — sources of wealth.

Organizational Structure

These increased profit-making opportunities had a profound impact on the Cosa Nostra’s organizational structure. Prior to globalization, the organization was compartmentalized, consisting of a large number of separate cosche or small groups with their own capo or leader. Inter-cosche relations were thus unregulated and volatile; they could be hostile at times and cooperative at others.[24] But they largely acted independently. In other words, in isolated, less-integrated Sicily, the structure of the Cosa Nostra was defined by de-centralization and compartmentalization.

But with the Cosa Nostra’s foray into narcotics, increased coordination was needed to maximize profits. The cosche were too small to organize the logistics of heroin trafficking on their own.[25] Membership had to expand. New members were increasingly recruited by their “criminal weight” and not blood-ties, as was done before.[26] In addition, regional commissions were formed, whereby capos would report to regional leaders. In the 1970s, as narcotics involvement further increased, a commission for all of Sicily was formed.[27] The top of the hierarchy was gaining greater influence over previously disparate cosche: for example, when the Corleonesi ran the Cosa Nostra in the 1980s, the organization became a ‘dictatorship’.[28] The consequence of this expansion and lesser emphasis on direct organization ties was that members were now more exposed. The old compartmentalized structure had kept members directly accountable to one another. They were less likely to implicate fellow members with whom they shared blood ties, and they shared in carrying out illegal activity together. However, with a more integrated structure, regional and organizational leaders now knew about illegal activity in the entire organization. Illegal activity became less anonymous. A leader’s testimony could now implicate members in the entire organization, unlike before. Thus, as the organizational structure evolved to capitalize on new profit-making opportunities, it sacrificed some of the structural security that protected its members in the past.

Omertà: The Code of Honor

As a result of increased profit-making opportunities and an evolving organizational structure, the ties of omertà were significantly weakened. The self-perception of ‘men of honor,’ as their chosen title suggests, was that they acted honorably. This stemmed from Sicily’s long history of lawlessness. Prior to globalization, both before and after the unification of Italy, citizens had little protection from criminals. Centuries of corrupt and brutal governments, including Arab-Berbers, foreign conquerors and Sicilian feudal lords, created deep distrust among Sicilians of public authority because their individual security was never ensured.[29] This environment gave the Cosa Nostra a raison d’être: despite its violent nature, it filled the vacuum left by ineffective government by providing security to citizens who preferred the private justice it administered over that provided by the state. In essence, the Cosa Nostra acted as a para-state in competition with the ‘traditional’ government. Furthermore, because strong traditional government was lacking, there was little resistance to the organization’s growth.[30] In this context, it is easier to understand why the omertà was adhered to so strongly. Indeed, it shaped every moment of a ‘man of honor’s’ life, never forgetting the oath of silence made to fellow members.[31] According to Hess, the behavior of ‘men of honor’ according to the rules of omertà is the “ever-present simmering reflection” of this historical experience of inept government.[32] This historical experience undoubtedly had a galvanizing effect on ‘men of honor,’ who viewed their actions as just and honorable given the circumstances.

The relative isolation of pre-globalization Sicily also kept the ‘men of honor’ geographically close. Like the organizational structure, communications within Cosa Nostra were strictly compartmentalized.[33] As a result, the blood-related family — the core of Sicilian mafia groups — placed a high cost on disloyalty and cheating: if a ‘man of honor’ defected and fled to a foreign country, remaining family members would face the consequences.[34] In other words, there was a system where ‘men of honor’ were acutely aware of the consequences of defection, namely harm to immediate family members, creating a strong incentive to remain loyal to the omertà.

Then the forces of globalization began undermining these foundational ties. One reason was increased geographic distance. As the international organization became more global in scope — the additional profit-making opportunities and evolving organizational structure necessitated travel to maximize financial gain — ‘men of honor’ went further away. They often brought their families, meaning lower risk of retaliation against family members for defecting. At further geographic distances, there was also a lower risk for retaliation against members themselves.

In the 1960s and 1970s, this increasing distance also coincided with the rising importance of wealth in the minds of the Cosa Nostra’s ‘men of honor,’ further weakening the omertà. Sicily became increasingly exposed to the influence of outside culture. Politicians arrived showcasing material wealth such as cars, spawning the notion that money was needed to get respect.[35] Wealth became “intrinsically honorable, and confer[red] honor on its possessors.”[36] Whereas before wealth was a necessary but insufficient condition for becoming a ‘man of honor,’ it was quickly becoming a sufficient one. By the 1980s, ‘men of honor’ were buying more local small and medium companies to increase their influence through financial gain.[37] They were becoming businessmen. Financial wealth was thus increasing in importance relative to omertà – largely resulting from the influence of outsiders.

As a result of this trend, older Mafiosi became less invested in teaching newer Mafiosi the pillars of omertà. By the mid-1980s, it became difficult to fortify the code of honor: new members began to relate Cosa Nostra affiliation more with economic success, and often joined explicitly for that reason – not simply to become Mafiosi, as Paoli argues occurred before globalization. Indeed, omertà was subscribed to only superficially.[38] In sum, as a result of increasing interconnectedness, the code of honor evolved from a value-based system into one emphasizing profit. This served to weaken the foundational bonds of trust and honor that once determined its strength.

The Anti-Mafia Movement

To understand the rise of the pentiti, it is also necessary to consider the effect of globalization on a factor external to the organization: the anti-mafia movement. Before Italian unification, it was non-existent: Sicily’s lawless environment ensured the organization’s autonomy and weak governing power meant threats to its existence were minimal. Indeed, a primary goal of mafias is to supply protection in their territory of origin through extra-legal governance — essentially acting in place of the government.[39] This was precisely what occurred in pre-globalization Sicily: territorial sovereignty ensured impunity from government interference.

After unification, the Italian government initially paid little attention to the Cosa Nostra. As Hess argues, the Cosa Nostra “enjoyed a relatively undisturbed heyday until the beginning of the 1980s, particularly as public attention (and that of the Italian police and justice systems) was focused on…terrorism.”[40] Anonymity was further possible because so little was known about the organization before the ‘turncoats’ — particularly Buscetta — testified.

However, success in illegal narcotics markets brought attention to the organization. This was largely due to the work of Judge Falcone, who discovered the Cosa Nostra’s role in the international heroin trade through his own initiative and successfully brought it to trial.[41] By the second half of the 1980s, governmental interest in addressing narcotics problems further increased, galvanizing the anti-mafia movement. The Cosa Nostra was again targeted by law-enforcement investigations for its role in the transcontinental heroin trade.[42] In response, the Cosa Nostra’s openly challenged state sovereignty through ‘excellent cadavers,’ or murdered political and judiciary figures intended to deter further investigation.[43] While this eventually culminated in the murders of Falcone and Borsellino, bringing international attention to the Cosa Nostra,[44] it also strengthened the anti-mafia movement: almost every Italian anti-mafia law was preceded by the murder of a state prosecutor.[45] Furthermore, it gave rise to the new ’41-bis’ prison system to safeguard pentiti, new investigative procedures and incentives to collaborate.[46] Thus, globalization exposed the organization’s illegal activities and galvanized the anti-mafia movement. And in providing pentiti with greater protection, the potential consequences of defection — including physical harm to ‘men of honor’ and their families — were lessened. As a result, ‘men of honor’ faced a lower disincentive to breaking the code of honor and defecting.

Explaining Defection

Thus far, this paper has argued that the forces of globalization facilitated the rise of the pentiti by shaping both factors internal and external to the Cosa Nostra. Internally, a globalized Cosa Nostra became more interested in making profits. Its organizational structure adapted accordingly by increasing in size but sacrificing traditionally recruitment strategies. The more interconnected organization also put individual ‘men of honor’ at greater risk. For the code of honor, the effects were devastating: profit making took priority over its more traditional pillars of honor and trust, and fewer members adhered strictly to its original principles. Externally, the Cosa Nostra’s increasing involvement in narcotics ultimately galvanized the anti-mafia movement. Essentially, globalization involved a long process of de-legitimizing the omertà. The original value system of acting ‘honorably’ was replaced by profit making as these factors gained importance and the livelihoods of ‘men of honor’ and their families were increasingly put in harm’s way. The incentive for staying loyal to omertà gradually decreased, while the incentive to defect increased given the risks and more robust protection available to pentiti. And when the pentiti finally did come forward, the omertà only further discredited.[47]

This is not to discount other scholars’ explanations. As described in the introduction, these include a destruction of organizational principles, emphasis on profit making and the increasingly unsafe world for ‘men of honor.’ However, more so than individual variables, the rise of the pentiti should rather be contextualized within the trend of globalization. Increased emphasis on profit making may have weakened omertà but it is difficult to imagine defection without the incentives provided by the anti-mafia movement. Likewise, such incentives would be ineffective without weakening the bonds of omertà. Therefore, their combined effects ultimately created the circumstances facilitating defection. This provides a more robust explanation than any single variable.

Political Ties

Finally, it is necessary to discuss the role of political ties for a ‘globalized’ Cosa Nostra. This is a potential counter-argument to the aforementioned thesis that in fact reveals the organization’s adaptability and the importance of omertà in the organization’s survival.

As a result of globalization, the Cosa Nostra’s complex relationship with politics evolved. With Italian unification in the late nineteenth century, politicians had newfound interest in gaining Sicilian votes — and the Cosa Nostra, given its local influence, could guarantee them.[48] In return, the organization gained political capital that could be leveraged to gain lucrative public tender.[49] It also took advantage of increasing funding from the mainland. Starting in 1947, billions of lire began flowing into Sicilian banks for development, but the banks were under regional supervision — not Italian Central Bank control — until 1982. Obtaining public contracts from those funds thus became the “most lucrative business in Sicily.”[50] And in the 1970s, senior ‘men of honor’ joined Masonic groups based in mainland Italy,[51] allowing closer contact with businessmen and politicians, broadening their influence. Increasing interconnectedness therefore meant more political capital for the Cosa Nostra, and additional influence in political decision-making.

Perhaps most notably, the Cosa Nostra’s political ties were used as a tool for survival. This is seen in its relationship to former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. As a result of a meeting with the Cosa Nostra arranged by his future senior advisor, Marcello Dell’Utri, Berlusconi’s investment fund Fininvest laundered 300 million lire of the organization’s money.[52] Dell’Utri later negotiated a ‘friendship contribution’ of 200 million lire per year from Berlusconi to the Cosa Nostra. Later, Berlusconi pursued policies favorable to the Cosa Nostra. Life sentences — a ‘thorn in the flesh’ for Mafiosi — were abolished; high security prisons in Asinara and Pianos designed exclusively for pentiti were destroyed; ‘turncoat laws’ changed such that only testimony given within 180 days of arrest counts, thereby “halv[ing] the value of state witnesses”; pentiti testimony can now only be admitted as evidence if confirmed by two additional witnesses.[53] He also attempted to fund the construction of a bridge between Sicily and the mainland, a project long desired by the Cosa Nostra, and attempted to lessen the use of wiretapping practices in anti-mafia investigations.[54] Neither policy was ultimately enacted,[55] but their consideration hints at the potential magnitude of the Cosa Nostra’s influence on political outcomes and the power of the individual political relationships it has cultivated. And while Dell’Utri ultimately landed in prison, laws favoring corrupt politicians and ‘men of honor’ remain in place.[56]

These political relationships have also directly influenced corruption investigations. Following Judge Borsellino’s death, a deal was struck where further violence was renounced in exchange for “an end of criminal persecution and political pressure on the Mafia, an end to the confiscation of Mafia property, and the abolition of the state witness regulations for turncoat Mafiosi.”[57] Cosa Nostra leaders reported back to their fellow ‘men of honor’ that they “were in good hands” with Forza Italia, Berlusconi’s party.[58] While it is inherently difficult to determine the true extent of the Cosa Nostra’s political ties, these examples provide — at worst — a partial picture. At minimum, they suggest an organization with potentially significant political capital.

This appears to suggest that the Cosa Nostra’s political ties actually protected the organization from the forces of globalization. After all, these ties yielded advantageous policies. However, they could not repair the broken ‘code of honor.’ Combined with promises of increased protection from government, increased risk and weakening bonds of trust between other ‘men of honor,’ the disincentive to defect was low enough to facilitate the pentiti’s rise. In fact, this reveals the significance of the omertà to the Cosa Nostra’s survival: the code of honor was broken in spite of these strong political ties. A strong omertà, therefore, is indispensible to its survival.


Nonetheless, due to this adaptability, the Cosa Nostra still survives. It leveraged political relationships and consciously lowered the number of ‘excellent cadavers’ as Italy gained international recognition for its anti-mafia efforts.[59] This decreased the movement’s momentum and made funding the movement more difficult, as examples of the ‘mafia problem’ became increasingly rare. It also established rigid procedures to authorize the murder of other ‘men of honor’ — lowering the 2003 murder rate in Sicily to one twenty-fifth of that recorded in 1991 — to draw less attention to its activities.[60] This works, as Jamieson suggests, because most politicians and businesspeople do not want to be reminded of the Cosa Nostra’s continued existence.[61] It has also focused on more low-profile crimes and became more conservative in recruitment.[62] This all suggests a highly adaptable organization that, despite the forces of globalization and the rise of the pentiti, still survives.

For Italy today, this has several implications. Italy currently lags behind fellow West European states in Transparency International’s corruption index rankings: in 2014 it ranked 69 of 175 total countries, while other West European states are ranked between 1 and 37.[63] A December 2014 New York Times article also described Italy’s collective “gasp” upon hearing about recent revelations of political corruption in Rome.[64] Similar ‘progress reports’ are not uncommon. While this paper does not address the origins such perceptions of corruption, the continued existence of organizations such as the Cosa Nostra do not help Italy’s image within the European Union or the world as a country intent on reform. Indeed, it suggests that the status quo seems to prevail. Little political will to definitively address the issue appears to exist in the absence of ‘excellent cadavers.’ Similar perceptions will remain unless this changes.


This paper has argued that the breakdown of the omertà and rise of the pentiti must be considered in the context of globalization. Increasing profit-making opportunities transformed the organization’s structure, thereby weakening the code of honor and giving rise to the anti-mafia movement. While political ties appear vast, they did not repair a damaged code of honor. In combination, these factors created the circumstances necessary to facilitate the pentiti's defection. Nonetheless, the Cosa Nostra has been able to evolve for survival. Its survival strategy has been brilliant; it deserves ‘credit’ for eliminating the momentum galvanizing the anti-mafia movements by remaining hidden. And unless Italy can generate the political will necessary to definitively address the issue, current perceptions of the government’s legitimacy will persist. Future policy should thus reflect a commitment to a comprehensive assessment of the organization’s current capabilities. In its absence, the Cosa Nostra may rise again in the future.

Notes & References

  1. John Dickie, Cosa Nostra: A History of the Sicilian Mafia (New York: Palgrave McMillan, 2004), p. 18.
  2. Claire Sterling, The Mafia: The Long Reach of the International Sicilian Mafia (London: HarperCollins, 2005), p. 341.
  3. Letizia Paoli, Mafia Brotherhoods: Organized Crime, Italian Style (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), p. 207.
  4. Ibid., p. 109.
  5. Federico Varese, Mafias on the Move: How Organized Crime Conquers New Territories (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011), p. 104.
  6. As quoted in Sterling, The Mafia, p. 341.
  7. Pino Arlacchi, Mafia Business: The Mafia Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (London: Verso, 1987), p. 60.
  8. Dickie, Cosa Nostra, p. 17.
  9. Varese, Mafias on the Move, p. 13.
  10. Letizia Paoli, “Mafia, Camorra and ’Ndrangheta,” in The Oxford Handbook of Italian Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), p. 1.
  11. Dickie, Cosa Nostra, p. 21.
  12. Anthony McGrew, “Globalization and global politics,” in The Globalization of World Politics: An introduction to international relations, ed. John Baylis, Steve Smith, and Patricia Owens (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), p. 16.
  13. Maria Luisa Ceson, “Mafia-Type Organizations: The Restoration of Rights as a Preventive Policy,” in Global Organized Crime and International Security, ed. Emilio C. Viano (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 1999), p. 162.
  14. Dickie, Cosa Nostra, p. 39.
  15. Ibid., p. 222.
  16. Henner Hess, Mafia & Mafiosi: Origin, Power and Myth (London: C. Hurst & Co. (Publishers) Ltd., 1998.), p. 186.
  17. Ibid., p. 277.
  18. Dickie, Cosa Nostra, p. 277.
  19. Anneliese Anderson, “Organised crime, mafia and governments,” in The Economics of Organized Crime, ed. Gianluca Fiorentini and Sam Peltzman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), p. 40.
  20. Ibid., p. 40.
  21. Arlacchi, Mafia Business, p. 215.
  22. Ibid., p. 215.
  23. Alison Jamieson, The Antimafia: Italy’s Fight Against Organized Crime (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000), p. 161.
  24. Hess, Mafia & Mafiosi, p. 79.
  25. Anderson, Organised crime, mafia and governments, p. 47.
  26. Petra Reski, The Honoured Society: My Journey to the Heart of the Mafia (London: Atlantic Books, 2012), p. 52-53.
  27. Dickie, Cosa Nostra, p. 236.
  28. Anderson, Organised crime, p. 238.
  29. Alexander Stille, Excellent Cadavers: The Mafia and the Death of the First Italian Republic (London: Vintage, 1996), p. 15.
  30. Jamieson, The Antimafia, p. xxi.
  31. Paoli, Mafia Brotherhoods, p. 108.
  32. Hess, Mafia & Mafiosi, p. 177.
  33. Dickie, Cosa Nostra, p. 236.
  34. Anderson, Organised crime, mafia and governments, p. 45-46.
  35. Arlacchi, Mafia Business, p. 60.
  36. Ibid., p. 60.
  37. Paoli, Mafia Brotherhoods, p. 152.
  38. Ibid., p. 98.
  39. Varese, Mafias on the Move, p. 6.
  40. Hess, Mafia & Mafiosi, p. 186.
  41. Dickie, Cosa Nostra, p. 277.
  42. Letizia Paoli, “Mafia and Organised Crime in Italy: The Unacknowledged Successes of Law Enforcement,” in Italy – A Contested Polity, ed. Martin Bull and Martin Rhodes (New York Routeledge, 2009), p. 202.
  43. Ibid., p. 208.
  44. Jamieson, The Antimafia, p. 162.
  45. Reski, The Honoured Society, p. xx.
  46. Jamieson, The Antimafia, p. 201.
  47. Paoli, Mafia Brotherhoods, p. 99.
  48. Dickie, Cosa Nostra, p. 88.
  49. Paoli, Mafia Brotherhoods, p. 174.
  50. Hess, Mafia & Mafiosi, p. 184-185.
  51. Dickie, Cosa Nostra, p. 283.
  52. Reski, The Honoured Society, p. 140-141.
  53. Ibid., p. 143.
  54. Ibid., p. 147.
  55. Ibid., p. 147.
  56. Ibid., p. 157-158.
  57. Ibid., p. 141-143.
  58. Ibid., p. 141-143.
  59. Jamieson, The Antimafia, p. 196.
  60. Reski, The Honoured Society, p. 208.
  61. Jamieson, The Antimafia, p. 234.
  62. Ibid., p. 201.
  63. “Corruption Perceptions Index 2014: Results.” Transparency International, 2014. (accessed December 17, 2014).
  64. Elisabetta Povoledo, “Italy Gasps as Inquiry Reveals Mob’s Long Reach,” New York Times, December 11, 2014, (accessed December 12, 2014).
Carsten Schmiedl is an M.A. candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Bologna, where he is concentrating on European and Eurasian Studies. Born in Tübingen, Germany, he is a dual citizen of Germany and Canada and grew up mainly in the United States.