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Studies in the mafia’s lemons

Big news on Mafia money. Queen’s University, Belfast declares on February 7 2008:

Researchers from Queen’s, in collaboration the University of Manchester and the University of Gothenburg, have uncovered new evidence to suggest that the Sicilian mafia arose to notoriety in response to the public demand for citrus fruits.

Who knew? Well , in 2012, this academic paper produced at the university of Gothenburg us:

In this paper, we study the emergence of an extractive institution that hampered economic development in Italy for more than a century: the Sicilian mafia. Since its first appearance in the late 1800s, the origins of the Sicilian mafia have remained a puzzle. In this paper, we develop the argument that mafia arose as a response to an exogenous shock in the demand for oranges and lemons, following Lindís discovery in the late 18th century that citrus fruits cured scurvy.

And this from 2009:

And improbable as it sounds, the birth of the Cosa Nostra, in part, was down to…the lemon…

The first evidence we have for the Mafia is in an account by one Dr Galati. Galati was certainly not the first to be persecuted by the Mafia, but he was the first person to leave a detailed account of his dealings with them. In 1872 Galati came to inherit a pristine four-hectare lemon grove only a ten-minute walk from Palermo. However, all was not well inside its walls. Its previous owner, the doctor’s brother-in-law, had died of a heart attack following a series of threatening letters. Some time before he died, he learned that the sender of these letters was a warden on his own grove, Benedetto Carollo, who had dictated them to someone who was literate. He said that he swaggered around the grove making wild threats against Galati and it was well known that he creamed at least twenty per cent off the sale price. He even stole coal for the steam engine. Eventually lemons started to go missing from the grove. Orders couldn’t be met and the grove got a bad reputation. Carollo was trying to ruin the grove so as to buy it himself. Galati sacked him and hired a replacement.

Some ‘good friends’ of Carollo’s came around and advised that Galati should take him back, but Galati refused.

At approximately 10pm on 2 July, 1874, Carollo’s replacement was shot several times. The hitmen had built a platform behind a stone wall so as to shoot him in a winding back lane. This method became a staple of early Mafia hits. The police were called and they tactfully ignored Galati’s convictions that it was Carollo, arresting instead two men who had no connection with the victim and then promptly releasing them. He received a series of threatening letters, seven in all, which said it was a disgrace for a ‘man of honour’, such as Carollo, to be fired.

Eventually he was forced to flee the country after a series of attempts on his life.

And there’s a book:

As Helena Attlee writes in her history of Italian citrus, The Land Where Lemons Grow, “the speculation, extortion, intimidation, and protection rackets that characterize Mafia activity were first practiced and perfected in the mid-19th century among the citrus gardens of [Palermo].” In fact, the association was so strong that some historians and political economists now think the group actually arose directly from the citrus trade: life gave them lemons, and they made organized crime.

And another book:

Ever since it was born in the fragrant lemon gardens of Palermo a century and a half ago, a sworn brotherhood has pursued power by cultivating the simple, terrible art of killing people with impunity.

That cutting-edge research, then, bit of a lemon…

Spotter: Tim Worstall

Posted: 8th, February 2018 | In: Money | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

London Man Urinated In ‘Self-Defence’ At Waterloo Station To Rid Himself Of Mafia Poison

MICHAEL Jones, 50, says he was “urinating in self-defence” at Waterloo train station, London.

On May 3, City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court learns that, allegedly, Jones was urinating in public.

His brief tells the court:

“He urinated in self-defence because the water supply was poisoned by the Mafia. He had to get rid of the poison from his body.”

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Posted: 3rd, June 2011 | In: Strange But True | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Those Top Ten New York Mafia Nicknames: 1000 Alleged Mobsters Arrested

IN New York and New Jersey, over 100 alleged mafiosi with links to surnames ending in a vowel like the Gambinos, Genoveses, Luccheses, Bonannos and Colombos have been arrested. The nicknames are golden.

The Top Ten:

Vinny Carwash
Junior Lollipops
The Beard
Tony Bagels
Johnny Bandana
The Vet

Posted: 21st, January 2011 | In: Strange But True | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Drugs And A Toddler Implicated In Mafia Murder Caught On Camera

mafia-11PSST! Wanna see a man being murdered in Mafia hit in Naples?

Having already brought you the death of murder of Chongkham Sanjit by Indian police, we now present for your enjoyment the murder of another man in broad daylight.

Murder is not to be confused with the images that “some viewers might find distressing” of peoples screaming in pain on the nightly news as they pick flail in the bloody aftermath of a car bomb. This is murder. This is really gruesome. That is merely war.

So here is “the horrific footage”, of a man being shot three times by an assassin outside a Naples bar.

Says the Telegraph, on whose site this is the most popular story right now:

As the victim slumps to the ground, the hitman then finishes him off with a bullet to the head and calmly walks away. Blood can be seen spreading onto the pavement from the head of the dead man, who is still holding a cigarette in his hand.

Roll credits. It’s not real. It’s the media. It might be a viral video for a new detergent or the new shoot-em-up video game Mafia VI: Fukka Yous-a. You are invited to look. Look. Look.

The man on t he pavement – the one you are gawping at – is called Mariano Bacio Tarracino. And, as reported, he is “believed to have been connected to a mafia clan involved in a drug trafficking turf war with a rival group”.

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Posted: 30th, October 2009 | In: Reviews | Comments (20) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Italian Mafia Seek To Head Off Bread Threat From Lancashire

PSST! Wanna buy some bread?

After yesterday’s news of the Lancashire mafia, today we learn that the Italian mafia have noted the threat, moving to nip in the bud the threat posed by Morris’s Quality Bakers, (Baker Street, Coppull, Chorley).

The Guardian reports that “city officials and investigators suspect Camorra clans are behind many of the 1,400 unlicensed backstreet bakeries in and around the city which supply hundreds of street vendors who sell loaves out of car boots – and they may be spreading into selling other basic food products.”

Yeah, car boots. Shoppers would do well to check the rolls for signs of blood and bits of missing person’s teeth and hair.

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Posted: 15th, September 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Strange But True | Comments (5) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Lancashire Mafia Wants Gordon Brown Out

“LANCASHIRE MAFIA SPRING HIT ON BROWN,” says the Mail on Sunday’s front page.

No, no Gordon Brown’s not got his own death cult. He’s not that exciting. It’s just the tabloids love to talk of Mafia when MPs are revolting: Tafia (Welsh MPs), Rafia (Ex-forces MPs), Fifafia (Football mad MPs), Dafia (Duck-faced Mps), Jafia (MPs Biscuit and Snacks Select Committee) and so on…

So here’s the Lancashire mafia. “Ta-ra-luv,” say the Lancashire mafia as they dispatch their mark with a rogue Eccles cake.

And the Laffia the are getting rid of the capo, wher is Jack Straw, MP for Blackburn, Lancashire:

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Posted: 14th, September 2008 | In: Politicians, Tabloids | Comments (7) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0