Category Archives: USA

The mafia paradise that was Havana

David Flusfeder reviews The Havana Mob: Gangsters, Gamblers, Showgirls and Revolutionaries in 1950s Cuba by T J English

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Charles “Lucky” Luciano

One of the great pleasures in reading any chronicle of the Mafia is the rough street poetry of the names. In the pages of T J English’s enjoyable – yet morally uncertain – account of the rise and fall of the Mob’s Caribbean empire of gambling, pleasure, sin, murder and profit, we come across such figures as Charles “Lucky” Luciano, Vincent “Jimmy Blue Eyes” Alo, William “Lefty Clark” Bischoff, and Nicholas “the Fat Butcher” di Costanzo. Continue reading

Most-wanted mafia killer ’spotted’ in Sicily

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There is $1m on Bulger’s head

Sicilian police have launched a manhunt for one of America’s ten most-wanted criminals after apparently spotting him in Taormina.

James “Whitey” Bulger, 78, has been on the run for 12 years after being convicted on 18 counts of murder and several other charges of running a Mafia operation. There is a bounty of $1 million on his head.

Bulger was the inspiration for the villain played by Jack Nicholson in Martin Scorsese’s film The Departed. Continue reading

Earl Long’s legacy: It’s a crime

When FBI agents this year claimed they found $90,000 in cold cash in Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson’s deep freeze, I immediately thought of how three-time state Gov. Earl Long coped with a similar experience in 1959.

The day before I interviewed Long in Ruston on May 5, 1959, FBI agents raided the governor’s New Orleans Bourbon Street apartment, looking for incriminating financial papers and cash. Continue reading

Giuliani: Mafia Film Buff, Mob Buster

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U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani, center, Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, right, and Benjamin Baer, chairman of the U.S Parole Commission, pose in undercover clothes in this July 9, 1986 file photo, after D’Amato bought what he later told a news conference were vials of crack on a New York City street. Before becoming mayor of New York, Giuliani made a name for himself as the crime-busting federal prosecutor in Manhattan, who steered dozens of high-profile cases to completion, and garnered more than 4,000 convictions over nearly a seven-year stretch, ending in 1989. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK – Rudy Giuliani clearly has a love/hate thing when it comes to the Mafia: celebrates the fictional characters, incarcerates the felonious ones, keeps mum about those in his own family tree.

The former federal prosecutor is both film buff and mob buster, still breaking out his raspy Don Corleone impression and quoting lines from “The Godfather” more than two decades after busting up the New York mob’s ruling hierarchy. Continue reading