Search
Twitter Feed
Sunday
Feb012015

Sicily’s Scarface: Is This Retired Cop a Former Mafia Hit Man?

Numerous reports place a man “with the face of a monster” at the scene of notorious Mafia crimes

by Carl Russo

In my 2014 book, The Sicilian Mafia: A True Crime Travel Guide, I conjure a phantom-like government official described as “a cocaine-sniffing mole with access to personnel files in the prosecutor’s office.” According to numerous witnesses, this mysterious agent was at the scene of some of the Sicilian Mafia’s most horrific massacres of the 1980s and 1990s. Let’s take a look at the suspected killer known across Italy as “Monster Face.”

Coming next to Mafia Exposed!

 

Wednesday
Dec242014

Malarazza: Rocking in the Old World

Sicilian “hicks” strike from the heartland

by Carl Russo

Pino Puglisi“AMMAZZARU lu parrinu!”—“They killed the priest!”—are the words heard rising above deafening cicadas in the dusty Sicilian countryside. A distraught little boy shouts them as he tears across an abandoned ranch, cuing a band of musicians to strike up a rocking lament for the slain cleric. The folkloric tune, recorded in 2012 and titled “Zio Pino,” has just been released as a music video, and it’s become a minor sensation in the land of the Mafia.

Father Pino Puglisi, the “uncle” of the song’s title, was assassinated in 1993 for his very public stance against the mob operating around his tiny parish on the outskirts of Palermo. His story has inspired numerous tributes, from staged plays to comic books to TV cartoons. This rousing number is performed by Malarazza 100% Terrone, a name that reclaims two epithets frequently heaped upon Sicilians by northerners who should know better. Loosely translated: malarazza = bad blood; terrone = hick.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec062014

DVD Capsule Review: ‘Salvo’

Sicilian Mafia story is told in mood, not action

by Carl Russo

Sara SerraioccoSQUEALING TIRES and bursts of automatic fire introduce Salvo, a Mafia warrior who saves his boss from ambush and hunts down the failed assassin at home. Ear-witness to the revenge killing is the victim’s blind sister, who Salvo roughly steals away and locks up at a secret location. Yet despite this violent opener, Salvo is a story told in mood, not action. The setting is no postcard Sicily but rather a chiaroscuro of dark interiors and sun-blasted wastelands.

Saleh Bakri’s title character is silent, brutal and fearsome enough to keep his groveling landlord aquiver. Few words pass between Salvo and his sightless captive Rita, played by Sara Serraiocco with a nuanced blend of helplessness and aggression. Both lead cloistered lives, making these opposites two of a kind. Like all gangster films, a template of violent acts is enforced, but these are practically relegated to subplot as the relationship of Salvo and Rita evolves in unexpected ways. The larger dilemma is whether either of these impaired loners will ultimately see the light.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Nov222014

Mmm Mmm Bonu! Campbell’s Inedible Sicilian Soup

Palermo’s new museum of vintage objects features a gruesome Mafia exhibit

by Carl Russo

Carlo Alberto Dalla ChiesaI DID A DOUBLE take when I came across this photo of a sculpture at Spazio Vintage (Vintage Space), a museum in Palermo overflowing with retro artifacts. The assemblage is a Warholian stack of soup cans under the brand name of Campbello di Licata, a play on the southern Sicilian city of Campobello di Licata.

Siccu, or, in Italian, secco—the word for dry—is a type of thick stew (usually made with beans) that can be eaten with a fork. Sealed with a golden Trinacria, you’ve got a clever faux product that no Sicilian would ever want to eat.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Nov082014

Justice Decried: An Innocent Sicilian Wants Compensation for a Stolen Life

Giuseppe Gulotta was among a group of teens who confessed under torture to murder. He was locked away for 22 years.

by Carl Russo

Giuseppe GulottaON THE FRIGID morning of January 26, 1976, a politician and his police escort were driving along the shoreline road of Alcamo Marina, Sicily, when something caught the eye of a bodyguard: the door of the local carabiniere barracks stood wide open. Stopping to investigate, the policemen stepped inside and found two dead soldiers, full of bullets, sprawled on the floor in a puddle of their own blood.

The victims, Lance Corporal Salvatore Falcetta and officer Carmine Apuzzo, apparently had been attacked in their sleep and robbed of their service arms and uniforms. Later that day, a newspaper office was contacted by an anonymous caller, who said, “The people and the workers bring justice to all the slaves and ranking carabinieri who defend the bourgeois state.” Colonel Giuseppe Russo of Ficuzza organized a manhunt to find the extreme-left terrorists responsible for the murders.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Oct012014

Mafia Boss Totò Riina: Still Crazy After All These Years

Despite the Sicilian godfather’s threats, security is still a joke

by Carl Russo

Nino Di Matteo“WHEN HE GETS OUT, shoot him! Pom! Pam!” That’s Totò Riina reliving the killing of Salvatore Inzerillo, just one of many rivals whose assassination he ordered during his reign as the Sicilian Mafia’s supreme commander. This provocative sound bite comes from the latest batch of transcripts of conversations Riina had with boss Alberto Lorusso, secretly recorded in a prison cell a year ago.

As more excerpts of the Riina-Lorusso tapes are released to the public—their words fill thirteen hundred pages—it is clear that the capomafia’s homicidal impulse is as fresh as it was in 1992, when his campaign to exterminate the officials pursuing him culminated in the blowing up of top anti-Mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, followed by a series of bombings of Italian landmarks that claimed twenty-two lives.

Click to read more ...