12 years ago, the most beautiful girl I had ever laid eyes on, Victoria, walked down the isle to become my wife. Why she would do such a thing has caused the shaking of heads in bewilderment ever since, and probably always will. Her paternal grandparents, quite old, were too frail to make the 1200 mile trip to our wedding, so not too long after we were married, we decided to make the trip to see them.
I married into an Italian family, to be more specific, a Sicilian family. They emigrated here, landing as most Italians did, in New York, and resided in Brooklyn for many years. When I first met them, Michelino and Concetta, they spoke to me in Italian, assuming that the dark, swarthy features I inherited from the Lebanese side of my family meant that I was probably a paisano, and, fortunately for me, having had several years of Italian in college, I could carry on with them, thus receiving a passing grade for the required rituals of initiation.
Her tiny grandfather talked on about the old days, growing up in Brooklyn in the same neighborhood next door to famous gangsters like Lucky Luciano and Al Capone. He knew many of these guys, and although he made his living in the legitimate world, got along well with them. He went to their weddings, said hello to them on the street, would drop off pans of manicotti or cannelloni when Concetta had made a tad too much, and in one case, mistakenly got into Lucky Luciano’s car, not realizing his mistake until he found a gun in the glove box. And despite the fact that he was a law abiding American, raised a good family and never caused any trouble, he carried the stigma of being an Italian around with him for the rest of his life. It didn’t seem to matter much to him though. It didn’t change the fact that America was discovered by an Italian and later named after one.
It was and still is a racism with which Americans are comfortable. They aren’t offended by the huge amount of business created and maintained by an entertainment industry that depicts Italians as a violent, greedy, treacherous and lascivious people. Names like Vinny, Rocco, Guido, and Tony are passed around in jokes without a second thought as what the whole business of gangsterism implies when it is applied to a group of people. Shows like the Sopranos win rave reviews from American audiences, and movies like the Godfather have acquired a cult following. And to a certain extent, it is understandable as to how it got this way. After all, the whole business involving the Italians and the Mafia is an established fact of history, and only a fool would try to say it didn’t happen.
But imagine if someone today did try to refute it. Suppose someone tried to sell the story that the Mafia never existed, that the whole concept had been orchestrated back during the turn of the last century as a result of Anti-Italianism, an attempt by jealous others to drag the good name of the Italians through the mud and to justify displacing them of any acquired power or influence in American society. Interestingly enough, 60 yrs or so ago, when people spoke (in hushed tones) of a quiet yet powerful criminal conspiracy organized along a single nationality of people, there were those who denounced them for it, using some of the same arguments listed above. And who denounced them? Members of this criminal conspiracy and the political lackeys who were on their payroll. They used the familiar terms; Racist, anti-Italian, anti-Catholic, bigot. Yet today, the existence of this criminal conspiracy is an established fact, and only someone who is either making a joke or else deliberately wishes to be ridiculed tries to deny it.
Now consider the upset that occurs today when someone suggests that there is a criminal conspiracy, much like the Italian Mafia that is operating again, only on a bigger scale, and instead of being run by the Italians, it is run by the Israelis. The reactions by these gangsters and their controlled mouthpieces, the media, (and in particular, right-wing talk show hosts) are almost identical to the reactions by Italian gangsters and their defenders in the last century. People are branded as racists, bigots, jealous, envious, and now, thanks to 50 years of daily propaganda, Nazis.
It is very effective. Criticize Israel for anything, and you will be called any of the above and ruined for life. Consider what happened to Pat Buchanan throughout his career as a commentator and presidential candidate. Now, as a result of the browbeating he has received for exposing these people for what they are, he barely ekes out snippets of the truth for fear of the backlash. Not limiting the scope of their warfare to only assassinating their opponent’s character, they may kill him physically as well. Consider the case of Randy Weaver’s wife and son. Mr. Weaver made the mistake of openly calling this criminal conspiracy for what it is, the Kosher Mafia, and they tried to murder him and his family for it. At the very least, you can expect a letter from some government agency telling you that they need to “talk to you” about some matter, usually involving an audit or an inspection, and the harassment will continue for years. Tactics like these and many others not listed are not new, although those individuals using them, members of the New Mafia, would prefer that the rest of America pretend that they don’t exist.
What else do you call a well-run organization with long reaching tentacles that wields silent, yet powerful influence in government, finance, and media? An organization that extorts over 6 billion dollars a year from the American taxpayers? An organization that can hush-up war crimes 50 years old of such enormity that they scream out to heaven for justice? An organization that can pick up the phone, call the President of the United States and order him to bomb another nation back into the stone age on completely false pretenses? An organization that deals in illegal arms sales, child pornography, the sex-slave business, drugs, counterfeit money, money laundering, prostitution and the protection racket on a world wide scale?
Talk about it being run by the Italians, and everyone calls it the Mafia. Talk about it being run by the Arabs, and everyone calls it terrorism. Talk about it being run by the Israelis, and everyone calls it a wacky conspiracy theory created by anti-Semites.
The script runs just like an old Italian gangster film too. A group of immigrants invades a neighborhood, driving everyone out who is not a member of the “family.” Those that don’t leave on their own have their homes and businesses burned to the ground, or are simply gunned down in drive-by shootings by members of the Stern Gang or the Irgun. When the cops show up, “no one saw nothin” and the rest of the world is therefore none the wiser. The Godfather, Don Ariel Sharon, “made his bones” as a young man in places like Lebanon where he was personally responsible for the deaths of thousands of people, as well as in the Jordanian village of Kibya, where the 101st Israeli army unit under his command blew up 41 homes and a school, killing 53 civilians, including many children. Now he has risen through the ranks of power, and assumes the role of an aged, overweight crime boss with an eye for young girls. Instead of making the sign of the cross and making visits to Catholic religious ceremonies, (a common theme in Italian gangster films,) Don Ariel Sharon wears a skullcap and shows up at the wailing wall with his rabbi. There are coups within the family, where the old Don is gunned down in a spectacular, public way, as occurred with Yitzak Rabin, and when one of their “button men” come out in the open and expose the inner workings of the Family, as ex-Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky did, they send someone in to try and rub him out, just as the Italians tried to do to Joseph Vallachi.
Understanding the need for political connections, the members of the New Mafia align themselves with powerful friends in the US, and use their contacts in the media to insure that a man such as GW Bush, with more than a few skeletons in his closet (think Enron) is elected, making him a pliable public figure. When other members of the Family voice their worries about getting into a gang war with the other families, Godfather Ariel Sharon assures them in a quiet, confident voice during a cabinet meeting in October 2001 saying “Don’t worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Israeli people control America and the Americans know it.” And, when his back is up against the wall and he needs to negotiate with his enemies, Don Ariel calls everyone together for a “sit down” to talk about peace, just as Sollozzo did in the Godfather as a tactical move to throw his enemies off guard.
The New Mafia employs its own spy network as well, through organizations such as the ADL and JDL, which are nothing more than domestic branches of the Mossad, and who, as in the case of Randy Weaver and the Branch Davidians, need only make a phone call to the US Justice Department to get the ball rolling in making an example of them. The fact that the JDL was on the FBI’s top ten list of most dangerous terrorist organizations, and the that fact the ADL has been busted several times by the feds for illegally wiretapping the phones of US citizens doesn’t stop them from getting done what needs to get done for the Family. This notoriety has been validated recently, when Irv Rubin, a major player in the JDL, was “suicided” in prison the day before he was to go on trial for his role in the attempted bombing of the office of a US Congressman who was critical of Israel. As well, recently, the ADL lost a suit brought against them by an American citizen whose phones they had wiretapped, hoping to get some dirt on this citizen in an attempt to silence his criticism of Israel’s terrorist actions against her neighbors.
Which brings us to the present state of things. We, the Americans, have been given a “contract” by the New Mafia to carry out a series of “hits” in the Middle East in bringing the other families to heel. The New Mafia has done a good job of laying the propaganda groundwork years ahead of time by bringing to prominence ardent supporters of this crime family such as Limbaugh, Liddy, Savage, Hannity and the others. They have done their jobs well, deflecting attention away from the real causes of anti-Americanism in the Middle East, and instead blame it on kindergarten-level explanations such as “hatred for freedom” and other such nonsense. They have polished up the image of the New Mafia, like Capone used to do with his soup kitchens, by calling Israel “the only democracy” in the Middle East, despite the fact that the tactics they employ against even their own citizens fly in the face of everything we hold dear as Americans. Americans today do not recognize these gangsters for what they are, I suppose, because the modern day notion of a gangster is someone who wears baggy pants, sports a lot of gold chains, and wears his baseball hat on backwards. And, last but not least, they, the New Mafia, have for 50 years, inculcated into the minds of Christian Americans the idea that they are dysfunctional, prudish, backwards, racist, and therefore that they are directly to blame for the tribulations that caused many of them to suffer and die. The unspoken understanding operates like this: “You owe us. We have suffered terribly because of you, and now you are going to allow us to move about as we please without restraint, and without the hassle of scrutiny or public criticism.”
And that is exactly what has taken place.
Just like a “get out of jail free card” signed by some politician and carried around by some Mafioso that he presents whenever he gets “pinched” by the bulls, the Israelis have constructed for themselves a series of back doors through which to scramble if the heat shows up. Consider the case of the attack on the USS Liberty in 1967, when the Israeli Air Force and Navy fired upon an American intelligence-gathering ship during the Six Day War, an attack that lasted over an hour and a half, killing 34 American soldiers and wounding 170 more, and nothing, repeat nothing, has been done about it. It is the only attack carried out against an American interest that has not received a congressional investigation. Call to mind the case of Jonathon Pollard, an American serviceman whose national security clearance allowed him to transfer tons of sensitive material to the Israelis that they turned around and sold to our enemies, the Chinese. Talk about getting out of jail for free. Dozens of other instances, although most of them not quite as singularly spectacular as the USS Liberty, (but nonetheless important,) are empirical facts of a hushed-up history.
In movies like The Godfather, “men of respect” went about the community, strutting their power, flaunting their wealth while soliciting accolades and praise from those whom they terrorized, and yet everyone knew who they were and what they were about. Today, these same gangsters, men like Sharon, Wolfowitz, Perle, Foxman, Dees and the rest of the gang could strut around in the same way as did Fanucci, wearing a big white fedora, riding in a black stretch limo while sporting a big fat cigar, and no one would be any the wiser about the amount of corruption they wield on our nation, and by default, on the rest of the world. Their caporegimes have changed their titles to reflect something more stately and respectable, like Undersecretary this or Minister that. Their “button men” are now called “defense forces”, and wear camos instead of expensive silk suits. And instead of black stretch limousines, they drive tanks and fighter jets, courtesy of the American taxpayer. But the result is still the same, innocent people are blown up and gunned down in order to advance the power of the Don and the Family.
We here in the US think that we are insulated from this, but we’re not. Like my wife’s grandfather who was Lucky Luciano’s next door neighbor, who heard the bullets go whizzing by and saw the blood on the sidewalk in front of his house, we have seen and will continue to see the same kind of gang wars take place in our own neighborhoods against those members of the New Mafia that the other families see as responsible for their own misery. And we can forget about “going to the mattresses,” it won’t help, there’s nowhere left to go.
Everyone has a “black sheep” in the family, someone who has earned a reputation doing the dastardly and causes the whole group to catch the heat. The Italians have La Cosa Nostra, the Irish have the PIRA, the Germans have the Nazi’s, the Colombians have the drug cartels, the list goes on and on.
However, we should not make the mistake of letting this consideration of national origin nor the sensitivity of race-related issues get in the way of us acknowledging that a criminal conspiracy exists in our midst. To do so puts us as a society, indeed as a world, in great danger, and to ignore the existence of such a criminal conspiracy allows it to continue in its destructive path, like a cancer, eating up all the life in the body. If we, as Americans, can be brave enough and honest enough to call the Old Mafia what it was, namely a criminal conspiracy run by Italians, than there is no reason why we shouldn’t call the New Mafia, a criminal conspiracy run by the Israelis, what it is. We Americans, and indeed the rest of the world, must, for our own survival, recognize the fact that these thugs will only bring corruption and death to our neighborhoods and that one day, one way or another, we will all be cut down in the crossfire.