Tuesday, June 26, 2007

CIA papers show partnership with Mafia

Agency and Mob cooperated
in effort to kill Castro

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency released documents today detailing its early 1960s cooperation with organized crime figures in failed efforts to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro, according to a Reuters story by Steve Holland and Andy Sullivan.

CIA Director Michael Hayden ordered the release of the documents, many of which had already worked their way into public knowledge.

CIA operatives actively encouraged Chicago gangster Johnny Roselli to orchestrate an attack on Castro (right). The Agency also approached Chicago organized crime boss Sam Giancana and Tampa boss Santo Trafficante. Giancana reportedly suggested the use of a poison pill.

'Secrets' witness provides Outfit history

Al Capone in 1925
Jurors in Chicago's "Family Secrets" trial were briefed yesterday on the history of the local Outfit by James Wagner, president of the Chicago Crime Commission, according to a story by Jeff Coen of the Chicago Tribune.

Wagner's history went back to the Prohibition Era and the reign of Al Capone. Wagner is a former FBI supervisor who spent his career investigating organized crime. He participated in investigations of the Genovese and Gambino Crime Families in New York before being assigned to study the Chicago Outfit beginning in 1976.

Wagner described the one-way membership of the organization, saying, "There are no provisions for getting out once you're in." That statement could be important to the prosecution of five accused Chicago mobsters.
"There are no provisions for getting out once you're in."
At least one defendant, Frank Calabrese Sr., could employ a statute of limitations defense. In an opening statement, Calabrese's attorney Joseph R. Lopez argued that Calabrese left the Outfit back in the 1980s.

Prosecution witness William "Red" Wemette described what Chicago businesses gained by paying the "street tax" assessed by the Outfit: "Basically it's permission to be in a business without being hurt by someone or possibly being burned down." Wemette said he split the profits from his Wells Street "peep show" business with defendant Joe Lombardo because he didn't want to have an "accident."

The other defendants in the case are James Marcello, Paul Schiro and former police officer Anthony Doyle.

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Writer, editor, researcher, web publisher, specializing in organized crime history. (I am available to assist with your historical/genealogical research, as well as your writing and editing chores. Email me at tphunt@gmail.com.)
I am editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer; publisher of American Mafia history website Mafiahistory.us; moderator of Mafia-related online forums; author of Wrongly Executed?; coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime; contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime; writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.