Top Italian Mafia Boss Dies in U.S. Prison
R. A. Hettinga
rah at shipwright.com
Sat May 1 14:43:13 PDT 2004
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The life, and death, of Mr. Badalamenti is important to cryptography
people and cypherpunks for two reasons.
First, the so-called "Pizza Connection" case is one of the very few
times, if not the first, where actual wiretap data was good enough to
The other reason it is important is that it was the case in which
Louis Freeh made his bones as a prosecutor.
Combine the two, and you end up with an FBI director who was
singularly ill-disposed to the idea of telephonic cryptography. In
his advocacy of the NSA's then-failing "Clipper" chip project, he
superheated what was already a firestorm of rage everywhere liberty
Fortunately, financial -- and not political -- cryptography is the
only cryptography that matters. :-).
For all the attacks on the chip by political advocates civil
libertarian grounds, and, ultimately, its sheer technical
incompetence by members of the cryptography community, it was, in
fact, the absolute business *necessity* of SSL for credit card
transactions and secure access to business information that settled
the issue of ubiquitous strong cryptography once and for all.
The camel's nose isn't sticking the tent. The camel's nose is stuck
*out* of the tent, and the camel is inside, ready to spit in the eye
of anyone who wants to take his stash.
Physics causes finance. Finances causes politics.
It was ever thus.
It will ever be thus.
Top Italian Mafia Boss Dies in U.S. Prison Fri Apr 30, 2004 06:29 PM
By Ellen Wulfhorst
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Top Mafia boss Gaetano Badalamenti has died in a
U.S. federal prison where he was serving a sentence for international
drug smuggling, authorities said on Friday.
Badalamenti, 80, died of cardiac arrest at a federal medical center
in Devens, Massachusetts., on Thursday evening, said a spokesman for
the federal prison system.
Badalamenti, born in the village of Cinisi in Palermo in 1923, was
one of the key figures in the Sicilian Cosa Nostra in the 1970s.
Known as Don Tano, he was a close friend of Charles "Lucky" Luciano,
one of America's biggest mobsters in the 1970s, and part of the
so-called 'triumvirate' that ran the Sicilian Mafia. Others in the
triumvirate were Luciano Liggio and Stefano Bontade.
But the 1970s saw the rise of another clan which included Salvatore
'Toto' Riina, who went on to become the Sicilian Mafia's boss of
bosses, and Badalamenti was forced to flee to Brazil and then Spain.
He later went into business with organized crime figures in New York
who were using pizza parlors in a giant operation that smuggled more
than $1 billion worth of heroin from Sicily.
In 1987, Badalamenti was convicted and sentenced to 45 years in
prison for his role in what was called the "Pizza Connection."
In 2002 in Italy, he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in
absentia for the 1978 murder of a left-wing disc jockey who regularly
insulted the Mafia boss.
But last October in Italy, he and former prime minister Giulio
Andreotti were acquitted of involvement in the murder of journalist
Mino Pecorelli in 1979.
Badalamenti had been housed until Feb. 27 at a federal prison in
Fairton, New Jersey before he was moved to the medical facility in
failing health, authorities said.
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R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah at ibuc.com>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'
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