Rome

Italy had 'partial, tacit' deal with Mafia, commission says

Cosa Nostra 'sought to renew coexistance with State' in 1990s

Italy had 'partial, tacit' deal with Mafia, commission says

Rome, January 9 - The chief of Italy's anti-mafia parliamentary commission reported on Wednesday that a "partial, tacit understanding" did take place between State law enforcement and the Sicilian Cosa Nostra Mafia in the early 1990s. The period in question concerned 1992-1993, following fatal bombings, including the assassinations of judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in May and July 1992, respectively. "It seems logical to speak of a tacit, partial understanding among the parties in conflict, rather than negotiations on 41bis," stated Giuseppe Pisanu, chairman of the parliamentary anti-mafia commission, who referred to a legal measure taken in August, 1992. In May 23, 1992 a road-bomb took the lives of Falcone, his wife and three police officers. The massacre was followed by a July 19 car bombing that killed Borsellino and five police officers. The 41bis measure permitted Italian law enforcement to suspend a series of prison rights in order to bring pressure on certain prisoners - especially mafia members - for the motive of "public order". "We can say that there was at least one negotiation among (non-political) State government men...and (Sicilian) Cosa Nostra men, who were divided amongst themselves, and thus without an unambiguous and ruling mandate," Pisanu said on Wednesday. "There were tactical convergences between the two sides, but strategic differences. The (anti-mafia) ROS Carabinieri police wanted to make the massacres stop. The mafiosi wanted, instead, to develop them to the point of making the State bend over," Pisanu continued. "Make the State bend to what point? To the acceptance of all or part of the papello?" Pisanu asked, referring to a list of 12 demands that Cosa Nostra mafia boss Toto' Riina tried to make the State adopt. The demands included watering down prison sentences, canceling 41bis, eviscerating other anti-mafia laws, beefing up prisoner perks and removing petrol taxes in Sicily. "Following logically and judging from the facts, one would not say so. If Cosa Nostra accepted a sort of scaling (down of) negotiations, descending from the papello to the softer (version) and from this to only a reduction of the 41bis - maintaining high, however, the terrifying threat of massacre, one should ask oneself if (the Mafia's) real objective was not something completely different - and that is the restoration of the regime of co-existence between mafia and State that had been interrupted in the 1980s, which gave rise to a counter-offensive by the judiciary, police and civil society that had had no precedent in history," Pisanu continued. "Certainly, the objective was ambitious, but the moment, as I have already said, was propitious for the mafia and for all the enemies of the democratic State".

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