The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'mafia'
Italian prosecutors have shut down a radio station after discovering that it was sending coded messages to Mafiosi via record requests:
Police listening in on a conversation between Pesce and his wife at Palmi jail in southern Italy heard him talking about record requests and concluded there was more to it than a love of music. According to a transcript leaked to the daily Il Giornale, Pesce told his wife, after scribbling down the name of a tune: "If it's positive you send me [this] song on the radio tonight. If it's negative you send me another."
Dispatches from the grim meathook present-day: the Calabrian mafia, which has for a long time made a lucrative sideline from the disposal of waste, has apparently muscled in on the business of nuclear waste disposal. Of course, being the Mob, they're able to offer economies honest operators cannot, by the simple expedient of packing ships with nuclear waste and blowing them up off the coasts of Italy and Greece. Up to 30 such ships may have been sunk.
Apparently the Mafia used a radio station in Naples to send instructions to hitmen encoded in song requests.
More revelations have emerged about Frank Sinatra's mafia links; this time, he wasn't just doing deals with the mob to help his business interests, but actively working for them as a courier:
As he passed through customs, (Jerry) Lewis says, Sinatra was stopped by officials who started to open the suitcase he was carrying. Inside, says Lewis, were notes to the value of "three and a half million in 50s".
But the customs officers were distracted by the crowds of people trying to catch a glimpse of the singer and aborted their search.
Had they not, claims Lewis, "we would never have heard of him again".
So there's a parallel universe in which Sinatra got caught smuggling cash for the mafia and ended up embedded in concrete somewhere?
A hacker working for a Mafia gambling operation tells his story:
I'm building a secure, online, peer-to-peer, encrypted, redundant bet-processing system with an offshore data warehouse. Ordinary companies would hire a team to put this together; I'm working with one guy. Getting the system up and running is a three-step process. First, eliminate all those incriminating little pieces of paper. Instead of writing down a wager, the operator will enter the bet onto an online form. The whole transaction will be encrypted by a browser and sent over the Net to a server running in an undisclosed country where the laws are more liberal than they are in the US. Essentially, the system acts as a market maker, matching up people who want to take different sides of a sports bet.
The fact remains that I could be pulling in $150,000 as a programmer on the open market. But I make a third of that. So why am I risking a prison sentence or the potential of a lifetime in witness protection for a job that doesn't make me all that rich? Simple: When you start making a lot of money, you get noticed by the biggest bullies on the block - the cops and the IRS - and I don't want that. I like living below the radar. I sublet a friend's apartment and pay his utility bills with money orders that I purchase at the post office or at one of those check-cashing storefronts. Because I get paid entirely in cash, I don't fork over any taxes. When you get right down to it, I'm an idealist. I don't condone the actions of the US government. By refusing to pay taxes, I withhold my financial support. And, truth be told, I like mobsters. They're more willing to accept you at face value. They aren't hung up on college degrees, or where you live, or how many criminal convictions you have.
The street finds its own uses for things; those camera-equipped mobile phones, for example, are ideal for vote-rigging, as the Italian Mafia have discovered:
Here's the idea: you promise a voter 50 euros (31 pounds) to cast their ballot for your candidate, send them into the booth with a 3G phone, they send a picture via the phone proving that they have voted as instructed and then they get the cash.
(via bOING bOING)
The strange, intensely paranoid world of Mafia, a former psychology experiment turned parlour game popular amongst writers and the like.
Here's how Mafia works: The party gathers in a room. Everyone is instructed to close his or her eyes, and three people are secretly selected to be in the "mafia" by the game leader, known as "God" or "the Mayor," whose job is to manage the action. No one knows who the mafia are except the mafia themselves, who are allowed to identify one another by opening their eyes. Later, when the whole groupcalled "the village"collectively opens its eyes, they are launched into the game: Through conversation, argument, questioning and accusation, a freewheeling group inquisition takes place to root out the mafia and kill them before the mafia kills the villagers.
(via bOING bOING)