Law School Discussion

Asylum For Blood-Feuds-Affected Person -- Lawyer Recommandation


Asylum For Blood-Feuds-Affected Person -- Lawyer Recommandation
« on: January 20, 2006, 10:10:37 PM »
I fled to US because of a blood vendettas. I damaged family honour, we are Muslim and I fell in love and married a Catholic without family permission. My brothers have sworn they will kill us and our two children. It is the law of the place where we lived. They have already killed my brother-in-law. These are strict, codes of laws governing marriage, birth, death, hospitality and inheritance, which has been handed down orally through the generations and used as a system for administering justice, in territories historically remained isolated from central government law.

Do you think we'll be given asylum in the US? We've already filed but are not sure whether we'll be approved or not.

Re: Asylum For Blood-Feuds-Affected Person -- Lawyer Recommandation
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2006, 10:17:56 PM »
I for one have heard about the Sicilian Mafia (and/or its branches in the US,) people who are tightly bound through blood and marriage, making the organization extremely difficult to penetrate. When caught in midst of such a horror, a person trying to escape from his/her responsibilites s/he is supposed to fulfil as a member of the family, has definitely a difficult time to do so. I am not sure what kind of proof you have to document the blood vendettas going on between the families involved, but it looks like you definitely have a claim, at least theoretically, to be granted asylum in the US. Good Luck To You!

Mafia's History -- Here It Is What I Found
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2006, 10:28:31 PM »
In 1282, the French Angevins "held a tight grip on Sicily," and a secret society arose to defeat this oppressive organization. The battle cry of this rebellious group was: "morte alla Francia Italia anelia!" (Italian for "death to the French is Italy's cry!"), and if the first letters of the verse are taken, the anagram MAFIA is deciphered. The word Mafia was first published in 1862 in a play by Giuseppe Rizzuto, called "I Mafiosi della Vicaria" (The Mafia in the Vicarage") about a secret criminal group in the prisons of Palermo. In Sicily, the word mafia tends to mean "manly", and is often applied to someone without necessarily meaning they were a criminal. Sicily has had to adapt to numerous invasions: Arabs in the ninth century, Norman's in the 11th century, French in the 12th, Spanish in the 15th, as well as invasions by the Germans, Austrians and Greeks. Secret societies in the hills were needed to resist foreign rulers. These societies were formed not only to try and defeat the French rulers but also to protect and feed the Italian families in the villages of Palermo and surrounding areas. Since most of the villagers were related, each village picked a member to head their family. These heads of families were called (capodecina or capos for short). The capodecina would pick men from the village to take with him to the hills. Before the men left for the hills they would have to pledge their loyalty, support and OmertŠ . The oath in English sounded like this:

"I (NAME GIVEN) want to enter into this secret organization to protect my family and to protect my brothers. ""morte alla Francia Italia anelia!" With my blood. (A knife is used to place a cut on the right index finger or hand) and the blood of all the saints, and the souls of my children. (The sign of the cross is made) I swear not to divulge this secret and to obey with love and omerta. I enter alive into this organization and leave it only in death."

1. A code of silence - Never to "rat out" any mafia member. Never to divulge any mafia secrets. Even if they were threatened by torture or death.

2. Complete obedience to the boss - Obey the boss's orders, no matter what.

3. Assistance - To provide any necessary assistance to any other respected or befriended mafia faction.

4. Vengeance - Any attacks on family members must be avenged. "An attack on one is an attack on all."

5. Avoid contact with the authorities.

Once safe in the hills, all the capodecina's would get together and pick someone to be in charge of all the members of this secret society. The head of all the members was called (Capo di tutti capi) the boss of all the families. Food was scarce, conditions deplorable, the French controlled everything and if you didn't do what the French Angevins wanted, they would torture and kill you. The members of the society would raid supplies and weapons from the French and distribute their wares throughout the villages. They had to operate in complete secrecy. This was necessary to protect the members and their families from torture. This was an honorable society in the fact that you had to believe totally in the cause and be willing to die to protect the members. The villagers also respected and honored the soldiers from the hills. They knew there was a chance for freedom from the French but only if they remained silent about their fellow Italians in the hills. Joining the society was like joining a religion. It was a lifetime commitment, stronger than any ties to other religions, state or even family. You could not retire from it. This society has survived through centuries, it is secret and only members know other members. No one would ever admit to being a member nor tell you who other members are. That would violate OmertŠ and be punishable by death. Throughout the centuries the leaders and soldiers have changed the society, some for the better, some for the worst. The men from the hills once stole to feed and protect their families and friends. They were very good at it. So good, they ended up with more food and supplies then they could ever use. In order to get things that they could not steal; they traded with mainland Italy and other countries. This was the start of the black market. The society has always been a powerful force in Italy. Not everyone in the society is a criminal nor are all Italians in the society.

What Americans call Mafia in this country [the American branch of the mafia, named La Costra Nostra ], is believed to be started by Don Vito Cascio Ferro, who fled to New York following the murder of banker Emanuele Notarbartolo in Sicily, in 1893. More society members fled to America during the 1920s, when Mussolini attempted to eradicate the Mafia in Sicily. When the Allies liberated Italy in World War II, they freed anti Mussolini prisoners, including many society members. Some were installed in positions of power, and thus began to interweave politics and organized crime in Italy. The society moved from the rural hills to the cities of Sicily. The Sicilians have developed co-operative agreements with other secret Italian societies, the Camorra and Ndrangheta, but remain the controlling organization. The Sicilians are flexible and can work with many nationalities. The major threat to the Sicilians and the society is their own periodic blood-letting feuds.

Mafia's History
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2006, 10:29:13 PM »
The Mafia is name for a loose association of criminal groups, sometimes bound by a blood oath and sworn to secrecy. The Mafia first developed in Sicily in feudal times to protect the estates of the landlords. By the 19th century the Mafia had become a network of criminal bands that controlled the Sicilian countryside. The members were bound by Omerta, a rigid code of conduct that included avoiding all contact and cooperation with the authorities. The Mafia had neither a centralized organization nor a real leader; it consisted of many small groups, each secret within its own district. By employing terroristic methods against the government figures, the Mafia attained political office in several communities, thus getting influence with the police and obtaining legal access to weapons.

Benito Mussolini's Fascist government succeeded for a time in suppressing the Mafia, but the organization emerged again after World War II ended in 1945. Over the next 30 years the Mafia became a power not only in Sicily but all over Italy as well. The Italian government began an anti-Mafia campaign in the early 1980s, leading not only to a number of arrests and sensational trials, but also to the assassination of several key law-enforcement officials in getting revenge. Public outrage was tempered by the arrest in 1993 of the reputed Mafia leader, Salvatore Riina.

Beginning in the late 19th century, some members of the Mafia immigrated to the United States. They soon became involved in American organized crime, especially in the 1920s during Prohibition. After the ending of Prohibition in 1933 so did most bootlegging, the Mafia moved into other areas, such as gambling, labor racketeering, prostitution, and, in recent years, narcotics. Links with the Italian Mafia were also maintained. As in Italy, prosecution of reputed Mafia leaders in the United States increased in the 1980s and 1990s.

Responsible groups of Americans have, at times, waged campaigns in the media to obliterate any assumption that crime in the United States is dominated by people of Italian descent, claiming that the existence of an American Mafia had not been fully established. It has not been until later times that the realization that the mafia still exists has taken place.

There were many famous figures in the mafia who had come to power. Al Capone has become one of the most famous to have gained such publicity. Al Capone was an Italian-American gangster of the Prohibition era, also known as Scarface because of a knife cut to his cheek. He was born and given the name Alphonse Capone in Naples, Italy, and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He left school at an early age and spent nearly ten years with gangs in Brooklyn. In the 1920s he took over a Chicago organization dealing in illegal liquor, gambling, and prostitution from the gangster Johnny Torrio. In the following years he eliminated his competitors in a series of gang wars, culminating in the Saint Valentine's Day massacre of 1929, that won him control of Chicago's underworld. Convicted of income tax evasion in 1931 and sentenced to 11 years in prison, he was released on parole in 1939. Crippled by syphilis, he spent the rest of his life in his Miami Beach, Florida, mansion.

Some of the most brutal attacks from the mafia came in their native land in Italy. The Red Brigades, a mafia sect, launched a big wave of assaults on politicians, police, journalists, and business executives. The attacks ended with the 1978 kidnapping and murder of former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro. The Red Brigades subsequently disintegrated as police arrested and imprisoned members and supporters of the gang. In the late 1980s and early 1990s the Sicilian Mafia lead a series of terrorist attacks in reaction to the Italian government's prosecution of leading Mafia figures. The Uffizi Gallery in Florence was among the targets of a series of terrorist bombings in 1993 alleged to be the work of the Mafia.

Vendettas were used by mafia families that were in personal wars with each other. A Vendetta was a practice of a family taking vengeance on the person who shed the blood of one of its relatives. Vengeance is taken in kind, that is, an eye for an eye, and may also be taken on one of the offender's relatives. The vendetta's purpose was to punish crimes in societies where governments did not yet exist or where they were not trusted. It was practiced particularly in Corsica and Sicily, where it was part of the code of the secret society of the Mafia. A form of vendetta used to be common in certain areas of the southern U.S., where it was known as a feud. It was a practice that some of the Mafia families continued to practice even after immigrating to the United States.

Mafia Is The Enemy Of The State
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2006, 10:37:40 PM »
The mafia is a threat against the State because of its particular nature. For instance, the mafia became soon a serious problem because the mafiosi were able to organise themselves in small organisations, called families, and take what was in effect military control of some areas, especially in Western Sicily. In doing so, the mafiosi created a system of power which was not compatible with the existence of the State. First of all, the mafiosi undermined the sovereignty of the Italian State by preventing it from taking military and judiciary control of the whole Italian territory. Secondly, the mafiosi hindered the State's building process by progressively taking possession of some prerogatives that any State considers its own monopoly: violence, taxation and law. In fact the mafiosi used violence to achieve their tasks, charged "taxes" (protection racket) to people and settled disputes between individuals. Finally, the mafiosi used these prerogatives by completely ignoring the "raison d'Ítre" which permits the State to claim legitimately the monopoly of violence, taxation and law: the defence of collective security and peace on behalf of the people. On the contrary, the mafiosi take no responsibility for the outcome of their decisions as the purpose of their "judicial" activity is nothing but protecting those who can pay for their protection - who often are threatened by the same mafiosi. Moreover, there is no fairness in their "sentences" which change according to the damage suffered by the mafioso rather than the crime itself.

Thus the mafioso manipulates the State's prerogatives for his own interests. When a conflict arises between the interests of the mafioso and those of the State, the mafioso uses institutional instruments in order to prevail.

The result is that a power, which is other than the State, replaces the State without fulfilling its duties.

In this respect the relationship between the State and the mafia is the same as that
between two different States - even though the mafia is not a State in the strict sense. The relationship can be peaceful so long as government and mafiosi are in agreement, but it can be turbulent when they compete for the same resource, particularly if the government tries to take control of territory. Moreover, there is another reason why the relationship cannot be defined as peaceful. The enlargement of the electorate, especially after the Second World War, helped the mafiosi to control those candidates who were elected to national and local Parliament due to the mafia's votes. This process - which can be defined as infiltration of the mafia into the State - was not devoid of political aspects. Although the aim of the mafiosi was to render cohabitation with the State safer - pressuring politicians, prefects, local chief of police and prosecutors into turning a blind eye to mafia business - and to use the local public administration to access national resources, the process of infiltration had the side effect of weakening the State and depriving it of its ability to defend itself as some of its representatives were no longer loyal. In doing so, the mafia became a parasitic body inside the State - like any other political power trying to manipulate the State. This last feature likens the mafioso to the terrorist. Although their "missions" differ because the latter wants to destroy and replace the State and the former wants to manipulate it for its own interests, their activities find a common ground in the end result of threatening the sovereignty of the State and undermining the collective security. Thus the mafia is an enemy of the State and a political problem.

Re: Asylum For Blood-Feuds-Affected Person -- Lawyer Recommandation
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2006, 07:07:22 PM »
But, of course, korine!

When a defendant in a 1960s Mafia trial was asked if he belonged to the Mafia he responded, "I don't know what the word means". This criminal was not so much evading the question as confessing a real perplexity. Mafiosi never call themselves, or one another, mafiosi, but rather amici (friends) or uomini d'onore (men of honour). In the words of one noted mafiologue, the defendant above "knew individuals who are called mafiosi, not because they belong to a secret sect but rather because they behave in a particular fashion, that is in a Mafia-like fashion".

What does it mean to behave in a Mafia-like fashion? "It means to make oneself respected, to be a man of honour, capable of vindicating by force any offence against his enemy," writes Mafia expert, Pino Arlacchi. Honour and respect clearly have rather different meanings here than those that most people attach to them. A man is an 'uomo d'onore' when he acts according to the prevailing codes of courage, cleverness and ferocity, never hesitating to resort to violence and trickery to gain the upper hand. What gradually emerges from this portrait, however, is a sort of confusion between the Mafia as a "state of mind, a philosophy of life, a moral code, prevailing among all Sicilians", and organized criminal activity, delinquency and social deviance. In southern Italy, the border between the two is often unclear.

Two aspects of southern Italian culture in particular seem to have contributed to the birth and development of the Mafia as a criminal organization. The first is the generally positive value this culture has given to assertiveness, aggression and the ability to impose one's will on others. The meek, mild and naive may be saints in their afterlives, but in this life they are, quite simply, fools. The fundamental Neapolitan phrase, 'ca'nisciun e'fesso' ("I'm no fool") - with its implication "you won't get the best of me" - sums up the milieu of dominance and submission in which the southern Italian lives. A second, related aspect is the southern Italian attitude towards the state. Even today, the relationship of the southern Italian (and of many northern Italians as well) to the state is one of profound distrust. The state, its institution and laws, are not something in which one participates as a citizen but are rather things which challenge the citizen's independence, interfering with his family's sacred autonomy. This attitude towards the state may have its origins in the long succession of invading powers that ruled southern Italy over the centuries (Norman, French, Catalan, and so on.) And also in the distance that separated the mass of peasant-farmers (contadini) working on huge estates (latifondi) from their absentee landlords residing in Naples or Palermo. Certainly Unification did little to help matters in the south, transferring as it did the capital from Naples to Rome and replacing the Bourbon monarchy with the Turin-based House of Savoy. Whatever the case, the space of distrust between citizen and state is the space in which the Mafia has prospered.


In The Movies
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2006, 07:13:43 PM »
The great classic, the definitive, superb Mafia movie was The Godfathers I and II, in which Francis Ford Coppola poured out a work of genius, grounded in his own and novelist Mario Puzo's cultural history, which he has never approached since. The key to The Godfathers and to success in the Mafia genre is the realization and dramatic portrayal of the fact that the Mafia, although leading a life outside the law, is, at its best, simply entrepreneurs and businessmen supplying the consumers with goods and services of which they have been unaccountably deprived by a Puritan WASP culture. The unforgettable images of mob violence juxtaposed with solemn Church rites were not meant, as left-liberals would have it, to show the hypocrisy of evil men. For these Mafiosi, as mainly Italian Catholics, are indeed deeply religious; they represent one important way in which Italian Catholics were able to cope with, and make their way in, a totally alien world dominated by WASP Puritan insistence that a whole range of products eagerly sought by consumers be outlawed.

Hence the systemic violence of Mafia life. Violence, in The Godfather films, is never engaged in for the H e l l of it, or for random kicks; the point is that since the government police and courts will not enforce contracts they deem to be illegal, debts incurred in the Mafia world have to be enforced by violence, by the secular arm. But the violence simply enforces the Mafia equivalent of the law: the codes of honor and loyalty without which the whole enterprise would simply be random and pointless violence. In many cases, especially where "syndicates" are allowed to form and are not broken-up by government terror, the various organized syndicates will mediate and arbitrate disputes, and thereby reduce violence to a minimum. Just as governments in the Lockean paradigm are supposed to be enforcers of commonly-agreed-on rules and property rights, so "organized crime," when working properly, does the same. Except that in its state of illegality it operates in an atmosphere charged with difficulty and danger.

It is interesting to observe the contrasting attitudes of our left-liberal culture to the two kinds of crime, organized versus unorganized. Organized crime is essentially anarcho-capitalist, a productive industry struggling to govern itself; apart from attempts to monopolize and injure competitors, it is productive and non-aggressive. Unorganized, or street, crime, in contrast, is random, punkish, viciously aggressive against the innocent, and has no redeeming social feature. Wouldn't you know, then, that our leftist culture hates and reviles the Mafia and organized crime, while it lovingly excuses, and apologizes for, chaotic and random street punksviolence which amounts to "anarchy" in the bad, or common meaning. In a sense, street violence embodies the ideal of left-anarchism: since it constitutes an assault on the rights of person and property, and on the rule of law that codifies such rights.

One great scene in The Godfather embodies the difference between right and left anarchism. One errant, former member of the Corleone famiglia abases himself before The Godfather (Marlon Brando). A certain punk had raped and brutalized his daughter. He went to the police and the courts, and the punk was, at last, let go (presumably by crafty ACLU-type lawyers and a soft judicial system). This distraught father now comes to Don Corleone for justice. Brando gently upbraids the father: "Why didn't you come to me? Why did you go to The State?" The inference is clear: the State isn't engaged in equity and justice; to obtain justice, you must come to the famiglia. Finally, Brando relents: "What would you have me do?" The father whispers in the Godfather's ear. "No, no, that is too much. We will take care of him properly." So not only do we see anarcho-capitalist justice carried out, but it is clear that the Mafia code has a nicely fashioned theory of proportionate justice. In a world where the idea that the punishment should fit the crime has been abandonedand still struggled over by libertarian theorists it is heart-warming to see that the Mafia has worked it out in practice.

Re: Asylum For Blood-Feuds-Affected Person -- Lawyer Recommandation
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2006, 12:36:51 AM »
Looks like the very concept of Mafia shouts: "NO STATE"!

Yet, as much as one may abhor the concept of the State, I believe that tribal/clans/Mafia-based "solutions" as to how the world should/can be run are anachronistic, so backward for the 21st century in which we live.

Re: Asylum For Blood-Feuds-Affected Person -- Lawyer Recommandation
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2006, 02:18:47 PM »
You'll probably need a couple of witnesses (nationals of your country) to testify that such rules and codes actually exist in your country, given the fact that you're saying those rituals and rules are not actually written in some book (in written form) You'll need to show evidence of deaths that have taken place as well as the reasons why they happened (through written testimony of a knowleadgeable person on that issue.) Good Luck To You! (I'm assuming you're Italian)

« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2006, 02:19:09 PM »
....(I'm assuming you're not Italian)