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The Secret Societies behind Organized Crime

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posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 04:26 PM
If there were any real conspiracy happening, it would actually be dangerous to explore and write about it. This is the case when investigating the subject of organized crime.

This thread is to look at the theory/idea that

a) Organized Crime has borrowed organizational structures, initiation rituals and secret codes from various secret societies and brotherhoods or

b) has secret societies backing them or

c) is entangled with secret societies

(or all three)

I will now post snippets from various sources indicating such connections.


One of the more obvious criminal organizations structured as a secret society are Chinese Triads

Triad members are subject to initiation ceremonies, much like the Mafia or the Yakuza. A typical ceremony would take place at an altar dedicated to Guan Yu, the Taoist god of brotherhoods, with incense smoke and a sacrifice of an animal, such as a chicken, pig, or a goat. After drinking a potion composed of wine and the blood of the animal or of the candidate, he would pass beneath an arch of swords while reciting the Triad oaths. The paper on which the oaths are written would then be burned on the altar, to confirm the duty of the member to perform his duty to the gods. Three fingers on the left hand would then be raised as a binding gesture. [1]

The groups broadly known under the umbrealla "Russian Mafia" are also steeped in secrecy, initiation rituals, secret codes and symbolism.

Some info on the "Organyzatsia"

it is estimated that there are some 50,000 companies in Russia that are controlled by organized crime groups and that these groups control 40% of Russia's gross national product.

a complex fraternity evolved in these groups- with its own sense of honour and values; a form of 'initiation' that had to be passed to join.

It is known that various ranks, recognition-symbols and codes are given to initiates in the forms of tattoos that can only be deciphered by the group engraving the tattoo.


On the secret society nature of the Italian Mafia:

The Mafia at its core is about one thing -- money. Still, there are secret rituals, complicated rules and tangled webs of family loyalty.

Rituals of Sicilian Cosa Nostra

The orientation ritual in most families happens when a man becomes an associate, and then, a soldier. As described by Tommaso Buscetta to judge Giovanni Falcone, the neophyte is brought together with at least three "men of honor" of the family and the oldest member present warns him that "this House" is meant to protect the weak against the abuse of the powerful; he then pricks the finger of the initiate and spills his blood onto a sacred image, usually of a saint. The image is placed in the hand of the initiate and lit on fire. The neophyte must withstand the pain of the burning, passing the image from hand to hand, until the image has been consumed, while swearing to keep faith with the principles of "Cosa Nostra," solemnly swearing "may my flesh burn like this saint if I fail to keep my oath." Joseph Valachi was the first person to mention that in court. The Sicilians also have a law of silence, called omertà; it forbids the common man, woman or child to cooperate at all with the police or the government, upon pain of death.

Cosa Nostra also borrowed heavily from masonic oaths and rituals, such as the now famous initiation ceremony.

Picture: An account of the life of the Mafia "rat" who was the first syndicate member to testify against the Cosa Nostra and reveal its inner workings. Joseph Valachi explained how the Mafia paid off local police and politicians, and he described the secret Mafia ritual--pricking of the finger, sharing blood, and swearing allegiance to the Family. His testimony forced the FBI to acknowledge, for the first time, that the Mafia did in fact exist

Questions for Research:

1. When and why did organized crime come to adopt secret society rituals, behaviour and symbolism?

2. Why, in Conspiracy-Theories, are the real dangers in society (organized crime) so seldomly examined and mentioned?

3. What are some other connections between secret societies and organized crime?

[edit on 11-9-2008 by Skyfloating]

posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 04:46 PM
This is what the FBI says on the secret society origins of the Mafia:

These enterprises evolved over the course of 3,000 years during numerous periods of invasion and exploitation by numerous conquering armies in Italy. Over the millennia, Sicilians became more clannish and began to rely on familial ties for safety, protection, justice, and survival. An underground secret society formed initially as resistance fighters against the invaders and to exact frontier vigilante justice against oppression. A member was known as a “Man Of Honor,” respected and admired because he protected his family and friends and kept silent even unto death. Sicilians weren’t concerned if the group profited from its actions because it came at the expense of the oppressive authorities. These secret societies eventually grew into the Mafia.

posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 04:56 PM
I wonder where the structure originally came from? I would guess the oldest group had fringe groups move to other contries and branch off. If the masons were in control of any of these groups, it seem we would all have a good bit more money. I can barely affort to pay attention. I am ignorant of this so I have to ask, are there any masons in Japan/China? I made the comment to my son the other day that there were masons in almost every country and after I said that, I thought I might better check that out before I spout assumed knowlege anymore.

Make sure you check under the covers for any horse heads or fish wrapped in newspaper.


posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 05:12 PM
Ive been wondering where these structures come from too.

I suspect the British Empire may have exported this stuff originally.

posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 05:28 PM
reply to post by Skyfloating

they don't call it "Organized crime" for nothing.
Kind of like a large corporation. Any ideas on the other question?

posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 06:08 PM
I'm reminded of Hakim Bey's essay on The Tong.

Assorted snippets:

A Tong can perhaps be defined as a mutual benefit society for people with a common interest which is illegal or dangerously marginal--hence, the necessary secrecy. Many Chinese Tongs revolved around smuggling & tax-evasion, or clandestine self-control of certain trades (in opposition to State control), or insurrectionary political or religious aims (overthrow of the Manchus for example-- several tongs collaborated with the Anarchists in the 1911 Revolution).

A common purpose of the tongs was to collect & invest membership dues & initiation fees in insurance funds for the indigent, unemployed, widows & orphans of deceased members, funeral expenses, etc. In an era like ours when the poor are caught between the cancerous Scylla of the Insurance Industry & the fast-evaporating Charybdis of welfare & public health services, this purpose of the Secret Society might well regain its appeal. (Masonic lodges were organized on this basis, as were the early & illegal trade unions & "chivalric orders" for laborers & artisans.) Another universal purpose for such societies was of course conviviality, especially banqueting-- but even this apparently innocuous pastime can acquire insurrectionary implications. In the various French revolutions, for example, dining clubs frequently took on the role of radical organizations when all other forms of public meeting were banned.


I have not abandoned but rather modified my concept of what a modern Tong might be. The intensely hierarchical structure of the traditional tong would obviously not work, although some of the forms could be saved & used in the same way titles & honors are used in our "free religions" (or "weird" religions, "joke" religions, anarcho-neo-pagan cults, etc.). Non-hierarchic organization appeals to us, but so too does ritual, incense, the delightful bombast of occult orders--"Tong Aesthetics" you might call it--so why shouldn't we have our cake & eat it too?--(especially if it's Moroccan majoun or baba au absinthe--something a bit forbidden!). Among other things, the Tong should be a work of art.

The strict traditional rule of secrecy also needs modification. Nowadays anything which evades the idiot gaze of publicity is already virtually secret. Most modern people seem unable to believe in the reality of something they never see on television --therefore to escape being televisualized is already to be quasi-invisible. Moreover, that which is seen through the mediation of the media becomes somehow unreal, & loses its power (I won't bother to defend this thesis but simply refer the reader to a train of thought which leads from Nietzsche to Benjamin to Bataille to Barthes to Foucault to Baudrillard). By contrast, perhaps that which is unseen retains its reality, its rootedness in everyday life & therefore in the possibility of the marvelous.

So the modern Tong cannot be elitist--but there's no reason it can't be choosy. Many non-authoritarian organizations have foundered on the dubious principle of open membership, which frequently leads to a preponderance of assholes, yahoos, spoilers, whining neurotics, & police agents. If a Tong is organized around a special interest (especially an illegal or risky or marginal interest) it certainly has the right to compose itself according to the "affinity group" principle. If secrecy means (a) avoiding publicity & (b) vetting possible members, the "secret society" can scarcely be accused of violating anarchist principles. In fact, such societies have a long & honorable history in the anti-authoritarian movement, from Proudhon's dream of re-animating the Holy Vehm as a kind of "People's Justice," to Bakunin's various schemes, to Durutti's "Wanderers." We ought not to allow marxist historians to convince us that such expedients are "primitive" & have therefore been left behind by "History." The absoluteness of "History" is at best a dubious proposition. We are not interested in a return to the primitive, but in a return OF the primitive, inasmuch as the primitive is the "repressed."

So in Bey's terms, a Tong is a hierarchal affinity group of a marginalized portion of society which chooses to meet without public fanfare (thus allowing them privacy, or the veil of "secrecy"). This definition extends to organized crime as much as it does to Masons or book clubs or bike clubs or artists' collectives... to gay rights groups or black power groups or any group which is not The Man, whether their intent is to stick it to The Man or not.

posted on Sep, 12 2008 @ 06:29 AM

Originally posted by Mason mike
reply to post by Skyfloating

they don't call it "Organized crime" for nothing.
Kind of like a large corporation. Any ideas on the other question?

I dont know about your other questions. If there is any masonry in asia then they are probably american and british. If there are any chinese lodges they are probably not widespread.

I think its safe to say that regular freemasonry is benevolent but there may be pockets of irregular freemasonry that collaborate with mafia-type organizations.

But no...I dont have the answers...thats why I made this thread.

posted on Sep, 12 2008 @ 06:34 AM
Reply to Josh Norton:

You gotta love Hakim Bey for stuff like this:

Nowadays anything which evades the idiot gaze of publicity is already virtually secret. Most modern people seem unable to believe in the reality of something they never see on television

posted on Sep, 12 2008 @ 09:01 AM
I think organizations like the Propaganda Due lodge in Italy gravitated to masonry because of it's ubiquitous 'secrecy in plain sight' nature.

Likewise during the French and American Revolutions the lodges afforded a safe, secure location to plan activities where each brother was known by all the others and sworn to keep their secrets.

In modern America it would be difficult to conduct clandestine activities in a lodge for several reasons:

- We are not a 501(c)3 charity, therefore we pay taxes and have to track all money going in and out of the lodge. The books are open for public inspection since we are non-profit, but not charitable.

- A closed and locked room is no longer a place for a secure meeting. Cell phones, digital cameras and numerous other methods of eavesdropping ensure that nothing that goes on in a lodge can truly be considered 'secure'.

- Members today come from a wide variety of jobs and backgrounds. There is only a cursory examination done when admitting a new member and Masonry plays such a small role in their lives that time spent away from the lodge could be doing 'anything'. There is nothing in place to prevent a member from spilling the beans if a criminal element was conducting business.

There are other organizations that still lend themselves to private activities.

Yesterday our local paper reported a 33 year old priest that was selling coc aine from his office at the church.

Granted, the vast majority of clergy are honest people, but the fact that churches are sacred, private and charitable means that they might be a safer place to conduct business than a secret society lodge.

I highly doubt that there is a lot of this activity going on, but I can see where it might be considered.

posted on Sep, 12 2008 @ 09:42 AM

Originally posted by Skyfloating
You gotta love Hakim Bey for stuff like this:

Nowadays anything which evades the idiot gaze of publicity is already virtually secret. Most modern people seem unable to believe in the reality of something they never see on television
Indeed, and that's why I included it. He's really not far off the mark. People make such a big deal over Masons pledging to uphold secrecy, when, in fact, anyone not in the public eye is virtually guaranteed a "security thru obscurity" just because the general populous is too lazy to become their own investigative reporters.

What does your boss do when he leaves work at night? Does he head to a clandestine lodge? Is he a drug kingpin? Does he walk the streets of your city leaving knitted graffiti in his wake? Chances are, whatever it is, you don't know and would never know unless he mentioned it or were caught doing it and such an arrest or investigation became highly publicized.

So let's turn that towards sub-groups that may form within a Masonic lodge. I know there are special interest groups within Masonry: there's a motorcycle club with dispensation from my Grand Lodge; there are members of my Blue Lodge that shoot pistols at a target range regularly. These are the ones I know about since they, you know, mention their upcoming events in the "new business" portion of our lodge meetings. If organized crime were being carried on by my brethren, the whole lodge would have to be involved for it to be carried out using Robert's Rules of Order. Too many visiting guests or Grand Lodge dignitaries or representatives that would disrupt it being done in open lodge. So could it be done on the side, on the sly? Whispered cryptic messages in the dining room before our meeting? Sure. There's plenty of that going on already, since some of my Blue Lodge brothers are Grotto, and some are Shrine, and some are Eastern Star, and some are York Rite, and some are Scottish Rite and some are DeMolay dads. So there you go... if there's some communication that needs to happen in secret at a gathering of Blue Lodge masons, it can happen in plain site, in low voices, or in small cliques smoking cigarettes outside the kitchen door.

Now, the all-important question: does that make such activity Masonic? The members are Masons. There's communication going on under the guise of a regular stated meeting, though off the floor and not documented in the minutes.

posted on Sep, 12 2008 @ 02:45 PM
Reply to emsed:

You make a good point of secrecy being very difficult to upkeep nowdays.

The super-surveillance state through webcames, google earth, nano-tech, call phones, public cameras are the wet dream of every conspiracy-theorist calling for an end to secrecy, come true.

However, its pretty clear that modern freemasonry is not a player in organized crime. The question though is: Who are the players? And why their heavy use of the rituals and symbolism of secret societies?

Why go through what some of them might term "mumbo-jumbo" in order to carry out drug deals, slave trafficking, illegal trade, etc.?

posted on Sep, 12 2008 @ 02:48 PM
reply to post by JoshNorton

It doesnt make such activity masonic. Its more certain interest groups abusing masonic networking for their purposes.

However...I know its become habitual to talk about masonry within this Forum, but masons are only a side-focus of this thread.

There are other secret societies (some of them loosely based on freemasonry) and they are involved in criminal activity.

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