About




ABOUT COSA NOSTRA NEWS

A blog about the mob....
Cosa Nostra News offers news on current events, as well as historical stories and features.



As of Jan. 16, 2017

In terms of the Mafia niche-news website category, Cosa Nostra News is no. 1 in the U.S. and in the world, according to verifiable Alexa data. (We even, technically, beat the big guy, you know.)

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"The inescapable hurry of the press inevitably means a certain degree of superficiality. It is neither within our power nor our province to be ultimately profound. We write 365 days a year the first rough draft of history, and that is a very great task."


"The first messenger, that gave notice of Lucullus' coming was so far from pleasing Tigranes that, he had his head cut off for his pains; and no man dared to bring further information. Without any intelligence at all, Tigranes sat while war was already blazing around him, giving ear only to those who flattered him"....
First "shooting the messenger" citing, Plutarch's Lives





Editor/Owner

Ed Scarpo

(The name is an invented pseudonym. I'm a journalist with 20-plus years of professional experience. I have bachelor's degree in communications specializing in print journalism.)

Cosa Nostra News is a one-man operation. I write everything, from content to HTML, including trying to follow Google's evolving Adsense policies, and implementing the necessary revisions. I don't have even a copy editor; hence, I revise, revise and revise, even after publication. If I add more information, I note it in the text -- see here). I have two great guest contributors, named below, and am always interested in finding guest contributors. (If you're a graphic artist, I could use a great, kick-ass logo "on the arm" for now. But you'd be in my "people I owe" book, stored on the bedside table.)





The blogger's handbook says "tell your readers about yourself -- humanize!" Mine is not a typical bio however, as I'm not married with two kids and I don't love skydiving and am not a wine connoisseur. But let's just dive in! So here we go!

Power, corruption and man's darker nature are topics of historical interest to me. The Mafia is simply a specific manifestation. If I were to start another niche blog, it likely would be about Hitler and the Third Reich, perhaps the ultimate "specific manifestation". (But truly I wouldn't blog about Nazis; I'd choose a mainstream topic.) Now I don't mean to imply similarities. I view the Mafia as nothing more than an enigmatic, inevitable underside of capitalism. Organized crime was bound to occur: Nature abhors a vacuum -- and there's a lust for larceny in every man's heart. On the spectrum of evil, say a scale ranging from one to 10, with evil progressing exponentially the higher the number, I'd put the Nazis at 12 and the Mafia at 2; some specific mobsters maybe at 3.

Moving on, the greatest writers, in my opinion, are Vladimir Nabokov, Gore Vidal, Thomas Ligotti, Edgar Allan Poe, HP Lovecraft, Gay Talese (though ironically I can't stand his Bonanno book; how he could spend so many years with Bill and get so much wrong is a ceaseless mystery to me) and others I'm too lazy to think of now. I love Tom Wolfe's fiction: Bonfire of the Vanities is a masterpiece, A Man in Full is genius. If you want to know what hell is really like, seriously, I mean viscerally and intellectually and psychologically, read Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman. (Okay, I should add Stephen King to the list; he's where I picked up my nasty habit for italicizing words.)

Jerry Capeci of Gangland News is the journalist who most inspired me. He's a virtuoso in terms of craftsmanship. And he has FBI sources and (I'd guess) "friends" in the Southern District that give him the ingredients to create digital magic each week. George Anastasia I consider similarly, though I discovered Mr. Anastasia much later in life.)






I am just a guy who reads a lot....

I am a snob about one thing: coffee. I require several cups of good coffee every morning. I prefer dark roasts and when I can afford it, I buy it by the bean (online or at Starbucks) and freshly grind it at 5 am, my favorite time to rise. 

I live a low-profile life (what other kind is there?) outside New York City on Long Island. I was identified exactly once in public as "Ed Scarpo". At my local 24-hour newsstand  a white male, early 20s, approached and said, "I know you....I know I know you." I looked back at him wearing the most quizzical expression I could conjure and said, "I know I don't know you." Eventually I mentioned a blog, the topic of organized crime, and he smiled, nodded his head and shook my hand. All I was thinking was: why couldn't a woman have recognized me? (Sudden memory: An achingly beautiful woman once approached me on a subway platform and told me I looked like Michael Keaton. That was back in the 1990s, and I was so shocked, she walked off before I could hit on her. Why do I write this stuff?)




Occasional Contributors

Nick Christophers, writer/artist and Mob Candy editor, you can check out his website here.

Tony Sokol, the "Gangster Geek" at Den of Geek, also writes for The Chiseler, KpopStarz.com, and hypnocloud.com. He has had over 20 plays produced in NYC, including Vampyr Theatre and the rock opera “AssassiNation: We Killed JFK.” He appeared on the Joan Rivers (TV) Show, Strange Universe and Britain’s “The Girlie Show.” Read his blog here.


Stories written by Nick and Tony are given special bylines in the text at the top.

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History of Cosa Nostra

Cosa Nostra (not La Cosa Nostra or LCN as the FBI calls it) is the name used to describe the Italian-American Mafia. Think about it: "Our thing", not "the our thing".

(And it's Luchese, not Lucchese.)

Famous turncoat Joseph "Cago" Valachi was the first to voice the term publicly although the FBI had known of it earlier (incorrectly, though, believing the group called itself La Causa Nostra. Valachi, actually, was tricked into offering the FBI the correct name, by CIA cold warriors using the same methods used when interrogating KGB spies.)

(On tapes John  Gotti also referred to it as Cosa  Nostra. "A Cosa  Nostra til I die... a Cosa Nostra, a  Cosa Nostra... ")

Cosa Nostra News covers America's Cosa Nostra. But we also cover the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, the "grandfather" of America's Cosa Nostra. We also report on the Cosa Nostra in Canada, as well as the Calabrian Mafia that rose alongside it.

We also cover the "Mafias" that originated on the Italian mainland: the Ndrangheta, formed in Calabria in Southern Italy, and the Camorra, which was founded near Naples.

There's also a fourth Mafia, too, a spinoff faction of the Camorra, based in Apulia in southern Italy, called the Sacra Corona Unita.

Unlike in America, where the Cosa Nostra dominates, Canada actually has two primary Mafia groups: the Cosa Nostra and Ndrangheta, both of which established themselves there separately. The groups commonly work together, though both have been known to split into factions and become adversaries. Canadian Cosa Nostra boss Vito Rizzuto, called the Canadian John Gotti until his death at the end of 2013, probably was the most well-known member of Canada's Mafia. He is believed to have been waging a war against factions of the Ndrangheta in recent years, which is likely continuing now.

Rizzuto was a made member of the Bonanno family, but is believed to have established his independence, formally or informally, sometime in the 1980s following a falling out with then-Bonanno boss Joseph Massino. Search this site; there are many stories about Rizzuto.

If you're looking for a writer or someone with my skills and experience, please contact me via email at

cosanostranews@gmail dot-com.

If you're interested in interviewing me or want access to any of the people I've interviewed, please email me, as well.

All work originally written for this site is copyrighted; if material is quoted from this site, please include proper attribution and a "live" link to the material in question, as is our practice when sourcing information.

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HISTORY OF AMERICAN COSA NOSTRA:
Charles "Charlie Lucky" Luciano seized control of the Italian-American underworld in 1931 and united regional crime groups across the United States.

He also created a small panel of the leaders of the nation's largest and most influential Mafia groups, called The Commission. It was tasked with creating and enforcing the organization's laws, supervising the selection of new bosses and making treaties with outside groups. The Commission was the policy maker for organized crime on a national level.

It's been theorized there had been two other Commission-type entities for the Syndicate (or Combination, a favorite expression used by old time newspapermen), which consisted of Italian families and predominately Jewish crime rings working together in areas of the country.

It is believed the early members of the Commission were:
Charlie Luciano - New York
Joseph Bonanno - New York
Tom Gagliano - New York
Joseph Profaci - New York
Vincent Mangano - New York
Alphonse Capone - Chicago
Frank Milano - Cleveland

According to The American Mafia: "only two sources can be considered authoritative [regarding who was part of the Commission]. Nick Gentile recorded his memories of a lifetime in the Mafia in the autobiographical Vita di Capomafia. Joseph Bonanno did the same years later in A Man of Honor." Read the article at the hyperlink for further insight into the Commission, as well as the Mafia in general.

Luciano mimicked the tenets of capitalism, including the use of efficiency and profitability, as well as uniting with outside criminal groups to survive and prosper.

He viewed himself and the other crime group leaders as the Mafia's board of directors.

Luciano brought order to the underworld by creating a single, united group of crime families, uniting Sicilians with those of mainland Italian descent (including Calabrians and Neapolitans).

The Mafia of today exists, in large part, because of Lucky Luciano. He may not be the criminal mastermind that some claim he is, but he certainly was one of the savviest mobsters of all time and deserves his legendary status.

And the five families named in 1931 still exist, with four going through a name change in the 1950s and '60s: The Luciano family became the Genovese family; Gagliano, the Luchese family; Profaci, the Colombo family; and  Mangano, the Gambinos.


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