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New communication techniques used by the italian “mafiosi”.

Jailed mafiosi Bernardo Provenzano

ROME .- “Everything OK, Paolo.” Oddly enough, this innocent text message sent via a cell phone to one of the most popular Italian t.v. shows, was really a coded message used by the mafia to communicate with the imprisoned bosses that are held incommunicado, under prison conditions of isolation.

Simple and effective, this new technique was revealed by former anti-Mafia prosecutor Macrí Enzo during a hearing before the Parliamentary Anti-Mafia Commission on the status of detainees under the so-called hard prison regime, ie under the here called 41 bis paragraph.

Macrí said it was thanks to a former mafia boss that decided to inform the anti-Mafia prosecutors how the mafia  often used the popular and successful Quelli che il Calcio TV program to send encrypted messages to their bosses isolated in prison (who obviously let them watch TV …).

Quelli che il Calcium is a very successful program of the RAI-Italian public television, that is broadcasted every Saturday, in which a group of famous comments live football matches of the “calcio” tournament.

Hosted by famous TV presenter Simona Ventura, the talk show has a peculiarity: it provides that the public can anonymously send text messages (SMS) to a given phone number. These SMS are then transmitted continuously at the bottom of the screen, while airing the images and match results.

Hence, the police understood how the organized crime decided to use the program for anonymous sending of coded messages to their bosses living under extremely hard prison regime. Both producers and actors of the program never imagined such misuse of the tv show, as made clear Macrí.

Not surprisingly, a normal sentence, such as “Everything OK, Paolo,” cited by the prosecutor said, may actually be a coded message.