This essay recounts the repression of political and mafia crime in Italy in the 1950’s, which, taking into account the cold war climate of the era and the legacy of fascism, tries to evaluate certain events of current times. In these pages, we trace the events surrounding the death of the bandit Salvatore Giuliano and a portion of the events connected to it; starting with the massacre of Portella della Ginestra on May 1947, which represents the first episode of terrorism in the history of the Italian Republic. Giuliano’s death scene was a great spectacle for national and international public opinion, for politics and for law enforcement. There were multiple truths, those of the carabinieri, journalists, politicians and judges and those of the bandits themselves, and then the opaque and ambivalent actions implemented by the carabinieri to contrast the mafia, such as the use of «infiltrators» and secret negotiations. This type of action, inherited in part from fascism, immune to procedural verifications and also benefiting from reasons of justification linked to the state of necessity of the repressive action, became a customary modus operandi in the repression of political and mafia crime, finding subsequent legislative recognitions in the establishment of special teams, and in legislation aimed at favoring dissociation.
Keywords: Confidants; Infiltrators; Fight against organized crime.