San Diego

Local author uncovers documents proving Military and Mafia teamed up during WWII

Operation Underworld: How the Mafia and U.S. Government Teamed Up to Win World War II, tells a narrative the US Government stored secret for many years.

SAN DIEGO — “How the Navy defended the Port of New York during World War II, and the way they did it is that they enlisted the help of the mafia,” mentioned San Diego Author Matthew Black.

That’s proper – mobsters – together with Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky. Black, who lives in Point Loma, spent an excellent a part of the pandemic combing by way of 1000’s of pages of documents. Many included data that had been categorised for many years by the federal authorities. 

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“I got cross-eyed on my computer screen,” he mentioned with an animated smile. “I have like 60 tabs open at a time. I need 6 computer screens that I can pull information from here… and some of the scenes got so complicated. You’re pulling from 10 sources at a time so it was very challenging.”

On February ninth, 1942, the S.S. Normandie, a French ocean liner, abruptly went up in flames whereas docked at New York Harbor. It was brought on by sparks from a welding torch, however as a result of it occurred simply two months after the bombing at Pearl Harbor, Black says the U.S. Government suspected sabotage. 

“Oh my god – there’s got to be enemy spies that are working the port – and so it became a big deal for the Navy,” he mentioned.

It was an enormous deal largely as a result of staff on the docks have been additionally dealing with delicate battle tools and supplies. 

The Navy wanted its folks to infiltrate the workforce right here – to observe for suspicious exercise. 

But sturdy unions made that unimaginable till the Navy secretly partnered with key members of the Mafia. 

“When they asked for their help, they were able to get their men inside, figure out who was the enemy, who was helpful, and the story just evolves from there,” Black mentioned. “It goes to some crazy places.”

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