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Monthly Archives: July 2012
J. Edgar’s long reign taught us one fundamental thing. It is a bad idea having one person in charge of an investigating agency for 48 years. Some called him the closest thing to a dictator America has ever seen. We will never know the extent of his evil doings because his secretary. Helen Gandy, who had worked with him for 54 years, and close friend and daily companion of over 40 years, Clyde Tolson, took control of all his files and destroyed them.
Once J. Edgar was no longer in power the FBI had to adjust to his absence. As expected, there were several pretenders to the throne among them Mark Felt, also known as Deep Throat. Seeing the FBI vulnerable some in Congress ginned up enough courage to investigate it. The result was the formation of the Church Committee. The FBI was so revered that the idea Congress was thinking of looking at its actions was called treasonous by some.
The Church Committee’s report told of years of abuses by the FBI. One thing that came from it was a recommendation limiting the term of the FBI director to 8 years. Legislation was enacted limiting it to 10 years. We did not want to see another J. Edgar even though it is uncertain his spirit has ever gone away.
The present FBI Director is Robert S. Mueller III. He was appointed on August 2, 2001. OOPS! Hold on! You just said the term limit was ten years. What’s Mueller still doing there?
It seems we have short memories in the US. Obama asked for him to be reappointed for two more years because of the ongoing threats to our country from terrorism. Since that threat will never go away, will that be the same fate of Mueller?
T.E. English on June 18, 2012 wrote about Whitey’s case. It’s an interesting take on the case because he has written some good books about other criminals usually connected to New York City so he has a feel for a good crime story. But it does point out that even a good writer can make some fundamental errors when he is not close to the situation and doesn’t know the terrain or the players and their biases.
He’s on the same page as I am that the FBI wants this to go away but he shows some confusion when he tries to explain it.
Early on he brings up Harvey Silverglate whom he calls “a prominent Boston criminal-defense attorney.” He omits mentioning Silverglate’s strong animosity to all things Bulger. Silverglate is Dershowitz’s big buddy who along with Dershowitz opposed one of Billy’s friends for a judgeship causing a minor ruckus at the State House.
Silverglate’s point is there is a cover-up going on. Silverglate says the feds could have tried Whitey quickly in California on gun charges and locked him up for 30 years but they brought his back to Boston to prevent exposing “a pattern of secrecy and cover-up going back generations.” Unfortunately Silverglate has it ass-end-backwards. If they tried him on the easy gun charge case in California and they never tried him in Boston that was the way to do an effective cover-up.
But lets get real, there’s no way the feds can walk away from all Whitey’s murders. They have no choice but to prosecute him for them. Silverglate’s venom made his thought process murky which is unusual for him.
I’ll post once a day (hopefully). If something of note occurs then I will post about it even if I’ve already posted.
The following are general guidelines that I hope to follow but they are not carved in stone.
Sunday — I’ll post about books covering these subjects
Monday — Whitey’s Case and Legal Matters of Interest
Tuesday — FBI, State Police, DEA, Local Police
Wednesday — John ‘Ivan’ Naimovich
Thursday — Whitey and Other Gangsters
Friday — John Connolly
Saturday — Catch All – open subjects such as Billy Bulger, Southie, Prosecutors, etc.
Thanks for your interest.
The Boston Daily a blog of Boston Magazine said in one of the great understatements of the last 20 years: “As those who follow Boston politics well know, there is no love lost between Billy Bulger and Alan M. Dershowitz . . . .”
Carr asked Alan to write a blurb in the inside flap of his book The Brothers Bulger. Dershowitz can hardly contain his glee and vile. He proceeded to launch a vitriolic attack on Billy without mentioning Whitey. You’d think it was Billy who was charged with the 19 murders.
Using Dershowitz pretty much sums up what Carr’s book is about: an intemperate attack against Billy based on his sibling connection to Whitey. All of Billy’s actions are twisted and distorted. Carr tells us in the beginning that much of the book is regurgitation of other books and newspaper articles. It does have an index which is good, it has not footnotes or anything else to back up his assertions.
It has several simple factual errors. To mention a few he calls Old Harbor Village by the name of Old Colony Harbor; he deprives Massachusetts of a vacation resort by putting Salisbury Beach in New Hampshire; and he omits the Apalachin meeting when talking of J. Edgar Hoover’s epiphany about the Mafia but it does a pretty good summary of the issues surrounding the 1974 forced busing of Boston’s public school children. I’ll talk about other things as we go along.
Carr is the radio entertaining darling of the begrudgers. He’s been using the epithet “corrupt midget” to refer to Billy for years to the delight of his audience.. It’s a nasty slap at a person who has no control over his height and who as a public official can’t really defend himself.
I’ll also try in the future when I refer to an individual to link to a site that has his photograph.
Pictures of Whitey with Teresa Stanley, Billy and Jackie Bulger when younger, and Chris Nilan are shown here.
Writing of Whitey and his trial naturally encompasses a broad swath of subjects: his relationships, his environment, his actions, how law enforcement agencies worked for or against him, the way our justice system works, and how others think of Whitey. I use Saturday to talk about some of these things more generally.
As a career prosecutor I’ve been instrumental in having people incarcerated, some through plea bargaining and others by recommendations I made after trial. For the most part, a plea bargain involves a defendant weighing the chances of acquittal, considering the penalty after conviction, and then trying to mitigate the punishment by pleading guilty when the odds of acquittal do not favor him. If the penalty does not vary as in a murder charge or other mandatory minimum cases the defendant will usually go to trial regardless of the odds. Otherwise, if the case looks like a loser he’ll try to ease his punishment.
In those cases the prosecutor suggests a couple of things: his recommendation after trial and his recommendation if the defendant pleads guilty. Defense counsel suggests what her client will accept.
They then have a discussion while considering, whether consciously or unconsciously, other factors such as legal strictures upon the judge due to sentencing guidelines, the judge herself, what usually happens in these cases, the attitude of the victims, a prosecutor’s analysis of the defendant and the strength of the evidence against him, this will differ from the defense attorney’s, the willingness of the lawyers to spend the time preparing for trial, and the lawyer’s attitude to trying a case among other things.
Edward MacKenzie in his book Street Soldier tells about US Attorney Mike Sullivan stating after Connolly was convicted that he was “a Winter Hill Gang operative masquerading as a law enforcement agent.” MacKenzie then wrote, “Welcome to the club, Johnny. You’ve officially been outed” expressing his satisfaction with Connolly’s conviction.
He goes on to write: “I actually have mixed feelings about the former FBI agent. He was always respectful to me, though I understood he would sacrifice me at any time to get a star on his forehead. But I believe the FBI was as much to blame as he was. After all, where did they stick him? His old neighborhood! That’s entrapment as far as I am concerned. How could he betray his childhood buddies?”
MacKenzie believes a cop who thwarts the criminal activity of a gangster he was friendly with as a youngster amounts to a betrayal. It’s a skewed notion of a criminal mind but a good insight into how even a self labeled reformed criminal thinks.
MacKenzie tells about meeting Connolly in January of 1999 at a Bruins game (Connolly will be indicted in December, 1999) . A former coach of the Bruins who led the team to the Stanley Cup Championship told me that Connolly used to be a big Bruins fan. He accompanied the team on some of its trips and liked to go to a North End restaurant with some of the players. Hearing MacKenzie tell me he met him at the game did not surprise me.
At the end of the first period he met Connolly at the landing above their seats. Connolly complained to him about the US Attormey’s Office and former AUSA Jeremiah O’Sullivan. He said O’Sullivan knew everything he was doing and avoided testifying by faking a hear attack. (You can read about O’Sullivan in my book.)
John “Red” Shea served twelve years for drug offenses. At age 21 he claims he was Whitey’s top lieutenant in the drug distribution business. A Golden Gloves boxing champion he was good with his fists which came in handy while in prison.
He avers in his book Rat Bastard there is nothing worse in the world than a rat. When learning Whitey was a rat he says he became physically sick. In the book’s epilogue he writes of his confused feelings toward Whitey: ”On the one hand, Whitey Bulger was a hero to me, someone who taught me the streets, the code, someone who was respected and feared by everyone, with a few notable exceptions. He was a man’s man, and what I learned from him made me what I am today. I wanted to be like Whitey Bulger. . . . On the other hand, Whitey was a total fraud. He took care of himself and gave the rest of us up. He couldn’t face the music. He didn’t practice what he preached. It is still incomprehensible to me that a guy of his character, who presented himself as he did, who schooled me so well, could be a rat.”
That ending is fascinating. He calls him a “man’s man.” He’d still be admiring him had he not been a rat. He doesn’t see Whitey as the depraved monstrous killer of two defenseless young women and tens of others.
Then there’s another Golden Gloves boxing champion, Southie tough Eddie MacKenzie, who wrote Street Soldier. He writes that he and Tommy Dixon ran Whitey’s drug distribution business giving Whitey $20,000 a week. He says, “Working for Whitey was as good as it got. True, he was a homicidal psychopath; I’d known that from the first moment I met him. But he was my homicidal psychopath, my boss, the man I respected and feared and served with every bit of loyalty in my being.”
23 years he spent as a Massachusetts State Trooper. He died in November 1991.
On February 3, 1988, he was arrested by the FBI in a manner designed to highly embarrass him, at his office in front of his fellow troopers. (The FBI lacking class gets it kicks out of these puerile tricks like demeaning people in front of their friends, family or co-workers. We tried to treat people with dignity. Almost always if we had a warrant on a person who we did not expect to flee or be in possession of contraband, we’d ask the person to show up in court. Unlike the FBI, we thought the idea of the presumption of innocence meant something.)
Judge Mark Wolf famous for bringing to the world’s attention the unsavory connection between the FBI and Whitey had this to say about Naimovich. He was talking about the 1980 leak of information to Whitey from which he learned that the state police had a bug in the Lancaster Street garage — “Flemmi initially received information about the bug, through an associate, John Naimovitch(sic), a Massachusetts State Police Trooper.”
Wolf mentions him again in relation to an affidavit filed by a DEA agent Steve Boeri for a wiretap on Kaufman — “Massachusetts State Trooper John Naimovitch(sic), who had tipped Flemmi to the Lancaster Street Garage bug, was the source of some of the additional Title 18-related information on which Boeri relied.”
The last time Wolf mentions him is while he is still talking about the Kaufman wiretap — “It is also likely that Flemmi had access to any information known to Naimovitch(sic), who, in 1980, had alerted him to the bug at the Lancaster Street Garage, and was later convicted on charges of corruption.”
Did you ever wonder, “Who Takes Care of the FBI?” In theory, it is the U.S. Department of Justice or perhaps Congress. In truth, the Bureau takes care of itself with little oversight. It does have a group that is called the OPR (Office of Professional Responsibility) that is supposed to investigate FBI misdeeds but it has shown itself to be inept.
In 1997 it investigated the Boston FBI office. It found “no evidence of continuing criminal conduct within the statute of limitations” by Connolly or his supervisor at the FBI, John Morris, in their relationships with Bulger and Flemmi.
Can you figure out what that statement means? Continuing means according to Merriam-Webster “to be steadfast or constant in a course or activity : keep up or maintain especially without interruption a particular condition.” The idea of “continuing criminal conduct” means something that is ongoing at the present time.
Using that standard I suppose it would be fair to say about Whitey that there is “no evidence of continuing criminal conduct.” He’s been in jail for the last year or so.
Even the idea of a statute of limitations is vague. We do not know what it refers to. Is there a statute of limitations with respect to the OPR’s investigations. If it has evidence an agent molested some children ten years ago is it estopped from addressing it?
The statute of limitations relating to criminal acts varies in time. For most crimes it is five years yet for some acts it is eight or even ten. There is no statute of limitations on murder which can be prosecuted at any time. For discussion, I’ll assume it means no continuing criminal conduct occurred within the statute of limitations applicable to most crimes, five years.