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Monthly Archives: November 2012
Part I: Whitey Bulger’s Case Demonstrates A Malign Media Mindset Involving Twisting Facts and Destroying Reputations
I sometimes have to wonder at the pap we get from our newspapers especially in stories relating to Bulger. I indicated yesterday that the mainstream media writers missed the point of Whitey admitting his role in some bank robberies back in 1956. He wasn’t ratting anyone out nor was he cooperating with the FBI. He admitted his role in a robbery that the FBI already knew about. It had a witness who was with him during the robberies ready to testify against him.
Whitey did it to save his girlfriend from going to the can. The media points to this as him being some sort of informant but it was the opposite. He was stand up guy giving the FBI what they already had, taking the hit himself which turned out to be 20 years, so that his girlfriend, Jacqueline “Jacqui” McAuliffe who was with him on one or more robberies, was able to stay on the street and take care of her kid.
You get mixed up when you think everything is black. Nothing ever is. As Somerset Maugham wrote in his book Summing Up: “I have known crooks who were capable of self-sacrifice, . . . and harlots for whom it was a point of honor to give good value for money.” It’d be too much for the local press to ever think Whitey had any good in him yet many in South Boston saw that side of him.
I’m not saying by any means he was a good person. That’d be succumbing to the mentality of someone like Murderman Martorano who says referring to himself: “It’s my belief that good men can do bad things.” (Yuk! , Murderman murdered 20 people and thinks he is a good man.) Whitey was mostly black but even then he was capable of doing some good acts but that doesn’t change his basic character.
If Whitey Bulger Doesn’t Want His Enemies Writing His Story He’d Better Act Now: Time is Running Out.
I know you’ve heard this before but during the lull in the action on Whitey’s trial I’m catching up on putting together the material I have gathered on Whitey’s brother Billy. It has always puzzled me that a guy could serve so long in public service with an unblemished record and have people start saying he was corrupt. I’m taking a hard look at the evidence as a career prosecutor to see what I think. I’ve spelled out my relationship to Billy in my book Don’t Embarrass The Family. It isn’t close. I know the guy and have talked with him but not for twenty or so years. I never contributed to him or attended his fund raisers. I grew up in the same neighborhood. I’m not ready to start writing about him at this point.
One reason for the delay is that doing this blog so many other issues come up that intrigue me, things I never previously gave a second thought to blindly following the newspapers stories which then become the gospel. I’ve pointed this out in my discussions about Sheila Burgess.
One of the things I’m doing is organizing myself and putting things into different three-ring notebooks. I’ve done this once but the first system I set up is not working well. It reminds me of the times when I’d get ready for trial. I’d have set up one system for handling the evidence and then I’d rearrange it and probably do it a third or fourth time. If you’ve ever read the book Who Am I? which I recommend having just done it you’d see how the unconscious had a role in what I was doing. I realize that what would be wasting time to some people was a way that I used to prepare and learn my case.
I wrote how the newspapers like to follow up on stories. The Sheila Burgess story of a driving record involving 7 (minor? her fault?) accidents, 4 speeding, 2 failure to stops for a police officer and 3 other minor incidents (we don’t know the outcome of any criminal charge) which happened in her early driving years has in another article turned into “a driving record longer than some college chemistry books” according to Brian McGrory. Then he repeats the false “no transportation or government experience” mantra which I noted is not needed for the job she held.
I point to this because the paper uses it column writers to justify its first stories by repetition and hyperbole so that the public never considers the original story’s lack of factual basis for the subsequent conclusions. (I’ve come upon this because I’m intrigued about how effectively this worked against Billy Bulger. It turned a man with an impeccable record of public service into a corrupt official. You’ll hear more on this.)
McGrory’s story is mainly about Governor Deval Patrick. McGrory concludes he has “lost control, lost interest, or both” over the situation in Massachusetts. This is called the William Weld syndrome. It happened also to Mitt Romney. These governors get bored quickly. They seek something else like a higher office or more influential position. When that happens, you’ve all heard the old saw: “when the cats away the mice will play.”
You and I know Governor Patrick has “Gone Grey.” He’s lost his courage. Had he spent the time doing his job rather losing interest in it, the state would be in much better shape. But he’s looking at greener pastures as the grass he stands on turns begins to burn and turn yellow.
Shades of Whitey Bulger’s Winter Hill Gang: Law Enforcement Taking Lessons from the Gangsters in Running Their Operations
I understand a prosecutor has the absolute discretion in whom to charge with a crime. We see this in the case of a person who some allege was involved in the murder of Brian Halloran, Michael Donovan and John McIntyre. The U.S. attorney refuses to charge that person because it appears a deal has been made with a witness Kevin Weeks. Weeks will testify against Whitey Bulger as long as he need not disclose the identity of and testify against that person. All murderers are equal but some murderers are more equal.
I understand the prosecutor has the total discretion in deciding the type of offense that person will face. John O’Brien who was the Massachusetts Commissioner of Probation didn’t take any money for himself. His crime was that he hired people recommended to him by politicians who controlled his budget and doing that he was able to increase his budget. It’s an unusual crime because you’d think if it were a criminal offense to hire such persons then both the politician and the O’Brien would be involved in a conspiracy and the politician would have to be charged. But no politicians were charged with “recommending” persons for jobs. Only O’Brien was charged for taking their recommendations and hiring the persons.
Which brings me to the some Massachusetts district attoneys. I wrote a while ago about district attorneys being in violation of the federal racketeering law, called the RICO act. I assumed at that time that these were district attorneys from out in the West or down in the South or somewhere up in those Mountain States. A week or so ago I learned that four Massachusetts DAs were also involved in these activities. Given the attitude of the US Attorney in Boston toward public officials in Massachusetts, I wonder whether they are wise to persist in their actions.
The Attempt by US Attorney Carmen Ortiz to Commit A Million Dollar Heist from A Hard Working Guy: Shades of Whitey Bulger
A person from out-of-state who comments here off an on asked me what I thought of a story he came across. It related to the Caswell Motel owned by 69-year-old Russ Caswell.
After looking into it I’d suggest that rather than chasing after people like Sheila Burgess who committed no crime or caused any injustice, if the media is looking for something to do perhaps it could give thought to having a discussion of the Caswell Motel affair. The trial relating to it just ended in federal courthouse that overlooks Boston harbor in South Boston. It was a jury waived trial in front of Magistrate Judith Dein who prior to becoming a judge worked for two major law firms in Boston doing civil work.
The Caswell Motel Affair hasn’t received much media coverage in Boston even though on May 8 of this year George Will wrote about it in the Washington Post under the headline “When The Looter Is The Government.”
The Caswell Motel was built in 1955 by Russ Caswell’s father. It sits on a 4.5 acre property in Tewksbury’s main street. Russ has been running it for 30 years working hard, supporting his family. Like anything that was constructed in the Fifties it has become long in the tooth. The 56 rooms according to some rent for $56 a night or $285 a week but when I Googled Motel Caswell, Tewskbury, I learned rates start at $43.00 a night for two. It rents to tourists, workers on extended stays and some elderly. Six people who stayed there reviewed it for Trip Advisor. One rated it “poor”, the other five “terrible.”
As promised yesterday, I will make the nominations for this award from among those who are considered the leaders of the hacks, elected politicians. Keep in mind where some consider the word hack to be a pejorative indicating a loafer or idler; I happen to think it is a worthy title because it applies to all involved in politics or serving on the public payroll from the president of the United States, through our fighting men and women, to our teachers, pubic works employees, judges, police, fire, and other public officials and all those who support them and make our government operate. The hacks are the people who have maintained and preserved our democracy and keep us safe.
It’s easy to sit in a newspaper room or radio studio and criticize but it is hard to go out and interact with the public when one subjects oneself to the turmoil, invective and hurly-burly of running for public office. I have found that even those who hold positions totally opposite from me I nevertheless admire their fortitude and determination to do what it takes to leave one’s comfort zone and take a chance to work for their ideas. I could never do it but I don’t begrudge anything to those that do. When I hear the term hacks I think of people like Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison who laid the foundation for our country.
You must be familiar with the name Sheila Burgess. She just recently got canned as the Massachusetts highway safety director by Governor Patrick. I know it is reported that she resigned but who resigns a good paying state job without have been told to hand in their resignation. It was pointed out in the article noting her resignation that: “Burgess was appointed to her $87,000-a-year position in July 2007, without any background in public safety, transportation, or government administration. Her experience was in Democratic Party politics. For almost two decades as a paid consultant and congressional aide, she had raised money and advised candidates for public office, including — according to her resume — Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, who had taken office six months earlier as part of the new Patrick administration.”
Thoughts of Whitey Bulger Lead to the Creation of The “Got Guts” and “Gone Gray” Awards: Nominations Tomorrow
I’ve been thinking how we’ve become a nation of craven individuals crowding together and trying to blend into the massive grayness of anonymity, a nation of grays. We hide our real opinions in the face of those who speak the loudest. We shrink back from what we know is true subjecting our opinion to the voice of the media as if it is the impartial arbiter of good and evil and does not have an agenda. We take good people and throw them to the mob in order to hide our own foibles knowing deep down we are in many ways just like the people we point a disdaining fingers at. We have forgotten that it was not the grays who gave us this great country.
You know the founders of our nation who we call the Founding Fathers (with the backing of their women folk) really stuck their necks out. Back in those days when you went up against a king you were playing for keeps. When they signed that document stating “we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor” they weren’t speaking figuratively. They were actually putting their lives and money on the line. If they lost, they knew they probably would be hung, their estates confiscated, and their families impoverished. And by the way, their cause was not that popular. It is estimated that at times less than 20% of the people supported them.
These men and women who set about to create a better nation had what we kids called: guts. That term applied to the kid who stood up when others would have run away. These kids weren’t necessarily the toughest or best fighters, often they were remarkably just like the rest of us ordinaries, but in times of need they didn’t shrink away but stood their ground. We’d say in admiration, “he (or she) got guts”.
The FBI Is Still Operating Under The Rules of J. Edgar Hoover When It Comes To Gathering Statements of Witnesses
In my book, Don’t Embarrass The Family, I tell how I became involved with these matters involving Whitey Bulger. Dealing with them, especially having sat through the trial of FBI agent John Connolly, I began to fear that the FBI had become an untamed monster. In the Connolly case it was embarrassed by the disclosure that it had been using top gangsters as partners in its fight against organized crime after it became public knowledge. To protect itself, it tossed one victim, Connolly, into the pit to be chewed on by the lions to sate the public’s appetite and continued with business as usual.
Connolly was convicted of some of the minor offenses but was sentence in a major way to eight or more years in prison. Even though the knowledge and abetting of Connolly’s actions were widespread throughout the FBI somehow an agreement was made between the DOJ prosecutors and the FBI that only one person would take the hit. An obviously more corrupt FBI agent John Morris, who had taken money from Whitey and his only other top echelon informant and who entered into a Machiavellian plot with the Boston Globe to see if he could have Whitey hit, was allowed to skate free as long as he cooperated and testified against Connolly. No other FBI agents were charged with any crimes or disciplined despite the widespread knowledge and approval of Connolly’s actions.
I did a lot of thinking about these events after the trial and also looked back on what I knew of the FBI’s past dealings. This resulted in a section of the appendix to my book which I called “Self Accountability Is No Accountability.” As part of that I made 15 recommendations where I thought the FBI could improve itself.
This Thanksgiving Day The FBI Deserves Profound Thanks From President Obama For Keeping A Lid On the Jill Kelley Affair
The Jill Kelley saga forced the highly ribboned David Petraeus to resign as head of the CIA. Whether that is a great tragedy or great benefit is being debated. It has also forced a four star Marine Corps General John Allen to have his confirmation to a more important position delayed. It has forced two young women, Jill Kelley and Paula Broadwell, into the public spotlight in a humiliating and possible marriage-destroying manner. It has forced hundreds if not thousands of other people who have communicated with Kelley, Broadwell, Petraeus or Allen to go back through their emails to try to determine what the FBI now has on them. It has made people who comment anonymously to my blog realize they too can be identified by the FBI.
In Jill Kelley’s affair we do not know what the FBI knows. All we know is it has gathered and examined tens of thousands of emails from people who it has no probable cause to believe committed a crime. It is as if the FBI went into the City of Quincy and required every person to give it copies of all the emails they have received as well as all other personal mail. The violation of the Fourth Amendment is astounding.
What is more astonishing and incomprehensible is the silence of the mainstream media It is either in mortal fear of the FBI, or partnered with the FBI in an information exchange program, or doesn’t quite understand the gravity of the invasion of privacy that occurred. Compared to the diligence of the media in the early Seventies when it closely screening government activities, today with the media’s parroting of government information it has become the infamous Ministry of Truth for the government. Perhaps now it has no choice since the government uses the criminal arena to limit free speech. Except for the openness of the internet, we are being poorly served as a people. Is there any chance we could see a repeat of the “Pentagon Papers” today?