TTTT

Trekking Toward The Truth – A Journey With Others Over The Road Less Traveled

Originally dedicated to the vagaries of matters involving Whitey Bulger and the FBI but now expanded into more general topics.

TTTT - Trekking Toward The Truth – A Journey With Others Over The Road Less Traveled

§25: Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years: Clearing The Decks For Stevie Flemmi’s Arrival Home

FBI Agents Rico and Condon Wait In Limousine for Stevie Flemmi at End of
Red Carpet

The remarkable thing about some of the books written about Whitey is how little attention is paid to critical things. We sort of jump from Stevie Flemmi being on the lam to Stevie being a member of the Winter Hill Gang. This important time that will shape all future events is given scant attention.

One aspect that has been ignored is that Stevie had pending against him two very serious charges that were the occasion of his flight:  the murder of William Bennett that was pending in Suffolk County and the attempted murder of Attorney John Fitzgerald when he blew up his car in Middlesex County. Stevie was not going to come back unless he had an iron clad guarantee that these cases would disappear. You’d think that’d be hard to give him considering the seriousness of the charges.

Frank Salemme who also was charged with blowing up Fitzgerald’s car had been arrested in New York City in November 1972 by FBI Agent John Connolly. Flemmi was tried on those charge in June 1973, the main witness against him being Robert Daddeico. Until Salemme’s case was over nothing could be done to help Stevie.

According to Stevie’s testimony he was happy in Montreal and reluctant to return to Boston. He has it that he was convinced by FBI Agent Rico to come back. Rico told him the groundwork had been laid with the Middlesex and Suffolk DA’s offices so that he would be bailed on the charges of murder and blowing up Attorney John Fitzgerald’s car and eventually get them dismissed. Rico was no longer in Boston but he and his partner FBI Agent Dennis Condon had cultivated a good friendship with Middlesex DA John Droney and Suffolk DA Garrett Byrne. At that time the FBI was revered among Irish Catholic politicians and these agents would have the ear of these DAs.

Of course Flemmi’s story about his reluctance to come back home is a bit of blarney. He wasn’t getting rich in Montreal and since everyone remarks upon Flemmi’s love of money so he’d have jumped at the opportunity to return home and again resume life as a gangster under the protective umbrella of the FBI. And, the FBI was pleased to have him back because he was the only one they had with the juice to interact with the Boston Mafia guys at the highest levels. He was friends with feared Boston Mafia enforcer Larry Baione. He was welcome with open arms by the Patriarca Mafia family which included Underboss Angiulo in Boston for after all his flight was occasioned by his blowing up the car of Fitzgerald at the behest of Raymond L.S. Patriarca, the king of the family.

To suggest that somehow Stevie Flemmi was no longer a top echelon informant for the FBI is to shut one’s eyes to reality. He needed the FBI and it needed him. When Paul Rico went to bat for him with Droney and Byrne he’d have had to have a compelling reason to convince them to let go of those charges. That’s not to say he told them Flemmi was an informant, because I’m convinced Rico and Condon being from the old school and having spent just about all of their careers under the rule of J. Edgar Hoover believed it was a sacred trust imposed upon an FBI agent never to disclose the identity of an informant. They recognized that to do so may very well have undermined the FBI’s ability to function against organized crime. Informants were the FBI’s most effective tool, especially top echelon informants.

Without revealing his status, Rico and Condon went into a full court press mode on both DAs and convinced them of the necessity to put Stevie back on the street. It probably came down to relying on the close bond they had created over the years with those men, Byrne had been DA since 1952 and Drone since 1959; Rico and Condon were FBI agents since 1951, and the trust the DAs would put in the word of these agents. Those were different days.

The problem both men faced in going to bat for Stevie was that they both had put in their time and had plans to retire. Rico would retire from the Miami office within a year, Condon would leave in 1977 for a job on the State Merit Rating Board. It would be necessary to have another FBI agent assume the responsibility for handling and protecting Stevie as had been done by Rico and Condon. Fortunately, they had identified such and agent who had recently been brought back to his hometown thanks to a plan they had put together.

That agent was John Connolly of South Boston.

§24: Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years: Waiting For Stevie To Come Home

Stevie and Whitey
In Their Good Years

We’re now at the point where we are entering the second half of The Learning Years the period called the Full Gang Years. This begins in May 1974 when Stevie Flemmi comes back from Montreal. It lasts until the time of the Race Fixing Indictment in the spring of 1979. That indictment named Howie Winter, John Martarano, Jimmy Martorano, Joe McDonald and Jimmy Sims. Howie and Jimmy Martorano stayed around for the trial, were convicted, and incarcerated. Howie was already doing time on a state charge. John and Joe took off for Florida; Jimmy Sims had not been seen around for a while was believed to be dead.

The result would be that Whitey and Stevie Flemmi would be the only two of the seven Winter Hill Gang leaders remaining standing. They would take over the running of the gang. The Boss Years would begin and continue until the mid-Nineties.

Whitey is charged with six murders that occurred during The Full Gang period all within a little more than a two-year period. The first in October 1974 is of Jimmy Sousa, then in November 1974 Paulie McGonagle, June 1975 Eddie Connors, November 1975 Tommy King and Buddy Leonard, and finally in December 1976 Richard Castucci. He’d not be charged with a murder again until almost four and a half years later in 1981 during The Boss Years. Of the six murders, three do not involve a beef with the Winter Hill Gang, they are South Boston gangsters, two clearly have the Winter Hill stamp on them and one may or may not be their murder. I’ll talk more of the murders later.

Right now there are two areas to delve into: figuring out how Whitey and Stevie became bosom buddies; and, figuring out how they became conjoined as FBI informants.

In May 1974 we know Whitey has not murdered anyone. He’s fired at  some people in the Southie dustup but didn’t kill anyone and he’s been accused of helping with some murders by driving a car, but he hasn’t fired a weapon at anyone that resulted in a death. By contrast the rest of the Winter Hill gang by this time have each murdered several people.

John Martorano had already murdered at least a dozen people. He began in 1965 at age 24 murdering Bobby Pallidino, in 1966 Tony Veranis and John Jackson, 1968 Hubert Smith. Douglas Barrett, Elizabeth Dixon, 1969 Ronald Hicks and Jack Banno, then the murders for Gerry Angiulo, Milano, Plumber, O’Brien and Notorangeli.

The newly arriving Stevie Flemmi could match Murderman. He was a close friend of Larry Baione the top gun for the Boston Mafia and Frankie Salemme who later became the head of the New England Mafia. He and Frank on behalf of Raymond L.S. Patriarca were involved in the Boston Irish Gang wars in the Sixties. He shot Wimpy Bennett in the head, the same thing with his brother Walter Bennett and set up William Bennett to be hit.  The first two Bennetts were buried but William’s hit got messed up and he fell or jumped out of a car on a Boston street after he was shot. Before he could be retrieved a taxi arrived on the scene.

When the cops had a body they had something to go on. That’s why the gangsters used to kill people and make them disappear. The corpus delicti rule requires proof of the crime and in a murder case it’s nice to have a body. Stevie would be indicted for that murder along with the bombing of Attorney John Fitzgerald’s car which was done for Raymond L.S. Patriarca.  Stevie murdered Punchy McLaughlin after two previously failed attempts riddling him with bullets in broad daylight at a bus stop. He murdered Peter Poulos who fled with him from Boston. Salemme indicated he and Stevie Flemmi did more killings during the McLaughlin/McLean gang war so it’s fair to say in May 1974 Stevie did not stand in John Martorano’s shadow when it came to murders.

Each man had at least a dozen body count lead on Whitey. At this point in time Whitey could hardly be considered in their class when it came to homicides. He’s far from being this vicious gang leading criminal but from what we’ll see later he was biding his time. While waiting he’s expecting to meet this new guy, Stevie Flemmi. He’s heard stories about him but he’s never dealt with him before.

 

Waiting on Whitey Bulger’s Congressman Lynch for An Answer To A Simple Question

Flying In The
Sunset of the Day

Ah, politics. You know I avoid them in this blog but I can’t help noticing that Congressman Lynch from South Boston who just got reelected has decided to take a shot at the seat being vacated by Senator Kerry, according to some reports I’ve seen lately. I guess he is going to go up against another Congressman Edward Markey who is in a similar position. I love the courage of these men secure in one job which they intend to hold on to while running for an other job. I guess it’s a “public are fools” attitude since you can’t be doing the job you were just elected to as a Congressman while spending the enormous time running around soliciting votes and money for a new job.

I’m particularly bothered by Congressman Lynch going off on another quest. That is because I’m still waiting for him to tell us what is going on with the FBI. For those who are late to this blog let me quickly tell you why.

Retired FBI Agent John Connolly has been excoriated for using Whitey Bulger as an informant. The public was outraged that such a thing was happening that one of the alleged top gangsters in the area was working with the FBI. Connolly and Bulger were both from South Boston as is Lynch.

The outrage produced the criminal charges against Connolly. He was alleged to have been a renegade FBI agent using gangster Whitey as a source and protecting him. (I should say that it was well-known throughout the FBI that he was doing it so its difficult to be a renegade when the bosses approve of your actions. but we’re not suppose to know that.)  Highlighting Connolly as the bad agent allowed the spotlight to stay focused on him. We were told after he was convicted that he was part of the old FBI and things had changed. But as we would learn, the FBI continued along pretty much unchanged.

I’ve pointed all this out in my book “Don’t Embarrass The Family”. As you know, if you read any book about the FBI you’ll understand that the only action an agent can become involved in which will not rally the whole FBI behind him is to embarrass it. When that happens the agent has to be thrown to the wolves with FBI helping to tear him apart as we saw happen in the Connolly case.

Many came away from this ordeal satisfied justice had been done. Never again would we see such a spectacle as the FBI joining up with a high level criminal and protecting him while he is engaged in committing crimes especially one who was believed involve in murders. Connolly was a maverick. Judge Wolf found the practice abhorrent and all the other judges followed along in lockstep awarding large sums of money to families of the victims because of that connection between the FBI and its Top Echelon Informants. A Congressional Committee, of which Lynch was a member, spent two years looking into this and condemning the FBI’s protection of its gangster informants.

Then in 2011 we found out we had been deceived. The FBI was still in bed with top criminals. It came out that during a Massachusetts State Police wiretap an FBI agent was intercepted saying to a high level Mafia figure Mark Rossetti suspected of several murders: My job is to keep you anonymous and safe.

What had happened? Didn’t this all stop? Do we still have high-ranking criminals committing crimes who are being protected by the FBI?  I wrote back in August about this.

As you’d imagine, when Congressman Lynch who sat on the Committee couldn’t believe it. Nothing seemed to have changed after all these years. He was determined to get to the bottom and find out whether all the lessons we learned from the Whitey era had been forgotten. He was worried that the people of South Boston were again being victimized by gangsters who were protected by the FBI.

When asked about it at the time in August 2011 Lynch said he had demanded a briefing from the FBI on the matter which was being schedule. Then it was reported that in December 2011 Lynch met with the FBI. Lynch reported that the FBI was conducting an internal investigation. The urgency seemed to have died down a bit as the publicity did. The old “let time make everyone forget” seemed to be at work.

A year after the matter first reared its ugly head Lynch was again asked  what was going on. He reportedly said “There’s still more work to be done . . . “  He said the FBI internal probe was still ongoing. I had to scratch my head to figure out what was the issue that was taking so long. It looked like Lynch and the rest of the congressional leaders who met with the FBI over this issue were getting the bum’s rush. Lynch would not comment on the appropriateness of having a Mafia leader as one who was being kept safe by the FBI until the FBI finished its internal review.

It’s now about a year and a half later. I’d ask Congressman Lynch that before he go off campaigning for another job if he could attend to the one he has. Can he tell us what is going on with the FBI still using high level criminal informants such as Whitey? Are we to believe no lessons have been learned on account of the Whitey affair?  Any information Congressman Lynch can provide us on this matter will be appreciated.

Caswell Motel Case – How Secure Are We In Our Property From The Greed Of Some Police?

The Caswell Motel – May It Go On In Peace

The Caswell case which I wrote about yesterday points to the inability of US Attorney Carmen Ortiz to make reasonable judgments. It took about a week to try the case which had lingered in the courts for three years. Judge Judith Gail Dein took the time to visit the home of the motel owner Russ Caswell and to examine the motel and its surroundings. After hearing the evidence, she took a couple of months before she came down with her decision. She meticulously spelled out the facts and examined other cases involving forfeitures in the country to compare them to the Caswell case and to distinguish them if necessary. It took her many hours and she finally set out her reasoning in a 59 page document. She did this work because she knew that it was likely that unless she shut the door completely on the US attorney the case would drag on and be appealed.

To me it was always clear this is not the type of case you bring. You don’t take a law-abiding person’s livelihood from him without a good and substantial reason. One drug transaction a year in a motel over a 15 year period where the law pretty much requires a motel owner not to discriminate against any person who is able to pay for a room was not such a situation which should allow the government to seize his motel. Especially since there was no warning to the owner that he should be doing other than he was doing and no one had a reasonable suggestion as to how he could have done differently than he did in conducting his business other than shutting it down, which the government decided it would do.

I had no idea what type of drug transactions were involved, that is, whether the motel was being used as a base for large distribution operations or whether it was a situation where the drug incidents were open and notorious. I just believed the number of incidents did not rise to the level that one could say the motel was being used to facilitate the violation of the drug laws. We’d learn that the reason why the motel was targeted is that it was worth about 1.5 million, had no mortgage, and was owned as a family business. It was flashing a sign “take me, it’ll be easy money, I can’t defend myself.”

Even with that sign flashing, here’s the evidence the government produced to take the motel: over the 15 years there were 15 cases. The first five incidents between 1994 and 2001 involved small amounts of heroin or cocaine. Two of the incidents in 2003 and 2004 had no drugs of significance and one other a small amount of heroin. In 2005 a serious incident, a meth lab was discovered. It had been there no more than two days and was not detected until a police officer arrested a person for passing counterfeit money and went back to her room to find it only after she opened the door. In 2006 some marijuana was found and in 2007 a person overdosed. In 2008 in four incidents the police came up with a couple of bags of cocaine, some ecstasy pills and some suspected drugs. All agreed Russ Caswell knew nothing about these people or their intent to use drugs.

The Tewksbury police department was complicit in the taking because it would gain 80% of the money recovered. Russ Caswell grew up in Tewksbury, graduated from its high school, worked there all his life, raised his family in that town, paid his taxes, and was known as a good citizen. His police department turned on him. I can’t imagine how the Tewksbury police can condone its actions in trying to put a 69-year-old law-abiding guy who has worked hard all his life, his seriously ill 71-year-old wife, 92-year-old mother-in-law, his kid, his daughter-in-law and grand kid out on the street. If I lived in Tewksbury I’d want to know how the department justified its actions.

The DEA would get 20% of the motel. Its agents brought the case to the US Attorney. You have to wonder at the judgment of all these people. Don’t they have enough to do other than to pick on a motel owner and his family, none of whom have ever been involved in any criminal activity and were unaware any was occurring.

US Attorney Carmen Ortiz in response to Judge Dein’s decision said: “This case was strictly a law-enforcement effort to crack down on what was seen as a pattern of using the motel to further the commission of drug crimes for nearly three decades . . . “ That, of course, was a gross exaggeration, a term used by Judge Dein to describe some of the arguments made by the US attorney’s office before her. It wasn’t such a case, it was a case to unjustly enrich the Tewksbury police and DEA at the expense of a hard-working American based upon things he had no control over and to deprive that man and his family of their livelihood and retirement savings.

I urge you to read Judge Dein’s decision to get a full idea of this case. Pay particular attention to her rulings of law where she discusses other forfeitures made by our government. I found it sort of chilling that the courts have upheld other cases where a person’s property was seized and forfeited when that the person had no involvement in drug activity. I can only think that the rights of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects have been greatly diminished by unwarranted forfeiture actions as we see here and in those other cases Judge Dein talked about.

A Whitey-Like Taking By U.S. Attorney Ortiz Stopped Cold By Judith Gail Dein: Will She Continue Her Quixotic Fight?

Russ Caswell – A Victim Of An Unfeeling US Attorney

Sunday is a day for a little bit of good news.  This comes in the form of a decision by Judge Judith Gail Dein who slapped down the outrageous actions by our US Attorney Carmen Ortiz to all but steal a motel from its owner.

This isn’t a story about the Hotel California the lovely place mentioned in song but rather about the Motel Caswell which was described by its owner, Russ Caswell as, “It’s a budget motel. You know, it’s an older place, but we do our best to keep it in good condition.”

I wrote about it a while back and again more recently in connection with the suicide of Aaron Swartz.  My initial take on the Caswell case was that Carmen Ortiz was acting like Whitey Bulger and she was engaged in an attempt to steal  this property from a hard-working guy. I suggested that her actions in this type of case made me question her judgment as a prosecutor. This was before I knew anything about Swartz’s prosecution.

Judge Dein’s decision reaffirmed everything I thought about the case. She pointed out that Russ Caswell had no formal education beyond Tewksbury High School. He lives with his wife of 48 years,Patricia, his 92-year-old mother-in-law, his son Jay and his wife and their 9-year-old daughter next door to the motel. Russ has one other child, a daughter Julie who has two kids. It’s a family business. Russ works there “virtually every day” (that’s seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, no vacations), his wife Patricia worked there as well until she became seriously ill, his son Jay does the maintenance work and fills in at the front desk, and his daughter Julie does the bookkeeping.

It’s pretty much a family run business that requires full attention. The motel was built in 1955 by Russ’s father, has 56 rooms, rents about 14,000 rooms a year with a mixture of semi-permanent and transient guests. Russ and his family have no criminal record, have never been in trouble, and knew nothing about the drug transactions that occurred there. The government’s basis for seizing this motel from this family was according to Judge Dein, “15 specific drug-related incidents during the period of 1994 to 2008. It should be noted that during this 14 year period, the Motel Caswell rented out approximately 196,000 rooms.” Of these 15, “four cases clearly did not involve drug crimes punishable by more than one year of imprisonment . . . and in four other cases it is unclear whether the incident involved a drug crime punishable by more than one year of imprisonment.”   The Government must show that the property was intended to be used in a drug crime punishable by a year’s imprisonment  to forfeit it.

US Attorney Ortiz was using evidence of 7 rentals out of 196,000 rentals which involved drug activity which Russ knew nothing about over a 14 year period to take the motel from him which is worth about 1.5 million and destroy this family’s means of livelihood and future retirement. She wanted to divide the money, 80% to the Tewksbury police (who should be ashamed of their participation in this action) and 20% to DEA (which has no shame). I once said this showed she lacked prosecutorial discretion and was being led around by the nose by cops.

How on earth on such flimsy evidence could she allow this forfeiture to happen? What does she think her job consists of? We’ve already heard her say “stealing is stealing” as if all acts of theft are alike. Thinking of the Caswell case it’s more than she lacks good discretion, what it really shows is she has no heart especially when it comes to those least able to defend themselves.

There is no way Russ could have prevailed in this case that lasted three years and took a week to try except  for the help he got from some lawyers who offered their services to him for free. He had already spent 100,000 dollars stemming off this unconscionable seizure when the Institute for Justice aided by the lawyers from a Braintree law firm, Schlossberg LLC offered to help him.  Caswell has estimated that us taxpayers are going to have to pay his lawyers $800,000 for his defense.

And what does US Attorney Ortiz say: “This case was strictly a law-enforcement effort to crack down on what was seen as a pattern of using the motel to further the commission of drug crimes for nearly three decades . . . . “We are weighing our options with respect to appeal.”  

She doesn’t get it. “Three decades?” Try 14 years. “Pattern of using the motel to further the commission of drug crimes?” 7 rentals out of 196,000 is a pattern? One forfeitable drug transaction every two years is a pattern?

Ortiz is clearly not up to the job. Maybe she should take a break. She epitomizes the opposite of what Justice Robert Jackson said was the requirement of  a prosecutor. “A sensitiveness to fair play and sportsmanship is perhaps the best protection against the abuse of power, and the citizen’s safety lies in the prosecutor who tempers zeal with human kindness, who seeks truth and not victims, who serves the law and not factional purposes, and who approaches his task with humility.”

 

 

 

 

§23: Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years: A Reflection At The End Of The Pre-Flemmi Time Continued

Those Who Live In
Ivy Towers Live Far
From The Street Life

On the city streets dealing on a daily basis year after year with the full spectrum of mankind one learns the necessary steps to survive. Fights and killings don’t occur because the FBI is telling street-wise people certain things are happening. They are everyday occurrences.

Here are two or three of the many things I’ve gotten almost jammed in on that jumped into my mind as I write. I wasn’t one of those guys out looking for trouble even though it seemed to walk the streets with me. I walked into a popular Ho Jo’s  on Morrissey Boulevard to get an ice cream cone and happened to look at another guy standing by the cash register. He threw at me, “what are you looking at!” The next thing I know I’m in a fist fight. I was  standing in a bar and talking about a baseball game with a couple of friends. One of the really tough psychos appeared out of the blue. He said, “what are you talking about me for. You wanna step outside.” I obviously didn’t and smothered him with a million assurances of my innocence.

I was walking down the street with a couple of friend and three guy were coming the other way. Passing by on the sidewalk I accidentally bump into one of them squeezing by. He yells at me and pulls a switch blade. Words were exchanged but eventually we talked down the situation. Cooler heads prevailed. Later one of my friends asked me, “why didn’t you take the knife from him? Weren’t you taught that in the Marines.” I smiled thinking there’s a great difference between practicing and the real thing. Better to see if what I learned would work when there was no other choice.

On the streets it is a world where insults are imagined by some or are looked for by others.  It’s a world where the truth is “heard on the street” or picked off “the grapevine.” It’s like in the Marines when we lived off scuttlebutt that often was wrong. Or, the federal courts where multiple hearsay is accorded the status of truth and the killing is done by taking years from a person’s life.  Multiple hearsay when it boils down to is rumor or gossip, in some worlds it’s enough to get someone murdered by a gun or in others more slowly in a prison cell.

I suggest, and I’ll get to it more as I continue the reexamination of Whitey’s life, that it is more likely that if Whitey was involved in the murders of Halloran and Callahan that it was done from information he picked up on his own through his street contacts than anything Agent Connolly passed on to him. My recollection of Halloran’s cooperation, which I will refresh later, is that it was so well known that FBI agents were filing informant reports stating that their street level toughs were telling them that the word on the street was Halloran was cooperating and was wired. Every time Halloran called or met with Callahan according to FBI Agent Montanari, who was heading the investigation, all Callahan wanted to talk about was the weather. It was obvious Callahan knew he was working with the FBI. If Callahan knew, all the hoodlums knew.

Never mind that, all the gangsters knew Halloran with a pretty bad rap sheet was out on the street on $50,000 bail. He was facing a first degree murder charge for shooting George Pappas in the head in China Town. Normally one without a record would be held without bail yet Halloran, a known gangster with a prior gun charge, is walking the streets. Don’t think that did not raise the eyebrows of some of the gangsters. As I said, it doesn’t take much for them to want to protect themselves.

The natural assumption by any gangster would be that if Halloran is wearing a wire and trying to get information from Callahan then the FBI is trying to get information from Callahan. John Murderman Martorano knows the information Callahan has about his involvement in the Wheeler murder puts him in great danger. The murder of Roger Wheeler was done by Murderman because Callahan asked him to do it. Callahan hoped that by killing Wheeler he could buy Miami Jai Alai which Wheeler owned. He promised Murderman $10,000 a week to provide protection once he took over. It’s quite clear Murderman didn’t need to have a Ph D to figure out Callahan was a danger to him, all he needed was his street experience. He certainly didn’t need the FBI to tell him he was in danger.

When I open my mind to the realities of the gangster world where several dozen people were killed during their wars in the 1960s I have to keep in mind that murder is nothing to some of these people. To quote Murderman and Salemme, as I have it from his testimony in my book Don’t Embarrass The Family, Murderman said, “I’ve got to tell you one thing. Them 1960s and 1970s were tough times” or as Frankie Salemme put more succinctly, “As I said, its kill or be killed.” The gangsters need little reason to take a life, something as small as insulting one’s dog.

When they think someone has the potential for is ratting on them they don’t have to be told by the FBI that they are in danger. To think that they do is to ignore how they have lived their lives. Halloran’s cooperation was an open secret; Callahan as the instigator to the Wheeler murder was a clear and present danger. How John Connolly, or the FBI, gets blamed for those murders require a total ignorance about the way gangsters operate and a rush to believe the most outrageous lies of criminals. It runs up against the experience of anyone who grew up on the streets of the city. It is a tale told by conniving fools and believed by the innocent and gullible living in their ivy towers.

§22: Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years: A Reflection At The End Of The Pre-Flemmi Time

You Don’t Need The FBI’s Help To End Up Here

The end of the Pre-Flemmi Years is a good time to stop to reflect upon a shockingly erroneous belief that has come to the fore in these matters. I pause now because I suggest I’ve just clearly shown that Murderman John Martorano has played, to put it mildly, very loosely with the truth. I pointed out in my book, Don’t Embarrass The Family, and here, the obvious lies Flemmi, Salemme, Morris and Weeks have told. It’s so bad that I’ve questioned how a prosecutor can justify using them as witnesses or how we have a system that requires a jury to guess when a life-long admitted liar is telling the truth.

Our whole belief system about what happened as it involves Whitey is based upon these lies with very little independent verification. An industry has been built upon these religious-like beliefs. Books, without footnotes or support relative to the critical issues, have been written allegedly containing facts but have so much made-up stuff in them that we’re left guessing at the truth. Findings have been made by judges in the federal district court and court of appeals awarding large sums of money based on this. So many people are invested in it that suggesting they are all wrong is like telling an Orthodox Jew, Strict Muslim, Conservative Catholic, Fundamentalist Christian or anyone with hard-core beliefs she is wrong in what she believes. I know no one will change her mind but I offer this one bit of evidence for her to consider.

I’ll discuss Whitey’s involvement in two murders that are associated with FBI Agent John Connolly during The Boss Years, those of Brian Halloran and John Callahan. These have been attributed to Agent Connolly through the reasoning that he told Whitey that Halloran was cooperating against him with the FBI. And later, that he told Whitey that Callahan would not stand up under FBI pressure if questioned. By the way, Connolly’s been in prison for ten years and will spend the rest of his life in prison based on these suppositions.

Thinking of the murder of Spike O’Keefe which I just set out made my thoughts slip over from his murder to one that is associated with his murder, that of Eddie Connors, the owner of Bulldog’s in Savin Hill. Whoever killed Eddie, the reason commonly asserted is that it that his gangster buddies believed he was talking too much which meant he would end up cooperating with law enforcement against them. He was murdered without any leak from the FBI. It was just an underworld thing where potential threats are erased or as Frankie Salemme would say taken care of “in a disposal operation.”

Murderman Martorano in his book tells of his early killings. Some of these are done because the word among  the hoodlums is that someone might be cooperating. There is not even a hint it was done because an FBI agent is tipping them off. These guys live by eradicating threats. For some of them shooting someone is like getting out of bed. I’ve learned from one of the persons who has filed a comment  here and who I know is from Savin Hill that after Spike O’Keefe shot Bobby Noonan six times he visited Noonan at the hospital. The doctor said it was a miracle Noonan survived. He asked Noonan why Spike shot him. Bobby replied, “Because I insulted his dog.”

To understand this gangster world it is important to know it does not take much more than that in some instances to be shot. Much depends on the mindset of the person at the time you encounter him. If he’s having a bad day, then you’d best walk gingerly. If you haven’t hung around the street and gotten in a serious fist fight with a guy you’d been friendly with for years over practically nothing  you don’t know this. If you haven’t gone to a football game and ended up in a brawl with your cousin leading the group you are fighting with you won’t understand.

You have to grow up in this world, feel it on your skin, know how to live in it to survive and to have associated with some of these characters to understand how they operate. You don’t learn it from books. You learn it from everyday associations rubbing shoulders with the worst of the worst and some of the best of the best all mixed in together. That’s what it’s like growing up on city streets or as it is now commonly called, “the hood.”

You don’t need FBI agents to tell you when you are at risk. You know it and feel it. That’s how you survive. I’ll go on with this tomorrow.

 

§21: Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years: Martorano’s Hollywood Creation Of A Murder

Murderman Getting Ready
For A Day At The Office

I’ve told how I doubt Winter Hill was involved in killing Spike O’Toole. Others were after him for years. Two months or so before he was murdered he was gunned down by others. Murderman Martorano never mentioned that nor did he have him leaving the right barroom just before his murder.

Here how Murderman described the killing. He let him have it with a grease gun. Then Joe McDonald jumped out of the car “ran up to O’Toole, stood over his body, and lifted his ski mask,” because “he wanted Spike to know that he had been killed by Winter Hill . . . and fired twice into Spike’s head.”  It all sounds so Hollywood-like.

He went on that Whitey the driver saw a pedestrian approaching the car and “In the dark, Whitey reached for a gun, then he realized he didn’t have one. He settled for pointing his finger” at that person. He said later, according to Murderman, “Never again do I go  on a hit without a gun.” It sounds like one of those old time comedy routines. Don’t you like the touch “in the dark” as if that somehow contributed to misunderstand as if in the daytime or a light was on he would have known he didn’t have a gun but being dark he was confused. Oh, well.

Nothing Murderman wrote made sense outside of a sensational Hollywood script. The cops said Spike O’Keefe was shot at least four times in the chest by a burst of gunfire from a nearby parked car. Perhaps when Joe McDonald was standing over the prone O’Keefe when he fired into his face he missed. More likely it never happened.  

I suggest this because no one gets out of a car and goes over to a person at a busy intersection who just left a bar and is lying on the ground, takes off his mask to expose himself to gawkers, and pauses to shoot him in the head. The loud crackle of the machine gun would immediately draws a crowd. The bar Spike left would empty in seconds with witnesses; the pizza shop around the corner, the drug store opposite would send onlookers streaming outside to see what was happening. Even in Murderman’s story there’s a pedestrian standing right there.

Read about all of their other hits. When they fire at these guys they take off as soon as possible. A cop car could be cruising right down Dot Avenue into that intersection at any moment. When you gun down a person you immediately flee.

Even more ludicrous is the idea that Whitey is sitting in a car without a weapon but thinks he has one. That he reaches for it because a civilian is walking over to a car that just sprayed a clip of machine gun bullets at a guy. This is silly stuff. Civilians don’t walk over toward a car that has just finished spraying bullets. Then the idea of Whitey pointing his finger at the civilian is grammar school yard talk. 

The description given by Murderman of the event shows he wasn’t there but had put himself. Why? To add to his reputation? Doubt it. Then why?

Think. Remember how he and the prosecutors made up a list of witnesses he agreed to testify against even though he had no information against them.  The purpose was to put one over on us. Murderman’s a gangster, a con man.

He knew the prosecutors wanted evidence against Whitey. He gave it to them by putting Whitey with him in some murders and putting himself with Whitey on others he may have heard Whitey was involved in. Remember this, Murderman never expected Whitey to be caught. He figured he could say anything he wanted since there would be no blow black.

Same thing with his buddy Howie Carr, write anything he wanted since no one would look closely at what he wrote. If he’s so far off on what happened, his putting Whitey also at that scene is also has to be doubted.

Remember my post setting out Murderman reason for murdering Spike. In my book, Don’t Embarass The Family,  I noted that Murderman testified under oath in 2002 that Spike O’Toole was involved in a deal with him. Reading his book he never suggests that.

Remember, Murderman had two different versions of his murder of Tony Veranis. Both involved the typical High Noon type face-to-face shootout. In one as I mention in my book he testified Tony was bragging about beating up his brother, he went looking for him, met him in an after hour joint in Roxbury, as Tony went for his gun, he shot him.  “Tony was another guy I was faster than.”

In his book he’s going to the opening of an after hour joint in Roxbury.  There’s no mention of Tony beating up his brother. He has himself standing around and a drunk Tony Veranis, “a short, wiry youg guy suddenly got in Johnny’s face . . [h]e was loaded, blind drunk.” After a few words Tony, “reached for his gun but Johnny beat him to it with his .38. Taller than Veranis, he fired down, into the ex-boxer’s skull.”   

Ah, the old Western Spaghetti t, “I was faster than him on the draw” reason for murder. Here’s some flaws in Johnny’s tall tale:  Tony was shot in the back of the head and pistol whipped; Tony was taller than Murderman, and the two stories differ substantially.

But, as we’ve seen none of these tales by gangsters let the truth interfere with a good story, especially if that story helps you get a good deal from gullible prosecutors who’ve made up their minds to the result they wanted and accepted whatever story their gangsters witnesses told them which reaffirmed their preordained conclusions.

 

 

§20: Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years: A Reflection On Murderman’s Evidence

Old Filene’s Basement
Where Non-Gansters
Bought Their Suits

Why am I analyzing these things when you know down the line that I’m going to have Whitey involved in some of the murders that he is charged with? I suppose it’s the same reason we have in our common law tradition for giving the defendant a right to confront the witnesses against her and subject their statements to cross-examination. I’m trying to get at the truth as best I can so I can answer the question how bad was Whitey? I want to know whether the Justice Department made a deal with the truly bad guys in order to gin up a prosecution of one man who has been made into a larger than life criminal by fiction writers?

When Murderman Martorano came forward to make a deal he was motivated by one great fear. He’s admitted this. He’s in a race to get a bargain for himself before someone else offers him up as bait to the prosecutors to get his own deal. The rats are all abandoning the ship. The person Murderman said he was worried about was Flemmi. He knew Flemmi could give him up on several  murders.

Murderman knew Flemmi was not a stand up guy. He knew Flemmi would fold. Flemmi never did time. Flemmi feared doing time. Flemmi was a rat since the mid-Fifties so he realized Flemmi was not a real gangster but a guy who wanted to murder people who also didn’t want to face the consequences of his actions expecting the FBI would always protect him. As I’ve written, Flemmi is the lowest of the low, lower than the belly of a snake.

Murderman wasn’t worried about Whitey. That could have been because he believed Whitey would never be captured, or that Whitey did not know much about his murders, or because he knew Whitey would never talk since he could not help himself. He feared Flemmi and wanted to get him before he became his victim.

We’ve read in Murderman’s book, as well as Tom Foley’s of the state police, how extensive the negotiations were between the prosecution team and Murderman. In these negotiations they exchange information back and forth. Murderman testified they came up with a list of murder victims and asked him what he knew about them. He said he told them what he knew.

They also told Murderman that they wanted information he could give them on Whitey Bulger, Billy Bulger, John Connolly and Stevie Flemmi. Murderman knew the more he gave them on Whitey, the better his deal. He really could offer them only those things that occurred during the time in the Learning Years of the Full Gang Murders after Flemmi had returned.  But Flemmi could also give the prosecutors that information.

Murderman had to give the prosecutors something only he could give them which was murders Whitey had committed during the Pre-Flemmi Years.  He has Whitey joining Winter Hill six months before he did so he could add him to the March 1973 murders which were done for Angiulo and then, as we’ve just seen, added him into the Spike O’Toole murder, which probably wasn’t done by Winter Hill. Remember this was one of those one-in-a-lifetime opportunities. The more murders Murderman implicated himself in, rather than being punished for them, the better the deal he would get if he included Whitey. 

Before I go on with Spike’s murder, let me digress a second. I spoke of the Constitutional right to be able to confront witnesses and cross-examine them to reach the truth. I also mentioned how the prosecutors wanted Murderman to give them something on Billy Bulger. It is that happening in the dealings between the government and Murderman that shows how much the federal government had destroyed the right to search for truth.

Murderman said and testified that Whitey said to him that FBI agent John Connolly told him that Billy Bulger said he wanted Connolly to protect Whitey. For reasons explained before, it is impossible that happened. That’s not what I’m getting at here.

I want to explain that this is what is called triple if not quadruple hearsay information. There is no way an attorney can effectively cross-examine information that is hearsay information, never mind triple hearsay evidence.

Hearsay evidence is an out of court statement offered as the truth about something. Here’s a simple example. Murderman can testify I saw Whitey shoot O’Keefe. That’s direct evidence and he can be cross-examined on it like where were you in relation to Whitey, what was the lighting, who was near by, etc. If Murderman testified Joe McDonald told him Whitey shot O’Keefe, you can’t ask those questions. You would need Joe McDonald. If Murderman testified Joe McDonald said Jimmy Sims said Whitey shot O’Keefe it’s impossible to use cross-examination to get at the truth.

It is this hearsay evidence, evidence not subject to cross-examination that is routinely used by the federal prosecutors in RICO and other criminal conspiracy prosecutions. It is a clever way the federal courts have stripped us of our rights to confront the witnesses against us.  I’ll pick up again on O’Keefe’s murder tomorrow.

 

§19: Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years: Spike O’Toole And The Historic Staggering Walk:

Following The
Leader

Spike O’Toole was in and out of prison. The first newspaper reference I found relating to him was on July 13, 1965, in the Boston Globe. It read that a Quincy man named John Flannery was shot and dumped from a car at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Tremont Street at 2:56 a.m. He “staggered to a nearby taxi stand and cried: “Help me. I’ve been shot. Spike O’Toole dit(sic) it.”  

Dick Connolly of the Globe, another columnists with good FBI and Boston police connections wrote the next day on July 14, 1965,  that “O’Toole who . . . harbored McLaughlin while the latter was among the FBI’s 10 most wanted criminals, has been marked for death since last December . . . [he was just about to be released from state prison] when he received a telegram [indicating that he'd soon get what Harold Hannon received who was found garroted and  floating in Boston Harbor] Connolly went on to write: “O’Toole . . . has not tried to hide his fear. He has conceded that he probably is number one on the current “hit parade” but he claims he does not know who is trying to eliminate him.”

Whitey is involved in none of these ongoing disputes. He’s just out of prison in 1965.

Spike was arrested at the end of September when he came back from the Cape to visit his mother at her Dorchester home. She was seriously ill.  He was next mentioned on October 25, 1965, when he was convicted of being an accessory after the fact to murder by helping McLaughlin hide out.

Six years later on September 25, 1973, two masked men carrying revolvers shot Spike on Linda Lane in Savin Hill putting him in the Boston City Hospital for a month. Murderman knows nothing of this for if he did he would have told us in his tell-all book. One would think those who tried to kill Spike in September returned to finish the job a month after he was out of the hospital. As I mentioned, Spike was murdered around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 1. 1973, at the intersection of Dorchester Avenue and Savin Hill Avenue.

Howie Carr in his 2006 book had already decided on a theory for his killing. He wrote that Whitey “still needed to eliminate some of his old rivals in Town.”  Like other things in Howie’s books he made that up. Whitey was not around during the McLaughlin wars and Spike had nothing to do with Southie’s rackets.  He wasn’t a Whitey rival.

Carr had it that Eddie Connors, the owner of Bulldog’s, a bar on Savin Hill Avenue, “was tight with Howie Winter” who was gunning for Spike. One night Spike was “tying one on at the Bulldog.” Connors called Winter to tell him he was there for the taking.

Carr went on with his fiction writing, “Sitting in a black car . . . Johnny Martorano waited for Spike to stagger out of the Bulldog, then machine-gunned him in front of the Avenue Laundry.”  For that to make sense Spike would have had to stagger past Sydney Street, walk a block past stores and St. William’s school and cross Tuttle Street, continue another block and cross Saxon Street, then go on past the next block to Sagamore Street where he was reported living, pass that and amble the next block to Auckland Street, and finally traversing over the final block to Dorchester Avenue. He’d have perambulated closing in on if not passing a 1/2 mile, perhaps the longest drunk staggering walk in history, something for the Guinness record book. It’ also amazing Murderman could sit in a car and watch this long stagger.

This would be picked up by Murderman in his recital of the murder. Their problem was Spike was not in Bulldog just before he got killed. He was in a bar at the corner of Dorchester and Savin Hill Avenues, Gavin’s. Carr put him at Bulldog because he wanted to pretend he knew why Eddie Connors was hit eighteen months later.

Howie Carr wrote Connors was murdered because “he fingered Spike O’Toole, a year or so earlier . . . [and] he had taken to bragging about setting up O’Toole for Howie Winter.”  But as we saw, that never happened. Connors did not set up Spike since was not in Connor’s place but another bar near his Auckland Street address. Carr just throws things out without any basis to support them. Sadly, his fictions become fact.

Murderman agrees somewhat with Howie Carr. He says they “watched  Spike unsteadily leave the Bulldog, and he reeled down to the corner to wait for the bus. . . .”  A Boston Globe report on December 3, 1973, two days after the Saturday night murder puts Spike in the correct bar room. It has him leaving the Gavin Grille on Dorchester Avenue right next to that intersection of Savin Hill Avenue.

Spike was in a bar within a short walk of his home and a long walk to Bulldogs. Murderman has him without a car waiting for a bus. The cops report he was heading for his car. The cops said as Spike walked from Gavin’s an unidentified man walked up to him and stared an argument. That man backed away. Spike  was then gunned down by a nearby parked car.

The more these events are studied and the patina of fiction is peeled away, it seems that Whitey had no involvement in any of the murders during the pre-Flemmi days in the Learning Years. It also seems Winter Hill had nothing to do with O’Keefe’s murder. Them that did Spike in were the same guys that tried in September. It wasn’t Winter Hill.  Martorano involved himself in this, tossed in Whitey so he could make his deal; Carr makes up things to sell his books.

Neither man ever thought Whitey would be caught and their stories subject to scrutiny. Sort of gives one a creepy feeling thinking how their lies are believed by others, especially the prosecutors.