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Monthly Archives: March 2013
Up to 1582 all Christianity followed the Julian calendar in celebrating Easter which is the time Christians believe Christ who was crucified and died on Good Friday came back to life. In that year Pope Gregory decided that the calendar had become out of kilter with the spring equinox so he moved it back 10 days. Most of the world follows what is known as the Gregorian calendar. However the Eastern Orthodox churches decided to stick with the Julian calendar.
Easter is figured somewhat like Passover. In the churches it comes on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. Since the equinox in the Julian and Gregorian calendar differ, often Easter will be on different Sundays. I’m not exactly sure how Passover is figure so I’m not going to venture into explaining it. I tried to read up on it but after reading this article I became totally confused.
I’m wishing those Christians who follow the Gregorian calendar as I do a Happy Easter; those Christians who follow the Julian calendar as my wife does will have to bide their time. To those of the Jewish faith who are in the Passover season Happy Passover. To others have a happy and restful day.
A couple of thoughts. Think of how wise it was for those who set up this country to recognize that the state should stay out of a person’s religious beliefs; and, that we should all be tolerant of what other people believe.
About a week ago the Boston Globe had an article dealing titled: “New Report Slams Mass. On Corrections Reform.” The headline is quite misleading. The report’s main complaint is that too many people are being sent to jail and are being held there for too long a period despite the lowering crime rate, and are getting out without prior proper planning.
During slow times I’ve talked about this problem. My initial post demonstrated how antiquated the Massachusetts criminal justice system is. I suggested that lawyers practicing in the 1930s or even decades before that would feel right at home walking into a present day courthouse. This could not happen in any other profession.
In my second post on the subject I gave examples of how belabored the system has become. I concluded that brief excursion away from the topic of this blog by suggesting that there are just too many crimes which brings about the unnecessary involvement of lawyers and the infusion of nothing more than busy-work into the process. In other posts I’ve noted how the system has become so out of control the DAs are forcing people who may not have committed crimes into the hands of private money making organizations who are performing sham services.
Last week’s report is from a group called the “Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, and Community Resources for Justice.” The name alone is enough to make one pause. The Globe article doesn’t give me a cite for the report and Googling it doesn’t seem to give me access to it.
From the little I can tell from the Globe article there’s little hope for any change. It is noted: “the report issues include a moratorium on the expansion of state prisons, reexamining sentencing guidelines, and expanding prerelease programs.” Nothing will improve with the nibbling at the edges approach these so-called experts suggest.
Good Friday is a time for reflection. In my early teens we had a custom of not speaking to anyone during the hours of noon to three in the afternoon. This was to keep in mind the suffering of Christ during the three hours He was dying on the cross. From that practice, which I have no memory of successfully completing, I take time on this day to go to church and sit and meditate in the silence for a period of time. I pray a little, reflect a little and let my mind wander.
This year I expect many of my thoughts will turn to the matters surrounding Whitey Bulger which have arisen in conjunction with writing this blog. I suppose in my thinking the following matters will slide by my mind.
What role has David Margolis played in these matters since the time of the FBI hearings before Judge Wolf. Margolis was referred to in those hearings as the person who was called upon back in 1989 to resolve an issue between the local Strike Force Chief and the FBI about disclosing the identity of an informant to an assistant US attorney. Obviously, as the go-to guy in the Department of Justice (DOJ) he was involved in Judge Wolf’s threat to hold the Acting Deputy Attorney General in contempt during those hearings.
In 2008 Wolf wrote a letter to the Attorney General after dealing with Margolis in which he noted: “the Department’s performance. . . raised serious questions about whether judges should continue to rely upon the Department to investigate and sanction misconduct by federal prosecutors. . . . the . . . repeated failures in in a series of matters, . . . to be candid and consistent in its representations to various judges . . . .”
Yesterday I began to write about Carney & Brennan’s (C&B) renewed motion for discovery. I stopped at the point where I noted Stevie Flemmi’s assertion that David Margolis the associate deputy attorney general of the US who has been with the Department of Justice (DOJ) for 48 years has ties to the Mafia. I scoffed at Flemmi’s allegation as another one of his many lies and rejected it out of hand.
I was caught up short when some who comment on this blog and who keep me in check noted I was jumping the gun defending Margolis. (See comment section) They aver just because Flemmi’s tells the truth as often as a broken schoolhouse clock even that is truthful once every twelve hours. They suggest that just because he has been with the DOJ 48 years that did not make Flemmi’s assertion he was a Mafia plant wrong.
Yes, 48 years in a job is not necessarily a good thing as we saw with J. Edgar Hoover who seemed to have become an untouchable. We’re all familiar with the stories of how a grim Richard Nixon told his staff he was having Hoover come to his office to tell him he was going to remove him as director. Hoover arrived for the meeting carrying a handful of dossiers. A short time later a smiling Hoover and Nixon came out of his office. After Hoover left Nixon said he’d changed his mind.
Those dossiers and many others were part of Hoover’s secret files. They were carted out of FBI headquarters within days of Hoover’s death by Helen Gandy who was Hoover’s secretary all during his term as Director. She and Hoover’s friend Clyde Tolson went through them and destroyed each one concealing forever Hoover’s dirty secrets.
Yesterday Judge Casper the new judge in Whitey’s case had a half hour hearing to a packed courtroom. Whitey stayed in Plymouth. The result was her insistence that the trial will go on as schedule on June 10. That happens to be the same day the George Zimmerman trial kicks off in Florida,
Judge Casper seemed to have an inclination to follow Judge Stearns’s rule on the immunity issue. The lawyers seemed to have an inclination the trial will go on forever. Also the topic of Whitey’s health came up which will play out as we go along.
Yesterday I also read Whitey’s new motion for discovery. Discovery? Yes. Recall all the back and forth arguments over that last year and the pushing back of the trial date because of it. 75 days before the trial the old bugaboo is back. One sure way to delay a trial is to say the Government hasn’t provided the material it must give you to do your job. Then when you get it, to suggest you now need time to digest it. It’s a “were ready for trial but we aren’t” statement which puts the failure for being prepared lies on the lap of the Government.
So what’s Carney & Brennan up to? They are suggesting that for Whitey to prove his defense of immunity he needs evidence to show the Department of Justice (DOJ) has an age-old practice of making deals with “high-level criminals” to gain its objectives to decimate the Mafia and then hiding the deals or denying the true terms of them. They argue Whitey needs to demonstrate this common practice to show his claim is not an outlier.They assert this will allow the factfinder to understand “the DOJ’s willingness and motive to provide [him] immunity, and then falsely characterize him as an informant.”
I’ve labeled these times in Whitey’s life as the Learning Years which will end at the time all the leaders of the Winter Hill Gang are no longer around except for Whitey and Stevie. At this point in time these men are planning for the future. Having decided to work together under the umbrella of FBI’s protection, there were other matters that had to be attended to before they could truly enjoy the fruits of their union.
Whitey will be charged with six murders that occurred between uniting with Stevie’s and their ultimate take over of the Winter Hill Gang. I’ve told how Whitey back in late 1972 went to Howie Winter looking for his protection from the Mullen gang who were intent on taking over his South Boston operations. Winter, with help from the North End, brought about a peace of sorts which involved Whitey giving over 50% of his business profits to the Mullens.
Keep in mind these are all thieves dealing with each other. You’ve heard it said “there is no honor among thieves” which basically means a thief is never satisfied. That was the situation here. Whitey resented the split but to stay alive he had to make the deal; the Mullens resented having received only half when they could have had the whole cake. Despite the peace, each side continued to covet the other one’s half and plan how to snatch it.
Until Stevie came in to replace Billy O’Sullivan, Whitey’s former partner who was killed by the Mullens, Whitey would restrain himself. Having bonded with Stevie, he was ready to take back what he thought was rightfully his.
Yesterday iI wrote about Kevin Cullen’s column which mentioned Mark Rossetti. Although he talked about Rossetti, his column mainly concerned the Gardner Museum heist. I suppose in a contest it’d be a close call as to who is more infamous, Whitey Bulger or those who stole the highly valuable art works from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
I’m sure everyone has heard and is relieved to know the FBI has identified the thieves who committed the Gardner Museum Robbery. What is a little disconcerting is it says it would be imprudent to tell us who they are. I don’t get it. The thieves know who they are, if they are still alive. Wouldn’t it make sense to publicly identify them and wait to see if there’s some feed back in information from the public about them?
It is strange coincidence that around the same time the Boston FBI office was telling us it knew who broke into the Gardner Museum a US Senator called that office “out of control.” There’s no doubt this office has a credibility problem. Any regular reader of this blog knows this.
There’s also little doubt that what the FBI is doing would not have worked for any of us in school. Although, I have to admit I never tried it. If only I’d have had the guts to say to the teacher, “Ma’am I know the answer but it’d be imprudent for me to tell you. So just give me an A.”
The FBI has one true believer. It is Kevin Cullen in the Boston Globe, who relies on the FBI sources for scoops. Cullen writes, “the feds think the art heist was pulled off by a combination of wiseguys from Boston and Philadelphia. Makes sense to me.” Cullen supports his belief by pointing out that gangsters in Boston knew gangsters in Philadelphia.
I might as well make this a Mark Rossetti weekend and discuss Rossetti and Kevin Cullen the Boston Globe columnist. I had always thought of Cullen as a good newspaperman who is knowledgeable about Whitey’s case. Cullen is from South Boston as is convicted FBI Agent John Connolly. For years Connolly was Cullen’s source in the FBI keeping him on top of things with inside information that helped Cullen advance in his job. They probably were close to being good friends. That all changed. Cullen decided not to stick by Connolly.
It seems something has happened to Cullen lately or maybe it is to me. The more I got into this matter, staying on top of it, examining it with a critical eye, engaging in discourse with others who want to look deeper into it, I find that I’ve changed many of my beliefs about people and happenings. It’s now clear to me that much of the story about all things Whitey which had been implanted in my mind is wrong.
I bring this up because Cullen had an article about Rossetti the other day. I sensed I was reading a new Cullen although perhaps I was reading it with a new awareness. Cullen seemed to have become less serious. I sensed a bit of silliness. or perhaps grandiosity, when he refered to a fellow employee and co-author as “the great Shelley Murphy.”
The thing I would suggest that is great is their great silence over the last year and a half about the FBI’s use of Rossetti as an informant in the exact same manner it used Whitey. It wasn’t always like that.
I was going to title this page “Senator Chuck Grassley Wakes Up,” but upon a closer reading of the article I realized he was only stirring a little. I’m talking about an article I read regarding our old friend Mark Rossetti the murderous Mafia captain who was a Top Echelon informant for the FBI, the one who in 2010 an FBI agent was overheard telling him that his job was to keep him invisible and safe.
Grassley is upset because Rossetti is a Whitey Bulger redux: the FBI protecting a man believed to have murdered people so he can continue his gangster ways.
You may recall a Congressional committee delved into the FBI’s use of Whitey Bulger and others and in 2004 issued a report titled: “Everything Secret Degenerates” The FBI’s Use Of Murderers As Informants.” The first paragraph of the Executive Summary read: “Federal law enforcement officials made a decision to use murderers as informants beginning in the 1960s. Known killers were protected from the consequences of their crimes and purposefully kept on the streets. This report discusses some of the disastrous consequence of the use of murderers as informant in New England.”
In its conclusion the Committee wrote that it “is committed to ensuring that these abuses are not repeated.” It then notes that: “FBI Director Robert Mueller has undertaken re-engineering the administration and operation of human sources.” It continues by pointing out all the changes being made by the FBI to prevent similar future situations. It concludes by saying: “The Committee will examine these reforms to ensure that they are being implemented and to ensure that, as implemented, they are effective.”
Whitey and Stevie’s relationship would not be put asunder until Stevie testified in 1997. It had lasted over 22 years, the last three were years of separation: Whitey was hiding out, Stevie was in prison. Connolly kept up his role in the trio all through that time.
Of the three, Connolly was brought along for the ride. He was always the junior man, a young kid gofer hanging around with the guys with the rep, sort of a valet, a gentleman’s gentleman, or in this case a gangster’s gentleman. He really was no match for either of these hardened men: Flemmi by combat and prior murders; Whitey by prison and innate toughness. Both by daily living in the jungle of the depraved and cruel gunmen.
Remember Connolly has had no prior experience dealing with informants. Flemmi is his first and Whitey is his second. He’s a new-born lamb being circled by two wolves who played with him as a cat with a mouse. The FBI provided no guidance to him. He had no checks and balances. He was given a tabula rasa and told to fill it in. There were rules but everyone knew they were fake. They were to protect the job from embarrassment but otherwise to be ignored.
His FBI supervisor was the corrupt friendless man John Morris who likewise had no experience dealing with the hard criminal types. He testified, as set out in my book, Don’t Embarrass The Family, he didn’t fit into either group in the Boston FBI office which is pretty pathetic considering the type of agents there who were very open and friendly. Morris, an oddball like Robert Hanssen, wanted to be liked. Whitey and Stevie were very willing to like him, and since they were in the corruption business, to welcome him in.