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

Easter 2013 — And The Old Soft Shoe

Easter 2013

Easter 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.

Another thought relates to the Boston Globe Spotlight Report today on the Boston Taxi cab business. It reminds me of what used to happen in my neighborhood when I was young. If you wanted to work on the docks, you’d line up and get picked to unload a ship by a person designated to do this. Favoritism was always in play as to who would earn a day’s pay. If you were from the same neighborhood or did favors for the picker your chances were better than the others. We see it at restaurants when you are waiting in line and a gal walks in, hands the maitre d’ a fifty and gets quickly seated.

The Globe’s series talks about guys wanting to work as a cab driver giving the dispatcher a little gratuity to get a cab. It ranges from $20 to $5 and I’m sure, although it isn’t mentioned some down on the pecking order don’t pay anything. Then the articles talk about other ways it seems the cab drivers are squeezed out of a little of their pay or are unhappy quoting a few disgruntled drivers.  The Globe apparently put one of its reporters in an undercover capacity as a taxi driver for eight nights to come up with some of the complaints.

Here’s a chance for us to see the old soft shoe act of the Globe and the Feds. The spotlight team files a report and the feds jump on it and make RICO cases out of things that really are state crimes, if they are crimes at all.

Here’s what is reported in the article: Officials told the Spotlight Team the [Boston police] commissioner has sought the assistance of federal prosecutors to explore the allegations of taxi industry corruption. And federal authorities have in fact opened an investigation into allegations of systemic overcharging of drivers and bribery at Boston Cab, the Globe has learned. One source familiar with the investigation said it began after two drivers for Boston Cab told authorities that employees there were walking around with pockets stuffed with ill-gotten cash.”

Read that quote carefully. We are told about “officials,” “federal prosecutors,” “federal authorities” “[o]ne source” and “authorities.” None of those people are identified. They could be anyone and what is attributed to them could be  totally invented.  How can we judge the truthfulness of things when such vague terms are used?

Here’s what I don’t get. Why doesn’t the police commissioner investigate the matter himself? He has the powers or did Boston do away with detectives? Why is he going to the feds instead of the AG or the DA? Is he too in bed with the Globe seeking to turn a city matter into a federal case.

Here’s the sense I get of the new Spotlight Report. The Globe seems intent on having some medallion owners lose their medallions worth over a half a million dollars (I wonder who gets them?), some for some minor criminal involvement in the past. They’ve got a willing US Attorney — remember her action against the Caswell Motel.

The Globe is also playing up the “two America” idea — the rich owner and the poor workers. We’ll read more about the rich owner Edward J. Tutunjian as if it’s news that the owner of a private company, or the CEO of a public company, makes a bundle while the worker ants scrape by. But that’s what America has always been about except for the time when unions in the private sector were strong.

Bottom line, the Globe will keep the pressure on the Boston US Attorney’s office to bring cases against some of these people. Grand juries will investigate. RICO indictments will result. What is forgotten is we have a state system that can fully handle these matters and if there have been crime committed that’s where it should be.

Another Report Missing The Mark

Another Criminal Justice Report That's Way Off Target

Another Criminal Justice Report That’s Way Off Target

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.

What has to be done is to blow up the present criminal justice system and start over again now that we have reached the 21st Century. I’m sure you won’t find this in the report but by changing anywhere from one-half to two-thirds of the activities that are presently considered criminal into civil violations the resources of the system could be better allocated.

It’s seems to me from some of the language in the article the members of the coalition just don’t get it. The article starts with the language: “Despite steeply declining violent crime rates, the percentage of Massachusetts residents behind bars has tripled since the early 1980s, as the Commonwealth has clung to tough-on-crime laws . . . . ”  A couple of paragraphs later it says: “It’s an odd set of numbers: crime going down while prison populations are still going up,” said Greg Torres, president of MassINC, the nonpartisan research group that commissioned the study.”

Perhaps its not such an odd set of numbers, as Mr. Torres would have us believe.  Each jailed burglar is one less person breaking into houses. I suppose if we imprisoned all the people who committed serious crimes the crime rate would be near zero, a goal to be wished for.

There is a state representative from Ipswich named Brad Hill who is quoted in the report. I’ve got a sense that he’s getting a feel for what’s wrong based on the quote attributed to him: “We want to take the most heinous criminals off the streets and put them behind bars. Everyone else, we want to help.”  Unfortunately he is a Republican who has as much influence on what is done Beacon Hill as one of the pigeons on Boston Common.  Nevertheless, I welcome him to the fight for 21st Century sanity in the Massachusetts criminal laws.

We seriously should consider turning most of our criminal laws into civil offenses that can be resolved over the internet. We reserve our criminal laws for the bad guys and gals. It’s those we want our police forces to concentrate on.  It’s those we want to bring to trial quickly and get them off the streets. I hope Representative Hill goes further into his thinking about these matters and recognizes what really has to be done.

When we develop a system that removes as much as the non criminal matters that are now being treated as criminal from the courts we’ll relieve the judges, prosecutors, probation officers, and cops from much of the work-a-day drudgery and let them concentrate on the important matters. We’ll cut down significantly on the cost involved in running the pre-incarceration aspects.

When we do that, we can then concentrate our resources on rehabilitation by recognizing that some persons can never be rehabilitated but a certain percentage of those in prison can. You don’t need a truck load of psychiatrists to figure this out. Look at the person’s record — 90% of the time it will tell you all you need to know about the person.

The sad fact is reforming the overly expensive and inefficient criminal just system is quite easy but too many people have a vested interest in keeping it like it is. At least with Brad Hill we can see someone has lit a candle.


 

Good Friday – 2013

Golgotha

Golgotha

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.

I’ll wonder:

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 . . . .”

It is said of him: “Margolis is the unofficial liaison for the Deputy Attorney General with the FBI, the Criminal Division and the 93 U.S. Attorneys. He is consulted on ethics issues, such as recusals, on a formal and informal basis.” Perhaps he played a big role in Judge Stearns’s decision not to step down and the prosecutors insistence he keep the case.

Margolis graduated from Harvard Law School in 1964, avoided military service, served no more than 12 years as a trial lawyer and then went to Washington, DC where he’s been in Department of Justice for 37 years operating mostly behind the scenes. What are we to make of a 73 year-old-man who has been working 48 years in the only job that he has ever had, as a lawyer in the Justice Department, who when asked to explain his longevity in the DOJ, “answers bluntly: “I rely on guile, bluff, balls, and the good work of my colleagues, not to mention some luck.” “

A former associate said of him: Fundamentally, individual interests don’t exist for him. He is there to protect the institutional interests of the department. If you were his best friend . . . I’m sure he would feel bad about giving you the ax. But he would not hesitate.” ‘

Was Margolis the hand directing the prosecution of retired FBI Agent John Connolly? Was it he who came up with the “Rogue Agent” theory blaming Connolly for things that were beyond his control like the existence of the Top Echelon informant program.

I’ll think how that monstrosity of a program created by the FBI in a time of desperation mandated that Connolly get involved with the types of persons like Stevie Flemmi and Whitey Bulger, something that Margolis would have known about. The ‘Rogue Agent” theory would have protected the “institutional interests of the department” and would seem to fit a man who survives by guile and bluff.

What involvement would Margolis have had with the decision to try Connolly in Florida? Was it Margolis that decided Connolly should be tried again in a Florida court for the same offense he was acquitted of by a Boston federal jury. Was it he that allowed federal prosecutors to again participate in his prosecution? Did Margolis decide that the DOJ would not object under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution when a state court (Florida) decided to try a federal law enforcement officer (Connolly) for actions performed as part of his duties?.

When I think these I will know that Carney and Brennan will be preparing to examine Margolis on his knowledge of these things. They will want him to disclose to them all correspondence he has had with the Boston US attorney’s office since the mid-Seventies to the present.

Speaking of Connolly I’ll be wondering how he is surviving. He started in prison as a 62-year-old man back in September 2002. He’ll soon finish up his 11th year in prison. If he gets paroled he will be out in 2025 around the time he turns 85. He never fired a bullet in anyone’s head or stood by while it happened liked Martorano who did just 12 years for 20 murders or Weeks who did six years for five murders.

I’ll try to figure out how the Florida Appeals court has so blithely let an erroneous conviction stand without writing an opinion. I’m told those courts are very busy and I can’t expect an opinion in every case. But if a court won’t justify an obviously flawed result where a guy has been sentenced to 40 years because it is too busy then it ought to close its doors and stop pretending it is a place where justice can be found.

I’ll wonder if Margolis was behind the extraordinary recommendation of ten years in prison for a woman without a criminal record who pled guilty to non violent activities. That, of course, is Catherine Greig, who was Whitey’s girlfriend who knew nothing of the murder allegations when she fled with him in 1995 — no one except the murderers knew of those murders until 1997. Judge Woodlock had to triple the probation department maximum recommendation to impose his eight year sentence.

I’m wondering now if I’ll be doing much praying.

 

 

 

A Carney & Brennan Redux – Yoda

Broken Schoolhouse Clock Symbolic Of FLemmi's Truthfulness

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.

So 48 years really proves nothing as to a person’s  rectitude. Still I don’t accept Margolis has a Mafia connection. Although it does appear he is the enforcer of the mandate Don’t Embarrass The Family” within the Justice Department.

One person referred me to a blog discussing David Margolis  called emptywheel. That blog noted a National Law Journal article about Margolis that called him Yoda noting no one takes him on because it is a losing battle stating: “Margolis cut his teeth as an organized-crime prosecutor, and he often uses mob analogies in talking about his career at the Justice Department. When asked by an incoming attorney general what his job duties entailed, Margolis responded: “I’m the department’s cleaner. I clean up messes.””

The emptywheel article concludes: “Further views into the professional soul of David Margolis, or lack thereof, can be found from Jeff KayeScott Horton and more Scott Horton. So, the in-house “Yoda”, who considers himself the “department’s cleaner” is the guy the DOJ put in charge of protecting the American public from the virulent malfeasance of actors such as John Yoo and Jay Bybee, not to mention all the other cases that courts and citizens have been able to get no action on over the years. It seems David Margolis has his own institutional interests that present an appearance of conflict with his duties to protect the public from malevolent lawyering by DOJ attorneys, especially high ranking ones. Pretty much explains everything.”

C&B in their motion also talk about Margolis. They note that discovery is now “even more relevant in light of the Government’s recent filing of the affidavit of AUSA David Margolis . . .  and the likelihood of a pretrial hearing on the question of immunity . . . . so  that [Whitey] can respond to the Margolis Affidavit . . . .”

As you may recall the Government at the eleventh hour sneakily slipped into its filing opposing C&B’s claim of immunity Margolis’s affidavit without giving C&B an opportunity to respond to it. Judge Stearns’s order denying the claim of immunity noted the government raised for the first time the issue of O’Sullivan’s authority under DOJ rules to give immunity by using Margolis’s affidavit so C&B must have the opportunity to cross-examine him.

The Governments last minute use of Margolis’s affidavit backfire on it. Whitey’s team noted that if the prosecutors can reach out to the DOJ when it needs help it should be able to get Whitey his discovery. When Whitey needs DOJ files the prosecutors say they can’t get them because they are separate from the DOJ. Going on they say if they are separate there is no way they can “assure the Court that Department records were adequately reviewed or provided.”

C&B argue further the prosecutors are taking a “trust us” attitude. Whitey is supposed to trust those prosecuting him “to determine what is relevant to his defense.” They note Margolis’s affidavit is part of the “trust us” posture. Margolis averred he was O’Sullivan’s boss.  If O’Sullivan requested immunity he would have done it through one of Margolis’s deputies and “as far as I know” he never did.  Is Margolis guessing at this? Did he talk to these deputies? Who were they? Isn’t Whitey entitled to know who they are and what they knew?

C&B finish with Margolis by stating: “The “trust us” approach is pushed to an absurd extreme in the final paragraph of the Margolis Affidavit: “I am advised that a thorough search of the records of the DOJ and the FBI disclosed no documentation that James Bulger was ever actually authorized to engage in any criminal activity.” (Margolis Aff., ¶ 9). Margolis does not identify who “advised” him nor does he elaborate on these individuals’ basis of knowledge. The Government merely submits this hearsay-based conclusion without any context or detail. The defendant must now trust not only Margolis; he must trust anonymous employees of the Justice Department to correctly identify for him evidence favorable to his defense. This Kafkaesque arrangement does nothing to protect his constitutional right to exculpatory and material evidence and the right to a fair trial. . . .  James Bulger does not trust the DOJ to select for him the evidence that he may use in his defense . . . .”

Sorry for the diversion. Blame those who comment here. I’ll get back to the other assertions in C&B’s discovery motion after the weekend. But for now we can salivate over the thought of C&B cross examining Yoda.

A Carney & Brennan Redux – I

IMGP1050

The Jury Would Have A Better Chance Of Finding The Truth From This Man Who Graces My Desk Than From Steve Flemmi

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.”

Noting  the Barboza case [the Joe “the Animal’ Barboza’s false testimony and the following DOJ coverup] and other persons not named, they say they will prove that the DOJ made arrangements “with numerous murderers” including Flemmi and then denied the arrangement and in Whitey’s case did it by creating the “rogue agent” theory.

They say Jeremiah O’Sullivan of the “DOJ agreed not to prosecute [Whitey] in return for his assistance with a DOJ objective [get the Mafia] that did not include providing information about others.” That Whitey has been fraudulently characterized as an informant to shut him up so no one will know about the immunity agreement. And that the evidence of all this is hidden in the DOJ files which the prosecutors in the Boston US Attorney’s office pretend they don’t have access to. They go on to suggest that if the prosecutors claim is accepted and the files of the DOJ are not opened for examination then “the jury, the public, its adversaries, and the victims’ families” will not learn “the truth about the DOJ’s knowledge, conduct and liability for the carnage left in [its] wake.”

Carney and Brennan are renewing Whitey’s prior discovery motion filed last November and denied by Judge Stearns in December. In it they sought all DOJ correspondence that exists between the Boston US Attorney’s office and the Strike Force, the DOJ, the FBI, and Robert Mueller that relates to any of the gangsters who were involved the with Winter Hill Gang. They’re also asking for some additional things which seem quite minor.

It took Carney and Brennan six pages to get that out. They then use the next 30 pages of the motion to recite the relevant facts. They suggest there is an “institutional pattern of conduct” to befriend murderers to get the Mafia and then covering it up. They cite the familiar and oft mentioned examples of Barboza and Flemmi to show this.

They suggest this was well-known to the upper echelons in DOJ citing the time Joe Murray’s wife, Tina, made the calls to Bill Weld who was in Washington, DC running the DOJ’s criminal division. Tina made quite serious allegations that FBI Agent John Connolly was selling inside information to Bulger and that they had the identity of the witness to the murder of Brian Halloran who could put Whitey and Pat Nee in the murder car. Weld gave this information to David Margolis who never did any follow-up on it other than sending it to the FBI who quickly closed it out after a cursory interview of Joe Murray.

I’ve got to pause here for a moment. It’s clear I won’t cover all the motion today but will continue with it tomorrow for I find it intriguing. The reason I’m stopping at this point is I want to discuss the allegation set out  in § II, A, 7 in the recitation of relevant facts.   It is stated: “Flemmi reported that the [Mafia] has conmnections to a high level official in the DOJ. The connection was linked to the Patriarca family, as well as Boston [Mafia]. Flemmi did not remember the exact name, but recalled it starting with M. Flemmi was shown a list of names and immediately identified Margolis.”

David Margolis is presently the associate deputy attorney general who has been in the DOJ since 1965. That’s 48 years, the same amount of time J. Edgar Hoover was director of the FBI. If Flemmi is to be believed then the Mafia has had a plant in the DOJ all these years feeding it information.

Obviously Flemmi is lying. Margolis is no more a Mafia plant than is Pope Francis. The proof of it is that the Mafia has been decimated during Margolis’s time in the DOJ. Over time I’ve pointed to Flemmi’s many lies, not the least his vicious identification before Judge Wolf of State Trooper John Naimovich as his informant when all the evidence showed it was Trooper Richard Schneiderhan.

Here then is what absolutely puzzles me. How can the prosecutors use Flemmi as a witness when he has wrongfully accused a high-ranking person in the DOJ of being involved with the Mafia? Isn’t there a point where a prosecutor has to understand that nothing this man says can be believed? I take this one step further. How can Carney & Brennan. use anything this obvious liar says in support of its motion as they do? More basically, why is anyone being asked to believe anything this man says? Why isn’t Flemmi in ADX Florence Colorado and never heard from again?

 

 

§37 The Marriage of Likes : [Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years:]

Whitey And Stevie Uniting For a Shared Purpose

Whitey And Stevie Uniting For a Shared Purpose

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.

Then and there Whitey and Steve were probably making plans to undermine the rest of the Winter Hill Gang. They were of the mindset that it’d be best not to  share the booty when they could have it all for themselves. They worked together to figure the best way to do this.

In my book Don’t Embarrass The Family you’ll find the testimony of Martorano and Salemme about their monetary relations with Whitey and Stevie.

John Martorano testified: “I always tried to find out how much [Stevie] was holding for me but I never could. I learned they had been cheating me but there was nothing I could do about it.”  He’d go on to testify, “I gave $20,000 toward buying the Marconi Club. I figured they sold it for a lot more so I should have received more but I didn’t. I couldn’t monitor the profits from Florida.” 

I noted in the book that Frank Salemme testified: “me and Stevie agreed to split the money fifty-fifty. Flemmi would split his half with his partner Bulger; . . .  I came to realize that over the time Flemmi was skimming money away from me. He took about 300,000 dollars of my money.”

It is important, I suggest, to have a clear understanding of what motivated Whitey and Stevie, it was money and women, but mostly the former. Whatever it took to get them, they would do. Whatever it took to keep them, they would do, it. Flemmi was so covetous of things he possessed that he viciously murdering a young woman who had given up her youth to him when she threatened to leave him.

If Whitey and Stevie had to cheat their close friends they did it in a heart beat. If they had to kill people who threatened or could enhance their financial well being so too they did that without a second thought. It was a marriage made in Hell.

Stevie would eventually betray Whitey over money. He’d agreed to testify against him if he could keep about half of his properties. He forfeited some seven properties and the funds in three bank accounts but was allowed to keep the funds in three bank accounts, a business called the Commonwealth Laundries and Cleaners, a condominium at 362 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, a condominium at 151 Tremont Street, Boston, a condominium at 661 Pleasant Street, Weymouth, a condominium at 46 Tinson Road, Quincy, the real property with all buildings at 260 Sumner Street, Norwood, and the real property with all buildings at 832 Third Street, South Boston.

It is hard to believe the prosecutors let this vile man escape the death penalty, do easy time and keep half of the proceeds of his murderous rampages.  But I’m jumping ahead. I have to get back to the late summer or early fall of 1974 when the two newlyweds were figuring on how best to consummate their marriage. Stevie decided they should do something he was an old hand at. Whitey although not for lack of trying had never done it before. They’d start to murder some of the people who were getting splits out of their proceeds.

There’s nothing better than a murder to cement such a relationship.

The FBI’s Desperate Gambit

A Missing Gardner Art Work "La Sortie de Pesage"

A Missing Gardner Art Work “La Sortie de Pesage”

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 happen to think the FBI is blowing a lot of smoke. If it knew who committed the robbery there is no reason not to tell. I’m cynical not so much because the FBI, like the gangsters, treats truth like an overcoat to be used only when necessary. It’s because as Joe Friday would say, “the facts don’t add up.”

According to the official FBI press release FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers said “[w]e have identified the thieves . . .” It goes on to say  that Special Agent Geoffrey Kelly “is the lead investigator in the case and a member of the Art Crime Team. 

You have to believe that if the FBI identified these two guys who stole the art work  (if it were only two) it would know a lot about them like their background, their habits, their education, their friends, and so on. That seems not to be the case. From my reading of this article, the FBI is still wandering around in the dark looking for a candle.

FBI Agent Geoffrey Kelly said that because the painting were sliced out of the frame “that’s indicative of a rank amateur when it comes to art theft.How does that square with knowing the identity of the thieves? If you know who the thieves are, you know whether they are amateurs or not.

Kelley also said about two of the thieves. “They were clever in how they got into the museum, but the working profile points to inexperienced art thieves.”  It seems to me if you know who they are you don’t have a “working profile.” You know what their experience is.

Kelly goes on to say, according to the article, “it’s highly probable the thieves had no idea of the magnitude of their crime until they woke up the next morning and realized they had committed the “heist of the century.” If the FBI knew the identity of the thieves, it should know what they would have expected from the robbery. Kelly went on to say that when they found out what they had done, they must have figured it was best to “wait until the head dies down” before they tried to sell them.

Everything Kelly the guy in charge of the investigation has said points to the FBI having no idea of who committed the robbery. It would be prudent, if that is the case, not to disclose the identities of people whose identities it does not know.

Here’s what is going on. The FBI in 2011 did a big publicity push on Whitey and ended up capturing him. It reasons that if that worked, why not do the same with the Garner heist. The only thing the FBI has not figured into the equation is that the Gardner robbers were real professionals, Whitey, in truth, was an amateur.

Cutting the painting from the frame does not point to “rank amateurs” but clever professionals who could not tell when they cased the joint whether the frames were alarmed so they couldn’t chance taking them off the wall. Kelly notes how they took the surveillance tape and a print out of a motion detector which he said gave them “a comfort level that really would establish they had they had some type of knowledge about how the security protocols were conducted at the museum.”  Amateurs don’ do that, professionals do.

It’ll be a least another 23 years before the truth will come out if the FBI doesn’t accept this was a professional job aimed at specific art works for which there already existed a buyer done after much planning and preparation. It wasn’t done by a brace of stumblebums hoping to make a score and waking up surprised to discover the magnitude of their heist.

 

When Look-Alikes Aren’t Alike

The Home Of The Double Standard

The Home Of The Double Standard

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.

Back in 2011 when we first learned about Rossetti,  Cullen wrote it is was a situation of “Whitey Bulger all over again.”  Strangely enough, Cullen whose newspaper had prior to that time been beating his friend John Connolly into a pulp over his use of Whitey, suggested in that column “Rossetti talked to his FBI handler, a young agent named Jesse. Now, this isn’t about Jesse. He is by all accounts an earnest honest agent who merely inherited Rossetti as an informant. This is about people in pay grades above Jesse’s. Supervisors who are supposed to know better.”

Wow! Whitey and Rossetti are alike. Agents Connolly and Jesse who inherited them are different. Connolly is to be trampled upon while Jesse gets praised. Jesse’s supervisors are responsible. Connolly’s supervisor got a pass and testified against Connolly. Isn’t there something wrong with this picture. And, while the name of John Connolly was blasted in headlines throughout the area Rossetti’s handler is only known as “Jesse.” Jesse who? James!

One has to wonder if the Globe decided Connolly was evil because his supervisor John Morris was a stool pigeon for the Globe. Morris had become an informant for the Globe when he disclosed, among other things, that Whitey was an FBI informant. He did this hoping that revelation would lead to Whitey’s murder. An interesting take on this event is put forth by Blue Mass Group which suggests criminal culpability on Cullen’s and the Globe’s part for their involvement in that attempt at murder.  Another is the suggestion is the Globe influenced the prosecution to go after Connolly rather than the logical target, the corrupt supervisor Morris.

Five days after his first  column on August 16, 2011, Cullen had another column “Where’s The Outrage Over FBI Bungling?” There he said it “is in some ways worse than the Whitey Bulger debacle.” In October 2011 Cullen wrote as third column, “Pants on Fire” talking about the “FBI’s chutzpah” in using Rossetti eight years after Whitey. 

For some strange reason there’s no continuing outrage coming from him or Murphy about the Rossetti situation even though it mirrors or is worse than Whitey’s. In the Whitey situation they had outrage enough to fill Gillette Stadium to overflowing and it continued unabated month after month. Since October 2011 the Rossetti situation has caused hardly a ripple.

The other day writing about Rossetti we get a lighthearted suggestion that because Rossetti, suspect in at lest six slayings, was an FBI informant  “he has experience talking to the FBI.”  No mention is made by Cullen of the FBI’s sordid history in this matter or Senator Grassley’s statements, even though he talked about him in his “Pants on Fire” column.

I’d have thought when a US Senator suggests the FBI office in Boston needs a thorough cleansing I’d read about it in the Boston Globe. I Googled to find out if the Globe had anything on Chuck Grassley’s recent concerns about the Boston FBI office which I wrote about yesterday. I came up empty.

I get the feeling that when you rely upon the FBI as a source then you lose your ability to tell the truth about that source. Maybe had Cullen and Connolly not been so close much of this would have not happened. The continuing flow of information is dependent upon the continuation and maintenance of the good relationship. Once in bed with a government agency its hard to crawl out.

That is why “the great” Shelley Murphy and her newspaper never criticize the local prosecutors. If they did she’d never have been the recipient of leaked grand jury testimony like what happened with Billy Bulger’s. It’s the old one hand washes the other. It’s the taking care of your friends, something like what is done in politics. However when politicians out of favor with the Globe do it, as we’ve seen with the three Massachusetts probation officers, it can lead to indictments for RICO violations with which neither Cullen or Murphy found any problems.

 

Senator Chuck Grassley Stirs In His Sleep

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Pretty Soon No More Gray Skies

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.”

When the Mark Rossetti situation was publicly disclosed in 2011, Congressman Steven Lynch was highly upset. And well he should have been. He was part of a minority that attached its own views to the Committees Report. Lynch’s position was the Committee’s work was not done and that it should decide “what actions must be taken legislatively, through regulation, by oversight activity, or some combination in order to prevent a continuation or recurrence of similar events in the future.”

What has happened? The Committee and Congress did nothing. They went to sleep believing its job was done. The FBI said it had changed when it didn’t. It continued to do what it had always done. The FBI had again successfully bamboozled Congress because like Old Man River it just keeps flowing along.

I’ve criticized Congressman Steven Lynch for dropping the ball in this matter because as a member of the Committee and being from Whitey’s home town of South Boston he knew of the “disastrous consequences” that follow from keeping murderers safe. He too lacked the nerve to go up against the FBI.

Senator “Don’t call me Charlie it’s Chuck” Grassley a Republican from Iowa who has been in Congress for 40 years spoke about Rossetti saying: “It’s very difficult with the use of a Rossetti or a previous person that they wouldn’t know it’s going on and there wasn’t some knowledge of it. And if there isn’t knowledge of it there ought to be, otherwise the FBI is not doing its job.

He went on to say, “Going back a ways, don’t you have an FBI agent that was convicted of some wrongdoing because he was involved in this process as well? Doesn’t that tell you something about the local office probably being out of control?” 

The FBI responded with its typical disingenuousness saying an internal review involving thousands of documents is still underway. No one seems to suggest that if the FBI takes two years to investigate this simple matter then that in and of itself is proof something is wrong.

Grassley was asked about the FBI guidelines which we have seen are just there for cover. Grassely didn’t think changing them would make a difference because the FBI worked “with Rossetti, and that’s a conflict with the original guidelines.”

It is more than the guidelines, Grassley said, “There’s something in the culture of the FBI in this particular part of the country that needs to be dealt with.” The FBI replied, “FBI leadership has full confidence in FBI Boston management and employees.

That is about the same response it made back when the issues involving Stevie Flemmi and Whitey first came up.

Senator Grassley explained: “I thought it was pretty clear after Bulger as an example, now Rossetti coming out and not having learned any lessons. There needs to be big changes. I’m not running the FBI but this has been going on too long. There have to be big changes,”

Therein lies the problem. Senator Grassley after 40 years in Congress doesn’t understand what is happening. First, this is not a local problem. We only know of the FBI’s abuses because we’ve lifted the lid on the Boston office. No other FBI office has been examined as closely as Boston. Congress seems afraid to look any further than Boston. I’ve always been taught that If one barrel in a lot is rotten you can assume others are.

Next Grassley should understand that it is his job to run the FBI.  In our system of checks and balances, when the executive runs amok, Congress has the obligation to do something about it. The FBI has been acting wrongfully since it introduced the Top Echelon program, in the 1960s. Grassley and Lynch and many others in Congress know it. They know, or should know, the FBI will not change. Grassley said the “FBI is not doing its job.” Well, Congress, neither are you. The  40 year sleep continues.

 

§36 The Trio Of The Doomed :[Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years:]

Looking Away From The Vietnam Memorial Wall

Looking Away From The Vietnam Memorial Wall

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 Familyhe 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.

Of the threesome Flemmi was the most despicable and what would go along with that, the most cowardly. Despicable, not because of the many murders he committed, but because he killed two young women he had known in the Biblical sense. Even if one believes his invented story that Whitey murdered them, Flemmi stood by and let it happen.

Cowardly because he had never done time and to avoid that he turned on everyone he could to extricate himself from his self-made situation; because he murdered two young women or worse stood by while it happened; and was an FBI informant all of his adult life. It’s hard to think of a worse person. Since his decision to turn on others he has continually perjured himself in his testimony. Yet, he’s the main witness of the prosecution. Imagine asking us or a jury to believe this man!

Whitey likewise has become diminished in stature. He is no longer keeping his mouth shut, accepting the blame for his life of evil, and walking off with his head held high. He’s whining about the food in prison. He’s now saying, whether true or not, that he paid Connolly for information. He is undermining the guy that helped him enjoy the good life. He does not seem to understand that this makes him an informant against Connolly, something he avers he would never be.

Whitey had a mirror that always told him he was the fairest of them all and all that mattered was what he wanted. He somehow still fails to see it lied to him. He must accept that he can never get out of jail and his future life will be for the most part intolerable, bordering on cruel and unusual treatment without recourse to the courts, for in the eyes of the judiciary he belongs among the damned.

Yet he still has it in his power to act wisely and alleviate any harm he has brought to his family and those who stuck by him. That is all that should matter to him now. He should look beyond the mirror at the lives of others. He must now decide how he wants his final chapter to be written. He might think he’s getting a raw deal and people are lying about him but he should think of the raw deals he has given other people and accept his cup.

And as we’ve heard a wise man say, the last shall be first. Paradoxically it turns out that the lowliest member of this threesome is the highest. John Connolly now seems to be the only stand up guy. The guy told by his bosses to get into this group has been harshly sentenced for his Boston conviction and wrongfully convicted in Florida.

He does his hard time in a Florida prison refusing to be lured into freedom by perjuring himself. Rejecting the prosecutors blandishments to give them something about Billy Bulger, even lies since he has repeated said Billy is a man of integrity, he will be imprisoned for life, unless this cruel injustice is reversed.

Unlike all the others, including all the witnesses against him he did not set out to live a life of crime; nor did he put a bullet in another person’s head or watch while it happened; nor did he lie to save himself from the likelihood of dying in prison.

Only in this confederacy of liars could truthfulness be so severely punished and villainy rewarded..