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

A Trip Back In Time.

2014-09-12 14.43.42I’m back from my sabbatical from the internet. I spent the last few days in upstate New York out of its reach doing the harvesting of the crops from my wife’s garden which is at her nieces’ house. I went back to my roots digging up row after row of potatoes and carrots. It’s not easy on the back but I think every Irish person should have a familiarity the land.

Scarlett O’Hara’s father Gerald put it best: And, to anyone with a drop of Irish blood in them – why, the land they live on is like their mother.” Turning the land over and discovering the life-sustaining potatoes hiding under it is more real to me than most other things. My grandson said: “Grandpa, when you’re hands are dirty, you know your having fun.” From the mouths of babes come the basic truths.

Next to the garden is an apple tree. I spent a day picking them. I returned home with over 100 pounds of apples and near 75 of potatoes as well as other vegetables. The potatoes will be washed and stored; the apples have to be peeled and frozen for pies and torts and apple sauce so there’s still lots of work to be done.

The garden is located in Amish country. The Amish families who live there are from the no electricity, no vehicle, and no work on Sunday branch. They live as people did at least 200 years ago. It’s a tough life. Within 50 yards of the property where my wife’s garden is located is the Amish school for all the kids between six and fourteen. It’s a small one room school house that has one teacher. I’m told her name is Rachel, that she is in her early 20s, and that she has been teaching there six years.

The education they receive is limited to what is necessary to continue the life that their parents and other forebears have followed. It is very rudimentary involving basic mathematics and reading along with some writing. They also have lessons in German and English and learn some of the history of their religion, but not much else since their knowledge of geography or general history is sorely lacking.

I see the kids going to school each morning. They carry plastic thermos lunch boxes. None carry books.

When I see this it recalls for me the time of Gutenberg and the invention of the movable type printing press. Prior to that time the people knew only the most fundamental things; followed quickly on it heels was the availability of books and huge change: the Renaissance, the beginnings of the Scientific Revolution and the Protestant Reformation. No longer would most want to cling to the old ways after being exposured to new and better ideas.

The Amish kids work hard from an early age. I’ve seen six or seven year old barefoot boys and girls dwarfed by the teams of horses they are driving which pull wagons through the fields. They are helping their not too much older siblings who are doing the other laborious field work. They live and work by the day light since not having electricity their night time endeavors must be very limited.

I’ve been lucky to become friendly with one family that lives nearby. When I first met the young couple they had five children, the four oldest being boys and one girl. They now have ten with the youngest closing in on 2 and the oldest being just about 16. The Amish are the fastest growing population in the United States; their growth has doubled their numbers over the past 20 years.

It takes a while to become friendly with them because they are wary of the English. They call all those who aren’t Amish by that name. Although they speak English when in my presence, among themselves they speak German. The mother of the brood told me how when we first arrived on their farm they warned their children to be careful of us since they didn’t know us. Now that has changed. They feel comfortable being with us and spend time talking when they have a free moment and.

This has come about because we respect and don’t interfere with them and their beliefs. When you get to know the kids they are the nicest, friendliest, and best behaved and most content children you’ll ever know. Apple to them is something you eat and has no connection with a method of communications. My niece will sometimes show some of the other Amish kids the programs she has on her iPad. I keep my modern devices hidden because the parents prefer their children not to be exposed to them. They also prefer that we don’t take their pictures as that is frowned upon by their religious beliefs.

Speaking to the almost 16-year-old I asked him if he planned on leading the same life that his parents are doing. He said he had never thought not to do it. I told him how I saw a program about Amish that showed some of the young Amish at 17 or 18 are allowed to do things normally forbidden before they make a commitment to that life. He said he’d never want to do that. He would not do anything that his parents would not like and he knew they would like him to follow their way of life.

The 4th Commandment is alive and well among them. Dealing with them is going into another world that is refreshing in many ways. I sometimes wonder with our progress whether in many things we are going backwards. The Amish lead a hard, simple life; but it lasts as long as the lives of others. At the end, looking back, I’m sure they find as much satisfaction, if not more, in the simplicity of their existence; and perhaps less heart break with their close family support, than the rest of us entrapped in our madding every day doings.

The NFL’s Joining of the Media’s Hypocrisy on Ray Rice

ray riceI’m bothered by domestic violence. I don’t see how a man can assault a woman. I understand the frustrations and ire that can occur between couples but for a man to let it go beyond harsh words into a physical assault is something I can’t grasp. Unfortunately, it happens more than I care to think about. Usually the starter to such a happening is alcohol or some other substance that changes a person’s ability to exercise self-control.

That domestic violence happens at all is something that should concern us. What bothered me most about Ray Rice’s horrible assault on his fiancée Janay is how it has been handled by the media. Out of the blue the media flipped out over it. The commonplace was made into something esoteric, the mundane magnified to something extraordinary. His assault gave the media a “gang-up” time when all take their shot, nary a dissenting word is heard discouraging the mad rush, all the running together feels good, and then everything goes on as before except for the person, or persons, trampled under.

So it is over the past week with the NFL. Reading the media coverage you’d believe the initials stand for the National Felon League. The felons seem to be in the Commissioner’s office, clustered around the heartless billionaire owners, cleverly cozying up with the coaches, but mostly the over 1,500 helmeted men who lurk about on the playing fields who are aided and abetted by the million or so who gather weekly to cheer them on. Perhaps that is why our police have become so militarized because of this ever growing criminal enterprise.

What was once a remarkable business is written about lately as if it were a sleezy, dark enterprise found at the end of a stanky littered alley. But like all stampedes the dust will soon settle. Sports writers will fondly recall how they rose to the occasion during the frenzy and yearn for another thrilling ride. The calm and boredom of normalcy will return.

My favorite example of the recent media Kumbaya was by a woman sports writer. She tells us she is a fan of violent sports including the NFL. Not only that, she is a victim of domestic violence.  She tells us we “embrace” the violence in the sport that the NFL promotes. (I guess it means we like the games.) She suggests we are “shocked when NFL players bring brutality to their families.” She decries Ray Rice’s slugging of his wife Janay. She tells us she has “compassion and kindness” for such women. (As if the rest of us don’t.)

She ends noting: “The fans want a sports world full of violence, they want players smashing each other, making each other bleed. They want a sports war on the field. At what cost? Spare me the outrage about how it’s shocking that these athletes can take their rage to another arena outside the one that pays them. The real question is: Why wouldn’t they? When it comes to money and product, the blood thirsty always get what they want. And since you reap what you sow, we are their partners in crime.”

Such pap! She wants us to feel responsible for men assaulting women because we like to watch NFL games or boxing matches. I’d be willing to wager $10,000 (of Mitt’s money) that there is much less domestic violence among men who engage in violent sports than among those who avoid it. One robin does not make a spring; one outrageous incident of domestic violence does not turn the NFL into a batterers convention.

Domestic violence is an ongoing nasty situation affecting many thousands of women each year. It is and should be condemned but to suggest that it occurs because men engage in violent sports is to trivialize it. It is too important of an issue to isolate it like that. It takes our attention away from the great majority of men who assault women and the need to address that issue.

Ray Rice for his momentary inexplicable brutality against a woman that he will marry in an incident that is unrelated to his job has been unfairly scapegoated because of the media madness. The NFL felt compelled to utter profound inanities while continuing to do what it does best which is to entertain its millions of fans while pocketing their money. It tries to pacify the media mob by throwing Rice to it as the Caesars did the Christians in the Colosseum. With each passing week these media lions will soon be satiated as the games get more exciting and their outrage will diminish and those who have most loudly condemned Rice will forget about him as they get caught up in writing about their favorite sport.

Rice made a bad mistake probably due to demon rum. That does not mean he should be barred from the NFL just because the sports media decides to pretend something new has happened. Like all repentent sinners, he should be brought back into the fold.

The Meeting That Never Happened: Halloran’s Lies

smoking-gunHere’s a major problem in telling Whitey’s story. Gangsters lie. Gangsters in a jam tell big lies. FBI agents, prosecutors and authors believe the lies because that is what they want to hear. They don’t pause to examine them closely. Authors are the worst, because once one writes the lie as being true others pass it on without any critical thinking. The seminal book on the Whitey saga, Black Mass, set the stage for a ton of misinformation. Here’s an example.

In Back Mass (page139 to 143) pubished in 2000 the authors wrote that John Callahan, at a meeting at his apartment with Brian Halloran, Whitey Bulger, and Stevie Flemmi, “got right to the heart of the matter. He said a serious problem had come up at the World Jail Alai company in the form of a new owner . . . Roger Wheeler.  The hard-driving CEO . . . “had discovered something was not right “. Wheeler, he said, had figured out someone was skimming one million dollars a year from the overflowing company coffers.” He was going to replace the top financial officers, conduct an audit, and Callahan might end up in jai.”

They went on: “Callahan also had a solution. Brian Halloran . . . could “take {Wheeler] out of the box,” which was to say shoot him in the head.” He said a “hit” was the ony way  . . . to end any possibility of an embezzlement charge against him. He added that Winter Hill’s seasoned hitman, Johnny Martorano, should probably get involved.”

The authors divert from the meeting into talking about how Whitey was doing well with John Connolly watching his back. Things were going good with no signs of trouble even after having killed Debbie Davis. They said Whitey had to decide whether leaving his comfort zone and killing a business executive in Tulsa, Oklahoma was worth it. They wrote “but as 1981 dawned over Boston, Wheeler was just another guy in Whitey Bulger’s way.”

They then noted Halloran: “got darty-eyed, cleared his throat, and asked if there was any alternative to “hitting the guy.” This brought him one of Bulger’s patented cold glares. The hour long meeting broke up with Bulger saying he would think about it some more . . . “

I knew little about the matter so I bought into all of that when I first read it. Now I see I should have had several questions. The most obvious were:  What’s in it for Whitey and Stevie? Why would they get involved in a plot kill a guy because Callahan might have stolen some money? How is Callahan embezzling money in 1981 since he’s been out of World Jai Alai (WJA) since 1977 when he stepped down as president?  How many guys have ever been killed because they ordered an audit of their company’s books? Why is the ever cautious Whitey bringing into a murder scheme a guy he thinks is a drug addict and drunk who’d rat him out in a second? Why does anyone believe Halloran was capable of planning a murder in Oklahoma since he wasn’t a hit man?

The authors got the information they used for this story from what Halloran told two FBI agents. He went to them because in October 13, 1981, he murdered George Pappas. He had been indicted for first degree murder in Suffolk County. He was facing life in prison without parole. He was desperately looking for a way out, a deal to get him off the hook. He went to the FBI. He would give the FBI agents anything he could so that the charge would be dismissed and he could go into the Witness Protection Program. He was so in need of an escape he would cheat, lie, double-deal, wear wires or anything he could to save his life. He did wear wires but nothing come of it since the word on the street was he was cooperating.

The truth is that Halloran and Callahan hung around together at times. Callahan had been seen in the company of Halloran and Jimmy Martorano at the Playboy Club in Boston. That’s why he had to resign from WJA.

Callahan carried money to Florida that he got from George Kaufman a Winter Hill associate for John Martorano who was a fugitive. Callahan let John Martorano use his Florida condo and Cadillac during the off season. They were good friends.

The meeting that is highlighted never took place. It is a total fiction created by Halloran and embellished by the authors. This is obvious because Callahan arranged the murder through the man he knew was capable of doing it, his close friend, John Martorano. There was no need for Halloran when Martorano had already agreed to do the job.

Martorano was the man who murdered Wheeler. He tells us how it all came about. He said Callahan wanted to buy World Jai Alai from Wheeler. They could not come to terms. Callahan then figured if he murdered him he could buy it from his widow.  He asked Martorano to do the job. (Hitman – pgs 315 to 219) He told Martorano he would give him $50,000 and when he took over would hire the Winter Hill gang at $10,000 a week to protect the fonton in Connecticut from the New York Mafia. That’s the story of the guy who did the murder.

There was no need for a meeting in Boston looking to hire Halloran. That was a Halloran creation to increase the likelihood the FBI would give him a deal. It never happened. Stepping back for a minute would suggest it made no sense.

How then did Halloran know what happened?  Wheeler was murdered on May 27, 1981. He and Callahan were buddies. Callahan told FBI Agent Montanari that shortly after the murder he ran into Callahan in a bar in Boston who told him Johnny had done it, Stevie was driving the car, and Whitey was in the backup car. With that he just put himself into a meeting with them which he knew he needed to suck the FBI into giving him a deal and saving him from life in prison.

The Mafia’s Revenge: The Gullible Good Guys

smoking-gunAnyone who has read any of the authors professing to know something about the Whitey case have noticed they write about H. Paul Rico who they call a corrupt former FBI agent who was indicted in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the murder of the owner of World Jai Alai, Roger Wheeler.  Rico’s is implicated in his 1981 murder by John Martorano who admitted he went there to murder him at the request of his friend John Callahan.

Paul Rico was a long time FBI agent who spent most of his career in the Boston office, moved to the Miami office in 1970, and retired in 1975. He married a woman he met while young, remained married to her all his life and brought up five children who went on to successful careers.

In the 1960s he brought about the indictment of Raymond L.S. Patriaca, the leader of the New England Mafia and his under boss Genaro Angiulo. He did this by convincing Joseph Barbosa (Joe the Animal) the Mafia’s top hitman to testify against them. Patriarca was convicted, Angiulo acquitted. Some suggest Angiulo was able to reach the jurors.

Rico was one of the first FBI agents to recruit top echelon informants. One of his early recruits was Steven Flemmi who would remain an informant from the mid-1960s until 1991. The gangsters tell many stories about him which to believe you have to be convinced that the FBI agents are no different than the Mafia, just another bunch of gangsters.

Now I happen to believe just about all the FBI agents are on the level trying to do their jobs the best they can. They might resort to an illegal break in or illegal electronic surveillance in an attempt to get evidence against people they believe are committing crimes but they aren’t involved in any criminal activity beyond that.

Yet the stories about Rico by the gangsters tell us otherwise. I can’t escape the feelings that these preposterous stories are the Mafia’s way to get revenge on an FBI agent responsible for putting their top guys in prison.

Here’s my favorite tall tale told by Stevie Flemmi. Rico didn’t like George McLaughlin who was part of the McLaughlin gang that was in a war with the Somerville gang of Buddy McLean and Howie Winter. Rico didn’t like him because on some wire he heard Mclaughlin call J. Edgar Hoover gay and suggested Rico might also be gay. That made Rico want to murder him. He asked Stevie to get him a throw-away gun that couldn’t be traced so that when he and other agents went in to arrest him they would kill him instead and say that George pulled the gun on them. When George was arrested by the FBI no such thing happened.

Stevie asked Rico why he didn’t murder him.  “Rico shook his head sadly and explained that of the five agents, four had been on board with the plan, but they hadn’t been sure about the fifth fed, so they decided not to take the chance.” (HM -95)  To believe Stevie you must believe that four FBI agents agreed to murder George McLaughlin and to cover it up because he called someone gay. I find it preposterous. I have no idea why anyone would believe it.

Here’s another told by John Martorano.  He murdered Roger Wheeler the owner of World Jai Alai (WJA). He said his friend John Callahan was trying to buy it and Wheeler wouldn’t sell. Callahan figures if Wheeler is dead he can buy it from his widow. Paul Rico works for WJA as head of security at the Miami fronton. He has hired a half dozen or more retired agents to work there with him.

After Wheeler’s murder, the investigators start chasing down leads trying to solve the case. The FBI starts to focus on Callahan who had been implicated by another hoodlum, Brian Halloran. Learning that Callahan had told Halloran about his involvement and fearful that Callahan would implicate him Martorano murders Callahan.

Martorano says that sometime after Callahan’s murder, the guy who helped him murder both Wheeler and Callahan, Joe McDonald, asked him what was going on with the sale of the business. Why would that even be a concern when the guy who was going to buy it was dead? Makes no sense but lets go on.

Martorano said he wanted to find out so he called Flemmi and asked him to set up a meeting with Rico. He said he wanted to learn it from the horse’s mouth. He then said Flemmi and he went to the Miami fronton up to the executive dining room and met with Rico.

Imagine that. The fronton is loaded with security cameras and the FBI agents working there are supposed to be on the lookout for wise guys and Martorano, a fugitive from justice, and Flemmi, a top organized crime figure walk into it without a concern. What’s more, the head of security Rico who allegedly knew they had done these murders agrees to meet with them in the dining room. You know, rather than meeting in some dark parking lot or out of the way restaurant, Rico a skilled retired FBI agent apparently has no concern being spotted openly at his place of business, whose owner has been murdered, meeting with two top criminals who committed the murder and could destroy him by offering him up if they got jammed in.

Martorano would say:  “I know he’s got all the FBI agents there, but no one’s making a move to collar me. And then I knew, I mean I really understood for the first time, that all the rumors about Rico were true.” In other words, all those retired agents just like the ones who were planning to kill McLaughin are also corrupt.

How is it we are asked to believe life-long criminals with blood dripping from their hands from their many murders looking for deals telling stories that by all measures are totally false over FBI agents who have led crime-free lives? Yet prosecutors, judges and authors accept their lies as factual truths without a scintilla of corroboration. I remain in awe thinking anyone believed such falsehoods.



Feds Helping Reunite Winter Hill

WinterJean, a U.S, citizen stranded in Panama, wrote to me: wondering what u thought about the evidence from the MA State Trouper with respect to JM being back in the life and being protected “ ‘

Jim, background unknown, wrote: Any update on the Rule 35 motion?”

JM is John Martorano who wrote a book called Hitman spelling out his 20 murders. When asked about the title of the book he said he didn’t think he was a hitman. Even though it is clear that he fit perfectly into the definition he didn’t like it for some reason. He tells us that the Mafia’s Gerry Angiulo  hired him and Howie Winter to kill Indian Al and his gang.  He also tells us John Callahan hired him to murder Roger Wheeler. Both Angiulo and Callahan paid him around $50,000 grand for his work.

Only in the head of a deranged killer could he think he wasn’t a hitman; only in the federal system could a hitman be used as a star witness and be walking the street. I figured if he didn’t want to be called hitman he should be called Murderman which he is quite proficient at doing especially when the other party has his back to him or is unarmed.

Jean want to know if he’s still doing business and is he still being protected. I’m sure he’s still being protected because the federals want nothing to happen to him that would impugn his testimony in the many cases surrounding Whitey. I’m not sure why that is the case. The Boston juries who heard him testify have not believed him in those situations where he had no corroboration.

Is he back in business? Well seeing that it is the only business he knows and seeing that he has the federals covering his back, sort of like the guys in the FBI’s Top Echelon Informant program, there’s little incentive for him not to be. I wonder if he has a license to carry? Have any people gone missing lately”

Jim in his question about the Rule 35 motion is referring to the deal that Steven Flemmi made with the government in exchange for his testimony. As bad as Murderman is, Flemmi is worse. Murderan and Flemmi actually go way back to the time they were in the Roxbury Gang. Ever here the federals talk about that gang, or even read about it from any of those who wrote books relative to Winter Hill? For some reason no one wants to talk about it, perhaps they don’t know of its existence.

Flemmi has probably murdered as many people as Murderman. However, were Dante to place him in Hell, he’d have to be in a lower place than Murderman. Flemmi murdered his girl friend and his step-daughter; and Mengele-like cut off their fingers and pulled out their teeth.  The only appropriate cognomen I could come up with for him was Benji Ditchman. When I served our country in Japan I knew one thing I wanted to avoid were the Benji Ditches.

One submarine sailor wrote about having a couple of drinks in Japan that afterward: I was so drunk I went outside and fell in a Benji ditch in my dressed whites. Marines at gate didn’t even look at my ID they held there nose and told me to get lost. Crew made me sleep on the dock until someone had courage to bring me new clothes — that uniform went into the deep six bin and not on the boat.”  

Benji is supposed to spend the rest of his life in prison but when asked about it he suggested that he still had a hope of getting out. The way he can get out is if the federal prosecutors file a Rule 35 motion which can modify his sentence. When pressed during Whitey’s trial the prosecutor Wyshak professed there was no way Benji could be released but he knew otherwise.

So we look forward to the day when the U.S. government will tell us Benji should be released from prison which will be one of the most despicable actions ever performed by any prosecutor. Of course, a judge will have to go along with it but that will be such a technicality it’s not even thought about. My guess is that once Whitey’s appeal is rejected, Benji will be back on the street.

As for Howie Winter, the other guy hired by Gerry Angiulo, he’s facing and extortion charge for a crime committed a couple of years ago but that also seems to have gone away.  He was indicted in September 2012 for the extortion; it is now two years later and this man who is reputed to have murdered many others has still not been brought to trial.  Does that seem strange? Maybe the Middlesex DA’s office will tell us what’s up. Or, is it just another example of our federal government climbing into bed with and protecting murderers?

It seems the federals want to put Murderman, Benji and Howie back together again. Who’d ever have thought? I wonder who’ll take Whitey’s place. You don’t think it’ll be a fed, do you?

Patriot Ponderings:

pearl harborBob Kraft sat down with the Herald prior to Sunday’s game and told how excited he was about the upcoming season. The reporter wrote: “One place they derived some extra cash for such purposes was through the trade of six-time Pro Bowler Mankins. It freed up $6.25 million in cap space this season, as well as $7 million in 2015 and $7 million in 2016. The fans’ disappointment in losing Mankins wasn’t lost on Kraft.

“He was one of the best players, probably the second-best lineman in the history we’ve existed. After John Hannah, I think he’s the second-best offensive lineman,” Kraft said of Mankins. “As a fan, I hated to see him go. I want to see all my great players retire as Patriots. Unfortunately, this is the part of the business that’s most difficult.”” 

The article also noted: “I think we have a pretty good team,” Kraft said last week with the assuredness of a man holding a straight flush. “I’m very excited about this season.””

I wonder how he feels now. The Patriots stunk out the house with its loss to Miami 33 -20.

I wrote about Kraft unloading Mankins and putting the six million dollars in his pocket. I said it was a terrible move. What turns out even worse is the way the media handled it.

Kraft’s answer: “unfortunately, this is part of the business” is let passed without anyone daring to probe further. What business is he talking about? The business of putting more money in his pocket? That’s all he could have been referring to because the trading away of the fearsome Logan Mankins had no other rationale. It was a terrible move for the team. Why is the media so craven when it comes to Kraft. Couldn’t one of the reporters have said, “I thought the business is supposed to be putting a winning team on the field? How does taking away such a person as Mankins accomplish that?”

Or for that matter question Belechick. He issued a statement that the trade of Mankins was made for what we feel is in the best interests of the team.”   How is trading a person Belechick himself described “as the best guard I ever coached. Logan brought a quiet but unmistakable presence and leadership that will be impossible to duplicate” in the best interests of the team.You know what, not one member of the media challenged him on this. Rather the opposite occurred, the sports media sycophants each tried to outdo the other one in explaining how trading Mankins was a wise move.   

I noted how John Henry betrayed all the Red Sox season ticket holders by selling off his best players in the middle of the year and giving up on the season. At least we know why Henry did it, he wanted  to put the money into his Liverpool soccer team so he could spend $26.5 million signing Mario Balotelli. I’m not sure the Red Sox season ticket holders are happy about their money being spent on Liverpool but as Bob Kraft would say its ”part of the business.”

When I criticized Kraft and Henry before for what I thought was a betrayal of the trust put in them by their season ticket holders who pay up front upon an implied warranty that the best team possible will be fielded, some people commented that I was anti-business. What I’m anti is not business but business men who promise one thing to raise money and after having done it do another.

I pointed out that the Mankins trade was awful. He started to play for the Patriots in 2005. He played in 130 games and started in all of those games. From 2010 through 2013 he was an All Pro and started in the Pro Bowl.  He was the cornerstone of the offensive line and the one who gave quarterback Tom Brady the ability to play at the high level he did as he entered into his thirties.

Trading Mankins the team captain was a blow to everyone on the team especially Brady. No one on the team can complain because the NFL owners like Vladimir Putin punish people for doing it. Bill Belichick always the good soldier likewise must support the owner’s decision. He who pays the piper calls the tune.

I wrote before that Brady doesn’t need the money. He plays the game now for the glory of claiming another championship. He played over the last seven years knowing his close friend Mankins had his back side covered and could keep the troops fighting effectively in times of stress.

Now with Mankins gone Brady has lost that support. He is aware he is more exposed to injury. His feelings of danger increased when he saw that his offensive line was as effective in stopping the Miami front four defensive players as the goal posts the wind.  The leader who could be depended upon to rally the troops is no longer on the field of battle.

Here’s what is clear at this point. The Patriots won’t go undefeated. Brady has lost some of his confidence. There’s no quit in him but he doesn’t want to go through life as a cripple which will happen if he has no protection. The defense like the old gray mare ain’t what it used to be. Another game or two like that for the defense you can kiss Vince Wilfolk goodbye.  Kraft knows nothing about football if he thinks you can tear the heart out of a team and think it will still win.
























Martha, Maura & My Son

(4) Coakley informalI met and spoke to Martha Coakley only once. That’s what she says. I don’t remember the incident.

My son went to work for her in the Attorney General’s office (no help from me, he’s a skilled attorney who felt his talents put to better use in the public sector after many years with big law firms). His last interview before a job offer would be extended was with her. She told him that I interviewed her when she applied for a job in the Norfolk DAs office. She told him she didn’t get a job offer. My son figured she was going to return tit for tat and not give him an offer. Fortunately for him she overlooked my actions.

My son worked for her for five years before moving on.

(4) maura in galwayI never met Maura Healey. My son has known her for many years. He met her when they worked together at the major Boston law firm Hale & Dorr. When he went to the AG’s office he found she also was there.

If the sign to the left is of any significance, it seems Maura traces her roots back to Galway as do we Connollys. Tribalism alone is reason to vote for her but unfortunately the Irish are the least tribal of people often preferring strangers to their own country folk.

My son sent an email to me, our family and his friends. He didn’t ask me to post it here nor does he know I’m doing it but I feel he wouldn’t mind if I did. As you know I stay out of politics unless they relate to the law, but this time I make an  exception, for as my son said in his email:

“It makes a difference.  Please vote on Tuesday.

That much I can say easily. I am a little embarrassed to add: please vote for Maura and Martha.  Embarrassed because I don’t usually suggest to people who to vote for, but actually very proud of both of these women. I know them well; I worked with them for years; you couldn’t do better in terms of quality representation for Massachusetts. I want to be sure not to waste your time so I need to be very concise about these candidates’ qualities, so in brief: for the same reasons I find each to be a good friend, each will be a great champion for Massachusetts. 

Maura and I were friends when we worked at Hale and Dorr before we worked together at the Mass Attorney a General’s Office. She is neck in neck with Warren Tolman and she can beat this guy on Tuesday. She’s about as clear-sighted a person I know about the issues that matter for an Attorney General: making sure blind people can get money from an ATM, making sure that fat cats and the connected don’t get their way simply because they grease the system, making sure gays don’t face discrimination, coming down hard on those who abuse the public trust, and living humbly and reciprocally with the natural environment.  She believes in these issues and has actually devoted her life to working on them. Check out her campaign ad here:

Martha is amazing. When she hired me to work for her, she told me how much she respected my dad’s work and judgment at the Norfolk DA’s office. For those of you who know my dad, that’s enough proof of her good judgment right there! :-)  I have sat with her in meetings about issues that no one was talking about, that weren’t making headlines, that seemed almost trivial for the state’s highest attorney to be spending her limited time on, but were very important to the individuals involved. That’s Martha in a nutshell. You are guaranteed that when she thinks about the economy, about education, about investing in Massachusetts and everything else that matters for a governor to think about, she’s thinking about people first. How it impacts individual people. Like you or me.

I’m writing to you because you are a friend or family member of mine with connections to Massachusetts. Please vote if you’re here.  Please spread the word. It will be a tight race with very low turn out. It makes a difference.

Martha Coakley leads polling for primary, general election

Maura Healey leads in AG race, according to new Boston Globe poll

‘30 in 30’: Women Candidates to Watch in 2014 – Maura Healey

Glad to talk (at length!) if you have any questions for me about Martha and Maura!”



Whitey’s Wanderings

salem_witch_trialsLast night Jerome wrote to me: “Whitey Bulger was moved to a Florida prison. Is it possible he will go on trial in that state and they will ask for the death penalty? “

Minutes later Jim wrote: “Looks like Jim Bulger got moved to a high security prison near orlando in florida, any reason to why this may have happened?  Heard he was in the “no good unit:” I.E. with elizabeths smarts kidnatpper etc. Any idea why he got transferred?”

When I received these I must admit I was surprised that he had been moved. Whitey’s 85-years-old and moving him from Arizona to Florida was not because the feds want him to enjoy one of his last winters in nice weather. It also isn’t because they were unable to handle him in the Tuscon prison. Nor would it be just a routine matter. Remember it took a while for the Prisoner Minders to decide where to place him. He was in the federal facility in Brooklyn, New York; and then out to Oklahoma and finally to Tuscon which was to be his final resting place until he completed his sentence.

Now keep in mind he is in federal prison and the prison keepers are not nice people. In civilized countries when a person is sent to prison that is the punishment for his crime; in the federal system the prison keepers seem to get their kicks out of imposing other punishments on their wards like the bus ride where prisoners are buckled into seats for 12 to 14 hours at a time while the bus slowly moves from place to place. I see that Whitey left Tuscon on August 29 and had a layover in Oklahoma. Then he arrived in Florida. It seems he must have been on the bus so perhaps the trip was just a way some of the Prison Minders could add a little misery to the old man.

But I don’t think it could be that alone that caused him to be moved. Remember, in the minds of the federals Whitey was more than a person who committed horrible crimes he was one against whom some in the Justice Department had a personal hatred. I know the members of the Department of Justice are not supposed to be vindictive but I also know some are human and full of venom and when they get someone in their manacles they get a little thrill out of doing all the evil they can against the person. So keeping all that in mind, here is my conjecture on the situation.

The federals have persuaded the Florida authorities to activate the John Callahan murder case against Whitey which calls for the death penalty. It is not because they ever expect that he will be executed because if you project the time that would pass leading up to the trial, and if he were convicted, the time it would take for an appeal on a death case, and the additional time prior to the execution, one could not reasonably to believe Whitey would still be among us. And if he were, when was the last time a man in his 90s was executed?

So what’s behind it you may wonder. It seems to me it a federal tactic to put pressure on the Florida Appeals Court to keep John Connolly the FBI agent who was wrongfully convicted for murder in prison. Connolly’s been in prison since 2002 and many in the FBI and Department of Justice want to make sure he dies there. The Appeals Court is deciding his case now. They must believe that bringing the notoriety surrounding Whitey and his evil life will accomplish their ends. I can see no other reason.

It’s a sad commentary on the ethics of the federals that if I’m correct they would engage in this type activity. It shows you the malice in their hearts and that their interest is not justice but vengeance. It’s a warning to all of us that there are brutes in the prison system and in the justice system. One must always do his best to avoid them. Like the FBI, the Bureau of Prisons has no one supervising it.

According to the bureau’s inmate locater Whitey is at USP Coleman II, a high security U.S. penitentiary with 1,448 others.



ISIL and LCN and FBI: U.S.A. Out of Step

(1) out of stepI shouldn’t let little things bother me but unfortunately I sometimes can’t help it.  I was bothered yesterday when I read this:

“Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said that the United States is aware of Americans who are serving with ISIS in Iraq and Syria. “Over 100 U.S. citizens who have U.S. passports who are fighting in the Middle East with ISIL forces,” Hagel said Wednesday on CNN. “There may be more, we don’t know.” Following ISIS’s execution of American journalist Steven Sotloff, Hagel stressed the need for an aggressive response to the self-proclaimed Islamic State. ” (my emphasis)

What bothers me about this is the USA government’s continuing reference to the radical Muslims group that has beheaded a couple of Americans as ISIL. The government talks about ISIL and the reporter writes about ISIS. Are they talking about the same thing?

ISIL is the acronym for Islamic State in the Levant, the Levant being somewhat synonymous for the Middle East.

The rest of the world including the American media calls this radical  group ISIS. ISIS is the acronym for the Islamic State in Syria. Syria is where they originated as a radical force and now have seized up to a third of Iraq. 

As best I can tell us these butchers call themselves the Islamic State which would make them IS. When I see the US government and all its agencies walking out of step with the rest of the world I wonder what it is that they hope to accomplish. 

It reminds me of another folly that it persists in. This is one in which my favorite of all agencies the FBI refuses to change. To understand this you have to know a little of the background.

When J. Edgar Hoover became director of the FBI back in 1924 his aim was to free America from anarchists and communists who he felt threatened the country. He did such a good job of it that he all but wiped them out by the end of the 1940s. You wouldn’t have known it because Joe McCarthy came around in the 1950s and seemed to think they lived under most desks in the State Department but Joe was being Joe, sort of like Manny being Manny.  He had his little shtick which he pushed as far as he could.

But Hoover’s problem was he had become so consumed with chasing the Reds he overlooked another growing problem in the country which was the Mafia. One of the reasons I suggest is that he knew the Mafia helped out our war effort during WWII. It not only made sure the New York ports were free of sabotage (the Irish gangs also pitched in – it shows how in war time even the most implacable enemies can work together). As important, the Mafia gave much help in giving us information for our invasion of Sicily.

In Hoover’s eyes the Mafia was not a threat to America where the Reds were. Hoover had been asked about the Mafia’s rising in power in America but he professed that there was no Mafia. Then in 1957 when news that over 100 Italian men from all over America (Italy, Canada, and Cuba also sent delegates) met in Apalachin, New York, was splashed over the newspapers and airwaves, Hoover was asked what was going on. It appeared to all that a big Mafia meeting had taken place.

Hoover responded. He agreed he said there was no Mafia but he pointed out he never said there was no La Cosa Nostra (literally translated The Our Thing?) Hoover then required all his agents to begin to call the Mafia, the LCN. Hoover stuck to the fiction that the FBI knew about the LCN and that even though it looked in all respects like the Mafia it wasn’t the Mafia.

To this date the FBI still calls the Mafia the LCN. I suppose long after ISIS becomes a casualty of history as all outlier groups eventually do our government will still call it ISIL.

Aaron Hernandez and Judge E. Susan Garsh

(1) Judge-Susan-Garah_20131021060743729_660_320I’m wondering about how Judge E. Susan Garsh’s suppression of the information that was contained on the telephone and Ipads seized from the home of Aaron Hernandez will affect the prosecution’s case. Is any of it crucial to the proof of his guilt? Is it just corroborative of other evidence? Or, is it of no importance, and if the latter, why did the DA want to put it into evidence.

I assume it is either of the first two: crucial or corroborative. The Bristol DA now has to make a decision whether to appeal her ruling. If  the judge was wrong in her decision and the DA takes Hernandez to trial and loses, her mistake will never be remedied. A person can only be tried once if acquitted in almost all cases. (You may recall FBI agent John Connolly was tried twice.)

Any legal errors made before or during the trial disappear once a person is found not guilty. So the time is now, before the trial starts, for a prosecutor to appeal a judge’s decision keeping evidence out of the trial. Obviously if the evidence is crucial, I’d expect the DA to appeal. Or even if it is just corroborative, the DA should appeal. Juries sometimes need the additional corroboration to push them to a conclusion.

I’m reviewing Judge’s Garsh’s findings and will  give my opinion on them soon. I’ve been trying to find out something about her. I heard she was quite pro-defendant.

Then I read about defense lawyers extolling her for her fairness. One suggested that she was “very reasonable to deal with it. . . . She’s very objective. . . . She plays it right down the middle.” If you know anything about the way the system functions, for defense lawyers to praise a judge so highly usually indicates she’s sitting in their corner.

When the DA heard she was appointed to the Hernandez case he refused to comment. It seems that the prosecutor who is trying the Hernandez case for the DA’s office, First Assistant District Attorney William McCauley, and Judge Garsh aren’t exactly bosom buddies. In 2010 he tried a murder case in front of her where he convicted the defendant. 

Here’s what is reported about that case: “After the three-week trial — which featured more than 80 witnesses — McCauley told the New Bedford Standard-Times that Garsh issued unfair rulings on evidence, which McCauley added, “was repeatedly limited or excluded by a trial judge who exhibited antagonism to the commonwealth’s case throughout the course of the trial.” 

McCauley said Garsh appeared to have had no background in a murder trial like Duarte’s, and added that the district attorney’s office expected “more from the witnesses and judges who hear these most serious cases.”

I don’t know about you but it seems quite odd to me for a high profile case like the Hernandez case to be given to a judge who has had run ins with the DA’s office on prior occasions. Barbara J. Rouse the Chief Justice can pick from 79 judges and she picks the one with a history of animosity with the DA. That doesn’t sound like she’s using the best of judgment in making that pick. You have to wonder what’s behind it?

ADA McCauley said Judge Garsh had no background to be handling murder trials. It’s highly unusual for an ADA to go after a judge like that. I checked to see her credentials.

She was born in 1947 making her rushing into her late 60s. As you know the people of Massachusetts passed an amendment to the constitution that requires judges to retire at 70-years-of age. (How the judges ignored the Constitution and continue to sit, some into their 90s, is a story for another day.)

22 years after being born she graduated from Barnard College in New York City. Barnard College is a private women’s liberal arts college which has been affiliated with Columbia University since 1900. She went from there to Harvard Law School from which she graduated in 1973.  She clerked for a year with Judge Levin Campbell, a 1951 Harvard Law School graduate.

From there she went to the white shoe law firm of Bingham, Dana and Gould where she stayed from 1975 to 1993. That’s the type of firm that shies away from criminal work. She then became a judge. She’s led a sheltered life with little or no experience in criminal work. I’m beginning to get the ADA’s point.

An internet site called Judgepedia which gave me her background has a section called: “Notable Cases.” In her 21 plus years on the bench only one case is listed. It is the Aaron Hernandez murder trial. 

Garsh can look into the offing and see the end of her judge’s trail looming on the horizon. Is this a case where a judge wanted to go out with one notable case on her record so she lobbied to get this one?  Did the confederacy of judges require Chief Judge Rouse to give this to her despite her ongoing feud with the DA?

Garsh’s decision suppressing evidence may indicate a continuing animus to the DA. Maybe not, but the unusual way in which she has been assigned the case can make one wonder what’s up. It makes one feel uncomfortable about the case.

It’s hard enough to prosecute a case when the ring is level. But when you come into it and see that the judge and defense lawyers are wearing the same colors and in the same corner, you know you’re entering into a meat grinder.

This is too big of a case to have these problems. With the nation watching, I’d have thought everything would have been done to make it appear that both sides would be treated fairly. Right now that does not appear to be the situation.