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

Distant Thoughts on the Whitey Saga

2013 08 02_3998When I wrote my last post: “Whitey The Ordinary — Just Another Hoodlum Who Didn’t Grow Up” I had no idea of the hiatus that would occur between that post on September 16, 2013 and now. The reasons for the silence are a special assignment I undertook that totally kept me away from the computer and any writing; and on top of that a joyful out-of-state addition to the family.

These events necessitated that I put distance between myself and the subject matter of this blog. Perhaps my post noting the ordinariness of Whitey was an auspicious stepping off point. As time passed and distance widened I began to see more clearly the basic banality of Whitey Bulger the man. Much more interesting than the person are the events that conspired together to take such a commonplace criminal and elevated him to the point he became some sort of criminal extraordinaire. Those are the events I hope to focus my efforts on explaining.

Trying to write anything else about Whitey himself is a waste of time. No man, who has in reality done so little of any merit, has ever had so much trivia written about him than Whitey. What is there about the man that is worth emulating or admiring? Absolutely nothing. He is a debased man devoid of any redeeming qualities.

The only matter of interest that remain is how such a low life came to occupy such a position of prominence. Could it only have happened because of the unique circumstances in Boston? That is a subject worth exploring. But to spend any more time on Whitey the person is of little value.

Now when I think of Whitey I think of how the George Zimmerman affair was thrust into the national spotlight as if gun murders were a rare event in America. In 2011 there were over 6,000 murders with handguns in this country. Zimmerman gained prominence because some made it into a racial murder, that is the white murder of an African-American youth, when that wasn’t the case.  Some suggest that the DOJ added its two cents worth.

Take away the medias shouting and it is just another one of the 367 handgun murders in Florida in 2012. The absurdity of making this into more than it was clearly shows how something quite mundane assumes an air of importance. Two uninteresting persons struggling through life become daily news fodder. As late as this week we find ABC News tells us his wife is having difficulty serving him with divorce papers, his mother-in-law accusing him of stealing a television, and NBC news has all of America listening to his wife spell out their domestic woes.

That is the magic of media. The capability of making a boar into a prince and a sow into a princess. Or, in Whitey’s case, the ability to put a shine on a sneaker.

Another reason to move on is that Whitey is really yesterday’s newspaper that is good for little more than putting aside in its special bin and waiting for the recycling truck to take it away. Whitey is living, if it can be called such, in a 24-hour-a-day well lighted cell with jailers, like voyeurs, watching his every move. His only hope for the future is that his next cell may have a more comfortable mattress. All he is now is a mechanism through which people can make money. He will be sentenced to die in prison.

As a person he should have as much relevance to us as a passing cloud. We’ll read more about him but it’ll all should have as much interest to our lives as George Zimmeman’s wife’s appearances on network television.

Yet we will be treated to news about the victims’ families  looking for more money with the help of the DOJ. We saw how the DOJ in the Caswell Motel case tried to steal a motel from its long-term owner. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it try to seize Billy Bulger’s pension to compensate the victims of Whitey. After all, the prosecutors are convinced Billy had a hand in all these matters.

The recipients of Whitey’s letters from the jail house are seeking to make money off of them. They are offering them on eBay. The DOJ will be seizing them and having its own auction.

We’ll be treated at sentencing time to the parade of family members each clinging to their last minutes of fame gained through Whitey’s notoriety pouring out their venom on him both in court and outside patiently lining up to regurgitate their statements to the television cameras. Their newsworthiness gained through no merit of their own but through their misfortune means they too will quickly fade into obscurity.

Then, of course, we’ll hear of the sentence imposed by the court. It will amount to hundreds of years, as if anything over 5 or 10 for an 84-year-old person matters. Perhaps, some interest will be warranted in the proceedings if Whitey decides to make a statement in his own behalf. And I’d suggest there is a good chance this might happen.

Whitey won’t let the sun go down on him without a final goodbye. He had deluded himself into believing that he has something worthwhile to offer us or that there may by a sympathetic ear to any of his complaints. Why shouldn’t he when so much has been written about him?

I’d suggest that anyone expecting the truth from him should look elsewhere. If he had an ounce of decency he’d leave quickly and silently. It is time to let him go and to try to understand how it was that such a vile person caused such a commotion.  I get the feeling that the Whitey saga was a betrayal of Boston.



Whitey Sends Us A Message – “The Way You Wear Your Hat”

whitey-bulger-walking dogThe way you wear your hat.
The way you sip your tea.
The memory of all that -
No, no – they can’t take that away from me.
. . .     The way you haunt my dream.
. . .     The way you hold your knife
. . .     The way you’ve changed my life.
No, no – they can’t take that away from me.

The words of this song Frank Sinatra often sang came to mind when I thought of Whitey and the way he dressed for court. Frank wrote a book and used the first line of the song as its title.

I wrote about seeing Whitey come into the courtroom.  He walks in a determined manner not like an 83 year older but someone much young as if he were on a mission. I’ve also written that he pictures himself as commander-in-chief. His insouciance reflected in his walk and manner suggested despite his two years in solitary-type confinement he hasn’t lost his idea of himself as in charge or his swagger. His hair was cut in a nice Parris Island Marine boot camp first day issue style.

That suggested something to me but what really hammered home the message was the way he dressed for court. He had a black pullover long sleeve jersey tucked into his blue jeans held up by a cloth-type belt. They wouldn’t let him wear his belt with the Alcatraz buckle. I didn’t see them but he wore white sneakers according to Melinda Henneberger of the Washington Post who gave a very insightful view of the proceedings.

I have to assume this hairdo and get up is Whitey’s idea of how he wants to look. I think it is a bad idea but it tells us a great deal about what is going on his mind. He’s sending a message out to the world in the words of another Frank Sinatra song: “I did it my way.”

And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain

I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

I’d describe his dress as “Southie Tough.” It’s pretty much how he would have dressed during his day as a gangster. I guess being back in South Boston (the Courthouse is located on the waterfront of South Boston) and knowing this is his final curtain he’s going to go out in Southie style.

I said it was a bad idea because how one dresses is how the jury will think of a person. I’ve mentioned this before but I had two complicated and difficult arson cases in which my evidence was like in most of these cases strictly circumstantial. The first one involved two guys who blew up a store who were defended by highly competent defense counsel. On the first day of trial the two guys walked into the courtroom in leisure suits which all the gangsters seemed to wear at that time. Seeing them dressed that way I felt confident I’d bring home the bacon.

The other arson case I tried twice to a jury. Both cases ended up with a hung jury. I knew I had a problem the first day when the defendant showed up in a business suit along with his dignified wife and their well dressed children who sat behind him throughout the trial. On each of juries there was a handful who weren’t so concerned with the evidence as they were with what would happen to this nice family if they convicted the defendant. After the second mistrial the defendant came up behind me and patted me on the back and uttered: “nice try.” He’d move from the area and a few years later I read an article that one of his kids became one of America’s top ice skaters.

I’m sure if Carney & Brennan had their way Whitey would have come in dressed in a business suit with nice blue shirt and tie; or come in with all the get up of an old man wearing an old dirty-looking suit three sizes too big with a shirt that had enough room to fit another neck in the collar. They’d want to present an image of a beaten down person who could not possibly have committed the horrid crimes of which he stood accused. Instead, they have the jury looking at a guy who very well could have done those evil deeds.

I conclude from his dress several things. Whitey is running his own defense and is very much involved with his two lawyers in making decisions but they are deferring to him the final call, as they must do; Whitey wants to go through this trial in a manner that is most comfortable for him and which he is used to knowing this will be his last chance to dress as he likes; and finally Whitey knows this is his last hurrah, his final strut upon the stage, so he wants to go out dressed as he always did. He’s realistic and knows that there is no chance he won’t be convicted.

It’s like the last meal of a man on death row. It’s the last time he’ll be in Southie and in the clothes to which he has become accustomed. After this, it won’t be the chair, but it will be living and dying in a prison-issued jump suit.


§39: Judge Wolf’s Fragile Foundation: [Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years]

Alligator Getting Impatient Waiting for Judge Wolf

Alligator Getting Impatient Waiting for Judge Wolf

Judge Wolf in his 1999 661 page findings speaking of the 1974/1975 time frame said the FBI recognized Whitey had been deeply involved in a violent gang war. Just prior to this he wrote the written record concerning this matter is sparse. Sparse? It’s non existent.

During the hearings in front of him the only gang war that had evidence about was about the Irish Gang War. That happened while Whitey was in prison. It is unusual for a judge to pull such an assertion out of thin air and attribute something to the FBI which it had no knowledge about.  It’s an early indication of his confusing the Whitey of 1999, the time of the decision, with the Whitey of 1975.

Judge Wolf doesn’t end there. As I noted yesterday, he went on to say that when Whitey was recruited he was “widely regarded” as being brutally violent.  This is also unusual for two reasons. First Whitey’s reputation had hardly gone beyond the confines of South Boston at that time; and, he had before him practically no evidence to support this statement.

Judge Wolf wrote he came to that conclusion from “Morris’s actions.” He has all these witnesses testifying in front of him for month after month and he is limited to inferring his conclusion not from something someone said or what was contained in a document but from someone’s actions.  The person he chooses is the vile and corrupt FBI agent John Morris who admitted when he told the Boston Globe Whitey was an informant he was hoping Whitey would get murdered.

The puzzlement is why is Judge Wolf intent on making Whitey more than he is at that time. In 1999 Whitey has been at large running from an indictment since January 1995 and had been put on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. Wolf takes the reputation of Whitey at the time he is writing and bringing it back twenty or so years earlier.

This enigma can’t be solved by suggesting it is confusion that brought it about. The way he manufactured support for the basis for his conclusion makes it seem he deliberately makes Whitey more of an evil force than he really was at the time. Is this done to let others like Flemmi slip away? I can’t figure Wolf being so off base.

Wolf doesn’t let his reliance on “Morris’s actions” just hang out there. He wants to justify why he wrote that so he gets into specifics.

He writes: “More specifically, in 1974 or 1975, . . ” and sets out in detail how  Morris’s testified he was trying to get Eddie Miani a two-bit hoodlum and bookie out of Revere as an informant. On July 19, 1975, Morris placed a bomb on the gas tank of Miani’s car. He then called the Revere cops to have them discover it. Morris in his benighted mind figured the Revere cops would tell Eddie they found a bomb in his car.

He assumed Eddie would be so scared he’d run to Morris for help. This by the way is a typical FBI tactic at the time. FBI Agent Dennis Condon used it to try to recruit Whitey as an informant. He told Whitey his life was at risk with the Mullens coming down on him and his only hope of survival laid with the FBI.

Like Whitey, Eddie didn’t scare easily. Then, according to Wolf, Morris testified he went to Eddie and told him Whitey planted the bomb. Morris said he  figured attributing the act to Whitey would really scare Miani.

This makes no sense. Eddie operated out of Revere. At the time Whitey was not known outside of South Boston. If you know Boston, Revere is like in another world. There is no evidence Miani knew Whitey existed.

Further, Miani was connected with the Italians. Morris was trying to get Miani to give him information on the Mafia. How would he think Miani would give him that if some hoodlum for Southie was after him? The most likely course for Miani would have been to go to “In Town” and sic them after Whitey.

You see you have to go beyond testimony of people in trouble trying to get deals by making Whitey seem really, really bad to figure out what is going on. You have to look at the whole picture. You have to say to yourself does it make sense based on what I know of these people and their relationships.

It’s bad enough for Wolf to be accepting Morris’s far-fetched statement about Miani. He knows he has to have more than the Miani incident to support the idea that Whitey was widely regarded as brutally violent.  Judge Wolf uses two other incidents. That’s when he jumps the shark. I know I said I’d talk about it today but I can’t fit it in under my word limit so you’ll have to come back tomorrow to see what Wolf did. You’ll be amazed.


§38: Judge Wolf’s Twisting of The Facts: [Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years]

The Alligator Waiting For Someone To Jump The Shark

The Alligator Waiting For Someone To Jump The Shark

The last time I wrote about Whitey’s life was on March 26. We’ve read about his release from prison, his involvement in the South Boston dustup between the Mullens and Killeens and how what was happening in South Boston was small time compared to the interactions between the rest of organized crime in the Eastern Massachusetts area.

The real power was in the hands of the North End or “In Town” which was the Italian Mafia. Outside of that most of the fighters in the Irish Gang War of the 1960s had gone to see their Maker leaving a small core group of Irish gangsters in Somerville just north of Boston under the leadership of Howie Winter and a Mafia-connected Roxbury Gang that had fought in the Irish War on the side of Winter’s group.

The Winter group and Roxbury group united and opened up a garage called Marshall Motors in Somerville located in the Winter Hill section of that city. The garage served as a front for their gangster business. The location gave the gang its name: Winter Hill gang.

The Mullen/Killeen battle put Whitey at risk. The Mullens had gained the ascendency in that matter after a handful of them gunned down Whitey’s sidekick Billy O’Sullivan on Savin Hill Avenue as he ran toward the Woods. Whitey sought the protection of the Winter Hill Gang by approaching John Martorano one of the Roxbury gang.

A shaky peace was arranged between the Mullens and Whitey who was pretty much all that was left of the Killeens. The terms of the peace was that Whitey would split the Killeen’s illegal income with the Mullens 50/50. Neither party was really happy with less than 100%.

Whitey became part of Winter Hill but was still an outsider.  Howie Winter had his old friends as did the guys in the Roxbury gang. He was more tolerated than accepted. The others had murdered many others; Whitey had yet to kill anyone.

Judge Wolf in his 661 page opus tells about what was happening at the time. He writes: “The written record of what the FBI knew about Bulger in 1974 is sparse. . . .  “ This is full support for my asseveration that FBI Agent John Connolly was not brought back to Boston in 1973 to handle Whitey or that Whitey was even looked at by the FBI as someone of importance.

Wolf goes on, “At a minimum the FBI recognized that Bulger was deeply involved in a violent gang war.” There was no gang war going on at the time. The big Irish gang war of the 1960s was over before Whitey got out of prison. So was the Mullen/Killeen dustup which ended in 1972 which was hardly a violent gang war. Judge Wolf had no evidence in front of him about the Mullen/Killeen affair.

Judge Wolf could not have been referring to the Notarangeli murders which no one had connected with Whitey until Martorano falsely stated in 1999, after Wolf’s decision, that Whitey was in a crash car. Wolf had no evidence about this in front of him about it. For him to say Whitey was deeply involved in a violent gang war and the FBI knew about it is a total misstatement of the facts.

Judge Wolf next writes:  “The FBI had also been advised the Bulger was involved in extorting money from shylocks and bookmakers.” That refers to the FBI Agent Dennis Condon memo that we already discussed where Condon had unsuccessfully tried to recruit Whitey as an informant in 1971.

Then Judge Wolf stretching to do all in his power to make Whitey into the personification of all that is evil person writes: “Morris’ actions, however, make it vividly clear that the FBI was well-aware that Bulger was widely regarded as brutally violent when Connolly sought his cooperation.”  Morris, as we know, is corrupt FBI Agent John Morris who tried to have Bulger murdered by breaching his security and telling the Boston Globe he was an informant.

He’s hardly a reliable source upon whom to depend for a conclusion that Whitey was “widely regarded as brutally violent” when FBI Agent John Connolly sought his cooperation. In late 1972 the gangsters themselves, the Boston Mafia and the Winter Hill gang had hardly heard of Whitey. John Martorano tells us he’s a “ham and egger” from Southie.  Why is Wolf making this extraordinary conclusion against the facts. Tomorrow I’ll explain how he jumps the shark by distorting the facts to justify this.


Whitey’s Prosecutors Quandry

A Calm August Sunset

A Calm August Sunset

I have to pause as I sometimes do in my review of Whitey’s life. I do this because a recent comment had me wondering about the influence of lawyers on this case. I was answering a comment by Norwood who suggested that the gangsters should have figured out Stevie Flemmi was an informant.

I responded that the gangsters didn’t figure this out because they aren’t usually too bright. That’s why when I was a prosecutor we were able to catch them. I like to tell the story of the time we were doing a wiretap on some bookies, The bettor started to go beyond placing a bet by entering into a discussion about some of the others in the operation. The bookie running the office replied: “be careful, the telephone may be [and then he spelled out the letters] T A P P E D” as if the cops wouldn’t figure out what he was spelling. Or in another instance, when we were listening to a couple of hoodlums talk and they began to whisper to each other thinking by lowering their voices they wouldn’t be heard.

After saying that the criminals aren’t bright, upon reflection I realized that for these criminals to get the deals they had been given they must have suddenly increased their IQs tremendously. How did they become so smart so quickly? Then I realized it was not the gangsters who became smarter. It was that they came in contact with smart criminal defense lawyers. That’s how the deals came about.

This gave me a whole new insight into this case especially when I remembered that the lawyer for the guy who got the deal of the century, John Martorano, was Francis J. DiMento of the law firm of DiMento & Sullivan. My first position as a lawyer in private practice was to work for over eight years in that firm which at that time consisted of Frank DiMento, JJ Sullivan and myself and sometimes one other lawyer.

For several years I worked closely with both men. They were as different as night and day except when it came to intellectual capacity and dauntlessness.  JJ was a cauldron on the point of boiling over; Frank was as calm as a sunny August sunset. When I messed up with JJ the rafter rang; when Frank found I’d erred he’d patiently and kindly note my errors. I had the best teachers in the art of being a lawyer.

JJ brooked no errors. He stormed into my small office with a letter that went out to a client over my signature that had a spelling error in it. He tossed it on my desk demanding an explanation. Coward that I was, I suggested the secretary made the mistake. He picked it up, looked at it and said: “I don’t see the secretary’s signature on this letter.” He turned and stomped out.

I’d spend a lot of evenings with Frank when we worked late. The firm would pick up the meal which delighted me. Frank would talk about the case he was preparing. He had this uncanny ability to assess its strength and weaknesses, to set traps that would disadvantage the prosecutors, and predict how the case would play out. He’d tell how on the second day the Government will walk into a trap he will set and how he’d spring it on the fifth day into the trial.

As fascinating were these conversations, they were also a little bit depressing. I knew I would never be able to achieve his level of brilliance or have the wherewithal to plan and assess a case like he did. Frank was far and away one of the best criminal defense trial and appellate lawyers that ever walked the streets of Boston, if not the best.

I’ll always remember what he said to me when he learned I was leaving the firm. I had told JJ my decision. JJ shrugged, not being one for any sentimentality. He told Frank. Frank came into my office and expressed his chagrin at my decision. He wished me good luck and said he was glad that at least there would be one prosecutor with a heart.

Looking at this case I saw on one side was Frank DiMento dealing for Martorano and on the other side the prosecutors.  The government made such a bad deal that they had to pretend publicly that it was something other than what it was. John Martorano wrote in his book “they knew how bad it would look, if I admitted to twenty murders, and I only had to testify against four people. So they came up with a specific target list. I had nothing to do with drawing up that list. It was a bunch of Whitey’s guys from Southie that I would have to testify against. Sure, I said. I loved that list, because I’d never known any of those guys, let alone committed any crimes with them. So I was glad to say I’d tell the government the truth about anything I did with them, which was nothing.”

I should have known that the prosecutors were no really no match for Frank. He handed them their lunch. Since that time the prosecutors have been in make-up mode. They have been thrust into the position of defending the indefensible. To do this they invented a great fiction. Much worse than Martorano, Flemmi, Weeks and Salemme is this imagined great criminal conspiracy consisting of Billy Bulger, Whitey Bulger and John Connolly. The media would add that Speaker John McCormack and Father Robert Drinan, SJ, were also a part of it.

There never was any evidence of this. Just like Martorano had no evidence against Whitey’s friends who he never met. But that hasn’t deterred the prosecutors from trying to dig out of the hole they find themselves in.

§34: Breaking The News: [Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years:]

A Sense Of Freedom

I’ve suggested what remains is Stevie has to out himself to Whitey as an FBI informant. The prior stories by media types make no sense because they have Whitey bringing Stevie along. Even were those correct, they don’t tell how it happened. They use such terms as “blended him in” showing their desire to avoid facing the issue and their misunderstanding of the roles played by the individuals in these affairs. The voluble John Connolly spins a tale of recruiting Whitey to fight against the Mafia which makes no sense. Whitey knew nothing about the Mafia. He might just as well have had recruited the Boston Strangler when it came to getting information against the Mafia.

It couldn’t have been easy for Stevie Flemmi to disclose to Whitey his deal with the FBI. How do you tell another guy in a gang of murderous thugs that you are an FBI informant and that you want him to come along with you and expect he won’t dime you out? Yet, Flemmi had to do this. He had to let Whitey know.  He couldn’t risk Whitey finding out in another manner.

The only way to do it was to have such a strong relationship, one that pitted both of them against all others. It probably took him a year and a murder or two eliminating Whitey’s foes to build up that closeness. Both were cut from the same cloth. According to what Frank Salemme said of Stevie Flemmi, his life long friend, and what we’ve come to understand about Whitey, both were motivated by only two things in life, women and money, and as Salemme said, “not necessarily in that order.”

Stevie would have had to convince Whitey that the only way to get them, and more importantly, to keep them, was to have a guardian angel that would watch over them. It would be like an insurance policy. They’d pay for it by providing information in lieu of money. The best company in town offering that protection was the only one that would bring high level gangsters onto the team. That was the FBI.

In considering this we also want to know how Whitey could maintain he was never an FBI informant. Flemmi admits that he was one. The evidence of the FBI’s phenomenal success against the Boston Mafia clearly shows this.

We’ve no doubt Stevie Flemmi was an informant. Because of that, we assume his partner Whitey was one. That circumstance, the belief that the two leaders of a vicious criminal gang were FBI informants brought about the public’s outrage. Had it been only Flemmi, how different things may have been. Or had his partner been Jimmy Moore everything would have been different just like  it would have been had Eddie McCormack run for senate against Teddy Moore.

Have you ever considered what would have happened had both men been FBI informants but the other man aside from Stevie was not named Whitey Bulger.  Suppose his name was Jimmy Moore.

Think of how much is in a name. You all remember Lester Gillis who called himself George Nelson, George Barnes who changed his name to George Kelly, Kate Barker, Charles Floyd, and even Elmer Burke,. J. Edgar Hoover knew these people. He knew them as everyday vicious criminals. But he wanted to turn them into legends. To do this he promoted their nicknames to prominence. Perhaps if I told you I’m referring to Baby Face Nelson, Machine Gun Kelly, Ma Barker, Pretty Boy Floyd and Trigger Burke. I assume you’d recognized them. These cognomens, or nicknames, make all the difference in the world. They turn run of the mill criminals into something special.

Perhaps Whitey knew this also. That is why he insisted being called James or Jimmy. Nicknames can be fatal. Then again it wasn’t only the nickname that resounded, it was the last name too. Being connected to a prominent brother increased the aura of intrigue especially when the brother’s disdain for the mainstream media left enemies waiting from him behind every editor’s desk. He was a much desired target.

Earlier this week Attorney General Martha Coakley was talking about “the leader of an extensive and violent criminal enterprise that for ­decades threatened the safety of our community.” She was referring to an FBI Top Echelon informant who was given passes on his crimes by the FBI, who is suspected of having murdered several people, and was involved in extortion and drug dealing, and had served federal time for bank robbery. Sound familiar. You’d guess it was Whitey. Actually it was a man as bad as Whitey, if nor more so.

He is Mark Rossetti a Mafia captain. There’s been little press coverage and no books and articles about him. He continued as an FBI Top Echelon informant for a dozen or so years after the FBI told us they’d never have another Whitey situation. An outraged Congressman Stephen Lynch who served on the committee investigating the FBI promised to look into this mess. He’s apparently forgotten about it not having the heart or desire to go up against the FBI’s stonewalling.

Had Whitey been Jimmy Moore the FBI would not have thrown Agent Connolly to the wolves. It would have let the public’s indifference calm the waters.  How many know the names of the FBI handlers of Mark Rossetti? The embarrassment to the family would have been that much less as is shown by the Rossetti case.

The media’s appetite whetted because of the “Whitey” and “Bulger” combination caused an uproar. The blackening of Connolly made it convenient for the FBI to move on even though the knowledge and approval of Connolly’s actions permeated the Bureau. As we just read in last week’s decision by Judge David Souter the myth that Connolly was convicted of taking bribes has become an accepted truth as is the idea Whitey was an informant.

If as Whitey alleges he was not an informant, what are we left with? Is everything different? Or, does nothing change?



§33: The Coming Together Conditions: [Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years:]

Outside Marshall Motors With The Winter Hill Gang Meeting Inside

Stevie Flemmi was on board as an informant. Whitey wasn’t. To understand why Stevie needs to bring Whitey in it is good to take a look at how both men were being perceived by the Winter Hill Gang. John Martorano gave us an insight into their relationship with the others in that gang.

What he tells us corroborates my take that they were outsiders who jelled with each other and were standoffish with the others. Martorano tells that when Stevie came back from Montreal he “seemed different, more serious. And preoccupied — sometimes he’d be sitting in a room with the others, and they’d even notice that he was just staring off into space, and hadn’t said a word for a half hour. Yet he and Whitey somehow seemed to hit it off.  They were the two Hill guys who were actually from Boston, the city itself.”

John Martorano went on a few sentences later, “Whitey and Stevie had more in common than their propensity for sudden violence. Unlike everyone else in the gang, member and associates alike, they barely drank. They didn’t smoke. Stevie was into . . . health food. . . .  [Stevie] hated shaking hands with anyone. Whitey was the same way.”

Stevie and Whitey had become fast friends drifting away from the others. To cement the friendship Stevie needed to bring Whitey into the FBI fold. He would have to introduce him to his new handler, John Connolly.

Stevie had been Paul Rico’s informant. When Rico left Boston in 1970 he switched over worked with Agent Dennis Condon who made his return to Boston possible by guaranteeing he’d get bail on a murder charge in Suffolk County, an assault to murder in Middlesex, and a federal fugitive from justice charge. Stevie would see the FBI’s and Condon’s magic when all of those charges were dismissed within six months of his return in May 1974.

I’d suggest Stevie was never that comfortable with with Connolly. Rico and Condon were old timers who knew their way around. Connolly was a new kid. Stevie very likely was his first informant.

I’m sure Rico and Condon assured him that although they were leaving the Bureau they still had their contacts there to protect him. But because he had already built up a trust with the FBI and having had Condon vouched for him, he agreed to work with Connolly. He really had no choice. He was comforted by the idea he could commit crime with impunity guaranteed by the FBI. It’s difficult to wean oneself away from that type of teat.

Whitey had become close to Stevie. To Whitey, Connolly was a stranger despite what you may have heard of from others. Both came from Old Harbor Village but neither man knew each other back in those days as I’ve shown. Whitey’s about 46, Connolly 35.

I don’t want to be misunderstood. I’m not suggesting that the housing project connection had nothing to do with Whitey’s eventual relationship with Connolly. I merely  suggest that it wasn’t what brought them together. It was Stevie.

That Connolly was from the project made it easier. The project does create a bond. I tell the story about going to visit a woman friend in a high government position. A tough looking, body guard-type guy at the door gave me the cold shoulder. He brusquely said my friend could not be disturbed. He all but told me to get lost and not to come back without a prior appointment.

I recognized him. When he finished giving me the brush off I said: “Aren’t you G . . .  G. . .  from Old Harbor Village?” I told him I remembered him because I lived there and watched him play football at the park. He lit up with a big smile. I was sitting with my friend in five minutes.

So there is a bond that will open a door but it only goes so far. Whitey telling FBI SAC Sarhatt of a close feeling towards Connolly because they grew up on the same neighborhood would make sense. That would account for his going along with agreeing to a meeting with Connolly.

By September 1975, the triumverate was established. It would operate as part of Winter Hill for a while but as a separate part of it. Over time because of the project and the South Boston Irish background Connolly would become closer to Whitey.

Yet the big question remains, how was it that Whitey was first told by Stevie about his relationship with the FBI.





§32: Manufacturing Reasons To Avoid The Truth: [Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years]

Lady Justice Pondering All The Untruth’s

The idea the FBI would not have had Stevie Flemmi as an informant but would chase after Connolly and hope that Connolly could bring Stevie into the fold just does not hold water. Of all people, Howie Carr recognizes this. As much as he makes Whitey the personification of all things evil, he knows the FBI had no need for him in 1975. Usually when Carr manufactures events he tries to make it close to the reality. Here’s one where he punts it far out of the park.

Knowing the FBI doesn’t need Whitey in 1975, he imagines a more convoluted theory which follows his script and that of the prosecutors that the true evil mastermind behind all of this is Whitey’s brother Billy Bulger. Carr says they [FBI agents] didn’t need Whitey nearly as much as they needed his brother Billy. . . . [because] it was easier for a retired agent to find a new job if he knew somebody . . . [a]nd what was wrong with helping the brother of a rising legislator who might someday be in a position to put in a good word or a retiring, middle-aged agent?”

This is the type of fantasy the public has been fed continuously by Carr. It’s typical of his method of impugning the integrity of Billy Bulger and the FBI. A sensational idea that is truly laughable that FBI agents signed up a person as an informant because it was hoping his brother would achieve a position sometime in the future to help them get jobs. The tragedy is people believe Carr. It makes one doubt all history.

Billy by the way had been in the state senate at the time for four years. He was far from the center of power. One has to be truly amazed to think that FBI agents could look into the future and see Billy’s improbable rise to become president of the Massachusetts Senate and to plan for it by bringing on his brother as an informant.

Howie Carr at least tried to make sense out the recruitment of Whitey even if he came up with an illogical and inane explanation. No one else seems to want to try it even though they want to posit Whitey as an important informant for the FBI. If they’d recognize Stevie’s lies and look at the record they’d see that it was Stevie all along who was the darling of the FBI and met its needs. How this essential point is missed by all the authors escapes me.

The problem facing Stevie after he reestablished his relationship with the FBI was telling Whitey about it. He and Condon, and now Connolly who was going to take over for Condon, would have to let Whitey know of Stevie’s deal. This would further cement the bond between Stevie and the FBI.

Stevie had been relying on this bond. It had served him well. There was no way he was going to go on with his criminal career without it. He was willing to do anything to keep the FBI’s protection. Right up to the day he was arrested in 1995 he was of the mind the FBI would be there for him. Frank Salemme testified that the day he was arrested Stevie asked “Jack Smith. the marshall in the old courthouse, to call [FBI Agent] Charlie Gianturco for him, and Jack did.” Salemme also testified that up until 1997 Flemmi “was convinced John Connolly was going to ride him or the Bureau was going to come through and . . . ride him out.”

We’ve seen how Whitey was of a different mind. Whitey knew that the only one he could depend upon was himself. He prepared for the day he would have to go off on his own. He knew the FBI would do what was best for the FBI.

As Flemmi was getting comfortable with Connolly as a handler and with Whitey as a partner, he was making the plans to bring them together at the right time sometime in early to mid-1975.

We’ve heard of the project connection between Whitey and Connolly. Judge Wolf wrote that FBI SAC Sarhatt wrote in a report that he was told by Whitey that he became an informant because he had: “a close feeling towards SA John Connolly because they both grew up in the same neighborhood in Boston and had mutual childhood problems, as well as a deep hatred for La Cosa Nostra.”

Again, we can’t rely totally on FBI reports. It’s hard to figure out what “mutual childhood problems” Whitey and Connolly had. Whitey was in and out of trouble with the law. Connolly wasn’t. Whitey lived in the project from around age 10 to age 19 when he went off to the Air Force; Connolly lived there up until about the time he was 12 years old. Their experiences and problems would not have mirrored each others.

Judge Wolf takes this to conclude “Connolly had known Bulger since they were both children growing up in South Boston.”  We’ve seen that is totally wrong. Whitey, born September 3, 1929, was not a child growing up in South Boston. When Whitey moved to South Boston in 1939 Connolly, born August 1, 1940, had yet to be born. Whitey went off to the Air Force in April 1948.  John was 7 years old. There was no chance they knew each other. None. The eleven year separation was too great

The best that could be said is that Whitey and Connolly grew up in South Boston at different times. Again Judge Wolf is wrong in his findings. He presupposes a friendship that did not exist. It’s sloppy thinking indicative of reaching a conclusion and then working back to justify it. It is done so that he can put Whitey into the FBI’s nest prior to Flemmi so he can credit some of Flemmi’s testimony.

This finding will spur numerous errors which paint the unlikely scenario of the 18 year-old juvenile delinquent Whitey, a member of the notorious Mercer Street gang (not Shamrocks), hanging around with a 7-year-old child. Some realizing the absurdity have Whitey buying Connolly an ice cream cone because Connolly’s parents were from Ireland. 90% of the neighborhood was Irish, it was not a big thing.

Some of all the people who have written about Whitey know the truth but it conflicts with their predetermined outcome. They either ignore it or fashion happenings that reach to the edge of the absurd.  These nonsensical ideas have become truths in the mind of the public.

§31: Putting Whitey Before Flemmi Doesn’t Work (Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years:)

Standing Guard While The Arrangements For Night Owl Whitey Are Being Finalized

Keep in mind for the FBI Stevie Flemmi was the lynch-pin. It got him out of a murder, a major felony (blowing up a lawyer’s car) and a fugitive from justice charge after he got back from being on the run in May 1974. It knew he was the one with access to the Mafia. Black Mass noted: “Flemmi . . . knew all the leading [Mafia] players and was frequently in their company.” Howie Carr had it Whitey was a small timer.  

Whitey’s value to the FBI paled in comparison to Stevie’s. No one would expect Whitey to help the FBI in its nationwide fight against the Mafia  Recall Agent Dennis Condon tried to recruit him in May 1971 writing “he could be a very valuable source of information relative to the organized criminal activities in South Boston, Mass.” Whitey from Southie and the Boston Mafia were like the Hatfields and McCoys.

Condon’s job after Stevie returned was to pass him on to another agent since he was retiring. He held his hand and helped him break in with his new handler who happened to be Connolly. Stevie at the time is also developing his relationship with Whitey.

Black Mass has Connolly lining up Whitey by asking him to inform on the Mafia. It’s totally wrong. Connolly from Southie would know he could give him nothing on the Mafia. Black Mass later says that after Whitey became an informant, he “blended in Flemmi, and a package deal was forged.”  Aside from the order being wrong, Flemmi was already the informant,  the use of the term “blending in,”whatever that is supposed to mean, is pretty much an admission these authors have no idea how that would have happened.

Ranalli’s book Deadly Alliance  suggests Whitey was an informant since 1971 but was kept off the books because of the Notangelli murders. That makes little sense. Those murders didn’t start until 1973. Why keep him off the book a year and a half before the murders even are conceived. Also, that doesn’t account for Flemmi, or that Whitey was only being recruited as an informant in 1971 but rejected the overtures.

Howie Carr and Judge Wolf follow Stevie’s testimony that Whitey came up to him in 1974 in the garage in Somerville. Stevie said Whitey told him Connolly wanted to talk to him. Stevie gave him the OK to do it thinking it a good idea. He then testified Whitey set up a meeting with him Condon and Connolly at an “obscure” coffee shop in Newton. Flemmi said Connolly told him the FBI wanted to get information from him again. That doesn’t fit. Stevie is already on board. Why else did the FBI have all the charges dropped against him.

John Martorano tells a different story. He says Whitey called everyone together in the garage and announce that Connolly wanted to sit down with him. He said his brother Billy set it up because he wanted Connolly to keep Whitey out of trouble. Connolly owed Billy so he wanted to help Whitey.(Martorano said Connolly said Billy helped him get him into BC and onto the FBI and that’s why he “owed” Billy. Truth is, as we’ve seen Billy did neither, not being in a position to do this.)

What makes Martorano’s story even more unbelievable is Whitey would never mention anything about his brother Billy, especially to a gathering of gangsters joined in a confederacy of corruption. If you think he’s going to give them something against his brother you have no idea what world these guys lived in. No one has produced an iota of evidence that Whitey ever spoke of Billy as it involved his criminal activities. He was intent on not letting Billy know anything about his life. Assuming, something averred to by others which I don’t believe and for which there is no proof, that Billy knew of his heinous crimes, Whitey would not be telling criminals about it knowing they’d gladly use it as a get out of jail card.

Martorano went on saying we told him OK. Martorano said Whitey did this because he knew if anyone saw him talking to an FBI agent that would be lights out for him. We are supposed to forget that Stevie had been talking to the FBI for over ten years and was alive and well. Martorano then went on to say that later Whitey told them he wanted to introduce Stevie to Connolly and they all agreed to that. The nonsense flows like green beer on Saint Patrick’s day.

If you live in a bag you might believe all that stuff the gangsters add and the writers mindlessly spin out. Stevie testified to the reverse story of Whitey being the informant and himself not being one because he was in court facing his gangster buddies. He wanted the gangsters to believe that somehow he was forced, or as he told Martorano and Salemme blackmailed, into becoming an informant. He wanted Whitey as the one who set up the meeting with Connolly and the FBI as far fetched as that seems.

The FBI did not bring Stevie back and get the murder of Bennett and attempted murder of Fitzgerald charges dismissed without getting something back from Stevie. These agents wanted his help in going after the Boston Mafia. He was the only one who they had who could give that help. Stevie would prove his worth time and time again right up to the Mafia induction ceremony in the late 1980s. Truth is the FBI did not need Whitey when it had Stevie.

Stevie, as mentioned, had two very important aspects of his life that he had to bring together in order for him to achieve his goals of money and women: Whitey and the FBI. He needed to bring them together so he could work with both of them. Stevie had  became close to Whitey because their habits were identical and their basic desires similar. He and the FBI had to figure out a way to bring him on board. The FBI wanted to keep him happy.

The Yet To Be Told Story Of Whitey Bulger

Looking For The Truth About Whitey Bulger

The more I see it the more probable it seems is that the 2000 book Black Mass manufactured a scenario based on made up and confused ideas of the authors as to what happened and laid the base for all that followed. After it came Ralph Ranalli’s 2001 book Deadly Alliance which loosely followed Black Mass but included in it the testimony in front of Judge Wolf and episodes involving other top echelon’s informants. Then came Howie Carr’s 2006 which took from both of those and threw in incidents with Billy Bulger, the man he’s made a ton of money off by slandering.

None of these authors who set the tone and established what were to become the accepted facts about Whitey’s life grew up with gangsters, worked daily with cops or involved themselves in the investigation of criminal activities. They were all newspaper reporters, voyeurs, looking in under the partially drawn shades believing their obstructed view was the true story.

Black Mass was written with the help of two FBI agents. The Christian family’s two greatest commandments set out by Jesus are things you should do: love God and love you neighbor as yourself. The FBI family’s two greatest commandments set out by J. Edger Hoover are things you shouldn’t do: embarrass the FBI and disclose the identity of an informant.

The two FBI agents who cooperated with the authors of Black Mass violated the latter commandment. They revealed to the Globe that Whitey was an FBI informant. One, the more sinister, did so hoping he could get Whitey killed; the other did so “after all the years of frustration and betrayal” by the FBI and believing Whitey was “a liability who’d never given the FBI any information of substance.”

Black Mass is written from a perspective of two agents with a warped limited view of Whitey. It is filled with stories that these agents gave the authors which mostly came from the verbose Connolly who regaled and bewildered them and other fellow agents with stories of  his connections, Whitey’s prowess, and himself. Ironically, to believe a good portion of Black Mass you must believe the much reviled John Connolly. Some facts in Black Mass are right but the explanation of how they came about is wrong.

If the base of the building is not solid, then the building will be weak. The stories following Black Mass had all the defects of that story. Once these defects were shown not to be right, everyone doubled down on them. No one wanted to take a second look and say “what’s wrong with this picture.”

I attribute some of it to not knowing the gangster mind. If you don’t grow up with these people you don’t have a clue what is going on. It’s a different world than what these authors are used to. They attribute straight forward motives to these gangsters for their doings. They don’t understand these people do things just for the hell of it. That what most would consider depraved, these guys consider fun. That they’re never on the level unless you are really close to them and when you are it’s probably only half the time. They tell how they conned this one or that one but everything revolves around them making a score.

The authors did not to catch on to the FBI world with the limits and license its agents have. J. Edgar Hoover set up an organization that demanded loyalty and fidelity to all things FBI. You don’t talk out of school about what is happening in the Family. So even having two agents as sources, both agents knew they were doing wrong so they gave only half a cake, not the whole story. They still were imbued with the spirit of loyalty to the Bureau even though they were violating one of its most sacred commandments.

I’m thinking of this now because the most obvious flashing sign in the whole Whitey saga is that he was never an informant other than being carried as one on the books of the FBI.  The authors tell of how awful it was that the FBI had Whitey as an informant and in the same breath tell of how little information he had been providing. They can’t understand how the FBI could have kept him as an informant in this case.

They never step back to realize that maybe he wasn’t an informant. Maybe most of the information Connolly attributed to him came from Flemmi, or even others. Perhaps Connolly carried him on the books as such to make himself look good; or perhaps to cover his meets with Flemmi; or because as all the gangsters say he was being paid; or even because he believed that since he got some information from Whitey in routine conversations he was an informant. Why did everyone not catch on that if no information is coming from a person as they suggest he is not an informant no matter what it says on the FBI books?

The authors also make the fundamental mistake of suggesting Flemmi somehow was not an informant when Whitey became an informant; or that Whitey became Connolly’s informant first and he brought along Flemmi. It’s backwards. Getting it backwards is a major mistake. We know because Flemmi was always the informant. He was the one with the information the FBI needed. The authors say as much but don’t seem to understand how this all fits together.

There is another Whitey story. It is much more complex in one way but simpler in another than we have been led to believe. I’m trying to ferret it out in my reexamination which I have been away from.  I intend to return to it on Monday.