An FBI Story: Told By A Gangster Named Flemmi: Part Two

P1010073John Callahan hoping to buy World Jai Alai (WJA) approaches the owner Roger Wheeler who refuses to sell. The rebuffed Callahan decides if he murders Wheeler then his widow will sell the business. He hires ($50,000) Flemmi and his friends to do this.

Callahan tells Flemmi that former highly experienced FBI Agent Paul Rico who works for WJA is all for it. Now get this. Flemmi picks up the phone and calls Rico at his office in WJA. Rico has no problem telling this life-long gangster who he knows has been an informant in the past and may very well be one at the time he is talking to him over the telephone he is that he is in on the plan to murder Wheeler. He has no concern with the phone being bugged, others listening in or putting his future in the hands of a gangster.

Wheeler gets murdered by Flemmi’s friends John Martorano and Joe McDonald. It turns out that Wheeler’s widow won’t sell WJA to Callahan. Flemmi and his friends decide Callahan is a liability. Martorano and McDonald murder him.

Accept Flemmi’s story as true. Put yourself in Rico’s position. He’s sitting in the WJA office having been involved with Flemmi in the planning of the murder of its owner. The plan for the sale fell through. Now his partner in the deal to buy the company, Callahan, has also been murdered. What do you think this hardened FBI agent is thinking?

I’d have to guess that if he were in on the plan he’d be worried for his own life. He is the only non-gangster out there who can finger the murderers. But that’s not the case.

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The Globe Shows Its Hand: Admits O’Brien Case Was About Patronage

salem_witchOne of the great travesty of justices is about to occur this afternoon.  Judge William Young will sentence former commissioner John O’Brien to prison for five or more years for engaging in patronage.

For O’Brien to be convicted the judge had to come up with a highly convoluted instruction to the jurors according to attorneys who read it.  One suggested if it was that difficult explaining why the actions of O’Brien were criminal then how could O’Brien be convicted in the first place. Isn’t it the idea that if a man commits a criminal act he should have an inkling that he is doing it. But everyone knows nothing criminal occurred in this case because as the judge himself said “patronage is not a crime.” I suppose what he meant to say (forgive me Orwell) is: “all patronage is not a crime, but some patronage is different than others.”

Remember the O’Brien case began with the Globe’s Spotlight Team article on the patronage in the probation department.  As expected, the Massachusetts Supreme Court followed up on it and eventually the Globe was clamoring for the U.S. attorney to do something about it. She, as it usually occurs when the Globe makes its demand, fell in line. O’Brien was indicted and convicted for patronage even though patronage is not a crime.

But we are supposed to believe this is not about patronage yet the Globe headline for its editorial today states: “John J. O’Brien sentence should send a warning on patronage.” Whoever set the headline apparently slipped and disclosed what we all knew it was about even though the Globe, Judge Young, and the federal prosecutors have tried to tell us wasn’t.

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An FBI Story: Told By A Gangster Named Flemmi: Part One

P1010073I’ve dabbled in fiction writing. The main thing you have to do to be credible is to maintain a person in character. The protagonist should not be as sharp as a razor on one page and dumb as an ox on the other. That’s because you have to write to our common experience. Characters must be believable. For instance, if I were writing about an FBI agent, who I didn’t want to portray as an everyday competent agent, she’d either be a lazy bumbling fool or a courageous brilliant investigator. She wouldn’t be both.

It is only in the world of gangsters (and federal prosecutors) that you have the agent that is at the same time a highly skilled agent capable of dealing with the most vicious of criminals but is also an ignorant waif who has failed to learned the basic skills of investigatory work despite many years on the job.

I’ve recently read Steve Flemmi’s portrait of FBI Special Agent Paul Rico. He worked for the FBI for more than 25 years. Even after he retired the FBI brought him back in an undercover role in an investigation of a federal judge where he posed as a criminal. He worked in Boston from sometime in the 1950s up to 1970. He moved to the Miami office from which he retired in 1975. After that, he obtained the position of the head of security for World Jai Alai, a Florida gaming company.

He was what is called a brick agent. He worked the street. When the FBI instituted its Top Echelon Informant program he was designated the agent in Boston to handle it. He was able to turn several top criminals into FBI informants including Steve Flemmi, who tells the story, his brother Jimmy and others. He was also able to turn Joe “the Animal” Barboza, a Mafia hitman, into a cooperating witness against the top Mafia leaders in New England. Three major cases were brought against them with his help. He also was instrumental in developing informants that brought other Mafia hitmen to justice.

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The New FBI: Undermining Foreign Governments

Yesterday I mentioned that I’d read an article on Sunday that showed our government was supporting a terrorist organization in Iran that had murdered many civilians. The leading actor in the relationship with the terrorist organization is Thomas McHale, a N.Y./N.J. Port Authority cop, who left there to work for the CIA. After being booted out by them he joined the FBI and for all it appears the Pentagon.

McHale developed a relationship with U.S. based members of a terrorist  group Jundallah –“the soldiers of God” – another Muslim group who has the idea that the way into God’s heart is to murder people. What’s strange about this whole arrangement is Jundallah is not a threat to the United States but to Iran. It is responsible for several terrorist attacks in Iran. Well more than 150 men, women and children have been murdered by it.

In 2009 the United States examined its actions and on November 3, 2010, declared it a terrorist organization. Despite that, the FBI and the Pentagon continued to support McHale. According to the article, in late 2013 McHale was still making trips to Afghanistan to meet with his sources in that terrorist group.

One problem with all this is that the exposure of McHale and his trips by the article undermines much of what the U.S. government has been telling the world. Iran has all along suggested that the attacks by Jundallah were sponsored by America and Israel. In October 2009 at least 31 people were murdered in a mosque. The Speaker of  Iran’s parliament said: We consider the recent terrorist attack to be the result of US action. This is the sign of America’s animosity against our country, Mr. Obama has said he will extend his hand toward Iran, but with this terrorist action he has burned his hand.”  Can’t particularly blame the Iranians when something like that happened, keep in mind our response to the Marathon Terrorist Attack.

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Veteran’s Day: Put On Your Caubeen

(1) lindburgOne of the great American heroes was not a veteran. There’s a song about him that was popular during his time. I’ve sung it often to my kids when they were young. My daughter, a lawyer in New York City, when out with her friends having a beer or two after a hard day’s work can still entertain them with its words that she learned as a young girl, along with some other ditties I sang to her that I learned in the bars of Scollay Square during my college days (that I cleaned up a bit) or while in the Marines.

I mention all that because I’m going to paraphrase some of the words from that song for this post on the veterans. I want you to “take your hats off to [the] lucky plucky [veterans], the saviors of the USA.”  Truly, they are.

We’ve all read about the so-called “greatest generation” which are the veterans of WWII. But I suggest that is a misused term. The guys (and gals) who fought in that war against the Nazis and Japanese sure were brave and all that good (1) yankee divisionsoldiers should be but that was not unique to that generation. How about the Yankee Division “that made a decision to mop up Germany” in the War to End All Wars and other WWI troops?

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My Faux Pas: The Marine Corps

(1) a amrine flagI first heard the term faux pas at a Southie/Eastie football game at White Stadium on a Thanksgiving many years ago. I was sitting with my father and Bill Carr in the stands and Joe Feeney came up to talk to them. As I listened he said something or the other about a faux pas.  It’s funny how that incident stuck with me.

At the time I had no idea of its meaning. Over the years there were many times when it accurately described what I had done. Today is one of those times.

I forgot that today was the Marine Corps birthday. I totally forgot. Not even an inkling of the fact that November 10 meant anything.

I knew a judge who was inclined to give guys who served in the Marines the benefit of the doubt in some cases which I believed was entirely appropriate. The defense bar seemed to sense that so its members would tell the judge that the defendant served in the Marines. The judge began to suspect that a game was afoot wondering how come all of the crimes in the district seemed to involved Marines. The judge then used a test to determine if the defendant was really in the Marines by asking him that date of the Marine Corps birthday. The judge expected that everyone who had been in the Marines would remember that date.

I happened to be out with the judge having a beer. The judge told me about this. I responded that it wasn’t really a good test. I went on to say that when I was in the Marines the birthday was not a big deal. I only remembered one time when I celebrated it and that was at Basic School in Quantico, Virginia. All us second lieutenants had to all wear our “dress whites” and attend a very formal dinner on the first floor of our the BOQ. I recall that because it was the first time I had onion soup and I can still see the piece of French bread covered in cheese floating around in it.

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The Big Question: Is The FBI Still Protecting Murderers?

On Sunday I read an article Petardabout the connections between some American and a terrorist group in Iran. One American in particular worked for the CIA. Then when it no longer trusted him he moved over to the FBI. When it was reluctant to support one of his adventures he found a willing hand and source of funds in the Defense Department. Just reading the story showed how despite our best efforts our federal intelligence and enforcement communities rather than cooperating are playing games of one-upmanship with each other. This game and lack of coordination reminiscent of how we operated prior to September 11, 2001, will surer than snow this winter be responsible for enabling the next terrorist attack on our shores.

But that’s beside the point, as are the facts in the article that show that rather than taking action against the terrorist group the federal agencies were supporting it. Apparently in the eyes of these government agents it is all right to murder Iranian civilians for that is what this group was doing. It recalled to me a recent comment from my man in Ireland Henry that the federals are two-faced when it comes to terrorism. It’s all right if it is done against people we don’t like; or if it pleases a significant in-favor ethnic group in the country such as the Irish or Cubans, but is not when done by some misguided young kids who do nothing more than seek to join ISIS.

I was not surprised reading that but what struck me most in the article, which shows the media’s lack of understanding of the on-going situation in America, was the article’s reference to Whitey Bulger. Here’s what it said:

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Here We Go Again Into The Muslim Black Hole

(1) casablancaWe have worked hard to extricate ourselves from the Muslim black hole that has sapped our nation’s strength and resolve which we mistakenly got lured into eleven years ago. We were just about to put our nation’s hand on the edge to lift ourselves out and back into the light of freedom and peace when its pull sucked us back down into its darkness.

We’re up to 3,000 American troops back into Iraq.  It’s reported:  “White House budget officials said they would ask Congress for $5 billion for military operations in the Middle East against the Islamic State, including $1.6 billion to train and equip Iraqi troops. At its height in 2006 and 2007, the Iraq war was costing the United States more than $60 billion a year.” Our plan is that we “would establish training sites across Iraq” and “to help Iraqis and Kurds as they plan a major offensive expected next spring against Islamic State fighters who have poured into Iraq from Syria.”

Yogi Berra would say if he were with us: “It’s déjà vu all over again.” Rick Blaine would say: “Play it again Sam.” My friend Llyonnoc when he heard this said: “We’re going to hell in a handbag.”

After spending the $60 billion a year we see that we accomplished little more than bringing into existence the most barbaric group of people who ever banded together in the history of mankind, ISIS, or at least one of them. We can’t forget the Killing Fields of Cambodia courtesy of the Khmer Rouge, the concentration camps of the Nazis, or the gulags of the Soviets for those lucky enough to live to reach them. Here is an inside look at the members of the group; we’ve already seen their self-published videos of the beheadings of two Americans and others as well as the many where they line up captured soldiers, civilians, both men, women and children, and murder them in cold blood.

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Don’t Trust Anyone Over Fifty! Stop The Old Slide Downward

(1) a versailesTwo years from now we’ll be examining the results of the presidential election. Then the question would have been answered. We may end up with someone who is or is close to being a septuagenarian. That will be a tragedy. Here’s why.

In New York City the “top 5 percent of households earned $864,394, or 88 times as much as the poorest 20% ($9,800).”  The only places in the developed world that have a bigger gap between the rich and poor than the United States are Hong Kong and Singapore. “The share of income for the top percentile of Americans was 23.5% in 2007, the highest since 1928. . . .”

Now consider this: since the official end of the Great Recession in mid-2009, 95 percent of all income gains have flowed up to America’s top 1 percent, who also now accrue 20 percent of the nation’s total pretax income, doubling their 10 percent share from the 1970s”.

Or this: “Income from wages and salaries, the essence of middle- and working-class wealth, has shrunk from more than 50 percent of the GDP pie in 1970 to 42.6 percent in 2012 – the smallest piece ever measured.”

Those quotes are all from an article that begins with Bill Gross one of the richest people on the planet saying: “It can’t go on like this, either from the standpoint of the health of the capitalist system itself or the health of individuals and the family.

The oldies now leading the parties are all part of the past 30 years which have brought us to edge of the precipice on which we now live where most of us are going under.  The Democrats are led by Joe Biden (73), Nancy Pelosi (76) and Harry Reid (76). They will offer us another oldie in the elderly Hillary Clinton (69).  I was going to call Hillary “old lady Clinton” but decided the proper adjective is “elderly.”

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Blundering in the Middle East: Imperiling Our Future Safety

(1) syrian soldiersBack in January 1998 a group of people sent a letter to President Clinton urging him to remove Saddam Hussein from power. They waved the specter of him having “weapons of mass destruction” in his possession. They went on to say if he acquired the capability to deliver them “the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and moderate Arab states  . . . will be put at hazard.” It called upon President Clinton to have “a willingness to undertake military action” aimed at removing Saddam.

Clinton wisely resisted the pressure. Of the eighteen who signed the letter, eleven would have great and direct influence George Bush’s foreign policy especially over military matters such as Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz. Bush welcomed these individuals who publicly urged war on Iraq into decision-making positions. They produced the war they wanted.

One of the signers, Francis Fukuyama, eventually developed a great distaste for the others. He attended an annual dinner of the American Enterprise Institute in February 2004 less than a year after the war began. He said Dick Cheney and Charles Krauthammer “declared the beginning of a unipolar era under American hegemony.” He went on to say, “All of these people around me were cheering wildly.”  He felt that “all of my friends had taken leave of reality.

That war started in 2003 is still ongoing after 11 years. We defeated Germany, Italy and Japan in WWII shattering those countries and within that period of time they had turned themselves into thriving democracies. We spent a decade “freeing” Iraq and standing up its army only to see it collapsed when opposed by a radical force from the Islamic State (ISIS) losing up to one-third of the country. Is it our job after losing more than 4,000 American lives and countless billions of dollars to do for Iraq what it is unwilling to do for itself? .

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