A Question To Ponder or Discuss Over Turkey

IMG_1885On Monday an article on Billy Bulger appeared in the New York Times written by Katherine Q. Seelye. Its gist is that by remaining silent and not condemning Whitey then Billy deserved what he got. I’m not quite sure where the idea came up that if the media writes certain evil thing about your sibling, even if you don’t believe them, you nevertheless have to follow along with the course the media recommends and failing to do that you are condemned.

To understand this conundrum it is necessary to be mindful of three things:

(1) when Whitey was indicted in 1995 for racketeering there was no mention of any murders;

(2) that Billy believed according to his autobiography in 1996 that much of the things said about Whitey were untrue and told by people who knew they could get a good deal from the government if they implicated Whitey in anything;

(3) that it wasn’t until John Martorano coughed up information on his associates in 2000 that the knowledge of Whitey’s murders first surfaced.

In other words much before any accusations of Whitey being involved in murders came out, Billy believed what he heard about Whitey’s criminality was false. Likewise, in 2000 when Martorano told of his 20 murders to get a deal and implicated Whitey in some of them, considering the source Billy probably maintained the same mindset because as he told WCVB  on November 15 Whitey made fervent denials that all the charges are true.

We are then treated in the Times article with this quote by one of the chief nemesis of Billy, Dick Lehr of the Boston Globe. “The Kaczynski brother decided it was more important that his brother be captured and not kill any more than to stay loyal to him. Bill Bulger, in the face of a God-awful amount of horror, has made a different choice.”

Lehr has written the somewhat fictional Black Mass and another book on Whitey composed with much psychobabble to hide there is little in it that hasn’t already been told. Lehr has been out to sully Billy’s name since 1988 when he first wrote the half-truth story about 75 State Street. He wants us to accept that the situation between Ted Kaczynski’s brother David and Billy Bulger were comparable. They weren’t.

David Kacynski knew two things with relation to his brother that Billy didn’t know about Whitey:

first, that Ted had been committing crimes of murder, something Billy never knew about Whitey;

second, that unless something was done about Ted he would continue to murder and maim people while Billy (even had he any knowledge that Whitey murdered someone) had no reason to believe Whitey would continue to murder others.

What Lehr hopes with his maligning is to convince people that Billy knew Whitey was murdering people and had he told the authorities about it Whitey could have been stopped.This is the drum beat by the Boston Globe writers despite having no evidence to support their accusations. To be blunt, Whitey’s murders stopped in the late 1980s long before any information about him murdering people came out in 2000.

Lehr went on with this following non sequitur: “At what point does a relative’s conduct cross the line? When does the greater good count more than blood loyalty?”  How can you suggest blood loyalty is wrong based on the supposition a person knew something he did not know. These little leaps in logic slip by most.

Seelye in her article states: As one longtime politician once told Boston Magazine: “What Whitey does with a gun, Billy does with a gavel.”  I thought it unusual to have a quote not attributable to a named person so I went to the Boston Magazine article. The quote is not there but the article is worth reading especially as it relates to the Boston Globe’s animus to Billy.

Also, as you might expect, we read the words that Billy’s “murderous older brother conducted a reign of terror on the outside [of the system].” (my emphasis) Locked in the mind of the media is the idea Whitey had everyone living in terror but no one from those days seems to remember being terrorized during Whitey’s years (1974-1994) but do remember being terrorized by the Boston Strangler (1962-1964).

As you see the media uses media sources for its stories, there is little independent thought that goes into them. No one seems to start with the idea that perhaps Billy sided with Whitey because Whitey told him what others are saying about him are lies. It wasn’t “Sticking by a Murderous Brother” as the headlines in the NY Times article state. It was sticking by a brother you thought was innocent.

The real question should be if a brother thinks his brother is falsely accused, what should his actions be? Ponder that as you eat your turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving Day and give thanks that we have family and friends with whom we can share the day.


44 thoughts on “A Question To Ponder or Discuss Over Turkey

  1. Jay and Firefly: I appreciate your thoughts; I’ve learned a lot from both of you, even though your perspectives sometimes differ from mine. You both reflect deeply on the matter at hand and articulate well your viewpoints. It would be a boring world if everyone agreed with me. Some of my best friends’ views are diametrically opposed to mine. We respectfully agree to disagree. 2. Part of the reason the Globe hated Bill Bulger and the people of South Boston was their rejection of the Globe’s viewpoints and their adherence to traditional values as reflected in Bill Bulger’s annual marching in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. That’s how the parade case gets mixed together with the continuing lambasting of Bill Bulger. The Globe called for a “boycott” of the parade even after the Veterans had won a unanimous 9-0 victory at SCOTUS in 1995. Bill Bulger ignored the Globe’s boycott as did 15,000 marchers and one million spectators. Bulger’s socio-political views often diverged from the Globe’s. Bulger typically jousted with humor, roasting the Globe’s columnists and editors as Firefly pointed out, but the Globe often responded with vitriol, ad hominem attacks and charges based on guilt by association. It’s all part of the history. It impacts the present. 3. Incidentally, the Veterans never had a “gay” litmus test for the individual marchers in their parades and openly gay individuals such as Councilman Paul Scondras have marched in the parade and were welcome. The Veterans were at the forefront of the civil rights movement, too, and in 1964 invited the NAACP to participate in their line of march.

  2. William wrote:

    I’d ask you to consider whether it is all right to advance one group’s rights by trampling on others’? The Parade case was about a judiciary crushing the free speech rights of American citizens. The Veterans wanted to exclude “Gay Pride” messages and contingents from their traditional parade. They didn’t see how celebrating “gay pride” had anything to do with celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.


    I agree, William.
    It’s not all right to crush free speech rights of American citizens.
    Sometimes I just don’t see what this has to do with what happened to William Bulger.
    But I think I am coming to understand more.

    Thanks for explaining it to me.

    1. Allow me to chime in and recall William Bulger’s incantation during his opening statement on June 19, 2003:

      “But there is a reason to believe that a fairer perspective will surface again for those other family members who have shown great strength in the face of the onslaught by the media and by overzealous government authority.”

      To connect these themes, it was as in SHELLEY V. KRAMER, when the Court enforced a racial covenant (and HURLEY actually cited this in delineating the line between private and state action), the recurring theme is that — when does government become overzealous; how does one know? And what can one do about it? Just as the state action in SHELLEY came in the form of enforcing racial discrimination between private parties, the state action in HURLEY came in the form of seeking to prevent discrimination against GLIB, the LGBT group. Because the parade organizers were not state actors, this was an unconstitutional infringement into the rights of private persons.

      Similarly, the Unusual Case of William Bulger demonstrates the potential for constitutional infringements as well — both with the nexus between James Bulger and the FBI’s policies, and more directly by the treatment of William Bulger and members of his family by certain Government quarters. There comes a point when the world of politics crosses over into a netherworld of “overzealous government authority” of which he first spoke.

      In HURLEY, the media and Government moved to enforce a platform and tell a tale of LGBT equality, even as it infringed upon private First Amendment rights. Similarly, with William Bulger, there was a platform, and a tale, and elements coalesced to make that story be true, even when it was not.

      While many undoubtedly support the advancement of LGBT rights, that must be done within the rule of law and in constitutionally acceptable ways. The HURLEY case is so fascinating — thank you William Connolly for urging me to review it — because it affirms the preservation of private rights. That affirmation equally applies to the minority groups seeking inclusion in the housing community in SHELLEY, as it did to the majority groups seeking to exclude the minority group in HURLEY.

      It would seem that this links many other themes on this blog as well.

      Thanks for suggesting the presence of such a connection, Firefly.

  3. Firefly, You addressed one paragraph to me. I’d ask you to consider whether it is all right to advance one group’s rights by trampling on others’? The Parade case was about a judiciary crushing the free speech rights of American citizens. The Veterans wanted to exclude “Gay Pride” messages and contingents from their traditional parade. They didn’t see how celebrating “gay pride” had anything to do with celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Did you see any “Gay Pride” messages or contingents among the parade of “Duck Boats” celebrating the Red Sox World Series? Must all parades—Easter Parades, Bunker Hill Day Parades, Macy’s Parades, Israeli Day Parades—contain gay pride messages and contingents? Must all musicals, plays, editorial pages contain such messages? Shall the courts force such messages upon all of us? Or do we live in a free society where people can espouse and express whatever viewpoints they like, whenever they like, subject to reasonable time, place and manner regulations. 2. I support traditional marriage between a man and woman. Two men aren’t equal to a man and woman. Two men can’t reproduce, and if they adopt they can’t provide a child with a mother and father. Two men aren’t equal to a mother and father. Three men aren’t equal to a mother and father. I don’t support polygamy. I don’t support gay marriage. I’m opposed to abortion, except when it’s not possible to save both lives. I oppose race-based affirmative action. I generally oppose discrimination based on race, sex, ethnic origin, religious belief and height. I disagree with much of modernism. 2. There’s no doubt when FBI agent John Morris leaked Whitey Bulger’s name to the press identifying him as an “informant”, the intent was that Bulger would be killed by his cohorts in organized crime. If anyone in the Mafia was identified as an “Informant”, his life would be in jeopardy.

  4. Matt, Jay, William et al.,

    I thought William Bulger was serious when appearing before the Congressional committee in 2003 proclaiming his belief that the FBI wanted his brother killed, referencing Judge Wolf’s statement:

    (copy and pasted from Jay above)

    “In 1995 and in subsequent years, I believed the FBI wanted James Bulger killed. It has been established that an FBI agent, John Morris, in 1988 met with Boston Globe Spotlight Team editor Gerard O’Neill and told him
    that my brother was an informant, information that was summarily published in the Boston Globe. Morris’ leak had one purpose, pure and simple, bringing about the death of James Bulger. This is not just my hunch. This is the finding of U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolfe after extensive hearings.”


    Now that I’m thinking of it, I have no way of knowing if he was telling the truth, but I thought he was. It was a game-changer when I went back to view the hearing again. I remembered myself in 2003 viewing the hearing and not being able to process his testimony that the FBI wanted Whitey dead.

    No in between?

    A simple capture would have done it for people like me.
    Just catch the guy and be done with it.
    No one killed Boston’s mafia leaders; why would they kill Whitey?

    That question brought Billy back into my focus. I’d had to let him go because his life, his brother’s life, the stories of South Boston were actually ALL stories to me. It’s amazing how distinct South Boston was from other parts of the city to me. Although my young years were spent in the Irish Catholic neighborhood of West Roxbury, I had no part in the neighborhood of South Boston. Wakes and funerals, the No Name for fish and chips; that was it.

    But I grew to adore Billy’s sense of humor. I’m not sure anyone marshaled the forces of self deprecating humor, unabashed embrace of power, tweaking the overlords of times past as one roasts the lords of the times present; William Bulger’s politics were akin to politics I cut my teeth on. I was and remain a content Outsider.

    Now the fact that he was the president of the state senate related him to me directly. And I would think that many people feel a connection to him that he may not feel to them. My in between years were spent in one of Boston’s lovely suburban communities. He was the president of our state senate. But he always kept in play the whole fighting-the-overlord mentality/humor even though he was President of the Massachusetts Senate. We bought it knowing he deserved as good as he gave.

    I’m sorry, what? Whitey did what? He firebombed JFK’s birthplace in Brookline? That’s ridiculous.
    He set fire to the elementary school near Judge Garrity? What?

    For those of us at peace with the wildly divergent politics in the Commonwealth, the Kennedys and the judge were on the lighted end of Whitey’s outrageous behavior. Who does he think he is? Good thing he’s gone. Good riddance. Who gives a fig about a Whitey sighting?

    President of the University of Massachusetts seemed like the perfect job. Our schools needed a champion, and who better than Bill? He’d shape up the Boston campus, work on that law school for the Dartmouth campus, continue the research being done in Worcester at the medical school, etc.

    William, the argument before the Supreme Court concerning First Amendment Rights of the Veterans in South Boston was not a big news story for me. My concerns lay more with the rights of those whom I love who are gay. It’s not that the First Amendment rights for the parade’s organizers didn’t matter, because they obviously do as the Supreme Court found; my heart is elsewhere. My heart is with those who have been POOFed by traditional values as you have called them. I’ve made my choice, and the traditions of the past have not met the needs of some of the people I care about. Some kids have killed themselves. Thankfully, many have not and are leading fulfilling lives. Unfortunately, some have led lives of addictions. What are you going to do?

    So, to get back to Bill, I think we’re happy with his work for the University. That is, until Governors Romney and Fehrnstrom come into town. And then there’s Congressman Dan Burton’s calling our President of the University of Massachusetts the emperor with no clothes, treating him as he would a teen aged wiseguy hauled into court for breaking and entering in the night.

    Why is he talking to him that way?
    What in the world does Dan Burton think he knows about William Bulger?
    Why is he talking to him that way?

    But here’s where Billy gets me.
    He allows anyone who’s watching to get to know him.
    He’s so damned funny.

    And he ends the hearing saying something like: It’s the age old question of who will watch the watchers.

    Second time through, I get it. He gets it; the FBI is corrupted and will kill his brother rather than have the corruption brought to light.

    If William Bulger didn’t mean what he said about the FBI being willing to have his brother killed, then he’s playing high stakes politics with a man who shot watermelons in his backyard to prove something or other about Vince Foster.

    1. Firefly:

      Judge Wolf found, and Morris pretty much testified at the Connolly trial, that it was his not too well disguised hope the perhaps Whitey would be hit by some Mafia types when it was disclosed he was an informant. That relates only to Morris. There is no showing that anyone else in the FBI was of that mindset. The only reason Morris felt that way was he knew he had taken money from Whitey and thought that Whitey made have recorded it and he could compromise him. So from purely selfish motives Morris was willing to put Whitey’s life at risk.

      Billy said he believed the FBI wanted Whitey killed after he fled in 1995. I don’t believe if he was pressed on that he would come out and say that there was a group within the FBI who planned to kill Whitey. I think that he, like I, believes that no agent in the FBI would get involved in such a sinister conspiracy. He was speaking hyperbolically suggesting because evil Morris wanted it done there may have been others like him.

      The problem is the corruption in the FBI is not that it is an outfit that will kill people, it is that it has a program called the Top Echelon Informant program that requires FBI agents to deal with corrupt criminals and in doing that it allows the corruption to seep into the FBI in the way it handles murders and other crimes committed by it informants. It’s also in other way in which the FBI operates but it is not a Star Chamber that murders people even if those people can embarrass it or some agents.

      It need not kill someone like Whitey because he would not be credible when it came to him against an FBI agent. The FBI has dealt with these criminals for years and it knows in a show down on credibility it will always win. Further, there is nothing Whitey could really have said about the FBI since he mainly dealt with Connolly and if he gave gifts for others he did that through Connolly.

      As for Burton, he was playing to the Boston Media. He started the hearings investigating the FBI and got no press coverage at all; then when he came upon the idea of Billy he was a media, at least in Boston, star. Once he had his time in the spotlight he moved on to other issues.

      By the way if Billy did commit perjury in any manner, Burton would certainly have prodded the DOJ to indicte him; but then again he wouldn’t have had to do that since the group in Boston was waiting anxiously for him to slip up so it could go after him.

  5. Jay and others, remember that the entire faculty at Harvard Law School was silent while the Massachusetts judiciary, in complicity with the Boston Globe, tried to eviscerate and extinguish the First Amendment Free Speech rights of the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, the organizers of the annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.

  6. Jay, thanks for calling my monologue “powerful.” Unlike John Lennon, however, I don’t imagine “there’s no heaven.” In fact, I imagine a heaven for good people and a hell where Divine Justice is brought upon the chronic character assassins and stone throwers from Harvard and the Boston Globe, and also upon those who delight in others’ suffering like Howie Carr at the Herald. 2. I never liked “Imagine”; I liked Steppenwolf’s “Monster” and Herman Hesse’s “Steppenwolf” and his other novels. 3. I do hope younger generations produce fewer intellectually corrupt, self-righteous, stone throwers than the smug crew that presently wields power, many of whom work or worked for the Boston Globe and/or taught at Harvard Law School. 4. Bill Bulger is a good man who has been maliciously smeared for decades by Carr, Dershowitz and sundry writers for the Boston Globe. 5. Till recently, the NYT owned the Boston Globe. NYT-BostonGlobe:TweedleDum-TweedleDee.

    1. Dear William,

      As luck would have it, I’m also a huge Hesse fan; that includes MAGISTER LUDI, BENEATH THE WHEEL, and SIDDHARTHA. As luck would have it, STEPPENWOLF was one of my earliest exposures to his work; it was ironic that it was in youth that I was drawn to work about, inter alia, the onset of old age.

      Perhaps these Hesse words ring true here, as we consider William Bulger: “Rather, you should long for the perfection of yourself. The deity is within you, not in ideas and books. Truth is lived, not taught. Be prepared for conflicts, Joseph Knecht — I can see they have already begun.” –MAGISTER LUDI

      As the world weighs in, perhaps the truth cannot be found from others but instead is divined only by weighing the life he has lived, and by living it.


  7. Bill Bulger’s entire life was dedicated to helping others. He epitomized integrity and honesty in office and out of office. History will record his impeccable record of public service, his 20 honorary degrees from prestigious institutions, his service on the boards of libraries, hospitals, schools, etc.. He led a law-abiding, morally exemplary life. History also will record how he was vilified by a malicious press for forty years, how the Boston Globe’s jihad began with Bill Bulger’s opposition to forced busing in the 1970s, his unflinching support of pro-life issues even after the corrupt Roe v. Wade decision, his courageous support of friends (e.g. Judge Paul Mahoney against the smears and slurs of Harvard Prof Allen Dershowitz and his pal Harvey Silverglate) and his support of the Veterans organizing the St. Pat’s Parade in the 1990s. History will record that he was maligned by character assassins, Dershowitz, Carr, Cullen, Lehr, O’Neil, and by an ignorant populace which swallowed and wallowed in the Globe’s venom. The character assassins and their ilk are cut from the same cloth as those nefarious characters of yesteryear who gave us the Salem Witch Trials and stoned adulterers. Hester Prynne had to wear the Scarlet Letter A for adultery. Many in Boston want to label the wholly innocent Bill Bulger with a scarlet B for the “crime” of being a brother of a murderer. Shame on the perpetual stone throwers!! Should the brothers of Frank Salemme, Trigger Burke, Jimmy O’Toole, John Martorano, Steve Flemmi, and Kevin Weeks be forced to publicly “denounce” their brothers and pay retribution to the killers’ victims, or does this standard only apply to the Billy? What about Kevin Weeks’ brother who worked for Mike Dukakis? Should he be pilloried, shunned, forced to publicly declaim his brother; should Weeks siblings be publicly humiliated, forced to make amends to victims? I’m sick of the character assassins, the stone throwers, the ignorant who subscribe to “guilt by association.” Too many mean spirited Bostonians demand figurative public floggings. 2. Here’s a new rule for society: the law abiding brothers of gangsters must be stoned to death. Even that wouldn’t satisfy some.

    1. Dear William,

      That is a powerful monologue there; I value your positive message of hope for a better tomorrow. It also carries the thrust of justice and that very peace which I’ve inquired about; for every conflict, there is a resolution which must come sooner or later. Until that happens — this denouement — the story is not over; it only continues, as the plot thickens. Even now, the plot continues to thicken as the media turns to what William Bulger does now, rather than what he did a decade ago.

      I appreciate your vision of the future; I can hear John and Yoko singing “Imagine” in the background as well. That’s one of my favorites.


  8. I won’t paste the full article, but here is the breaking news:


    “According the website of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Bulger is now at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, N.Y…It’s not clear how long Bulger will stay at the Brooklyn facility. A message left with his attorney was not immediately returned.”

    1. Jay:

      I saw that article – at least its good to know he didn’t have to walk there. There was someting in the article saying that their web site is having problems. I’d guess this shows the inefficiency of the Bureau of Prisons which has had two years to figure out where to send him.

      1. Matt- I know its not that significant but do you think that Whitey Bulger actually grew to “legend status” BECAUSE his brother is Billy Bulger? That is if Billy Bulger were not his brother then he would not dominate the press and publics attention except among law enforcement and people who read books on the Mafia.

        Also did you watch the 60 Minutes piece on the “Gaskos”? If so, what are your thoughts about the story the FBI tells in that piece. I am surprised you havent started a new thread on it.

  9. Dear Matt,

    As you correctly point out, “the media uses media sources for its stories…” The Seelye article also discusses a media interview from the prior week which ended with the newscaster stating that he “refused to denounce his brother publicly.” What the issue really comes down to, is there is pressure for William to step forward and publicly condemn his brother James. Despite what happened in the past, there is continued criticism for what is happening right now. I saw that newscast and it ended oddly with the reporter paraphrasing the interview with no actual audio from the interview with William’s voice speaking directly. Then, the way it ended was very odd. The news reporter noted how “other things” were said but that she was not permitted to discuss them.

    Here is the excerpt from Seelye’s piece:
    Recently, he gave a rare interview, by phone, to a WCVB-TV reporter, but his guarded answers suggested no break in the fraternal bond.

    He said he was “shocked by some of the things” that came out in court, but did not specify which things. He said he saw his brother once a week in jail, but added that “just because I visit him doesn’t mean I condone it.”

    Mr. Bulger did not say what “it” was, nor did he condemn it. He also said he still did not know what was true or false, fact or fiction, but said that his brother had made “fervent denials” regarding the charges against him.
    That “guarded interview” from WCVB is here:

    I do not believe it was “guarded” at all. The transcript does not reflect the end comments of the newscaster, but they are seen if you watch the video.

    Matt, do you have any thoughts on criticisms about any of William Bulger’s current conduct, as expressly stated here in the Seelye article?

    The article from WCVB depicts William Bulger as someone who does not believe his brother James is really a murderer, even though he was convicted of murder. The newscast also continues to depict him as someone who is somehow enabling or protecting his brother, as in how it concludes “it is clear to this day he won’t publicly denounce his brother.”

    These are themes which the Seelye article takes and runs with them.

    Matt, it appears that the news media is not only criticizing what happened in the past but also what is happening now. The news media wants William Bulger to come out in public, tell everyone that his brother is a horrible person, a murderer — to “denounce him,” to apologize, and to seek forgiveness I would imagine. Forgiveness for perhaps not being more aware or for what was perceived in the past as downplaying prior concerns. While there were no new murders as you mention, there is the issue of appeasing the victims’ families to contend with; what of making them whole? I’m not intending to take sides, but I do intend to try and pinpoint the real problem — the source of this unrest between William and the populace which he dutifully served for so long.

    I don’t know what the answer is, but this is a quagmire all around. Do you believe that the media is right in asking William Bulger to “denounce” his brother, to call him a murderer in public?

    I suspect that if he did, then that would somehow be used to criticize him then as well — there, he admitted he was wrong, etc. At this point, his legacy is at stake here; and it would be sad if he did not say what he had to say, or for someone to do it in a way that people could understand.

    I think this is about more than the press; it is about the people who buy the papers and read these reports, commentaries, and columns. These people have the capacity to think; and as you and other notes, there are many who likely remember the real fears decades ago. Maybe they are where the answer shall be found — and perhaps, some peace.


    1. Jay- You broke that down very well, much respect pal!! Good discussion points to explore!! I think either way he is screwed press wise, He can’t win with the local media, They are looking for something to shatter his reputation and honesty as a man with. I do not think he could ever give the media a satisfying enough response either way. I think he should write a book about the knowledge he has discovered since the hearings, and the trial and end it once and for all with proceeds going to the families of the victims, Other than that I can’t think of much else.

    2. Jay:

      I have trouble seeing that Billy owes anything to the victim’s families. He did nothing to them. In considering the victim’s families have you ever wondered about the families who were victimized by Martorano, Flemmi or Salemme. Flemmi still owns millions of dollars worth of property and there is no outcry for him to help those families; Martorano is making money from books and movies and no one wants him to reimburse his victims families. I’d suggest that there would be greater demands on them than on Billy who had absolutely no involvement in causing a hurt to those families.
      By suggesting that Billy owes something to the families you buy into the media’s denouncing of him which is as you suggest ” not being more aware of” something. Keep in mind, up until 2000 Whitey was connected with no murders in the public mind; how if that is the case is Billy to be aware of them.
      As far as denouncing his brother, I see little that would be accoplished by that other than the media suggesting that proves Billy knew all along that his brother was doing something wrong. Everything Billy has done has been twisted by the media so for the same reasons Whitey did not testify, that the media would twist everything he said, Billy’s best approach is to keep his silence. Even his interview with WCVB was unwise: he will not get people to change their mind about him by anything he says or does. If he openly flogged Whitey 50 times the media would complain he didn’t do it more.
      And again, if Billy denounced Whitey they’d be calls for him to do more for instance as you suggested to start reimbursing the witnesses. You have to understand a POOF cannot ever throw off that status or satisfy her enemies. If Billy put gasoline over himself and set it afire the media would complain he took the easy way out.
      I’ve written before that Billy is sometimes his own worst enemy. His autobiography made him no friends, his statement to WCVB opened up more questions than it answered; and saying more than “no comment” when it comes to his brother is a mistake. I read recently (can’t remember where just now) if the government or media is targeting you there’s nothing you can do about it. That’s true in Billy’s case.
      Billy was elected to serve the public and did it well without any suggestion during the time he served that he in any way was involved with Whitey or did anything criminal other than the 75 State Street matter in which his activities were wrongly portrayed. He did an excellent job as U Mass president. He was elected to serve and he did that well. That is what he owed to the electorate; there is no need as part of that for him to condemn his brother and it is only in the media where one is urged to condemn people – I know I was never taught to condemn a friend or relative nor do I think I would since it would serve no purpose after the fact.

      1. Dear Matt,

        Thanks so much for providing your impressions and take on what William Bulger should do going forward. I wish to clarify that I was not suggesting that he should intervene on behalf of victims’ families. My words were as follows: “While there were no new murders as you mention, there is the issue of appeasing the victims’ families to contend with; what of making them whole? I’m not intending to take sides, but I do intend to try and pinpoint the real problem — the source of this unrest between William and the populace which he dutifully served for so long.”

        I was not stating that he should appease them; I enumerated that there is a legitimate issue which undergirds the most recent and current criticisms. To pinpoint its source, it appears to stem from victims’ families. Indeed, the Seelye article ends with a victim’s words, “It should be written that you had a brother who was a lawmaker who ended up lacking integrity and honesty,” said Tom Angeli, the son of a murder victim. “That’s how I want history to remember this case.”

        To clarify, I note as a fact that the victims’ families unequivocally feel that something is owed TO THEM; I did not intend, nor did I state, that something was actually owed. As stakeholders in this matter, much animus towards William Bulger stems form them. Win them over, have them view him in a positive light, and I argue that the media’s tide can start to be beaten back.

        Thank you again for offering your impressions. Your conclusion seems to be that William Bulger is powerless to change present circumstances, and that he is best left to do nothing and hope that the outcry fades away. That means you believe there should be no books, no interviews, and no outreach of any kind.

        Please correct me if my understanding strays from your intended message regarding a solution to bring peace to this latest tumult.


        1. Jay:

          When I prosecuted cases I reminded myself and others that we did not work for the victims but the Commonwealth which in a sense made us also working on behalf of the defendant. I knew in many cases I could never satisfy the desires of the victims who had suffered greatly and thought the only remedy was to inflict similar suffering on the miscreant. Of course the victims are going to lash out at anyone especially if the Government portrays that person as the chief evil doer as it did with Whitey and laid down hints that he could not have performed his evil without the assistance of his brother; forgetting as expected that men more evil like Flemmi, Salemme. Baione and Martorano were able to do their ill deeds without having any powerful relatives.

          I don’t see implicating Billy in any of this as a legitimate issue. The families of the victims are plainly wrong when they want to throw the sins of Whitey onto the shoulders of his brother. Billy should do nothing for nothing that he does will help his case. It has to be made by others and everytime he speaks out he is hurting himself. The outcry will never fade away from the mouths of the victims for they are too hurt to see clearly, nor will it fade away without some action by others on its own, but by slowly educating others perhaps Billy’s true worth to the people will be understood. He can’t do it, he’ll always have the albatros of Whitey wrapped around his neck.

          My recommendation to Billy is to do nothing – as much as he wants to change the dynamic he can’t on his own. He should go off and enjoy his family and his grandchildren and hope that space and time will make people understand the extent to which he has been slandered by malicious people. That’s just my take and whether he’d listen to me or not is not is up to him. As far as bringing peace to this tumult, there is no way that can be accomplished – the parties are too much at odds.

  10. Matt: Great post. The press continues to lie and smear an innocent man. Lehr should be pilloried for his continuing character assassination and for his stupidity. 2. Lehr’s analogy is stupid: Kacynski’s brother knew his brother Ted had randomly killed recently, sending bombs through the mail, and would most likely kill again in the same crazy random way. He acted to stop an immediate threat to life, limb and safety. In contrast, when in 2000, William Bulger was confronted with “allegations” that Whitey had killed people 15 or more years earlier, no one presented a scintilla of evidence that Whitey was likely to kill again. He hadn’t killed in a dozen years or more. 3. Lehr is a liar: he lies by omission and by innuendo and by foolish false analogies. He’s a lightweight. Plus, as Matt said, William Bulger didn’t believe Martorano or Weeks of the FBI’s version of event. Who would believe the serial killers? Their stories got them light sentences. They had motives to lie. 2. Let me ask you this question: If the FBI told you a gangster-serial killer said your brother was involved in murders 10 or 15 years ago, would you (a) be doubtful or (b) believe anything the gangster and FBI said? If the FBI provided concrete evidence that your brother mailed bombs recently to multiple persons’ homes and offices, and was very likely to continue doing so, you might want to intercede immediately and assist the FBI in preventing further murders. 3. Carr, Dershowitz, the Globe and New York Times have been on a witch hunt aimed at William Bulger for decades! Recently the Globe’s Jeff Jacoby asked “the elite” to shun William Bulger, and within the last ten years, Dershowitz wrote in Boston Magazine that Bill Bulger was “The Godfather of the Winter Hill Gang” and Dershowitz also wrote in an op-ed column in the Boston Globe that John Connolly should be squeezed to get info on Bill Bulger. They all are malicious character assassins on a jihad to destroy another person’s good name and reputation. Most intelligent people see through their lies and personal vendettas.

  11. Matt,

    Happy Thanksgiving…since it is strictly an American holiday, I am waiting to celebrate once I have been found competent and in good standing as a citizen…sure hope I don’t have to wait much longer. So to add to your question for US to ponder…If those who have a duty to serve and protect know that an injustice is occurring on their watch, do they have a legal and ethical obligation to act? The answer may give you all indigestion…

  12. Matt,
    I had also heard (and, to me, it rang true) that Billy’s fear was that the FBI was more interested in killing and silencing his brother than taking a chance on having all their soiled laundry hung out at trial before the press and public. From your book and from even mainstream reporting on FBI lying, bungling and ass-covering at any cost, it seemed to me, at least, a reasonable response that Billy would not help catch his brother.

    And maybe it’s just a vestige of my own upbringing in the 50s and 60s in Southie and Dorchester, but the evidence of continuing danger to the lives of innocent people would have to be pretty compelling before I would actively help apprehend a sibling. And even then, it would probably haunt me as much as the crimes themselves.

    1. Jeff:

      I wouldn’t think Billy would fear the FBI killing his brother. I knew there were rumors the FBI didn’t want to bring him in while the guys who worked with him were still on the job but not that they would murder him. The FBI bungles, ass-covers, etc. but only the hoodlums (or those great animus toward it) suggests it would kill anyone. I don’t buy it. Although its silence in the Todashev killing pushes back against my belief.
      As to helping to catch a sibling, you have to consider the time of knowledges as I see it. If my brother was out killing people and I knew nothing about it then obviously I would do nothing. If I came down stairs and saw my brother sharpening a knife and mumbling that “tonight’s a good night to kill someone in the Public Garden” then I’d probably act to stop it.
      Billy as I see it knew nothing of Whitey’s murders; and, I don’t see anyone who knew of them telling Billy about them. After Whitey was done killing there is nothing for Billy to stop when he first heard the allegations. From what Billy says he had to have asked Whitey something about some of his criminal activity, maybe his reputation for loan sharking, and Whitey told Billy not to believe it since it was false.
      Put yourself in that position. Someone tells you that your brother robbed a bank. You ask your brother about it and he denies it. Who do you believe? Do you turn your brother in if you don’t believe he did the act charged. I think the bottom line is any of us would act to prevent a murder; after the fact our actions would depend upon what we believed but the need to take immediate action even if we thought there was a past murder would vary by individual.
      Billy’s being held to a ridiculous standard by the animus of the media. If he is wise he’d keep his mouth shut for nothing he can say or do will change anything.

      1. Dear Matt,

        It is important to point out that William Bulger did expressly state during his testimony to the House Committee on Government Reform that he did believe that the FBI wanted James Bulger to be killed.

        In relevant part, William’s exact words were as follows:

        “In 1995 and in subsequent years, I believed the FBI wanted James Bulger killed. It has been established that an FBI agent, John Morris, in 1988 met with Boston Globe Spotlight Team editor Gerard O’Neill and told him
        that my brother was an informant, information that was summarily published in the Boston Globe. Morris’ leak had one purpose, pure and simple, bringing about the death of James Bulger. This is not just my hunch. This is the finding of U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolfe after extensive hearings.”


        Now, from my understanding of “conspiracy” statutes and case law, if there was some sort of agreement, then there could be culpability even if the FBI “wanted” someone killed but did not do the killing firsthand. Surely you know much more about this due to your seasoned years as a prosecutor. What I am saying is that William Bulger’s belief that the FBI wanted James Bulger killed could suggest a belief that there was some conspiracy, even if the FBI did not do the killing directly. For more information about conspiracy, see, E.G., COMMONWEALTH V. COOK, 10 Mass. App. Ct. 668 (1980); see also COMMONWEALTH V. HUNT, 4 Met. 111, 123 (1842). This law office also provides insight for the layperson: http://criminal.altmanllp.com/criminal-conspiracy.html.

        What I am saying is that William Bulger did believe that the FBI did fear that the FBI wanted his brother killed. Whether that belief relayed to the FBI doing the killing directly is less important than the suspected intent, that the FBI planned “…bringing about the death of James Bulger.” Whether that would be by conspiracy, by happenstance, or by assassination, is less germane to the fact that this fear did purportedly exist.

        Matt, if the leaked testimony to THE BOSTON GLOBE did, indeed, bring about the death of James Bulger, would there have been any legal culpability traced back to the FBI? That would be the most obvious scenario of how it could have happened.

        Inquisitively yours,

        1. Jay:

          I’m not sure Billy was serious about what he was saying. There is no evidence, none, that the FBI wanted Whitey killed in 1995. If the indictment of him in January 1995 from which he fled is the basis upon which Billy is speaking, it makes little sense.

          Morris did meet with the Globe’s O’Neill in 1988 and disclosed Whitey was an informant; so did Agent Fitzpatrick meet with Dick Lehr of the Globe around that time to confirm that. Fitzpatrick certainly had no intent that Whitey be killed, he was interested in having him closed out as an informant thinking it was wrong. Morris, of course, had more malicious aims, hoping that by disclosing Whitey’s status he would be killed because Morris felt he was vulnerable because Whitey had given him money and he believed that somehow Whitey had recorded that transaction. That Morris sought that end result cannot be attributed to the aims of anyone else in the FBI, no others were as vulnerable as Morris.
          Nor did the Globe writers intend that Whitey get killed; when they wrote their Spotlight piece on Whitey and Billy they did not come out and state he was an informant, which they could have done, but rather hinted at it, talking about a special relationship. When I read the article back in 1988 like most other people I dismissed the allegation as being mere guesswork not realizing it had been confirmed by two FBI agents. Most people reacted like I did not accepting that Whitey was an informant. That is why in 1997 or 1998 when it was disclosed he was an informant there was such surprise among most people. Had there been a belief that he had been one, there certainly would not have been that type of reaction. It’s also why Whitey wasn’t worried because he knew almost everyone would dismiss the Globe’s story as mere speculation.

          There was never any conspiracy to kill Whitey since you need more than one for a conspiracy – there has to be an agreement to achieve a certain end – and with Morris all you had was him acting alone. I certainly don’t believe that accounts for Billy’s silence during all those years since he did not speak out after he was captured; further, in his autobiography he never mentions that as being a reason.

          Billy always gave Whitey the benefit of the doubt. He blamed older guys for Whitey getting involved in robberies. He worked very hard trying to ease his way in prison or to get him a legitimate occupation after prison. He heard rumors of Whitey’s evilness but didn’t want to believe them. Objectively there was nothing Billy could ever see that would lead him to believe Whitey was like the people said he was. Whitey lived a very disciplined life and probably told Billy more than once he was not doing anything other than booking. Billy wanted to believe him. And he did believe him discounting all that was said against him. For me that’s the whole story but even Billy doesn’t know how to come out and say it; he too wants to make more out of it than there is.

          1. Dear Matt,

            Thanks so much for your diligence in considering the content of my post. Please also note the reference to Judge Wolfe’s decision, in which Judge Wolfe appears to make a finding of fact that the FBI wanted James Bulger to be killed; of course, “FBI” is a reference to Agent Morris, who was then acting in his official capacity. Details are below.

            Specifically, this appears on page 1701 of Volume 2 in that report (in the .pdf version, from the link below), there is the relevant page of U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolfe’s statement that Agent Morris intended for James Bulger to be killed by leaking his informant status to THE BOSTON GLOBE. This page was an exhibit submitted by William Bulger’s counsel after the June 19, 2003 hearing.

            In short, Judge Wolfe determined Morris believed James “outlived his usefulness” and “intended to provoke ‘another [Brian] Halloran.’” Furthermore, Wolfe cited a statement by Morris that, “…a human life [is] a human life, be that person criminal, informant, or both…the criminal element would not need proof or documentation to take action, so, such statements as inferences could be deadly.”

            The link to read the actual document is here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/granule/CRPT-108hrpt414/CRPT-108hrpt414-vol1/content-detail.html

            Do you believe that William Bulger was overreaching in making this conclusion and apparently relying on Judge Mark Wolfe’s statement? I think that he was either serious about expressing this belief to the House Committee of Government Reform, or else it would have been an act of perjury, because he was testifying under oath.

            Your expert perspective is highly valued and appreciated, and you seem to support a definition of the relationship between William and James as someone who was blinded by his love for his brother, relying on James’ promises instead of lending a serious ear to whisperings from others. There have been concerns that to the extent that there was what may be termed “denial,” and that the denial somehow enabled the criminal conduct of James, because he was not more objective in assessing the merits of criminal allegations. I am by no means stating this is true; one facet of my research role is to understand multiple stakeholder viewpoints, to make better sense of the big picture. Would you go so far as to use the word “denial” to describe William’s treatment of his brother? Your description evokes that label to me. The portrait you paint also depicts William himself as a victim somewhat; surely it would be sad and quite embarrassing to believe his brother and then learn that he, too, had been lied to and even used, after having faith and trusting his brother’s assurances for decades.

            Moreover, that is exactly why this case in particular is so rich to explore the ethical and moral implications of all parties — what was right, what was wrong. The circumstances are unprecedented. It raises many issues about public duties and private rights as well. I look forward to continuing to explore these issues here and elsewhere.


            1. Jay:
              A person giving his belief or opinion is not subject to a perjury charge. Perjury relates to a material statement of fact.
              Billy loved Whitey no doubt but I don’t suggest he was blinded at all in his relationship. It seems you keep slipping back to the media fostered idea that what came out through Martorano’s testimony in 2000 Billy should have known about in the 1970s or 1980s or even the 1990s. Billy knew his brother was probably running a booking operation and perhaps had some involvement in loan sharking. There is no showing he knew anything beyond that. There was no denial. He believed that was the extent of his brother’s activities and nothing beyond that.
              He had nothing to deny because what he believed of his brother was all most of the people believed; it wasn’t until much later, as I pointed out, long after Whitey had fled that even the basis for giving him thought there was more than what he believe Whitey was involved in first came about. At that time it was long after Whitey had gotten out of the rackets so there is no way any action Billy took thereafter could be tied into Whitey’s criminal conduct.
              There’s no doubt Billy was a victim not only of Whitey’s lies but the media lies as well as the plans of one man to run for the presidency who decided to join with Billy’s enemies believing by taking Billy down he’d enjoy a surge of popularity in the state, which shows how little he understood politics.
              I don’t see the issues as that complicated. Billy has been singled out for opprobrium and required to meet a standard not required of any other person in or out of politics. As William pointed out in an earlier comment, no demand has been made on the brothers of others involved here to condemn their brothers or make restitution to victims. It has been quite the opposite with the brothers of Kevin Weeks. I’d ask you to point to one other instance where a brother by the mere fact of the relationship has been condemned for not doing something about his brother where there is no showing the brother knew of this brother’s criminality. Use that as a starting point.

          2. Dear Matt,

            Thanks again for offering your insights. We may disagree on this point; but allow me to offer one more impression. I believe that William Bulger’s belief that the FBI planned “bringing about the death of James Bulger” was well-founded, as he supported it with the relevant page from Judge Wolfe’s decision. I do not believe he was not serious; I believe that this is what he believed.

            I’ve also reviewed the statute for federal perjury elements under 18 USC Sec. 1621 which notes, as you note, the required element of materiality. In relevant part, that statute notes that a person commits perjury when “…any written testimony, declaration, deposition, or certificate by him subscribed, is true, willfully and contrary to such oath states or subscribes any material matter which he does not believe to be true…” See http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1621

            I further note that our issue is the meaning of “meteriality” and whether William espouses a straight out “belief or opinion” which would inherently not be material in nature. I researched this issue, and while he begins the statement “I believe…” and also notes, “This is not just my hunch…” as well. In saying that, he states that he is not stating his opinion; he said it was a “finding of fact” by Judge Wolfe as well.

            Thus, I would argue that not only is this NOT a statement of a belief or opinion but also that it is of a material nature, judging by the test for materiality: “whether the false statement ‘has a natural tendency to influence [or] is capable of influencing the decision-making body to which it [is] addressed.” See Charles Doyle, PERJURY UNDER FEDERAL LAW: A BRIEF OVERVIEW, Congressional Research Service, p. 9, http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/98-808.pdf. Here, the statement was presented to support why he did not contact the FBI after he received the infamous phone call. I would argue that is a material matter and “is capable of influencing” the House Committee of Government Reform at that time.

            In fact, one of the findings in the final Committee Report was that there were inconsistencies relating to this phone call and whether or not he had spoken to the FBI regarding James Bulger around that time. So I stand by the point that William Bulger intended his statement to be one of fact and not of belief or opinion; and this is further supported by the very fact that he testified to tell the truth under oath, and had he not been truthful or was in any way “not serious” about his statement, and because it was a material issue, then he very well could have been prosecuted for perjury. Because he believed this as a statement of fact, supported by Judge Wolfe’s findings of fact, I argue that it supports how it was his belief at that time.

            The fact that this was NOT mentioned in his book suggests that he was, indeed, cooperating and being as candid as possible with the Committee. Certainly, he would not want to get into the FBI issues and draw that into a memoir which was not about his private life, but was instead about his own “LIFE IN POLITICS.” I would argue that his fears about the FBI “bringing about the death of James Bulger” would not have been germane to his political memoir.

            Finally, as I noted, I am subscribing to any media views; I am acknowledging that they exist. Your insight and our dialogs are always engaging; that goes without question. Here, we may have a difference of opinion. You have presented your points, and I have presented mine regarding William Bulger’s congressional testimony.

            On the other hand, you point out that any denial could be present until after the 2000 disclosures by John Martorano. I am articulating the media theory which continues to this very day due to the intense focus as to whether he publicly denounced his brother or not.

            Please note also that I do not personally agree with that theory, as you seem to construe it to be. I am trying to understand YOUR perspective, which is why I construed what you were saying as suggesting the presence of denial — at least after 2000 when John Martorano spoke out, and which preceded the June 19, 2003 congressional testimony. Even then, he noted that he hoped that the charges would be proven false.

            Last week’s interview depicted him as refusing to acknowledge his brother’s guilt as well. By definition, “denial” means “…not being realistic about something that’s happening in your life — something that might be obvious to those around you.” See Mayo Clinic, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/denial/SR00043. That is why I interpreted your words not to mean the time period before 2000 but rather the period which came after, until the present day.

            Your focus on brotherly love overpowering all also suggested to me that you intended to say it blinded him. You have clarified that was not your intention; thank you for that.

            I think it is obvious that he accepts that his brother is a murderer and find the media to be twisting things and depicting them in a certain way, to fit the story it wants to tell. I believe that if he could get into the proper forum, that people would listen to him. There we disagree, and that is my opinion and belief, even if we stand apart there.

            Your insights are always appreciated, and I am committed to maintaining the integrity of your blog and participating in, as Firefly calls it, this “responsible conversation.”


            1. Jay:

              If you knew Billy Bulger (or were familiar with the type of background he came from) you’d know there is no way he’d have believed the FBI was out to kill his brother. Because you don’t, you can’ really understand this. So believe what you want when it comes to his statement.

              You point out to me some statute that points to what perjury is but it doesn’t apply to what we are talking about. Materiality is necessary, but it also has to be a statement of fact.

              Here’s Billy’ statement:

              “In 1995 and in subsequent years, I believed the FBI wanted James Bulger killed.”

              How you can say that is not a statement of belief escapes me. You may believe anything you want about it but you can’t really say when a person says he believe something it is a statement of fact. You mention other statements he may have made and go on into something related to his telephone call with Whitey but I thought we were discussing that specific statement above. Then you go on talking about his book and quite frankly I couldn’t follow your points especially your statement: “I would argue that his fears about the FBI “bringing about the death of James Bulger” would not have been germane to his political memoir.”

              It’s not that you disagree with me so much as you are talking about something different than I am talking about.
              You cite laws, court decisions and statutes but you don’t seem to understand how things work together. I said before that there is no way Billy could be indicted for perjury based upon his belief even if he didn’t believe it because you could not prove that when he stated his belief that was the fact.

          3. Dear Matt,

            Thanks so much for your reply.

            In a prior reply, you cited to William Bulger’s book as never having mentioned fears about his brother being murdered, which is what I intended to address there. I apologize if that was bringing too much into the fold. The factual aspect of what he was saying, is that it was a finding of fact by Judge Wolfe that FBI Agent Morris intended to cause the murder of James Bulger — what he “believed,” he believed because of Judge Wolfe; they are synonymous. The factual question is: “Did Judge Wolfe conclude what William Bulger asserts?” According to the Wolfe decision, that answer is “yes.” How can a person who is “not serious” about an asserted belief submit documentary evidence, asserting that belief is a fact? To declare that William Bulger is “not serious” is to declare that Judge Mark Wolfe was also “not serious” as well, because Bulger’s belief is a derivative of Wolfe’s factual conclusions; William Bulger’s belief is a belief in Judge Wolfe’s factual findings.

            Allow me to present the Affidavit of Thomas Kiley for consideration, as retrieved from the House Committee on Government Reform Report, Volume II.

            If you read this affidavit, sworn to under “the pains and penalties of perjury” on July 18, 2003, Thomas Kiley unequivocally states, “Portions of Judge Wolf’s memorandum are attached to this Affidavit for another reason as well; it is that document to which Mr. Bulger repeatedly alluded during his June 19 testimony concerning the effort of FBI Agent John Morris to cause the murder of James Bulger because he had ‘outlived his usefulness’ and become a threat to Morris because of his knowledge of criminal acts committed by FBI Agent Morris.”

            Attorney Kiley continues: “It is not the first time Judge Wolf linked informant status with death in the case spawned by the superseding indictment discussed above; in his June 19, 1997 memorandum reported at U.S. v. Salemme, 978 F.Supp. 379, Judge Wolf pointedly spoke of the danger disclosure of informant status posed, citing to the murder of Robert Donati because he was believed to be an informant. 978 F.Supp., at 383, n. 3.”

            That document is available here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-108hrpt414/pdf/CRPT-108hrpt414-vol2.pdf.

            The Kiley Affidavit is viewable on page 1693 of the downloaded .pdf document. For you to assert that William Bulger stated he believed something, when he did not really believe something — that he was “not serious” — seems to be a euphemism for saying he lied. Yet it would be a lie which would technically not be prosecutable on perjury grounds.

            I hope that Thomas Kiley’s affidavit sheds further light on how William Bulger’s concerns were serious, indeed; how could they not be, when he offered Judge Wolfe’s findings of fact as the source for his own fears? Kiley expressly cites William Bulger’s fears that FBI Agent Morris intended “to cause the murder of James Bulger…” and notes that these were “repeatedly alluded [to]” during William Bulger’s testimony.

            Attorney Kiley must have been serious about that, or it would be perjury.


            1. Jay:

              You seem to enjoy specious arguments. Judge Wolf addressed the actions of Morris; he did not suggest that the FBI wanted to kill Whitey after 1995 when Whitey fled. You site Tom Kiley and some other stuff but that also goes to the issue of Morris’s leak to the Globe not as a plot within the FBI. I think Billy was speaking loosely, or perhaps hyperbolically, or perhaps in an off the cuff manner at the time; however if pressed on the point I don’t believe Billy would say there was a conspiracy within the FBI (outside of Morris) to kill Whitey.

              You seem to be looking for perjury somewhere when none exists and looking for oranges in a peck of apples. I’m still at a loss to figure out where you are going with this.

          4. And for anyone who may not know, Thomas R. Kiley is the attorney who represented William Bulger at the June 19, 2003 hearing, as well as the December 6, 2002 hearing. A former Deputy Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Thomas Kiley also notes in this same affidavit referenced above, that “…I was providing legal advice to William Bulger on matters related to his brother as far back as 1995.”

            That appears on page 1691 of the .pdf document retrieved from here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-108hrpt414/pdf/CRPT-108hrpt414-vol2.pdf

            I urge readers to read that affidavit and other exhibits furnished in the weeks following the June 19, 2003 hearing; they are rich with insights to find.

            1. Jay:

              I know Tom Kiley personally. He is one of the best lawyers in Massachusetts who is highly skilled and ethical. You urge everyone to read his affidavit and attached exhibits but to what end. What is your point in all of your searching for perjuy. You seem more and more like one of the federal prosecutors looking for something when there is nothing there.

          5. Dear Matt,

            My understanding of William Bulger’s fears is that Agent Morris was acting in his official capacity as an FBI Agent by leaking informant status to The Globe. For Agent Morris to want James Bulger murdered, would mean that “the FBI” would want him murdered. There would need to be proof of no conspiracy; Morris, as a supervisor, represented the interests of the FBI.

            In the civil case presided over by U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner, LIMONE V. USA, a verdict of $101.7 million was returned against the federal government due principally to the actions of Dennis Condon and H. Paul Rico. That case is discussed here: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-1st-circuit/1446207.html.

            Condon and Rico’s actions caused innocent parties to be incarcerated. They were FBI Agents. The entire FBI was not complicit in their actions, but this created civil liability nevertheless.

            Going back to Special FBI Agent Morris, when William Bulger referenced “the FBI,” he referenced Agent Morris, and Agent Morris is all that is necessary. We could just as well say that “The FBI caused four innocent men to go to prison” in LIMONE, even though these two agents were the principal actors there.

            In other words, by declaring that FBI Agent Morris intended to bring about the death of James Bulger, William Bulger is saying that the FBI intended it. He does mention, “In 1995 and in subsequent years, I believed the FBI wanted James Bulger killed.” He also does not claim that the FBI wanted to kill James Bulger firsthand but instead indicates that the FBI had already planted those seeds for him to be killed by other parties — specifically, members of the criminal underworld, subsequent to September 20, 1988 Globe Spotlight Report. The threat of death would surely be permanent; the damage was already done, wasn’t it? That threat of death would apply infinitely after the September 20, 1988 Spotlight Report.

            For the perjury issue, I was referring to how I believe that William Bulger was telling the truth and could not be guilty of perjury; your point is that even if he was technically not telling the truth about what he believed, he could not be guilty of perjury. I’m not seeking perjury; I’ve tried to explain why there is none, for a different reason than yours.

            You also claim to know or know more about William Bulger better than I would, but from my limited understanding, I do not perceive him as someone who would be “not serious” during testimony to Congress, given the stakes involved at that time. If you do know him better than I would, then I surely cannot argue with that — how well do you know him?


            1. You say “For Agent Morris to want James Bulger murdered, would mean that “the FBI” would want him murdered.”

              I say balderdash.

              If Robert Hanssen wanted to spy for Russia; would that mean the FBI wanted to spy for Russia? FBI Agent Donald Sachtleben engaged in child pornography would you say the FBI engaged in child pornography? FBI Agent Robert Clymer was arrested for drunk driving; would you say the FBI was arrested for drunk driving? An FBI agent stole things from the cabin of the Unibomber; would you say the FBI stole things from the cabin?

              You cannot attribute the act of one agent to the organization as a whole. As far as knowing Billy Bulger I do know him to say hello to him, grew up among people who know him much better, and know the mentality of the type of people he springs from. I can say for a fact that he does not believe the FBI wanted to murder his brother; he believes rightly that Morris wanted him dead but I do not believe he could point to any other agents of the same mind.

            2. Jay:

              You again make the act of an indivdual the act of the organization which makes no sense. Morris was not acting for or on behalf of the FBI when he was seeking to have Whitey killed.

              As far as Rico and Condon are concerned, Gertner was way off base. The evidence upon which she made her findings were a real stretch. Perhaps you should read Rico’s Congessional testimony to understand that issue a little better.

              I don’t know what you mean when you say: “That threat of death would apply infinitely after the September 20, 1988 Spotlight Report.” Morris was the only threat to Whitey and that was by disclosing he was an informant. After 1995 when Whitey took off the FBI was no threat to him other than catching him; that he was an informant was made clear by Flemmi in 1997 so perhaps we can say that Flemmi and all the gangsters at the hearing wanted him dead.

              I don’t think Billy Bulger was meaning that Morris wanted him dead when he said the FBI wanted him dead. If that was his intent then of course he was correct and all this discussion has been for naught.

              Not that my relationship or non-relationship has any bearing on the subject, I know Billy to say hello to and perhaps talk briefly with him as dozens of other people. I ahven’t seen him to do that in decades. I am more friendly with people like him who may know him. I know the type of person he is. If pressed, as I’ve said, he’d never say that the FBI as an organization wanted him killed. I assume Billy holds the individual FBI agents in high respect as I do. As I’ve suggested, in the moment he overspoke in stating his belief.

          6. To clarify, I am saying that the statements must all be true, because the penalties of perjury are a strong deterrent. I am not looking for perjury, the point is that it is the truth, which means that there is no perjury. I was noting that William Bulger’s stated fear must also be true, because he would not commit perjury. I am saying that because there obviously was no perjury, that all statements are true; specifically, that he believed, like Judge Wolf, that the FBI wanted to bring about the death of James Bulger.

            At no point did I intend to say there was perjury; I was saying that it must be true, or else it would be perjury. Because it is true, there is no perjury. This goes back to the original point that William had to mean what he said about the FBI intending to bring about the death of James Bulger.

            1. Jay:

              Statements of belief need not be true. If I testify I believe Leprechauhow are living in my basement how could that ever be perjury? You could prove ’til the cows come home that they don’t but that doesn’t make my belief even though wrong perjury.

          7. Dear Matt,

            I’m pretty shocked you have compared me to a federal prosecutor, when the whole point of mentioning perjury was to state that obviously William Bulger was telling the truth about what he believed, because otherwise it would be perjury and he would not risk encountering that.

            Similarly, I was encouraging readers to consult Thomas Kiley’s affidavit and other exhibits, such as Judge Wolf’s memorandum excerpt about FBI Agent Morris wishing to bring about the death of James Bulger. I was never searching for perjury; I was in no way functioning like a “federal prosecutor.” I was saying that he was telling the truth.

            You initially stated that William Bulger was “not serious” about a stated belief he made to members of Congress; I rose to his defense by giving him the benefit of a doubt. I noted that his attorney, Thomas Kiley further fortified that belief as well in his affidavit. Again, that affidavit was intended to support the point that Morris intended for James Bulger to die, not to somehow suggest that anyone committed any perjury.

            I am sorry for what has turned into an apparent miscommunication and am slightly offended that you would compare me to a federal prosecutor like Wyshak or Kelly. I intended only to say that William Bulger (and Kiley) is a truthful man, nothing more — and certainly NOT the other way around. It was my understanding that it was you who implied that he was less than truthful when you suggested that he was not “serious” when asserting that the FBI intended to bring about the death of James Bulger.

            Perhaps because you clearly don’t believe the FBI intended that, you appear to have a difficult time accepting that William Bulger would believe it.


            1. Jay:

              Go back and review what you have written. I think you’ll see you were more intent on finding perjury than you let on. I did not say you were like Wyshak or Kelly but like the usual federal prosecutor looking for anything. I am pleased you say William Bulger is a truthful man; I have said that I don’t believe when he said the FBI was out to murder Whitey after 1995 he meant it. I said I don’t believe stating his belief is perjury (you then wrote a long comment pointing out how it might be) but said he was overstating the case. I assume some believe the FBI was out to kill Whitey but I don’t share that belief nor do I believe Billy shares it.

          8. Dear Matt,

            I am looking at the context of the congressional hearings on June 19, 2003 which included statements by Congressman Stephen Lynch as follows:

            “[W]e have elicited and cataloged a 40 year history of unspeakable crimes and atrocities which were condoned, conducted or materially assisted by the Boston office of the FBI. These atrocities include the murders of at least 19 individuals, 17 men and 2 women, some of whom have been retrieved from hastily dug graves, others who have yet to be found.”

            Lynch continues by referring to “The FBI” as an organization, noting: “The FBI, in league with their Government informants, set forth a chain of events that spans 40 years. This crime spree saw the case of Brian Halloran who had turned to the FBI for protection in fear of his own life. He was turned away by the FBI and only a short time later, he and his friend, Michael Donohue who as an innocent bystander and had merely given Mr. Halloran a ride, were gunned down in cold blood in my own neighborhood of South Boston. Two other victims, Debra Davis and Debra Hussey, were only 26 years old when they were murdered by the very men the FBI had chosen to protect.”

            Congressman Lynch continues: “That conversation probably for me solidified the sense of wrongness that has been done here as well as the special nature of the FBI wrongdoing that has gone on here. The American public I think is probably just beginning to grasp the breadth and depth of what really went on during the course of FBI misconduct.”

            Congressman William Delahunt also refers to the FBI as an organization, just as William Bulger does: “It has been established clearly that information in the possession of the FBI could have exonerated innocent men who did serve more than 30 years each for crimes that the FBI knew they did not commit. Yet, the Bureau never felt the need to come forward with that information.”

            These quotes are referenced here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-108hhrg89004/html/CHRG-108hhrg89004.htm

            Just as we state that there was a “relationship” between the FBI and James Bulger, that relationship was through one agent in particular: John Connolly. Yet we say it was a relationship with “the FBI.”

            It would seem that you intend to distinguish conduct outside the scope of one’s official duties, such as spying for a foreign government, or stealing evidence, which would lead to individuals being responsible. You state that it can never be official FBI policy to advocate murder.

            Yet why was there liability in the LIMONE V. USA case, if that was not the FBI? Why was it the federal government which was required to pay those damages, rather than the individual agents involved, if the “FBI” organization had committed no wrongdoing and was instead the victim of two rogue agents?

            I understand it to be an established fact that FBI agents were involved in murders, as noted from Congressman Lynch and Congressman Delahunt here.

            It does not make sense to me that William Bulger would say, “In 1995 and in subsequent years, I believed the FBI wanted James Bulger killed,” if he did not believe the FBI wanted James Bulger killed. I don’t see a lot of room for interpretation there; not a lot of wiggle room. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to be confused by that.

            Now that you claim to have inside knowledge of William Bulger beyond what I am reading here in the plain language of his written and spoken statement, I simply cannot debate with you any further about this issue.

            What reply do you leave me with, when your argument is that I effectively do not understand “the mentality of the people he springs from”?


            1. Jay:

              Congressman, as politicians, engage in much hyperbole. Their knowledge of most situations, especially here, is not deep. They pontificate and what they say should be taken with a grain of salt. Lynch suggesting that the FBI “condoned, conducte or materially assisted” in 19 murders is laughable. No one else ever suggested anything like that and you offer it as a basis for believing him. Brian Halloran as you also must know was never turned away from the FBI as Lynch stated. Delahunt is also not exactly correct if you read the testimony of Paul Rico, and by the way, three of the four men who were sent away in the Deegan trial were probably guilty, there seems little doubt that the Deegan hit was okayed by the Mafia.

              You have the right to interperet anything the way you wish. I think perhaps you get too bogged down in taking things too litterally and venturing into areas like the law where much is learned not from books but from the doing.

          9. Hi Matt,

            OK listen…about the perjury issue. I was intent on showing how it would have been perjury if it was not true; but the whole point is that it was true. The threat of perjury charges, about which members of Congress continuously reminded William Bulger, makes the whole testimony all the more credible and addressed many longstanding issues about his past. The threat of perjury added credibility to his own testimony; and I attempted to explore how that threat would have added credibility to this facet of his testimony as well — about the FBI wanting James Bulger to be killed. Please trust that I’m being completely honest in stating that I was not searching for perjury; how could I, when the larger issue is I asserted that his belief was true as it was written?

            No one can prove whether a belief is true — that is true. But to suggest that a person claims to believe something when they do not seemed to run against what I thought I knew about William Bulger’s character; he seems to be a person who says what he means, unless he’s singing a ditty… 🙂

            Perhaps one of these days, you’ll run into him pacing around Castle Island or wherever your paths would cross before, and you can ask him about this. If and when that happens, I would very much appreciate an update!

            Good night,

            1. Jay:

              You are back and forth on this issue. Judge Daisy Donohue was once confronted outside the courthouse by a juror who said, “I think I heard perjury in the courtroom this morning.” He replied, “where else would you have heard it?” If you were in the profession of dealing with testimony you’d have a better understanding of the matter – sometimes the treat of perjury means something but as we saw with the federal witnesses it meant very little.

              Billy was particularly at risk because the knives were out for him. He knew every statement he made would be put under a microscope because too many people were desirous of bringing charges against him: Burton coveting publicity; the prosecutors from the Carr/Dershowitz/Globe school that Billy is corrupt.

              Think what you want about Billy but he was engaged in hyperbole when he said the FBI was out to kill Whitey – which is not unusual for a person engaged in politics. However, using your rationale (with which I disagree) if Billy meant by his statement that Morris was out to kill Whitey (Morris representing the whole FBI) then he was correct.

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