An Overlooked Hero in the Fight Against the Mafia: G Robert Blakey

blakey_robert_webAt the library yesterday I was browsing through the section that sold used books. Not that I need any more books in my house since we’re trying to cut back on them and donate some to the library. Glancing through the titles I saw a book Five Families  by Selwyn Raab. an investigative for the New York Times.

It’s not that I need any more reading material but I picked it up and paid the $2.00 ‘honor fee.’  I had no idea what to expect when I opened the book. I thought it would be a story glorifying the five Mafia families who made up the Commission in New York City in line with the Soprano HBO series. It isn’t, at least as far as what I have read. It does tell about the Mafia’s history, the background of its leaders, how it operated, and its reach into labor and other legitimate businesses.

What surprised me however, was Raab’s knowledge of the forces that rose up against the Mafia. He brought back to my mind some names that had slipped from my memory. G. Robert Blakey was one. Blakey grew up in Burlington, North Carolina. His father was a Texan of English stock and from a family of staunch Baptists who fought for the South in the Civil War; his mother was of Irish descent and a Roman Catholic. When asked about his ethnicity he’d always reply: “I am an American.” He went to Notre Dame from which he got his undergraduate degree in 1957 and law degree in 1960, where he now teaches.

He, more than any other person, is responsible for the destruction of the Mafia. He taught a summer course at Cornell Law School for organize crime prosecutors that I attended. He was behind Senator John McClellan’s legislation which gave us Title III, the ability of law enforcement to do wiretaps; he was also a fierce advocate of having legislation enacted that would allow law enforcement to go after groups rather than individuals. Again, he was the draftsman and McClellan was the driver of the legislation which resulted in the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970 that gave us the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Author Raab suggests the acronym RICO is a  reminder to all that taking down the gangster Rico in Little Caesar did nothing to stop the leaders of the mob.

Blakey learned that the passage of the legislation into law although significant, it was only a baby step. It meant very little if people did not understand how it to use it. He found himself traveling around the country trying to influence prosecutors and investigators to use of their new tools and to train them into doing this. The mentality he faced was the traditional idea that you go after individuals and not groups; for years no one seemed interested in his new approach.

After teaching at the FBI school in Quantico Blakey expressed his frustration saying of the FBI agents: “They thought simplistically like cops solving individual crimes, not about systematically destroying Mob families.” But it wasn’t just the investigators who were put off by his approach. On November 1, 1972, Blakely was giving his pep talk at the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office. In the middle of it, the U.S. Attorney Whitney North Seymour Jr. rose out of his seat and said: “You don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re wasting my time and my assistants’. Get out.”

It was not until the summer of 1979, nine years after the enactment of RICO that one FBI person took the first steps to understand the significance of what Blakey was offering. That was Neil Welch who became the head of the New York City FBI office as an assistant director of the FBI. Welch was not one of J.Edgar Hoover’s favorites since he was continually locking horns with him. He’d have never had that position if Hoover had gone to bed on May 1, 1972 and woken up the next day.

Welch sent two supervisors from his office to attend Blakey’s summer course. They went, reluctantly. These were two hardened and experienced FBI agents who felt out of place for the first couple of days on a college campus as Blakey explained the law and its intricacies. Then Blakey drawing on the Baptist preacher blood that flowed in his veins began preaching the evils of the Mafia and its insidious impact on the American labor movement and he converted the two FBI agents, James Kossler and Jules Bonavolonta, into disciples.

The FBI and another hero in the fight against the Mafia, Ronald Goldstock who headed the New York state’s anti-Mafia task force, would combine to take down the Mafia families.

I thought Sunday would be a good day to recognize George Robert Blakey’s work in this area.

 

 

 

Welch, a lawyer, was intrigued by what Blakely was pushing. He sent two FBI supervisors from his office to his course at Cornell. It was from that little seed that the destruction of the Five Families began.

49 thoughts on “An Overlooked Hero in the Fight Against the Mafia: G Robert Blakey

    1. Jean:

      Thanks for the reference. I’ll read it and think about it. I think Mueller did a disservice in not recognizing the FBI was not the group to fight the war against the terrorist. It’s better suited in the criminal arena especially with organize crime and white collar. Taking so many agents away from criminal and into fields where they really were not a good fit will give groups like the Mafia a chance to regain traction.

  1. Matt: I understand your point of view. You want to reform the FBI.
    I am saying there are consequences when you hire people to protect society.
    My orientation is to reinvent our criminal justice system that would have volunteer civilian police review boards with subpoena powers whose organizational philosophy is based on restorative justice. This is not about who is right or wrong this is about organizational models that have different consequences.

    For more about attorney Roy Cohn google roy cohn pedophilia
    also see http://www.conspiracyarchive.com/Commentary/DC_Madam_1.htm

    With regards to terrorist events on American //Irish/India
    soil ( 1993 1st World Trade Center bombing, Oklahoma City bombing, Mumbai, Omargh bombing)Each terrorist event was created by a FBI informant.

    Ahmed Salem
    Timothy McVeigh
    David Headley
    Whitey Bulger

    1. MS:

      I think the worse thing that could happen is to have volunteer civilian police review boards with subpoena power. Who would be the volunteers? Who would control them? It’d become the home of cranks out to get the police and it would empower more people who would then have to be watched by some other board. There are easier ways to do it.

      I also don’t want to reinvent something that works and can be changed with a little tinkering here and there. Most cops do a good job and having outside review boards is not going to change the behavior inside. I think if you read Dick Lehr’s book about when the federals decided they were going to review the actions of the Boston police in a police chase and they ended up indicting a Boston cop named Conley the not only got the wrong man, they indicted the one guy who did the best to ameliorate the damage. When shown they were wrong they doubled down.

      It’s not whether FBI informants committed terrorist acts it is whether the FBI committed them. Too many people decide on what outcome they want and then work backwards.

      1. Matt:
        You may want to watch this trial.
        http://news.fredericksburg.com/newsdesk/2013/08/26/fbi-agents-murder-trial-set/

        August 26th, 2013, 6:52 pm
        FBI agent’s murder trial set

        A five-day jury trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 16 for a local FBI agent charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of his estranged wife at his Stafford County home.

        Arthur “Art” Bernard Gonzales, 43, is also charged with use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in the April 19 shooting death of Julie Serna Gonzales, 42.

        1. MS:

          That FBI agent should never have been charged. The FBI has said that every agent who fired his weapon over the last 15 years was justified in doing it. I wonder if he is still a supervisor on the job. He was not held on bail I notice. It’ll be like the Todashev in Florida, merely defending himself and his honor from an outrageous attack.

  2. A country is only as high as your elected officials and the
    people they appoint to protect you.
    An active barometer of the depth of corruption in the FBI
    was made clear a few years ago by the WGBH Frontline documentary
    the Secret Files of J Edgar Hoover.
    A woman named Rosensteil is interviewed. She attended a sex party with her husband and describes FBI Director J Edgar Hoover as dressed up as a woman who called himself Mary . This has been reported widely in the press.
    More importantly and telling is she said J Edgar Hoover went into the bedroom “to have sex with young boys”.
    Sounds like pedophilia to me Matt, eh?

    Here is part of the interview with Mrs. Rosensteil. The narrator says” went into the room to have sex with young men” whereas Mrs Rosensteil says ” young boys” I have the Frontline documentary.Your library can get you the documentary through inter library loan for free.
    see article after youtube video. The writer saw the original documentary where Mrs Rosentsteil says “young boys”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Hbny_6wacA&list=PLD90A4ED0655815E9&index=1

    http://bitterqueen.typepad.com/friends_of_ours/2011/12/j-edgar-hoover-biopic-punts-on-the-gay-question.html

    1993 1st World Trade Center bombing:
    In other news Dan Rather say” FBI informant Ahmed Salem warned FBI agents the group he was paid by the FBI to organize and build the bomb for was now getting ready to detonate the bomb.
    Ahmed Salem’s FBI handlers FBI agents Floyd and Anticev fired Salem and allowed the bomb to be detonated. see

    1. MS:

      I’ve read that nonsense and choose not to believe it. J. Edgar Hoover involved himself publicly and privately with thousands of people on thousands of occasions and some woman makes this absurd allegation with no other support.

      Susan L. Rosenstiel, a former wife of Lewis S. Rosenstiel, chairman of Schenley Industries Inc., said that in 1958, she was at a party at the Plaza Hotel where Hoover engaged in cross-dressing in front of her then-husband and Roy Cohn, former counsel to Senator Joe McCarthy. Susan was Summers’s primary source for the cross-dressing story, and she was not exactly a credible witness. In fact, she served time at Riker’s Island for perjuring herself in a 1971 case. She hated Hoover because she thought he backed her husband in their divorce case.

      MS you want to believe all the worst rumors by disgruntled investigators or women with axes I’m not big into trying to find the FBI is behind every terrorist act that occurred in the country. I happen to believe almost all of the agents are good Americans but the FBI is set up to protect itself from embarrassment. That doesn’t mean, as you suggest, that somehow it is active in committing terrorist acts or not doing its utmost to protect us against them. My point in criticizing the FBI is that I think with the people in it that it can be better than it is.

  3. I think Blakely, which you mention in your post, was also an investigator for the Warren Commission. New York City Detective Ralph Salerno is also a name that should go alongside Blakely’s when we talk about how law enforcement began focusing on organized crime.
    Salerno was a highly decorated NYPD detective that was assigned to the Kefauver Committee hearings an investigator. Salerno was assigned to verify the testimony of Joe Valachi as he testified in front of the committee.
    As a result of his experiences, Salerno went on to teach and lecture about organized crime. He formulated the now widely accepted opinion, that organized crime cannot exist without the cooperation of corrupt government officials.

  4. Dear Matt,
    You responded to my post about creating an online petition to investigate Kevin Weeks with: “The DOJ put him on the stand and believes his story.”
    If the DOJ believed Kevin Weeks’ story, why would a federal judge seal my brother’s Boston Police Incident Report which contradicted his story concerning the Michael Donahue and Brian Halloran murders?
    A federal judge doesn’t seal public information unless there is a compelling government interest and good cause for secrecy. Obviously, they knew Kevin Weeks was lying.
    They wanted to use Kevin Weeks as a witness against Whitey, Connolly and others. So they get rid of my brother’s police witness statement and allowed Weeks to commit perjury.
    I commented on your “What Happens Now?” post. My comment ended with two sections of my lawsuit that mentioned Stephen Rakes. I know those sections of the lawsuit were posted because Jean Allan Sovik commented on the wording of one statement (#75). Did you delete those sections of my lawsuit? You have every right to do so, because this is your blog. Or did Big Brother delete them?
    Here they are again:
    “55. On or about May, 2006, Jon Stuen-Parker went to the Boston office of the Justice Department to obtain Jaime Parker’s May, 1982, Boston Police Incident Report. A Justice Department official informed Stuen-Parker that a Federal Seal was placed on the Police Incident Report by Jaime Parker concerning the Michael Donahue and Brian Halloran murders. The Justice Department official gave Stuen-Parker three case citation numbers that were ‘related to the sealed information.’ The case citation numbers revealed the Halloran, Donahue, and Rakes/Dammers civil lawsuits.”
    _________________________________________________________________________
    “70. Among the numerous crimes perpetrated by the Bulger Group was to compel Stephen Rakes and Julie Rakes Dammers to sell them their liquor store.
    71. ‘Rakes and Dammers brought suit against the United States under the Federal Torts Claims Act (FTCA). Because the extortion took place in 1984, and Rakes and Dammers did not file an administrative claim until May 11, 2001, the FTCA’s two year statute of limitations would bar this action if the claim had accrued on the date of injury.’12
    12Rakes v. U.S., 442 F. 3d 7, p. 2 (1st Cir. Mar. 23, 2006).
    72. ‘The question on appeal was whether, under the discovery rule or under any tolling principle, the FTCA claim at issue accrued before or after May 11, 1999. Finding that the claim accrued more than two years before Rakes and Dammers filed their claims, and that the statute of limitations was not tolled on grounds of duress or fraudulent concealment, the court affirmed ‘the decision of the district court dismissing the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.’’13
    13Ibed, p. 3.
    73. ‘We note that Dammers in fact argues two distinct tolling doctrines in support of her position. Specifically, she argues that she was delayed in filing her claim because 1) she was under duress as a result of being threatened by members of the Winter Hill Gang, and 2) the government fraudulently concealed or misrepresented information vital to her claim.’14
    14Ibed, p. 35.
    74. ‘The district court thought that, in order to find Dammers’ claim tolled on the ground of duress, it was necessary for Rakes and Dammers to allege sufficient facts to permit an inference that the United States ‘used coercive acts of [sic] threats against them.’ Rakes, 352 F. Supp. 2d at 81. This may overstate the rule, for we think that a claim of duress levied against the United States during the period in which Connolly was actively engaged in protecting Bulger and Flemmi from oversight by law enforcement might conceivably have been made out.’15
    15Ibed, p. 36
    75. ‘In order to prevail under this rule, Dammers must be able to demonstrate duress caused by the government continually until May 11, 1999. By that date, however, Connolly had long been out of the business of partnering with Bulger. ‘Equitable tolling is based on concealment or other misconduct by the defendant.’ Crawford v. United States, 796 F. 2d 924, 926 (7th Cir. 1986). Once the misconduct ceased, and the United States began actively seeking to frustrate rather than further the Winter Hill Gang’s criminal activities, the government was, under the facts in this case, no longer responsible for ongoing threats made by members of the Winter Hill Gang. We therefore agree with the district court that Dammers’ duress argument fails.’16
    16Ibed.
    76. Information concerning the Michael Donahue and Brian Halloran murders, information the Justice Department deemed was ‘related’ to the Rakes/Dammers civil lawsuit, was sealed by a federal judge. This Federal Seal has allowed Winter Hill gang member, Kevin Weeks, to avoid perjury prosecution for his under-oath testimony concerning the murders of Michael Donahue and Brian Halloran. Thus, the Federal Seal on information concerning the Michael Donahue and Brian Halloran murders helped further the Winter Hill Gang’s criminal activities.
    77. The Boston Police Department Incident Report by Jaime Parker concerning the Michael Donahue and Brian Halloran murders, public information a federal judge cited a compelling government interest and good cause for secrecy, public information the Justice Department deemed was ‘related’ to the Rakes/Dammers lawsuit, was sealed before Rakes v. U.S., 442 F. 3d 7 (1st Cir. March 23, 2006). Thus, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals was prevented from allowing justice to prevail concerning the Rakes/Dammers civil case.”

    1. Matt, Afraid, Jon: I can’t imagine any “government interest” which could justify continuing to seal those records, except a nefarious interest: namely the DOJ/FBI/FEd judges/FED prosecutors are conspiring to save their own butts from the frying pan. That is, they are protecting themselves, or as Matt says, protecting “The FED Family” from embarrassment. The more I read the more convinced I am that we are dealing with a case of the FEDs versus The People; the FEDs are not serving us, they are acting against us; they are lying to us; they are withholding vital information from us, We the People!!!
      (2) On an International Scale, think of this: Even if it were conclusively proven that some rogue Syrian general gassed ten-thousand people and caused one-thousand deaths, does that justify the use of America’s War Machine to kill tens and hundreds of thousands of Syrians. Remember, in Libya we said we’d do a “No Fly Zone” to prevent a projected 10,000 deaths in Benghazi battles (civil war) and once the NO Fly Zone was established we killed Ghadafi’s children and grandchildren (Command and Control Targeting) killed thousands of Ghadafi’s soldiers sitting in tanks and trucks (nothing to do with flying), thousands of innocent civilians (collateral casualties we called them) and ended up overall inflaming the Libyan conflict so that 60,000 Libyans were killed. We killed 50-60,000 to prevent a projected 10,000 from being killed. How many will NATO, France and the US kill in Syria? Why don’t we stay out of these conflicts? All this poisonous gas stuff is reminiscent of Libya and Kosovo before it. The KLA or other rebel groups manufacture incidents or trump up charges or have legitimate beefs, and we ignore the rebels’ atrocities, then slight the rightful authorities’ beefs, and we start bombing the hell out of the rightful authority, killing tens of thousands of innocent bystanders. Stop American Imperialism. Stop American-fueled Narcotics Trafficking. Stop Narco-Terrorism. Stop inflaming the world against us and inflaming the AMerican people against our own government; the FEDs are the flaming arses. Put the Imperialistic, black-booted bloated Federal Genie back in its lamp, and put a permanent stopper on it!!! Let’s get back to our roots: Washingtonian, Jeffersonian, Lincolnesque roots: “If we are to perish as a free people, it will be at our own hand” said Lincoln (paraphrasing); America is on the road to committing suicide through Imperialism abroad and erecting a corrupt PoliceState-SpyState-ProsecutorialAbusive-ConstitutionalDefyingJusticeDepartment at home, as well as through the erection of the Welfare State’s Plantation Mentality (the new serfdom) and the quasi-semi-sanctioned proliferation of narcotics/hard drugs; the soft-headed, soft-on-crime sanctioning of killer drugs through lax enforcement of trafficking and diversion laws.

      1. William:

        1. The records Afraid spoke about were available to John Connolly and Whitey Bulger’s defense teams. They sought not to use them. Keep in mind most of our federals are hard working good Americans.

        2. I think most Amricans agree that we do not want to get involved in another war.

    2. Afraid:

      The report you complain about that was sealed was available to defense counsel for both John Connolly and Whitey Bulger. They choose not to use it. It is no a secret what your brother said. You have posted it here. I do not know why it was sealed at one time but it is known to many people outside the federal control. In fact, as you point out, you brought a suit for money damages based on it and that suit was eventually dismissed. The DOJ has decided in light of the facts you have produced that it still believes Kevin Weeks. No petition is going to alter its position.

      I did take out your inclusion in your post of the allegations you made in your suit. I do not think this is the proper place for the reproduction of such things. Parties interested in them can contact you through this site and communicate with you outside of here by email. I’m sure you understand that there has to be a limit to the space used for comments.

    3. Matt- Both A and B , I love the fact that you looked it up, YOU DO CARE and are a great person for helping the young guys like me. Been blessed to connect with you this summer and have a tremendous amount of respect for you and your decency. You should have seen the tantrum he pulled about revealing his contract. I really get nervous when I see the decay of my city, it is not good here and I know it is bad everywhere but the subsidized housing is what they consider economic progression or a restaurant. Mayor Will Flanagan is going to get RE-elected again, also Matt guess who’s wife just snuck in by 200 votes to be a state rep for my district?? hint hint The same guy who just got another 3 yr contract deal today for FROED. I think you will figure it out.

      1. Doubting:

        It sounds like Fall River is going to be stolen like that California city where the major was making a couple of million dollars a year along with his staff. Remember the dumber the electorate, the happier the politician.

        1. Matt- I think it is long been stolen, you look up the extinction of quaker fabric, kerr mill fire, so on and so on. Fiola has been on for 3 or 4 mayoral administrations now. I really want to disturb you now though with this, if you have the time search Martha Monteleon Diman H.S current superintendent who has brought great success to the school, trying to be tossed out (POOF) by the {school committee Flanagan goon squad} when you will risk children progressing and succeeding for political agenda can you imagine what else they would do to the city?

          1. Doubting:

            Fall Rivers seems to be a place that needs a closer look. It seems to hide on the southern coast as an independent entity. Maybe someday a you investigative reporter will take a look at it. Or, perhaps, as you suggest that it might be too late.

  5. Msfreeh,

    I believe the saying ‘there’s more than one way to skin a cat” applies to law enforcement’s ability to reduce levels of crime where it is very apparent. New york was able to do it one way. Dallas and Baltimore another. One aspect that always seems apparent is that local police are able to effectively communicate with members of the communities infested with crimes. One reason Michigan’s. crime rates have fallen with fewer officers could simply be due to a lack of collaboration between the community and its police, leading to less crimes being reported due to the sheer fact that doing so will bring victims the label of ‘snitch’ amongst the people they interact with. Oakland, CA, is currently facing an astronimically high level of crime in comparison to other years, and many believe that the city’s relatively small number of police officers is the cause. After reading this article and a few others, I can’t say I disagree with them.

    http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Secrecy-in-Oakland-on-crime-fighting-strategy-4754816.php

    After reviewing more material regarding Oakland’s inability to curb crime, my initial impression was to say that Mayor Jean Quan and her staff are simply incompetent. For the record, nothing I have read since has led me to believe otherwise. Regardless, why is the Oakland Police/FBI taskforce so reluctant to provide the names of those arrested? Moreover, why is it that none of the information about how the city’s new public safety initiative is supposed to prevent future crimes from being committed? Lastly, the Acorn housing complex, where the arrests were made, hosts a gang of over 100 members. That begs the question: How the hell did some of the most well-trained FBI agents in the area only able to gather up 8 of them? The answer seems somewhat clear to me. Acorn’s residents, however fed up they may be with the gang’s level of criminal activity, are still to some extent more willing to help the criminals rather than the people trying to catch them.

    1. Tyler As I always tell Matt, it begins with the Kennedy Assassination.

      One story and 1 documentary for you.

      The story………
      http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/424506/Was-Kennedy-murdered-by-his-own-vice-president

      Was Kennedy murdered by his own vice president?
      ON THURSDAY, November 21, 1963, a wealthy Dallas businessman was throwing a party. His name was Clint Murchison and he was big in the oil business, with additional interests in banking and publishing.
      Published: Sun, August 25, 2013

      New-research-surrounding-JFK-s-death-has-been-unearthered-by-author-Matthew-Smith New research surrounding JFK’s death has been unearthered by author Matthew Smith

      The documentary…….

    2. It’s a replay of Winter Hill; powerful gangs get drug money, corrupt-impede law enforcement and intimidate locals. It’s a failure of lenient judges, inept-indifferent “pay-check” power-hungry prosecutors, unfunded defanged police (some on the take) and corrupt indifferent legislatures (blind eyes, no testicular fortitude, lack of funding for law enforcement and lack of creative legislation to stifle gangs.) End major drug trafficking and you’ll eradicate 90% of gangs’ funds and 90% of major felonies. Too much corrupt money coming from Afhganistan-Turkey narcotic connection and from Big Pharmaceutical Diversion of Oxycontins and other narcotics. Eradicate distribution of narcotics, crack coke and i.v. speed (meth) and you’ll cut major crime by 90%. Too many judges, pols, bankers on the take. Pols and judges are paid off by quid pro qua; their kids get into Ivy League schools for example if they play ball, the ball-less bastards. FEDs, judges and prosecutors, who go after two-bit criminals (look up Chuck Turner) and who flirt with and skirt around Narco-Terroristic Activity in our neighborhoods and who curry favor with serial killers and serial perjurers also are to blame for spikes in crime, and spikes in deaths due to overdoses of oxys, heroin and other narcotics. The FEDs are in bed with the Pushers, nationwide and internationally!!!

      1. William:

        The war on drugs has proven not to have stopped the drug use. Crime is at a 40 year low. Police reduction has not proved inimical to the fall in crime. (see post by MS) I think when you paint everyone as corrupt you do a disservice to the great majority of government and state officials who work hard to make a better life for all of us. I also suggest that you lose your audience and influence when you use such broad accusations.

        1. Matt-

          I have to say that I strongly disagree. At least in the cast of Oakland, as I posted earlier. Obviously you do not have ample free time to research the issue. But the increase in crime there has a direct correlation to the decrease in officers patrolling the streets.

          Tyler

          1. Let’s also acknowledge that the appeal of urban living has brought forth gentrification in virtually all major cities across the US. As a result, in most cases the individuals who reside in within the city boundaries are either very wealthy or very poor. Police are in less demand for areas where this is the case because the high-crime areas they patrol have smaller geographic areas and decreasing population sizes.

            I think the point to take away from this would be that crime should really be looked at in working class cities where there is more of a balance of wealth amongst the residents yet still high crime. In other words, a city where the majority of neighborhoods within the city are actually being impacted by the law enforcement inability to keep criminals off the street.

            When you have a moment, I would be very interested in hearing your opinion about a city in New England that is facing similar circumstances. Say, Fall River? Aside from hiring more officers, what exactly could a city like that do to decrease the level of crime?

            1. Tyler:

              People much more qualified than I am have struggled with the issues you bring up. My gut tells me that too little police is bad and too many is likewise bad. I’ve always been a proponent of paying a police officer a good salary. We want to attract the best type people to a job that is not that easy. In cities there are high crime areas where poverty and certain cultures seem to allow the criminal to survive and thrive in a great extent because the people in those areas are caught in difficult situations. The police come and go while they have to stay there 24 hours a day so they tend to have a “go along, get along” attitude with everyone hoping the criminals will leave them alone. I prosecuted a guy who after incarcerating him I needed him for a witness so I got to know him. He lived in a tough area and his daughter was raped by some young hoodlums. They went to court and were back on the street in the neighborhood where he lived, a neighborhood where his daughter had to walk to school every day. Listening to his anguish made me realize I was a thousand miles away from understanding the situation in the inner cities.

              As for Fall River, you may recall that for a while before Rudy Guiliani (not necessarily one of my favorite people) became mayor. He developed a no tolerance policy on crime including chasing away the hoodlums who would wash your car window and try to get money from you. He turned the city around. My prescription for Fall River would be that it make sure the court is not a revolving door, that the chief or mayor insists that anyone who has gone to the house twice be sent to prison for the max on the next felony, that people on probation who offend be violated an sent to the house. I’d bet you’ll find many of the criminals are repeaters who have been wrongly left back into the community. I’d not bring charges on minor criminal offenses by young people without records – tell the person you have his name and will remember it. Those are some things. More police is not the solution; better policing is.

              Bill Bratton who is from MA is the expert in this area. I’d pay a few bucks to have him come in and give a quick overview of the system. Guys who’ve been there can give a better sense of what is best.

          2. Tyler:

            The proposition sent to me by MS was a study in Michigan that said the crime rate had gone done even though the police forces were cut. I answered by suggesting that to follow that logic, that somehow there is a correlation between reducing police and crime reduction, if we continue to cut our police forces then crime would disappear. I suggested that would be unlikely. I do not disagree with you that in some areas the decrease in police forces will cause an increase in crime. I think that more likely the result of decreasing the police force than seeing a crime drop. However, if you go to MS’s comment you’ll see the article on the Michigan police reduction.

          3. Tyler- I am in Fall River, ma 32 years strong, born and raised, I can answer anything you are interested in relating to drugs and revolving door criminal syndrome here, The new courthouse is a pure shit show. But as far as economic development it is under a huge racket look the name Ken Fiola jr. up and then you will see a big problem. Crime wise we just do not have enough police officers, we live off the breast of the state for grants and all that. Biggest problems in THE RIVER is DRUGS,MAYOR,CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT.KEN Fiola, WE only have one reporter who tells it like it is Marc Munroe Dion and I think he is worn out from the city and it’s machine.

            1. Doubting:

              That wouldn’t be this Ken Fiola: “In a March 2009 article in the Herald News, Fall River Office of Economic Development (FROED) (legally incorporated as Jobs for Fall River, Inc.) president, Alan Amaral was asked about Fiola’s salary. Amaral said the board has a legal contract and he’d release it with Fiola’s permission. Amaral said it is at least $100,000 and “is commensurate with his abilities and experience.”

              Amaral’s answer is scummy because FROED is a non-profit and as a result, Ken Fiola’s salary is public record.

              Without further ado:
              KEN FIOLA’S SALARY
              2005 $156,699.00 plus an additional $6,262 in deferred payments
              2006 $155,209.00 plus an additional $6,217 in deferred payments
              2007 $162,257.00 plus an additional $6,429 in deferred payments

              Ken Fiola’s Taunton counterpart earns approximately $70,000. That is $100,000.00 less then Fiola. To add further insult, Taunton is actually doing well so their money is well spent on their economic development director.”

              Or this Ken Fiola:

              ““My contract is not a public document … Absolutely not,” Fiola said when asked if he’d release the contract to the City Council . . . ”

              Sound like Fall River needs a good washing out.

    1. MS:

      Less cops equals less crime – suppose if we do away with all cops we’ll have no crime. Unlikely, there are many other factors involved in the falling crime rate, some none seem to understand.

  6. Matt,

    I spent part of today reading The Underboss by Lehr and O’Neill. I can tell you that the Boston Mob leader was very afraid of RICO. So many quotes on the tapes about his fears of RICO. And I’m very interested in the wiretaps that brought this entrenched group down.

    So, Kudos to G Robert Blakey and those who took his class.

    I also ended up here:

    http://www.nbcnewyork.com/investigations/Blind-Terrorist-Sheik-Omar-Abdel-Rahman-Threat-Danger-FBI-Informant-Warning-Emad-Salem-193184361.html

    The intersection of organized crime and the grip of these maniacs on our culture is breathtaking.
    May We Learn.

    1. Firefly:

      The one-eyed sheik is no threat to anyone. He’s living the life of torment in ADX, Florence, Colorado. The law enforcement community sometimes likes to keep the American people on edge, it allows them to get more tanks for the local police departments.

      You’ll note the FBI informant Emad Salem was worried that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi would pressure the US to release him. You see what happened to Morsi. He would like us to release himself from prison where he is now kept.

      RICO pretty much destroyed Organized Crime in America. The only thing now that is a danger to America is making more enemies as we are doing backing the Egyptian generals who are killing their people and attacking the Syrian president who is killing their people.

      Do me a favor and see if after our many years occupying Iraq and Afghanistan whether an American can travel freely in those countries. That’ll tell you how well our moves in the Middle East have been.

      1. Matt et al.,

        That’s a pretty lousy way to get a new tank.
        I hope you’re right about this guy. I saw that someone in the government said he’s not going anywhere. Period.

        I still get a little panicky every now and then when I think of those I know and love who were at or near the explosions on Boylston Street. I wish you could see the face of a lovely young woman when a lawn tractor backfired near her. Frozen. And she shook it off. Plucky.

        Encouraging and expecting that our cops and troopers and agents will work together to get this as right as possible is what I’m here for. If the culture of law enforcement is being pushed and cajoled into adapting to true threats, while growing in understanding of the mentally ill versus sociopathic criminals, we will do better.

        If our criminal courts can focus on the “strictly criminal” as Benji Ditchman coined it, and stop chasing kids around, which I think has happened with the decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana, perhaps they will have time to focus better.

        And about those wars? If someone had listened to Ronnie Bucca, imagine what might have been…..

        1. Firefly:

          You hit the nail on the head with your statement: “Encouraging and expecting that our cops and troopers and agents will work together to get this as right as possible is what I’m here for.” That’s what we should all be here for with constructive criticism pointing out how we think they can do better.

          Thanks for the Ronnie Bucca reference. He sure was a hero. But I’m curious as to what made you write, “If someone had listened to Ronnie Bucca.” Did he say something that was ignored?

          1. Hi Matt,

            I don’t have the exact quote, but I know he said, ad nauseam, that they were going to hit the towers again.

          2. Ronnie Bucca is another Overlooked Hero.
            He was on an elite force in the NY Fire Department and a Green Beret.
            He’d fallen five floors from a building, broken his back, and gutted his way through rehab and back onto the elite force.
            They called him the Flying Fireman.

            When the World Trade Center was bombed in ’93, Ronnie was one of the first to go into the thick smoke.
            His best friend edged near the crater with him and fell four stories into the rubble, rebar cutting through him.
            While visiting his friend in the hospital, Ronnie vowed to find out who did this.

            Peter Lance, an investigative journalist who’s written four books on 9/11, calls Ronnie Bucca the Paul Revere of 9/11.

            The death of Ronnie Bucca in one of the towers is one of the reasons this solidly educated attorney decided to investigate the cold case of 9/11. Ronnie had found out that there was a mole in the NY Fire Department who stole the plans of the World Trade Center buildings. He’d also educated himself in everything about the attackers. And it was clear to him they were coming back.

            He told a lot of people, including Peter Lance, that they were coming back.

            A Hero.

      2. Matt,

        Good summary of Raab’s book. I read it last year and Blakely deserves the credit you give him.

        On the Blind shiek matter, note that Rahman routinely shows up in Al Qaeda

        propaganda, showing that whether we prosecute or send guys to gitmo, AQ will use imprisonment as a recruiting tool. The idea that closing
        Gitmo would take away a recruitment tool was always
        farfetched.

        Also note that the shiek’s son is caught up in the turmoil in Egypt, though right now I can’t recall details.

        As for Egypt, I’m not sure what you would have the US do. We are already losing influence as the generals go to the Gulf countries for money, and we need to retain influence in that region. Just the Suez supply route alone, but also Egypt-Israel peace, etc. The violence has been thoroughly and clearly condemned, but then what?

        The chaos in Syria is in part the result of Western inaction early on. It left a vacuum that the jihadists filled, and now we lose either way.

        1. Jon:

          Agree about Guantanamo. I never cared about where they were confined just about confining them without some type of charges and hearings where they had an opportunity to defend themselves.

          For Egypt, I’d take the 1.5 billion from the generals and tell them to restore the government to the people. Whoat has our influence in that area accomplished other than to create enemies. We supported Mubarek and his generals for decades and out of that came the leaders of Al Qaeda. We can always insure passage through the canal and I don’t see that the U.S. has to guarantee anything for Israel since it is perfectly capable of taking care of itself.

          The chaos in Syria is probably more due to the Western encouragement of the rebels than anything else. We never felt particularly threatened by Syria until the rebellion began. You know it is all part of the Sunni/Shiite wars that have gone on for years. Look at the countries backing the contestants. We’d have been better off letting Assad address his own problems rather than sticking our nose into it.

  7. Matt,

    It appears that no matter how good the legal tools in the governments arsenal are, if there is no political will to use them fairly, then they become tools to obfuscate the truth of the investigation. And, then what?

    1. Jean:

      The RICO tools were used quiet effectively by the FBI once it bought into Blakey’s prescriptions.

    1. MS:

      I read that. Thanks. I also read the Road To Dallas by David Kaiser. He agrees with Blakey and suggests that was the right outcome that the Mafia was involved in JFK’s murder. He exonerated the CIA and the FBI, although he tells of a lot of connections between the CIA and the Mafia.

      You’ve sent me an article by an investigator for the attorney in charge of the investigation who was replaced by the congressmen who originally put him in that position. The investigator did not like the way Blakey ran the investigation. Having dealt with many investigators, I had some who did not like what I decided and went around copdom blasting me. It’s part of the game. I’d go with Blakey any day over a disgruntled investigator.

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