There it was in front of me. An article on Fred Wyshak. It wasn’t in the Boston Globe his long time supporter but an AP article in the Boston Herald. When I first looked at the photograph accompanying it I did not recognize Wyshak. He’s aged. He’s wearing his American flag pin. He has a wry smile hinting to his disappointment that he never got the big fish he was after.
Thirty years. A lot accomplished on one hand yet on the other we cannot but fail to recognize that unlike Ahab he never had a chance to catch up with his Moby Dick. His Pequod, the Boston U.S. attorney’s office, despite roaming afar over the oceans of criminality using the most modern of tools and inventing new ones, had no chance of finding his target.
It was simple to explain. He was never in that ocean. It’s as if Ahab set out after an imagined whale and no Moby Dick existed. It is impossible to catch something that exists only in one’s head and the heads of others who urged the pursuit. How would we read or would we have never heard of Melville’s book if Moby Dick was a figment of the mad mind of Ahab.
Fortunately for Wyshak there were enough others who also possessed the same mindset as he so they urged him on abetting his delusion. He was able to garner notice of his pursuit of his bête noire because of his accomplishments while commanding the Pequod. These were somewhat substantial but highly overblown; the trade-offs given – keep in mind they were done for the purpose of finding the non-existent mammal like the Loch Ness Monster – to those who actually inhabited the ocean of criminality boggle the mind.
What would you think of Wyshak had he gone to Newfound Lake in New Hampshire to look for Nellie? Not only would he be looking for something that did not exist but he would be looking in the wrong area. I suppose his justification for doing that is that it is more convenient; that is, if you are looking for something that is based solely on wishful thinking it is probably best to do it at a location nearby rather than venturing too far away.
Wyshak was in the news because he convicted Frankie Salemme for the murder of nightclub owner Stephen DiSarro 25 years ago in 1993. His main witness was the man who more likely than not did the murder Stevie “Benji Ditch” Flemmi. Benji testified he came to the scene where DiSarro was being murdered and fled not wanting to be implicated in it.
I don’t know if the jury believed he left the scene. It really didn’t matter. Even if they believed Benji was the murderer the murder still happened in the presence of Frankie Salemme in his house. That was enough to convict.
Benji while testifying admitted he had been involved in fifty or more murders. One thing I wonder about when I read that was whether he told Wyshak the identities of these people he murdered. After all, you have to remember that Benji had been protected by the FBI since the 1960s and surely the families of the victims are entitled to some type of compensation just as the families of Whitey Bulger’s victims.
Whitey was Benji’s partner in crime. Whitey met Benji after the latter had been an FBI top echelon informant for about ten years. Benji had just come back from Canada after the FBI had serious charges against him dismissed so he could be back on the scene providing information to it again. He and Whitey had the same habits – avoided drugs, worked out, stayed sober; and the same loves, as Frankie Salemme said: “women and money and not necessarily in that order.”
Benji told Whitey of the great deal it was working for the FBI. it will give you protection if you give it information. Whitey, who had served 9 years in prison for a robbery, quickly joined the FBI’s top echelon program. They operated with impunity under the carapace of the FBI.
How was it then that Wyshak choose Benji to use against Whitey? Benji had committed four to five times the number of murders as Whitey. If you heard Jimmy the Sniff testify then you’d know Benji was considered the most vicious. Whitey never murdered his girlfriend or daughter. It would seem the lesser of two evils was Whitey.
Answer that question and you’ll know about the fish that got away because it was never there.