Brennan On The Moor and The Boston Globe’s Obsession

brennan's houseAnd it’s Brennan on the moor, Brennan on the moor, Bold, brave and undaunted was young Brennan on the moor.

If Whitey isn’t humming that tune to himself by this time there’s not a drop of Irish blood in him. If that were ever shown, then his whole defense that proud Irishmen do not inform therefore he couldn’t be an informant would go down the drain.  Maybe Wyshak should bring in a genealogist to trace his background — I’ve read somewhere that he had British blood in him.

I checked to see if the name Bulger was Irish.  I found this. “The name Bulger originally appeared in Gaelic as O Boguidir, which according to this site, meant yellow belly (from bolg dohar).”  I hope Wyshak doesn’t know that because it would fit into his theory Whitey was a rat if we consider the modern-day understanding of the term as a person being a coward.

However, it has a very interesting historical meaning.  So it’s not clear cut. It is an Irish word and being called a “yellow belly” at one time in Ireland was a something to be proud of. Here is one example: “A Wexford Man. called because of there jerseys. A real man, who saved the Irish in the Civil War, the 1798 rising. Also called yella belly.” It’s best not to mix cultures.

But back to Hank Brennan.

I think Margaret McLean a BC Law professor, who has written two books and is seen on TV each morning on NECN and other places, who is attending the trial and is a delightful intelligent woman summed it up perfectly in her tweet which went to the effect that during Hank Brennan’s cross-examination of Morris she didn’t have a chance to tweet because she couldn’t take her eyes off Brennan making Morris look like a liar.

Brennan tore into him on his past of lies. Morris would try to squirm out of some of the accusation but Brennan always managed to bring him back like a cat letting a mouse run a bit before nabbing him again. Morris would ramble a while and Brennan would let him and then ask the question he asked in the beginning. “So you lied about that also.” And Morris, seeing no one was buying into his excursions into nonsense would finally admit that was true that he lied.

He lied to his wife, to his girlfriend, to other agents, under oath, and on and on. He lied to benefit himself. Over and over again we had examples of him lying about big things, not so big things, and little things. If there is one thing the jurors went home with last night is that the guy on the stand who told them except for being caught lying to his fellow agents, his record in the FBI is clean, even though he admits he took lots of bribes from the gangsters, is a liar. They’ve already concluded he’s lying to them. Brennan has effectively, and he’s only begun, made Morris look very evil. If this type of man thinks he has a clean FBI record, what does that tell us about the mindset of some of these agents.

I was particularly interested in one part of Morris’s testimony on direct examination. He told how for months Gerry O’Neill of the Boston Globe was pestering him to give him information about Whitey Bulger and his relation to the FBI. This was back in 1988. Morris told how he succumbed and finally broke his oath and violated one of the most basic FBI commandments not to out an informant. Coincidentally, he did it after he had taken $5,000 from Whitey and thought Whitey had tape recorded the money pass.

He told how O’Neill was feeding the FBI information for them to investigate Billy Bulger. We’ve often speculated about the close relationship between the Boston Globe and the Department of Justice (DOJ) but here we hear it straight out. And this from Morris, who considers himself a friend of O’Neil’s.

What we get is a reporter feeding information to an FBI agent so that the FBI agent will go after a person so that the reporter can write a story about the FBI going after that person without disclosing he was the one who initiated the story. That seems sort of a strange way to go about reporting on things, at least to me.

Morris complies with O’Neill’s request. He opens an investigation on Billy Bulger. He does the investigation and come up with nothing and so after a while he closes it out. Morris testified O’Neill then turned on him and said he closed it out as a favor for Billy Bulger. Morris denied to O’Neill that was the case. He closed it out because there was nothing there. He closed it out on the merits.

This is the 75 State Street case. After Morris closed it the Globe forced the DOJ to reopen it and also pressured the Massachusetts attorney general to open an investigation. The Globe was hell-bent on getting Billy Bulger into difficulty with authorities even though there was no merit to the charges. How many in the public knew this?  These subsequent investigations also came up empty.

What was it that was motivating the Globe to begin an investigation and then when it doesn’t get what it wants to continue to defame a person?  Just the other day it was calling for people to shun Billy Bulger. Twenty five years chasing after him. What is behind this? Don’t you find it sort of odd? I do.






53 thoughts on “Brennan On The Moor and The Boston Globe’s Obsession

  1. Dear Mattie Boy,

    Just to correct the record, I have an Italian name but am 100% Irish. My folks died on the coffin ships coming over here and I was adopted by the Callucci family of East Boston. Also I have been to every country in Europe and numerous times, and I still say Ireland is No. 1. Are you kidding about England and the Netherlands???

    1. Louis:

      You have to read what Henry who comments here says about Ireland and he lives there.

  2. Matt, I don’t comment often, but I do follow just about daily. I would like to ask you, now that you have been attending the trial and absorbing everything said and done, right up to the minute. My question is, with everything you have seen and heard, do you think in your heart of hearts, he WILL testify in his own defense? It is every American’s Constitutional right, as you know, and also what is your opinion on why he would or would not jump at the chance to testify, given his megalomaniacal self-centered personality? Thanks.

    1. Rather:

      I’ve gone back and forth on whether Whitey will testify. Right now I think his defense team has shown that he may not have been an informant. They have raised sufficient doubt that he doesn’t have to testify to get that monkey off his back. So what’s left for him to testify about? It’s the women. That’s the other stain he wants to erase.
      Weeks who testifies a week from Monday will have him murdering one of them; and Flemmi both of them. A lot will depend on how well Carney does in cross-examining them (I believe Carney will do both of them since Brennan did Martorano and Morris) If Carney can cast substantial doubt on his involvement in those murders, Whitey won’t testify. If Carney comes up short, then he will. That’s my best estimate now.

  3. Mattie Boy,

    Just because you are a lousy driver does not detract a whit from the reality that Ireland is the best country on earth. None other comes close. There are no real pubs in America. Only in Eire !!!

    1. Louis:

      For an Italian guy you seem to know a lot about Ireland. You’ve probably never been to Italy. Try it some time. And as for pubs, you should go to the real beer drinking nations of Britain and the Netherlands.

  4. The Globe now is a shell of its former self. Its days of the imagined glory are long gone. They detest Bill Bulger because he reminds them that they have always been nothing more than a profit driven business that self appoints themselves to their holier than thou perch to speak to and for the public. They have been owned and managed by hypocrites
    over the years. It kills them that they have not been able to get Bill Bulger. The power is in the simplicity of what has driven them to obsession. They are jealous of the man. He has been impenetrable to their slings and arrows. He knows the lengths to which lesser men will go to hurt somebody more real and honorable than they know themselves to be. He knows that no good deed goes unpunished. His public life has been exemplary, he has been a good family man and he has carried his burden unflinchingly.

    Check the record, his work on behalf of the Commonwealth’s citizens and their interests has been outstanding.

    He was educated by learned men who exposed him to the lessons of history and he took it all in.

    If Demosthenes was still around he could explain Bill Bulger to the mob.

    He is only a man, but no mere mortal.

    My people always told me to give credit where credit is due.

    1. Hopalong:

      Great post. Fully agree. Hopefully in time Billy will get his reputation back.

  5. A clue to understanding Bulger’s psyche lies in the Druidic Irish word “dibearg” (sing. diber).

    1. Khalid:
      [s] – 1)outlawry, state of renouncing dominant society’s values, used loosely for roving bands of reveallers; 2)slang: (irresponsible) sexual promiscuity [S] [//] ”

      You hit it right on the nose. Congrats.

    2. Khalid:

      Do you mean “díbhearg” — plunder and rapine?

      Or, “díbheirg” — wrathful, vengeance?

      Or both.

      An inheritance from the Vikings.

  6. Hey Mattie Boy,

    I cannot believe that you prefer Spain, France and Italy over the home of your grandparents. Ireland is the greatest country in Europe, the most friendly and welcoming there is. And the pubs are the ultimate for socializing, singing, and a few pints. No Mediterranean country comes close !!!

      1. late 1980’s? Wher have u been? Try the early 1970’s.

        For a good forensic of the Globe;s disdain of people like Bill Bulger a ]would be the 1974 Democratic nomination for governor. The printed word v, the truth.
        same for the globe’s coverage of busing.
        ans so many other less prominent events.

        I’m sure all the statutes of limitations have run and doubt he’d be up for it but could there be a cause of action against Globe and Feds for civil rights violations by Wlm. Bulger?

        Perhaps the statute tolld during the cover-up? Globe has been covering it up for years.

        Besides, from my point of view it would be wicked entertaining. Perhaps someone other than Bill Bulger, some minor character who has taken a screwing because of this?

        1. Ernie, I thought you were referring to that uncharacteristic epithet hurled at Commissioner DiGrazia by Bill Bulger up on Thomas Park, in the first few days of actual busing.

          1. Sorry matt, i was off On a tangent.
            The Irish are a tough lot to understand. The maybe english but most of the time I just shake my head in agreement having no idea what the guy is saying.
            But when they’re mad its fook this and fook that. As in duck this and duck that.

      2. Matt, Louis, as an Irish-American, with all four grandparents born in Ireland, I love everything about Ireland and loved visiting the towns and coastline and Connemara’s bogs and bens. But I also love everything about Spain, because I’m black-Irish with thousands’ year deep Irish roots: it was a 3 days sail from Galway Bay to the Bay of Biscayne which washed Northern Iberia. I also love everything about Italy and France because some of my closest friends and favorite people, Mancini, Rotundi, Collucci, Rumboli, were Italian-American or French American (Simonin; Chretian; LeBlanc, Gaudet) as were many of my favorite young American women of Italian, French, Spanish, Irish descent. My friend Tom Tucker used to say the best thing about us growing up in Boston was “we didn’t discriminate against women.”
        2. On a sour note, I’m glad Morris is getting a drubbing and proven to be the liar, perjurer he is, and prosecutors should have known he was lying through his teeth to save his own hide.

        1. Matt, William et al,

          I read at WPRI that Whitey swore out loud in court yesterday or today and called Morris a liar.

          1. Jon:

            Yes, that’s what Prosecutor Kelly said – called him a “f”ing liar – judge didn’t hear it – doubtful many did – his lawyer Carney did since he didn’t come to his rescue when Kelly called him on it.

        2. William:

          Mr Tucker may not have discriminated against women but discriminate women did discriminate against him. I don’t know who Louis is but Callucci sounds Italian to me. I figured Collucci if all Collucci could say about Ireland surrounded the idea of a pub he was just putting me on. As I said when I was last in Ireland it felt like America and I hated the roads in Connemara — if you ever drove in Ireland you’d know what I mean — I flattened a tire on a huge rock that was an inch away from the travel lane – cost me 200 euros to replace it — Ireland is best considered as a myth rather than reality – “I’ll take you home again,Kathleen” and “A Mother’s Love’s A Blessing+ – where’s that guy with the accordian who used to belt those out while his mother sat teary eyed listening to him –

          I’m thinking if Whitey’s defense is right – Agent Connolly is going to be the worst agent who ever picked up a badge –

  7. Dear Matt,

    Alex McCoy raises a very good point. Who is working or financing or directing things over there at the Globe who could be at the helm? Is there a Margolis-like figure over there?


    1. Thank you, Jay. Another question might be, Who did the Globe “owe” or “owe a favor” to?

      Alteratively, still another question might be, who could have had “information” on the powers that be at the Globe and then would think nothing of persuading them to “trade” on that information? It seems, the higher one goes up in the business world, terms like “shake downs,” and “extortion” go by a somewhat more palatable sophisticated terminology like “negotiation” “leverage” “trading” or “persuading.” So maybe the question should be rephrased as to: “who did Mr. Bulger piss off back in the late 1980’s who in turn would have such “sophisticated”, “persuasive” “capabilities” to convince the Globe to do its/his dirty work?”

      1. Alex:

        It goes back at least to 1972 to 1974 with the busing case. Probably even predates that. Southie never followed the Globe’s suggestions in politics or in most things. The Globe felt dissed. (I think that is now a word.)

        1. But they didn’t let the Gerry O’Neill dog out and set him loose – apprarently rabid, frothing at the mouth, and off leash at that – until 1988? When did O’Neill begin working at the Globe? Was he on the busing beat? What’s O’Neill’s real beef with Billy Bulger whereas he was clearly using Whitey as the weapon for Billy’s political take-down? Did Bulger “diss” O’Neill in other ways?

          I can’t help but still think that the extent of the retaliation here makes it seem as though this goes far beyond a mere political issue involving the heated days of busing. The oddity of the “retaliatory” tactics you so aptly spell out makes it feel much more “personal” than political in nature, or that it stems from the one true classic ultimate motivator for many: “money.”

          Isn’t there an old saying when it comes to crime? “Follow the Money.”

          1. Dear Alex:

            The phrase may date back to Deepthroat, as one article notes, “But Mr Felt did just that—and a lot more. His information kept the break-in alive as a news story. He pushed the reporters, then lowly hacks from the Metro section, to look higher into the administration by imploring them to “follow the money”—which would become an enduring aphorism for the American press.” See The Economist, June 2, 2005,

            In this case, someone would have to “follow the money” as applied to The Globe. Now that would be an interesting research project to connect those dots and see what interests are at play; it could be a true dissection of these personal attacks which Matt has similarly highlighted. The Globe is an organization, run by individual people. Perhaps any true inquiry must delve deeply and distill those individual actors at the helm. I do not know of this having ever been done before — to connect those dots to individual actors. In the case of Watergate, “the money” not only led to the White House; it also led to many companies’ slush funds, as noted by investigative journalist Lowell Bergman in this interesting piece:

            While this talks about money in the international context, the phrase “follow the money” is instructive to motive as an added consideration. The theme is similar, as journalism is itself billed as “public service” in its professed objectivity and overriding goal to inform. When that objectivity seems diluted or tainted, or slanted in a particular direction, then it is only natural to ponder what forces may be at work. Thus, your suggestion to “follow the money” is a very good place to start. Thanks again, Alex.


            1. Jay:

              Good post. You may have hit upon something. The story in this case might be not so much to follow the money but to see where the money couldn’t go. What I mean is all the Massachusetts governors who worked with Billy found him highly ethical. He had never been accused of any impropriety until the Globe’s manufactured 75 State Street Story. So perhaps if we could find that Billy blocked some projects that money people wanted done, that might have been the genesis of the Globe’s hatred of him. He was always threatening to file legislation to open more beaches to the public or to put incinerators out in suburbia or build an airport to replace Logan in some rich suburb. I’d think that in his 17 years as president of the Senate running a clean ship he had to have stepped on many a moneyed person’s toes. It would be difficult to know what person with money or power approached Billy looking to get something done and was told no. Those meetings would never have been public information.

          2. JAY, Thank you for the post regarding Deep Throat and the accompanying links. Relevant…and “revealing.”

            But it couldn’t happen today – Snowden, is an example of that. Deep Throat could be anonymous back then. And there was a Katherine Graham who had courage. But it wouldn’t be called courage today, it would be called disloyal and she would be fired, Felt would be outed, and labeled and tried as a treasonous spy.

            Plus, it seems from the link there was some really smart and gutsy guy named Stanley who headed up the SEC at the time who was instrumental in understanding the links to the money influence behind Watergate which still gets underreported in my opinion— and he actually did his job —to go after the corrupt ceo’s accounting books to get underneath the fraud, the briberies and the “slush funds.”

            However, I suspect it wouldn’t even matter. After the Watergate disaster a “wise” ceo would no longer have “slush funds” per se —- But, if he’s shrewd, or say, sly and devious, he might get creative and have “Human Resources” tuck it under or call it something else on the line-item, something vague like “lifestyle benefits” “authorized living allowances” “People Strategy Plan” or simply an acronym with no one thinking to go the extra distance to ask what the acronym stands for then learning it stands for something questionable sounding like “private equity conversion plan” – and better yet, they might float it all through an arms length subsidiary or an independent consulting company the ceo has other ties to – or maybe the ceo would be really smart and not put anything in writing himself, just have others do it, because as we have learned from other posts – “if it isn’t in writing, it doesn’t exist.” Well, we all know it could exist, it just won’t be traceable or far more importantly “provable” – unless someone really screws up somewhere. Best of all, by giving things complicated, blathery sounding names, people tune out so even if its provable it doesn’t hold people’s attention long enough. Even the phrase money laundering – and how it really works – is too complicated for the American public to really grasp these days. That’s probably why much larger “equity conversion plans” or “reverse Curley Effects”have been so successful on Wall Street and on the international fronts.

    2. Jay:

      History has not been kind to the relationship between Southie and the Boston Globe. Southie always had an attitude the Globe could not influence. The busing days when the poor black kids and poor white kids were moved around by the social reformers for what was an quixotic purpose left big scars. Southie threw it in the face of the suburban editors and writers at the Globe that it was all right for their kids to remain safe in their lily white school while the great social experiment on the blue collar workers went on. But the animosity goes back much before that with a liberal paper and a conservative section of the city. It was easy after that to go after Billy Bulger because he was the big white whale coming out of a Southie project up to the presidency of the state university who had absolute disdain for the Globe. It is tragic in a way since we would have been better off as a people had not this happened.

  8. This is the clearest the 75 State Street thing has ever been put forth. Thank you. Regarding your last paragraph, I think it should be “who” was it that was motivating the Globe to begin a fraudulent investigation/smear campaign of Mr. Bill Bulger? Necessary follow up questions then indicate one who have to ask:
    1.) “Who” was it that Mr. Billy Bulger pissed off/”offended”/or dared to say no to back in the late 80’s, and 2.) “Who” was it in turn who could have had the power or control over the Boston Globe and/or O’Neill to put them on that “hell-bent” ” – go higher if they have to – path to take him down?

          1. Ernie:

            Fred did try to connect Whitey to the Black Sox mess but figured the statute had run.

    1. Alex:
      1. 75 State was pushed by the Globe. I’m hoping Brennan can make things a little clearer on it on Monday. It’s clear it was a plan by the Globe to take down Billy Bulger and it was not the Globe reacting to a story. O’Neill at the Globe was pushing it hard. He was the guy behind the Spotlight Team. Billy had been saying ‘no’ to the Globe for years. He was also highly disliked by the Democratic progressives because he was a conservative or blue dog Democrat. The progressives led by Dershowitz, Harvey Silverglate, and Good got involved in defending Harold Brown in a criminal case in federal court and then took on his defense in a civil case filed by Tom Finnerty. That case had been pending a year. They came up with a scheme to file an answer saying that Finnerty who was the law partner of Billy Bulger extorted Harold Brown, something that Brown would later back off from. I hope to write more about it.

      1. Wowsa! So, as you know, there are so many slitheries in all of this it’s hard for me to see where one snake ends and the other begins. And since I am fairly new to it all…I looked up Harold Brown. I am/was certain you don’t mean “the” Harold Brown that works high up in everyone’s administration on energy issues and got some presidential award to boot. He seems like he has a clue. So I Googled some more. Came up with an article dated February 2006 in Boston Magazine by Francis Storrs, titled “The Comeback Kid.” I am sure it was ‘this’ Harold Brown that you meant instead (whew!) But then I saw it….in the article…and things either got clearer or murkier, or somehow as only this case can do – both, so I am hoping when you do more on the 75 State Street connections piece that you can help provide some clarification.

        You said that the Finnerty & Bulger law firm sued Harold Brown in a civil case. Again, according to you, Brown’s legals in turn alleged “extortion” by Bulger ( probably in retaliation or in an effort to “push-back” as a tactical maneuver in hopes to get them to drop the civil suit). Then you state, that Brown, subsequently “moves away from” the extortion claim. So, Here come the questions for ya….
        1.) When did Brown move away from that? Before or after he got married to Maura Nolan? According to the Boston Magazine article, Brown got married to Maura Nolan at some point – Maura was Mass. Supreme Court Judge Joe Nolan’s daughter.
        2.) The name Joe Nolan is curious. Wasn’t there a very high-profile, prominent employee, way high up at BECO who went by the same name?
        3.)Was he the Judge’s son?
        4.)If so, that would make him Harold Brown’s “brother in law,” right? So, in your opinion, and depending on when Brown married into the Judge Nolan/BECo family, is it even more curious now that John Zip Connolly ended up working there directly with Brown’s bro-in-law (or future bro-in-law)and then is the one to get set-up out of all this as part of the take-down of the Bulgers?
        5.)When did Brown move away from the extortion claim again – before or after ZIp was hired to work with BECo and Brown’s direct family members?
        6.)What role did Joe Nolan take on at BECo after Zip was set up and had to leave? In other words, whose duties – and old files – did he end up with?
        6.)Did Nolan’s role ever intersect with the media – and Gerry O’Neill – in particular?

        Just questions – not statements nor allegations in anyway.

        1. Alex:
          1. Brown moved away a long time before marrying Maura. He decided to stop listening to his lawyers and to do what he though was best for himself. He didn’t want to get into a messy political war that was spinning out of control. I’m sure he thought it was a good idea to counter sue in the beginning thinking he could save some $$$ but he didn’t know out of control his lawyers could make it. Marua was Joe Nolan’s daughter.
          2. Don’t know about the BECO Joe.
          3. Don’t know?
          4. Would be curious coincidence but make nothing of it.
          5. Brown moved away around the time Connolly went to work at Edison.
          6. Don’t know Joe Nolan at Edison so can’t answer. I think the FBI seized all Connolly’s Edison files.
          7. Can’t answer – without information

  9. Years ago Billy told me his family was from Co. Wexford. I think
    is wife’s family is from Sligo. Ireland used to offer citizenship to anyone whose great-grandparents had been born there. That changed in 1989 to grandparents, thereby limiting the number. I know many US-born Irish who have dual citizenship – Italy offers the same to those of Italian descent. Dual citizenship is allowed by the US. And with citizenship you can get a Irish passport – now an EU passport.

    1. Henry:

      I was going to become an Irish citizen at one point but went there and decided that I’d prefer to go to other places. It’s not that it’s bad but it seemed to me it was too like America but with bad roads and double the costs. Spain, Italy and France offer so much more.

      1. Believe me, Ireland is a third-world country. I know. I live here. My first visit was in 1978. It’s a village and the village mentality persists through the 19th century fog of nationalist fiction.

      2. Matt:

        The best feature of obtaining Irish citizenship is that it also allows you to be able to live anywhere in the other EU member states. And your Irish health insurance becomes coverage in the country you’re in. Dual citizenship is always good to have.

        1. Henry:

          Then I’ll have to whip out my grandparents birth certificates if I’m heading back to Europe again. The health insurance coverage is tempting.

          By the way, I meant to ask yu this last time. I noted in the stories of the death of the Bolger Brothers, and in other stories in the Irish Times before that, that thre seem to be lots of Irish lads and lasses who are friends with children but aren’t married. Is that the new thing in Ireland? You just move in and set up a family without taking that dangerous step of making it official. Is there something in the Irish lad’s character that now that the Church has lost its influence that makes him keep away from the altar with the idea he can make a quick getaway

  10. much more than odd. People are odd. Institutions and law enforcement can be corrupt. Money and power does that.
    Thanks to the incompetence and immature emotions of fred dog and cryan Brian the world is seeing the truth. Just have to get the message out

    1. Ernie:

      The trial is showing a lot of stuff the federals would rather see hidden. Defendant’s strategy is obvious to me now. Big gamble but may pay off.

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