There’s the big picture here that the judges, the mainstream media and the people seem to have missed. Or, if not missed, knew about and played either a witting, ignorant or agnostic role in it.
The vaunted FBI should have picked up on it and fought back to defend its agents. Maybe it was so obvious the FBI just missed it — laid out there in plain view like the letter in a Sherlock Holmes tale. Or perhaps seeing it, because of its timidity when the fat is on the fire and its desire not to embarrass the family it remained silent as sleeping sheep.
It may involve one of the biggest coups ever brought about by organized crime. The biggest get back in criminal history. It exemplifies an old Pashtun proverb, yes a belief strongly held by the people we are up against in Afghanistan. The the Pashtun proverb has been adopted by the Mafiosi in Sicily.
Here’s the big picture. In 1931 during prohibition days the North End Mafia eliminated the leadership of the Irish South Boston Gustin gang who were interfering with their bootlegging activities. After that the Boston Mafia was the top organized crime group in the area. Business slowed up with the repeal of prohibition, the depression and WWII but as things got better after the war the Mafia again found business profitable. In the early Fifties Raymond L.S. Patriarca was in charge of the Patriarca Family whose territory was most of New England. He had Gerry Angiulo who had served four years in the Pacific theater during WWII as his underboss. Under Patriarca’s leadership, Angiulo, with the help of his brothers and others, controlled the criminal enterprises in the Greater Boston area from his North End headquarters.
In the late Fifties and Early Sixties the Irish again were building up their own criminal enterprises. One group was stationed in Somerville and the other in Charlestown. They were encroaching on the Mafia’s territories and were not welcome but tolerated because times were good. The notorious Irish Mob war began after Labor Day in 1961 when guys from Somerville beat up the brother of the leaders of the Charlestown mob. The hot-headed Irish decimated each other while the Mafia guys sat back and not only watched but also encouraged some of the violence. The outcome would be a more powerful Mafia and a greatly subservient Irish mob. This violence did not affect South Boston which had its own little dust-up occurring.
The Mafia’s plan for good times evaporated when it decided to stick it to Joe “The Animal” Barboza who used to work with it but was sitting in the can looking to get out on bail. Joe had a couple of guys working to raise his $100,00 bail. They’d come up with around $85,000 when they were murdered by the Mafia in a North End joint. Armed with that knowledge, FBI Agent Paul Rico was able to convince Barboza to testify against Angiulo, Patriarca and other Mafia types. Patriarca and some of his lieutenants ended up in prison. Angiulo reached the jury and beat the rap.
Agent Rico had Stevie Flemmi as an informant who kept him apprised of the Mafia’s doings. He would pass on information he got from his friendships with Frankie Salemme and Larry Baione. Rico left Boston in 1970 while Flemmi was on the run from a murder indictment. Flemmi stayed in contact with Rico’s partner Dennis Condon.
Condon made it possible for Flemmi to return to Boston in 1974 after he made arrangements to wipe out a murder charge and other serious charge that had sent Salemme to prison for 16 years. The FBI desperately needed Flemmi. Angiulo was still at large. Condon retired in 1975 turning Flemmi over to FBI Agent John Connolly.
Connolly with Flemmi’s help was able to get some of the evidence needed to put an electronic bug in Angiulo’s and Baione’s locations. They’d both be put into prison and out of action. Their successors were likewise undermined by Connolly. Finally, in 1989, the year before he retired, Connolly brought about the downfall of Raymond’s son and the remaining Mafiosi when he managed to bug a Mafia induction ceremony.
Two FBI agents, Rico and Connolly, brought down the Patriarca Family and prevented the Mafia from reestablishing a foothold in New England. Rico died in jail; Connolly will also.
Now back to the Pashtun proverb which states revenge is best served with a clear mind and not when you are hot with anger. The French suggested “revenge is a dish best served cold.” Sicilians agreed. As explained in the Urban Dictionary “Old saying from the Mafiosi in Sicily. Tells that the best payback is the one that comes with planning, and that brings the most horrendous pain to your enemies when they are not expecting and are just enjoying the fruits of all the dishonor they brought upon you. One must wait so he can really inflict pain to those who wronged him. Careful planning is necessary so your enemies will suffer terribly, but you won’t be harmed by the Law or by your enemies’ allies.”
Is there any better example of this than what happened to Rico and Connolly? Has there ever been a greater betrayal than the FBI letting two of its finest agents be destroyed by gangsters for fear of embarrassment?