Tonight I’m told the CNN network will present a program at 9:00 PM for an hour or two about James “Whitey” Bulger. I hope to watch it. I don’t expect to learn anything from it because there’s nothing new to find out. But I will watch it and let you know what I think of it.
If you’ve read any of my recent posts you know that much about Whitey has been made up out of thin air. One book Black Mass started it and the others dutifully copied parts of that book. The original book was all over the place making up conversations and putting them in quotations as if the authors had a transcript of them. I always thought that was all right for fiction but in a book that is supposed to be non-fiction it doesn’t really fit. As I learned more and more about this subject I realized Black Mass should have been published as fiction.
Another written about the Whitey affair was by a former FBI assistant agent in charge in the Boston office. He was one of the agents who cooperated with the writers of the Black Mass by violating what the FBI considered one of its agents most sacred obligations which is keeping the identity of informants secret. He revealed to them that Whitey was an FBI informant.
He was called to testify by Whitey’s lawyers. When he was confronted by the prosecutors with statements in his book the prosecutors alleged were totally false he defended himself by saying the book was a memoir. Apparently he was suggesting that what he wrote is how he remembered it and it is not necessarily how it happened. I figure if that was what he was saying he might as well have labeled his book fiction.
You can go through the lists of books about Whitey and depending on how much they rely on Black Mass or any of Howie Carr’s books or those by other gangsters you might want to treat them also as fiction.
That’s not to say everything in those books is false. It’s just to say those portions of them that are not validly corroborated have to be considered as made up. The true problem that faces everyone in trying to tell the story of Whitey’s life is that the foundation for most of the information comes from people who are admitted liars or from untrustworthy documents.
Kevin Weeks spilled the beans, as they say, when he was questioned about some inconsistencies in his testimony. He was asked whether he had been lying. He answered that he was a criminal and to be a criminal you have to be a good liar. It goes so much to the core of a criminal that to do so comes naturally. Weeks explained it by saying something to the effect “if you’re going to extort someone you don’t invite them over to be extorted.” We saw an example of that in the murder of John McIntyre where he was lured to the East Street killing house by telling him they were going to have a party.
Things we know for certain. Weeks lied about the car he was in when he murdered Halloran; Flemmi lied before Judge Wolf as to who his source of information in the state police was; Salemme lied about his knowledge of a murder being subsequently indicted for doing so and pleading guilty; Martorano lied about meeting with FBI Agent Paul Rico.
FBI files are full of lies. The 209s that contain information are based on what liars told the agents. Just because a criminal tells an agent something and the agent records it doesn’t make it true. FBI 302s contain lies because many are produced from an agents memory of what was said rather than the actual statements. And, there is no guarantee even if the FBI agent accurately recorded what was said that the person making the statement did not lie.
So I’ll be watching to see how much of the CNN program is based on things that are fairly certain and how much is based on lies. It should be an interesting endeavor. You too, if you watch it, ask yourself, “what is the basis for that.”
But more importantly ask yourself: “Why am I watching this?” For all the books and movies about Whitey the truth is except for the people he murdered, some who would have been murdered even had he not existed, Whitey left no footprint in Boston or anywhere else. Outside of the people he killed, their friends and families there were no changes in anything because of him. Nothing happened in Boston or Massachusetts of any significance because of him. More than 95% of the people of Massachusetts had no idea that he existed until long after he fled. How is it a man of so little accomplishment, a man who was nothing more than a vile hoodlum who partnered with other like himself, has been made into something he was not?