WHITEY: The Joe Berlinger Film: The Lawyers Spinning the Story; The FBI S.O.P.

2015 11 29_3164I’ve written how in the documentary AUSA Brian Kelly to justify the horrendous deals that the federal prosecutors made with defendants Martorano, Salemme, Flemmi and Weeks is compelled to magnify the importance of Whitey by saying he was involved in a reign of terror.

From a different perspective Lawyer Jay Carney adds into this idea when he states during the documentary, something he has repeated ad nauseam, that Whitey wanted to testify to the jury to explain how it was that he was on the top of the organized crime pyramid for 25 years and never once charged with a crime.

Along with that we have to consider the Boston Globe Spotlight article  of March 5, 1995, written by Dick Lehr and Gerry O’Neill the authors of Black Mass, a little more than two months after Whitey fled after being indicted for racketeering, which said an interception at the Heller’s Café in Chelsea was “the starting point for a major racketeering case against the most elusive gangster in Boston history – – James (Whitey) Bulger of South Boston.”

It was also the starting point of the myth that Whitey was more than an ordinary violent criminal who did not shy away from murdering some people.

I’ve shown how there was no reign of terror under Whitey. But there had been a reign of terror in Boston but that was back during the time that Whitey was in prison. In a short span of time in the early 1960s fifty or more men were murdered and those who took part in this were John Martorano, Frank Salemme and Stevie Flemmi who would become government witnesses. Unlike the murders committed by Whitey, these were highly publicized.  Life Magazine on February 24, 1967, contained photographs of 41 men who were murdered on the streets of Boston. No one called it a reign of terror.

In fact, if there was a terror after the 1960s it was between 1973 and 1982 at the hands of John Martorano who admitted personally murdering ten of the sixteen people attributed to Whitey during those days. But there again we had no terror since few ever heard of the name John Martorano during this time or connected any of the murders to him.

Far from being the most elusive gangster in Boston history, there were others such as Martorano, Flemmi, who bettered him.

As far as Whitey not being charged while he was on the top of the pyramid, the first thing to know is that he was there for fifteen years and not twenty-five. From 1970 to around 1980 it was headed by Howie Winter. Next, it really was not unusual for people to go long periods without being charged with crimes. Steven Flemmi was charged with murder in 1969 which charge was dismissed in 1974. From 1970 to 1995, a period of 25 years Carney could have asked the same question about him never being charged with a crime. John Martorano was charged in the Race Fixing case in early 1979 and he fled the state. He was not charged with a crime again until 1995. There is no mystery to them not being charged. For one thing, the evidence of them being involved in murders was not known until 1998. But there was a more important reason.

Whitey Bulger and Stevie Flemmi were FBI top echelon informants during the period. They were protected by the FBI who wanted them to remain on the street. Here’s an example from the findings of Judge Wolf how that happened in the FBI.  FBI agent James Lavin was handed information against Whitey along with some photographs. He perceived the potential for a promising public corruption investigation of Bulger . . .  Following his usual practice, Lavin reported what he had learned and received to his supervisor, John Morris. . . . Morris told him to “run it by” Connolly. . . . Lavin met with Connolly and related to him the information . . . Connolly confirmed that Bulger was an informant and told Lavin that he had provided valuable information. . . . Connolly suggested that Lavin not conduct any investigation. . . . Lavin complied with Connolly’s suggestion. Contrary to the requirements of the FBI Manual and his uniform practice, Lavin did not prepare a 209 or any other written record of the information . . .”

The FBI had a procedure where anything relating to one of its top echelon informants was brought to the attention of the informant’s handler. Inquiries that were relayed over the nationwide computer system used by every police agency in America sent to FBI headquarters relating to an informant were then sent on to the agent handling him. His job was to protect the informant. If a fellow FBI agent was looking at the informant, the handler would call him off. If another law enforcement agency inquired about him, the agent would let the informant know.

There was no grand conspiracy in the Department of Justice, as Carney and others would have it, to protect Whitey. It was done at the FBI level. It was done informally. It was not according to Hoyle. The DOJ prosecutors knew nothing about it. If the information is not conveyed to the prosecutors, then there will be no prosecution.

These suggestions of a reign of terror or years without charges or most elusive criminal are merely attempts to make Whitey into something he never was. Not only did the media and lawyers try to do this, so did the FBI itself. It made him one of its Ten Most Wanted in August 1999 as noted in the documentary.

No one ever seems to ask the question why was it that the man it knowingly protected from 1975 through at least 1991 suddenly was turned into such a top criminal. Where was the reign of terror?

Was done by the FBI as one part of a deal with the DOJ prosecutors? Making him such would justify their sordid deals with Martorano and Weeks; in exchange the prosecutors would go along with the FBI’s “rogue agent” theory in order to protect its Top Echelon Informant program.






There was a reign of terror in Boston and that occurred back during the time Whitey was in prison.










There was a reign of terror in Boston and that occurred back during the time Whitey was in prison.

12 thoughts on “WHITEY: The Joe Berlinger Film: The Lawyers Spinning the Story; The FBI S.O.P.

  1. Ed: More recently, I was astonished to learn that the FBI had turned over the rented home used by the terrorist couple to the home owner. The owner, in turn, invited a swarm of reporters and cameramen into the house. What a disaster! It occurred to me that items that appear innocuous can become valuable evidence as investigators learn more about the crime and the perpetrators. And a second, third or fourth look around sometimes yields evidence that was somehow overlooked. I can’t believe the arrogance and stupidity of the FBI in declaring they’d gotten everything, and that the house could be returned to the owner. All this only a few days after a horrific crime.

    1. Dan C- I was stunned at that decision, some lady brought her baby through, all i was thinking was if they missed someting and a deeply hidden ied goes off, it is lights out for all.

  2. @ Dan C … response unnecessary. Above is best writing you’ve done. Pleased you have put some crackle in the spackle there Kid !!! 🙂

  3. Hi Matt,
    Here are a few thoughts on the Berlinger documentary. The film has virtually no archival footage of Bulger or anyone else. There are a couple of snippets of state police surveillance video of Bulger at the Lancaster garage. That’s it. As a result, the documentary doesn’t really have any cinematic qualities, which is what you want in a film, even a non-fiction film. Berlinger might as well have been making a documentary about the Renaissance. What you get is largely a parade of talking heads and still photographs. This is consistent with your idea that Bulger was more of a dangerous thug than a crime lord. Presumably, a genuine crime lord would have generated more film footage. With apologies to residents of that great community, I don’t think “ruling” South Boston is that big a deal. A year or two ago, I saw a one-hour TV program devoted to Bulger. What you got was a black-and-white still photo of that crappy liquor store, while a narrator spoke solemnly of Whitey’s “criminal empire. ” As long as we’re on the subject of that seedy liquor store, let me say that I had a hard time believing much of “Stippo’s” tale of extortion. (Evidently, Bulger’s prosecutors must have had some of the same doubts when they dropped Stippo from the witness list.) I also agree that it was a cop-out on Berlinger’s part to leave the reason for Stippo’s untimely passing to the very end of the film. Stippo had been featured prominently in Berlinger’s film and viewers should have been informed much sooner that Stippo’s somewhat bizarre murder had nothing to do with Bulger or the trial. Berlinger also relied on several relatives of Bulger’s murder victims. I didn’t find any of the relatives to be sympathetic characters, which is a problem for a filmmaker looking for innocent victims of Bulger’s homicidal impulses. As I recall it, the film opened with Stippo’s account of the liquor store extortion. Stippo’s real end (sipping a cyanide-laced ice coffee purchased at McDonald’s) was positively Fargo-esque, but it just didn’t fit it with the Evil Bulger narrative.

    One question: We hear plenty about the state police and the FBI. But where are the Boston police in all this? There have been suggestions that a combination of bribes and FBI protection kept Bulger from being run-in by the local cops. But nobody really seems to have tackled this one head-on.

  4. Matt.

    My guess is she was teaching him how to shoot.

    Is it possible to make counter-intelligence proactive? No, by its very nature, it is reactive.

    Don’t be too harsh on Obama. He’s just following policy set in place long before he was elected. Long serving bureaucrats measure things in temporal decades, rather, than, election cycles. I don’t like the drip-by-drip escalation of US involvement. It seems like the Kennedy years back during chien tranh my (the American war).
    We are going the wrong way. Ed Lansdale made a critical error in supporting the Diem regime, it would have been better had he supported the syncretic Buddhist cults who had standing militias capable of resisting the Viet Minh. Likewise, the government has to put a little more thought into our choice of proxies in the Syrian civil war. The “moderate” rebels” are not producing. It’s time to begin thinking about negotiations, and, eventual diplomatic relations, with IS,or, JAN. Once IS, and/or, JAN, are part of the world economic order, they would quickly fall of their own corruption. The rot has already set in.

  5. Matt:

    Do you think it would be possible to run a “honey trap” on an INTERNET service that matched Muslim marriage partners? Is the mukhabat al-Khilafat (IS intelligence) clever enough to feed nursery grown female agents into the match-making systems?Having the personal information of all the male suitors would allow IS intel to pair their agents with individuals most likely to drawn toward extremism.
    Muslim guys are brought up in an environment of sexual repression. Sex outside marriage is considered zinna ( a major sin). Young adult males are generally celibate until marriage. In Muslim culture there’s always a big push on guys to get married early. These factors make young male Muslims extremely susceptible to sex based scams.
    Honey traps have been around since Samson and Dahlila. The agent, male, or, female, uses sexual favors to trap the target into the desired behavior. Child molesters fall into INTERNET traps set by the police, all the time. IS, of course, has a different design for the individuals it nets. Two powerful psychological forces are at play in this scheme: human sex-drive, and, religious culture. In Muslim culture, religion is thought to control the sex drive. Islamic scholars consider libido the deepest, and, most dangerous of human instincts. When these forces are harnessed together, rather than, existing in opposition, they create an irresistible psychic lever. The IS hybrid “honey-trap” overwhelms the minds of its’ targets and causes people to do things they would not ordinarily even consider.

    In layman’s terms; the female agent screws the brains out of her target, and, then, pours the ISIS potion of ideas into the empty skull.

    Most of the older IS intel people come out of the former Iraqi and Syrian security organs. These outfits were modeled on Soviet designs and utilized East-Block trade-craft. The “honey-trap” was a great favorite of the KGB. I’m not surprised to see it used by IS, but, I am surprised to see it utilized to such great effect on the INTERNET.

    Wa-llahi! al-mukhabarat al-Khilafat is run by clever fellows, very evil, but, also, very smart.

    I wonder how many female agents came through Customs & Immigration on K1 bride visas?

    1. Khalid:

      You know I know very little about the Muslim culture but figure Muslims are no different than the rest of us. Didn’t Shakespeare spell that out in the Merchant of Venice that no matter what we believe or where we come from we have the same basic feelings and desires.

      I would say that the Honey Trap would be a clever idea. You might know that Irish Catholic guys like myself were also brought up in an environment of sexual repression and the Church’s teachings demanded all remain celibate until marriage. So I can understand that the lure of a young willing female to enter into nuptials would be an attractive bait. The more devout the man the more susceptible he is to the Trap.

      IS would be quite clever to have come up with a scheme where it radicalizes women, teaches them their duty is to marry some stiff, and then their job would be to radicalize their husbands. The one problem I have with the scheme is I believed in Muslim families the man wears the pants in the family so the women were quite subservient to the will of their husbands so it would be hard for her to overcome his wishes. But I have learned in life, and as I said Muslims are no different than others, that women have the ways and wiles to make a man conform to her wishes while the man still thinks he is running things. At least that is an Irish experience and perhaps Muslims are more like Irish than others. The layman explanation goes a long way to explaining the phenonmena.

      The Honey-Trap, if that is in fact behind the murders in California, must have the people responsible for our safety wondering the same thing as you. I assume there is a list of those who came in on K1 bride visas. I suppose the first step is to get the list and find out how many husbands of K1s have purchased AK47s. But the bigger story is something that is not nice to know. Our adversary is a lot more clever than we have been giving it credit for being. If they conceived this program they have probably some bigger and better ideas they are preparing. I hope our guys and gals are giving this some serious thought. Right now I have little confidence in our defenses.

    2. Khalid:

      You also make me wonder in your post about the “honey trap” is why our intelligence people could not have figured out that might be an approach that would be used by IS. Do you think they fell into the Obama JV type thinking? When you explain it and how it has been used by the Soviets and the obvious utility it would have to those in IS who are waging war on us, aren’t those in charge of our intelligence agencies remiss in not having to anticipate that happening. Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik according to the FBI were planning this a long time. Tashfeen entered the U.S. in July 2014. She and her husband had been at ranges practicing their firing of their weapons. Tashfeen always dressed in a way which would identify her as a strict Muslim. Did no one think it odd this woman in a burka was firing an AK47. If what you say should have been obvious then the more we learn about this the more we must worry that our intelligence services are not up to the job.

  6. Why the consternation ??? … ” Look America … THIS WHITE MALE CHRISTIAN … IRISH MALEFACTOR. … FROM … COVER YOUR EARS DIVERSITY HIGH … SOUTH BOSTONNNN …. IS A … TERRORIST !!!! This is boilerplate lefty agitprop writ. … WELL YOU FIGURE IT OUT YOU WHITE DEVILS 🙂 !!!!!!!!

    YAWNNNNN !!!!!!!!!

  7. Hi Matt and what is your understanding of the investigation at Heller’s Cafe in Chelsea?

    Is it true that the owner of Heller’s Cafe was helping Vinnie Ferrara to recruit bookies away from Bulger and Flemmi?

    1. David:

      Have to go back to the books to review it since I haven’t thought of it for a while. Off the top of my head it was a state police wiretap done from some construction trailers located near Hellers. It sort of started like the Lancaster Street investigation with the observation that all the top gangsters were going there. It was a check cashing operation that washed money for all the hoodlums. I’m not sure of this but I recall the owner’s name was Mike London.

      Vinnie Ferrara did use the place and was arrested at time place raided. Not sure if they were trying to move bookies over to Ferrara but would not doubt it. Jimmy the Sniff who was a Bulger guy used Heller’s so he might have had some pressure on him. Guys like Joey Y or Desotelle were known to have to pay tribute to both the North End and Winter Hill.

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