WHITEY: The Joe Berlinger Film: The Non Existent Reign of Terror – No One Knew About the Murders

(1) fool grinningI find it interesting how people speak and do not recognize they are contradicting themselves. In the Berlinger film Prosecutor Brian Kelly sitting between two other prosecutors, Zachary Hafer and Fred Wyshak, is interviewed about the Whitey case.  He told us how “Bulger’s reign of terror” was brought to an end by good cops. He also told us and the jury in his opening that Whitey ran amok for 30 years.

My idea of terror is that the person was doing something that is widely known and most people are fearful of him. I’ve mentioned before that outside of some in law enforcement, those in the criminal underworld, and  a good many in South Boston who knew of him but also knew that if you avoided doing business with him he would not bother them, Whitey was generally unknown during his heydays which would have been from 1974 when he teamed up with Stevie Flemmi up until 1995.

We’ve seen that of the murders he was charged with committing, the last one occurred in 1985 ten years before this so-called reign ended. That was that of Deborah Hussey which really was done by Stevie Flemmi. All the murders charged against Whitey occurred in two discrete periods: 1973 to 1976 when Whitey was pretty much a nobody and certainly not in charge of any gang; and then after five years passed, 1981 to 1985. And, of those murders, it is more probable than not that Whitey had little or nothing to do with over half of them.

Hardly can this be called a reign of terror when few were in the line to be terrorized. Even less so can it be labeled such when no one knew murders were being committed by Whitey.

Prosecutor Kelly a little later in the documentary film explains the deal that he gave Martorano. He agreed that he got a pretty good deal saying he is a ruthless killer. He didn’t explain why he gave a ruthless killer $20,000 when he was released from prison. What he did say which was one of the gems I was talking about is that at the time they made the deal – which was in 1998 “we had no evidence of his killings.”

Where then is a reign of terror when the federal prosecutors and their investigators admit they had no idea of any of the killings Whitey had committed?

When the Boston Globe did a series called The Bulger Mystique on Whitey and Billy in 1988 there was no mention of him being engaged in a reign of terror or having murdered anyone.

When Whitey was indicted in 1995 he was not indicted for any murders. No one mentioned a reign of terror. Another article in the Boston Globe on March 5, 1995, two months after Whitey left town, fairly spelled out all that was known at the time about Whitey.  He was a strong-arm guy involved in booking and perhaps drug dealings. Nothing was mentioned about murders or any reign of terror.

It is through the magic of the media in conjunction with the prosecutors and authors that Whitey’s life has been rewritten and he has been turned into a legend through puffery and lies. Whitey operated clandestinely with limited effect outside a small criminal element. He was made larger than life because of the need for prosecutors and media types to justify the deals made to other criminals against whom Whitey’s evilness paled.

That is why it is grossly unfair for Catherine Greig who fled with Whitey in 1995 to be sentenced to eight years in prison based upon the idea that she was harboring and aiding a person who was a murderer. We know that was in part the basis for her sentence because at the time of her sentencing the family of the victims of Whitey paraded into court and castigated her for having been with him.

It is also highly inappropriate to suggest that somehow Billy Bulger, Whitey’s brother, would have known that his brother was a murderer. There is little doubt that he knew he earned his living by running a gaming enterprise but judging on his book written in 1996 , While The Music Lasts, where he talked about him he suggests he heard “lurid allegations” and “dark rumors” but attributed them to political attacks on himself.  Those rumors would have been about his strong-arm tactics running his gaming operation.

What is most amazing about all of it is not that the media, the prosecutors, the judges, and Hollywood could make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, it is that Whitey himself believed the propaganda put out about him. He believes he lead a remarkable criminal life when he was little more than a blood thirsty local hoodlum who left no footprints behind him outside of the imagination of those who profited from him and the suffering of some of the families of his victims. Had he never existed little would have changed. That he could be made into this super criminal is stunning to those who know his true story.

23 thoughts on “WHITEY: The Joe Berlinger Film: The Non Existent Reign of Terror – No One Knew About the Murders

  1. It’s … shortsighted … some POS coke dealer pushes poison into how many funeral homes transient travellers as they punch the tickets for those Souls on coffin way, and this is not considered pure deviltry and murder
    PERHAPS ( Surmise) JB found that bunch revolting. Perhaps this resulted in the Rod Of Correction being applied in order to keep this sprawling squabbling vicious venal and most importantly LOST group of coke hustlers in some kind of … Order … Dunno . An indispensable condition for a PLANET being a PLANET is that it can clear its atmosphere of other celestial bodies. He has a powerful gravitational force to his personality : as to the means and manner in which celestial bodies around him piled up so to say? … Well who knows? … He does .

  2. MTC:

    You are Key-Rect as to tribute exacted ; ego drives the curious as to the rest. He is probably amused at the inverse proportion of energy expended trying to confute his Legend, and the extent to which all these efforts confirm it. He is a highly disciplined lad no doubt.

  3. If you breakdown murders like stats on a baseball card Bulger is not even close to the MVP. His timeline of active years does not match up with the terror claimed by these individuals. This was Billy’s achilles heel politically and it is the origin of all this fanatical rhetoric. It all comes down to having a powerful politician as a brother and having political enemies cement this overblown reputation of a mastermind terrorist criminal.

    1. Doubting:

      Good points. We have to keep in mind that without Billy almost all people who lived outside of South Boston would never have heard of Whitey.

      1. MTC- William Bulger has not given in to the smearing and hurtful commentary, which is pretty incredible, considering what has been spoken as fact, is not fact at all. I can’t say that it has helped him at all by being so disciplined, atleast not by the optics of it all. Horrible lies have been spewed, even the most outlandish,easily disproven examples are not corrected by him. The discipline of not having a pissing contest with these certain individuals in the press is a clear indication to me that he is a exceptional individual who has mastered the art of patience and discipline.

  4. Matt
    Please clarify a point that you brought up in this fine post. You quoted, I believe Kelly, as having said ” we had NO evidence of his killings”. Isnt Kelly referring to John Martorano when he makes this quote? You stated the quote in reference to the deal made with Martorano , no? But then after stating the quote you state where was this reign of terror supposedly done by Bulger.

    Also, I didnt live in Southie during the Bulger era. Was bulger rarely seen at that time because if he wasnt in Somerville, then he was at Theresa Stanly and/or Catherine Grieg place ? I mean, he kept a very low profile and was not known by many in Southie or did everyone know of and see Bulger but kept a safe distance from him?

    1. Jerome:

      Yes, Kelly is referring to John Martorano but before he told him of the murders he committed and those in which he implicated Whitey they had no evidence of Whitey doing any murders either. Martorano implicates Whitey in most of the murders which he will eventually be charged with; those he doesn’t Weeks does.

      Bulger was around but mostly kept himself within the criminal element. People knew of him and probably about him, Southie is a small place and reputations are known among all. As I’ve often told as a small kid I knew that Whitey (did not know last name) who lived in the project where I lived was to be avoided. No one kept a safe distance from him but did not go out of their way to be around him. Keep in mind a lot of tough guys were around and a good amount of guys who were criminals; the idea was to know them but not participate with them. The criminals usually did not bother the non-criminals.

  5. And yes, it is fatuous to assert that Jimmy was not a hands on Executive ; He did not delegate that which he had the BALLS to do . ( One conjectures of course ) , but he was not a killer of Women ; Albeit he was a Lady Killer was ” Hey Blue Eyes. ” As to Billy Boy, Billy Boy Oh where wert thou Billy Boy ??? through All these Rubied Mists …. Well the sheer fact of biological determinism governed his life wirh his older brorher; personal qualities of Honor and Fiery Loyalty burnt a fraternal brand always on his Heart. BILLY IS AS PURE AS THE DRIVEN SNOW ; HE COULD NOT HAVE BEEN OTHERWISE, AND STILL BEEN … BILLY 🙂

  6. Red Shea as a reliable witness ??? John Shea is an Honorable kid ; always was. I would surmise his ” chips ” for bargaining off his and the colorfully named ” Whiteys ” involvement with ” LEGEND “were subway tokens ; ” Take the Red Line to Andrew, RICO !!! ” 🙂 … Getting tired of the REVEALED FAITH of JB’S involvement : directly, materially, provably beyond hearsay wirh this ambitious crew of cokeheads. They ‘ wuz HUSTLIN’ . Show us the bodies Johnny !!! Otherwise, continue on. Always liked Mr. John “Red” Shea .

  7. Greetings Friend,

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled (around the mid 1980’s) that Poker was a game of skill, therefor the gambling expenses were deductible against winnings.

    Online Fantasy Football contests are not games of skill. They are completely games of chance due to the fact that they are about betting on the results of people, like the results of a horse race.

    I feel that it is wrong that our state bans online poker but allows online betting on Fantasy Football.

    This kind of hypocrisy causes one to lose any faith on our elected officials.

    By the way, I enjoy reading your column very much.


    1. Brian:

      Thanks. You are absolutely right that poker involves much skill while fantasy football is nothing but gambling. The state is absolutely wrong to ban poker and not the other. The only reason I can see is that there is “big money” like the NFL and networks involved in the fantasy football scam. Perhaps if the people who ran online poker told the NFL owners they’d cut them in on the profits it would become legal.

  8. Matt,

    Excellent work marshaling the evidence proving that Whitey wasn’t at all the major crime boss the US Attorneys and media want us to believe. Kelly had financial incentive to create a false Goliath and then slay him, but what was Wyshak’s motivation (beyond a fiery hatred of Irish Catholics)?

    On another note, this article shows that there is a major hole in the DOJ’s propaganda. They want us to believe that federal law enforcement only enabled informants in Boston. It was an isolated problem that “could only occur in the Irish Catholic neighborhood in the most Irish city in the Country.” i.e. a Black Mass….. an unholy alliance.
    Well, here’s a guy who killed 7 people while working for the FBI. This is something the Boston media can never print.


    1. Matt, I am shocked at your article. First of all , in 1990 did the DEA not bring to justice a long list of drug dealers that operated out of South Boston and worked for and paid money to Jimmy Bulger? One of those dealers was Red Shea who went to prison for many years? Is it fact that the cocaine and other drugs that South Boston and Boston itself was awash in led to addiction and death by overdose? Bulger does NOT have blood on his hands? When you state that not many knew who Jimmy Bulger was over the years, could you not say the same of John Gotti until 1985 when he removed Big Paul? Jimmy was moving up the ranks all those years. With all due respect to you the behavior of Billy Bulger over the years was what? Beyond question? Beyond reproach?

      1. Norwood:

        I hope the shock doesn’t last too long. The DEA operation grabbed a lot of guys in South Boston. They were drug dealers who paid tribute to Whitey. It was not Whitey who put them into operation. He found them operating and decided to take a cut of their proceeds. You seem to think that there would have been no drugs or cocaine in South Boston if Whitey was not around. He hasn’t been around since 1994 so you must think there is no problem in Southie with drugs over the lase 21 years. It is not only Southie, other parts of Boston, the adjacent cities, the subburbs or other areas of Massachusetts all had their drug problems. Suggesting it was only in Southie and only because of White is to close your eyes to reality.

        Whitey is demonized not because of the drugs but because of his alleged murders and gambling organization. That is why it is called a reign of terror. There have been major drug dealers arrested and no one says they are conducting a reign of terror yet those drug dealers do not get the special treatment Bulger gets. I agree all involved in distributing these illegal drugs have drugs on their hands but to suggest somehow it only existed because of Whitey is to ignore the widespread use of drugs.

        Gotti was alway known as a Mafia guy. Whitey was known as a guy involved in running gaming operations and the associated loan sharking and leg breaking. He was not known for any murders.

        Tell me what you suggest shows Billy Bulger had something to do with Whitey. I would like to see what you refer to.

        1. 100% correct, Matt. Whitey had little or nothing to do with the smuggling, distribution, or sales of the cocaine/heroin/marijuana in South Boston. He simply found out who did, and shook them down for a piece of the action..once he was involved, he might arrange protection or a warehouse, but these guys were already up and running..see David Lindholm, for example..one of the first guys to testify about it on the record. Surprised NB doesn’t know this.

    2. Patty:

      The true unholy alliance was between the U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston and the Boston Globe. Wyshak was sucked in by an intense desire to be a somebody and the Globe through Lehr, O’Neill, Shelley, Kevin, etc., gave him that chance. I don’t get Wyshak beyond that; I know he has a warped idea of Southie and the Bulgers but that comes from the Globe. I really don’t believe he has a fiery hatred of Irish Catholics who live outside the penisular.

      The big problem with all of this is the idea that the Boston FBI office was different than any other FBI office in the country. The reason it is believed to be is it is the only one that has been forced to partially open its books and then only as it relates to Whitey and Stevie’s files. Even in Boston we haven’t seen how many other major hoodlums – the Bergers, Sarkises, Berkowitzs, and others who were given passes by the FBI. Then consider that the same thing was done throughout the nation and you see that the whole story about the Connolly/Whitey situation being something unique is false. It was commmon, no, it is common since it continues. The only difference is that everyplace else it is ongoing it is hidden.

  9. My good sir, Whitey’s activities do indeed constitute a reign of terror. For when Mr. Kelly speaks, the words means exactly what he chooses them to mean:

    When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    ’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    ’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.

    1. GOK:

      In the situation you refer to only one person fell down the rabbit hole; the one we are dealing with half of those in the Boston area were sucked down by the media.

  10. Hi Matt and thanks for a well written article on your blog.

    What is your understanding of mobster Anthony St Laurent and is it true that he had a dispute with the Winter Hill Gang?

    Why did Sonny Mercurio become an informant for John Connolly?

    1. I just recently reviewed some government documents that suggest Sonny Mercurio was an informant well before the bugging of Vanessa’s, which played into him being paroled for two separate murders in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. That’s a Ditto for Sonny’s brother Mike, and his weasel pal Louie DiPietro.

      1. Bruce:

        That is interesting stuff. Do you suppose you could give a little more information on that. The legend out there is that he became an informant as a reasult of the Vanessa wiretap. Thanks for noting it. It shows the FBI is deeply involved in this type stuff and that it and the media scammed the public with the idea that John Connolly was a rogue agent. I think the most compelling evidence showing the FBI’s attitude to its informants was when it recruited Vincent “Jimmy The Bear” Flemmi as an informant knowing that he had committed several murders and had told them he wanted to go on an be the best”hit man” in New England.

    2. David:

      St. Laurent was a R.I. guy and suspected informant for RI police. Soem suggested he was one of the people who helped provide information on the bugging of the Mafia ceremony conducted by Junior. Don’t think he had problems with Winter Hill but may have with some other guys up in MA

      Mercurio became an informant to get a good deal; he was nabbed and did not want to do the time for his crime.

Comments are closed.