Saturday Thoughts: Telling the Truth About the Boston Media and Whitey Bulger

(1) South BostonYou’ve heard me suggest how the Boston media created Whitey into something monstrous for the purpose of making a profit off of him. Also in making him into such they could blacken the name of his brother Billy suggesting he must have known about or enabled his evil doing; and generally presenting a picture of Whitey’s evil doing that had nothing at all to do with reality.

In doing this they were abetted by the federal prosecutors who either believed what they were reading in the Boston media or had their own reasons for elevating him to the top spot. I’ve pointed out how the lead federal prosecutor Fred Wyshak looked upon his actions as part of a crusade to put Whitey in prison, which was easy because there were so many crimes he was involved in that once arrested he would never be released again, but also to do damage to his brothers, Billy and Jackie. He succeeded against Jackie who got caught up in lying to a grand jury and did time and lost his pension even though the incident for which he was convicted had nothing to do with his job. Despite his strenuous and unrelenting efforts (look at the deals he gave to all the criminals trying to find something) he was never able to nail Billy. That was not for lack of trying; it was because Billy had led a life of high integrity never coming close to committing a crime.

Speaking of lying to a jury, A.J. English wrote a book “Where the Bodies are Buried” about the Whitey matter. He tells of a conversation with Kevin Weeks a main witness against Whitey. Weeks told English after he finished testifying, (p.270)  “I was playing nice. I could have buried him. But I made clear that I didn’t know if he did the Debbie Davis murder, and I repeated what he had always told me, that he was against the killing of Roger Wheeler. I could have backed up the other testimony and destroyed him on those points, but I didn’t.”

Isn’t that a confession of perjury before the jury? Whether he was holding things back or adding things, what he was doing was lying. Wyshak has indicted former FBI agent Robert Fitzpatrick for lying to the Whitey jury. Will he do the same to his own witness?

That is just an aside to let you watch and see how the game is played in the Boston U.S. attorney’s office. I really wanted to talk about the Boston media. English agrees with me that Whitey has been created into something he isn’t. He laments that the media narrowed the coverage of the trial saying it “preferred that the trial be about Whitey “the monster”and little else.”

He went on: “The role the media had played in creating and cultivating the myth of Whitey Bulger was complex and personal.. . . But as the prosecution of Bulger – as shaped by Wyshak and Kelly – had begun to dominate and misconstrue many important questions about who ultimately was responsible for the Bulger fiasco, you could argue that the local media engaged in coverage that bordered on dereliction of duty.” (p. 217)

On the next page he continues: “Nonetheless among the most powerful and influential media outlets in the city, the coverage bordered on cheerleading for the prosecutors and the U.S. attorney’s office. . . . The trial was exhaustively covered, but not with much depth. The best journalists in town were more interested in settling old scores with Whitey than probing the parameters of a skewed prosecution. The hidden horrors of the Bulger trial seemed destined to remain so.”

T.J. English in his book got a lot of things right but he got a lot of things wrong. It’s a good book though and worth reading. Why was he so wrong on so many things, here are some of the people he relied on to, as he said, “separate fact from fiction,” Kevin Weeks, Patrick Nee, Joseph Salvati, Anthony Cardinale, Harvey Silverglate, Robert Fitzpatrick, Thomas Foley, John Martorano, Jimmy Martorano, Steve Davis, John Connolly, and Howie Carr. He could not have picked a more biased group other than the news media reporters and columnists.

Unfortunately for English, he’s a very talented and entertaining writer, but it is hard to come in from the outside and have a true picture of the events. He spent too much time associating with Pat Nee and Kevin Weeks who have their own agendas which he seemed not to grasp. But even with his limited view he could clearly saw that the media  was telling a false story.



  1. Hi Matt and thanks for taking the time to answer my question about Barboza and Bulger from TJ English’s book in your recent article on your blog.

    Do you think that Salemme, Murderman and Kevin Weeks committed perjury in the John Connolly trial to get back at him for recruiting Bulger and Flemmi as informants?

    What was Sam Berkowitz’s ties to the Mafia in Boston? As Tom Foley’s book mentions that he was one of the informants that took down the Angiulos and that he had dealings with Flemmi and Salemme?

    • Dave:

      They lied not so much for revenge but to tell the prosecutor what he wanted to hear. They had to do that to get a deal. Salemme also had Connolly to thank for his 16 years in prison; Connolly arrested him in N.Y. City.

      Berkowitz was a Top Echelon Informant for John Morris. He gave Morris money, gifts and let him use his condo in Florida for no charge.. He was prote’s place cted to such an extent that he corrupted Chelsea and operated quite openly. He was used against the Angiulos in an affidavit that let the FBI put a bug in his office. He paid tribute to Angiulo so that he could operate without problems in Chelsea. I assume he must have been at Angiulo’s location on occasion. I’m not sure whether he had dealings with Flemmi and Salemme; the latter probably not since he was in prison for most of that time.

  2. Matt
    I have spent the last few days reading a TON of your posts on the blog. This blog is really great. Appreciate all the work you put into it. As result of more reading a few thoughts and questions:

    1. You stated that Kevin Weeks couldnt have actually murdered anyone in order to get the deal that he did so he uses a masked gunman in the back of the car to kill Halloran. BUT John Martorano admitted to killing 20 people and only got 12 years. I am wrestling with whether or not Kevin Weeks actually murdered someone.

    2. There is a Document in the Whitey Bulger indictment and trial. I believe its number 852 Filed on 3/26/2013. In that specific document there are many FBI-302that are SEALED. Jeremiah O Sullivan, Michael Albano, Robert Long, Fraelick, Morris, Montanari, Robert James Jordan, etc. Do you have any idea why those would be sealed and what could possibly be in them? There are also 4 Depositions of Stephen Flemmi that are SEALED. Again WHY?

    3. Any theories as to why no one tried to kill Bulger and take over his operations? I ask because that seems to be a common tact with the Mafia and LCN.

    4. How come Weeks and Martorano chose not to enter the Witness Protection Program?

    5. The more I read and research the more I am convinced that Pat Nee is also a TEI. That guy has never testified in any trial. I was reluctant to believe Patty but I think I Patty is right. When you look at ALL of this Pat Nee seems to be the guy in bed with the FEDS today

    I thought it was interesting that Bulger had quite a few books on organized crime i his Santa Monica apartment. He actually had a copy of Brutal on the bookshelf. Those books, his gun collection, and knives show that he was really obsessed with violence well into his 80s.

    • Jerome:

      If you started back at the beginning you would see how I started off telling people that they should read Black Mass to find out what was going on. It is through looking at things more closely and being challenged over the years that everything started to look different from my original ideas.

      1. What I meant was that Weeks could not admit murdering anyone; he had to always put himself at the murder scene as a spectator. It is much easier to get a deal under those circumstances. You’ll have to be patient for me to discuss the rest of the murders to see if I believe he murdered anyone. Martorano got the best deal because he was first in line; it was easier for the prosecutors to recommend the five years if Weeks could remove himself from the murders.

      2. I have no iDEA why things are sealed.

      3. The Mafia had no reason to take out the Flemmi/Whitey group in the late ’70s or early ’80ssince they cooperated and did not step on each others toes. The Angiulos are out of business in 1984 as a result of the 1981 FBI bug; the Mafia guys that followed up were fighting among themselves rather than trying to expand into other areas.

      4. They used the defense that they were testifying against rates; so anyone who would be interested in hitting them they were suggesting they were doing the right thing by going after the FBI informants. The had no gangster enemies so they didn’t need the program.

      5. Nee has probably been a TEI for a while. He is clearly being protected.

      • Matt
        I wait off to read through the other murders you will be going through. As per my weekend reading on your blog (the early years of 2012 and beginning of 2013) I have learned already that some murders attributed to Whitey were done by Martorano.

        Any thoughts/guesses as to why certain 302s were SEALED and depositions of Steve Flemmi were SEALED as well. Its in Moakley Court Filing system for the Whitey Bulger trial. Some stuff you can read (almost all of it) but some documents are sealed. I thought maybe the sealed documents were part of the FBI coverup?

  3. Strictly off-topic:

    At my church bazaar today, I saw a book I had never heard of, “Underboss,” published in 1989.

    All hard-cover books at the bazaar were only $1. This was one of them.

    The authors: O’Neil and Lehr, of “Black Mass” infamy. I put down the book and walked away.

  4. Matt
    The quote you used about what Weeks said in TJ English book, I have a question. What do YOU suppose Weeks could have said or spoken about during his testimony that would have buried Bulger? Is Weeks implying that Bulger did in fact murder Debra Davis and did have a part in the Roger Wheeler hit? I dont understand what Weeks is referring to.

    Regarding Weeks, if you saw him in public would you approach him and speak to him? I ask because he currently lives in South Boston and seen around town. He must not fear retribution. You mentioned Weeks has a violent temper but from my research he has not been arrested by law enforcement since his release so I am assuming he may have gotten anger management or counseling.

    Do you think Weeks is as much of a psychopath and as dangerous as Flemmi and Bulger? I ask because no one tried to kill Weeks, he is not in hiding, he didnt testify and “rat” on anyone besides Bulger, and probably protected Nee on many occasions. I just dont see Weeks in the same light as Bulger/Flemmi but I am wrestling with if its because I was “brainwashed” by the media with story after story of him just cleaning up AFTER murders.

    • Jerome:

      I have no idea what he meant. He had to testify in accordance with what he had told the prosecutors, I assume, and that is what he did. If he had more information making Whitey look like he murdered Debra or was involved in Wheeler’s homicide I think the prosecutors would have brought it out. Weeks was not a free spirit; he was being controlled and it was known by the proseutors and probably defense counsel what he would say.

      I would not go out of my way to approach Weeks since there is little I could learn from him which would not be very self-serving. I wouldn’t fear him because he is wise enough not to get into anything that would jepoardize himself. I doubt he has had any anger management counseling; he is smart enough to control himself if that is what he is doing. I look upon Weeks as a slightly different from the others – he was sort of an underling doing the bidding of the other two and looking for their approval. I think he liked the rush of his position – whether he was much different I doubt. He was too close to them to be much different. The only one Weeks ratted out was Whitey but the word around Southie for many years was that Whitey told him if got jammed in he should cooperate and save himself. Keep in mind Whitey was gone and no one expected he would be caught. ; he did protect Nee as part of his deal with the Feds.

      • Matt
        I certainly agree with you that Weeks wanted Bulger’s approval. I dont see that so much with him and Flemmi although he may have slightly feared Flemmi. The reason I dont quite see Weeks in the same light as Flemmi and Bulger is because of the murder history and penchant for violence. Bulger and Flemmi were hardened criminal from a very young age. You know their histories so I am preaching to the choir.

        With Weeks I see a guy who had no real direction in life. Worked for MBTA, side job as a bouncer but no college degree, no profession he was passionate about during his 20s. He was in the “right” place at the right time when it came to getting into Organized Crime, no? Bulger saw something in him he liked and took him under his wing.

        I am sure the money and street respect had a huge influence on Weeks. There was a Boston Globe article that stated that Weeks was complaining to Flemmi that he was getting beat up in the streets and attacked for being a “rat”. Weeks took over for Bulger once Bulger skipped town but he was not a very effective “mob” leader, no?

        • Matt
          Also, I have read and studied about cults. The relationship between Bulger and Flemmi has similar aspects to the guru/student relationship. Especially given that Bulger was seen as a very manipulative person. I wouldnt be surprised if the everyday contact between these two men de-sensitized Weeks and made him rationalize murdering individuals and/or disposing of dead bodies. The books claim Weeks and Bulger were in contact everyday for hours for years.

  5. Thanks for an interesting article on your blog and I think that you made some good points about TJ English book Where the bodies are buried as I have read it before.

    Do you think that Joe Barboza was a precursor to Whitey Bulger? As TJ English mentioned that in his book.

    what is your understanding of Flemmi’s ties to Rhode Island mobsters such as Bobby deluca?

    • David:

      There is no connection between Barboza and Whitey. That is another part of English’s book where he buys into the theory put out by Jay Carney of O’Sullivan giving immunity etc. which misses the real mess here. For one thing Barboza was not an informant; he was a cooperating witness. Whitey if you believe the FBI was an informant; but we know for sure he was never a cooperating witness.

      The Congressional Committee that was set up to investigate the incarceration of the four so-called innocent men (not all were if you understand how things worked back then) found it was not getting much publicity so it shifted its investigation to Whitey’s situation and then hit pay dirt when it realized by demanding Billy Bulger to testify before it then the Boston Media would ensure it got widespread coverage and you know nothing suits a Congressman better than to read his name in the paper.

      I don’t think Flemmi played well in Rhode Island. His hook in Boston was Larry Baione (Zannino) another Roxbury guy who kept him up on the Mafia doings.

  6. Everything the media says is fake. They did to Whitey by grossly exaggerating his power and influence and portraying him as different from the rest of the gangsters the same as they did to Dukakis by claiming he was other than mediocre. Hillary now admits through her e-mail to family and the Egyptian diplomats that the Benghazi attack was an Al Qaeda operation from the get go. BHO and she tell a false tale to the public and the bereaving families about a you Tube video. Their fabrication in that incident is similar to the FBI fantasy about not Knowing Tsarnaev during the Boston Marathon investigation. It was said about LBJ that he lied even when he didn’t need to. The media, BHO and Hillary are carbon copies of LBJ.

    • NC:

      True to an extent. The media usually reports the scores of the games correctly. True that Whitey was hugely exaggerated – that seems beyond question but it well served its purpose. Dukakis at least did not crash the tank into anything so he had some competence. Hillary could only have come out clean on Benghazi if she had suited up in a parachute and jumped down into the middle of the fray. The FBI knew who Tamerlan was as soon as his video was isolated. They sent teams out into Cambridge to capture him after stupidly pretending it did not know him. They went public with it hoping to flush him out of his hideout and into the arms of its agents. He did run but they missed him; he ended up murdering the poor M.I.T. cop which is on the FBI’s hands. Once they realized their blunder they covered up with their usual lies. It was said that Ronald Regan had great admiration for LBJ.

  7. Matt, is there any evidence that English admits to his errors somewhere, as you tend to do in this forum?

    • GOK:

      No evidence of that. First, he writes in a different forum than I do where he puts things down on paper and others who know nothing about the subject assist him and accepts what he writes as gospel. He is not challenged by others as I am who sometimes know more about a subject than I do and pick up my errors. Second, it is not clear he thinks he has committed any errors. One, a major one, was labeling Joe Barboza and informant; he wasn’t. He was a cooperating witness. There is a big difference between the two and missing that he confuses other things.

  8. On the Joe Berlinger documentary about Bulger, Kevin Weeks claimed that he had two brothers that went to Harvard. I couldn’t find any other collaboration for that claim.

    Is that a Weeks attempt at credibility?

    Does anyone know about these alleged Harvard alumni?

    • Henry:

      He does have two brothers who went to Harvard. One testified at the John Connolly trial that he was used by Connolly as an intermediary to contact Kevin. Both have done well and led normal lives.