FBI Confronts Its Demons By Busting Mobster Whitey Bulger

Andrew KreigThe FBI’s capture of Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger in California last week on 19 murder charges shows impressive commitment. Agents used a $2 million reward and an innovative publicity campaign to locate the former FBI informant even though his prosecution could bring the FBI new embarrassment. Two top FBI agents have already been accused of murder in the shocking tale of Bulger’s reign as a stone-cold killer protected both by law enforcement and his brother, William “Billy” Bulger, the longtime president of the Massachusetts senate and a powerbroker with national-level clout.

Whitey BulgerEdward “Eddie Mac” MacKenzie, an ex-con, coke-dealer who authored, Street Soldier: My Life as an Enforcer for Whitey Bulger and the Boston Irish Mob, speculated during a June 25 interview on CBS-TV that Whitey Bulger, right, portayed in one of many FBI photos, will name “a lot of dirty public officials and maybe some dirty law enforcement officials” as part of his bargaining strategy.

MacKenzie declined to discuss names. “I'm afraid,” said the former martial arts competitor, “because if there's law enforcement people out there, any public official out there that knows that they're dirty, and I throw their name out there, you know, I'm going to get myself in trouble.”

Update on Bulger conviction Aug. 12, 2013: Bulger verdict brings closure for some victims’ families and eternal angst for others.

This column is about the fear, shame and simmering anger that many in Boston have long felt about this case, which has grown to implicate top government, university and even religious leaders of national stature.

ThoseHowie Carr who have investigated the Bulgers and their cronies are an occasional but still-neglected resource in the national reporting of this case so far. I met some of them as a young crime-writer in New England and then as a newly-minted attorney in Boston. Two leading investigators from the press are Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr, left, and Boston University professor Dick Lehr, a former prosecutor and Boston Globe investigative reporter. For many years, they have counted the bodies, interviewed survivors and snitches, and read transcripts that provide a comprehensive view of the scandals.

So have their counterparts in the law. One was Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf, whose rare passion for justice broke this case open in the 1990s. Following a series of Mafia cases, his fact-finding hearing in 1998 about suspected misconduct by law enforcers resulted in his 661-page findings in 1999 that implicated 22 federal law enforcers in serious misconduct. The proceeding also released hundreds of sensitive law enforcement documents for journalists like Carr and Lehr, each of whom wrote terrific books about the case. In the late 1980s, civil rights attorney Harvey Silverglate’s deft litigation put on the record Billy Bulger’s abuse of power in a real estate scandal. Silverglate, a prolific author on related topics, restricts himself from writing about that part of the Bulger scandals because of attorney-client privilege.

Let’s start with Carr’s 2006 book, The Brothers Bulger: How They Terrorized and Corrupted Boston for a Quarter Century. Carr sets the scene by describing the pervasive no-show government jobs Billy Bulger arranged for cronies, along with his brother’s gambling and shake-downs both of hoods and of ordinary citizens in fear for their lives. Also, he portrays Whitey Bulger, now 81, and his sidekick Stevie "The Rifleman" Flemmi as sex fiends and perverts. Eddie Mac MacKenzie’s book recounts how he built a gym near a parochial school where they could ogle teenagers in a locker-room through a secret two-way mirror, with Bulger following up there in what they called “The Dog Room” for sex with underage girls.

Carr also describes Bulger as strangling two of Flemmi’s 26-year-old girlfriends as Flemmi lured them to their deaths. One was a Flemmi step-daughter whom Flemmi had been molesting since she was 15. In each instance, Bulger and Flemmi used pliers to yank out the victims’ teeth and cut off their fingers. This kind of blunt reporting about such crimes is widely known William Bulger in Boston area. But the sheer depravity of many such crimes tends to get lost in standard news accounts for national audiences.

So do the implications about the mobster’s brother. Carr relates how Billy boasted of friendships with leading political, business and religious leaders and obtained flattering profiles from The New Yorker in 1991 and from CBS 60 Minutes in 1992. Bulger, left, became president of the University of Massachusetts in 1995, making him by far the state’s highest-paid employee even as he filled its ranks with unqualified cronies stuffing their pockets with six-figure salaries. Also, however, he lived next door for many years to the home of Flemmi's mother. Her son, Whitey and corrupt FBI agents used it as a "clubhouse" to meet, store weapons, socialize and strategize. In 2003, the university president confessed to ignorance when House Government Oversight Committee member Dan Burton (R-IN) asked him why the largest weapons cache discovered in the history of New England federal law enforceent was found at the Flemmi home, just 15 feet from Bulger's.

Carr and other Boston experts remind us also of how the “good” brother, Billy, provided through the decades a benign and cheerful front.  He is portrayed at left in his 1996 autobiography, While the Music Lasts. A Democrat capable of strong alliances with a Republican president and governor for mutual gain, Billy Bulger hosted elaborate St. Patrick’s Day brunches that attracted top-level candidates from both parties who believed that back-slapping with Bulger would be an effective way to polish their  image with Irish-American voters. Whitey also worked on public relations, cultivating a Robin Hood-image with the media while acting elsewhere like Hannibal Lecter.

J. Edgard HooverWhitey’s top protector in the Boston FBI office was John “Zip” Connolly, a younger neighbor of his. Connolly got his FBI job upon a recommendation written in 1968 by Boston Congressman and House Speaker John McCormack to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, right. Connolly would go on to become the Boston FBI’s star agent, credited with helping to imprison much of Boston’s Mafia leadership. This enabled Bulger to take over many Mafia-run rackets. Billy Bulger unsuccessfully tried to get Connolly named Boston police commissioner but then-Mayor Ray Flynn thought such an appointment unwise. Instead, Connolly closed out his FBI career as a hero before taking a well-paid job as vice president for security at the region’s major electric utility, and drafting a screenplay for what he hoped would be a film monument to his career.

But Judge Wolf has been a legal ethics advocate ever since he helped Attorney General Edward Levi establish the DOJ's Office of Professional Responsibility in the late 1970s. Wolf later became a Justice Department prosecutor investigating mayoral corruption in Boston. He grew to suspect DOJ misconduct even as he was sentencing Mafia leaders to long prison terms. His 1998 hearings exposed Connolly as a criminal. The former FBI agent is now serving life in prison after a 2002 racketeering convictions and a 2008 conviction for the 1982 murder of a jai alai executive in Miami. Among remedial actions, the DOJ also indicted Connolly’s former FBI boss, Paul Rico, who died in 2004 while awaiting trial for the 1981 murder in Tulsa of another jai alai executive.

All of this may seem far removed from ordinary life. That’s until we consider the plight of anyone who might complain about criminals in a place where corrupt law officers share tips with psychopathic killers and their armies of snitches.

Think about it. Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters?  Law enforcement records are now filled with examples of shattered lives and violent deaths from those who thought they could rely on their government for protection, or at least for basic concern about good government.

Dick LehrEvidence abounds. I worked as law clerk for Judge Wolf from 1990 to 1991 shortly after he was assigned the federal racketeering case against seven leaders of New England’s Mafia. The public record now includes transcripts of decades of federal, state and local wiretaps, including of the mob’s headquarters and of an initiation ceremony. Connolly helped arrange surveillance and arrests, thereby winning promotions for himself and expanding Bulger turf by eliminating competition. Lehr, at left, a friend of mine since our reporting days at the Hartford Courant, is a former state prosecutor who undertook pioneering investigations of the Bulger Brothers in the late1980s at the Boston Globe.  Black Mass, which he co-authored in 2000 with his former Globe colleague Gerard O’Neill and recently updated in paperback, provides a fascinating account of the scandals in complementary ways to Carr’s more earthy account.

At this point, our real focus should be a better system to determine which of our government officials really fight for the public. Who’s a back-slapper and a phony? Who’s been involved in crime and cover-up? Carr wrote a column June 28, excerpted in the appendix, naming names, most prominently both former Democratic Gov. Mike Dukakis and his Republican successor, William Weld.

More generally, Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard Law School professor and Herald columnist, wrote a hard-hitting blurb for Carr’s 2006 book. “Carr brilliantly shows how the real villains in this tale of mass murder and massive corruption are the ‘good’ people who knowingly facilitated the bad brothers,” wrote the professor, naming names of civic eminences up to the level of U.S. Presidential nominees who saw little amiss through decades of back-slapping and deal-making. “Also guilty were the cowards who appointed Billy Bulger president of UMass instead of indicting him for extortion and taking bribes, and the reporters for 60 Minutes and The New Yorker who glorified Billy and romanticized Whitey.”

“There are,” Dershowitz wrote of the Brothers Bulger, "some out there are who are still protecting them. The sordid story is not yet over.”

 

Contact the author Andrew Kreig or comment

 

APPENDIX

Robert BlakeyThis column's author published on June 20 an overview the tough new federal laws passed in 1968 and 1970 to fight the Mafia, other organized crime groups, and their legitimate fronts. Kreig based his June 20 column primarily on a Richard Nixon Foundation forum convening top Justice Department, Congressional and White House staff instrumental in Margaret Kreigcreating the laws. The column also provided the author's personal perspectives and was updated to place into context the FBI's arrest of Whitey Bulger. Here is a link and excerpt: 

Justice Integrity Project, Learning from Heroes Who Fought the Mafia, Andrew Kreig, June 20, 2011. The nation’s top leaders from both parties put aside their differences in the late 1960s to create tough-but-fair law enforcement tools that broke the Mafia’s horrid power. That process was the focus of a fascinating panel organized by the Richard Nixon Foundation and featuring such experts as Notre Dame School of Law Professor G. Robert Blakey, left.

The topic carries strong interest for me. My mother is shown at right making a drug buy in cooperation with federal agents as she researched her 1967 book Black Market Medicine. It exposed Mafia counterfeiting of prescription medicine. Later that year, she became the star witness kicking off one the major congressional oversight hearings about the Mafia after its existence was revealed by informer Joe Valachi. More recently, readers here know that the Justice Integrity Project that I lead exposes misconduct by officials at today's Justice Department in situations where politics may lead also to dire results for the public.

 

Essential Books about Mafia Revelations and the Boston Mobs and Mafia

The Valachi Papers, Peter Maas, Putnam, 1968. This lives up to its reputation as,“The First Inside Account of the Mafia." As one reviewer has said: "No one outside the organization had any idea that five crime 'families' existed in New York or that the organization was divided into "families" until Valachi came along. Or that there was a national commission. Valachi exposed the Mob and put it in the spotlight for all to see. It's been there ever since aThe Godfather covernd we have Joe to thank for this. And Peter Maas for turning his memoirs into a wonderful book." Maas, a longtime crime writer who broke the Valachi story, had to overcome a Justice Department injunction to publish the book based on 1,180-pages of typed notes from Valachi.

In 1969, Mario Puzo, an Italian immigrant living in New York City and writing for men's magazines, published The Godfather. Puzo's book led to the iconic film series by that name starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, among others. In 1973, My Life in the Mafia by Vincent Teresa (with Newsday investigative reporter Thomas C. Renner) provided the first-post Valachi book by another informer (albeit not a "made" member). The well-told portrait published by Doubleday is about New England operations of the Patriarca Family. The Friends of Eddie Coyle by federal prosecutor George Higgins made the best-seller lists as a debut novel in 1973 portraying a low-level arms dealer in Boston's Irish mob. The book became a highly regarded movie starring Robert Mitchum.

The Underboss: Sammy the Bull Gravano's Story of Life in the Mafia (Harper Collins, 1997) stands out among the many books and movies that have poured forth since then at the national level. Its author was master story-teller Peter Maas, who earlier wrote the best-seller Serpico in part because he wanted to distance himself from Mafia-writing to memorialize an Italian-Amerian, New York policeman Frank Serpico, who heroically fought internal corruption amongst law enforcers. Gravano was second in command to New York's John Gotti, and became the highest-ranking Mafia member ever to defect. "Breathtaking" said New York magazine's reivewer. The tale puts the reader right with Gotti and Gravano watching a Christmas Eve street scene in mid-town Manhattan as their four hitmen, each wearing a black fur Russian hat to distract attention, fatally shot Gotti's predecessor, Paul Castellano, as he stepped from a restaurant.

In New England, While the Music Lasts was William M. Bulger's autobiography, published by Houghton Miflin in 1996 to many positive reviews. Publisher's Weekly wrote:

Bulger was born in South Boston in 1934, the son of Irish-Catholic working-class parents. While working his way through law school, he was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1960. He found the leadership of the house inadequate and fought it so he could get his bills, most prominently his child-abuse legislation, passed. He tells wonderful stories about the famous 1962 U.S. senate race between Ted Kennedy and Eddie McCormack (he was for McCormack); his brother's prison record for bank robbery; and the legendary (at least in Massachusetts) stinginess of JFK. Bulger goes on to explain his role in the Boston busing controversies "over alleged segregation in our schools"; his election to the state senate in 1970; and his selection as senate president of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He recently was appointed to the Presidency of the University of Massachusetts. Bulger's superb storytelling ability makes this memoir not only entertaining but a primer on how local politics works.

Black Mass

Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob, Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill, Public Affairs Press, 2000. Publisher's Weekly reviewed this Edgar-award-winning New York Times best-seller this way:

"A triumph of investigative reporting, this full-bodied true-crime saga by two Boston Globe reporters is a cautionary tale about FBI corruption and the abuse of power. Gangster James "Whitey" Bulger ruled Boston's Irish mob, and his wary collaboration with the Italian Mafia, which he detested, was the cornerstone of the city's balkanized criminal underworld. (His younger brother, Billy Bulger, was the iron-fisted president of the state senate and later president of the University of Massachusetts.) Few suspected that Whitey Bulger and his partner, crime boss Stevie Flemmi, were both FBI informants; their squealing helped the FBI to put a score of mobsters in jail and wipe out the Angiulo crime family.

Here O'Neill and Lehr (Pulitzer winner and Pulitzer finalist, respectively, and coauthors of The Underboss: The Rise and Fall of a Mafia Family maintain that overzealous FBI Agent John Connolly, who was Whitey's handler, and Agent John Morris, Flemmi's handler, "coddled, conspired and protected the mobsters in a way that for all practical purposes had given them a license to kill." FBI agents looked the other way while Bulger and Flemmi went on a 1980s crime spree that, according to witnesses, included extortion, bank robberies, drug trafficking and a string of unsolved murders. This complex, dramatic tale climaxes with a 1998 federal hearing that found that Connolly and Morris had essentially fictionalized FBI internal records to downplay the stoolies' crimes while overstating their value to the Bureau....This in-depth look at the FBI's war against the Mafia includes the first-ever secret recording of a Mafia induction ceremony, complete with pricking of fingers and blood oaths. Brothers Bulger

Street Soldier: My Life as an Enforcer for Whitey Bulger and the Boston Irish Mob (Steerforth) by Edward “Eddie Mac” MacKenzie was a 2004 book written by MacKenzie, the Bulger Street Soldiergang enforcer, following his release from prison. Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr was a major writer also, but on the side of exposing the Bulger family via his column, top-rated Boston radio show. He vowed to try to join the University of Massachusetts board of directors in 2005 to help oust Billy Bulger as university president. His book, The Brothers Bulger: How They Terrorized and Corrupted Boston for a Quarter Century, was published by Warner Books in 2006. Carr has followed up with Hitman: The Untold Story of Johnny Martorano: Whitey Bulger's Enforcer and the Most Feared Gangster in the Underworld, published in April. Several members of Boston gangs have published books recently also.

In some ways, the most remarkable of all the books treating the Bulgers, partly because it was published as late as 2010, might be Politics with Principle: Ten Characters with Character (Wheatmark) by Washington lobbyist Michael Kerrigan. The author says his book:

[V]alidates the belief that it is possible for public servants to achieve success in the political arena without lying, cheating, or stealing along the way. It is the author's hope that this book will deepen the reader's appreciation for all in political life who conduct themselves honorably as well as encourage future aspirants of good character to consider public service. This book shows a rising generation the extent to which their own future will depend on the character traits they build in the present. By studying the exemplary characters showcased within, students of politics will be able to imitate their virtuous habits of life, thought, and action.

The book illustrates how there are always at least two sides to any story and that idealism is still alive, even in Washington. Kerrigan's book, portrayed below, extols as one of his ten featured heroes of American civic life none other than Boston's William M. Bulger.

Ten Characters Cover

 

Film TreatmentThe Departed

Jack NicholsonThe Departed, a 2006 film loosely modeled on Whitey Bulger's disappearance, starred Jack Nicholson, left, as a Bulger-like figure. The movie was directed by Martin Scorsese, written by William Monahan, also starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg, among others. It won four Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing. Wahlberg was nominated for Best Supporting Actor but lost to Alan Arkin. The film takes place in Boston, Massachusetts, where Irish Mob boss Francis "Frank" Costello plants Colin Sullivan as an informant within the Massachusetts State Police. Simultaneously, the police assign undercover cop William "Billy" Costigan to infiltrate Costello's crew. When both sides realize the situation, each man attempts to discover the other's true identity before his own cover is blown.  Click here for video trailer on YouTube.

 

TV Interview with Author Dick Lehr on Whitey Bulger

CNN’Dick Lehrs In the Arena, Lehr: Gangster 'Whitey' Bulger, feared leg-breaker and enforcer, killed his way to the top, Jay Kernis. June 24, 2011.  Answering today’s OFF-SET questions is Dick Lehr, left, co-author with Gerard O’Neill of “Black Mass."

CNN Question: Why do you think it took so long to capture Whitey Bulger?

Lehr: To me, big reasons are Bulger's age -- he's an old man now, and when you look at him you don't see the cold-blooded killer that he was during his rule of Boston's underworld. Then there's his self-discipline; he's not flamboyant and would be the last person to draw attention to himself.

News Articles

Below are excerpts of a sample of news reports about the June 22 Bulger arrest and related issues. See the full article by clicking the link.

Update:

Associated Press via Washington Post, Bulger verdict brings closure for some victims’ families and eternal angst for others, Staff report, Aug. 12, 2013. The guilty verdicts against James “Whitey” Bulger brought catharsis and closure to relatives of the 11 victims in whose killings he was convicted of playing a role, but for the families of the eight people whose deaths couldn’t be definitively linked to the Boston mob boss, peace will be harder to come by.

Huffington Post, Stephen Rakes Dead: Key 'Witness' In Bulger Trial Found Dead In Lincoln, Massachusetts, Steven Hoffer and Michael McLaughlin, July 18, 2013. A witness in the trial of alleged Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger has been found dead, authorities confirmed Thursday. A body believed to be that of Stephen “Stippo” Rakes, who accused Bulger of extorting him out of his liquor store, was discovered in Lincoln, Mass. "There were no obvious signs of trauma," according to a statement from the Middlesex district attorney's office. "The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death."

As one of Bulger's alleged victims, Rakes was a fixture at the aging gangster's trial. Bulger is accused of 19 murders and an assortment of other charges. Rakes had waited decades for the opportunity to testify against Bulger. The 59-year-old said that he lost his South Boston liquor store in 1984 when Bulger and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi barged into his home, placed a gun on his kitchen table and demanded he sell them the business. "One of my daughters picked up the gun and that's when I called my wife to say we were selling the store," he told the Huffington Post last month.

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, Bulger’s immunity defense: what appearance of justice requires, Harvey A. Silverglate, April 17, 2013. The federal government’s cozy dealings with Whitey Bulger and the Winter Hill gang have produced widespread and long-lasting damage to the reputations of the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston and the now-disbanded Organized Crime Strike Force. This sordid history now jeopardizes the perception that Bulger’s coming trial will be fair and transparent, not just the latest in a long line of cover-ups. During the trial of Stephen Flemmi in the late 1990s, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf began to shine light on the government’s then-secret relationship with Bulger.

Now federal Judge Denise Casper, the new judge recently assigned to Bulger’s trial that begins June 10, has a golden opportunity to continue Wolf’s restoration of public confidence in the justice system. Casper’s upcoming first major ruling will be pivotal. She has to decide whether to reconsider the March 4 decision of her predecessor, Judge Richard Stearns, that Bulger and his lawyers will not be allowed to present Bulger’s asserted immunity defense to the jury unless they first convince the judge that the federal government actually granted him effective immunity for past crimes. (Stearns dismissed out-of-hand Bulger’s further claim that the feds even offered him immunity for future crimes.)

Bulger’s lawyers have beseeched Judge Casper to let the jury hear Bulger’s claim that former federal prosecutor, the late Jeremiah O’Sullivan, promised him immunity for any crimes, past and future, committed during his cooperation with the FBI and the strike force, including murder. Shortly after Stearns’ decision on the immunity question, a panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals took the extraordinary step of ordering Stearns to step down from the case in the interest of maintaining the appearance of “impartiality” in the mind of “a reasonable person.” In his March 14 opinion, retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter, who occasionally sits on the court as a visiting judge, cited Stearns’ service in both the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the strike force while Bulger was cooperating.

June 29

Wiliam BulgerBoston Globe, It’s still Whitey’s world, and maneuvers keep justice a long way off, Kevin Cullen, June 29, 2011. Last Friday, when he walked into a Boston courtroom for the first time in a half-century, he scanned the audience and quickly picked out his younger brother Billy, the guy who used to be one of the most powerful politicians in Massachusetts. This case is going to unfold in the same way Whitey is accused of disposing more than a few of his victims: slowly and torturously.

Mark Wolf, the federal judge who has done as much as anyone to see that the FBI’s enabling of their rat Whitey Bulger was brought into the full light of day, sounded almost wistful as he began to say goodbye to the case he would have relished finishing. “It looks like Mr. Bulger wanted to say something,’’ Wolf said at one point, hopefully. Whitey shook his head. He doesn’t appear to be in any rush.

Boston Globe, It’s not a crime to love a sibling, Harvey Silverglate, June 29, 2011. The public outrage and media onslaught about William Bulger’s refusal to betray his brother, James “Whitey’’ Bulger needs to stop. Bill Bulger is criticized because he continues to love his brother, and that he hopes never to have a part in Whitey Bulger’s downfall. And for this he is vilified.

Boston Globe, Opinion: His loyalty trumps morality, Scott Lehigh, June 29, 2011. Please, spare me any misplaced sympathy for William M. Bulger. Certainly Whitey Bulger’s monstrous criminality put his brother, the state’s one-time Senate president and later university chief, in a difficult position. But a recognition of William’s unenviable plight shouldn’t obscure this truth: Faced with a moral dilemma, William repeatedly made the wrong choice, putting loyalty to his felonious brother over responsibility to his neighborhood, his constituents, or the larger public community whose university he led.

June 28

Howie CarrBoston Herald, Weld, Dukakis and others deserve blame, Howie Carr, June 28, 2011. It takes more than two guys, no matter how monstrously evil they are, to terrorize and corrupt a city as big as Boston for 25 years. It takes a lot of craven enablers, hacks who were always available to avert their gaze, investigators who would leave no stone unturned, except of course the one the Bulgers were hiding under. Many of these people are now deceased, but not all.

  • Mike Dukakis: Remember the “reform” governor, who did whatever Billy told him to do, on whose watch the honest state cop was transferred from Logan after having the audacity to try to stop Whitey from taking $100,000 cash out of the country to Montreal. The cop later killed himself. Dukakis also appointed any number of Bulger’s cronies to judgeships.
  • Bill Weld: He was another “reform” governor, first ran in 1990 against Billy and Whitey, then became the Corrupt Midget’s boon companion. He even sang a pleasant little ditty at the St. Patrick’s Day breakfast about Whitey after he “won” the Mass Millions lottery.

Boston Globe, Bulger tells of armed visits to Hub, Milton Valencia and Shelley Murphy, June 28, 2011. Whitey Bulger returned to Boston in disguise and “armed to the teeth’’ several times during his 16 years on the run because he had “to take care of some unfinished business,’’ prosecutors said in court documents yesterday.

Los Angeles Times, Whitey Bulger's victims have been 'denied justice,' deserve swift trial, prosecutors say, Andrew Blankstein and Richard Winton, June 28, 2011. Federal prosecutors said Tuesday they want to get James "Whitey" Bulger on trial "as soon as possible," saying the families of the 19 people he's accused of killing deserve justice. U.S. Atty. Carmen Ortiz said in court papers filed in Boston that there was "substantial public interest in ensuring the defendant faces the most serious charges before the end of his natural life.

June 26

Boston Herald, Let’s talk, Whitey, Howie Carr, June 26, 2011. Whitey, can I give you some advice? Plead guilty.  You’re not going to like the Plymouth County House of Correction. You thought there was nothing to do at Alcatraz? At least there you had a cell with a view.

Association Press / Huffington Post, New England Mafia Is Weakened But Still Pursued, Laura Crimaldi, June 26, 2011. When James "Whitey" Bulger ruled the streets of South Boston, the New England crime scene was a battleground for a bloody turf war between the Italian Mafia and Irish street crews. But some observers say the organized crime landscape that took shape during Bulger's 16 years on the lam – ending with his capture days ago in California – is a shell of its former self, hobbling along with "old men."

June 25

CBS News, Bulger: The "Hannibal Lecter of South Boston," David Morgan, June 25, 2011. The prosecution of James "Whitey" Bulger, who faces a host of charges -- including racketeering and 19 counts of murder -- could also bring embarrassment and public humiliation for corrupt public officials, says a former associate of the Boston crime boss. On "The Early Show on Saturday Morning," Eddie MacKenzie, who was an enforcer for Bulger and the author of Street Soldier: My Life as an Enforcer for Whitey Bulger and the Boston Irish Mob, said he believes "there's a hole dug with a big portfolio full of a lot of dirty public officials and maybe some dirty law enforcement officials that 'Whitey' Bulger has had for years, waiting for this day of his capture, so that he can use it for some sort of bargaining tool."

Boston Herald, Whitey Bulger’s lawyer tab is in Billy’s court: Feds believe brother should shell out for defense, Dave Wedge June 25, 2011. Former Massachusetts Senate President William Bulger, the recipient of one of the largest pensions in state history, could see his wallet take as hard a hit as his reputation if prosecutors succeed in forcing him to foot the bill for his accused serial killer brother’s defense. The elusive William Bulger — once the state’s most powerful lawmaker — finally came out of hiding yesterday and found himself face-to-face with his crime boss older brother, James “Whitey” Bulger, in U.S. District Court.

June 24

Associated Press / Washington Post, James ‘Whitey’ Bulger’s capture could cause trouble inside the FBI, Denise Lavoie, June 24, 2011. James “Whitey” Bulger’s capture could cause a world of trouble inside the FBI. The ruthless Boston crime boss who spent 16 Whitey Bulger Wanted Posteryears on the lam is said to have boasted that he corrupted six FBI agents and more than 20 police officers. If he decides to talk, some of them could rue the day he was caught. “They are holding their breath, wondering what he could say,” said Robert Fitzpatrick, the former second-in-command of the Boston FBI office.June 24

Washington Post, Publicity campaign led to mobster’s arrest, FBI says, Jerry Markon, June 24, 2011. For 16 years, the FBI had pursued James “Whitey” Bulger, chasing the elusive Boston mobster across five continents. On Tuesday, agents tried a new approach: They blasted photos of Bulger’s longtime girlfriend, Catherine Elizabeth Greig, across television screens and Twitter. Federal officials in Boston say a tip led the FBI to begin surveillance on former mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger's apartment in Santa Monica, Calif., Wednesday afternoon.

June 23

New York Daily News, James 'Whitey' Bulger, infamous Boston mobster on the lam for 16 years, busted outside Los Angeles, Lukas I. Alpert, June 23, 2011. Notorious Boston Mob kingpin James "Whitey" Bulger has finally been busted near Los Angeles, ending a 16-year manhunt that had proved a major embarrassment for the FBI. The Feds finally caught up with the 81-year-old fugitive Wednesday at a Santa Monica home where he was living with his long-time gal-pal Catherine Greig.

Associated Press / Kennebec Journal (Maine), Fugitive gangster 'Whitey' Bulger nabbed in California, Brian Melley and Greg Risling, James June 23, 2011. Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger was captured near Los Angeles after spending the last 16 years on the run during an epic manhunt that served as a major embarrassment to the FBI and made the fugitive a global sensation as he constantly found a way to elude authorities. The FBI finally caught the 81-year-old Bulger Wednesday at a residence in Santa Monica along with his longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig just days after the government launched a new publicity campaign to locate the fugitive mobster, said the FBI.  [Bulger is shown at right, with photo courtesy of Wikipedia via Creative Commons license, like most in this column.] The arrest brings an end to a manhunt that received worldwide attention as the FBI received reported sightings of Bulger and Greig from all over the United States and parts of Europe.

Update:

Telegraph (United Kingdom), James 'Whitey' Bulger was turned in by former Miss Iceland, Jon Swaine, Oct. 9, 2011. A former Miss Iceland received the $2 million (£1.3 million) reward for the tip-off that led to the arrest of James "Whitey" Bulger, the Boston mobster who spent 16 years on the run from US authorities. Anna Bjornsdottir, a former model and winner of her country's nationwide beauty pageant in 1974, is understood to have called the FBI after realising that her former neighbours were wanted fugitives.
Boston Phoenix, Whitey Bulger and the Feds: Final Act, Harvey Silverglate, Oct. 5, 2011. Choosing the slow grind: Why are we trying Whitey in federal court, when state courts would deliver justice more swiftly?
Boston Phoenix, Hollow Justice, David Boeri, Oct. 5, 2011. The FBI might have got its man, but anyone seeking real accountability from Whitey Bulger's government enablers will come away empty-handed yet again

 

JIP Logo