Feature Articles

August 2013

At Long Last:
The Conviction Of Whitey Bulger

By J. R. de Szigethy

     One of the most dangerous and brutal criminals to have ever worked for the FBI, Boston Mob Boss James "Whitey" Bulger, has finally been convicted for the drug trafficking and murders he directed during his reign of terror dating back to the 1970s. After deliberations over 5 days, a jury of his peers found Bulger, who enjoyed protection from the FBI for his work as an FBI Informant, guilty of 11 of the 19 murders he was accused of. Among those Bulger was convicted of murdering were:

     Roger Wheeler, a successful Tulsa businessman. Bulger's gang would force owners of legitimate businesses to sell their companies to him or subordinates, through which money was laundered from the syndicate's illegal operations, notably sports gambling rackets and money extorted from drug dealers operating in the Boston area. Wheeler refused, and Bulger ordered his public execution at a Tulsa Country Club in 1981.

     John Callahan, a Certified Public Accountant murdered in 1982 at the Miami airport, the intended "ghost" owner of the business Bulger wanted to buy in Callahan's name from Roger Wheeler. Bulger's "handler," FBI Agent John Connolly, was convicted in 2008 for his role in Callahan's murder.

     Brian Halloran and Michael Donahue, murdered in 1982 after FBI Supervisor John Morris reported to Agent Connolly that Halloran had become an FBI Informant and was co-operating in the investigation of the murder of Wheeler, confidential information Connolly allegedly then shared with his Informant, Bulger. At trial, Agent Morris apologized to the family of Donahue, who happened to be driving the car with target Halloran inside when Bulger and his accomplice opened fire. Donahue's son Tommy, among the many family members of Bulger victims who attended the trial, openly challenged the testimony of Bulger associate Kevin Weeks, who testified he did not know the identity of Bulger's accomplice in this double homicide, as that killer was wearing a mask. (1)

     John McIntyre, abducted, tortured, and murdered by Bulger and others in 1984 because his co-operation with law enforcement regarding the ocean-going vessel The Valhalla threatened Bulger, who used the ship in an attempt to smuggle tons of weapons to the Irish Republican Army. For many years, the FBI withheld pertinent information about this murder from the McIntyre family, perpetuating a lie that McIntyre, whose body had not yet been found, had gone on the lam. (2)

     Deborah Hussey, 26-years-old when murdered in 1985. Ms. Hussey was just a teenager when her step-father, Bulger right-hand man Stephen Flemmi, who was also protected as an FBI Informant, began to have sex with her. Once the affair was over, Bulger strangled the young woman to death with his bare hands. The young woman's teeth were then pulled out with pliers, in order to prevent identification in case her body was ever found. (3)

     Jurors did not make a determination in regards to the allegation that Bulger also murdered 26-year-old Debra Davis, another young woman who began an affair with Flemmi while she was still a teenager. This lack of a finding disappointed many followers of this case, although contradictory testimony as to just who strangled Miss Davis was presented during the trial. This sentiment was expressed in a Boston Globe story based on an interview with 2 of the jurors. During deliberations, some jurors expressed concerns that their safety might be in danger, from both Bulger and an arms smuggler named Patrick Nee, implicated in two of the murders Bulger was convicted of. Some jurors were also wary of according any degree of credibility to the testimony of those murderers who testified against Bulger in exchange for reduced prison sentences. (4) This may be some comfort to the supporters of former FBI Agent Connolly, who claim his convictions in two separate trials were secured by false allegations from these same career criminals. (5)

     Safety concerns were also raised mid-trial, with the sudden, unexplained death of a man originally set to testify against Bulger. Back in 1984, Stephen Rakes was threatened with murder if he did not sell his liquor store to the Bulger gang. On the day after Prosecutors decided Rakes' testimony would not be needed, Rakes was found dead under mysterious circumstances. Investigators quickly determined that Bulger was not involved in Rakes death, and a former business associate has now been arrested, who allegedly spiked his drink with cyanide at a fast food restaurant. (6)

     Bulger did not take the Witness Stand in a trial noteworthy for the shocking portrayal of his brutal murders, some of which involved Agents and Informants of the FBI as accomplices. Federal Prosecutors throughout the trial were forced to admit to such corruption in the FBI, rather than have the Defense raise such evidence to undermine confidence in the government's case. Instead of testifying, Bulger took a two-pronged approach to his defense. First, Bulger claimed that he was never an FBI Informant, but contradicted this by claiming, pre-trial that he was granted Immunity for all of his on-going crimes by a Federal Prosecutor, now deceased. Judge Richard G. Stearns rejected this argument last March, noting that "A license to kill is even further beyond the pale and one unknown even in the earliest formulations of the common law." (7)

     Bulger's claim that he was never an FBI Informant was contradicted by voluminous evidence, some of which was presented at trial, and suggests self-preservation on his part. Government "snitches," or "rats," as they are commonly referred to, are despised by prison inmates of all races, and thus Bulger, who had previously spent time in prison, knew that if he was convicted in this case, his life would be at risk if placed in any prison's general population. During his testimony against him, Bulger associate Kevin Weeks stated: "We killed people that were rats, and I had the two biggest rats (Bulger and Flemmi) right next to me!" (8)

     In recent years, evidence has emerged in regards to the recruitment of - and protection of- criminals such as Bulger and Flemmi as FBI Informants. The practice, known as the Top Echelon Criminal Informant Program, was developed by J. Edgar Hoover in 1961. Prior to this, Hoover had continued to publicly claim that organized crime did not exist in America, despite Hoover's having made a name for himself in the 1930s and 1940s by his pursuit of high-profile criminals. An avowed racist who hated African-Americans, Hoover's FBI recruited racist criminals as FBI Informants during Hoover's reign, a practice that continued after Hoover's death in 1972. Greg Scarpa Sr. of New York's Colombo Mafia Family, and Whitey Bulger are just 2 such examples, and their stories are remarkably parallel.

     Scarpa was registered in 1961, according to secret FBI Documents first obtained by Crime Analyst Angela Clemente through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Already a "Made" member of the Mafia at a young age, Scarpa, like many such criminals in New York, engaged in drug trafficking, with the understanding that such drugs were not to be used by the members of his crew, but rather trafficked to Blacks throughout the city. Scarpa's pathological hatred for Blacks would ultimately cost him his life.

     Like many racists of his time, Scarpa believed that the blood of an African-American was inferior to that of Caucasians. This notion was so widespread that during World War II the American Red Cross was forced by the U. S. government to compile two separate banks of blood for transfusions of it's soldiers; those of blood from Caucasians, and those obtained from African-Americans. 40 years after the war, Scarpa still held this fear. Thus, in 1986, when Scarpa was hospitalized for a bleeding ulcer, he refused transfusions from his hospital's blood supply, fearing that the blood of a black man would course through his veins. Instead, Scarpa had members of his drug trafficking crew come to the hospital to donate their blood to him. Among them was Paul Mele, a bodybuilder who abused anabolic steroids and whose blood, unbeknownst to him, carried a new virus known as AIDS. (9) Thus, the Mafia hitman who would claim he stopped counting the number of his murder victims after reaching 50 homicides, acquired a small but deadly virus that would eventually waste his body away in a prolonged and unpleasant death. (10)

     Already a convicted felon by the time he was recruited by the FBI in the mid-1970s, Whitey Bulger so hated African-Americans that he risked going back to prison by committing at least two fire bombing attacks in protest of a Court-ordered Integration of the Boston Public School System. The first came in September, 1974, when Bulger and an accomplice fire-bombed the Kingsbury Elementary School in Wellesley Hills, the neighborhood in which resided the U. S. District Judge who had ordered the de-Segregation of the Boston schools. A year later, in September, 1975, Bulger and an accomplice fire-bombed the birthplace of President Kennedy, in protest of the support for de-Segregation being offered publicly by the murdered President's brother Edward, a U. S. Senator. Because the President's birthplace was a National Historic Site administered by the U. S. Parks Service, evidence regarding the fire-bombing was turned over to the FBI for investigation. However, the suspect the FBI was looking for was in fact now an FBI Informant. (11)

     With FBI Informants Whitey Bulger, and his New York Counter-part Greg Scarpa "protected," both men utilized such protection to consolidate their power in organized crime. Both men spent the 1980s murdering opponents with impunity, while raking in millions of dollars in drug money in the process. When, for example, Whitey Bulger was at last caught, law enforcement found over $800,000 in cash in his apartment. (12) Presuming he only spent $50,000 a year during his 16 years on the lam, the math suggests that when he fled to Santa Monica, Bulger carried with him around $1.6 million, all in cash.

     It would not be Agents of the FBI that would bring down Scarpa nor Bulger, but rather honest, local cops, working in concert with Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration. In Bulger's case, one key figure was a Boston cop, Frank Dewan. It was an open secret in law enforcement circles in Boston that Bulger was being protected by the FBI. Frank Dewan spent many years in the latter part of the 1980s gathering intelligence and evidence against Bulger and the Winter Hill Gang, as did Agents of the DEA. Extraordinary efforts were taken by the FBI to discredit Dewan, and the situation came to a head in 1995 when Dewan was ordered to turn over his files on Bulger. To protect his information, evidence, and his sources, Dewan suddenly resigned his position, after 24 years on the job. (13)

     By this time, however, Bulger had disappeared, tipped off in late 1994 by the FBI that he was about to be indicted. The Drug Enforcement Administration had a similar problem in New York in 1987. Just as Greg Scarpa, Jr., the son of Greg Scarpa, Sr. was about to be indicted, Scarpa, Jr. somehow got tipped off, and went on the lam. The members of his drug crew, set up in business by Scarpa, Sr. were convicted, as was Scarpa, Jr., once he was apprehended. Scarpa's Appeal, claiming the DEA Agent who arrested him violated his rights, was unsuccessful. (14) Junior's younger brother Joey Schiro was also set up in the drug business by his father, and was murdered by rival drug dealers in 1995 at the age of 24. (15)

     In another disturbing parallel, FBI Informant Greg Scarpa, like Bulger, murdered a young woman. Her name was Mary Bari, and in September, 1984, Bari was lured to a Social Club controlled by Scarpa, who believed Bari was prepared to "rat" to the Feds about her former boyfriend, "Allie Boy" Persico, who was then on the lam. While son Scarpa Jr. held Bari down on the floor, Scarpa Sr. shot 3 bullets into her head. (16)

     Greg Scarpa's lust for murder culminated in an internal Mob War within the Colombo Family which erupted around 1990. By the end of the war, over a dozen people had been murdered, and several others were framed for crimes they did not commit. One such was Joe Simone, a decorated NYPD Detective who served on a joint NYPD-FBI Task Force to prosecute the American Mafia. In the early morning hours of December 8, 1993, FBI Agents arrived at the modest Staten Island home of Detective Simone, who was just hours away from retiring. The Agents took Simone to the FBI headquarters in Manhattan, where for nearly 3 hours Simone answered their questions regarding leaks of confidential law enforcement information from the Task Force to members of the Colombo Family. Detective Simone did not demand a lawyer, but instead a polygraph administered by an FBI expert, a request the FBI refused. Simone was then charged with numerous counts of selling information to the Mafia.

     The trial of Detective Simone would not begin until almost a year later, and would become a significant legal case in American Mafia history, as it would begin the process by which criminal misconduct on the part of the FBI would begin to be made public. The star Prosecution Witness in Simone's trial was "Big Sal" Miciotta, recruited as an FBI Informant in early 1993 under very mysterious circumstances that were not properly documented, as required by FBI and Justice Department regulations. In exchange for the attempt to bring down Joe Simone, Miciotta had confessed to his role in several murders. One murder plot involved an attempt to kill Joseph Peraino and his son in 1982, as the Colombo Family fought over the enormous profits generated by the porn film "Deep Throat," which was produced and distributed by the Perainos. In the crossfire between Miciotta, his accomplice, and the Perainos, a retired Nun was killed. (17)

     This sort of resume should have been a forewarning as to whether juries would find such a Witness credible. The Feds in Brooklyn, however, were desperate. They knew someone on the Task Force was leaking sensitive, law enforcement information to the Colombo Family, and Miciotta claimed to know who that person was. "Big Sal" claimed that information from the Task Force made it's way from Detective Simone to a friend of Simone's who was the nephew of Armando "Chips" DeCostanza, a member of Miciotta's crew.

     Only when the trial of Detective Simone started almost a year after his arrest did the full story of what happened behind the scenes emerge. The trial featured a disturbing pattern of missing or altered documents, as well as very suspect testimony. It was also revealed that there were other suspects on the Task Force for the leaking of information to the Colombo Family. The biggest problem, however, was with Miciotta's story. The Task Force had devised a plan where Miciotta would show up unannounced at a house where Simone was later expected to visit. However, instead of equipping Miciotta with a 'Body Mike,' or wire, the FBI sent Big Sal into the home equipped with a small tape recorder. Miciotta arrived first, and while awaiting the arrival of Simone, Chips DeCostanza told Miciotta that Simone had refused a previous bribe attempt, and thus would not take the money Miciotta had planned to offer him. Miciotta then turned off his tape recorder once Simone entered the house. Miciotta claimed that Simone took his bribe anyway, but all the Feds had was a tape on which it was revealed that Simone could not be bought.

     Did the FBI believe Big Sal's claim that Simone took the money? It they did, logic would suggest that if Simone would take one bribe he would take another, and to conclusively prove Simone's guilt all that would be necessary was for Miciotta to go back to Simone and offer another bribe, but this time wearing a transmitter that would not allow Big Sal the option of stopping the recording of their conversations. There was a big problem with this scenario, however; the FBI hoped to use Big Sal as a key prosecution witness in upcoming trials related to the Colombo Family War. If, on a second bribery attempt the tape showed Big Sal had lied about the first incident he had refused to record, then the Feds would lose the Simone case AND an important Witness in the other trials as well. The FBI chose not to take such a risk.

     It took the jury less than 2 hours to Acquit the accused cop of all charges, and 10 of the 12 jurors stood outside the Courthouse in the cold October rain to meet with and console Joe Simone and his family. His wife in tears, Simone told the press: "I was always a good cop and did my job well." (18)

     A few weeks after Simone's Acquittal, The New York Times would reveal that Greg Scarpa, despite his commission of multiple, serious crimes, somehow managed to only spend 30 days in jail despite 10 arrests from the time of his recruitment by the FBI in the early 1960s until the mid-point of the Colombo Family War. (19) More revelations regarding Scarpa would surface in the next Federal trial related to the murders of the Colombo Family War, that of William "Wild Bill" Cutolo and 6 members of his crew. The Defendants in this case claimed they were only acting in self-defense against a renegade FBI informant/Mafia hitman, Greg Scarpa. Big Sal Miciotta testified under cross examination that FBI agents gave him permission to continue his loan sharking and extortion rackets while he worked secretly for the FBI. Stephen Flemmi made a similar claim while testifying in the Bulger trial. (20) Miciotta also admitted he assaulted a young man and loaned his brother $10,000 which he used to buy 150 pounds of marijuana, while working as an FBI Informant. The double-whammy of the revelations regarding Scarpa, combined with revelations by star witness Miciotta, produced the result that should have been predicted by Federal Prosecutors; all of the Defendants were Acquitted of all the charges against them.

     The next trial came in May, 1995; Vic and John Orena and 5 associates went on trial on murder conspiracy charges relating to the Colombo Family war. The government's strategy in this trial, however, was remarkably different. First, the Justice Department had gotten rid of Sal Miciotta, dumping him as a "Witness," ending his employ for which he had been paid $94,000 of taxpayer's money. (21) Secondly, Federal Prosecutors decided to deal with the scandal of Greg Scarpa themselves upfront, rather than have Defense Attorneys introduce that into evidence. This was the same strategy later utilized by the Prosecutors in the Whitey Bulger trial. In the Orena trial, Federal Prosecutor Ellen Corcella admitted to the jury in her opening arguments that Scarpa had been leaked confidential information during the war, a claim that would be bolstered by 2 FBI Agents as well as Prosecution Witness Carmine Sessa, a Colombo capo. Nevertheless, the Prosecution sought convictions of the men on murder charges when even by the government's own admission, the FBI was complicit in the commission of these murders. Despite this new approach, the outcome was the same; the jurors in the case Acquitted all Defendants of all charges. One Juror told the Daily News; "If the FBI's like this, Society is really in trouble!" (22)

     Although Joe Simone was Acquitted in Federal Court, Simone was nevertheless convicted using the same evidence in a subsequent NYPD trial, and denied the Pension he had earned. In October, 2008, a Special Prosecutor assigned to investigate the wife of Greg Scarpa on possible Perjury charges, referred to the Simone case in her report. Judge Leslie Crocker Snyder determined that Simone was the likely "Scapegoat for the misconduct of others," and also questioned whether the FBI had resorted to a cover-up of the Scarpa scandal in order to prevent the dismantling of the trials related to the Colombo Family War, which is what in fact had occurred.

     The attempt to frame Detective Simone occured back in 1993. Up in Boston, during that same time frame, organized crime expert Sergeant Detective Frank Dewan of the Boston Police Department was also the victim of a similar crime. In this case, an anonymous letter, written on Boston Police Department stationery, was mailed to U. S. District Judge Mark Wolf, in which it was alleged that Dewan had fabricated evidence against Whitey Bulger and Stephen Flemmi. The purpose of this letter was two-fold; for one, it was an attempt to discredit Dewan, and, by extension, the evidence in the case developed against Bulger and Flemmi. Secondly, that the letter was written on Boston Police Department stationery suggested that colleagues of Dewan himself within the Boson Police Department were accusing one of their own.

     A similar letter was written on stationery of the Boston Globe newspaper, making similar allegations against Dewan, but this letter was sent to William Bratton, the Police Commissioner in Boston, who would later serve in the same capacity in New York City and then in Los Angeles. The letter demanded that Dewan be fired, and that the stationery supposedly came from a newspaper suggested that investigative reporters at that paper, who did not want to go on the record, had determined that Dewan was deranged and was fabricating evidence against Bulger and Flemmi. (23)

     These letters are in fact what are called "poison-pen letters," a crime developed and perfected by J. Edgar Hoover himself. In this crime tactic, an FBI Agent fabricates a letter, the intent of which is to discredit or injure a targeted individual, or frame them for crimes they did not commit. FBI Agent John Connolly would eventually be charged with several crimes, including fabricating the letter that was sent to Judge Wolf. Connolly was convicted of this and other crimes in Boston Federal Court in 2002. During Whitey Bulger's trial this year, Bulger Associate Kevin Weeks revealed new information in his testimony regarding Connolly's poison-pen letter. Weeks stated that he was able to obtain 25 sheets of Boston Police Department stationery from a relative, which he gave to Agent Connolly. (24)

     Perhaps the most famous, or rather, infamous "poison-pen letter" created by the FBI was the one sent to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on November 22, 1964. That anonymous letter, composed in Hoover's office, urged Dr. King to commit suicide - on Christmas Day of that year, no less - otherwise "evidence" of alleged marital infidelity on Dr. King's part would be made public. Included in the envelope was a tape of recorded conversations between Dr. King and various associates in hotel rooms bugged by Hoover's wiremen. Hoover sent an FBI Agent on a plane to Florida where the letter was placed in the mail, so that the Florida postmark would conceal the letter's true origin, that being the FBI Headquarters in Washington.

     From FBI surveillance, Hoover knew that Dr. King's wife performed the task of opening his mail. However, Dr. King had just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and in the prior year had delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech to hundreds of thousands of people in the nation's capital. The volume of mail to him from around the world was such that it was after Christmas before Coretta Scott King came to open the FBI letter. Mrs. King found the letter deeply disturbing and feared for her husband's personal safety.

     Despite the Florida postmark, it was obvious to Dr. and Mrs. King that the tapes, recorded in hotels around the country, could only have been produced by the FBI, and were further evidence of what the couple already knew - that Hoover's FBI was determined to destroy Dr. King. (25) Hoover's third-in-command at the time, William Sullivan, would later admit complicity in the creation of the letter, and refer to Hoover as "the greatest blackmailer of all time!" (26)

     As outrageous as these crimes are, such smear campaigns continue to this day against those who have taken on corruption in the FBI, despite the fact that such crimes have been exposed in recent years. Members of Congress themselves have been at the forefront of such revelations. In December, 2001 members of Congress offered a public apology to Boston residents Joseph Salvati and Peter Limone, who spent 30 years in prison after having been framed by the FBI for a murder they had no part of. Key evidence examined were documents prepared by FBI Agent Paul Rico that revealed the names of the real murderers in that case, documents illegally kept by the FBI from the accused as being "exculpatory." Those documents revealed that FBI Informant Joseph "The Animal" Barboza had falsely testified against the 4 Defendants in order to protect one of the actual murderers, Vincent "Jimmy" Flemmi, who, like his brother Stephen, was employed by the FBI as an Informant. While a co-operating "Witness" for the FBI, Barboza committed several of his boasted 26 murders, and was himself murdered in 1976 in San Francisco while under cover as a member of the "Witness" Protection Program.

     In his appearance before Congress, Agent Paul Rico was admonished by Congressman Christopher Shays: "I think you should be sent to jail!" Agent Rico died in 2004 while awaiting trial for his role in the murder of Roger Wheeler. In 2007, U. S. District Judge Nancy Gertner adjudicated in a Federal lawsuit that the FBI was "responsible for the framing of four innocent men" and ordered the payment of $101 million dollars in damages to Salvati and Limone, as well as the surviving family members of Louis Greco and Henry Tameleo.

     In 2006, the family of John McIntyre finally won a Civil Suit in which the Federal government was found Liable for the murder of McIntyre. A Judge set the award at $3.1 million. (27) Other similar lawsuits filed by the families of men and women murdered by Whitey Bulger are working their way through the legal system.

     While Whitey Bulger was found Guilty in Federal Court on murder charges as part of a "Racketeering Enterprise," for which there is a 5-year Statute of Limitations, there is no such limitation on murder charges filed in State Courts. Thus, Bulger and other alleged accomplices could face murder charges in State Court in Massachusetts, Florida, and Oklahoma. Some of these cases could carry the Death Penalty. Upcoming Congressional Hearings regarding corruption in the FBI also guarantee that the story of Whitey Bulger is not going to fade away anytime soon.

     There are also unanswered questions regarding Bulger and how he was able to hide "in plain sight" for 16 years. One puzzle is why Bulger chose Santa Monica as his hideout once he went on the lam, when a 1992 Indictment against several Bulger Associates was brought about by an FBI front company operating in Santa Monica and listed in that public Indictment. The company was also listed in a superseding Indictment against Bulger and his associates in 1996. The front company was named David Rudder Productions, purportedly a Hollywood film company. (28) (Note: There was no connection between this front company and a popular musician by the same name.)

     By the time Bulger had settled in Santa Monica, the company was out of business, but the FBI Agent who ran it still lived in the area, and was well acquainted with Bulger, then a wanted fugitive. This made Bulger's choice of Santa Monica as his hiding place much more risky. Working out of the local office of the FBI, the undercover FBI Agent succeeded in bringing about Indictments against some of Bulger's closest associates by approaching Mobsters and corrupt Union officials under the guise of offering bribes in order to secure low-wage, non-Union workers on film projects. However, in what sounds like the plot line of a Mel Brooks movie, the "phony" company soon took on a life of it's own. The FBI Agent running the operation was overtaken by his role as a Hollywood Producer, and actually sought out to produce movies - bankrolled by the FBI - as his scam ensnared mobsters from Boston, New York, and Las Vegas. Meanwhile, young actors, with visions of stardom in their heads, flocked to the production company, hoping to get the break into the business that could make them famous. However, some mob members harbored suspicions, and nervous Justice Department officials wanted to pull the plug on the operation, despite it's success. (29)

     If this sort of scam sounds familiar, it's because it has been used before, and also since. As depicted in the acclaimed film "Argo," a phony film production company was set up in 1979 by the CIA in order to smuggle 6 Americans hiding out in the Canadian Embassy in Tehran during the Iranian hostage crisis. In 2004, the FBI once again used this scenario against "Mafia Cops" Lou Eppolito, Sr. and his partner in crime Stephen Caracappa. An undercover Informant was sent by the FBI to Las Vegas, posing as a representative of investors interested in turning Eppolito's screenplay "Murder at Youngstown" into a film. The two corrupt cops fell for this ruse, and Eppolito arranged for one of his sons and his friend to score some crystal meth for the "Producers" when they came to Vegas to seal the deal. That single small sale of a controlled substance allowed the Feds to charge the two Mafia Cops with racketeering, tying together murders committed by the pair with Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso going back 2 decades. The two corrupt cops were convicted of most charges and sent away for Life.

     Gaspipe Casso, the former Underboss of New York's Luchese Family who murdered over 30 people, went on the lam in 1990 after Eppolito and Caracappa put out the word of his impending arrest in a Union scam. Once captured, Casso was sent to "Supermax," the nation's most secure Federal prison located in Colorado. Sammy "The Bull" Gravano is also incarcerated there, and this prison is likely the final residence for Whitey Bulger once he is sentenced later this year.


     Numerous books have been written on the subjects of criminals such as Whitey Bulger and Greg Scarpa, and how they were protected by Agents of the FBI. A partial list is below. Despite the public interest in these stories, there has been little public outcry as these scandals have come and gone in recent years. What gains more public attention is the treatment by the Hollywood industry of these stories. Few Americans know who Debra Davis or Deborah Hussey were, but they do know that Jack Nicholson portrayed the character based upon Whitey Bulger in the Oscar-winning motion picture "The Departed." That is what is to be found at the intersection of pop culture and crimes of the American Mafia; entertainment for the masses, which glosses over the Evil that members of organized crime perpetuate on a daily basis, on Main Street, USA.

     The true story of the despair, the uncertainty, and the horror that is experienced each and every day by members of the Mob is to be found buried within Whitey Bulger's 1996 Indictment, in a Mafia Induction ceremony secretly recorded by the FBI in 1989. A Boston Mobster is quoted instructing new members during the ritual in which blood is pricked from their fingers, and the image of a Saint is burned in their hands. Say the Capo: "We get in alive in this organization and the only way we get out is dead, no matter what. It's no Hope, no Jesus, no Madonna; nobody can help us."

* * *
J. R. de Szigethy can be reached at:

Related Features by this author:

Terror Comes to Boston



1. "Former Protege of Bulger Recounts 1982 Double Murder, and It's Code Words, by Richard A. Oppel, Jr. The New York Times, July 8, 2103.
2. "Whitey Bulger's Victim Speaks Out Against FBI, by Rikki Kleiman. The Daily Beast, November 18, 2011.
3. "Whitey Bulger's Women: Inside the Terror and Glamour of his Ex-Girlfriends," by T. J. English. The Daily Best, June 11, 2012.
4. "Witnesses Raised Bulger Jurors'Ire, Suspicions," by Maria Cramer and Travis Andersen. The Boston Globe, August 13, 2013.
5. The website of supporters of Agent Connolly is:
6. Private communication between this reporter and an investigator who had spoken to Rakes just hours before his death.
7. "Memorandum and Order on Government's Motion Pursuant to . . . Resolve Defendant's Immunity Claim Prior to Trial," United States District Court, District of Massachussetts, March 4, 2013. From the Archives of
8. "Whitey Bulger and Former Partner Trade Insults and F-bombs in Court Testimony," by Beverly Ford and Ginger Adams Otis. The New York Daily News, July 10, 2013.
9. "The G-Man and the Hit Man," by Fredric Dannen. The New Yorker Magazine, December 16, 1996.
10. "Hit Man for Mob Lost Count of Corpses," by Alex Ginsberg. The New York Post, October 19, 2007.
11. "Bulger Linked to 70s Anti-busing Attacks," by Shelley Murphy. The Boston Globe, April 22, 2001.
12. "As Bulger Trial Opens, Code of Honor is Subtext," by Katharine Q. Seelye. The New York Times, June 11, 2013.
13. "Honest Cop Gets His Due," by Peter Gelzinis. The Boston Herald, July 14, 2013.
14. "Gregory Scarpa, Jr., Petitioner vs. United States of America, No. 89-1856, in the Supreme Court of the United States, October Term, 1990."
15. "The Gumar, the Fed, and the Mobster," by Marcus Baram. ABC News, October 30, 2007.
16. "We're Going to Hell for This 'Mobsters' Lament Over Moll Slaying," by Alex Ginsberg. The New York Post, August 16, 2007.
17. "The Wiseguy and the Nun: How Salvatore Miciotta Got Away with Murder," by Bill Bastone. The Village Voice, February 9, 1999.
18. "Detective is Found Not Guilty of Selling Secrets to the Mafia," by Joseph P. Fried. The New York Times, October 21, 1994.
19. "The Mobster was a Mole for the FBI: Tangled Life of a Mafia Figure Who Died of AIDS is Exposed," by Selwyn Raab. The New York Times, November 20, 1994.
20. "Whitey Bulger Partner, Stephen 'The Rifleman' Flemmi, Takes a Dig at Bulger's Informant Status," by Shelley Murphy and Milton J. Valencia. The Boston Globe, July 24, 2013.
21. "Feds Give Mob Rat the Boot," by Greg B. Smith. The New York Daily News, April 28, 1995.
22. "7 Cleared in Brooklyn Mob Case: Jurors Fault FBI," by Greg B. Smith. The New York Daily News, July 1, 1995.
23. "Most Wanted: Pursuing Whitey Bulger, the Murderous Mob Chief the FBI Secretly Protected, by Thomas J. Foley and John Sedgwick. Simon & Schuster, 2013. 24. "Honest Cop Gets His Due," by Peter Gelzinis. The Boston Herald, July 14, 2013.
25. "J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and His Secrets," by Curt Gentry. Norton Publishers, 1991.
26. "Mafia Kingfish," by John H. Davis. Penguin Publishers, 1989.
27. "NH Lawyers Win $3.1 Million from U. S. for Informant's Murder," by Dan Wise. The New Hampshire Bar Association, September 22, 2006.
28. "Fourth Superseding Indictment: The United States vs. Francss P. Salemme, James J. Bulger, Stephen J. Flemmi, Robert P. Deluca, and James M. Martorano. Filed in the United States District Court, District of Massachussetts, 7-2-1996."
29. "The Sting," by Elizabeth Gilbert, from the book "Wise Guys: Stories of Mobsters from Jersey to Vegas," Edited by Clint Willis. Thunder Mouths Press, 2003.

Recommended Reading:

"Deal with the Devil: The FBI's Secret Thirty-Year Relationship with a Mafia Killer," by Peter Lance. Harper Collins, 2013.
"Whitey: The Life of America's Most Notorious Mob Boss," by Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill. Crown Publishers, 2013.
"The Brothers Bulger: How They Terrorized and Corrupted Boston for a Quarter Century," by Howie Carr. Grand Central Publishing, 2006.
"To Kill the Irishman: The War that Crippled the Mafia," by Rick Porrello. Next Hat Press, 1998.
"Paddy Whacked: The Untold Story of the Irish-American Gangster," by T. J. English. William Morrow, 2005.
"Whitey Bulger: America's Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice," by Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy. W. W. Norton & Company, 2013.
"Most Wanted: Pursuing Whitey Bulger, the Murderous Mob Chief the FBI Secretly Protected," by Thomas J. Foley and John Sedgwick. Touchstone, 2012.

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