Friday, February 22, 2013

Whitey, Book Reading

[Last updated Friday March 8, 2013 at 9:55 AM ET]

This is a video clip of a reading of a new book, Whitey, by Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill, their second book on this subject. James "Whitey" Bulger is charged with 19 homicides and is awaiting trial scheduled for June 2013. He was an FBI informant for 20 years. His handler, former Special Agent John Connolly, who he knew growing up in South Boston, is in a Florida prison convicted of homicide. Another Boston FBI special agent, H. Paul Rico, died in prison awaiting trial for homicide. At about 27 minutes in you can see me asking four questions. This was originally broadcast on on March 3, 2013, to be re-broadcast on March 10, 2013. You can watch online at this link anytime.

Whitey: The Life of America's Most Notorious Mob Boss
Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill
Crown Publishing Group
New York 2013

Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill appeared at the Porter Square Book Store on White Street in Cambridge MA on Thursday February 21, 2013 for a brief reading and discussion. The event was video taped for subsequent broadcast on March 3, 2013, and March 10, 2013 on They authored a previous book on the same subject called Black Mass, which is now being made into a movie. Lehr now teaches at Boston University's School of Communications.

Dick Lehr spoke about the book and the subject matter. He said that Bulger brought down the FBI unlike other gangsters who focused only on their crimes. He said this book traces the Bulger family back to Ireland. Included are James Bulger's records from his stay at Alcatraz prison.

James "Whitey" Bulger

A fellow inmate, Frank Lee Morrison escaped while Bulger was there. Bulger was focused on getting out using his brother Billy's political connections. William Bulger was a Massachusetts State Rep., a State Senator, President of the State Senate, and President of the University of Massachusetts.

John William McCormack, U.S. House of Repreesentatives, Speaker

Former US House Speaker John McCormack was involved in efforts to get Bulger special treatment. One person asked if former U.S. Rep. Joe Moakley was involved with the Bulgers.

U.S. Rep. Father Robert Drinan, S.J.

Gerard O'Neill said there was no evidence. He said that in addition to McCormack, Father Robert Drinan, a former US Rep. was involved.

U.S. Rep. Joe Moakley

Lehr discussed, then read a passage from the book about Bulger's participation in LSD experiments when he was an inmate in a federal prison in Atlanta. Lehr explained that Bulger was a control freak. When he was transferred to Atlanta he shared a cell with seven other inmates. He immediately checked into the prison hospital where he learned about the LSD experiments.

Dick Lehr

It was July 1957. The Russians had launched the Sputnik. The United States had bombers in the air 24/7 carrying atom bombs. The Atlanta Journal Constitution ran a series of articles about the experiments employing 16 inmates. They were not secret. But the CIA was conducting research on other drugs for military uses, which were secret. They were seeking a cure for schizophrenia. Harvard University and Emory University were conducting similar research at the time. The doctor who admitted Bulger to the experiment was called "the nut doctor."

William Bulger

All inmates were tested for their criminal tendencies a sort of psychopath index. All inmates scored high on that test. Some of this was reported in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Bulger volunteered for these LSD trials in August 1957. There were 75 beds in the prison hospital, a full hospital. Four full time doctors, and 11 medical technicians. The psychiatric ward was called Ward F. Lehr did not say if that was for "freaky."

James "Whitey" Bulger, after capture in 2012

The Tuesday group was Bulger's. The volunteer inmates spent 24 hours in the hospital and drank a liquid form of LSD. There were four different amounts given: 25, 50, 75 and 100 micro grams. After a brief wait the subjects were asked 28 questions. Some were simple like "What do the lights look like to you?" The inmates would see them flashing and changing colors when they were just ordinary light bulbs. At this point Lehr asked if anyone in the audience had ever experienced an LSD trip. No one admitted to doing so.

 James "Whitey" Bulger

Dr. Carl Pfeiffer, pioneer orthomolecular psychiatrist at Emory University was the subject of a story called, "I went insane for science." He was given LSD and is seen in photographs laughing at a sheet of paper. He is described as the fictitious Dr. Robert H----.

Dr. Carl Curt Pfeiffer, orthomolecular psychiatrist at Emory University. In 1970 it was revealed that he participated in the MKULTRA CIA experiments.

Dick Lehr

Gerard O'Neill revealed that their Boston Globe series in 1988 was the first to expose Bulger as an FBI informant. In response to a question about any threats they received, he said that the FBI tried to stop them from exposing Bulger. He also reported that their previous book, Black Mass is being made into a movie.

He explained that this book, Whitey, is comprehensive, going back two centuries. They traced the Bulger family from Ireland to Newfoundland Canada. From Waterford Harbor to St. Johns Newfoundland.

One person asked if U.S. Rep. Joe Moakley, for whom the Boston U.S. District Courthouse is named, had any connection to the political aspects of the Bulger crime wave. O'Neill said there is no evidence to support any involvement of Moakley even though he was a good friend of Billy Bulger. "Moakley stayed clean," O'Neill said. But Father Robert Drinan did get involved according to O'Neill.

FBI Special Agent John Connolly was convicted of homicide and is serving his sentence in a Florida prison. He was Bulger's handler, and grew up with James Bulger in South Boston.

One person asked about how the FBI manipulated Bulger instead of Bulger manipulating the FBI. O'Neill said that is not supported by facts. Most facts discredit Special Agent John Connolly. He added that John Morris was Connolly's supervisor in the Boston FBI office.

FBI Special Agent John Morris

FBI Special Agent H. Paul Rico, died in prison awaiting trial for homicide.

Another person asked about MA State Trooper Bill Johnson who had Bulger in custody at Logan Airport, and wanted to know who ordered him released. O'Neill said it is suspected that the head of Massport intervened. Some think it was done on behalf of Billy Bulger, but that has not been established.

James "Whitey" Bulger

One woman who worked at the legislative news services asked about the Boston Globe's series on Richard Sunday. Sunday was an inmate at Alcatraz when Bulger was incarcerated there. Bulger wrote letters to him which are now being published in the Boston Globe. O'Neill said they are ripe for investigating. "They do have some historical value," he said.

Another question focused on the close relationship between James and William Bulger. O'Neill said it is obvious how close they are and have been all their lives. Why they diverged, one going into government on the right side of the law, and the other going on the wrong side of the law is not easily explained, according to O'Neill.

Jay W. Carney, Jr., James Bulger's taxpayer funded defense counsel.

O'Neill noted the FBI still gets discredited because of this. Many people do not believe that the FBI wanted to capture Bulger. O'Neill added, "They reap what they sow." People want to know why it took so long to find him. O'Neill verified that it happened just as the FBI reported it. One woman got the reward. One reason for the delay was the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. That diverted a lot of resources from the FBI. But Bulger became a fugitive in January 1995, more than six years before September 11th. O'Neill reported the public skepticism remains high even with an entire new generation of FBI agents.

Gerard O'Neill

O'Neill disagreed with co-author Lehr on one issue. In response to a question on whether the trial judge Richard Stearns would be removed, Lehr said he thought he would be removed. Stearns was a prosecutor, and Bulger's defense attorney Jay Carney said he might call Stearns as a witness. O'Neill said he thought Stearns would remain as the trial judge. The issue is on appeal now.

Richard G. Stearns, U.S. District Court Judge, Massachusetts

I asked if we are expected to believe that when James Bulger became a fugitive, the gambling rings and the drug dealers all evaporated. That the police who were ignoring the criminal activities were no longer corrupt and that now everything is on the up and up. O'Neill admitted that there are still rackets and that others were running them. These people are not as vicious as Bulger nor do they pose a threat to the integrity of the FBI as Bulger did.

John Durham, U.S. Department of Justice Prosecutor

He pointed out that the Italian-American crime leaders in the North End of Boston are inept, not as clever as Gennaro "Jerry" Anguilo was. I asked why the other FBI agents who were involved, contrary to the findings of John Durham's investigation, were not held accountable. Neither author mentioned the effort by Irish American crime families to eliminate the competition, i.e, the Italian American crime families.

Gennaro "Jerry" Anguilo

One example was the agents who perpetrated the homicide frame-up of Salvati, Limone, Greco and Tameleo. None of them were disciplined and were not prosecuted.

Enrico "Henry" Tameleo, wrongfully convicted of homicide due to FBI misconduct. Died in prison.

Joe Salvati, wrongfully convicted of homicide due to FBI misconduct. Released after 30 years.

Louis Greco, wrongfully convicted of homicide due to FBI misconduct. Died in prison.

Peter Limone, wrongfully convicted of homicide due to FBI misconduct. Released after 30 years.

Victor Garo, attorney for Joe Salvati. The four men and their families were awarded $101 million plus attorneys fees, for the egregious harms of the FBI. That was all taxpayer money.

Gerard O'Neill (left) and Dick Lehr

I suggested there was another FBI agent who had contributed to bringing down the image of the FBI. Special Agent Roy Lindley DeVecchio in New York was brought to trial in New York state court for homicide assisting Greg Scarpa, hitman and the boss of the Columbo family in New York.

Gregory "The Grim Reaper" Scarpa, Columbo Crime Family

There were 32 murders there during a struggle within that crime family. DeVecchio was acquitted in state court, because Scarpa's girlfriend, Linda Schiro, was discredited when she testified. O'Neill reported two Boston officers were convicted of stealing from drug dealers and are in prison. He said officers assigned to vice squads are particularly vulnerable to corruption.

FBI Special Agent Roy Lindley "Lynn" DeVecchio, was acquitted of multiple homicides in a New York state court.

I asked why there are no formal investigations of the police or the FBI in Boston, as there are in New York every 20 years. O'Neill asked, "You mean like the Knapp Commission?" I said "And the Mollen Commission, which found police become corrupt due to the nature of police work. They have so much power they start with minor criminal acts, which become accepted as normal because they get away with it for so long."

O'Neill said journalists do not have subpoena power and can only report what they find and pass it on to others. I agreed but asked why there is no will in Massachusetts to clean up the police? I suggested that  a group of citizens can bring a lawsuit which gives them discovery rights, which bring subpoena powers.

Gerard O'Neill

Reflecting on my own question, I think I know the answer. It has to do with the different nature of the culture between New York and Boston. New York and Boston both have people from most if not all of the nations of the world living in the area. But the people who come to Boston are almost all from the upper classes of those countries. They are the children of the elite who attend universities in Boston and now come for high tech employment.

New York immigrants are from all classes not just the upper classes. But in addition the Boston economy is dominated by education. Harvard dominates education and so dominates Boston government, society and culture. Harvard is and always has been an elitist institution even when it was founded as a training school for ministers. Harvard and Boston are more like Europe or India than the United States.

Columbia University has an influence at the highest levels of government, society and culture in New York. But Columbia does not dominate the city or state government, the economy, or society. There is a more egalitarian society in New York, a truly American spirit which rewards people based on their conduct, their achievements. Yes there are some people who are at the top of the heap in New York due to birth, and inheritance. But that is not the rule in New York. It is the rule in Boston. "Who are your parents." "What did they do?" or "What did your ancestors do?" is very important in Boston. Less so in New York.

In the past 25 years Harvard found a way to create a new image of their egalitarianism. It is called Affirmative Action. But if you look closely at those who benefit the most from Affirmative Action it is the upper classes of black Americans, women and homosexuals. Illegal aliens too. Also black people from other countries are mostly upper class members. Even the few bright young minorities who are groomed by the elite e.g., Obama and his friend Deval Patrick,  adopt the interests of the elite and forget where they came from. That can be seen in Bill Clinton too, who adopted elite interests when he became President.

Affirmative Action is another social program run by the upper class to maintain their control. It gives an appearance of equalizing opportunity, but actually equalizes outcome. It gives an extra privilege to privileged persons in their competition with persons of ordinary birth. It is a clever idea. As long as the individual beneficiary of Affirmative Action promotes the interests of the upper class he or she maintains his or her special privileges. But if he or she criticizes elite rule, or criticizes an unequal society he or she loses her special privileges. Sarah Palin is a case in point. Three women in Cambridge told me "She is not a woman." It is the same with conservative black politicians. They are declared "not black."

Thus people in New York more often take the initiative to investigate the police powers that rule and hold together society. But in Boston most of the population is trained to obey the elite. Those of us from New York encounter strong barriers and a lot of push back (also called retaliation) when we act as if the law applies to all people and institutions equally. The problem in Boston is that too few people share that belief. Thus they never investigate the police, who respond to the desires of those who rule the area, i.e., Harvard and their associates. I think that is why there is no will among the Boston population to investigate the police and the FBI. I think that the federal government is now run by Eastern liberal elitists after having retaken power when they destroyed the Nixon administration. My thoughts on the matter.

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