Friday, March 15, 2013

Whitey Bulger, Book Reading

Whitey Bulger: America's Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice
By Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy
Publisher: Norton, W.W. & Co. Inc
New York 2013

Book Reading: Whitey Bulger, by Shelley Murphy and Kevin Cullen. Wednesday March 13, 2103 at the Brattle Theater sponsored by the Harvard Book Store, an independently owned book store near Harvard Square in Cambridge MA. There was a $5 admission charge for the reading. Carol from the Harvard Book Store introduced the panel.

Robin Young, WBUR

Robin Hill of WBUR, Boston Public Radio station at Boston University, in Boston MA moderated the discussion. An audio recording was made for later broadcast. Kevin Cullen is reported to be working at the Boston Globe since 1985. Shelley Murphy was at the Boston Herald from 1985 until 1993 when she moved to the Boston Globe

Kevin Cullen (left) and Shelley Murphy

Cullen explained that he was in Los Angeles when Bulger was captured. Bulger called him a "low life." He called Shelley Murphy a "traitor," because she was born in South Boston. Cullen said he wanted to get away from what he called "Wise guy lit," written about criminals by criminals. He said "No one writes about the lives ruined by criminals." Cullen said he had a personal experience with the myth that Bulger kept drugs out of South Boston. He said he believes that Bulger killed more than the 19 that he is charged with in the pending trial. He said, "Nothing moved in South Boston without Whitey's approval."

Arthur Garrity, US Judge

He revealed some of the events when the bussing controversy arrived in Boston 1970s and 1980s. The Bulgers vigorously opposed it. Whitey thought of himself as the neighborhood avenger. His brother Billy was the public face against bussing. Whitey stayed away from Judge Garrity's house in South Boston, but he threw a bomb at a school during the period of protests. 

James "Whitey" Bulger

Alcatraz Prison

James Bulger was in Alcatraz when JFK was elected. He was happy and considered John Kennedy one of his "brothers."

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, President

JFK appointed Garrity to be US Attorney.

Robert Francis Kennedy, US Senator, US Attorney General

JFK, RFK and Edward Kennedy strongly supported Judge Garrity's efforts forcing bussing on the Boston public schools.

Edward Moore Kennedy, US Senator

James "Whitey" Bulger, after capture in 2012

James Bulger placed a Molotov cocktail on the rear of JFK's home on Beale Street in Brookline, MA. He allegedly wrote "Bus Teddy." 

Robin Young, Kevin Cullen, Shelley Murphy (l to r)

Shelley Murphy explained she was in high school during that time and was bussed to Roxbury High School. Because she was from South Boston they called her "scum." She revealed the amazing fact that not all people from South Boston were racist. But that there were some.

Whitey hated the Boston Globe because it supported bussing. He fired shots at the windows of the Globe offices. The management replaced the windows with bullet proof ones. Whitey bragged he was creating new jobs for the people who replaced the windows. The Brattle Theater audience howled at that one.

James "Whitey" Bulger, Democrat

Whitey was a Democrat.

Mitt Romney, Massachusetts Governor

He hated Romney because Romney busted the unions. Whitey used to pick up women who were carrying their groceries home and gave them rides to their homes. It was one of the many things that endeared him to the people of South Boston.  

Kevin Cullen

Unlike the authors of another book, Whitey, about the same FBI corruption in Boston, Kevin Cullen and Shelly Murphy both Boston Globe reporters like Gerard O'Neill and Dick Lehr, seemed more like cheerleaders for the scandal. They are both from South Boston where Bulger had his base. Kevin Cullen seemed to be having a great time  bragging about how close he was with John Connolly described as, his "best source." He did not seem to be troubled by the extent of the corruption of the police and the FBI in Boston and at the state and federal levels. He seemed more interested in promoting his book, a business venture. Shelley Murphy seemed less enthusiastic but was often silenced by the gregarious Cullen who interrupted her. The tone was more serious at a reading by O'Neill and Lehr when they appeared in Cambridge in February.

Cullen told about his conversations with Connolly about James Whitey Bulger. Connolly described Bulger as a good guy, who kept drugs out of South Boston. That was proved to be a lie but it was the narrative promoted by Bulger and his government apologists. Included was his brother William Bulger who was called an enabler along with the other Bulger relatives by Cullen. Cullen often got sidetracked relating stories of his visits to Ireland, the IRA, and England. He made himself the subject of discussion. The audience did not seem to mind and laughed at his jokes. I found it troubling that so many people shared his lighthearted positions on the depravity of Bulger. Cullen did say that he tried to focus on the harms to families of those murdered or beaten by Bulger and his gang, rather than on FBI corruption. 

But Cullen did not seem to be outraged by the depth of corruption in Boston. He seemed less outraged by the institutionalized theft of taxpayer funds and lack of interest from the law enforcement mechanisms. 

Robin Young, Kevin Cullen, Shelley Murphy (l to r)

Catherine Greig

Kevin Cullen said Whitey claimed he would give his life for Catherine Greig. Cullen said that was bull. If he really loved her he would have demanded that she turn him in and reveal what she knew so that she did not spend one day in jail. It is all about him, Bulger, Cullen said.  

James "Whitey" Bulger with Catherine Greig

Daniel Berrigan among other Catholic priests believed that Bulger could be redeemed. It was amazing how many priests supported Bulger. One chapter is "The University of Alacatraz." Cullen reported that Bulger read Machiavelli and Kant. "I didn't read Kant," he said. Bulger educated himself. He got out early because of political pressure from Massachusetts politicians, on behalf of his brother Billy. Billy recruited the Dean of Boston College Law School, Father Robert Drinan, later a US Rep. and the first congressman to call for the impeachment of Richard Nixon.

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

Drinan acted as Bulger's parole advisor.

John McCormack, US Rep. (D-Massachusetts) Speaker, US House of Representatives

The Speaker of the US House of Representatives John  McCormack, US Rep. from Massachusetts, wrote letters to the US Bureau of Prisons seeking special treatment for Bulger. The Director of the US Bureau of Prisons visited Bulger at Alcatraz to see if he was comfortable. Bulger said, "There's nothing like political power."

Richard Nixon, President, US Rep. (R-California), US Senator

Inmates had their relatives and friends on their approved list of letter writers and visitors. But Bulger had many priests on his list. He said he was the black sheep of the family. He was released on St. Patrick's Day 1965.

William "Billy" Bulger, President Massachusetts Senate, Massachusetts State Representative from South Boston, President of University of Massachusetts. Retired with state pension of about $197,000 per year.

Billy got him a job at the Suffolk County Courthouse. He did not like a nine-to-five job and soon left to become an enforcer for the Killeen Gang in South Boston. 

He became a master manipulator. He was smarter than other criminals. Was he a brutal psychopath? Cullen said he needed to be considered in perspective. He was like a college graduate compared to John Martorano, who never finished the ninth grade.

John Martorano

Martorano admitted to killing 20 people for Bulger.   

Robin Young, WBUR

It was a problem when the FBI and The US Department of Justice got involved with Bulger because of national policy. In order to advance in the FBI one needed informants.

Boston FBI Special Agent John Connolly

John Connolly grew up in the same neighborhood as Bulger in South Boston. He persuaded Bulger to become an informant. Billy Bulger was "a" mentor for John Connolly. Connolly did Billy a favor making James an informant. 

John Connolly accepted Whitey Bulger as the "good guy criminal."

FBI Special Agent John Connolly after conviction for homicide

Cullen said Connolly was "his" best informant. Connolly praised Bulger to Cullen, who guessed that Bulger was an informant. The Boston Globe Spotlight series exposed Bulger as a "rat." When he was asked what he thought about being exposed as an informant, Bulger said it would appear as one more effort to discredit his brother Billy. Three crime bosses were asked what they thought about Bulger. They said they knew no one more "venal and vicious." They could not believe that the FBI would get into bed with Bulger. They had a higher opinion of the FBI than it deserved.

Shelley Murphy

In the 1970s and 1980s the FBI was focused on taking down the Mafia. They had no concern about the Irish American crime families. FBI agents in Boston socialized with Bulger. They had Bulger as a guest in their homes for dinner. He brought dog bones for their dogs. They considered him part of the team.

Joseph Patrick "Joe" Kennedy, Sr., US Ambassador to UK, Chairman SEC, First Chairman of Maritime Commission, Bootlegger, Founder of Kennedy Cult, Bon Vivant

Cullen did not say if he recognized a pattern begun by Joseph Kennedy, founder of the Kennedy Cult, to infiltrate government with his associates to take control of rackets and to eliminate any opposition. That was begun fifty years earlier and the FBI was a a part of the implementation in Boston. They focused their resources on the Italian American crime families and stood by while the Irish American crime families continued their activities and took over the businesses of the Italian American crime families as they were arrested. It was a form of government racism implemented by the Boston office of the FBI. It was part of the reason why the Kennedy brothers were executed for betraying the crime families who helped JFK get elected to the Presidency. Their reckless activities are what caused the tragedies suffered by them and the women who died or who were permanently disabled by the reckless behavior of the Kennedy politicians.  

Connolly was convicted of murder in 2008. There were many civil and criminal proceedings in courts derived from the Bulger gang's activities. Whitey went to a psychiatrist in  Watertown.

Teresa Stanley, dated Bulger for 30 years

He dated two women at the same time when he was in South Boston, Catherine Greig and Teresa Stanley.

James "Whitey" Bulger, with Teresa Stanley

He kept them separate. One had no college degree. Catherine was a teacher and was insecure. She wanted to please Bulger. It is why she stayed with him and protects him now. 

Catherine Greig

Shelley Murphy

One person asked why Billy did not turn in his brother. Cullen said it was not like the Unabomber. "That's like comparing apples to oranges," he said. "If the Unabomber was my brother I would have turned him in," he added. The Unabomber killed three people for political purposes. Bulger murdered 19 people for personal gain. Apples and oranges?

Ted "The Unabomber" Kaczynski. Harvard University trained mathematician, who was a human subject for mind control experiments when a student at Harvard.

Shelley Murphy revealed that some of Bulger's neighbors in Santa Monica, CA where he lived as a fugitive, wrote to him in prison. As reported elsewhere Kevin Weeks said Bulger was able to make people like him. How did that go? Like me or else? 

James "Whitey" Bulger (left) with Kevin Weeks

One woman asked about his childhood. I suspected she was a psychologist or at least believed in the psychological model of human behavior.

After a question about Bulger running guns for the IRA, Kevin Cullen went off on a story about gun running in Gloucester MA. Cullen explained that the FBI suspected Bulger was hiding in Ireland. Cullen noted that if he went there they would turn him in immediately. The IRA considered him a snitch, and the people would speak of him as the American. 

Kevin Weeks

A fact unknown to me was that when Kevin Weeks testified about the list of Boston police officers and FBI agents who were paid by Whitey Bulger, Weeks stopped after naming two Boston officers who were dead.

John Durham, US Department of Justice Prosecutor

Michael Sullivan, US Attorney, Boston, Candidate for US Senator 2013

Michael Sullivan former US Attorney in Boston and John Durham, Justice Department Prosecutor who said John Connolly was the only agent compromised, promised a full report about the police suspected of taking bribes and working with Bulger and his crime family. Eleven years later there is still no report. Sullivan is running for the US Senate seat vacated by John Kerry. Cullen reported that Durham is now investigating the CIA to see if they tortured anyone. Hehe.

John Forbes Kerry, US Senator, US Secretary of State, Massachusetts Lt. Governor

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