Monday 17 December 2018


LIFE AND DEATH OF A NOTORIOUS GANGSTER

Click any words that are underlined for more details

James Whitey Bulger was born on September 3rd, 1929, (three years before my birth) in Boston, Massachusetts, he was one of six children raised by his American father and Irish immigrant mother. When his father lost an arm in an industrial accident, the family was forced into poverty and moved to a housing project in South Boston. As a teenager, Bulger was drawn to petty crime and joined a street gang known as the Shamrocks. His first arrest for larceny came at the age of 14. A few years later, he ended up in a juvenile detention facility, charged with assault, forgery, and armed robbery.

Following his first stint behind bars, Bulger appeared to have his life back on track and joined the US Air Force. However, after several assault charges and going AWOL, he landed himself in military prison. In 1952, he received an honorable discharge and made his way home to Boston, where he was drawn back into committing street crimes.

In 1956, Bulger was sentenced to 25 years in prison for charges related to armed robbery and truck hijacking. During his incarceration in Atlanta, he became a lab rat in the CIA program called Project MKULTRA for the purpose of researching mind control drugs. Bulger willingly volunteered in exchange for a reduction on his sentence, and he was injected with lysergic acid diethylamide, aka LSD, nearly every day for 15 months. Others who signed up for the testing program developed personality disorders or committed suicide. Later in life, Bulger complained about violent visions and insomnia.

Bulger’s lawyers never used his participation in MKULTRA as part of his defense following his capture. Boston-based criminal defense attorney Anthony Cardinale explained to The Daily Beast, “It’s a simple defense because for nearly two years of receiving LSD testing fried his brain. Expert witnesses, psychiatrists, and others who detailed the history of how people who took part in this secret CIA program committed suicide or became institutionalized Bulger was a victim, driven partially insane by his own government.


Following his petition for parole in 1965, he was set free, and it was business as usual for Bulger, who started out in mob life as a loan shark. Unknown to many of his rivals, Whitey fathered a son named Douglas Glenn Cyr after having dated Lindsey Cyr for just a few months. Bulger kept his son’s identity secret for fear that the young boy might become a target for his rivals. Lindsey detailed that Bulger was a loving and attentive father who showered Douglas with gifts. In 1973, at the age of six years old, Douglas suddenly became sick and died from Reye’s syndrome, brought on by a severe reaction to aspirin.       

Lindsey said, “He changed after Douglas died. He was colder.” A former mob associate also recalled, “He did talk about the kid. He told me he had a son once and that he died from Reye’s syndrome. He seemed a little melancholy. You could tell it bothered him.”      

His brother, William M. Bulger served as president of the Massachusetts Senate for 18 years and was also president of the University of Massachusetts. Then his career in  both politics  and education came to a halt in 2003, when he refused to testify in court about communication that he had with his older brother—James “Whitey” Bulger. William then became a source of suspicion for the university, having never previously revealed just how close he was to his murderous sibling. William was forced to resign and retire from his position. 

After his brother’s capture in 2011, William gave a very rare interview to a WCVB-TV reporter, to whom he commented: “Just because I visit him doesn’t mean I condone it.” He added, “I don’t try to sort it out any longer. I just try to be a brother.” Despite being unspecific about what “it” was that he did not condone, it was clear William never stopped being close to his brother which is most likely why he pleaded the Fifth. However, for his loyalty, William paid the price of his own career.
                
When a witness in a witness box in a courtroom in the United States is asked a question in which his answer may do him harm, the witness may refuse to answer the question by pleading the Fifth Amendment to the American Constitution which is part of the Bill of Rights and, among other things, protects individuals from being compelled to be witnesses against themselves in criminal cases.
 

In Canada, the witness has to answer the question but there is a way out for witnesses not to be convicted by what they say in court as a witness providing what they say as a witness is not perjury. All a witness has to do is to ask for that protection and the judge has no other choice but to grant the request.


Bulger and his Winter Hill gang had operated for more than two decades in the insular Irish-dominated South Boston neighbourhood, engaging in loan sharking, gambling, extortion, drug dealing and murder.


Whitey left a bloody legacy behind, as he was found guilty of being involved in 11 murders and suspected of eight more. Among those he slaughtered were rival gang members, witnesses to his crimes, a nightclub owner he believed was an informant, former FBI informants, and those he believed would turn informant. He was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences plus five years and incarcerated at United States Penitentiary Coleman II in Sumterville, Florida.

During his trial in 2013, a former gambler, who’d found himself in the wrong place at the wrong place at the wrong time in 1973, testified how gruesome the bloody gang wars had become. Frank Capizzi told the court:


“A firing squad hit us. For two and a half minutes, about a hundred slugs hit the automobile, and it imploded. Unbelievably, although I had been hit in the head, and could feel warm blood running down my neck, and excruciating pain in my back, I said, “Let’s get the fuck out of this car, Bud, come on.” And I put my hand up, and my hand went into his neck where his head should have been.”


Special Agent John Connolly successfully managed to turn Bulger informant. The FBI had approached Whitey; they pitched to him the idea of working together to bring down the Patriarca crime family, who he had been feuding with. In 1975, Connolly scheduled a meeting with Bulger, as they both had history—Connolly grew up in the same South Boston housing project as Whitey, and the then-teenage gangster had saved him from a bully as a kid. Bulger agreed but demanded, “I will not be called an informant. I will be your strategist.”

Alongside his close associate Stephen The Rifleman Flemmi, they both operated their racketeering and drug-dealing operations while moonlighting as informants for the FBI.


Over the period of two decades working with the FBI, Bulger’s empire grew, and he became the most powerful crime boss in New England, all while the law looked the other way. Special Agent Connolly turned informant, too; he let Bulger in on who was ratting on him. Shortly after Bulger received this information, those named would be interrogated and then shot in the head.


In 1994, Connolly tipped off Bulger that state and federal law enforcement officers were ready to arrest him, and Bulger went on the run. For most of his time as a fugitive, he was near the very top of the FBI’s Most Wanted List, with only Osama Bin Laden ahead of him.


When it became known about the FBI’s misconduct in working with Bulger and with the man himself on the run, it was made public that he had been an informant.


John Martorano, a former close associate of Bulger and former co-founder of the Winter Hill Gang, testified as a prosecution witness during the 2013 trial and told the court, “They were my partners in crime. They were my best friends. They were my children’s godfathers. After I heard that they were informants, it sort of broke my heart. They broke all trust that we had, all loyalties.”


n 2015, actor Johnny Depp took on the lead role as Whitey Bulger in the drama Black Mass. Depp wore a prosthetic mask, yellow-stained teeth, and blue contact lenses for a more sinister effect. Bulger, however, refused to meet the actor or speak with him during the movie’s filming.


Hank Brennan, Bulger’s defense attorney, stated to the People magazine, “Johnny Depp might as well have been playing the Mad Hatter all over again as far as James Bulger is concerned. Hollywood greed is behind the rush to portray my client, and the movie missed the real scourge created in my client’s case, the real menace to Boston during that time and in other mob cases around the country—the federal government’s complicity in each and every one of those murders with the top echelon informant program.


Bulger was convicted in August 2013 of 11 murders, among other charges including racketeering, and sentenced to two consecutive life terms plus five years.


Prison had been something Bulger had gone to great lengths to avoid – killing potential witnesses, cultivating corrupt lawmen and living as a fugitive for 16 years.


When Bulger fled, he first took Teresa Stanley, his girlfriend of 30 years, with him. After a few weeks at large, however, Stanley wanted to go home so Bulger dropped her off in the Boston area. He picked up another of his girlfriends, Catherine Greig, and disappeared again. Bulger spent his final years of freedom in No 303 of the Princess Eugenia apartment complex in Santa Monica with Greig.


In 2011, actress and former Miss Iceland Anna Bjornsdottir (aka Anna Bjorn) had traveled back home, where she watched a news report featuring Bulger. She recognized Bulger as her neighbor in Santa Monica, California, where he was living under a new identity as a quiet retiree. Bjornsdottir rang the FBI hotline, told them where to find him, and later she received her FBI $2 million reward.


At first he denied his identity but eventually he told the arresting officers, “You know who I am. I’m Whitey Bulger.” More than US$800,000 in cash and an arsenal of weapons was found hidden in the walls of the elderly couple’s flat.

His girlfriend, Greig was sentenced to eight years in prison and fined US$150,000 for helping Bulger evade capture. She is scheduled for release in September 2020. I doubt that she will be able to pay the fine. It could mean for her more time in prison.




Bulger’s two-month trial for murder, extortion and drug dealing in 2013 was sometimes raucous. A parade of former associates testified against him, giving brutal details about how Bulger would kill enemies and then take a nap.


Sometimes Bulger sat silently at the defendant’s table and at other times he engaged in profane shouting matches with witnesses such as Flemmi. Bulger, who denied ever being an FBI informant, refused to testify on the grounds that the trial was a sham.

The US Justice Department paid more than US$20 million in damages to families of people killed by Bulger on the grounds that he was operating under FBI  supervision while killing his victims.


On December 17, 2013 Bulger was transferred to a federal prison in Oklahoma. In 2014, Bulger was transferred to a federal prison in Florida. Bulger, 85, was caught masturbating in his prison cell with the lights on last June at the US Penitentiary Coleman II in Florida. As punishment, he was placed in solitary confinement for 30 days and had his commissary and email privileges stopped for 120 days.  Since when is masturbating an offence in a prison? If so, all male prison inmates would be serving their time in solitary confinement. 

On October 29, 2018, Bulger was finally moved to USP  (United Sates Prison) Hazelton, in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia.

That prison is a high-security United States federal prison for male inmates.  The high-security facility has earned the nickname Misery Mountain by the inmates who are incarcerated there. It is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a division of the United States Department of Justice


The 650,000-square-foot high-security facility, completed in 2004, contains six two-story buildings with 768 general housing cells and 120 "special housing cells" where especially dangerous prisoners are housed. In addition, there are several one- and two-story buildings which house various prison programs, as well as a factory where prisoners work. It is surrounded by a triple security fence with a taut wire system, and six guard towers around the perimeter.


On October 7, 2007, inmate Jesse Harris was murdered at that prison. A long and complex investigation led to an October 2, 2012 indictment charging inmates Patrick Andrews and Kevin Bellinger with second-degree murder. Since both inmates were already serving life sentences, Andrews for two separate homicides in 1997 and 2000 and Bellinger for an attempted murder in 2007, they were also charged with murder by a federal prisoner serving a life sentence.[4][5] William Ihlenfeld, II, the US Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia, announced that the Department of Justice will seek the death penalty against Andrews if he was convicted.


On December 6, 2009, inmate Jimmy Lee Wilson was killed during a fight involving at least five other inmates. Five other inmates were injured during the fight, which was reportedly racially motivated, were transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The facility was placed on lockdown and remained on lockdown for over a month after the incident until prison officials were reasonably certain that there were no further threats to the safety of staff and inmates. Wilson, 25, was serving an 11-year sentence for an armed robbery in Maine. Wilson's killing remained under investigation. I don’t know if the murder was ever solved.


Robert Hood, a former warden at the federal supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, said that Bulger’s age alone would put him potentially at risk in the prison’s general population. Add Bulger’s notoriety, and reputation as a fink, Hood said he could not imagine housing him with other inmates. He would have to be put in protective custody.


He claimed that he had a yeast infection from perspiring while wearing the prison issued pants and that he was placing medication on his genitals He told a disciplinary officer at a hearing, “I've never had any charges like that in my whole life. I'm 85 years old. My sex life is over.” Obviously masturbation was the only option he had to relieve himself from his sex drive. Yes, older men still have a sex drive and they can reach a climax. They just can’t ejaculate anymore.


A male corrections office was making rounds and reportedly found Bulger violating the regulation that prohibits any sexual activity by inmates, which is a high severity offense.  I can understand a regulation that prohibits inmates having sex with other inmates but by themselves?  It is a stupid regulation.


At his hearing, he explained that he bought seven containers of medicated powder for a fungus at the prison canteen and was applying it to his genitals when the corrections officer approached his cell.  “I volunteer to take a polygraph test to prove my answer to this charge,” Bulger wrote after being informed of his punishment.  His request was refused.


Bulger had amassed enemy after enemy over a lifetime of murder, extortion, double-crossing and in a breach of the cardinal rule of his ilk—snitching to the FBI on rival mobsters. That was why it was necessary to place him in protective custody instead he was placed with the general population of the prison.


“Anyone in criminal activity with him feels grossly betrayed that he was informing on them while he was supposedly their comrade and friend,” Michael Kendall, a former federal prosecutor from Boston who also once represented the family of one of Mr. Bulger’s murder victims, said of the trail of foes Mr. Bulger had left behind. “And anyone committed to law enforcement wouldn’t consider him a legitimate informant, because he just manipulated law enforcement to carry out his criminal activities including murders.”


No official details were given on the circumstances of Mr. Bulger’s death. But some of the federal prison employees, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because the information was not yet public, said Mr. Bulger did not die of old age. Rather, they said, he was beaten to death by at least two fellow inmates at the West Virginia federal prison, where he had been transferred to the day before.

Bulger was likely attacked Inside his maximum security cell early in the morning — sometime between 6 a.m., when cell doors were  unlocked so inmates could go to breakfast, and 8 a.m. Bulger had not emerged from his cell for breakfast and when prison staff went to check on him, they found him wrapped in blankets and unresponsive. He appeared to be sleeping. When they tried to shake him, blood spattered the floor. He was dead.

One of the federal prison workers said that the inmates involved in the killing were thought to be “affiliated with the mob.” Separately, a senior law enforcement official, who oversees organized crime cases but was not involved in the investigation into Mr. Bulger’s death, said he was told by a federal official that an organized crime figure was believed to be responsible.

Bulger was by no means the first organized crime figure to be killed by fellow inmates once he was in prison.

Those who follow the rough ways of the mob remember 1962, and perhaps the most significant such murder to take place behind bars. It was the botched pre-emptory strike carried out in the yard of the federal penitentiary in Atlanta by Joseph Valachi, who wielded a length of three-quarter-inch galvanized iron pipe with a brass faucet attached.

With repeated blows, Mr. Valachi crushed the skull of a man he mistook for another Mafia figure he believed had been ordered to kill him. The murder led Mr. Valachi to seek protection from the FBI. and cooperate, and testify before Congress in 1963, becoming the first mob figure to admit publicly that the Mafia existed.

Then came 1977, when Vincent C. Papa, a mob figure, was stabbed to death in the federal penitentiary in Atlanta. Mr. Papa was widely credited with masterminding the theft of nearly 400 pounds of heroin and 120 pounds of cocaine held as evidence in the offices of the New York Police Department’s property clerk.

The Hazelton prison that Bulger was killed in has been plagued by violence. The prison has regularly assigned support staff to guard duty since mid-2016, though it recently tried to curtail the practice. Last year, The Times found, the prison had 275 violent episodes, including fights among inmates and major assaults on staff, an almost 15 percent increase from 2016.

Bulger appears to have been at least the third inmate to die as a result of violence at the Hazelton prison this year. In April, an inmate was killed in a fight.  In September 2018, another inmate died in the same way Bulger did. They were bashed on the head with a heavy object wrapped in a towel.


For the most part, Mr. Bulger, who strenuously denied ever being a federal informant, was not threatened, harassed or attacked by other inmates in the various federal prisons, the person said.

But there was one instance in which Bulger was stabbed by another inmate while he was being held at a federal prison in Arizona. According to the person who stabbed him, the reason for the stabbing was unclear, but it was believed the inmate may have carried out the attack to try to get a transfer to another prison.

Bulger had suffered a series of heart attacks while in prison — more than half a dozen over the years and was expecting to be moved to a medical facility run by the Bureau of Prisons. Instead, he was relocated to the West Virginia facility, where he was placed in the general prison population, according to some of the federal prison workers. He was attacked eleven hours after he arrived at th Hazelton Prison.

While the Bureau did not disclose a cause of death, reports have surfaced that Bulger was killed by fellow inmates in a brutal attack. While seated in a wheelchair, Bulger was wheeled out of security camera range where he was then beaten by three inmates.


According to a source, one of the inmates used a lock in a sock to attack Bulger. The assailants "attempted to gouge his eyes out with some type of shiv, but were unsuccessful," adding that Bulger "fell to the ground covered in bruises and with several dents in his head.  I heard on the radio that his assailants also tried to cut his tongue out for being a snitch.

The New York Post has named ex-Mafia hitman Fotios “Freddy” Geas as the prime suspect in Bulger's murder. The 51-year-old suspect is currently serving a life sentence at Hazelton for the 2003 murders of former mob boss Adolfo “Big Al” Bruno and associate Gary Westerman. According to The Boston Globe, Geas has not disputed his role in Bulger's death. 


“Freddy hated rats,” said private investigator Ted McDonough. “Freddy hated guys who abused women. Whitey was a rat who killed women. It’s probably that simple.”


Paul J. DeCologero, who belonged to the North Shore crime group, is now a suspect in Bulger's death along with Fotios "Freddy" Geas. I don’t know who the third suspect was.


The United States Bureau of Prisons should have placed Bulger in  protective custody. Why they didn’t do this is puzzling.


There is a prisoner in Canada who raped 20 women and murdered two young girls and he has been in protective custody for the last 25 years. Even when he is removed from his cell, the other inmates in the range are temporarily removed from the range. So far, no inmate has ever reached this rapist/killer to harm him.


I guess the staff at Hazelton Prison didn’t care what happened to Bulger. By placing him in with the prison population, they in effect, had sentenced him to death.

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