I published this post on June 2nd 2010 and thought it is worth sharing again, now that Whitey is safely behind bars.
‘Whitey Bulger’ is the nick name attributed to one of America’s most wanted felons; James Joseph Bulger Jr was born on September 3rd, 1929. Unlike many Irish/American gangsters Whitey Bulger came from a good home, his brother William Michael Bulger was a former President of the Massachusetts State Senate and the University of Massachusetts. However, Whitey took a different path in life and became the leader of the Mafia styled, Winter Hill Gang in Boston, Massachusetts. Whitey was ruthless and feared even among his criminal kind.
The FBI believe that Whitey was involved in racketeering, murder, conspiracy to commit murder, extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, money laundering, conspiracy to commit money laundering and narcotics distribution. So much is Whitey wanted by the FBI that on the 19th of August, 1999, Whitey was the 458th person added to the FBI’s 10 most wanted fugitives. In October 2007, Europe’s, Interpol police network issued a ‘Red Notice’ for Whitey.
Whitey’s father was a well respected longshoreman who lived with his wife Jane Veronica Mc Carty in Dorchester, Massachusetts. They would have six children including Whitey. They were Roman Catholic Irish/Americans and were viewed as a decent hard working family by all who knew them in Dorchester. In order to improve life opportunities for their children the Bulgers moved to a new housing project called OldHarbor in South Boston, Massachusetts, while Whitey was a small boy. While in South Boston, Whitey would attend a Catholic run school called Saint Margaret’s, it is alleged by radio personality Howie Carr, that Whitey was subjected to both physical and sexual abuse while attending Saint Maragret’s, this would concur with recent disclosures in relation to child abuse within the Catholic Church around the world and how that abuse was concealed.
Whitey was only fourteen years old when he was first arrested for theft, in the 1940s such crimes among young children living in the projects was not unusual, however, Whitey would soon graduate to more serious offences. Soon Whitey would be arrested for assault and armed robbery, and would be associated with a street gang known as the Shamrocks which were mainly made up of kids of Irish/American ancestry. Whitey showed a very violent streak early on in his criminal career and for this reason he was sent to a reformatory school from 1943 to 1948, it was not known at this time that Whitey had been abused at school and it most certainly was not brought to the courts attention. While in the reformatory school Whitey was simply exposed to further punitive abuse and his under lying problems were never addressed.
But there was still hope for Whitey when he was released from the reformatory school in 1948 he joined the American Air Force, following his training he was sent to Smoky Hill Air Force Base in Salina, Kansas. While in the air force Whitey was involved in a number of assaults and for this was often sent to the stockades, Whitey was not one to be pushed around by anyone. Eventually the discipline of the Air Force would see Whitey go absent without leave and so in 1952 he was honorably discharged from the Air Force and he returned to Massachusetts. Now out of the Air Force and free to do as he liked after many years of discipline and constraint, Whitey became an active criminal once more. In 1952 only months after being released from the Air Force, Whitey was involved in the hi-jacking of a lorry that was carrying a large quantity of alcohol.
Soon Whitey surrounded himself with other men who were able and willing to take part in criminal activity. In 1955 Whitey was robbing banks in Rhode Island and Indiana and he was now being considered as a serious threat to public safety. Soon Whitey would be in big trouble as he came to the attention of the FBI, in 1956 a federal warrant was issued for Whitey, Whitey went to ground after the warrant was issued but he was arrested in March 1956 and sentenced to twenty-five years in the summer of that year. While Whitey was being held at Atlanta Penitentiary, 1956-59, he was involved in the MK-ULTRA program, Whitey and others had volunteered to take part in this program in order to get time off their sentences. The program was run by the CIA and involved feeding mind-control drugs to the inmates, in order to analysis their impact on the subjects. Following participation in these trials, Whitey and the other inmates suffered sever side effects including insomnia and nightmares.
Whitey was then moved to AlcatrazIsland where he befriended fellow inmate ‘The Choctaw Kid’ who’s real name was Clarence Carnes. Whitey was then moved to Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary and from there to Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary from which he was finally released in 1965; Whitey had served nine years in jail, a sentence that had not afforded Whitey rehabilitation but rather made him even more vulnerable to his criminal inclinations. Following his release Whitey worked as a cleaner, however, the boredom soon set in and Whitey was recruited as an enforcer for the Killeen gang. The Killeen gang was the main crime/mafia style gang in South Boston at that time, however, in 1971 a feud erupted between the Killeen gang and their rivals the Mullens, the Killeen gang were quickly out gunned.
Whitey realizing that he was on the losing team decided to make his move, he went to Howie Winter the boss of the Winter Hill gang and offered to kill the boss of the Killeen gang in order to bring the feud to an end. Soon Donald Killeen lay dead outside his home in Framingham, Massachusetts. There remains dispute about who actually killed Donald Killeen as the Mullen boss Patrick Nee later claimed that two of the Mullen’s enforcers had actually taken out Donald Killeen. Who ever killed Donald Killeen the result was that the Killeen gang was finished in South Boston and the Mullen gang joined forces with the Winter Hill gang, the Winter Hill gang being in overall control. Whitey was able to join the ranks of the Winter Hill gang and remained a force to be reckoned with. Whitey and Patrick Nee were now partners following the downfall of the Killeen gang.
Whitey soon became the right hand man of Howie Winter in South Boston, book making and loan sharking were dominated by the Winter Hill gang, Whitey was also known in North End, Boston where he had faced down other Irish/American mobsters who were running bookmaking enterprises. Whitey did not send any man to do what he would not do himself and he was involved in numerous murders according to insiders. Soon Whitey was taking down well established crews such as the Notarangeli and the Winter Hill gang soon dominated organized crime in the Irish/American areas of Boston. In 1973-74 it was clear to the FBI that Whitey and Nee were top dogs running the criminal empires in South Boston area.
Whitey had a blood lust and it was not easily satisfied, he wanted to kill members of the original Mullen gang as he felt that they had stepped out of line and were not treating him with the respect he deserved. Howie Winter quenched Whitey’s blood thirst by sanctioning the killings of a number of the original Mullen gang. It is also said, although caution must be applied here, that Whitey used his contact with the FBI to have rivals imprisoned. In 1979 the entire leadership of the Winter Hill gang including Howie Winter were arrested and charged with race fixing. Bulger was not prosecuted and he with associate Stephen Flemmi took over the running of the Winter Hill Gang. They moved the gang's head quarters to the North End of the City. It is believed that Whitey and Flemmi were both FBI informers and they used that position to imprison any mobsters that threatened their position. In 1968 Gennaro Angiulo and his circle of mobsters from the Italian/American Patriarca crime family were imprisoned and the Winter Hill gang under Whitey took over their turf.
Whitey was now the boss of an organization that had iron fist control over the majority of organized criminal activity in the New England area, by 1988/9 Whitey had control over arms trafficking, hi-jackings, bookmaking, loan sharking, extortion and much more. The lucrative dug market had now opened up and Whitey and his gang were in control of the distribution of marijuana and cocaine, Whitey had links with a Cuban/American drugs gang who were based in South Florida. While Whitey had bought and paid for the services of many law enforcement officers and he was working for certain FBI agents, this did not mean that some law enforcement officers did not want to see Whitey brought to justice. However, there were so many hurdles in any attempt to bring Whitey to justice that it appeared an impossible task.
Whitey who was now a major player in the importation and distribution of drugs in New England also wanted a piece of the action from the middle men. Whitey employed the same tactics with drug dealers in New England as the IRA had in Ireland. Whitey demanded protection money from middlemen dealers or they would face death. This is the same tactic the IRA continues to use in Ireland, particularly in the north of Ireland, following the IRA cease-fire in 1994. The IRA established Direct Action Against Drugs which was a cover name for the IRA, in a short period over a dozen drugs dealers were shot dead by the IRA as they refused to pay protection money to the IRA, soon all drug dealers in areas controlled by the IRA would pay protection money to the IRA, that practice of ‘dealing by license’ continues in Ireland today. It was also well known that the IRA had close links with narco-terrorists in such places as Columbia as the IRA looked to take a stake in the importation and distribution of drugs in Ireland rather than picking up the small change from the middlemen/street dealers. This IRA activity was not viewed as a breach of the IRA's agreed cease-fire with the British but was described by British Secretary of State, Mo Mowlam as 'Internal House-keeping'.
Whitey was in total control of the drug dealers operating on his turf, he appointed men such as John Shea to enforce his rules, and Shea and his hand picked team were fitness fanatics and trained boxers who were unlikely to use or abuse the drugs they were selling to Irish/American and American children, FBI wire taps which would later be made public would show that Whitey had no problem grooming a new generation of children for drug abuse in order to push up his profits. In 1990 the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other State agencies moved against Shea and his circle of drug dealers. This was a major blow for Whitey’s drug business however drugs remained on the streets in the areas controlled by Whitey.
The FBI had been compromised by its involvement with Whitey and the Winter Hill gang and so it was left to other State agencies to move against Whitey. In 1994 the DEA, Massachusetts State Police and the Boston Police Dept moved against Whitey’s gambling empire. Success for the State agencies came when some Jewish/American bookmakers made statements to the police stating that they had been paying protection money to Whitey and his gang. The RICO Act was used to build a Federal case against Whitey, however, a bought FBI agent tipped Whitey off and in December 1994, Whitey went on the run just before he was about to be arrested. Whitey had now been involved for many years with a Ms Theresa Stanley and she also fled Boston with Whitey. Whitey was well travelled and knows his way around America and Europe as he had for many years been preparing for the day when he might have to run.
In December 1994 Bulger and Ms Stanley stayed in Selden, New York then they moved to a hotel in New Orleans, soon Whitey began to think that the tip off may have been a false alarm, however, he was soon informed that his right hand man Flemmi had been arrested by the DEA and so Whitey knew that the game was up. Stanley soon began to miss her seven children and she asked Whitey to return her to her family. First however Whitey travelled to Florida where he had access to documents that gave him a new identity that he had prepared some months earlier. Whitey then returned to Boston and secretly returned Ms Stanley to her family. Whitey then teamed up with another one of his mistresses Ms Catherine Greig, they continued on the run.
In late 1999, Weeks, who had been a close associate and confident of Whitey was arrested and by now had realized that Whitey had been an FBI informer for many years. Weeks decided to do a deal with the prosecutors in return for a lighter sentence, Weeks told the police where all the money belonging to the Winter Hill gang was to be found and he also told them were all the bodies were buried. Weeks felt that he could do Whitey no harm as Whitey would never be caught anyway, Weeks was still loyal even after discovering that Whitey was an informer. Whitey remains on the FBI’s ten most wanted list. There is a reward of $2,000,000 dollars for his capture, however, it remains to be seen if that reward will ever be collected. Whitey was sighted and this sighting was confirmed in London in 2002.
It is important not to believe everything that is written about Whitey especially since he has been exposed as an FBI informer, when Whitey was involved with the IRA, in terms of helping republican leader Vincent Conlon to secure AK-47 guns for the IRA and those guns were intercepted by the police, Whitey was accused by some ill-informed writers as using his FBI contacts to have the guns captured. This was false; a former leader of the IRA’s Southern Command in Ireland, Sean O’ Callaghan was the person who was responsible for the capture of these weapons. O’ Callaghan had been recruited by the security forces and had compromised many IRA operations. It is fair to say that Whitey knew that he might one day need the help of the IRA either in America or if he decided to return to his Irish roots. No matter how big a man Whitey may have been in New England he knew not to mess with the IRA who are just as blood thirsty as he was. On the 5th of September, 2006 a US, District Court Judge, ruled that the FBI had mishandled Whitey and others working for them and that this mishandling had led to the death of John Mc Intyre in 1984, Mr Mc Intyre’s family were paid three million dollars in compensation by the State.
So where is Whitey now? And will he ever be captured? Ireland is a very strange place when it comes to dealing with fugitives like Whitey. When three members of Sinn Fein/IRA were captured in Columbia training narco-terrorists, FARC, the three men were sentenced to seventeen years; however, those three men now live openly in Ireland having jumped bail before their seventeen year sentences were set down by the Columbian Court. Recently one of Interpol’s most wanted men, a member of ETA was found hiding out in Ireland; there are countless examples of fugitives hiding out in Ireland and unless there is a real push on the Irish authorities to seek them out those fugitives can live quietly among the local populace.
It was rumored in early May of 2010 as I was writing my book on the IRA (http://hubpages.com/hub/A-Fairly-Secret-Army), that Whitey and a lady friend were living quietly among the quiet people of West Cork. West Cork is a remote and rural landscape where artists, writers and other gifted people from all over the world have come to settle, people mind their own business in West Cork and the arrival of new faces in this rural setting does not draw much attention. I had travelled to West Cork to see if I could spot Whitey; however, it would take an army of people to check out the rural landscape of West Cork and the many cottages and houses that are plotted on its rustic landscape. It is known that Whitey had a number of aliases that he could use as he travelled around Europe; he is 80 years old now and would simply be viewed as another Irish American who has returned to his home land to live out his remaining days. Due to the help Whitey offered the IRA he would not be without friends in Ireland.
TIO - This is an amazing story, and you have written it well. Have you published it as a Hub?
When I saw the pictures of Whitey yesterday, I was struck by how pleasant and attractive he looked! Not at all what I would have expected of such a felon.
Your post here includes some details that I think are both disgusting and heart-breaking: his probable abuse at the Catholic Church (do you know how Howie Carr came to make that allegation?); his "exile" to reform school, with no apparent attempt to treat the underlying problems; the abuse (IMO!) he suffered as a lab-rat in the mind-control-drug experiments. It's just nauseating.
I know a lot of people have commented elsewhere about how some character traits that lead to criminal activity could be advantages, if they are channelled into socially acceptable paths. Not always true, I know. But it seems to me that in Bulger's case there were several major points in his life when he could have taken a better direction - but outside forces seemed to push him further towards crime and evil. If only those people could be held accountable too!
Finally, I wonder (I haven't read yet) whether he & his lady actually were in West Cork last year? Is it possible that your search for him helped nudge him back across the pond? I think your interest and involvement may have had a bigger impact in this case than you will ever know.
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