The topic for this post was a “no-brainer”. James “Whitey” Bulger has been a local legend in the Boston area for years. Bulger made a deal with an FBI agent, John Connolly. Connolly would get information on organized crime and Bulger would get warnings from Connolly if it appeared that any one, or all, of the law enforcement agencies trying to arrest him had credible information about his whereabouts. Sixteen years ago, Connolly gave Bulger the information that an arrest was imminent. Bulger and his long-time girlfriend, Catherine Grieg disappeared.
Bulger was been charged with nineteen murders; he is believed to have ordered hundreds more in the years he has controlled organized crime in South Boston. While Bulger was a resident of the neighborhood he grew up in, no one dared utter one negative world. Bulger ruled by fear, threatening the very young children of some he believed had not shown the proper respect. When he disappeared, the men of his age had a bit of fun. Baseball caps reading, “Where’s Whitey?”, “Whitey Who?”, and “I’m Whitey” were seen as people strolled around Castle Island in South Boston.
On June 21, 2011, the Boston Globe published a report about a new campaign that was being launched that day in the hope that someone would come forward with information that would allow them to claim the $2.000,000.00 reward for the arrest of Bulger and/or the $100,000.00 reward for the arrest of Catherine Grieg. Grieg is sixty years old to Bulger’s 81. He has unlimited funds and she has, seemingly, an unlimited interest in cosmetic surgery, teeth cleaning, and visits to the beauty salon.
“The FBI has tried, unsuccessfully, to get information about the couple.
“Now, the Boston task force searching for Bulger has embarked on a new strategy: using daytime television to find Bulger’s longtime companion, Catherine Greig.
“During commercial breaks of shows like “The View,’’ “Ellen,’’ and “Live with Regis & Kelly’’ viewers will see a 30-second spot publicizing the worldwide hunt for the fugitives.
“After years of searching for the 81-year-old Bulger, a fixture on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list who has triggered thousands of look-alike sightings all over the world, agents want to focus on the much younger Greig, who is likely to be more social and whose idiosyncrasies should make her stand out. The blue-eyed, 5-foot-6 Greig, now 60, has undergone several plastic surgeries, including a facelift and breast augmentation. She loves going to beauty salons, was known to get monthly teeth cleanings, and adores animals, officials said.
“We’re looking for people sitting in a hospital waiting for an appointment with a doctor where there are three or four [television] monitors on the wall, and they are watching these shows . . . or people who are in a beauty salon or barber shop,’’ he said.
“FBI officials said a large percentage of daytime viewers are women in Greig’s age group.”
Since Bulger fled, he has been charged with 19 murders and been publicly revealed as a longtime FBI informant who got away with crimes while being protected by corrupt agents. His former handler, retired FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr., is serving a 40-year prison term for murder, on top of a 10-year sentence for racketeering.
Some relatives of Bulger’s victims said the announcement was another painful reminder that he remains elusive.
“I don’t think they’ll ever really find him,’’ said Patricia Donahue, the widow of Michael Donahue, an innocent bystander who was gunned down in South Boston in 1982.
Bulger is accused of fatally shooting Donahue, a Dorchester truck driver, and Edward Brian Halloran, a Bulger associate, as Donahue gave Halloran a ride home from a Boston bar.
William Christie, a New Hampshire attorney who represents Halloran’s family and the family of John McIntyre, another alleged victim of Bulger’s, said his clients hope he will be caught. But they worry that such announcements are attempts by the government to make the public believes they are serious about finding a killer they once protected.
“It is the latest in a series of efforts announced by the Boston field office, where virtually every special agent in charge has vowed to capture Bulger since he disappeared just before January 1995, when prosecutors planned to indict him on federal racketeering charges.”
For sixteen years the FBI and innumerable international police organizations spent millions searching without success. In two days, the women who watch daytime television served Whitey up on a platter.
Will James Bulger ever go to trial? He is 81 and after successfully hiding in plain site for sixteen years it seems a bit odd that the pictures of Catherine Grieg, which were often published, brought about a result so quickly. He was arrested after a “ruse” lured him out of his apartment. At no point has it been suggested that James Bulger has lost any of the formidable intelligence that kept him alive, feared, and untouched by law enforcement for the horrific crimes he committed. I spent the morning at a hospital in a room with thirteen other patients, all women today, and five nurses. We concluded that Bulger may be suffering from some serious disease, such as cancer, common in men of his age. If this is true, he will get excellent treatment in a prison hospital. Even if he were in the best of health, it would be years before he would be brought to trial, years he doesn’t have. The FBI is protected from having Bulger testify to the deals he had in place with that organization, deals that protected him from facing charges.
It is good that Catherine Grieg likes animals; Whitey is as close to an animal as a human can be. He killed without reason. People died because Whitey wanted them to die. No other reason was necessary. South Boston, the area he controls (I use the present tense consciously), is a densely populated part of the city that was, until recently, blue collar and poor. Bulger controlled jobs, gambling, and drugs. He is not a charming old man. He has kept himself in good physical shape for his years and he likely could kill if he decided someone deserved it.
The character of Frank Costello in THE DEPARTED was based on James Bulger. Even Nicholson couldn’t make Frank as frightening as Bulger really is. Bulger is without conscience and without a soul. He killed at least nineteen people. He ordered the deaths, impassionately, coldly, of at least one hundred others. Can any man be more of the stuff of nightmares?