r Letter From Eastie: January 2005
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Collaged view of Boston, from East Boston

Letter From Eastie

News and other items from East Boston, Massachusetts.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

This is a photo from back in July of the Italia Unita festival. I'm trying out posting photos using BloggerBot. Since I didn't have anything new that were not Blizzard related, I figured everyone would enjoy a nice picture to remind us that summer will be back again some day. Posted by Hello

Don't let the Ghost Librarian shush you. . .

Haunted Places in Massachusetts: According to this web site, the Eastie branch of the BPL is haunted:
East Boston - East Boston Public Library - Many have heard people moving and talking in the basement were the bathroom is located. If your lucky you will see the librarian who was thought to have been killed down there on a late shift.
There are also some nice haunted spots in Chelsea, too. I'd heard about the Cary house, but never the others:
Chelsea - Cary House - The Cary House was a mansion in the civil war. The daughter of the family had two lovers, who fought on opposing sides and ending up killing each other on the stairs inside the house. For quite a few years now, one couple would live in the house (a newer part of the house was added onto the old) and give tours. It was like a museum (but with the Cary mother's skeleton in the attic!). Once things started getting stolen, the tours stopped. It is said that one the night of the wedding anniversary of the Cary parents, you can hear laughter, mumbled conversation, and wine glasses clinking from the old kitchen. You constantly get the feeling of being followed or watched over. And this house has many secret passageways and hidden spots as well. - No trespassing - the couple that lives there now have turned it into a private property.

Chelsea - Voke Park - If you steer in to the voke park baseball field you will notice a lil'boy that got viseously attacked by 2 dogs. He seen wearing the same clothes he was on the night of his death,and bloody and asking for help ,rumor has it when you approach him he dissapears.

Chelsea - YMCA - In the pool area, a boy approximately 12 years old can be seen in his bathing suit pointing at the bottom of the pool. Story has it that in the 60's, a boy hit is head on a diving board while swimming alone and drowned. Was found later the next morning dead.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Apparently the Salvadorans are not the only ones committing crimes in Eastie. . .

Tony Soprano would not approve:

Eastie mobster faces 15 years for a dead-end career: crime

A reputed Mafia soldier from East Boston could be hit with a long prison term next week when he is sentenced in Suffolk Superior Court for firearms possession and being an armed career criminal.

Nicholas ``Dee Dee'' Gioacchini, 52, was found guilty Friday in connection with a four-month wiretape investigation conducted by the Massachusetts State Police Special Services Section that resulted in the execution of 13 search warrants in Greater Boston and Framingham on Dec. 7, 2000.

--Boston Herald

Monday, January 24, 2005

Thank you BBC.

Here is a good informational article about the gang problem in El Salvador from the BBC.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Documenting the Blizzard of '05

Blizzard_street, originally uploaded by marilora.

Mailbox in a snow drift

mailbox, originally uploaded by marilora.

Neither wind, nor rain, nor snow, nor hail, can keep the US mail from its appointed
rounds. . .yah, right.

Stuck in the snow

carstuck, originally uploaded by marilora.

If I had only listened to the mayor and stayed home, I wouldn't be stuck here in this intersection.

Still stuck in the snow

carstuck2, originally uploaded by marilora.

Now there are two cars stuck.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Reason #4187 to hate the Boston Herald.

Ok, so I'm not trying to be flippant about the subject of either Al-qaeda or street gangs, however, the Boston Herald has recently reported in this article that Eastie gang members have ties to Al-qaeda. All this is based on the report that an AQ operative was seen meeting in Honduras with with the leaders of the Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13 as they are commonly known. According to the Herald:
A burgeoning East Boston-based street gang made up of alleged rapists and machete-wielding robbers has been linked to the al-Qaeda terrorist network, prompting Boston police to ``turn up the heat'' on its members, the Herald has learned.

MS-13, which stands for La Mara Salvatrucha, is an extremely violent organization with roots in El Salvador, and boasts more than 100 ``hardcore members'' in East Boston who are suspected of brutal machete attacks, rapes and home invasions. There are hundreds more MS-13 gangsters in towns along the North Shore, said Boston police Sgt. Detective Joseph Fiandaca, who has investigated the gang since it began tagging buildings in Maverick Square in 1995.

In recent months, intelligence officials in Washington have warned national law enforcement agencies that al-Qaeda terrorists have been spotted with members of MS-13 in El Salvador, prompting concerns the gang may be smuggling Islamic fundamentalist terrorists into the country. Law enforcement officials have long believed that MS-13 controls alien smuggling routes along Mexico.

I've tried to confirm this story in other media sources and the only other media carrying this story are sources which I consider to have a "right-ish" kind of slant i.e., The Washington Times, Fox New (O'Reilly), New York Post, and Michelle Malkin's Blog.

Before I got a chance to find out more, the Herald then followed up the original story with this little gem. The headline of the article is "Cops: We Nabbed Killer Terror Gangster." Are you kidding me? The story is about how the cops nabbed an Eastie MS-13 member in Somerville for a murder in Washington D.C. Well, hurray for the cops, but this alleged murder had nothing to do with terrorism--so why the headline designed to scare the pants off of the fair citizens of Boston? A paragraph from this article reads:
East Boston was also the home of al-Qaeda terrorist Raed Hijazi, charged with training the suicide bombers in the 2000 attack on the USS Cole; he lived on Shelby Street and drove a cab around Maverick Square. And the two planes used to take down the World Trade Center towers on 9/11 were hijacked from East Boston's Logan International Airport.
Well, that's mighty interesting trivia but what the heck does it have to do with this particular arrest or MS-13? As far as I can see--absolutely nothing.

What I wanted to know is whether or not there is an official U.S. opinion on this alleged connection. In the sources listed above the only thing I could find was a reference to "U.S. Officials" with no indication as to what U.S. Officials. Once again the Boston Herald held the answer for me. In yet another story related to this issue, the Herald describes U.S. Rep. Solomon Ortiz' (D-Texas) position saying:
A Texas congressman said MS-13 gang members and Middle Eastern aliens are using the border in his district to sneak into the country - and Boston should be worried.
U.S. Rep. Solomon P. Ortiz (D-Texas), co-chairman of the House Border Caucus, told the Herald he is ``very concerned'' about al-Qaeda's link to Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, a gang he described as ``extremely vicious.'' . . .

Last month, a Muslim man from Bangledesh, Fakhrul Islam, was arrested alongside a reputed MS-13 gang member and 11 others after the group waded across the Rio Grande into Brownsville, Texas.
The alleged MS-13 member, Francky Sanchez-Solorzano, 21, was arrested and deported back to his native Honduras within days of the Dec. 4 bust, Ortiz said. Islam's status in the country remained unclear.
Attorney General John Ashcroft has publicly said a high-ranking al-Qaeda leader, Adnan El-Shukrijumah, has offered top dollar to infiltrate the United States via the Mexican border.
``Boston should be worried,'' said Ortiz's spokeswoman, Cathy Travis. ``These terrorists and gang members are getting on a bus here in Texas and heading to the East Coast.''
There's one problem with this whole story. Apparently the FBI doesn't buy it. Quoted in the same, yes the same Herald Story about Rep. Ortiz is this little tid bit of information:
FBI officials steadfastly deny any connection between MS-13 - a brutal, international criminal organization that has thousands of members across the country - and the terrorist al-Qaeda network.
``The FBI has not established a link between MS-13 and al-Qaeda,'' said Joe Parris, supervisory special agent in the FBI national press office. ``There is no link established.''
The bottom line is that terrorism is a problem and gangs are a problem. The thing is that they are not necessarily the same problem. I think that the key is money. If you call something "anti-gang," you don't get any money. But, if you call it "anti-terrorism," there's money to be had. You can't really blame the Boston Police, or Rep. Ortiz, or even the Salvadoran security officials. The problem, however, is that outlets like the Boston Herald take this information and turn it into typical immigrant baiting stories. From reading the Herald, you'd think you were taking you life into your hands just to step foot in East Boston. Like Maverick Square is some no-man's land occupied by rebel isurgents. I'm not naive, I know that there is plenty of gang activity here in Eastie, but it's not as if there are bullets and machetes flying everywhere you turn. Mostly, I don't see thugs hanging around Maverick Square, I see working people like me. And if I have seen thugs, they've been too busy to bother me so far. The problem with the way the Boston Herald has covered this story is that you get discussions like this one on a free republic, wingnut discussion board. My own personal favorite comment was this one:
Oh *sniff* but they're just pooooor *sniff* immigrants who came here to work *sob*. I hope they catch 'em and have a little accidental dumping of the creeps into the ocean.
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