Critical Summary

Final Judgment: The Missing Link in the JFK Assassination Controversy
Michael Collins Piper (1993) The Wolfe Press, Washington, 335 pp.

      There are four basic things about this strange book that every student of the JFK assassination should know. First, it proposes that Israel’s intelligence agency the Mossad was the driving force behind the assassination. Second, the conspiracy and subsequent cover-up were so large as to contain something for everybody. Third, Michael Collins Piper offers not a shred of solid (physical) evidence for any of this. And fourth, the book convinced Piper’s mother.
Point three, the total lack of solid evidence, is a consequence of the coexistence of upwards of one hundred conspiracy theories, many of them mutually exclusive, which means that the evidence for none of them can be solid. That in turn follows from the complete absence of strong evidence for conspiracy in general in this assassination—had such evidence existed, it would have been shouted from the rooftops many years ago, and someone would have long since won a Nobel prize for it, to say nothing of reaping millions from the book and the blockbuster movie. The lack of such an occurrence should make us view each new conspiracy offering with extreme skepticism. More strongly, the total lack of hard evidence for conspiracy requires us to approach all proposals about conspiracy with the time-tested working hypothesis that they will not contain any hard evidence.
As for Piper’s mother, he notes that she has always been his severest critic. If Mama now believes his book, it must be true.
Michael Collins Piper proposes that the Mossad was at the center of a very large conspiracy and cover-up. It starts with JFK during the first years of his presidency sufficiently angering the CIA, the Mafia, and Israel that they all wanted to kill him. The reasons for the anger by the CIA and the Mafia have been advanced for many years (failure to fully support the Bay of Pigs operation, wanting to make peace with Castro, and wanting to scale down the Cold War or end it entirely, etc.); the reasons for Israel’s anger have been overlooked until now, according to Piper, and center around Kennedy’s desire to create a balanced Middle East policy and to thwart Israel’s nuclear ambitions. Israel feared that these changes would threaten the survival of their nation. So they decided to kill him.
Israel turned to the Mafia to help, through kingpin Meyer Lansky and what Piper calls the “Meyer Lansky Organized Crime Syndicate.” Along the way, they also involved West Coast mobster Mickey Cohen, Jack Ruby, Melvin Belli, Permindex, James Jesus Angleton of the CIA, E. Howard Hunt, French Corsican gangsters, to name just a few. They piggy-backed their efforts on a fake-assassination scheme described by Gary Wean in There’s a FISH In The COURTHOUSE. Hunt had developed the idea of pretending to try to assassinate the president but fail. It would leave a false trail that would lead directly to Fidel Castro and rouse American sympathies for an invasion of Cuba that would depose Castro once and for all. Hunt sold the plan to other high-ranking anti-Castro people in the Kennedy administration, up to and including his Cabinet. JFK was kept unaware of it for his own “protection”. (I’m not making this up, folks.) The Mossad had a spy in their midst, however, and seized the opportunity to sneak in their own shooters and do the job for real. Naturally, Hunt and the others were devastated when Kennedy was actually killed. They considered it a giant double-cross by somebody; only now does Piper reveal that it was the Mossad from the outside rather than a double-cross from the inside.
Piper stresses how other writers have glimpsed part of this murky scenario, but have not been able to put it all together. Dick Russell, in The Man Who Knew Too Much, sensed that some other group usurped Oswald’s “relationship with the CIA.” Gerry Patrick Hemming was said by Russell to have noticed a third force of anti-Castro exiles that seemed to be controlled by an agency other than the CIA. Donald Freed and Mark Lane’s Executive Action proposed that Oswald had gotten involved in some outside action, as did Robert Morrow’s Betrayal. Don DeLillo’s Libra contained a fake assassination attempt that went awry. None other than Chauncey Holt related his involvement in a faked assassination attempt that was to be blamed on Castro. Michael Milan’s The Squad says that the guns were aimed at Connally rather than Kennedy, and that LBJ and Hoover were ultimately responsible. James Reston, Jr., wrote similarly that Connally had been the target. Lastly, former Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky wrote in By Way Of Deception that the Mossad taught its recruits that Connally had been the true target.
After all this, one would expect some pretty strong evidence from Piper. It is absent. Although I didn’t comb every single page of the book, I was unable to find a single piece of solid evidence to support any single aspect of Piper’s multi-tentacled “explanation.” It’s all connections, all loose and indirect. Unfortunately for conspiracists, connections do not a conspiracy or an assassination make. Piper’s entire book is wishful thinking.
The astute reader will have sensed from the beginning that this is coming, however, for the first chapter glosses over any need for conclusive evidence by stating, “The purpose of Final Judgment, you see, is not to prove, once and for all, that there was indeed a conspiracy to assassinate President John F. Kennedy and to perpetuate a cover-up of that conspiracy. That has been proven, time and again, in an endless array of books, monographs, magazine articles—even in the pages of several novels.” That chapter then goes on to assert that Final Judgment builds on the foundation of several “generally accepted” conclusions about the assassination, which include that it was a conspiracy, that it involved the CIA, the Mafia, anti-Castro Cubans, Lee Harvey Oswald (himself involved with U.S. Intelligence), and Jack Ruby (as part of the Mafia), that Oswald was killed to silence him, and that the CIA, the Warren Commission, and the House Select Committee on Assassinations were all directly and knowingly involved in covering it up. If you don’t feel the need to produce any evidence that the WC (with the Chief Justice of the U.S.), the HSCA, and the CIA deliberately covered up the crime of the century, for reasons that included protecting the Mafia, you certainly won’t feel the need to produce any evidence for the huge conspiracy they were allegedly covering up. Come to think of it, that may be the only logical thing in the whole book.
Across the front cover of Final Judgment runs a red bar that announces it as “The New Underground Best-Seller.” After reading the book, I have concluded that “underground” is just the place where it deserves to be.