Michael Collins Piper's
Response To My Critical Summary
Posted to alt.conspiracy.jfk on 2 September 2001
To Whom It May Concern:
The Good Doctor Rahn has published a "critical summary" of the
SECOND EDITION of my book FINAL JUDGMENT: THE MISSING LINK IN THE JFK
ASSASSINATION CONSPIRACY on his website. He has also posted it on this
newsgroup. This is my formal response.
I have a few remarks, by way of a preface to my response to Rahn, however.
I regret that, unlike Rahn, I don't have all sorts of fancy academic titles after my name (although I did get an undergraduate degree), but I do have to say, if anyone cares, that a number of well-known academics have praised my writing and research skills in other areas outside the "controversial" topics of 1) the JFK assassination and 2) U.S. policy toward Israel and the Arab world.
However, I suppose, that when one dares to mix the two topics, it sets a writer up for some real name-calling and heavy-duty thrashing, which is precisely what I have experienced (even from people who SAY that they are interested in "the whole story" of the JFK assassination).
I have discovered that, in some respects, you are "allowed" to place the blame on any and all possible suspects with the notable exception of Israeli intelligence which did indeed have a very good reason to want JFK out of the White House and replaced with an "Israel-friendly" president such as LBJ (a topic explored in full detail in my book, based upon the writings of the following:
1) Seymour Hersh: The Samson Option
2) Andrew and Leslie Cockburn: Dangerous Liaison
3) Avner Cohen: Israel and the Bomb
4) Stephen Green: Taking Sides
In any case, as anyone who has actually bothered to read my book from
beginning to end (and that evidently doesn't include Dr. Rahn, by his own
admission) knows full well, I do not place absolute singular blame on the Mossad
It is important to note that Rahn's review of FINAL JUDGMENT was apparently based on the second edition, printed in 1994. The second edition was 335 pages in length and had 677 footnotes. The fifth edition of the book, released in 2000, is a grand total of 760 pages, featuring 1114 footnotes, along with 36 pages of pictures and illustrations.
(One of the illustrations photographically reproduces hand-written attacks on JFK by "Si" Kenan, one of the founders of the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee--AIPAC--the lobby for Israel. These personal documents of Kenan, which are in safe storage, were literally slipped through my office mail-slot just before the fifth edition went to press.
Accompanying the anti-JFK ravings were other personal documents of Kenan (dating back to 1976) which verify that the handwriting and the documents were his--or otherwise they are very masterful forgeries of a wide-ranging number of documents, even including personal financial records of Mr. Kenan. I have to believe that the documents must have been grabbed by some intelligence agency, possibly the CIA or even Mossad or God knows who, and that after someone heard about my book they decided to provide them to me.
The very existence of these documents PROVES that the israeli lobby was hostile to JFK, contrary to the general perception--even among some JFK assassination researchers--that JFK was a "fan" of Israel of some sort.
In any event, Mr. Rahn has obviously not seen the substantially larger and enhanced FIFTH edition of FINAL JUDGMENT, which brings to a total some 30,000 copies of all editions of the book now in circulation. I am going to send him a complimentary copy of the FIFTH edition in hopes that he will read it from beginning to end, rather than dismiss it with a sarcastic comment about my mother as he does in his "critical summary" below.
Now, let's look at this "critical summary" of FINAL JUDGMENT.
Mr. Rahn writes:
"Final Judgment: The Missing Link in the JFK
Michael Collins Piper (1993) The Wolfe Press, Washington, 335 pp.
There are four basic things about this strange book
PIPER RESPONDS: The use of the word "strange" is an obvious attempt to bias the reader of the summary in the first place. However, Webster's Third New International Dictionary says that strange can mean "new, unfamiliar" "not before known, heard or seen." In that regard Rahn is correct, because FINAL JUDGMENT is the first book ever to explore, in depth--in perhaps excrucating detail, more than anyone really wants to know--the theory that Israel's intelligence agency, the Mossad, played a hand alongside the CIA and the Meyer Lansky Crime Syndicate (which includes the subset known as "the Mafia") in the assassination of President Kennedy.
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.
PIPER RESPONDS: Yet, Rahn does not point out that the book explores the Mossad and Israeli lobby connections of many of the key, commonly "recognized" players in many of the diverse JFK assassination theories. That is what I call "the tie that binds" in the assassination conspiracy: the fact that so many people, in the CIA, the "right wing," the military-industrial complex, the FBI, and organized crime (often incorrectly called "the Mafia") had intimate and significant ties to the Mossad.
Second, the conspiracy and subsequent cover-up were so
large as to contain something for everybody.
PIPER RESPONDS: If Rahn had read my book--any edition of it--he would have noted in the "Conclusion" that I say precisely the opposite: that the actual numbers of participants in the planning (and execution) of the assassination were very small in number: perhaps no more than 20 people in the actual planning itself. Those whom I implicate were all closely connected at the highest levels of the CIA, the Mossad and organized crime. And the more I look at things, the less I think it is likely that commonly-accused "conspirators" such as Giancana, Marcello, and Traficante were actually directly involved in any planning whatsoever. As far as the cover-up is concerned, my book documents the little-known (but very real) connections to Israel and to Permindex (that spooky permindex) and to the Mossad of several key figures on the Warren Commission and in the major media. To say that "the conspiracy and subsequent cover-up were so large as to contain something for everybody" is quite simply a total misrepresentation of my book and its thesis.
Third, Michael Collins Piper offers not a shred of solid
(physical) evidence for any of this.
PIPER RESPONDS: I have been the first to admit, from the beginning, and in the book, that there is no forensic evidence to PROVE that the Mossad had a hand in the assassination. However, there are those who will argue that there is no forensic evidence to PROVE that Lee Harvey Oswald was indeed THE assassin or ONE OF the assassins. What "evidence" that does exist pinning Oswald has been dissected at length from the beginning and most people find it lacking.
And fourth, the book convinced Piper's mother.
PIPER RESPONDS: How cute of Rahn to bring my mother into this. I'm sure he uses that line with his students. It's probably good for a laugh, but it's dirty pool at the least. She was mentioned in passing in the acknowledgments to the book and as I have pointed out in response to Rahn in another posting, and as I have mentioned elsewhere, I think the fact that my mother--who is indeed my worst critic--read my book and found it convincing is significant.
Why is my mother's opinion significant?
My mother is a reasonably intelligent woman, pretty well read in a lot of areas--probably much better read than most Americans--and she has read many of the other books on the JFK assassination. When I first described my thesis to her in about six or eight sentences, she said, "I don't know about that."
Then she read the book and commented, "It makes as much sense to me as anything else I have read on the subject." And that is precisely the average comment of the average person who has read the book (and who has read other books on the subject).
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.
PIPER RESPONDS: This is a mouthful from Rahn. But it's all about "theories" in general and does not address ANYTHING in FINAL JUDGMENT at all. In addition, Rahn's suggestion that someone would have "shouted" from the rooftops, etc etc is highly unlikely. Anyone who really did have inside knowledge about the conspiracy was either smart enough to keep his mouth shut or was silenced.
One reader of FINAL JUDGMENT described my theory to Walter Cronkite at a personal meeting with the famed broadcaster who said, "I can't think of any group--with the exception of Israeli intelligence--that would have been able to keep the JFK assassination conspiracy under wraps for so long."
It should be noted that E. Howard Hunt privately offered a certain journalist based in Canada the "whole story" of what he knew about the JFK assassination in return for $14 million. The journalist asked Hunt why $14 million. He said: "That is what I've calculated I would need to protect myself for the rest of my natural life," or words to that effect. This incident involving Hunt has never been reported, but I got it second-hand from a well-known JFK assassination investigator who got the story from the journalist who got the offer from Hunt. The journalist in question later wrote an entertaining piece about Hunt in a recent issue of a popular magazine that left the reader to believe that Hunt was indeed "involved" or otherwise "connected to" the events surrounding the JFK assassination. The journalist did not mention Hunt's offer. It should also be noted that the journalist was working for ANOTHER publication when he first intereviewed Hunt and received the offer. The story of Hunt's offer was not mentioned in the final published article that appeared in another publication.
Anyway, the point is that at least one person has offered to "tell". There are others who contend that Frank Sturgis also gave a written confession to involvement in the assassination. In addition, Marita Lorenz says that Sturgis confessed to her. There is also the confession of James Files. There are those who doubt these stories, but if even ANYTHING any of them have said is true about their connections to the JFK assassination, then--as Rahn has said--somebody HAS shouted or otherwise "whispered"--if not from the rooftops.
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.
PIPER RESPONDS: We've already talked about my mother. Then to call her "Mama" is the ultimate. The next thing we know, Rahn will be wondering if "Mama" nursed me correctly or whether she nursed me at all. Is Rahn one of these Freudian types or something. He's starting to get absolutely Bevilaquian here! (No wonder they get along so well.)
Michael Collins Piper proposes that the Mossad was at the center of a
very large conspiracy and cover-up.
PIPER RESPONDS: Again, I say that it was a very SMALL 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.);
PIPER RESPONDS: Finally, Rahn got something right!
the reasons for Israel's anger have been overlooked
until now, according to Piper,
PIPER RESPONDS: Note the phraseology: "according to Piper." A deliberate attempt to make it appear as though all of the documentation I provide regarding JFK's bitter relationship with David Ben-Gurion AND Ben-Gurion's successor are all just "according to Piper." No, in fact, it is according to the following sources, which I will repeat for the record:
1) Seymour Hersh: The Samson Option
2) Andrew and Leslie Cockburn: Dangerous Liaison
3) Avner Cohen: Israel and the Bomb
4) Stephen Green: Taking Sides
These books did not come out until the late 1980s and into the 1990s, so up until that time there was very little published information about JFK's relationship with Israel. So, yes, according to Piper, --and it's true-- there was very little information about JFK's relationship with Israel and therefore no one who was looking into the JFK assassination had any reason to look in the direction of Israel since many people believed the popular claim (largely put forth by the israeli lobby, that "JFK loved Israel and the Jewish people." etc etc. Sure, that's why he was determined to stop Israel from building the nuclear bomb and that's why top jewish leaders threatened to cut off his re-election money in 1964 if he didn't back off.
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.
PIPER RESPONDS: The sources cited above verify all of the things that Rahn summarizes about my foundation for the claim that the Mossad would have had an interest in removing JFK from office.
So they decided to kill him.
PIPER RESPONDS: Yes, I do believe that the Mossad did play a hand alongside the CIA and the Lansky Crime Syndicate. I believe that the Permindex grouping (well known to JFK researchers) was a part of the conspiracy and that you will find Mossad connections--intimate connections--at all relevant levels. Frank Sturgis did work for the Mossad as early as the late 1940s and well into the 1960s. Fact fact fact fact fact.
Israel turned to the Mafia to help, through kingpin Meyer Lansky and what
Piper calls the "Meyer Lansky Organized Crime Syndicate."
PIPER RESPONDS: As time goes by, I find less and less reason to believe that "the Mafia" was a major player really and that is made clear in subsequent editions of the book. Meyer Lansky, however, was part of the permindex crowd through his relationship with the Banque de Credit Internationale of Geneva, run by Rabbi Tibor Rosenbaum, a major Mossad figure.
Along the way, they also involved West Coast mobster
PIPER RESPONDS: Although Mickey Cohen is mentioned in the book in regard to intrigue against JFK, the book does not specifically say that Cohen was involved in the assassination conspiracy. If you had read the book, Dr. Rahn, you would have seen that.
PIPER RESPONDS: Oh yes, Jack Ruby. You've heard of him. And yes, according to FBI documents, Ruby had connections to Israel through gun-running back to the 1950s. In addition, Ruby had a connection to israel through his friend and attorney Luis Kutner, who was a major intelligence figure with ties to the Mossad. And--get this--Ruby met with Lawrence Myers the night before the assassination. Myers was often called a "Mafia" figure but he was also linked to a company implicated in illegal arms smuggling to israel. None of this "PROVES" ANYTHING, but it does bring forth Israeli connections to Jack Ruby that are passed by in all of the literature regarding the JFK assassination--with the exception of FINAL JUDGMENT, which does indeed make the book "singular, unique, peculiar." (as in "strange" as in Webster's Third)
PIPER RESPONDS: Rahn is quite reckless here. I simply pointed out that Belli acted as a defender of the Warren Commission. Anyone who read what Rahn has written would think that I implicated Belli in the assassination conspiracy.
PIPER RESPONDS: Permindex is what ties the CIA, the Mossad and the Lansky Crime Syndicate together--along with elements of French intelligence.
James Jesus Angleton of the CIA,
PIPER RESPONDS: Oh yes. There's a monument in Israel to Angleton. You can't understand the CIA and its history without considering Angleton. And you can't consider Angleton without recognizing his role as the devoted CIA liaison to the Mossad. Most JFK researchers who have talked about Angleton's links to the JFK conspiracy and cover-up (if they have done so at all) are hesitant to mention the Mossad connection.
E. Howard Hunt,
PIPER RESPONDS: You can't talk about the JFK assassination without talking about E. Howard Hunt, if only because he has been involved in two lawsuits on the subject and has been written about extensively. In FINAL JUDGMENT I try to make sense of what has been written and been said about Hunt and put it in a context that explains what did--or didn't--happen on November 22, 1963. And if Dr. Rahn had read my book carefully he would see that I don't necessarily contend that Hunt was INVOLVED in the assassination per se, but only that he was involved in activities that circled around the assassination itself.
French Corsican gangsters,
PIPER RESPONDS: Maybe. Maybe not. But I did have a French source, former French intelligence operative Pierre Neuville, clearly identified, with his whole story told, in the FIFTH edition of FINAL JUDGMENT, also including French intelligence documents relating to Neuville, who was supposed to be a patsy in a Mossad plot to kill Nasser of Egypt.
to name a few.
PIPER RESPONDS: This, again, is disingenuous. I state very clearly in the summary of the book that only a small handful of people were actually involved in the assassination planning and execution.
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 failing. 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,
PIPER RESPONDS: This is indeed, roughly, what Gary Wean contends in his book. The truth is, however, that the thesis of FINAL JUDGMENT does not stand or fall on what Gary Wean has written. Even if Gary Wean had NEVER written his book, everything else in FINAL JUDGMENT stands on its own. So Rahn is way off the beam by trying to suggest that my whole thesis rests on Wean's claims about this "dummy assassination attempt."
And by the way, although Rahn calls Gary Wean my "favorite informant," Gary Wean (to my surprise) has actually attacked FINAL JUDGMENT. Despite that, Rahn doesn't seem to be aware that Wean has now identified the name of the person who told the story about a "dummy assassination" that was manipulated from and that person is former Sen. John Tower of Texas. Wean disguised his identity in his book THERE'S A FISH IN THE COURTHOUSE by saying "John" was a big man, when, in fact, as everyone knows, John Tower was a little man. Now that Tower is dead, Wean felt that he could identify him and has done so.
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;
PIPER RESPONDS: I don't believe that Wean himself believes it was the Mossad, but that's really neither here nor there.
only now does Piper reveal that it was the Mossad from
the outside rather than a double-cross from the inside.
PIPER RESPONDS: Oh, isn't Rahn clever: "Only now does Piper reveal" Piper isn't "revealing" anything. Piper is stating his thesis based on a wide-range of information. This kind of sarcasm is typical of those who can only cast aspersions on "conspiracy theories" by using sarcastic tones such as this.
Anyway, I'm not sure that if there was a Mossad double-cross that it was "from the outside" rather than from the inside, since the Mossad was very much "inside" the CIA through the good offices of James Jesus Angleton.
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.
PIPER RESPONDS: Yes, these other individuals have made such statements, although without responding in detail to each, it seems to me that Rahn is trying to suggest that all of these things are somehow "contradictory." Quite the contrary. Instead, they all point to the idea that perhaps there were other elements at work, manipulating different people in different ways, bringing them together in Dallas on November 22, 1963.
After all this, one would expect some pretty strong evidence from Piper.
It is absent.
PIPER RESPONDS: It is rather interesting to me that Rahn has focused on what is the one chapter in the book where I actually try to make sense of anything that did -- or did not -- actually happen in Dallas. I have never suggested that this chapter is "proof" of anything, but it does show the manipulation surrounding the E. Howard Hunt story (and the Angleton connection thereto) and demonstrates how the oft-discussed "French connection" may well indeed be the very real "Israeli connection" to the assassination.
Rahn does not address any of the Mossad connections of Clay Shaw, Guy Banister, Frank Sturgis, James Angleton, Louis Bloomfield nor, most pointedly, does he want to seem to address the very real MOTIVE for the Mossad and supporters of Israel in the CIA to want to get JFK out of the way.
Although I didn't comb every single page of the book,
PIPER RESPONDS: Not very academic of Dr. Rahn.
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.
PIPER RESPONDS: The connections are not "loose" and "indirect." E.G. Would Rahn say that the fact that Louis Bloomfield, a henchman of the Bronfman family and a top Israeli lobby figure, was chairman of Permindex and that Clay Shaw--out of all of the trade executives in the world--was on the board of Permindex was "loose" and "indirect." Or that Permindex ties back to the Mossad and to the Lansky Syndicate as well. That old saw that "it's all connections" doesn't wash. "Connections" are what life is all about. It's Rahn's "connections" that have made him the esteemed academic that he is today.
Unfortunately for conspiracists, connections do not a
conspiracy or an assassination make.
PIPER RESPONDS: An assassination couldn't happen if people planning the assassination didn't have the "connections" to make it happen.
Piper's entire book is wishful thinking.
PIPER RESPONDS: That's what you say. Those who have read the book say that it does make sense; that the conspiracy presented is no more outlandish or no more illogical than other conspiracy theories regarding the subject; further, that my book is the one that ties ALL of the seemingly disparate conspiracies together in a WAY THAT MAKES SENSE.
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.
PIPER RESPONDS: Thank you, Dr. Rahn, for making the point that I made RIGHT UP FRONT in the book: the fact that I didn't feel the need to rehash all of the forensic and other evidence that numerous other researchers, beginning with Mark Lane, Josiah Thompson and many, many, many others have successfully brought out over the years. My purpose was not to determine HOW the crime was committed in Dealey Plaza, but, having been "convinced" by other researchers that it was more than "one lone nut," I wanted to find out WHO WAS ULTIMATELY BEHIND THE CONSPIRACY. There's nothing more that the real conspirators want than to have people debating ballistics and autopsy records that may or may not be genuine and avoiding the ULTIMATE QUESTION: Who really killed JFK--and why?
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.
PIPER RESPONDS: This is very interesting. Rahn obviously believes it is impossible for the Chief Justice of the United States or members of Congress to commit crimes or cover-up for the crimes of others. Oh my! How dare anyone suggest that the Chief Justice of the United States was less than perfect. I won't dare mention the frying pan murder of Earl Warren's bootlegger/whorehouse keeping father who evidently upset his son by refusing to give up the family business after putting the kid through law school. (Whoops! Another conspiracy theory. I better not go any further with that one.)
Across the front cover of "Final Judgment" runs a red bar that
announces it as "The New Underground Best-Seller."
PIPER RESPONDS: Just about 30,000 copies in circulation. Pretty good.
After reading the book, I have concluded that
"underground" is just the place where it deserves to be.
PIPER RESPONDS: You're really funny. I trust that you will publish my response, word for word, on your website. That's a fair thing to do. I would also be willing to come at my own expense to talk to your class and let them ask me questions about my book. I'll even send you multiple copies for your class to read. I was invited to speak before an advanced honors class for seniors in political science at a high school in Ohio and got very good reviews from these college-bound kids. I would be especially delighted to talk to some college kids and hear what they have to say. Do you DARE invite the author of a "strange" book such as me to speak to your class?
MICHAEL COLLINS PIPER