Chapter 10″FINAL JUDGMENT”
(By Michael Collins Piper. Pub. 1995 by The Wolfe Press, Washington, DC. Tel. 1-800-522-6292.)
Piper has subtitled his book The Missing Link in the JFK Assassination Conspiracy. We take up this book not simply to lay out the evidence which many investigators have accumulated concerning the Kennedy assassination conspiracy, but also to further pursue our reason for reviewing McCoy’s book, The Politics of Heroin. Where McCoy introduces us to the illegal strong-arm activities of our own CIA, acting in concert with organized crime in its world-wide drug trafficking, Piper, in investigating the Kennedy assassination, draws a picture of cooperative illegal activities in a number of additional arenas by the secret intelligence agencies of the United States, France, and Israel, i.e., the CIA, the SDECE, and the Mossad, all of which have histories of utilizing the services of organized crime elements in pursuing their various goals. Our approach will be to review the ties Piper has unearthed among the three intelligence agencies, and then the ties existing between each one of them and organized crime. The picture which emerges is one of vast criminal power available to those secretly manipulating the affairs of the world, in addition to the monetary, social, and political power we have discussed in our earlier chapters.
McCoy discusses perhaps the first cooperative venture involving the CIA and the SDECE: the securing of Marseille for the use of Corsican gangsters for heroin manufacture and drug transit. During these same years, the late 40’s and early 50’s, the CIA was helping establish the KMT “army” in Burma, financed by opium the CIA helped the KMT to transport out of Burma and through Thailand. At the same time, the U.S. was funding the French in their war against the North Vietnamese, which also utilized the services of Hmong hill tribes in raising opium to help finance the war. The SDECE and the French military ran that show, which was eventually lost at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. The CIA won the right to continue the Vietnamese War, and mounted a major effort in Laos from 1960 to 1974, copying the strategy of the French military and the SDECE of financing the war by the cultivation and sale of drugs, selling even to American military personnel who were fighting that hated “anti-Communist” war in Southeast Asia.
Piper discusses another CIA-SDECE tie, connected with General Charles DeGaulle’s fight with the French Secret Army Organization (OAS) over granting independence to Algeria. (DeGaulle became French President in 1958. Algeria attained independence in 1962.) Piper indicates that the OAS, like the CIA, was highly compartmented, with projects kept secret from all except those who were directly involved and had a “need to know.” The Algerian question had created a split within the body politic of the French nation, and most particularly among French politicians and bureaucrats, specifically including the French secret service, the SDECE. Piper references sources which indicate the heavy involvement of SDECE officers in support of the OAS and its goals, goals which included multiple attempts on DeGaulle’s life.
Likewise, in the United States the CIA was similarly compartmented. Piper’s narrative repeatedly involves James J. Angleton, the CIA’s Chief of Counterintelligence under Allen Dulles and then Richard Helms. Angleton, says Piper, served as American intelligence liaison with the SDECE after World War 2 and “maintained close friendships with a number of French intelligence officials throughout his career.” During this period of DeGaulle’s struggles with the OAS, the CIA “was actively engaged in an effort to topple … DeGaulle, lending aid and support to the French Secret Army Organization that was fighting DeGaulle’s decision to grant independence to Algeria.” John F. Kennedy was supporting DeGaulle and his Algerian position at this very same time, indicating the degree of autonomy which the CIA was secretly enjoying.
Another connection involved a Frenchman named Jean Souetre, an OAS mercenary who had approached the CIA a few months before the JFK assassination allegedly with information concerning Communists in the SDECE. A CIA document dated about four months after the assassination was uncovered in 1977, which reported that the SDECE wanted help in locating Souetre, and asking why American authorities had expelled him from the U.S. immediately after he had been picked up in Dallas “within 48 hours after Kennedy’s death.” Souetre, the document said, sometimes went under the name Michel Mertz. Mertz was in turn identified, says Piper, by former CIA insider Robert Morrow, as a member of one of the assassination teams that killed Kennedy. Further, says Morrow, “Mertz was on the Angleton-supervised CIA ZR/Rifle Team of foreign mercenaries where he was known by his code name, QJ/WIN.” If you are left wondering about these specific matters, so are we, and so is Piper.
The final tie to be noted involves the CIA’s James Angleton and the then deputy chief of the SDECE, Col. Georges deLannurien. Piper says (p. 241): “In a private communication to this author after he read the first draft of Final Judgment, a former high-ranking retired French diplomat and intelligence officer stated (based on his own inside knowledge) that a French team – professional assassins – were the actual shooters in Dealey Plaza….” [More about this in a moment.] The unidentified diplomat wrote to Piper indicating that the assassination team had been hired “through the good offices of … Col. Georges deLannurien. ‘It was no coincidence,’ he wrote, ‘that on the very day of the execution of the President by the French team that [deLannunen] was in Langley meeting with James Jesus Angleton….’
“According to the diplomat, ‘There are no coincidences in the suspicion business – just cover-ups. The case of Communist infiltration of the French secret service was an appropriate cover-up to justify the presence of the French deLannurien at Langley, Virginia.’
“Obviously, Angleton and deLannurien were together for a very specific purpose: damage control – making sure that the assassination cover-up fell into place after the crime itself had been committed.
“Angleton himself told the House Assassination Committee that deLannurien had come to his office for just that purpose: seeking assistance in routing out Communist moles in the SDECE.”
We go next to the ties which Piper discusses between the SDECE/OAS and the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency. The prime issue here revolves around the antipathy felt by the Israelis toward General DeGaulle for granting independence to Algeria. Algeria was a predominantly Muslim state, though it contained a substantial Jewish minority. Piper quotes the Washington Post of March 20, 1982: “Diplomatically, France, shorn of Algeria, returned under President Charles DeGaulle to its traditional policy of friendship with the Arabs – much to the chagrin of Israel and the 200,000 Algerian Jews who had lived peacefully alongside their Arab neighbors until emigrating to France.” Piper points out elsewhere (p. 3 1): “Israel, of course, saw the emergence of another independent Arab republic as a threat to its security, and anyone favoring Algerian independence [e.g., Charles DeGaulle, or John Kennedy] was, thus, advocating a policy deemed threatening to Israel’s survival. ”
The OAS, including its supportive elements within the SDECE, were therefore found to be enjoying covert financial and other support from the Israeli Mossad and other entities supportive of Israel. Piper quotes Israeli historian Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi: “During 1961 and 1962, there were numerous reports of Israeli support for the French OAS movement in Algeria.” Historian Stewart Steven is also quoted: “When in 1961 the OAS was created, it was a natural development that Israel, as keen on [French retention of Algeria as a colony] as the OAS themselves, should lock themselves into the [OAS].” An SDECE report supportive of DeGaulle charged that funds from the Israeli Bank Hapoalim were routed to the OAS in Paris via Guy Banister in New Orleans, about whom more will be said shortly.
We now go back to the retired French diplomat and intelligence agent who corresponded with Piper. He told Piper that it was at the behest of the Israeli Mossad that Col. Georges deLannunen arranged for the physical execution of John Kennedy. Specifically, Piper writes: “According to the French intelligence officer, then-Mossad assassination chief Yitzhak Shamir (later Israeli prime minister) arranged the hiring of the assassination team through the good offices of the deputy chief of the SDECE, Col. Georges deLannurien.”
We’ll get to Piper’s discussion of the Israeli motivation for the crime in a few minutes, but in explanation of the Mossad’s contracting of the physical assassination with the SDECE, Piper quotes the French officer: “Never the Prime Minister of Israel would have involved Mossad people, American Jews, or CIA personnel in the execution part of the conspiracy. Even the CIA contracts the services of other members of the intelligence community (they like the French style) to wash dirty linens. The right hand does not know what the left did. The cover-up team doesn’t know who executes. And the executioners are not interested in the aftermath of their mission. They don’t care less.”
DeGaulle continued to have trouble with the Mossad after JFK was killed, though he managed to survive assassination efforts directed at himself. After an incident in 1965 involving the Mossad and various elements in his own SDECE, he furiously set about to clean house within the SDECE, and simultaneously expelled the Mossad from France and ordered the termination of all intelligence cooperation between France and Israel. Historian Stewart Steven described the expulsion as “a severe blow, perhaps the most severe the Israeli secret service has ever suffered…. DeGaulle was never to forgive Israel.”
We go next to the ties between the Mossad and the CIA. We’ll discuss here just three of the many ties which Piper discusses. They are embodied in the names Angleton, Shaw, and Rafizadeh.
Piper devotes a whole chapter to discussing the relationship of the CIA’s James Angleton with the Mossad and other of Israel’s support entities in the United States and elsewhere. He was recruited into the OSS directly out of Yale University, entered the CIA after it was formed in 1947 following the abolition of the OSS, and by 1954 assumed the position of chief of CIA counterintelligence, under the patronage of Richard Helms, who became CIA director under Lyndon Johnson. Angleton was given his own secret slush fund to operate with essentially as he wished. According to one researcher quoted by Piper, Angleton was the “official CIA liaison for all Allied foreign intelligence agencies” – most particularly including the Mossad. A friend is further quoted: “That’s the job that was so sensitive and that’s the one that you don’t read about. While he was liaising with everyone, he was getting them to do favors for either the CIA … or for his own agenda…. He could use his contacts with Israeli intelligence, which he kept to himself, as authority for whatever line he was trying to push at the CIA…. No one was going to contradict him, since no one else was allowed to talk to Israeli intelligence.”
Piper then quotes Angleton’s biographer, Tom Mangold: “I would like to place on the record, however, that Angleton’s closest professional friends overseas … came from the Mossad, and that he was held in immense esteem by his Israeli colleagues and by the state of Israel, which was to award him profound honors after his death.” In fact, says Piper, “Following his death in 1987, a monument was unveiled in Israel by its government in his honor.”
Piper goes into detail about a number of the joint ventures undertaken by Angleton and the Mossad. These included a plot to kill the Egyptian President Nasser, a similar plot against Israel’s enemies in Syria, and, very importantly, an effort to assist Israel in their development of nuclear weapons and to cover up that secret development. This latter effort went to the heart of the disagreement between John Kennedy and the Israeli prime minister David Ben-Gurion, and also between JFK and the CIA.
There is much more, but let us hurry on to Clay Shaw. Shaw’s name came to the attention of the public when he was tried in New Orleans by District Attorney Jim Garrison as being a conspirator in the JFK assassination. Though Garrison could not himself prove it, Piper indicates that assassination researchers are substantially unanimous concerning Shaw’s CIA affiliation. Garrison suspected it because of the ties which he found between Shaw and Guy Banister and David Ferrie, both having histories of CIA involvements and both tied to pre-assassination contacts with Lee Harvey Oswald, presumably as his CIA “handlers.” Piper repeats the claim of one researcher that Shaw was, in fact, “Banister’s immediate superior in coordinating CIA operations out of New Orleans.”
Further, Shaw had been assigned to the OSS while a young army officer in Britain during World War 2, and had at that time become a good friend of Winston Churchill. This was the same entree into the intelligence world that we noted above for James Angleton, and yet also for a third gentleman of great interest, Louis M. Bloomfield. Bloomfield was later hired by J. Edgar Hoover, says Piper, “to serve as a recruiting agent for the FBI’s counterespionage division, Division Five. Through this position, Bloomfield became a working partner of Division Five chief William Sullivan, a close friend of James J. Angleton, the Mossad’s CIA ally. Sullivan was Angleton’s ‘man inside’ the FBI.”
Both Shaw and Bloomfield were directors of a company called Permindex, which was in turn a subsidiary of an organization based in Rome called Centro Mondiale Commerciale (CMC), which translates to World Trade Center. “Permindex” is an acronym for PERmanent INDustrial EXpositions, in accordance with the stated function of CMC which was to establish a worldwide network of trade expositions. Piper lists a few of the other board members, remarkably including a couple with significant ties to Meyer Lansky’s organized crime network. The CMC founder, he says, was one Georges Mandel, an Eastern European Jew who Italianized his name to Giorgio Mantello. One of the chief shareholders of CMC, says Piper, “was the Banque De Credit International of Geneva (BCI), established by Tibor Rosenbaum, the longtime Director for Finance and Supply of Israel’s Mossad…. BCI also served as a depository for the Permindex account.” Piper identifies several of the BCI directors, including “Ernest Israel Japhet, also chairman and president of the Bank Leumi, the largest bank in Israel,” plus two men, Ed Levinson and John Pullman, connected with Meyer Lansky’s crime network.
Piper quotes author Paris Flammonde: “Actually it was soon to become evident that the seemingly vast, mighty structure [the CMC] was not a rock of solidarity, but a shell of superficiality; not constructed with mass, supporting promise, but composed of channels through which money flowed back and forth, with no one knowing the source or the destination of these liquid assets.” In short, says Piper, it was a money laundry, a joint venture between the CIA and the Mossad, with ties to organized crime, which we will discuss presently.
Public controversy arose in Europe in 1962 over Permindex involvement with assassination plots against President DeGaulle, involving funds from the Israeli Bank Hapoalim routed to the OAS via Guy Banister in New Orleans. Permindex was thereupon expelled from Switzerland and Italy, and was subsequently relocated in Johannesburg, South Africa, the move being managed by Dr. David Biegun, the national secretary of a New York organization called the National Committee for Labor Israel, Inc., whose parent organization in Israel controlled the Israeli Bank Hapoalim, referred to above.
As with the case of Angleton, there’s much more detail about Shaw that Piper goes into, but you really must get the book yourself. Let’s go on to our last name suggestive of CIA/Mossad ties – Mansur Rafizadeh.
Rafizadeh was the former chief of the SAVAK, which was the secret police of the Shah of Iran, with whom Rafizadeh later broke. The SAVAK was created in 1957, said Rafizadeh in his memoirs, at the joint urging of Israel, the United States, and Britain. Only 4 years earlier, CIA director Allen Dulles and his deputy director Richard Helms had organized a coup in Iran, ousting the elected Prime Minister Mossadegh and installing the Shah, as we outlined in our Chapter 1. Helms and the Shah, says Piper, had been schoolmates as children in Switzerland, a relationship that was capped by Helms finally becoming U.S. Ambassador to Iran.
The CIA and the Mossad cooperated in training SAVAK recruits. To this end the CIA maintained an operation called the International Police Academy in Washington, which trained recruits for both the SAVAK and the Mossad. It was run by one Joseph Shimon, friend of Chicago Mafia boss Sam Giancana among others of questionable character. Shimon once testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee concerning his participation with Giancana and CIA operatives in Miami in assassination plots against Fidel Castro.
Piper’s proximate reason for bringing up the SAVAK has to do with the assassination of JFK’s brother, Robert F. Kennedy. He describes the thesis put forward by former CIA contract agent Robert Morrow. In Piper’s words: “Simply put, Morrow’s thesis is this: that the murder of Robert F. Kennedy was a CIA contract hit, carried out through the CIA’s long-standing ally in international intrigue, the SAVAK, the secret police of the Shah of Iran – an intelligence agency created in part by Israel’s Mossad itself, and tied closely to the Mossad.” Piper outlines the available evidence in support of this thesis.
Before going into the ties of the CIA, the SDECE, and the Mossad to organized crime, let’s spend a few moments examining the common origins of these agencies. We noted in Chapter 1 that Engdahl noted in his A Century of War that the CIA got its start as the OSS, which was created as an adjunct to and in the London offices of the British intelligence agency which Engdahl calls the Special Operations Executive (SOE). Piper adds a few more specifics. Louis Bloomfield, who, with Clay Shaw and James Angleton, had joined the OSS during the war, had in 1938 been recruited into Britain’s counterintelligence agency, the same SOE, reporting to another Canadian, Sir William Stephenson. British intelligence, in the person of Sir William Stephenson, appears to be the common key we are seeking.
Stephenson’s job in 1938 was to set up British intelligence activities in the United States. Stephenson, the reputed role model for the fictional James Bond, with Louis Bloomfield as his top aide, worked in Operation Underworld, the anti-Nazi activities undertaken during World War 2 by the FBI and the Office of Naval Intelligence utilizing the services of Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky. After the war, Stephenson and Bloomfield, says Piper, “were integral to gun-running operations on behalf of the Jewish terrorist underground that later emerged as the government of the new Jewish State in 1948.” (Recall that Engdahl had noted that the British purpose for establishing Israel – a small country dependent on Britain and surrounded by squabbling Arabs – was to project British control into the oil-laden Middle-East.) Stephenson in addition worked after the war with a U.S. army counterintelligence officer named General Julius Klein on the task of setting up the Mossad, the secret service of the new Jewish State, and training its officers. Stephenson, said Piper, “became a critical player in the establishment of Israel’s Mossad.” The British were even involved in the creation of the Iranian SAVAK, according to Mr. Rafizadeh. This omnipresence of British Intelligence is strongly suggestive of control by British political elites, and therefore also by the dynastic banking families listed by Carroll Quigley to whom those politicians are subservient.
We go now to the organized crime ties. The SDECE’s cooperative arrangement with the Corsican Mafia in Marseille, in which the SDECE protected the Marseille labs that were producing heroin for American consumption, was discussed at some length in our Chapter 9. Also discussed was the secret SDECE Operation X, involving the French collection of Hmong opium and its delivery to Saigon’s controlling criminal gang (the Binh Xuyen) for sale in Saigon’s opium dens, utilized as a means of financing the French Indochinese War against the Communist Pathet Lao.
The CIA ties are much more extensive, and seem invariably to involve “The Chairman of the Board” of American organized crime, Meyer Lansky, or one of his subordinates. It was Lansky with whom the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) directly dealt in Operation Underworld, described briefly by Piper and much more extensively by McCoy.
But to understand Lansky, a couple of preliminaries are mandatory. First, there was for many years not one, but two branches of “organized crime”: the “Sicilian Mafia” and the “Jewish Mafia.” The former contained mostly Italian names, such as Lucky Luciano, Frank Costello, Joe Adonis, and Sam Giancana; the latter contained Jewish names, including Meyer Lansky, Micky Cohen, and Bugsy Siegel. The two organizations were for many years in a state of “cooperative competition” which was finally resolved in favor of Lansky upon the retirement, death, or deportation of all those capable of leadership challenges from among the Sicilians. Lansky was not at all bashful about helping along such retirements, deaths, and/or deportations, as Luciano ruefully came to realize.
Second, Lansky for years remained immune from federal prosecution, the only top crime figure (except for his heir Santo Trafficante) to remain untouched. The Justice Department twice refused IRS requests to prosecute him. How come? It went beyond just the “help” that Lansky gave the ONI during the war against the Nazis. Piper tops off his list of evidences on the matter by identifying the carrot and the stick Lansky used against FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Piper relates from the biography of the Chicago Mafia chieftain Sam Giancana: “The Giancanas say that Hoover had worked out a deal with Lansky’s boyhood friend and criminal associate Frank Costello. The New York mobster would pass horse race betting tips to columnist Walter Winchell, a Hoover intimate. Winchell, in turn, would pass the information on fixed races to Hoover. Hoover would arrange his real bets through his associates, while making minimal bets on his own ticket at the horse races. According to the Giancanas, ‘Hoover won every time.”‘
The stick, as reported by 1993 author Anthony Summers in his Hoover biography Official and Confidential, was that Lansky was blackmailing Hoover with pictures of Hoover engaged in homosexual activity. Summers reports that the pictures were also held by James J. Angleton and his former OSS chief William Donovan. This, of course, would explain Hoover’s hands-off policy toward Lansky, and would also explain FBI reticence concerning any investigation of various CIA peccadilloes, up to and including the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Third and last, in Piper’s words: “It was the Meyer Lansky Organized Crime Syndicate that played a pivotal role in the establishment of Israel. Lansky, you see, was Israel’s modern-day ‘Godfather.’ Lansky was with Israel from the beginning.” To be more specific, the intellectual outlooks of Lansky and the Mossad with respect to the fortunes of the new Israeli state were identical.
CIA (and OSS) ties to the Corsican Mafia in Marseille, to Lansky in Operation Underworld, and to various parties dealing with opium cultivation and transport in Indochina and Afghanistan (including Meyer Lansky and Santo Trafficante) have been thoroughly covered in our review of Alfred McCoy’s book in Chapter 9. Piper notes that Angleton, working for the OSS in Britain and Italy during the war, had contact with the Lansky-linked Operation Underworld. By 1951, Angleton was stationed in Rome doing OSS counterintelligence work, where he was supporting “the underground Jewish network that ran down from Eastern Europe through Italy to the ports where shiploads of immigrants were loaded for Palestine.” One of his contacts was Teddy Kollek, who was later to be the mayor of Jerusalem. Kollek, says Piper, was engaged in arms smuggling to Palestine in conjunction with Meyer Lansky and Major Louis M. Bloomfield, the aforementioned deputy to Sir William Stephenson. Angleton was obviously aware, even as he worked for the American OSS, of the illegal activities of Meyer Lansky in acquiring and smuggling arms into Palestine.
The Giancana biography referred to above also claimed that Mafia figure Carlos Marcello, the New Orleans “boss” (at the sufferance of Meyer Lansky, the real boss), “was a co-conspirator with the CIA in gunrunning operations and a fervent supporter of the anti-Castro exiles. It was an arrangement … aimed at returning Cuba to its pre-Castro glory – meaning its lucrative casinos and vice rackets [which Lansky had previously run].” The biography elsewhere had Sam Giancana showing his brother an ancient Roman coin and declaring: “Look, this is one of the Roman gods. This one has two faces … two sides. That’s what we are, the Outfit and the CIA … two sides of the same coin.” Piper quotes a great deal of additional detail concerning the personnel and activities of the joint CIA / Organized Crime activities to assassinate Fidel Castro, which the CIA labeled Operation Mongoose. Included were General Edward Lansdale directing the operation, assisted by Ted Shackley and Thomas Clines, all also much involved in the CIA war and drug operation in Indochina. Included also was CIA operative E. Howard Hunt, who was later personally implicated in the JFK assassination conspiracy. Piper concludes, “So it was that the CIA and Organized Crime entered into a complex – and controversial – liaison for a mutual aim: the elimination of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. There is no question that Trafficante, [Johnny] Rosselli and Giancana did indeed help coordinate assassination plots against Castro with representatives of the CIA…. However, as one author succinctly put it: ‘Lansky was the top man in the CIA-Mafia plot against Castro.’ All of [his subordinates’] operations in league with the CIA were being conducted with Lansky’s approval and under Lansky’s watchful eye.”
Rosselli and Giancana were later murdered, effectively shutting them up, but the 1992 Giancana biography alleged that “The Outfit” and the CIA were also jointly planning JFK’s assassination, though Piper suggests that that operation was probably only one of several “false flags” set up by whoever the master assassination planners were to direct suspicion away from the true culprits. Nevertheless, the Giancana biography had Sam explaining: “The politicians and the CIA made it real simple. We’d each provide men for the hit. I’d oversee the Outfit side of things and throw in Jack Ruby and some extra backup, and the CIA would put their own guys on to take care of the rest.” Piper notes that Santo Trafficante, being Meyer Lansky’s chosen heir, remained untouched, dying of kidney failure in 1987. Anything that Trafficante contributed to the Kennedy assassination, however, Meyer Lansky surely knew about and approved.
The Giancana biography also detailed the cut that Sam Giancana said the CIA was getting from the drug traffic being managed by Santo Trafficante: “The CIA looked the other way – allowing over $100 million a year in illicit drugs to flow through Havana into the United States. It was an arrangement similar to all the rest they’d made, he said. The CIA received 10 percent of the take on the sale of narcotics, which they utilized ‘for their undercover slush fund.’ Such illegally earned moneys were stashed away by the CIA in Swiss, Italian, Bahamian, and Panamanian accounts.”
One last tie which Piper outlines between the CIA and Organized Crime involves Jack Ruby. Piper quotes sources detailing Ruby’s gunrunning activities under the guidance of the CIA both to Castro before his takeover of Cuba and to Castro’s opponents afterwards. Ruby was clearly well-known to both the CIA and the FBI before the JFK assassination. Piper relates: “[Reporter John] Henshaw also wrote that Texas Attorney General Waggoner Carr was being kept under surveillance by the FBI because he had undisclosed evidence: ‘The evidence includes a copy of the missing film taken moments before Jack Ruby shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald. The film covers Ruby’s progress through the FBI and police screens guarding the entrance of the Dallas Police headquarters. Two cameramen had been assigned by a Dallas TV station to cover the entrance, but were ordered by federal agents to knock off film footage which showed a high official of the Justice Department escorting [Ruby] through the two security screens.”‘ A suspicious person might smell the hands of CIA and/or FBI persons here as well, acting in concert with The Outfit.
We finally get to ties between the Mossad (plus its organizational appurtenances) and Meyer Lansky’s organized crime apparatus. We’ll start with the primary tie and flesh it out a little from there. That primary tie is in the person of Rabbi Tibor Rosenbaum. As we mentioned above in our discussion of Clay Shaw, Rosenbaum was the long-time Director for Finance and Supply of Israel’s Mossad. To serve Israel’s purposes, Rosenbaum created the Banque de Credit International in Geneva, Switzerland. Rosenbaum, having earlier served as international vice president of the World Jewish Congress, and as a cofounder of the World Zionist Congress, and as a director of the Jewish Agency in Geneva, attracted deposits from such agencies into his BCI. The bank, says Piper, “was very much an Israeli government Mossad operation, critical to the survival of the Jewish State.”
But the tie to Organized Crime? Piper continues: “BCI was to become Meyer Lansky’s primary overseas money laundering bank – sharing those money laundering services that the bank provided to Israel’s Mossad. In fact, during its heyday, BCI included among its board of directors two longtime Lansky associates, Edward Levinson and John Pullman…. Levinson was one of the operators of the Fremont Casino in Las Vegas, a front man for Lansky’s close friend, Joseph ‘Doe’ Stacher, and a frequent business partner of Bobby Baker, reputed ‘bagman’ for Lyndon Johnson. John Pullman … was Lansky’s key international money handler.” Recall that we encountered Pullman in our previous chapter, who was then traveling to Hong Kong for Lansky to cement deals with the Hong Kong heroin merchants.
One of the real keys to the Lansky / Israeli tie, says Piper, was money. Lansky needed a network to launder his criminal proceeds. Israel needed money to survive. It was a natural marriage of interests. The importance to Israel of those early money-raising efforts is described by reporter Jim Hougan: “During the Second World War [Rosenbaum had become] a hero of the resistance through his underground activities on behalf of the Jews. After the War he became a delegate to the World Zionist Congress in Basel, where plans were made for the creation of Israel…. This was at the height of Zionist terrorist attacks in Palestine. A superb clandestine operator, Rosenbaum is said to have been instrumental in providing weapons to the Haganah and Stern Gang. That would tend to explain why the [BCI], ‘Rosenbaum’s Baby,’ became gambling czar Meyer Lansky’s Number One conduit abroad.
“Rosenbaum was more than a friend to the Jews, however…. The newspaper Ha’aretz solemnly declared, ‘Tibor Rosenbaum is Israel.’ And the paper wasn’t far from wrong…. Rosenbaum’s bank … served as a source of secret funds for the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service, and as one of the country’s primary weapons brokers. At one point ‘as much as ninety percent of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s external budget flowed through [the BCI].’
“In economic matters he was equally important, founding the Israel Corporation with the help of Baron Edmond de Rothschild, a French aristocrat committed to the Zionist cause. The raison d’etre of the Israel Corporation was to raise money among the world’s Jews, money to be invested in a variety of public and semi-public Israeli enterprises. By finding money abroad to fund development projects in ‘the homeland,’ Rosenbaum and Rothschild freed Israeli tax moneys to be spent on the country’s critical military needs….
“The mix of Mob, Mossad, … and Rothschild moneys was an intoxicating one in which the common denominator appears to have been a love of Israel. Certainly Rosenbaum … shared that affection with Lansky and the French baron.”
Let’s flesh out the structure a little more. Says Piper: “It was in 1947 that Rudolph Sonneborn (husband of New York publisher Dorothy Schiff) set up an entity known as the Sonneborn Institute. It was this institute that provided the Jewish Haganah, and later the Irgun, in Palestine with arms and money. The Institute’s coordinator for arms smuggling to the Jewish underground was Louis Bloomfield. Working with Bloomfield were liquor baron Samuel Bronfman … and Lansky himself.” Bloomfield, you will recall, was aide to Sir William Stephenson in Operation Under-world during World War 2, was later a director and board chairman of Permindex, and was also the attorney and front man for the Bronfman bootlegging family of Canada, which built its fortune working with the Lansky Organized Crime Syndicate in the illegal liquor trade, and which now owns a controlling interest in Time Warner, the giant American media conglomerate. Sam Bronfman’s family and members of Meyer Lansky’s “Jewish Mafia” provide major financial support to the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith (ADL), whose origins go back to 1913, when it was incorporated by one Sigmund Livingston as a public relations entity whose prime purpose was to defend Jewish mobsters in New York City. It was thereafter used for that purpose by Arnold Rothstein in the 20’s and by Meyer Lansky up through the 60’s. J. Edgar Hoover, who protected Lansky from prosecution, had a foundation named in his honor which was established by the ADL. The first president of the foundation was Rabbi Paul Richman, the Washington director of the ADL.
The difference between Piper’s book and the many other books that have been written about the JFK assassination is that Piper decided to follow the leads that were associated with motivation as opposed to the mechanics of the deed, such as how many shots were fired, from where, and how they might have bounced around, etc. He asked instead such questions as Who gained by JFK’s death? and Who was capable of mounting such a masterfully orchestrated cover-up? This led him to examine the motivations of the major covert action agencies which we have discussed above. So let’s turn finally to the relationships which Piper has uncovered between John Kennedy and each of the SDECE, the CIA, the Mossad, and Organized Crime.
Taking the SDECE first, John Kennedy had announced his support for DeGaulle’s policy of granting independence to Algeria. In so doing he earned the enmity of the French Secret Army Organization (OAS), and also those elements within the SDECE supportive of the OAS. As Piper describes it, “The debate over Algerian independence had sparked a major crisis within France, and the French OAS, which fought Algerian freedom, considered John F. Kennedy an enemy second only to Charles DeGaulle.” These facts make it understandable how a “French” team might plausibly have been recruited to perform the JFK assassination, as Piper says was reported to him by a French ex-diplomat and intelligence officer.
JFK and the CIA parted company on at least three major policy issues: Algeria, the Bay of Pigs, and Vietnam. Over Algeria, we noted near the beginning of this chapter that the CIA was secretly engaged in supporting the effort by the OAS to overthrow French President Charles DeGaulle. Piper does not say whether or not Kennedy was aware of such CIA help. The CIA, however, was fully aware of Kennedy’s support of DeGaulle, producing what amounted to at least a one-sided disagreement, if not a direct confrontation.
The second issue was the Bay of Pigs. Kennedy and the CIA each blamed the other for the operation’s failure. Piper quotes from Mark Lane’s Plausible Denial: “John F. Kennedy made it clear that he planned to destroy the CIA. The New York Times reported on April 25, 1966 … that as the enormity of the Bay of Pigs disaster came home to him, [Kennedy] said to one of the highest officials of his Administration that he wanted ‘to splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.’ He clearly was not suggesting a modest legislative proposal or executive order to modify or reform the organization. The total destruction of the Agency was his apparent objective.” Piper further quotes from Plausible Denial describing the preliminary steps Kennedy actually took in trying to bring the Agency to heel.
The third issue was Vietnam. Piper again quotes Mark Lane: “[In October 1963, New York Times columnist Arthur Krock pointed out that John F. Kennedy had gone to war against the CIA…. The columnist stated that President Kennedy sent Henry Cabot Lodge, his Ambassador to Vietnam, with orders to the CIA on two separate occasions, and in both release of Lane’s written account of the trial, saying: “Mr. Lane was asking us [the jury] to do something very difficult. He was asking us to believe John Kennedy had been killed by our own government. Yet when we examined the evidence closely, we were compelled to conclude that the CIA had indeed killed President Kennedy.” Piper, of course, only holds in his book that the CIA was a major conspirator, but did not necessarily employ the man who held the gun that shot the bullet that killed the President. The trial outcome suffered a mysterious media blackout, explaining why you probably never heard about it.
Next we look at John Kennedy’s policy differences with Israel and its Mossad. There were perhaps three significant issues: Algeria, nuclear weapon development, and Palestinian resettlement. We discussed earlier how Israeli leaders felt that a new Arab state of Algeria would represent an added threat to the security of Israel, and since both Kennedy and France’s DeGaulle were supportive of Algerian independence, those two men were to be regarded as enemies of the Israeli state. The feeling toward Kennedy, however, went much deeper. The Israelis felt that Kennedy had betrayed them. JFK’s father, Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., as Ambassador to Great Britain in the late 30’s, had been supportive of Neville Chamberlain and of his policy of appeasing Hitler. Later in his life, he renounced his former views and pledged his support for the Jewish community. That community remained suspicious of him, however, and was even more so following John Kennedy’s Senate speech proclaiming his support for an independent Algeria.
Kennedy, however, recognizing in 1960 that he needed both money and votes from the Jewish community, made moves to appease the pro-Israel lobby, very successfully, it turned out. His contact with the lobby was Abraham Feinberg, president of the Israel Bond Organization, who later acknowledged, “My path to power was cooperation in terms of what they needed – campaign money.” Kennedy met with Feinberg “and a host of other wealthy Jewish Americans” in Feinberg’s New York apartment. The group agreed to support Kennedy to the tune of $500,000. Kennedy, said Feinberg, “got emotional” with gratitude. To his own intimates, however, Kennedy was outraged. He said that he was told, “We’re willing to pay your bills if you’ll let us have control of your Middle East policy,” and he vowed that if he did get to be President, he was going to do something about eliminating the influence of special interest lobbies – especially foreign pressure groups – in American election campaigns. After his election, he did introduce such campaign reform legislation, and he did proclaim an even-handed Middle Eastern policy – that the United States “will act promptly and decisively against any nation in the Middle East which attacks its neighbor,” a policy clearly directed at both the Israelis and the Arabs. Israel, says Piper, “was not happy.”
Of much greater import, however, was Kennedy’s stance on nuclear weaponry. Upon becoming President, he was informed by the Eisenhower administration that Israel was secretly developing nuclear weapons at a desert site known as Dimona. Kennedy was determined to support a non-proliferation policy, however, and set about, as one of his primary concerns, to derail the Dimona development. Therefore, says Piper, “from the very beginning of his presidency, John F. Kennedy found himself at severe odds with the government of Israel.”
Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion publicly announced that the Dimona project was for the purpose of studying “desert flora and fauna.” Charles DeGaulle, who had helped Israel design the Dimona nuclear reactor as a power plant, was not amused. Nor was John Kennedy. According to Israeli historians Raviv and Melman, writing in 1990, Kennedy met with Ben-Gurion, stated his position, and demanded periodic international inspection of the site. Ben-Gurion resisted, and there thus began what amounted to a “secret war” between Kennedy and Israel, which was not resolved until Kennedy was killed and replaced by Lyndon Johnson. Author Seymour Hersh, writing in 1991, said: “Israel’s bomb, and what to do about it, became a White House fixation, part of the secret presidential agenda that would remain hidden for the next thirty years.” Hersh, further noting that this secret war had never been noted by any of Kennedy’s biographers, evoked the following comment from Piper: “If indeed it had been, … the mystery behind the JFK assassination might have been unraveled long, long ago.”
For here, found in 1990, was the missing motivation. The relations between Ben-Gurion and Kennedy deteriorated down to the level of personal hatred. Ben-Gurion, who, according to Abraham Feinberg, hated old Joe Kennedy as an “anti-Semite,” harbored a contempt for the younger Kennedy, says Piper, that “was growing by leaps and bounds – almost pathologically.” Hersh writes that on Kennedy’s part, he was getting fed up with the fact that the Israeli “sons of bitches lie to me constantly about their nuclear capability.” Hersh then wrote, “Kennedy’s relationship with Ben-Gurion remained at an impasse over Dimona, and the correspondence between the two became increasingly sour. None of those letters has been made public.” Given the fact of Piper’s present book, those letters today would be of very great interest.
Kennedy further proposed, said Piper, that Palestinian refugees “either be permitted to return to their homes in Israel or be compensated by Israel and resettled in the Arab countries or elsewhere. Former Undersecretary of State George Ball, writing in 1992, quoted as follows from a Ben-Gurion letter commenting on the Kennedy proposal, sent to the Israeli Ambassador in Washington for him to convey to Jewish leaders in America: “Israel will regard this plan as a more serious danger to her existence than all the threats of the Arab dictators and kings, than all the Arab armies, than all of Nasser’s missiles and his Soviet MIGs…. Israel will fight against this implementation down to the last man.”
Author Seymour Hersh reported that in one of Ben-Gurion’s last communications with Kennedy he wrote: “Mr. President, my people have a right to exist … and this existence is in danger.” He then demanded that Kennedy sign a security treaty with Israel. Kennedy refused, whereupon David Ben-Gurion, on June 16, 1963, resigned from office. Piper suggests that it was at this time, just before his resignation, that Ben-Gurion gave the order to the Mossad’s assassinations chief, Yitzhak Shamir, to proceed with plans for Kennedy’s assassination.
In summary, JFK would not countenance a nuclear Israel, and Israel perceived Kennedy’s Palestinian resolution and nuclear non-proliferation policies as threats to Israel’s very existence. From Piper’s perspective, with this strong motivational information newly in hand, the rest of the known elements of the assassination conspiracy fell easily into place, with only a few final pieces of the puzzle to be inserted in the future. Let’s put several of these last pieces in right now by examining the relationship between John Kennedy and the Organized Crime empire of Meyer Lansky.
The story is simple in its outline. Back in 1927, Joe Kennedy Sr. had a shipment of his bootleg whiskey from Ireland hijacked by a Luciano-Lansky mob in southern New England, with considerable loss of life, and significant financial loss to Kennedy. Things were smoothed over, but Lansky biographers said that Kennedy held a grudge against Lansky from that time on, and, in fact, “passed the hostility on to his sons.”
When Lansky later found out that Kennedy was sympathetic to the Nazi movement, Lansky was furious, and “swore a blood revenge on the whole [Kennedy] family. ”
Papa Joe Kennedy also transgressed the territory of the “Jewish Mafia” in Detroit during Prohibition days, and a Detroit contract was taken out on him. He went to the Chicago Mafia boss Sam Giancana to beg for his life, and Sam intervened on his behalf, putting Kennedy ever after in Chicago’s debt. Years later, Joe Kennedy again went to Sam Giancana, this time to ask for his help in getting his son John elected President. Giancana, said his biographers, asked what the quid pro quo would be, and Kennedy responded, “You help me now, Sam, and I’ll see to it that Chicago – that you – can sit in the goddamned Oval Office if you want…. He’ll be your man. I swear to that. My son – the President of the United States – will owe you his father’s life. He won’t refuse you, ever. You have my word. ”
Mafia money thereafter poured into JFK’s campaign, and following some questionable vote-counting in Illinois, he was elected. The aftermath, however, was not what Giancana and his boss Lansky expected. Says Piper, “Soon after JFK assumed the presidency, an unexpected war on organized crime began, Robert Kennedy, who had cut his teeth prosecuting mobsters as a counsel for the Senate’s ‘racket’s committee’ was named attorney general, and it was apparent that he was taking his new job seriously.” Sam Giancana, says his biographers, responded: “It’s a brilliant move on Joe [Kennedy]’s part. He’ll have Bobby wipe us out to cover their own dirty tracks, and it’ll all be done in the name of the Kennedy ‘war on organized crime.’ Brilliant. Just fuckin’ brilliant.”
Seth Kantor, Jack Ruby’s biographer, summarized the fallout of the double-cross: “As Attorney General, [Robert F. Kennedy] got more indictments on members of America’s criminal industry than had any previous prosecutor, pursuing them relentlessly. Meyer Lansky, for instance, no longer was safe behind the bolted doors of that industry’s executive suite.” Bobby Kennedy had bypassed Hoover’s FBI and put together a Justice Department group called the Organized Crime Division, and “was stalking Lansky’s secret operations in the Bahamas and Las Vegas.”
If you were running Organized Crime, wouldn’t you feel a little peeved at the Kennedy family?
We can’t resist at least touching on one additional “detail” that Piper covers involving The Mob. That has to do with the death of Marilyn Monroe. The Mob, in the person of Micky Cohen, Lansky’s man in Los Angeles, arranged for Marilyn, “America’s sweetheart,” to meet President Kennedy at a Hollywood party. Kennedy, as was his wont, took the bait, and a continuing affair commenced. This “arranged liaison” had a serious ulterior purpose, however, which was for Marilyn to find out what Kennedy planned for U.S. policy toward Israel. Marilyn resisted these demands, insisting that she had neither any knowledge of or interest in politics, but pressure on her to find out nevertheless continued. She was found dead on August 5, 1962. Piper relates a great deal more about the circumstances, and suggests that, in the light of all the other matters he has discovered and integrated with respect to the JFK assassination, it seems highly plausible that Marilyn was killed because Israel / Lansky / Cohen could not risk having Marilyn ever talk about what had been demanded of her. You will find Piper’s account of these matters highly interesting.
Following JFK’s death, what happened with respect to all the issues that JFK’s enemies were concerned about?
1. The Dimona nuclear reactor went critical in early 1964. That event elicited no reaction from President Johnson, who raised no objection to Israel’s continuing nuclear weapons development.
2. Major military aid to Israel was started in LBJ’s fiscal 1965, and turned into a flood in fiscal 1966. Writing in 1984, author Stephen Green said: “America has given Israel over $17 billion in military aid since 1946, virtually all of which – over 99 percent – has been provided since 1965.”
3. Kennedy’s plan to withdraw from Vietnam was reversed by Johnson just a few days after the assassination. In the following months the American commitment was increased “from under 20,000 troops to approximately a quarter of a million.”
4. The autonomy of the CIA, including its covert action branch, was preserved.
5. The Kennedy war against Organized Crime came to an immediate and sudden halt, protecting, among others, J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI empire. The Golden Triangle heroin development continued, and drug smuggling, money laundering, and the addiction of American youth continued apace.
In short, the international intelligence agencies, acting in concert with the international organized crime rings, displayed in the JFK assassination affair their immense capabilities for controlling the course of history. The cover-up, of course, required the services of additional agencies in the service of our elites, particularly the mass media, as Piper discusses at some length.
But we take particular interest in the revelations concerning the British antecedents of Permindex, the CIA, the Mossad, and Israel itself, since they suggest even higher-level ties back to the banking families identified by Carroll Quigley and others whose books we have reviewed in our previous chapters. In our next chapter we will undertake to trace the circle of influence back to that starting point.