See also ARCHIVES: January 1998 and August 18, 1997.
[By 1994, the union old guard’s own Trustee Frogue got into hot water when some of his high school students complained that he was denying the Holocaust and making offensive racial remarks in the classroom, but that storm seemed to pass. Then, three years later, Frogue invited 4 far-out conspiracy nuts to a “Warren Commission” seminar that he organized at Saddleback College. The event required board approval. The morning of the board meeting (such meetings are held in the evening) I read the board agenda, and I thought I recognized the name of one of Frogue’s 4 guests: Michael Collins Piper. I looked him up and found that he was the chief reporter for Spotlight, a notorious anti-Semitic tabloid, owned by Liberty Lobby. I immediately called the Anti-Defamation League and alerted them. That night, an ADL official addressed the board and explained Piper’s relationship with the anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby and the wacky theories (about JFK) of the other guests slated for Frogue’s seminar. None of this stopped the Board Majority from approving the seminar, the 4 wacky guests included. The next day—thanks to some well-placed telephone calls—the excrement really hit the fan. Headlines all over the country (and beyond) shouted: college invites conspiracy nuts and anti-Semites to seminar!
[Employee X was a classified staff member who has since retired. I gave her a tape recorder and asked her to ask Piper some questions. (He had already “made” me. I wasn’t going to get anything out of him.)
[Eventually, JDL head Irv Rubin met a bad end. He and Earl Krugel were arrested for conspiring to plant bombs at a mosque in Los Angeles. While awaiting trial, Rubin committed suicide, slitting his throat. (Some insist he was murdered.) Krugel eventually got 20 years in federal prison. Very recently, he started his sentence but was killed by a white supremacist with a cinder block to the head.]
[From the ‘Vine, 6/21/98]
June 15, 1998 BOARD MEETING: Oh, what a night!
I. 6:00; we are waiting in the hallway for the doors to open and the meeting to start
Amid considerable hallway noise, Maryanne Wardlaw of the Irvine World News was interviewing Michael Collins Piper as he awaited the start of the district board meeting. Stealth employee X approached with a tape recorder and preserved the following for posterity:
PIPER: May I see that [one of Roy Bauer’s handouts], please?...I would like to look at it...[Finishing his thought:] --In any case, I thought it would be nice if I would be able to come to the college and say something....
WARDLAW: Why now?
PIPER: Why now? Because it was the first time that was convenient for me to do it, and I just got so tired of hearing all this nonsense, so I thought it would be something that I should do...No particular reason for this date...These things have continued...I thought, ‘Well, I should go out there.’ You know, I get tired of hearing, you know, ...
WARDLAW: Do you live in the area?
PIPER: No, I live in Washington, D.C.
WARDLAW: Did you come out here for this?
PIPER: Yes, I did, yeah.
EMPLOYEE X: Who paid your way?
PIPER: Who paid my way? Uh, it was paid for by my employer.
WARDLAW: Who do you work for?
PIPER: Liberty Lobby.
EMPLOYEE X: What’s Liberty Lobby?
PIPER: Uh, it’s, uh, it was established in 1955. We call it a “populist” institution.
EMPLOYEE X: What’s it about?
PIPER: What’s it about? It publishes a weekly newspaper called the Spotlight. We say it’s for America first, for the Constitution. Obviously—may I ask who you are?
EMPLOYEE X: My name’s (X). I’m an employee of the college.
PIPER: Oh, and what part of the college are you employed by?
EMPLOYEE X: I’m a (...).
PIPER: And, uh, are you here—In what capacity are you in here with the tape recorder—Dare I ask?
EMPLOYEE X: (I’m here because) I’m interested.
EMPLOYEE X: I’m a citizen. I pay taxes, and I’m interested.
EMPLOYEE X: My day ends at 4:30 at the college and I have a right like everybody else—
PIPER: OK, I’m just curious. I mean, that’s, yeah...I’m surprised you don’t know the details then; you’re not...
EMPLOYEE X: I know everything.
PIPER: You know everything.
EMPLOYEE X: Everything...I’ve been here listening to all this from the start—from when Mr. Frogue started this.
PIPER: Wait a minute. Mr. Frogue didn’t start this. That’s where the problem comes in...My opinion is that I wrote a book. I accepted an invitation to speak at this college. I never heard of Saddleback College in my life, and frankly at this point I wish I never had. But the bottom line of it is I was invited to speak here and I accepted this invitation, and the next thing I know all of a sudden it’s in the newspapers. And did I call these newspapers up? I didn’t call those newspapers up. Who called those newspapers up? Your friend Roy Bauer. Did he call the newspapers?
EMPLOYEE X: I would imagine a lot of people...I don’t know why you’re directing—why Roy Bauer...?
PIPER: There was this—just all of a sudden there was this great commotion on campus. Students came running out of their classrooms saying, ‘We must stop Mike Piper from speaking!’—Is that it?
EMPLOYEE X: I think there were a lot of students. I think there were classified staff, and I believe there were faculty and...administrators that felt that way [namely, that Piper’s participation in the forum was a problem].
PIPER: Do you think there were people like Chancellor Lombardi who thought there was a problem with it?
EMPLOYEE X: I never spoke to Chancellor Lombardi. If he didn’t [think there was a problem], I’m sure he should have.
PIPER: I read that he said that he was concerned about—that it was a matter of free speech.
EMPLOYEE X: You have to speak to Lombardi.
PIPER: That’s what I read in the paper. Now, are you saying that I can’t trust the papers?
EMPLOYEE X: I never said that. You’re putting words in my mouth. I didn’t put words in your mouth.
PIPER: I know, I asked you...
EMPLOYEE X: You know what? She’s [i.e., Maryanne’s] the one that’s interviewing you. I’m gonna let (mixed voices)...I heard you talking and I wanted to—
PIPER: You’re standing here with a tape recorder. Could I take your picture?
EMPLOYEE X: No.
PIPER: Well, then, you can’t tape.
EMPLOYEE X: Fine. (X abruptly shuts off the recorder.)
IV. Public comments (at the start of the meeting)
At about 9:30, public comments commenced. The first speaker was an honor student named Julie Abel, who had recently received some sort of commendation that was signed by members of the board, including the four members of the “board majority.” I was unable to tape the first few seconds of her address:
...members of this board whose behavior has been an appalling embarrassment to the entire student body at both district campuses. One member, Mr. Steven Frogue, is a high school history teacher who tries to indoctrinate his students against ethnic and religious minorities and who tries to associate my college with the forces of bigotry. Three other members—Mr. Williams, Ms. Lorch, and Ms. Fortune—stand behind this lunatic. Together, they’re willing to swallow any nonsense, [commit] any (infamy?), necessary to preserve this precarious, peculiar, petulant majority—including ambushing a young woman in a restaurant. [This is a reference to Mr. Frogue’s inviting a former student, who swore that teacher Frogue denied the Holocaust in class, to a restaurant. When she arrived, she discovered that Frogue was accompanied by a group from the local Moral Majority.]
…So what do you expect me to do with this thing? Do you expect me to place it on my wall with these signatures (staring?) down at me shouting, “the Holocaust never happened!” and whispering “but we didn’t really say that”? To Williams, Lorch, and Fortune [I ask]: please send me a new certificate without your signatures....
To Mr. Frogue [...] of the conspiracies, denials and lies: to him, I have nothing to say.
Hi. I’m Roy Bauer and I just wanted to alert you to two handouts that I distributed tonight. One of them simply discusses the question of who Mr. Michael Collins Piper is—I understand that he is visiting with us tonight—and I’ve done some research and I’ve provided this handout. I hope that you’ll take some time to look at it and see what sort of character he is.
I wanted to alert you to, in particular—what I did is I had about 4 or 5 random Spotlights—he [Piper] works for [the] Spotlight newspaper, which is the newspaper for Liberty Lobby—and simply scanned some articles and advertisements, editorials. And as you can see, this is an embarrassment.
I hope you do look very carefully at it. You have ads here for [reads:] “the Caucasian race”; “collectors/historians: Ku Klux Klan memorabilia”; “The Truth about the bombs in Oklahoma.”
Also we have an article here by Mr. Michael Collins Piper, which apparently suggests that the Oklahoma City bombing, too, can be attributed to the Israeli Mossad!
So this is the kind of man that Mr. Frogue has wanted to invite to this district. I’m ashamed that I’m a part of a district in which something like this can occur.
Also, I wanted to...point out that I have a letter that was sent to me by this so-called “scholar,” which I’d like to read:
“Dear Roy: I just happened to be going through my files and I found this seventeen year old letter to the editor of the George Washington University student newspaper...Note that I came to the defense of a ‘liberal’ professor who was under fire from ‘right wing’ students who wanted to censor her views.”
Mr. Piper goes on to say:
“Isn’t it ironic that fifteen years later a filthy, anti-free speech mother-fucker like you came on the scene and caused such a big commotion in an effort to silence my views?”
I know a lot of scholars, and they almost never say “motherfucker.” [Laughter.]
“Looks like I’m the good guy, Roy, and you’re the fucking piece of shit that you are. And by the way”—
This is my favorite part of the letter:
“Some of my Black Nationalist supporters in Southern California are watching your activities closely. They believe in Freedom of Speech, motherfucker, but you don’t.”
[Looking directly at Frogue:] This is the “scholar” that Mr. Frogue sought to invite to his idotic JFK Forum.
Thank you very much.
My name is Irv Rubin. I represent the Jewish Defense League [JDL], and I just wanted to take a moment of your time to shed the spotlight (on) another supporter of Mr. Frogue who recently left, about an hour ago, a fellow by the name of Joe Fields.
How many people in the room know who Joe Fields is? He’s a self-admitted Hitler-lover. He’s also a convicted sexual morals offender—tries to pick up young girls and put them in his dirty little movies.
And (yet) we have nothing but silence from Mr. Frogue.
Mr. Frogue, your silence speaks a great deal. Maybe you ought to look yourself in the mirror and wonder who you’ve associated with.
My name is Phil Tryon. I’m a retired civil engineer and I want to thank the board again for allowing me to say a few words about free speech versus thought control, since there has been so much hatred spewed out against Mr. Frogue by the criminal ADL [...] for inviting Mr. Piper—the author of Final Judgment, a book on the Kennedy assassination—to take part in a seminar on this tragic event.
I suggest to the board that Mr. Piper...be given some extra time to present the facts as brought out in his book. Then I suggest that some extra time be given to a representative of the ADL to refute these facts. [...] This way it will be out in the open and the people can decide for themselves what is true and what is false.
This is the American way. It is the communist way for us to sit back in fear and wait for the thought police and the anti-American ADL to tell us what we can or cannot read or hear.
I say to you trustees tonight that you who oppose [Piper/Frogue]...are tantamount to being intellectual hypocrites.
BARRY KRUGEL (JDL):
...This is ridiculous—allowing 12 people in and having us wait hours on end to get to speak!
[Mr. Krugel’s address almost immediately deteriorated into a rant.]
[After Mr. Krugel completed his remarks, Trustee Fortune questioned Mr. Rubin about his visit to a Saddleback class. Then, at long last, Michael Collins Piper came up to speak:]
MICHAEL COLLINS PIPER:
I feel like I’m in a really bad John Waters movie here, uh...
KRUGEL: “Your makeup job is pretty bad.”
PIPER: You need some sun, my boy, and get some speech lessons. At any rate, I did write a nasty letter to a—what’s-his-name back here—Roy Bauer—because I was very frustrated. And I do use nasty language in private letters, but I wouldn’t have read that letter out loud to a group of people here like that, so I think that goes to show the kind of caliber this man is.
I’m not the one who started this controversy on this campus, and, in my opinion, neither is Steve Frogue. It was Roy Bauer—this gentleman sitting back there—In collaboration with the Anti-Defamation League. [Someone--Rubin?--laughs.]
When I was invited to speak out here, I just thought I was gonna come out here and I was gonna come before an audience and say a few words about my book along with other people who had other theories on the Kennedy assassination. And what was the result? A major brouhaha that was published in newspapers all over the country. I didn’t contact those newspapers. I didn’t generate that publicity. I didn’t even find out about the conference [being cancelled] until I got a call from the Los Angeles Times, which belies the myth, promulgated by Roy Bauer, that Steve Frogue and I were somehow in collusion.
I noticed that Mrs. Milchiker isn’t here tonight. I don’t know why. Maybe there’s a personal reason. Maybe it’s because she didn’t wanna give me any credibility by appearing here—I don’t know.
But I listened to what she’s had to say about me in—in—in one of your meetings. I saw this on videotape. I heard her talking about a website in Germany that has something to do with the Holocaust, equating things with me that I know absolutely nothing about.
That’s why I came out here. I didn’t come out here to cause a problem. I came out here to show the members of this board and anyone who wanted to listen to me that I am a human being. I’m offended by some of the things that have been said about me. I feel like I’ve been made into a political football by, uh, by people, uh, Mrs. Milchiker for example—Roy Bauer.
—I understand that there’s a lot of conflict out here at this board that I know nothing about. (I have?) nothing to do with them and yet somehow, uh, it’s...my presence in this whole thing—[it] has been made into a major issue.
You know, I could go on, but let me just say this. I think, uh, this gentleman back here [Phil Tryon] expressed it very, very well. If my book is so crazy, why doesn’t the Anti-Defamation League debate me in public about it? Why doesn’t Roy Bauer debate me in public about it?
RUBIN: “Who would give you any credibility? Who would give a nutcase like you any credibility?
PIPER: Ah, I’m gonna ask, could I ask for 10 more seconds—in light of the fact that I’ve been interrupted here several times since I began to speak—so I can conclude?
I’ve been hearing so much about anti-Semitism and the Holocaust and all this kinda stuff...
RUBIN: “You’re an expert on it.”
WILLIAMS: “Please, Mr. Rubin.”
[Piper is discomfited. He pauses.]
PIPER: I, I didn’t interrupt when this unpleasant creature was speaking—who is allied with Marcia Milchiker and Roy Bauer—and I would, I would ask that I be allowed to speak without interruption.
UNIDENTIFIED JDL WOMAN: But you’re a nutcase. Nobody should ever...
PIPER: Uh, where’s the police? I’d like I--I--I would like the police brought in here, sir [speaking to policeman]. Sir, I’m being harassed while I’m trying to speak. I didn’t shout out when I was listening to that...(mixed voices are heard)
HARRY PARMER [chief cop]: Ladies and gentlemen, please!
PIPER: I think, I think if this could be broadcast to the general public on cable, they would see the caliber of the people who are allied with Marcia Milchiker and the Anti-Defamation League...
(An indecipherable voice interrupts)...
WILLIAMS: “Please be quiet.”
RUBIN: “We’re not allied with the ADL.”
PIPER: You’re not allied with the ADL. Well, you’re allied—OK. You know, I’ll tell you something. I’m really glad I came out here. I’m glad because it makes me good, it makes me feel good to see—cuz I know, I know that there’s a lot of people in this room, and I know there’s a lot of people in that room down the hall, who do value free speech, who don’t, who don’t, uh, who don’t make personal attacks on people, who don’t try to cause trouble, and, I know who does, and a few of those people are in this room tonight, and, uh--
RUBIN: “Not you, of course.”
[Again, Piper pauses, as though discombobulated.]
PIPER: I’ll tell you what. I’ll conclude by saying: if ever there was an argument in favor of anti-Semitism, it’s this spokesman—self-appointed spokesman—for the Jewish community right here. You’re a most unpleasant man.
RUBIN: “You’re a creep—and you’re a Hitler-lover...
PARMER: “Please, that’s enough.”
[Next, an elementary school teacher speaks on the topic of free speech; then we hear from Mr. Jim Scott, who, during a meeting several months earlier, shouted, “Keep up the good work, Dr. Frogue! There never was a Holocaust!”]
Good evening and thank you board members for allowing us to speak like this. This issue has always been free speech, period...
Unfortunately, this thing over here [motions to Rubin], and that thing [motions to Krugel, who says simply, “Screw you”], have tried to distort this whole meeting and turn it into a big long Holocaust shoot-out.
WILLIAMS: “Would the audience please be quiet?”
KRUGEL: “Well, I’m a person [unlike that?] fat pig over there.”
WILLIAMS to Krugel: “Would you please leave? You’re not welcome in here anymore. [To Parmer:] “Would you please remove him?”
SCOTT: Anyway, this whole matter, it’s very important that we get this issue of free speech out where it’s supposed to be in front of everybody....
ANTONIO AGUILAR (STUDENT):
[Mr. Aguilar out-JDLed the JDL. After only a minute, he began to scream at Mr. Frogue with remarkable violence.]
But, all in all, the crowd behaved very well, I think, given the umitigated hatred so many in the audience had for others in the room!]
Some time later, Matt Coker of the OC Weekly updated the Weekly's readers on Mr. Michael Collins Piper's activities, at least according to a respected anti-racist organization:
[Back in mid-98] Responding to local critics who had called Piper anti-Semitic and a Holocaust denier, he told the Weekly and others that he had nothing against Jews but that he had not paid enough attention to the most horrific event of the 20th century to actually deny that it occurred. But according to the SPLC [the Southern Poverty Law Center], Piper was speaking at a meeting of the CCC's National Capitol Region in Arlington, Virginia, earlier this month when he got "progressively angrier" as he talked about "the Jews he says control Hollywood." He ended his address, the story claims, by saying, "how sick he is of hearing about the Holocaust, and how he just doesn't care how many Jews died."
Here's the url:
I seem unable to access the OC Weekly's original story of that special night in June. It was a doozy, the story. And the night. --CW