A just published book on the RFK murder re-examines the evidences and asks what the world might be like if the four 1960s assassinations never occurred.
By James DiEugenio Special to Consortium News
Authors Tim Tate and Brad Johnson begin their new book, The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy: Crime, Conspiracy and Cover-Up – A New Investigation (Thistle Publishing) with this quote from RFK the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was killed: “What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by an assassin’s bullet.”
Just two months later Kennedy would become the last in a series of four assassinations of American leaders from 1963-68: President John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. The cumulative political impact of those murders is hard to overstate. Toward the end of their bookthe authors try to estimate what that impact was.
Though it’s impossible to say for sure, they conjecture that, at the very least, the Vietnam War would have ended much sooner and would not have expanded into Laos and Cambodia. We know for certain that President Richard Nixon’s decision to expand the war caused the collapse of the government of Cambodia’s Prince Sihanouk, the eventual takeover by the Khmer Rouge and the death of two million people.
The murder of Bobby Kennedy has always seemed to get less attention in the mainstream media than the other 1960s assassinations, perhaps because it’s been considered an “open and shut case.” There were, after all, seventy witnesses to RFK’s murder. But the Los Angeles Police Department decided very early, and quite literally, that what happened in the wee hours of June 5, 1968 would not be another Dallas, as Tate and Johnson say.
It’s not widely known that Sirhan Sirhan’s attorneys did not mount a defense to the charges against him. Instead they resorted to what’s known as an alternative defense called “stipulation to the evidence.” In legal terms this means the defense accepts the testimony and exhibits presented by prosecutor as valid. Therefore, there was no argument in court over the medical, eyewitness or ballistics evidence.
What the trial was really about was Sirhan’s mental state. Since his legal team thought he was guilty, they tried to avoid capital punishment by arguing he was mentally unbalanced at the time. This failed, and Sirhan only escaped electrocution because California later outlawed the death penalty.
As Tate and Johnson show, this defense strategy doomed Sirhan. For example, when coroner Thomas Noguchi was on the stand, lead defense lawyer Grant Cooper actually tried to curtail his testimony by saying, “Is all this detail necessary? I think he can express an opinion that death was due to a gunshot wound.”
Noguchi should have been Sirhan’s star witness, and Cooper should have had him on the stand all day, the authors argue. Noguchi’s 62-page autopsy report proved that all the bullets that hit the senator entered from behind Kennedy. They also entered at extreme upward angles and at close range, i.e. from 1-3 inches.
Sirhan Not Close Enough
Every witness in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel placed Sirhan in front of Kennedy, and at a distance of 2-5 feet. The fatal headshot struck RFK behind the right ear at point blank range, with the barrel almost touching his skin. As the authors note: How could not one single witness recall such a horrifying image? Witnesses put Sirhan in front of Bobby Kennedy and therefore he could not have been close enough to fire the shot that ended Kennedy’s life.
As Tate and Johnson describe, Noguchi was struck by the deep circular powder burns in Kennedy’s hair. He did experiments with pigs’ ears, firing at them from differing close ranges. The only distance at which he could duplicate that imprint was 1.5 inches. This is considered a point blank or contact shot. If Cooper had walked Noguchi through those experiments, the prosecution would have had the steep challenge of countering that evidence. But it never happened.
We know today that the police understood the problem they had. As the authors show, using the LAPD’s own secret exhibits, the authorities had performed three different reconstructions of the shooting. Each one of these reenactments featured certain key witnesses from the Ambassador Hotel pantry. In each of them, at the direction of the witnesses, Sirhan was placed several feet in front of Kennedy. Since the two earliest reconstructions were done in 1968, before the trial, they could have been used as strong evidence for the defense.
Because Noguchi’s testimony was curtailed, his autopsy report was not entered into the trial record. But perhaps worse, because the defense stipulated to the evidence, the work of prosecution witness, DeWayne Wolfer, head of the LAPD crime lab, never underwent cross-examination. One of the most serious problems for the official case is that Sirhan’s handgun held a maximum of eight shots. Yet in addition to the four shots that struck Kennedy there were five other victims. Three bullets hit Kennedy and one passed through his jacket shoulder pad. That’s nine shots and Sirhan could only have fired eight. Here is where Wolfer borrowed a device from the John Kennedy case: a Magic Bullet.
In addition to these nine shots, there was also evidence that there were bullets in door frames, ceiling tiles, and the swinging gate into the pantry. But Sirhan’s lawyer agreed that the prosecution would not have to prove which bullet came from where.
Wolfer said that the bullet that went through Kennedy’s jacket shoulder also hit labor leader Paul Schrade in the middle of his forehead. Yet that bullet was fired from behind the senator and Schrade was walking behind Kennedy. As Schrade told the authors, when he heard that, it was the end of innocence for him on the RFK case.
Schrade said he would have had to be nine feet tall and bending over at his waist for that bullet to hit him in the head.
Wolfer had an interesting explanation for the bullet that hit bystander Elizabeth Evans. Because the police needed to account for holes in the ceiling tiles, Wolfer said that this projectile went through the tiles, and struck the ceiling behind them. It then ricocheted off that surface, making another hole on the way down, and then struck Evans. Yet, the hospital report on Evans said a bullet hit her in the front hairline traveling upward. In other words, like in a master pool game, this must have been a double bank shot.
Too Many Holes
But even Wolfer’s fertile imagination could not account for the evidence of the multitude of shots fired. This created serous problems because, as the authors describe, these extra bullet holes were witnessed by law enforcement professionals.
William Bailey was an FBI agent in Los Angeles who had been watching the California primary results on television in which Kennedy had just defeated Eugene McCarthy. After Kennedy proclaimed victory and said, “On to Chicago, and let’s win there,” Bailey fell asleep. He was awakened when a fellow agent knocked on his door and said they were assigned to the Ambassador to interview witnesses.
Bailey and his partner were there for a good part of the next two days. During that time, Bailey said he saw at least two bullet holes in the center divider of the swinging gate leading into the pantry. He also added that there appeared to be the base of two bullets in the holes. He was certain they were not nail holes.
Martin Patrusky, a waiter and crime scene witness, later said police told him there were two bullets that were taken out of the divider. In addition to this, there were two policemen who saw a bullet hole in the doorframe leading into the pantry. When the late Vincent Bugliosi, a lawyer who worked in the LA district attorney’s office at the time, called police officer Robert Rozzi to ask him about this, Rozzi said he saw what appeared to him to be a bullet about a foot and a half from the bottom of the floor embedded in the door frame. Bugliosi then called Sgt. Charles Wright who confirmed that there was a bullet hole in the frame and that it was later removed. This evidence, if true and which was kept out of the trial, appears to indicate that there were more shots in the pantry than Sirhan could have fired.
Co-author Johnson managed to locate an audio recording made by a Canadian journalist as he followed Kennedy from his victory speech in the Embassy Room to the pantry. That audiotape was in the archives of the RFK case in Sacramento. Johnson had it analyzed by Philip Van Praag, a master audio technician. After a long, detailed technical study, Van Praag concluded that there were at least 13 shots on the tape. Further, two pairs of shot sounds are too close to each other to be fired by one man.
As the authors note, the vast majority of the RFK evidence was supposed to be available for viewing after the trial of Sirhan. This did not happen. The fact it did not allowed certain officials involved to misrepresent the facts of the case to the public. Senator Kamala Harris, now the darling of the Democratic liberal establishment, then continued to deny Sirhan’s lawyers an evidentiary hearing while she was California attorney general.
RFK Jr. Visits Sirhan
Robert Kennedy Jr. has now become the first Kennedy family member to openly question the verdict in the murder of his father. A few months ago, he did what what Martin Luther King’s son, Dexter King, did in 1997 when he visited James Earl Ray in prison, leading Dexter to believe in Ray’s innocence in the murder of his father.
A few months ago, Kennedy Jr. quietly visited Sirhan in prison. After months of sifting through the evidence at the behest of Schrade, he came to the conclusion that Sirhan had not killed his father. This startling news was reported by the The Washington Post. Kennedy Jr. supports Schrade’s plea for a new investigation. Kennedy’s son is an experienced attorney who is partly responsible for getting his cousin Michael Skakel out of prison. Kennedy’s book on that case was a powerful exposé of how the justice system failed when it was improperly influenced by outside factors.
Kennedy Jr.’s pronouncement may finally give his father’s case the attention and the serious analysis it deserves. Reading Tate and Johnson’s book shows how poor of a job the mainstream media has done. As late Congressman Allard Lowenstein said:
“Robert Kennedy’s death, like the President’s was mourned as an extension of the evils of senseless violence….What is odd is not that some people thought it was all random, but that so many intelligent people refused to believe that it might be anything else. Nothing can measure more graphically how limited was the general understanding of what is possible in America.”
Fifty years later our understanding of what is possible in America may not be so limited after all.
James DiEugenio is a researcher and writer on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and other mysteries of that era. He is the author of The JFK Assassination : The Evidence Today. His most recent book is Reclaiming Parkland.
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Very nice piece! Lots of info in here that I didn’t know.
The often forgotten assassination attempt on George Wallace in 1972 was another event that could arguably fit into this chain of violence.
Wallace was a conservative southern Democrat, leading in the primaries over fellow Democrat McGovern. If he had won, he might have been a threat to Nixon in the presidential elections. And had he become president, it would also not have created the wanted image of the US abroad.
OK, Wallace wasn’t a man with opinions after my own tastes (and presumably most of Consortium News’ readers), but when Arthur Bremer shot and crippled him, it fitted well into this pattern of violent eliminations of key people challenging the powers that be.
Except that the CIA didn’t exactly like Richard Nixon. Hence the Mockingbird organ WaPo’s behavior during Watergate.
Lysias, not true! The CIA firmly backed Nixon since he became a anti-Communist Representative. The CIA thought up the plan that Nixon as VP (and Ike) in ’60 for taking out Castro in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion that President Kennedy inherited, but then refused to commit air support, as Kennedy did not want the world to believe the U.S. had anything to do with the idea. The CIA knew the plan would fail when they learned he would not give them air support, but the CIA went ahead with it anyway, just to embarrass him! Operation Mockingbird started way back in the early ’50s, thanks to Frank Wismer of the CIA. It grew like Topsy ever since. WaPo has disliked Republicans for decades, and so has the NY Times; both are Democratic mouthpieces. The CIA is the worst government agency ever created, along with the re-naming of the formerly War Department to “Defense” in the 1947 National Security Act. Don’t forget what Orwell said about the importance of words to create or repeat a mindset, and how some people are superior with government! “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” –paraphrasing George Orwell in “Animal Farm”
One thing Americans are very good at, aside from ignorance, is DENIAL.
We’ve all been heavily indoctrinated to believe we live in a democracy and that government is good and not the fascist state it has become.
Hard to tell which events started the massive decline into a pro corporate, pro WAR, Zionist led US, but I do wonder what our country would have been had JFK LIVED. All of these assassinations are state sponsored. JFK, MLK, RFK, Malcolm, stood for a hard left, social and economic justice and peace. The CIA Spooks were not having any of that. Only the most corrupt haunt the white house and CONgress now.
RFK was the last one standing for the hard left. After RFK was killed, my father said to me, tears filling his eyes, “That’s it, it’s over. They’ve killed them all! We’ll never know peace again!”
He was right. There is no justice in our system of injustice but the American people are partly to blame because they did not insist an adequate investigation into who killed their much beloved President. JFK was state sponsored assassination. Perhaps if there had been justice for his murder in 1963, we wouldn’t have so much injustice now, where war criminals are celebrated as heroes. We make them Presidents and put them into other positions of authority instead. I hope RFK will see justice done and an innocent man walk free but I don’t see it happening.
Is The Washington Post trying to get the RFK reopened?
A lot of people did not know (as it was ALL kept secret for reasons of National Security) but JFK was exchanging letters with David Ben Gurien the Israeli P.M. about the Nuclear BOMB that Israel was developing in secret at Dimona.
Israel wanted the Bomb & JFK did not want that to happen.
RFK was “almost sure ” to be elected as the next US President & to continue efforts to have Dimona inspected causing big trouble.
James Jesus Angleton & and the Kennedy Assassination http://www.ctka.net/pr700-ang.html
“a series of four assassinations of American leaders from 1963-68: President John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy.”
Not a heavy criticism of a good article, but a reminder to our culture, Medger Evers was assassinated in June 1963, the first of five political assassinations in 5 years.
Lest we forget.
So, why didn’t the CIA take out M.L. King first instead of Medger Evers in June ’63? It doesn’t make sense. King was by far the biggest danger to the establishment in advancing the black cause of forced (by law) desegregation in the South.
Firing Line April 1975 William Buckley- Al Lownstien “Who Killed Bobby Kennedy?” approx. 60 min
Al Lowenstien was assasinated in 1980
Everyone should watch this Allard Lowenstein interview.
What “Era” was that?An intermezzo, and then it was all back to business as usual!
The decade of the sixties.
It was cool until April /June of 1968.
Then Nixon, Kissinger and Mitchell put the kabosh on everything.
Actually, civil rights riots had been going on for at least 5 years , JFK 11/22/63, Malcom X 2/21/65
Jim DiEugenio – I listened to a great interview of Ralph Nader done by Chris Hedges. Nader said that unbelievably under “Tricky Dicky” a lot of good stuff got done. In fact, I think Nader said that the bulk of good stuff got done under Nixon, as Nixon was actually afraid of the crowd.
Nader said that it was around early 70’s when everything began to go downhill, and corporations started colluding to get the upper hand again. He said there was a reprieve under Carter, but then a further crushing of unions, rights, offshoring of jobs, etc. that has continued under both Democrats and Republicans.
I’m sure Nader was no fan of Nixon, but he did not speak ill of him during this two-part interview. Just one man’s opinion of things.
Did Ralph mention the two million people in the Cambodian genocide that Nixon and Kissinger caused?
How about the 21, 000 Americans and million Vietnamese who were killed from 1968-73?
Did Ralph mention the genocide in East Pakistan, (Bangladesh) that Nixon and Kissinger first deliberately ignored and then aided by secretly supplying West Pakistan with jet fighters, helping in the deaths of 150,000 civilians?
Did Ralph mention the Nixon-Kissinger overthrow of Allende, a democratically elected president and the installation of Pinochet a rightwing fascist who disappeared about 30,000 civilians?
That’s only about 3.2 million deaths. Yep Nixon/Kissinger was a real Golden Age. Glad Ralph thinks that, after all, he helped bring us Bush 2.
Jim DiEugenio – obviously Nader was talking about the fall of the working class and the rise of corporations, but I think you already knew that.
No I did not know what he was talking about. But Ralph sure wanted to leave out the above did he not?
Whether he said so or not, Ralph was referring to the Powell Memo of 1971. And the reason he was doing that is because Powell mentioned him by name in it, along with some others like Kunstler, since they were leftovers of the sixties activism. Which would be steamrollered in the 1972 McGovern defeat.
The Powell memo caused an exponential shift in the number of lobbyists and lawyers the Chamber of Commerce sent to Washington. But that had little or nothing to do with Nixon’s policies.
Everything began to go downhill on a previously non-descript Dallas street on a sunny Friday afternoon in Nov. 1963.
Before then, JFK had put a lid on the crazy war-mongers in the CIA, military and “defense” contractors who made out with $ along with LBJ, who ended up a multi-multi millionnaire. LBJ was JFKs polar opposite, aligning with the CIA, military, defense contractors, and Big Oil; getting kickbacks (bribery) for every major piece of legislation that came his way starting when he became Senate Majority Leader and continuing as VP from ’61-’63. He was the reason Civil Righs legislation was blocked until HE became president! HE wanted credit for it, not JFK. Phillip F. Nelson (among 5 other brave authors over the past 15 years) blew the lid off LBJs sick and twisted personality, with his sordid, corrupt bribery reign as Maj. Leader and then as VP, scheming to become President at any and all costs; imbued in him since he was a little boy and bragged to his friends he would someday be President. He hired a personal hitman Malcolm “Mac” Wallace, who killed 7 men who got in LBJs way of killing to the top. LBJ was the cause of the brutal Nov. 22, 1963 coup d’etat; while they conspired to get an innocent man to be the fall guy, or in Oswald’s immortal words that evening: “I’m just a patsy!” Sirhan followed in that role, while the real killer (Thane Eugene Cesar) shot RFK from only inches away, trailing him and on the right side from RFK; in perfect position to deliver the fatal head wound. Sirhan was no closer than 2 1/2 FEET in FRONT of RFK. Here is a short synopsis of him, with the suspicious fact that he got to be picked as a private security guard earlier that same evening as RFKs murder! He had a history of hating the Kennedy’s, and was a supporter of the racist George Wallace. https://obscurantist.com/oma/cesar-thane-eugene
To sum up this article and it’s suggested innuendo’s, from my personal perspective that is: Our Intel agencies are a mere extension of corporate America, originally inspired by, created by, the Rockefeller brothers. President Eisenhower foresaw, that a fork in the road was in view for humanity’s future. One direction went towards universal social democracy, beginning in the USA outwards towards South America and Europe, yes, the entire Western world. The other road, a corporatist, fascist, internationalist, power monopoly who’s collective conspiracy would eventually dissolve away any nationalism, or sovereign right(s). Well, as we can all see, sixty individuals presently own half the worlds wealth, every social democratic movement in Europe was met with the CIA/MI6 Gladio Network of assassins, ditto for South American governments and again ditto, for our very own country, the United States. This autocratic conspiracy began just prior to world war one, NOTE: there were at least a dozen or so assassinations of prominent leaders and heads of state, all in quick succession, throughout the world. This “consolidation, of sorts” continued beyond the first world war and each major war since. Thus, a murderous rampage, resulted in greater consolidation of power and wealth into fewer and fewer hands.
The Federal Reserve Board Members, Bilderberg, the Council on Foreign Relations, associated individuals; such as Maurice Strong, Pascal Lamy, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Richard Haass, Morgan Freeman, all sing the same song and read from the same page. Their heirs espouse the same supranationist diatribes..To quote our beloved Greg Palast in his book, Armed Madhouse…The World as a Company Town; I now quote the esteemed author, “Am I getting through to you Mr Beale? You get up and howl about America and democracy. There is no America, There is no democracy. There is only IBM, and ITT, and AT&T and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide and Exxon–those are the nations of the world today. We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale.The world is a college of corporations….end quote”
The only important issue remaining is, can we, the citizens of this world once again, unite? for example; the International Workers of the World or IWW to the more recent, Boycott Divestment and Sanctions organizations or BDS? To forcibly direct these fascist entities into doing our bidding by at least curtailing or hopefully, altogether preventing, the greatest danger to humanity, nuclear proliferation? The dangers are obvious, creating a one world, one currency, one all seeing big brothers eye over us-forever. This is the devils bargain, the ultimate challenge, as was painfully, scientifically, described by authors; Yablokov and the Nesterenko’s book, Chernobyl. Simply put, we cannot leave a world with twenty or more nuclear armed nations to our collective progeny nor can we accept the free wheeling anarchy of Libertarianism or unrestrained, predatory capitalism. I vote for a mix of socialist, capitalist elements, both restrained and regulated by an incorruptible system of one man one vote, Examples do exist, such as in present day Switzerland. Do I have any takers? a few hands out there? …warning, it may get, very bloody, but after the Sturm und Drang a deep peace will descend over the entire world, not witnessed since 1946….
Mr. Pslast was quoting from the movie Network
Uncle Bob, yes you are right however, the thought to ponder is this; Network hit the theaters in 1976, since that time, ask yourself an important question, has the world consolidation conspiracy fallen apart or has it gotten all the stronger? The “new” Hollywood has nothing to voice except, movies that hail, “Greed is Good” and Zero Dark Thirty (Intel propaganda brought to it’s finest hour), Red Dawn (the Russians are coming the Russian’s are coming) Russo-phobia crap and the promotion of outright fantasies, like Jedi warriors. All brainless nonsense..at least, in retrospect, Network did it’s good deed, by fulfilling an inherent obligation to create movies with “socially redeeming value” Of course today, that phrase has disappeared for the English lexicon, broadcasting any redeeming values usually gets rebuffed as racist, chauvinistic or worse. I said inherent because like radio waves, picture projection does belong in the public sphere of “ownership”. You may own a radio station but the license to broadcast, rests with the public, willing to give you a special privilege and subject to constant re-certification, something that Clear Channel Corp and the New Hollywood should keep in mind, despite our sleepy public eye (and consciousnesses)
Yes..the corporatism has increased since then..”They don’t make movies like that anymore”
elmer – good post. “The other road, a corporatist, fascist, internationalist, power monopoly who’s collective conspiracy would eventually dissolve away any nationalism, or sovereign right(s).”
This is the way it has been going: internationalist. Nations and sovereign rights are to be stamped out in favor of supranational governance by a band of unelected elite.
You can see it with the United Nations push for African migration into Europe, and, yes, it is a “push”. Of course, they do it under the guise of being humanitarian (building up the poor countries/helping migrants), but that is not their real objective. Oh, the people sitting in the UN might believe this, but the people who are running the agenda have completely different motives.
Coincidentally (or not), the fellow who had been pushing this migration agenda, Peter Sutherland, was also the person who headed up the World Trade Organization when it first began. He had also been the Attorney-General of Ireland, a member of Parliament, a good-old Goldman Sachs man, on the boards of many banks and British Petroleum, instrumental in getting Ireland to embrace austerity in order to pay back the bankers after the 2008 crisis, and on and on. I’m surprised the guy had time to get married and have children! He definitely was one of the “go to” men the elite used (of which he would have been a member) to get their agenda up and running.
This guy, who just recently passed away, just magically ended up as UN Special Representative? No, he was put there in order to push a particular agenda. European nations and sovereignty are purposely being destroyed at this moment. Unless these people are stopped soon, there will be no going back.
backwardsevolution, thanks for your supporting commentary. In the final analysis, it seems to me that the information explosion (web) and decentralized banking such as bitcoin, have lit the candle at both ends for the supranationalist clique(s). When they repress, the weed pops out in another place, and grows faster and stronger. By this I mean that, not to wander too far off the original subject, the foundation of our political and finacial troubles rests on currency manipulation that is tied directly to energy based raw commodities. New energy sources are hacking away at oil, gas and coal. Examples are many; energy conservation methods, fusion power, Thorium power in place of Uranium/Plutonium cycles for commercial reactor cores, solar energy that will transmute almost all light wavelengths into electrical power, superconductive electrical highways without long distance problems of dissipation and delivered at ambient temperatures. These are just a few of the already visible and deffinitely onboard, R&D pilot projects. They will soon converge, and in concert with one another. Alternate energy will surely kill off the petro-plutocrats and supporting military apparatus(es), once and for all. Smile brother, the meek will in deed inherit the earth!! unless of course, our other brother, Cain presses the ultimate button….
I guess we are making some progress. This is the third article on the RFK case that the Washington Post has run in about 12 days.
Jim, I’ll believe there is progress made when WaPo and the NY Times and other establishment house organs (and propagandists) start reporting on Thane Eugene Cesar, hired earlier that same evening as a private security guard to RFK and was in perfect position to fire the fatal head wound from less than 3″ behind his right ear. And not before! It wouldn’t hurt for those same propagandist house organs to also report more accurately on how LHO was set-up to be the previous patsy in President Kennedy’s brutal coup d’etat. LBJ was the ringleader in that murder, along with his allies in the CIA, military, defense contractors, Big Oil, FBI (Hoover was LBJs neighbor and best friend), plus the anti-Castro Cubans and Mafia. Not holding my breath waiting to hear that from those propagandists/mouthpieces–and neither should you!
Thank you again to this author for speaking the truth about these assassinations. And also for engaging in the rather odious job of taking on the ubiquitous government trolls who descend like flies whenever the ugly truth of our government’s sponsorship of these murders is shown the light of day. The truth matters, and it always will.
Gary – great article! Thanks for posting it. You’re gall-darned right that the truth matters.
I much respect the good intentions of those seeking the truth, but can make no judgments nor entertain hypotheses without the basic evidence in diagrams and tables. Is there a work that properly summarizes the evidence of witnesses, ballistics, etc.? I would like to see upfront:
1. Diagram of who was where, fixed places where the bullets hit and their entry paths, who was injured and where;
2. Diagrams of subjects, which way they were facing and moving, and how they moved during the incident;
3. Tables of firearms present, bullet capacity and rounds remaining, bullets recovered, and ballistics matches;
4. Tables of witnesses, where they were, how able to observe, their observations on number of shots, shooters.
Without the full diagrams and tables there are too many opportunities for error. For example: “Every witness …placed Sirhan in front of Kennedy… at a distance of 2-5 feet. The fatal headshot struck RFK behind the right ear at point blank range…” yet “not one single witness” recalls that situation. But of course someone could shoot point-blank from that distance, because the length of an arm+pistol+distance to center of body is 4-5 feet. No one recalled which way RFK and Sirhan were facing? Did they remain in one posture throughout?
This is not to dispute the article, but to note that without those compilations, the number of possibilities is too great for much reader confidence in hypotheses.
The book under discussion has those items in it.
Two to five feet includes the outstretched arm of Sirhan. And that would make it not possible for him to have delivered the shots into Kennedy’s back and behind the right ear. My article also refers to reconstructions with witnesses who place Sirhan at that distance and there are pictures in the book that show this.
But there is not just the distance problem. There are also the positioning and the angle problems. The shots came in at extreme angles, and no one saw RFK turn his body around.
Thank you; I will read further.
Sam F – the audio link (below) posted by Bob Van Noy is a good listen. This fellow, Paul Schrade, was right there with RFK when he got shot. He himself got shot in the forehead.
Schrade said that two shots were fired by Sirhan towards Kennedy. One went through Bobby’s shoulder pad, the other hit Schrade in the forehead. At this point Sirhan was tackled, pinned against something (if I remember correctly). He continued firing his gun, but in the opposite direction, hitting four other people, not fatally. So Schrade is saying that by this point, after the initial two shots towards Kennedy, Sirhan’s gun was NOT pointed in that direction again.
He also goes through the various attempts he and others have made to get the evidence back into court. He says that Sirhan’s gun held eight bullets, but that the bullet retrieved (from behind the right ear of RFK) does not match the ballistics of Sirhan’s gun. Two other bullets retrieved don’t match Sirhan’s gun either. In essence, there were too many shots fired to have come from one eight-bullet gun.
A guilty plea was entered and the evidence was not cross-examined. Since then some of the evidence has mysteriously been lost or destroyed.
Thanks, I will look into this further.
Thank you, Jim DiEugenio, for this excellent summary of what many of us have known for years. I have read some of your well-documented histories and have long-admired your scholarship, especially DESTINY BETRAYED, Second Edition. Many of us who lived through these nightmares have always known that the Warren Commission and the “official” version of RFK’S death were lies told by a media controlled by the CIA. I am happy to see some breaks in the MSM that have given credence to RFK Jr’s new book, AMERICAN VALUES, which I am reading currently. I do find it ironic, though, that even on consortium.con news, recognized for its unbiased reporting, attracts deniers of the government’s complicity in these assassinations. We must keep chipping away at the MSM until it tells the truth to the American public about the history of these murders.
Thanks so much Mr Beazley. And let us hope RFK Jr can do something about reopening this case.
As per the deniers, I do not mind that much. We have the facts on our side.
My main interest in this story is righting injustice and supporting freedom of the press. As long as the MSM continues lying about our history, there can be neither. Many people ask me why these assassinations still matter today, claiming that they were a long time ago. NO! This is a current story about how the powers-that-be who killed these men are still in charge. How can we have a democracy without a free press?
As long as the MSM is controlled by a few large corporations, I don’t hold out much hope for them to suddenly start telling the truth. If we are going to have any future, we need to break up the ownership of the MSM, break up the big banks and reinstate Glass-Steagal, and (as JFK said) break the CIA into a thousand pieces.
Trump wanted merely to stop demonization of Russia, get along with them and stop the foreign war-mongering that wastes so much money and threatens billions of lives in a nuclear war. Look what hatred and nutty responses he got in return from both the Left and Right wing loonies! The people and government agencies behind JFKs, RFKs, MLK, and other key people’s murder from the ’60s are still running the ‘shadow government’ today. That’s why it matters!
Oh, and those powers-that-be obviously threatened Trump with breaking him, his family, and his worldwide businesses into a thousand pieces, hence his backtracking on his campaign speeches!
The powers that be in the U.S. will not hesitate to eliminate anyone considered a threat to their continued. exploitation of the rest of the world. The only possible hope to destroy this obscene dominance is in numbers. There are way more of us than them and if we refuse to cooperate in our own demise we might be able to create a more just and rational world.
God will ultimately destroy those evil people who want to rule the world in their own despicable and dictator way, making Hitler, Stalin, and Mao look like choirboys.
Thanks for both of your articles here on RFK, and for your involvement in the comment section. I will be putting “Destiny Betrayed” on my reading list.
Many thanks Jim DiEugenio for your truly wonderful efforts at righting this wrong. Yes, let’s pursue a new trial for Sirhan Sirhan, there are many flaws in his original case that need to be exposed and the new evidence that can be presented will likely not only acquit Sirhan, but it will lead to the Cancer inhabiting our government.
James DiEugenio – this is a great article. Well done.
“It’s not widely known that Sirhan Sirhan’s attorneys did not mount a defense to the charges against him. Instead they resorted to what’s known as an alternative defense called “stipulation to the evidence.” In legal terms this means the defense accepts the testimony and exhibits presented by prosecutor as valid. Therefore, there was no argument in court over the medical, eyewitness or ballistics evidence.”
Absolutely unbelievable! Sometimes prosecutors will ask the court’s permission to label one of their star witnesses as a “hostile witness” because they suddenly seem to forget details or they no longer want to corrorobate what they earlier told the prosecutor. This allows the prosecutor to, in effect, cross-examine his own witness.
Well, in this case someone should have advised Sirhan to ask the judge’s permission to label his own defense counsel as “hostile”, fire him, and then get a new one. Talk about throwing your client under a bus and then rolling over him fifty times! No argument over the evidence?
“For example, when coroner Thomas Noguchi was on the stand, lead defense lawyer Grant Cooper actually tried to curtail his testimony by saying, “Is all this detail necessary?”
Is all this detail necessary? Yeah, we don’t want detail, do we? Because the people who appointed you as Sirhan’s defense counsel wouldn’t want any of those messy details coming up. Why, that might point to some other person also taking a shot.
I think all of these dupes were used and set up (Sirhan, Oswald, Ray), suckered into some scheme to save the world from communism, or whatever. I think they took some shots, but I don’t think they were the fatal shots. Serious hit men would have taken the kill shots.
I agree that Sirhan should have changed his defense team.
HIs mother asked famous pathologist Cyril Wecht to defend him.
Wecht would have been better by far! He has both legal and medical degrees, so he would have torn apart the previous “defense” team, plus the prosecutor’s attacks on Sirhan as “the lone gunman.” Wecht destroyed the JFK nonsense of “a magic bullet” (the ridiculous Warren Report) making 7 wounds in 2 men but coming out looking like it never was in a rifle!
Ray was completely exonerated by a Missouri state court. However, the feds would not accept their conclusions.
Oh, further undercutting Camelot 2.0 (and the original) and DiEugenio’s twisting of history? Bobby’s own words at the start of his 1968 campaign.
“I was involved in many of the early decisions on Vietnam, decisions which helped set us on our present path.”
Page 5 of this piece, and surely available elsewhere. https://web.archive.org/web/20141220171610/http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/06/rfk_excerpt200806#
OMG, you cannot be serious? The ARRB released thousands of pages on Vietnam. Even the NY Times had to admit JFK was planning on withdrawing at the time of his death.
Very simple: When Kennedy was killed there were no combat troops in Vietnam. There was no Rolling Thunder over Indochina. When everyone else wanted the president to commit combat troops in November of 1961, JFK refused. He committed more advisors and when he saw this was useless, he decided to withdraw them. (Against the wishes of reporters Halberstam and Sheehan.) We have the specific notes to the action meeting on this today, which we did not have before: The Sec/Def meeting in May of 1963 in Hawaii. (JIm Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable, p. 126)
Kennedy was not going to do what the French did: commit combat troops to fight a guerilla war in the jungle. He had seen firsthand what happened to France. Therefore, as a result of the May 1963 Sec Def meeting, all department supervisors in theater were notified of his withdrawal plan, and instructed to arrange their withdrawal schedules. This and Bobby’s guidance of the Taylor/McNamara trip report for NSAM 263 were the groundwork for McNamara’s announcement to the press in October that America was withdrawing, specifically starting in December of 1963. (John Newman, JFK and Vietnam,p. 407)
We now also have the declassified tapes in which, after JFK is killed, Johnson confesses his chagrin over what McNamara had done at Kennedy’s request. In March of 1964 Johnson says to McNamara that he strongly disagreed about his withdrawal statements but he sat silent because Kennedy was the president and he knew McNamara was carrying out his wishes. But he disagreed because he did not understand how America could leave when Saigon was losing. (Virtual JFK, by James Blight, p. 310)
There you have it from the horse’s mouth. See JFK did not see Vietnam as integral to our national security. LBJ did. That is why he reversed Kennedy’s policy and did what McNamara, Bundy, and Taylor all said JFK would never do: commit combat troops and start Rolling Thunder.
BTW, General Giap also knew that Kennedy was withdrawing in the fall of 1963. (https://kennedysandking.com/john-f-kennedy-articles/general-giap-knew)
With this new information, there really is not much to debate anymore. It is not 1991. There have been whole new books on this issue based on these new documents. Everyone should read them.
BTW, why do you not use your real name? What are you afraid of?
You might also add to your list Fletcher Prouty’s discussion of NSAM 263 and Kennedy’s NSAM 263 in his booK: “JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate the President”. (The preface to the book is also reprinted at: http://www.prouty.org – use the book link to access it.) And see Prouty’s interviews on YouTube, for example, the one with David Steinberg at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_Wiv5EHyhk&spfreload=10 (begin at: 36:20)
incontinent reader, due to your age and experience(s), you have a unique obligation, to keep the light shining, as one of the few remaining representatives, of our nation, as the city on the hill..! keep up the good work…I shall review the Steinberg reference..take care
Jim, you also did not mention LBJs pithy comment to his military brass: “Get me elected, and then you can have your little war.” The war was not fought over ideology, as LBJ knew, but used that as a convenient excuse to the dumbed-down public–as he did on the supposed (but phony) Gulf of Tonkin attacks in Aug. 1964, to get the war fever going. LBJ and his allies were in it for the money. Cam Rahn Bay was dredged for no reason except to make $ for LBJ and his defense/war-crazy buddies. Lady Bird had gobs of shares of Bell Helicopter stock, and other defense stocks; she knew LBJ would ramp up the war and bought them–as he could not do so because of his VP position prior to the coup d’etat he instigated. LBJ brought home the bacon (bribery) with his kickbacks that went on for decades with his sidekick Bobby Baker, secretary of the Senate as LBJs right-hand man. LBJ and his buddies got even wealthier as the War ramped up further, while the country became poorer. JFK would have avoided this entire sordid history, if only he had lived and removed LBJ from the ’64 ticket, as he confided to his secretary Evelyn Lincoln on Wed. Nov. 20, before his trip to Texas. Follow the money, as people were later told to do in the Watergate scandal!
I remember being deeply moved by Walter Conkite’s comment in his ongoing coverage of the 1968 Democratic Convention that, had things gone normally, we would have been witnessing outgoing President JFK passing the torch on to RFK as the party’s standard bearer.
As far as conspiracies go, in the real world, just about everything that happens could be considered the result of “conspiracy”. It is a hallmark of human social activity that persons who share interests generally get together to make plans for their mutual advantage.
Even Adam Smith, so beloved by today’s free-market fantasists, admitted, “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”
Years ago our company sent in an emissary to a tri-state secret in trade meeting between the area’s largest distributors. Our representative never spoke, as secretly we were prompted by our manufacturers to attend. Anyway, as a result of our overhearing of the standard level of price set by the biggest distributors our company the next day went out and cut their secret agreement price even further yet. This ultimately benefited the end user market since I am talking about we are dealing with the epicenter of the business markups, and these agreements at the top always lead to a monopolized pricing mechanism.
This happened in a day, where manufacturers wanted to be fair to everyone, at a time when business thought it had to provide a positive factor back into the community, manufacturers wanted to keep the smaller distributors. Today’s 1 Step distribution Big Box has monopolized our consumer world more than you realize. I’m talking about an old time system of warehouse to jobber mom & pop business distribution, which is gone, but the idea could use a revisit. Back then we were lifting all boats, and fighting back again monopolization.
Besides, due to the 1968 Democratic power structure, Bobby would NOT have won the nomination, had he lived. Period.
And, had he somehow overcome the power brokers, he might have done no better in the general than Humphrey.
Wait, wait … let’s get a real conspiracy.
Tricky Dick gave Anna Chenault a temporary sex-change operation, she shot Bobby, and Sirhan Sirhan was hypnotized into thinking he did it.
Even the author of that article says we do not know what would have happened, and his main source says the same.
Mayor Daley called up Bobby and told him he was in his corner, a point your source leaves out. How could McCarthy, an anti war candidate endorse Humphrey who backed the war? That is another point your source leaves out. If Humphrey fails on the first ballot, and at that time, he did not have the votes to claim victory on the first, RFK wins.
When Humphrey’s campaign began, the terrible violence of the Chicago convention tarred him badly. Which would not have happened with RFK. Another point your source leaves out. As per the general election, your source leaves out the fact that Humphrey did not come out against the war until late in the campaign. He was down by 20 points at one time. It was only when Humphrey separated from LBJ and got rid of that war mantra that he began to rally and really close the gap.
RFK was against the war from the start. He never had that handicap. When we start using Politico as a serious source, we are lost.
I remember when I was 18 in 1968, RFK had the democratic nomination sowed up. Humphrey only came later as a viable candidate after the assassination. The fact that we had the Chicago riots when he won the democratic primary is a significant point in understanding RFK’s popularity at the time.
There was no doubt that RFK would have been our next president, had he lived…
Sirhan Sirhan has gun in hand. Was in right position to fire fatal shot. Admitted the shooting. Described why he shot Bobby — over his support for Israel.
Or, some lame conspiracy?
Did you read the article? Or are you trolling?
Sirhan was never in position to fire any of the shots that hit RFK, especially the fatal shot. Not one witness ever saw him with his gun at point blank range behind Bobby’s right ear. Further, the hotel maitre’d, a fire hydrant of a man, grabbed Sirhan’s gun after the first or second shot with Sirhan in front of him and Bobby behind him. When asked how close SIrhan was to RFK, he said, the length of both my arms, since I had one on the gun and one on the senator. When asked if SIrhan could have gotten a point blank shot off, he said, “Never.”
The man who was in position to fire the fatal shot was Thane Cesar who was behind RFK. He was a security guard who was deceptive about when his first assignment for Ace Security was, and if he had a gun similar to Sirhan’s at the time of the assassination. He said he did not. But he did. Van Praag did one of his experiments with Cesar’s type of .22 handgun and the soundwave matched. Van Praag’s evidence alone proves a conspiracy, and that Sirhan did not kill RFK.
To quote anything by Sirhan at his first trial is ridiculous. Because, as I explained above, that trial was a miscarriage of justice due to the incompetence of the defense. They stipulated to the evidence, and I explained what that meant in the article. His lead lawyer, Grant Cooper, was compromised by a felony charge over his head at the time of trial. All you have to do is read the book and it explains all this. If Sirhan ever got an evidentiary hearing or new trial, he walks. Its that simple, the state has no case.
Occa’ms Razor – a wonderful device typically misused by those seeking a simple device to excuse themselves from thinking or learning anything new.
You want to talk Occam’s Razor?
Occam’s razor is not considered an irrefutable principle of logic or a scientific result; the preference for simplicity in the scientific method is based on the falsifiability criterion. For each accepted explanation of a phenomenon, there may be an extremely large, perhaps even incomprehensible, number of possible and more complex alternatives. Since one can always burden failing explanations with ad hoc hypotheses to prevent them from being falsified, simpler theories are preferable to more complex ones because they are more testable.
The actual facts:
1. The fatal shots were fired from behind RFK at point-blank range.
2. Sirhan was always in front of RFK and never closer than 1-2 ft (perhaps further)
3. More shots were fired than could be accounted for by the capacity of Sirhan’s gun.
Those three things are proven by witness testimony, physical evidence and a detailed coroner’s report.
Points 1 and 2 falsify your BS claim about Sirhan being in the “right position” to fire the fatal shot
Sirhan’s “admission” (made under duress to avoid being railroaded into the electric chair) is irrelevant and immaterial if the actual evidence demonstrates that he did not, and could not have, committed the crime. So your point about that is falsified as is your claim about Sirhan’s supposed motive.
So, Occam’s Razor actually works against you as does does the more rigorous standard of falsifiability. You are in the position of burdening a failing explanation with ad hoc hypotheses to prevent them from being falsified. Thus, the simplest explanation that fits the verifiable facts is that Sirhan did not kill RFK. QED.
But i guess you prefer lame lone-gunmen theories to the truth like most Chumpsky-ite trolls.
Thanks again Jim DiEugenio, for those interested there is a very good interview with Paul Schrade at Who.What.Why., that can add depth to this discussion.
Disregard for a moment the arguments against “conspiracy”. It’s important to note the symptoms which accompany an event which plausibly bears the features of a “State Crime Against Democracy”. Those include, but are not limited to:
1. Otherwise unelectable politicians achieve high office
2. Legislation otherwise unpopular or unlikely becomes viable
3. Subsequent events prove massively profitable for some corporate sector
4. Military actions lacking rational objectives become somehow justifiable
5. Social movements are derailed
6. Long term national objectives are abandoned
7. Fringe ideologies ascend to national prominence
8. Depth of public discussion becomes shallow and polarized
9. Massive transfer of wealth accompanies resulting social change
10. Fragmentation of social cohesion prevents political resistance to subsequent change
I note that Moldea’s article which preceded this one had to it’s credit only the results of a lie detector test. Thomas Noguchi’s autopsy report, on the other hand, is as close to irrefutable as one could possibly imagine.
Just my opinion, but I regard DiEugenio as an eminent man, and his work I am sure will one day be regarded as among the last, best hopes to reclaim the dream that was once “America”. I would invite any thinking person to examine that list above, and ask yourselves, “Did a ‘lone nut’ really accomplish all of this”? Or, was it a “State Crime Against Democracy”?
F.G. among the things you mentioned I’d like to add, that any reasonable questioning of these events such as assassinations, and surprise terrorist attacks, is un-American if you believe otherwise. I always look forward to reading your comments, but you knew that already. What we Americans need are more outside the box thinkers, as we continue as a society to always go along with their establishment lies. So, F.G. keep posting, because you oil the brain for us average Joe’s. Joe
F. G. Sanford – great list. Ralph Nader said that beginning around the early 70’s he began to notice a change. Labor started to get crushed, and corporations started getting stronger. He said it all started even before Reagan, but of course got much stronger after Reagan and has continued on until today under both parties’ leadership.
Tony (below) mentioned the fact that Walter Reuther and James Hoffa were also taken out in the 60’s. Assassinations have a way of shutting people up and stopping new people from stepping forward to promote change or fight against injustice.
yes Walter Reuter (another great American) survived two attempted assassinations &
J.Edgar Hover refused to investigate stating, “I’m not going to send in the FBI every time some nigger woman gets raped.”
He died in a plane crash where the plane had been “tampered” with. The National Transportation Safety Board discovered that the plane’s altimeter was missing parts, some incorrect parts were installed, and one of its parts had been installed upside down, leading some to speculate that Reuther may have been murdered.
As you so rightly say “Assassinations have a way of shutting people up and stopping new people from stepping forward to promote change or fight against injustice.”
All of the 60’s assassinations should be opened back up. Until this happens America is living inside of a lie. Now I see why Kamala Harris is so loved by the DNC Establishment, she is just another careerist in a long line of liars. Also, I personally believe that Thane Eugene Cesar was at least one of the deadly assassins who killed RFK, and that Sirhan was an even bigger patsy than Oswald was, or James Earl Ray.
If these four assassinations had not taken place, it is anybody’s guest to where the U.S. might be, other that where our history has brought us to. Out of the four assassinated leaders, I think the 2 black leaders were more genuine than the Kennedys. I say this, because the Kennedy’s represented the political system, whereas the 2 black leaders were guided by their people’s need for reform. I have always believed that JFK was inspirational, but the more you study JFK the bigger an enigma he becomes. This legacy of confusion is only because JFK was not able to finish out his term, or terms, in office. The saddest part is that the MSM has corrupted all of these great men of the sixties with stories unbecoming of decent moral leadership. This is even a worst crime against their legacy, since much of these dirty little secrets, are often to be found as their being over hyped or just flat out lies.
I completely forgot, but let me add a reinvestigation of the ‘911 Attacks’ is front and foremost to be reopened as well.
Of course the four assassinations referred to above were a dark turning point in American history but two more assassinations of the sixties were of equal import and are seldom mentioned as such. Two union leaders that were more responsible for the elevation of the standard of living of the working class than any others, Walter Reuther and James Hoffa were assassinated. Reuther died in a plane crash the second time his altimeter and navigation equipment were tampered with and Hoffa succumbed to a judicial lynching and a mob hit.
Tony – good points. I also wonder about JFK Jr.’s plane.
Not to mention Senator Paul Wellstone whose death gave Republicans control of the Senate prior to the 9/11 treachery.
Wellstone’s mysterious accident set off alarm bells for me right away. He was a good man, and the tipping of the senate majority over to the republicans as a result was very suspicious.
Skip Scott, the murder of Senator Paul Wellstone, really hurt. The FBI and CIA continues to pick at our nations partially healed scabs. The hate for Paul was as old as those prejudices present during the days of our country’s founding fathers…Jews and Catholics, proceed to the back of the bus-thank you, and thanks again, for your continued bowing-n-scraping, from all us WASPS in charge! Visit Jim Fetzer’s expose’ concerning the Wellstone assassination @ https://archive.org/details/fetzer3 you can jump at the twelfth minute of this lecture for a partial summary however, Mr Fetzer has many other closely related documentaries you can peruse on youtube