Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #789 RFK Assassination Reopened

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. (The flash drive includes the anti-fascist books avail­able on this site.)

Listen: MP3

Side 1  Side 2

Grant Cooper and Sirhan

The death of Robert F. Kennedy

Introduction: Robert Kennedy’s assas­si­na­tion was not the work of a “lone nut,” any more than were the killings of his brother, Mar­tin Luther King and many oth­ers. Robert Kennedy was dis­patched by the same forces that killed his brother.

We’ve pro­duced much pro­gram­ming and post­ing over the years on the assas­si­na­tions of JFKRFK and Mar­tin Luther King. All of these killings are con­nected and, together, com­prise the sys­tem­atic elim­i­na­tion of viable pro­gres­sive lead­er­ship in this country.

(The Freiko­rps in Ger­many and the Patri­otic Soci­eties in Japan paved the way for the rise of fas­cism in those coun­tries through a sim­i­lar pro­gram of orga­nized killing.)

The assas­si­na­tion of Robert F. Kennedy has been moving toward a for­mal re-opening. Due to the efforts of attor­neys William Pep­per and Lau­rie Dusek, the evi­dence of a sec­ond gun gains cred­i­bil­ity and momentum.

(For a detailed overview of the RFK assas­si­na­tion , see AFA #9. For an exam­i­na­tion of some of the main points of infor­ma­tion, see FTR #582).

In addi­tion to new sci­en­tific infor­ma­tion con­firm­ing that more than eight shots were fired (Sirhan’s gun only held eight), that the girl in the polka dot dress” was real and indi­ca­tions  that Sirhan was indeed hypno-programmed, a wit­ness has come for­ward claim­ing that there was more than one gun­man and that her pre­vi­ous tes­ti­mony was distorted.

Nina Rhodes-Hughes claims that she never endorsed the sin­gle gun­man the­ory on the record and that her tes­ti­mony to that effect was inac­cu­rate. She says she saw a sec­ond gun­man and that there were more than eight shots fired.

Notice the rel­a­tive silence sur­round­ing the re-opening of the case–an inci­dent that deter­mined the course of a very impor­tant Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign in 1968.

Stat­ing the obvi­ous, Robert F. Kennedy’s kids RFK jr. and Rory have stated that they believe that Pres­i­dent Kennedy was not assas­si­nated by a lone nut.

We’ve not seen any state­ments by Kennedy fam­ily mem­bers about the assas­si­na­tion of Robert Kennedy. The inves­ti­ga­tion of Robert Kennedy’s assas­si­na­tion yields evi­den­tiary trib­u­taries lead­ing in the direc­tion of his brother’s killing, Dr. King’s assas­si­na­tion and the shoot­ing of George Wal­lace. (Had Wal­lace run as an inde­pen­dent can­di­date he might have threat­ened Nixon’s “South­ern Strategy.”)

Program Highlights Include: 

  • Discussion of Sirhan’s first attorney Grant Cooper.
  • Cooper’s links to Mafioso Johnny Roselli.
  • The fact that Cooper was under indictment at the time he represented Sirhan and was thus vulnerable to manipulation.
  • Nina Rhodes’ omission from Sirhan’s trial as an eyewitness.
  • Scientific evidence for 13 shots in the Ambassador Hotel pantry–Sirhan’s gun only contained eight rounds.
  • Indications that five of the shots were traveling in the other direction from Sirhan’s firing trajector.
  • Information that the sequencing of shots that precludes the possibility of Sirhan being the only shooter.
  • Sirhan’s hypnotic regression, yielding indications of the flash of a second gun.
  • Sirhan’s hypnotic regression indicating that the “girl in the polka-dot dress” held a sexual hold over him and that the influence was a factor in the hypno-programming of him.
  • Author and editor George Plimpton was at Robert Kennedy’s elbow at the time of his assassination. Plimpton edited the Paris Review, which had long standing ties to the CIA.
  • The apparent suicide of RFK, Jr.’s wife, this at the time that the assassination of his father was heading back to court.
  • A review of some of the key aspects of the Robert F. Kennedy assassination, including evidentiary tributaries linking the RFK, JFK, MLK assassinations, the shooting of George Wallace and Watergate.

1. The assas­si­na­tion of Robert F. Kennedy has been moving toward a for­mal re-opening.

 “Sirhan Sirhan, Assas­sin of Robert F. Kennedy, Launches New Cam­paign for Free­dom 42 Years Later” by Jacqui God­dard; The Tele­graph [UK]; 12/03/2011.

Lawyers for Robert F Kennedy’s killer Sirhan Sirhan claim to have new evi­dence that will free him from prison, 42 years after he was jailed for assas­si­nat­ing the US senator.

They say the new mate­r­ial hands them “game, set and match” in their cam­paign to release him from the life sen­tence he was given on being con­victed for gun­ning down the sen­a­tor at a Cal­i­for­nia hotel.

They have launched a fresh appeal on behalf of Sirhan, 67, claim­ing in court for the first time that pros­e­cu­tors fab­ri­cated bal­lis­tics evi­dence against him at trial, switch­ing a bul­let that was taken from the dead senator’s neck for one that they claimed matched the defendant’s gun.

Lawyers also seek a re-examination of claims that Sirhan was framed by shad­owy agents — indi­rectly sug­gested as being the CIA — who they say “hypno-programmed” him into tak­ing part in the shoot­ing to divert atten­tion from their own fatal gunfire.

Court doc­u­ments filed in fed­eral court in Los Ange­les now pull together years of research, evi­den­tiary doc­u­ments and psy­cho­log­i­cal analy­ses of Sirhan for a case that his lawyer says proves him as a vic­tim of “an egre­gious mis­car­riage of jus­tice” and “hor­ren­dous vio­la­tions” of his legal rights.

“On the law, and on the evi­dence, it’s game set and match to us. It’s all over,” Dr William Pep­per told The Sun­day Telegraph.

“But we are deal­ing with a high pro­file polit­i­cal assas­si­na­tion that involves the gov­ern­ment and gov­ern­ment agen­cies and a cover-up for 43 years, So I’m not con­fi­dent that we are going to over­come the pol­i­tics, but I’m con­fi­dent that they have got to give us an evi­den­tiary hear­ing and put all this under oath in a court of law, which has never happened.”

Sen­a­tor Kennedy died on June 6, 1968, one day after the shoot­ing at the Ambas­sador Hotel in Los Ange­les, where he had been cel­e­brat­ing vic­tory in the Cal­i­for­nia pri­mary of the race for the Demo­c­ra­tic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion. He had just deliv­ered his vic­tory address in the ball­room and was tak­ing a short cut out of the hotel through the crowded kitchen when Sirhan stepped for­ward and opened fire.

The senator’s loss altered the course of Amer­i­can pol­i­tics and sent shock waves through a coun­try still com­ing to terms with the assas­si­na­tion four and a half years ear­lier of his brother, Pres­i­dent John F Kennedy, by polit­i­cal mal­con­tent Lee Har­vey Oswald. . .

2. Nina Rhodes-Hughes claims that she never endorsed the sin­gle gun­man the­ory on the record and that her tes­ti­mony to that effect was inac­cu­rate. She says she saw a sec­ond gun­man and that there were more than eight shots fired.

“Key Wit­ness in Assas­si­na­tion of RFK Says Sirhan Sirhan Didn’t Act Alone” by Eric Pfeif­fer; The Sideshow [CNN]; 4/30/2012.

A key wit­ness to the 1968 assas­si­na­tion of Robert F. Kennedy has retracted her offi­cial state­ments in the case and now claims that con­victed assas­sin Sirhan Sirhan did not act alone.

Nina Rhodes-Hughes, 78, tells CNN that the FBI “twisted” her orig­i­nal state­ments to author­i­ties. In recent court fil­ings led by Cal­i­for­nia Attor­ney Gen­eral Kamala Har­ris, state pros­e­cu­tors argue that even if there were a sec­ond gun­man on the scene, Sirhan is still guilty of murder.

“What has to come out is that there was another shooter to my right,” Rhodes told CNN. “The truth has got to be told. No more cover-ups.”

Rhodes’ orig­i­nal FBI state­ment says she only heard 8 gun­shots at the time and makes no men­tion of a sec­ond shooter. How­ever, Rhodes, who was just feet away from Kennedy says she never claimed to have only heard 8 shots.

“I never said eight shots. I never, never said it. There were more than eight shots,” she told CNN. “There were at least 12, maybe 14. And I know there were because I heard the rhythm in my head.”

Last Novem­ber, Sirhan’s attor­neys announced they were fil­ing a chal­lenge to the ver­dict, alleg­ing a con­spir­acy by author­i­ties in the case. They are ask­ing that Sirhan be released from prison. His attor­neys argue that Sirhan was the vic­tim of a mali­cious form of “hypo pro­gram­ming” that falsely caused him to believe he was RFK’s assassin.

“For me it’s hope­ful and sad that it’s only com­ing out now instead of before — but at least now instead of never,” Rhodes told CNN.

Rhodes was never called as a wit­ness in Sirhan’s trial but claims she gave an inter­view shortly after the shoot­ing dur­ing which she claimed to have heard at least a dozen shots.

3a. There is strong and mounting evidence for a “second gun” having been present in the Ambassador Hotel.

“Attor­neys for RFK Con­victed Killer Sirhan Push ‘Sec­ond Gun­man’ Argu­ment” by Michael Mar­tinez and Brad John­son; CNN; 3/5/2012.

If there was a sec­ond gun­man in Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s assas­si­na­tion, who was it?

Lawyers for con­victed assas­sin Sirhan Sirhan claim their client did not fire any of the gun­shots that struck the pres­i­den­tial can­di­date in 1968. And in their lat­est fed­eral court fil­ing, they also rule out another man some have con­sid­ered a sus­pect — a pri­vate secu­rity guard named Thane Eugene Cesar, who was escort­ing Kennedy at the time he was shot.

Attor­neys William Pep­per and Lau­rie Dusek insist some­one other than their client, Sirhan, fatally shot Kennedy. They now say the real killer was not Cesar, a part-time uni­formed offi­cer long sus­pected by some con­spir­acy the­o­rists of play­ing a sin­is­ter role in the senator’s murder. . . .

. . . . In their court brief filed Feb­ru­ary 22, Sirhan’s lawyers said that Cesar is “believed in some quar­ters (not here) to be the sec­ond gunman.”

“It is my per­sonal belief, at this time, that the secu­rity guard, Cesar, was not the sec­ond shooter,” William Pep­per said in e-mail to CNN.

But Pep­per added Cesar still might have been involved in an assas­si­na­tion conspiracy.

“He may well have played a role,” he said.

“I have infor­ma­tion but can­not reveal it at this time,” said Pep­per, who insisted that his infor­ma­tion requires a new trial for Sirhan or, at min­i­mum, an evi­den­tiary hear­ing. “We need an evi­den­tiary hear­ing to deal with the sec­ond shooter and his iden­tity,” he added. . . .

. . . . Pep­per and his co-counsel also allege fraud was com­mit­ted at Sirhan’s 1969 trial when pros­e­cu­tors allowed sub­sti­tute bul­lets to be admit­ted as evi­dence in place of the real bul­lets removed from Kennedy’s neck and shoot­ing sur­vivor Ira Goldstein’s hip.

“There was a fraud on the court with respect to the bal­lis­tics evi­dence, I think this is quite clear,” Pep­per told CNN. “The rem­edy is a new trial or (Sirhan’s) release.”. . . .

. . . . Sirhan’s lawyers say the [Stanis­law Pruszyn­ski] audio­tape reveals that a sec­ond gun fired at least five shots in addi­tion to the eight shots fired by their client. Pep­per and Dusek base this on an analy­sis of the record­ing by audio expert Philip Van Praag, who has con­cluded that the sounds of at least 13 shots can be counted on the tape, even though there were only eight bul­lets in Sirhan’s one and only gun, which he had no oppor­tu­nity to reload.

All of that means that a sec­ond gun had to be involved, accord­ing to Van Praag’s analysis. . . .

. . . . Pep­per and Dusek say Van Praag’s con­clu­sions are not spec­u­la­tion, but are “based on solid sci­en­tific evi­dence,” and Pep­per says Har­ris’ recent court fil­ing has now raised pub­lic recog­ni­tion of the second-gunman sce­nario that he and Dusek are advancing.

“What is of inter­est is that there now seems to be more recog­ni­tion of the fact that there was a sec­ond shooter, well posi­tioned to put three bul­lets into the sen­a­tor from close powder-burn range behind him, whilst Sirhan was always some dis­tance in front of him,” Pep­per told CNN.

The Van Praag audio analy­sis con­cludes that the Pruszyn­ski record­ing is authen­tic and that all 13 sounds are gun­shots — not a sin­gle one of them a burst­ing bal­loon or any other non-shot noise, shot ric­o­chet or echo.

It also finds that some of the shots were fired too rapidly, at inter­vals too close together for all the shots to have come from Sirhan’s inex­pen­sive hand­gun, and that the five shots which Van Praag says were fired oppo­site the direc­tion of Sirhan’s eight shots — those five being the 3rd, 5th, 8th, 10th and 12th shots in the sequence — dis­played an acousti­cal “fre­quency anom­aly” indi­cat­ing the alleged sec­ond gun’s make and model were dif­fer­ent from Sirhan’s weapon. . . .

3b. Under hypnosis, Sirhan was able to recall a considerable amount of information about “the girl in the polka-dot dress”–a figure reported by many eyewitnesses to have celebrated the assassination of Robert Kennedy and appeared to have implicated herself and others in the crime.

“Con­victed RFK Assas­sin Says Girl Manip­u­lated Him” by Linda Deutsch [AP]; yahoo.news; 4/28/2011.

Convicted assas­sin Sirhan Sirhan was manip­u­lated by a seduc­tive girl in a mind con­trol plot to shoot Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, and his bul­lets did not kill the pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, lawyers for Sirhan said in new legal papers.

The doc­u­ments filed this week in fed­eral court and obtained by The Asso­ci­ated Press detail exten­sive inter­views with Sirhan dur­ing the past three years, some done while he was under hypnosis.

The papers point to a mys­te­ri­ous girl in a polka-dot dress as the con­troller who led Sirhan to fire a gun in the pantry of the Ambas­sador Hotel. But the doc­u­ments sug­gest a sec­ond per­son shot and killed Kennedy while using Sirhan as a diversion.

For the first time, Sirhan said under hyp­no­sis that on a cue from the girl he went into “range mode” believ­ing he was at a fir­ing range and see­ing cir­cles with tar­gets in front of his eyes.

“I thought that I was at the range more than I was actu­ally shoot­ing at any per­son, let alone Bobby Kennedy,” Sirhan was quoted as say­ing dur­ing inter­views with Daniel Brown, a Har­vard Uni­ver­sity pro­fes­sor and expert in trauma mem­ory and hyp­no­sis. He inter­viewed Sirhan for 60 hours with and with­out hyp­no­sis, accord­ing to the legal brief.

Sandi Gib­bons, a spokes­woman for the Los Ange­les County dis­trict attor­ney, said pros­e­cu­tors were unaware of the legal fil­ing and could not comment.

The story of the girl has been a lin­ger­ing theme in accounts of the events just after mid­night on June 5, 1968, when Kennedy was gunned down in the hotel pantry after claim­ing vic­tory in the Cal­i­for­nia Demo­c­ra­tic pres­i­den­tial primary.

Wit­nesses talked of see­ing such a female run­ning from the hotel shout­ing, “We shot Kennedy.” But she was never iden­ti­fied, and amid the chaos of the scene, descrip­tions were conflicting.

Through the years, Sirhan has claimed no mem­ory of shoot­ing Kennedy and said in the recent inter­views that his pres­ence at the hotel was an acci­dent, not a planned destination.

Under hyp­no­sis, he remem­bered meet­ing the girl that night and becom­ing smit­ten with her. He said she led him to the pantry.

“I am try­ing to fig­ure out how to hit on her…. That’s all that I can think about,” he says in one inter­view cited in the doc­u­ments. “I was fas­ci­nated with her looks …. She never said much. It was very erotic. I was con­sumed by her. She was a seduc­tress with an unspo­ken unavailability.” . . .

. . . Sirhan main­tained in the hyp­notic inter­views that the mys­tery girl touched him or “pinched” him on the shoul­der just before he fired then spun him around to see peo­ple com­ing through the pantry door.

“Then I was on the tar­get range … a flash­back to the shoot­ing range … I didn’t know that I had a gun,” Sirhan said.

Under what Brown called the con­di­tion of hyp­notic free recall, he said Sirhan remem­bered see­ing the flash of a sec­ond gun at the time of the assas­si­na­tion. With­out hyp­no­sis, he said, Sirhan could not remem­ber that shot.

5. Among the reasons that Sirhan’s conviction was realized was the remarkable counsel he received. Grant Cooper was tied to Mobster Johnny Roselli and under indictment at the time he represented Sirhan. His conduct would have been more appropriate for a prosecutor than a defense attorney.

“RFK Assas­si­na­tion Legal Case Update” by Russ Baker; WhoWhat­Why; 4/5/2013.

. . . . Although Sirhan pled guilty at his orig­i­nal trial in 1969, Pep­per con­tends that Sirhan was betrayed by a lead mem­ber of his orig­i­nal legal team, Grant Cooper, who Pep­per notes was him­self under fed­eral indict­ment at the time for ille­gally pos­sess­ing grand jury pro­ceed­ings in another famous case, involv­ing card cheat­ing at the Bev­erly Hills Friar’s Club. Cooper, who faced pos­si­ble jail time for that, ended up being let off with a $1000 fine.

Intrigu­ingly, his client in the Friar’s affair, John Roselli, was an orga­nized crime fig­ure with CIA ties often named as a pos­si­ble con­spir­a­tor in the death of Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy.

The defense had Sirhan admit guilt and sought to por­tray him as both men­tally defi­cient and act­ing on impulse. Pep­per notes that the attorney’s per­sonal vul­ner­a­bil­ity was known to the judge and pros­e­cu­tion, and that they nev­er­the­less said noth­ing while Sirhan’s real inter­ests were not rep­re­sented, and excul­pa­tory evi­dence was sup­pressed. Although Sirhan con­fessed to shoot­ing at Robert Kennedy, he later said that he could remem­ber noth­ing at all of that tragic day. . . .

. . . If Sirhan had been rep­re­sented by capa­ble attor­neys deter­mined to learn the truth about the polit­i­cally fraught sec­ond mur­der of a Kennedy brother in five years, things might have turned out dif­fer­ently. Instead, his attor­neys per­suaded Sirhan to plead guilty in hopes of avoid­ing the death penalty; Sirhan put up no resis­tance to this strat­egy since, as he would later reveal, he had zero recall of what hap­pened on the night of the shoot­ing. He was sen­tenced to the death penalty any­way, though sev­eral years later the sen­tence was com­muted to life in prison after Cal­i­for­nia abol­ished the death penalty.

Pep­per, in his recent fil­ing, directs much of his out­rage at attor­ney Grant Cooper:

As a mat­ter of record he accepted, with­out even the most per­func­tory exam­i­na­tion or chal­lenge, all of the State’s bal­lis­tic evi­dence…. As a result, defense Coun­sel Cooper’s indict­ment [for ille­gally pos­sess­ing grand jury pro­ceed­ings in another case] went away. He was rewarded for obtain­ing the guilty plea and death penalty sentence….

Indeed, here’s what Cooper said in his clos­ing remarks:

“Now, let me state at the out­set that I want this to sink in if any­thing sinks in—we are not here to free a guilty man.We tell you as we always have, that he is guilty of hav­ing killed Sen­a­tor Kennedy….we expect that under the evi­dence in this case, whether Mr. Sirhan likes it or not, under the facts of this case, he deserves to spend the rest of his life in the pen­i­ten­tiary….Don’t we know from dozens and dozens of wit­nesses that this defen­dant pulled the trig­ger that killed Sen­a­tor Kennedy?…there is no ques­tion about that.”

…“I wouldn’t want Sirhan Sirhan to be turned loose as he is dan­ger­ous, espe­cially when the psy­chi­a­trists tell us that he is going to get worse and he is get­ting worse. There is a good Sirhan and a bad Sirhan and the bad Sirhan is nasty… we as lawyers owe the oblig­a­tion to do what we think is right to the fullest extent of our abil­ity but we also owe an oblig­a­tion to soci­ety. And, I, for one, am not going to ask you to do oth­er­wise than to bring in a ver­dict of guilty in the sec­ond degree.”

It takes a moment to real­ize that this is not the pros­e­cu­tor, but the defense lawyer. No won­der most of us take for granted that Sirhan Sirhan killed Robert Kennedy—and acted alone. . . .

6a. In a past post, we noted the profound relationship between the prestigious “progressive” literary periodical The Paris Review and the CIA. Exemplifying what is known as “the left CIA,” the agents and assets gracing the pages of the Paris Review comprise a significant element of post-World War II American literati and intelligentsia. The publication was edited by George Plimpton, perhaps best known for his book Paper Lion.A recent issue of Vanity Fair contains a short  article about George Plimpton. In this story, we find an interesting and, perhaps, very significant detail about Plimpton’s career. Plimpton was at Robert F. Kennedy’s elbow at the Ambassador Hotel the night he was killed and “disarmed the attacker”–a presumed reference to patsy Sirhan Sirhan.

Although one certainly cannot draw conclusions from this, it raises some interesting questions: Might Plimpton actually have been CIA himself? Might his presence at the Ambassador have been connected to the assassination plot? Did he have anything to say about the possibility of a conspiracy and a possible second shooter?

“Curious George” by A. M. Homes; Vanity Fair; June, 2013.

EXCERPT: . . . .He would sort of pop up around the edges of these important moments in history. For example, he was standing next to Robert Kennedy when he was assassinated in Los Angeles, and George literally helped disarm and subdue the attacker,” says Bean. . . .

6b. About the CIA, the Paris Review and George Plimpton:

“Exclusive: The Paris Review, the Cold War and the CIA” by Joel Whitney; Salon.com; 5/27/2012.

EXCERPT: . . . . The Paris Review has been hailed by Time magazine as the “biggest ‘little magazine’ in history.” At the celebration of its 200th issue this spring, current editors and board members ran down the roster of literary heavyweights it helped launch since its first issue in 1953. Philip Roth, V. S. Naipaul, T.C. Boyle, Edward P. Jones and Rick Moody published their first stories in the Review; Jack Kerouac, Jim Carroll, Jonathan Franzen and Jeffrey Eugenides all had important early stories in its pages. But as Peter Matthiessen, the magazine’s founder, has told interviewers — most recently at Penn State — the journal also began as part of his CIA cover.

[Editor George] Plimpton’s letter on Pasternak is essential, however, because for many years a small group of journalists has been trying to pry more information out of Matthiessen on the still-unknown extent of the CIA’s role with the Paris Review — and many in particular have wondered what the legendary Plimpton himself knew of the magazine’s CIA origins. . . .

. . . . In the documentary “Doc,” Plimpton admits that Matthiessen founded the Review as a CIA cover. But Plimpton says that none of the other editors knew this until the 1960s. Matthiessen confirmed that in his Penn State interview, and says it would have been illegal for him to tell them of the agency’s involvement.) “This was right after the war. It was when the CIA was starting up. It was not into assassinations and all the ugly stuff yet,” he adds in “Doc,” speaking to documentarian, Immy Humes. “There were so many guys signing up for the CIA. It was kind of the thing to do.” Matthiessen declined several requests to discuss the Paris Review and the CIA with Salon.

But whether or not Plimpton knew of his old friend’s work as a spy, the other editors’ ties to the CIA through the Congress for Cultural Freedom lasted beyond the John F. Kennedy assassination and the buildup to and U.S. entrance into the Vietnam War. . . .

7a. Stat­ing the obvi­ous, Robert F. Kennedy’s kids RFK jr. and Rory have stated that they believe that Pres­i­dent Kennedy was not assas­si­nated by a lone nut.

“RFK Chil­dren Speak about Assas­si­na­tion in Dal­las” by Jamie Sten­gle; Asso­ci­ated Press; 1/12/2013.

EXCERPT: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is con­vinced that a lone gun­man wasn’t solely respon­si­ble for the assas­si­na­tion of his uncle, Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy, and said his father believed the War­ren Com­mis­sion report was a “shoddy piece of craftsmanship.”

Kennedy and his sis­ter, Rory, spoke about their fam­ily Fri­day night while being inter­viewed in front of an audi­ence by Char­lie Rose at the Win­spear Opera House in Dal­las. The event comes as a year of obser­vances begins for the 50th anniver­sary of the president’s death.

Their uncle was killed on Nov. 22, 1963, while rid­ing in a motor­cade through Dal­las. Five years later, their father was assas­si­nated in a Los Ange­les hotel while cel­e­brat­ing his win in the Cal­i­for­nia Demo­c­ra­tic pres­i­den­tial primary.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said his father spent a year try­ing to come to grips with his brother’s death, read­ing the work of Greek philoso­phers, Catholic schol­ars, Henry David Thoreau, poets and oth­ers “try­ing to fig­ure out kind of the exis­ten­tial impli­ca­tions of why a just God would allow injus­tice to hap­pen of the mag­ni­tude he was see­ing.”

He said his father thought the War­ren Com­mis­sion, which con­cluded Lee Har­vey Oswald acted alone in killing the pres­i­dent, was a “shoddy piece of crafts­man­ship.” He said that he, too, ques­tioned the report.

“The evi­dence at this point I think is very, very con­vinc­ing that it was not a lone gun­man,” he said, but he didn’t say what he believed may have happened. . . .

7b. Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s wife was found dead of hanging, an alleged suicide. One wonders if a message was being sent. The late Ms. Kennedy reportedly had wrestled with psychological problems and substance abuse, which no doubt will keep the mainstream pundits satisfied.

Obviously, we cannot say for sure whether Ms. Kennedy took her own life or was the recipient of “assisted suicide.” We would note in this regard that plenty of people struggle with substance abuse and psychological disorders and don’t kill themselves.

Rush Limbaugh got hooked on “Hillbilly Heroin” (Oxycontin) and sought treatment for his addiction. He didn’t hang himself. (If he had, he’d have needed dock rope, plus a block and tackle. The most telling comment I’ve heard on Limbaugh came from comedian Mark Russell who compared Rush to the Hindenburg, although admitting that it was inappropriate to compare a flaming Nazi gas-bag to a magnificent airship.)

“Coroner: Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Estranged Wife Mary Died of ‘Ashyxiation Due to  Hanging'” by Dylan Stableford [The Lookout]; yahoo.com; 5/17/2012.

EXCERPT: Mary Kennedy, the estranged wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., died of “asphyxiation due to hanging,” according to the results of an autopsy performed on Thursday.

Mary Kennedy was found dead in her Bedford, N.Y., home on Wednesday. The 52-year-old designer had struggled with alcohol and drug problems.

In 1994, the former Mary Richardson married Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental lawyer and son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. The couple had four children together. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. filed for divorce in May 2010. . . .

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3 comments for “FTR #789 RFK Assassination Reopened”

  1. I have some knowledge of the Robert Kennedy assassination back in 1968. I’m very familiar with the various aspects of the President John F. Kennedy assassination and would like to hear more about his brother’s murder. There are unanswered questions about that tragic night in Los Angeles and would like to hear comments from those who have studied the case. One thing I know is that there were more bullet marks in the room where RFK was shot than could be held in Sirhan’s handgun and he had no time to reload before being subdued by well-wishers in the crowd.

    Posted by Joe Smolski | December 22, 2015, 3:27 pm
  2. @ Joe Smolski–

    AFA #9 should give you a good, running jump.

    Just search this site looking for the RFK tag and you should have a good understanding of the case.

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | December 22, 2015, 6:17 pm
  3. Sirhan Sirhan just lost his 15th parole hearing. It wasn’t surprising, but there were a few twists. For this hearing, Paul Schrade, RFK’s campaign labor chairman who was shot by Sirhan, testified that, yes, Sirhan did shoot Schrade, but he couldn’t have shot Kennedy too and should be released. It’s the kind of testimony that may be of limited use at a parole hearing (“he shot me, but didn’t shoot the other guy”), but at least Schrade got to once again raise questions about lone-assassin conclusion. Not that Schrade’s testimony helped Sirhan at his parole hearing, but for the sake of providing key witness testimony to important events in American history that future generations will use to assess the likely truth of what happened, it was quite helpful:

    The Washington Post
    Sirhan Sirhan denied parole despite a Kennedy confidant’s call for the assassin’s release

    By Peter Holley
    February 11, 2016

    After decades of investigation, Paul Schrade has no doubt about the identity of the man who shot him in the head shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968, in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel:

    It was Sirhan Sirhan, the same gunman convicted of assassinating Robert F. Kennedy.

    And yet, when Schrade came face to face with Sirhan for the first time in nearly 50 years, at a parole hearing in San Diego on Wednesday, he argued that the notorious gunman wasn’t Kennedy’s killer.

    But the panel wasn’t swayed and Sirhan was denied parole for the 15th time, according to the Associated Press, which noted:

    Commissioners concluded after more than three hours of intense testimony at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Center that Sirhan did not show adequate remorse or understand the enormity of his crime.

    Still, the AP reported, Schrade forgave his shooter during the hearing and apologized to Sirhan not doing more to win his release.

    “I should have been here long ago and that’s why I feel guilty for not being here to help you and to help me,” Schrade said.

    The AP noted that “Schrade’s voice cracked with emotion during an hour of testimony on his efforts to untangle mysteries about the events of June 5, 1968.” He said he believed Sirhan shot him, the AP noted, but that a second unidentified shooter killed Kennedy.

    The 91-year-old Schrade, a Kennedy family friend, was working as the labor chairman of the senator’s presidential campaign in 1968. He was walking behind Kennedy when the Democratic candidate was shot four times.

    In part because Kennedy was struck from behind, Schrade has long advanced the argument that Sirhan fired shots that night — but not the ones that killed Kennedy.

    The fatal bullets, Schrade argued, were fired from a different shooter’s gun.

    The AP reported Wednesday that Schrade “provided much of the drama” during Wednesday’s parole hearing.

    He angrily ignored the commissioner’s admonishment to avoid directly addressing Sirhan and chastised the prosecution for a “venomous” statement advocating that Sirhan stay in prison.

    Schrade, who long advocated the second-gunman theory, recalled how he became depressed and upset after the shooting and vividly described his extensive efforts to find answers. He stopped occasionally to apologize for being nervous and emotional.

    The commissioner asked Schrade to wrap up after about an hour, saying, “Quite frankly, you’re losing us.”

    “I think you’ve been lost for a long time,” Schrade shot back.

    At one point, the commissioner asked if anyone wanted a break.

    “No, I want to get this over,” Schrade answered from the audience. “I find it very abusive.”

    It was the first time the shooter and Schrade had faced each since he testified at Sirhan’s 1969 trial, according to the AP, and Schrade apologized for not going to any of Sirhan’s 14 previous parole hearings.

    Schrade told the Saratogian last year that even all these decades later, each anniversary of Kennedy’s death renews his stubborn resolve to seek justice.

    “The truth is in the prosecution’s own records and the autopsy,” Schrade told the New York newspaper. “It says Sirhan couldn’t have shot Robert Kennedy and didn’t. He was out of position.”

    In a statement to Shane O’Sullivan, author of “Who Killed Bobby? The Unsolved Murder of Robert F. Kennedy,” ahead of Wednesday’s parole hearing, Schrade outlined the scope of his argument.

    “The LAPD and LA DA knew two hours after the fatal shooting of Robert Kennedy that he was shot by a second gunman and they had conclusive evidence that Sirhan Bishara Sirhan could not and did not do it,” the statement said. “The official record shows that [the prosecution at Sirhan’s trial] never had one witness – and had no physical nor ballistic evidence – to prove Sirhan shot Robert Kennedy.

    “Evidence locked up for 20 years shows that the LAPD destroyed physical evidence and hid ballistic evidence exonerating Sirhan, and covered up conclusive evidence that a second gunman fatally wounded Robert Kennedy.”

    Sirhan was sentenced to death in 1969, but his sentence was commuted after the California Supreme Court temporarily outlawed capital punishment in 1972.

    Now 71, Sirhan has steadfastly maintained that he has no memory of the 1968 shooting, while various parole boards have asserted that he has not shown remorse for his crime or acknowledged the historic gravity of his actions.

    “I don’t remember pulling a gun from my body,” he told board officials in 2011. “I don’t remember aiming it at any human being. Everything was always hazy in my head. I don’t remember anything very clearly.”

    He added: “I’m not trying to evade anything.”

    On Wednesday, according to the AP, Sirhan said yet again that he didn’t remember the shooting at the Ambassador Hotel.

    Sirhan recalled events before the shooting in some detail — going to a shooting range that day, visiting the hotel in search of a party and returning after realizing he drank too many Tom Collins’ to drive. He drank coffee in a hotel pantry with a woman to whom he was attracted.

    The next thing he said he remembered was being choked and unable to breathe.

    “It’s all vague now,” he said. “I’m sure you all have it in your records, I can’t deny it or confirm it. I just wish this whole thing had never taken place.”

    Sirhan may not remember what happened that night, but Schrade says he does, in exquisite detail.

    Before the shooting began, he recalls walking six to eight feet behind Kennedy through a hotel kitchen as the senator stopped to shake hands with several busboys, according to O’Sullivan.

    As Kennedy turned to continue walking, Schrade saw more than one flash and heard “a crackling sound like electricity,” according to O’Sullivan’s book, “Who Killed Bobby?

    “I got hit with the first shot,” Schrade told the Saratogian. “I was right behind Bob. It was meant for him and got me. I thought I had been electrocuted. I was shaking violently on the floor and saw flashes.”

    Writing for the Huffington Post in 2013, Schrade described his final moments with Kennedy and noted how close he came to death:

    Bob knew I was hit first because he asked “Is everybody OK? Is Paul all right?” as he lay fatally wounded — always more concerned about others than himself.

    I was lucky. If the bullet that hit me in the forehead had been a fraction of an inch lower, I would have been killed instantly. Instead, I survived and, after several years of recovery, I was asked to take part in legal efforts to discover all the facts about the shootings — specifically serious questions about whether Sirhan Sirhan had acted alone that night. As painful as it was for me to pursue, I knew that Americans deserved to know the truth about what really happened to Robert Kennedy, whose death — like the death of President Kennedy — changed the course of American history forever.

    For those skeptical of Sirhan’s guilt, the crux of the argument rests on the number of shots fired that night.

    According to O’Sullivan, Kennedy’s autopsy revealed that the senator was hit four times and that five others at the scene were wounded. If nine shots were fired, conspiracy theorists maintain, one must have been fired by someone other than Sirhan, who was carrying an eight-shot revolver.

    Sirhan’s lawyers have also argued that their client was not in the right physical position to fire the shot that killed Kennedy, according to Reuters.

    Schrade told the Saratogian that while no live television footage captured the shooting, he believes that a second gunman could have used the chaos to conceal a weapon and fire from close range.

    The newspaper noted that skeptics’ arguments were seemingly bolstered by a 2007 analysis of an audio recording of the shooting. The analysis, the newspaper noted, “indicates a total of 13 shots fired, further strengthening the argument of those who believe a second gunman was involved, Kennedy’s true assassin.”

    “No witness saw Sirhan’s gun close to Robert Kennedy or behind him,” Schrade told the Saratogian. “He was three feet in front of Kennedy. We need to take the evidence we have in the files and try to find out who the second gunman was and if there was a connection with Sirhan. If all else fails, I’m going to have to go public and accuse the justice establishment of not bringing justice to RFK. He deserves it and the family deserves it.”

    Sirhan will be eligible for parole again in five years.

    “No witness saw Sirhan’s gun close to Robert Kennedy or behind him…He was three feet in front of Kennedy. We need to take the evidence we have in the files and try to find out who the second gunman was and if there was a connection with Sirhan. If all else fails, I’m going to have to go public and accuse the justice establishment of not bringing justice to RFK. He deserves it and the family deserves it.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 22, 2016, 3:43 pm

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