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AFA 9: The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy

Part 1 44:40 | Part 2 44:51 | Part 3 44:48 | Part 4 43:51 | Part 5 43:14 | Part 6 24:27
(Record­ed June 5, 1985)

Intro­duc­tion: The killing of Sen­a­tor Robert F. Kennedy is often per­ceived as the one major Amer­i­can polit­i­cal assas­si­na­tion that was indis­putably the work of a “lone-nut.” Although the crime super­fi­cial­ly appeared to be the work of Sirhan Sirhan act­ing alone, there is con­clu­sive evi­dence that such was not the case.

The pro­gram presents foren­sic evi­dence that points con­clu­sive­ly to more than one gun­man being involved. Coro­ner Thomas Noguchi’s autop­sy revealed that the fatal shot was fired from less than three inch­es from the back of Sen­a­tor Kennedy’s head. Sirhan was stand­ing sev­er­al feet in front of Kennedy. Noguchi stat­ed that just before he was to tes­ti­fy in court, a mem­ber of the D.A.‘s office tried to get him to change his tes­ti­mo­ny.

In addi­tion to firm indi­ca­tions that more than 8 shots were fired (Sirhan’s gun only held 8 shots), the pro­gram presents evi­dence that Los Ange­les Police per­son­nel destroyed evi­dence that Sirhan did not act alone. The pro­gram high­lights the role of for­mer Los Ange­les May­or Sam Yorty and for­mer Los Ange­les Police Chief Thomas Red­din in lay­ing a mis­lead­ing trail of “evi­dence” point­ing to Sirhan as the lone-nut assas­sin. Con­trary to the offi­cial sto­ry, numer­ous eye­wit­ness­es believed that peo­ple oth­er than Sirhan were involved.

Much of the pro­gram focus­es on the Rev­erend Jer­ry Owen, a right-wing min­is­ter believed by many to have been one of Sirhan’s han­dlers. Con­nect­ed to a polit­i­cal milieu that was inves­ti­gat­ed by New Orleans D.A. Jim Gar­ri­son in con­nec­tion with Pres­i­dent Kennedy’s assas­si­na­tion, Owen gave con­flict­ing accounts of how he came to give Sirhan a ride on the evening of the assas­si­na­tion. In a sub­se­quent court case, tes­ti­mo­ny was giv­en by asso­ciates of Owen that placed him in the com­pa­ny of Sirhan well before he claims to have met the accused assas­sin. Owen pos­sessed a large amount of cash in large bills at the time.

Oth­er pro­gram high­lights include: Evi­dence that Sirhan had been placed under mind con­trol; dis­cus­sion of Dr. William J. Bryan (Sirhan’s prob­a­ble mind-con­trol pro­gram­mer); the role of the Amer­i­can Unit­ed orga­ni­za­tion of Antho­ny Hilder and John Stein­bach­er in spread­ing dis­in­for­ma­tion about the assas­si­na­tion; the pres­ence of Ed But­ler at a press con­fer­ence staged by Hilder and Stein­bach­er the day after the killing (But­ler had arranged for media appear­ances for Lee Har­vey Oswald in New Orleans, at which Oswald pro­claimed his sup­posed Marx­ist sym­pa­thies); links between Hilder and Stein­bach­er and peo­ple inves­ti­gat­ed by Jim Gar­ri­son in New Orleans; Hilder’s curi­ous behav­ior in Decem­ber of 1967, indi­cat­ing pos­si­ble fore­knowl­edge of the assas­si­na­tion of Dr. Mar­tin Luther King; Jer­ry Owen’s con­nec­tions to Gail Aiken, the sis­ter of Arthur Bre­mer (the accused shoot­er of Alaba­ma Gov. George Wal­lace); the fas­cist and nation­al secu­ri­ty con­nec­tions of Thane Eugene Cae­sar, the secu­ri­ty guard believed by many to have been the actu­al assas­sin; con­nec­tions between the Sirhan fam­i­ly and polit­i­cal sup­port­ers of Richard Nixon; the intel­li­gence back­grounds of Man­ny Pena and Enrique Her­nan­dez, the L.A.P.D. offi­cers who super­vised the “inves­ti­ga­tion” into Kennedy’s slay­ing.


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