Will We Ever Know the Truth?

Stability, continuity, orderly transfer of power -- these are what civics teachers and poli-sci profs cite as the virtues of American politics, a curious two-party affair nearly devoid of ideology and dominated by business interests. In school, they teach us that other democracies suffer by having ideological parties -- and not just two of them. Those nations are often racked by painful political upheavals, peopled by angry, polarized masses of citizens, The US, they say, avoids such trouble thanks to regularly scheduled elections contested by two groups who share the same basic agenda and disagree only on the mechanics of achieving it.

The tumultuous years 1963-75 proved this Pollyanna-ish depiction of stability to be a lie. During those years, America witnessed three major political assassinations, an attempted assassination and the unscheduled, disorderly departure of a president and vice president under threat of impeachment. These events altered the expected outcomes of presidential elections, rapidly shifted power from one elite to another and severely damaged the focus, morale and momentum of black America's quest for equality.

The year 1968 was one in which the "orderly" transfer of power was directed by military, criminal and police violence. For millions of American, it is the year they cannot forget and do not want to remember. The euphoria and optimism of its first five months changed quickly to bitter despair as the dark side of American politics came into full view. For many, 1968 permanently killed their idealism, their capacity for joy and their willingness to participate in their country's political life.

It was also a year of unsolved mysteries and unanswered questions. Who really

killed Martin Luther King, Jr.? Why did the liberal "peace candidate" of 1964,

Lyndon Baines Johnson, turn into a warmonger? How did Eugene McCarthy, the

poetic and peculiar Minnesota senator, manage to end the reign of LBJ? Without

ever entering a primary, who was that other Minnesotan, Hubert Humphrey, able

to keep an anti-war option off the November ballot? How did a worthless has-

been nicknamed "Tricky" become president? What really happened in France and

Czechoslovakia? How could a year start so hopefully yet end so badly?

What was generally not considered a mystery in 1968 was the assassination of

Bobby Kennedy on June 5 at LA Ambassador Hotel. After all, about 20 people

actually saw the "lone-nut assassin" Sirhan Sirhan shoot at RFK. Millions read

Palestinian Sirhan's assertion that he had killed to avenge Kennedy's support

of Israel. As Ralph Blumenfeld said in the New York Post, "Never had a case

seemed more closed."

Over the last 20 years, a few people questioned this assessment. They wanted

to see the police investigative files on the RFK assassination. They noted

that the Warren Commission, for all its many shortcomings, wasted no time in

releasing almost all its files to the public. but for almost two decades, the

LAPD refused to reveal what it had learned about what was generally called the

most spectacular crime in LA's history. Finally, after years of political and

legal skirmishing, the LAPD gave its RFK files to the California State

Archives. Last April, the archives opened them to the general public.

Going public with the LAPD files did not lay to rest doubts about the

official conclusion that Sirhan acted alone. Many items in the files tend to

corroborate earlier private investigations that indicated something terribly

wrong with the manner in which the local law enforcement and criminal justice

systems had reached their conclusions. In fact, the newly opened investigative

police files, together with the results of earlier private investigations,

give ample reason to believe that Sirhan Sirhan did not act alone and did not

fire the shot that killed Bobby Kennedy on the night of his triumph in the

California Democratic primary.

Bobby Mania

Going into the California Primary, Robert Kennedy seemed to be losing

momentum in his quest for the nomination while his major opponent, Sen. Eugene

McCarthy, claimed he was on a roll. The results of the May 28 Oregon primary

had painfully shocked Kennedy. Eugene McCarthy won it -- the first defeat for

a Kennedy brother in 28 elections.

What made it worse was that McCarthy was mocking him: "Bobby threatened to

hold his breath unless the people of Oregon voted for him." Worse yet,

McCarthy had the gall to tell West Coast voters that RFK and his martyred

brother were among the graduates of "a sort of University of the Cold War"

that was responsible for the bloodbath in Vietnam.

The outrage and need for reassurance that gripped RFK and his entourage led

them into a demagogic, pop-star style of campaigning in California. This was a

dangerous game. It certainly drew huge crowds and focused public attention on

Kennedy. But as three British journalists later noted in a book about the 1968

election, such a campaign "could well stir and confuse the excited and unhappy

people who abound in the urban wildernesses of Southern California."

RFK's California campaign inspired both death threats and adoring, maddened

crowd that tore off items of the candidate's clothing. In one of his many

motorcades, someone tossed a rock at Kennedy, and at the end of the campaign

he collapsed from exhaustion at an appearance in San Diego. But by Tuesday

evening, June 4, the high voter turnout in black and Latino neighborhoods

indicated that RFK's strongest admirers would give him the margin of victory

he so desperately wanted. He had apparently reached the end of his dangerous

game victorious and unscathed.

The Shooting

Around midnight, feeling sure of victory, RFK went down from his room at the

Ambassador Hotel to the Embassy Ballroom to address a large, boisterous crowd

of supporters. After the speech, he proceeded toward the smaller Colonial

Room, where reporters had gathered. An earlier plan had been to walk to the

Colonial Room through the Embassy Ballroom shaking hands on the way. However,

the crowd there was so thick and so eager to touch the candidate that it would

have been impossible to get through to the waiting reporters.

The alternate route to the Colonial Room led through a kitchen pantry behind

the ballroom. Walking ahead of his bodyguard, Kennedy entered the pantry and

began shaking hands with kitchen workers and others. He was guided in by Karl

Uecker, the Ambassador Hotel's assistant maitre d'. A private security guard,

Thane Eugene Cesar, was walking right behind the senator. There were 76 or 77

people -- the 77th would have been the "woman in the polka-dot dress," (see

below) in the crowded pantry, including a short, thin young man of "Latin"

appearance who stepped around Uecker and began firing a small .22-caliber

pistol.

After two shots, Uecker says, he grabbed the gunman's hand, forcing the

barrel away from Kennedy. Immediately, others joined the struggle while the

gun kept firing. Even when massive LA Ram Roosevelt Grier joined the attack,

it took a surprisingly long time to subdue the diminutive gunmen and wrest the

weapon from him. Meanwhile, Kennedy fell wounded to the floor in a pool of

blood. Next to him was a clip-on necktie torn from the collar of security

guard Cesar, who also went down in the melee. Five other people received

bullet wounds.

Carrying car keys but no identification, the gunman was whisked away through

a threatening crowd to a police car, whose occupants (including State Assembly

Speaker Jesse Unruh) were determined not to have "another Dallas," meaning the

pretrial killing of an assassin. Robert F. Kennedy died 25 hours after the

shooting from a head wound that sent lead and bone fragments into the right

hemisphere of his cerebellum. The other victims survived.

The gunman refused to reveal his name. Not until nine hours after his arrest

was he identified as Pasadena resident Sirhan Bishara Sirhan by his

flabbergasted brothers, who saw him on TV and on the front page of the morning

paper. The LAPD quickly formed a special investigative task force called the

Special Unit Senator (SUS). The findings of SUS enabled LA Country District

Attorney Evelle Younger to obtain a guilty verdict and a since-revoked death

penalty in Sirhan's trial the following April. In court, the defense did not

contest any of the crime-scene evidence or other testimony used to prove

Sirhan's guilt.

The Official Findings

By the end of its investigation, SUS had conducted 3470 separate interviews,

collected a disputed number of photos numbering at least 2500 and written up

the case on more than 50,000 sheets of paper. According to the LAPD's then-

chief of detectives, Robert A. Houghton, the man who put SUS together, the

special task force conducted "the longest, largest and most expensive criminal

investigation ever undertaken by the LAPD, possibly the most extensive

investigation ever conducted by any local law-enforcement agency."

In his book Special Unit Senator (Random House, 1970), Chief Detective

Houghton summarized the SUS's findings as follows:

"1) Sirhan Sirhan fired the fatal shots that killed Sen. Robert F. Kennedy

and wounded five others. 2) Sirhan fired those shots with the intent to kill

Sen. Kennedy, and his act was premeditated. 3) Sirhan was not under the

influence of a drug or intoxicant at the time of the shooting. 4) Sirhan was

legally sane at the time of the incident. 5) There was not evidence of a

conspiracy in the crime."

As we'll see later, the LAPD arrived at finding No.5 before the formation of

SUS and, apparently, even before Sirhan's identity had been established.

With the exception of No.3 and No.4, Sirhan's defense challenged none of the

SUS findings listed above or the evidence supporting them. The defense

attorney merely contended in vain that Sirhan acted in a state of "diminished

capacity," a mitigating factor that is somewhat easier to prove than strict

legal insanity.

The finding of SUS satisfied the jury and just about every opinion leader and

establishment journalist in America. Much of the general public was at first

skeptical about a second "lone nut" killing a Kennedy but, as time passed,

most people accepted that Sirhan Sirhan was the sole writer, director and

producer of the tragic drama performed in the Ambassador Hotel kitchen in

1968.

Long before the recent release of the LAPD files, however, a very few private

citizen-investigators and writers concluded that some of SUS's five

conclusions here highly suspect, while others were just plain impossible.

Several of these generally ignored, often scorned but determined citizen-

investigators gave generously of their time and files to help research this

story. Many of their most convincing arguments with the official version

centered on ignored or misinterpreted evidence found at the crime scene or in

the course of subsequent scientific tests.

While including many hair splitting details, these items of evidence merit

examination. They not only indicate what really happened in the Ambassador

kitchen pantry on June 5, 1968, but also suggest that some sort of coverup was

condoned or possibly even conducted by some governmental authorities pledged

to enforce that law and obtain justice.

The Autopsy

Former LA County Chief Medical Examiner Dr Thomas T. Noguchi lost his job due

to allegations of "gallows humor", an unseemly thirst for publicity and

various managerial shortcomings. However, as a forensic pathologist, the

"coroner to the stars" always has received great respect from his scientific

peers, some of whom helped him deal with the Kennedy case.

When it became clear that RFK would die following the shooting, Noguchi made

the politically astute request that experts from the Armed Forces Institute of

Pathology (AFIP) assist him on the autopsy so as to reduce the potential for

later controversy. One of these AFIP pathologists, Dr Pierre Finck, had worked

on the controversial autopsy of Sen. Kennedy's brother John.

Noguchi, his regular assistants, a photographer, the AFIP pathologists,

Deputy DA John Miner and a few LAPD observers attended what Noguchi called in

his book, Coroner (Simon & Schuster, 1983), "the most meticulous autopsy I had

ever performed." In a recent interview, Noguchi said that the findings he

released represented a consensus of all the attending pathologists and that

none of the observers has ever quarreled with them.

The autopsy revealed that RFK received two wounds from bullets entering

"underneath and slightly to the back of his right armpit." These alone would

not have killed him, nor would the third bullet, which passed through the back

of his jacket's should pad without hitting him. The fourth and fatal bullet

entered Kennedy's skull just behind his right ear. Soot on his hair and power-

burn "tatoo" patterns on his ear place the gun muzzle just three inches away

from Kennedy's ear.

Noguchi double-checked this distance by firing a similar gun from varying

distances at pig's ears, which are physically similar to human skin. Simply

put, a team of topnotch forensic pathologists concluded that Robert Kennedy

was shot dead from behind by a gun just three inches from his head.

Noguchi's hurried appearance at the Sirhan trial was nothing but "a

formality", he said. Sirhan's chief counsel, Grant Cooper, refrained from

discussing the autopsy in court, apparently fearing the effect of gory details

on the jury. Had Cooper pursued the matter, the jurors would have become very

perplexed, because every witness of the shooting placed Sirhan several feet in

front of Kennedy when firing his gun. Assistant maitre d' Karl Uecker, who

guided Kennedy through the kitchen and stood between the senator and Sirhan

told former Congressmember and UN Ambassador Allard Lowenstein, "There was a

distance of at least one-and-a-half feet between the mussel of Sirhan's gun

and Kennedy's head....There is no way the shots described in the autopsy could

have come from the Sirhan gun."

Juan Romero, the busboy immortalized in a photo of him cradling RFK's head,

was near enough to feel the heat of Sirhan's gun on his face. He said the gun

as "approximately one yard from Sen. Kennedy's head." Vincent DiPierro, a

waiter so close to the scene that RFK's blood spattered on his face, told the

Grand Jury that Sirhan's body was "four to six feet" from Kennedy "when his

gun started firing." Numerous other witnesses to the shooting placed Sirhan

several feet in front of Kennedy, who shot the last time from a few inches

behind.

Small wonder that in Coroner Noguchi states, "I have never said that Sirhan

Sirhan killed Robert Kennedy. Did Sirhan have a magic gun capable of firing

bullets in what citizen investigator Robert Cutler mockingly called a

"boomerang-trajectory flight path"? Even so, that would explain the powder

burns that can only be inflicted with inches of a firing gun muzzle.

Actually, Noguchi himself flirts with an explanation that squares his finding

with those concluding Sirhan was the lone gunman. Noguchi notes that the first

bullet could have hit RFK in the body, causing him to spin 180 degrees around

by the time the fatal shot reached his head. Also, the victorious candidate

was seen twisting around while shaking hands in the kitchen. But when it comes

to how the gun could have been inches from RFK's head, Coroner lamely cites a

preposterous mass-hypnotic form of "crowd psychology" whereby Sirhan "lunged

toward Kennedy and fired, a move unseen by anyone, and then, as Kennedy spun,

lunged back [Noguchi's emphasis] to fire from farther away, as second move

also invisible to all..."

In his interview with this writer, Noguchi indicated he realized the extreme

unlikelihood of this by citing Uecker's testimony. Baxter Ward also stressed

the importance of Uecker's testimony. Ward, who reopened parts of the case as

both a KHJ-TV newsreporter and an LA county supervisor, told of meeting Uecker

several years after the shooting, at which time Uecker still contended Sirhan

was situated well in front of Kennedy.

In his periodical, Grassy Knoll Gazette, Robert Cutler speculates that

Noguchi's "gobbledegook" about "crowd psychology" came at the urging of "the

publisher's legal counsel." Such lawyers worry about lawsuits over

controversial books. But who could have sued Simon & Schuster had Coroner

stated that the killer stood right behind RFK?

It turns out that there was indeed a man with a gun standing inches behind

Kennedy, a man who (by his own admission) drew his gun, and who was seen

wiping his eyes, perhaps to remove powder or soot. He also told a reporter

minutes after the shooting that Kennedy was shot at four times, this being

even before Kennedy's body and clothes were examined at the hospital. This man

was the security guard, Thane Eugene Cesar, to whom we'll return later.

The Bullet Count

There were so many holes in the case. -William Sullivan, former number-three

man in the FBI, on the RFK killing, in his book, The Bureau (W.W. Norton &

Co., 1979)

There also were so many holes in the kitchen that Sirhan could not have been

the only gunman. His pistol held eight bullets. With the massive Rosey Grier

and others beating him severely, Sirhan clearly could not have reloaded. Thus,

if nine or more bullets can be shown to have been fired, at least a second

gunman-still unindicted and unapprehended -- must have been at work.

Six people were wounded and the pantry ceiling had three bullet holes, yet

SUS put forth an explanation in which all this damage came from Sirhan's eight

shots. One bullet allegedly went through RFK's body and then through a ceiling

tile. Another bullet was said to have passed through the shoulder pad of

Kennedy's jacket and then into the forehead of labor leader Paul Schrade.

(However, the "shoulder-pad" shot went almost straight upward and could not

have hit Schrade, who was standing several feet behind Kennedy.) Another shot

"struck the plaster ceiling and then struck victim [Elizabeth] Evans in the

head." To do that, the bullet would have had to go through one ceiling tile,

bounce off the ceiling, exit through another tile and hit Evans, all of which

unlikely but not impossible.

However, Evans stated that she was wounded while bent over looking for her

shoe, which had come loose in the milling throng. On this matter, Gregory

Stone, a former Lowenstein aide active in efforts to make the police files

public noted, "According to the police theory, the bullet striking Evans

traveled downward from the ceiling, but in fact it proceeded at an upward

angle in her forehead." (Italics his.) Some of the other multiple hits the

LAPD attributed to single bullets were so far-fetched as to require the slugs

magically to change direction in mid-flight.

Even repealing the laws of physics can't bring the bullet count in the

kitchen down to the maximum eight Sirhan could have fired. That's because

additional bullets and bullet holes were seen and attested to by crime-scene

witnesses and law-enforcement personnel, although not the LAPD. The following

all exceed the official eight Sirhan bullets.

In a signed statement given to attorney Vincent Bugliosi, Ambassador Hotel

head maitre d' Angelo DiPierro (father of waiter Vincent DiPierro) said that

hours after the shooting he "observed a small-caliber bullet lodged about a

quarter of an inch into the wood of the center divider of the two swinging

doors [at the west end of the pantry]. Several police officers also observed

the bullet." He added, "I am quite familiar with guns and bullets, having been

in the infantry for 3 1/2 years. There is no question in my mind that this was

a bullet and not a nail or any other object."

Martin Patrusky, a waiter, told Bugliosi he participated in a LAPD

reconstruction of the crime scene several days after the shooting. He stated

that "one of the officer pointed to two circled holes on the center divider of

the swinging doors and told us that they had dug two bullets out of the center

divider...I am absolutely sure that the police told us that two bullets were

dug our of [those] holes."

Bugliosi, best known as Charles Manson's prosecutor and author of Helter

Skelter, had several unusual experiences tracking down additional bullet

holes. These are described in The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy (Random

House, 1978) by William W. Turner and John Christian, the most comprehensive

single work on the case. In a recent interview, Bugliosi said that the Turner-

Christian book accurately describes his many involvements in the RFK case,

more of which will be dealt with later in this article.

The Associated Press sent out an unusual wirephoto on June 5, some hours

after the shooting. Captioned "Bullet Found Near Kennedy Shooting Scene," It

showed two uniformed LAPD officers pointing to a bullet "still in the wood of

the frame (not of the center divider) of one of the swinging doors to the

pantry. In 1969, DA Evelle Younger publicly promised to release information

regarding this photo and similar problems, but never did.

In 1975, Bugliosi tried to find the two police officers, with no cooperation

from the LAPD and despite an assertion from then-DA Joe Busch that the AP

cation was erroneous. With help from "workaday cops," Bugliosi identified and

contacted the two men in the photo, sergeants Robert Rozzi and Charles Wright.

In a signed statement he gave to Bugliosi, Rozzi said he had seen "a hole in

the door jamb, and the base of what appeared to be a small-caliber bullet was

lodged in the frame."

Later, Bugliosi telephoned Sergeant Wright, who "unequivocally declared that

a bullet had been in the hole, but I do not know who did it." Bugliosi

intended to get a signed statement on this from Wright the next day, a fact he

inadvertency told LAPD officer Phil Sartuche (now top assistant to LA Police

Chief Daryl Gates, according to researcher Christian).

Before Bugliosi could meet Wright, the sergeant got calls from Sartuche and,

as Bugliosi put it, "Deputy City Attorney Larry Nagen, who instructed him not

to give a statement. The sergeant retreated from his positive position of the

evening before, now saying that the object only looked like a bullet and,

because it was so long ago, he was not at all sure he couldn't have been

mistaken." The DA's office also prevented Rozzi and Wright from testifying

under oath about the matter in a later civil suit.

Given LAPD stonewalling and obfuscation in 1975 and earlier, Bugliosi,

Lowenstein and others troubled by the lone-assassin theory were unable to

prove that bullets beyond the eight officially attributed to Sirhan had been

acknowledged by the authorities. Local authorities, that is.

FBI documents obtained in 1976 through the Freedom of Information Act list

four bullet holes in the "doorway area leading into the kitchen from the stage

area." These had never been acknowledged by the LAPD. When this was brought up

publicly, the FBI claimed it had not conducted a formal ballistic examination.

However, former Lowenstein aide Gregory Stone notes that the Bureau "did not

explicitly disavow" the report of the four extra bullet holes.

Also in 1976, Bugliosi got a signed statement from former FBI agent William

A. Bailey. Bailey discussed his examination of the kitchen area and stated

that he and "several other agents noted at least two small-caliber holes in

the doorway area. He added, "There was not question in any of our minds as to

the fact they were bullet holes."

The obvious way to clear up the allegations about extra bullets was to re-

examine the door frame, divider post and ceiling tiles, all of which had been

removed by the LAPD and held as evidence. Unfortunately, when Bugliosi,

Lowenstein, and others requested the re-examination in 1975, then-assistant

police Chief Daryl Gates announced that the evidence had been destroyed on

June 27, 1969. This was just a few weeks after a Los Angeles Free Press

article by citizen-investigators Lillian Castellano and Floyd Nelson made

public the existence of the AP wire photo.

Lowenstein found Gates' announcement as curious as the wondrous meandering

attributed to the eight Sirhan bullets, because an earlier police board of

inquiry had city a 1971 inspection "of the ceiling tiles removed from the

pantry" as refutation of questions posed then about a second gun. In the Feb.

19, 1977 Saturday Review, Lowenstein asked how "such an inspection could have

refuted anything if the tiles had been destroyed two years before."

In the 1970s, there were all sorts of arguments and counterarguments about

ballistics and forearms evidence. Some experts said markings on victim bullets

proved or at least suggested that more than one gun was fired, whose other

experts disagreed. Much of the confusion stemmed from the esoteric minutiae of

the "science" of ballistics and firearms, and from the differences over what

constitutes "proof" among firearms experts.

Judge Robert Wenke assigned a panel of seven such experts to re-examine the

bullet evidence. On October 6, 1975, the panel reported it found no evidence

of a second gun. Most news media, led by the LA Times, thus pronounced all

second gun theories dead forever. Most of the media failed to report that the

experts also said they found no evidence that there was not a second gun. Most

of them recommended further testing and stated that many questions remained to

be answered.

In 1982, electrical engineer Michael Hecker, PhD, of the Menlo Park-based SRI

think tank, analyzed three sound recordings from the Ambassador Hotel.

According to the Easy Reader, an LA-area weekly, Hecker's earlier work

"included analysis of the Watergate tapes for the White House." On December

15, 1982, Hecker declared in a signed witness statement, "On the basis of

auditory, oscillographic and spectrographic analysis of these three

recordings, it is my opinion to a reasonable degree of scientific certainly,

that no fewer than ten gunshots are ascertainable following the conclusion of

the Senator's victory speech until the time Sirhan Bishara Sirhan was

disarmed." Hecker told the Easy Reader's Kevin Cody that he believed there

were more than ten shots, but with less certainty than he felt about the first

ten shorts.

Thus the testimony of numerous sources, including police and the FBI,

indicate that more than eight bullets were fired in the Ambassador kitchen

pantry the night of the RFK murder. If this is so, then despite the apparent

satisfaction of the LA police and DA with evidence indicating that Sirhan --

and only Sirhan -- fired a pistol that night, another conclusion is

inescapable: At least one additional gunman was firing bullets during the

pandemonium. And unless one accepts the preposterous coincidence of two

unconnected assassins shooting simultaneously, the only explanations is what

Robert Cutler calls "that dirty word `conspiracy'."

The Challengers

Why are so few people aware of evidence and testimony pointing to a

conspiracy? One explanation is that it was "obvious" that Sirhan acted alone.

Even his defense attorney's accepted this. All the witnesses saw him shoot at

Kennedy. In challenging the obvious, one risked being labeled a crackpot.

Among local opinion leaders, only Baxter Ward and Vincent Bugliosi dared to

challenge repeatedly the official version of the assassination. Others

prominent in government or law enforcement kept their doubts to themselves.

After all, challenging the official story meant challenging the veracity of

the "authorities." As Allard Lowenstein noted in an unpublished manuscript,

"Lawyers, for example, must deal with the LAPD and the District Attorney's

office, and clients want lawyers with good relationships with law enforcement

agencies."

Another reason LA opinion leaders ignored troubling questions was the "not

another Dallas" sentiment so prevalent among journalists, politicians, police

and prosecutors. After the JFK and Oswald murders of 1963, Dallas was stuck

with a national reputation as a city filled with hate and governed by inept

clowns. In order to avoid similar notoriety, LA's official and unofficial city

leaders labored mightily to see that Sirhan got, or appeared to get, a fair

trial and that all indications of conspiracy appeared to have been refuted by

diligent, impartial investigation.

Any call for reopening the investigation implied official indifference,

ineptitude or worse, which could severely tarnish the reputation of a city

that was -- and still is -- often a target of national ridicule.

Most Americans expect a free press to be a bulwark against governmental

misdeed or negligence. Yet after Sirhan's trial, only the underground LA Free

Press and two journalists, Ward (then with KHJ-TV) and Art Kevin (KMPC Radio),

were willing to rock the official boat by talking about unanswered questions.

Also noteworthy in this respect are Robert Kaiser's book RFK Must Die! (E.P.

Dutton & Co., 1970),and Ted Charach's film, The Second Gun (1973).

Unfortunately, in "official" LA, nothing was really news unless the Times

wrote about it, and that paper was, and still is, obsessed with the "not

another Dallas" syndrome.

When Lowenstein and Paul Schrade held their first press conference calling

for further investigation of the case,the Times didn't attend or report it,

even though many out-of-town papers did. Occasionally the Times has run

unbiased reportage on critics of the lone-assassin theory, but its editorials

invariably praise the DA and LAPD while ridiculing their critics.

A May 16, 1974 Times editorial labeled then-County Supervisor Ward's attempt

to reinvestigate 1968 ballistics evidence "A Strange and Ghoulish Inquiry." An

August 17, 1975 editorial that erroneously cited "90 to 100 witness" to the

shooting attacked "the inane suspicions of those who still want to believe

that there is an official conspiracy to conceal critical evidence in the

case." Other editorials in the 1970s suggested that Ward and Bugliosi had

raised questions about the assassination to enhance their electoral ambitions.

As recently as April 30, 1988, a Times column by John Kendall complained the

"the die-hard doubters, conspiracy buffs and secondgun theorists are at it

again."

The Times apparently has convinced most of its readers that Sirhan alone

killed Kennedy. It has scared off skeptical "conspiracy buffs" who do not wish

their sanity and sincerity attacked in public. As Lowenstein noted, the fear

of such attacks leaves public criticisms of the official theory "to people who

seem flaky, which, in turn, makes it easier to regard as flaky [those] people

who are critical."

Public ignorance of a possible conspiracy also stems from public silence by

most of RFK's closest associates. Perhaps this is because uncovering a plot to

kill Kennedy might also reveal unsavory truths about him, most notable his

relationship with Marilyn Monroe.

Finally, it should be noted that some influential opinion molders who are

neither dupes not cover-up artists have expressed the belief that Sirhan alone

killed RFK. Some Arab and leftist journalists contended that Sirhan was a

genuine poetical assassin. To these journalists, the cover-up was the

portrayal of Sirhan as a "nut," which obscured his antipathy for American

support for Israel.

In a similar vein, former Minnesota Sen. Eugene McCarthy, RFK's opponent in

the 1968 California primary, has explained how the Palestinian's hatred of

Israel could have motivated him to target Kennedy, even though all the

Presidential candidates supported Israel. McCarthy says that both he and RFK

advocated donating the jets to the Jewish state. Sirhan was known to read

Jewish newspapers, and McCarthy recollected that Sirhan stated that Kennedy's

position "made him mad, made him feel he had to defend his people."

Sirhan's background lends credence to this theory. Born in 1944, he was a

refugee from the section of Jerusalem that Israel occupied in the fighting of

1944. (His citizenship is Jordanian and he is a Palestinian Christian.) As a

child, he was traumatized by the explosions and bloodshed occurring around him

In 1957, the Sirhan family moved from a refugee camp to America, but the

father, Bishara, returned alone to Jordan after less than a year. Sirhan and

his brothers and sister (who died of leukemia in 1965) settled down with their

mother in Pasadena.

Although shy, Sirhan seems to have led a fairly normal adolescence,

graduating from high school and then attending Pasadena City College. Although

well-read and intelligent, he got poor grades and was dismissed in 1965 for

spotty attendance. He then pursued a career as a horse trainer and, due to his

diminutive size, as an apprentice jockey. But after being injured in a fall

from a horse in 1966, Sirhan suffered an early close to his potential career -

- his employers felt he lacked the nerve to be a jockey.

From 1966-68, he encountered increasing frustration hue to lack of money and

inability to land a satisfying job. Although he was not a political activist,

he grew bitter in those years toward Israel and America's support of the

Jewish state. He also developed an increasing resentment toward people of

affluence.

There is evidence to suggest that Sirhan hated Bobby Kennedy and sincerely

wanted to kill him. But his hate and sincerely do not explain the extra bullet

holes or the autopsy report. And none of Sirhan's motives explains or condones

the many questionable activities of the LAPD, the DA mayor after the shooting

took place.

Top-Down Bungling

In the years since the Robert Kennedy assassination, the leaders and

institutions of Los Angeles have drawn widespread criticism from some quarters

for their handling of the RFK killing. Indeed, some of their activities raise

disturbing questions about the motivations of those who have sworn to enforce

the law, obtain justice and lead the city. Starting at the top, there were

legal outrages committee by Mayor Sam Yorty, a flamboyant reactionary who

wasted little time injecting himself into the case.

Within hours after Sirhan had been identified, Yorty held two press

conferences at which he portrayed the alleged assassin as a communist and read

inflammatory passages from notebooks the LAPD had seized from Sirhan's

bedroom. Yorty instructed Judge Arthur Alarcon to slap a gag order on all

witnesses and local officials, forbidding release of information on the case.

The order was served on Yorty himself by the sheriff's department.

LA Country District Attorney Evelle younger was probably appalled by Yorty's

antics, but his office's prosecution of Sirhan is also open to question.

Generally, the DA's office proved to be too unquestioning of the findings of

SUS -- even when that information conflicted with witness testimony and

physical evidence. At the Sirhan trial, prosecutors built much of their case

on the testimony of witnesses who saw Sirhan shoot, but who placed him much

father away from RfK than the autopsy showed was possible. They made their

case knowing full well that Coroner Noguchi's findings, which no prosector

disputed, did not square with witness descriptions. In his book and in our

interview, Noguchi related how, after he testified to his findings before the

grand jury, an assistant DA (who he refuses to name) asked him if he hadn't

confused inches with feet for the distance between RFK's head and the

assassin's gun muzzle. Noguchi told him he had certainly meant inches. His

insistence, however, did not deter the DA's office from portraying Sirhan as

the only person who could have fired the fatal shot.

Curiously, like many of the key figures who seemed to have looked the other

way in the investigation, Younger had ties to the intelligence community. He

headed FBI's National Defense Section during part of World War II, then went

to the counterintelligence branch of the Office of Strategic Services (the

predecessor agency of the CIA for service in the Far East.

During the 1970s, many people called for reopening all or parts of the

investigation. Younger's successors continually resisted, claiming that a

court of law with its rules of evidence and opportunities to cross-examine

witnesses was the only appropriate place to re-examine the case. However, when

Superior Court Judge Robert Wenke convened a formal judicial proceeding in

1975 to address victim Paul Schrade's questions, the DA's office blocked the

testimony of police officers and others who had asserted that unaccounted-for

bullets had been fired.

Still, it was not the DA's but the LAPD's activities that were the most

troubling. The department's conservative stance over the years has been well

documented.

Even before the assassination, the LAPD was involved in a decision that would

later be seriously questioned: not to station officers at the Ambassador

Hotel, in marked contrast to the LA Fire Department, which placed several men

there to guard against fire hire hazards caused by overcrowding.

The LAPD has maintained that both Bobby and Ethel Kennedy rejected police

protection in an insulting manner. LAPD files document an angry confrontation

along a Kennedy motorcade with campaign aide Fred Dutton, who allegedly

assailed officers with profanity and comments about police brutality. Police

files report that when officers responded to the telephoned death threats

against RFK during his speech at Valley College (May 15, 1968), campaign

workers yelled, "We don't want you fascist police here. We didn't call for the

Gestapo." At that time the department was under widespread criticism for its

abuses against anti-war and black activists, which included beatings and false

arrests on madeup charges.

Critics have noted, however, that even though the welcome mat wasn't out, the

department was responsible for preserving public safety and preventing

disorder. The Ambassador Hotel was easily a potential site for public danger

and disorder the night of the 1968 primary. Three campaigns were having

victory parties there: Kennedy's, Alan Cranston's and that of right-wing

conservative Max Rafferty, who'd just won a bitter upset victory over

incumbent Sen. Tom Kuchel, a moderate Republican.

There was considerable opportunity for alcohol-stoked friction between the

thousands of liberals and far-right activists in the hotel. Thus critics have

said, it was odd that the LAPD wasn't present in such a volatile setting, not

even -- or so the department maintained -- with plainclothes officers.

The August 24, 1976 LA Herald Examiner ran an interview with "former Police

Department Security Specialist Marion D. Hoover" and "Commander Peter Hagan of

LAPD" under the headline "Did RFK's Order Seal His Death?" It repeats earlier

assertions that RFK and his entourage adamantly rejected LAPD protection. In

the article, the two cops repeatedly refer to RFK's Secret Service protection

as another reason the LAPD was absent. But such protection never existed. The

Secret Service did not protect any 1968 presidential candidates (except

incumbent veep Hubert Humphrey) until President Johnson assigned it such

duties in reaction to RFK's murder.

But allowing the LAPD its rational for keeping its men away still leaves

unanswered the question of why the department destroyed so much evidence in

the case. As already noted, the LAPD destroyed ceiling tiles from the kitchen

because, as Dion Morrow of the city attorney's office put it, "You can`t fit

ceiling panels into a card file." The LAPD also destroyed items that could at

least fit in a file drawer. In 1969, then-Assistant Police Chief Daryl Gates

admitted that along with the tiles, X-rays had been destroyed because they

"proved nothing." Once they'd been destroyed, they certainly could prove

nothing.

This spring, the Herald Examiner reported that State Archivist John Burns

noted that the biggest surprise in assembling the police files was "the amount

of evidence destroyed," Several thousand photographs were burned in August

1968 -- before the Sirhan trial had even begun. LAPD spokesperson Commander

William Booth told the LA Times that the destroyed photos were "superfluous"

duplicates.

The Strange Saga of Sandra Serrano

Most troubling about the LAPD was its investigation of Sirhan's alleged

accomplices. SUS files and audio tapes released last spring suggest that the

department actually engaged in a campaign to disprove, by any means necessary

(including the coercive use of then-legal lie detector tests), the existence

of a conspiracy.

Perhaps the most striking example of LAPD malfeasance was the situation of

witness Sandra Serrano. The traumatic experiences of this witness suggest that

local authorities mishandled the Kennedy-Sirhan case as badly as their

counterparts in Dallas dealt with the assassination of RFK`s brother.

Sandra Serrano, 20-year-old co-chair of Youth for Kennedy for Pasadena and

Altadena, went outside on the stairs of a fire escape for relief from the heat

of the crowd inside the Ambassador hotel. There she saw ascending the stairs

two men and a woman with a "nice figure" and a "funny nose" who was wearing a

white dress with dark polka dots, or so she later told various interviewers.

Serrano assumed they were together because the woman said, "Excuse us." Later

Serrano heard sounds she though were automobile backfirings. About 30 seconds

later, she saw the same woman and one of her companions running down the

stairs.

The woman said twice to Serrano, "We shot him!" When Serrano asked whom

they'd shot, the woman, looking "pleased" replied "Senator Kennedy." Re-

entering the hotel, Serrano learned of the shooting.

Serrano wasn't the only person to cite a suspicious female in a polka-dot

dress. She wasn't even the only one who heard "We shot him" from such a woman.

But Serrano differed from other eyewitnesses in three ways: 1) She told the

story to NBC's Sander Vanocur and his national TV audience; 2) she stuck to

her story tenaciously; and 3) after seeing newspaper photos of Sirhan, she

said he appeared to be the woman's companion who went up the stairs but did

not come down.

The police treated Serrano more like a suspect than a witness, subjecting her

to repetitive interrogation that wore her down. Recordings reveal a distraught

tone in her voice after several days of questioning. She did not change her

story, however, in any significant way. This clearly displeased the LAPD,

which had failed to nab the woman in the polka-dot dress and had apparently

lost interest in her companion (even though he'd also been sighted by other

eyewitnesses).

In his book Special Unit Senator LAPD Chief of Detectives Robert Houghton

refers to the "vexing case of the polka-dot girl," which had created a "fever"

that had "in the press and public mind reached a high point on the thermometer

of intrigue." According to Houghton, only Serrano herself "could put that

spotted ghost to rest." To help her do that, SUS called on a polygraph

operator, Sergeant Enrique "Hank " Hernandez, whose unusual activities in

foreign climes will be examined later.

Listening to the tapes of Hernandez administering his liedetector test to

Miss Serrano on June 20, 1968 is an unsettling experience. The tape, made

available last spring, is filled with intimidating psychological abuse, which

probably explains why-unlike all the other tapes released from SUS files --

the index card for this tape reads, "Do not play or have transcribed without

permission of Captain Brown" (High Brown, then-commander of LAPD's Homicide

Division and titular head of SUS).

Houghton's book asserts tat Serrano "readily agreed" to the test. The tape,

however, reveals Serrano resisting and questioning the validity of the test.

Hernandez pressed on, cajoling, telling Serrano "the country can't afford" the

uncertainty that would result from not testing her. He added the familiar

refrain, "We want to make sure that we don't have something like we did in

Dallas, Texas." Finally, after lying that the polygraph results are "just

between you and me," he convinced Serrano to consent to the test without first

consulting the attorney she'd recently hired.

The tape shows Hernandez wearing Serrano down with the same questions she'd

been answering for two weeks. At one point, hernandez invoked "the family of

Senator Kennedy...Don't you have any sentiment for them?" When Serrano refused

to retract her story, he suggested that RFK was witnessing the test and urged

he, "Don't shame his death by keeping this thing up" Nevertheless, she held to

her story.

After telling Serrano the polygraph showed her to be lying-an assertion to

which Hernandez is the only witness -- Hernandez turned up the heat and begged

Serrano to let RFK "rest in peace". As her resolve crumbled, the tape reveals,

Hernandez insisted that Serrano confess her "lie," which he described as "a

deep wound that will grow with you like a disease, like a cancer." By then,

the tape shows, Serrano was reduced to whimpering, but she still held to her

story.

Hernandez, now sounding frantic, then urged Serrano to "let this thing that

is going to go with you and is gong to make an old women out of you before

your time come out of you..." This statement appears to have broken Serrano,

who said, "it's too messed up. Even I can't remember what happened anymore."

After more grilling, Hernandez eventually convinced the defeated girl to

after to the following: 1) The woman's dress may not have had polka dots; 2)

the woman may have said, "He shot Kennedy"; 3) that she got "all messed up" by

the commotion and by leading questions from police investigators on

assassination night. Ultimately, the tape shows, Hernandez convinced Serrano

that she got much of her story from a waiter (Vincent DiPierro) who'd reported

seeing Sirhan with a "shapely" woman in a polka-dot dress in the kitchen just

before the shooting began.

After Serrano`s recantation, according to Houghton, "Hank Hernandez sighed

with relieved satisfaction." But it's heard to see why. Serrano had recanted

to polka dots and the "We shot him." But even had Serrano told of a woman in a

crimson jumpsuit reciting Mother Goose, her story would've been important

because it said Sirhan went upstairs with two people who came down without him

right after the shooting. Serrano never recanted this. Also Hernandez accepted

her distraught explanation that leading questions and comments at the police

station had shaped her story. This was impossible, for she had told her entire

story live to Sander Vanocur and his NBC audience before she was taken to the

police station.

Other eyewitnesses said Sirhan had been with a "shapely" or "well-build"

woman in a polka-dot dress, and several found something noteworthy about the

woman's nose. many other reported seeing this woman apart from Sirhan.

Nevertheless, SUS used Serrano's partial retraction to write off all but one

of the other witnesses who hadn't recanted during re-interviewing by the

police. SUS attributed the tales to "contagion" stemming from the considerable

media coverage of Serrano's story.

Hernandez' promise of secrecy for Serrano -- which he had no right to make --

lasted until May 28, 1969, when DA Younger told the media, "Miss Serrano

admitted that the report of the polka-dot girl was pure fabrication on her

part." He added some further fabrications of his own, asserting that Serrano

recanted "when confronted with the prospect of a polygraph examination." He

also said she'd claimed "she heard gunshots in the pantry," which LAPD should

tests proved impossible. In fact Serrano always said she thought she heard a

car backfiring.

Since the SUS files were released last April, Serrano has refused all but one

request to talk about the RFK killing. On April 21, she told Jack Thomas of

KUOP-FM in Stockton that "a lot of badgering" and "everyday harassment" led

her to change her description of the dress after she "came unglued." She

continued to stand by the remainder of her story, adding, "I have no faith in

the system, and I don't want to set myself up for harassment again."

A decent witness, who there was every reason to believe, was turned into a

virtual "enemy" of police investigators. She was coerced into a statement she

did not mean to give by an unethical police examiner who, one has to assume

from all other evidence of a LAPD behavior in the case, was acting on

instructions from above. (Hernandez could not be located for an interview.)

Then there is the matter of the other witness to the polkadot dressed woman,

waiter Vincent DiPierro. SUS couldn't afford to discredit him because he was

slated to testify at the trial about the shooting. Hernandez was called in

again to work his magic. Hernandez, the tape release last April reveals, led

the eager-to-please young waiter into stating he had obtained his description

of Sirhan's girlfriend from Sandy Serrano. Nevertheless, DiPierro maintained,

his testimony about seeing Sirhan shoot was his own.

Hernandez' session with DiPierro demonstrated three important flaws in the

"search" for conspirators. First, Hernandez and the LAPD accepted -- and used

to demonstrate as evidence there was no conspiracy -- both Serrano's amended

"confession" that she got her story from DiPierro and DiPierro's amended

assertion of the exact opposite, that he got the description from Serrano.

Secondly, Hernandez exhibited a prime example of SUS's pickand-choose

approach to eyewitnesses, in which the unit accepted testimony that supported

its official theory while ignoring or dismissing difficult, contrary testimony

from the very same witness -- on the grounds that eyewitnesses are notoriously

unreliable.

Thirdly, Hernandez' work with Serrano and DiPierro demonstrated an SUS

fixation on a mystery woman and her dress style. The identity of her forgotten

companion(s) -- some witness claim to have seen her with four men -- became a

non-issue, despite its potential significance.

Uncovering a Coverup

Not surprisingly, many people have accused the LAPD not only of wishful

thinking, but of undertaking an outright cover-up. Some critics include the

police commission, the DA, the city attorney's office, the FBI and Sirhan's

defense team, which suggest that the cover-up was intended to hide either

official incompetence or official complicity.

The most blatant blunder of the LAPD came from its criminalist, DeWayne

Wolfer, in testimony at Sirhan's trial. There, and earlier before a grand

jury, Wolfer testified that bullets taken from RFK's neck and from victims Ira

Goldstein and William Weisel came from Sirhan's gun and "no other gun in the

world." He came to this firm conclusion by comparing victim bullets with

bullets he'd test-fired from the Sirhan gun. He entered into evidence an

envelope containing three of the testfired slugs.

After the trial, it was noted that the gun serial number on the envelope was

that of a gun seized by the LAPD several months before the RFK murder. It was

the same make and model, but not the same gun. Wolfer claimed it was all a

clerical error, but the mixup led to years of arguments over ballistics, which

were compounded by the fact that the alternate gun could not later be test-

fired to see where the comparison bullets at the trial came from. The reason?

The LAPD had destroyed it.

Wolfer also:

- conducted the sound tests at the Ambassador that the LAPD said "proved"

Sandy Serrano could not have heard the gunshots that, in fact, she never

claimed to have heard;

- came up with the official eight-bullet explanation that many witnesses,

wounded victims and investigators find to be farfetched, if not simply

impossible;

- lost or never compiled important laboratory records related to bullet and

gun examination in the case.

Not surprisingly, Wolfer's professional judgement was called into question.

Noted forensics expert Marshall Houts, in a June 26, 1971 letter to Attorney

General Evelle younger, claimed, "Wolfer suffers from a great inferiority

complex for which he compensates by giving the police exactly what they need

to obtain a conviction. He casts objectivity to the winds and violates every

basic tenant of forensic science and proof by becoming a crusading advocate."

An LA Times article of December 3, 1975 states that the California state

court of appeals concluded that "wolfer gave false testimony bordering on

perjury" in another case. It quoted the court that his "testimony on acoustics

and anatomy was negligently false." On May 31, 1980, the items reported that

LAPD Chief Gates hit Wolfer, by then the head of the LAPD's Scientific

Investigation Division, with a 30-day suspension without pay because Wolfer

"had failed to provide proper storage and analysis of bullets and other

evidence and had improperly supervised firearm and explosives investigators."

In Special Unit Senator, Chief of Detectives Robert Houghton-the man who put

SUS together -- stated that, on the day of the shooting, he was vacationing In

Yosemite Park and that he "did not know what had happened at the Ambassador

Hotel until the morning of June 6." The LA District Attorney's Office files on

the RFK case contain a tape of a 1975 interview of local FBI agent Roger

"Frenchy" La Jeunesse by CBS producer Lee Townsend. In reference to June 5, La

Jeunesse stated, "I think got together with Bob Houghton that same morning" to

discuss the RFK investigation, and "I remember meeting with Bob Houghton the

first morning." How curious.

There is evidence of some incompetence and some of complicity, though more of

the former than the latter,and to be sure, there was plenty of incompetence

worth covering up. The decision not to station police at the Ambassador Hotel

looked bad in 1968, as did the superficial investigation of Thane Cesar, the

security guard who pulled a gun right behind RFK. And, certainly, the LAPD had

reason to feel embarrassed at not having found Sirhan's alleged female

companion, a possible motive for trying to will her out of existence.

Baxter Ward told the LA Weekly that, in the late 1970s, DA John Van de Kamp

(now State Attorney General) invited him to a recreation of the murder

involving some of the actual 1968 witnesses. One witness, Lisa Urso, "had told

officers that night [June 5, 1968] that the gun was fired point-blank."

according to Ward, when the man playing Sirhan in the reenactment placed his

gun right next to the RFK surrogates's head, Urso objected, saying, "I

testified point blank, but not that point blank."

Ward recollected that Urso estimated the distance as three or four feet.

Later, he said, those running the re-creation said they convinced her to

change her estimate to theirs, "but that was not her immediate recollection."

Some investigators believe the LAPD went so far as to cover up the conscious,

willing participation of some of its officers in an RFK assassination

conspiracy. So concludes Jonn Christian, coauthor of the 1978 book The

Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. His explanation for this centers on Paul

Sharaga, the first police officer to reach the Ambassador Hotel.

In the hotel parking lot, Sharaga encountered a middle-aged couple who said

that on an outside terrace (probably one floor abort Sandy Serrano) they "were

almost run over by a younger couple rushing our of the embassy ballroom." The

younger woman, wearing a polka-dot dress twice shouted "We shot him!" When

asked whom they'd shot , the young woman replied, "Kennedy! We shot him!" With

that "the youngsters clattered down the fire-exit stairs and disappeared into

the night." The older couple told Sharaga the other two "were smiling

gleefully."

Sharaga radioed in a description of the two suspects and sent his interview

notes to an LAPD command post in the hotel. SUS files mention Sharaga's notes

about the couple, but the two never appear again in the files, a striking and

curious gap in the investigation. Not much later, LAPD Inspector John Powers

canceled Sharaga's radio alert, assuring him Sharaga told author Christian,

that the sole killer was in custody and adding, "We don't want this thing

turning into a big federal conspiracy case." This was many hours before

Sirhan's identity had been established.

Sharaga's notes vanished after he sent the older couple inside, but he

remembers their story to this day. A detailed report he gave SUS also

disappeared. Not long after, he told Christian, his superiors "began turning

on me" and he retired from the force. Shown a transcript of an SUS "interview"

of himself by Christian, Sharaga swore it was a phony that "contains false and

deliberately misleading statements."

The allegedly phony report downplays details suggesting a conspiracy.

Christian concludes that there was a "railroading of an investigation by

highest-level LAPD officials...as obvious coconspirators in RFK's

assassination were being aided and abetted in escaping by SUS operatives."

(Italics his.) Sharaga still has a copy of his original vanished report and

wants to show it to government officials he feels he can trust. He has,

however, given a copy to researcher Christian who insists that it is

"explosive new evidence" sufficient in itself to warrant a re-opening of the

case.

Even if there is another explanation for the Sharaga forgery other than that

LAPD officers were involved in the killing itself, at minimum, it would seem

to represent dramatic evidence of a departmental effort to cover up some type

of conspiracy. Coupled with the Hernandez tapes, this second stunning piece of

evidence that strongly suggests that unknown officials of the LAPD behaved in

the most negligent and possible criminal manner possible to thwart a full

department inquiry into a conspiracy.

Enter the Goddess

Incompetence and complicity are not the only possible reasons for an RFK

cover-up. As Watergate demonstrated, many coverups hide earlier coverups. In

this case, there is considerable evidence of an official 1962 LAPD cover-up

involving Bobby Kennedy. This evidence centers on the unnatural death that --

second only to RFK`s-was the most talked about in Los Angeles history, that of

Marilyn Monroe.

Much unfounded speculation has been printed about Monroe. However, one book,

Goddess (Macmillan, 1985), is quite credible thanks to author Antony Summers'

diligent research and to documentation obtained through the Freedom of

Information Act. Summers, one of the world's most noted investigative

reporters, makes a convincing case that Monroe and RFK had an intense love

affair that Kennedy abruptly ended after learning that the mafia and the

Teamsters Union were collecting information on the affair, in order to

blackmail or discredit him.

Devastated over having been shunned by RFK, the already unstable Marilyn

consumed increasingly large quantities of sedatives and alcohol. Summers

cities strong indications that to end things amicably, RFK visited Monroe

secretly on the night of August 4, 1962 and found her in a fatal coma at her

home, which was very likely bugged by his enemies.

Further evidence uncovered by Summers suggest that as soon as Monroe died,

RFK persuaded J. Edgar Hoover to save him from scandal by obliterating all

evidence -- such as telephone company records-linking him to Monroe. Summers

mentions that LAPD Chief of Detectives Thad Brown knew of the affair and notes

that speculation in the newspapers that LAPD Chief William H. Parker had kept

RFK's name out of the investigation into Monroe's death "to curry favor with

the Kennedys." Summers also suspects that LAPD officers helped private

detectives hired by RFK to obscure the senator's links to Monroe. In 1975, the

LAPD conducted a re-inquiry into Monroe's death under the supervision of Daryl

Gates, who refused to make the investigative files public.

Summers notes the DA's office no longer possesses the reports on Monroe and

RFK filed years ago by one of its own investigators, Frank Hronek, now

deceased. On the November 5, 1988 edition of Fox TV's The Reporters, former

Deputy DA John Miner said his own report on Monroe is also missing from the

DA's office.

If Summers is correct, local police and prosecutors were investigating

Monroe's death at the same time the FBI was eradicating local evidence of her

affair with RFK. Local officials therefore had to know of Hoover's illegal

effort to save Kennedy from scandal. Certainly, it is hard to imagine that

LAPD Chief parker didn't know the FBI was seizing or destroying evidence on

his turf. That the affair remained secret for years suggest that the LAPD and

the DA acquiesced or assisted in, Hoover's cleaning up after RFK. Thus, a

sincere and thorough problem of a possible conspiracy to kill RFK might well

revealed local official's complicity in Hoover's actions six years earlier.

This many explain why local law-enforcement agencies apparently covered up,

dismissed and ignored the many indications that Sirhan was not a "lone-nut"

assassin.

Authorities Reply

When asked for an interview, the LAPD flatly rejected the request. According

to department spokesperson, Commander William Booth, "It was so long ago -- no

one here was involved." That statement is false. Several key figures from the

investigation are still working for the LAPD. Booth added, "We decided to let

the [newly released] files speak for themselves." This is something the LAPD

strenuously resisted for 19 years.

The DA's office granted this writer a lengthy interview with its number-three

man, Assistant DA Curt Livesay. Also sitting in but saying little was Steve

Sowers, head of Deputy DA of the Investigations Division. Livesay was not part

of the Sirhan prosecution team but he was on the staff then and reviewed the

entire case just last April

Livesay said the DA's office was -- and still is -- completely satisfied with

the SUS investigation on which Sirhan's prosecution was based. As of today,

says Livesay, "We haven't found any credible evidence that there was a

conspiracy...or that there was more than one gun." Asked about the autopsy

findings clashing with eyewitness accounts, he replied, "it's so well-

recognized in the criminal law that persons observing an event see it from

different perspectives and form different opinions as to what happened...that

it's a jury instruction."

Asking about people reporting having seen Sirhan with one or more companions,

Livesay made the curious reply that "there's no credible evidence to put forth

that we could argue, that a prosector could ask jury to believe." Apparently,

this means that the prosecutors didn't consider indications of a conspiracy

worth following unless they would lead to the conviction of a conspirator.

Livesay's unqualified approval of the LAPD investigation and the Sirhan

prosecution basically rests on two foundations. One is that the prosecutors

"proved their case to a jury, the pinnacle of our entire justice system,

beyond a reasonable doubt." When reminded that Sirhan's defense never brought

up questions about extra bullets and women in polka-dot frocks, Livesay

replied, "Well, I ask you, `why not?' " That's a reasonable reply, suggesting

that the defense knew such questions wouldn't help their case.

However, when confronted with the fact that Noguchi's report conflicted with

eyewitness accounts, Livesay stated, "it was litigated...and 12 people gave

Sirhan Sirhan the death penalty." Of course, the muzzle distance never was

"litigated" in any sense of the word. For 20 years, Livesay's office has

failed to appreciate, at least publicly, that there was and is a legitimate

public concern over what really happened in the Ambassador Hotel kitchen, a

concern that cannot be allayed by simply convicting one gunman.

At the start of the interview, Livesay was asked whether the DA's function is

simply to obtain a conviction. He replied that "the purpose and function of

the district attorney's offices is to obtain justice." Here, justice may have

been obtained in the sense that a criminal was punished, but no larger sense

of justice seems to have prevailed.

The other foundation for official satisfaction with the RFK investigation and

trial is the March 1977 Kranz Report, a mindnumbing, single-spaced, 136-page

investigation of the RFK murder by a "special independent outside council"

Thomas F. Kranz. In reply to many questions, Livesay said his office's answer

could be found in the Kranz Report. Kranz gave the 1968-69 investigation and

prosection a clean bill of health at a time police and prosecutors were

concerned "not with the validity of the verdict in the Sirhan case, but [with]

the erosion of public confidence in the system of justice in Los Angeles

Country due to the many questions that were continually being raised in the

Sirhan matter" (from the report's introduction).

The Kranz Report did indeed help restore public confidence in the DA's office

and LAPD but, to serious students of the case, it was simple a whitewash of

official blunders and misconduct. In July, 1977, Allard Lowenstein cut the

Kranz Report's validity to shreds with a point-by-point analysis of its

findings and methodology. His list of corrections to Kranz' many misquotes,

misstatements, misrepresentations and omissions is too lengthy to cover here,

but as the DA's office relies on the report to justify SUS and its handling of

the case, it's worth looking at two major flaws in the report:

1) Kranz was neither "independent" nor "outside". He was special counsel to

the DA's office and, as such, he assisted in blocking the testimony of

important witnesses in the proceedings before Judge Wenke mentioned earlier,

in which gunshot victim Paul Shrade obtained a separate evidentiary hearing

into the case. (Among those prevented from testifying: Noguchi, LAPD officers

Rozzi and Wright, Ambassador Hotel maitre d' DiPierro and Robert Alfeld, who

claimed he found empty cartridge shells in the Ambassador after the police had

supposedly swept it clean for evidence.) Furthermore, Kranz freely admitted in

the report's introduction that he wanted to become DA.

2) The Kranz Report duplicates the LAPD's pick-and-choose approach to

eyewitness testimony. Nowhere does the report mention that not one eyewitness

in the kitchen said that Sirhan's gun muzzle was within inches of RFK's head.

At an April 5, 1977 LA Country Board of Supervisors meeting, Baxter Ward asked

Kranz whether there was "eyewitness testimony of a point-blank firing." Kranz

responded, "Oh, absolutely not." When Ward noted that acting DA John Howard

had recently cited "a great many witnesses who say it point-blank," Kranz

said, "Well there haven't been any. There never were." Yet, despite the fact

that all witnesses were, in the DA's eyes, ipso facto wrong about the

distance, Kranz -- like the LAPD -- freely used the same witnesses to

corroborate other pasts of the 1968 investigation, just as had the LAPD.

In fact, the number of people who saw a saw a second gunman shoot RFK is

equal to the number of people who saw Sirhan fire close enough to conform to

the autopsy report: zero. Or, as Ward said to Kranz, "You must acknowledge

that no one saw much of anything. And that's what has always troubled me." Sad

to say, it apparently never troubled the institution sworn to "obtain justice"

for the residents of LA County.

Accomplices

If Sirhan did not act alone, who were his accomplices? Enough names have been

raised by journalists and citizen-investigators to fill a book. Below are

sketches of the three most popular suspects. The people who may have hired

them will be discussed alter.

The Mystery Woman -- The recently released LAPD papers and tapes show that

quite a few people other than Sandy Serrano and Vincent DiPierro told police

about a suspicious woman in a polka-dot dress. Prior to June 20, when Hank

Hernandez "proved" she didn't exist, the police were busily searching for such

a woman. Perhaps the most startling item in the LAPD files is a puzzling half-

page report dated October 14, 1968 showing that police actually apprehended a

woman they believed to be Sirhan's companion. Since this woman's 1988

recollection of the incident differs from the official record, both versions

are worth examining.

According to the terse police report, the LAPD took into custody and

interviewed a Cheryl Wessels on the afternoon of June 5. Police interest in

Wessels was "a result of a call from an informant, naming her as the then-

outstanding suspect wearing a polka-dot dress wanted in the Kennedy shooting."

The interview was recorded and she "was released from custody after being

photographed and fingerprinted to facilitate a record check."

When police reviewed the tape in October, it was "found to be blank." The

report closes by saying Wessels was re-interviewed by phone and said she was

at home at the time of the assassination and had no idea of the identity of

the informant. It concluded: "She owns a polka-dot dress, but has not worn it

for several months. She is unable to furnish any additional information

regarding the investigation." Presumably, the LAPD knew the informant's

identity and should have checked our Wessels' story with her parents, at whose

houses she claimed to be on primary night. However, no record that the LAPD

made such a routine follow-up appears in the report.

With help from California marriage records and a relative of Wessels, the LA

Weekly and private assassination researcher John Christian found the woman

living out of state under her new married name. In October, she gave Christian

an account of her adventures. She says she was formally arrested "for the

murder of Robert Kennedy" by three LAPD plainclothes officers while visiting a

friend in jail on a drug charge. They told her, she recalls, that "someone

called them and said I was one shot was these...It had to be someone who knew

me well and where I was going, and they also had to know that I had a polka-

dot dress...It would have to have been a woman."

The interviewer, LAPD officer Joe Goodman, did not tell her the interview was

being recorded. She told Christian she did not remember being photographed,

but a few minutes later said is was a "horrible photograph." Both Wessels and

the report agree she was questioned on June 5, and she says she was released

on the same day. The report doesn't say when she was released. Her mug shots

are dated June 6, 1968.

Wessels remembered receiving a call some months after her arrest but it

wasn't from police investigators. Instead, the caller said he was LA Police

Chief Thomas Reddin. The caller apologized for the arrest and "said everything

would be taken off my record...He said he was sorry, but they had to follow up

on every lead that they had."

In the SUS files, Christian found a log that showed a call to Wessels'

Anaheim number at 8:10 pm on Oct. 14. The call was placed not by Chief Reddin,

but by Sergeant Dudley Varney, who, according to Christian, was involved in

other cover-up activities with SUS.

The Wessels affair raises far more questions than it answers. What happened

to the tape? Did someone forget to push the "record" button, or did SUS have

its own Rosemary Woods who went around erasing "problem" tapes? Why would a

SUS agent call a witness and pretend to be the police chief? Is the brief

official report of Wessels' arrest and interrogation a reliable document? Was

Wessels truthful with Christian? How good is her memory? Finally, the biggest

question pertains to the identity of the informant and what he or she said

that led police to arrest Wessels.

Thane Eugene Cesar -- This security guard is on many informed lists as the

real Kennedy assassin, and not just because he drew a gun while standing

closely behind the victim. Cesar was a rightwinger who disliked RFK. He once

owned a .22-caliber pistol, which he told the DA's office in 1971 he had sold

to a friend before the assassination. The friend, Jim Yoder, said he bought

the gun from Cesar after the killing and had a receipt to prove it. The gun

was later stolen.

According to the Turner-Christian book, Yoder said Cesar worked at Lockheed,

"in an off-limits area which only special personnel had access to. Yoder also

told Turner-Christian that Cesar "looked a little worried, and he said

something about going to the assistance of an officer and firing his gun. He

said there might be a little problem over that.," In a similar statement in

the film The Second Gun, Yoder recalled Cesar talking about firing the gun and

worrying about "repercussions."

Soon after Cesar's gun was publicized by Ted Charach, director of Second Gun,

the gun was stolen from Yoder's retirement home in Arkansas. Yoder said it was

probably taken by local kids.

Investigative journalist Dan Moldea, working for Regardie's magazine, tracked

down Cesar last year (Cesar commented on widespread speculation that he was

dead: "I want it that way"). Cesar admitted to Moldea that he had changed

parts of his story in different interviews with police, but maintained he did

not shoot RFK. He said he does not know how his clip-on necktie ended up on

the floor next to RFK's body.

In an interview with this writer, Moldea stated that he found nothing

incriminating in Cesar`s background and history, though another author, David

Scheim, has linked him inconclusively, to mobster John Alessio. (At the time

of the assassination, Cesar was a 26-year-old plumber at Lockheed who

moonlighted as a security guard.) Cesar claimed that on assassination night,

he volunteered to be interviewed by an uninterested LAPD. He publicly admitted

to Ted Charach that he owned the .22 pistol and that he had agreed to take a

lie-detector test. The LAPD did not take him up on this, although it conducted

polygraph exams on quite a few witnesses.

Despite contradictions and false statements from Cesar in the past, Moldea

told the LA Weekly, "I don't believe he went in there intentionally and did

it." Moldea wouldn't amplify on this statement, which leaves open the

possibility that a panicky Cesar accidentally shot RFK during the commotion

following Sirhan's volley. The fatal bullet was so damaged that there's no

certainty from what kind of gun it issued. Nevertheless, the LAPD failed to

examine Cesar's pistol on June 5, 1968. At a recent public appearance by

Moldea at Santa Monica's Midnight bookstore, citizen-investigator Jack

Kimbrough pointed out that if Cesar did not shoot Kennedy, he "must have seen

who did" because he was right in back of the victim.

Jerry Owen -- An itinerant preacher known as Jerry "The Walking Bible" Owen

for having memorized the Old and New Testaments, went to the police following

the assassination after seeing Sirhan's photo in the paper. He told police he

had picked up a hitchhiker downtown on June 3, 1978. He later recognized the

hitchhiker as Sirhan. Owen said he had entered into a tentative deal with the

hitchhiker to sell him a horse to be delivered at the Ambassador Hotel parking

lot late on primary night. Owen described some friends of the hitchhiker,

including a woman wearing a polka-dot dress. Owen believed that the horse

deal, which he did not follow up, was an attempt to set up a means of escape

for Sirhan.

The LAPD concluded that Owen was lying in order to attract publicity and lost

interest. Authors Christian and Turner also feel that Owen lied, but not for

publicity. They found links between Owen and Sirhan preceding June 3.

In 1970, Owen sued local KCOP-TV for canceling his religious TV show and for

telling some of his followers he'd been involved in the RFK killing. Vincent

Bugliosi defended KCOP in the late 1975 trial. Despite severe limitations

imposed by a judge who wanted to try a civil suit, not a murder case, Bugliosi

got several witnesses to admit under oath to having seen Owen together with

Sirhan before June 3. Allegedly, Owen was flashing a big wad of bills.

(Sirhan, like Owen, has habitually broke, but he had four $100 bills on him

when arrested.)

The LAPD and the DA never showed any interest in these revelations. The LAPD

blocked the release of its files on Owen, which Bugliosi wanted to put on the

record.

Official disinterest extended to another curious part of the Jerry Owen

story. At the KCOP trial, Owen had intended to introduce as a character

witness his brother's former secretary, Gail Aiken. He canceled this plan when

Bugliosi discovered that Aiken was the sister of Arthur Bremer, whose nearly-

successful murder attempt on George Wallace altered the course of the 1972

presidential election almost as much as RFK's murder altered the 1968 race.

Nevertheless, local officials were not sufficiently intrigued to reopen a

probe into Owen's 1968 activities.

A Possible Scenario

Supporters of the SUS investigation often note that Sirhan has confessed to

the killing. Indeed, at his trial, he yelled our, "I killed Robert Kennedy

with 20 year's malice aforethought! " Since he was only 24, this is obviously

nonsense. However, he admitted it elsewhere. But, like most other people,

Sirhan came to his conclusion because, as he also said at the trial, "All the

evidence has proved it." He felt it was too obvious to deny.

In fact, Sirhan repeatedly said that he does not remember shooting RFK. His

mind drew a blank from sometime late in the evening until he found himself

struggling with Rosey Grier and others around 12:15am. This memory failure has

helped prompt endless speculation about trance states and hypnosis. Sirhan had

definitely been dabbling in self-hypnosis at home. However, some critics

believe he as a "Manchurian Candidate" hypnotized by someone else to kill and

then forget what he did and who told him to do it. Others argue that his lack

of memory is a convenience meant to protect co-conspirators.

Sirhan left in his bedroom a set of notebooks in which he stressed the

necessity of RFK's death. like the diary of George Wallace's would-be killer,

Arthur Bremer, Sirhan's notebooks were extremely incriminating and helped

convince the jury and the media of his premeditation. On one page he writes,

"My determination to eliminate RFK is becoming more the more of an unshakable

obsession" on the same page, he scrawled "RFK must die" and "RFK must be

assassinated." Near these phrases he wrote "please pay to the order of." This

phrase, sometimes followed by his name, appears numerous times in the

notebooks.

Not surprisingly, this has helped convince many "assassination buffs" that

Sirhan was hired to kill or help kill RFK. The notebooks are essentially a

collection of written babble, much of it nonsensical, sometimes called

"automatic writing" by experts in hypnosis. Sirhan testified that he did not

remember writing the notebooks, but he agreed that he must have.

If RFK's death was a murder-for-hire, critics speculate that there may have

been several assassination teams at the hotel, since RFK's route wasn't known

in advance and the crowd was so thick that killers in the pantry could not

have moved elsewhere in time to encounter Kennedy. One theory holds that there

were possibly two or more women in polka-dot dresses.

The Turner-Christian book notes that the barrel of Sirhan's gun "was heavily

coated with lead, yet copper-coated bullets such as Sirhan allegedly fired

leave a lead-free bore." These bullets literally "clean out the lead," and the

bullets recovered from the victims were definitely copper-jacketed. This has

led them to speculate that a duped or hypnotized Sirhan may have fired blanks

while someone else did the real shooting. Furthermore, their book continues,

some witnesses say a lengthy "tongue of flame" came out of Sirhan's gun, which

firearm experts say is more consistent with firing blanks than copper-jacketed

bullets.

As for the one or more women in polka-dot dresses who ran out of the hotel

shouting, "we killed him." etc., they could have been decoys to direct

attention from the escaping killer(s) and to simply add a loud and lasting

note of confusion to the proceedings. Jonn Christian, who has studied the

assassination almost since it happened, believes that something like this took

place. A similar scenario also takes place in Donald Freed's "faction" novel,

The Killing of RFK (Dell Publishing, 1975)

The Men at the Top

If there was a conspiracy to kill RFK, it surely wasn't organized by Sirhan

or anyone else in the hotel that night. To determine who might have led an

assassination conspiracy, the obvious procedure would be to make a list of the

victim's enemies. In the case of Bobby Kennedy, the list of enemies is

extremely long and covers the entire political spectrum.

Starting at the left, Fidel Castro undoubtedly hated both Kennedy brothers

because he believed they were active in efforts to overthrow or even kill him

and destroy much of his country's infrastructure by financing attacks by anti-

Castro Cuban exiles and soldier of fortune. Oddly, many of these Cuban exiles

also hated the Kennedys for not sufficiently supporting the Bay of Pigs

invasion and for calling off the later "secret war" against Castro mounted by

the CIA and Cuban exiles.

The far right hated RFK for his general liberalism and his alliances with

blacks, the poor and other anti-establishment groups on the volatile 1960s.

White Southerners hated him for his vigorous use of the attorney generals

office to pursue civil rights for blacks. The Teamsters Union and the mafia

hated and feared RFK because of his legal attacks on them, first as Senate

Committee investigator and then as his brother's attorney general.

Until the tragedy in Dallas, John and Bobby Kennedy were a team, sharing the

same supporters and enemies. This, it's hardly surprising that the same

organizations that had reason to want JFK dead are also among the likely

suspects in the RFK murder. JFK's murder, which even a house Committee

declared in the late 70s to be a likely conspiracy, could have been intended

to end his younger brother's war on labor corruption and organized crime, both

of which required solid support from the White House. Also, it is possible

that JFK's assassins may have feared that Bobby, if elected president, would

use the power of the office to discredit the Warren Report and reopen the JFK-

Oswald-Ruby investigation. A popular rumor had RFK personally investigating a

lead in his brother's murder while campaigning in California.

Bobby Kennedy had a well-deserved reputation for ruthlessness. He made

enemies of men and organizations far more ruthless than he. This writer

believes that the most likely organizers of an RFK assassination conspiracy

come from one or more of four groups listed below. These groups are not

mutually exclusive; in fact, they've had overlapping membership for years.

Three of these powerful, unscrupulous groups have long been cited,

particularly by the House Investigation, in connection with the murder of JFK,

and the fourth also had a high public profile.

Still, connecting any of them conclusively to the killing at the Ambassador

Hotel is an extraordinarily difficult task, certainly one that law-enforcement

officials were unable or unwilling to tackle. But since 1968, journalists and

citizeninvestigator have unearthed compelling information linking these groups

to suspicious people known to have been in the hotel on June 5, 1968 or

involved in the subsequent investigation and trial.

The Intelligence Community -- There is a curious moment recorded on one of

the SUS audio tapes when Hank Hernandez is talking with Sandy Serrano. She has

expressed her doubts about the validity of lie-detector tests and he concedes

that such doubts are appropriate regarding unqualified polygraph operators. He

then touts his own qualifications: "I have been called to South America, to

Vietnam and Europe, and I have administered tests. The last test that I

administered was to the dictator in Caracas, Venezuela. He was a big man, a

dictator. Marcos Perez Jiminez was the man's name."

Hernandez's official SUS resume mentions none of these activities, which

obviously are not among the typical duties assigned to an LA police officer.

Assuming that he was truthful, Hernandez was probably giving tests in Vietnam,

Europe and Venezuela while on loan to, or while a member of, the CIA or

another US intelligence agency. William Turner told the LA Weekly that the CIA

was probably signing up the deposed dictator as an "asset," and that Hernandez

was brought in to establish the veracity of the man's information.

In an interview with the Weekly, Bill Blum, author of The CIA: A Forgotten

History, said that Robert Kennedy, as US attorney general; had arranged for

Spanish-speaking LA police to train cops in the Dominican Republic in "crowd-

control" technique, to squash anti-government riots. This program was

successful and resulted in the "White Helmets" police unit much hated by

Dominicans.

Perhaps this explains Hernandez bragging on tape to Serrano that he had

personally received a commendation from Bobby Kennedy.

Hernandez wasn't the only apparent link between RFK assassination

investigators and the world of spies and spooks. In his book, Special Unit

Senator, Chief of Detectives Robert Houghton spoke glowingly of Lt. Manuel

Pena, Houghton's choice to head the investigative section of SUS. According to

Houghton, Pena "had connections with various intelligence agencies in several

countries."

Authors Turner and Christian, in The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, cite

evidence that both Pena and Hernandez had worked for the "Office of Public

Safety of the Agency for International Development (AID)," They described

(accurately, as attested by congressional investigation) this office as "a

cover for the CIA's clandestine program of supplying advisors and instructors

for national police and intelligence services in Southeast Asia and Latin

America engaged in anti-communist operations." They also stated that other LA

police officers had trained or worked with the CIA.

Turner's The Police Establishment offers a possible explanation for strong

ties between US intelligence agencies and the LAPD. He notes that despite

ideological compatibility, there was a feud between J. Edgar Hoover and

William Parker, LA police chief from 1950-66. Because of the feud, Parker's

"Officers" were not accepted at the prestigious FBI National Academy..."

Nevertheless, the LAPD had long been known for its many officers welltrained

in the deceptive arts of intelligence possible by the CIA. In addition, the

CIA is known to have infiltrated many police departments during those years.

Enemies of Fidel Castro -- The Bay of Pigs fiasco left John and Robert

Kennedy very distrustful of the CIA and the anti-Castro activists and Cuban

exiles allied with "The Company." In William Turner and Warren Hinckle's book,

The Fish is Red (Harper & Row, 1981), the brothers are depicted as quite eager

to inflict damage on Castro. They organized their own "secret war" on Cuba,

however, under the supervision of Bobby Kennedy, excluding many of the groups

and individuals prominent in earlier anti-Castro crusades.

Among the excluded were some harshly conservative Cuban exile groups various

CIA operatives and mafia figures like John Roselli and Sam Giancana, who had

been part of the CIA's ineffectual plots to kill Castro. Also, RFK's

Department of Justice and other parts of the federal government began to crack

down on some of the Cuban exiles and soldier of fortune who had been launching

freelance attacks on Cuba.

For a time, Sirhan worked for a horse-breeding farm partly owned by Desi

Arnez. Turner and Christian point out that Arnez "came from a wealthy Cuban

family and was a fervent opponent of Fidel Castro." They also cite close ties

between Jerry "The Walking Bible" Owen and Arnez' lawyer, Jerome Weber. There

is no evidence, however, that Sirhan ever met with Arnez.

Organized Crime and the Teamsters -- As attorney general RFK vigorously

prosecuted Teamster Union boss Jimmy Hoffa, as well as numerous leaders of

organized crime. Both the Teamsters and organized crime were involved in the

CIA plans to kill Castro. Informants have reported that Hoffa and various

mobsters separately discussed killing RFK. The Fish is Red says some of this

plotting was conducted at a Miami house partly owned by Marcos Perez Jiminez!

Whether any of them moved from talk to direct action is impossible to tell.

David Scheim, author of Contract on America (Shapolsky, 1988), says that

Thane Cesar may have been tied to a mobster named John Alessio. Scheim also

notes that prior to Sirhan's trial, his chief attorney, Grant Cooper, had

"represented one of four co-defendants of Mafioso Johnny Roselli in a gambling

case." Roselli was involved in the CIA-mob attempts on Castro's life. (In

1972, Cooper stated that "had there been any information available to the

defense that Sirhan had not actually fired the shots into Senator Kennedy, my

approach to his defense would have been materially altered." He failed to

mention that such information was available in the autopsy report and

eyewitness accounts.)

Richard Nixon Supporters -- The chief political beneficiary of RFK's death was

Richard Richard Nixon, who probably would have lost to any antiwar Democrat. Hubert

Humphrey was the best possible opponent for Richard Nixon in 1968, especially with

George Wallace's strong third party taking millions of Southern and blue-

collar votes were refusing to vote. Richard Nixon was also the main beneficiary of

Arthur Bremer's crippling assassination attempt on Wallace four years later.

Wallace probably would have walked out of the liberal 1972 Democratic

conventions and on to 50 state ballots had he been abler to walk at all.

Unlike 1968, in 1972 Wallace would have taken most of notes from Richard Nixon.

Although "everyone knows" that George McGovern lost in 1972 because he was

"too far to the left," the Prairie Peacenik could have won had Wallace stayed

healthy and Tom Eagleton told McGovern about his psychiatric problems.

Although he passed through Dallas on November 22, 1963, Richard Nixon makes for an

unlikely assassination conspirator. However, his supporters included many in

the ranks of the three previous groups cited from which a plot to kill RFK

might have sprung. This is particularly true of the mobster-Teamster group.

The Teamsters endorsed Richard Nixon, who had organized crime ties through Bebe Rebozo

and San Diego's C. Arnholt Smith, whose US National Bank failed in 1973 due to

illegal financial machinations. Alessio was on this bank's Board of Directors.

Conclusion

Many of the people who have doggedly pursued this case believe that last

April's release of the Unit Senator files and tapes will eventually answer

these three questions: Who killed Bobby Kennedy? Who hired the killer(s)? Why?

The events that propelled America into three of our last five wars remain

somewhat mysterious. Yet, today, far more is known about the sinking of the

Maine, the sinking of the Lusitania, and the August 1964 events in the Gulf of

Tonkin than the official explanations put out at the time. Such knowledge may

help forestall future unjustified military adventures.

Similarly, the more that can be learned about the RFK assassination, the less

likely we are, perhaps, to be deceived again by illicit, organized, covert

power. That in itself might forestall yet another assassination of a political

leader.

This piece has appeared in the LA Weekly and San Jose Metro.

Source: PeaceNet cdp:nfd.ifeatures