The Assassination of Robert Kennedy

excerpted from the book

The Assassinations

Probe magazine on JFK, MLK, RFK , and Malcolm X

Edited by James DiEugenio and Lisa Pease

Feral House, 2003, paper

The RFK Plot Part I: The Grand Illusion

It is due to the success of this grand illusion that to date there has never been a serious official investigation of the strange facts surrounding this case. It is the most politically incorrect of all cases. So many people saw Sirhan firing and Kennedy falling just a short distance away. How could the truth be other than what it seemed? Could that many people have misrepresented the case to us, including Sirhan's own defense team? Could officials now serving at the higher levels of the California State government have really been accessories after the fact to a deliberate cover-up?

Ironically, as this study will show, it was the efforts of those who-by any means necessary-strove most to prove Sirhan guilty, who created the evidence that may yet serve to set him free.

Police, FBI and press photographers swarmed into the pantry, each recording in their own way what had transpired that night. The photos told a story that was opposite what the police and the District Attorney's office was telling. There were too many bullets to be accounted for. To limit the record to the maximum number of bullets Sirhan's gun could have fired, eight, the official account of what transpired had to be stretched in some extraordinary-and ultimately dishonest-ways.

One of the most ridiculed aspects of the John Kennedy assassination is the preposterous claim that one bullet created seven wounds. In that case, we are asked to believe that a bullet entered Kennedy's back at a downward angle, exited from his neck (at an upward angle), turned around and went back down into Connally's back. It then exited Connally's chest, entered and exited (and shattered) Connally's wrist to land, in near pristine condition, in his thigh, only to work its way out and to end up, undiscovered until by accident, on a cot in the hall of the hospital. This bullet, known among researchers by its Warren Commission exhibit number, CE399, has been called, appropriately, the "magic bullet." Science had been changed. No longer did bullets fly in straight paths; they imitated instead the paths of stunt pilot barnstormers such as the Great Waldo Pepper of movie fame.

The Robert Kennedy assassination requires not just one but several magic bullets to reduce the bullet count to eight. Without even getting into the evidence that there were more bullets than Sirhan's gun could hold ...

... five people were shot besides Kennedy, one of whom was shot twice; Kennedy himself was shot four times. Doesn't that add up to ten bullets?

Ten bullets (and likely more) would indicate that at least two guns were being fired in the pantry that night, and that a conspiracy had been at work. But if more guns were firing, why didn't anyone report this? Or did they?

Contrary to popular belief, there were witnesses who indicated that more than one gun had been present in the pantry that night. Consider the following statements:

"It sounded as if there was more than one gun being used at that point." -Booker Griffin to the LAPD, 7/25/68.

"After the shots, I saw to my left a guard holding a revolver." -Statement attributed to Richard Lubic in a manuscript analyzed in the LAPD files.

"But the security guard had a gun and I think he went like this [drawing a gun] or he put it in a holster or something..." -Lisa Urso to Dr. Phil Melanson.

"I'm pretty doggone sure he [a security guard] fired his gun." -Don Schulman to the DA's office in 1971, reiterating his earlier comments to a reporter on 6/5/68.

"TV reports ... Suspect shot at guard, guard shot suspect in the leg." -Intelligence Division log entry from 6/5/68, LAPD.

"Two or three seconds after Kennedy entered the kitchen, he heard eight or nine shots in quick succession. (He thought there had been two guns.)" -LAPD interview of Roy Mills, 8/9/68.

"The guy with the gun could have left. No one seemed to pay any attention." -Dame!! Johnson to LAPD, 7/24/68.

"My God, he had a gun and we let him go by." -Joseph Klein, referring to a man leaving the pantry in a hurry while Sirhan was being subdued, to LAPD, 7/3/68.

"We had reports from two of the eyewitnesses that there were two assailants involved." -Larry Scheer, KTLA live broadcast footage from 6/5/68.

This is by no means intended to represent a comprehensive list of such statements, but is included here to show that the LAPD had no reason to assume from the start that Sirhan was the only person firing in the pantry that night. There were Ace Security Guards in the room that night.

Immediately after the shooting, 20-year-old "Youth for Kennedy" volunteer Sandy Serrano saw something disturbing, and reported it immediately to both the press and the police. A recent BBC special included the video of the live interview of Sandy Serrano from this night. She was very credible, very sure of what she had heard. She told Sander Vanocur of NBC about a wild encounter she had just had. At 2:35 a.m. on June 5th, and several additional times that morning, she repeated this story to the LAPD. Earlier in the night, she had seen a young woman in a white dress with black or dark blue polka dots walking up the back stairway of the Ambassador hotel, accompanied by two men-one was wearing a white shirt and a gold sweater, the other looking dirty and out of place, "borracho," (under) 5'S", with bushy dark hair. Shortly after hearing what she assumed were backfires from a car, the woman and one of the men came back down the stairs, in an excited fashion, talking loudly. She described the encounter in this way:

She practically stepped on me, and she said, "We've shot him. We've shot him." Then I said, "Who did you shoot?" And she said, "We shot Senator Kennedy." And I says, "Oh, sure." She came running down the stairs, very fast, and then the boy in the gold sweater came running down after her, and I walked down the stairs.

Serrano's description of the third man in this group, the one who had gone up but had not come back down, bore a strong resemblance to Sirhan.


The RFK Plot Part II: Rubik's Cube

If Sirhan did not shoot Kennedy, who did? Why? And how is it that Sirhan's own lawyers did not reveal the evidence that he could not have committed the crime for which he received a death sentence?

Before one considers the above issues, one larger issue stands out. If Sirhan did not kill Kennedy, how has the cover-up lasted this long? In the end, that question will bring us closer to the top of the conspiracy than any other. No matter who was involved, if there were a will to get to the bottom of this crime, the evidence has been available. The fact that no official body has ever made the effort to honestly examine all the evidence in this case is nearly as chilling as the original crime itself, and points to a high level of what can only be termed government involvement In the history of this country and particularly the '60s, one entity stands out beyond all others as having the means, the motive, and the opportunity to orchestrate this crime and continue the cover-up to this very day. But the evidence will point its own fingers; it remains only for us to follow wherever the evidence leads.

It has often been said that a successful conspiracy requires not artful planning, but rather control of the investigation that follows. The investigation was controlled primarily by a few LAPD officers and the DA. Despite Congressman Allard Lowenstein's efforts, no federal investigation of this case has ever taken place. The Warren Commission's conclusions were subjected to intense scrutiny when their documentation was published. Evidently the LAPD wanted no such scrutiny, and simply refused to release their files until ordered to do so in the late '80s.

One of the most intriguing figures in this case has been "The Girl in the Polka-Dot Dress" who was seen with Sirhan immediately prior to the shooting, and who was subsequently witnessed running from the scene crying "We shot him! We shot him!" The LAPD tried to shut down this story by getting the two most public witnesses to retract their stories. But there were so many credible sightings of this girl that the police were forced to take a different tack. They identified first one, then a second woman as "the" girl, despite the fact that neither bore much of a resemblance to the girl described. Meanwhile, languishing unnoticed in the LAPD's own files is the name of a far more likely candidate, someone who leads to a host of suspicious characters.

Over a dozen witnesses gave similar descriptions of a girl in a polka-dot dress, who for varying reasons drew their attention. The two most famous of these were Vincent DiPierro, a waiter at the Ambassador Hotel, and Sandy Serrano, a Kennedy volunteer. DiPierro first noticed Sirhan in the pantry because of the woman he saw "following" him.

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DiPierro reported that he saw Sirhan turn to her and say something, to which she didn't reply, but smiled. He said Sirhan had a sickly smile, and said, "When she first entered, she looked as though she was sick also." He described her as Caucasian and as about 20 or 21 years old, definitely no older than 24. She was "very shapely" and was wearing a "white dress with-it looked like either black or dark violet polka dots on it and kind of a [bib-like] collar." He said her hair color was "Brown. I would say brunette," "puffed up a little" and that it came to just above her shoulders. DiPierro told the FBI that she had a peculiar-looking nose.

That same morning, Sandy Serrano had described to the LAPD a "girl in a white dress, a Caucasian, dark brown hair, about five-six, medium height ... Black polka dots on the dress" in the company of a man she later recognized as Sirhan and another man in a gold sweater. She had seen this trio walk up the back stairs to the Ambassador earlier in the night. Sometime later, the girl and the guy in the gold sweater came running down the back stairs. Serrano recalled to the LAPD this encounter:

She practically stepped on me, and she said "We've shot him. We've shot him." Then I said, "Who did you shoot?" And she said, "We shot Senator Kennedy."

So then the final question is this. Was the LAPD really so deficient? Could they really not find the girl? Amazingly, the LAPD evidence log itself contains a plausible name that may well lead to the heart of the conspiracy.

A former New York Police Department detective named Sid Shepard, then working at CBS-TV in New York as Chris Borgen, happened upon Sander Vanocur's 5 a.m. (Eastern time) interview of Sandy Serrano. He recalled a couple of people who seemed to fit the description of the polka-dot dress girl. In fact, he had observed them at a protest demonstration in New York at the United Nations building, which had been captured on 16mm film. He felt so strongly about the match that he put the film, along with a couple of blowups made from the film, onto a TWA flight for Martin Steadman of the WCBS-TV affiliate in Los Angeles. Steadman brought the film and two photos made to Rampart detectives L.J. Patterson and C.J. Hughes. These items were booked into evidence as items #69 and 70 in the evidence log for the case as follows:

#69 1 Film-l6mm roll on gry plast reel

#70 1 Photo-8" x 10" of female (1) protest demo (taken from abv film)

Photo-3" x 4" of female "Shirin Khan" with writing on back "Shirin Khan DOB 4/22/50 daughter of Khaibar Khan Goodarzian, presented flowers & court order to Shah of Iran in NY 6/1964."

That Shepard/Borgen would identify Shirin Khan as a likely candidate for the girl was positively uncanny. He could hardly have known at that point that her father had reportedly been seen with Sirhan at Kennedy headquarters just two days before the assassination, and that some campaign workers had identified Khan as a suspicious person in the Kennedy camp.

Khan was from Iran, not Turkey, and had been living in New York before he came to Los Angeles. He filled out over 20 volunteer cards (present in the SUS files) with names of "friends," always using his own address as their contact information. For this, and a more sinister reason, Isackson was not the only one suspicious of Khan. Several campaign workers said they had seen him with Sirhan.

Eleanor Severson was a campaign worker for RFK. She told the LAPD that on May 30, 1968, a man named Khaibar Khan came into Headquarters to register for campaign work. Khan claimed to have come to California from back East to help the campaign. From that day, Khan came into Headquarters every day until the election. The Sunday before the election, June 2, he brought four other foreigners (of Middle Eastern extraction) in to work as volunteers. Severson and her husband both said that Sirhan was one of these men. She remembered this group in particular because while she was registering the men, Kennedy's election-day itinerary was taken from her desk. Her husband thought Sirhan might have taken it. Severson reported seeing Sirhan again early in the afternoon of June 3, standing near the coffee machine.

Larry Strick, another Kennedy worker, confirmed this account. He said he had spoken to Sirhan in the company of Khan. When Sirhan's picture was finally shown on TV, he and Mrs. Severson called each other nearly at the same instant to talk about the fact that this was the man they both remembered from Headquarters. Strick positively ID'd Sirhan from photos as the same man he had seen on June 2nd to both the LAPD and the FBI in the days immediately following the assassination.

Khaibar Khan's father had been executed by the Shah's father when Khan was only a boy of eight. Khan might have been killed as well, but a British couple named Smiley, who worked for oil interests, had taken pity on him and removed him from the country. Khan was educated in Scotland, and in 1944 joined British military intelligence. In 1948 his Iranian title was restored, and he ran a fleet of taxicabs, trucks and operated a repair shop. He also worked for the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and maintained ties with British and American missions there. Fred Cook, who wrote about Khan's life in detail in The Nation (4/12/65 & 5/24/65), dropped this interesting piece of information:

The Khaibar Khan's role in the counter-coup that toppled Mossadegh is not quite clear, but indications are that he helped.

Was Khan working with the CIA in that operation?

Despite the Shah's father's role in Khan's father's death, Khan and the Shah became friends. The Shah even provided Khan a villa on the palace grounds. Their friendship took a turn for the worse, however, when Khan wanted to use some of the plentiful American foreign aid coming into the country for a sports arena. The Shah and his family had other plans for the land and the money, leading to a falling-out between Khan and the Shah. One day, the Shah discovered that Khan's large and lavishly equipped Cadillac El Dorado was wiretapped to the hilt, and realized that he had a major spy in his midst. Khan was warned of the Shah's discovery and fled the country. But Khan had spent years building up a powerful spy network. As Khan later told the Supreme Court:

...We put engineers, doctors, gardeners and as servants and as storemen; all educated people working in several different places. And we put a lot of secretaries; a lot of people who was educated in England. And we put them as secretaries.

Through this network, Khan noticed something interesting. Some $7 million of the sports arena's funds had been redirected to the Pahlavi Foundation, the Shah's family's personal fund. He directed his spies to find out where the money was going, to whom and what for. What his agents found was rather astonishing, and led to a most peculiar congressional investigation. He found that days before the Shah was to have an audience with President Kennedy in the U.S., six- and seven-figure checks had been cut from the Pahlavi Foundation account to a number of prominent and influential Americans. Kennedy had no great love for the Shah or his operations, and was not planning on granting the largesse the Shah was seeking. Was the Shah feathering the nest before his arrival by spreading money around? Khan's agents photocopied a batch of checks from the Shah's safe. The checks included payments to the following:

Allen Dallas [sic]: $1,000,000 Henry Luce: $500,000 David Rockefeller: $2,000,000 Mrs. Loy Henderson: $1,000,000 George V. Allen: $1,000,000 Seldin Chapin: $1,000,000

Henderson, Allen and Chapin had all served at some point as Ambassador to Iran, a role Richard Helms would later play when removed from the CIA by Richard Nixon. (Richard Helms, by the way, had been a childhood friend of the Shah. They had attended the same Swiss school in their youth.) David Rockefeller, Allen Dulles and Henry Luce had contributed to Mossadegh's overthrow, an effort double-headed by the CIA and British intelligence. The Shah's family members also received checks ranging from six to eight figures in length, the highest being a $15,000,000 check paid to Princess Farah Pahlavi. Princess Ashraf, the Shah's twin sister, came in second at $3,000,000. High-level British officials were also on the list.

... there is the question of Ace Guard Services. Ace was formed in the beginning of 1968, by Frank J. and Loretta M. Hendrix. Cesar was only hired in May of 1968, just days before the assassination. Years after the assassination, DeWayne Wolfer, the criminalist in Sirhan's case, became president of Ace under its newer name of Ace Security Services. Is this all just coincidence?

Like a Rubik's cube, this case seems to involve many small, separate players. But as you get closer to solving the puzzle, you find there are really only a few planes, all of which connect in a single, logical fashion. The conspiracy is obvious; the players semi-obvious. The motive, however, is considerably less obvious. The question of Cui Bono remains all-important: Who Benefits?

Once a supporter of Red hunter Joe McCarthy, Bobby had grown a great deal since his brother's death. He became the champion of the disenfranchised. He marched for civil rights, and lashed out at the inefficiencies in our social system. He was not a supporter of welfare handouts but of jobs for all. He was often accused of being "angry," and retorted "I am impatient. I would hope everyone would be impatient." "I think people should be angry enough to speak out." Another favorite: "It is not enough to allow dissent. We must demand it." As Richard Goodwin has written, it was the very qualities that people most appreciated that caused the establishment to loathe and fear him. The people loved a Senator who would stand up and tell it like it was, without fear, without softening rhetoric. The establishment wanted him to go away.

Bobjedy had more enemies it would seem than his brother. Where John Kennedy played the politician, Bobby Kennedy played the populist. A famous episode recounted by Richard Goodwin shows how radical Bobby had become. The State Department had threatened to cut off aid to Peru over a dispute Peru had with the International Petroleum Company, a Standard Oil subsidiary. Kennedy had been outraged at the State Department, saying, "Peru has a democratic government. We ought to be helping them succeed, not tearing them down just because some oil company doesn't like their policies." But when Kennedy was confronted with what he considered excessive antiAmericanism from a Peruvian audience, Kennedy turned the tables on them. Goodwin recounts what transpired as follows:

Irritated by the attacks, Kennedy turned on his audience. "Well, if it's so important to you, why don't you just go ahead and nationalize the damn oil company? It's your country. You can't be both cursing the U.S., and then looking to it for permission to do what you want to do. The U.S. government isn't going to send destroyers or anything like that. So if you want to assert your nationhood, why don't you just do it?"

The Peruvians were stunned at the boldness of Kennedy's suggestion. "Why, David Rockefeller has just been down here," they said, "and he told us there wouldn't be any aid if anyone acted against International Petroleum."

"Oh, come on," said Kennedy, "David Rockefeller isn't the government. We Kennedys eat Rockefellers for breakfast."

Bobby had outraged the CIA by exercising heavy oversight after the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Richard Helms, the friend of the Shah and a key MKULTRA backer, held a special animosity for Bobby Kennedy. And Bobby was the one who asked, immediately after the assassination, if the CIA had killed his brother. What might Bobby have uncovered had he been allowed to reach the office of the Presidency? Powerful factions hoped they'd never have to find out.

Kennedy himself expected tragedy for his efforts. "I play Russian roulette every time I get up in the morning," he told friends. "But I just don't care. There's nothing I could do about it anyway," the fatalist explained, adding, "This isn't really such a happy existence, is it?""

The assassination of both Kennedys guaranteed the elongation of our involvement in Vietnam, a war that personally brought Howard Hughes and everyone involved in defense contracts loads of money. Killing Bobby prevented any effective return to the policies started under John Kennedy, and prevented Bobby from opening any doors to the truth about the murder of his brother. And killing Bobby removed a thorn in the side of many in the CIA who felt he had treated them unkindly and unfairly.

Who killed Bobby? One man gave me an answer to that. I interviewed John Meier, a former bagman for Hughes and by association the CIA. Meier was one of the tiny handful of people in direct contact with Howard Hughes himself. His position gave him entrée to circles most people will never see.

Meier had worked for Hughes during the assassination, and saw enough dealings before and after the assassination to cause him to approach J. Edgar Hoover with what he knew. For example, he knew that Thane Eugene Cesar had an association with Maheu. (Maheu also had an extensive working relationship with the LAPD. This partnership produced a porno film pretending to show Indonesian president Sukarno in a compromising position with a Soviet agent.") According to Meier Hoover expressed his frustration, saying words to the effect of "Yes, we know this was a Maheu operation. People think I'm so powerful, but when it comes to the CIA, there's nothing I can do."

People will choose what they will believe. But the evidence is still present, waiting to be followed, if any entity has the fortitude to pursue the truth in this case to wherever it leads. And so long as Sirhan remains in jail, the real assassins will never be sought.

As [David] Brock says, the real horror of the moralistic New Right is that, in reality, the moral pose is a charade: they have no morals. Brock is at pains to demonstrate that their only real politics is that of destruction: the destruction o the liberal ideal of the '60s The idea that government can be a progressive force.

Jack Newfield in his book, Robert F Kennedy: 4 Memoir:

Now I realized what makes our generation unique, what defines us apart from those who came before the hopeful winter of 1961, and those who came after the murderous spring of 1968. We are the first generation that learned from experience ... that things were not really getting better, that we shall not overcome. We felt, by the time we reached thirty, that we had already glimpsed the most compassionate leaders our nation could produce, and they had all been assassinated. And from this time forward, things would get worse: our best political leaders were part of memory now, not hope...

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