"I now fully realize that only the powers of the Presidency will reveal the secrets of my brother's death."

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Basic Facts

For the purpose of this site, the basic facts of the RFK assassination are as follows. On June 5, 1968, RFK was shot in a narrow kitchen pantry of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles following a reception held there to celebrate his victory in the California Democratic Presidential primary. Due to RFK's insistence, there was no police presence - uniformed or otherwise - at the reception. 1 Security consisted of Rosy Grier, Rafer Johnson, and William Barry. Grier and Johnson are African-American. After giving a short speech, RFK and his entourage attempted to depart from the hotel through the kitchen pantry. While attempting to do so, RFK, as well as five others, were shot. Only RFK died. At least seventy seven people were in the pantry at the time when RFK was shot. The five people closest to RFK at the time of the shooting all identified Sirhan as the assassin, as did at least six others. All but one testified that the shots were fired from somewhere between two feet and three yards. 2 RFK died the next day. The fatal wound resulted from a shot from a .22 caliber pistol to the head that entered the mastoid bone an inch behind the right ear and traveled upward to sever branches of the superior cerebral artery. 3 Sirhan was subdued by several members of RFK's entourage, and the murder weapon ended up in Rafer Johnson's possession. The first LAPD Officers to arrive at the scene were Travis White and Arthur Placencia. When White demanded that Johnson turn over the pistol, Johnson refused, saying that he would turn it over at the police station. 4

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The evidence that Sirhan was the triggerman is to say the least overwhelming. The number of eyewitnesses was noted above. It is important to note that one of the at least seventy seven people in the pantry was George Plimpton, an accomplished writer. He was not merely a political supporter of RFK, but also a personal friend. 5 Plimpton was one of the witnesses closest to RFK when the shooting started, and risked his life to help wrest the murder weapon away from Sirhan. There is a very good photograph of him doing so - one of the other at least seventy six people in the pantry was a photographer who was taking pictures. Plimpton's wife was also present, and also at risk. The assertion here is that there is no way that Plimpton would give a fictitious account of the assassination in order to exculpate a guilty perpetrator. In addition to the eyewitnesses, there is an obvious motive. Sirhan was a displaced Palestinian who, along with his family, lost out when Israel became a nation. He was traumatized as a very young child from witnessing some of the action in the fight for the right of Israel to exist as an autonomous state up close and personal. 6 There is no question that Sirhan was rabidly anti-Zionistic, and there is no question that RFK supported the existence of Israel as a nation. A newspaper clipping from the Pasadena Independent Star News that noted RFK's support for Israel was in Sirhan's possession when he was arrested after the assassination. 7 Furthermore, there is evidence of premeditation. Sirhan's trash collector testified that Sirhan had indicated that he intended to kill RFK. 8 There were also notebooks found in Sirhan's bedroom that contained handwriting matching his that demonstrated premeditation. These notebooks contained statements such as "RFK must die" that were written repeatedly. 9 Sirhan acknowledges that the handwriting contained in these notebooks is his, but claims not to remember writing in them. The entries in the notebooks date from two to three weeks before the assassination. Moreover, it is clear that Sirhan stalked RFK. 10 The murder weapon was traced to Sirhan. 11 It is should be noted here that the murder weapon held eight rounds, that all eight were expended, and that there were a total of eight wounds to the six victims. 12 Thus, the arithmetic is good. There is a persistent rumor that an additional gunman was involved who shot unseen and unheard from some other vantage point. There will be more on this later, but such a scenario - unlikely on its face - is rendered almost impossible due to the fact that so many people were in the pantry and nobody saw or heard (not even echoes) another shooter combined with the fact that the additional shooter would have to have fired and hit exactly as many times as Sirhan fired and missed. At his trial, when asked by his lawyer whether he killed RFK, Sirhan replied, "Yes, sir." 13 This evidentiary weight of this confession is, of course, undermined by the fact that Sirhan claimed not to remember shooting RFK. In sum, the numerous eyewitnesses, the undeniable existence of a motive, the prior possession of the murder weapon, the rock solid evidence of premeditation, and a confession, even if only half-fast, leave no doubt that Sirhan shot RFK, let alone a reasonable one.

Hypnosis

There was very good evidence that Sirhan was hypnotized when he perpetrated the assassination. First note that Vincent DiPierro, a waiter at the Ambassador, said Sirhan had a strange smile on his face. 14 When asked what stuck out in his mind about the assassination, he said, "That stupid smile on his face.... It was kind of like an envious smile, like, ah, you know, villainous. I don't know how to describe it." 15 This was shortly before the assassination. Compare that description with the following. After noting that Sirhan had "peaceful eyes" immediately after the shooting, 16 George Plimpton testified at the trial that "[he] struck me ... as compared to the rest of us, enormously composed." 17 In the words of Robert Blair Kaiser, his testimony gave "a bit" of corroboration to the contention that SS killed while in a trance. 18 The writer's reason for assigning credibility to Plimpton has been previously stated. If indeed Sirhan was in a trance when he assassinated RFK, his culpability would at least be reduced. Plimpton would therefore not say anything to that effect unless he thought it was true. The contention that Sirhan was in a trance is supported by the following additional evidence. Randolph Adair, LAPD said, "The guy was real confused. It was like it didn't exactly hit him what he had done. He had a blank, glassed-over look on his face - he wasn't in complete control of his mind at the time. 19 Arthur Placencia (White's partner) said that Sirhan's pupils did not react to a flashlight being shined into them at all. Bernard Diamond, a forensic psychiatrist and expert witness for the defense at Sirhan's trial, placed Sirhan under hypnosis while Sirhan was incarcerated, and noted, inter alia, two things: 1) that Sirhan "went under" easily; and 2) that Sirhan "came out from under" looking much like LAPD Officer Adair descried Sirhan shortly after his arrest. 20 From the ease with which Sirhan went under can be inferred that he had been previously hypnotized at least at some point, and from the fact that he resembled Adair's description while Diamond (and others) observed Sirhan coming out from under can be inferred that he was also recently out from under when Adair had contact with him.

Sirhan probably would have been a good subject for hypnosis. As has been noted, Sirhan was traumatized as a young boy when he witnessed action in the fight for Israel's independence at close range. According to testimony at his trial, after seeing certain events as a very young child, he ""lapsed into a trance, his body stiffened, his fists clenched, and his mouth became contorted ...." 21 This would seem to qualify as trauma, and according to at least one researcher, some of those who suffer it learn to escape into numbness; i.e., they dissociate. Dissociaters apparently are more susceptible to hypnosis than are many. 22

There are at least several reasons to have hypnotized Sirhan. One is to have induced him to act upon his anger and decide to actually assassinate RFK. Another is to have gotten Sirhan "nerved up" so as not to have backed off when the moment to assassinate arrived. Yet another is to have induced Sirhan to write the three notebooks mostly in attempt to eliminate the fact that RFK was pro-labor as a motive. Still another is to have induced Sirhan to behave in a manner that resembled the way Oswald behaved. The Warren Report was not exactly well received. The behavior of Sirhan resembled the Warren Report's version of the way Oswald behaved . The invited inference is that the Warren Report could be truthful. A final reason to have hypnotized Sirhan is to lend credence to the "Manchurian Candidate" view of Oswald.

Thus, expert opinion that Sirhan was in fact hypnotized and lay observation consistent with expert opinion is bolstered by the existence of motives to hypnotize and Sirhan's susceptibility to hypnosis. Note that the LAPD tried very hard to make a connection between Sirhan and somebody who might have been a hypnotist. 23 Accordingly, the analysis that follows begins with accepting that Sirhan perpetrated the assassination while hypnotized. The writer labors under the disability of not being a hypnotist, and is therefore not an expert. The assertion that nobody can be hypnotically induced to do something he does not want to do is accepted, but solely for the purpose of the ensuing analysis. Note that there are at least several opinions to the contrary. Furthermore, many jurisdictions have rules against testimony developed under hypnosis. The reason for this proscription has to be that such testimony is unreliable due to the risk of falsity. It seems to follow that the ability to "plant" a false memory would enable the planting of a false motive. For example, a subject might have no interest whatsoever in killing John Doe unless he was induced to believe that he was having an affair with the subject's wife, even though John Doe was not. (Indeed, it seems that one guilty of a crime might find it advantageous to have any witnesses hypnotized so as to be half way home in excluding their testimony.)

Accepting that Sirhan was under hypnosis has interesting ramifications. There are three basic possibilities. One is that he hypnotized himself. This is in fact what his defense team purported to conclude, although Robert Blair Kaiser had his doubts. Another basic possibility, obviously, is that somebody else hypnotized him. Two facts would follow if this second possibility is correct. One is that the hypnotist was complicit in the assassination. The second is that the motive of the hypnotist need not have been the same as Sirhan's. A third possibility is that both of the first and second basic possibilities are correct. The criminal justice system has an obvious interest in ignoring the second and third possibilities - an acquittal based upon either would result in the prosecution being required to disprove it in a myriad of other criminal cases.

There was certainly evidence that supported the defense's conclusion that Sirhan hypnotized himself. He had in his possession some literature from the Rosicrucians that gave instructions on how to self-hypnotize. He stated to Diamond while under hypnosis that he had hypnotized himself. 24 And there is historical precedent for self-hypnosis. See especially Rasputin. There are, however, two remarkable things about Diamond's position with regard to who hypnotized Sirhan. First is that the his conclusion in no way exculpated Sirhan . Indeed, it did not even mitigate his culpability. It must be wondered why the defense even put it into evidence. The second is that it discarded completely the possibility that Sirhan did hypnotize himself, but that somebody else did, too. Why they would do this when this possibility was certainly at least mitigating and arguably completely exculpatory is baffling.

This is especially so in light of the following. RFK was the second Kennedy to be openly and notoriously assassinated. There are those who understand that coincidence is a statistical anomaly, and are thus skeptical of coincidence in general. Certainly one possible motive common to both assassinations is that both of the Kennedy victims were pro-labor. What a coincidence! One of Sirhan's notebooks contained the following passage: "Workers of the world unite." 25 This is an old slogan of the Communist dominated International Workers of the World, and goes way back to the early Karl Marx. Sirhan had no Communist affiliations, and he had no union contacts of any sort. 26 The passage thus sticks out like a sore thumb, and was almost certainly included not because it was heartfelt by Sirhan, but rather to seemingly eliminate the labor motive common to both the JFK and RFK assassinations. Now why would anybody with a different motive want to do that?

Plimpton and Johnson

So who did hypnotize Sirhan? Let's defer the answer for the time being. Now we get to the truly disgusting stuff. The fact - or, at least, what is accepted as fact here - that Sirhan was hypnotized is not even the "hinkiest" thing about the assassination. That dishonor belongs to Rafer Johnson and LAPD Officer Travis White. Recall that at RFK's insistence, LAPD had no presence at the Ambassador . Travis White was the first LAPD cop to respond. When he arrived at the scene, Rafer Johnson had the murder weapon in his possession. White demanded the gun. Johnson refused to turn it over, and it remained in his possession for approximately six hours, much of which was spent outside the surveillance of police. Keep in mind that if things were as everybody says - i.e., there was no police presence at the reception - then for all White knew Johnson was the assassin. In any event, that was how Johnson came to be in the chain of custody of the murder weapon in (claims with regard to the O.J. Simpson trial notwithstanding) was arguably the case of the century . 27

It is time to focus upon two members of RFK's entourage. First is George Plimpton. George Plimpton wrote a book entitled Paper Lion. It was first published in book form in 1966, but parts of it appeared earlier in a two piece article in Sports Illustrated . Plimpton actually participated in the 1963 Detroit Lions' training camp in order to write the book. Playing defensive tackle for the Lions at that time was Roger Brown, a partly black man with a very light complexion. Plimpton wrote of Brown's lament that once when he was in North Carolina, a black woman would not date him because he was too light skinned. Plimpton wrote:

...[Roger Brown] said that once in North Carolina, during the exhibition season, a Negro girl had refused him for a date because he was too light. "So you get it both ways," he said. Night Train [Lane] said from the bed, "Yo' don' think maybe yo' three hunnert pounds had somethin' to do with this girl bein' bawky?" "She didn't say nothing about the poundage," Brown said - "only the color of the poundage." (Emphases in original.) 28

The clear implication of what Plimpton wrote about Roger Brown is that there are at least some black women who disliked white men solely because of the color of their skin. That this statement had an impact upon black America can be seen from the literature of two prominent authors - Malcolm X and Florynce Kennedy. Not coincidentally, the literary efforts of both of these two authors contain references to the assassination of JFK. 29 In his autobiography, Malcolm X expended a lot of effort to detail black fashions that he asserted were attempts to emulate white characteristics. In Color Me Flo, Florynce Kennedy also wrote about the black preference for members of the black race who possessed white traits. The primary focus in both was on hair. Black efforts to straighten naturally curly hair were pointed to by both Malcolm X and Florynce Kennedy not merely as the black style of the times, but rather as indicative of the black desire to emulate white. 30 Florynce Kennedy used her grandmother as an example of somebody who was color conscious. Her grandmother is reported to have hated her (Florynce's) father because he was black, even though her grandmother herself had married a black man with a very dark complexion. 31 Perhaps this is the type of analysis to be expected of a lawyer who does not condemn prostitutes,32 but who does condemn lawyers because they are dishonest prostitutes. 33 The concept of lighter black complexion was referred to by blacks as "high yellow." Implicit in the concept is a purported superiority of blacks who are "more white." It runs directly contrary to Plimpton's report in Paper Lion, and invites the conclusion that Brown was wrong in concluding that it was "the color of the poundage." It seems to have lasted exactly as long as the ripple effect of Roger Brown's lament. Its duration and logical contrariness strongly suggest that it was motivated by perceived political expediency. The fact that the concept certainly did not spill over into areas such as speech patterns and vocabulary mandates concluding that "high yellow" was only ever a myth. Note that Malcolm X mentioned Dinah Washington several times, and Malcolm X described his relationship with her as "great friends." 34 Dinah Washington was Dick Lane's wife, and he was nicknamed "Night Train" due to a song that she made famous. It is easy to read her prominent mention as an attempt on Malcolm X's part to preempt Plimpton.

It is no coincidence that George Plimpton was a member of RFK's entourage during his run to capture the Democratic nomination for President in 1968. The pro-labor RFK obviously felt that the only way to get the anti-labor black vote was by intimidation.

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Now shift the focus to the previously mentioned Rafer Johnson. Johnson was supposed to be a friend of RFK's, having initially met him in 1961 when he received the People to People award as Athlete of the Year. The guest speaker was RFK. He subsequently spent a week as a guest in the RFK household, and later involved himself in both the Special Olympics and the Peace Corps. 35 He certainly appeared to be a friend. An illuminating incident occurred not long before the assassination. This is how Johnson described it:

At times the mobs were more hostile than adoring. One evening in Oakland stands out. The packed auditorium was dominated by Black Panthers.... When the meeting ended I tried to reason informally with people. Some listened, some argued, some stood defiantly silent. I responded cautiously, knowing that any careless statement could ignite a violent outburst. At one point I realized, to my horror, that the entire campaign staff had left without me. This was more than an inconvenience; the atmosphere was so tense that anything could happen. Fortunately, Bobby discovered my absence while crossing the Bay Bridge and sent a car back to get me. I was never so relieved in my life.36

Johnson's "caution" is best explained by another of his statements:

"The militant tactics of Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, Angela Davis, and Malcolm X seemed divisive and destructive. Still, I was glad they were around. They dared to utter truths that others could not, and their fervor accelerated the process of social change. The larger society might have never awakened if those fierce, threatening voices had not been raised." 37

Note that no members of the Black Panther Party were included in the list of those who employed divisive and destructive tactics but nonetheless earned Johnson's approval. So how exactly does everybody in a campaign staff forget about a figure as prominent as Rafer Johnson?

Now let's see what we have so far. First, Rafer Johnson was among those who provided security. Second, security obviously failed. The two statements immediately preceding establish the theoretical possibility that the failure was intentional. Third, it is unlikely that Johnson was truly aligned with RFK. Fourth, there were motives for the failure to have been deliberate. Two motives were the traditional black anti-labor animus and the resentment of RFK's attempted intimidation with regard to Black racism. Fifth, although it is possible that Sirhan anticipated the route, it is also possible that he was informed of what it would be in advance. Sixth, there is Johnson's undeniably bizarre behavior with regard to the murder weapon. Finally, added to all the above, the murder weapon was altered. The alteration is virtually certain to have resulted from it being test fired so many times, but it was nonetheless altered. 38 Given these facts, it is exceedingly strange that there has never been any inquiry into the role of Rafer Johnson on the evening of the assassination.

These considerations all existed when the House Select Committee on Assassinations made the decision to investigate the assassinations of JFK and Martin Luther King, Jr. for the purpose of dispelling persistent rumors surrounding them. The committee elected not to investigate the assassination of RFK, purportedly in order to limit congressional spending. Given the amounts Congress has spent on much less important investigations, this justification is obviously hooey. A moment's thought reveals the real reason. The fact that both JFK and RFK were pro labor and both assassinated would have required some explanation. Moreover, given the positions of JFK, RFK and James R. Hoffa vis-a-vis the secondary boycott, the HSCA would have required to provide still more explanation, and the WWW admonition "Workers of the world unite" in Sirhan's notebook looks infinitely more like a cover-up than an exhortation. A close look at Rafer Johnson, whatever his role in the RFK assassination, would reveal the anti-labor bias of all of black America, 39 and thus erode any assertion that J. Edgar Hoover ever really had it in for Martin Luther King, Jr., let alone conspired to kill him, as proponents of "Zorro" would have the public believe. And - wouldn't you know it - Hoffa was petrified of black fellow prisoners while he was incarcerated. 40 Not surprisingly, the fact that black America and the FBI were anti-labor allies is conspicuously absent from the HSCA's reasoning for rejecting Zorro. Additionally, George Plimpton would have appeared before the committee, and Roger Brown's lament might have received some attention. "Joe the Plumber" might well have objected to his tax dollars being used to subsidize those who not only undermined his bargaining power, but also hated him due to the color of his skin.

The Trial

Now let's proceed to the trial of Sirhan. To begin to fathom the sympathy for the victim in this case, consider the following facts. RFK was the second Kennedy to be assassinated, and this in the wake of some of what was at best very bad luck with regard to the deaths of Joseph Jr. and Kathleen. He was the closest thing to a hero that working class America had. His speech in the wake of the Martin Luther King assassination is universally credited with the absence of ensuing racial violence there. The photograph taken by Boris Yaro of RFK immediately after he'd been shot should be required viewing for all public school adolescents. He was on a political roll, having just won the California Democratic Presidential primary. Although it is possible for presidential candidates to lose their home states (see especially Al Gore, hmm ...), he was a shoo-in to win New York. To say that many Americans viewed RFK with sympathy is an understatement. Then Sirhan was photographed before a hearing with a big smile on his face. And this in addition to the anti-Zionist Mohammed Taki Mahdi called RFK a carpetbagger 41 and "morally wrong" for his support of Israel. 42 Small wonder, then, that Robert Blair Kaiser described Sirhan as the "best hated man in America." 43

One might think that a determination of guilt would be the only item on any prosecutorial agenda, but even Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Lynn Compton stated to the LAPD that there was another, being quoted as saying one of his ancillary purposes was to "restore public faith in law enforcement." 44 Other ancillary purposes were quite plain. From a political science point of view, the starting point with regard to an ancillary agenda is the fact that Sirhan was the most hated man in America. Accordingly, there would be many who would find anything that was good for Sirhan objectionable. In simplest terms, the majority of Americans hated Sirhan, and Sirhan liked anti-Zionism. Therefore the majority of Americans became - if they were not already - Zionists. As noted by those who attempted to refute the assignment of anti-Zionism as Sirhan's motive, virtually every American politician since 1948 has supported Israel, and so too did the judge and prosecution team in Sirhan's trial and the publicity preceding it. It does, however, at least look like some information was withheld at the trial. Most interestingly, during the course of trial preparation, Sirhan suggested that his lawyer that negotiate a deal under which Sirhan would be extradited to Jordan (almost certainly meant "granted asylum in Jordan") in return for him "not blowing the top off this thing." 45 This indicates that Sirhan thought he knew something that would "blow the top of that whole thing" (as well as explaining why he may have thought he could get away with assassinating RFK in front of seventy-seven people). Maybe he really did. Whatever it was that Sirhan thought he knew was not used to demonstrate that he was suffering from diminished capacity at the time he killed RFK.46 That's a very curious omission. His lawyer is reported to have ultimately decided that sometime after the trial Sirhan could use whatever he thought he knew to leverage some type of prisoner exchange. 47 That makes it sound like he might really have known something. At one point during the trial, Sirhan attempted to fire his lawyers and represent himself. This attempt was thwarted by the judge, who at one point threatened to muzzle Sirhan while he was in the courtroom. 48 That also makes it sound like Sirhan might really have known something.

The second political objective is pertains to psychiatry. As noted by several elements of the media, psychiatry was on trial as well as Sirhan. Sirhan interposed the defense of diminished capacity, alleging that he was mentally ill as well as hypnotized at the time he committed the assassination. Thus, there was a substantial amount of testimony at the trial from psychiatrists. The testimony of two of them is particularly noteworthy. First is that of Martin Schorr. Schorr opined at trial that:

By killing Kennedy, Sirhan kills his father, takes his place as the heir to his mother. The process of acting out this problem can only be achieved in a psychotic, insane state of mind. Essentially, the more he railed and stormed, the more the mother protected Sirhan from his father, and the more he withdrew into her protection. He hated his father and feared him. He would never consciously entertain the idea of doing away with him, but somewhere along the line the protective mother fails her son. The mother finally lets down the son. She, whom he loved never kept her pledge and now his pain had to be repaid with pain. Since the unconscious always demands the maximum penalties, the pain has to be death. Sirhan's prime problem becomes a conflict between instinctual demand for his father's death and the realization through his conscious that killing his father is not socially acceptable. The only real solution is to look for a compromise. He does. He finds a symbolic replica of his father in the form of Kennedy, kills him, and also removes the relationship that stands between him and his most precious possession - his mother's love.49

The prosecutor correctly noted that much of the language of Schorr's report was taken from a report made by another psychiatrist for another subject, and basically accused Schorr of plagiarism.50 Sirhan's counsel, Grant Cooper, purported to be embarrassed by the similarity of language used. Of course, what Cooper certainly and quite obviously should have done was note that Schorr was not writing a doctoral thesis, and that the courtroom was not the setting for concerns about plagiarism, and further that even if plagiarism were a legitimate concern in the realm of testimony at a criminal trial, its probative value was greatly outweighed by its prejudicial effect, and further still that even if plagiarism was a legitimate concern the courtroom setting and its probative value was not greatly outweighed by its prejudicial effect, the similar language was indicative of more than one shrink thinking along the lines of his expert. He would thus have gotten two opinions for the price of one, and whatever increase credibility that went along. His failure to do so permitted Schorr's "plagiarism" to exacerbate the apparent absurdity of the use of Oedipus in this situation in the first instance. The defense's argument for diminished capacity was thus easily rejected by the jury as well as the public, and Freud's notion of the Oedipus complex was discredited. By implication, so too was Freud's notion of the Electra complex.

The third political objective was to induce those "in the know" to infer that the Mafia was the culprit behind the hypnosis. Although it was clear that Grant Cooper was going to represent Sirhan, he was not part of the defense team until after his client Maurice Friedman was convicted in the Friars Club card cheating scandal case. One of the co-defendants was Johnny Roselli, a purported Chicago Mafia figure, who was also convicted, and received a sentence of five years. Because the Friars Club defendants were tried together, Cooper has been associated in the minds of many with Roselli. Indeed there are at least several erroneous reports on various websites that Cooper represented Roselli. There is no question that Cooper's trial tactics were deficient. In fact, Roselli's current lawyer has accused him of throwing the case. This accusation is at least plausible. Cooper presented evidence and argued that the reason Sirhan murdered RFK was anti-Zionism. As Sirhan's co-counsel Emile Berman noted, "This makes it a political assassination, and that's no defense to murder." 51 The Marin Schorr fiasco has already been noted. However, what is most difficult to understand is how Cooper thought self-hypnosis was even mitigating. What was his theory, that Sirhan was hypnotizing himself to kill RFK, then went to the Ambassador at the right time at the right place with a gun and was inadvertently hypnotized by the noise and lighting while there? An obvious inference is that Cooper was covering for whoever did the hypnotizing, and his association with Roselli invites the inference that it was the Mafia who did the hypnotizing.

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Hooey. In what must have been either a fugue or some sort of fit of honesty, Dr. Eric Marcus (a psychiatrist for the prosecution) testified - under oath - that "once you achieve a position of political power, you are considered sane by definition, since you run the show and hire and fire the psychiatrists." 52 What follows is an illustration of the correctness of Marcus's opinion. The focus here will be on two occurrences: first, the notorious so-called Appalachin Conference; and second, Johnny Roselli's request for a time cut. The so-called Apalachin Conference occurred in Apalachin, New York at the residence of Joseph Barbara. Reportedly, around one hundred people attended, many of whom had criminal records and were driving expensive cars with out-of-state plates. For whatever reason, law enforcement raided the premises. Here is how one author described the scene:

The sight of all those gangsters - in silk pinstripe suits, wide-brimmed hats, tailor-made shirts, expensive hand-painted ties, and pointy shoes - running like hell for the pine woods around Barbara's home was a memorable spectacle for those who watched it.... Some of the hoodlums ran down a road which led to a washed-out bridge and were caught there. One had to be gingerly picked out of a barbed-wire fence.
53

Twenty-seven attendees ultimately faced conspiracy to obstruct justice charges, and twenty were convicted. All convictions were reversed on appeal. The appellate court said, "There is nothing on the record of the trial to show that any violation of federal or state law took place or was planned at the gathering ...." 54 Expressed in mathematical terms, slapstick + mock trial = show.

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As comical as the Appalachin Conference was, Roselli's request for a time cut is still more so. First, though, here is a bit about "Handsome Johnny." Roselli apparently really did bootleg liquor for Al Capone. 55 In 1924, he relocated to Los Angeles for a climate that was more tuberculosis friendly. 56 In 1933, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees struck the motion picture industry, and Roselli was hired by the motion picture industry to ensure that replacement laborers could successfully cross the picket lines. 57 Roselli was successful, and the IATSE's subsequently lost nearly all of its membership. 58 The Alliance (i.e., the IATSE) rebounded when Roselli subsequently took over the supervision of its activities in Los Angeles. 59 The motion picture industry was favorably disposed towards its resurrection. 60 Membership grew dramatically, especially after a regional strike of some 500 Paramount movie theaters took place.61 The Roselli years were marked by static or declining wages, 62 as well as two percent taken out of every worker's pay for "strike insurance." 63 In 1937, a newly-amalgamated rival union (Federated Motion Picture Crafts (FMPC))struck, and Roselli was credited with orchestrating its defeat. 64 The FMPC accused the IATSE of being a company union. The press no doubt helped defeat the FMPC by alleging that communists had infiltrated the FMPC, as well as refuting allegations that the IATSE was a company union. 65

It is possible to see the origin of the "Mafia" from these facts. It certainly looks like those who accused the IATSE of being in cahoots with the movie studios had the right of it. Suppose the union bargained with the studios, appeared to get some concessions from them, and then covertly gave most of the money back. Any accusation against the IATSE and the studios would occasion the need to account for the money that was given back to the studios. "Organized crime" would provide the necessary scapegoat.

On March 3, 1967, Jack Anderson wrote that there existed an "unconfirmed report that RFK may have approved an assassination plot which then possibly backfired against his brother." 66 Purportedly, the assassination plot was the Mafia scheme to kill Castro, which purportedly backfired when Castro learned the CIA was behind it. 67 This unconfirmed report was made to Anderson by Edward P. Morgan, Roselli's lawyer, who purportedly received his information from Roselli. Neither Roselli's nor Morgan's name was mentioned in Anderson's article at that point. About two years later, Roselli was convicted for his role in the Friars Club card cheating scandal. When his conviction and five year sentence were upheld on appeal, he purportedly sought CIA intervention on his behalf. When it became clear that none was forthcoming, his lawyers arranged a press conference. The press asked the questions to Roselli's lawyer, the lawyer asked Roselli, Roselli answered the lawyer, and the lawyer conveyed the answer to the press. The crux of Roselli's story was that he had participated in an attempt on Castro's life while with the Mafia and in tandem with the CIA. 68 Roselli's lawyer used the same information provided at the press conference in an attempt to get Roselli's sentence reduced, but the judge, who was skeptical in any event, reasoned that even if Roselli's story were true, attempting an assassination was hardly grounds for a reduction of sentence. 69 Well, hello! So why would Roselli's lawyers ever assert it as grounds. And what about the classified nature of what purported to be information? Why were there no repercussions for divulgence? As yet, Roselli himself had yet to say anything about the matter publicly. He finally did so before the Church Committee, on two different occasions. Acutely interestingly, the committee chose to regard him as the "burning bush," rather than as a felon recently convicted of a crime of dishonesty. 70 It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Roselli, his lawyers, Jack Anderson, and the Church committee were laying the groundwork for Robert Blakey's (chief counsel for the HSCA) opinion that the Mafia was responsible for the assassination of JFK. Note that this conclusion squares perfectly with the fact that J. Edgar Hoover acknowledged the existence of a Mafia, an existence that he had always denied, at exactly the right time to begin laying the blame for JFK's death upon it. The so-called Mafia did not do it!

Taking Stock

Now then, let's look at some things that must be believed for the current explanation of RFK's assassination is what really happened:

  1. That the assassinations of the three most pro-labor figures of their era were coincidental, and especially that they had nothing to do with their positions vis-a-vis the secondary boycott.
  2. That the House Select Committee on Assassinations really did want to limit congressional spending when it opted not to investigate the assassination of RFK.
  3. That either Hoffa either was not afraid of black inmates while he was incarcerated, or that he was afraid of them but for a reason other than their attitude toward those in a position to affect a secondary boycott.
  4. That Walter Crowe (see footnote 26) really embraced Communism, and that he was able to induce Sirhan to at least become pro-worker if not a full-fledged Communist in a single meeting notwithstanding not having seen him in two years.
  5. That the RFK camp really did forget about Rafer Johnson when they left him at the auditorium in Oakland, rather than deliberately left him due to a combination of the fact that they were displeased with his "toned down" remarks plus a desire to demonstrate that Johnson was in no danger whatsoever from these "radicals";
  6. With regard to the murder weapon, I predict that once Arthur Placencia dies, his assertion that Johnson refused to turn over the gun to LAPD Officer Travis White will die with him. (Note that no account of the refusal appears in either Rafer Johnson's book or the FBI report that was prepared as part of the Kranz investigation.) If so, then we apparently must believe that the LAPD forgot to ask for the weapon at the scene, and that Johnson forgot to turn it over to them until approximately six hours after the assassination, as Johnson says in his book.
  7. That Sirhan was not told what the most likely exit route was going to be, but rather correctly guessed it himself.
  8. The timing of the binding and muzzling of Booby Seales' during his trial in Chicago as compared to the threat of the same in Sirhan's trial was mere coincidence.

That's way too much to take on faith.

So who did hypnotize Sirhan? Somebody who was anti-labor. The "Workers of the world" passage in Sirhan's notebooks is so out of character that it sticks out much worse than a sore thumb - rather more like a huge red flag. As has been stated previously, it looks infinitely more like cover-up than exhortation. When combined with RFK's (and JFK's and Hoffa's) pro-labor proclivities, it is difficult to conclude otherwise. It is at least interesting to note that Bobby Seale was bound and gagged at his trial in Chicago solely for disruptive behavior little more than a half year after Sirhan's trial. See, the fact that Sirhan's judge threatened to muzzle him just means that Sirhan was being disorderly, not that he knew something that would "blow the lid off this thing." Seale ended up in Congress. There was certainly way more than merely enough black involvement in the assassination to warrant the investigation of elements of Black America for sealing Bobby's tomb. Robert Blakey's (current professor of law at the University of Notre Dame and drafter of the RICO statute) failure to do so is obviously political and obviously anti-labor, regardless of who hypnotized Sirhan, or even regardless of whether Sirhan was hypnotized at all.

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Footnotes