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Who Killed Robert F. Kennedy?

Jimmy Hoffa and at least one of his Teamster lieutenants, Edward Partin, apparently did, in fact, discuss the planning of an assassination conspiracy against President Kennedy's brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, in July or August of 1962. Teamsters official, Frank Chavez spoke to Hoffa about murdering Robert Kennedy in early 1967, shortly before Hoffa went to Federal prison. During that incident, Hoffa reportedly sharply rebuked his aide, telling him that such a course of action was dangerous and should not be considered.

As the long-time La Cosa Nostra leader in an area that is based in New Orleans but extends throughout Louisiana and Texas, Carlos Marcello was one of the prime targets of Justice Department efforts during the Kennedy administration. He had, in fact, been temporarily removed from the country for a time in 1961 through deportation proceedings personally expedited by Attorney General Kennedy. Marcello exhibited an intense dislike for Robert Kennedy because of these actions, claiming that he had been illegally "kidnaped"by Government agents during the deportation. Marcello had to worry about the prospect of Bobby Kennedy being elected president in 1968. As president, Bobby would have the resources to finally conduct a thorough, secret investigation of JFK's death. Bobby Kennedy's friend and biographer Jack Newfield wrote that a very close relative of Carlos Marcello told a government informant "we took care of 'em (the Kennedys), didn't we?"

After winning the strategic California primary, Robert F. Kennedy was gunned down in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Robert Kennedy died 25 hours later. The gunman was Sirhan Sirhan, a Jordanian immigrant who claimed no memory of the events. It was in a crowded kitchen corridor through which Kennedy was leaving the Ambassador Hotel after addressing supporters. As he passed slowly through a packed corridor, Sirhan fired into the crowd around the Senator. Three or four of the shots struck Kennedy, apparently from in front. One struck his clothing, one or two entered his right chest superficially and another hit his head. The first doctor on the scene, Stanley Abo, found a wound behind Kennedy's right ear with a powder burn indicating a very close range shot from behind.

Eyewitness accounts led to a guilty verdict and the death sentence, but in 1972, California abolished the death penalty. Sirhan's fate reverted to life in prison. Studies of Sirhan Sirhan show that his assassination of Robert Kennedy carried with it a goal of death to himself. Sirhan went so far as to plead for the gas chamber and to refuse appeals after receiving the death sentence.

Sirhan Sirhan had few employable skills and was living at alevel far below his expectations. Sirhan was failing at work, at school, and in social life. He began to think that if he shot a national figure whom he believed to be an enemy of the Palestinians - President Lyndon Johnson, Ambassador Arthur Goldberg , or Presidential Candidate (and Senator) Robert F. Kennedy - he could achieve the status he wished for and perhaps even change the situation of the Palestinian people.

Sirhan Sirhan was strongly anti-Zionist. His diaries, though confused, repeatedly suggest that his reason for attacking Kennedy was the latter's support for Israel in the 1967 Six-day War. An entry in the diary found at Sirhan's home read, "My determination to eliminate RFK is becoming more and more of an unshakable obsession. RFK must die. RFK must be killed. Robert F. Kennedy must be assassinated...Robert F. Kennedy must be assassinated before 5 June 68." The date of the assassination was the first anniversary of the first day of the Six Day War.

Students of assassination in the U.S. have generally seen assassins and attackers of political leaders either as possessing "political" motives or as being "deranged." This is a narrow andinaccurate view of assassination. Only one subject who acted alone (Sirhan Sirhan) might be seen to have a primary political motive or have a primary interest in changing particular government policies. And even in Sirhan'scase, there is considerable evidence to suggest that his primary interest in assassinating Senator Robert F. Kennedy was to achieve notoriety. Sirhan Sirhan longed for notoriety and to change United States policy regarding the Palestinians.

In contrast to the defense experts at trial who diagnosed paranoid schizophrenia, the Rorschach test of Sirhan Sirhan suggest a depressed and suicidal individual organized at a borderline level of personality. Character pathology is hysterical, paranoid, and dependent. When the Rorschach findings are compared to the development history of Sirhan and the behavior around the time of the assassination, the data are somewhat consistent with the theme of psychic trauma, are very consistent with the theme of recurrent loss and pathological mourning, and validate a characterological distrust and hatred of, yet hysterical dependence on, the object world.

Sirhan had fired eight shots. Some of those shots struck bystanders. Mystery surrounds the fact that an armed guard close behind Kennedy had also fired a shot but his weapon was never checked by the police and the assassination-scene photographs were destroyed or lost before Sirhan's trial.

The shot that killed Kennedy entered the back of his head and had been fired at almost point-blank range but, according to all those interrogated, Sirhan had only fired from in front of Kennedy. Unless Kennedy had turned through almost 90 degrees at the instant he was shot, and there is no evidence for that, it is difficult to see how Sirhan's shot could have been responsible for Kennedy's mortal injury. It is even more difficult to see how the guard's shot could be disregarded as the fatal one. Not surprisingly, the autopsy report of Dr. Thomas Noguchi, Coroner and Chief Medical Examiner of Los Angeles County, was carefully worded: "Until more is precisely known.the existence of a second gunman remains a possibility. Thus, I have never said that Sirhan killed Robert Kennedy."

Did the security guard in fact fire the deadly shot? Was the shot deliberate and who else might have wanted Kennedy dead? Was the guard aiming at Sirhan? Why were details and materials of the police enquiry hidden or lost? The enigma persists.

Sirhan perpetually owed gambling debts & often did odd jobs for low level crime figures. He hung around California race tracks whose betting operations were connected to Carlos Marcello, apparently the leading candidate for authoring the JFK assasination. Thane Cesar, the security guard who escorted Kennedy through the hotel kitchen where he was shot. Cesar was not the hotel's usual security guard; he was temporarily hired to fill in for the day of June 5; he had strong ties to a San Diego mobster (later imprisoned for skimming race-track revenues) & associate of Mickey Cohen. The fact that bullets from the Sirhan weapon had not been legally connected to the weapon at trial, and the fact that the bullet that actually killed Kennedy was so damaged and fragmentedthat it was impossible to ever scientifically link the murder bullet to any weapon, all added fuel to the growing controversy.

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Page last modified: 22-11-2013 00:03:31 ZULU