The Killing of RFK: Was Sirhan Programmed?
[Editor's Note: in Part I of this article, Martin Porter examined the well-documented body of ballistics evidence pointing to the conclusion that Sirhan Sirhan could not have acted alone in the assassination of Robert F. kennedy.]
The ballistics evidence is overwhelming: Sirhan B. Sirhan, the Palestinian immigrant pinned as the lone assassin of Presidential hopeful Robert Kennedy for over seven years now. did not act alone. Many forensic experts and ballistics experts nationwide agree that there had to be a "second gun."
Then what happened? Who really was to blame? These, and many other questions, remain unanswered. It has been left up to a small band of dedicated investigators, working against concentrated efforts to lay the matter to rest. to come up with the truth.
Such a group, the Campaign for Democratic Freedoms (CDF), headed by Donald Freed, novelist and a founding member of Mark Lane's Citizen's Commission of Inquiry (CCI), has come up with new information and theories that shed light on the Robert Kennedy assassination and its subsequent cover-up by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).
According to the CDF, a fellow inmate of Sirhan's at San Quentin, Ronald Wood, wrote a letter to Nevada Assemblyman Dan Demers, stating he had learned new details of the Kennedy assassination from Sirhan. Investigators searched throughout the prison system for Wood, but days later he was found stabbed to death in the Canon City, Nevada State Penitentiary. California prison officials explained that Wood, a "valued informant," had been transferred to Nevada for his "own protection."
However, Nevada officials claim they were never instructed to take special precautions to protect Wood. Both prison systems insist that Wood's 'murder had nothing to do with his connection with Sirhan. They speculate that the murder was "narcotic-related," although no drugs were found on Wood s body, nor on the person of any of the five inmate suspects now being held in isolation for the killing.
Wood's mysterious death has led CDF investigators to possible CIA connections with the Kennedy assassination. The organization claims that a $25,000 murder contract had been issued on the life of Sirhan.
Further investigation by the CDF has uncovered that the Los Angeles Police Department ( LAPD) investigation, code named "Special Unit Senator," was run by three men with close CIA ties: then-District Attorney and former Office of Strategic Services (OSS) agent Evelle J. Younger: Special Unit Senator's highest ranking officer, Manuel Pena, who came out of retirement to head up the conspiracy aspects of the case (actually the CDF contends he had been at a CIA police training school outside Washington, D.C. ); and Lieutenant Enrique Hernandez, who has been associated with the CIA since 1963, when he played a key role in the Latin American "Unified Police Command" training for the CIA.
These three men had been selected to head the SUS task force whose job was to "establish the existence or non-existence of a criminal conspiracy."
The CDF contends that Hernandez 's main assignment was to discredit numerous eyewitness reports that Sirhan was accompanied by a woman in a "polka dot dress" who may have been an accomplice to the murder.
In an interview with KMPC radio reporter Art Kenin, retired LAPD officer Paul Schraga claimed that at the scene of the murder he saw a woman in a "polka dot dress" run past him, yelling, "We shot him, we killed Kennedy!" Shraga says he broadcast a description of the woman for two hours over the police radio until he was told by a superior, "We got our man. Let's not make a federal case out of it."
Among the evidence "missing" from LAPD files, along with the ceiling panels, is Shraga's report of this incident.
The CDF theorizes that the woman in the "polka dot dress" played an important role in activating Sirhan to kill Senator Kennedy. The organization claims that eyewitnesses spotted her clasping Sirhan and whispering into his ear before the shooting. According to the theory, Sirhan was a trained assassin whose behavior was modified to react to a voice command.
The existence of the use of behavior modification to train so-called "zombie assassins" has been verified by high-ranking military personnel. In an Associated Press story, Lieutenant Commander Thomas Narut, a psychiatrist working at the U.S. Navy Hospital in Naples, says that the U.S. Navy has taken convicted murderers from military prisons and has trained them as political assassins by modern behavior modification techniques.
Robert Kaiser, in RFK Must Die, quotes Frenchie Longeres, FBI special agent in charge of the Kennedy investigation: "I'm still not convinced this isn't a Manchurian Candidate case" (referring to the popular film in which an American P.O.W. was brainwashed to become a political assassin upon his release).
Psychologists working with Sirhan lend credence to this speculation, having found him highly susceptible to hypnosis. Further psychiatric testing has found that earlier diagnosis of Sirhan as a paranoid schizophrenic was erroneous.
To this day, Sirhan claims he does not remember anything of the shooting. When he was taken into custody immediately after the shots were fired, his eyes were dilated, and he seemed to be trembling from cold. Later, when placed under hypnosis by defense psychiatrists, he exhibited the same symptoms.
Possibly most revealing was Strhan's own response when asked if he was planning to kill Kennedy. "Onfy in my mind," Sirhan replied. "Not to do it physically... I don 't have the guts to do anything like that. I did it, but I was not aware of it."
"To me, my whole life stopped on June 5. All the time from then, for the past year- from June 5, '68, on- is unreal to me, sir. I stilt don't believe what has happened."
These statements, as well as the numerous questions raised by the CDF'S investigation, have led many- including former New York Congressman Allard Lowenstein, leader of the "Dump Johnson" campaign in the '60's, and now a consultant to California Governor Jerry Brown- to publicly call for a reinvestigation of the Kennedy killing.
In a recent press conference, conspicuously ignored or distorted by the national media, Lowenstein stressed the importance of, once and for all. discovering the truth about this and other political assassinations. "Assassinations of Presidents and other national figures are not ordinary murders," he said. "When bullets destroy or nullify the national will, democracy itself has been assaulted."
Martin Porter, an Ann Arbor-based freelancer, has worked on the Michigan Daily and the Atlanta Constitution.