Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated 42 years ago in the midst of his campaign for the U.S. presidency. Largely overshadowed by the death of his brother, President John F. Kennedy, the official account of RFK’s tragic end, allegedly shot down by a lone gunman, like his brother, has received vastly less attention. In both instances, we are looking at staged events that fit into a recurrent pattern in U.S. and world history where innocent individuals (or “patsies”) are baited and framed for cover-up purposes. Professor James H. Fetzer, an expert in the scientific study of assassinations, provides a sketch of how we know what happened to them and why, where RFK’s assassination was in part intended to prevent a reinvestigation into his brother’s death.
- Victory in California: RFK greets supporters in the Embassy Ballroom, Ambassador Hotel, in Los Angeles, on June 5, 1968.
- (Photo: Bill Eppridge)
A persistent myth of American history is that lone assassins were responsible for the deaths of Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Robert Francis Kennedy. But four of the Lincoln conspirators were hanged from the same gallows at the same time . On June 5, 1968, after RFK won the Democratic primary in California, he was shot down as he passed through the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel. The official account maintains that he was taken out by a lone, demented gunman, Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian who had written, “RFK must die!”, over and over in a notebook. Like the lone, demented gunman accused of assassinating his brother, John, both murders were products of conspiracies, where Sirhan Sirhan, like Lee Harvey Oswald, was designated as the patsy.
In spite of their history, most Americans continue to believe that their nation is “an exception” and that, while conspiracies occur elsewhere, including Europe and the Middle East, especially, they do not occur at home. The truth, of course, is that conspiracies are as American as apple pie. All that they require is collaboration between two or more individuals to bring about an illegal end. Most American conspiracies are economic, but many are political, too. Franklin Delano Roosevelt observed long ago that, if something important happened in politics, you could bet it was not by accident. And that is certainly the case regarding the brothers.
The assassinations of RFK and JFK were both conspiracies. Both involved the destruction of evidence. Both involved the fabrication of evidence. Both involved framing their patsies. Both involved complicity by local officials. Both involved planning by the CIA. Both were used to deny the American people of the right to be governed by leaders of their own choosing. My purpose here is to outline how these things are done, because the agencies responsible for these events continue to employ the same techniques, not only of killing their targets but of covering them up. The more we understand how these things are done, the less likely we are to be deceived again.
Some basic facts
More bullets were fired in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel than could have come from Sirhan Sirhan’s gun.
RFK was shot behind the right ear from about 1.5 inches, but Sirhan was never that close and always in front of him.
The coroner’s report did not support the Los Angeles’ Police Department’s assassination scenario.
The Los Angeles Police Department engaged in massive destruction of evidence from the pantry of the hotel because "it would not fit into a card file".
- JFK at Bethesda Hospital. The throat wound had changed from Parkland Hospital, where it was a small, clean puncture wound of entry with a straight-line incision. November 22, 1963.
The weapon Oswald is alleged to have used cannot have fired the bullets that killed JFK.
The “magic bullet” theory is provably untrue and was not even anatomically possible.
JFK was hit four times - in the throat from in front, in the back from behind and in the head from in front and behind
X—rays were altered, a brain was substituted, and photos and films were faked to conceal the true causes of his death.
The assassination of RFK completed the decapitation of the left wing in the United States, which had begun with the termination of JFK’s presidency but continued with the gunning down of Malcolm X, who was the most progressive voice on the far left. With the deaths of Martin Luther King (April 4, 1968) and Robert F. Kennedy, the country shifted strongly to the right, in part from the despair induced by the loss of inspiring leaders.
The conditions required for movements capable of historic changes include intelligent, charismatic, and inspirational leaders, of whom there are very few like these. While the execution of Czar Nicholas II and his family in Russia and of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette in France meant there was “no turning back”, removing liberal leaders cements the status quo with its distribution of wealth and power.
RFK: The Ambassador Hotel
- Sirhan Bishara Sirhan was convicted and sentenced to the gas chamber on May 21, 1969. In 1972, his sentence was commuted to life in prison. Years later, a forensic investigation concluded that Sirhan Sirhan was not the lone shooter.
The weapon removed from Sirhan Sirhan was a .22 caliber, eight-round revolver, with serial number H-53725 . Sirhan emptied his weapon from a location in front of Bobby Kennedy. The autopsy performed by Dr. Thomas Noguchi, however, showed RFK was hit by four bullets, all of which were fired from behind at upward angles. And five others were wounded by separate shots .
Bullets were removed from holes in the walls and ceiling of the pantry. Since there were as many as thirteen shots—some of which even hit the ceiling behind his location—Sirhan could not have fired them all. And with more than one shooter, a conspiracy had to have been involved . Autopsy reports are usually “the best evidence” about a crime of this kind. Dr. Noguchi’s medical report, however, did not agree with the Los Angeles Police report. The evidence did not point to Sirhan as the killer . In particular, the fatal shot entered behind his right ear from about an inch and a half away, but Sirhan had not been closer than several feet in front of RFK.
Although Sirhan cannot have fired the bullets that killed Kennedy, his defense attorney, Grant Cooper, did not defend him on the ground that he wasn’t guilty but argued instead for “diminished capacity” . Another witness, DeWayne Wofler, even testified that the bullets fired at RFK had come from an entirely different gun .
As it happened, a security guard named Thane Eugene Cesar had a weapon with the same caliber and was right behind RFK when the shooting began. Remarkably, even though he admitted having drawn his gun and many witnesses reported hearing shots from more than one weapon, no one ever asked to examine his gun .
Acoustics expert Van Praag tested an H&R 922 of the kind Cesar had and determined that an H&R 922 had been fired at the same time as Sirhan’s . Further indications of conspiracy extended to a couple, including a woman in a polka dot dress, who rushed away from the scene shouting, “We shot him! We shot him! We shot Kennedy!” .
RFK: Evidence of Conspiracy
William Turner and Jonn Christian  have produced a powerful case indicting Cesar for the crime. They concluded that Sirhan may have been firing blanks, which they support on the basis of witness testimony that his shots created long, visible flames, which are commonly produced by blanks, to insure that those in his field of fire — who actually killed Kennedy — would not be hit by a stray bullet.
That would mean that none of the bullet holes were made by shots from Sirhan’s gun and, indeed, at least one witness reported seeing yet a third shooter in the pantry, perhaps as a back-up if Cesar failed. And the LAPD was very accommodating in destroying evidence that might have exposed those who shot him.
In fact, there are multiple indications that the CIA was involved. A hypnotist named William Joseph Bryan, was on the radio suggesting the assassin was probably “mind controlled” before Sirhan had been identified as a suspect. Bryan later boasted to several hookers that he worked for the CIA and had hypnotized Sirhan .
Sirhan’s defense attorney, moreover, had just finished representing the CIA’s contact with organized crime, Johnny Roselli, which may have been why he was so accommodating with respect to his client’s guilt . One way to insure a patsy will be convicted is to have your own man represent him.
Cesar himself had worked at Lockheed and Hughes Aircraft, both of which have extensive connections with the agency . And even more strikingly, three prominent CIA officials—George Joannides, David Sanchez Morales, and Gordon Campbell—have been identified as present at the Ambassador.
Bradley Ayers, an Army captain assigned to the CIA at JM/Wave in Miami from May 1962 to December 1964, had met all three and identified them in film footage from the Ambassador . Gordon Campbell had even been Ayer’s case officer while he was working for the agency.
- CIA operative David Sánchez Morales, who is suspected of having participated in the murder of both brothers.
Wayne Smith, who served as an ambassador with the Department of of State from 1957-1982 with JFK’s Latin American Task Force, also knew Morales . When he viewed the same footage as Ayers, he immediately recognized Morales. As he later told Shane O’Sullivan, “Bobby Kennedy is assassinated [and] David Morales is there? The two things have to be related” .
RFK: The Cover-Up
Ayers and Smith both confirmed the person in the film as Morales . They were both emphatic. Ayers noticed his body language (his way of moving). James Richards, an expert on the CIA, provided me with a photo of Morales, who looks exactly like the Morales-look-alike at the Ambassador. I don’t even think it’s a difficult call  .
The George Joannides figure seems to be wearing a wig. Richards also sent me a photo of Joannides, which makes it obvious why he would have been wearing one: the man was virtually bald! While it has been claimed that Cambell died on September 19, 1962, he was Ayers’ case officer from 1963-1964. Faking a death certificate would be far easier for the CIA than having an impostor working with Ayers.
The LAPD was not subtle in the destruction of evidence related to the crime. It destroyed the ceiling panels and door frames from the pantry on the ground they were “too large to fit into a card file” and burned some 2,400 photographs, including those taken by 15-year old Scott Enyart, who was standing on a table and took three roles of film .
When the department created a Special Unit Senator (SUS) to look into the case, it chose two officers who had ties to the CIA. They badgered witnesses who did not support the official line. One, Manuel Pena, had worked in Special Ops for the CIA. He was responsible for approving SUS interviews .
The Shadow of Dallas
David Sanchez Morales also appears to have been involved in the assassination of his brother, John, on November 22, 1963. He said to friends while drinking heavily that he had been in Dallas (“We took care of that son-of-a-bitch!”) and in Los Angeles (where “We got the little bastard!”) .
His involvement was confirmed by E. Howard Hunt, who told his son, St. John, that those who were responsible for the assassination of the 35th president included LBJ and CIA officials Cord Meyer, David Atlee Philips, William Harvey, and Morales . Others who knew Lyndon well have also implicated him  . And high-level involvement by the government has been confirmed by multiple lines of investigation.
There are more than 15 indications of Secret Service complicity in setting JFK up for the hit . Two agents assigned to the limousine were left behind at Love Field. The flat-bed truck for reporters to that should have preceded the limo was cancelled. The motorcycle escort was cut down to four and was instructed not to ride ahead of the rear wheels. Open windows were not covered, the manhole covers not welded, and the crowd was allowed to spill into the street.
Most strikingly, the vehicles were in the wrong order, with the Lincoln first, when it should have been in the middle. This was such a blatant violation of protocol that any security expert could have detected it, which is undoubtedly why, when the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) asked for the Presidential Protection Records for other JFK motor-cades, the agency, instead of providing them, destroyed them .
The route was changed just days before the event and included a turn of more than 90°, in violation of Secret Service protocol. After bullets began to be fired, the driver, William Greer, pulled the limo to the left and to a halt . At Parkland Hospital, agents got a bucket of water and a sponge and washed brains and blood from the crime scene .
The limousine was taken back to Ford and on Monday, November 25, the day of the formal state funeral, it was stripped to bare metal and rebuilt, including replacing the windshield, which had a through-and-through bullet hole, which spectators had noticed at Parkland and the Ford official responsible for its replacement confirmed, where the Secret Service would later produce yet a third windshield which had only interior cracks .
JFK: The “Magic Bullet”
Two wounds were widely reported on radio and television that day, a wound to the throat and a massive wound at the back of the cranium, which was caused by a shot that entered his right temple . Both wounds were observed by many experienced physicians at Parkland Hospital. Charles Crenshaw, M.D., who closed JFK’s eyes before he was placed into the bronze ceremonial casket, sent me drawings of the wound to the throat and of the exit wound to the head .
Malcolm Perry, M.D., who had made the incision, described the throat wound as a “wound of entry” three times during the Parkland press conference, which began at 2:16 PM . The Warren Commission would cope with these problems by simply reversing the trajectories, turning the throat wound into a wound of exit, where the damage to the cranium was altered to make it look more like the effect of a bullet fired from above and behind .
The greatest problem arose from the discovery that, of the three shots it claimed to have been fired, one had missed and injured a bystander named James Tague. The FBI and Secret Service had concluded that each of the alleged shots had hit: that JFK had been hit in the back, that Texas Governor John Connally had been hit in the back, and that JFK had been hit in the head, which killed him.
Since one shot had missed, the commission now had to create an alternative explanation, claiming the bullet that hit JFK in the back had passed through his neck and exited from his throat, then entered the back of Connally, shattering a rib, existing his chest, damaging his right wrist and finally embedding itself in his left thigh, a most unlikely scenario that is known as the “magic bullet” theory .
To make the “magic bullet” theory remotely plausible, Gerald Ford (R-MI), a member of the commission, had the description of the wound to the back changed from “his uppermost back”, which was already an exaggeration, to “the back of his neck”, which would not become known to the public until the first releases from the ARRB .
Even The Warren Report (1964) located the hole in the jacket 5 3/8” below the collar and 1 1/8” to the right of its center seam and the hole in the shirt was 5 ¾” below the collar and 1 1/8” right of its center seam  — a location that corresponds to an autopsy sketch, an FBI sketch, the death certificate by the president’s personal physician and even reenactment photographs by the commission’s own staff.
JFK: The Cover-Up
A downward bullet at this location means that the throat wound and Connally’s had been caused by other shots and other shooters . Michael Baden, M.D., who chaired the medical panel for the the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), when it reinvestigated the crime in 1977-78, said, on the 40th observance of the assassination, that if the “magic bullet” theory were false, then there had to have been at least six shots from three directions .
It is not only false and provably false but turns out to be anatomically impossible, since cervical vertebrae intervene . David W. Mantik, M.D., Ph.D., has shown JFK was hit four times—in the throat from in front, in the back from behind, and twice in the head both from in front and behind . Connally was hit at least once from the side — as he was turning to the left — and at least one shot had missed. So Baden was right for the wrong reasons.
Mantik, moreover, studied the autopsy X-rays using the method of optical densitometry to determine the relative density of the objects whose exposure to X-rays had created the images . He found an area at the back of the head that had been “patched” using material that was too dense to be human bone and that a 6.5mm metallic slice had been added to other X-rays in an apparent effort to connect the shooting with an obscure Italian weapon Lee Oswald was alleged to have used.
- Lee Harvey Oswald framed for the assassination of JFK, where this photo was part of the operation. See Jim Fetzer and Jim Marrs, "The Dartmouth JFK-Photo Fiasco" (google).
Ironically, while the death certificates and the autopsy report state that JFK was killed by high-velocity bullets, the Mannlicher-Carcano only has a muzzle velocity of 2,000 fps . Since high velocities are above 2,600 fps, the Mannlicher-Carcano does not qualify . So the weapon that Oswald is alleged to have used cannot have fired the bullets that killed JFK.
JFK: The Controversy Endures
Even if the weapon had been far better, such as the M-1 on which he had been trained, the shots themselves were highly improbable. The interactive internet game, “JFK: Reloaded”, which used a superior weapon with a properly aligned sight, a smooth trigger action, and no recoil and allowed endless practice sessions before attempting to hit the target, was won by a shooter who scored only a .782 out of 1.000, so he only scored a "C+" in attempting to replicate the shots .
That the simple expedient of locating where the bullet hit JFK’s back is enough to establish the existence of a conspiracy has not inhibited those who want to obfuscate the facts. A controversy over neutron activation analysis persisted for years, as if discovering that bullet fragments found in the car had come from the same lot as those used by the alleged “assassination weapon” would show either the location from which they were fired or the identity of who had fired them .
One pseudo-documentary after another continues to be broadcast over the major networks based upon a film whose revision makes it impossible to reconstruct what actually happened in a determined effort to persuade the public that JFK was killed by a lone, demented gunman, even though the authentic evidence, once separated from the fabricated, refutes it , ,  and . The demise of the “magic bullet” alone establishes conspiracy.
What it means
Creating a false photographic record of the assassination was crucial to the cover-up. Had JFK been killed in a non-public setting, no one would have believed he had not been taken out by a conspiracy. As much thought was given to concealing the truth from the public as was given to executing the assassination itself. By removing some events and adding others, the home movie known as the Zapruder film became the backbone of the cover-up . As long as it was taken to be authentic, it would be impossible to reconstruct the crime.
Among the most important reasons for recreating the film—which was done using original footage and sophisticated techniques of optical printing and of special effects—was removing the limo stop, which was such an obvious indication of Secret Service complicity. There were conflicts with the film from the beginning . Today, evidence of fabrication is simply overwhelming ,  and .
These discoveries have considerable impact on alternative theories of the assassination. The Mafia, which no doubt put up some of the shooters, could not have extended its reach into the Bethesda Naval Hospital to alter X-rays under the control of medical officers of the US Navy, Secret Service agents, and the president’s personal physician.
Neither pro- nor anti-Castro Cubans could have substituted the brain of someone else for that of JFK. And even if the KGB had an ability to alter films equal to that of the CIA and Hollywood, it had no way to gain access to the Zapruder film. Nor could these things have been done by Lee Harvey Oswald, who was incarcerated or already dead.
As Martin Shotz has observed, the purpose of the disinformation operation in the death of JFK is not really to convince the public of the official account but to create enough uncertainty that everything is believable and nothing is knowable . The reasons are not difficult to discern for those who understand why he was taken out. He had evolved in office from a traditional cold warrior into a statesman for peace, which threatened the status quo.
JFK was threatening to cut the oil depletion allowance, which the Texas men regarded as their divine right. He had not invaded Cuba against the unanimous recommendation of the Joint Chiefs. He had signed an above ground test ban treaty with the Soviets against their unanimous opposition. And he was initiating the removal of American forces from Vietnam, where the chiefs believed that a stand had to be taken against the expansion of communism.
Bobby, JFK’s Attorney General, was aggressively cracking down on organized crime. Jack was going to reform or abolish the Federal Reserve Bank (Fed) and, perhaps most of all, he was going to shatter the CIA into a thousand pieces. Lyndon wanted to be president of all the people and J. Edgar Hoover wanted to stay on as Director of the FBI. No one could have explained all of this as well as has James Douglass .
The policies he represented would have brought about significant change in the distribution of wealth and power, which they were unwilling to accept . Once committed to the crime, they were intent that no one should ever pay for it, lest the public learn the truth about the institutions of their own government. When Bobby allowed that he was going to use the powers of the presidency to uncover the truth about his brother , it sealed his fate. And the lies continue.
In addition to other activities, James H. Fetzer is also the editor of assassinationscience.com and the co-editor of assassinationresearch.com. He has a blog at jamesfetzer.blogspot.com and his academic web site is found at http://www.d.umn.edu/ jfetzer/.