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Tuesday, 16 June 2009 11:50

Shane O'Sullivan, Who Killed Bobby?

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Jim DiEugenio reviews the RFK assassination book by Shane O'Sullivan, arguing it is better than the documentary by the same title.


Shane O'Sullivan's book, entitled Who Killed Bobby?, is certainly better than the documentary he made on the RFK case entitled RFK Must Die! There isn't a lot that is new in the book, and the author spends some time interviewing people that I believe were not worth tracking down. But the book seems to me to be thorough in some fundamental aspects of the case. And that is what makes it more worthwhile than his previous work.

I

To get to the new revelations quickly: I believe that this is the first time in book form that an author reveals how knowledge of Special Exhibit 10 arose prior to 1976. Special Exhibit 10 is the secret Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) photomicrograph that was designed to ultimately rebut all critics on the RFK case. It was a secret exhibit assembled to show that a bullet fired at Robert Kennedy the night of the assassination matched a test bullet fired by the notorious LAPD criminalist DeWayne Wolfer. Except, as the firearms panel appointed by Judge Robert Wenke in 1976 discovered, it did no such thing. It was actually a comparison of one RFK bullet with another victim bullet fired that night. A bullet fired at Ira Goldstein. As Sirhan Sirhan's former investigator Lynn Mangan found out, Coroner Thomas Noguchi turned a copy of this exhibit over to Robert Joling in 1969. This is when much pressure was being applied over his autopsy findings in the RFK case. O'Sullivan reveals that fact to the public here (p. 349).

As the author discussed in his documentary, witness Vinny DiPierro built on a story he told the late Philip Melanson. There were two well-defined holes in the sweater sleeve which DiPierro sustained the night of the murder. For O'Sullivan DiPierro added that LAPD Detective John Howard told him before the trial that they came from a bullet. He also added, "Keep it, we might need it." But Howard never followed through on that charge. (p. 69) Of course, if this is so, then it is more evidence that there were too many bullets fired in the pantry for Sirhan to be the sole shooter. The book graphically shows this by displaying the official LAPD illustration of the bullet trajectories on the opposite page that this anecdote is revealed.

The author spends a lot of time describing Sirhan's life and his actions prior to the night of RFK's murder. And some of this is new and important, I believe. For instance, O'Sullivan explains why Sirhan left the Ambassador that night to go to his car. He says that Sirhan felt he was getting too drunk from the mixed drinks he was consuming. So he felt that he should leave. But once he got to the car, he felt too drunk to drive but he did not want to leave exposed the gun he had used on the firing range that day. So he took it with him back to the hotel. (pgs. 14, 223, 243)

Furthering the happenstance of the evening, the author explains that the way Sirhan got to the Ambassador that night seems to have arisen out of coincidence. That evening, he met a friend of his, Gaymoard Mistri, at Bob's Big Boy for dinner. They then walked over to the Pasadena City College Student Union. Sirhan asked Mistri to play a couple of games of pool with him. Mistri declined. If he had not, it is likely Sirhan would not have ended up at the Ambassador. Further, Mistri handed him a newspaper before he left, since Sirhan wanted to check the horse races. The paper mentioned an Israeli demonstration to be held in the Wilshire area of Los Angeles. And this is how Sirhan ended up there that evening. (pgs. 218-219) In the entire discussion, neither of them mentioned RFK. This seems to me to strike at the heart of the first-degree premeditation issue bandied about by authors like Mel Ayton and Dan Moldea.

O'Sullivan spends a lot of time going over the transcripts of the hypnosis sessions done for the defense by Dr. Bernard Diamond. He excerpts them at length. And in one instance he reveals the following colloquy:

Diamond: Were you hypnotized when you wrote the notebook?

Sirhan: Yes, yes, yes. (p. 254)

He goes on to add that the notebooks were produced in that state by Sirhan hypnotizing himself in his mirror. So whoever hypnoprogrammed Sirhan—the prime suspect being William J. Bryan—had a subject who was primed and ready to go.

O'Sullivan has found other witnesses who say they heard the famous girl in the Polka Dot Dress say, "We killed him!", as she ran out of the pantry and down the stairs after the shooting. One was a student named Katie Keir, and Keir was backed up by reporter Mary Ann Wiegers. Wiegers appears to have described her and what she said to the FBI. (p. 132) Another witness is security guard Jack Merritt who said he heard her say "We shot him!" or "He shot him!" as she ran out of the kitchen area. (p. 183) O'Sullivan notes that Merritt also disagrees with Thane Eugene Cesar, the Ace Security Guard employee who is the chief suspect as the Second Gun, on an important point. Cesar says he and Merritt stood guard outside the southeast doors of the pantry for about 40-45 minutes after the shooting. But Merritt says he was with another guard—not Cesar—and he never mentioned Cesar. (p. 316) As commentators like Robert Joling have noted, just where Cesar was and what he was doing at this time period is mostly a puzzle to this day.

The author also brings up interesting questions about what the hotel head of security, William Gardner, told the FBI about his whereabouts at the time of the shooting. Gardner told the Bureau he was not near scene of the crime at the time of the shooting and that he did not know what had happened there until twenty minutes later. Yet this was contradicted by two fellow employees, both with him at the time, who said Gardner was directly in the vicinity of the pantry at the time of the killing and that he definitely knew what had occurred almost at the instant it happened. (pgs. 179-180)

The author notes some of the techniques used by LAPD to isolate a key witness like KNXT TV messenger Don Schulman. Schulman said he saw a security guard pull a gun and then heard several shots fired. Since this was incriminating of Cesar, the LAPD began to distort what he said in their reports, and actually tried to get witnesses at the TV station to say he was not in the pantry at the time. (p. 321) (I should note here, this is precisely what author Robert Blair Kaiser used to discredit Schulman in the reissue of his book, RFK Must Die. ) The author notes in this regard that, as in the JFK case, other witnesses had their testimony altered by the authorities. For example, the FBI significantly altered the statements of Nina Rhodes. She said she heard somewhere between 10-14 shots from more than one direction. The Bureau wrote that she said she heard only 8 distinct shots. (p. 343)

Another new and interesting part of the book is the work the author has done on what one could perceive as payoffs delivered for services rendered in the cover up of the RFK case. In other words, people like Schulman and Sandy Serrano are harassed and attempts are made to intimidate them and discredit them. While, on the other hand, people like Mike McCown, Hank Hernandez, and Thomas Kranz mysteriously benefit later in life. McCown was an investigator for Sirhan's defense team who—as people like Lisa Pease, Larry Teeter, and Phil Melanson have pointed out—did some very questionable things in his "defense". He also had a very problematic background prior to volunteering his services. The author writes that McCown happened to be a good friend of Frank Hendrix, the owner of Ace Guard Service, the company Cesar worked for when he was on duty at the Ambassador the night of the RFK murder. By 1973, McCowan happened to be president of another guard service named American Protection Industries. And when O'Sullivan located him to interview him for this book, he was living in a large and nice home in northern California wine country. Hank Hernandez was the polygraph technician who did most of the testing for Special Unit Senator (SUS), the investigative team set up inside the LAPD to solve the RFK case. His work on people like Serrano, DiPierro, John Fahey, Jerry Owen, and Michael Wayne is quite dubious, to say the least. It turns out that, also in 1973, the late LAPD detective began to build an empire in the security guard field. The company he developed was called Inter-Com. Its first contracts were with NASA. Today it has subsidiaries in 19 countries and employs 30, 000 people. (pgs 411-412) Thomas Kranz was the lawyer who authored the Kranz Report. This was the 60-page report done for the LAPD and the DA's office to reconcile their original investigation with the revelations of the Wenke hearings. Said hearings were rather unkind to Wolfer. Although the Kranz Report does make some criticisms of the original SUS inquiry it is essentially a revised and updated cover up. His report was belatedly issued in 1977. From there, Kranz went on to serve as a general counsel for the Army under President Ronald Reagan (who was California's governor at the time of the RFK slaying). He then served as a special assistant to the first President Bush. Finally, in 2001, the second President Bush appointed him as a general counsel for the navy. All for writing a crappy little report.

II

There are areas of the book which are not new, but in which O'Sullivan does a nice job in culling the work of others, combining it with his own and therefore doing a thorough reporting job in a certain field of the case.

For instance, in Chapter Four, he does a good job in tracing a biography of Sirhan from his childhood until just a few days before the shooting of RFK. The main sources he uses here are the relatively unused book by Godfrey Jansen, Why Robert Kennedy Was Killed, the work of Robert Blair Kaiser, the LAPD Summary Report, and statements from Sirhan's trial. This allows him to fill in the tragic background of Sirhan's family: his older brother was run over and killed by a British army tank in 1946, and his beloved sister Ayda died in February of 1965. He also clarifies that although technically Sirhan was a Jordanian, he referred to himself as a Palestinian Arab. Yet, he was not a Moslem. He attended a Greek Orthodox Church. (p. 86)

His interest in horses and racing seemed to peak after his sister died. And it is at his job as an exercise boy, where he met a man named Tom Rathke. Rathke is a character who, I believe, no one has done enough work on, including O'Sullivan. The reason he is important in the saga of Sirhan is that he is the guy who interests him in what Sirhan called AMORC. This is an acronym for Ancient Mystical Order of the Rosy Cross, or simply the Rosicrucians. This is a rather odd religious cult that has a strong mystical strain to it. And this is where Sirhan first began to delve into the area of the occult and mind control exercises. (In the first, and much better, edition of RFK Must Die!, Kaiser described some interesting aspects of the relationship between Sirhan and Rathke.) After his serious accident on horseback in September of 1966, his interest in AMORC heightened and he seemed to undergo a personality change. His activities from December of 1966 to September of 1967 are rather sketchy. But it appears that at this time period, late 1966, he was hypnotized by a stage hypnotist named Richard St. Charles at a Pasadena nightclub near his house. He got on his mailing list. St. Charles wrote notes on some of his subjects. He noted that Sirhan was an excellent subject for hypnosis. But even more intriguingly, he wrote that he had definitely been hypnotized previously. (p. 382) By Rathke perhaps? This whole episode, and time period—first described by authors Bill Turner and Jonn Christian in their classic book on the case—literally cries out for more investigation. The late Larry Teeter felt that this may have been how Bryan first discovered Sirhan.

The other interest that heightened in Sirhan at this time was the cause of Palestine. (p. 92) And the author notes that both Dr. Simson Kallas and Dr. Herbert Spiegel both believe that Bryan, or whoever hypnotized Sirhan, probably used the Arab-Israeli conflict as part of the process. (pgs 385,390) As most hypnotists or psychiatrists in the field will tell you, to get someone like Sirhan—who had no criminal or violent past—to do what he did, there had to be an intermediate (and false) step undertaken in the induction process. That is, Sirhan had to be made to believe something to motivate his uncharacteristic violent behavior. This programming technique was well revealed in the famous and well-chronicled Danish case of Palle Hardrup and Bjorn Nielson. Kaiser introduced this forensically documented incident into the literature at the end of the first edition of RFK Must Die! And Turner and Christian filled it out more in their 1978 book. Nielson hypnotized his mild mannered friend Hardrup into performing violent bank robberies by telling him that the money would be used for a higher political goal, namely uniting all of Scandinavia under one government. After Hardrup was apprehended during a robbery, the psychiatrist assigned the case looked into his past and could not reconcile his character with the violent, criminal acts: Hardrup had actually shot two people. After extensive interviews, he found out about Hardrup's false friend Nielson and his hobby of hypnosis. He then put Hardrup under and essentially deprogrammed him. In the process he discovered how Nielson had used him against his will. At Hardrup's trial, this evidence was entered into the record. Hardrup was exonerated. Nielson was convicted. Many people who study the RFK case believe that the visual pattern used to trigger Sirhan' trance was the girl's Polka Dot Dress. The visual trigger device Nielson used was the letter "x". (See RFK Must Die!, 1970 edition, pgs 288-289. ) As I said, none of this is new, but O'Sullivan does a nice and complete job with all of the above.

O'Sullivan does a similar job with the looming figure of Hank Hernandez and how he manipulated and intimidated the testimony of DiPierro, Serrano, and Fahey. Fahey is a particularly interesting figure since he has been somewhat ignored by most researchers. Lisa Pease revived him for her two-part article on the RFK case first published in Probe, and then excerpted in The Assassinations. (She specifically discussed Fahey on pgs. 589-91) Fahey is the traveling salesman who said he spent much of the day of June 4, 1968 with a girl who strongly resembled the Girl in the Polka Dot Dress. They took a trip to Oxnard early in the afternoon and were tailed. When the girl realized he knew they were being followed, she said the people tailing them were out to get Mr. Kennedy that night at his victory reception. (The Assassinations, p. 590) When Fahey saw the news reports about the girl running out of the hotel that night, he called the FBI. Word about Fahey got to journalist Fernando Faura. He had a sketch artist draw a portrait of the girl based on Fahey's description. When he was done, Faura showed the portrait to DiPierro who said he saw a girl standing next to Sirhan in the pantry right before RFK was shot. When he saw the portrait, DiPierro said, "That's her." (Ibid) Hernandez tricked Fahey into telling a lie, told him he had flunked his polygraph (when he had previously passed one from someone else), and suggested he might tell his wife he was having an affair with the girl. That did the trick on Fahey. (p. 154) In fact, O'Sullivan devotes an entire chapter to the tactics used by Hernandez to intimidate and reverse the stories of Fahey, Serrano, and DiPierro. (Chapter 6)

O'Sullivan also deserves credit for chronicling the rather uncoordinated campaign to try and get the case reopened which took place from about 1973-1976. This began, of course, with the release of Ted Charach's documentary The Second Gun. This film is still worth seeing even today. And in my view, is better than O'Sullivan's documentary on the case. When the film was originally released in 1973 it created a mini sensation, especially with the powers that be in Los Angeles. The authorities in the DA's office and the LAPD now looked at Charach and the other critics of the RFK case as enemies to be monitored, surveilled, and subverted. (Although the author describes some of these nefarious activities, he does not go as far as he could have. Especially for a book that ended up being 500 pages long.) From the release of the Charach film, people like actors Paul LeMat and Robert Vaughn, attorneys Mel Levine and Vincent Bugliosi, forensic experts Bob Joling and William Harper, congressman and Democratic activist Allard Lowenstein, and most of all former newscaster Baxter Ward, and RFK friend and Ambassador shooting victim Paul Schrade, all of them made such a huge amount of noise in California that they actually forced new hearings on the RFK case. This culminated in Ward getting elected to the LA County Board of Supervisors and having noted criminalist Herbert MacDonnell do a powerful public presentation for them. And this gave enough ballast to the case to force Judge Robert Wenke to summon his panel of firearms experts in 1976. Which, unfortunately, included FBI specialist Cortland Cunningham. The author does a good job in chronicling the largely unconnected strands of this admirable citizens protest.

Let me conclude this part with O'Sullivan's discussions of what I would call some of the cretins in this case. First up is Grant Cooper. Cooper was the lead lawyer for Sirhan at his trial. He did an amazingly poor job. And O'Sullivan fills in the background of the Friar's Club case that paralleled the Sirhan trial in an effort to explain it. In the latter case, Cooper was caught with stolen grand jury transcripts. He was under investigation for this and could have been disbarred. Yet, after the Sirhan trial, he received what was essentially a slap on the wrist: He was fined and later reprimanded. (p. 351) (Although O'Sullivan does a decent job in this, Teeter collected much more information on it and felt the figure of US Attorney Matt Byrne figured large in the background of the affair. Yet O'Sullivan barely mentions Byrne.) But the author does point out that, shockingly, Cooper later revealed that he never heard of either Schulman or Cesar the whole time he was defending Sirhan! (See p. 322)

The author also is revelatory about the growing relationship between writer Dan Moldea and Cesar. As most people who have read my essay in The Assassinations know, Moldea wrote a book on the RFK case in 1995. It was entitled The Killing of Robert Kennedy. In it, Moldea reversed field. For years, he had maintained—at the minimum—that there were enough unanswered questions about the case, that 1.) All the files of SUS should be made public, and 2.) The case should be reheard. Moldea helped in the former, but his book tries to stifle the latter. It is quite simply the Case Closed of the RFK case. The book's design has three main lines of argument. First, it tries to explain away all of the gross mishandling of the case by LAPD as honest errors. Second, it does unbelievable gymnastics with the evidence to pin the crime on Sirhan. Third, it pulls out all the stops in order to exonerate Cesar. Including giving him a phony polygraph test in which he clearly lied, but passed anyway (The ugly details about that book can be read in The Assassinations, pgs. 610-631) Well, the author here exposes just how close Moldea has now bonded with the suspect. Clearly, Cesar appreciated what the amateur sleuth Moldea did for him. So much so, he asked Moldea to be the godfather to his child. (p. 345) They have stayed in close contact ever since the publication of Moldea's horrendous book. The author talked to Moldea in 2005 and Moldea knew where Cesar was living in the Philippines. (ibid) According to Moldea there was a film project in the works. In fact, he was the main point of contact for the chief suspect in the RFK case. In effect, his agent. When O'Sullivan asked if he could interview Cesar, Moldea replied that it would cost fifty thousand dollars. When O'Sullivan inquired if he would be getting anything for his money, that is, would Cesar tell him anything he had not told to Dan, Moldea replied, "Probably not." But that was still the price. When O'Sullivan asked if Moldea would appear on a brief BBC special on the RFK case with him, Moldea said he had a price also. It was much cheaper though, only $2,500. (p. 346) Clearly, Moldea is not excited about talking about this case. (If I wrote a book as bad as his, I wouldn't be either.) But even more so, he wants nobody near Cesar. Except him.

I wonder why?

III

Having noted the above, I have several adverse comments to make.

First, although O'Sullivan reveals some interesting facts about Moldea, overall I think he treats him rather mildly. He never really notes the many ridiculous—actually offensive— parts of Moldea's book. And some of that book he actually seems to buy into. For example, he seems to accept the statements of officer David Butler—a friend and admirer of DeWayne Wolfer's—as to why Sirhan's gun barrel got fouled. Butler says that there were several shots fired for souvenirs and this leaded the barrel to the point that no bullet markings could be made for matching purposes. (p. 372) I find this hard to believe. But even if you accept it, it still leaves a huge question: If it is true, why did the LAPD have to falsify Special Exhibit 10? Why didn't Butler go home and get one of his souvenir bullets and create a match? Moldea did not ask that question and O'Sullivan does not pose it. Further, O'Sullivan does not expose just how bad the polygraph test Moldea arranged for Cesar was. (The Assassinations, pgs. 606, 622) Or how ludicrously untenable Moldea's ultimate solution to the crime really is. (Ibid pgs. 630-631)

Another person who I think O'Sullivan is rather gentle with is Mike McCowan. O'Sullivan spent a lot of time interviewing this guy in his documentary. And there are many, many references to him in the index to this book. I really did not understand all the attention. There are a lot—and I mean a lot—of indications that McCowan was not just a lousy investigator. But that he was actually an infiltrator inside the defense team. For instance, it was he who was the source of that silly Sirhan "confession" that Moldea used to close his book with. Lisa Pease unearthed many pertinent facts about the man that indicate he performed this double agent function for the police previously. (ibid p. 576) Further, before he died, Teeter showed me documents that he found in the Sacramento Archives which revealed that McCowan had been meeting with Hernandez in his office while serving as Sirhan's investigator! Were they talking about the Dodgers?

Conversely, O'Sullivan makes light of the statements of former Howard Hughes assistant John Meier. Meier stated that after the RFK case, he met with J. Edgar Hoover and Hoover told him that he knew the assassination was a CIA effort run by Bob Maheu. O'Sullivan says he met with Meier and he has yet to see any evidence of such. (p. 423-424) Yet, incredibly, in the next paragraph he notes something that Jeff Morley first surfaced in his book on Winston Scott. Namely, that James Angleton had the RFK autopsy photos in his office when he left. As Morley noted, Hoover had them also—which made sense since the FBI aided in the investigation. But why would Angleton have them? There has never been any official indication the CIA did any RFK inquiry.

O'Sullivan also misses a point in his brief mention of F. Lee Bailey, Bryan and the Boston Strangler case. Bailey used Bryan in that case to hypnotize Albert DeSalvo who later confessed to the murders. O'Sullivan calls DeSalvo the Boston Strangler and attributes all the killings in that case to him. (p. 399) That he can say this clearly reveals he has not kept up with that case. Because in 1995 author Susan Kelly wrote a powerful book that changed the paradigm in that field. It was aptly called, The Boston Stranglers. She raised some serious questions about the culpability of DeSalvo. And in 2002 she was proved to be correct. For in that year, both DeSalvo and one of his purported victims were exhumed. The results were rather surprising. First, DeSalvo's rendition of what he had done to his purported victim did not match the condition of her remains. Second, there was semen on her that did not match DeSalvo. Which indicated someone else had killed her. The question then became, how and why did DeSalvo confess to a murder he most likely did not commit. Which would seem to point in the direction of Bryan in helping plant a false confession.

Curiously, O'Sullivan spends two entire chapters proving that his 2006 BBC report was completely wrong. That is the report in which he said that there were three CIA officers at the Ambassador Hotel the night of the RFK shooting. He had taken photos of these men to several witnesses who had previously seen the men. From this, he came to the conclusion they were Dave Morales, George Johannides, and Gordon Campbell. I for one had my doubts about this from the start. For one, these men, especially the last two, were essentially office managers. Why would you place them in the field to actually do, or directly supervise, dirty work? I expressed these—and other—reservations to David Talbot when he started an investigation of the matter for The New Yorker. Talbot and his partner on the assignment, Jeff Morley, did a lot of legwork and proved that this thesis was wrong. In fact, the LAPD had previously identified the two men thought to be Campbell and Johannides as employees of Bulova Watch Company. And they were correct.

But by detailing his inquiry into the matter, O'Sullivan proves that the identifications he had before he went on BBC were anything but conclusive. I actually counted the identification attempts the author describes in Chapter 17. From what I could see, in each case, he had at least as many witnesses who either denied the identification or were uncertain as he had those that were positive. In fact, in his best case—that of Johannides—I counted two positives, three unsure or maybes, and one negative. And one of the positives, by Dan Hardway, was only leaning that way. Further, when one sees a photo of the real Johannides, it is clear that the man at the hotel was not he. (p. 373) O'Sullivan holds this photo until his last page on the subject. One has to question his judgment on this matter and why he so implicitly trusted a character like the mysterious Dave Rabern. This is a CIA friend of Brad Ayers who I discussed in my review of O'Sullivan's documentary.

What makes this even more paradoxical is that O'Sullivan gives an alternative thesis, one first promulgated by Phil Melanson, the back of his hand. This is the tantalizing case of Khaiber Khan. Khan was a former Iranian intelligence operative who was seen at RFK headquarters with Sirhan more than once. He filled out over twenty volunteer cards with names of people he termed "friends" and then gave his own address as their point of contact information. On June 2nd, Khan brought four men into the office as volunteers—one of them was Sirhan. At the time a campaign worker was registering these men, her copy of Kennedy's Election Day itinerary was stolen from her desk. (The Assassinations, p. 592) Another witness confirmed Sirhan was with Khan on that day.

Lisa Pease built on Melanson's original work on Khan. She filled out his intelligence background more fully and some of the controversies he had been involved in back home. She also connected him to another tantalizing character named Michael Wayne. Khan had actually been driving Wayne around the night of the murder. This is something that O'Sullivan leaves out in his brief and dismissive discussion of Wayne. And, incredibly, in the entire book there is no mention of Khan! He even has Sirhan doing some things that, reportedly, Wayne did—like talking to an electrician about where RFK would be standing that night. (p. 223) Maybe both men did this. But O'Sullivan leaves out an important point in that regard: Wayne resembled Sirhan. (The Assassinations p. 597)

O'Sullivan also tries to dismiss the fact that Wayne wanted to get a poster signed by RFK that night as Wayne being a Kennedy memorabilia collector. (p. 11) I found this rather strained. Why? Because Wayne had the business card of Keith Gilbert on him that night. Anyone familiar with the work of Bill Turner on the Minutemen—the radical, rightwing, and militant organization—will know who Gilbert was. For a time, Jim Garrison had Turner and Jim Rose investigate that group in regards to the JFK assassination. And Gilbert was part of the inquiry. Wayne denied any connection. But when the LAPD checked on Gilbert, guess what? He had Wayne's business card. (The Assassinations p. 599)

O'Sullivan also tries to say that the poster Wayne had in his hand that night was too small to conceal a .22 handgun. Apparently, this is to weaken the witness statements that he had something shiny and metallic in his hand that was concealed by his poster. Yet, to be as small as he describes it, it would not be a poster, or placard. It would have to be a handbill. But this is not how the witnesses described it. They described it as a poster rolled up in his left hand. The very fact it could be rolled up mitigates it being a handbill. (Ibid, p. 598) Another witness called it a rolled up piece of cardboard which resembled a placard. (Ibid p. 597) I could go on this regard, for instance, how Hernandez manipulated his polygraph of Wayne and the transcript to make him less suspect. But suffice it to say, the author has a seeming double standard for what he thought was a plot versus what Melanson and Pease developed.

To close out, there is next to nothing in the book about the case of Scott Enyart, the high school photographer who had his pictures in the pantry pilfered by the LAPD. Yet this could have shown the LAPD in a very revealing light. Also, once or twice O'Sullivan actually seems to proffer the idea that Sirhan could have gotten within an inch or two of RFK's head to deliver the fatal shot. I thought Ted Charach's film put this to rest. He superimposed Sirhan's gun onto a picture of RFK, right in the spot the fatal bullet entered. In the wake of the shooting, no pantry witness said they saw that unforgettable image that night.

The book closes with a summary of the Discovery Times Channel special broadcast in June of 2007, and summarized on this site. This show featured the work of audio specialist Phil Von Pragg on the audio tape made by Canadian reporter Stanislaw Pruszynski. This appears to reveal well over ten shots fired in the pantry that night. O'Sullivan believes that this evidence could be coupled with a deprogramming of Sirhan in one last attempt to find out the truth. Which, of course, is what Bill Pepper, Sirhan's current attorney, is attempting to do.

Although the book is a mixed bag, overall I think it is a worthwhile effort. It's worth having in the shamefully small library of books on the RFK case.

Last modified on Wednesday, 02 November 2016 23:01
James DiEugenio

One of the most respected researchers and writers on the political assassinations of the 1960s, Jim DiEugenio is the author of two books, Destiny Betrayed (1992/2012) and The JFK Assassination: The Evidence Today (2018), co-author of The Assassinations, and co-edited Probe Magazine (1993-2000).   See "About Us" for a fuller bio.

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