The Watering Hole; June 6

June 6, 1942: Day three of the four day Battle of Midway in the Pacific. Three US carriers under the command of Admiral Raymond Spruance engaged a Japanese naval task force commanded by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. The US lost one carrier (Yorktown) to Japanese attack, but the Japanese lost all four of their task force carriers (Hiryu, Soryu, Akagi, and Kaga) which, in result, immediately reversed the direction of the post-Pearl Harbor war in the Pacific.

June 6, 1944: D-Day, i.e. day one of the Allied invasion of Europe, accomplished via a massive cross-channel assault from England to the beaches of France at Normandy; D-Day signaled the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany.

June 6, 1968: Robert F. Kennedy died from assassin bullets fired in the early morning minutes of June 5, 1968, in the Los Angeles Ambassador Hotel’s kitchen. RFK had, on June 4, won the Democratic Presidential Primary election in California and by so-doing was presumed to be the almost guaranteed Democratic Party’s nominee in the upcoming 1968 General Election. His opponent would be the Republican candidate, Richard M. Nixon. The headlined story in the Los Angeles Times on June 5 read (in part):

Critically Wounded in
Head at Victory Fete

By Daryl E. Lembke
Times staff writer

Senator Robert F. Kennedy was shot in the right ear early this morning in a kitchen of the Ambassador only a few moments after he had made a victory statement after capturing the California Democratic presidential primary.

The New York senator’s condition was listed as critical at Good Samaritan Hospital, where he was in the intensive care unit.

A suspect in the shooting was arrested minutes after the shots were fired and was taken to the police administration building downtown under heavy guard. The suspect was not identified.

Inspector Robert Rock of the Los Angeles police said that only one suspect was involved. Rock said there was no reason to believe more than one person was involved. . . . (highlight added)

Then, on June 6 1968 a Los Angeles Times ‘Extra’ edition appeared on newsstands everywhere:

RFK dies headline LA TimesRobert F. Kennedy was dead — murdered — by a gunshot fired at extremely close range from behind; the bullet entered Kennedy’s head just behind and below his right ear. It caused severe inter-cranial bleeding which resulted in swelling and brain damage. The accused ‘lone assassin’, Sirhan Bishara Sirhan — a naturalized American citizen who was born in 1944, in Jerusalem (Palestine) — was placed, by virtually all eyewitnesses, in FRONT and to the LEFT of RFK when the shots, including the shot which proved fatal, were fired. From BEHIND, on the RIGHT. Unfortunately for Sirhan, however, there was no reason to believe more than one person was involved.

RFK’s death marked the third assassination of a major American political figure within five years. First, of course, was RFK’s brother John Fitzgerald Kennedy, President of the United States, who was shot and killed on November 22 1963 in Dallas Texas by (alleged) ‘lone assassin’ Lee Harvey Oswald — who had somehow managed to shoot JFK in the forehead . . . from nearly a block behind. Then, on April 4 1968 — just two months prior to the assassination of RFK — civil rights activist, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., was shot and killed by a ‘lone assassin’ in Memphis, Tennessee. King’s (alleged) ‘lone assassin,’ James Earl Ray, was still on the loose when, on June 5 1968, Senator Robert F. Kennedy was shot by yet another ‘lone assassin.’ RFK thus became the third major political figure who was assassinated in less than five years — three assassinations which, both singly and collectively, changed the course and direction of history in/of the United States.

One could, in fact, almost imagine a ‘grand’ conspiracy of some sort, one designed to remove and eliminate those preeminent high-powered political figures who were anti-war and pro-racial-equality, ergo by the definition of a large segment of US citizenry, clearly ‘un-American’. Still, to many it’s more than a bit of a stretch to shout ‘conspiracy’ after each and every high-profile assassination/event, although most might agree that it should be fair to ask pertinent questions, questions such as ‘how did JFK’s lone assassin fire the shot from behind that hit the President in the forehead (and splattered brain matter onto the trunk of the convertible in which he was riding). And how, too, did RFK’s lone assassin manage to shoot RFK in the head (and in three other places) from down low and behind when all eyewitnesses placed Sirhan standing and in front of his victim? And one could also ponder how it was that Sirhan’s gun, with an eight shot magazine, managed to pump out at least nine bullets, several of which hit bystanders and most of which did not ballistically match any fired from Sirhan’s weapon.

In a report by John Kelin entitled “The RFK Panel,” the discussion does nothing to assuage conspiracy theses; in fact, it encourages one to at least ask a number of questions concerning the details of the assassination, details which appear to have never been addressed, much less explained, by officials involved in the investigation. As Kelin puts it,

There seem to be two basic issues in demonstrating the official story of RFK’s murder is false. First, both the number of bullet holes in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel where RFK was shot, and an acoustical analysis of a tape that recorded the sounds of the assassination, indicate more bullets were fired than the alleged murder weapon could hold. Second, the fatal wound was in the back of RFK’s head, while virtually all eyewitnesses say Sirhan Sirhan was in front of Kennedy, and never positioned to shoot him from  behind.

“So somebody shot the Senator point-blank, execution style, from the rear,” said William Turner, the first panelist that morning. “I think right there, we have an open-and-shut case for conspiracy.”

The LAPD investigation was controlled by an elite squad called Special Unit Senator, Turner said, which was run by Lt. Manuel Pena and Enrique Hernandez. Both of these men had been on detached duty with the CIA in Central and South America. “Special Unit Senator became a kind of Bermuda Triangle for disappearing documents and reports,” Turner said. It is safe to assume, he added, that these documents and reports were destroyed.

What? “CIA”? “Disappearing documents . . . documents and reports were destroyed”?? Really? Nah, no way. This is America dontchaknow. Land of the free, home of the brave, right of the people to bear arms, etc.

Later in the same Panel Report,

Probe co-editor Lisa Pease, said. . . [that] not one bullet . . . was ever matched to Sirhan’s weapon. “There has never been any proof that the bullets found in the pantry came from the gun that was turned into evidence, and called the Sirhan gun. And in fact, bullets from different victims don’t even match each other, all right? There were five people wounded in the pantry that night, and there were a lot of bullets. There were seven bullets recovered, one bullet lost, and as Bill Turner mentioned, there was plenty of evidence of more bullets than the eight that Sirhan’s gun could hold.”

Not only were the bullets different, Pease continued, but the shell casings were different too. Even LAPD investigators and the FBI couldn’t make a match, she said.

“The eyewitness evidence is very telling,” she said next. “By all accounts — and even the LAPD’s, what they call ‘the best witnesses’ — their best witnesses do not place Sirhan close enough to have made the shots. His gun muzzle was never closer than about two feet. There was one person who said one [foot], and he had a foreshortened view through a camera eye. So I don’t give him much credibility. Most people put the gun muzzle itself at least three feet back.” And all four shots that hit Kennedy, she reiterated, came from behind him.

“The reason we don’t think Sirhan is guilty is not only that he couldn’t have made the shots, but he seemed to be in a dazed state. He had unnatural strength.” Not only did a prominent expert like Herbert Spiegel say it appears likely, Pease said, but defense attornies [sic] at the time of his trial had him hypnotized to see if it would help him remember a period of blackout. He hypnotized so easily, Pease said, that it may be a sign of prolonged conditioning.

Sirhan “hypnotized so easily,” and to this day cannot recall anything about the incident, about any details whatsoever of his involvement either in the Ambassador Hotel, or prior to the incident in re “his” apparent notes and generally incoherent scribblings saying that RFK must die on or before July 5, the first anniversary of the start of the Six Day War, based on the “fact” that Kennedy had somehow supported Israel. Why can’t he recall anything, anything at all? In such cases, the designation MK-ULTRA, a CIA mind control project, tends to slowly bubble to the surface. MK-ULTRA began in the late forties, continued through the fifties and sixties (at least) and may well still be around today in some derivative manifestation. Originally, however, in MK-ULTRA

Hypnosis, drugs, and psycho-surgery; separately and combined, were the tools of this quest for the ultimate truth serum on the one hand, and the capability to create an agent who could not have his or her mission tortured out of them, or even be aware that they were carrying secret information given to them in an altered state of consciousness. (highlight added)

It’s perhaps fair to note that CIA involvement in the JFK assassination has also been suggested, that in fact there are random photographs which appear to be of CIA agents who were part of Operation Mongoose, the CIA’s anti-Castro effort that was centered upon the Bay of Pigs ‘invasion’ of Cuba by CIA-trained Cuban ex-patriots, photos shot on the streets of Dallas and in the vicinity of Dealey Plaza on or about November 22, 1963. Explanations remain unavailable, though official denials are quite common.

So, in any case, Robert Kennedy was, indeed, assassinated. He was shot on June 5, 1968, and died some 25 hours later on June 6, 1968. Hubert Humphrey became the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate and he lost, in November’s General Election, to Richard M. Nixon. RFK’s first order of business would be, he said, to get out of Vietnam, to end the war there as quickly as possible. President Nixon, however, carried the war forward for another four-plus years, even escalated some aspects of it in the process. Then came Nixon’s “Peace With Honor,” the hurried American exit and evacuation, and soon thereafter the city of Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City. But in that four-plus years, be certain that lots of American companies and their executives made LOTS of money, thanks to the war.

And making money — thus preserving or advancing the status quo of the already rich and powerful — is what America is all about, it’s what “we” have come to stand for. The deaths by ‘lone assassins’ of John F. Kennedy, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy served to substantially aid and abet that process.

This is Today’s OPEN THREAD.

Have at it, Kick the Can Down the Road — or Wherever.