Did the CIA Kill Bobby Kennedy? The BBC's BlunderHistorians/History
A recent BBC news program, Newsnight (November 20th 2006) broadcast a report by an Irish screenwriter, Shane O’Sullivan, that purported to prove that three CIA agents had been present in the Ambassador Hotel on the night Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. The agents, O’Sullivan claimed, had been responsible for the assassination. Newsnight editors believe O’Sullivan is correct in his assumptions. A related article on their website states, “[O’Sullivan’s investigation] reveals that the operatives and four unidentified associates were at the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles in the moments before and after the shooting on 5 June, 1968.”
It is evident that the BBC has accepted O’Sullivan’s research without adequate checks. What appears to be missing from this report is an editorial review that the public should expect when a story of international significance is broadcast by a reputable news organization.
Despite his claims that he has ‘researched this case for three years’ O’Sullivan has deliberately ignored the research carried out by Dan Moldea, one of America’s leading investigative journalists. Although they solicited Moldea’s contribution, without success, they could have used the results of his research in his excellent and acclaimed book, The Killing Of Robert F Kennedy – An Investigation Of Motive, Means and Opportunity. (1995) Moldea’s research provides evidence that challenges O’Sullivan’s ‘shooting scenario’ at every turn. Since 1995 it has been clear to anyone researching this case that a first point of reference would need to be Moldea's excellent study of the dynamics of the shooting and the collection and collation of evidence by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).
Had O’Sullivan bothered to consult Moldea’s book he would have discovered that the people he had interviewed for his documentary and who appeared on the program, had a precarious grasp of the facts of the case to begin with. The BBC reporter put Sirhan Sirhan’s former lawyer Lawrence Teeter on camera and accepted, without comment or criticism, Teeter’s exposition of the Ambassador Hotel ‘shooting scenario’ in which the lawyer attempted to demonstrate how Sirhan could not have fired the shots that killed RFK. Teeter believes that RFK’s autopsy, which revealed the Senator had been shot in the back of the head at point blank range, exonerated Sirhan. Teeter has also claimed that Sirhan probably had blanks in his gun. However, if O’Sullivan had checked his facts aganst the hard evidence he would have understood the ridiculous nature of Teeter’s remarks. Bullets removed from RFK and the other victims were matched to Sirhan's gun 'to the exclusion of any other weapon in the world.' (The head wound bullet was too damaged for a postive match).The gun was immediately handed to Rafer Johnson, a friend of RFK's. Johnson then gave it to the Los Angeles Police. The provenance of the weapon and the postive matches to the bullets retrieved are therefore not in doubt, thus rendering Teeter’s hypothesis that Sirhan had been firing blanks null and void. Moldea, along with other researchers, has concluded that Sirhan was “… heavily influenced by Teeter, who believed that the CIA was responsible for anything that went wrong in society and was a real conspiracy buff.”
O’Sullivan accepts without criticism the position adopted by conspiracists who claim that the RFK Ambassador Hotel pantry witnesses all agreed that Sirhan had never been in a position to shoot Kennedy at point blank range. In his article for the Guardian which was published to coincide with the Newsnight broadcast O’Sullivan wrote, “But the autopsy report suggests Sirhan could not have fired the shots that killed Kennedy. Witnesses place Sirhan's gun several feet in front of Kennedy, but the fatal bullet is fired from one inch behind. And more bullet-holes are found in the pantry than Sirhan's gun can hold, suggesting a second gunman is involved.”
However, as Thane Cesar, Ambassador Hotel security guard and RFK’s escort through the pantry, said, “A lot of people testified that [Sirhan] was standing this way [with Kennedy facing his assailant]. I know for a fact [that’s wrong], because I saw him [Kennedy] reach out there (to shake hands with a busboy) and which way he turned. And I told police about that.” Although eyewitness Frank Burns insisted the gun was never less than a foot or a foot and a half from Kennedy he nevertheless described the dynamics of the shooting in such a way to make it entirely feasible that Sirhan’s gun moved to an area inches away from the Senator.
As Dan Moldea concluded, “All twelve of the eyewitness’ statements about muzzle distance are based on – and only on – their view of Sirhan’s first shot. After the first shot, their eyes were diverted as panic swept through the densely populated kitchen pantry. The seventy-seven people in the crowd began to run, duck for cover, and crash into each other…no one saw the muzzle of Sirhan's .22 get that close - but no one saw the Senator get shot either. All of the eyewitness testimony is based on Sirhan's location, relative to Senator Kennedy's, at the moment of the first shot…”. Moldea believes that RFK was accidentally bumped forward, toward the steam table and into Sirhan’s gun, where he was hit at point blank range.
O'Sullivan's Newsnight report was also flawed in that he used interpretations about the scientific evidence about the actual shooting only from committed conspiracists like Teeter. His claim that more bullet holes were found in the pantry than Sirhan’s gun could hold is simply wrong – see http://www.crimemagazine.com/05/robertkennedy,0508-5.htm
Why O’Sullivan prefers Teeter’s theories beyond anything anyone else has to offer becomes clear as the film report progresses. If a conspiracy took the life of RFK then the purported contribution made by CIA agents becomes more plausible.
It is also clear that Newsnight’s researchers have ignored vital information about the assassination which renders the BBC/O’Sullivan story not only biased but also uninformed. In an article related to the broadcast the BBC stated: “However, even under hypnosis, [Sirhan] has never been able to remember the shooting and defence psychiatrists concluded he was in a trance at the time.” Unfortunately O’Sullivan has again erred in not seeking out members of the medical community who believe Sirhan had been displaying ‘feigned amnesia’ and that it is impossible to hypnotize a subject to do what his or her moral beliefs oppose.
O’Sullivan is on safer ground when he describes his research into photographs he discovered which led him to believe there were three CIA agents at the scene of the crime. If O’Sullivan is correct these discoveries would be important as the CIA had no domestic jurisdiction and some of the officers he named were based in South-East Asia at the time with no reason to be in Los Angeles. The alleged agents would also not have been present in the Ambassador Hotel to provide ‘protection’ for the Senator.
O’Sullivan connects the agents through their work in 1963 at JMWAVE, the CIA's Miami base for its Secret War on Castro and that they had been positively identified as senior officers who worked together.
O’Sullivan named the men as David Morales, the Chief of Operations who once told friends, ‘I was in Dallas when we got the son of a bitch and I was in Los Angeles when we got the little bastard.’; Gordon Campbell, Chief of Maritime Operations and George Joannides, Chief of Psychological Warfare Operations. Joannides was called out of retirement in 1978 to act as the CIA liaison to the Congressional investigation into the JFK assassination.
The identification of David Morales as the man seen in the film footage of the Ambassador Hotel is flimsy at best. The LAPD film footage only reveals someone who has common features with known photographs of the agent, as did many people in the Ambassador that night who were captured on grainy film. In fact, when the LAPD photos of ‘Morales’ are enlarged from the original footage there emerges what appears to be only a generic African-American male.In fact, to the undiscerning eye he bears a resemblance to OJ Simpson. Furthermore, O'Sullivan's 'witnesses' who identify the ‘agents’ don't seem that sure of themselves – which is not surprising considering the poor quality of the captured images.
O’Sullivan claims that one of the ‘agents’ looked “…. Greek, and I suspected he might be George Joannides.” Aside from the fact that the person O’Sullivan identifies in no way resembles someone who ‘looks Greek’ there are further reasons why O’Sullivan is on unsafe ground. According to American journalist Jefferson Morley, who writes for the New York Review of Books:
When it comes to the late George Joannides, the BBC story is unfounded and unfair. Its evidence is weak, its conclusions unwarranted. The story accurately quotes my reporting in Salon, the New York Review of Books and elsewhere about Joannides' still unexplained roles in the JFK assassination story but I see no basis for author Shane O'Sullivan's extrapolation that Joannides had some role in the RFK story. Specifically, there is no evidence to corroborate Ed Lopez's claim that the man in the photo is Joannides'- the authentication of the photo is uncertain. There is no other evidence that Joannides was in Los Angeles in June 1968, much less than Joannides was involved in RFK's assassination. To make such serious allegations on such flimsy evidence is irresponsible.
Later Morley told a JFK Internet forum that he thought Lopez’s identification of Joannides is credible and requires ‘more investigation’. However any further investigation of Lopez’s identification would have to include Lopez’s colleague, Dan Hardway, who spent the same amount of time as Lopez with Joannides when they visited CIA headquarters at Langley, Virginia. Incredibly, O’Sullivan did not tell Newsnight viewers that Dan Hardway could not identify Joannides from the photos he was showed.
O’Sullivan does include in his report comments made by close friends of Joannides and Campbell - Tom Clines and Ed Wilson - who denied the men in the photographs were the same people they knew. However, O’Sullivan immediately introduces skepticism about one of these witnesses by writing, “We meet Clines in a hotel room near CIA headquarters. He does not want to go on camera and brings a friend, which is a little unnerving. Clines remembers ‘Dave’ [Morales] fondly. The guy in the video looks like Morales but it is not him, he says: ‘This guy is fatter and Morales walked with more of a slouch and his tie down.’ To me, the guy in the video does walk with a slouch and his tie is down.” O’Sullivan again attempts to pour scorn on Clines by writing, “A seasoned journalist [unnamed] cautions that he would expect Clines ‘to blow smoke’, and yet it seems his honest opinion.” Yet O’Sullivan uncritically accepts the stories of other former CIA operatives he spoke to and uses their testimony to make his case.
JFK assassination author Anthony Summers concurs with the view that O’Sullivan’s evidence is too weak to support the conclusion that CIA agents had been present at the Ambassador Hotel and were responsible for the assassination. “....This seems on its face to be an extremely thin story,” Summers wrote, in correspondence with a JFK forum. “Photographs and photograph recognition are infamously unreliable, especially coming from witnesses so long after an event. That does not mean these fellows were not in the Ambassador on the night - though I would have thought that's the last place such officers would have allowed themselves to be seen and photographed - but I'm surprised (at least on the basis of what I read in the Guardian) that the BBC would have judged the story worth running.”
Viewers had also been unaware that one of O’Sullivan’s witnesses, Bradley Ayers, a retired US Army Captain who had been seconded to the CIA’s Miami base in 1963 to work with Morales, had written a JFK ‘novelized’ conspiracy book and been involved with the conspiracy research community for years. He once tried to sell information to two JFK/RFK researchers, Lisa Pease and Jim DiEugenio, hinting that Morales was involved in the Martin Luther King Jr assassination. Ayers never mentioned to Pease and DiEugenio at the time that Morales may have been involved in the RFK assassination. According to Pease, Ayers was ‘desperate for money.’ Viewers were also unaware that Wayne Smith had a vested interest in the conspiracy angle. Smith has been convinced for many years that the CIA had been involved in the purported JFK conspiracy and told author Eric Hamburg five years ago, “…the [JFK] assassination was carried out by the ‘cowboys’ of the CIA – men like Morales. Who I knew well from my days in Cuba.” The witness identifications by Smith and Ayers are therefore considerably weakened as a result. Furthermore, claims made by O’Sullivan’s defenders on the Newsnight website that these witnesses had no motive in identifying Morales and Campbell are therefore now made redundant.
However, it is O’Sullivan’s use of the LAPD’s film footage that brings his research skills into serious question. In his Newsnight report O'Sullivan said, “Moments after the shooting agent No. 2, Gordon Campbell, walks from the direction of the pantry with a small container in his hand as a ‘Latin Man’ waves him towards an exit.” This is pure speculation on O’Sullivan’s behalf. An examination of the original Los Angeles Police Department footage reveals that the Latin Man is not connected with Campbell at all. After the Latin Man waves the crowd away from the area of the pantry he turns around, without a word to Campbell, and walks off in a different direction. He is clearly not pointing to an exit for Campbell. The Latin Man is shown with the palm of his hand outstretched, directing people away from the chaos in the pantry. The viewer would be unaware of this as the footage has to be run in total context before a proper understanding of the Latin Man’s actions can be made.
Sadly the BBC has erred in not providing checks and balances to this story and they should have solicited the expertise and views, or written works, of those in the research community who have challenged the RFK and JFK conspiracy theories that have been presented to the public over the past 40 years. The broadcasters would, at the very least, have provided a more informed and balanced account of this event.
However,O’Sullivan’s research should not be dismissed out of hand and he deserves encouragement to develop his work further in order to make a convincing case. This may take some time in light of the common experience of researchers who have had dealings with US Government bureaucracy. In the meantime I, for one, cannot accept O’Sullivan’s evidence based on what he has thus far provided.
Since the BBC broadcast a story by Irish screenwriter Shane O’Sullivan that CIA agents had been present in the Ambassador Hotel the night Robert Kennedy was assassinated, I have discovered further evidence which shows that O’Sullivan’s research was misleading and flimsy. From the new evidence presented in this article it is now clear that his allegations are unfounded.Friends of CIA agents David Sanchez Morales and a colleague of Gordon Campbell have now established that the O’Sullivan identifications are unsound. The George Joannides identification remains in question.
George Joannides: Ed Lopez made a positive identification of Joannides, the CIA liasion to the House Assassinations Committee. HSCA investigator Dan Hardway, who had spent the same amount of time with Joannides as Lopez, failed to identify the agent from the photos.
Gordon Campbell: Campbell was identified by Bradley Ayers, an army captain attached to the Miamai CIA station JM/WAVE, and purported freelance CIA operative David Rabern. Don Bohning, a former leading reporter for the Miami Herald who spent years interviewing participants in the War On Castro wrote about Ayers in his book ‘The Castro Obsession’. The information about Ayers was based on an interview with JM/WAVE Station Chief Ted Shackley. Bohning wrote, “Ayers was to become so emotionally involved, both in the Cuban exile cause and with a Cuban refugee woman, that (Ted Shackley) terminated him. Shackley, in an interview, recalled Ayers as a 'strange guy' although acknowledging Ayers’ portrayal of the station activities was generally accurate as far as it went. (Shackley said) ‘He (Ayers) was assigned to do training...real gung ho. He came with the impression he was going to train and then lead a team into Cuba. That was always a problem with the Special Forces. When they found they were not going to lead a team they became enamored of the Cuban cause. He started messing around with some female down there. We could see problems and ordered him to return to his parent unit. He was basically a good guy, but they go native.' Shackley said that the station had ‘maybe fifteen or so military trainers at any one time.’” (See: http://www.amazon.com)
However, it is the statement made by Grayston Lynch to this author that eliminates the possibility that the man observed in the LAPD film footage and photos supplied by O’Sullivan is Gordon Campbell. Lynch is a retired U.S. Army Special Forces captain and former CIA intelligence officer. His awards include three Purple Hearts, two Silver Stars, a Bronze Star with V for valor, and the CIA's most coveted award, the Intelligence Star, for heroism at the Bay of Pigs ‘above and beyond the call of duty’. When a force of U.S. trained Cuban exiles invaded Castro's Cuba in 1961, Lynch was the CIA's case officer, their point man, on the command ship, Blagar. He handled every communication between Washington and the beachhead and led the first combat team ashore. Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh described Lynch as the man who was , “….there at the Bay of Pigs and was in the perfect position to write the definitive ground-level account of what went right and what went wrong”. According to Lynch the man in the LAPD film footage is not Campbell and that he “…knew Gordon Campbell.”
David Sanchez Morales: Bradley Ayers, diplomat Wayne Smith and David Rabern positively identified Morales, although their initial responses to O’Sullivan’s grainy photos were hesitant. As an 'objective seeker of truth' O’Sullivan should have presented his television audience with research which showed how two of his Morales ‘witnesses’ had a bias for JFK conspiracy theories. Since the first part of this article was published further information has come to light which shows that Bradey Ayers was a committed conspiracist for years. (See: http://www.amazon.co.uk/ Readers will recall that in part one of this article I quoted Eric Hamburg as identifying Wayne Smith as a believer in CIA-linked JFK assassination theories without providing any evidence whatsoever that this was true. Two former agents, Thomas Clines and Ed Wilson failed to identify David Morales from the photographs shown them.In fact they said it wasn’t Morales.The veracity of Clines and Wilson can now be supported by statements made to this author by CIA operatives Grayston Lynch and Lt. Col. Manuel Chavez.
Manny Chavez is a former air force intelligence officer who served in Venezuela as a military attaché in Venezuela during 1957 -1959 while Dave Morales was assigned to the CIA office for a year during the period 1957-58. After examining the photo clips of the LAPD film footage used by O’Sullivan Chavez stated, “I was assigned to the CIA Office in Miami from 1960 to 1964. Dave Morales worked in my office (we shared desks) during a 4 month period (1961), until they moved to their own JMWave location in Southwest Miami. We often socialized.….. the tall dark man (in the LAPD film footage) does not look like Dave Morales… (He) looks like a young, late 30s early 40s, Afro-American…I worked on the photo to make it clearer and am more convinced that the person in the photos is not Dave Morales as I knew him up until 1963.” Manny Chavez’s wife also knew Morales well. She denied the man in the film clip was Morales. In fact I have captured from the LAPD film footage what I believe to be O’Sullivan’s ‘Morales’ standing amongst a group of African American males who are assisting one of the shooting victims into an ambulance.
In his Guardian article O’Sullivan wrote, “In person, Ayers positively identified Morales and Campbell and introduced me to David Rabern, a freelance operative who was part of the Bay of Pigs invasion force in 1961 and was at the Ambassador hotel that night. He did not know Morales and Campbell by name but saw them talking to each other out in the lobby before the shooting and assumed they were Kennedy's security people. He also saw Campbell around police stations three or four times in the year before Robert Kennedy was shot.”
However, according to Don Bohning, his ‘pretty thorough research’ and friendship with the late Jake Esterline, the CIA's project director for the Bay of Pigs, and Marine Col. Jack Hawkins, the paramilitary chief for the project, indicated there were no such ‘freelance operatives’ as part of the invasion force. Don Bohning said, “….This reference to David Rabern… intrigued me. I called Jack Hawkins, the Marine Colonel in charge of the paramilitary side of the Bay of Pigs …... He said what I thought: the only two American CIA contract employees who even made it to the beach during the invasion - and then against orders - were Rip Robertson, now dead, and Grayston Lynch…Hawkins seemed quite certain Rabern was not part of the invasion force itself. ”. Bohning said he was “99.9 per cent certain that David Rabern was not a part of the Bay of Pigs invasion force, as O'Sullivan identifies him”. In fact, Bohning had never heard of a David Rabern and said there were no Americans who participated in the invasion itself; all were Cuban exiles. According to Bohning, “The only other Americans directly involved in the invasion were those contracted pilots from the Alabama National Guard. And all the trainers in Guatemala were American military personnel….. if he had a role in the Bay of Pigs invasion it is not part of the recorded history of the event. While a small thing, it does tend to discredit O'Sullivan's account; and Ayers, who presumably introduced Rabern to O'Sullivan.”
Bohning allows for the fact that it may have been possible that Rabern had been involved in the Guatemala training of the force, “…but most if not all the trainers at the beginning were foreigners and later US military personnel, led by Lt. Col. Frank Egan. I have never heard the name David Rabern associated with the Bay of Pigs in any context.” Grayston Lynch’s wife told this author, “My husband said to tell you that the only two Americans involved in the Bay of Pigs invasion were he and his CIA partner William "Rip" Robertson. Anyone else that tells you they were there, or says they can vouch for someone being there, is a... in no uncertain terms...liar.There have been, over the years, a whole raft of wanna be Bay of Pig invaders both American and Cuban”.
It should be recalled that Rabern did not know David Morales or Campbell or Joannides. Lynch and Chavez did. It should be obvious to most historians and researchers that Chavez’s and Lynch’s identifications must take precedent over Rabern’s.
It is clear from this new evidence that O’Sullivan’s ‘witnesses’ have now been discredited.However, it is the most incredible part of O’Sullivan’s story that renders his theory suspect - the premise that CIA agents, bent on killing a political opponent would allow themselves to be photographed at the scene of the crime.As RFK assassination expert Dan Moldea told this author, “ I couldn't agree more with your analysis. Why in God's name would these guys be there and allow themselves to be photographed if they were part of a plot to kill Senator Kennedy? That would make as much sense as a woman with a polka-dot dress running out of the crime scene, gleefully shouting, ‘We shot him. We shot him.’ It sort of defeats the goal of getting away after successfully executing a complicated conspiracy.”
There were a number of Kennedy aides present that night who had been close to the Senator when he was Attorney General in his brothers’ administration. RFK was given the task of overseeing the War on Castro and during his period in the JFK administration he paid a number of visits to CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia and the CIA station in Miami accompanied by aides. Some RFK aides present in the Embassy Ballroom of the Ambasador Hotel were therefore in a position to recognize CIA agents who they may have come into contact with during RFK’s trips to the CIA establishments.Any identification of agents at this time would have given grave cause for concern particularly as this was just a year after the Jim Garrison New Orleans investigation in which charges had been made that Cuban exiles and rogue CIA agents had conspired to murder JFK. It thus becomes highly implausible that CIA agents would expose themselves at the risk a Kennedy aide might recognize them or allow themselves to be photographed at the scene of a major assassination they had purportedly organized.
The BBC blunder did not end with the broadcast of O’Sullivan’s report. On the Tuesday morning following the Newsnight programme I posted criticisms of the Newsnight story on their web blog – it was registered as “No:1”. The post contained criticisms of the program which were eventually incorporated in Part 1 of this article. It contained no libellous, slanderous, provocative or obscene material.The post remained there for 4 or 5 days and was then removed. Such censorship is not worthy of a great news corporation that has a long history of integrity; a corporation that has prided itself on the free dissemination of news and ideas.
comments powered by Disqus
rob bozzuto - 5/17/2008
I say it was Morales in disguise. CIA would have to fumbling idiots not to cover its tracks.
Mel Ayton - 2/13/2008
Jeff Pruitt must now feel very embarrassed - 'Joannides' and Campbell' have now (November 2007)been identified as Bulova Watch salesmen attending a convention at the Ambassador Hotel - 'Campbell' is, in reality, Michael D Roman, national sales manager and Vice-president and 'Joannides' is, in reality, Frank Owens, a regional sales manager.
Hopefully this new information will end the nonsensical conspiracy- mongering by people who have no real knowledge of this case.
Robert Douglas Rowe - 7/23/2007
So now eight months have passed since the BBC ran Shane O'Sullivan's piece. But for some reason, not one of these brilliant researchers, such as Ayton or Moldea, have yet done the most obvious thing. Think of it. What relatively simple bit of research could one of these people provide which would certainly devastate O'Sullivan's claims, and in doing so gain for themselves status and notoriety? What would that be?...ah...how about discovering the 'true' identity of the individuals in the photos. Yes, it should be a relatively simple matter. How hard could it be to track down three guys (or just one for that matter) who were standing so prominently there in the photos? If they were just regular guys, as people like Ayton and Moldea are so convinced, there shouldn't be much trouble at all in identifying them, right? If fact, wouldn't the LAPD's oh so thorough and extensive investigation have done that in their original 'investigation?' Of course they would have.
So that's strange. Why hasn't anyone just gone out and found out who these regular guys were? They had to be just your average guys in business suits who just happen to be in the neighborhood of the Ambassador Hotel that night so they decided to show up and hang around a campaign rally. They weren't campaign workers or news people because of course those individuals were all identified back then.
What are your theories, Mel? Who could these guys be? Can you just go back to the extensive notes I'm sure you took in your research for your book, and just pull out those names for us? We'd be really appreciative.
Robert Douglas Rowe - 7/23/2007
Which side are you trying to argue? Morales DID leak that he was there...to his lawyer. Were you aware of that?
John Riddle Doe - 6/20/2007
The trail leads to an out of control conservative and neoconservative foreign policy of intervention. Our own popular leaders can be targeted.
Too much mention of CIA members and mobsters for this to not lead to the right wing America. Too many names are mentioned.
Milhous Nixon and George Bush Sr and Jr are all involved. So much for unlimited government. We are in the episode called 'blowback.' Interesting how right wingers are about imposing morality on us and the rest of the world; it's really about big business using government to protect their interests. Remember when early Americans hustled and stole land from native Americans ? Big business does the same in other countries; then their leaders choose socialism and nationalize land or businesses for the benefit of the indigenous. Call in the Marines...
For those of you conservatives who believe these assasinations are justified I want you to think about your own lives everytime you sit down on a passenger jet ready for takeoff. Think about how insignificant the CIA considers or values your life. Most innocent Americans are killed on passenger jets used by Arab patriots for revenge over a meddling US foreign policy or by the CIA to silence another American.
Liberals are equally to blame because they, like conservatives, use government to further their own agendas; and this creates blowback and increases the size and power of an unlimited government (capable of waging unlimited war in any country at any time). Liberals wonder why they can't stop or influence foreign policy.
J. MacAurthur - 4/27/2007
Why would a, "friend of Dave Morales," or any fellow CIA operative potentially implicate Morales or any other fellow operative?
It's more likely than not that a fellow operative would deny any inconclusive evidence in almost all circumstances. Not only to maintain integrity within the organization, but also simply because it is professionally discouraged to make any speculations about anything on the record.
If I were Morales' best friend and fellow operative, I would also deny that the images were of Morales; even if I felt it looked like him. There's no way to be absolutely sure, so why go out on a limb?
Tom Willis - 4/12/2007
How nice of you to admit Thane Eugene Cesar's gun was never examined. Which of course means there's no way in Hell you or I or anyone else knows for sure whether that right-wing nut was carrying a .38-caliber or a .22-caliber on the night of the Bobby Kennedy shooting.
Mind doing us all a favor and explaining that to your bosom buddy Dan Moldea? Cuz that boy sure seems pretty fond of insisting -- without any proof whatsoever -- that Cesar was holstering a .38 that night.
Jeff Pruitt - 3/24/2007
Nice hit piece Mel. Glad you don't carry a gun.
It's so obviously them it's not even worth arguing over.
Mel Ayton - 12/10/2006
Yet another friend of Dave Morales has put the lie to the allegation that Morales is the man in the LAPD film footage. Manny Chavez sent this email to me this morning: "Mel,I told you many days ago that I sent a copy of the photo (of Morales) to Luis Rodriguez, the Army Rep. in the Miami CIA office who worked side by side with Dave Morales and me. Rodriguez’s reply today. 'That is definitely not Dave Morales.' Although a little late for your article it is another 'Slam Dunk'."
Mel Ayton - 12/8/2006
If this is the level of your research then I suggest you just pack it in.This is risible to the extreme.McAdams has the respect of the RATIONAL memebers of the JFK research community.
thomas L. lowry - 12/8/2006
Just a short note of thanks to Mel Ayton for the follow up on the BBC Blunder story . Some storys are just sad if they weren't so humerous , This story has elements of both . In reviewing the article with a friend by e-mail , he commented back to me " Sounds like a Witch Hunt " , I responded " Which Hunt , I thought there was only one and he was supposed to be a tramp " . Anyway we got a lot of mileage out of playing 'who's on first ' for about 10 posts , then it wore a little thin , as do most conspiracy theory's after hearing different ones , all mutually exclusive , for the 50ith time . It is not often I stop and wonder at the meaning of it all . Are there not enough news story's happening all over the globe ? Why do people persist in inventing story's , when there are so many more events occuring dailey , that are more interesting and BTW true ? At this point I have to fall back on the great work of Joseph Campbell and ' The Power of Myth ' were he explains in great detail to a astonished Bill Moyers , the meaning and reasoning behind this phenom. and puts it into it's proper perspective . Those of you who haven't seen his work , should do so , it will take away a lot of the mystery involved here and is a must see , regardless if your interest lie with this BBC story , or makers of myth in general ......Tom Lowry
Mel Ayton - 12/8/2006
1. If it was 'your point' where is your evidence investigating whether or not Morales, Campbell and Joannides were at the Ambassador Hotel? - apart from providing the valuable information that Ayers never mentioned Morales' role in the RFK assassination previously?
2. You maintain there was CIA involvement in the RFK assassination, yet there is no CREDIBLE evidence whatsoever to prove this.Furthermore, where is your evidence that O'Sullivan was set up? His only mistake was in not researching the backgrounds of the people he put his trust in.There is no evidence whatsoever that Ayers, Rabern, Smith and Lopez 'set him up'. Irresponsible charges like this should not be indulged in.
3.Check the Newsnight blog - there are honest posters who confirm my 'No. 1 post',which was posted around 12.30pm on the Tuesday following the Monday night broadcast, was removed after 4 or 5 days - and I believe it was removed because it was an embarrasment to the BBC - there is no alternative reason.Naturally, after my complaints were sent to the BBC, they began to post my criticisms.
Lisa X. Pease - 12/8/2006
The thread up now is not the one you, I, and others originally posted on.
The BBC is not censoring you. Search your name on Google and you can probably find the link to your original post - it's still there.
Also - if these are not Morales and Campbell and Joannides - that makes MY point - that this was a setup designed to discredit the notion of CIA involvement in the RFK case, for which there is other evidence which sadly, has never been publicized by the BBC or any other major news organization.
thomas L. lowry - 12/7/2006
I noticed Lisa Pease putting in her two cents worth of conspiracy . That's the wholesale worth of her comments . I for one find that when I step the slightest out of line on alt.assassination.jfk he climbs all over my case about proper behavior when addressing the critical community , who I find odious in the extreme . So I can't buy her description of John McAdam's as anything less than fantasy , which is her forte , just go to her website and you'll see first hand how she mangles the evidence until it bears no resemblence to it's original form . A regular pretzel twister she is Ahyyyy ! .....Tom Lowry
thomas L. lowry - 12/7/2006
From the looks of it , it sure appears to be shabby journalism again , that has been easily uncovered by our residence ( World Wide ) slueth Mel Ayton . What doesn't appear to be happening is what needs happening , honesty in journalism with out the prodding afterwards . With the pressure on to produce a good story and keep up ratings , the BBC should also look at the integrety issue before airing such shows . I for one would like to see a couple of heads roll , after this is reviewed . But like all such shows the apology's afterwards are useless , especially when the story gets stuck in the public's conscience and is retold , each time with the story getting better and better , thru the natural processes of story telling . I can see already this Big Whopper of a story will be around for a long time . I'm just glad Mel Ayton got on it right away and nailed the coon skin hat to the wall . I'm half expecting the next conspiracy installment to have CIA Chief Helm's controlling the scene , walkie talkie in hand , standing on the steam table , directing Assassin traffic thru the pantry . I can hardly wait ? ........ CIA Conspiracy Indeed . Absolute rubbish ! .......Tom Lowry
Lisa X. Pease - 12/7/2006
Actually, the poster is more correct than you know or let on.
McAdams long ago admitted working for the ICPSR, an child organization of the Institute for Social Research, which used to be called the Survey Research Center, housed at the University of Michigan. As Christopher Simpson wrote in his book "Science of Coercion" that the institute was virtually an outpost of the federal government, owing its survival to contracts with government agencies, including propaganda units.
And do you really want to associate yourself with a guy who lied about his own identity, who attended a JFK conference under the alias "Paul Nolan" and gave an interview to a reporter under this fake name?
If you are someone who considers the truth your highest calling, as do I, I can't imagine why you'd promote someone so overtly dishonest as John McAdams. Of course, maybe you are not what you profess to be. But that's your choice. Choose wisely.
Lisa X. Pease - 12/3/2006
Shane, since my post on Brad Ayers, many members - reputable members - of the JFK research community have contacted me to say privately they share my views. They don't want to be accused of being unpatriotic but I'm more fearless than most. My patriotism is not at issue, nor is Ayers. It's simply his identification, given his very obvious obsession with Morales as I described on the blog post you commented on. I don't trust Ayers, and I'm far from alone in that matter.
Lisa X. Pease - 12/3/2006
What a joke. The CIA's Office of Security bugs CIA employees and assets to prevent such leaks. If something leaks out it's because the Agency WANTS it to leak.
You can't make a statement that all secrets come out because if they don't, no one would ever know - so there's no way to prove your point.
How long did it take us to find out who Deep Throat was (if indeed Felt is the end of the story, which some doubt)?
Former CIA director Richard Helms once said a successful operation is one that remained secret FOREVER. And he bomoaned the fact that he could not talk about the CIA's successes.
Mel Ayton - 11/29/2006
The BBC editors accepted O'Sullivan's claims without criticism - otherwise they would have included the word 'purported' or 'alleged' in their website piece.Read it again - they are making what appears to me and many others as a 'definitive statement'.
Mel Ayton - 11/29/2006
You are absolutely correct. Furthermore, I think O'Sullivanwould need to contact these people, if he hasn't done already, for further identification of Morales:
Paul Bethel – USIA’s Press Officer at the American Embassy in Cuba at the time Morales was stationed there.
Felix Rodriguez – CIA agent who together with Morales aided in the capture of Che Guevara in 1967.
JM/WAVE’s station chief Ted Shackley’s widow who may have met Morlaes.
Bob Wall – Morales’ Assistant Chief Of Operations at JM/WAVE.
Ruben Carbajal – lifelong frind of Morales.
Robert Walton – friend of Morales.
Residents of Willcox and El Frita, Arizona, who may remember Morales.
Lawrence Brooks Hughes - 11/29/2006
If the CIA had killed Bobby we would have known all about it years ago. The CIA leaks like a sieve. Common sense should tell you Americans cannot keep secrets of that kind.
John D. Beatty - 11/27/2006
Of course, just as they have assasinated all persons since the beginning of time.
The world is a CIA conspiracy. The CIA runs the universe. All persons, of course, know this.
Explain to us why this issue would be important. What difference does it make who killed him? What happened afterwards that was so different? What motive would anyone have?
Get a life. Get a grip.
Mel Ayton - 11/27/2006
"Oh, And Mel Ayton is disinfo like McAdams, Posner and Myer (sic)."
So John McAdams, Dale Myers and myself are in the pay of some sinister organization (read CIA)and act as 'disinformation agents'?
This statement alone renders the writer flaky and ignorant.
Mel Ayton - 11/27/2006
I criticized Mr O'Sullivan's Newsnight story on Tuesday morning, the day after it was broadcast. I was the first poster: see below
The criticisms contained no insulting or obscene material and everything I posted was eventually included in my HNN article.The Newsnight post remained in place for 4 days then was removed.Why?
This can only be another example of the shoddy tactics the BBC are now engaging in. When posters criticize the American government for censorship the BBC's act becomes risible.
truthmove truthmove - 11/25/2006
It is clear that you are the one not interested in truth and honesty (either for yourself or for your readers).
I find your last paragraph particularly disingenuous. Sound like a coded dig at O'Sullivan's quest for truth.
I see you are a major player in the anti-think-for-yourself campaign (i.e. several books about why people shouldn't be skeptical of their government). The evidence contradicting the official accounts of the MLK, RFK, and JFK is extensive and none of the substantial points have been countered by supposed "debunkers" like yourself. So why do you write books and articles and give interviews telling people not to worry and that all the "alternative research" can be explained away. Why?
It is obvious that you either have a personal neurotic need to protect your own faith in mainstream reality or you are fulfilling a specific role in muddying the debate and keeping the public in the dark. Shame on you, either way. How does feel to stand on the side of domination, deception, and death; against TRUTH? I'm sure it's not very fun. History will judge you.
Wim J Dankbaar - 11/25/2006
"We sure took care of that bastard, didn't we?"
"It's my own people I am worried about, I know too damned much."
- David Morales, best CIA assassin of Latin America.
The BBC special last monday was very very interesting.
I invite the BBC to cover my special when it's released: http://jfkmurdersolved.com/film/trailer.wmv
The BBC focused on David Sanchez Morales, alias the Big Indian.
Therefore here some pages from my book Files on JFK http://jfkmurdersolved.com/pdf/morales.doc
Highschool foto of David Sanchez Morales 1925 - 1978
Another mysterious death
Oh, And Mel Ayton is disinfo like McAdams, Posner and Myer.
Mel Ayton - 11/24/2006
Your reaction to my article has shown that you are not willing to listen to alternative views about conspiracy-based RFK assassination theories. I believe you have given the game away by characterizing my response as ‘ignorant’ and ‘nasty’. In fact, I believe your research from the get-go has been ‘conspiracy-led’.
To correct your misinterpretation of my article:
1. As an 'objective seeker of truth' it is irrelevant whether or not you accept Dan Moldea's hypothesis of the crime scene scenario. Your audience deserved to hear an alternative version of the Teeter myth.You have proven that you had pre-conceived notions of Moldea’s theories. Did you tell Dan Moldea what you thought of his ‘shooting scenario’ when you solicited his opinions?
2.You need to read more about the late Lawrence Teeter's conspiracy theories - yes, he has said on a number of occasions he believed Sirhan's gun had been firing blanks. Obviously Teeter didn't tell you that and you didn’t bother to research his previous statements which are on record.Are you saying that everything you present in your forthcoming documentary will be based only on interviews?
3. The Coroner Thomas Noguchi has never said Sirhan was the only assassin because his professional ethics prevent him from making guesses. But he has never disagreed with Dan Moldea’s shooting scenario; he has simply posited that no one can ever really know. Read Moldea’s book.
4. Thane Cesar,who will be completely exonerated with new evidence that will be released early next year, was ‘polygraphed’ and interviewed by Dan Moldea. He was taken to the police station after the shooting and offered his .38 pistol to police officers. They didn’t believe that examining his weapon was necessary as he was never a suspect to begin with. Moldea spent some considerable amount of time researching Cesar’s background. Cesar was never a suspect because no one at that time saw him do anything except fall to the ground after Sirhan began shooting. Cesar then drew his gun. If Frank Burns said the autopsy report described a ‘different gun’ you are the first to reveal this startling piece of information. Unless you and Burns have simply taken a JFK Lancer article which purports to prove that a bullet larger than a .22 was responsible for RFK’s head wound. I can assure you that the person writing this article is not a wounds ballistics expert and his theories have been challenged and disproven by a real wounds ballistics expert, Larry Sturdivan in an appendix to my book. Sturdivan’s excellent work on the JFK scientific evidence can be found here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/JFK-Myths-Scientific-Investigation-Assassination/dp/1557788472/sr=11-1/qid=1164412789/ref=sr_11_1/202-7043817-0146258
5. I believe if you tell some of the leading authorities on hypnosis that their work is nonsense it will further destroy your credibility. One example: (I quote many more in my book) Psychologist Dr. Graham Wagstaff of the University of Liverpool, a leading authority on hypnosis told me , “On the basis of such research….Hypnotic subjects do not lose consciousness, control of their behaviour, or their normal scruples, and are no more likely to engage in self-repugnant or anti-social activities than equivalently motivated non-hypnotic subjects. Indeed, the recent definition of hypnosis provided by the American Psychological Association clearly rejects the notion of the hypnotic automaton; thus it states, ‘Contrary to some depictions of hypnosis in books, movies or television, people who have been hypnotized do not lose control over their behavior’….Notably also, in a further recent survey of ten experts on forensic hypnosis conducted by Vingoe (1995), all rejected the view that, ‘during hypnosis the control a person normally has over him or herself is in the hands of the hypnotist.' A similar view is expressed by the editors of the contributors to what is probably the most important academic volume on hypnosis to be published this decade, Theories of Hypnosis…edited by Lynn and Rhue…Thus Lynn and Rhue conclude: ‘Since the “golden age” of hypnotism (the 1880’s and 1890’s), the view of the hypnotized subject as a passive automaton under the sway of a powerful hypnotist has faded in popularity. In fact, this rather extreme position is not endorsed by any of the theorists whose ideas are represented in this book.’”
6. Tom Clines and Ed Wilson said he didn’t and that’s what I explicitly state. As I said in my article this part of your research should not be dismissed out of hand.
7.Point taken. Perhaps they will be questioned further.Did you ask them?
8.Is it Morley or Moldea? They both said your evidence is flimsy.
9.One of your witnesses, David Raburn, was not a CIA agent but was indeed a ‘CIA operative’ in that he sub-contracted his skills to the Agency. I never said that Ayers and Smith were CIA operatives.
Is this a different Bradley Ayers? –
10. He read the Guardian article which reveals more than your Newsnight piece.
11. I’m sure Lisa Pease will stand by her statements. You’ll have to ask her.
12.This isn’t twisting words – ‘Could not identify Joannides’ simply means that Hardway did not positively identify Joannides as the man in the photograph.
John H. Kimbol - 11/24/2006
Did rogue CIA agents have any part in the Robert Kennedy assassination? That I cannot say. However, I am more than happy to look at any new evidence that comes to light.
I wish to thank Mr O'Sullivan for his efforts.
John H. Kimbol - 11/24/2006
"The agents, O’Sullivan claimed, had been responsible for the assassination. Newsnight editors believe O’Sullivan is correct in his assumptions. A related article on their website states, “[O’Sullivan’s investigation] reveals that the operatives and four unidentified associates were at the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles in the moments before and after the shooting on 5 June, 1968.”
Where is your evidence that "Newsnight editors believe O’Sullivan is correct in his assumptions" that rogue CIA agents were responsible for RFK's assassination? The BBC editors made no such declaration, as well you know.
Shane O'Sullivan - 11/24/2006
Your article shows a disturbing ignorance and misreading of this new evidence and appears to be no more than a hastily-googled cut-and-paste job of the nastiest reaction you can gather from across the internet to beef up your weak analysis.
Let me correct several errors in your piece:
1. I have read Moldea's book but, like many others, found his U-turn at the end and subsequent reconstruction on the Discovery Channel entirely unconvincing. There is no evidence whatsoever that Kennedy was "accidentally bumped forward" into Sirhan's gun. If Kennedy fell backwards, how could he have been pushed forward while shot from behind in an upward trajectory? It's absurd.
2. Teeter did not say Sirhan was firing blanks in our interview or in any other I've read with him, so why bring it up here?
3. The fatal bullet has never been matched to Sirhan's gun and the Coroner, based on the evidence, has never accepted that Sirhan was definitely the assassin.
4. I interviewed Frank Burns last week. He acted out what he saw for me in his living-room - Sirhan's gun was three feet from Kennedy at the time of the first shot. He insists the autopsy report describes a different gun than Sirhan's. Since when do we take Thane Cesar's testimony over Frank Burns?!
5. The paragraph on hypnosis is nonsense. We interviewed Dr Herbert Spiegel of Columbia University who believes Sirhan was hypnotically programmed to fire at Kennedy. Estabrooks, Milton Kline, Marcuse et al agree that hypnotising someone to do something against their moral code is very possible with the right subject.
6. To the undiscerning eye, he may look like OJ Simpson but to the men who knew him, he looks like David Morales!
7. Clines and Wilson were close friends of Morales, not Campbell and Joannides.
8. A clue - the name of the "seasoned journalist" who distrusts their identifications appears earlier in your "story".
9. Bradley Ayers and Wayne Smith are not former CIA operatives. Ayers was seconded to the CIA from the Army and is not bound by the CIA oath of secrecy. There's a difference. You obviously haven't read his book because it has nothing to do with JFK conspiracy theories.
10. You give a paragraph to quotes from Tony Summers when he admits he hasn't even seen the film!
11. Bradley Ayers was not paid for his whole-hearted cooperation and was disgracefully slurred by Lisa Pease. If you read my Guardian piece or saw the BBC film, you will know that the only piece of information Brad had about the RFK assassination was a contact called David Rabern, who saw a man matching the image of Morales seen in the 1959 photograph at the hotel that night. I showed Brad my video, he identified Morales and Campbell and put me in touch with Rabern as well as countless others.
12. Well, Ed Lopez thought the man next to Campbell in the photograph looked Greek. In fact, he was 99% sure it's Joannides! Dan Hardway's exact words were: "This could be him. Much younger in the picture than in the 70's and its been a long time." Please don't twist the story to suit your own ends.
I welcome your caution regarding these gentlemen and your encouragement in continuing my investigation. But please research these new suspects more carefully before you attack the credibility of men brave enough to step forward and identify them.
- 159 scholars at Harvard sign petition reprimanding the school for rejections of Chelsea Manning and Michelle Jones
- Fact Check: Steve Bannon’s Bad History
- The Story Behind the Truman Quote in President Trump's U.N. Speech
- As Trump Declares Missing in Action Recognition Day, How Many Service Members Are Missing?
- The ‘nation’s report card’ says it assesses critical thinking in history
- Eric Foner discusses the manipulation of history
- Male historian tapped to lead Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Kansas
- Decline in History Majors Continues, Departments Respond
- He’s 75 now. When he started teaching at the University of New Orleans students walked out on his class.
- ‘Fake news’ from 1738 offers lessons for modern historians, says Missouri scholar