Blogs > HNN > Mel Ayton: Review of Shane O'Sullivan's Who Killed Bobby?

Jul 9, 2008 12:18 pm


Mel Ayton: Review of Shane O'Sullivan's Who Killed Bobby?



RESPONSES TO THIS ARTICLE
Mr. Ayton worked as an historical consultant for the BBC and has written articles for UK newspapers, Max Holland’s Washington Decoded, David Horowitz’s Frontpage magazine, History Ireland, Crime Magazine and History News Network. The paperback edition of his latest book, ‘The Forgotten Terrorist- Sirhan Sirhan and the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy’ was published in May 2008 by Potomac Books.

Irish screenwriter Shane O’Sullivan’s book Who Killed Bobby? The Unsolved Murder of Robert F. Kennedy (2008) is a fast paced thriller clearly written by someone who knows his way around scriptwriting. In fact, not only does it resemble a fictional movie script in its format but also in its content. (1)

O’Sullivan’s book was published some 6 months or so following the issue of his DVD about the assassination, RFK Must Die. Both are carefully constructed to lead the reader along the conspiratorial yellow brick road into a wilderness of smoke and mirrors. It is a  narrative of speculation and innuendo which substitutes for the known established facts of the case. The end result leaves the reader wondering who didn’t shoot Bobby Kennedy.

O’Sullivan builds much of his conspiracy case on the bedlam that followed the assassination of RFK in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel when an estimated crowd of  77 people reacted to gunshots fired by the assassin, Sirhan Sirhan. After the first shot had been fired the crowd acted as one would expect. Some witnesses reacted out of fear for their own safety and attempted to avoid the gunman who was firing wildly into the crowd after he had succeeded in placing his gun against RFK’s head and firing. Others fell about after hearing gunshots and observing flashes eminating from the muzzle of Sirhan’s gun. Consequently, the pantry was in such a turmoil it is no wonder the witness statements were contradictory and fraught with speculation as to what exactly happened.

O’Sullivan is crudely manipulative and deceptive when it comes to presenting witness statements. O’Sullivan wrote, “…not one witness placed Sirhan’s gun close enough to Kennedy and in the correct firing position to inflict the wounds observed in the autopsy.”(emphasis added) (2) However, the controversies over the trajectories of the bullets entering RFK were never an issue when the witnesses were interviewed therefore they were never asked. O’Sullivan thus glosses over the statements made by witnesses Juan Romero, Boris Yaro, Vincent DiPierro and Freddy Plimpton who were close to the Senator  and who said Sirhan placed his gun at RFK’s head.(see: http://hnn.us)

Out of this turmoil a number of witnesses gave knee-jerk and incorrect ‘more than one shooter’ responses to the news media and to police officers on the scene. They later retracted what they had said or their stories were rendered implausible when close colleagues or friends took issue with their claims. (see: http://mcadams and http://hnn.us)

To most rationally-minded observers this was an entirely natural occurrence. However, O’Sullivan chooses the least plausible explanation for anomalous events as described by pantry and Embassy Room witnesses. He then links one bureaucratic error after  another to build his sinister scenarios. Accordingly, O’Sullivan concludes these witness statements were proof positive that a second gunman had been present when Sirhan fired his shots.

Unfortunately, O’Sullivan has ignored just about everything writer Dan Moldea took years in uncovering. Unlike O’Sullivan, Moldea is a veteran investigative journalist. His excellent work on the case decisively destroyed the many ludicrous answers conspiracy writers gave to some anomalous evidence surrounding the crime scene and witness statements. (see: http://www.amazon.com)
But O’Sullivan isn’t satisfied with Moldea’s explanations because they get in the way of building his case for a second gunman in the pantry. To counteract Moldea’s research O’Sullivan nitpicks his way around minor contradictions which were the result of slight changes to witnesses’ statements when they were re-interviewed. And, if a witness makes a condemning statement about Sirhan, he has to be rendered not credible. For example, Sirhan confessed to killing RFK to ACLU lawyer A.L. Wirin and  Sirhan defense investigator Michael McCowan. O’Sullivan dismisses Wirin because he supported the conclusions of the Warren Commission Report that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. He dismisses McCowan because he heard a rumor McCowan had links to the CIA. O’Sullivan’s methods of discrediting those who fail to identify his purported CIA agents in the Ambassador Hotel take a similar turn.

O’Sullivan also repeats the many myths about the RFK assassination including the oft-repeated claims that Sirhan was too far away from the Senator to fire the fatal shot; had been facing Kennedy when he fired his gun; could not have fired the fatal bullet to the back of the Senator’s head and that a girl in a polka dot dress had been his accomplice. (see: http://hnn.us and http://hnn.us) And, without any scientific training whatsoever, O’Sullivan manages to pour scorn on an acoustics report which decisively  proves the recent 13 shot shooting scenario provided by conspiracy buff Philip Van Praag was seriously flawed.(3)

But it is O’Sullivan’s claim that CIA agents were present at the Ambassador Hotel the night RFK was shot that renders his overall thesis suspect. O’Sullivan devotes three quarters of an hour of his 138 minute documentary and four chapters of his book to the controversy about the alleged CIA agents. To his credit, O’Sullivan does show David Morales’ best friend Reuben Carbajal on camera denouncing those who say Morales was the man identified as having been  present at the Ambassador Hotel . However, O’Sullivan still included in his documentary presentation the wrongful identifications made by his discredited sources, none of whom knew the agents well. This, despite the overwhelming evidence supplied by David Talbot, Jefferson Morley and myself  (see: http://hnn.us and (http://www.maryferrell.org)  and the fact O’Sullivan eventually discovered the real identities of  the men who were actually Bulova watch salesmen. (see: http://www.washingtondecoded.com)

It is clear throughout his documentary and book that O’Sullivan has labored long and hard to preserve the myth of CIA involvement in the RFK assassination. Following the real identifications of  the alleged agents he then immediately sullies his own discoveries of the real identities of the ‘agents’ by attempting to characterize the Bulover Watch company as a ‘CIA asset’. O’Sullivan’s unnamed sources said the company was a ‘well-known CIA cover’ thus implying the men he identified in the news film footage were CIA personnel after all. But O’Sullivan does not tell us who claimed the Bulova Watch Company was a ‘CIA front’. In fact, there is no credible evidence whatsoever to support this claim. This is simply another classic tactic used by conspiracy buffs to sow seeds of doubt. 

O’Sullivan must have known, during the final stages of editing, that he no longer had a sensational story of CIA involvement in the Robert Kennedy assassination for his documentary centerpiece. He has therefore invented a novel way of  having his cake and eating it. He has kept his sensational DVD documentary in circulation, which makes the outrageous RFK/CIA claims, whilst at the same time disavowing them in his book. However, it does beg the question – why market a film that is chock full of lies and innuendo?

The answer  seems to lie in the fact that his heavy financial investment (he had ‘backers’ for his film) in travelling the length and breadth of the United States looking for confirmation of his preconceived and hand–fed theories that the CIA killed RFK must have weighed heavily on his shoulders. Without a raison d’etre for his documentary all O’Sullivan was left with was the regurgitation of the same old myths connected with this case which have previously been debunked (see HNN links above).

For years O’Sullivan has been heavily influenced by conspiracy buffs who have been desperate to link the CIA with the purported conspiracies to murder John and Robert Kennedy. In his endeavors he was assisted by committed British socialist and  former member of a militant print workers union, John Simkin. Simkin is a  friend of  Castro’s Cuba and well –known for his animus towards intelligence agencies of the western kind. He is also noted for his attempts to link the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr , JFK and RFK to the CIA. In his website forum Simkin also had the audacity to accuse Dan Moldea of having concluded Sirhan was a lone assassin for financial considerations. Simkin was forced to issue a retraction. (4)

O’Sullivan was also aided by Michael Calder, well – known in the conspiracy community for his claims that the CIA murdered President Kennedy.  Embracing these two conspiracists alone renders O’Sullivan’s quixotic efforts suspect. It is a little like employing the services of a kamikaze pilot to learn how to fly. Both are credited in Sullivan’s documentary. (5)

But O’Sullivan’s most important contact was Bradley Ayers whom he met in 2004. The former Army captain had been writing a book about his early 1960s work  for the CIA’s Miami station, JMWAVE. It is a self-published book entitled ‘The Zenith Secret – A CIA Insider Exposes The Secret War Against Cuba And The Plot That Killed The Kennedy Brothers’ (2006). Beginning in 1968 Ayers became convinced of a JFK assassination plot. Since that time he has become part of the conspiracy industry consisting of  numerous individuals and organizations so committed to the concept of a JFK plot that they do not allow mere facts to interfere with their ‘religion’.

In his book Ayers makes a number of references to Jason, his British journalist friend and of how he provided him with, “…my human sources as well as my own testimony and observations”. Ayers and ‘Jason’ had “…an exceedingly harmonious, mutually complementing relationship”.  ‘Jason’ is clearly a pseudonym for Shane O’Sullivan. Why O’Sullivan never mentioned this in his documentary or his Guardian article or his comments on various JFK conspiracy forums is anyone’s guess unless it was to preserve the myth of his objectivity. According to Ayers, O’Sullivan became convinced of  CIA involvement in the RFK assassination long before he had had time to fully research his suspicions. Furthermore, O’Sullivan must have been under no illusion that Ayers was a conspiracy buff and heavily involved in promoting his JFK assassination conspiracy book. (6)

According to a real JMWAVE expert, former Miami Herald reporter Don Bohning, Ayers’ work is incredibly inaccurate and misleading. Bohning wrote, “There are so many inaccuracies in (Ayers’ book). One that comes to mind…he met Bill Harvey at a reception on Key Biscayne in Miami in 1963. No way that could have happened since Harvey was ‘fired’ by Bobby Kennedy from the Cuba job during the October 1962 Missile Crisis and I doubt Harvey would have come down here in 1963. Manny (Chavez) has been reading it and he said there was so much crap in it he was going to write to O’Sullivan.” (7) Ayers is the man whose credibility, according to O’Sullivan, “cannot be questioned”. (8)

Ayers’ book, research and contacts were crucial to O’Sullivan’s work, especially Noel Twyman who O’Sullivan interviewed. Ayers in turn had been aided by Twyman and Jim Fetzer who assisted the former Army Captain in his research. Fetzer wrote the introduction to Ayers’ book and he is a regular interviewee on Black Op radio, a small internet radio station devoted to promoting all kinds of US government conspiracies, where he espouses his ludicrous ideas about the JFK assassination and the US Government’s 9/11 ‘conspiracy’.  Fetzer became a national figure of ridicule in 2007 when he appeared on television claiming the United States government was responsible for murdering three thousand people in the 9/11 attacks.(9) (Fetzer also has doubts that man landed on the moon.) Vincent Bugliosi excoriated Twyman in his book Reclaiming History describing him as a ‘gullible theorist’ with ‘poor research’ methods.(10)

O’Sullivan’s interview with Sirhan’s brother Munir is yet another exercise in whitewashing vital facts. Munir Sirhan stated on camera that the Sirhan family were a “…normal, happy, God-fearing family”. This is, as I found out whilst researching Sirhan’s life, arid nonsense. The father, Bishara Sirhan, had deserted his family shortly after they arrived in the United States. Sirhan had abandoned his Christian faith and embraced atheism and the occult a few years before the assassination. All the brothers except Adel had been in trouble with the police. Sharif was arrested for attempting to murder his girlfriend and, like Sirhan, hated Jews. Mary Sirhan, who had indoctrinated her sons to hate Jews, had no control over her sons and often asked Arab friends to intervene in their disputes amongst themselves and with her.  Saidallah was arrested for ‘drunk driving’ and ‘drunken disturbances’. And Munir was a disciplinary problem in school, was involved in a high-speed pursuit by the California Highway Patrol and had been arrested for selling marijuana. Munir also lied to police about the provenance of the RFK murder weapon. (11)

The last remaining Sirhan brother was utilized by O’Sullivan to create the myth that Sirhan was a  non-violent devout Christian. Viewers and readers are left unaware of Sirhan’s atheism, his belief in the occult, his frequent angry anti-Semitic and anti-American outbursts and the overwhelming evidence which points to Sirhan’s pathological hatred of Jews and his stated desire to eliminate US leaders who had given their support to Israel.

Bias and manipulative editing is also recognizable throughout O’Sullivan’s documentary. One  example is  the way in which O’Sullivan puts Paul Schrade and Robert Blair Kaiser on camera praising the Irish screenwriter for his ‘breakthrough’ in the case which places CIA agents at the Ambassador Hotel. Both men praise O’Sullivan for his investigative journalism in discovering these ‘facts’ but it is quite obvious to the discerning viewer they are both, at the time they are speaking, unaware that O’Sullivan had discovered the real identities of  ‘Campbell’ and ‘Joaniddes’. And if O’Sullivan’s discovery came after he interviewed Kaiser and Schrade, O’Sullivan should have made this apparent to the viewer.

O’Sullivan has also presented poorly researched background information about the possibility Sirhan had been hypnotized to murder RFK. He references the case of Bjorn Nielsen who purportedly hypnotized Palle Hardrup to commit murder in 1951. He uses this case as a proven example of how someone can hypnotize another to commit murder. What O’Sullivan does not do, however, is inform his readers that Hardrup confessed to making everything up in 1972 in an interview with Soren Petersen of the Danish newspaper BT. (12)
Repeated efforts by conspiracists like O’Sullivan to blame individuals like Thane Cesar and the CIA for RFK’s assassination is destined to continue despite the absence of any credible evidence to support their claims. And the irresponsible way they level their charges without proper investigation must be condemned. As RFK aide John Seigenthaler said about gossip which linked him to the RFK murder, “When I was a child, my mother lectured me on the evils of ‘gossip’. She held a feather pillow and said, ‘If I tear this open, the feathers will fly to the four winds, and I could never get them back in the pillow. That's how it is when you spread mean things about people.’”(13)
Conspiracists like O’Sullivan have a way of persuading a significant section of the American public that pure speculation, innuendo and the abililty to cast doubt on every piece of evidence that doesn’t suit their purpose are sufficient to build a case for conspiracy. It is also likely O’Sullivan will be aided in his efforts to blame the CIA by Sirhan’s new lawyer, William Pepper, who accused the US government of assassinating Martin Luther King Jr and even brought a fantasist to trial in 1999 as a co-conspirator in the case. (14)
Meanwhile, Sirhan Sirhan sits in California’s Corcoran Prison hopeful that one day the American public will be fooled into accepting the representations of the conspiracy-mongerers and demand his release.

HNN Editor: Source notes to Mel Ayton's piece follow Dan Moldea's response.

Shane O'Sullivan: Response to Mel Ayton

Shane O'Sullivan is an Irish author and filmmaker based in London. His feature documentary RFK Must Die was recently released theatrically in London and New York and is now available on DVD. His book, Who Killed Bobby? The Unsolved Murder of Robert F. Kennedy has just been published by Union Square Press.

The starting point for any review is an objective reviewer. When I saw LAPD apologist Mel Ayton had "reviewed" my film and book, I knew such objectivity was impossible and I could have scripted the "review" myself. 

How could HNN commission such a partisan "reviewer" to write a "special to HNN" on the first substantial book on the Robert Kennedy assassination in eleven years? Since when does an author pushing his new paperback "review" a competing title in the marketplace? The agenda at work here is plain to see.

This is not a review. It's a premeditated rant, riddled with errors. When first posted, Ayton couldn't even get the title of my book right, calling it Who Killed Bobby Kennedy? I had to ask for a correction.

Asking Mr. Ayton to review my work is akin to Jimmy Hoffa reviewing Robert Kennedy's The Enemy Within. Lacking the teeth or wit of Mr. Hoffa, Ayton's habitually sour, lumbering jabs at my work merely highlight the cranky disposition of a retired schoolmaster who devotes his golden years to spreading disinformation and taking pot-shots at conspiracies without doing his homework.

It's clear, for instance, that Ayton wrote his book on the RFK assassination without checking the FBI files on the case, reading the trial transcript or interviewing a single witness, preferring to regurgitate the LAPD final report ad nauseam.

From his bunker at the University of Sunderland, Ayton leans heavily on two main sources, to which he displays blind allegiance - Dan Moldea's book, The Killing of Robert Kennedy and the LAPD final report.

After an impressive investigation that lays out a compelling case for conspiracy, Moldea's book features one of the most unconvincing U-turns in the history of non-fiction (Moldea hasn't had a book commissioned since.) Moldea pays a last visit to Sirhan and shamelessly goads him by asking if he'll come clean and remember the shooting after his mother dies. Moldea then has the painfully contrived epiphany that Sirhan acted alone.

Moldea's conclusion includes an extremely dubious "confession" Sirhan allegedly gave chief defense investigator Michael McCowan during the trial. Throughout the Sirhan case, McCowan was under probation for an earlier mail fraud charge. He was forced to resign from LAPD in 1965 after using his uniform to confiscate three diamond rings belonging to his girlfriend from the post office and selling them without her knowledge. Is this a credible source for a Sirhan "confession"? A "confession" McCowan didn't bother disclosing to Sirhan's defense attorney at the time.

Moldea also declares security guard Thane Eugene Cesar innocent of any involvement in the shooting after he passes a polygraph test 25 years after the fact. Given the LAPD's abuse of the polygraph in this case and the ease with which you can "fool" a polygraph, this seems an absurd way to determine Cesar's innocence.

When I contacted Moldea to see if I could interview Cesar for my film, Moldea told me it could be arranged for $50,000. An interview with Moldea would cost $2,500. My BBC colleagues chuckled at Moldea's exaggerated sense of his own worth and Moldea confided that he was godfather to one of Cesar's children.

Mel Ayton defers to Moldea completely in his book when it comes to the crucial ballistics evidence yet Moldea is a close family friend and effectively the agent of the man many believe to be Kennedy's real assassin.

When it comes to the LAPD final report, Ayton treats it as Gospel. Let's look at the men who controlled the physical evidence and the witnesses to conspiracy in that investigation. 

LAPD criminalist Dewayne Wolfer testified at the trial that all seven bullets in evidence matched Sirhan's gun. When the Wenke panel re-examined the firearms evidence in 1975, they concluded none of the bullets in evidence could be matched to the Sirhan gun.

Conclusion: Wolfer lied repeatedly on the stand about the physical evidence. None of the bullets fired that night have ever been matched to the Sirhan gun. The 1975 panel heavily criticised Wolfer for his incompetence and mishandling of evidence. Ayton stupidly dismisses Wolfer's errors as "bureaucratic" and "minor contradictions."

And even if you feel Sirhan acted alone, no objective observer of this case can excuse Sgt Enrique Hernandez's bullying of Sandra Serrano and countless other witnesses to conspiracy. Witness retractions under those conditions are meaningless and, as seen in my film, Serrano still sticks to her original story. 

Special Counsel Thomas Kranz also deliberately misrepresented witness Don Schulman in his 1977 report. The summary of the Kranz interview with Schulman is full of outright lies and falsifications. The long-suppressed audiotape of the session confirms that from his position behind Kennedy, Schulman continued to insist he saw three wounds erupt on Kennedy's body, saw a security guard with a gun drawn and "was pretty sure he fired." The security guard was Thane Eugene Cesar.

So much for Ayton sources. Do you trust these men with your history?

Now, consider the indisputable evidence concerning the ballistics in this case. Sirhan was seen firing by many witnesses. His gun held eight bullets and eight empty shells were found in his revolver. But the evidence that more than eight shots were fired is overwhelming:

Kennedy was hit three times and five others were injured. A further bullet passed clean through the shoulder-pad of Kennedy's jacket, back-to-front, in the opposite direction from the injured bystanders. In addition, FBI agent William Bailey and numerous LAPD officers saw bullets in two holes in a center-divider between the pantry doors. This suggests eleven shots were fired. In addition, three further bullet holes in doorframes were observed by witnesses.

The autopsy states the fatal shot came from one inch behind the senator. The muzzle of Sirhan's gun, according to witness statements at the time, was one-and-a-half to five feet in front of Kennedy. What would "most rational-minded observers" give as a "plausible explanation" for this?

Well, assistant maitre d' Karl Uecker and attorney Frank Burns (an advisor to California Speaker Jesse Unruh) were actually standing between Kennedy and Sirhan and insisted Sirhan could not have fired the shots described in the autopsy.

I gladly acknowledge Uecker and Burns as just two of the "conspiracy buffs" who have "heavily influenced" me "for years." I'd also add FBI agent Bailey, and Paul Schrade, a close friend of Robert Kennedy's, who was walking behind the senator that night and was shot in the head. For 35 years, Schrade has campaigned for a reopening of the case due to troubling inconsistencies in the ballistics evidence.

In the last few months, the only known recording of the shooting has been rediscovered and newly analysed by forensic audio expert Philip Van Praag. Van Praag concludes the recording contains 13 shots, with two "double shots" (shots fired so close together, they could not have been fired from one gun). Two independent forensic experts commissioned by the Discovery Channel have independently verified there are at least 10 shots on the recording.

The American Academy of Forensic Sciences has validated Van Praag's findings and Paul Schrade calls them "proof of a second gunman" and is now putting together a legal team to reopen the case.

Ayton, of course, disputes Van Praag's analysis, with the help of  "experts" like rock drummer Steve Barber. I contacted Ayton's most credible expert, Phil Harrison, on May 20. A week later, this was his reply:

Apologies again for the delay in replying. I only received the book last week. I am not currently in a position to carry out a review of Van Praag's work or to do any further analysis of the recording myself. I am absolutely snowed under with other work related commitments. However, when this eases I will get back to it.

So yes, you read that correctly. Mr. Harrison has not yet had time to fully review Van Praag's work yet Ayton continues to publicly insist that Van Praag's findings are wrong. Ayton had previously informed his "experts" that Stus Pruszynski (the Polish reporter who made the recording) was in the pantry when the shooting started. Actually, Pruszynski was forty feet away, walking towards the pantry, the shots gradually increasing in volume as he approached. This is obviously key information, essential to any accurate interpretation of how many shots were fired. More sloppy research and another Ayton blunder. Do you trust a man like this with your history?

More disinformation from Mr. Ayton regarding the alleged CIA agents at the hotel. Two, not four, of the 19 chapters in my book concern them, one describing the process by which they were misidentified. I, and I, alone, discovered that the men identified as "Gordon Campbell" and "George Joannides" were salesmen for the Bulova Watch Co. As the chairman of Bulova at the time was Gen. Omar N. Bradley and 40% of its revenue came from the defense industry, I explored the possibility that these men were using Bulova as "cover" for another agency. Ultimately, in both my film and book, I concluded this was unlikely. Ayton misrepresents me again.

I included all of the Morales identifications in my film, so the viewer can make their own judgement on whether Morales appears in the footage. I clearly voiced my doubts in my film and the Guardian, among other newspapers, praised my journalistic integrity in doing so.

Identifications aside, the fact remains that leading CIA operative David Morales confessed to his attorney, Robert Walton, that he was in Dallas and Los Angeles and involved in both Kennedy assassinations.

It's also clear to "most rational-minded observers" that Robert Blair Kaiser and Paul Schrade were interviewed before I discovered the Bulova connection. That is why the Bulova section comes after the Kaiser and Schrade interviews in my film. Common sense eludes Mr. Ayton once again.

The thinness of a review is apparent when six paragraphs are spent gossiping about "conspiracists" who have "assisted" me, with quotes cobbled together from internet forums. Clearly, Mr. Ayton has a lot of time on his hands and very little of substance to say about my book.

If HNN readers want an honest, thorough, comprehensive look at the troubling questions that remain unresolved in this case, it should be clear from the above that LAPD apologist Mel Ayton is not the place to start. 

Response of Dan Moldea to Shane O'Sullivan

     1. O'Sullivan alleged: "After an impressive investigation that lays out a compelling case for conspiracy, Moldea's book features one of the most unconvincing U-turns in the history of non-fiction."

Moldea replies:   Following suit with many other respected publications, the New York Times lauded my U-turn, publishing not one but two favorable reviews of my 1995 work on the RFK case.  Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, the Times top book critic, wrote on May 25, 1995, that my work was:

Carefully reasoned . . . ultimately persuasive . . . dramatic. . . . The author meticulously dissects how the various disputes arose and how critics were drawn into the orbit of the case. . . . The cleverness of [Moldea's] strategy in the book lies in his playing so effectively the part of devil's advocate. . . . His book should be read, not so much for the irrefutability of its conclusions as for the way the author has brought order out of a chaotic tale and turned an appalling tatter of history into an emblem of our misshapen times.

In the second review that appeared in the New York Times Book Review on June 18, 1995, the reviewer, Gerald Posner—a well-known critic of JFK conspiracy theorists—wrote:

In The Killing of Robert F. Kennedy, a persuasive reexamination of the assassination, Mr. Moldea does what many journalists would lack the courage for—admit that his earlier work was wrong. . . . His new conclusion . . . is amply supported by prodigious research, including many first-time interviews with dozens of police officers involved in the investigation.

This book presents a remarkable turnaround for a writer who had partly staked his reputation on the existence of a second shooter.  But because of the honesty and logic with which he approaches his study, Mr. Moldea's journalistic instincts have never looked sharper.

If students of the assassination or fans of Mr. Moldea's earlier work think that this less sensational resolution of the case is not as interesting as a conspiracy theory, they're mistaken. . . . How Mr. Moldea separates good leads from bogus ones, how he eliminates key suspects, and his climactic prison confrontation with Mr. Sirhan in 1994 make for far more interesting reading than any conspiracy theory based on hearsay and speculation.

Beyond presenting what is likely to be the best understanding of what actually happened on June 5, 1968, Mr. Moldea is stinging in his criticism of shoddy work by the Los Angeles Police Department. . . . [T]his is the best written of his books, finished in a clear and easy style.

For excerpts of other reviews of my book, please see:  Reviews and essays.

Notably, in its June 6, 2008, review of Shane O’Sullivan’s documentary about the RFK case, the New York Times stated:

Like a dog unleashed in a field full of rabbits, [O’Sullivan] chases one shard of ‘evidence’ after another—a second gunman, a girl in a polka-dot dress—without bothering to arrange them in any coherent pattern.

     2. O'Sullivan alleged: "Moldea hasn't had a book commissioned since."

Moldea replies:  In January 1997—two years after the release of my book about the RFK murder—I published my sixth book, Evidence Dismissed: The Inside Story of the Police Investigation of O.J. Simpson, which I wrote with Tom Lange and Philip Vannatter, the two lead detectives on the Simpson case.  That book made every major bestseller list in the country, rising to #5 on the New York Times list.  Then, the following year, I published my seventh "commissioned" book, A Washington Tragedy:  How the Death of Vincent Foster Ignited a Political Firestorm.  (See:  The Hunting of the President:  The Movie.)

O'Sullivan's false claim that my career as an author ended in 1995 with the publication of my RFK book—a very easy fact to check—is indicative of the poor quality of his research, as well as his obvious penchant to defame at will.

     3.  O’Sullivan alleged: Moldea pays a last visit to Sirhan and shamelessly goads him by asking if he'll come clean and remember the shooting after his mother dies. Moldea then has the painfully contrived epiphany that Sirhan acted alone.”

Moldea replies:  This dramatic moment, which O’Sullivan has unfairly characterized, came near the end of my third and final interview with Sirhan—after it became clear that he had been lying during the fourteen hours that I had spent with him.  Like the New York Times, Newsweek, among many other publications, respected my interviews with Sirhan, saying in its own news story:

[T]he dramatic first two thirds of Moldea's book describes disconcerting inconsistencies in testimony and evidence; bullets that didn't match, and the conspicuous absence of key police records.  But through interviews with police officers involved in the original investigation--some of whom had never talked about the case before--Moldea shows that simple (and sometimes hilarious) human error explain these suspicious coincidences. . . .

If this reporting doesn't seal the case, Moldea's chilling prison interviews with Sirhan do.

4.  O'Sullivan alleged: "Moldea's conclusion includes an extremely dubious 'confession' Sirhan allegedly gave chief defense investigator Michael McCowan during the trial."

Moldea replies:  During my investigation, I received information that led to the following passage in my book—after I had published a letter from Sirhan, in which he arguably took credit for killing Senator Kennedy.  (See:  Sirhan's "Hey Punk" letter.)

Michael McCowan . . . told me a similar story, indicating  Sirhan’s clear knowledge of his crime.  During a prison visitation, McCowan tried to reconstruct the murder with Sirhan.

Suddenly, in the midst of their conversation, Sirhan started to explain the moment when his eyes met Kennedy’s just before he shot him.

Shocked by what Sirhan had just admitted, McCowan asked, 'Then why, Sirhan, didn't you shoot him between the eyes?'

With no hesitation and no apparent remorse, Sirhan replied, "Because that son of a bitch turned his head at the last second."  (See:  McCowan's statement.)

In short, I believe McCowan—who has been the target of conspiracy theorists and Sirhan’s apologists, like O'Sullivan, ever since.  (See:  Sirhan's stooge and Moldea responds to "The Curious Case of Dan Moldea.".)

     5.  O’Sullivan alleged: “Moldea also declares security guard Thane Eugene Cesar innocent of any involvement in the shooting after he passes a polygraph test 25 years after the fact.  Given the LAPD's abuse of the polygraph in this case and the ease with which you can ‘fool’ a polygraph, this seems an absurd way to determine Cesar's innocence.”

Moldea replies:  As I wrote in my book, I—as an independent journalist—was in the midst of spending an enormous amount of time and money investigating Cesar.  Consequently, I needed some test or measurement to determine how much more time and money I was going to spend on him in the future.  When Cesar agreed either to be hypnotized or polygraphed, I went to a friend in the law-enforcement community.  Essentially, he advised me that hypnotizing Cesar “could be tantamount to tampering with a potential witness.”  Thus, he suggested that I have Cesar polygraphed.

I found the best polygraph operator in Los Angeles and paid him top dollar for his work.  As I accurately reported, Cesar’s lie-detector test indicated no deception.  In fact, as I chronicled in considerable detail in my book, Cesar “passed with flying colors.”

If Cesar had failed that test, I would’ve spent every waking hour and every cent I had pursuing him.

In the end, my interviews with Sirhan—not the polygraph test—convinced me that Cesar was an innocent man who for many years had been wrongly accused of murder.

Conspiracy theorists, like O'Sullivan, may continue to suggest that Gene Cesar is a murderer.  But that suggestion is totally untrue and completely unfair.

6. O’Sullivan alleged: “When I contacted Moldea to see if I could interview Cesar for my film, Moldea told me it could be arranged for $50,000.  An interview with Moldea would cost $2,500.”

Moldea replies:  Since 1995, I have received many calls and letters about the RFK case.  Most of those who contact me are people I have never heard of, like Shane O’Sullivan.  And I have learned from a series of harsh experiences that if they haven't been referred by someone I know, then I don't trust them or their motives.  To be sure, almost all of them want to talk with Cesar, who is simply tired of this nonsense and has told me that if anyone wants to waste his time, it will cost $50,000.  That’s what I told O’Sullivan's producers at BBC.

With regard to the proposed $2,500 for my participation in the BBC documentary, in my written response to a separate interview request from one of those BBC producers on November 17, 2006, I replied:

As I told Shane, I always ask to be paid for filmed reports—usually because my best insights wind up in the narrator's script.  But I will do a live interview . . . for free.  If you want me to appear on any other live interviews in the future, I will be pleased to participate.

In other words, if I'm going to be used as an unwitting research assistant for taped-and-edited film documentaries—and that's what usually happens in these situations—then I expect to get paid for that task.  And the fee I usually ask for and receive is $2,500—unless I’m doing a favor for a friend and/or someone I respect.

 Live interviews are different.  I always do them for free—because they are not edited.  I own my words and information, and I am credited for what I say.

     7.  O’Sullivan alleged: “My BBC colleagues chuckled at Moldea's exaggerated sense of his own worth and Moldea confided that he was godfather to one of Cesar's children.”

Moldea replies:  Considering how much ridicule the BBC has received for its 2006 presentation of O’Sullivan’s embarrassing work—especially his bogus claim of the presence of nefarious CIA agents at the RFK crime scene, which was widely discredited prior to the release of his 2008 film and book—I am certainly enjoying the last laugh.

O'Sullivan's work on the RFK case is a joke.  With his reliance on repudiated evidence and imaginary conspirators, he has done nothing more than create yet another paranoid's paradise.

With regard to the “godfather” issue, Cesar was so grateful to me for clearing him in my 1995 book that he asked me to be the godfather of his youngest child in 1999.  Knowing that I was never going to write another book about Senator Kennedy's murder, I accepted this honor from the Cesar family without any fear of a conflict of interest.

I am always very candid about this relationship with Cesar when dealing with other reporters—and even with people I’ve never heard of, like O’Sullivan, who is now desperately flailing away because he isn't getting very much respect for his work, which was already discredited before its release.

When it comes to being shameless, the hapless Shane O’Sullivan is peerless.

NOTES to MEL AYTON'S PIECE

(1) O’Sullivan goes further and actually lies. O'Sullivan states that he saw me in the Rare Books section of the British Library looking at a microfilm reader at the same time he was carrying out his research. Well, I have never been to the British Library in London in my life. I received my copy of the 1500 page LAPD/SUS file on microfilm from the California State Archives and viewed it at Sunderland University. Whilst this is a minor point, it does highlight how O'Sullivan simply makes things up to suit his purposes whatever that may be in this instance.

O'Sullivan is also wrong in stating Jefferson Morley was the 'first out of the starting gate' to criticize Newsnight’s RFK/CIA allegations.  I provided Newsnight editor Peter Barron with incontrovertible evidence it was I who was the first to post on the Tuesday morning following the Monday night broadcast. (the post was removed  - see Post 75 http://www.bbc.co.uk). I was also the first to publish an article which provided witness evidence that denounced O’Sullivan’s identifications. O'Sullivan doesn’t acknowledge that either.

(2) O’Sullivan Who Killed Bobby? (2008) 78
(3)In an email to the author dated 21st April 2008 Steve Barber wrote: "Van Praag's pulling 13 shots out of this recording is absurd, to say the least. I have studied this recording for 2 years. I received my copy of it in April 2006. I publicly presented my findings on the National Geographic Channel program, "CIA Secret Experiments", which aired March 10, 2008, and I pointed to a computer graph that shows 8 spikes, one for each gunshot. The gunshots are distinct, once you use Dolby C setting on a tape deck. I counted 8 distinct gunshots, fired rapidly, one after the other. I have the same, exact source of the recording that Van Praag uses, and, in fact, Van Praag and I corresponded in 2006, and he sent me a CD copy of what he calls his "master" which he said he was given permission to record “digitally” while at the California State Archives. The two sounds which Van Praag describes as coming too close together to be fired by one gunman are not two gunshots fired close together. The second of the two sounds I firmly believe to be the bullet striking a solid object. It does not have the characteristics of a 'pop' sound at all, and that is why it doesn't present a spike on the graph like the other gunshot sounds do. I am currently working directly with acoustics expert Phillip Harrison. Our findings differ drastically with what Van Praag claims to have found."
(4) http://educationforum
See also:  http://www.moldea.com
(5) In the Newsnight forum debate in the weeks following the story’s broadcast Calder accused me of having some connection to the CIA. Calder wrote,“Could it be the publisher of your book is not ‘Potomac Books’ but in reality, ‘Langley Books’?” Hopefully, Potomac Books will respond to Calder’s ill-considered comment. There is also an inherent silliness to Calder’s accusations – had he taken the time to research Potomac Books’ website he would have discovered they published Joan Mellen’s book ‘A Farewell To Justice’ which accuses the CIA of assassinating JFK. http://www.bbc.co.uk  Post 92.
Calder, like most conspiracy theorists, manipulates everything about this case to suit his arguments that the CIA was behind both assassinations. In a recent HNN post Calder told readers that he had postive proof that Evan Freed told officials he had observed a second shooter in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel. However, Calder knows very well that not one reader in a thousand  would know the background to this ‘factual information’. Calder failed to tell readers that Freed had retracted his statement many years ago and continues to do so – his most recent denial that he saw a second shooter is presented in O’Sullivan’s documentary.
 (6) Ayers, ‘The Zenith Secret – A CIA Insider Exposes The Secret War Against Cuba And The Plot That Killed The Kennedy Brothers’ pages 260-261.
Incredibly, O’Sullivan published an HNN  reply to my RFK/CIA article in which he stated “You obviously haven't read (Ayers’) book because it has nothing to do with JFK conspiracy theories (emphasis added)….. please research these new suspects more carefully before you attack the credibility of men brave enough to step forward and identify them.” http://hnn.us
(7) Don Bohning, email to the author, 26 March 2007
(8)O’Sullivan p455
(9) http://uk.youtube.com
(10) Reclaiming History by Vincent Bugliosi page 1053
(11) Ayton, The Forgotten Terrorist, 58-62 and  http://www.frontpagemag.com  Munir has stated: “He’s not a Muslim; [he’s] always been a Christian, a devout Christian”. http://www.pasadenaweekly.com
(12) O’Sullivan, 387, Brainwash – The Secret History Of Mind Control by Dominic Streatfeild, (2006)  177
(13) http://www.usatoday.com
(14) See: http://crimemagazine.com 




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Bob Sam D'souza - 12/20/2008

It is a very good website.
The content of the site is informative.
=========================
Bob
114ae029cb5c39efb9c1e755e89d3526


Bob Sam D'souza - 12/20/2008

The U.S. Government can be thought of as an agent for the American people. It acts only through the powers given to it by the people of the United States. The powers given to the Government are set forth in the Constitution.
=========================================
Bob
Dui In California


Bob Sam D'souza - 12/20/2008

The U.S. Government can be thought of as an agent for the American people. It acts only through the powers given to it by the people of the United States. The powers given to the Government are set forth in the Constitution.
=========================================
Bob
Dui In California


Mel Ayton - 8/9/2008

Calder wrote, "Do the ghosts of the Kennedy brothers ever haunt Richard Helms in his dreams?".
Well, that would be rather difficult as Helms died in October 2002.


Michael Calder - 8/7/2008

Two months after being appointed DDP, Helms ordered William Harvey to reactivate the CIA-Mafia connection to assassinate Fidel Castro. Harvey passed poison pills to the gangster Johnny Rosselli in April,1962. Equally incredible is the fact that John McCone, DCI, was never informed of the proceedings. In 1975, Harvey testified before the Senate Select Committee on Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities. He told the Committee that he received HELM'S APPROVAL not to brief McCone about this resumption. "We agreed it was not necessary or advisable to brief him at this time."

John McCone also testified. He said that as DCI he had never been briefed by Dulles, Bissel, Helms or anyone else about assassination plots; and if he had been he would have disapproved. McCone also testified that he was never informed even of the CIA's "executive action" capability. This capability included the CIA's own assassination teams. It was not until August, 1963, after reading an article in the Chicago Sun Times detailing a CIA-MAFIA link to an assassination attempt on Castro, That the DCI learned what his agency was up to. After reading the article he ordered Richard Helms to brief him. Helms told him the agency had considered the attempt, but discarded the idea.

p.246 JFK VS. CIA Also - Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, vol III, Alleged Assassination Plots involving Foreign Leaders


Michael Calder - 8/7/2008

Evan Freed was an attorney when he wrote his affidavit. As an attorney, he knew full well the implications and importance of what he was attesting to. The four page affidavit so rich and full in detail forever condemns the conspirators and exonerates Sirhan.

Poor Mel Ayton. He loves to dazzle with bullshit. But if that's all you got you have to use what you have.

If anything happens to Evan Freed in the next twelve months, should he fall out of an airplane, have a fatal car crash, commit suicide or come down with cancer, ... well, you'll know why and who.

Do the ghosts of the Kennedy brothers ever haunt Richard Helms in his dreams? Does Bobby ever come to him with those piercing eyes and ask, "Why?" Do the ghosts of Salvador Allende and of the dozens of Americans and thousands of Latins sent to early graves, in service to his homocidal passion, pass by him in bewilderment? Surely if there is a God, he has reserved a special place for him in hell. A traitor not just to America, but to mankind.

p.276 JFK VS. CIA


Mel Ayton - 8/7/2008

Sirhan denied the existence of God. In a conversation with his employer John Weidner Sirhan said, “There is no God. Look at what God has done for the Arabs! And for the Palestinians! How can we believe in God?”.
Referencing the 'saintliness' of someone is not indicative of having a faith - it is often used as a secular descriptive term.
Bible lessons? What utter nonsense. Calder needs to cite primary sources here but I don't believe he has any.


Mel Ayton - 8/7/2008

Sirhan used to drive hos mother to church but did not attend services.


Mel Ayton - 8/6/2008

The idea that Richard Helms was behind the RFK assassination is pure bunkum - see THE JFK AND RFK ASSASSINATIONS AND THE BOGUS ‘MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE’ THEORIES
http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/manchurian.htm


Michael Calder - 8/6/2008

Let me see if I have this straight. Mel Ayton says that Sirhan was "nominally a Christian" but really an atheist. Yet weeks before the shooting this "nominally Christian" is taking bible lessons at home with Mr. Peters. Two weeks before the shooting this "nominally Christian" is in front of a church perhaps seeking solace from the mind control brainwashing he is undergoing from the CIA. Two nights before the shooting he is at the hotel watching Robert Kennedy entertain his supporters along with Andy Willliams, and says that he thought Kennedy "looked like a saint." Last time I checked "Saints" are a part of the christian religion.
Michael Calder


Mel Ayton - 8/5/2008

Calder misrepresents Sirhan’s true ‘faith'. Although nominally a Christian, Sirhan abandoned his faith long before June 1968 and became fascinated in the occult. An associate pastor at the Baptist Church in Pasadena, who had several conversations with him, described Sirhan as “a very intense atheist.” (LAPD Summary Report page 58)


Mel Ayton - 8/5/2008

Obviously, Calder doesn’t realize how foolish he looks. He stupidly accused my publishers of having CIA connections – see here - http://www.potomacbooksinc.com/Books/BookDetail.aspx?productID=146341 and now he lies about Richard Helms.He accuses Helms without producing any evidence whatsoever – and I predict readers will never find it in his self-published book. Had Calder the goods on Helms publishers would have lined up to make him an offer.
Excerpt from : http://hnn.us/articles/50532.html
RFK conspiracy advocates believe a second gunman (whom conspiracists claim was security guard Thane Cesar) had been present in the pantry when RFK was shot. They build their case on statements by witnesses who claim they saw someone other than Sirhan carrying a weapon and who fled the pantry before he could be apprehended.
Conspiracists cite the statements of Marcus McBroom, Evan Freed, Don Schulman, Booker Griffin, Patricia Nelson and Dennis Weaver as indicative of a second gunman firing in the pantry. However, as the FBI files show these statements have been misinterpreted, taken out of context or simply lack credibility due to inherent implausabilities within them.
Conspiracy writers have used these statements to infer that Thane Cesar or Michael Wayne or both men had been assisting Sirhan in the pantry. Conspiracy writer James DiEugenio recently named Michael Wayne and Thane Cesar as Sirhan’s accomplices and said they both participated in the shooting.
However, the FBI files reveal how conspiracy writers have manipulated the original statements of witnesses to claim there is evidence of a second gunman.
In 1986, nearly 20 years after the assassination, Marcus McBroom told a conspiracy writer that “…a man with a gun under his newspaper ran out in a very menacing way and myself and a man by the name of Sam Strain and the man running the ABC camera we drew back instinctively when we saw the gun.”
Marcus McBroom’s original interview with FBI agents reveals no mention of a second gun. And McBroom’s friend, Sam Strain, did not see a gun as his statement to the FBI demonstrates. Strain stated that the young man appeared to be carrying “…a package about two feet long and six inches wide which was wrapped in black paper of some type.”
Dr Fred S. Parrott told FBI agents that while he was standing outside the door to the Embassy Room, a man came by carrying a rolled up newspaper under his arm followed by men shouting ‘Stop that man! Stop that man!’ He described the man with the newspaper as a white male, dark complexion, dark hair, 25 to 27 years old, 5'7" tall, medium build.
This description fits that of Michael Wayne who, at the time of the assassination, was a 21 year old clerk at the Pickwick Bookstore in Hollywood and an avid collector of political memorabilia. After the shooting Wayne ran out of the pantry area and because someone shouted ‘Get him, he’s getting away’ security guard Augustus Mallard grabbed him then put him in handcuffs. Wayne told police he was only running for a telephone to tell friends to turn on their television sets. He was interviewed by the LAPD but was never considered a suspect.
Other witnesses have been used by conspiracists to show a second gunman had been present in the pantry. However, it is clear from the FBI files that the person who these witnesses believed had carried a gun that night was actually Michael Wayne. Patricia Nelson and Dennis Weaver told FBI agents they believed they saw a man with a rolled up newspaper or poster and that the wooden stock of a rifle had been protruding from it. However, they later stated they were likely mistaken and identified the man as Michael Wayne. Nelson later identified Wayne from film footage of the hotel shown to her. “That’s him. That’s the same sweater, the same hair, the same sideburns”, she told agents. She also identified the package as the one she saw Weaver agreed with Nelson. Joseph Klein, who was with them at the time said, “That’s him right there, I’m positive.”
It is clear from these interviews that the man McBroom, Parrott, Strain, Weaver, Nelson and Klein had observed was Michael Wayne despite the differing descriptions given to agents. Wayne had earlier in the evening been photographed by Bill Eppridge. Eppridge’s photo shows RFK autographing Wayne’s poster as the Senator walked to the Embassy Room to give his speech. It is clear from Eppridge’s photo that the poster in Wayne’s hand is too small to hold a pistol let alone a rifle.
Other initial sightings of a second gunman were later found to be the result of misidentification or misunderstanding - or a change of heart many years after the assassination which suggested some witnesses had been heavily influenced by conspiracy buffs. Booker Griffin, for example, told a conspiracy writer in 1987 that he had observed a second gunman. However, in his 1968 interviews with the LAPD he only said the sounds of the shooting appeared to suggest more than one gun.
Evan Freed and Don Schulman are cited by conspiracy writers as having observed a second gunman.
In a June 14, 1968 interview with FBI agents Freed said he saw a two men and a woman leave the pantry in a hurry after the shooting. And in 1992 Freed reportedly signed a document to the effect that more than one gunman was present in the pantry and that he had observed another man who looked like Sirhan. However, Freed had inadvertantly sent an uncorrected draft of what he described as ‘a letter’ to lawyer Marilyn Barrett. He amended it to read, “ At about the same time, I saw the ‘second man’ ….who I described as resembling Sirhan….it is possible he could have been holding a weapon, but I cannot be sure….I cannot say how many shots were fired by Sirhan Sirhan or whether any shots came from the ‘second man.’ ”
Freed’s comments made in 1992 were entirely consistent with his statement to FBI agents on September 11 1968. Furthermore, his 1992 comments about a ‘second man’ is entirely consistent with the preponderance of evidence presented above which suggests Freed’s ‘second man’ was actually Michael Wayne - a Sirhan look-alike.
To this day Freed continues to insist he never saw a second gunman in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel when RFK was assassinated. His most recent denial was in the DVD documentary RFK Must Die. Freed said, “[In the early 1990s] I was asked a number of times did I see a second shooter? Are you sure you didn’t? And I got the feeling that people were trying to convince me that I saw something that I didn’t really see. My recollection is I only saw one person shooting that night and that’s what I told the police when I was interviewed by the police. That’s what I told the FBI when I was interviewed by the FBI.”
However, the conspiracists favorite ‘second gun’ witness is Don Schulman, a KNXT – TV news runner. Statements made by Schulman have been used for decades in an attempt to prove Thane Cesar had fired the fatal shot that killed RFK.
Immediately following the shooting Don Schulman was interviewed by Jeff Brent of Continental Broadcasting and said a security guard ‘had fired back.’ In 1971 Schulman said he did not see Sirhan shoot Kennedy, but he insisted that he saw the ‘security guard’ fire his gun. He also said he saw wounds erupting on Kennedy’s body but refused to make any connection to the two events.
However, Schulman later retracted his statement of having seen a second gunman citing his confusion during the chaotic moments of the shooting. In the mid-70s Schulman told the Kranz Investigation (which was set up by the Los Angeles authorities to look into allegations made by conspiracy theorists), that immediately following the shooting he was “tremendously confused” and that the words he used to describe the shooting to reporters in 1968 were the result of “confusion.” Schulman reported that he meant to tell reporters that “Kennedy had been hit three times, he had seen an arm fire, he had seen the security guards with guns, but he had never seen a security guard fire and hit Robert Kennedy.”
Furthermore, new ballistics evidence has eliminated the possibility Cesar had fired his .38 pistol that night. (33) And the idea that Thane Cesar had carried his .22 pistol -- Sirhan used a .22 to kill Kennedy -- and used it to shoot RFK cannot be supported by either hard evidence or logic.
Thane Cesar carried a .38 pistol on the night of the assassination but he owned an H and R .22 pistol. However, accusing Cesar of having used his .22 pistol to kill RFK appears ridiculous at the outset – why would a murderer, under threat of execution if caught, hang on to the purported murder weapon for 3 months before he got rid of it? Cesar sold his H&R .22 pistol in September 1968.


Mel Ayton - 8/5/2008

Obviously, Calder doesn’t realize how foolish he looks. He stupidly accused my publishers of having CIA connections – see here - http://www.potomacbooksinc.com/Books/BookDetail.aspx?productID=146341 and now he lies about Richard Helms.He accuses Helms without producing any evidence whatsoever – and I predict readers will never find it in his self-published book. Had Calder the goods on Helms publishers would have lined up to make him an offer.
Excerpt from : http://hnn.us/articles/50532.html
RFK conspiracy advocates believe a second gunman (whom conspiracists claim was security guard Thane Cesar) had been present in the pantry when RFK was shot. They build their case on statements by witnesses who claim they saw someone other than Sirhan carrying a weapon and who fled the pantry before he could be apprehended.
Conspiracists cite the statements of Marcus McBroom, Evan Freed, Don Schulman, Booker Griffin, Patricia Nelson and Dennis Weaver as indicative of a second gunman firing in the pantry. However, as the FBI files show these statements have been misinterpreted, taken out of context or simply lack credibility due to inherent implausabilities within them.
Conspiracy writers have used these statements to infer that Thane Cesar or Michael Wayne or both men had been assisting Sirhan in the pantry. Conspiracy writer James DiEugenio recently named Michael Wayne and Thane Cesar as Sirhan’s accomplices and said they both participated in the shooting.
However, the FBI files reveal how conspiracy writers have manipulated the original statements of witnesses to claim there is evidence of a second gunman.
In 1986, nearly 20 years after the assassination, Marcus McBroom told a conspiracy writer that “…a man with a gun under his newspaper ran out in a very menacing way and myself and a man by the name of Sam Strain and the man running the ABC camera we drew back instinctively when we saw the gun.”
Marcus McBroom’s original interview with FBI agents reveals no mention of a second gun. And McBroom’s friend, Sam Strain, did not see a gun as his statement to the FBI demonstrates. Strain stated that the young man appeared to be carrying “…a package about two feet long and six inches wide which was wrapped in black paper of some type.”
Dr Fred S. Parrott told FBI agents that while he was standing outside the door to the Embassy Room, a man came by carrying a rolled up newspaper under his arm followed by men shouting ‘Stop that man! Stop that man!’ He described the man with the newspaper as a white male, dark complexion, dark hair, 25 to 27 years old, 5'7" tall, medium build.
This description fits that of Michael Wayne who, at the time of the assassination, was a 21 year old clerk at the Pickwick Bookstore in Hollywood and an avid collector of political memorabilia. After the shooting Wayne ran out of the pantry area and because someone shouted ‘Get him, he’s getting away’ security guard Augustus Mallard grabbed him then put him in handcuffs. Wayne told police he was only running for a telephone to tell friends to turn on their television sets. He was interviewed by the LAPD but was never considered a suspect.
Other witnesses have been used by conspiracists to show a second gunman had been present in the pantry. However, it is clear from the FBI files that the person who these witnesses believed had carried a gun that night was actually Michael Wayne. Patricia Nelson and Dennis Weaver told FBI agents they believed they saw a man with a rolled up newspaper or poster and that the wooden stock of a rifle had been protruding from it. However, they later stated they were likely mistaken and identified the man as Michael Wayne. Nelson later identified Wayne from film footage of the hotel shown to her. “That’s him. That’s the same sweater, the same hair, the same sideburns”, she told agents. She also identified the package as the one she saw Weaver agreed with Nelson. Joseph Klein, who was with them at the time said, “That’s him right there, I’m positive.”
It is clear from these interviews that the man McBroom, Parrott, Strain, Weaver, Nelson and Klein had observed was Michael Wayne despite the differing descriptions given to agents. Wayne had earlier in the evening been photographed by Bill Eppridge. Eppridge’s photo shows RFK autographing Wayne’s poster as the Senator walked to the Embassy Room to give his speech. It is clear from Eppridge’s photo that the poster in Wayne’s hand is too small to hold a pistol let alone a rifle.
Other initial sightings of a second gunman were later found to be the result of misidentification or misunderstanding - or a change of heart many years after the assassination which suggested some witnesses had been heavily influenced by conspiracy buffs. Booker Griffin, for example, told a conspiracy writer in 1987 that he had observed a second gunman. However, in his 1968 interviews with the LAPD he only said the sounds of the shooting appeared to suggest more than one gun.
Evan Freed and Don Schulman are cited by conspiracy writers as having observed a second gunman.
In a June 14, 1968 interview with FBI agents Freed said he saw a two men and a woman leave the pantry in a hurry after the shooting. And in 1992 Freed reportedly signed a document to the effect that more than one gunman was present in the pantry and that he had observed another man who looked like Sirhan. However, Freed had inadvertantly sent an uncorrected draft of what he described as ‘a letter’ to lawyer Marilyn Barrett. He amended it to read, “ At about the same time, I saw the ‘second man’ ….who I described as resembling Sirhan….it is possible he could have been holding a weapon, but I cannot be sure….I cannot say how many shots were fired by Sirhan Sirhan or whether any shots came from the ‘second man.’ ”
Freed’s comments made in 1992 were entirely consistent with his statement to FBI agents on September 11 1968. Furthermore, his 1992 comments about a ‘second man’ is entirely consistent with the preponderance of evidence presented above which suggests Freed’s ‘second man’ was actually Michael Wayne - a Sirhan look-alike.
To this day Freed continues to insist he never saw a second gunman in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel when RFK was assassinated. His most recent denial was in the DVD documentary RFK Must Die. Freed said, “[In the early 1990s] I was asked a number of times did I see a second shooter? Are you sure you didn’t? And I got the feeling that people were trying to convince me that I saw something that I didn’t really see. My recollection is I only saw one person shooting that night and that’s what I told the police when I was interviewed by the police. That’s what I told the FBI when I was interviewed by the FBI.”
However, the conspiracists favorite ‘second gun’ witness is Don Schulman, a KNXT – TV news runner. Statements made by Schulman have been used for decades in an attempt to prove Thane Cesar had fired the fatal shot that killed RFK.
Immediately following the shooting Don Schulman was interviewed by Jeff Brent of Continental Broadcasting and said a security guard ‘had fired back.’ In 1971 Schulman said he did not see Sirhan shoot Kennedy, but he insisted that he saw the ‘security guard’ fire his gun. He also said he saw wounds erupting on Kennedy’s body but refused to make any connection to the two events.
However, Schulman later retracted his statement of having seen a second gunman citing his confusion during the chaotic moments of the shooting. In the mid-70s Schulman told the Kranz Investigation (which was set up by the Los Angeles authorities to look into allegations made by conspiracy theorists), that immediately following the shooting he was “tremendously confused” and that the words he used to describe the shooting to reporters in 1968 were the result of “confusion.” Schulman reported that he meant to tell reporters that “Kennedy had been hit three times, he had seen an arm fire, he had seen the security guards with guns, but he had never seen a security guard fire and hit Robert Kennedy.”
Furthermore, new ballistics evidence has eliminated the possibility Cesar had fired his .38 pistol that night. (33) And the idea that Thane Cesar had carried his .22 pistol -- Sirhan used a .22 to kill Kennedy -- and used it to shoot RFK cannot be supported by either hard evidence or logic.
Thane Cesar carried a .38 pistol on the night of the assassination but he owned an H and R .22 pistol. However, accusing Cesar of having used his .22 pistol to kill RFK appears ridiculous at the outset – why would a murderer, under threat of execution if caught, hang on to the purported murder weapon for 3 months before he got rid of it? Cesar sold his H&R .22 pistol in September 1968.


Michael Calder - 8/5/2008

Michael Wayne was positioned at the opposite end of the pantry as Kennedy entered. The second gunman was placed by Evan Freed across from the metal serving tables as Kennedy entered the pantry. It is at the metal serving tables where Kennedy is shot in the back of the head by the second gunman as witnessed by Evan Freed.
Richard Helms is the author of both Kennedy brothers murders.
Michael Calder


Mel Ayton - 8/4/2008

The so-called 'second gunman' was, in fact, Michael Wayne who had been carrying a rolled-up poster not a gun.


Michael Calder - 8/4/2008

Billy Mcginty - LAPD investigation report

Mcginty stated that he first met Sirhan B Sirhan approximately two weeks before the shooting. He was attending the first Nazarene Church of Pasadena at 2495 Mountain Ave. He arrived at the church at 10:45 a.m. and observed a man near the church parking lot, on the church's property.
Mcginty emerged from the church at 12:15 p.m. and observed the same man standing in the same location. Mcginty and his brother, Daniel Mcginty, walked by the man and Mcginty noticed that his brother had stopped to converse with him. Mcginty walked back to where his brother was standing and his brother said, "Bill I want you to meet Sirhan Sirhan, he's from Jordan."


Michael Calder - 8/4/2008

Senate Subcommitee on Health

Over 30 universities and institutions were involved in an extensive testing and experimentation program which included covert drug testing on unwitting citizens.

The technical services division of the CIA had initiated 144 subprojects related to the control of human behavior between 1953 and 1963. Forty four colleges and universities, 15 research foundations, 12 hospitals, and three penal institutions were used for this ten year project.

p 258 JFK VS. CIA


Michael Calder - 8/4/2008

Evan Freed II

As the crowd rushed towards Sirhan, they passed by the second gunman. He was backing away, towards the east end of the pantry. I was shoved by the surge of the crowd back against the south wall of the pantry, where I was alone next to another door that exited into the Embassy Room.

At that time, I observed the second gunman running in my direction. He was not holding a gun at that time. Another man was running behind him in the same direction yelling at me, "Stop that guy, stop him." There was no one else other than the second gunman that he could have been yelling at.

I was eventually contacted by the FBI, who interviewed me at my home. They asked me specific questions, mainly about Sirhan. They seemed to be avoiding asking me questions about the second gunman, although I told them the same things I have stated above.

I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed this 13th day of May, 1992, at Los Angeles, California.
Evan Phillip Freed

Michael Calder




Mel Ayton - 7/31/2008

They had the mission but they did not succeed - and there is no evidence whatsoever to support the charge.

Following years of research into the subject of possible CIA mind-controlled assassin programs, author John Marks concluded that, “[MKULTRA officials] were not interested in a programmed assassin because they knew in general it would not work and, specifically that they could not exert total control. The CIA had concluded that there were more reliable ways ‘to kill people.’”

CIA agent William Buckley, who acted as liaison between the CIA and Ewan Cameron, an MKULTRA psychiatrist who was conducting experiments into the use of hypnosis to build a robotic assassin, said “MK-ULTRA had become a big, bad, black game which men like [CIA Dr.] Gottlieb and Cameron and others like them played because they wanted to believe. Not actually believe, but wanted to.” Gottlieb confessed to Buckley, “Nothing worked for me so why should it work for anyone else?”. Buckley told this story to author Gordon Thomas.(Secrets and Lies by Gordon Thomas pages 264 and 321)

A leading hypnosis expert, Dr Steve Lynn of Binghamton University, concurs. Lynn believes that a “….trigger [mechanism] that would move someone into a hypnotic state where they would commit murder…. would [not] really work. “You do not relinquish your will. You do not become a dupe, a patsy or a mindless automaton despite some public beliefs that this may be the case”.



Mel Ayton - 7/31/2008

Calder, like most conspiracy theorists, manipulates everything about this case to suit his arguments purposes including the nonsense about Evan Freed.

In a June 14, 1968 interview with FBI agents Freed said he saw a two men and a woman leave the pantry in a hurry after the shooting. And in 1992 Freed reportedly signed a document to the effect that more than one gunman was present in the pantry and that he had observed another man who looked like Sirhan. However, Freed had inadvertantly sent an uncorrected draft of what he described as ‘a letter’ to lawyer Marilyn Barrett. He amended it to read, “ At about the same time, I saw the ‘second man’ ….who I described as resembling Sirhan….it is possible he could have been holding a weapon, but I cannot be sure….I cannot say how many shots were fired by Sirhan Sirhan or whether any shots came from the ‘second man.’ ”

Freed’s comments made in 1992 were entirely consistent with his statement to FBI agents on September 11 1968. Furthermore, his 1992 comments about a ‘second man’ is entirely consistent with the preponderance of evidence which suggests Freed’s ‘second man’ was actually Michael Wayne - a Sirhan look-alike.

To this day Freed continues to insist he never saw a second gunman in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel when RFK was assassinated. His most recent denial was in the DVD documentary RFK Must Die. Freed said, “[In the early 1990s] I was asked a number of times did I see a second shooter? Are you sure you didn’t? And I got the feeling that people were trying to convince me that I saw something that I didn’t really see. My recollection is I only saw one person shooting that night and that’s what I told the police when I was interviewed by the police. That’s what I told the FBI when I was interviewed by the FBI.”

http://hnn.us/articles/50532.html


Michael Calder - 7/24/2008

December 17, 1963 - Helms memo to DCI

For over a decade the Clandestine Services has had the mission of maintaining a capability for influencing human behavior. The present investigation is concerned with chemical agents which are effective in modifying the behavior and function of the central nervous system.
(1) Materials which will render the induction of HYPNOSIS easier or otherwise enhance it's usefulness.
(2) Material and physical methods which will produce AMNESIA for events PRECEEDING and DURING their use.
(3) Substances which alter personality structures is such a way that the tendency of the recipient to become DEPENDANT upon ANOTHER PERSON is enhanced.
p. 260, JFK VS. CIA


Michael Calder - 7/19/2008

Nothing in the pantry area seemed unusual, however, I do recall the following. Two men who looked very similar in appearance and clothing were moving about the pantry area. One man was wearing lighter clothing than the other, and he was holding a drink glass in his hand. The second man was standing near the south wall of the pantry, directly across
from a large metal serving table. The men never stood together, however, they appeared to be looking at each other from time-to-time.

I saw the second man (wearing the darker clothing) who had been in the pantry with Sirhan during the speech pointing a gun in an upward angle at the Senator.Based on the sound I heard, I believe the first shot came from this man's gun. In the background, about 6-8 feet from me, I could see Sirhan firing a revolver held in his right hand in the direction of the Senator. People in the crowd were screaming and grabbing Sirhan, and I remember they were holding his arm as he was shooting. I cannot say how many shots were fired by Sirhan or by the second gunman.


Michael Calder - 7/18/2008


Bill McWilliams - 7/18/2008

Let me guess. It's gotta be:

1. RFK turned around "just" in time for S.S. to shoot him from behind.

2. Someone pushed RFK so that the back of his head was in front of S.S.

3. It's a myth that RFK was actually
hit from behind.

4. S.S. was "momentarily" behind RFK.

5. Regardless of all those gunshots and bullets in door jambs and the ceiling - the fact (sic) remains that
only eight shots were fired. Some of them were from the same company that manufactured the "magic bullet" used
in the JFK assassination.

Has HNN or anyone else ever allowed
an objective person to review one of your books or does your contract state that only intel-approved or embedded persons are competent to carry out such a delicate mission?


Mel Ayton - 7/15/2008

Please refer to pages 312/313 of Dan Moldea's book 'The Killing Of Robert F. Kennedy' and pages 110-122 of my book 'The Forgotten Terrorist'. Also http://www.moldea.com/RFK4.html#muzzles


Bill McWilliams - 7/13/2008

Mr. Ayton,

How do you reconcile shots fired from behind RFK if S.S. was the shooter and was in front of RFK?


HNN - 7/9/2008


Frankly, I couldn’t care less about Shane O’Sullivan’s dead-on-arrival book and/or film. My trusted friend on the RFK case, Mel Ayton, has already wiped up the floor with O’Sullivan’s dishonest work in his devastating HNN reviews. In self-defense, I chose only to respond to O’Sullivan’s unprovoked and fact-challenged personal attack against me.

To all intents and purposes, I have tried to stay out of the fray over the latest crop of pro-conspiracy RFK books—one of which was written by a long-time colleague of mine, Bob Joling. Indeed, I showed up at Bob’s February 21 press conference in Washington, D.C. because I respect him. I just wanted to say hello and wish him luck, even though he and I disagree on the facts of the case.

Joling’s co-author, Phil Van Praag, a very nice guy, was also present. In my informed opinion, Van Praag’s controversial sound test—supposedly showing that thirteen shots were fired at the crime scene—is flat-out wrong. And I politely told him so in private when Bob introduced us after the press conference. Joling and Van Praag both predicted vindication.

During the five months since, I have yet to hear of any credible acoustics expert who has successfully repeated Van Praag’s experiment and achieved anywhere near the same result. And, in my opinion, no one ever will.

Significantly, O’Sullivan now appears to embrace Van Praag’s thirteen-shot scenario with the same enthusiasm as when he falsely claimed on his 2006 BBC program that three murderous CIA agents were at the RFK crime scene. If Van Praag is wrong, then the already self-destructive O’Sullivan will go down in flames once again, forcing him to twist and torture the English language in order to justify his horrific mistakes—just as he did in his reply to my response to his gratuitous assault against me.

Of course, I still believe that only eight shots were fired, and that they were all fired by Sirhan Sirhan, who repeatedly lied during my three interviews with him. Until someone proves that a ninth shot was fired—and no one has in 40 years—all of O’Sullivan’s questions and false accusations about Gene Cesar are moot. And I don’t feel obliged to reply to someone who has publicly mishandled source information as badly as the irresponsible O’Sullivan has. If someone I respect—like Bob Joling, Bob Kaiser, or even Paul Schrade—asks me the same questions, I will be happy to provide the answers.

However, I will say this: I have never paid Cesar—in money or favors—for anything, even for the long final session that I videotaped with him. O’Sullivan’s reckless and malicious suggestion that I paid off a source is a further indication of his poor-reporting skills and remarkably-impaired judgment, as well as his never-ending proclivity for defamation.

As he has proven yet again, when it comes to being shameless, the hapless Shane O’Sullivan is peerless.


Mel D Ayton - 7/9/2008

Once again Shane O’Sullivan has revealed he has no self awareness or, indeed, shame – this time by citing reviews of his book by William Turner and Paul Schrade, long-time conspiracy theorists who have offered up nothing but speculation and rumor to support their unsubstantiated stories. Additionally, O’Sullivan makes a personal attack against Dan Moldea without addressing any of the charges I made against him. He digs his hole deeper by the day.

William Turner is a conspiracy writer who gave his help and support to Jim Garrison, the deranged New Orleans District Attorney who named just about everybody in the US as JFK plotters. (see: http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/suspects.htm) Turner argued that a group of right-wing activists were involved in a conspiracy with the CIA to kill President Kennedy. In his 1968 bid for Congress Turner utilised a bogus JFK/MLK conspiracy story to garner publicity for his failing campaign and even accepted cash campaign contributions from a San Francisco brothel keeper. Turner was also senior editor of the radical magazine Ramparts, the voice of the American New Left. Accordingly, it comes as no surprise Turner would offer a favourable review of O’Sullivan’s book in his roles both as a conspiracist and a left-wing ideologue. He thus joins the pantheon of O’Sullivan apologists including William Pepper and John Simkin whose ideological objectivity can be seriously called into question.(see: http://www.washingtondecoded.com/site/history/index.html )

In his books The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy* (1978, 1993) and Rearview Mirror (2001) Turner has also propagated one of the silliest RFK conspiracy theories ever to appear in print. He thinks Sirhan was hypno-programmed to shoot RFK, a real-life Manchurian Candidate aided by a fantasist and con man named Oliver Brindley Owen, aka Jerry Owen.

Owen was fifty-five at the time of the assassination. He volunteered his story about Sirhan to police when he had seen Sirhan’s photo in a newspaper the day after the assassination. (As the FBI files reveal, there were quite a number of obviously unstable individuals who came forward to tell their flaky conspiracy stories to the SUS and the FBI. It happens in every murder investigation - especially the famous ones.)

Jerry Owen was born in Ohio, and after leaving University of California–Los Angeles he became a sparring partner for ex-heavyweight boxer Max Baer. He claimed he had been an ordained minister since 1937 yet retracted this statement when interviewed by the SUS at the San Francisco Police Department headquarters. He told the police that his “ordainment” had consisted of living in a hotel room for a couple of days during which time he “prayed.” Police discovered he had a history of “various suspicious and illegal activities.” He was arrested on suspicion of robbery in 1930 but was released. He was involved in several paternity and extramarital investigations and had made insurance claims for six fires in his “church” properties. One insurance claim was denied because of fraud. In 1963 he was arrested in Cosa Mesa, California, on a fugitive warrant from Tucson, Arizona, for arson with the intent to defraud an insurance company. He was convicted of three counts of arson and sentenced to serve eight to ten years in prison. His case was successfully appealed in 1966. Several police informants called him a “confidence man,” and he had used his evangelical position to seduce a number of women over the years.

Jerry Owen volunteered information to the LAPD that he had met Sirhan and “another Mexican-looking kid” as they were hitch-hiking for a ride in downtown Los Angeles at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, June 3. Owen said he took them up Wilshire Boulevard to Vermont, where they got out of the car and spoke to a tall dark man and a nineteen- or twenty-year-old girl with long dirty blonde hair. Sirhan purportedly returned to the vehicle and asked for a ride to Hollywood. Sirhan allegedly told Owen he was an exercise boy and wanted to buy a horse. Owen then purportedly offered to sell him one and agreed a sale price—$300.

Owen allegedly dropped Sirhan off at the Ambassador for ten minutes before they headed for the Hollywood Ranch Market. Sirhan promised to pay Owen for the horse, but Sirhan’s “friends” turned up instead to give Owen a down payment. Sirhan told Owen he would give him the rest of the money at a meeting behind the Ambassador Hotel the following night, Tuesday, June 4. In interviews with police officers in San Francisco and Los Angeles, Owen was given a polygraph test and lied repeatedly about his prison record and other matters. He also failed to identify Sirhan in a group of ten photographs.

Indeed, Owen made frequent embellishments to his Sirhan story. The SUS eventually found witnesses who challenged Owen’s story. According to the LAPD Summary Report, the police proved that Owen had not only been inconsistent with his story but had also lied about many events that allegedly occurred. The SUS finally concluded that Owen, for one reason or another, was a confabulator, liar, and publicity seeker.

Turner has also blundered in his recent book by citing discredited acoustics research involving the news broadcasts in the Ambassador Hotel. In his latest book Turner wrote, “In May 1983, there was a second opportunity to bring the case to national attention. ABC’s highly rated documentary television program ‘20-20’ became interested, based on The Assassination of Robert F Kennedy and Dr Hecker’s audiotape analysis that no fewer than ten shots were fired.” (Rearview Mirror, 2001, p260)

How anyone can write such nonsense defies belief. Hecker’s ‘analysis’ was found to be in error many years ago. Even today conspiracy writer Robert Joling, who O’Sullivan praises, admits he was wrong in supporting Hecker’s findings. (see: http://hnn.us/articles/36915.html)

Finally, O’Sullivan cites newspaper film critics - as if this would persuade readers that the allegations O’Sullivan makes in his ludicrous and error-filled documentary and book have any real substance.

O’Sullivan writes: “The only part of my work that has been "discredited" was my initial belief in the positive identifications of the alleged CIA agents at the hotel by very credible witnesses. When I investigated these allegations further, I concluded that the IDs by Smith, Lopez and Ayers were probably "honest mistakes." I did most of the discrediting myself by discovering the real identities of "Campbell" and "Joannides," speaking to the Morales family and securing new photos of Morales. I reported the results transparently in my film and book.” This is clearly another whitwash by O’Sullivan. O’Sullivan’s BBC report was debunked by me one week after its broadcast and I was the first researcher to interview Manny Chavez, a friend and colleague of David Morales. (see: http://hnn.us/articles/32193.html)
Two months later, Jefferson Morley and David Talbot met with Manny to interview him. Later, O’Sullivan jumped on the bandwagon and met Manny in Florida. Manny Chavez has no respect at all for O’Sullivan’s ridiculous allegations.

Furthermore, if he now believes the RFK/CIA allegations are untrue why does he devote so much of his documentary to promoting them? Why doesn’t he re-edit it to take out the RFK/CIA allegations? Furthermore, why doesn’t he take out the comments by Robert Blair Kaiser and Paul Schrade who are on camera praising O’Sullivan for his now discredited RFK/CIA alleagtions?

O’Sullivan also does not realize how ridiculous he looks by making the following statement, “I spoke to (Morales’) family and they can offer no alibi for his whereabouts on June 5, 1968.” Of course they can’t - nor would anyone else be able to. Can he, for example, provide us with information as to the whereabouts of one of his now - deceased relatives on June 5th 1968?

The way O’Sullivan has twisted the truth in his book and DVD and his vicious and unwarranted attacks on Dan Moldea has seriously damaged any integrity or credibility he may have possessed before he was taken in by a cabal of conspiracy buffs dedicated to demonizing the CIA.
.
*The forward for ‘The Assassination Of Robert F. Kennedy – The Assassination and Coverup’ (co-authored with Jonn Christian) was written by Oliver Stone whose film on the JFK assassination was a traversty of justice and political propaganda worthy of Joseph Goebbels.




Shane O'Sullivan - 7/7/2008

It's clear from Dan Moldea's response that he hasn't read my book or seen my film, so his shallow, kneejerk comments on my work are baseless.

My work has, in fact, attracted plenty of respect. Our fellow author on the case, William Turner, calls Who Killed Bobby? "the most definitive work on the RFK case…It contains much new material that I am sure will contribute to a reopening." Turner calls it peerless, not hapless, Dan. It's quite clear who the clowns are in this case.

Paul Schrade: "For those of us who have lived and worked on the re-investigation of the RFK case, Shane O'Sullivan has made a great contribution as to what happened that night…O'Sullivan tries and succeeds in informing us about the failure of law enforcement in solving this crime, due to destruction of crucial evidence and prematurely ending the investigation. He provides history and possible solutions...I was standing with Robert Kennedy that night and was wounded but I will never give up trying to solve this case..."

There's further praise from the Guardian, the Times, the UK's leading film critic (Derek Malcolm) and most respected film journal (Sight and Sound), Variety critic Emanuel Levy etc. etc. at www.rfkmustdie.com

The only part of my work that has been "discredited" was my initial belief in the positive identifications of the alleged CIA agents at the hotel by very credible witnesses. When I investigated these allegations further, I concluded that the IDs by Smith, Lopez and Ayers were probably "honest mistakes."

I did most of the discrediting myself by discovering the real identities of "Campbell" and "Joannides," speaking to the Morales family and securing new photos of Morales. I reported the results transparently in my film and book.

By his own admission, 90% of Moldea's book is an "honest mistake", which makes his jibes rather pathetic. As Lehmann-Haupt praised Moldea for his courage to "admit that his earlier work was wrong," so the Guardian has praised me for later doubting the positive IDs: "Having opened his can of worms, O'Sullivan is forced to half-close it again in light of contradictory information…(he) plumps for journalistic scepticism over a neat Hollywood ending. (Oliver) Stone
would never do that."

The fact remains that leading CIA operative David Morales confessed he was in Dallas and Los Angeles and involved in both Kennedy assassinations. I spoke to his family and they can offer no alibi for his whereabouts on June 5, 1968.

To the rest of Moldea's points:

1. Moldea's friendly reviews: It's hardly surprising that Gerald Posner would praise a work with such a cop-out ending, denying conspiracy. Also odd that Moldea places so much stock in the New York Times when he infamously and unsuccessfully tried to sue the paper over a negative review.

2. Moldea's dormant publishing career: I'm sorry, Dan, I forgot your turn-of-the-century work. I must have lost interest after the embarrassing ending to your RFK book.

3. Moldea's "dramatic moment" with Sirhan: What a joke. Here's what I wrote about this "dramatic moment" in my book:

An article Moldea published on his website – and has since removed - gives some insight into the writing of his book and illustrates the contrivance at work regarding his eventual U-turn. The final switcheroo seems to be inspired by the advice of his writing coach and the dramatic story structure of Hollywood:
“Then, in Chapters Twenty-Eight and Twenty-Nine, there is The Twist - the essential element of nearly every great story. In Chapter Twenty-Eight, Cesar takes and conclusively passes a polygraph test. Then, in the final conflict in Chapter Twenty-Nine, Sirhan and I face off in a very dramatic confrontation in a prison-visitation room at Corcoran State Penitentiary in central California over what Sirhan does and does not remember about the night of the murder.”
While such red-blooded fantasy is all very well as a sales pitch, in print, it simply doesn’t work. It’s perverse to catalogue the abuse of the polygraph by the LAPD to cover up conspiracy, and then declare a prime suspect innocent when he passes a polygraph twenty-five years after the fact.
As to the “chilling prison interview” with Sirhan, while Moldea strains to be cinematic, Sirhan comes across in the chapter as very thoughtful and polite, and the reader is left bemused when, in the last few pages, Moldea goads Sirhan into an angry exchange with the classic wind-up line – “Sirhan, when your mother dies, God forbid, are you going to remember everything and come clean?”

4. The McCowan confession: Notice how veteran investigator Moldea completely skirts the unreliability of McCowan, given his criminal record, and his non-disclosure of this crucial comment to the original defense team. In brief, not very convincing.

5. Moldea writes: "If Cesar had failed that test, I would’ve spent every waking hour and every cent I had pursuing him. In the end, my interviews with Sirhan—not the polygraph test—convinced me that Cesar was an innocent man who for many years had been wrongly accused of murder."

Well, let's give you another chance to ponder Cesar's role in all this, Mr. Moldea.

After analysing the Pruszynski recording, Phil Van Praag concluded there were thirteen shots on the recording. Forensic audio experts in California and Denmark concluded there are at least ten shots on the recording. This provides us with three highly credible, independent, scientific opinions that there was a second gun in the pantry.

We know from the ballistics that the Kennedy neck bullet and the Goldstein and Weisel bullets could only have been fired by an Iver Johnson Cadet 55 (Sirhan's gun) or a H&R 922 (the model of .22 Cesar owned at the time of the shooting and lied about to the police).

Van Praag found a frequency anomaly with five of the thirteen shots he analysed. Van Praag then test-fired a H&R 922 and recorded it from forty feet behind (Pruszynski's position in relation to Cesar and Kennedy when the shots began).
The test-firing of the H&R 922 from behind replicated the frequency anomaly found on the Pruszynski recording. Van Praag concluded a H&R 922 fired five shots in the pantry that night, including all of the bullets that hit Robert Kennedy.

I hear that Moldea caught the latter stages of the Van Praag presentation in February. Doesn't this match to the H&R 922 make you even a little bit curious about Mr. Cesar? What if Cesar's been lying to you all these years rather than Sirhan? Will you actively consider this new evidence or are you worried a second U-turn would make you look ridiculous?

6. Moldea claims he does live interviews for free: Well, that's a new one on me. The last thing Moldea told me was, "If you won't pay for my opinion, someone else will." I am not aware of any Moldea interviews on the RFK case since that time. Mel Ayton, of course, as the token "talking head" for the "official story" is ubiquitous.

7. "O'Sullivan's work on the RFK case is a joke": Well, Paul Schrade, William Turner and countless others think the opposite. Mr. Moldea's position on the case is the real joke here. He does groundbreaking research for years, proving a conspiracy, then throws it all way on the flimsiest of instincts - one "dramatic moment" with Sirhan.

Let's be constructive here, Dan. While we have your attention and, as you won't be writing another book on the RFK case, why don't you answer some questions (for free) to show your good faith in this matter:

1. What were the dates of the Cesar polygraph tests?

2. Did you pay Cesar at any time for his participation in your work on the RFK case?

3. Cesar and his wife filed for bankruptcy in July, 1994. You completed your book three months later. How can we reconcile the perpetually broke and publicity-shy Cesar putting himself through a polygraph test for free with an author who, at the time, believed in conspiracy and now charging $50,000 for an interview through the same author?

4. You told me that, over lunch one time, Cesar casually mentioned some diamond purchases he had made from a local businessman who was an associate of the Mafia in Chicago. When you asked Cesar about this again in later meetings, there were discrepancies in the date of the initial purchase, ranging from 1968 to 1974. This seems very odd as Cesar, by his own admission, was "in deep shit for money" at the time, was working a second job as a security guard and was going bankrupt in late 1971.

You would not tell me the name of the Mafia associate. It was an Italian name but you could never figure out who the guy was, just a tangential associate of the Chicago Mob or something more sinister. You told me you were still disturbed by it and thought Cesar was involved with a lot of shady people.

As you're not writing another book on the RFK case, please share with us the name of the Mafia associate of Cesar.

As I've said before, Mr. Moldea, I have great admiration for your early work on this case. It's a shame you chose to throw it all away for the sake of a neat Hollywood ending.

Related Links

  • Response of Dan Moldea

  • Mel D Ayton - 7/3/2008

    ADDENDUM: O’Sullivan describes my review as ‘thin’. He is obviously unaware there are limits to book review content and size. In fact, his book is so full of errors it would have taken a book length review to address all the ridiculous charges he makes. HNN readers can access these articles which address each and every issue O’Sullivan has raised in his book:

    WASHINGTON DECODED: STILL GUILTY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS – SIRHAN B. SIRHAN
    http://www.washingtondecoded.com/site/jfk_assassination/index.html

    WASHINGTON DECODED ON HNN
    http://hnn.us/roundup/entries/50455.html

    THE RFK ASSASSINATION – NEW REVELATIONS FROM THE FBI’S ‘KENSALT’ FILES
    http://hnn.us/articles/50532.html

    HNN - CONSPIRACY THEORIES MAY 2008
    http://hnn.us/articles/26833.html

    CONSPIRACY THINKING AND THE JOHN F. KENNEDY, ROBERT F. KENNEDY AND MARTIN LUTHER KING ASSASSINATIONS
    http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ayton2.htm

    THE ASSASSINATION OF ROBERT KENNEDY AND THE GIRL IN THE POLKA DOT GIRL DRESS
    http://hnn.us/articles/38496.html

    THE ROBERT F. KENNEDY ASSASSINATION: THE ACOUSTICS DEBATE BY STEVE BARBER
    http://hnn.us/articles/36915.html

    HOW THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL DUPED THE AMERICAN PUBLIC ABOUT THE RFK ASSASSINATION ACOUSTICS DEBATE
    http://hnn.us/articles/44466.html

    THE UNAFFILIATED TERRORIST
    http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID={3114ABEF-4F87-4987-A263-E71D81ABD9AD}

    DID THE PLO MURDER ROBERT KENNEDY?
    http://hnn.us/articles/10781.html

    CRIME MAGAZINE RFK
    http://crimemagazine.com/05/robertkennedy,0508-5.htm
    http://crimemagazine.com/05/sirhansirhan,0906-5.htm

    THE GUARDIAN - STEPHEN KINZER ARTICLE
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jun/13/israelandthepalestinians.usa

    BBC NEWSNIGHT’S ‘DID THE CIA KILL BOBBY KENNEDY?’ – JUNE 2008
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=rad4nw5qwt8&;feature=related

    REVIEWS OF THE FORGOTTEN TERRORIST http://www.potomacbooksinc.com/Books/BookDetail.aspx?productID=146341

    PAT LAMBERT REVIEW OF THE FORGOTTEN TERRORIST
    http://hnn.us/roundup/entries/40733.html


    Mel D Ayton - 7/2/2008

    Shane O’Sullivan appears to be ill-informed about book reviews and book reviewers when he takes umbrage at HNN publishing my review of his new book and DVD. HNN published my review because they recognized I had some expertize in this subject which gave the review some ‘authority’. By the same token, I’m sure the editors reject reviews of books when the reviewer has no experience or knowledge of a subject or any credentials to speak of. For example, it is unlikely HNN would publish a review of Rick Perlstein’s excellent new book ‘Nixonland’ if it had been written by a medieval historian.


    Responses to book reviews usually center on the most important points raised by the reviewer, especially if the author’s integrity is called into question. In this case O’Sullivan’s integrity was questioned as he had lied. Instead, O’Sullivan avoids giving answers to those charges I made and, in the manner we have become accustomed to when debating conspiracy buffs, he has simply turned the discussion in another direction.


    Hopefully, O’Sullivan will return to these issues and give HNN readers answers to his false allegation I had been present at the British Library when he was conducting his research and of how Jefferson Morley was purportedly ‘first out of the starting gate’ to rebut allegations of CIA involvement in the RFK assassination. He might also explain why he said Bradley Ayers’ book had nothing to do with ‘JFK conspiracies’ or why he failed to tell his readers he had used a bogus story of how a man had hypnotized another to commit murder. O’Sullivan also needs to address the issue of why Bradley Ayers gave him a pseudonym. What kind of childish nonsense is this? - except to hide the fact that he had been spoon-fed the RFK/CIA malarkey by conspiracy buffs.


    With regard to the lie about my having been to the British Library I can only guess he was once again trying to introduce some kind of high drama into his writing as he did on the first page of his book in which he wrote that former CIA operatives - unnamed, but likely his fantasist colleagues Bradley Ayers and David Rabern - told him he was probably being monitored during his trips to the US. It is really rather too silly to contemplate. Why on earth would the CIA monitor a neophyte like O’Sullivan who has established no credibility or standing whatsoever in literary or academic circles? Nor has he ever been recognized as a film-maker of some importance or influence either nationally in the UK or abroad. However, he may have guessed the publicity he has garnered by his sensational but wrongful identifications of CIA agents and the way he dragged the BBC into his shenanigans would eventually be the solution to his professional anonymity.


    O’Sullivan also believes that characterizing me as a ‘cranky retired schoolmaster’ will help him. However, I’m sure most HNN readers will judge these comments to be childish and silly as they would if I referred to O’Sullivan as a ‘former schoolboy’. I left teaching nearly 10 years ago to devote myself to writing. And, unlike some of O’Sullivan’s cherished sources, I have not self-published or used the vanity press. (see: http://www.washingtondecoded.com/site/2008/06/simkin.html)


    O’Sullivan’s childish riposte to my review has only made the hole he dug with the publication of his book and DVD even deeper. He now makes the ridiculous claim that the AAFS ‘validated’ Philip Van Praag’s 13 shot scenario. This is utter nonsense and I challenge him to name the AAFS acoustics experts who ‘validated’ the findings. He can’t - because there aren’t any. He has also ignored the statements I found in the FBI files which leaves Sandra Serrano’s polka dot girl story looking quite ridiculous.(see: http://hnn.us/articles/50532.html)

    O’Sullivan puts great stock in the recent findings of Philip Van Praag and Robert Joling. First off, Joling does not possess any professional acoustics qualifications - nor, for that matter, does Van Praag. O’Sullivan clearly does not understand the differences in the qualifications of the experts who examined the Pruszynki Tape. Unlike Philip Van Praag and Wes Dooley, who are audio engineers, Philip Harrison is a professional forensic expert who works for a professional forensic firm, JP French Associates. Harrison, together with Professor Peter French, a fellow expert and lecturer in forensic analysis at the University of York examined a copy of the Pruszynski Tape ( It was a copy of Van Praag’s ‘master tape’ – nothing is lost in the translation of digitized material) and found no more than 8 shots recorded on it. In the United States Steve Barber was assisted by Michael O’Dell and Dr Chad Zimmerman, who have a wealth of experience researching the scientific aspects of the JFK assassination. They also examined the tape and found no more than 8 shots. Both teams had independently examined the tape then Barber and Harrison consulted with each other.


    O’Sullivan is also poorly informed about the person he describes as a ‘rock drummer’. In fact, Steve Barber is highly regarded by nationally acclaimed scientists who have studied the JFK acoustics evidence. His work was seminal in proving that the dictabelt recorded by the Dallas Police Department that allegedly contains sounds of the shots in the JFK assassination was actually recorded elsewhere. He worked directly with a panel of the Committee on Ballistic Acoustics (CBA), which included two Nobel prize-winning physicists, Norman F. Ramsey, chairman of the committee, and the late Luis Alvarez. The Justice Department hired the CBA to re-examine earlier findings of the House Select Committee on Assassinations acoustics experts, who had concluded that the dictabelt contained the gunshots that killed President Kennedy.


    O’Sullivan has also been deceptive in telling HNN readers Philip Harrison has conducted no research at all on the Van Praag findings. This is clearly a twisting of Harrison’s words as Harrison’s email to me on June 3rd , 2008 proves. The email was sent two weeks after O’Sullivan received his communication of May 20th. Harrison wrote, “…….we finally have some of the details of the analysis that VP carried out…….but from an initial look it doesn't appear to prove anything definitively. It still all comes down to interpretation, not scientific proof.” Accordingly, conspiracists who characterize the Van Praag findings as ‘definitive proof’ that 13 shots had been fired in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel are propagating falsehoods.


    O’Sullivan also blunders when he states that I wrongly positioned Pruszynski in the pantry. In fact, I had no real idea where Pruszynski was positioned but that’s a non sequitur as I am not an acoustics expert. Unlike O’Sullivan, I have never given a scientific opinion about the Pruszynski Tape.Before the Discovery Channel program aired all we had to go on was the inference that Pruszynski was stationed in the pantry or vicinity. Before the film footage of Pruszynski was discovered it was asssumed he was in the pantry or vicinity because statements in the files made reference to this – “PRUSZYNSKI ….was only a short distance from KENNEDY at the time of the assault but pointed out, however, that he did not witness the assault. He made a tape recording of the commotion and reaction of the crowd immediately subsequent to the assault which he made available” and “Pruszynski, Stus - At Ambassador Hotel on June 4th; tape is his recording of events at the hotel. Includes end of RFK’s speech, possible shots being fired, post-shooting hysteria in kitchen, and interviews with a man who claims Sirhan was not alone. Pruszynski narrates what he is seeing.”


    O’Sullivan also appears to be lacking in self-awareness when he criticizes me for not originally using the FBI files which he claims he researched. This begs the question – why didn’t he mention the FBI statements of Geraldine McCarthy and Winnie Marshall who put the lie to Sandra Serrano’s story? And why didn’t he include in his narrative of the shooting the vast majority of pantry witness statements in the FBI files which put the number of shots at 8 or less? And why didn’t he provide his readers with evidence from the FBI files which prove that a number of individuals cried out ‘We shot him!’? This is an important finding which demonstrates how conspiracists have wrongly attributed this outcry to Sirhan’s purported co-conspirators. (see: http://hnn.us/articles/50532.html)


    O’Sullivan insists he has written only two chapters dealing with the RFK/CIA connection – we’ll let readers judge – here are the chapter titles:
    16 Intelligence Connections
    17 The CIA at the Hotel
    18 Chasing Shadows - it’s all about David Morales, who purportedly confessed to being present on the scene when JFK and RFK were assassinated.
    19 What Really Happened? - well, O’Sullivan leads the reader into the inevitable conclusion, after having been repeatedly battered by innuendo, speculation and hearsay, that Sirhan had been a CIA hypnotized assassin.


    O’Sullivan believes his denunciation of the Kranz Report is sufficient to allay fears and doubts about the credibility of Don Schulman. However, any insight into this man’s confused statements to investigators prove, to the rational-minded, that his story of a second gunman is preposterous. O’Sullivan quite clearly did not ask Robert Blair Kaiser about Schulman or he would have understood the truth about this ‘witness’. According to Kaiser, “(In 1971) I visited Ruth Taylor at Channel 2 (to check out Don Schulman). She told me Schulman was a Sammy Glick type (from the Budd Schulberg novel What Makes Sammy Run?) who would say anything to get his name in the newspaper – or on TV. Schulman must have been a joke around the Channel 2 newsroom, because I had no difficulty finding a film editor at Channel 2 named Frank Raciti who told me Schulman was with him and a fellow film editor named Dick Gaither in the Embassy Room at the time of the shooting. So much for Schulman.” (Page 361 RFK Must Die – Chasing The Mystery of the Robert Kennedy Assassination, 2008)


    Finally, O’Sullivan has once again attempted to destroy the character of a witness who put the lie to Sirhan’s statement that he did not remember shooting RFK. He accuses Michael McCowan of having committed ‘mail fraud’ – ipso facto McCowan’s statement is now null and void, according to O’Sullivan. Well, O’Sullivan will need to consider the following passage from Gerald Posner’s book about the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King Jr before he has further dealings with Sirhan’s new attorney, William Pepper, who O’Sullivan describes as a “highly respected civil rights attorney”:

    “Pepper had moved to England in 1980, claiming in Orders To Kill that he was forced to move because the mafia in New England had made him ‘a marked man’ after he led a successful effort at reorganizing a school system ‘rife with corruption’. Actually a company of which Pepper was the president had received more than $200,000 from the state of Rhode Island to run a foster-care program for troubled youths. On July 6, 1978, Pepper was charged with four felony counts of transporting two teenage boys ‘to engage in lewd and indecent activities’. The local police also learned that in 1969 a US Senate subcommittee heard statements from two young boys who said Pepper had sexual contact with them when they were eight. No charges were filed against him then. Shortly after his arrest, a state audit charged that more than half of the money given to Pepper’s firm could not be accounted for. His legal problems worsened when a real estate company sued him civilly, claiming he had reneged on a deal to sell his $350,000 Westchester, New York home. Eventually the felony morals charges were dropped to misdemeanour charges. He left for England, and finally in 1990 the morals charges were dismissed for lack of prosecution. Pepper denied the charges and claimed that his legal problems were part of a conspiracy to punish him for his anti-Vietnam stance in the late 1960s and his friendship with Dr King.” (Page 266, Killing The Dream, 1998)


    As far as O’Sullivan’s ill-considered comments about Dan Moldea are concerned HNN readers can read Dan’s own opinions about O’Sullivan in a forthcoming post.