At the end of August, 2021, Sirhan Sirhan--convicted for the muder of Bobby Kennedy--was granted parole, subject to review by California's governor. While Sirhan took responsibility for the crime, it appears he didn't actually kill RFK.In this 2016 interview with the now-deceased former Los Angeles newspaper reporter Fernando Fauro, we learn that Sirhan was probably a patsy who was hynotized or otherwise controlled by Anna Chenault, an ally of Kennedy's nemesis, then-president Richard Nixon.
Three of RFK's family members support Sirhan's parole, while nine others strongly oppose it. On social media, most posts argue against parole, based on emotional arguments that don't reflect the latest evidence. On Facebook, the acclaimed author of The Devil's Chessboard and Brothers, David Talbot, wrote:
Free Sirhan Sirhan... The backlash has already started against the recommendation by a California parole board panel to free Sirhan Sirhan, the man convicted of assassinating Senator Robert F. Kennedy in June 1968. But it's a long-overdue decision -- even if it was based largely on Sirhan's advanced age (77), instead of the fact that he is innocent of killing RFK. Yes, as Sirhan admitted to the parole panel, he is guilty of firing a gun in the crowded pantry of the Ambassador Hotel that night. But, as Sirhan repeated, he has no memory of the tragic events of that night. For good reason. Sirhan was a programmed decoy -- the true assassin fired the fatal bullet into the back of Kennedy's skull at point-blank range, while Sirhan was firing wildly several feet in front of the senator.
Eyewitnesses to the shooting of RFK, including those who wrestled Sirhan for his gun (two of whom I interviewed for my 2007 book "Brothers"), later stated there was no way that Sirhan was positioned to fire the fatal bullet. Dr. Thomas Noguchi, the Los Angeles County coroner who performed the autopsy on Senator Kennedy, came to the same conclusion. Writing in his 1983 memoir, which was ignored by the media, Dr. Noguchi stated that the forensics (including ballistics evidence showing at least 12 shots were fired that night, while Sirhan's gun held only 8 bullets) "indicated there may have been a second gunman... Thus I have never said that Sirhan Sirhan killed Robert Kennedy."
My own research has led me to the conclusion that RFK's assassination was organized by CIA contractor Robert Maheu, who recruited Mafia hitmen to kill Fidel Castro, among other tasks for the spy agency. Maheu (whom I interviewed in his Las Vegas home near the end of his life) also conveniently owned a private security firm that I believe was detailed to the Ambassador Hotel that night. The man who fired the fatal shot into the back of RFK's head was posing as a security guard. Maheu's gunmen were positioned all over the hotel that night, following Kennedy's victory in the decisive California presidential primary. There was no way that RFK was going to survive that night.
Most independent researchers who have closely studied the RFK case have concluded that despite the hypnotic actions of Sirhan that night, he is not the assassin of Robert Kennedy. These dogged authors and researchers who are still active (including Shane O'Sullivan, Lisa Pease and Paul Schrade, the UAW official who was struck in the head by a bullet during the wild fusillade but recovered) -- as well as two sons of RFK -- all support the release of Sirhan Sirhan.
The California parole panel's recommendation must be upheld by Governor Gavin Newsom, who has other things on his mind now. But as soon as Newsom withstands the loony Republican recall, he must do the right thing and free Sirhan Sirhan.
Here is the original text posted with the interview:
As a Los Angeles newspaper reporter, Fernando Faura investigated the 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, confronting the coverup by the FBI and local police. He just published The Polka Dot File, and joins us to talk about it. Faura was a reporter for the defunct Hollywood Citizens News who pursued many angles of the RFK murder investigation, and his new book reads like a series of dispatches, as he tracked the mysterious woman in the polka dot dress.
Faura interviewed a chemical salesman, John Fahey, who spent the afternoon on the day before the assassination with the woman in question, and she dropped clear hints that she knew people who were planning to "take care of" RFK. At the Ambassador Hotel on the night of the murder, witnesses placed her with Sirhan Sirhan, who was convicted as the lone shooter, and two other men. They were seen in the kitchen area as Kennedy passed through.
Faura builds the case of the "Manchurian Candidate", and argues that Sirhan--who practiced self-hypnosis--was under the hypnotic control of the woman in the polka dot dress when he fired at Kennedy. Witnesses reported seeing her running from the scene, crying out "We shot him. We shot him." When a campaign worker asked, "Who did you shoot?", the woman replied, "Senator Kennedy".
Faura goes on to link the mystery woman to Anna Chenault, a powerful Nixon supporter, and Chenault's contacts with the ambassador from South Vietnam just before Nixon won the 1968 election--contacts now viewed as treason.
And, Faura thinks, the Watergate break-in was driven by Nixon's fears that Democrats had uncovered his role in the RFK killing.