By Jeremy Kuzmarov
Yet even after over 50 years, high government officials like Vice President Kamala Harris are still trying to cover up the truth about his murder.
[California parole commissioners recommended on August 27th that Sirhan Sirhan should be freed after spending more than 50 years in prison for assassinating Robert Kennedy. Strong evidence suggests that Sirhan was not the real killer and would be exonerated in any new and objective trial. This article is another in CAM’s series on political assassinations.—Editors]
“The color of the Statue of Liberty
Grows ever more deathly pale
As, loving freedom with bullets,
You shoot at yourself, America.”
– Yevgeny Yevtushenko, “The Freedom to Kill,” 1970.
On June 5, 1968, a few minutes after midnight, Robert Kennedy was shot and killed at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles while walking through a narrow serving area called “the pantry.” Kennedy had just won the California primary and was on his way to a room where print media reporters were waiting to hear him speak.
In early March, Lyndon B. Johnson had thrown open the race by announcing that he would not seek re-election because of the failure of his Vietnam policy. Kennedy emerged as a leading contender by energizing the youth wing of the party with his calls for sweeping social change.
Kennedy was in many ways a strange liberal icon because he grew up idolizing Herbert Hoover, was closest in his family to his father, Joseph, the millionaire business tycoon, began his career supporting Joseph McCarthy’s anti-communist witch-hunt, called for victory against communism in Vietnam in the early 1960s, and oversaw a terrorist campaign designed to overthrow the Cuban government.
Nevertheless, by the latter part of the 1960s, Kennedy had evolved into a crusader for the poor and dove on Vietnam who was trying to ride the wave of the protest movement into the White House.
Biographers Lester and Irene David wrote that Bobby was the Kennedy who “felt deepest, cared the most, and fought the hardest for humanity—crying out against America’s involvement in the Vietnam War, championing the causes of blacks, Hispanics, and Mexican-Americans, and crusading against the suffering of children, the elderly and anyone else hurt or bypassed by social and economic progress.”
After Kennedy’s death, the Democratic Party became a shadow of its former self, with six of the next nine presidents being Republicans. The Party in this period abandoned its core base—union laborers, minorities, and blue-collar workers—and started catering to Wall Street.
Official Version of Assassination
According to the official version, Kennedy was shot and killed by a lone gunman, Sirhan Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian-born Jordanian citizen who was allegedly aghast by Kennedy’s recent decision to send 50 jet bombers to Israel to do harm to the Palestinians.
According to his mother, Sirhan had been traumatized as a child by the violence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His family home in East Jerusalem was destroyed by an Israeli bombing raid and he had witnessed the death of his older brother, who was killed by a Jordanian military vehicle that was swerving to escape Israeli gunfire.
Subsequently, he was arrested and convicted of the murder.
The prosecution during his trial—led by World War II hero Lynn “Buck” Compton who was subsequently appointed by Governor Ronald Reagan as Justice of the California Court of Appeals—showed that Sirhan was seen at the Ambassador Hotel on June 3, two nights before the attack, to learn the building’s layout, and that he visited a gun range on June 4.
Alvin Clark, Sirhan’s garbage collector, testified that Sirhan had told him a month before the attack of his intention to shoot Kennedy—a fact seemingly confirmed by diaries that Sirhan kept which showed premeditation.
Sirhan initially confessed to the killing but later claimed to have no memory of it. After the events transpired, he had appeared calm, but not “in complete control of his mind.”
Sirhan’s death sentence was commuted to a life prison sentence and he was denied parole fifteen times, though recommended for release on August 27, 2021 after over fifty years behind bars
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