Tag Archive for Robert Kennedy

April 4, 1968: RFK on the death of Martin Luther King

Crumbling consensus: Warren Commission staffer recants, says there was a JFK conspiracy

It has never been any secret that many serious people at the top of the U.S. government did not believe that President Kennedy was killed by a proverbial “lone nut.” But the elites of Washington have always preferred to ignore such suspicions.

Until today, when former New York Times reporter Phil Shenon reports in Politico magazine on the conspiratorial suspicions of one David Slawson, a retired law professor who investigated JFK’s assassination for the Warren Commission and now admits he got it wrong.

Slawson’s views are not unprecedented in elite power circles of Washington. Far from it.

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What’s wrong with the right-wing take on JFK

The notion of JFK’s assassination was a turning point is a touchstone of American culture. From the Blabbaholic Right (that would be Rush Limbaugh) to the Latte Sipping, Obamacare-Loving, Liberal Left (that would be me), we agree that things changed on November 22, 1963.

Here’s what Rush said the other day:  The America of the JFK Era Died with him – The Rush Limbaugh Show.

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HSCA: ‘… the brain … is among certain autopsy materials which are unaccounted for.’

“The panel itself was unable to examine the brain because it is among certain autopsy materials which are unaccounted for.”

— House Select Committee on Assassination, Volume VII, p. 177.

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Jan. 3, 1967: Jack Ruby, killer of JFK’s assassin, dies just weeks before second trial

The killer of JFK’s assassin died just weeks before he could speak out in a second trial (from Yahoo News UK.)

After killing Lee Harvey Oswald on national television, Ruby, the owner of a Dallas nightclub, usually denied that he was part of any conspiracy. On other occasions he intimated that he might have a different story. In June 1964, he asked Chief Justice Earl Warren to bring him to Washington to testify; Warren refused.

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RFK: ‘Don’t close them. If they’re going to shoot, they’ll shoot.’

“Don’t close them. If they’re going to shoot, they’ll shoot.”

From Jules Witcover’s “85 Days: The Last Campaign of Robert Kennedy (p.147), regarding an incident on April 11, 1968:

Bill Barry came up and told Dutton … that local police had spotted a man with a rifle on a nearby rooftop. Dutton, not wanting to upset Kennedy, walked casually into the bedroom, went over to the window and drew the curtains. Kennedy, slipping on a clean shirt, looked up at once and said, “Don’t close them. If they’re going to shoot, they’ll shoot.”

Rankin: ‘We have an explanation there in the autopsy that probably a fragment came out the front of the neck’

“We have an explanation there in the autopsy that probably a fragment came out the front of the neck.”

— Warren Commission Counsel J. Lee Rankin, in an executive session of Jan. 27, 1964. The official autopsy report contains no such statement, though there are some indications in the record that an early conclusion was that JFK’s throat wound was caused by the exit of a bullet fragment from the head shot. Autopsy witness Richard Lipsey, for instance, told the HSCA that the autopsy doctors discussed this.

There are reasons to believe that the original autopsy report was rewritten, and may have disappeared with the president’s brain and other materials while in Robert Kennedy’s hands. See this discussion by Assassination Records Review Board senior staffer Douglas Horne (part 1 and part 2). Later in the same session, Commissioner Richard Russell aptly observed of the medical evidence: “This isn’t going to be something that would run you stark mad?”