Lee Harvey Oswald, Sirhan Sirhan, mugshot
Lee Harvey Oswald mugshot (left). Sirhan Sirhan mugshot (right). Photo credit: Warren Commission / Wikimedia and California Department of Corrections / Wikimedia

On the 50th Anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination, May 24, 2018, the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz trumpeted this headline:

Why Sirhan Sirhan, a Jerusalem-born Palestinian, Shot Bobby Kennedy

Bobby Kennedy’s assassination, 50 years later: Sirhan Sirhan, whose family fled Jerusalem in 1948, may have been America’s first Middle Eastern lone-wolf terrorist

And the article was pretty much what you would expect: an unquestioning acceptance of the US government-approved version of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination, without one word about why anyone should question it. And — as in the case of Lee Harvey Oswald, alleged to have shot RFK’s brother President John F. Kennedy — Sirhan Sirhan’s childhood is supposed to explain everything.

He began to display psychological problems in early childhood, particularly during Israel’s War of Independence, which broke out when he was 3 years old. His mother, Mary Sirhan, told the Washington Post in 1979 how her son was scarred by the horrific scenes of fighting he witnessed in and around the Old City….

As for those who think there was quite a bit more involved in RFK’s murder, Ha’aretz gave the standard explanation:

Journalists, like many readers, find it difficult to accept the thought that an individual with a pistol and sufficient malice can divert history from its course.

Some version of this lame concept is repeated again and again in stories on political murders to anesthetize suspicion about such political murders. Several mainstream media have repeated some version of it. In a fawning review of Gerald Posner’s book, Case Closed, the New York Times quoted Posner quoting William Manchester, one of President Kennedy’s biographers:

If you put the murdered President of the United States on one side of a scale and that wretched waif Oswald on the other side, it doesn’t balance. You want to add something weightier to Oswald…. A conspiracy would, of course, do the job nicely.

What bullshit.

Here’s what people really find hard to accept: the very idea that such crimes might be committed by the people who run this country, and a media with more ambition than intellect and integrity that, consciously or not, help cover it up. But more and more facts keep escaping into the air, so, at regular intervals, they have to give the cover-up a touch-up.

Getting back to the supposed author of said bullshit, William Manchester — he is not only the author of Death of a President, he is also the author of some astounding self-serving lies about himself, especially his World War II record. He did earn a bronze star for his service but that wasn’t enough for him. The American Spectator exposed several of his false claims:  

He did not serve as valedictorian at the University of Massachusetts. He did not win the Navy Cross. He did not rate a Silver Star. He did not receive two Purple Hearts.

Manchester loved glory. So it’s not hard to believe that, for the glory of it, he would write a book about the JFK assassination that would put the right spin on it. And that would include a word about why people “need to believe” in conspiracy.

What’s Really ‘Difficult to Accept’


For years WhoWhatWhy has been expressing skepticism about these poorly supported official narratives, and now the Washington Post finally showcases on its front page, a story that raises the doubts that others have been raising for decades. It reports that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. does not believe Sirhan killed his father, and supports the calls for a reinvestigation into the assassination.

The facts show why some people would prefer the official lone gunman fairy tale. Fact: Witnesses said the barrel of Sirhan’s gun was two to six feet in front of Kennedy, yet, the autopsy places the fatal shot one inch behind Kennedy’s right ear. Fact: An audio tape of the murder has 12 or 13 shots on it, but Sirhan’s gun could only fire 8 shots.

We will continue to question this mystery, not because we like conspiracy theories, but because we believe we do not have the whole story. Below is a list of WhoWhatWhy stories posted so far, some with short summaries on Robert Kennedy’s murder.

The RFK Shooting: Eyewitness to Second Gunman

Compressed excerpts from Vancouver Sun interview of Nina Rhodes-Hughes, who stood behind RFK the night he was shot:

“He turns to his left a little bit and starts to greet some of the kitchen staff … Suddenly, he turns to his right and went straight ahead towards … the other press room … then, as I’m looking at him, I heard ‘pop, pop.’”

For a split second, she thought they were flashbulbs. Then, to her left, ahead of the senator, she saw him, Sirhan Sirhan, standing on top of a steel kitchen table.

“He was higher, he was standing up on a steam table, not floor level … I see Rafer Johnson and Rosey Grier running toward Sirhan Sirhan to tackle him.”

Only two shots had been fired. As they brought him down, more rang out to her right, close behind senator Kennedy.

“The shots are pop, pop, pop, pop, pop … Rapid gunfire, 12, maybe 13 in all. People are falling, people are sliding down the wall, people are ducking and I’m screaming. Then I look down and I see the senator has fallen. He’s lying on the floor. He has been shot.”

No law enforcement official spoke to her that night and the FBI didn’t interview her until a month later. She told them all of the above. Yet, she found out much later, the FBI lied about what she reported. They said she heard only eight shots — the exact number of bullets Sirhan’s gun held — and that she saw bright red flashes emanating from the gun, none of which is true.

RFK Friend to Raise Doubts About Sirhan Guilt at Parole Hearing

Paul Schrade, friend of RFK, said that new evidence shows Sirhan shot him and several others — but did not shoot Kennedy:

The LAPD and LA DA knew two hours after the fatal shooting of Robert Kennedy that he was shot by a second gunman and they had conclusive evidence that Sirhan Bishara Sirhan could not and did not do it. The official record shows that [the prosecution at Sirhan’s trial] never had one witness — and had no physical nor ballistic evidence — to prove Sirhan shot Robert Kennedy. Evidence locked up for 20 years shows that the LAPD destroyed physical evidence and hid ballistic evidence exonerating Sirhan, and covered up conclusive evidence that a second gunman fatally wounded Robert Kennedy.

Sirhan: A “Manchurian Candidate” in the RFK Assassination?

Author and filmmaker Shane O’Sullivan spent 12 years examining how Sirhan might have been “programmed,” and by whom.

In the 1970s, Congressional hearings established that, back in the 1950’s, the CIA and other agencies experimented with the use of hypnotism to program assassins to assassinate — and have no memory of actually having done it afterward. Some of the psychiatrists who looked at Sirhan became aware of that context after his trial, and began to see him as the closest we have to a real-life manchurian candidate.

Sirhan Denied Parole; RFK Friend Distraught

The Full Story of the Sirhan Sirhan Parole Hearing

The Tortured Logic Behind Sirhan Sirhan’s Parole Denial

What Did the Death of Bobby Kennedy Mean?

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3 years ago

A commenter here said, “Science proved Oswald did it.” I hope that was sarcasm. Oswald did not fire the fatal shot at JFK… “scientific” or medical reports that claim otherwise have been falsified/altered, and the proof is in any number of well-documented books, such as “Killing JFK: 50 Years, 50 Lies,” by Dr. Lance Moore. (Moore’s doctorate is not in science, but his brother is a physicist, and his case against the so-called “scientific proof” convinced me, and I was a skeptic.) All the evidence points to remarkable similarities with the two patsies: neither LHO and nor Sirhan were in a position to have made the fatal shots. Wrong angles.

Salvatore LoGrasso
Salvatore LoGrasso
3 years ago

Is anyone else suspicious about Israel’s lack of skepticism concerning the assassinaions of both Kennedys? JFK was 100% against Israel’s nuclear ambitions and RFK’s presidency would have been disastrous for Israel; especially after LBJ’s administration as Israel’s first puppet in the White House. LBJ conspired to murder US sailors aboard the USS LIBERTY with Israeli jets. They would blame the attack on Egypt’s Nasser to justify an invasion of Egypt. Maybe RFK knew about the Israeli role in the JFK assassination if there was one? It’s interesting that the Manchurian candidate ended up being Palestinian. Did the Mossad accomplish 2 different agendas with the assassination of RFK? (Demonization of Palestinians and acquisition of nuclear weapons unhindered)

3 years ago

Israel did not control the protection of President Kennedy. The Israeli government was not sad to see him removed from office, but they were not the architects of the crime. The main claim that they did this comes from a white supremacist publication that also claims the Nazis did not operate gas chambers. It’s not the only reason this “false sponsor” claim that be ignored, but it should be sufficient for rational people.

I recommend the writings of Jim DiEugenio, Jim Douglass, David Talbot as accurate stories of what happened, who ordered it and why.

jeff nies
jeff nies
3 years ago

I don’t think it matters who actually killed RFK, so long as history finally accords with the reality and truth of the conspiracy behind his assassination and that of his brother. I don’t know what generation it will take to absorb the truthful recognition of conspiracy and all the murders committed in the coverup of both crimes, including other falsely investigated and reported public murders of Martin Luther King and Malcom X.

Maybe when enough people grow tired of the venality of coverup at the heart of the US government and tire of the lying historical record perpetuated by the mainstream media about the ascendancy of one president leading to the resignation of another, and the rising star of still another, all of whom were in Dallas on or about 11/22/1963 (in preparation for something other than a presidential visit) when the greatest crime of my lifetime occurred.

Maybe that stange circuit of coincidence and all the murders and odd deaths that flowed from it in its aftermath, will someday spark an inkling of knowledge that kings are killed and ousted when they fail to heed the authority of their benefactors who hold the actual key to their political term limits as not-so-free leaders of a constitutional republic.

greysun conroy
3 years ago

Mossad CIA military all employed by worlds wealthiest plutocrat oligrachies controlling power elite delete ‘C.Wright Mills” families as SS for the ss

3 years ago

Well science proved Oswald did it. Sirhan did shoot and kill RFK. Ammunition of that time was notoriously dirty and would give the effect of shots being closer than the actually were. Powder burns on RFK would make contemporary ammo need to be closer to achieve powder burns you get from older ammo.

3 years ago

I have always believed Sirhan was not the shooter of RFK, nor was Oswald JFK’S assassin. Nixon was the establishment choice in 1968. RFK was not allowed to live because the majority of the nation wanted Bobby elected, which without any doubt he would have been. I was 18 when all hope for justice was snuffed out by the second Kennedy murder. The William Manchester book “Death of a President” I found it in a thrift store about 10 years ago for a dollar, looked through it, didn’t see anything revealing so sold it at the flea market. The Kennedy brothers deaths still bother me heavily to this day.

Paul Jolliffe
Paul Jolliffe
3 years ago

The key with Sirhan, as it was with “Oswald”, is to figure out who was his immediate contact. Who sent him to the Ambassador Hotel? Who was running him? Who was in position to ensure that Sirhan was in place to be the patsy?

Sirhan did not kill RFK, but Thane Cesar has been the prime suspect for 50 years. Ted Charach said that Cesar admitted drawing his gun (he was positioned immediately behind and the to the right of RFK – perfect position to administer the fatal shot to the back right of RFK’s ear), and that Cesar lied about selling his .22 before June 4, 1968.

In fact, an authentic receipt surfaced that Cesar’s own .22 was sold in September of 1968, three months after the RFK hit. Thus, since Cesar lied about the .22, he can’t be trusted as a “witness”, and remains the #1 suspect.

Who were the ultimate sponsors of the hit?
Well, we can’t say, but we do know the incredible LAPD pressure on Sandy Serrano to retract her statement about the girl in the polka dot dress means that there really was a link between that girl and Sirhan.

3 years ago

(1) David Morales and David Atlee Phillips (both in the CIA, and both implicated in the JFK Assassination of Nov. 22, 1963) were positively identified on film, by former CIA co-workers interviewed by Shane O’Sullivan, as being in the Ambassador Hotel, on June 5, 1968, in Los Angeles, the night RFK was assassinated. (Shane O’Sullivan is the author of WHO KILLED BOBBY? and the producer of the video “RFK MUST DIE”) (2) Forensic audio & ballistic evidence proves NOT A SINGLE SHOT FIRED BY SIRHAN SIRHAN EVER HIT RFK! RFK died from a wound that entered the back of his head, right behind his right ear, from close range. This suggests that someone very close to RFK, possibly in the security detail, itself, is responsible for the fatal shot. SIRHAN SIRHAN WAS JUST ANOTHER PATSY.

Do your own investigation and (deep) research into this topic, and you’ll arrive at the SAME conclusion.

Comments Editor
Comments Editor
3 years ago
Reply to  Just_Sayin'

Thankyou for bringing Shane O’Sullivan to the attention of the readers.

Mr.O’Sullivan is a contributing author to WhoWhatWhy, and three of his articles are linked in the list provided by the author. Also in the list is a Podcast featuring Mr.O’Sullivan.

In the linked O’Sullivan article ‘RFK Friend to Raise Doubts About Sirhan Guilt at Parole Hearing‘ (Feb 09, 2016) is a further link to the van Praag acoustic analysis of the Pruszynski audio recording – which I believe is the evidence to which you refer in point (2).

You assert that Sirhan Sirhan was ‘just another Patsy‘ – in the article on this page, the author quotes Mr.O’Sullivan, ‘The LAPD and LA DA knew two hours after the fatal shooting…that he was shot by a second gunman and they had conclusive evidence that Sirhan Bishara Sirhan could not and did not do it……Evidence locked up for 20 years shows that the LAPD destroyed physical evidence and hid ballistic evidence exonerating Sirhan, and covered up conclusive evidence that a second gunman fatally wounded Robert Kennedy.

Once more, thankyou for your contribution.
Comments Editor.

3 years ago

You’re welcome! Here are two additional points:

(3) David Morales and David Atlee Phillips are just TWO of a rather long list of CIA people that are connected to the JFK Assassination: Allen Dulles, James Jesus Angleton, Cord Meyer, William K. Harvey, David Morales, David Atlee Phillips, G.H.W. BUSH, George de Mohrenschildt, E. Howard Hunt, Frank Sturgis, MARITA LORENZ, and PATSY, Lee Harvey Oswald. Yes, Lee Harvey Oswald was on the CIA payroll, and was also an FBI Informant.

(4) Note how all the major U.S. Assassinations of the 1960’s (JFK, MLK, RFK) occurred during the Administration of LYIN’ LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON and then FBI-Director, J. Edgar Hoover. It has become clear to me, at least, that RFK (Bobby) was intent on finding out exactly who was behind his brother’s (JFK’s) murder, once he became President. Obviously, the SAME people were still in power in 1968, and they simply couldn’t bear the thought of RFK exposing the truth to the public. It appears that the events of Nov. 22, 1963 and of June 5, 1968 were literally a COUP D’ETAT by those behind the CIA (and CFR), what is so often called the “Deep State” or “Secret Government”, or “Shadow Goverment”.

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