The Assassination of Robert Kennedy
Christopher Plumley (1992)
This classic documentary from 1992 neatly summarizes a reasonably ironclad case that a second gunman, not Sirhan Sirhan, shot and killed Robert Kennedy in June 1968. It also reveals how the Los Angeles police (LAPD) systematically destroyed and suppressed evidence pointing to the true killer.
Filmmaker Christopher Plumley begins with the forensic and autopsy evidence. The latter shows clearly that the bullet killing Kennedy came from immediately (2-3 inches) behind, whereas Sirhan was in front of him. According to 76 eyewitnesses he was never closer than three feet to Kennedy. At the time if Sirhan’s, trial there were approximately 1,000 photos of the shooting, which the LAPD subsequently destroyed in a hospital incinerator.
Too Many Bullets
The “official” LAPD crime scene reconstruction shows eight bullets (Sirhan’s gun only held eight) hitting Kennedy three times and wounding five other victims. Both the FBI and the LAPD crime scene officer disputed the official reconstruction, based on eyewitness testimony, the autopsy report and bullet holes in the woodwork of the Ambassador Hotel pantry showing there had to be at least 12 bullets.
The autopsy alone proves Sirhan couldn’t have been the assassin. Instead of challenging the autopsy evidence at trial, his defense attorney (who seems to have been party to the conspiracy) advised him to plead diminished responsibility. To this day, Sirhan maintains he has no recollection whatsoever of the shooting.Neither the defense nor the prosecution presented any eyewitness testimony, which clearly would have exonerated the supposed deranged lone gunman.
LAPD browbeat and threatened several eyewitnesses who saw Sirhan together with another man and a woman in a polka dot dress. According to at least one witness, the woman claimed responsibility for the shooting as the couple fled the crime scene. Plumley plays a choice selection of a recorded polygraph examination of an ex-CIA polygraph specialist emotionally abusing her – as he tries to coerce her into change her story.
The CIA’s Project Artichoke
The most damaging evidence against Sirhan was a notebook in which he repeatedly scribbled nonsensical threats about killing Kennedy. The last ten minutes of the film looks at declassified evidence about the CIA’s Project Artichoke, a top secret program in which robot assassins were hypno-programed to commit murder and have no subsequent recollection of their actions.
This section features a 1974 audiotape made by Dr William Bryan Jr, who reportedly bragged about being the hypnotist who hypno-programed Sirhan. The psychologist who examined Sirhan in prison confirmed he had been hypno-programed. The latter was fired after seeking permission to deprogram him.