robert f. kennedy in lansing prior to his assassination

There’s a fellow who comments quite often on this site under the name of Robert. Among other things, he’s somewhat of a scholar when it comes to the Robert F. Kennedy assassination. Well, he’s just left a comment on another thread that I thought belonged up on the front page. It pertains to a trip that Kennedy made to Michigan just months prior to his assassination in Los Angeles. Here’s Robert’s comment:

Here’s a piece of information you may not be aware of: Did you know that there was a RFK security scare in Lansing on April 11th, 1968? Very few people remember it, and it is rarely mentioned by anyone. People who were around at the time generally try to play it down now as nothing but a false alarm, but there was actually a pretty suspicious set-up occurring around RFK’s visit to Lansing precisely one week after the assassination of MLK in Memphis.

A few circumstantial details are interesting to note. First, Michigan would have been a pretty good locale for an assassination of RFK at the time. He was pretty widely hated in the circles of union power, and certainly among those closely connected to organized crime. Hoffa, who Kennedy had been harassing for years, openly claimed to his associates that he had put a contract out on Kennedy.

Here’s a clip from Wikipedia:
“As Attorney General, Kennedy pursued a relentless crusade against organized crime and the mafia, sometimes disagreeing on strategy with FBI head J. Edgar Hoover. Convictions against notorious organized crime figures rose by 800% during his term.
Kennedy was relentless in his pursuit of Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa, resulting from widespread knowledge of Hoffa’s corruption in financial and electoral actions, both personally and organizationally. The enmity between the two men was something of a cause celebre during the period, with accusations of personal vendetta being exchanged between Kennedy and Hoffa. Hoffa was eventually to face open, televised hearings before the Attorney General, which became iconic moments in Kennedy’s political career and which gained him equal praise and criticism from the press.”

On April 11th, Kennedy arrived at Capital City Airport and proceeded with his entourage to local campaign events. Bill Barry, RFK’s FBI pal and head of his campaign security, was tipped off to a man witnessed bringing a rifle into the building across the street from the hotel where Kennedy would be staying that evening. At the last moment, Barry had Kennedy’s car detour to the rear entrance of the hotel. It was said that the man with the rifle was questioned and turned out to be just a hunter who brought his rifle to work that day so he wouldn’t have to stop back at his home to pick it up before heading up north for a weekend hunting trip.

That’s a nice story and everything. I’m sure that is more than enough for Mel Ayton, but it might be interesting to know a few details about this individual before we all just accept this second hand explanation. I mean it’s pretty interesting that a guy would bring a high powered weapon into an office building right across the street from where a presidential candidate would soon be walking in plain view from his car to the entrance of his hotel

I would be willing to bet the press wasn’t told the name of this guy. I wouldn’t know though, because so far I have been unable to get any of the press people there to share any information regarding this incident.

If anyone does know the name of this individual already, I’ll bet I can make a few pretty accurate guesses about his profile. Who wants to take me up on that? How about you, Mel? Wanna do a little wagering? Anybody else?

The references to “Mel” go back to an exchange that Rob had right here in the comments section of with well-know conspiracy analyst Mel Ayton in the wake of a post that I made concerning a recent BBC report on the 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in Los Angeles. Their quarrel, as I recall, was about a woman in a polkadot dress.

(note: Now, when you google “polkadot dress + Kennedy,” the first thing you get is Meanwhile, I’m ashamed to say, has dropped to third place when searching for information on “ball shaving.”)

Robert, if I understand him correctly, is of the opinion that RFK’s security detail was repeatedly being challenged in the days prior to his assassination by those individuals who would eventually succeed at killing him. There were, for instance, firecrackers set off in the crowd during a speaking engagement in San Francisco the day before his assassination. And, if Robert’s right, what happened in Lansing might somehow be related. If you were in Lansing at the time, or have any relative information, please leave a comment. I’m sure that Robert would love to hear from you.

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  1. mark
    Posted August 9, 2007 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    (The photo is of RFK after having landed in Lansing in April 1968.)

  2. Sidney
    Posted August 10, 2007 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Have you spoken with either Bruce Cornelius or Doug Elbinger? They were two of the photographers assigned to cover the Senator during that visit. Here’s an article you might find of interest.

  3. Posted August 10, 2007 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Yes, the guy walking with him is Joel Ferguson. There’s a good article posted on the City Pulse website featuring the photographs and recollections of Bruce Cornelius and Doug Elbinger, two photographers who covered RFK’s Lansing visit. I believe the photo above was taken by one of them.

  4. Robert
    Posted August 10, 2007 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    LOL, sorry. I got the very same idea as you Sidney…just six minutes later.

  5. Zooey
    Posted August 10, 2007 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Doug Elbinger’s contact info:

    Good luck.

  6. Zooey
    Posted August 10, 2007 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Cornelius, Bruce

    Job title:

    Lansing State Journal

    120 E Lenawee

    Lansing, MI 48919-0001

    (517) 377-1000

  7. Mark H.
    Posted August 10, 2007 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    I think Robert is overlooking a lot of vital historical context in his drive to find evidence to support his a priori belief that RFK was killed due to a conspiracy.

    I say this as someone who, as a kid in 1968, worked on Robert Kennedy’s Indiana primary campaign (which he won, and which was a vital part of his drive for the party nomination — there were a lot fewer primaries then). I saw him in person a couple of times and shook his hand once (I will always remember his hand, badly swollen by the pressure of the crowds shaking the hand of a man we thought might saw America from itself). Kennedy made eye contact with us all, is how i remember it.

    So what context does Robert overlook? Well, at risk of giving a history lecture —

    1. Robert says RFK “was pretty widely hated in the circles of union power, and certainly among those closely connected to organized crime. Hoffa, who Kennedy had been harassing for years, openly claimed to his associates that he had put a contract out on Kennedy.” Well, Jimmy Hoffa was in prison in 1968 and had little power in “union circles”. No evidence links him to an actual plot to kill Kennedy, just a lot of verbal threats. (Ever say you were gonna kill someone and never acted on it?) And Senator Kennedy was not unpopular in other union circles, like the UAW or the teachers unions or the steelworkers, or the United Farm Workers of America.

    2. More importantly, in Michigan lots of workers did and do carry hunting rifles to work to speed up their after work hunting trips; and this was 1968, a time of chaos and lots of noise. Firecrackers at campaign stops were common place, as was lots of other confusion generating distractions….and few or none of these were related to assignation attempts. So Robert may be finding details that add up to nothing.

    3. Kennedy’s campaign rallies were massive and crowed, and security consisted basically of guards standing BEHIND Kennedy looking at the crowd for danger, as RFK shook hands with people like me (actually, mostly grown ups, not kids). If there was a plot to kill him in Lansing or anywhere else, it could have been carried out with a handgun carried by someone who got close to him. And tens of thousands of people got close enough to this candidate that he could have been shot by nearly any one of them.

    4. In fact, Kennedy was killed that way, in the Ambassador Hotel in LA. Whether this was by the random crazed zealot of a killer that official and mainstream explanations say, or by some as of yet unverified elaborate conspiracy depends on your judgment.

    5. I think the hero of my youth was slain by a crazed killer acting alone. But i understand the urge to find a plot –for someone who seemed so promising in ’68, and who was in hindsight so very much better than the crook who won, Nixon — to have died just because security was lax and a nutcase with a gun got close to RFK….well, that emotionally is unacceptable: it is too great a loss to something unimportant, one zealot, one nut. RFK’s destroyed promise of a good presidency seems to require a conspiracy, otherwise things are out of balance.

    But things are out of balance. That’s history. Especially at times of unheaval, as 1968 was.

    RFK’s speeches are still enough to make me weep.

    I saw him speak the night Martin Luther King was killed, and while at age 7 i could not grasp all he said, his eloquence and his plea for brotherly love was stunning and unforgettable. This was in Indianapolis, and he spoke to a largely Black, inner city audience. My dad, then a Kennedy Democrat, took me there that night to that rally, as he’d taken me to other Kennedy campaign events. There were race riots across the nation that night, April 4, as Blacks vented their frustration at MLK’s death in an uncaring, racist America – his death marked the shattering of hope for progress in America. But that night, there were no race riots in Indianapolis. RFK’s speech has been credited by some with that. I believe it to be true, but i don’t know, don’t really know, how wide an influence his speech had on Black youth in the city.

    Two months later, Robert Kennedy was killed as senselessly as Martin King had been killed. Find the text of Kennedy’s speech, and it will touch you.

    Sorry for the history prof lecture going on so long here on…..hope this is interesting enough for at least some to read thru, and my apologies for the overlong comment.

    RFK lives. MLK lives. The truth shall set us free. Deep in my heart, i do believe.

  8. maryd
    Posted August 11, 2007 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    Reading your account Mark H. really takes me back to the terrible feelings of loss that year ’68 brought to all of us with hope. What a different world it might be had Robert lived and be came president.

  9. Robert
    Posted August 11, 2007 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Mark H, I very much appreciate your remarks.

    I feel it’s important for me to admit right off that when I’ve posted my comments regarding RFK, more than anything I’ve just been trying to get some discussion started. In doing so, I often oversimplify, make vague references, and quite often misrepresent what would be the full set of facts. I mean, shoot, I really had to insult the hell out of Mel to get him to come here to and comment.

    I understand that from my comments, it could appear that my assertions are based on very little, and that I am, as you say, “overlooking a lot of vital historical context.” I apologize for the messiness of my assertions and I’d like to clear some of it up, as well as counter the points you made. I should probably do that in parts, as I have a lot to say in response…

  10. Robert
    Posted August 11, 2007 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Mark H, It’s good that you grouped your comments into those five main divisions. I can respond in kind (in parts) and maybe people won’t hate me as much as they would if I were to post a ridiculously huge essay here all at once.

    1. I’ll start off with my thoughts on your first set of statements.

    Your point regarding Hoffa being “in prison in 1968 and [having] little power” is only true to some degree, and mostly only regarding his power in “union circles”. His criminal connections are another story. Being in prison does little to limit powerful figures in organized crime as to their connections and sway within those criminal organizations. You may consider the fact that James Marcello, the current boss of the Chicago syndicate, runs that particular network from his prison cell just south of Ypsilanti, in Milan, Michigan.

    Now, as far as putting out a contract goes – it only requires the necessary connections and monetary backing. Hoffa had plenty of both. Being in prison does not significantly hinder any of that which is necessary to set it up. In fact, Hoffa’s ongoing incarceration at the time of Kennedy’s assassination, provides much by way of immediate motive.

    Notably, the Teamsters tried to buy RFK off with a million dollar contribution and other help to his campaign. Ted Kennedy was approached with that offer, asking that RFK would in exchange agree to go along with the recommendation of the U.S. Parole Board regarding Hoffa. Of course Kennedy refused the offer, and he did so in typical RFK fashion…with a threat. Hoffa had to love him a little less after that.

    Now, when you say about Hoffa that “No evidence links him to an actual plot to kill Kennedy,” you really aren’t saying much, because that can be said of just about any and all illegal activity in which top mob figures engage. Give me one piece of “evidence” connecting any top mob official to any of the crimes which they are commonly believed to have ordered. You’ll be hard pressed, and what you WILL be able to site is likely to come down to, like you suggested yourself, just some guy talking. The Mob’s methods and procedures are time tested. Their crimes are carried out in such a fashion so as to leave little evidence, if any.
    However, because these methods and procedures are so standardized, they often follow along very specific patterns. It is the tracking of these patterns that provides insight into the suspected ongoing activities and specific actions of crime syndicates. You will find that, in law enforcement actions targeting the Mob, there is much investigating, though very rare and few convictions. A great deal is known about their networks and activities, but little is ever effectively done to limit or destroy any of it. It’s not for a lack of resources on the part of the feds.

    All that being said, I do want to point out that there actually WERE direct threats made to Kennedy’s life as he pursued Mob bosses and criminally connected union officials. One disaffected Teamster named Partin told Kennedy’s men that Hoffa had asked him if he knew anything about plastic explosives, and said, ‘I’ve got to do something about that son of a bitch Bobby Kennedy.’ Another told of how he was ordered to throw a grenade into Kennedy’s convertible as he was stopped at a traffic light (Not exactly the kind of remark we can all say we’ve made from time to time about someone we were upset at). More than once, Hoffa was heard commenting that RFK had a lot of guts to swim alone in his pool and drive around in a convertible. On March 1, 1967, the Supreme Court turned down Hoffa’s last appeal of his conviction for jury tampering in Tennessee. That same day, three of Hoffa’s men in Puerto Rico boarded a plane for Washington, all carrying guns. One of the three was Frank Chavez, a loyal Hoffa goon, who had sworn that he would kill RFK if Hoffa ever went to prison. RFK was warned of their arrival in DC. He was provided armed guards, and his home was placed under surveillance. I could go on and on. These are just a few of the many circumstantial facts that I could cite on this.

    Please remember here that I am not trying to make a legal case against anyone in the RFK assassination. Beside being a huge jump way beyond where we are truly at with that crime (still stuck without anyone ever having conducted a real investigation), I also believe it would just be impossible anyway to convict anyone in any organized conspiracy to kill Kennedy. So let’s be clear, I am only talking about information which would be meaningful to an investigator looking at possibilities and probabilities. I am not talking as though I think there is in existence the kind of evidence needed to convict any specific suspect in a court of law. I am certain that such conclusive evidence does not still exist, and if it does, it is almost certainly planted for purposes of a fall-back position.

    All this said, I am not trying to suggest that Hoffa should be considered anything more than a possible suspect, with motive and means. There were many others who had at least as much reason and capacity to conspire to kill Kennedy.

    I don’t hate Hoffa or think uncritically about Kennedy. It’s not important to me to ‘find’ the killer or whatever it is that you were trying to suggest. My only agenda, if you can fairly call it that, is to suggest that the patterns around the Kennedy assassination are consistent with the preparations and execution of an organized operation, and almost all contradict the official ‘explanation’ put out by the LAPD.

    So this is my main point. It is simply that the patterns which are present surrounding known Mob hits, were present surrounding the Kennedy assassination as well. The coincidences are far too many, and much to consistent with the scenario of a contracted hit, to dismiss the possibility, or even likelihood that it was just that.

    I agree completely with your comment that “Senator Kennedy was not unpopular in other union circles, like the UAW or the teachers unions or the steelworkers, or the United Farm Workers of America”. And, in fact, he was liked alright by most of the rank and file of all the unions, including the Teamsters. It was only really among the more corrupt and Mob connected officials in some of the more notorious unions that RFK was so hated. Those guys had resources. Like Kennedy, Hoffa was also a hero to a lot of people, and for some pretty good reasons. So some of them just hated Kennedy because they liked Hoffa. By the way, wasn’t Humphrey getting most of the official union endorsements?

    In my earlier statements, I didn’t mean to make it sound like I thought unions hated Kennedy. I know they didn’t. I’m not coming out of nowhere as far as my knowledge of those years. I worked for Congressman William D. Ford back in the early 90s, and in that time he told me a lot about all that stuff. He had really been in the thick of it.
    My whole original point on unions was simply that Kennedy had a lot of powerful enemies here in Michigan, who were well established and had much of the means to carry out a successful contract killing.

    I’ll stop there and return later with my thoughts on your second set of points. I don’t want to annoy everyone too much. I’m trying not to inspire any of Mark’s readers into placing a contract on MY life. (However, I am open to bribes)

  11. Mark H.
    Posted August 11, 2007 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    I appreciate your passion for this topic, and i share the belief that Robert Kennedy is an important figure. And yes, he had enemies. But nothing you say here suggests to me that there is “evidence” for a conspiracy. And lots of evidence does link members of organized crime to particular crimes: This is what they often have been convicted and sent to prison on, evidence. That’s how Hoffa was sent to prison, on evidence. It’s how I believe history must be judged, with evidence and logical interpretations based on the evidence.

  12. Robert
    Posted August 12, 2007 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Mark H,

    Your statements seem a bit vague. What do you mean when you say “lots of evidence does link members of organized crime to particular crimes”? For clarity, I have been using the term ‘patterns’ to distinguish what are simply ‘leads’ from ‘hard evidence’. The prior is what is used by an investigator to sort through possible suspects and determine where to focus the resources and attention of an investigation, while the latter is what is used by a prosecutor once the investigation is complete, to convict suspects in a court of law.

    So when you say that there is no “evidence” of a conspiracy, I am assuming that you mean there are no ‘leads’ or ‘patterns’ which would direct an investigator toward the notion of an organized effort in the killing.

    So when you then say there is “lots of evidence” linking members of organized crime to particular crimes, are you talking about hard evidence, or leads? And what organized criminals are you talking about exactly? If you are talking about hard evidence, who are you suggesting has ever been convicted with it? If you are talking about ‘leads’ or ‘indicators’, please give examples.

    The only charge Hoffa was ever convicted on was attempted bribery of a grand juror. Of all the criminal activities in which he was alleged to have engaged, and which served as RFK’s reasons for pursuing him in the first place, none provided enough ‘hard evidence’ to have him convicted. In the end he had to be nailed on a charge of trying to manipulate the grand jury whose purpose it was to investigate his alleged crimes. So, in other words, he had to be cornered and then surveiled in order to facilitate the possibility (or likelyhood) that he would commit an additional crime, in the act of which he could be caught.

    He only got 15 years for that, and managed to get out after only serving a few. Once Nixon was elected, Hoffa was able to cut a deal with him. (Million dollar bribe) Don’t you think Kennedy’s people would have convicted Hoffa on every charge they could? Why didn’t they get him on anything but what they could set him up to do? The fact is, organized crime operates in such a fashion so as to make it nearly, if not totally, impossible to convict the true perpetrators after the fact. They therefor need to be cornered and provoked, in order to ever be convicted of anything.

    I agree only to a limited extent with your statement that “history must be judged, with evidence and logical interpretations based on the evidence” and I am willing to bet that the truth is that you only believe that to a limited extent as well. For example, do you feel the Bush Administration should be judged as having deliberately taken the country into war for reasons other than presented by them? I do. I think the indicators are that they certainly did, but I am also certain that there is not enough hard evidence to prove it. So should we leave that aspect completely out of or judgments of this administration and of this time in our history?

    Thank you for taking the time and effort in engaging in this discussion with me. Like I said, I know most people don’t give a shit about any of this, and it’s just nice to find someone willing to at least humor me.

    I’ll also return later with my responses to your second group of statements in your original posting.

  13. Robert
    Posted August 12, 2007 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    2. Mark H, I actually agree with everything you say in the second group of points you made in your original posting. Everything you say there is more or less true, however, I’ll have to take issue with your saying that I “may be finding details that add up to nothing” since I haven’t really shared much of those details yet. Please hear my argument before you dismiss it. I will get to that once I have fulfilled my earlier promise to respond fully to each of your five main points. There is much detail to what I have to say about the various incidents which occurred around the RFK campaign in it’s last two months, and I want to share it all in a complete and comprehensive manner. So, please, Mark H, and anyone else who may actually still be following this thread, I ask you to bare with me. I’m convinced that these kinds of discussions have to be thoroughly organized in order to be the least bit meaningful.

  14. Mark H.
    Posted August 13, 2007 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Sorry if I wasn’t clear – what i meant was, that when organized crime figures are convicted of crimes, they are convicted on the basis of evidence showing they committed crimes. Mere allegations are not enough in a court of law. Evidence is required. In court, and, though of a vastly different kind of standard of admissibility, in reaching historical judgments too.

    I respect your devotion to this issue, but I am doubtful that there ever will be convincing evidence of a conspiracy behind this 40 year old killing. I don’t think it was a conspiracy, but go at it as you want and try to prove it. I will gladly follow your postings on the effort. However, the most plausible explanation for Kennedy’s killing to me is that a lone killer got close to the candidate and blew him a way. Most homicides are not the results of conspiracies, and most political assignations aren’t either. A great man’s death, caused by one puny man with a gun. Meaningless. But true, I think.

  15. Tom F
    Posted August 14, 2007 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    A theory on why people believe in conspiracy theories-

  16. Posted August 14, 2007 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    What’s with the Ad Hominem posts?

  17. Robert
    Posted August 14, 2007 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Tom F and Mark H,

    So what do you believe happened to Jimmy Hoffa? Are you thinking he is just fine somewhere? Do you think he was likely kidnapped by just some run of the mill criminal? Remember, there is no evidence that he was murdered, or of any other crime taking place, except that he disappeared. What do you think happened to him? I’d be interested in hearing your reasoning.

  18. Posted August 15, 2007 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Here is a link to a video on YouTube which includes a good amount of the footage from the moments during and after the incident in San Francisco I was talking about. The YouTube clip is 2:37 in total length:

    From 2:09 to 2:16, you can see the moment of the “prank” being carried out. Then from 2:20 to 2:24 you can see the last second or so of the first clip and then a few seconds of what happened immediately following.

    If someone can look at that video and tell me that someone just threw some firecrackers out there, and that it wasn’t at least a deliberate prank to scare Kennedy, I’ll be stunned. People keep saying things which they believe to somehow counter what I’m saying about these things, but they never have any specifics. It’s very odd. It seems to push emotional buttons in people to even see certain subjects brought up. They attack as if I have said a bunch of things I haven’t. All I’ve said here is that this event matches a tactic known to be used by organized crime.

    I can provide a better video later, and more information on what exactly happened before and after those small clips. I’ll get a bit more on the Lansing incident too.

    My point is this…
    A contract on a presidential candidate is likely to pay in excess of a million dollars, even back then. A failed attempt would be disaster for anyone trying to collect that money. An orchestrated incident just hours before the actual shooting would likely do a lot to soften up and test security’s response. One could never be too careful. Paying a few jackass young republicans to go pull this obviously deliberate prank while on film would provide reassurance that there would be no unexpected surprises for the actual shooter. If the kids were not gathered and questioned by security people, which of course they weren’t, it can be assumed that the response to a actual shooting would be similarly lax.

    In 1992, while working on the Clinton campaign, I was present when two individuals entered an auditorium in Wayne where Clinton was speaking. They entered late, and immediately after they entered the room, split up. Their behavior was so deliberate and unusual that the secret service responded by cornering them each individually. They were stopped dead in their tracks and kept from moving around any more. Some of us standing right there were asked if we could identify them. We couldn’t. They were asked to identify themselves and did. One agent commented in front of me that they have to do that in the event that these guys were to execute a diversion or were conducting a trial run for something later.
    Mobsters in Europe are known to use precisely these sorts of tactics when planning a hit on another boss. It’s fairly commonly known. They test security and reactions by instigating ‘innocents’ into violating security space. Kids playing soccer in the street may kick a ball over a property wall, and the response is observed or recorded for later, detailed examination. One mobster might pay some kid to pull a prank which shakes up the target, and gets them to think to themselves that they may be too edgy and overreacting. As a result they relax their guard a little, and hesitate for a few moments more when the actual attack occurs.

    The incident in San Francisco on the day before Kennedy was shot, is the only one of it’s kind that ever occurred during Kennedy’s campaigning, contrary to what so many people keep assuming (and saying). The incident has always been portrayed as just someone throwing some firecrackers. Just from looking at the video of what happened, it was obviously not just that. Even if it were not part of some sinister plot to soften and test Kennedy’s security, it is still obviously not as it has been described for the past 40 years. It was clearly a deliberate, planned, and somewhat co-ordinated “prank”. It is, in the light of what happened the next day, something that would certainly be of interest to any real murder investigator, if only to eliminate it as a significant event. And yet, nobody has ever identified these young men.

    I know the vast majority of people wouldn’t suspect there was anything more to that incident. But that isn’t the point. If there isn’t anything more to it, it shouldn’t be all that hard to identify the pranksters who did it. However, if my suspicions have merit, attempting to identify and find these guys is likely to reveal even more strange coincidences.

  19. Posted August 18, 2007 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    In 2005, a leader in Kazakhstan’s opposition movement, Zamanbek Nurkadilov, was found dead of three bullet wounds – one to the head and two to the chest (see the link above). It has been officially ruled a suicide. Are we to accept this then?

    So where do we draw the line exactly, and why? Does anyone here have any ideas on this?

  20. Robert
    Posted October 17, 2007 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Awww, come on Mark H. Please humor me here. What do you think happened to Hoffa? What about my other questions?

    I’ve been trying to engage people on this topic, and get into a real logical debate. But I can’t seem to get anyone to do anything but take little pop-shots (Tom F).

    At this point I’m so desperate, I’d be willing to argue the other side in regard to the Bush Administration’s alleged crimes, to which I referred above.

    What about you Mark Maynard, you wanna debate something? I’m so bored.

  21. Mark H.
    Posted October 17, 2007 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    i think hoffa was probably killed by organized crime figures who feared he’d get back into the Teamsters’ presidency and end the deals they had going with the then current teamsters’ bosses (Fitzsimmons, I believe, but i may be misremembering the order of teamster presidents). And I think his body was probably disposed of in any of the usual ways, and will never be discovered. And I think that this is a really pretty minor problem in the history of american labor and american politics, but it has the human interest feature of that crimes and mysteries often do.

    So, Robert, I took a bite of your bait. that’s it from me on this topic.

  22. Robert
    Posted October 29, 2007 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    I do appreciate your taking the bait, Mark H. I’m sure you see the point I am working toward It seems very inconsistent for people to have and share all sorts of conclusions and speculation regarding one case, while knocking down speculation on another. Popular opinion seems to be the variable which is determining which cases people feel comfortable speculating upon while not on others.

  23. mark
    Posted February 20, 2008 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    A CNN producer contacted me today about this thread… It’s weird when stuff like that happens.

  24. Posted May 29, 2008 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Mel Ayton wrote an article the other day regarding new revelations from the FBI’s ‘Kensalt’ Files. For anyone who is interested in the topic, it is worth reading Mr. Ayton’s article. You can get there by clicking on the link above.

  25. Elliot Feldman
    Posted June 18, 2008 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Hello. Thank you for the photo of RFK at Lansing’s Airport. I was there on the tarmac that day with a contingency from The State News. At the time, I was a longhaired hippy. When Kennedy stepped off the plane that day, I had managed to break away from the pack and was the first one to greet him. I just wanted to shake his hand, but he had a terrified look on his face like I was going to kill him. Now I know the real reason why he was afraid that day. Thanks again. Elliot

  26. Posted June 25, 2008 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    I take it you’re supposed to be the hoaxster Elliot Feldman (link above).

  27. Mark H.
    Posted September 7, 2008 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    As comments on this post and others on, I’ve shared my own memories of Robert Kennedy, and as a result, CNN did a little interview with me earlier this year. Now I have a little more to add to that story….

    A few nights ago, I had a beer with an old friend, a man a few years older than me, who has vivid memories of his boyhood experiences on the night Bobby Kennedy was killed. This friend of mine grew up in white working class SE Michigan neighborhoods. He recalls crying profusely while watching TV coverage of Robert Kennedy’s murder. He also recalls his father, a George Wallace Democrat, belittling his son’s sorrow by saying something like ‘what’s wrong with you? He was just a nigger lover.’

    My friend never adopted the racial hatefulness of his father, and indeed his life has been devoted to brotherhood and justice. His memory of his father’s comment strikes me as very important, certainly as important as my own memories of hearing Bobby Kennedy speak on the night Dr. King was killed: The year 1968 can be summed up by referring to figures like Nixon and Wallace, on the one hand, and Robert Kennedy and Martin King on the other — and by the deep passions and conflicting emotions that each of these men summoned up from millions of Americans. My friend’s family and my own – each were shaped by the great divide of racism in America in 1968 — and no doubt the deaths of Dr. King and Senator Kennedy were welcome news to many Americans, and minor events to many more.

    And in 2008, I think it’s clear that all the underlying issues of ’68 are still alive. The language of hate is more muted today, but the underlying belief that some Americans are not worthy of being judged for their actual qualities and can instead be dismissed or suspected of horridness because of their social identities, endure.

    Deep in my heart, I do believe we shall overcome, someday. My friend believes this too. May all our fathers rest in peace and their sins be cover come.

  28. Robert
    Posted February 1, 2010 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    So, Mark H., I’m very curious to see what you make of the expert analysis which was done last year on the audio of the RFK shooting.

    See here:

    The audio indicates that there were two weapons being fired in the pantry. One was fired 8 times and the other 5. The one which was fired 8 times has an acoustics signature which match that of Sirhan’s gun when test fired. The acoustics signature of the other 5 shots all match the test firing of the type of weapon which was is the possession of Thane Cesar, and which he lied to investigators about owning at the time.

    I’m curious to hear what you make of all that.

  29. Fred
    Posted February 1, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    I watched it, Robert. Thanks for posting the link. Personally, I would have found it more persuasive had they found an independent audio analyst with no previous background in the area. This guy clearly wanted to find what he found. He could be right, but I don’t see him as objective.

  30. Robert
    Posted February 8, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Fred, contrary to what you imply, Philip Van Praag had no “previous background in the area” of the RFK assassination. He was simply one of the preeminent audio experts in the world when he was approached in 2005 to do the audio analysis on the Pruszynski recording. By that time Praag had already long since established himself as one of the top experts in his field. Eight years earlier he had published the definitive “Evolution of the Audio Recorder.”

    Examining master recordings he personally produced from the original, and using the most advanced techniques available, his analysis identifies a distinct audio signature which occurs five times and is interspersed with the other eight signatures which can be matched to Sirhan’s gun.

    The additional five sounds match one another in signature. They also match that of a test fired H&R pistol which Cesar owned at the time of the shooting and about which he had lied to investigators.

    It should also be mentioned, when interviewed by a reporter moments after the incident, Cesar knew precisely where Kennedy was hit all three times. He said “Well, from where I could see it looked like he was shot in the head and the chest and the shoulder.” Nobody else knew those details until Kennedy was examined by medical personnel.

    KNXT’s Donald Schulman, saw Cesar pull his revolver and fire it as he fell back with Kennedy. Cesar later admitted that he had pulled his gun from its holster but said he “wasn’t sure” that he’d fired it.

    I can tell you for a fact, that if this were any standard murder case, the information above would be plenty for a real police homicide detective to identify Cesar as his prime suspect for the trigger man. It is only in the bizarre world of the layman where this is not immediately understood.

  31. Jason
    Posted June 17, 2010 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    I watched the segment linked above and for the life of me I can’t understand what Fred is talking about. Fred claims Philip Van Praag “clearly wanted to find what he found” and that he doesn’t see Van Praag “as objective.” Rubbish. I think it’s Fred — not Van Praag — who is having the problem with objectivity.

    To me, Van Praag comes across as both objective and a true expert in his field. By the way, I found two other videos featuring Van Praag and his analysis of this Pruszynski audio tape recording of the RFK assassination:

  32. Posted April 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    I think I’ll coin the term “Fox Newsing” to describe the phenomenon of people blurting out statements which are on the face of them clearly false and easily discernable as such.

    What on Earth is it that possesses a person like Fred to say, “Personally, I would have found it more persuasive had they found an independent audio analyst with no previous background in the area. This guy clearly wanted to find what he found.”

    It clearly contradicts every collectible known fact and detail relating to what he refers.

    Seriously, everybody, what is it that makes people do this? Why does a person say things which are not based on anything, only to disappear when questioned? It’s a very bizarre phenomenon.

    Tom F, make yourself useful for once and see what can you find on theories as to why people do this?

    Is it really that hard to look shit up before you say it? Things are more easily researched today than at any other time in history. What used to take many visits to libraries and catalogs now can be done from home using an internet connection and a few active brain cells.

    I don’t know what to label this weird Tourette’s-like phenomenon but “Fox Newsing” or “Fox News Syndrome.”

    Mark H., why are you avoiding any actual discussion of the details in the RFK assassination? I see little more in your extensive comments than the repeated restatement of your feelings and occasional characterization of my motivation. Where is there any actual valid argument in what you have said? I haven’t seen your response to the Van Praag analysis either. I’m sorry but this all seems very uncharacteristic of a history professor.

  33. Robert
    Posted June 9, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I’m sort of proud of the fact that I made a history professor shut up and run away. There should be a medal for that.

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