Thursday, May 10, 2007

Disinformation season is officially open on the JFK and RFK assassinations

As I predicted, the disinformation campaign about the RFK assassination is kicking into high gear. How did I know this would happen? Because the 40th anniversary of the case is right around the corner. June 5 of this year marks the 39th anniversary. The same thing is happening in the JFK case, as next year will mark the 45th anniversary of that tragic event as well. In other words, the disinformation needs to be put in place THIS year so that specials can repeat and amplify it NEXT year. That's how it works. But of course, you already understand that. That's why you read this blog.

I believe the CIA was the primary force behind the assassination of both Kennedy brothers. I believe they killed Bobby for two reasons: 1) he was even more progressive and peacemongering than his brother by that time, and 2) Bobby was quietly pursuing the trail of his brother's killers (and he too strongly suspected the CIA's hand. More on that in a later post.)

As I demonstrated a few days ago, the CIA sent an operational memorandum to its vast media network (called the "Mighty Wurlitzer" because it could be played so dominantly when needed) and gave them talking points on the JFK assassination. If you haven't seen this particular 'playbook' memo before, it's worth a careful read. There were others. This was not the sole document of its kind. Because we've never had a high level investigation of the Robert Kennedy case, we don't know if similar memos were sent by the CIA regarding his particular case.

I also noted, in that same post, how common it has been for CIA assets in the media to take up the cause of the lone assassination. As I wrote:

you can scratch the background of nearly every writer on this case who has claimed there was no conspiracy, and find a CIA link in their past or present. James Phelan, a respected Saturday Evening Post reporter who attacked Jim Garrison’s prosecution of Clay Shaw in the only trial ever brought on the Kennedy assassination conspiracy, turned out to be not only an FBI informant, but a close friend of the CIA’s point man on the anti-Castro plots. Hugh Aynesworth, responsible for nearly all the original Dallas coverage of the event, who later repeated his coverage for Newsweek, had applied to work for the CIA the month before the assassination. Reporter Hal Hendrix, called “the Spook” because of his intelligence agency connections, was the one who supplied Seth Kantor with background info on Oswald in record time right after the assassination. Hendrix was a close friend of David Atlee Phillips, the CIA man most often fingered as a conspirator due to the extensive documentary record, and the man whom all the Castro did it” stories that surfaced originally can be traced to.

Gerald Posner? He came to fame by writing a book that excused the CIA for its failure to find Mengele. He also wrote a fictional book which featured a Cold War CIA hero pitted against a newfangled government bureaucracy. Max Holland? He got his start at the Voice of America, long acknowledged as a propaganda outlet for the CIA abroad. And when “liberal” Holland couldn’t get his regular employer, The Nation, to run one of his lone-nut screeds, whom did he turn to? Why, the CIA, of course, which was more than happy to publish his work in their in-house publication “Studies in Intelligence.”
So along comes Mel Ayton. He appears to be cut from the prototypical mode of the people mentioned above. He's pompous, self-righteous, and wrong. He hasn't done his homework, or if he has, he's lying about what he found. He blames the victims. The people in the pantry were too traumatized by what they saw to report on it correctly, he asserts. It's a shop-worn tactic, which begs the question: whom or what does Mel Ayton really serve?

Over at the (misnamed) History News Network, Ayton takes up the case of "the girl in the polka dot dress," the most intriguing unsolved mystery of the case. I have a very large file of witness statements of people who saw a girl in a white dress with dark polka dots (black or dark purple/navy by the vast majority of accounts) who was seen by a few witnesses with Sirhan literally just before he started shooting. They were talking, and she was almost holding him. Then she released him, and Sirhan stepped forward and starting shooting...something. I believe he was firing blanks, but that's a topic for another day.

So who was this mystery girl? Oh my, I've accumulated a lot of new information on her since I first wrote about her. But I'm saving that for the moment. Here's what I have written in the past, which I present her to show you how much Ayton did not tell you in his own piece:

One of the most intriguing figures in this case has been "The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress" who was seen with Sirhan immediately prior to the shooting, and who was subsequently witnessed running from the scene crying "We shot him! We shot him!" The LAPD tried to shut down this story by getting the two most public witnesses to retract their stories. But there were so many credible sightings of this girl that the police were forced to take a different tack. They identified first one, then a second woman as "the" girl, despite the fact that neither bore much of a resemblance to the girl described. Meanwhile, languishing unnoticed in the LAPD’s own files is the name of a far more likely candidate, someone who leads to a host of suspicious characters.

Over a dozen witnesses gave similar descriptions of a girl in a polka-dot dress who for varying reasons drew their attention. The two most famous of these were Vincent DiPierro, a waiter at the Ambassador Hotel, and Sandy Serrano, a Kennedy volunteer. DiPierro first noticed Sirhan in the pantry because of the woman he saw "following" him. The LAPD interviewed him the morning of the shooting (Kennedy was shot at 12:15 A.M. the morning of June 5th). During one interview, DiPierro gave the following information about the girl:

A (DiPierro): The only reason that he [Sirhan] was noticeable was because there was this good-looking girl in the crowd there.

Q: All right, was the girl with him?

A: It looked as though, yes.

Q: What makes you say that?

A: Well, she was following him.

Q: Where did she follow him from?

A: From--she was standing behind the tray stand because she was up next to him on--behind, and she was holding on to the other end of the tray table and she--like--—it looked as if she was almost holding him.

DiPierro reported that he saw Sirhan turn to her and say something, to which she didn’t reply, but smiled. He said Sirhan had a sickly smile, and said "When she first entered, she looked as though she was sick also." He described her as Caucasian and as about 20 or 21 years old, definitely no older than 24. She was "very shapely" and was wearing a "white dress with—it looked like either black or dark violet polka dots on it and kind of a [bib-like] collar." He said her hair color was "Brown. I would say brunette," "puffed up a little" and that it came to just above her shoulders. DiPierro told the FBI that she had a peculiar-looking nose.

That same morning, Sandy Serrano had described to the LAPD a "girl in a white dress, a Caucasian, dark brown hair, about five-six, medium height...Black polka dots on the dress" in the company of a man she later recognized as Sirhan and another man in a gold sweater. She had seen this trio walk up the back stairs to the Ambassador earlier in the night. Sometime later, the girl and the guy in the gold sweater came running down the back stairs. Serrano recalled to the LAPD this encounter:

She practically stepped on me, and she said "We’ve shot him. We’ve shot him." Then I said, "Who did you shoot?" And she said, "We shot Senator Kennedy."

She described the girl’s attitude in this manner:

"We finally did it," like "Good going."

Serrano thought the girl was between the ages of 23 and 27, with her hair not quite coming to her shoulders, done in a "bouffant" style, wearing a polka dot dress with a bib collar and ? length sleeves. She also recalled that the girl had a "funny" nose.

Ultimately, the LAPD pressured Serrano and DiPierro into backing down on these stories, getting each to admit they had first heard of the girl from the other, an impossibility the LAPD hoped would go unnoticed. Across page after page of witness testimony cover sheets Pena scrawled "Polka Dot Story Serrano Phoney", "Girl in Kitchen I.D. Settled", "Wit[ness] can offer nothing of further value" or "No further Int[erview]." But the interviews behind these sheets tell a different and compelling story.

Dr. Marcus McBroom was in the pantry behind Elizabeth Evans, one of the shooting victims. He exited the kitchen through the double doors at the West end and noticed a brunette woman aged 20-26, medium build, "wearing a white dress with silver dollar size polka dots, either black or dark blue in color." The report of his LAPD interview records what drew McBroom’s attention to the girl:

This young lady showed no signs of shock or disbelief in comparison to other persons in the room and she seemed intent only on one thing—to get out of the ballroom.

George Green was also in the pantry during the shooting, and reported seeing a girl in a polka dot dress (early 20s, blond hair) and a young, thin, taller male with dark hair. He saw this couple earlier in the night and after the shooting. Afterwards, Green stated, "They seemed to be the only ones who were trying to get out of the kitchen...Everyone else was trying to get in."37

Ronald Johnson Panda told the LAPD that a good-looking girl, about 5’6", in a polka dot dress ran by him in the Embassy room immediately after the shooting yelling "They shot him." He had seen her earlier that night carrying some drinks.

Eve Hansen had talked to a girl in a "white dress with black or navy blue polka dots approximately the size of a quarter" who had dark brown hair that hung just above the shoulders, who had a "turned-up nose." The girl gave Hansen money for a drink and Hansen ordered the drink. When she brought it back to her, the girl made a toast "To our next President" and shortly thereafter left the bar.

Earnest Ruiz reported something he thought was odd to the police. He had watched a man and a girl in a polka dot dress run out of the hotel, but said the man later came back as Sirhan was being removed and was the first to yell, "Let’s kill the bastard."

Darnell Johnson, another pantry witness, told the police the following:

While I was waiting [for Kennedy], I saw four guys and a girl about halfway between Kennedy and where I was standing. The girl had a white dress with black polka dots. During the time that a lady yelled, "Oh, my God," they walked out. All except the one...this is the guy they grabbed [Sirhan]. The others that walked out seemed unconcerned at the events which were taking place.

Johnson also told the police that he had received threatening phone calls and that his car brakes had been tampered with, causing a near-accident.

Roy Mills also observed a group of five people, one of which was female, standing outside the Embassy Room as Kennedy was speaking. He claimed that Sirhan was one of the four males in the group, remembering him distinctly for his baggy pants. He thought one of the other men was a hotel employee. He couldn’t remember anything about the girl except that she was wearing a press pass. Curiously, Conrad Seim—who, like Serrano, DiPierro and Hanson, had noticed the girl’s "funny nose"—reported being asked by a girl in a white dress with black or navy polka dots for his press pass. He refused her request, but she came back about 15 minutes later. "She was very persistent," he told the police. He thought the girl’s nose might have been broken at one time, and described her as Caucasian but with an olive complexion.

Bill White saw a female Latin and two male Latins near the door of the embassy room. Their dress looked out of place. He also noticed a busboy wearing a white button-down jacket in the Anchor Desk area sweeping up cigarette butts where there were no butts to be swept up. He wasn’t sure this was really a busboy.

Earnest Vallero was a job dispatcher for the Southern California Waiters Alliance. He reported that a man resembling Sirhan appeared at the union office two or three weeks prior to the assassination and requested placement as a waiter at the Ambassador Hotel. Vallero said the man got upset when he was refused, and flashed an Israeli passport.

A Hungarian refugee "with absolutely no credentials at all"38 named Gabor Kadar had been turned away from the Embassy Room during the night, but found a waiter’s uniform, and donned it. Kadar later involved himself directly in the struggle to wrest the gun from Sirhan.

Booker Griffin, another pantry witness who had reported seeing a woman in a polka dot dress,39 asked Richard Aubry, a friend of his who was also in the pantry during the shooting, "Did they get the other two guys?"40

At about 9pm the night of the 4th, Irene Gizzi noticed a group of three people who "just didn’t seem to be dressed properly for the occasion." Her LAPD interview report summarizes the events as follows:

[Gizzi] saw a group of people talking who did not seem to fit with the exuberant crowd. Observed the female to be wearing a white dress with black polka dots; approximately the girl was standing with a male, possible Latin, dark sun bleached hair gold colored shirt, and possible light colored pants, possibly jeans. Possibly with suspect [Sirhan] as a third party...."

A friend of Gizzi’s who was also present, Katherine Keir, gave a very similar description of this group, describing a male in a "gold colored sport shirt" and blue jeans, another man of medium build with a T-shirt and jeans, both with dark brown hair, and a girl in a black and white polka dot dress. Keir was standing at a stairway when the polka dot dress girl ran down yelling, "We shot Kennedy." The police were able to persuade Keir to consider that she had heard the girl say instead, "Someone shot Kennedy."

Jeanette Prudhomme also saw two men, one of which looked like Sirhan and the other of which was wearing a gold shirt, in the company of a woman who appeared to be 28-30, with brown, shoulder length hair, wearing a white dress with black polka dots.

A couple of people even recalled seeing this girl on the CBS broadcast. A Mr. Plumley, first name unrecorded, claimed he had seen a polka dot dress girl in the CBS broadcast the night of June 4th. Duncan Grant, a Canadian citizen, wrote the LAPD when he heard they were canceling their search for the polka dot dress girl, stating that he had seen her on the CBS broadcast. He wrote:

"We could hear two shots fired and then another burst of shots. At this moment someone shouted that the Senator had been shot. There was more confusion and at this moment a young lady burst in on the picture and she shouted We have shot Kennedy then shouted again We have shot Senator Kennedy. She was what I would call half-running and she crossed right in front of the camera from left to right and disappeared from view."

Sirhan himself remembered talking to a girl shortly before he blacked out that night. According to Kaiser, one of Sirhan’s last memories is of giving coffee to a girl of "Armenian" or "Spanish" descent in the pantry:

"This girl kept talking about coffee. She wanted cream. Spanish, Mexican, dark-skinned. When people talked about the girl in the polka-dot dress," he figured, "maybe they were thinking of the girl I was having coffee with."41

Sirhan had been at the Ambassador the Sunday before election night. A girl matching the description of the polka dot dress girl was also seen there Sunday. Karen Ross described her to the LAPD as having a nose that had been "maybe fixed", a white dress with black polka dots, ? length sleeves, dark blond hair worn in a "puff" and with a round face. Sirhan and a girl were also recorded as behaving suspiciously at a previous Robert Kennedy appearance in Pomona on May 20th.

One man may have spent the last day of Kennedy’s life with this girl. While his tale is extraordinary, it is eerily credible for the nuances and details which matched other evidence of which he could not possibly have been aware. Kaiser and Houghton referred to this man by the pseudonym of "Robert Duane." His real name is John Henry Fahey.42

June 4th with the Mystery Girl

At 9:15 A.M. on June 4th, Fahey entered the back of the Ambassador Hotel. He had planned to meet another salesman there 45 minutes earlier, but had left late and been held up in traffic. On his way up the back stairs, he noticed two men he thought looked Spanish. When they spoke, however, he realized it wasn’t Spanish because he knew Spanish. He presumed they were kitchen workers.

While in the lobby area, he spotted a pretty girl and made a flirtatious comment to her. She asked him where the Post Office was, and he couldn’t help her, and she left. About ten minutes later, she returned. He invited her to join him for breakfast in the coffee shop at the hotel. She spoke "very good English" but also had a "slight accent" that he couldn’t place. He asked her where she was from. She said she had only been there three days, and that she was from Virginia. Fahey had a relative in Virginia, and asked her if she knew Richmond, whereupon the girl said she really had come from New York, and before that a middle-eastern country ("Iran" or "Iraq", Fahey thought). She mentioned specifically Beirut. (Fahey had to ask his interviewer if there was a place named "Beirut".) She also mentioned "Akaba". When he asked her name, she gave him one, and soon another, and another. He didn’t know what her real name was. She, meanwhile, pumped him for as much information as she could get, asking his name, his occupation, and his business at the hotel. When he asked her about her own business, she said "I don’t want to get you involved...I don’t know if I can trust you to tell you the whole thing."

She told him that they were being watched, and indicated a man near the door of the coffee shop. Fahey saw a man he thought might be Spanish or Greek, resembling one of the men he had seen on the back stairs when entering the hotel. He thought the man resembled Sirhan, except that this man was taller and had sideburns. When later shown pictures of Sirhan’s family, Fahey said the man was not one of the Sirhan brothers.

The girl wanted Fahey to help her get a passport. Fahey said he had no idea how to do that, at which point she explained to him that you just find a deceased person, use their Social Security Number and write to the place where he was born to get a passport. He said she seemed shaken, and very nervous, with clammy hands, and that she seemed to be genuinely in some sort of trouble.

He described her as "Caucasian" but with an "Arab complexion, very light." He called her hair "dirty-blond" and guessed her age might be 27-28. He said her clothes, shoes and purse were all tan. In addition, he felt the purse and stockings looked foreign. He also said "Her nose was of—on the hooked fashion where you can realize that she was from the Arabic world." Asked if the nose was what one might call prominent, Fahey answered affirmatively.

Fahey had business calls to make in Oxnard, and invited the girl to come along for the ride with him, since she seemed so troubled. When they got up to leave, she wanted to pay the bill, and opened a purse where he saw a fistful of money in her wallet—"big stuff—50 dollar bills—hundred dollar bills."

They drove up the coastal route through Malibu. Two different tails followed them for part of the way. At one point, Fahey was so nervous he pulled off the road, thinking the tail would leave him. As he started to get out of the car, he noticed the girl eyeing his keys, and thinking she might run off with his car, decided not to get out after all. During the ride, she said the people tailing them were "out to get Mr. Kennedy tonight at the winning reception." He thought they should call the police to get rid of the tail but she insisted they should not call the police, and asked to be taken back to Los Angeles. In the end, although they drove to Oxnard, Fahey opted out of his sales calls and returned with the girl to the Ambassador Hotel. After driving and eating meals, they returned at around 7pm, where he dropped her off. She wanted him to come into the hotel with her. When he refused, she got angry.

Fahey might not have thought of this incident again had it not been for the assassination and the story of the strange woman who ran out into the dark afterwards. A frightened Fahey called the FBI and told them he thought he might have spent the day with that woman. After talking to the FBI, Fahey read a story by journalist Fernando Faura in the Valley Times about the polka dot girl. He called Faura and told him he might know something about the girl. Faura was hot on the trail of the mystery girl, and took Fahey’s detailed description of the girl to a police artist. Fahey tweaked the image with the artist until he saw a match.

Faura then showed the drawing to Vincent DiPierro. "That’s her," DiPierro responded. "She’s the girl in the polka-dot dress. The girl’s face is a little fuller than this sketch has it, but this is the girl."43 Faura then brought in Chris Gugas, a top Los Angeles polygraph operator, who put Fahey and his story through a lie detector. Faura told Fahey he passed the test "like a champion."44

Jordan Bonfante, the Los Angeles Bureau Chief of Life magazine, was interested in publishing Faura’s account. Hank Hernandez of SUS, however, was busy trying to crack Fahey under his own polygraph test. Under pressure from Hernandez, Fahey told an untruth, saying it was Faura who had persuaded him to connect the girl he was with to the polka dot girl. But Fahey had made the connection to the FBI long before he ever spoke with Faura. But this lie was pronounced "true" by Hank Hernandez, proving again that a polygraph’s value depends a great deal upon the integrity of the operator. Sgt. Phil Alexander tried to persuade Bonfante that Fahey was not credible, and that Life shouldn’t run the story on the girl. Kaiser amusingly recounts this incident:

"I don’t think you’ve really proved that [Fahey] was mistaken," said Bonfante. He was right. It was practically impossible to do so. But if the police didn’t do so, the implications were that there was a girl who knew something about the Kennedy assassination and that the police couldn’t find her. That was a black eye for the department.

To Bonfante, this sounded too much like Catch 22 to be true. He decided to discover how important this was to the LAPD and let Alexander talk. Six hours later, Alexander was still talking, and had not yet managed to persuaded Bonfante there was no "girl in the polka dot dress."45

[Note: to see the footnotes that correspond to the numbers in the text, refer to the original article here.]

(By the way, several commentators on this case, even Bill Turner, have dismissed Fahey as unreliable. But I have information on Fahey they did not that explains the seeming inconsistencies and adds important new information which I will reveal at another time.)

If you compare Ayton's account to the above, you are in a better position to make up your own mind about the truth. I'm not in the least afraid to stand the accounts side by side because most people are very skilled at recognizing the truth when it's put up beside a lie. I am equally certain he dares not link to my evidence because he knows this to be true as well.

As I said - I wrote the section above years ago, and have almost doubled my knowledge relating to the girl in the polka dot dress. The new evidence continues to be entirely consistent on the major points (e.g., she was wearing a white dress with dark polka dots. Who cares if the dots were described as the size of a dime or a quarter? That kind of inconsistency is meaningless as people are not good judges of size, whereas they tend to be good judges of overall color. And again, the nuances of hair color do not matter -- I've been called a "dark blonde" and a "brunette" all my life. Is that an inconsistency? No. People just call the same hair color by different names. Hair color is more subject to interpretation than stark colors like white or black.)

As for Valerie Schulte, ah, so much more later. Even the police knew she wasn't the girl. If Mel Ayton read more he'd know exactly what I'm talking about. (Whether he'd be honest about that of course remains to be seen. But at this point I think it's a safe bet he has no idea what I am referring to here. But he will. In time.)

Ayton needs to go look at the record and stop his ridiculous theorizing. When the witnesses are that consistent, it's only appropriate to assume they were right, not wrong, and to deal with the consequences of that.

By the way. A while back, I wrote about Shane O'Sullivan's work positing the presence of three CIA agents at the Ambassador hotel the night Kennedy was shot. I expressed extreme skepticism right away, and according to recent research conducted by David Talbot and Jeff Morley, it appears I was right. Talbot put some of that in his book "Brothers", about which I will have more to say later; I also understand Morley is seeking an outlet for recounting his part of that investigation as well.

Yes. Disinformation season is open. Mud is being mixed into the water to make the truth that much harder to find. It will take strong, educated, and courageous minds to resist the propaganda intensive and to stand up for what we know to be true. As most people learned in high school, the desire to be popular often outweighs the desire to be truthful. But the only path worth traveling, on all kinds of material and spiritual levels, is the one that comes from choosing the latter over the former.

Rest up, my friends. We have a long year ahead.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa,

Have you listened to Joan Mellon's recent interview on Black Op Radio? She really trashes the David Talbot book. I'd loved to hear what you think.

Thank you for your work

10:09 AM  
Blogger Real History Lisa said...

See this to see what I think of Mellon's work -- this is a review of her book by Jim DiEugenio, but I agree with his comments. (In other words, I think very little of Mellon's book.)

Consequently, I don't really care what her opinion is on Talbot's book. In some ways it refutes hers, so of course she's upset.

I'll talk about my own thoughts re Talbot's book at a later date.

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Dawn Meredith said...

HI Lisa

I agree, by 6/6 the media will have trashed Talbot's book along with trashing all conspiracy ideas.

I am not surprised that Joan Mellen did not like Brothers. I got my copy yesterday and the first thing I did was go to the index on Sheridan. Actually there is a lot more on him than the index states.

And it does appear that Mellen got 1/2 of her nonsense right about RFK and Sheridan. That Bobby did send him to NO but not to sabotage Garrison, simply check him out. And in that instance whatever loyalty Sheridan had to Bobby, his greater loyalty was to the CIA.

Thus far I really like this book.

I will be interested in your info on Ms. Polka dot. My old pal (RIP) Phil Melanson spent a good deal of time trying to find her too.

This is the case to solve. Who is the Da in LA now? I will write to him. Can't hurt.


11:33 AM  

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