Share and Share Alike. We like Shares!

 

 

Who Killed Bobby?

2018 Collection: In honor of the 50th anniversary (remember I said last week that this is the year of the anniversaries – 100, 75, 55, & 50, just to name a few), Who Killed Bobby is actually a rerelease. I believe another, albeit, similar book was released this year. Actually, come to think of it, there were a few released this year. I’m sort of, uh, reading one right now. But, hey, it was free on Kindle Unlimited so I figured why not! Each account pays attention to different details.

Summary (official):

On June 5th, 1968, at L.A.’s Ambassador Hotel, Robert F. Kennedy celebrated his victory in the California Democratic primary with a rousing victory speech anticipating a successful run for the presidency. Moments later, gunshots shattered that dream. The police quickly apprehended Sirhan Sirhan, who the world believed had single-handedly masterminded the shooting. But in Who Killed Bobby? Shane O’Sullivan makes a stunning case that will fundamentally alter the way the public views Bobby Kennedy’s death. After an autopsy, LA County Coroner Thomas Noguchi concluded that the deadly shots had been fired from an inch behind Kennedy’s right ear, but not a single witness placed Sirhan this close; most placed his gun several feet away, and in front of the senator. Moreover, Vincent Di Pierro, along with several other witnesses, saw Sirhan with a girl in a polka-dot dress in the pantry, exclaiming, “We shot him. We shot him.” O’Sullivan presents new interviews with key witnesses the LAPD browbeat into changing their stories.

He also presents a damning case against Sirhan’s psychological state. Sirhan repeatedly scrawled “RFK Must Die” in his notebook and recreated the same kind of automatic writing when later hypnotized by his defense team. O’Sullivan cites psychiatric evidence that Sirhan was an extremely susceptible hypnotic subject, whose behavior on the night of the shooting fit the profile of a programmed assassin. Was Sirhan programmed to be a decoy for the real killer?

Essentially, Who Killed Bobby or any of the numerous others, deals with, well, the assassination and subsequent investigation. Or lack thereof. Because further investigation of the investigation shows just how many facts were ignored or covered up and just how many witnesses they forced to change their story.

Who Killed Bobby discusses the extra bullets – there were more bullets fired than Sirhan’s gun could hold. A number of which were found in walls and the ceiling but all were conveniently misplaced. There were also more bullets found in Senator Kennedy than reported.

The infamous girl in the polka dot dress and her connection with Sirhan is discussed; other sightings and her plausible role in the assassination plot included. Additionally, O’Sullivan looks at how Sirhan was duped into playing the role of “assassin” while someone else actually fired the gun (most probably Thane Eugene Caesar). Some witnesses even suspected that Sirhan was shooting blanks. He also discusses how Dr. Noguchi’s autopsy shows that the gun was fired a mere inch or two from behind the Senator’s ear, while Sirhan was reportedly anywhere from 2-6 feet in front of the victim.

Many people buy the “official” story, but many people also question the many plot holes and the LA police department’s questionable handling of the case. Eye witnesses were harassed into changing their answers, vital key pieces of evidence were lost or misplaced or completely ignored. Any evidence that didn’t fit into the pre-determined story line was basically thrown out.

Now, I will be the first to say that I do not buy every single conspiracy theory out there. However, when it comes to certain assassinations (Patton, the Kennedy brothers, etc.) or assassination attempts (Reagan), one has to admit that the “official stories” are, well, a bit . . . fishy. For one, isn’t the fact that they use the same plot time and time again getting, well, a little old? Now, maybe I’m wrong, but these theories do carry a lot of credence. Admittedly, not every “conspiracy” novel is rooted in fact. I read (and I mean that lightly) one about President Kennedy’s assassination that claimed that his brother was behind it. Yeah right.

But, if you’re on the lookout for some good conspiracy theories, well, this is a good one. If you’re looking for others (Kennedy, Patton, etc.) take a look at our Goodreads account, where we have painstakingly sorted our shelves. There, you can find our Conspiracy Theories shelf. We’ll continue to add more as, well, as I read them.

Not interested in conspiracies? Well, we have plenty of history and historical fiction, too!

 

Genre: Conspiracy Theories

Era: 1960’s

Goodreads: Who Killed Bobby?

 

Share and Share Alike. We like Shares!
Share and Share Alike. We like Shares!

 

Cuban Missile Crisis: Day Fourteen

 

But you didn’t see this post coming, did you? Because everyone knows that the crisis only lasted for thirteen days. After all, there is a book and a movie that tell us so.

But truthfully, the crisis didn’t end on Sunday, October 28, 1962. Nor did it end on Monday, October 29. In fact, the crisis was far from over. For one, negotiations still needed to be settled. Negotiations between Kennedy and Khrushchev. Between Khrushchev and Castro. And, well, more or less between Kennedy and Castro.

In fact, “low-level reconnaissance on October 29 appeared to detect continuing construction” (May 411). Truth was, Kennedy had nothing to go on other than Khrushchev’s word that construction on the missiles in Cuba would cease. Just like Khrushchev had nothing to go on but Kennedy’s word that once the Soviet missiles in Cuba were removed, the US missiles in Turkey would follow suit.

October 29th also saw Ambassador Dobrynin deliver a letter to Attorney General Kennedy. “The next day, Robert Kennedy called in Dobrynin and gave the letter back, refusing to accept it. Robert Kennedy’s handwritten notes for this meeting say: ‘No quid pro quo as I told you. The letter makes it appear that there was.’ The missiles would leave Turkey; ‘you have my word on that & this is sufficient . . .  ; if you should publish any document indicating a deal then it is off.’” Dobrynin promised nothing would be published. But, then again, as Kennedy reminded him, he’d also promised that the Soviet Union would never put missiles on Cuba. 

And look how that turned out. It’s also important to remember that these deals were made through, well, back channels. It’s also important to note that the Kennedys (but mostly the CIA) continued secret invasion plans. You just never knew with Castro, after all. Low-level reconnaissance over Cuba also continued.

And, as President Kennedy’s brother points out in Thirteen Days (published posthumously, by the way), there was still the problem of the Cold War. That was far from over. 

“Exasperation over our struggle in Vietnam,” he wrote at the closing of his penultimate chapter, where he reviewed the thoughts and emotions of the past thirteen days, “should not close our eyes to the fact that we could have other missile crisis in the future–different kinds, no doubt, and under different circumstances. But if we are to be successful then, if we are going to preserve our own national security, we will need friends, we will need supporters, we will need countries that believe and respect us and will follow our leadership” (94).

 

 

He did point out, however, that they’d all learned something from this horrifying experience. And that, too, could be taken into the next crisis.

Back to the Cuban Missile Crisis, though. Kennedy was finally able to announce that the issue had been resolved on November 20, 1962. Almost a month later. it had taken many more letters back and forth between him and Khrushchev. But it had been worked out. 

“The IL-28s would come out of Cuba within 30 days. Though there would be no UN inspection, US forces would be allowed to observe departing Soviet ships. Their cargos of departing missiles would be on deck and could be observed by passing US ships or aircraft. The United States would keep flying reconnaissance planes over Cuba. When the offensive weapons were gone, the quarantine would finally be lifted. The US forces would return to normal peacetime deployments and readiness levels. The Strategic Air Command would stand down its airborne alert” (May 412-413).

Works Cited:

Kennedy, Robert F. Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Norton, 1971.

May, Ernest R, and Philip D Zelikow, editors. The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Norton, 2002.

Share and Share Alike. We like Shares!
Share and Share Alike. We like Shares!

 

The Cuban Missile Crisis: Day Thirteen

 

Sunday, October 28, 1962: The thirteen days of the Cuban Missile Crisis came to an end. In the late hours of October 27, Robert Kennedy secretly met with Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin, and the two reached a basic understanding:

The Soviet Union would withdraw the missiles from Cuba under United Nations supervision in exchange for an American pledge not to invade Cuba. In an additional secret understanding, the United States agreed to eventually remove the Jupiter missiles from Turkey, provided that Castro agreed to their terms. Which he never did.

Listen: 11:05 am ExComm Meeting

Share and Share Alike. We like Shares!
Share and Share Alike. We like Shares!

 

Cuban Missile Crisis: Day Twelve

 

“Thus began the most difficult twenty-four hours of the missile crisis” (71).

 

Saturday, October 27, 1962: A second letter from Moscow arrived, demanding tougher terms, including the removal of obsolete Jupiter missiles from Turkey. Over Cuba, An American U-2 plane was shot down by a Soviet-supplied surface-to-air missile (SAM) and the, killing pilot Major Rudolph Anderson. President Kennedy wrote a letter to the widow of USAF Major Rudolf Anderson, Jr., offering condolences, and informing her that he was awarding Anderson the Distinguished Service Medal, posthumously.

During a tense meeting of the Executive Committee, President Kennedy resisted pressure for immediate military action against the SAM sites. At several points in the discussion, also insisted that removal of the American missiles in Turkey would have to be part of an overall negotiated settlement. The Committee ultimately decided to ignore the Saturday letter from Moscow and respond favorably to the more conciliatory Friday message. Air Force troop carrier squadrons were ordered to active duty in case an invasion was required.

Later that night, Robert Kennedy agreed to meet secretly with Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin again. They reached a basic understanding: the Soviet Union would withdraw the missiles from Cuba under United Nations supervision in exchange for an American pledge not to invade Cuba. In an additional secret understanding, the United States agreed to eventually remove the Jupiter missiles from Turkey.

“We had to be aware of this responsibility, the President was deciding, for the U.S., the Soviet Union, Turkey, NATO, and really for all mankind… .” (75).

Listen: 10:05 am ExComm Meeting &  4:00 pm ExComm Meeting (& Cont.) & 9:00 pm ExComm Meeting

Works Cited:

“Cuban Missile Crisis: Day 12 – Oct 27.” John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, 27 Oct 2017. http://microsites.jfklibrary.org/cmc/oct27/

Kennedy, Robert F. Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Norton, 1971.

Share and Share Alike. We like Shares!
Share and Share Alike. We like Shares!

Cuban Missile Crisis: Day Eleven

Friday, October 26, 1962: A Soviet-chartered freighter was stopped at the quarantine line and searched for contraband military supplies. None were found and the ship was allowed to proceed to Cuba. Photographic evidence showed accelerated construction of the missile sites and the uncrating of Soviet IL-28 bombers at Cuban airfields.

In a private letter, Fidel Castro urged Nikita Khrushchev to initiate a nuclear first strike against the United States in the event of an American invasion of Cuba.

John Scali, ABC News reporter, was approached by Aleksander Fomin of the Soviet embassy staff with a proposal for a solution to the crisis.

Later, a long, rambling letter from Khrushchev to Kennedy made a similar offer: removal of the missiles in exchange for lifting the quarantine and a pledge that the U.S. will not invade Cuba.

Additionally, a surprise came to Kennedy at 7 that morning when the first vessel, the Marucla (an American-built Liberty ship) was officially stopped and boarded: One of the two ships to to follow it was the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. (the other being the John Pierce), the ship named for Kennedy’s older brother, a Navy pilot who died during WWII. This is the same ship that brother, Bobby, would serve on shortly after WWII.

 

“The Soviet Union had been adamant in its refusal to recognize the quarantine. At the same time, it was obviously preparing its missiles in Cuba for possible use. The President in response ordered a gradual increase in pressure, still attempting to avid the alternative of direct military action… . [P]rivately the President was not sanguine about the results of even these efforts. Each hour the situation grew steadily more serious. The feeling grew that this cup was not going to pass and that a direct military confrontation between the two great nuclear powers was inevitable” (64).

Listen: 10:10 am ExComm Meeting & 12:00 Meeting with Intelligence Officers (amongst other discussions)

Works Cited:

“Cuban Missile Crisis: Day 11 – Oct 26.” John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, 26 Oct 2017. http://microsites.jfklibrary.org/cmc/oct26/

Kennedy, Robert F. Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Norton, 1971.

Share and Share Alike. We like Shares!
Share and Share Alike. We like Shares!

 

Cuban Missile Crisis: Day Nine

Wednesday, October 24, 1962: The ExComm met as the quarantine went into effect. By a little after 10, they received word that Russian ships were approaching the quarantine line, the Gagarin and the Komiles. “This was the moment we had prepared for, which we hoped would never come. The danger and concern that we all felt hung like a cloud over us all and particularly over the President” (53).

Then, the really disturbing news came. A Russian submarine. They debated whether it was in America’s best interest for the first stopped Russian ship to actually be a sub. 

“I think these few minutes were the time of gravest concern for the President. Was the world on the brink of a holocaust? Was it our error? Was there something further that should have been done? Or not done? His hand went up to his face and covered his mouth. He opened and closed his fist. His face seemed drawn, his eyes pained, almost gray. We stared at each other across the table. For a few fleeting seconds, it was almost as though no one else was there and he was no longer the President” 

Meanwhile, Chairman Khrushchev replied indignantly to President Kennedy’s October 23 letter.

“You, Mr. President, are not declaring a quarantine, but rather are setting forth an ultimatum and threatening that if we do not give in to your demands you will use force. Consider what you are saying! And you want to persuade me to agree to this! What would it mean to agree to these demands? It would mean guiding oneself in one’s relations with other countries not by reason, but by submitting to arbitrariness. You are no longer appealing to reason, but wish to intimidate us.”

 

Listen: 10:00 am ExComm Meeting & 5:05 pm Meeting with Staff and Congressional Leadership

Share and Share Alike. We like Shares!
Share and Share Alike. We like Shares!

Cuban Missile Crisis: Day Eight

Tuesday, October 23, 1962: The ships of the naval quarantine fleet moved into place around Cuba. Soviet submarines threatened the quarantine by moving into the Caribbean area. Soviet freighters bound for Cuba with military supplies stopped dead in the water, but the oil tanker Bucharest continued towards Cuba. After spending another day talking to his ExComm committee (in their first official meeting), President Kennedy signed Proclamation 3504, authorizing the naval quarantine of Cuba. The four-page proclamation included this statement in the second paragraph:

“The United States is determined to prevent by whatever means may be necessary, including the use of arms, the Marxist-Leninist regime in Cuba from extending, by force or the threat of force, its aggressive or subversive activities to any part of this hemisphere, and to prevent in Cuba the creation or use of an externally supported military capability endangering the security of the United States.”

Additionally, Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs Edwin Martin sought a resolution of support from the (OAS) Organization of American States. Ambassador to the United Nations, Adlai Stevenson, brought the matter before the U.N. Security Council. In the evening Robert Kennedy meet with Ambassador Dobrynin at the Soviet Embassy, per his brother’s request. Afterwards, he relayed the conversation to President Kennedy and Britain Ambassador, David Ormsby-Gore at the White House.

 

Listen: 10:00 am ExComm Meeting (& Cont), 6:00 pm ExComm Meeting (& Cont.) & 7:10 pm Conversation with Brother

Read: Full Text of Proclamation 3504& Bobby’s Memorandum of His Meeting with Ambassador Dobrynin

Share and Share Alike. We like Shares!
Share and Share Alike. We like Shares!

Cuban Missile Crisis: Day Five

“I had heard the military take positions, which if wrong, had the advantage that no one would be around at the end to know” (38).

 

Saturday, October 20, 1962: President Kennedy returns suddenly to Washington and after five hours of discussion with top advisers decides on the quarantine. Plans for deploying naval units are drawn and work is begun on a speech to notify the American people.

“The President arrived back at the White House at 1:40 P.M. and went for a swim. I sat on the side of the pool, and we talked. At 2:30 we walked up to the Oval Room” (38).

Works Cited:

“Cuban Missile Crisis: Day 5 – Oct 20.” John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, 20 Oct 2017. http://microsites.jfklibrary.org/cmc/oct20/

Kennedy, Robert F. Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Norton, 1971.

Share and Share Alike. We like Shares!
Share and Share Alike. We like Shares!

Cuban Missile Crisis: Day Four

Friday, October 19, 1962: President Kennedy leaves for a scheduled campaign trip to Ohio and Illinois. In Washington, his advisers continue the debate over the necessary and appropriate course of action. Before President Kennedy left the White House, he made his brother, Bobby, promise to call him “if and when he should cut short his trip and return to Washington” (May 123).

We meet all day Friday and Friday night” (Kennedy 37).

Image result for cuban missile crisis day 4 meeting

 

Listen: 9:45 am Meeting with the Join Chief of Staff

Works Cited:

“Cuban Missile Crisis: Day 4 – Oct 19.” John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, 19 Oct 2017. http://microsites.jfklibrary.org/cmc/oct19/

Kennedy, Robert F. Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Norton, 1971.

May, Ernest R, and Philip D Zelikow, editors. The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Norton, 2002.

Share and Share Alike. We like Shares!
Share and Share Alike. We like Shares!

Cuban Missile Crisis: Day One

At 8:45 AM on Tuesday, October 16, 1962, President Kennedy, still in his pajamas, had his breakfast interrupted by National Security Advisor, McGeorge Bundy. Bundy came to alert the president “that a major national crisis was at hand” (JFK Library).  During reconnaissance flights two days earlier, done by the United States military surveillance aircraft, photographs had been taken that showed conclusive evidence of a Soviet missile base under construction in Cuba, a near 90 miles from the coast of Florida.

15 minutes later, President Kennedy was on the phone with his Attorney General brother, urging him to come straight away to the White House: They had a major emergency on their hands.

What followed were discussions with major members of Kennedy’s Cabinet as well as members of the Joint Chief of Staff, and other important advisors.

“Discussions [began] on how to respond to the challenge. Two principal courses [were] offered: an air strike and invasion, or a naval quarantine with the threat of further military action. To avoid arousing public concern, the president maintained his official schedule, meeting periodically with advisors to discuss the status of events in Cuba and possible strategies” (JFK Library)

[Below: Map showing the full range of the Cuban missiles]

 

Listen: 11:50 am Cabinet Meeting & 6:30 pm Cabinet Meeting

[Also: The Norton Anthology The Kennedy Tapesprovides transcripts for all essential meetings]

Note: Everything is curtesy of the JFK Library, who has, by the way, an amazing interactive day-by-day account of the Crisis. I highly recommend checking it out. You can find audio, pictures, schedules, etc. Last year, I checked it out during all 13 days. It’s a great way to learn more about the most dangerous 13 days in American history.

Share and Share Alike. We like Shares!