Monday, March 31, 2008

The Conspiracy Conspiracy

A while back my aunt passed away and, while looking up the cemetery on the Internet (location, directions, things like that), I found it has two claims to fame. First, it is the burial place of poet Alan Ginsburg. Second, no less than 141 web sites say it is the place where a man - a "former member of the Israeli Defense Force" who, of course, asked that his name not be used - was taking clippings of English ivy in October, 2000 and says he overheard three men talking, in Hebrew no less. He heard one of the men say, "The Americans will learn what it is to live with terrorists after the planes hit the twins in September."

Wait...this gets better...

When one of the men later asks if the upcoming (November 2000) presidential election will affect the plan, another of them replied, "Don't worry, we have people in high places and no matter who gets elected, they will take care of everything." Oy.

If you saw this on a tv show, you'd probably say "Who writes this garbage?" and change the channel.

I was reminded of this recently by new reports about the RFK assassination claiming new evidence of a multiple-gunman conspiracy. RFK being kind of a hero of mine, if you'll forgive someone my age still using expressions like that, the story caught my eye. Seems some new electronic enhancements of recordings made at the time show more shots fired than at first thought and that proves there was a second gunman and that shows there was a larger conspiracy that was covered up by the official investigation blah-blah zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

RFK assassination conspiracy theories are certainly not new. Reports of a mysterious woman in a polka-dot dress shouting, "We shot him!" came out almost immediately after it happened nearly 40 years ago. Other theories that made it all the way into publication include that Sirhan was hypnotized, that he had amnesia, and that the killing was arranged by Aristotle Onassis so that Kennedy wouldn't interfere with Ari's plan to marry Jacqueline. (Credible reports do suggest RFK would smack you if you referred to his sister-in-law as "Jackie.") Back in pre-Internet days, someone told me that it doesn't matter how ridiculous an idea is; if you can show it was published somewhere it will have instant credibility.

In the RFK case, it's easy to see how these theories started. There were surface inconsistencies: ballistic markings from test-firings of Sirhan's gun differ from those on the bullets that hit RFK; the coroner's report that RFK was hit in the back of the head, whereas Sirhan was standing to his right; two additional bullet holes found a in a door frame pre-maturely destroyed by investigators would have brought the total bullets found to 10. (Sirhan's gun held eight.) And then, of course, there's the woman in the polka dot dress. The manner in which the LAPD and District Attorney's office responded with secrecy and bureaucracy only added fuel.

Valid questions to ask, but they've been answered, and years ago at that, by people who didn't jump to conclusions. Ballistics differed because of barrel fouling caused by repeated test firings by investigators. (Ballistics of the first few test shots, before the fouling occurred, reportedly were a match for the three victim bullets.) The two unaccounted-for holes in the door frame were found to be too small to have been made by bullets. Analysis shows that shows RFK turned to his left just as the shots were fired, so that a bullet from the right would have entered the back of his head. Eyewitnesses do confirm there were at least two women in polka dots that night, but the campaign staffer who made the claim one of them was involved later failed a polygraph test and recanted. One of the "polka dot" women did say she ran from the room shouting, "he's been shot!"

For the human race to regularly put out hasty, nonsensical theories seems inconsistent with its mind-boggling history of technical, artistic, social and intellectual accomplishments. We've put men on the moon. (Wait...maybe that's not a good example.) In any event, something doesn't add up. Somebody - my guess is the government - is covering something up, and I'm going to find out what. I'll check some published materials and the Internet and get back to you.

Unrelated Item 1: Have It Your Way (Assuming by "you" is meant "Stephen King")

Is it just me, or is that rubber-masked Burger King character on the tv commercials really scary looking in a serious way?


oldhousegal said...

The problem I have with most conspiracy theories is that they are based on the assumption that the many people involved will keep the secret.  Finding even one person who can really keep a secret -- FOR OVER FORTY YEARS -- can be a challenge sometimes.  Unless of course you are asking a woman what she weighs.  In that case you are **** out of luck pal!

gazker said...

I just looked at the date you posted, thinking it was April fools. It's not and you know what? That theory, does not surpirse me.
Gaz xx