Monday, May 19, 2008

The assassination of Robert Kennedy, Part 2 -- Thane Eugene Cesar

Before we get back to our story, a few words on the word conspiracy. Given the definition of the word that seems to be in vogue with the conspiracy debunkers these days, I'd have to say that I am no believer in conspiracy theories. As they'd have it, a conspiracy implies managing to get a whole lot of people, from the top to the bottom and sideways in both directions, to knowingly maintain a consistent lie over a long period of time. This would include everyone from the lowest on the totem pole to all of the attorneys, reporters and witnesses involved in an incident.

Ain't gonna happen. As a comedian once quipped about the idea of a vast Jewish conspiracy, anyone who has every sat at the dinner table of a Jewish family knows how ridiculous that idea is. No one agrees about anything. The same goes for the assassinations of JFK, RFK and MLK, along with the tragedy of 9/11 and countless other politically motivated killings. There was not a vast conspiracy of everyone involved to keep a secret. Plenty of people in all of these cases and others have come forward with bits of information that diverge wildly from the official story.

So, rather than refer to conspirators, we will refer to perception managers. The perception managers are the spiders, the spinners of the web. Like any web, it's usefulness is not dependent on any particular part holding up. Areas of the web can fall away and still the spider will catch it's prey. This is how it works. A central lie is spun and anchored in several locations. Threads connect the various anchors until a web has been woven of lies and misdirection that can remain useful and maintain its overall integrity even when various individual parts have broken down.

It is the nature of a web that you will never break it down by attacking the individual pieces. As you work to break the web in one spot, the perception managers work to build it back up where it had been damaged before. They run you around in circles until at last, exhausted, you give up and give in. Eventually, even some of the most ardent seekers of the truth either just stop looking or, in some cases, join the spiders and help them spin their webs. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

As we examine the web spun around the Bobby Kennedy assassination, keep in mind that no one element of the web is important in and of itself. If you think that this or that aspect is probably the key to the entire affair, you are probably wrong. See the web as a whole and you can identify the species of spider that made it. Seen as its individual parts, it is just another mass tangle of threads that gets you stuck.

One more point about perception management. While there aspects of perception management that will be obvious to most anyone, such as managing how the public will think of an event overall. Think of how quickly the PM's moved to tell you that Arab hijackers—names, photos and all—were responsible for the 9/11 attacks, even before it would be humanly possible to know such a thing. There is another important aspect that will become clear as we get to the alleged shooter himself, Sirhan Sirhan. I think you will see that that a commonly held belief that it is not possible to get a man to do something against his will that is contrary to his own moral principles is not only wrong, it is just plain silly. In the hands of a skilled PM, and given the right subject, it is child's play.

And now, on with the story.

Thane Eugene Cesar

Cesar worked for Lockheed Aircraft in nearby Burbank. According to interviews with fellow employees there, Cesar's job at Lockheed was unspecific, though he had access to the most high security areas. He was also a staunch Kennedy detractor. In an interview, Cesar had this to say about the brothers Kennedy.

And I definitely wouldn't have voted for Bobby Kennedy because he had the same ideas as John did and I think John sold the country down the road. He gave it to the commies. He gave it to whoever else you want him to. He gave it, he literally gave it to the minority. He says here, you take over. I'm giving it to you you run the white man. Nobody should be run. I'm not saying that the whites should be the slaves of the black or black the slaves of the white. But he turned the pendulum too far the other way.

As you will remember, Cesar was the security guard that lead Kennedy through the kitchen area of the Ambassador Hotel and to his death. He was moonlighting, working for Ace Security. He'd only just started with the company and was placed in charge of security for the area of the hotel through which Kennedy would be lead as a short cut to his press conference in the Colonial Room. Cesar stood behind Kennedy and to his right.

Cesar was interviewed by KFWB reporter John Marshall only minutes after the shooting. During that interview, Cesar had this to say about the event. Keep in mind that Cesar was in a uniquely good position view what had happened. He was standing behind and to the right of Kennedy, holding his arm.

Marshall: I have just talked to an officer who told me that he was at the Senator's side when the shots occurred. Officer, can you confirm that the Senator was shot?

Cesar: Yes, I was there holding his arm when they shot him.

Marshall: What happened?

Cesar: I dunno. Gentleman standing by the lunch counter there and as he walked up the guy pulled a gun and shot him.

Marshall: Was it just one man?

Cesar: No. Yeah, one man.

Marshall: And what sort of wound did the Senator receive?

Cesar: Well, from where I could see it looked like he was shot in the head and the chest and the shoulder.

Marshall: How many shots did you hear?

Cesar: Four.

Marshall: You heard four shots. Did you see anyone else hit at the time?

Cesar: Nope.

Marshall: What is your name, officer?

Cesar: Gene Cesar.

There are several interesting things to note about Cesar's interview with the press in the moments following the assassination. First, look at what Cesar did not get right in his description of the shooting. He claimed that only four shots were fired when, in fact, Sirhan had fired all of the eight bullets that his revolver was capable of holding. Second, while he claimed that he saw no one else hit, five others were wounded in the shooting and most of them were close to Cesar. Then, there are the slips Cesar seems to make when he refers to they shooting him and initially responding to the question of whether there was only one shooter by saying, “No.”

Equally interesting is what Cesar got right about the incident. When asked where Kennedy was hit, Cesar says that he thinks Kennedy was shot “in the head and the chest and the shoulder.” Yet, no one knew just where Kennedy had been shot until after a doctor had examined him. You might think that anyone could see where he had been shot simply by looking at him lying on the floor. Yet Cesar was in no position to see the wounds. Kennedy laid on the floor on his back, and all three bullets that entered his body had done so from the back. In other words, the exact nature of the wounds could not be evident until after he had been examined. And yet, some how, Cesar was aware of where Bobby Kennedy had been wounded.

The fact that Kennedy was wounded from the back, while Sirhan approached him from the front, has been a matter of contention. Several witnesses recall that just prior to the shooting, Kennedy had turned to his left to shake hands with busboy Juan Romero, whose face has been immortalized in the famous picture of him cradling Kennedy's head immediately following the shooting. However, even if Kennedy was in the middle of shaking Romero's hand when the shooting began, this only afforded Sirhan a shot from the side, not from the back. Further, as we find in the next installment, the autopsy showed that all of the shots hitting Kennedy came from behind and from a low angle. In other words, the appeared to come from some who was behind Kennedy and low to the ground.

While admitting to owning a .22, the caliber of pistol used by Sirhan, Cesar claimed that he was not carrying it that evening. Instead, he claimed to be carrying a .38 he had purchased for guard duty. In fact, he said that he had sold the .22 three months before the assassination to an ex coworker named Jim Yoder, who had retired and moved to Arkansas.

Curiously, this contradicted testimony Cesar had given to the LAPD. At that time, he stated that he had told a police sergeant about his .22 when interviewed following the assassination. He said, “In fact, I don't remember if I showed it to him but I did mention that I had a gun similar to the one that was used that night.”

Now, this is a curious thing for a Cesar to say. How could it even occur to him to show a gun to an officer that he had sold three months earlier?

In 1972, William Turner and Jonn Christian, the authors of the book The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, were struck by this discrepancy. They paid a visit to Jim Yoder in Arkansas. As luck would have it, Yoder was still in possession of the receipt for the gun. It read, “On the day of Sept. 6, 1968 I received $15.00 from Jim Yolder [sic]. The item involved is a H&R pistol 9 shot serial no. Y 13332. Thane E. Cesar.”

September 6, 1968. Three months after the assassination of Bobby Kennedy.

As strange and inexplicable coincidence and happenstance would have it, the gun in question was not available for testing. Shortly before the arrival of Turner and Christian, Yoder received a call from the LAPD about the pistol he had purchased from Cesar. Shortly after that, his house was burglarized and the pistol was stolen.

Every single witness to the shooting that night placed Sirhan at least three feet in front of Senator Kennedy. There has not been one person who has ever come forward claiming that Sirhan ever got closer. Nor has there ever been a witness to Kennedy turning around far enough for Sirhan to shoot him in the back. Further, the fatal shot entered Kennedy's head near his right ear from a distance of not more than an inch or two, as evidenced by the powder burns found there.

In other words, there was only one man at the Ambassador Hotel that night who was armed, owned a .22 caliber pistol (despite his claims otherwise) and was in a position to fire the fatal shot that ended Bobby Kennedy's life. That man was Thane Eugene Cesar.

We should note that there is a man who once accepted the idea that Cesar likely was the actual killer of Bobby Kennedy then later recanted. That man is the well-known investigative journalist, Dan Moldea. Moldea apparently decided that Cesar was not the killer based on the evidence of a lie detector test, which Cesar passed. Surprisingly, Moldea seems to not be aware of a glaring problem with lie detector tests. They only work on a certain percentage of the population. Or, more to the point, they are completely worthless on a specific portion of the population.

Psychopathy is a genetically inherited condition that leaves the inheritor of the gene without a conscience. You can read more in Robert Hare's definitive book on the subject, Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us. It is this specific portion of the population on which lie detectors simply do not work.

To understand why, you must first understand what it is a lie detector does. The name is a misnomer. The device would be more accurately called an anxiety detector. It measures subtle changes in the body when a person feels anxiety, as a normal person will do when they have told a lie. No matter how capable they are of keeping a straight face while lying, the average person's body will react involuntarily with signs of anxiety when they lie.

A psychopath, however, will feel no such pangs of anxiety. They feel nothing about the lie they have told because, to them, reality is whatever they say it is. To them, the lie is not a lie simply because they say so. No anxiety means no reaction on the "lie" detector. In short, the fact that Thane Eugene Cesar passed the lie detector test that was set up by Moldea is absolutely meaningless. That test could only possibly have meaning in conjunction with an in-depth psychological analysis of Cesar by someone qualified to diagnose the condition of psychopathy. Without that, a lie detector test given to Cesar is as valuable a piece of evidence as one given to a weasel.

Frankly, Moldea, for all his notoriety as an investigative journalist, should feel ashamed at such an obvious mistake. Moldea has investigated enough of the criminal element of society to be well aware of the facts of psychopathy, leading one to wonder whether this was not a mistake at all, but rather a purposeful misrepresentation of fact.

Let me remind you what was said at the beginning. As much as you might be tempted to think Thane Eugene Cesar is the key to the whole affair, remember that this is a web and the web is big. There are a lot more players involved and a lot more threads to examine before we are even close to having something that approximates a whole picture. Cesar may well have pulled the trigger that ended the life of Bobby Kennedy, but Cesar is only a hair on the back of the spider we are looking for.

Who we are looking for are the perception managers, the orchestrators of the tragedy.

More to come...


Dan Moldea said...

Dear Sir:

I simply hate being referred to as a nefarious character--especially after my long career as an honest and responsible reporter. So please allow me to explain the reason for my decision to have Gene Cesar polygraphed.

As I wrote in my book, I—as an independent journalist—was in the midst of spending an enormous amount of time and money investigating Cesar. Consequently, I needed some test or measurement to determine how much more time and money I was going to spend on him in the future. When Cesar agreed either to be hypnotized or polygraphed, I went to a friend in the law-enforcement community. Essentially, he advised me that hypnotizing Cesar “could be tantamount to tampering with a potential witness.” Thus, he suggested that I have Cesar polygraphed.

I found the best polygraph operator in Los Angeles and paid him top dollar for his work. As I accurately reported, Cesar’s lie-detector test indicated no deception. In fact, as I chronicled in considerable detail in my book, Cesar “passed with flying colors.”

If Cesar had failed that test, I would’ve spent every waking hour and every cent I had pursuing him.

In the end, my three interviews with Sirhan Sirhan—-NOT THE POLYGRAPH TEST--convinced me that Cesar was an innocent man who for many years had been wrongly accused of murder.

Conspiracy theorists may continue to suggest that Gene Cesar is a murderer. But that suggestion is totally untrue and completely unfair.

Dan E. Moldea

Anonymous said...

Poor ole Dan must have been selected for some hynotism a la MK ULTRA himself to have suddenly `seen the light`,that or the illuminati have got something to blackmail him with....

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