"The Master Approached"
They say you're usin' voodoo, I seen your feet walk by themselves
That god you been prayin' to
Is gonna give ya back what you're wishin' on someone else - Bob Dylan
In 1969, while cleaning the former office of a Los Angeles private detective named Earl LaFoon, the building manager found a canister of 16 mm colour movie labeled "Sirhan B Sirhan - 1967." It was a surveillance film, shot approximately half a year before Sirhan was charged with the murder of Robert F Kennedy, walking the streets of Pasadena.
Jonn Christian, co-author with William Turner of The Assassination of Robert F Kennedy, tracked down LaFoon and asked him about the film. The detective's story was rather fluid, first claiming it had been stolen, then denying that it was his, and finally abruptly ending the conversation by saying "You'll have to ask the Argonaut Insurance Company about this. That's all I have to say."
Argonaut had paid Sirhan a workman's compensation claim of $1,705 for injuries received in a fall from a horse while working at the Corona Ranch in 1966. Was Sirhan surveilled in a fishing expedition for insurance fraud? The relatively small amount involved and the fact Sirhan wasn't even claiming to be disabled render this conclusion suspect, especially since an Argonaut spokesman told Christian the company had nothing to do with it.
Sirhan was filmed without his knowledge shortly after he returned to his family home following an unexplained absence of three months, which had caused his mother extreme worry A veteran LAPD officer, who wished to remain nameless, told Turner and Christian that even the RFK task force Special Unit Senator could not account for the missing time.
Upon his return, one difference in Sirhan's character noted by those close to him was a deepened interest in the occult.
In the mid-60s Sirhan's ambition to become a jockey had led to work as a groomsman, which carried him into the orbit of an equestrian circle of privilege. The politics was far right, and the religion often had the gloss of conservative evangelicalism masking a fascination with the occult. William Thomas Rathke, a right-wing, 41-year old groom who actually had his own fundamentalist church, befriended Sirhan, but rather than talk about Jesus paradoxically began nurturing his interest in the occult. In a letter to Turner and Christian, Sirhan wrote that "We had many discussions on the occult - reincarnation, karma, clairvoyance, astral projection, the human aura. But I don't remember that we ever discussed politics."
In 1967 Rathke moved north to Livermore California, ostensibly to work at the Pleasanton Race Stables. Livermore, of course, was also home to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, one of the principle contracting institutions for MKULTRA. (In 1965 the CIA had "entered into a Memorandum of Understanding" with Lawrence Livermore Laboratory to "perform a number of projects for the Office of Scientific Intelligence.")
Sirhan and Rathke kept in touch, and Rathke and Livermore remained on his mind. In his notebook of "automatic writing" following his three-month absence, he wrote "Sirhan Livermore Sirhan" and juxtaposed Rathke's name with the repetition of "Let us do it," "Master Kuthumi." "Illuminati" and "Northern Valley." "Kuthumi" is clearly a reference to Blavatsky's Secret Chief Koot Hoomi, and Livermore Valley is in Northern California. When asked by Turner and Christian, Sirhan said he had no awareness of the word "Illuminati," and could only say that Kuthumi "sounds familiar in occult literature."
At Sirhan's 1969 trial hypnotist Bernard Diamond testified that the case was "an astonishing instance of mail-order hypnsosis, dissociated trances and the mystical occultism of Rosicrucian mind power and black magic." This was the limited hang-out of the compromised Defense team: Sirhan was mind controlled, but it was self-induced. Rathke supported this position, even anticipated it, by having visited Sirhan and his family in LA several times in the months before the assassination, now voicing concerns in letters that if Sirhan didn't abandon his rituals he might "lose control and do something terrible." The supposedly evangelical Rathke also infiltrated a Theosophist group in early 1968 and expressed similar concerns to its members, reminiscent of the JFK assassination's Odio Incident which saw Silvia Odio told afterward by a companion of "Lee Oswald" that he was crazy and capable of killing the President.
Sirhan's now 62, and lost his 13th bid for parole last week. He was unrepresented, his lawyer Lawrence Teeter - his first lawyer to believe in his innocence - died last year. Most Americans who still mourn Robert Kennedy don't feel much charity for his convicted killer, but that's to misundertand history and misapprehend justice.
From a CIA memorandum of 1954, originally published in Phil Melanson's The Robert F. Kennedy Assassination and reproduced in the July-August 1997 issue of Probe:
1. The ARTICHOKE Team visited [redacted] during period 8 January to 15 January 1954. The purpose of the visit was to give an evaluation of a hypothetical problem, namely: Can an individual of ****** descent be made to perform an act of attempted assassination involuntarily under the influence of ARTICHOKE?
a. The essential elements of the problem are as follows: (1) As a "trigger mechanism" for a bigger project, it was proposed that an individual of ****** descent approximately 35 years old, well educated, proficient in English and well established socially and politically in the ****** Government be induced under ARTICHOKE to perform an act, involuntarily, of attempted assassination against a prominent ****** politician or if necesssary, against an American official. The SUBJECT was formerly in [redacted] employ but has since terminated and is now employed with the *** Government. According to all available information, the SUBJECT would offer no further cooperation with [redacted.] Access to the SUBJECT would be extremely limited, probably limited to a single social meeting. Because the SUBJECT is a heavy drinker, it was proposed that the individual could be surreptitiously drugged through the medium of an alcholoic cocktail at a social party, ARTICHOKE applied and the SUBJECT induced to perform the act of attempted assassination at some later date. All the above was to be accomplished at one involuntary uncontrolled social meeting. After the act of attempted assassination was performed, it was assumed that the SUBJECT would be taken into custody by the *** Government and thereby "disposed of."
Qabbalists say that knowledge wears a false crown. Students of Deep Politics could say the same. Unlike Oswald and James Earl Ray, Sirhan's like us: he's alive. "Disposed of," but alive. Truth without justice - what is that?