A review of Fernando Faura's The Polka-Dot File: on the Robert F. Kennedy Killing
By Edward Curtin
Reprinted from Global Research, 7/15/16
There is a vast literature on the CIA-directed assassination of President John Kennedy. Most Americans have long rejected the Warren Commission's findings and have accepted that there was a conspiracy. There is much less research on the assassination of JFK's brother, Senator Robert Kennedy, and, if asked, far fewer people would say it was a conspiracy and a cover-up. They may not even know the alleged assassin's name.
But the assassination of Robert Kennedy did involve a conspiracy and a cover-up. There is abundant evidence that the accused, Sirhan Sirhan, who was standing 1-3 feet in front of Kennedy when he was shot and who has been languishing in prison since June 5, 1968, did not kill RFK. And there is overwhelming evidence that there was at least a second shooter who shot Kennedy from the rear. The autopsy concluded that Kennedy was shot four times from the rear exclusively (three entering his body) and that the fatal shot was fired upward at a 45 degree angle from 1-3 inches behind his right ear. Sirhan's handgun held 8 bullets. Visual and acoustical evidence shows that up to 13 shots were fired. Thus Sirhan could not have been the killer.
A Reporter's Investigation
The Polka Dot File by Fernando Faura is the latest in a small but growing number of books to make that case, and more. It is a powerful, fascinating, and down-to-earth chronicle -- never before told -- of an investigative reporter's dogged search for the facts of the case from day one.
It is a very important book for understanding the assassination of RFK.
It reads like an Elmore Leonard detective story, albeit less literary, but more engrossing because of its profound importance. For like the killing of JFK, Malcolm X and MLK, the killing of Robert Kennedy echoes down the years, and in many ways signified the end of progressive hope and the ascendency of the national-security-warfare state that reigns today.
Faura's account of his step-by-step investigation is of vital importance in understanding the murder of RFK. For unlike other works on the case, he was there from the start, pursuing and interviewing key witnesses and interacting, at first in good faith, with the LAPD and FBI, who were lying, stealing (his tape-recorded interview of a key witness, John Fahey), and intimidating witnesses.
In fact, those agencies were running steps behind Faura, and were afraid he would discover and reveal truths they wanted hidden. Although he was a seasoned and skeptical reporter, this book is also the tale of his education into the mendacity of government agencies whose ostensible job is to solve crimes rather than cover-up their involvement in them.
He eventually discovers that "the FBI and the LAPD, as well as other investigating agencies involved with national security, had deliberately and methodically misled and defrauded the American populace at large."
Faura, an old-school reporter nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for another series of articles, is a very reliable investigator who instills confidence with his thoroughness, logic, and use of documentary sources. Reading his methodical and fair-minded account -- including extensive verbatim interviews -- I am surprised he could have waited so long to give us the full story. Why he did, and what propelled him to finally write The Polka Dot File, is interesting in itself. It involves a fascinating and tantalizing theory on why RFK was killed, and by whom. But that must be saved for last.
First the essentials: In 1968 Senator Robert Kennedy was running as an anti-war candidate for the Democratic nomination for President. On June 4, 1968, two months to the day since Martin Luther King had been assassinated by a government conspiracy in Memphis, he won the California primary that all but assured him of the nomination. After addressing his followers in the Embassy Ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, at a few minutes past midnight he was proceeding to a press conference through the kitchen pantry when he was shot and killed.