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RFK assassination program on BBC2, Nov. 20

Ron Ecker

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Just watched the programme. The ID of Morales by Wayne Smith, David Rabern and Bradley Ayers was very convincing. It definitely looked like Morales.

Ed Lopez identified Joannides (I am surprised they did not use G. Robert Blakey for this. Nor did they have Blakey's statement when he discovered that Joannides was connected to Lee Harvey Oswald in August 1963.

"I am no longer confident that the Central Intelligence Agency co-operated with the committee.... I was not told of Joannides' background with the DRE, a focal point of the investigation. Had I known who he was, he would have been a witness who would have been interrogated under oath by the staff or by the committee. He would never have been acceptable as a point of contact with us to retrieve documents.”

Only Ayers was able to identify Campbell. Although Rabern said it might have been him.

The film also included and interview with Bob Walton who explained how he heard Morales say: "I was in Dallas when we got the son of a bitch and I was in Los Angeles when we got the little bastard."

The film needed to spend more time on Morales. Shane O'Sullivan also does not explain why Ed Wilson and Tom Clines refused to identify Morales, Campbell and Joannides (both Wilson and Clines refused to appear on camera).

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We need to post this on various US sites. Right now 20 and 30 somethings are offered a fictional RFK movie and have been trained to lump these political assassinaitons with kooky martian stories a la X-files.

The article in the Guardian was mentioned on Huffington Post today, but not the link to the film itself.

Build a entry ramp for youngsters, by posting this film site on a local newspaper site that gets a lot of traffic.

Since the media won't do it, its up to us.

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The film also included and interview with Bob Walton who explained how he heard Morales say: "I was in Dallas when we got the son of a bitch and I was in Los Angeles when we got the little bastard."


Thanks for this info. The Walton interview needs to be considered in conjunction with Noel Twyman's interview of Walton in Bloody Treason (1997). From the interview (p. 470-471):

Twyman: . . . Do you have an opinion as to whether or not (Morales) did participate in the Kennedy assassination?

Walton: I have no doubt. When he told me, "We got that son of a bitch," he told me he was in Dallas. He said, "I was in Dallas and I was in L.A. when we got that Bobby too."

Twyman: Oh, he said he was in Dallas, too? . . .

Walton: He said, "We got that son of a bitch and I was in Los Angeles also when we got Bobby." . . . And when he said "also" I linked that back to Dallas. I'm not sure he ever said "I was in Dallas" but he did say "I was in Los Angeles when we got Bobby."

Twyman: I see. You can't specifically remember he said he was in Dallas.

Walton: No. Just the way he linked it with "and I was also in L.A." . . .


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Hey all, anybody want a copy made?

I'd like to take you up on that offer if I could Steve.

That was an excellent piece, I'm glad to say compiled by an Irishman.

Sterling work indeed, the verifications of identity are very persuasive and I think fairly accurate, given the evidence available to us.

Match this with the rumours that Gerry Hemming and Eugene Hale Brading were both also present at the two assassinations and you have some nice kindling for a fire.


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Yes I agree John it was a very interesting piece and very convincing. I'm just surprised that no one has picked Morales and co. out before from the photos and footage.

I would be interested if someone could identify the latin looking man with a moustache who is seen after the shooting on the footage who I think was waving the other man towards the exit.

I was thinking maybe someone like Larry Hancock or James Richards might know who it is?

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Robert Kennedy's final speech at the Ambassador Hotel and aftermath:

Part 2

About halfway through the clip, Robert Kennedy leaves the stage. Moments later, the crowd senses something is terribly wrong, It is almost surreal to watch events unfold as someone comes to the microphone and urges people to clear the room, even before it becomes clear that RFK was shot.

Part 3

Early reports that Senator Kennedy has been shot. The crowd remains orderly, but on the verge of panic it seems.

Part 4

Early eyewitness accounts and news reports

Perhaps these are the news clips where Shane O'Sullivan saw Morales, Campbell and Joannides.

I saw the BBC story. Ed Lopez was particularly convincing in his identification of Joannides. If Ed Lopez says it's Joannides, I'm inclined to believe it was. Shane O'Sullivan deserves a lot of credit for his findings.

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Yes I agree John it was a very interesting piece and very convincing. I'm just surprised that no one has picked Morales and co. out before from the photos and footage.

I am not up to speed on the footage from the Ambassador hotel, but anyone who has good footage might want to check out this post by Peter Fokes on the McAdams forum. Does anyone else see Richard Helms as Fokes describes? Seems unlikely, but I suppose stranger things have happened.

Date: Mon, Mar 31 2003 1:33 pm

Groups: alt.assassination.jfk

Watching a compilation tape of film made during the night of RFK's

murder, one is surprised to see a fellow who looks like R. Helms going

against the crowd in the ballroom after the shooting. While folks mill

about...most heading in the direction of the stage, a cool tall

partially balding fellow strides the other way. If you have the tape,

watch the scene in the ballroom after the shooting. Look for a tall

balding fellow cross through the center of the film. ....


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Looks a little like Senator George Mitchell, seen here with Ed Muskie.

Same for me.

Can someone please post a picture of George Joannides different to that in question here.

Edited by Dave Weaver
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Does anyone else see Richard Helms as Fokes describes?

When I looked at the photos John posted, I was immediately struck by Campbell's resemblance to Helms. So I suspect that Fokes may be referring to Campbell. In any case, while it is certainly believable that CIA spooks were on the scene, I doubt that the CIA director himself would be there in plain view.

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Hey all, anybody want a copy made?

YES! Yes thank you. Yes please and thank you.

Um...now what?

Is there a still of Morales at the Ambassador? I'd really like one of him too.

He's so recognizable, esp 'cause of his size.

And there's this picture of, probably, him in Dealey Plaza on Nov 22, '63.


So there are pictures placing (probably) him at both Kennedy murder scenes...

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Has this been mentioned here previously? I hope our friends in the UK will be watching it.


Thank you Ron.

John, Stephen, any idea if a transcript of the program is available?

On my page on Gordon Campbell I said:

Bradley E. Ayers was interviewed by Jeremy Gunn of the Assassination Records Review Board in May, 1995. According to Gunn: “Ayers claims to have found in the course of his private investigative work, a credible witness who can put David Morales inside the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on the night of June 5, 1968 (RFK’s assassination)." Another source suggests that Gordon Campbell was with David Morales at the Ambassador Hotel on the night that Robert Kennedy was murdered.

My source was in fact Shane O'Sullivan but I was asked not to reveal this until the film was shown.

Just another example of how this forum is helping to solve the assassinations of JFK and RFK.

There are countless examples John. Thank you. This forum and Spartacus are invaluable.

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Joseph Backes has made a transcript of the program. Jeremy Paxman is the presenter who has a reputation for giving politicians a hard time. This is my corrected version of Joe's work.

Jeremy Paxman: Well, had he lived Bobby Kennedy would have been 81 today instead of which he was killed in one of the most famous political assassinations of modern American history. A Palestinian man, Sirhan Sirhan was seized, charged, tried and convicted. Nearly forty years on he is still in jail repeatedly denied parole. Whether they be Bobby’s brother JFK or Diana, Princess of Wales they routinely attract conspiracy theories, but that wasn’t uppermost in the mind of Shane O’Sullivan when he began to look into the assassination. There is some strong language in this film.

Robert Kennedy: One thing is clear in this year of 1968 I believe in this country as I’ve traveled across and that is that the American peoples want no more Vietnams. In August in Chicago the Democratic Party will nominate its candidate for President for the United States. There are two roads to that nomination, one is to seek commitment through discussion with political leaders the other is to go to the people.

Shane O’Sullivan: June 5th 1968, The Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles. Bobby Kennedy wins the California Democratic primary and is a synch to be admitted to the White House

Robert Kennedy: I think it’s quite clear that we can work together in the last analysis, and that what has been going on within the United States over the period of the last three years, the divisions, the violence the disenchantment with our society, the division whether its between Blacks and Whites, between the poor and the more affluent, or between age groups, or on the War in Vietnam, that we can start to work together, we are a great country, and a selfless country and a compassionate country, and I intend to make that my basis for running over the period of the next few weeks

Mayor Yorty has just sent me a message that we have been here too long already, and so my thanks to all of you and now its on to Chicago and let’s win there. Thank you very much,

Shane O’Sullivan: Moments later he is assassinated while leaving through a kitchen pantry.

Sound of chaos and screaming - (a man) - close the door!, close the door! (another man despondent) - oh Jesus, why? (a reporter into a microphone) - Oh My God! Senator Kennedy has been shot right in the head

Shane O’Sullivan: It has been only two months since the assassination of Martin Luther King. 24 year old Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan is seen firing at Kennedy and is arrested as the lone assassin. But for nearly forty years debate has raged over whether a second gunman was involved.

Police diagrams based on the autopsy show the fatal shots came from behind, but witnesses place Sirhan’s gun several feet in front of Kennedy.

Lawrence Teeter: The actual shooter of Robert Kennedy was standing behind Robert Kennedy according to the autopsy report. Sirhan was standing in front of him face to face. A distance between the muzzle of the assailant’s weapon and Robert Kennedy’s body was somewhere between actual contact and no more than three inches. As the weapon from which the shots were fired was held at a sharp upward angle, again from the rear. All of the witnesses state Sirhan’s weapon was held between one and and half to six feet away horizontally in relation to the floor. The autopsy report exonerates Sirhan.

Shane O’Sullivan: Behind me is the famous Ambassador Hotel where Robert Kennedy was assassinated that night. It is now a construction site, shortly to be a high school project in memory of Robert Kennedy. I started writing a screenplay three years ago based on this case, fascinated by the conspiracy theories.

During the course of my research I found new video and photographs that suggest that three CIA operatives were at the hotel that night, and I believe involved in the assassination.

Agent number one the Indian man in the white shirt at the back of the room moments after the speech and just before the shooting, I think this man is David Morales.

Moments after the shooting, agent number two, Gordon Campbell, walks from the direction of the pantry with a small container in his hand as a Latin man waves him towards an exit.

Thirty minutes after the shooting here is agent one again, David Morales.

I also found several photographs of these agents earlier in the evening. Here agent two, Gordon Campbell, stands in the ballroom hours before the shooting with a third agent. These officers worked together in 1963 at JM/WAVE the CIA’s Miami base for its secret war on Castro. Bradley Ayers worked with these men at JM/WAVE and first confirmed my identification of Morales.

Bradley Ayers: This definitely from the profile is hugely similar, the body language is very, very much characteristic of Morales. See how he moves back and forth very casually so as not to attract attention to himself. (Ayers is watching a video of events in the ballroom after the shooting, we hear someone at the podium in the Ambassador Hotel talking to quiet people down and move back from the stage.) That is, no question.

Shane O’Sullivan: Bradley also recognized his former case officer Gordon Campbell.

Bradley Ayers: There, that’s excellent, that’s, I could certainly verify 90% ID, of Gordon Campbell. Less a little hair as I remember him, the facial features are certainly his. Obviously, the two of them are together, they are looking for a way out because this fellow is guiding him, showing him an exit. Obviously, he has got something in his hand. I think it is impossible to determine what it is.

Shane O’Sullivan: These men are alleged to have hated the Kennedys for withdrawing air support for the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. And Morales admitted to his ex lawyer that he was involved in both Kennedy assassinations.

Robert Walton: Well, it was something like, I was in Dallas when I, when we got that mother ####er, and I was in Los Angeles when we got the little bastard. What was said to me was that he was in some way implicated with the death of John Kennedy, and lets go one step further, and also with Bobby.

Shane O’Sullivan: An interesting claim from a friend of Morales but until now there has been no photographic evidence. I traveled to Washington to meet Wayne Smith who worked with Morales at the U.S. Embassy in Havana in 1959. This photograph of Morales dates from the same time. Would Smith recognize Morales in the video?

Wayne S. Smith: That’s him. That’s Dave Morales. (They’re watching video of Ayers watching the video and identifying Morales.)

Shane O’Sullivan: Really? (unspoken but he’s asking are you sure take your time)

Wayne S. Smith: (takes him time, sighs) Yes, I’m virtually certain. Is there anything...

Shane O’Sullivan: We see him again.

Wayne S. Smith: Oh, go ahead. Yeah, turning sideways, yeah that’s Morales, that’s Morales. Yeah, I knew Morales quite well, he worked at the CIA station in Havana when I was third secretary of the political section. And I got to know him fairly well, and saw him again a number of items, he came to Buenos Aires when I was political counselor down there and we had dinner at a friends house one evening, so yeah I have no hesitation in saying that’s, that’s Morales.

Shane O’Sullivan: I traveled to the other side of the country to meet up with a man who worked in covert operations in the 60’s and was at the Ambassador Hotel that night. David Rabern had been shown the photograph of Morales and remembered seeing him there.

Shane O'Sullivan: Is that the same man you saw in this photograph?

David Rabern: Oh yeah, that’s him. He came in the ballroom. I saw him out in the lobby area. In fact, in probably saw him several times, he was in and out.

Shane O’Sullivan: Alright, I just want you to have a look at this photograph, the two men in the center (a large black and white photograph, larger than 8 by 10) this photograph was taken, I think, a couple of hours before the assassination. Just look at these two figures here in the middle. I’m just wondering if you saw either of those men there that night?

David Rabern: This man here, the bald one (referring to Gordon Campbell)

Shane O’Sullivan: Yep.

David Rabern: I think he was talking to Morales at one time, like he was standing talking to him.

Shane O’Sullivan: If Campbell was the man on the left of the photograph. Who is the guy on the right? I went back to the east coast to meet a lawyer at Cornell University, Ed Lopez. In 1978 he was a 23 year old investigator for the congressional committee looking into the JFK assassination. I thought he might know our third man.

Ed Lopez: Let me just take you back a minute. Here we were a congressional committee investigating who might have killed a president back in 1963. As you know, the majority of the American public at the time thought there had been a conspiracy.

Shane O’Sullivan: But now the CIA called out of retirement to work as their liaison to the House Select Committee on Assassinations was George Johanides. He never disclosed that he worked as chief of psychological warfare operations at the CIA’s Miami base in 1963.

Ed Lopez: I saw George Johanides practically everyday for months. George Johanides was the guy who was supposed to be our point person. But when we got down to work he was all business what we could see, what we couldn’t see, why we could we see something, why we couldn’t see something, why it was redacted, why it wasn’t reacted.

Shane O’Sullivan: Let me now show you a photograph that was taken in the Ambassador Hotel the night Robert Kennedy died and I’d like you to look at the figure in the right center frame.

Ed Lopez: Well, when I look at this picture the guy is young, and in shape, always standing, you know, always standing erect, that’s the way I remember him being, the glasses, his hair slightly receding, at this time it is dark, by the time I get to know him it was greying. But you just look at him you say this is the guy that I spent many hours with at Langley. This is George Johanides.

Shane O’Sullivan: Not everyone I spoke to could identify our three CIA agents. I interviewed Tom Clines and Ed Wilson. Both former agents and close colleagues of David Morales. They said I and all the others were mistaken. But they weren’t willing to go on camera.

Could there be an innocent explanation for the presence of these three CIA agents at the Ambassador Hotel that night?

Shane O’Sullivan: Is David Morales a good figure to protect Bobby Kennedy?

Wayne Smith: No! (laughs) No, in my wildest imaginations I couldn’t imagine assigning David Morales to protect any of the Kennedys.

Bradley Ayers: Suspicion? High, high suspicion, yes, I can’t deny that. so, why they were doing the things that they were doing. I’m surprised that that was never investigated.

Shane O’Sullivan: What do you think needs to be done now?

Ed Lopez - Well, I think the key people at the CIA need to go back to anybody who might have been around back then, bring them in and interview them. Ask! Is this Gordon Campbell? Is this George Johanides? Did you know about any operation going on? If you didn’t then why the hell were they there?

Shane O’Sullivan: After so many interviews and some conflicting testimony my gut feeling is that these three senior CIA operatives were the men behind the assassination. Who were these men and why were they at the hotel that night? The CIA and the Los Angeles Police Department owe the public an explanation before the truth behind the Robert Kennedy assassination is lost to history.

Robert Kennedy: There are some who talk about my youth. It is true I am younger than many who have run for president and older than many of those who founded this country. Whatever my years, however, I would gladly match my experience with that of others who have aspired to the presidency, and after all, we are still a young country.

Jeremy Paxman: If you’d like to watch that film again it is on our website. Do tell us whether you are convinced by the identifications. Shane O’Sullivan who is the author of that piece is with us here now. This is a long way from conclusive proof.

Shane O’Sullivan: (grunts agreement)

Jeremy Paxman: that these guys were up to anything bad there, if indeed they are even the right people.

Shane O’Sullivan: Well, I guess all we are doing is asking the question. You know, we are suggesting that we have positive identification on these three CIA operatives who worked at JMWAVE in 1963.

Jeremy Paxman: Although there were two other ex-CIA people who denied them.

Shane O’Sullivan: Yes, so we have strong independent verification from people who weren’t CIA, and we have a couple of CIA agents who say it’s not Morales.

Jeremy Paxman: Does it strike you as odd that 40 years, or almost, after the event you’re the first person to make this connection?

Shane O’Sullivan: Well, the archive was actually there all along, the LAPD made a 20 minute film or newsreel of the assassination, and they missed the camera pick that we’ve just seen in the in the film that we’ve done, so that’s just one indication that they looked in a lot of places that we but they didn’t look in the correct places during the original investigation.

Jeremy Paxman: Now formally, I believe the CIA had said what about these guys, they say they don’t comment?

Shane O’Sullivan: You know the comments you’d expect that they can’t go into previous operatives identities, and that also they have no domestic jurisdiction. So, the question we’re asking is we have interviewed various people who knew these men well, they say they are the men in the photograph, so we are asking the CIA and the Los Angeles Police Department to address that question. You know, are these the men we think they are, and why are they there?

Jeremy Paxman: Why do you think they were there?

Shane O’Sullivan: Well, I don’t think there is any credible explanation for why they would be there if they are CIA operatives. And that is the question we are trying to clear up. They would not have been Kennedy’s security. If you knew the men’s backgrounds they would have professed hatred of the Kennedys. Morales made the comment that we listened to that he was in Dallas in ‘63 and in Los Angeles in ‘68.

Jeremy Paxman: You don’t get any anxiety about potential libel suits?

Shane O’Sullivan: Well, we know that Morales died in 1978 just weeks before he was due to be called before the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Johanides died in 1990. Gordon Campbell might still be out there. So, yeah a libel suit is a possibility but then we would also have discovery to show how important this material is.

Jeremy Paxman: Do you reckon, assuming there is much more to it than the straight Sirhan Sirhan story, do you think we will ever get to the bottom of it?

Shane O’Sullivan: I think it’s important that we do, I mean there’s a guy called Paul Schrade who was walking behind Kennedy on the night and he was shot in the head, and he’s been one of the leading campaigners to reopen the case for years, because of the second gun theory and various doubts that there have been around, so I think this evidence is quite important because it is the first time that we actually show a CIA presence on the night of a domestic assassination and it’s important we get some answers to this from the relevant authorities.

Jeremy Paxman: Shane O’Sullivan thank you

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It is important to be aware of the politics of this program. Newsnight is the flagship of BBC news reporting. However, it is suffering from a decline in audience. It is attempting to make itself up to date and is endlessly asking viewers to respond online to its program via its blog. Most nights, only a couple of people bother. I believe that this program is an attempt to get some interaction going with its audience. Paxman ended the report by saying the program was available from the website and asked for people’s opinions on the identification of the three CIA agents.

I urge everyone to respond to this call. Let us make it the most interactive program broadcast on Newsnight. Provide lots of information on the case and call for follow-up programs on people like Morales and Joannides.

You can add your comments here:


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Guest Matt Allison

Senator George Mitchell was 35 years old when RFK was assassinated. He was a practicing private sector lawyer in Maine when Bobby Kennedy was killed. He is not the man in that photo.

Edited by Matt Allison
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