The famed forensic pathologist, author, consultant, and medical school professor Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., J.D. released the following statement in conjunction with a petition by Sirhan Sirhan this week to the Organization of American States (OAS) seeking a new trial or evidentiary hearing on charges that Sirhan acted alone and fired the fatal shot killed U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 1968.

Dr. Cyril WechtDr. Wecht, shown at left in his lab, referenced the news conference July 20 at the National Press Club here featuring Dr. William F. Pepper, attorney for the imprisoned Sirhan. A jury convicted Sirhan in 1969 of fatally shooting Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy the previous year.

Pepper, a friend of the late senator, argued in the petition to the Inter-American Human Rights Council (IACHR), a unit of the OAS, that Sirhan failed to receive effective assistance of counsel.

The petition, which will be linked to this column shortly, argues that Sirhan's original attorney was conflicted because of a secret felony indictment against him regarding another case and should have defended Sirhan (shown last year in a California prisons photo) by challenging the government's evidence on many scientific, eyewitness and other grounds.

Sirhan's current attorney concedes that his client, now 74 and last year rejected for parole for the 15th time, fired shots at RFK from the senator's front but says Sirhan did so only because he had been brainwashed by others to serve as an unwitting patsy while the real killer shot RFK from behind at close range and escaped.

Dr. Wecht's statement supports that argument as follows:

I strongly endorse and support the petition that Attorney William Pepper is submitting to the Organization of American States seeking a new trial for Sirhan Sirhan, who was convicted for the 1968 killing of Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

As an official consultant in forensic pathology to Dr. Thomas Noguchi [shown at left], the Los Angeles Chief Medical Examiner who performed the autopsy on Senator Kennedy, I had the opportunity to visit the shooting scene at the Ambassador Hotel and subsequently review and analyze all the relevant forensic scientific evidence and investigative findings in this matter.

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Historic petition to OAS seeks retrial or hearing

Famed attorney, noted author, and human rights advocate Dr. William F. Pepper announced July 17 that he is filing a petition to the Organization of American States (OAS) seeking justice for his imprisoned client Sirhan B. Sirhan.

Sirhan Sirhan

The filing describes Sirhan (shown upon his arrest) as wrongfully convicted of the 1968 assassination of Pepper’s friend, Robert F. Kennedy, the late New York U.S. senator and Democratic presidential candidate. Pepper presents his evidence and arguments at a 10 a.m. news conference on July 20 at the National Press Club, located at 529 14th St., NW, Washington, DC.

Seeking a new trial for Sirhan or an evidentiary hearing, Pepper’s petition against the U.S. government is being filed on July 19, 2017 with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), an OAS body. The filing alleges that the California and U.S. justice systems violated Sirhan's right to a fair trial, as required under the OAS Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. By treaty, the IACHR may review U.S. cases and those from 34 other nations when domestic remedies have been exhausted.

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“Among the many abuses that I have discovered,” said Pepper, “the petition describes how Sirhan’s late defense counsel, Grant Cooper, was compromised by a secretly pending felony indictment. It posed a major conflict that deprived Sirhan of effective counsel. Cooper conducted no independent investigation. He explicitly accepted his client's guilt and the state's case without real challenge.”

“According to many witnesses," Pepper continued, "additional shots were fired by a second assailant during the attack on June 5, 1968 after Kennedy won California’s Democratic primary for that year’s presidential race.”

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Dr. William F. Pepper, the famed human rights lawyer, author, and attorney who has defended post-conviction the accused killers of his friends Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will speak July 19 at the National Press Club about the central responsibility of news organizations to report the news fairly and without self-censorship.

William Pepper and Martin Luther King Jr.Pepper, shown with King in a 1967 photo, will describe how the media have repeatedly failed to inform the public of the ongoing injustice in the Sirhan case, among other such politically charged prosecutions. Without a free, independent press, Pepper says, "the rule of law and an informed public cannot function" in a democratic society.

Pepper is filing a 200-page petition this week to the Organization of American States (OAS) accusing the California and U.S. governments of violating the due process rights of accused Kennedy killer Sirhan Sirhan, who is shown in a California prison system photo after being held without parole since RFK's killing on June 5, 1968.

Sirhan SirhanPepper is delivering a 7 p.m. lecture to the Sarah McClendon speaker society located at the club for more than a quarter of a century. The society is named after McClendon, a pioneering female White House correspondent from Texas who died in 2003 after a long career.

Pepper's lecture and a book signing are open to the press and public. The talk is preceded by an optional no-host, Dutch-treat dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the club, which is located at 529 14th St., NW near the corner of F Street in downtown Washington, DC.  

James Earl Ray 1955 prison

Pepper is an American lawyer and English barrister. A 1960s friend of Kennedy and King, he came to believe after long study that their accused killers were patsies who were wrongly accused for political reasons. In 1999, he won a civil judgment on behalf of the King family with a jury finding that convicted killer James Earl Ray (shown in a mug shot) was not the real killer. That news was so little reported that it was as if it were suppressed, critics say.

On July 19 before his talk, he plans to file a petition to the Organization of American States (OAS) seeking justice for his imprisoned client Sirhan. The filing describes Sirhan as wrongfully convicted of the 1968 assassination of Kennedy, the late New York U.S. senator and Democratic presidential candidate. 

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Seeking a new trial for Sirhan or an evidentiary hearing, Pepper's petition against the U.S. government is being filed with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), an OAS body. The filing alleges that the California and U.S. justice systems violated Sirhan's right to a fair trial, as required under the OAS Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.

By treaty, the IACHR may review U.S. cases and those from 34 other nations when domestic remedies have been exhausted.

The Justice Integrity Project arranged details of Pepper's visit from his New York City office to the nation's capital. We shall publish more during coming days about his press club lecture, petition to the OAS, and new evidence.

In the meantime, our Readers Guide To RFK Assassination: Books, Videos, Archives provides a comprehensive listing of major books, films, and research archives representing all major points of view on the Robert Kennedy assassination, plus avenues for further research. It is excerpted below. Additional information is welcome.

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A two-day mock trial entitled State of Texas v. Lee Harvey Oswald will be held on November 16th and 17th at the South Texas College of Law-Houston, Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA) announced today.

Lee Harvey Oswald Dallas Mug Shot

Building on what has been learned from the Innocence Project and the 2009 National Academy of Sciences report on forensic evidence, the CAPA mock trial will apply 21st Century techniques to examine the physical evidence used by the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations to identify Lee Harvey Oswald (shown in a New Orleans police mug shot and separately in a file photo below) as the alleged sole assassin of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963.

A senior judge from the Harris County Criminal Court will preside over the event with the jury selected from the Harris County jury pool.

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Alec Baldwin (shown in a photo from a Cannes Film Festival) will be the keynote speaker for the Nov. 16th dinner following the first day of the mock trial. He will also participate in a book signing for registrants prior to dinner for his new book Nevertheless: A Memoir.

The mock trial will offer 7.5 hours of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits including 1.5 of CLE Ethics credits. 

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On Demand.On the Fourth of July, 2017, The Searchers — The Story of Researchers of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy — will be released worldwide on Amazon Video Direct and Vimeo On Demand. 

John Kelin, author of Praise From A Future Generation, called The Searchers, “An invaluable addition to a little-known but critically important story.”

Independent film maker Randolph Benson directed and produced the documentary.

The film's poster is at left. Benson recreated Kennedy's image by using a collage of portraits of heroic and persistent researchers. These individuals have persevered through the decades to reveal the facts to the public about an unspeakable murder and cover-up that still haunts the world — and provides instruction about current times to those who dare look at the hidden history.

Robert Groden, a former U.S. House photo analyst and consultant to Oliver Stone’s iconic 1991 film JFK, described Benson's work as “One of the most important films ever done on the case.”

Groden was the photo lab technician who in 1969 copied the suppressed amateur film of the 1963 assassination shot by Abraham Zapruder at Dealey Plaza. Time Life, Inc. snapped up rights to the photo but only used stills in its works seen by the public.

Robert GrodenGroden courageously delivered his pirated Zapruder film copy to ABC-TV news personality Geraldo Rivera so that Rivera could show it on TV in 1975 to the public for the first time. Groden is shown at right in a Justice Integrity Project photo selling his most recent book near the murder site in Dealey Plaza in Dallas.

Rivera's coverage (featuring Groden on air as an expert) played a major role in debunking conventional wisdom fostered by the Warren Commission and complicit media like the CIA-allied Time Life management. Authorities and top media outlets, including Time Life, sought to persuade the public that Kennedy's head moved forward at the moment of impact with the fatal bullet, and not backward as suggested by the film.

The Justice Integrity Project has written often about this research and Benson. He is shown below left (photo by Noel St. John) speaking at a March 16 forum at the National Press Club in Washington, DC organized by Citizens Against Political Assassination (CAPA) during the news industry's Sunshine Week. Benson filmed those CAPA proceedings featuring national experts, thereby continuing his long term commitment to transparency and whistleblowing.

The film's press release this week stated:

Fourteen years in the making, The Searchers uses never-before-seen interviews, archival footage and recently declassified documents to chronicle the past and present of these ordinary citizens and their contributions to revealing the truth about the crime of the 20th century: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

The film’s website has information about the film, the release, and upcoming screenings: TheSearchersFilm.com.

Suffering ridicule, and being labeled with the intellectual scarlet letter of conspiracy theorists, these individuals have challenged the institutions of power for over 50 years. They have fought against great odds to, as they often proclaim, “take back our history!"

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Rogue U.S. officials conspired with their powerful patrons to assassinate President John F. Kennedy in 1963 primarily because of his opposition to a CIA-led U.S. military overthrow of Cuba's Communist government.

National Security StateThat was a dominant — albeit not universal — theme by speakers at "The National Security State and JFK" conference on June 3 in a Northern Virginia community that is heavily populated by intelligence, military and other federal workers and retirees.

Update: C-SPAN 3 Began cablecasting the forum on July 8.

The forum remains timely for many reasons, including reported Trump plans to renew reprisals against Cuba this week on human rights grounds.

Also, several columns published in recent days by Trump supporters from across the political spectrum, as well as some opeds from within the intelligence community, argue that a Deep State that had targeted both Kennedy and President Nixon over their foreign policies now seeks through its successors to end Trump's presidency prematurely.

President Donald Trump official

Regarding the forum:

"The legend constructed around the assassination was clearly a pretext for a Cuban invasion," military historian Douglas Horne told the audience after he retraced many covert steps by intelligence and military leaders to plan invasions of Cuba that Kennedy repeatedly rebuffed. "Although Kennedy's assassination did not trigger an invasion of Cuba it may have been intended to."

Among others endorsing Horne's view on the 11-speaker program was Jacob Hornberger, an attorney, Horne's publisher (including of JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated), and also the organizer of the conference as president of the Future of Freedom Foundation, which advocates libertarian policies.

"Ever since researchers and commentators began questioning the conclusions of the Warren Report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy," Hornberger wrote in the foreword to JFK's War, "the response has been: Why would the U.S. national-security establishment — that is, the military and the CIA — kill Kennedy?"

Jacob HornbergerThe answer, continued Hornberger (shown in a file photo), "is because Kennedy’s ideas about foreign-policy collided with those of the U.S. national-security establishment during the height of the Cold War."

As an alternative to conventional wisdom in the mainstream media, some commentators argue that the Kennedy, Nixon and Trump efforts to achieve better relations with the Soviet Union/Russia prompted reprisals from a largely unaccountable U.S. Deep State. Historian and former diplomat Peter Dale Scott decades ago began popularizing the term as describing unaccountable government officials, some of whom are CIA loyalists operating under official cover, and their powerful private sector patrons from the fields of banking, munitions, and other global sectors.

Such warnings come in recent columns from Hornberger, (Will They Succeed in Removing Trump from Office?), conservatives Patrick Buchanan, Philip Giraldi and Paul Craig Roberts (JFK at 100), and career intelligence professionals Ray McGovern and William Binney (Trumped-up claims against Trump). The latter two have been involved during recent years in privacy protection and anti-militarism advocacy. Their columns, excerpted also in an appendix, underscore the intense current interest in these topics. 

In other words, continued examination of the Kennedy death provides vital perspective about similar patterns affecting current events and commentary, including those regarding Trump foreign policy regarding Cuba and Russia and extending to investigations of the Trump administration by Congress and Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Last weekend was the anniversary of Kennedy's famed "peace speech" on June 10 in 1963 at American University. Film maker Oliver Stone, a speaker at the conference shown in our adjoining photo, emphasized the continuing importance of that Kennedy speech by describing it with a photo in The Concise Untold History of the United States, which sought to cover highlights in the nation's entire history in a 306-page book that Stone co-authored with history professor Peter Kuznick.

Readers here know that our coverage has included a so-far 39-part "Readers Guide to the JFK Assassination," excerpted below. It shows highlights from the more than 2,500 books addressing that topic in whole or part. The guide also documents a continuing pattern whereby major news media (aside from rare exceptions like C-SPAN), courts, academics and other "watchdog" institutions studiously avoid expert discussions on the Kennedy assassination while also occasionally hyping crackpot theories that confuse the public.

Such biased treatments support widespread and legitimate public suspicions that news coverage is skewed on other contemporary topics. This editor's many memberships in legal, journalism and other civic organizations include mainstream groups as well as volunteer board service for The Indicter, a Europe-based human rights web magazine, and for Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA). Both The Indicter and CAPA examine allegations of high-profile assassinations and cover-ups by legal and media organizations.

The analysis below summarizes the speakers at the all-day national security conference, which included film maker Oliver Stone, shown in our photo above left. The all-day event was filmed and will be shown on the website of the sponsoring foundation. Thus, the public can assess the relevant evidence and apply its lessons to current issues.

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