By Ron Unz
Source: The Unz Review
As an heir to the most famous political family in modern American history, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is hardly an obscure individual, and recent events have greatly elevated his national prominence.
Although he had spent most of his career as a highly-successful environmental attorney, during the early 2000s he gradually became involved with the grassroots movement questioning the safety and efficacy of our proliferating vaccines, a cause widely ridiculed or ignored by our national elites but increasingly resonating with many worried families.
Then the sudden Covid epidemic moved public health issues to the absolute center of the political debate, including the highly controversial steps taken to control the disease. For the first time in history, most Americans were suddenly subjected to lockdowns, which imposed severe restrictions upon their freedom of movement and assembly, and although these were originally presented as temporary measures expected to last only a couple of weeks, across much of the country they actually remained in place for a year or longer. Moreover, the permanent solution proposed for the crisis was the largest mass-vaccination drive in world history, with the leading vaccines relying upon a new and relatively untested mRNA biotechnology developed by our profit-hungry pharmaceutical giants, a situation that raised deep suspicions among many citizens.
Given these developments, the once marginal anti-vaxxing movement suddenly exploded onto the national stage, cutting across many existing political, social, and ideological fault-lines and encompassing perhaps 20-30% of America’s population, with Kennedy and his Children’s Health Defense non-profit soon becoming leading champions of these fearful individuals. Despite lacking any media coverage or a promotional advertising campaign, his book The Real Anthony Fauci sold over 500,000 copies by early January, spending two months on the Amazon bestseller list, much of that time at the very top.
The media establishment regards our vaccination drive as an absolutely crucial national priority and is intensely hostile to those who challenge it, so Kennedy soon became one of its leading villains. In mid-December, a team of six journalists and researchers at the Associated Press unleashed a ferocious 4,000 word assault, followed a few weeks later by a similar critique in leftist Counterpunch. But both these pieces attacked Kennedy on rather mundane grounds, claiming that his anti-vaccination arguments were wrong, dangerous, and possibly financially motivated, and neither gained much attention, nor seemed to damage his popular momentum.
When the media targets an individual, it monitors his every utterance, seeking the slightest opening to vilify him, and last week an opportunity came as Kennedy spoke before a crowd of 30,000 anti-vaxxers at a rally in Washington, DC. Indulging in overly-heated rhetoric, he declared “We have witnessed over the last 20 months a coup d’état against democracy, and the controlled demolition of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.” He further suggested that that government requirements for vaccinations and mandates were imposing “fascism” on our society, with families having nowhere to escape: “Even in Hitler’s Germany, you could cross the Alps to Switzerland. You could hide in an attic like Anne Frank did.”
In our deeply secular society, Nazi Germany has replaced Satan as the epitome of pure evil, while Anne Frank—a Jewish teenager who died of typhus in a German hospital near the end of the war—has been elevated to the status of a sacred martyr. Although drawing such historical analogies is hardly uncommon in political rhetoric, it can sometimes produce angry reactions, especially if these are orchestrated by a hostile media, and Kennedy’s supposedly scandalous references immediately provoked a firestorm of critical coverage, soon leading him to apologize.
With Kennedy’s enemies fanning the flames, his brief reference to the sad fate of a girl who died three generations ago may have received a hundred times more media coverage than the large rally he had headlined or the huge sales of his national bestseller. When the media seeks to destroy someone’s reputation, it will react with hair-trigger reflexes to his slightest misstep.
Yet oddly enough, the same media organs that created a major national controversy out of a few ill-chosen words at a political rally had previously allowed certain of Kennedy’s other, seemingly far greater vulnerabilities to pass almost entirely unnoticed.
These days being labeled a “conspiracy theorist” is a particularly serious charge, with the slur suggesting dangerous mental illness, and surely stigmatizing Kennedy in such a manner would have been an ideal means of discrediting him. But although the author had publicly proclaimed himself a conspiracy theorist of the most explicit sort last month, almost all our hostile journalists carefully averted their eyes.
In the 1960s the conspiratorial term of abuse was first applied to those who challenged the official story that President Kennedy had died at the hands of a deranged lone gunman, and was later broadened to include the many other assassinations that soon followed, including that of the president’s own brother. And on December 8th, nearly the entire Forum page of the San Francisco Chronicle was filled by a Kennedy column arguing that his father Sen. Robert F. Kennedy had been slain by a group of secret conspirators, with the convicted gunman merely being an innocent patsy who should finally be released from prison.
Yet although Kennedy’s legion of media critics attacked him on almost all other grounds, fair or unfair, they carefully avoided that seemingly easy means of branding him as delusional. The long AP attack that ran a week later mentioned not a word, nor did the January Counterpunch piece. As a consequence, I doubt whether more than a tiny slice of the public is aware that Kennedy is a “conspiracy theorist.”
The obvious reason for this strange media reticence was that Kennedy’s position was very solidly grounded in hard factual evidence. In 2018 I drew upon some of the material in David Talbot’s widely-praised 2008 book Brothers to describe the strange aspects of the assassination.
If the first two dozen pages of the Talbot book completely overturned my understanding of the JFK assassination, I found the closing section almost equally shocking. With the Vietnam War as a political millstone about his neck, President Johnson decided not to seek reelection in 1968, opening the door to a last minute entry into the Democratic race by Robert Kennedy, who overcame considerable odds to win some important primaries. Then on June 4, 1968, he carried gigantic winner-take-all California, placing him on an easy path to the nomination and the presidency itself, at which point he would finally be in a position to fully investigate his brother’s assassination. But minutes after his victory speech, he was shot and fatally wounded, allegedly by another lone gunman, this time a disoriented Palestinian immigrant named Sirhan Sirhan, supposedly outraged over Kennedy’s pro-Israel public positions, although these were no different than those expressed by most other political candidates in America.
All this was well known to me. However, I had not known that powder burns later proved that the fatal bullet had been fired directly behind Kennedy’s head from a distance of three inches or less although Sirhan was standing several feet in front of him. Furthermore, eyewitness testimony and acoustic evidence indicated that at least twelve bullets were fired although Sirhan’s revolver could hold only eight, and a combination of these factors led longtime LA Coroner Dr. Thomas Naguchi, who conducted the autopsy, to claim in his 1983 memoir that there was likely a second gunman. Meanwhile, eyewitnesses also reported seeing a security guard with his gun drawn standing immediately behind Kennedy during the attack, and that individual happened to have a deep political hatred of the Kennedys. The police investigators seemed uninterested in these highly suspicious elements, none of which came to light during the trial. With two Kennedy brothers now dead, neither any surviving members of the family nor most of their allies and retainers had any desire to investigate the details of this latest assassination, and in a number of cases they soon moved overseas, abandoning the country entirely. JFK’s widow Jackie confided in friends that she was terrified for the lives of her children, and quickly married Aristotle Onassis, a Greek billionaire, whom she felt would be able to protect them.
Over the years, the 1968 Robert Kennedy assassination has attracted merely a sliver of the books and research devoted to the earlier killing of his elder brother in Dallas, and Talbot’s text spent only a few pages sketching out the strong evidence that the convicted gunman was merely an innocent dupe, manipulated by the true conspirators. But in 2018, two additional books appeared that were entirely focused on the case.
A Lie Too Big To Fail by longtime journalist and conspiracy researcher Lisa Pease ran 500 pages and covered the events of that fatal California evening in exhaustive detail, winning the endorsements of filmmaker Oliver Stone and renowned JFK researcher James W. Douglass. When I read it a few months ago, I found the huge volume of material quite useful but felt that it relied too heavily upon the recollections of eyewitnesses, which can easily grow attenuated over the decades. I was also disturbed to note that the text sometimes seemed to gradually transform reasonable suspicions into apparent certainties, eventually arguing that 3-4 different gunmen were probably firing at the presidential candidate that evening while Sirhan’s own gun had held only blanks.
At the very end, the author also veered off into building castles in the air with regard to other assassinations, arguing that Oswald probably had multiple personalities and that Jack Ruby was operating under a post-hypnotic suggestion, thinly documented claims that seriously weakened her credibility, as did her earlier suggestion that John Lennon had been killed by a government-programmed assassin in 1980 for his past criticism of the Vietnam War. Sometimes less is better, and I think that Pease’s book would have been much stronger if it had been heavily edited and substantially cut. All those extraneous elements should have been left on the cutting-room floor rather than distracting from the central evidence she provided regarding the existence of an RFK assassination conspiracy and Sirhan’s likely innocence.
Meanwhile, The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy by Tim Tate and the Brad Johnson was released that same year and suffered from none of these flaws. The two conspiracy researchers had spent some 25 years heavily involved in the case, and although their volume was only around half the length of the Pease book, it seemed a far more effective treatment of the topic, including eyewitness accounts but focused primarily upon the undeniable physical and forensic evidence while avoiding any damaging bouts of unwarranted speculation.
While working at CNN, one of the authors had originally obtained the audiotape establishing the number of shots fired, which probably constitutes the single strongest piece of evidence in the case. The book analyzed and evaluated that crucial item in tremendous detail, and also focused upon the fatal shot, which was fired at point-blank range from behind the candidate while Sirhan, the supposed gunman, was standing several feet in front. But since both the publisher and the lead author were British, the work seems to have received much less attention in this country, and I only discovered and read it after Kennedy cited it in his SF Chronicle column.
Unlike many other controversial American killings or terrorist attacks, the powerful evidence of a conspiracy in the case of the RFK assassination was physical and seemingly undeniable. Wikipedia is notoriously reluctant to promote conspiratorial narratives, but in this case the striking facts are presented with only rather weak challenges.
The conclusive proof from the audio recording only came to light in 2004, but I was surprised to discover that all the other strong evidence, including the large number of unexplained bullet holes, had already been known and reported for decades.
Former Congressman Allard K. Lowenstein had been heavily involved in the 1968 election campaign, playing a major role in the effort to unseat incumbent President Lyndon Johnson. In 1977 he published a long cover-story in the influential Saturday Review, setting forth the overwhelming evidence that a second gunman had been involved in the shooting, and my content-archiving system provides a convenient PDF copy. So nearly all the crucial facts in the case have been known for 45 years, but were almost always ignored by our dishonest or cowardly American media.
Three years after publicly revealing that explosive information, Lowenstein himself was dead, supposedly shot at the age of 51 by a deranged lone gunman who had been a former student of his, but I have been informed that his personal friends never believed that story.
Given this massive preponderance of evidence, we can easily understand why the harsh media attacks upon Kennedy had so carefully avoided mentioning his conspiratorial beliefs regarding his father’s assassination. Such criticism would have merely brought the issue to wider public attention, and anyone who began looking into the matter would have quickly concluded that Kennedy was probably correct while our media had spent a half-century covering up the true facts of the 1968 assassination. And if Kennedy were telling the truth and the media lying, many people would begin to wonder if the same might also be true on the vaxxing issue.
Over the last couple of months, I have noted that this pattern of media reticence has been even more pronounced with regard to the actual contents of Kennedy’s landmark book. Perhaps one might argue that his statements about the death of his father were personal matters exempt from media scrutiny, or even that the details of a particular assassination so many decades ago had no relevance to his vaxxing arguments. But it seemed utterly bizarre that all of the harsh attacks on his book had carefully avoided mentioning its major theme.
I had opened Kennedy’s book assuming that it would focus almost entirely on the vaccination issues with which the author had long been identified. Yet I soon discovered that nearly half the text—some 200 pages—was instead devoted to the disease of AIDS, an entirely different topic, and that the claims he made were absolutely incendiary. As I wrote in December:
Yet according to the information provided in Kennedy’s #1 Amazon bestseller, this well-known and solidly-established picture, which I had never seriously questioned, is almost entirely false and fraudulent, essentially amounting to a medical media hoax. Instead of being responsible for AIDS, the HIV virus is probably harmless and had nothing to do with the disease. But when individuals were found to be infected with HIV, they were subjected to the early, extremely lucrative AIDS drugs, which were actually lethal and often killed them. The earliest AIDS cases had mostly been caused by very heavy use of particular illegal drugs, and the HIV virus had been misdiagnosed as being responsible. But since Fauci and the profit-hungry drug companies soon built enormous empires upon that misdiagnosis, for more than 35 years they have fought very hard to maintain and protect it, exerting all their influence to suppress the truth in the media while destroying the careers of any honest researchers who challenged that fraud. Meanwhile, AIDS in Africa was something entirely different, probably caused mostly by malnutrition or other local conditions.
I found Kennedy’s account as shocking as anything I have ever encountered.
In 1985 AZT, an existing drug, was found to kill the HIV virus in laboratory tests. Fauci then made tremendous efforts to speed it through clinical trials as an appropriate treatment for healthy, HIV-positive individuals, with FDA approval finally coming in 1987, producing Fauci’s first moment of triumph. Priced at $10,000/year per patient, AZT was one of the most expensive drugs in history, and with the cost covered by health insurance and government subsidies, it produced an unprecedented financial windfall for its manufacturer.
Kennedy devotes an entire chapter to the story of AZT, and the tale he tells is something out of Kafka or perhaps Monty Python. Apparently, Fauci had been under enormous pressure to produce medical breakthroughs justifying his large budget, so he manipulated the AZT trials to conceal the extremely toxic nature of the drug, which rapidly killed many of the patients who received it, with their symptoms being ascribed to AIDS. So following FDA approval in 1987, hundreds of thousands of perfectly healthy individuals found to be infected with HIV were placed on a regimen of AZT, and the large number of resulting deaths was misattributed to the virus rather than to the anti-viral drug. According to the scientific experts cited in the book, the vast majority of post-1987 “AIDS deaths” were actually due to AZT.
Prior to the Covid outbreak, AIDS had spent almost four decades as the world’s highest-profile disease, absorbing perhaps a couple of trillion dollars of funding and becoming the central focus of an army of scientists and medical experts. It simply boggles the mind for someone to suggest that HIV/AIDS might have largely been a hoax, and that the vast majority of deaths were not from the illness but from the drugs taken to treat it.
My science textbooks sometimes mentioned that during the benighted 18th century, leading Western physicians treated all manner of ailments with bleeding, a quack practice that regularly caused the deaths of their patients, with our own George Washington often numbered among the victims. Indeed, some have argued that for several centuries prior to modern times, standard medical treatments inadvertently took far more lives than they saved, and those too poor or backward to consult a doctor probably benefited from that lack. But I had never dreamed that this same situation might have occurred during the most recent decades of our modern scientific age.
Since the 1980s AIDS has been an explosive topic in the public sphere, and anyone—whether scientist or layman—who questioned the orthodox narrative was viciously denounced as having blood on his hands. During the early 2000s South African President Thabo Mbeki had cautiously raised such possibilities and was massively vilified by the international media and the academic community. Yet when Kennedy’s #1 Amazon bestseller went much farther, devoting seven full chapters to making the case that HIV/AIDS was merely a medical hoax, his media antagonists carefully avoided that subject even while they attacked him on all other grounds.
Once again, the only plausible explanation is that the hostile journalists and their editors have recognized that Kennedy’s factual evidence was too strong and any such attacks might prove disastrously counter-productive. As far back as the 1990s, a former Harvard professor had publicly declared that the AIDS hoax was as great a scientific scandal as the notorious Lysenko fraud, and if a substantial portion of the American public concluded that AIDS was indeed a medical phantom that had been promoted for 35 years by our gullible and dishonest media, the credibility of the latter on current vaccination issues might be completely annihilated.
It would have been the easiest thing in the world for the media to accurately blast Kennedy as “a conspiracy theorist whose book claims that AIDS is a hoax,” and that simple, short phrase would have immediately dealt a massive body-blow to his public reputation. But many people would then have begun looking into the facts, and once they did so, the tables might have quickly turned, destroying the credibility of his critics. The total silence of the media suggests that they greatly feared that possibility.
The hostile media demanded that Kennedy immediately apologize for his heated words regarding fascism and Anne Frank, and to his credit he quickly did so. But I believe that he now has every right to demand that the same media publicly apologize for having spent the last fifty years concealing the true facts of his father’s assassination from his own family and from the American people. And he and others should also begin demanding that the media and medical establishments apologize for the catastrophic HIV/AIDS disaster they inflicted upon our society, a disaster that probably led to the horrible deaths of hundreds of thousands of perfectly healthy Americans. These two matters carry vastly greater weight than a glancing spoken reference to the events of World War II.
One reason that the remarkable silence surrounding Kennedy’s controversial disclosures was so easily apparent to me is that I have become familiar with that pattern. Over the last several years both media outlets and activist organizations have similarly shied away from the published contents of this website and my own writings, doing their best to avert their eyes from material that was many times more controversial than what they would have eagerly attacked and denounced elsewhere. I have discussed what I call this “Lord Voldemort Effect,” and have described some notable examples in the media.
Many of my own essays have dealt directly with the same controversial topics highlighted in Kennedy’s writings and public statements, and for those so interested in exploring them, they are conveniently grouped together in these categories: