Sirhan Sirhan Denied Parole
|The world will not be subjected to the treat of a Sirhan Sirhan on the loose, who said he “hates Americans and, if released, wants to be involved in Middle East politics". There was no real possibility of his release, as even if the California parole board had made a ridiculous call on this one, Gov. Schwarzenegger would have overridden their decision. Leave it to the good professor over at The Volokh Conspiracy to point this out:|
One of my favorite examples of Chutzpah was Sirhan's statement to the parole board in 1982:
"If Robert Kennedy were alive today, he would not countenance singling me out for this kind of treatment."
I suppose that it is just Sirhan's bad luck that somebody killed Robert Kennedy. This is a real-world example of the classic plea for mercy: "A boy is on trial for murdering his parents, and he begs of the judge leniency because he is an orphan."
The case of Sirhan has never disappointed fans of the bizarre. In 2003, Lawrence Teeter, an attorney for Sirhan was arguing for a new trial. "Have you seen The Manchurian Candidate? It's the same thing with my client. He was the victim of hypnotic programming." In Sirhan's case, Mr. Teeter and others claim he was the unwilling tool of some faceless fiends in the Central Intelligence Agency or an amorphous entity they call "the military industrial complex."
Mr. Teeter claims his client attended a hypnosis demonstration in Pasadena a month before the Kennedy assassination and may have been recruited by unnamed CIA members who he claims were experimenting with hypnosis at the time. That's one for the conspiracy theory Book of Classics.
What we do know more factually about the murder is that Sirhan was a 24-year-old Palestinian born militant at the time he pulled the trigger. In a diary police found at his home, he reportedly wrote: "My determination to eliminate RFK is becoming more the more [sic] of an unshakable obsession. RFK must die. RFK must be killed. Robert F. Kennedy must be assassinated..... Robert F. Kennedy must be assassinated before 5 June, 1968."
The date is significant because it is the first anniversary of the start of the Six Day War, in which Israel trounced its Arab neighbors, capturing East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the Sinai. Sirhan and his family had been uprooted from their home in Jordan by the Arab-Israeli war in 1948, and prosecutors at his trial claimed Sirhan, who was a Christian Arab, was vehemently anti-Israel. Sirhan testified he was angry at Kennedy after finding out from a radio broadcast in May the senator had promised to send 50 U.S. bombers to Israel.