Tagged: Burns Jr.

October 6th, 2009

Frank Burns, Jr.

Frank Burns, Jr. was a friend of Robert Kennedy and was on stage when Kennedy gave his victory speech.  Mr. Burns was also standing next to Kennedy in the pantry when the senator was shot.  I had some questions for him.  When I called to arrange an interview he was most reluctant.  Everything he has to say has been said and is in the record.  I told him I was actually interested in showing him a few photos and then leave.  All I needed was ten minutes.  He said I could have five.  I already have what Frank Burns, Jr. said on the record.  What I need is off the record.  Did he see Jerry Bruno, the advance man, in the audience or in the wings during the victory speech?  Who is the person on stage that said, “This way senator” and redirected Kennedy toward the rear door of the stage separating RFK from his security people?

The official story is staff in the fifth floor suites with Kennedy decided after giving his speech Kennedy would leave the stage to his right and go down a stairwell to the Ambassador Room and address the overflow of supporters.  Afterwards, it was off to a private party at “The Factory,” a nightclub co-owned by Pierre Salinger.  Fred Dutton takes credit for changing the plan while Kennedy was speaking and instead have Kennedy taken back through the pantry.  I don’t think so.

Certainly the original plan set sometime before election night by CIA was to place the assassination team in the pantry while Kennedy was giving his anticipated victory speech and bring Kennedy to them.  We know this because on election night when Kennedy entered the pantry Sirhan, the mysterious polka dot dress girl, the second gunman and actual assassin as well as a CIA support team are waiting for him.  The polka dot dress girl is the trigger to put Sirhan under deep mkultra/amnesia, poor Sirhan will be firing at RFK as a diversion and take the rap, the professional assassin will pop Kennedy in the back of the head at point blank range and the CIA support team will provide security for the shooter and hustle him out of the pantry.  This brilliant plan to murder Kennedy is thwarted when Kennedy staffers not part of the conspiracy decide on their own plan.  The new plan means Kennedy will miss entirely the waiting assassination team.  The improvised plan at the last moment almost saved his life.  But one cool head on the floor of the Embassy Room prevailed.  My thinking is that one of the advance men, Jerry Bruno if he’s there, an underling if he’s not, learned during the speech of the new plan and ordered Fred Dutton to disregard it and take Kennedy immediately back through the pantry.  My educated guess is Jerry Bruno was the CIA’s inside man and perhaps others on the advance team as well.  Traitors.

But I have no proof.  It’s just theory.  Theory and a dollar will get me a cup of coffee.

There is also the problem of blond boy.  When reviewing the 1500 remaining photographs of the LAPD investigation at the California State Archives in Sacramento, I paid attention to anomalies.  What doesn’t fit?  Just prior to Kennedy’s entrance blond boy is seen standing on stage.  What draws attention to blond boy is the dark sunglasses.  This would be fine if it were Hawaii on the beach, in the afternoon.  But the time is midnight and it’s indoors.  The only reason for sunglasses is if you don’t want to be recognized.  Even if someone takes your photograph if your eyes can’t be seen you can always say, “It wasn’t me.”  In another photograph as Kennedy is approaching the lectern, blond boy is seen frantically elbowing his way off the stage.  Everyone else is trying to get on the stage and be close to Kennedy.  Only blond boy is making a bee line off the stage.  What’s the matter, camera shy?  Blond boy is a good looking young man about 26, physically fit, wearing a turtleneck sweater and jacket.  Then in motion picture film taken by a camera crew on stage with Kennedy blond boy magically re-appears on stage as Kennedy is being led to the rear door of the stage.  He is over Kennedy’s shoulder and seems to be stalking him with each step.  It’s as though blond boy’s job is to make sure Kennedy does not go off to his right but instead follows direction and leave through the back exit door off the stage.  In yet another film I’ve studied as RFK exits the rear door of the stage, blond boy stops at the door, turns around facing the Embassy Room crowd, hangs his head down and slowly walks off to his right.  Yeah, blond boy knows what is about to happen.

But, can Frank Burns, Jr. help me with any of this?  As I’m driving down La Brea in Hollywood to my appointment with Mr. Burns I thought of all the times I’ve driven this street never knowing Frank Burns, Jr. lives off of it.  Of course I never heard of Frank Burns, Jr. until this past year but you get the point.  How many secrets lay hidden in houses scattered all over Los Angeles.  I also thought why me?  Why the hell can’t I just get a job selling insurance and enjoy my life like everyone else.  Have a mortgage, a couple of kids, an occasional affair.  Damn.  This is dangerous.

I arrived at Mr. Burns house and parked a few doors down.  This way I can hide my Hyundai Accent.  No need for anyone to know I’m a broke mofo.  As a female friend commented to one of her friends and I wasn’t suppose to hear, “He doesn’t have a pot to piss in.”

In L.A. any man after a certain age who doesn’t have a house, a BMW, real estate, a quarter million dollars in the market, is seen as being defective.  Something didn’t click in at the appropriate time.  A diseased gene perhaps.  A loser gene that compels letting every good break that comes your way slip through your fingers.  Whatever.

Mr. Burns identified the photograph of Jerry Bruno.  He saw him that night but doesn’t remember when.  I showed him the photos of the blond boy.  He studied them and then let me know why he was a lawyer his entire professional life.  Detail.  Mr. Burns pointed out blond boy was wearing the pass/ID on his coat that gained one admittance to the Embassy Room.  I had missed that.  Mr. Burns related to me that after the speech Kennedy left the stage going the wrong way as agreed upon upstairs.  Burns had to almost run to catch up with him and did so in the pantry.  He was waiting for a pause in a conversation Kennedy was having with someone and was going to tell him, “Look pal, you’re going the wrong way.  We’re suppose to be going the opposite direction.”  At that moment he felt a blast close to his face.  He saw a gun pointing at Kennedy and he grabbed the waist of the gunman.  It was Sirhan.  Burns said they danced around for what seemed a long time and eventually Sirhan was pushed against a metal table.

From the LAPD interviews I knew that Karl Uecker, an assistant maitre d’, was leading Kennedy through the pantry and grabbed Sirhan’s gun arm after the second shot pushing it away from pointing at Kennedy, the gun continuing to discharge.  Edward Minassian, a few feet in front of Karl, charged smashing into Sirhan.  Now I had information that Frank Burns, Jr. also had a hold of Sirhan.  I asked Mr. Burns if he noticed anyone standing behind Kennedy just prior to or during the shooting.  “An elephant could have been standing behind Bob and I wouldn’t have noticed.  My concentration was on Sirhan.”

We re-enacted the shooting with Burns having me play the part of Robert Kennedy.  He stood a couple of feet to the right of me and we went over the shooting in detail.  Now I had a terrific feel for how the shooting went down.  Six months before I spent two days filming a bit part in a movie at the Ambassador Hotel.  On the second day of filming I arrived well before my call time and used the time to find the Embassy Room and pantry.  Security had seen me filming the day before so I had carte blanche to look around as far as my nerve would take me.

The carpet of the Embassy Room was dank and musty.  I followed RFK’s route to the large double doors leading to the pantry.  So these are the famous double doors I’ve read so much about.  A chain locked the doors so I had to go around.  I found the Coconut Grove nightclub and knew the kitchen must be behind it.  The nightclub was “dressed” for the movie and as I passed through I imagined Clark Gable and Errol Flynn sitting at the tables on a night out on the town.  I entered the kitchen and then the pantry.  How small.  Big enough to change history though.  I first went to the double doors and peeked through the chain into the Embassy Room where I had just been.  I turned and walked a few steps to where Kennedy stood when he was shot.  I was trying to set measurements in my mind.  I looked forward to where Sirhan was on the tray stacker just past the machine on the right.  The ice machine was still there after all this time giving me an excellent reference point.  Sirhan had only been ten to fifteen feet in front of Kennedy.  One of the three metal tables in front and to the left of Kennedy also remained.  I placed the many witnesses whose LAPD reports I’ve read so I could see what they saw that night.  Two things became clear.  One, several of the witnesses could have taken a step or two in and touched the second gunman firing at Kennedy from behind.  And two, all of them had to have seen the second gunman shoot Kennedy.

Hotel employees Martin Patrusky, Juan Romero and Jesus Perez lined up to Kennedy’s left had a perfect view of the shooter.  They are only a few feet from Kennedy and hence the shooter with nothing blocking their view.  Boris Yaro, Valerie Shulte, Thane Caesar and Richard Lubic are behind and slightly to the right of the senator and also would have seen the man behind Kennedy shooting.  Evan Freed standing slightly forward and to Kennedy’s right did see the second shooter and said so in his affidavit.  If anyone had been hard to see it would have been Sirhan.  At 5’ 2” the view of Sirhan would have been blocked by Karl Uecker and Frank Burns, Jr.  But these witnesses all had an unimpeded view of the second gunman.

After finishing the re-enactment Mr. Burns walked toward me his eyes blazing.  “Sirhan did not kill Bob,” he said.  Elaborating he told me the autopsy placed a gun one inch from behind Kennedy’s head while Sirhan never got closer than a foot or two and was in front of Bob.  “When I testified at the trial no one, not the prosecutor or the defense, asked me about distance.”

As I left Mr. Burns to his painful memories I went away admiring his courage.  To tell the truth puts him at great risk of CIA retribution.  “Sirhan did not kill Bob.”  Coming from a man who was standing next to Kennedy when he was shot makes him a target.  And a hero.