Monday, 28 December 2009 17:26

JFK: The Ruby Connection – Gary Mack's Follies Continued, Part Three

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The critiques that Milicent Cranor, David Mantik, Speer and myself have made of Mack's Discovery Channel debacles cannot be reduced to a disagreement over conclusions; they are based on the methods by which the conclusions were reached, writes Jim DiEugenio.

Part Three, Gary Mack Replies: Doctor Faustus Defends His Deal

Researcher Pat Speer also wrote a critique of Gary Mack's latest concoction. His was briefer and it appeared quickly after JFK: The Ruby Connection was broadcast. He posted it at John Simkin's Spartacus JFK forum on November 24th. Pat posed some valid criticisms of the show: both what was in it and what was left out of it. He made some of the same criticisms that I did, only in more concise form. For instance, he noted the acceptance of the Warren Commission's version of Jack Ruby entering the police department basement via the Main Street ramp, the testimony of Bill Grammar about the Ruby phone call, and the exclusion of the very suspicious behavior of policeman Patrick Dean, in charge of security on 11/24, a man who even the Commission had doubts about. Speer went on to wonder about Mack's contractual bona fides on this case today. That is, does his agreement with the Sixth Floor Museum require that he appear in public as the contemporary purveyor and extender of the cover-up about President Kennedy's murder, i.e. a combination of David Belin/Dan Rather. And he closed with a reminder of how bad Dallas law enforcement is and was by recommending the reader view firsthand the miscarriage of justice in the frame-up of Randall Adams as depicted in the Errol Morris documentary The Thin Blue Line.

Gary Mack – real name Larry Dunkel – e-mailed a reply to Speer. The reply makes clear why, in some quarters, his new nickname is Larry Fable.

Mack/Dunkel/Fable characterizes JFK: The Ruby Connection as a "look at some of the details surrounding the shooting" of Oswald. Elsewhere he has said that the show was not a complete look at the case. But there is a problem with saying that. The program does directly comment on all three major events of that traumatic weekend: the killing of President Kennedy, the murder of Officer Tippit, and the shooting of Oswald. And, as I noted in my two-part review, in all three cases Mack/Dunkel stands firmly beside the Warren Commission. There was no conspiracy in the Kennedy murder, Oswald did it alone. Oswald also killed Tippit. And Ruby shot Oswald because he was temporarily deranged by grief over Kennedy's death. And as I mentioned in Part 2, the show actually went further than that by mimicking the Commission's cartoon portrait of Oswald as a both a "marksman" and "Russian exile" among other things. So, even though it dealt briefly with the Kennedy and Tippit murders, the show toed the Commission line on both. It also used the Commission's now obsolete-and actually dishonest – misrepresentation of Oswald as the backdrop. And in its presentation of the murder of Oswald, it was ridiculously one-sided.

Mack/Dunkel then tries to discredit the testimony of both Seth Kantor and Wilma Tice, who both swore they saw Ruby at Parkland Hospital. He says he made a timeline about Ruby's activities after Kennedy's murder. His timeline precludes Ruby meeting up with Kantor. Sorry Gary, but as you can see by my critique, after having experienced your timelines, I have to be a wee bit skeptical. So I will side with Kantor, Tice, and the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA).

Mack/Dunkel then questions Billy Grammar's testimony about the call by Ruby to the Dallas Police Department (DPD) trying to talk them out of transferring Oswald. His reason for skepticism is a real doozy. He says that Grammar did not tell anyone about this call until later: Grammar should have told DA Henry Wade about it earlier. I am presuming that Mack/Dunkel kept a straight face while typing this – but I hope not. In my review I discussed the cover-up that went on inside the DPD about the murder of Oswald. One aspect of the DPD cover-up was the concealment of the testimony of Sgt. Don Flusche. This is the man who told Jack Moriarty of the HSCA that he was standing on Main Street, right outside the ramp. Flusche said that Ruby did not come down Main and he did not get anywhere near the ramp. (HSCA Vol. IX, p. 134, Anthony Summers, Conspiracy, p. 462) Flusche did not keep his testimony a secret from his colleagues, yet it was not part of the police investigation and was not mentioned by the Commission. Why? The HSCA sure found out about it. And it was quite significant to them. Furthering this point, when Commission Counsel Burt Griffin wanted to make Patrick Dean a target since he knew he was lying, the Dallas authorities applied the pressure to keep the cover-up about themselves intact. Who personally applied the heat? Mack/Dunkel's buddy, DA Henry Wade. So the idea that Grammar's testimony would be welcome and then trumpeted by the DA or the police is just nonsense. Especially since Grammar stated that the caller said that "We are going to kill him", thereby denoting a conspiracy. With the near-unanimous oath of silence taken by the DPD, I am amazed Grammar's testimony ever surfaced at all. (See Part 6, of my review of Reclaiming History for the details about Wade and Dean, especially Sections VI and VII.)

Mack/Dunkel then tried to dispute the fact that there was no discussion on the show about the dispute over whether Ruby came down the ramp or through an alley door to enter the basement and kill Oswald. He actually said that they reconstructed the alternative route and there was very little difference in timing between the two routes Ruby could have taken. Therefore the tests proved nothing one way or the other!

This is really something – which is why I placed it in italics. First of all, after Inside the Target Car, and The Ruby Connection, how can anyone trust a "reconstruction" by Mack/Dunkel, Discovery Channel, or the production entity Creative Differences? It's like trusting the Warren Commission's recreations. But secondly, to say that the timing was roughly the same and that therefore it's not worth mentioning, that is just off the wall. The main point about Ruby coming in the alley door is this: It would clearly imply that he knew it was accessible at that time. In other words, that Dean and his cohorts on the security detail did not do their job. Or why risk it? And to know that would necessitate having an inside man. Which is why Burt Griffin was so suspicious about Dean. And once that particular line would have been crossed, it would have opened up a whole new inquiry. For example, did Dean signal Ruby from the back door once he knew the side entrance was unlocked and Oswald was coming down? And this appears to be why Wade strongly resisted Griffin's targeting of Dean. And this is probably why Dean failed his polygraph. And it's also the likely reason that Dean failed to appear before the HSCA. Because with the testimony of Flusche now clear of the DPD cover-up, they believed that Officer Roy Vaughn did not let Ruby come down the ramp.

But then Mack/Dunkel makes himself look even worse. He actually says that he personally believes that Ruby did come in through the HSCA's alley door, not the ramp. Which puts him in a class with the likes of Gus Russo and Dale Myers and their ilk. He knows better but he doesn't care. (I have it on good sources that he used to communicate with them regularly about keeping up a propaganda barrage.)

Mack/Dunkel then tries to dismiss Ruby's suspicious phone calls in the month before the assassination. He uses the stale, tired excuse that it was all about a labor dispute over his employees and the unfair trade practices of his competitors. Really? And he had to call Teamster enforcer Barney Baker and his gambler-idol Lewis McWillie over that? David Scheim thoroughly exposed this union dispute as a cover-up many years ago in his book Contract on America. For Mack/Dunkel to still maintain this smoke screen shows just how compromised and untrustworthy he has become.

Pat Speer also scored the show on not mentioning the HSCA's experts who concluded Ruby very likely lied during his polygraph exam. Dunkel's comments on this issue were rich, even for him. He says that Ruby's polygraph test was useless based upon standard practices at the time and that the polygraph remains of little value. Again, can this man be that obtuse without being compromised? As I discussed at length at the end of Part 6 of my Reclaiming History review, the HSCA report went way beyond that point. When one reads the report closely they are saying something beyond that: that the many violations of normal procedure, plus the deliberate turning down of the GSR machine (Galvanic Skin Response), suggest that the test was rigged in advance. The combination of the GSR malpractice, plus the ludicrously overlong nature of the questioning, these almost guaranteed that – exaggerating only slightly – that after about 1/5 of the test, Ruby could have been asked if he was the Governor of Texas, said yes, and would have still passed the test. That is the real point of the HSCA report. One that Larry Fable, in his front man pose, cannot admit.

In an exchange with longtime researcher Ed Tatro, Mack has also tried to dismiss the exquisite timing of the two horns as Oswald is escorted out the door and down the corridor. He first called it a coincidence, then he said it was a signal from the awaiting car. With Tatro, he ignored the fact that Ruby specifically mentioned the "horn-blowing" in correspondence he wrote from jail in 1965. In a letter secured by Bill Diehl of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Ruby talked about being gravely ill and going to a hospital. He closed with, "If you hear a lot of horn-blowing, it will be for me, they will want my blood." As I said in Part 6, Section VII of my review of Reclaiming History, one could argue that he was referring to St. Gabriel, but 1.) Ruby did not strike me as being very religious, and 2) He was Jewish. But the fact that Mack was fully aware of the two horns and then both distorted and eliminated them anyway shows the thorough dishonesty of the program.

How far is Mack/Dunkel willing to go in doing dirty work for the Dallas Police? He even tries to dismiss the numerous reversals of Henry Wade's convictions. He says that every city has problems like that, and that at least Wade preserved the evidence to mount the reversals upon. Gary or Larry: Each city is supposed to preserve evidence until the defendant's appeals process has run out. Not destroying evidence is not something to be congratulated upon. Second, yes many cities have problems with a compromised police force but a.) Not to the degree that Wade's regime maintained, and b.) Only with a police force that bad could the nightmare of November 22-24 have happened. But third is a point that Mack/Dunkel has to ignore. If Craig Watkins had not been elected in 2006, we almost certainly would have never known about Wade's perfidy. Because the lying, dirty, unethical, Old Boys Network Wade had established would have surely not exposed itself. And Mack and Vince Bugliosi would have been free to expound upon what a wonderful operation Wade and Captain Will Fritz had run.

Elsewhere, Mack/Dunkel has written that people like Pat Speer and myself have attacked him only because we disagree with him. Not true. The critiques that Milicent Cranor, David Mantik, Speer and myself have made of Mack's Discovery Channel debacles cannot be reduced to that. They are not really based on a disagreement over conclusions, but with the methods by which the conclusions were reached. When CTKA reviewed last year's ludicrous Inside the Target Car, the authors indicated numerous points where the show clearly broke from the record to make their simulation work. (See here.) Yet, all those now exposed falsifications did not stop Discovery Channel from repeating that ridiculous show this year. As I pointed out in relation to the more recent show, this same unscholarly and dishonest process was repeated there. It is that kind of performance-the adulteration of the record, with key facts omitted – that drove the reputation of the Warren Commission into the ground.

But with the present perpetrators, I think it is even worse. Why? Because now, through the releases of the Assassination Records Review Board, there is much startling new evidence that we know the Commission did not have. But yet with Mack/Dunkel, the production entity Creative Differences, and Discovery Channel, that monumental declassification process did not happen. In my 30 minute essay for the DVD version of the film JFK, I used about twenty times as many of these newly declassified documents as are in the combined three hours of The Ruby Connection, Inside the Target Car, and Did the Mob Kill JFK? And the few documents that the last show used, were misrepresented.

In light of that unsavory fact, Mack/Dunkel, Discovery Channel and Creative Differences deserve everything that has been thrown at them. Because the only thing worse than an uninformed public is a misinformed one. And that is the true sin behind what these shows do: They deliberately mislead the public about an epochal event in twentieth century history. In light of that, the word "sin" is the proper word to use in this regard. As I indicated in my essay on Mack and his guru Dave Perry, Mack/Dunkel, like Doctor Faustus, has sold his soul. In his case, Perry was his Mephistopheles.

Last modified on Wednesday, 02 November 2016 04:35
James DiEugenio

One of the most respected researchers and writers on the political assassinations of the 1960s, Jim DiEugenio is the author of two books, Destiny Betrayed (1992/2012) and The JFK Assassination: The Evidence Today (2018), co-author of The Assassinations, and co-edited Probe Magazine (1993-2000).   See "About Us" for a fuller bio.

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