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Jim DiEugenio analyzes and summarizes Larry Hancock's interesting
and unique new book Nexus:
The CIA and Political Assassination
Jim DiEugenio reviews the work
of Chris Matthews on the life and death
Mark Lane's latest book,
BETRAYAL IN DALLAS:
LBJ, the Pearl Street Mafia, and the Murder of President Kennedy
The Second Dallas, a DVD Robert Kennedy documentary produced, written and directed by Massimo Mazzucco. Reviewed by Jim DiEugenio
The Connally Bullet Powerful evidence that Connally was hit by a bullet from a different assassin, by Robert Harris
Joseph Green on the late Manning Marable's new full scale biography of Malcolm X.
JFK and the Majestic Papers: The History of a Hoax by Seamus Coogan
- and -
Coogan on Joseph Farrell's new book LBJ and the Conspiracy
to Kill Kennedy: A Coalescence of Interests
by Donald Byron Thomas
Wikipedia? by JP Mroz and Jim DiEugenio (3 part series)
is Anton Batey?
the ARRB Reviews of Douglas Horne's multi-volume study
of the declassified medical evidence in the JFK case. Reviewed
by Jim DiEugenio, David Mantik and Gary Aguilar.
Exclusive excerpts from Mitchell Warriner's long awaited new book
Gary Aguilar and Pat
Speercontinue to critique the work of Professor
Billy Kelly does an update and addition to the Chicago plot to kill JFK.
Joseph Green reviews the new book edited by Caroline
Bill Davy continues our Wikipedia exposure series by examining an entry dealing with the JIm Garrison investigation.
JFK: The Ruby Connection, Gary Mack's Follies Continued
By James DiEugenio
As I proved in Part One, the title to this documentary is a misnomer. Since it deliberately shears off all the possible connections Jack Ruby could have to the Kennedy assassination i.e., to the Cosa Nostra, to the CIA, to Oswald, and finally to the Dallas Police. In Part One, I presented only a précis of the multitude of connections Jack Ruby had to those three entities and to Oswald. Other authors, like Jim Marrs and John Armstrong, have done longer and fuller examinations of what those ties were. For instance, Armstrong traces Ruby's gun-running activities with the CIA back to the late fifties. But how could that be if Castro was not in power at the time? Because, as it often does, the CIA was playing both sides in the Batista/Castro struggle. So they were actually sending some aid to Castro at the time. And Ruby appears to have been part of it. (See John Armstrong, Harvey and Lee, pgs. 177, 586)
The Warren Commission attempted to conceal almost everything I dealt with in Part One. But since they published 26 volumes of evidence, some of it managed to slip through. In the intervening years, due to declassification, field investigation, and the work of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, the final Commission cover-up about Ruby fell apart. (I say "final" because as we have seen, even the assistant counsel of the Commission understood that, with Ruby, it was just a matter of how hard you wanted to dig.) With his low-level ties to the CIA, and mid-level ties to the Cosa Nostra, plus his ties to the Dallas Police as a source of information about narcotics – and probably as a source of graft in more ways than one – Ruby seems a logical choice to enter the basement of City Hall on 11/24 and polish off Oswald.
Like the Warren Commission, Gary Mack leaves all this out and reduces Jack Ruby, the man who Henry Hurt called, "A Pimp for All Seasons" , to a cipher. When, in fact, as far back as November of 1973 in Ramparts, Peter Dale Scott described Ruby as being part of the "longest cover-up", and that Ruby's sinister connections were even harder to conceal than Oswald's. Scott wrote about the Ruby cover-up in 1973. This Discovery Channel program is being broadcast in November and December of 2009! Thirty six years later, they are continuing the Ruby cover-up.
As with Inside the Target Car, once you understand the objective, you can understand why the show does what it does. Like the Warren Commission, if you conceal who Ruby is, then it is much easier to portray what he did as something like a random act of violence. Or as the Commission said, and Oliver Stone parodied so memorably, you can disguise Ruby killing Oswald as the desperate act of a patriotic bartender who wanted to spare Jackie Kennedy the pain of sitting through a trial. But by depriving Oswald of his day in court, what the Commission and Ruby actually accomplished was this: Oswald may very well have been acquitted at trial. Or worse, he may have talked during or before the proceedings. In that sense, Ruby's silencing of Oswald can be seen as a way of sealing off the best attempt at cracking the conspiracy. If you do what this show does, that is send Ruby through a twenty dollar car wash, dry him off, spray deodorant all over him, and give him a makeover, then you mislead the audience as to any motive Ruby could have besides sparing Jackie Kennedy.
But that is what this show does. And, as we shall see, Gary Mack knows better.
One of the more gassy and pretentious devices the show uses is a sub-titled timeline combined with a glass map over which the stage named Gary Mack (real name Larry Dunkel) traces with his finger. In other words, an event will be time stamped on the screen and then Mack/Dunkel will trace and match that with what the other party, say Ruby, was doing at the time. Or else he will trace the path that Ruby traveled from say his apartment to the Western Union station on Sunday morning. I think this was done to give the show a veneer of scientific investigation. In other words, to convince the audience that, as in Dragnet, the show was after "Just the facts, m'am." The problem is that what matters are which facts you choose to time stamp, and how you figure that particular time. And the problems this show has in that regard are revealed very early.
For instance, the narrator intones that Oswald took a bus, then a taxi out of Dealey Plaza after the assassination. He then arrived at his rooming house at about 1:00 PM, then Officer J. D. Tippit was shot at 1:15 at 10th and Patton. No surprise, the show agrees with the Warren Commission: Oswald shot him and then fled the scene. I exaggerate very slightly when I say that this is all dealt with in about a minute. In other words it is completely glossed over in order to incriminate Oswald in the Tippit murder. It is never explained that Oswald took a bus headed the wrong way, apparently realized it, and then walked back to the Dealey Plaza area. That he next hailed a taxi, and then offered to give up the taxi to an elderly lady who declined. When she did, he then took the taxi to a point actually past his rooming house. I believe all this is shoved under the rug so the viewer does not ask the logical questions which would follow: 1.) If he shot Kennedy why didn't Oswald stay on the bus and take it to the outskirts of town? 2.) If he was in a hurry to leave the area, why did he return to it? 3.) If he wanted faster transportation out of town, why did he offer to give up the cab ride? 4.) Did he take his taxi past the rooming house in order to scope out if anyone was there?
Once Oswald left his rooming house, why was he then last seen waiting for a bus going the wrong way from 10th and Patton, the scene of the Tippit murder? Mack/Dunkel then chose his time of Tippit's murder to roughly match the Warren Commission's time for the shooting. His 1:15 time is specious. But since Mack/Dunkel is protecting the official story he has to do it. But the two most reliable times at the scene of the shooting would make it nearly impossible for Oswald to arrive at the scene of the crime in time to kill Tippit then. Those would be T. F. Bowley and Helen Markham. (Markham did not become hysterical and unreliable until after the shooting.) Bowley said he looked at his watch after he stopped his car near the scene of the shooting. It said 1:10. (John Armstrong, Harvey and Lee, p. 848) Markham had a regular routine where she washed her clothes at the washateria on the first floor of her building, then went to work. By this, she placed the time of the shooting at 1:06. (ibid, Armstrong) It would be incredible for Oswald to have traversed nearly a mile in the time period provided by these witnesses. So the Commission did two things. First, it ignored the actual time of its own reconstruction of the walk from the rooming house to 10th and Patton. It cut about five minutes from it. (Harold Weisberg Whitewash II, p. 25) As Weisberg writes, the Commission "staff got Oswald to the scene of the Tippit murder five minutes after the murder was broadcast on the police radio." (ibid) Second, the Warren Commission requested a verbatim transcript of the police log. They ended up getting three versions of it: one in December, one in April, and one in August. The transcripts did not match each other. For instance, the order for Tippit to move into central Oak Cliff was absent from the first transcript. (See Weisberg, p. 24; Sylvia Meagher, Accessories After the Fact, p. 261) Further, the Secret Service "improvement" of the transcripts began as early as December 6th. (Weisberg, p. 25)
The ballistics evidence at the scene of the crime exonerates Oswald further. So much so that it clearly suggests a cover up by the Dallas Police. There were two early reports by the police that the man at the scene was carrying an automatic pistol. In fact, Gerald Hill actually reported that the shells at the scene indicated the suspect was armed with an automatic. (Jim Garrison, On the Trail of the Assassins, p. 198) As both Garrison and Robert Groden (in his book The Search for Lee Harvey Oswald) show, it is hard to believe that anyone who could identify an automatic could mistake it for a revolver. And second, could mistake automatic shells for a revolver's shells.
The next Tippit anomaly was that the shells did not match the bullets. The police said there were two Winchester/Western shells and two Remington-Peters shells found at the scene. Yet, turned over to the Commission, were three Winchester copper bullets and one Remington lead bullet. (Armstrong, p. 850) As many have commented, since when does Remington put Winchester bullets in their shells?
I say "turned over to the Commission" because the bullets had a strange chain of custody. Instead of sending all the bullets to the FBI lab, the Dallas Police sent only one. (Garrison, p. 199) Probably because they did not want to advertise the fact that the shells and bullets did not add up. They also held up the release of Tippit's autopsy report for three weeks. (Weisberg, p. 28) This tardiness caused errors in the first Secret Service report of Tippit's murder, which said he was shot only twice. When he was actually shot four times. (ibid, p. 26) The absence of an autopsy report also allowed the police to tell the FBI that this was the only bullet found in Tippit's body. (Garrison, p. 199) Which was false. (Weisberg, p. 29)
This bullet did not match Oswald's revolver. The reason given was that the bullet was too mutilated. (Armstrong, p. 850) So now the Commission asked the FBI to find the other bullets. Four months later they were found in the files of the Dallas homicide office, the domain of Capt. Will Fritz – aka Barney Fife. (Garrison, ibid) There has never been any cogent reason proffered as to why they were kept from the Bureau and the Commission for that long.
But the FBI told the Commission that they still could not find a match. The reason given was that the revolver attributed to Oswald was a .38 Special that had its bullet chambers slightly enlarged so the identification markings were difficult to decipher.(Armstrong, ibid) So now the ballistics evidence relied on the cartridges to link Oswald to the crime. The cartridges, unlike the bullets, were in the province of the police from the time of the murder. At the scene of the crime, the police are supposed to make out a report listing the evidence recovered there. The police did not list any cartridges as first day evidence. (Garrison, p. 200) It was not until six days after the police sent the single bullet to the FBI that the cartridges made it into the evidence summary. Again, why this was so has never been adequately explained. Once they arrived, presto! The FBI said they matched the revolver in evidence.
Except there was a huge cloud over this alleged match. At the scene of the crime, Gerald Hill told officer J. M. Poe to mark the shells for identification purposes. (Henry Hurt, Reasonable Doubt, p. 153) This was a routine matter for a homicide detective, which Poe was. In 1984 Poe told author Henry Hurt that he was certain he had done this. When Hurt inspected the shells at the National Archives, Poe's initials were nowhere to be found. (ibid, p. 154) As both Hurt and Garrison write, the ballistics evidence more than suggests that the murderer was not Oswald. That the Dallas Police understood this. That they then fired the revolver in evidence after the fact in order to finally produce shells that matched the revolver.
I could go into other aspects of the Tippit murder that exculpate Oswald. A witness said that the killer came up to the right side of the car and might have touched it. Fingerprints were later recovered from that part of the cruiser car. They did not match Oswald's. (Armstrong, p. 861) There was also the allegedly discarded jacket with a laundry tag. The Commission checked 293 laundries in both New Orleans and Dallas but was unable to match the tag or laundry mark on the jacket to any of them. (ibid p. 855) But for me the clincher is the following.
When FBI agent Bob Barrett arrived at the scene of the murder, Captain Westbrook asked him two odd questions: "Do you know who Lee Harvey Oswald is?" and then, "Do you know who Alek Hidell is?" Barrett said no to both since Oswald has not been charged yet with the Tippit murder. So how could Westbrook know about him at that time? Because Westbrook had a wallet with both of those name identifications inside. (ibid, p. 862) He found it near a puddle of blood where Tippit's body was. WFAA-TV cameraman Ron Reiland shot film footage of the wallet being passed around to various law enforcement agents at the scene. But the official story has Oswald's wallet being discovered on his person as he was driven from the Texas Theater, where he was apprehended, to City Hall. It was then turned over to Officer C. T. Walker. (ibid, p. 868) Yet, according to the Warren Report, Oswald allegedly left his wallet in a dresser drawer at the Paine household that morning. (p. 15)
What kind of a person maintains three wallets? And then carries two wallets to work with him? But worse, if Oswald shot Tippit, why on earth would he leave his wallet at the scene of the crime?
In the face of the evidentiary mess above, Mack/Dunkel says that the Tippit murder is an open and shut case: Oswald did it. To which I reply: "Are you for real?" Which, as we shall see, this program is not.
Mack/Dunkel begins the program with the complaint that Jack Ruby cheated history. Which might be a good way to open a show that was open ended in its discussion of the Kennedy case. Maybe we will now see both sides of the argument and be allowed to come to our own conclusions. But Mack/Dunkel quickly reveals this will not be the approach. He quickly adds that Ruby cheated history only insofar as the public will never know what drove Oswald to do what he did that day. You mean like murdering Tippit? Question to Gary/Larry: Would you like to explain to a jury how Oswald had three wallets on the morning of November 22nd? Would you also like to explain to them how Detective Poe's initials disappeared from the shells? Or how a jacket with a laundry tag never got laundered?
The show also says that Oswald was 1.) a rabid Marxist, 2.) a Soviet exile and 3.) a Marine marksman. My reply to this is: Three strikes and you're out. He was none of these. A rabid Marxist who knew no other Marxists, eh? When was Oswald exiled from the Soviet Union? The record says he left on his own with a Russian wife. Finally, he may have technically qualified as a Marine marksman since that was the lowest qualifying category. But everyone, even members of the Commission like Wesley Liebeler, understood he was not a good shot. And no one who saw him fire could believe he pulled off the extraordinary feat of sharpshooting that killed President Kennedy. (Hurt, p. 198)
Mack/Dunkel keeps up the program's low level of scholarship by saying that, when Oswald was arrested at the Texas Theater, he drew his handgun and attempted to fire at a cop. Gil Jesus, among others, has shown that this was later exposed as a likely fabrication. Testimony by the FBI said that the firing pin never touched any of the bullets in the chambers. So what did the Dallas Police come up with as a fallback? That Oswald's skin got caught in the mechanism. Hmm.
One of the strangest and most shameful episodes in the program is how it deals with Ruby's presence at the press conference on the evening of November 22nd at Dallas Police HQ. They acknowledge that Ruby was there. They even show two still photographs of him. But Mack/Dunkel can't bring himself to tell the American public two crucial facts about his presence there. First, that Ruby attempted to disguise himself as a reporter while in the gallery of DA Henry Wade's press conference. (Hurt, p. 185) By ignoring that, Mack/Dunkel does not have to explain why Ruby would do such a thing.
But second, and even worse, Mack/Dunkel does not tell the public that Ruby actually said something during this conference. In briefing the press about Oswald, Wade mistakenly said he belonged to the Free Cuba Committee, which was a rightwing, anti-Castro group. Ruby quickly corrected this error and said that Oswald belonged to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, a leftist pro-Castro group. (Hurt, p. 186) Ruby apparently knew the difference between them. But further, he wanted the record to show that Wade was wrong and there should be no confusion about Oswald. By depriving the public of this crucial information, Mack/Dunkel cuts off any curiosity about how Ruby could know such a thing about Oswald and why he would be determined to correct the record. No one else did.
Throughout this coverage of Friday, Mack/Dunkel is hard at work on his See No Evil-Hear No Evil-Say No Evil time line showing no relation between Oswald and Ruby's activities. Let's make a different time line of Ruby's Friday activities. One that is not censored by a preconceived agenda. Let's start with Julia Ann Mercer's testimony. Remember, the Commission did not call her as a witness and she is not mentioned in the Warren Report. (Hurt, p. 114) So apparently, for this program, she doesn't exist. Mercer said that a little before 11:00 AM, she was driving west on Elm Street, a little beyond where President Kennedy would be killed. Once she got past the triple underpass, traffic was slowed by a green truck stopped in her lane. As she waited, a young man got out of the passenger's side and went to the side tool compartment. He then took out a long package and walked up the embankment to the grassy knoll area. As she tried to pass the truck, her eyes locked onto the driver. She got a good look at him. She later identified this man as Ruby. (ibid, pgs. 114-115)
Ruby was next seen at the offices of the Dallas Morning News. This was right around the time of the assassination. One reporter said that Ruby disappeared for about 20-25 minutes, and then reappeared after the assassination. There is a photo of a man who looks much like Ruby in Dealey Plaza. And the newspaper offices were only four blocks away. If the idea was to give himself a convenient alibi, but to be in relatively close proximity to the crime scene, this fit the bill. (ibid, p. 184)
After the assassination, at around 1:30 PM, Ruby was seen by two reliable witnesses at Parkland Hospital. One of the witnesses, reporter Seth Kantor, said he actually exchanged words with Ruby. (ibid) The Warren Commission bought Ruby's denial about this incident. The House Select Committee on Assassinations didn't buy it. They believed Ruby was there. As some have speculated, it may have been Ruby who planted the Magic Bullet on the wrong stretcher at Parkland Hospital.
After Oswald was apprehended and paraded out for his first line up, there are reports of Ruby being at the police department. This was about 4:30 and "he spoke and shook hands with people he knew." (ibid, p.185)
That evening, Ruby decided to take some sandwiches up to the police department for those cops working over time on the JFK case. He called in advance and was told this was not necessary. But he showed up anyway. (Ibid) He ended up on the third floor, mingling with reporters. He then followed the reporters to the basement and did his reporter impression. Except, at that time, he knew more than either Wade or the reporters did about Oswald.
Talk about connections. There is a barrel full of them. You have Ruby possibly delivering a weapon to the crime scene, allowing himself an alibi for being near the actual shooting, following Kennedy's body to Parkland – and perhaps planting a false bullet – monitoring Oswald's movements at the Dallas Police HQ, and finally sneaking into a press conference and maintaining Oswald as a fake Marxist by correcting an error by the DA. If the program had given us Ruby's true background, as I did in Part One, and then drew this particular time line, the audience could have come to a more informed opinion about Ruby's possible connections to the JFK murder. In regards to that, I must quote Mack/Dunkel's comment: "The problem for those investigating the assassination is whether or not to put Ruby involved in a conspiracy with Oswald: how do they mix the two together in a way that makes sense today?" My reply: Did you ever hear of the CIA/Mafia plots to kill Castro? If so, why did you not mention them?
In light of what the show actually does, the real title of the program should be: "How to Erase Ruby's Connections to the JFK case".
As with the Tippit killing, the show assumes Oswald killed Kennedy. Mack/Dunkel has former Dallas cop Jim Leavelle say that if Oswald had not been killed, he would have been convicted and may still have been incarcerated and running out his appeals. Mack/Dunkel echoes this by saying that many people wonder what would have happened if Oswald had gone to trial. He then adds that a good lawyer would want to keep Oswald off the stand and that a lot of testimony would have been presented as to what did and did not happen.
By doing this, the show cuts off any possibility of a conspiracy in the JFK case. Which, of course, makes the whole "patriotic nightclub owner" façade possible. Personally, if I was on the defense team, I would have put Oswald on the stand. One question I would have asked him is this: Did you ever live at 544 Camp street? If not, then why did you stamp that address on the flyers you handed out in New Orleans? This would have shown Oswald for who he really was. I then would have handed him a hunting round, like the one Parkland security officer O. P. Wright found and gave to the Secret Service. I would then have produced the rifle in evidence and asked Oswald if he thought that round would work in that rifle. I would then have asked him if he ever purchased the proper ammunition for that rifle, which an investigation showed he did not. I then would have recalled Wright to the stand and asked him if the FBI ever showed him CE 399-the so-called Magic Bullet that went through President Kennedy and Gov. Connally – and if so, had he identified it as the bullet he turned over to the Secret Service. After he said he did not, I would have exposed the FBI as liars in that regard. (Josiah Thompson, Six Seconds in Dallas, p. 175) Then, to further decimate the ballistics evidence, I would have called FBI agent Elmer Lee Todd to the stand. I would have shown him the FBI document that says he placed his initials on CE 399. I then would have handed him CE 399 and asked him where those initials were. After he failed to locate them, since they are not there, I would have further exposed the FBI frame up of Oswald. I then would have shown Todd the receipt that says he got CE 399 at the White House from the Secret Service at 8:50 the night of the 22nd. I then would have shown him Robert Frazier's work log which says he received the stretcher bullet at FBI HQ at 7:30, an hour and twenty minutes before Todd gave it to him. (See my Reclaiming History series, Part 7, Section three) I would then have asked Todd how Frazier could have been in receipt of CE 399 before he gave it to him. When Todd got tongue-tied, I would have asked the judge to throw out the prosecution's case. The prosecution would have probably offered no objection. If the judge was anyone besides Mack/Dunkel, he would have granted the motion.
So much for the empty, unchallenged claims of Dallas cop Jim Leavelle.
From here the show moves to Mack/Dunkel's grand finale. Which he actually called a "recreation" of Ruby's killing of Oswald. It has about as much credibility as his recreation of Kennedy's assassination for Inside the Target Car. Which is none.
Mack begins with the call from Ruby employee Karen Carlin to Ruby's apartment on the morning of the 24th. This was a request for an advance on her salary. By beginning with this, Mack/Dunkel informs the knowledgeable viewer that he has no intention of telling the whole story. By beginning here, he leaves out the fact that Ruby had arranged a smaller payment to Karen the night before. (Commission Exhibit 2287) So she could have asked him for this further advance on Saturday night. Mack/Dunkel then adds that without this call, Ruby would not have been at City Hall to kill Ruby. What he leaves out is that during Karen's Warren Commission testimony, it became evident that Ruby himself had arranged the Sunday morning call in advance. (WC Vol. XV, p. 663) Which turns the program's thesis in this regard on its ear.
Another thing left out by beginning where he does is the testimony of Bill Grammar. Grammar was a police dispatcher. He was on duty Saturday night. He got a call then concerning Oswald's Sunday transfer. The message was something like: "You have to change the plan. If not, we are going to kill him." (italics added) Grammar knew Ruby, and he said the caller called him by name. The next day, when he heard that Ruby had shot Oswald, he retroactively put the voice together with the man who called him. He concluded the murder was planned. (see an interview with Grammar.)
Another key point left out by beginning here is the fact that there is uncertainty about Ruby's activities that morning. This is something that even the Warren Report admitted. (WR p. 352) As Anthony Summers wrote, the Carlin call was preceded by a call from Ruby's cleaning lady. She later said that the voice on the other end sounded terribly strange to her. She wasn't sure it was Ruby. (Summers, Conspiracy, p. 460) Three television technicians – Warren Richey, Ira Walker, and John Smith – said they saw Ruby that morning before ten o'clock. He asked them, "Has Oswald been brought down yet?" (Jim Marrs, Crossfire, p. 418) At around this same time, a church minister said he was on an elevator with Ruby and his destination was the floor where Oswald was located. (op cit, Summers) Its interesting that Mack/Dunkel places the Carlin call at 9:30. But his Bible, the Warren Report, places the call almost an hour later. (WR p. 353) Mack/Dunkel might have moved up the call in order to clash with the four witnesses who place Ruby at City Hall at the earlier time.
Let's stop here and measure the evidence the program has left out before Ruby even left for Western Union.
The show then says that the police tried to guard the basement from false entry and believed all the doors were secure. Which, as both Burt Griffin of the Commission and the HSCA discovered, they were not. Griffin told Summers that he thought the police lacked credibility about the security of the basement at the time of the transfer. (p. 463) Griffin's suspicions centered on officer Patrick Dean. Dean told Griffin that Ruby would have needed a key to enter a certain door in the basement. This was wrong. (HSCA Vol. IX, p. 143) Griffin grew so frustrated at Dean's answers that he blew up at him and repeatedly called him a liar. (Meagher, pgs. 412-13) He then wrote a memo to Chief Counsel J. Lee Rankin in which he said that Dean had been derelict in securing the basement. That Griffin had reason to believe Ruby did not come down the Main Street ramp. Finally, that he suspected Dean was now part of a cover-up and was advising Ruby to say he did come down the ramp even though he knew he had not. (Seth Kantor, The Ruby Cover-Up, p. 20)
If you can believe it, the names of Patrick Dean and Burt Griffin are not mentioned in this program. By doing this, Mack/Dunkel eliminates any possibility of Ruby having an inside man at the police station.
The program then gets worse. As I noted in my Reclaiming History review (Part Six, section 6), once Ruby got to the Western Union station, it was easy for him to be hand signaled from the rear of City Hall and then let inside through an alley door. The program leaves this out and opts for the Warren Commission scenario of Ruby coming straight down the Main Street ramp. But then, in a shocking stroke, they leave out the testimony of Roy Vaughn, Don Flusche, and Rio Pierce. They had to in order to make their "reconstruction" digestible. In the spirit of free speech and honest debate, let us reveal what JFK: The Ruby Connection chooses to conceal from the viewer.
Vaughn was the officer at the top of the ramp who stopped any unauthorized person from entering the basement. He staunchly denied Ruby came down the ramp and passed a polygraph on the subject. (WR pgs. 221-22, Meagher p. 407))
Sgt. Don Flusche was an officer stationed outside the ramp and had a clear view of both Main Street and the ramp prior to the shooting. His testimony was kept from the Commission. But he told Jack Moriarty of the HSCA that there was no doubt in his mind that Ruby did not walk down the ramp. Further, he was sure that Ruby did not come down Main Street. (HSCA Vol. IX, pgs 138-39)
Pierce was the driver of the car that came out the ramp and according to the Commission blocked Vaughn's view of Ruby coming down the ramp. Nobody in the car said he saw Ruby coming down the ramp. (Meagher, pgs 404-405) How can anyone make a show about Ruby's shooting of Oswald and leave this testimony out? It was because of the weight of this evidence, plus the fact that Dean refused to appear before them, that the HSCA concluded Ruby did not enter the basement by way of the ramp. (op. cit. HSCA, p. 140)
The fact that Mack/Dunkel keeps the crucial testimony of these three men from the viewer tells us all we need to know about the honesty of this program.
At the end, Mack/Dunkel puts together his "reconstruction" of the murder of Oswald. In defiance of all the above, he has Ruby coming down the Main Street ramp. He then says that instead of having the Carlin money transfer stamped at 11:17 from Western Union, Ruby should have been in the basement of the police station at that time. This ignores two salient facts. First, if Ruby had been hand signaled from the back of the building, that would not have been necessary. Second, the longer Ruby was in the garage, the higher the risk that an honest cop could have spotted him.
The show then intersperses scenes of the actual shooting with the program's modern day reenactment. And I must comment on something that seemed odd to me as I watched the intercutting. The two settings did not seem to match. The walls of the corridor did not seem to extend as far outward into the actual parking area as the 1963 films seem to show. It appears that either the area was remodeled or the little playlet was staged in a different place. There was no explanation given for this apparent discrepancy.
The show tries to place the blame for the shooting of Oswald on the fact that the transfer car was not in its proper place at the time Oswald was escorted down the corridor. Which, as I said, is foreshortened here. This takes away the depth factor that is apparent in the actual films. But if the depth factor was there, this ersatz point about the car would be vitiated. In boxing, there is a term called "shortening the angle". This refers to a fighter who, instead of throwing a punch from the front, steps to the side of his opponent to shorten the distance to deliver the blow. Well in the actual films, its clear that Ruby could have done this if the car had been in its right spot. That is, instead of looping out from the front, he could have just slid down to his right, stepped into the corridor, and fired. The fault was not in the angle, or the car. The fact that made the shooting possible was something that, unbelievably, Mack/Dunkel never mentions. Even though it is obvious to anyone with eyes and a brain.
As Australian researcher Greg Parker has noted, the police had planned a four point pocket around Oswald as they escorted him down the corridor. This meant one man behind him , one on each side, and another in front. If this would have been maintained, it would have been difficult for Ruby to kill Oswald no matter where the car was. In all probability, Ruby would have had to delay the attempt until after the transfer, later at the press conference at the county jail. But what made that unnecessary for him was the fact that the man in front broke protection and separated himself from Oswald by several yards. This allowed Ruby enough space to kill Oswald from any angle from the side he was on (which would be Oswald's left). The man who broke the protection pocket, allowing Oswald to be shot, was Capt. Will Fritz (Barney Fife). It is very hard to believe that Mack/Dunkel never noticed this as he watched this film over and over. In fact, I will say here and now that he did notice it.
Why am I sure? Because as I watched this scene, I had a similar shock as I did when watching Inside the Target Car. When Mack/Dunkel drew his imaginary line back to the sixth floor window in that show, my eyebrows arched upward. Because I noticed he had moved the exit wound on Kennedy's skull in order to make that line possible. Well here, I watched the "reconstruction" over and over and I saw that Mack/Dunkel had completely eliminated Fritz from the recreation. Yep. He did. So the viewer has the most crucial flaw – the one that made Ruby's shooting of Oswald possible – removed from his consciousness. If I say so myself, even for Mack/Dunkel and the Sixth Floor Museum, that was an Orwellian stroke.
The other thing he does is to rearrange the two horns. As I have written, in the unedited version of the shooting there are two horns that go off. Once you are aware of them, it is almost eerie to watch the shooting. The first goes off at almost the instant Oswald emerges from the office and into the corridor. The second goes off a brief instant before Ruby plunges forward to kill Oswald. It is possible to see the first one as a signal for Ruby to move into position, and the second as the signal to fire. In the first run through, Mack moves the first horn way past the point where Oswald has come into view from the office. In the second run through, the first horn is much closer in accuracy but the second horn, like Fritz, is just eliminated.
The show also tries to cloud the idea that Oswald recognized Ruby and that is why he turned sideways at the last instant – which made the shot fatal. As Dr. Robert McClelland said at the 2009 JFK Lancer Conference, if the angle of the shot had been straight on, there is a possibility Oswald could have survived. The program tries to say that Oswald could not have seen Ruby because the media lights were too powerful. First, it appears to me that the "recreation" does not position those lights as accurately as possible. It makes it look like someone like say, Oscar winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler, was lighting a movie set. Second, even on the show's own lighting terms, Oswald would have been able to recognize Ruby as he got in front of him.
One last point about this issue: Mack/Dunkel tries to seal this point by having the ever cooperative Leavelle say that it was he who turned Oswald sideways when he saw Ruby approach. But its obvious from still photos that when Ruby plunges the gun into Oswald's stomach, Leavelle is not looking at Ruby, but at the car.
Mack/Orwell then tries to wrap it all up with two specious closing pronouncements. First, he says that the conspirators could not have known when Oswald was going to talk. He could have talked the first day. Really? Oswald was not charged with the Kennedy murder until late Friday night. In fact, he actually seems to be a bit surprised when a reporter tells him this. Second, Oswald had been paraded around the station, going to line ups and interrogation sessions, throughout Friday and Saturday. And Wade and Fritz were giving impromptu and formal press conferences throughout both days. This provided good monitoring of the situation. But the clincher here is something that, of course, this show eliminates. On Saturday night, Oswald tried to make his call to John Hurt, the former military intelligence officer who was stationed in North Carolina. The man who former CIA officer Victor Marchetti says was likely part of the false defector program at the naval station at Nag's Head. (James Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable, p. 366) In other words, it was the first sign that Oswald was trying to contact someone through an intelligence cut-out. That call was aborted by the Secret Service. It was never let through. The next morning Oswald was dead. Gary or Larry, I think that timing is kind of important.
The last piece of obfuscation the show uses is the old standby: Too many people had to be involved for this to happen. Well let's see: If there was one man on the police security team who failed to secure the basement, and then this guy signaled Ruby from the back, and then let him in the alley door ... well that would be a grand total of two people, if you count Ruby. Way back in 1964, Burt Griffin had a suspect as Ruby's accomplice. His name was Patrick Dean. Dean reportedly flunked his polygraph. The results of which are nowhere to be found today. (Summers, p. 464, HSCA Vol. IX p. 139) Roy Vaughn, the man who the Commission tried to pin Ruby's entry into the basement on, passed his test.
Let me conclude with another key event this show leaves out. It indicates Ruby's mindset at the time, something the show also tries to confuse. Detective Don Archer was with Ruby after he was in custody after the murder. Ruby was very nervous: "He was sweating profusely. I could hear his heart beating. He asked for one of my cigarettes. I gave him a cigarette. Finally ... the head of the Secret Service came up-and he told me that Oswald had died. This should have shocked Ruby because it would mean the death penalty ... .Instead of being shocked, he became calm, he quit sweating, his heart slowed down. I asked him if he wanted a cigarette, and he advised me he didn't smoke. I was just astonished ... I would say his life had depended on him getting Oswald." (Marrs, pgs. 423-424)
In light of Archer's assertion, it's hard to see Ruby's act as anything but a necessary silencing of Oswald. The viewers of this show are deprived of that knowledge by censorship. They are also deprived of the reasons Ruby would feel that way, which I provided in detail in Part One. But Ruby himself succinctly summarized them when he said: "They're going to find about Cuba. They're going to find out about the guns. They're going to find out about New Orleans, find about everything." (Armstrong, p. 193) If I was doing a documentary about Ruby, I would place this on screen as a closing quote. Like just about everything else in JFK: The Ruby Connection, it is nowhere to be found.
Larry Dunkel and the Sixth Floor are involved in serious, no-holds barred psychological warfare against the American public on the Kennedy case. In their brazen disregard of any journalistic integrity, their script and techniques might have been written by the likes of Allen Dulles or James Angleton.
How the Discovery Channel got involved in this dirty work is a mystery that needs to be addressed.
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