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Friday, 24 April 2009 11:14

Dale Myers Gets Perturbed!

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Jim DiEugenio discusses Dale Myers's reaction to his review of Reclaiming History.


A longer response than Dave Von Pein's to part one of my review of Reclaiming History was by, well, what shall we call him? Co-author? Writing assistant? Ghostwriter? Whatever term you prefer, it was, predictably, by Dale Myers.

Apparently, Myers didn't like me expounding on a) His past beliefs that the JFK case was a conspiracy, and b) David Lifton's inside knowledge about his ghostwriting of Reclaiming History, and his falling out with Vincent Bugliosi and his subsequent settlement that limited his talking about that ghostwriting. (Although considering how bad the book is, Myers got a good deal. He made some money but his name is off what turned out to be a book that should have never been published.)

Concerning the first, Myers actually tries to say that his former anti-Warren Commission beliefs are quite open and available. That's kind of funny. They are not at all available in the two books he has authored and co-authored, namely With Malice and Reclaiming History. And he had a lot of room to level with the reader in those two volumes. Well over three thousand pages. Or the equivalent of about eight or nine normal sized books: one-third of the Warren Commission. In fact, if John Kelin had not surfaced the tape recording of the interview he did with Myers from many years ago, I would never have known about his St. Paul type conversion.

This is an important point I believe. If an author is not equivocal, but absolute in his beliefs on an important historical event that has generated decades of controversy, he owes it to his readers to tell them he believed precisely the opposite before. Because, as I said in my review, the evidence in the JFK case has not changed. By any fair and objective standard, the releases of the Assassination Records Review Board have been quite brutal to the Warren Commission. And I used a lot of these new discoveries to illustrate the many, many shortcomings of Reclaiming History. (And I will use many more in future installments.) If an author is not forthcoming about his 180 degree pirouette, then the reader, quite naturally, has a right to suspect the worst. In previous cases, e.g. Norman Podhoretz, or David Horowitz, the authors understood this obligation. And they carried it out. In fact, both of these men wrote at least one, and a good part of a second book, trying to show how the transformation took place. Whether or not the attempts at psychological elucidation are convincing is a different story. But they made it. But surprisingly, Myers never felt any compunction at all in that direction. By not doing so, he invites the reader to wonder about the cause of the flip-flop. Which I will do later.

The second complaint, about further exposing his unbilled role in Reclaiming History, is unconsciously humorous. Last year, when Reclaiming History came out, Myers began to praise the book on his web site. And he and Todd Vaughn also began to attack writers who criticized it. Yet, I could find no instance at this time period when Myers admitted he had been a direct and paid participant in that literary exercise. And in fact, he still terms Lifton's important information on this point as speculation and rumor. In my view, this comes close to what people on the web term as "sock puppetry" . This means for example, in an e-mail forum you praise a work you are responsible for, but you do not reveal in your e-mail identity that you are the writer, or in this case, co-writer.

This weird and unbecoming behavior reached its apogee after David Lifton appeared on Black Op Radio in the summer of 2007. At that time, with host Len Osanic, Lifton revealed that Vincent Bugliosi was not the sole author of Reclaiming History He named Fred Haines as one of the co-authors of the inflated volume. He then erred and named Patricia Lambert as another. Myers used this mistake to jump all over Lifton using Bugliosi's secretary Rosemary Newton as his bullhorn. This is utterly fascinating of course. Why? Because up until this point, Lifton had been kind to Myers about the issue by not naming him as a ghostwriter. Even though he knew about his role. But the ungracious and ungrateful Myers was still concealing it. And at the same time he was trying to belittle Lifton by implying that he didn't know what he was talking about! (Consider all that for a moment.)

Well, understandably, that was it for Lifton. He then wrote a rewrite of his previous article on the issue. And this time he named Myers. In his response to me, Myers says that Lifton "discovered" these details by reading the acknowledgments section of Reclaiming History. It's writing stuff like that which really makes me wonder about Myers. The details divulged by Lifton about the contracts Haines and Myers signed are nowhere -- and I mean nowhere -- to be found in Reclaiming History. And it's this specificity, which could only be known by an insider, that impressed me enough to write about it since I think it is an important issue in any serious critical discussion about that volume.

Now, one of the things Lifton has stated is that when Myers signed his first contract to contribute to the tome, he was taken aback by how bad Reclaiming History was. Considering the condition of the book when it was later published, that must have been pretty awful. (Although in Myers' upside down world, you never know.) I really wish Myers would talk about the state of the book when he got it. And which specific parts -- with page numbers -- he wrote or seriously contributed to. Also, if all those vicious, insulting and puerile pejoratives which litter the book were his or Bugliosi's. Or, in that category, if he encouraged the prosecutor to go down that vituperative road or if he tried to soften that cheap approach. (From the stuff Myers' spews today I seriously doubt it was the latter. On the JFK case, he's our equivalent to Bill O'Reilly.) If he can't answer these questions, then we know Lifton is right about the second contract. Which provided for the terms of their literary divorce. Which I suspected was the case since last year.

Myers also objected to my pointing out to the reader, and actually linking to, intelligent and reputable sources who slice and dice his pseudo-simulation called Secrets of a Homicide. This is his 3D recreation of JFK's assassination which first premiered way back in November of 1994 in a magazine called The Video Toaster User. This illustrated article consisted of frames from his simulation plus his commentary of what he had done, how he had done it, and what it now showed. David Mantik and Milicent Cranor wrote highly critical articles at that time critiquing the methods he discussed in his articles and his description of what he said it showed. They did not go any further than that. And believe me, there was plenty of material in that sorrowful article to go after.

Mantik's article I thought was effective in a narrow but sharp way. (Probe Vol. 2 No. 3, p. 2) David has a Ph. D. in Physics and is also an M.D. He is a scientist and academic and he approached Myers' article as if he would be peer reviewing it for an academic journal. In the first three parts of his critique, he described what Myers was trying to do in a fair and complete way. He then focused his actual review on what he was most familiar with, anatomy and trajectory.

Mantik first scored him on his rather bold and perplexing claim of being able to see both men jump in the air simultaneously when they disappear behind the Stemmons Freeway sign. Mantik said that Myers' data source for this was "totally unexplained". (ibid, p. 3) He then exclaimed, "If it does not appear in the original Z film (that would appear to be impossible since both men were hidden behind the sign) then where did Myers find it? This startling assertion is not addressed in his paper." (ibid) (Mantik didn't fully understand what Myers was up to here. I will explain what I think the point of this was when I discuss Milicent Cranor's critique of this article.)

Mantik then went on to question Myers' use of points in his trajectory analysis. That is the anterior neck wound in JFK and what Myers called a point "...near the shoulder line" in Kennedy's back. (ibid, p. 3) Medical expert Mantik seriously questioned the positioning of both points, especially the latter. He wrote in "precise anatomic terms, this statement fails completely to identify the exit site-either vertically or horizontally." (ibid) (Note: Myers was working backward from Gov. Connally to fulfill a trajectory line. This is why Mantik uses the word "exit" in regards to the shoulder.) From here, Mantik went on to score the Myers' assumption that the trajectory was undeflected through both men. Mantik wrote that since the bullet shattered Connally's fifth rib this "straight line assumption might well be questioned." (ibid)

Mantik then got to the heart of the problem. Myers said that he started with Connally and worked backwards because the governor's wounds were marked precisely at Parkland Hospital. Mantik explained that this is not really true. He then went through the work by both Dr. Robert Shaw and Michael Baden in the HSCA volumes and showed why it was not true. And he also pointed out that part of the problem is actually addressed in the Warren Report (p. 107). There they say that the precise angle could not be concluded since the "large wound on the front of the chest precluded an exact determination of the point of exit." Mantik then worked out a margin of error factor for this uncertainty and added another for the rotation of Connally's body on a vertical axis. With just those two factors Mantik computed an error radius of 28 feet. He then went on to add that when you factor in the actual orientation of Connally at frame Z-223-"with right shoulder and torso visibly rotated to the rear... Such a rearward rotation immediately shifts the location of the error cone towards the Dal Tex building." (ibid) Mantik concluded that the underlying problem with any such enterprise was the placement of Connally's wounds on his body in regards to the midline. He said the information was simply not precise enough from the data we have. (ibid) He then concluded that "Without such precise knowledge it is not possible to locate the error cone in space. How Myers resolves this most difficult challenge is nowhere to be discussed in his paper." (ibid pgs 3-4)

I found Myers' response to Mantik's trenchant critique quite precious. He never once debated the anatomic arguments Mantik made. Not once. What he did is he actually tried to say he was right about being able to see through the Stemmons Freeway sign! You know, the whole "jumping in unison" thing. And this is central to what Myers enterprise is all about. And it gets to Milicent Cranor's May 1995 critique in The Fourth Decade. Milicent began her review by quoting a crucial segment of Myer's commentary. Myers wrote that he superimposed "selected frames from the Zapruder film over a matching view of the 3D computer world. Key frames were then created ..." ( p. 22, emphasis added) The obvious question, which Cranor quickly posed, was: Why leave anything out? Why not animate the whole film? Or entire crucial sequences? Myers wrote that he inserted key frames every 20 frames, "though extreme motion areas required key frames at three to five frame intervals ... " (ibid p. 23) Cranor asked, "Why substitute guesswork ... when you have actual photographic evidence." (ibid) She, of course, was referring to the actual Zapruder film.

What Cranor proved in her article and in her photo essay is that Myers was actually trying to do two things with his so-called simulation. First, he wanted to minimize the evidence that Kennedy was hit before he went behind the freeway sign. Why? Because if JFK is hit before he disappears behind the sign it likely is not by Oswald since the branches of an oak tree were camouflaging the view from the so-called sniper's nest at this time. Second, if you alter frame Z-224, you can preserve the single bullet theory. Cranor illustrates this beautifully by comparing frames from the actual Z film with Myers' pastiche. This devastating comparison gives away the whole purpose of the simulation. Because without Myers' "interpolating" frames not in the Zapruder film, the actual frame Z-224 singlehandedly vitiates the single bullet theory. As Milicent notes: "This one frame destroys the single bullet theory: it shows JFK already reacting at a time when John Connally is not." So Myers has to alchemize that frame into something it is not. And she shows how: Myers changes Kennedy's facial expression and also alters the position of his hands to transform his demeanor from one of grimacing pain to relative serenity. Therefore preserving the single bullet theory. So we now have a new type of cinematic technique. Let's call it Myers Motion. Which, by the way, also turns President Kennedy into a hunchback similar to Richard III (thereby raising the back wound on the jacket). Myers Motion also elongates Kennedy's neck which, as Cranor points out, "in effect lowers the throat wound." Dale is one determined animator. Come hell or high water, he is going to make that stubborn SBT stick.

I could go on and on in this regard. But the longest and most detailed destruction of Myers Motion is by Pat Speer. He adds that Myers Motion is not even consistent within itself. In other words, things that should be constant throughout, are not. Further, that to keep the single bullet trajectory he actually shrinks Connally in size to where he is smaller than JFK when, in fact, he was taller and heavier than JFK. At times Myers even shrinks the size of Connally's jump seat and more than doubles the distance of that seat from the side of the car. And the points made so far are not points of Vince Bugliosi style argument. They are points that are proven beyond doubt by just cutting out frames from Myers contraption or comparing that contraption to the Zapruder film. But don't believe me, just read the fascinating photo exposes by Speer and Cranor. And, by the way, Speer actually allows Myers to defend himself and even gives him the last word.

After going through all the obvious faults in Myers' ersatz simulation, it is possible to discern a motive in it. The idea was to replace the Zapruder film. The impact of the Zapruder film upon first viewing is quite powerful as to an assassin from the grassy knoll area. And, as indicated above, when you study the film, it gives you other indications of more than one gunman. By eliminating many frames, and by "interpolating" things not in the film, what you get is the Zapruder film as redone by the Warren Commission on an optical printer. With someone like David Belin supervising the effects to be added. Today Belin=Myers.

Myers tries to defend this sorry joke by saying that it actually passed inspection. See, he was grilled about Myers Motion in front of eight world-class producers for seven hours at ABC. Geez Dale, did any of them have college degrees? Didn't they compare your phony pastiche with the real thing -- the Z film -- frame by frame? Like say, Milicent Cranor did? Did they bring in a medical expert on the JFK case like Dave Mantik or Gary Aguilar to trace certain anatomical points? Of course not. That would have been actual peer review and journalistic responsibility. And Myers Motion would not have survived it. Under those circumstances, it actually would have been either booed or laughed out of the room. With what we know today about what goes on with the major networks-Dan Rather adjusting his coat collar for twenty minutes, which you can see on You Tube-nothing of any real substance was discussed. Except maybe the quality of the beer and pizza they ordered.

Myers must think that the whole world is stupid. Dale, here's another question for you: Were these the same producers who Ok'd that other ABC docudrama, The Path to 9-11 in 2006? You know, the show that tried to pin the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the Clinton administration? Or maybe they were the same ABC guys who produced and ran that horrific excuse for a debate in Philadelphia between Obama and Hillary Clinton. After which ABC was bombarded with 24, 000 complaining e mails. (See here for the powerful reaction to that shocking spectacle.) As we show on this web site, ABC has not been the same since it was taken over by Cap Cities. (Click here for the background details of that takeover.) In my view, it is hard to take them seriously anymore as a news network. And the 2003 JFK special was symptomatic of this downward spiral. After all, the lead consultant for that show was Myers' friend and colleague in the Gang of Three, Gus Russo. We have this information from his own lips. So who does Myers think he's kidding? Between Peter Jennings and Russo, the fix was in. That is the way it is done in the MSM. And that is why Jennings picked Russo to lead it: he knew he would get what he wanted from him. Russo was well paid, he flew around first class, and he delivered the proper Warren Commission certifying goods. Including the Myers Motion induced SBT. Nothing about Standards and Practices was ever mentioned. Nothing about journalistic balance ever came up. Should we hear the other side of the story? Hell no! And the proof is this: David Wrone had just written a book on the Zapruder film at the time. Someone from the ABC show called him. Obviously this person did not know that Wrone was a Warren Commission critic. When Wrone was asked a question about the case against Oswald, he disagreed with the premise. He said to the caller, "Hold on, I want to get something about that issue." By the time he got back with the contesting source, the junior reporter understood who Wrone was. He didn't fit into the Warren Commission slant outlined by Jennings and Russo. So Wrone returned to a dial tone. Russo or someone else told the unknowing reporter to hang up.

In his response, Myers mentions my essay entitled "Who is Gus Russo?" (Probe, Vol. 6 No. 2). As usual he gets certain important details wrong. He says the essay is included in The Assassinations, edited by Lisa Pease and myself. It is not. He then says the essay pops up in edited form on search engines today. I have never touched that essay since the time it was published. But since I am proud of it, and since Myers brought it up, you can read the piece here. Rereading it, and also the replies by Russo and Myers, I stand by the original essay. Russo threw a hissy fit when it came out. So much so, that it impacted his ability to count. He says I did eight interviews for my first book, Destiny Betrayed. False. As anyone can see by consulting the end notes. Russo would have been more pleased if I had consulted with one of his favorite journalists: FBI informant on the Garrison case, and CIA applicant Hugh Aynesworth. Russo actually put this guy on his 2003 ABC debacle. Without telling the viewer of his FBI and CIA ties. But alas, he did the same thing with CIA asset Priscilla Johnson. In the PBS special he was involved in back in 1993, he featured James Angleton's buddy Edward Epstein. Again, without telling the viewer of that relationship. That's good ethics in journalism. Or how about another guy Russo trusts implicitly, CIA and State Department associate Sergio Arcacha Smith. Russo interviewed him for his book Live By the Sword. (Which comes to the rather goofy conclusion that Castro killed Kennedy.) When Jim Garrison wanted to talk to Smith during his JFK inquiry, Smith was guarded from Garrison's investigators by, among others, Mr. Aynesworth. Sorry guys, I'm just not that kind of investigator. I leave stuff like making friends with Aynesworth to the other side. But alas, Myers and Russo are the other side.

Myers accuses me of being paranoid in my original essay about Russo. I wasn't. Today I actually believe I was being naÔve. In that article I wrote about a man who approached me during the Dallas ASK conference back in 1993. During my closing night speech, I talked about the PBS special Russo worked on and I also mentioned a weird letter attorney Mark Zaid had sent me. The man had listened to my address and he told me that, from his past SDS experience, Russo and Zaid fit the profiles of infiltrators. I included it in my essay, but I did not agree with him at the time. Today, after many years more experience with Russo, Myers, Vaughn, and even Zaid, plus the net worth of both the 1993 PBS special and the 2003 ABC special that both Myers and Russo worked on, I think he was right. Its the only way to explain why the Gang of Three kept on going to conferences way past the time they had flip-flopped on the issue of Oswald's guilt. A great example of this would be Vaughn's relationship with Harrison Livingstone. After the organization Coalition on Political Assassinations was formed, Livingstone tried to create a rival group. On the flyer Livingstone sent out for his group, Vaughn was listed as a member. Why? To tell the members during meetings that they were all wrong? Oswald did it. They should disband. It makes no sense. On the surface.

But if your agenda was different than the members, it does make sense. By staying inside the group you could makes speeches attacking their research and goals, thereby creating dissension and disturbances. (I detail specific instances where Russo did this in my article.) Secondly, you could monitor the newest developments and then try to think up ways to counter them in your journeys to the other side. And the other side would be receptive to this since the MSM has always been wedded to the Warren Commission. This is what Russo and Myers did with PBS and ABC. If the producers wanted someone to make the case for Oswald's guilt in the Tippit murder, hey, Myers will do it. (Forget about the 3 Oswald wallets, no Oswald fingerprints on the car, and mismatching shells and bullets.) If Russo needs someone to get off three shots in six seconds for his book, Vaughn can do that. (It doesn't matter if he isn't firing at moving targets or if the gun isn't loaded.) To counter the film JFK, Vaughn can write that for Oswald to have fired his rifle with Kennedy's limo below him, rather than further down on Elm Street, he would have been hanging out the Texas School Book Depository window. ( I was there in 1991, he wouldn't have been.) Does Dan Rather need someone to declare on TV that contrary to what the critics say, the CIA did get a photo of Oswald in Mexico City? Russo will get on camera and say they did. (Just don't ask any follow-ups about why it didn't go to the Warren Commission and where is it today.)

The final product of all this of course was Myers Motion: a way for the mainstream media to finally counter the shocking evidentiary impact of the Zapruder film. Which had always been a thorn in their side.

Like I said, today I actually believe I was naÔve about the whole thing. Clearly, in retrospect, it was a classic counter-intelligence operation. Why did they do what they did? Who knows. Jim Marrs thinks that money was a prime reason. I'm not sure. But there is little doubt that Russo and Myers bank accounts grew more on this case after they flipped than before.

Myers, in his usual puerile, radio commentator way (which he used to be), says that I am jealous of him because he got on national TV and I did not. Dale, as I detail above, we all know how you got on. And I know I will never get on the national MSM. At least not on this subject. Simply because I have no intention of flip-flopping on the JFK case. But I do get plenty of attention by telling the truth. To use one example: I have been interviewed for five documentaries in the last three years. Three of them from abroad. Personally, I don't care about getting on the MSM concerning the JFK case. I was never in this to make money, to start a career, or get a name. If I ever met Dan Rather, I would leave the room. After making an obscene gesture at him. Rather made his name, fame and fortune with a lie.

The curious thing about this point is that today, a lot of people feel this way about the MSM. Even the people who work on the inside. After the Florida 2000 election heist, which the MSM made no attempt to investigate or expose; after the fraudulent premises for the disastrous Iraq war, which the MSM made no attempt to investigate and expose; after helping the worst president in history, George Bush Jr. get into office with absolutely no vetting in advance; after all that , which has resulted in so much horror for the American people, the rest of the citizenry has finally come around on the uselessness of the MSM. In fact, a former CBS producer has told me that her former colleagues are just biding their time. They see the handwriting on the wall. They will soon be beside the point. But if you study the JFK case, you already knew that. Today, everyone else is catching up to that understanding. That is why the creation of an alternative media has become so successful i.e. the blogosphere. And eventually, this will expand into TV and radio.

Myers' pretentious and gassy pronouncements are so full of holes in data and logic that I wonder if he takes them seriously as he writes them. Or maybe he thinks that someone has to protect Myers Motion from the facts. He can't let the whole thing come crumbling down. Pat Speer called the contraption a deliberate deception devised by the Wizard of OZ (wald). And we know what happened to him. But ultimately, his spiels are so vapid that he reminds me of the Black Knight from the comedy film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The Black Knight portentously intones that no one shall pass the bridge he is guarding. Then after the opponents cut off his left arm, his right arm, and then his legs, he still shouts at them as they pass by with words to the effect: Get back here, I'll massacre ya this time.

Yeah, sure Dale. Sorry, this isn't ABC. Good Bye.

 

Addendum: For those interested in reading Milicent Cranor's critique of Myers' original article in The Video Toaster User, click here.

Last modified on Saturday, 15 October 2016 17:53
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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