Author and artist Judyth Baker was gracious enough to spend some time with us recently discussing her new book, David Ferrie: Mafia Pilot, the interview of which we present below.
Popularly known as Judyth Vary Baker, she first came to my attention several years ago when the History Channel broadcast its series, The Men Who Killed Kennedy, the segment of Judyth which has since been banned.
At the time, I thought that anyone who confessed to a relationship with Lee Oswald was a certified kook, desperate for attention. After all, who would admit to such a fantasy? After several years, a friend recommended her book Me & Lee, a blockbuster which blew open the New Orleans aspect of the Kennedy murder. After reading that book, I became convinced that Judyth was the real deal.
For those who think that Judyth is a liar, or mentally unbalanced, we refer you to Jim Fetzer’s excellent article showing why he believes Judyth Baker.
Baker’s recent book is the first to examine David Ferrie in detail, a quirky and queer man whose character appeared in Oliver Stone’s classic JFK. New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison saw great value in Ferrie’s testimony, but he “died” before Garrison could fully question him.
Baker is also one of the very few people still alive who personally knew Ferrie, making her witness all the more valuable.
Finally, we would like to announce that we are sponsoring Judyth’s appearance in Atlanta, details of which can be found at www.judythvarybakeratlanta.com.
Judyth has been extensively threatened by the Bush Crime Syndicate’s CIA, so much so that she sought political asylum on another continent to save her life. It is thus with great honor that we present this interview.
Interview with Judyth Baker, September 13, 2014
Q: You have just completed a book on David Ferrie. Of all the characters you could have chosen, why did you choose him?
David has been accused of plotting to kill Kennedy and of being involved in the President's murder. His actual role in the assassination has been hidden from the public. It is both surprising and important.
Q: Who is David Ferrie? What should a well read person know about his background?
David Ferrie was a genius. He was also a homosexual who wanted to become a priest. His actual life was as far from that of a good priest as could be possible. Skilled in leadership, he practiced hypnotism and psychology on teenage boys who considered him as almost a god. He ended up working as a contract pilot for both the CIA and the Mafia. He was involved in anti-Castro activities and participated in an elaborate plot to kill Castro. His story is both fascinating and tragic.
Q: We understand that you personally knew David Ferrie. When did you meet him? How?
The entire experience is one that you should read for yourself. It's too complicated to describe briefly, but I became David's friend after I was introduced to him by Lee Harvey Oswald, who was later that year falsely accused of killing President Kennedy.
Q: What was your relationship with him? When was your last contact with him?
David was exactly my father's age, and once he said I was "the little daughter he never had." Since I had wanted to become a nun, and he had wanted to become a priest, he was deeply concerned to learn I had become an atheist. He spent a lot of time trying to get me back into the Catholic Church. We were working together, as well, in a mutual effort to kill Castro, and we had to learn to trust each other. David last contacted me a few weeks after Kennedy was killed, warning me that I had to be a 'vanilla girl' and 'never to use your bright little head for anything important again, if you want to live.' I am certain that he was paramount in saving my life.
Q: Oliver Stone figured him prominently in his movie about the investigation and prosecution of Clay Shaw. Why was Ferrie so important to Garrison?
David turned out to be a key figure that linked the Mafia, the FBI and the CIA together in their most nefarious actions, leading to the betrayal and murder of John F. Kennedy. His name would keep popping up in Garrison's investigation. When David's name hit the papers, in 1967, due to Garrison's investigation, he called Garrison's people and told them he was a dead man. Five days later, David was dead "of natural causes."
Q: What was Ferrie’s connection to Clay Shaw?
For years, any such connection was vigorously denied by Shaw's defenders, despite numerous witnesses who saw and /or heard them interacting. I am one of the few persons still alive who personally witnessed Shaw and Ferrie together --specifically, at an airport, just before Ferrie flew Shaw to Toronto (and possibly Montreal) and at an event at the 500 Club, where I observed Shaw, Ferrie and Carlos Marcello present at the same time , concerning anti-Castro activities and a gun-running operation.
Q: What was the role of David Ferrie in the JFK assassination?
David was openly anti-Kennedy. How he came to be involved, and his actual role, is one of the central themes of the book David Ferrie: Mafia Pilot. David's actual activities will simply amaze the reader. It is my belief that after reading the book, the reader's understanding of David Ferrie's role in the Kennedy assassination will be turned upside down. At the same time, Lee Oswald's innocence will be obvious.
Q: Did Lee Oswald know David Ferrie? If so, what was their relationship?
David Ferrie was the Commander, and, later, an advisor, in New Orleans' Civil Air Patrol meetings at the same time Lee attended those meetings. There is a photo of them in a small group of CAP cadets who spent a weekend with Ferrie when Lee was fifteen years old. Lee was physically assaulted by Ferrie at one point, when Lee reacted to Ferrie because he thought David was going to rape him, but eventually, they became friends. Their relationship was complex. It is described in detail in both Me & Lee (my first book) and in my new book about David.
Q: Was David Ferrie as quirky or weird as he was portrayed in the Stone movie?
Absolutely! Nevertheless, he had a charismatic personality and had an awesome array of talents. He could speak at least five languages fluently and was able to inspire his Cadets, for example, to an extraordinary degree. There is no doubt whatsoever that he was a courageous patriot.
Q: Ferrie died before Garrison could interview him – is that correct?
David was interviewed at least three times by Garrison's investigators -- twice, just before he died.
Q: Some JFK researchers have doubted that Ferrie died of natural causes. Are these doubts well-founded? Did he die from foul play? Is there any evidence to support their beliefs?
My book provides new evidence that David Ferrie was foully murdered.
Q: If he died from foul play, who would want him dead and why?
David knew too much. Way too much. Even the movie JFK didn't present all the reasons why David Ferrie could not be allowed to live. In the book, I also present the many quotes and excuses given by those whose apparent role was--and is-- aimed at 'proving' David Ferrie was not murdered and was not important and was not even all that bright. They portray him as a liar, a braggart, a hypochondriac and a fool. They tend to quote Dave's boyfriends and former lovers, even though Dave told me that he never confided much to his homosexual friends because they came and went in his life, and could change and blackmail him.
Q: How long did it take to write this book?
Three years. However, parts of the book come from Me & Lee, of necessity, as I describe our relationship during that same time period. That book was written in a matter of weeks back in 1999, then expanded with evidence files and full quotes as researchers asked questions of me and I was required to describe various incidents, many of which I didn't realize had remained unknown to the public.
For example, I thought there was so much evidence available about the Clinton-Jackson incidents described in both books that I wouldn't have to go into detail. I was wrong: despite more than a dozen witnesses, the true meaning of the Clinton-Jackson incidents had been successfully hidden from the public.
The American people had been lied to. They needed to get all the facts that I knew. I have had a tremendous response, as their eyes have been opened and they've learned the truth about Lee Oswald and David Ferrie. I find comfort in this, because I lost my teaching profession and home and was forced to move overseas and live in secret places after speaking out. Yes, I miss my family and friends, but, as I tell people, by breaking my silence, I have saved my soul.
Q: What materials did you use to write it? In other words, what kind of documents, evidence, and artifacts did you use?
Personal items are mentioned in the book: some of them are exhibits. I had kept diary entries on scraps of paper and in the margins of books; I had also typed out some quotes so I would not forget them.
Common sense and logic--Occam's razor--shows how what I have to say puts the pieces together, connects the dots. Edward T. Haslam and other researchers have published materials based on leads I gave them. I saved important newspaper articles, too. Much of what's in the new book about David Ferrie is based on evidence that proves my association with Lee Oswald through witnesses and artifacts and documents previously published. These are intricately linked to David Ferrie due to our cancer research work together. Of great importance are the statements of new witnesses who have come forward to tell me about David in their own words.
Concerning what has been previously published about David, because I knew him, I know who was --or who still is-- lying about him. I've presented the lies told by these people (and by researchers) alongside the truth so you can clearly see who you can trust. I think you'll be surprised to see who can't be trusted.
Q: Did Ferrie leave behind any heirs? Are any family members still alive who would have information on him?
David's only sibling--his brother -- was ashamed of him. He died recently. His brother's children knew nothing about their uncle. David was ostracized by his family after morals charges were placed against him in 1961. David's mother, Burdette, lived with him at that time, dying of cancer soon after he sent her to live with his brother. By then, David's name had been blackened by accusations of immoral acts with teenage boys.
Q: We understand that your book may be the first about Ferrie? Why has he been so overlooked?
The book IS the first to be written about David Ferrie. And it was expanded from 488 pages to over 535 pages as new witnesses stepped forward to tell me what they knew. That delayed the book for a year.
A "Ferrie expert" had long promised to write a book about David for decades. He had gathered many interviews from those who knew David, but I became concerned when he refused to meet me, only communicating by emails. When he refused to accept my offers to send him copies of lecture notes I had made from two of David's many lectures to me and Lee, and began telling people that I had nevermet David (it is known by all that HE had never met David!), I became concerned that the "Ferrie expert" was only interested in writing down 'his' version of things. He had published many facts about David, but stubbornly refused to release the names of any of the people he had interviewed.
Years passed. I knew some of those he interviewed had died. When I learned that this person was also a sound and audio editing expert, I became concerned about his taped recordings because we would never be able to double-check with his witnesses, if they were all dead.
Then I remembered that David had told me he did not confide many things to his male friends and lovers because he was afraid that later he could be blackmailed. I realized that I might be the last person still alive who knew David's deepest secrets. I explain in the book how David came to trust me. It is embarrassing, because it reveals very personal things about me, but it was important in order to understand why David did cross that line and bare his soul to me. Throughout my life, I have had the extraordinary privilege of being trusted by many people: they know their secrets are safe with me.
Q: What were your biggest challenges in writing this book?
Realizing that I was the only person who was standing forth with the full truth about David --against the "Ferrie expert"--against the official stories --against statements made by the CIA, the FBI and even by some of David's closest friends. But I had my personal relationship with David on my side. You'll see it was enough.
Q: Please tell us a little more about your trip to promote the book
It is astonishing how many people have decided to help. A trip to visit four cities has turned to 21 cities--and counting! Now we're going to hold the JFK Assassination Conference in Dallas. We're going to have a huge birthday party for Lee in New Orleans. Some big interviews have suddenly occurred. It's because people are anxious to learn the truth, and they get inspired to help. Oddly, we can't get Barnes & Noble to schedule an Author's Night anywhere yet. They seem to think I'm still 'fringe stuff'--I hope that attitude will change. People who have met me before have been fantastic about helping again. Each time I've come to the US, the response has been bigger than the last time! However, I have vision problems, and also, I get threats and have to rely on bodyguards. I can't keep doing this much longer.
Q: Do you have any other books to write?
Trine Day is going to publish THE MIND OF LEE HARVEY OSWALD next year. In 2016, I hope to finish a book about my dear friend Col. Dan Marvin. In 2017, a book I've been working on with my murdered friend, Martha Rose Crow, will be finished. I have a very special book about social systems, several novels, short stories and science fiction that I also hope will be published. I also write poetry. With my friend Edward Schwartz, I am the co-author of KENNEDY AND OSWALD: THE FINAL VERDICT. This book is almost finished.
An audio book of Me & Lee is about to be released. A play--The Sniper's Nest--by Lisa Soland, is now being produced in various countries. There are plans about TV and films, too, in the future.
I just want to meet people, give them a hug, and tell them that the truth must be kept alive, for the sake of our country and our children's future. Then I want to go home, write, paint, compose music and poetry, and thank God my life was preserved to do that. That's the real miracle: God saved my life more than once, and I cannot close this interview without expressing my gratitude to God.
As always Judyth, it has been a pleasure talking with you. I am sure that our readers will want to get the book as soon as it is available. When can they purchase it?
It can be purchased from Trine Day Books (online), at Amazon, or at Barnes & Noble. I will also be selling autographed copies online for the same price as Me & Lee: just go to http://www.judythbaker.blogspot.com to Paypal, and purchase “Me & Lee”--but put in the notes section that you want DAVID FERRIE: MAFIA PILOT. This keeps it simple.
Copyright 2014 Tony Bonn. All rights reserved.