David Blackburst Archive:
Ferrie's Feelings Towards JFK



From: blackburst@aol.com (Blackburst)
Date: 7/21/01 11:43 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Message-id: <20010721234352.01865.00000401@ng-cd1.aol.com>

I know nothing I say is going to change what you feel about Ferrie.

Ferrie was what we would call an anti-Communist liberal of that time era - a description often used for JFK himself. Ferrie was, to be sure, anti-Communist, and especially so where Castro was concerned. But he was also a liberal on social spending, civil rights, the space program, religion, and a host of other issues, again, not unlike JFK.

It is true that Ferrie was very mad at JFK and the CIA IN 1961, over the Bay of Pigs failure. In his speech before the Military Order of World Wars, he was asked to suspend his remarks because they were inconsistent with the policies of the MOWW. But after the formal meeting was closed, he was allowed to continue his remarks. And his temper did moderate in time.

From my research, I get the impression that, while he was close to Banister in some respects, he did not share Banister's enthusiasm for far-right causes, such as segregation and red-baiting. As for Marcello, Ferrie was sympathetic to Marcello's feeling that he had been treated unfairly by the Kennedy administration, but Ferrie does not seem to be the raving madman he has been portrayed as. There is a lot more subtlety and nuance to Ferrie than you might imagine.

When the full Ferrie story is told in detail and in context, you may be surprised. Some of what you've read is true; but some is not.


From: blackburst@aol.com (Blackburst)
Date: 7/23/01 12:07 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Message-id: <20010723120731.28956.00001244@ng-ch1.aol.com>

OH LEE wrote:
>Well sir, I like to think that I'm flexible enough to carefully consider
>any cogent, well thought out argument. If you are making the point that
>was hardly the hyper, wide-eyed, right wing fanatic portrayed in the movie
>'JFK", I might accept that.

My apologies if I implied a closed-mindedness. I misinterpreted the conviction of your post.

That was indeed my point, that people have taken a few of Ferrie's more extreme moments and created an image of a "hyper, wide-eyed right wing fanatic." But my research suggests a less severe context, that Ferrie apparently DID vote for Kennedy (another Irish-Catholic) in 1960 and supported many of his policies, but was personally affronted by what he saw as weakness at the Bay of Pigs, with the subsequent (temporary) abandonment of the Brigade at Giron. As I noted, the minutes of the Military Order of World Wars meeting indicate that his criticisms of Kennedy were severe and "controversial", but he was invited to finish his remarks after the formal meeting was adjourned. Ferrie apparently was pleased that JFK "stood up" to Castro and the Soviets during the Missle Crisis, and that the Brigade was brought home shortly thereafter. But by 1963, he was long since removed from the Cuban conflict (others disagree, but I think the record is clear) and his feelings had moderated to some extent. Several acquaintences said he was no Kennedy lover, but he was as shocked by the assassination as everybody else.

Some books have portrayed him as a madman, and in some ways, he does make the perfect villain. But he was a much more complex character than that. For all his faults and weirdness, there were aspects of his personality that seemed to draw people to him. And as I've noted elsewhere, some of the most widely repeated accusations against Ferrie do not pan out upon closer examination. People want to believe the worst about him, and rarely seem to bother to give the consideration we are all due: A presumption of innocence until charges are proven to a reasonable certainty.

I guess I'm swimming against the tide here. Perhaps when my book is done, some people will regard Ferrie more as a real person and not the cartoon character of popular literature.

Thanks to Martin for the objectivity (and the kind words in another thread.).


From: blackburst@aol.com (Blackburst)
Date: 7/23/01 11:49 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Message-id: <20010723234958.09302.00000803@ng-ff1.aol.com>

Gary wrote:
>By the way,
>when will your book be coming out

The research is essentially done, and the outline is done. The text is about half-written. But since having a baby, I have less and less time to work on the book. And now I have another baby on the way. So it may be delayed a bit! Hopefully, within a few years. But I may be working on a film documentary of Ferrie in the interim.

>what is its primary focus? Ferrie
>as an innocent patsy? Or do you explore possible ways that he may have been
>involved in the assassination, whether as a "role" player on the periphery
>or one with a more pivotal role?

To use a research tool developed by Lifton, I examine Ferrie through two different "lenses": one being the traditional Ferrie as villain, examining all the allegations made about him (including some never before published), and the other being the possibility of Ferrie as victim, correcting some erroneous information about him. I really take no side. But it is fair to say that the villain possibility has received more attention than the victim possibility in the past, and perhaps my posts have devoted more attention to correcting mistakes about him. Pesci's cartoon image of Ferrie was cinematically brilliant, but it greatly oversimplifies a much more complex ambiguity in the evidence.

>Judging from your posts, I'd say that you
>see Ferrie as being unfairly villified and having no real connection at all
>to JFK'S death. True?

Not necessarily. Ferrie was capable of being involved in a conspiracy to kill JFK, and I have recently traded information with two pro-conspiracy authors, one of whom will probably assert that Ferrie was a conspirator. My goal is not to establish certainty either way; it is to correct mistakes and establish a more complete record on Ferrie, with the hope that others will pick up the thread and take the research to new areas.


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