Skip to comments.Secret John Lennon Files Released By FBI
Posted on 12/20/2006 5:52:03 AM PST by ShadowDancer
Secret John Lennon Files Released By FBI
Documents Conclude Former Beatle Wasn't Serious Threat
POSTED: 7:35 am EST December 20, 2006
LOS ANGELES -- The FBI has released its final surveillance documents on John Lennon to a university historian who has waged a 25-year legal battle to obtain the secret files.
The 10 pages contain new details about Lennon's ties to leftist and anti-war groups in London in the early 1970s, but nothing indicating government officials considered the former Beatle a serious threat, historian Jon Wiener told the Los Angeles Times in Wednesday's editions.
The FBI had unsuccessfully argued that an unnamed foreign government secretly provided the information, and releasing the documents could lead to diplomatic, political or economic retaliation against the United States.
The newly released documents include a surveillance report stating that two prominent British leftists had courted Lennon in hopes that he would finance "a left-wing bookshop and reading room in London" but that Lennon gave them no money.
Another page states that there was "no certain proof" that Lennon had provided money "for subversive purposes."
"I doubt that Tony Blair's government will launch a military strike on the U.S. in retaliation for the release of these documents," Wiener told the newspaper. "Today, we can see that the national security claims that the FBI has been making for 25 years were absurd from the beginning."
Wiener first requested the documents in 1981, several months after he decided to write a book about Lennon following the singer's murder.
He initially obtained some documents, but the FBI withheld numerous files, saying they contained national security information and were exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.
Wiener sued the government and received a number of files in 1997 as part of a settlement with the FBI. Justice Department lawyers continued to withhold the final 10 pages until a federal judge in 2004 ordered their release.
The previously released files showed that the FBI closely monitored Lennon from 1971 to 1972.
This is what is wrong with this country: Lovers of socialism, communism, and terrorism, place fear in the hearts of the innocent - fear of unjust surveillance, in order to PROTECT the guilty.
My dad is no lover of socialism, etc, he was a Goldwater Republican. My mom (artsy type) went to the trial of the Catonsville 9 in 1968 (I think it was 1968). My dad's business was then audited by our friends in the IRS for 6 consecutive years after that. Related, I don't know. What do you think? Especially given that they found zilch.
"Firstly, the FBI was investigating him before this."
What a lie. The very first file on Lennon is about his $75,000 contribution to a former "Chicago Eight" member.
"Secondly, the gainesville eight were acquitted."
So what? They admitted they had plans to disrupt the convention.
Trouble is, you can't get a conviction for plans.
BTW, Scot Camil was a member of this group. That's the same Scot Camil who had discussed with Kerry and the rest of the VVAW a idea about killing six US Senators.
Why don't you read the files instead of posting about something you don't know:
Federal Bureau of Investigation - Freedom of Information Privacy Act
The agents involved probably had a heck of a good time while the were doing the surveillance. Concerts, parties with the elites, backstage passes, groupies, drugs (they had to do the drugs to keep the cover), drinks, did I mention the concerts? I'm sure they thought it was money well spent, and if it had been me, I probably would have thought so too.
We would be better off if we did.
Jailing political opponents of the government without trial would make us better off? Seems like it would make us a Stalinist authoritarian state.
I think that was deplorable, of course. The IRS should not be used for intimidation.
If you were to boil down my various statements about surveillance, what was left would be the belief that we should not fear surveillance, yet we do because of CORRUPTION within our Government - The kind of corruption your dad was the unfortunate victim of.
Yet, we cannot ignore real threats due to fear of misuse by a corrupt Government.I believe Socialism is a threat to this country on the same level as communism and terrorism. Socialism is more than a simple political party - it is a philosophy in direct opposition to our way of life. Those who believe this philosophy are worthy of surveillance.
But no one will allow this because they fear the power of government will, in turn, be used against them. That the IRS just might decide to audit you every year, or the FBI just might follow you around.
No power should be abused, but it is. Terrorism should not exists, but it does. Both are tolerated by those who see evilness in the tools that would prevent it, simply because of the abuses that have taken place due to a corrupt Government.
Where did I say Jail political opponents without trial? Nowhere. Because I did not say that.
I agree that SOCIALISTS who are more than political opponents (see my #26) should be considered a threat to our nation and placed under surveillance. Surveillance is NOT jail.
"It's embarassing that the FBI spent hundreds or thousands of hours around on bugging, tailing him with our tax dollars."
The agents involved probably had a heck of a good time while the were doing the surveillance.
If you would read the FBI files you would discover that none of this happened.
Lennon was never bugged. In fact, his case was only opened because of the discovery he had given radicals with past convictions for disrupting conventions (the Chicago 7) the money to start a group that promised to do the same thing to the GOP in 1972 as they did to the DNC in 1968.
These people included Jerry Rubin and other luminaries, many of whom were active Communists.
During this time Lennon was fighting deportation and lying about being in this country to try to find Yoko's "kidnapped child."
Maybe Lennon realized that his involvment with this group would guarantee his deportation. But for whatever reason, he soon broke off contact with this group.
And once he stopped his involvement with them the FBI closed their case against him.
In fact, the FBI's interest in Lennon only lasted a very brief time. His file is thick because they continued to stick stuff in it that they were sent by the INS and just regular folks.
But their actual "survellence" of Lennon was very brief.
Even so, surveillance of American citizens simply because they advocate "socialism" is illegal.
"But their actual "survellence" of Lennon was very brief."
I meant to add: from at the earliest March 1972 to August 1972.
I happen to like (some of) John Lennon's music, and I was saddened at his death, but I do not care for his politics. I have been following the investigation of Lennon's murder since the late 1980s, when Fenton Bresler published a book called Who Killed John Lennon?, which discussed the US intelligence community's surveillance of Lennon and drew sinister, unsubstantiated conclusions from this. Contrary to Bresler's book and the present article, the US intelligence community had justifiable cause to monitor Lennon. In my previous post Hanoi John: Kerry and the Antiwar Movements Communist Connections, I included a footnote referencing the portions of Lennon's FBI file that had been released at that time:
While in contact with these foreign groups, the VVAW helped antiwar groups gather intelligence on US military installations, operations, and troop movements.281 Meanwhile to pressure the Nixon administration to halt US bombing against North Vietnam, the VVAW engaged in a series of increasingly militant actions beginning in late 1971. Over the 1971 Christmas holiday, VVAW membersamong them Kerrys associate Joe Bangertprotested US bombing by taking over several national monuments around the country, including the Lincoln Memorial and Statue of Liberty, and defacing them with antiwar messages.282 In April 1972, at Hanois direction, the VVAW sent members to Washington to participate in Dewey Canyon IV and related demonstrations organized by the NPAC and PCPJ. In coordination with these demonstrations the NPAC staged a simultaneous demonstration in New York, at which Kerry spoke.283 In May 1972, to protest US bombing and mining operations, VVAW members cornered George H.W. Bush, then United States ambassador to the United Nations, and dumped blood on him.284 In August 1972, the VVAW helped a PCPJ-linked coalition of antiwar groups disrupt the Republican National Convention in Miami by physically attacking delegates and police.285 While this was going on outside the convention, Nixons Republican rival Senator Paul McCloskeya VVAW ally whom Kerry had expressed support for in his January Dartmouth College speech286gave three wheelchaired VVAW members passes so they could try to sneak in and make a scene by pretending to offer to shake President Nixons hand and then physically grabbing and detaining him until he agreed to listen to VVAW demands.287 Staying with VVAW member Sheldon Ramsdell in the hotel where the convention was held was John Kerrys sister Peggy.288
285 Stacewicz, 305-313; Nicosia, Home to War, 229-282; FBI files, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, FBI HQ 100-448092, Sections 21-48, online at www.wintersolider.com, http://ice.he.net/~freepnet/fbifiles/100-HQ-448092/Section%20037/SECTION%20037.pdf, pdf file HQ 100-448092 Sections 21-48 (September 4, 2004). Cf. FBI files, John Lennon, online at Federal Bureau of InvestigationFreedom of Information Privacy Act, http://foia.fbi.gov/foiaindex/lennon.htm (September 5, 2004).
It did not fall within the scope of my article to elaborate on this, though I considered it. But in the present context, I would like to draw attention to the file referenced here and mention that it describes Lennon's financial support of EYSIC, a group I have summarized in another commentary on the VVAW:
[Rennie Davis] After Dewey Canyon III helped VVAW and other antiwar groups plan disruption of 1972 Republican National Convention by organizing remnant of May Day Tribe into new group, first called the Allamuchy Tribe and then renamed the Election Year Strategy Information Committee (EYSIC; see entry for Miami Convention Coalition). While planning 1972 riot, took plane to attend Soviet-sponsored World Assembly for the Peace and Independence of the Peoples of Indochina (see entry) in Versailles, France from February 11-13, 1972. Intended after assembly to go to Vietnam and China, but on plane to France was introduced by friend Larry Canada and Canadas associate Charles Cameron to Divine Light Mission cult of Guru Maharaj Ji, and instead decided to go to India to meet Maharaj Ji. Converted to Divine Light Mission cult and drifted away from activism into psychedelic mysticism over the course of 1972. Meanwhile participated in VVAWs riot at Republican National Convention and in Hayden and Jane Fondas Indochina Peace Campaign (IPC).
The entry for the Miami Convention Coalition referred to here was omitted from the posted draft of this (at least in the copy I have saved on my computer), but my original reads as follows:
Miami Convention Coalition: Outgrowth of the San Diego Coalition, a plot by a coalition of antiwar groups to disrupt the 1972 Republican National Convention, which was originally scheduled for San Diego but was moved to Miami after authorities discovered the plot. The coalitions leaders included Rennie Davis of the Peoples Coalition for Peace and Justice (PCPJ--see entries for Davis and PCPJ) May Day Tribe faction and Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman of the Youth International Party (Yippies), who had previously helped organize the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention and the 1971 Mayday demonstration that followed the VVAWs Dewey Canyon III rally. Modelled on the May Day Tribe, the core of the coalition was initially called the Allamuchy Tribe and then renamed the Election Year Strategy Information Committee (EYSIC). EYSIC was founded in the basement of former Beatle John Lennon, then associating with the Yippies and PCPJ and the Yippie-linked Committee to Free John Sinclair. Lennon donated $75,000 for the creation of EYSIC and planned to tour the country recruiting protestors for the convention, though he later cancelled for fear of being deported back to Britain. Lennon meanwhile paid for Yoko Onos Project YES to fund Rennie Davis trip to the Versailles, France February 11-13, 1972 World Assembly for the Peace and Independence of the Peoples of Indochina, a front for the Soviet front the World Peace Council. Accompanying Davis PCPJ associate Sidney Peck to Versailles was VVAW leader Al Hubbard. Upon returning to the United States on February 20, Hubbard joined a VVAW National Steering Committee meeting in Denver Colorado and participated in discussion of the San Diego VVAWs role in planning the San Diego Coalitions activities. VVAW leaders resolved that the VVAW would support the San Diego Coalition and that a San Diego veterans contingent would serve as a liaison between the VVAW National Steering Committee and the San Diego Coalition.
Lennon was also surrounded by other subversive groups--in some cases with his knowledge, as with his support for John Sinclair's White Panther Party, but also often without his knowledge, as the Beatles tended to attract a large amount of favor-seekers from various financial interests, political groups, and religious cults seeking to capitalize on the group's wealth and social contacts.
I mention all this to correct the misleading impression left by this article that "the national security claims that the FBI has been making for 25 years were absurd from the beginning". Lennon himself was probably not much of a national security threat-he was too stoned to be very politically engaged (he once said something to the effect that he was continuously high from about 1965 to 1976)--but he was in contact with people who certainly were.
Interesting. I had not heard that. He was right though.
Ping of Vietnam-era interest.
I wonder how he feels about that now.
It is now. No argument from me on that. What I believe should happen, and what does happen, are often two different things.
To have a socialists who does not believe in the Republic as it stands, being in a power position of the Government he or she despises, and wishes to change, is an abomination at best.
I wonder how he feels about that now
Thanks for taking the time to post all that Fedora. That is exactly what I was getting at, but too lazy to spell out.
"Lennon himself was probably not much of a national security threat-he was too stoned to be very politically engaged..."
As you undoubtedly know, this was the eventual conclusion from the FBI as well.
"During this time Lennon was fighting deportation and lying about being in this country to try to find Yoko's 'kidnapped child.'"
You're right that this was one of Yoko's fairy tales. Yoko felt more accepted as an artist in New York and she wanted to keep John away from his Liverpool family and friends, especially his ex-bandmates. Taxes were also a reason John chose to live in the US. There was a Rolling Stone article during the period John and Yoko separated where John's lawyer, Harold Seider, confirmed that John was a tax exile.
Especially when you figure that the only time he ever got to see Julian after hooking up with Yoko was during the "lost weekend." Not that it was really much of a "lost weekend," but that's another topic for another time...
Lennon wrote some of the most beautiful melodies in pop music history. Do you think Mccartney was also tone deaf?
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