Was John Lennon Killed for his Pot Activism?
"You'd just have to be as strong as they are and show - make them prove they are experts, and don't let it lie once the thing's out. Get on and push and push on every TV, radio, everything you've got and keep the questions going. Don't let it hang in a report and leave it."
- John Lennon, December 22nd 1969, testifying in favor of cannabis legalization at Canada's Royal (LeDain) Commission(1)
"Yoko Ono and John Lennon spent a weekend at my house in Watsonville... In the evening we smoked a combination of marijuana and opium, sitting on pillows in front of the fireplace, sipping tea, munching cookies. We talked about Mae Brussell's theory that the deaths of musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison had actually been political assassinations because they were role models on the crest of the youth rebellion. 'No, no,' Lennon argued, 'they were already headed in a self-destructive direction.' A few months later, he would remind me of that conversation and add, 'Listen, if anything happens to Yoko and me, it was not an accident.'"
- Paul Krassner, writing about a 1972 visit with John and Yoko(2)
Although there is no absolute proof that John Lennon was killed because he was an outspoken proponent of the legalization of cannabis, there is ? to borrow a term from law enforcement officials ? a "constellation of evidence" pointing to that conclusion. In order to convince any rational person that there is a probability (or even possibility) that John Lennon was killed by the powers-that-be for being a pot activist, one would have to present compelling evidence:
1) That the powers-that-be are in the habit of monitoring, persecuting and assassinating people like Lennon ? writers and musicians ? for their outspokenness on drug-war related issues;
2) That Lennon was a lover of cannabis and a vocal proponent of legalization;
3) That the powers-that-be targeted and harassed Lennon; and
4) That Mark David Chapman was a programmed assassin, a "Manchurian Candidate" who had help from outside sources. Admittedly, Lennon may have been assassinated for other reasons; however I'm certain that, by the end of this article, more than a few readers will begin to doubt the official story that a crazed fan simply wanted to "kill the phony".
Everybody's Got Something to Hide
"I don't smoke pot, and I'm glad because then I can champion it without any special pleading. The reason I don't smoke pot is because it facilitates ideas and heightens sensations. And I got enough shit flying through my head without smoking pot."
? Lenny Bruce(3)
Many famous drug peace writers and artists had Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) files established. Early psychonaut and drug peace proponent Aldous Huxley, author of The Doors Of Perception, was one of them. His file had 130 pages.(4) Lenny Bruce, whose cannabis activist credentials have been firmly established (see Cannabis Culture #53), was busted numerous times for obscenity and possession of narcotics. One of his charges was for a prescribed drug, and a later bust was rumored to have been a set up by the police.(5) As with Lennon, Bruce's drug crime record was how Hoover justified his FBI file.(6) Bruce's official cause of death in 1966 was an overdose of morphine. The often-repeated general consensus first articulated by Phil Spector shortly after Bruce's death was, however, that he really died of "an overdose of police."
Allen Ginsberg also was subject to FBI observation and harassment. Ginsberg had been involved with some of the first cannabis protests in the USA. The FBI made sure his poems were kept off the radio, and labeled him as "potentially dangerous".(7) The Federal Narcotics Bureau attempted to frame Ginsberg on a marijuana charge, and put pressure on recently arrested musician Jack Martin for that purpose. Even the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) kept tabs on Ginsberg.(8) The CIA was watching Tim Leary, an early pioneer of drug peace and drug freedom, as early as 1960.(9) In 1964 Leary co-authored, with Ralph Metzner, The Psychedelic Experience. John Lennon took inspiration from that book, and words from the introduction, for his psychedelic song Tomorrow Never Knows.(10)
Leary helped to start an organization called IFIF (International Federation for Internal Freedom). He was later busted for cannabis, which resulted in the Marijuana Tax Act to be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court for violating the Fifth Amendment (against self-incrimination). Leary decided to run for governor of California against Ronald Reagan in 1970, but was busted for hashish and LSD, and sentenced to 30 years in jail.(11) Leary, a former Harvard professor, had a killer smile and personable manner that made him difficult to demonize. Leary was arrested by Nixon's "dirty tricks" goto guy, G. Gordon Liddy, during a 1966 raid on his Millbrook estate. Nixon would say to his advisors that Leary was "the most dangerous man in America."
Dana Beal ? Yippie leader, ibogaine proponent, originator of the "smoke-in", organizer of today's Global Marijuana March and pot activist since the 1960's ? was the target of FBI informants and agents of harassment. As a result of his activism, Beal was repeatedly arrested on cannabis-related charges. Activist Jerry Rubin suggested that Beal "was such an important symbol that local and Federal law enforcement agencies specifically sought to catch him dealing in drugs."(12) High Times' founding publisher Tom Forcade was harassed by FBI informant, Julie Maynard, and falsely accused of dealing heroin in a poster that fellow activists were encouraged to distribute.(13) According to Dana Beal's website www.CuresNotWars.com, Forcade was "hounded by the DEA" up to the end of his life, when he apparently shot himself in October of 1978.(14)
Happiness is a Warm Gun
"You know, we are humorous. We are Laurel and Hardy. That's John and Yoko. We stand a better chance under that guise, because all the serious people, like Martin Luther King, and Kennedy, and Gandhi, got shot."
? John Lennon(15)
For those of you who doubt John Lennon's belief that "serious people" get shot by the establishment, there's plenty of proof available. In 1960, the CIA derived its authority to conduct assassinations from President Eisenhower, using the euphemism "executive action" when referring to such activities. The assassination team was hidden within a larger program of burglaries, kidnapping and code-breaking codenamed ?ZR/RIFLE'.(16) In the book The Great Heroin Coup, journalist Henrik Kruger writes: "Assassination, it can be argued, became a modus operandi under Richard Nixon... The White House appears to have sponsored a secret assassination program under cover of drug enforcement. It was continued by the DEA, which seemingly overlapped with the CIA in political, rather than drug, enforcement."(17)
In a deposition to the court in Hunt vs. Weberman, on September 30th 1980, G. Gordon Liddy described the plan to kill syndicated columnist Jack Anderson: "I suggested the only way to stop Mr. Anderson was to kill him. Mr. Hunt and Dr. Gunn agreed. The remainder of the conversation consisted of how we ought to do it best. The conclusion was that the Cuban assets were to stage a mugging in Washington which would be fatal to Anderson."(18)
One recently declassified CIA document, a letter from an Agency consultant to a CIA officer, states: "You will recall that I mentioned that the local circumstances under which a given means might be used, might suggest the technique to be used in that case. I think the gross divisions in presenting this subject might be: 1) bodies left with no hope of the cause of death being determined by the most complete autopsy and chemical examinations; 2) bodies left in such circumstances as to simulate accidental death; 3) bodies left in such circumstances as to simulate suicidal death; 4) bodies left with residue that simulate those caused by natural diseases."(19)
Even though some surface reforms were instituted in the mid-seventies, George Bush Sr. (head of the CIA in 1976) and William Webster (who ran the CIA from mid-1987 to mid-1991) had both claimed a need to again target political enemies of the U.S. for assassination.(20)
Have You Seen The Little Piggies "If it was up to me, there wouldn't be no such thing as the establishment."
? Jimi Hendrix(21)
"COINTELPRO was out to obliterate its opposition and ruin the reputations of the people involved in the antiwar movement, the civil rights movement, and the rock revolution. Whenever Jimi Hendrix's death is blamed on drugs, it accomplishes the goals of the FBI's program. It not only slanders Jimi's personal and professional reputation, but the entire rock revolution in the 60's."
? John Holmstrom, Who Killed Jimi?, Lions Gate Media Works(22)
Jimi Hendrix was a rebel who had a reputation for enjoying LSD and cannabis on a regular basis, and singing about it in his extremely popular songs. Are you experienced? and Purple Haze could easily be viewed as passionate endorsements of psychedelics and marijuana. On tour in Liesburg, Sweden, Hendrix was quoted as saying "In the USA, you have to decide which side you're on... you are either a rebel or like Frank Sinatra."(23) Hendrix was suspicious of his manager Mike Jeffrey, an "ex" intelligence agent with underworld connections. Hendrix's girlfriend Monika Dannemann, a nurse who was with him when he died, made this comment regarding Hendrix's famous ?heroin bust': "In May 1969 Jimi was arrested at Toronto for possession of drugs. He later told me he believed Jeffrey had used a third person to plant the drugs on him ? as a warning, to teach him a lesson."(24)
In 1979, college students filed for release of FBI files on Hendrix. The file revealed that Hendrix had been placed on the federal "Security Index", a list of "subversives" to be rounded up and placed in detainment camps in the event of a national emergency.(25) Many of Hendrix's friends, lovers and associates suspect foul play surrounding his death. Many researchers feel that Jimi died from being forced to drink red wine until he drowned, citing (the surgical registrar) Dr. Bannister's report that "masses of red wine were coming out of his nose and out of his mouth."(26) There is no evidence to support the much-repeated rumor that he died of a heroin overdose.
"The more people smoke herb, the more Babylon fall."
? Bob Marley
Bob Marley was no doubt a cannabis proponent, as are all Rastafarians. He sang the tune "Kaya" (a Jamaican term for herb), talked openly about cannabis use on many occasions, and was even buried with a bud of marijuana.(27)
He was also shot at by assassins. In November of 1976, a death squad armed with immense firepower sprayed Marley's home with bullets. Marley, his wife Rita and his manager Don Taylor were all hit and seriously wounded.(28) On December 5th of that year, during the "Smile Jamaica" festival concert, Bob was visited by Carl Colby, son of CIA director (1973-76) William Colby. Carl Colby brought a gift: a pair of boots. Marley put his foot in and was poked in the big toe by a length of copper wire. He later got cancer of the toe, which spread to the rest of his body and eventually killed him.(29) Just in case anybody out there doesn't believe that cancer can be used as a weapon like that, just type in "Special Cancer Virus Program" into Google and begin your education into US domestic biological war.(30)
At first, Marley said he would use cannabis as his medicine to combat the cancer, rejecting Western medicine and the option of amputating his toe. Later on, he was treated by Dr. Josef Issels in Bavaria... up to his death. Dr. Issels was a member of the Nazi Party in Germany in the Hitler regime and was a Nazi Party doctor assigned to the eastern front. It appears that Dr. Issels did nothing but torture Marley in his dying days, cutting off his dreadlocks, denying him food and giving him painful injections (a treatment similar to experiments done at Auschwitz). Devon Evans, who played with the Wailers, visited Marley often and said "they're killing him". It's rumored that Dr. Issels he greeted Marley by saying "I hear that you're one of the most dangerous black men in the world."(31)
"I see everything that is deadly upon creation invented, arranged to assassinate those that speak the truth."
? Peter Tosh, from the film Stepping Razor: Red X
"And when Tosh went, there was nothing random about it. Witnesses and friends insist that he was a political hit. They are convinced that Tosh was killed for his statements on human rights, black liberation and the legalization of marijuana."
? Alex Constantine, The Covert War Against Rock(32)
Peter Tosh was perhaps the most vocal and militant of all pot activists. His 1975 song Legalize It became the pot activist's #1 anthem, and he was rumored to smoke two pounds of bud per week! Police beat up Tosh on many occasions, once for grabbing a roach back and blowing the contents out into the wind.(33) He was shot dead by three supposed "thieves" at his house on September 19th 1987. According to one eyewitness, nothing was stolen from the house. According to another, one of the gunmen said "Peter... You go dead tonight. Me come to kill you."(34) Wayne Johnson, producer of the biographical Red X Tapes, cites an unnamed official of the Jamaican government who told him that one of the gunmen was a police officer. There was a hurried investigation that ignored critical leads, and the two gunmen ? who looked "clean-cut", "professional" and "not local" ? were never found.(35)
If I Ain't Dead Already
When Hunter S. Thompson, famous gonzo journalist, killed himself on February 20th 2005, he was apparently working on a story about the World Trade Center attacks as he felt there was hard evidence showing the towers had been brought down not by the airplanes, but by explosive charges set off in their foundations. At the time of his death, he was talking calmly to his wife on the phone about his next column for ESPN.com.(36)
There is an impressive list of drugpeace writers and songwriters who died of suspicious or abnormal suicide. Phil Ochs (who wrote the pot activist anthem A Small Circle of Friends), Hunter S. Thompson (who ran for sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado in 1970 and used his platform to speak out against the marijuana laws), Gary Webb (who exposed CIA drug running in his book Dark Alliance), Daniel "Danny" Casolaro (who investigated the BCCI [Bank of Credit and Commerce International] and Iran Contra scandals)... even the great Abbie Hoffman (author of Steal This Urine Test) left debate over whether he was "suicided" or not (his brother Jack, and Paul Krassner think not, but son Andrew suspects foul play). There's no room to go into the specifics of their strange suicides, but the information is out there.(37)
I'd Love To Turn You On
"If people can't face up to the fact of other people being naked or smoking pot, then we're never going to get anywhere"
? John Lennon, Penthouse, Oct. 1969(38)
"...We had an answer to Britain's problem. It was to legalize pot and let homosexuals marry and Britain would be the richest nation on earth. It's as simple as that."
? John Lennon, speaking to the Canadian Royal (LeDain) Commission, December 22nd 1969(39)
Most sources claim John Lennon was introduced to cannabis by journalist Al Aronowitz and Bob Dylan on August 28th 1964.(40) One account of the last days of Lennon's life has him smoking pot as late as August of 1980.(41) Lennon considered cannabis to be a tool of inspiration and a gift from the gods right up until the last
year of his life. In 1980, he commented on his inspiration for the backward sound effects in the song Rain: "That one was the gift of God ? of Jah, actually, the god of marijuana. Jah gave me that one. The first backwards tape on my record anywhere. Before Hendrix, before The Who, before any fucker."(42)
In the article To Smoke or Not to Smoke: A Cannabis Odyssey by Dr. Lester Grinspoon, a similar endorsement of cannabis's inspirational powers was related to the famous pot-activist doctor by John: "I told John... how cannabis appeared to make it possible for me to ?hear' his music for the first time in much the same way that Allen Ginsberg reported that he had ?seen' Cezanne for the first time when he purposely smoked cannabis before setting out for the Museum of Modern Art. John was quick to reply that I had experienced only one facet of what marijuana could do for music, that he thought it could be very helpful for composing and making music as well as listening to it."(43)
But John Lennon's activism was more than just saying nice things about pot. In April of 1967, Rolling Stone Keith Richards had been found guilty of permitting his house to be used for the smoking of marijuana and sentenced to one year in jail and a fine of ?500. Mick Jagger, found guilty of the illegal possession of amphetamine on the same occasion, was sentenced to three months in jail and a ?200 fine. They both spent one night in jail, and once free on bail, they decided to record a song about their experience. John Lennon and Paul McCartney decided to sing in the chorus, providing a little help for their friends. The song was called We Love You, and opened with the sound of footsteps and a prison door slamming.(44)
On July 24th 1967, the Beatles took out a full-page ad in the Sunday Times with "THE LAW AGAINST MARIJUANA IS IMMORAL IN PRINCIPLE AND UNWORK ABLE IN PRACTICE" in bold, large-font letters at the top of the page. Beneath that, the wise words of the rationalist Baruch Spinoza from his 1677 Political Treatise followed: "All laws which can be violated without doing anyone any injury are laughed at. Nay, so far are they from doing anything to control the desires and passions of many that, on the contrary, they direct and incite men's thoughts towards those very objects; for we always strive toward what is forbidden and desire the things we are not allowed to have. And men of leisure are never deficient in the ingenuity needed to enable them to outwit laws framed to regulate things which cannot be entirely forbidden... He who tries to determine everything by law will foment crime rather than lessen it."
Some other quotes were included in the ad: "(It is) worth considering... giving cannabis the same status as alcohol by legalizing its import and consumption... Besides the undoubted attraction of reducing, for once, the number of crimes a member of our society can commit, and of allowing the wider spread of something that can give pleasure, a greater revenue would certainly come to the State from taxation than from fines... Additional gains might be the reduction of inter-racial tension, as well as that between generations." ? The Lancet, November 9th 1963
"There are no long lasting ill-effects from the acute use of marijuana and no fatalities have ever been recorded. There seems to be growing agreement within the medical community, at least, that marijuana does not directly cause criminal behavior, juvenile delinquency, sexual excitement, or addiction." ? Dr. J. H. Jaffe, The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, L. Goodman and A Gillman, eds. 3rd edn. 1965
"The available evidence shows that marijuana is not a drug of addiction and has no harmful effects... [the problem of marijuana] has been created by an illinformed society rather than the drug itself." ? Guy's Hospital Gazette, 1967
The ad also contained a petition, which read: "The signatories to this petition suggest to the Home Secretary that he implement a five-point programme of cannabis law reform: 1) The government should permit and encourage research into all aspects of cannabis use, including its medical applications; 2) Allowing the smoking of cannabis on private premises should no longer constitute an offense; 3) Cannabis should be taken off the dangerous drugs list and controlled, rather than prohibited, by a new ad hoc instrument; 4) Possession of cannabis should either be legally permitted or at most be considered a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than 10 pounds for a first offense and not more than 25 pounds for any subsequent offense; and 5) All persons now imprisoned for possession of cannabis or for allowing cannabis to be smoked on private premises should have their sentences commuted."
The petition was signed by the Beatles as well as sixty-one of the leading names in British society, including Nobel laureate Francis Crick (co-discoverer of the DNA molecule), novelist Graham Greene, scientist Francis Huxley, and various Members of Parliament.(45) The advertisement was debated in the British House of Commons. Minister of State Alice Bacon in Parliament claimed 97 per cent of heroin addicts ?started on cannabis' (statistics which she appeared to have made up) and blamed the use of cannabis and LSD on the importation of negro music and Indian spirituality.(45A)
Nonetheless, the full-page ad kickstarted a three-year process that ultimately saw penalties for marijuana possession reduced in the UK. Lennon's pot activism wasn't limited to England. Drug-peace activist Tim Leary's 1970 campaign for governor of California had a campaign slogan: ?Come Together, Join The Party'. Lennon's White Album song Come Together was his donation to the campaign, arising from Leary's slogan.(46) Lennon also came to Canada in December of 1969 to speak on behalf of the legalization of cannabis at the Royal (LeDain) Commission on Cannabis & Non- Medicinal Drugs. He spoke for nearly two hours. Lennon's testimony is fascinating, and is available online for those who are curious.(47)
On Friday, December 10th 1971, John and Yoko hosted the "Free John Sinclair" concert in the Chrysler Arena in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with 15,000 people in attendance. John Sinclair was a ?White Panther' and cannabis activist facing ten years in prison for two joints. Chicago 7 lawyer William Kunstler sent a tape recording of his voice to be played at the concert. Kunstler spoke about John Sinclair, saying, "His harsh sentence dramatizes the absurdity of our marijuana laws which are irrational, unjust and indefensible. Recently the National Institute of Mental Health submitted to the Congress its 176 page report ?Marijuana and Health', which comes to the conclusion that, quote, ?For the bulk of smokers, marijuana does not seem to be harmful', end quote. Yet it is made a crime in every state with penalties ranging in severity from life to six months in jail. On the other hand, conventional cigarettes can be legally sold as long as they bear a legend on the package that they can cause serious illness or death..."(48) Then, after a few speakers, it was Lennon's turn. "This song, I wrote for John Sinclair," he said. "Okay, ?John Sinclair', nice and easy now. Sneaky.
One, two, three, four
It ain't fair, John Sinclair
In the stir for breathing air
Won't you care for John Sinclair
In the stir for breathing air
Let him be, set him free
Let him be like you and me
They gave him ten for two...
What else can Judge Columba do?
We gotta, gotta ... gotta set him free
If he was a soldier man
Shooting gooks in Vietnam
If he was the CIA
Selling dope and making hay
He'd be free, they'd let him be
Free the man like you and me
They gave him ten for two...
What else can Judge Columba do?
We gotta, gotta ... gotta set him free
They gave him ten for two
And they got [inaudible], too
We gotta, gotta ... gotta set him free
Was he jailed for what he'd done?
Or representing everyone?
Free John now, if we can
From the clutches of the man
Let him be. Lift the lid.
Bring him to his wife and kid..."(49)
Notice the lyric about the "CIA, selling dope and making hay"? Interestingly enough, that line was missing from the written version in Lennon's FBI file ? "CIA" was replaced by "flying man", but in their written version Lennon also mentions Nixon, Rockefeller and Agnew.(50)
Lennon's actions on behalf of Sinclair had tangible results ? Sinclair was released three days after the concert.(51) The results weren't all positive, though. President Nixon had deportation proceedings against Lennon initiated the moment he heard about the concert.(52) A few months after the concert, Nixon's assassination expert Gordon Liddy and "ex" CIA agent E. Howard Hunt suggested to Nixon's Attorney General John Mitchell that peace demonstrators at the upcoming Republican National Convention (which Lennon at one time planned to attend) should be mugged, kidnapped and deported. Mitchell decided to ignore this advice, instead going with their second plan ? to bug the Democratic Party Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel.(53)
Does It Worry You To Be Alone?
"...And there's this banging on the window, I thought, oh, they've got me, you know, not the police, but whoever it is that's trying to get me."
? John Lennon, speaking about the pot bust seven months earlier, during the British Television interview ?How Late It Is', BBC1, May 2nd 1969(54)
John Lennon's nearly 300-page FBI file and almost entirely unreleased CIA file were probably started in August of 1966, right after he began speaking out against the Vietnam War.(55) On October 18th 1968 in Britain, John and his new girlfriend, Yoko Ono, had been arrested and charged with possession of 1.5 ounces of marijuana. Two weeks before the bust, Lennon had been warned that the police were out to get him because he was a "loudmouth". As a precaution, he had (as he put it) "cleaned the house out [of drugs]."
Nevertheless, marijuana was found by the police. According to Lennon, he had been set up. His opinion is backed up by the fact that the arresting officer was later sentenced to two years in prison for planting evidence in other cases. In order that Ono would not be charged, Lennon copped a plea. Charges against Ono were dropped and Lennon was fined and found guilty of "an offense of moral turpitude." (56)
Money For People With
Minds That Hate
In 1968, the FBI's COINTELPRO (counterintelligence program) project merged with the CIA to form ?Operation Chaos', an operation ag ainst "prominent persons"(57), "political dissidents"(58), and "restless youth"(59), which involved monitoring, subterfuge, and sometimes "selective assassinations".(60)
One of the tactics of Operation Chaos was to "Provoke target groups into rivalries that resulted in deaths."(61) It had connections with the ?Plumbers', a band of "rogue" Republicans (including assassination expert Gordon Liddy) that would later get busted at Watergate.(62) Operation Chaos was J. Edgar Hoover's aggressive plan to destabilize the Black Panthers, Weathermen, anti-war groups, activist groups, cannabis activists, and hundreds of other organizations through assassination, drug planting, harassment, wiretapping, surveillance. The Black Panthers lost over 200 leaders, almost all killed under questionable circumstances, in seven years of Operation Chaos.
According to researcher Mae Brussell, the Manson murders were par t of Operation Chaos. Operation Chaos had gone into super-secret "no-paper-trail" mode by the middle of 1969, exactly when the Manson Family murders were to have begun.(63) Another source claims Charles Manson "served as a police informant for years".(64) It was well known that Manson was introduced to both guitar and Scientology (mind control) during his last stay in prison.(65) It was less well known that right before being let out into the summer of love, he met with (RFK assassin/ patsy) Sirhan Sirhan's lawyer(66) and was given a black Volkswagon bus and a credit card (perhaps even some CIA-made LSD) in what looks like an exchange for a promise to associate the Black Panthers and/or the Beatles with murder and terror.(67)
Manson began to take up all the headline space in early December of 1969, within days of the FBI murder of Black Panther Fred Hampton. Thanks to lawyer/ author Vincent Bugliosi and his book Helter Skelter (which ignored establishment connections and focused on connections with the Beatle's White Album), everyone now associates Manson with the Beatles. Bugliosi's next book, due in May of 2007, will feature a defense of the "Oswald acted alone" theory of the JFK assassination.(68) In December 1975, George H. W. Bush faced the Senate Committee on Armed Services in hearings to determine if he was ethical enough to run the CIA. Bush told the Committee "This Agency must stay in the foreign intelligence business and not harass American citizens, like in Operation Chaos."(69) Coincidentally, it was in October 1975 that the New York Supreme Court decided that Lennon shouldn't be deported ? a decision which allowed him to become an American citizen.(70) One of the documents in Lennon's FBI file, half of which was blacked out, had the heading "CHAOS".(71)
When You Can't Really Function
You're So Full Of Fear
"I think it's wise to remember that for six years, he was hounded, not just because of some pot possession charge." ? A bbie Hof f man, speak ing about John Lennon(72)
On April 23rd 1970, the FBI wrote, "While Lennon and the Harrisons have shown no propensity to become involved in violent antiwar demonstrations, each recipient (i.e. informant) remains alert for any information of such activity on their part or for information indicating they are using narcotics." The names of the informants mentioned in the notice are to this day blanked out.(73)
In December 1970, Elvis Presley met President Nixon at the White House. The meeting was about Presley wanting to "reach" the kids that were drifting into drugs. Presley had requested to be made a "Federal Agent-at-Large" in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.(74) Presley explained that part of the problem was the Beatles, who "had been a real force for anti-American spirit".(75)
In January 1972, an FBI document was created mentioning Lennon had appeared with Jerry Rubin at a press conference. Written in huge, underlined capital letters were the words ALL EXTREMISTS SHOULD BE CONSIDERED DANGEROUS.(76) On April 21st 1972, another FBI document mentioned that the "New York City Police Department [is] currently attempting to develop enough information to arrest both Lennons for narcotic use."(77) At this time, Lennon was involved in radical music projects involving pot. In May of 1972 the John Lennon-produced album The Pope Smokes Dope, by anarchist NYC minstrel David Peel, was released. The album's lyrics were considered profane and controversial in many places, most certainly in the FBI and White House.
Cannabis Culture magazine asked David Peel about the existence of any photographs of Lennon smoking pot. Peel said, "I've never seen a photograph of John with a joint. John was definitely afraid of ever being photographed smoking pot. He felt that would give the FBI and Nixon and immigration all the evidence they needed to deport him. So he was actually nervous about being photographed with well-known pot activists of the day, and smoking pot in any public place. More than nervous, he avoided it. I have hundreds of Lennon photographs, and he certainly smoked pot, but to have a photograph of him pot smoking that could possibly be entered in court would have had dire consequences for John."
An FBI memo dated July 27th 1972 from the New York FBI office to acting FBI Director Gray suggested that it be "emphasized" to "local Law Enforcement Agencies" in Miami that Lennon should be "arrested if at all possible on possession of narcotics charge." The New York office provided a helpful explanation: "Local INS [Immigration and Naturalization Service] has very loose case in New York for deporting subject... if LENNON were to be arrested... he would become more likely to be immediately deportable." This memo sounds like a proposal to set Lennon up for a drug bust. The American Civil Liberties Union cited this passage as evidence that the FBI was engaged in an "abuse of its authority in order to neutralize dissent."(78)
The Way Things Are Going
They're Going To Crucify Me
"These pacifist revolutionaries are historically killed by the government... Anybody who thinks that Mark Chapman was just some crazy guy who killed my dad for his personal interests is insane, I think, or very naive"
? Sean Lennon(79)
Who was Mark David Chapman? The first and most outstanding fact is that Mark David Chapman wasn't a fan of Lennon or the Beatles. He owned no Beatles albums at the time of the shooting. He had only owned one album, 1964's Meet The Beatles, in his entire life!(80) So if not a "deranged fan", what was he?
Mark David Chapman was from Georgia and began working for the YMCA in 1969, when he was 14. In Philip Agee's book Inside the Company: CIA Diary, the YMCA is cited as a CIA front. Curiously, Chapman's employment record is missing from the headquarters of the organization.( 81) Seven years after being jailed for Lennon's murder, Chapman was still writing to YMCA directors.(82) In March of 1975, Chapman applied to go to the Soviet Union through a YMCA International Camp Counselor Program but he was turned down because he couldn't speak Russian. So he decided to go to Beirut ? a strange choice for a right-wing Christian, especially when one considers that the country had been experiencing shootings and massacres for months.(83) It was also known to have an "assassination school" and an experimental mind-control army unit allegedly involving Frank Terpil, Edwin Wilson, George Korkola, and Exorcist author William Peter Blatty.(84) Assassin George Habash and CIA assassination teams also operated from there(85) and on March 31st 1981, United Press International exposed "military training in a guerrilla camp" in Beirut with "worldwide Nazities".(86)
Returning from Beirut, Chapman worked at a YMCA camp for Vietnamese refugees in Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. Here, his lifelong friend Dana Reeves (AKA "Gene Scott"), the man who would later become a police officer and provide the bullets used to kill Lennon, would let Chapman play with his gun.(87) One Researcher argues that the Fort Chaffee camp was run by World Vision, a group notorious for involvement in mind control and assassination, and run by John Hinkley Sr., the father of the man who shot Ronald Reagan. World Vision is currently in charge of repopulating Jonestown, Guyana ? the location of another mindcontrol program that ended in the death of innocent people.(88)
In 1976 Chapman reportedly ended his employment with the YMCA and took a job as a security guard on the recommendation of Dana Reeves.(89) Chapman moved to Hawaii in 1977, staying at the YMCA hostel in Honolulu. Sources conflict, but some say he felt suicidal. One source says Chapman checked himself into the Waikiki Mental Health Clinic(90) but most accounts state Chapman checked into Castle Memorial Hospital.(91) After he finished his therapy, he continued to work at the hospital under the supervision of psychologist Leilani Siegfried.(92) Some say Castle Memorial was a site for CIA mind-control experiments.(93) According to more than one source, Hawaii, like Beirut, is home to a US intelligence top-secret assassination training camp.(94)
In 1978, with "a modest loan from the hospital credit union,"(95) Chapman embarked on a six-week world tour including some of the most expensive cities and exotic locations: Tokyo, London, Geneva ? to meet with his old YMCA boss David Moore(96) ? India, Nepal, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Korea, China, Vietnam, Iran, then Atlanta to visit his cop friend Dana Reeves before returning to Honolulu... to marry his travel agent.(97) Chapman's tour would dovetail with John Lennon's own world tour in three places: Tokyo, London and Honolulu.(98)
On October 23rd 1980, Chapman signed out from work as a security guard for the last time ? writing "John Lennon" and then crossing it out. He sent a postcard to an Italian friend, giving Lennon's Dakota Hotel as a return address and mentioning a "mission" in New York.(99) The postcard was undeliverable to the friend in Italy, and was sent ?back' to Lennon's address. The postcard was later altered to be dated 1981 and with the "mission" mention removed.(100) It could have been altered by Lennon and Ono's personal assistant Fred Seaman ? who stole Lennon's diaries for raw material for his and Albert Goldman's character assassination books about him. Seaman's assistant, Robert Rosen, wrote "Dead Lennons = $$$$$" in his own diary.(101)
On October 27th, Chapman bought a gun: a Charter Arms .38-caliber Special. On the 30th he flew to New York, where he first stayed at the Waldorf Astoria, and later at the YMCA, then the Olcott Hotel a half-block from the Lennons' Dakota Hotel apartment. During this time Chapman discovered that he could not buy bullets without a gun permit.(102) The day after Reagan's electoral victory, Chapman flew off to Georgia for another visit with his friend police officer Reeves... to pick up five hollow-point bullets. On November 9th, Chapman took another plane (money was strangely no problem for the unemployed former security guard) to New York to hang around the Dakota for three days before flying back to Hawaii with the gun and the bullets.(103)
Chapman boarded yet another plane on December 2nd ? this time to Chicago, and with the gun and the bullets (airport security, like money, never seemed to be a problem). He arrived in New York on the 5th. His ticket was later altered to look like he flew straight to New York.(104) On the 8th of December, Chapman, according to most accounts, shot John Lennon. "I acted alone, I'm the only one," he said in answer to a question nobody had yet asked.(105) Coincidently, Ronald Reagan was meeting his new Chief of the CIA William Casey that night in New York City.(106)
One researcher, Salvador Astucia, makes an interesting argument that Chapman was standing to the right of Lennon when Lennon was shot, but the bullets seem to all enter from the left according to the autopsy report.(107) The researcher accuses the doorman Jose Jose Perdomo (Bay of Pigs veteran and friend of CIA assassin Frank Sturgis) of shooting Lennon, and Chapman being a mind-controlled patsy brainwashed into thinking he did it. But Astucia then goes on to blame an international Zionist conspiracy for the whole affair.(108) Strangely, this isn't the first time an "international Jewish conspiracy" was used to discredit research into John Lennon's death.(109)
Chapman pled "not guilty" and his court-appointed attorney Jonathan Marks added "by reason of insanity". By law, the defendant decides the plea.(110) The judge went ahead with Mark's attempt to verify Chapman's "insanity", hearing testimony from three psychiatrists: Dr. Milton Kline, Dr. Bernard Diamond, and Dr. Daniel Schwartz. Kline was a CIA consultant who once boasted that he was capable of creating a hypnosis-driven patsy in three months ? a mind controlled assassin in six.(111) Diamond, from the University of California in Berkley (yet another mind control hotbed), also testified to the insanity of Sirhan Sirhan. And Schwartz also examined David ?Son of Sam' Berkowitz. As in Chapman's case, Schwartz stated that Berkowitz believed he had been commanded by ?demons' to kill.(112) Chapman was found to be sane by the courts.
To recap: He wasn't a fan. He wasn't an attention-seeker because he changed his plea to "guilty" (thus avoiding attention). No motive. No trial. No real investigation by the authorities.(113) In January of 1981, right-wing activist Lyndon LaRouche began collecting signatures supporting clemency and hero status of Chapman, because Lennon almost single-handedly "turned on" the planet to "illicit drugs". (114) Beginning the day after the assassination, there were numerous threats on Yoko Ono's life. Son Sean Lennon told Newsweek in 1996 "I grew up afraid someone was going to shoot my mom or me."(115)
Gimme Some Truth
"God, dammit, if you're gonna kill somebody have some fucking taste. I'll drive you to Kenny Roger's house, alright?"
? Bill Hicks, 1990, on John Lennon's untimely death(116)
John Lennon was more than just a rock star. He was called a revolutionist by Fidel Castro, when he unveiled a statue of Lennon in 2000, the 20th anniversary of his murder. In March 2002, his native city Liverpool honored his memory by renaming their airport "Liverpool John Lennon Airport". In the same year, the British public voted him 8th of the "100 Greatest Britons" poll run by the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). BBC History Magazine commented that his "generational influence is immense," and to coincide with Human Rights Day 2005, Amnesty International released four Lennon songs covered by contemporary musicians.(117) According to the Oxford Illustrated History of Britain: "The musical breakthrough effected in the early 1960s by the Beatles, a group of Liverpudlian youths, made Britain the harbinger of the supposedly ?permissive' society, in which drink and drugs were freely available, skirts spectacularly shorter, sexual restraint much less in evidence."(118)
Of course, the FBI tried to downplay Lennon's influence after his death, stating in a press release that John was "too stoned" to be any threat.(119) However, in December of 2005 the FBI announced it would appeal a federal court decision to release the last ten pages of Lennon's FBI file. Obviously, someone at the FBI still thinks the truth about Lennon is a threat, even 25 years after he was killed.(120) The CIA still won't release any of the possibly hundreds of pages in their Lennon file.(121)
The truth is, it was most certainly Lennon's endless legal hassles ? over the baggie of cannabis planted at his house in England ? and his desire to focus on his son Sean (born in 1975) that kept him from being a full-time revolutionary in the 70's.(122) Nobody knows what he would have really done in the 80's, but some argue he was about to begin his next round of activism.( 123) Considering he continued to puff what he called a "gift from Jah", thought legalization would solve many social problems, and advised Canadians to push for legalization, it's fair to say Lennon would have continued pot activism.
I believe Lennon was shot for his pot activism and not his peace, workers-rights, or any other activism. Cannabis prohibition is an enormous industry. Trillions of dollars are spent on synthetic drugs, synthetic fuels, synthetic fibers, synthetic plastics, synthetic foods, the building of prisons, the bloating of police budgets, etcetera... all would be threatened by cannabis re-legalization, and the "powers that be" know it. If you stop a war (like the Vietnam War or Iraq War) you just cut into the establishment's profits. But if you stop the Drug War, you threaten their entire existence.
The CIA and FBI will probably try to keep their documents hidden from public view forever, withholding the truth behind why Lennon was watched ? and perhaps even the truth behind why he was killed. But those files were paid for with public money; they belong to the American people. The release of those CIA and FBI files pose no threat to "National Security", only to the criminals who hounded a great spirit and wonderful musician and would like to continue hounding activists today.
We all owe it to John Lennon to refuse the word of "neurotic psychotic pig-headed politicians" and we owe it to ourselves, and our current and future activists, to do something. Americans should work hard to reform their political system into one in which it is impossible to spy on or assassinate harmless activists.
? This fall, a new documentary The United States vs. John Lennon will be released by Lions Gate Films. The movie, which has the support and cooperation of Yoko Ono and features many of the people quoted in this article, covers 1966 to 1976 and tells the story of John Lennon's transformation from beloved musical artist to anti-war, pro-pot activist and iconic inspiration for peace. It recounts the story of the US Government's efforts to silence him, and shows this was not just an isolated episode in American history ? the issues and struggles of that era remain relevant today. Be sure to see this documentary later this year!
2. Paul Krassner, Confessions of a Raving, Unconfined Nut, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993, p. 214
4. Herbert Mitgang, Dangerous Dossiers, New York: Donald I. Fine, 1988, pp. 192, 194
7. Dangerous Dossiers, pp. 267-269
8. M.A. Lee & B. Shlain, Acid Dreams, New York: Grove Press, 1985, p. 226
9. Ibid, p. 80
11. Acid Dreams, p. 239
12. ?A Major Yippie Theorist Seized on Drug Charges?, NY Times, July 26, 1971, taken from: Yippie Book Collective, Blacklisted News, New York: Bleecker Publishing, 1983, p. 17. See also: http://pot.tv/archive/shows/pottvshowse-3287.html
13. Blacklisted News, pp. 18-24
16. Douglas Valentine,The Strength of the Wolf ? The secret history of America?s War on Drugs, London: Verso, 2004, pp. 225-226 See also Joseph Trento, The Secret History of the CIA, Carroll & Graf, 2005, p. 193 17. Henrik Kruger, The Great Heroin Coup, Montreal: Black Rose, 1980, p.164 18. Alex Constantine, The Covert War Against Rock, Venice, California: Feral House, 2000, p.3
19. Jim Marrs, Crossfire, The Plot That Killed Kennedy, New York: Carroll & Graf, 1989, p. 557
20. http://www.serendipity.li/cia/lyon.html See also Johnathan Vankin, Conspiracies, Cover-ups & Crimes, Lilburn, Georgia: Illuminet Press, 1996, pp. 181-184 John Ranelagh, The Agency, London: Cambridge Publishing, 1986, p. 533
21. http://www.maebrussell.com/Articles and Notes/Covert War Against Rock.html
23. Tony Brown, Hendrix: The Final Days, London: Rogan House, 1997, p. 43
24. Monika Dannemann, The Inner World of Jimi Hendrix, New York: St. Martin?s Press, 1995, pp. 76-78
25. http://www.maebrussell.com/Articles and Notes/Covert War Against Rock.html
26. David Henderson, ?Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky, New York: Bantam, 1996, pp. 392-393
28. Timothy White, Catch A Fire: The Life of Bob Marley, New York: Henry Holt, 1992, pp. 288-289
29. The Covert War Against Rock, pp. 135-136
31. The Covert War Against Rock, pp. 140-143
32. Ibid, pp. 143-144
33. Ibid, pp. 138-139
34. From the film ?Stepping Razor Red X?, Nicholas Campbell, 1992
35. The Covert War Against Rock, pp. 143-144
36. Globe and Mail, Saturday, February 26, 2005
37. The Covert War Against Rock, pp. 93-98 http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/rch2005/020305thompsonwarned.htm http://forum.truthout.org/blog/story/2005/2/20/224622/038 http://www.rightiswrong.com/zlatkinletter.php?page=showmonth&m=12&y=2004 http://www.prisonplanet.com/archives/webb/index.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danny_Casolaro http://foia.fbi.gov/foiaindex/hoffsum.htm
38. Cited in David Noebel, The Legacy of John Lennon, Nelson, 1982, p. 66
40. Barry Miles, Paul McCartney ? Many Years From Now, New York: Henry Holt, 1997, pp. 185-190 The Beatles, The Beatles Anthology, San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2000, 158 http://www.bigmagic.com/pages/blackj/column2.html
41. Frederic Seaman, The Last Days of John Lennon, New York: Citadel Press, 1991, p. 201
42. The Beatles Anthology, p. 212
44. Barry Miles, Ginsberg - A biography, New York: Harper Perennial, 1989, p. 397-398
45. Paul McCartney - Many Years From Now, pp. 386-387
45A. Barry Miles, Many years From Now, Extract from Chapter Nine - The Walrus Was Paul pg. 385-395
46. Acid Dreams, p. 239 See Also Playboy magazine, April 1981, interview with John Lennon by David Sheff; Come Together description on p 182 & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Leary
48. Phil Strongman & Alan Parker, John Lennon and the
FBI Files, London, Sanctuary Publishing LTD, 2003, p. 102
49. http://www.democracynow.org/article. pl?sid=05/12/08/1421215
51. ?Uncut Legends : Lennon? Magazine, 2005, p. 13
53. John Lennon and the FBI Files, pp. 106-107
55. John Lennon and the FBI Files, pp. 84-85
57. Halperin, Berman, Borosage, Marwick, The Lawless State – The Crimes of the US Intelligence Agencies, New York: Penguin, 1976, p. 153
58. Angus Mackenzie, Secrets - The CIA’s War at Home, University of California Press, 1997, p. 49
59. Acid Dreams, p. 224
60. Mark Zepezauer, The CIA’s Greatest Hits, Tucson, Arizona: Odonian Press, 1994, p. 47
62. Secrets - The CIA’s War at Home, pp. 44-45
63. http://www.maebrussell.com/Mae Brussell Articles/Operation Chaos.html
64. Nikolas Schreck, “Charles Manson Superstar”, DVD liner notes, 2002
65. Vincent Bugliosi, Helter Skelter, New York: Bantam, 1974, pp. 196, 635
66. http://www.maebrussell.com/Manson Family/Manson Wants to Make Record.html
69. Secrets - The CIA’s War at Home, p. 63 See also:
70. “Uncut Legends : Lennon” Magazine, 2005, p. 105
71. Jon Wiener, Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files, University of California Press, Berkeley and L.A., CA, 1999, pp. 23-26
73. John Lennon and the FBI Files, pp. 96-98
75. John Lennon and the FBI Files, p. 100
76. Ibid, p. 108
77. Ibid, p. 110
78. http://www.lennonfbifiles.com/fbi4.html http://www.lennonfbifiles.com
80. John Lennon and the FBI files, p. 138
81. Jim Keith, Mind Control, World Control, Kempton, Illinois: Adventure’s Unlimited, 1997, p. 159
82. John Lennon and the FBI files, p. 163
83. Ibid, p. 124
84. Fenton Bresler, Who Killed John Lennon, New York: St. Martin’s, 1989, pp. 104-105 See also Mind Control, World Control, p. 159 John Lennon and the FBI files, p. 125 http://www.tarpley.net/bush17.htm
85. From the Watson testimony before the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1977-78
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Habash http://www.zionism-israel.com/dic/PFLP.htm
87. Mind Control, World Control, pp. 159-160
88. The Covert War Against Rock, p. 119-120 http://www.ratical.org/ratville/JFK/JohnJudge/112600.html
89. Albert Goldman, The Lives of John Lennon, New York: William Morrow and Co. Inc, 1988, p. 671
90. Mind Control, World Control, p. 160
91. John Lennon and the FBI files, p. 129 The Covert War Against Rock, p. 120 The Lives of John Lennon p. 672
94. John Lennon and the FBI files, p. 129 The Covert War Against Rock, p. 119
95. The Covert War Against Rock, p. 121 Mind Control, World Control, p. 160
97. John Lennon and the FBI files, pp. 129-130
98. The Lives of John Lennon, p. 672
99. The Lives of John Lennon, p. 673
100. “The Betrayal of John Lennon”, David and Victoria Sheff, Playboy, March 1984, p.188
101. The Covert War Against Rock pp. 121-129 Robert Rosen, Nowhere Man, Oakland: Quick American Archives, 2002, p. 4 See also The Lives of John Lennon - sources, and Fred Seaman, The Last Days of John Lennon, New York: Carol Publishing, 1991 - acknowledgments.
102. The Lives of John Lennon, p. 674
103. John Lennon and the FBI files, p. 139
104. Ibid, p. 141
105. Ibid, p. 146
106. Youth International Party Information Service, Blacklisted News, New York: Bleeker Publishing, 1983, p. 195
109. The Covert War Against Rock, pp. 128-129
110. Ibid, p. 117
111. John Marks, The Search for the Manchurian Candidate, New York: Times Books, 1979, pp. 187, 191
112. The Covert War Against Rock, pp. 117-118
113. John Lennon and the FBI files, p. 149
114. Jack Herer, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, Van Nuys, California, AH HA Publishing, 11th edition, 2000, p. 98
115. The Covert War Against Rock, pp. 123-124
See also Bill Hicks’s on-line video on the JFK assassination:
118. The Oxford Illustrated History of Britain, 1984, p. 577
124. John Lennon and the FBI files, pp. 75, 85, 119
125. Ibid, p. 116
126. Ibid, pp. 171-172, See also Mind Control, World Control, p. 159 http://www.shout.net/~bigred/lennon
45A. Barry Miles, Many years From Now, Extract from Chapter Nine - The Walrus Was Paul pg. 385-395
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