Wednesday, September 28, 2016

John Lennon's FBI files: e-book review

After reading Leon's Wildes' great book and re-watching "John Lennon vs. the U.S.", I was interested in learning more about John Lennon and the FBI.   So what better source than the actual FBI files?   The complete FBI files of John Lennon are available in the form of an e-book thanks to the Freedom of Information Act.   These were compiled in January 2016, so they are the most up-to-date ones right now.

These are only the complete FBI files.  There isn't any commentary or explanation included.   The quality isn't very good.  The page is black and the writing in in white, like a negative.   Some things are blocked out and there is writing on the sides.    Reading through them on my ipad sot of reminded me of looking at microfiche at the library.   They are presented in chronological order, beginning in December 1971 during the John Sinclair concert in Ann Arbor.      The government sent someone to go to the show (lucky government guy if you ask me!) and write down everything that was said at the concert, especially by John Lennon.    All of the words to the song "John Sinclair" are in the FBI files.

Things really started to heat up in 1972, when the U.S. government really thought John was a threat to the country.    There was all sorts of information from "a confidential source that had furnished reliable information in the past."  

Much of the concern was because John and Yoko had contributed a large sum of money ($75,000) to an organization that was formed specifically to cause problems during the election year of 1972 and was set to have a demonstration during the Republican National Convention.

While John and Yoko were appearing in court, the FBI was there reporting back and  stating that John spoke with the Associated Press and said that he was framed for his 1968 drug conviction.   The FBI assured whoever was reading the memo that they were going to be closely following the court proceedings.

We now know that during this time, the Lennon's phones were tapped and they along with any of their associates were regularly followed.    Reports came back about John's possible drug usage, his plans (or lack there of) of having a protest type concert during the Republican convention, and the delay tactics the Lennons were using to postpone their deportation.

The most shocking thing for me to read in these files was that the government actually thought that John and Yoko were lying about the whereabouts of Kyoko in order to stay in the United States.   They believed that the couple was hiding the little girl somewhere on purpose and lying to everyone that her father had her hidden somewhere and they were desperately looking for her.     It is a sad statement to read.   I mean we are talking about the country where I live and they honestly thought that John and Yoko were lying about the sad custody battle for Kyoko is shameful.

While John and Yoko went on the Dick Cavett Show and declared that they would NOT be at the convention, the government didn't believe them.   They had representatives down in Florida looking for John and even had a flyer with a photo of David Peel on it (thinking it was John Lennon) telling people to be on the look-out for him.

The files then became quiet after Nixon was re-elected.    But for most of 1972, John Lennon kept the FBI busy.

I found this to be a very interesting, historical document and a great companion piece to "Give me some Truth" and the Leon Wildes' book.    It is both physically and mentally difficult to read at times, but is important for anyone who really wants to understand John Lennon's life to read all the way through.

You can read the John Lennon FBI files for $3.00 for the ebook from Amazon.  

1 comment:

  1. Quite an interesting article. This past Monday and Tuesday, I was also watching the DVD The U.S. Vs John Lennon (the movie and Special Features). Then later in the week, watched the Special Edition (2DVDs) All The President's Men (along with 'The Man Who Was Deep Throat' in Special Features). You might find the link to War Against The Panthers by Huey Newton, in 'A Meditation On Hendrix Lennon and The Counterculture' (in relation to The Freedom Of Information Act); very informative.