Saturday, December 03, 2005

(or perhaps some other elements of the U.S. permanent government)
Don’t believe it? Have a look at the evidence:

· Lennon’s murder was never investigated by any legal authority. Despite his lawyers’ urging him to plead insanity, Mark David Chapman refused and pled guilty to murder.
No trial, no investigation.

· The only person to seriously investigate Chapman was British writer Fenton Bresler, who reported his findings in Who Killed John Lennon? (1989, St Martin’s Press, now out of print). Bresler died in 2003.

· Chapman abhorred violence, according to family and friends interviewed by Bresler. He was not a fan of Lennon or the Beatles.

· While a teenager in Decatur, Georgia, Chapman did a lot of LSD, then found Jesus, and devoted his life to working with the YMCA, which, according to Philip Agee (CIA Diary, 1975), was prime recruiting grounds for CIA stations in Latin America. Chapman’s YMCA employment records are missing.

· In June 1975, Chapman volunteered to work in the YMCA office in Beirut, Lebanon, as the civil war erupted.

· Returning to the U.S., Chapman was sent to work with newly-resettled Vietnamese refugees (and CIA assets) in Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, run by World Vision, an evangelical organization accused of CIA collaboration in Honduras and El Salvador.

· No one who knew Chapman in Hawaii, in the period before he killed Lennon, considered him psychotic, including mental health clinicians who were treating him for depression at a public clinic.

· Chapman would have been the ideal “programmed assassin”. Did the CIA have this capacity? If not, it was not for want of trying, as shown by former State Department officer John Marks in The Search for the Manchurian Candidate: the CIA and Mind Control (Norton, 1979).


In his book, Bresler only asserts that it was Lennon's likely re-entry into political life in general -- he was about to win U.S. citizenship -- that motivated his assassination by some agency of our government. But after a decade of Central America solidarity work I am absolutely convinced that Lennon was a victim of the U.S. government's counter-revolutionary war in Central America. Remember: Lennon died six days after four U.S. churchwomen were raped and murdered by the U.S.-supported Salvadoran military (nuns Maura Clarke, Ita ford, and Dorothy Kazel, and lay worker Jean Donovan). The mass murder by the military and their allied death squads in El Salvador was just at its exponential upstroke, and the contra war in Nicaragua was just being launched. Reagan had just won the election, not yet taken office, and his "transition team" was at the helm. There can be no doubt that a major item (probably the major item) on their agenda was their war in Central America, and thus there had to be some consideration paid to the management of the domestic opposition, which was already active and getting stronger: after all, they must have foreseen that they were about to massacre several hundred thousand people in our own "backyard" and there would be a predictable resistance (and as is now public knowledge, the Reagan Administration was to infiltrate and subvert CISPES and other solidarity organizations). Lennon would have been seen as the individual with the greatest power - and perhaps, greatest inclination - to galvanize the popular movement (imagine - more to the point, imagine these creeps imagining -what the demonstrations might have looked like had Citizen Lennon helped to popularize the cause). It doesn't even matter whether or not Lennon had any intention of getting involved at the time of his murder; it was only necessary that the Forces of Darkness felt it was possible Lennon might take up the cause. Why not? If they did it right, Chapman himself would never realize he was being manipulated, so what did they have to lose?

So it’s my contention that the bad guys got away with it, free and clear, and I’d like to see that corrected, if nowhere else then in the popular imagination. Even if there’s not going to be justice, at least it might be possible to put the notion that some agency of our government was responsible for John Lennon’s death on a comparable footing to that of the JFK matter…

Interested? Anyone out there know Oliver Stone – or Sean Lennon?

posted by alan, the initiator of this blog

Friday, December 02, 2005

22 November 2008

Dear visitor,

You may note that this appears to be the first entry I’ve made on this blog since I launched it three years ago. Well, yes and no. I put up this blog coincident with the 25th anniversary of the assassination. I was at the Strawberry Fields/Dakota murder/memorial site on that day, walking around with a sandwich sign and handing out flyers positing the CIA-Central America connection.

I wanted to give anyone interested in following-up an outlet, a bulletin board essentially, where they might visit and interact. I really didn’t intend to do blog-like stuff, e.g. expounding on a daily basis. So my main goal was to attract comment, feedback, new information, ruminations. And this has happened, as the blog has attracted a a mix (albeit small) of support, queries, derision. I have responded to most comments left on the site within the comments area, so while the blog may appear to be dead, it in fact continues to serve its primary function.

Another constraint: there is a limited amount of material out there relating to this theory, as a quick Web search will show you. In fact, it’s remarkable how little, given the scope of the Internet. I monitor the Web for any material related to the Lennon assassination and/or Chapman, and I can tell you it’s been mighty sparse. To me, that speaks to the success of the assassination mechanism: Chapman has no idea what happened to him. No one in the (probably) very small circle of planners and actors who pulled this off has tipped their hand. Ergo, nothing new emerges except return visits to a very cold trail.

But there is more to say. Recently I rented the DVD The Killing of John Lennon by Andrew Piddington. This is a fine film, given its premise: that Chapman was a psychotic lone gunman. Interestingly, Piddington includes a scene of Chapman firing at a practice range next to an unidentified lawman - this is Dana Reeves, Chapman's likely handler, and the guy who gave him the hollow-point slugs to kill Lennon (the bullets, prominently featured in the film, are visibly not hollow-point, even though they are referred to as such in the script – the continuity person must have been asleep at the switch, but that’s a minor quibble) . Piddington's footage hints at that but does not identify him, nor does Piddington remark on this in his voice-over commentary on the DVD (who is this guy??). Nor does he mention Chapman's unaccounted-for layover in Chicago on his way to assassinate Lennon. And while his scene of Chapman laying out some artifacts in his hotel room just prior to the murder includes a photo of a young boy sitting on Chapman's shoulders (also reproduced in Bresler’s book), he does not hint at its significance: it was taken in a refugee camp at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas in 1975 run by the CIA collaborationist World Vision and full of CIA assets evacuated from Saigon as it fell.

The film’s depiction of Chapman’s mental landscape raises an interesting, and critical, question: could an MKUltra-style “programming” produce a Chapman who would appear to be psychotic – specifically, to be paranoid schizophrenic – while in fact his head was full of “programming”? Of course, we have no way of knowing. I thought more about this while reading The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein (which has my highest recommendation, by the way). Klein recounts the story of Ewen Cameron, the McGill psychiatrist who “regressed” psychiatric patients, using sensory isolation, electroshock, and hallucinogens to “depattern” the mind, turning it into a “blank slate” ready for the installation of a new patterning through “psychic driving” which might include playing taped messages to the patient 16 to 24 hours a day for weeks. The CIA was so interested in Cameron’s work that the company hired him in 1957 to further their “special interrogations techniques” project (which included MKUltra), leading to the production of the Kubark Counterintelligence Interrogation handbook, believed to be in use today at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay.

Now consider Chapman’s own words, quoted by Jack Jones in his 1992 book Let Me Take You Down (Villard Books). Jones spent 200 hours interviewing Chapman in Attica. Just as a mental exercise, assume for the moment that Chapman actually was motivated to kill Lennon by some well-planted suggestion, Cameron’s “psychic driving”; that the “voices” telling him -- compelling him – to take the actions he did came not from his own troubled psyche, but rather were placed there by his handlers.

Prior to 8 December 1980:

“Things were going on in my mind that I didn’t even know about.” (p. 173)

“And it was almost like I was handed something – that here was a solution. Kill John Lennon.” (p. 180)

Chapman describes his “revelation”, in late January 1981 in his cell on Rikers’ Island, that his decision to assassinate Lennon was “a choice that was made by somebody or something else…a wicked satori of realization that I had been called by a far higher power to do this, that this was something much bigger than me.” (pp. 213-214)

I’ll be posting more about specific elements of the Chapman story in the future, so stay tuned…

Thursday, December 01, 2005

4 January 2009
Chapter 27; plane tickets

By the way, the date today is 4 Jan 09, not 1 Dec 05 - I'd just rather have blog entries in chronologic order, which I think is better for first-time visitors, and I can't figure out how else to get Blogger to do that

So...I finally watched Chapter 27. I say finally, because I’ve been reading about it since before its release at Sundance two years ago. I monitor the Web for mentions of Chapman, and I’d guesstimate that maybe half of them over this period have related to how much weight Jared Leto put on to play the part. And I must say, I think he puts in a fine performance; he’s quite convincing as a disturbed Chapman, positively radiating inchoate menace. He’s so good at it, it makes you wonder why Jude, Lindsay Lohan’s character, is attracted to him rather than looking for the exit the minute he steps on stage. I think this film is, in its way, as effective as
The Killing of John Lennon in portraying the mainstream story: psychotic loner-fan kills object of his fixation. And it’s pretty faithful to Jack Jones’ account of Chapman in Let Me Take You Down, by which the movie is said to be inspired. By the way, you can read the book through without finding a single entry that would argue against the thesis that Chapman was set up by an MK-Ultra-type operation.

Now, my problems with it. First, a minor beef having nothing to do with the Big Picture: we hear “hey Jude” not once, but twice – first, early on from Jude’s friend Jeri, then again from Chapman toward the end. I mean, if you’re going to make a serious film about an event as darkly monumental as this, why throw in a cutesy little reference like that? Are we supposed to giggle? And the accuracy-sticklers amongst us will note that the now-ubiquitous substitution of “hey” for “hi” was nowhere in sight in 1980. But more importantly, of course, Chapter 27, like
Killing, drops not a hint of the possibility of Chapman’s being a manipulated patsy. Killing (as I’ve noted in the comments section of this blog) does show us the image – without comment or identification – of Dana Reeves, the Georgia lawman who showed Chapman how to shoot and gave him the hollow-points he needed for the job. Specifically, Chapter 27 airbrushes several features out of scenes that might have raised some questions. When we see Chapman setting up the display on the dresser in his hotel room for the cops to find, omitted items include: his plane ticket (see below), the photo of him with a Vietnamese child at the Fort Chaffee refugee camp in 1975 (the photo is there in the corresponding scene in Killing), and an 8-track tape of Todd Rundgren, his actual rock idol. And, as in Killing, no one seems to care where his money came from.

Ah yes, the plane ticket. One of Fenton Bresler’s contributions was his investigation into Chapman’s plane tickets. The official story has Chapman flying from Honolulu to Chicago on 5 December 1980, landing at O’Hare early on the morning of 6 December, then changing flights and arriving LaGuardia that same day. It’s the United Airlines Honolulu-Chicago-Honolulu ticket (without the Chicago-NYC ticket he must have had) that was found on the dresser of his hotel room. And, as Bresler points out, plane tickets generally list all the flights for the trip on that airline, not just one. What Bresler reports (pp 174-185) is that Louis Souza, the Honolulu police captain who did the local follow-up investigation for the NYC police, told him that “beyond doubt”, Chapman had not bought a ticket for United flights from Honolulu through to NYC leaving on 5 December, changing planes in Chicago the following morning; in fact, he bought a round-trip ticket from Honolulu to Chicago, leaving on 2 December, with a return date 18 December, i.e. it looked like a two-week trip to Chicago where, after all, his grandmother lived. Chapman’s wife refused to talk to Bresler about this or anything else. The ticket found by the NYC police, of which Bresler had a photocopy, is for United Flight 2 leaving Honolulu on 5 December (consistent with the official story) to Chicago – and no mention of NYC. But the baggage claim tag attached to the ticket folder reads Honolulu to Chicago on UA flight 2, and to NYC on UA904. Bresler maintains that Chapman left Hawaii intending only to go to Chicago and back (and therefore not intending to kill Lennon); that he spent 3 December to 6 December in Chicago where he was tuned up to go through with the hit and bought his ticket from Chicago to NYC. And someone changed the departure date on the Hawaii-Chicago ticket, and the baggage tag. Why didn’t they alter the ticket to show the Chicago-NYC leg? Bresler speculates that it might have been a last-minute job and when they realized that the ticket had been purchased in Chicago, they just ditched it. When Bresler pressed the NY county DA’s office on the discrepancy and asked to see the 16-page chronology they had worked up on Chapman’s movements in the days before the assassination, he was told by Assistant DA Gerald McKelvey that the chronology “cannot be located in our files.”

Chicago. Bresler couldn’t get to Chapman’s wife Gloria, but he did find Ruth Brilhante, who had worked with her at a travel agency and was still friendly with her. She told Bresler that when she heard the news that Chapman had killed Lennon, she couldn’t believe it, because not only did she think that Chapman couldn’t possibly do such a thing, but “we did not know he was in New York. We all thought he was in Chicago. That is where he had gone to take his grandmother home after she was visiting out here.” Chapman’s taking his grandmother to Chicago en route to NYC is mentioned in two other newspaper reports on 10 December. Bresler tried to find the grandmother in Chicago but without cooperation of Chapman’s family, it was impossible. But if this wrinkle is true, then Chapman couldn’t have flown through O’Hare on 6 December, changed planes, and headed for NYC. Bresler tried to get records from United Airlines, but was told they are all destroyed after two years. But it appears that the official story can’t be true. And that something happened in Chicago