While Nixon Campaigned, FBI Watched John Lennon

While Nixon Campaigned, FBI Watched John Lennon
Posted by CN Staff on September 24, 2006 at 07:39:33 PT
By Adam Cohen
Source: New York Times 
USA -- In December 1971, John Lennon sang at an Ann Arbor, Mich., concert calling for the release of a man who had been given 10 years in prison for possessing two marijuana cigarettes. The song he wrote for the occasion, “John Sinclair,” was remarkably effective. Within days, the Michigan Supreme Court ordered Mr. Sinclair released.What Lennon did not know at the time was that there were F.B.I. informants in the audience taking notes on everything from the attendance (15,000) to the artistic merits of his new song. (“Lacking Lennon’s usual standards,” his F.B.I. file reports, and “Yoko can’t even remain on key.”) The government spied on Lennon for the next 12 months, and tried to have him deported to England.
This improbable surveillance campaign is the subject of a new documentary, “The U.S. vs. John Lennon.” The film makes two important points about domestic surveillance, one well-known, the other quite surprising. With the nation in the midst of a new domestic spying debate, the story is a cautionary tale.It focuses on the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, when the former Beatle used his considerable fame and charisma to oppose the Vietnam War. Lennon attracted worldwide attention in 1969 when he and Yoko Ono married and held their much-publicized “bed-ins” in Amsterdam and Montreal, giving interviews about peace from under their honeymoon sheets. Lennon put to music a simple catch phrase — “All we are saying is give peace a chance” — and the antiwar movement had its anthem. Two years later, he released “Imagine.”The government responded with an extensive surveillance program. Lennon’s F.B.I. files — which are collected in the book “Gimme Some Truth” by Jon Wiener — reveal that the bureau was monitoring everything from his appearance on “The Mike Douglas Show” to far more personal matters, like the whereabouts of Ono’s daughter from a previous marriage.The F.B.I.’s surveillance of Lennon is a reminder of how easily domestic spying can become unmoored from any legitimate law enforcement purpose. What is more surprising, and ultimately more unsettling, is the degree to which the surveillance turns out to have been intertwined with electoral politics. At the time of the John Sinclair rally, there was talk that Lennon would join a national concert tour aimed at encouraging young people to get involved in politics — and at defeating President Nixon, who was running for re-election. There were plans to end the tour with a huge rally at the Republican National Convention.The F.B.I.’s timing is noteworthy. Lennon had been involved in high-profile antiwar activities going back to 1969, but the bureau did not formally open its investigation until January 1972 — the year of Nixon’s re-election campaign. In March, just as the presidential campaign was heating up, the Immigration and Naturalization Service refused to renew Lennon’s visa, and began deportation proceedings. Nixon was re-elected in November, and a month later, the F.B.I. closed its investigation.If Lennon was considering actively opposing Nixon’s re-election, the spying and the threat of deportation had their intended effect. In May, he announced that he would not be part of any protest activities at the Republican National Convention, and he did not actively participate in the presidential campaign. After revelations about the many domestic spying abuses of the 1960’s and 1970’s — including the wiretapping of Martin Luther King Jr. — new restrictions were put in place. But these protections are being eroded today, with the president’s claim of sweeping new authority to pursue the war on terror. Critics of today’s domestic surveillance object largely on privacy grounds. They have focused far less on how easily government surveillance can become an instrument for the people in power to try to hold on to power. “The U.S. vs. John Lennon” would be a sobering film at any time, but it is particularly so right now. It is the story not only of one man being harassed, but of a democracy being undermined. Complete Title: While Nixon Campaigned, the F.B.I. Watched John Lennon Video from John Sinclair: New York Times (NY)Author: Adam CohenPublished: September 21, 2006Copyright: 2006 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:John Lennon John Lennon Shines On In New Documentary Sinclair: Poet and Activist 
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Comment #18 posted by Wayne on September 24, 2006 at 19:40:37 PT
$4000 per plant in Fla.
I live down here in Fla., close to where that bust was. It actually was a pretty big bust, about 35 houses in one county. They put a final tally on the total value of the entire bust, but I can't remember what it was. $4000/lb. is actually about right, it works out to $250/oz. They do have a lot of STUPID news commentators down here, one of them probably just got it mixed up with $4000 per plant. It doesn't really matter though, there are so many prohibitionists down here, it all sounds the same to them. The news could report $4000/oz. and the prohibs would take it as scripture.I'm assuming it was a misstatement by the above-mentioned stupid commentators. But if poor people take it to heart around here and start growing more pot, maybe I can score some for cheaper. I love it when a plan comes together...
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Comment #17 posted by whig on September 24, 2006 at 17:19:31 PT
It's a legal system game, and it may have some logic but you cannot win in their courts that way.
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Comment #16 posted by Max Flowers on September 24, 2006 at 16:47:23 PT
4K per lb
The $4,000 per pound info is very real. The one pound per plant idea, however, is not so real. It can be done, but hardly anyone does it because it requires a really risky approach of nursing one huge plant (per 1000 watt light) through a very long vegetative growth period (about 2 months plus).
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Comment #15 posted by museman on September 24, 2006 at 15:23:50 PT
LOL. Well I don't believe it is asked for. The 'buy pre 1933 silver' doesn't involve sending anybody any money.(and I can't afford to buy that stuff anyway) I am more concerned about the 'strawman' concept, and the various legal descriptions of sovereignty.
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Comment #14 posted by whig on September 24, 2006 at 15:00:37 PT
Don't send him any money.
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Comment #13 posted by museman on September 24, 2006 at 12:17:36 PT
This info is rather lengthy, and written in a lot of 'legal' terminology. I think there is something to this however, and would like to see some opinons from those here who are more comfortable with this kind of wording. Can someone simplify what this means, or whether it means anything at all? My brain just can't wrap around so much dryness at once.
the strawman
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Comment #12 posted by greenmed on September 24, 2006 at 11:57:27 PT
nbc video is online on 'Immigrants get keys to grow homes'
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on September 24, 2006 at 10:40:38 PT
Bait and Switch
I don't know if that means what I think but they make a big thing about the money aspect and magnify it so people take the bait and then they switch and bring out the swat teams and helicopters and that helps put more money in the money scheme of things for more control in the end. I hope this makes sense.
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Comment #10 posted by global_warming on September 24, 2006 at 09:24:39 PT
One Plant and "all" this disgrace to our "just passing through"..What is the price for Truth and Justice?The Price is High, higher than the Stars.What is the price for greed and ignorance?
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Comment #9 posted by John Tyler on September 24, 2006 at 09:20:52 PT
media distortion
I agree with what you guys are saying. This is just media distortion. But I fear some people may take it at face value, not do research to find out the facts, and get themselves into trouble. 
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on September 24, 2006 at 09:20:21 PT
Four thousand dollars...
What they are doing is trying to lure more people into growing so they can bust more people and make more statistics and money for themselves...and more "toys" for themselves, and of course, keep their cash cow...the Drug War healthy and productive for them.
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on September 24, 2006 at 09:16:16 PT
Yesterday I read a pdf of Barthwell in 
a radio interview. I recall that she said cannabis is 746% stronger than it used to be.Oh, if only their drawers would burst into flame everytime they told lies.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on September 24, 2006 at 09:14:14 PT
They added an extra 0 for effect! Too much. 
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on September 24, 2006 at 09:12:15 PT
Basically, they're saying...
"Here...plant this little seed. If you take care of a few months it will turn into four thousand dollars. If you have ten little seeds they can turn into forty thousand dollars in a few months."Baloney.
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Comment #4 posted by dongenero on September 24, 2006 at 09:10:30 PT usual
To get $4000 from one plant, the yield would have to be in the neighborhood of 1 pound, and high quality at that.The true indoor yields are so well documented at various online sources, by actual growers, that the reason for such blatant lying and inflated numbers becomes obvious sensationalism.From online research, it appears obvious that average indoor yield per plant is more like 1 to 2 ounces. Big difference!$4000 per plant? I think not.....maybe $400.Ah, I forgot is probably 1000 times more potent than it was in the 1970's. Right.
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on September 24, 2006 at 09:10:02 PT
"that each plant was worth $4,000"
A real life, real MONEY TREE! 
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on September 24, 2006 at 09:01:31 PT
John Tyler 
What worries me about the house grow op articles is Bush will use it to get more helicopters and whatever else they use to watch citizens. The only way to get people to agree is to have a reason.
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Comment #1 posted by John Tyler on September 24, 2006 at 08:53:07 PT
Grow ops in Fla.
On NBC news Friday night there was a news article that said that there were a lot of grow house operations being discovered in south central Florida. (In upscale neighborhoods no less.) They said that each plant was worth $4,000. Wow. Either they were misinformed or if true, that must be some kind of good cannabis. If the $4,000 price point is accurate you can bet that there will be a whole lot more people willing to take the chance. They can’t catch everybody. A few plants could pay for a car, a medical bill or anything else you desperately need money for. As they say in the song, “The lure of easy money has a very strong appeal.” 
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