April 23, 2013
“At the morgue, the entrance was sealed shut with a lock and chain. Attendants with green mortuary masks moved around in a dumb show, their words inaudible, or typed out forms on grim civil-service type-writers. Behind them, in a refrigerator, lay the sixties.” — Pete Hamill, New York Magazine, “John Lennon Obituary.”
The Catcher in the Rye of the present generation confronted his judge on January 6, 1981. The courtroom antics that followed were a macabre illustration of the principle that the cover-up proves the crime.
Justice Herbert Altman asked how Mark David Chapman chose to plead. “Not guilty,” the prisoner — following the direction of his “voices” — responded. By law, the defendant decides the plea, guilty or not guilty by reason of insanity, one or the other, not the defense attorney. Nevertheless, Chapman’s attorney Jonathan Marks punctuated the plea “… by reason of insanity.”
The bench favored a motion from Marks to enlist three psychiatrists to provide opinions on Chapman’s mental competence to stand trial.
The first was Dr. Milton Kline, a prestigious clinical psychiatrist, an authority on hypnosis from New York, and an esteemed consultant to the CIA on the creation of programmed killers while president of the American Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, a true believer in the “Manchurian Candidate” killing concept who once boasted that he was capable of creating a hypnotically-driven patsy in three months, a mind-controlled assassin in six.
The second psychiatrist chosen to examine Chapman was Dr. Bernard Diamond from the University of California at Berkeley, a busy hive of illicit mind control experimentation in past decades. Dr. Diamond had provided the same service to Sirhan Sirhan. The accused killer of Robert Kennedy told another psychiatrist, Dr. Eduard Simson-Kallas, a clinical psychologist assigned to the case, that he did not trust Dr. Diamond. As Sirhan explained to Dr. Simson-Kallas after the trial, “Whatever strange behavior I showed in court was the result of my outrage over Dr. Diamond’s and other doctors’ testimony. They were saying things about me that were grossly untrue, nor did I give them permission to testify [on] my behalf in court.” 
The third psychiatrist entrusted to evaluating Chapman’s hold on reality was Dr. Daniel Schwartz, director of forensic psychiatry at King’s County Medical Center in Brooklyn. Dr Schwartz had examined David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz, and offered that the accused serial killer believed he’d been commanded by “demons” to kill.
Mark David Chapman had also been pushed by the “demons” of his dementia to shoot John Lennon, Dr. Schwartz opined from the stand. He testified that Chapman had admitted, “I can feel their thoughts. I hear their thoughts. I can hear them talking — but not from the outside, from the inside.”
Up to the moment he squeezed the trigger of his Charter Arms .38, Chapman “continued to operate under this primitive kind of thinking, in which he believed or believes that forces outside of him, supernatural or otherwise, determined his behavior.”  The diagnosis was nearly identical to the one he gave Son of Sam.
Not one of these three mental health specialists explored the hint of mind control, in the opinion of Dr. Dorothy Lewis, a professor in psychiatric research at the Yale School of Medicine and a consultant to Marks. Dr. Lewis reported that the assassin may have acted in response to a “command hallucination.” British barrister Fenton Bresler, in Who Killed John Lennon?, asks “Could any term be more appropriate for a disturbed man operating under hypnotic programming?” 
In 1977, Chapman lost his religion. His fundamentalist indoctrination festered in a stew of self-loathing, devil-worship, and a killer’s fantasies. Months before the murder, he visited satanist and filmmaker Kenneth Anger at a screening in Hawaii, shook hands and handed over two .38 caliber bullets. “These are for John Lennon,” he explained to Anger.
Chapman may have felt a spiritual kinship with the satanist. He had attempted suicide, interpreted his survival as a sign, and thereafter addressed his prayers to Satan, who responded with commands, mind control. And, as it happens, the CIA has been obsessed with mind control techniques since the dawn of the Cold War. Agency psychiatrists were eminently capable of transforming a hyper-religious nobody on the board of the Decatur, Georgia YMCA into a programmed killer, and the allegation has been made repeatedly since Lennon’s murder.
Psychotronics was the topic of an August 22, 1994 Newsweek report on a secret Arlington, Virginia conference between behavioral specialists from the FBI’s Counter Terrorism Center and Dr. Smirnov, whose work was truly Frankensteinian.
“Using electroencephalographs, Smirnov measures brain waves, then uses computers to create a map of the subconscious and various human impulses, such as anger or the sex drive. Then through taped subliminal suggestions, he claims to physically alter the landscape with the power of suggestion.”
The CIA attained the same level of sophistication as Dr. Smirnov’s EEG approach by the mid-60s. In 1974, Ed Sanders, poet and author of The Family, a book that explores the totalitarian fantasies of Charles Manson, wrote a letter to the late political researcher Mae Brussell, describing federally-sponsored mind control operations in Hawaii, Chapman’s home, conducted by the US military, most notably the creation of serial killers.
Northern California mass murderer Herbert Mullen, Sanders wrote, worked at a Holiday Inn and flew to Hawaii in 1970 with Patricia Brown, a much older woman, against the wishes of his family. She told him that they would stay with a “church group,” but Mullen was committed the day after his arrival to a mental hospital operated by the U.S. Army instead. He was given generous servings of LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs, not exactly standard therapeutic practice. In her December 20, 1980 broadcast, Brussell related that Sanders informed her how Lawrence Quong, a raving gunman who shot at a San Francisco radio personality while on the air, “was taken to Hawaii by a woman and brought back to San Francisco with a mysterious gun placed in his hand.” The gun was unregistered, its origin unknown. Quong “went to a private detective many times and said he’d been programmed with electrodes and he was directed to this radio station. He couldn’t control himself.” Others, Sanders insisted, did.
Mind control researchers have long pointed to Chapman’s reltionship with World Visions, an evangelical charity that boasted John Hinckley, Sr., CEO of Vanderbilt Energy Corp., an oil exploration company, on its board. Hinckley was a close friend of George Bush, one path to the CIA.
(As in the Chapman case, CIA psychiatrists were summoned to evaluate John Hinckley, Jr. after his assault on Ronald Reagan. The prosecution’s psychiatric expert was Dr. Sally Johnson, currently chief of psychiatric services at the Butner Federal Correctional Institute in North Carolina — for decades one of the foremost CIA mind control facilities in the country. Dr. Johnson surfaced in the news weeklies in January, 1998 when she examined accused Unabomber Theodore Kacynzski — a subject of Agency-sponsored mind control experimentation while a student at Harvard — for the court. Her appearance raises the distinct possibility that the Unabomber was programmed. Dr. Johnson was called after Kacynzski tried to fire his attorneys and represent himself in court.)
World Visions has collaborated with the CIA in past black operations, including the use of a camp in Honduras where the organization fronted for a contra recruiting drive for the Nicaraguan rebellion.
In Cuba, World Vision camps concealed the agitations of Alpha 66, the anti-Castro brigands of Bay of Pigs fame. Phalange fascists butchered Palestinians at the World Vision camp in Lebanon.
These evangelicals also turned up in Guyana after the Jonestown massacre to plan a re-population of the area with Laotian mercenaries still reeking of raw opium, refined by the CIA into heroin for distribution to American GIs stationed in Vietnam and to the States via Air America and other criminalized Agency tentacles.
Some researchers consider Chapman’s world travels suggestive of CIA support. In the summer of 1975, Chapman, then 19 years old, signed on to the YMCA’s International Camp Counselor Program (ICCP) and asked to be sent to the Soviet Union — an odd request, since Chapman was a strident anti-Communist. He was packed off instead for a stint in Beirut, where, it is postulated, he received instruction in the lethal arts at a CIA training camp, or, depending on one’s point of view, a school of terror (as did renegade Agency arms dealers Frank Terpil and George Korkola, and William Peter Blatty of Exorcist fame ran an experimental mind control unit for the Army in Lebanon ).
Chapman did in fact receive firearms training at the Atlanta Area Technical School after dropping out of Covenant College, a Presbyterian academy in Tennessee, and taking a job as a security guard. He passed the pistol-training course with flying colors. The job and course work were a marked departure from Chapman’s prior ambition to lead the life of a missionary. They were suggested to him by a new circle of friends, and accompanied by a drastic change in his personality.
The happy, hard-working Christian fundamentalist went sour. He moved to Hawaii to start a new life, but sank into a period of deep depression and attempted suicide. He was admitted to Castle Memorial Hospital in 1977, where he was diagnosed as suffering from severe depressive neurosis.
Chapman was not considered pathological, however, and was released two weeks later. He had proven so popular with doctors at the clinic that Chapman was hired on in August 1977 through November 1979 as a maintenance worker with a promotion to the customer relations office. But he impulsively quit the job with a modest loan from the hospital credit union in pocket, Chapman claimed, and set off on a world tour.
In August 1980, he surfaced in New York and mailed a letter to an Italian addressee. The Dakota was given as the return address. It was a breezy note, nothing momentous — with the exception of a reference to his “mission” in New York. The “mission” could be interpreted as a “command hallucination,” or possibly a boastful exaggeration if it weren’t for the mysterious path the letter followed after Chapman dropped it in the mailbox.
The Italian acquaintance could not be found and it was returned to New York, where it moldered in the dead-letter bin for three years and was finally delivered to the Dakota. Yoko Ono glanced at the returned letter, dropped it in her DERANGED file and forgot about it.
In June 1983, Dan Mahoney, the head of security at the Ono household, was sorting through the file and found the letter, postmarked 1980. This was evidence of premeditated murder and possible conspiracy. Mahoney intended to give it to Yoko Ono and ultimately the police. But shortly thereafter the Chapman letter vanished, only to reappear again on Yoko’s kitchen table, slightly altered. The postdate was now 1981.
Turning the letter over to authorities was now out of the question. The revised letter was as breezy as the original, but now made no mention of Chapman’s “mission” in New York.
(In conversation with Rev. Charles McGowan at Rikers Island a few days after the murder, the gunman also spoke of a “mission that I could not avoid.” )
An infiltrator in Yoko’s household had apparently altered the letter to protect the “lone” gunman’s accomplices — and they were up to their own nostrils in a black operation the conspirators called “Project Walrus.”
Elliot Mintz (last seen on this trail of murder and hypocrisy gathering information about the RFK assassination with his doomed friend Sal Mineo) was instrumental in exposing the Project. Mintz, Lennon’s chum and publicist since 1971 until the arrival of Mark David Chapman, pins primary responsibility for the exploitation of Lennon on Fred Seaman, the Beatle’s chauffeur and author of The Last Days of John Lennon: A Personal Memoir. Mintz laid out the plot in the December 1991 issue of Instant Karma, a Beatles ‘zine.
“In the opening pages of Fred’s book, he describes his arrest,” Mintz says. “Now understand what led up to the arrest was all the circumstances of the Project.”
Fred’s college roommate, Bob Rosen, a controlling psychiatrist, and a New York diamond dealer “all got together and decided to engage in this ‘Project Walrus’ conspiracy. [This] involved setting up an apartment as well as a warehouse in Manhattan, have Fred steal as many things as he could — not just the journals, although the journals were the most important things — and for these four guys to 1. sell the materials privately, because this was right after John’s death and obviously the sky was the limit in terms of what one could charge for those kinds of things; and 2. write a book that would corner the gossip market on John Lennon … and Yoko.” 
Rosen, the project archivist, was nudged out of the operation. When entire filing cabinets stuffed with stolen Lennon material were discovered missing, the scheme came unraveled. Rosen turned evidence on Seaman and his accomplices in exchange for full immunity, Mintz recalls, “because now the district attorney’s office was involved, now the New York City police department was involved. Obviously Rosen was getting a little anxious.”
More than a little — Rosen told Ono that he feared for his life.
Of his accomplices: “Fred was using drugs at the time [and] he was, I think, probably being manipulated by the psychiatrist,” Dr. Francis DeBilio, a Brooklyn psychotherapist, “and the diamond dealer was feeding them cash.”  Norman Schonfeld, the diamond trader and financier of Project Walrus, has refused to answer any questions about this coalition formed to destroy Lennon’s reputation, a plan conceived months before Chapman arrived at the Dakota to ask for an autograph.
In August 1980, Rick Dufay, a guitarist for Aerosmith, was recruited by the Project. Like the others, Dufay strolled into the conspiracy fully conscious that it was morally repugnant. Rosen wrote in his diary that he, Seaman, and Dufay “know how contemptible the other one is. Interesting contest, who is the most contemptible among us.” 
Some insight into the operation might have been culled from Lennon’s diary for the months preceding his death, but it vanished and has never been recovered.
Mintz recalls, “Some of Yoko’s bodyguards were at the time New York City police officers. This is not unusual because New York has the Sullivan Law, which is the strictest anti-gun law in the United States. In New York City, it is very difficult for a private citizen to [legally] possess a weapon and keep it on his or her person secretly. The people who are allowed to do it are off-duty New York City police officers. So it’s not unusual for a number of very well-known celebrities in New York to have this [bodyguard] arrangement. Naturally, some of the off-duty officers who were protecting Yoko and Sean at the time were aware of things that were disappearing. You would go someplace to look for a file and the contents of whole file cabinets would be missing.”
Fred Seaman, says Mintz, claims that “one or both of the officers physically assaulted him, beat him up, held a gun to his head, took him for a ride, parked under a bridge somewhere and made clear threats, then brought him to the police station where he was booked, mug shots were taken and he confessed on videotape. I’m here to tell you that one of the people who he names as a police officer who arrested him … was never part of Fred’s arrest, was never there that night …”
Mintz accompanied police to the warehouse to identify Lennon’s stolen files. “There were boxes of them, all inventoried as part of the public record. I heard Fred say to Geraldo [Rivera] for the first time that some of these things were planted in his apartment and presumably planted in the warehouse. These are lies. John would have had to have told him to take all of these things and he didn’t. John didn’t tell him to steal his journals. And by the way, even if John had, even if John’s last wish to Fred if anything happened to him was to take the journals and bring them to Julian [Seaman’s claim], why didn’t he? He had traveled to Wales to see Julian. He had gone out to Cold Spring Harbor to spend some time with Julian. He had the journals in his possession for over a year and made no attempt to get them to Julian because that was not his intent. The intent in taking the journals was ‘Project Walrus.’ He lied about that.” 
But the plan went far beyond the theft of Lennon’s journals. Project Walrus was a full-blown surveillance, assassination and psychological operations program.
In March 1983, Mahoney found listening devices planted at the Dakota and swept the place clean. Another sweep a few days later detected more bugs. They had been quietly replaced when no one was looking, quite probably by someone on Ono’s staff.
And there have been numerous attempts on Ono’s life. The first came on December 9, 1980, the day after Lennon was gunned down, with a call from a man in Los Angeles who announced that he was flying to New York to “finish the job that Chapman started.” At the Los Angeles airport, the man was arrested when he swore to “get” Yoko, and punched a police officer in the fray.
In November 1981, two strangers were stopped and questioned by bodyguards at the Dakota. They cut and ran. One of them escaped, the other was tackled. He was taken into custody by police and shouted that he had come to “get” Yoko and Sean Lennon.
Ono received a letter in February 1983, warning, “I am going to kill you. You were not supposed to have survived.” One of the two brothers responsible for the threat turned up outside the Dakota a few days later. He was arrested, admitted that he meant to “get” Yoko — and was released.
A month later she received an anonymous call informing her that one of her bodyguards intended to kill her. In September, on a trip to San Francisco, she received a call at her hotel room from police. The officer told her that they’d arrested a sniper firing from his window a mile away. Police confiscated 700 rounds of ammunition and a collection of books about John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
“I grew up afraid somebody was going to shoot my mom or me,” Sean Lennon told Newsweek in 1996. Two years later he informed New Yorker’s Rebecca Mead that he had a normal childhood, except, “I had two detectives with guns following me everywhere.” He also said that his father’s murder was a “government” conspiracy and attributed insanity, naivete, or distorted thinking to anyone who didn’t fathom this self-evident historical fact.
In 1965, Ono designed a conceptual art piece she called the “Danger Box,” a machine from which “you will never come back the same.” The Dakota became a danger box the day Lennon was shot. The assassination was followed by organized operations undertaken to discredit Lennon and Ono, symbols of a generation that denounced war and the geopolitical Frankenstein’s monster that American industry and government had created by merging and breeding rabid watchdogs in the intelligence establishment.
Sociologist Fred Fago writes in a study of media responses to the killing of Lennon that it occurred in the “larger context of social disturbance that calls into question fundamental social meanings and relationships and sets visibly into conflict forces of stability and change. The United States in the 1960s experienced the onset of a social drama as the nation divided angrily, often violently, over the Vietnam war, the civil rights movement and the rise of libertine lifestyles.” 
In posthumous Lennon hatchet jobs, the sixties are also sundered and trashed. Fago writes that Albert Goldman’s The Lives of John Lennon, a book that depends almost entirely on defamations concocted by Project Walrus, “goes for the jugular of both the Lennons and the sixties generation in a dramatic refutation of the last happy image of Lennon presented in the media just before and just after his death.” Goldman’s is “one of a number of voices in the late 1980s that vilifies … the sixties generation.” 
Many conservative media pundits praised his book. A review in the London Times written by critic Robert Sandall excoriated the peaceniks that John Lennon inspired, “in reality a far darker, more destructive, turbulent and antisocial thing than we now care to admit. Goldman has touched a nerve in reminding us that Lennon was a child of the other 1960s that we are now trying so hard to forget.” 
The mewling, anorexic, irascible, weak-minded, heroin-addicted version of John Lennon depicted in Lives, Fago writes, is a deliberate historical revision, “what conservative voices of the 1980s characterized as the destructive permissiveness of the sixties. Both Lennon and the sixties counterculture stand discredited. If the group is seen, and sees itself, as being totally discredited, then reintegration would seem to require an open rejection of sixties identity,” a cynical exercise in molding mass opinion, discrediting a generation to rid the world of its “subversive” convictions.
And what else is it when “the gutting of Lennon’s reputation leads,” argues Fago, “to a ‘born again’ conversion from left-wing error to right-wing ‘enlightenment?’” The Goldman “revelations” spelled “the obliteration of sixties identity coordinates. Reentry into the social order would then be on terms dictated to the sixties generation by others, most prominently the voices of the conservative cultural and political revolution of the 1980s.” At stake in the Goldman “debate” was nothing less than “identity, in this case cultural/historical identity, and the counterculture’s sense of place in the social order.” 
Dead Lennons = $$$$$
That sense of place was largely influenced by cultural spokesmen like John Lennon. After his assassination, the first priority of “Project Walrus” was the decimation of his reputation.
Mintz was in a position to observe the inner-workings of Project Walrus more closely than anyone, and concluded that the assassination attempts, bugs, wiretaps, thefts, and forgeries were steps in the discrediting of Lennon and Ono. He does not speak about who was behind it, but allows that they are “extremely powerful.” 
The FBI and its sibling Big Brother agencies come to mind. Lennon was unaware of the nationalistic depths some in the federal bureaucracy were willing to plumb.
Jon Weiner, author of Come Together: John Lennon in his Time, observed in a 1984 interview that the Lennons “didn’t realize what kind of a person Nixon was and the risks they were running in challenging him.”
The same could be said of Lennon’s attitude toward the FBI. “John did believe that they were wiretapped and he complained about the aggressive surveillance that he was sometimes subject to in the spring of 1972,” Weiner comments, “but it was hard to prove it and he wondered whether maybe he was just being paranoid. You know, ‘don’t despair, paranoia is everywhere.’ After Watergate and after Nixon’s resignation, John filed a lawsuit claiming that he had been subject to illegal wiretapping and surveillance and made some progress with the suit. The Justice Department never would admit that it actually did carry out wiretapping, and in fact maintained that they didn’t, ‘it could be that it was somebody else that was doing it; it could be that it was the New York City police; maybe it was the Immigration Service or Army intelligence.’ So John had tried to find out with his lawsuit but eventually after he got his green card, he gave up the suit. He could have filed a Freedom of Information Act request for his own files, but I think that once he got his permanent residency, that was enough.”
Lennon was worn out. “He’d been fighting for four years and now it was over and I think he just wanted to go back to leading a normal life. It had taken enough out of him.” 
In a news story on Weiner’s debacle over the suppressed FBI files, Eliot Mintz stated that memories of Hooverian overkill were too traumatic for Yoko to bear. She wasn’t an obstacle to Weiner’s struggle with the FBI over Lennon’s files, but didn’t care to be involved. “She’ll say, ‘it’s incredible how much was going on,’” Weiner said.
She told him that their friends in the Peace Movement “were always saying that they should’ve been doing more, but all of this stuff makes it clear that the government thought that they were doing way too much.” 
The intelligence groups would revisit this thought again when, conceivably, Lennon overcame his fear of federal harassment and buggered the rising shadow of Reaganism with four-letter outbursts of anti-Republicanism.
Killing Lennon was only the first step. All that he signified must be defaced. This was the principal objective of Walrus.
The headquarters for Walrus was Bob Rosen’s apartment on 169th Street. The key strategist was Dr. DeBilio. German-born Fred Seaman, the psychiatrist’s pawn, was an avid Beatles “fan.” Like Chapman, he was obsessed with John Lennon and sought to subvert his memory.
Defaming Lennon and revising history required “primary materials,” so every Friday for a period of twelve months, at the end of his workday, Seaman strolled out of the Dakota with a grocery bag stuffed full of Lennon’s diaries, folders, an unpublished Joycean novella, other manuscripts, love letters, song lyrics, photographs, everything that could be secreted from the apartment complex.
The theft of the diaries, kept current by Lennon from 1975 until his death, was essential to the central purpose of Project Walrus, the defamation of Lennon, Ono, and their political views.
When most of the diaries were recovered, it was found upon close examination that some entries were not in Lennon’s handwriting, and others had been altered. This tampering with history by Lennon’s “extremely powerful” detractors undermined forever the use of the diaries by future biographers and historians. These documents were the record of his most personal thoughts and concerns, defiled with no better justification than the scoring of a crude propaganda coup.
Once the project had possession of the diaries, it followed that a legal claim to them be made to void any litigation Yoko Ono might apply to force their return and stop the publication of the defamatory book on Lennon planned by Fred Seaman. The chauffeur wrote in a journal that he and Dr. DeBilio had an “intense talk about doctoring the diary to show Lennon’s setting me up to write book … to build up [the appearance of] great intimacy.” 
Seaman was to be the executor of John Lennon’s archives, the dead Beatle’s official biographer, co-opting Yoko Ono. Seaman told friends that he was going to “discredit Ono at all costs.”
A number of assassination attempts failed, but did rattle her deeply. Further psychological pressure was applied to drive her to a nervous breakdown and thereby discredit her in any steps she might take to correct the public record.
The Walrus crew anticipated immense profits. As Rosen wrote in his diary, “Dead Lennons = $$$$$.”
In the March 1984 Playboy, authors David and Victoria Sheff described “unexplained events” at the Dakota: “Passports are found to be missing and then turn up days later on the kitchen table; lyrics to new songs disappear and then just as mysteriously reappear; collages by Lennon disappear and then reappear in unexpected places. It is beginning to sound like the movie Gaslight, in which a woman is made to feel she is going crazy.” The Chapman letter was stolen and altered. Anonymous death threats by phone and mail were continuous.
“There are precious few people to trust,” observed the Sheffs, “and Ono is depending mostly on her bodyguards for any sense of security. So when an anonymous call is received saying one of her security men is working against her, the paranoia around the [Dakota] is almost palpable. The idea that someone in her own home may kill her has been planted. She begins sleeping badly again.”
One of Ono’s assistants, wracked by the stress, began packing a gun at all times. “You don’t know how big this thing is. The people who are doing this are too big to fight.” 
On May 7, 1983, Fred Seaman entered a guilty plea to grand larceny in the second degree. He was sentenced to five years’ probation. But, the Sheffs reported, “Seaman’s obsession has clearly become manic. He calls a reporter at odd hours, saying only, ‘How does it feel to be useless?’ then calls the Dakota with the same enigmatic message. He spreads stories about Ono’s wickedness — that she is a drug addict, that she was having affairs before Lennon died, that she had McCartney arrested in Japan for possessing marijuana. Seaman will admit to friends that the smears are meant to ‘discredit Ono at all costs.’” 
Albert Goldman, in a biography largely based on Seaman’s distortions after Simon & Schuster rejected a manuscript penned by the former Lennon/Ono employee — the publishers found it replete with unfounded smears — was the most prominent of the post-assassination assassins of Lennon.
A publisher’s blurb promises that The Lives of John Lennon is the study of a “turbulent personality of labyrinthine complexity,” a “tribute to his legendary achievements and a revelation of the true price he paid for them.”
In fact, the reader finds in Goldman’s book a Lennon unrecognizable to his friends and followers. At every stop, Lennon’s actions and motives are skewed. An instructive example is the claim that John and Yoko avoided visiting places of artistic or cultural significance while on tour in Japan in the late 1970s, preferring to fritter away their afternoons at amusement parks and shopping centers. In fact, as seen in Imagine: John Lennon (a documentary that premiered in New York on October 7, 1988, within weeks of the release of Goldman’s book, untainted by Walrus, a criminal plot, the organized attempt to malign, to influence public opinion, to portray the late Beatle precisely as the “phony” that Mark David Chapman happened to despise, a “king” as Goldman had it, who “has no clothes”), the Lennons visited scores of Buddhist temples to meditate, and in general immersed themselves in Japanese culture.
Goldman’s journalistic practices in the preparation of the book were abysmal, obviously designed to sully Lennon and his generation. Tony Manero, a musician who knew Lennon briefly in the 1960s, reported to David and Victoria Sheff that Goldman offered to pay him for a story on his “homosexual liaison” with the Beatle which, unfortunately for the author, Manero maintains never occurred.
Rolling Stone, in an October 20, 1988 commemorative issue honoring Lennon, found Goldman’s biography “riddled with factual inaccuracies, embroidered accounts of true events that border on fiction and suspect information provided by tainted sources.”
The discrediting of Lennon and the late peace movement was one facet of the Walrus plot. Another was the dissemination of false conspiracy theories, clouding public comprehension of John Lennon’s murder in Santa Cruz, California, and soon all across the state. Steven Lightfoot emerged to pester talk show hosts with his insistence that the true killer of John Lennon was author Stephen King. This revelation, Lightfoot contends, is “the biggest true story since Christ was discovered.” His argument, repeated ad nauseum on California radio stations, is founded on “coded” language allegedly planted in headlines and photo captions printed in Time and Newsweek.
Lightfoot explains in a 1997 Internet posting that it was “hard not to spot strange behavior in the headlines of Time magazine, especially since the magazine I happened to pick up came out the day of the murder. The bold print headlines, with almost every turn of the page, seemed to plug into the murder of John Lennon and not just the more obvious intent of the article. When I turned to page 16 and saw the ominous headline ‘Who’s In? Who’s Out?’ above just elected Reagan I began to think I was stumbling on to government codes and that the double meaning of this headline translated to ‘Reagan’s In, Lennon’s Out.’ I looked closer and noticed the smaller headline below the photo that read ‘Fitting together the pieces of a complicated jigsaw puzzle …’ I looked at the picture and saw a vase of lillies, symbolic of death,” and so on.
Bearing in mind that Lennon was the victim of an extreme right-wing plot, Lightfoot’s own affinity with the Far Right is revealing. “Incidentally,” he notes, “I am not an anti-semite. I am merely aware that a small, evil group of Jews want the destruction of America and are using the media and violence to bring about a hasty disintegration of our morals. I, in fact, think Moscow is behind this media monopoly under 90 percent Jewish control and that America’s harboring of Nazis after WWII is one obvious reason.”
European fascists brought to these shores after the war participated in political assassinations conceived by the intelligence community. American and German operatives are the beating heart of fascist conspiracies of the sort that claimed the life of John Lennon, so the appearance of a Jew-baiting anti-communist making unfounded claims on talk radio — to discredit legitimate researchers on the Lennon murder — is a predictable development.
1. Fenton Bresler, Who Killed John Lennon?, New York: St. Martin’s, 1989, p. 242.
2. John Marks, The Search for the “Manchurian Candidate”, New York: Times Books, 1979, pp. 187, 191.
3. Dr. Eduard Simson-Kallas, Affidavit in Behalf of Sirhan Sirhan Serving Time in San Quentin, March 9, 1973, pp. 13-14. The Sirhan trial, he concluded, “was, and will be remembered, as the psychiatric blunder of the century.” (p. 22) But Simson caught a glimpse of conspiracy beyond the “blunders” when he examined the notebooks supposedly kept by Sirhan. Simson wrote: “A conclusion emerges from the study of court transcripts that Sirhan’s ‘notebooks’ were modified to support the improper diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. This is an assumption that should not be ignored” (p. 14) “I strongly suspect that the notebooks are a forgery, for the thinking reflected in them is foreign to the Sirhan I carefully studied.” (p. 18).
4. Bresler, p. 270.
5. Bresler, p. 240.
6. Bill Landis, Anger: The Unauthorized Biography of Kenneth Anger, New York: Harper Collins, 1995, p. 228.
7. Michael Newton, Raising Hell: An Encyclopedia of Devil Worship and Satanic Crime, New York: Avon, 1993, p. 77.
8. Mae Brussell, World Watchers International broadcast, Monterey, California, December 20, 1980.
9. The two families were close. Scott Hinckley, the brother of John Hinckley, Jr., and a VP at Vanderbilt Energy Corp., was to have been a dinner guest of Neil Bush, the vice president’s son, the day after the shooting. Neil, the Los Angeles Times reported on March 31, 1981, “said his family knew the Hinckley family because they had made large contributions to [Bush’s] campaign.”
10. Bresler, pp., 104-5.
11. Synopsis of Bresler text.
12. David and Victoria Sheff, “The Betrayal of John Lennon,” Playboy, March 1984, p. 188. The Sheffs write: “If some kind of switch was made, it could only have been to make it seem as if some crank had written a letter to Italy in 1981, and with Lennon long dead, had used Chapman’s name and the Dakota address as some sort of macabre joke.”
13. Bresler, p. 174.
14. Sheffs, p. 183.
15. “Stand by Me: The Elliot Mintz Interview,” Instant Karma, No. 52, December 1991.
16. Sheffs, p. 178.
17. Mintz, Instant Karma interview.
18. Sheff, p. 186.
19. Sheffs, pp. 86-190.
20. “Sean Lennon Lives in Fear,” AP release, March 11, 1996.
21. Rebecca Mead, “Sean Lennon has a new record– and a theory about his father’s murder,” New Yorker, vol. 74, no. 9, April 2, 1998, p. 45.
22. Fred Fago, “I Read the News Today”: The Social Drama of John Lennon’s Death, Lanham, Maryland, Rowman & Littlefield, 1994, p. x.
23. Fago, p. 120.
24. Quoted in Albert Goldman, “Rock’s Greatest Hitman,” Penthouse, September 1989 p. 220.
25. Fago, p. 116.
26. Sheffs, p. 186.
27. “A Talk with Jon Wiener,” Instant Karma, no. 16, June/July 1984. Wiener, an authority on the FBI’s case against John Lennon, bases his observations on 26 pounds of FBI and Immigration and Naturalization Service files released under FOIA request and court orders. Wiener has long been embroiled in a battle for release of materials held back for “reasons of national security.”
29. Sheffs, pp. 187-88.
30. Sheffs, p. 114.