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Guest Mark Valenti
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Guest Mark Valenti

At midnight on Dec. 31, hundreds of millions of pages of secret documents that are 25 years old or older will be instantly declassified.

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Oh, yeah...like the 10 pages of John Lennon related documents from his FBI file, held on "national security" grounds, that merely had information that was altready common knowledge?

IOW, don't get your hopes too high.

Here's the story from the Associated Press:

FBI Releases Final John Lennon Files

From Associated Press

December 20, 2006 10:20 PM EST

LOS ANGELES - The FBI has released its final surveillance documents on John Lennon to a university historian who has waged a 25-year legal battle to obtain the secret files.

The 10 pages contain new details about Lennon's ties to leftist and anti-war groups in London in the early 1970s, but nothing indicating government officials considered the former Beatle a serious threat, historian Jon Wiener told the Los Angeles Times in Wednesday's editions.

The FBI had unsuccessfully argued that an unnamed foreign government secretly provided the information, and that releasing the documents could lead to diplomatic, political or economic retaliation against the United States.

The newly released documents include a surveillance report stating that two prominent British leftists had courted Lennon in hopes that he would finance "a left-wing bookshop and reading room in London" but that Lennon gave them no money. Another page states that there was "no certain proof" that Lennon had provided money "for subversive purposes."

"I doubt that Tony Blair's government will launch a military strike on the U.S. in retaliation for the release of these documents," Wiener told the newspaper. "Today, we can see that the national security claims that the FBI has been making for 25 years were absurd from the beginning."

Wiener first requested the documents in 1981, several months after he decided to write a book about Lennon following the singer's murder. He initially obtained some documents, but the FBI withheld numerous files, saying they contained national security information and were exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

Wiener sued the government and received a number of files in 1997 as part of a settlement with the FBI. Justice Department lawyers continued to withhold the final 10 pages until a federal judge in 2004 ordered their release.

The previously released files showed that the FBI closely monitored Lennon from 1971 to 1972.

A one-paragraph document in the newly released files said: "Since 1972, Lennon has continued from time to time to lend his support to various extremist causes, but does not appear to owe allegiance to any one faction."

The documents mention an interview Lennon gave in 1971 to the London underground newspaper Red Mole in which he "emphasized his proletarian background and his sympathy with the oppressed and underprivileged."

Lennon "implied that he was sympathetic" to a Trotskyist communist group, the document said.

The documents reveal "government paranoia at a pathological level," said a statement by Mark Rosenbaum, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, which helped represent Wiener in the case.

Said Tariq Ali, a British leftist named in the Lennon file, in an e-mail: "What is amusing is the pathetic character of the information. Of course the surveillance carried out by Western democracies is as disturbing now as it was then."

Representatives of the FBI in Washington, D.C., had no comment on the release of the material. A call to the Justice Department was not returned.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Edited by Mark Knight
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Guest John Gillespie
Oh, yeah...like the 10 pages of John Lennon related documents from his FBI file, held on "national security" grounds, that merely had information that was altready common knowledge?

IOW, don't get your hopes too high.

__________________________________

Mark,

Right on. You'll never (well, very seldom) see anything that has substance or that doesn't parrot what already has been allowed to hit the streets. Sometime around 1990 - 1991 the KGB released its files on the Kennedy years, including what they had on the assassination, particularly LHO. Forrest Sawyer of ABC, sitting in for the equally pompous Ted Koppel, devoted an entire hour on "Nightline", normally a half hour show. In the words of Shakespeare, it was "full of sound and fury and signifying nothing." The Soviets also have an organization named GRU and it had lots and lots of files, some of them probably on loan from the...KGB. Not a major operation to earmark some KGB files for hiding over there with Oleg at GRU. The GRU wasn't even mentioned in the telecast.

Similarly, then-President Bush - under some pressure because of Oliver Stone's "JFK" in 1991 - 1992 - released (there's that word again) an untold amount of files and documents with pages numbering in the thousands, as if the volume and weight somehow transliterated into material importance. But alas, in the words of Dorothy Parker, there was no there there. As a footnote, there was something instructive in the reaction by George H.W. to that film when one might have expected his administration merely to dismiss it out of hand.

There are many other examples of government's 'coming clean.' I don't know about you but I breathlessly await each one in much the same way I stand by my P.O. Box every Spring, fantasizing how I will spend my IRS refund. In other words, how to use what was mine anyway.

But sucker that I am, I'm hoping to be surprised.

Regards and Happy Holidays,

John Gillespie

P.S. I like your closing signature line ('void where prohited," etc.). Allow me to add, here, 'Member - FDIC.'

Edited by John Gillespie
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At midnight on Dec. 31, hundreds of millions of pages of secret documents that are 25 years old or older will be instantly declassified.

Article in today's Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/st...1976654,00.html

Revealed at last - how FBI tried to nail Lennon

Maev Kennedy

Thursday December 21, 2006

The Guardian

Clearly a man who sang "Imagine all the people/Living life in peace" was a major league subversive, but still the FBI could not quite nail John Lennon. An American historian has finally won his 25-year campaign to expose the FBI's pursuit of the ex-Beatle - but the last 10 pages, released only after a string of court cases, don't quite make spy thriller reading.

The Lennon files show that American intelligence followed him, photographed him, carefully monitored his activities, and logged his support for anti-war and radical movements.

In the early 1970s the FBI had a cunning plan. They recruited two "prominent British leftists" - alas, unnamed - to befriend him. Having won his trust, they made him an offer he could not refuse: would he like to fund their "leftwing bookshop and reading room in London?"

But Lennon turned them down flat. The report concluded sadly that there was "no certain proof" that Lennon had provided money "for subversive purposes".

The surveillance report of the least successful operation since the plot to poison Castro's cigar has finally been released to a US historian.

Jon Wiener first applied for the documents under freedom of information law in 1981, when he decided to write a book about Lennon, shot dead in 1980.

The FBI responded with a barrage of excuses for not releasing the files, arguing that national security would be compromised, and that some of the information had come from an unnamed foreign government so that disclosure could lead to "diplomatic, political or economic retaliation" against the United States.

In 1997 Mr Wiener won a court order, but only some of the files were released. It took another court order to get the last 10 pages.

Mr Wiener told the Los Angeles Times: "Today we can see that the national security claims that the FBI has been making for 25 years were absurd."

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