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Sunday, October 03, 2004

U.S. Judge Orders Release of Lennon FBI Files - hello Google?

October 9th will be John Lennon's 64th birthday.
(Will you still need me,
Will you still feed me, when I'm 64
)

I wonder if he would have considered this an appropriate gift?

Fri Oct 1, 1:25 PM ET Reuters

LOS ANGELES - A federal judge has ordered the FBI to turn over files on John Lennon to a California professor who said the documents show Britain's domestic spy agency shadowed the late Beatle's political activities.

Rejecting the U.S. government's national security claims [???! - Ed.] U.S. District Judge Robert Takasugi on Tuesday brought to a close a 23-year battle waged by Jonathan Wiener, a University of California professor who requested the information for a book he was writing shortly after Lennon was murdered in 1980.

[...snip...]

The documents revealed efforts by President Richard Nixon to deport Lennon to silence his anti-war activities in 1971 and 1972, Wiener said.

I went to see John Lennon in 1969 in Toronto, Canada where he was waiting for permission to enter the U.S. American authorities were balking, ostensibly because of a marijuana possession conviction in U.K. I and other writers campaigned heavily to allow him to come to the U.S. and eventually he and Yoko got their visas.

"Lennon was planning a national concert tour through the United States to urge young people to vote," Wiener said. "Nixon got wind of this and ordered Lennon deported so he couldn't do this concert tour." [grrrr - Ed.]

Wiener said the documents ordered released this week probably contain similarly embarrassing but not damaging information collected by the British government.

"All they've told us is these pages contain information provided by a foreign government under an explicit promise of confidentiality," Wiener said. "We think these are MI5 reports on Lennon's left-wing political activities in England."

The U.S. government has 60 days to announce whether it will appeal the ruling.


read the rest

Y'know, I think the government has a lot more important things to do in the next 60 days.

Eventually these records will be released. Even though it gets scrappy sometimes, in America, the truth, if the people want it, eventually comes out. Freedom of information is a hard won and deeply principled right - that's correct, right, not privelege - which is why some of us are having a hissyfit because Google is conceding to filtering (censorship) of news sources in its Chinese language news search. I think their excuses are lame and self-serving and even though they were not likely to have prevailed, they could have taken a stand. See stories and posts at China Digital News, The Peking Duck, Brainysmurf and Techweb

// posted by Ellen @  03:08   //Permalink// 
Ellen says hey
Mainer, New Yawka, Beijinger, Californian, points between. News, views and ballyhoos that piqued my interest and caused me to sigh, cry, chuckle, groan or throw something.


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