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FTR#1321 The Assassination of John Lennon

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FTR#1321 This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Lennon’s Star on Hol­ly­wood Boule­vard
Pho­to Cred­it: Wikipedia

Intro­duc­tion: As the title sug­gests, this pro­gram sets forth facts about John Lennon’s mur­der.

Key Points of Dis­cus­sion of Lennon’s Killing Include: The fact that the bul­lets that killed Lennon entered from his left side, where­as pat­sy Mark David Chap­man was on Lennon’s right; The door­man at Lennon’s res­i­dence, who was stand­ing on Lennon’s left was José San­jenís Per­do­mo, a “for­mer” oper­a­tive for the CIA; Per­do­mo’s back­ground in the CIA’s Bay of Pigs oper­a­tion and pri­or ser­vice as a chief of police in pre-Cas­tro Cuba; Per­do­mo’s alleged links to Water­gate bur­glar and JFK assas­si­na­tion par­tic­i­pant Frank Stur­gis; Per­do­mo’s six-hours of con­ver­sa­tion with Chap­man pri­or Lennon’s return from the record­ing stu­dio; an eye­wit­ness’s alle­ga­tion that Per­do­mo did the shoot­ing; Per­do­mo’s seiz­ing of the alleged mur­der weapon, which was not test­ed for fin­ger­prints; Chap­man’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in a music club in Hawaii, to which Amer­i­can Nazi, Rea­gan shoot­ing pat­sy and Bush asso­ciate John Hinck­ley, Jr. also belonged; The extreme­ly unlike­ly pos­si­bil­i­ty that Chap­man could have per­formed the marks­man­ship required to kill Lennon; The pos­si­bil­i­ty that Chap­man may have been a mind-con­trolled pat­sy; Chap­man’s prison vis­its by MKULTRA asso­ciates Bernard Dia­mond and Nathan Kline; Yoko Ono’s cre­ma­tion of Lennon’s corpse with­in 36 hours of the killing; Ono’s strong links to the Yasu­da Zaibat­su; Ono’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the recon­se­cra­tion of a Japan­ese Shin­to tem­ple, destroyed in the after­math of the attack on Pearl Har­bor; Ono’s asso­ci­a­tion with an antique deal­er and alleged CIA con­tract agent.

1.  “What Three Let­ters of the Alpha­bet Link John Lennon’s Mur­der to the Mur­ders of John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy?” by Jere­my Kuz­marov; Cover­tAc­tion Mag­a­zine; 12/08/2023.

A not­ed his­to­ri­an says those three let­ters are C‑I-A. And even more, that Lennon was betrayed by Yoko Ono. Far-fetched? Before you scoff, look at the evi­dence this respect­ed pro­fes­sor has final­ly decid­ed to release after sit­ting on it for 41 years.

The Six­ties era offi­cial­ly end­ed just before 11:00 p.m. EST on Decem­ber 8, 1980.

That is when for­mer Bea­t­les mem­ber John Lennon, a major voice of the era’s social move­ment who wrote the peace anthems “Imag­ine” and “Give Peace a Chance,” was shot and killed just out­side the Man­hat­tan apart­ment that he shared with his wife, Yoko Ono, and five-year-old son Sean.

Mark David Chap­man, a 25-year-old from Fort Worth, Texas, was arrest­ed yards from where the mur­der took place hold­ing a copy of J. D. Salinger’s book, The Catch­er in the Rye.

Chap­man told police that he had act­ed alone. Sub­se­quent­ly, Chap­man plead­ed guilty to sec­ond-degree mur­der and was sen­tenced to a prison term of 20 years to life, with a stip­u­la­tion that men­tal health treat­ment would be pro­vid­ed.

Over the decades, Chap­man has giv­en con­flict­ing rea­sons for why he killed Lennon, cit­ing his spir­i­tu­al beliefs, his own desire to become famous, and even that killing Lennon would help pro­mote The Catch­er in the Rye.[1]

Prob­lem with the Offi­cial Story—and a CIA Con­nec­tion

There is one major prob­lem with the sto­ry of Chap­man as Lennon’s lone assas­sin: Lennon was struck by four bul­lets on the left side of his body when Chap­man was on his right side.[2]

There was a man who was stand­ing on Lennon’s left when Lennon was shot: the door­man.

He was iden­ti­fied in 1987 by Peo­ple magazine’s James Gaines as José San­jenís Per­do­mo, an anti-Cas­tro sniper who was part of the CIA’s Cuban exile inva­sion of Cuba in April 1961.

In pre-Cas­tro Cuba, Per­do­mo had been a Chief of Police under the regime of Car­los Prios and dic­ta­tor Ful­gen­cio Batista.[3]

Alleged­ly, he helped coor­di­nate a CIA assas­si­na­tion squad in Cuba and was the con­trol offi­cer that CIA assigned to Frank Stur­gis when Stur­gis joined the CIA in 1958 (Stur­gis was involved in both the JFK assas­si­na­tion and Water­gate break-in).

If the CIA were behind Lennon’s death, its motive was clear: Lennon was an icon of the 1960s peace move­ment who was plan­ning to revi­tal­ize his musi­cal career and could inspire a regen­er­a­tion of peace and pro­gres­sive activism in the 1980s to counter the Rea­gan rev­o­lu­tion.[4]

The CIA want­ed peo­ple not to remem­ber but to for­get Lennon and all he stood for.

In the 1970s, the FBI had car­ried out a large-scale sur­veil­lance oper­a­tion against Lennon, who was also tar­get­ed by the CIA’s Oper­a­tion CHAOS.

Lennon was feared because he fund­ed finan­cial­ly trou­bled under­ground news­pa­pers, sang songs for social jus­tice and sup­port­ed rad­i­cal caus­es, includ­ing an orga­ni­za­tion that reg­is­tered young vot­ers opposed to the Viet­nam War.

The FBI attempt­ed to get munic­i­pal police to arrest Lennon on drug charges. British MI5 also tar­get­ed him because of his sup­port for the Irish Repub­li­can Army (IRA).

The U.S. Immi­gra­tion and Nat­u­ral­iza­tion Ser­vice (INS) tried to have Lennon deport­ed in a cam­paign spear­head­ed by for­mer Dix­ie­crat Sen­a­tor Strom Thur­mond (R‑SC).[5]

On the evening of Lennon’s death, once John and Yoko left for John’s last record­ing ses­sion at about 4 p.m., Per­do­mo spent the next six and a half hours chat­ting with Chap­man.[6] What about one can only sur­mise.

Typ­i­cal­ly, it is cru­cial to the estab­lish­ment of guilt or inno­cence that the police con­duct foren­sic tests of the gun or bullets—which in the case of Lennon’s mur­der they did not do.[7]

After Chap­man dropped his gun, Per­do­mo ordered ele­va­tor oper­a­tor Joseph Many to pick up the gun and bring it to a stor­age room down­stairs. It was then removed but no fin­ger­print tests were tak­en by the police—though care was tak­en to pre­serve the fin­ger­prints from the copy of The Catch­er in the Rye that Chap­man had been hold­ing and dropped when the police arrived.

One of the first police offi­cers at the mur­der scene, Peter Cullen, believed that a handy-man had pulled the trig­ger but Per­do­mo con­vinced him oth­er­wise. A wit­ness point­ed to the left side of Lennon, say­ing “he’s the one that did the shoot­ing,” refer­ring to Per­do­mo.[8]

British author David Whe­lan who spent three years research­ing Lennon’s death empha­sized that in the offi­cial sto­ry Chap­man shot Lennon from 25 feet away when the med­ical reports made clear that the bul­lets entered Lennon from close quar­ters.

25 feet is a vast dis­tance for an untrained marks­man like Chap­man. Dr. David Haller­an, who treat­ed Lennon, stat­ed: “not even a Navy SEAL could pull it off at that dis­tance.”[9]

Lt. Arthur O’Connor, who grilled Chap­man in the police precinct, said that Chap­man clear­ly had not com­mit­ted the mur­der to make him­self famous as he “didn’t want to talk to the press from the very start” and was “appre­hen­sive about his wife find­ing out from the media.”

O’Connor said that Chap­man “did not want the noto­ri­ety. He did not want the glo­ry of a tri­al either,” adding sig­nif­i­cant­ly that “it’s pos­si­ble Mark could have been used by some­body. I saw him the night of the mur­der. I stud­ied him intense­ly. He looked as if he could have been pro­grammed.”[10]

Was Chap­man a Manchuri­an Can­di­date?

Accord­ing to author Fen­ton Bresler, Mark David Chap­man resem­bled Sirhan Sirhan, the pat­sy in the RFK assas­si­na­tion, in meet­ing all the cri­te­ria for hav­ing been pre-pro­grammed and brain­washed.[11]

After Lennon’s killing, Chap­man was found calm­ly read­ing J.D. Salinger’s The Catch­er in the Rye and sur­ren­dered to the NYPD meek­ly when there was a sub­way 75 feet away and he could have eas­i­ly escaped. Chap­man had become obsessed with The Catch­er in the Rye, cast­ing him­self as the book’s lead char­ac­ter, Hold­en Caulfield, inscrib­ing a note in his copy of the book: “To Hold­en Caulfield from Hold­en Caulfield.”[12]

Chapman’s man­u­fac­tured obses­sion with The Catch­er in the Rye was clear­ly cru­cial to the whole oper­a­tion. Not only was the goal to kill a lead­ing icon of the 1960s move­ment, which the CIA want­ed crushed, but it was also to try to asso­ciate Lennon with the phoni­ness of the adult world that Hold­en Caulfield, anoth­er icon of the 1960s move­ment, dis­dained.

Chap­man direct­ly referred to Lennon as a pho­ny, stat­ing: “He told us to imag­ine no pos­ses­sions [in his 1971 song Imag­ine] and there he was, with mil­lions of dol­lars and yachts and farms and coun­try estates, laugh­ing at peo­ple like me who had believed the lies and bought the records and built a big part of their lives around his music.”

Chapman’s den­i­gra­tion of Lennon fit well with a cam­paign in pop­u­lar cul­ture to por­tray hip­pies as hyp­o­crit­i­cal nar­cis­sists and anti­war activists as hav­ing spat upon Viet­nam vet­er­ans when few if any such inci­dents actu­al­ly took place. The effect was to help shift Amer­i­can polit­i­cal cul­ture to the right and pre­vent the reemer­gence of youth­ful rebel­lion in the 1980s—as C. Wright Mills’ “pow­er elite” desired.

In Atti­ca Prison, Chap­man received the best accom­mo­da­tions of any pris­on­er, sug­gest­ing that there were pow­er­ful peo­ple pro­tect­ing him. He was vis­it­ed by min­is­ters of the fun­da­men­tal­ist Chris­t­ian Church to which he belonged who dou­bled as U.S. mil­i­tary intel­li­gence offi­cers.

Chap­man had con­vert­ed to evan­gel­i­cal Chris­tian­i­ty in 1971 after a peri­od of heavy use of mind-alter­ing drugs. He had rebelled against his abu­sive father, David Cur­tis Chap­man, a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force who worked for the Amer­i­can Oil Cor­po­ra­tion (AMOCO).

In his book Care­less Genius: John Lennon and His Mater­nal Demon, Antho­ny Gronow­icz empha­sizes that Chapman’s con­ver­sion from drug abuse to Chris­t­ian fun­da­men­tal­ism made him a suit­able tar­get for the com­mand hal­lu­ci­na­tion he may have expe­ri­enced. New reli­gious con­verts are con­sid­ered easy to manip­u­late because their con­ver­sion is asso­ci­at­ed with a height­ened emo­tion­al state.

Accord­ing to UC Berke­ley Pro­fes­sor Richard Ofshe, after the for­mal ter­mi­na­tion of the CIA’s Oper­a­tion MK-ULTRA in 1973, the oper­a­tion con­tin­ued to be car­ried out secret­ly through reli­gious cults.

MK-ULTRA involved mind-con­trol and brain­wash­ing exper­i­ments that the CIA car­ried out in an attempt to manip­u­late, con­di­tion and con­trol peo­ple.

RFK’s assas­sin, Sirhan Sirhan, is believed to have been hyp­no­tized under MK-ULTRA and pro­grammed into an assas­sin who was set up as a pat­sy. His trig­ger appeared to be a woman in a pol­ka-dot dress, and he appeared, like Chap­man, to be calm after the killing and dis­so­ci­at­ed from the evil in which he had par­tic­i­pat­ed.[13]

A per­son link­ing Sirhan Sirhan and Chap­man is Bernard Dia­mond, a foren­sic psy­chi­a­trist who hyp­no­tized Sirhan and tes­ti­fied at his tri­al and also vis­it­ed Chap­man in prison. Chap­man was also vis­it­ed by Mil­ton Kline, anoth­er expert hyp­no­tist and CIA con­sul­tant who once said he could “cre­ate a pat­sy in three months” and “an assas­sin in 6 [months].”[14]

In 1975, Chap­man worked for the YMCA in Beirut. In Inside the Com­pa­ny: A CIA Diary, Philip Agee recounts how, when he worked for the CIA in Ecuador in 1962, his cov­er was as man­ag­er of the Quito YMCA where he man­aged the YMCA bas­ket­ball team.

Lebanon at the time Chap­man was there was the first Mid­dle East­ern nation to request U.S. troops under its right­ist Chris­t­ian pres­i­dent to crush a most­ly left­ist Mus­lim upris­ing.[15]

After his return to the U.S., Chap­man was flown to Fort Chaf­fee, Arkansas, to assist David C. Moore, the new Direc­tor for the re-edu­ca­tion and re-set­tle­ment of anti-Com­mu­nist Viet­namese refugees.[16]

After a trip around the world, he set­tled in Hawaii, a place with a strong U.S. mil­i­tary pres­ence. He joined a small music club in which John W. Hinck­ley Jr., who tried to assas­si­nate Pres­i­dent Ronald Rea­gan on March 30, 1981, was already a mem­ber.[17]

Hinck­ley Jr. was con­nect­ed with the Bush fam­i­ly; he had helped George W. Bush in an unsuc­cess­ful cam­paign for Con­gress in 1978 and his broth­er Scott, Pres­i­dent of Van­der­bilt Ener­gy Corp., a com­pa­ny bailed out by Vice Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush’s Zap­a­ta Oil, was sched­uled to have din­ner with Neil Bush, Bush’s son, the night after the assas­si­na­tion attempt.

John Hinck­ley, Sr., the founder of Van­der­bilt Ener­gy Corp., had also raised funds for George H.W. Bush’s polit­i­cal cam­paigns, and financed an evan­gel­i­cal char­i­ty, World Vision Inter­na­tion­al, that served as a cov­er for CIA oper­a­tions.[18]

All these lat­ter coin­ci­dences are just too much. Chapman’s ties to Hinck­ley and Hinckley’s ties to Bush—CIA Direc­tor in 1975 who worked as an under­cov­er CIA asset in the 1960s—point to the like­li­hood of their involve­ment in a con­spir­a­cy that con­nects the mur­der of John Lennon and Rea­gan assas­si­na­tion attempt and was designed to shift the polit­i­cal land­scape dur­ing the 1980s.

Sus­pi­cion Cast on Yoko Ono

Accord­ing to Gronow­icz, Lennon’s wid­ow Yoko Ono’s behav­ior was very sus­pi­cious around the time of the assas­si­na­tion. She had his body cre­mat­ed on Decem­ber 10, a mere 36 hours after Lennon was shot.

In Care­less Genius, Antho­ny Gronow­icz depicts Ono as a manip­u­la­tive woman who cashed in on Lennon’s death by tak­ing charge of his estate and forc­ing fam­i­ly mem­bers to buy back some of Lennon’s arti­facts.[19] By 2022, Ono’s for­tune had grown to $700 mil­lion.

An upper-class heiress, Ono was the great-grand­daugh­ter of the founder of the Bank of Tokyo, Zen­jiro Yasu­da. Her father was appoint­ed pres­i­dent of the Bank of Tokyo in New York and she attend­ed Sarah Lawrence Col­lege, among the most expen­sive U.S. col­leges.

Pri­or to John’s death, the mar­riage with Yoko was head­ing to divorce, accord­ing to Gronow­icz. Yoko was eight years old­er than John and cast a mater­nal spell on him that was begin­ning to dis­si­pate. The two began liv­ing sep­a­rate­ly and Yoko was using hero­in.

Gronow­icz writes that Ono, unable to com­pete musi­cal­ly with her famous and tal­ent­ed hus­band, grew jeal­ous and resent­ful.

After tak­ing some time off to raise their son Sean, Lennon was poised to put out a new album and res­ur­rect his career while Yoko—whose art career was floundering—would be left behind.

John was also resum­ing his polit­i­cal activism, trav­el­ing to the West Coast to sup­port a Japan­ese work­ers’ strike against the Japan Foods Cor­po­ra­tion (JPC), whose dynas­tic own­ers were peers of Ono’s fam­i­ly.

Gronow­icz sees polit­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance in Ono’s stand­ing by Chica­go May­or Rahm Emmanuel in June 2015 as he announced the restora­tion of a Shin­to tem­ple that had been burned down in retal­i­a­tion for the Japan­ese attack on Pearl Har­bor. Shin­to­ism had served as the state reli­gion in fas­cist Japan and was employed to jus­ti­fy the vast num­ber of Japan­ese atroc­i­ties.

Gronow­icz writes that Ono’s actions “fit in well with Washington’s reha­bil­i­ta­tion of Japan to coun­ter­bal­ance the grow­ing pow­er of Chi­na.”[20]

If Yoko was involved in the plot to kill Lennon, Gronow­icz sug­gests that it would have been through Samuel Havad­toy, an antique deal­er and Ono’s inte­ri­or dec­o­ra­tor and land­lord, who had moved in with her, par­tic­u­lar­ly through his attor­ney Leon Dick­er, who had been arrest­ed in 1986 for gun-run­ning on behalf of the CIA-backed dic­ta­tor of the Philip­pines, Fer­di­nand Mar­cos, who had been plot­ting a come­back coup after he was over­thrown by a pop­u­lar rev­o­lu­tion.[21]

Gronow­icz con­cludes his book by writ­ing that “Lennon’s death sig­ni­fied that an upper-class heiress had tri­umphed over a work­ing class genius. Ono knew she had the intel­li­gence agen­cies and the polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment of Japan and the Unit­ed States square­ly behind her.”[22]

Whether Ono betrayed Lennon and had any­thing to do with his mur­der is of course spec­u­la­tive. Gronowicz’s book pro­pos­es the the­o­ry; it does not prove it. The evi­dence strong­ly indi­cates, how­ev­er, that there was a con­spir­a­cy; that Chap­man was not the killer but set up as a pat­sy, like Sirhan Sirhan and before him Lee Har­vey Oswald, and that Per­do­mo was the real killer, indi­cat­ing that the CIA was behind it.

The loss was ulti­mate­ly all of humanity’s. Future gen­er­a­tions were deprived the music that would have come from Lennon’s genius. Lennon also might have helped revi­tal­ize the peace and jus­tice move­ments of the 1960s and inspired new gen­er­a­tions of activists, blunt­ing the growth of the con­ser­v­a­tive polit­i­cal order that has led to widen­ing social inequal­i­ty, envi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion and an era of end­less war.

Chap­man stat­ed at one point that he was going to use a tri­al to pro­mote the book, pro­ject­ing 20 mil­lion sales for 1981. 

Antho­ny Gronow­icz, Care­less Genius: John Lennon and His Mater­nal Demon (New York: Palin­drome Books, 2022), 107. 

James R. Gaines, “In the Shad­ows a Killer Wait­ed,” Peo­ple Mag­a­zine, March 2, 1987; Gronow­icz, Care­less Genius, 16. 

Fen­ton Bresler, in Who Killed John Lennon? (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989). Wrote: “Rea­gan had just won the elec­tion. They knew what kind of pres­i­dent he was going to be. There was only one man who could bring out a mil­lion peo­ple on demon­stra­tion in protest at his policies—and that was Lennon.” These poli­cies would have includ­ed Reagan’s War on Drugs, which Lennon would have staunch­ly opposed as a pro­po­nent of the psy­che­del­ic rev­o­lu­tion. 

Gronow­icz, Care­less Genius, 140; Jon Wiener, Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files (Berke­ley: Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia Press, 2000).. 

Gronow­icz, Care­less Genius, 16. 

Gronow­icz, Care­less Genius, 107. 

Gronow­icz, Care­less Genius, 109. 

Dana Kennedy, “Sec­ond Gunman–Not Mark David Chapman–May Have Shot John Lennon, Author Claims,” The New York Post, April 22, 2023, https://nypost.com/2023/04/22/second-gunman-not-mark-david-chapman-may-have-shot-john-lennon-author/ 

Gronow­icz, Care­less Genius, 109; Bresler, Who Killed John Lennon? 17, 49. 

Bresler, Who Killed John Lennon? 

Bresler, Who Killed John Lennon? 15, 94, 96, 278. Chap­man said at anoth­er point that “I am the Catch­er of the Rye of this gen­er­a­tion,” and quot­ed from a pas­sage of the book dur­ing his sen­tenc­ing hear­ing. Fen­ton Bresler writes that those who pro­grammed Chap­man to “shoot Lennon as the ulti­mate ‘pho­ny,’ worked assid­u­ous­ly at putting into his mind the con­vic­tion that he was, in some twist­ed way, the real-life embod­i­ment of Hold­en, the fic­ti­tious young cru­sad­er against ‘phonies.’” 

See Philip H. Melan­son, The Robert F. Kennedy Assas­si­na­tion: New Rev­e­la­tions on the Con­spir­a­cy and Cov­er-Up, 1968–1991 (New York: S.P.I. Books, 1994), among oth­er works. 

Kennedy, “Sec­ond Gunman–Not Mark David Chapman–May Have Shot John Lennon, Author Claims.” 

Gronow­icz, Care­less Genius, 93; Bresler, Who Killed John Lennon? 30; Philip Agee, Inside the Com­pa­ny: A CIA Diary (New York: Stone­hill Pub­lish­ing, 1975). 

Cuban refugees were also tak­en to Fort Chaf­fee, where extrem­ist anti-Cas­tro groups tied to the CIA, like Alpha 66 and Omega 7, were brought in to recruit the refugees for anti-Cas­tro ter­ror­ist oper­a­tions. 

Gronow­icz, Care­less Genius, 97. 

Evi­dence points to there being a sec­ond shoot­er besides Hinck­ley who fired at Rea­gan from the hotel, above Reagan’s lim­ou­sine. Hinck­ley was pre­sent­ed in the media as a deranged lone gun­man who had been obsessed with Jodi Fos­ter and the film Taxi Dri­ver and want­ed to get Foster’s atten­tion. At the time of the shoot­ing, Hinck­ley had been dosed with val­i­um. The Secret Ser­vice had received warn­ings about him but did noth­ing to stop him. Trow­bridge Ford sug­gests an ear­li­er mis­sion was to kill Jim­my Carter if he released the hostages in Iran. Hinckley’s tri­al was a trav­es­ty and he may have been pre-pro­grammed, brain­washed and then set up in the famil­iar way. 

Gronow­icz, Care­less Genius. 

Gronow­icz, Care­less Genius. 141. 

Gronow­icz, Care­less Genius. 13. Dick­er was briefly impris­oned but his case was over­turned by future Supreme Court Jus­tice Samuel Ali­to. He went by the nick­name “the Gen­er­al.” He made some veiled ref­er­ences at some points to work­ing for the CIA. 

Gronow­icz, Care­less Genius. 142. 

2.  The sec­ond part of the pro­gram fea­tures analy­sis of the pro­found cap­i­tal con­nec­tions between the U.S. and Japan, the Zaibat­sus, in par­tic­u­lar. Yoko Ono was a descen­dant of the founder of the Yasu­da firm, one of the prin­ci­pal ele­ments net­worked with Amer­i­can big cap­i­tal and at the core of Japan’s fas­cist econ­o­my dur­ing World War II. This gives per­spec­tive and depth on Ono and her activ­i­ties in con­nec­tion with John Lennon.


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