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FBI Ordered to Turn Over Lennon Files 396

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the helter-skelter dept.
CatDogLordOfTheRoot writes "CNN is reporting that a U.S. District Judge rejected the governments arguements to keep the secret records of John Lennon sealed. The FBI argued that releasing the last ten pages would pose a risk to national security as a foreign government (not identified) secretly gave information to the US Government. Looks like another big step in the Freedom of Information Act."
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FBI Ordered to Turn Over Lennon Files

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  • Good news (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PrvtBurrito (557287) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @08:54PM (#10400810)
    There should be a law making all records public after a certain period of time (like copyright expiration). (fp?)
    • by BlackEyedSceva (798150) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @08:56PM (#10400819)
      Most of the time information becomes public anyway. There is no need for a LAW to do this.
      • Re:Good news (Score:5, Interesting)

        by PrvtBurrito (557287) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:00PM (#10400848)
        Not true. Piles of secret information is buried constantly. Of course, there is public info, but there is very little civil war, mexican-american war or wwi info that is available.
      • by DAldredge (2353)
        Yes there is. Our goverment should not keep secrets from the public any longer than necessary. Except for the case of REAL national security matters, and the penalty for classifying something too high should be 1-5 years in prison per page.
        • Re:Good news (Score:3, Insightful)

          So you mean the person would sue himself ? Because if someone classified a record too high, this record would be... well, classified. And nobody else would know about it.
      • by empaler (130732) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:02PM (#10400867) Journal
        I'm reading up on the FBI files on the JFK assassination atm... oh, wait.
        • Re:You're right, (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Thomas Miconi (85282)
          I'm reading up on the FBI files on the JFK assassination atm

          The JFK assassination is one case where the public was exposed to lots of information, which is not a problem - the problem is that, in remarkable accordance with Sturgeon's law, 90% of this information was absolute crap.

          A majority of americans today believe that there has been some kind of conspiracy around Kennedy's murder. Oliver Stone's film is probably the number 1 culprit for this. The ever helpful BBC made a documentary [bbc.co.uk] which simply blast
    • Re:Good news (Score:5, Insightful)

      by The-Bus (138060) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @08:59PM (#10400843)
      "after a certain period of time (like copyright expiration"

      From the way copyright law is going, that's going to be about 435 years.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        So what? 435 years is NOT unreasonable.

        What is my incentive to create if my great-great-great-great-great grand children can't sit on their asses living off my royalties? That's the new lazy american dream!

    • Good news? Bad news (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Wow, I can't believe people are so selfish that they'd risk the U.S.'s relations with another country just so they, and _possibly_ others, can see what happened. If the FBI wants documents classified, the FBI has a good reason. I don't want another 9/11 in the U.S. or a foreign country just because people want to see some documents.
      • by wHartHog(69) (256066) <wHartHog69@ntelo ... inus threevowels> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:15PM (#10400934) Homepage
        You've got to be kidding. The whole reason we have these problems is because of secrecy. We must hold our government accountable for its actions. The only way to ensure that is to know what, when, where, why, and how it takes action. There is no "them" and "us". The government is an extention of "the people", and should act on our behalf. We must ensure that it does. Freedom requires dilegence. And action
        • by empaler (130732)
          Freedom requires dilegence. And action

          Some dead guy [brainyquote.com] once said something similar, to some extent:

          The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either.
        • There is another problem that arises when there is no secrecy. That problem is that everybody else knows your every move and everything you are doing. It's the same problem with people in gangs and stuff who give information for better treatment. As soon as the people who you gave info about find out you have to go into hiding. I don't know about you, but it's pretty hard to hide a whole country. Or imagine someone from another country gives us information, we would be unable to guarantee their safety. This
      • So speakth the AC...
      • by empaler (130732)
        had good reasons not to disclose information on how they managed the drug cartels in South America. Yeah, that was in public interest.
      • by einhverfr (238914) <chris@travers.gmail@com> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:27PM (#10400994) Homepage Journal
        Wow, I can't believe people are so selfish that they'd risk the U.S.'s relations with another country just so they, and _possibly_ others, can see what happened. If the FBI wants documents classified, the FBI has a good reason. I don't want another 9/11 in the U.S. or a foreign country just because people want to see some documents.

        Right, and by that logic, let's just suspend Habeus because it might make us safer too....

        No, judicial and legal principles, and the framework of liberty is more important than any single action that the government does purportedly in the interest of the people. Otherwise we lose *all* our liberty.
    • Re:Good news (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NakedGoat (816941) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:16PM (#10400937)
      There are in fact declassification procedures for all U.S. classified documents that state specific declassification timeframes. The declassification time is specified for the specific document or information. 50 years is very common.
      The government often has very legitimate reasons for keeping documents under wraps. For instance if Yoko Ono were passing information from North Korea with the knowledge of the local government China may not look favorably upon it and it could cause more than a little tension.
      • Re:Good news (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lobsang (255003)

        The government often has very legitimate reasons for keeping documents under wraps. For instance if Yoko Ono were passing information from North Korea with the knowledge of the local government China may not look favorably upon it and it could cause more than a little tension.


        Good 'n old Security by Obscurity, aka "National Security". It leaves us all with that warm feeling that nothing is going to happen. Unfortunately, it rarely works, as malfeasants usually have other means of gaining access to the
        • Re:Good news (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mpmansell (118934)
          Well, considering that observed communication is enough to attract attention, security via obscurity is often the primary protection for intelligence assets.

          If you were to be sending emails to known 'enemies of the state', do you really think that encryption would stop all kinds of crap landing on you from a very high place? Guilt by association would be enough to condemn you to a miserable future and in some places, maybe, a prematurely terminal future. In fact, the act of hiding the info via encryption i
      • Re:Good news (Score:5, Informative)

        by jfengel (409917) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:14PM (#10401211) Homepage Journal
        Clinton's Executive Order 12958 [fas.org] reduced that to 25 years in most cases. (The more recent version is Bush's Executive Order 13292 [fas.org]).

        But there are many ways to get around that in the latest EO. It won't be released if it will (to quote the EO):

        (1) reveal the identity of a confidential human source, or a human intelligence source, or reveal information about the application of an intelligence source or method;

        (2) reveal information that would assist in the development or use of weapons of mass destruction;

        (3) reveal information that would impair U.S. cryptologic systems or activities;

        (4) reveal information that would impair the application of state of the art technology within a U.S. weapon system;

        (5) reveal actual U.S. military war plans that remain in effect;

        (6) reveal information, including foreign government information, that would seriously and demonstrably impair relations between the United States and a foreign government, or seriously and demonstrably undermine ongoing diplomatic activities of the United States;

        (7) reveal information that would clearly and demonstrably impair the current ability of United States Government officials to protect the President, Vice President, and other protectees for whom protection services, in the interest of the national security, are authorized;

        (8) reveal information that would seriously and demonstrably impair current national security emergency preparedness plans or reveal current vulnerabilities of systems, installations, infrastructures, or projects relating to the national security; or

        (9) violate a statute, treaty, or international agreement.

        That determination is made by the agency head (e.g. CIA, NSA), not by an outside panel, and there's no appeal. So it's automatically declassified unless they care enough to stop it.
    • It's my understanding that there is some kind of review program and schedule for declassifying documents, however, that schedule is on the order of 30 or 40 years.

      I'm not sure exactly how that works or applies here, but you routinely hear about old records from, say, the Nixon administration being made public.

    • What, like 150yrs after the collapse of gov't?
    • Re:Good news (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tm2b (42473)
      There should be a law making all records public after a certain period of time
      I think we need more than that. I think we need a federal version of many states' Open Government laws - see Florida's Government-In-The-Sunshine [myfloridalegal.com], for example, which is in the Florida Constitution.

      The government should have a priority of making most of its operations transparent.
    • Re:Good news (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CodeBuster (516420) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @11:20PM (#10401663)
      Not necessarily. For example, would you like to have the original documents from the Manhattan project (weapon designs) made public simply because they are over 60 years old? No, it is better that certain records remain classified, even at the expense of the right of the public to know and especially when the documents in question are important to the national security of the United States.
      • Re:Good news (Score:4, Interesting)

        by slashjames (789070) on Friday October 01, 2004 @09:47AM (#10404354)
        The Manhattan Project is not a very good example. Given the information currently available on the internet, it's relatively easy to design a 1st generation nuclear bomb (such as Fat Man or Little Boy). Even the information on how to refine Uranium and Plutonium isn't hard to find. The difficulty for anyone wanting to make a nuke is in getting ahold of the Uranium or Plutonium in the first place. After that, in under a year they'll have a bomb ready for use.
  • Yeah (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 30, 2004 @08:56PM (#10400815)
    Looks like another big step in the Freedom of Information Act

    Imagine!
  • by Chairboy (88841) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @08:56PM (#10400816) Homepage
    I look forward to reading the released documents. I believe a 'Sargeant Pepper' may be the foreign national in question, and I think it's high time he produce answers.
  • by ewe2 (47163) <ewetoo AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @08:56PM (#10400820) Homepage Journal
    because my bet is on the British government who were so obliging. I imagine Special Branch were leaping at the chance.
    • "I imagine Special Branch were leaping at the chance."

      MI5 are the agency in question, and yes, during that time the UK was very accomodating because of a little thing called the 'Cold War' and the 'European Theatre' that had most of the member states of NATO within a short tank drive of the Warsaw pact.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 30, 2004 @08:56PM (#10400822)
    the walrus was Paul.
  • Beatles? (Score:5, Funny)

    by BenSpinSpace (683543) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @08:57PM (#10400826)
    Hey Judge Don't let me down Take a security threat And make it better Remember, for all the harm that you do Screw the FBI, and be a trendsetter
  • Finally... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lu Xun (615093) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @08:57PM (#10400829)
    ...we'll learn what that last song on the White Album means.
  • by Artie_Effim (700781) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @08:57PM (#10400830)
    Yoko, instead of being a super-royal-bitch who is single handedly responsiable for breaking up the greatest band of that era, was in fact a defected spy master, living in annomity amounget the illuminati.
    • Re:I can see it now. (Score:2, Informative)

      by rco3 (198978)
      1) Greatest band ever. Sadly, White Zombie didn't make the final cut.
      2) responsible.
      3) anonymity.
      3) amongst
      Sorry to be such a pedant. One or two errors, I could overlook. Four became too egregious to ignore. After that, I kinda stopped counting...

      On the bright side, you spelled the plural of Illuminatus correctly. However, you forgot to capitalize it. Technically, you shouldn't have hyphenated super-royal-bitch the second time; super-royal bitch would have been correct. You should have hyphenated s

      • 1) Greatest band ever. Sadly, White Zombie didn't make the final cut.
        2) responsible.
        3) anonymity.
        3) amongst
        Sorry to be such a pedant. One or two errors, I could overlook. Four became too egregious to ignore. After that, I kinda stopped counting...

        Were you trying to be funny there, or it it just the irony?
        • As a fellow semantic/syntax/English language Nazi, I would like to point out that the word "amongst" has been deprecated and is considered archaic. In the modern times it is more appropriate to use, "among" instead.
  • Say What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AsnFkr (545033) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @08:59PM (#10400842) Homepage Journal
    Am I the only one that was unaware there was any sort of scandal or cover up or anything fishy about his death? I thought it was a pretty straightforward murder. This is indeed curious information.
    • I've never heard about any hidden files or anything either. But it figures, conspiracy theorists are always suspicious of "lone nut" assassins, aren't they?

      Of course the article doesn't say the files had anything directly to do with the assassination, so it could just be a straightforward murder, and the files probably relate to something else?

      • I was under the impression that the FBI kept files on the b eatles because they were foreingers and thier music was not only popular but going against the grain.

        In other words, they did it to do it. Reletivly recently the FBI has released some of the files they kept but i guess they were not complete. I never got into them more then listening to thier music a couple of times.

        • > I never got into them more then listening to thier music a couple of times.

          I presume that disclaimer was for the FBI's benefit...

    • Re:Say What? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:23PM (#10400978)
      This had nothing to do with his death. The FBI followed John Lennon because he had his own opinion of the war in Vietnam. So President Nixon had the FBI treat him like a national security risk.

      Sounds just like the current Administration.
      • Re:Say What? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rlwhite (219604)
        I wonder why? Maybe partially because Bush's grandfather was also Nixon's political mentor [wikipedia.org]? People tend to forget that the Bush political and defense industry connections date back to WWI [wikipedia.org].
    • Re:Say What? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ggvaidya (747058) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:37PM (#10401040) Homepage Journal
      It's not about his death (which was pretty straightforward, yeah). In the early 1970s, the FBI were investigating Lennon and other rock-n-rollers with political interests. You can get more information here [lennonfbifiles.com] and here [beatlesagain.com].
    • Re:Say What? (Score:5, Informative)

      by iamdrscience (541136) <michaelmtripp&gmail,com> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:38PM (#10401045) Homepage
      The files in question are the files the FBI kept on Lennon while he was alive. He was watched by the FBI because of his antiwar stance and he was not a U.S. citizen. There is no controversy about his death.
      • Re:Say What? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Artifakt (700173) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:56PM (#10401500)
        Actually, there IS some controversy, including a weird conspiracy theory, about Lennon's death, but for once, the standard weird conspiracy theory doesn't involve the FBI, or the U.S. Government in general.
        This one runs approximately as follows.

        1 Charles Manson based his Helter-Skelter massacree scheme on the Beatles song from the White album

        2. Sharon Tate gets killed by the Manson family as part of that scheme.

        3. Sharon Tate was married to director Roman Polanski.

        4. Polanski directed the film 'Rosemary's Baby'.

        5. Rosemary's Baby was filmed (in part) in the Dakota Building (The rest was shot in the studio).

        6. Lennon lived in the Dakota Building, and was shot just outside it.

        7. Supposedly, the first report of Lennon's being shot came from the then current occupants of the appartment where Rosmary's Baby was filmed. (This last claim is the only one in the chain that looks iffy).

        It all adds up to a chain of strange coincidences, that don't even point to a particular bunch of conspiritors, or suggest a motive. People have looked to see if the little weasel who killed John Lennon could be tied to the Mansonites, to organized Satanism, or to anything else, and found basically nothing, but that doesn't keep people from trying to put it together into a controversy. It's a fair bet that the FBI files will have nothing that sheds any light on this, and that people will keep looking anyway.
    • Lennon was an outspoken member of the anti-war movement. He had planned several protests for the 72 GOP convention as well as a nationwide tour to register young voters for the McGovern campaign who was an anti-Vietnam war candidate. Nixon had the FBI trail Lennon and tried to build a case to have him deported. The FBI had gone as far as tapping his phone to try and get evidence of any criminal activity. They focused on any donations to Left-wing "terrorist" groups and any narcotic evidence.
  • Won't Be Long (Score:5, Interesting)

    by geomon (78680) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:01PM (#10400860) Homepage Journal
    And you will have to fight for the information that US security and intelligence agencies have accumulated on you.

    The problem with the USA Patriot Act is that it has an unintended consequence: While working under the guise of gathering information on terrorists (a good thing) a great deal more information is gathered on innocent individuals (a bad thing).

    Now before people start waving their arms around with "You've got nothing to worry about unless you've got something to hide", keep in mind that information can always be used for purposes other than stopping terrorism. Information can be used for political reasons as well.

    That is the problem with the USA Patriot Act. You will never know what information has been gathered on you, and you will never know if some *legal* activity, such as belonging to a political organization, will become a problem for you or your family in the future.

    Lennon may not have been right, he may have created political problems for the Nixon Administration, but he did everything in the open and legally.

    Look where it got him.

    • Are you now (Score:5, Insightful)

      by empaler (130732) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:09PM (#10400907) Journal
      or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?
    • REmember all those files that they found in the whitehouse under clinton?
    • Wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:10PM (#10400912) Journal
      They are not unintended consequences, they are deliberate. It will make it easier for those in power to stay in power and help keep 'undesirables' out of power.

    • Re:Won't Be Long (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tm2b (42473) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:35PM (#10401035) Journal
      The problem with the USA Patriot Act is that it has an unintended consequence: While working under the guise of gathering information on terrorists (a good thing) a great deal more information is gathered on innocent individuals (a bad thing).
      Jim Pinkerton, a FOX News (bear with me, he's one of the ones who does more than repeat the RNC talking points) commentator, makes an excellent point against the Patriot Act that conservatives would be wise to attend.

      When they read the Patriot Act, they imagine it being used against people that this administration deems as enemies. They are comfortable with this: they see it as to be used against terrorists, illegal immigrants and other potential dangers.

      Pinkerton makes the point that they must now picture the same powers in the hand of an administration that they would not be some comfortable with: for example, in the hands of a liberal President, let's say for the sake of argument a President Hillary Clinton.

      Most neocons should think long and hard about that kind of mix, and why the United States has the strong tradition of limiting the power of the executive and subjecting everything to the possibility of judicial review. They're not there to protect the terrorists, they're there to protect us against an administration with whom we do not agree.
      • Re: Won't Be Long (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:43PM (#10401062)


        > and why the United States has the strong tradition of limiting the power of the executive and subjecting everything to the possibility of judicial review.

        And unfortunately, we also have a strong tradition of spying on people who don't do what the powers that be want them to do. A few years back news came out that that the FBI had a 70 page file on a former president of the University of California, simply because he wouldn't fire a couple of professors that certain people thought were too liberal.

        • Re: Won't Be Long (Score:5, Insightful)

          by tm2b (42473) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:54PM (#10401113) Journal
          And unfortunately, we also have a strong tradition of spying on people who don't do what the powers that be want them to do. A few years back news came out that that the FBI had a 70 page file on a former president of the University of California, simply because he wouldn't fire a couple of professors that certain people thought were too liberal.
          Indeed. And you can find much stronger examples, in the student, civil rights, and religious groups that J. Edgar Hoover's FBI spied on, and further back to the efforts that Senators Joe McCarthy and Richard Nixon made to support spying upon suspected communists and the later President Richard Nixon's "enemies list" that helped direct Hoover's excesses.

          There's nothing that bothers me more about neocons than their contempt for checks and balances on the executive and legislative branches. I miss the days in the 80s when neocons were commonly referred to as "cryptofascists." I'd like to see that term return.
    • by xs650 (741277) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:12PM (#10401201)
      "The problem with the USA Patriot Act is that it has an unintended consequence: While working under the guise of gathering information on terrorists (a good thing) a great deal more information is gathered on innocent individuals (a bad thing)."

      If you believe that was a fully unintended consequence, I own a long suspension bridge north of San Francisco to sell you.
    • Re:Won't Be Long (Score:5, Interesting)

      by nightfire-unique (253895) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:37PM (#10401356)
      Now before people start waving their arms around with "You've got nothing to worry about unless you've got something to hide", keep in mind that information can always be used for purposes other than stopping terrorism. Information can be used for political reasons as well.

      Forget political reasons. What if you do have something to hide?

      No, I'm serious. You're a criminal. I'm a criminal. We're all criminals. You've downloaded copyrighted movies/mp3s, he's smoked some drugs, she sat at the front of the bus, and I've driven 19mph over the speed limit.

      There are so many laws in America, it's simply a matter of whether someone gets caught.

      I for one am not interested in giving the "powers that be" any more control/surveillance capacity than they already have.

      • Re:Won't Be Long (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dbIII (701233)

        Forget political reasons. What if you do have something to hide?

        A good example was the former president of Pakistan being forced out of Office after being filmed by intelligence agents having sex in her own bedroom with her own husband - and not doing anything forbidden by her religeon. The moral failure was seen in allowing herself to be filmed, which she didn't know was happening. Even when you do nothing wrong you can be screwed over by uncontrolled intelligence agencies - so they need some form of che

  • by Sophrosyne (630428) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:01PM (#10400862) Homepage
    Yoko Ono is really an alien... do not look her directly in the eyes.
  • Exemptions (Score:5, Informative)

    by acceber (777067) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:02PM (#10400864)
    The FOI Act applies explicitly to government agencies, such as the FBI. The FBI challenged the act because they felt that the information was a threat to national security. There are nine exemptions to the FOI Act in which an agency can refuse to disclose information.

    Here are the exemptions [rcfp.org]exemptions.

  • by Bob Bitchen (147646) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:09PM (#10400906) Homepage
    the truth? Haven't we matured enough as a civilization to be able to handle the truth? It's as if "they" think we're all scared sheep that will fly into a panic at even the hint of "bad" news. We have come a long way and deserve the truth. Plus it's just not fair that "they" get to know all the juicy details.
  • by NeuroManson (214835) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:09PM (#10400909) Homepage
    Why oh WHY are records sealed regarding, in essense, a celebrity civilian who's been dead for almost 24 years now?

    I mean I had my own conspiracy theory that it was due to the Reagan administration taking office, or a Manchurian Candidate situation, but hasn't the FBI figured out that hiding documents on cold cases long out of date only adds to the suspicion?
    • 'National Security', 'foreign intelligence'.

      If the US had gotten intel from UK on French citizens, scandal would ensue if the frenchies found out. UK would not be happy to have incident repeated, thus would not share as much intel.
    • by CosmeticLobotamy (155360) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:32PM (#10401024)
      hasn't the FBI figured out that hiding documents on cold cases long out of date only adds to the suspicion?

      The FBI knows what it's doing. If you only fight when you have something to hide, everyone will know you have something to hide when you're fighting. Every time there's a controversy made about it and it turns out to be nothing, people get less suspicious.

      That, and they just don't like to have we mortals looking over their shoulders. It's a penis thing.
    • if only lennon is dead, is it really a cold case?

      Are any of the other people in the files still alive? If so, then it's not really cold, is it?

  • He he (Score:2, Funny)

    by Basehart (633304)
    All I know is that you cannot lead if you send mexxed missages.
  • by Savatte (111615) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:14PM (#10400931) Homepage Journal
    Instant Karma
  • by BisonHoof (810891) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:20PM (#10400963)
    It is certainly true that the FBI were *very* interested in Lennon, especially during his "Marxist" phase, circa "Some Time in New York City". According to John Wiener ("Lennon vs the FBI" in Thomson and Gutman's "Lennon Companion") there is a 288 page file on Lennon in the FBIs "domestic security" section, of which 199 pages are still classfied "in the interests of defence of foregin policy", and thousands of pages in the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
  • by simetra (155655) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:26PM (#10400987) Homepage Journal
    The Walrus Was Paul.

  • by jcostantino (585892) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:28PM (#10400999) Homepage
    Saw them already, Greedo shot first.
  • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:29PM (#10401003) Journal
    No, I didn't RTFA, but it has been almost 25 years since he was killed. Why would anyone keep stuff that long - doesn't the FBI have a shread-on date?

    Maybe that is what is driving it - release it or lose it? I dunno.

    Then again, folks are still obsessed with Elvis and Marilyn Monroe. Go figure.

    • by Tony (765) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:56PM (#10401498) Journal
      The idea that our government can operate in secret is a scary one. The whole idea of keeping this information around is that, after 25 years, information can and should be released to the public. This is a great step in helping keep our government relatively honest.

      Granted, it is scary to learn 40 years after the fact that the Cuban Missile Crisis almost led to nuclear war. A Russian submarine officer disobeyed a direct order: he did not launch nuclear warhead tipped torpedos at the US fleet.

      This came out via the freedom of information act. Yes, it's a little late to learn about it so long after the fact, but it's great to know we should all thank Vasili Arkhipov for stopping the destruction of the world as we know it.
      • by Oddly_Drac (625066) on Friday October 01, 2004 @06:02AM (#10402943)
        "A Russian submarine officer disobeyed a direct order: he did not launch nuclear warhead tipped torpedos at the US fleet."

        Actually he pointed out that the conditions for the SOP change to fire on other combatants were not met to another officer on the submarine. There were no direct orders to fire from the Supreme Soviet, but they do have discretion under certain circumstances, such as hull damage.

        Valentin Grigoroevich was the officer that ordered the assembly under stressful circumstances (low air, high temperatures, no communications and constant depth charging from American destroyers enforcing the blockade).

  • by The I Shing (700142) * on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:32PM (#10401025) Journal
    Once these documents are released, we'll actually know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall.
  • Well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by iamdrscience (541136) <michaelmtripp&gmail,com> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:33PM (#10401027) Homepage
    a U.S. District Judge rejected the governments arguements to keep the secret records of John Lennon sealed.
    Well, I for one, am looking forward to hearing a new John Lennon album because honestly, Imagine and the Wedding Album are getting a little stale. Still though, I understand the FBI wanting to keep it sealed, I mean, imagine the resale value of something like that, it has to be like 5 times a butcher cover of Yesterday and Today.
  • Found it (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sloppy (14984) * on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:41PM (#10401056) Homepage Journal
    Turns out FBI was using an old version of wu-ftp server. I got in and found what this is all about. It is indeed a threat to national security. Here's an exerpt:
    Imagine there's no countries,

    It isn't hard to do
    If there are no countries, there's no USA. There is also some evidence of a communist plot that Lennon was involved with, which would have us all with no possessions, "sharing" all the world. Defeating the Soviets came at a prodigious price. We can't afford to let this plot reactivate or we'll have to fight it all over again.
  • by Siriaan (615378) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @09:57PM (#10401130)
    The US government may be nervous about these documents due to the early Beatles stint in Germany. Could it be possible that the East German secret police, who almost certainly had informers throughout West Germany, may have passed on information at the request of the United States? Just imagine how embarrassing it would be for people to know that the US government were in cahoots at one time with possibly the most notorious policing force ever created.
  • Conintelpro? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hotspotbloc (767418) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:01PM (#10401153) Homepage Journal
    Could there really be anything worse? I mean this is a couple of surveillance reports so it is likely they only deal with Lennon's movements and how he was tracked. It's the "how" part that makes the FBI nervous, especially now with the PATRIOT Act up for permanent renewal. The last thing the DOJ wants is the public being reminded of Hoover's lack of respect to the individual man and the FBI's checkered past.

    This is why the FOIA is such a good thing. While it's easier to forget about our mistakes, analyzing them helps us avoid repeating them. Its so we can see what the Govt has said about us [fbi.gov].

  • I quote thus (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Joe the Lesser (533425) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:40PM (#10401370) Homepage Journal
    As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth's final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master.

    Commissioner Pravin Lal
    "U.N. Declaration of Rights"
  • by ic0wb0y (728958) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:41PM (#10401377)
    This is linked to the recent Cat Stevens deportation. What nobody picked up on is that he came to the US to meet with an RIAA attorney. According to insiders, FBI agents stole the Cat Stevens-John Lennon tapes in 1980 from Lennons apartment. When the unsuspecting Lennon showed up, he had to be distracted by drugged stoolie Mark Chapman as evasive action. Chapman went 'roidal and agents left out the back door with the material. If these secret documents are released, the RIAA will sue the FBI for millions for illegally obtaining and withholding copyrighted material and easily win. I can see why the Government is being this protective.
  • by M. Silver (141590) <`silver' `at' `phoenyx.net'> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:45PM (#10401403) Homepage Journal
    They're just stalling while they reprint them without the proportional font and superscripts.
  • by benjonson (204985) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:55PM (#10401483)

    Good news folks: the files were released under the Freedom of Information Act. I just got them. Here they are:

    The ambassador from [blacked out] assured [blacked out] that Mr. Lennon gave [blacked out] to [blacked out].
    Thank God that's all out in the open now.
  • by cliveholloway (132299) on Friday October 01, 2004 @12:59AM (#10402184) Homepage Journal
    These "secret records" were kept hidden to protect the public. Apparently they were titled, "Yoko Ono - unplugged (Vo1. 1 to 10)".

    Imagine the Aural pain that would ensue if these were ever "released".

    cLive ;-)

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