let's pray we never become like america

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    Judge orders FBI to release Lennon files

    A US federal judge has ordered the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to turn over files on John Lennon to professor Jonathon Wiener from the University of California.

    Professor Wiener requested the information for a book he was writing, shortly after Lennon was murdered in 1980, and he says the documents show Britain's domestic spy agency, MI5, shadowed the late Beatle's political activities.

    Rejecting the US Government's national security claims, District Judge Robert Takasugi brought Professor Wiener's 23-year battle to a close.

    Professor Wiener says: "The issue has become government secrecy and the absurdity that, today, when the FBI should have better things to do, they are still trying to keep secret 34-year-old documents about the anti-war activities of a dead rock star."

    US Department of Justice spokesperson Charles Miller says Government lawyers are "reviewing the court's ruling and no determination has been made as to what our next step will be".

    The 10 documents at issue were part of a file on Lennon gathered by the FBI during the early 1970s, when he participated in protests against the Vietnam War.

    In 1997, Professor Wiener and the American Civil Liberties Union won the release of about 200 pages from the file, the contents of which were chronicled in his 2000 book Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI File.

    He says the documents revealed efforts by President Richard Nixon to deport Lennon in order to silence his anti-war activities in 1971 and 1972.

    "Lennon was planning a national concert tour through the United States to urge young people to vote," Professor Wiener said.

    "Nixon got wind of this and ordered Lennon deported so he couldn't do this concert tour."

    Professor Wiener says the documents ordered to be 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," he said.

    "We think these are MI5 reports on Lennon's left-wing political activities in England."

    The US Government has 60 days to announce whether it will appeal the ruling.


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