The U.S. vs John Lennon (2006) Movie Script

All the people that say the movement,
the revolution is over.
They ought to see what's going on right here,
'cause it doesn't look over to me.
This is like a dream,
seeing 15,000 people in one place
demanding freedom
for John Sinclair.
I was sentenced
to 91/2-10 years
in July of 1969
for giving two joints
to an undercover policewoman.
All this time that John Sinclair
has been in jail
because of his opposition
to the government,
that government has dropped
21/2 Hiroshimas a week
every week since July 1969,
when John was imprisoned.
And all that time,
Richard Nixon was trumpeting,
"The war is winding down."
We had this concert,
and it was broadcast
all over the state.
It was the biggest thing that
ever happened in Michigan.
Stevie Wonder, Bob Seger,
Rennie Davis, Jerry Rubin,
Bobby Seale
of the Black Panthers.
All power to the people.
Thank you very much.
Right on.
Power to the people.
The stage was set
to make a big impact.
"If we can make
this concert be huge..."
And then Jerry Rubin talked
John Lennon and Yoko Ono
into coming and playing
at our concert.
We had no idea
that there were FBI agents
writing down the lyrics
in the audience.
That's when the FBI
began to see
the beginning of the power
of John and Yoko.
The power structure, especially
during the Nixon administration,
which began in 1968,
was extremely paranoid
about anyone who they perceived
to be counter-culture,
counter-administration, antiwar,
and, of course, John Lennon
fell squarely in that arena.
When somebody in show business
comes and participates
in a political rally,
he or she is doing something
that is a very great
personal sacrifice,
and even a personal risk.
Certainly, they feared what a figure
like John Lennon represented.
Anybody who sings about love
and harmony and life
is dangerous to somebody
who's singing about death
and killing and subduing.
He was making friends
with a lot of people
that our government
wanted to put in jail.
He was a high-profile figure,
so his activities
were being monitored.
I think they wanted me
to know to scare me,
and I was scared, paranoid.
He believed all of his telephone conversations
were being monitored.
"He believed that he was being followed
around New York City.
He believed that friends that he
had thought were friends
were secret informants for different
intelligence communities.
We were just shocked,
and we were really scared.
Another effect
of the Sinclair thing
was it probably
further alerted the FBI,
John Mitchell, Haldeman,
Ehrlichman, and Nixon
as to this threat to them,
that something
needed to be done
to neutralize John Lennon.
Childhood was something
that, um...
he couldn't shake it.
It was there all the time.
And at night
when we were in bed,
he would be talking about it,
his mother...
Especially his mother.
He was an orphan, really.
He was abandoned
by his father,
and to all intents
and purposes,
abandoned by his mother.
Can you imagine growing up
and realizing that neither
your mother nor your father
really wanted you?
So it's no wonder
he turned out a rebel.
Being born working class,
it was a natural...
I knew... I was taught to hate
and fear the police,
hate and fear the establishment,
and to fight it.
He had a chip on his shoulder
for anybody who would tell him
how to live his life and what to do
and when to talk
and when not to talk.
I was always in trouble.
Every school I went to,
I was thrown out.
Everything I got involved in,
I was always in trouble,
so I was always
against the wall.
This is Doug Layton
and Tommy Charles
reminding you that our fantastic
Beatle boycott is still in effect.
We have not forgotten
what The Beatles said.
The Beatles made a statement
in all the newspapers
that they're getting more better than,
uh, Jesus Himself.
Originally, I was...
I pointed out that fact
in reference to England,
that we meant more
to kids than Jesus did
or religion at that time.
I wasn't knocking it
or putting it down.
I was just saying it.
I think simply on the basis
of statistics and fact,
his statement is untrue.
No one is more popular
than Jesus.
I just didn't mean what
everybody thinks I meant.
I'm not anti-Christ
or anti-religion
or anti-God.
So many people have built buildings
in the name of Christ,
and what have people
done for The Beatles?
What have they done for us?
I'm not saying that
we're better or greater
or comparing us with Jesus Christ
as a person,
or God as a thing
or whatever it is.
I just said what I said
and it was wrong
or it was taken wrong,
and now it's all this.
We urge you to take
your Beatle records,
pictures, and souvenirs
to the pickup points
about to be named,
and on the night of the Beatles'
appearance in Memphis,
August 19,
they will be destroyed
in a huge public bonfire
at a place to be named soon.
It doesn't matter about people
not liking our records
or not liking the way we look
or what we say.
They're entitled to not like us,
and we're entitled not to have anything
to do with them if we don't want to,
or not to regard them.
We've all got
our rights, you know?
Clearly, Lennon already
was thinking about
this thing of being
the lovable mop tops
is not really their goal
in life anymore.
Lennon in particular
is more willing
to take on a critical stance,
a rebellious stance.
This, I think,
is the beginning,
where Lennon
sets out on the path
that's going to bring him
into direct conflict
with the Nixon administration
six years later.
The thing the '60s did
was show us the possibility
and the responsibility that we all had.
It wasn't the answer.
It just have us a glimpse
of the possibility.
We intend to convince
the communists
that we cannot be
defeated by force of arms
or by superior power.
I have today ordered to Vietnam
the Air Mobile Division
and certain other forces
which will raise
our fighting strength
from 75,000 to 125,000 men
almost immediately.
I joined the Marine Corps
out of high school
in September of 1964,
and I volunteered
to go to Vietnam.
They could not have sent
someone more dedicated.
They could not have sent
someone who was willing
to follow their policy
more than myself.
While leading my squad
across an open area,
I was shot to the right shoulder.
It went through my right lung,
collapsed my lung,
hit my spine,
and severed my spinal cord,
paralyzing me
from my mid-chest down.
Vietnam was not an easily accepted war
on the part of the population.
It didn't have a 9/11 that we had.
It didn't have a Pearl Harbor.
It didn't have
the motivating factors
that would have encouraged
a high degree of patriotism.
So it was an unpopular war,
and got to be more and more unpopular
as it lingered
and as people doubted
more and more
that it had any real purpose.
Some 2 million Vietnamese
died in that conflict.
That did not show life, liberty,
and the pursuit
of happiness at its best.
...2, 3, 4!
We don't want
to fight your war!
1, 2, 3, 4!
We don't want
to fight your war!
The ferment was considerable,
with a leading role played
by young people throughout.
People who were normally
supposed to be apathetic
and obedient and passive
were actually entering
the political arena
to press their own demands
and organizing to do something about it.
In this age of protest,
one of the most recent
finds 4,000 Londoners
decrying British support
for U.S. Action in Vietnam.
There were a few
minor scuffles, but no arrests.
The demonstrators were
stopped from approaching
Prime Minister Wilson's
Downing Street home.
The whole culture
had become radicalized,
and it's in this atmosphere
that The Beatles
were being forced
to engage with the world.
Do you mind being
asked questions?
For example, in America people keep
asking you questions about Vietnam.
Does this seem useful?
It seems a bit silly to be in America
and for none of them to mention Vietnam
as if nothing was happening.
But why should they ask you about it?
You're successful entertainers.
That is the thing...
It's because Americans
always ask showbiz people
what they think about this sort of...
The British, you know...
you know how it is.
But, I mean, you've got to...
You can't just keep
quiet about anything
that's going on in the world
unless you're a monk.
Sorry, monks,
I didn't mean it.
I meant, actually...
The thing you have to
which people don't understand
necessarily about John,
is that his thought processes
were shifting.
He was in a process
of evolution.
Our society is run
by insane people
for insane objectives.
If anybody can put on paper
what our government
and the American government,
et cetera,
and the Russian, Chinese...
What they are actually
trying to do
and how with what
they think they're doing,
I'd be very pleased to know
what they think they're doing.
I think they're all insane.
I'm liable to be put away as insane
for expressing that,
that's what's insane about it.
He was engaged with the world,
and what was happening in the world
would change him.
And then, you know,
something quite
dramatic happened.
It's sort of hard to describe Yoko
because she's completely unique.
She had developed
quite a good reputation
as a conceptual artist.
In fact, she used to call her stuff
"Music of the Mind."
With my presentation
of performance art,
I was always aware that I
wanted to inspire people
and stir people
so that they can wake up.
She once told me, like,
"If half the people don't get up and leave,
I haven't done it right,"
because she wanted
to really affect people,
and affecting people sometimes
gets them very upset
if they're not used to being aware
of their feelings.
She suddenly makes them feel something,
they get angry,
and they get angry at her
for making them feel something.
I always had this dream of meeting
an artist woman, you know,
that I would fall
in love with and all that,
even from art school,
you know?
And then we met
and we were talking and that,
and then I don't know
how it happened.
You just realize that she knew
everything I knew
and more, probably,
and it was coming out
of a woman's head.
It just sort of bowled me over.
I believe
that when he met Yoko
he found the rest of his voice.
Yoko gave John this sense
or belief that he could
say and do anything
he wanted to say and do
without apology.
We crossed over into
each other's fields,
like people do
from country to pop.
We did it from
avant-garde left field
to rock and roll left field.
We tried to find a ground there
that was interesting to both of us,
and we both got excited
and stimulated
by each other's experiences.
We came from totally
different backgrounds,
but we were very, very similar
in a sense
that we were totally,
fiercely rebellious people.
What are they doing?
This Japanese witch
has made him crazy
and he's gone bananas.
But all she did was take
the bananas part of me
out of the closet more.
It was a complete relief
to meet somebody else
who was as far out
as I was, you know?
That was the real thing.
Would you come out?
Why not?
Because this is a bag event...
Total communication.
Don't you think it's a little bit
out of fashion, what you do?
Do you think it's a fashion
to stay in a bag?
What is it?
It's total communication.
What is total communication?
An invention of John Lennon
and Yoko Ono, or is it...
No. No, it exists.
We're showing you
one example whereby...
- Total immersion?
- Well, that's your version.
If a black man goes
for a job in a bag...
If everybody had to go in a bag for a job,
there'd be no prejudice.
You'd have to judge people
on their quality within.
And we call it
total communication.
When we went to
Austria to show it,
we did a press conference
there in a bag,
and it was great because
all the press came in,
and they never saw us.
We were just both in a bag.
And they interviewed the bag
and they're saying,
"Is it really you?"
And "What are you wearing?"
And "Will you sing a song?"
And that.
"Why us?"
And they said,
"What is this?"
I said,
"It's total communication."
They said,
"But why did you pick on us?
We've never seen a Beatle."
Somewhere I read
of the freedom of assembly.
Somewhere I read
of the freedom of speech.
Somewhere I read
of the freedom of press.
Somewhere I read that
the greatness of America
is the right to protest for right.
It was another kind of atmosphere.
You have to imagine and understand
that we the Black Panther party,
we popped up
right in the middle
of an already ongoing
nationwide protest movement.
Let me tell you something.
Brothers and sisters,
if you wind up
on a poverty gig
and you don't save
half that money
to buy a gun a week,
then you laggin'.
You jivin'.
I think the Black Panther party
probably was dangerous,
but not dangerous in the way
that most people assume
it might have been.
Not dangerous
because people had guns,
but dangerous because of its ability
to provide an example
of the possibility
of standing up to power.
You have to be
more politically aware
in a day and age like this.
It's almost impossible
to close your eyes to it.
And they're afraid of us
because we are...
we are not only a cultural
and political threat,
we are a military threat
to those generals
that are running that war
and controlling young kids'
minds over there.
We're a military threat.
When it gets down to
having to use violence,
then you're playing
the system's game.
The establishment will irritate you,
pull your beard
and flick your face,
to make you fight.
Because once
they've got you violent,
then they know
how to handle you.
The Vietnam War
divided this country
as it had not been divided
since the Civil War.
Fuck you, L.B.J.!
Fuck you, L.B. J!
Fuck you, L.B. J!
Fuck you...
I was with several
paralyzed veterans
in a room at the Bronx
Veterans Hospital
on the paraplegic ward.
And I remember we were
watching the convention.
Mr. Chairman,
most delegates to this convention
do not know that
thousands of young people
are being beaten
in the streets of Chicago.
Perhaps John Lennon
saw the clubs coming down
on top of the heads
of the peaceful demonstrators.
Perhaps John Lennon
heard the chants
of "The whole world is watching.
The whole world is watching."
The whole world is watching!
The whole world is watching!
And perhaps John Lennon
had tears streaming down
his face that night
as I did, too.
I did note the transformation
of The Beatles
when their song
"Revolution" came out.
When I hear the song
"Revolution," even now,
it just chokes me up,
because I remember that...
how hard it was for both of us
at the time.
We were both
ostracized by the world
and by the fans, too,
that we were together,
and also John was
daring to speak out.
When John Lennon argued
that revolution was necessary,
but that it should come about
through peaceful means,
I don't think that he contradicted
what many activists felt
during that period.
It's a mistake, I think,
to assume that revolutions
must be violent.
If I'm a revolutionary,
or we're revolutionaries,
we're revolutionary artists,
not gunmen.
I believe in the Black Panther
original statement,
the ten-point program,
which is not violent,
which says to defend yourself
against attack,
I might consider that,
but anything else I don't consider.
So I'm still for peace,
a peaceful revolutionary,
but I'm an artist first
and a politician second.
He always believed
we had to go about it
in the way that Gandhi did,
for instance.
It was very effective, he felt,
and we could do it that way.
Stay in bed.
Grow your hair.
- Bed peace.
- Hair peace.
Hair peace, bed peace.
They were actually trying
to come up with an idea
to have a honeymoon
like most people,
a secret, romantic place to go to,
but realizing that they were
part of the world media
and that wherever they went
the media would want to go.
We're going to stay in bed
for seven days.
Instead of having
a private honeymoon
it's a private protest...
For the violence
that's going in the world.
To say...
We feel that
instead of making war,
it's better to just...
Let's stay in bed for...
And grow your hair.
For peace?
Let it grow till peace comes.
What the press really wants
is a picture of John and Yoko in bed
on their honeymoon.
And then they turned it
around and said,
"In that case,
let them have a picture
"of John and Yoko in bed on their
honeymoon, but put the word 'peace' in it."
They all thought we were going
to make love in bed, see?
And all the press from all around
the world came,
and we opened the...
Helpers opened the door
and they're fighting to get in like this
with their cameras.
Then their faces dropped.
We're sitting like angels
saying, "Hello. Peace, brother."
All their faces dropped
and we were just in bed.
- You were wearing...
- We thought it was a great practical joke
that most of the world's
headline newspapers,
especially the European
and British was:
"Married Couple Are In Bed."
There had never
been anything like it.
It was completely original,
the conscious use of one's myth
to project a political
and social poetic goal.
It had never happened before.
Up to then, people who were
promoting world peace
were kind of like intellectual,
anemic kind of people,
just sort of
passing out pamphlets
that nobody wants to read.
John was saying, "No, no."
That's why we wanted
to do it this way.
And I think we did a great job.
"Please stop this nonsense.
"Go home. We don't like
people like you.
Go to a doctor to be normal."
Are you getting this?
It's great.
Go to the doctor. Be normal.
We're seeing
a psychiatrist today,
so maybe he'll fix us up, then.
Bloody marvelous.
When people are
creative geniuses,
you have to cut them some slack.
You really have to
cut 'em some slack.
England isn't good
at cutting slack for working-class boys.
If it works, it is right.
If it doesn't work, it is wrong.
Nobody's ever given it
a chance before, have they?
Nobody's ever given
peace a complete chance.
Gandhi tried it,
Martin Luther King tried it,
but they were shot.
But nobody's...
But you can't get peace
in a king-size divan
on floor 802 of the...
We don't expect to.
We're talking mainly to the revolutionaries
who think they can get it overnight
by breaking the sy...
Breaking down the buildings.
- They can't get it either.
- They can't get it.
We thought about this for months.
This is the best possible,
most functional and effective way
of promoting and protesting
against violence
that our minds combined
could think of.
That someone of his caliber
had decided,
"Hell, I'm not just going to stand still
and do nothing
"while the world
around me is in flames.
I'm going to do something."
That action
that he and Yoko did,
it was of course
attacked and mocked,
and there were contemptuous articles
written about them,
but on our generation
it had a fantastic effect.
I remember being absolutely thrilled
and saying, "At last!
Well done! Great!"
We didn't think of it as we made
an incredible success in Amsterdam.
We were totally accused
of doing a silly thing, as you know,
and the press, they attacked us,
they slashed us, you know?
But this was our mission
and we had to do it.
We did it again.
We tried to do it in New York,
but the American government
wouldn't let us in.
They knew we'd done it
in Amsterdam.
They didn't want
any peaceniks here,
which is what we heard the department
of whoever controls that said.
We ended up doing it
in Montreal instead
and broadcasting
across the border.
It's a bed-in, folks.
I think they might think I'm going to
hot up the revolution.
I want to cool it down.
If we make people laugh,
that's enough.
Happiness is a good vibe
for peace.
Make love, not war,
that's all we're saying.
Just remember that.
Peace, peace, peace, peace,
peace, peace, peace, peace,
peace, peace, peace.
Peace in your mind,
peace on Earth,
peace at work, peace at home,
peace in the world.
We're selling it
like soap, you know?
You've got to sell and sell
until the housewife thinks,
Oh, well, it's peace or war.
That's the two products.
I remember being invited up
to the Bed-in For Peace.
The Smothers Brothers
were fairly visible at the time
as anti-establishment spokesmen.
I went up there
and had these long conversations.
You don't realize
the state and the control
that exists in
the United States
in the expression
of what you want to say,
to the mildest form of dissent.
There's no space for...
No space or no time
for negative thoughts.
We just have to say,
"Listen, we're going to make it."
That's all.
We have to make it.
What would you say
to people like Richard Nixon?
I'd say, "Do something
positive about it
"and it really is economical
to have peace, Mr. Nixon,
and you would be really
popular if you did."
What should he do?
He should just declare peace.
He reduced it
to these very fundamental,
easy-to-grasp concepts
that some people thought
were Utopian and naive.
I believe sincerely
as soon as people want peace
and are aware
that they can have it,
they will have it.
The only trouble is they're not aware
that they can get it.
Is it naive to wish for peace?
Is it naive to think that
we can change the world?
Sure, probably.
But it's certainly worthy
of the thought process
and the art that comes out of it.
That's all I'm saying.
John once said to me,
"When I sing
'I Wanna Hold Your Hand',
hundreds of millions
of people hear that.
Why don't I sing
'Give Peace a Chance'?
Because hundreds of millions of people
would hear that as well."
All I'm saying!
I thought that was a great phrase.
That's the one that went,
"All we are saying
is give peace a chance."
They'd repeat that
over and over again.
I thought it was wonderful.
Give peace a chance.
Who can be opposed to that?
The administration was.
All right, everybody now!
Keep strong!
They scare people
into fighting wars
which we need not fight,
should not fight...
sometimes must fight,
but by and large not.
Why not go the other way?
Sing about human community,
sing about love and about peace.
And suddenly that
is a frightening voice
for people who want to hear "The Battle
Hymn of the Republic" over and over again,
and "Their eyes have seen the coming
of the glory of the Lord."
Yes, again.
Okay, beautiful.
You made it!
The highlight
of the Bed-in for me
was the fact that after
all the reporters left
and there was
a beautiful moon
that was like a full moon,
and from our bed we can see
this beautiful full moon
and not one cloud there.
It was a beautiful sky,
and John was saying,
"Is this great?" and all that.
And he was saying that,
you know,
"We're just going to go on
communicating the world together,
"and our song is going to be played
all over the world,
and that's how it's going to be."
He was very,
very happy about that,
about the fact that we are promoting
world peace and love
and we have both.
It seems now
more certain than ever
that the bloody
experience of Vietnam
is to end in a stalemate.
This summer's almost
certain stand-off
will either end in real
give-and-take negotiations
or terrible escalation.
And for every means
we have to escalate,
the enemy can match us,
and that applies
to invasion of the North,
the use of nuclear weapons,
or the mere commitment
of 100 or 200 or 300,000
more American troops to the battle.
And with each escalation,
the world comes closer to
the brink of cosmic disaster.
You see, the war was such
a great mistake.
We went into Vietnam in order
to preserve a democracy
which did not exist.
The fact of the matter was South Vietnam
was a monarchy,
and a rather cruel one.
We were fighting
for an already lost cause
before we ever put the first foot
into the country.
Never has so much power
been used
so ineffectively as in Vietnam.
Lf, after all of this time
and all of this sacrifice
and all of this support,
there is still no end in sight,
then I say the time has come
for the American people
to turn to new leadership
not tied to the policies
and mistakes of the past.
I pledge to you, we shall have
an honorable end to the war in Vietnam.
He did run with the promise
that he had a secret plan
that he was going to unveil
after the election
to end the war.
The war was enough
to drive you crazy.
People were being drafted.
50,000 American soldiers
were killed.
40% of all the young Americans
who died in Vietnam
died during those four years
after Nixon was elected in 1968.
We have adopted a plan
which we have worked out in cooperation
with the South Vietnamese
for the complete withdrawal
of all U.S. Combat
ground forces.
As South Vietnamese forces
become stronger,
the rate of American withdrawal
can become greater.
I have not and do not intend
to announce the timetable
for our program.
We meet today to reaffirm
those ageless values
that gave us birth,
life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness.
And we meet to declare peace,
to put an end to war
not in some distant future,
but to put an end to it now.
I like to be liked.
I don't like to say things that
everybody doesn't agree with.
When peace marchers
come to Washington,
it would be very easy to say,
"I agree with them.
I will do what they want."
But a President has to do what
he considers to be right,
because I believe that
sometimes it is necessary
to draw the line clearly,
not to have enmity
against those who disagree,
but to make it clear that
there can be no compromise
where such great issues
as self-determination
and freedom and a just peace
are involved.
I recall approaching the Treasury Building
one evening,
and there were just streams of them
coming down the street
and they all had candles.
Some sort of symbolism
that they were using.
Back in those days
I smoked cigars,
and I recall just walking up
to one of them,
grabbing his wrist
and taking the candle
and lighting my cigar with it.
And I looked him
in the eye and said,
"There, you have a use...
You're useful for some purpose,"
and then went on by.
That was our attitude
toward them.
Nixon would put out the line
during these demonstrations
that he was watching
a football game
or something like that.
He was very concerned
with the demonstrations.
They were making a definite impact
inside the White House.
Are you listening, Nixon?
Are you listening, Agnew?
Are you listening
in the Pentagon?
Well, "Give Peace a Chance,"
I remember photographing
a million people
at an antiwar demonstration
singing it with their hands up.
That song became
the national anthem
of the antiwar movement
in a way that the folk song
"We Shall Overcome"
became the national anthem of
the Civil Rights movement before that.
Sing it home!
War is over if you want it.
With "War Is Over
If You Want lt,"
I said,
"Okay, let's do posters."
And then John said,
"No, let's do billboards as well,
in all different cities
in the world."
He was like that because
his arena of communication
was much larger than mine.
So he thought of that.
It's in 11 cities
throughout the world.
That's New York, L.A.,
Montreal, Toronto,
Paris, Berlin, Rome,
London, Athens, and Tokyo.
And with a bit of luck,
Port of Spain
in the Caribbean.
We met a friend there
who said he'd fix it.
Where is the money
coming from
for the posters you've got now
and the billboards?
It's coming out of
our pocket at the moment,
but we've had
a few offers to help.
People said, "How much is it?"
I don't know, but it's cheaper
than somebody's life.
He was using the fact
that the media
had an obsessive affair with him.
Whatever he did,
they had to pay attention.
But that doesn't actually mean
that you got a coherent idea
of what they were trying to say,
because obviously the media
didn't really understand it,
and to the extent they understand it,
they didn't like it.
I'm someone who
admired you very much.
Well, I'm sorry you liked
the old mop tops, dear,
and you thought
I was very satirical...
But talking about
cashing in on the Beatle...
and you liked
"Hard Day's Night," love,
but I've grown up.
But you obviously haven't.
- Have you?
- Yes, folks.
- What have you grown up to?
- I'm now 29.
John was no dummy.
He knew that people would regard him
as being a nutcase.
He didn't care.
He thought that whatever
people thought about him
was unimportant compared to
the cause he was promoting.
If I'm going to get
on the front page,
I might as well get on the front page
with the word "peace."
But you've made
yourself ridiculous!
To some people. I don't care...
You're too good
for what you're doing!
If it saves lives...
You don't think you...
Oh, my dear boy,
you're living in
a never-never land.
Well, you talk to the...
You don't think
you've saved a single life?
Listen, will you tell me,
what were they singing
at the moratorium?
Which... Which... -
I mean, the moratorium?
The one here.
The recent big one.
They were singing
"Give Peace a Chance."
- A song of yours, probably.
- Well, yes, and it was written...
I knew you'd bring that up.
So they sang
one of your songs.
Well, if you...
Great song, sure,
but is that all
you can say about that?
The moratorium?
You were saying
that in America
they're so serious about
the protest movement.
Yes, they are.
But they were so flippant that they were
singing a happy-go-lucky song
which happens to be one I wrote.
And I'm glad they sang it.
And when I get there,
I'll sing it with them.
April 1970,
Nixon invaded Cambodia,
and at that point,
the country practically blew up.
Four students on May 4, 1970,
were killed by National Guardsmen
at Kent State University
for protesting.
They were protesting
against the war.
Okay, you had
18-year-old college kids
without the sense
God gave a goose
going around challenging
18-year-old kids
semiautomatic rifles...
Yes, they were in uniform.
They were National Guard...
Very little training.
They felt threatened,
they were armed.
What did you think
was going to happen?
Somehow I thought that this was
an irresistible tide
that was going to carry
the whole of America with it,
and we didn't quite see
the backlash
that was actually already brewing
and quite evident if you were just
willing to open your eyes.
Each of the special agents of
the Federal Bureau of Investigation
must be ready and capable
to meet any challenge.
The security of our nation
or the life of a loved one
may depend upon him.
Hoover was a man who had
a slightly different version
of democracy
than the rest of us did.
The FBI under J. Edgar Hoover,
as documents now make clear...
I don't think there's any real debate
about it anymore...
Used the FBI as an instrument,
almost as a political police force.
Anyone who was off message
became susceptible
to an FBI probe.
They say sometimes that
Mr. Hoover is controversial.
Let me tell you something.
Anybody who's strong,
anybody who fights
for what he believes in,
anybody who stands up
when it's tough
is bound to be controversial.
Back in those days,
the FBI would operate
They would not just
gather intelligence,
but it perceived as its mission
the disruption of the other side.
Anyone who was involved
at that time in any movement
that challenged
the government in any way
was aware of the extent
to which the FBI
tapped peoples' phones,
engaged in
widespread surveillance,
engaged in harassment,
framed people up,
used the legal system.
Ours is a just cause.
If we have faith in humanity,
if we seek
God's divine guidance,
if we summon the courage
of our forefathers,
our heritage of freedom
will be preserved.
Yeah, looking back,
it was horrible what we did.
The, uh... We were being used
by the government
to stop dissent,
just... plain and simple.
It was very serious.
It reached as far
as political assassination...
Gestapo-style assassination
of a leading black organizer
in Chicago, Fred Hampton.
It was what Hoover liked.
It was what Hoover
wanted to hear,
that agents were neutralizing
these different organizations.
So there wasn't a question
of whether it was
right or wrong,
illegal, ethical,
immoral or whatever,
as long as it was effective.
America has no place
for those timid souls
who urge appeasement
at any price,
nor those who chant
the "better Red than dead" slogan.
We need men and women with
a capacity for moral indignation,
men and women of faith,
men and women of conviction,
men and women with the God-given
strength and determination
to uphold the cause
of democracy.
When we went to New York
we were so elated.
John was in love with New York City
to begin with,
and I, for me, of course,
it was almost like
my hometown.
And we met all the artists
and all the sort of underground politicians
and everything.
It was just so exciting.
So we started to feel
that we should stay.
I just sort of felt at home here
as soon as I relaxed
and got over the fact
that I wasn't, you know,
in England,
and that I was living
somewhere else.
Fortunately, or unfortunately,
they speak English,
so I just fitted in.
At that point I think
John said it felt like
the center of the creative world
and that in the time of Rome
you'd want to be in Rome.
You wouldn't want
to be in the suburbs.
In the time of the '70s,
you'd want to be in New York.
John wanted to live right here.
He didn't want any hassles,
but he came into a cauldron.
He put himself right in the middle
of a political firestorm,
and he got singed by it.
The problem with John Lennon
was not his music,
but it was with
some of the friends
that he began to develop.
They make it so that
the Chinese,
they make it
so that the Vietnamese,
they make it so the Viet Cong,
they're enemies.
But they're my brothers,
not the enemies, you see?
Dig it.
We are at war
with that empire
that pollutes and tries
to destroy the world
and its own young people.
We are at war, Nixon.
Remember that.
Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin were
very highly evolved political activists.
They, I hasten to add,
had a sweetness to them, too,
but they were much more hardened
by the wars
that they had been fighting now
for several years
in a very public environment.
We met them, and we were both
very nervous about it.
And I thought, I don't want...
I want to be careful.
I don't want to meet any bomb-throwing
freaks and all that jazz.
And we finally met him.
We were very nervous.
And we were both
pleasantly surprised
by how they both were
not at all like their image,
as we aren't like our image.
And many other people I've met,
I believed the newspaper image about them,
although I should know better,
because I've seen a lot of rubbish
written about myself that isn't true.
So we met and we found...
We found something in them
that was artistic.
Very sensitive.
The first thing we said to them was,
"Hey, you're like artists.
"You're writing these books.
You're performing theater.
You're like artists."
They said, "Well, you two artists
are more like revolutionaries to us."
When they met
Hoffman and Rubin,
they were absolutely
in the hands of two
political masters.
When John and Yoko came,
you know,
"Give peace a chance."
They were going...
"Now I have another weapon
to use against the state."
The knife lying on a table
is not a threat to anybody.
It requires human
responsible agency
to take the knife and use it
to cut somebody's throat.
He would be
looked upon as a tool.
In this instance,
he was being manipulated
in a way that harmed
the effort of the United States
to win the war in Vietnam
and to have order
and stability here at home.
Yoko and I were lucky enough
to meet this man
a few weeks ago,
maybe a month ago,
and we found he was
a beautiful guy
and he had a lot to say.
He was doing a lot that was not what
I had read in the paper about him.
We came straight from England.
There were a lot of these things
at the foundation...
Giving food to people,
the programs of education.
We thought, "Well, let's see that side
of these people."
The man we're going to introduce
is a good friend of ours,
and also of yours, I hope.
The man is Bobby Seale, the chairman
of the Black Panther party, and here he is.
What Bobby Seale added
to this equation
was a far more
dangerous aspect,
a far more immediate,
physical kind of threat.
He was much more foreboding
and menacing than the other guys.
We can speak of pollution
in terms of the historical
pollution of fascism,
the historical pollution of war,
the historical pollution
of hunger in the world,
the historical
pollution of murder,
the historical pollution
that we people,
poor, oppressed people
in this world all over
have been subjected to
for too many years.
That pollution is the basis
of the pollution of the nature,
the world, the universe.
The only solution to pollution
is a people's
humane revolution.
Both John and I felt that he was
a very, very intelligent guy.
And we communicated
on that level.
This is one of those
kind of coalitions.
He was telling me up front,
he says, "I want to help.
"I want to get some
money and donate,
"and do whatever we can
to help the cause,
because what you're doing"...
He saw what we were about
through me rapping with him
and talking to him
and telling him
those stories and stuff
and all the things we did.
What is the policy
of the Black Panther party?
- Because a lot of people don't know...
- Policy?
Maybe you'd like me
to talk about philosophy.
Our philosophy is basically what
we call intercommunalism.
We're not nationalists.
We don't believe
in nationalism.
Nationalism or nationhood
and all it's hooked up with
is akin to superiority,
is akin to racism,
- is akin to sectarianism...
- That's what I said in my song.
- So we're not that...
- "lmagine no countries."
I guess at that point we had evolved to
really be friends, you know what I mean?
We liked each other.
I liked John, you know?
This guy was defending
something that I thought
was necessary and relevant
about those
protest movement times.
You know when you put
Bobby Seale on the team
that every cop's
gonna hate you,
that every law enforcement person on Earth
is going to oppose you
and characterize everything
you do in the context
of a true enemy of the state.
He could have stayed in music,
stayed away from drugs,
kept his mouth shut
about what he liked or disliked
about the United States.
"Don't get involved
in any politics.
Just sing your songs
and keep quiet."
Everything would
have been fine.
But when he starts
financing the people
that we're trying to put in jail,
then that gets
kind of serious.
I mean, the notion
that the world's largest,
most powerful imperial nation,
the United States of America,
could be seriously threatened
by a writer, an intellectual,
a singer, a painter
is laughable.
I mean, it's just a joke,
but it indicates
how nervous they were.
The authorities were
terrified of him
because he just had
so much sway.
See, they weren't frightened
of people like Mick Jagger.
That was musicians and silly long-haired
gits misbehaving with too much money.
Trouble with John is he...
There was some intellectual force
behind the argument.
Anyone who didn't like
this country
could either shut up or leave.
And that was the way
I think all of us felt.
That's what they would say.
"What is this foreigner
doing over here
with his dirty songs
criticizing us and our war?"
Patriotism is, as we know, the last refuge
of the scoundrel.
Now, we're talking about
real scoundrels, like Nixon.
And some present-day people
do play the same number.
"Oh, it's unpatriotic.
John Lennon!
Yoko Ono!
We came here
not only to help John
and to spotlight
what's going on,
but also to show
and to say to all of you
that apathy isn't it
and that we can do something.
Okay, so "flower power"
didn't work. So what?
We start again.
This song I wrote
for John Sinclair.
I became a cultural activist...
community activist
in Detroit 40 years ago.
We wanted to say
that they should end the war
and that people
should love each other.
So then we started
for marijuana legalization
while smoking great quantities,
which was not really
the wisest decision.
You should kind of do
one or the other, you know,
if you want to be
successful at either.
I kept getting arrested
for marijuana possession,
and then for giving two joints
to an undercover policewoman.
He's been in jail 21/2 years
for smoking two joints!
There's such a thing
as the solidarity of saliva.
When one pot smoker
is in jail,
every one of us is in jail!
I was sentenced to 91/2-10 years
in July of 1969,
and sent to prison
and kept under
maximum security,
and I was actually declared
a threat to society
by the Michigan
Court of Appeals.
Okay, "John Sinclair."
Nice and easy now.
1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4.
It was a 12-hour concert.
It was broadcast live
all over the state.
The day before that concert,
John Sinclair
was denied appeal bond.
The Michigan Supreme Court
wouldn't let him out.
And then...
everything just skyrocketed,
and the tide of public opinion
turned in my favor
almost 180 degrees,
because regular people thought,
"Gee, this guy from The Beatles
"is coming to sing
about this guy's case.
There must be
something wrong with it."
On Monday morning
the Michigan Supreme Court
reversed itself
and let Sinclair out,
let him free.
That's when the FBI
began to see the beginning
of the power of John and Yoko,
especially John Lennon.
We are certifying
the 26th Amendment
to the Constitution
of the United States.
That amendment, as you know,
provides for the right to vote
of all of our young people
between 18 and 21.
11 million new voters as a result
of this amendment
that you now will see certified
by the GSA administrator.
So Nixon now is facing
a huge electorate
that he has never faced before,
this 18- to 21-year-old
the heart and soul
of John's fans.
See, there was a fear
that John could stir,
that John could affect,
that John could imperil the political
existence of Richard Nixon.
Well, I suppose, if you want
to kind of list your enemies
and decide
who is most dangerous,
if I were Nixon, I would put Lennon
up near the top.
A few years ago you would have said,
"Let's not vote. Voting's irrelevant."
I had that feeling, too.
I never did vote in my life.
But now I've met you and a lot of people
and you're all saying register to vote.
That doesn't seem
very radical to me.
What's the change in...
Two years ago, you would say,
"Don't vote," and now you say, "Vote."
This time, since there's 18-year-old vote...
It ought to be
reduced to 12.
We think that all young people
should vote as a block,
and we shouldn't vote
for any candidate
that doesn't automatically withdraw
everything from Vietnam,
and we ought to go
to both conventions
in Miami and San Diego
and nonviolently make our presence felt
and stand on the issues.
They were so heady
from the success
of getting Sinclair out of jail
from that concert
that there were quite a few meetings,
as I recall,
in New York, where they were really
planning a tour...
Quite a large tour.
We talked about, you know,
how could we stage a tour,
that would follow
Richard Nixon around America
during the presidential
campaign of 1972.
Our job now is to tell them
that there is still hope
and we still
have things to do,
and we must get out there
and change their heads,
and tell them it's okay.
We can change it.
It isn't over just because
"flower power" didn't work.
It's only the beginning.
We're just in
the inception of revolution.
We're just at
the beginning of change.
And they're apathetic
because they're young,
and they think, "Oh, it didn't
work today, so it's all over."
We must get them excited
about what we can do again,
and that's why we're
gonna go on the road...
And we were going to end up with
a free three-day rock festival
outside the Republican
National Convention.
From America it will spread
to the rest of the world.
Viva la revolucion.
It was our perspective
of Lennon
that most of the time
he was walking around stoned,
whacked out of his mind.
But he was a high-profile figure,
and so his activities
were being monitored.
They knew for a fact that they didn't
want hundreds, thousands,
millions of young people attending
a counter-convention,
especially where
John Lennon would perform.
I don't think he realized the strength of
the American political establishment
and how much power
it could exert onto him
with regard to silencing him,
or covert ways in which they might
follow his activities.
We were certain
the phones were all tapped,
and it was...
Like most things, our wildest dreams
did not begin to touch
what they were actually
doing against us.
Do you think that they are
kind of picking on you, John?
Oh, yeah, they picked on me.
I'm telling you,
when it first started
I was followed in a car
and my phone was tapped.
I think they wanted me
to know to scare me,
and I was scared, paranoid.
People thought I was crazy then.
I mean, they do anyway,
but, I mean, more so.
You know, "Lennon,
you big-headed maniac.
Who's going to follow you around?
What do they want?"
That's what I'm saying.
What do they want?
I'm not going to
cause them any problem.
It surprised me when I heard that Lennon
had been under surveillance,
that he'd been wiretapped,
just as it did when I heard
that Martin Luther King had been.
These sort of things
that came out of the FBI
really caught me
as being so unnecessary
and so risky, and why?
I can't prove it.
I just know there's a lot of repairs
going on in the cellar.
I know the difference between the phone
being normal when I pick it up
and when every time I pick it up
there's a lot of noises.
I'd open the door
and there'd be guys
standing on the other side
of the street.
I'd get in the car and they'd be
following me in a car
and not hiding, you see?
That's why I got
a bit paranoid, as well.
They wanted me to see
I was being followed.
Suddenly I realized
this was serious.
They were coming for me
one way or the other.
They were harassing me.
I remember John said to me
at one point,
"If anything happens
to Yoko and me,
it was not an accident."
When we found out
that they were specifically interested
in stopping our plans,
that's when we realized that it wasn't
just the usual surveillance,
but that they were going to take
aggressive steps against us.
This story begins,
at least from
the White House perspective,
with a letter that
Senator Strom Thurmond wrote.
The Congress is long overdue
in investigating the radical left
for the purpose of
devising new legislation
to protect the security
of our nation
from enemy subversive efforts.
He was a major figure
on the right
as the right became much
more of a dominant force
in our politics
in this country in the '70s.
Strom Thurmond was
a Republican senator
on the Senate Internal
Security Subcommittee,
and he had been given
the information
about the plans that Lennon was making
with Jerry Rubin,
Abbie Hoffman, and other people
for this national concert tour.
This is what Strom Thurmond
wrote the White House about.
And this
is where Strom Thurmond
came up with a proposal
to stop this.
Strom Thurmond's memo
to the White House ends,
"If Lennon's visa were terminated, it would
be a strategic counter-measure."
One day somebody
knocked at the door,
and we didn't open the door.
We said, "Who is it?"
And the person just slipped a paper
underneath the door,
because we didn't
open the door.
Maybe that's why.
We looked at it
and it was a notice...
A deportation notice.
We just looked at
each other.
"What are we going to do?"
It was a very
frightening moment.
John, what did you say?
You said you felt
it was shocking?
Well, yeah,
we're a bit shocked.
Do you think that
you will be deported?
I've no idea. Maybe it's just a process.
I don't know.
We better go in. We're late.
We'll see you when we come out
if you want.
Can we talk to you
when you come out?
We have a number of matters
that we have to take care of.
The lmmigration and Naturalization Service
was planning to stage
a huge show trial
and basically
get John Lennon
in a very, very public way.
They were going to try and show
that he was an undesirable alien
because of his lifestyle,
because of his friends,
and because
of his politics.
Then they were going to
take some of the lyrics
from some of his songs
and play them.
And a lot of the songs
were very antagonistic
to the Nixon administration.
What do the proceedings make you feel
just on a purely emotional level?
Well, I feel like
I'm back in school again.
I've been in trouble all my life
one way or the other,
and I'm back
to see the Head.
This time they don't cane me,
that's all.
They don't beat me anymore.
There are two reasons
the trial didn't happen.
One is that the investigator, who was
the only sober-thinking person in all this,
felt that it
was going to alienate
all the youth in America
if they did it.
And secondly, it was a big waste
of time and money,
because they already
had the ability
to get Lennon thrown out
of the country.
In the late '60s,
there was a head-hunting cop
who was not very high up in
the drug department in London,
which was pretty new anyway.
They had two dogs
for the whole department.
He went round and bust every pop star
he could get his hands on.
Then he got famous.
Some of the pop stars
had dope in the house,
and some of them didn't.
It didn't matter to him.
He planted it or did whatever.
Later on...
That's what he did to me,
because at that time
I didn't have any drugs.
We had no idea that it would
come back to haunt us,
in a very big way, too.
I was convicted
of possession in England
and fined $100...
I mean, 100 pounds.
- Is this an obstacle?
- That is the obstacle.
...rather than
get into trouble.
- Is that the obstacle to your staying?
- Yeah.
His problem seems to be
the marijuana conviction.
While that stands,
there's no form of relief
that's possible in his case.
If he had four speeding tickets
or if he had...
I could make up all the offenses he could
have done were he an American citizen,
they would have tried
to find a way,
his vulnerable spot,
his Achilles' heel,
and that's what that was.
All it was was it gave John Mitchell
and that crowd
an opening through which
to attack him.
John, why are you
being deported?
Well, the sort of
official reason
is something about that I was bust
in England for pot.
And the real reason
is because I'm a peacenik.
You don't think that
there's any possibility
that the government is trying
to harass the Lennons.
Absolutely not.
This is the kind of treatment
we would dish out
to anybody convicted
of a narcotics offense.
Our lawyer's name
is Leon Wildes, and he's...
He's not a radical lawyer.
He's not a William Kunstler.
Nothing like that. We went to
an immigration lawyer
who knew about immigration,
and he has really
been surprised
because he worked
in immigration 15 years.
He's really been surprised
by some of the things
that have gone on.
I took the case because
it was a challenge,
first of all, because I was impressed
with these extraordinary people,
and second, because
these were issues
which had never been
previously ruled on
in their present form
in American courts.
You say you've been in
trouble all your life. Why is that?
I've just one of those faces.
- People never liked my face.
- Oh, is that why?
Teachers used to get
furious about it.
Is it because you're
I guess it must show
on the face.
My original comment
to them about the case
was that I thought
it was a loser.
Because most of my clients
end up in a deportation proceeding,
and if they lose,
that's the end of it.
If they appeal that decision,
they go to the Board
of lmmigration Appeals,
and that is hardly
ever successful.
With Leon,
he was always
kind of suggesting,
"Maybe you guys should be
a little bit gentler
or something."
"We announce the birth
of a conceptual country,
"Citizenship of the country
can be obtained
"by declaration of your
awareness of Newtopia.
"Newtopia has no land,
no boundaries,
"no passports, only people.
Newtopia has no laws
other than cosmic."
"All people of Newtopia are
ambassadors of the country.
"As two ambassadors
of Newtopia,
"we ask for
diplomatic immunity
"and recognition
in the United Nations
for our country
and its people"...
Newtopian Embassy, 1 White Street,
New York, New York.
Yoko apologized to me
afterwards and said,
"You have to understand.
When you represent artists,
we're not always predictable."
I said, "Maybe not always predictable,
but always enjoyable."
What does the flag mean?
What does the flag mean?
Surrender and submission.
It became clear to me
that he was a guy
of major principle,
and he understood that what was
being done to him was wrong.
It was an abuse of the law,
and he was willing
to stand up
and try to show it, to shine
the big light on it.
They're even sort of changing
their own rules to get us, you know?
Just because we're
peaceniks, really.
Do you think it's because of
your antiwar action
and not your marijuana
conviction, then?
Well, let's say that a few friends of ours
in the pop business
have exactly the same
conviction as me
and are allowed to come and go
as free as they like.
They don't happen to have the same
point of view as me, or they don't state it.
Will you now stop speaking out
against the war because of this?
Nothing will stop me,
and whether I'm here
or wherever I may be,
I'll always have the same feelings
and say what I feel.
The world is one big family.
We loved him for who he was,
and who he was to become
during that period,
and he marched with us,
he walked with us.
He went up against
this powerful government
that was terribly wrong,
that had misled us
into a deeply immoral war.
He did not back down.
It's great that you
came in the rain.
I read somewhere that
the war movement was over.
We're here to bring
the boys home,
but let's not
forget the machines.
Bring the machines home,
and then we'll
really get somewhere.
Bring our boys home!
...the only people
that can do it.
It wasn't so much
that Lennon was being
critical of U.S. Policy.
It's that he was over here
enjoying all the benefits
of the success that
we were giving him,
the wealth, the...
And all the rest of it,
and bad-mouthing us here.
Our attitude was,
"You want to do that?
"Go back to London.
Go back to Liverpool."
I like to be here because this is
where the music came from.
This is what influenced
my whole life
and got me where I am
today, as it were.
And I love the place.
I'd like to be here.
I've got a lot of friends here,
and this is where
I want to be, you know?
Statue of Liberty...
I even brought my own cash.
He was under an order
to leave the country
within 60 days
for pretty much all of 1972
and on into 1973.
Our reaction to the government's action
taken last week
I believe has been very, very succinctly
put by The Wall Street Journal
in an editorial
of March 28, 1973.
It states, "We find it more than
a little hard to believe
"that authorities
could find no legal way
"to resolve what is, after all,
"a highly unusual
set of circumstances.
"Further, we submit if the law does not
reflect the human equities,
it is a law
that needs to be changed."
Yes, the case was very
difficult at that point,
and what he did was to just
keep on extending our stay,
which I thought
was very wise,
a very wise tactic.
I don't understand law,
as it were,
because it is finite.
And I don't really go,
sort of...
I can't express... Dig that scene,
you know?
I don't know.
It seems just like to me
as somebody once said,
It's just bureaucracy,
and they get going
and then what can they do?
They don't know
where to turn, I suppose.
The game's started,
and we have to play it out.
When I talked to Jerry Rubin
and Abbie Hoffman
about this period,
they told me they wanted
to try something new,
something they thought would maybe be
more effective in stopping the war.
Jerry Rubin was talking about
what he called
a political Woodstock
that they would hold outside
the Republican National Convention.
They really tried
to make us go to Miami,
and we kept saying
we're not gonna do it,
but Jerry, for political reasons,
just announced that we're
gonna be there.
They think we're going
to San Diego or Miami.
We've never said we're going.
We ain't going.
They'll be no big jam
with us and Dylan
because there's
too much going on.
We never said we were going.
That's it.
By then John and I realized
that it would have been
very, very dangerous for us.
We had a very distinct,
clear feeling
that if we had gone
to the Republican convention,
we would have been
in danger of our lives.
You know, he said,
"The only thing I ever really wanted
to do in my life
was to play in
a rock and roll band."
And then he said,
"I can't let them
take that away from me."
The very core of his existence
was threatened
by what they were trying
to do to him.
It is now clear that Richard Nixon
is the winner of this election.
That's what our trend
now indicates,
the President reelected
by a landslide.
The fact that McGovern lost,
the fact that Nixon
was reelected again
and all that really upset us,
because in the big picture
the United States...
the policy of the United States
would affect the whole world.
And from that big picture,
we were very depressed.
Once Nixon is reelected,
the FBI loses interest
in Lennon,
says, "We're closing our file."
The immigration service,
though, is a good bureaucracy.
When they're given a job,
they do their job.
And they kept doing their job.
They kept doing it to Lennon
for another year and a half,
two years.
The situation is
I'm still appealing.
Every now and then they'll say,
"You got 30 days to get out,"
and then my lawyer will appeal
and we'll go up to another court
or something like that.
It will just go on forever.
Terry Southern put it well.
He says it keeps
the conservatives happy
that they're doing something about me
and what I represent.
And it keeps the liberals happy
because I haven't
actually been thrown out.
So everybody's happy.
The easy thing to do
would have been
just slink away
and go back to England,
but he chose to stand
on his rights
and I'm glad that he did.
Lennon and his legal team
went on the offensive
and filed a couple
of very interesting lawsuits.
I sued the Attorney General,
and a whole slew of other people
who I claimed were
involved in a conspiracy
to deny John and Yoko's case
and get them out of
the United States improperly.
What do you think your chances are
of remaining in this country?
- 99-1.
- For or against?
- For.
- Why is that?
Because I'm overconfident,
as usual.
We ultimately were able to examine
the records in the case.
And lo and behold, deep
in John's immigration file,
which was a high security file,
were documents reaching all the way
up to President Nixon
showing improper interference
in an immigration case
and prejudgment.
Probably the most important documents
in the Lennon FBI file
are reports addressed
to the White House
signed by J. Edgar Hoover.
These were not sent
directly to Richard Nixon.
They're addressed
to H.R. Haldeman,
Assistant to the President.
Now, Haldeman was the most important
person in the White House
if you wanted to get to Nixon.
So when Hoover sends something
to Haldeman saying,
"Here's our report on our progress
in trying to kick Lennon
out of the country,"
the reason that he's doing that
is that Nixon wants to know.
I would not say that it was
integral to the politics
of the Nixon administration
to keep John Lennon from having
residence in this country.
I think it was of a piece
with the general nastiness
of the Nixon administration.
I had no prior knowledge
of the Watergate break-in.
You had the President
of the United States, Richard Nixon,
who was running
a rogue presidency,
a criminal presidency.
We do know, from Mr. Nixon's
long statement of May the 22nd
that he did approve much earlier
a program of wiretapping
and even burglary
in national security matters.
Did other presidents
break the law,
bend the law occasionally?
I'm sure they did.
Was there wholesale criminality
in any other presidency
in our history?
For God sakes,
they committed a burglary,
and then they destroyed
the government of the United States,
covering it up.
That is the context in which you have
to determine and judge
and value what they did
to John Lennon.
The case against
John Lennon by the FBI
and the lmmigration
and Naturalization Service
and by President Nixon
and all his people
was that John Lennon
was disloyal
to the United States of America
and what it stood for.
The real disloyalty was Nixon's,
Hoover's, the INS,
and all the people
who were implicated
in the FBI and the INS
and wherever else,
because their perversion,
distortion of the Constitution,
their violation
of the basic principles,
that was the greatest
disloyalty to this country.
Therefore, I shall
resign the Presidency
effective at noon tomorrow.
Vice President Ford will
be sworn in as President
at that hour in this office.
Lennon was somebody
who was a born enemy
of those who governed
the United States.
He was everything they hated.
So I just say that he represented life,
and is admirable.
And Mr. Nixon...
and Mr. Bush represent death,
and that is a bad thing.
I have to tell you one little story
about the end of the case.
I got a call from someone
in the Court of Appeals,
and he said, "Look,
the decision just came in.
You won your Lennon case."
And I called John, and he said,
"Wait, what do you mean we won?
You told us that it was a loser."
I said, "Yes, because I didn't want
to build up your hopes too much."
And he said, "Leon, I'm just going
over to New York Hospital
"because Yoko is
giving birth any minute.
I'll call you from there."
At about 5:30...
I was bleary when he called.
And he said, "This is John."
I said, "John who?"
And he said, "John Lennon,
and I have a beautiful boy."
That day was his birthday,
his new son's birthday,
and he won his case.
I remember John's face.
I remember how he was
when we got that news
and when it was his birthday
and when he got
the baby as well,
and it was incredible.
I've never seen him like that.
He was like a little boy
looking so happy.
- Hi.
- Hi.
- I need...
- Okay.
John Lennon was finally presented
with his green alien card,
which is actually blue,
in the offices
of the Assistant Director,
and he talked to the press.
And this was what it was all about.
Finally, after four and a half
long years of struggle,
John Lennon got his card,
a green card,
saying that he is now a permanent
resident of the United States.
Right on, brother.
To come out in court
on the steps of
the federal courthouse,
and there he is,
and my goodness,
he has defeated John Mitchell
and the forces of evil,
and he's gonna be able
to stay in the country.
I take this opportunity
to thank all the kids and the fans
who wrote to all their senators
and their petitions
and all the rest of it,
that were working behind the scenes
for five years
with no pay
or no nothing, actually.
Just a smile.
- What?
- Do you bear any grudge
against the Strom Thurmonds
and the John Mitchells
for putting you through
this all these years?
No, I believe
time wounds all heels.
John was so proud of Sean,
and there was such an incredible
warm and close relationship
between them.
And it was a beautiful time.
I see that you're having
your diaper changed.
Is this an enjoyable experience?
Because I do believe some people
pay to have this done.
And where did you get
that outfit from, may I ask?
I agree entirely. Yes.
It is exciting, isn't it?
John, Sean,
and I started to have
such a fantastically sweet
and wonderful life together.
There was that
feeling of closeness
between all three of us,
and almost a kind of
urgency about it,
that every day we wanted to really
spend together kind of thing.
And we did.
From Washington,
this is the CBS Evening News
with Walter Cronkite.
Good evening.
The death of a man who sang
and played the guitar
overshadows the news from Poland,
Iran, and Washington tonight.
Former Beatle John Lennon,
who was 40,
was shot and killed last night
outside his luxury apartment
in New York.
The alleged killer
is an unemployed security guard
and printer
who had lived in Hawaii.
News of Lennon's death
touched off a wave
of shock and mourning
around the world.
I think the vigil was
a very good thing that we did.
It was all of us
around the world...
came together in a way.
So we made a ring
around the world together.
It was a very strong ring.
Well, I suppose
they tried to kill John...
but they couldn't,
because his message is still alive.
Everybody now. Come on!
We can get it tomorrow or today!
Loud! Say it loud!
Yes, again!
Okay, beautiful.
Subtitled By J.R. Media Services, Inc.
Burbank, CA