On The 25th Anniversary
Of John Lennon's Assassination, Imagine . . .
by Jerry Mazza
December 7, 2005
the classic lone gunman could be Mark David Chapman. And if so, you
may be as mind-controlled by system hype as he was that Monday night
at 10:50 pm, December 8, 1980, just one month after Ronald Reagan
was elected president.
that night John Lennon took four of five shots fired from a .38 caliber
snub nose revolver: two in the left shoulder, two in the upper left
side of the back, as he walked through the dark entryway of the Dakota
at West 72nd Street and Central Park West. What's strange is that
afterwards three bullet holes were found in the glass lobby doors.
that earlier that day, about 5:15 pm, when Lennon and Yoko were about
to limo from their Dakota apartment to the Record Plant, Lennon had
stopped in the walkway to autograph a copy of his Double Fantasy album
for Chapman. He even spoke with him, asking if there was anything
else he wanted. The photographed smile on Chapman's face seemed to
be of a man who'd just gotten the keys to heaven.
at 10:50 that night, the wounded Lennon ran some 20 feet from Chapman
towards the lobby stairs, staggering past the front desk in the main
lobby. He fell facedown by the concierge stand. Yoko, who had preceded
John by some 40 feet from their limo, screamed to the clerk to call
the police, "John's been shot," and ran to cradle his head.
that Chapman called out, "Mr. Lennon," and when John turned,
Mark squared off and fired five shots. But Chapman told a judge later
at his sentencing hearing that he didn't say a word to Lennon. Nor
did he run away. There is a subway station to descend maybe 60 feet
away. But perhaps innocent (even if programmed) people don't run.
the doorman on duty, one Jose Perdomo, supposedly screamed "Leave!
Get out of here!" Then he asked Chapman, "Do you know what
you've done?" "I just shot John Lennon," Chapman said
matter-of-factly. Then we're told, Chapman threw down his gun, took
off his coat, folded it at his feet, and calmly started reading a
paperback, Catcher in the Rye. Perdomo kicked the gun away. One wonders
why Perdomo told him to leave, after reminding him of his crime. Perhaps
Perdomo was the shooter and planted the gun.
minutes later, Perdomo identified Chapman as the killer as the cops
arrived. Patrolman Peter Cullen didn't believe it. He thought Chapman
looked too straight. But Perdomo insisted and Officer Steven Spiro
arrested Mark. The cops could also see that Lennon was dying. Instead
of waiting for an ambulance, they lifted him into a patrol car and
rushed him to nearby Roosevelt Hospital. But Lennon died in the emergency
Who Was Jose Perdomo?
Jose Joaquin Sanjenis Perdomo. According to Cuban Information Archives
and Salvador Austucia, author of Rethinking John Lennon's Assassination,
Perdomo was also known as "Joaquin Sanjenis," and "Sam
Jenis." He was mostly known as an anti-Castro Cuban exile and
a member of Brigade 2506 during the Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961,
a miserably failed CIA operation, which cost Company Head Allan Dulles
his job, and maybe John F. Kennedy his life, also by a mythic lone
gunman, who turned out to play patsy, too. In fact, during that evening,
while Chapman waited hours for Lennon's return, Perdomo had spoken
at length with him about the invasion and Cuban American politics.
Strange topics for strangers, one waiting for a rock star.
Officer Cullen remained troubled with Perdomo's claim that Chapman
was the killer. Cullen later told reporter James R. Gains of People
Magazine in a Feb. 23, 1987, piece, "The Man Who Shot Lennon"
that: "He [Chapman] looked like a guy who worked in a bank, an
office. Not a loser or anything, just a guy out there trying to earn
a living. I remember taking a look at him and saying, 'Why? What did
you do here?' He really had no answer for it. He did say several times,
'I'm sorry I gave you guys so much trouble.'"
Perdomo had reason to insist Mark was the man. Perdomo, aka Sanjenis,
had worked side by side, ah yes, with convicted and now deceased Watergate
burglar Frank Sturgis for about a decade on the CIA payroll. Sturgis
misleadingly claimed Joaquin Sanjenis died of natural causes in 1974.
He claimed it was the Company's way of keeping Sanjenis' anonymity.
His family wasn't even notified of his supposed death till after the
funeral. In fact, Sanjenis/Perdomo may still be alive, plumbing in
some near or far outpost. There's always work for anonymous men who
know how to do what needs to be done and vanish. Ole!
Perdomo was so invisible that he wasn't identified by name for more
than six years after Lennon's murder. He was mistakenly referred to
first as Jay Hastings, the bearded, burly desk clerk who worked in
the lobby, and was on duty the night Lennon was killed. In fact, Lennon
ran from the shooter, and collapsed before Hastings and Yoko. This
information is mentioned in the book, The Love You Make: An Insider's
Story of the Beatles, written by one of the group's management team,
Peter Brown -- along with Steven Gains.
from the book, The Fish is Red: The Story of the Secret War Against
Castro, by Warren Hinckle and William Turner, these descriptions of
was an opportunistic little man who managed to punch a CIA meal ticket
the rest of his life. When he met [Frank] Sturgis he was filling a
bucket or rotten eggs, which would become Operation 40 -- the secret
police of the Cuban invasion force. The ultrasecret Operation 40 included
some nonpolitical, conservative exile businessmen, but its hard core
was made up of dice players at the foot of the cross -- informers,
assassins-for-hire, and mob henchmen whose sworn goal was to make
the counterrevolution safe for the comfortable ways of the old Cuba.
They were the elite troops of the old guard within the exile movement,
who made effective alliance with CIA right-wingers against CIA liberals
. . .
got Sturgis a CIA maildrop and gave him the right phone numbers, and
Sturgis agreed to coordinate his own operations with Sanjenis and
work on a contract basis on special agency assignments . . .
had launched scores of ships and planes on clandestine raids against
Cuba and had sent hundreds of men on missions from which there had
been no return. . . . There were no official missing-in-action reports
in the Secret War against Cuba. It was Joaquin Sanjenis' job to keep
his troops, as himself, faceless." And so he was, and lived up
to his character references.
The Entry Wounds on the Left Side of Lennon's Body
the theory we've been told: that Lennon had walked past Chapman, who
was to the right and then rear of him in the dark entryway. If Chapman
had called out, "Mr. Lennon," and John stopped and turned,
it was possible though difficult for him to hit Lennon in the left
shoulder, and then as Lennon turned to flee, to hit him in the upper
left back. Yet Chapman told Judge Dennis Edwards at a sentencing hearing
that he didn't say anything to Lennon, just that he fired.
a second theory: Perdomo or another operative fired from the doorway
leading to the service elevator, which was at the left of the walkway
and in front of Lennon. There are two series of two shots. First,
two shots hit the left shoulder. As Lennon runs towards the lobby
stairway, two other shots hit his upper left back. Shooting from that
doorway seems a more plausible way to make those hits. Since the autopsy
was not made public, we don't know if three of the five shots exited,
grazed or missed Lennon to hit the glass lobby door.
crime scene witnesses varied in their accounts of whether or not Chapman
called to Lennon. No convincing evidence was presented that Chapman
had caused Lennon to turn. Also, this wasn't a trial since Chapman
had already confessed. It was simply a sentencing hearing. There was
no official testimony or any witnesses. The case was declared closed
on the night of the murder, and the police report is lacking in any
substantive detail. Yet what it does say is that Chapman was carrying
$2,201.76 in cash when arrested and declared himself unemployed. You
wonder why eyes didn't open at that, and a complete inquiry wasn't
made into the death of a figure like John Lennon. Could it possibly
be a cover-up? Had assassinations liked this ever happened before?
author Salvador Astucia's somewhat offbeat scenario: "As Lennon
passes Chapman, a member of the FBI's assassination squad somehow
transmits an audible message to Chapman . . . which places him in
a semi-hypnotic trance . . ." Perhaps Jose Perdomo simply whispered
in his ear something that had been programmed into Chapman's psyche
earlier: "Kill Lennon." Chapman had claimed he heard a voice,
although Astucia believes he is clearly not psychotic. I don't agree,
and will address that point in a moment. The message, however delivered,
does trigger Mark's mind to think he is about to kill Lennon. And
so for me, we have a classic patsy on autopilot.
Who Was Chapman and How Did He Get to Be a Patsy?
as British author Fenton Bresler reports in his book -- Who Killed
John Lennon? -- that from 1950 the CIA had begun work on mind control,
and specifically called it PROJECT BLUEBIRD. In two years it turned
into a larger PROJECT ARTICHOKE, no joke. And it was noted in a Company
memorandum . . ."To exploit operational lines, scientific methods
and knowledge that can be utilized in altering the attitudes, beliefs,
thought processes and behavior patterns of agent personnel. This will
include the application of tested psychiatric and psychological techniques,
including the use of hypnosis in conjunction with drugs."
30 years the Agency had to refine these techniques, neither their
reality, use, nor effectiveness would be surprising. Certainly, Mark
Chapman had all the credentials for a very "special agent."
And here's where I disagree with Salvador Astucia about Mark's state
as Fred McGunagle did in his article for Court TV's Crime Library,
Mark David Chapman: The Man Who Killed John Lennon, that Chapman was
vulnerable and suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. He had been
seeing "little people" from his boyhood, some encouraging
him to do good and some to do bad things. They lived first in the
walls of his house, then in the deepest recesses of his brain, maturing
into full-blown demons, causing Mark to have several nervous breakdowns
and attempt suicide twice by the time he was 24.
how Mark had become increasingly fixated on Holden Caulfied, the fictional
hero of J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, a confused teenager, upset
by the discovery that the world seems to be made up of phonies. Mark's
other fixation was rock superstar John Lennon, whom he alternately
admired and hated, the latter for John's quip that the Beatles were
more popular than Jesus. Lennon offended the Jesus freak in Mark.
on an equally dark note, Mark White in his political comic strip,
Dead Silence in the Brain, reports that as a young man Mark Chapman
began working at a Laotian refugee camp. The camp was run by World
Vision, an evangelical charity which runs refugee camps worldwide.
It has assisted in numerous CIA operations. Its camps along the Honduran
border, for instance, were used to recruit the death squads of El
Salvador . . . Researcher John Judge writes, "World Vision appears
to be an elaborate cover for the recruitment, training and placement
of assassins worldwide." So I don't think Chapman was picked
from a hat from the general population. I think he had had intense
behavioral conditioning for the Lennon assassination, though I don't
think he was the triggerman. I believe he was too much of a risk as
a Manchurian Candidate, even at close range. So Perdomo & Associates
lent a helping hand.
as Bresler tells us, Chapman buying a .38 Special revolver from J&S
Enterprises, a gun shop in midtown Honolulu, the city where Chapman
lived. Bresler gives the serial number as 577570, yet no one at the
NYPD mentions if that is the number on the .38 used in the crime.
That is an amazing oversight. Serial numbers are put on guns for crime-tracking
or theft. Then too, this wasn't the first time Chapman had been to
New York to peruse Lennon. Chapman made two trips to New York City,
one from October 29, 1980, through November 10, 1980. Another on December
that on the first trip Chapman must have carried the aforementioned
.38 revolver with him. In fact, Bresler describes in detail how Chapman
brought the gun to NYC on October 29 but forgot to bring bullets.
And so he flew to Atlanta to get hollow-point bullets from a policeman
friend, Dana Reeves (aka, Gene Scott). He went to Atlanta because
NYC forbids the purchase of ammunition by anyone not living in New
York State. Bresler also mentions at some point that Chapman told
his wife Gloria, "that it was time he grew up. He was a married
man now and ought to be able to support a family. What he needed to
do first, however, was to go off by himself for awhile, to think things
over. He had decided to return to New York. She needn't fear that
he would do anything wrong. He had thrown the gun and bullets into
why Bresler doesn't challenge that last statement, so we know if it's
a fact or a convenient lie for Chapman to cover his tracks with his
wife. And perhaps Reeves, aka Scott, was not just a cop, but an FBI
or CIA handler involved in shaping Chapman's plan of action and behavior.
Mark then goes back to New York, supposedly via a stop in Chicago
to see his grandmother, a sidebar that goes nowhere. Bresler also
presents the notion that Chapman has repressed homosexual tendencies.
The gay theme also kind of comes out of and goes nowhere, except to
guarantee that post-prosecution Chapman would never give Bresler a
personal interview. Chapman seriously resented Bresler's "gay"
insinuations about him.
What Is the Motive for All This?
even though it was the Nixon White House that originally panicked,
i.e., that Lennon might join a "Drop Nixon" series of concerts
(an untrue rumor that Lennon blamed Jerry Rubin for spreading), how
it proved to be the beginning of trouble for Lennon. FBI kingpin J.
Edgar Hoover got wind of it and opened a file on Lennon. The INS (Immigration
and Naturalization Service) began deportation proceedings against
Lennon. His political activism was curtailed over the next few years
as he fought legal battles to stay in the US. In 1975, after the Watergate
scandal, which some say was actually engineered to dump Nixon, Lennon
won his green card. But he was worn out from the battles, retired
from public life, and put his love and energy into his home life.
Luckily, during this time the Carter administration kept the intelligence
bow-wows at bay.
how in 1980, with the election of Ronald Reagan as president, it was
a whole new story. But then, too, John had gotten his energy back
and was in the studio recording and making plans to resume his activism.
I believe it was then that the Great Communicator plus VP, former
CIA Head and operative George H. W. Bush & Company, put together
a preemptive strike against Lennon. As usual, they needed a certified
nut, conceivably capable of a random act of violence, and so they
put their MK-ULTRA to work putting it together. Rock music was an
enormously powerful force, then as now. I would imagine that Reagan
and friends feared Lennon might interfere with their vicious policies
in South and Central America, not to mention Iran, Russia, and America.
Alley-oop, he had to go.
how tragic it is that the man who wrote "Give Peace A Chance"
had to die at the hands of assassins. But imagine John Kennedy trying
to stop the "Bay of Pigs" incident and trying to pull back
on "Vietnam" -- or RFK trying to battle organized crime,
Martin Luther King trying to non-violently integrate the south. All
were gunned down supposedly by lone crazies, when in reality the assassinations
were carefully orchestrated ops involving many people.
that was the case right down to Ronald Reagan's assassination attempt
(only three months after Lennon's assassination) by John Hinckley,
Jr., the son of John Hinckley, Sr., an old Texas oilman crony of George
H. W. Bush. The two families had a history, going back to the1960s
in Texas, when Bush and John Hinckley, Sr., got filthy rich together
in the oil business and both circulated in the same elegantly greasy
circles. Rumor has it the older Hinckley son, Scott, was scheduled
to have dinner with Neil Bush on the night Reagan was shot. What some
have called a Bushwhack occurred at about 2:30 in the afternoon of
March 30, 1981, as Reagan was leaving the Washington Hilton, after
making a speech. Bush was conveniently out of town.
Deja Vu All Over Again
how John Hinckley, Jr., stepped from the press corps, crouched on
the sidewalk, and called out, "Mr. President, look over here."
With both hands leveling his .22-caliber pistol, he opened fire on
Reagan. In the melee that ensued, the sixth slug found its mark. The
shot as it was originally reported, ricocheted off the armored sedan's
fender into Reagan's armpit and punctured his lung. A slightly more
direct hit and Bush would have stepped into the presidency, forgoing
eight more years of being number two. Ah life.
the troubled Hinckley, Jr., patterned himself after Robert DeNiro's
Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver. Failing at killing a presidential
candidate, in search of a just cause in what he felt was a corrupt
world, Bickle later shoots the oppressive pimp of a young prostitute
played by Jody Foster, with whom the young Hinckley had become totally
obsessed. Hinckley had seen the film at least 15 times. Like Chapman
with Catcher in the Rye, Hinckley, Jr., read and reread the book it
was based on. He also listened to the film soundtrack for hours on
end. His ego was totally immersed in the Bickle/DeNiro character.
Some would say, given his shaky mental state, Hinckley was fresh meat
to be programmed by some of Bush's former spooks to seek out and destroy
the Gipper, this time a la The Manchurian Candidate, that is, he was
the shooter/patsy, and even mission failure could be considered a
successful warning to play ball.
the correspondent Judy Woodruff appearing on NBC Special Reports that
ran right after the shooting. She said she saw at least one shot fired
from the hotel overhang above Reagan's limo. She later added that
a Secret Service agent had fired that shot. Could friendly fire have
brought down Reagan? Or could it be one more second shooter? Was the
Secret Service lax that day? In any case, Woodruff's observation helped
piece together how a slug hit Reagan when his limo's bulletproof door
stood between him and Hinckley.
that Hinckley, Jr., flew to Nashville in 1980 to stalk Jimmy Carter
and kill him, a la Arthur Bremer with Nixon and Wallace. Bremer succeeded
in paralyzing Wallace in an assassination attempt. But Hinckley was
busted at the airport when authorities found three handguns in his
suitcase. Yet, after being held for just five hours, he was fined
and released. Nor did anyone bother to look in the journal that he
carried, in which he spelled out his plans to kill Carter, as once
Arthur Bremer, on whom Bickle's character was based, had scribbled
in his journal just how he was going to off Nixon or Wallace. What
we have here is a line of "patsies" and assassinations.
the capper, that John Hinckley, Jr., was present on that rainy Sunday,
December 14, 1980, in Central Park, when a hushed crowd of about 100,000,
including myself and my wife, gathered near the bandshell. At Yoko's
request we "prayed for John's soul" during 10 minutes of
silence. Weeks later, Hinckley spoke his thoughts of that day into
a tape-recorder. "I just want to say goodbye to the old year,
which was nothing -- total misery, total, death. John Lennon is dead,
the world is over, forget it . . ." Three months later, the world
would hear all about Hinckley, Jr., as well.
The Record Company, EMI, Invisible Hand in 1966 Anti-Lennon Campaign
the summer of 1966. Just before the Beatles decided to quit touring,
they were working on the album Revolver. For some reason Paul McCartney
grew angry and walked out of the studio. This left John with just
one tune on the American version of the album, in which all the Beatles
played and sang. That was "Tomorrow Never Knows." In the
British EMI version of the album, John sang five songs. Three were
scraped by EMI offshoot Capitol records, so Paul's decision to walk
out on "She Said She Said" was a form of sabotaging his
Derek Larsson saying, "The sloppiness from McCartney in some
of John's records is something that you can hear right on the record
itself which is why I think Lennon's complaint is validated. The sloppiness
is the 'sabotage' issue that Lennon was referring to."
the larger issue here, that even though EMI stands for Electrical
and Musical Industries, the company was also a military contractor
to the British War Office. So a high-ranking American official could
make a call to a high-ranking British official and complain about
this Lennon fellow ramping up American youth against government policy,
especially given his comment that the Beatles were more popular than
Jesus Christ. That one's still kicking around today.
this would give then EMI Chairman Sir Joseph Lockwood the impetus
to pull Lennon tunes on the American (Capitol) version of Revolver,
which in fact EMI did. In a June '66 release of the Yesterday And
Today album, the famous "butcher block photo" was also on
the cover, showing the Beatles surrounded by bloody baby dolls. The
guys claimed they had no involvement with Yesterday and Today's weird
album cover. Nevertheless it tainted the album.
the Beatles were booed and jeered on July 5, 1966, in the Manila,
capital of the Philippines, when they were mistakenly accused of not
showing up at a party thrown by Imelda Marcos, wife of the president.
Perhaps they didn't have the right shoes to wear, but the Beatles
say they never got an invitation. So their security was cancelled
as they tried to leave the country. They were pushed around at the
airport by about 30 armed thugs.
the "more popular than Jesus" story surfaced not so innocently
from an interview in Datebook, an American magazine, and caused a
furor. It was something worthy of today's neocons and swift-boaters.
in August, Revolver was released in America and three of five of John's
songs were gone. Paul was presented as the creative prime mover. None
of his songs were cut from the original EMI British version. McCartney
admitted he walked out of the session for "She Said She Said"
and actually not playing or singing on the tune at all. So the Beatles
as a quartet played on only one of John's songs on the American Revolver.
Politics had managed to worm its ugly head even into the lives of
four closely knit, world-famous musicians.
in August 19, 1966, a member of the audience in Memphis threw a firecracker
on stage. When it exploded the entire Beatles' crew figured John Lennon
had been shot. Writer Salvador Astucia discovered that no less than
British Prime Minister Harold Wilson had called Sir Joseph Lockwood
in 1965. Exactly what was said was speculative, but then Lennon, as
Astucia suggests, "was more influential than any head of state
in the world."
it turns out that RCA, our own multinational media corporation and
conglomerate, which was headed by "General" David Sarnoff,
was EMI's silent partner, and also active in military and space electronics
and satellite communications. It was subsequently acquired by General
Electric in 1986 for $6 billion, the largest non-oil company merger
to that day. It was a classic example of what President Dwight Eisenhower
would have called the "military industrial complex," producing
even the rebellious Beatles for a buck, so long as the boys kept their
The Last Hanger-On and Suspect, Fred Seaman
Fred Seaman, a Lennon staffer and look-alike, who was convicted of
stealing personal effects from the Lennon estate, which was in part
entrusted to his care (1979-80). He did five years of probation and
surfaced with contacts to writer Bob Rosen, to whom he gave information
to write a book called Nowhere Man. Before that, Rosen wrote speeches
for the secretary of the Air Force, Hans Mark, who served from 1979
to February 1981. Seamon also fed Lennon information to Albert Goldman,
which Astucia calls, "one of the most well-known efforts of posthumous
character assassination of Lennon." Hans Mark and his father,
Herman Mark, go back to Edward Teller, inventor of the hydrogen bomb,
and friend of Henry Kissinger and Theodor Herzl, the papa of Zionism,
a crowd of assassins if ever there was one, exactly the kind of folks
Lennon would have gone after had he lived.
Chapman, Perdomo and Jay Hastings are put aside and there are accounts
of a "handyman" who could have been the shooter. Astucia
believes it could have been Seaman. Seaman had complete access to
the Lennon apartment and elevator, and could be seen as a "maintenance
man" or "elevator man," and could have been present
on the night of the assassination, shuffling back and forth at any
time. It's ironic that officer Peter Cullen had originally said it
was the "handyman" who shot Lennon. Was it indeed Seaman,
hiding in the dark doorway to the service elevator who did it? He
certainly had the low-life credentials. So it goes for now, the search
to find justice, and how life is stranger almost than anything we
Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer residing in Manhattan.
Reach him at: [email protected]