The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #18383   Message #181725
Posted By: katlaughing
20-Feb-00 - 02:19 PM
Thread Name: John Lennon in the News.
Subject: RE: John Lennon in the News.
I haven't seen this yet in the papers, Rick, so for anyone else who's missed this morning's top story, here's "da scoop" from Reuters:

Sunday February 20 7:29 AM ET
Pacifist Lennon Funded IRA, Reports Say
LONDON (Reuters) - Former Beatle John Lennon, famed for his bed-bound protests for peace, may have helped fund the Irish Republican Army's war against the British in the early 1970s, according to a former British intelligence agent.

The Observer newspaper on Sunday said it had seen a court statement by ex-spy David Shayler, which said he was shown MI5 files in 1993 that included references to Lennon giving money to the paramilitary group.

The files referred directly to Lennon's support for the Trotskyist Workers' Revolutionary Party (WRP), whose members included actress Vanessa Redgrave.

The paper said Shayler's statement claimed an MI5 source within the WRP said the late pop star, who was shot dead in 1980, had contributed tens of thousands of pounds (dollars) to the group as well as funding the IRA.

``I believe Lennon's funding of the IRA is perfectly consistent with his support for the civil rights movement,'' Shayler, who is in exile in Paris after being threatened with arrest for breaking Britain's Official Secrets Act, told the Observer.

Lennon, who joined ``Troops Out'' marches and once held up a sign saying ``Victory for the IRA against British imperialism'' at a London rally against internment without trial, was known to support Irish independence.

``I wouldn't be at all surprised if he gave money to the IRA,'' Beatles biographer Hunter Davies said. ``John liked stirring it up. He was very generous and spontaneous.''

Shayler's claims came after a U.S. federal judge ruled that three letters about Lennon from an unidentified foreign government -- believed to be Britain -- be turned over to college professor Jon Wiener.

Wiener, a history professor at the University of California, wants to use the letters as part of his legal battle to obtain 10 classified documents remaining in Lennon's Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) file in the United States.

The professor, who has written a book called ``Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files,'' is unconvinced by Shayler's claims and said it was possible MI5 had been misinformed about Lennon and the IRA.

``It was well known that he identified with, and spoke out in favor of, the Irish civil rights movement. But that doesn't mean that he provided financial support for the IRA,'' Wiener told the BBC.