INTERVIEW WITH MAE BRUSSELL ON THE ASSASSINATION OF JOHN ONO LENNON
A short while ago we had the pleasure of talking to noted assassination/conspiracy researcher Mae Brussell at her home in Carmel, California. Mae was kind enough to share some of her thoughts on the murder of John Lennon last December 8, 1980 in New York City. She is just starting her 11th year of broadcasting on radio KLRB, Carmel, CA.
Tom: What would be the motive to kill John Lennon on December 8, 1980? Lennon had been in seclusion for many years and had not yet released his new album.
Mae: Both the date of Lennon's murder, and the careful selection of this particular victim are very important. Six weeks after Lennon's death, Ronald Reagan would become President. Reagan and his soon-to-be appointed cabinet were prepared to build up the Pentagon war machine and increase the potential for war against the USSR. The first strike would fall on small countries like El Salvador and Guatemala. Lennon, alone, was the only man (even without his fellow Beatles) who had the ability to draw out one million anti-war protestors in any given city within 24 hours, if he opposed those war policies.
John Lennon was a spiritual force. He was a giant, like Gandhi, a man who wrote about peace and brotherly love. He taught an entire generation to think for themselves and to challenge authority. Lennon and the Beatles' songs shout out the inequalities life and the messages of change. Change is a threat to the longtime status quo that Reagan's team exemplified.
On my weekly radio broadcast of December 7, 1980, I stated that "the old assassination teams are coming back into power." The very people responsible for covering up the murders of President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert Kennedy, Reverend Martin Luther King, for Watergate and Koreagate, and the kidnapping and murder of Howard Hughes, and for hundreds of other deaths, had only six weeks before they would again be removing or silencing those voices of opposition to their policies.
Lennon was coming out once more. His album was cut. He was preparing to be part of the world, a world which was a worse place since the time he had withdrawn with his family. It was a sure bet Lennon would react and become a social activist again. That was the threat. Lennon realized that there was danger coming back into public view. He took that dangerous chance, and we all lost!
Tom: The common assumption is that Mark David Chapman, arrested the moment he killed John Lennon, was acting out his personal love-hate relationship with Lennon. Why do you have to look for a larger conspiracy than the conflicts in Chapman's own head?
Mae: Single crimes of passion are easy to explain and easy to solve. When someone is gunned down who is controversial, has political enemies, is hated by wealthy and well-organized religious movements, and is an open opponent of government policies at home and abroad, that kind of murder requires much more inquiry into the background of the assassin. The conclusions about the murder motive may turn out to be simple. Yet, in every political assassination since 1963, there were always more unanswered questions that led to a broader supposition of intention to kill by a group of people rather than one single individual.
Tom: What is the first clue you look for if you are suspicious of a larger conspiracy to assassinate, whether it is John Lennon, President John F. Kennedy, or the recent attempts on President Reagan and Pope John Paul II?
Mae: There are necessary connecting links in every assassination conspiracy. If any link of that chain falls apart and becomes exposed, the parts of the larger plot are more visible. When every element of that chain holds together and is present in the evidence and testimony regarding any particular murder, there has to be a larger conspiracy. (See accompanying diagram)
The most important link in that chain is the selected decoy or patsy. Whoever is arrested at the scene of the crime, to the exclusion of other suspicious persons, becomes the "assassin." This single person must serve a purpose, namely, to divert all attention away from those people who have armed him and located him at the scene of the crime.
Letters and diaries are always present and easily located to support the predetermined cover story. They provide a "motive", and are the glue that cements (we are told) the "loner" to his single purpose.
In preparation for his "act", the decoy or patsy is moved across countries or overseas, traveling and staying at safe houses. He has no friends, no jobs, no means of support while at the same time staying at fancy hotels, spending lots of money, getting phone messages, and meeting lots of people. Very few people have the money to spend years in transit like these patsies, whose chances of being in selected locations at the precise moment their victim is murdered are minute and impossible without assistance.
Tom: Who was Mark David Chapman? What was there in his background that made you suspicious that he had been selected for a "decoy" or "patsy" by other persons who wanted Lennon dead?
Mae: Chapman came from a conservative military family who had moved from Fort Worth, Texas to Florida. He had become a "Jesus Freak" at the time Lennon and the Beatles were getting death threats during the anti-war period. Joining this movement while supposedly loving and admiring Lennon was a gross contradiction, for the religious fundamentalists were furious that Lennon considered himself better known and loved than Jesus.
DeKalb County, Georgia, just to the east of Atlanta, figures prominently in Chapman's life as it had some years earlier in that of Martin Luther King. In 1977 in a court affidavit, Robert Byron Watson, former employee of Magellon's Art Gallery, Atlanta, named several citizens as having planned and bragged about the "future murder of Reverend Martin Luther King." King's death came just one week after the plans were discussed. These same people also talked about murdering Senator Robert Kennedy.
Chapman attended DeKalb Junior College in the area where these kinds of plans were laid and such political anger was being vented. From DeKalb County, Chapman was sent to Beirut, Lebanon. He was handed the funds both ways. Beirut was the center for George Habash and CIA assassination teams also identified in the Watson testimony before the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1977-78.
On March 31, 1981, United Press International exposed the connection of "military training in a guerrilla camp" in Beirut, Lebanon to "worldwide Nazi ties."
After six months in Lebanon, Chapman went to Fort Chaffee, Arkansas to work with Vietnam refugees recently arrived from Southeast Asia. Members of the CIA were with him at this military base.
William Colby's Vietnam Phoenix program, staffed with agents who intensely hated the anti-war, social activists like John Lennon, had both the intent and the means to move persons like Chapman to their training camps and then to specific places planned as sites for future assassinations. Colby came back to the U.S. to become Director of the C.I.A. at a time (1973) when "Operation Chaos" was in full swing against the hippies, rock musicians, and anti-war protestors. Many of them were killed or otherwise neutralized.
From Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, Chapman moved to Lookout Mountain, Tennessee to attend Presbyterian College.
Martin Luther King, a victim of plans made in DeKalb County, Georgia, was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee. Senator Howard Baker from Tennessee and CIA Director William Colby were making deals to cover up Watergate crimes in 1974-75, year before Chapman moved to Tennessee.
According to news reports, Chapman "fled" Tennessee to Hawaii in 1976. His earliest arrest records indicated he had committed crimes in Florida, but the authorities later blamed these crimes on another person, excusing the mix-up as a "computer mistake." Many patsies and decoys have earlier arrest records that are used to keep them silent and actively cooperative for fear of going to jail. Was there any connection between the Florida identification and the reason for Chapman's flight to Hawaii?
Hawaii has been the scene of many clandestine operations. Many CIA Vietnamese and members of the Special Forces, now safely removed from Vietnam, were assembled in Hawaii. The Nugan Hand Bank, an Australian conduit for CIA "black money", actually assassination funds, kept a branch in Hawaii. Herbert Mullen, convicted of mass murders in California, appeared perfectly normal until he was sent to a military hospital in Hawaii. It was in Maui that he went through his "religious thinking" and evolved as a killer. Ed Sanders, author of The Family, a book about the Manson Family, obtained documents regarding a mysterious trip Mullen took to Hawaii before he later became a programmed killer.
The years from 1976 to 1978 in Chapman's biography are still vague and murky: two years of limited employment and "mental treatment." Allegedly, he was in the hospital for a mental breakdown. On the other hand, if there were any evidence of mental instability, would not his permit application to buy the murder weapon have been denied?
There were many years, months, days when Chapman could have been mentally programmed to become like the "Manchurian Candidate," specifically to murder John Lennon, if and when he re-entered public life. Lennon was not threat until the U.S. was getting close to another war.
Subsequently, Chapman took a long "vacation", including a trip around the world. During this voyage he made a trip to Switzerland to meet a pal from DeKalb County, Georgia, the same man who earlier had arranged the original trip to Lebanon. The journey culminated in London with a rare visit to a live Lennon concert.
Chapman's wife, who worked for a travel agency, "arranged his itinerary". The source of the money for his fare, hotels, food, concerts, has never been identified, although Pacific Holding Ltd., a "tourism" company formed by the CIA and Special Forces, may be implicated. Both groups had funds to hire assassination teams.
When Chapman left his job in Hawaii, October 23, 1980, he flew to Atlanta, GA. From Georgia, he went to New York City with the intention of killing John Lennon, but was apparently able to resist the "master inside himself", a conflict he describes, and returned to Hawaii. Before long, however, Hawaii was again behind him, and Chapman arrived in New York on December 5, 1980 with the specific plan to kill John Lennon, which he did three days later.
Tom: What you are talking about is only circumstantial. There is no proof that the CIA or any government agency manipulated Chapman for their purposes. When does the proof of a conspiracy ever become apparent?
Mae: The burden of proof of conspiracy is put upon the private investigator. The common denominator in all these cases are those links in the conspiracy chain (see diagram) which show the relevant questions to be asked: Were there other persons along with Chapman shooting at Lennon to make sure he died? Who fled the scene in a hurry, never sought again by law enforcement agencies? Why did the New York police adamantly refuse to accept pictures of Chapman taken autographing an album earlier in the evening of the murder? Why were they donated to a newspaper after the police refused to accept them? When Chapman's wife was called by the New York Police, why did they instruct her, "Don't release any picture of him."? How could Miami Police issue an erroneous description of a criminal record having the same last name, date of birth, race, and approximate height as the slaying suspect? Can we ever see the picture of the Florida suspect? If Chapman was treated for mental illness in Hawaii, how did he procure the weapon in Hawaii? How did Chapman transport the gun from the Island to the Mainland? (This question was dismissed by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agents, who said, "No investigation was in progress.")
Money was never a problem for this wanderer. He and his wife lived in a $400 a month apartment and were able to support his hobby of collecting expensive works of art. Owning original Norman Rockwell lithographs worth $7,500, and traveling around the world aren't impossible, if there is some kind of occupation that provides the money for these luxuries.
If Chapman wrote "John Lennon" on his job work sheet on October 23, 1980, it would seem impossible for someone not to notice this message until the day after Lennon was murdered. Employment log sheets are usually added up regularly to determine the hours worked and amount of pay checks. It is more probable that Chapman wrote this name at that time so that his cover story, his defense after the murder, would be his mental identification with John Lennon.
Chapman's intention to find Lennon, as just another adoring Beatle fan, must be separated from the question of who transported him from Hawaii to Georgia to New York, back to Hawaii, and back again to New York, with lots of cash, and with the sole purpose of killing Lennon.
Jimmy Breslin, New York columnist, was impressed that Mark David Chapman could be such a "good shot" with "no military background at all." But Chapman had been trained to shoot. He had learned to become a security guard in Georgia before his trips to Lebanon and to the many countries where he could have been instructed in killing. What about Ft. Chaffee? Why not shooting practice in Tennessee? What about military bases in Hawaii? What gives Breslin and the New York Daily News the right to make such statements without an inkling of Chapman's background?
Like all the other "loner" drifters, Chapman stayed at expensive hotels. His last evening before killing Lennon was spent at the Sheraton Centre Hotel in New York. He was carrying more than $2,000 in cash along with his credit cards. Where did he get these cards, and on what basis was the money earned and saved to establish credit to qualify for these cards?
Tom: You apparently believe there was a government conspiracy to assassinate and silence John Lennon which was conducted by the same people who murdered other political figures and musicians in the past eighteen years?
Mae: Absolutely! The federal government has maintained active programs to eliminate rock musicians and disrupt rock concerts. Senator Frank Church's Committee hearings in 1975 and the FBI Cointel-Programs clearly document the intent to break up any gatherings of the "new left". Nothing brought anti-war demonstrators together with political messages more effectively than music festivals.
There is hard evidence the CIA assigned agents to "investigate the music industry." After the murders of Tim Buckley, Jim Croce, and Mama Cass Elliot, more information surfaced about earlier mysterious deaths of Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Janis Joplin. Listed below, but not updated this past year, are some of the rock musicians who have died since the Huston Plan and the FBI Cointel-Program were activated. If these people had been taking any kinds of drugs, there is the distinct possibility that specific poisons were added to their drugs, enough to be fatal, to make it appear that they had died from a simple "overdose".
John Lennon Paul Kossoff John Bonham Elvis Presley Jim Reeves Steve Parson Buddy Holly Berry Oakley Bob Marley Otis Redding Tim Buckley Sal Mineo Brian Jones Jim Croce Harry Chapin Jimi Hendrix Richard Earina Brian Epstein, Beatles manager Janis Joplin Lenny Bruce Jim Morrison Larry Williams Michael Jeffery, Jimi Hendrix manager Duane Allman Bon Scott, AC/DC Mama Cass Elliot Richie Valens Rod McKernan, "Pig Pen" of the Grateful Dead Gram Parsons J. P. Richardson Phil Oakes Ronnie Van Zandt Marc Bolan Steve Gains Donald Rex Jackson, Grateful Dead mgr. Keith Moon Sid Viscious
Rod McKernan, "Pig Pen" of the Grateful Dead Donald Rex Jackson, Grateful
The murder of John Lennon is the tragic finale to an entire era, the reminder that once an artist becomes as popular and as political as he was, his enemies will be waiting to make sure his messages never appear again to awaken the slumbering youth.