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article imageOp-Ed: Lost Lennon interview discovered – Message of peace still 'lost'

By Craig Boehman     Sep 26, 2013 in Entertainment
A Canadian interview with John Lennon was discovered in the attic of a former New York broadcaster. The reel-to-reel tape recounts the late Beatles' 1969 peace mission to Montreal and a visit with then Canadian PM Pierre Trudeau.
Village Voice's Howard Smith conducted the 90-minute interview at the Mississauga mansion of rockabilly star Ronnie Hawkins. The historic visit by Yoko Ono and the soon-to-be ex-Beatle was intended to launch the couple's peace initiatives along with a Woodstock-esque concert in Toronto in 1970 (which never materialized).
According to Lennon, Canada was his second choice for his mission after he was barred from entering the U.S on a previous marijuana conviction.
“We think Canada’s a good place. We tried to come in (to the U.S.) to do it,” said Lennon. “We ended up in Montreal, which turned out to be a good thing — you know, that’s how the whole Canada thing happened.”
The “whole Canadian thing” apparently meant that foreign peace activists, especially those with superstar profiles, were still welcome within the borders of Canada during the social upheaval of the late 60's while a very unpopular war raged on in Vietnam. It's easy to imagine the same scenario unfolding if Ono's and Lennon' visit happened in 2013 – excluding the visit with the conservative Stephen Harper, naturally.
Lennon's denial of entrance to the US and 'settling' for Canada highlighted two very troubling issues still present today. First, the lack of freedom to move between international borders, and second, the suppression of popular dissent by the state.
A 28-year old John Lennon in 2013 would have faced monumental resistance from the US government had he tried a similar mission in the backdrop of today's security-surveillance statism. Assuming Lennon would have been denied entry to the US and permitted to enter the Commonwealth of Canada without a fuss, he would have had to depart the UK first, likely through Heathrow airport, where Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald's partner was detained by British authorities under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. Coincidentally, the 28-year old David Miranda was held at Heathrow for nine hours, the maximum time allowed by law, and questioned about his involvement with the NSA-Snowden leaks. Would Lennon have been treated similarly by UK authorities? If happiness were a warm gun, maybe they would have seized Lennon's guitar at the very least. Officials certainly didn't have an issue stealing Miranda's laptop and other personal effects during their official 'investigation' of terrorism.
Dissent is a natural reaction to tyranny in all its illustrious forms. It's the classic case of the message and the messenger – all of which the security-surveillance state seeks to suppress. The message could be one of revelation that the government is not your buddy and representative after all, that the government is spying on you because it doesn't trust you, without a sane reason, without due cause, without real oversight, without a verifiable warrant. The messenger could be a prominent celebrity or musician – or the partner of a journalist who reported on some of the most damnable secrets disclosed by a whistleblower. The messenger could be you or me.
There's still a slim chance, but a chance just the same, that US planners seeking war with Syria could be thwarted. It seems that popular opposition to the war with Syria has temporarily stymied Obama's efforts to start yet another disastrous conflict in the Middle East. As a last resort, the US government might better serve the public (and the world) by financing the $5,000 the Lennon interview is expected to fetch at auction. If Lennon's message of peace could be actualized, it would be a bargain compared to the billions that would likely be dumped into the slaughtering of more innocent lives at the additional cost of our civil liberties.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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