Imagine that 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
Imagine 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.
Imagine 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.
Imagine 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.
Imagine 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.
Imagine 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
Imagine, 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 room.
Who Was Jose Perdomo?
Imagine 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.
Imagine 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.'"
Imagine 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!
Imagine 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.
Imagine from the book, The Fish is Red: The Story of the Secret War Against
Castro, by Warren Hinckle and William Turner, these descriptions of Sanjenis/Perdomo:
"Sanjenis 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 . . .
"Sanjenis 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 . . .
"Sanjenis 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
Imagine 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
Imagine 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.
Imagine 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?
Imagine 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?
Imagine 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
Given the 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 of being.
Imagine as Fred McGunagle did in his article for Court TV's Crime Library,
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.
Imagine 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.
Imagine, 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.
Imagine, 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 6, 1980.
Imagine 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 the ocean."
Imagine 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
What Is the Motive for All This?
Imagine 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.
Imagine 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.
Imagine 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.
Imagine 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
Imagine 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.
Imagine 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.
Imagine 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.
Imagine 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.
Imagine 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
Imagine 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 colleague's work.
Imagine 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."
Imagine 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.
Imagine 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.
Imagine 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.
Imagine 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.
Imagine, 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
Imagine 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."
Imagine 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 place.
The Last Hanger-On and Suspect, Fred Seaman
Imagine 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.
Imagine 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 can imagine.
Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer residing in Manhattan.
Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.