Three decades since the shooting death of John Lennon, a new theory suggests that the murderer was a CIA “hitman”.
The book by Phil Strongman, John Lennon — Life, Times And Assassination, claims that the presumed killer was a trained CIA assassin, who didn’t act alone in killing the peace-activist musician.
When he was arrested, John Lennon’s killer Mark David Chapman told police mantrically: “I acted alone. Lennon had to die.”
A hypnotic-eyed 25-year-old Chapman, stood quietly at the scene of the shooting. The gun he used for his crime lay on the ground near the blood-stained glasses of the musician. When the police arrived, they found Chapman leaning against a wall, flipping through a copy of J.D. Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye. The prevailing theory has been that the lead character in the book was the inspiration for Chapman’s actions.
Chapman didn’t run or resist. He just repeated to police: “I acted alone”, even while no one had yet asked such a question. Later, at precinct headquarters, he said to detectives: “Lennon had to die,” almost robotically.
The police and fans alike came to believe that Chapman was simply a delusional nerd – a druggie who was psychologically disturbed, who had killed Lennon because he was fixated on him.
Lennon’s extravagant life-style incensed the delusional fan. Betrayed and insulted by the realization that his hero wasn’t living the austere life he had imagined for the peace-activist, Chapman wanted to be famous for something, and prove that he had power.
This prevailing theory has satisfied most over the past three decades. But in his new book, author Phil Strongman suggests that Chapman was merely a stooge. Lennon’s real assassin, Strongman claims, was the CIA — who were motivated by the demands of Right-wing politicians and interests who wanted to see the peace-proponent out of the American cultural picture.
Strongman contests many of assumed “facts” about the case, including the assumption that Chapman was a even a fan of the Beatles and Lennon. Strongman explains that, until the weekend just before the killing: “Chapman, the supposed Lennon ‘obsessive’ and ‘fan of fans’, did not own one Lennon single, book or album. Not one. Some ‘fan’, some ‘obsession’.”
Strongman also says that claims of 14 hours of Lennon’s music in Chapman’s rucksack are pure fabrications: “They have never been photographed or produced for the simple reason that they do not exist.”
Strongman also discounts the theory that Chapman was simply a loser seeking attention and fame, to give meaning to his other-wise meaningless life: “If he was an attention-seeker, then why did he turn down the chance of what would have been the trial of the century? By pleading guilty, Chapman missed all of this attention he was supposedly seeking. Why?”
Strongman argues further that Chapman had been recruited by the CIA and trained by them during otherwise unexplained travels around the world. Chapman was, for instance, in Beirut at a time when the Lebanese capital was a hotbed of CIA activity. In fact, at this time, Beirut was said to have been the home of the primary CIA assassination training camp.
Chapman also lived in Hawaii for a number of years, near another CIA training facility.
Strongman poses the question: how did a completely broke, unemployed man afford an around-the-world trip in 1975, visiting Japan, the UK, India, Nepal, Korea, Vietnam and China, amongst other costly travel destinations.
Where did the money come from?
Additionally, Strongman claims that “Catcher In The Rye was part of Chapman’s hypnotic programming, a trigger that could be ‘fired’ at him by a few simple keywords [via] a cassette tape message, telex or telegram or even a mere telephone call.”
Strongman does not believe that Chapman acted alone, and he even doubts whether or not Chapman fired the fatal shots.
“The bullets slapped into Lennon’s body so closely together that pathologists later had trouble marking out the different entry points. If all of these shots came from Chapman, it was a miraculous piece of shooting. In fact, if any of them came from him it was miraculous because Chapman was standing on Lennon’s right and, as the autopsy report and death certificate later made clear, all Lennon’s wounds were in the left side of his body.”
Strongman insists that here had to be another shooter. His suspicion is increased by the cursory nature of the police investigation.
“His bizarre post-killing calm was not questioned, his behavior was not checked with a drugs test, his ‘programmed’ state [a word used about him by more than one police officer] was not investigated, his previous movements were not thoroughly looked into. Put simply, the authorities’ investigation, or lack or it, into the assassination was shockingly slack and beggars belief.”
Strongman writes further that: ‘I am as convinced as any human being can be that elements of both the FBI and CIA were undoubtedly behind a cover-up in December 1980. They were also deeply involved in the killing itself.”
“I felt that by killing him I would become somebody and, instead of that, I became a murderer and murderers are not somebodies.”
Meanwhile, it is important to note that Chapman has denied this, claiming that his assassination targets were purely for the sake of his own notoriety: “They were famous, that was it.” There was no other reason according to Chapman, other than gaining fame for killing famous people.
What do you think?
(Article by Ezekiel Adam; image portrayals of Chapman from the movie Chapter 27)