FBI Spied On Pro-Immigrant Folk Singer For 2 Decades
New secret files released this week have revealed that America’s FBI launched a relentless surveillance campaign against folk legend and acclaimed activist Pete Seeger after the then unknown singer wrote a protest letter during the 2nd world war protesting against a US proposal to deport all Japanese American citizens.
“If you bar from citizenship descendants of Japanese, why not descendants of English? After all, we once fought with them too,” the then 20 year old soldier wrote in the letter that so alarmed authorities.
“America is great and strong as she is because we have so far been a haven to all oppressed. I felt sick at heart to read of this matter,” he added. (NZHerald)
The vast 1,800-page report revealed that FBI agents discovered he’d dressed as a ‘bohemian’ at school and also that agents asked fellow folk singer Woody Guthrie whether Seeger cold be trusted. Though Guthrie said he could, the FBI reportedly discounted his opinion when they found a guitar in Guthriee’s apartment on which was written ‘This machine kills fascists’. (Guardian)
Seeger’s experiences preceded those of John Lennon who was also heavily monitored by the FBI after he became increasingly socially conscious as the Beatles imploded.
University of California historian Jon Wiener, author of ‘Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files’ discovered that at one point FBI agents printed up a wanted poster for internal use which declared ‘Lennon should be arrested, if at all possible, on possession of narcotics charges’, after British secret police force MI5 flagged him up as a subversive.
“Lennon “has encouraged the belief that he hold revolutionary views. . . by the content of some of his songs”, Mr Wiener quoted from the files, during a radio interview some years ago. “
“This seems to be a reference to Lennon’s song “Power to the People” — hardly a national security secret,” he added.