A weaponized FBI is nothing new. Just ask The Monkees

The last remaining member of the 1960’s made-for-TV group is demanding that the FBI hand over its files on his band.

Whether or not anything of substance emerges from the FBI’s raid on Donald Trump is yet to be known. Unless the former president stole nuclear codes or some other high level threat to U.S. national security, the nation’s top law enforcement making such a dramatic move under a Democratic president against a political opponent,… well, let’s just say that sets a bad precedent. At the VERY least.

Many continue to believe it was a political hit job by a weaponized FBI. If true, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time the FBI targeted someone for political reasons. The agency raiding and surveilling civilians in ways that are in line with the ideology or agenda of the administration they serve under is nothing new.

Just ask one-time suspected radical Mickey Dolenz of the alleged extremist group The Monkees.

Here he is singing the highly suspect, very-dangerous sounding “I’m a Believer.”

YouTube player

Most know The Monkees as cherub-faced heartthrobs whose other hits like “The Last Train to Clarksville” and “Daydream Believer” made teen girls swoon in the late 1960’s.

But again, the FBI took a different view.

The New York Post reported on Tuesday that the last surviving member of the group, Mickey Dolenz, was suing the Department of Justice in order to obtain the FBI’s secret files compiled on the group. The Post reported, “The FBI’s website confirms the band is a subject of two files — including, mysteriously, one that is ‘redacted entirely.”

The Post continued, “The other is a 1967 Los Angeles Field Office memorandum that was released in a heavily redacted form in 2011 — unknown at the time to Dolenz and his attorney.”

I would love to see what needed heavy redacting regarding one of the most harmless bubblegum musical groups in modern pop history. I wonder if there is a Selena Gomez file?

The FBI file marked ‘THE MONKEYS’ said the agency had looked into “four young men who dress as ‘beatnik types’ who ‘sang as a ‘combo.’”

What were these “beatnik” hooligans up to?

“An FBI informant — whose identity was redacted — detailed how The Monkees played live with ‘subliminal messages’ on a stage — which ‘constituted ‘left-wing intervention of a political nature,” the Post reported.


The report added, “These messages and pictures were flashed of riots, in Berkley, anti-US messages on the war in Vietnam, racial riots in Selma, Alabama, and similar messages which had received unfavorable response from the audience,’ the file said.”

Dolenz originally tried to get these materials under the Freedom of Information Act, but those requests were reportedly ignored.

The Monkees were being watched for their anti-war activities at the time and were targeted for being on the opposite side of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s views on the subject. This was during a time when Martin Luther King, Jr. was being spied on by the agency. They kept tabs on and even threatened John Lennon. Jimi Hendrix was targeted. In fact, the FBI’s files on many celebrities through various eras is extensive.

We can laugh about the ridiculousness of this now, but at the time this was the U.S. government seeking to enforce government narratives about the anti-Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movements by intimidating high profile figures who might lead the public ‘astray.’

Most Americans today would likely say that the political and pop culture figures I have cited here got history right more than the government goons who were harassing them.

Those on the Right who now want to defund the FBI over the Mar-a-Lago incident might be driven by Trump partisanship, but they also have a larger and more salient point: Why, in the United States, where we have a First Amendment,  is there a supreme law enforcement agency with a long history of going after the ruling regime’s political enemies? Of trying to police thought and speech, whether from celebrities or regular folks?

What country is this?

Political targeting might not be the case regarding the raid on Donald Trump’s home. Time will tell.

But how that issue plays out will not change the fact that a large part of what the FBI does, and has done historically, has been unconstitutional, unconscionable and deeply unAmerican.

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Jack Hunter
Jack Hunterhttp://LibertyTree.com
Jack Hunter is a freelance writer, the co-author of Sen. Rand Paul’s 2011 book ‘The Tea Party Goes to Washington’ and the former politics editor for Rare.us.