September 25, 2022

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The lawsuit says the last living member of the Monkees wants to see the squad's FBI

The lawsuit says the last living member of the Monkees wants to see the squad’s FBI

Suspension

The Monkees weren’t exactly the poster children of the anti-Vietnam War movement in the late 1960s, but the pop-rock band was still the subject of an FBI file. In it, a customer reported seeing “subliminal messages” on a screen at one of their concerts, depicting protests against racial equality and “anti-American messages about the war in Vietnam.”

who – which severely revised file From 1967 it was declassified about a decade ago. But now, the last surviving member of the American rock group, Mickey Dolenz, wants to know more. Tuesday, Dolenz, 77, He sued the Department of Justice for publishing information the FBI had collected about the band and its members from that time period.

“If the documents are still out there, I fully expect we’ll learn more about what prompted the FBI to target the Monkes or those around them,” Attorney Mark Zeid, who represents Dolenz, told The Washington Post.

The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Post about Dolenz’s lawsuit, which was First mentioned by Rolling Stone.

The Monkees was compiled in 1966 by television producers into a sitcom that ran for two seasons. Their style largely mimicked British invasion bands such as the Beatles, and the Monkees had several hit songs, including “I’m a Believer” and “The Last Train to Clarksville”. The band broke up in 1970.

In the 1960s, FBI J. Edgar Hoover censored and harassed civil rights figures and countercultures, such as The Post and other news outlets revealed at that time. That observation has at times centered on popular culture icons who spoke out against the Vietnam War, such as John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix.

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The Monkees were also caught on government surveillance. in 2016 interview with Rolling StoneDolenz said his band’s 1966 song “Last Train to Clarksville” was an anti-war song about a man who goes to an army base and doesn’t know when he’ll be back with his girlfriend. But what exactly caught the FBI’s attention about the band—apart from what the agent called “left wing” photos during a 1967 party—is unclear.

Much of the seven-page memo released by the agency has been redacted, though Zeid told The Post that there are likely other files based on what is shown in the declassified document.

“Obviously there are other files linked,” he said. “Now, it may not be on the Monkees directly – it may be marginal – but these files are linked to other files.”

It was Zedd who suggested that Dolenz, whom he met through a mutual friend in April, demand more information about his squad’s FBI files, he told the newspaper. The Washington-based lawyer represented government whistleblowers, including The person who made the complaint Which eventually led to the first impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

But the 55-year-old attorney has a personal interest in the Monkees case. As a kid, his babysitter across the street gave him all of their Monkees albums, and when the band went on a reunion tour in 1986, Zedd was there. He told The Post he’s seen them live about eight more times.

“I mean, literally, that’s fun for me,” Zaid, who is working on the case pro bono, said of filing the lawsuit for the FBI’s files.

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With Zed’s help, Dolenz submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for documents to the FBI in June. He demanded the agency review the revised document and provide other potential files related to the band and its members, according to the lawsuit.

The government has 20 business days to respond to FOIA requests, except for “unusual circumstances. The lawsuit says Dolenz has so far only received acknowledgments of his requests.

“Any window that looks at what the FBI intends to do could open another window,” Zeid said. “That’s the beauty of having access to these types of files – because there are a few nuggets and bits inside that can lead to a bigger picture in understanding what was going on inside the FBI at the time.”