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FBI Wiretapped Hemingway 254

Hugh Pickens writes "On the fiftieth anniversary of the death by suicide of author Ernest Hemingway, his friend and biographer A. E. Hotchner writes in the NY Times that the man who 'had stood his ground against charging water buffaloes, who had flown missions over Germany, who had refused to accept the prevailing style of writing but, enduring rejection and poverty, had insisted on writing in his own unique way, this man, my deepest friend, was afraid — afraid that the FBI was after him, that his body was disintegrating, that his friends had turned on him, that living was no longer an option.' In the midst of depression and under treatment at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota, Hemingway was convinced that his room was bugged, his phone was tapped, and suspected that one of the interns was a fed. Decades later, in response to a Freedom of Information petition, the FBI released its Hemingway file. It revealed that beginning in the 1940s J. Edgar Hoover had placed Hemingway under surveillance because he was suspicious of Ernest's activities in Cuba. The surveillance continued all through his confinement at St. Mary's Hospital, making it likely that the phone outside his room was tapped after all. 'In the years since, I have tried to reconcile Ernest's fear of the FBI, which I regretfully misjudged, with the reality of the FBI file,' writes Hotchner, author of Papa Hemingway and Hemingway and His World. 'I now believe he truly sensed the surveillance, and that it substantially contributed to his anguish and his suicide.'"
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FBI Wiretapped Hemingway

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  • by rbrander ( 73222 ) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @05:02PM (#36643532) Homepage

    The immunity to telecoms that accepted requests to wiretap without warrants, the revenge taken on Qwest for not doing so, the new rules that pretty much allow warrantless wiretapping at will...those powers would never be abused by today's FBI. They are all staunch and true. There's no chance of this happening now. No way are they going to snoop on friends-of-relatives-of suspected possible terrorists. Zero chance that people who impress a girlfriend by going to a march to support that Gaza blockade ship (which helps Gaza, which helps Hamas, who are terrorists, who no-doubt support other terrorists that might attack us some day) will find themselves on a list.

    Don't be paranoid. We don't need a government of laws when we have a government of such good men who only want to protect us.

    From terrorists.

    And communists.

  • by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @05:10PM (#36643576)

    Worth pointing out is that there is a competing school of thought, which regards his suicide as likely having been an accident.

  • by drougie ( 36782 ) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @05:41PM (#36643700) Homepage

    He was bipolar, with paranoid delusions most amplified during mixed episodes (happy and not happy psychosis in the same package -- a bad trip).

    And you're right, that he was a manic depressive with persecutory delusions and that he was indeed being spied upon by law enforcement doesn't mean he wasn't nuts -- obviously the case in Hemingway's case. Maybe it was self-fulfilling.

  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @07:05PM (#36644034)

    ...doesn't mean there isn't one. I am quite sure a large percentage of the paranoid notions out there are not true, but then there are the facts that surface much later that prove to have been true.

    it's exactly this kinda crap that keeps the seeds of doubt sewn in my mind each and every time the government tells the people something.

    Put it this way: every single time some government official, from the President of the United States on down says, "we need new power 'x' in order to make you safe from 'y'", We the People need to reply with a resounding "Prove it!" Make these bastards fight for every new power they try to assume. Sometimes they're right ... but I want to hear more than fear-mongering and manufactured statistics.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @07:16PM (#36644066) Journal
    Given that the Office of The Inspector General, not exactly a noted hotbed of antigovernment radicals or clinical paranoids, fairly recently concluded [] that the FBI's use of 'National Security Letters', 'Exigent Letters', and similar spook stuff was in flagrant violation even of their own extremely broad discretion and weak internal policies, I'm going to say that you haven't heard because the FBI does their best to be quiet, and nobody really cares that much...
  • Re:Unfortunately... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tyrione ( 134248 ) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @07:23PM (#36644098) Homepage
    They have been given authority by several Congressional Laws throughout several decades. Stop thinking this is June 21, 1788 and we just ratified the US Constitution. Protections have been slowly disintegrating shortly after the last remnant of the Founding Fathers were in power and had pull to protect them. Stop voting in Evangelical Fundamentalists and you'll see how much push back Congress will actually do to keep a checks n' balance with the FBI. Stop sitting around ignoring all the Militia nut jobs around and take them more seriously because the FBI certainly does and must to keep even your ass from being threatened. The blade cuts both ways.

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.