21-01-14

JEAN SEBERG: EEN AMERIKAANSE TRAGEDIE

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Gisteravond zag ik een magnifieke documentaire over Jean Seberg, ‘Eternelle Jean Seberg’ van Anne Andreu. Hoewel ik haar levensverhaal ken was ik opnieuw verontwaardigd. Een geweldige actrice, een voorvechtster voor gelijke rechten, voor individuele en artistieke vrijheid, een idealistische vrouw die iedereen zou moeten bewonderen – kapot gemaakt door de paranoïde J. Edgar Hoover en zijn FBI-agenten en, ook dat verhaal klinkt vertrouwd, de gewillige media. Een vrouw die voor ons allen een voorbeeld had kunnen zijn, de ‘heldin’ van ‘A bout de souffle’, het eerste meesterwerk van Jean-Luc Godard, werd door hypocriete moraalridders zo lang opgejaagd en geïntimideerd dat er voor haar maar een uitweg meer bleef: zelfmoord. (Als het al zelfmoord was, want de mogelijkheid dat ze vermoord werd is nog altijd niet uitgesloten.)

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Ik wil haar levensverhaal hier niet nog eens herhalen. Probeer de documentaire te zien, en zeker een aantal van haar films. Hieronder een kort stuk uit Wikipedia over de methodes van de FBI om iemand te ‘neutraliseren’.

“During the late 1960s, Seberg provided financial support to various groups supporting civil rights, such as the NAACP and Native American school groups such as the Meskwaki Bucks at the Tama settlement near her home town of Marshalltown, for whom she purchased US$500 worth of basketball uniforms. The FBI was upset about several gifts to the Black Panther Party, totalling US$10,500 (estimated) in contributions; these were noted among a list of other celebrities in FBI internal documents later declassified and released to the public under FOIA requests. The financial support and alleged interracial love affairs or friendships are thought to have been triggers to a large-scale FBI program deployment in her direction.

The FBI operation against Seberg used COINTELPRO program techniques to harass, intimidate, defame, and discredit Seberg.The FBI's stated goal was an unspecified "neutralization" of Seberg with a subsidiary objective to "cause her embarrassment and serve to cheapen her image with the public", while taking the "usual precautions to avoid identification of the Bureau". FBI strategy and modalities can be found in FBI inter-office memos.
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In 1970, the FBI created the false story, from a San Francisco-based informant, that the child Seberg was carrying was not fathered by her husband Romain Gary but by Raymond Hewitt, a member of the Black Panther Party.The story was reported by gossip columnist Joyce Haber of The Los Angeles Times and was also printed by Newsweek magazine. Seberg went into premature labor and, on August 23, 1970, gave birth to a 1.8 kg baby girl. The child died two days later. She held a funeral in her hometown with an open-casket that allowed reporters to see the infant's white skin which disproved the rumors. Seberg and Gary later sued Newsweek for libel and defamation and asked for US$200,000 in damages. Seberg contended she became so upset after reading the story, that she went into premature labor, which resulted in the death of her daughter. A Paris court ordered Newsweek to pay the couple US$10,800 in damages and also ordered Newsweek to print the judgement in their publication plus eight other newspapers.

The investigation of Seberg went far beyond the publishing of defamatory articles. According to her friends interviewed after her death, Seberg experienced years of aggressive in-person surveillance (constant stalking), as well as break-ins and other intimidation-oriented activity. These newspaper reports make clear, that Seberg was well aware of the surveillance. FBI files show that she was wiretapped, and in 1980, The Los Angeles Times published logs of her Swiss wiretapped phone calls. U.S. surveillance was deployed while she was residing in France and while travelling in Switzerland and Italy. Per FBI files the FBI cross-contacted the "FBI Legat" (legal attachés) in U.S. Embassies in Paris and Rome and provided files on Seberg to the CIA, U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Military intelligence to assist monitoring while she was abroad.

FBI records show that J. Edgar Hoover kept U.S. President Richard Nixon informed of FBI activities related to the Jean Seberg case via President Nixon's domestic affairs chief John Ehrlichman. John Mitchell, then Attorney General, and Deputy Attorney General Richard Kleindienst were also kept informed of FBI activities related to Jean Seberg.”

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Jean Seberg was een unieke en moedige, maar soms ook wanhopige en rusteloze vrouw; over haar zou ongeveer hetzelfde kunnen geschreven worden als wat Antonin Artaud opmerkte in zijn 'Van Gogh le suicidé de la société': "Il y a dans tout dément un génie incompris dont l'idée qui luisait dans sa tête fit peur, et qui n'a pu trouver que dans le délire une issue aux étranglements que lui avait préparés la vie."

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