Saturday, March 23, 2013

Inside Peoples Temple, by Marshall Kilduff and Phil Tracy,

August 1, 1977, New West Magazine, Inside Peoples Temple, by Marshall Kilduff and Phil Tracy,

"Jim Jones is one the state's most politically potent leaders. But who is he? And what's going on behind his church's locked doors?"

For Rosalynn Carter, it was the last stop in an early September campaign tour that had taken her over half of California, a state where her husband Jimmy was weak. So Rosalynn gamely encouraged the crowd of 750 that had gathered for the grand opening of the San Francisco Democratic party headquarters in a seedy downtown storefront. She smiled bravely despite the heat.

Mrs. Carter finished her little pep talk to mild applause. Several other Democratic bigwigs got polite receptions, too. Only one speaker aroused the crowd; he was the Reverend Jim Jones, the founding pastor of Peoples Temple, a small community church located in the city's Fillmore section. Jones spoke briefly and avoided endorsing Carter directly. But his words were met with what seemed like a wall-pounding outpour. A minute and a half later the cheers died down.

"It was embarrassing," said a rally organizer. "The wife of a guy who was going to the White House was shown up by somebody named Jones."

If Rosalynn Carter was surprised, she shouldn't have been. The crowd belonged to Jones. Some 600 of the 750 listeners were delivered in temple buses an hour and a half before the rally. The organizer, who had called Jones for help, remembered how gratified she'd felt when she first saw the Jones followers spilling off the buses. "You should have seen it -- old ladies on crutches, whole families, little kids, blacks, whites. Made to order," said the organizer, who had correctly feared that without Jones Mrs. Carter might have faced a half-empty room.

"Then we noticed things like the bodyguards," she continued. "Jones had his own security force [with him], and the Secret Service guys were having fits," she said. "They wanted to know who all these black guys were, standing outside with their arms folded."

The next morning more than 100 letters arrived. "They were really all the same," she said. "'Thanks for the rally, and, say, that Jim Jones was so inspirational.' Look, we never get mail, so we notice one letter, but 100?" She added, "They had to be mailed before the rally to arrive the next day."

But what surprised that organizer was really not that special. She just got a look at some of the methods Jim Jones has used to make himself one of the most politically potent religious leaders in the history of the state.

Jim Jones counts among his friends several of California's well-known public officials. San Francisco mayor George Moscone has made several visits to Jones's San Francisco temple, on Geary Street, as have the city's district attorney Joe Freitas and sheriff Richard Hongisto. And Governor Jerry Brown has visited at least once. Also, Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley has been a guest at Jones's Los Angeles temple. Lieutenant Governor Mervyn Dymally went so far as to visit Jones's 27,000-acre agricultural station in Guyana, South America, and he pronounced himself impressed. What's more, when Walter Mondale came campaigning for the vice-presidency in San Francisco last fall, Jim Jones was one of the few people invited aboard his chartered jet for a private visit. Last December Jones was appointed to head the city's Housing Authority Commission.

The source of Jones's political clout is not very difficult to divine. As one politically astute executive puts it: "He controls votes." And voters. During San Francisco's run-off election for mayor in December of 1975, some 150 temple members walked precincts to get out the vote for George Moscone, who won by a slim 4,000 votes. "They're well-dressed, polite and they're all registered to vote," said one Moscone campaign official.

Can you win office in San Francisco without Jones? "In a tight race like the ones that George or Freitas or Hongisto had, forget it without Jones," said State Assemblyman Willie Brown, who describes himself as an admirer of Jones's.

Jones, who has several adopted children of differing racial backgrounds, is more than a political force. He and his church are noted for social and medical programs, which are centered in his three-story structure on Geary Street. Temple members support and staff a free diagnostic and outpatient clinic, a physical therapy facility, a drug program that claims to have rehabilitated some 300 addicts and a legal aid program for about 200 people a month. In addition, the temple's free dining hall is said to feed more indigents than the city's venerable St. Anthony's dining room. And temple spokesmen say that these services to the needy are financed internally, without a cent of government or foundation money.



Jones and his temple are also applauded for their ardent support of a free press. Last September, Jones and his followers participated in a widely publicized demonstration in support of the four Fresno newsmen who went to jail rather than reveal their confidential news sources. The temple also contributed $4,400 to twelve California newspapers – including the San Francisco Chronicle – for use "in the defense of a free press," and once gave $4,000 to the defense of Los Angeles Times reporter Bill Farr, who also went to jail for refusing to name a news source.

In addition, at Jones's direction the temple makes regular contributions to several community groups, including the Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center and Health Clinic, the NAACP, the ACLU and the farmworkers' union. When a local pet clinic was in trouble, Peoples Temple provided the money needed to keep it open. The temple has also set up a fund for the widows of slain policemen, and the congregation runs an escort service for senior citizens.

To many, the Reverend Jim Jones is the epitome of a selfless Christian.

The reverend was born James Thur­man Jones, and grew up in the Indiana town of Lynn. While attending Butler University in Indianapolis, where he received his degree in education, Jones opened his first temple (in downtown Indianapolis). Although he had no formal training as a minister and was not affiliated with any church, his temple grew. It featured an active social program, including a "free" restaurant for the down-and-out. And the congregation was integrated, a courageous commitment in the years before Martin Luther King became a national figure – particularly in Indianapolis, once the site of the Ku Klux Klan's national office.

Then at around Christmas of 1961, according to a former associate named Ross Case, Jones had a vision. He saw Indianapolis being consumed in a holocaust, presumably a nuclear explosion. Fortunately for him, Esquire had just run an article on the nine safest spots in the event of nuclear war. Eureka, California, was called the safest location; another safe area was Belo Horizante, Brazil. Jones headed for Belo Horizante, and Case went to Northern California.

Jones eventually returned and visited Case in Ukiah. Jones liked California, and twelve years ago this month, he and his wife Marceline incorporated Peoples Temple in California; Jones and some 100 faithful settled in Redwood Valley, a hamlet outside Ukiah.

Jones's congregation grew, and he soon became a political force in Mendocino County. In off-year elections, where the total vote was around 2,500, Jones could control 300 to 400 ballots, or nearly 16 percent of the vote. "I could show anybody the tallies by precinct and pick out the Jones vote," says Al Barbero, county supervisor from Redwood Valley.

Then, in 1970, Jones started holding services in San Francisco; one year later he bought the Geary Street temple. And later that same year, he expanded to Los Angeles by taking over a synagogue on South Alvarado Street.

One success followed another, and his flock grew to an estimated 20,000. Jones's California mission seemed blessed.

Although Jones's name is well-known, especially among the politicians and the powerful, he remains surrounded by mystery. For example, his Peoples Temple has two sets of locked doors, guards patrolling the aisles during services and a policy of barring passersby from dropping by unannounced on Sunday mornings. His bimonthly newspaper, Peoples Forum, regularly exalts socialism, praises Huey Newton and Angela Davis and forecasts a government takeover by American Nazis. And though Jones is a white fundamentalist minister, his congregation is roughly 80 percent to 90 percent black.

How does Jones manage to appeal to so many kinds of people? Where does he get the money to operate his church's programs, or maintain his fleet of buses, or support his agricultural outpost in Guyana? Why does he surround himself with bodyguards – as many as fifteen at a time? And above all, what is going on behind the locked and guarded doors of Peoples Temple?

Ten Who Quit the Temple Speak Out

Beginning two months ago, when it became known that New West was researching an article on Peoples Temple, the magazine, its editors and advertisers were subjected to a bizarre letter-and-telephone campaign. At its height, our offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles were each receiving as many as 50 phone calls and 70 letters a day. The great majority of the letters and calls came from temple members and supporters, as well as such prominent Californians as Lieutenant Governor Mervyn Dymally, Delancey Street founder John Maher, San Francisco business­man Cyril Magnin, and savings and loan executive Anthony Frank. The messages were much the same: We hear New West is going to attack Jim Jones in print; don't do that. He's a good man who does good works.

The flood of calls and letters attracted wide attention, which, in turn, prompted newsman Bill Barnes to report the campaign in the San Francisco Examiner. The Examiner also reported an unconfirmed break-in one week later at our San Francisco office.

After the Barnes article, we began getting phone calls from former temple members. At first, while insisting on anonymity, the callers volunteered "background" about Jim Jones's "cruelty" to congregation members, in addition to making several other specific charges.

We told the callers that we were not interested in such anonymous whispers. But then a number of them, like Deanna and Elmer Mertle, called back and agreed to meet in person, to be photographed, and to tell their attributed stories for publication.

Based on what these people told us, life inside Peoples Temple was a mixture of Spartan regimentation, fear and self-imposed humiliation. As they told it, the Sunday services to which dignitaries were invited were orchestrated events. Actually, members were expected to attend services two, three, even four nights a week – with some sessions lasting until daybreak. Those members of the temple's governing council, called the Planning Commission, were often compelled to stay up all night and submit regularly to "catharsis" – an encounter process in which friends, even mates, would criticize the person who was "on the floor." In the last two years, we were told, these often humiliating sessions had begun to include physical beatings with a large wooden paddle, and boxing matches in which the person on the floor was occasionally knocked out by opponents selected by Jones himself. Also, during regularly scheduled "family meetings," attended by up to 1,000 of the most devoted followers, as many as 100 people were lined up to be paddled for such seemingly minor infractions as not being attentive enough during Jones's sermons. Church leaders also instructed certain members to write letters incriminating themselves in illegal and immoral acts that never happened. In addition, temple members were encouraged to turn over their money and property to the church and live communally in temple buildings; those who didn't ran the risk of being chastised severely during the catharsis sessions.

In all, we interviewed more than a dozen former temple members. Obviously they all had biases. (Grace Stoen, for example, has sued her husband, a temple member, for custody of their five-year-old son John. The child is reportedly in Guyana.) So we checked the verifiable facts of their accounts – the property transfers, the nursing and foster home records, political campaign contributions and other matters of public record. The details of their stories checked out.

One question, in particular, troubled us: Why did some of them remain members long after they became disenchanted with Jones's methods and even fearful of him and his bodyguards? Their answers were the same – they feared reprisal, and that their stories would not be believed.

The people we interviewed are real; their names are real. They all agreed to be tape-recorded and photographed while telling their side of the Jim Jones story.

Elmer and Deanna Mertle of Berkeley


They beat his daughter badly: Elmer Mertle.

After Elmer and Deanna Mertle joined the temple in Ukiah in November 1969, he quit his job as a chemical technician for Standard Oil Company, sold the family's house in Hayward and moved up to Redwood Valley. Eventually five of the Mertle's children by previous marriages joined them there.

"When we first went up [to Redwood Valley], Jim Jones was a very compassionate person," says Deanna. "He taught us to be compassionate to old people, to be tender to the children."

But slowly the loving atmosphere gave way to cruelty and physical punishments. Elmer said, "The first forms of punishment were mental, where they would get up and totally disgrace and humiliate the person in front of the whole congregation. . . . Jim would then come over and put his arms around the person and say, 'I realize that you went through a lot, but it was for the cause. Father loves you and you're a stronger person now. I can trust you more now that you've gone through and accepted this discipline.'"

The physical punishment increased too. Both the Mertles claim they received public spankings as early as 1972 – but they were hit with a belt only "about three times." Eventually, they said, the belt was replaced by a paddle and then by a large board dubbed "the board of education," and the number of times adults and finally children were struck increased to 12, 25, 50 and even 100 times in a row. Temple nurses treated the injured.

At first, the Mertles rationalized the beatings. "The [punished] child or adult would always say, 'Thank you, Father,'" and then Jim would point out the week how much better they were. In our minds we rationalized ... that Jim must be doing the right thing because these people were testifying that the beatings had caused their life to make a reversal in the right direction."

Then one night the Mertles' daughter Linda was called up for discipline because she had hugged and kissed a woman friend she hadn't seen in a long time. The woman was reputed to be a lesbian. The Mertles stood among the congregation of 600 or 700 while their daughter, who was then sixteen, was hit on her buttocks 75 times. "She was beaten so severely," said Elmer, "that the kids said her butt looked like hamburger."

Linda, who is now eighteen, confirms that she was beaten: "I couldn't sit down for at least a week and a half."

The Mertles stayed in the church for more than a year after that public beating. "We had nothing on the outside to get started in," says Elmer. "We had given [the church] all our money. We had given all of our property. We had given up our jobs."

Today the Mertles live in Berkeley. According to an affidavit they signed last October in the presence of attorney Harriet Thayer, they changed their names legally to Al and Jeanne Mills because, at the church's instruction, "we had signed blank sheets of paper, which could be used for any imaginable purpose, signed power of attorney papers, and written many unusual and incriminating statements [about themselves], all of which were untrue."

Birdie Marable of Ukiah

“I never really thought he was God, like he preached, but I thought he was a prophet,” said Birdie Marable, a beautician who was first attracted to Jones in 1968 because her husband had a liver ailment. She had hoped Jones might be the healer to save him.

On one of the trips to services in Redwood Valley, Marable noticed Jones’s aides taking some children aside and asking, “What color house did my friend have, things like that,” she says. “Then during the services, Jim called [one woman] out and told her the answers that the children had given as though no one had told him.”

She became skeptical of Jones after that, and remained skeptical when her husband’s health did not improve; the cancer “cures” Jones was performing seemed phony to her. Yet eventually she moved to Ukiah and ran a rest home for temple members at Jim’s suggestion.

One summer she was talked into taking a three-week temple “vacation” through the South and East. “Everybody paid $200 to go on the trip, but I told them I wasn’t able to do so,” she added.

The temple buses were loaded up in San Francisco, and more members were packed aboard in Los Angeles. “It was terrible. It was overcrowded. There were people sitting on the floor, in the luggage rack, and sometimes people [were] underneath in the compartment where they put the bags,” she said. “I saw some things that really put me wise to everything,” she added. “I saw how they treated the old people.” The bathrooms were frequently stopped up. For food, sometimes a cold can of beans was opened and passed around.

“I decided to leave the church when I got back. I said when I get through telling people about this trip, ain’t nobody going to want to go no more. [But] as soon as we arrived back, Jim said . . . ‘don’t say nothing.” She left the church in silence.

Wayne Pietila of Petaluma and Jim and Terri Cobb of San Francisco

Wayne Pietila and Jim Cobb guarded the cancers. “If anyone tried to touch them, we were supposed to eat the cancers or demolish the guy,” said Cobb, who is six-feet, two-inches tall. Pietila was licensed by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department to carry a con­cealed weapon; reportedly he was one of several Jones aides with such a permit.

It was during the Redwood Valley healing sessions in 1970, when nervous hope for relief from the pains of age spread among the congregation, that Cobb and Pietila would guard the cancers. Finally Jones would ask for some­one who believed herself to be suffering from cancer. That was the signal for Cobb’s sister, Terri, to slip into a side restroom and shoo out whoever might be there. Then Jones’s wife Marceline and a trembling excited old woman would disappear into the stall for a moment. Marceline would emerge holding a foul-smelling scrap of something cupped in a napkin – a cancer “passed.” Marceline and the old woman would return to the main room to screams, applause, a thunder of music. Jim Jones had healed again.

But one time, Terri got a chance to look into the “cancer bag.” “It was full of napkins and small bits of meat, individually wrapped. They looked like chicken gizzards. I was shocked.”

Wayne Pietila recalled another healing incident. On the eve of a trip to Seattle in 1970 or 1971, as Jones was leaving his house, a shot cracked out and he fell. “There was blood all around and people [were] screaming and crying, just hysterical.” Jones was lifted to his feet and helped to his house. A few minutes later, Jones walked out of the house with a clean shirt on. “He said he’d healed himself,” Pietila said. “He used [the incident] for his preaching during the whole Seattle trip.”

Micki Touchette of San Francisco

The Touchette family followed Jones to California in 1970. They lived in Stockton for a while, then moved up to Redwood Valley, where they bought a house and converted it into a home for emotionally disturbed boys.

During 1972 and 1973 Micki and other temple members were expected to travel to Los Angeles services every other weekend. One of her jobs was to count the money after offerings. Micki, a junior college graduate, had the combination to the temple’s Los Angeles safe. She says. “It was very simple to take in $15,000 in a weekend, and this was [four] years ago. [To encourage larger offerings, Jones] would say, ‘We folks, we’ve only collected $500 or $700,’ and we would have [in reality] several thousand.”

In addition to attending Wednesday night family meetings and weekend services, Micki also was part of letter-writing efforts directed by church officials. “We’d write various politicians throughout the state, throughout the country, in praise of something that they had done. I wrote Nixon, wrote Tunney; I remember writing the chief of the San Francisco Police Department,” she said. Micki, who lived in temple houses apart from her parents, would often be handed a sheet listing the points she would have to include in the letter. “It would tell you how and what to say and you’d word it yourself.” She says she also would regularly use aliases she made up.

When Micki left the church in 1973 along with seven other young people, including Terri and Jim Cobb and Wayne Pietila, none warned their parents or other relatives. “We felt that our parents, our families . would just fight us and try to make us stay.” Furthermore, they were all frightened. “At one point we had been told that any college student who was going to leave the church would be killed . not by Jones, but by some of his followers.” Both Terri and Cobb recall the statement being made – by Jones.

Walter Jones of San Francisco

When Walt Jones, who never believed in the church, followed his wife Carol to Redwood Valley in 1974, Jim Jones asked them to take over a home for emotionally disturbed boys. The home belonged to Charles and Joyce Touchette, Micki Touchette’s parents. Walt says he was told that the Touchettes were in Guyana, and that the people who had replaced them, Rick and Carol Stahl, had done such a poor job that “the care home, at that time, was under surveillance of the authorities because of the poor conditions. Some of the boys had scabies due to the filth.”

In 1974 and early 1975, before Walt and his wife were granted a license to run the home, county checks (of approximately $325 to $350 per month for each child) for the upkeep of the boys were made out to the Touchettes and cashed by a church member who had their power of attorney. “The checks,” said Walt, “were turned over to someone in charge of all the funds [for the church’s care homes] at the time. [The temple] allotted us what they felt were sufficient funds for the home and supplied us with foodstuffs and various articles of clothing.” Jones says the food was mostly canned staples, and the clothes were donations from other temple members. Walt is uncertain how much of the approximate total of $2,000 a month of county funds earmarked for the upkeep of his boys actually ended up in his hands; his wife kept the books. But, he claimed, “it was very inadequate.”

After the Joneses were granted their own license in 1975, the checks from the Alameda County Probation Department (which placed the boys in the home) were made out to him and his wife. “But still the church requested that we turn over what remained of the funds,” says Walt Jones. “Approximately $900 to $ 1,000 [per month] were turned over to the church.” And he added, “I do remember that there were times when all of the checks were signed over to the church.”

Laura Cornelious of Oakland



They took her best watch: Laura Cornelious.

Laura Cornelious was one of the privates in the Peoples Temple’s army. She was in the temple about five years before leaving in 1975 – just one of dozens of elderly black grandmothers who attend each meeting of the San Francisco Housing Authority Commission that Jim Jones chairs.

The first thing that bothered her was the constant requests for money. “After I was in some time,” she says, “it was made known to us that we were supposed to pay 25 percent of our earnings [the usual sum, according to practically all the former members that we interviewed].” It was called “the commitment.” For those who could not meet the commitment, she says, there were alternatives, like baking cakes to sell at Sunday services – or donating their jewelry. “He said that we didn’t need the watches – my best watch,” she recalls sadly. “He said we didn’t need homes – give the homes, furs, all of the best things you own.”

Some blacks gave out of fear – fear that they could end up in concentration camps. The money was needed, she was told, “to build up this other place [Guyana-the ‘promised land’], so we would have someplace to go whenever they [the fascists in this country] were going to destroy us like they did the Jews. [Jones said] that they would put [black people] in concentration camps, and that they would do us like the Jews . in the gas ovens.”

Laura Cornelious was also bothered by the frisking of temple members (but never dignitaries) before each service. “You even were asked to raise up on your toes [to check] your shoes.”

The final straw, she says, came the night Jones brought a snake into the services. “Viola . she was up in age, in her eighties, and she was so afraid of snakes and he held the snake close to her [chest] and she just sat there and screamed. And he still held it there.”

Grace Stoen of San Francisco



They have her five-year-old boy: Grace Stoen.

Grace Stoen was a leader among the temple hierarchy, though she was never a true believer. Her husband Tim was the temple’s top attorney, and one of its first prominent converts. Later, while still a church insider, he became an assistant D.A. of Mendocino County, and then an assistant D.A. under San Francisco D.A. Joe Freitas. Tim resigned to go to Jones’s Guyana retreat in April of this year.

Grace agreed to join the temple when she married Tim in 1970, and gradually she acquired enormous authority. She was head counselor, and at the Wednesday night family meetings, she would pass to Jones the names of the members to be disciplined.

She was also the record keeper for seven temple businesses. She paid out from $30,000 to $50,000 per month for the auto and bus garage bills and also doled out the slim temple wages. And she was one of several church notaries. She kept a notary book, a kind of log of documents that she officially witnessed-pages of entries including power-of-attorney statements, deeds of trust, guardianship papers, and so on, signed by temple members and officials.

She recalled why Jones decided to aim for Los Angeles and San Francisco. “Jim would say, ‘If we stay here in the valley, we’re wasted. We could make it to the big time in San Francisco.”

And expanding to Los Angeles , Jones told his aides, “was worth $15,000 to $25,000 a weekend.”

During the expansion in 1972, members would pile into the buses at 5 P.M. on a Friday night in Redwood Valley, stop at the San Francisco temple for a meeting that might last until midnight and then drive through the night to arrive in Los Angeles Saturday in time for six-hour services. On Sunday, church would start at 11 A.M. and end at 5 P.M. Then, the Redwood Valley members would pile back on the buses for the long trip home; they would arrive by daybreak Monday.

Some of the inner circle, like Grace Stoen, rode on Jim’s own bus, number seven. “The last two seats and the whole back seat were taken out and a door put across it,” she said. “Inside there was a refrigerator, a sink, a bed and a plate of steel in the back so nobody could ever shoot Jim. The money was kept back there in a compartment.” According to attendance slips she collected, the other 43-seat buses sometimes held 70 to 80 riders.

Jones’s goal in San Francisco, Grace said, was to become a political force. His first move was to ingratiate himself with fellow liberal and leftist figures D.A. Freitas, Sheriff Hongisto, Police Chief Charles Gain, Dennis Banks, Angela Davis.

Sometimes Jones nearly tripped up. Once, said Grace, when Freitas and his wife dropped in unexpectedly, temple aides quickly pulled them into a side room and sent word to Jones in the upstairs meeting hall. Just in time. The pastor was wrapped up in one of his “silly little things,” said Grace. “He was having everybody shout ‘Shit! Shit! Shit!’ to teach them not to be so hypocritical.” When Freitas was shown in, everyone just laughed at the puzzle district attorney. (D.A. Freitas confirms making an unexpected visit to the temple, but does not recall anyone using the word shit.)

Jones became impatient at the pace his success. Eventually Mayor Moscone placed Jones on the Housing Authority Commission, and then intervened to assure him the chairmanship.

Strangely, as Jones’s successes mounted, so did the pressures inside his temple. “We were going to more and more meetings,” said Stoen. “[And] if anyone was getting too much sleep – say, six hours a night – they were in trouble.” On one occasion, she said, a man was vomited and urinated on.

In July of 1976, after a three-week temple bus trip, her morale was ebbing lower, her friends were muttering about her, and there were rumors that Jones was unhappy with a number of members. “I packed my things and left [without telling Tim]. I couldn’t trust him. He’d tell Jim.”

She drove to Lake Tahoe and spent the July Fourth weekend lying on a warm beach. She dug her toes in the sand, stretched her arms and tried to relax. “But every time I turned over, I looked around to see if any of the church members had tracked me down.”

Why Jim Jones Should Be Investigated

It is literally impossible to guess how much money and property people gave Jim Jones in the twelve years since he moved his Peoples Temple to California. Some, like Laura Cornelious, gave small things like watches or rings. Others, like Walt Jones, sold their homes and gave the proceeds to the temple.

According to nearly all the former temple members that we have spoken with, extensive, continuous pressure was put on members to deed their homes to the temple. Many complied. A brief reading of the records on file at the Mendocino County recorder’s office shows that some 30 pieces of property were transferred from individuals to the temple during the years 1968 to 1976. Nearly all these parcels were recorded as gifts.

Interestingly, several of the “gifts” were signed or recorded improperly. The deed to a piece of property signed by Grace and Timothy Stoen was notarized on June 20, 1976. Grace Stoen told New West that on that date, when she was supposed to be in Mendocino signing the deed before a temple notary, she and several hundred temple members were in New York City. Grace Stoen said she signed the deed under pressure from her husband, Tim, months before it was notarized. And similar irregularities appear on a deed the Mertles turned over to the temple. A thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the transfers of the properties is clearly required.

In the last few issues of Peoples Forum, the temple newspaper, there are several references to the claim that 130 disturbed or incorrigible youths were being sent to the temple’s Guyana mission. A church spokesman confirmed that these youngsters were released to the temple by “federal courts, state courts, probation departments” and other agencies. An article in the July issue of the temple newspaper on the Guyana mission’s youth program reports that, “In certain cases when a young person is testing the environment . physical discipline has produced the necessary change.” The article goes on to describe a “wrestling match” that sounds all too similar to the “boxing matches” some former temple members described. If there is even the slightest chance of mistreatment of the 130 youths the temple claims to have under its guidance in Guyana, a complete investigation by both state and federal authorities would be required.

An investigation of the “care homes” run by the temple or temple members in Redwood Valley may also be in order. Both Walt Jones and Micki Touchette have stated that anywhere from $800 to $ 1,000 of the monthly funds provided by the state for the care of the six boys in the Touchette home were actually funneled to the temple. If those figures are accurate, as much as $38,000 to $48,000 may have been channeled into the church’s coffers during the four years the Touchette home was open. It is known that at least two other “care homes ”for boys were run by the church or its members. In addition, at least six residential homes licensed by Mendocino County were owned or operated by the temple. They housed from six to fourteen senior citizens each, and the county provided upwards of $325 per month per individual. An investigation should be launched immediately to determine if any of the money paid for the care of the elderly actually went to the temple.

Files at the Mendocino County recorder's office show that the temple has sold off a number of its properties. The Redwood Valley temple itself is currently for sale for an estimated $225,000. The Los Angeles temple is also for sale. The three Mendocino “care homes” that are still operating are up for sale. Several former temple members believe Jones and a few hundred of his closest followers may be planning to leave for Guyana no later than September of this year. The ex-members we interviewed had the ability to walk away from the temple once they found the courage to do it. Whether the church will permit those who move to Guyana the option of ever leaving is questionable.

Jones has been in Guyana for the last three weeks and was unavailable to us as this magazine article went to press. In a phone interview, two spokesmen for the temple, Mike Prokes and Gene Chaikin, denied all of the allegations made by the former temple members we interviewed. Specifically, they denied any harassment, coercion or physical abuse of temple members. They denied that the church attempted to force members to donate their property or homes. They also denied that Jones faked healings. They confirmed that the temple's churches and property in Redwood Valley and Los Angeles are for sale, but went on to deny that Jones's closest followers are planning to relocate Guyana any time soon.

Finally, something must be said about the numerous public officials and political figures who openly courted and befriended Jim Jones. While it appears that none of the public officials from Governor Brown on down knew about the inner world of Peoples Temple, they have left the impression that they used Jones to deliver votes at election time, and never asked any questions. They never asked about the bodyguards. Never asked about the church's locked doors. Never asked why Jones's followers were so obsessively protective of him. And apparently, some never asked because they didn't want to know.

The story of Jim Jones and his Peoples Temple is not over. In fact, it has only begun to be told. If there is any solace to be gained from the tale of exploitation and human foible told by the former temple members in these pages, it is that even such a power as Jim Jones cannot always contain his followers. Those who left had nowhere to go and every reason to fear pursuit. Yet they persevered. If Jones is ever to be stripped of his power, it will not be because of vendetta or persecution, but rather because of the courage of these people who stepped forward and spoke out.

Caption: p. 31

The holy host: At a 1976 temple lunch, Reverend Jones sat between two friends, S.F. mayor Moscone (left) and Lieutenant Governor Dymally.

Callouts:

Page 34

“.Peoples Temple members beat his sixteen-year-old daughter so badly, says Elmer Mertle, that ‘her butt looked like, hamburger’.”

Page 36

“.Jones held a snake close to the terrified old woman. ‘Viola screamed,’ said a member. ‘And he still held that snake there’.”

Page 38

“. . . ‘Jones would say that we could make it in, the big time,’ says Grace Stoen. ‘Expanding to L.A. alone was worth $15,000 a weekend’ .”

San Francisco Chronicle Reporter Mar­shall Kilduff and New West contributing editor Phil Tracy were assisted by freelance newsman George Klineman.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Jonestown, by Robert Sterling

October 24, 2007, The Conspiracy Page, Jonestown,  by Robert Sterling - R.J.E.

jones2.jpg
On November 18 1978, 913 people died in Jonestown, a small compound carved out of the jungles of Guyana.
Jim Jones became a Bible-thumping “faith healer,” using wet chicken livers as evidence of cancer which he removed by “divine powers.” Already the stench of criminal activity surrounded him, and his landlady referred to him as “a gangster who used the Bible instead of a gun.” Fortunately for Jones, the local police chief at the time was Dan Mitrione, a friend from childhood. Mitrione kept him from being arrested or run out of town. Mitrione would later enter the International Police Academy, a CIA front for training counterinsurgency and torture techniques.

Despite having few sources for known funds, Jones found enough money to travel with his wife and family to Brazil in 1961. Coincidentally, Mitrione was there as well, having advanced quickly in the IPA. Mitrione had honed his skills at torture and assassination by practicing on kidnapped beggars. Jones made regular trips to Belo Horizonte, site of CIA headquarters in Brazil — and Mitrione’s town of residence.
Apparently, this wasn't the only curious intelligence link to Jones. He told some of his neighbors that he was involved in the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence. The U.S. embassy provided Jones with transportation, groceries, and a large home. Considering his dear friendship to Mitrione and the funding of "ministries" in Latin America by the CIA, the theory that Jones was a U.S. intelligence asset makes quite a bit of sense.
Jones was rewarded by being put in charge of the city Housing Commission, and key followers were awarded jobs in the Welfare Department. The bulk of Jones’ flock came from the unemployed and dispossessed people found there. The cult preyed on the poor and helpless, going out of its way to enlist women, children and minorities. Many members were recruited directly from San Francisco mental hospitals. However, the move to San Francisco did little to quiet the controversy surrounding his "church," and a 1977 expose put Jones on the defensive. He then moved his utopia to Guyana, aided once again by the U.S. Embassy. After receiving complaints lodged by relatives of cult members, Congressman Leo Ryan visited Jonestown on November 18, 1978 to investigate allegations of human rights abuses. Congressman Ryan, a noted CIA critic, had authored the Hughes-Ryan Amendment, which would have required the CIA to disclose to Congress — in advance — details of all covert operations. The State department offered Ryan no answers or assistance, despite numerous inquiries. He arrived with U.S. embassy official Richard Dwyer, as well as some journalists. Among the reporters was Tim Reiterman, who had covered the Patty Hearst story for the San Francisco Examiner.
In all likelihood, Ryan already suspected what was really going on at Jonestown. That was when all hell broke loose.
At the airstrip, Leo Ryan soon became the first congressman to die in the line of duty, along with four reporters. (The Hughes-Ryan Amendment was killed in Congress soon afterwards.) The assassins were described by witnesses as "glassy eyed," "mechanically-walking zombies," and "devoid of any emotion." Dwyer and Reiterman were also shot. Soon after that, the mass slaughter began. A plausible explanation for the events that unfolded is that Jim Jones (or someone else) ordered the murders after Ryan's unexpected visit threatened to expose what was happening. In the chaos that followed, a mass extermination was carried out.
Just who were the zombie assassins? Well, besides the 913 dead, 167 survivors returned from the camp. All news reports concede that there were at least 1100 individuals at the camp (and most reports place the number at 1200.) Who are these 200 or more people unaccounted for? The survivors report that there was a special all-white group that was well-armed, well-treated and free to exit the compound. These guards were never accounted for by any news reports.

Perhaps it is these same guards (assuming the total population was 1200) whom a congressional aide was referring to in an Associated Press quote which stated, “There are 120 white, brainwashed assassins out from Jonestown awaiting the trigger word to pick up their hit.” Of course, they may have had a little help. Over 300 U.S. Green Berets — trained for CIA covert assassinations — were in the area at the time. So were nearly 600 British Black Watch commandos, who were in Guyana conducting a “training exercise.”
Michael Prokes, a Jones aide, held a press conference and stated that the CIA and FBI were withholding an audiotape of the massacre. He also stated that he was an FBI informant. Right after that, he went to the restroom… and never left. His death was proclaimed a "suicide." In Georgetown, several more Temple members were killed following the Guyana massacre. The man charged with the murders, Charles Beikman, was an early follower of Jones who had become an "adopted son." Beikman was also a Green Beret.
As the massacre unfolded, Jones can be heard on a tape recording yelling, "Get Dwyer out of here!" Richard Dwyer was later found at the airstrip, methodically washing his hands. In 1968, Dwyer was listed in the publication Who’s Who in the CIA. When asked if the allegation was true, he replied, "No comment."
Of course, Dwyer wasn't the only link to the CIA in Guyana. Besides those previously mentioned, U.S. ambassador John Burke and another official named Richard McCoy were both heavily involved with the intelligence community. The U.S. embassy in Georgetown also housed the Georgetown CIA station. At the time, Guyana had a socialist government, and thus was a likely target for covert operations. Dan Webber, sent to Guyana after the massacre, was also with the CIA. Then we have the missing money that just “disappeared” after the slaughter. Conservative estimates place the amount at $26 million. Others place it at $2 billion. At the time, a major international money laundering operation was headquartered in Italy, involving the Vatican and a fascist quasi-Masonic lodge known as the P-2, or Propaganda Duo. (This operation probably led to the murder of Pope John Paul I — but that’s another conspiracy.) The CIA-linked P-2 had a major operation located in Panama, not too far from Jonestown.
One of the strangest CIA connections to Jonestown was the previously mentioned World Vision, an evangelical order which often fronts for the CIA. They performed espionage work for the CIA in Southeast Asia while Operation Phoenix (the murderous project that left 40,000 people dead) was in full effect. In Honduras, they maintained a presence at CIA contra recruiting camps in the war against the Sandinistas. In Lebanon, the fascist Phalange butchered Palestinians at World Vision’s camp. In Cuba, their refugee camps hosted numerous members of the anti-Castro terrorist group Alpha 66 of Bay of Pigs fame. After the Guyana massacre, World Vision developed a scheme to repopulate Jonestown with CIA-linked mercenaries from Laos. Laos, of course, was where the CIA was running it’s "secret war" during Vietnam, which for the most part was a smokescreen for a widespread opium trafficking operation.
One particularly important World Vision official was John Hinckley, Sr., an oil man, reputed CIA officer, and friend of George Bush. You may have heard of his son. Less than four months before Hinckley Jr. became known as Jodie Foster's biggest fan, another member of the World Vision order, Mark Chapman, gunned down John Lennon in what may have been a practice run for the bigger hit on President Reagan. One of the policeman who found him was convinced that he was a mind-controlled assassin. Chapman was clutching a copy of the novel Catcher in the Rye, which was also owned by John Hinckley Jr. (The book was written by J.D. Salinger, who worked in military intelligence with Henry Kissinger during World War II.) Before going to trial, Chapman plead guilty after a voice in his head (which he attributed it to God) commanded him to do so.
Considering the history of World Vision and what went on previously in Guyana, it is possible that the real purpose behind repopulating Jonestown was to create another breeding ground for brainwashed zombies like Chapman and Hinckley.
Members of Jim Jones' "church" were bound and gagged immediately after landing in Guyana and taken to the compound. They were pumped with drugs, which were available in vast amounts at Jonestown — enough to drug 200,000 people for more than a year. Among the drugs found there: Quaaludes, Valium, morphine, Demerol, Thorazine (a dangerous tranquilizer), sodium pentathol (a truth serum), chloral hydrate (a hypnotic chemical agent), thallium (which confuses thinking), and, of course, cyanide. Jonestown residents lived in cramped quarters and ate meager rations of often spoiled food. They were then forced to give 16 to 18 hours of slave labor per day. When they weren't working, they were required to stay up day and night listening to Jim Jones lecture.
Among the charming punishments the flock endured were forced druggings, sensory deprivation in an underground box, physical torture, and public sexual rape and humiliation, not to mention your average ordinary beatings and verbal abuse. All of the drugs and environmental conditions forced upon Jonestown residents were also employed in the CIA’s notorious MKULTRA program, which was implemented to test and implement brainwashing and mind control techniques. A 1974 government report admitted that certain "target populations" were used, namely blacks, women, prisoners, the elderly, children, and inmates of psychiatric wards. The Center for the Study and Reduction of Violence, using the research of Strangelovian doctors Jose Delgado and Louis "Jolly" West, drew guinea pigs from the "target populations" to test drugs, implants, and psychosurgery techniques at an isolated military missile base in California. The dead at Jonestown were 90% women, 80% black, and included 276 children.
Congressman Ryan probably suspected that Jonestown was a front for sinister covert activity. In 1980, Ryan aide Joseph Holsinger received a paper entitled "The Penal Colony," which explained that CIA MKULTRA operations did not terminate in 1973, as officially proclaimed, but instead continued in public hospitals, prisons, and religious cults which were used as fronts. Holsinger later stated at a San Francisco psychology forum on Jonestown that he believed the CIA worked with Jones to perform medical and mind control experiments at People’s Temple. If Congressman Ryan had not been killed — a big if — many skeletons in the CIA's closet may have been exposed.
Michael Meiers, author of "Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment?" stated: "The Jonestown experiment was conceived by Dr. Layton, staffed by Dr. Layton and financed by Dr. Layton. It was as much his project as it was Jim Jones's."
Layton was head of the Army’s Chemical Warfare Division.
Source: LINK
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[1st web capture March 2, 2004] The Whale, What the Media Won't Tell You: Jim Jones Was a CIA Operative Conducting Mind Control Experiments

THE JONESTOWN MASSACRE

On November 18 1978, 913 people died in Jonestown, a small compound carved out of the jungles of Guyana, a small country on the northeast coast of South America. The media at the time reported that it was a fanatical group of followers of the Rev. Jim Jones, lead to the jungles of South America to get away from the oppression of life here in America. They also reported that his followers willingly followed their leader into the great beyond by sipping on some cyanide cocktails, laced with purple Kool-Aid. In fact, the notion of a mass suicide at Jonestown has been repeated so many times that it is accepted as fact, and the association is so strong that when most people hear "Jonestown," the first thing which pops in their head is "Kool-Aid."

This association is false.

The source of the "Kool-Aid Suicide" stories was the U.S. State Department, which presented the story immediately after the "suicides" were reported as though it was the only obvious truth. A U.S. Army spokesman pronounced with complete authority, "No autopsies are needed. The cause of death is not an issue here." The bodies were then allowed to rot in the jungle. Despite the lack of need for autopsies, Dr. C. Leslie Mootoo, the top Guyanese pathologist, was at Jonestown hours after the deaths, and, refusing the assistance of U.S. pathologists, accompanied the teams that examined the bodies. His conclusions? Dr. Mootoo found fresh needle marks at the back of the left shoulder blades on 80 to 90 percent of the victims. Others had been shot or strangled. A surviving witness stated that those who resisted were forced by armed guards to comply. Dr. Mootoo's opinion, and that of the Guyanese grand jury investigating Jonestown, was that all but three (only two of which were suicides) were murdered by "persons unknown."

If one was to go over the deaths in Auschwitz, it is almost a certainty, considering the horrendous conditions those who were there were under, that 0.2 % of all deaths could be attributed to suicides. Yet if anyone was to argue that Auschwitz was a suicide camp housing a bunch of religious freaks and not the compounds of murder that they were, they would (rightfully) be condemned for intellectual dishonesty, and their motives would be questioned.The suicide hoax is merely the beginning of the deception. The original death count was 408 (an odd number to use if the number was an estimate), with the added claim that 700 had fled into the jungle. The final total was changed to 913. To explain this rather minor difference in arithmetic, American authorities first explained that those backward ignorant Guyanese "could not count." Perhaps because the first "official" explanation of the bad math was so insulting, it was then proposed that they missed a pile of bodies, as if a pile of dead bodies is something that is easily overlooked. Finally, the official explanation that settled the whole question was presented: Bodies were stacked on top of each other.

Of the 150 photos taken of the massacre, not one shows any body lying under any others. Those who first worked on the bodies, to release the gasses of decay, had to puncture the dead, making it unlikely that they missed anyone. These facts aside, one must wonder how 408 bodies -- 82 belonging to children -- could cover 505 others. Talk about bad math. With minor exceptions, pictures show the dead were found in neat rows, face down. The pictures also show drag marks leading to the bodies, indicating that victims were murdered elsewhere and placed there by someone else.
These facts have lead to a more likely conclusion: 408 was indeed the correct original body count. The other 505 were hunted down and slaughtered, then dragged back. But who would do such a thing, and why? Furthermore, why were American officials giving such deceptive answers about Jonestown? To answer these questions, one must unravel the mystery of a man named Jim Jones. Jones became a Bible-thumping "faith healer," using wet chicken livers as evidence of cancer which he removed by "divine powers."

He adopted eight children, some black, some white. Already the stench of criminal activity surrounded him, and his landlady referred to him as "a gangster who used the Bible instead of a gun." Fortunately for Jones, the local police chief at the time was Dan Mitrione, a friend from childhood. Mitrione kept him from being arrested or run out of town. Mitrione would later enter the International Police Academy, a CIA front for training counterinsurgency and torture techniques.

Despite having few sources for known funds, Jones found enough money to travel with his wife and family to Brazil in 1961. Coincidentally, Mitrione was there as well, having advanced quickly in the IPA. Mitrione had honed his skills at torture and assassination by practicing on kidnapped beggars. He himself was later kidnapped and murdered by guerrillas in Uruguay, an incident which became the basis of the Costa Gavras film State of Siege. Jones made regular trips to Belo Horizonte, site of CIA headquarters in Brazil -- and Mitrione's town of residence.

Apparently, this wasn't the only curious intelligence link to Jones. He told some of his neighbors that he was involved in the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence. The U.S. embassy provided Jones with transportation, groceries, and a large home. Considering his dear friendship to Mitrione and the funding of "ministries" in Latin America by the CIA, the theory that Jones was a U.S. intelligence asset makes quite a bit of sense.

In any case, according to his neighbor, Jones "lived like a rich man." Soon after the JFK assassination, Jones returned to the states with $10,000. In 1965, he formed the first People's Temple in Ukiah, California, and set up Happy Havens Rest Home. Without trained personnel or proper licensing, Jones' camp drew in prisoners, the elderly, people from mental institutions, and 150 foster children, many of whom were transferred by court order. Among those who contacted him: "missionaries" from World Vision (an international evangelical order that often fronts for the CIA); the local chapter head to the John Birch Society; and leaders of the Republican party, for whom his "church" members conducted voter organization and fund-raising activities for the Dick Nixon '68 campaign. Jones' advisors included a mercenary from UNITA, the CIA-backed Angola army. Also jumping on board was the Layton family, whose patriarch, U.C.-Berkeley chemist Dr. Laurence Laird Layton, had worked on the Manhattan Project. Dr. Layton was also chief of the Army's Chemical Warfare Division in the early 1950's. (Mrs. Layton was the daughter of Hugo Phillips, a German banker/stockbroker who became rich representing Siemans & Halske and I.G. Farben, two notorious Nazi Holocaust profiteers.)

Despite his rather right-wing background, Jones suddenly declared himself a liberal socialist -- in fact, he called himself a dual reincarnation of both Jesus Christ and Lenin. At this point, a cloud of suspicion began to gather around his church, which was staffed by jack-booted armed thugs who dressed in black uniforms.

Jones took everything he could from his followers, much of it in the form of welfare and social security checks, using blackmail, extortions, and any other available means. The local press reported about seven mysterious deaths of those who attempted to leave the "church" due to conflicts with Jones. Accusations of kidnapping, beatings, and sexual abuse began to circulate. To escape controversy, Jones moved to San Francisco and became an important fundraiser for the Bay area political establishment. Soon, he was schmoozing with the liberal and radical elite, meeting with (among others) Rosalynn Carter and Angela Davis.
Jones was rewarded by being put in charge of the city Housing Commission, and key followers were awarded jobs in the Welfare Department. The bulk of Jones' flock came from the unemployed and dispossessed people found there. The cult preyed on the poor and helpless, going out of its way to enlist women, children and minorities. Many members were recruited directly from San Francisco mental hospitals. However, the move to San Francisco did little to quiet the controversy surrounding his "church," and a 1977 expose put Jones on the defensive. He then moved his Utopia to Guyana, aided once again by the U.S. Embassy. After receiving complaints lodged by relatives of cult members, Congressman Leo Ryan visited Jonestown on November 18, 1978 to investigate allegations of human rights abuses. Congressman Ryan, a noted CIA critic, had authored the Hughes-Ryan Amendment, which would have required the CIA to disclose to Congress -- in advance -- details of all covert operations. The State department offered Ryan no answers or assistance, despite numerous inquiries. He arrived with U.S. embassy official Richard Dwyer, as well as some journalists. Among the reporters was Tim Reiterman, who had covered the Patty Hearst story for the San Francisco Examiner.

In all likelihood, Ryan already suspected what was really going on at Jonestown. That was when all hell broke loose.

At the airstrip, Leo Ryan soon became the first congressman to die in the line of duty, along with four reporters. (The Hughes-Ryan Amendment was killed in Congress soon afterwards.) The assassins were described by witnesses as "glassy eyed," "mechanically-walking zombies," and "devoid of any emotion." Dwyer and Reiterman were also shot. Soon after that, the mass slaughter began. A plausible explanation for the events that unfolded is that Jim Jones (or someone else) ordered the murders after Ryan's unexpected visit threatened to expose what was happening. In the chaos that followed, a mass extermination was carried out.

Just who were the zombie assassins? Well, besides the 913 dead, 167 survivors returned from the camp. All news reports concede that there were at least 1100 individuals at the camp (and most reports place the number at 1200.) Who are these 200 or more people unaccounted for? The survivors report that there was a special all-white group that was well-armed, well-treated and free to exit the compound. These guards were never accounted for by any news reports.

Perhaps it is these same guards (assuming the total population was 1200) whom a congressional aide was referring to in an Associated Press quote which stated, "There are 120 white, brainwashed assassins out from Jonestown awaiting the trigger word to pick up their hit." Of course, they may have had a little help. Over 300 U.S. Green Berets -- trained for CIA covert assassinations -- were in the area at the time. So were nearly 600 British Black Watch commandos, who were in Guyana conducting a "training exercise." Suddenly, the death toll seems relatively low. The killings didn't stop in Guyana. Nine days later, San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk were slain by Dan White, who was either a "disgruntled police agent" or someone who was "angry about gays." These explanations were supplied to explain his utterly irrational behavior during the killings; sure enough, he was described as being in a bizarre "zombie state." During White's trial, his lawyers came up with the inventive but deservedly mocked "Twinkie defense," in which they claimed he went insane during a sugar high induced by eating too many sweets. Moscone and Milk received substantial financial backing from Jim Jones during his stay by the Bay; afterwards they were both investigated in connection to missing funds from the People's Temple. That is, until a "lone gunman" took them out.

Michael Prokes, a Jones aide, held a press conference and stated that the CIA and FBI were withholding an audiotape of the massacre. He also stated that he was an FBI informant. Right after that, he went to the restroom... and never left. His death was proclaimed a "suicide." In Georgetown, several more Temple members were killed following the Guyana massacre. The man charged with the murders, Charles Beikman, was an early follower of Jones who had become an "adopted son." Beikman was also a Green Beret.

Jeanne and Al Mills, who were writing a book on Jonestown, were bound and shot to death at their home. In Detroit another survivor was killed near his home, and yet another was involved in a mass murder of school children in Los Angeles. Ironically, the dead may not have included Jim Jones himself. The body alleged to be his didn't show his tattoos in the photographs. Fingerprints had to be checked twice, and his dental records were never looked at. He was known to use doubles. As the massacre unfolded, Jones can be heard on a tape recording yelling, "Get Dwyer out of here!" Richard Dwyer was later found at the airstrip, methodically washing his hands. In 1968, Dwyer was listed in the publication Who's Who in the CIA. When asked if the allegation was true, he replied, "No comment."

Of course, Dwyer wasn't the only link to the CIA in Guyana. Besides those previously mentioned, U.S. ambassador John Burke and another official named Richard McCoy were both heavily involved with the intelligence community. The U.S. embassy in Georgetown also housed the Georgetown CIA station. At the time, Guyana had a socialist government, and thus was a likely target for covert operations. Dan Webber, sent to Guyana after the massacre, was also with the CIA. The "official" attorney for the survivors, Joseph Blatchford, was involved in a scandal involving CIA infiltration of the Peace Corps. Then we have the missing money that just "disappeared" after the slaughter. Conservative estimates place the amount at $26 million. Others place it at $2 billion. At the time, a major international money laundering operation was headquartered in Italy, involving the Vatican and a fascist quasi-Masonic lodge known as the P-2, or Propaganda Duo. (This operation probably led to the murder of Pope John Paul I -- but that's another conspiracy.) The CIA-linked P-2 had a major operation located in Panama, not too far from Jonestown.

Add in the FBI files on the Black Panthers and Weathermen found at the site, an attempt to lure Mark Lane (JFK assassination critic and James Earl Ray lawyer, among other things) and Donald Freed (Lane's sometime JFK collaborator and recent Simpson case investigator who has linked the Brentwood murders to Mafia in the L.A. underworld) to Guyana (which succeeded in having Lane witness the airstrip murders after Jones hired him as a lawyer), and a bizarre plot to kidnap Grace Walden Stephens (a key Martin Luther King assassination witness) and smuggle her to Jonestown, and you have the makings of a full fledge spook operation.

One of the strangest CIA connections to Jonestown was the previously mentioned World Vision, an evangelical order which often fronts for the CIA. They performed espionage work for the CIA in Southeast Asia while Operation Phoenix (the murderous project that left 40,000 people dead) was in full effect. In Honduras, they maintained a presence at CIA contra recruiting camps in the war against the Sandinistas. In Lebanon, the fascist Phalange butchered Palestinians at World Vision's camp. In Cuba, their refugee camps hosted numerous members of the anti-Castro terrorist group Alpha 66 of Bay of Pigs fame. After the Guyana massacre, World Vision developed a scheme to repopulate Jonestown with CIA-linked mercenaries from Laos. Laos, of course, was where the CIA was running it's "secret war" during Vietnam, which for the most part was a smokescreen for a widespread opium trafficking operation.

One particularly important World Vision official was John Hinckley, Sr., an oil man, reputed CIA officer, and friend of George Bush. You may have heard of his son. Less than four months before Hinckley Jr. became known as Jodie Foster's biggest fan, another member of the World Vision order, Mark Chapman, gunned down John Lennon in what may have been a practice run for the bigger hit on President Reagan. One of the policeman who found him was convinced that he was a mind-controlled assassin. Chapman was clutching a copy of the novel Catcher in the Rye, which was also owned by John Hinckley Jr. (The book was written by J.D. Salinger, who worked in military intelligence with Henry Kissinger during World War II.) Before going to trial, Chapman plead guilty after a voice in his head (which he attributed it to God) commanded him to do so.

WHEN THE BODIES WERE SHIPPED BACK TO AMERICA, THERE WERE NO AUTOPSIES DONE, THEY WERE BURIED, AND THE FAMILIES WERE NOT ALLOWED TO SEE THEM

Considering the history of World Vision and what went on previously in Guyana, it is possible that the real purpose behind repopulating Jonestown was to create another breeding ground for brainwashed zombies like Chapman and Hinckley. Nearby Jonestown there was a place called Hilltown, a compound of 8,000 blacks that followed cult leader Rabbi David Hill, who held his flock with an iron fist. Hill had so much power that he was referred to as the "vice prime minister" of Guyana. There was also another place in Guyana called "Johnstown," as well as similar operations in the Phillipines and Chile. It appears that Jonestown (and World Vision's later attempt) is hardly the exception to the rule of using obscure locations in Third World nations as laboratories for covert cult operations. The Jonestown site in Guyana was originally a Union Carbide mine, and was loaded with an abundance of precious natural resources. It is very likely that the site was chosen to exploit these resources with cheap labor -- and cheap labor was plentiful.
Members of Jim Jones' "church" were bound and gagged immediately after landing in Guyana and taken to the compound. They were pumped with drugs, which were available in vast amounts at Jonestown -- enough to drug 200,000 people for more than a year. Among the drugs found there: Quaaludes, Valium, morphine, Demerol, Thorazine (a dangerous tranquilizer), sodium pentathol (a truth serum), chloral hydrate (a hypnotic chemical agent), thallium (which confuses thinking), and, of course, cyanide. Jonestown residents lived in cramped quarters and ate meager rations of often spoiled food. They were then forced to give 16 to 18 hours of slave labor per day. When they weren't working, they were required to stay up day and night listening to Jim Jones lecture.

Among the charming punishments the flock endured were forced druggings, sensory deprivation in an underground box, physical torture, and public sexual rape and humiliation, not to mention your average ordinary beatings and verbal abuse. All of the drugs and environmental conditions forced upon Jonestown residents were also employed in the CIA's notorious MKULTRA program, which was implemented to test and implement brainwashing and mind control techniques. A 1974 government report admitted that certain "target populations" were used, namely blacks, women, prisoners, the elderly, children, and inmates of psychiatric wards. The Center for the Study and Reduction of Violence, using the research of Strangelovian doctors Jose Delgado and Louis "Jolly" West, drew guinea pigs from the "target populations" to test drugs, implants, and psychosurgery techniques at an isolated military missile base in California. The dead at Jonestown were 90% women, 80% black, and included 276 children.

Which leads us back to Auschwitz and the ultimate deja vu. Auschwitz, after all, was not just a death camp: It was also a slave labor camp for Nazi military-industrial monolith I.G. Farben. There, the outcasts and refuse of society who no one cared about faced similar abuses, while an elite few profited from their misery. The brains behind the Final Solution became the brains behind MKULTRA. The MK is often said to stand for "Mind Kontrol" -- representing the Germanic origins of the project. Going the full ten yards, however, it is possible that MK merely stands for "Mein Kampf".Congressman Ryan probably suspected that Jonestown was a front for sinister covert activity. In 1980, Ryan aide Joseph Holsinger received a paper entitled "The Penal Colony," which explained that CIA MKULTRA operations did not terminate in 1973, as officially proclaimed, but instead continued in public hospitals, prisons, and religious cults which were used as fronts. Holsinger later stated at a San Francisco psychology forum on Jonestown that he believed the CIA worked with Jones to perform medical and mind control experiments at People's Temple. If Congressman Ryan had not been killed -- a big if -- many skeletons in the CIA's closet may have been exposed.

Michael Meiers, author of "Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment?" had this to say: "The Jonestown experiment was conceived by Dr. Layton, staffed by Dr. Layton and financed by Dr. Layton. It was as much his project as it was Jim Jones's." Layton, remember, was head of the Army's Chemical Warfare Division. Former Temple member Joyce Shaw wondered if Jonestown was "some kind of horrible government experiment, or some sort of sick, racist thing... a plan like that of the Germans, to exterminate blacks." In October 1981, Jonestown survivors filed a $63 million lawsuit against Jonestown-era Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and CIA director Stansfield Turner. The suit stated that the State Department and CIA conspired to "enhance the economic and political powers of James Warren Jones," conducting "mind control and drug experimentation" there. The suit was dismissed four months later for "failure to prosecute timely," and all requests for appeal were denied. (Turner would become a director of Monsanto, now best known for providing the world with the brain-damaging, cancer causing poison bearing the innocuous moniker "NutraSweet".)

All this, of course, is forgotten in official accounts of the events at Jonestown. Instead, the more palatable -- but less accurate -- version of the Jonestown story blames the victims, echoing the ignorant grunt uttered by Pete Hamill, who dismissed the dead as "all the loose change of the sixties."Hanging over Jonestown was a mocking sign that proclaimed, "THOSE WHO DO NOT REMEMBER THE PAST ARE CONDEMNED TO REPEAT IT." One of the most elegant slogans of Holocaust survivors is "Never forget." Jonestown makes it clear that, no matter how well meaning, all these slogans are but words. Never forget? We obviously already have. That Jonestown could unfold before our eyes without the realization of precisely what was going on says volumes. Certainly the blame falls partly at the feet of a powerful military-industrial complex that feels no shame for its deeds, and certainly partly at a Korporate Media that has become the witting mouthpiece (and collaborator) for this same cabal.

But ultimately, the blame falls at the feet of the people, their brains dulled by sitcoms and soap operas, their reality gradually drawn within the boundaries of the cathode ray tube. By the time the Guyana massacre rolled around, the masses were too ignorant and apathetic to know or care about the truth. Instead, they swallowed the official version and waited obediently for the next big lie.

What's worse, the truth itself has become untenable. Instead of outrage and calls for justice, attacks are most often leveled at those who openly question the official account of the Jonestown massacre. Witness the treatment of Gary Webb (of CIA/contra/crack fame) by his editors and fellow journalists. Or try bringing up Jonestown in polite company and see the kind of response you get.

Could the Holocaust happen again? It already has, and will continue to happen. One wonders if it ever really ended.
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by JAMES K POWELL II
Video 10:49





The Jonestown Massacre Pt. 2 of 2
by JAMES K POWELL II
Video 3:05






















The Star [Malaysia] The ghosts of Jonestown, by Martin Vengadesan,

November 18, 2003, The Star [Malaysia] The ghosts of Jonestown, by Martin Vengadesan,

http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=8650

STEPHAN Gandhi Jones is – in the eyes of the world – the son of a mass murderer. Fortunately for him, few people recognise him. But mention “Jim Jones” and “Jonestown” and many people would make theconnection.

Jones, 44, is the only biological son of Jim Jones and his wife Marceline Baldwin who founded the cult behind Jonestown. Its official name was the “People's Temple of the Disciples of Christ”.

Jim Jones was a visionary, charismatic leader preaching a seductive brand of multi-racialism, that was extremely appealing in the restive 1960s, and building a utopian-like egalitarian society.

Deborah Layton

But he apparently descended into madness and led his brainwashed followers to their deaths in a farming community in Guyana.

On Nov 18, 1978, the largest recorded mass suicide in history took place when 913 members of the People's Temple poisoned themselves and their children by drinking cyanide-laced grape juice served from a large vat. Jim Jones apparently shot himself in the head.

Stephan Jones, who was then 19, escaped death because he was out of Jonestown representing the community in a basketballtournament.

In an e-mailed interview, Jones speaks frankly of how he struggled to understand and survive the horror of his father's actions.

As a teenager, Stephan struggled under the shadow of his father, especially when he was exposed to the sexual affairs Jim Jones was conducting with certain members of the People's Temple. He even attempted suicide on a number of occasions in the early 1970s.

He, like other members who survived the cult, have spent years searching for answers to what actually happened and to understand how so many people apparently agreed to die together on the orders of their leader. He is currently working on a book concerning his experiences as the son of Jim Jones.

“There is rich ore in the tragedy of the People's Temple ... and it's grey and in that grey is every colour of the rainbow except the black and white that so many people want to paint with,” he says.

Jones is dismissive of the notion that Jonestown was a paradise. “Jonestown after Dad came to live there was far closer to a concentration camp than paradise, although I wouldn't call it either. An analogy that comes to mind is a prison run by the inmates. My understanding of concentration camps involves enemies, adversaries, a dominant, controlling group subjugating and abusing (even torturing and killing) another.

"There was certainly subjugation and abuse, and eventually killing in Jonestown, but it was an inside job, not done by an outside, separate adversary. Jonestown was populated by a wide range of personalities – from kind, selfless, and courageous to cruel, narcissistic and paranoid – but there was a pervasive sickness that none of us escaped fully. And the sickest of us rose to the top, and from there ran the show, which is what it all was mostly – a show."

If it was a show, it fooled almost everyone.

Rebecca Moore is a professor at the Department of Religious Studies at San Diego State University and oversees the Alternative Considerations of Jonestown website (http://jonestown.sdsu.edu). She is the author of the book Sympathetic Considerations of Jonestown. Moore lost both her sisters and her nephew Kimo Prokes (believed to have been fathered by Jones) in the tragedy.

Moore says in an e-mail that her sisters tried to recruit their parents and her into the Temple because they “believed in the projects they were involved in, and felt that they were changing the world.”

She visited the facilities in northern California, which were very impressive but stayed away because “I was not much of a joiner” and “did not care for Jim Jones.”

“My parents, John and Barbara Moore, visited Jonestown in May 1978. They did not find a prison camp, but rather a very hopeful and up-beat community. They were impressed with the extent of agricultural development that had occurred there, as well as with the multi-generational community that existed. There certainly was no barbed wire, or prison-like conditions.

“It was clear that people cared about the community: the walkways were lined with flowers, and people had planted fruit trees among the houses,” Moore says.

But behind that idyllic fa├žade, darker things were going on.

Laurie Efrein Kahalas, 59, joined the People's Temple in 1970. In 1973 she became part of the group's inner circle (known as the Planning Commission). When the majority of the group moved to Jonestown, she stayed in San Francisco. When the tragedy occurred, she was forced to listen helplessly to radio reports of the killings, including the last report sent from Jonestown.

In the aftermath of the suicides, Kahalas was among the People's Temple members who voted to dissolve the church. However, she saved many documents and eventually wrote a book about her experiences (Snake Dance: Unravelling the Mysteries of Jonestown). To this day, she is responsible for maintaining the controversial websitewww.jonestown.com which supports the view that the Jonestown tragedy was the by-product of a CIA plot.

“I was never in Jonestown personally,” explains Kahalas. “We had to leave a very small crew back in the States to continue to send supplies, keep a semblance of church services going and handle various aspects of public relations in the absence of not only the leader, but most of the group.”

It was years before Deborah Layton (top, left) realised that she had been
 brainwashed by the charismatic and seductive Jim Jones.

While a member of the Planning Commission, Kahalas was subjected to a humiliating ordeal when Jim Jones ordered her to strip naked in front of the rest of the group's inner circle. The experience scarred her to the extent that she was pleased to see Jones leave for Jonestown.

“I was offered the chance to go to Jonestown late in the fall of 1977. Jim Jones had all but driven me to a nervous breakdown, and I was given the chance to go, but I couldn't do it. Not because I did not believe the community was a beautiful, highly unique social experiment which was a godsend for so many but on instinct, I knew I had to remain in the United States.”

Jim Jones is widely believed to have staged incidents in which he dramatically healed members of his church. Unlike most other survivors, however, Kahalas is still convinced that Jones did have healing powers.

She was never particularly convinced though, by the leader's bizarre use of sex. Jones who allegedly fathered a number of children with People's Temple members, would “endure” sexual marathons with members to help “cleanse” them.

“I hated this aspect of People's Temple. I tried to fight it but Jim was furious and would accept nothing of it,” says Kahalas.

Jones' sexual activities were particularly surprising given that his wife Marceline was a cornerstone of the People's Temple. “Marceline was an extraordinary person. But Jim, I believe, marginalised her by design. She was all chopped up over his sexual involvements. Two of Jim's own kids had been included in the Planning Commission, but stopped attending the meetings as they were too painful for them. Jim damaged everyone in his own nuclear family in the rush to be egalitarian.”

But Jones' hold on his followers was such that, as Kahalas, says, they were “caught in a power beyond us and asked at every turn to just trust Jim Jones' integrity entirely.”

Indeed Jones' influence was such that no one thought it strange that the community's Guyana project be named after him.

"The community was named Jonestown on one of the early trips there. I don't recall who suggested it, but it just caught on. Everyone, at the time at least, loved Jim Jones and was thrilled to have it called Jonestown," recalls Kahalas.

But for Stephan Jones, his father was a deluded fraud.

"Dad, from the day he could walk, never really had a genuine moment that involved other people. He was always playing a part on some level. I don't buy the good man gone bad theory. I believe Dad was increasingly sick from toddlerhood till death," he says scathingly.

Yet he also believes his father was not all bad.

"I know he had real goodness about and in him. Dad had a sweetness, even a purity that he could tap into when he wanted to, but in my experience he almost always did so to get something from someone ... most especially approval at least, adulation at best. And, boy, he had charisma. God bless his broken heart."

Jones is also not one of those who believed in Jim Jones' supernatural healing powers.

"He was no miracle worker. I think he had some success early on with healing and clairvoyance, but he knew it was the faith of the people looking on and participating that got it done. So it didn't take him long to start orchestrating and manipulating faith. Healings and discernment were faked to build enough faith for real 'miracles' to take place.

"This is all speculation on my part, but I suspect it all quickly went from substance and show to a show of substance, which is where I believe Dad's favourite credo was born: 'The ends justifies the means' (which is) a very dangerous, duplicitous, arrogant, cancerous approach to getting your way ... which of course is always the right and only way to whoever has chosen it."


While a member of the Planning Commission, Kahalas was subjected to a humiliating ordeal when Jim Jones ordered her to strip naked in front of the rest of the group's inner circle. The experience scarred her to the extent that she was pleased to see Jones leave for Jonestown.

Jim Jones and his 'rainbow family' projected a benevolent and loving image of an egalitarian community which turned out to be a lie.

Deborah Layton, 50, escaped death because she fled Jonestown a few months before the tragedy occurred.

Layton, who had doubts about the safety of the community, started to plan her escape when she fell ill. Put in charge of communications while she recovered, she gave the impression to Jim Jones that there were problems in Georgetown affecting the community.

"I attribute my escape to connivance and luck. Jim decided to send me to the capital on a mission. That is the only reason that I got out of Jonestown, unlike many more deserving people entrapped there," she says via e-mail.

She joined the People's Temple as a teenager, following her brother Larry into the group. Within a short amount of time, she became a trusted lieutenant of Jones and was actually functioning as the People's Temple financial secretary at the time of her departure from Jonestown in June 1978.

It was she who filed an affidavit maintaining that Jim Jones was training his followers to commit mass suicide. Layton currently works in public relations and is a part-time lecturer (on cult membership) at Stanford University. She is the author of Seductive Poison, the story of her time with the People's Temple.

"There are many things I am not proud of. The way I treated my father who always told me to question Jim Jones. The way in which I viewed my mother Lisa when she joined ... as a threat to my ascension. There was a rubber hose beating I participated in. I was so willing to believe that every outsider was bad and that it was okay to lie, cheat, and steal from even my father."

For outsiders, it remains mind-boggling how so many people could be duped by one man, no matter how smooth-talking and persuasive, for so long and to the extent of dying for him.

Even for former followers like Layton, it took a long time for them to understand how the "brainwashing" took place.

"While escaping from Jonestown, I struggled with the belief that I was weak and couldn't live up to the ideals of People's Temple. Once back in the US, I feared for the well-being of all of my friends and my mother and went public with my allegations. Over the next few weeks, I spoke to many skeptical reporters and then, five months later, to a disbelieving State Department in Washington D.C. My shame grew as I saw myself through their eyes ... a daft, odd young woman with a preposterous story of how a thousand people's wills were being thwarted.

"It wasn't until I worked on the trading floor of an investment-banking firm in San Francisco that the seven years of indoctrination slowly began to crumble. As these 'evil capitalists', whom I had been taught to distrust and revile took me under their wing, I gradually began to realise just how deeply Jim’s thoughts had been ingrained in my thinking.

"Even now I struggle, after so many years of seeing everything in black and white, to accept the many varying shades of grey that truly exist.

"How helpless are people in the grips of a cult? It is not a question of helplessness, it is more an internal moral struggle ... how could I be right and all of my comrades be so wrong? I believe that whether it a group of five, 100, or 1,000 that there is always dissent, an inner voice that wonders, 'Can this be right?' What these groups do is to convince us that to question is selfish."

Jim Jones and his 'rainbow family' projected a benevolent and loving image of an egalitarian community which turned out to be a lie.

This AP photo of the aftermath of a mass suicide in 1978 by almost 1,000 members of the People's Temple cult who drank poisoned grape juice from this vat, shocked the world and remains just as powerful 25 years later. Jim Jones also did not brook dissent and he was a master at playing on dissenters' fears and insecurities.

Says Layton: "I knew that I wanted out. However, I also knew that people who did speak out were taken into the medical unit and kept on coma-inducing drugs to keep them silent. No mother wants her child to die and almost all these people, if given a safe chance to run away, would have done so.

"So many people, including myself, wanted to get out of Jonestown, but were afraid that they had committed such illegal acts that to escape would only mean life imprisonment for them. The cult leaders do exactly that ... force people into participating in or witnessing crimes or heinous acts (such as I did in the rubber hose incident) and then tell them that to flee means the loss of those few things that you would escape for ... family, freedom, respect in the community."

Layton points out a brainwashed person would never recognise herself to be such.

"People don't believe that they are being brainwashed. It is a very fine line between loyalty and absolute devotion. It was not until I had been working on the trading floor with a very mercurial CEO, who paid me incredibly well, that I realised that you can be entrapped even in a corporation.

"All of us have experienced not standing up for something when we thought it might affect our career. We saw it in Nazi Germany with 'Hitler’s willing executioners'. When you believe that your principles could endanger your family, we become silent accomplices."

Kahalas, however, feels one should be take responsibility for one's actions.

"It was to my salvation, not to my detriment, when within weeks of the tragedy, I looked at myself in the mirror and said, 'The press is treating us all as robots or psychopaths, and I will not be treated that way.' If we do not retain our human sensitivities then what are we? We can say 'It was all Jim Jones' fault,' but at the end of the day, we are still sovereign human beings accountable to ourselves and others."

It's been 25 years, yet all the people interviewed still feel they cannot completely let go of what happened at Jonestown. There is also a sense that they owe it to those who died not to forget.

Moore says different families of the victims responded Jonestown in different ways: shame, guilt, becoming active in anti-cult groups or in recovery groups, joining other religions.

"My response was to try to humanise the people who died in Jonestown: to give them names and faces so that the media and society could not dismiss them simply as religious fanatics and leave it at that," she says.

Kahalas, on her part, concurs and is doing it for the sake of history too.

"Those who died were by and large very decent, committed and productive people. My work is based in conscience. All I can do is to leave history the record as I knew it first-hand," she adds.

Looking back, Layton says she regrets rejecting angrily offers of help after the tragedy.

"I was adamant that I was not going to be anyone’s guinea pig. I was approached by many psychiatrists and was angrily defiant ... I didn’t need anyone’s help. Looking back on it now, had I known of anyone I could trust or knew that they were not 'practising' on me I would have, perhaps sought their help. This might have prevented me from suffering from the survivor's guilt that I have because we know the best of us did not return."