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Mark Lane: Death As a Way of Life,

December 5, 1978, Spokesman-Review - AP, page 2, Guyana Consul Backed by State Department,

December 7, 1978, The Spokesman Review, page A6, U.S. backs up Guyana ex-consul,

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The State Department Tuesday strongly defended Richard McCoy, its former consul in Guyana, saying he "performed his duties in a manner consonant with the highest standards of professional competence and ethical behavior."

Department spokesman Hodding Carter also denied allegations that there was an improperly close relationship between members of the Peoples Temple cult and American officials.

Carter said those allegations were based largely on memos written by cult officials in Georgetown, Guyana, to cult leader Jim Jones.

The memos were acquired by The Associated Press in Guyana from one of the first persons to visit Jonestown after the mass suicided-slaying last month.

"These people had a stake in pleasing Jones. Their memos were based on selective, incomplete versions of normal business conversations  between McCoy and Peoples Temple representatives.


"Cult leader a genius Lane tells students," by Jennifer Hunter, Chicago Sun-Times columnist,


Cult leader a genius Lane tells students, by Jennifer Hunter, Staff writer

Jonestown, the site of a ritual suicide by 900 people last November, "was one of the 'great pioneering efforts made by Americans" says Mark Lane, the lawyer who worked for Rev. Jim Jones and his crew of People's Temple converts.

"They did it all by hand, cleared out that jungle," Lane told 600 Queen's University students, last night. "There were hundreds and hundreds of people who wanted to go down there.

"I talked to a black woman from one of the ghettos in Southern California and she said the reason she went there was because her three children didn't have the chance for a good education in Watts.

"The school facilities in Jonestown were superior to any school system in the United States.

'Jones was a genius'

"Poor black people from America went there to realize a dream that could never be realized for them in their native country.

"It's important to realize what the conditions were in the United States that led them to desperately try and find an alternative life style.

"Some of those people thought Jonestown was the greatest thing that ever happened to them."

Lane characterized the charismatic cult leader Jim Jones as a "genius" who was "brilliant in some ways but blinded by his desire for power.

"If you met him, I'm sure you would think he was a sympathetic man."

Later, when questioned by a student about these remarks, Lane retorted: "I have just finished talking about a man who was going mad. My God, you cannot be so dense."

He conceded Rev. Jones "was a strange man. He was a man who genuinely loved poor, black people and a man who genuinely loved to exploit them."

'Out to get him'

But he believed he was being exploited too. By the CIA. "He, thought they were out to get him," said Lane. "He was terrified."

In fact, Jones had been negotiating with the Soviet Union to seek asylum there. "The people in Jonestown realized they had failed. They could not make the ground productive. They felt if they could clear the jungle they could make anything grow. But the ground was not fertile.

"It was costing Jim Jones $500,000 a. year to support the people there. It was a dead end.

"Jones wrote a letter to the Central Intelligence Agency saying they had given up. But he was afraid that if they returned to the United States, they would be harassed by intelligence agents. He even told the CIA he'd pull an Eldridge Cleaver. He would tour for the State department and say America is the greatest country in the world." Meanwhile Jones continued his talks with the Soviet Embassy in Guyana.

If maverick Congressman Leo Ryan had postponed his trip to Jonestown "the confrontation would not have taken place," says Lane. Jones and his people would have moved to Cuba or the Soviet Union.

'I warned Ryan'

"I told Congressman Ryan that they would see his presence there as a provocation and in fact, I said to - him if you go there they might move prematurely to another country." Lane claims he is the only one who warned Ryan and places blame on the FBI and CIA for failing to counsel Ryan about the dangers.

"They knew how dangerous it was but they took no action," Lane said

Lane discounted allegations that he may be disbarred for failing to tell Ryan of the risks."I begged him not to go. I told him everything I knew. And I didn't know much."

He says Jones panicked when he heard Ryan was coming. The realization that some of his people wanted to return to the States sealed Jones' fate, Lane believes. "If I could see a death warrant in somebody's eyes that is what I saw in his."

The controversial lawyer, who made headlines with his theories of a conspiracy in the John Kennedy assassination, said he went along on the trip to Jonestown to act as a "moderator". He was imprisoned in a building at the east end of the Jonestown compound when the mass death took place.

'Dignity in death'

He claims it was murder not suicide because he could hear people protesting when Rev. Jim Jones suggested "there was dignity in death." Lane also says there were armed guards who threatened to shoot anyone who didn't take the fatal dose of Kool-Aid and cyanide.

Lane first met Jones when he was invited to Guyana to lecture on the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. "Two months before the mass murder I had never heard of Jim Jones or the People's Temple but it all sounded intriguing."

Describing his own experiences during his last days in Jonestown, Lane referred to his heroism in preventing the stabbing of Leo Ryan when they first arrived. He also recalled, in vaudevillian style, that during the escape his colleague Charles Garry insisted on fleeing with a red hair dryer.

"He said 'I can't leave it behind it's a very good hairdryer. I told him I'd buy him a new one when we got back to San Francisco but he refused."

At the end of the rambling three hour speech, one student questioned Lane about his alleged "profiteering." Lane claimed he did not make "a cent" from his books or lectures and that all the money was put into The Citizens Commission of Inquiry, which he directs`.

This was greeted by loud guffaws from the audience. One person screamed: "Where did you get your nice blue velvet jacket from, Mark? What do you live on?"

Stephen Rosenbloom, another spectator, said Lane was too evasive in his account of the Guyanese incident. "He must be hiding something," Rosenbloom concluded.

Finally, one female student told Lane to loud applause: "I think you spent a long time talking about your jungle escape but we never got to the point. What are you saying exactly? What really happened in Jonestown?




Students peddle Kool-Aid to mock Lane



March 11, 1979, The Atlanta Journal & Constitution Magazine, Mark Lane: Making a Career Out of Tragedies,


December 16, 1978, The Frederick Post, Jonestown holocaust: It could happen again; Families Under Stress, by William D. Brown, Ph.D.




December 22,, 1978, The Washington Post, Cults Get Millions in Tax Dollars, Inquiries Show, by John Berthelsen,


January 25, 1979, The Washington Post, page A18, Guyana Tape Raises Questions on Lane, by Charles Krause,


November 21, 1978, The Knoxville Journal, Emotional tug -of- war erupts into mass violence; 'I think we're in for some trouble.' by Tim Reiterman, San Francisco Examiner,

SAN FRANCISCO -- "I feel sorry that we are being destroyed from within," the Rev. Jim Jones said as a tropical storm rained on the Peoples Temple pavilion.

Jones had suffered a setback. Rep. Leo Ryan, D- Calif., had come to the temple's agricultural project to determine whether the followers of Rev. Jones were free to leave the jungle settlement.

Starting with a note from two members asking, "Please help us get out of Jonestown," the list of defectors grew to at least 16. According; to' former members, Jones would not tolerate defections from the mission project, and many of the church,. members considered those who leave to be traitors.

At the end of Ryan's two-day visit to the mission Saturday, a woman suddenly charged down a slippery boardwalk, crying, "Don't take my baby!"

An emotional tug-oi-war ensued between a mother who wanted. to stay and the father who wanted to go. Finally, attorneys for both Ryan and the temple decreed that the courtroom was the proper place to decide the custody issue.

Though it was a stalemate, the incident intensified an already strained situation. Jones, who asked his followers to call him "Dad", doesn't like to lose any of his "children." He says he considers it a failing on his part when he does.

Some scowling faces appeared in the windows that rainy afternoon, watching the defectors leave, some with trunks and others with little more than the clothes on their backs.

Soon the back of the truck was piled high with suitcases, backpacks and people. Mud made the truck bed slick, so everyone clung to the sideboards.

But before it could start out, we heard angry shouts. People scrambled for the outdoor pavilion.

A few reporters jumped from the truck and ran over there, along the way getting word that a temple member had, grabbed the congressman, held a knife to his throat and announced plans to split it. Temple attorneys Charles Garry and Mark Lane, along with Ryan, subdued the man.

Fresh in everyone's mind was the temple's magnanimity: It willingly provided passports to those wished to leave and advanced $5,000 to help defray transportation costs. Also fresh in mind were the warm, --cheerful embraces between some of those leaving and-- some who were staying.

As the larger of two planes being used landed, the temple truck, with several persons in the -back, started to advance. Alongside it was a- red tractor and trailer seen earlier at the mission.

Some of those leaving the temple eyed the vehicles with suspicion. NBC reporter Don Harris said coolly, "I think we're in for some trouble."

Seating assignments were chosen after Ryan briefed the press on the knife attack and credited Mark Lane with saving his life.

The congressman clearly was in good spirits. He was within a few minutes and a few yards of accomplishing his goal: to get out temple members who who were afraid to leave or possibly held against their will.

First the Cessna was filled, with' Ryan frisking each boarder looking for guns and knives.

'Meanwhile the tractor, with several men in the trailer, rolled toward the terminal shack and halted a short distance away.

Then, with a heart-stopping suddenness, the first shot was fired.


Then, toward midafternoon, after most of us were already aboard the dump truck that was to take us back to the airstrip, one of the Temple loyalists attempted to stab Congressman Ryan. There was more screaming. As several of us rushed toward the Pavilion, Ryan emerged uninjured. But his shirt was covered with blood. He was okay, he told us. The blood belonged to his would-be assassin, who had been stabbed after someone grabbed him from behind We were back in Jonestown early, and it was immediately clear the mood had changed.

GAP Is Investigating Reports That Agencies Sent More Than 150 Foster Children to Guyana

Cult leader a genius Lane tells students

Mark Lane: Making a Career Out of Tragedies

Jonestown holocaust-It could happen again

Guyana Tape Raises Questions on Lane

Jones' Son Is Charged With 4 Murder Counts In Cult Throat-Slashing by Charles A. Krause, Washington Post Foreign Service,

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