Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Jim Hougan: Investigative Notes


June 14, 2003, Associated Press, L.A. Times, Father Divine's Movement Slowly Fades,

Since his death in 1965, the faithful and his landmark real estate holdings have dwindled. But some still believe he is God.

GLADWYNE, Pa. — They keep a place set for Father Divine in the grand dining room at Woodmont, the French Gothic manor where he once greeted thousands of followers who believed he was God.

His office there is just as it was at his death in 1965 -- down to the vintage television across from his desk. When his widow, Mother Divine, used the room for a recent interview, she left his big chair empty and pulled up a seat beside it.

"Father is here with us," she said with a smile, meaning it literally.

Since his death, his widow and other believers have done their best to preserve Father Divine's presence and sustain the religious movement he founded in New York during the first half of the 20th century.

The International Peace Mission still maintains its hilltop estate in Gladwyne, outside Philadelphia; church offices in downtown Philadelphia; and a budget hotel -- the Divine Tracy -- near the University of Pennsylvania campus.

Believers, most of whom are in their 70s and 80s, still gather regularly to sing religious and patriotic songs and listen to recordings of Father Divine's sermons.

But there are signs the movement is in its twilight.

The Peace Mission has spent the last two decades selling many of the landmark properties Father Divine amassed with donations from the faithful in the 1930s, '40s and '50s. Two Philadelphia properties -- the Divine Lorraine Hotel and the Unity Mission Church -- have been sold since 2000.

"Basically we have not changed. We just don't have the people we once had," Mother Divine said.

History hasn't quite decided what to make of Father Divine, a preacher who rose from obscurity by advocating a strict moral code -- and by convincing thousands of people that he was God.

A plaque outside the Divine Lorraine describes Father Divine, who was black, as a civil rights leader. Critics said he was a huckster who talked followers out of their savings.

His early history, and even his real name, are matters of mystery.

Journalists in the movement's heyday said he was probably born George Baker and mowed lawns in Baltimore before he became a preacher and settled in New York.

His congregation experienced its first significant growth after he moved with his disciples to Sayville, on Long Island, in 1919. There, he offered free weekly banquets and help finding jobs to a growing number of mostly black followers attracted by his message of "practical Christianity."

He urged believers not to drink, smoke, swear, gamble or borrow money and to pool their resources and practice communal living.

Followers also eschewed "undue mingling of the sexes." Men and women lived in separate quarters -- a tradition kept alive at the Divine Tracy, where male and female guests stay on separate floors.

Father Divine barred followers from marrying too -- although he had married -- saying that they should give up traditional bonds in favor of membership in a universal family. He also rejected racial identity, urging people to think of themselves simply as Americans.

Those teachings were largely overshadowed by his claim to divinity, which he began to make in his sermons in the 1930s.

According to the movement's beliefs, Christ did not have the power to fully emancipate man so he died and returned as Father Divine. Since his death, believers have said that Father Divine simply "laid down his body," much as Jesus did before him.

The declaration that he was God captivated the New York press, especially after Father Divine was hauled into court on public nuisance charges in 1931.

A judge sentenced him to a year in jail, then, four days later, died unexpectedly. Interviewed in prison, Father Divine reportedly said, "I hated to do it." Weeks later, he was set free.

After that, the sect became a phenomenon. Father Divine moved his base to Harlem, where he acquired hotels and converted them into "Heavens" where followers lived and worked.

Similar Heavens opened in Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Through it all, the church's key activity was operating dining halls that provided free food to thousands. Later the mission began charging for the meals, but only a few cents.

Believers said the meals were miracles. Skeptics weren't so sure.

Hundreds of supporters turned over their weekly salaries to the movement, and critics said the cash bought Father Divine luxury cars, fine suits and choice real estate in previously all-white enclaves.

Robert Weisbrot, a Colby College history professor who studied Father Divine, said some of the criticisms are valid.

"Did he get something out of it? Yes, he did," he said. "But it is remarkable how many people over the years counted on him for a cheap meal, cheap lodging, or a cheap Sunday banquet."

The suggestion of impropriety still bothers Mother Divine. She attributes it to prejudice. "He wasn't the established church, and he wasn't the right complexion," she said.

After years of fending off accusations, Father Divine took the movement to Philadelphia in 1942, eventually acquiring the businesses and properties which are now mostly gone.

Jim Hougan: Investigative Notes

["Guyana Operations," After-Action Report, 18-27 November, 1978, prepared by the Special Study Group, Operations Directorate, USMC Directorate, Joint Chiefs of Staff (distributed 31 January, 1979).

The JCS chronology cites the following reference: "CIA 191138Z Nov 78".  NOIWON is the National Operations and Intelligence Watch Officers Network.]

According to Dr. Julius Mader, an East German academician with ties to the Stasi intelligence service, Dwyer was actually a CIA officer. [Mader is the author of Who's Who in the CIA.  It's in that book that Dwyer is named as a CIA officer.] This opinion would appear to have been based on analysis of Dwyer’s background, which included his enlistment in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, followed by service in the fly-blown capitals of Syria, Egypt, Bulgaria and Chad.

In fact, the CIA station chief in Guyana was a colleague of Dwyer’s, working under State Department cover at the U.S. Embassy in Georgetown.  This was James Adkins, who would later come a cropper in the Iran-Contra hearings, during which he was criticized for what might be characterized as “over-achievement” on behalf of the Contras in the early 1980s.  He later resigned from the CIA.

At the Temple’s residence in Georgetown – a modest house called “Lamaha Gardens” – a woman named Sharon Amos was told by radio of the ambush at Port Kaituma.  She also learned that Jones intended to pull the plug on Jonestown and the more than 900 people who lived there.  Taking her children into the bathroom, Mother Amos dutifully slit their throats, then took her own life, as well.
News of the horror quickly got out, but nothing further was heard from Jonestown itself.  The “agricultural settlement” was a black hole.
When the Embassy learned of the ambush from one of the returning pilots, Adkins got on the radio – and stayed on the raido for hours – listening hard.  For a long while, nothing could be heard.  But int he early morning hours of November 19, the voice of Odell Rhodes was suddenly heard, transmitting almost hysterically.  After witnessing so many murders and suicides, Rhodes had used a pretext to get past a cordon sanitaire of Temple guards armed with shotguns and crossbows.  Reaching the relative safety of the surrounding jungle, he’d made his way to the little police station in nearby Mathews Ridge.  It was from there that he broadcast the report that stunned Adkins.
As for Dwyer, he appears to have played a courageous role at the airstrip that night, taking care of the wounded and the dead at considerable risk to himself.
Even so, mysteries remain.
One of them concerns the so-called “Last Tape.”  This was a cassette found in a tape-recorder beside Jim Jones’s lifeless body.  On the tape, we can hear people wailing and screaming, when Jones suddenly asks, “And what comes, folks, what comes now?”

Wikipedia captions this image, "Photograph of military personnel carrying bodies of the victims of the Jonestown massacre out of a helicopter." However, this does, indeed, appear to be a C-141 aircraft. This image is from "the Jonestown Institute" at San Diego State University.

[Los Angeles Times, 9 January, 1986, I:2:5; UPI, 9 January, 1986, National/Domestic News, PM cycle, Los Angles.]

[Miami Herald, "Army to Identify Bodies of Cultists," 22 Nov., 1978, p.1.]

["Some in Cult Received Cyanide by Injection, Guyanese Sources Say," by Nicholas M. Horrock, New York Times, Dec. 12, 1978.]

. [American Medical News, "Bungled Aftermath of Tragedy," by Lawrence Altman, MD, p. 7.] (

[With respect to the absence of cyanide in the vat, see page 4 of the autopsy protocol (AFIP #1680274) for Laurence E. Schacht.]

[The quote is taken from the autopsy report on Carolyn Moore, prepared by Dr. Robert L. Thompson.]

American Medical News.  See also, "Coroner Says 700 in Cult Who Died Were Slain," by Timothy McNulty and Michael Sneed (Chicago Tribune Service story), The Miami Herald, Dec. 17,1978.]

["Medical Examiners Find Failings By Government on Cultist Bodies," by Lawrence K. Altman, New York Times, Dec. 3, 1978]

[It was Dr. Rudiger Breitenecker who commented on the procedure used in Guyana (trochar embalming).  Dr. Breitenecker was the only civilian who participated in the seven autopsies conducted by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology team at Dover Air Force Base.  Those autopsied were: Laurence Schacht; William Castillo; James Jones; Violatt Dillard; Maria Katsaris; Carolyn (Moore) Layton; and Ann Moore. ]

[New England Journal of Medicine, "Law-Medicine Notes: The Guyana Mass Suicides: Medicolegal Re-evaluation" by William J. Curran, J.D., LL.M., S.M. Hyg., June 7, 1979]

[Baltimore Sun, November 21, 1978.  A subsequent report, by the Associated Press on November 25, listed 180 children among 775 cadavers.  The final count, recorded by the Miami Herald on December 17, reported that 260 children were among the dead]

[Credit for stopping the attack is usually given to the attorneys.  In fact, it seems that one of the Templars, Tim Carter, was the first to intervene.  Interestingly, Carter reports that Don Sly's attack on Ryan, was most, best half-hearted.  "It was like he wanted to be stopped," Carter said.  The implication is that Sly's attack was a command performance that Sly himself hoped would fail]


July 2nd, 2011, Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple Part 2, by Jim Hougan,

Still, we’re not done with CIA.  Its relationship to Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple, and therefore to the Jonestown massacre, is an important issue that will be discussed in subsequent pages.
Here, however, we are concerned with the initial reports of the massacre.  And, in particular with those responsible for labeling the disaster a “mass suicide”—contrary to the evidence being gathered by Dr. Mootoo.  The person who seems to have been most responsible for spinning the story in that way was Dr. Hardat Sukhdeo, a psychiatrist.
Dr. Sukhdeo is, or perhaps was, “an anti-cult activist” whose professional interests (according to an autobiographical note) were “homicide, suicide, and the behavior of animals in electro-magnetic fields.”  His arrival in Georgetown on November 27, 1978 came only three weeks after he had been named as a defendant in a controversial “deprogramming” case. [Sukhdeo was named with "deprogrammer" Galen Kelly in a suit brought by the Circle of Friends on behalf of Joan E. Stedrak.  The suit is believed to have been filed on November 6, 1978]  It is not entirely surprising, then, that within hours of his arrival in the capital, Dr. Sukhdeo began giving interviews to the press, including the New York Times, “explaining” what had happened.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones, he said, “was a genius of mind control, a master.  He knew exactly what he was doing.  I have never seen anything like this…but the jungle, the isolation, gave him absolute control.”  Just what Dr. Sukhdeo had been able to see in his few minutes in Georgetown is unclear.  But his importance in shaping the story is undoubted: he was one of the few civilian professionals at the scene, and his task was, quite simply, to help the press make sense of what had happened and to console those who had survived.  Accordingly, he was widely quoted, and what he had to say was immediately echoed by colleagues back in the States.
That Sukhdeo’s opinions were preconceived, rather than based upon evidence, however, seems obvious.  Even so, it is clear that he was aware of the work that Dr. Mootoo had done—which, as we have seen, contradicted Sukhdeo’s statements about “mass suicides.”
In an interview with Time, Sukhdeo refers to an “autopsy” that had been performed on Jim Jones in Guyana.  This can only have been a reference to Dr. Mootoo’s somewhat cursory examination, in which Jones’s body was slit open on the ground.  It is difficult to understand how Sukhdeo could have been aware of that procedure without also knowing of Mootoo’s finding that most of the victims had been murdered.
Dr. Sukhdeo was himself a native of Guyana, though a resident of the United States.  He claimed at the time that he’d come to Georgetown at his own expense to counsel and study those who had survived.  But that is in dispute.
According to his attorney, Robert Bockelman, Dr. Sukhdeo retained him to prevent his having to testify at the Larry Layton trial in San Francisco.  (Layton was a member of the Peoples Temple who participated in the events at the Port Kaituma airstrip.)  Dr. Sukhdeo’s primary concern, according to Bockelman, was that it should not be revealed that the State Department had paid his way to Guyana.  You see the issue: was Doctor Sukhdeo there to help the survivors—or to debrief them on behalf of some other person or agency? [Asked about this in a recent interview, Sukhdeo continued to insist that he paid his own way to Guyana.]
Nor was this all.   Prior to retaining counsel in San Francisco, Dr. Sukhdeo had himself been retained by Larry Layton’s defense attorneys and family.  (Indeed, he testified in Layton’s trial in Guyana, where “most of his testimony concerned cults in general and observations about conditions at Jonestown.”) [United States v. Layton, Federal Rules (90 F.R.D. 520/1981), pp. 521-22, in re a "Memorandum and Order Denying Plaintiffs Motion to Compel Production of Sukhdeo Tapes." ]  During the time that he was helping Layton’s defense, it appears that Dr. Sukhdeo was also meeting  —surreptitiously, according to his own lawyer—with FBI agents.  Asked about this, Sukhdeo says that at no time during these meetings did he disclose any confidential communicatins between himself and Layton. [Ibid]
The suggestion that Dr. Sukhdeo may have secretly “debriefed” Jonestown’s survivors on behalf of the State Department (or some other government agency) may seem unduly suspicious.  On the other hand, a certain amount of suspicion would seem to prudent when discussing the unsolved deaths of more than 900 Americans who, in the weeks before they died, were preparing to defecten masse to the Soviet Union.  The government’s interest in this matter would logically have been intense. [The CIA has stated that, in deference to its Charter, which prohibits the Agency from collecting information on Americans, it took no notice of the Temple's approaches to Communist Bloc organizations in Guyana.  The disclaimer is widely disbelieved.]
It is true, of course, that not every psychiatrist agreed with Dr. Sukhdeo’s analysis.  Dr. Stephen P. Hersh,  then assistant director of the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH), commented that “The charges of brainwashing are clearly exaggerated.  The concept of  ’thought control’ by cult leaders is elusive, difficult to define and even more difficult to prove.  Because cult converts adopt beliefs that seem bizarre to their families and friends, it does not follow that their choices are being dictated by cult leaders.” [Associated Press, story by Chris Connell, November 21, 1978.]
That said, there is more at stake here than public perceptions.  Investigators of the Guyana tragedy have a responsibility to both the living and the dead: to find out what actually happened, and to make certain that it cannot happen again.
To understand the fate of the Peoples Temple, one must first understand why the intelligence community seemed (against all odds) to ignore the organization for so long—appearing to become interested only when Congressman Ryan began his investigation.  Consider:

Image from a Peoples Temple brochure, portraying leader Jim Jones as the father of the "Rainbow Family". Image courtesy of The Jonestown Institute,
The Peoples Temple was created in the political deep-freeze of the 1950s.  From its inception, it was a leftwing ally of black activist groups that were, in many cases, under FBI surveillance. [For many years, the FBI maintained a "Racial Intelligence" file.  A 1968 Airtel sent to that file refers to the Bureau's concerns the possible emergence of an American "Mau Mau," the "rise of a (black) messiah," and "the beginning of a true black revolution."]  During the 1960s, when the Bureau and the CIA mounted Operations COINTELPRO and CHAOS to infiltrate and disrupt black militant organizations and the Left, the Temple went out of its way to forge alliances with leaders of those same organizations: e.g., with the Black Panthers’ Huey Newton and with the Communist Party’s Angela Davis.  And yet, despite these associations, and its ultra-left orientation, we are told that the Temple was not a target of investigation by either intelligence agency.
In the early 1970s, suspicions began to surface in the press, implicating the Peoples Temple in an array of allegations including gunrunning, drug-smuggling, kidnapping, murder, brainwashing, extortion and torture.  Under attack at home, and feeling the pressure abroad, Temple officials undertook secret negotiations with the Soviet Embassy in Georgetown, laying the groundwork for the en masse defection of more than a thousand poor Americans.  According to the CIA, it took no interest in these discussions.
Under the circumstances, only the most naive could fail to be skeptical of the disinterested stance that the FBI and the CIA claim to have taken.  But what does it mean?  Why would the FBI and the CIA give the Peoples Temple a pass?
The answers to those questions are embedded in the contradictions of Jones’s own past and, in particular, in that most mysterious period in the preacher-man’s life: the 1960-64 interregnum that his biographers gloss over.  As I intend to show, the enigmas of Jones’s beginnings do much to explain the bloodshed at the end.
Jim Jones was born in Crete, Ind. in 1931.  When he was three, he moved with his family to the town of Lynn.
His father was a partially disabled World War I vet.  Embittered by the Depression and unable to find work, he is alleged (without much evidence) to have been a member of the Ku Klux Klan.  Jones’s mother, on the other hand, was well-liked, a hard-working woman who is universally credited with keeping the family together.
Jones’s religious upbringing took place outside his own family.  Myrtle Kennedy, a friend of his mother’s who lived nearby, saw to it that he went to Sunday School, and gave him instruction in theBible.  While not yet a teenager, Jones began to experiment, attending the services of several churches. [Raven: the Untold Story of Rev. Jim Jones and His People, by Tim Reiterman with John Jacobs, E.P. Dutton (New York, 1982), pp. 9-21.]  Before long, he came under the spell of a “fanatical” woman evangelist, the leader of faith-healing revivals at the Gospel Tabernacle Church on the edge of town. [It is Jones's biographer, Tim Reiterman, who characterizes the unidentified woman evangelist as "fanatical."  See Raven, p. 18.]  (This was a Pentecostal sect of so-called “Holy Rollers,” a charismatic group then believed in faith-healing and speaking in tongues.)   Whether there was more to their relationship than that of a priestess and her protege is unknown, but it is a fact that Jones’s association with the woman coincided with the onset of nightmares.  According to Jones’s mother, he was terrorized by dreams in which a snake figured prominently.[The possibility that Jones was sexually abused as a child should not be ruled out---particularly in light of his own abusive sexual behavior as an adult.  Even those who remain loyal to Jones, insisting that he was somehow "misunderstood," lament his enthusiasm for sexually humiliating those who had displeased him---not occasionally by resorting to homosexual rape.]
Whatever the nature of his relationship to the lady evangelist, Jones soon found himself in the pulpit, dressed in a white sheet, thumping the Bible.  The protege was a prodigy and, by all accounts, he loved the attention.
In 1947, 15-years-old and still a resident of Lynn, Jones began preaching in a “sidewalk ministry” on the wrong side of the tracks in Richmond, Ind.—sixteen miles from his home.  Why he traveled to Richmond to deliver his message, and why he picked a working-class black neighborhood in which to do it, is uncertain.
What is certain, however, is that, while in Richmond, Jones established a relationship with a man named Dan Mitrione.  Like the child evangelist, Mitrione would one day become internationally notorious and, like Jones, his violent death in South America would generate headlines around the world.  As Jones told his followers in Guyana,
“There was one guy that I knew growing up in Richmond, a cruel, cruel person, even as a kid, a vicious racist—Dan Mitrione.” [The quotation is from type-written fragments of an autobiography found amid the carnage at Jonestown.]
Myrtle Kennedy has confirmed that the two men knew one another, saying that they were friends. [ It was independent researcher John Judge who asked Kennedy about Jones's relationship to Mitrione.]
That Jones knew Mitrione is strange coincidence, but not entirely surprising.  A Navy veteran who’d joined the Richmond Police Department in 1945, Mitrione worked his way up through the ranks as a patrolman, a juvenile officer and, finally,  chief of police.  It is unlikely that he would have overlooked the strange white-boy from Lynn preaching on the sidewalk to blacks in front of a working-class bar on the industrial side of town.
What is surprising about Jones’s statement, however, is  his description of Mitrione as a “vicious racist.”  There is nothing anywhere else to suggest that Mitrione held any particular views on the subject of race.  Communism, certainly—but race, no. [A book about Mitrione, and his 1970 assassination in Uruguay, is Hidden Terrors, by A.J. Langguth, Pantheon Books (New York, 1978).]
Which is to say that either Jones was wrong about the Richmond cop, or else he knew something about Dan Mitrione that other people did not.
If Mitrione were to play no further part in Jones’s story, there would be little reason to speculate any further about their relationship.  But, as we’ll see, Jones and Mitrione cross each other’s paths repeatedly, and in the most unlikely places.  Neither family friends nor playmates (Mitrione was eleven years older than Jones), their relationship must have been based upon something.  But what?
Two possibilities suggest themselves: either Mitrione was counseling in Jones in the way policemen sometimes counsel children, or their relationship may have been professional.  That is to say, Mitrione may have recruited Jones as an informant within the black community.  This second possibility is one to which we’ll have reason to return.
Very little research seems to have been carried out by anyone with respect to Jones’s early career.  It is almost as if his biographers are uninterested in him until he begins to go off the deep end.  This is unfortunate—particularly in light of the possibility that Jones may have been a police or FBI informant, gathering “racial intelligence” for the Bureau’s files.
What is known about his early career is, therefore, known only in outline.
He graduated from Richmond High School in about January, 1949, and began attending the University of Indiana at Bloomington. [Jones moved from Lynn to Richmond in the Fall of 1948.]He was married to his high school sweetheart, Marceline Baldwin, in June of the same year.
In the Summer of 1951, Jones moved to Indianapolis to study law as an undergraduate.  While there, he began to attend political meetings of an uncertain kind.  Ronnie Baldwin, Marceline’s younger cousin, was living with the Joneses at the time.  And though he was only eleven years old, Baldwin recalls that Jones sometimes took him to political lectures.  On one such outing, Baldwin remembers, he and Jones went to a “churchlike” auditorium where “communism” was under discussion.  They didn’t stay long, however.  Soon after they’d arrived, someone came up to Jones and whispered in his ear—whereupon Jones took his ward by the arm and exited hurriedly.  Outside, Jones said “Good evening” to a man whom Baldwin believes was an FBI agent. [Op cit.,Raven, p. 40]
It’s a peculiar story, and Jones’s biographers don’t seem to know what to make of it. What sort of meeting could it have been?  The assumption is made, in light of Jones’s later politics, that it was a leftist soiree of some kind.  After all, they were talking about communism.  But that makes very little sense.  Indianapolis was a very conservative city in 1951.  (It still is.)  Joe McCarthy was on the horizon, and the Korean War was beginning to take its toll.  If “communism” was being discussed in anything other than whispers, or anywhere else than a back-room, the debate was almost certainly one-sided and thumbs-down.
It was at about this same time that Jones gave up the study of law and, to everyone’s surprise, decided to become a minister.  By 1952, he was a student pastor at the Somerset Methodist Church in Indianapolis and, in 1953, made his “evangelical debut” at a ministerial seminar in Detroit, Michigan.
By 1954, Jones had established the “Community Unity” Church in Indianapolis, while preaching also at the Laurel Tabernacle.  To raise money, he began selling monkeys door-to-door. [One hardly knows what to make of this bizarre fund-raising method.  There can't have been that much demand for the beasts.  Nevertheless, the practice is worth noting, if only because it constitutes, however tenuously, Jones's first known link to South America.  Contrary to some reports, the monkeys were not obtained from university research laboratories in Indiana, but from suppliers below the Equator.]
By 1956, Jones had established the “Wings of Deliverance” Church as a successor to Community Unity.  Almost immediately, the Church was christened the Peoples Temple.  The inspiration for its new name stemmed from the fact that the church was housed in what was formerly a Jewish synagogue—a “temple” that Jones had purchased, with little or no money down, for $50,000.
Ironically, the man who gave the Peoples Temple its start was the Rabbi Maurice Davis.  It was he who sold the synagogue to Jones on such remarkably generous terms.  A prominent anti-cult activist and sometime “deprogrammer,” Rabbi Davis is an associate of Dr. Sukhdeo’s.
By the late 1950s, the Peoples Temple was a success, with a congregation of more than 2000 people.  Still, Jones had even larger ambitions and, to accommodate them, became the improbable protege of an extremely improbable man.  This was Father Divine, the Philadelphia-based “black messiah” whose Peace Mission movement attracted tens of thousands of black adherents and the close attention of the FBI, while earning its founder an annual income in seven figures.
For whatever reasons, beginning in about 1956, Jones made repeated pilgrimages to the black evangelist’s headquarters, where he literally “sat at the feet” (and at the table) of the great man, professing his devotion.  With the exception of Father Divine’s wife, Jones may well have been the man’s only white adherent.
It was not entirely inconvenient.  Living in Indianapolis, Jones could easily arrange to transport members of the Peoples Temple by bus to Philadelphia—where they were housed without charge in Father Divine’s hotels, feasted at banquets called “Holy Communions,” and treated to endless sermons. [When Father Divine died in the summer of 1972, years after Jones had moved his own congregation to California, Jones nevertheless arranged for a caravan of buses to cross the country to Philadelphia---where Jones announced that he was Father Divine's white reincarnation.  In that capacity, he said, he was quite prepared to take control of the Peace Mission movement (and its considerable assets).  Mrs. Divine said no.]
That Jones made a study of Father Divine, emulated him and hoped to succeed him, is clear.  The possibility should not be ruled out, however, that Jones was also engaged in collecting “racial intelligence” for a third party.
Whatever else Jones may have picked up from his study of Father Divine, there is reason to believe that it was in the context of his visits to Philadelphia that he was introduced to the subject of mass suicide.  Among Jones’s personal effects in Guyana was a book that had been checked out of the Indianapolis Public Library in the 1950s, and never returned.    In the pages of Father Divine: Holy Husband, the author quotes one of the black evangelist’s followers:
“‘If Father dies,’ she tells you in the calmest kind of a voice, ‘I sure ’nuff  would never be callin’ in myself to be goin’ on livin’ in this empty ol’ world. I’d be findin’ some way of gettin’ rid of the life I never been wantin’ before I  found him.’  “If Father Divine were to die, mass suicides among Negroes in his movement could certainly result.  They would be rooted deep, not alone in Father’s relationship with his followers, but also in America’s relationship with its Negroe citizens.  This would be the shame of America.”  (Emphasis added.) [Father Divine: Holy Husband, by Sara Harris, pp. 319-20.]
In January, 1959, Fidel Castro overthrew the Batista dictatorship, and seized power in Cuba.  Land reforms followed within a few months of the coup, alienating foreign investors and the rich.  By Summer, therefore, Cuba was in the midst of a low-intensity counter-revolution, with sabotage operations mounted from within and outside the country.
Within a year of Castro’s ascension, by January of 1960, mercenary pilots and anti-Castroites were flying bombing missions against the regime.  Meanwhile, in Washington, Vice-President Richard Nixon was lobbying on behalf of the military invasion that the CIA was plotting.
It was against this background, in February of 1960, that Jim Jones suddenly decided to visit Havana.
The news of Jones’s visit to Cuba—one is tempted to write “the cover-story for Jones’s trip to Cuba”—was first published in the New York Times in March, 1979 (four months after the massacre in Guyana).  The story was based upon an interview with a naturalized American named Carlos Foster.  A former Cuban cowboy, Baptist Pentecostal minister and sometime night-club singer, Foster showed up at the New York Times four months after the massacre.  Without being asked, he volunteered a strange story about meeting Jim Jones in Cuba during the Winter of 1960.  (Why Foster went to the newspaper with his story is uncertain: news of his friendship with Jones could hardly have helped his career as a childrens’ counselor). [New York Times, "Jim Jones 1960 Visit to Cuba Recounted," by Joseph B. Treaster.  As evidence of his veracity, Foster provided theTimes with letters and an affidavit that Jones had signed, promising to support Foster if he should emigrate to the United States.]
Nevertheless, according to the Times story, the 29-year-old Jones traveled to Cuba to expedite plans to establish a communal organization with settlements in the U.S. and abroad.   The immediate goal, Foster said, was to recruit Cuban blacks to live in Indiana.
Foster told the Times that he and Jones met by chance at the Havana Hilton.  That is to say, Jones gave the Cuban a big hello, and took him by the arm.  He then solicited Foster’s help in locating forty families that would be willing to move to the Indianapolis area (at Jones’s expense).  Tim Reiterman, who repeats the Times‘ story, adds that the two men discussed the plan in Jones’s hotel-room, from 7 in the morning until 8 o’clock at night, for a week.  More recently, Foster has elaborated by saying that Jones offered to pay him $50,000 per year to help him establish an archipelago of offshore agricultural communes in Central and South America.  Foster said that Jones was an extremely well-traveled man, who knew Latin America well.  He had already been to Guyana, and wanted to start a collective there.
After a month in Cuba, Jones returned to the United States (alone).  Six months later, Foster followed, on his own initiative, but the immigration scheme went nowhere. [Foster came to Indianapolis in August, 1960.  He accepted the hospitality of the Peoples Temple for the remainder of that Summer, and then decamped for New York (where his fiance was living).]
The anomalies in this story are many, and one hardly knows what to make of them.   Foster’s information that Jones was well-traveled in Latin America, and had already been to Guyana, comes as a shock.  None of his biographers mentions Jones having taken trips out of the United States prior to this time.  Could Foster be mistaken?  Or have Jones’s biographers overlooked an important part of his life?
An even greater anomaly, however, concerns language.  While Reiterman reports that Foster was bilingual, and that he and Jones spoke English together, this isn’t true.  Foster learned English at Theodore Roosevelt High School in the Bronx—after he’d emigrated to the United States. [Ascent, "Lure of the Cowboy Mystique," by Aubrey E. Zephyr, October, 1983.  This is an article about Foster's Urban Western Riding Program (for inner-city youngsters).] (Reiterman seems to have made an otherwise reasonable, but incorrect, assumption: knowing that Jones did not speak Spanish, he assumed that Foster must have been able to speak English.)
Today, when Foster is asked which language was spoken, he says that he and Jones made do with the latter’s broken Spanish.
The issue is an important one because Foster is, in effect, Jones’s alibi for whatever it was that Jones was actually doing in Cuba.  That the two men did not have a language in common makes the alibi suspect: how could they converse for 13 hours at a time, day in and day out, for a week—if neither man understood what the other was saying?
As for Jones’s own parishioners, those who’ve survived have only a dim recollection of the trip.  According to Reiterman, “Back in the States, Jones revealed little of his plan, depicting his stay more as tourism than church business.”  This sounds like a polite way of saying that the trip served no obvious purpose.  Nevertheless, he did bring back some strange souvenirs.  “He showed off photos of Cuba…  One picture—a gruesome shot of the mangled body of a pilot in some plane wreckage—indicated that Jones witnessed the pirate bombings of the cane fields.  Jones told his friends that he had met with some Cuban leaders, though the bearded man in fatigues standing beside Jones in a snapshot was too short to be Castro.” [Op cit.Raven, p. 62.]
It would be interesting to know just what Reiterman is talking about here.  The presumption must be that there is a photograph in which Jones is seen with a man who might easily be confused with Castro—if it weren’t for the latter’s diminutive size.  In fact, however, it probably was Castro.  When Jones arrived in Brazil in 1962, he carried a photograph of himself and his wife Marceline, posing with the Cuban premier.  Jones said that the picture was taken on a stopover in Cuba on the way to Sao Paulo. [The reference to a Cuban stopover on the way to Brazil, and to a photo of Jones, Marceline and Castro, is told in The Broken God, by Bonnie Thielmann with Dean Merill, David C. Cook Publishing Co. (Elgin, Ill.), 1979,  p. 27.] That is to say, in late 1961 or early 1962.
How Jones met Fidel Castro—and why—is an interesting question.  So, too, we can only wonder at his proclivity for taking photographs of mercenary pilots in their crashed planes.  Pictures of that sort could only have been of interest to Castro’s enemies and the CIA.
Returning to Carlos Foster, if the tale that he told to the Times was a pre-emptive cover-story, a “limited hang-out” of some sort, what was Jones actually doing?  Why had he gone to Havana?  At this late date, and in the absence of interviews with officials of the Cuban government, there is probably no way to know.  What may be said, however, is this:
Emigration was an extremely sensitive issue in the first years of the Castro regime.  The CIA and the State Department, in their determination to embarrass Castro, did everything possible to encourage would-be immigrants to leave the island.  As a part of this policy, U.S. Government agencies and conservative Christian religious organizations collaborated to facilitate departures. [Religion In Cuba Today, edited by Alice L. Hageman and Philip E. Wheaton, Association Press, New York, p. 32.]  Jones’s visit may well have been a part of this program.
But there is no way to be certain of that.  Cuba was in the midst of a parapolitical melt-down.  While the CIA was conspiring to launch an invasion, irate Mafiosans and American businessmen had joined together to finance the bombing-runs of mercenary pilots.  Meanwhile, the Soviets had sent their Deputy Premier, Anastas I. Mikoyan, to Havana for the opening of the Soviet Exhibition of Science, Technology and Culture. [Mikoyan was in Havana from February 4-13.] The visit coincided with the Soviets’ decision to give Cuba a long-term low-interest loan, while promising to buy a million tons of Cuban sugar per annum.  The “Hilton Hotel” at which Jones was staying was the temporary home of a Sputnik satellite that the Soviets had put on display.  According to former CIA officer Melvin Beck, the CIA was trying to photograph it, and the lobby was crawling with spies from as many five different services (FBI, CIA, KGB, GRU and DGI).
[In this connection, an interesting coincidence concerns the presence of New York Times reporter James Reston at the Hilton.  He was there to cover the Mikoyan visit, as well as the Soviet exhibition, and it seems fair to say that, in a literal sense, at least, he must have crossed paths with Jim Jones. 
           It is ironic, then, that nearly twenty years later, his son should one day write a book (Our Father Who Art In Hell) about the decline and fall of the Peoples Temple.  And in that book, a peculiar story is told:
          "In December, 1978, James Reston, Jr. (met) a journalist friend at the Park Hotel in Georgetown.  The journalist announced ominously that he now knew the full story behind Jonestown.  But he would not write it.  He would not tell his editors he knew it.  He would forget it and flee Guyana as  soon as possible.  He told Reston the name of his informant. "'He will contact you at your hotel.  If you want it, you will get the full story.  I have just heard it, and I've sent the man away.  If I were you, I wouldn't take it either.  It will make you the most celebrated writer in America, and you will die for it.'
          "Reston felt a nervous laugh rising from his belly and controlled it."
           Reston seems not to have pursued the matter.]
While one cannot say that Jones’s 1960 visit to Cuba was necessarily a spying mission, the circumstantial evidence suggests that it was.  That is to say, virtually every element of the trip can be shown to have been of particular interest to the CIA: encouraging Cuban emigration; documenting the destruction of aircraft piloted by mercenaries; the Sputnik at the Hilton; and, it would seem, Castro himself.
Cuba wasn’t the only country to which Jones intended to travel in 1960.  On June 28 of that year, at about the same time that Foster arrived in Indianapolis from Cuba, the State Department issued a passport (#2288751) to Jones for a seventeen-day visit to Poland, Finland, the U.S.S.R., and England.  The purpose of the trip, according to Jones’s visa application, was “sightseeing – culture.”
Which presents us with an enigma.  According to State Department records, this was Jones’s first passport.  How, then, did he travel to Cuba in February if he did not receive a passport until the end of June?  Did he enter the country “black”?  Was he using someone else’s documents?  And what about Carlos Foster’s certainty that Jones had previously traveled throughout Latin America?  Was Foster mistaken, or had Jones in fact visited Guyana?
It is almost as if we are dealing with two Jim Joneses.  And perhaps we are.  It’s a subject to which we will need to return.
Here, however, I want to point out certain coincidences of timing in the lives of Jim Jones and Dan Mitrione, and to discuss Jones’s own file at the CIA.
Passports typically require about 4-6 weeks to be mailed out.  Since Jones’s passport was issued on June 28, 1960 his application would have been filed in early May.  As it happens, it was during that same month that Dan Mitrione was in Washington D.C., being interviewed for a new job with a component of the State Department’s Agency for International Development (AID), the International Cooperation Administration (ICA).  An acknowledged cover for CIA officers and contract-spooks such as Watergate’s E. Howard Hunt and the JFK assassination’s George de Mohrenschildt, the ICA would become infamous during the 1960s, funding the construction of tiger-cages in Vietnam, and training foreign police forces in the theory and practice of torture.
A few years earlier, in 1957, Mitrione had spent three months at the FBI’s National Academy.[Mitrione was then Chief of Police in Richmond. ]  The connections he’d  made stood him in good stead.  Immediately after his interview with the ICA, he was hired by the State Department as a “public safety adviser.”  Three months later, in September, 1960 he was in Rio de Janeiro, studying Portuguese; by December, he was living with his family in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Whether Mitrione was an undercover CIA officer in South America is disputed.  The Soviets say he was. [Who's Who in the CIA, by Dr. Julius Mader, Berlin (1968).] Officially, however,  Mitrione was an AID officer attached to the Office of Public Safety (OPS).  But OPS was very much a nest of spies: in the Dominican Republic during the mid-1960s, for example, six out of twenty positions were CIA covers. ["U.S. A.I.D. In the Dominican Republic - An Inside View," NACLA Newsletter, November, 1970.  This was according to David Fairchild, the Assistant Program Officer for USAID in Santo Domingo.  (NACLA is the North American Conference on Latin America.) ]  Moreover, Mitrione’s partner at the time of his 1970 kidnapping in Uruguay was a public safety officer named Lee Echols—whose previous assignment had been as a CIA officer in the Dominican Republic. ["Echols takes dead aim on laugh," San Diego Union, June 12, 1986, p. 11.]
Whether or not Mitrione was an undercover CIA officer, it is a fact that the CIA’s Office of Security opened a file on Jones, and conducted a name-check on him, coincident with Mitrione’s departure for Rio.  Why it did so is a mystery: the Agency won’t say.
It is speculated, of course, that the file and name-check were sparked by the Soviet Bloc destinations for which Jones had applied for a visa.  But that could hardly have been the case.  The visa requests had been made in May, and the passport issued in June.  It was not until November, some five months later, that the Office of Security sent agents to the State Department’s Passport Office, there to examine Jones’s records—an activity that would hardly have been necessary if the passport application had stimulated the name-check in the first place.
Given the CIA’s reluctance to clear up the matter, one can only speculate that the Agency may have been “vetting” Jones for employment as an agent.
Two points should be made here.  The first is that the CIA claimed, in the aftermath of the Jonestown massacre, that its file on “the Rev. Jimmie Jones” was virtually empty.  According to the Agency, it had never collected data—not a single piece of paper—on Jones or the Peoples Temple.  It simply had a file on him.
Which remained open for 10 years.  According to CIA record, the file was only closed—and closed without explanation—in the wake of Dan Mitrione’s assassination by Tupamaro guerrillas in Uruguay.
Which is to say that the lifespan of Jones’s file at the CIA coincided precisely with the dates of Dan Mitrione’s tenure at the State Department.  What I am suggesting, then, is that Richmond Police Chief Dan Mitrione was recruited into the CIA, under State Department cover, in May, 1960; that a CIA file was opened on Jones because Mitrione intended to use him as an agent; and that Jones’s file was closed and purged, ten years later, as a direct and logical result of Mitrione’s assassination in 1970.
To understand the significance of next occurred, one has to go back more than one hundred years.  It was then, in the Northwest District of Guyana, that a prophet named Smith issued a call to the country’s disenfranchised Amerindians, summoning them to a redoubt in the Pakaraima Mountains—the land of El Dorado.
Akawaios, Caribs and Arawaks came from all around to witness what they were told would be the Millennium.  “They would see God,” Smith promised, “be free from all calamities of life, and possess lands of such boundless fertility, that a…(large) crop of cassava would grow from a single stick.”
But Smith had lied.  And “when the Millennium failed to materialize, the followers were told they had to die in order to be resurrected as white people…
“At a great camp meeting in 1845, some 400 people killed themselves.” [Guyana Gold, by Wellesley A. Baird, Three Continents Press (Washington, 1982), pp. 164-181.  The quotation is from an Afterword by Kathleen A. Adams.  Ms. Adams wrote her doctoral thesis (for Case Western Reserve University) on the impact of the gold-mining industry on  Amerindian tribes in the North West District of Guyana.]
One-hundred-and-thirty-three years later, in the Fall of 1978, at a great camp meeting in the same Northwest District of Guyana, upwards of a thousand expatriate Americans, most of them black, and about as poor and disenfranchised as the Amerindians who’d preceded them, died under circumstances so similar as to be eerie.  They, too, had been promised that they would be freed from the calamities of life, and that they would possess lands of boundless fertility.  Like Smith, their charismatic leader had a generic sort of name and he, too, had lied.
This time, 913 people died in front of a large, hand-lettered sign that read: “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”
The coincidence here is so dramatic that is impossible not to wonder if Jim Jones knew of Smith’s precedent.  Because, if he did know, and if his politics were, as seems very likely, a fraud, then the Jonestown massacre is revealed to have been a ghastly practical joke—the ultimate psychopathic prank.
According to Kathleen Adams, the anthropologist who first related the story about Smith and the Amerindians, Jim Jones was in fact familiar with the suicides of 1845.  He had learned of them, she said, while working as a missionary in the Northwest District.
Adams does not tell us when this was, but the implication is that it was long before the establishment of Jonestown.  The possibilities here are two:
The first is that Jones’s Cuban friend, Carlos Foster, is correct when he says that Jones was well-traveled and had been to Guyana prior to 1960.  The difficulty with this, of course, is that Jones’s biographers are ignorant of any such travels.  But if Jones did not go to Guyaya prior to 1960, he must have learned about Smith’s precedent while doing missionary work in Guyana—after his 1960 visit to Cuba.  But when could that have been?
The answer would appear to be at about the end of October, 1961.  Arriving at that conclusion is by no means an easy matter, however, given the chronological confusion that his most responsible biographer, Tim Reiterman, relates. [Op cit.Raven, pp. 75-78.]  Because this confusion raises a number of interesting questions about Jones’s activities, whereabouts and true loyalties, the matter is worth straightening out.
In the Fall of 1961, Jim Jones was becoming paranoid. Under treatment for stress, he was hearing “extraterrestrial voices,” and suffering seizures. [Dr. E. Paul Thomas was Jones's physician.]  Hospitalized during most of the first week in October, he resigned his position as Director of the Indianapolis Human Rights Commission. [Jones's hospital stay is related in the Indianapolis Recorder, October 7, 1961.]
It was then, according to Reiterman, that Jones confided in his ministerial assistant, Ross Case, that he’d had a vision of nuclear holocaust.
“A few weeks later, Jones took off alone in a plane for Hawaii, ostensibly to scout for a new site for Peoples Temple….”  (At a loss to explain why Jones should have gone to Hawaii, Reiterman implies that Jones viewed the islands as a potential nuclear refuge—a ludicrous notion in light of their role as stationary aircraft carriers.)
“On what would become a two-year sojourn, Jones made his first stop in Honolulu, where he explored a job as a university chaplain.  Though he did not like the job requirements, he decided to stay on the island for a while anyway, and sent for his family.  First, his wife, his mother and the children, except for Jimmy, joined him.  Then the Baldwins followed with the adopted black child….  During the couple of months in the islands, Jones seemed to decide that his sabbatical would be a long one.” [Ibid., p. 77.]
According to Reiterman’s chronology, therefore, Jones left Indianapolis for Hawaii near the end of October, 1961.  He then sent for his family, which joined him in what we may suppose was November.  The family remained in Hawaii for a “couple of months”: i.e., until January or February.
“In January, 1962, Esquire magazine published an article listing the nine safest places in the world to escape thermonuclear blasts and fallout….
The article’s advice was not lost on Jones.  Soon he was heading for the southern hemisphere, which was less vulnerable to fallout because of atmospheric and political factors.  The family planned to go eventually to Belo Horizonte, an inland Brazilian city of 600,000.”
Jones’s biographer goes on to say that, after leaving Hawaii, he subject traveled to California, and then to Mexico City, before continuing on to Guyana.  There, Jones’s visit “made page seven of theGuiana Graphic.” [Ibid., p. 78.]
That Jones made page 7 of the local newspaper is a matter of fact.  Unfortunately for Reiterman’s chronology, however, he did so on October 25 (1961).  Which is to say that the head of the Peoples Temple is alleged to have been in two places at that same time: in Hawaii and Guyana during the last week in October—with intervening stops in California and Mexico City.
Obviously, Reiterman is mistaken, but the issue is not merely one of a confused chronology.  There is evidence (including, as we’ll see, a photograph) which strongly suggests that two people may have been using Jones’s identity during the 1961-63 period.  Because of this, rumors that Jones was hospitalized in a “lunatic asylum” during that time should not be dismissed out of hand.  The rumors were started by a black minister in Indiana who is said to have been jealous of Jones’s success among blacks at the Peoples Temple.  While the allegation has yet to be documented, there are many other references to Jones’s having been under psychiatric care at one time or another.
Ross Case says that Jones sometimes referred to “my psychiatrist.”  Others have suggested that the real reason Jones went to Hawaii was to receive psychiatric care without publicity.
In later years, Temple member Loretta Cordell reported shock at seeing Jones described as “a sociopath.”  The description was contained in a psychiatrist’s report that Cordell said was in the files of Jones’s San Francisco physician (probably Dr. Carleton Goodlett).
In a recent interview with this author, Dr. Sukhdeo confirmed that Jones had been treated at the Langley-Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute in San Francisco during the 1960s and 70s.  According to Sukhdeo, he has repeatedly asked to see Jones’s medical file from the Institute, but to no avail.
“I have asked (Langley-Porter’s Dr.) Chris Hatcher to see the file several times,” Sukhdeo told this writer.  “But, each time, he has refused.  I don’t know why.  He won’t say.  It’s very peculiar.  Jones has been dead for more than 20 years.”
“The nation’s leading center for brain research,” Langley-Porter is noted for its hospitality to anti-cult activists such as Dr. Margaret Singer and, also, for experiments that it conducts on behalf of the Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA).  While much of that research is classified, the Institute has experimented with electromagnetic effects and behavioral modification techniques involving a wide variety of stimuli—including hypnosis-from-a-distance.
Some of the Institute’s classified research may be inferred from quotations attributed to its director, Dr. Alan Gevins (see Mind Wars, by Ron McRae, St. Martin’s Press, 1984, p. 136).  According to Dr. Gevins, the military potential of Extremely Low Frequency radiation (ELF) is enormous.  Used as a medium for secret communications between submarines, ELF waves are a thousand miles long, unobstructed by water, and theoretically “capable of shutting off the brain (and) killing everyone in l0 thousand square miles or larger target area.”
“‘No one paid any attention to the biological affects of ELF for years,’ says Dr. Gevins, ‘because the power levels are so low.  Then we realized that because the power levels are so low, the brain could mistake the outside signal for its own, mimic it (a process known as bioelectric entrainment), and respond when it changes.’”
The process is one that would no doubt fascinate Dr. Sukhdeo.  (As an aside, it’s worth noting that virtually every survivor of the Jonestown massacre was treated at Langley-Porter.  This occurred as a consequence of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone’s request that Dr. Hatcher undertake a study of the Peoples Temple while counseling its survivors.  (Hatcher’s appointment was made with surprising alacrity since Moscone himself was assassinated only nine days after the killings at Jonestown.)
Returning to the Guiana Graphic article about Jones’s visit to Guyana, it is worth pointing out that the story throws a crimp in much more than Reiterman’s chronology.  It makes a hash as well of Jones’s motive for going to South America.  The Esquire article, published in January, 1962 could hardly have prompted Jones to go anywhere in October, 1961.
So, too, the story in the Graphic provides clear evidence of Jones’s immersion in political intrigue.
At the time of his visit, the former British colony was wracked by covert operations being mounted by the CIA and MI-6.
By way of background, the most important political group in the country was the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), established by Dr. Cheddi Jagan during the 1940s.  A Marxist organization, the PPP’s activities had caused the British to declare “a crisis situation” in 1953.  Troops were sent, the Constitution was suspended, and recent elections were nullified in order to “prevent communist subversion.”
Over the next four years, MI-6 and the CIA established a de facto police state in Guyana.  Racial tensions were exacerbated between the East Indian and black populations—with the result that the PPP was soon split.  While Jagan, himself an East Indian, remained in charge of the party, another of its members—a black named Forbes Burnham—began (with the help of Western intelligence services) to challenge his leadership.
Despite the schism, the PPP was victorious in 1957 and, again, in 1961—just prior to Jones’s visit.  Coming on the heels of Castro’s embrace of the Soviets, Jagan’s re-election chilled the Kennedy Administration.  Accordingly, the CIA intensified its operations against Jagan and the PPP, doing everything in its power to increase its support for Burnham, provoke strikes and exacerbate racial and economic tensions.  It accomplished all these goals, secretly underwriting Burnham’s political campaigns, while using the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) as a cover for operations against local trade unions.
Eventually, these operations would succeed: Jagan would be ousted, and Burnham brought to power.  A decade later, that same Burnham regime would facilitate the creation of Jonestown, leasing the land to the Peoples Temple and approving its members’ immigration.
It was in this somewhat dangerous context that Jim Jones arrived in the Guyanese capital.  Putting on a series of tent-shows, replete with faith-healings and talking in tongues, he warned the local populace against thieving American missionaries and evangelists—who, he said, were largely responsible for the spread of Communism.
Even Reiterman, who accepts almost everything at face-value, is puzzled by this: “Entering politically volatile South America,” he writes, Jones “seemed to want to put himself on the record as an anticommunist.” [Op cit.Raven, p. 78.]
Exactly.  And how convenient for the CIA, whose activities were being hindered by reform-minded missionaries.

July 1st, 2011, Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple Part 3, by Jim Hougan,

After entering Guyana, and making anti-communist speeches, Jones seems to have dropped off the face of the earth.  Following the Guyana Graphic article of October 27, he disappears from the public record for almost six full months.
It is possible, of course, that he journeyed into the interior of that country to work among the Amerindians—but the evidence for this is so slim as to be invisible.  Indeed, it consists solely of a remark by anthropologist Kathleen Adams, who wrote that Jones had at one time worked as a missionary in Guyana.  Where and when is left unstated, but it was presumably during that period that Jones learned about his homicidal predecessor, the Reverend “Smith.”
The only disturbance in the empty field of Jones’s whereabouts from 10/61 until 4/62 is the information that  Passport #0111788 was issued in his name at Indianapolis on January 30, 1962.
This is a considerable anomaly.  As we have seen, Jones already had a passport—#22898751, issued to him in Chicago on June 28, 1960.  This earlier passport, which he had planned to use on a trip to the Soviet Union, was still valid.  Why, then, did someone make an application for a new passport, and who picked it up?  Moreover, how is it possible that Jones’s second passport had a lower number than the one that he’d received more than a year before?
These questions cannot be answered at this time: the evidence reposes in the files of the State Department.  What may be said, however, is that there is good reason to suspect that someone was impersonating Jim Jones during this period; and that, in fact, a photograph of the impostor survives.  We’ll return to this subject shortly.
According to the Brazilian Federal Police, Jim Jones arrived by plane in Sao Paulo on April 11, 1962.  There does not seem to be any surviving record of his point of embarkation, but it may well have been Havana.  According to Bonnie (Malmin) Thielman, who met Jones at about this time, there was “a picture of him and Marceline standing on either side of Fidel Castro, whom they had met during a Cuban stopover en route to Brazil…” [Op cit.The Broken God, p. 27]
An American family, making “a Cuban stopover,” seven to eleven months after the Bay of Pigs?  Physically, transportation would not have been difficult to arrange.  Both Mexico City and Georgetown were transit-points for Havana.  But Cuban visas were by no means issued automatically—especially to Americans making well-publicized, anti-communist speeches in Guyana.  How much harder it must have been for Jones to arrange to have a photo taken of himself with Castro (who was at that time the target of CIA assassination attempts planned by yet another Indianapolis native, the CIA’s William Harvey).
It’s a peculiar, even eerie, business.  I’m reminded of the man who impersonated Lee Harvey Oswald while applying for a visa at the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City during 1963. [Despite Oswald's demonstration of pro-Castro sympathies---he was arrested in New Orleans after handing out leaflets for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC)---his impostor was not given the requested visa.]
Whatever his reason for visiting Cuba during the Winter of 1961-62, and whatever the reasons he was permitted to enter the country, Jones had no trouble entering Brazil that April.  Given a visa that was valid for eleven months, he and his family traveled to Belo Horizonte where, as we have seen, Dan Mitrione had settled in as an OPS adviser at the U.S. Consulate.
Jones took rooms in the first-class Hotel Financial until he and his family were able to move to a house at 203 Rua Maraba. [Estado do Minas, "Pastor Jim Jones lived and worked in Belo Horizonte with his children," Nov. 23, 1978, p. 23.] This is a pretty street in an attractive neighborhood on a hill in one of the best parts of town.  Accordingly, his new neighbors were almost all professionals: doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, and journalists.  It was not the sort of place from which one could easily minister to the poor.
Not that it mattered.  Jones’s stay in Belo Horizonte had little or nothing to do with alleviating poverty.
According to his neighbors, Jones would leave his house early each morning, as if going to work, and return very late at night.  Sebastiao Carlos Rocha, an engineer who lived nearby, noted that Jones usually left home carrying a big leather briefcase; on a number of occasions, Rocha said, he saw Jones walking in Betim, a neighboring town. ["To Brazilians, Jim Jones was a CIA Agent," O Globo, Nov. 24, 1978.]
Elza Rocha, a lawyer who lived across the street and who sometimes interpreted for Jones, says that her neighbor told her that he had a job in Belo Horizonte proper, at Eureka Laundries. ["Leader of the Peoples Temple Lived in Belo Horizonte," Estado de Minas, Nov. 23, 1978, p. 1; and, from the same issue, "Pastor Jim Jones lived and worked in Belo Horizonte with his children," p. 23.]
This is a huge dry-cleaning and laundry chain, a quasi-monopoly whose central plant is serviced by more than a score of pick-up points (small storefronts) throughout the city.  In essence, a customer delivers his laundry to one of the stores, where it is later collected by a delivery truck.  The truck takes the dirty clothes to the central plant, where they’re cleaned, and then returns them to the store from which they came.  It’s a big business.
But it’s not one in which Jim Jones ever worked.  According to Sebastiao Dias de Magalhaes, who was head of Industrial Relations for Eureka during 1962, Jones’s claim to have been an employee of the laundry was false. [Ibid.]  Senor de Magalhaes, and two other Eureka workers, have told the press that Jones lied in order to conceal what they believe was his work for the CIA. [Besides de Magalhaes, Elineu Pereira Guimaraes and Marcidio Inacio da Silva were interviewed.  See O Globo, "To Brazilians, Jim Jones was a CIA Agent," Nov. 24, 1978.]
Still, if you didn’t know better, Jones’s cover-story  served three purposes: first, it explained where he went during the day—to work.  Second, it offered a theoretically visible means of support: he had a check from Eureka (everyone knows Eureka).  And third, it gave Jones an alibi for a mysterious period during which he’d vanished from Belo Horizonte.  According to Elza Rocha, when Jones returned, he told her that he had been sent to the United States for “special training” in connection with the machinery used by Eureka.  Where Jones actually went, and why, is a unknown. [Estado do Minas, "Pastor Jim Jones lived and worked in Belo Horizonte with his children," Nov. 23, 1978, p. 23.]
Eureka wasn’t Jones’s only cover, however.  He didn’t mention Eureka to Sebastiao Rocha.  Instead, he claimed to be a retired captain in the U.S. Navy.  He said that he had suffered a great deal in the war, and that he received a monthly pension from the armed services.  The implication was that he had been wounded in the Korean conflict.  According to Senor Rocha, “Jim Jones was always mysterious and would never talk about his work here in Brazil.” ["To Brazilians, Jim Jones was a CIA Agent," O Globo, Nov. 24, 1978. ]
Yet another Rocha, Marco Aurelio, was absolutely certain that Jones was a spy.  At the time, Marco was dating a young girl who was living in the Jones household. [Brazilians newspapers identify the woman as "Joyce Bian."  Since one of Jones's ministerial assistants, Jack Beam, is known to have joined him in Belo Horizonte in October, 1962, and to have brought his family with him, we may suppose that this was Beam's daughter.]  Because of this, and because Rua Maraba is a narrow street on which parked cars are conspicuous, he noticed that a car from the American Consulate was often parked outside Jones’s house.  According to Marco, the car’s driver sometimes brought bags of groceries to the Joneses—which, if true, was definitely not standard consular procedure.
Marco Rocha’s interest in Jones was more than idle, however.  According to him, he was keeping a loose surveillance on the American preacher at the request of a friend—a detective in the ID-4 section of the local police department.  The detective was convinced that Jones was a CIA agent, and was trying to prove it with his young friend’s help.  Unfortunately, the policeman died before his investigation could be completed, and Jones left town soon afterwards. [O Globo, "To Brazilians, Jim Jones was a CIA Agent," Nov. 24, 1978.]
Gleaning the purpose behind Jones’s residency in Belo Horizonte is anything but easy.  He is reported to have been fascinated by the magical rites of Macumba and Umbanda, and to have studied the practices of Brazilian faith-healers.  He was extremely interested in the works of David Miranda, and is said to have conducted a study of extrasensory perception.  These were subjects of interest to the CIA in connection with its MK-ULTRA program.  So, also, were the “mass conversion techniques” at which Jones’s Pentecostal training had made him an expert.
Whether these investigations were idle pastimes or Jones’s actual raison d’etre in Belo Horizonte is unknown.  Neither is there hard evidence that Jones’s presence was related to Dan Mitrione’s work at the Consulate—though Jones was certainly aware of Mitrione’s post.  According to an autobiographical fragment that was found at Jonestown, Mitrione
“…was known in Belo Horizonte by everybody to be something other than a mere ‘traffic advisor’.  There were rumors that he participated with the military even then, doing strange things to dissenters…  Mitrione’s name would come up frequently.”
Subsequently, according to that same fragment, Jones went out of his way to socialize with the Mitrione family.
“I’d heard of his nefarious activities in Belo Horizonte, and I thought ‘I’ll case this man out.’  I wasn’t really inclined to do him in, not me personally, but I certainly was inclined to inform on his activities to everybody on the Left. “But he wouldn’t see me.  I saw his family and they were arrogantly anti-Brazilian…”
Because Jim Jones was a sociopath, a suspected agent of the police/intelligence community, and a man whose historical stature was intimately entwined with his false public identity as an “apostle of socialism,” there is good reason to be skeptical of the sincerity of his pronouncements about Dan Mitrione and his family.  If Mitrione was, as seems likely, Jones’s first “control,” then Jones would obviously fear the revelation of that fact.  In particular, he would fear the chance discovery of their past association, and the questions such a discovery would raise.  To allay such suspicions, Jones may well have acted to co-opt the discovery—explaining it away in advance.  Thus, he tells us that he knew Dan Mitrione as a child, and that, in Brazil, he wanted to “inform on his activities to everybody on the Left.”  So it was, we’re told, that he decided to “case this man out,” and came to know his family.
This may explain the presence of a consular car outside Jones’s house: if Jones was socializing with the Mitrione family, the consular car was probably their’s.  But who are the people on the Left to whom Jones refers?  Whom was he going to tell about Dan Mitrione?  So far as anyone knows, Jones’s acquaintances in Brazil were all conservatives.  Indeed, like Bonnie Thielman’s father, the Rev. Edward Malmin, they should more accurately be described as right-wingers.  And, as such, they would undoubtedly have approved of Mitrione’s work.
Nevertheless, while there is every reason to be skeptical of Jones’s memoir, it is interesting that he characterizes his relationship to the Mitriones as that of an informant, or spy.  Given Jones’s sociopathic personality (not to mention his rightwing sermons in Guyana and the implications of his CIA file), it is very likely that Jones was working for Mitrione rather than against him.
While Jones is said to have gone to the U.S. Consulate often, the only person whom he is known to have seen there was Jon Lodeesen. [ Besides Marco Rocha's remarks about a car from the American Consulate, Bonnie Thielman recalls that Jones often went to the Consulate on unknown business.]
On October 18, 1962, Vice Consul Lodeesen wrote a peculiar letter to Jones on Foreign Service stationary.  The letter reads:
“Dear Mr. Jones:
“We received a communication and we believe its your interest to come at the Consulate at your earliest convenience.”  (Sic.)
Signed by Lodeesen, there is a redundant post-script to the letter, requesting that Jones “Please see me.”
While the letter itself is entirely opaque, an attachment to it is not.  This a passport-type photograph of a man who, despite his mustache and receding hairline, looks remarkably like Jim Jones—or, more accurately perhaps, like Jim Jones in disguise.  While one cannot be certain, it may well be that the photo is related to the peculiar circumstances under which a second passport was issued to Jones—while the first passport was still valid. [The letter from Lodeesen, with the photograph attached, was provided by the FBI to attorneys in the Layton case.]
That it was Jon Lodeesen who contacted Jones is significant in its own right.  This is so because Lodeesen has been a spy for much of his life.  According to Soviet intelligence officers, he is a CIA agent who taught at the US intelligence school in Garmisch Partenkirchen, West Germany—a sort of West Point for spooks.  Subsequently, he worked at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow—until he was declared persona non grata for suspected espionage activities.  Kicked out of the Soviet Union, he went to work for Radio Liberty, a CIA-created and -financed propaganda network based in Munich.  There, he was Deputy Director of the Soviet Analysis and Broadcasting Section. [SeeCIA in the Dock, edited by V. Chernyavsky, Progress Publishers, Moscow (1983): "Saboteurs on the Air: A Close-up View" by Vaim Kassis and Leonid Kolosov, pp. 147-67.]  More recently, Lodeesen was recommended for work with a CIA cover in Hawaii. [The letter (dated January 12, 1983) was from Ned Avary to Ron Rewald, then CEO of the Hawaiian investment firm Bishop, Baldwin, Rewald and Dillingham.]  In a letter to the proprietor of the cover, Lodeesen was described as “fluent in the principal Russian tongues” and an expert on “Soviet double agents, dissidents and escapees.”
Just the man, in other words, to handle the passport problems of an American psychopath who’d applied for a visa to visit the Soviet Union; who’d made repeated trips to Castro’s Cuba; who had two valid passports at the same time; and who seems to have been the victim of, or a party to, an impersonation.
Friends of the Jones family in Belo Horizonte are agreed that he lived in the city for a period of eight months, beginning in the Spring of 1962.  He then moved to Rio de Janeiro.
Once again, Jones seems to have been following Dan Mitrione’s lead.  In mid-December, as the Jones family packed for the move to Rio, Mitrione left Belo Horizonte for a two-month “vacation” in the U.S.  At the beginning of March, he returned to Brazil—but not to Belo Horizonte.  Instead, he found an apartment in the posh Botafogo section of Rio de Janeiro.
There, he was not far from Jim Jones, who was recumbent in equally elegant surroundings, having found an expensive flat in the Flamengo neighborhood. [Jones's address in Rio was #154 Rua Senador Vigueiro.]
According to Brazilian immigration authorities, who are said to keep meticulous records, the Jones family left Rio for an unknown country at the end of March.  And they did not return.
According to Jones, however, he and his family lived in Rio until December of 1963.  The assassination of President John F. Kennedy (in November of that year) was the stimulus for their return to Indiana.
There is, in other words, a nine-month period in which Jones’s whereabouts are at least somewhat questionable.  One would think, of course, that there would be a great many records and witnesses to the matter.  Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.  Those members of Jones’s family, and his associates, who might have seen him in Rio either died at Jonestown—or were too young at the time to be certain where they were in 1963. [For example, Jones's natural son, Stephan.]
The issue should have been settled, of course, by the newspaper articles that appeared in Brazil after the Jonestown massacre.  These were stories with local angles, describing Jones’s life in Brazil.  Curiously, however, none of the articles originating in Rio quote identifiable sources.  This is quite unlike counterpart articles written about Jones’s stay in Belo Horizonte.  In the latter, almost everyone seems delighted to get his name in the paper.  In Rio, nobody wants to be identified.
By far the most extensive account of Jones’s stay in Rio de Janeiro was published in a newspaper that is thought by many to have been owned, or secretly supported, by the CIA.  This was the English-language Brazil Herald[Brazil Herald, "The little-known story: Jim Jones' early days in Rio de Janeiro," by Harold Emert, December 24-26, 1978, p. 9.]
According to the article, it was “through a friend in Belo Horizonte” that Jones “found a job as a salesman of investments” in Rio.  The source for this information is unstated, as is the identity of Jones’s friend in Belo Horizonte.
The company for which Jones is said to have worked was Invesco, S.A., which had offices in the Edificio Central in downtown Rio. [There have been persistent rumors that Jones, while in Rio, was employed by a "CIA-owned advertising agency."  Invesco, while not an advertising agency, is the only firm to which these rumors could possibly refer.  It is certainly the case that any number of Brazilians suspected that its American owners were working for the CIA.]  At least, it did until the firm went bankrupt, under scandalous circumstances, in 1967.  Though this occurred more than ten years before, Invesco’s former assistant manager—Jim Jones’s boss—was still in Rio at the time of the Jonestown massacre.  An American who’d come to Brazil in the late 1940s, and stayed, he was willing to confirm Jones’s employment at Invesco—but not much more.  And he did not want his name used.
“As a salesman with us,” he told the Herald, “(Jones) didn’t make it.  He was too shy and I don’t remember him selling anything,”
Applied to Jim Jones, this is a remarkable statement.   Is it possible that someone who sold monkeys door-to-door in Indianapolis during the Fifties could be too timid to sell mutual funds in Rio de Janeiro during the bull-markets of the Sixties?  The mind boggles.  Here is a man who is said to have talked 900 people into killing themselves for what he hoped would be his greater glory…and he was “too shy”?!
“We hired him on a strictly commission basis and as far as I know he didn’t sell anything in the three months that he worked for us,” the former assistant manager said.
This, too, is an interesting remark because it implies that, while Jones worked for Invesco, there would be no record of the fact as a consequence of his failure to record any sales.  Without putting too much of a point on it, the reader should know that commission-only sales’ jobs are favorite covers for CIA agents in foreign countries.  This is so because the agent is not required to produce any cover-related work-product for his civilian boss (i.e., he doesn’t need to sell anything at all)—because he’s working strictly “on commission.”  At the same time, salesmen working on commission are expected to travel, and to cultivate a broad spectrum of acquaintances.
Thus, whether Jones was working for Invesco or not, it served as a good cover for whatever else he might have been doing.
Still, if the sales-job which Jones is supposed to have held down produced no income at all, how did he support himself?   According to the Brazil Herald, he “was receiving donations of checks sent by his followers in the US.  His ex-boss notes having seen Jones’ briefcase filled with checks.”  This is possible, of course, but extremely unlikely.  Membership in the Peoples Temple had plummeted during Jones’s absence, dwindling from 2000 members in 1961 to fewer than 100 parishioners at the time of the Kennedy assassination.  By the end of 1963, the electric and telephone bills had gone unpaid, and disconnection threatened.  The idea that parishioners were supporting Jones in high style, by sending him personal checks, is ludicrous.  Not only did they not have the money, but Jones would probably have starved had he depended upon cashing small personal checks, written on Indianapolis bank accounts, in Rio de Janeiro.
Elsewhere in the Brazil Herald story, the December 4, 1978 article in Time Magazine is cited.  According to Time, Jones spent a part of 1963 working at the “American School of Rio.”  Asked about this, the American School issued the following statement: “Neither the salary records maintained in the business office nor the personnel records maintained in the headmaster’s office reflect this name (i.e., Jim Jones) as having been connected with our school as an employee.”
Jones’s former boss at Invesco was not the only source for the article in the Herald.  A second source was a Cariocan who claimed to be a Jones’s closest friend in Rio.  In the article, she is identified only as “Madame X.”
After leaving Invesco, Madame X said, Jones went to work at the Escola Sao Fernando, while his son, Stephan, attended the British School.  As it happens, however, there is no “Escola Sao Fernando” in Rio, and the British School denies that Stephan Jones was ever one of its students.
Elsewhere, Madame X says that Jones decided to return to the U.S. upon hearing of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination (on November 22).  The trip to the States was supposed to be a temporary visit.  Jones intended to straighten out the problems that the Peoples Temple was experiencing in his absence—and then to return to Brazil.  Accordingly, Madame X added, a friend of the family continued paying Jones rent on the apartment in Rio.  Eventually, when it became clear that the Joneses would not return, Madame X sold their furniture and other goods, and donated the money to charitable causes.
The “friend of the family” is, like Madame X and Jones’s boss at Invesco, never identified.
So who is Madame X?
The author of the Brazil Herald article, Harold Emert, doesn’t know.  The reason he doesn’t know is that he himself never spoke to her.  Jim Bruce did.  Who, then, is Jim Bruce?  According to Emert, Jim Bruce was at that time an American freelancer based in Brazil.  It was he who inspired the Jim-Jones-in-Rio story and he who provided the sources: i.e., the Invesco executive and Madame X.
Why Bruce failed to write the story himself is unclear. [Once again, there is an interesting parallel between events surrounding Jim Jones and those involving Lee Harvey Oswald.  That is to say, shortly after Oswald's arrest, a story went out on the wires describing in detail Oswald's peculiar background as a defector, the time that he spent in New Orleans, and so forth.   The author of the scoop was Seth Kantor.  Like Emert, however, Kantor was not the ultimate source of the story he reported---another journalist, "too busy to write it himself" (!), had given it to Kantor over the telephone.  This was Hal Hendrix, a CIA operative working under journalistic cover]
II.9 Invesco
There have been persistent rumors that Jim Jones worked for a CIA cover during his stay in Rio.  The cover is said to have been an advertising agency, but no one can say why they think so.  The Washington Post‘s Charles Krause and then-New York Times reporter John Crewdson each pursued the story, but neither was able to track it down.
Clearly, Invesco was at the heart of the matter, though its connection to Jones cannot have been more than a faded memory when Crewdson and Krause were looking into it.  The only public reference to Jones’s association with the firm was in the weekend edition of a small, almost ephemeral, newspaper.  The sources for the story were anonymous, and the newspaper itself no longer existed, having long since been swallowed up by a rival.  As for Invesco, its 1967 bankruptcy had taken place under military rule amid strict censorship of the press.  Because bankruptcies reflected poorly on the economy, and therefore on the ruling junta, their occurrence—however scandalous—often went unreported.
For these reasons, then, Invesco has remained almost entirely unknown.
Here, it needs to be emphasized that, for whatever reason, Jim Jones felt the need for some sort of cover in Brazil.  That’s why he lied to his neighbors in Belo Horizonte, telling some that he was employed by the Eureka Laundries and others that he was a retired Navy captain living on a pension.  In Rio, which has a small and gossipy expatriate community, the need for a cover would have been even more strongly felt.  And for Jones’s purposes, Invesco was ideal.
In essence, the company was an offshore analog of Bernie Cornfeld’s Investors Overseas Services (IOS).  In South America, at least, it pioneered the practice of selling shares in mutual funds.
Created as a venture-capital firm in 1951, its original name was Expansao Tecnico Industrial, S.A. (ETIN).  It was a subsidiary of Victorholt, S.A. Industria e Commercio, whose President was Lewis Holt Ruffin.  According to an old Rio hand, ETIN was set up by employees of Price, Waterhouse, including a man who was reputed to have been a German spy during World War II.
While ETIN/Invesco has always had Brazilian investors, its affairs have tended to be dominated by the participation of Rio-based Americans, English, Germans and “Swiss. “  This last contingent includes a number of individuals who arrived in Brazil in the mid-to-late 1940s.  While they claimed to be Swiss, they are thought to have been Germans.
Sources in Rio say that several of Invesco’s principals are associates of a former owner of theBrazil Herald, Gilbert Huber, Jr. [Huber bought the Brazil Herald from William Williamson, and later sold it to the Latin American Daily News.]  Among other business activities, Huber is a part-owner of American Light and Power, and publishes the Rio de Janeiro “Yellow Pages”. [This information derives from sources in Rio.  See, also, A.J. Langguth's Hidden Terrors, Pantheon Books, 1978, p. 88.]  Huber is credited by many Brazilians with helping to pave the way for the reign of terror that followed the 1964 coup d’etat.  By this is meant that Huber was one of two people credited with founding the Instituto de Pesquiasas e Estudos Sociais (IPES).  Known in English as the Institute for Social Research Studies, IPES was established in 1961 by conservatives who were alarmed by the Cuban revolution and the leftward drift of the Brazilian government.  Similar in many ways to the John Birch Society, IPES was almost certainly funded by covert American sources. [United States Pentration of Brazil, by Jan Knippers Black, University ofPennsylvania Press, 1977, pages 82-6.]
Initially, IPES was an instrument of propaganda, saturating the country with films, books, pamphlets and lectures attacking communism and ‘the threat from within.’  but propaganda was only a part of its strategy.  Within a year of its founding, the Institute had begun to organize armed, paramilitary cells. It had also established a clandestine hand-grenade factory, and developed plans for a civil war.  At the same time, it had hired a network of retired military officers ‘to exert influence on those on active duty.’ [Ibid.] One of those retired officers was General Golbery do Couto e Silva.  His job was to compile 40,000 dossiers on Brazilians whose loyalties were considered suspect.  When the coup succeeded, Golbery came out of ‘retirement’ at IPES.  Moving to Brazilia with ‘hundreds of thousands’ of files, he established Brazil’s first intelligence service, the SNI—a South American fusion of its counterpart services in the United States, the FBI and the CIA.  Many of the men and women in Golbery’s political dossiers suffered mightily under the junta.  Some were placed under house arrest or imprisoned, while others were tortured.  Still others fell prey to the esquadraos da mortes (death squads).
While Gilbert Huber’s connection to Invesco is merely rumored, another Huber’s is not.  This is Joyce Huber Blumer, who owned 55,000 shares in the firm. [Ms. Huber is said to be Gilbert Huber's sister-in-law, but that information has yet to be confirmed.]  British by birth, she has attracted a certain amount of attention in the Brazilian press for what has been characterized as a “baby-selling” enterprise.  Two other owners of Invesco were a Swiss or German national named Werner Blumer (24,000 shares), and an American named Scott McAuley Johnson (54,000 shares).  Blumer owns an art gallery in Rio, while Johnson is described by various sources as “a mystery man” of independent means.
The Train Robbers
Which brings us to an interesting story.
In the same year that Jones went to work for Invesco, a British hoodlum named Ronald Biggs participated in what came to be called “the Great Train Robbery,” sharing more than $7-million in cash and valuables stolen from a Glasgow-to-London mail-train.
Apprehended, and sentenced to 30 years, Biggs escaped from prison in 1965.  Fleeing to France, he relied upon an international criminal network to obtain plastic surgery and passage to Australia.  Tracked by the police as the “most wanted” man in the world, Biggs subsequently found his way to Rio de Janeiro (where extradition is, at best, a rarity).   According to a reporter who was ultimately instrumental in revealing Biggs’s whereabouts, the fugitive’s patrons in Rio were the same people who owned Invesco: Joyce Huber, Werner Blumer, Scott Johnson and others.
How Biggs, while hiding out in Rio, came to live at Scott Johnson’s apartment, where he was patronized and protected by Huber and the others, is an important question. [An anecdotal account of Biggs' life in Rio, which discusses his friendship with Johnson and Huber, can be found in Biggs: The World's Most Wanted Man, by Colin Mackenzie, William Morrow & Co., New York, 1975.]   Among other things, it suggests the possibility (indeed, the likelihood) that the firm which provided cover (or an alibi) for Jim Jones’s activities in Rio was part of the so-called ODESSA network. [ODESSA is an acronym for Organization der Entlassene SS Angehorige (Organization for the Release of Former SS Members).  Die Spinne (The Spider), which was also known as the "Swastika Syndicate," was the clandestine operations arm of ODESSA.  See Skorzeny: Hitler's Commando, by Glenn B. Infield, St. Martin's Press, 1981 (New York).]
In this connection, Piers Paul Read’s The Train Robbers is of interest. [The Train Robbers, by Piers Paul Read, W.H. Allen, London (1978).]  Read undertook to write the book more than a decade after the robbery, and long after several other books had already been published on the subject.  What made these unpromising circumstances auger well, according to Read, were two things: first, he had the cooperation of most of the men who’d pulled off the robbery.  Previously, only Ronald Biggs had given an account, and Biggs was considered an outsider by those who’d conceived and executed the plan.  Second, and even more importantly, the gang confided important new information to Read.  This was that the train robbery, and several of the subsequent escapes, had been financed and finessed by Gen. Otto Skorzeny.  Among other things, this explained why it had never been possible to account for more than half of the money stolen in the robbery.
An unrepentant Nazi, Skorzeny had been Hitler’s favorite commando.  After the war, he’d re-established himself in Madrid as an arms-dealer and, with even greater secrecy, as the mastermind behind Die Spinne—the underground railroad that obtained forged documents and plastic surgery for war criminals and others requiring safe-havens in South America and the Middle East.  As the proprietor of a de facto intelligence agency with connections throughout the world, Skorzeny made millions as a consultant to countries and organizations whose politics were compatible with his own (e.g., Nasser’s Egypt and the Secret Army Organization in Algiers).
Train-robber Buster Edwards and his wife gave Read a detailed description—names, dates and places—of how Die Spinne had smuggled him from England to Germany to Mexico. [Since this was written, I was able to interview Buster Edwards at his flower-stall outside Waterloo Station in London.  In that interview, Edwards confirmed what he'd told Read, and elaborated upon it with further details.]  A woman named “Hannah Schmid,” [The name is a pseudonym that Read used in his book ] whose father had served with Skorzeny in the Second World War, saw to it that he received plastic surgery and the documents necessary to travel.  Edwards recuperated for nearly a month in the home of a Prussian aristocrat, “Annaliese von Lutzeberg,” [This name is also a pseudonym, according to Read.] and was then sent on his way to Mexico—but not before he’d purchased shares (under an assumed name) in a business that Skorzeny owned. [Edwards invested 10,000 pounds in a real estate firm that Skorzeny was using to develop land near Alicante.]
While in Mexico, Edwards and two of the other train-robbers reunited with Schmid, who “proposed that they should run guns to the Peronists in Argentina; or train troops for a planned putsch in Panama…” [Ibid., p. 195.  Besides Edwards, Bruce Reynolds and Charlie Wilson met with Schmid in Mexico City.]  Edwards and his friends declined: it just wasn’t their scene.
In checking Edwards’ story, and the stories of the other robbers, Read found that every verifiable detail was confirmed.  Before finishing his book, however, it was left to him to interview Ronald Biggs in Rio.  Accordingly, he got on a plane.
Finding Biggs was not that difficult.  He was living at Scott Johnson’s apartment.  What he had to say, however, was in flat contradiction to the accounts of everyone else.  According to Biggs, there were no Germans.
Read was flabbergasted.  Had he been hoaxed?  Or was Biggs lying on behalf of what Read suspected were his Nazi protectors?  Read couldn’t be sure.
“At best (Biggs) wished me to disbelieve the Skorzeny connection so that he himself could break it to the world and reap the benefit; at worst he was still in the care of Skorzeny’s organisation and had been told to persuade me that it did not exist.
“The more I pondered this last possibility, the more convinced I became that this was the explanation—for it still seemed inconceivable to me that June (Edwards) had invented her meeting with Skorzeny in Madrid, or could have discovered that he was a friend of the Reader’s Digesteditor who spoke fourteen Chinese dialects.  I suddenly realised how thoughtless and foolhardy I had been to come to a country (Brazil) known to be a nest of ex-Nazis.  Clearly Biggs had been saved from extradition not because of his child, but because of neo-Nazi influence in government circles.  The woman who had been with him at the airport, Ulla Sopher, a German-Argentinian with blonde hair and blue eyes, was part of their network.  All the strands of the story came together to form a noose around my neck.” [Ibid., pp. 257-58.]
And yet, despite this cogent explanation for what had happened, and despite the evidence that Edwards and the others had provided, Read demurred.  Over drinks in a sidewalk cafe, “I began to believe that Biggs was telling the truth.”
A bizarre turn-about that occurs at the very end of the book, Read’s conversion to Biggs’ account makes no sense at all.  Biggs’s own fugitivity, which (like Edwards’s) was facilitated by plastic surgery and forged documents provided by an unnamed criminal syndicate, is the best argument against the story he tells.
One wonders if Read would have ended his book differently if he had known about Jim Jones, Scott Johnson and Invesco.
Not that Read didn’t have clues to the fact that Biggs was living in a kind of parapolitical twilight—a world defined by the inter-penetration of criminal syndicates and the intelligence community.
One such clue pertained to Biggs’ son, “Mikezinho,” who was born while his father was a fugitive in Rio.  “Little Mikey” had a very interesting godfather, a man with powerful European connections and who, like Werner Blumer, was in the business of selling art.
This was Fernand Legros, who concerns us here only because his association with Biggs’s, and Biggs’s friends in Rio, adds perspective to what might be called “the Invesco circle.”
Legros has been described as a “playboy, millionaire, art dealer and CIA agent…” [The Great Heroin Coup, by Henrik Kruger.] A native Egyptian, with apartments in Switzerland, France and Spain, he was a homosexual whose lovers included the Secretary-General of the United Nations (Dag Hammerskjold) and members of French cabinet. [ Hammerskjold died in a plane crash in the Congo on September 17, 1961.  The suspicion that the plane was sabotaged is widespread, but to date unproven.  See The Last Days of Dag Hammerskjold, by Arthur L. Gavshon, Barrie & Rockliff with Pall Mall Press, London, 1963.] A naturalized American, Legros resorted to at least four passports: French, American, Canadian and British.
It is alleged (by author Henrik Kruger and others) that Legros played a lethal role in the mysterious (and still unsolved) kidnapping and murder of the Moroccan dissident, Ben Barka—who disappeared from the streets of Paris (where Legros owned an art-gallery) in October, 1965.  According to Kruger, Legros had been in contact with Ben Barka in Geneva, where the art-dealer had a second gallery and both men had apartments.  Lured to France, Ben Barka was kidnapped, tortured and killed.  While his disappearance remains unsolved, the operation has often been attributed to French gangsters (including a man named Christian David) acting on Legros’s orders.  Legros himself is believed to have been working at the time for either the CIA or France’s SDECE.
In 1967, Legros fled to Brazil upon being implicated in the authentication and sale of forgeries attributed to modern masters.  Sold for millions to gullible investors around the world, the forgeries are believed to have been painted by Elmyr de Hory, Clifford Irving’s friend and neighbor on Ibiza.
But Legros’s influence seems not to have been much diminished by the notoriety surrounding the forgeries.  According to Kruger, the art-dealer was “a personal friend of Henry Kissinger’s,…(and) the man the CIA assigned to snoop on UN secretary-general Dag Hammarskjold.  Legros helped the CIA kidnap the African leader Moise Tshombe…”   Not finally, Legros became an associate (in France and in Brazil) of the legendary French gangster Christian David.
While in Rio and Sao Paulo, David established a Brazilian-based narcotics syndicate to fill the vacuum created when the so-called “French connection” was broken. [Following the arrest and extradition of Paraguya's Auguste Ricard, heroin refined in Marseilles was shipped to David in Brazil for transport to the United States.]  In this task, he was abetted by fugitive French collaborators and war criminals living in Argentina, Paraguay, Chile and Brazil.
Arrested by the Brazilian authorities in 1972, David was eventually deported to the United States, and then extradited to France—where he was sentenced to death. [The sentence appears never to have been carried out, and there are unconfirmed reports that David was freed some time ago.]  Meanwhile, David’s pal, Fernand Legros, was himself in a Rio prison—occupying the cell next to Ronald Biggs.  The circumstances of Legros’s imprisonment are murky, but it has been suggested that he was locked up as an exercise in protective custody, supposedly for having helped the CIA to arrange David’s arrest.  While that allegation is unproven, it is certainly true that Legros had a rather easy time of it behind bars.  “Each day…he was brought lavish meals including lobster, champagne, cognac and fat Havana cigars.” [Kruger tells us that, in 1974, French intelligence agents kidnapped Legros from Brazil, and brought him back to France.  Imprisoned there, he was released upon the demands of Henry Kissinger, who protested the mistreatment of an American citizen.]
All of which is to say: what?  That Jim Jones was somehow involved in the 1963 Great Train Robbery, or in the 1965 murder of Ben Barka?  Hardly.  Do I mean, then, to suggest that Jones was a party to the making and breaking of the “Brazilian Connection,” or that he was implicated in the wave of forgeries that culminated in Clifford Irving’s “autobiography” of Howard Hughes?  Of course not.
My intention has only been to demonstrate that the milieu in which Jones found himself in 1963—the Invesco milieu, revolving around Scott Johnson, et al.—was anything but ordinary.  A suspected CIA conduit, Invesco was owned and operated by men and women whose connections to criminals such as Ronald Biggs and spooks like Fernand Legros—and to gangster-spooks such as Christian David—are worth a deeper look.  The coalescence of organized crime and the CIA during the early 1960s was responsible for parapolitical enormities which continue to resonate beneath the surface of American politics and culture.
Jones’s connections to Dan Mitrione and Jon Lodeesen, his resort to cover stories, his use of multiple passports, and his strange involvement with the Invesco circle, strongly suggests that the 1978 tragedy in Guyana was set in motion in Cuba and Brazil some fifteen years earlier.

June 22nd, 2011, Hougan, Liddy, the Post and Watergate, by Jim Hougan,

G. Gordon Liddy
Nearly 30 years after the Watergate arrests, an astonishing editorial appeared in the Washington Post, attacking a Baltimore jury for having the temerity to think for itself.  While the Post did not urge that the guilty parties should be burned at the stake, it was clear from the newspaper’s tenor that a bonfire would not be entirely out of order.
At issue was the jury’s 7-2 decision in a defamation case brought by a woman named Ida “Maxie” Wells.  Instigated by John Dean's attorneys in a related matter, the suit accused former White House spy G. Gordon Liddy of slandering Wells during the Q-and-A portion of a speech he'd given at James Madison University.  In the judgment of the jurors, Liddy's revisionist view of the Watergate break-in, substantially informed by a book that I'd written, was sufficiently plausible as to deserve the protections given to free speech.  The judge agreed with the jury's decision, dismissing the suit with the assertion that "no 'reasonable jury' could have found in favor of the plaintiff," Maxie Wells.[Civil Case No. JFM-97-946, “Memorandum” by District Judge J. Frederick Motz, March 19, 2001, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.]Aghast at the decision, the Post thundered that:
Courts are a capricious venue for arguments about history [The editorial appeared in the Post on Feb. 4, 2001.]. Sometimes, as when a British court last year resoundingly rejected the Holocaust denial of "historian" David Irving, litigation can help protect established history from those who would maliciously rewrite it.  But conspiracy theorizing generally is better addressed in the public arena by rigorous confrontation with facts.  That's true both out of respect for freedom of speech—even wrong-headed speech—and because historical truth does not always fare so well in court.  A jury in Tennessee in 1999 embraced the looniest of conspiracy theories concerning the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.  And this week, in a federal court in Baltimore, the commonly understood and well-founded history of the Watergate scandal took a hit as well.
The forum was the defamation case of G. Gordon Liddy…  Mr. Liddy has argued that the burglary was not an attempt to collect political intelligence on President Nixon's enemies, but an effort masterminded by then-White House counsel John Dean to steal pictures of prostitutes—including Mr. Dean's then-girlfriend and current wife—from the desk of a secretary at the Democratic headquarters.  The secretary…is now a community college teacher in Louisiana and was understandably offended by the implication that she was somehow involved in a call-girl ring.  She sued Mr. Liddy, and the battle has dragged on for four years.
The jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict, but it split overwhelmingly in favor of Mr. Liddy; the majority of jurors felt that Ms. Wells’s lawyers had failed to prove his theory wrong.  They found this in spite of the fact that Mr. Liddy relies, for his theory, on a disbarred attorney with a history of mental illness.  The call-girl theory "is possible," one juror (said)…  "It sure makes me more curious."  "We'll never know" what happened, said another.
The danger of such outcomes as this one is that this sort of thinking spreads.  For whether or not Mr. Liddy's comments legally defamed Ms. Wells, we do know what happened at Watergate—and it had nothing to do with prostitutes.

Jim Hougan's, 'Secret Agenda' is available at Amazon.
The Post's alarm at "this sort of thinking" was compounded more than a year later, when the verdict was overturned on appeal.  A new trial was ordered.
In Wells v. Liddy redux, Wells sought to bolster her case with the testimony of Sam Dash, chief counsel of the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities in 1973. [Headed by Sen. Sam Ervin, the committee was informally known as "the Watergate committee."] Having led the Senate's investigation of the Watergate affair, Dash ought to have been an impressive witness.  But under cross-examination from Liddy's attorneys, John Williams and Kerrie Hook, Dash seemed pompous and strangely unprepared—characteristics he shared with Wells's own attorney, David Dorsen (himself a former deputy of Dash's).  After listening to the witnesses for both sides, the jury again returned a verdict in Liddy's behalf.  This time, it was unanimous.
There were no further appeals, and no more editorials.  The Post buried the story on an inside-page of the Metro section, and turned its attention to other matters.
But the "established history" of the Watergate affair had suffered a grievous blow.  And this, because one jury after another did what the Post prescribed, but which the Post itself has never done in 30 years: they confronted the facts in a rigorous way.
One of the more crucial facts that the jury was asked to consider was a key that one of the arresting officers, Carl Shoffler, took from Eugenio Martinez, one of the Watergate burglars.  As physical evidence obtained at the scene, it was literally "the key to the break-in."  And, as the FBI determined, it unlocked the desk of Maxie Wells.

James McCord mug shot
The issue—why did they pick the DNC as a target?—has been debated for decades, though one might not know it by reading the Washington Post.  Most accounts of the affair suppose that the break-ins (burglars gained access to the DNC on two occasions, once at the end of May, and again on June 17th) were mounted to obtain "political intelligence."  James McCord, the former CIA officer who led "the Cubans" into the Watergate office building, told the Senate that DNC Chairman Larry O'Brien was the target.  That's why he, McCord installed a room-bug in O'Brien's office.  At least, that's what McCord said.
But Howard Hunt and his Cuban cohort offered an entirely different reason for the break-in.  According to them, they were sent into the DNC to find evidence of illegal campaign contributions from Fidel Castro.
In reality, neither explanation is supported by the evidence.  If the burglars were looking for financial data, they certainly chose some strange places to search.  DNC Treasurer Robert Strauss's office was untouched, as were the offices of the DNC's Comptroller.  As for the bug in Larry O'Brien's office, none was ever found—despite repeated and rather desperate searches by the FBI and the telephone company.
Not that the bug would have worked, in any case.  O'Brien’s office was part of an interior suite at the DNC and, as such, it was shielded from McCord's "listening post" in the motel across the street from the Watergate.  Moreover, and as Liddy himself pointed out, the supposed subject of the surveillance – Larry O'Brien – wasn't even in Washington.  Nor was he expected to return anytime soon.  More than a month before the break-in, the DNC's chairman had moved to Florida, where the Democratic Convention was to be held.

Richard M. Nixon 37th President of the United States
Not that anyone cared.  In 1973, the burglars' motives weren't of much interest to anyone.  They'd pleaded guilty, and their trial was over.  The story had moved on.  Now, the task of the Senate Watergate Committee was to establish responsibility for the break-ins, and to deconstruct the cover-up.  Or to put it another way, with the burglars convicted, it was now time to put the Administration on trial.  Accordingly, the Committee's attention was focused on higher-ups in the Nixon White House and, in particular, the Oval Office.  Everything else – like the purpose of the break-in – was made to seem irrelevant.
Things might have been different, of course, had Maxie Wells been more candid in her executive session testimony before the Watergate committee.  Instead, she neglected to mention that the FBI had questioned her about the key to her desk, and the circumstances under which the key had been found.  According to Howard Liebengood, who served as the committee's minority counsel, the Committee's investigation might have taken a dramatic turn if the Committee had he learned of the key's existence, and of Wells's interview with the FBI.
But it did not. [The Watergate Committee lacked direct access to the FBI's investigative files, and so knew nothing about such topics as the key to Maxie Wells's desk or the Bureau's inability to find any bugging devices inside the DNC.  The exception to this was the single day that Sam Dash was permitted to look at the files.  Years after the hearings had ended, the FBI's Watergate file was made public by this author. Using the Freedom of Information Act, I was able to obtain the release of more than 30,000 pages of investigative files, memoranda and air-tels that Senator Ervin's committee had never seen.]
The issue of the burglary's purpose was even raised in Blind Ambition, the John Dean memoir ghost-written by the well-regarded historian, Taylor Branch.  In that book, we're told that Dean raised the issue with Charles Colson in 1974, when both of them were doing time in federal prison.
Chuck, why do you figure Liddy bugged the DNC instead of the Democratic candidates?  It doesn't make much sense.  I sat in (Atty. Gen. John) Mitchell's office when Liddy gave us his show, and he only mentioned Larry O'Brien in passing as a target…’
"It looks suspicious to me," Dean continues.  "(I)t's incredible.  Millions of dollars have been spent investigating Watergate.  A President has been forced out of office.  Dozens of lives have been ruined.  We're sitting in the can.  And still nobody can explain why they bugged the place to begin with. [John Dean, Blind Ambition, Simon & Schuster (1976), pp. 388-91.]
Though Dean subsequently repudiated his own memoir, [Blind Ambition was written in 1975, while Gordon Liddy was in prison, refusing to talk about Watergate.  When Liddy published his own memoir, and when other books began to appear, Dean's inconsistencies and "errors" became as glaring as they were numerous.  Accordingly, Dean dismissed the book he had once embraced with pride, claiming that he hadn't actually read it before it was published, while insisting that much of the book was "made up out of whole cloth by Taylor Branch."  A Pulitzer Prize-winner, Branch calls the allegation a lie.] the anecdote makes a good point.  The Watergate affair can only remain a mystery so long as its purpose remains hidden.

Eugenio Martinez mug shot
Fortunately, we know today what the Senate Watergate Committee did not: that Detective Shoffler wrested the key from one of the burglars.  (According to Shoffler, Eugenio Martinez was so determined that the key should not be found, he attempted to get rid of it and may even have tried to swallow it.)  As much as a confession, that key is prima facie evidence of the break-in's purpose.  Clearly, the burglars were after the contents of whatever it was that the key unlocked.
The FBI seems to have understood this because the Bureau's agents went from office to office after the arrests, trying the key on every desk until they found the one that it fit.  This was Maxie Wells's desk, and Shoffler, for one, wasn't surprised.  When he took the key from Martinez, Shoffler said, photographic equipment was clamped to the top of that same desk.
But what was in it?  What did the burglars hope to find?
It was precisely this question that was so embarrassing to Wells.  In her suit against Liddy, she sought to suppress discussion of the key because, she insisted, it unfairly implicated her in allegations about a call-girl ring.
A call-girl ring?
Well, yes.  Although the Post prefers to ignore any and all evidence on the matter, links between call-girls and the DNC—and, therefore, between call-girls and the Watergate affair—have been rumored or alleged for years.  The connection first surfaced in a book by a Pulitzer prize-winning New York Times reporter, J. Anthony Lukas.  According to Lukas, secretaries at the DNC used a telephone in the office of Wells's boss, Spencer Oliver, Jr., to make private calls.  They did this because Oliver's office was often empty—he traveled a lot—and his telephone was thought to be among the most private in the Democrats' headquarters. [J. Anthony Lukas, Nightmare, Viking (1976), p. 201.] (In fact, Oliver had two phones, one of which was a private line that did not go through the DNC switchboard.)
"They would say, 'We can talk; I'm on Spencer Oliver's phone,'" Lukas wrote.  Quoting Alfred Baldwin, who eavesdropped on these conversations at the direction of James McCord, Lukas reported that "Some of the conversations were 'explicitly intimate.'"  Baldwin was even more specific in a deposition that he later gave.  According to the former FBI agent, many of the telephone conversations involved dinner arrangements with "sex to follow."  And while he never heard "prices" being discussed, Baldwin testified, he guessed that "eight out of ten" people would have thought the calls involved prostitution.
But he himself did not.  As a former FBI agent, Baldwin knew that for prostitution to occur, there has to be a promise of money.  But money was never discussed, he said, or at least not in his hearing.  And since McCord told him that he was eavesdropping on telephone conversations emanating from the DNC, Baldwin assumed that the women must be amateurs.  As incredible as it seems, it did not occur to him that McCord might have lied to him about the bug's location.  To Baldwin, it was entirely plausible, or at least possible, that one secretary after another would go to a private telephone to engage her boyfriend in a conversation that was "extremely personal, intimate, and potentially embarrassing." [Nomination of Earl J. Silbert to be United States Attorney, Hearings before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 93d Cong., 2d sess., Part I, April-May, 1974, p. 52.] The more sophisticated Anthony Lukas was skeptical of the idea.  As he reported, "So spicy were some of the conversations on the phone that they have given rise to unconfirmed reports that the telephone was being used for some sort of call-girl service catering to congressmen and other prominent Washingtonians." [Lukas, Nightmare, p. 201.]
The same rumors were overheard by others, including the DNC's Robert Strauss.  In a 1996 deposition, Strauss testified that he recalled stories about “some of the state chairmen (who) would come into (Oliver’s) office and use the phone to make dates…”  Strauss added that “in connection with the use of the telephones, some of the calls…could have been embarrassing to some of the people who made them.”
The DNC’s Treasurer was even more specific in an interview with Fox News correspondent, James Rosen.  As Rosen has testified, Strauss told him that “Democrats in from out of town for a night would want to be entertained…  ‘It wasn’t any organized thing, ‘but I could have made the call, that lady could have made the call’—the reference was to Maxie Wells—’and these people were willing to pay for sex.’  Those were his exact words.”[Testimony of Rosen in the first Wells v. Liddy trial.]
In an interview with Liddy’s attorneys, DNC secretary Barbara Kennedy Rhoden acknowledged that she, too, overheard such rumors.    Asked if Rhoden had said “it was likely that Spencer Oliver and Maxie Wells were running a call-girl operation,” Rhoden replied: “I might have said that…”  But, she added, “I have no knowledge that they were.”[Testimony of Barbara Kennedy Rhoden in the first Wells v. Liddy trial.]
That a relationship may have existed between a call-girl service and the DNC was dissed and dismissed by Wells and her attorneys, and by Spencer Oliver and his attorneys—just as it was by the Washington Post.  According to them, the only evidence of such a relationship was the testimony of Phillip Bailley, a disbarred lawyer with a history of mental illness.
But that wasn’t true.  One man who knew a lot about the relationship between call-girls and the DNC was a private-eye named Lou Russell.  A former FBI agent, Russell had gone on to become chief investigator for the House Committee on Un-American Activities.  That was in the early 1950s.  Fired for soliciting “loans” from witnesses, he had turned into a hard-drinking private-eye—a noirish tough-guy who knew a lot about electronic eavesdropping.  And even more about whores.
In the months leading up to the Watergate break-ins, Russell was working for James McCord, and moonlighting for the late Bud Fensterwald, a Washington lawyer who’d founded the Committee to Investigate Assassinations.  In the evenings, Russell hung out with call-girls at the Columbia Plaza Apartments, barely a block from the Watergate.  And according to Fensterwald and two of his employees, Russell told them he was tape-recording telephone conversations between the prostitutes and their clients at the DNC.  The women didn’t mind, and the taping was a source of amusement to Russell, who seems to have regaled anyone who’d listen with anecdotes about the calls.[Jim Hougan, Secret Agenda: Watergate, Deep Throat and the CIA (Random House, 1984), p. 118.]

Not that Democrats were the only ones to avail themselves of the pleasures to be taken at the Columbia Plaza.  Nixon biographer Anthony Summers quotes a longtime Nixon aide who said that Nick Ruwe, then Deputy Chief of the Office of Protocol, “was always using those call girls at the place next to the DNC.”[The Office of Protocol makes arrangements for White House social events, and for the visits of foreign dignitaries to the nation's capital.] Ron Walker, Nixon’s top advance man, was a second source.  According to Walker, he knew of the brothel next to the DNC because “I had colleagues that used call girl rings.”[Anthony Summers, The Arrogance of Power (Viking, 2000), p. 422.]
In April, 1972 the seamy side of Washington was rocked when FBI agents raided the office and home of the Phil Bailley, a Washington defense attorney whose clientele included prostitutes.  Coded address-books, photographs and sexual paraphernalia were seized, and what began as a simple violation of the Mann Act, became a grand jury investigation with ramifications throughout the capital.
Asst. U.S. Atty. John Rudy was placed in charge of the investigation.  Soon, Rudy found himself looking into the Columbia Plaza call-girl ring and its connections to the DNC—where a secretary was said to have “arranged for liaisons.”

Watergate Complex
It was at about this time that Lou Russell appeared in Rudy’s office.  According to Rudy, Russell tried to divert his attention from the Columbia Plaza to another operatioon that serviced lawyers and judges on the other side of town.
But it didn’t work.  On June 9th, Bailley was indicted on 22 felony counts, including charges of blackmail, racketeering, procuring and pandering.  That same afternoon, the Washington Starpublished a front-page story, headlined “Capitol Hill Call-Girl Ring.”  According to the article:
The FBI here has uncovered a high-priced call girl ring allegedly headed by a Washington attorney and staffed by secretaries and office workers from Capitol Hill and involving at least one White House secretary, sources said today.
The article did not go unnoticed on Pennsylvania Avenue.  Within an hour of its publication, Bailley’s prosecutor received a telephone call from the President’s counsel John Dean, ordering him to the White House.  “He wanted me to bring ‘all’ the evidence but, mostly, what I brought were Bailley’s address books,” Rudy recalled.  “Dean said he wanted to check the names of the people involved, to see if any of them worked for the President.”[Hougan, pp. 172-3.]
It was, after all, a presidential election year, and the names in Bailley’s address-books included the secretaries and wives of some of Washington’s most prominent men—as well as the names of the johns they serviced.
At first, Dean wanted Rudy to leave the address-books with him, but Rudy demurred, pointing out that the books were evidence.  As a compromise, Dean’s secretary was permitted to copy the books, while Rudy and Dean discussed the case.  When the secretary returned, Dean went through the copies page by page, circling names with a Parker pen. [Ibid.]
It wasn’t the first time that Dean had shown an interest in such matters.  Months before, he’d dispatched a White House investigator to New York to look into a call-girl ring run by a madame named Xaviera Hollander.[Hollander subsequently wrote a book with Robin Moore, The Happy Hooker.]Like the Bailley case, the Hollander investigation was generating headlines.  One, in theNew York Times, blared:
The story began:
At least two high-ranking officials in the Nixon administration are among the people the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office intends to question about the possibility that they were blackmailed because of their association with an East Side brothel.
Dean’s meeting with John Rudy occurred on a Friday.  On the following Monday, Jeb Magruder summoned Liddy to his office, and told him that he had to break into the DNC a second time.  The bugging device that James McCord had supposedly placed on Larry O’Brien’s telephone had yet to work, and a second bug (apparently the one being monitored by Alfred Baldwin) was generating little or nothing of political value.
Magruder told Liddy that he wanted the bug in O’Brien’s office repaired, and even more importantly, he wanted to know if O’Brien was sitting on information that could damage the Nixon re-election campaign.  It wasn’t put in so many words, but that was Liddy’s understanding of the brief that he’d been given.
If the purpose of the break-in was somewhat vague, the provenance of the order was even more so.  Since Magruder was Mitchell’s deputy, Liddy assumed that he was conveying an order from Mitchell.  But Mitchell always denied that, and Magruder—himself convicted of perjury—has given conflicting accounts.  At first, young Jeb claimed that Liddy had acted on his own. [John Ehrlichman, Witness to Power, Simon & Schuster (1982), p. 380.] Later, he insisted that the order was Mitchell’s.  More recently, he told an interviewer (on tape) that it was none other than John Dean who ordered the break-in. [This was said to Len Colodny, co-author (with Robert Gettlin) ofSilent Coup, St. Martin's Press (1991), p. 148.]
Whatever its purpose, the burglary took place in the early morning hours of June 17th.  McCord and four of his accomplices had not been inside the DNC for more than a few minutes, when the police arrested them.  Baldwin watched the arrests unfold from his seventh floor aerie in the motel across the street, while Hunt and Liddy packed their bags and fled from the Watergate Hotel.
In the weeks that followed, John Rudy had second thoughts.  After the Watergate arrests, his investigation of a link between the Columbia Plaza call-girl ring and the DNC might appear to be politically-motivated.  Worried about that perception, he asked his boss, U.S. Atty. Harold Titus, what he should do.  And the advice came back: Chill it (sic).
And so he did.
Bailley was remanded to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital to undergo psychiatric tests.  This was an unwelcome and surprising development, inasmuch as he had been practicing law before that same court only a few weeks earlier.  Eventually, he was certified sane, and encouraged to plead guilty to a single felony.  When he did, he was bundled off to a federal prison in Connecticut where, ironically, he served on the Inmates Committee with Howard Hunt and other Watergaters.  The case-file, thick with interviews and evidence, was sealed and, soon afterwards, it became “lost.”
Which was unfortunate because, a few doors down the hall,  others in the U.S. Attorney’s office were putting together a case in which sexual blackmail was said to be the central motive in the Watergate break-in.  Asst. U.S. Atty. Earl Silbert was convinced that “Hunt was trying to blackmail Spencer (Oliver).” [Op cit., Nomination of Earl J. Silbert to be United States Attorney, p. 52.]The same point was made by Charles Morgan, who represented Wells and Oliver at the burglars’ trial in early 1973.  Determined to block any testimony about the contents of the conversations that Baldwin overheard, Morgan said Silbert told him over lunch in December, 1972, that “Hunt was trying to blackmail Spencer, and I’m going to prove it.” ["A Report to the Special Prosecutor on Certain Aspects of the Watergate Affair, June 18, 1973 (published in Hearings before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary [concerning Earl J. Silbert's nomination to be United States Attorney], 93d Cong., 2d sess., Part I, April-May, 1974, pp. 42, 53).] Morgan was skeptical.  Taking a page (or at least a metaphor) from John Dean’s book, Morgan railed that “Mr. Silbert’s blackmail motive had been woven from whole cloth.” [Ibid., p. 42.] Accordingly, he asked the court to bar any testimony about the conversations Baldwin overheard.
The court complied.
But what of Bailley?  When I interviewed him in the early 1980s, he seemed normal enough: well-dressed, articulate and intelligent, if bitter about the events that led to his downfall.  In particular, he was curious to know what I knew about Watergate and how it related to him.  I insisted he “go first,” and so he did.
Bailley told me that he was having an affair with a call-girl at the Columbia Plaza Apartments, a woman who used the alias “Cathy Dieter.”  She prevailed upon him to establish a liaison arrangement with the DNC.  A hard-partying young Dem who knew a number of workers at the DNC, Bailley told me that one of his acquaintances was a secretary in Spencer Oliver’s office.  With the her help, he said, the liaison arrangement was established.  Here’s how it worked:
According to Bailley, if a visitor to the DNC wanted companionship for the evening, the secretary would show him a photograph or photographs that she kept in her desk.  If the man was interested, Bailley continued, he’d be sent into Spencer Oliver’s office to await a telephone call.  When the phone rang for the first time, he was not to answer it.  A minute later, it would ring again and, on this occasion, he was to answer it.  The caller would be the woman (or one of the women) whose picture the visitor had just seen.  Knowing that the woman was a call-girl, the visitor would make whatever arrangements he pleased.
As I testified in the Wells v Liddy trial, Bailley told me that the secretary was Maxie Wells.  Ms. Wells denies that,  just as she denies keeping pictures of call-girls in her desk.
But what about “Cathy Dieter”?  Who was she?  According to Gordon Liddy, Dieter’s real name was Heidi Rikan.  Liddy testified that he learned this from a seemingly authoritative source: Walter “Buster” Riggin, a sometime pimp and associate of Joe Nesline, himself an organized crime figure in the Washington area.
Formerly a stripper at a seedy Washington nightclub called the Blue Mirror, the late Erica “Heidi” Rikan was a friend of Nesline’s and, more to the point, of John Dean and his then-fiancee, later wife, Maureen.  Indeed, Rikan’s photograph appears in the memoir that “Mo” wrote about Watergate.[Maureen Dean (with Hays Gorey) Mo: A Woman's View of Watergate, Simon & Schuster (1975).]
While admitting their friendship with Rikan, the Deans deny that she ran a call-girl ring, or that she used “Cathy Dieter” as an alias.  Beyond Buster Riggin’s assertion to Liddy, evidence on the issue is slim or ambiguous.  One writer who attempted to verify the identification is Anthony Summers.  As the Irish investigative reporter wrote in his massive biography of President Nixon:
Before her death in 1990, Rikan said in a conversation with her maid that she had once been a call girl.  Explaining that a call girl was ‘a lady that meets men, and men pay them’—the maid had grown up in the country and knew nothing of big-city sins—she added, tantalizingly: ‘I was a call girl at the White House.”[Summers, p. 422.]
This would appear to confirm assertions that Rikan was a prostitute.  But Summers undercuts the confirmation by reporting in that same book—strangely, and in a footnote—that he “found no evidence” of Rikan working as a call-girl. [Summers, p. 530.]

In the litigation with John Dean and Maxie Wells, Liddy took the position that a secret agenda was at work in the break-ins, and that this agenda was unknown to him at the time that the break-ins occurred.  Here’s how the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals summarized the issue:
Liddy stated that the burglars’ objective during the Watergate break-in was to determine whether the Democrats possessed information embarrassing to John Dean.  More specifically, Liddy asserted that the burglars were seeking a compromising photograph of Dean’s fiance that was located in Wells’s desk among several photographs that were used to offer prostitution services to out-of-town guests.[Ida Maxwell Wells v. G. Gordon Liddy, No. 98-1962, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, decided July 28, 1999.]
Dean and his wife challenged Liddy’s account, which was first reported in Silent Coup—whose authors (among many others) the Deans sued.[Dean brought suit against Liddy, St. Martin's Press, Len Colodney, Robert Gettlin, myself and more than 100 others, charging a conspiracy to defame him and his wife.  In particular, the Deans accused the defendants of malice for suggesting that he was "guilty of criminal conduct in planning, aiding, abetting and directing the Watergate break-ins, and gave perjured testimony...with catastrophic consequences to alleged innocent persons, was a traitor to his nation as was Benedict Arnold, and that all...historical writings by John Dean...have been and are a self serving, ongoing historical fraud."  After years of legal wrangling, the case was settled out of court among the Deans, the authors and their publisher.  Terms of the settlement have not been disclosed.  Both sides claimed victory.  (This writer was dismissed from the case soon after it was filed.)  For his part, Liddy refused to back down, wishing to take the case to court so that he could get Dean on the witness-stand.  In that, Liddy was unsuccessful.  The case against him was dismissed.]While this writer does not find John Dean’s account of his own role in the affair to be credible, neither does he think it likely that anyone would break into the DNC to retrieve a picture of someone’s girlfriend, assuming that such a picture existed and that it was somehow “compromising.”  What would—what could—anyone do with such a photograph?
One question leads to another.  If the instigator of the break-in (whether Dean, Magruder or someone else) was not after pictures in Maxie Wells’s desk, what was he after?  The matter is necessarily speculative, but it seems useful to point out that men who make dates with call-girls seldom use their real names.  Instead, they use handles like “Candyman,” or resort to aliases like “George Washington.”  (One john at the Columbia Plaza—almost certainly a Democrat—used “Richard Nixon” as a nom de guerre.)[A copy of a trick-book from one of the call-girl operations at the Columbia Plaza was given to this writer by Detective Shoffler.] For that reason, the only person in a position to know who was dating whom was the person facilitating the liaisons.  Whether that person kept a record of such contacts is unknown.  But the instigator of the break-in may have suspected that she did.  It seems reasonable, then, to suppose that the burglars may have been looking for a kind of calendar, or log, rather than a handful of dirty pictures that would be of little use to anyone.[According to Bailley, the photographs in question were in no way obscene, but were, instead, discrete pictures of attractive women---no more and no less.]

The key to Maxie Wells’s desk, therefore, is obviously central to any “rigorous consideration” of the facts pertaining to Watergate.  But it isn’t the only important fact that the Washington Post and other media have done their best to ignore.  A second and equally fundamental one is this: The only bugging device ever recovered from the headquarters of the DNC was a broken “toy” that the FBI believed had been planted in order that it might be found.  And it was found, but not until nearly three months after the Watergate arrests, and not until Alfred Baldwin had gone public with his testimony about eavesdropping on the DNC.
But what did it all mean?  Did James McCord lie about bugging Larry O’Brien and Spencer Oliver?  And if he did, why did he?  And if Alfred Baldwin wasn’t listening to telephone conversations being broadcast by a transmitter inside the DNC, what was he listening to?
These were the questions on Earl Silbert’s lips as he prepared his case against the burglars in the Summer of 1972.  They were questions of which the public knew nothing.  In secret correspondence with the Justice Department and the FBI, Silbert railed against the Bureau’s inability to locate a listening device inside the DNC.  The Bureau replied, coolly, that while it recognized the difficulties this presented for Silbert’s case, it was a matter of fact.  The DNC was clean.
Because the burglars ultimately pleaded guilty, obviating a need for a trial at which the evidence would be presented and contested, the discrepancy never came to the public’s attention.  Indeed, Wells’s own attorney (who had also represented Dean) seemed stunned by the information when it came out on cross-examination in Liddy’s trial.  If this was true, David Dorsen asked, what did it mean?  Who, then, was bugged?
From the witness-stand, I suggested that there were only two possibilities: either the bugs were removed from the DNC prior to the break-in on June 17—or Baldwin was listening to telephone conversations emanating from a bugging device at another location.
Another location? what location? Dorsen wondered.
The most likely place, I replied, was the call-girls’ apartment in the Columbia Plaza, a block from the Watergate and in line-of-sight of Baldwin’s motel room.
This testimony was so discombobulating to Wells’s attorney that we did not get into the question of McCord’s motives.  Why would the veteran CIA agent lie about bugging Oliver and O’Brien?
It is an interesting and important question, but it was not one that the jury was obliged to answer.  Neither was it asked to decide if Liddy (or I) are correct in our belief that John Dean ordered the June 17 break-in because, we suspect, he’d learned of the relationship between the Columbia Plaza call-girl ring and the DNC.  Instead, the jury was asked to decide if these issues, and their corollaries, are sufficiently plausible that fair-minded people can disagree about them.  So, too, with Wells.  Was she involved in facilitating arrangements between visitors to the DNC and call-girls at the Columbia Plaza, as Phil Bailley claimed?  The evidence persuades me that she was but, once again, it is a matter of opinion.  In ruling for Liddy, the courts did not decide that the “alternative theory” of Watergate (as articulated by Hougan and Liddy) is correct.  Rather, they seem to be saying that the received version of the Watergate affair, as promulgated by John Dean and theWashington Post, is open to question, and that there is enough evidence in support of the alternative theory that it can (and perhaps should) be freely discussed.
The real issue, which in the end may be even more important than the who-shot-who of Watergate, concerns the arrogance of media such as the Washington Post, which pretend to an infallibility they do not have.  For decades, the Post and its cousins have refused to tolerate (much less undertake) a re-examination of the Watergate affair—or any other major story in which they may be said to have a stake.
Watergate, after all, was journalism’s finest hour.  Courageous editors and intrepid young reporters risked everything in a brave effort to save America from a White House ruled by Sauron and the hordes of Mordor.  To question the received version of the story is, therefore, a kind of heresy.  And so the Post becomes the Inquisition, labeling its critics “conspiracy theorists” while warning the public against the “danger” of such thinking.  Clearly, the Post would rather its readers let the newspaper do their thinking for them.
If there wasn't so much blood on the floor, it would be funny.

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