Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Named Survivors

Jonestown Massacre, by Fiona Steel, published at Court TV's Crime Library

Madman in Our Midst: Jim Jones and the California Cover-Up, by Kathleen and Tom Kinsolving.
See also this interview, with Kathleen Kinsolving
Foreign Service, Note that this early report still mentions the lower number of deaths - one of many puzzling factors that has lead some to speculate about Jonestown's 'sinister connections',

November 24, 1978, Los Angeles Herald Examiner,
November 29, 1978, San Francisco Examiner,
November 28, 1978, The Oakland Tribune,
November 27, 1978, San Francisco Chronicle,

November 24, 1978, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, 'No Evidence' of Cultists' Jungle Flight,
[...][published on Friday]
As patrols pressed the hunt, United States military helicopters shuttled between the commune, 140 miles northwest of here, and the Georgetown airport, removing the bodies of 177 of the 408 members of the Peoples Temple who died Saturday night.
That---and the absence of clues along the jungle trails--have led to the troubling suspicion that there are many survivors, that the size of the community has been inflated and that, except for the survivors already rounded up and perhaps a few more roaming around in the bush, the Peoples Temple has been wiped out.
November 26, 1978, The State, Delay Is Expected In Return of Cultists, by Herb Frazier, five persons are being held for questioning in the death of Rep. Ryan.
3 members are in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad; they went on a supply run before the violence.
November 27, 1978, San Francisco Chronicle, Guyana Mercy Mission Ends FBI to Question Survivors,
Charles Devic, special FBI agent in charge Charleston S.C. office
Devic said the FBI's part of the investigation is only in connection with the murder of Ryan and not the mass suicide.
The survivors include 39 persons who escaped into the jungle

The Los Angeles Times / AP, Even In Death: Jim Jones Still Haunts Them,

November 27, 1978, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, page A-1, Police Hold Jonestown Survivors,
put the final count at 909
the last 183 bodies left here late Saturday night
At the time of the killings and suicides in Jonestown, 46 members were at the cult headquarters here. Six others were on two of the cult's boats.
The remaining 30 were either disaffected members who had hoped to leave Guyana with Ryan and were at the airfield at Port Kaituma, near Jonestown, when the Congressman was shot or they are among the handful who fled the commune as a poisonous mixture of Kool-Aid and cyanide was being drunk by other members
...said a total of 918 persons died in the shootings and suicides--Ryan, three journalists and an American woman who were shot at the Port Kaituma airfield
Col. William I. Gordon, who commanded the task force, said he was not surprised at the discrepancy in the body count, which grew from an initial 383-410, then several days later climbed to 780, and a day later rose to more than 900. But he was unable to explain definitively how it had occurred, beyond saying "There were bodies on top of bodies."

November 27, 1978, Los Angeles Times, page I-3, Effort To Aid Cult Victims' Kin Launched,&

November 27, 1978, Los Angeles Times, page I-1, Security for 70 Returning Survivors to Be Very Tight,
Mary Ann Bader, a State Department spokesperson, said that there are 80 known survivors, two of whom have been charged by the Guyanese authorities. break down:
Forty-five residents of the temple's headquarters in Georgetown
Nineteen survivors of the ambush
Fourteen more who survived, escaped or were not present
Two cultists who were aboard a fishing boat named the "Cudjoe"

November 28, 1978, The Oakland Tribune, Decision due on return of survivors,
Miguel DePina, 84
November 29, 1978, San Francisco Examiner, 7 survivors barely make flight home, by John Jacobs,
Grover Davis, 79
Hyacinth Thrash, 70
Raymond Godshalk, 62
Madeline Brooks, 73
Carol Young, 78
Marion Campbell, 61
Alverary Faterwhite, 61 
December 3, 1978, The Washington Star-News / UPI, Six More Survivors Arrive From Guyana, page A-13,
Edith Parks, 64
her daughter was gunned down (an 18-year-old from a 64 year old? Possible but unlikely.
Others were Julius Evans
his wife Sande, both 30
and their children
Shirelle, 5
Sharla, 7
Sonya 11
They escaped because they were in Georgetown at the time.
Why for heaven's sakes!!?

November 29, 1978, The Los Angeles Herald Examiner / AP, Guyanese To Reveal Plans For Mass Suicide Survivors

November 30, 1978, New York Times, page 16, 'Seniors' Got Special Privileges, by Joseph Treaster,
Hyacinth Thrash, "there was no food in the cabin she had shared with her 69-year-old sister and two others in the 16 months she had been in Jonestown.
Mr. Davis said he lowered himself into a trench as the others began drinking a soft drink laced with cyanide and pretended to be dead.
eight-bedroom villa in Georgetown
Julius Evans, a 30-year-old respiratory therapist
and a 3-yeat-old boy
"But I ended up mostly treating sores--leg ulcers, mosquito bites and athlete's foot," he said. "There was an epidemic of athlete's foot. Everybody in town had it. Everybody used the same shower. There was no ventilation on the floor and the lack of proper cleaning of the floor cause it to spread.
"There was also a lot of diarrhead and nausea," he continued. "Sanitation was very poor. You could hardly breath in the outhouses. We used cement bags, cardboard and newspaper for toilet paper. Some people even used leaves."

December 3, 1978, Los Angeles Times / UPI, 10 More Peoples Temple Survivors Arrive in N.Y.
Dawn Gardfrey, 15
Yolanda Mitchell, 18
Versie Perkins, 32
Beatrice Brubbs, 52
Dianne Rozykno, 26,
LeFlora Townes, 56
Andrea  Walker, 21
Leslie Wilson, 21
Jakari Wilson, 3
Ruby Johnston, 2
Edith Parks, 61

December 3, 1978, Washington Post, page A-12, Six Jonestown Survivors Are Flown to New York,
Parks is a survivor of the airstrip attack that preceded the mass deaths in Jonestown. The Evans family had walked out of Jonestown that morning, saying they were going on a picnic. They have said they did not witness the shooting at the airstrip or the poisoning.
Crucial to the Guyana investigation are reports from Dover Air Force Base, Del. where experts are fingerprinting more than 900 bodies flown there after the Peoples Temple cultists

Oct 4, 2008 ... According to Jones' main biographer, Tim Reiterman, in early October of 1961, the Temple leader told his associate pastor, Archie Ijames, that ...
By Tim Reiterman with John Jacobs. Dutton, 1982. by M. A. Evans. Special to The ADVISOR. The nightmare of Jonestown, so often gratuitously dismissed by cult ...
Tim Reiterman and John Jacobs (1982) describe his declined capacity as a powerful, charismatic leader: The drugs ... had taken hold of him. His voice, once so ...
A British writer, Tim Guest, was a child whose mother was a devotee of Bhagwan .... For several minutes, they vomited and screamed, they bled (Reiterman with ...
By Tim Reiterman, AP. (AP) -- Dark clouds tumbled overhead on that afternoon 30 years ago, in the last hours of the congressman's mission deep in the jungle of ...
Tim Reiterman, the Los Angeles Times writer who co-wrote the seminal book on the Peoples Temple, Raven, was interviewed for both films. Reiterman was shot ...
ReitermanTim with John Jacobs. 1982. Raven: The Untold Story of The Rev. Jim Jones and His People. New York: E. P. Dutton. Reuters. 2003. “Doctor Gets 77 ...
By Tim Reiterman with John Jacobs. Dutton, 1982. by M. A. Evans. Special to The ADVISOR. The nightmare of Jonestown, so often gratuitously dismissed by cult ...
Feb 9, 2008 ... ReitermanTim. Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People. New. York: Dutton, 1982. Reston, James. Our Father Who Art ...'s...

Alejandra, Patar. “Dan Mitrione, Un Maestro De La Tortura.” 9 Feb. 2001.
Hougan, Jim. “Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple.”
Jones Lived Well, Kept to Himself During Mysterious Brazil Stay.” San Jose Mercury News 27 Nov. 1978: 17A.
Judge, John. The Black Hole of Guyana: the Untold Story of the Jonestown Massacre. Rat Haus Reality Press. 1985.
Langguth, A.J. “Torture’s Teachers.” The New York Times, 11 June 1979.
Reiterman, Tim, and John Jacobs. Raven : The Untold Story of the Reverend Jim Jones and His People. New York: Penguin Group Australia, 1987. pgs. 76-78, 83, 84, 596.
“The Rev. Jones ‘Integrates’ Hospital While a Patient.” Indianapolis Recorder, 7 Oct 1961.

Jim Jones' Sons Revisit Site of Mass Suicide

ABC News, October 18, 1998

BARBARA WALTERS, ABCNEWS Good evening, and welcome to 20/20 Sunday. Tonight, one of the most gripping hours that we have ever brought you. It’s a mystery story, a horror story, a story of survival. We’re going to take you back 20 years to the mass murder/suicide in Jonestown, Guyana.

DIANE SAWYER, ABCNEWS Most of us remember those incomprehensible scenes of carnage, the pictures of 900 people dead after drinking a poisoned grape drink. But what you might not remember is that Jim Jones, the leader of the cult, had sons who survived and who are now ready to speak out.

BARBARA WALTERS These two sons have a unique perspective on what happened. They have not been back to Jonestown since the tragedy. But tonight, they return with Forrest Sawyer. And so will we-to try to understand why so many people died.

STEPHAN JONES, SON We were as diverse a group of people as you’ll ever encounter. We were black. We were white. We were yellow. We were old. We were young. We were loving, passionate people. And those people shouldn't have died.

REPORTER Members of the cult took part in one of the biggest mass suicides in recorded history. Late this afternoon, the government of ...

FORREST SAWYER, ABCNEWS (VO) On November 18, 1978, in the jungles of South America, in a tiny community called Jonestown, over 900 Americans died.

GRACE STOEN, FORMER MEMBER, PEOPLE’S TEMPLE I lost my son. His name was John.

WOMAN Our daughter, Ann Elizabeth.

MAN My seven kids, my wife and my sister.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Their bodies scattered around an open-air pavilion created a surreal vision. Almost all of the people had been poisoned. Nearly a third were children. This event still stands as the largest mass suicide in modern history.

GRACE STOEN You know, a lot of people say, “Oh, all those people were crazy,” or “I could never be

in a situation like that.” I just want to say that I survived it, and it can happen, and it has happened since, and it probably will happen in the future.

JIM JONES, SR. You’re going to lift up that phone, and you’re not going to call Jesus Christ. You’re going to call Jim Jones.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Jonestown showed the world the devastating power a single hypnotic leader can have over his people. That leader was the Reverend Jim Jones.

JIM JONES, SR. I want you to enjoy the fearlessness that I have, the courage that I have, the compassion that I have, the love that I have.

STEPHAN JONES He was amazing. He commanded a room unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

JIM JONES, SR. Move forward. Move forward. Move forward. Move forward.

STEPHAN JONES My father was a fraud. I could see that because I got to get-go backstage. I got to be behind the scenes.

JIM JONES, SR. Walk briskly.

STEPHAN JONES Toward the end, I think, the darkness took him as he was consumed by his sickness.

JIM JONES, SR. Not one of my children’s going to end up in a concentration camp. I said they’ll have to kill us all first.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Out of all the horror, two of the people closest to Jim Jones survived. His birth son, Stephan, and Stephan’s brother, adopted when he was only 10 weeks old and given the name Jim Jones, Jr. (on camera) Your father, in most people’s minds, was a bad guy.

JIM JONES, JR., SON And he was. His end result was very negative. Very-it was horrific.


JIM JONES, JR. Well, I think the “but” is what he tried to accomplish beforehand.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) For 20 years, each in his own way, the two brothers have wrestled with their father’s demons. This is their story and the story of how their living God built an entire world around them and destroyed it all.

GRACE STOEN We were sleep-deprived. We were food-deprived. It was craziness.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) The disaster began with a series of complaints to California congressman Leo Ryan by defectors from Jim Jones’s church, like Grace and Tim Stoen.

TIM STOEN, FORMER MEMBER, PEOPLE’S TEMPLE I said the situation in Jonestown is tragically serious.

GRACE STOEN We were trying to let the government know that people were being held against their will.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) They claimed Jones was torturing and sexually abusing his followers.

JACKIE SPEIER, FORMER CONGRESSIONAL AIDE And just listening to the stories just sent chills up and down my spine.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) By November of ’78, Congressman Ryan decided to see Jonestown himself. Congressional aide Jackie Speier traveled with him to Guyana.

JACKIE SPEIER He knew that I had fears and concerns about the trip. I thought we were moving too quickly. I thought we didn’t know enough.

LEO RYAN, FORMER CONGRESSMAN How are you, Corporal? We’re very glad to meet you. I’m from the United States government, and we’re here to ...

FORREST SAWYER (VO) With Ryan were defectors who still had family in Jonestown and a small group of reporters, including an NBC News television crew. Steve Sung was the soundman.

STEVE SUNG, FORMER NBC NEWS SOUNDMAN Don Harris, the correspondent, told us that these guys might have guns, but we don’t know for sure. We thought we were street smart enough. If something happened, we’d try to avoid the confrontations.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) By the time Ryan’s group made it to Jonestown, night had fallen. Defector Jim Cobb immediately began looking for his family.

JIM COBB, FORMER MEMBER, PEOPLE’S TEMPLE There’s no way to express how I felt when I first saw my brother, my two sisters. My youngest brother and youngest sister just immediately embraced.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) A special welcome had been staged for Congressman Ryan. He seemed to wonder if the horrible stories he’d been told might be false.

LEO RYAN Whatever the comments are, there are some people here who believe this is the best thing that ever happened to them in their whole life. (Applause)

TIM REITERMAN, FORMER SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER REPORTER The counterpoint, however, was Jim Jones himself.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Reporter Tim Reiterman.

TIM REITERMAN I think we saw a Jim Jones who was under siege.

STEVE SUNG His mind wasn’t there, somehow, you know? Something’s bothering him. We don’t know what, you know?

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Over an eight-man band, a sign read, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Not far away, messages were being handed to NBC correspondent Don Harris.

JACKIE SPEIER He got slipped, on torn sheets of paper, notes from a couple of people that said, “I
want to leave.”

FORREST SAWYER (VO) The next morning, Leo Ryan’s group saw and videotaped Jonestown in daylight for the first time.

JACKIE SPEIER You couldn’t help but be impressed by all of the farming that was going on, all the cabins that had been built, the medical clinic that had been built. I mean, they had really developed a community there.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) But when the reporters toured the grounds, they found troubling signs.

TIM REITERMAN Senior citizens were living in very crowded conditions in triple-level bunks. As the tour went on, even more serious things began to arise as the first defectors openly stepped forward.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) One of those wanting to defect was Jerry Parks, together with his entire family. Jackie Speier took their affidavits.

JACKIE SPEIER You say that you both want to leave Jonestown on this date, November 18 ...

JERRY PARKS, FORMER MEMBER, PEOPLE’S TEMPLE Jim Jones was standing right there. And I looked at him, and he looked at me, and he walked over to me, and he says, “Don’t do this. Don’t leave me like this.” He said, “I’ll give you $5,000 and your passports if you’ll stay.”

TIM REITERMAN You could tell by their facial expressions that Jones was failing. And this was a profound blow to him, because this is a family that had been by his side for decades.

JERRY PARKS And he goes over, finally, and sits down. It’s the first time in all the years that I knew Jim Jones that I saw him a beaten, dejected man.

DON HARRIS, NBC NEWS REPORTER Last night, someone came and passed me this note.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Now it was time for Don Harris to confront Jones.

JIM JONES, SR. People play games, friend. They lie. They lie. What can I do about lies? Will you people leave us? I just beg you please leave us.

JACKIE SPEIER The atmosphere in that pavilion changed to one that was just emotionally charged. There were literally couples with their children, one pulling one direction and another pulling in the other direction.

FEMALE MEMBER OF PEOPLE’S TEMPLE You bring them back here! Don’t you touch my kids! Mother!

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Jim Cobb had desperately hoped he could persuade his family to go back with him.

JIM COBB’S SON I like it here. I wouldn’t want to go back for nothing in the world.

DON HARRIS Are you satisfied, Jim?

JIM COBB Well, they say they’re happy. And I respect that. I want them to do what they want to do. Am I satisfied? No.

JERRY PARKS They were standing on their porches hollering at us, calling us traitors, all kind of names. And so, we went to our cabins real quick, got what we could get and went back to the truck, boarded the truck ...

JACKIE SPEIER Then, all of a sudden, we heard a loud sound coming out of the pavilion and the truck stopped, and then next thing we heard was that Congressman Ryan had been stabbed.

TIM REITERMAN One of the church members had grabbed Ryan around the neck and put a knife to him.

JACKIE SPEIER He was basically OK. I think just superficial cuts. But there was a sense of, “My God, we just got out of there with our lives.” Little did we know that the worst was yet to come.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Ryan’s group rushed to the nearby airstrip, anxious to get on the plane and far away from Jonestown.

JERRY PARKS By this time, we looked and see this red wagon and tractor coming.

TIM REITERMAN A number of the defectors and reporters were immediately put on alarm.

JIM COBB So I’m trying to hurry, get on the plane and leave.

TIM REITERMAN As we were boarding, this gunfire just erupted everywhere.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Just seven seconds after the first shot, cameraman Bob Brown, with his camera still rolling, went down.

STEVE SUNG He sat up and grabbed his thigh. Then they blew his head away. Then I know, “God, next thing, it’s my turn for sure.” Sure enough, less than a second later, I heard a big explosion. One penetrates through my arm. One goes through my shoulder.

JACKIE SPEIER Congressman Ryan had started to run under the-the plane, and then I started running under the plane.

TIM REITERMAN As I dove, I was hit in my arm and my wrist.

JACKIE SPEIER They came among us and shot us at point blank range, and then they left.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Jackie Speier had been shot four times and lay only a few yards from

Congressman Ryan.

JACKIE SPEIER You could see bodies kind of lying all over. And when no one’s moving, you know-I-I asked someone, “Is he-is he alive?”

And they said, “No.”

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Murdered along with Ryan were San Francisco Examiner photographer Greg Robinson, NBC reporter Don Harris, his cameraman Bob Brown and Jerry Parks’ wife, Patricia. She had been most afraid to leave. One hundred fifty miles away, as the murders took place, 19-year-old Stephan Jones and his 18-year-old brother Jim Jones, Jr. were visiting Guyana’s capital, Georgetown. Stunned by news of the disaster, they begged the US embassy for details.

STEPHAN JONES “There’s been a shooting at the airstrip, and people are dead,” I think was the response we got. As much as I could know anything, I knew things were dark and crazy and-and going bad fast.

DIANE SAWYER Soon, the worst. An event so searing, it would leave the world asking in horror-why?

ANNOUNCER When we come back-the long, strange path to tragedy. Jim Jones promised them paradise and condemned them to an unimaginable hell. Why didn’t anyone stop him before his paranoia turned to madness? The tragedy of Jonestown, in a moment.

(Commercial Break)

DIANE SAWYER We know that there were those who survived the murder/suicide pact in Jonestown. Three men refused to take the poison and escaped into the jungle. An elderly woman slept right through it all. And a little girl lived even after her throat was slit. There is also evidence that others tried to resist. But the vast majority simply followed Jim Jones’s orders. How did one deranged man gain so much control over so many? Forrest Sawyer takes us back to the earliest days of the People’s Temple.

JIM JONES, SR. Some people see a great deal of God in my body ...

JIM JONES, JR. I think Stephan saw all things that was negative about my father and promoted them. I saw all the things that were positive about my father and promoted them.

FORREST SAWYER (on camera) And who was right?

JIM JONES, JR. I think both of us are right.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) They are brothers and polar opposites. One, a birth son. The other, adopted and given his father’s name.

JIM JONES, JR. I was the one that was loyal to the end. I mean, when you’re adopted and you’re told-you’re picked, it kind of sets the stage.

STEPHAN JONES I resented anyone that took attention away from me, especially from my father. I did crave that. I always craved that.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Jim Jr.’s adoption was a signal of his father’s commitment to integration. In 1956, Jones founded his church, the People’s Temple, in Indianapolis. Over half the congregation was African American.

JIM JONES, SR. Love is a healing remedy.

STEPHAN JONES You saw every color of the rainbow. And they seated people black, white, black, white. And there was a sense of belonging that was created in that-in that room.

JIM JONES, JR. He gave them something that wasn’t there. He gave them a belief in themselves. He gave them a belief in an organization that was doing things for their fellow man.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Jim Cobb and his family joined when he was just 7 years old.

JIM COBB I saw a soup kitchen. I saw people coming there who were hungry, looking around, you know, wow, they’re feeding people that were actually hungry.

JIM JONES, SR. I was thirsty, and you gave me drink. I was a stranger, and you took me in.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) But Stephan Jones saw another side of his father-angry, sadistic, even willing to take his 10-year-old son along to visit one of his many mistresses.

STEPHAN JONES They set me up on the sofa outside of her room and retired to her room. And it wasn’t long before they were making love.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Afterwards, Reverend Jones told his wife, Marcelline, about the rendezvous in detail.

STEPHAN JONES He was not only, in my eyes at that moment, a flawed human being, but-but a cruel one.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Jim, Jr. was aware of his father’s infidelity but ignored it. He trusted Jones completely, for good reason. Jones had convinced his son he had once literally brought the boy back from the dead.

JIM JONES, JR. I had no reason to doubt it. He was a faith healer.

FORREST SAWYER (on camera) He not only adopted you and rescued you from this ...

JIM JONES, JR. He brought me back to life. So, I mean, you talk about owing the company store.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) By 1965, public criticism of Jones’s fake healings drove him to move the People’s Temple from Indiana to northern California. Over the next decade, his popularity there grew, catching the attention of powerful politicians-San Francisco mayor George Moscone, Governor Jerry Brown, even First Lady Rosalyn Carter. And Jones was attracting bright young idealists, like county assistant district attorney Tim Stoen.

TIM STOEN You had a lot of high-powered activists that were coming from all over, and it was just a lot of “we shall overcome.” We will create a Utopian community.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) But by the mid ’70s, Jones was facing more criticism. This time, the people of California were starting to hear of Jim Jones’s secrets.

JIM JONES, SR. All of these allegations are totally untrue.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) San Francisco Examiner reporter Tim Reiterman covered the growing scandal.

TIM REITERMAN We were hearing from ex-members that Jones was an incredibly manipulative person, somebody who would strip his followers of custody of their children, who would have them physically abused and sexually abused some of his members.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Once again, Jones told his loyal followers it was time to escape the public pressure. This time, he would leave what he called “the fascist United States” and go deep into the jungle of a remote South American country-Guyana.

MIKE TOUCHETTE, FORMER MEMBER, PEOPLE’S TEMPLE We were in the-in the process of building a new world, building a better society.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Mike Touchette and his family had been with Jones from the beginning. Touchette was sent to help lay the foundation for the new world. (on camera) And what was this world supposed to be?

MIKE TOUCHETTE No more pain. Not wanting for clothes, money to go out to buy things. It would be provided for you.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Also sent to Guyana-a troubled 17-year-old who was abusing drugs, had even tried to commit suicide and was thrilled to be away from his father’s control.

STEPHAN JONES Yeah, I had thousands of miles between me and Jim Jones, you know? Beyond that, I took to the jungle. You know, I did. I loved the jungle. I felt my soul, probably for the first time.

JIM JONES, SR. We’re now coming in over the beautiful promised land.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) In the summer of 1977, the exodus began. Traveling along with hundreds of followers were Jim, Jr. and his high school sweetheart, Yvette Muldrow (ph).

JIM JONES, JR. It was kind of the bus ride for freedom. That was the theme of it-the move for freedom.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) But Jim Cobb was horrified by the move. He had criticized the Temple’s predominantly white leadership and defected. His family remained believers, and now they left him behind.

JIM COBB I talked with my mother, and she talked about the racism in the United States, and it was better to start something out here in the jungle than be put with all of the inequalities within the society.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Many others, like Jerry Parks, were drawn by Jones’s film of what he called “the promised land.”

JERRY PARKS They showed flowers. They showed people dancing and having fun. And he told us, “You’ll have your own home.”

JIM JONES, SR. You have a home. These lovely people are all happy.

1ST MALE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE MEMBER I’m really happy to be here in the promised land.

2ND MALE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE MEMBER Complete freedom here in the promised land.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) In fact, there was complete freedom in Jonestown until the day Jim Jones himself finally arrived.

JIM JONES, SR. I made plans for treason long ago, because I knew I couldn’t trust nothing.

MIKE TOUCHETTE It was like Hell had arrived. We no longer were sleeping. He would keep us up. He would get us up in the middle of the night over the loudspeakers preaching how the government wanted to do the People’s Temple in. It was constant fear.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) By the time Jerry Parks arrived, the promised land had turned into a brutal armed camp.

JERRY PARKS They had a gate up and armed guards standing at the gate. And when I saw that, that’s when my heart dropped.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) After Parks dared to say he wanted to leave, Jones forced him to prove his commitment to the cause. Like hundreds of others, he was beaten and humiliated in public. Jones recorded a session with Parks.

JERRY PARKS I’m also prepared to die after 44 years of not being able to contribute anything to this life.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Parks then had to demonstrate his loyalty to Jones by offering to sacrifice his 11-year-old daughter.

JERRY PARKS If it came to that, I would have to take her life.

STEPHAN JONES My father had a very large cruel streak, and he enjoyed that kind of thing.

FORREST SAWYER (on camera) By this point, how did you see him? What was he to you?


JIM JONES, JR. I thought it was other people affecting him, other people causing it. They’re pulling on him. They need him.

FORREST SAWYER Were you able to go to your father and say, “Dad ... “?

JIM JONES, JR. I never did that to him. I never questioned him.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) By this point, Jones’s paranoia was sliding into madness, fueled by amphetamines, Percodan, reportedly even heroin. The boys’ mother, Marcelline, tried desperately to stop him.

STEPHAN JONES She said, you know, “We've got to take him. We've got to isolate him. We've got to get him off drugs.” But what I said to her, “You don’t tell God he’s got a drug problem.”

JIM JONES, SR. I got guns. I got dynamite. I got a hell of a lot to fight. I’ll fight!

STEPHAN JONES He was losing the charge. He was using up his source. He had isolated himself. He had the same people to put on a show for. And after a while, “This ain’t enough. I got to have more.”

BARBARA WALTERS So what did Jim Jones do, especially now that word was beginning to reach the outside world that some people were being held against their will? Forrest Sawyer continues with our story in a moment.

(Commercial Break)

ANNOUNCER “The Tragedy Of Jonestown”-And now, Barbara Walters.

BARBARA WALTERS We continue now with our inside look at Jonestown, where more than 900 people died in the jungle. Sometimes the greatest tragedies begin with just an incident. As Forrest Sawyer tells us, in this case, it began with one small child.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) The beginning of the end was a battle over a 5-year-old boy. When disillusioned church leaders Tim and Grace Stoen defected, to their horror, Jones refused to let their son, John, out of his control.

GRACE STOEN I realized that not only did I not have my son physically, that I didn’t have him mentally. He was being turned against me. He was being brainwashed.

TIM STOEN The central event of my life was John Victor Stoen. I was present when he was born. I diapered him. I sang to him. He was my whole life.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) But Jones claimed he was the boy’s real father and tried to point out a resemblance.

JIM JONES, SR. The dentist said (inaudible) the teeth profile. This is where it shows-open your mouth.

GRACE STOEN I just told him, I said, “You know, all I want-I want to see my son. He’s my son. I want to see him.”

FORREST SAWYER (VO) When the Stoens asked the Guyanese authorities for help in getting their son out of Jonestown, Jones told his exhausted, half-starved followers the enemy was coming to kill them.

JIM JONES, SR. Yes, we’ll fight. Let the night roll with it. They’re out there. They’re out there.

JIM JONES, JR. I remember seeing grandmothers up there with sticks, you know. “You’re not going to come into our-to our community.”

STEPHAN JONES It was a human wall. Facing out, ready for, you know, what may come.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Finally, Jones threatened mass suicide.

JIM JONES, SR. But our God-dammed land. We fought to build it. So we’ll fight to die for it!

FORREST SAWYER (VO) The authorities backed down. The boy stayed. And suicide drills Jones called "white nights" became a way of life.

STEPHAN JONES It would always start with him screaming “alert, alert, alert, alert, alert” over the loudspeaker. People went running in terror, and on top of that, surrounded by blackness.

JIM JONES, SR. Let the night roar, because they can hear us. They know we mean it.

JERRY PARKS Time was running out for Jim Jones. And so, each one of these white nights he knew that, and little by little by little, he was getting everybody ready for this big one.

JIM JONES, SR. Congressman Ryan, the wicked man.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) In 1978, Tim and Grace Stoen took their cause to the one man willing to listen-Congressman Leo Ryan. A panicked Jim Jones prepared for Ryan’s arrival.

JERRY PARKS He was having meetings every night. He would tell people what they were supposed to say if they did come in.

JIM JONES, SR. What would you say about the weather, if you were asked about the weather?

3RD MALE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE MEMBER Like it might be hot.

JIM JONES, SR. Not too hot. I wouldn’t talk about it being too hot.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Ironically, just as Congressman Ryan was on his way to Jonestown, Stephan and Jim, Jr. were allowed out of the community to play in a basketball tournament in the Guyanese city of Georgetown. (on camera) Were you aware of Congressman Ryan’s impending visit?

STEPHAN JONES That stuff was brewing. But I was also really caught up in the fact that we were in town playing basketball, free of the madness.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) It was on the afternoon of November 18 that Congressman Ryan and four others were shot and killed. In Georgetown, Jim, Jr. heard his father broadcasting a message over a short-wave radio.

JIM JONES, JR. I remember my father-hearing my father’s voice. “We have to make a stand. This is a white night event. They’ve taken people away from us who did not want to go. We have to do a white night.”

FORREST SAWYER (VO) The difference was, this white night was real.

JIM JONES, SR. They won’t leave us alone. They’re now going back to tell more lies, which means more congressmen. And there’s no way, no way we can survive.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Remarkably, Jones recorded his community’s final hour. In the early evening, everyone gathered at the main pavilion. To one side stood a large vat filled with grape flavor-aid and cyanide. Some resisted and were forced to take the poison by armed guards.

JIM JONES, SR. Take the potion like they used to take in ancient Greece and step over quietly.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) The youngest were unable to resist.

MARCELLINE JONES I look at all the babies, and I think they deserve to live.

JIM JONES, SR. If these people land out here, they’ll torture some of our children here. They’ll torture our people. They’ll torture our seniors. We cannot have this.

JIM JONES, JR. I believe people thought there was a threat. And many certainly didn’t want their children to go back to the horror that was being described by my father.

JIM JONES, SR. Let’s just be done with it. Let’s be done with the agony of it. (Applause)

FORREST SAWYER (VO) There were paper cups for the adults and for the children, syringes. (Children crying)

JIM JONES, SR. But children, it’s just something to put you to rest. Oh, God.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) By some accounts, Stephan and Jim, Jr.’s mother, Marcelline, fought to save the babies, who were the first to die.

JIM JONES, SR. Mother, mother, mother, mother, mother, please. Mother, please, please, please. Don’t-don’t do this. Don’t do this.

STEPHAN JONES You know, after seeing the first baby die, what happens? You know, where do you go?

FORREST SAWYER (VO) After taking the poison, people staggered outside the main pavilion to die. Of the 913 dead, 276 were children. One of them, John Stoen. Jim Cobb lost his family. Marcelline Jones lay poisoned, not far from where Jim Jones was found shot in the head. An aide had left a note, saying, “We died because you would not let us live.”

JIM JONES, JR. I was stripped bare naked. I had nothing. Absolutely nothing.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Nothing except the guilty knowledge that he had survived, and the memory of the last time he spoke to Yvette, his wife of one month, who died carrying his unborn child.

JIM JONES, JR. She was just like, “I miss you. I love you. Good-bye. I miss you. I love you. Good-bye.”

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Stephan’s guilt is for all the people he discovered he loved only when it was too late.

STEPHAN JONES I don't think that I knew it then, so consumed was I by my own anger and fear, but I loved those people. Some of the sweetest, most courageous people I've ever known lived in Jonestown. And I wish to God that I had a chance to do it again.

DIANE SAWYER How do you face the reality that your father killed everyone you loved and cared about? Well, two young men try to do just that, when we come back.

ANNOUNCER The sons return to their father's killing fields.

STEPHAN JONES I need to try to find something, man. I've got to find some (bleep) trace of this place.

ANNOUNCER Time and the jungle swallow up the dreams of a madman, but one eerie relic remains. A final surprise, when "The Tragedy Of Jonestown" continues.

(Commercial Break)

DIANE SAWYER For the past 20 years, Jim Jones’s sons have built lives that would give no clue to what they witnessed. Jim, Jr. is a pharmaceutical salesman, married with three sons. Stephan runs an office furniture supply company and has a 4-year-old daughter. But inside, they still bear the mark of that tormenting memory. Recently, they told us they were ready to return to Jonestown for the first time in 20 years-a journey that would turn out to be surprising and far more painful than they thought.

FORMER PEOPLE’S TEMPLE MEMBER We will never repeat the mistakes of the past.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Every November for the past 19 years, Jonestown survivors have gathered at Oakland’s Evergreen Cemetery, where over 400 People’s Temple members are buried.


FORREST SAWYER (VO) This past year, Grace and Tim Stoen were there to honor their son.

GRACE STOEN I lost my son. His name was John.

TIM STOEN I would go through all the pain the Temple has caused me personally, as it has caused so many others, just to carry him in my arms for five seconds.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Through the years, the sons of Jim Jones have stayed away from the memorial services. Stephan has been haunted by the past.

STEPHAN JONES When I came back to the States, every night was a nightmare, you know. I had a lot of private crying and screaming and yelling into pillows and ...

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Jim, Jr. has simply tried to forget.

JIM JONES, JR. You finally realize you’ve been zombie-ized. That’s a good word? I don’t know.

FORREST SAWYER (on camera) Well, you know, a zombie is the walking dead.

JIM JONES, JR. Well, maybe I was. Maybe I was that because I didn’t know what life was.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Now, two decades later, the two brothers have agreed to go back with ABCNEWS to revisit Jonestown for the first time since the mass suicide. Stephan decided to make the long journey with his best friend from Jonestown, Mike Touchette.

STEPHAN JONES I was 19 again, you know. I really was.

MIKE TOUCHETTE That’s Kaituma. That’s Kaituma there.

STEPHAN JONES I don’t know what it is about me and the bush, but it’s just-it pulls at me like nothing else.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) At the last minute, Jim found himself plagued with doubts about his trip to Jonestown.

JIM JONES, JR. I procrastinated and kind of set up obstacles so maybe I couldn’t go.

FORREST SAWYER (on camera) Were you afraid?

JIM JONES, JR. Yeah. I had to confront a lot of things that I had tried to neatly tuck it into certain little drawers in my mind.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Stephan and Mike landed at Port Kaituma on the same airstrip where Congressman Leo Ryan had been shot.

GUYANESE WOMAN Welcome to Kaituma.



FORREST SAWYER (VO) Then they took the slow, dusty drive to Jonestown.

STEPHAN JONES I’m looking for this big tree that I. I expected to come up over that rise and see Jonestown.

FORREST SAWYER (on camera) And what you saw was ...


FORREST SAWYER (VO) Stephan could never have prepared for this moment. All that remained of the Jonestown he helped build was a palm tree that stood by the main pavilion where everyone died, a palm tree now 20 feet taller.

STEPHAN JONES I need to try to find something, man. I’ve got to find some (bleep) trace of this place. I got out there stomping around, trying to look for some sign of what we built. And you know, it’s all gone. I was blaming the brush for growing back. And when I eased off that, I realized that it’s just exactly how it ought to be. You know, just let it grow back.

FORREST SAWYER (on camera) Where was the pavilion?


FORREST SAWYER (VO) In the place where Jim Jones sat and condemned 913 people to death is now the only splash of color in Jonestown. And nearby, the rusting organ keyboard, a reminder of the music that filled Temple gatherings.

STEPHAN JONES We had dances. People performed. That organ-this organ, man. These people were just incredibly passionate people. You know, I remember watching them walk down the path-almost every size, color, shape, every background. You know, that’s what the Temple was made up of.

FORREST SAWYER (on camera) Does coming here bring any closure at all? Let you put it to rest some?

STEPHAN JONES Yeah. It was about the people of Jonestown. It wasn’t about any structure we made, any land we cleared. It was about who came here. They’re not here any more. Give me a hug, man. Hell of a journey.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) That evening, Stephan left to spend the night alone in the jungle, surrounded by the sights and sounds he’d always loved.

JIM JONES, JR. Hey, Forrest. How are you doing?

FORREST SAWYER (on camera) Hey, Jim, welcome to Port Kaituma. (VO) The next morning, Jim, who had overcome his doubts, arrived to begin his journey. (on camera) How’s it look?

JIM JONES, JR. Same. I was just thinking about the airstrip, you know?

FORREST SAWYER (VO) He had asked ABCNEWS to bring his family for support and to give his three sons a glimpse of their grandfather's legacy. (on camera) What do you want to see first?

JIM JONES, JR. Let’s walk up by the pavilion.


FORREST SAWYER (VO) Jim’s reaction to Jonestown was as different from his brother’s as their lives have been.

JIM JONES, JR. I am kind of happy, because this is, you know, I’m showing my boys. What am I showing them? I don’t know. I’m showing them that this was Jonestown.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Jim knew just where he wanted to go and what he wanted to find.

JIM JONES, JR. I remember that vat in the pictures, the vat being at the back of the pavilion.

FORREST SAWYER (on camera) To his right ...


FORREST SAWYER (VO) He searched for the vat that had held the cyanide-laced flavor-aid.

JIM JONES, JR. There it is!

FORREST SAWYER (on camera) That’s it.

JIM JONES, JR. That’s your vat.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) The vat used to kill almost everyone Jim had loved, including his mother and 19-year-old wife Yvette.

JIM JONES, JR. Sad, but true. That vat is the only thing that really makes this Jonestown.

FORREST SAWYER So this doesn't give you any closure?

JIM JONES, JR. Well, you know, I think closure-I have to find it, you know. I’m not going to find it by coming back here. I’m seeing that now. Here are the cottages. This is where I lived at. I lived in that one right there.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) Later that morning, as Jim showed his sons pictures of how Jonestown used to be, Stephan emerged from the jungle.

JIM JONES, JR. So you are out in the jungle again.

STEPHAN JONES How are you, man? It’s good to see you.

JIM JONES, JR. How you doing? How you been doing? How is it coming back?



FORREST SAWYER (VO) For Stephan, coming to Jonestown freed him from some of his guilt and helped him, finally, begin to forgive his father.

STEPHAN JONES This is the end off of a bench that was in front of Dad’s house. I was trying to get a hold of my father and connect with my father my whole life.

FORREST SAWYER (on camera) Do you, in spite of everything, love your father?

STEPHAN JONES Yes. To not love my father would be to not love myself. I’m too much like him to-to hate him and hate what he did.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) It wasn't until Jim returned to California that he, too, began to see another side of his father, a father he had loved too much.

JIM JONES, JR. You know, since I came back, I don’t think I've had a full night’s sleep, because of dreams, feelings, emotions that are just coming out. It’s Niagara Falls with these emotions. I was very angry.

FORREST SAWYER (on camera) Angry at ...

JIM JONES, JR. At my father. I think a piece of me might still be always angry with him. I mean, he took everything away I have.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) But the anger cannot be directed only at Jim Jones. Many survivors know that Jones may have led them to destruction, but they blindly followed. Jerry Parks has struggled with that knowledge for two decades.

JERRY PARKS I still have a certain amount of guilt taking my family over there and putting them through an awful traumatic experience like that, and then having to come back here and live their lives out-the rest of their lives with those memories.

FORREST SAWYER (VO) For Congressman Ryan’s aide, Jackie Speier, who is now running for California State Senate, the legacy of Jonestown is a simple one-we should remember and learn from the terrible loss.

JACKIE SPEIER No one should ever be so arrogant as to think it can't happen to them. We're all susceptible on one level or another. As the sign at the People's Temple said, "If we don’t remember the past, we're destined to repeat it in the future.”

BARBARA WALTERS Well, we thought we remembered and learned. And after Jonestown, after this tragedy, we hoped this would never happen again. But since then, 86 Branch Davidians died in Waco, 39 followers of the Heaven's Gate cult committed mass suicide. It’s true that those numbers pale in comparison to the 913 dead in Jonestown. But, ironically, Diane, I mean, these were people who were looking for a better, more peaceful world.

DIANE SAWYER It's what makes cult activity so pernicious-that you're really preying on people’s best instincts, their desire for spirituality and for community. And I guess it leaves all of us just fearing, but knowing that someday it will probably happen again. And some number, more or less, always is confounding and sad. We’ll be right back.

(Commercial Break)

BARBARA WALTERS Now, here’s Peter Jennings with a look at what’s coming up tomorrow on World News Tonight.

PETER JENNINGS, ABCNEWS (on camera) On World News Tonight-our series "The Way They Live," what Americans might learn about living a better life from an island in Greece, a village in Japan and a congregation of laughers in India. We hope you'll join us.

DIANE SAWYER And Wednesday on 20/20-I’ll be back with Sam Donaldson and a story you have to see to believe. (VO) A radical, new therapy-a simple pair of taped goggles that seem to relieve anxiety and lift depression as effectively as drugs.

GOGGLE THERAPY PATIENT It was such an immediate difference. It was startling.

DIANE SAWYER (VO) Safe, cheap, and you can try it at home. Goggle therapy. (on camera) 20/20 Wednesday at 10:00, 9:00 Central.

BARBARA WALTERS That is amazing.

DIANE SAWYER We’ll wear them next week. We'll see.

BARBARA WALTERS OK. And that is 20/20 for tonight. Thank you for being with us. I’m Barbara Walters.

Don't Drink the Kool-Aid on Jonestown

By Daniel J. Flynn
November 19, 2008

Thirty years ago today more than 900 followers of Jim Jones committed "revolutionary suicide" by drinking cyanide-laced Flavor-Aid. "I just want to say something to everyone that I see that is standing around and are crying. This is nothing to cry about. This is something we should all rejoice about. We can be happy about this. They always told us that we should cry when you're coming into this world, but when we're leaving and we're leaving it peaceful ... I tell you, you should be happy about this. I was just thinking about Jim Jones. He just has suffered and suffered and suffered. He is the only god and he don't even have a chance to enjoy his death here. (clapping and voices in background)... I wanted to say one more thing. This is one thing I want to say. That you that've gone and there's many more here. He's still--the way, that's not all of us, that's not all yet. There's just a few that have died. A chance to get ... to the one that they could tell ... their lies to. So and I say I'm looking at so many people crying, I wish you would not cry, and just thank Father, just thank him. I tell you about ... (clapping and shouting) ... I've been here, uh, one year and nine months and I never felt better in my life. Not in San Francisco, but until I came to Jonestown. I enjoy this life. I had a beautiful life. I don't see nothing that I should be crying about. We should be happy. At least I am. Let's all be the same." This comes from an unidentified woman on the FBI death recording from Jonestown, Guyana. Within minutes, she would be dead. For anyone familiar with the National Socialists' "night of the long knives" or the Soviet Socialists' show trials, replete as they were with a socialist dictator's victims professing their love and allegiance for that dictator in the moment of death, the pathetic hosannas to Jim Jones by the people of Peoples Temple plays as a disturbing socialist deja vu. On November 17, 1978, Jim Jones was a hero to American leftists. On November 18, 1978, Jones orchestrated the killings of 918 people and strangely morphed in the eyes of American leftists into an evangelical Christian fanatic. An unfortunately well-worn narrative, playing out contemporaneously in Pol Pot's Cambodia, of socialist dreams ending in ghoulish nightmares, then, conveniently shifted to one about the dangers of organized religion. But as The Nation magazine reported at the time, "The temple was as much a left-wing political crusade as a church. In the course of the 1970s, its social program grew steadily more disaffiliated from what Jim Jones came to regard as 'Fascist America' and drifted rapidly toward outspoken Communist sympathies." So much so that the last will and testament of the Peoples Temple, and its individual members who left notes, bequeathed millions of dollars in assets to the Soviet Union.

As Jones expressed to a Soviet diplomat upon upon his visit to Jonestown the month before the smiling suicides took place, "For many years, we have let our sympathies be quite publicly known, that the United States government was not our mother, but that the Soviet Union was our spiritual motherland."

Jim Jones was an evangelical communist who became a minister to infiltrate the church with the gospel according to Marx and Lenin. He was an atheist missionary bringing his message of socialist redemption to the Christian heathen. "I decided, how can I demonstrate my Marxism?," remembered Jones of his days in 1950s Indiana.

"The thought was, infiltrate the church." So in the forms of Pentecostal ritual, Jones smuggled socialism into the minds of true believers--who gradually became true believers of a different sort. Unless one counts his drug-induced bouts with self-messianism, Jones didn't believe in God. Get it--a Peoples Temple. He shocked his parishioners, many of whom certainly did believe in God, by dramatically tossing the Bible onto the ground during a sermon.

"Nobody's going to come out of the sky!," an excited Jones had once informed his flock. "There's no heaven up there! We'll have to have heaven down here!" Like so many efforts to usher in the millenium before it, Jones's Guyanese road to heaven on earth detoured to a hotter afterlife destination. The horrific scene in a Guyanese jungle clearing could have been avoided. Thousands of miles north, for years leading up to Jonestown, San Francisco officials and journalists had looked the other way while Jones acted as a law unto himself. So what if he abused children, sodomized a follower, tortured and held temple members at gun point, and defrauded the government and people of welfare and social security checks? He believes in socialism and so do we. That was the ends-justifies-the-means attitude that enabled Jim Jones to commit criminal acts in San Francisco with impunity. The people who should have stopped him instead encouraged him. Mayor George Moscone, who would be assassinated days after the Jonestown tragedy, appointed Jones to the city's Housing Authority in 1975. Jones quickly became chairman, which proved beneficial to the enlargement of the pastor's flock--and his coffers, as Jones seized welfare checks from new members. One of the Peoples Temple's top officials becoming an assistant district attorney, a man so thoroughly indoctrinated in the cult that he falsely signed an affidavit (ultimately his child's death warrant) disavowing paternity to his own son and ascribed paternity to Jones, similarly enhanced the cult's power base within the city. How, one wonders, did victimized Peoples Temple members feel about going to the law in a city where Jones's henchman was the law? Going to the Fourth Estate was also a fruitless endeavor, as San Francisco media institutions, such as columnist Herb Caen, were boosters of Jones and his Peoples Temple. When veteran journalist Les Kinsolving penned an eight-part investigative report on Peoples Temple for the San Francisco Examiner in 1972, his editors buckled under pressure from Jones and killed the report halfway through. Kinsolving quipped that the Peoples Temple was the "the best-armed house of God in the land," detailed the kidnapping and possible murder of disgruntled members, exposed Jones's phony faith healing, highlighted Jones's vile school-sanctioned sex talk with children, and directed attention toward the Peoples Temple's massive welfare fraud that funded its operations. "But in the Mendocino County Welfare Dept. there is the key to Prophet Jones' plans to expand the already massive influx of his followers--and have it supported by tax money," Kinsolving wrote more than six years before the tragedy in the Guyanese jungle. "The Examiner has learned that at least five of the disciples of The Ukiah Messiah are employees of this Welfare Department, and are therefore of invaluable assistance in implementing his primary manner of influx: the adoption of large numbers of children of minority races." Unfortunately, four of the series' eight articles were jettisoned after Jones unleashed hundreds of protestors to the San Francisco Examiner, a programmed letter-writing campaign, and a threatened lawsuit against the paper. The Examiner promptly issued a laudatory article on Jones. A few years later, after Jones had moved operations from Ukiah to San Francisco, California, a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle penned an expose on the Peoples Temple. A Chronicle editor sympathetic to Jones spiked that piece, which ultimately made its way to New West magazine and so alarmed Jones that he hastily departed San Francisco for his agricultural experiment in Guyana. By virtue of producing rent-free rent-a-rallies for liberal politicians and causes, Jim Jones engendered enormous amounts of good will from Democratic politicians and activists. They allowed their political ambitions to derail their governing responsibilities. Frisco pols like Harvey Milk never seemed to care how Jones could, at the snap of his fingers, direct hundreds of people to stack a public meeting or volunteer for a campaign. City Councilman Milk just knew that he benefitted from that control, and therefore never bothered to do anything to inhibit the dangerous cult operating in his city. Instead, he actively aided and abetted a homicidal maniac. It wasn't just local hacks Jones commanded respect from. He held court with future First Lady Rosalyn Carter, vice presidential candidate Walter Mondale, and California Governor Jerry Brown. A man who killed more African Americans than the Ku Klux Klan was awarded a local Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award and won the plaudits of California lieutenant governor Mervyn Dymally, state assemblyman Willie Brown, radical academic Angela Davis, preacher/politician Jesse Jackson, Black Panther leader Huey Newton, and other African American activists. From Newton, whom Jones had visited in Cuban exhile in 1977, Jones got his lawyer and received support, such as a phone-to-megaphone address to Jonestown during a "white night" dry run of mass suicide. This was appropriate, as it was from Newton whom Jones appropriated the phrase "revolutionary suicide"--the title of a 1973 Newton book--that he used as a moniker for the murder-suicides of more than 900 people on November 18, 1978. "We didn't commit suicide," Jones announced during the administering of cyanide-laced Flavoraid to his flock, "we committed an act of revolutionary suicide protesting the conditions of an inhumane world." Newton's comically idiotic slogan boomeranged on him, as several of his relatives perished in the Kool-Aid carnage. It's worth remembering that before the people of Peoples Temple drank Jim Jones's Kool-Aid, the leftist political establishment of San Francisco gulped it down. And without the latter, the former would have never happened. -- Daniel J. Flynn is the author of Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas and A Conservative History of the American Left. He is also the editor of

Boisean who survived Jonestown recalls the massacre

Clifford Gieg, who lost his brother at the cult's Guyana compound,
talks about it publicly for the first time.

Edition Date: 11/18/08

For 30 years, the world has watched the last images of Stanley Gieg.

A newsman's blurry footage shows the blond 19-year-old behind the wheel of a tractor that carried Jim Jones' gunmen to a Guyanese airstrip on Nov. 18, 1978.

The attack that soon followed killed a congressman and several others and marked the bloody start of a massacre that left more than 900 people dead in Jonestown.

But Stanley's brother, Clifford Gieg, believes - he knows - there is more to Stanley's story.

Clifford Gieg last saw his brother alive just hours before the shootings. Clifford would live through the day. Stanley would not. Now, in a bid to honor his brother, the Boise cabinet-maker is talking publicly about his experiences for the first time.

"He died. He was murdered," Gieg said. "I know he was murdered. He was shot. And he was a victim. And I want him recognized as a victim and not as part of it."

Gieg calls himself a true believer who was duped by Jones until the end. His life and loss in Jonestown aren't so much a secret as something he just doesn't discuss. He doesn't need to talk about it, Gieg says, because he lives it every day, especially in his nightmares.

Gieg's wife of four years, Norma, learned many details for the first time as she listened to his interview with the Statesman.

Gieg couldn't come right out and talk about Stanley, or what happened. He started with a photo, taken just feet away from where Jones' mother was buried in the Guyanese jungle. Clifford is 18, Stanley 19. Stanley has a shock of almost white-blonde hair. Clifford is darker. There is no clue in the photo of what is to come.

"It was what it was," Gieg said. And then he launched into the tale.


Gieg's mother joined the People's Temple Disciple of Christ in California in 1968, when he was 8 and Stanley 9. She's still living - she never went to Jonestown - and he won't share her name. She was attracted by the church's cathartic therapy-like sessions and by Jones' teachings of racial and class equality.

"It was all about the people," Gieg said. "He would welcome anybody. People on drugs - help them get off drugs. Losers all over the place."

Gieg's parents divorced when he was 11, about the time he started playing drums in the People's Temple band.

"My mother basically could not take care us. So the church took my brother and myself in, and we were put in a foster home I think my mother was forced to give us up because we were living in poor conditions," Gieg said. "Financially my mother couldn't handle it, and emotionally ... and the church basically took in the two youngest ones."

To be a member of the People's Temple meant being "very involved," Gieg said.

At first, it was fun and loving, Gieg said. There were the sleepovers with Jones' children, and long bus trips crisscrossing the country from Niagara Falls to Philadelphia, to Indianapolis, to San Francisco.

"We would call him Uncle Jim," Gieg said. "I remember sitting on his lap at Easter and getting a chocolate Easter egg from him. That's a true story ... He was definitely a father figure to me. He became a monster."


Jones' charisma attracted more people to the People's Temple and garnered him powerful political allies.

Gieg recalls meeting Rosalynn Carter and hearing from revolutionary speakers like the Black Panther-connected Angela Davis and Huey Newton. Gieg remembers Jones' political connections and quasi-celebrity after the church moved to San Francisco in 1971. Eventually, Jones and the People's Temple came under fire, and talk turned to building an egalitarian, socialist society in Guyana.

A year after the first Jonestown settlers left for South America, Gieg followed. Stanley, now 17, was already there. Their cousin would come as well.

"I was a kid. I was 16 at the time and it just sounded like an adventure. We are going to build a community, a town in the middle of the jungle. And it's a promised land," Gieg said. "There will be no monetary system ... it will be heaven on Earth. That was the big promotion. It was like heaven on Earth."

But the thick Guyanese jungle was anything but heaven, Gieg said. He and other church members worked 12-hour days, six days a week. Gieg, a talented carpenter, worked "like a slave" to build 12-by-24-foot houses for church members.

"At first there was plenty of food, chicken and regular meals. But as soon as more and more people started showing up, it was like things
were getting rationed. There were no more pops. No more Pepsi. No more goodies," Gieg said. "I constructed a template, or a jig, to build the houses - 52 houses that were built there to house this +thousand people. That was fulfilling. Of course, it was a lot of work."


When the pilot of the church's boat got it stuck in the mud in Venezuela - for which he was beaten - Gieg got a new assignment. He was the new, 18-year-old pilot of the Temple's 80-foot, wooden-hulled vessel, the "Cudjo." Gieg would ferry people and cargo to and from the boat launch at Port Kaituma and other sites in Georgetown and Morowana. It was an assignment he relished.

Like most teen-age boys, Gieg thought with his stomach. The residents in Jonestown ate "rice and gravy" for three meals a day. For breakfast, they'd get brown sugar with their rice. The river gave Gieg more freedom, more adventure and a more varied diet. He'd eat curried fish and crab cooked on the boat with the Guyanese people he would ferry for $1 a ride.

As he talked about these happier days, Gieg grabbed a pen and mapped out that area of Guyana, drawing the ocean and interconnecting rivers and the location of ports. He once took a speedboat across the border into Venezuela to buy Vienna sausage and Irish potatoes, he recalled. He once sold a calculator at a store for a package of cookies. For that infraction, "I got a slap on the wrist," he said.

He'd fish with the local children; he fondly remembers a boy named Rennie. He'd catch piranhas. He'd swim in the "root beer"-colored river.

"I was on the boat; I was out, kind of free," Gieg said. "That was kind of fun."

But while Gieg was a true believer, quietly obedient, Stanley was "always in trouble," he said.

Stanley worked as a mechanic and drove the church's World War II-era Army truck. Stanley didn't like it, and for him life was far from ideal.


"To be honest with you, my brother and I didn't really see eye to eye on much," Gieg said. "We were kind of 'discommunicated.' In fact, we were put in separate foster homes. And that's probably where it started the most. Stanley was always rebellious."

Stanley was part of the "hard hat brigade," forced to wear yellow hats and run everywhere inside Jonestown after committing minor infractions like stealing food or cursing. With his golden good looks, Stanley was "popular with the ladies," Gieg said.

Gieg's father wanted his boys home, and Gieg was still under age. Gieg remembers a short-wave radio conversation with his father, who had come to the temple in San Francisco.

"We talked to him. Said, 'Yeah, everything is great. We fish. We're great,'" Gieg said before a sarcastic chuckle. "Yeah."

To keep Gieg in Guyana, Jones found him a wife named Joan. He didn't spend time with the woman. She survived Jonestown, but Gieg later had the marriage annulled when he came back to the States.

As Gieg delivered more residents to Jonestown, they quickly learned the truth; it was no utopia, Gieg said.

Everyone, including ailing senior citizens, worked like "slaves," after surrendering all their money and possessions to Jones, Gieg said. Jones would sell the possessions at a store in a nearby town.

"There is such a fine line between socialism and fascism. It can go either way at any time," Gieg said. "Yes, it was ideal. We have no
worries, no responsibilities. We don't have to worry about paying bills. We can look at the monkeys in the jungle. But as more and more people got there and more and more pressure got on Jones, it became he was on the loud speaker all the time, telling people, reading stories about all this terrible stuff that's going on in the world ... It was a total brainwashing operation, and he was an expert at it. And it worked."

But no one could leave. People who tried were rounded up, brought back and beaten, Gieg said. The rest stayed through brainwashing and threats, he said.

"We had a lot of meetings in the pavilion where, hell, everything was going on. Beatings ... Fisticuffs. Someone would come up and just beat them as a discipline for disrespecting. One guy come up, a guy named Tom Grubbs. He was a teacher, and he complained to Jones that there was not enough nourishment in rice and gravy to educate - he was a teacher - to educate children. And he got beat for complaining.

"There was dunkings, where they had this huge well, an open pit well, where they had like the old witch days. They would take someone and just dunk them in, whoosh, and pull them up. Dunk them in, whoosh, and pull them up. And you never hear about that on TV, but it's true."

Jones became paranoid that people who left the church had hired mercenaries to kidnap family members and attack Jonestown. He held "White Nights," or practice drills for ritualistic suicide and taking poison, Gieg said.

"It started to hit me, like, what's going on here," Gieg said. "This is falling apart here. And then you'd never see him either. All you did is hear him."


In November 1978, after hearing rumors of abuse and theft, U.S. Rep.
Leo Ryan of California arrived in Guyana with an entourage of media
and relatives of People's Temple members. At first, Jones blocked the
road to Jonestown. But Ryan and the media were eventually allowed
into the settlement.

The last night the community existed, Gieg played drums in the
Jonestown band for the visitors.

"In fact, before Leo Ryan was murdered, I actually leaned over my
drum set and shook his hand that night because we had been playing
and everything was great on the surface," Gieg said. "He was a good
man. He was trying to help the people. And I knew it in his tone when
he talked to the congregation that evening."

But some church members wanted out, and Jones' paranoia got the best of him.

At about 5:30 a.m. on Nov. 18, Jones' security guards told Gieg and
his boat-mate to take the Cudjo 50 miles downriver. Now, Gieg
suspects Jones was cutting off all means of escape.

"My brother, Stanley, drove us to the boat in Kamaka and there were
some senior citizens on there, sleeping on the boat, watching the
boat," Gieg said. "So he dropped us off at the boat, myself and
Herbert Newell, who is on the list (of survivors)."

Early the next morning, at about 1:30 a.m., the heavily armed
Guyanese Defense Force descended on the Cudjo. Gieg and Newell were
arrested, interrogated and put in a small "shack" that served as a jail.

"When we first got interrogated by the constable, they said there has
been a mass suicide at Jonestown. We were just crying and carrying
on," Gieg said. "After he told us 'everybody is dead in Jonestown,'
he put us back into the cell and we were bawling like kids, you know.
There were probably 10 people consoling us outside of this jail."


With few exceptions, everyone in Jonestown was dead by poison or bullets - including Gieg's cousin, his wife and their 3-year-old baby.

Leo Ryan and three journalists had been murdered by Jonestown gunmen
at the Port Kaituma airstrip while attempting to leave with
disenchanted church members.

Stanley Gieg had driven a tractor towing the gunmen to the airstrip.
He was among the dead at Jonestown. He'd been shot, Gieg said.

Stanley wouldn't have had a choice, he said, and wouldn't have liked
what happened.

Gieg has run through the scenario a thousand times in his mind.

"I've lived it so many times and in so many different ways. I wasn't
there. I can only imagine, but knowing my brother forever, I bet you
he was bawling like a school girl. I know he had a sensitive side,
but he always had a hard shell. He was something else," Gieg said.
"After that happened, I'm sure he was crying. After he got back to
Jonestown, he was murdered. He probably tried to run or something. He
had some morals. I bet you he was bawling after realizing what was
going on. Yeah, he was hard-assed, his exoskeleton. But he was like
breaking an egg."


After a couple of days, Gieg and Newell were escorted to a church
compound in Georgetown and kept under house arrest with other
survivors. Weeks later, they were allowed to go to a local hotel,
where Gieg's father had sent money for a ticket home.

He came back to the States on a plane filled with police. An army of
television and newspaper cameras blinded him from inside the airport
terminal. He and other survivors were escorted into waiting
Winnebagos for strip searches and interrogations with federal officials.

They asked about the guns and about Jones.

"Just about the whole involvement. Everything," Gieg said. "I was
just an innocent kid. I was duped. I believed Jones could raise the
dead, heal the sick, you know, make the blind see. Yeah, that he
could see the future. He would say, 'I am the I am,' you know, that
he was God."

Gieg rejoined his father in Reno, wearing only a South American
warm-weather shirt. He remembers a woman loaned him a coat. He was
adrift. His father gave him a job and served as a crutch. For years,
he was afraid that People's Temple members would come to kill him.
The "family" he had known was all but gone.

"It was all we had," Gieg said. "It was everybody I ever knew.
Everybody I had ever communicated with suddenly died."

Stanley's body was brought back to the States, where he was cremated
and buried at sea. The family never held a memorial.

"He's not buried at the mass grave in Oakland," Gieg said. "I've been
hounded to come over there, but I'm not interested. There's a lot of
people I don't want to see. They should be dead, instead of some of
the kids. They deserved a future. Even me at 18, I lived a partial life."


Gieg came to Boise 19 years ago. He won't discuss the circumstances.
He's worked as a cabinet-maker for years. He's been married twice
more. He lives in a humble, orderly home in Southeast Boise. He
drinks beer. He's in physical and emotional pain, saying he
"destroyed" his body with hard physical labor in Jonestown.

The feds took his passport, and he never got another one. He still likes rice.

Until now, he's kept his past mostly to himself, in part to appease
his mother, who feels guilty about Gieg's suffering and Stanley's
death. He cringes when he hears people joke about "drinking the
Kool-Aid." He's tried, unsuccessfully, to put his past behind him.

"It seems like yesterday. Thirty years is a long time, I know. But
some of the things I see in my mind," Gieg said. "It will never
change. My memory is not going to deteriorate. It's like it happened
yesterday. The good times and the bad times, the people. Oh yeah, I
remember. I was there."

Kathleen Kreller: 377-6418

Newly released documents shed light on unsolved murders 
By Thomas G. Whittle
and Jan Thorpe

     In early 1995,Freedom published “Jonestown: The Big Lie,” an article that examined unanswered questions about the mass deaths in Jonestown, Guyana, in 1978.
     Based on years of exhaustive research, that feature documented how one of history’s most gruesome cases of mass murder had been written off as “mass suicide.”
     Freedom’sinvestigation had continued, with significant new information recently unearthed through the Freedom of Information Act and from other sources.

hether they liked him or not, most who knew Leo Ryan agreed he had flamboyance, tenacity, nerve and a knack for drawing attention to social abuses. A man who marched to the beat of his own drum, he galled bureaucrats, some of whom, according to a former aide, viewed the Democratic congressman from Northern California as the worst-case-scenario bull in their china shop.
     After the riots in Watts in 1965, Ryan, then a California state legislator, traveled to that community under a false identity and became a substitute teacher to investigate conditions in the black community. Five years later, he again went undercover and had himself strip-searched and locked up in Folsom State Prison to discover what life in such a facility was really like. In 1978, he made plans to spend that Christmas season incognito once again, this time as a Postal Service employee to investigate complaints of bad working conditions.
     As a congressman, his brassiness caused him to routinely do things which to others were unthinkable, such as “dropping in” at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, to interrogate the spymasters about what they hadn’t been telling Congress.
     “He was,” according to a source formerly close to Ryan, and who once accompanied him on a trip to Langley, “a pain in their ass.”
Revisiting the Jonestown tragedy

Newly released documents shed light on unsolved murders, By Thomas G. Whittle and Jan Thorpe


     In early 1995,Freedom published “Jonestown: The Big Lie,” an article that examined unanswered questions about the mass deaths in Jonestown, Guyana, in 1978.
     Based on years of exhaustive research, that feature documented how one of history’s most gruesome cases of mass murder had been written off as “mass suicide.”
     Freedom’sinvestigation had continued, with significant new information recently unearthed through the Freedom of Information Act and from other sources.

 hether they liked him or not, most who knew Leo Ryan agreed he had flamboyance, tenacity, nerve and a knack for drawing attention to social abuses. A man who marched to the beat of his own drum, he galled bureaucrats, some of whom, according to a former aide, viewed the Democratic congressman from Northern California as the worst-case-scenario bull in their china shop.     After the riots in Watts in 1965, Ryan, then a California state legislator, traveled to that community under a false identity and became a substitute teacher to investigate conditions in the black community. Five years later, he again went undercover and had himself strip-searched and locked up in Folsom State Prison to discover what life in such a facility was really like. In 1978, he made plans to spend that Christmas season incognito once again, this time as a Postal Service employee to investigate complaints of bad working conditions.

     As a congressman, his brassiness caused him to routinely do things which to others were unthinkable, such as “dropping in” at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, to interrogate the spymasters about what they hadn’t been telling Congress.

     “He was,” according to a source formerly close to Ryan, and who once accompanied him on a trip to Langley, “a pain in their ass.”

Top Secret
As a member of the House of Representatives’ International Relations Committee and its foremost CIA critic, he was the House sponsor of the Hughes-Ryan Amendment, a 1974 law that required the CIA to notify eight separate committees of Congress—totaling some 200 legislators and staff—prior to conducting undercover operations.
Hughes-Ryan also banned CIA covert paramilitary operations which were not expressly approved by the president and Congress. The agency hated this, a former Ryan associate told Freedom. But the Hughes-Ryan Amendment, which seriously restricted CIA covert operations
internationally, was only one index of Leo Ryan’s impact.

In 1975, Ryan leaked word of the CIA’s involvement in the Angolan civil war to CBS newsman Daniel Schorr, creating a wave of major embarrassment for the agency which reverberated for years.

In 1977 and 1978, Ryan pressured the agency to reveal the extent of its involvement in psychiatric “mind-control” experiments. Among the tests he pushed to expose were those performed in the early 1970s on inmates at a state hospital in Vacaville, California, which may have included among their subjects Donald DeFreeze, known as “Cinque,” a central figure in the 1974 kidnapping of Patricia Hearst.

According to sources, Congressman Ryan routinely did things which to others were unthinkable, such as “dropping in” at CIA headquarters (above) to interrogate spymasters about what they hadn’t been telling Congress.
By poking into intelligence agency-sponsored psychiatric experiments with DeFreeze and closely related subjects, Ryan stirred up a mixture that threatened to explode with major criminal and civil liability.

On September 25, 1978, less than two months before the Jonestown tragedy, Ryan submitted a petition to then President Jimmy Carter, seeking to have Patricia Hearst’s seven-year prison term commuted to the 18 months she had already served.

In October 1978, a month before Jonestown, investigative reporter Jack Anderson published a syndicated column entitled “CIA May Have Inspired Cinque,” based on information that most likely had been leaked by Ryan or someone in his committee. The column detailed statements from one Clifford Jefferson, who claimed to have known DeFreeze while they were incarcerated together and to have participated in psychiatric experiments with various drugs, including mescaline, Quaalude and Artane.

According to Jefferson, “DeFreeze stated that he had gone through the same tests and also knew of stress tests that were given to prisoners in which they were kept in solitary, harassed and annoyed until they would do anything asked of them to get out; then they were given these drugs and would become like robots.

“He [DeFreeze] said that when he got out, he would get a revolutionary group to kidnap some rich person. They would hold that person tied up in a dark place, keep him frightened and in fear of his life, then give him mescaline and other drugs, and the person would become a robot and do anything he was asked to do—including killing others.

“He thought a good one to kidnap would be one of the Kennedys. Then the revolutionary group would get great publicity and could get the person to get them money.”

Although DeFreeze died in a 1974 shootout with Los Angeles police, CIA documents have since confirmed the agency did perform drug tests on inmates at Vacaville under its MK-Ultra program. These tests aimed at studying what effects drugs and stress had on prisoners to determine at what point individuals would “break” and become willing to follow orders blindly.

As described by Dr. Lawrence T. Clanon, Vacaville superintendent, the CIA appeared interested in “whether drugs could be used in questioning people or gaining their cooperation, or combating that effect.”

Leo Ryan’s spotlight had been trained upon one of the darkest and ugliest corners of the American intelligence establishment, one for which the level of culpability could scarcely be measured—psychiatric “mind-control” experiments, possibly combined with an illegal domestic operation—and one which elevated his status from gadfly to mortal enemy.

“I told him to leave them alone,” a former Ryan associate told Freedom. The congressman was accustomed to busting down doors, he said, a dangerous practice when dealing with an agency experienced in the art of assassination. Ryan, however, pressed ahead.

Documents Released

In March 1997, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that it would release for the first time nearly 39,000 additional pages of documents concerning Jonestown, the Peoples Temple and related matters under the Freedom of Information Act. As these documents become available and are examined, new revelations concerning the mass deaths at Jonestown in 1978 and the killing of Congressman Ryan continue to mount. The documents include 8,603 pages from the FBI’s investigative file and an additional 30,229 pages. The bureau made the papers available based on a 1993 FOIA request filed by Freedom.

At the time of his death, Leo Ryan’s spotlight was trained on one of the darkest corners of the American intelligence establishment—psychiatric “mind-control” experiments, possibly combined with illegal domestic operations. His probe included tests performed at a Vacaville, California, state hospital (above), reportedly involving Donald (known as “Cinque”, top) DeFreeze, a central figure in the 1974 kidnapping of Patricia Hearst. A month before Ryan’s murder, Jack Anderson (right) published a column entitled “CIA May Have Inspired Cinque,” exposing the secret experiments, with Ryan or his committee the most likely source of the information.

Contrary to what is popularly reported in the media, the FBI files document the Peoples Temple as a mainstream religious congregation, with statements on behalf of the group by a range of political figures including Senators Walter Mondale, Hubert Humphrey, Henry Jackson, Sam Ervin Jr., Warren Magnuson and Mike Gravel, Congressmen Philip Burton, Ron Dellums and Don Edwards, Congresswomen Bella Abzug and Patsy Mink.

The papers demonstrate wide support for the organization. Actress and activist Jane Fonda wrote: “I also recommit myself to your congregation as an active full participant—not only for myself, but because I want my two children to have the experience.”

They also show its leader, Jim Jones, as a respected minister of the Disciples of Christ, the Protestant church of former President Lyndon Johnson and millions of other Americans.

And they show that while the church underwent a long period of harassment, surveillance and infiltration at the hands of government intelligence agents, these intensified once the group, founded in Indiana, relocated to San Francisco, and particularly after its headquarters moved to Guyana.

Indeed, in 1977 and 1978 came anonymous threats against the Peoples Temple, accompanied by random acts of violence against group members. It was in late 1977 that heavy pressure began on Ryan to visit Jonestown—pressure which built to a crescendo shortly before he agreed to go. Those pushing him to take action against “cults” included psychologist Margaret Singer, while others, among them Tim Stoen, a former member and top aide to Jim Jones with alleged ties to the CIA, pressured Ryan to visit Jonestown. (See “The Real Cult,”.)

Infiltrated with Agents”

The nearly 39,000 pages of documents released by the FBI to Freedom under the Freedom of Information Act document the Peoples Temple as a mainstream congregation and show it enjoyed wide support, as from Jane Fonda, who wrote: “I also recommit myself to your congregation as an active full participant—not only for myself, but because I want my two children to have the experience.” 
     More than 20 months after Leo Ryan was killed, his five adult children—twsons and three daughters—filed a lawsuit based on extensive investigation into what had precipitated their father’s death.

Filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on July 31, 1980, the suit asked for general damages of $3 million, plus costs for Congressman Ryan’s funeral and bringing the action.

The lawsuit charged that “the Jonestown Colony was infiltrated with agent(s) of the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States.

“[That] the name of one said agent was Phillip Blakey, a trusted aide of Peoples Temple leader James Warren Jones.

“[T]hat said agents were working with the Department of State and the Central Intelligence Agency to use the Jonestown Colony as part of the Central Intelligence Agency’s MK Ultra program.

“[T]hat massive quantities of mind-control drugs were found at the Jonestown colony after the fatal incident of November 18, 1978.”

Phillip Blakey had traveled to Guyana to select the site for Jonestown and to begin clearing land. He was one of the few survivors of the mass killing.

The lawsuit furthermore charged that Richard Dwyer doubled as an agent of the Central Intelligence Agency and that Dwyer “arranged for the transportation of decedent [Ryan] and his party once in Guyana; briefed decedent and his party on the events and conditions at Jonestown upon their arrival; and escorted decedent and his party to Jonestown in November 1978.”

It alleged that Dwyer “as an agent and employee of the Central Intelligence Agency ... negligently, maliciously and intentionally withheld crucial information about the Jonestown Colony which would have prevented harm to decedent.”

It further charged that Dwyer “knowingly, intentionally and maliciously led [Ryan] into a trap at the Port Kaituma Air Strip, which cost decedent his life.”

The Ryans’ lawsuit was dismissed for reasons that have to date never been fully disclosed. A source close to the family who aided them in their quest for justice told Freedom of threats received which he attributed to the CIA. Every time he made a move, he said, a warning would arrive on his doorstep by a circuitous route. “A letter would show up,” for example, he said, stating, “’We’re watching you.’”

Mass Murder

Although many others lost their lives on November 18, 1978, according to Dr. C. Leslie Mootoo, then chief medical examiner of Guyana, the overwhelming majority of the deaths at Jonestown were murders, not suicides.

Dr. Mootoo, the government’s top pathologist and the first physician on the scene, told Freedom that many had died from injections of cyanide. After 32 hours of nonstop work in stifling heat, amid decaying flesh, in Mootoo’s words, “We gave up.” By that time, 187 bodies killed by injections had been examined by Mootoo and his team. Victims had been injected in portions of their bodies they could not have reached themselves, such as between the shoulder blades or in the back of an upper arm. “Those who were injecting them knew what they were doing,” Mootoo said.

Many others had been shot. Charles Huff, a former member of the U.S. Army Special Forces in Panama, was one of the seven Green Berets who were the first American troops on the scene following the massacre. He told Freedom, “We saw many bullet wounds as well as wounds from crossbow bolts.”

Huff noted that those with fatal bullet or bolt wounds appeared to have been running toward the jungle that surrounded Jonestown. Corroborating the information from Dr. Mootoo, Huff said that the adults who had not been shot had been killed by injections between the shoulder blades. The killers escaped before the arrival of Huff and his team

. A very real possibility is that by making the assassination part of an even larger catastrophe, the central drama itself—that of a courageous individual blocked from probing reports of illegal, unconstitutional, government-sponsored psychiatric “mind-control” activities—was obscured.

Colonel Prouty noted evidence of the involvement of a larger force in the operation: “The Joint Chiefs of Staff had prepared air shipments of hundreds of body bags. They didn’t normally keep that many in any one place. Within hours, they began to shuttle them down to Georgetown, the main city. They couldn’t possibly have done that without prior knowledge that it was going to happen. It shows that there was prior planning.”

Prouty said, “We would provide the agency with the things they were requesting, without any questions. That’s the way the business works.”

At Jonestown, he said, the JCS provided the body bags, the airlift and all the rest on a timetable that shows advance knowledge. “The JCS wouldn’t have moved at all on their own,” he said. “They didn’t give a damn about Jonestown.” These and other unusual events, he noted, “are the kinds of earmarks that define the hand of American intelligence.”

Nearly two decades after the death of Congressman Leo Ryan, America is still owed a definitive explanation for the many unresolved questions surrounding the tragedy. To begin, all documents and records from allrelevant agencies should be released in full. Only then might the full truth beknown.

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