Jonestown conspiracy theory

Jonestown conspiracy theory

Jonestown was the communal settlement made in northwestern Guyana by the Peoples Temple, a cult from California. Jonestown was founded in the mid-1970s by the cult leader, Jim Jones, for whom it was named, but it was occupied only for a few years. It stood amidst jungle, about seven miles (11 km) southwesterly from Port Kaituma.

Jonestown gained lasting international notoriety in 1978, when nearly its whole population died in a mass murder-and-suicide ordered by Jones, who was among the slain, numbering somewhat over nine hundred men, women and children.

Conspiracy theory

A theory that a conspiracy existed beyond the members of the Peoples Temple related to the November 18, 1978 deaths in Jonestown and the Port Kaituma airstrip is based, in part, upon purported inconsistencies and unexplained (or allegedly poorly explained) events related to those deaths. Early reports claimed that about 400 Temple members had been killed, and the remainder had fled into the jungle; see headlines in the "New York Post" [New York Post, Nov 28, 1978: "Cult Dies in South American Jungle: 400 Die in Mass Suicide, 700 Flee into Jungle."] and stories in the "New York Times" [New York Times, Nov 21, 1978; Nov 22, 1978; Nov 23, 1978] and "San Francisco Examiner". [San Francisco Examiner, Nov 22, 1978] That death count was revised over the next week until the final total of more than 900 was reached. In explaining the discrepancies, at least one U.S. official first claimed, among other things, that Guyanese officials "couldn’t count" [New York Times, Nov 25, 1978] (despite the fact that locals were charged with the task of puncturing the abdomen of each corpse to prevent their swelling and possibly exploding in the heat), then that bodies had been heaped in piles, hiding one another.

According to the "New York Times", [New York Times, Dec 14, 1978] the first official doctor on the scene was Guyanese Coroner Dr. Leslie C. Mootoo. Although he made no final determination, and examined only a portion of the bodies, based upon factors such that many people in Jonestown were children incapable of consent to suicide and that many bodies had injection marks, Mootoo speculated that a majority of those dead in Jonestown may have been murdered. The coroners for the few autopsies of Jonestown victims conducted in Delaware were not informed of Dr. Mootoo’s findings. [New York Times Nov 26, 1978] For a number of reasons, some legal and logistical, the bodies were not flown out of the remote jungle location of Jonestown for up to a week, allowing significant decomposition to occur, before being flown to New Jersey. Relatives and New Jersey officials complained about being kept from the remains, and according to the "New York Times" [New York Times, December 12, 1978] Dr. Sturmer, President of the National Association of Medical Examiners, sent an open letter to the U.S. Army, complaining about the handling of remains, and the illegal cremations of most of the Jonestown victims.

On September 27, 1980, a column by respected investigative reporter Jack Anderson was published under the title "CIA Involved In Jonestown Massacre." [Anderson, Jack, "CIA Involved In Jonestown Massacre, September 27, 1980] According to Anderson, both Richard Dwyer and Jim Jones had ties to the CIA, with Dwyer's ties dating to at least 1959; when quizzed directly about this alleged CIA involvement, Dwyer responded "no comment." At one point on the sound-recording made during the mass suicide, Jones' own voice commands, "Take Dwyer on down to the east house" and a short time later, Jones says "Get Dwyer out of here before something happens to him." [cite web|url=|title=Jonestown Audiotape Primary Project : Transcripts, Tape Number : Q 042, the so-called "Death Tape"|accessdate=2007-03-08] This is considered by some to be evidence that Richard Dwyer, a U.S. embassy official, was really a CIA operative.Fact|date=March 2007

However, rather than being in Jonestown, numerous witnesses, including reporters for the Washington Post and San Franscisco Chronicle, saw Richard Dwyer miles away at the Port Kaituma airstrip. [Tim Reiterman (1982) "Raven: The Untold Story of The Rev. Jim Jones and His People" ISBN 0-525-24136-1 page 527 ] Dwyer arrived there with some local constables just before the ambush by the Jonestown "Red Brigade" security squad.. [Tim Reiterman (1982) "Raven: The Untold Story of The Rev. Jim Jones and His People" ISBN 0-525-24136-1 page 527 ] Dwyer was also shot in the buttocks during the Red Brigade's ambush at that location. . [Tim Reiterman (1982) "Raven: The Untold Story of The Rev. Jim Jones and His People" ISBN 0-525-24136-1 page 534] Dwyer stayed at the airstrip with the survivors during the night. [Tim Reiterman (1982) "Raven: The Untold Story of The Rev. Jim Jones and His People" ISBN 0-525-24136-1 page 537] Although no one can be certain, Jones' slurred speech and the apparent confusion at his initial reference to Dwyer might indicate that Jones mistook someone else (perhaps Charles Garry) for Dwyer.

In 1987, "The Jonestown Carnage: A CIA Crime" (1978) by S.F. Alinin, B.G. Antonov and A.N. Itskov was published in the USSR, relying upon both disputed allegations and some relatively undisputed facts. The book cites many characteristics of the Peoples Temple which may have made it unpopular with the U.S. Government. For example, citing the numerous tapes and writings of the Temple, the book notes that the Peoples Temple practiced apostolic socialism, preached atheism and opposed what it termed to be capitalist imperialism by the US government. The book also cites the numerous meetings that representatives of the Peoples' Temple had with Soviet embassy officials to negotiate a potential exodus to the Soviet Union. The book also references the October 2, 1978 visit to Jonestown by Soviet Embassy representative Feodor Timofeyev, who praised it for being a socialist haven, wagging its collective finger in the face of the US government. [See, e.g., Jim Jones, [ "Transcript of Recovered FBI tape Q 352"] ] In addition to these undisputed characteristics, the book also includes disputed allegations not contained in Jonestown tapes or recovered documents, such as a statement by Timofeyev of a purported meeting on November 18, 1978 with Deborah Touchette (she allegedly passed a briefcase with cash and documents of People's Temple to him) and a purported call from Sharon Amos where Amos allegedly mentioned a radio message from Jonestown about military helicopters and armed people approaching Jonestown on November 18, 1978. Based upon these and other allegations, the book argues that members of the cult were assassinated by CIA agents and mercenaries to prevent further political emigration from the USA and to repress the opposition to the US regime.



* "Jonestown Carnage: A CIA Crime" - S.F. Alinin, B.G.Antonov, A.N.Itsko (Gives USSR version of the Jonestown massacre, argues that it was a crime committed by CIA.)
* (published in the UK as "Black and White") Shiva Naipaul
* "Raven: The Untold Story of The Rev. Jim Jones and His People" by Tim Reiterman with John Jacobs
* "Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple" a film by Stanley Nelson

External links

* [ "Father Cares: The Last of Jonestown"] - Airing in 1981, this 90 minute audio documentary was based on hundreds of hours of audio tape acquired under the Freedom of Information Act. Winner of the Dupont Columbia Award, the National Headliner Award and the Prix Italia.
* [ 'Jonestown Legacy'] - Jonestown Legacy is a site run by David Wise, a former Pastor of the Los Angeles Branch of the Peoples Temple. David Wise turned against Jim Jones when Jones began to lose his mind and was hunted down by Jones and found twice. He spent twenty five years hiding out because Jones alleged to have taken a contract out on Wise's life. He is now writing a book with the same title.
* [ 'Jonestown and Official San Francisco: The Untold Story'] - Documents the enormous support Jim Jones received from San Francisco politicians during both the period he built his "Church" in that city and afterwards when questions were raised about his project in Guyana.
* [ 'Audio recording of mass suicide'] - An audio recording of the mass suicides in MP3 and FLAC formats
* [ List of who died at Jonestown]
* [ "Alternative considerations of Jonestown and Peoples Temple", San Diego State University] , documented attempts to gain U.S. government information, personal recollections, and essays.
* [ The Jonestown, Guyana Tragedy] - The contents of US Government archives on the subject obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. The original website has disappeared, so this link is via; unfortunately the scanned pages are missing.
* [ Transcript of Jim Jones' final speech] in which he announces that suicide is now the best solution.
* [ Crime Library - The Jonestown Massacre]
* [ - Jonestown massacre + 20: Questions linger] - Touches on the alleged involvement of the CIA.
* [ - Jonestown survivors recall fateful day]
* [ "The Jonestown Carnage: A CIA Crime (Russian)"] - A book (in Russian) published in Soviet Union in 1987 containing witnesses of some people at Soviet embassy in Guyana and copies of documents unknown to western world. Soviet ambassador recalls a meeting on 18 November with Deborah Touchette (she passed a briefcase with cash, tape records and documents of People's Temple to him) and a call from Sharon Adams (she told about radio message from Jonestown about military helicopters and armed people approaching Jonestown on 18 November).
* [ - Jonestown survivor: 'Wrong from every point of view']
* [ - Timeline: Road to tragedy in Jonestown]
* cite news
title=1978: Mass suicide leaves 900 dead
work=BBC News

* [ Jim Jones inspiration for his ideology and cult control techniques (no author)]
* [ "Masters and Slaves: The Tragedy of Jonestown", by Fanita English] - Idea Journal article, addresses mind control (& compares to Nazi Germany)
* [ Report to the committee on Foreign Affairs, May 1979]
* [ The Black Hole of Guyana, by John Judge] article by researcher John Judge
* [ The Truth About Jonestown, by Shelia Yohnk]
* [ The Word Spy - drink the Kool-Aid]

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