Tim Carter report on Mark Lane, Fall 1978


Reports from Tim Carter

w/ Mark Lane

[Handwritten marginal note: “Don’t tell Lane. Don’t blame us. How would JJ know – doesn’t lie, when you have to talk on the–“]

It can’t be stressed enough I feel the impact that Lane obviously had all the people we deal with regularly. [Soviet Embassy official Feodor] Timofeyev seemed to accept things that we have been saying for months from him but didn’t seem to have any impact with us. The same for [Guyana Minister of Home Affairs Vibert] Mingo. The same for Blackmon [reporter Carl Blackman]. and the good that was done with the media by having that press conference is significant. I would say that we are on good terms with the media, except for that asshole Monty Smith (editor of the [Guyana] Chronicle).

– Mark was incredulous that Garry did not have us suing these different papers for the things that they have been writing. He kept on referring to the statement that Garry made in one of the original press conferences about not having his clients “popping off.” He said he wouldn’t dream of telling a client anything like that, especially publicly, and if his attorney ever told him that he would tell him to fuck off.

– he really wants us to consider firing him. He said that he felt part of Jim’s health problem has been the inability to answer back. He said that this is Garry’s pattern though.

– He loves Jonestown. Said several times, and once with a lot of meaning just before he was ready to leave the first time, that “you have a lot of really nice people up there” and that “Jonestown is a transforming experience.” He said more than once that “Jim is a saint” and hearing that from him made quite an impact on people.

– He felt confident that the case can be cracked in 60-90 days. He said they would have a couple of people working – above ground and a couple of undercover investigators also.

– he told us of his relationship with Paul Robeson. Apparently they were close enough friends that Robesone would lay on his living room floor and play with his kids. It was kind of touching to hear him talk about Robeson because it was obvious that he had been close to the man at one time. He said that Robeson had one wish, and begged his friends for one favor, and that was that when he died he wanted to be buried in Moscow. His last wish was desecrated. He said that in the last couple of years Robeson suffered a mental breakdown. He told us an interesting story. Somebody wanted Robeson’s name in the sidewalk on Hollywood Blvd. The Hollywood city council turned the request down because they said Robeson was not primarily an actor. He said that of all people, Jackie Cooper wrote the city council outraged at their refusal, and listed point by point why they had made a political decision that was biased. The council still refused the place Robeson’s name in cement. Cooper was incensed and got a court injunction (something like that) to order the council to have his name torn up from the sidewalk. At this point the council gave in and decided to put his name in cement.

He talked of how Robeson first began to sing. He had a part in a play at Columbia University as a supporting actor. I forget the reason, but for some reason – I think Robeson forgot his line, the director of the play said “hum your part.” Robeson started humming, and the place stopped in its tracks, and that was the beginning of Robeson’s singing career. Mark said that Paul told people that his voice meant nothing to him, it was something that he used to accomplish his goals. He had told one famous musician that he wished he (the musician) had been born with his voice because it meant absolutely nothing to him.

– re: the American Embassy. Lane thinks we should stay away from there as much as possible. He said that all we accomplish by seeing them is them taping us, and giving us no information. He said you know that if they could, they would napalm Jonestown tonight, and your house too. He said he would like to go up to [Richard] Dwyer and grab him by the neck and say “listen you son of a bitch you stay out of our business or we’ll bring you into the suit too.” He said our relationship should just be on a necessity level, and no more.

– Lane seem to understand our strategies to a degree that was uncanny. When people would throw questions at him he had the answers that we give at his fingertips, and he was always willing to follow instructions. There was only one he disagreed with, and that was with Mingo. He was to say that [Guyana opposition leader Cheddi] Jagan had asked him to help him out when he was in the states but now that would be closed up to him (something like that). Anyway, he said he didn’t feel it was good that he be associated with Jagan in Mingo’s  mind because for him to say that he had helped Jagan in the past he felt would show too much involvement with Cheddi. The way he used the situation with the Mirror and the Chronicle was beautiful.

– It is obvious that Mark likes Terri Buford. When she left he commented on how smart she was, and he liked to spend time with her. That could be used to our advantage I feel.




– he said that Jonestown was such a pastoral setting because the people in Georgetown and the people in the radio room at Jonestown were constantly fighting off the wolves.

– Lane is aggressive, which I like. When he saw Clarence Hughes when we were waiting to see Judge [Harold] Bollers, he went over himself to make an introduction (I ended up introducing him, but it shows his aggressiveness.) He had that strategy in an instant about telling Hughes he might be a part of the suit.

– He said he is going to see Kathy Hunter himself before the press conference is called to get her on tape about all the bullshit she is spreading. He is going to stress the Chairman Mao thing.

– He was interested in all the bizarre and radical things that [Tim] Stoen suggested we do. I told him that Stoen had even discussed killing Grace and he said he was very interested in that, and that that alone would be enough to get him disbarred.

Lane to me seems to be very sincere and genuine, and I like him… We’ll have to see what happens on the states’ end of things. He is not a pretentious person, and he doesn’t seem to be caught up in his position or fame, which is laudable. There is no doubt about the admiration and respect – even awe – he has for Jim.