Transcript of press conference held by Mark Lane, Donald Freed
at Peoples Temple, October 3, 1978
Freed: My name is Donald Freed, (spells it), and I am the West Coast Director for the Citizen’s Commission of Inquiry, and that, the Citizens Committee, is based in Washington, DC, with over 150 chapters around the United States. It was formed by Mark Lane in the 1960s first in the wake of the assassination of President Kennedy. Over the years, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. became a topic and a project of the Citizen’s Commission of Inquiry, and Mr. Lane, as you know, represents James Earl Ray and other principals in the assassination and the case of Dr. Martin Luther King. Established in Washington, DC in the 1970s, the Citizen’s Commission of Inquiry was responsible for the organization of the House Select Committee on the Assassination[s], and later for the most responsible critique, I think, of that same select committee. Latterly, Mr. Lane and myself, as you will learn in talking with Mark about the extraordinary story of Jonestown and the Peoples Temple, and both of us on separate trips have gone into the jungle of Guyana to make on-the-spot inquiries and research. Finally, the Citizen’s Commission of Inquiry has on its Board of Directors such people as Dr. Linus Pauling from this area, Dick Gregory, Dr. Morton Halperin, Washington, DC, George O’Toole, and latterly we are working with the Rev. James Laughlin, and the Rev. Dr. James Abernathy on the Martin Luther King affair. I’ll be available later to add my observations in Guyana and some of my observations concerning some of the rather bizarre repercussions, especially in the Bay Area, to the phenomenon known as the Peoples Temple and Jonestown. I like to introduce you now, though, to Mark Lane, the Executive Director of the Citizen’s Commission of Inquiry.
Lane: Before we get into the questions of the– related to Peoples Temple and Jonestown, and the charges, I know that one of the lead stories out now is that my client, James Earl Ray, is going to get married in the very near future, so I’ll comment on that. I just talked to Mr. Ray within the last hour, and he confirmed the fact that he is going to get married. The paperwork is now reaching completion at (unintelligible, likely “Brush Mountain”) Penitentiary, and he will be marrying Anna Santoo [Sandhu], a young woman who is an artist, who is employed by one of the network affiliates in Tennessee to draw pictures of the state trials. (I represented James there last year). He met her at the same time I did, and at the same time Donald Freed did, as a matter of fact, during that trial. And she has visited him quite regularly since that time. She’s a very attractive, very bright, very progressive person, very progressive attitudes towards racial relations, very progressive person. They will be getting married probably in the next two weeks. James asked me to be a witness. They are entitled to five witnesses, according to the rules of the Brush Mountain Penitentiary. He (unintelligible) Tennessee, will be a witness, we’ll be there at that time. Any questions?
Now I’d like to get to the matter which has brought us here originally today, and that is the charges against the Peoples Temple and against the conduct of a community in the jungle interior of Guyana, used to be British Guiana in the old colonial days, [which] came to the attention of the Citizen’s Commission of Inquiry, and our chapter here in the San Francisco area (one of the different chapters of CCI around the country, brought this to our attention, pointed out that there had been a great deal of coverage and controversy in this area about Peoples Temple. So I began by interviewing the proponent of the basic charges against Peoples Temple, the chief investigator for those who made the attacks on Peoples Temple. In recent days I have had an opportunity to interview most of the key people who’ve made charges against the Temple including reporters. As recently as yesterday I spent several hours with Kathy Hunter, whose series of stories (unintelligible) received a great deal of attention. But at the first meeting with the proponents of the charges against Peoples Temple, against Jim Jones and against the conduct of the community in Jonestown, I went to Jonestown, spent a week in Guyana, part of that time I spent talking to newspaper reporters there in Georgetown, the capital of Guyana, with a number of members of the cabinet, many who had themselves, in the Guyanese government, visited Jonestown and had an opportunity to investigate the conduct of the community. I then spent more than half of the week in Jonestown, and I am now satisfied beyond any question that all of the charges are false, that it appears to me to be a deliberate attempt, in which American intelligence organizations have played a major part, a deliberate effort to destroy the Peoples Temple, to destroy Jim Jones, and to destroy Jonestown. In the atmosphere which has existed, I think it can be said, that the press in this area has not adequately paid attention to details.
I’ll give you one example. In this feature story, this attack by Kathy Hunter, several local papers in California upon the Temple, an effort was made upon the community in Jonestown, an effort was made to portray the government in Guyana as a pro-Peking, communist government, and that was based exclusively upon Kathy Hunter’s relatively brief investigation into the politics of Guyana, and I read now from her article, which is the basis for her charge that Guyana is a Peking-style, communist organization, government. And talking about her visit to the Partliament in Guyana. “And what did I see staring at me from the wall on the right hand side of the Prime Minister of Guyana? A near life-size oil of China’s Mao Tse Tung. Looks like it’s down the road to Peking for Guyana, if Burnham’s referendum passes, and it looks like it will.” If you talk with Kathy, and I did do that yesterday, to discuss that statement with her, you find that an entire statement as to the political propensities of the government of Guyana is based upon what appears to be a relatively extraordinary phenomenon, that is a full-sized, life-size painting of Chairman Mao, hanging in their Partliament. Well, that has then been picked up as a fact by the news media, as [and] you know how news stories gain credibility as they snowball. This is a KCBS AA report by Stephen Little on June 12 of this year, called “Update,” and in it, Mr. Little who has interviewed Kathy Hunter, makes reference to that interview, and concludes that “the Guyana government has an unabashed adoration for the late Chinese Premier Mao Tse Tung. So it was Kathy Hunter who saw that oil painting, KCBS here picked that up, and I should not be surprised if next week, we read in the New York Times that a political analysis shows that Guyana is a pro-Peking style type of government, and then maybe Newsweek will pick it up from the New York Times, and on and on until it becomes a fact. I would like to play a very small part of the interview that I did with Kathy Hunter yesterday, and this is not to deride her, or hold her up for derision or scorn her action, rightfully, but I do point out that her reporting is absolutely terrible and totally irresponsible.
It’s only in the atmosphere which exists where it appears that Peoples Temple and Jim Jones and now the government of Guyana, who offered refuge to 1200 Americans, that they are all fair game for any false charge, and it’s not even necessary to check out the charges, any hostile charge will be published as if it’s a fact. And so this is not for the purpose of deriding her that I play this. It’s so that we can trace back the story, and we can trace back every charge against the Peoples Temple in the same way. This is one example. I’ll be happy to trace them all back for you, if you like. But let’s hear this interview that was done with Kathy yesterday, this was taped in her presence, with her knowledge, I had the tape recorder on in front of her, and with her permission to tape it.
Hunter: –great deal happier after what I’ve just gone through. So Forbes Burnham is sitting here, on the dais, and on this, about where the lamp should be, is a life-size oil painting of Mao Tse Tung.
Lane: Mao Tse Tung?
Lane: And there was a life-size painting of Forbes Burnham?
Hunter: No. No, I say, Forbes Burnham. The reason I was invited to Partliament was to hear him read his reasons for why he wanted the referendum passed. And that referendum was passed. And the Constitution had originally been based on the United States and the British Commonwealth, and–
Lane: He changed it.
Hunter: There is no constitution. It’s a dictatorship, now.
Lane: And the only painting in there was one of Mao?
Lane: The only painting.
Hunter: The only.
Lane: And how large is it?
Lane: They don’t even have a painting of Burnham?
Hunter: No. There are no paintings.
Lane: Just that one. That’s right in the Partliament building.
Hunter: And it’s to Forbes Burnham’s right-hand side.
Lane: When he was sitting there.
Hunter: Yes. Where he always sits when he appears in Partliament.
Lane: Well, when you saw this painting, what did it look like?
Hunter: (Laughs) Looks like Mao Tse Tung.
Lane: Chairman Mao. But can you see the hills of China in the background, or–
Hunter: Oh no, it’s a portrait.
Lane: Just the face.
Hunter: No, it’s his face and part down his body. In oil.
Lane: Unmistakable. Doesn’t have his name on it?
Hunter: Oh, quite unmistakable.
End of excerpt
Lane: Quite unmistakable. It doesn’t have his name on it. Forbes Burnham, of course, is the Prime Minister of Guyana. I found that story to be so extraordinary, because I don’t know of any Partliament in the entire world, probably even China at the present time, where there is a life-size portrait of Chairman Mao. So I went to Parliament, and there is a life-size painting, portrait there, just one, as Kathy Hunter said. It is of Arthur Chung, the president of Guyana. And I met with the secretary, Birdie Portison, Secretary to the President of Guyana, and when I was there, I arrived, this was delivered with a note from the president’s office, and this is the copy of the picture of the man whose life-size – I’ll give you this, there are copies here – this is the president of Guyana, Arthur Chung. Now it’s not just that an error was made, but that a whole political assessment of the political tendency of a nation has been reported in local papers, and then adopted by CBS here in San Francisco, as an absolute fact. And it’s frightening to me that this kind of– well, I’m sure Kathy Hunter believes that this is Chairman Mao, but it’s the kind of error which can only flourish where no serious questions are asked, where all charges, whatever their validity, are accepted and published. I went into the more serious– there is an additional charge which she makes, and that’s that Forbes Burnham, who is the Prime Minister of Guyana, has– first she said sold his personal property to Jim Jones. She says without question, he’s making a fortune from this lady who says she learned it from her niece, that it’s his own personal property. It’s Crown Property. All one has to do is– not listen to six people who she claims gave her the information, she will not name them, but all one has to do is look at the Hall of Records in Georgetown. She stayed at the Pegasus Hotel for 10 days in Georgetown. It’s just a short distance from there to the Hall of Records, where these records are available. It’s Crown Property, of course. Forbes Burnham does not own the jungle in the interior, it’s owned by the state, it’s a socialist country, it’s owned by the state, and the records reveal that it was leased, in the ordinary course of business, to the Peoples Temple by the government of Guyana. And again, this is a charge which has been made and then has been picked up by other representatives in the news media. I spent the better part of a week in Jonestown. I’ve had some experience – almost the last 30 years – conducting investigations, and I met with people– I’d heard charges that their children’s heads are shaved for punishment. I can only say that that didn’t happened while I was there, and there was no indication that it had ever happened in the recent past, because none of the children had short hair, and almost all of them had hair longer than mine, it takes a little while to acquire that, most of the people have only been in Jonestown for a year and a half, in fact almost all of them have arrived within the last year and a half. The government of Guyana, and it’s a very poor country, underdeveloped, now it’s a developing [country], but it’s a very, very poor country. There are no paperback books available anyplace that I could see, and in the capital, electricity is shut off at various hours, I think to save on fuel, and water stops working on occasion at the Capitol. That’s not true in Jonestown. The people have their own generator, and the electricity is available 24 hours a day, and the water, from wells which they dug there, is always available, and it’s clear. But it’s a very, very poor country. Yet they have developed in Guyana an educational system – and this has been verified by educators from this country who have gone to Guyana – which is at least two years in advance of American public school systems throughout the United States. And school children who have gone to Guyana from the United States have found themselves far behind, may be that the fact that they have no television there, may be part of the reason that they spend more time doing their homework and are better scholars. The only educational system in Guyana which is approved of, and accredited by the government of Guyana, other than their own public school system, is the system which has been set up by the people of Jonestown, which is a very advanced school system. And I spent a great deal of time talking to the children there, and was astonished at the high level of understanding and their knowledge of, not only what was happening in this country, but also in Africa and Asia, which I think can be matched not only with schoolchildren throughout this country, but with adults throughout this country. I met one young girl who was about eight years old. I said, “What can I ask you about?” She said, “Anything.” I said, “I was in China about four years ago, do you know anything about China?” She said, “Well, I haven’t been there, but I can tell you that I think that what they’ve done domestically, in terms of eliminating a lot of the evils, is like a miracle, I think their foreign policy is crazy, actually.” And I said, “What’s their foreign policy based on?” And she said, “The Three Worlds. Do you know what the Three Worlds are, the Chinese concept of the Three Worlds?” And I said, “Well, refresh my recollection, I’m a little rusty.” And she said, “Well, the first world is the United States and the Soviet Union. The second world is Japan and the other developing countries, and the Third World is the underdeveloped countries and China.” That, of course, is the Chinese analysis of the Three Worlds, and I don’t know of any schoolchildren in the United States who could do that as articulately, and I don’t know how many of us here, if asked that same question, would have been that accurate in responding to the Chinese position on this question. And that was the subject which I raised. No one had talked to him about China, I just asked about it because I had been there four years ago, so I was interested in his perception. I had an opportunity to talk, during that time, with scores and scores of people, singly, individually, going for walks with them, and I was struck by the fact that this was indeed, a remarkable community, a chance to assess case histories. Many of the people there, if still in the United States, would be costing this country hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many of them were on welfare, many of them were drug addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes. Many of them have come from the ghettos and have been crushed by the society and have actually built, have actually gone to another country, and this I suppose, may be an explanation of why it is that Jonestown has become a target, because this is a great embarrassment, if taken in context, a great embarrassment for the government of the United States. Over 1200 Americans, who have fled to the jungles of Guyana in search of human rights and an opportunity to live full, dignified and enriching lives, opportunities which were not available to them in the ghettos of this country. And I think that’s a very powerful statement, it’s not a statement which I make, but a statement which they are making with their presence there, their lives there in Guyana. Three people went there a while ago, three people went to this impenetrable jungle – I walked through the bush with guides, and in 15 minutes I would have been lost, in less than 15 minutes I would have been lost, if it wasn’t for the guides, I was lost in five minutes– but the guys told me where to go. My admiration for three Americans who went there and picked out the spot, and 20 more who then set up little tents and remained there, and have now cleared over 3000 acres, where almost all of the food consumed by 1200 Americans is raised, cassava plants and banana trees and all kinds of experimental herbs, fruits and vegetables, some from the United States and some from Latin America – this is become a model community. And this is true that the government of Guyana is very pleased about this, not because Forbes Burnham is making a fortune from renting the settlers land, but because this is a model for all of Guyana, it is being understood now in the Caribbean – Guyana’s on the northern coast of South America, and is considered a Caribbean nation because it’s in that community – this is considered a model for many of the Caribbean countries, it is considered to be a model for many of the countries of Latin America. Governments of Guyana, as governments of many of these countries, has [have] urged people to reverse the habits which were built during colonial days, of congregating in the slums in the large cities. A quarter of the population – it’s a very large country – live in one city, live in Georgetown, and the government has urged people to move, their own citizens, to leave the city and go into the interior and to farm the land and to make it bloom. Which is an easy thing to do in the jungle, where there’s a lot of water and there’s a lot of sun. So far, the only people who have accepted the suggestions from the Prime Minister and the government of Guyana are these 1200 Americans, and they see this as a model, encouraging people to go.
They set up a medical center there, with a doctor, a staff of– a medical staff of 70– 70 people on the medical staff for 1200 people who are there, and when I arrived I had the most thorough physical examination I ever had in my life, it lasted about 2 ½ hours, discovered some things that I wasn’t too happy about discovering, but which I’m glad to know about, because they are things which I can now pay some attention to. And on a Sunday afternoon, between 100 and 200 Amerindians come from the bush, to the medical center, and one of the greatest costs of the entire operation is making drugs available, medical equipment available for all kinds for what has become very similar to what Dr. Schweitzer has established, which is, a medical center in a clearing, which is available to people from all over the earth, of course, without charge for the medicine, for everything.
There’s no money in Jonestown. I mean, money is not used. No one has any money, and there’s no need for any money, and this– it’s an experiment in full community, an experiment in the future, and certainly in socialist economy where people work together. They raise their own food, they create their own electricity, their own well water, all of the houses are built by the people in Jonestown, all of the furniture they have built in their factory. They have established a machine shop, there’s a young black woman who’s second in charge of the machine shop, and an older white man who was a machinist in the United States and has retired, is teaching his skills to her. And she said, “If I’d lived in the United States for the rest of my life, I never would have, because of union problems and other, I never would have had the opportunity to be able to do my life’s ambition, which is to run a machine shop.” And she’s an expert metalworker. This machine shop. There’s a kiln now, where they are baking bricks, and they’ve decided they are going to experiment now with brick houses, which have not been used in the jungle before, but which appear to have the potential for providing greater insulation than wood or troolie, palm frond houses. It’s an incredible experiment, it seems to me, and one which is working. You get there by taking a train, which is a 19th century form of transportation, it’s a tiny little, small gauge railroad, jungle branches striking you as you go through this two-hour trip, as the jungle tries to claim the railroad bed which can take you from it, and then you leave the 19th century, and you arrive, in what is not the 20th century, but sometime in the future, and you see this beautiful experiment taking place.
I’ve been very deeply impressed with what I’ve seen there, and I’m deeply concerned about what appears to me to be a concentrated, and concerted effort in which the American intelligence organizations have been involved, for the purposes of destroying Peoples Temple. The Federal Communications Commission. Now, there’s a radio here. That radio is utilized for making contact – there’s no telephone in Jonestown – but they make radio communication between Jonestown and here, and the doctor, Dr. Schacht, often calls here and then is patched into various doctors in the United States. He’s a young doctor, and if someone comes in who needs surgery, either he does it or they die. Though he’s not a skilled surgeon, he’s a young man, he’s the medical doctor available, and so he will call here on the radio, and then be patched to doctors around the United States, and many lives have been saved through the assistance of many American doctors who are more than willing, are very anxious to help, but the Federal Communications Commission is now threatening to take away the license here on the grounds that business is being conducted over the radio. It’s true, it’s the business of saving American lives in the jungle, and saving the lives of Indian people who come in there for help, for assistance and in desperate need of help.
And that’s just one of the efforts which has been utilized by the United States government to destroy Peoples Temple. And they have been relatively silent for a year and a half, in the face of a concerted campaign we have been able to trace hundreds of thousands of dollars of funds poured into law cases here in California and cases in Guyana. We have traced these funds which have been laundered through banks in a neighboring neutral country in Latin America. That’s an absolute fact. Hundreds of thousands of dollars, which at this point we can’t– we cannot trace the origin of those sums, but we have a fairly good idea where those funds are coming from, I think they’re our tax funds as a matter of fact. We are now concluding the first stage of our investigation, we have filed, on the Freedom of Information Act, against every relevant agency which has been involved in this campaign, the Internal Revenue Service, the FCC, the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency, the American Embassy in Guyana has taken part, and many others, against various individuals, and in 90 days, I believe, there will be a massive, multimillion dollar action filed against all these agencies of government, and against those individuals who are either acting without direct consultation with intelligence agencies or other agencies. And there will be such an action filed. It will be similar to the Socialist Workers Party suit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation, except here I think, with all due respect for Leonard Boudin, who’s the attorney, who’s done a marvelous job in bringing that action and all the historic proceeding that have come from that action, but with all due respect to the importance of that suit, this one I think will be able to show millions and millions of dollars of damage inflicted by intelligence organizations against the Peoples Temple and Jonestown and Jim Jones. And I think the major damages will be very high. So we’re now moving to stage of our investigation, which will be followed by a massive, multi-million dollar lawsuit against all the agencies of government. And as that suit unfolds, as in the case of Mort Halperin suit, the former assistant secretary of defense in the Richard Nixon administration, against Richard Nixon, Kissinger, and others, and he’s a member of our board and he’ll be working with us during this time. As that suit develops, just as the Halperin suit, just as the Socialist Workers Party suit, just as the Black Panther Party suit, as those suits develop, we will be entitled to a great deal of discovery, and we will learn things which we can now only guess at, in terms of the origin of funds, and the documentation in these various agencies which shows how and why this campaign was launched against the Peoples Temple. But it makes me almost weep to see such an incredible experiment, with such vast potential for the human spirit and the soul of this country, to be cruelly assaulted by the intelligence organizations, and to those who have wondered why the Peoples Temple has been silent during all the long time of these attacks, I can just say that the silence has ended, and the offensive has begun, and before the dust settles, we are going to learn a great deal about the conduct of the United States government against this religious organization and against their experiment, in Jonestown.
Q: Mark, would you list those agencies a little more, so we–
Lane: The ones that we have indications of in terms of their involvement now are the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Communications Commission, and Internal Revenue Service, the United States Post Office, the United States Treasury Department, and if there are any agencies present that I left out, I’d like to apologize for that.
Q: How are these hundreds of thousands of dollars that you’ve supposedly traced used?
Lane: They’ve been used to obtain a lawyer in Georgetown. A lawyer in Georgetown– it’s a poor country and the standard of living is not very high, a lawyer was paid $25,000, this is in Guyanese dollars, in American dollars it’s worth a lot more than Guyanese dollars, the exchange rate I think was (unintelligible) Guyanese dollars to one American dollar, something like that. He was paid 25,000 American dollars, he was paid to bring a writ of habeas corpus against Jim Jones. It’s a lot of money. It’s more than ever paid for habeas corpus. It’s 25 to 50 times the highest scale of pay, and that’s by American standards, it’s outrageously high, but by Guyanese standards it’s beyond belief, but it certainly secured the intention of the one involved, and his commitment, for a period of time. Other funds have been used to finance trips to Washington, DC, to lobby with members of Congress where false information was given, in order for Congress, the State Department and others to bring pressure against the government of Guyana for the purpose of closing down this project. The stories I’ve heard are so horrendous, that replaced [the place]– in fact I heard this again from Kathy Hunter, who never got to Jonestown. She never went there, although she was invited to go, she refused to go – from Georgetown, which is only 100 miles away but almost 24 hours by boat, or about four or five hours by almost any other means of transportation, she and the others have made charges that the place is surrounded by barbed wire, which would be somewhat of a trick, because it’s 3000 acres. Surrounded by plowed fields, but there are machine gun placements, none of the children are kept in jails, or tied down. None of that is true, none of that is true. It’s a total– I’ll tell you this: the American Embassy, when it gets requests, sends in its personnel. And if they are told that this person wants to leave, the American Embassy and First Consul, along with (unintelligible) local Central Intelligence Agency, goes there with the car, has an individual meeting with the individual involved, and says, and they’ve repeated this to me, both the Embassy and the people involved: “Here’s a car. There’s no one to stop you. If you like, come in the car, we’ll drive you back. We’ve a plane waiting, we’ll fly you to Georgetown, there’s a ticket, and we’ll pay for your flight right back to your home. No one can stop us. Do you want to go?” And they say, “No, I won’t go.”
Q: How many such cases have there been of people who wanted to go, and the American Embassy has gone in to investigate it?
Lane: Well, I believe there was a list of 25 that they checked on one occasion, and they’ve gone in there on more than one occasion.
Q: Can you explain what that case was about the writ of habeas corpus? And how that turned out?
Lane: It’s still a matter which is pending against the involved, I’ll be happy to go into the details if you like, but I’m not sure– there are so many different cases, we have boxes of complaints that have been filed and summons that have been filed. But this one involves a child, a son of Jim Jones, who the complainant, the person bringing the petition, this person claims, is his son. And that matter’s now pending before the courts of Guyana. The judge has withdrawn– the whole case has collapsed, and they’ll have to start the whole case all over again. We don’t know what they are going to do.
Q: Why was it necessary to pay the lawyer that much money?
Lane: I don’t know. I don’t know why the lawyer was paid that much money, but it certainly secured his commitment for the loyalty to the case. Not a terribly good case. A terribly bad case, as a matter of fact, and the lawyer who represents the Peoples Temple is a world renowned lawyer, Mr. Lionel Luckhoo, who most people have never heard of. But he’s in the Guinness book of records, for having won the most capital cases, something like 20, 40 capital cases, he’s never lost one, so he’s a very well-known lawyer, and I met him, he has assured me– he’s the leading– it used to be called Queen’s Counsel but the British system is different from our system where they have solicitors and barristers, but in addition to that they have Queen’s Counselor, they used to call them, but in a socialist country, they call him senior counsel, and they are very few people, the first senior counselor in the history of Guyana, and he certainly probably the most well respected member of the bar in Guyana. And he said the case was ridiculous when they brought it to court, and if there hadn’t been so much money involved, it probably wouldn’t have gotten as far as it did get.
Q: To whom was the hundreds of thousands of dollars for trips to Washington for lobbying efforts – to whom was that paid?
Lane: Several people have gone to Washington. One of the key people in this effort to destroy the Peoples Temple has gone – Tim Stoen – who had been assistant district attorney and served as counsel for the Peoples Temple and came on as being someone of the left, and let’s understand this, that this is a community which is committed to the experiment of socialism: Jim Jones is a Marxist, that should be out in front, and this man, Mr. Stoen, came out offering himself counsel, saying he, too, shared those philosophical beliefs. So only recently, after he had started a series of suits against Peoples Temple on behalf of a number of clients, which raises a very serious question in my mind, that is, how it is possible for a man who represents an organization, and has an attorney-client relationship there with the organization, how he can then represent people against that organization. That seems to me to be clearly a conflict of interest and I would think in violation of the canon of ethics.
Q: Is he one of the people sent to Washington to lobby?
Lane: Yes. He’s the key person.
Q: Were there others? Do you have any names?
Lane: Yes. Steven Katsaris is another person who’s gone to Washington. I conducted an interview with him yesterday. He told me he met with State Department in Washington, told me he spent two weeks in Washington, a great deal of time. He has said here, and I’ve got letters from him where he states– in fact Steve Little, KCBS-FM, states that Steve Katsaris is a member of a recently formed group called the “Concerned Relatives” who has tried to see his daughter Maria, without success. Of course, he saw his daughter. I have the tape recording we made yesterday, which says he saw his daughter. And while this statement of CBS is saying here that she is held there as a prisoner, she went to Georgetown, which is no longer jungle, and she met with Mr. Katsaris. I spent a great deal of time talking with her, I was alone with her for a great period of time, and she wants to stay there. I can understand that, someone wanting to stay there, and that’s her decision, that she wants to stay there, it’s not one– he’s one of the people who has played a very active part in this effort.
Q: How do you know that his trip was financed out of people’s money rather–
Lane: I didn’t say his trip was financed– the question was, who had gone to Washington?
Q: The question was, how had hundreds of thousands of dollars–
Lane: I don’t know who paid for his trip. I do know that the person who has organized this campaign has gone to a neutral country and withdrawn from banks there and withdrawn huge sums of money. And that he is now the person who is organizing and coordinating this campaign.
Q: One individual. And who is that?
Lane: We’ll be filing lawsuits. And I think it would be appropriate for the lawsuits to be filed before we go into the specifics.
Freed: I can say one thing about money. In following the trail of money, which is critical in this case, a very expensive propaganda effort has been made, not only in Guyana to influence people throughout the establishment, the government and the church there, but also wherever Guyanese people are resettled – in Toronto, New York, Miami – in North America. Newspapers, families, labor unions. Very expensive logging both in terms of person and in terms of pamphlets, booklets, and dossiers have been widely circulated. This costs a lot of money.
Q: Was Tim Stoen living in Guyana for a while?
Lane: He visited the Peoples Temple, I don’t know how long he was there. It’s my understanding he was there when the child was there, and Jim Jones was not there, and Tim Stoen left Jonestown leaving a child without making an effort to take the child with him. The question is whether Mr. Stoen is anxious for the case against Jim Jones or he’s anxious to have the child with them. I don’t think–
Q: Tell me, how many of those 1200 people in Jonestown have visited the United States, friends or relatives here, in the last year?
Lane: Have visited the United States.
Lane: I don’t know.
Q: Do they freely come and go to this country?
Lane: Nobody’s really goes from Jonestown to here because it takes a long time, and it’s a decision you have to make. But if you really want to leave, you really want to go back– it’s not inexpensive, I think it’s something like $1200, from Georgetown to here, that’s a lot of money, these are poor people, and most poor people don’t really come and go anywhere–
Q: Have any of them?
Lane: Oh, yeah. I’m glad you asked that question. There are a number of people here now, who have come back from Jonestown within the last– short period of time. This is Marcie Jones, Jim Jones’ wife, and various other people who are here. Why don’t you all introduce yourselves, and I’m sure they’ll have more information on specifics.
Q: Mark, what’s the connection between your organization and the suit?
Lane: Let me answer that first. Our organization, Citizen’s Commission of Inquiry, has conducted an independent inquiry into the charges – nobody’s paid us – an independent inquiry into the charges, and we made our initial finding based on some of the outstanding charges against the Peoples Temple, and the kind of (unintelligible) in Jonestown. We will be conducting this investigation, we’ve already recommended to Peoples Temple that there will be a massive suit filed. We are preparing all of the material, so that when they decide to file such a suit– maybe there’s a decision already for Jim Jones, and the whole group of people in Jonestown, (unintelligible) we’re working with the community down there to determine their policy. Who will file a suit, I don’t know.
Q: Why did you get involved in this investigation?
Lane: We are an organization of 150 chapters around the country– our San Francisco chapter, we’ve been in existence since 1964, since January of that year– our San Francisco chapter said that this is a matter which had been a great controversy in the San Francisco area, and asked us to investigate. We began by questioning the proponents of the charges against Jonestown, listed all the charges we could, then began to talk with people here, and then we went to Jonestown, and we found that it was not impossible to get the Jonestown – we’ve got some other charge close to the news media – I know that the National Enquirer was planning a vicious attack. I know what the attack was, I’ve talked to reporters involved, many of the reporters involved, and I said that I thought it would be irresponsible to file the story without ever having visited the community, and the Enquirer said, well, no one’s allowed to get in there. And I said, “I offer you an invitation to Jonestown, to go there.” And the reporter has a wife who is a teacher, a teacher of autistic children in California, and I said, “Well, is she (unintelligible), because I’m sure she’ll get more out of an interview with children than I was able to, because of her background and discipline,” and I said, “you go there, you talk to anybody you want, bring a camera person with you, and talk to anyone you like on an individual basis, anyone you want.” Well, at this point, the Enquirer tells the story. What it is is that there’s the atmosphere – that it’s a closed camp and you can’t get in there – and reporters just have to ask, I think that would be proper–
Q: Who financed your investigation?
Lane: We paid for our own investigation, as we have over the years paid for our own investigations of the assassination of President Kennedy, and Dr. Martin Luther King. I lecture at colleges, and all the funds I’m paid for those lectures go to the Citizen’s Commission of Inquiry. Don Freed is the same thing. We’re the support of the organization.
And here are people who’ve been there recently. I want you to identify yourselves, and if there are any questions for them, I think you might find that use for the thing. If any of you want to, if after the (unintelligible) of questions are concluded, any you want to talk to individually, with any of the people who’ve been there, feel free.
Q: Mr. Lane, we did have a reporter who requested six months ago, who requested permission to visit the Peoples Temple in Jonestown, and was turned down.
Lane: Who’s he with?
Q: KPIX, Channel 5.
Lane: I don’t know about that one, why don’t we talk about that later, if you’re still interested, (unintelligible) we can arrange that. Let me tell you about the time some months ago when shots were fired, for a period of six days. I’m suggesting that KPIX was there firing shots.
Q ([Maralee] Beck): Thank you.
Lane: But someone was. And this creates a kind of an atmosphere of great concern. And one of the key people who arranged the campaign, and we know the trek they went on, we know that they had rockets, which they were prepared to fire into the generator – there are four people there, including (unintelligible)–
Q (Beck): I can guarantee if we had gotten that far, we would not have stopped to shoot our rockets. (snide)
Lane: I’m not suggesting that you would (unintelligible) that kind of activity. What I’m saying is that the person who actually helped organize this, was there in the bush in the jungle, has made full and complete statements to us. Now, he was second in command in the efforts to destroy Jonestown. He’s now made full and complete statements to us as to what his role has been, how he found out about the fund of the operation, how he got– what country he went into in order to get into the bush, where they had rockets there, were prepared to fire rockets and wipe out the generators. Four children were stationed at the generator, including two children of Jim Jones’ at that time. When the rockets were fired, it would have killed them, if they were accurately fired. What I’m saying is that this creates certain concern, which–
Q: Who is the person’s employer?
Lane: Who sent him?
Lane: Well, we’ll have to get to that later as you get closer to the suit–
Q: Mr. Lane, could we have the people introduce themselves?
Lane: Yeah, we’ll do that right now. But what I’m saying is that this kind of an atmosphere – this bunch has gone down, as you know, there are extremely continually hostile attacks – this kind of an atmosphere creates a kind of fortress mentality among the people who are there. If you’re shot at for six days – the bullet, I’m told by several people, missed Jim Jones by a very short distance when the firing was taking place – when this kind of campaign takes place, they’re very concerned about anyone just dropping in. But, I think there’s no problem if KPIX wants to have somebody go there. Someone who’s really going there with an open mind, I think they’ll be no problem–
Q: Do you know if that person or persons had friends or relatives in Jonestown?
Lane: No, they did not. The person who was on our tour?
Q: No. The person you say was involved in the rocket firing.
Lane: No. No friends or relatives. A chief investigator, paid person, chief investigator for the operation. He had no friends or relatives there. He may have known somebody, but he has no friends, he certainly had no relatives there.
Q: Are you implying that the financing for that trip was intelligence money, and if it was, (unintelligible)?
Lane: I believe that that’s a very good possibility. It’s– you know, when you start listing– I don’t have proof of that, we have some evidence – above all we have a certain amount of logic – when you start thinking, who would put up hundreds of thousands of dollars to destroy this organization and we can trace back the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and when you find out that money is being laundered through a Latin American country, which we know, we have some copies of a bank drafts. And the person that paid large sums of money didn’t earn it. Not this person, another person – his principle, his principle–
Q: His principle being his employer.
Lane: The person who ordered the investigation–
Q: What you’re asking us to do is not the same thing Kathy Hunter did, but it’s awfully difficult to charge up two tickets to Washington, DC as costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. You give us those two names, you understand what I mean, there’s quite a gap there.
Lane: When you have 20 people going from the United States, 20 people from the United States, in the most circuitous route through the jungle of a country, and going there well armed, we’re not talking about $2000 anymore. And $25,000 being paid to a lawyer, we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about the massive propaganda campaign Mr. Freed made reference to, in all the key cities of North America where there are large communities of Guyanese people. When we have weeks of lobbying, numbers of people in Washington, the State Department, over 100 members of the United States Congress. We’re talking about a massive effort. Now, when you try to think of who could’ve done that, when you think of the role played by the American Embassy, the Federal Communications Commission, the Internal Revenue Service, that we have documented. Have all of this documented. And you wonder, who is putting up several hundred thousand dollars. And you start listing the organizations that might have the money, and likely interested in this, you have– perhaps you might start with the retired circus clowns – they don’t seem to be the appropriate group. And when you go through all of the groups, who do you end up with? I mean, we are not children anymore, we’ve grown up a lot since Watergate, we’ve seen the COINTELPRO program, we’ve seen efforts to destroy the Black Panther Party, we’ve seen efforts now – all documented –(unintelligible) we’ve seen documented efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to destroy Dr. Martin Luther King, we’ve seen efforts to destroy the Socialist Workers Party, we now have one more pattern, more than one (unintelligible) in terms of how these operations appear to go, and they appear to be identical with the operation conducted against Peoples Temple. We’ll have much more specific information as we get responses to our application under the Freedom of Information Act, a lot more specific information, as we (unintelligible) our discovery proceedings after the action is brought in the Federal District Court.
Freed: I’ll just add that our research includes efforts to destabilize both the governments of Guyana and Jamaica by the Central Intelligence Agency. I’ll just say that we have a converging lines of research here, and that is one of the reasons for our original interest in the Peoples Temple. Not only that but the 1200 people and the particularly remarkable story that is theirs, but our ongoing and previous investigation into Central Intelligence Agency activities under various covers in Guyana, Jamaica, and other elements in Latin America.
Lane: We did say were (unintelligible) people here, there, and would answer questions then, and if any of you have any other questions of Don or myself, we’ll be here as long as you wish so (unintelligible).
Collier: I’m Leona Collier, and I just finished a two-week visit to Guyana, and I have a niece there, 19 years old.
Johnson: I’m Frances Johnson, and I too just returned, Friday night as a matter of fact, from Guyana, and from Jonestown where I have spent a considerable period of time recently. Two of those 1200 people are my loved ones, and they are certainly free to come back to America any time they wish. They choose not to do so at this time – they love it there. My mom was a mental patient, is now doing quite well, she is talking on the level of a college grad. There’s an educational program there in Jonestown for people who never had an education before. There are seniors there who are learning to read and write for the first time in their lives. My son, whom I would have lost here in this country – he had no purpose in life, he was suicidal – and he’s now doing beautifully there. He is involved in the construction of houses there in Jonestown. And I just want to say that, for me, Jonestown represents an opportunity for many of my people to actually experience freedom. I think here, we’ve always labored under the promises of freedom but we didn’t really experience it, and being in Jonestown, they are experiencing it. It’s a beautiful place. I can’t wait to go back.
Q: Have you been living there the past year and a half?
Johnson: For the last two months.
Q: And how old is your son?
Johnson: My son is 20. He turned 20 on August 3. And my mom is 53 years old.
Q: So the three of you are (unintelligible) together.
Johnson: That’s true.
Fortson: My name is Hue Fortson, and my wife and my three-year-old son are down there, and I lived down in Jonestown for 4 ½ months, and I’m back now because I’m into a project, I’m into tropical fish, that’s my project and the jungle is a perfect place for that. As you know, South America is one of the largest areas of tropical fish, and that’s the study I’m in to. But I lived there for 4 ½ months, and I’ll be glad to get back, because it’s a beautiful place to live.
Q: What were you doing here before you went to Guyana?
Fortson: Here, I’m one of the associate pastors here, and I helped here with the ministerial work.
Freed: I would like to say that Ms. Johnson is an extremely talented performer and director, and the cultural activities of theater and music and dance is stunning – I have a background in the performing arts myself, and I was absolutely stunned at the sophistication and professionalism there. The almost daily music, day and night, there’s cultural activities going on. Ms. Johnson had a considerable reputation in the United States, I’m sure has added to that.
Adams: My name is Paula Adams, and I have lived in Guyana for nearly five years, and I’m visiting here. I lived in Jonestown part of that time, and Georgetown part of that time, and I have been back in the United States three times to visit. And I can say you can come and go as you please. I was one of the three that Mr. Lane mentioned, had the opportunity to be the first that went and cut their way through the jungle, and that was a moving experience. And I’ve seen Jonestown grow. It’s the most beautiful place in the world as far as I’m concerned.
Marceline: My name is Marceline Jones, and I’m the wife of Jim Jones, I have been for 29 years. He has always been in the business of helping people, helping oppressed people, he’s done a lot of exciting things, but I would like to say that what is happening in Jonestown is the most exciting thing of my life. All of our children are there. I’m a nurse in background, 30 years, I worked for the State Department of Health here inspecting health facilities, I’m especially interested in children, and the geriatric problem that we have here. I’m very fussy about what happens to (unintelligible) of older people, and I’m also very very particular about health care. I can say that the people in Jonestown and the surrounding area get good health care. I can’t imagine– I don’t even know how to answer the sort of things that have happened in the last year and a half, because I have never known my husband [to make] a decision that’s not for justice and for good. And as I’ve said many times, in 29 years the honeymoon’s over, or you’ve decided you’re married to a very very special person. And I see in Jonestown the kind of creativity that Jim Jones has encouraged all of his life, out of people who believe in total economic and racial equality. And he’s never made it a secret what he believes in, he’s been very courageous about what he believes in. And we have a beautiful community in Jonestown. I’m happy to be back here, to see all of our people here that are trying to live what we believe in, but if I had a choice where I’d rather stay, it would be Jonestown, in the jungle of Guyana, because of the beauty of the freedom there.
Lane: Any questions of any of the people that spoke?
Q: Yes, Mrs. Jones, why has not your husband returned to the United States to respond to any of these charges?
Marceline: One of the reasons is that his attorneys advised him not to. The other reason lies in the present need, the organization felt, that at this point in time his presence in Guyana is very important, to secure the building of the community there. He is very conscientious about seeing that his people get the kind of care that they need, whether it be medical, food, education, and our organization decided that if our people were going there, or any people going there, that his presence is necessary in order to– his leadership is necessary. There are a lot of creative people there, and as I say, that’s one of the things that is tremendous about his leadership is that he encourages creativity, and there’s very creative people under his leadership. And (unintelligible) so far as I’m concerned, from my viewpoint.
Lane: My guess is that he’ll be coming back here fairly soon.
Q: What legal problems might your husband face that are determining (unintelligible)?
Marceline: I’m not – I don’t know, I’m not in a position to answer that, I know that he’s not– the only thing he is guilty of is wanting to build a better world.
Q: You’re living here, and–
Marceline: I am here now, I’ll go back.
Lane: You just arrived a little while ago.
Marceline: Yes, I arrived two weeks ago.
Q: When do you think that Jim Jones is coming back?
Lane: Well, I’m not his attorney, he has another lawyer. But when I spoke to him about – well, obviously when you [Marceline] were there, it was about two weeks ago – I spoke with him about two weeks ago, and he said that he decided that, despite whatever advice he may be getting, he thinks that it would be wise for him to return. He worries over the questions, and to respond to all the questions, and he’s expecting to come back very soon. I don’t have a date.
Q: Did you talk to Forbes Burnham, or any members of the Guyana government?
Lane: I didn’t talk to Forbes Burnham. I haven’t talked to Jimmy Carter since he was elected either. Some people it’s hard to talk with. But I have talked to six different members of the cabinet of the government of Guyana, including the person in charge of national intelligence, the secretary that has the responsibility to cover his intelligence work. And I talked to the minister whose responsibility is health, education, and welfare (unintelligible), but the people who cover those areas. And I talked to a Catholic priest in Guyana, and I talked with nearly all of the reporters including the stringers for The New York Times and Time magazine, and the editors of the newspapers, and I talked to the leadership of the opposition party, and I talked to the leadership of the government party.
Q: Do you think they fear that pressure from the United States from the State Department is going to affect them in the (unintelligible) about Jonestown? After all, they’re a poor country, and–
Lane: They’re a poor country, and they’re relying on the United States for a certain amount of assistance at the present time, and it’s a matter of concern. But I think that, first of all, there is a very deep feeling among the people I talked to in government about what Jim Jones is doing. Second, you may recall that the Guyana Airlines plane carrying many Cuban athletes, which was blown up by people associated [with] – but now we know it was – the Central Intelligence Agency, carried 16 Guyanese doctors and other medical workers. Sixteen. Which was a good portion of that poor country’s whole medical staff. And you can imagine the concern when it was developed [determined] at that time that it was people connected with the Central Intelligence Agency, and wiping out such a large portion of this poor country’s medical staff, and that’s certainly hardened their position towards the United States, and it changed it somewhat. And that’s on one hand, losing doctors– because of the actions of American intelligence they lost those doctors, and secondly, the only doctor in hundreds of miles around that area, in the interior, is a doctor made available by Peoples Temple, who is making his services available, and all the services of that community are available to anyone in the country who walks in. That, and the fact that there are a group of people who are doing just what the government has asked its own citizens to do, go into the interior and clear the land, and make the jungle bloom in service of the people – the only people doing that are Americans. So while there’s pressure that has been brought– I know from talking with people in the government, that 57 members of the United States Congress have launched their own protest, which is United States government not to mention the State Department, and the effort of the American Embassy. But they have withstood all of that, and I think basically that the politics of it indicates that some of their assistance comes from the United States. That therefore means something. On the other hand, they have a deep commitment to what they see developing in their own country. Their future lies in the development of their own country, not on reliance on the United States.
Q: How much has been spent on this? (unintelligible, related to aid from US)
Lane: I don’t know how much exactly–
Q: A lot? A little?
Lane: They said it was substantial. People (unintelligible), members of the government, it’s sort of embarrassing to ask them, a socialist country, how much money comes from the United States, but– reporters there indicated that to me. And there still is an American kind of presence. The editor of the Chronicle, which is the largest newspaper, the editor told me he had visited the United States, that he had been brought here on a tour by the United States State Department. He said they showed him all the high points of America, they took him to Nebraska and Southern Illinois. Not really (unintelligible) called the high spots up on America. Maybe he’s lucky he ever reached there, as a matter of fact, he’s very black. Southern Illinois, (unintelligible) tried cases there. Nebraska – that’s very close to Wounded Knee, where I was the attorney, and made motions for change of venue, on studying the community of that portion of Nebraska, where we were going to have the trial there, decided to try it in South Dakota rather than Nebraska. So I know something about those parts. In any event, he has been sent on tours of the United States by the United States State Department. And there are still all lot of people, as that government changes slowly, a lot of people who have very close relations with the United States and the United Kingdom. So there is not just a natural tie, but the governmental ties which are continued, but important people in opinion-making positions in Guyana–
Q: What you said about members of Congress protesting–
Lane: They were visited by Steve Katsaris, they were visited by Tim Stoen, who was a former assistant district attorney. They were told that this is a concentration camp where – I think the charges have been published enough in the area but – they told all of these charges, that it’s a concentration camp, with barbed wire. Kathy Hunter reported the State Department to– I will say this for KCBS, that they did report that the American Embassy has visited the area, and that of course none of these charges are true. Kathy Hunter goes on to say there’s an electronic field around the entire area, with barbed wire, machine guns – none of that is true. The National Enquirer, in fact, had “fly in”. When they (unintelligible) they decided they’d fly over very low, and photographed the area. There is no barbed wire, there are no weapons, there are no jails, none of those things. It’s the most open and beautiful society that I’ve ever seen. And I may be fooled, I’ve been told that I may have been fooled, that Jim Jones trained all these people to act for the four days that I was there in that fashion. If so, the Academy Award for 1978 as Director should go to Jim Jones. It did fool me. And after that, the investigations of this kind in the past– At the request of the government of the State of New York back in the 50s, I investigated schools for mentally retarded children run by the State of New York. And there was a serious effort on their part to fool me. It took me about 15 seconds to figure that out, not that I’m a genius, but that it’s very hard to tell children to lie.
Q: Mr. Lane, you also conducted an investigation that indicated that James Earl Ray was in a gas station when the shots were fired–
Lane: That’s right. Now, I don’t think we ever said he was in a gas station. We said this: because 6:01 p.m. on April 4, 1968 didn’t stick in his mind at that moment as of any importance, because he didn’t know Dr. King was going to be shot at that time. As he put it together, he was on his way to a service station, or leaving a service station at that time. And that’s true, and the witnesses bear that out. If you’re referring to the (unintelligible) job done by the House Select Committee on Assassinations, I can only tell you this: that the first person to state that he saw James Earl Ray in that service station is a black service station attendant named Willie Green, who told that to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was reported saying that in the Memphis Press Scimitar and the Memphis Commercial Appeal, he said that back in 1968, and he’s never been questioned by the House Committee on Assassinations. He’s the first one to corroborate that. The second person was a man named Thomas Wilson, and I conducted an interview with him, and as soon as I had that interview, I give it to Robert Maynard, who is the counsel for the Select Committee in charge of the King assassination. I gave him a tape, a copy of the original tape, and a copy of the original transcript, and I said, “Interview him!” – this man saying that he saw Ray in that service station. The next person I interviewed was Dean Cowden, who told me the same thing, and I did a tape recording of that, and I gave that to the Select Committee and I said, “Check it out.” Now they have certain powers that I don’t have. That’s why I spent two years of my life trying to get that committee established, because they have subpoena power. They can call a witness and they can put him under oath. If he lies, they can charge him with perjury, the Department of Justice can charge him with perjury. So they have power which I don’t have. When I asked questions and they don’t like the answer, they can, as they have in the past, “(unintelligible) the microphone, the interview is over.” I conducted those interviews, and gave them to the Select Committee, and they have been able to question those people and find out what the information was.
A year later, Thomas Wilson died. They had never questioned him, ever. He has never been questioned by anyone on the House Select Committee. They then did question Dean Cowden, and he said that he was told to tell that story. He didn’t tell it just to me. For years, he told that story all around Memphis, and anyone investigating this case had an absolute obligation to get that down on tape, and give it to the United States Congress, and ask them to investigate, and they went a long long time before they did. My history in terms of investigating this case goes back over the years. I worked very closely with Senator Schweiker, when he was a member of the Church Committee investigating the Kennedy and King assassinations. And in that instance, when I worked with him, he always said, if you have any lead, bring it to me, and I’ll examine it. And I was reluctant to give him anything except hard evidence, I said, “I don’t want to be judged by information which may pan out.” He said, well, that’s what we’re here for. We have the power, give us every lead you have. When Richard Sprague was the first General Counsel of the first House Select Committee on Assassinations, he said the same thing. I gave him a lot of leads. A lot of them turned out, and a lot of them did not turn out. In any investigation, about 99% of the things you pursue don’t turn out. This was one that didn’t turn out, I never said that it would turn out. I just thought that since this man was telling the story all over Memphis, it was relevant to give that information to the committee and I did, because they had been caught with their pants down by offering the American people a police officer from England, who they claimed was a man of sobriety, who was in fact a crook – he had been prosecuted by Scotland Yard. In order to answer that, they brought Cowden up, and had their extravaganza, in what I think was an excess of McCarthy-like zeal, in view of congressional investigations. I’ll tell you this: there is more information now on the murder of Dr. King, and the Select Committee has it. And everything that we have said has proven to be true. Everything. And I’ll tell you this: the Select Committee knows who killed Dr. King. And they know it was not James Earl Ray. I have absolute proof of that. And when that information is released, either by the Select Committee, or if we have to do it ourselves, we’ll do it, the ultimate documentation– When that information is released, you’ll see very clearly who killed Dr. King and why, and the committee in Congress knows it was not James Earl Ray. They know that now.
Q: When do you anticipate they will release this?
Lane: I’m hoping that they will release it – if they don’t, I will. He is supposed to testify in November, he is available to testify. Whether or not the Select Committee will allow him to– they’re on record as saying they’ll come back in November. But they left a certain (unintelligible) – it’s the first time I remember a congressional committee abandoning its work, and (unintelligible) activity. They said he’d be back in November, at that time, if they don’t call him back (unintelligible) and they (unintelligible) to call him back, which is a very public commitment– I’ll probably release it in November in any event, unless the committee does. And I believe you’ll be astonished by what the Select Committee has discovered. I believe that they know the names of the people involved. Not just the name of the trigger man, but the names of those involved in the planning of it. (unintelligible)
Marceline: Is it all right if I refer back to the (unintelligible) some time ago?
Marceline: About our people (unintelligible) Jonestown. And it is true that Jonestown is a somewhat isolated area. But I would like to say that on a few different occasions, our young people – a hundred of them – came to Georgetown to be in a culture show, at the cultural center in Georgetown. A hundred of them were free to go to the U.S. Embassy at any time, if they wanted to leave. Among them were children of the “concerned parents,” over there. As a matter of fact, I do know that Don met Maria Katsaris in Georgetown – very free to go to the U.S. at any time. But I want you to know that’s our boat goes up and down the river with our people. And again, they’re doing the Christmas show in Georgetown, and so they are in and out of Jonestown, and they are not held there.
Lane: Do we have questions of anybody?
Lane: Those of you who wish to talk to any of the people who’ve been to Jonestown, please remain. Thank you very much, for very good probing and developing questions.
Q: I have a couple of questions. People have mentioned specifically all people who have personal gripes against the Temple. What makes you think that they are affiliated with anybody else? (Probably from Maloney, Progress)
Lane: I don’t know if they do have an affiliation with (unintelligible) or anyone else. There’s no question but that they are being assisted. One of the best ways I think we’ve countered over the years, to trace outside influence and often, intelligence influence, is the expenditure of huge sums of money.
Q: You don’t think it didn’t totally start that way? But by now, they are being–
Lane: Yes, precisely.
Q: Is that a correct–
Lane: Yes, that’s correct.
Q: They didn’t necessarily start with that motivation, but by now are assisted–
Lane: You put it exactly. They didn’t necessarily start that way at first, but now they’re being manipulated by these agencies. And [I] think that’s exactly the way I would put it. I’m not saying that they didn’t start that way. You see, you start with Tim Stoen, who comes on as a Marxist and a socialist, and that’s the way he comes on to Peoples Temple, and you discover he was involved in an incident at the Berlin Wall– and was arrested, he claims by the KGB, and came back from on a tour from Rotary International, talking about happy smiling faces in West Germany, and the people behind barbed wire – the same charge made against Jonestown – made against the people–
Q: Two other questions–
Lane: What I’m saying is, when you trace them back and you find that he goes to American University, and studied for the foreign service for the United States government, and then all of a sudden he emerges as counsel for Peoples Temple as a full-blown socialist in a short period of time, either he’s made an almost miraculous transformation – it’s possible, but it seems unlikely – or he came in with a purpose different from the one that he stated. He never told the people in Peoples Temple about his first public exposure, and that is as an anti-Communist crusader at the Berlin Wall some years ago. Had he told them that, I think they would have looked a little more closely at his credentials as a Marxist.
Q: You said that 20 people hacked their way through the jungle, and were going about this shooting incident and stuff like that–
Q: You’re basing your knowledge of that on testimony from what? You implied that it was just one guy, whom you wouldn’t name. Would you give me more detail?
Lane: Yeah. Well, first of all, testimony as to what the result of that trek was–
Q: Why do they have to hack their way through the jungle if roads existed?
Lane: Well, let me just tell you. One thing at a time. First of all, the evidence which we have, but the result of that trek, comes from many many people in Jonestown who were under fire for six days, who were aware of the fact that shots were coming in from the outside. And included in that are people who were veterans of the war in Vietnam, who were able to make some assessment– guess as to the kind of weapons, the number of weapons, where they were coming from. There were shots fired. A lot of shots at a lot of times.
Q: When did this happen?
Lane: What was the date?
Marceline: It was about a year ago. It was in September.
Lane: So that’s the first statement, that comes from many many people, who saw the result of that. As to the trek itself, the person in charge of that trek, not just one person although it is just one perso – the person who was in charge of that trek, who had access to a large plane standing by some distance away – has made a full and complete statement to us about what he did, and what their plans were, and how they were armed. Not who gave them arms, but–
Q: Now this person – and you won’t name this person – was he employed by any American agency?
Lane: He works for Interpol.
Q: He works for Interpol?
Q: Is he a staff person for Interpol, or has he been (unintelligible)
Lane: (unintelligible) He has worked for other people as well.
Q: Was the purpose intimidation?
Lane: I want to answer your question, your earlier question: that is, why would he bother to go through the jungle when there are roads? If you want – there’s only one road – in fact, there is no road from Georgetown to Jonestown. You cannot go – you can go from Jonestown to Matthews Ridge, and from Matthews Ridge, you can fly to Georgetown. You can go to Georgetown to just by the side of Jonestown by railroad. And you can drive on the road which – from the railroad stop – not a station just to stop, a distance not very far to Jonestown. But there is no surreptitious way to drive into the community. You either fly in with your rocket launchers and your rockets and your bazookas, which probably would be noticed by other people if you get on the plane. Or you packed all that into a train, or you go in surreptitiously through another country. And I assume, because they were involved in a surreptitious action, that was why they chose – it’s not an easy place to get to.
Q: If their purpose was not to destroy Jonestown, was it to intimidate people that live there?
Lane: It had that effect. It certainly was very upsetting, especially for elderly people, who were being shot at for the first time in their lives. The children– it had a very disturbing effect. Many people I’ve talked to, talk about that – that nightmare. Their purpose was at first, they said, he says – the person in charge of the expedition – was to destroy the generators, wipe out the electricity, and then break in there, and “free” to children. Cut through the barbed wire, destroy the landmine field, the electronic strip, etc., then bring the children. They were going to kidnap the children. When they got there, they saw no barbed wire, they realize there were no– anything like a land mine, not a single weapon in the place that they could see – and the children (and there was no electronic field) – and the children walking around freely.
Q: Then why did they fire their rifles?
Lane: That’s a good question, we don’t have a satisfactory answer. But they did not go forward with the program of firing the rockets, and trying to kidnap the children. They reached the conclusion that the children were not being held captive.
Q: They brought no one out with them?
Lane: No. They made no attempt. They decided there was no reason, because the people were walking around freely.
Q: Can you give us an idea who was behind it? Or do you know who was behind it?
Lane: I don’t know who was behind it at this point. I suspect that when we get all the evidence, it will point towards intelligence organizations in this country.
Q: Why? What is it that makes you think there’s [a] definite connection between intelligence organizations and the effort to destroy Jonestown?
Lane: Well, we know – we don’t “think” there was an effort by intelligence to destroy Jonestown and the Peoples Temple and Jim Jones. That we know. We’ve seen enough documentation of that. We’ve seen the agencies of government involved in a campaign to destroy the Peoples Temple.
Q: You’ve told us about the FCC, but you haven’t told us–
Lane: In a minute. There are many many many areas that–
Q: What about these other agencies–
Freed: Let me just say about the Bay Area, I’m sure you’re familiar with the identification of the Treasury – of agents of the United States Treasury Department attempting to use Dennis Banks’ extradition hearings as a ploy for a denunciation of Peoples Temple and Jonestown. And Mr. Banks – despite the enormous pressure being put on him at that time before Governor Brown’s intervention – went public with that. We have seen documented the agent of the Treasury and his confederates. So, even here locally in the Bay Area you’re certainly aware of that one federal agency’s rather dramatic involvement in this affair.
Lane: There is an addition to that. The Post Office– there’s a memo, an improper memo which orders the Post Office not to send Social Security checks to the people who are entitled to them if they’re living in Jonestown. And that’s–
Q: This hardly sounds like a conspiracy to destroy an entire community. That’s what I’m so confused about (you could probably drop an A-bomb on about one and she’d still claimed confusion – Maralee Beck, Channel 5). And why do you think that– detail for me why you think the CIA and the FBI are sending in people with mortars absolutely trying to destroy this community.
Lane: Well, it may hardly seem that way to you. But if you are in Jonestown, you might take a different view. The fact is that people there– Jonestown exists because a lot of money has been raised by a lot of people, but part of the income comes from people’s Social Security checks who were there. And the effort to prevent every single Social Security check, which these people– now this is not charity, now, these people have earned this, it’s their money, and it is a crime to prevent them from getting that. That’s conspiracy to commit grand larceny. And when you find illegal efforts by the United States Post Office – and we have the documentation of that – saying “don’t send those checks”, and the post office says, “we don’t know where that memo came from”, but it’s there, that is a very important building block in putting together the evidence around this.
(MB tried to interrupt)
Lane: Wait a minute, let me finish, because you said each one doesn’t do it, I want to give you a few of them, see if all together it makes a picture you can recognize – put it in blocks together. You see a Treasury agent going to Dennis Banks, who is really in a very tenuous position here – if it were not for Governor Brown’s determination not to extradite him, he might not be alive today. Russell Means, who was his colleague – I represented Dennis Banks in the Wounded Knee trial, the trial of Dennis Banks and Russell Means – Russell Means has been convicted and he’s gone to jail. There has already been an attempt to kill him in the penitentiary in South Dakota, and we fear the same thing would happen with Dennis Banks. His life may be involved, and when he’s approached by a Treasury agent, saying we want you to attack Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple, and in essence if you do, and you’ll be okay, if you don’t, you’re in a lot of trouble – that’s another block. When you put them all together – the Federal Communications Commission, the work done by the Internal Revenue Service, when you put it point by point by point together, which is exactly what the Socialist Workers Party did– and there is no question now that the Attorney General Griffin Bell is saying, “give them the money,” that’s what he said in court: “Give them the millions of dollars they want,” now that’s the Socialist Workers Party – “Give them the millions of dollars they want”, that’s what he said in open court – “I won’t give you the names of these informants, and I don’t want anymore information revealed about what we did to the Socialist Workers Party – give them $9 million, but don’t make us make the files available.” That’s a very powerful case, it’s a precedent-shattering case, and historic work has been done by Leonard Boudin in bringing that material to this point. And I’ve met with Leonard Boudin, I know what he’s doing. And I can tell you that we are so far ahead in putting together the evidence of a conspiracy against Peoples Temple – ahead of where they were when they filed their summons and complaint, that we– there’s no doubt in my mind that we have built – we have assembled the evidence now, so that as we move forward, and as we have discovery proceedings, and we get additional information from the Freedom of Information Act – under that act – our case will essentially become more powerful. And if you approach this from the position of: “Things like this don’t happen in America,” then it’s very hard to convince anyone. But if you approach it with the understanding that things like this have happened regularly, and are happening now, if you read– Most people don’t even know for example, Daniel Ellsberg was a resident of this general community– that Charles Colson ordered Magruder, saying he got a direct order from Richard Nixon, according to Magruder, to have Ellsberg killed, when he spoke on the steps of the Capitol, and most people don’t know that, and he has the memos to take them up in court – that’s why Colson pleaded guilty in the Watergate case, because they have fat. And who do they send there? Sturgis, Barker, 11 of the Watergate crew flown up from Miami to Washington, led by Sturgis and Barker, and when they were finally arrested as they started to attempt this attack, who freed them? Two men walked over, showed CIA credentials, and that was Hunt and Liddy, and that’s why Sturgis and the others were free. This sounds like a fairy tale, but it’s all documented. And when you put all of these things together, but you have to narrow lines, and you begin to understand how intelligence works. And the firing into Jonestown is a modest program compared to some of the other programs that the administrations over the years have been involved in – when you put all that together, and you put the blocks together, bringing to a knowledge of how these organizations work, how they can bring in various organizations to do different things– and you don’t see this all until you actually get to the point where you can prove it, that’s why we have discovery proceedings. We cannot prove everything that we believe now. Some things we can prove. We cannot prove everything, and that’s why you have discovery proceedings, so you can get the specific information. But when we put it all together, I think it becomes very clear that we do have a number of agencies now directly involved. We have a large sum of money sending this expeditionary force there, the killing force, into the jungle– Let me ask you, where did that money come from? You don’t know, and I don’t know. But we certainly have to have some suspicions when we see the other agencies of government involved in efforts to crush this community, and we see large sums of money involved in a military expedition, to destroy this community. And I think that the logic has led us to the conclusion that very likely, these were federal funds.
Q: Mr. Lane, when the lawsuit is filed, will copies be made available to the press, because you have a large number of disbelieving press here (that was the Black Panther Party paper talking). When they see it in black and white, you know, they will–
Lane: We’ll make everything available, whatever is involved, I’m sure of that. And in addition to that, the depositions of each of the people– when the people are asked under oath where they got the money from, where they got their weapons from– when that begins to develop, I think it will become clear, when you had the testimony of the people– this is an early stage. And if you’re saying in essence, this is an early stage, you’re right.
Q: I don’t think that there’s necessarily disbelief. You’re weaving of fabric of plausibility, and we are asking you for specifics–
Lane: Oh, I appreciate–
Q: There’s an enormous difference between the two, you have to know that.
Lane: I agree.
Q: You have to know the difference between what you can say publicly, and print publicly, without some backing–
Lane: I appreciate that. And I don’t think that– and I don’t consider a single question asked to have been a hostile question. I think they’re all probing, intelligent questions.
Q: This man from Interpol – what led him to make his full and complete statement to you?
Lane: Don Freed and I met him about a month ago, and explained to him that the charges that have been made – which he was promulgating – were false charges to our knowledge. And we invited him to go to Jonestown. He said, “Are you serious that I can actually get in there?” We said “Sure.” Now here is the key enemy of the Peoples Temple, and a key enemy of Jonestown. And it was our suggestion that he go there.
Q: This is the man that shot at them?
Lane: Yeah. I’m not saying that he did the shooting, but he was part of that force that went down there. And he went down there with rockets, that’s right, he led this trek through the jungle. And he was invited back there as a guest. And he went there, he stayed there are several days. I wasn’t there then, but I arrived in Georgetown on my way to Jonestown when he had just come out of Jonestown and was in Georgetown. I talked with him, and he said, “I’m satisfied that all the charges are false. All the things that we’ve been told, all the charges that we’ve been making. They are false. I have been misused, and now (unintelligible).”
Q: He apparently made charges. What charges did he make?
Lane: The same thing: concentration camp, beating children, barbed wire. And of course when he got there, there was no barbed wire.
Q: Mr. Lane, you said that your organization’s original interest in this community was because you are already investigating CIA activity in Jamaica and Guyana?
Freed: And elsewhere. This is our orientation as a Freedom of information group.
Q: Where did your investigation into all these other places – Jamaica and Guyana – start, as an organization, your organization?
Freed: Well, as Mr. Lane brought his investigation into the assassination of President Kennedy to wider and wider groups, and after the Pentagon papers and Watergate, there is what has been called a Freedom of Information movement that began in this country. Then large numbers of researchers began considering Mr. Lane the outstanding research historian in the country, began to associate themselves – Dr. Pauling, some of the other people I mentioned – and a community in Washington, with Morton Halperin and others began to function, and my interest, as a teacher and a writer and researcher, was to go out for the murder of President Kennedy into where the trail followed, and the trail led in directions which eventually to a study in Latin America and Africa and elsewhere, of American intelligence activity.
Q: When did your investigation into Jamaica and Guyana start?
Freed: In the late 1960s. And as you know, Mr. Agee and others who have later brought forth evidence– And there’s now a loose grouping, or community, of scholars and researchers of American citizenship worldwide now.
Q: This is primarily of the CIA involvement in those countries?
Lane: The CIA involvement in Guyana is very well documented now, and there’s a great deal of frustration in intelligence organizations in this country about what has taken place in Guyana. Cheddi Jagan, an avowed Marxist, who was trying to bring about a socialist state and Guyana, was in fact the premier at the time that the Central Intelligence Agency played a major part–
Q: This is dating back to the 60s?
Lane: That’s right.
Q: So as far as your information’s concerned, the CIA presence in Guyana, or your belief of it, dates back to the 60s?
Lane: Oh yeah. Let me just say this: that is not our belief of it. It’s documented now. And the Central Intelligence Agency played a major part in deposing Cheddi Jagan, and installed Forbes Burnham. Burnham had admitted that more recently. And Burnham says however, some years ago he offered a statement called the Guyana declaration of (unintelligible), in which he announced that their country’s now on the road to socialism. And it’s his position that he is the only person put in office by the Central Intelligence Agency who used the CIA– who was not used by the Central Intelligence Agency.
Q: Are you telling us, according to your data, but the CIA went down there before Jonestown?
Lane: Oh. Where haven’t they been before Jonestown? But the premier of the country has discussed this openly, that’s correct. And Guyana represents a terrible moment of frustration for the Central Intelligence Agency, for they put in a government, and the government became a socialist government, and started expropriating British property, American property, and making it a nationalized (unintelligible). And this is been discussed openly, and the United States government has feelings of frustration towards what has taken place there.
Q: One other question. Are there any agencies besides the CIA who were not, as most of the agencies you mentioned by name, are people who were specifically asked in the local press, by local people with personal gripes against the Temple to in fact take action. You know, they’re asked to do so. Do you know of any agency that you can document has taken action on the Jonestown matter, that was not asked to do so by either– for instance the State Department was asked to do so by supposedly–
Lane: Well, we don’t know why the Treasury Department went to Dennis Banks with this deal, but I don’t think that anyone of concerned families is asking that– I know, I heard from the highest authority in Guyana, that as I held a press conference down there, that the American Embassy tried to prevent the publication of that story, and (unintelligible) in Guyana. The American Embassy. I know who in the American Embassy. And I don’t suppose anybody in concerned families called up. Now they’re acting in this fashion.
Marceline: I would like to say something before everybody goes. Now I don’t want us to forget that before there was Jonestown, there was a very strong organization called Peoples Temple here in the Bay Area that stood for anybody they felt was being oppressed. It’s not just a matter of trying to destroy Jonestown – everything they say is true – but Jim Jones has given poor people and oppressed people a vehicle in which to work. And he stood with people he considered political prisoners, he stood with Dennis Banks . This organization is very strong, and I personally feel that the only thing they can accuse Jim Jones of doing is to stand with oppressed people, in trying to build a better world. I feel that I just wanted to–
Lane: Thank you. If anyone is interested in some photographs from Jonestown, they’re here, and if anybody wants a picture of (unintelligible), they’re here, and if anybody wants to talk to me individually, I’ll be happy to talk with you about trying to work out a trip down there.
Press conference dismissed. Yvonne Golden talking with him, I guess others past that, some reporters. Mostly unintelligible.