Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
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FBI Catalogue: Jones speaking
FBI preliminary tape identification note: Labeled in part “Aug 6 Sunday”
Date cues on tape: mid-August 1978 (refers to Irving Kristol article in Wall Street Journal of August 10, 1978)
Andrew Young, U.S. Ambassador to U.N.
Samuel D. Champlain, explorer
Voltaire, French Enlightenment writer
Henry VIII, English king
Irving Kristol, columnist, conservative philosopher
James Burnham, writer
Forbes Burnham, Guyana Prime Minister (by reference)
Rashleigh Jackson, Guyana Foreign Minister
Hugo Blanco, Peruvian leader of peasant uprisings and land occupations
Francisco Morales Bermudez, president of Peru
Francisco Mendes, aka Chicote, Guinea-Bissau prime minister
Almeida Cabral, Guinea-Bissau president
British Foreign Minister Lord David Owen
Ian Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia
Fidel Castro, leader of Cuba
Queen Elizabeth II of United Kingdom
Pierre Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Jules Leger, governor general of Canada
Malcolm X, black activist with Nation of Islam
Harold Quigley, Chicago activist
Donald Freed, Hollywood producer (by reference)
Moms Mabley, comedienne
Patrick Baxter, police association chairman
Attorney General Griffin Bell
John Kearney, indicted supervisor of the FBI New York office
Robert Havil (phonetic), Justice Department spokesman
Philip Agee, CIA agent
Edward Bennett Williams, Washington attorney
“the Dennis lad” (likely Ronnie)
Norman (could be Norman Ijames)
“[A]nd the truth will make you free.” (John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”)
(Note: This tape was transcribed by Seriina Covarrubias. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
This tape consists of two news broadcasts read by Jim Jones, with the first section being recorded over an earlier reading. Both sections were recorded in Jonestown, both in 1978.
In Part 1, Jones begins by providing an analysis of a Wall Street Journal column by Irving Kristol in which the conservative commentator praises the recently-passed Proposition 13 in California. While the analysis might be unique to Jones, it is more likely that he has picked it up from another source, especially since he seems to supply additional commentary as he reads what is before him. The analysis rails against both Kristol and the newspaper, and concludes with faint praise for the paper – “May it publish for as long as monopoly capital rules” – after which Jones offers an element of his own worldview: “at least until nuclear war comes and destroys most of the working class.”
The news summary also includes stories on elections in Peru, the death of a fighter for liberation in Guinea-Bissau, the cuts in health care provided at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital, the situation in Rhodesia, and a conference of non-aligned nations in Havana.
All the stories include his own commentary. Elaborating upon the story of cuts in health care – which itself was an expansion upon his views on granting tax cuts to the wealthy – Jones talks about a 70-year-old black woman who went to a hospital and had her legs cut off, and who had “no one to take care of her grandchild … when she came home, he was starving to death, laying lifeless nearly.” The elderly are sick, he says, living in dirty, squalid conditions, afraid that they’ll be mugged when they cash their small checks. “What happened to the plight of our old is horrifying in USA,” he concludes.
Jones makes several references about the purposes of making these tapes, and of reading the news in general. After his initial readings, he urges people to consider the tape as a teaching tool. “I demand that you study this tape and I want everyone that has ever been on the floor for going back to have a special class for which they listen to it very closely and have a teacher help them understand it very, very thoroughly.”
But they can use the tape for extra credit as well. Later in the broadcast, he reads an extended description of Canada – its history, its geography, its demographics – and says anyone who can pass a test on the reading “gets extra bonus time, things that you want in the community, because we want to reward knowledge.” The offer does not allow them to shirk their duties or jobs within the community, he adds. Production and work are important. “Because indeed if we don’t build the roads, if we don’t feed ourselves, our knowledge will all be in vain.”
The reading about Canada includes as much of his commentary as he provided with the news. After quoting Voltaire about the use of Christianity to exploit the poor people of Canada, Jones adds, “That’s often been the case everywhere.” When he quotes statistics about employment positions available to men and to women in Canada, he comments, “There is sexism.” And while he has often disparaged television as a distraction and counter-revolutionary – both in Jonestown and before, in California – he describes how television has educated the people of Canada. “[A]fter seeing what progress they have been denied through television… they have been in touch with the world. In that place, television was not harmful, and they have demanded, and are still demanding urgently, their independence.”
Jones talks about the movies that are being shown in Jonestown. Most are political thrillers – Z, State of Siege, The Parallax View – which he says “have something of meat and substance once in a while other than just the comedies.” He also calls upon people to interpret the movies for the children.
Some of Jones’ requests – to keep Jonestown free of litter and uncluttered, to conserve resources by using both sides of paper, to be careful about brushing against blackboards with important lessons written on them – are familiar to the residents of the community, but one is different. He issues an emergency request to the people who have typewriters, even if they’re in disrepair, to provide them to the leadership in anticipation of the arrival of Hollywood producer Don Freed.
Jones talks about the medical services which the Jonestown clinic is providing to the local population. He reminds everyone that they recently saved the life of a woman from Port Kaituma with a small baby, and just the previous week helped a woman who “would’ve died of cancer.”
There are other reminders of the joys and beauty of living in Jonestown, but there is also a reason for mentioning them. Other members of Peoples Temple in Georgetown have been working for the community in Guyana’s capital, but they, like current Jonestown residents, “have to have the knowledge that they’re going to be able to be changed. They don’t like to be in the city. They want to be out here, in the beauty of Jonestown. They don’t like serving in the headquarters.” All the departments in Jonestown have to offer volunteers for rotation into Georgetown.
The second part of the tape – consisting of a partial reading of an earlier newscast – focuses on a Harris survey about American attitudes towards terrorists. People in the US are ready to do what it takes – including surrendering their freedoms – in order to handle revolutionaries. Some of the measures are fairly draconian, he adds, which “shows you how alienated and uninvolved American people are with other people.” He personalizes the message a few moments later when he adds, “That’s the lovely American people that some of you want to get back– Is it worth to get back with them?”
The tape concludes with a Washington Post story about Justice Department lawyers who have resigned due to the attorney general’s failure to investigate allegations of illegal FBI activities. But the attorney general can’t, Jones points out, “because it might cause some of the FBI to talk about the assassinations of our presidents and other things that’ve been done against the American people.”
Date of transcription: 6/11/79
In connection with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigation into the assassination of U.S. Congressman LEO J. RYAN at Port Kaituma, Guyana, South America, on November 18, 1978, a tape recording was obtained. This tape recording was located in Jonestown, Guyana, South America, and was turned over to U.S. Officials in Guyana and subsequently transported to the United States.
On May 25, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B69-10. This tape was found to contain the following:
JONES indicates his critical views of CRYSTOL, a “Wall Street Journal” author who wrote an article on Proposition 13. He provides his political statements on socialism and a historical lecture on early and modern Canada. JONES reports his analysis of the pending JOHN KEARNEY (FBI) trial.
Differences with FBI Summary:
Aside from the error in spelling of the Wall Street Journal column – which Jones spells out letter by letter early in the tape – the summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted January 2006