Ham Radio Site Battles For Government Tapes, Documents

In the past year, the Peoples Temple “ham” website has acquired a number of government materials – and attempted to acquire others – through the federal Freedom of Information Act.

*My request for a digitized copy of the original (or a copy of the original) cassette, Q875, was denied on the basis that the FBI did not have the means to fill such a request. Instead, they provided me with another cassette copy, the quality of which is slightly poorer than the copy I received from Alternative Considerations.

*My request to the State Department for copies of the Douglass Ellice tapes (Q1289 and Q1290) was granted in full. See story here.

*My appeal to the Government to review the position of the FBI that the Jonestown Ham Radios (or paperwork related to the disposition of the radios) failed. The original conclusion reached by the FBI that no such materials could be located was supported by the DOJ and the case was closed.

In a related matter, to test if the FBI’s search indices actually worked on not, I made a FOIA requesting documents concerning the movement of the radios according to the numbers assigned to the agency’s investigation of the assassination of Leo Ryan.

The FBI complied with the request, but its release included more deletions than the documents I already had. This leads me to believe two things: The FBI does have a working search-protocol for these documents, but apparently it only finds documents by number. Additionally, someone is doing sensitivity reviews of these materials, updating – and increasing – the redactions that were last made in 1992.

*My request to the FBI to produce the original hard copies of the Jonestown Ham Radio Log Books was only partially approved. Failing to indicate that they had located the originals, the FBI simply supplied me with what I already have: Photo copies of the log books.

* I have made a new FOIA to the State Department regarding the communications and movements of personnel in regards to the initial reports of the November 18th, 1978 tragedy. I have heard from a few sources that small contingents, sponsored by the State Department, had flown into Jonestown the night of the 18th to make some kind of initial assessment of the situation. I have not found any document or hard evidence as of yet to support this claim.

(Joey Dieckman is a regular contributor to the jonestown report. His other articles are Q 875 Discussion Forum Expands to Full Consideration of Jonestown Questions; New documents, tapes appear on Peoples Temple ham radio site; and Am I a Jonestown Apologist?. His complete collection of writings for the site may be found here. He may be reached at joeyjosef@yahoo.com.)