Jonestown – Adkins and the NOIWON report

This article is located at Jim Hougan’s blog, located here. We are grateful to Mr. Hougan for allowing us to post the article on our site as well.

I have received, by cleft stick, authoritative information to the effect that the CIA Chief of Station in Georgetown, Guyana at the time of the Jonestown massacre was James Adkins – and not, as previously reported, the late Richard Dwyer (then the State Department’s Deputy Chief of Mission in Guyana).

Dwyer was identified as a CIA officer by Dr. Julius Mader, the East German author of Who’s Who in the CIA. Kit Nascimento, a former Minister of Information in Guyana, was himself under the mistaken impression that Dwyer was the CIA Station Chief.

But no. It was Adkins.

A veteran spook who’d served in Southeast Asia and Latin America, Adkins was undoubtedly the first American government official to learn of the holocaust at Jonestown. When reports of Congressman Leo Ryan’s assassination at the Port Kaituma airstrip reached the Guyanese capital, Adkins reportedly got on the radio – and stayed on the radio through much of the night – hoping to learn what had happened. Eventually, he did. Late in the evening on November 18, or in the early morning hours of November 19, Adkins made contact with Odell Rhodes, a member of Peoples Temple who’d escaped from Jonestown that same night. Radioing from a police outpost at nearby Matthews Ridge, Rhodes told Adkins of the “murders and suicides” taking place in Jonestown.

Adkins then notified Washington, and an alert was issued by the CIA’s National Operations and Intelligence Watch Officers Network (NOIWON). In this first alert, it was reported (only) that “mass suicides” were taking place in the cult compound. No mention was made of the many murders that were also under way. (Subsequently, the Guyanese government coroner, Dr. Leslie Mootoo, would reveal that most of those who died at Jonestown were murdered.)

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As for Mr. Adkins himself, he came a cropper a few years later in the Iran/Contra fiasco. With respect to this, the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) reports that the Iran/Contra “Independent Counsel found that from January 1986 until October 1986, when lethal U.S. Government aid to the Nicaraguan contras was prohibited, Adkins knew and approved of contra-resupply missions by CIA pilots, in violation of the Boland Amendment. Independent Counsel also found that Adkins approved of the provision of thousands of dollars of aviation fuel to the contras – fuel that was mischarged to CIA accounts – and lied to investigators from the CIA’s Office of Inspector General about his activities. Despite the evidence, Independent Counsel concluded in November 1987 that he would not bring criminal charges against Adkins, principally because prosecution would not have advanced Independent Counsel’s investigation into the Iran/contra affair.

In May 1987, the CIA placed Adkins on administrative leave. The Agency later forced Adkins to resign.

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It is my understanding that Mr. Adkins is currently in Iraq, doing well by doing good.

(Jim Hougan is a regular contributor to this website. His other articles include The Secret Life of Jim Jones: A Parapolitical Fugue, Jim Jones and the Conspiracists and To Be Or Not To Be Was Not the Question. His website is at He may be reached at