Why Bring In Help?
That should have been a starkly, even insultingly unnecessary question, with the wounded still strewn across the airstrip (indeed, one nearly lost an arm to gangrene due to the delay); more urgently still, with more people dying at Jonestown every minute that passed.
Well, turns out not an unnecessary question at all, but a NEEDED one. We need address it head-on — to boot, with every brute cynical surmise, to comprehend its reverse: namely, Why NOT Bring In Help?
Namely, since help was accessible and the need urgent, then why did that NOT happen?
I mean, this was A ONE-HOUR FLIGHT IN from the capital city of Georgetown. It was even still bright daylight, as confirmed by the NBC film footage.
Yet help did not arrive until some TWENTY hours later, according to Jacqueline Speier, the Congressman‘s wounded aide on site.
Let me make this explicitly clear from my own first-hand experience:
November 18, 1978 was a Saturday night, hence there was a church service at the Peoples Temple in San Francisco, where I was living at the time.
The services began at 7:30 p.m. I was running a bit late because I was getting out a mailer quoting the Congressman at Jonestown, praising the community the night before.
I did not yet know that the usual nightly contact via ham radio between San Francisco and Jonestown had been inexplicably severed. I was just listening to an AM radio station while I was preparing to finish up and join the night’s church service.
So I would fairly say that it was no later than 7:30 p.m. that night San Francisco time, when I heard an urgent report on the AM radio that Congressman Ryan had been shot while trying to depart Jonestown.
No more than a few hours later (obviously I was glued to the radio all night), the reports escalated to, “It is believed that the people of Jonestown might be taking their own lives.”
(Whatever exact clock time that horrifying news came through, of course, it was, as we will see, still MANY hours prior to the arrival of help.)
O.k. 7:30 p.m. San Francisco time was 11:30 p.m. Guyana time. Plus God knows how many governmental channels this had to go through before hitting an AM radio station in the States!
If some catastrophe had happened, let’s say, in Chicago, then maybe there would be “breaking news” within let’s say an hour. The local police would be all over it, there would be cameras in the streets and it would be American news. But this was the deep dark jungle in a foreign country thousands of miles away. It had to have gone through “channels” — at the least, the American Embassy in Guyana’s capital, Georgetown, or even a go-ahead to release the news from D.C. This was, after all, a United States Congressman!
Yet the news was already being broadcast in the States twelve hours before anyone was even into the area for rescue!
So much for any claim of isolation or no communications; or that no one knew what happened when the Congressman’s plane didn’t arrive — especially since one of the planes, namely the smaller Cessna, DID fly on to Georgetown and knew of the shootings. The defectors on that plane even told the FBI who they “saw.“
(Who they “saw” shooting? No, of course not. They were not even on the ground at the time! But everyone said that the shootings happened. That shots rang out at the other plane, then Larry Layton shot within their plane, Layton escaped out of their plane, then they flew off.)
So the hit on the Congressman was known by an hour, hour-and-a-half after it happened, with radio contact from the Cessna even earlier. But say, it was actually known right away! Tim Reiterman claimed on his schematic of the airstrip (See “The Master Schematic: Tim Reiterman Versus NBC”) that “Pilot [of the larger, Guyana Airways plane, the one that was attacked] Radios Georgetown.” I.e., the plane itself was disabled by tires shot out, but the pilot radioed in.
And as we can now trace on the NBC film footage (see “Tracking the Footwork,”) the CIA attaché to the American Embassy, Richard Dwyer, was at the pilot’s side at the time of the attack, so we know that the CIA headquartered in Georgetown had confirmation immediately.
So what was anyone’s (and by the way, who was “anyone”?) excuse for not sending in help — like, IMMEDIATELY? At the least, paramedics could have been on the scene within two hours of the shootings. Maximum time needed.
Plus since somehow it cleared governmental, then media channels enough to broadcast on AM radio in the States that the entire community of Jonestown might be dying, then why was there that appalling time delay from the time of the airstrip killings, instead of an immediate rescue?
O.k. Am I even suggestingthat we are looking at a “go ahead and just let them die” or even “we need to be SURE that they are all dead before we fly in” scenario?
Oh, no. Who needs to suggest or imply that at all? That much we know.
We also know a lot else. A whole host of actions that had to be, and indeed were taken by the CIA to cover its own tracks and fend off any investigation of the assassination:
Even With the Deaths at Jonestown Ensured, What Did They Need to Do to Fend Off An Investigation?
Let’s say that even from the CIA’s standpoint, that they had an “optimal” outcome — i.e., that following the hit on the Congressman, the mad leader did indeed lead his own into mass death. The optimal outcome for them, the CIA. The one they wanted.
They still had to plan for contingencies in a freakishly-unprecedented scenario. No small job:
- • They first had to ensure that should the cultists opt for mass death, that there was
NO INTERFERENCE WITH THE DEATH PROCESS
- — that any help would arrive too late.
(“The Great Timeline Travesty: TWENTY Hours and Still Counting.“ Panel .)
- • Then they had to
- into Jonestown, by the media, relatives certainly, or even by competing authorities — CIA-controlled forces only. (Note: In this case that would have been the Guyana Defense Force. The local, even the national police were barred for two days.)
Yet days more of delay,
- claiming a hunt for “hundreds of survivors who fled screaming into the jungle” that they knew from the start was not the case.
(“The Great Body Count Snafu.” Panel .)
- • With the added “bonus” of deliberately letting the bodies rot beyond identifiability, necessitating mass graves with no dignified funerals, no questions asked, horror upon horror to even get close.
- • They also had to do the “standard operating procedure” of placing the murder weapon (of
- that is) in the hands of “the patsies” (namely, the dead cultists) to frame them for the Congressman‘s death. And they did that by brutally shooting a young woman at Jonestown post-mortem (as suggested by the evidence), then insinuating (through their conduit at The New York Times) that THAT was the gun also used to kill Leo Ryan. They just then got torpedoed by the unexpected twist that they happened to have “randomly selected for shooting” the ONE person discovered to have written a suicide note, who was clearly a suicide by self-poison. So how to parlay an autopsy result which reveals that the same person was both a willing suicide and also brutally shot? Well, then one LIES. One lies A LOT.
(“The Great Autopsy Disaster.” Panel .)
- • They also had to portray the deaths
- as possible so that the story of the cult who killed
- would stick.
- • Then they still had to ensure that there would
NO CREDIBLE INVESTIGATION
- of the assassination, much less hearings. And the best way to ensure that from the start, was the myth that no, it’s not “all over” at all and now we settle down to investigate. No way!
There was still terrible danger, we were told. Peoples Temple as allegedly dangerous killers ongoing[!] (the mythical “hit squad”), so that any move to investigate what had happened was instead deflected to ongoing fear. “What if they strike again?” (“The Great Hit Squad Myth.” Panel .)
Longer range, they even projected [via however convoluted a path] that somehow ”Peoples Temple was the CIA” — because the Ryan contingent would presume that somehow the CIA had to have done it! Enmity between the CIA and Congressman Leo Ryan was too well-known. So best to plant that one with a close aide (namely, Joseph Holsinger) and the Ryan family real good, so all fingers still got pointed at Jim Jones. (See next section, “The Long-Range Disinformation: Sealing Pandora’s Box.”)
Thus this was a complex, multi-part “POST OPS” following the tragedy itself. Let’s go systematically down the list:
The Great Timeline Travesty: A Tale of TWENTY HOURS (Panel
The Smoking Gun Log
It took twenty years following the tragedy for the government log for that night to reach me from the hands of another researcher. Seemingly by chance. I had not even known that it existed.
I believe that that researcher got all excited because it featured “CIA” right on the government log. Yet unthinkably, it somehow did NOT click in that since the people of Jonestown, including Jim Jones, were already dead when that communiqué came through, that no one from Jonestown was in any POSITION to orchestrate that unconscionably long delay? That there really was/is “a real CIA” (i.e., not just the disinformation fiction of “a Jim Jones CIA”) and that the dastardly delay was on them?
Short answer: No. I do not believe that there was anything patently obvious that occurred to that researcher at all.
Me? I was aghast to see right from an official governmental source what had happened. A key piece of the puzzle from out of nowhere.
Well, that was just the first tip-off that something was tell-tale atypical with the response. A major international catastrophe has happened, the first headline being the killing of a United States Congressman. But even that wasn’t transmitted over a secret CIA radio band, just the mass suicides. Very strange. Almost like a “hold off on any public announcements” — awaiting what?
And we will return to that since by now (not then) it is “an open secret” that the Guyanese government was under CIA control. A small side trip to “CIA Activities In Guyana” in Wikipedia, quoting now-declassified CIA documents will set that one straight. And we will return to that.
But the first shock to absorb is the outlandish delays all along the timeline of the log. A bit like slow-walking one’s way to a five-alarm fire. Let’s clock out exactly what happened:
Clocking Out the Hours of NO RESCUE
The Congressman was killed at an airstrip at 4: 15 p.m. Guyana time on November 18, 1978. Four others as well. Others were wounded with no one coming to their aid for TWENTY HOURS according to the Congressman’s aide, now herself Congressional Representative Jackie Speier.
The deaths at Jonestown probably commenced 30-60 minutes later and took, by some (probably realistic) estimates, about five-six hours. It is unclear what kind of optimally-timed intervention might have saved them and from whom and where. But TWENTY HOURS?
No one knew what had happened at the airstrip, much less at Jonestown? No one radioed anything in? No one ran away for help? There were no towns in the area? The towns had no police, much less an army post? Were there really raging thunderstorms that kept law enforcement professionals, the army and/or police, from walking (or driving!) a few miles down the road, even though every escapee from Jonestown managed to find his way to help on foot and alone, terrified, in the dark?
The Cover Story
O.k. Let’s first cut through the manipulated confusion. The New York Times’ Nicholas M. Horrock’s version on December 1, 1978 (Horrock having been their CIA pipeline as shown in “The Great Injections Fiasco”) was that news of the deaths at Jonestown got to Georgetown through some circuitous lengthy route that we might even believe were true were it not transparently false.
Namely, Horrock wrote, that escapees from Jonestown had purportedly made it (a rough hike!) to Matthews Ridge, an adjoining town, to the ARMY post there. Then that not a military commander, but somehow instead a POLICE OFFICER got word to Georgetown the capital in the middle of the night, to “a Guyanese police official who was working as an agent for the CIA and reported it to the agency”:
Then the CIA (or the police, for that matter!) dispatched who? The police? No. Of course not. They dispatched the military, the Guyana Defence Force, either from Matthews Ridge or another army post. And by the way, they took A REALLY LONG TIME to do it.
But let’s return to Horrock’s story which was the CIA’s story, or their “cover story” so to speak. Which allegedly accounts for the UNCONSCIONABLY LONG DELAY while also throwing us other twists.
The escapees allegedly arrived at an ARMY post, yet Horrock is outing THE POLICE as CIA? Should be fireable anyway, if he was actually outing any real CIA agent, but he wasn’t since it was an army post, not a police station, But say, if you are confused, well, you were supposed to be!
Just A Planted Story to Divert and Conceal That This Delay Was DELIBERATE
Turns out that the whole story was just a planted diversion anyway, since most escapees went to Port Kaituma, a much closer, hikeable place — not to Matthews Ridge at all, which Nicholas Horrock himself wrote in the New York Times on December 14 was “twenty miles from Jonestown and roadless.”
(As relayed in her book, “The Slavery of Faith,“ Leslie Wagner-Wilson and a small group from Jonestown took a full day’s hike to Matthews Ridge arriving at dusk, but brought no information with them. So this wasn‘t “roadless,” as Horrock himself later claimed; but it was hardly a quick hike either. Those who escaped at the last all went to much-closer Port Kaituma.)
So Horrock told a STORY about how the news got to Georgetown. Made up. It didn’t happen that way and his handlers knew it. Possibly it was even done in part to cover that they had a CIA agent right on site at the airstrip, namely, Richard Dwyer. (See “Execution” Tracking the Footwork.”)
Who, as we will prove, radioed in news of the killings at the airstirp immediately. Well, the timeline on calling in the Guyana Defence Force to the airstrip could have been immediate as well! It was even still daylight. So let’s put the shock right here up front: Namely, that the excessive time delay was deliberate.
But instead, we were given a convoluted story. Leaving the impression that the only way to learn of what had happened was some impossible trek to Matthews Ridge. Not to much-closer Port Kaituma, much less from their own agent on site, Richard Dwyer.
And at that, that no authorities at Matthews Ridge could possibly have known what was happening except for escapees from Jonestown making their way through reported “bad weather and mud” in an undoable twenty-mile trek, and then those poor soldiers struggling to trek the twenty miles back through the bad weather and mud.
Well, except for the part about them having military helicopters, not having found out through poor terrified Jonestown escapees on foot at all, and the like…..!! In other words, that any given reason for excessive delay was fabricated.
But why (well, except for the planted diversion right in a mainstream newspaper column of, “Look, it’s the Guyanese police who are CIA, not the Guyana Defence Force!”) would this whole-cloth story have even been printed as “news”? Well, deep dark jungle, tell the public anything, for one pretext. But why really?
O.k. Clearly, no one from Jonestown found their way to Matthews Ridge, by foot, alone and in the dark. Leslie Wagner-Wilson’s group from Jonestown did hike to Matthews Ridge that day; but they had already arrived by dusk and knew nothing of either the shootings at the airstrip nor the deaths at Jonestown. Leslie wrote that she was told of the shootings at Port Kaituma and the deaths at Jonestown BY the authorities in Matthews Ridge, not told it TO them. Then she heard helicopters overhead in the morning that she presumed to be headed for the Port Kaituma airstrip.
Meanwhile, the escapees from Jonestown (the Carter brothers, Mike Prokes, Odell Rhodes and Stanley Clayton) wound up not at Matthews Ridge but at the police station at far-closer Port Kaituma, the very jurisdiction of the airstrip massacre, but somehow no one was dispatched from there at all. Strange, since police usually investigate crimes and this was a huge one, American on American notwithstanding. It was their airstrip.
They Could Have Been There In An Hour
We could get lost in those details but the larger point is that they were diversionary. This is the thing:
Matthews Ridge had an army post. Which either had communications or didn’t. Horrock even claimed that they had communications in the middle of the night, so surely they did. And they had helicopters. They were an army base.
But even whether the military helicopters were sent from Matthews Ridge or from another outpost, the larger issue is the unconscionable delay in bringing in help at all.
The assassination on the airstrip happened at 4:15 p.m. Guyana time. It was known in Georgetown that that had happened in probably a half hour’s time at most. And how do we know that? Because Tim Reiterman, prime reporter on site, even marked into his own schematic “Pilot Radioes Georgetown.” Can’t get more explicit than that.
So the CIA hardly needed escapees migrating to Matthews Ridge twenty miles in the middle of the night to know what had happened. Moreover, WHATEVER was happening at Jonestown, help was obviously needed at the airstrip because of the massacre. They needed help immediately. As soon as it happened. Which they knew. I mean, that yes, they knew it immediately.
Their Own CIA Agent On Site Reported the Assassination Immediately
Now, as shown in “Execution: Tracking the Footwork,” the Guyana Airways pilot and the CIA attaché Richard Dwyer were working hand-in-hand, drawing Dwyer out of the line of fire within thirty seconds prior to the attack. So “Pilot Radioes Georgetown” on the Reiterman schematic was quite the same as Richard Dwyer reporting into the CIA “mission accomplished.”
(The Guyana Airways pilot was in on the assassination? See “Tracking the Footwork.” That pilot had to have been in on the assassination.)
Let’s string this together now: Congressman killed at 4:15 pm. CIA notified no later than 4:45 p.m., if that. Simple to get help in there using a military helicopter had the CIA wanted to do that. The wounded might have been tended to by 5:30 p.m. when it was still light out.
Yet there was no help forthcoming until the morning!!
Well, if military helicopters could be brought in the morning of the 19th, what was the bar to bringing them in late afternoon on the 18th? The answer to that is, “Nothing.“ After all, the CIA knew right away what had happened. “Pilot Radios Georgetown — Engines Are Running” — in other words, it was radioed in right away!
And since CIA the plant at the American Embassy, Richard Dwyer, is shown in “Tracking the Footwork” as having moved himself out of the line of fire to be with the Guyana Airways pilot less than a minute prior to the attack, we know that WHO they radioed this in to was the CIA.
WHY Not Just Rescue the Airstrip Survivors Post-Haste?
But don’t you see that they had “a problem“? Namely being that they did not want to rescue anyone. Oh, I don’t mean the injured at the airstrip. They probably would not have minded helping them. But since the perception was that the attackers had come from Jonestown, a perception they very much wanted in tact for that whole terrified night, then they would have been obligated to go there. “To arrest the [alleged] killers.”
And if they went there and intervened in the death plan, then two unwanted things might have happened: 1) that the residents of Jonestown might have denied that they killed the Congressman (they in fact “bought into the frame,” but that was not yet known) and there was NO chance that they wanted that aired in open sight of the airstrip survivors, especially the reporters; and more pointedly, 2) if there was a death plan about to be implemented, they might have intervened with the death plan, which they already knew was a contingency, as the community had threatened it before (see “Pre-Planning the Frame”.) They also had the confirming testimony of a defector from the community, Deborah Layton.
And they didn’t want to intervene with the death plan at all! That was a thousand dead patsies in the making. Why in the world intervene with that?
I also want to make it perfectly clear (yet again) that my own view is that Jim Jones went psychotic and that the death plan should NOT have been implemented, WHATEVER happened. But the CIA didn’t want the death plan stopped at all. It served their purposes in every respect to “let this play out.” And the only way they could do that was through an excessively long delay in getting to the airstrip.
How Blatant Was This?
The difference between what could-have/should-have been done and what was actually done, is not a fine difference. It was both blatantly disgraceful and disgracefully blatant:
Just call in the GDF right away. Easy. Dwyer radioed in to the CIA right after the hit happened and all that had to be done was to tell the GDF to helicopter in THEN, not the morning after!
That’s what could-have/should-have been done if the priority was saving lives. But instead it took TWELVE HOURS to so much as authorize a MEDEVAC plane being flown in from……. South Carolina??
What If This Had Happened in Hong Kong (for example)?
For sake of argument, let’s say that this catastrophe had happened in Hong Kong, half-way around the world. Would the American Embassy have requisitioned medical help from…… South Carolina? Even for visitors to Hong Kong (like the delegation)? Much less for a United States Congressman? Much less for legal residents in the foreign country, as was the community of Jonestown?
Then would there have been a thirty-five hour delay instead of “just a twenty hour delay,” instead of getting help from the local Chinese?
Let’s get real here. Obviously, the unconscionably long delay was deliberate.
Let us now review what took up that ungodly delay of TWENTY HOURS. We’ve already seen the WHY and the HOW. But what did the government log say happened?
Let’s just first take a moment to backdrop this with WHO the feds, the American Embassy, actually were in this matter: namely, the CIA.
The CIA In Guyana
As we will see in “The Long-Range Disinformation: Sealing Pandora’s Box,” extreme measures were taken to preclude even exploring whether the CIA, the real American CIA, was even in Guyana! There was just supposed to be some “Jim Jones CIA” that had never existed at all.
Like “Patsy Paradise” for the people bearing the tales.
First note that the log entry that news of mass deaths at Jonestown (not the airstrip) was relayed to DC on a secret CIA radio band, “NOIWON,“ was not a misprint or an accident. At the time, CIA involvement in Guyana was of course suspected but there was no hard proof. Now there is. Just check out “CIA Activities in Guyana” on Wikipedia:
“Guyana 1967: A covert action was proposed to . . . an oversight committee of United States covert operations, which stated: ‘It is established U.S. policy that Cheddi Jagan, East Indian Marxist leader of the pro-Communist People’s Progressive Party in Guyana, will not be permitted to take over the government of . . . Guyana.. . . It is believed that Jagan has a good chance of coming to power . . . unless steps are taken to prevent this. . . Prime Minister Forbes Burnham. . . has stated that he is fully prepared to utilize the electoral machinery. . . to ensure his own re-election.. . It is recommended that he and his party be provided with covert support . . .”
Meanwhile, the CIA’s man, Forbes Burnham was still in power by 1978 and communist Cheddi Jagan was still trying to get him ousted! 1967-1978 and still counting. By this time in Guyana, it was “the status quo.”
So we can first of all, finally dispense with the question, “Was it the real CIA or ‘the Jim Jones CIA’”? That’s not an intelligent, or even a viable argument, just a disinformation tale. There was a huge ongoing CIA presence in Guyana then, and Jim Jones and Peoples Temple had nothing to do with it.
(Nor did the Temple have any direct confirmation of the CIA in Guyana at the time — they may have suspected but did not actually know. They did not even know that the Congressman was in the crosshairs of the CIA. Even though that was common knowledge in D.C.)
The last I knew myself was that the community wanted (communist) Jagan to take over Guyana from CIA puppet Burnham. There was even the last “election” while they were there, in which they nominally supported Burnham (had to — the host government) when the Temple preference was really Jagan.
Note also that as we delineate what happened, turns out the Nicholas Horrock, the CIA’s guy at the New York Times blatantly inserted the very Guyanese government (i.e., not just the American Embassy — the Guyanese government!) into CIA operations anyway in his December 1, 1978 article in the New York Times. It’s not like we are arguing about “a secret.” This has long since not been a secret.
What If the CIA Was Really Innocent, Shocked, Taken By Surprise?
O.k. An American Congressman was in Guyana investigating Americans living there.
Well, the CIA didn’t like EITHER the Congressman or the cult — to put it mildly. The Congressman had authored the Hughes-RYAN Amendment to the Foreign Relations Act of 1974, attempting to all but ban CIA “black ops.” (See “Pre-Planning the Frame,” panel 1.)
And they sure did not like the cult either. They were in Guyana to keep pro-communist Cheddi Jagan out of power and here was self-proclaimed communist Jim Jones making friends with Castro’s Cuba and attempting to re-relocate his group to the then-USSR?! One of their lead operatives, one Joseph Mazor was even on t.v. within days after the tragedy saying that, “It was believed that Jim Jones would become a major political force in the Caribbean within five years.” An intelligence assessment.
Then the Congressman is slain and everyone on site is “sure that the cult did it.” And that is radioed right in to the CIA. Remember Tim Reiterman‘s notation, “Pilot Radios Georgetown, Engines Are Running.” (See “The Master Schematic: Tim Reiterman Versus NBC.”)
(Incidentally, one thing noted by NBC producer on site, Bob Flick, was that the killers stayed away from the Guyanese pilot. He just neglected to note, much less question, that that’s where Richard Dwyer had migrated to as well! Dwyer went on, of course, to falsely claim a minor wound in a part of his body that no one would or could check. In point of fact, a bullet would have had to ricochet 90 degrees to the victims’ right to endanger him at all.)
In other words, the first minute they are on that radio following the attack, they are telling the CIA headquartered in the American Embassy in Georgetown what had happened.
Well, let’s say that the CIA had nothing to do with the attack and it is a total surprise. And yes, they may have hated the Congressman but he is already dead. There are just wounded survivors desperately in need of medical help; and meanwhile, it seems like the cultists, whom they also hate, are ripe for arrest. Indeed, they may even “come back to kill the rest of us.” How would anyone know different?
So you’re in the shoes of Richard Dwyer at the airstrip or even in the shoes of the CIA headquartered at the American Embassy in Georgetown. What do you do?
Well, especially as it is still light out (4:15 p.m. Guyana time), you call in the authorities. If you are up tight about calling in the local police, since this is obviously now an international incident, the slaying of U.S. Congressman, then you call in the Guyana Defence Force. They have military helicopters. They can be there in a hour, two at the most.
Why not just have them go in, rescue the wounded at the airstrip and make arrests at Jonestown?
If you are really innocent, shocked, and taken by surprise.
In fact, that was the stated panic at Jonestown, that the GDF would be coming to drag people away or worse. That “they won‘t let us get away with this.” Because (as explained in other sections of “In Plain Sight”) they had BOUGHT INTO THE FRAME. Not having investigated, not have had anyone returning from that airstrip saying “I did it!.” Larry Layton known to have gone off to the airstrip with a gun. Not realizing that anyone else was in the area or was targeting the Congressman. NOT having a line of vision to the attack or the attackers (See “The Master Schematic: Tim Reiterman Versus NBC.”) Then “The Congressman is dead!“ — then yes, they thought that they had killed the Congressman.
But returning to the CIA, what if they were NOT innocent, shocked, taken by surprise? That this was just the completion of their own pre-planned “black op”? And the cult’s leader, Jim Jones, had already threatened to off his own entire group if so much as his own child was forcibly removed — a far lesser crisis than their current straits.
And sure, people have been wounded at the airstrip. Some may even die. And it would nice to get them help, but you have “priorities”:
Namely, the cult leader will hopefully make good on his previous mass suicide threat, giving you a thousand dead patsies. That would be “optimal.” On the other hand, if they have NOT bought into the frame, believe they are innocent, and choose to live and fight, the last thing you want is to call the authorities and “have it out right then and there.”
Because then a) they don’t have a chance to kill themselves and turn into the thousand dead patsies that you had hoped-for, your optimal outcome; and b) if they realize that they are innocent, then you don’t want that mêlée in front of reporters eager to glean whatever information is to be had. Indeed, you want the survivors of the airstrip massacre to be exhausted, terrified and in pain for the longest possible time before help arrives. With every second of their misery to be blamed on the cult.
Thus you are much better off deliberately delaying any help at all.
Then you act like the following:
The Recorded Timeline
O.k., let’s begin into the recorded timeline:
Let’s look at the After Action Log of the feds and see what information we can glean. Note that Panel 1 prints both the log and the accompanying cover letter from the Joint Chief of Staffs in DC.
THE TIMELINE: The LOG is “EST” = Eastern Standard Time, one hour behind Guyana. So we will relay this information in D.C. time, not Guyanese time which ran an hour later.
3:15 pm DC time (4:15 p.m. Guyana time), Congressman killed.
At 7:18 p.m. DC time, the Sec of Def in DC was notified.
Four hour delay right there.
An understandable delay if it took that long to know what had happened? Deep dark jungle, all primitive and the like?
No. It took nearly no time at all to know what had happened! To the contrary. Richard Dwyer had radioed in with the Guyana Airways pilot. As per “Tracking the Footwork“ that he was right there with the pilot (the passengers all being on the other end of the plane awaiting the gunmen) when the attack broke out!
Thus what is certain is that the CIA stationed in Georgetown knew quickly what had happened at the airstrip.
And what am I implying? Well, if a house is on fire, you call the firemen right away, right? But let’s say that you’re the arsonist and you have to figure out the contingencies of how your actions are playing out on the ground. Then you DON’T call in help right away. You parce out your plans. Because it’s not the destruction of other people’s lives that concerns you. It’s what best for YOU and how you will get away with it.
And what served them best in any case was delay. See if Jim Jones was really mad enough to implement the death plan as he had threatened before. (Namely over the child custody suit a year earlier. See “Pre-Planning the Frame.”) Would save them a lot of trouble.
O.k. Then the smaller Cessna plane took off and flew to Georgetown, 150 miles SE, so let’s say an hour’s air time. For a second report of what had happened, even though surely they received the first, and direct to them, the CIA, as well.
So why would the American Embassy (of all things) delay one minute in letting D.C. know about the slaying of a U.S. Congressman? Much less delay needed help to the area? We’ve just cited prime reasons.
Next we come to 8:15 p.m. DC time. It’s now a whole hour even later on when the MEDEVAC plane is first requested. FIVE HOURS past the assassination and still counting. We’re coming now onto a long drawn-out sequence of times which also does not wash if any priority is given to saving lives. The Guyana Defence Force was hardly without transport as clearly evidenced by them showing up the next morning by helicopter! And even if the U.S. military was opted for, even Panama (with a large military presence) was closer. But what about that REAL close place, the Matthews Ridge army base just twenty miles away?
Yet it is already 12:26 a.m. DC time before the MEDEVAC order is even completed! It’s already NINE HOURS past the assassination and still counting.
Yet there is still THREE HOURS MORE delay until 3:04 a.m. before the Medevac plane is flown out of……. Charleston, South Carolina!
We are now already at TWELVE HOURS AND STILL COUNTING after the slaying of the Congressman.
Why the Switch in Communications Channels?
O.k. Here’s where it gets yet more tricky:
At 3:29 a.m. DC time, “CIA NOIWON reports mass suicides at Jonestown.” Presumably AFTER the departure of the MEDEVAC plane from South Carolina, though not by much. The MEDEVAC was in no way going to get to Guyana before daylight anyway. And the CIA surely knew what had happened at Jonestown before they radioed the news on their own secret NOIWON channel.
(How exactly they found out, from whom and where, best surmisal, is that the escapees who arrived at Port Kaituma told the police, then the information was passed on. The MEDEVAC plane arrived in Georgetown, not Port Kaituma in any case, so the CIA had control over when any help arrived to the airstrip, much less Jonestown.)
But why was news of the mass deaths at Jonestown not just reported via the same standard State Department channel, but rather one reserved for secret communiqués from the CIA? Which again, using our fire analogy, doesn’t really wash. Namely, if one’s PRIMARY concern was saving lives, not secret agency machinations, then why not report BOTH calamities –the airstrip massacre and the deaths at Jonestown– in the same manner?
If you are actually concerned with loss of life, if that’s your primary concern for both the airstrip and at Jonestown, then it’s just first news of this, then news of that. Not one an open report and the other a secret report.
Next, it is unlikely that the CIA first learned of what had happened at Jonestown that late into the night. We’ve already seen that CIA-handled Nicholas Horrock’s story about escapees trudging through the bush to Matthews Ridge 20 miles in the middle of the night to go tell the army base there (note, also providing a pretext for extended delay), was transparently FALSE. Anyone who wound up at Matthews Ridge was there by dusk and knew nothing of what had happened.
Much less the MISDIRECTION story of how it was a “Guyanese POLICE official who was working an agent for the CIA who then reported it to the agency.” Then somehow (swicheroo times two) it was the GUYANESE DEFENCE FORCE (i.e., the military, not the police) who took endless hours to finally arrive at Jonestown.
Bad weather, Horrock reported. Mud and the like. Never mind that when they finally arrived it was by helicopter. This wasn’t Normandy Beach.
Well, aside from the obvious move to peg the Guyanese POLICE as CIA agents, deflecting suspicion from the Guyanese MILITARY (indeed the Guyanese police later complained at inquest that the GDF had kept them out of the loop!), we have the more up-front obvious fact that Horrock himself in writing of the Guyanese inquest on December 14, says that Matthews Ridge was 20 miles from Jonestown in a “roadless” area.
Whether Matthews Ridge was really that far (it was, but not “roadless“ as falsely reported), or Mr. Horrock was simply attempting to discourage anyone from traveling there for any true report of the inquest! (which was subsequently lied about by Horrock as well), no one who knew what had happened at Jonestown made it to Matthews Ridge that night. That report was false.
The more likely story is the one which had the escapees from Jonestown, the Carter brothers, Mike Prokes, Odell Rhodes and Stanley Clayton, making it to Port Kaituma, a closer location by far and reachable by foot. They are said to have reported there what had happened at Jonestown to the POLICE.
But that also marks the news of the Jonestown catastrophe as being relayed earlier than 4:29 a.m. Guyana time.
Local Police Not In the Loop? Even NATIONAL Police Not In the Loop?
It remains unclear why the Port Kaituma police (since the massacre happened at the Port Kaituma airstrip) did not just go to the airstrip to at least see who needed medical help. Certainly there was not so much “bad weather and mud” there as described for Matthews Ridge. After all, numerous escapees had managed to trudge there in the dark, alone, on foot.
There are things of course that we cannot second-guess. But that they, the Port Kaituma police, did not check out that their own airstrip had been turned into a crime scene because they just plain didn’t care, was probably not one of them. More likely (though there is no direct verification), they were told that the Guyana Defence Force was taking care of this one, stay away.
As if to drive in the point, C.A. “Skip” Roberts, Assistant Commissioner of Crime stationed in Georgetown, testified at the Guyana inquest that he did not arrive earlier at Jonestown (he got there on the 20th, not the 19th) “because the Guyana Defence Force had not told me what had occurred at Jonestown.”
In other words he, the number two police official in the entire country, was KEPT OUT OF THE LOOP. He wasn’t let into Jonestown until November 20. No one from the police was. Only the Guyana Defence was let in prior to then.
Guyana Defence Force Very Much “In the Loop”
Apparently, “someone” wanted the Guyana Defence force in the loop, not the police. Locals tend to make their own decisions. Military is under orders. And obviously, as we can see, the (the long-long-delayed) timing of the rescue was under CIA control.
(The other question being of course what they wanted the GDF to do at Jonestown. See “The Great Autopsy Disaster” for what appears to have been that grisly reality.)
It’s just a big “duh” that if the CIA (well, we want to say “the American Embassy,” but it was clearly the CIA operating through the American Embassy) gave any priority to either helping the wounded at the airstrip, much less intervening at Jonestown, then OF COURSE they would have had no problem about having the local police check it out. Or just send the Guyana Defence Force in there as soon as the Congressman was slain.
It’s sort of like (though there is no real equivalent) declaring 9-1-1 a federal disaster and using that to bar the New York City police and firemen from assisting. Local police check things out. That is what they are there for. They have to be told not to. By some authority that claims to supercede them.
Here by an authority, the CIA, whose interest was not in saving lives at all; but rather in keeping help out for that entire night; then delegating exclusive on-site control to the Guyanese military, for whatever nefarious reasons.
Then finally, at 8:55 a.m. Guyana time on November 19, the MEDEVAC plane finally touches down in Guyana — and in Georgetown, to boot, not Port Kaituma.
Meanwhile, the Congressman’s aide Jackie Speier, said that help did not arrive until noon on November 19th. TWENTY HOURS LATER. She nearly lost an arm to gangrene over the excessively lengthy delay.
Right on the scene, however? At Port Kaituma? Apparently just the Guyana Defence Force. Who also became THE FIRST INTO JONESTOWN the afternoon of Sunday, November 19th.
The “STILL COUNTING” Part of “The Great Timeline Travesty” Never Brought to Light
This was the final part of the CIA “black ops” that never hit the light of day. That the first party into Jonestown, namely the Guyana Defense Force, was never called to the Guyana inquest, indeed was never questioned at all.
The primary question there obviously: Where are the guns that you allegedly confiscated from Jonestown? How can you (or anyone) claim that the cultists killed the Congressman if the gun(s) said to have done it has “disappeared”? The people at Jonestown, including the accused gunmen, all wound up dead, did they not? After presumably bringing the the guns BACK TO JONESTOWN. And you, the GDF, were the first ones in. So where are the guns? Much less the match-up of ballistics to forensics?
No one ever even asked.
We will return to pick up this thread in “THE GREAT AUTOPSY DISASTER: BOTH Poisoned and Shot?” But first, let’s track the cover-up performed parallel to the protected timeline travesty. “Protected” meaning that it kept any unwanted parties out of Jonestown for at least the first week following the tragedy.
Oh, the coroner, the police commissioner, a few survivors were let in for a day and it was obvious that everyone at Jonestown had died. (Police commissioner Roberts at inquest: “I personally counted 914 bodies.”) But government channels to the outside world were a series of lies. Thus were no media, relatives, any other interested party even told the extent of the catastrophe. Like the public (much less anxiety-stricken relatives) had not even the need to know?
The Great Body Count Snafu: The Public Did NOT Need to Know? (Panel )
Controlling Entry into Jonestown
The CIA had to cordon off Jonestown to their sole control for any number of reasons. Though as we will see, the first time segment of that (namely the day after, November 19) was reserved for the Guyana Defense Force. Even the police were barred from entry until two days later on November 20, as testified to by Assistant Commissioner of Crime, C.A. “Skip“ Roberts at inquest.
Time to let the bodies rot to unrecognizability; to fix any story of how it had happened; to confiscate materials on site that might be exculpatory; to be sure that the gun(s) used in the attack would be implicated as having been found at Jonestown — even if said guns were never produced or even asked for!
They also needed to create as much uncertainty, chaos and confusion as possible (such as a delayed body count; delayed retrieval; with no way to individually claim a deteriorated body) to ensure that families would NOT swarm in to reclaim their loved ones or to unite in a firestorm of questions. Even to forestall any prospect of mass eulogies pushing for any real investigation.
In-tact, identified bodies for the dignity of regular funerals, bad. Mass confusion with your brother, your mother or your cousin unlocatable in a pile of degraded body parts, good. Everyone too demoralized to even breathe.
Also: If anyone thinks that the story of barring entry, then precluding investigation, added to the already-horror-story of the mass deaths, was just not doable, let’s now consider that it was indeed done.
But With the Whole World Reeling, How Do You Keep People Out?
O.k. We already know that help was deliberately kept out of the area for TWENTY HOURS. Oh, but then wasn’t the media, public officials, relatives, et al, swarming all over Jonestown?
Oh, no. Not in the slightest. It was DAYS before there was a definitive body count released publicly, that count namely being “all dead.” Even though they knew that it was “all dead” by 4 a.m. that very morning at the latest as per their own log.
Yet the body count tally got strung out for days. 300 dead? 400 dead? Finally a week later the full count.
But they had to physically count the bodies in order to report “all dead”; otherwise to report that hundreds might have escaped into the jungle?
Of course they didn’t!: It is even recorded on the Guyana coroner’s inquest that C.A. “Skip” Roberts, Assistant Commissioner of Crime, was on site November 20th and that he “personally counted 914 bodies.” And the escapees had already reported all dead from the start. And the GDF knew that as soon as they arrived. That was never in doubt — just lied about.
They knew that there were NOT “hundreds of people who might have escaped.” That they knew for certain. They just did not tell the public that. Instead, they strung out an escalating body count to create confusion, uncertainty, chaos — especially to keep the public, media and (of course) relatives away.
By the time they were done, there was “no one to retrieve” anyway. Even the 174 named, identified cultists, each tagged around their waist by Commissioner Roberts and Odell Rhodes (an escapee who provided the identifications) on November 20, had those tags washed away in the humidity and rain. The tedious task of matching up bodies with fingerprints was delayed until the bodies were shipped back to the States. (Apparently adults were required to be fingerprinted upon entry into Guyana.)
Faceless, nameless mass death. No one to identify, no one to honor, none for which to say, this person I loved, this person was my own, and now I take him or her and lay them to rest.
Look. There was no reason to not release the body count of “all dead except for a very very few” right away. They just didn’t.
The Great Autopsy Disaster: BOTH Poisoned and Shot? 
“In the Loop” Yet Not Called To Inquest?
The Guyana Defence Force was clearly the first into Jonestown the next day, November 19. Whatever was discovered there, meaning not just dead bodies but any weapons, was evidence that became their sole responsibility. Yet as we note now (and be returning to) the GDF was never called at inquest. First in, obviously had to have confiscated at least one gun from Jim Jones’ own cabin, yet never called.
As even any viewer of police drama t.v. knows, every gunshot crime has two parts: ballistics and forensics. Not just the injury caused (forensics) but matching it to the weapon that did it (ballistics.)
Yet even though the Guyana Defence Force had to have confiscated any gun(s) used on site at Jonestown, the ballistics were never matched up with forensics because the GDF, first into Jonestown, was never called to inquest. Nor was there any public disclosure (or known existent records) about what gun(s), type or caliber they found at Jonestown, much less in Jim Jones’ cabin where the only shooting victims were found.
We were just told that “the same type bullet” and “possibly the same gun used to kill the Congressman” was used to shoot Annie Moore, a young woman in Jim Jones‘ cabin at the last. But any verification was obviously something that we were never supposed to explore.
A special, secret, hands-off status for the GDF? Well, um, would you think so?
And doing the bidding of WHOM? Well, since the only public reference to ballistics appeared in two consecutive articles by CIA puppet reporter Nicholas Horrock of The New York Times, the only mention of such anywhere, then the CIA might be fair guess!
What Standard Cover-Up Move Did the Guyana Defense Force Need to Perform At Jonestown?
Post-ops action on the part of the Guyana Defence Force is part of why “The Great Timeline Travesty” might be alternatively sub-titled “Twenty Hours and STILL COUNTING.” Deaths over, framing the patsies begins.
Note: Of course both the public perception and that of the airstrip survivors was already that the cult had killed the Congressman. Even for anyone who had never heard of the Temple, the media announced Temple guilt for the assassination like it was open-and-shut.
But it was not the public nor the airstrip survivors who might determine whether that crime was INVESTIGATED. And it was widely known (though not to Peoples Temple locked away in the jungle) that the CIA had it in for the Congressman, at least politically. Thus it’s not like they could just assume that they were “home free.” That took quite a bit more work — indeed “overkill.”
The principle here being that when you commit a crime yourselves and want to frame it on others, you also have to make the crime scene fit. Some tell-tale sign that “Look, they were the ones who did it!”
The standard move of course, “standard operating procedure,“ so to speak, would be to place the murder weapon (meaning the weapon used to kill the Congressman) in the hands of the people you wish to frame. Here readily done as the cultists were already dead and you could make the scene look however you liked.
Notwithstanding that surely no one is minimizing that this was an exceptionally gruesome post-tragedy scene, self-created and “more than bad enough.” But that still would not give cover for who killed THE CONGRESSMAN. That would require placing the weapon that killed the Congressman at Jonestown; while also, of course, making the dead cultists look like violent brutes who not only killed the Congressman, but turned brutally on each other — namely, first, the fiction of “forced injections”; and second “the coup de grace” of not just the offending gun “discovered at Jonestown” but actually used to brutally kill someone there.
What Evidence Did the CIA (through the GDF) Need to Cover Up, Rather than Produce?
First note that there was no need to produce EXACTLY the same gun at Jonestown as the one that killed the Congressman. Merely asserting that it was same type gun, same type bullets would do. In fact, the SAME EXACT gun, especially one produced, serial number and all, would have been a bad idea. Because then allegedly “tracing the gun to Jonestown” would have just created another unwanted task for the CIA. Best bet would have been to file the serial number off, but that in and of itself would be a tip-off as to a cover-up!
Or some survivor could pop up saying that we didn’t HAVE any gun like that at Jonestown. Jonestown, never “an armed camp,” and the group historically non-violent, was pathetically UNDER-armed — just 39 small weapons according to both the Americans and the Guyanese. They undoubtedly did not have, had never had, whatever sophisticated weaponry was used against the Congressman.
(Note: The gun used to kill the Congressman did look like “an ordinary rifle” on film — it had to because it was “a look-alike frame.” But dum-dum bullets were obviously not “ordinary,” and it had to be high-powered to ensure quick brutal force. Though even that may have been a moot point since had any actual ballistics analysis ensued from a gun supposedly “recovered from Jonestown,” the serial number alone would have been a bar to public disclosure.)
Thus the better bet would be to insinuate that the murder weapon was found at Jonestown; and to make that stick, blast off the head of someone there and claim that that was the gun also used to kill Congressman Ryan.
Thus the game plan became to claim same type gun, same type bullets — “You see, the cultists did it!” Or as Horrock printed The New York Times on December 12, 1978, “a dum-dum bullet. . . . [that] possibly came from the same gun. . . used to kill the Congressman.”
But understand, this was hardly a bank robbery where someone was killed and then the killer ran away with the gun. Everyone at Jonestown wound up dead; moreover, anyone shot in Jim Jones’ cabin (the only ones shot at Jonestown at all) was shot with a gun(s) that had to REMAIN RIGHT THERE.
Then the Guyana Defence Force came in the next day and whatever (gun(s) was in that cabin, they were the ones who confiscated it(/them)! Nor would/should/does any criminal investigation of gunshot where the forensics are done, just arbitrarily exclude ballistics when weapons were claimed to have been confiscated from on site by the authorities.
Yet with Jonestown, no one ever heard hide nor hair of what gun(s) were confiscated from Jim Jones’ cabin, the only place where anyone was shot. Just two big front-page insinuations by Nicholas Horrock in the New York Times that (in two articles), a dum-dum bullet was used to kill a young woman in Jones’ cabin, and (in one article) that it “[it was] the same type bullet used to kill the Congressman and possibly came from the same gun.”
Meanwhile, “conveniently,” the first party in, the Guyana Defence Force was not only not called to inquest, but there is no record anywhere of the alleged “possibly the same gun used to kill the Congressman” that was allegedly discovered in Jonestown. Who took it? Where was it? No one even asked.
Thus the ballistics and forensics were never, could not be, matched up, and could instead be replaced with “a story.”
What Did the Guyana Defence Force DO at Jonestown?
My own surmisal is that the most egregious thing that the GDF did, deliberately upon orders, was to shoot an already-dead young woman through the head with “a high-powered rifle” (as per Leslie Mootoo, the Guyanese coroner at inquest), which was twice claimed as per Nicholas Horrock, CIA pipeline on the beat, to have a) come from a dum-dum bullet; and b) from “possibly the same gun that killed the Congressman.”
And I say that it was done “deliberately upon orders” because it was not only flagrant, gratuitous violence (why blast off the head of someone already dead?), but that its purpose was then made clear — namely, to nail the frame.
Horrock was clear in his article of December 12, 1978, that these were “the Guyanese field findings.” (Specific source? Well, no one. Not ever. Anonymous.) In his follow-up article of December 14, he said that that is what Leslie Mootoo, the Guyanese coroner, had SAID at inquest.
Except that neither the coroner (nor anyone else) had made such assertions at the Guyanese inquest at all. I suppose that Mr. Horrock thought that since he also printed in his December 14 article in the Times that there was no transcript of the inquest prepared nor were tapings allowed, that no one would ever know what was or wasn’t said at inquest at all?
Well, lo and behold, there is a surviving transcript and it does not conform with Mr. Horrock’s (hence the CIA’s) claims.
Thus I believe that the gratuitous shooting of an already-dead young woman was done by the Guyana Defence Force when they entered Jonestown on November 19 because a) the timeline with their sole access to Jonestown the very next day, November 19, supports them being the prime suspects; and b) it was a critical move to nail in the frame; but also c) that ballistics is a key component of any gunshot query (“gunshot query” meaning of either the shooting of the Congressman or of Ms. Moore), yet the GDF was never questioned, never produced the evidence, and it was never pursued.
No ACTUAL Ballistics, But Much “Storyline Ballistics” About “You See, They Did It!”
There were just “stories” about how the cultists had to be the ones to have also killed the Congressman. Stories that made no sense:
Jonestown HAD no dum-dum bullets! And the young woman shot was later verified at autopsy to have first been poisoned!
All this was (even brutality, cruelty, and desecration of the dead put aside — though it‘s pretty impossible to do that), appeared to be rather a blatant move to try and place the weapon that murdered the Congressman back at Jonestown.
Standard operating procedure for a frame.
Now when the Guyana Defence Force got into Jonestown on the afternoon of November 19, they of course discovered that Jim Jones was already dead by suicide, or I would aver that they gladly would have chosen HIM for “the coup de grace.”
Then the storyline could have read, “As if to brag about what the cult had done, the leader had himself killed by the same gun used to kill the Congressman.” And who would move to investigate THEN?
(They would not have printed that? Best bet is that that would have been “storyline heaven” to keep any investigation away.)
But Jim Jones was already dead by gunshot. So it appears that they just shot whomever was lying close to him, which happened to have been a beautiful, idealistic young woman who had loved life there, but who simply happened to be laying dead in the wrong place at the wrong time. Except that that cruel added twist of fate also landed the authorities with a giantly inexplicable mess to “re-write” at autopsy and beyond.
How Did This Shake Out In Legal Proceedings, Medical Proceedings and Media Coverage?
The Inquest — What Was and Was Not True
We already know that the CIA lied about the findings at inquest through their puppet, Nicholas M. Horrock at the New York Times.
We know that by tracing BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER:
BEFORE = This Is What We Want Said
First on December 12, 1978, announcing in the New York Times what the “Guyanese field findings” allegedly were that were then NOT confirmed, even brought up, at inquest the very next day.
This is apparently what Leslie Mootoo, the Guyanese coroner was expected to say — his “marching orders,” so to speak. The key findings-that-never-were: alleged “forced injections” and the alleged “dum-dum bullet. . . possibly from the same gun [that killed the Congressman.]”
The lies about injections will be covered in “The Great Injections Fiasco.“ The exact quote about the dum-dum bullets from the December 12 article are:
“Ms. Moore was killed by a dum-dum bullet, a round projectile made to expand on contact. It was so forceful on impact that it blew half her face off, according to the sources. They said she was shot with the same kind of bullet as those that killed Congressman Leo J. Ryan of California at the Port Kaituma airstrip and that it possibly came from the same gun.”
They even added:
“The police are concentrating on matching up rounds from a bolt-action .30-caliber rifle mounted with a black telescopic sight that was found at Jonestown.”
Yet as we could see in “The Great Timeline Travesty,” the only ones who could have even known what gun (dum-dum bullets being generic –that does not specify what type gun) was used to shoot Annie Moore (the only other person shot at Jonestown besides Jim Jones) would have been the Guyana Defence Force, first ones into Jonestown.
Meanwhile, the assistant police chief of the entire country testified at inquest that the GDF had left him out of the loop! Thus there was no “the police,” as the Horrock article claimed; there was no “matching”; there was neither any such plan nor any follow-up; it was just fiction presented with enough fabricated detail to sound credible, a la “the cultists did it.”
And look, it’s not like someone escaped with the gun. It was right there — EITHER found there OR planted there. In either case, there. Why would there even be any question of “matching up rounds to a gun.” The Guyanese Defence Force either found a gun or planted a gun. Look no further. But the Guyana Defence Force was not called to the inquest at all.
Nor was this disinformation plausible to begin with. It’s not like dum-dum bullets (designed for maximum damage with minimum traceablity — the fare of career criminals) were even known at Jonestown. The community was in fact pathetically UNDER-armed — about 39 small weapons to defend a community of twelve hundred people, according to both Guyanese and American authorities. For a group historically NON-violent for 25 years.
AFTER = “This Is What Was Said” — Whether it Was Or Wasn’t!
Then there was the follow-up article by Horrock in the New York Times on December 14 announcing that the same “findings” were given at the coroner’s inquest although they were not:
First, what it was claimed that the Guyanese coroner said — findings of injections of “70 members” and “a dum-dum bullet” in Annie Moore: But again, neither Mootoo nor anyone else said a single adult was injected. (Some babies yes.)
Of the alleged dum-dum bullet in the December 14 article:
“A single shot of a dumdum type of bullet, which flattens on impact, causing the object to shatter and explode [not in quote marks and not said] had struck the left side of her [Moore’s] face, Dr. Mootoo said, adding, ‘She was murdered. This could not be a self-inflicted wound [in quote marks and he did say it].’”
Horrock just printed lies. I mean, ironically, she might have yes, been shot with a dum-dum bullet and the Congressman as well. Surely the CIA killers did not want their guns traced! But Mootoo never said that at inquest; and for all we know, they knew that because they themselves (the CIA through the GDF) had done it.
So don’t tell a lie. Just produce the gun. But that never happened.
Note also disclaimers for anyone wanting to check the inquest findings out: Matthews Ridge, Horrock writes, was in “the roadless Orinoco Basin jungle” — accessible only by helicopter. Even though Leslie Wagner-Wilson writes in her book, “The Slavery of Faith,” that her party had made it there in a day’s hike, so that was clearly false.
And besides, Horrock laments, “no transcript was made of today’s proceeding and reporters were forbidden to make tape recordings.“
Like don’t even bother looking. Just take my word for it.
Telling, however, is the actual quote from the inquest mixed in with the fabrications: Leslie Mootoo claiming that “She [Annie Moore] was murdered. This could not have been a self-inflicted wound.”
Except Unlikely That This Woman Was “Murdered,” But Rather Shot Post-Mortem
Ms. Moore’s own heartfelt suicide note SIDING with the community’s plight (“We died because you would not let us live in peace”) belies any claim that anyone from within the community shot her.
No, not that she was not shot. She was. But (especially since she was cloistered at the very end with the inner circle who all “went willingly”) no one from within that community shot her. Far more likely it was done by outsiders, post-mortem, the prime suspect of course being the Guyana Defence Force since they were first in.
In that sense, they “picked the wrong victim.” (Not that post-mortem desecration of anyone would not have been despicable.) Were the gunshot only blasted at some “known dissident,” like Christine Miller, let’s say, who spoke against the mass death plan (on the final tape) just prior to its being implemented.
But they did not need to identify the young woman they shot. They just needed to shoot someone in a visible location — like next to Jim Jones. So they “murdered” (well, shot post-mortem) the one person for whom her stated intent in her own hand was suicide.
Best surmisal is that the GDF was simply acting under military orders. Shoot Jim Jones with a high-powered rifle with dum-dum bullets. Then say it came from the same gun as the one used to kill the Congressman. That will nail in the frame “but good.”
Except that when they arrived, they discovered that Jones was already shot. So they shot the person next to him, who happened to have been Ann Moore. Never imagining that a suicide note, clearly a suicide note, would emerge from her. Indeed for many years, it was the only suicide note found.
Also note (and we will return to that) that when Ms. Moore’s body was autopsied by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology’s team at Dover, Delaware as part of a “random” selection of several bodies, cyanide poisoning was BOTH confirmed and marked as “antecedent” to the gunshot.
One can parce that however one likes — because the autopsy finding of “manner of death undetermined” does not seem to make sense. But why would anyone who had already self-poisoned herself, indeed with written suicidal intent, also be shot — by herself or anyone else?
May be a Moot Point Anyway, Since the Autopsy Report Included a Deliberate Lie
The autopsy report on Ann Elizabeth Moore prepared by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Dover, Delaware was clearly a first-year-med-student-would-know-better lie in any case.
Namely, now the gunshot wound to the head was said to be “close contact” and coming from the right. (Annie Moore was right-handed.) And indeterminate as to murder or suicide.
But were that true, the Guyanese coroner would have seen powder burns on the right side of the head and marked this as a (at least probable) suicide.
But Mootoo did not say that at all. He said THE OPPOSITE. Murder for sure and from the left side. Nor was it just “a different opinion.” It’s Forensics 101. (Anyone can do the ten minutes of internet research required.)
Even Horrock quoted Mootoo as saying that Ms. Moore was “murdered” in an injury “which could not have been self-inflicted.” And Rudiger Breitenecker. M.D. (the front man for lying about the autopsies — we will get to him) told the press that the distance of the weapon from the body “could not be gauged.” (“The Great Autopsy Disaster,” panel .)
So much for a “close contact wound” recorded on the autopsy report. A lie. Right on the government-run autopsy. A lie.
Then as the New York Times article of December 19, 1978 affirms, Ms. Moore was “shot to death.” Well, on top of that inconvenient part about also being poisoned…. Yet somehow the headline paragraph read:
“The Rev. Jim Jones and Anne Elizabeth Moore. . . . died of gunshot wounds to the head, and their deaths could be consistent with either suicide or murder…”
Too confusing to process? Well, once the lies are stripped away, not really. But no one could possibly do that while still so close to the trauma and without even documents at hand. Without the inquest transcripts, the autopsy reports, and The New York Times articles all placed side-by-side and in dated order.
Which brings us to the actual inquest findings on Moore.
DURING = What Was Actually Said at Inquest
Now compare the Horrock insinuation of “possibly the same gun used to kill the congressman,” much less the doctored (I mean “doctored” politically) autopsy report, to what was actually said.
First, Ann Elizabeth Moore was declared at inquest to have been “murdered,” but that finding omitted any test for cyanide poisoning.
(Note, however, that C.A. “Skip” Roberts, the Assistant Commissioner of Crime noted that “twelve bodies [out of thirteen in Jim Jones’ cabin] showed signs consistent with poisoning and one body [of the twelve, that is], that of Ann Elizabeth Moore. . . appeared to have a gunshot wound on the left side of her head.” The American pathologists did in fact later confirm cyanide poisoning by medical testing. So this body was both poisoned and shot.)
Leslie Mootoo testifying about Annie Moore:
“Next body…. Ann Elizabeth Moore. . . . I found she had a head injury, the entire left aspect of the head was blown off. . . In my opinion that could not have been self-inflicted, she was murdered. . . A weapon of high velocity such as a high-powered rifle was used to cause her death.”
And of Jim Jones:
“The body of James Warren Jones. On examination I found he had a bullet wound on the right aspect of the skull just above the right ear. . . There was a larger wound on the left side of his head above the left ear. On closer examination I found the wound on the right side was the entrance wound and that on the left side the exit wound. . . The area of the entrance wound is. . . the suicide area from a right-handed person.” (Jim Jones was right-handed.)
Thus Mootoo at inquest was clear: Jim Jones was adjudged by the coroner to be suicide; Annie Moore was adjudged by the coroner to be murder. (Well, “murder” of an already-poisoned person, that is, as the American autopsy later revealed.)
And Why Credit the Clear Findings of the Guyanese Coroner at Inquest Rather Than the Conflicting/Switched Stories Coming Out of the U.S.?
Simple direct answers to that:
At that early point, Leslie Mootoo was just a coroner trying to do his job, not follow the orders of the CIA. He was under oath; his findings on both Jones and Moore were unequivocal; he did the toxicological tests; he didn’t note any injections; he said nothing about dum-dum bullets.
There was also no mention of guns anywhere and the only party who could-have/should-have been called to inquest about that, namely the Guyana Defence Force wasn‘t.
I.e., Mootoo did nothing that the CIA, their guy on the New York Times, Nicholas Horrock, nor the AFIP pathologist who lied publicly about the autopsy results, expected/wanted him to do — and even falsely claimed that he had!
It was not even expected that the Guyanese inquest transcripts would ever be located, much less printed and scrutinized. The disclaimer to even try showed up in the New York Times, in the form claiming that the town where the inquest was held was “roadless,” and with “no transcripts prepared nor taping permitted.” Like don’t even bother.
So yes, I credit the original findings of the Guyanese coroner.
Once Leslie Mootoo was “brought to heel,” of course, stories started to switch. The apex was his ridiculous interview with Scientology (a group whom the CIA would least want on any trail of a cover-up!), where his original testimony of no injections had by then morphed to “187 bodies injected” by “people who knew what they were doing.”
Well, it is sad when public officials and medical professionals are twisted into political puppets. But yes, I credit his original findings. There is no reason not to.
Already Angling for Story-Switching
The CIA transmitting through the New York Times different. They seemed most dissatisfied that Jim Jones was suicide rather than murder; they tried to switch that one twice. And the findings on Annie Moore (suicide and murder, poison and gunshot BOTH) were at best, inexplicable.
Referring to Horrock’s original claim on December 12, 1978, “the sources said that it had not been established that Mr. Jones took his own life. Although there were powder burns around the gunshot wound above his ear on his right temple, the sources said this was not a conclusive indication of suicide…”
Well, about ten minutes of internet research on forensics might have set the CIA straight on the powder burns being at the least on the side of the head that was shot! But the point there being that they were acknowledging that it sure looked like suicide even though they wanted it to have been murder. Because the wording of the article made clear the intent to override a customary (though not immutable) forensic conclusion — namely that powder burns mark the bullet’s entry point, whether the wound is self-inflicted or not — it is just more customarily a suicide.
But I suppose that a speculation would not do; that it took an outright lie to support their story-switching. Thus they then twisted a lie into the autopsy report on Jones (issued just three days later, on December 15) to deliberately head towards “murder, not suicide” via another, falsified “finding“: namely, the alleged autopsy finding on Jones now claimed a gunshot wound left-to-right instead of right-to-left even though the powder burns were on the right. They just now omitted that there were any powder burns. (First year med student, ten minutes internet research, take your pick.)
And did that autopsy “finding” mean anything medically? No, of course not! If you examine a body with a powder burn on the right but you say the bullet entered from the left, then you are just LYING.
The front man for the government pathology team, Rudiger Breitenecker, M.D., could not even keep his own team’s lies straight. He told the Times on December 19, 1978 that even though “generally, the exit wound is larger than the entrance wound. . . it is just the opposite when you talk about a contact gunshot wound. So. . . . we could establish without any doubt [well, except maybe for the doubts created by lies, switched stories, and omission of the powder burns on the right?] that it was a contact wound from the left.”
With Ms. Moore, of course, the exact same alleged finding was the reverse! Marked as “a close contact wound” on the autopsy report (but no finding of powder burns), with a smaller wound on the right, now it was suddenly not left-to-right, but right-to-left and “consistent with suicide.”
So were the American pathologists simply incompetent doctors compared to the Guyanese? No, probably not. The best one can make of a medical doctor out in public reversing their own findings at will, was that the purpose was not accuracy in any case, but rather spin: to give the public “a story.”
And the storyline of “cult leader murdered” (as Jim Jones was right-handed) just marked an angling to get the story switched. That’s all. Conversely, the storyline of Ms. Moore’s death being “consistent with suicide” sidelined the problematic finding of “BOTH poisoned and shot.”
Even Stanley Clayton (an escapee from Jonestown at the last) said at inquest that: “He [Jim Jones] said words to the effect that he would see everyone dead and then he would take his [own] life.”
Me, I knew Jim Jones for years. While IN NO WAY condoning what happened, I would say that that is exactly what he would have said and what he would have done. Whatever his obsessive control over others, in his own view he was their captain and of course would be the last to die.
“They” (meaning the CIA) just wanted the storyline that Jim Jones had to have been murdered. Murdered by his own. Hated. Everyone else forced to die through (allegedly) goons holding them down while run-amok Temple nurses went mad with hypodermic needles.
Meanwhile, the young woman “both poisoned and shot” was not a defensible finding shy of a post-mortem shooting, so they just switched it this way, switched it that way.
But why that especially odious “overkill“ — the shooting of an already-dead person? Well, they still had to protect the frame. And if the cultists were such brutes as to forcibly murder each other, did that also not mean that…… they killed THE CONGRESSMAN? Moreover, since they had to nail the frame, but could not produce the gun that they allegedly “discovered” at Jonestown (the issue of serial number alone would have torpedoed that prospect), they had to shoot someone.
Did the Coroner Not Know What He Was Looking At?
O.k. Leslie Mootoo was a highly-trained professional coroner, indeed tops in his country. (Well, before he got turned into a political puppet.) He knew the difference.
I did ten minutes of internet research about powder burns and then even I knew the difference. If he found powder burns on Ms.Moore’s head, he would have had some basis for adjudging it suicide. He didn’t. He said that there was no way that she was not murdered; in this case “murder” meaning at least that she was shot by someone’s else hand, not her own.
But how/why would that have been done by anyone from inside the community? It wouldn’t have. Annie had already written a suicide note identifying with both the community and the deaths, indeed ending: “We died because you would not let us live in peace. [Signed] Annie Moore.”
He Did Know What He Was Looking At; So Why Does This Story Seem to Make No Sense?
Well, that would mean that Ms. Moore was NOT poisoned, right? Because how could someone be BOTH poisoned and shot? Did they shoot themselves first or poison themselves first?
Well, Mr. Roberts (at inquest) surmised that her body was poisoned by visual inspection, from his experience as chief of police. It was Mootoo running toxicological tests — an impossible task for so many, of course, so he spot-tested.
Mootoo simply did not test that particular body for poison. Perhaps he thought that unnecessary because the gunshot wound was so massive that that appeared to be the cause of death. Roberts, on the other hand, did not have to analyze the forensics of the gunshot wound, so he noted the appearance of the entire body in the context of all but one [namely Jim Jones] appearing to have been poisoned.
Well, perhaps even for seasoned medical professionals, and given the overall gruesomeness of the scene, figuring out how a body could be BOTH poisoned and shot might not have been first on their list of concerns. Mootoo saw two of the thirteen bodies in the cabin shot and focused upon that. He does not mention having run toxicological tests on those bodies, but rather on “25 randomly selected bodies.”
It’s just that it’s not like no one else noticed poisoning on one of the two bodies who were also shot. Roberts did. So that is verified, even by this stitch-together-accounts method.
Well, neither Mootoo nor Roberts were there to assign logic to such a heart-wrenching disaster. If they were, they night have noted that for anyone to be both poisoned and shot was, at the least, an anomaly requiring further query.
BOTH Poisoned and Shot Medically Proven
The actual proof of poisoning (meaning not just by inspection, but by medical testing) came in the American autopsy report, completed and signed onto on December 15, 1978.
First, the American autopsy on Ann Elizabeth Moore (performed by the Armed Forces Pathology Institute at Dover, Delaware) listed BOTH acute cyanide poisoning AND a massive gunshot wound as the cause(s) of death.
What was this saying, or even implying? That someone who had already committed suicide (and the suicide note makes that intention clear) was then “murdered”? Or was this “double suicide”?
At least the American autopsy report clarified that the poisoning had to be “antecedent” to the shooting. And say, “double suicide” would be a stretch for most to absorb, especially with the Guyana coroner‘s conclusion (i.e. not speculation) that the gunshot wound “could not have been self-inflicted, it was murder.” But they still left it at “manner of death undetermined.”
Well, perhaps because any story of “suicide, then [post-mortem] murder” would be even more suspect than that of “double suicide.” The “murder” part requiring an outsider or intruder having done it. Tipping their own hand.
Understand, personally I do not think that the CIA cared how anyone died so long as the patsies (for the assassination of the Congressman, that is) were dead and that no one would investigate. And the autopsies were apparently just another vehicle to present whatever stories they choose, with the integrity of the medical findings quite “coming in second.”
If anyone cared about true honest medical findings, then either the Guyanese or the Americans were incompetent, since the claimed American autopsy results were the opposite of the results given at the Guyanese inquest:
Jim Jones now shot from left to right, not right to left, powder burns now omitted; Annie Moore now a “close contact wound” from the right instead of being murdered from the left, the exact opposite of the testimony at inquest.
They just badly tripped up by actually running a test for cyanide poisoning on Ms. Moore, leading to the inexplicable conclusion of “both poisoned and shot.” They did their best to backtrack on that by then claiming that it was an impossible test to run. But apparently, some doctor on the pathology team actually thought that he was a doctor, not a political puppet and ran the test. (See panel .)
As we shall see, they then attempted to “repair” that by having a pathologist on the team lie publicly about cyanide testing, claiming that any such testing on ANY of the bodies had allegedly been rendered impossible by embalming, despite the autopsy report he had just personally signed onto being marked “acute cyanide poisoning.“ The medical non-ethics of that were clearly shocking, but I suppose that they realized that “both poisoned and shot” might sound a wee suspicious, to say the least.
Well, their concerns were obviously not medical, but political. Enough to push the story of “a dum dum bullet from possibly the same gun used to kill the congressman,“ while never even touching on the imperative of producing the gun, which had to have been right there on site.
Well, that was a story they wanted — the dum-dum bullet story — they tried to push it twice. But if that meant an autopsy report showing “both poisoned and shot,” then maybe it was time to scratch that story, even if it involved lying about a positive test for cyanide and to instead transfer “the murder story” onto the cult leader.
Are we sufficiently confused? Well, that’s what happens with switched stories, lies and suppressed evidence. But one it is deciphered that these people were liars and deconstructing how they lied, it’s actually clear.
In Guyana, Ballistics Were Bypassed With No Further Notice; In the U.S. Press, Insinuations Were Supposed To Be Enough
In Guyana, not producing “the gun with the dum-dum bullets that was possibly the same as used to kill the Congressman” was not deemed a problem. Just don’t call the GDF to the inquest. The coroner and the police will show up but they have both been kept out of the loop.
Remember that C.A.”Skip” Roberts, the Assistant Commissioner of Crime even said at inquest that “the GDF had not told him what had occurred at Jonestown.” He got into Jonestown on November 20, as did the coroner.
It was the GDF who were first in on November 19 and the only ones in a position to either discover the scene afresh or, conversely, to disturb that scene, such as by planting evidence or inflicting a gunshot wound.
And that wasn’t any scrutiny that the GDF (or the CIA) wanted. Any guns originating from Jonestown would have serial numbers traceable to northern California. Thus even if the gun used to shoot Annie HAD been “the same used to kill the Congressman” (most unlikely — the fled assassins would have had to somehow transfer it to the GDF that night), it would have at least required that the serial number be filed off — but that would be a prototype cover-up move, making the production of the gun a liability, not an asset.
Nor was there ever any intention of matching up the forensics of the Congressman’s injuries with the injuries to Moore. Mootoo did not even arrive at Jonestown until a day after the Congressman’s body had already been removed.
So up until now, the time of the autopsies, it was all “just take our word for it” — look, here’s The New York Times insinuating that the gun was one and the same. It even got folded into “the Guyanese field findings” on December 12, with disclaimers then printed by Horrock on December 14 that anyone could even reach the locale where the inquest was held (“roadless”); and that even if they got there, “there were no transcripts prepared or taping allowed.”
So let’s be clear: No one wanted the ballistics scrutinized at all. This was ONLY about protecting the frame, thus withholding what should have been prime evidence, namely, where was the gun(s) allegedly discovered by the GDF in Jim Jones’ cabin.
Why Did the American Autopsy Findings Present a Problem?
Once removed from Guyana, of course, there were only bodies to examine at autopsy. The glaring omission of “Where are the guns?” had passed unnoticed.
That was one potential pitfall undoubtedly considered neutralized. No one had asked about the guns at inquest, the appropriate time to have done so; no one would ask now.
And no one ever did. But that still did not neutralize the amazingly UN-likely conclusion at autopsy that anyone’s body had been BOTH poisoned and shot.
Even the matter of dum-dum bullets appeared to have been discarded by the time the American autopsy findings were to be revealed. Much less any purported match-up of the gun used on Annie Moore with the gun used on Congressman Ryan. No one had produced any such gun at all.
Mootoo of course did not even testify about any forensic findings on the Congressman, whose body had been removed the day before. Thus for the Guyanese coroner, any claimed correlation between the gun used to kill Ryan and the gun at Jonestown would not have even been provisional. It would have been fictional. Nor does it appear anywhere in the inquest transcript, just out of the pen of CIA journalist-puppet Nicholas Horrock.
But then what of the body of the young woman brutally assaulted (post-mortem, it would appear) by “a high-powered rifle,” as per the Guyanese coroner at inquest? At the time it might have seemed like a good idea (well, if “good” and that brutality could possibly be matched.) I mean that it seemed necessary to plausibly plant the murder weapon used on Ryan right in the community of Jonestown. Standard operating procedure for a frame.
Whether the ballistics were matched or not. Which of course would have required supplying the missing gun. One allegedly found at Jonestown by the GDF.
But as we’ve noted, they would-not/could-not provide the EXACT same gun used to kill Leo Ryan (which did not come from Jonestown at all), so they just suggested the same type bullets (namely, dum-dum bullets) and turned “the story” around that.
But now they had “a problem.” If only they could have blasted off the head of Jim Jones. Then the storyline (“As if to brag that the cult had done it, the cult leader’s head was blown off with the same rifle used to kill the Congressman”) would have been so sensational-on-top-of-sensational that anyone proposing any REAL NEED FOR INVESTIGATION, would have had to stand down.
They just couldn’t do that on site at Jonestown because Jones had already put a bullet through his own head. So they blasted the head off of someone lying near him. But then since the body of that young woman was selected for autopsy in the States, how to deal with someone allegedly being “killed twice”?
Double murder? Double suicide? Murdered while already in the throes of suicide? Or maybe just confuse the terrain so badly, that no one will suspect foul play on the authorities‘ parts?
Well, “all of the above” pretty much covers it. Yet whatever was done behind the scenes, and however the bereaved were cruelly manipulated (such as Horrock’s CIA article of December 12 nearly mandating that the bodies STILL not be released unless they were shown to be desecrated by CIA-invented injections! — see “The Great Injections Fiasco“), they still left public evidence of ongoing subterfuge.
Namely, why would a pathologist, a medical doctor on the team set up by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, who had himself signed off on autopsy findings just three days earlier, go right out in public and lie about those findings?
Meet Dr. Rudiger Breitenecker, M.D.
First note that the New York Times article about the autopsy findings (all marked “Special to the New York Times”) was not in the hands of Nicholas Horrock. All the purely medical aspects of the tragedy were delegated to Lawrence K. Altman, their medical journalist, and no one is claiming that he had any connection to the CIA.
He did, however on December 19, 1978, feature “the star” of the roll-out of the autopsy findings to the public, Dr. Rudiger Breitenecker, a civilian medical adjunct to the Armed Forces team.
As anyone can note on panel 3, “The Great Autopsy Disaster,” Dr. Breitenecker was a signator to the autopsy findings on one Ann Elizabeth Moore. As we can also note, there was a specific, tested, verified finding of cyanide poisoning.
This is further buttressed by a follow-up letter provided by Dr. William W. Manders, Chief, Division of Toxicology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. Namely, the specific intramuscular test used on Ms. Moore’s body to verify cyanide poisoning: NiCl-2.
It’s not like Dr. Breitenecker was a hired spokesperson for the pathology team who was simply briefed on the autopsy report before he went to meet the press. Dr. Breitenecker was part of the pathology team!
Yet he went right out in public on December 18, all of three days past signing onto the autopsy findings and announced that no cyanide testing had been done. Not on anyone. That it had been rendered impossible by “embalming fluid.” (Note, even at that, the embalming that the pathology team itself had done! Not done by anyone else. They themselves in America, not in Guyana.)
He even lamented how terribly unfortunate was the embalming (that his own team had done!) because “All someone had to do was drain a little urine or blood through a needle, not even do an autopsy. If it was worth the expense to… fly the bodies back, maybe it would have been worth a needle to establish what happened.”
Well, yeah, it would also have been great if a very member of the pathology team did not go out in public and baldly lie about dead bodies to grieving relatives….
Moreover, any grounds for questioning was further cut away by now stating (as per the December 19 article) that BOTH gunshot wounds on Mr. Jones and Ms. Moore, respectively “could be consistent with either suicide or murder”:
Why Leave Any Findings As Suspicious When They Can Simply Be Reversed At Will?
In an article entitled, “Findings in Jones Autopsy Called Consistent with Murder or Suicide,” December 19, 1978, The New York Times, Altman writes:
“The Rev. Jim Jones and Anne Elizabeth Moore. . . died of gunshot wounds to the head, and their deaths could be consistent with either suicide or murder, a forensic pathologist [Rudiger Breitenecker] who was a member of the autopsy team said yesterday.”
Well, yeah, maybe in a should-lose-your-license-if-you-are-really-that-incompetent type of “findings.” As opposed to a win-a-gold-medal-for-being-a-medical-doctor-nervy-enough-to-spout-this-in-public “findings.”
Suddenly Jim Jones was not “a suicide” at all. It was not even a gunshot wound from right to left. Now “We could establish without any doubt that it was a contact wound from the left.” (Hmmm…. A contact wound from left to right with powder burns on the right. Well, I guess there is always “a first.“)
And with Annie Moore?: “We pretty well established the direction of the shot, right to left…” Not left to right as determined by Mootoo? Indeed, that blew off the left side of that young woman’s face?
But then comes the bemoaning, in feigned sympathy, that “All someone had to do was drain a little urine or blood through a needle, not even do an autopsy”? And that he, Breitenecker was “unhappy that a diagnosis of cyanide poisoning was not established in the early stages of the investigation”?
So Dr. Breitenecker BOTH signed off on the autopsy report for Ann Elizabeth Moore verifying cyanide poisoning by medical testing, but somehow did not read what he signed; AND also allegedly had no knowledge that Dr. Mootoo testified that he had tested bodies, vials, cups, syringes and vats, found ALL positive for cyanide poisoning and reported that as such at inquest.
Starting to Twist the Coroner Into Findings He Never Found
Then suddenly in the December 19 article, there’s Leslie Mootoo cited (note, nothing in quote marks, just saying that he said it — who even knows if Mootoo knew of this article) as allegedly confirming that yes, cultists were injected: “Dr. Mootoo also said he found evidence of needle injections in the bodies of cultists, indicating that they had [been] murder, not suicide, victims.”
Now “Dr. Leslie Mootoo, a forensic pathologist in Guyana, has [even] told reporters that he performed an autopsy on Mr. Jones, and that he suspected that Mr. Jones was murdered.”
Which of course he never found, nor did he say that at inquest at all. He said THE OPPOSITE.
Now, I don’t know what happens to people who treat the living badly and the dead even worse. But I would fairly say that blatant lies about dead bodies, moreover right to the faces of grieving relatives, to wit, for purely political purposes, was reprehensible and infuriating.
And to use that lie to first cover up the desecration of that young woman’s body for apparently political reasons, then extending it to a blanket lie that we’ll (supposedly) never know how anyone died, all the worse. Especially since the speaker, Dr. Breietenecker, himself signed onto the very autopsy that verified cyanide poisoning. He had to have known that he was lying first-hand.
No Doubt About Testing for Poison in Guyana
But lest there linger any doubt, one thing the Guyanese coroner did do was to test for cyanide poisoning. As testified to at inquest, pretty extensively at that. On at least 25 randomly selected bodies, as well as on vials, vats, syringes, cups, all positive for cyanide. There was never any evidence that there was any other cause of death for the deceased except for the two bodies that were shot — that being Jim Jones suicide by gunshot; and Annie Moore, death by cyanide poisoning but ALSO SHOT.
It All Went Back to Protecting the Frame
It’s just one more corner of infamy which ducked any radar of public scrutiny. But the larger point is that no one commits such infamy, then puts a medical professional from the autopsy team itself(!) up to backpedaling with wholesale blanket lies, unless they have something to hide.
Like why something as grotesque as a post-mortem shooting was done in the first place. Namely, to protect the frame. Create a pretext for claiming that the murder weapon used against Ryan was found at Jonestown, to protect the frame.
And again, the entirety of the scene at Jonestown was grotesque post-tragedy. This isn’t about excusing, justifying or defending. It’s about getting to the whole truth of it. That the death of the Congressman and the deaths of the people of Jonestown was not even enough for the CIA. They had to blame the death of the first on the dead patsies no longer alive to defend themselves — all to protect the frame.
The fiction of massive forcible injections did not directly support the frame per se. But it was designed to create an image of brutal, rather than gentle people. People who would brutalize each other, goons holding people down, Temple nurses running amok with hypodermic needles. Would they also not be of the same character to……. KILL THE CONGRESSMAN? If they treated their own with such brutality, surely they would not hesitate to eliminate an outside threat, the Congressman, through assassination, would they not?
We will not leave any doubt that this was A FICTION. But to do so, we need deal with medical issues, yes; testimony issues, yes; records issues, yes; and again (as was obviously the case with both “The Great Body Count Snafu” and “The Great Autopsy Disaster“) political issues.
Understand, no one who testified at the Guyanese coroner’s inquest on December 13, 1978, said anything about any adult being injected AT ALL — only infants in some of the accounts. Anyone can review that and confirm.
Well, mass death in any manner is upsetting enough, and the inquest report is rough reading however one cuts it. But especially that being the case, then why blatantly LIE about the particulars, such as allegedly forcible injections that did not happen?
To the contrary: Odell Rhodes, who escaped the death ritual well into the process was specific that, “I did not see any adult settler refusing to drink poison. When I left there were only a few adults who had not taken poison.”
Stanley Clayton, another escapee who also gave sworn testimony at the inquest, said that he was also there until just a few were left; that Jim Jones was trying to coax terrified people out of chairs saying that he loved them; and that Marceline Jones was hugging people.
Nothing overtly forcible. Internal pressures? Group pressures? Undoubtedly immense and we can’t EVER minimize factors of sheer terror. But forcible injections, no.
Moreover, one of the two final notes recovered, which I myself printed under “Final Witness” under my own former website, jonestown.com (and I believe to have been written by Marceline Jones), spoke of “People hugging each other, embracing, we are hurrying — we do not want to be captured”; and “Hugging and kissing and tears and silence and joy in a long line. Touches and whispered words as this silent line passes. Determination, purpose.”
And no, NO ONE is condoning the deaths, much less how they happened, at all. It is just clear from the only records we have from PEOPLE WHO WERE THERE AS IT HAPPENED, that some story about Temple nurses run amok, wildly stabbing cultists as they fled, much less goons knocking people down to the ground for forcible injections, is not anything that was ever verified; much to the contrary.
So where did the story of forcible injections even come from? Who put it forward? What might have been their motives for doing so?
The Nameless Faceless Ones Who Claimed Forcible Injections
First, we can trace where this claim first appeared, in a New York Times article on Tuesday, December 12, 1978, entitled, “Some in Cult Received Cyanide by Injection, Guyanese Sources Say.” Written by one Nicholas M. Horrock (remember that name?)
O.k. At the time, for those too young to remember, this was the biggest news story in the world at the time. Americans were polled and more of them had heard of Jonestown than had heard of Pearl Harbor.
Thus being a HUGE news story and involving two countries, Guyana and the United States, one would think that at the least, there were spokespeople for those governments, yes?
No, not at all! To the contrary. Past the debacle of the Guyanese Minister of Information, Shirley Field-Ridley deliberately withholding the number of dead for a whole week (see panel ), there were no governmental spokespeople at all on either side!
So where did vital information, like news of forcible injections, come from? Well, let’s look:
Apparently, it came from the name-faceless land called “sources.” “Well-placed Guyanese government sources.” Then in a long news article, four columns’ worth, they are alternately referred to as “these sources,” ”they,” and “the authorities.”
No mention of the Guyanese coroner. No mention of the Assistant Commissioner of Crime or his detective. No mention of ANYONE who was just about to testify (the next day, December 13th!) at the Guyanese inquest. People who were there at Jonestown following the tragedy. The only officials who testified at the Guyanese inquest that they were there.
Not even any mention of the Guyana Minister of Information. Or who it was who was allegedly speaking for the Guyanese government. Or what department of that government they were with.
In fact, no mention of ANYONE. It’s a no-name article. It’s nameless-faceless land.
Who Was Nicholas M. Horrock of The New York Times?
But surely SOMEONE had talked to the author of the Times article, namely Nicholas M. Horrock. So who was Horrock and whom might he have been talking to?
O.k. Another bump in the road to decipher:
Rebecca Moore wrote in her book, “A Sympathetic History of Jonestown” that:
“The Central Intelligence Agency relayed the first word to Washington that there had been mass deaths at Jonestown.” [As yes, verified on the government’s own log reprinted on panel (2).] New York Times, reporter Nicholas M. Horrock wrote on December 1, 1978:
“In the pre-dawn hours of Sunday, November 19, survivors reached the Guyanese army post at Matthews Ridge, a few miles from the Jonestown camp with the story of the deaths. A police officer relayed this immediately to his superiors in Georgetown, the capital…. A Guyanese police official who acts as an agent for the CIA in turn reported it to agency personnel.”
O.k. Does anyone remember the outing of Valerie Plame, or does news just go by too quickly in this busy world? The huge flak over reporters outing CIA agents?
Well, not only are reporters supposed to NOT do that, but if were not for the news coming from out of Jonestown being horror upon horror, this might have been red-flagged as a big “No-no.” Fireable even.
Fortunately for the sake of us today, so we can see who “the nameless faceless ones” actually were, it’s helpful; however much it should have been a big red-flag no-no for a reporter to have done it.
We can clearly see from this, where the information feed for this particular ongoing story was coming from for Nicholas M. Horrock: the CIA! In fact, anyone can research the history of this particular reporter and his most famous stories are CIA-based. (See “The Great Injections Fiasco.”) He was a New York Times’ go-to guy for the CIA, with all his stories marked “Special to the New York Times” — not syndicated. Not someone just accidentally assigned to this red-hot tale at all.
It’s actually more outrageous in that the CIA agent whom Horrock outs (well, “allegedly” outs — it was the GDF in the pockets of the CIA on this, not the national police) was not even an American, but a highly placed Guyanese official! One with a direct secret route to the CIA in Guyana. Not American. Guyanese. Making the stories about Guyana having been a hotbed of CIA activity all the more believable.
So when the article says that the story of forcible injections was coming from “well-placed Guyanese sources,” but not only no name, but no department even in the Guyanese government is cited, logic might dictate that the “sources” were at least “incestuous” — namely, maybe some Guyanese mixed in but a whole lot of American CIA.
Meanwhile, of course, we have not even a single name given to check out, despite that this was the most public, horrifying news story in the world. Since neither the Guyanese nor American government ever appointed any official spokespeople at all. Not a one. All there ever were, apparently, were shadowy “sources.”
And who amongst the Guyanese, shy of those who appeared at the Guyanese inquest, could even speak directly to this? Remember, the Guyanese coroner had just a small window to examine bodies at Jonestown at all. The afternoon of November 20th into the day of the 21st. By November 21st, the Americans were back in, making determinations about if or how to ship the bodies back to the States. No one even moved a single body (save for the Congressman and the others slain at the airstrip) to the capital Georgetown for any medical procedure at all.
Yet these “sources,” the article began, claimed that “At least 70 members of the People’s Temple, most of them adults, were given injections of cyanide at Jonestown instead of drinking it, suggesting they were murdered…” This according to “Guyanese field findings.”
And Who From the “Guyanese Field Findings” Cited Was Supposed To Be Verifying the News of Forcible Injections?
O.k. “The Guyanese field findings” (of November 20-21, that’s when it was) were in the hands of two Guyanese officials: The coroner, Cyril Leslie Mootoo (generally referred to as just “Leslie Mootoo“) and the police commissioner (though NOT anyone referred to in Horrock’s fictional claim of “police match up of rounds“) C.A. “Skip” Roberts. They were the ones who conducted “the Guyanese field findings” and both testified as such to the Guyana coroner’s jury.
The forensic findings on the bodies was the job of Leslie Mootoo. The crime aspects of the scene was the job of Skip Roberts. (Well, minus any mention of guns.) Any matter of “forcible injections” would have been the province of Mootoo, who quickly became the main focus.
O.k. The New York Times article on December 12, 1978, says that the discovery of “at least 70” forcible injections was a done deal. “Guyanese field findings.”
Except that no one had actually yet officially SAID that. The Guyana coroner’s inquest was coming right up though — in fact, scheduled for the very next day, December 13th.
Wow. Big news coming right up. Or was it? Leslie Mootoo yes, did testify to the coroner’s inquest the very next day, December 13, but he said nothing of the sort!!
But you’d better believe that he was SUPPOSED to. Because according to Rebecca Moore in “Last Rights,“ upon expressing her anguish at the callousness, run-arounds and delays in obtaining any humane treatment, proper autopsies, truthful answers regarding the deaths of her sisters, reveals that she was also told that Leslie Mootoo, the Guyanese coroner, had told the coroner’s jury in Guyana that when he examined 200 bodies at Jonestown, “he saw needle marks on at least 70.”
So Mootoo was the one to claim it, the “at least 70,” yes? At least HE WAS TOLD TO. And whether he said it or not, THEY CLAIMED THAT HE DID.
One problem. Just look at the coroner’s inquest report:
The Times article was printed December 12, 1978, the Guyana coroner’s jury was held the next day on December 13, but Leslie Mootoo said nothing of ANY injections, much less “70.” To the contrary. His story was about a scene “littered with cups.“
Odell Rhodes, an escapee who was there until there were only a few cultists left, testified that “I did not see any adult settler refusing to drink poison.” (Some babies had been injected, but no adults.)
Well, maybe by that point in time, Mr. Mootoo was not yet brought to heel about “following orders.” Maybe he was just acting in his professional role as chief coroner. Maybe the “well-placed sources” thought that no one would ever see the transcript of the inquest. Not available, not transcribed, everyone too busy grieving, just listen to what the authorities say — “the sources.” (In fact, Horrock was quick to CLAIM “no transcripts prepared, no taping permitted” in his follow-up article in the Times.)
Maybe a lot of things. But telling the public the truth was hardly one of them!
The Times article went on to say that “Many adults had fresh injection marks high on their upper arms, just below the shoulders. The sources said that these were cyanide injections and indicated that these persons had not been willing to drink the…. cyanide…” Moreover, that:
“These sources said that Christine Miller, the one woman…. who openly argued against the death plan, was one of the persons on whom authorities found the mark of a cyanide injection.” (Note: The body of whom was specifically examined and injection DISCLAIMED at inquest by police detective Vernon Gentle. See “The Great Injections Fiasco,” panels [4-1] & [4-2].)
Well, obviously the public needed to conclude that these brutes (i.e., the cultists) had first organized a brutal massacre at the airstrip (I mean, it had to have been them who killed the Congressman, yes?) and then a brutal massacre against their own. Well, one would think so anyway. So claimed the nameless-faceless “sources.” Who weren’t the Guyanese coroner, who weren’t the Assistant Commissioner of Crime, who actually was not ANYONE in Guyana because there was no other medical access to the bodies prior to their return to the United States.
And again, zero minimizing of every gruesome, even emotionally infuriating aspect of this matter on anyone‘s part. Just what happened and was it LIED about? And if so, WHY?
And This Lie Should Have Prevented Release of the Bodies to the Relatives WHY?
O.k. The Guyanese coroner, Leslie Mootoo, did NOT testify to forcible injections, or to any injections at all at the Guyanese inquest which was to take place the very next day. Nor did the Assistant Commissioner of Crime, who was also on the scene November 20th and manually inspected the bodies to the degree that he “counted 914 bodies.” It would seem that under those circumstances, all those needle marks would have been hard to miss, yes?
Especially, as “sources” said, “fresh needle marks” (well, after two days left to rot in the tropical sun anyway) were all in the same place on the bodies; moreover, which some nameless-faceless not even on site just automatically knew had to be cyanide.
Vernon Gentle, the police detective at the inquest even positively DISCOUNTED needle marks on the body of Christine Miller, which the Times article of December 12 specified were there.
Apparently, the Times’ conclusions were fictional (well, disinformation) since the only professionals in Guyana who had examined the bodies made no mention of “what they were supposed to find” at inquest at all.
Yet lo and behold, the nameless-faceless were expressing “concern”! The article even sports a subtitle: “Concern on Releasing Bodies“:
No, not concern for the victims or their families. No, no, no. Just “concern, according to the sources, that the bodies of the victims are being released from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to their families. The concern is that the examination of the bodies by United States authorities was not thorough enough to confirm the Guyanese field findings on the forced injections.”
O.k. For the moment let’s skip over what this LOOKS like, at best — namely, an instructional manual ordering the further desecration of human bodies. Because there were no “Guyanese field findings.“ No one SAW those “70 fresh injections on the upper arms” and might never see them unless they were PUT there.
Let’s just try even for a moment to impart ANY benevolent intent to such “concern”: Preventing closure for the families? Obstructing decent timely burials? Preventing anyone from organizing a mass eulogy? Fending off questions?
The list goes on and on. There was NO benevolent intent to further delaying the release of the bodies. Honestly, the only intent I can see in all this was to create yet further trauma for the families and to re-enforce that the ONLY questions anyone needed to ask was about the purported brutality of the cultists, brutalizing each other after they killed the Congressman (i.e., to further nail THE FRAME) — not anything else.
Mootoo Never Testified to Injections But He Was Eventually “Brought Around”
As already revealed in “The Great Injections Fiasco,” although Nicholas Horrock printed in the New York Times on December 12, 1978, the day prior to the Guyana inquest that there were “Guyanese field findings” of “at least 70 members of People’s Temple injected with cyanide….”, the Guyanese coroner did not testify to that at all.
Horrock also printed in a subsequent article the day following the inquest, December 14, that “Dr. Mootoo and police officials said in interviews [there were no “interviews” that early on] that [again] in at least 70 of the bodies, the cyanide and fruit-flavored drink combination appears to have been administered by injection.”
This was fiction. There were no “interviews”; there was no such “testimony.” But it didn’t really matter since Horrock is clear that no one would be able to verify that anyway: Matthews Ridge was in a “roadless” jungle basin, and there were “no transcripts prepared” and “reporters were not permitted to make tape recordings.” (See reprint of article in “The Great Autopsy Disaster,” panel .)
The Guyanese Coroner’s Alleged Reversal Begins With a No-Quote-Marks Quote
We’ve already introduced Dr. Rudiger Breitenecker, the M.D. who was part of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology team who signed onto the autopsies and then went out in public and lied.
Well that same news article, December 19, 1978 in The New York Times (by their medical correspondent) begins the professed turnaround of the Guyanese coroner, who is now quoted as saying (though MINUS THE QUOTE MARKS) that “he told reporters [that] he found evidence of needle injections in the bodies of some cultists, indicating that they had been murder, not suicide, victims.”
Of course, Mootoo never said that at inquest at all, his medical findings under oath. It was just a fiction not based on medical findings at all, but rather by inducing a medical professional (namely, Leslie Mootoo) into serving as a political puppet. (We will return to that.)
There was actually no evidence anywhere of injection of adults. Some babies yes. But the Guyana inquest in fact ruled out adults, as per Rhodes and Clayton, the last ones there, and no mention by either the Guyanese coroner or the police commissioner.
One more claimed testimony we should discount however. Namely, since the loudest clamor about allegedly forcible injections has been raised by a survivor who was back in Jonestown two days following the tragedy, it should be addressed directly:
The “Murder or Suicides?” Issue
An article was presented as alleged “proof’ that there were massive forcible injections at Jonestown.
Unfortunately, there appear to be too many problems with this write-up to consider it as “proof” of anything. It had to have been a horribly traumatizing trip back to witness the mass deaths; and for that, the survivor has my empathy. It’s just his conclusions which appear questionable:
He was obviously upset to see what he called “huge abscesses… in haphazard and varied locations… [including] the left temple, neck, back of hand, upper arm, lower leg, and back of shoulder.” Which he assumed had to mean INJECTIONS. Assumed. He did not see any needle marks. This was an assumption: that the presence of post-mortem abscesses must have equaled pre-mortem injections.
He was further distressed that since he believes that Leslie Mootoo, the Guyanese coroner testified that “all injections were located between the shoulder blades” (well, Mootoo never testified about injections at all) that, “I believe that Dr. Mootoo was describing bodies from in the ‘dorm’ where Hyacinch Thrash and other older seniors lived.”
Well, Dr. Mootoo mentioned NEITHER abscesses nor injections at the inquest. He said that he did not even begin examination of the bodies until the night of November 20th and that he stayed over at Jonestown, which the survivor did not. So who Dr. Mootoo examined or how many, was unknown to the survivor.
It is not speculative, however, that C.A. “Skip” Roberts (the Assistant Commissioner of Crime) stated at the inquest that he personally counted 914 bodies and he said that only 22 were NOT in the main Pavilion area and of those, 13 were in Jim Jones’ cabin, leaving only 9 to be “elsewhere.” Seniors’ quarters included.
And Odell Rhodes said that the seniors’ quarters had only “four bodies.”
The survivor further complains that Mootoo (had allegedly) testified at the inquest that “fewer than 20” bodies were injected. (Again, he did not testify that anyone was injected.) And queries why was that “so drastically reduced” from what he himself saw? Namely, “two dozen” = 24. That he saw two dozen of the deceased with abscesses which he presumed (but could not know) meant that they were injected.
20, 24. What am I missing here?
But before we get too tangled up in the math, please note again that Mootoo did not testify that he saw ANYONE injected! Not a one. It’s rather Odell Rhodes, who was there well into the process, who testified that, “I did not see any adult settler refusing to drink poison.”
Well, the survivor is very emotional. O.k., everyone has had a lot of emotion invested in this. Emotion is most understandable.
But by his own testimony he was also NOT THERE past the first few deaths. Odell Rhodes, who testified that “I did not see any adult settler refusing to drink poison,” was.
And yes, this was a horrifying shock that yes, could readily have produced chaos at the start. Undoubtedly it progressed from surreal, to real, to terrifying. I feel for everyone and I, like so many others, was plagued with nightmares for years.
But then the survivor left the community early on. He wasn’t in these people’s shoes. He wasn’t caught between people watching their own die before their own eyes, the agonies of loyalty to others versus one’s own survival, inner terrors versus outer outbursts, feeling that one’s life was over even before it was actually physically over.
And NO ONE (and I mean NO ONE — myself included) is saying that this was good or right. But I would never PRESUME to have lived in others’ minds and hearts, much less proclaim actions that he, the survivor in question, never saw — to proclaim that they must have done this, they must have done that.
He simply DOES NOT KNOW. So is there also not some obligation here to look at evidence? — evidence that should have, could have been examined earlier but no one ever did? Thus the “In Plain Sight“ project.
Because officialdom LIED about that evidence. They just did. It’s all being proven via materials right from the scene. And don’t we have THE RIGHT to know what the actual evidence is?
Thus I would say that evidence is what we should stick with, especially when cover-ups and lies about evidence are ALSO so wrong! Trumping up false tales of internal overt brutality to re-enforce the frame of what the community did NOT do, namely the killing of the Congressman, is ALSO wrong.
Let’s now return to the matter of abscesses. Regarding the abscesses that the survivor writes that he saw:
Abscesses after two days of dead bodies in the tropical heat and a teeming eco-system, is in no way, shape or form proof of injections. As any internet entry on the subject will verify, dead bodies do swell from accumulated internal gasses stemming from deterioration of tissue, but not immediately. The common estimate appears to be within two-three days following death — a process which of course may be accelerated and intensified in conditions of tropical heat and humidity. The survivor’s trip back to Jonestown was two days following the deaths.
Now, swellings and abscesses are not necessarily the same. All abscesses are swellings but not all swellings are abscesses. Apparently, what is likely to produce an abscess is some type of puncture of the skin. But in that climate, bodies exposed to both heat and a teeming eco-system, one can take one’s pick! Maggots, insects, rodents, birds…..
Even bodies that had been recovered from Jim Jones’ cabin (i.e., a shelter from the elements) were reported on autopsy reports as being infested with maggots.
So let’s say that ANYTHING punctured the skin of a dead body prior to its swelling, which is not an immediate process. Then when the body swelled, it might have produced an abscess.
Perhaps this even accounts for the survivor claiming to have seen abscesses in both completely different parts of the body, person by person; as well as completely different parts of the body than ever specified by the coroner or anyone else.
And I reiterate, this was never the coroner’s original testimony. Indeed, his tale, was shifting, changing, and did not start with a story about injections at all. That just got revved up once “anonymous unnamed sources” were quoted with a sudden story about massive injections in the New York Times on December 12, 1978. One that Mootoo was apparently supposed to testify to at the Guyana inquest the very next day (December 13) but he didn’t do that. Instead, he just did his job and gave his actual findings under oath. Which did not include injections.
Then suddenly he, the coroner, started to change his own story as well. No injections, 20 injections, 187 injections and still counting….
The survivor himself notes that Mootoo was maddeningly inconsistent, changing stories back and forth. But the survivor’s upset appears to be that one of Mootoo’s shifting claims was a low estimate of 20. But why would one even want stories of huge numbers, albeit never in the original coroner’s inquest at all? To justify conclusions that make no medical sense to begin with? About abscesses that allegedly could have had no other cause than pre-mortem injections?
So yes, the survivor’s upset is real, but no, he has not provided “the only explanation” by far. He actually has not provided any explanation that cannot be discounted with ten minutes of internet research.
Honestly, even if the story did make sense medically, then the only explanation would be run-amok nurses wildly stabbing at people’s necks, legs, cheeks, hands, wherever, as they were fleeing into the jungle. For which there is no verification anywhere — certainly not from anyone who was there for most of the process before they escaped (namely, Odell Rhodes and Stanley Clayton), much less from the final note left by (I believe) Marceline Jones.
I would just like to add that since it was all gruesome enough; that this was a historically non-violent group; and that for the most part, the community was comprised of loving, gentle, non-violent people, that creating the impression that this was a pack of brutes at each other’s throats internally up to the last, when there is actually NO evidence of that, may not a fitting memorial. Can we not tread a little more carefully?
O.k., What About Leslie Mootoo?
But since Mootoo, the Guyanese coroner, has so come into play, then what about him?
A lot of people were upset with this guy. I mean, he just wouldn’t say that hundreds and hundreds (and hundreds!) of people were forcibly injected at Jonestown. He wouldn’t even repeat the “187 and still counting” story consistently.
He was supposed to be a better witness. He was supposed to say what everyone wanted to hear. He was supposed to say whatever he was told to say.
But say, what if he was just a public civil servant trying to do his job and being pressured to LIE? Did anyone even consider that?
Look first at what Mootoo was expected to say at the Guyana coroner’s inquest. Understand that the Guyana coroner’s inquest transcripts are a very rough read whatever the specific details. Of course they are. But they are also straightforward; and that being so, and the subject so gruesome as is, why would anyone want to LIE about the findings. Though they did:
The New York Times article of December 12, 1978:
Namely, that “At least 70 members of the Peoples Temple, most of them adults, were given injections of cyanide at Jonestown…”
Then the grieving survivor who was told that “Mootoo visually examined over 200 bodies at Jonestown. He later told a Guyana coroner’s jury that he saw needle marks on at least 70.”
So that was the coin of the realm. That’s what Mootoo was SUPPOSED to tell the Guyana coroner’s jury, already relayed as “fact” by the New York Times on December 12, 1978, a day PRIOR TO the proceeding on December 13. Indeed, that’s what survivors were thereafter told that Mootoo did say.
Except that he didn’t. Instead, he just acted like a coroner doing his job instead of an agency puppet following orders. He said he saw dead bodies, randomly tested 25 bodies and found acute cyanide poisoning in all 25. He spoke of a scene “littered with plastic cups.” HE DID NOT MENTION INJECTIONS AT ALL.
Well, maybe Mr. Mootoo had just misunderstood what he had been told to say. Maybe it had “not been made clear enough to him” what he was required to do. Or look: Maybe he was just a coroner doing an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.
But that all began to shift by the New York Times article of December 19, 1978, just six days later, in which “Dr. Mootoo also said [well, or is said to have said — no quote marks], just that “he told reporters that… he found evidence of needle injections in the bodies of some cultists, indicating that they had been murder, not suicide, victims.”
Except that that was never his testimony as an under-oath coroner at inquest. It was just whatever induced him to shift AFTER he failed to deliver on the instructions of the nameless-faceless ones quoted in the Times on December 12.
The most blatant evidence, of course, that Mootoo was “handled” and told what to say, was his interview in “Freedom Magazine” which is a publication of Scientology:
The Scientologists had a keen interest in Jonestown. Partly because it got everyone calling THEM “a cult”; partly in that they were so at loggerheads with the Cult Awareness Network; partly that the Scientologist believed themselves to be targeted by the intelligence agencies and the last thing the intelligence agencies would have wanted was for Jonestown to in any way give “bait’ for them to investigate further. Those people don’t have a great reputation for giving up. They usually don’t.
Thus the Scientologists were given “the royal treatment” — now not just 70 people injected at all, rather “187 bodies in the stifling heat,” at which point “they had to give up.” A fiction to begin with, then hyped to super-proportions for the Scientologists’ benefit to be sure they were kept off the tail of the CIA.
What Mootoo told the Scientologists was apparently the result of being handled. It was not what he witnessed at all.
What If There Were NO Injections of Fleeing Cultists?
Come to think of it, there is no evidence of injections of fleeing cultists anywhere.
Does that makes Jim Jones a good guy because look, all these people were cooperating in their own deaths? No. I haven’t said that and I won’t. Jim Jones was psychotic and it was tragic that he was not stopped, even though that would have had to have been done a long time before that night.
I am just saying that these were frightened people; and that yes, SOME of their fear was of Jones, who had clearly gone psychotic; but they were also legitimately frightened by circumstances which were now all too real. “They won’t let us get away with this!” — as not only Jim Jones, but also everyone else believed that the community bore the guilt of a Congressional assassination.
Combined with a pretty unified adamant refusal to return to the States, which according to MANY of the substantially poor black residents at Jonestown, had given them a very raw deal. Most would have probably even told you that aside from the pressures, fears and uncertainties of a leader deteriorating before their eyes (an ongoing ordeal, hardly just that night), that Jonestown for them was a GOOD life.
And maybe, at that, having been trapped in a bad life Stateside and wanting a better life there, should actually count for something. Or whatever the tragedy of their deaths, these people’s very LIVES counted for nothing.
Maybe someone should finally consider that.
Why Is This a Key Point?
Good question. People had died. It was tragic however it happened — whether voluntarily or by injection. (And OF COURSE I quantify “voluntarily.” The pressures had to have been immense and terrifying.)
But here is the difference: People brutal enough to attack even each other with deadly hypodermics while they were kicking and screaming and fleeing, would surely be of the same brutal character to have…….. KILLED THE CONGRESSMAN. These sections have not been entitled “The Anatomy of a Frame” for nothing.
The catch-phrase of the day was “bizarre murder-suicide ritual.” Any purported brutality at Jonestown forged that linkage between “murder” (i.e., of THE CONGRESSMAN) and “suicide” (of their own.) Thus was it an extra insurance of making the frame stick and precluding any investigation.
It might also be helpful for the reader to grasp that HAD there ever been any hearing or investigation, the claims of forcible injections would have been tossed out as NOT testified to at the time of inquest, as well as possibly coerced thereafter. And with the grief, loss, shock at fever pitch as is, why would that gratuitous slice of cruelty be foisted onto the world at all? That no one should even remember their loved ones as gentle, constructive or caring, just as brutes who violently did this and brutes who violently did that?
The Great Hit Squad Myth: Can Dead People Pick Up Phones? 
Install the “Hit Squad” Myth Quickly
Peoples Temple had been turned into “the only bad guys in sight.“ The public was so focused on the terrible Peoples Temple, to boot, the press having already skewered them for a year-and-a-half earlier, cultists expatriated, unable to even launch a defense — that it was never revisited what had led up to the disaster not just in Guyana, but Stateside.
Namely, the killing of the Congressman was hardly just a black ops from out of nowhere with nothing suspicious happening in the lead-up. There were all kinds of “dirty tricks” leading up to the disaster. Actions blamed on Peoples Temple but incredibly UN-likely to have been them. If only because it always seemed to work to their detriment!
Like whenever someone was genuinely interested in visiting Jonestown who might help the community’s image on the public terrain (i.e., well-connected people like reporters, or well-publicized people like “Concerned Relatives”), somehow they started getting harassing anonymous phone calls in the middle of the night or were even physically attacked. Case-in-point, Kathy Hunter:
Kathy Hunter: Turning a Potential Ally Into An Enemy — “Anonymously”!
Take Kathy Hunter for a backdrop example of dirty tricks. She was the wife of the editor of The Ukiah Daily Journal and a journalist herself. That newspaper was historically favorable to the Temple in its long-time residence in Redwood Valley. It’s editor, George Hunter, had even written of Jim Jones as “a fiery archangel.”
And the Temple might have invited her to Jonestown at some point had she even suggested that she was interested. But that was dicey: Timothy Stoen had already publicly courted her over his child custody suit and we had no idea where that was going. “Greek Tragedy Played on Worldwide Stage,“ trumpeted the Santa Rosa press. Nor had anyone at the San Francisco Temple heard a word from Mrs. Hunter directly.
Instead, she arrived in Georgetown one day unannounced, claiming that the invitation had come from the Prime Minister! (Which even she later conceded “was probably a hoax.”)
Accordingly to then-PR director for the Temple, Mike Prokes, she was mostly drunk when the Temple met with her. She refused to attend a reception at the Temple headquarters in Georgetown (there was a cultural program scheduled at that time), but instead demanded to be brought directly to Jim Jones in Jonestown “or” she would go back and ruin the church in the States. (As if that had not already been done…)
Meanwhile, she claimed a series of harassing phone calls (all of them “anonymous,” of course!) which she blamed squarely on the Temple, while the hotel she was in had five false fire alarms while she was there.
Note, she had been met upon arrival by one Pat Small, a woman suspected by the Guyanese to be CIA, who remained glued to her as her escort. Hunter wound up being expelled from Guyana when she and Small went directly to Parliament to create a scene.
The press upon Mrs. Hunter’s return to the States was horrendous, of course. “Writer’s Nightmare Journey to Peoples Temple Mission,“ wrote the San Francisco Examiner. Hunter’s home town paper, The Ukiah Daily Journal, filled in yet more lurid alleged details:
“[Hunter was]. . interrogated at great length by one of Jones’ ‘goon squads’ . . . . The Temple’s propaganda machine paints an idyllic picture. . . then why did Jones fear a visit. . . and what does he have to hide? . . . The Guyanese National Police had no illusion about the potential for violence. . . They quickly posted a guard outside her hotel door. She was to leave Guyana today and the plan called for a police escort. . . . which would indicate that the authorities believed that Jones’ followers were not above additional harassment or even violence. . .
It even got further embellished. Hunter claimed that upon return to the States, she received anonymous calls in the middle of the night muttering curses and threats, and that some black men (“anonymous” black men, naturally) had broken into her home and forced alcohol down her throat.
And the Temple (even were it so inclined — this was NOT the practice and besides, this woman had a big “Stay away!” sign across her chest) would have done all these terrible things to Kathy Hunter WHY? Well, it wouldn’t have. But it took a lot of money, resources and personnel to perpetuate this complex hoax, and across continents.
And what did this lay the groundwork for? That this historically NON-violent group was now morphed into the kind of people who would…… KILL A CONGRESSMAN?
Not Just Home, But the Foreign Press Planted With Smears
There was honestly always “funny stuff” around the attacks on the church. But something that came to the Temple’s attention by chance (through a clipping service) was two identically-worded smears about “prophet with profits” which appeared simultaneously in a USSR publication and one in Toronto. Within the same month.
Namely, locales that the press smearers wished to turn against the far-left wing group whose leader had visited Castro’s Cuba to rave reviews and now had planted itself in Guyana. The USSR the church was obviously courting; and by the end, was making a desperate attempt for a re-relocation there.
Toronto was simply the home of a large number of Guyanese immigrants. In other words, if one wanted to reach Guyanese outsides the confines of Guyana, head for Toronto.
So those plants in the press were tell-tale CIA dirty tricks in any case.
See panel , which speaks for itself. Who would have even have had the resources and contacts to simultaneously place identical smears at select international locales thousands of miles apart?
Much less who would then play dirty tricks on dead people? Well, now it’s the very night of the tragedy. And no one in the Bay Area even knew what was happening in Guyana except for what was coming through on public newscasts.
But somehow, instead of having ears glued to the radio in terror, worry and grief, the Temple was supposed to have been doing the following:
Can Dead People Really Pick Up Phones? (Panel )
O.k. It’s the very night of the tragedy and everyone from Peoples Temple in the States is cowering in grief and fear. There was no living person from Peoples Temple who could have done the following or who even knew who the recipient of the phone call at issue WAS!
But say, SOMEONE managed to place an anonymous phoned death threat to an aide to the Congressman in the Bay Area! An aide whom no one in Peoples Temple even knew existed!
Except that that aide just happened to be the son (though also on the Ryan payroll) of chief Ryan aide, Joseph Holsinger. Who also just happened to be the one then targeted for a nefarious long-range disinformation campaign ongoing.
And the anonymous phone threat itself? It was patently nuts to blame that on the Temple. The San Francisco Temple was pulverized and reeling from the early news reports. Nor was there ANY communication from Jonestown that night. There was just fear, terror, grief, and the horror of suddenly being set adrift into a frightening, hostile, sorrow-drenched world.
Ah, but it had to be blamed on Peoples Temple and the media all complied. Thus was born the mythical “hit squad.” Be afraid, Be very afraid. You know, they must have committed the assassination, or why would they “still” be behaving this way?
By Way of Background, the Story About “An Armed Camp” Was False in the First Place
Note, by way of background, a news article confirming that the story of Jonestown being “an armed camp” was fiction to begin with. Neither the Guyanese nor the American authorities found more than 39-40 small weapons in a community of 1200 — scarcely enough for hunting, much less for self-defense. A defector had been persuaded to swear out an affidavit that she had personally seen 200-300 weapons at Jonestown with her own eyes, but where they might have been allegedly stashed, no one knew, no one asked. Nor was that ever the purpose of saying it. The purpose of saying it was simply to have on record a claim which might be useful later on to confirm that “these were really violent brutes who killed a Congressman.”
(See Panel .)
Getting The Cover-Up Story Going As Early As Possible
The story about the alleged “Peoples Temple hit squad” also becomes a segue into the next section. The lie that would allegedly ”turn Peoples Temple into the CIA” was undoubtedly already hatched, just not put out there very first thing.
Took some weeks to install, then years to re-enforce. To get at least one public newspaper, one Chicago Defender on board to tend to the bothersome task of convincing the Ryan contingent, who knew that the CIA had it in for Ryan, that “Peoples Temple was really the CIA.” And what better way to do that than to target the death threat at the son of the key Ryan aide (namely, Joseph Holsinger) pre-selected for that disinformation campaign?
See “The Long-Range DisInformation: Sealing Pandora’s Box.” It’s quite a tall tale.
It’s BOTH the Crime and the Cover-Up
Regarding this entire section of the “In Plain Sight” project, namely “The Immediate Aftermath“: As is often said, don’t just look at the crime — look at the COVER-UP. People with nothing to hide play things straight up. People who are themselves guilty do a lot of freaky things that, when set aright, give a pretty good rundown of their own guilt.
Oh, this story was “twisted” for sure, both the airstrip scene and the mass deaths at Jonestown as well. And the purely human factors of grief, shock and loss can never be weeded out, nor should they be. A single look at the autopsy and inquest reports snaps them back in with force.
The story of Jim Jones is “twisted” as well — for sure. I believe that there was a progressively-stressed personal psychosis at the root of the apparently “self-fulfilling prophecy,” and have outlined that as such in another piece. That the man was “a suicide waiting to happen” out of personal history never even related as such; but that that psychological profile was foisted upon an isolated community under siege. They were indeed under heavy media attack by the time of the tragedy and seemingly helpless in their own defense.
To boot, with a community largely derived from impoverished straits when in the States — Jonestown was their “dream come true” and in large measure successful as such. Even the thought of being forced back Stateside was unbearable to at least a large proportion of the flock.
I just draw the line at there having been “nothing to fear but fear itself.” Namely, whatever the paranoia of the man Jim Jones, there was MUCH for that community to fear!:
They had settled in a CIA-controlled land intent on keeping the country communist-free — namely, keeping Forbes Burnham in power and communist Cheddi Jagan sidelined. Then along comes Jim Jones, self-proclaimed communist, making friends with Castro’s Cuba and intent on re-relocating his flock to the then USSR.
Then he threatens to off the whole community if his own child is forcibly removed. (See “Pre-Planning the Frame.“) A crisis for sure, but “almost nothing” compared to the prospect of invasion to retaliate against the killing of a Congressman.
The visiting Congressman was a prime target for the CIA as well — his legislation (the Hughes-RYAN Amendment to the Foreign Relations Act of 1974) took aim at wrecking the CIA‘s “black ops,” so they “black-opted him.” He was yes, lured to Jonestown to investigate “cultish” matters, but what country was he being lured to, by whom, and for what ulterior purpose?
And for the CIA, this was apparently just too tempting: Off the hated Congressman and the hated cult leader in a “kill two birds with one stone” scenario. Then frame the killing of the Congressman on the cult and hope that the mad leader makes good on his threat, leaving “a thousand dead patsies“ in the killing‘s wake.
That got done, but then there was THE COVER-UP: A mass of disinformation and lies, switched stories and ploys, done all too “professionally” at the time, to boot — a comment, however, made far less in admiration than in horror.
But now with the long lens of time and the multitude of recovered documents, we can see it for what it was: a cruel cover-up of epic proportions, fabrications about time delays, body counts, alleged injections, agency-run autopsies, alleged hit squads, a corrupted press and all..
Next in “The Long-Range Disinformation: Sealing Pandora’s Box,” we will reveal what was supposed to make the frame stick PERMANENTLY, namely the whole-cloth fabrication by the CIA that Jim Jones, not they themselves, “was the CIA.” Impossible to believe? Actually, yes. Quite impossible to believe. But unfortunately, that would not prevent it from taking hold.
Summary of Panels for “The Immediate Aftermath: It’s Not Just the Crime, It’s the Cover-Up”
: The Great Timeline Travesty: A Tale of TWENTY HOURS
: The Great Body Count Snafu: The Public Did NOT Need to Know?
: The Great Autopsy Disaster: BOTH Poisoned and Shot?
[4-1]: The Great Injections Fiasco: A CIA-Created Fiction
[4-2]: The Great Injections Fiasco: A CIA-Created Fiction
: The Great Hit Squad Myth: Can Dead People Pick Up Phones?