History is a strange animal. It moves regardless of human notice. In fact, bad players love humans taking no notice. Divert and divide, and you can destroy with impunity.
Back then, the world was writhing with cult-this and cult-that, and turning Kool-aid into a household word. So surely it was the cult who killed the Congressman, yes? Open-and-shut case. Who even needed proof?
Me. The “In Plain Sight” project. Proving that the opening act of that terrible night was the CIA’s doing, not the cult at all.
It’s a twisty tale, but one I have never approached with prejudice. I followed the evidence and it led there. It’s just the public that was never given a reason to even look. Namely, why would the CIA care? It was all about cult-cult-cult, wasn’t it?
No, not hardly. It was about the cult, yes; but it was also about The Cold War:
The CIA had fixed Guyanese elections for 11 years prior to the tragedy (to keep Guyana pro-U.S., anti-Cuba), as per de-classified findings; Congressman Leo Ryan had passed the Hughes-Ryan amendment to the 1974 Foreign Relations Act making the CIA report all black ops to multiple congressional committees; and Peoples Temple was one month shy of a scouting mission to the dreaded then-USSR in a bid to relocate there.
Would the CIA have just said, “Oh, never mind, just let Nature take its course? Let Leo Ryan cripple our black ops, and let Peoples Temple, the ‘left-wing darlings’ of the Bay Area go to the USSR, as U.S. liaison to Cuba?”
Like “Who cares? We’re just the CIA? We leave everyone alone to do what they want?”
But say, why even worry about political realities? After a cult horror show, who will even LOOK?
Easy call: Drum the Congressman with cult-cult-cult, get him on site, kill two birds with one stone; frame the Ryan hit onto Jones; then HOPE that Jones offs his own. A defector swears that Jones threatened it before; so he’ll get blamed in any case.
Meaning that: OF COURSE the CIA wanted mass deaths at Jonestown!! Thus (as per retrieved government log) their TWENTY HOURS waltzing Medevac requests through South Carolina, instead of getting local help there in ONE HOUR FLAT. They wanted to ensure that everyone at Jonestown was already DEAD.
Not just Leo Ryan. Not just Jim Jones. EVERYONE. That wipes out a thousand possible alibis. It also makes “collateral damage” good for the CIA. It secures the frame against Jones. No one will be looking to blame the Congressman’s death onto anyone else — not with a thousand corpses on the ground.
With enough horror, deep dark jungle, and the CIA grip on Guyana, no one will even investigate! No hearings, no forensics, secret testimonies, no one under oath, controlled media, no access to the on-site NBC film footage.
Really. Enough horror to silence anyone who thought that maybe it was NOT all about horror. Or that at least part of the horror was created by the CIA itself.
But where is the evidence? Oh, there’s tons. So let’s get right to what provably happened at the Port Kaituma airstrip:
A false flag, kill-two-birds-with-one-stone frame? A duplicated tractor-trailer so as to frame the hit on “Temple killers”? Doesn’t that sound freakish?
Yes!! It’s just not me who concocted it! The CIA sewed that all up on their own. Like did you know that removing the top panel from a FARM TRACTOR and replacing it with the top of a TANK, was not even new to the American CIA? Turns out (in Mission to Moscow, a film promoted by FDR to warm Americans to the wartime alliance) that that’s how Russia converted farm equipment to military use during the German invasion in World War II!
In Guyana, they needed the tank design so as to not have some unknown assailant’s body sticking out from a tractor driver’s seat! Tanks conceal faces. A converted vehicle could also adjust its SPEED, zooming in and out of the kill, since any “real” farm tractor is a slow beast. Then that nifty SOUND DIVERSION on the disembark, by installing audio in the converted vehicle.
(That loud clanging sound could not have come from the plane. The NBC footage just prior has the plane revving down to silence.)
Just award your own hand-picked newly-paroled felon – one Joseph Mazor – a P.I. license; have him con his way into Jonestown for photo ops (Jonestown loved being photographed!); and you’ll nail what vehicle you need to duplicate to fool onlookers.
But lo and behold! NBC filmed the real Jonestown tractor-trailer on site! It was sitting under a wing of the smaller plane down-runway, just as reporters said that they saw the attack vehicle zooming in from the opposite direction! TWO DIFFERENT VEHICLES.
But how could they hide that large a vehicle prior to the attack? Well, have you SEEN the height and thickness of the brush adjoining that airstrip? I published a photo of it.
O.k. The likelihood of my fabricating ANY of this was/is ZERO. Not that it was a cakewalk for the CIA. Pulling off a look-alike frame? Lots could go awry. Hence soldiers with M-16s down airstrip for no likely reason. It’s just that Bob Flick, the producer from NBC was upset that they wouldn’t help! HELP? They weren’t there to help. They were there for back-up – to mow everyone down if their cover was blown! It was all going to be blamed on Jim Jones anyway.
Am I saying Jim Jones wasn’t guilty for the deaths at Jonestown? To the contrary. He was. But he along with everyone else, died after buying into their own frame. The one fact (had they but known) could have kept them ALIVE. Even Jim Jones would have WAY preferred martyrdom over infamy, given a choice.
But isn’t this all too fantastical? Well, yes and no. When you scour the shockingly lax FBI report, then factor in Tim Reiterman’s own schematic of that airstrip (and no one impugns Reiterman, the premier reporter on site!), it becomes not just fantastical, but believable:
Most of the Temple defectors (the only ones who could i.d. “Temple killers”) had been siphoned off to a smaller plane already taxiing for take-off when the assassins struck. They did not SEE the hit. Which suited the FBI just fine! They only asked, who did you see on the AIRSTRIP, not who did you see doing the KILLING.
Thus EVERY cited “Temple eyewitness” named young, white, fair-skinned, blond Stan Gieg as “the tractor driver.” Stan had apparently been driving the Temple tractor, which had no role in the killings! The actual on-site NBC footage reveals the driver as a mature dark-skinned black man – and with great shooting, timing, and logistical skills, to boot!
Well, the FBI was fine with wrong i.d.’s, so long as it fingered the Temple . But they did need some likely “government eyewitness” to claim i.d.’s of the assassins, meaning a Temple defector from the larger plane, the one under attack. Enter Jim Cobb, who allegedly i.d’ed the killers “at point blank range” after having ADMITTEDLY ALREADY FLED FIFTY YARDS to the bush (in fact, reporters said it was 100 yards) and he would have had to SEE THROUGH THE BODY OF A PLANE, TO BOOT! (Cobb exited off the back-left end of the plane; the Temple men were approaching from the front-right side.)
Even that was a contraindicated testimony: Any Temple men still on the airfield by then – Tom Kice, Bob Kice, Joe Wilson, the accused assassins – were ON FOOT, NOT ON THE ATTACK VEHICLE, as per reporters’ testimonies! Then when we factor in the airfield schematic provided by Reiterman, those men on foot from across the airstrip COULD NOT SEE the attack either! They, like Cobb, would have had to see through the body of the plane!
Meanwhile, if not for the panic at Jonestown, a maddened leader and fanatical followers, someone could have/should have gotten some first-hand confession before starting to poison people! (My God, yes!!) But that did not happen.
And NO ONE – I repeat NO ONE – said that it did. Nor did Jim Jones know the identity of the assassins. He said so seven times on the final tape.
There was just shock. “Who else could it have been?” There were no known intruders into that remote conclave. And many were angry at the Congressman’s visit. One, named Ujara, attacked Ryan with a knife. Another, Larry Layton (an untrained loner), had left with a gun, intent that the Congressman would die.
On the final tape, Jim Jones even speculated that Layton might have killed Ryan! (He didn’t.) That how confused and volatile it was.
By the way, to all those so critical of findings which they have apparently not even read:
I’ve heard everything. Every defamation of my character, my soundness, my intent — because I’ve bucked the tide. People who do not even look at evidence have just attacked me personally.
But the reality is that I’m the only one to have ever LOOKED. I was grieved by what I found on all sides of the fence; but I’ve looked and related to it all.
Yes, I know that Jim Jones ordered the vats of poison to be brought in. And the travesty of that path; yet panic and coercion prevailed. (Though there were no forcible injections. The coroner confirmed that at inquest.)
I also know that Jim Jones did not, could not have ordered the hit on the Congressman. The evidence aired in “In Plain Sight” is clear, confirmed, cross-checked and real.
I also know that IF the cult knew it was a frame; and/or IF they kept the Congressman out, fearing that there might be killings and a frame…. that that might have saved lives!! And anyone humane would have wanted that.
These are people who can no longer speak for themselves; all while callous masterminds killed a Congressman so as to provoke their deaths; and were not even accused, much less tried.
So who is on the side of the dead people? That must surely include me.
Understand (especially for the unfamiliar reader), there’s confusion over “What is research?” in the first place. (Of which only part is outlined above. I covered all bases in “In Plain Sight.”)
There is nearly no such thing as “Jonestown research” in a factual, evidentiary sense, but more commonly, anecdotal findings. Which makes for great anthropology, great psychology, great story-telling. But for a crime especially (I mean the Port Kaituma killings), what is needed is evidence. And there are indeed VOLUMINOUS EVIDENTIARY FINDINGS now available through the “In Plain Sight” project.
And they NULLIFY the ANECDOTAL findings, which would be blown apart in any court of law. Indeed, had this been “a real investigation” rather than a cover-up, the FBI front-men would have been fired for gross incompetence, at best.
Evidentiary research, such as would hold up legally (or even academically), is based in PRIMARY SOURCE MATERIALS. It’s called “hard evidence.” Shy of that, criminal law depends upon so-called eyewitness testimony. And yes, a great back-up when no on-site evidence can be secured; but it’s also where justice is most often miscarried.
Like here. People who could not even SEE the attack deciding who DID it??!!
And why would one go with “he said, she said” at all when PRIMARY SOURCE MATERIALS are, always have been, available: Like the FBI reports, the inquest reports, the autopsy reports, the media of the day, the airstrip schematic, internal Temple documents; plus the on-site NBC film footage at the airstrip!!
We should DISREGARD all that in favor of “he said, she said”? And then call it “historical research”? What an embarrassment!
Moreover, unnecessary. We have the hard evidence. It’s called the “In Plain Sight” project.
Go read it. If it seems like too much, just think of me. I faced a complex jigsaw that looked freakish enough to me (false-flag, kill-two-birds-with-one-stone frame? And in the middle of a jungle?,) that I endlessly scoured the pieces to be sure. And yes, that I am. Sure. And I laid out all the steps for the reader to be sure.
And if anyone thinks that for taking on the feds, I haven’t been harassed big-time long-term like you would not even believe…. It’s a separate tale, but a rough go. I guarantee you, you would not have wanted to be me. It has cost me greatly.
Coming Full Circle
I will just leave you with one more thing. Which is that I would never lie, fabricate, or even manipulate in a matter this grave. How I arrived here seems more like what we call God or fate. Sometimes it seems but happenstance that impels us to do extraordinary things. We may not even choose it. It sort of chooses us.
For me, it was seeing the entire “snuff film” of the killings on a network in New York at the first anniversary in 1979. (Bob Brown from NBC was filming until the lead gunman shoved his hand into the camera lens, then blew Brown’s head off.) I went to the Congressional committee in D.C. in January 1980. Well, or so I thought. All I got was two suspect aides who doubted my every word, then blocked my mailings from the New York post office. (Return receipts proved that.)
I had seen the film with an Army veteran friend who i.d.’ed the hit as being done via a “squad diamond,” a trained military formation of back-to-back triangles – the lead triangle attacks; the back triangle protects the perimeters. The NBC footage (filmed from under left wing of the plane) also showed the exact positioning of the tractor-trailer vis-à-vis target zero. When the lead triangle charged forwards, there were three shooters remaining, not yet in formation when that six seconds was spliced off. But there was only one direction that they could go. Two still sitting in the trailer opposite the kill zone only had to hop over the edge; the last folding in from the front of the tractor, at the opposite end from the disembark. Back triangle complete. Six men, SQUAD DIAMOND formation perfect.
But Jonestown had no military training.
So I asked for the film to be blown up to i.d. whether the killers were from Jonestown at all. (I never questioned it before then.) The avalanche of harassment launched on me when I returned from D.C. was so heavy, shocking, even dangerous(!), that that’s when even (at that time) fragile, disempowered, grief-stricken me realized that I may have just stumbled upon the truth.
Daily phone harassments at 3 a.m., tailed everywhere, garbage raided, heads forcing their way over my shoulder at the post office. A friend helping me was assaulted in the street – first she was tailed, then sprayed with psychedelics. Another friend let a pre-arranged visitor in (he was a professional with clients), only to barely avert an assault in his home. They even harassed my mother. That was all a warning to me.
I could not move to obtain the film back then. About which I actually felt guilt[!] And I feared it was confiscated; possibly because I had tipped their hand.
But I did write of the SQUAD DIAMOND in my book in 1998. I still thought there was faint hope of ever obtaining the NBC footage; but that if I did, I knew what to look for.
Then the six seconds of disembark that re-surfaced in 2006 (I first saw it in the Nelson film) re-sparked my interest. I guess that they kept that much intact to re-enforce the terror of that time, but did not realize what it would reveal. I mean, six seconds may seem scarce, but these were military moves at record speed.
I freeze-framed the entirety of that footage; and discovered that YES, what my Army veteran friend spotted in 1979 was indeed there. The lead triangle of the squad diamond was already formed in that six seconds and charging forward.
I’ve asked for anyone to step forward to claim the advanced military training, practice, timing, footwork, precision visible in the NBC film footage from out of Jonestown; but there are no takers for that and there never will be because it never happened.
Moreover, the film reveals that the assassins physically in no way match up to the so-called “eyewitness-identified killers.” (An outlandish height discrepancy, amongst other factors.) Notably, in no way the three named in the FBI report; but also no possible combination of three from the entire FBI list of [alleged] “Temple assassins.”
So it does not matter who is so “sure” of false testimony. Because I HAVE THE AUTHORITY with this, not them. I have the proofs.
And am I upset that history might never even consider hard evidence? History can be a dumb beast. This would not be the first or last time. But me, I’ve acted on behalf of the dead – innocents trapped in crushing circumstance from both within and without. To restore dignity for them as humans in impossible straits – not just (as the press portrayed it) “brain-washed cultists who drank the Kool-aid.”
And whether I’ve succeeded in that, only time will tell. This poor human just did what she could, and if it succeeded, then it’s been a good deed. All I know is that I did it well, and that a great burden has been lifted from me.
May all of us, any time in our lives, be so fortunate.
It would also be a REALLY good thing if those who had the Congressman killed were brought to justice. The CIA killing a U.S. Congressman was beyond scandalous, cult or no cult.
But by now, it’s VERY long ago and that will not happen. Even Richard Dwyer, the CIA’s man in Guyana who coordinated the hit on site – proven! – is deceased. But for history to know it, for people to know it? That has to count as good too. We live in perilous times, with powers that seem too overwhelming to confront, much less expose. I want everyone to know that it is at least our right to do so. And kudos to anyone who can do it more timely and more effectively than me.
Peace to all.
(Laurie Efrein Kahalas, a long-time Temple member and author of Snake Dance, is a frequent contributor to the jonestown report. Her previous articles are here. She also created the website www. jonestown.com which now appears on this site here. She can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org.)