Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
FBI Catalogue: Unidentified Individuals Speaking
FBI preliminary tape identification note: One Audio Magnetics 60/ “Taxes April 17, 1978”
Date cues on tape: News events covered consistent with tape ID note
Jimmy Carter, U.S. President
Bert Lance, Director of Office of Management and Budget
William Webster, FBI director
Rep. Al E. Ertel (D-PA)
Donald Fraser (D-MN)
Former Rep. Adam Clayton Powell (D-NY)
Patrice Lumumba, assassinated Prime Minister of Zaire
Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran
Dim Kung-cho, former Korean ambassador to the US [phonetic]
Joan Little, black prisoner who killed a guard, who raped her
Elaine Brown, member of Black Panthers
Dennis Banks, Native American activist
Samuel Scherer [phonetic], New York accountant
Samuel A. Dikeman, professor of tax law, Baruch College
Roy Herberger Jr., Associate Dean of the University of Southern California’s business school
Nicholas Schenara [phonetic], accountant
Sheldon Cohen, IRS Commissioner
Mort Levy, regional supervisor of California of the IRS
Jack Anderson, Denver CPA
Peter Gutmann, Professor at Baruch College
Jack Victor, former publisher of San Francisco Magazine
Herb Kushner, New York tax attorney
Laurie Efrein (speaks)
Bible verses cited: None
This tape consists of three separate segments: a reading of the news for April 17, 1978; the reading of an article originally published in Newsweek Magazine on the policies and investigations of the Internal Revenue Service, likely recorded on the same day; and a non-contexualized conversation among several women – probably about six – about astrology.
In the first segment, Jim Jones reads the news of the day for April 17, 1978. As with many newscasts from this period, he periodically inserts his own editorial comments, most of them familiar to his audience in the Jonestown community: any mention of the United States, its institutions, governmental policies, or economic system usually includes disparaging adjectives, such as fascist, imperialist, and “monopoly capitalist.” The terms also apply to US allies – Germany, Iran, and South Korea are all fascist, and the capitalists of Italy face the same fate as capitalists everywhere – and their leaders.
Congressmen were charged with taking bribes from South Korean officials. Jones uses the incident to make several points, beginning with his observation that the proposed congressional compromise leading to unity and cooperation is characterized by fascism. He notes also that most of the affected parties in the US are white, whereas their friends in Congress – specifically Charles Diggs and the former Rep. Adam Clayton Powell – didn’t get such easy treatment, because they were black. His final claim is that the division of the Koreas in the early 1950’s was a “monstrous” plan, that all the people of Korea want to live under the government of North Korea.
His reporting on FBI agents traveling to Italy to help in the search for kidnapped prime minister Aldo Moro also allows him to make several points. His first one is familiar to the people of Jonestown: describing Moro as a representative of the capitalist system in his own country, Jones says, “There is no assurances, no protection in capitalism,” as opposed to Jonestown, “a socialist community, cooperative, [where] you have a thousand strong, seeing that you get good food, good medicine, and the best of protection.” He also decries the involvement the American domestic agency of the FBI in a foreign country as “absolutely … illegal and criminal, against the law, against the Constitution of the United States.”
Other news items include:
- The leader of Zaire receives American aid to funnel to mercenaries fighting in Angola;
- The railway workers union caves in to management demands on a new contract, similar to other labor negotiations in recent weeks;
- Bert Lance settles his financial difficulties out of court;
- Another satellite may crash to earth;
- Joan Little will be extradited from New York back to the jail in North Carolina from which she escaped;
- Iranian students go on a hunger strike in solidarity with their comrades in Tehran.
The second segment is a reading of a lengthy article that originally appeared in Newsweek – and which was reprinted in part elsewhere – on the policies of the Internal Revenue Service, especially those factors which might trigger an audit. Jones uses the reading, as he says in introducing it, to show how the IRS “is used to oppress societies of liberation around the world, to emasculate the American economy in favor of the ruling elite, the military-industrial juggernaut.” After reading the opening paragraphs, he re-states the reason: “I’m going into taxes, because taxes is the great harassment agency, Internal Revenue is, of all members of the social reform activist and of course, Marxist-Leninist.”
Because portions of the article have been reprinted elsewhere, it is possible to see exactly where Jones adds his own editorial comments. Aside from his references to “monopoly capitalism,” Jones emphasizes the necessity of second jobs as necessary to maintain minimal standards of living in the US. He also fudges a finding in the article, which claimed that eight out of ten tax accountants suggested that a client cheat on their taxes in a particular instance. According to Jones, it was all ten who made the recommendation. [Editor’s note: The changes are denoted by red type in the transcript.]
Jones concludes his reading with an endorsement of tax resistance: “We hope that more will cease paying their taxes, as taxes have been used in the tortuous methods to overthrow regimes from Chile to South Africa to Southeast Asia. Bravo to those who could avoid paying taxes.”
The third segment of this tape consists of a number of women discussing astrological signs and meanings. Aside from the woman conducting the reading, the other voices tend to overlap and are difficult to differentiate. The origin of the tape – which was used in Jonestown to record over – is unknown, as is its relevance to any teachings or beliefs of Temple leaders or general membership.
In connection with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigation into the assassination of U.S. Congressman LEO J. RYAN at Port Kaituma, Guyana, South America, on November 18, 1978, a tape recording was obtained. This tape recording was located in Jonestown, Guyana, South America, and was turned over to U.S. Officials in Guyana and subsequently transported to the United States.
On March 12, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B62 #50. This tape was found to contain the following:
Side A contains a male speaker discussing IRS taxes. Latter portion contains females dicussing [discussing] tarot cards.
Side B contains a male speaker discussing various matters in current news.
This tape was reviewed, and nothing was contained thereon which was considered to be of evidentiary nature or beneficial to the investigation of Congressman RYAN.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The FBI reviewed this tape at the beginning of its process, so the agent may not have had enough experience to recognize the voice of Jim Jones, who is listed here as “a male speaker.” In addition, the tape was played so that Side A is in actuality Side B, and vice versa. Other than that, the summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.