[Editor’s note: One of the subjects of this serial whose name is deleted is University of California professor Dr. Richard Ofshe, an expert in the subject of coercion in small groups. He was also a colleague of the late Dr. Margaret Singer. The deleted information – designated by brackets – which is known to the editor has been indicated by red type.]
22145Z NOV 78
SAN FRANCISCO (89-250) (P) (SQ. 10)
TO DIRECTOR FBI IMMEDIATE
Dr. [Richard Ofshe] PhD, University of California, Berkeley, a consultant to the government of France, Italy and Switzerland and the San Francisco Police Department in terrorist matters and a consultant to the FBI, San Francisco in our response plan for nuclear extortion voluntarily submitted a memorandum relating to the possible psychological profile of members of the People’s Temple (PT). It is being forwarded to the FBI HQ verbatim for their consideration in conducting interviews in Guyana. San Francisco is maintaining contact with Dr. [Ofshe] and will use his services if deemed appropriate. The following is the text of Dr. [Ofshe]’s memo:
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We have recently obtained a great deal of information about what happens when this kind of bonded religious system begins to break up. Even people within the system who are naïve about the negative effects will have hallucinations and delusions and fear that they are not only losing their religious base, but are also going crazy. They will not talk about this for those reasons. They tend to look for the alternative to the mystic system. For example, instead of religious mystical system, they will turn to an opposite such as a scientific system, in an effort to find a reason for their own behavior. Examples of this would be seeking a psychological or psychiatric rationale because of competing religious or priest-like figure is no longer someone that they can trust. Another example of this is in the kind of behavior modification combined with charisma employed by Mooney [Moonie, after Rev. Sun Myung Moon of Unification Church] deprogrammers. We know that a number of Mooney defections, as well as recent information in the Chowchilla kidnapping, that these hallucinations and delusions are not revealed to agent interviewers. The boy who acted out the hero’s role in Chowchilla, initially remove the metal plate leading to the
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top of the bunker and halluncinated [hallucinated] that he had burrowed into the van that had taken them to the quarry. He became frightened, and went back down into the buried bus, waited about 20 minutes, went back to the top and this time halluncinated about trees and running water (which do not exist at the site). This information was not revealed despite numerous interviews by agents. One and a half years later, this boy developed a hero complex in which he felt that fate had touched him to act as guardian of others. Several months ago, he shot a Japanese tourist in a stalled car in front of his home. There are a number of other examples of this type of process wherein the midst of homicidal or suicidal tension, members of religious groups will feel that the mantle of responsibility has passed to them. It is important for agents in their interviews of Jonestown residents to carefully find out what roles the survivors saw themselves in as they were fleeing the mass suicide. This is because of this hero complex and chronicled events which indicate that a re-occurrence of violence is probable in these individuals. It is equally important that substantial adversity made to track the residents in that such behavior
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easily has a time delay of one and a half to two years. A management decision should be made with regard to the advisability of using (1) some orientation or briefing to agents about these dynamics and/or (2) the use of Bureau approved psychologists to assist in some the interviewing to take advantage of this “confession” phenomena described above.
Comparison of ideological tracts of Jones and Manson are almost identical. Each describes and used with their followers the inevitability of an interracial war which will be signatled [signaled] by some type of apocalyptic event. The ideologies are so identical that it is recommended that some sort of tracking of currently imprisoned Manson followers’ contacts be carefully studied for the next several weeks. Because of Manson’s recent parole rejection, and the fact that this event is exactly what Manson predicted to his followers, the possibility of some sort of strategy on their part is very high this time.
1. Consider reading of agents who are to do resident
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2. Consider role of Bureau approved psychologists.
3. Consider need for evaluation of Manson followers’ contacts.