Escaping the Event Horizon
(a rebuttal to John Judge’s The Black Hole of Guyana)

Introductory Pre-Ramble

Anyone researching Jonestown is bound to bump into John Judge’s essay The Black Hole of Guyana sooner or later. His purpose for writing the piece was to warn readers everything you know about Jonestown is wrong! but then assure them I know what’s right! by explaining Jonestown was a secret CIA mind control experiment!

Judge’s warning, assurance, and explanation all fly in the face of any accepted narrative of the Peoples Temple tragedy. This is quite intentional. His explanation is quite popular. It is also (in my simple opinion) quite wrong.

But that’s jumping ahead in the narrative… so let’s bounce back for some quick context.

Judge wrote Black Hole back in 1985, and since then it has certainly gained a following among conspiracy theorists who eschew any “official explanation” of Peoples Temple and the ensuing fatalities. Then again, Judge himself has long been a celebrity among groups who are (depending on your point of view) the Champions of The Real Truth™ or The Tin Foil Hat Crowd. Judge preferred to describe himself as an “alternative historian” and once quipped “I tell people you can call me a conspiracy theorist if you call everyone else a coincidence theorist.”

I actually appreciate that! However, appreciating something and agreeing with it are not always the same thing. I appreciate Andy Warhol’s rebellion against artistic conventions, but I can’t stand his paintings or films.

I consider myself something of a conspiracy theory connoisseur, though my criterion is “how silly is it?” A Branch Davidian once described me as “…someone with *way* too much time on their hands and a twisted sense of humor.” I agree! In that capacity, when David Icke claims that Queen Elizabeth II and George W. Bush are shape-shifting reptilian aliens, he gets high points from me — for amusement value.

Facepalm: Picard realizes this wasn’t the Black Hole he wanted to explore…

Judge scores lower, as his central thesis — Jonestown was a CIA-run MK‑ULTRA experiment — is comparatively pedestrian. It is also, in my humble opinion, completely wrong. But wait, there’s more! Black Hole is actually a fractal. In it are several subsections, each of which are also wrong, but some of those fiefdoms of factual failure get heavy with what the kids these days call facepalm. Those I kind of like, though for reasons Judge would have been horrified by.

Basically, Black Hole is a surreal journey into a nightmare realm that relies on a twisted internal logic that doesn’t work in the Real World. So yes: it’s the written equivalent of a David Lynch film, except it has footnotes instead of midgets.

Sardonic snickering aside, I actually have a genuine interest in account accuracy. This is especially true with two areas that have long fascinated me: religious groups in some sort of End Times scenario, and theological cognitive dissonance. Jonestown is brimming with both, so I’d like to know what really happened down there, or as close to such as can be glimpsed through a mirror darkly.

I have no doubt about Judge’s sincerity: I believe that he believed what he wrote in Black Hole was correct. Then again, I also have no doubt that Gene Ray believed his “ −1 × −1 = −1” Time Cube conspiracy theory, or that Marshall Hall and his crew believe that NASA is conspiring to hide the truth of geocentrism. Just because you believe something to be true doesn’t mean that it actually is true.

“You have made a mistake, Mr. Judge.

You will have to be… corrected.”

This paper will attempt to demonstrate that Black Hole’s CIA/MK‑ULTRA thesis isn’t factually “true.” I strongly suspect that Judge created his conclusions first and then worked backwards to prove them. Certainly he cherry-picked his data, ignoring what didn’t fit his thesis and incorrectly interpreting much of the rest.

To be vulgarly blunt, I think Black Hole is more full of bullshit than a manure piñata. Hopefully I can convince readers of this.

Since I’m about to take on a darling of the conspiracy community, I feel I should preemptively tip my hand as to who I am (and am not) — lest I subsequently be accused of being some sort of misinformation “shill” or counter-intelligence operative.

I was 10 years old when Jonestown self-destructed, and I have no relationship to any of its members (other than occasionally writing for this present site). I am not connected to any government agencies and have never served in the military. In short: I’m just an outsider looking in. I genuinely have no agendas other than “can I figure out what happened?” and “can I make myself laugh?” while doing so.

My own opinion of events can be summed up thus: Jim Jones started off as a con artist who used Peoples Temple for a combination of profit and self-aggrandizement, but after a decade-plus of amphetamine abuse he developed “speed psychosis” and by The End fully believed 99% the bullshit he was spewing. I see no overt conspiracy here.

Despite my having a soft spot for complex webs of Machiavellian intrigue, I find such things are best left to novels or movies as they rarely “work” in the real world. Jonestown wasn’t in a hollow volcano, Jim Jones wasn’t bald with a white Persian cat. Ockham’s Razor is a time-tested solution to most problems, and I think it (and two related blades) fit the puzzle pieces together much better than any overly-elaborate conspiratorial scheme. Those two extra concepts are Hanlon’s Razor and Hosty’s Razor.

Hanlon’s Razor: named after its originator, Robert J. Hanlon, and first appearing in Murphy’s Law Book Two: More Reasons Why Things Go Wrong! by Arthur Bloch, it states:

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity

Hosty’s Razor: my own creation, named after James Hosty. Hosty was an FBI agent in Dallas during the early 1960s, and part of his case load was investigating Lee Harvey Oswald. Hosty claimed he never met Oswald and that the closest he came was interviewing his wife Marina. This apparently spurred Oswald to go to the FBI building and leave a nasty note for Hosty saying something to the effect of “leave my wife alone!” After Oswald’s death, Hosty was debriefed by J. Edger Himself and told to destroy the note. Hosty subsequently spoke of this incident as a “benign conspiracy” (his words) which he attributed to damage control by the Bureau hiding the fact that it had so obviously dropped the ball. In that spirit:

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by people
simply covering their asses after they royally screw up

My Sources

The irony that this present paper is a deconstruction of Judge’s deconstruction is not lost on me. Black Hole’s premise of everything in the official version is a lie! causes an obvious dilemma about what sources are true? This applies to both Judge and myself. I have the benefit of time: in the 33 years since Judge wrote Black Hole, new information has come out and old information has become more readily accessible. I will let readers decide if Judge was genuinely unaware of them or just chose to ignore them because they contradict his theory.

Still, I will shatter Irony Meters everywhere by primarily relying on those same sources that Judge himself preferred. He seemed to think they were reliable… except when they contravened his thesis, in which case they weren’t. There are times when the information in a source he uses is demonstrably wrong, but I will give Judge the benefit of the doubt that he worked in good faith that it was right.

Black Hole has 291 footnotes. Broken down (and not counting periodicals), his three most used sources are Hold Hands and Die! by John Maguire and Mary Lee Dunn (cited 86 times), White Night by John Peer Nugent (cited 42 times), and Raven by Tim Reiterman and John Jacobs (which only gets 24).

Raven should need no introduction, though when I reference it hereafter I’m using the 2008 reissue which (due to formatting changes) has different page numbering than the original printing. For those unfamiliar with the other two works:

Hold Hands ~ hereafter HH. Copyright 1978, which even Judge seemed puzzled by: “…so instant (12/10/78) [itseemed to have been written before the event!” It gets a few minor details wrong, but nit-picks aside, HH otherwise seems to be a retrospectively accurate account.

White Night ~ hereafter WN. Copyright 1979. It too gets some details wrong, like “…strawberry Flavour-Aide…” (p.205) — aside from misspelling the brand name, I don’t have to tell anyone it was grape, do I? Still, it comes across as the less sensationalist of the two. Unlike HH, it has a subject index and ‘Sources and Bibliography’ section, complete with the disclaimer “In the process of researching, more than a hundred persons were interviewed on numerous subjects.” Alas, they are not always identified within the text itself. Still, in historical hindsight the book seems to be a solid study on the subject.

Judge certainly thought so of all three, given his reliance on them all.

If a piece of information is in all three, I will consider it “common knowledge” and skip triple-citing it.

Finally, I will frequently be forced to rebut a Judge-claim with “there is no evidence for this.” I am aware this is argumentum ad ignorantiam: just because I’m not aware of something does not mean it does not exist. Likewise, “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” The variant of this is that a Judge-claim actually has supporting proof which I have innocently forgotten learning about. I can remember Monty Python dialogue from 30 years ago but not where I left my keys 30 minutes ago, so there is an honest possibility of this happening. Any such lack‑of‑fact lapses are not intentional. And last: I am keenly aware that it is extraordinarily difficult to prove a negative — prove to me I don’t have an invisible unicorn in my garden.

Well, Judge is claiming he has a CIA unicorn in his Jonestown garden. I’ll do my best to dispute that.

Standard disclaimer: I freely admit I could be wrong about something. If presented with compelling evidence, I will modify my thoughts accordingly. My own views on Jonestown have evolved since I first began researching it 18 years ago, and I retrospectively renounce some of the opinions I’ve previously penned on the topic.

The Text Itself

It is my intention to directly quote Judge’s original essay and then offer my own rebuttal to his commentary. I’m going to let him stand-or-fall on his own wording… and let the reader decide what’s what.

Black Hole is a lengthy essay: printed out it is about 17 pages (with an additional 22 pages of footnotes). Fortunately, I’m “…someone with *way* too much time on [my] hands and a twisted sense of humor.” So, grab a pot of your favorite coffee and get comfortable, because this will take a while to dispute.

I will use this present site’s version of Black Hole, which “corrects several typographical errors and standardizes some footnotes.” This is for the convenience of both the reader and myself, as I’d get tired typing [sic] over and over. That’s just for grammar; occasionally I will take Judge to task on specific verbiage that I’m convinced (with offered proof) he mangles.

Quotes from Black Hole are indented and in Calibri font. Judge’s footnotes are links that jump from this present article to the original’s Sources section. My own citations will be embedded in my rebuttals.

“He mostly stays on topic… Mostly…”

I intend to present a truncated version of Black Hole. Specifically, I prune down or weed out some of his lengthier digressions that either go way off tangent, are redundant, or that he (gasp!) gets correct. These are indicated by the […] ellipses peppered throughout. This is not intended as censorship. I think of it as an act of mercy on the reader necessitated by both Judge’s long-windedness and my own.

I am aware this has the potential of some Judge-supporter saying “HA! You didn’t rebut Claim X so it must be true!” Responding to everything in Black Hole would turn this into an opus of Tolkien proportions, so I’ll stick to the major points. I only address a minor point if it’s the foundation for a larger argument of his that I (and the facts) disagree with.

Black Hole is divided into ten parts, not all of which need inclusion or rebuttal. I’ll remove the bready filler at the beginning and end to focus on the meat in between. The parts (and how I handle them) are:

(untitled preamble) ~ Judge’s opinions justifying the piece. It can be distilled to: you’re being lied to about Jonestown! Shake off the apathy and wake up!  I skip this section entirely. ( If Black Hole were a movie, think of this section as the opening crawl ‘A long time ago in a Guyana  far, far away…’ 

You Know the Official Version ~ It’s exactly that: an acceptable retelling of the public narrative that Judge intends to expose as a lie. I also skip this section. (This is the part at the beginning of the film where the two detectives are driving out to a fresh crime scene and give background exposition about the victims and what they think they’re going to find.

But Just Suppose It Didn’t Happen That Way… ~ Judge’s reconstruction of the White Night’s aftermath where he begins poking holes in the official story. ( The two cops snoop around the scene and notice things don’t add up. Also includes the equivalent of that part in Jaws where Richard Dreyfus looks at the body and screams “This was no boating accident!” 

Who Was Jim Jones? ~ A biography of Jones. ( After trailing the villain, the Scooby Doo gang rips off the monster’s rubber mask and cries “It’s Mr. CIA!” 

What Was Jonestown? ~ An explanation of the real purpose of the place: MK‑ULTRA. ( Judge, dressed as Hercule Poirot, gathers the suspects in the parlor and points an accusing finger at the butler who built the deadly Rube Goldberg device. He then explains the butler’s plot with superimposed flashbacks.

One Too Many Jonestowns ~ Tangential commentary claiming there are similar sinister plots still going on. ( As the butler is being led away in cuffs, there are jump-cuts to his accomplices still at large.

The Links to U.S. Intelligence Agencies ~ Attempts to tie Peoples Temple to groups Judge doesn’t like. ( Back in the parlor, Inspector Judge lists some of the clues that helped him crack the case.

The Strange Connection to the Murder of Martin Luther King ~ A collection of things like “Mark Lane was an attorney for Jim Jones and James Earl Ray!” Not relevant to the thesis, so I skip 99% of it. (A glitch in the DVD suddenly causes the Deleted Scenes to start playing.

Aftermath ~ Some ‘where are they now?’ (as of 1985) and more ‘this is still going on!’ examples. Mostly it’s polemical rhetoric intended to provoke outrage in the reader at having been lied to about Jonestown and other events. I originally started a claim-by-claim rebuttal to this, but it immediately got out of hand and threatened to double the length of this present piece. Since much of it is Judge’s opinion, I retroactively decided to skip 99% of it. ( A combination of more deleted scenes, out-takes, and an extensive blooper reel. Interspersed is the trope from those 1940s ‘public service’ films like Reefer Madness where the Expert Authority Figure comes on at the end to give a sermonized lecture about the evils of the subject. Finally, the EAF warns with wagging finger “don’t let this happen to you!” Patriotic music swells as ‘ The End ?’ appears on screen.

Sources ~ Judge’s ‘works cited’ section. Skipped. End Credits

So… got coffee and got comfortable?

Good; let’s get going!


But Just Suppose It Didn’t Happen That Way…


The headlines the day of the massacre read: “Cult Dies in South American Jungle: 400 Die in Mass Suicide, 700 Flee into Jungle.”[13]


At first “No Lives Lost” but later 1,514 dead?!?


Some other headlines from the day of their respective events include: “Titanic Sinking; No Lives Lost” (The World, 4/15/1912), “RAAF Captures Flying Saucer On Ranch in Roswell Region” (Roswell Daily Record, 7/8/1947), “Dewey Defeats Truman” (Chicago Daily Tribune, 11/3/1948). The moral of my point here: newspapers can occasionally get things wrong when they do have a pressing deadline but do not have all the correct information.

By all accounts in the press, as well as Peoples Temple statements there were at least 1,100 people at Jonestown.[14]

Although the main bee in Judge’s bonnet (in this section at least) is the discrepancy between the ‘initial vs. final’ casualty count, he does go on a tangent about the ‘casualty count vs. overall population’ and eventually asks “what happened to the rest?” That’s a valid question, assuming his math is accurate. It isn’t, so let’s make a preemptive digression into the matter.

The press accounts used Peoples Temple’s own propaganda to get the 1,100 number. Jones was known to exaggerate things, and even before 1978 was inflating the Jonestown population count to make his commune seem larger (and more prosperous) than it really was. Indeed, in Footnote 14 (citing WN, p.224) Judge acknowledges that Jones occasionally inflated the number as high as 1,200. A more accurate census is 1,000 (I’ll show my math for that shortly). A demographics study of Jonestown backs me up.

There were 809 adult passports found there, and reports of 300 children (276 found among the dead, and 210 never identified). The headline figures from the first day add to the same number: 1,100.[15]

Minor point, but using passports as a factor in counting the ’Town’s population is a bit risky. Later on in a part of Black Hole I trim out, Judge talks about how Jones and Mark Lane discussed smuggling a witness of the MLK assassination out of the U.S. and into Jonestown for “safe keeping.” Jones offered Lane the use of Maxine Swaney’s passport to do so. Swaney had died several years previously in California and there is no evidence she ever set foot in Guyana. Judge acknowledges both facts and says “Jones apparently kept her passport with him.” If Jones had her passport in Jonestown, it seems reasonable to wonder if he had other passports from past-tense members as well. There were 7 adult deaths in Jonestown before The Finale, and presumably Jones still had theirs, too. Obviously, the matter would be settled with an index of the names on those 809 passports, though I have not seen such a list publicly available for comparison. Still, the passport count is certainly inflated by 1, quite likely by 8, and potentially even higher than that.

As said, all this is a minor point; Judge would probably call it nit-picking and say it’s within the margin of error for reaching his beloved 1,100 tally. I’m just setting a quick precedent for a recurring trend: his methodology is often flawed, and it contributes to his reaching the wrong conclusion about something.

The original body count done by the Guyanese was 408, and this figure was initially agreed to by U.S. Army authorities on site.[16]

Judge is a bit disingenuous here based on what the sources in the footnote actually say: “Guyanese troops in Jonestown were reporting a dead-body count there of at least four hundred…” (note the “at least” qualifier), “…As the count leapt up hourly, however…” (WN, p.223).

However, over the next few days, the total of reported dead began to rise quickly. […]The new total, which was the official final count, was given almost a week later by American authorities as 913.[17] A total of 16 survivors were reported to have returned to the U.S.[18] Where were the others?

The 913 dead parses out to 909 at Jonestown and 4 at the Georgetown station (1 woman first killed her 3 children and then herself). The tally overlooks the 5 deaths at Port Kaituma: 3 journalists, 1 Congressman, and 1 Temple member. So 914 (dead) Temple members total.

Although I don’t have access to Judge’s source (Guyana Daily Mirror) for context checking, I assume the 16 returning survivors mentioned were the 16 defectors who skipped out with Congressman Ryan shortly before the Flavor Aid Festivities. That too is off by 1, as it includes faux defector Larry Layton, who was a gunman in the airport shootout. He was subsequently arrested by the Guyanese and thus did not return home.

We now know that 87 people survived in one way or another: 1 slept through the White Night, 3 escaped during it, 3 left just before it, 16 left with Ryan, and 64 were on various errands or at the Georgetown station that fatal day. 914 + 87 = 1,001. That’s still 100 shy of Judge’s wish for 1,100 members. In his mind, the count is about 175 MIA (1,100 – 913 – 16 = 171) and in that light asks where were they?

Now, <SPOILER ALERT!> Judge is about to assert that the casualty count jumped from 400 to 900 because insidious military forces murdered those remaining 500 after November 18. </SPOILER> By extension, he seems to (not-so subtly) insinuate that said forces were also responsible for the 175 who are otherwise unaccounted for by his arithmetic… or even that the 175 actually helped out before vanishing.

Readers have a choice here: either 100-to-175 people were somehow whisked away without a trace at the time (and none of their family members back home ever thought to follow up on their disappearance) or those extra 100-to-175 only existed in Jones’ head for PR purposes.

At their first press conference, the Americans claimed that the Guyanese “could not count.” These local people had carried out the gruesome job of counting the bodies, and later assisted American troops in the process of poking holes in the flesh lest they explode from the gasses of decay.[19]

The source in Footnote 19 (WN, p.229-230) doesn’t contain the quote “could not count” though presumably that was just Judge using hyperbolic paraphrasing. What it does say is:

Actually, the early miscounts were understandable. […]a U.S. military spokesman — who wisely said he wanted to remain anonymous — said that the first count probably came about this way: “Somebody just went around and began estimating like you sometimes do when you are estimating the number of the crowd at a ballgame.”


Finally, we were given the official reason for the discrepancy — bodies had fallen on top of other bodies, adults covering children.[20] It was a simple, if morbid, arithmetic that led to the first suspicions. The 408 bodies discovered at first count would have to be able to cover 505 bodies for a total of 913. […] A search of nearly 150 photographs, aerial and close-up, fails to show even one body lying under another, much less 500.[22]

Really?!? Let’s take a look…

    • The cover of HH has a color photo showing exactly that: a couple lying face down on top of a child.
    • Page 161 is a full-page photo showing a different couple atop an infant.
    • The photo on p.206 is a group shot of bodies in a field, and there are clearly some “mounds” (plural).

…and this is just from his most used source.

It seemed the first reports were true, 400 had died, and 700 had fled to the jungle.

Or… 909 people had died in one night, and the first responders were so shocked and overwhelmed by what they found that they made an innocent mathematical mistake based on human error and an inaccurate estimating method. If I can ever get “Hosty’s Razor” into textbooks, this will be its second example.

The American authorities claimed to have searched for people who had escaped, but found no evidence of any in the surrounding area.[23] At least a hundred Guyanese troops were among the first to arrive, and they were ordered to search the jungle for survivors.[24]

And they found no one. Remember: these searches started before the initial 400‑estimate was released and continued well after it.

In the area, at the same time, British Black Watch troops were on “training exercises,” with nearly 600 of their best-trained commandos. Soon, American Green Berets were on site as well.[25] The presence of these soldiers, specially trained in covert killing operations, may explain the increasing numbers of bodies that appeared.

Judge’s suggestions of either the Black Watch and/or the Green Berets as the explanation for the “sudden” jump in body count each has its own special set of plusses and problems.

Black Watch. Pro: the numbers are right. With 500 survivors hiding in the jungle, you’d need as many troops to round them up — especially once the survivors started noticing their comrades being killed and the penny dropped that maybe this isn’t a rescue mission. Con: the only sources I can find for this claim ultimately circle back to the one article Judge sites from the London Sunday Times. This is one of those instances where I have to give Judge the benefit of the doubt that he was working in good faith that his source was correct. Even if we grant that British troops were near by, their actual involvement in Jonestown still raises a few problems of its own, including:

  1. a super-secret op outsourcing dirty deeds to a foreign nation isn’t the best way to keep things super-secret.
  1. it requires someone at Langley to call up someone in London and have this awkward conversation: “Hey, mind if we borrow a full battalion of your best boys to do some quick off-the-books wet work for us? Oh, and time is of the essence, so if you can skip all that proper‑channels/red‑tape nonsense and just put them under our command asap, that’d be swell. Make it happen, and there’s a crate of Earl Gray with your name on it!”

Green Berets. Pro: less interdepartmental bureaucracy, with some precedent of this likely happening during the then-recent Vietnam conflict. Con: there is no evidence that Green Berets were deployed to Jonestown. None of the sources referenced in Footnote 25 actually identify the U.S. soldiers sent to assist the clean-up as “Green Berets” so I am unclear where Judge got this from. (A possible exception would be his citing of the Guyana Daily Mirror, which as previously stated I don’t have access to. Even then, I am not sure I would consider it the most reliable source on this specific matter.) Granted, former Temple member Laurie Kahalas had made a cottage industry around similar claims of Green Beret involvement in the Port Kaituma shootout, but these claims started after Black Hole. Besides, I find her theories without merit (or credible evidence). Therefore, I can only assume that Judge reached his Green Beret conclusion by consulting The Oracle of PIDOOMA.

In either case, Judge had previously acknowledged that the Guyanese Defense Force was continually on-site starting the morning of November 20, so these extra 500 killings (and subsequent return of the bodies to Jonestown to add to the tally) were somehow done without the GDF noticing.

Most of the photographs show the bodies in neat rows, face down. There are few exceptions. Close shots indicate drag marks, as though the bodies were positioned by someone after death.[26]

Some bodies are in rows, many more are in scattered clumps. The matter has been discussed elsewhere with no definitive explanation available due to lack of living witnesses at the end.

Still, I’ve seen the same photos Judge has, and I fail to find any type of drag marks. Admittedly, this is a situation where I would have had to sit down with Judge, hand him a photo, and say “show me.” Even then, the result would likely be open to interpretation if not debate.

In psychology, there is a phenomenon called pareidolia where the mind interprets an otherwise innocent shape or pattern into something else that is meaningful to the viewer. This is why fervent Christians see Jesus’ face on a burnt tortilla, UFO aficionados see a human face in a grainy photo of a Martian mesa, and at least one assassination researcher sees the limo driver shoot JFK in the Zapruder film. In that same spirit, I suspect it accounts for Judge seeing any alleged drag marks: he wants to see them.

Even if it is true, an obvious explanation is that the people at Jonestown started doing it themselves for whatever reason.

Is it possible that the 700 who fled were rounded up by these troops, brought back to Jonestown and added to the body count?[27]

Although it’s not a headline, that last sentence reminds me of Betteridge’s Law of Headlines: 

Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word “no 

In Judge’s defense, one Acme Corp. consultant did find the convoluted scenario plausible…

Let’s review. Judge is asking us to believe that:

  1. there were 500(+) people hiding in the near-by jungle
  1. they unanimously didn’t think to run to a safer place such as Port Kaituma
  1. they all conveniently stayed put for at least 24 hours (more like 48+)
  1. they were herded back to Jonestown (dead, or alive and then killed) under the nose of the GDF

Surprisingly, Judge never considers the Guyanese to be accomplices in these “extra murders,” just in the subsequent “cover-up” of “missing evidence.” But that’s skipping ahead.

If so, the bodies would indicate the cause of death. A new word was coined by the media, “suicide-murder.” But which was it?[28]

Both. Some people willingly drank the potion, some were force-fed (or force-injected). This has been undisputed from the very beginning. Of course, Judge is just asking a rhetorical question to set up his assertion that it was all murder with no suicides.

Dr. Mootoo, the top Guyanese pathologist, was at Jonestown within hours after the massacre.

Mootoo showed up Monday the 20th (about 48 hours later) so the claim he was there “within hours” is at the least subjective and at worst disingenuous. Admittedly, I am unclear if he genuinely (if incorrectly) thinks that Mootoo arrived sometime on the 19th or Judge is intentionally playing word games to give readers that impression. Either way, Judge’s claim that he was there “within hours” is even more damning to his own argument. We agree that Dr. Mootoo was there (relatively) quickly, yet he somehow failed to notice a large cadre of Black Watch/Green Berets bringing in a steady slew of 500 fresh bodies for him to pick through? Either Mootoo was not very observant or he was part of the cover-up. You’d think either solution should call into question anything Mootoo would subsequently say… but Judge conveniently overlooks this and considers him a reliable source.

Refusing the assistance of U.S. pathologists, he accompanied the teams that counted the dead, examined the bodies, and worked to identify the deceased. While the American press screamed about the “Kool-Aid Suicides,” Dr. Mootoo was reaching a much different opinion.[29]

This is understandable: Mootoo was on-site and the press wasn’t. Initially, the press was relying on information that subsequently proved inaccurate or incomplete. I don’t find that intentionally malicious, I simply consider it sloppy, sensationalist journalism done in the name of meeting deadlines.

There are certain signs that show the types of poisons that lead to the end of life. Cyanide blocks the messages from the brain to the muscles by changing body chemistry in the central nervous system. Even the “involuntary” functions like breathing and heartbeat get mixed neural signals. It is a painful death, breath coming in spurts. The other muscles spasm, limbs twist and contort. The facial muscles draw back into a deadly grin, called “cyanide rictus.”[30]

[note to self: start a heavy metal band called “Cyanide Rictus”]

All these telling signs were absent in the Jonestown dead. Limbs were limp and relaxed, and the few visible faces showed no sign of distortion.[31]

Judge ignores that there was more than just potassium cyanide in use, though sources vary slightly as to exactly what. If there is any type of authoritative analysis of what was in the vat with the C stencil and the accompanying syringes, I am unable to immediately locate it. The closest I can find is Dr. Mootoo’s testimony given during the official Guyanese inquiry (p.6-7, typos are certainly the result of the court clerk taking dictation):

There were syringes on a desk on the rostrum unused on a wooden container, there were vials of valium and ampools [sic] of valium. This valium is a tranquiliser. There was a bottle containing phenegram [sic] tablets which is another mild tranquiliser which is used in the treatment of alergy.[sic] There was a large bottle (8 oz.) containing chloralhydrate [sic] and this is used to put little children to sleep. I also saw about 7 (1 litre) bottle [sic] containing Potassium cyanide with labels and two litre bottles containing potassium choloride.[sic] If injected or drunk suppress the heart beat and makes death easier. Tests were carried out on the syringes and the half steel drum of cool aid [sic] and some of the contents in the cups and there [sic] were all positive for potassium cyanide.

I am unclear if Judge ever read that report, though I would guess he hadn’t. According to things Judge did read, besides cyanide there was:

    • “…thorazine, halipareal, largatil. They are sedatives that instantly quiet violent people. [Also added were] the painkiller Demerol… [and an unnamed] chemical that makes the bloodstream absorb substances quickly.” (HH, p.12)
    • “liquid valium and other drugs” (Raven, p.559)
    • “painkillers and tranquilizers” (WN, p.205)

Whatever the exact nature, it was clearly a cocktail that would account for the lack of symptoms Judge is expecting.

Instead, Dr. Mootoo found fresh needle marks at the back of the left shoulder blades of 80-90% of the victims.[32]

White Night survivor Tim Carter was present when Dr. Mootoo was — he was there among those “worked to identify the deceased.” Carter says Mootoo only looked at a limited number of bodies (around 200 or so) before the U.S. took over the next day. (That’s something else Judge suspiciously omits: Dr. Mootoo was only there for about 36 hours total.) He eventually reported finding punctures on about 70 to 80 of the 200 victims he examined. I gather that somewhere between Point A (Mootoo’s reports) and Point Z (Judge’s writing Black Hole) someone accidentally added a per cent sign to that along the way, and this caused Judge his confusion. That, or Judge simply misread it and mentally added it himself.

By the way, a moment ago Judge was crying foul! over the lack of cyanide rictus and other symptoms, but here he points to 80-90% injections. He never offers an alternative to what he thinks they were injected with if it wasn’t cyanide.

Others had been shot or strangled. One survivor reported that those who resisted were forced by armed guards.[33]

I have seen no evidence or other references to strangulation as a means of death at Jonestown, and it doesn’t make much sense. It can take a minute or two to strangle someone to death, so why waste all that time when you could just poke them with a poisoned syringe and be done with it in under ten seconds?

There is only direct evidence of two gunshot fatalities at Jonestown: Jim Jones and his private nurse Annie Moore. (Well, three, if you count Mr. Muggs, a chimpanzee alternately described as Jones’ pet or the camp’s mascot.) Most early sources do identify a third human who was shot (The Guyanese Inquest p.49, Raven p.592, HH p.49). This is incorrect as it was later discovered to be a body (Don Sly) that was leaking fluids due to prolonged decomposition. (Remember Judge talking about ‘poking holes in the flesh lest they explode from the gasses of decay’? That’s exactly why.) Judge mentions (in Footnote 33, citing The New York Times) that Maria Katsaris also died from a head shot. This is false, as her autopsy report lists the cause of death as “Probable cyanide poisoning” and nowhere mentions any type of gun wound: “No evidence of injury is noted….” In Judge’s same citation for the over-all gunshot comment (WN, p.230-231) I suspect he is misreading the source, which in full context seems to include people shot at the Port Kaituma airstrip. Even then, that total number would only be 7.

Still, one must admittedly give kudos to Judge’s Black Watch/Green Beret goon platoons for their ability to round up and kill 500 survivors without firing a single shot.

As Chief Medical Examiner, Mootoo’s testimony to the Guyanese grand jury investigating Jonestown led to their conclusion that all but three of the people were murdered by “persons unknown.” Only two had committed suicide they said.[35]

I gather this is what convinced Judge that everyone at Jonestown had been murdered. The Guyanese grand jury is demonstrably wrong. Stanley Clayton, Odell Rhodes, and Grover Cleveland Davis were present during the White Night, and each managed to escape (independently of each other) at various times during it. They all subsequently stated they saw quite a few people willingly take the potion before it started being forced on others.

Judge should have realized that. He had previously written “one survivor reported that those who resisted were forced…” The wording means that there are two groups: “those who resisted” and “those who did not.” Otherwise it would be ‘everyone was forced.’ Hey: semantics can be fun!

Obviously, the fault is with the Guyanese grand jury for reaching that erroneous conclusion, though I suspect Judge would have wended his way to it on his own somehow. Sadly, we never will know the ratio of willing versus forced. I’m inclined to believe the willing is the much lower number, so I will give Judge an escape hatch out of his 100% murder rate, just because I’m such a cool dude. A better position for him to have taken would be something like “the vast majority were murdered” or such, which I agree with.

By the way, anyone notice the odd little math anomaly in Judge’s statement citing the Guyanese findings? “All but 3 murdered” but “only 2 suicides”…   3 – 2 = 1  …so what did that 1 person die of if not suicide or murder?  (Natural causes is not an option: you need an autopsy to determine that, and later Judge will complain about the lack of autopsies.)

Still, I wonder if that little slip of subtraction helps explain the whole thing about the body count jumping from 400 to 900. Remember how Judge said that the earliest explanation was because the “Guyanese could not count”? Well, there you are!

Several pictures show the gunshot wounds on the bodies as well.[36]

FIRST: see previous commentary about gunshot fatalities.

SECOND: see previous commentary on pareidolia.

THIRD: not mentioned in any of Mootoo’s notes.

In the footnote, Judge singles out the cover of HH as an example. Again, this would have to be a situation of me handing him the book and challenging “show me the GSW.”

Still, I’m looking at the damned thing right now as I type this, and I honestly see nothing even remotely resembling blood stains or entry/exit wounds anywhere on any bodies. I guess he’s compensating for missing the pair of some poor kid’s legs sticking out from under the adults atop it by instead mentally projecting non-existent ballistic wounds.

The U.S. Army spokesman, Lt. Col. Schuler, said, “No autopsies are needed. The cause of death is not an issue here.” The forensic doctors who later did autopsies at Dover, Delaware, were never made aware of Dr. Mootoo’s findings.[37]

Of the 909, seven were autopsied: Jones, his chief lieutenants, and two laypersons apparently selected at random. Judge’s claim that doctors “were never made aware of Dr. Mootoo’s findings” is contradicted by verbiage in each autopsy report: “After inquiries into the cause and death by Guyanese officials, including Dr. Leslie Mootoo, forensic pathologist to the government of Guyana…” There are other internal references to Mootoo as well. The U.S. doctors knew who he was, and they knew what he found.

There are other indications that the Guyanese government participated with American authorities in a cover-up of the real story, despite their own findings.

And remember, folks: they also had to participate with (or at least turn a Helen Keller-strength blind eye to) those Black Watch/Green Beret gremlins bringing in those 500+ “hiding survivors” over the next few days!

Judge proceeds to list three examples alleging that various Guyanese absconded with money taken from Jonestown, such as:

Among the first to the scene were the wife of Guyanese Prime Minister Forbes Burnham and his Deputy Prime Minister, Ptolemy Reid. They returned from the massacre site with nearly $1 million in cash, gold and jewelry taken from the buildings and from the dead.

Putting aside whether or not this is even true — and I withhold judgment due to lack of independent facts, except to preemptively point out the “from the dead” part goes against Jonestown policy of people not having money — I think it’s time for me to create Hanlon’s First Corollary:

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by simple greed

Let’s assume these instances are true. It sounds more like someone simply (and opportunistically) lining their pockets than participating in a cover-up.

Inexplicably, one of Burnham’s political party secretaries had visited the site of the massacre only hours before it occurred.[39]

I gather this is a reference to Neville Annibourne, who was representing Guyana in the Ryan delegation. I see nothing inexplicable or sinister in his presence.

Perhaps more significantly, the Americans brought in 16 huge C-131 cargo planes, but claimed they could only carry 36 caskets in each one. These aircraft can carry tanks, trucks, troops and ammunition all in one load.[41]

Judge’s source (WN, p.225) is wrong: the planes were C-130 Hercules, not the (long-discontinued) C‑131 Samaritan. I’m assuming this was a typo by Nugent, as on p. 224 he gets the plane type right. Even then, Judge is either overlooking or ignoring a very obvious explanation: the airstrip at Port Kaituma was not long enough for a C-131 (let alone a C-130) so the casket evacuation was done by Chinook helicopter (which has about a 36‑casket capacity) to Georgetown (whose airport could actually handle a Hercules).

Dust-off operations during Vietnam clearly demonstrated that the military is capable of moving hundreds of bodies in a short period.[43]

I don’t think Vietnam is an adequate comparison to Jonestown. During Vietnam, there were already existing procedures and on-site logistics to remove the KIA GIs. More importantly, during an ongoing conflict they were expecting dead soldiers, but the suddenness and scale of Jonestown took everyone by surprise. It would actually be more suspicious if they were able to remove the corpses quickly. Judge sees the delay in removing the dead as intentional conspiracy, I only see it as a variant of Hosty’s Razor.

Instead, they took nearly a week to bring back the Jonestown dead, bringing in the majority at the end of the period.[44]

The delay was caused by Guyana and the U.S. playing hot potato with the issue of what to do with the bodies. The U.S. wanted them buried in Guyana, the Guyanese wanted the opposite. It took close to a week to sort it out.

The corpses, rotting in the heat, made autopsy impossible.[45]

As previously mentioned, they did do seven autopsies, and could have done more. (I’ll discuss the autopsies later.)

The long delay made it impossible to reconstruct the event.

With everyone stomping around the site for a while before anyone thought to treat it as a crime scene, it was unavoidable and even inevitable that a correct reconstruction could not be made. Don’t get me wrong: I wish it were left pristine so we could get a better sense of events, but I’m lenient in allowing the shock and horror of first (and even second) responders preventing that.

But in official statements, the U.S. attempted to discredit the Guyanese grand jury findings, saying they had uncovered “few facts.”[53]

Presumably the official (U.S.) statements were made with the knowledge of the survivors’ testimonies that there was some willingness among many of the dead. American investigators were correct to discount the Guyanese findings as flawed.

Guyanese troops, and police who had arrived with American Embassy official Richard Dwyer, also failed to defend Congressman Leo Ryan and others who came to Guyana with him when they were shot down in cold blood at the Port Kaituma airstrip, even though the troops were nearby with machine guns at the ready.[54]

There was one Guyanese security guard with Ryan and one local policeman near-by. The group that attacked them numbered a dozen. Facing 6‑to‑1 odds, I can’t say I blame the two Guyanese for not getting involved in the name of self-preservation. The same holds for the four nearby troops with machine guns. They were guarding a separate plane on an unrelated matter (WN, p.196) and apparently (wisely) decided this isn’t my fight.

Although Temple member Larry Layton has been charged with the murders of Congressman Ryan, Temple defector Patricia Parks, and press reporters Greg Robinson, Don Harris and Bob Brown, he was not in a position to shoot them.[55]

That was the fault of the Guyanese judicial system for blaming Layton. To my knowledge, no one (else) has claimed he was the one who shot Ryan or the other four. Besides, it’s a moot point: the Guyanese acquitted Layton of Ryan’s murder in May 1980.

The others were clearly killed by armed men who descended from a tractor trailer at the scene, after opening fire. Witnesses described them as “zombies,” walking mechanically, without emotion, and “looking through you, not at you” as they murdered.[57]

I’ve got an nth-generation VHS copy of the Bob Brown video that includes the airport shootout. The assailants are moving quickly as they dismount the tractor and assault the congressman. Granted, “zombie” is a subjective descriptor, but it’s honestly not the adjective I’d use.

Only certain people were killed, and the selection was clearly planned. Certain wounded people, like Ryan’s aide Jackie Speier, were not harmed further, but the killers made sure that Ryan and the newsmen were dead.

When the shooting started, Jackie Speier hit the ground and pretended to play dead, but one of the assailants walked up and shot her in the head anyway. She was “not harmed further” because almost certainly the shooter had assumed he had just killed her.

I agree that the targets were almost certainly pre-picked, but the choices make sense. Ryan was the focal point that had brought such heat onto the commune, and the journalists were the ones who would disseminate the damning information. That said, I am mildly surprised that the gunmen didn’t try to kill everyone. You’d think the defectors would have been considered apostates who had forsaken their loyalty to Jim Jones and thus became fair-game targets.

In some cases they shot people, already wounded, directly in the head.[58]

Well, they’re “zombies” so remember Zombieland Rule #2: double tap!

Snarkiness aside, I don’t see the problem here. The assailants were there to kill people, and a head-shot certainly finishes the job. Remember, kids: when in doubt, blow their brains out.

These gunmen were never finally identified, and may have been under Layton’s command. They may not have been among the Jonestown dead.[59]


“Holy ignored evidence, Batman!”

All of that is empirically, facepalmingly wrong.

Each of the airport survivors were interviewed/debriefed by U.S. officials when they got back to the States. Although I can’t find the raw transcripts, extensively detailed summaries of their testimonies exist, and the airport attackers are indeed identified. They were: Wesley Breidenbach, Eddie Crenshaw, Ronnie Dennis, Stanley Gieg, Ronald James, Ernest Jones, Robert Kice, Thomas Kice, Anthony Simon, Ronald Tally, Albert Touchette, and Joseph Wilson. They were found among the Jonestown dead. (The exception is Ronnie Dennis, who I gather was one of the bloated bodies unable to be identified.) All of this is detailed in the FBI’s 1979 investigation (page B‑2).

This was public knowledge prior to 1985. I can only presume Judge was either not aware of any of it, or he just simply chose to ignore it as inconvenient to his thesis.

Continuing Judge’s fact-FAIL… is his Layton claim. Larry Layton is almost universally accepted to have intended shooting the pilot of Ryan’s plane while it was in mid-air, thus causing a crash that would kill everyone. He was subdued during the Kaituma shootout by Temple defectors Dale Parks and Vernon Gosney, and the dozen attackers outside the planes showed zero interest in rescuing him. He is thus highly unlikely to be connected to (let alone in command of ) the airport kill squad.

At the Jonestown site, survivors described a special group of Jones’ followers who were allowed to carry weapons and money, and to come and go from the camp.

Judge has just acknowledged that nobody but a select few at Jonestown carried money, but a few paragraphs previously he had no problem with the claim of Mrs. Burnham and Ptolemy Reid looting money from the dead. (We are at war with Eurasia, we have always been at war with Eurasia…)

Among them were Jones’ top lieutenants, including George Phillip [Philip] Blakey. Blakey and others regularly visited Georgetown, Guyana and made trips in their sea-going boat, the Cudjoe. He was privileged to be aboard the boat when the murders occurred.[62]

Judge’s source(s) of WN and Raven are both wrong: Blakey was out of town on the Temple’s other boat, Albatross III. Either way, Blakey’s not being present meant he was of no use to Jones for any potentially nefarious purposes (such as enforcement or escape) at the time of the White Night. Jones had advanced warning of Ryan’s visit, so one would think he’d have called in all his heavy hitters to be local in case things went as wrong as they ultimately did.

This special armed guard survived the massacre. Many were trained and programmed killers, like the “zombies” who attacked Ryan. Some were used as mercenaries in Africa, and elsewhere.[63]

Judge’s source is an article in The Chicago Defender which singles out Blakey as a mercenary recruiter in Angola (if not an actual participant in combat). The Defender’s website has a dead link to archived issues, so I can’t find the original article for this… let alone the origins for its claims.

Still, let’s deconstruct this. Starting in 1973, Blakey (born November 1953) was demonstrably in Guyana helping build the Jonestown compound during the time in question. Apparently Judge is asking readers to believe that Blakey could conveniently skip town for a week or so for clandestine merc activities, kill people in Angola, and hop back to Guyana without anyone asking questions. Then lather, rinse, repeat as the Angola conflict needed. That doesn’t strike me as reliable merc mentality. Personally, I wouldn’t hire that guy for my Africa insurrection, and I doubt Jones would have him to build his Guyana compound, either. But we’re dealing with Judge-Logic™… so in a world where blind GDFs lurk, we have short-attention-span soldiers of fortune, too.

Somehow in Judge’s mind the allegation against Blakey is not only true but now encompasses “many” of the boat crew(s) as well. Notice he declines to give any actual names of these alleged killers, nor does he say who did the training and programming. Fortunately, we do know who was on each boat at the time: Charlie Touchette, Helen Swinney, and Richard Janaro were with Blakey on the Albatross III; Herbert Newell and Clifford Gieg were on the Cudjoe. I have found no evidence that any of these people were trained, programmed killers with African (“and elsewhere”) mercenary experience. If anyone with better resources than me wants to spelunk that rabbit hole, they are certainly welcome to.

The dead were 90% women, and 80% Blacks.[64]

Minor point, but we now know the correct death demographics were 63% women and 71% blacks.

It is unlikely that men armed with guns and modern crossbows would give up control and willingly be injected with poisons.

Wait: a moment ago these were zombies blindly following orders, but now they have cognitive functions and a rebellious streak against their Leader? Hang on a second while I get a neck brace for this whiplash. (We are at war with Eastasia, we have always been at war with Eastasia…)

By the way, the cover of HH shows one of those “modern crossbows.” Looks cheaply home-made to me, but admittedly I’m not an archer and even then I don’t doubt it could get the job done. I guess we’re dealing with subjective definitions of “modern.”

It is much more likely that they forced nearly 400 people to die by injection, and then assisted in the murder of 500 more who attempted to escape.

Oh, great: now we’ve got Black Watch/Green Beret/Zombie Assassins rampaging around the jungle…

[note to self: call Cyanide Rictus’ debut album “Black Watch Green Beret Zombie Assassins!”]

Judge would have us believe that it is “much more likely” that there was a cadre of Jonestown enforcers hanging out to round up and dispatch the 500+ escapees days after the fact… all under the noses of Dr. Mootoo and the GDF. (I’ll give Ptolemy Reid and Mrs. Burnham a pass on not seeing them, as apparently they were too busy looting the corpses of non-existent money to notice.)

Also, all these Lurking Enforcers would be white guys with American accents, civilian clothes, and modern crossbows. Huh: you’d think that would stick out…

The district Jonestown was located in was part of a larger territorial dispute with Venezuela. I’m beginning to wonder why Venezuela didn’t just invade. The way Judge is selling this, the GDF wouldn’t have noticed.

One survivor clearly heard people cheering 45 minutes after the massacre. Despite government claims, they are not accounted for, nor is their location known.[65]

The identities of the people cheering are not known, so it is baseless to say they are not accounted for and not locatable. Also, that survivor (Stanley Clayton) escaped shortly after that point, so it is only speculation to say the massacre had actually ended.

Back in California, Peoples Temple members openly admitted that they feared they were targeted by a “hit squad,” and the Temple was surrounded for some time by local police forces.[66] […]A congressional aide was quoted in the AP wires on May 19, 1979, “There are 120 white, brainwashed assassins out from Jonestown awaiting the trigger word to pick up their hit.”[70]


Two Jonestown hitmen working on The List.
 (In a moment they will debate the Divine Intervention/Miracle of getting out of Guyana unnoticed.)

Earlier in this section, Judge had done some math about Peoples Temple population that didn’t add up to his 1,100 sum. He had a balance due of roughly 175 and had asked “where were the others?” I take his use of that last line above about “120 white, brainwashed assassins out from Jonestown” to be a subtle insinuation to that question’s answer. Even if it still leaves him 50 short of his 1,100 goal, he seems to suggest they somehow escaped from Guyana to began working The List.

The final paragraph of this section is a short inventory of persons who were connected with Peoples Temple that died in dubious circumstances after November 18… presumably implying they were on The List. Judge gives five fatalities in total. (And remember: he wrote in 1985, so he’s had 7 years to see who else drops.) The murder of Temple defectors/rabble-rousers Al and Jeannie Mills is discussed here, and I will leave it to people more knowledgeable about the other four to dissect the merits (or lack there-of) of any potential hit squad involvement.

I’ll admit that I find it plausible that Jim Jones may actually have had some sort of Hit List for people on his Shit List. I also think the only person who would have authorized actually acting upon it was Jim Jones, so if any such List existed it became moot after Jones died and Peoples Temple essentially self-destructed as a functioning entity. Jones certainly had a long List of people he didn’t like, so if there really were “120 white brainwashed assassins” out there awaiting “to pick up their hit” but only 5 people were taken down, those other 115 must not have gotten “the trigger word.”


Who Was Jim Jones?


In order to understand the strange events surrounding Jonestown, we must begin with a history of the people involved. The official story of a religious fanatic and his idealist followers doesn’t make sense in light of the evidence of murders, armed killers and autopsy cover-ups.

Sure it does… especially when one ignores incorrect red herrings like murders (presumably Judge means a 100% rate), armed killers (those pesky BW/GB/ZAs with GDF-proof stealth technology) and autopsy cover-ups (recall there were autopsies).

For historical precedent of clans killing themselves (and their children) rather than falling into enemy hands, two famous instances are Masada and The Dance of Zalongo. An example occurring after Black Hole’s publication is the Branch Davidian fiasco. More debatably, groups like Solar Temple, Heaven’s Gate, and The Movement for the Restoration of The Ten Commandments can also be included.

Judge makes what I feel is a crucial mistake in his analysis of the situation by focusing on the Peoples Temple leadership but ignoring the laypeople who made up its rank and file membership. That kind of overlook error is Amateur Hour: he loses credibility points for skipping the puppets who made it all possible and instead focuses solely on the manipulative marionette-masters. It is apparently inconceivable to him that anyone would willingly join an organization like this — let alone stay and allow themselves to be bossed around and mistreated. No sincere devoutness or dysfunctional codependency here, No Sir! For Judge, it must be a mind control conspiracy.

Judge does give a lengthy info-dump biography of Jim Jones that is reasonably accurate, so I can actually skip most of it without commentary. {readers say “yay! ”} He seasons it with some speculative interpretation, of course, and is especially selective with what details he chooses to share, highlight, or omit. Those need rebuttal. {readers go “groan! ”} Facts aside and focusing on presentation, Judge’s Jones bio is unquestionably biased and has an obvious agenda: convince the reader that Jones was with the CIA.

Given that Black Hole’s thesis is Jonestown was a CIA MK‑ULTRA lab gone wrong, it is absolutely mandatory for Judge to have Jones be an Agency Man. It’s central to his premise: the concept of Jonestown being a Company-run operation without Jones’ knowledge and cooperation is sillier than Mr. Muggs on a tankful of nitrous. Unfortunately, Judge has no actual evidence of CIA affiliation for the reader to feast on, so instead he serves up a thin soup of insinuation with a side salad of guilt-by-association.

For instance, early on Judge singles out Dan Mitrione.

Perhaps more important was his boyhood friendship with Dan Mitrione, confirmed by local residents.[79] […] A Bible-thumper and faith healer, Jones put on revivalist tent shows in the area, and worked close to Richmond, Indiana. Mitrione, his friend, worked as chief of police there, and kept him from being arrested or run out of town.[83]

Judge cites “Personal interviews, Richmond, Indiana, 1981” as his source, so I can’t confirm specifics. For the time in question, though, Jones was in his teens and Mitrione was 11 years older; Jones lived in Lynn and Mitrione was 20 miles away in Richmond. I suspect Judge is stretching the definition of “childhood friendship.” Still, I’ll accept that the two had at least some contact. Likewise, it seems plausible that Officer Mitrione may have given the young Jones a stern lecture about selling unhygienic monkeys door-to-door and/or strongly suggested he take his Elmer Gantry act elsewhere. Is this molehill enough to make a mountain out of? Judge clearly thinks so, but I’ll skip hiring Sherpas and stay at Base Camp Skeptic.

Judge naturally makes a big deal about the subsequent fact that Mitrione later “…moved on to the CIA-financed International Police Academy…” and was stationed in Brazil at the same time Jones made his visit there. Evidence the two had any actual contact while there: none. Still, Judge’s insinuations are obvious: Mitrione was the one who recruited Jones into the CIA and likely served as some sort of handler/case-officer. Actual evidence provided for this: none. Actual evidence existing for this: none.

In his discussion of Mitrione, it’s telling what Judge omits. Before Brazil, Mitrione was an FBI agent for a few years. Personally, I think if any group would have had incentive plus motive to keep an eye on and/or infiltrate Peoples Temple, it would have been The Hoover Crew. Indeed, there is excellent evidence they had done exactly that.

“Pay no attention to the FBI informant behind the curtain!”

Jonestown survivor Mike Prokes subsequently admitted he was an informant. True: he never identified who he was informing to, but the FBI is the first, best guess. I’ll discuss this in depth later. For now, however, realize that any FBI/Law Enforcement involvement does not fit Judge’s CIA thesis — indeed, it cripples it — so he simply plays ostrich on that angle altogether and moves beyond as if nothing had happened which keen readers might notice.

So, back in the Bio, Judge spends some time on Jones’ trip to Brazil. It is this point in Black Hole’s biography of Jones that the tone noticeably shifts to sinister. For instance, this is when we start seeing sarcastic scare quotes around terms like ministerministry, and church.

Jones, a poor, itinerant preacher, suddenly had money in 1961 for a trip to “minister” in Brazil, and he took his family with him.[89]

Itinerant yes, but poor… not so much. There’s debate about how much coin was in Peoples Temple coffers at the time, but it’s generally accepted they had quite a bit. There was more than just membership tithing going on; WN (p.10) discusses “more ambitious, and profitable projects” not directly related to the ministry which generated considerable income. Saying he “suddenly had money” is incorrect. Between the suddenly and the scare quotes on minister, Judge is just subtly steering the reader’s suspicions.

His neighbors in Brazil distrusted him. He told them he worked with U.S. Navy Intelligence.


you’re doing it wrong

Jones was notorious for exaggeration and outright lying, so I take the Naval Intelligence claim with a Lot’s Wife-sized pillar of salt. Besides, Jones would have to be the world’s stupidest spook to admit it. Let me paraphrase Tyler Durden here: “The first rule of Spy Club is we do not talk about Spy Club!”

His transportation and groceries were being provided by the U.S. Embassy as was the large house he lived in.[91]

“The Joneses lived simply, supported almost exclusively by the Indiana church and nursing homes. Instead of meat, they relied on rice and beans as staples.” (Raven, p.80). Admittedly, tithing declined while Jones was away. Still, assuming the U.S. Embassy connection is even true, it seems reasonable that they could’ve afforded to subsidize a couple bags of beans and rice each month for a semi-public figure like him. Besides: if Jones were being groomed for spookhood, this is precisely the type of publicly-connected paper trail you try to avoid.

Jones returned to the United States in 1963, with $10,000 in his pocket.[96]

I’m unclear if this was hard currency or something traceable like a cashier’s cheque or money order. I have yet to find an independent source on the matter (or the amount).

Whatever the case, the base premise is almost plausible. Almost. $10K back then is probably $85K in 2018-money.[source] Jones was a notorious cheapskate, was working several jobs in his off-time, and was still squeezing tribute from the flock back in Indianapolis. I can almost see him scrimping a fat stack of that long green over the course of a couple years in Brazil. Almost. Admittedly, $10Gs seems a bit excessive… assuming that amount is independently verified as correct. Obviously Judge thinks it is, and that this was CIA money. He implies as much in the footnote. Jones told several people of his acting as a gigolo down there, including getting $5,000 for purportedly diddling a diplomat’s wife. Judge’s footnote calls this “cover story for payoff  ” but I’m more inclined to just dismiss the story altogether as more of Jones’ baseless braggadocio.

Recent articles indicate that Catholic clergy are complaining about CIA funding of other denominations for “ministry” in Brazil; perhaps Jones was an early example.[97]

First of all, what are they complaining about: not getting their cut of the funds? At the time of Black Hole’s writing, the Director of Central Intelligence was Bill Casey — a staunch Catholic who was giving intelligence briefings to John Paul II and had the CIA in cahoots with Catholic factions fighting Communism in Italy and Central America. Back in the time of Jones’ sojourn to Brazil, the DCI was (Presbyterian) Allen Dulles, though his boss JFK was something of a Catholic…

Anyway, the CIA’s operational attitude has always been “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” In that capacity, even in the early ’60s Peoples Temple was leaning toward Socialistic teachings and practices, so they are not the optimal candidate for CIA funding. Infiltration, yes; financing, no. Obviously, Judge thinks this was just a façade/cover-story/front and thus is the perfect candidate.

With his new wealth, Jones was able to travel to California and establish the first Peoples Temple in Ukiah, California, in 1965.

“They left behind $40,000 in debts.” (WN, p.20). The Devil is in the details, folks: you’d think if the CIA were bankrolling this, they’d cover something like that to avoid any creditors potentially poking noses into their business and blowing their cover.

He was contacted there by Christian missionaries from World Vision, an international evangelical order that had done espionage work for the CIA in Southeast Asia.[100] He met “influential” members of the community and was befriended by Walter Heady, the head of the local chapter of the John Birch Society.[101] He used the members of his “church” to organize local voting drives for Richard Nixon’s election, and worked closely with the Republican party.[102]

Judge conveniently ignores the legion of left-of-center contacts Jones was simultaneously schmoozing and grooming. There are examples of Jones playing both sides of the political fence, such as simultaneously supporting rival political candidates. This strikes me as nothing sinister; it is just the shrewd opportunism of hedging your bets.

[George Blakey] donated $60,000 to pay the lease on the 27,000-acre Guyana site in 1974.[109]

Minor point, but even in Peoples Temple’s inflated propaganda, Jonestown was never 27,000 acres. The lease shows it was only 3,852 acres, though apparently Judge did not have access to that. Among sources he did see:

Though the People’s [sic] Temple had applied for 25,000 acres and promised to invest $400,000 in the first two years, the Guyanese considered that proposal too ambitious and allotted Jones 3,842 acres. The Guyanese ministers, especially Ptolemy Reid, the Minister of Agriculture, who was pro-Jones, didn’t want to see the settlement fail because it took on too huge a risk. That would be a deadly propaganda liability.

~WN, p.79

Alternately, “Temple attorney Charles Garry says that Jones leased 4,999 acres from the government with an option for up to 27,000 more.” (HH, p.149). Raven suggests “The Temple originally sought 25,000 acres, but after a survey, it was cut down to 3,000 acres.” (p.275).

Again, all this is technically nitpicking, but it sets up the punch-line for a joke I’ll make later and brings up an odd curiosity about Judge’s bias. “Jones didn’t have 25,000 acres in Guyana, but once back in the United States he claimed that amount for publicity purposes.” (WN, p.80) Judge thinks Peoples Temple was a front, but he’s willing to believe their own unbelievable PR when it seems to suit him.

Jones changed his image to that of a liberal.[113]


“Book ’em, Danno…  FACEPALM One!”

OW! Judge saying that ignores the entire previous history of Peoples Temple. From the very beginning in Indiana, Jones preached/practiced integration and performed good works for the needy and impoverished. These are very liberal traits — especially in comparison to the contemporary conservative churches in the area that conspicuously lacked such activities. These traits and trends simply became more pronounced once in California, and especially after his subsequent move from Ukiah to San Francisco.

He had spent time studying the preaching methods of Fr. Divine in Philadelphia, and attempted to use them in a manipulative way on the streets of San Francisco.

I agree with Judge that Jones’ meeting with Father Divine was an important event — in my mind it’s when the lightbulb went on over Jones’ head and he realized just how far he could take The Con for fun and profit. However, that meeting was back in 1959 and Jones was clearly employing Divine’s over-the-top techniques in Indianapolis. It just became more noticeable in San Francisco due to the larger population and publicity to sample from.

As shown with his mishandling of the Brazil trip data, Judge seems to think that Jones shifted views after his alleged recruitment by the CIA circa 1961. On the contrary: Jones was consistent… he just dialed up the intensity and pushed his existing ideas to the extreme as time trudged on.

For undisclosed reasons, Jones had and used “doubles.”[140] This is very unusual for a religious leader, but quite common in intelligence operations.[141]

The idea of Jones having “doubles” is debatable, with the best evidence for it apparently being that Jones had two separate passports issued before his Brazil trip. Assuming it’s even true that Jones had a body double (or two), Judge overlooks (or ignores) a very obvious explanation: even back then, Jones was paranoid. He had reason to be. In Indianapolis, he and his church were receiving regular threats from people unhappy with their Socialist leanings and open integration.

At this time, the Jones family commune and the Temple itself took on a siege mentality. Unknown parties painted a swastika on the church door, placed a stick of dynamite in the church coal pile, threw a dead cat at the Jones house, made call after threatening phone call.

~Raven, p.72

While I acknowledge that a few of these may have been secretly orchestrated by Jones to garner sympathy, there seems little serious question that many (if not most) of them were legitimate threats made by people who wished harm to him and his congregation. It therefore seems plausible that Jones might well have used body doubles at various times in the name of self-preservation.

That said, Judge will shortly suggest that the cadaver brought back from Jonestown might have been one of these doubles and not Jones himself. Since that section has so much other mind-melting manure in it, let me quickly address the “that was a body double they found at Jonestown” suggestion here.

Putting aside the fact that the conclusion is wrong, the very premise is a non-starter and should never even have been suggested. Body doubles are really only effective at a distance. You may fool a sniper peering through a scope from a mile away, but the deception will collapse at close range — especially in front of a congregation who was intimately familiar with his look, voice, and mannerisms. The survivors had prolonged history with Jones and never expressed any subsequent doubt that it was the bona fide Jones they met or saw that last day. I won’t even get into the logistical issues of hiding any such double (dead or alive) on-site without anyone noticing. That also applies to any Jones slipped out at the last second and left behind a dead body double variant. This would require the intervention of an aforementioned Acme Corp. consultant. I already checked his alibi: he was in the Arizona desert with an anvil, catapult, and plate of free birdseed.

Even the death and identification of Jim Jones were peculiar. […] Photos of his body do not show identifying tattoos on his chest. The body and face are not clearly recognizable due to bloating and discoloration.[143]

Although he says “photos” (plural), his footnote only singles out the one on page 262 of HH. Much of Jones’ chest is covered by a shirt, and the camera angle isn’t the best. Sure, we get a great view up his nasal cavity, but at that angle I might not’ve recognized the face of who I was looking at either at first glance without a caption to help out. By the way, I am unclear where Judge got the idea of “identifying tattoos on his chest” as I have never seen any indication that Jones had any. This is confirmed by Jones’ autopsy report (under “External Description”) = “No tattoos or scars are identified.”

The FBI reportedly checked his fingerprints twice, a seemingly futile gesture since it is a precise operation.

Both this article and this one discuss the difficulties of obtaining fingerprints and how examiners successfully overcame the obstacles. Jones’ prints were on file due to his arrest for soliciting in an adult movie theater bathroom, so it is plausible they could make a match.

A more logical route would have been to check dental records.[144]

And surprise surprise, they did that, too! From Jones’ autopsy report: “The body is identified as James Warren Jones on the basis of the comparison of antemortem and postmortem fingertips and dental records.”

Several researchers familiar with the case feel that the body may not have been Jones. Even if the person at the site was one of the “doubles,” it does not mean Jones is still alive. He may have been killed at an earlier point.


Your theory needs more evidence
(and cowbell)

Judge ends the bio with that odd bit of speculation. It’s a fractal example of his modus operandi for the section in specific and total piece as a whole: in arguing his case that Jones was CIA, he’s long on speculation but short on supporting facts.

Let’s actually tackle that turkey for a second.

If Judge ever submitted any Freedom of Information Act requests on Jones or Peoples Tempe, he doesn’t mention it. Admittedly, I’ve never filed a FOIA request either, largely because that’s effort and I’m lazy. Fortunately, numerous other researchers have more time and initiative than I do, and their FOIAs found nothing blatantly incriminating. I suspect Judge would take this lack of actionable intel as proof that someone had gone all Fawn Hall with a paper shredder on anything relevant.

A common claim from both pro-and-con conspiracy FOIAers is that the CIA opened a 201 File on Jones during his trip to Brazil. In and of itself, this is hardly surprising. Having a 201 File means the CIA considers you a person of interest. Nikita Khrushchev and Fidel Castro had 201 Files, but I don’t think anyone would accuse them of being secret CIA assets. Jones was a Socialist minister during the Cold War who was preaching to the poor, huddled masses —and occasionally they were listening to him. It would be suspicious if the CIA didn’t have a file on him. Much has been made over the fact that said File was “purged” (whatever that means) in 1970, and it was done right after Dan Mitrione died. I agree that it’s enough to cock a curious eyebrow at, but in light of everything else undermining the Jones-as-CIA scenario I’m not sure I’d throw a flag on the play.

Others have explored all this, and while they have found some suspicious (or at least questionable) circumstances, nothing concrete in the subsequent 40+ years has turned up. I like the way pro-conspiracy journalist Jim Hougan put it: “There is no smoking gun… [but…a great many empty cartridges lying about.” Extending his metaphor, I strongly suspect those casings belong to weapons involved in unrelated shootouts.

It is universally accepted that Jim Jones was a megalomaniac. This started as far back as his Indiana roots but went on a J‑curve by the time he hit Guyana. Jonestown was his own kingdom, and he could literally play God there. Given that, the idea of him taking orders from anyone else requires us to assume that his appetite for power and control was just part of The Act. Jones was an actor, but he wasn’t that good an actor.

Strictly speaking, I agree with Judge that much of Jones’ public persona wasn’t 100% legit, though I see it merely as a vehicle for fulfilling greed and delusions of grandeur. Judge obviously thinks that Jones’ image as crusading social evangelist was just a cover story and the Peoples Temple was just a misdirectional front to conceal CIA activity. Admittedly there is occasional precedent for this — the National Students Association comes to mind — but to me it’s still akin to thinking that other high-profile anti-government groups like the Black Panthers or The Weathermen were CIA fronts as well.

After investigating, these two agents found Black Hole’s claims to be too unbelievable.

It’s certainly a risky choice, because if any government group were going to have an interest in Jones/Peoples Temple, it would be the FBI. Earlier in the Biography section, I pruned out a part where Judge rambles off a tangent about Hoover’s hatred of “leftist” groups and the Bureau’s attempts to undermine them. I agree with most of Judge’s assessment, but it causes an obvious problem for him that he either overlooks or just plays ostrich with. It stretches credulity to think that the FBI would not try to infiltrate a group like Peoples Temple, and as I mentioned earlier there is excellent evidence they did exactly that.

Michael Prokes was fairly high up in the Temple hierarchy and was one of the fortunate few who walked out of Jonestown alive on November 18. On March 13, 1979 he called a “press conference” in a Modesto, California motel room, read a statement to the 8 reporters who showed up, and then excused himself to the bathroom where he shot himself in the head.

His spoken statement included:

I was an informant when I first joined Peoples Temple. I didn’t remain one, however, because I came to realize that the Temple was probably the only hope for the many people it was helping off the streets, off of drugs, out of crime, and out of mental institutions, jails, and prisons.

Prokes left behind a second statement (written out but not read to the journalists) that gave details about his recruitment as an informer.

[…]The man told me his name was Gary Jackson. I asked him what he did and he said that he worked for the government, but I couldn’t get him to be more specific. […]Jackson (somehow I doubt that was his real name) said […Peoples Templewas a revolutionary organization led by a dangerous man, bent on destroying our system of government. […]He said if I could be successful at joining the Temple full-time as a staff member and report regularly on what was going on inside the organization, he would arrange for me to be paid $200 a week. […] As time passed, I gradually began to feel conflict over my role as an informant, even though I wasn’t providing what one might call valuable or sensitive information. I was starting to identify with the problems and sufferings of the members. […]I could no longer justify informing on Jones and his organization. During my next contact, […]I told him that even though I didn’t particularly care for Jones and I didn’t agree with some ways in which his organization was run, I felt it was making tremendous achievements in terms of human rehabilitation and improvement in the quality of peoples [sic] lives and character. […]He urged me not to tell Jones about him and I told him I saw no reason why I should do that unless I suspected someone else was taking my place.

Assuming his confession is true, Prokes conspicuously avoided naming who his “Jackson” handler worked for because Prokes himself didn’t know. The best guess is the FBI, with the SFPD being a respectable second, and the CIA comes in distant third. Judge, of course, would dismiss the CIA as a contender at all: why would the CIA try to infiltrate its own operation? Of course, Prokes being FBI-affiliated raises other problems for Judge’s theory, as informant infiltration runs the risk of blowing the operation’s cover.

Later in Black Hole, Judge does offhandedly mention Prokes’ death and confession-as-informant, though he seems to only know the journalistic Cliffs Notes of the incident and shows no indication of having actually read either statement. I have a hunch he’d accuse Prokes’ change-of-heart as either Stockholm Syndrome or intentional misdirection. Still, it’s odd that Judge doesn’t express concern that an FBI informant had infiltrated a CIA op posing as a cult but never reported anything suspicious to his handler about it being a CIA op posing as a cult.

As I said earlier, Judge’s whole CIA op posing as a cult premise mandates Jones be part of the CIA. Well, it also requires that his inner circle be in it, too. The idea of Jim Jones being a one-man band conducting Peoples Temple for the CIA without the knowledge and assistance of his inner circle is goofier than a marathon of Marx Brothers movies. Just running the “public perception” of Jonestown was a full-time job, what with the daily shaming sessions and nightly loudspeaker harangues. I don’t care if Jones was gobbling more speed dots than Pac Man on a fresh screen, he wouldn’t have had time to add CIA activity to his already full plate of despotic duties if he were a solo show — he had to have some help. Unfortunately for Judge, there have been enough defectors over the years (both lay and high-level) who never once made any subsequent mention of even suspecting any CIA involvement.

The closest we come to any members alleging CIA involvement is in Prokes’ press statement, where he accuses Temple defector (and Jones’ original attorney) Tim Stoen of being a CIA agent. However, Prokes was specific: he said the CIA was out to destroy the Peoples Temple. He never claimed the CIA was running it.

Stoen himself echoed a variation of this claim against himself in his own autobiography ( Love Them To Death, p.1) but the rest of his book goes out of its way to show he had no actual Agency contact. Stoen, for his part, did make a myriad of accusations about Jones and Peoples Temple, but CIA involvement was never among them.

Few (if any) people actually think Stoen was working with or for the CIA, and Judge would dismiss the claim out of hand. He’d have to. Stoen’s public campaign against Jones was partly what brought Peoples Temple to Ryan’s attention, and Stoen was instrumental in getting the Congressman to go visit Guyana. Stoen-as-CIA getting Ryan to investigate a Jonestown-as-CIA is fatal to Judge’s thesis.

Perhaps the best example of silence by Temple personnel on the CIA subject comes from Mark Lane. Obviously, Lane has his share of detractors — myself included — who question his conclusions on certain matters of the conspiracy realm, but I don’t think anyone has ever doubted his sincerity in preaching them. He may have been accused of opportunistically profiting from them, but the core concept that Mark Lane genuinely sees conspiracy everywhere is unchallenged. Indeed, Judge himself will subsequently quote from Lane, not only in his capacity as a Jonestown survivor but on tangentially-related matters like the MLK assassination. I take that as tacit admission that Mark Lane gets the John Judge Seal of Approval as a credible source. Given that, Lane’s favorite boogeyman to bitch about and blame things on was the CIA. Sure, it may be easy to convince Lane that the CIA was involved in something it wasn’t, but the inverse is true too: it’s damned difficult to convince him it wasn’t tied to something it actually was. Jim Jones passed The Lane Test in that the latter thought the former was legit and not a Secret Shop Op. Lane demonstrably spent considerable effort attempting to prove the CIA was harassing Peoples Temple. He never spent any (before or after) arguing the CIA was Peoples Temple. If there was anything to even suggest Jones-is-CIA, Lane would have been on it like a famished fly on fresh feces.

Directly connected to this is the silence of Terri Buford. She was (arguably) the highest of Jones’ inner circle to jump ship. Elsewhere (in a tangential section of Black Hole I’ll prune out) Judge calls her “a key Temple member who had returned to the U.S. before the killings to live with Lane.” Although subsequently outspoken against Peoples Temple, her claiming they were secretly CIA was never one of her charges. As Judge acknowledges, she subsequently shacked up with Mark Lane for a few years. They even had a daughter together. If Jones really were CIA, you’d think it’d slip out during some pillow talk.



What Was Jonestown?


According to one story, Jones was seeking a place on earth that would survive the effects of nuclear war, relying only on an article in Esquire magazine for his list.[145]


The Skept-o-matic 2000 in action

(just don’t ask it about turtles… or your mother)

It was The Cold War and most people were scared the missiles might start flying at any moment. Indeed, in October 1961 Jones confided to right-hand-man Archie Ijames that he had a vision of Chicago getting nuked and Indianapolis immediately suffering the same fate. (Raven, p.76). Obviously, most things Jones say need to be run through a Skeptometer — I prefer the Skept-o-matic 2000 with B.S. Filter — but I suspect there’s a grain of truth to this story. Jones surely knew he couldn’t play King of the Cult if he’s just a pile of glow-in-the-dark ashes. The January 1962 Esquire and its Nine Places to Hide article is a matter of public record, so I’m not sure what problem Judge has with it. The best cover story is a real one.

The real reason for his locations in Brazil, California, Guyana and elsewhere deserve more scrutiny.”[146] […] His final choice, the Matthews Ridge section in Guyana is an interesting one. It was originally the site of a Union Carbide bauxite and manganese mine, and Jones used the dock they left behind.[149] […] Resources buried there are among the richest in the world, and include manganese, diamonds, gold, bauxite and uranium.[152]

Strictly speaking, Jones picked Guyana to move to, and Guyana picked the site for Jonestown. Of all the out-of-America places Jones was considering, going to Guyana made the most sense: it was Socialist, English was the official language, and (at the time) they didn’t have an extradition treaty. Likewise, Guyana wanted Jones to come because he was potentially bringing a lot of lucre to invest. Guyana’s choice of Matthews Ridge made the most sense for all parties: it had an existing infrastructure Jones could appropriate. WN (p.72-73) speculates Guyana also wanted Peoples Temple in the area because the district was under dispute with Venezuela. If their neighbors attacked a place with a large group with Americans in it, the U.S. might be more likely to intervene on Guyana’s behalf and favor.

Judge’s mentioning the “richest mineral resources in the world” (cough cough) is curious. Even if true, was he expecting Jonestown to turn into a CIA-run strip-mining operation with zombie slave labor at some time in the future? They could barely grow enough food for themselves on a day-to-day basis with all hands helping out. No way they could manage adding mining to the workload. Besides, even if they pulled off that miracle, the Burnham administration would quite likely have just nationalized it for themselves.

Once chosen, the site was leased and worked on by a select crew of Temple members in preparation for the arrival of the body of the church. […] But if these were idealists seeking a better life, their arrival in “Utopia” was a strange welcome. […]When they arrived at the airport, the Blacks were taken off the plane, bound and gagged.[156]

Footnote 156 cites “Personal interview with Guyanese present, 1980 (bound and gagged).” Of all the black survivors of Jonestown, none of them ever mentioned any similar experiences. Given the horror stories they did share, you’d think something like that would make the list.

According to survivors’ reports, they entered a virtual slave labor camp. […] Kept on a schedule of physical and mental exhaustion, they were also forced to stay awake at night and listen to lectures by Jones.

But remember: Judge wants us to believe those lectures were all part of The Act. If Jones was a “troll,” he was a damn-assed dedicated one to the façade.

The camp medical staff under Dr. Lawrence [Laurence] Schacht […] administered drugs, and kept daily medical records.[160]

A doctor administering drugs and keeping records?!? I’m shocked!

{…actually, let me channel some Charlton Heston here for the full sarcastic effect that comment deserves…}

“A Planet where Apes evolved from Men Place where Doctors kept records of Shots?!?”

Perhaps the motto at Jonestown should have been the same as the one at Auschwitz, developed by Larry Schacht’s namesake, Dr. Hjalmar Schacht, the Nazi Minister of Economics, “Arbeit Macht Frei,” or “Work Will Make You Free.” Guyana even considered setting up an “Auschwitz-like museum” at the site, but abandoned the idea.[163]

Ohhhh, so close!

Here Judge alludes to Auschwitz; later there’s a Bormann/Mengele reference; even some insinuations of Nazi connections to members’ families near the end… but I was really hoping he’d mention Hitler by name at some point so I could invoke Godwin’s Law. Well, technically Godwin’s Law is “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1” and here I’m actually referring to the related Godwin’s Corollary:

In any debate that is not about World War 2, the first person to mention “Hitler” loses

I was totally hoping Judge would drop the H‑Bomb so I could just wrap this up and grab a snack, but alas no. Then again, I guess I did exactly that a paragraph ago by explaining this, so mea culpa.

To comprehend this well-financed, sinister operation, we must abandon the myth that this was a religious commune and study instead the history that led to its formation. Jonestown was an experiment, part of a 30-year program called MK‑ULTRA, the CIA and military intelligence code name for mind control.[170]

< cue ominous THUNDERCLAP on soundtrack >

Folks, we just reached 11 pages into Judge’s 17‑page screed, and only now has he revealed his central thesis… the true explanation of Jonestown that he had promised at the beginning.

That’s called “burying the lead.”

Can you say that?

I’ve already discussed why Jim Jones isn’t a worthy candidate for CIA membership, but let’s get into the specifics of why Jonestown won’t work as an MK‑ULTRA lab.

The most glaring fact for that is because MK‑ULTRA was never a success.

This is so important that I will say it again, slowly, using no big words.

It. Never. Worked.

Indeed, DCI Richard Helms shut the whole program down in 1973 partly because, after 20 years of trying, MK‑ULTRA didn’t work.

Although Judge does give a brief rundown of MK-ULTRA, he glaringly omits its failed results. Here is some quick context that he also skips…

MK-ULTRA started life as a Cold War espionage project. The original intention was to find a way to make American spies unbreakable if captured, and at the same time have a guaranteed way to break any ComBloc agents we happen to grab. The less-than-perfect success rate of our own agents and the greater-than-zero success of Soviet agents underscores my point: MK‑ULTRA didn’t work.

Let’s expand the plan beyond spy-vs-spy and move onto the broader stereotype of a “mind control” milieu that everyone else (including Judge) seems to think this is about. If MK‑ULTRA had been successful, everyone in America would be voting for the same candidates, attending the same churches, buying the same brands, et cetera. Also, no one would even be questioning any of it. Since Judge is doing exactly that (ie: questioning the official narrative) he himself is prime proof that MK‑ULTRA didn’t work.

Let’s take that context and zoom in on Jonestown. If the CIA was bankrolling Jones to run an MK‑ULTRA experiment, they should have demanded a refund. Success would have included 900+ happy, smiling people who had no need for morale enforcement like beatings, the defection rate would have been zero, and any need for forced assistance during the White Night would have been a non-starter. We see none of this because (all together now!) MK‑ULTRA didn’t work.

Trying to make it work.

Now, I can actually anticipate Judge’s rebuttal to this Elephant in the Evidence Locker: “Just because it didn’t work yet doesn’t mean they weren’t trying to make it work!”

Fair enough, so let’s see what he offers to back this up.

The meticulous daily notes and drug records kept by Larry Schacht disappeared, but evidence did not.[174]

Judge’s citation of the 11/23/78 NYT does not contain that statement (that I could find), though something similar is in the 12/29/78 issue: “Since there were no records, it was impossible to determine how frequently or extensively the drugs were used.” I think it would be more accurate to say “As of 12/29/78, no medical records have been recovered or released.” They’re certainly available since then: from my understanding the California Historical Society has the originals. You can also find many of them here and here. There are also audio tapes (such as Q796) where Schacht dictates them for transcription.

The history of MK‑ULTRA and its sister programs (MK‑DELTA, ARTICHOKE, BLUEBIRD, etc.) records a combination of drugs, drug mixtures, electroshock and torture as methods for control.

The history of religion and its sister program (politics) also records a combination of drugs (Hashashin Moslems, etc.) and torture (Catholic Inquisition, etc.) as methods of control. {Electroshock is too new to include, though allegedly Scientology uses it.} Of course, who needs any of that when all you have to do is convince people “do what we say or else you’ll go to a Fiery Place for all eternity when you die!” No drugs, cattle prods, or thumb screws required. Jones wasn’t quite at that level. Peoples Temple started in Indiana as a religious movement with political/social undertones, though by Guyana it was more political/social with a religious veneer. Still, Jones was trying, and he was using politico-theology to do it. He just needed assistance, and that assistance coincidentally happened to be the some of the same methods of control that MK‑ULTRA used.

On the scene at Jonestown, Guyanese troops discovered a large cache of drugs, enough to drug the entire population of Georgetown, Guyana (well over 200,000)[177] for more than a year. According to survivors, these were being used regularly “to control” a population of only 1,100 people.[178]

Earlier, Judge complained that “The meticulous daily notes and drug records kept by Larry Schacht disappeared.” If he thinks the notes disappeared, how does he know who got what drugs and why?

One footlocker contained 11,000 doses of thorazine, a dangerous tranquilizer.

Thorazine is an antipsychotic used on schizophrenics and such to ease the symptoms, though it does have a “tranquilizer” side effect. The term “chemical lobotomy” gets thrown around a lot, but I am unclear on exactly what happens if you give it to someone who doesn’t have schizophrenia. Maybe that was part of “…they’re trying to make MK‑ULTRA work!”

Drugs used in the testing for MK‑ULTRA were found in abundance, including sodium pentathol (a truth serum), chloral hydrate (a hypnotic), demerol, thalium (confuses thinking), and many others.[179]

Ummm, waitWe’ve already established MK‑ULTRA didn’t work, but they’re still using the same drugs? That makes sense…  [cue Judge rebutting with “but, but, they were still fine-tuning the formula!”]

Okay; let’s take a look at that list of these supposed “mind control” drugs they found.

sodium pentathol (a truth serum) ~ It’s a barbiturate, and as such has the standard barbiturate side effects of lowering inhibitions and making one more open to suggestion. By that logic, alcohol is a “mind control” drug.  FUN FACT: it doesn’t actually work as a “truth serum,” so no one but hack Hollywood writers call it that any more.

chloral hydrate (a hypnotic) ~ it’s a sedative in small doses, larger ones make it a hypnotic — the difference being whether the recipient ends up docile or unconscious. For those who don’t know pharmacology, “hypnotic” is a fancy term used for a sleeping pill: ύπνος (hypnos) is Greek for “sleep.” Hopefully readers didn’t think it meant it hypnotized you in any pop-culture stereotype (like going into a trance and then acting like a chicken when someone says “rhubarb!”)  FUN FACT: it was the active agent in a “Mickey Finn” (the Roofie of the Roaring ’20s).

Demerol ~ it’s an analgesic. Pretty powerful, and (as with all opioids) can be highly habit-forming. Admittedly, either aspect is useful in behavior modification (ie: mind control) though I think getting someone to do what you want via physical addiction is cheating.  FUN FACT: an anagram of “Demerol” is “remodel” which kind of fits the mind control motif.

Not a mind control drug.

Thalium (confuses thinking) ~ inclusion of this one certainly confused my thinking. The only reference I can find to “thalium” (with one ‘L’) is as an archaic variant spelling of “thallium” (with two ‘L’s). Thallium is a heavy metal element (#81 on the Periodic Table) that is lethal even in micro-doses. It’s the prime ingredient in many rat poisons, so the only confusion it causes is your suddenly wondering “why do I see a tunnel of white light with harp-playing cherubs at the end?”  FUN FACT: in the 1800s, it was known as “inheritance powder.”

That last “thalium” reference really perplexed me, and it is in all extant copies of Black Hole I have found in print or on the ’Net. So of course I checked Judge’s source (NYT, 12/29/78). I was expecting to find some obscure molecular compound like thallium monoxide-o-razzmatazz, but it looks like he meant “valium.” I’m not sure how you mistype “th” for “v” but it was 1985: Judge probably banged Black Hole out on a typewriter or some proto-software like WordStar that didn’t have a spellcheck, so I’ll merely add “proofreading” to his list of skills needing improvement. Anyway, yes, this makes more sense, so…

valium (causes confusion) ~ as with chloral hydrate, it’s a sedative in small doses but a hypnotic in larger. Recall Dr. Mootoo’s testimony from the Inquest as to its effects. Obviously it does have a calming effect in small amounts that can be mistaken for euphoric confusion, hence its abuse as a party drug.  FUN FACT: if you substitute the word “Valium” for the phrase “Valley Girl” in the Frank Zappa song of the same name, the lyrics are still subject-appropriate!

and many others ~ wow, that’s helpfully descriptive… For those wondering, the NYT article identifies them as quaaludes and morphine.  FUN FACT: 4 out of 5 CIA chemists recommend “and many others” as part of your daily mind control supplement!

Maybe it’s just me, but all these “downer” drugs don’t seem like the ideal diet for a group that’s expected to do daily doses of grueling physical labor to keep the camp running.

Conspicuously missing from this fiendish pharmacological inventory is LSD. That was the drug used in the early days of MK‑ULTRA. Granted, it was eventually phased out because it was “…expensive and unpredictable in results” (or so they said at the time) but remember: apparently at Jonestown they were trying to fix the formula! Tim Leary certainly sang its praises for reprogramming the brain, and besides: I suspect a few tabs would have made Jones’ sermons both bearable and comprehensible. I’m not surprised at its absence, of course, but I’m not the one pushing the MK‑ULTRA theory.

This […] need to suggest an additional motive for frustrating any chemical autopsies, since these drugs would have been found in the system of the dead.

Admittedly, embalming plays havoc with an autopsy’s toxicology screening, so they would not have gotten reliable results anyway. As I said earlier, they did seven autopsies of people found at Jonestown: Jones, his lieutenants, and two “lay members” (Violatt Dillard and Richard Castillo). In the autopsy reports’ section for “Report of Toxicological Exam” each says: “All tissues submitted were putrefied; the body was embalmed prior to autopsy.” Here are the results:

Jim Jones: Pentobarbitol, Chloroquine

Maria Katsaris: Diphenhydramine, Chlorpromazine, Chloroquine, Cyanide

Carolyn Layton: Diphenhydramine, Promethazine, Chlorpromazine, Chloroquine

Annie Moore: Chloroquine, Cyanide

Laurence Schacht: Diphenhydramine, Chlorpromazine, Chloroquine, Salicylates

Violatt Dillard: Chloroquine

Richard Castillo: Chloroquine

The most we can tell from this is that either they were very concerned about malaria or the drink of choice at Jonestown was gin and tonic. Given what we would expect to find — either with or without the MK‑ULTRA angle — the results don’t make much sense. Conspicuously missing from the two “laypeople” are any of the mind-control drugs that Judge previously inventoried, but he has an out because of the embalming.

The story of Jonestown is that of a gruesome experiment, not a religious utopian society. […] With Ryan on his way to Jonestown, the seal of secrecy was broken. In a desperate attempt to test their conditioning methods, the Jonestown elite apparently tried to implement a real suicide drill.[185] Clearly, it led to a revolt,

Well, at least Judge is admitting that MK‑ULTRA still didn’t work…

and the majority of people fled, unaware that there were people waiting to catch them.

Ach! Hans, Run! It’s the Black Watch/Green Beret/Zombie Assassins!



One Too Many Jonestowns


Strangely enough, almost every map of Guyana in the major press located Jonestown at a different place following the killings. One map even shows a second site in the area called “Johnstown.”[187]


The iceberg hit the Titanic in the front/right causing the ship to go…

I was about to point out that most newspapers’ maps in April 1912 showed different locations for where the Titanic sank… but then I remembered my earlier snark about “at first ‘no lives lost’ but later 1,415 dead?!?” and I almost went on a tangent claiming this all “proved” there were multiple Titanics… but that had the potential to get out of hand damned fast so I just nixed the idea.

you’re welcome

Fortunately, Judge does not go on to claim a conspiracy of cartographers, though his actual suggested explanation is perhaps mind-meltingly more moronic. Me, I’ll chalk this one up to journalistic incompetence, and what’s more, I have a hunch I know what’s causing/contributing to the confusion. Pages 72-73 of WN give a short but decent history of the Matthews Ridge region where Jonestown was located, and in the past couple of decades before Peoples Temple there had been several other settlements in the area. I suspect some of these sites were the ones misidentified on journalists’ maps.

Perhaps there were multiple camps and Leo Ryan was only shown the one they hoped he would see.

Yes, you read that correctly… John Judge has just said that perhaps Peoples Temple had more than one Jonestown site in Guyana.

“The FACEPALM is strong with this one.”

Let that actually sink in a second… Go ahead, I’ll wait.

I guess we’re lucky Judge didn’t notice the earlier inconsistencies about how large (in acres) Jonestown was, because I bet he’d pounce all over it and that perhaps would be replaced with a paragraph-plus expanding on the concept. Perhaps one alternate site was to house the Black Watch, one for the Green Berets, one for the Zombie Assassins, and maybe even a little VIP villa for Jimmy Hoffa, Jim Morrison, and Elvis.

In all candor — and for the sake of humanity — I can only hope that readers recognize Judge’s suggestion as what it is: weapons-grade CRAZY.

So, do I really need to debunk it?




In any case, the Jonestown model survives, and similar camps, and their sinister designs, show up in many places.

I’m unclear if this means he thinks the CIA is running other MK‑ULTRA experiments using cults-as-cover or not.

Inside Guyana itself, approximately 25 miles to the south of Matthews Ridge, is a community called Hilltown, named after religious leader Rabbi Hill.

Rabbi Hill’s group calls themselves The House of Israel, and all information I’ve seen on them limits their activities to Georgetown. Judge’s claim of the existence of Hilltown 25 miles away is oddly specific, but it is not supported by any of his sources. Those only discuss Hill and his beliefs and contain no reference to a Hilltown. I suspect Judge got the idea for Hilltown from a dubious “personal interview” he mentions a few footnotes later.

[…]Hill rules with an “iron fist” over some 8,000 Black people from Guyana and America who believe they are the Lost Tribe of Israel and the real Hebrews of Biblical prophecy.[188] Used as strong-arm troops, and “internal mercenaries” to insure Burnham’s election, as were Jonestown members, the Hilltown people were allowed to clear the Jonestown site of shoes and unused weapons, both in short supply in Guyana.[189] Hill says his followers would gladly kill themselves at his command, but he would survive since, unlike Jones, he is “in control.”[190]

Judge’s source for the claims that Peoples Temple were “internal mercenaries” for Burnham’s election and that Hilltown cleaned up Jonestown both come from “Personal interview with Jagan, 1981.” Cheddi Jagan was Burnham’s political opponent at the time. Since Black Hole is the only place I’ve seen claiming that Peoples Temple were involved strong-arming the Guyanese electoral base into voting for the other guy, I’m a bit skeptical of the source because it smells like sour grapes.

I’m also willing to bet that this interview is where Judge got the idea for Hilltown in the first place. The looting done at Jonestown was done by local Amerindians, not any alleged neighboring cultists. The claim about the guns and shoes is easily disputed: 35 weapons were recovered from Jonestown, and photos of the bodies show almost all of them wearing shoes.

Similar camps were reported at the time in the Philippines.

“Similar” how? Another MK‑ULTRA lab masquerading as a cult? Boy, those boys at Langley must have had a massive budget for this; no wonder the deficit was so high during the Carter administration.

Perhaps the best known example is the fascist torture camp in Chile known as Colonia Dignidad. Also a religious cult built around a single individual, this one came from Germany to Chile in 1961. In both cases, the camp was their “Agricultural Experiment.” Sealed and protected by the dreaded Chilean DINA police, Colonia Dignidad serves as a torture chamber for political dissidents. To the Jonestown monstrosities, they have added dogs specially trained to attack human genitals.[191] The operations there have included the heavy hand of decapitation specialist Michael Townley Welch, an American CIA agent, as well as reported visits by Nazi war criminals Dr. Josef Mengele and Martin Bormann.

Again: “best known example” of what exactly? Well, he’s linked a CIA agent to it, but at least we’re spared speculation about Langley returning some of the Nazis who came over on Project Paperclip to the source supplier.

I’m also not sure what type of qualifier Judge means by “reported” for those Nazi visits, but I’ll give him a pass. He wrote this in 1985, and it wasn’t until 1998 that DNA testing proved Bormann was a corpse who died in 1945. Likewise for Mengele, who we now know died in 1979.

It is only a matter of time before another Jonestown will be exposed, perhaps leading again to massive slaughter.

As of this writing, it has been 33 years since Judge predicted “another Jonestown” (presumably in his cover-for-MK‑ULTRA definition) “will be exposed.” None have, for the simple reason that MK‑ULTRA ended in 1973 and there is no evidence it was ever restarted. We have had a handful of “massive slaughters” (self-directed or otherwise) done by religious sects since then, but Judge probably wouldn’t count those.



The Links to U.S. Intelligence Agencies


Our story so far has hinted at connections to U.S. intelligence, such as the long-term friendship of Jones and CIA associate Dan Mitrione.

“Long-term”? (cough-cough/wheeze) I’m already taking Judge’s word that Jones/Mitrione randomly intersected in 1950s-Indiana. With zero evidence beyond. But please: do continue

But the ties are much more direct when a full picture of the operation is revealed.

Oh goodie — is this where we finally start getting proof  ?

<Spoiler> No. </Spoiler>

…but you guessed that already, didn’t you

To start with, the history of Forbes Burnham’s rise to power in Guyana is fraught with the clear implication of a CIA coup d’état to oust troublesome independent leader Cheddi Jagan.[196]

I’m not sure if “troublesome” is meant sarcastically or not. Jagan was at the least Communist-sympathetic, which would be troublesome for the CIA. Putting that aside, Jagan had some issues and was not all that popular with his own people in Guyana. Judge interviewed him and apparently considered him a reliable-enough source to use in Black Hole, though it is not clear what Judge’s personal opinion of the man was. Even though Jagen lost an election to Burnham (several, actually), there have long been claims of voter fraud and CIA meddling in Guyana’s history. Both claims are almost universally accepted as true.

What’s interesting is what Judge skips in this quick history lesson. The CIA was involved in originally getting Burnham into power, but Burnham almost immediately flipped Langley the bird by going Socialist: he nationalized all foreign industries and soon started relations with Cuba and the Soviet Union.

In addition, the press and other evidence indicated the presence of a CIA agent on the scene at the time of the massacre. This man, Richard Dwyer, was working as Deputy Chief of Mission for the U.S. Embassy in Guyana.[197]

If it has ever been empirically demonstrated that Dwyer was a CIA agent, I am not aware of it. Admittedly, I strongly suspect he was, but haven’t seen concrete evidence supporting that fact. Let’s assume he was, because it actually causes a speedbump in Judge’s scheme of things.

Dwyer only went to Jonestown twice: May 10, 1978 and that fatal November 18. That’s pretty lackadaisical and hands-off if Jonestown really was being run by the CIA. The May visit was (ostensibly) Dwyer’s meet-and-greet with the commune in his capacity as a newly-deployed embassy official checking up on a group of American citizens.

Dwyer, meanwhile, was given a supervised tour of the settlement. He later noted in his written report that the tour was staged and what he heard from the guides was obviously “a carefully prepared spiel.” He was nonetheless impressed by Jonestown, which was, by Guyanese standards, a sophisticated agricultural community. He summarized: “Jonestown appeared to be much more than a Potemkin Village.” Satisfied with what he had seen in Jonestown, Dwyer apparently saw no reason at the time for High-level Embassy involvement with the People’s [sic] Temple. Dealings with the group remained the duty of the consular office.

~WN, p.160

I find the nuggets about the staged tour and “carefully prepared spiel” interesting. (The line in context is “In summary, although there were certain aspects of this introductory visit to Jonestown which were plainly staged for the visitors (craft displays, certain individuals, band music with lunch, carefully selected tour guides with carefully prepared spiels), Jonestown appeared to be much more than a Potemkin village.”) If Dwyer were in on it with Jones as Judge seems to think, he should have written a report omitting any types of potential red flags that all was not that it seemed.

Present at the camp site and the airport strip, his accounts were used by the State Department to confirm the death of Leo Ryan.

Dwyer took at least one bullet at the Port Kaituma shootout (in the left buttock and/or left thigh) as he was running for cover. We’ll never know if that was intentional or if the gunman was just shooting at someone else and hit Dwyer by accident.

At the massacre, Jones said, “Get Dwyer out of here” just before the killings began.[199]

Jones’ “Get Dwyer out of here before something happens to him!” comment on Q042 (aka “The Death Tape” recorded during The Final White Night) is a bit perplexing — especially since it was said at least an hour after Dwyer had left the camp with Ryan and the other defectors. Judge presumably (and understandably) thinks that Jones showing concern for a CIA agent’s safety during Jonestown’s demise is suspicious. This overlooks (or ignores) that Jones had also shown concern for his two attorneys, Garry and Lane, and had earlier ordered them moved to the East House for their own protection while he psyched everyone else up to drink the ’Aid.

For those wondering about the full dialogue, here it is. This is a combination of my own transcription and Fielding McGehee’s (we fill in some of each others’ unintelligibles) but you can hear for yourself starting around 17:11. Anyway, Jones was debating with one reluctant member when a crowd commotion interrupts…

Jones: What comes now, folks? What comes now?

Man: Everybody hold it. Sit down.

Jones: Say it. Say [Unintelligible — possibly “peace” — repeated three times]. What’s come. Don’t let — take Dwyer on down to the East House. Take Dwyer.

Woman: Everybody be quiet, please.

Jones: [Unintelligible] — got some respect for our lives.

McElvane: That means sit down, sit down, sit down.

“Get Dwyer out of here… before he reads us another chapter of Atlas Shrugged !”

Jones: I know. I tried so very, very hard. They’re trying over here to see what’s going to — what’s going to happen in Los Angel… Who is it?

Crowd: [Unintelligible]

Jones: Who is it?

Crowd: [Unintelligible]

Jones: Get Dwyer out of here before something happens to him!

(Different) Man: Ujara.

Jones: Dwyer.

(Different) Man: Ujara.

Jones: I’m not talking about Ujara, I said Dwyer. Ain’t nobody gonna take Ujara. I’m not letting them take Ujara. Gather in, folks. It’s easy, it’s easy. Yes, my love.

(“Ujara” was the ’Town nickname for Don Sly, the Temple member who had attacked Ryan with a knife a few hours earlier. Curiously, Sly was one of the ones sent to the East House to keep an eye on Garry and Lane.)

Jones stops the tape a few moments later, and “Dwyer” is not brought up again when it resumes.

Make of that what you will. Judge seemingly makes it evidence of Dwyer/Jones collusion. I’m inclined to make it a combination of situation stress and drug-addled confusion. Only Jones knew what he meant.

Other Embassy personnel, who knew the situation at Jonestown well, were also connected to intelligence work. U.S. Ambassador John Burke, who served in the CIA with Dwyer in Thailand, was an Embassy official described by Philip Agee as working for the CIA since 1963. A Reagan appointee to the CIA, he is still employed by the Agency, usually on State Department assignments.[200] Burke tried to stop Ryan’s investigation.[201] Also at the Embassy was Chief Consular officer Richard McCoy, described as “close to Jones,” who worked for military intelligence and was “on loan” from the Defense Department at the time of the massacre.[202] According to a standard source, “The U.S. embassy in Georgetown housed the Georgetown CIA station. It now appears that the majority and perhaps all of the embassy officials were CIA officers operating under State Department covers . . .”[203]

Yeah, yeah, we get it… lots of Agency Men at the Embassy. Duh! This is why I think it was disingenuous of Judge to omit the political history of Guyana and Burnham’s swing into Socialism. Context is key: it was the Cold War, the domino theory was In Vogue, and Guyana was a Socialist nation that was, well, maybe not next door but certainly just a few houses down the block. The U.S. already had the fiasco in Cuba, so of course the CIA would have been down there! What’s more, the embassy was just about the only place you could station them. Burnham had already nationalized all the large foreign industries, and it would be way too obvious if a bunch of white guys with mid-western twangs suddenly showed up to start a watch repair shop or bookstore.

Dan Webber, who was sent to the site of the massacre the day after, was also named as CIA.[204] Not only did the State Department conceal all reports of violations at Jonestown from Congressman Leo Ryan, but the Embassy regularly provided Jones with copies of all congressional inquiries under the Freedom of Information Act.[205]

WN and Raven both do a decent chronology/&/trajectory of the various reports that Ryan would have found helpful. This is also detailed in The Performance of the Department of State and the American Embassy in Georgetown, Guyana in the People’s Temple Case (more commonly known as The Crimmins Report). What Judge sees as concealment strikes me more as interdepartmental apathy and left-hand/right-hand bureaucratic bungling that falls under the Hosty’s Razor umbrella. Folks, it’s a fine line between conspiracy and bureaucracy, especially when the end results are the same.

Also, the embassy was supplying Jones with the FOIA info because they were legally required to: Garry and Lane were filing requests for Peoples Temple like crazy.

American intelligence agencies have a sordid history of cooperative relations with Nazi war criminals and international fascism.[207] In light of this, consider the curious ties of the family members of the top lieutenants to Jim Jones. The Layton family is one example. Dr. Laurence Layton was Chief of Chemical and Biological Warfare Research at Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah, for many years, and later worked as Director of Missile and Satellite Development at the Navy Propellant Division, Indian Head, Maryland.[208] His wife, Lisa, had come from a rich German family. Her father, Hugo, had represented I.G. Farben as a stockbroker.[209] Her stories about hiding her Jewish past from her children for most of her life, and her parents’ escape from a train heading for a Nazi concentration camp seem shallow, as do Dr. Layton’s Quaker religious beliefs. The same family sent money to Jonestown regularly.[210]

Debbie Layton was the Peoples Temple member, not her parents, so all this about them is relevant… how, exactly? It’s not even all that scandalous, but I guess Judge is going for guilt by association because he can’t pin anything on the actual Temple members. Get used to that, because he’s about to sow a whole orchard full of the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree insinuations.

Their daughter, Debbie, met and married George Philip Blakey in an exclusive private school in England. Blakey’s parents have extensive stock holdings in Solvay drugs, a division of the Nazi cartel I.G. Farben.[211]

Apple. Tree. Far.

Terri Buford’s father, Admiral Charles T. Buford, worked with Navy Intelligence.[213]

Apple. Tree. Far.

Maria Katsaris’ father was a minister with the Greek Orthodox Church, a common conduit of CIA fundings, and Maria claimed she had proof he was CIA.

Apple. Tree. Far.

On their return to the United States, the “official” survivors were represented by attorney Joseph Blatchford who had been named prior to that time in a scandal involving CIA infiltration of the Peace Corps.[216]

Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson (the journalists whose article originally claimed the CIA infiltration) later retracted the assertion. They’d discovered they’d confused The Donner Foundation (a CIA conduit with no Peace Corps ties) with The William H. Donner Foundation (a Peace Corps conduit with no CIA ties). That retraction was made on May 31, 1969. Either Judge didn’t know about it or simply dismissed it as disinformation.

Almost everywhere you look at Jonestown, U.S. intelligence and fascism rear their ugly heads.

Is that in the same way “everywhere you look, you see drag marks and bullet wounds (but no piles)”? Skipping the previous example, so far we’ve had four feeble attempts to visit the sins of the father unto the son.

Let’s check the score:

Evidence against Parents……………………………………………… 4

Evidence against Children (the actual members)……………………..  0

Remember: this is the “hippie generation” most notorious for kids rebelling against their parents. But Judge wants us to believe the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

The connection of intelligence agencies to cults is nothing new.

Jonestown-wise, it’s also nothing here.

Maria Katsaris sent Michael Prokes, Tim Carter, and another guard out at the last minute with $500,000 cash in a suitcase, and instructions for a drop point. Her note inside suggests the funds were destined for the Soviet Union.[219] Prokes later shot himself at a San Francisco press conference, where he claimed to be an FBI informant.[220] Others reported meeting with KGB agents and plans to move to Russia.[221] This disinformation was part of a “red smear” to be used if they had to abandon the operation. The Soviet Union had no interest in the money and even less in Jonestown. The cash was recovered by the Guyanese government.[222]

Peoples Temple did make several overtures to the Soviets about setting up a colony there. You’d think the Soviets would have considered it a huge publicity coup if 1,000 American Socialists emigrated to the U.S.S.R., but Judge is right that they weren’t interested. Judge thinks it’s “disinformation” anyway. He’s also correct about Prokes and Carter leaving “at the last minute” — Jones sent them out after Ryan left but before the White Night got started. The accepted narrative is that the money was a down-payment bribe to the Soviet embassy so everyone could seek asylum and relocate in Russia. (I’m inclined to believe that, though I would swap ‘everyone’ for ‘Jones and a select few’.) Apparently a suitcase with $500K weighs 40 pounds, which Prokes and the Carter brothers quickly decided they did not want to carry on the 7‑mile hike to Kaituma, so they left it behind. The suitcase was overlooked by the Burnham/Reid pauper-corpse plundering and was found by the GDF a few days later during the clean-up.

Their hidden funding may include more intelligence links. A mysterious account in Panama, totaling nearly $5 million in the name of an “Associacion Pro Religiosa do San Pedro, S.A.” was located.[223] This unknown Religious Association of St. Peter was probably one of the twelve phony companies set up by Archbishop Paul Marcinkus to hide the illegal investments of Vatican funds through the scandal-ridden Banco Ambrosiano.[224] A few days after the story broke about the accounts, the President of Panama, and most of the government resigned, Roberto Calvi of Banco Ambrosiano was murdered, and the Jonestown account disappeared from public scrutiny and court record.[225]

Ahhhh… The Money.

Believe it or not, Black Hole is the second article Judge had published about Jonestown. The first was written in 1982. It’s called The Jonestown Banks, and it’s all about The Money.

In my Pre-Ramble to this present piece, I had warned that this could turn into an opus of Tolkien proportions. Well, we’re already Lord of the Rings-length. I have no desire to add The Silmarillion by discussing The Money.

(However, if anyone is interested, here is a good starting point that discusses and debunks Judge.)

The direct orders to cover up the cause of death came from the top levels of the American government. Zbigniew Brzezinski delegated to Robert Pastor, and he in turn ordered Lt. Col. Gordon Sumner to strip the bodies of identity.[226] Pastor is now Deputy Director of the CIA.[227] One can only wonder how many others tied to the Jonestown operation were similarly promoted.

Judge ends this section with that last piece of rhetoric. If you’ll recall, he had titled the section “The Links to U.S. Intelligence Agencies.”

From this point on, The Black Hole of Guyana no longer discusses “Jonestown = CIA/MK‑ULTRA.”


The Strange Connection to the Murder of Martin Luther King


One of the persistent problems in researching Jonestown is that it seems to lead to so many other criminal activities, each with its own complex history and cast of characters.

Ooohhh!!! Let me play!

  1. Jim Jones was in a meeting with Walter Mondale
  1. Walter Mondale was in a rally with Jerry Brown
  1. Jerry Brown was in a different rally with Jane Fonda
  1. Jane Fonda was in Julia with Meryl Streep
  1. Meryl Streep was in The River Wild with… KEVIN BACON!

Un-kosher kidding aside, I actually agree with Judge on this. It usually is possible to find a connection from Any Subject X to Any Subject Y… if you look hard enough and don’t mind twisting some synapses (and evidence) out of shape along the way. I tend to call this The Octopus Effect (in honor of researcher Danny Casolaro). If you have an OCD predisposition to holistically-interconnected conspiracy theories, The Octopus Effect inevitably leads you to upgrade from wearing a Tin Foil Hat on your head to making a Tin Foil Faraday Cage in your bunker and never leaving it because THEY are watching you




In the face of such horror, it may seem little compensation to know that a part of the truth has been unearthed.

Since November 18, 1978, many pieces of the Peoples Temple puzzle have been unearthed… just not by anything in Black Hole. Indeed, Judge took a shovel and threw dirt all over the place that will cause curious novice researchers to dig in the wrong spots.

[…]The real tragedy of Jonestown is not only that it occurred, but that so few chose to ask themselves why or how, so few sought to find out the facts behind the bizarre tale used to explain away the death of more than 900 people, and that so many will continue to be blind to the grim reality of our intelligence agencies. In the long run, the truth will come out. Only our complicity in the deception continues to dishonor the dead.

I think pieces like Black Hole “dishonor the dead” because they are so far off target. If you want to prevent another Jonestown, learn from the lessons of what actually happened rather than any straw man fantasy like what Judge just constructed.

Since I am not connected to the events of Jonestown, it’s easy for me to get a schadenfreude snicker at the sheer amounts of facepalm found in Black Hole’s explanation of events. Others don’t have that luxury, especially when confronted by the very real fact that 918 people lost their lives down in Guyana. I genuinely recognize that, and I feel their frustration. But I too get a sense of frustration from Black Hole.

At the beginning of this piece, I expressed that I had no doubt about Judge honestly believing in what he wrote here. He sincerely believed he was doing a good deed by screaming “Soylent Green is PEOPLE!” and putting this piece out there for us plebes to read. I honestly think he’s wrong.

If the Road to Hell is paved with good intentions, Black Hole just earned John Judge his very own brick on it.

(Matthew Thomas Farrell is a regular contributor to this website. His earlier writings for this site are collected here. He can be contacted at