One of the least examined aspects of Peoples Temple’s history was its relationship with the Federal Commiunications Commission (FCC). The relationship was also an important one: Jonestown’s only medium of direct and immediate communication with the outside world was through its HAM amateur radio; the Concerned Relatives oppositional group knew of the Temple’s use of its HAM radio – and of its misuses as well, such as conducting Temple business on its bandwidths – and alerted the FCC of the violations; and HAM operators around the US started reporting their own experiences with communications from Jonestown. With all these considerations in mind, history student and HAM operator Josef Dieckman launched a website to document all aspects of Jonestown radio. The site was active for several years in the first decade of the 2000s before going offline. This website has restored as much of the site as has been possible to do, and has archived it below.
Some of the links within these articles are no longer operational and have been disabled.
|21 December, 2005
Been spending lots of time and $ (in the form of long distance phone charges) trying to track down the radio equipment that was taken out of Jonestown. I have lists of such equipment, which includes makes, models and even serial numbers of the items. These lists, as well as related material, were found in the "FBI discs". The search is dead-ended at the moment. One "leg" of my search is stalling at the American Embassy in Guyana, and the other "leg" is stalling at the FBI office in San Francisco. Without giving too much away, I can say this: that guy running the Communications Department at the Embassy isn't going to find what I am really looking for: the two transceivers. Perhaps the other miscellaneous radio items are there in a warehouse (doubtful) but I have already found that the transceivers came back to the states. Stay tuned for more about these items.
27 December, 2005
As for the American Embassy in Guyana, there is nothing there...nothing in inventory and nothing in the "warehouse", so that's a dead end.
As for the San Francisco FBI office, I finally was able to speak to their PR/Media person last Friday. It was my hope that she could at least confirm that the transceivers had at least been at that office at one point in time, (I am fairly certain they were after running across some FBI docs that indicate as much). She indicated that she could not tell me anything about the items I am looking for, not because she knew nothing about them, but because of protocol and such. She couldn't even tell me that there was nothing to tell me. She suggested I file a FOIA request through the DC office. So, that is my next task. Stay tuned.
|This page will serve as a diary of sorts about what I am spending time on regarding this research project.
Like everything else in my life, I can't sit still or spend too much time on one thing....so my attention, over the years, has shifted back and forth between several different sub-projects. For months, I worked on tapes, then I shifted focus to tracking down hams, now its something else entirely............
| 9 January 2006
Been real lazy the last couple weeks and have not sent those faxes off to the FBI. However, I may be writing a 3rd one and submitting them all together. I was once asked if I knew anythign about a tape (or tapes) that included ham transmissions made on the 18th of November of 1978. I had not heard anything one way or the other at the time. But.....after spending a lot of time going through hundreds of FBI documents on CD, I found several pages that refer to such tapes. Mr. Douglas Ellice, Consular Office of the American Embassy in Georgetown (replaced Richard McCoy) made the recording(s) and provided them to the FBI. The documents claim that the conversations that Mr. Ellice recorded took place over the amateur airwaves and were between operator Sharon Amos in Georgetown and Mike Carter in Jonestown. The documents reveal a couple vague statements about the nature of the conversations, but none of them provide any kind of reference or catalog number for the tape(s), so tracking them down may be difficult. Even if I can locate them, that does not mean that they can be released under FOIA. With that in mind, I have spent some time on the phone and writing emails trying to locate/contact Mr. Ellice.
|1 February 2006
Was finally able to locate Douglas Ellice, and had a very pleasurable conversation with him on the phone. Was able to get some clarification on the tapes he turned over to the FBI. I also came across some information about the tapes in the original FBI document that I had not noticed before....Q #'s.
Q #s are part of the system the FBI used to catalog some of the evidence they collected for their invesitagation. The Q #'s for two of the tapes are in the 1200's. This is interesting because the Q #'s of the 900+ tapes released by the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act end at Q1059 part 6. The natural assumption here is that these tapes have not been released yet.
I have submitted an FOIA request for these tapes.
Also, I have finally sent of my FOIA requests for information regarding the ham radio transceivers taken out of Guyana in December of 1978. Stayed tuned for more information about these FOIAs.
|9 February 2006
Have been making some changes to this "website" the last couple days...moving some things around, adding stuff, deleting other stuff. I deleted the "guestbook" beacuse it was proving problematic. I replaced it with a "comments" page.
Also, I retooled the home page a bit, moved the links to the bottom of the page. I was thinking that it was beginning to get too cluttered the way it was. Also, I am working on adding all the links to every page to make navigation easier.
I did some work on trying to get the log book up, but it is over 7MB in size. It's not that I dont have the disk space, its that this free site only allows about 4 MB data transfer an hour. So, if I put up the log book, anytime just one person looks at it, it will shut down the site for an hour...Yahoo's way of getting me to pay for an advanced site. So....look for that at the end of February perhaps.
|10 February 2006
Last night I finished transcribing another FCC tape. Currently I have 2 of these transcripts posted on this site, and there are 3 more that will be posted in the near future. I have begun previewing the next tape I am going to transcribe and from the sounds of it, this tape will be much easier to work on than any of the others I have done. As hams know, conditions change and signals arent always clear and readable. This tape, however, sounds very clear so far. One thing that has already stood out is Harriet Tropp talking to a stateside ham about getting him a QSL card.
|18 February 2006
The good news I upgraded my website "plan", so now I have all kinds of disk space and data transfer limits won't be a problem. The idea was to transfer this whole site over to the new peoplestemplehamradio.com domain. However, this is proving to be more complicated than I expected.
It might be that I have to completely rebuild the whole thing from scratch....I dont really know. Getting help from Yahoo is pretty much an impossibility, so until I figure things out, this site, with all its lame banner ads and limits, will stand as the main site.
There is a chance that I might make the log book temporarily available from the other site by providing a link for it on this site...........
|19 Feb 2006
The log book is up and viewable. You can navigate to it from the home page, or click here to go directly to it.
|7 July 2006
Been away from my computer and my project since late February due to an out-of-town employment opoortunity. As a result, updates to the website have been delayed.
Today I have added the summary and transcript for FCC Tape #9.
Still no progress in getting the website switched over to the peoplestemplehamradio.com domain. Dont want to rebuild from scratch, so........
Got a phone call today from the FBI about the transceivers taken out of Jonestown, however I was not able to speak with the agent at the time. Will have to wait out the weekend to see what he has to say. Good news, maybe?
I also added a letter in the QSL cards section, courtesy of Mike Saldino.
The FCC Tapes
Temple Radio Code
The FCC Investigation
My Articles FCC Documents Ham Recollections Jonestown Logbooks
What I am Working On Temple Call Signs Comments Page
|21 July 2006
Received a letter from the FBI today about my FOIA request.
#1: They cannot locate the Jonestown transceivers.
#2: They forwarded my request for information about the Ellice Tapes to the Department of State.
I plan on appealing their findings, but not because I dont believe them. I just want them to try one more time. According to documents I have, these radios were handed over to FBI agents in Tampa, FL by Major Richard T. Corbett, Chief of Supply, Joint Communications Support Element at Mac Dill Air Force Base on 7 December 1978. From there, the radios were to be mailed to the Bureau Office in San Francisco.
So.....where are they?
One troubling document I came across said that evidence deemed to be of no evidentiary value would be shipped back to Guyana. If that's what happened to the radios, well..........................
|31 August 2007
My appeal to the Department of Justice about my FOIA request concerning the wherabouts of the receivers used in Guyana is still in queue. I spoke to a representative this week and she told me she would personally take on the case and research it.
The FOIA request for the Doug Ellice tapes is still in queue in the State Department.
I have written an update about this website for the upcoming annual Jonestown Report available at Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and Peoples Temple.
|30 October 2007
Most recently I have submitted a FOIA with the FBI asking them to locate the Jonestown Logbooks. Like the ham radio tranceivers, IF they are found I am going to request that they be donated to the California Historical Society as part of the Peoples Temple collection.
|31 October 2007
Today I have begun uploading select pages from the FBI's collection of documents. These pages are specifically ham-radio related. Much of the information has been redacted by the FBI, making them sometimes difficult to read. Efforts are underway to have them reissued in an inredacted format.
Also, the newest issue of the JONESTOWN REPORT is now available here. There you can read information about updates to this website.
|10 January 2008
SUCCESS! The Department of State has released to me two audio tapes Q1289 and 1290. These tapes, made by Douglas Ellice on 18 November, 1978, contain information about the shooting at the Port Kaituma Airstrip, ham radio transmissions between Georgetown and Jonestown, as well as information being passed in code between GTown and Jonestown. Sadly, when Mr. Ellice is relating the information being passed as sounding "encrypted", he was correct. The codes being used by PT during those ham transmissions were codes to indicate people were already dying, just as one example. More work needs to be done with these tapes. I will be transcribing all the pertinant info on them and making them available as soon as I can.
|4 February 2008
I have made digital copies of Q1289 and Q1290 and have uploaded them to this website. They will be publically available as soon as I can piece together some kind of summary or narrative.
Transcripts are nearly complete.