jonestown jim jones jesuit cia mind control
[Source: spirituallysmart.com]

[This article continues CAM’s series on political assassinations and CAM’s inquiry into the CIA’s criminal history.—Editors]

“I think the Jonestown incident was an extension of In Search of the Manchurian Candidate. I think those people were conditioned to act in certain ways and would have probably just moved from Montreal [where CIA mind control experiments were carried out under the direction of Dr. Ewen Cameron] to Guyana, in this case. You look at Jim Jones’ background carefully, he had a lot of intelligence contact there for doing exactly what he did. It escalated once they killed Congressman Leo J. Ryan; basically, they had no other way to go, so they just tried to self-destruct the whole mission. And that means the death of hundreds of people. As I point out in the book, the medical examiner there made some startling statements, and we wouldn’t even allow the bodies to be properly examined when they were brought back to the East Coast and turned in. So obviously it was a cover-up. Jonestown I think was an extension of MK-ULTRA from the CIA and there are probably other experiments going on.”

– Colonel James Bo Gritz, legendary Special Forces operative who trained Special Forces that went into Jonestown after the massacre.[1]

When someone is duped into doing or believing something foolish, it has long been common to chide them for “drinking the Kool-Aid.”

This phrase derives from the infamous Jonestown massacre deep in the jungles of Guyana when, on November 18, 1978, 913 men, women and children supposedly drank Kool-Aid laced with cyanide poison from paper cups.

They had been instructed to do so by Jim Jones, a preacher with the People’s Temple, a left-wing religious cult which had established a settlement in Guyana that they were part of.

PHOTO: Peoples Temple leader Jim Jones is pictured wearing a red robe in this undated photo.
People’s Temple leader Jim Jones in red robe. [Source: abcnews.go.com]

Deeper investigation, however, reveals something even more sinister: That Jones was a CIA agent involved in a mind control project coordinated by one of the U.S. Army’s top chemical warfare specialists, Dr. Laurence Layton.[2] Rather than a mass suicide, most of the parishioners were murdered—it appears in order to coverup the true purpose of Jonestown and Jones’s own connection to the CIA.

Bodies strewn around the Jonestown Commune in Jonestown.
Scene of massacre. [Source: news.com.au]

Leo J. Ryan (D-CA), one of the CIA’s foremost congressional critics who sponsored legislation attempting to reign it in, was lured to Jonestown to investigate it and then shot to death along with four members of his entourage (Temple defector Patricia Parks, and reporters Greg Robinson, Don Harris and Bob Brown) on an airstrip by armed men who looked like “zombies.”

Congressman Leo Ryan in 1977. [Source: newsweek.com]

Ryan was the first and only U.S. congressman killed in the line of duty.

He was killed with untraceable dum-dum bullets by a giant man wearing military fatigues who was not from Jonestown. Outlawd by the Geneva convention, the dun-dum bullets, which shatter upon impact, had been issued by the CIA for use in anti-Castro exile raids on Cuba and in the JFK assassination.[3]

Another CIA critic of the era, Mark Lane, had been tricked into representing Jones who claimed to have been the victim of CIA harassment when, all along, Jones was working for the CIA.

Lane visited Jonestown and narrowly escaped the massacre just days before he gave testimony about the JFK assassination at the House Select Committee on Assassinations (Lane had been Marina Oswald’s attorney and authored the book Rush to Judgment, which, among other things, contradicted the findings of the Warren Commission that Oswald acted alone).

Lane was discredited by his association with Jones and his reputation and career left in ruins—in a coup for the CIA.[4]

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Mark Lane at the People’s Temple. [Source: jonestown.sdsu.edu]

Mass Killing and Not Suicide

Pictures of all the dead bodies showed them lying face down, as if they had been carefully arranged, with the children lying beneath the adults.

Death from cyanide poisoning, however, usually causes violent contortions—victims often die with only the top of their head and the heels of their feet touching the ground, and could not have been placed in the way that they were.[5]

Many victims also had blisters on the back of their necks, indicating that someone had injected them forcibly from behind.[6]

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Dead bodies at Jonestown. [Source: adst.org]

Louis Gurvich, who ran the largest detective agency in New Orleans and whose daughter Jann died in the massacre, said that he saw guns at the scene of the massacre and evidence of bodies that had been dragged after death and laid out. One man was obviously fighting somebody off and died in that position while others displayed signs of having been injected with poison.[7]

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Jann Gurvich [Source: jonestown.sdsu.edu]

Stanley Clayton, a witness who escaped the massacre said that he observed a woman being forcibly held down and injected with poison and that when mothers refused to surrender their children, the armed guards and nurses just “murdered the children.”[8]

Gurvich and Clayton’s observations contradicted the media reports from the time which characterized the deaths at Jonestown as a “mass suicide.”[9]

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Yet more fake news. [Source: twitter.com]

Further contradicting the claim of a mass suicide, Mark Lane reported hearing machine gun fire as he fled into the jungle with another Temple Attorney, Charles Garry.[10]

Autopsies carried out by Guyana’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Leslie Mootoo, who worked for 32 straight hours in extreme jungle heat, originally determined that the cause of death for at least 700 of the victims at Jonestown was homicide and not suicide.

Mootoo observed puncture wounds on the back of the shoulders of many of the victims, which indicated that they had been forcibly held down and injected with poison against their will.

No needles were found at the scene, indicating that any needles may have been disposed of. The cyanide poison was found in bottles labeled Valium, which is what many probably thought they were taking.[11]

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Dr. Leslie Mootoo and his wife. [Source: Jonestown.sdsu.edu]

Embassy Coverup and Strange Occurrences

After Mootoo carried out his investigation, the forensic specimens and samples he had gathered were given to a representative of the American embassy in Georgetown, expecting that they would be forwarded to American forensic pathologists. But they were not. They disappeared and nobody knows what happened to them.[12]

Right afterwards, many of the corpses were embalmed before an autopsy could be performed, obscuring the cause and manner of death. Other bodies were left out to rot and decompose (also making an autopsy impossible). This when the army had brought in C-131 cargo planes that had the capability of moving hundreds of bodies in a short period.

Identification bracelets were removed from the victims, allegedly under the orders of Robert Pastor, the National Security Council’s Director of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs—though Pastor denied giving such an order. (Pastor allegedly was working under the orders of Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Council advisor)[13]

Robert A. Pastor, Latin America specialist in diplomacy and academia, dies  at 66 - The Washington Post
Robert Pastor, right, with President Jimmy Carter. [Source: washingtonpost.com]

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found six leading medical examiners describing the handling of the bodies of the victims by the U.S. military and others as “inept, incompetent, [and] embarrassing,” with “only circumstantial evidence of probable cyanide poisoning.”[14]

The Los Angeles Times reported that three of the Jonestown dead were discovered in January 1986, eight years after the “mass suicide,” stacked in caskets inside a storage facility in Southern California.[15]

Scott Hooker, a Green Beret who landed in Jonestown after the massacre told Temple defector David Parker Wise that his mission was to kill any remaining survivors and inject their body with cyanide.[16]

Jones’ lover Annie Moore was shot and killed in Jones’ cabin while retrieving valuables with CIA-issued dum-dum bullets like Ryan.[17]

Annie Moore [Source: findagrave.com]

Jeff Brailey, a senior medic of the Joint Humanitarian Task Force who was sent to Guyana to recover the remains of the victims of Jonestown, said that he was approached by a man in civilian clothes he suspected to be CIA who told him to guard a large box of sensitive documents that he needed to take to the U.S. embassy and to shoot anyone who tried to take the box away.[18]

Jeff Brailey [Source: jonestown.sdsu.edu]

Also highly suspicious was the fact that the CIA notified the Defense Department of the “mass suicide” at Jonestown at 3:29 a.m.—when it was still dark outside and hours before the Guyanese Defense Forces arrived at the Jonestown commune.

The timing indicates that there was a CIA agent present at Jonestown at the time of the massacre; otherwise how can one explain how the CIA would have known about the deaths so quickly—before the Guyanese Defense Forces arrived?[19]

Hand of American Intelligence

After the massacre, a secret tape was found where muffled voices could be heard in the period before the Guyanese security forces arrived discussing news coverage about Jonestown in english.[20] These could be the voices of American intelligence agents participating in a coverup.

Air Force Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty, who worked closely in key positions with the CIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) for many years, noted evidence of the involvement of a larger force in the operation: “The Joint Chiefs of Staff had prepared air shipments of hundreds of body bags. They didn’t normally keep that many in any one place. Within hours, they began to shuttle them down to Georgetown, the main city. They couldn’t possibly have done that without prior knowledge that it was going to happen. It shows that there was prior planning.”

Prouty said, “We would provide the Agency with the things they were requesting, without any questions. That’s the way the business works.”

At Jonestown, he said, the JCS provided the body bags, the airlift and all the rest on a timetable that shows advanced knowledge. “The JCS wouldn’t have moved at all on their own,” he said. “They didn’t give a damn about Jonestown.” These and other unusual events, he noted, “are the kinds of earmarks that define the hand of American intelligence.”[21]

L. Fletcher Prouty
L. Fletcher Prouty [Source: amazon.com]

Did Jones Fake His Death and Escape?

An autopsy on Jones’s own body concluded that he did not take poison, but had killed himself with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The pistol, however, was found about 200 feet away from his body, and Jones was shot through the left side of the head when he was right-handed.

Numerous researchers think the body identified as Jones’s could not have been his because it did not mesh with his physical characteristics. Photos of the body did not show identifying tattoos on his chest, for example, and his body and face were not recognizable due to bloating and discoloration.[22]

According to researcher Michael Meiers, Phil Blakey, a People’s Temple member from Great Britain who ran a Special Forces training camp at Jonestown in the mid-1970s for mercenaries heading to Angola, anchored one of the Temple’s ships at the Port of Spain in Trinidad where he remained during the murder-suicide rite.

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Phil Blakey pictured clearing land in Jonestown settlement in the mid-1970s. [Source: flickr.com]

When it was over, Jim Jones radioed Blakey to pick up both him and his guards at the mouth of the Waini River about 30 miles north of Jonestown. The uncoded radio message was a diversion.

The ship was impounded by the authorities who briefly detained Blakey for questioning while they searched for Jones at the mouth of the Waini River, not realizing that was exactly what Jones wanted them to do as he escaped westward over land to Venezuela.[23]

The Venezuelan border patrol revealed that it had observed thirty to forty people moving in a group towards Venezuela shortly after the massacre.[24]

[Source: caribbean.loopnews.com]

Leo Ryan’s aide, Joe Holsinger, who survived the ambush of his boss, believed that Jones faked his own death but was then ambushed by CIA agents who disappeared in three boats that the Temple had in the waters off Brazil.

Holsinger noted, however, that “the whole story is so mind-boggling that I’m willing to concede [Jones] escaped with the agents…There is no doubt in my mind that Jones had very close CIA connections, [and] remember, Brazil is a country that Jones is very familiar with. He is supposed to have money there.”[25]

Holsinger, Galen Wright ''Joe''
Joe Holsinger [Source: jonestown.sdsu.edu]

Holsinger added: “The more I investigate the mysteries of Jonestown, the more I am convinced there is something sinister behind it all.”[26]

Why Did Jones Want Dwyer Saved?

Eerily in Jones’s last tape transcribed by the FBI, he can be heard amid wailing and screams exhorting his followers to take their lives, saying: “Get Dwyer out of here before something happens to him.”[27]

“Dwyer” was Richard Dwyer, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy who is suspected of being a CIA agent.

Dwyer worked for the U.S. Foreign Service in Egypt and Syria and subsequently went to Grenada where he helped prepare the U.S. invasion of the island nation. He had also worked in Thailand with the U.S. ambassador to Guyana during the Jonestown massacre, John Burke, who was described by CIA whistleblower Philip Agee as having worked for the CIA since 1963, when he was the assistant deputy chief of the political section in Saigon.

When asked whether he was a CIA agent, Dwyer responded: “I can neither confirm nor deny.”[28]

Interviews with State Department officers – Alternative Considerations of  Jonestown & Peoples Temple
Richard Dwyer [Source: jonestown.sdsu.edu]

The official Joint Chiefs of Staff communications log showed a report of “the Jonestown suicides” at 3:29 AM on Sunday November 18 on a CIA radio channel, NOIWON when the only functioning radio in the area belonged to Dwyer.[29]

Dwyer had accompanied Leo Ryan for his two-day visit to the compound and appears to have been the one to send a mysterious cable at 9:18 PM on November 18 reporting on Ryan and his entourage’s death at the Port Kaituma airtstrip—information that the State Department did not have until the next morning.[30] In later court proceedings, Justice Department attorneys kept Dwyer from being questioned, which was all very suspicious.

richard dwyer daniel mitrione jonestown torture cia
[Source: spirituallysmart.com]

“Brilliant Religious Showman”

Born in 1931, Jim Jones grew up in Lynn, Indiana. His mother, Lynette, was a college-educated anthropologist who went to work in an assembly plant and worked later as a prison guard. His father, James Sr., sixteen years Lynette’s senior, had inhaled mustard gas during World War I, scarring his lungs. Struggling to find employment in the Great Depression, he allegedly was sympathetic to the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).[31]

A voracious reader as a youth, James Jr. graduated from Richmond High School in 1949 and attended Indiana University at Bloomington before moving to study law at Butler University.

As a teenager, he allegedly came under the spell of a Pentecostal evangelist who led faith healing revivals on the edge of town and took him under her wing. Jones subsequently began preaching 16 miles from his home in the Black working class neighborhood of Richmond.

As a college student, he married Marceline, a nurse four years his elder, and found his calling as a healing preacher.[32]

PHOTO: Jim Jones and his wife Marceline are pictured together in this undated photo.
Jim and Marceline as newlyweds. [Source: abcnews.go.com]

Jones was a spell-binding orator with an incredible memory and gift for pulpit theatrics; a “brilliant religious showman.” According to those close to him, he used wet chicken livers as evidence of “cancers” he was removing by “divine powers.” Jones also claimed the ability to raise the dead.

A vocal proponent of racial integration and socialism, many of Jones’ parishioners were Black. According to researcher Michael Meiers, Jones “worked his Black congregation into such a fury that each healing was an outburst of emotion that electrified the air.”[33]

The myths of Jonestown: "Jim Jones was who Charlie Manson wanted to be,"  says author of new book on 1978 tragedy | Salon.com
Jim preaching with Marceline behind him. [Source: salon.com]

In 1955, Jones set up the Wings of Deliverance, a Pentecostal church in Indianapolis that became the People’s Temple. Services were full gospel interracial interdenominational services with “miracle healings.”

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[Source: jonestown.sdsu.edu]

According to Meiers, Jones preached an anti-communist doctrine fit for the McCarthy era in which communism was to be fought through communalism. He made references to the communal lifestyle of Christ’s apostles and quoted such passages from the Bible as, “And they sold their possessions and goods and imparted them to every man as every man has need.”[34]

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Jim Jones at the pulpit. [Source: historicindianapolis.com]

By 1960, the Temple’s social programs exceeded those offered by the city of Indianapolis. Jones opened free soup kitchens that served one hundred meals a day to the city’s destitute and established a youth center and nursing home. Much of the church’s financing came from the federal government through tax-funded jobs, poverty programs, and giveaways.[35]

A clever tactic that Jones used to gain more followers was to stage attacks on his church by the Ku Klux Klan or white supremacist groups, which reinforced his status as a defender of civil rights. Jones warned his followers of an impending race war and that Blacks and other minority groups would be put into concentration camps, like during the Japanese internment in World War II.[36]

Jim Jones, Lois Ponts and her children Donna Ponts and Cindy Ponts, and Robin Wages and Takashi Hatoyama.
Jones and family in front of the People’s Temple. [Source: bbc.com]

Move to the Golden State

In July 1965, Jones moved the People’s Temple to Ukiah, California, in the Redwood Valley. Increasingly he warned of an impending nuclear holocaust. To bolster his revolutionary credentials, he showed films of CIA torture and led marches against the Vietnam War.[37]

The People’s Temple took in ex-cons, former drug addicts, emotionally disturbed or wayward youths and others considered to be social deviants.[38] Sixty to eighty percent of the church’s congregants were blacks, drawn to Jones’ evangelical style. In 1971, Jones moved the People’s Temple to San Francisco—the mecca of the counterculture. Night courses were offered in socialism along with training in guerrilla warfare for “the revolution.”

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Jones received Martin Luther King, Jr., Humanitarian Award in 1977 from the Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco. [Source: wikipedia.org]

Jones developed ties with Angela Davis and Black Panther Party leader Huey P. Newton. People’s Temple services were attended by left-wing celebrities like Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden, along with political refugees from Chile after the 1973 CIA-backed coup against Salvador Allende, a socialist who had sought to nationalize Chile’s copper industry.[39]

Laura Johnston Kohl, who joined the Temple at age 22 after having been tear-gassed protesting against the Vietnam War, working with the Black Panthers and attending the famous 1969 Woodstock festival, said characteristically that the People’s Temple “offered the community I was looking for—I was looking for equality and justice, and there were people of all backgrounds and races. My life was in turmoil. I had a failed marriage and I was looking for a place to be political in a safer environment after a series of bad decisions.”[40]

Reflections and Articles by Laura Johnston Kohl – Alternative  Considerations of Jonestown & Peoples Temple
Laura Johnston Kohl [Source: jonestown.sdsu.edu]

“Gangster Who Used a Bible”

While providing a home for 1960s idealists, the People’s Temple took on cult-like qualities. Jones was a master manipulator who was characterized by one of his landladies back in Indiana as a “gangster who used a Bible instead of a gun.”[41]

Jones was not out for the money but the power over others and the sex he enjoyed. He took many mistresses from among his congregants, raping many of the women, and had sex with men whom he then blackmailed.

Jones further deployed sexual humiliation as a way of keeping members of his congregation in line. For various transgressions, Jones would have Temple members have sex in front of the entire congregation.[42] He also set up boxing matches in which a victim would be ordered into the ring with a much larger and stronger opponent.[43]

Jones’s corruption was epitomized by his perpetration of a welfare fraud scam in which Black children on welfare were stolen from the ghettos of Oakland and assigned to Temple foster care homes.[44] Various Temple members who left the church—strangely all with last names starting with the letter “H”—wound up dead.[45]

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies and San Francisco Chronicle for years ignored reports and incidents implicating the People’s Temple members in murder, smuggling, extortion, child abuse and theft.[46]

Unbelievably, Jones was given a Martin Luther King, Jr., award for community service in 1977 and named “Humanitarian of the Year” in 1976 by the Los Angeles Herald Examiner.[47]

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Jim Jones receiving Martin Luther King, Jr., award, January 1977. [Source: spirituallysmart.com]

Evolving as a political power broker, Jones forged close relationships with San Francisco city leaders such as House Speaker Willie Brown, who characterized him at an awards dinner as a “combination of Martin Luther King, Angela Davis, Albert Einstein, and Chairman Mao.”[48]

Jones forged further friendships with California Lieutenant Governor Mervyn Dymally, Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office, and Governor Jerry Brown, who attended Temple services, and secured appointment by San Francisco Mayor George Moscone to the board of directors of the city’s Housing Authority and Human Rights Commission.

Explaining the quid pro quo, a Moscone official wrote that, while “everybody talks about labor unions and their power, Jones turns out the troops.”[49]

No wonder then that, during the 1976 presidential campaign, future First Lady Rosalynn Carter got in touch with Jones who helped provide a huge turnout for her rally in San Francisco; and subsequently had a private dinner with him in the restaurant of the posh Stanford Court Hotel. Future Vice President Walter Mondale also met with Jones on his campaign plane.[50]

rosalynn carter jim jones peoples temple cecil williams
Jim Jones, right, with Rosalynn Carter. [Source: spirituallysmart.com]

The People’s Temple by this time had compiled assets totaling more than $1 billion—much of it stored in off-shore bank accounts.[51] In 1978, critical media exposés, however, threatened to ruin Jones’s reputation and prompted the move to Guyana.

The People’s Temple had purchased land for the Jonestown settlement in the mid-1970s and members had traveled there to clear the land and build a jungle enclave for the church. As the BBC put it: “The ‘socialist paradise’ abroad would allow Jones and his group to practice their way of life away from the intense media scrutiny that was beginning to amass back in California.”[52]

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Jonestown settlement in the mid-1970s. [Source: flickr.com]

Chillingly, a century earlier, a prophet named Smith had led a flock of Amerindians to northwestern Guyana with the promise of “seeing God” and being “free from the calamities of life” and “possessing lands of boundless fertility,” where “[a large] crop of cassava would grow from a single stick.” But when the New Millennium failed to materialize, the followers were told they had to die in order to be resurrected as white people—a story Jones apparently knew about.[53]

Sophisticated Intelligence-Gathering System

Jones’s connection to the CIA was apparent in the Temple’s development of a sophisticated intelligence-gathering and filing system that mirrored the latest techniques of the CIA.

Within the files, there was an information envelope on each of the members of the Temple that included detailed personal dossiers, including medical and career history, a psychological profile, and photos.

Jones required members who were being considered for promotion to a position of trust within the Temple to sign a self-confession as a sign of loyalty that attested to any child molestation, homosexual acts or other crimes that were used ultimately for blackmail purposes.[54]

Additionally, Jones had aides sign blank papers, which he could then fill in with description of a crime—a technique that ensured their slavish devotion to the Temple.[55]

One of Jones’s top aides, Patty Cartmell, and her assistants were skilled in burglary techniques and much information was gained through illegally entering people’s homes. In addition to information on Temple members, Cartmell amassed a very impressive file on California’s politicians and public figures—among them Leo Ryan, who was lured to Jonestown to his death.[56]

Patty Cartmell, My Mom – Alternative Considerations of Jonestown & Peoples  Temple
Patty Cartmell [Source: jonestown.sdsu.edu]

McCarthy Era Recruitment

Jones’s recruitment as an intelligence agent may have occurred when he was a young man. His wife’s cousin, Ronnie Bladwin, who lived with the Joneses at the time, recalls him taking him around 1951 to political meetings where communism was under discussion. Outside the meeting hall, Jones talked to a man that Baldwin believed was an FBI agent.[57]

Indianapolis at the time was a very conservative city, and if communism was being discussed, it was likely by a right-wing group that was denouncing them. Or it was some kind of clandestine meeting in which Jones was operating as an informant. Jones could have also functioned as a police or FBI informant gathering “racial intelligence”—as quite a few of his congregants were Black.[58]

Rev. Jim Jones
Jones in 1956. [Source: images.indianahistory.org]

A Company Man

As a master manipulator, Jones created the impression that he was a target of CIA subversion as part of his Agency cover; in reality he appears to have been working for the CIA—as were a number of his top aides. In a Freudian slip, Jones once told a Swedish journalist “all my thoughts are coming from the CIA.” Jones’s purpose was to channel the activist energies of the radical 1960s movements into his cult and discredit those ideals; and to use Jonestown as a cover for CIA training programs and unethical medical experiments.[59]

The U.S. embassy in Georgetown, which housed the Guyana CIA station, regularly supplied Jones with reports of Congressional investigations of Jonestown, and State Department concealed information from Leo Ryan about Jonestown, exemplifying the close symbiotic relationship between Jones and the U.S. embassy and State Department, which provided covers for the CIA.[60]

According to researcher Michael Meiers, Jones’ relationship with the CIA went back to the early 1960s when he played a role in at least three of the Agency’s international projects: the 1961 Bay of Pigs landing, the racial revolution in British Guiana, and the 1964 military coup in Brazil.[61]

In February 1960, just after the triumph of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution, Jones visited Havana, ostensibly to recruit Black Cubans to his church and/or to set the groundwork for its further expansion into Latin America. Curiously, Jones later showed off a photo of a mangled body of a pilot indicating that Jones had witnessed the pirate bombing of the cane fields in the Bay of Pigs.

Jones also had a photo of him and his wife Marceline posing with Fidel Castro. Researcher Jim Hougan speculates that Jones’s visit may have been to help encourage immigration from Cuba in order to embarrass the Castro government—a project in which conservative religious groups collaborated. He may also have been there as a spy.[62]

In 1961, Jones went to British Guyana with the purpose of helping the CIA overthrow the socialist government of Cheddi Jagan, a Marxist dentist and East Indian founder of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), which led the independence movement against Great Britain.

CIA Covert Operations: The 1964 Overthrow of Cheddi Jagan in British Guiana  | National Security Archive
Cheddi Jagan [Source: nsarchive.gwu.edu]

Guyana was important strategically to the U.S. because of its economic resources—especially bauxite—and because the U.S. had an Air Force base acquired from the British; Atkinson field, where Air Force officers carried out photo-mapping of the entire region.[63]

Atkinson field air base. [Source: sixtant.net]

On October 21, 1961, the Guyana Graphic published a photo of Jones and his family over the headline: “Church Blamed in Reds Rise.” In the article that followed, Jones was quoted giving anticommunist speeches in which he blamed the affluent Guyanese clergy for bleeding the wealth from the people which made communism appear attractive to them.

The article served to help attract the anti-communist faction to a new hero, Jim Jones, whose assignment was to organize and aid their cause.

Jones proceeded to recruit and train a group of Black Guyanese rowdies who were to incite race riots and labor strikes intended to cripple Jagan’s government.[64] Michael Meiers wrote:

With his rainbow family and doctrine of racial integration, Jones had the perfect disguise for his work as an instigator of race riots. His People’s Temple provided the necessary missionary cover as well as an excellent conduit to filter money from the U.S. to the Guyanese rebels.

On This Day — CIA COS Richard Welch Is Assassinated in Athens (December 23  1975) | Intel Today
Richard Welch [Source: inteltoday.org]

Anonymous donations, given to his Indianapolis church, were forwarded to Jones who distributed the money as he saw fit to finance the planned civil disturbance. He told his Indianapolis congregation that his purpose in South America was to feed the poor.[65]

Jones’s immediate supervisor in the coup was CIA agent Richard Welch, who was assassinated in the mid-1970s after he became CIA Station Chief in Greece. Welch introduced Jones to the CIA’s candidate, Forbes Burnham, an Afro-Caribbean, upon his arrival in Georgetown.

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Burning of property by rioters who had been recruited by Jim Jones. [Source: guyanaundersiege.com]

In February 1962, Jones’s rebels began their reign of terror by inciting race riots and labor strikes. They burned down cinemas and restaurants owned by East Indians, and attacked pro-Jagan politicians.[66] Jagan was forced to declare a state of emergency and call in British troops to quell the disturbance, which marked the beginning of the end of his administration.

Philip Agee [Source: military-history.fandom.com]

CIA dissident Philip Agee wrote in Inside the Company: A CIA Diary that Burnham’s election as Prime Minister in December 1964 was achieved largely due to CIA operations to strengthen the anti-Jagan trade unions, which fomented the riots and “removed the fear that Jagan would turn British Guiana into another Cuba.”[67]

Burnham ruled Guyana until his death in 1985. While posing as a leader of the Third World’s opposition to capitalist imperialism, he authorized the physical surveillance and wiretapping of his political opponents and the division of Guyana along racial lines.[68] In a June 1966 speech at the University of West Indies, Cheddi Jagan accused Burnham of being a “stooge of Uncle Sam,” who “cut deals with Washington with the result that Guyana is now a creature of Uncle Sam.”[69]

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Forbes Burnham with LBJ. [Source: carribeanelections.com]

The corruption in Burnham’s regime was evident in the fact that his wife and Deputy Prime Minister, Ptolomy Reid, were among the first on the scene of the Jonestown massacre and returned with nearly $1 million in cash, gold and jewelry taken from the buildings and dead.[70]

Jones’s relationship with Burnham appears to have been a key reason that the People’s Temple moved to Guyana. The two men were extremely close and Burnham even visited Jones in California, though this was kept secret.

Forbes Burnham with Jim Jones. [Source: digitallibrary.sdsu.edu]

Burnham welcomed the establishment of Jonestown because the People’s Temple’s wealth would help ease Guyana’s critical balance of payments problem and would develop resource-rich but untapped hinterlands, which the government had been trying to do unsuccessfully for years.[71]

According to Michael Meiers, the project was quite successful in the production of cassava and establishment of a sawmill that cut lumber. The U.S. State Department increased aid to Guyana from $500,000 to $31.5 million in the last year of Jonestown, a 6,300% increase—which suited Burnham’s interests very well.[72]

Map

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[Source: spirituallysmart.com]

Leo Ryan’s aide Joe Holsinger presented evidence to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in February 1980 that the CIA sustained a covert operation in Guyana that included covert support for Jim Jones as an ally of Forbes Burnham.

Specifically, the People’s Temple provided funds to the Burnham group and acted as a terrorist organization to intimidate opponents of the Burnham regime. Jones himself was seen throwing tear gas into an anti-Burnham demonstration in Guyana in 1975, according to a U.S. Customs report. Jones further smuggled weapons to Jonestown in the bottoms of crates marked agricultural supplies, according to Temple defectors.

Holsinger noted that the Burham regime was particularly valued because it was cooperative with U.S. commercial interests in Guyana and policy of the U.S. State Department in promoting the exportation of natural resources from Guyana.[73]

“We All Know This Flamboyant American is CIA”

After his stint in Guyana in the 1960s, Jones moved to Belo Horizonte, the home of CIA headquarters in Brazil, to begin the second half of his South American mission.

A person in a suit

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João Goulart [Source: wikipedia.org]

Jones’s assignment was to funnel money and advice to the dissident right-wing faction of the Brazilian military and to assure them that, after their planned coup d’etat, the U.S. government would recognize and aid their new regime.[74]

From 1961 to 1964, Brazil was ruled by João Goulart, a social democrat whom officials in Washington warned was “giving positions and opportunities to extreme-leftists (including communists) and ultranationalist elements from which they [could] carry on their anti-U.S. and in some cases Moscow, Peking or Havana Communist-line advocacy in Brazil.”[75]

On April 2, 1964, after general strikes coordinated by the CIA-linked American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD), Brazilian generals disposed of Goulart and established a military regime that would last until 1985.[76]

American Values on Twitter: "This week in 1964, the US backed a military  coup against the democratically elected president of Brazil João Goulart,  kicking off 2 decades of brutal military dictatorships, which
1964 military coup in Brazil. Jones was there under CIA cover supporting the dissident generals. [Source: twitter.com]

Jones’s cover in Brazil was as a laundromat employee and investment salesman, though he did not make any sales and was considered “too shy”—which makes no sense given that Jones allegedly talked 900 people into killing themselves. The investment company that Jones supposedly worked for, Invesco, was a CIA conduit owned and operated by men with connections to criminals and spooks.[77]

Sebastian Dias de Magalhaes, head of industrial relations for the laundromat Jones supposedly worked at—Eureka—stated explicitly that Jones never actually worked there and that he had “lied in order to conceal what they believe was his work for the CIA.”[78]

Jones identity card in Brazil. [Source: reverendjimjones.wordpress.com]

In Belo Horizonte, Jones lived in an affluent neighborhood where he would leave his home early in the morning with a big leather briefcase and return late at night. Neighbors regularly saw a car from the U.S. consulate parked outside his house and said he received his food from the U.S. embassy. They also said he engaged in no religious activity.[79]

Jones’ main contact there, Vice Consul Jon Lodeesen, was a CIA agent who was kicked out of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow for espionage activities and taught at the U.S. intelligence school in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, West Germany—a West Point for spooks.[80]

Whiteboard

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Jon Lodeesen [Source: outlet.historicalimages.com]

Jones was exposed in print as a CIA operative by a local newspaper which accused him of filtering money to military officers to finance the 1964 coup. The reporter wrote that we “all know this flamboyant American is CIA.”[81]

Jones refuted the charges by telling the reporter that his money came from his pension as a retired U..S military officer, though Jones had never served in the military.[82]

Jim Jones and Dan Mitrione

Jones was a boyhood friend of Dan Mitrione, a CIA agent from Richmond, Indiana, who worked undercover for the USAID’s Office of Public Safety (OPS), which trained foreign police in counterinsurgency methods.

A Navy veteran who joined the Richmond Police Department in 1943, Mitrione, as the Richmond police chief, allegedly kept Jones from being arrested or run out of town. Later, in the early 1960s, Mitrione coincidentally worked in Brazil—both Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro—at the same time Jones was there and socialized with him.[83]

Jones had told his followers in Guyana about Mitrione whom he referred to as a “cruel, cruel person, even as a kid” and “a vicious racist.”[84] This statement may have been part of Jones’s cover as a leftist persecuted by the CIA as Mitrione was well known in leftist circles for promoting torture methods that resulted in his kidnapping by the Tupamaros, a left-wing group in Uruguay that stole from the rich to give to the poor.

Mitrione was killed by the Tupamaros while in captivity after it was discovered that he had taken beggars off the street for use as subjects in interrogation classes and four had been tortured to death. One of the attendees commented that the special horror of Mitrione’s course was “its academic, almost clinical atmosphere. Mitrione’s motto was ‘the right pain in the right place at the right time.’”[85]

Teaching Torture: The Death and Legacy of Dan Mitrione - Democratic  Underground
Dan Mitrione and his instruments of torture. [Source: upload.democraticunderground.com]

How Jones really first met Mitrione is impossible to know, but one researcher speculates that Mitrione had recruited Jones as an informant on the black community in Richmond, Indiana, and worked with him in some capacity in Brazil and possibly elsewhere in South America.[86]

Mysteriously, Jones’ CIA file was purged right after Mitrione was killed. One possible explanation for this is that Jones had been an apprentice of Mitrione who learned torture techniques from him, and that since Mitrione had been outed, Jones’ connection to Mitrione had to be suppressed.

Mercenaries to Angola

Jonestown’s original purpose was to serve as a self-sustaining agricultural mission and refuge for troublesome members of the Temple. However, an ulterior motive was apparent in the use of the land to establish a training camp for mercenaries headed by Phil Blakey, a Briton from a wealthy family in Northumberland.

Blakey had come to America after meeting at boarding school and then marrying Deborah Layton, a Californian whose family was associated with the People’s Temple. (Jim Jones presided over the wedding—more on Layton below.)[87]

CIA agent Frank Terpil admitted to a BBC interviewer that he supplied mercenaries and arms to the early stages of Jonestown in the mid-1970s, when the jungle camp was used as a CIA training center.

Frank Terpil: How a CIA spy went rogue to court the world's worst dictators  | Cuba | The Guardian
Frank Terpil [Source: theguardian.com]

Guyanese residents remember 200 khaki-clad Black Americans as they frequented Georgetown’s bars and whorehouses while on leave from their assignment in the interior. Many of the weapons were smuggled into Jonestown amid the personal possessions and farm machinery of the People’s Temple pioneers. Mercenaries were shipped to Jonestown, trained, instructed and armed, and then flown from the airstrip in Port Kaituma to Angola.[88]

The reason Jonestown was used was because Henry Kissinger had given the CIA orders to arm rebel groups in Angola; however, the CIA was subject to new legislation initially proposed by Congressman Leo Ryan that required the Agency to account for all money spent for covert operations after congressional approval. Before congressional authorization could be obtained, a covert program was needed and the Agency could not use its Cubans because they had green cards and could be traced in the U.S.

According to Michael Meiers, CIA case officers in Brazil transported mercenary recruits to the Brazilian coast where Phil Blakey would pick them up in the Temple’s ship for a two or three-day trip up the Waini River, Port Kaituma, and on to the Shalom project at Jonestown.

Blakey, who became one of Jones’ top lieutenants, apparently managed the whole program like a business. Under his command there were 100 or 200 Special Forces advisers—some of whom were on the People’s Temple Security staff—and the Brazilian mercenaries helped clear the jungle as part of their basic training.[89]

To preserve the Agency’s cover, two camps were established. Blakey’s was the main camp—where the land was cleared; this would become the core of Jonestown. The second camp was an even more primitive outpost where the actual jungle training took place.

Blakey’s training camp required ultra-sophisticated weapons and explosives not commercially available to the general public. It is widely acknowledged that Deborah Layton Blakey, as the People’s Temple financial secretary, appropriated the money to purchase arms for her husband’s project.

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Phil Blakey and the boy captain on Cudjoe. [Source: jonestown.sdsu.edu]

In 1975, Blakey turned the training camp over to Jones for the second part of the assignment—the Shalom project, which used state-of-the-art technology from marijuana centers in Mendocino County, California, where Blakey did his internship, to grow marijuana for what the CIA’s head of the Angolan Task Force would describe as the “hemp-smoking rebels” they were supporting. The marijuana could have also been grown for profit.[90]

Fake Cover As Communist

Jones is supposed to be remembered as a psychopathic communist whose drug-induced paranoia triggered the mass suicide of his followers.

In the last six months before the massacre, Jones went out of his way to give the impression he was a communist.

Temple aide Deborah Layton, for example, courted the Soviet and Cuban embassies in Guyana and helped plan local May Day celebrations. Russian language classes were compulsory for Jonestown residents, as Jones claimed the residents might one day emigrate to the USSR.[91]

Jim Jones - Conservapedia
[Source: conservapedia.com]

However, this was all a ruse intended to associate Jonestown in the popular mind with left-wing communist governments in order to discredit them and the left in the U.S.[92] For 25 years, Jones was a registered Republican. His politics, Michael Meiers wrote, were those of the son of a midwestern, Bible Belt marshal and KKK member. Tellingly, he had a close relationship with the head of the John Birch Society in California.

MK-ULTRA

According to Richard Helms, Operation MK-ULTRA, a CIA program originating in the early 1950s that tested drugs on unwitting human guinea pigs in the attempt to develop mind control and behavioral modification techniques, was terminated in 1974.[93]

It is believed, however, that rather than actually discontinuing MK-ULTRA, the CIA shifted it from public institutions in the late 1970s to private cult groups including the People’s Temple. This was the thesis of a paper entitled “The Penal Colony” written by a Berkeley psychologist thought to be Richard Ofshe.

[Source: en-academic.com]

During the 1960s and 1970s, Jones received treatment at the Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute in San Francisco. The nation’s leading center for brain research, Langley Porter was known for experiments it conducted on behalf of the Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). While much of that research is classified, the Institute experimented with electromagnetic effects and behavioral modification techniques involving a wide variety of stimuli—including hypnosis.

Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital and Clinics | UCSF Department of  Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
[Source: psych.ucsf.edu]

Through Langley Porter, Jones appears to have been involved with the CIA’s mind-control/behavioral modification programs that carried on the legacy of MK-ULTRA.

In Brazil, Jones had studied the magical rites of Macumba and Umbanda and the works of David Miranda, who conducted a study of extrasensory perception that was also of interest to the CIA in connection with the MK-ULTRA program. So, also, were the “mass conversion” techniques at which Jones’s Pentecostal training had made him an expert.[94]

From the beginning of his career, Jones had surrounded himself with a variety of animals including dogs and monkeys—which were mascots for his preliminary experiments in behavior modification. These helped him to develop his tremendous power to manipulate people—which the CIA took interest in.[95]

When Jones moved his People’s Temple to Ukiah, California, the group immediately infiltrated the Mendocino State (psychiatric) Hospital which would provide test persons for his preliminary experiments (many patients were actually leased into the Temple’s care) and a training ground for many medical technicians he needed for the ultimate experiment.[96]

Jonestown provided the ideal isolation for medical experiments. The camp medical staff under Dr. Lawrence Shacht, who was known to perform painful suturing without anesthetics, administered drugs and kept daily medical records, which mysteriously all disappeared after the massacre.

Lawrence Shacht with Jim Jones on the right. [Source: houstonpublicmedia.org]

For any misbehavior, residents were subjected to either drugging or sensory deprivation—a favored CIA technique where someone is deprived a sense of time and kept up at night in stress positions.[97]

Jonestown Massacre: How 918 people followed a cult leader to Guyana, 'drank  the Kool-Aid'... and died in a single day | The Independent | The  Independent
[Source: independent.co.uk]

Tom Grubbs, a psychologist with a degree from the University of California and principal of the Jonestown school, allegedly constructed Jonesown’s sensory deprivation chamber which was placed below ground in a cellar. The effect was that subjects had the feeling of being buried alive. The terror in the technique was further epitomized by the fact that Jones ordered the chambers to be built in the shape of coffins.[98]

Tom Grubbs
Tom Grubbs [Source: jonestown.sdsu.edu]

Grubbs reportedly died in the Jonestown massacre, his secrets dying with him—though his body was never identified so his death could not be confirmed.[99]

The first outsiders to reach the Jonestown medical clinic after the massacre found enough drugs to supply the average U.S. city for more than a year. Predominant in the stock were hypnotic drugs like Pentothal and Nembutal as well as Thorazine, which is used to alter the violent behavior of mental patients and was used in the CIA’s MK-ULTRA experiments.[100]

Researcher John Judge compared Jonestown to a “tightly run concentration camp, complete with medical and psychiatric experimentation.”

The medical staff at Georgetown numbered 70. Most were psychiatrists, psychologists, behavioral scientists, therapists, and pharmacologists, though there was one doctor, Larry Schacht, who was known for first recording a medical diagnosis of AIDS.

The Soviets had accused the U.S. government of creating the AIDS virus at Fort Detrick in Maryland as a biological weapon.[101] Residents in Jonestown reported being ill with severe diarrhea and high fevers—a symptom of AIDS.[102] So perhaps they were involved in some kind of experiment that helped spread the disease.

Visitors to Jonestown noted that residents there looked like they had been drugged and were robot-like. Drugs were allegedly administered in the food at mealtime in small doses and in cookies that were made in Jonestown’s experimental and herbal kitchen.[103]

According to Michael Meiers, research at Jonestown was being carried out not only on mind-control drugs but also into ethnic disease, notably sickle cell anemia, which affected Blacks. The next phase of work may have been to develop mind-control drugs or weapons that would affect only Blacks and Native Americans. This included an anti-tuberculosis drug that could cause nerve damage in persons of Egyptian and Jewish descent but not other groups.[104]

Meet the Laytons

In December 1978, The New York Times ran an article by Robert Lindsey entitled “Family Tragedy: Hitler’s Germany to Jones’s Cult.” The article profiled the Layton family—a family steeped in the tradition of Quaker non-violence who seemed to have everything—intelligence, wealth and education—but had been destroyed by the People’s Temple Cult. Six members of the family had joined the cult, and matriarch Lisa gave more than a quarter million dollars to it before succumbing to cancer three months before the mass suicide.

The only person criminally charged in the Jonestown Holocaust was Larry Layton, Lisa’s son—for his role in conspiring to assassinate Congressman Leo Ryan and four other persons in the attack that allegedly lay behind Jones’s suicide order. A conscientious objector to the Vietnam War and medical technician at Mendocino State Hospital, Layton had become involved in Jonestown after participation in the 1960s drug culture and protest movement in Berkeley, California.

Layton’s sister Deborah, Phil Blakey’s husband, had served as Jones’s financial adviser and aide. She joined the Temple after she had been shipped off to a boarding school in England—where she met Blakey—because of behavioral problems at Berkeley High School. Conveniently, Deborah “defected” a few months before the Jonestown massacre.

With his son’s arrest, Layton family patriarch Laurence, a distinguished research scientist, was left devastated by the Jonestown massacre, his life having unraveled in what he termed a “Greek tragedy.”[105]

The Times article made for a gripping read, but masked a dark hidden truth about the Layton family. According to Michael Meiers, the Laytons were not victims of the fanatical Jones, but the masterminds of a macabre experiment in ethnic weaponry and sadistic medical experimentation known as Jonestown. One family member was in charge of People’s Temple trail blazers, the advance party that carved Jonestown from the dense Guyanese jungle. Others were Jones’s top aides and lovers. One was an agent provocateur who feigned defection from Jonestown in order to entice Congressman Leo Ryan to investigate the community while her brother waited with the assassination team that would murder him.

At Larry Layton’s trial, his lawyer, Tony Tamburello, said Layton was a government scapegoat who had been drugged into participating in the murder. He looked spaced out and was mumbling of a CIA conspiracy during the attack on Congressman Ryan and his entourage at the airstrip. This claim was corroborated by Dale Parks, a member of the Jonestown medical staff who admitted to drugging Layton.[106]

larry layton arrested guyana georgetown murder airport congressman leo ryan Port Kaituma airstrip
Larry Layton. After being convicted of conspiracy to murder, Layton was paroled in 2002. [Source: stevenwarrenresearch.blogspot.com]

Born into a wealthy West Virginia family who descended from Mayflower passengers, Laurence Laird Layton held a doctorate in biochemistry from Pennsylvania State University and perfected the technique for purifying uranium isotopes that enabled the development of the atomic bomb under the Manhattan Project.

In 1951, during the height of the Korean War, Layton was appointed Chief of Chemical and Biological Warfare Research at the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. At that isolated facility, Layton helped develop germ and chemical weapons, carrying out tests on animals. In that time, he also worked on the problem of weather and chemical weapons and undertook tests on nerve gases and toxic agents and on bombings by chemically armed jet planes.[107]

Dugway Proving Ground | Base Overview & Info | MilitaryINSTALLATIONS
The remote Dugway Proving Ground where Layton performed some of his deadly experiments. [Source: installations.militaryonesource.com]

In defending chemical weapons use, Layton stated:

“You can blow people to bits with bombs. You can shoot them with shells, you can atomize them with atomic bombs, that’s considered moral, but the same people think there’s something terrible about poisoning the air and letting people breathe it. Anything having to do with gas warfare, chemical warfare, has the taint of horror on it, even if you only make people vomit. Its all right to kill somebody in war, but its not all right to make him vomit, or make him silly. Actually its one of the most humane forms of warfare, if you want to compare it to other types. I’m not apologizing for chemical warfare. I’m just saying that the prejudices against chemical weapons in favor of conventional and atomic weapons is absurd.”[108]

In 1954, Layton was named Director of Missile and Satellite Development at the Navy’s Propellant Division in Indian Head, Maryland, where he designed missile fuels. Many of his papers on this top-secret work are still classified. In 1957, he was appointed as a research scientist and later as Chief of Pharmacology at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Western Regional Research Laboratory near Berkeley, California.[109]

According to Michael Meiers, Layton was involved in Operation MK-ULTRA. His wife Lisa and children allegedly administered the project with the help of a figurehead scapegoat named Jim Jones.[110] Layton was introduced to Jones as a CIA expert on behavior modification of Black people.

Jones had just returned from a successful assignment in South America where he had incited Blacks to riot in British Guyana. Now Jones’s task was to subjugate them, working under cover as a self-ordained minister and missionary. In this context, Jones’s move to Ukiah, California, and then San Francisco was strategic—much like Guyana—as the Layton family lived in the Berkeley hills.

lawrence laurence laird layton allergologist biochemist dugway proving ground
[Source: spirituallysmart.com]

According to Meiers, the top-secret Jonestown experiment was the culmination of Laurence Layton’s life’s work in devising new ways to kill people. Hidden in the media by CIA propaganda, which depicted all the deaths at Jonestown as “suicides” driven by a “psychopathic preacher,” the experiment was conceived and financed by Dr. Layton who gave over a quarter of a million dollars to it. It was as much his project as Jim Jones’s. Control of the experiment was achieved through Layton’s wife and children.[111]

Lisa Layton had a past life as the daughter of a Nazi who disguised herself as a Jew after moving to the U.S. Her father, Hugo Philip, was a wealthy German banker and stockbroker who represented companies such as Siemens, Halske and I.G. Farben, which developed the cyanide used to gas Jews and whose research labs developed deadly nerve gases. As World War II approached in 1938, Hitler sent the Philip family to serve under deep cover in the U.S., providing them fake papers as Jews.[112]

While working as a physical therapist at Pennsylvania State University, Lisa met and married Laurence. After raising their four kids, Lisa took a job at the University of California Berkeley library, which possessed the most comprehensive collection of left-wing literature in the U.S. Lisa’s job was to pass information to the CIA about borrowing patterns.[113]

As Jones’s assistant, Deborah Layton performed a key function in managing the Temple’s money and laundering its riches in Swiss and other offshore bank accounts. Deborah also gathered data on politicians who might be coerced or blackmailed into cooperating with the Temple.

lisa philips layton karen debbie layton
[Source: spirituallysmart.com]

She wrote forged and anonymous letters endorsing candidates, commenting on pending legislation and presumably threatening politicians who opposed Jones’s politics. Her correspondence was so incriminating that Deborah wore surgical gloves to type the letters on special “D” typewriters that had been purchased second-hand and then destroyed after fulfilling their purpose so as not to be traced to the Temple.[114]

Another aspect of Layton’s work was to falsely establish that Jones was in league with the Soviets. In May 1978, Deborah feigned a defection from the Temple and escaped to Washington, D.C., under the escort of Richard McCoy, the CIA Station Chief in Georgetown.[115] Layton in turn received a lot of media attention after writing a tell-all book claiming that she and her family were innocent victims of Jones’s cult, which was all part of the cover.[116]

Jonestown survivor tells cautionary tale of history | Local News |  greensburgdailynews.com
Deborah Layton on book tour. [Source: greensburgdailynews.com]
Richard Alfred McCoy, CIA station chief in Guyana was lionized as a “Diplomat-Investigator” and given a Superior Honor Award by The New York Times, December 8, 1978. [Source: nytimes.com]

Leo Ryan: Too Close to CIA Skeletons

Leo Ryan was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1925 and was the son of a newspaperman from whom he inherited a compelling interest in investigative journalism. After serving in the Navy in World War II, he earned a Master’s degree in Education from Creighton University and taught English at a high school in South San Francisco.

Ryan first became involved in politics by campaigning against the McCarthy-era witch-hunts and became mayor of South San Francisco before serving in the state assembly and then being elected to Congress in 1972. He had a reputation as a great investigator. When championing prison reform, he had himself interned for a week in the maximum-security section of Folsom Prison.

In Congress, Ryan led the fight to cut aid to the Marcos regime in the Philippines for violating human rights, and to reform the CIA. His district—dubbed Silicon Valley—became a center of high technology and was thoroughly infiltrated with spies, though domestic operations were prohibited in the CIA’s charter. This prompted Ryan to draft an amendment, with Harold E. Hughes (D-IA) intended to stop, or at least control, the CIA’s illegal operations in Silicon Valley and elsewhere within the U.S.

The 1974 Hughes-Ryan Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act, which was signed into law, transferred responsibility for overseeing the CIA from the Armed Services Committee, which often turned a blind eye to the Agency’s activities, to the foreign relations committees of both houses of Congress.

It further required the CIA to notify eight separate committees of Congresstotaling some 200 legislators and staff—prior to conducting undercover operations, and banned CIA covert paramilitary operations not expressly approved by Congress and the President.

The CIA fought the measure tooth and nail but failed to defeat it, owing to the climate of hostility to the Agency bred by Watergate and revelations of CIA abuses in Vietnam. Considered a “pain in the CIA’s ass,” Ryan subsequently got a seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee’s CIA oversight subcommittee and a prominent position on the CIA’s list of enemies.[117]

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Leo Ryan after he was stabbed by Temple member Don Sly, which preceded his assassination. [Source: jonestown.sdsu.edu]

Ryan angered the CIA not only because of the Hughes-Ryan Amendment, but also because, in 1975, Ryan leaked word of the CIA’s involvement in the Angolan civil war to CBS newsman Daniel Schorr, creating a wave of major embarrassment for the Agency which reverberated for years., Subsequently, Ryan tried to pressure the Agency to reveal the extent of its involvement in psychiatric “mind-control” experiments.

Among the tests he pushed to expose were those performed in the early 1970s on inmates at a state hospital in Vacaville, California, which appear to have included among their subjects Donald DeFreeze, known as “Cinque,” a central figure in the 1974 kidnapping of Patricia Hearst, with whom Jones himself had connections.[118]

Donald DeFreeze | Stephen King Wiki | Fandom
Donald DeFreeze, a CIA-trained terrorist, whose links to MK-ULTRA and Jones Leo Ryan was investigating. [Source: stephenking.fandom.com]

In the course of his investigations into MK-ULTRA, Ryan uncovered that the CIA had sponsored several cults that practiced mind control on their members. These included the Unification Church, whose leader Reverend Sun Myung-Moon was alleged to have strong ties with the CIA in South Korea, the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), headed by DeFreeze; and the People’s Temple.[119]

Ryan had been an old friend of Sammy Houston, whose son Bob had been his student at Berkeley High School and a talented musician who had become music director of the People’s Temple’s band. After having a falling out with Jones, he was crushed by a train at the Southern Pacific Yard where he worked as a switchman. Houston’s colleagues believed Bob had been murdered, as his work gloves were taken off when he was crushed, when he never usually took them off at work to protect his hands.[120]

 Robert Hascue “Bob” Houston Jr.
Bob Houston [Source: findagrave.com]

Bob’s killing looks to have been part of Jones’s master plan to lure Ryan to Jonestown and then kill him. Soon after Bob’s death, Ryan visited Sammy Houston’s home who asked him to look into his son’s death and save his two grand-daughters who had gone to Jonestown in Guyana—which Ryan did.[121]

At the time, Ryan sat on the International Operations subcommittee responsible for protecting the lives and property of U.S. citizens abroad.

Prior to his trip to Jonestown, Ryan was provided with reports of brainwashings, beatings, blackmailing and murders from ex-Temple members and relatives of current members.[122] Ryan further obtained a file on Temple members that Jones had executed—including Bob Houston.

Following his assassination, even conservative observers felt the CIA had deliberately failed to warn Ryan of the potential dangers in Jonestown because they hated him for his sponsorship of the Hughes-Ryan Amendment.[123]

richard dwyer suspected cia state dept
CIA Guyana Station Chief Richard Dwyer on runway as Leo Ryan heads to his plane just before he is ambushed. [Source: spirituallysmart.com]

L. Fletcher Prouty said that Leo Ryan had moved in too close to certain skeletons that could never be safely disturbed. A relentless and uncompromising investigator, nothing could stop Ryan—short of violence.

When Joe Holsinger was informed about Ryan’s death, the facts were confirmed by a “CIA report,” indicating that a CIA agent was present at the scene.

Also revealingly, a key person enticing Ryan to visit Jonestown was Deborah Layton, who posed as a defector engaged in a feud with Jones (as part of the ruse, Jones publicly accused Layton of being a “CIA agent.”)

With Tim Stoen, a People’s Temple attorney who had been arrested in Berlin in the early 1960s on espionage charges,[124] Layton prepared a dossier for Ryan and Secretary of State Cyrus Vance making accusations against Jones.

She in turn contacted and met with Ryan in San Francisco’s financial district where she had taken a high-paying job. During the meeting, Layton encouraged Ryan to go to Jonestown for further investigation.[125]

A person wearing glasses

Description automatically generated with low confidence
Tim Stoen [Source: jonestown.sdsu.edu]

Ryan Family Lawsuit

More than 20 months after Leo Ryan was killed, his five adult children—two sons and three daughters—filed a lawsuit based on extensive investigation into what had precipitated their father’s death. Filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on July 31, 1980, the suit asked for general damages of $3 million, plus costs for Congressman Ryan’s funeral and bringing the action.

The lawsuit claimed that “the Jonestown Colony was infiltrated with agent(s) of the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States. [That] the name of one said agent was Philip Blakey, a trusted aide of People’s Temple leader James Warren Jones. [T]hat said agents were working with the Department of State and the Central Intelligence Agency to use the Jonestown Colony as part of the Central Intelligence Agency’s MK Ultra program. [T]hat massive quantities of mind-control drugs were found at the Jonestown Colony after the fatal incident of November 18, 1978.”

[Source: pinterest.com]

The lawsuit furthermore claimed that Richard Dwyer doubled as a CIA agent and that Dwyer “arranged for the transportation of decedent [Ryan] and his party once in Guyana; briefed decedent and his party on the events and conditions at Jonestown upon their arrival; and escorted decedent and his party to Jonestown in November 1978.”

It alleged that Dwyer, “as an agent and employee of the Central Intelligence Agency…negligently, maliciously and intentionally withheld crucial information about the Jonestown Colony which would have prevented harm to decedent.” It further charged that Dwyer “knowingly, intentionally and maliciously led [Ryan] into a trap at the Port Kaituma Air Strip, which cost decedent his life.”

The Ryans’ lawsuit was dismissed for reasons that have never been fully explained. A source close to the family who aided them in their quest for justice told a journalist that he had received threats, which he attributed to the CIA. Every time he made a move, he said, a warning would arrive on his doorstep by a circuitous route. “A letter would show up,” for example, he said, stating, “‘we’re watching you.’”[126]

“The CIA Pulled a Fast One”

After Joe Holsinger accused Jones of being part of a CIA covert operation in Guyana before a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee in February 1980, Congress carried out a second investigation that found no conclusive proof of these allegations. Nevertheless, a congressional staff member told reporter John Hanrahan, that the investigation had been “constrained” and that the CIA had “pulled a fast one.”[127]

Holsinger asserted that U.S. Embassy officials Richard Dwyer and Richard McCoy, Temple member Tim Carter, and Guy Spence, one of the pilots at the Port Kaituma airstrip where Ryan was killed, were agents or informants for the CIA.

He also believed that the CIA set up Ryan’s assassination because the California Democrat co-sponsored the Hughes-Ryan Amendment—the law requiring prior Congressional approval of all CIA covert operations.[128]

Leaving the Truth to Future Generations

That Jonestown continues to fascinate Americans is evident in the continued production of new movies and documentaries on the subject. Almost all promote the official story of Jones as a deranged cult leader and socialist who brainwashed his followers. The secret history and guiding hand of the CIA remains suppressed.

At a 30-year anniversary of Jonestown, William Holsinger, the son of Ryan’s aide Joe, said: “whether there was some broader conspiracy and what it might have consisted of, are matters I have determined to leave to future generations.”[129]

Holsinger was clearly still afraid to investigate the truth all those years later. His hope in future generations remains as of this writing chimeric because the sinister forces that were behind the Jonestown catastrophe are more powerful than ever.


  1. Adam Parfey, “Militia Leader Talks,” New Dawn, 30 (May-June 1995), http://www.whale.to/b/gritz1.html

  2. See Michael Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? A Review of the Evidence (New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1988).

  3. Will Savive, Jonestown: “Don’t Drink the Kool Aid:” The Complete Story Behind The Mysterious Jim Jones and His Exodus to Guyana (Del Grande Publishing, 2014), 264; Laurie Efrein Kahalas, Snake Dance: Unraveling the Mysteries of Jonestown (Red Robin Press, 1998). People’s Temple defector Jeannie Mills was also shot and killed with dum-dum bullets in California after the Jonestown massacre. The dum-dum bullets could not have been manufactured in Jonestown, indicating that outsiders were behind Ryan’s assassination.

  4. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 144, 145, 441; Tim Reiterman, with John Jacobs, Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People, rev. ed. (New York: Penguin, 2008), 440-41. See also Mark Lane, The Strongest Poison (New York: Hawthorn Books, 1980).

  5. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment?; John Judge, The Black Hole of Guyana: The Untold Story of the Jonestown Massacre (1985), https://jonestown.sdsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/john-judge.pdf

  6. Joe Holsinger testimony before the Hearings Before the Subcommittee on International Operations of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, 96th Congress, 2nd Session, February 20 and March 4, 1980 (Washington, D.C.: G.P.O., 1980), 17.

  7. Lane The Strongest Poison, 194. Jann had studied at the University of California at Berkeley and at the Golden Gate University School of Law and supported the San Quentin six, Black Panther defendants, continuing a relationship with one, Johnny Spain in jail. She was working as a teacher at Jonestown.

  8. Lane, The Strongest Poison, 195. An eyewitness who escaped, Odell Rhodes Jr. told local police that they were “killing everybody at Jonestown.”

  9. Lane, The Strongest Poison, 196, 206. A Coroner’s Jury after hearing testimony for six days concluded that Jones and others were criminally responsible for almost all the deaths at Jonestown. The presiding magistrate, Haroon Bacchus, said the evidence disclosed that Jones and his armed guard “murdered those persons.”

  10. Lane, The Strongest Poison; Savive, Jonestown, 262. Green Beret Charles Huff, a Special Forces officer dispatched to Jonestown on November 19, said that he found “more than 30 people killed by bullets and crossbow arrows, and they all appeared to be running towards the jungle.” Huff also stated that “the adults who had not been shot had been killed by injections between their shoulder blades.” Some of the details in Huff’s statements have been subject to challenge. http://novemberghosts.blogspot.com/2007/05/charles-huff-legend-in-his-own-mind.html

  11. Jesse Ventura, American Conspiracies: Lies, Lies, and More Dirty Lies That the Government Tells Us (New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2010), 95, 96; Jim Hougan, “The Secret Life of Jim Jones: A Parapolitical Fugue,” Alternative Considerations of Jonestown & Peoples Temple, https://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=16572; Judge, The Black Hole of Guyana. A Coroner’s jury declared that “Jim Jones and some other persons unknown murdered all but three of the more than 900 persons who died at Jonestown.” Savive, Jonestown, 263. Mootoo afterwards appeared to have been pressured into altering his report to say that only a few people were injected.

  12. Hougan, “The Secret Life of Jim Jones.”

  13. Ibid; Judge, The Black Hole of Guyana.

  14. Ventura, American Conspiracies, 96; Rebecca Moore, A Sympathetic History of Jonestown: The Moore Family Involvement in People’s Temple (New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1985)..62

  15. Hougan, “The Secret Life of Jim Jones.”

  16. Savive, Jonestown, 267; David Parker Wise, “Jonestown, the CIA and the Mystery Tape,” Alternative Consideration of Jonestown and People’s Temple, https://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=32397. Hooker’s testimony is given support by the fact that a) the death count was revised upwards following initial reports of the catastrophe; and b) major newspapers reported that “hundreds of Jonestown residents” fled into the jungle. All later presumably died. Bryan Sacks, “Dispensing with the Conspiracy Label,” Alternative Considerations of Jonestown & People’s Temple, https://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=30884. British Black watch troops in the area were also given orders to shoot to kill anyone who tried to escape. ”Bo” Gritz, who trained Special Forces operatives participating in the rescue mission, reported the same thing as Hooker. Hooker said he lured survivors from a helicopter with the illusion that they were being rescued and then shot them down. Some of the bodies at Jonestown bore marks of being dragged, which is consistent with Hooker’s claims and others that survivors were hunted down in the jungle and then brought back to the main camp and stacked on top of the other bodies to try and make it look like they had committed suicide with the others.

  17. Savive, Jonestown, 264.

  18. Savive, Jonestown, 266.

  19. Savive, Jonestown, 220; Hougan, “The Secret Life of Jim Jones.” Also suspicious was the fact that American Green Berets and British Black Watch troops were nearby carrying out training exercises.

  20. Savive, Jonestown, 273; David Parker Wise, “Jonestown, the CIA and the Mystery Tape,” Alternative Consideration of Jonestown and People’s Temple, https://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=32397 A former Temple pastor who went into hiding for 25 years out of fear for his life after leaving the church, Wise believes the tapes were physical evidence left by a CIA medical team inadvertently that were part of the coverup.

  21. Thomas G. Whittle and Jan Thorpe, “Revisiting the Jonestown Tragedy: Newly released documents shed light on unsolved murders,” Freedom Magazine, https://www.freedommag.org/english/vol29i4/page04.htm

  22. Ventura, American Conspiracies, 101, 102; Judge, “The Black Hole of Guyana.”

  23. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? Blakey afterwards called his father-in-law, Dr. Laurence Layton from Panama.

  24. Lane, The Strongest Poison, 206.

  25. Ventura, American Conspiracies, 102.

  26. Idem.

  27. Ventura, American Conspiracies, 101.

  28. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 61. see also Judge, The Black Hole of Guyana; Moore, A Sympathetic History of Jonestown, 407. Burke was transferred to Haiti after his service in Southeast Asia at a time when U.S. arms transfers resumed to the dictator François “Papa Doc” DuValier. The U.S. embassy in Georgetown housed the Guyana CIA station. The Consul for the U.S. embassy in Georgetown Richard McCoy made no secret of his role in a U.S. Air Force counterintelligence team. The State Department concealed information from Leo Ryan about Jonestown, exemplifying the close symbiotic relationship between Jones and the U.S. embassy and State Department which provided cover for the CIA.

  29. Savive, Jonestown, 220. Dwyer was identified as a CIA agent in Who’s Who of the CIA, 1 1968 book edited by Julius Mader. Author Jim Hougan however believes that James Adkins, the CIA Station chief in Guyana at the time, made the radio call. Jim Hougan, “Jonestown—Adkins and the NOIWON Report,” Alternative Consideration of Jonestown & People’s Temple, https://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=31926. Adkins was later caught up in the Iran-Contra scandal.

  30. Ventura, American Conspiracies, 101; Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 440; Savile, Jonestown, 271.

  31. Jones claimed his father joined the Klan though researchers believe he was lying to burnish his own anti-racist credentials.

  32. See Jeff Guinn, The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2017); Reiterman, Raven; Hougan, “The Secret Life of Jim Jones.”

  33. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 115; Judge, The Black Hole of Guyana.

  34. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 119, 120.

  35. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 187.

  36. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment?

  37. Moore, A Sympathetic History of Jonestown, 130. Delivering food to American Indian Movement (AIM) activists who occupied Alcatraz prison island, the congregation was exposed films like Joe Hill (1971) and The Pawnbroker (1964) about the Holocaust, a slide show of the Soweto demonstrations against apartheid in South Africa, and about Gulf Oil’s domination of the Dominican Republic’s economy.

  38. Lane, The Strongest Poison, 227.

  39. Guinn, The Road to Jonestown, 143; Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 342, 343; Lane, The Strongest Poison, 85; Deborah Layton, Seductive Poison: A Jonestown Survivor’s Story of Life and Death in the Peoples Temple (New York: Doubleday, 1998); Moore, A Sympathetic History of Jonestown, 171. The People’s Temple ran a medical clinic which offered free medical testing for sickle-cell anemia, and soup kitchens and free day care centers in the heart of San Francisco’s ghetto.

  40. Georgina Rannard and Kelly-Leigh Cooper, “Jonestown: Rebuilding my life after surviving the massacre,” BBC, November 18, 2018, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-46241372

  41. Judge, The Black Hole of Guyana. See also Daniel J. Flynn, Cult City: Jim Jones, Harvey Milk, and 10 Days That Shook San Francisco (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2018).

  42. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 189, 190; Jeanie Mills, Six Years with God: Life Inside Jim Jones’ People’s Temple (New York: A&W Publishers, 1979). Some women said Jones had a “divine penis.” Rape by Jones is described in Min S. Yee and Thomas N. Layton, In My Father’s House: The Story of the Layton Family and the Reverend Jim Jones (New York: Berkley Books, 1981), 162.

  43. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 240; Mills, Six Years with God.

  44. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 254, 255. According to Meiers, when Oakland school superintendent Marcus Foster had uncovered the scam and threatened to expose it, he was killed by Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) members who were under Jones’s control.

  45. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 273. The list of suspicious deaths included Maxine Harpe, Rory Hithe, Truth Hart, John Head, Azrie Hood and Bob Houston.

  46. “The Penal Colony,” Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and People’s Temple, https://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=94064. Jones successfully smuggled $15 million in cash, an extensive cache of weapons and explosives and tens of thousands of doses of pharmaceuticals out of the country. The San Francisco Examiner published only four of eight articles by Reverend Lester Kinsolving exposing Jones as an imposter. One that was not published charged Jones in the death of Maxine Harpe, a former People’s Temple member found hanging in her garage in March 1970.

  47. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 194.

  48. Layton, Seductive Poison, 65.

  49. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 277; Flynn, Cult City. Allegedly, Jones participated in a huge election fraud to help elect Moscone mayor of San Francisco in 1975 by having People’s Temple members vote hundreds of times for him. As a board member of the city’s Housing Authority, Jones was in an excellent position to arrange for government-funded apartments for his congregation. Lowell Streiker, author of the book, The Cults Are Coming! said that Jones had used sexual blackmail on Moscone, sending a young black female to service him and then telling him the girl was underage—a way to ensure his loyalty. Paul Krassner, Patty Hearst & The Twinkie Murders: A Tale of Two Trials (Oakland, CA: PM Press, 2014), 86, 87.

  50. Guinn, The Road to Jonestown, 334, 335; Layton, Seductive Poison, 65; Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 283. Jones provided the Carter campaign with 10% of its volunteers in California.

  51. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 252.

  52. Rannard and Cooper, “Jonestown.”

  53. Hougan, “The Secret Life of Jim Jones.”

  54. Yee and Layton, In My Father’s House, 156; Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 195, 196.

  55. Yee and Layton, in My Father’s House, 157.

  56. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 198, 200. Cartmell’s son describes his mother as having had a “sincere interest in civil rights, nuclear disarmament and assistance for the disabled,” which presents a stark contrast to the criminal activity she participated in on Jones’s behalf. Joining the People’s Temple in 1959, Cartmell, in addition to her surveillance and burglary activities, arranged Jones’s sexual trysts. She died in Jonestown at age 49 with her husband, daughter Patricia, 24, and adopted son.

  57. Hougan, “The Secret Life of Jim Jones.”

  58. Ventura, American Conspiracies, 98.

  59. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment?; Jones comments to Swedish journalist in Moore, A Sympathetic History of Jonestown, 404.

  60. Judge, The Black Hole of Guyana.

  61. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 127.

  62. Hougan, “The Secret Life of Jim Jones.”

  63. “Atkinson Field in British Guiana,” RG 59, General Records of the Department of State, Bureau of Inter-American Affairs, Office of the Director for Caribbean Countries, Records Related to Guyana, 1957-1964, box 3, National Archives, College Park Maryland.

  64. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 137; Savive, Jonestown, 34.

  65. Idem.

  66. “The People’s National Congress Terrorist Organization–Failure of the Police to Take Action,” September 5, 1964, RG 59, General Records of the Department of State, Bureau of Inter-American Affairs, Office of the Director for Caribbean Countries, Records Related to Guyana, 1957-1964, box 1, National Archives, College Park Maryland.

  67. Lane, The Strangest Poison, 363; Philip Agee, Inside the Company: A CIA Diary (New York: Penguin, 1975), 293.

  68. Stephen G. Rabe, The Most Dangerous Area in the World: John F. Kennedy Confronts Communist Revolution in Latin America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999), 95. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., a top aide to John F. Kennedy, admitted in the 1990s that a “great injustice had been done to Cheddi Jagan” and by implication also to the Guyanese people.

  69. “Jagan: PM is a Stooge,” Trinidad Guardian, June 22, 1966, 1, RG 59, General Records of the Department of State, Bureau of Inter-American Affairs, Office of the Director for Caribbean Countries, Records Related to Guyana, 1957-1964, box 4, National Archives, College Park Maryland.

  70. Judge, The Black Hole of Guyana.

  71. Reiterman, Raven, 239; Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 369; Moore, A Sympathetic History of Jonestown, 404. Most of the Guyanese government’s records of its contacts with the Temple were destroyed in a mysterious fire in Georgetown. There is strong suspicion that Burnham ordered the setting of the fire since men in uniforms of the Guyanese Defense Force were seen running from it. Conveniently for the Burnham government and CIA, left-wing dissident scholar Walter Rodney was blamed and arrested. Fielding M. McGehee Jr. “Jim Jones and the Guyana Government: A Symbiotic Relationship,” Alternative Considerations of Jonestown & the People’s Temple, https://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=70275 Rodney had been highly critical of Jonestown wisely, telling an audience at Stanford university in 1979 that “the establishment of Jonestown was not in the national interest. The people of Guyana would have said that the authoritarian control exercised by the leadership in the settlement over the various individuals was not compatible with the rules governing the behavior of citizens, all citizens in the society. If they were serious about certain ideological pronouncements which they were making, they would of course have said that this was not a socialist settlement in the least.”

  72. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 378, 379, 382; Moore, A Sympathetic History of Jonestown, 407. The IMF also increased its loans to Guyana considerably in 1978 and 1979 when Jonestown was in existence.

  73. Joe Holsinger testimony before the Hearings Before the Subcommittee on International Operations of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, 96th Congress, 2nd Session, February 20 and March 4, 1980 (Washington, D.C.: G.P.O, 1980), 14; Moore, A Sympathetic History of Jonestown, 280, which refers to U.S. Customs report detailing Jones throwing tear gas at a demonstration in Georgetown; and on the smuggling of weapons in crates, see Savive, Jonestown, 92.

  74. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 142. Jones had earlier been in Sao Paulo where he and his family stayed at the luxury Financial Hotel and stayed in the city’s well-to-do Santo Antonio section. Savive, Jonestown, 35. Author Tim Reiterman claims that Jones supplemented his income at this time as a gigolo.

  75. Rabe, The Most Dangerous Area in the World, 67.

  76. Rabe, The Most Dangerous Area in the World, 68.

  77. Hougan, “The Secret Life of Jim Jones.”

  78. Another Brazilian resident, Marco Aurelio, said that he was “absolutely certain that Jones was a spy.” At the time, Marco was supposedly dating Joyce Beam, the daughter of Jack Beam, who himself was one of Jones’ top lieutenants. Jack and his daughter had reportedly traveled to Brazil with the Joneses. Marco claimed that a detective of the local Brazilian police department ordered him to keep an eye on Jones. The detective was certain that Jones was CIA, according to Marco. However, the detective mysteriously died before the investigation could be completed. Jones left the country not long after. Will Savive, “Jim Jones, Mystery Man, Mystery Trip,” Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and People’s Temple, https://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=31441

  79. Moore, A Sympathetic History of Jonestown, 405.

  80. Savive, Jonestown, 40.

  81. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 144; Hougan, “The Secret Life of Jim Jones.”

  82. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 144. Jim Jones oddly had two passports, the second being issued when the first was still valid. The second passport was issued in Indianapolis when Jones was overseas. Researcher Jim Hougan believes that Jones had a double that was used to travel at the same time that he did—for unknown covert reasons.

  83. Hougan, “The Secret Life of Jim Jones;” Judge, The Black Hole of Guyana.

  84. Ibid.

  85. Quoted in Jeremy Kuzmarov, Modernizing Repression: Police Training and Nation Building in the American Century (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2012), 229. One theory holds that Dan Mitrione and Richard Dwyer were actually the same person. Dwyer was supposed to be only 45 but he looked much older in his picture and bore an uncanny resemblance to Mitrione, who would have been 58 at the time of Jonestown—the age which Dwyer actually looked! Somehow Mitrione would have had to have survived his killing at the hands of the Tupamaros in Uruguay in 1970; his death in this scenario would have had to have been faked, perhaps with the double goal of discrediting the Latin American left.

  86. Hougan, “The Secret Life of Jim Jones.”

  87. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 23.

  88. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 86.

  89. New Solidarity reported in its December 5, 1978, issue, “Reverend Jim Jones and the People’s Temple were involved in illegal channeling of mercenaries into Angola to fight against the Angolan government in 1975 and 78. The overall command was a mercenary deployment set up and coordinated by Henry Kissinger and British intelligence, the same forces behind the creation of the People’s Temple and its eventual establishment in Guyana.” Blakey left Angola and returned to Jonestown in 1977/78. Special forces officers were on his security staff. Among them was Odell Rhodes who was allowed to escape the massacre.

  90. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment?

  91. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? Mee and Layton, In My Father’s House, 221.

  92. Judge, The Black Hole of Guyana. Similarly, the CIA had tried to link Lee Harvey Oswald with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee and Communism as part of the effort to associate him in the American mind with communism.

  93. See Jonathan Marks’ classic book, The Search For the Manchurian Candidate, rev ed.e (New York: W.W. Norton, 1991).

  94. Hougan, “The Secret Life of Jim Jones.”

  95. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 351.

  96. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 386. Within a short period of time, Jones recruited many on the staff of the Mendocino State (psychiatric) Hospital to the People’s Temple. Many mental patients were assigned to Temple-operated care homes which were financed by the Department of Social Services.

  97. Judge, The Black Hole of Guyana; Flynn, Cult City, 176 describes how a 17-year old Black girl named Shanda was drugged and rendered into a “zombie-like state” after refusing Jones’ sexual advances in Jonestown. On the CIA’s use of sensory deprivation, see Alfred W. McCoy, A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation from the Cold War to the War on Terror (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2005).

  98. James Reston, Our Father Who Art in Hell: The Life and Death of Jim Jones, rev. ed. (Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, 2001), 247; Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 390.

  99. Hougan, “The Secret Life of Jim Jones.” Before the massacre at Jonestown the deprivation chambers had been dismantled. Grubb’s wife conveniently escaped the Jonestown massacre as she was in Georgetown at the time for a dental appointment. Her bodyguard during the trip, Tyrone Mitchell, may have been a programmed assassin. On February 24, 1984, he opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle on a group of school children in Los Angeles, killing a ten-year-old girl and wounding 13 others.

  100. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 407; Judge, The Black Hole of Guyana; Savive, Jonestown, 256 Jones reportedly told a Swiss reporter that his Black followers were given Thorazine on a regular basis at the behest of the CIA. 11,000 doses of thorazine were found at Jonestown. According to an FBI report, Jones stated at a meeting that a wealthy benefactor (who has never been identified) had donated tons of drugs to the People’s Temple. Decorated Vietnam veteran James “Bo” Gritz, the commander at the time of all Green Berets in South America at the time, specified his belief that Jonestown was “an extension of MK-ULTRA from the CIA.”

  101. AIDS is thought to be the perfect biological weapon because it has a period of incubation of seven years.

  102. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 402. According to Meiers, Jones sent homosexual followers to Haiti where they infected prostitutes. This was the origin of the AIDS epidemic in the gay community. Schacht allegedly died in the Jonestown massacre though there is no independent corroboration of the discovery of his body.

  103. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 409-12. Temple member Rebecca Moore received an anonymous letter, postmarked Oakland, California, which charged that: “[Jones] said he was working for the government—the CIA people, who were using the Peoples Temple members as guinea pigs in a mind control experiment. That if this worked, it would later be used elsewhere on a massive scale after the terrible depression came, on those who would not do what the government ordered them to do.” Moore, A Sympathetic History of Jonestown, 404.

  104. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 396, 399.

  105. Robert Lindsey, “Family Tragedy: Hitler’s Germany to Jones’s Cult,” The New York Times, December 4, 1978.

  106. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 409. According to witnesses, the other assassins also “looked like zombies.” They “looked through you and not at you.” Ventura, American Conspiracies, 101.

  107. Yee and Layton, In My Father’s House, 60.

  108. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 43, 44.

  109. Yee and Layton, In My Father’s House, 68.

  110. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 52.

  111. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment?; see also Judge, The Black Hole of Guyana.

  112. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 26.

  113. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 51.

  114. Layton, Seductive Poison, 62; Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 74.

  115. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 74.

  116. Layton, Seductive Poison.

  117. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 244-67; Reston, Our Father Who Art in Hell, 278, 279; Reiterman, Raven, 458. On the Hughes-Ryan Amendment, see Dafydd Townley, The Year of Intelligence in the United States: Public Opinion, National Security, and the 1975 Church Committee (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), 29.

  118. A month before Ryan’s murder, Jack Anderson published a column entitled “CIA May Have Inspired Cinque,” exposing the secret experiments, with Ryan or his committee the most likely source of the information. Savive, Jonestown, 253.

  119. At least one researcher speculates that Ryan was actually in on the whole plot and survived his shooting. His daughter, Erin, suspiciously, later worked for the CIA.

  120. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 241-44.

  121. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 244.

  122. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 267.

  123. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 272.

  124. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 270. After being deported from Berlin, Stoen, a Stanford law graduate, lectured against communism before joining forces with Jones. He was suspect in the eyes of many because of his conservatismhe registered with the Republican party in 1976, and because he pushed for the commission of illegal acts, which made him seem like an agent provocateur. See also Moore, A Sympathetic History of Jonestown, 240.

  125. Meiers, Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? 272.

  126. Thomas G. Whittle and Jan Thorpe, “Newly Released Documents Shed Light on Unsolved Murders,” Freedom Magazine, https://www.freedommag.org/english/vol29i4/page04.htm; Savive, Jonestown, 255. In October 1981, Jonestown survivors filed a $63 million lawsuit against then Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and CIA Director Stansfield Turner alleging that the State Department and CIA conspired to “enhance the economic and political powers of James Warren Jones,” conducting “mind control and drug experimentation in Jonestown.”

  127. Moore, A Sympathetic History of Jonestown, 414.

  128. Joe Holsinger testimony before the Hearings Before the Subcommittee on International Operations of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, 96th Congress, 2nd Session, February 20 and March 4, 1980 (Washington, D.C.: G.P.O., 1980), 14. A further congressional inquiry at which noted Temple defectors Al and Jeannie Mills were to testify, was abruptly canceled and then rescheduledto a date after their murders.

  129. Ventura, American Conspiracies, 95.


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About the Author

18 COMMENTS

  1. In reference to Michael Meiers the man who “exposed the truth” about Jonesville and who likely has made a lot of money from the sale of his book, why can no information be found about this man? I am curious to know more about him such as where he was born, what kind of education he has or what he looks like and how old he is.

  2. The writer is overlooking the fact that when people use words, they often do not know the precise meaning of the words they use and thus he may be misinterpreting the survivor’s use of the word “hill.” For example, sometimes I am riding my bike along a flat bicycle path and when I come to a place on the road where I must ride uphill, I will say to myself ” Oh gosh. Now I have to ride up the hill” This is because I did not know that hills are usually very tall. often similar to mountains. Thus, I think the writer is making a mountain out of a mole hill when he assumes that the survivor’s comment of ” going up the hill” was an indication that she was not being fully honest. based on his claim that Jonestown was all flat.

  3. There were a lot of elite “members”, guards and insiders who pretended to be “survivors”. Of the real survivors I did not hear one of them who gave any details of what really may have went on there. I wonder if they were given talking points or were advised not to give too much information.

    Also, you can see the men who shot Ryan’s party and others standing around aat Jonestown the day the evacuees were leaving adn at the airfield. One of them was Don Sly. Don Harris of NBC was looking right at them just befoe they walked to the tractor to get their guns and shoot.

    CIA spook Mark Lane said soon after the massacre that there were many semi-automatic weapons brought “down the hill” moments before the killings. I didn’t see any hills. The land was flat. Who was carrying those weapons is what i want to know. I also heard a Guyanese troop leaders say recently that his forces marched into Jonestown at 3 am on the 19th of Niovember. There were still killings going on according to Tracy and Brenda Parks who were hiding in the jungle after the Port Kaituma shootings Someone needs to do a proper investigation.

    There is a myth that they had a “modern hospital. I don’t see any evience of that after combing through NBC footage. That place was primitive

    • I was watching a few videos of Jonestown and I did not see any big hills, but I did see a path that was not flat, and although not steep, had an upward inclination of about 30 degrees. Perhaps this was what Leslie Wagner was referring to when she was describing her escape by saying ” we started up this path, up this hill”

  4. There were not ID bracelets taken off victims. NBC footage shows that they were not wearing bracelets literally hours and even minutes before the massacre started.

    The person to ask if there were psychoactive drugs used is Leslie Wagner Wilson who needs to be a bit more truthful. I think she hides many facts. She said she escaped up a “hill” the day the congressman was leaving and was afraid everyone would see her and her party.. However, there were not hills in Jonestown. We’ve all seen the footage ad nauseum. Why hasn’t anyone questioned her about this?

    There were many crossbows abandoned and bolt holes found in the dead. I also do not think there wer 913 dead. I think many were allowed to leave the morning and afternoon of congressman Ryan’s departure and even days before. I only saw about 11 children under4 or 5 years old. I saw no children from 5 to 15 yrs. old. Where did they go. There were only about 50 or 50 the night before at the pavillion gathering with Ryan’s party. .

    • I was watching a few videos of Jonestown and I did not see any big hills, but I did see a path that was not flat, and although not steep, had an upward inclination of about 30 degrees. Perhaps this was what Leslie Wagner was referring to when she was describing her escape by saying ” we started up this path, up this hill”

  5. […] Was the CIA Behind the Jonestown Massacre? | CovertAction Magazine. [This article continues CAM’s series on political assassinations and CAM’s inquiry into the CIA’s criminal history. —Editors] “I think the Jonestown incident was an extension of In Search of the Manchurian Candidate. I think those people were conditioned to act in certain ways and would have probably just moved from Montreal [where CIA mind control experiments were carried out under the direction of Dr. […]

  6. […] Was the CIA Behind the Jonestown Massacre? | CovertAction Magazine. [This article continues CAM’s series on political assassinations and CAM’s inquiry into the CIA’s criminal history. —Editors] “I think the Jonestown incident was an extension of In Search of the Manchurian Candidate. I think those people were conditioned to act in certain ways and would have probably just moved from Montreal [where CIA mind control experiments were carried out under the direction of Dr. Ewen Cameron] to Guyana, in this case. You look at Jim Jones’ background carefully, he had a lot of intelligence contact there for doing exactly what he did. When someone is duped into doing or believing something foolish, it has long been common to chide them for “drinking the Kool-Aid.” […]

  7. Nowadays the word “alleged” is becoming more and more commonplace. War Crimes are often described as alleged war crimes. Before we know it earthquakes may soon be described as alleged earthquakes and hurricanes may soon be described as alleged hurricanes.

  8. This is a story that refuses to die alright. Brian Lane in his “Killer Cults: Murderous Messiahs and Their Fanatical Followers” (BCA, 1996), says that the strongest conspiracy theory “was that the massacre was a plot by the American government working through the CIA to destroy the People’s Temple. It was certainly a fact that Reverend Jones was a known communist and that, as the result of what he called ‘persecution’ by the US Government, he was considering transferring Jonestown to the Soviet Union. He had already made firm contacts with the Soviet Embassy” (pp86/7).

    Then Lane also mentions what he calls an “even more fantastic” claim about “the CIA’s mind-control programme, MK-ULTRA . . . [and how] “one of Congressman Leo Ryan’s aides, among others, suspects” that the programme had not been disbanded but had been turned against cults like Jonestown (p87).

    In light of the extensive and complex evidence assembled by Jeremy, we can see the ironies running rampant here. Two things stand out for me:

    (a) the complexity and deviousness of the very probable intensive involvement of the CIA, as shown by the role of Jones himself and all his machinations, along with those of the supporting and manipulative caste;

    (b) the key geopolitical turning-point role of the Johnson Presidency, which again tallies with the evidence pointing to the “deep state” role in Kennedy’s assassination. Not only did this Administration put into original effect the Jakarta Method mass murder programme in Indonesia, and then adapted elsewhere, but it was instrumental in so many other coups.

    As we witness the United Nations today being used to persecute Russia for alleged “war crimes” in the US/NATO proxy war in Ukraine, we can see how the road to Hell is being paved with the very stepping-stones of the West’s massively and most cynically-calculated hypocrisy and dirty work!

  9. But, why did the CIA want to kill all of those people? I can see why they would kill Jones.
    But why all the others? I am not sure the article really ties it all together…..

    • There was a contingency plan to kill them all. they were violating the Hughes-Ryan act. They didn’t want them to talk. Many of the real survivors (there were insiders petending to be survivors) did not tell the full story after they got back home.

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