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#455353 - 11/10/08 03:50 AM 30 years later: The tragic events of Jonestown
SanDiegoMTS1 Offline
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Thirty years ago, one of the worst instances of a releglious cult in modern histry occurred this week. In mid November 1978, the horrible events that led to the massive sucide of nearly 1,000 people led by Jim Jones occurred. Here the brief story from Wikepdia.

Jonestown was the informal name for the "Peoples Temple Agricultural Project", an intentional community in northwestern Guyana formed by the Peoples Temple, a cult from California led by Jim Jones. It became internationally notorious in November of 1978, when 918 people died in the settlement as well as in a nearby airstrip and in Georgetown, Guyana's capital. The name of the settlement became synonymous for the incidents at those locations.

On November 18, 1978, 909 Temple members died in Jonestown, all but two from apparent cyanide poisoning in an event termed "revolutionary suicide" by Jones and some members on an audio tape of the event and in prior discussions. To the extent the actions in Jonestown were viewed as a mass suicide, it is the largest such event in over 1,900 years of history. The incident at Jonestown was the greatest single loss of American civilian life in a non-natural disaster until the events of September 11, 2001.

"The poisonings in Jonestown followed the murder of five others by Temple members at a nearby Port Kaituma airstrip. The victims included Congressman Leo Ryan, the first and only Congressman murdered in the line of duty in the history of the United States."

The Peoples Temple was formed in Indianapolis, Indiana, during the mid-1950s. It purported to practice what it called "apostolic socialism." In doing so, the Temple preached to established members that "those who remained drugged with the opiate of religion had to be brought to enlightenment—socialism."

After Jones received considerable criticism in Indiana for his integrationist views, the Temple moved to Redwood Valley, California in 1965.

In the early 1970s the Peoples Temple opened other branches in California, including in Los Angeles and San Francisco. In the mid-1970s, the Temple moved its headquarters to San Francisco.

After the Temple's move to San Francisco, it became more politically active. After Peoples Temple participation proved instrumental in the mayoral election victory of George Moscone in 1975, Moscone appointed Jones as the Chairman of the San Francisco Housing Authority Commission.[8] Unlike other figures considered as cult leaders, Jones enjoyed public support and contact with some of the highest level politicians in the United States. For example, Jones met with Vice Presidential Candidate Walter Mondale and Rosalynn Carter several times.

California Governor Jerry Brown, Lieutenant Governor Mervyn Dymally and Assemblyman and future San Fransisco Mayor Willie Brown, among others, attended a large testimonial dinner in honor of Jim Jones during September 1976.

Jonestown founded and before mass migration

Houses in JonestownIn 1974, the Temple leased over 3,800 acres (15.4 km²) of jungle land from the Guyanese government. The site was isolated and possessed soil of poor fertility, even by Guyanese standards. The nearest body of water was seven miles away by muddy roads.

Jones saw Jonestown as both a "socialist paradise" and a "sanctuary" from media scrutiny that had started with newspaper articles by Lester Kinsolving in 1972 in the San Francisco Examiner. Guyana's socialism matched what he conceived to be his own communal-agrarian ideals.

Former Temple member Tim Carter stated that the reason for choosing Guyana was the Temple's view of creeping fascism, the perception of the dominance of multinational corporations on the government, and perceived racism in the U.S. government.

Carter said the Temple concluded that Guyana, a predominantly black, English-speaking socialist country, would afford black members of the Temple a peaceful place to live. Later, Guyanese Prime Minister Forbes Burnham stated that what may have attracted Jones was that "he wanted to use cooperatives as the basis for the establishment of socialism, and maybe his idea of setting up a commune meshed with that."

A small group of Peoples Temple members began the construction of Jonestown. The Temple encouraged some of its members to move to Jonestown, which it called the "Peoples Temple Agricultural Project".
Jones began cultivating relationships with Guyanese officials before the Temple created its settlement at Jonestown. In 1976, Guyana executed a lease with the Temple for over 3,000 acres (12 km2) of land in Northwest Guyana, retroactive to April 1974.

In 1974, Guyanese government officials granted the Temple permission to import certain items "duty free." Later payoffs to Guyanese customs officials helped safeguard shipments of firearms and drugs through Guyanese customs.

The relatively large number of immigrants to Guyana overwhelmed the Guyanese government's small but stringent immigration infrastructure in a country where most people wanted to leave. Jones reached an agreement to guarantee that Guyana would permit Temple members' mass migration. To do so, he stated that Temple members were "skilled and progressive", showed off an envelope he claimed had $500,000 and stated that he would invest most of the church's assets in Guyana.
Guyanese immigration procedures were also compromised to inhibit the departure of Temple defectors and curtail the visas of Temple opponents.


Prime Minister Forbes BurnhamJones purported to establish Jonestown as a benevolent communist community, stating: "I believe we’re the purest communists there are." Marceline Jones described Jonestown as "dedicated to live for socialism, total economic and racial and social equality. We are here living communally." Jones wanted to construct a model community and claimed that Prime Minister Burnham "couldn’t rave enough about us, uh, the wonderful things we do, the project, the model of socialism."
In that regard, like the restrictive emigration policies of the Soviet Union, Cuba, North Korea and other communist republics, Jones did not permit members to leave Jonestown.[24]


The Temple's house in GeorgetownThe Temple established offices in Georgetown and conducted numerous meetings with Burnham and other Guyanese officials. In 1976, Temple member Michael Prokes requested that Guyana's Prime Minister Forbes Burnham receive Jones as a foreign dignitary along with other "high ranking U.S. officials." Jones traveled to Guyana with Lieutenant Governor Mervyn Dymally to meet with Burhnam and Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Willis. In that meeting, Dymally agreed to pass on the message to the U.S. State Department that socialist Guyana wanted to keep an open door to cooperation with the United States. Dymally followed up that meeting with a letter to Burnham stating that Jones was "one of the finest human beings" and that Dymmally was "tremendously impressed" by his visit to Jonestown.

Temple members took pains to stress their loyalty to Burnham's Peoples National Congress Party. One Temple member, Paula Adams, was involved in a romantic relationship with Guyana's Ambassador to the United States, Laurence "Bonny" Mann. Jones bragged about other Temple members he referred to as "public relations women" giving all for the cause in Georgetown. Viola Burnham, the Guyanese Prime Minister's wife, was also a strong advocate of the Temple.

Later, Burnham stated that Guyana allowed the Temple to operate in the manner it did on the references of Vice President Mondale, Rosalyn Carter and Mayor Moscone.

Burnham also said that, when Deputy Minister Ptolemy Reid traveled to Washington in September of 1977 to sign the Panama Treaties, Mondale asked him "How's Jim?", which indicated to Reid that Mondale had a personal interest in Jones' well being.[29]


Investigation and Migration to Jonestown
In the summer of 1977, Jones and several hundred Temple members moved to Jonestown to escape building pressure from San Francisco media investigations.

Jones left the same night that an editor at New West magazine read Jones an article to be published by Marshall Kilduff detailing allegations by former Temple members. Jonestown's population increased from 50 members in early 1977 to just under 1000 at its peak in 1978.


[edit] Jonestown life after mass migration
Many members of the Peoples Temple believed that Guyana would be, as Jones promised, a paradise, or a utopia. After the mass migration, Jonestown became overcrowded.

After Jones arrived, Jonestown life significantly changed.
Entertaining movies from Georgetown that the pioneers had watched were eliminated in favor of propaganda shorts on Soviet life provided by the Soviet embassy and documentaries on problems such as elderly life in the U.S. and returning Vietnam veterans' adjustment to civilian life. Bureaucratic requirements after Jones' arrival sapped labor resources for other needs. Buildings fell into disrepair and weeds encroached on fields. School study and night time lectures for adults turned to Jones discussions about revolution and enemies, with lessons focusing on Soviet alliances, Jones' crises and the purported "mercenaries" of Timothy Stoen.

For the first several months, Temple members worked six days a week, from approximately 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with an hour for lunch. In mid-1978, after Jim Jones' health deteriorated and Marcy Jones began managing more of Jonestown's operations, the work week was reduced to eight hours a day for five days a week.


Troolie CottagesAfter the day's work ended, Temple members would attend several hours of activities in a pavilion structure, including classes in socialism. Jones described this study as like that of the North Korean system of eight hours of daily work followed by eight hours of study. This also comported with the Temple's practice of gradually subjecting its followers to sophisticated mind control and behavior-modification techniques borrowed from post-revolutionary China and North Korea. Jones would often read news and commentary, including some from Radio Moscow and Radio Havana.

"Discussion" around the topics raised often took the form of Jones interrogating individual followers about the implications and subtexts of a given item, or delivering lengthy and often confused monologues on how his people should 'read' the events. In addition to Soviet documentaries, Conspiracy theory movies such as Executive Action, written by Temple attorneys Mark Lane and Donald Freed, and The Parallax View (incorrectly attributed by Jones to Lane and Freed) were screened and minutely dissected by Jones as primers on the 'true nature' of the Temple's capitalist enemies.

Jones' recorded readings of the news were part of the constant broadcasts over Jonestown's tower speakers, such that all members could hear them throughout the day and night.

Jones' news readings usually portrayed the United States as a "capitalist" and "imperialist" villain, while casting "socialist" leaders, such as former North Korean dictator Kim Il-sung ("great leader of the revolution, is in the vanguard of the Korean working class, Robert Mugabe ("long known for his communist inspiration to the people of Zimbabwe… one of the revolutionary heroes" and Joseph Stalin (disturbed by people criticizing Stalin, in a positive light.


Jonestown radio towerJonestown's primary means of communication with the outside world was a shortwave radio. All voice communications with San Francisco and Georgetown were transmitted using this radio, from mundane supply orders to confidential Temple business. The FCC cited the Temple for technical violations and for using amateur frequencies for commercial purposes.

Because shortwave radio was Jonestown's only effective means of non-postal communication, the Temple felt that the FCC's threats to revoke its operators' licenses threatened Jonestown's existence.

Later on On November 1, 1978, Congressman Leo Ryan, who represented a district in Northern California, announced that he would visit Jonestown. Ryan was friends with the father of Bob Houston, whose mutilated body was found near train tracks on October 5, 1976, three days after a taped telephone conversation with Houston's ex-wife in which leaving the Temple was discussed. Over the following months Ryan's interest was further aroused by the complaints of the Concerned Relatives represented by Timothy Stoen and the allegations following the defection of Deborah Layton.

On November 14, 1978, Ryan flew to Georgetown, Guyana (150 miles from Jonestown), along with a team of 18 people consisting of government officials, media representatives and some members of the Concerned Relatives.

The group included Ryan, his legal advisor Jackie Speier (now a Congresswoman), Neville Annibourne (representing Guyana's Ministry of Information) Richard Dwyer (Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy to Guyana), Tim Reiterman (San Francisco Examiner reporter), Don Harris (NBC reporter), Greg Robinson (San Francisco Examiner photographer), Steve Sung (NBC sound man), Bob Flick (NBC producer), Charles Krause (Washington Post reporter), Ron Javers (San Francisco Chronicle reporter), Bob Brown (NBC camera man), and Concerned Relatives representatives Anthony Katsaris, Jim Cobb, Sherwin Harris, and Carolyn Houston Boyd.

The Peoples Temple's lawyers, Mark Lane and Charles Garry, initially refused to allow Ryan's party access to Jonestown.
Then followers of Jones assiatnted Ryan and his party including an NBC-TV News crew. Then the tragic events of the next day occured killing 1,000 people.
Jones was later to be addicted on drugs and suffer from various mental disorders.

Sources: Wikpedia and NBC-TV News Special.

Any reactions?











Edited by SanDiegoMTS1 (11/10/08 03:58 AM)

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#455354 - 11/10/08 04:49 AM Re: 30 years later: The tragic events of Jonestown [Re: SanDiegoMTS1]
guypak Offline
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Wow. 30 years.

I always feel that this is the worst thing to happen to Guyana. Guyanese people (for the most part) are good people and I feel this gives them a bad impression.

When I get a chance, I will read the full article.
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#455375 - 11/10/08 11:00 AM Re: 30 years later: The tragic events of Jonestown [Re: guypak]
SanDiegoMTS1 Offline
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 Originally Posted By: guypak
Wow. 30 years.

I always feel that this is the worst thing to happen to Guyana. Guyanese people (for the most part) are good people and I feel this gives them a bad impression.

When I get a chance, I will read the full article.


Agreed. This has little or nothing(other than the nation's leadership at that time, selling the land with 'no questions asked' which iMO was a mistake)with Guyana. Instead 98% of blame goes to a mad man who abused his power and shattered the lives of thousands of people.

The US Government in Washington, should have sent a small armed miltary unit or CIA/FBI agents with Congressman Ryan's group also IMO.

Even if a few people were killed in an ambush, it would be a lot better than a massacre of almost 1,000 people. I hope Jim Jones is rotting in hell for this.


Edited by SanDiegoMTS1 (11/10/08 11:01 AM)

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#455382 - 11/10/08 11:57 AM Re: 30 years later: The tragic events of Jonestown [Re: SanDiegoMTS1]
SanDiegoMTS1 Offline
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Lex Express did you heard of this tragic event? Or EE Local aka Paul do you remember the horrors of Jonestown in 1978?


Edited by SanDiegoMTS1 (11/10/08 11:57 AM)

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#455391 - 11/10/08 12:36 PM Re: 30 years later: The tragic events of Jonestown [Re: SanDiegoMTS1]
EE Broadway Local Offline

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Seems like only yesterday rather than thirty years ago. Very tragic.
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#455392 - 11/10/08 12:38 PM Re: 30 years later: The tragic events of Jonestown [Re: SanDiegoMTS1]
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Seems like only yesterday rather than thirty years ago. Very tragic.
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#455460 - 11/10/08 06:03 PM Re: 30 years later: The tragic events of Jonestown [Re: EE Broadway Local]
SanDiegoMTS1 Offline
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 Originally Posted By: EE Broadway Local
Seems like only yesterday rather than thirty years ago. Very tragic.


agreed.

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#455528 - 11/11/08 12:50 AM Re: 30 years later: The tragic events of Jonestown [Re: SanDiegoMTS1]
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This is highly upsetting.
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#455563 - 11/11/08 11:59 AM Re: 30 years later: The tragic events of Jonestown [Re: RokuSix]
SanDiegoMTS1 Offline
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 Originally Posted By: RokuSix
This is highly upsetting.


Agreed. Off topic i am surprised Hollywood has not yet made a movie about this event that shocked the world.

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#455572 - 11/11/08 03:35 PM Re: 30 years later: The tragic events of Jonestown [Re: SanDiegoMTS1]
johnnelson Offline
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there was a movie on jim jones life done by cbs in the early 80s that covered teh whole jonestown incident

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#455573 - 11/11/08 03:37 PM Re: 30 years later: The tragic events of Jonestown [Re: johnnelson]
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and msnbc did an excellent documentary on the jim jones thing sunday night should win an emmy had excellent footage that was never seen before from the reporter,producer and cameraman that were killed at the airport hope they put it on dvd

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#455586 - 11/11/08 05:00 PM Re: 30 years later: The tragic events of Jonestown [Re: johnnelson]
SanDiegoMTS1 Offline
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 Originally Posted By: johnnelson
and msnbc did an excellent documentary on the jim jones thing sunday night should win an emmy had excellent footage that was never seen before from the reporter,producer and cameraman that were killed at the airport hope they put it on dvd


I also saw it on Sunday Night on MSNBC. They did a great job and agree it should get at least an Emmy nomatation for best documentary.

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#455588 - 11/11/08 05:02 PM Re: 30 years later: The tragic events of Jonestown [Re: SanDiegoMTS1]
SanDiegoMTS1 Offline
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Lex express i know you were not born yet but any comments about Jonestown? I am sure your parents talked about it. My Mom wept like a baby when she saw it on TV especially the hundreds of babies and young children who were killed.

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#455726 - 11/12/08 03:39 AM Re: 30 years later: The tragic events of Jonestown [Re: SanDiegoMTS1]
SanDiegoMTS1 Offline
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sebbie any actions? On Thursday 11/13/08 CNN is having a special documentenary too on the 30th anniversity of Jim Jones aat 9pm.

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#455866 - 11/13/08 10:35 AM Re: 30 years later: The tragic events of Jonestown [Re: SanDiegoMTS1]
SanDiegoMTS1 Offline
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 Originally Posted By: SanDiegoMTS1
sebbie any actions? On Thursday 11/13/08 CNN is having a special documentenary too on the 30th anniversity of Jim Jones aat 9pm.

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#456030 - 11/14/08 03:41 AM Re: 30 years later: The tragic events of Jonestown [Re: SanDiegoMTS1]
SanDiegoMTS1 Offline
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After watching another excellent CNN documentary on Jonestown. Jones had ordered posions at least 2 years before the massarce.

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#456278 - 11/16/08 02:58 AM Re: 30 years later: The tragic events of Jonestown [Re: SanDiegoMTS1]
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 Originally Posted By: SanDiegoMTS1
sebbie any actions? On Thursday 11/13/08 CNN is having a special documentenary too on the 30th anniversity of Jim Jones aat 9pm.


I really don't know enough about it even to say anything.
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#476079 - 03/27/09 11:52 PM Re: 30 years later: The tragic events of Jonestown [Re: SanDiegoMTS1]
EE Broadway Local Offline

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You Know. I have never thought of this since that day but in the thirty years since, what became of Jonestown in Guyana? Is there anything left?
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#476114 - 03/28/09 08:14 AM Re: 30 years later: The tragic events of Jonestown [Re: EE Broadway Local]
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EE Broadway Local, because of the specific area that Jim Jones picked at the time, it is certain that nothing is left of Jonestown. The dense forests would have already swallowed it up.
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#476119 - 03/28/09 10:58 AM Re: 30 years later: The tragic events of Jonestown [Re: MissMochaFrap]
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Originally Posted By: MissMochaFrap
EE Broadway Local, because of the specific area that Jim Jones picked at the time, it is certain that nothing is left of Jonestown. The dense forests would have already swallowed it up.


you right. There a semi 'memorial' left and a small area of the caskets of the victims of Jonestown. Saw the info on both a recent CNN and MSNBC docuementary on this tragic event.

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