Search This Blog

Thursday, November 13, 2008

MSNBC's Jonestown "Witness" Documentary Verdict: PERJURY. And Tonight-- More Of The Same From CNN?

Move over Stanley Nelson. You've got company.

As predicted, MSNBC's "Witness To Jonestown" carried all the earmarks of a Rebecca Moore behind-the-scenes production. One of my readers, "Dave," had this to say about the two-hour program last Sunday:

"I observed all the same criminal omissions. The most glaring being the way they always present the People Temple's accommodation of old people and children as 'humanitarian' and ignore that it was the primary source of income. (California child welfare and social security checks were coming in at the rate of $65,000 per month.)

Moore and her ilk have reduced the label for these destructive, con-games-on-a-massive-scale to the word 'cult' and have then dismissed the word.

She should be ashamed of herself.

As a religious scholar, she needs to know that putting cults and the worship of God on the same plane diminishes religion. Period."

An unquestionably cogent observation, Dave. Bravo.

Unfortunately, however, for a flaming cult apologist like our "religious scholar" Moore, it's next to impossible for her to feel ashamed until she changes her shameless ways.

Becky Moore and husband "Mac" McGehee's San Diego-based "Jonestown Institute" offers up an endless dunghill range of cult apologist propaganda, to any and all gullible individuals, with extra heavy shovel loads for knuckle headed producers, directors, editors, and reporters. To make it truly palatable, Mac & Becky market their message with an insidious concoction of fact & fantasy that works the public like some macabre supermarket tabloid.

They're willing, able, and ecstatic dispensing all the data, just as long as it's spiked with compelling "evidence" promoting all the wonderful, cheery facets of this so-very destructive cult.

And the Moore/McGehee dynamic duo knows exactly how to play such corporate media outfits like MSNBC, so that a nice, sturdy apologist undercurrent will run in the script just enough to chalk up another "mission accomplished."

And so it was with "Witness To Jonestown." One after another of Becky's friends testified to the "bad" as well as the "good" of the Jones Cult. Interesting, though, because Producer Stephen Stept seemed to have not cared less about interviewing a very relevant source named Pat Lynch.

Pat Lynch is a former NBC (as in the corporate chunk that completes MSNBC) Nightly News producer who had prepared a series of reports on the increasingly dangerous People's Temple cult in the months preceding November, 1978.

Last year, with the circulation of Stan Nelson's outrageous People's Temple whitewash ("The Life and Death of Peoples Temple"), Lynch could no longer remain silent. She wrote in the Huffingon Post about NBC's withholding of hours of footage she had produced:

"I didn't realize the extent of the media cover-up," said Lynch, "until I began revisiting these issues 28 years later. How could NBC lose -- or worse, destroy historical footage of an event like Jonestown? Why? And what about my interviews with the people who predicted from firsthand experience what would happen if the Ryan party entered Jonestown? The documentaries aired recently as the anniversary approaches are a revisionist history of the event. 'Lovely people. Tragic story.'

The real story has yet to be told and must be told for at least three reasons. First, there's the matter of accountability for 918 needless deaths. Second, there's the issue of journalistic responsibility. Those who made these fateful decisions at NBC, including former company president Fred Silverman, former NBC News president Les Crystal and NBC lawyers, are still alive. Finally, at a time when the media is criticized for missing the truth about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and for its own lack of transparency, telling this story is not only a way to come clean but a cautionary tale for all news organizations."

Come clean, indeed. Not a hopeful scenario as long as media moguls like Fred Silverman continue keeping it all swept under their very dirty little rug.

In addition to Dave's comment about the "Witness" load of half-truths, I received this little invite from one of Mac & Becky's cronies, named "Roger":


I am a family friend of the Moore's (Rebecca and Mac McGehee). I've written many articles on the website and I've invited your father to write an article for the Alternative Considerations of Jonestown website. Trust me, they have NOTHING against you or your father. Recently at our annual gathering in San Diego, I suggested we solicit Les to write an article of his experience....."

Well, Roger, please don't think me ungrateful, but this side of the fence will have to take a rain check. One of the more obvious sticking points is the fact that Rebecca's father, Rev. John Moore, delivered--quite cunningly--the contents of my father's briefcase (containing Temple exposes) to Jim Jones himself in 1975. This was to be my father's last-ditch effort to stop the cult--two entire years before Marshall Kilduff rose from his lazy, negligent duff to finally do his job responsibly. Rebecca, meanwhile, has lied outright about why my father left the San Francisco Examiner, in her apologist magnus opus, "A Sympathetic History of Jonestown: The Moore Family Involvement of People's Temple."

We'll discuss that particular Moore scandal a little later, in all its sordid details.

In the meantime, did anyone out there bother taking up my little wager (in the last posting) on the odds that MSNBC would cover up, distort and serve up a generous serving of half-truths, per the "Jonestown Institute's" schematic?

Payday, folks!

Incredibly, there are other apologists like Moore who continue to sing praises for the "bright side" to The Guyana Gulag That Jim Built. Denise Stephenson, Becky Moore's college roommate, produced the atrocious 2005 book "Dear People: Remembering Jonestown," containing "joyful" letters cult captives frequently were forced to send back to the United States.

Some of the letters in particular raved about the "marvelous" food available at Jonestown. Interesting. What a flagrant contrast to then-12 year-old Tracy Parks's (daughter of slain cult defector Patricia Parks) account of the "People's Temple Agricultural Project."

In a recent interview with the Ukiah Daily Journal--a newspaper that once served as one of the many mouth organs for Jim Jones--Tracy recalled the reality of Jonestown:

"It turned out to be hell on earth," she said. "Once we were there it just finally sunk in and I said, 'Oh my God, I'm going to die here.' We couldn't really get caught talking to each other. Because they knew if you did that you would be planning something."

Diaz [her current married name] said that although the community was advertised as a self-sustainable jungle paradise, that couldn't have been further from the truth.

"My breakfast consisted of rice and milk with bugs in it," she said. "And I joke today that that's how I got my protein. We were just severely malnourished. We found out later it was the rice they fed to the hogs. They would test you periodically. You had to know Chinese, Russian. You had to teach yourself these things. If they asked you something when you were line for food and you didn't know the answer you'd get turned away. It was a constant fear, exhaustion to keep you from rebelling and keep you more able to brainwash, keep you pretty sedate."

Sedated, fearful, and exhausted.

Oh, AND brainwashed,too??

Not a chance--that is, if our renowned Cult Apologist Queen and her pals can help it.

Rebecca Moore and Massimo Introvigne, on an official 2006 visit to the California headquarters of "Unarius," a flying saucer cult. Introvigne is founder and managing director of CESNUR (Center for Studies on New Religions), as well as a proud director of the Transylvanian Society of Dracula. One of Introvigne's more well-known "scholarly papers" was entitled: "'Brainwashing': Career of a Myth in the United States and Europe."

NOTE: Tonight, Thursday, November 13 (9 p.m. EST), CNN will debut its own Jonestown anniversary special, "Escape From Jonestown." They have disclosed recently the discovery that Jim Jones and his inner circle--including Moore's two sisters, Annie and Carolyn--had been importing cyanide every month into Jonestown, for at least two years before their mass murder of the rest of the cult in 1978.

Of course, the real question is whether CNN, like MSNBC, fell prey to the toxic revisionist charms of Mac & Becky's Jonestown Apologist Institute.

Stay tuned, one and all.


Dave said...

Dear Tom,

There is pathology at work here that you have to finally acknowledge. Of the 900 plus inside and outside Guyana, a subset were co-conspirators, whether they acknowledge it or not. Some were victims. Some were little kids, for God's sake. Some were old and feeble and hoodwinked.

And some were co-conspirators.

There must be a tremendous power in thumbing your nose at your family, community and government and going off to join a cult. It is an astronomical power trip to stand innocent inside the fence, condescendingly looking out at your loved ones clustering together with tear-streaked faces pleading, begging for you to come back to them. Power. Raw power.

For me at least, this explains why your dad was perceived as the "enemy" then, and still is, even now.

When the whole bloody mess inevitably collapses into the mire upon which it was built, each of those pathological co-conspirators can all claim to have been brainwashed by a cunning, charismatic leader.

They enjoy all the power and none of the responsibility. Brilliant, really.

(If you happen to be sick enough to be into that sort of thing.)

No matter what role you played, now you are just another victim.

Steve Hassan and Rick Ross (to name but two) can tell you all about the futility of trying to talk people on that sort of power trip back into the "real" world. Your dad can certainly contribute to that conversation.

Something tells me that your efforts on this blog to shame the keepers of the broken Jonestown gates back to common sense and common decency is essentially that same fight.

It is no surprise that these co-conspirators respond to you the way Jones’s co-conspirators responded to their "concerned relatives" thirty years ago.

If those who survived Jonestown, (or watched from the sidelines but participated nevertheless) had the courage to acknowledge what they have done... To deal with it... To own it...

Maybe their story might have made a difference by now. Had they had the stomach to be honest with themselves, and to have embraced their role in this tragedy - and to have not instead nurtured a twisted and entirely misplaced sense of righteous indignation and superstar victimhood – maybe they could have helped. (As if they want to help.) If they had told the whole truth, maybe it might have been enough to dissuade the Branch Davidians. It might have been the message that prevented some little piece of harm done by one of the ten thousand other groups/sects/cults out there at this moment.

Maybe some little pre-adolescent girl in Utah would not have had her life ruined.

Maybe when Warren Jeffs taught his prodigies that “perfect obedience produces perfect faith, which produces perfect people” some of them (who were in mortal danger and did not know it) might have thought about something they had seen in one of those Jonestown documentaries. Something that one of the relatives of the people who mixed the poison in Guyana said from her heart that gave them a queasy feeling, and an instinctive nudge that maybe this Jeffs character ought to be avoided.

But alas, it was not to be.

Consider the source Tom. There is something amiss in that family tree. (To put it mildly.) Look at their track record. You don't stand much of a chance to talk any of them back to sanity. Neither did your dad. Some of their own blood died over there.

There is a good chance that they derive pleasure from all of this.

As the old saying goes - and it certainly applies here - don't wrestle with a pig. You just get dirty, and the pig loves all the negative attention. Imagine the puffed-up, twisted sense of ebullience. Carrying on the cause for three decades, with national media attention (and compliance) all while pontificating with the status of Ph.D. expertise?

Heady stuff.

You stand about as much chance overcoming that pathology now as your dad did then. He was the best friend they ever ignored. Let them kiss the soles of his shoes and maybe then he should contribute another article. Give them one more chance to listen. (As if.)

Their pathology stockpiled the poison that murdered three hundred little kids. They need that article to give them some hope that they aren’t already dead too. And yet they won.

There will be more destruction. There will be more death. There will be more trauma. More ruined lives. More destroyed families. More successful con artist psychopaths. And more (many more) co-conspirators all feigning blissful innocence.

And so it goes.


Dave said...

If your dad wants to write that article, I would like to interview him.

Pass these questions along to him, and ask him politely for me if he would be interested in giving me his take on them.

I will discuss publication and he will have 100% final cut. I give you my word.

Now how about these:

1. He took their passports upon arrival to the utopia. Should he have done that? What would have happened if he had adopted a policy of "come and go as you please" and made some percentage of the monthly budget available for free airline tickets on a first-come, first-serve basis? How do you think that would have impacted the settlement (over and above infusing it with some degree of integrity)?

2. Were the armed guards really necessary?

3. Was it a prison camp?

4. Are individuals responsible for their own decisions?

5. Why do you suppose no one listened when you sounded the alarm?

6. What is wrong with people?

7. What is the best that can come of all this?

--More later --

Dave said...

more questions...

(pick and choose. Ignore the ones you don't like. Add the ones you want. Answer the question you always hoped someone would ask but never did. etc.)

Q. If a man smooth talks alot of old people to come and live with him in a rainforest settlement in South America, and leave the family behind, and then he takes their social security checks and banks their money in his name, and whispers sweet nothings in their ear, and maybe doesn't really spend their money ON them... does that constitute "social security fraud" in your opinion?

Q. What do you know about Father Divine? Was JJ following a script?

Q. Was he simply running a communist/socialist state modelled on Stalin or Castro? If so, did he have the right to detain his workers and enforce discipline with an iron hand?

Q. What do you know about the People's Temple seizing children who were wards of the State of California - against the parent's wishes? Is that just an urban legend, or did it really happen?

Q. Why do you suppose so many responsible adults didn't go ape shit when they heard about that little kid forced to eat his own vomit? Is that a common disciplinary practice among Californians? Did it come from Dr. Spock? Which page?

Dave said...

Here is a rather tough question:

Was there a racial undertone to your articles? Why did you point out in article #1 that the thousand people being bussed just north of Ukiah for twelve hour Sundays were mostly black? Was it just stating the facts, or was their a more racial motive?

Dave said...

Another tough one...

Q. This is a quote from the 2nd article in the series:

"Then Mrs. Jones, a trim blonde, sang a song entitled "My Black Baby," with the Jones' adopted black son, a handsome boy of 14, standing at his mother's feet at stage edge while the audience loudly applauded. (The boy had been extensively featured in last week's sermon by his father in Redwood Valley, as well.)"

Is there a racist undertone to this as well...? Why was it important to point out that Jones was Cherokee? What difference did that make to the story?

Anonymous said...

Believe me, I'm no Jonestown apologist. If anything, I'm quite the opposite.

But I find the remarks about Rebecca Moore to be offensive, even in light of the suitcase incident between John and Les. It's been 33 years. I've never seen anything remotely apologist written by Moore on the SDSU site (they let others write articles, but they are from a pretty wide variety of viewpoints). Most of the items are just scans of old documents and audio recordings. Her older book took a, to use a word from the title, more "Sympathetic" view of the Temple, but even that 20 year old work wasn't overtly apologetic.

She seems very objective about it now. Maybe time can heal this 33 year old wound.

Dave said...

Toughest Questions...

Q. When you realized that it was a largely black congregation who were being subjected to the con, what efforts did you make to warn that demographic of people about the potential deceipt being practiced under JJ?

Q. Is it fair to assume that when one looks up "a delicate situation" at, that they find the following definition first on the list: "Talking to a man whose two beloved daughters have joined up with JJ in South America and are there as we speak. Her mother and he HAVING to believe everything was going to be alright, when you know it is anything but.

Now THAT is a very delicate situation.

Dave said...

This is the toughest question I can ask you.

It deserves a heart- and soul-searching honest answer.

Q. If, heaven forbid, it had been Tom in the jaws of that wretched beast, and you had an opportunity to turn over their 2nd biggest enemy's briefcase to buy some leverage (any tiny sliver of leverage) on behalf of your beloved son, would you have played the card?

(I apologize for asking it.)

Dave said...

So long as we are floating hypotheticals, lets float a wild one and see how you answer this:

Q. Just suppose the roles had been reversed. You are the agonizing father and he is the reporter.

You get a call from JJ a few days before the backyard meeting is scheduled with the reporter. He tells you he is sending his guy out to meet with you. Only take a sec. The guy shows up. In a suit. Non descript.

You don't know him. He don't know you...

He shakes your hand and thanks you for meeting with him, and then he tells you he knows all about the backyard sit down you have planned. He tells you your girls are well, and frankly a little over worked. He tells you JJ is thinking about sending both of them
back and baning them permanently from the utopia because of their independant natures.

He hands you a yellow envelope, and you feel a lump at the bottom of it. He says if the stuff in that vial were to find its way into a cup of iced tea - it would cause a viral infection that would be untraceable and wouldn't do the job for a month.

Then he pulls out a calendar and asks to borrow a telephone. While you sit there, he calls the airline and books two one way tickets from South America to San Francisco for a date six weeks out. And he winks at you.

Now. Roles reversed. Do you play ball? Remember, you are a dad, and these are your kids.

Dave said...

Q. Can having a sense of morality be reduced to having had a parent or other trusted authority make a series of emphatic statements early in one's childhood? ("Always tell the truth." "Don't steal." "Try to be a good person." "Treat others with the same dignity and respect that you would want them to treat you with." "Etc.")

Is the difference between a moral person - one who has a clear sense of right and wrong, and an immoral person - one who sees right in wrong, and feels a general sense of indifference to both - can that essential human trait come down to those emphatic statements imprinted upon them in their youth?

Dave said...

Two questions targeted to the heart of the matter...

Q. Speaking now of the general white apathy and acceptance of JJ, how much of that was good, old fashioned "Schadenfreude?" (The malicious pleasure taken from observing the misery of welfare cheats getting what they deserve?)

Q. If NBC Nightly News investigator Pat Lynch and others are indeed correct, and there was a CIA component to Guyana, what in the blue blazes are representatives of the Lexington/Concord U.S. of A. doing mixed up in that sort of thing? Isn't the very thought of U.S. involvement in a cult about as anti-american AT ITS CORE as one can get? Wouldn't any U.S. of A. agent involved in this be - by definition - the exact sort of "domestic enemy" that all public trustees swear an oath to defend against? Is this still the U.S. of A? Did I miss a memo or something?

Dave said...

Alright, let's talk about Timmy's apology.

Q. Was it an apology? Was it someone looking deep within his own soul, seeing how something in his decision set had hurt another human being, OWNING it, and then extending a genuine apology while looking a man square in the eye?

(I don't think it was. That "original sin" bullshit gave it away for me. Poor victim of the devil Timmy. Yeah. Right. And also he didn't meet with you man to man.

Also, he didn't contact you by 12/31/79, which was my personal cut off for all apologies.

And he didn't come to you by 12/31/89. Ten years is long enough to scan one's soul before mustering up the courage to open one's eyes. I mean, after awhile,
you just have to admit that fear has you by the short hairs, and you like it.)

Q. When Timmy said he was blinded by a utopian world view, did that mean he was so blind that he thought an armed prison camp where they confiscated the passports when you got off the plane, and fed you rice with worms in it
was actually an intoxicatingly-romantic vision of utopia? Could it be that Timmy just has very low utopia standards?

Q. Timmy said it was a manifestation of original sin, which he now really, really understands. So the devil made him do it. O.K... But that was then, and this is God making him do things now. O.K... Seems to me if God was apologizing, God would have the fortitude to do it eye to Eye. Him being God, and all.
So I guess my question is, do you think he should have been man enough to look you in the eye? I know you forgive. That's what Christians do. But did he really
ask for forgiveness?

Q. Which apology impresses you more, mine or his: Here is mine: "Dear Les, I know I wielded a giant, dark, ominous, horrible power against you when you were standing in our community and trying to warn all of us about it. I know I was wrong to do that, and I hurt you and your family and the community at large by hiding its true nature. I am 100% responsible. The devil is not to blame. The Saints. The Rangers. The Brooklyn Dodgers had nothing to do with it. It was all me.
I woke up that morning, looked myself in the mirror and said 'I think I will bring a tremendous power to bear on Les today because I can. Not because I am aswirl in romantic notions of utopia, but because I have the levers here to bring this right down on his head, and I lack the character not to do it, so I am going to do that.' And then I did that. And for that, I am sorry. I wish I had not done that to you." (Administered, of
course, by a man standing in front of you, apparently sincere, and having the guts to look you square in the eye, and to extend his contrite hand after he said it.)

Q. When Jesus taught that WE must forgive, was that more about releasing US from the torment of resentment and anger, than releasing THEM from culpability they have earned?

Rose said...

The thing about Tim Stoen, Dave, is he has not changed a bit. We found that out when he was hired as Assistant DA in Humboldt County. He's back to inflicting himself on poor Mendocino again now.

Tim Stoen found himself a new charismatic leader, and went right back to the old dirty tricks.

Imagine the lobbying power of the People's Temple with modern day technology - computers, email, viral email, blogs...

Back then they had to handwrite or type their letters to pressure politicians and newspapers into bending to their will - remember, they handed out a myriad of different colored pens, and different stationery, stacks of phone books to steal names from, and then they were directed to write letters, sometimes praising, sometimes not...

Thankfully that hideous monster is no longer in this county.

Dave said...

Think about that. A whole army of people casting for new recruits. Writing letters. Calling on the phone. Pulling their friends onto the bus early on a Sunday morning. Singing all the praises. And so very many young people sat down to decide if they should take the next step. And they had thousands of voices telling them to go, and one sole voice telling them to "not go." "Don't go." "Don't do it."

Thank you again Mr. Kinsolving.

frwhiskey said...

I grew up in SF and was in high school when this gulag-nightmare exploded. I distinctly remember wondering, looking at the mass-murder heaps, why so many were black, and asking one of my leftie/commie teachers: "Were they trying to kill only blacks?" She was horrified at my question! All over America it must have been the same question - for those who'd never heard of JJ or Guyana.

Now, years later, I work as a tourguide, and the MILK film brings up those horrific times. US tourists want to see the City Hall, etc. from the film. It is my opportunity to mention how he, Moscone, Willie Brown and Jerry Brown were all involved in and endorsed JJ. If Milk were afraid of assassination, and left Koolaid powder in this will to be sprinkled with this ashes off the Golden Gate Bridge, what further needs to be said? The California politicians were hand-in-glove - even to have the money transfered to off-shore accounts from the California tax coffers required some higher supervision. Or were these cynical pols very happy to be rid of black welfare cheats, sent far away from their jurisdiction, with PC claptrap about Communism and multiracial paradise, perhaps even aware that death was coming for these unwanted people? If Harvey Milk were beholden in his election to the Temple's work on his behalf, he definitely knew more than a little of how they operated. He was as cynical a New York transplant as any SF pol could be, and he used the "old lady" base shamelessly, pretending to care, while cashing in every step of his way. If I even intimate such things on the tourbus, I find that many US tourists are much more interested to read more. I tell them - read - that's what books and internet are for, what your brain is for. Films? Fun, entertainment, propaganda, whatever... who takes a Hollywood film seriously as history, anyway? I feel as Milk said, "You gotta give 'em hope": yes, we need to give hope to Americans that dirty political shenanigans in San Francisco should be aired out so that we can hope future victims of "cults" can escape. Not one mention of Milk's frequent visits to People's Temple in SF comes into that Sean Penn film. It's all about his "gayness", not his cynical use of down-and-outers.

frwhiskey said...

Little last aside: what alarms me in that photo above is the red-haired Irish woman standing amongst the black female "co-religionists". I hate to say this, but she's so similar to me she could be a sister. I wonder if she is dead now - victim of PC brainwashing as our silly Catholic high school tried to do to us girls: Presentation High School had Terri O'Neill and a Ms. Halloran both pushing Communist ideals and USSR-is-a-great-place BS on us. Very few kids argued back, just wrote it down and passed their exams. Brainwashing can be done right in our silly schools here, and still is.

Anonymous said...

Nice post and this post helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank you you as your information.

Anonymous said...

Definitely consider that that you stated. Your favourite justification seemed to be at the web the
simplest factor to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked whilst folks consider concerns
that they just do not recognize about. You managed to hit the nail upon the highest
as smartly as outlined out the whole thing with no need side-effects
, other people could take a signal. Will likely be again
to get more. Thank you
Also visit my site :: amber leaf