( ASCII text )
The Jonestown Dead
John Judge letter to Arianna Hufffington
Date: Sun, 26 May 2002 23:54:45 -0400
Subject: The Jonestown Dead
From: John Judge
Since you once laughed your head off on your inaptly-titled show "Equal Time" on MSNBC as Gerald Posner maligned me for suggesting that the people who died at Jonestown did not commit suicide but were murdered, and your producers would not allow me "equal time" to respond to his castigations, I thought I'd drop a note just to clear up the record. The "kool-aid hit squad," as you found it so hilarious to call them, did exist and they used something much more lethal.
The source of one of the largest (915) black (85%) and female (90%) mass deaths in modern history was officially ruled as murder, not by me, but by the Guyanese Grand Jury that heard the evidence presented by the country's leading forensic pathologist Dr. Leslie Mootoo, who was the first to examine and count (along with the Guyanese Defense Forces -- GDF -- present), a total of 408 dead, mostly elderly and children.
Mootoo found no evidence of cyanide pathology in the corpses, which is quite visible in the form of splayed limbs, arched backs, and a certain death grin known as rictus. These bodies were in calm repose, many lying limp where they fell. Mootoo, upon close examination, found fresh needle marks in the backs of almost all of them (85-90%), bent and broken needles (indicating forced injections). The remaining dead were either "shot or strangled" according to Mootoo. The Guyanese grand jury, hearing the real medical evidence, ruled not a single suicide happened at the Jonestown camp.
The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology arrived after Mootoo had finished his work, following a call for assistance, but claimed they had "forgotten" to bring their medical kits. A simple fluid autopsy on site could have determined the actual cause of death. Instead the bodies were left to rot for days before huge transport planes brought them back to Dover AFB for quick burial or cremation. The American College of Medical Examiners wrote an open letter to the Army complaining that they had failed to do autopsies on the dead.
Over the next 5 days, the body count rose inexplicably from 408 to 915. By all accounts, internal and external, there had been 1,100 at the camp. There were only 16 official "survivors" named in the press. Do the math. The Army made several official statements about the climbing body count, which rose by over 500 at final count:
"The Guyanese can't count"
"Bodies fell in piles"
"Bodies fell on top of other bodies"
And on the fifth day:
"We went around to the other side of the pavilion and found 500 more bodies" (this is an open air pavilion no larger than 50 feet in diameter).
There were no bodies covering bodies. Can 408 cover the remaining 507? Do the math. Mootoo and survivor Odell Rhodes tagged the toes with identifying names as they were examined, though all these were later removed on orders of Zbigniew Brzesinki, Alexander Haig and Robert Pastor, who was on site. (see Kenneth Wooden, Children of Jonestown, McGraw-Hill, 1980).
I challenge you to find one photograph, aerial or otherwise that shows a single body on top of another body at Jonestown. The GDF had the grisly task of poking holes in the corpses with bayonnets to prevent them from exploding in the heat. They would have seen a body below another body, as would Mootoo and Rhodes, and counted them the first day. What you can see in the pictures are rows of bodies, clearly dragged across the grass, some in small groups on blankets or tarps, all face down. These were killed over the ensuing days and brought back to the camp.
The original NYT headline (Nov. 18, 1978) correctly read "400 dead, 700 flee into jungle". Unfortunately, they were already surrounded by GDF, British Black Watch and eventually Green Beret troops. I and other researchers/journalists have spoken to some of these killers.
Jonestown is no laughing matter. I have read over 3,000 press reports, including Guyanese, all the popular books, and interviewed key witnesses to the events surrounding the formation and termination of Jonestown. Anyone who thinks a white preacher can get hundreds of black women to kill themselves and their children at his command needs to check their racist assumption level. Posner, as is the case in all his writing and speaking, has neither done his homework nor convincingly argued his case.
How do you know the people at Jonestown killed themselves, Arianna? Because you read it in the press or because you took any time to really investigate it? So, laugh your head off if you like. Keep bringing Gerald Posner around to comment on history and reality. Meanwhile the dead sit silent, unless we let them speak for themselves and for the real history of their oppression.
Posner mentioned my name, which is completely unknown at the national level anyway, as some sort of example of what was worse than having Holocaust deniers speak at a California campus. I was among those who said, God forbid, that JFK was killed by a conspiracy. I am not a Holocaust denier, nor am I a reality denier like Posner. He said I think that there is "a conspiracy behind every aspect of American history", and then pointed to my work on the Jonestown dead, which you found so amusing.
Perhaps you should read my well footnoted piece "The Black Hole of Guyana: The Untold Story of the Jonestown Massacre" and judge for yourself instead. As my friends will tell you, I think there are at least two or more conspiracies behind most aspects of American history. You can call me a "conspiracy theorist" if you call everyone else a "coincidence theorist". It doesn't change the facts.
You write as if you have moral outrage and care about the truth nowadays. Do you only vent about the scandals everyone else knows about through the corporate press? There are far more profound scandals behind current events if you care to look for them. But, then, perhaps you'd get mocked on MSNBC without any "equal time" to respond.
John Judge -- for the truth