The Absolutely True, Somewhat Spurious and Totally Impossible


As Judge points out, these tactics were re-markably similar to the MKULTRA experiment of the '50s. The CIA dabbled extensively in drug-concoction and sensory deprivation. Many "subjects" were kept doped-up for weeks on end in order to render their psyches more malleable.

When Rep. Ryan decided to visit Jonestown in November 1978, the final act of the People's Temple drama began to unfold. After a tense visit to the compound, Ryan made his way through the jungle to the nearby Port Kaituma airstrip with several cult members wishing to flee Jonestown. But before he could board his chartered plane to safety, a team of assassins emerged from the jungle and opened fire. The gunmen, who were described as zombielike by survivors, methodically killed Ryan and three reporters on the tarmac.

That night, Jones threw a huge Kool-Aid party, a very real "White Night." On an audiotape of Jones' last musings, made just before the killing began, he can be heard saying, "Get Dwyer out of here." Richard Dwyer was deputy chief of mission at the American Embassy in Guyana, and is the frequent focus of Jonestown conspiracy theories. Though Dwyer has refused to confirm or deny his alleged CIA employ, he is listed as a CIA employee in the 1968 East German publication Who's Who in the CIA. Jones' taped comment was clearly in error; Dwyer was wounded at the airstrip ambush, and survivors say he remained there through the night waiting for help to arrive.

In a statement to the New York Times, Guyana's top pathologist said that when the Guyanese army entered the camp, they found 400 dead, only two of whom appeared to be suicides. Over 80 percent of the dead had fresh needle punctures in their backs, others had been shot or strangled. The Times also reported that the Guyanese discovered a cache of drugs large enough to keep a good-size city spaced for a year -- sodium pentathol, Demerol, Thorazine. All of these drugs were favorites of the CIA's MKULTRA experiments.

American Green Berets were detailed to the Jonestown clean-up, and the body count swelled from 400 to 913. Judge intimates that U.S. forces were sent in to round up and kill the 500-plus Temple members who had escaped into the surrounding jungle. The bodies were left out in the tropical sun for a week, thwarting any attempt at a definitive pathological investigation.

"At one point," Judge writes, "the remains of 183 people arrived [back in the U.S.] in 82 caskets."

But the story of the suicidal Jim Jones and his gullible, Kool-Aid guzzling minions has gone down in history as the "official" explanation of the Jonestown tragedy, attesting, if you believe John Judge, to the CIA's ability to cover its ass.

The Glomar Explorer --
Use Once Then Discard
Conspiracy doesn't always skulk down dark alleys or run through the jungle. Sometimes it takes to the high seas. In the murky shallows of San Francisco Bay sits the seagoing legacy of yet another CIA cover-up.

Howard Hughes' pathological secrecy so endeared him to the Agency that in 1973, the spooks at Langley contracted his Global Marine company to build a $250 million mystery ship to be used for a single mission. Ostensibly constructed as an undersea mining vessel, the 36,000-ton Glomar Explorer's real task was to retrieve a Soviet submarine that sank three miles to the sea floor off Hawaii in 1968.

After some documents concerning the Glomar's mission were stolen from a safe at Hughes' corporate headquarters in 1974 and used in an extortion attempt, the CIA, shuffling quickly to control the damage, leaked the "official" story of the Glomar Explorer to the New York Times. The Glomar, the Agency admitted, had been used to scoop a Soviet sub off the ocean floor. (The Soviets, oddly enough, had no idea where their sub had sunk. And only American sonar was sophisticated enough to find the hapless vessel where it rested 17,000 feet beneath the surface.) The Glomar succeeded in hoisting the sub halfway to the surface but, alas, the mission had failed when the Golf-class vessel, a diesel-powered relic from the '50s, broke apart. Instead of the code room and the handful of obsolete missiles it hoped to recover, the Agency had to settle for the bloated remains of 70 Soviet seamen.

However, a Navy source maintains that the CIA leaked disinformation. The sub wasn't an antiquated relic, as the Agency said, but a state-of-the-art, nuclear-powered Yankee-class vessel with a full complement of deadly multiple-warhead missiles. The source says that the CIA planted the Golf-class story in hopes that the Soviets would think that the mission ended in the misidentification of submarine parts. He alleges that the Glomar successfully retrieved some of the Yankee-class sub's missiles and their firing mechanisms and the knowledge obtained gave the U.S. a leg-up in negotiating the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty in the mid-'70s.

The Glomar Explorer sits today beside the mothballed Liberty ships in the Carquinez Strait, just another piece of flotsam. Or is it? Signs posted on the ship warn fishermen not to anchor within 500 feet due to underwater electrical cables -- for some reason, the Glomar is still plugged in.

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