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Friday, November 19, 2010

RED KOOL AID

"Jim used religion to try to get some people out of the opiate of religion"
-Mrs Jones

November 18, 1978 was when the Jonestown mass suicide took place. Followers of cultist Jim Jones left America for a new colony in Guyana at a colony named Jonestown, and there eventually all drank flavored drinks laced with poison, to the last child in the cult.

Death cults aren't exactly new and the People's Temple cult was not the last, but it was one of the most shocking as over 900 people deliberately and willfully drank poison at the orders of their leader, who was shot by an assistant at his request. The events on that horrible day are pretty well known but there's an aspect of this story which doesn't get told much - ever in the legacy media.

Jim Jones was a hardcore communist. At Right Wing News, Van Helsing wrote all about his heavy communist ideas and how that influenced the cult and its actions.
His wife left instructions for the money they milked from their gullible slaves to be donated to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
...
Like Anita Dunn, he was an open admirer of the tyrant with the highest body count in human history, Mao Zedong. In 1978, he traveled to Cuba to meet with Huey Newton, the leader of the Black Panthers, whose descendents have loyal friends in the twisted racist farce Obama has made of the Department of Justice.
A friend of communist radical Angela Davis, Jones considered himself the reincarnation of Vladimir Lenin. At Jonestown there were no religion services, the topic was banned from conversation. People worked ten hours a day in the fields then had to listen to a daily communist lecture by Jones.

When the Jonestown suicide occurred, it was triggered by a visit from Congressman Leo Ryan who wanted to investigate supposed human rights violations. He visited the compound to look around, was nearly attacked by a cult member with a knife, then left. Before takeoff, congressman Ryan's plane was met by a group of Jones' Red Brigade who murdered the congressman and several members of the delegation. Then they went home and committed suicide, knowing what was coming next.

What's interesting is that in the RWN article, a commenter named Martin Hale (who has his own blog which is sadly not updated as much as I'd like) added some details to the Jonestown story that few are aware of:

Talk about a blast from the past!

Yes, Jim Jones was an ardent admirer of communism and it was no secret whatsoever - amateur radio operators from all over the world knew about it. Why amateur radio operators? Jones illegally used the amateur radio bands to conduct business between the People's Temple in San Francisco and Jonestown. Business as in ordering supplies. Business as in giving instructions about managing their money back in the States. Business as in planning trips between the two locations. Business as in communicating policy decisions to his minions back in SF. Business as in making arrangements to fly new recruits down to Jonestown. Business as in avoiding international phone tariffs by using stateside phone-patches to connect with businesses in the Bay area.


All that business talk attracted the attention of amateurs the world over because the first rule of ham radio club the world around is that the small slices of frequency spectrum which are allocated to the amateur radio service are only granted for use on a non-commercial basis.

So, most amateur radio operators, here and abroad, all sit up a take notice of commercial activity on their limited spectrum space. Most hams rather jealously guard those small bands of spectrum space because commercial, military and government users are always eyeing that spectrum space hungrily and licking their chops at the prospect of kicking those non-productive hams off the band and using it for their own purposes. So when interlopers appear, most hams take notice. Radio spectrum is a limited and extremely valuable resource - if you don't believe me, pay attention the next time the FCC auctions some of that space off to cell phone companies. Billions of dollars change hands for empty air.

At first, people tried to chase Jones off the air by interfering with his transmissions. Rudimentary signal jamming. But Jones was persistent and he'd just shift frequency. Sometime in 1977 I had filed a complaint with the FCC (along with several hundred other hams) about what Jones was doing. I was one of dozens of amateur volunteers who monitored and logged Jones' activities on 15m and 20m to submit to the FCC in support of their ongoing investigation.

I can still recall the wild rants he'd deliver on the air. He'd talk for hours just rambling from one subject to the next. And yes, his admiration of Lenin and Mao was very apparent - he spoke about them frequently enough that I heard him talk about them several times.

Every time I hear or read about Jonestown, I still remember the sick/queasy feeling I got when I first heard of the killings. All those voices that I'd heard on air were dead. All those families destroyed. I'd always guessed that no good was going to come of his Jonestown project, but I had no idea it could turn out that poorly.
The curious thing, as Van Helsing points out, is how historians and the legacy media focus on the sham religious cult aspect and totally write out the communist aspect of this story. Having had several members of the media killed in the airport attack you'd think they would want the story told, but the narrative of religion bad, communism just mistaken but basically noble is too strong among the left.

Oh, and the drink mix was Flavor Aid, not Kool Aid, I just used that because people are familiar with that reference.

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