Just days before the death anniversary of some 900 United States citizens in Guyana, a report aired by Cable News Network (CNN) in the United States of America suggests that Reverend Jim Jones, who is responsible for the Jonestown massacre, may have planned the cyanide deaths years before the fatal November 18, 1978 tragedy.
This year is the 30th anniversary of that debacle.
According to the CNN report, cyanide was being bought and shipped to the Jim Jones’s jungle compound for at least two years before the fatal death command.
Sources in Guyana told the media house that the Jonestown camp began obtaining shipments of cyanide — about a quarter to a half-pound of the deadly poison each month — from as early as 1976, well before most of Jones’s followers made the move there.
Jones led his followers to their death after his gunmen killed a visiting US congressman, Leo Ryan, and four others, including an NBC News correspondent and his cameraman, on the tragic day.
Jones told the members of his People’s Temple church that the Guyanese Army would invade their settlement after the murders.
He demanded that parents kill their children first, then take their own lives, rather than face the authorities because of what Jones had done.
Of the 909 who died, 303 were children — from teens to toddlers.
Most were killed by Jones’s loyalists, who used syringes to squirt cyanide down their throats and to inject them.
CNN reported that it was told that Jones obtained a jeweler’s license to buy cyanide.
The chemical can be used to clean gold. But there was no jeweler’s operation in Jonestown.
Six months before Ryan arrived on a one-man investigative mission, the settlement’s doctor wrote in a memo to Jones: “Cyanide is one of the most rapidly acting poisons…I would like to give about two grams to a large pig to see how effective our batch is.”
Ryan, the only U.S. representative assassinated in office, was shot at a nearby airstrip as he tried to leave with 15 church members who told him Jones was holding people captive in the remote jungle encampment.
Jones was a phony faith healer who moved his Indiana church to northern California in the mid-’60s in search of a safe place to survive the possibility of nuclear warfare.
In the mid-’70s, when a magazine raised questions about church beatings and financial abuses, Jones moved his flock to Guyana, in South America, to the jungle settlement he called his ‘beautiful promised land’.
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