Magazine article USA TODAY

JONESTOWN MASSACRE: The Unrevealed Story

Magazine article USA TODAY

JONESTOWN MASSACRE: The Unrevealed Story

Article excerpt

The testimony of Rev. Jim Jones' mistress opens a Pandora's box of sex, lies, drugs, politics, and murder.

IN NOVEMBER, 1978, the world was stunned by dramatic pictures and stories about Rev. Jim Jones and the mass suicide of hundreds of people in Jonestown, Guyana. While the deaths were real, the stories were fabrications created to cover up the theft of more than $26,000,000, planned mass murder (not suicide), and the fiscal rape of the treasury of San Francisco by corrupt politicians.

Jones' second in command, Teresa Buford, was a survivor of the massacre. Her confession, revealing the true nature of what happened, details Jones' blueprint for creating his own nation, funded by U.S. taxpayers' dollars stolen as part of San Francisco's corrupt political system. Buford's allegations have been supported by Charles Garry, Jones' first lawyer, eight boxes of notes and correspondence found by The New York Times, and newly unsealed records turned over to the California Historical Society. In my research, all discrepancies between what she alleged and what was reported in 1978 have been resolved by independent documentation supporting her position. I believe Buford. This is her story.

Terri Buford was Jones' mistress and financial manager of the Peoples Temple in California. The daughter of a former naval commander and spy, Buford reveals the mind control and brainwashing techniques used by Jones and his followers to manage the members of the Peoples Temple. That was just the beginning, however. Jones' objective was power. Using the Temple as a base, he manipulated its members to vote for and support local California candidates. Membership in Jones' church reached 20,000 in California by the early 1970s and his church had 13 buses used to transport large groups on short notice to any political rally or demonstration he supported. In the successful 1975 San Francisco mayoral campaign of George Moscone, Temple members went from precinct to precinct, voting over and over. Officials at the polling places never confiscated the voters' yellow registration forms. There were more votes cast than registered voters. When Moscone's opponent, John Barbagelata, complained about voter fraud, Jones sent him a box of candy with a bomb. Though the bomb misfired, Barbagelata muffled his complaints.

Four hundred voter registration books disappeared and never were recovered, as the entire voting list of the 1975 election vanished without a trace. Timothy Stoen, then Jones' righthand man, was moved from Ukiah, Calif., to San Francisco as Assistant District Attorney and put in charge of the Voter Fraud Unit. In effect, the prosecutors were responsible for investigating themselves. The 1975 fraud resulted in not one conviction.

Those government officials he could not influence with his ballot power, Jones owned through drugs and blackmail. Buford was the head of Jones' "diversions" unit, formed specifically to blackmail politicians whose sexual activity was photographed or tape recorded. Allies were rewarded handsomely with financial and sexual favors. Millions of dollars then were stolen from the government of San Francisco by Jones and the Temple through the scheme of signing up adopted children for government benefits endorsed by politicians elected with phony balloting in rigged elections. These benefits were paid to the Temple by politicians empowered and owned by Jones. The children were put on the streets with $100-a-day quotas to be met by begging or suffer severe beatings for their failure.

Temple staff members were placed in key positions in the government to ensure the continued flood of new money. In Ukiah, Jones-controlled workers served in the Department of Social Services, Juvenile Hall, the Public Health Department, and the Offices of County Government. In effect, the entire local government was on Jones' payroll. In San Francisco, Jones himself was rewarded with the job of heading the city's Housing Authority. …

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