Monday, April 8, 2013

Heavens Gate, Johnstown and Mass Media Fables: An Interview With John Judge, by Sherman H. Skolnick,

March 29, 1997, Conspiracy Nation, Heavens Gate, Johnstown and Mass Media Fables: An Interview With John Judge, by Sherman H. Skolnick,

John Judge belongs to the Coalition on Political Assassinations ( e-mail: and is renowned for years of research into American "deep politics." He has looked into the various political assassinations here in the U.S., and has special expertise in the so-called "mass suicide" at Jonestown in 1978. (See, for example, "The Black Hole of Guyana," by Mr. Judge, in *Secret and Suppressed: Banned Ideas and Hidden History* edited by Jim Keith. Portland: Feral House, 1993. ISBN: 0-922915-14-8.) Judge has also been featured in past issues of Conspiracy Nation (complete archive at

John Judge was interviewed by Sherman Skolnick of the Citizens' Committee to Clean Up the Courts on March 29, 1997. (Transcription by Conspiracy Nation).

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: You have been an expert on Jonestown. Do you see an analogy between it and Heavens Gate?

JOHN JUDGE: Certainly I don't believe, having worked on Jonestown and many other purported "mass suicides".... There never has been a mass suicide in human history -- I don't mean a family, or two, three or four people which might decide, in a strained moment, to commit suicide. But anywhere over ten, twelve people, you're stretching the bounds of imagination and human capacity. The brain, regardless of what it decides, is only perhaps at best 2 to 3 percent of the cells of the body. And the other cells have their own interests and will revolt. No one could kill themselves by putting a plastic bag over their head, for instance, because their other cells would force them to tear it off, regardless of what they're thinking. People can discipline themselves: like Buddhist monks who immolated themselves, over a long time, under great oppression, as part of a struggle. But when you're talking about, basically, American middle class white youth, and expecting that they're all going to sit and kill themselves in some way in a group, I don't find it credible.

Regarding the Jonestown murders, a grand jury there ruled that there was not a single suicide at Jonestown. And even with Masada, which was the alleged Jewish mass suicide under Roman siege that's supposed to have happened in about 79 A.D., when I looked into the historical record, Josephus, the Roman historian, admitted that only a few of the Jews had killed themselves -- the vast majority were slaughtered by the Romans.

I just don't think that this idea of people under no attack or stress would do it. And they had the people in Jonestown primed: they had them totally isolated, they were drugged, they were beaten, they were harassed, they were openly raped and abused, buried alive for periods of time as the disciplinary program there, they were harangued 16 hours a day, worked and exhausted to death. [But still, at least according to the grand jury, they did not commit suicide.]

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: Were some of them working at the local industry? They had a number of mines and such near Jonestown.

JOHN JUDGE: It's a very rich mining area. I think, at the time, they were still clearing the area around Jonestown. I saw no reports that they did actual mining work. But that section up there, Matthew's Ridge, was one of the richest gold deposits on earth. There's also uranium and bauxite, all of the connections to the river and railroad and airport. Union Carbide reportedly had an investment in that same area.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: You thought it was some sort of espionage operation.

JOHN JUDGE: It was absolutely an intelligence operation. Jones himself and his top lieutenants all had connections both to U.S. Military Intelligence and to the Nazis.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: The other thing is that they seem to have corrupted state and federal authorities. From the United States, they had different checks sent to these people, which then ended up in Switzerland.

JOHN JUDGE: They deposited money in Swiss banks. They took people's fortunes, but the money from these indigent people they oppressed (who were primarily poor people off of the welfare rolls, out of mental institutions, children given to them as wards of the court, going back to the period in Ukiah, California) were not the source of the wealth, which came to something close to $2 billion by the earliest reports.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: And the money disappeared from the Swiss accounts?

JOHN JUDGE: It disappeared from the hidden Swiss accounts with the help of Terry Buford and Mark Lane, who reportedly went there and emptied the accounts before they were assessed.

Mark Lane was a lawyer for Jim Jones at the time. He's been a lawyer for many of the people involved in these situations. He's the lawyer, currently, for John Hinckley, and was the lawyer for James Earl Ray, for a period, and served as the lawyer for Lee Harvey Oswald until Margarite, the mother, fired him about 2 weeks in. He's inserted himself into many of these operations.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: What do you think about the Heavens Gate situation? (Of course, it's too early to know much about it.)

JOHN JUDGE: Here are the clues that I think are the most important. First of all, these people were living rent-free in a $1.5 million pleasure mansion. And the mansion was owned by an Iranian. The Iranian who owns it had been in trouble with the federal authorities within the last year, because he was bringing Iranian students into the United States and securing fraudulent student loans for these people. And the federal authorities had caught up with him on that.

Secondly, there was a person named Ian Spiro who, ten years ago, was a member of this [Heavens Gate] group (which has existed for 22 years.) Ian Spiro is alleged to have murdered his wife and three children and then killed himself by drinking cyanide in a remote desert location.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: That was in 1992.

JOHN JUDGE: And it's reported that he [Spiro] had what they called "connections" to the fringe of Middle Eastern intelligence and espionage. There are people that are computer programmers in this mesh.
These two people that led this -- Mr. Applewhite and Bonnie

Nettles -- were in the news in the 1970s, on national news. Walter Cronkite had them on the news talking about giving up all their goods and going to another planet, and the UFOs. And they were known as "the two" back then. The press was calling her "Little Bo Peep." And I remember (I've not had time to check it) that Mae Brussell discussed these people on her tape, and discussed what she believed was an intelligence connection to this operation.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: So these people that died there, or were murdered there...

JOHN JUDGE: I think they had to have been murdered.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: They swallowed up their family money, as happens with some cults?

JOHN JUDGE: Presumably they were cut off from their families. And normally the pattern, and the pattern these people were asking early on, was for people to sell all their possessions, their houses and everything, and give the money over, to reach (you know) "spiritual perfection." I think it's also very unusual that the males had been castrated. [CN: "surgically neutered," but by whom.] But it makes little or no sense that these people are all on their back, they're wearing new clothing, they're all in exactly the same position.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: Similar to Jonestown, in some ways.

JOHN JUDGE: Yes. The Jonestown bodies were all face-down; it tells you the bodies were placed.

There were large vans there. It was reported a Ryder truck, an airport transit van, a Ford Econoline van. And it made me wonder whether the bodies had been brought in: killed elsewhere, over the 6 to 7 day period.

When the authorities were checking the stuff on the web site, they said the addresses go nowhere; phones ring in hotels.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: We cannot assume that all 39 were computer programmers. They claimed they had some business going, but I wonder: none of the authorities have mentioned any records, any money. They claim that someone who was an agent for the property got about $10,000 a month in cash. Where did all this come from, and how was it accounted for?

JOHN JUDGE: Certainly they didn't have a thriving business on the web. They had a few clients, apparently. And then these other web sites, which when I went to them included a statement about why they were opposed to suicide. And that they expected to go up into these flying saucers and their bodies as vehicles, are psychobabble. And they have key words: they mention Ruby Ridge, they mention Waco, they mention Masada. I don't know even if these are web sites of the group; they may be planted, in order to spread disinformation.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: What do you think that this was?

JOHN JUDGE: In any intelligence operation, you always go for multiple bonuses. Obviously, for some reason these people were to be murdered. Their silence had to be secured, or they wanted to use the incident as, in order to influence some kind of social policy. There were two things that were being discussed almost immediately: one was, censorship of the Internet; the other was, whether people have the right to die and whether they have a right to be assisted in the suicide.

This was at the time, early on, when they were saying that Applewhite was still alive. Now they're saying that Applewhite is among the dead. But they had the I.D.s right from the beginning and it made me wonder whether Applewhite is, in fact, among the dead.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: In other words, Internet and euthanasia were some of the subjects put and debated by the established media.

JOHN JUDGE: And the spokesperson when CNN ran these issues right from the beginning of the reporting was a person by the name of Gerald Post(sp?). And he had been on Crossfire five days before the [Heavens Gate] incident, arguing the "necessity," that "Internet was full of conspiracy theorists spreading hate and it had to be censored." His credentials that they gave were, he was a professor at George Washington University, and among the topics that he taught was a class in political psychology -- psychological operations. And this guy, Gerald Post, was much more visibly and correctly identified during the Gulf War, when he commented on CNN and other media as an open agent of the Central Intelligence Agency, whose specialty was domestic psychological evaluation.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: And he had a connection with Heavens Gate?

JOHN JUDGE: Only in the sense that, on the first day, he was the first official spokesperson.

And you have to take a close look at all the people that are commenting. Also, the story about the one person who quit the cult: "Rio" is the only name given so far that I've seen. They're hiding his identity. But he's alleged to have quit the cult 5 weeks before this happened. And then he turns up also as the person who discovers the bodies and reports it to the police. And this is classic for a provocateur. In other words, if it was an intelligence operation, he is the most suspect and they won't identify him. But he worked with this guy -- Nick Matzurkis I believe the name is? He runs some sort of a computer gaming industry. And Matzurkis also subcontracted Heavens Gate to his client, so he's involved with their business affairs. [CN: Matzurkis(sp?) received 2 computer disks in the mail from Heavens Gate around the time of the supposed mass suicide. The disks were not material from their supposed web site. Matzurkis has placed the disks in a bank safe deposit box and last I heard had not revealed any of the contents.]

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: In other words, some of the first people that showed up in the media were known commentators on CIA domestic operations.

JOHN JUDGE: Yes, there was an expert who worked for the CIA, an expert on domestic psychological operations. And the spokespeople are always important in these situations. At Jonestown, the first two national spokespeople that said it wasn't unusual that all these people killed themselves were Dr. Joly West, UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute (part of MK-ULTRA), and also Dr. Robert J. Liston, who along with Dr. West wrote the original books about the Korean brainwashing, as a lie to cover up chemical and biological weapons used in Korea and also to establish the need of the United States to do mind control.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: So Heavens Gate may be another CIA/MK-ULTRA operation, like Jonestown.

JOHN JUDGE: I believe so. I think that there's enough discrepancies in the facts. The story that this Nick Matzurkis has, that Rio spoke to him and said he thought they might be killing themselves: he said he got the message on Tuesday and alerted Matzurkis, but they didn't go down to see what's happening until Wednesday.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: Are you going to write up something?

JOHN JUDGE: I am working with some other people to potentially write something about this.

I believe that they were murdered. I don't believe that any group of people... Even if you could convince yourself in a rush situation, somehow, to kill yourself when there's no imminent external threat, I don't think you would keep convincing yourself over 6 or 7 days.

It's quite likely that there were more people in the compound that left after the murders were done as well.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: The one who's played up these type of UFO with Hale-Bopp stories is Art Bell, who is a cousin of Warren Buffet. Warren Buffet is some type of dope/espionage person in my opinion, whose fortune is very questionable -- sort of like Robert Maxwell.

JOHN JUDGE: I know that the story of the UFO following the comet, which has become part of this legend (as to what these people were doing and why they killed themselves at this time, supposedly), came from an amateur astronomer who called the Art Bell show.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: Art Bell is spread out all over, onto major radio stations that would not find your comments or mine acceptable to go on the air. And all of a sudden, Art Bell and his "UFOs in your backyard" stories are being promoted all over the place.

JOHN JUDGE: I've had no media calls although I did the original work with Mae Brussell on Jonestown. I've had many calls, though, from individuals around the country, asking what I thought about the Heavens Gate situation because of the work that I have done.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: Is it also possible that because of the Clinton White House scandals escalating, that this is to make a diversion?

JOHN JUDGE: There are certainly other much more important things going on, including the move by Dexter King and the King family to approach James Earl Ray, to try to re-open Ray's trial. And that was dismissed this morning on NPR by Daniel Schorr, saying that "the Kings were just feeding into a new movie by Oliver Stone." Stone does want to make a movie of the book, *Orders To Kill* by William Pepper, who was a civil rights activist with Dr. King. An excellent book.

When you take the level of integrity and courage it took for the King family to come forward and call openly for a trial for James Earl Ray, and all you can do is smear them and dismiss, I think it borders on being racist on their [NPR's] part.

We have a national campaign going on right now to petition the appeals court to act quickly: to test the rifle, to re-open the trial. We're going to have William Pepper and perhaps Dexter King at our conference here in June. And we also have a national campaign to free the 650 to 700 thousand pages of still-classified documents.

The last time that there was a public statement by Coretta Scott King was in the 1970s, that she believed that there was a conspiracy in the case. And the reason it came out was that James Earl Ray's attorneys had won a remand of the case. And the press had asked the Kings what they thought. And within a two-week period, in which King's widow made that first and only statement blaming a conspiracy, two of the main family members were killed. First the brother, A.D. King, was found fully clothed behind the house, in a swimming pool, drowned. A man that didn't swim and didn't like to go in the water.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: And then King's mother was murdered.

JOHN JUDGE: That's right, and then the mother was murdered in Ebeneezer Baptist by Martin Wayne Chenault(?). And they were both witnesses to the physical wounds on Dr. King.

The person who did it, Chenault, was linked to a guy that called himself Abraham Israel -- he had different names he used. His real name was David Hill. He was from Cleveland, but tied to Field Marshall Cinque of the Symbionese Liberation Army.

Chenault joined a group called "The Troop or the Truth." And they had a list of civil rights leaders they were going to kill. And they were programmed killers. He came out of there grinning like Arthur Bremer [convicted of attempted assassination of George Wallace], and he asked, "Did I hit anybody?" And he had a gun in his hand. They did no ballistic or autopsy work on Dr. King's mother, to find out if there had been a second assassin, whether Chenault was just a patsy in there popping the gun off to take the blame. He was put into prison, but David Hill then disappeared from Cleveland and founded something called "Hilltown," which was about 20 miles from Jonestown, in the bush in Guyana. And he claimed to have 8,000 American Indians and blacks there, and he worked to ensure elections for Forbes Burnham, the CIA plant that took over the country.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: Your coalition, the Coalition On Political Assassinations, holds conventions or conferences from time to time.

JOHN JUDGE: We do an annual conference, and we also do a regional conference every year in Dallas around the anniversary of the JFK assassination, November 22nd.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: You do everything possible to keep this before the public.

JOHN JUDGE: Yes, we do, although there is very definitely a press blockade of this material. Almost despite anything we do, we can't get coverage. Even an hour on C-Span would get us national attention.

Source: (part 1) (part 2)

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