Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Earliest Guyana Narrative as Recorded by the FBI, Monday, November 20, 1978,

One which is very much at odds with the later versions of events.

It begins by listing four individuals hospitalized at the Roosevelt Roads Naval Station in Puerto Rico after being Medivac-ed from Guyana. This outcome is itself very odd, since a single Medivac flight carried all the wounded who needed treatment away from Georgetown, stopping here first to disembark only the family members, before traveling on to Andrews Air Force Base with Jackie Speier, and the wounded newsmen. Embassy official Richard Dwyer, and Charles A. Krause of the Washington Post, who were both listed as among the wounded, stayed behind in Guyana. (Dwyer's account of having a bullet near his spine can be found in a newspaper account and is especially amusing.)

The second page describes the family member's medical conditions, but it is partly redacted for some reason. Of what we can can see, it seems certain that only one, Vernon D. Gosney, was seriously wounded by legitimate gunfire, if it can be called such.

As for the others, a second document was sent from Puerto Rico to the FBI laboratory in mid-December along with the "two bullet fragments which were removed from the left forearm of Anthony Katsaris," who was described here first as having received "gunshot wounds" to his "chest." Beverly Oliver is described as having received "gunshot wounds" to her "feet," and that would be plural wounds, and plural feet, which is a neat trick for a killer to pull off. Draw your own conclusions.)

Why authorities would split up a small group of barely a half-dozen injured people, and in just this sort of pattern too, is questionable. It costs a lot of money to takeoff and land a big plane like a military Medivac; and Puerto Rico has always had a certain jurisdictional air about it---like Guantanamo Bay.

Fundamental facts, which any of the principals should have been individually able to establish, since the witnesses don't seem to have seen anything yet, are left dreamily vague. How many people traveled on the plane from Georgetown to Jonestown? "Approximately sixteen." That wouldn't be a weaselly answer for a Codel if it left room for a possible "flight attendant named Glasgow," who made a cameo appearance aboard the aborted return trip in a recent news article. Other people who use just their first name in print show up, like the Guyanese Constable who flew in, but then disappears.

But if you consider that Mark Lane had left James Earl Ray alone at the altar during a scheduled Congressional hearing in Washington in order to be here, along with attorney Charles Garry, to negotiate the potentially fraught details of a visit Jim Jones had agreed to only on the condition no disgruntled family members or news media come along---is taking a casual estimate made with the wave of the hand too far. Billable hours are a time for paperwork.

Did Lane and Garry travel with Ryan on his chartered flight into Jonestown? According to 35-year-old established facts in the official version they did fly in with Ryan's group, but you wouldn't know it by reading the FBI's first draft of history. Apparently the lawyers never planned to leave with the Ryan party, since they stayed back when the truck carrying the group left, and it wasn't the disaster that scuttled their transport plans. So how did the two lawyers expect to make the 150-mile trip back?

How many defectors left with Ryan? "Approximately sixteen" we're told for a second time.

But these numbers don't work out, The Cessna could seat only six, so could the Twin Otter take out the other 30, when it had brought in only 18? Folks start peeling away from the narrative at this point, with a dissembling disinfo seeded into the record. One reporter with the group coming into Port Kaituma was denied entry by Jim Jones because of an article he had written, which was never published, so he leaves Friday, freeing up a seat. Ryan's "personal assistant," James Schollert, is photographed with Ryan and Speier on the flight down from New York, but is never seen or heard from again.

How many people does it take to screw up a  coherent story?

Major discrepancies with the official narrative are on early display here, and these can never be rectified 35 years after the fact, no matter how many barrels of ink someone buys.

This FBI "short narrative," tells us the "entire group, including Ryan, the newsmen, and members of the 'Concerned Relatives' were told by Jones that they had to leave," after only "two or three hours," having started that clock at "approximately 10 a.m." Giving a generous hour for the six-mile road trip by garbage truck to the air strip, would throw off the official timeline by at least three hours. I first took for a typo the line: "On arriving at the air strip at approximately 1 PM, and while waiting for the aircraft to arrive a tractor arrived unexpectedly bearing approximately four members of Jones-followers who apparently committed the attack." But the spontaneity of a good "ambush" is lost if someone has to cool his heels for hours.

It's pretty easy to see how this whole undertaking was put together and executed---wherein the unwitting witnesses (it was the so-called victims who were the witting ones,) manipulated with an operator's sleight of hand, that they might serve as verifiers of authenticity instead of unindicted co-conspirators. Basically, that level was already seated aboard the aircraft, and could only see out the tiny, and likely clouded windows to the sturm-und-drang being put on for their benefit outside and beneath them.

The entirety of the killing fields storyline as retold by the FBI goes like this:
[redacted] advised shooting lasted five to ten minutes and after it stopped, [redacted] individuals left the plane and saw Congressman Ryan and the newsmen who were laying underneath the plane dead at this time. [redacted] attempted to comfort those that had been wounded.
Fear of additional attempts prompted the survivors to hide in the bushes overnight until government authorities arrived to protect them.
It doesn't get any easier than this---without understudies that is. And in this context, finding some poor soul who could really get duped by serving as a standin for some real bloodletting, to terrorize any unmotivated witnesses, wouldn't be so hard. Working it out in such a desolate spot would almost be like role playing at Langley, and in a country where the average working men makes 80 cents a day and sweats, silence can be bought far more cheaply.

But given a Manichean dynamic, inconsistencies can add up to still thwart even Machiavellian plans.

For instance, we're told that the "approximately sixteen of Jones' followers who decided to 'defect' and return to the United States with the Ryan party...were accompanied on the truck from Jonestown to the air strip by three of Jones' followers."

The FBI really could have tried better to distinguish between a Jones' loyalist and a defector, maybe by calling one "former followers," or "leavers" even. But this hitherto unrecorded fact---that in addition to the driver, and Larry Layton, who wasn't fooling anybody with his defector act but still managed to get a gun onboard an airplane, one or two others---understood to be "staying-putters" compromised the communal intent.

A story of culpability goes like this:
One witness [redacted] was interviewed and identified Ronnie James, [redacted] as being on the tractor containing the attackers. [Redacted] identified Jim Wilson, who accompanied the visitor on the truck as being very nervous, upset, and angry at the visitors [long redaction] entered the airplane, heard shooting outside, [long redaction] She observed the mother of Dale Parks, [redaction] to have been shot in the head and apparently killed.
The snag here is that Jim Wilson plays a major angry-black-man role in all the later eyewitness accounts the

FBI collected, as someone seen stepping off the circling tractor-trailer-bed and ambushing the defenseless innocents with targeted gunfire. Calling him "very nervous, upset, and angry at the visitors" isn't evidence he killed anyone, but it does say he had no business as escort to the departing, and whose fault is that exactly? Did Jim Jones say, "Leave now! And take that man with you!"

Even if Wilson could have functioned as some sort of Fifth Columnist under these circumstances, what difference would it make, since Congressman Ryan had failed in letting Larry Layton carry a gun on board under his poncho, even though he claims he searched him. And if the defectors were so keen on calling out Layton, it's absurd they'd give no warning about Joe Wilson.  

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