I’ve been listening to Transmissions from Jonestown and wrote down some thoughts.
Jones was groomed to be a pentecostal preacher from his childhood in the 1930s. His natural talents for theatrics and preaching made him stand out from an early age. Some traveling preachers were grifters and intelligence agents and mind control cult experiments even in the 30s, with strange figures like the Wandering Bishops. He was brought into that world not fully understanding what it was he was getting into.
Time passed. He was moved up, and fought his way up, and found a following that hung onto him. This satisfied his egoic needs and made him more useful as an asset to powerful people.
Who knows how much Jones knew about his own recruitment process, through the church or state?
He’s recruited into a freaky glossalalia church early in life where he could easily have been brainwashed or groomed for any number of crimes. He has access to south American scientific suppliers. He’s in business in the era of the CIA’s greatest unchecked power.
Jones had obvious potential as an asset to the agency, and with his fiery reputation for social progress there is no way he escaped notice of the state. There is a possibility that he could have been recruited as an agent at some point, maybe before his Latin American tour in the early 60s.
Jim Jones already had ties to South America from an early age. The monkeys that he sold door to door in Indianapolis as a teenager had been sourced from Brazil, from Fourth Reich territory. Medical experimentation monkeys from the Nazi diaspora!
We should find the faculty lists of the local university at the time Jones was selling monkeys. It was likely an academic researcher who put him in contact with the monkey supplier. This way we can confirm or deny any connection between Jones and the University and between the University and shady figures in South America.
If that scientist in America had ties to South American monkey scientists then it’s possible that some of these scientists were Nazis who escaped via the ratlines. But that is an unsupported hypothesis at this time.
My suspicion is that Jonestown did much more than live as a weird hippie cult in the jungle: that they were Colonia Dignidad but in Guyana. An interrogation and torture camp for “visitors,” dissenters to Forbes Burnham’s government.
Touring the Tropics
Jim Jones moved his family down to Belo Horizonte, Brazil after his trip to Guyana in October 1961. He was supposed to be setting up a new branch of the People’s Temple, possibly with the intent of surviving the nuclear war that Jones had foretold.
Why, out of all the impoverished places full of lost souls, did Jones go to the source of his monkeys?
Differing accounts say that he went to Hawaii in 1960 and then Cuba and South America. An often repeated story is that he read an article in a 1962 issue of Esquire Magazine which named the 9 places on earth that would be safest from nuclear bombs and fallout. He toured these places, allegedly to see whether the sites were a good place for the People’s Temple to ride out the apocalypse.
It seems that Jones scouted out all of the prospective locations for his peoples’ commune during his tour of Latin America and the Caribbean (circa 1960-1963). Any one of those locations would have been remote enough to make for a good CIA black site but not necessarily a nuclear shelter. Hawaii is the host of Pearl Harbor, and Ukiah California is in Mendocino County, along with Fort Bragg. These locations would have made attractive nuclear targets, not shelters, because of their proximity to American military bases.
Jones traveled to Guyana on the way to Brazil and gave Anticommunist sermons, in contrast with the social justice and communist rhetoric that he is known for. On his return to America, following the Kennedy assassination on 11/22/1963, Jones became more vocal than ever that he was a revolutionary communist, a Marxist-Leninist, and that he would lead his people to socialism. It’s possible that working with the absolute poverty of Brazil’s favelas gave socialism a new urgency for him. It’s also possible that he became aware of some unknown terror that drove him to seek shelter from the inevitability of nuclear war.
I suspect that Jim Jones knew that his Latin American tour was a job for the CIA, that he was hired as a gregarious faith leader who helped them grease palms and get connections with assets in country. I assume that he established those relations bc he was able to reestablish, build upon, and deepen them when he returned to lead Jonestown in 1974.
The Fourth Reich in Brazil
Shortly before Jim Jones arrived in Belo Horizonte, capital of the state of Minas Gerais, another infamous camper had moved to the country.
Joseph Mengele fled from Mossad Nazi hunters in 1960 when they nabbed his colleague Adolph Eichmann in Buenos Aires. Mengele took refuge in Sao Paulo. Sao Paulo is the state immediately south of Minas Gerais. Ultimately Mengele was identified by a Nazi living in Minas Gerais who supplied SS documents that matched Mengele’s handwritten notes found in Sao Paulo.
[A few states south is Rio Grande do Sol, where the legendary twin town was established. The town was rumored to be a result of Mengele’s experiments.]
The southern states of Brazil are sites of many German colonies which were established in the 19th century. In 1911 Santa Catarina had a 35% German plurality and Rio Grande do Sol had a 20-25% German population.
Obviously the presence of Germans in a country in the 1930s does not necessarily mean that they are Nazis.
Lots of them were actual, literal Nazis though. So much for the benefit of the doubt!
Filho established that the farm had once been owned by the Rocha Mirandas, a family of wealthy industrialists from Rio de Janeiro. Three of them – father Renato and two of his sons, Otavio and Osvaldo – were members of the Acao Integralista Brasileira, an extreme right-wing organisation, sympathetic to the Nazis.From BBC, “The Brazilian ranch where Nazis kept slaves”
The family sometimes held rallies on the farm, hosting thousands of the organisation’s members. But it was also a brutal work-camp for abandoned – and non-white – children.
This may be a reason the Ratlines led to Sao Paulo. Franz Stangl, the commandant of the Treblinka concentration camp, was one of the infamous Nazis who escaped to Sao Paulo with his associates at the end of the war. Sao Paulo had also been the home of the publisher of Deutscher Morgen:
President Getulio Vargas banned public use of German after Brazil entered World War II on the side of the Allies in 1942.From the Washington Post’s uncomfortable 2001 article, “German Pride Replaces Stigma in Brazil”
Vargas closed German-language newspapers, including the Deutscher Morgen, Sao Paulo’s official Nazi organ. Thousands of ethnic Germans were thrown in jail; when they were freed, in some cases years after the war, many refused to speak the language again because of the stigma.
These were wealthy, influential members of the NSDAP in Brazilian business and politics of the 30s. They were never really purged because they hadn’t been defeated in war like Germany itself had been.
1964 Brazilian coup
Shortly after Jones left Brazil in Demeber 1963 there was a CIA coup in 1964. Good timing!
This march was one of the triggers of the coup. It was a result of “Operation Brother Sam” launched in 1961 by the CIA, probably with some liberal interpretation of things Kennedy said about the newly elected Brazilian president.
It was stirred up by American religious figures and local propaganda outlets including Patrick Peyton of the Catholic Church, presently a candidate for sainthood.
This article says the US has cynically supported the land claims of indigenous groups in Brazil as they struggle against the Belo Dam project. The Belo Dam had been proposed to bring hydroelectric power to a massive part of poor rural Brazil. President João Goulart (a social democrat serving from 1961 until the coup in 1964, the same period that Operation Brother Sam was active) had tried to move the project forward. He was the last left wing president until Lula da Silva was elected in 2003, and finally broke ground on the dam. The Dissident Voices article argues that the USA had opposed this project on the grounds that it didn’t want third world countries to enrich their own people, but to enrich the imperial core.
Jones went to Belo Horizonte, the city where this dam was to be built, specifically to preach to and recruit indigenous people. He was in Brazil from 1961 until after the Kennedy assassination in 1963, which he said had spooked him into going home. He was in a strategically important place at the same time American preachers and priests of all denominations were going south to preach Anticommunism as part of CIA Operation Brother Sam. It was on this tour that Jones gave his only known Anticommunist sermon.
Nazis gathering in Brazil, the CIA using charismatic preachers to build a conservative, rural reactionary force, and a conman who would eventually form his own concentration camp in the jungle. This is the scene in which Jim Jones acted in the early 60s.
Colonia Dignidad, Jonestown’s twin
As if this wasn’t enough to make us go “hmm,” there’s also this:
Paul Schaefer, former Nazi and founder of Colonia dignidad, was a student of William Branham, the same pentecostal preacher who taught Jim Jones how to do faith healings and psychic discernments.
Jonestown and Colonia Dignidad are siblings