Conspiracy Theories
There are many theories still in circulation as to the supposed real events that led to the alleged mass suicide at Jonestown. Most of these conspiracy views involve CIA figures.
It has also been noted that a number of deaths occurred after the tragedy, namely the assassination of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, just nine days after the event. Both men had received financial support from Jones while he was in San Francisco and were involved in an ongoing investigation into their involvement in the disappearance of People’s Temple funds.
Conspiracy advocators also focus on the fact that no autopsies were carried out on any of the bodies by the American authorities, except pathology examinations conducted by Guyanese coroner Leslie Mootoo. His own belief was that as many as 700 of the victims were murders, not suicides.
Mootoo’s assistants examined the bodies of 137 victims on site, all of which were said to have been injected with cyanide in areas of their bodies, which could not have been reached by their own hand, such as between the shoulder blades.
Other victims had been shot and it is alleged that as many as 500 members may have originally escaped into the jungle only to be hunted down, killed and dragged back to the Temple.
The assassins at the Port Kaituma airport were never identified and links between Larry Layton, one of the victims in Leo Ryan’s ambushed party, had not only a father who had been chief of the army’s Chemical Warfare Division during the 50s, but also had a brother-in-law who had negotiated with the Guyana government, on behalf of Jones, for the establishment of “Jonestown.”
The main jewel in the conspiracy theory crown is that Congressman Leo Ryan, was a harsh critic of the CIA and author of the Hughes-Ryan Amendment. If passed, the ruling would have required the CIA to report to Congress on all of its covert operations before they commenced. Soon after Ryan’s murder, the Hughes-Ryan Amendment was quashed in Congress. The Temple mass suicide, conspiracy theorists argue, was simply a ‘smokescreen’ to distract attention from his assassination.