Review The Strongest Poison by Mark Lane ePub
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The Strongest Poison
|Rating:||3 of 5 stars|
|Original Format:||Hardcover, 1st, 504 pages|
|Download Formats:||pdf, epub, fb2, lit, mobi, odf, azw, ibooks, pdg, txt|
|Publisher:||November 1st 1979 by Elsevier-Dutton/Hawthorn Books (NY)|
|Tags:||Non Fiction History|
|Original Title:||The Strongest Poison|
|Jim Jones hired Lane & Don Freed in '78 to help make the case of what he alleged to be a "grand conspiracy" by intelligence agencies against the Peoples Temple. Jones told Lane he wanted to "pull an Eldridge Cleaver", referring to the fugitive Black Panther who was able to return to the USA after repairing his reputation. Lane visited Jonestown in 9/78 & spoke to residents who provided support for the theory that intelligence agencies conspired against them & drew parallels between Martin Luther King & Jim Jones. Lane then held press conferences stating "none of the charges" against the Temple "are accurate or true" & that there was a conspiracy against the Temple by "intelligence organizations," naming the CIA, FBI, FCC & Post Office. Lane represented himself as disinterested, but the Temple paid him $6k monthly. Regarding the effect of the work of Lane & Freed upon members, Temple member Annie Moore wrote that "Mom & Dad have probably shown you the latest about the conspiracy information that Mark Lane, the famous attorney in the ML King case & Don Freed the other famous author in the Kennedy case have come up with regarding activities planned against usPeoples Temple." Another member, Carolyn Layton, wrote that Freed told them that "anything this drug out could be nothing less than conspiracy".
Lane was present in Jonestown during the events of 11/18/78, when over 900 Temple members died in murder-suicide by cyanide, & Rep. Leo Ryan & four others were murdered at a nearby airstrip. For months before that tragedy, Jones frequently created fear among members by stating that the CIA & other intelligence agencies were conspiring with "capitalist pigs" to destroy Jonestown & harm its members. This included mentions of CIA involvement in the address Jones gave the day before the arrival of Ryan.
During the visit of Ryan, Lane helped represent the Temple with its other attorney, Charles R. Garry, who was furious with Lane for holding numerous press conferences & alleging the existence of conspiracies against the Temple. Garry was also displeased with him for making a veiled threat that the Temple might move to the USSR in a letter to Ryan.
Late in the afternoon of 11/18, two men wielding rifles approached Lane & Garry, who'd earlier been sent to a small wooden house by Jones. It's unclear whether the men were sent to kill them, but one recognized Garry as an attorney in a trial he'd attended. After a friendly exchange, the men told Garry & Lane that they were going to "commit revolutionary suicide" to "expose this racist & fascist society". The gunmen then gave Garry & Lane directions to exit Jonestown. Garry & Lane hid in the jungle while events unfolded.
On a tape made while members committed suicide by ingesting poisoned punch, the reason given by Jones to commit suicide was consistent with Jones' previously stated theories of intelligence organizations allegedly conspiring against the Temple, that men would "parachute in here on us", "shoot some of our innocent babies" & "they'll torture our children, they'll torture some of our people here, they'll torture our seniors". Parroting Jones' prior statements that hostile forces would convert captured children to Fascism, one temple member stated "the ones that they take captured, they're gonna just let them grow up and be dummies". Annie Moore & Carolyn Layton were among the 900 who died.
Lane later wrote about the tragedy in The Strongest Poison. He reported hearing automatic weapons & suspects US forces killed Jonestown survivors. While Lane blames Jones & Temple leadership for the deaths, he also claims that US officials exacerbated the possibility of violence by employing agents provocateur. For example, Lane claimed that Temple attorney & later defector Timothy Stoen, who Lane alleged had repeatedly prompted the Temple to take radical action before defecting, "had evidently led three lives", one as a government informant.
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