Donald Freed - Work For The Peoples Temple and Jonestown Tragedy

Work For The Peoples Temple and Jonestown Tragedy

In the summer of 1978, the Peoples Temple hired Mark Lane and Freed to help make the case of what it alleged to be a "grand conspiracy" by intelligence agencies against the Peoples Temple. Temple member Edith Roller wrote in her journal that Freed said a Temple defector pressing for a U.S. investigation of Jonestown "was a CIA agent before coming to the Temple."

In August 1978, Freed visited Jonestown and encouraged Lane to visit. Lane held press conferences with the results of the Lane and Freed visits to Jonestown, stating that "none of the charges" against the Temple "are accurate or true" and that there was a "massive conspiracy" against the Temple by "intelligence organizations," naming the CIA, FCC and even the U.S. Post Office.

Temple member Annie Moore wrote that "Mom and Dad have probably shown you the latest about the conspiracy information that Mark Lane, the famous attorney in the ML King case and Don Freed the other famous author in the Kennedy case have come up with regarding activities planned against us--Peoples Temple." Another Temple member, Carolyn Layton, wrote that Don Freed told them that "anything this drug out could be nothing less than conspiracy."

A month later, on November 18, 1978, over 900 Temple members committed mass suicide in Jonestown, while Congressman Leo Ryan, NBC reporter Don Harris and others were murdered at a nearby airstrip. Jones created fear among members by stating that the CIA and other intelligence agencies were conspiring with "capitalist pigs" to destroy Jonestown and harm its members.

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