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they’d been carefully arranged? When they were first discovered, the body count started out around 200. But it kept going up. The next day’s papers reported 363 bodies, 82 of them children, and eventually it escalated to 913. The official word was that immediate identification had been difficult because a lot of the adults had been on top of kids. Hmmm ... more than 500 bodies hidden under the first 363?5 That doesn’t quite make sense, but maybe there’s a reasonable explanation. But this next one is impossible to explain away: Dr. Leslie Mootoo was Guyana’s chief medical examiner and the first forensic specialist on the scene. This man was no fly-by-night doctor down in South America; he was very welleducated, trained in London and Vienna. Dr. Mootoo examined scores of the bodies within the first couple of days, taking specimens. And he thought that in at least 700 of the cases, it wasn’t suicide but homicide. The doctor observed puncture wounds on the shoulders of a lot of the victims—a bodily location where they couldn’t possibly have injected themselves. So were they forcibly held down and injected with poison against their will? He also found the presence of cyanide in bottles that were labeled as Valium, which probably meant that’s what some people thought they were taking.6 A tranquilizer, not a deadly poison. Dr. Mootoo did find evidence of cyanide in most of the victims’ stomachs, and he passed along his samples to a representative of the American Embassy in the Guyanese capital of Georgetown, fully expecting they’d be forwarded on to American forensic pathologists. Except, somehow, they disappeared.7 A study seven months later published in the New England Journal of Medicine found six leading medical examiners describing the handling of the bodies by the U.S. military and others as “inept,” “incompetent,” “embarrassing,” and so on, with only circumstantial evidence of “probable cyanide poisoning.” The prestigious Journal added that only one third of the bodies could be positively identified, and that a medico-legal autopsy should have been performed on each one.8 It turns out that only seven autopsies were ever performed—and not until a month after the bodies were embalmed! Some of the pictures from the scene showed victims wearing ID bracelets, but these also vanished somewhere between Jonestown and the U.S. air base where the bodies got shipped. The order to remove the medical tags is said to have come from the National Security Council’s staff coordinator for Latin American and Caribbean Affairs, Robert Pastor.9 (Adding to this macabre story, three bodies actually got lost and turned up years later in storage lockers in Southern California!)10

Profile for HAROLD ARROYO, JR.

AMERICAN CONSPIRACIES, LIES AND DECEPTION FROM THE U.S. GOVERNMENT, JESSE VENTURA  

AMERICAN CONSPIRACIES, LIES AND DECEPTION FROM THE U.S. GOVERNMENT, JESSE VENTURA  

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