Conspiracy Nation -- Vol. 10 Num. 39

("Quid coniuratio est?")


An Interview With John Judge
(By Sherman H. Skolnick)

John Judge belongs to the Coalition on Political Assassinations ( e-mail: and is renowned for years of research into American "deep politics." He has looked into the various political assassinations here in the U.S., and has special expertise in the so-called "mass suicide" at Jonestown in 1978. (See, for example, "The Black Hole of Guyana," by Mr. Judge, in Secret and Suppressed: Banned Ideas and Hidden History edited by Jim Keith. Portland: Feral House, 1993. ISBN: 0-922915-14-8.) Judge has also been featured in past issues of Conspiracy Nation (complete archive at

John Judge was interviewed by Sherman Skolnick of the Citizens' Committee to Clean Up the Courts on March 29, 1997. (Transcription by Conspiracy Nation).

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: You have been an expert on Jonestown. Do you see an analogy between it and Heavens Gate?

JOHN JUDGE: Certainly I don't believe, having worked on Jonestown and many other purported "mass suicides".... There never has been a mass suicide in human history -- I don't mean a family, or two, three or four people which might decide, in a strained moment, to commit suicide. But anywhere over ten, twelve people, you're stretching the bounds of imagination and human capacity. The brain, regardless of what it decides, is only perhaps at best 2 to 3 percent of the cells of the body. And the other cells have their own interests and will revolt. No one could kill themselves by putting a plastic bag over their head, for instance, because their other cells would force them to tear it off, regardless of what they're thinking. People can discipline themselves: like Buddhist monks who immolated themselves, over a long time, under great oppression, as part of a struggle. But when you're talking about, basically, American middle class white youth, and expecting that they're all going to sit and kill themselves in some way in a group, I don't find it credible.

Regarding the Jonestown murders, a grand jury there ruled that there was not a single suicide at Jonestown. And even with Masada, which was the alleged Jewish mass suicide under Roman siege that's supposed to have happened in about 79 A.D., when I looked into the historical record, Josephus, the Roman historian, admitted that only a few of the Jews had killed themselves -- the vast majority were slaughtered by the Romans.

I just don't think that this idea of people under no attack or stress would do it. And they had the people in Jonestown primed: they had them totally isolated, they were drugged, they were beaten, they were harassed, they were openly raped and abused, buried alive for periods of time as the disciplinary program there, they were harangued 16 hours a day, worked and exhausted to death. [But still, at least according to the grand jury, they did not commit suicide.]

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: Were some of them working at the local industry? They had a number of mines and such near Jonestown.

JOHN JUDGE: It's a very rich mining area. I think, at the time, they were still clearing the area around Jonestown. I saw no reports that they did actual mining work. But that section up there, Matthew's Ridge, was one of the richest gold deposits on earth. There's also uranium and bauxite, all of the connections to the river and railroad and airport. Union Carbide reportedly had an investment in that same area.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: You thought it was some sort of espionage operation.

JOHN JUDGE: It was absolutely an intelligence operation. Jones himself and his top lieutenants all had connections both to U.S. Military Intelligence and to the Nazis.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: The other thing is that they seem to have corrupted state and federal authorities. From the United States, they had different checks sent to these people, which then ended up in Switzerland.

JOHN JUDGE: They deposited money in Swiss banks. They took people's fortunes, but the money from these indigent people they oppressed (who were primarily poor people off of the welfare rolls, out of mental institutions, children given to them as wards of the court, going back to the period in Ukiah, California) were not the source of the wealth, which came to something close to $2 billion by the earliest reports.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: And the money disappeared from the Swiss accounts?

JOHN JUDGE: It disappeared from the hidden Swiss accounts with the help of Terry Buford and Mark Lane, who reportedly went there and emptied the accounts before they were assessed.

Mark Lane was a lawyer for Jim Jones at the time. He's been a lawyer for many of the people involved in these situations. He's the lawyer, currently, for John Hinckley, and was the lawyer for James Earl Ray, for a period, and served as the lawyer for Lee Harvey Oswald until Margarite, the mother, fired him about 2 weeks in. He's inserted himself into many of these operations.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: What do you think about the Heavens Gate situation? (Of course, it's too early to know much about it.)

JOHN JUDGE: Here are the clues that I think are the most important. First of all, these people were living rent-free in a $1.5 million pleasure mansion. And the mansion was owned by an Iranian. The Iranian who owns it had been in trouble with the federal authorities within the last year, because he was bringing Iranian students into the United States and securing fraudulent student loans for these people. And the federal authorities had caught up with him on that.

Secondly, there was a person named Ian Spiro who, ten years ago, was a member of this [Heavens Gate] group (which has existed for 22 years.) Ian Spiro is alleged to have murdered his wife and three children and then killed himself by drinking cyanide in a remote desert location.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: That was in 1992.

JOHN JUDGE: And it's reported that he [Spiro] had what they called "connections" to the fringe of Middle Eastern intelligence and espionage.

     There are people that are computer programmers in this mesh.
     These two people that led  this  -- Mr. Applewhite and Bonnie

Nettles -- were in the news in the 1970s, on national news. Walter Cronkite had them on the news talking about giving up all their goods and going to another planet, and the UFOs. And they were known as "the two" back then. The press was calling her "Little Bo Peep." And I remember (I've not had time to check it) that Mae Brussell discussed these people on her tape, and discussed what she believed was an intelligence connection to this operation.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: So these people that died there, or were murdered there...

JOHN JUDGE: I think they had to have been murdered.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: They swallowed up their family money, as happens with some cults?

JOHN JUDGE: Presumably they were cut off from their families. And normally the pattern, and the pattern these people were asking early on, was for people to sell all their possessions, their houses and everything, and give the money over, to reach (you know) "spiritual perfection." I think it's also very unusual that the males had been castrated. [CN: "surgically neutered," but by whom.] But it makes little or no sense that these people are all on their back, they're wearing new clothing, they're all in exactly the same position.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: Similar to Jonestown, in some ways.

JOHN JUDGE: Yes. The Jonestown bodies were all face-down; it tells you the bodies were placed.

There were large vans there. It was reported a Ryder truck, an airport transit van, a Ford Econoline van. And it made me wonder whether the bodies had been brought in: killed elsewhere, over the 6 to 7 day period.

When the authorities were checking the stuff on the web site, they said the addresses go nowhere; phones ring in hotels.

SHERMAN SKOLNICK: We cannot assume that all 39 were computer programmers. They claimed they had some business going, but I wonder: none of the authorities have mentioned any records, any money. They claim that someone who was an agent for the property got about $10,000 a month in cash. Where did all this come from, and how was it accounted for?

JOHN JUDGE: Certainly they didn't have a thriving business on the web. They had a few clients, apparently. And then these other web sites, which when I went to them included a statement about why they were opposed to suicide. And that they expected to go up into these flying saucers and their bodies as vehicles, are psychobabble. And they have key words: they mention Ruby Ridge, they mention Waco, they mention Masada. I don't know even if these are web sites of the group; they may be planted, in order to spread disinformation.

[ be continued...]

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