Homosexual former San Francisco leader Harvey Milk
Names 'gay' activist Medal of Freedom winner
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says he's uncertain if the briefing material given to President Obama when he decided to award Harvey Milk a presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously included Milk's well-documented advocacy for the late Jim Jones, the leader of the massacred hundreds in Jonestown, Guyana, in 1978.
The issue came up during a White House press briefing the day after President Obama included Milk, a homosexual leader in San Francisco who was victim of a murder, among those listed for the president's Medal of Freedom awards.
"Is the president – concerning the Medal of Freedom awards, is the president aware of Harvey Milk's strong support of the Rev. Jim Jones?" asked Les Kinsolving, WND's correspondent at the White House.
"I don't know if that was in the briefing material," Gibbs said. "I can tell you the president is opposed to Jim Jones, how about that?"
Jones let a cult to the "Peoples Temple Agricultural Project" in the 1970s in Guyana after an extended career leading the religious organization in San Francisco.
The cult became notorious when on Nov. 18, 1978, 918 people died – mostly from cyanide – in the settlement. The deaths were described as a "revolutionary suicide" by Jones and other members on an audio tape of the event.
The poisonings, including those of many children, followed by hours the murders of five people by Temple members at a nearby airport. One of the victims was Congressman Leo Ryan, the only member of Congress ever to die in the line of duty. He was investigating complaints about the cult.
Kinsolving, a journalist for the San Francisco Examiner during Jones' ascent to power and influence there, shortly before he moved his cult to Guyana, recalled in a column just weeks ago the relationship between Jones and Milk.
His writing concerned the Sean Penn movie, "Milk." Kinsolving cited columnist Dan Flynn's concerns about "how Gus Van Sant could have made a film about Harvey Milk without casting a 'Jim Jones' role."
The Flynn column accused Harvey Milk and "the San Francisco left" of allowing Jones to conduct his "criminal enterprise in San Francisco with impunity."
"When veteran journalist Les Kinsolving penned an eight-part investigative report on Peoples Temple for the San Francisco Examiner in 1972, his editors buckled under pressure from Jones and killed the report halfway through," wrote Flynn. "Kinsolving quipped that the Peoples Temple was 'the best-armed house of God in the land,' detailed the kidnapping and possible murder of disgruntled members, exposed Jones' phony faith healing, highlighted Jones' vile school-sanctioned sex talk with children and directed attention toward the Peoples Temple's massive welfare fraud that funded its operations.
"Unfortunately four of the series of eight articles were jettisoned after Jones unleashed hundreds of protesters to the San Francisco Examiner, a programmed letter-writing campaign and a threatened lawsuit against the paper. The Examiner promptly issued a laudatory article on Jones. … " wrote Flynn.
Kinsolving's column revealed reports that after Milk was killed, all mention of connections between Milk and Jones "were intentionally obscured."
Cited was the fact Milk "was a strong advocate for Peoples Temple and Jim Jones during his political career, including the tumultuous year leading up to the Jonestown tragedy. Milk spoke at the Temple often, wrote personal letters to Jim Jones…"
In another question, Kinsolving asked, "Does the president expect Israel to wait until they are nuclear bombed by Iran before they go after Iranian nuclear weaponry?"
Responded Gibbs, "Well, I think the president has said that countries make security decisions for themselves. All involved, led by the United States and others, are trying to do whatever is possible to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. That's our focus."