Voluntary Society - Conditioning - Conspiracy

Assault on the Dividians

Tanks attacking Branch Dividians

The Dividians earned money by way of a recuiting band and gun sales.  Although the BATF had many opportunities to arrest David Koresh outside of the Branch Dividian Church (demonized as a "compound") for failing to pay a tax on two weapons he had a license to own and sell, they chose to perform a publicity stunt to avoid a budget cut being debated by Congress.  Bogus charges of child abuse were used to incite a federal judge sympathetic to such charges to authorize a no-knock warrant.  The BATF botched the assault and initiated a gun battle with the Dividians. In memory of Feb. 28th, 1993 - Waco, TX.

Tanks, gas declared flamable and unsuitable for crowd control by the U.N., flame throwers, snipers, disappearance of front double steel doors, etc. require further documentation here.

The assault lead to the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building by and Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.


NOTES:

Waco Warrant

Typos and lack of punctuation appear as they are in the warrant:

[Search Warrant]  United States District Court Western District of Texas

In the Matter of the Search of residence of Vernon Wayne Howell, and others, Rt . 7, Box 471-B, AKA:  Mount Carmel Center, McLennan County, TX,m its appurtenances, vehicles, underground structures located on entire premises of the 77 acre compound. See attached photos & property description Attachments A, B and C.

To:  Special Agent Davy Aguilera and any Authorized Officer of the United State s

Affidavit(s) having been made before me by S/A Davy Aguilera who has reason to believe that on the premises known as the residence of Vernon Wayne Howell and others, Rt 7 Box 471-B, AKA: Mount Carmel Center, Waco, McLennan County, Texas, its appurtenances, vehicles underground structures located on entire premises o f the 77 acre compound See attached photographs and property descriptions.  in th e Western District of Texas there is now concealed a certain person or property, namely (describe the person or property:  SEE ATTACHED SHEET FOR CONCEALED PROPERTY (ATTACHMENT D)

I am satisfied that the affidavit(s) and any recorded testimony establish probable cause to believe that the person or property so described is now concealed on the person or promises above-described and establish grounds for the issuance of this warrant.

"YOU ARE HEREBY COMMANDED to search on or before  February 28,1993 (not to exceed ten days) the person or place named above for the person or property specified, serving this warrant and amking the search (in the daytime -6:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M.)<THIS PART LINED OUT>(at any time in the day or night as I find resonable cause thas been established)... SIGNED Dennis G. Green U.S. Magistrate Judge

Attachment D

The following property is concealed:

A quantity of firearms, including but not limited to: an assortment of AR-15 rifles and AK-47 rifles, and parts thereof, along with a quantity of assorted machinegun conversion parts, which, when assembled, would be classified as machineguns, machinerty and implements used or suitable for use in converting semi-automatic weapons to fully automatic and for constructing destructive devices such as pipe bombs, and homemade grenades, this machinery would include, but not limited to metal lathes and milling machines, .50 caliber anti-tank rifle, sten guns, grenade launchers, practice rifle grenades, practice hand grenades, various chemicals, including but not limited to black powder, igniter cord, aluminum metal powder and potassium nitrate, magnesium metal powder, metals in various forms, inert "pineapple" type hand grenades, pipe bombs and parts thereof, and other suitable casings of unknown description which, when assembled, would be classified as destructive devices as those terms are defined in Section 5845 (b), and Section 5845 (f), Chapter 53, Title 26, United States Code, which are not registered with the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, Washington, D.C., as required by law, and documentary and computerized evidence of receipt, ownership and instructions for converting semi-automatic firearms into machineguns, and the construction of improvised explosive weapons, including computer hardware, peripheral equipment and software containing files and directories and the information theron.  This is to include any disks, manuals, printouts and other assorted computer equipment.

AFFIDAVIT

Affiant alleges the following grounds for search and seizure.

I, Davy Aquilera, being duly sworn, depose and state that:

I am a Special Agent with the U.S. Treasury Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Austin, Texas and I have been so employed for approximately 5 years.  This affidavit is based on my own investigation as well as information furnished to me by other law enforcement officers and concerned citizens.

As a result of my training and experience as a Special Agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, I am familiar with the Federal firearm and explosive laws and know that it is unlawful for a person to manufacure, possess, transfer, or to transport or ship in interstate commerce machineguns, machinegun conversion parts, or explosives which arre classified, by Federal law, as machineguns, and/or destructive devices, including any combination of parts either designed or intended for use in converting any firearm into a machinegun, or into a destructive device as defined by Federal law, and from which a destructive device may be readily assembled, without them being lawfully registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, U.S. Treasury Department, Washington, D.C.

During my 5 years experience with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, I have investigated persons who have unlawfully possessed, transferred or shipped in interstate or foreign commerce firearms and/or explosive devices which were not registered to them with the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, and have successfully participated in the prosecution of several of these individuals.

On June 4, 1992, I met with Lieutentant Gene Barber, McLennan County Sheriff's Department, Waco, Texas, who has received extensive training in explosives classification, identification adn the rendering safe of explosive devices and has been recognized in Federal Court as an expert witness in this field.  Lt. Barber stated taht he had received informationn in May 1992, from an employee of United Parcel Service, Waco, Texas that from April through June of 1992, several deliveries had been made to a place known as the "Mag-Bag", Route 7 Box 555-b, Waco, Texas 76705, located on Farm Road number 2491, in the names of Mike Schroeder and David Koresh, which the UPS employee believed to be firearms components and explosives. Through my investigation, I know that the place known as the "Mag-Bag" is a small tract of land located at the above address which has two metal buildings located on it.

The name "Mag-Bag" comes from the shipping label which is accompanied many items shipped to the above address.  I and other agents have personally observed vehicles consistently ove the past six months at the "Mag-Bag" locatoin which are registered to Vernon Wayne Howell, aka:David Koresh. Lieutentant Barber furhter stated that the UPS employees, Larry Gilbreath, became suspicious and concerned about the deliveries, most of which were shipped Cash On Delivery, (C.O.D.) because of their frequency and because of the method used by the recipient to receive the shipments and to pay for them.

Lieutenant Barber explained that David Koresh was an alias name used by Vernon Wayne Howell who operated a religious cult commune near Wacl, Texas at a place commonly known as the Mount Carmel Center, which is one of the premises to be searched and more specifically described above. i have learned from my investigation, particularly from my discussions with former cult members that Vernon Howell adopted the name David Koresh more than a year ago.  The name "David Koresh" was chosen by Howell because Howell believed that the name helped designate him as the messiah or the anointed one of God.  Lieutenant Barber further related that he was told by Gilbreath that he has been making deliveries to the "Mag Bag" and Mount Carmel Center on Double EE Ranch Road, Waco, Texas for several years, but he had never been suspicious of any of the deliveries until 1992. Gilbreath became concerned because he made several C.O.D. deliveries addressed to the "Mag-Bag" but when he would stop at that location he was instructed to wait while a telephone call was made to the Mount Carmel Center by the person at the "Mag-Bag", usually Woodrow Kendrick or Mike Schroeder, notifying the person who answered the phone at the Mount Carmel Center that UPS was coming there with a C.O.D. delivery, after which Gilbreath would be instructed to drive to the Mount Carmel Center to deliver the package and collect for it.  That on those occasions when he was at the Mount Carmel Center to deliver and colect for the C.O.D. packages.  He saw several manned observation posts, and believed that the observers were armed.

Lieutenant Barber stated that he was told by Larry Gilbreath (UPS) that in May of 1992 two cases of inert hand grenades and a quantity of black powder were delivered by him to the "Mag-Bag." The source of these shipments was unknown to Gilbreath.

On June 9,1992, I was contacted by Lieutentant Barber who told me that he had learned from Larry Gilbreath that in June of 1992, the United Parcel Service delivered ninety (90) pounds of powdered aluminum metal and 30 to 40 cardboard tubes, 24 inches in length and 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter, which were shipped from the Fox Fire Company, Pocatella, idaho, to "Mag-Bag."  From another shipper whose identity is unknown, two parcels containing a total of sixty (60), M-16/AR-15 ammunition magazines were delivered by UPS to the "Mag-Bag" on June 8,1992.  I know based upon my training and experience that an AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle practically identical to the M-16 rifle carried by United States Armed Forces.  The AR-15 rifle fires .223 caliber ammunition and, just like the M-16, can carry magazines of ammunition ranging from 30 to 60 rounds of ammunition. I have been involved in many cases where defendants, following a relarively simple process, convert AR-15 semi-automatic rifles to fully automatic rifles of the nature of the M-16.  This conversion process can often be accomplished by an individual purchasing certain parts which will quickly transform the rifle to fire fully automatic.  Often times templates, milling machines, lathes and instruction guides are utilzed by the converter.

Lieutenant Barber related to me the follwing background information about the Mount Carmel Center commune, which is located at Rt. 7, Box 471-b, Waco, Texas , and consists of some seventy (70) acres of land, occupied by Vernon W. Howell, a/k/a David Koresh and others.

The property was once owned and occupied by George Buchanan Roden, who once was an unannounced candidate for the office of President of the United States.  Roden inherited the property sometime in the 1950's, and beginning about January 1986 established and led a religious cult group with about twenty (20) followers.  He claimed to be the Prophet of the group.  The property at that time was known as the "Elk Property/ Mt. Carmel Center." About this same time, Roden was in jeopardy of losing the property by foreclosure due to delinquent taxes which had not been paid since 1968.

About this same time, Vernon Wayne Howell, had established a similar group in Palestine, Texas, known as the Branch Davidian Seventh-Day Adventists. Sometime in 1987, Howell, laid claim to ownership of the Mr. Carmel Center property and wanted to acquire it by any means possible.  On November 3,1987, Howell led an armed group of eight men into Roden's camp and a 45-minute gun battle ensued.  Roden was shot in the finger and was the only person injured.

Eight people, including Vernon W. Howell and Paul Gordon Fatta were arrested by the McLennan County Sheriff's Department, Waco, Texas, and were indicted for attempted murder by a McLennan County Grand Jury. All eight subjects were tried in State court at Waco, Texas and were acquitted of the charges of attempted murder by a jury.

After the armed assault by Howell and his followers, George Roden vacated the property.  In 1987, the property was taken over by Howell and his cult group.  The taxes owed on the Mr. Carmel Center have been paid by Howell's group.  His cult has grown to about seventy (70) to eighty (80) people which includes men, women and children who now live on the Nount Carmel Center property.

Lieutenant Barber furnished me with recently taken aerial photographs of the Mount Carmel Center which had been taken by Captain Dan Weyenberg of the McLennan County Sheriff's Department, Waco, Texas.  Among the things noted in the photographs was a buried bus near the main structure and an observation tower, approximately three or four stories tall with windows on all four sides enabling a view from the structure of 360 degrees.

I was also advised by Lieutenant Barber that Robert Cervanka, a known long time McLennan County citizen, who lives near the Mount Carmel Center compound, had, on several occasions, from January through February of 1992, had heard machinegun fire coming from the compound property.  Mr. Cervanka offered law enforcement authorities his residense to be used a surveillance post.

On July 21,1992, I met with Rovert L. Cervanka, Route 7, Box 103, Riesel, Texas.  Mr. Cervanka farms the property surronding the east side of the Mount Carmel property.  Mr. Cervanka stated he has farmed that area since 1948.  From about January and February of 1992 he has heard machinegun fire on the Vernon Howell property during the night hours.  He is familiar with and knows the sound of machinegun fire because he did a tour overseas with the U.S. Army.  He believes that some of the gunfire he heard was being done with 50 caliber machineguns and possibly M-16 machineguns.

On November 13,1992, based on information gained from Gilbreath by Lieutenant Barber, I interviewed Dave Haupert, Olympic Arms Inc., Olympia, Washington, a company which had shipped several parcels to David Koresh at the "Mag-Bag", Rt. 7, Box 555-b, Waco. Texas.  Mr. Haupert told me that the records of Olympic arms Inc., indicated that approximately forty-five(45) AR-15/M-16 rifle upper receiver units, with barrels of various calibers, had been shipped from March through April of 1992 to the Mag-Bag Corporation for a total cost of $11,107.31, cash of delivery.

On January 13,1993, I interviewed Larry Gilbreath in Waco, Texas, and confirmed the information which ahd previously been related to me by Lieutenant Barber.  Mr. Gilbreath told me that although he had been making deliveries at the "Mag Bag" and the Mount Carmel Center for quite some time, his suspicion about the packages being delivered to those places never was aroused until about February 1992.  At that time the invoices accompanying a number of packages reflected that they contained firearm parts and accessories as well as various chemicals.  He stated that in May 1992, a package which was addressed to the "Mag Bag" accidently broke open while it was being loaded on his delivery truck.  He saw that it contained three boxes the contents of which were "pineapple" type hand grenades which he believed to be inert.  He stated that here were about fifty of the grenades and that he later delivered them to the Mount Carmel Center.  The Mount Carmel Center is that tract of land depicted in the photograph labeled  "attachment B" with the main residential structure being depicted in "attachment C."

Mr. Gilbreath stated that these suspicious packages were usually addressed to the "Mag Bag" or to David Koresh.  When he would stop to deliver them to the "Mag Bag", he was met most of the time by Woodrow Kendrick, and on other occasions by Steve Schneider.  They would have him wait while they telephoned the Mount Carmel Center to tell them that UPS was coming with a C.O.D. package.  He would be instructed to take the package(s) to the Mount Carmel Center, he was usually met by Perry Jones or, on occasion, by Steve Schneider, who would pay the C.O.D. charges in cash and would accept delivery of the shipments.

On this same date, June 8,1992, I interviewed Glen Deruiter, Manager, Sarco Inc., Stirling, New Jersy, and learned from him that in May of 1992, their company shipped one M-16 parts set kit with a sling and magazine to the "Mag-Bag" in the name of David Koresh.  The total value of these items was $284.95

Also on June 8,1992, I interviewed Cynthia Alco, Owner/Manager, Nesard Gun Parts Company, Barrington, Illinois, and learned from her that in May of 1992, her company shipped to the "Mag-Bag", two (2) M-16 machinegun car kits and two (2) M-16 machinegun E2 kits.  These kits contain all the parts of an M-16 machinegun, except for the lower receiver unit which is the "firearm" by lawful definition.  Ms. Alco stated that the total amount of sales to the Mag-Bag was $1227.00.  Within the past month, I have spoken with Curtis Bartlett, Firearms Technician with BATF and have learned that Nesard Company has been under investigation in the past by ATF for engaging in a scheme to supply parts which would enable individuals to construct illegal weapons from various component parts.

On June 9,1992, I requested that a search of the records of the National Fireamrs Registration and Transfer Record, Washington, D.C., to determine if Vernon W. Howell and/or Paul G. Fatta, one of Howell's closest follwers, had any machineguns or other NFA weapons registered to them.  The result of the search was negative.

On this same date, June 9,1992, I requested a search of the records of the Firearms Licensing Section of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Atlanta, Georgia, to determine if Howell, Fatta or the "Mag-Bag" Corporation were licenses as Fieramrs dealers or manufacturers.  The result of this search was negative.

On June 10,1992, I requested a search of the records of the Firearms Licensing Section of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Atlanta, Georgia, to determine if David Koresh, Howell's alias name or David M. Jones, a known associate of Howell, were licensed as Firearms dealers of manufacturers.  The result of this search was negative.

On June 23,1992, I spoke with ATF compliance Inspector Robert Souza, Seattle, Washington, who inquired about the Mag Bag Corporation, Route 7, Box 555, Waco, Texas.  He had received some invoices reflecting a large quantity of upper receivers and AR-15 parts being shipped to "Mag Bag", Waco, Texas, from Olympic Arms Inc., 624 Old Pacific Hwy., S.E. Olympia, Washington.  Inspector Souza faxed me copies of invoices, reflecting purchases of twenty (20) AR-15 upper receiver units with barrels by the "Mag Bag" on March 26th and 30th, 1992.  These items are in addition to the items referred to above.

As a result of my investigation of shipments to Howell/Koresh and Mike Schroeder at the "Mag-Bag" Corporation, Waco, Texas, through the United Parcel Service, and the inspection of the firearms records of Henry McMahon, dba, Hewitt Hand Guns, Hewitt, Texas, I have learned that they acquired during 1992, the following firearms and related explosive paraphernalia:

one hundred four (104), AR-15/M-16, upper receiver groups with barels. Eight thousand, one hundred (8,100) rounds of 9mm and .223 caliber ammunition for AR-15/M-16. Twenty (20), one hundred round capacity drum magazines for AK-47 rifles. Two hundred sixty (260), M-16/AR-15 magazines. Thirty (30) M-14 magazines. Two (2) M-16 E2 kits. Two (2) M-16 car kits. One M-76 grenade launcher. Two hundred (200) M-31, practice rifle grenades. Four (4) M-16 parts set Kits "A". Two (2) flare launchers Two cases, (approximately 50) inert practice hand grenades. 40-50 pounds of black gun powder. Thirty (30) pounds of Potassium Nitrate. Five (5) pounds of Magnesium metal powder. One pound of Igniter cord. ( A class C explosive) Ninety-one (91) AR/15 lower receiver units. Twenty-six (26) various calibers and brands of hand guns and long guns. 90 pounds of aluminum metal powder. 30-40 cardboard tubes.

The amount of expenditures for the above listed firearm paraphernalia, excluding the (91) AR-15 lower receiver units and the (26) complete firearms, was in excess of $44,300.

From my investigation, I have learned that a number of shipments to the "Mag-Bag" have been from vendors with questionable trade practices. One is presently under investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, for violations fo the National Firearms Act, which prohibits unlawful possession of machineguns, silencers, destructive devices, and machinegun conversion kits.

Because of the sensitivity of this investigation, these vendors have not been contacted by me for copies of invoices indicating the exact items shipped to the Mag-Bag.

On November 13,1992, I interviewed Lieutenant Coy Jones, McLennan County Sheriff's Department, Waco, Texas, and learned from him that he had spoken with an employee of the United Parcel Servcie , Waco, Texas, who wished to remain anonymous.  This person told Jones that Marshal Keith Butler, a relative of the person who wishes to remain anoymous, is a machinist by trade, and is associated with Vernon Howell.

The records of the Texas Department of Public Safety reflect that Butler has been arrested on seven (7) occasions since 1984 for unlawful possession of drugs.  Two of the arrests resulted in convictions for possession of a controlled substance.  Butler's latest arrest and conviction was in January 1992.  Butler received a sentence of three (3) years in the Texas Department of Corrections.  In April 1992 Butler was paroled to McLennan County, Texas.

On November 13,1992, I interviewed Terry Fuller, a deputy sheriff for teh McLennan County Sheriff's Department, Waco, Texas, and learned from him that on November 6,1992, at approximately 1:25 p.m., while on routine patrol in the area of the Mount Carmel Center, the property controlled by Vernon Howell, he heard a loud explosion in the area of the north part of the Mount Carmel Property.  As he drove toward the area where he thought the explosin had occurred, he observed a large cloud of grey smoke dissipating from ground level on the north end of the Mount Carmel property.

On December 7,1992, I spoke with Special Agent Carlos Torres, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Houston, Texas, who had been assisting me in a portion of this investigation.  He related to me the results of his interview on December 4,1992, with Joyce Sparks, Texas Department of Human Service, Waco, Texas.  Special Agent Torres told me that Ms. Sparks received a complaint from outside the State of Texas, that David Doresh was operating a commune type compound, and that he was sexually abusing young girls.  Ms. Sparks stated that on February 27,1992, she along with two other employees of the Texas Department of Human Services and Two McLennan County Sheriff's Deputies responded to the complaint.  They went to the Mount CArmel Center compound located east of Waco in McLennan County.  When they arrived at the compound, they were met by a lady who identified herself as Rachel Koresh, the wife of David Koresh.

(one line missing) Koresh was not there.  She had strict orders from him not to talk with anyone unless he was present.  Ms. Sparks finally was able to convince Mrs. Koresh to allow her to talk with some of the children. who were present. She talked to a young boy about 7 or 8 years old.  The child said that he could not wait to grow up and be a man.  When Ms. Sparks asked him why he was in such a hurry to grow up, he replied that when he grew up he would get a "long gun" just like all the other men there.  When Ms. Sparks pursued the subject, the boy told her that all the adults had guns and that they were always practicing with them.

Ms. Sparks also told Special Agent Torres that she was escorted throught part of th ebuilding where she noted a lot of construction being performed. She also said that she could not determine how many people were in the group, but estimated about sixty (60) to seventy (70)people there including men, women and children.  She stated that she saw about 15 to 20 adult males there.

Ms. Sparks also said that on April 6,1992, she visited the compound again. On this occasion she talked with David Koresh.  She asked Koresh about the firearms which she had been told by the small child.  Koresh admitted that there were a few firearms there, but said that most of the adults did not know of them, and that there were too few to be of any significance.  Ms. Sparks said thta when she pressed Koresh about the firearms and their location at the compound, he offered to show her around.  He requested that she wait about 30 minutes until he could get the other residents out of the building so they would not see where he had the firearms stored.  After a period of time, Ms. Sparks was escorted through part of the building by Koresh.  She noted that there was more construction activityy and that the inside of the structure looked quite differant from her previous visit. Each time Ms. Sparks asked Koresh about the location of the firearms, he would tell her that they were in a safe place where the children could not get to them.  Then he would change the subject.

Ms. Sparks said that she noticed a trap door in the floor at one end of the building.  Whe she inquired about it, Koresh allowed her to look into the trap door.  She could see a ladder leading down into a buried school bus from which all the seats had been removed.  At one end of the bus she could see a very large refrigerator with numerous bullet holes.  She also saw three long guns lying on the floor of the bus, however, she did not know the make or caliber of them.  Whe stated that there was no electricity in the bus.  Everything she saw was with the aid of a pen light.  When questioned by Ms. Sparks, Koresh said that the bus was where he practiced his target shooting in order not to distrub his neighbors.

Ms. Sparks felt the entire walk through the compound was staged for her by Koresh.  When she asked to speak with some of the children and other residents, Koresh refused, stating they were not available.  She said that during her conversation with Koresh, he told her that he was the "Messenger" from God, that the world was coming to an end, and that when he "reveals" himself the riots in Los Angeles would pale in comparison to what was going to ahppen in Waco, Texas.  Koresh stated that it would be a "military type operation" and that all the "non-believers" would have to suffer.

On December 11,1992, I interviewed Robyn Bunds in LaVerne, California. Robyn Bunds is a former member and resident of Vernon Howell's commune in Waco, Texas.  She told me that in 1988, at the age of 19, she gave birth to a son who was fathered by Vernon Howell.  Her departure from the commune in 1990 was a result of Howell becoming progressively more violent and abusive.

While she was there, she and the other residents were subjected to watching extremely violent movies of the Vietnam war which Howell would refer to as training films.  Howell forced members to stand guard of the commune 24 hours a day with loaded weapons.  Howell always was in possession of firearms and kept one under his bed while sleeping.  Robyn stated that her present residence in California belonged to her parents.  For a period of several years Howell had exclusive control of the residence and used it for other members of his cult when he was in California.  It was later relinquished by Howell to Robyn's mother.  In June 1992, while she was cleaning one of the bedrooms of the residence she found a plactic bag containing gun parts.  She showed them to her brother, David Bunds, who has some knowledge of firearms.  He told her that it was a machinegun conversion kit.  She stored the gun parts in her garage because she felt certain that Howell would send some of his followers to pick them up. Subsequent to her discovery of the conversion kit, Paul Fatta, Jimmy Riddle, and Neal Vaega, all members of Howell's cult and residents of the commune in Waco, came from Waco, Texas, to California and picked up the conversion kit.

On December 12,1992, I interviewed Jeannine Bunds, the mother of Robyn and David Bunds.  She told me that she was a former member of Howell's group in Waco, Texas, having left there in September 1991.  She is a registered nurse and was working in that capacity at the Good Samaritan Hodpital, Los Angeles, California.  While at Howell's commune in Waco, she participated in live fire shooting exercises conducted by Howell.  She saw several long guns there, some of which she described as AK-47 rifles.  Mrs. Bunds described the weapon to me and was able identify an AK-47 from among a number of photographs of firearms shown to her by me.  I believe that she is well able to identify an AK-47.  In July of 1991, she saw Howell shooting a machinegun on the back portion of the commune property.  She knew it was a machinegun because it functioned with a very rapid fire and would tear up the ground when Howell shot it.  Mrs. Bunds also told me that Howell had fathered at least fifteen (15) children from various women and young girls at the compound.  Some of the girls who had babies fathered by Howell were as young as 12 years old.  She had personally delivered seven(7) of these children.

According to Ms. Bunds, Howell annuls all marriages of couples who join his cult.  He then has exclusive sexual access to the women.  He also, accoring to Mrs. Bunds, has regular sexual relations with young girls there.  The girls ages are from eleven (11) years old to adulthood.

On January 6,1993, I interviewed Jeannine Bunds again in Los Angeles, California.  I showed her seveal photographs of firearms and explosives devices.  She identified an AR-15 rifle and a pineapple type hand grenade as being items which she had seen a the Mournt CArmel Center while she was there.  She stated that she saw several of the AR-15 and at least one of teh hand grenades.

On January 7,1993, I interviewed Deborah Sue Bunds in Los Angeles, California.  She was the wife of David Bunds, and she had been a member of teh "Branch Davidian"since birth.  She stated she first met Vernon Wayne Howell in July 1980.  When Howell assumed leadership of the "Branch" in Waco, Texas, in 1987, he began to change the context of their Doctrine. While she was at the Mount Carmel compound in Waco, Texas, she was assigned, under Howell's direction, to guard duty with a loaded weapon. About February 1989, she observed Howell shooting a machinegun behind the main structure of the compound.  She is sure the firearm was a machinegun because of the rapid rate of fire and the rate of fire was much different from that which was usually conducted during practice exercises on the compound.  After describing the firing of this weapon to me, I believe that Ms. Bunds was describing the firing of an automatic weapon.

Mrs. Deborah Bunds also told me that during an evening meal a short time after having seen Howell shoot the machinegun, she overheard Howell and his closest associates discussing machineguns.  Howell was very excited about having a machinegun.  He voiced a desire to acquire additional machineguns, specifically AK-47 type machineguns.

During this investigation I made inquiries of a number of law enforcment data bases for information about those commune residents who I have been able to identify.  Through TECS I learned that some forty (40) foreign nationals from Jamaica, United Kingdom, Israel, Australia and New Zealand have entered the United States at various times in the past and have used the address of the Mount Carmel Center, Waco, Texas as their point of contact while here.  According to INS records most of these foreign nationals have over stayed their entry permits or visas and are therefore illegally in the United States.  I know that it is a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922 for an illegal alien to receive a firearm.

On January 1, and January 3,1993 , Mrs. Poia Vaega of Mangars, Auckland, New Zealand, was interviewed telephonically by Resident Agent in Charge Bill Buford, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Little Rock, Arkansas, who also is assisting me in this investigation.  The results of Special Agent Buford's interview on January 3,1993, was tape recorded with the permission of Poia Vaega and has since been transcripted and typewritten.  Both the tape recording and the interviews with Poia Vaega revealed a falst imprisonment for a term of three and one half (3 1/2) months which began in June of 1991 and physical and sexual abuse of one of Mrs. Vaega's sisters, Doreen Saipaia.  This was while she was a member of the "Branch Davidian" at the Mount Carmel Center, Waco, Texas.  The physical and sexual abuse was done by Vernon Wayne Howell and Stanley Sylvia, a close follower of Howell, on several occasions.

It was learned from Mrs. Vaega that she and her husband, Leslie, were also members of Howell's group in Waco for a short period of time in March 1990. Upon their arrival at Mount Carmel Center, she and her husband were separated and not allowed to sleep together or have any sexual contact.

According to Mrs. Vaega, all the firls and women at the compound were exclusively reserved for Howell.  She stated that Howell would preach his philosophy, which did not always conincide with the Bible, for hours at a time.  She and her husband left the compound after ten (10) days because her husband did not agree with Howell's doctrine, but that her two sisters stayed behind.

Mrs. Vaega also related taht she was present at one of the study periods held by Howell when Howell passed his personal AK-47 machinegun around for the group to handle and look over.

On January 6,1993, I received the results of an examination conducted by Jerry A. Taylor, Explosives Enforcement Officer, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Walnut Creek, California, in response to a requrest from me to render an opinion on device design, construction, functioning, effacts, and classification of explosives materials which have been accumulated by Howell and his followers.  Mr. Taylor has received extensive training in Explosives Classification, Identification and rendering safe of explosive devices and has been recognized on numerous occasions as an expert witness in Federal court.  Mr. Taylor stated that the chemicals Potassium Nitrate, Aluminum, and Magnesium, when mixed in the proper proportions, do constitute an explosive as defined by Federal law.  He further stated that Igniter cord is an explosive.  Also Mr. Taylor stated that the inert practice rifle grenades and hand grenades would, if modified as weapons with the parts avaliable to Howell, become explosives devices as defined by Federal law.  Finally he stated that black powder, is routinely used as the main charge when manufacturing improvised explosive weapons such as grenades and pipe bombs.  I know that Title 26, United States Code, Section 5845 makes it unlawful for a person to possess any combination of parts designed or intended for use in converting any device into a destructive device.  The definition of "firearm" includes any combination of parts, either designed or inteded for use in converting any device into a destructive device such as a grenade, and from which a destructive device may be readily assembled.  See United States v. Price, 877 F.2d 334 (5thCir.1989).  So long as an individual possesses all of the component parts, item constitutes a destructive device even though it is not assembled, so long as it can be readily assembled.  United States v. Russell, 468 F. Supp.322 (D.C. Tex 1979)

***On January 8,1993, I interviewed Marc Breault in Los Angeles, California. He is an American citizen who lives in Australia with his wife Ilizabeth. He was once a member of the "Branch Davidian" in Waco, Texas.   He lived a the Mount Carmel Cneter from early 1988 until September 1989.  While there he participated in physical training and firearm shooting exercises conducted by Howell.  He stood guard armed with a loaded weapon.  Guard duty was maintained twenty-four (24) hours a day seven (7) days a week. Those who stood guard duty were instructed by Howell to "shoot to kill" anyone attempted to come through  the entrance gate of the Mount Carmel property.  On one occasion, Howell tolf him that he wanted to obtain and/or manufacture hachineguns, grenads and explosive devices. Howell stated he thought that the gun control laws were ludicrious, because an individual could easily acquire a firearm and the necessary parts to convert it to a machinegun, but if a peron had the gun and ther parts together they would be in violation of the law.  On another occasion, Howell told him that he was interested in acquiring the " Anarchist's Cook Book",  which I know is a publication outlining clandestine operations to include instructions and formuls for manufacturing improvised explosive devices.

On January 12, 1993, I spoke with Special Agent Earl Dunagan, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Austin, Texas, who is assisting me in thei investigation.  He related the resulrs of his inquiry to the ATF Firearms Techonology Branch, Washington, D.C., for an opinion concerning the firearms parts which have been accumulated by Howell and his group. Special Agent Dunnagan stated that he had spokenb with Curtis Bartlett, Firearms Enforcement Officer, Washington, D.C., and was told by Officer Bartlett that the firearms parts which Howell has received and the method by which he has recieved them, is consistent with activities in other ATF investigations in various parts of the United States, which have resulted in the discovery and seizure of machineguns.  Mr. Bartlett stated that the firearms parts received by Howell could be used to assemble both semi-automatic firearms and machineguns.  He has examined many firearms which had been assembled as mahcineguns which included these type parts.

Mr. Bartlett also told Special Agent Dunagan that one of the vendors of supplies to Howell has been the subject of several ATF investigations in the past.  ATF executed asearch warrant at this company and had seized a number of illegal machineguns and silencers.

Special Agent Dunagan told me that on January 12,1993, he spoke with Special Agent Mark Mutz, ATF, Washington, D.C., who was the case agent on the above ongoing investigation dealing with the illicit supplier who has provided gun parts to Howell.  Special Agent Mutz stated that during the execution of the Federal search warrant at the company's office in South Carolina, he saw large quantities of M-16 machinegun and AK-47 machinegun parts.  The company maintained their inventory of these parts as "replacement parts" sp they fell easily within a loophole in the Federal law which prohibited ATF from seizing the parts.  Special Agent Mutz stated taht the company had all the necessary parts to convert AR-15 rifles and AK-47 rifles into machineguns if their customers had the upper and lower receivers for those firearms.  Based on my investigation, as stated above in the description of gun parts shipped to Howell, I know that Howell possesses the upper and lower receivers for teh firearms which he is apparently trying to convert to fully automatic.

Mr. Bartlett told me that another one of the vendors of suplies to Howell, Nesard Gun Parts Co., 27 W. 990 Industrial Rd., Barringon, Ill., has also been the subject of an ATF investigation.  Officer of that company, Gerald Graysen Cynthia alco and Anthony Alco all pled guilty to ATF charges.  The Nesard Co., which owned Sendra Corporation, was shipping AR-15 receivers through the Sendra Corp., along with part kits from the Nesard Co.  When these parts are assembled it resulted in the manufacture of a short barrelled rifle.  Even though the above subjects are convicted felons they continue to conduct business because the Nesard Gun Parts Co., distributes gun parts and not firearms.

On January 25,1993, I interviewed David Block in Los Angeles, California. He stated that he was a member of Howell's cult at the Mount Carmel Center, Waco, Texas, from March 1992, until June 23,1992.  During the time he was there, he attended two Gun Shows with Vernon Howell, Mike Schroeder, Paul Fatta, and Henry McMahon who is a Federally licensed firearms dealer.  The gun shows were in Houston and San Antonio, Texas.

While at the Mount Carmel Center he saw a metal lathe and a meal milling machine which were normally operated by Donald Bunds and Jeff Little. Donald Bunds, a mechanical engineer, has the capability to fabricate firearms parts, accoring to Block. On one occasion at the Mount Carmel Center, he observed Bunds designing, what Bunds described as a "grease gun/sten gun" on an Auto Cad Computer located at the residence building at the compound.  The computer has the capability of displaying a three dimensional rendering of objects on a computar monitor screen.  The object appeared to be a cylindrical tube with a slot out into the side of it for a bolt cocking lever.  Bunds told him that Howell wanted Bunds to design a "grease gun" which they could manufacture.  Mr. Block told me that on another occasion at the Mount Carmel Center he saw Donald Bund designing a template which Bunds explained was to fit around the "grease gun"  tubes indicating where the bolt lever slots were to be milled out.  This was another step in manufacturing "grease guns" which had been requested by Howell.  I know that a "grease gun" is a machinegun following after the design of a World War II era military weapon.

During his time at the Mount Carmel Center Mr. Blockl was present several occasions when Howell would sk if anyone had any knowledge about making hand grenades  or converting semi-automatic rifles to machineguns. At one point he also heard discussion about a shipment of inert hand grenades and Howell's intent to reactiviate them.  Mr. Block stated that he observed at the compound published magazines such as, the "Shotgun News" and other related clandestine magazines.  He heard extensive talk of the existence of the "Anarchist Cook Book".

Mr. Block told me that he observed a .50 caliber rifle mounted on a bi-pod along with .50 caliber ammunition.  However, what Mr. Block described to ATF Agents, was a British Boys, .52 caliber, anti-tank rifle (a destructive device).  Mr. Block further stated that he also heard talk of the existence of two additional .50 caliber rifles on the compound.  There was also extensive talk about converting the .50 caliber rifles and other rifles to machineguns.

Mr. Block also told me that he met James Paul Jones from Redding, California, who was visiting the Mount Carmel Center in April or May of 1992.  According to Howell, Jones was a firearms and explosives expert.

On Februrary 22,1993 ATF Special Agent Robert Rodriquez told me that on February 21, 1993, while acting in an undercover capacity, he was contacted by David Koresh and was invited to the Mount Carmel Compound.  Special Agent Rodriguez accepted the invitation and met with David Koresh inside the compound.  Vernon Howell, also known as David Koresh played music on a guitar for 30 minutes and then began to read the Bible to Special Agent Rodriguez.  During this session, Special Agent Rodriquez was asked numerous questions about his life.  After answering all the questions Special Agent Rodriquez was asked to attend a two week Bible session with David Koresh. This was for Special Agent to learn the 7 Seals and become a member of the group.  Special Agent Rodriquez was told that by becoming a member he(Rodriquez) was going to be watched and disliked.  David Koresh stated that Special Agent Rodriquez would be disliked because the Government did not consider the group religious and that he (Koresh) did not pay taxes or local taxes because he felt he did not have to.  David Koresh told Special Agent Rodriquez that he believed in the right to bear arms but that the U.S. Government was going to take away that right.  David Koresh asked Special Agent Rodriquez if he knew that if he (Rodriquez) purchased a drop-in-searfor an AR-15 rifle it would not be illegal, but if he (Rodriquez) had an AR-15 rifle with the sear that it would be against the law.  David Koresh stated that the sear could be purchased legally.  David Koresh stated that the Bible gave him the right to bear arms.  David Koresh then advised Special Agent Rodriquez that he had something he wanted Special Agent Rodriquez to see.  At that point he showed Special Agent Rodriquez a video tape of ATF which was made by the Gun Owners Association (G.O.A.).  This film portrayed ATF as an agency who violated the rights of Gun Owners by threats and lies.

I believe that Vernon Howell, also known as David Koresh and/or his followers who reside at the compound known legally as the Mount Carmel Centere are unlawfully manufacturing and possessing machineguns and explosive devices.

It has been my experience over the five years that I have been a Special Agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and that of other Special Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, some of whom have the experience of twenty (20) years or more, who have assisted in this investigation that it is a common practice for persons enganged in the unlawful manufacture and possession of maachineguns and explosive devices to employ surreptitious methods and means to acquire the products nessacary to produce such items, and the production, use and storage of those items are usually in a protected or secret environment.  It is also my experience that persons who acquire firearms, firearm parts, and explosive materials maintain records of receipt and ownership of such items and instruction manuals or other documents explaining the methods of construction of such unlawful property.

SIGNED DAVY AQUILERA, SPECIAL AGENT BUREAU OF ATF

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO BEFORE ME THIS 25TH DAY OF FEBRUARY, 1993

DENNIS G. GREEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS-WACO



This was clipped from a message from the Liberty ICS.  Does anyone remember this incident? I'm afraid I do not but it occurred  during my ownership of a quickly growing company and I was working 12-14 hour  days in the mid-'80s. "Self-absorbed" I guess.

Steve A.

The Waco Before Waco
http://www.newsmax.com/articles/?a=1999/9/22/85323

Richard Poe
NewsMax.com
September 22, 1999

With the exception of Geraldo Rivera, most Americans seem to have grasped, by now, that responsibility for the Waco massacre goes all the way to the top. Even so, we cannot pin the blame solely on Bill and Hillary.

The militarization of U.S. policing has proceeded unchecked through Republican and Democratic administrations alike. Indeed, one of the earliest Waco-like incidents occurred on May 13, 1985, long before Bill Clinton was even a blip on the political radar screen.

That day, police emptied 10,000 rounds of ammunition into a house in West Philadelphia, in a ninety-minute period. They fired Uzis, shotguns, M-16s, .50-caliber machineguns, Browning semiautomatic rifles and M-60 machineguns. A 20mm antitank gun was also on hand, though police claim they never fired it.

Later that day, a canvas satchel containing four and a half pounds of C-4 plastic explosive was dropped on the house by helicopter. The ensuing fire consumed not only that house, but sixty others, leaving the neighborhood a smoking ruin.

At whom was all this firepower aimed? The targets were four men, three women and six children -- members of an anti-government, urban survivalist cult called MOVE. Police say the cultists shot first, after lawmen tried to arrest four of them.

But Police Commissioner Gregore Sambor inadvertently cast doubt on this claim when he testified that the first shots came from automatic weapons. MOVE had no such weapons -- only two shotguns, two pistols and one .22-caliber rifle.

In any case, all MOVE members in the house were killed that day, except for one woman and one 13-year-old boy.

Back in 1986, I attended the trial of Ramona Africa -- the lone adult survivor of the MOVE house -- and wrote a cover story about the massacre for the East Village Eye. In that article, I suggested that the scorched-earth tactics used against MOVE were a trial balloon, designed to test public reaction to a new style of ultra-violent policing.

My theory rested partly on the fact that federal agencies had encouraged and facilitated the MOVE massacre behind the scenes. The FBI, for instance, provided C-4, a military explosive forbidden to civilian police. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms provided permission and tax waivers for other military weapons.

Most curious, however, were the "reforms" enacted in the massacre's wake. Arguing that the slaughter had resulted from random bungling by overzealous cops, Mayor W. Wilson Goode announced a sweeping reorganization supposedly aimed at increasing the professionalism of Philadelphia police.

Goode's proposals ranged from the creation of an elite counter-terrorist strike force, to the establishment of unprecedented liaisons with federal law enforcement agencies, to training for police at military facilities, and even to anti-terrorist schools and "crisis management" training for city officials by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

In short, Goode called for more of the very same medicine that had caused the problem in the first place: outside meddling from federal goons.

Years later, in 1993, federal "crisis management" once again made headlines, this time in Waco, Texas. Parallels between the MOVE and Waco massacres read like guidelines drawn from the same tactical handbook.

In both cases, last-minute offers to negotiate were ignored by lawmen. In both cases, fires were deliberately allowed to burn out of control. Both at Waco and at the MOVE house, people trying to escape the flames were forced back inside by gunfire.

Even more startling, lawmen in both cases claimed that the cultists had set fire to themselves. In the midst of a civil suit brought by MOVE survivors and relatives, Lt. Frank Powell suddenly anounced that the fire had been deliberately set by MOVE members, not by the bomb he dropped.

"They chose their own end," Powell told reporters on May 1, 1996. MOVE members had doused the roof with flammable liquid, then torched it, Powell said.

His claim -- which contradicted the findings of the city Fire Marshal and the mayor's MOVE Commission -- evidently did not impress the jury, which awarded Ramona Africa and relatives of two other MOVE victims $1.5 million in damages.

If the MOVE bombing really was a trial balloon, it was evidently a successful one. The media accepted the story of bungling, overzealous cops. Public outrage was confined to ineffectual liberal handwringing, much of it centered around the irrelevant fact that the MOVE victims were black.

Is Waco another trial balloon? Have the feds upped the ante this time, with a blatant use of Delta Force commandos, a higher body count, and a "whiter" list of victims (about half the Waco dead were Anglo, the other half mostly black, with some Mexicans and Asians)?

Very likely. If we fail to challenge this latest atrocity, even ghastlier Wacos may lie ahead.

______________________________________________________

Richard Poe is a freelance journalist and a New York Times-bestselling author. His latest book is Wave 4 (Prima, 1999). Poe's Website can be found at RichardPoe.com

TIME MAGAZINE WEB SITE:

http://www.pathfinder.com/@@KzQN3gAAAAAAAEsG/time/magazine/1995timeline.graphics.html



TIME Magazine

July 24, 1995 Volume 146, No. 4

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COVER BOX

HOW A CASCADE OF ERRORS LED ATF TO DISASTER AT WACO

Perhaps the harshest critic of the ATF's Waco raid was the bureau's own master, the Treasury Department. In the raid's aftermath, the department launched an investigation by veteran agents from its other law-enforcement agencies, backed up by independent outside reviewers, including Willie Williams, the Los Angeles chief of police. The result was a 500-page indictment that pulled no punches yet whose details, surprisingly, went largely unreported. The Blue Book, as it is known, portrayed a dark carnival of ATF errors. Among them:

*  ATF established an undercover house adjacent to the compound and installed eight agents there under the guise of students at Texas State Technical College. But they were too old to be convincing. They carried briefcases and drove cars too new and expensive for students to afford. Raid planners gravely underestimated David Koresh's savvy and suspicion--the review team discovered that Koresh had had checks run on the cars and found that three of the four had no credit liens outstanding.

*  The raid planners had chosen a direct assault in part because they believed Koresh never left the Branch Davidian compound, and thus could never be isolated from his followers. But Koresh did leave the compound--several times in late 1992 and only weeks before the February 1993 raid. ATF just never knew it. The report blamed this on its "failure to establish an effective intelligence operation." *  Faulty intelligence also led ATF to believe the Branch Davidians kept their guns under lock and key in a central location. In fact, the guns were distributed and readily available. Likewise, ATF agents responsible for surveillance reported the compound had no sentries. It did.

*  Eleven days before the Feb. 28 raid, ATF ended surveillance of the compound. Several of the bureau's tactical planners said they didn't learn of this gap until members of the Treasury review team told them about it.

*  Raid planners believed only 75 people lived at the compound. In fact, 125 were present on Feb. 28.

*  ATF's plan relied on catching most of the compound's male members at work in a large pit on the grounds. Yet the highest number ATF ever recorded in the pit at one time was 13.

*  The raid planners expected armed resistance from only male Branch Davidians, and possibly one woman, a former police officer. The review states, "They [the agents] studiously ignored or discounted evidence that other women might also be prepared for armed resistance."

*  "The raid commanders did not even arrange to have the telephone number for the compound on the day of the raid," the report says. In the midst of the gun battle, an agent did find the number--jotted on a calendar in the undercover house.

*  At one point, an ATF agent posing as a United Parcel Service trainee accompanied a UPS driver during a delivery to the compound, but the act failed to be convincing. The truck stopped first at an outlying building, where the ATF agent insisted that the driver ask Koresh's followers to let them use the phone and a bathroom, something that a UPS driver wouldn't ordinarily do. This accomplished, they then moved on to the compound itself to try the same plan again. This time, Koresh and another member, David Jones, met them at the gate. Jones was carrying a roll of toilet paper.

By Erik Larson

Copyright 1995 Time Inc. All rights reserved.

TIME Magazine

July 24, 1995 Volume 146, No. 4

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COVER

ATF UNDER SIEGE

Demon agency? Far from it. Torn by internal strife, the bureau has lost its sense of mission

BY ERIK LARSON

A Detroit computer bulletin board lists the names of local agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and offers helpful advice on how to harass them. A licensed gun dealer, required to surrender his business records to ATF's national tracing center, coated them first with rat excrement. A flyer found posted in Pennsylvania reads wanted: ATF agent. DEAD.

The ATF may be the most hated federal agency in America today, surpassing even the IRS in its notoriety. Gun-rights advocates have demonized the agency as a dark legion of storm troopers who trample the rights of ordinary citizens. Critics have gone so far as to compare its treatment of gun owners to Nazi persecution of Jews during World War II. In a best-selling book published last year, Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association described ATF's disastrous raid at Waco, which began the 51-day siege that ended in conflagration, as "reminiscent of the standoff at the Warsaw ghetto." Opposition to ATF has become so intense in gun-toting quarters as to resemble a religion, says Gerald Nunziato, who heads the ATF tracing center. He distills its creed: "The gun is God; the N.R.A. is the congregation; and ATF is the devil."

The bureau is not the jackbooted monolith of N.R.A. lore, however. Far from it: court documents and internal reports uncovered in a two-month Time investigation reveal ATF as a divided and troubled agency far more likely to abuse the rights of its own employees than those of law-abiding citizens. If anything, its internal troubles have impaired its law-enforcement abilities by embroiling agents and managers in a web of in-house scandals and divisive controversies. The agency faces a class action by black agents who claim widespread discrimination and intimidation, including the posting at one office of a "State of Oklahoma Nigger Hunting License." Last week charges resurfaced that ATF agents attended a racist gathering in Tennessee, the annual "Good O' Boys Roundup." Agents complain too of a management culture that doles harsh discipline to agents but goes to great lengths to protect its managers. In one case, a former head of its Dallas office who sexually harassed an employee received a demotion and transfer--to the Virgin Islands. "Any agent who's honest with you will tell you this agency has to be gutted," says Diane Klipfel, a supervisory agent in ATF's Chicago division who is mired in a battle with the bureau that began when she accused her commanders of corruption.

Two decades of outside scrutiny and persistent threats to its survival have so cowed the bureau that it now shies from certain categories of investigations, including probes of licensed gun dealers. Instead the ATF focuses more on such politically safe targets as crack gangs, outlaw bikers and ordinary killers. One indicator: the number of firearms ATF has taken into custody dropped 27 percent, to 12,965, from 1992 to 1994. Of those guns, 6,261 were handguns, or about three for each of the bureau's 2,000 agents. An ATF spokesman says such fluctuations are meaningless, but Kay Kubicki, a former ATF agent who is now counsel for the National Association of Treasury Agents, disagrees. "The only reason the total of guns [seized] would go down is morale," she says. "There's a direct correlation between the turmoil in the agency and the decline."

A theory voiced by ATF agents holds that the agency's skittishness may have contributed to its spectacular failure in the initial 1993 raid at Waco, in which four agents and six Branch Davidians were killed. David Koresh, so the theory went, made an ideal safe target--an apparent madman leading a cult that had armed itself with vast quantities of weapons. While it was the FBI that directed the final assault in which 81 people died, it was the ATF that targeted the compound in the first place. Says Kubicki, without a trace of irony: "Waco was a need to look pretty."

John Magaw, installed as ATF's director in 1993 in a post-Waco shuffle, has vowed to reform the agency and resolve its interior conflicts. But some agents question his commitment, especially in light of his decision to rehire two leaders of the Waco raid fired last October after the Treasury Department's scathing "Blue Book" report blamed them for botching the action and later lying about why it had failed. The rehiring caused ATF self-esteem to droop yet again. "I've never been more ashamed of being an ATF agent than I am right now," an agent wrote in a recent letter to a magazine published by the agents' association. "This is an agency out of control!"

And Magaw may be running out of time. The bureau faces a long hot summer of scrutiny, starting this week when the House subcommittees on crime and national security begin a joint eight-day hearing on ATF and FBI actions at Waco. The crime subcommittee plans two more hearings after the August congressional recess to examine other alleged ATF abuses and the enforcement of firearms laws in general. In short, congressional Republicans aim to ask whether the bureau should be allowed to survive. One of this week's inquisitors will be Representative Bob Barr of Georgia, an N.R.A. member who heads Newt Gingrich's Firearms Legislation Task Force. Barr asks, "At this point, do we really need ATF?"

The N.R.A. is beyond doubt the ATF's most committed opponent. Over the years the 3.5 million-member organization has built an infrastructure to ensure that far-flung cases of alleged ATF abuse get direct scrutiny from Congress. The organization is relentless. "The natural enemy of a gopher is a rattlesnake," says Gerry Spence, the flamboyant Wyoming defense attorney who defended Randy Weaver after the federal siege at Ruby Ridge, Idaho. "The natural enemy of the N.R.A. is the ATF."

The N.R.A.'s favorite strategy in harrying the agency is to publicize individual cases of alleged ATF abuses, in the process ignoring the thousands of investigations that conform even to the N.R.A.'s own anticrime platform. In 1994 ATF recommended 10,000 defendants for prosecution, of whom 47 percent were previously convicted felons. The bureau's critics also sidestep the fact that on the same day as the Waco raid, an ATF investigator, working with a New York City bomb-squad detective, found the vital shard of evidence that broke the World Trade Center bombing case. Agents from the bureau's office in Charlotte, North Carolina, recently took down a murderous street gang and sent a dozen members to prison, many for life terms. And last month Charlotte agents played a central role in capturing carjackers believed to have killed an Oregon businesswoman, the kind of case special agent in charge Paul Lyon sees as the bureau's "salvation." He feels Congress and the public have turned their back on ATF, even though the bureau is only trying to fulfill a mandate that Congress itself designated. "Now and for years, I have felt what people who came out of Vietnam felt," he says.

The N.R.A.'s atrocity stories typically omit details that might muddy its anti-ATF message. High on its list, for example, is the Randy Weaver case. In January 1991, ATF agents arrested Weaver for having sold two sawed-off shotguns to an ATF informant. Weaver was released on his own recognizance. When he failed to appear in court, a fugitive warrant was issued, and the case was passed to the U.S. Marshals Service, which caught up with Weaver in August 1992. A gunfight followed in which a deputy U.S. marshal and Weaver's 14-year-old son were killed. The FBI took over, and one of its snipers killed Weaver's wife. Contrary to public perception, however, ATF played no direct role in the shootings. In July 1993 a federal jury found Weaver guilty of failing to appear in court but acquitted him of the original weapons charge after his attorney, Gerry Spence, argued that ATF had entrapped him.

The Bureau has always walked a difficult beat, one that lies at the heart of American ambivalence. Largely through historic accident, the agency acquired responsibility for regulating three of the nation's most popular yet dangerous products: booze, cigarettes and guns. Its forebears include the "revenuers" who hunted moonshiners and enforced Prohibition. Eliot Ness remains the bureau's chief institutional hero. Today large framed posters from the 1987 movie The Untouchables hang in many ATF offices.

The IRS agents became gun cops after a period of escalating violence prompted Congress in 1934 to regulate machine guns and certain other weapons. Their jurisdiction widened with the Gun Control Act of 1968, which barred felons, minors and others from buying guns and required licensed dealers to keep records of who bought their firearms. This new authority delighted the agents, who felt they had been promoted to real crime fighters, but top IRS officials viewed the combined role of tax collection and gun control as a public relations nightmare. So in 1972 the Treasury spun off ATF into a free-standing bureau.

In its early days, according to some current and retired agents, ATF often overstepped its bounds. The gun laws were full of opportunities for making felony cases against otherwise solid citizens accustomed to America's wide-open gun trade. At the same time, the arrival of serious gun control in the 1968 Gun Control Act radicalized the N.R.A., prompting the association to shift its emphasis from promoting marksmanship to gutting the act and harrying the enforcers. In 1980 the N.R.A. produced a film, It Can't Happen Here, in which Representative John Dingell of Michigan, then a member of the N.R.A.'s board of directors, states, "If I were to select a jackbooted group of fascists who are perhaps as large a danger to American society as I could pick today, I would pick BATF." (The bureau later shortened its logo to ATF.) The N.R.A.'s campaign was so effective that in 1981 President Reagan announced he would make good on a campaign promise to dismantle ATF. But he underestimated the depth of respect accorded the bureau among other law-enforcement agencies and was forced to backpedal. He announced later that he would still demolish ATF but assign its agents to the U.S. Secret Service. ATF agents, who saw the shift as conferring instant prestige, loved the idea; the N.R.A., however, realized it was about to lose one of its best fund-raising assets. Suddenly the N.R.A. rode to ATF's rescue, blocking its demise. The reversal drew an acid appraisal from New Jersey Representative William Hughes, who accused the association of retreating because the Secret Service "might actually take the functions seriously and not be so easy to intimidate."

The bureau survived, but as a shattered agency. An internal Treasury review, completed in October 1981 but little known outside the bureau, produced a portrait of an agency in agony, "grinding to a standstill." Unsure of its mission, it was readily buffeted by shifting political winds. Said the report: "There is widespread distrust of top management. There is little unity within the organization. Morale is very poor. This situation goes far beyond the normal criticisms and complaints which are leveled against management in any organization."

The rising torrent of anti-ATF rhetoric has nurtured the perception that ATF agents are justifiable targets for heckling, if not outright assassination, an attitude that Ron Noble, Under Secretary of the Treasury for enforcement, likens to the 1960s protest ethos that branded all police officers "pigs." ATF's opponents, he says, don't loathe the bureau itself, just the laws it must enforce. "So what do you do?" he asks. "You attack an agency that not very many people know a lot about." Says a supervisory agent: "If you can't get the laws overturned, you pound on the agents. Because if you pound on them long enough, they'll turn around and say, 'Why bother?'"

The strategy is working. ATF agents often quote a maxim: "Big cases, big problems; no cases, no problems." The intense and well-orchestrated opposition has succeeded in discouraging ATF from aggressively pursuing investigations of gun shows, flea markets and licensed gun dealers, even though these often prove to be major conduits for the diversion of guns to criminals. The bureau's reluctance to investigate dealers has long driven agents to jokingly describe a dealer's license as "the $10 immunity." (Until two years ago, the annual licensing fee was $10.) A series of standing ATF orders closely choreographs all such investigations and requires that they be monitored from ATF headquarters in Washington. "You have to jump through six hoops of fire," says Kubicki, the agents' association counsel. Says Phil McGuire, a former ATF deputy director: "There's no question the N.R.A. has dictated exactly [the rules for] such things as dealer investigations and investigations of gun shows."

Far from cracking down, ATF allowed the number of licensed gun dealers to swell to nearly 300,000 by 1993. Often it failed to conduct thorough background checks for prior criminal offenses. In a survey it found that 72 percent of its licensed dealers never even bothered to open a bona fide store, but operated instead from their homes. Under Magaw, however, the bureau has lately got much tougher on applicants, requiring for the first time that they submit fingerprints and a photograph. Now the number of dealers is falling at a rate of 150 dealers a day, an ATF spokesman says, and the bureau expects the total to level off at somewhere between 70,000 and 90,000.

The persistent barrage of outside attack also helped create a culture in which senior managers and agents face each other across a vast reservoir of distrust and hostility, according to hundreds of pages of internal reports and court documents reviewed by Time. Rank-and-file agents have long protested how managers use ATF's internal-affairs unit, which routinely conducts three to five times as many internal probes as the Secret Service's apparatus, even though each agency has roughly 4,000 employees. Magaw explains the differential as partly because of the fact that ATF agents conduct far more gritty street investigations and thus are likely to draw more flak inside and outside the agency. But Magaw also sees the difference as the result of ATF's failure to train its agents adequately and of the unsettling effect of so much outside criticism.

The tempest that has wracked ATF's Chicago field division gives a flavor for the forces long at play within the bureau. The division, one of ATF's largest, has been riven with charges of corruption, sexual harassment, racial discrimination and management retaliation. Two veteran agents, Diane Klipfel and her husband Mike Casali, now face imminent discharge; they claim in a federal lawsuit that the bureau took the action in reprisal for their having reported corruption and sexual harassment, including allegations that police officers assigned to ATF had stolen money from a drug dealer. Prompted by their disclosures, investigators from Treasury's Office of the Inspector General in November 1992 conducted an unprecedented raid on the Chicago office to seize financial documents. The interlocking scandals caused the transfer of the division's top three officials and the firing of a first-line supervisor (who was reinstated this year by a federal appeals court in Chicago). The experience, however, took a grave toll on the pair's careers and personal lives. For two months, Klipfel says, the couple had their children sleep in a second-floor closet as a precaution against retaliatory shootings.

But ATF officials say Klipfel and Casali will be fired because the bureau believes they too had engaged in past misconduct. For example, it charges that Casali conducted evidence searches without federal warrants and that Klipfel maintained an inappropriate relationship with the target of an investigation. Raymond Risley, assistant deputy superintendent of internal affairs for the Chicago police, says his unit conducted a thorough investigation and found no evidence of theft. He says, however, that ATF would not let his investigators interview Casali or Klipfel and that the drug dealer's lawyer would not allow the dealer to be questioned.

The ATF rumor mill went into overdrive, accusing Klipfel in particular of everything from dealing cocaine to sleeping with a drug dealer. Yes, declares Klipfel with weary sarcasm, "I try to fit it all in. I'm a supermom."

Until the events of February 1992, she and her husband were well-regarded agents. Klipfel had been nominated four times for a top women's law-enforcement award. Casali had been decorated for heroism. "They were not only good agents; they were exceptional agents," says Robert Sanders, a former assistant director of ATF and now an attorney who specializes in defending gun owners against the agency.

But on Feb. 20, Klipfel led a series of raids with the help of two Chicago police officers. In the course of the day, Klipfel began to suspect the officers had stolen money from the raiding party's first target, a 30-year-old drug dealer named Darrin Pippin. The evening of the raid, Klipfel challenged the officers, triggering a violent argument in which one of the officers kicked the door of her car and threatened her and her family, according to a formal statement she filed with ATF. "The cops were so mad," Klipfel says. "I just couldn't be sure. I felt that my children just were not safe." She got home at 1 a.m. and immediately moved her children into the closet.

She reported her allegations to her superiors in the division, but charges that they failed to pass her report to ATF headquarters. "Now that was unconscionable for a law-enforcement organization," says Sanders, who earlier had supervised Klipfel and Casali. "That's corruption. You cannot sit on an allegation of corruption. You report it and let the chips fall where they may."

Eventually Klipfel alerted Treasury's Inspector General, this time adding charges of misconduct by her commanders, Joseph Vince, at that time the Chicago office's agent in charge, and Jimmie Adamcik, his assistant. Among the charges: that Adamcik had sent ATF cars to a friend's repair business and had associated openly with John Boyle, head of an armored-car company who was under indictment for stealing more than $4 million, much of it in coins entrusted to his company. (Boyle later pleaded no contest to all charges and was sentenced to 38 months in prison.)

Adamcik and Vince eventually were transferred to other posts. Vince's attorney, Dave Stetler, calls the allegations against his client "absolutely false" and says ATF disciplined Vince without formally charging him with anything. (Adamcik could not be reached for comment.) An internal investigation sustained some of Klipfel's allegations. It reported that Boyle had arranged free use of a nightclub for the division's 1992 Eliot Ness Birthday Party. Adamcik had also invited Boyle to play in the division's Eliot Ness Golf Tournament, held in Indiana on a workday. Boyle couldn't attend, however. Awaiting sentencing, he wasn't allowed to leave Illinois.

Klipfel's husband Mike Casali says he too passed along disturbing news about a Chicago cop, this from an informant who reported a rumor that a cop assigned to ATF was selling guns to gang members and had helped cover up a murder.

Casali and Klipfel, labeled as snitches, fast became outcasts. Klipfel found a black plastic rat in her office. Pictures of her children were knocked off her desk repeatedly. In a lawsuit they filed in Chicago federal court, Klipfel and Casali allege that ATF conducted a "deliberate and strenuous" campaign of retribution meant to suppress further disclosures of misconduct. Says Sanders: "Retaliation is so obvious."

ATF director Magaw denies the couple's charges but declines to discuss their case further. "Both people in Chicago are going to be fired," he states. "I'm going to continue that process. They deserve to be fired."

Retaliation is something of a pattern within the ATF, according to a recent internal investigation by the Treasury Inspector General's office. In a report sent to Magaw last year, the investigators said they found that of 370 Equal Employment Opportunity complaints filed by employees, 105 resulted in charges being filed with Internal Affairs against the complainers or their supporting witnesses. In 54 of these cases, Internal Affairs launched full investigations. The report cited an array of management practices that "created at least a perception among some ATF employees that managers abused their authority by retaliating, harassing or intimidating the work force."

ATF's black agents say they in particular have experienced such behavior. Although the "Good O' Boys Roundup" made news last week, ATF's leadership has long known of the annual affair and its racist trappings. The black agents' class action cited the event as just one of dozens of racist incidents. Dondi Albritton, who heads the bureau's Explosives Technology branch in Washington and is a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said he once saw an invitation to the roundup that was printed on ATF letterhead and mailed in an ATF envelope. At this year's outing, racist slogans and T shirts were reportedly on display, including one with Martin Luther King Jr.'s face behind a target. Last week Magaw called for a Treasury probe of the event, and Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Orrin Hatch scheduled a hearing for July 21. Said he: "I'm very upset about it. We're not going to sit around and let this type of stuff happen."

ATF's black agents describe a lonely, isolated life in a culture still dominated by attitudes carried forward from ATF's moonshine-hunting days. "With ATF it's always been the good ole boy system, white males from the Southeast," Albritton says. The generation of ATF officials who hired today's senior managers were typically men hired for their knowledge of Southern mores and their skill at outwitting deep-country bootleggers. Once these woodcraft experts reached positions of authority, says Larry Stewart, assistant special agent in charge of ATF's Atlanta office, "they hired people who looked like them, who talked like them, who had the same habits." As soon as Stewart began reporting acts of discrimination, he charges, he was repeatedly passed over for promotions and subjected to petty acts of reprisal.

One episode, which he describes as retaliation for his participation in the lawsuit, aggrieved him deeply. Stewart had led a group of ATF agents who took part in a complex 1990 investigation of mail bombings that killed an attorney and a federal judge. The arrest of the bomber prompted President Bush to invite all the participants to the Rose Garden for presidential commendations. Stewart wasn't invited. ATF also gave out awards to Stewart's agents, to his boss Thomas Stokes, even to the boss's secretary. But again, not to Stewart.

"When I found out ..." He stops, turns away. "I'm sorry." He tries again. "When I found out that Tom Stokes' secretary had been given an award ... when I found out that all my agents, that ATF internally was going to give them awards, when I heard that managers above me were given awards and I was not even mentioned--I don't think I have the words to describe how I felt, how hurt, how devastated I felt."

It is a mark of ATF's curious culture, however, that even the most critical agents often proclaim a deep respect for the agency and its mission. "I love this agency," Stewart says. "I love this agency so much I would work for it 24 hours a day if they'd let me." Vanessa McLemore, another class-action plaintiff, says she wanted to become an ATF agent since high school. "Deep down I'm happy. I would not go to another agency. I love what I'm supposed to do. What I don't like is not being given an equal opportunity to do it."

Director Magaw says ATF has begun to change. His first priority, he says, was to address what he saw as the central lesson of the Waco disaster: lack of training, even among field commanders. The initial raid, which took place Feb. 28, 1993, was by all accounts an inexcusable disaster. The Treasury's Blue Book outlined in cold detail a cascade of errors and placed primary blame on the fact that the raid leaders allowed it to proceed even after learning that they had lost the element of surprise.

Here Magaw disagrees. The worst error, he says, was the decision by the raid's top two commanders to take part in the assault, thus eliminating the perspective that might have allowed them to call it off and avert disaster. One leader rode in a helicopter, the other joined the raiding party that entered the compound. "It's the same effect as if the Redskins would send their coaches onto the field," Magaw says. "Your coaches were where they couldn't see what was taking place." The ATF, he says, had never trained the leaders to recognize the flaws in their thinking. "Had I only had the training they had, would I have made some of these same mistakes?" Magaw asks. "The answer is clear in my mind: Yes."

He insists now that every new agent read the Blue Book report. He expects soon to require that all agents undergo bouts of refresher training every three or four years, just as the Secret Service's do. He has established a new position of assistant director for training to allow the bureau's training staff to compete more effectively for internal funds. "If you have good people and you train them," he says, "you will survive in spite of yourself."

He has bolstered top-level decision making as well. A new Treasury review board, consisting of ATF officials and one person each from the Customs Service, Secret Service and Justice Department, must approve ATF's most sensitive undercover cases. An internal directive obtained by Time, dated May 5, defines such cases to include investigations "of possible criminal conduct by any foreign official or government, religious organization, political organization, or the news media." Says Magaw: "Anybody who questions why we're doing it differently now than we did before need only look at Waco."

Now he is turning his attention to ATF's internal troubles. Within the past year, he says, he put the bureau's 24 special agents in charge on notice that he would be watching closely to ensure they dispense disciplinary action consistently and fairly, but he was not satisfied with the results. Now he is about to launch a five-member professional review committee that will examine every internal investigation and vote on the discipline required. He also established eight peer groups to give black agents, female agents and six other subgroups--including white males--a clear channel for venting grievances.

Despite all those changes, some agents wonder if life within ATF has really changed. Immediately after the Waco raid, many agents were outraged when the raid leaders, Phillip Chojnacki and Chuck Sarabyn, tried to blame the fiasco on a young undercover agent. The Treasury report, which condemned both leaders for serious errors and for lying to postraid investigators, stated, "Their consistent attempts to place blame on a junior agent were one of the most disturbing aspects of the conduct of senior ATF officials."

But last December Magaw rehired the men. ATF had discharged them two months earlier, after both had spent nearly a year on administrative leave at full pay. The settlements granted the men full back pay for the brief period of their formal terminations, expunged their records of all disciplinary action, and restored their past salaries and their eligibility for law-enforcement pensions. It did, however, strip them of their official status as federal investigators empowered to carry guns and enforce federal law. Magaw says he took into account the men's long years of service and his opinion that their performance was partly ATF's fault for training them poorly in the first place. Despite ATF's concessions, the settlement is punishment enough, he says.

Jim Jorgensen, an ATF agent and deputy executive director of the National Association of Treasury Agents, disagrees. "It just really sends the wrong message to the public," he says. And with the start of the latest congressional investigation of Waco, public perception has again become a matter of intense concern. If history is any guide, this new round of scrutiny will once again blow the agency into a period of angst and self-doubt. "We've always been defensive," says Charlotte ATF agent in charge Paul Lyon. "We have always been susceptible to light breezes--it doesn't even take a full storm." But this week the agency is bracing itself once again for gale-force winds that may well threaten its survival.

Copyright 1995 Time Inc. All rights reserved.

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TIME Magazine

July 24, 1995 Volume 146, No. 4

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COVER BOX

A Painful Purge at the FBI

Though the ATF is the pet demon of the militant right, it is the FBI that handled the violent conclusions of two infamous confrontations: the 1992 standoff at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and the 1993 siege in Waco, Texas. This week two House subcommittees will open hearings into the Waco assault; in the fall, hearings will delve into the FBI "shoot-on-sight" orders that some critics believe were responsible for the Idaho death of Vicki Weaver, the wife of white separatist Randy Weaver.

Last week FBI director Louis Freeh signaled his intent to cooperate with both investigations and to restore order and morale within the FBI. In a move that took a heavy personal toll, Freeh demoted deputy director Larry Potts, 47, a 21-year veteran long under fire for his supervision of the Waco and Ruby Ridge sieges. Freeh and Potts had been close friends and confidants since 1990, when they were detailed to Atlanta and successfully prosecuted a murderous mail bomber. They soon became the FBI's odd couple. Freeh was the steely, immaculately tailored prosecutor whom colleagues respected and feared; Potts was the kindly, slightly rumpled investigator agents admired and loved. Three months ago, when Potts was promoted to the No. 2 spot, Freeh boasted, "He is the very best the FBI has." Last week Freeh said Potts was "unable to effectively perform his duties" and reassigned his friend to the FBI's training division in Quantico, Virginia. Many agents felt that Potts was getting a bum rap; they believe he was one of the agency's staunchest defenders of civil rights principles.

Potts had seemed to redeem himself last April, when he expertly handled the FBI's investigation of the Oklahoma City blast. But last week he came under renewed scrutiny after another FBI official, E. Michael Kahoe, admitted destroying documents collected during an internal investigation of the Ruby Ridge episode. Now congressional investigators must confront several questions: Did Kahoe act on the orders of a superior, possibly Potts? And did the destroyed papers contain the identity of the official who issued the shoot-on-sight order? At least one FBI agent has charged that Potts gave the signal. Potts insists he did not.
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Skipping Scotty and the Exit

by Judith Vinson

As a Texan, I wouldn't want it generally known, but here in the Bible belt, we pray to Scotty to "beam us up" nearly as often as we pray to the other Guy. The latter, of course, doesn't allow us to make disparaging remarks about the intelligence of others. There are those days, however, when "monumentally stupid" does cross our minds.

It was just such a recent day that we were moved to really bend Scotty's ear. Jack Harwell, the former sheriff of McClennen County, Texas, was giving Senator John Danforth a guided tour of Mt. Carmel just outside Waco. Senator Danforth, of course, is the Episcopal priest and former senator from Missouri chosen by Attorney General Janet Reno to head a commission to "investigate" the events at Waco. That alone was enough for some of us to just forget Scotty and head for the nearest exit. We wondered if "Saint John," as he is called in the Senate, had any idea he was dealing with neo-Roman centurions here. Their mentors were also pretty good at feeding lions on a diet of his ilk, not to mention incorporating any number of their "head honchos" into some rather interesting construction projects made of wood and nails.

The tour consisted of a flight over the property and a later walk around the grounds. Sheriff Harwell, in an interview that day, said he believed Senator Danforth, chosen to head the commission, was a "good man," which was pretty scary in itself. The rule in Texas being: If you really want to find out anything, or prevail, find the meanest, most crooked lawyer in the state.

"If there's something there, he'll find it," Sheriff Harwell went on to say. He was talking about a piece of real estate with all the attributes of a billiard ball: a seven-year-old crime scene destroyed by the FBI and later bulldozed, scraped clean, and hauled away by the Texas Water Commission after having it dumped in their lap by the FBI.

The property, crime scene or no was deemed too polluted with lead and other toxic materials to be inhabited by human beings. A comfort, no doubt, to the citizenry of some poor, cash-strapped county in Louisiana, or Arkansas, who inherited yet another mobile environmental nightmare to enhance their own real estate. They did rest easy, I'm sure, knowing that Texas has no mandate to remove razor wire. That was left to "do in" any number of tourists in the future.

It is suggested that the removal of everything there to a depth of 6 inches had more to do with "out of sight, out of mind" than any serious concerns about water quality or the future health and wellbeing of the Branch Davidians.

A year after the "cleanup," when some of the survivors tried to return to their property after being released from jail, they were told by the Texas Water Commission that they couldn't inhabit the property due to lead contamination. The applause from Louisiana, Arkansas, or Wherever must have been deafening, inasmuch as they been cheated out of the entire "nightmare" they had bargained for. In addition, the survivors were told their six-hundred foot artesian well, which had been leveled by the tanks, yet still capable of serving as many as twenty-five families, was due to be "concreted in" inasmuch as they had "abandoned" the site for six months. (Are you there, Scotty?)

The only other water on the place was a six-acre lake whose dam was breached by the tanks and which was drained to the level of a mud-hole. At the time the Branch Davidians were merely trying to set up a memorial in the form of a grove of crepe myrtle – one for each of the eighty-two that died there. In desperation, they decided to use the water in the swimming pool for the purpose of irrigating the grove only to be informed they couldn't use that either due to a great deal of fecal matter. When asked how that could have occurred, they were informed that the Commission needed to remove the water from the storm shelter that was used for refuse during the siege. The roof was collapsed by the tanks causing it to take on rainwater, an ongoing occurrence at the present time. Due to environmental laws they couldn't pump it into the lake. And so – a lake happily used for the purpose of eating, sleeping, and certainly, excreting by at least fifty generations of water birds and other aquatic life forms was "saved" due to state environmental laws by turning a 50,000 gallon swimming pool, used by human beings, into an open cesspool.

It is suggested that we might look forward to more of this type solution since this problem seems to have been eliminated in good bureaucratic fashion recently by simply renaming the Texas Water Commission – the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission.

The problem and/or salvation for Senator Danforth and the committee is that much of the key crime scene evidence has been destroyed, hidden, given away, stolen, or withheld. Many of the photographs taken by the Texas Rangers have not been returned. Film footage from the cameras that surrounded Mt. Carmel during the siege is said to be "unavailable." The front doors containing the ATF bullet holes still remain "junk" in someone's garage or a Louisiana landfill in spite of their having been "secured" as evidence. It is interesting; however, to speculate on the possibility that some irate whistle-blower might come forward such as the spouse of a "jack-booted thug" who has been unable to get her car in the garage for seven years.

"Sniper post #1," with its dozen or so shell casings, Senator Danforth seems presently fixated on, was by no means the only sniper post. There is scant evidence of them now, but they surrounded the place.

On the night of February 28, 1993, Steve Schneider, the Branch Davidian's second in charge, looked through night vision goggles and reported that bunkers were being built behind the house. Those inside were angry inasmuch as negotiators had agreed that no one would come onto the property during ongoing talks, which had just begun. Mt. Carmel was in shambles. Every window had been shot out letting in the cold February wind and rain. Bullet holes punctured the roof and walls. Those inside had just buried family and friends in the earthen floor of the cellar they used as a storm shelter.

There was Peter Hipsman, a 27-year-old who was killed by a bullet through the roof as he was walking up the stairs to his room eating a piece of toast leftover from breakfast. There was a man and woman in an upstairs bedroom killed by more bullets through the roof. She was shot in the head as she nursed an infant on the bed. There was a young man who had answered the door for the ATF who died an agonizing death after having been shot through the stomach. Two of their dead were still in the yard, and would be for days. One had been killed by a sniper and another, Michael Schroeder, was shot in the head numerous times and hung on the fence of the cattle pens as if a trophy.

It was the night the FBI took control of yet another murderous, botched BATF raid on American citizens and they wasted no time fortifying the perimeter of Mt. Carmel with bunkers and sniper nests. And all in violation of the second agreement with the Branch Davidians. The first being that the cease fires would allow each side to retrieve their dead.

Had it not been for one patriotic young man there might not have been any such evidence that such structures existed. Ron Cole, a college student from Florida, was so disturbed by the events in Waco that he dropped out of school and came to Waco to see if he could somehow help. Curious about what was really occurring, he cut across miles of prairie and brush land. The first time out, he became hopelessly lost. He tried again the following day and managed to find and climb the fence behind Mt. Carmel to take the photographs of the sniper nests in back of the building. On more than one occasion he was chased by helicopters and rarely had more than fifteen minutes inside the wire before discovery. With the exception of the much touted "sniper post #1", which was on the main road in front of Mt. Carmel, none of those sniper nests in the rear are ever mentioned.

"Sniper post #1," peculiarly named since it was a planned gathering place for serving peaceful warrants, was a small farmhouse at least two-hundred yards away and across the street. The ATF had only managed to rent a measly 134 rooms in Waco on the day of the initial raid and I guess one might assume the house was pressed into service as alternate accommodations.

The FBI moved into the house along with members of other agencies, after the BATF botched the raid on the morning of February 28th. Considering the numbers of agencies involved over the next fifty-one days, the dozen or so shell casing found there might be blamed on anyone. A plan by Danforth to do ballistics tests on the four-hundred-thirty firearms involved was "neatly" answered by the FBI 's claim that the weapon's barrels had been "altered" over the years. If some actually do turn out to be the weapons that fired those bullets, I'm sure the FBI, after years of lies and evasions, can rise to the occasion to explain those shell casings. No one will be surprised if someone's memory is jogged about "that night we were almost overrun by coyotes.…"

This of course is all smoke and mirrors, dogs and ponies, bread and circuses, inasmuch as not one person died in front of Mt. Carmel. The 9 who survived came out in front in full view of sniper post #1 and the media. The twenty who died in the rear were later found within the burning rubble inside the building with bullet holes to the head, but untouched by the fire. At least one was caught in the tracks of a tank as debris was being pushed into the burning rubble and that tank required a special wrecker to come to its "rescue." The young man who was lodged within its treads was named Jimmy Riddle. None came to his rescue that day or any of the other eighty-two that died there.

There were never more than about 100 outside those gates saying "no" to the government during the siege. Not nearly enough. In the end, they were left to pray to Scotty who has been somewhat remiss for quite a while, here. For the moment, they take comfort in the same book the Branch Davidians studied. That last chapter is pretty disturbing and, no doubt, more so to the government. It's a rather horrifying and delightful account of how their side loses.

December 6 , 1999

Judith Vinson is a Texas rancher.


TIME Magazine

July 24, 1995 Volume 146, No. 4

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COVER

ATF Under Siege

Demon agency? Far from it. Torn by internal strife, the bureau has lost its
sense of mission

By Erik Larson

A Detroit computer bulletin board lists the names of local agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and offers helpful advice on how to harass them. A licensed gun dealer, required to surrender his business records to ATF's national tracing center, coated them first with rat excrement. A flyer found posted in Pennsylvania reads wanted: ATF agent. DEAD.

The ATF may be the most hated federal agency in America today, surpassing even the IRS in its notoriety. Gun-rights advocates have demonized the agency as a dark legion of storm troopers who trample the rights of ordinary citizens. Critics have gone so far as to compare its treatment of gun owners to Nazi persecution of Jews during World War II. In a best-selling book published last year, Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association described ATF's disastrous raid at Waco, which began the 51-day siege that ended in conflagration, as "reminiscent of the standoff at the Warsaw ghetto." Opposition to ATF has become so intense in gun-toting quarters as to resemble a religion, says Gerald Nunziato, who heads the ATF tracing center. He distills its creed: "The gun is God; the N.R.A. is the congregation; and ATF is the devil."

The bureau is not the jackbooted monolith of N.R.A. lore, however. Far from it: court documents and internal reports uncovered in a two-month Time investigation reveal ATF as a divided and troubled agency far more likely to abuse the rights of its own employees than those of law-abiding citizens. If anything, its internal troubles have impaired its law-enforcement abilities by embroiling agents and managers in a web of in-house scandals and divisive controversies. The agency faces a class action by black agents who claim widespread discrimination and intimidation, including the posting at one office of a "State of Oklahoma Nigger Hunting License." Last week charges resurfaced that ATF agents attended a racist gathering in Tennessee, the annual "Good O' Boys Roundup." Agents complain too of a management culture that doles harsh discipline to agents but goes to great lengths to protect its managers. In one case, a former head of its Dallas office who sexually harassed an employee received a demotion and transfer--to the Virgin Islands. "Any agent who's honest with you will tell you this agency has to be gutted," says Diane Klipfel, a supervisory agent in ATF's Chicago division who is mired in a battle with the bureau that began when she accused her commanders of corruption.

Two decades of outside scrutiny and persistent threats to its survival have so cowed the bureau that it now shies from certain categories of investigations, including probes of licensed gun dealers. Instead the ATF focuses more on such politically safe targets as crack gangs, outlaw bikers and ordinary killers. One indicator: the number of firearms ATF has taken into custody dropped 27 percent, to 12,965, from 1992 to 1994. Of those guns, 6,261 were handguns, or about three for each of the bureau's 2,000 agents. An ATF spokesman says such fluctuations are meaningless, but Kay Kubicki, a former ATF agent who is now counsel for the National Association of Treasury Agents, disagrees. "The only reason the total of guns [seized] would go down is morale," she says. "There's a direct correlation between the turmoil in the agency and the decline."

A theory voiced by ATF agents holds that the agency's skittishness may have contributed to its spectacular failure in the initial 1993 raid at Waco, in which four agents and six Branch Davidians were killed. David Koresh, so the theory went, made an ideal safe target--an apparent madman leading a cult that had armed itself with vast quantities of weapons. While it was the FBI that directed the final assault in which 81 people died, it was the ATF that targeted the compound in the first place. Says Kubicki, without a trace of irony: "Waco was a need to look pretty."

John Magaw, installed as ATF's director in 1993 in a post-Waco shuffle, has vowed to reform the agency and resolve its interior conflicts. But some agents question his commitment, especially in light of his decision to rehire two leaders of the Waco raid fired last October after the Treasury Department's scathing "Blue Book" report blamed them for botching the action and later lying about why it had failed. The rehiring caused ATF self-esteem to droop yet again. "I've never been more ashamed of being an ATF agent than I am right now," an agent wrote in a recent letter to a magazine published by the agents' association. "This is an agency out of control!"

And Magaw may be running out of time. The bureau faces a long hot summer of scrutiny, starting this week when the House subcommittees on crime and national security begin a joint eight-day hearing on ATF and FBI actions at Waco. The crime subcommittee plans two more hearings after the August congressional recess to examine other alleged ATF abuses and the enforcement of firearms laws in general. In short, congressional Republicans aim to ask whether the bureau should be allowed to survive. One of this week's inquisitors will be Representative Bob Barr of Georgia, an N.R.A. member who heads Newt Gingrich's Firearms Legislation Task Force. Barr asks, "At this point, do we really need ATF?"

The N.R.A. is beyond doubt the ATF's most committed opponent. Over the years the 3.5 million-member organization has built an infrastructure to ensure that far-flung cases of alleged ATF abuse get direct scrutiny from Congress. The organization is relentless. "The natural enemy of a gopher is a rattlesnake," says Gerry Spence, the flamboyant Wyoming defense attorney who defended Randy Weaver after the federal siege at Ruby Ridge, Idaho. "The natural enemy of the N.R.A. is the ATF."

The N.R.A.'s favorite strategy in harrying the agency is to publicize individual cases of alleged ATF abuses, in the process ignoring the thousands of investigations that conform even to the N.R.A.'s own anticrime platform. In 1994 ATF recommended 10,000 defendants for prosecution, of whom 47 percent were previously convicted felons. The bureau's critics also sidestep the fact that on the same day as the Waco raid, an ATF investigator, working with a New York City bomb-squad detective, found the vital shard of evidence that broke the World Trade Center bombing case. Agents from the bureau's office in Charlotte, North Carolina, recently took down a murderous street gang and sent a dozen members to prison, many for life terms. And last month Charlotte agents played a central role in capturing carjackers believed to have killed an Oregon businesswoman, the kind of case special agent in charge Paul Lyon sees as the bureau's "salvation." He feels Congress and the public have turned their back on ATF, even though the bureau is only trying to fulfill a mandate that Congress itself designated. "Now and for years, I have felt what people who came out of Vietnam felt," he says.

The N.R.A.'s atrocity stories typically omit details that might muddy its anti-ATF message. High on its list, for example, is the Randy Weaver case. In January 1991, ATF agents arrested Weaver for having sold two sawed-off shotguns to an ATF informant. Weaver was released on his own recognizance. When he failed to appear in court, a fugitive warrant was issued, and the case was passed to the U.S. Marshals Service, which caught up with Weaver in August 1992. A gunfight followed in which a deputy U.S. marshal and Weaver's 14-year-old son were killed. The FBI took over, and one of its snipers killed Weaver's wife. Contrary to public perception, however, ATF played no direct role in the shootings. In July 1993 a federal jury found Weaver guilty of failing to appear in court but acquitted him of the original weapons charge after his attorney, Gerry Spence, argued that ATF had entrapped him.

The Bureau has always walked a difficult beat, one that lies at the heart of American ambivalence. Largely through historic accident, the agency acquired responsibility for regulating three of the nation's most popular yet dangerous products: booze, cigarettes and guns. Its forebears include the "revenuers" who hunted moonshiners and enforced Prohibition. Eliot Ness remains the bureau's chief institutional hero. Today large framed posters from the 1987 movie The Untouchables hang in many ATF offices.

The IRS agents became gun cops after a period of escalating violence prompted Congress in 1934 to regulate machine guns and certain other weapons. Their jurisdiction widened with the Gun Control Act of 1968, which barred felons, minors and others from buying guns and required licensed dealers to keep records of who bought their firearms. This new authority delighted the agents, who felt they had been promoted to real crime fighters, but top IRS officials viewed the combined role of tax collection and gun control as a public relations nightmare. So in 1972 the Treasury spun off ATF into a free-standing bureau.

In its early days, according to some current and retired agents, ATF often overstepped its bounds. The gun laws were full of opportunities for making felony cases against otherwise solid citizens accustomed to America's wide-open gun trade. At the same time, the arrival of serious gun control in the 1968 Gun Control Act radicalized the N.R.A., prompting the association to shift its emphasis from promoting marksmanship to gutting the act and harrying the enforcers. In 1980 the N.R.A. produced a film, It Can't Happen Here, in which Representative John Dingell of Michigan, then a member of the N.R.A.'s board of directors, states, "If I were to select a jackbooted group of fascists who are perhaps as large a danger to American society as I could pick today, I would pick BATF." (The bureau later shortened its logo to ATF.) The N.R.A.'s campaign was so effective that in 1981 President Reagan announced he would make good on a campaign promise to dismantle ATF. But he underestimated the depth of respect accorded the bureau among other law-enforcement agencies and was forced to backpedal. He announced later that he would still demolish ATF but assign its agents to the U.S. Secret Service. ATF agents, who saw the shift as conferring instant prestige, loved the idea; the N.R.A., however, realized it was about to lose one of its best fund-raising assets. Suddenly the N.R.A. rode to ATF's rescue, blocking its demise. The reversal drew an acid appraisal from New Jersey Representative William Hughes, who accused the association of retreating because the Secret Service "might actually take the functions seriously and not be so easy to intimidate."

The bureau survived, but as a shattered agency. An internal Treasury review, completed in October 1981 but little known outside the bureau, produced a portrait of an agency in agony, "grinding to a standstill." Unsure of its mission, it was readily buffeted by shifting political winds. Said the report: "There is widespread distrust of top management. There is little unity within the organization. Morale is very poor. This situation goes far beyond the normal criticisms and complaints which are leveled against management in any organization."

The rising torrent of anti-ATF rhetoric has nurtured the perception that ATF agents are justifiable targets for heckling, if not outright assassination, an attitude that Ron Noble, Under Secretary of the Treasury for enforcement, likens to the 1960s protest ethos that branded all police officers "pigs." ATF's opponents, he says, don't loathe the bureau itself, just the laws it must enforce. "So what do you do?" he asks. "You attack an agency that not very many people know a lot about." Says a supervisory agent: "If you can't get the laws overturned, you pound on the agents. Because if you pound on them long enough, they'll turn around and say, 'Why bother?'"

The strategy is working. ATF agents often quote a maxim: "Big cases, big problems; no cases, no problems." The intense and well-orchestrated opposition has succeeded in discouraging ATF from aggressively pursuing investigations of gun shows, flea markets and licensed gun dealers, even though these often prove to be major conduits for the diversion of guns to criminals. The bureau's reluctance to investigate dealers has long driven agents to jokingly describe a dealer's license as "the $10 immunity." (Until two years ago, the annual licensing fee was $10.) A series of standing ATF orders closely choreographs all such investigations and requires that they be monitored from ATF headquarters in Washington. "You have to jump through six hoops of fire," says Kubicki, the agents' association counsel. Says Phil McGuire, a former ATF deputy director: "There's no question the N.R.A. has dictated exactly [the rules for] such things as dealer investigations and investigations of gun shows."

Far from cracking down, ATF allowed the number of licensed gun dealers to swell to nearly 300,000 by 1993. Often it failed to conduct thorough background checks for prior criminal offenses. In a survey it found that 72 percent of its licensed dealers never even bothered to open a bona fide store, but operated instead from their homes. Under Magaw, however, the bureau has lately got much tougher on applicants, requiring for the first time that they submit fingerprints and a photograph. Now the number of dealers is falling at a rate of 150 dealers a day, an ATF spokesman says, and the bureau expects the total to level off at somewhere between 70,000 and 90,000.

The persistent barrage of outside attack also helped create a culture in which senior managers and agents face each other across a vast reservoir of distrust and hostility, according to hundreds of pages of internal reports and court documents reviewed by Time. Rank-and-file agents have long protested how managers use ATF's internal-affairs unit, which routinely conducts three to five times as many internal probes as the Secret Service's apparatus, even though each agency has roughly 4,000 employees. Magaw explains the differential as partly because of the fact that ATF agents conduct far more gritty street investigations and thus are likely to draw more flak inside and outside the agency. But Magaw also sees the difference as the result of ATF's failure to train its agents adequately and of the unsettling effect of so much outside criticism.

The tempest that has wracked ATF's Chicago field division gives a flavor for the forces long at play within the bureau. The division, one of ATF's largest, has been riven with charges of corruption, sexual harassment, racial discrimination and management retaliation. Two veteran agents, Diane Klipfel and her husband Mike Casali, now face imminent discharge; they claim in a federal lawsuit that the bureau took the action in reprisal for their having reported corruption and sexual harassment, including allegations that police officers assigned to ATF had stolen money from a drug dealer. Prompted by their disclosures, investigators from Treasury's Office of the Inspector General in November 1992 conducted an unprecedented raid on the Chicago office to seize financial documents. The interlocking scandals caused the transfer of the division's top three officials and the firing of a first-line supervisor (who was reinstated this year by a federal appeals court in Chicago). The experience, however, took a grave toll on the pair's careers and personal lives. For two months, Klipfel says, the couple had their children sleep in a second-floor closet as a precaution against retaliatory shootings.

But ATF officials say Klipfel and Casali will be fired because the bureau believes they too had engaged in past misconduct. For example, it charges that Casali conducted evidence searches without federal warrants and that Klipfel maintained an inappropriate relationship with the target of an investigation. Raymond Risley, assistant deputy superintendent of internal affairs for the Chicago police, says his unit conducted a thorough investigation and found no evidence of theft. He says, however, that ATF would not let his investigators interview Casali or Klipfel and that the drug dealer's lawyer would not allow the dealer to be questioned.

The ATF rumor mill went into overdrive, accusing Klipfel in particular of everything from dealing cocaine to sleeping with a drug dealer. Yes, declares Klipfel with weary sarcasm, "I try to fit it all in. I'm a supermom."

Until the events of February 1992, she and her husband were well-regarded agents. Klipfel had been nominated four times for a top women's law-enforcement award. Casali had been decorated for heroism. "They were not only good agents; they were exceptional agents," says Robert Sanders, a former assistant director of ATF and now an attorney who specializes in defending gun owners against the agency.

But on Feb. 20, Klipfel led a series of raids with the help of two Chicago police officers. In the course of the day, Klipfel began to suspect the officers had stolen money from the raiding party's first target, a 30-year-old drug dealer named Darrin Pippin. The evening of the raid, Klipfel challenged the officers, triggering a violent argument in which one of the officers kicked the door of her car and threatened her and her family, according to a formal statement she filed with ATF. "The cops were so mad," Klipfel says. "I just couldn't be sure. I felt that my children just were not safe." She got home at 1 a.m. and immediately moved her children into the closet.

She reported her allegations to her superiors in the division, but charges that they failed to pass her report to ATF headquarters. "Now that was unconscionable for a law-enforcement organization," says Sanders, who earlier had supervised Klipfel and Casali. "That's corruption. You cannot sit on an allegation of corruption. You report it and let the chips fall where they may."

Eventually Klipfel alerted Treasury's Inspector General, this time adding charges of misconduct by her commanders, Joseph Vince, at that time the Chicago office's agent in charge, and Jimmie Adamcik, his assistant. Among the charges: that Adamcik had sent ATF cars to a friend's repair business and had associated openly with John Boyle, head of an armored-car company who was under indictment for stealing more than $4 million, much of it in coins entrusted to his company. (Boyle later pleaded no contest to all charges and was sentenced to 38 months in prison.)

Adamcik and Vince eventually were transferred to other posts. Vince's attorney, Dave Stetler, calls the allegations against his client "absolutely false" and says ATF disciplined Vince without formally charging him with anything. (Adamcik could not be reached for comment.) An internal investigation sustained some of Klipfel's allegations. It reported that Boyle had arranged free use of a nightclub for the division's 1992 Eliot Ness Birthday Party. Adamcik had also invited Boyle to play in the division's Eliot Ness Golf Tournament, held in Indiana on a workday. Boyle couldn't attend, however. Awaiting sentencing, he wasn't allowed to leave Illinois.

Klipfel's husband Mike Casali says he too passed along disturbing news about a Chicago cop, this from an informant who reported a rumor that a cop assigned to ATF was selling guns to gang members and had helped cover up a murder.

Casali and Klipfel, labeled as snitches, fast became outcasts. Klipfel found a black plastic rat in her office. Pictures of her children were knocked off her desk repeatedly. In a lawsuit they filed in Chicago federal court, Klipfel and Casali allege that ATF conducted a "deliberate and strenuous" campaign of retribution meant to suppress further disclosures of misconduct. Says Sanders: "Retaliation is so obvious."

ATF director Magaw denies the couple's charges but declines to discuss their case further. "Both people in Chicago are going to be fired," he states. "I'm going to continue that process. They deserve to be fired."

Retaliation is something of a pattern within the ATF, according to a recent internal investigation by the Treasury Inspector General's office. In a report sent to Magaw last year, the investigators said they found that of 370 Equal Employment Opportunity complaints filed by employees, 105 resulted in charges being filed with Internal Affairs against the complainers or their supporting witnesses. In 54 of these cases, Internal Affairs launched full investigations. The report cited an array of management practices that "created at least a perception among some ATF employees that managers abused their authority by retaliating, harassing or intimidating the work force."

ATF's black agents say they in particular have experienced such behavior. Although the "Good O' Boys Roundup" made news last week, ATF's leadership has long known of the annual affair and its racist trappings. The black agents' class action cited the event as just one of dozens of racist incidents. Dondi Albritton, who heads the bureau's Explosives Technology branch in Washington and is a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said he once saw an invitation to the roundup that was printed on ATF letterhead and mailed in an ATF envelope. At this year's outing, racist slogans and T shirts were reportedly on display, including one with Martin Luther King Jr.'s face behind a target. Last week Magaw called for a Treasury probe of the event, and Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Orrin Hatch scheduled a hearing for July 21. Said he: "I'm very upset about it. We're not going to sit around and let this type of stuff happen."

ATF's black agents describe a lonely, isolated life in a culture still dominated by attitudes carried forward from ATF's moonshine-hunting days. "With ATF it's always been the good ole boy system, white males from the Southeast," Albritton says. The generation of ATF officials who hired today's senior managers were typically men hired for their knowledge of Southern mores and their skill at outwitting deep-country bootleggers. Once these woodcraft experts reached positions of authority, says Larry Stewart, assistant special agent in charge of ATF's Atlanta office, "they hired people who looked like them, who talked like them, who had the same habits." As soon as Stewart began reporting acts of discrimination, he charges, he was repeatedly passed over for promotions and subjected to petty acts of reprisal.

One episode, which he describes as retaliation for his participation in the lawsuit, aggrieved him deeply. Stewart had led a group of ATF agents who took part in a complex 1990 investigation of mail bombings that killed an attorney and a federal judge. The arrest of the bomber prompted President Bush to invite all the participants to the Rose Garden for presidential commendations. Stewart wasn't invited. ATF also gave out awards to Stewart's agents, to his boss Thomas Stokes, even to the boss's secretary. But again, not to Stewart.

"When I found out ..." He stops, turns away. "I'm sorry." He tries again. "When I found out that Tom Stokes' secretary had been given an award ... when I found out that all my agents, that ATF internally was going to give them awards, when I heard that managers above me were given awards and I was not even mentioned--I don't think I have the words to describe how I felt, how hurt, how devastated I felt."

It is a mark of ATF's curious culture, however, that even the most critical agents often proclaim a deep respect for the agency and its mission. "I love this agency," Stewart says. "I love this agency so much I would work for it 24 hours a day if they'd let me." Vanessa McLemore, another class-action plaintiff, says she wanted to become an ATF agent since high school. "Deep down I'm happy. I would not go to another agency. I love what I'm supposed to do. What I don't like is not being given an equal opportunity to do it."

Director Magaw says ATF has begun to change. His first priority, he says, was to address what he saw as the central lesson of the Waco disaster: lack of training, even among field commanders. The initial raid, which took place Feb. 28, 1993, was by all accounts an inexcusable disaster. The Treasury's Blue Book outlined in cold detail a cascade of errors and placed primary blame on the fact that the raid leaders allowed it to proceed even after learning that they had lost the element of surprise.

Here Magaw disagrees. The worst error, he says, was the decision by the raid's top two commanders to take part in the assault, thus eliminating the perspective that might have allowed them to call it off and avert disaster. One leader rode in a helicopter, the other joined the raiding party that entered the compound. "It's the same effect as if the Redskins would send their coaches onto the field," Magaw says. "Your coaches were where they couldn't see what was taking place." The ATF, he says, had never trained the leaders to recognize the flaws in their thinking. "Had I only had the training they had, would I have made some of these same mistakes?" Magaw asks. "The answer is clear in my mind: Yes."

He insists now that every new agent read the Blue Book report. He expects soon to require that all agents undergo bouts of refresher training every three or four years, just as the Secret Service's do. He has established a new position of assistant director for training to allow the bureau's training staff to compete more effectively for internal funds. "If you have good people and you train them," he says, "you will survive in spite of yourself."

He has bolstered top-level decision making as well. A new Treasury review board, consisting of ATF officials and one person each from the Customs Service, Secret Service and Justice Department, must approve ATF's most sensitive undercover cases. An internal directive obtained by Time, dated May 5, defines such cases to include investigations "of possible criminal conduct by any foreign official or government, religious organization, political organization, or the news media." Says Magaw: "Anybody who questions why we're doing it differently now than we did before need only look at Waco."

Now he is turning his attention to ATF's internal troubles. Within the past year, he says, he put the bureau's 24 special agents in charge on notice that he would be watching closely to ensure they dispense disciplinary action consistently and fairly, but he was not satisfied with the results. Now he is about to launch a five-member professional review committee that will examine every internal investigation and vote on the discipline required. He also established eight peer groups to give black agents, female agents and six other subgroups--including white males--a clear channel for venting grievances.

Despite all those changes, some agents wonder if life within ATF has really changed. Immediately after the Waco raid, many agents were outraged when the raid leaders, Phillip Chojnacki and Chuck Sarabyn, tried to blame the fiasco on a young undercover agent. The Treasury report, which condemned both leaders for serious errors and for lying to postraid investigators, stated, "Their consistent attempts to place blame on a junior agent were one of the most disturbing aspects of the conduct of senior ATF officials."

But last December Magaw rehired the men. ATF had discharged them two months earlier, after both had spent nearly a year on administrative leave at full pay. The settlements granted the men full back pay for the brief period of their formal terminations, expunged their records of all disciplinary action, and restored their past salaries and their eligibility for law-enforcement pensions. It did, however, strip them of their official status as federal investigators empowered to carry guns and enforce federal law. Magaw says he took into account the men's long years of service and his opinion that their performance was partly ATF's fault for training them poorly in the first place. Despite ATF's concessions, the settlement is punishment enough, he says.

Jim Jorgensen, an ATF agent and deputy executive director of the National Association of Treasury Agents, disagrees. "It just really sends the wrong message to the public," he says. And with the start of the latest congressional investigation of Waco, public perception has again become a matter of intense concern. If history is any guide, this new round of scrutiny will once again blow the agency into a period of angst and self-doubt. "We've always been defensive," says Charlotte ATF agent in charge Paul Lyon. "We have always been susceptible to light breezes--it doesn't even take a full storm." But this week the agency is bracing itself once again for gale-force winds that may well threaten its survival.
Copyright 1995 Time Inc. All rights reserved.

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From: Jackpeace@aol.com
Date: Fri, 10 Sep 1999 13:05:41 EDT
Subject: Thompson
To: TSEditor@aol.com

John B. Thompson, Attorney
1172 South Dixie Highway, Suite 111
Coral Gables, Florida 33146-2750
Phone: 305-666-4366
Fax: 305-666-7275
E-Mail: Jackpeace@aol.com
 
September 4, 1999

John C. Danforth
Bryan, Cave, LLP
One Metropolitan Square
211 North Broadway
St. Louis, Missouri 63102 VIA FAX to 314-259-2020 URGENT!

Re: Independent Investigation of FBI Siege of Branch Davidians at Waco

Dear Senator Danforth:

I, along with the vast majority of Americans, know you for what you are: an honorable public servant beyond reproach. That is why I alert you to what you are about to get into should you decide to accept your anticipated appointment to head the above. Being a man on honor, you won't want to commit to something the full parameters of which you do not know going in.

First, a word about who I am: I was the last Republican to run against Janet Reno for the office of Dade County (Florida) State Attorney, as I was her opponent in the general election of 1988. I am rated "A/V" by Martindale-Hubbell and thus enjoy the highest rating by my peers as to both professional skill and ethics. It is important that I note this in light of what I am going to tell you below, the utterance of which puts my ability to practice law at risk were it not demonstrably true. Finally, as to my personal background, I am an ordained Elder in the Presbyterian Church of America, so I take seriously, as do you, the constraints placed upon me not to falsely defame anyone and not to pursue vendettas. God commands it. I tell you now something solely because I love the truth and I love my country, both of which loyalties I view to be inseparable.

If you receive and accept the above-noted appointment, then you, if you intend to get to the bottom of Waco and the concomitant failure of the Justice Department and the FBI to tell us the whole truth of what happened in April 1993, will have to take a hard look at why the Attorney General of the United States, in six years, has not ferreted out the truth. There is a reason for the contrived apparent incompetence of this very talented and intelligent woman.

I know more about Janet Reno than any man in America, and some things she is not are dumb or a hands-off administrator. As to the latter, Jamie Gorelick, then #2 at Justice said about her in a George interview: "She [Reno] very much wanted to be part of every significant decision in the department."  This notion that the A.G. is incompetent and/or "out of the loop" in the six-year investigation of Waco is ludicrous. There are reasons why that lie is being floated and why the Attorney General is participating in that lie.

The one thing you must be willing to consider in this regard is the blackmail information that both the President of the United States and certain individuals in the FBI have with which to deter the Attorney General from embarrassing either of them. By virtue of this blackmail information (I and others know and can prove what it is), the Attorney General has had a powerful, disabling disincentive to prove what the FBI and Delta Force did at Waco. This extortion power hangs over her head like a sword of Damocles.

You will recall as a student of history what various best-selling, credible books have proven: FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was able to deter a prior Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy, as well as certain Presidents, from doing certain things that they would have otherwise done but for the "inconvenient information" Hoover had about them. At this point, I shall only note the following particulars as to Ms. Reno's dilemma: 

1. I gave the President some of this blackmail information by telling Lanny Davis, when he called me for it while "vetting" her A.G. nomination. The Wall Street Journal has printed this fact. I and others also gave it to the FBI when they were doing their background check on Ms. Reno before her confirmation hearing. I have correspondence with Director Freeh, once he became the Director, regarding what this blackmail information is, and who the various sources wholly independent of me are. It is plausible to believe that those in the FBI responsible for what happened at Waco have this information on Reno. And she knows they have it.

2. On the eve of the vote in the House of Representatives on the articles of impeachment pertaining to President Clinton, the top two investigators reporting to Chairman Hyde and minority counsel David Schippers flew to Miami to meet with me to corroborate information they already had pertaining to the blackmailing of Janet Reno, by individuals inside of and outside of government. One of the agents who debriefed me spoke of a specific organized crime figure whom he knew in this regard. David Schippers attempted to use this information but was prevented by the Republican majority from doing so.

3. Reno was blackmailed in 1987 by a criminal enterprise here in Miami, of which I have first-hand knowledge, so she has a history of blackmail.  Former Florida Senator Paula Hawkins told me and another individual that she once asked a high official in the American Bar Association asked "Why has Janet never become a federal judge?" The ABA official said: "Because Reno couldn't pass the background check." 

4. Just prior to the commencement of Reno's Senate Judiciary confirmation hearings in February 1993, a Republican staffer by the name of John Bliss reporting to then Colorado Senator Hank Brown told me and another individual some of the blackmail information that the Republicans had on Janet Reno and that could be corroborated by five South Florida police officers. This other individual and I have placed what we were told by the Republican staffer about the blackmail in a sworn affidavit. I don't expose myself and my family to the consequences of a criminal prosecution for perjury lightly.  The Republican staffer, when asked if the Republican Senators were going to proceed with this disqualifying information on Ms. Reno, told both of us, as we have attested to in the affidavit: "No, the Republican Senators do not want to mess with the Anita Hill crowd again." You personally know exactly what that means, given your courageous and appropriate advocacy for Clarence Thomas.

This staffer had approached me in an effort to get me to dump this blackmail information into the public domain so that Senators Hatch and other Republicans on the Committee would not be tagged with it. Since that rather disillusioning episode, again, which I have sworn to under oath, The Wall Street Journal has reported that I was approached by the Judiciary Committee in this fashion and that Senator Hatch, in particular, has a habit of doing this.

The most important fact here is that the Senate Judiciary Committee knew Reno could not properly serve as Attorney General because she was utterly compromised. The blood of Waco is thus on Republican hands as well. Are you prepared, Senator Danforth, to "go there?"

The Branch Davidians' wrongful death lawsuit and the bulldog efforts of documentary filmmaker McNulty and his attorney David Hardy have managed to disable, but only partially, this arrangement between Reno "not to ask" and the FBI "not to tell" kept in place by what the Bureau, as well as the President, have had on Reno. The new outside players in the equation have caused all Hell to break loose, as we have seen in the last week, and even Reno can't fully contain it. So, you are going to have to investigate not only what happened to kill the Davidians but also how a cover-up of what happened was kept intact for six years. It was the sword of Damocles dangling over Ms. Reno.

If you intend to take this job, I respectfully caution you: Be prepared to subpoena me to tell the truth about the above. Nothing about Waco will fully make sense unless you do.

                             With utter respect,

                             John B. Thompson

Copies: Media

John B. Thompson, Attorney 1172 South Dixie Highway, Suite 111 Coral Gables, Florida 33146-2750 Phone: 305-666-4366 Fax: 305-666-7275 E-Mail: Jackpeace@aol.com  September 10, 1999

John C. Danforth Bryan, Cave, LLP One Metropolitan Square 211 North Broadway St. Louis, Missouri 63102 VIA FAX to 314-259-2020 URGENT!

  Re: Independent Investigation of FBI Siege of Branch Davidians at Waco

Dear Senator Danforth:

A week ago I sent you a letter informing you of the fact that the FBI has blackmail information regarding Attorney General Janet Reno, which information has, at the very least, provided her a disincentive, in the last six years, to discover what the FBI really did at Waco.

Since you indicated yesterday that you plan to investigate whether there has been a cover-up at Justice and/or the FBI, please know that I can provide further corroboration of the blackmail problem for Reno in the person of Dave Bossie.

You will recall that Mr. Bossie is well-known in Washington as the former chief investigator to the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee during Dan Burton's chairmanship.

Before he took that post, he and I, during the run-up to Reno's confirmation hearings, spoke at great length as to what he, I, and others, including the FBI, had and still have that could be used to extort Reno. More specifically, Bossie was negotiating with a woman in Reno's office by the name of Susan ________, to come forward publicly about Reno's drunk driving problems.

The difficulty Mr. Bossie has in talking about this matter now, it seems to me, is that it inconveniences certain current Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, including Orrin Hatch, who knew what Mr. Bossie and I knew. That is why I asked you last week if you are prepared to investigate a cover-up of Waco, even if it leads to the role the Senate Republicans, including Trent Lott, had in the first cover-up-the cover-up of Reno's unfitness to serve, including her blackmailability. As to Lott, by the way, he circulated a memo to Republicans on the Hill about Reno's drunk driving problems before her confirmation. It was read to me. Further corroboration of that is that Lott foolishly mentioned generally Reno's possible personal-life disqualifications on CBS's Face the Nation the Sunday before her confirmation hearings began. Now we have the spectacle of Lott calling for her resignation.

Finally, please tell me when I can expect to be subpoenaed. You must subpoena Bossie, also.

Respectfully,
John B. Thompson


Military forces' role in Waco challenged

By Jennifer Autrey

Star-Telegram Staff Writer

The images of Bradley fighting vehicles punching holes in the wooden compound of the Branch Davidian sect and of helicopters hovering overhead as the structure burned have become etched in America's collective psyche.

The extent and legality of the military involvement in the 51- day siege at the Mount Carmel compound near Waco six years ago is expected to be a focus of upcoming investigations into the fiery end of the siege on April 19, 1993. The bodies of sect leader David Koresh and about 80 of his followers were recovered in the fire's remains. Among questions surrounding the operation is how military personnel, equipment and munitions were used and whether the government had a role in setting the blaze that consumed the compound. At the heart of the questions about military involvement is the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the armed forces from participating in civilian law enforcement operations.

Some issues expected to be examined are:

* The involvement of the Delta Force, an elite, top-secret Army unit established to combat terrorism. Some former government officials say the Delta Force had a greater role in the operation than the FBI acknowledges and, as a result, violated the Posse Comitatus Act.

In a sworn affidavit, a former sergeant first class in Army Special Forces said a noncommissioned officer told him that the Delta Force's "B" Squadron had been ordered to "take down" the Branch Davidians at Mount Carmel.

* Whether federal officials used a 1990 change in the Posse Comitatus Act -- allowing the use of the military in anti-drug operations -- to assist the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the FBI in the Waco siege and assault.

When the ATF asked the military for help in staging its initial raid of the compound on Feb. 28, 1993, military officers said the ATF would have to reimburse the Army for any assistance because there was "no known drug nexus," according to Lt. Col. Lon Walker, an Army liaison to the ATF.

Less than a month later, the ATF added "drug activity" to the matters it was investigating in regard to the Branch Davidians, a move that a congressional report called "deliberately misleading."

* Possible violations of Texas and Alabama state laws prohibiting the use of National Guard personnel and equipment against the Branch Davidians.

Texas law prohibits the use of the Texas National Guard in civilian law enforcement unless there is a clear drug connection. Alabama law says its National Guard force has no authority outside state boundaries.

National Guard personnel and equipment from both states were used at Mount Carmel. A congressional report has determined that those actions were taken without proper authority.

Delta Force

Recent revelations indicate that the Delta Force had a greater presence and a more active role in the final assault on the Branch Davidians than FBI officials have acknowledged. According to at least one account, the Delta Force was there not to advise, but to kill.

Steven Barry, a retired Special Forces sergeant who sometimes trained members of the Delta Force, gave a sworn affidavit to plaintiffs' attorneys in a civil suit brought by families of dead Branch Davidians. The case is scheduled to go to trial in Waco on Oct. 18.

In the affidavit, Barry quoted a friend in the Delta Force as saying the unit set up a tactical operations center during the siege that was staffed by 10 to 20 soldiers.

Barry said another friend in the Delta Force told him that the unit's "B" Squadron had been ordered to "take down" Branch Davidians. Barry said he understood from his experience in the Special Forces that "take down" meant to kill people identified as terrorists.

Barry isn't alone in these allegations.

Former CIA officer Gene Cullen has said in several recent interviews that he learned through casual conversations with Delta Force members that 10 of the unit's commandos were present during the April 19, 1993, assault and may have participated.

Similarly, James B. Francis, commissioner of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said "it is clear" that members of the Delta Force were on the scene. Initial reports indicated that three members were present, but Francis said he is now being told that as many as 10 were there.

"There is some evidence that might indicate that they were more than observers," Francis said. "It is fuzzy as to what their role was."

Francis said law enforcement officials and civilians have provided first- and second-hand reports on Delta Force activities. He declined to elaborate further.

Evidence gathered after the Mount Carmel fire was in the hands of Texas law enforcement officials until U.S. District Judge Walter Smith Jr. ordered all evidence surrendered to the federal clerk in Waco.

Government attorneys have indicated in some court documents that as many as 10 "classified" military personnel were present, said Houston attorney Mike Caddell, who filed the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of about 100 people, mostly relatives of dead Branch Davidians.

"We've been told that there were 10 military personnel, but they won't tell us who they were," he said.

Caddell said government attorneys were asked to answer questions in connection with the lawsuit. One of the questions asked for a list of all military personnel who were at Mount Carmel.

Government officials listed Army medical personnel, the Texas National Guard and 10 others whose identity they said is classified information, Caddell said.

Army Col. Bill Darley, a Defense Department spokesman, said the Pentagon has stated that it had only three Special Operations personnel at Mount Carmel and he has seen nothing to refute that statement. Two soldiers were present during most of the siege to maintain high-tech equipment, he said. Another was there when the compound burned, but only as an observer, he said.

"We had a presence there for support only," Darley said. "All other allegations appear to us to be unfounded and without basis in fact."

That distinction is crucial, according to federal law.

If what Barry and Cullen say is true, military personnel may have violated the Posse Comitatus Act, which forbids use of military personnel in civilian law enforcement except in special cases approved by Congress.

The prohibition applies only to direct participation by soldiers in an arrest, search or seizure. Soldiers may train civilian law enforcement agents or provide military vehicles and munitions.

A congressional report determined that all members of the military were present only as observers and that no violation of the act had occurred. The report, "Investigation into the Activities of Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Toward the Branch Davidians," was issued in August 1996 by the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee and the House Judiciary Committee after their 1995 hearings.

Darley said Pentagon policy prevented him from discussing further any of its "special missions units" such as Delta Force.

Drug ruse?

Some evidence suggests that the ATF created a ruse about the possibility of illegal drug manufacturing at Mount Carmel to obtain free military assistance for its Feb. 28, 1993, raid, which left four ATF agents dead and more than 20 wounded.

As early as November 1992, ATF agents were discussing the need for military support with Walker, the agency's Defense Department liaison, according to Treasury Department documents. The ATF is part of the Treasury Department.

But there was a problem.

In a meeting with the ATF on Dec. 4, 1992, Walker informed the agency that it would have to pay the military for the use of its equipment because the military could waive the charges only in anti-drug operations.

At the meeting, Walker jotted a handwritten note that said: "There was no known drug nexus," according to the Treasury Department documents.

The bill would have been considerable. The military assistance at Waco cost about $1 million, according to a General Accounting Office report released Aug. 26. About 90 percent of the cost was incurred by the Texas National Guard and U.S. Army, the report said.

That military personnel can play a greater role assisting civilian law enforcement in drug investigations is a significant exception to the Posse Comitatus Act, passed as part of the 1990 Department of Defense Authorization Act to help fight illegal drug importation.

Before the end of December 1992, the ATF was investigating "suspicion of drug activity" at the Branch Davidian compound, according to the Treasury Department report.

That addition to the points of investigation apparently was based on a Dec. 16, 1992, facsimile from Marc Breault in Australia, who suggested that a methamphetamine lab had once been seen on Branch Davidian premises. Congressional investigators later determined that Breault was a former Branch Davidian who had left the sect on bad terms.

Former Branch Davidians said Koresh had discovered the lab when he arrived at Mount Carmel and had telephoned the McLennan County Sheriff's Department to report it and to ask that deputies confiscate it, but no one ever came, the congressional report said. The building Breault said the lab was in burned down three years before the ATF raid, the report also said.

David Kopel, a former Colorado assistant attorney general and now a researcher for the Independence Institute, a conservative think tank in Colorado, said he was not surprised by the ATF's decision to add "drug activity" component to the investigation.

"All the military wants is the word `drugs,"' Kopel said. "Nobody cares if it's true."

However, the initial application for a warrant to search the compound included nothing about suspected drug violations. After agents failed to serve the warrant on Feb. 28, 1993, the day of the aborted first assault, they applied for another warrant and expanded its scope. That warrant also made no mention of drugs.

The congressional report states that the Feb. 28 raid should have been conducted differently if there was a real concern about the prospect of a clandestine methamphetamine lab on the premises. Because such labs usually contain explosive and toxic chemicals, standard procedure calls for the arrest of lab operators away from their laboratories. Koresh was regularly seen in Waco and could easily have been apprehended, officials have said.

"All those justifying stories have kind of gone up in smoke: drug use, machine guns, child abuse," said Daniel Polsby, a professor at George Mason University's law school who specializes in constitutional law.

The congressional committees eventually determined that the "ATF misled the Defense Department as to the existence of a drug nexus in order to obtain non-reimbursable support."

Darley, the Pentagon spokesman, said he wouldn't comment on any conclusions reached by Congress. But he said the Pentagon concurs with an Aug. 26 General Accounting Office report, which determined that the approval of military counterdrug support was reasonable and authorized.

National Guard involvement

The use of Texas and Alabama National Guard units at Mount Carmel may have violated laws in both states and perhaps the U.S. Constitution.

Convincing state officials that drugs were involved in the Branch Davidian investigation was crucial to involvement of the Texas National Guard.

The Posse Comitatus Act does not prohibit use of state National Guard personnel for local law enforcement, but Texas law does. State law allows the use of its National Guard helicopters for law enforcement only if there is a evidence of drug violations.

On Dec. 11, 1992, ATF Special Agent Jose Viegra met with representatives of Gov. Ann Richards' office to discuss the role of the military in any potential ATF action against the Branch Davidians, Treasury Department documents show.

Viegra was told he could not make use of Operation Alliance, which serves as a clearinghouse for several agencies involved in drug investigations along the Southwest border, unless there was a drug component.

Three days later, according to a Treasury Department memorandum, Operation Alliance officials received a facsimile from the ATF requesting assistance from the Texas Counterdrug Program, which included the National Guard.

Lt. Col. William Pettit, Texas National Guard coordinator of the Texas Counterdrug Task Force, signed off on the request. The ATF fax made no reference to suspected drug violations in the compound, casting Pettit's approval in doubt, according to the congressional report.

After the Feb. 28 raid, ATF Deputy Director Daniel Hartnett wrote Gov. Richards a letter on March 27, 1993, denying allegations that Mount Carmel did not have the necessary drug activity to justify the Texas National Guard's involvement.

"Please let me assure you that nothing could be further from the truth," Hartnett wrote.

Hartnett wrote that 11 sect members "have some prior drug involvement, some with arrests for possession and trafficking." However, when ATF agents were interviewed by Treasury Department officials in a post-siege review, they said that only one Branch Davidian had a drug conviction, the congressional report said.

The use of the Texas National Guard isn't the only questionable Guard involvement.

The ATF also used the Alabama National Guard for aerial photography on Jan. 14, 1993. That task was authorized by a "memorandum of agreement" between the adjutants general of the Texas National Guard and the Alabama National Guard.

According to Texas law, the National Guard from another state cannot be used without approval of the Texas governor. Alabama state law says that its National Guard has no authority to conduct operations outside the state.

National Guard personnel said in a post-raid Guard investigation that Gov. Richards did not approve the use of the Alabama National Guard. Military documents released to Congress during its 1995 hearings indicated that Richards was unaware of the extent of the Texas National Guard's involvement until after the Feb. 28 raid, the congressional report said. Neither Richards nor members of her staff at the time could not be reached to comment last week.

Use of the Alabama National Guard may also have violated the U.S. Constitution, the congressional report said, although that issue was outside the scope of the congressional investigation.

The Constitution specifically prohibits states from entering into treaties without congressional consent. The National Guard Bureau takes the position that use of the National Guard for law enforcement purposes across state lines is therefore strictly prohibited.

"Thus, it appears that the Alabama National Guard entered and conducted military operations in Texas without the proper authority to do so," the congressional report said.

Staff writer Gabrielle Crist contributed to this report.

Jennifer Autrey, (817) 548-5476
Send comments to jautrey@star-telegram.com

Tomorrow: Despite government denials, one agent's statement says that the FBI fired shots on April 19, 1993, court records show.

TIME Magazine

July 24, 1995 Volume 146, No. 4

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COVER BOX

A Painful Purge at the FBI

Though the ATF is the pet demon of the militant right, it is the FBI that
handled the violent conclusions of two infamous confrontations: the 1992
standoff at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and the 1993 siege in Waco, Texas. This week
two House subcommittees will open hearings into the Waco assault; in the
fall, hearings will delve into the FBI "shoot-on-sight" orders that some
critics believe were responsible for the Idaho death of Vicki Weaver, the
wife of white separatist Randy Weaver.

Last week FBI director Louis Freeh signaled his intent to cooperate with
both investigations and to restore order and morale within the FBI. In a
move that took a heavy personal toll, Freeh demoted deputy director Larry
Potts, 47, a 21-year veteran long under fire for his supervision of the Waco
and Ruby Ridge sieges. Freeh and Potts had been close friends and confidants
since 1990, when they were detailed to Atlanta and successfully prosecuted a
murderous mail bomber. They soon became the FBI's odd couple. Freeh was the
steely, immaculately tailored prosecutor whom colleagues respected and
feared; Potts was the kindly, slightly rumpled investigator agents admired
and loved. Three months ago, when Potts was promoted to the No. 2 spot,
Freeh boasted, "He is the very best the FBI has." Last week Freeh said Potts
was "unable to effectively perform his duties" and reassigned his friend to
the FBI's training division in Quantico, Virginia. Many agents felt that
Potts was getting a bum rap; they believe he was one of the agency's
staunchest defenders of civil rights principles.

Potts had seemed to redeem himself last April, when he expertly handled the
FBI's investigation of the Oklahoma City blast. But last week he came under
renewed scrutiny after another FBI official, E. Michael Kahoe, admitted
destroying documents collected during an internal investigation of the Ruby
Ridge episode. Now congressional investigators must confront several
questions: Did Kahoe act on the orders of a superior, possibly Potts? And
did the destroyed papers contain the identity of the official who issued the
shoot-on-sight order? At least one FBI agent has charged that Potts gave the
signal. Potts insists he did not.

Copyright 1995 Time Inc. All rights reserved.

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Holocaust at Waco

Gary Null

The story is now a series of fading memories and images in most Americans' minds, but mention Waco and people still call up many of those discomforting pieces of the 1993 news story.
•There was a Jonestown-like suicide cult down in Texas headed by a psychopathic megalomaniac, David Koresh, a modern-day self-proclaimed messiah....
•He had a tremendous arms cache....
•His Branch Davidian cult abused children....
•They were willing to take over the town of Waco....
•They were defiant of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and of the F.B.I....
•They were planning to commit mass suicide....
All of these "facts" were supposed to explain why we saw that final image on TV--the Branch Davidian compound burning to the ground. They were supposed to explain why 96 children, women, and men had to die in that conflagration. The problem is, they are not facts. Many are distortions or outright lies fed to the media, swallowed, broadcast, and never questioned.

People in Waco describe the Branch Davidian community as a group of ordinary people and as helpful, friendly, and kind. The Branch Davidian sect was founded in 1893 as an offshoot of the Seventh-Day Adventist church. Many of the approximately 130 people in the compound held regular jobs outside, and the group had been in Waco since 1935. They had built with their own hands the house that was destroyed in the 1993 fire.

James Scott Trim, a researcher who studied the Branch Davidians for more than a year and a half, offers this perspective: "They were no threat, particularly, to anybody. They had been there since the 1930s and certainly hadn't done any damage to anybody thus far. They weren't a group of idiots." Various members of the group, he points out, were highly educated in theology, comparative religion, and law.

Was this a cult? One of the reasons that pejorative label stuck to this group was that film clips were widely broadcast in which David Koresh, the group's leader, was shown saying, "You better watch out--I'm God." What wasn't revealed was that this segment was actually part of a longer film clip. A reporter from an Australian network had been asking Koresh about accusations made by an ex-Branch Davidian leader that he, Koresh, had gotten the former leader's 70-year-old mother pregnant. In reply to this obviously around- the-bend assertion, Koresh had said that if he could get a 70-year-old woman pregnant, then you'd better watch out, because he is God. It was a joke. In the uncut film segment, laughter is heard in the background. In the clip, Koresh's remark was taken out of context and played as if it were a serious statement. This deceptive use of a piece of film was enough to paint Koresh as a nut.

Bill Cooper, a former member of the Office of Naval Intelligence, also has looked into the Waco affair. Cooper offers an interesting perspective on the idea of cults. "The definition of a cult is extremely difficult to pin down," he says. "It depends largely upon who is labeling something as a cult. If you really want to get honest with all of this, all of our forefathers who left Europe to come to the United States to escape religious persecution belonged to cults. You could say that this nation was built by cultists. Many of our forefathers belonged to the fraternity known as Freemasonry, which throughout history has been labeled a cult and persecuted."

David Koresh believed that God wanted him to deliver the message of the Book of Revelations to the world. But concerning the apocalyptic aspects of the Branch Davidians' beliefs, Cooper points out that "the entire Christian religion and segments of the Jewish religion are apocalyptic. Both religions believe in the imminent return of a messiah and the end of the world as we know it, and the beginning of a new heaven on earth. That is certainly apocalyptic. The view of the Branch Davidians was no different. They believed in the interpretation of the Book of Revelations just as the church that they branched off from."

And, Cooper adds, "The truth is that we have protection in this country under the Constitution to practice whatever religion we wish, as long as we're not harming anyone else in the practice of that religion. The truth is that the members of the Branch Davidian religion, their church, were adults and had the right to believe and practice whatever they wished."

To support people's right to follow David Koresh as a leader does not mean that you have to agree with his teachings. Yes, the man may have been a fanatic. Yes, his followers may have been equally zealous. But being a religious zealot is not a crime. Christian fundamentalist groups and Jewish ultraorthodox groups may keep to themselves, or dress, eat, and act in ways others find strange. And many religious groups follow charismatic leaders who act as if they have the inside word from God. You can call these leaders and their followers zealots or fanatics or cultists if you like, but they still have a right to live as they choose. The Branch Davidians had that right, too.

At least they thought they did. Two of the people who found out that this was not the case, and who managed to live through that discovery, were Sheila Martin and Clyde Doyle. Martin had lived at the Waco complex at Mt. Carmel for five years, with her husband and seven children. She lost five members of her family in the fire. Doyle had lived with the group for at least three years, and he lost his daughter in the fire. Their descriptions of life at the compound are certainly at odds with the picture of a bunch of crazed cultists that the media portrayed.

People came to Mt. Carmel from many different walks of life, Doyle recalls. "Many of them were educated. They were high school teachers, computer programmers, university teachers, and so forth. They were ministers, and they were common people. They were from all different countries and all different nationalities. We lived in harmony. We got along great for such a diverse group of people."

Although people lived communally, they had their independence, Martin says. "Some people say we were controlled and that we had to live a certain way, but that's untrue. We had a choice." She goes on to refute the myth that the Branch Davidians stayed within their complex and never came out. "That's not how it was. We had freedom there. We could go into town. We could go shopping. We had all different types of things, but the main object was to know that we were there to read the Bible."

Daily life was primitive, but since people were there for Bible study, they were usually able to overlook the lack of amenities. Doyle recalls that the Mt. Carmel complex was evolving. "When we first began to develop the place, there were a series of small houses in poor condition. Many of them were deteriorating so badly that we began to tear them down. We took the ones that were worst first and used what lumber we could. We bought new lumber and began to build the complex [shown in media coverage of Waco]. There was continual building going on. New rooms were being added to make new room for people to come and stay."

The government has never presented any evidence that any child was ever abused at the Waco compound.

But what of the allegations of child abuse at the Davidians' compound? They are not true, says Martin. "There was no abuse of children. David said the worst abuse children could suffer was when their mothers and fathers did not bring them up to love God and to respect their parents and other people. David said that any of us there who did not treat our children with love and respect were really abusing them." So where did the allegations come from? Linda Thompson, a lawyer who is investigating the case, believes they started with one man--Mark Breault, often described as a disgruntled former member of the Branch Davidians. A documentary produced by KPOC-TV in Oklahoma reported that some other former Branch Davidians may have alleged that child abuse was taking place in the complex. In any event, the government has never presented any evidence that any child was ever abused at the Waco compound. And what about allegations of illegal gun caches at the group's compound? For one thing, Thompson says that the Waco sheriff's department found these allegations to be false. Bill Cooper elaborates, "The sheriff investigated on several occasions the allegations that they had illegal weapons, were engaging in illegal activities with those weapons, and had one time even confiscated all their weapons and taken them to the


"A Painful Purge at the FBI" TIME Magazine, July 24, 1995 Volume 146, No. 4

"Assault on Ruby Ridge" by Kirby Ferris

"ATF Under Siege" by Erik Larson, TIME Magazine, 24 July 1995, Volume 146, No. 4.

C-SPAN televised Waco hearings conducted by the House Judicial and Ethics Committees.

CAUSE Foundation (P.O. Box 1235, Black Mountain, NC28711, 408-779-4571, 408-776-1860 fax, lehfeldt@garlie.com) presentation, including talks from David Tibido and military, FBI and BATF explosives expert.

"Holocaust at Waco" by Gary Null, Penthouse magazine, May 1995

"How a Cascade of Errors Led ATF to Disaster at Waco" by Erik Larson, TIME Magazine, July 24, 1995 Volume 146, No. 4

Search Warrant, United States District Court Western District of Texas, In the Matter of the Search of residence of Vernon Wayne Howell, and others, Rt . 7, Box 471-B, AKA:  Mount Carmel Center, McLennan County, TX

"The Revolution in Waco" by Egon Richard Tausch.  Contact:  The Phoenix Project, July 20, 1993, P.O. Box 441, Morongo Valley, California 92256

"WACO Kids Saved From Child Abuse" by Susanne Fields, New York Post, April 26, 1993

"Waco the Big Lie" and "Waco the Big Lie II", American Justice Federation, 3850 S. Emerson Ave., Indianapolis, IN  46203, phone:  317-780-5204, fax 317-780-5209, Linda Thompson, J.D. Chairman
ustored inside, which include flammable material.  Tanks knock the buildings off their foundations, destroy internal stairways and collapse the end of the building over the trap door to the storm shelters (shallow buried bus and wood-roofed structure for protection from hurricanes and tornadoes) while "inserting tear gas."  Some or all the "gas" is CS, which is a powder that the manufacturer recommends be used only outdoors for riot control and never in a confined space be!

Linda Thompson, J.D. Chairman
American Justice Federation
3850 S. Emerson Ave.
Indianapolis, IN  46203
317-780-5204, fax 317-780-5209

Dear:  Ms. Thompson

Recall my fax to you on 8/24 asking for confirmation of the bolded items in "Waco — The State at Work", a chapter in The Book the Government Doesn't Want You To Read?  We're running out of time.  If the following bolded statements cannot be verified by 9/8/95, they will be removed from the chapter.

Federal agents ask Park Memorial Hospital how many beds it has in its burn unit, and order a freezer installed for Davidian bodies.
Federal agents have two M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks, five M728 Combat Engineering Vehicles and ten Bradley Fighting Vehicles on site, but no armored fire-fighting equipment like that used in Kuwait.  Federal agents order local fire fighters to leave the area after being there for 49 days.

October 1993

"The Revolution in Waco"

by Egon Richard Tausch

Torching the Constitution

A hundred years from now historians if they are still permitted to research and write, will argue about when the United States started down the slippery slope to totalitarianism. Many Southern historians believe it began with the erosion of the U.S. Constitution occasioned by President Lincoln's disregard of that document and by the Reconstruction Era. Some historians point to the massive powers assumed by the federal government during the Progressive Era. Others might date the slide to FDR's "New Deal" or LBJ's "Great Society" programs. A few might even highlight Chief Justice John Marshall and his doctrine of judicial review. In truth, the path returning the United States to constitutional government was visible and could have been taken at any time after these periods, either by a conscientious government or by an American public sufficiently outraged.

But when a government uses massive physical force against its people, illegally and unconstitutionally, the power of the public and the extent of its outrage is tested. It is either found ultimately victorious over tyranny— as after the Boston Massacre and the Alamo — or intimidated, confused, and indifferent, as is rapidly becoming the case in the aftermath of the Waco Massacre. When the latter occurs, the future of a republic becomes predictably tragic.

What are the national and local purveyors of public knowledge doing in what they call their "quest for answers" about the events near Waco, Texas? They are demanding investigations as to whether David Koresh knew of the raid in advance, whether the ATF knew of his knowledge, and what tactical flaws ultimately resulted in the deaths of dozens of men, women, and children. The federal government, knowing that these are not the right questions, is dutifully complying, by limiting its investigations to these areas and by repeating, day after day, that the ATF attack was "an attempt to serve a warrant."

What are the known facts, what questions should be investigated and by whom, and what are the implications of the Waco Massacre for the policies, present and future, of our Republic? On February 28, 1993, approximately 150 people, armed with automatic weapons, grenades, and ladders, invaded and attacked a complex of buildings near Waco, Texas, which was inhabited by a religious group. The attackers killed at least five of the inhabitants, and the defenders killed four of the attackers.

Let's start with the uncontested facts. What was the justification for the initial assault, if any? We have been told that the attackers were part of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) and were attempting to serve a warrant on a member or members of the religious group. This is a very important allegation, on which any justification of any of the subsequent events depends.

Was there an attempt, however botched, to serve a warrant at all? Initially we were told by the government spokesman that the warrant was "sealed," but that the allegations in the affidavit involved possession of illegal weapons. When it was discovered that several persons in the complex, including David Koresh, had dealers' permits for those same weapons, issued by the selfsame ATF, the story changed.

Now, we were informed, the affidavit concerned alleged child abuse. When the release of dozens of children from the complex, their meticulous medical examinations, and their extensive interrogation by the feds revealed no signs of abuse, and when it was pointed out that the ATF never had any jurisdiction over abuse cases anyway, the government spokesman announced that the real intention of the raid was to prevent mass suicide. The government spokesman next changed the focus to the four dead agents and the supposed nuttiness of Branch-Davidians in general. Finally, after the slaughter, the warrant and affidavit were opened. Geraldo Rivera's grand opening of "Al Capone's Secret Vault" could not have been a greater anticlimax.

The 15-page, single-spaced affidavit, signed by ATF agent Davy Aguilera, is a mess, though it covers two years of investigation. At least half of it deals with how the affiant disagrees with Koresh's theology. It dwells for paragraphs on a nervous UPS delivery man who feared that he had actually delivered weapons. The ATF affiant says he called the licensing department of the ATF and discovered that Koresh was not licensed to deal in firearms. (This was proven false, two days after the raid.)

The rest of the affidavit concerns third- or fourth-hand hearsay (once through two translators) about how Koresh might be able to convert his legal AR 1 5's and legal AK 47's into illegal automatic weapons, if he had the skills and equipment. The only expert witness is quoted as saying that everything Koresh had is used for legal, as well as illegal, purposes by gun owners (the affiant called this a "loophole in the law"). No one quoted in the affidavit had ever seen an automatic weapon in the complex — not even the ATF agent, Rodriguez, who lived there undercover as a Koreshian.

The affidavit cites some fourth-hand hearsay about the possibility of child molestation (but no mention of anyone who had witnessed any abuse). All that one child-protective agent could report after her thorough investigation inside the complex was that one eight-year-old boy said he wished he could grow up so that he could have a gun. Apparently, Koresh gave investigators who came to the compound a complete and peaceful tour and willingly answered questions.

The affidavit also misquotes the law so that it appears that materials which could form explosives (found in any large kitchen and all garden stores) are illegal. They are not, unless the intent to make a bomb is there, which is the only thing the complaint or warrant alleges, although no support for such intent is given in the affidavit. Moreover, according to the affidavit, all of Koresh's suppliers had been investigated, only to find that what they had, and had sent to Davidians, was legal and untouchable by the ATF (another "loophole in the law").

The most damning evidence in the affidavit was that Koresh "stated he thought gun-control laws were ludicrous," that he "believed in the right to bear arms but that the U.S. Government was going to take away that right," and that he showed the undercover investigator a videotape made by others which "portrayed the ATF as an agency who violated the rights of gun owners by threats and lies" (a portrayal that now appears to be a gross understatement). The conclusion of the affidavit was that Koresh lived in a "secret environment," and that it is "my experience that persons who acquire firearms, firearm parts and explosive materials" live in such environments.

But, however stupid the affidavit and bungled the attempt, the ATF "was only trying to serve a warrant," right? Wrong. Ignoring the uncontested facts that local authorities had served warrants on Koresh before and had called him in for questioning with no problem, and that Koresh came into town regularly and peaceably for supplies, all of which was reported to the ATF by local authorities, the ATF continued to prepare for what could only appear to be a first strike, all-out assault on the complex.

The following account of the events of the first fatal day is compiled from affidavits and televised statements of Davidian survivors, ATF members, local authorities, and media witnesses. On the morning of February 28, an ATF helicopter circled the complex and fired into the communal dining room, killing one Davidian at breakfast. Almost simultaneously, the ATF agents jumped out of their tarp-covered trucks in front of the complex and fired repeatedly at the front of the thin-walled buildings, through the windows, and at every Davidian in sight. Other ATF agents used their ladders to climb on the roof and throw grenades. No one approached the door. There was no ATF sound truck or bullhorn announcing a warrant, not to mention a simple cellular phone call to the complex. David Koresh came out of the front door and, unarmed, shouted "Stop! Stop!" and waved his hands over his head. He was then wounded twice. An elderly Davidian tried to drag him away but was killed, as were other exposed members elsewhere.

Koresh and other Davidians called 911 for help from the authorities. They called to Sheriff Lynch of McLennan County, who in turn tried to contact the ATF by both radio and telephone to stop the shooting. The ATF radio operator failed to respond. The ATF telephone went unanswered. (According to the House subcommittee investigating the massacre, the tape of the frantic 911 phone call was edited, and critical parts of it were erased, apparently while it was in the possession of the FBI. Fortunately, the original is still in the possession of the local authorities.) At some time during this commotion the Davidians returned fire, killing four invaders and wounding 16. The ATF then withdrew and laid siege. This entire sequence of events is what the contemptible TV movie about the ordeal described as an "ambush" by Koresh.

Let's clarify the events for the slower members of the media: there was no attempt by the ATF to serve a warrant, just an illegal and bloody attack on American citizens. Texas law, as well as federal law, gives no protection to members of a law-enforcement agency, in or out of uniform, when, without having witnessed a felony in progress and not in "hot pursuit" of a fugitive, and without attempting to serve a warrant or placing anyone under arrest, they fire on a citizen who offers no direct threat. The victim has every legal right to return fire. Any deaths that occur in this exchange are laid at the door of the attacker.

Enter the FBI. But first a note to readers who are biased by their dislike of the laws or practices of Texas. It is the implied accusation of "stockpiling weapons" that makes the national anchorpersons all a-flutter with indignation against Davidians. Most, if not almost all, Texans own firearms. A large minority, if not a majority, of Texans have gun collections, meaning a dozen or more firearms: rifles, semi-automatic rifles (so-called assault rifles), shotguns, and pistols. I do myself, as do my neighbors and several friends.

Such ownership is, and always has been, protected by Texas law. Maybe Texas, unlike some states, can read and understand the Second Amendment. The Texas Constitution (officially approved by the United States government) is even more explicit: "Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the State." This clause has consistently been interpreted by the Texas Supreme Court to include defense against governmental tyranny and to cover both military and civilian firearms. Stockpiling guns is more common in Texas than collecting stamps, butterflies, or baseball trading cards, all put together. Call this Texas gun-hoarding custom a "macho," "Bubba," or "Redneck" thing. I'm inclined to attribute it to long historical memories.

Texans remember our defense against Santa Anna and later against the Union Army, in the first of which our private "stockpiles" won our independence as a nation and in the second of which our "stockpiles" kept the Northern Army out of Texas until after the war, despite five all-out attempts at invasion. Our private "stockpiles" also helped Texas overthrow the Reconstruction governor long after carpetbag rule had been peaceably lifted in every other Southern state.

Koresh's group probably intended these weapons for self-defense, however many gun shows they had participated in and profited from. Did they have any reason to believe they might someday be illegally attacked? They had been before, by a rival group. This time it was by the federal government. Is that possibility of illegal or unconstitutional attack, rather than the sports of target and skeet shooting, perhaps the reason for the Second Amendment? Of course, Koresh's group was caught embarrassingly short of Howitzers and anti-tank missiles during the final assault.

Enter the FBI, who saw what we saw on TV, who knows the laws, who could have demanded to see the warrant and affidavit and then closed their briefcases and gone home to begin the pretrial investigation of the ATF leaders of the conspiracy. Instead, the FBI themselves laid siege to the Davidian victims and lent their services to the ATF cover-up, periodically holding silly and self contradictory press conferences. The only fun part of the show was the spokesman's embarrassing theological blatherings, which were as ignorant, confused, obsessive, and boring as he said Koresh's were, though the spokesman offered them only in the hope of diverting Americans from the real issues.

According to all accounts, commonly reported in newspapers and never contradicted, the FBI was not called in by the local authorities, from whom they never asked permission. They threatened to arrest the local sheriff for interference. They arrested persons for "defaming the ATF"; Sheriff Lynch set them free. The FBI never even asked for a declaration of martial law, which might have given them some sort of legal authority. Then, after weeks of psychological warfare by glaring lights and deafening sound, the FBI attacked and smashed into a complex lit by kerosene lamps and candles, with tanks equipped with long-necked cranes and tear gas. During a windstorm. Surprise—fire engulfed the complex, killing almost everyone in it. Was it mass suicide? Was it killings by Davidian leaders? (Both of these possible endings were glorified in the TV mini-series Masada, about the Jews besieged by the Roman Army. And the Jews didn't have to listen to the amplified screeching of Buddhist chants 24 hours a day.) Or was it the kerosene lamps and candles that set off the fire? What difference does it make?

The entire federal operation, from beginning to end, was illegal, and horribly immoral. It slaughtered almost a hundred people. Not to mention violating nine of the ten amendments in our Bill of Rights. (That must be a record.) All we have by way of explanation is the already discredited FBI spokesman's word that Koresh "talked as though he wanted Armageddon to begin." If that were true, the ATF and FBI were apparently happy to oblige.

The final, and lamest, excuse by the FBI spokesman was that "the Davidians could have surrendered to us anytime they wanted." This reminds me of a rapist-killer I was once appointed as a lawyer to represent, whose defense was that "the slut could have given in to me anytime she wanted." I convinced him to plead guilty.

Incidentally, in a city like Waco, which is almost totally Southern Baptist, what is a "cult"? Jehovah's Witnesses? Methodists? Roman Catholics (led by a Pope with more spiritual power than Koresh ever aspired to)? Mv family is Anglican Catholic, a tiny denomination given to Elizabethan English, male priests, and hats on ladies in church. We require the ritualistic consumption of an addictive drug (communion sherry). We even engage in "cannibalism" (the Body and Blood of Christ). Are we a cult? Koresh, in his public statements before being censored and reinterpreted by the FBI, clearly stated that he was "the Christ, just as every one of us is the Christ, anointed by the Father." Does this mean that liberal churchmen like Episcopal Bishop Spong of New Jersey, who periodically echo this kind of meaningless bilge, all have Messiah complexes? Perhaps a "cult" is just any religious group that one disapproves of.

Also, did all of this begin because the ATF barely survived abolition under Reagan? Its appropriations, after all, were currently under review, and it hadn't had a good shoot-out since Al Capone. When lames Higgins, the head of the ATF, appeared and testified before a congressional committee a few days after the raid, it was not, as most people assumed to answer for Waco. The hearing had long been scheduled to investigate the usefulness of and appropriations for his Special Operations branch. Were the timing of the raid and unnecessary violence (and advance notice to the media) just political ploys staged to preserve Higgins' power and funding? Did almost a hundred Americans die for this? The Houston Chronicle recently obtained a tape of a conversation between Koresh and ATF negotiator Jim Cavanaugh a few hours after the initial raid, indicating again that Koresh wouldn't have resisted had the ATF agents given him a chance. "It would have been better if you just called me up or talked to me," Koresh said. "Then you all could have come in and done your work." Instead there is a bloody gunfight. Perhaps a tame service of warrant and quiet investigation by one or two agents wouldn't have served Higgins' purpose, especially if no illegal weapons were found.

As to who should investigate the Waco Massacre, I nominate the International Red Cross. They proved, in the midst of World War II, that our Soviet allies, and not the Germans, were responsible for the Katyn Forest Massacre of 10,000 Polish officers. The Treasury Department, Justice Department, and Congress will be as useless investigating Waco as the Soviet Secret Police were to the Katyn investigation.

The Treasury Department has already announced that its "fair and impartial" investigation of Waco is nearly completed and that it was undertaken with no preconceived notions, bias, or prejudices. Then way down in the last paragraph of the newspaper accounts of the announcement is a postscript by the Treasury spokesman: the investigation was conducted as a memorial to the four innocent, murdered ATF agents, who were only trying to serve a warrant. So much for impartiality.

At the very time of the Waco Massacre, several Los Angeles police officers were undergoing their (double jeopardy) trial for merely roughing up (not killing) Rodney King, a man seen committing a misdemeanor, caught in "hot pursuit," and possessing a long criminal record. Surely trials of the ATF and FBI leaders, including at least Higgins and Janet Reno, that resulted in swift justice and stiff Nuremberg-like sentences could help return us to constitutional government. Perhaps this is the only way for the public to understand that the federal government is dangerously out of control and that the Constitution of the United States is now a dead letter.

Egon Richard Tausch practices constitutional law in San Antonio, Texas.

THE LIBERTARIAN, By Vin Suprynowicz
Set the Branch Davidians free

Documentary filmmaker Mike McNulty of Colorado, whose "Waco: The Rules of Engagement" was nominated for an Academy Award, is prepared to release a sequel this fall, presenting evidence that at least six spent incendiary mortar rounds and "flash-bang devices" (the kind that can start fires) were found in the main Mount Carmel church (not just two, and not just in some outbuilding) following the final assault by federal troops in Waco, Texas in April of 1993. The new film will also document the assignment -- illegal without a special presidential order -- of members of the Army's elite Delta Force to be present during that final, deadly government assault, against American civilians on American soil.

What a coincidence that the FBI in the past week has admitted to only as much as Mr. McNulty and the Texas Rangers can apparently now prove -- "spinning" these revelations with the bizarre explanation that (only two) incendiary mortar rounds were fired, only into an outbuilding, hours before the fatal fire which killed 80 people (including scores of innocent women and children.)

Of course, it was Mr. McNulty and his associates who first used the Freedom of Information Act to pry from the federal government the aerial "Forward-Looking Infrared" footage of the final Waco assault -- the real assault, conducted on the back side of the building, out of sight of commercial television cameras -- revealing what several experts have interpreted as fully-automatic rifle fire into the building from positions behind the armored vehicles as those converted tanks moved in to knock down walls and staircases and spray in flammable and disorienting CS gas, effectively making escape impossible for most.

The idea that these are the first "Waco lies" to be revealed is mere wishful thinking. To gain access to military helicopters for the initial assault (by armed tax collectors supposedly investigating reports of an unpaid $200 machine gun tax, but in fact mostly anxious to pull off a dramatic televised raid shortly before their upcoming congressional funding hearings), government agents had to lie on affidavits contending they believed the Rev. David Koresh was running a methamphetamine lab in his church. He was not, and no one ever believed he was.

The government has long insisted there was no gunfire into the building from the helicopters during the initial February raid, though non-Branch Davidian witnesses allowed into the building before it burned saw downward-splintered bullet holes through the ceiling, and eyewitnesses have sworn to me they saw gunfire coming from those helicopters.

Attorney General Janet Reno said the final assault had to be ordered because of new evidence Koresh and others were abusing children in the church, though the Justice Department later admitted there was no such new evidence.

Some might be tempted to dismiss all this as ancient history. But let's recall that most of the Branch Davidian survivors -- not their assailants -- were put on trial following the fiery holocaust at Waco, and seven were sentenced to decades in prison despite being unanimously found (start ital)innocent(end ital) on every major, capital charge.

Yes, they're all still in jail, despite being unanimously acquitted of any wrongdoing in the deaths of four federal agents -- agents killed in the initial raid by bullets whose type and caliber the prosecutors were never willing to identify.

And those sentences were meted out over the written objection of jury forewoman Sarah Bain, a Texas schoolteacher, who tells me the jury was shocked at the size of the sentences -- and who wrote to the judge that the jury assumed the defendants would be released for "time served" on the few minor, technical charges on which they were convicted.

Writing in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, Dr. Alan Stone, who teaches both law and psychiatry at Harvard University and who was brought in by the Justice Department to write an independent review of the handling of the Waco siege, says: "I do not know whether the FBI's pyrotechnic devices, which the bureau has finally acknowledged, actually started the fire. I do know that much of the gas was aimed at the so-called bunker where most of the children suffocated. I do not know whether Delta Force military advisers drove the tanks; I do know the tank drivers departed from the agreed-upon plan and, for reasons never explained, started crushing the compound. As in Vietnam, the government decided to destroy the village in order to save it. ...

"But there is one truth that should be obvious by now; the Branch Davidians were more victims than culprits. ... Mr. Clinton should pardon them. By now he must realize both that the government made reckless mistakes at Waco and that those federal prisoners were motivated by deeply held religious convictions."

Dr. Stone is correct. If Mr. Clinton can justify his recent pardon of a dozen pro-independence Puerto Rican terrorists who set off of bombs -- causing one police officer to lose an eye -- how can he allow breakaway Seventh Day Adventist parishioners who merely tried to defend themselves and their children when illegally attacked in their home to continue serving sentences longer than those which we impose on many a premeditated killer?

Set the Branch Davidians free. Indict their perjury-prone assailants.


Vin Suprynowicz is the assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. His new book, "Send in the Waco Killers: Essays on the Freedom Movement, 1993-1998," is available at $21.95 plus $3 shipping ($6 UPS; $2 shipping each additional copy) through Mountain Media, P.O. Box 271122, Las Vegas, Nev. 89127. The 500-page trade paperback may also be ordered via web site http://www.thespiritof76.com/wacokillers.html, or at 1-800-244-2224. Credit cards accepted; volume discounts available.

ditor's note: The following document was received by fax at the local CONTACT offices. The source-writer of the document is unknown. With a little editing to clarify some of the sentence structure, we are sharing it here because the writing is thought provoking and full of the insights that careful investigations can reveal.

AN ALTERNATIVE REPORT

Part II

MT. CARMEL SIEGE

Waco, Texas

The information for this report was gathered by a group of concerned citizens from the city of Waco, and the states of Colorado, Florida, and Texas. As investigators, we established very reliable sources for collecting facts from alert Waco residents, from Davidians released from jail, from TV dish and satellite monitoring organizations, and from unnamed others.

In the aftermath of the Mt. Carmel siege and fire, the remaining Branch Davidians, still living in Waco, are located: in jail; in the Salvation Army (a jail- it is contracted with the Bureau of Prisons); or in the Britteny Hotel. Generally speaking, most of the men are in jail, charged with conspiracy to commit murder with few exceptions. Paul Fatta is charged with possession and intent to manufacture illegal automatic weapons. Most of the folks in the Salvation Army and at the Britteny Hotel are released on bonds as material witnesses. Oliver Gyarfas, Jr., an Australian, has been jailed for over 3 months as a material witness without being charged with a crime, without deposition, and now has been transferred to an INS prison with a $10,000 cash bond; no bail bond is accepted. The customs agents moved him from Waco to near San Antonio, as another dirty trick of the Government. The atrocities continue.

Slowly we begin to see through the smoke and mirrors of the parallel or hidden government's spin doctors. The Waco Tribune-Herald protests strongly against there being advance knowledge of the ATF assault. However, just out of the blue, the day before the raid on February 27, 1993, they ran the front page article on David Koresh and all the lies of child abuse, child sex, polygamy, illegal guns, etc. Then the Baylor University professors of Theology pontificated the horrors of the Koresh Cult—which propaganda was then sucked up by the "Baal-orized" residents. The Branch Davidians and David Koresh were declared guilty the day BEFORE the raid. Now, we see at least 20 billboard signs around Waco, paid for by the ATF, thanking the potential jurors for the up coming trials.

The congressional hearings on the ATF assault on Mt. Carmel were another FBI-ATF sham where the elected officials heard an edited version of the 911 tapes lasting only 30 minutes. We have been able to get copies of the full 2-1/2 hours of 911 tapes called-in from the Davidians recorded at the Waco Police station. The Waco 911 center has 4 master reels to record simultaneous phone calls.

We have 2 tapes of the conversations between the Police and the ATF during the cease-fire negotiations. There was no direct line between the two forces; the Police at the 911 center relayed the demands of each side. After going over these tapes many times, and correlation with the video tapes, it is obvious that the ATF fired first; they held no regard for the women and children; they used hand grenades; the helicopters had automatic guns and were firing on the building where the women and children were; they were deceptive in the cease-fire negotiations; and they changed such plans without notice; and other charades.

We've had discussions with several people who survived the fire and who reveal interesting facts. The damage to the east side of the building (AWAY FROM the TV cameras) was much greater than elsewhere and included part of the ceiling falling down. On the second floor, where the women and children were gathered, there was no sensation of being gassed with CS gas, but rather, an unusual odor not necessarily of a petroleum-based product. Several experts suggest that the fluid could have been liquid napalm.* None of the women said they had to wear gas masks. When the M-60 tank retriever was crushing the building, it actually knocked the structure off its foundation, which jammed the doors and most of the windows. Once the fire got started, the heat was so intense that few of the women and children could move quick enough to avoid the flames. Since the normal escape routes were crushed, the only option was to jump out the second story window or a hole in the wall.

After viewing the videos of the fire, taken from different angles, there are several events proving the government's intent. In a TV tape "not available" before, it is plainly visible that a tank had a flame thrower torching the Mt. Carmel building seconds before the fire broke out.

The fire produced a super-heated flame which should have burned clean. However, the smoke was almost black, indicating an incineration agent was burning. The Bellmead Fire Department members were watching the TV when the fire broke out and tried to call the FBI with no success. Eventually, the call did come through to send out the fire trucks. It was almost an hour after the fire started until the equipment arrived on the scene.

There are three large lakes on the Mt. Carmel grounds which were used to pump a 6" flow of water onto the then smoldering remains. At 4:48 P.M. of that same day, it was easy to see, on the video, that new, large plywood boxes (approximately 6' x 3' x 2') were being carried into the burnedout crime scene. It took several men to carry them. The next day a 50 caliber machine gun tripod was visible on the screen where there WAS NONE the day before. Thus, the planting of the bogus evidence was complete.

We've acquired a copy of the evidence property list gathered and secured by the Texas Rangers-381 pages in all. It will take months to sift through all of the items. However, the most interesting evidence may be the video taken from the helicopters during the attack.

On the subject of David Koresh and the life in Mt. Carmel before February 28, 1993, we asked many survivors what it was like. This was not a commune or a cult. Everyone had their own possessions and had freedom to come and go as they wished . They were home schoolers and home birthers. They operated several businesses including auto-repair, military surplus, and gun sales. Every working person was a second tither which helped to support the center. They are all devout Bible readers with amazing recall of the Scriptures. They believe that David was the chosen lamb by God. They believe that God's name is Yahweh and that Yahshua is the name for Christ. Saturday is their Sabbath. Most of the Branch Davidians believe that David will re-appear on Earth in the flesh. They strongly deny that he had more than one wife or that he had sex with adolescent girls.

We talked with three children who came out before the fire. These children appeared to be alert and extremely well adjusted compared with any children of their ages. The youngest was a 9 year old girl who was drawing pictures in her note-pad while we had a discussion with her concerning the network TV production of the so-called ambush. Her comment was that the whole thing was a lie except that the building looked like her house. We asked the kids where they were when the ATF attacked. The little blond girl said she saw and heard bullets coming through the ceiling, so she jumped under her bed. The two boys took off down the hall to the stairwell.

To a person, the remaining Branch Davidians are humble, kind, generous, and hardy people who, to various degrees, are traumatized by the events which have happened to them. They are extremely supportive of each other and especially to the ones still incarcerated. Most of them visit somebody in jail on visiting days. We have given them all the patriotic literature they can handle, resulting in their achieving a better understanding of our criminal government.

It is difficult to express the shock and dismay these people have. They have lost their friends, family, home, and society just like the situation with war refugees. Sheila Martin lost her husband and 4 children; Mary Belle Jones lost her husband, a son, a daughter, a son-in-law, and 3 grandchildren. Welcome to AMERIKA.


*[If the gas were indeed CS, then i]n the final hours inside the Koresh property before the fires began, 24 children suffered intense nausea, dizziness and a painful stinging over their bodies if the brutal gas worked as the federal authorities expected it to work. This was done to save them from child abuse.

"Eventually," said Benjamin C. Garrett, executive director of the Chemical and Biological Arms Control Institute in Alexandria, Va., "they would have been overcome with vomiting in a final hell."

That's why the gas has been banned by the international conventions of warfare. We can still use it on our 6-year-olds, however.


Source:  Tony Alamo, World Pastor, Holy Alamo Christian Church, 13136 Sierra Highway, Canyon Country, California 91351, 818-718-9762, Fax 818-349-9409, who reprinted the article with permission from Contact:  The Phoenix Project, July 20, 1993, P.O. Box 441, Morongo Valley, California 92256.  CS gas effects footnoot was exerpted from an April 26, 1993 article in New York Post by Susanne Fields entitled "WACO Kids Saved From Child Abuse".

Waco — America's Tienamen Square and Holocaust

After examining, video tapes, including the home videos of an FBI agent on the scene and reading many of the stories related to the Branch Davidians at their Mt. Carmel facility near Waco Texas, many questions arose.  After viewing on C-SPAN all the testimony during the congressional "Waco" investigation, 181 questions remain (see appendix).  However, a sense of what occurred emerges:

A young and relatively uneducated Vernon Wayne Howell, aka David Koresh becomes an avid Bible reader and gradually derives from the Book of Revelations prophesies known as the Seven Sacred Seals.  To save from foreclosure the 77-acre Mt. Carmel Center she inherited in the 1930's, Mrs. Roden invites David Koresh from Palestine, Texas to replace her husband, Gorden as the leader of her Seventh Day Adventist Church.  Koresh re-invigorates the church.  He visits Israel to talk about the Bible with Rabbis.  He impresses many people from all over the world and levels of education and wealth with his knowledge of scripture, and attracts them to his annual Bible study sessions.  Some followers remain at Mt. Carmel for months at a time as "Students of the Seals."  All are encouraged to leave, return to the real world and research what they learned with others before they return.

To make room for the hundreds of seasonal students, the dilapidated structures are gradually rebuilt and expanded with material derived from surrounding squatter's shacks or purchased with money from donations and various businesses, including auto-repair, auto painting, landscaping, military surplus and gun sales.  Construction or reconstruction occurs continuously.  However, life remained primitive.  The "Davidians" as they are popularized by the media have just built a swimming pool and three lakes, and are installing water wells, water tanks and a septic system to make Mt. Carmel more hospitable.  They are clearly not preparing for the immediate end of the world.

In an attempt to return to power at Mt. Carmel, Gorden Roden claims he can raise people from the dead and accuses David Koresh of impregnating his seventy-five year old mother.  Koresh provides Gorden with a corpse with which to prove his powers, and a gun fight ensues in which Gorden is wounded in the finger.  Koresh and others are arrested and tried for attempted murder, but are acquitted.  Koresh is interviewed by an Australian network, and asked about Gorden's accusations, David's sarcastically responds "If I could do that, you better watch out--I'm God."  A clip of the interview containing only "You better watch out--I'm God." is later used to help demonize David Koresh.

A self-proclaimed prophet from Honolulu, Hawaii, Marc Breault attempts to take over the Mt. Carmel Center in 1987.  He is expelled and vows revenge.  His opportunity comes when he learns that ex-Branch Davidian David Jewell is involved in a custody battle with his wife, Sheri over their daughter, who both live at Mt. Carmel.  Breault approaches David Jewell's mother and offers to testify at the custody hearings that child abuse is rampant at Mt. Carmel.  This is the first time such charges are raised.  The Texas Welfare Department and the McClinnon County Sheriff's Department investigate the child abuse claims in 1991 and 1992, and find them to be baseless.  Breault also claims he had extensive weapons training at Mt. Carmel.  His claims are unquestioned despite the fact that Breault is legally blind.  The Cult Awareness Network, publish Marc's allegations in an attempt to characterize the Branch Davidians of being a "cult."

Koresh's ex-wife, Robin Bunds senses blood and suddenly announces that Koresh had multiple wives, including her mother.

Distant neighbors complain of automatic weapons fire at Mt. Carmel.  The sheriff investigates and learns that the cause of the noise is a perfectly legal "Hellfire Trigger."

An UPS employee delivers a broken crate to the Davidians at their auto repair garage, "The Mag-Bag."  In the box are surplus practice grenades.  Unaware that the dummy grenades are often sold as paperweights or "Pull pin for complaint department" novelties, the UPS employee alerts the local sheriff and amplifies his disclosure with descriptions of ammunition, weapons and other suspicious deliveries.  The sheriff alerts the United States Treasury Department Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF).

The BATF investigates.  It traces all shipments to the Davidians.  Although all are legal and Koresh and other Davidians are licensed by the BATF as weapons dealers, the BATF concludes that the expertise, equipment and material are sufficient to allege that explosive devices could be manufactured and some semi-automatic rifles could be converted to automatic rifles by the Davidians, yet the Davidians have not paid a $200 tax on each such weapon.

To impress congress that it is a major team player, the BATF targets the Davidians for operation "Showtime" ("ATF, assisted by state, local and military authorities will raid this compound").  While interviewing a local gun dealer about his sale of legal weapons to the Davidians, Koresh invites the BATF agents to Mt. Carmel to see for themselves that he has not converted any weapons to fully automatic.  The BATF agents refuse to talk to Koresh; the BATF has other plans.

The BATF concoct a bogus drug charge to get military assistance in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act and tap the Davidian telephone without judicial authorization in violation of 18 USC 2510.

An undercover BATF agent, Robert Rodriguez is accepted into Mt. Carmel as a student.  The BATF installs eight undercover agents in a house adjacent to the compound.  The agents carry briefcases, drive new and expensive cars and are too old to be the Texas State Technical College students they claim to be.  Koresh becomes suspicious of all the agents.  He begins to fear that the prophesy of the second Seal (educate the masses) is past and the prophesy of the fifth Seal (death of the Davidians and the beginning of Armageddon) is approaching much sooner than expected.

The BATF arranges for radio coverage of the raid and installs extensive video and telecommunications equipment near Mt. Carmel for the benefit of congress, but doesn't bother to establish a telephone link with Mt. Carmel.

BATF agent Davy Aguilera prepares a knock-first search warrant.  Although the BATF has no jurisdiction over child abuse, polygamy or immigration, he inflames the warrant will all the discredited child abuse, multiple wife, illegal alien, machine gun noise and other stories to induce U.S. Magistrate Dennis G. Green to sign what is fundamentally a pathetically weak warrant.  Aguilera alludes to a 50-caliber machine gun that he knows to be a legal semi-automatic rifle.  He repeatedly refers to what he knows to be a "7th Day Adventist Branch Davidian church ... with 140 men, women and children inside" as a "heavily armed fortress-like compound."  All the pertinent allegations are too old to bear on the legal issue of weapons for which a $200 tax has not been paid.  Aguilera fails to disclose that Koresh and other Davidians are a licensed by the BATF as gun dealers and fails to note that the number of guns listed is consistent with the inventory of many similar gun dealers.  Magistrate Green signs the warrant on 25 February for execution on or before 28 February.

To help justify the assault, the BATF feeds the blatant demonization typical of the warrant to selected media, which dutifully regurgitate the misinformation and prepare Americans to watch the BATF excise an evil man and his cult with a "dynamic assault."  The warrant is characterized as a no-knock arrest warrant for David Koresh.

Agent Rodriguez warns the BATF that the Davidians are aware of the impending raid on 28 February.  Operation Showtime continues anyway.  A caravan of vehicles and two helicopters approach Mt. Carmel.  Two canvas-covered cattle trailers park parallel to the front of Mt. Carmel, inviting the Davidians to shoot all 100 agents inside before they position themselves behind Davidian vehicles and begin climbing ladders to the roof.  The BATF shoot a penned dog and her four puppies.  Still the Davidians do not respond.  There is no ambush.  The BATF throw flash bang grenades through the windows.

Koresh appears at the front door and yells, "Now, hold on!  We have women and children in here."  The BATF opens fire on Koresh wounding him and mortally wounding a 70-year old man standing behind him.  Agents in the helicopters shoot through the roof into a room full of women and children, killing a nursing mother.  Some of the younger Davidians fire back, lawfully defending themselves according to Texas Penal Code, Subchapter C Article 9.31, Self-Defense:  "The use of force to resist an arrest or search is justified; if, before the actor offers any resistance, the peace officer uses or attempts to use, greater force than necessary to make the arrest or search, and; (2) when and to the degree the actor reasonable believes the force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the peace office's use of or attempted use of greater force than necessary."  After 45 minutes of frantic calling, Davidian Wayne Martin arranges a cease fire.  The siege begins.

With the aid of two USAF members and their equipment, the BATF terminates all communications between Mt. Carmel and the rest of the world (telephone, CB, AM, FM, TV).  They keep the media three miles away and the public five miles away "for their own safety," while agents casually walk around Mt. Carmel.

Three Davidians hear of the assault while at work and attempt to return to their families.  They are searched at the road block and permitted to continue.  As he attempts to climb a fence 300 yards from Mt. Carmel, Mike Schroeder is shot seven times (eye, heart and five times in the back) by a distant sniper and left to rot on the fence and be eaten by animals.

The United States Justice Department Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) takes charge on 3 March.  The same FBI "Hostage Rescue Team" that shot a dog on Ruby Ridge Idaho, motivating its 14-year old owner to shoot the back, shot the boy in the back, killing him, wounded his friend and his father and shot his mother in the head while she held her baby, arrives on the scene.  One of its members reports in an FBI home video of the Mt. Carmel event that he is "Honed.  Honed to a fine edge.  Honed to kill."  The perimeter of Mt. Carmel is ringed with ribbon wire and sniper positions.  The federal agents (BATF or FBI) are not about to let anyone who allegedly shot four of their own to escape.

Federal agents remove Schroeder's body on 4 March.

Koresh sends out a video tape of the children as requested.  Federal agents decide not to release the tape because of the sympathy it might engender.  Janet Reno tells Americans that Koresh won't supply a video tape of the children.  Federal agents tell Americans the Davidians won't come out while they tell the Davidians on 25 March that "... no one would be allowed to come outside the compound."  Anyone who does step outside is "flash-banged" with concussion grenades.  People are arrested at road blocks for "defaming the ATF" and attempting to deliver baby food.

Federal agents terminate all utilities and torture the Davidians with bright lights, dying rabbet screams, monk chants and Nancy Sanatra singing "these boots are made for walking, I just found me a brand new box of matches, if you play with fire you know you're gonna get burned," convincing Koresh and the remaining Davidians that the Fifth Seal is happening, and increasing solidarity among them instead of inducing them to leave.  The public address announcements over the same loud speakers inviting the Davidians to 'come out we won't hurt you' are not credible.

Federal agents systematically destroy all the Davidian vehicles with tanks, including trailers and the children's go-carts, instead of simply disabling them or driving or towing them away.  Federal agents clear what appears to be a fire break around Mt. Carmel, knocking over fuel tanks in the process.

Theologians and Davidian attorneys convince Koresh that the media event that the BATF debacle has become is an opportunity to have his story told, which means it's the prophesy of the Second Seal that's occurring, not the Fifth.  They fail to persuade Koresh that a jail cell is a great place to write.  Koresh is convinced he will be murdered by the federal government when he leaves or after he is incarcerated.  He agrees to leave after he documents all Seven Seals and they are given to trusted theologians for review and dissemination.  Koresh writes day and night while other Davidians edit his work and record it using a crude word processing computer.  They have difficulty keeping the batteries charged and providing light.

Federal agents are tired and embarrassed.  Although Koresh had documented two of the Seals and one is released on disk, federal agents are convinced that Koresh is lying and using the documentation of the Seals as a stalling tactic.  They refuse to reestablish electrical power.  They continue to assault Mt. Carmel with sounds and batter the buildings with tanks despite Koresh's complaints that such activity distracts him from his documentation effort.

Federal agents ask Park Memorial hospital how many beds it has in its burn unit, and order a freezer installed for Davidian bodies.

Federal agents have two M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks, five M728 Combat Engineering Vehicles and ten Bradley Fighting Vehicles on site, but no armored fire fighting equipment like that used in Kuwait.  Federal agents order local fire fighters to leave the area after being there for 49 days.

An FBI agent alerts the Park Memorial Burn Unit at 6:00 am on 19 April.  A BATF agent tells the national guardsman that Mt. Carmel "had to be taken immediately."  Federal tanks destroy the gymnasium to gain access to the living quarters of Mt. Carmel for gas insertion from all sides and shove its roof into Koresh's bedroom.  They crush the building materials stored inside, which includes flammable material.  Tanks knock the buildings off their foundations, destroy internal stairways and collapse the end of the building over the trap door to the storm shelters (shallow buried bus and wood-roofed structure for protection from hurricanes and tornadoes) while "inserting tear gas."  Some or all the "gas" is CS, which is a powder that the manufacturer recommends be used only outdoors for riot control and never in a confined space because of its flammable characteristics.

The wind is blowing 25 to 45 mph through the large holes caused by the collapse of the gymnasium, keeping some areas relatively free of the 'gas'.  Some Davidians have gas masks, but they are too large for the children.  They wrap women and children in wet towels to protect them from the gas.  The women and children huddle in the walk-in pantry, that used to be a cooler and is characterized by the federal agents as a "bunker."  Those exposed to CS suffer intense nausea, dizziness and a painful stinging over their bodies.  The methylene chloride used in conjunction with CS anesthetizes those who inhale it, making it difficult for them to escape.

Federal agents escalate gas insertion to compensate for the wind and the failure of some of the 40 mm ferret rounds launched from grenade launchers to penetrate Mt. Carmel.  However, many do.  One Davidian hit in the face dies.  Federal agents use all 400 ferret rounds without effect and call for more.  Frustration builds.  Another failure is in the making.

Although gas masks are adequate protection from CS, federal agents are seen wearing fire protective clothing and self-contained breathing equipment.  Federal agents allege that Davidians are heard on surveillance tapes talking about spreading fuel, but a Davidian who escaped cannot recognize the voices.  At 11:00 am, fire erupts almost simultaneously from three corners of the building.  An FBI agent is seen by a National Guardsman exiting the building as it goes up in flames.

Federal tanks continue to inject gas and batter the building after the fire erupts.  Two female Davidians attempt to flee Mt. Carmel during the fire, but re-enter the burning building rather than approach federal agents.  There is no apparent effort to stop the fire or rescue the Davidians.  Nine Davidians escape on their own, three escape unharmed, the rest are burned, two badly.  Misty Fergerson is found in the field with her gas mask melted to her face.

Tanks push unburned portions of the building into the fire until the entire structure is consumed.  Before, during and after the fire, agents are seen walking casually around the building without fear of the alleged methamphedamine chemicals, ammunition or explosives.  One agent tosses a grenade into the "bunker" where most of the bodies are found.  Frantic calls by Bellmead firemen watching the holocaust on television are ignored.  A federal agent finally calls a remote fire station, but federal agents delay the fire trucks at the road block.  Firemen don't arrive until an hour after the fire started.

Soon after the fire is extinguished, Mt. Carmel is "Shermanized."  Similar to what was done at Ruby Ridge where a building was dismantled and trees cut down and removed to destroy any evidence of federal wrong-doing, the entire Mt. Carmel area bulldozed, the tunnels filled-in, and one to three feet of top soil are removed from around Mt. Carmel.  Part of the cab of a bus is removed and most of the bus windows are broken by federal agents.

The BATF post-shooting investigation team is instructed not to investigate the Mt. Carmel incident.

One side of the double steel front door "disappears."  The five minutes of Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) tape just before the fire and sniper video tapes are conveniently blank.  Only a portion of the video tape made by KWTX Television Channel 10 News is released.  What is released is heavily edited.  A month before attorneys for the families of the deceased arrive to perform independent autopsies, the freezer in which the Davidian corpses are kept is "accidentally" turned-off and its contents exposed to flies.  The attorneys find that only a rotting mass of maggot-eaten flesh remains of the Davidians.

Three of the FBI agents involved in Waco, including the psychology analyst who was told to alter his report to Janet Reno retire.

The BATF selects as its "independent" investigator Chief Fire Investigator Paul Gray, who formally had an office in the ATF building for 10 years, carries a card that says "AFT Fire Investigator" and whose wife is employed as a secretary for the BATF.

The BATF spends taxpayer money to post messages on at least twenty billboards around Waco thanking potential jurors for participating in the pending trial.

Judge Walter Smith, who is under investigation by the FBI for misconduct is selected to be the Waco judge.  He allows the testimony that fuel found on the shoes of Davidians survivors is evidence that they started the fire, and disallows the testimony of the Davidians that they ran over ground soaked with fuel from the knocked-over tanks.  Judge Smith accepts the request of the jury foreman that the penalty be time served for Aiding and Abetting Manslaughter, dismisses the jury, introduces a new weapons charge and sentences nine men to 40 years in prison.

Following the "trial," the jury Forman learns of the degree of evidence suppression by Judge Smith and remarks that had the jury had all the information, they would have acquitted everyone on all counts.

The investigation of Judge Walter Smith by the FBI is dropped.

Treasury Department Secretary, Lloyd Bensten puts those directly involved in the planning, execution and cover-up in Waco in charge of an "independent" investigation of the incident.

Only "redacted" (edited) versions of the Department of Justice and Department of Treasury reports are released to the public.

The bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City is attributed to Army personnel upset about the Mt. Carmel incident.

Under public pressure, congress re-investigates.  The federal agencies close ranks to protect themselves.  The Democrats close ranks to protect Clinton and his appointees.  The federal agents and officials complain that they shouldn't be criticised for doing their job.  No one suggests that if Ruby Ridge, Waco and numerous other examples of unnecessary loss of life —often by fire— and destruction of evidence by federal agents are the result of doing their job, then perhaps the job should be redefined.  The only refreshing crack in the law enforcement wall is the Texas Rangers.  Still, it becomes clear that over 100 people died as a result of the ambition, stupidity and impatience of elitist federal agents and officials.


This is one time it makes sense to throw the baby out with the bath water.  Deport U.S. Magistrate Dennis G. Green, Judge Walter Smith, the FBI Hostage Response Team and the entire BATF.  Require that all federal officials and appointees who had anything to do with Waco or Ruby Ridge resign without benefits.  Confine Federal police powers to federal property.


William T. Holmes
P.O. Box 1257
Escondido, California 92033
619-972-8569 (mobile), 619-432-0613 (fax/voice)
TSEditor@AOL.com or 72010,3003

Waco — A Few Questions

During the siege of the Mt. Carmel Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventist church, (Rt. 7, Box 471-b, Waco, TX) by federal agents and active military personnel, 18 adults and 21 children left prior to the fire.  Twenty-two children died, three from blunt force trauma from building material falling on them when part of their shelter collapsed due to tank activity, 21 people died from gun shot wounds and the rest died from smoke inhalation before or during their consumption by fire.  Nine survived the fire.  Three escaped uninjured.  Two were badly burned.  Misty Fergerson was found in the field with her gas mask melted to her face.

Demonization

1.    Why were we led to believe that the Branch Davidian religious sect was a recent invention when in fact it was founded in 1935?

2.    Why were the motives of Gorden Roden unquestioned, when his wife had invited Vernon Wayne Howell, aka David Koresh, from Palestine, Texas to re-invigorate the church with his leadership, and save the 77-acre Mt. Carmel Center she inherited from foreclosure (property taxes delinquent since 1968)?

3.    Why were we told that David Koresh believed he was God, when his only utterance of the phrase, "I'm God" was a sarcastic response to an interview question, "Did you make Gorden Roden's seventy-five year old mother pregnant?"  David's complete answer was "If I could do that, I'm God."

4.    Why were the motives of David Jewell unquestioned, when in fact this ex-Branch Davidian was involved in a custody battle with his wife, Sheri over daughter Kiri, who remained at the Mt. Carmel Center?  Why were the motives of Kiri not questioned, when she admitted that she wanted to leave Mt. Carmel?

5.    Why were we not told that Marc Breault approached David Jewell's mother and offered to testify at the custody hearings that child abuse was rampant at Mt. Carmel?

6.    Why were the motives of Marc Breault unquestioned, when this self-proclaimed prophet from Honolulu, Hawaii vowed revenge for being expelled after he attempted to take over the Mt. Carmel Center in 1987?

7.    Why did no one hear of child abuse until Marc Breault reappeared on the scene?

8.    Why were we only treated to short, derogatory video clips of Koresh when his complete 1991 interview with an Australian station was readily available?  In the interview, David denied all claims of child abuse and polygamy, and affirmed that he had but one wife, Rachael, and their three children.

9.    Why were we not told that the Texas Welfare Department and the McClinnon County Sheriff's Department had investigated the child abuse claims in 1991 and 1992, and found them to be baseless?  Jack Harwell, Waco County Sheriff said, "There was really no evidence of child abuse.  It's only allegation and again, I say today, we've not found any evidence of child abuse out there."

10.    Why were the motives of Robin Bunds not questioned, when her child, if truly the son of David Koresh, would be the sole surviving heir of Koresh's sizable estate, should the Koresh family be exterminated?

11.    Why were the motives of the mother of Robin Bunds, Jeanine, not questioned when she also claimed to be one of Koresh's lovers?

12.    Why did the media fail to report that Marc Breault, who claimed to have gotten extensive weapons training within Mt. Carmel, was legally blind?

13.    Why did the Cult Awareness Network not consider the motivation of Marc Breault before it published his child abuse claims?

14.    Why were we not told that the Cult Awareness Network was indicted in California and Virginia for illegal spying and engaging in information gathering in conjunction with law enforcement personnel?

15.    Why were we not told that the Cult Awareness Network (Nelda Neale), which always accuses Christian sects of perverted sex, child abuse and brainwashing, is largely funded by the Jewish Anti-Defamation League?

16.    Why were we not told that Cult Awareness Network "deprogrammer" Rick Ross is a convicted jewel thief and under indictment for kidnapping?

17.    Why was Rick Ross chosen to advise the FBI during the Waco siege to the exclusion of all other professionals, including renowned theologians Jim Taylor and Phil Arnold?

18.    Why was the Mt. Carmel facility continually referred to as a fortress, when it was constructed in ramshackle fashion from materials derived from sharecropper's shacks around the property?

19.    Why were we told the Davidians thought the world was coming to an end and were planning to end their lives when they had just built a swimming pool and three lakes and were installing water wells, water tanks and a septic system?

20.    Why were we told that the walk-in pantry (ex-cooler) was a "bunker"?

21.    Why were we told that the thinly covered hurricane/tornado shelter and the bus buried adjoining it were bomb shelters?

22.    Why were we told that David Koresh was anti-Semitic when he traveled to Israel to learn Hebrew and talk with Rabbis about the Bible?

Warrant, 25 February 1993

23.    Why did BATF special U.S. Treasury Department Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) agent Davy Aguilera bother with a warrant when he was invited by David Koresh (via gun dealer Henry McMann) to visit Mt. Carmel and inspect the guns to verify that they had not been converted to automatic weapons?

24.    Despite there being no evidence of child abuse or polygamy, why did Davy Aguilera include child abuse, polygamy and illegal alien allegations in his search warrant, particularly when the BATF has no jurisdiction over such infractions?

25.    Why did Davy Aguilera repeatedly use "cult" and "compound" in his search warrant to describe what he knew to be a "Branch Davidian Seventh-Day Adventists" church?

26.    Why did Davy Aguilera state in his search warrant that the church was "taken over by Howell and his cult group" when it was in fact given to David Koresh by Mrs. Roden?

27.    Why did Davy Aguilera claim to be "familiar with the Federal firearm and explosive laws" when from his search warrant, it obvious that he is not?

28.    Why did Davy Aguilera not mention that a Class I weapons dealer could legally own all of the items listed in the warrant?

29.    Why did Davy Aguilera not mention that BATF records are notoriously inaccurate when he claimed in his search warrant that his investigation failed to reveal that Paul G. Fatta, David Koresh or David M. Jones were licensed as firearms dealers or manufacturers or have machine guns registered to them?  Why did he not mention in the same section of the search warrant the work of the Davidians with "Henry McMahon who is a Federally licensed firearms dealer," or that David Koresh, et al. sold guns at gun shows to earn money for their church, or that David Koresh, et al. could be working legally for Henry McMahon?

30.    Why did Davy Aguilera persist in expressing his concern about machine guns and bombs, when no one with weapons experience had seen an automatic weapon of any kind, and no one had seen bombs of any kind, including BATF Special Agent Robert Rodriguez, who lived undercover as a Branch Davidian?

31.    Why did Davy Aguilera give the appearance that an investigation for weapons license had occurred when the variations of the names and sources in his search warrant indicated computer search combinations that would avoid finding evidence of legal activity?

32.    Why were we not told until two days after the initial assault that David Koresh and others at Mt. Carmel were, in fact, licensed by the BATF as arms dealers, and that all of the weapons, material and equipment listed in Davy Aguilera's search warrant were perfectly legal?

33.    Why did Davy Aguilera include in his search warrant two reports of machine gun fire at the church, when the McClinnon county sheriff had investigated and found the noise to be caused by a legal Hellfire trigger?

34.    Why did Davy Aguilera allude in his search warrant to a 50-caliber machine gun, when he knew a 50-caliber semi-automatic rifle was purchased legally as confirmed by Paul Fatta.

35.    Why did Davy Aguilera include in his search warrant the alleged statements of David Block, a convicted felon who claimed to have stayed at Mt. Carmel for only three months and yet be one of the few Branch Davidians who was aware of their gun dealing?

36.    Why did Davy Aguilera state in his search warrant that Shot Gun News is a clandestine newspaper, when in fact 150,000 copies are sold monthly on newsstands everywhere?

37.    Why did U.S. Magistrate Dennis G. Green not notice or ignore the felonious accusations when he signed the search warrant?

38.    Why did Dennis Green accept a rambling 7,732-word search warrant that had over 115 spelling errors, numerous grammar errors and confusing sentence structure?

39.    Why did Dennis Green sign a search warrant that included child abuse, polygamy and immigration allegations over which the BATF has no jurisdiction?

40.    Why were we not told that the sole legal justification for the search was the suspicion that certain legal material and parts may have been combined to create legal machine guns (Class I license) for which a $200 tax was not paid?

41.    Why was the Mt. Carmel property repeatedly referred to as a "heavily armed fortress-like compound" when an Internal Treasury Department memorandum by Christopher Kyler, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement to Michael Langan dated 24 February 1993 stated that "Agents will be raiding a 7th Day Adventist Branch Davidian church ... with 140 men, women and children inside"?

42.    Why were we repeatedly told that the warrant was for the arrest of David Koresh, when it was, in fact, a ten-day knock-first search warrant?

Pre-Assault

43.    Is it any wonder that Koresh felt the federal government was after him when eight BATF agents installed in a house adjacent to the compound claimed they were Texas State Technical College students, yet were too old to be convincing, carried briefcases and drove cars too new and expensive for students to afford?

44.    Why did the raid commanders fail to obtain and use the telephone number for Mt. Carmel on the day of the raid?

45.    Why was a full-scale dynamic entry assault on the Davidians planned when weapons and their components are not easily flushed down a toilet, and local law enforcement agencies had served a similar warrant in 1987, and were allowed a peaceful search of the entire facility?

46.    Why didn't the BATF have Sheriff Lynch or Jack Harwell, who had been to Mt. Carmel on several occasions and were invited to return any time for a visit or fishing in one of the lakes, introduce them to David Koresh for the purpose of serving the search warrant?

47.    If surprise was a concern, why did BATF spokesman Sharon Wheeler contact three Dallas radio stations several days before the raid to ask for a weekend contact number, and why did the assault involve noisy helicopters and a convoy of vehicles on open terrain in broad daylight?

48.    If the Mt. Carmel assault was not politically motivated to impress congress during budget debates on the BATF, why was "Showtime" the code word for the raid?

49.    Why did the Waco Tribune-Harold happen to report the discredited child abuse allegations of "former cult members" Breault and the Bund the day before the raid?

50.    Why did federal agents tell investigating congressmen that no active military personnel were involved when the Internal Treasury Department memorandum by Christopher Kyler stated that the "ATF, assisted by state, local and military authorities will raid this compound" and Ft. Bragg Army Special Forces unit, including Delta force advisors, planned the raid and trained the BATF agents?

51.    Why were we told that the Mag-Bag was a gun warehouse, when it was, in fact, an automobile repair garage where six empty shotgun shells were found after BATF agents drove a tank through it?

Assault, 28 February 1993

52.    If the BATF was concerned about being attacked by the Davidians, why did they pack 100 agents into two canvas-covered cattle trailers and park them parallel to the front of Mt. Carmel?

53.    If the Davidians were in fact waiting to ambush the BATF, why didn't they riddle the trailers with bullets before the agents exited them?

54.    Is it true as alleged by a BATF informant that the first BATF agent killed was accidentally shot by his own people, and the other agents, who assumed the shots came from the church, opened fire on the church killing a seventy year-old man and wounding David Koresh?

55.    Why does the Justice Department report claim that "The agents identified themselves, stated they had a warrant and yelled 'freeze' and 'get down'" when:
a.    There is nothing in the plan for the raid for agents to first knock at the door or announce their presence.
b.    The Treasury report says "the tactical planners had reached a consensus that plans should be formulated for a dynamic entry."  The BATF was to burst through the front door and enter the upstairs windows simultaneously.
c.    The Treasury report says "Koresh appeared at the front door and yelled, "What's going on?"
d.    The Davidians called 911 to report that 75 men were attacking their home and asked for help.
e.    In a telephone interview, Brad Branch, a Branch Davidian, said "When they jumped out, David opened the door and put his hand out and said, 'Now, hold on!  We have women and children in here.'  Then bullets started hitting the door and all through the foyer, and that's when we slammed the door."
f.    In a telephone interview with CNN, David Koresh said, "They started firing at me, and so what happened was, is that, I fell back in the door, the bullets started coming through the door... I was hollerin' 'Go away.  There's women and children in here.  Lets talk.'"
g.    The Treasury report said "But Koresh slammed the door before the agents could reach it."
h.    KWTX Channel 10 reporter John McLemore and cameraman Dan Maloney filmed scenes of the initial raid which showed the BATF parked in front of the front door and tossing concussion grenades into the church, which is typical of an assault without notice.
i.    There were simultaneous assaults on the front door and at least two upstairs windows, one of which was thought to be the bedroom of David Koresh.
j.    The report says "Agents were to be on the roof within 33 seconds of arrival."

56.    Was the execution of a mother Alaskan Malamute and her four puppies by the BATF at the beginning of the assault meant to incite the Davidians to fight back?

57.    Why did the Treasury report say "Gunfire from inside the Compound burst through the door.  The force of the gunfire was so great that the door bowed outward....  Then gunfire erupted from virtually every window in the front of the Compound." When a Waco Tribune photograph showed all holes were entry holes (no ragged edges on the outside) and the door was still open slightly, and a side view video by KWTX 10 shows no one is shooting at the agents, no bullets hitting the vehicles in front of the agents and no bullets striking the ground around or behind the agents?

58.    Why would the Davidians bother to shoot out through a door they knew to be made of steel?

59.    Why did it take a frantically calling Wayne Martin 45 minutes to finally make contact with federal agents to arrange a cease fire?

60.    Why did a BATF agent (Kenny King or David Millen) on the east pitch of the roof throw a grenade into the window of a second story room and twice shoot into the room immediately after it was entered by three agents?

61.    Why did one or more helicopters and one agent on the ground fire into the room immediately thereafter?

62.    Did the agents attempt to defend themselves when two guns, one semi-automatic and one automatic (consistent with the weapons carried into the room by the three BATF agents) were fired from the room through the east pitch wall at the agent outside?

63.    Why did U.S. Treasury assistant Ronald K. Nobel in a letter answering a congressman's questions state "The Review found that the fourth agent neither fired his weapon into the room nor threw any grenades, diversionary devices or any other item into the room" when the video tape makes it appear that he did?  If the video tape was edited, why?

64.    Why did U.S. Treasury assistant Ronald K. Nobel state "None of the three agents who went into the Compound through the second story window were killed."  Yet:
a.    In a March 5 story to Dallas Morning News with diagrams, the BATF said all three agents who had gone in the window were "killed after they went through the window... All worked for the New Orleans field division of the ATF."
b.    In an interview with Current Affair, ATF agent Keith Costantino said he was one of the three agents who went into the room and he made it out the window and down the ladder.  He said two other agents were killed.
c.    Keith Costantino was listed in the Treasury report as being on the east side 3-man team [not part of original video release]:  "Bill Buford, Keith Costantino and Glen Jordan were to enter the window on the east pitch of the roof."
d.    "Conway LeBleu, Todd McKeehan, Kenny King, and David Millen were to enter Koresh's bedroom on the west pitch of the roof."  Conway LeBleu and Todd McKeehan were among those listed as killed.  Robert J. Williams and Steven D. Willis were listed as the other two killed.

65.    Should Steven D. Willis be listed as a member of the east pitch team instead of Kenny King or David Millen?

66.    Why were all of the injured BATF agents treated by a private physician instead of a hospital?

67.    Why did all three of the agents who apparently entered the east pitch window have nearly identical wounds entering the left cheek or temple area and exiting the through the back of the head (execution style) in addition to multiple other wounds?
a.    Williams    in at left cheek and out below and behind right ear
b.    Willis    in at left cheek and out below and behind right ear,
but lower than Williams
c.    LeBleu    in at temple and out back of head.

68.    If the federal government was concerned for the children, why was there a "Helicopter assault team" to "Supply air cover" as described in a 50-minute FBI SWAT team home video?

69.    Why did corner Nizam Peerwani state in his autopsy report of Todd McKeehan:  "cut lip and hole in throat"... "Furthermore, there is an attempted tracheotomy opening overlying the thyroid cartilage (like Kennedy)" and then claim during the trial that it was a bullet hole?

70.    Why did the fedearal government rely on corner Nizam Peerwani, who has been sued numerous times for oversights, like leaving someone on a table for an hour and an half before realizing they were alive, and losing woman's larynx during an investigation of a strangulation?

71.    Why did the Treasury report state "Special Agents Bernadette Griffin, Jonathan Zimmer and Martin Roy were pinned down behind a shed when special Agent Jordan, who had been wounded in the arms room, staggered over to where they were and collapsed on them. ... Special Agent Griffin discovered that Jordan's arm was bleeding profusely.  She elevated his arm and compressed the wound with her hand until the cease-fire, 90 minutes later." when the video tape shows that the agents were not pinned down and what appears to be someone partially in a body bag.

72.    Why did the BATF claim that the raid schedule was advanced a day due to media coverage, when the day of the raid was the day the search warrant expired (28 February)?

73.    Why did the BATF violate 18 USC 2510, which prohibits tapping civilian telephones without judicial authorization by taping Koresh's phone at least the day of the raid if not earlier as evidenced by a recording that included the 9-1-1 touch-tones followed by a conversation?
a.    operator:    "9-1-1."
b.    Davidian:    "Just a minute.  David Koresh here.  Just a moment."
c.    operator:    "Okay, here's David."

74.    Why did an armored personnel carrier approach Mt. Carmel before the initial assault ended on 28 February and cut their communication lines without a warrant in violation of 18 USC 2511?

75.    Why did the federal government jam the Davidian Ham and CB radios and deny them access to the media?

76.    Why were the federal press meetings attended only by invited press, and anyone potentially critical of the government was excluded?

77.    Why was a camera man beaten with a club and kicked by federal agents at a roadblock while video-taping a body in a truck that was later shown to the public under different circumstances?

78.    Why were the Davidians blamed for the incident when they had absolutely every right to defend themselves from federal agents according to Texas Penal Code, Subchapter C Article 9.31, Self-Defense:  "The use of force to resist an arrest or search is justified; if, before the actor offers any resistance, the peace officer uses or attempts to use, greater force than necessary to make the arrest or search, and; (2) when and to the degree the actor reasonable believes the force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the peace office's use of or attempted use of greater force than necessary."?

Siege

79.    Why was Jeff Sumaro brought in to take charge of the siege on 3 March, when the FBI had no legal authority to intervene, and they were not invited by local authorities?

80.    If the federal government was concerned for the children, why employ an FBI agent who described himself in a FBI SWAT team home video as "Honed.  Honed to a fine edge.  Honed to kill."?

81.    Why did BATF agent Royster claim to be surprised ("They were waiting"), when there was no possibility of surprise with a caravan of cars visible from miles as they approached the church on flat land.

82.    Why wasn't the raid canceled when undercover agent Rodriguez told the BATF that the Davidians were aware of the impending raid 45 minutes before it was scheduled to occur?

83.    Why did the BATF claim to be out-gunned when its agents used MP5 and M16 machine guns and rifles?

84.    Why was FBI sniper Lon T. Horiuchi, who murdered Vicky Weaver while she stood in her doorway holding her ten-month old baby on Ruby Ridge, employed in the Waco siege?

85.    Why were Mike Schroeder, Woody Kendricks and Norman Allison stopped at a roadblock by state troopers and then allowed to go to Mt. Carmel?

86.    Why was Mike Schroeder, age twenty-nine, shot seven times (eye, heart and five times in the back) by a sniper (autopsy report:  "wounds caused by distant sniper shots") 300 yards from the property as he attempted to climb the fence to return to his wife, Kathy and his four year old son?

87.    Why did the Treasury report state "Agents... led by ASAC Darell Dyer, encountered in the woods the three Branch Davidians who had left the Mag Bag." when the Davidians had just left a road block, not the Mag Bag garage?

88.    Why did the Treasury report continue with "When the agents identified themselves as federal agents, the cult members opened fire." when the Davidians were examined by the State Troopers and found to have no weapons?

89.    Why did the BATF fail to notify the next of kin of the death of Mike Schroeder even though Norman Allison verified the killing of Mike Schroeder when he was captured by BATF agents on 28 February as confirmed by government documents and a 1 March Associated Press release and the Waco Harold Tribune reported that one man was killed?

90.    What happened to Woody Kendrick?

91.    Why did the FBI threaten the local sheriff with arrest for interference?

92.    Why was the body of Mike Schroeder allowed to be partially eaten by dogs and other animals, and rot five days on the fence, before being lifted with a grappling hook to a helicopter on 4 March?

93.    Why was the media kept 3 miles from the scene and the public kept 5 miles from scene after March 3 while federal agents casually strolled around the Mt. Carmel area?

94.    Why were all communications with the Davidians limited to an FBI phone?

95.    Why was FBI spokesman Bob Ricks our only source of information?

96.    Why did Janet Reno say that David Koresh would not supply a video tape of the children when in fact a video tape was sent out by David Koresh, and government documents indicate that there was concern that if the tape was released to media, the Branch Davidians would get too much sympathy?

97.    Why were people arrested at road blocks for attempting to deliver baby food to Mt Carmel instead of being thanked and the food delivered by the authorities?

98.    Why were people arrested for "defaming the ATF"?

99.    Why was Linda Thompson held by a BATF agent with a machine gun pointed at her head while her car was illegally searched?

100.    If the federal government was concerned for the children, why does a review of the 2-1/2 hours of 911 tapes reveal that "the ATF fired first; they held no regard for the women and children; they used hand grenades; the helicopters had automatic guns and were firing on the building where the women and children were; they were deceptive in the cease-fire negotiations; and they changed such plans without notice; and other charades"?

101.    Was the belated (not in search warrant) and unsubstantiated claim by the federal government that there was a methamphetamine lab on the premises merely an excuse to apply Title 32 USC 112 to the siege, and avoid the Posse Comitatus Act, Title 18 USC 1385 prohibition of the use of military equipment (e.g. Fort Hood tanks) on American citizens?

102.    Why were we told that the Davidians would not come out, when the FBI was telling the Davidians they could not come out according to the Treasury report:  "Several individual came out of the compound and into the courtyard several times over the next few days and were 'flash-banged' by the FBI.", and on 25 March:  "The negotiators told Schneider that no one would be allowed to come outside the compound."?

103.    If the federal government wanted the Davidians to come out, why was razor wire strung around Mt. Carmel and snipers positioned around the perimeter as shown on the FBI SWAT team home video tape and official government photos?

104.    Why were two Russian psychologists flown in from Moscow to aide in the harassment of the Davidians?

105.    If the federal government was truly concerned for the twenty-four children and the FBI did not want the Davidians to come out, why torture them for fifty-one days with bright lights, dying rabbet screams, monk chants ("...the FBI cleared vehicles around the compound, played loud Tibetan chants on the loudspeakers and used the external floodlights.") and "these boots are made for walking, I just found me a brand new box of matches, if you play with fire you know you're gonna get burned" by Nancy Sanatra?

106.    Why were the children's go-carts driven away from the building and run-over by tanks when they could have been driven away or easily disabled without destroying them?

107.    Why did tanks systematically destroy trailers and other vehicles, when any derivable vehicle could have be easily disabled without destroying it?

108.    Why did tanks knock over fuel storage tanks, contaminating the soil?

109.    If federal agents were not concerned about the fire potential of their next assault, why did they clear a fire break around Mt. Carmel?

110.    Why were four 55-gallon drums of kerosene and two black and red drums of some other substance belonging to the FBI Hostage response team in the staging area where the tanks were re-fueled and replenished?

111.    If the federal government was not concerned about fire, why did the FBI ask Park Memorial how many beds it had in its burn unit?

112.    After the abuse and repeated lies, is it no wonder the Davidians distrusted the federal agents.  Is it no wonder David Koresh told his followers he must finish documenting the seven sacred seals before surrendering, because he expected to be killed when he surrendered or while incarcerated awaiting trial? Is it no wonder that David Koresh thought his prophecy of the Fifth Seal was occurring?

113.    Why didn't the federal government allow David Koresh to finished his documentation of the seven sacred seals as the prerequisite for leading his flock from Mt. Carmel (#1 finished on 18 April, #2 on 19 April; only the first made it out on disk before the fire)?

114.    Why did the federal government order a freezer installed for Davidian bodies prior to the holocaust?

Holocaust, 19 April

115.    If firemen were excluded from the area because of fear of snipers, why weren't armored fire fighting vehicles like those used in Kuwait on the scene?

116.    If the federal government was afraid of snipers, why are federal agents seen causally strolling around Mt. Carmel?

117.    If the federal government was not concerned about fire, why did the FBI alert the Park Memorial Burn Unit at 6:00 am?

118.    If the federal government was concerned for the children, why were over four hundred 40 mm CS gas nylon projectiles fired into Mt. Carmel as evidenced by large holes in some of the walls and the Justice Department report ("Tear gas was inserted into all windows of the compound through the Mark V's in the two CEV's as well as by ferret rounds launched from the Bradley vehicles.  Ferret's are non-burning tear gas rounds designed for 40 mm grenade launchers."), particularly after one Davidian died after being hit in the face with one such projectile?

119.    If the federal government was concerned for the children, why were aluminum stun grenades shipped to Waco from Germany through New York (without going through customs) and projected into Mt. Carmel, potentially injuring anyone they hit, particularly when it was known that they produce three-inch long flames out of four ports when they explode?

120.    If the federal government was not concerned about fire, and military surplus gas masks were adequate protection from CS gas for the Davidians who had them, why were agents wearing self-contained breathing equipment?

121.    If the federal government was concerned about fire, why use CS gas, which includes methylene chloride, a known anesthetic that would disorient those who inhale its and make it difficult for them to escape a fire?

122.    If the federal government was concerned about fire, why did it conduct the final assault when the wind was blowing 25 to 45 mph?

123.    Why were tank retrievers used to "punch holes ... for the introduction of CS 'gas' [dust and propellant]"?

124.    If the 'hole punching' was intended to provide egress, why were the holes punched too high for anyone to use?

125.    Why did the 'hole punching' include the destruction of interior stairwells, knocking the building off of its foundation, which, according to survivors, jammed the doors and windows, and collapsing of the end of the house over the hurricane shelter exit door where Zelda Hendly died trying to escape?

126.    Why were we not told that the 'hole punching' involved the systematic destruction of the gymnasium (away from the TV cameras), where flammable building materials were stored, pushing the roof of the gym into the bedroom of David Koresh and driving tanks onto the roof of the gym, crushing everything inside?

127.    If the federal government was concerned for the children, why was CS gas used when it was known to cause severe respiratory problems for infants and children and was banned for use by the military with a treaty signed by the U.S. in January, 1993 because of its dangerous characteristics (intense nausea, dizziness and a painful stinging over the body), and as Benjamin C. Garrett, executive director of the Chemical and Biological Arms Control Institute in Alexandria, VA described, of its victims "Eventually, they would have been overcome with vomiting in a final hell."?

128.    Why was CS gas used inside a building, when the instructions of the manufacture stress that CS gas should only be used in open areas?

129.    Was CS gas used if survivors on the second floor, reported that there was no sensation of being gassed with CS or tear gas (none of the women said they were inclined to wear gas masks), but rather, they smelled something with an unusual odor that was not necessarily that of a petroleum-based product?

130.    Was liquid napalm what the survivors smelled and experienced (Survivors reported that once the fire got started, the heat was so intense that few of the women and children could move quick enough to avoid the flames.  Since the normal escape routes were destroyed, the only option was to jump out the second story window or a breach in the wall.)?

131.    Why are federal agents seen causally leaving the burning buildings and removing what appear to be flame resistant hoods and clothing?

132.    Were the voices on the internal tape that allegedly talked about spreading fuel and igniting the fire those of FBI agents as indicated by an Interview with a National Guardsman who drove one of the two Combat Engineer vehicles (CEVs):  "On the morning of the 19th as you well know started the FBI, ATF said it had to be taken immediately.  The story is that they were to help people out.  The initial orders were to of course to shoot tear gas into the building.  We were supposed to hit it from four corners of the compound.  After we hit there was a sign at about 11 that morning when we saw the fire started on the southeast corners of the building.  We saw somebody in a black outfit similar to ATF and FBI"  Reporter:  "Did you see the letters F-B-I."  Driver: "What I saw letters which looked like it."

133.    Why did the Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) indicate that the fires started where the tanks were smashing through the building?

134.    Why are federal agents seen casually walking around the buildings before, during and after during the fire with no apparent concern for explosions that would likely result from the alleged ammunition, aluminum powder, gun powder and methamphetamine chemicals?

135.    Why did federal agents tell the fire trucks that had been at the site for 49 days to leave just before the fire, ignore the calls of Bellmead Fire Department firemen who watched the fire on television, belatedly call the most distant fire station and delay the fire trucks at the road block so that it was nearly an hour after the fire started before equipment arrived on the scene?

136.    Why was there no attempt to rescue people after the fire started?

137.    Why are guns pointing down from helicopters after the fire started?

138.    Why did two female Davidians who fled Mt. Carmel during the fire, re-enter the burning building rather than approach federal agents?

139.    Was it indeed a burning body that appeared to be speared by one of the tanks as it destroyed one end of the building and was later scrapped off on the inside wall of the building to the left of the tank?

140.    Why did the tanks continue to destroy the buildings after the fire erupted and during the consumption of the buildings by fire?

141.    Why did the "CS gas injection tanks" continue to penetrate and inject the unengulfed portions of the building with a dangerous debilitent when these were the only areas remaining through which people could escape the flames?

142.    Why did federal agents casually toss an explosive device into the last remaining structure, the walk-in pantry (ex-cooler) we were told was the "bunker", where most of the bodies were found?

143.    If the Davidians were intent on killing themselves as the federal government contends, why were the women and children found dead in the walk-in pantry wrapped in water-soaked towels?

144.    After reporters announced that up to twenty people escaped before the fire, why were twenty-one were found shot and the Justice Department said only eight escaped?

145.    If the federal government was trying to help survivors escape, why did only nine survive the blaze, two of whom were badly burned?

146.    Why did the United States government use two M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks, five M728 Combat Engineering Vehicles and ten Bradley Fighting Vehicles against American citizens after it denounced the Chinese for using tanks against Chinese citizens in Tienamen Square?

Cover-up

147.    Why were new plywood boxes (approximately 6' x 3' x 2') carried into the burned-out crime scene at 4:48 P.M.  Why did it take several men to carry the boxes.  What was in them?

148.    Why did the federal agents deny that military equipment was used when a FBI SWAT team home video clearly shows the contrary?

149.    Why were congressman told that there was no direct use of military equipment:  "No Army equipment was loaned with operable weapons systems.  Active Army forces did not operate helicopters, tanks, or other armored vehicles, nor were such forces actively or directly involved in actual law enforcement operations." according to Karl F. Schneider, Acting Chief, Investigations & Legislative Division, U.S. Army, when 40 mm mortars were used and active duty military were shown in the FBI home video tape filling tanks with fuel, preparing to enter tanks, flying helicopters, and Special Forces personnel are shown emerging from tanks?

150.    If crime scenes are to be preserved for subsequent investigation, why
a.    did the tanks continue to push unburned pieces of the building into the fire until everything was consumed;
b.    was the entire Mt. Carmel area bulldozed and the tunnels filled-in immediately after the holocaust;
c.    was the empty water tower knocked-over and its concrete base bulldozed into a ditch;
d.    was the well-head sheared-off;
e.    was one to three feet of top soil removed from around Mt. Carmel;
f.    was part of the cab of a bus removed and most of the bus windows broken by federal agents;
similar to what was done on Ruby Ridge, where a building was dismantled and removed, trees were cut down and removed, and the initial victim, a pet dog was ground into the dust with tank treads to eliminate any evidence of government wrong-doing?

151.    What does the term "Shermanizing" mean as used by federal agents in reference to the Mt. Carmel site?

152.    How can one side of the steel double front door disappear ("burned-up") and the other side be presented as evidence?

153.    Why were the sniper video tapes conveniently blank?

154.    Why was only a portion of the video tape made by KWTX Television Channel 10 News, Waco, Texas released? (Vice President Virgil Teeter, 817-776-1330)

155.    Who edited the KWTX tape and why?

156.    Who altered the audio track of the KWTX tape and why (six different guns sound like one and helicopter sounds abruptly change)?

157.    Why are the five minutes before the fire "missing" from the FLIR tape?

158.    Why did the audio surveillance tape recorders "stop working" before the fire?

159.    Where are all of the alleged weapons, ammunition, gun power and methamphetamine chemicals?

160.    Why did three of the FBI agents involved in Waco, including a psychology analyst who was told to alter his report to Janet Reno retire immediately afterward?

161.    Why was the freezer in which the Davidian corpses were kept turn-off and its contents exposed to flies a month before attorneys for the families of the deceased arrived to perform independent autopsies, only to find a rotting mass of maggot-eaten flesh?

162.    Why was Chief Fire Investigator, Paul Gray, who formally had an office in the ATF building for 10 years, carried a card that said "AFT Fire Investigator", and whose wife is employed as a secretary for the ATF labeled an "independent" investigator?

163.    Why did the BATF pay for at least twenty billboards (with taxpayer money) around Waco thanking potential jurors for participating in the pending trials?

164.    Why was Judge Walter Smith, who was under investigation by the FBI for misconduct (didn't report being shot at by a husband who caught Smith with his wife) selected to be the Waco judge?

165.    Why did Judge Walter Smith allow the claim that fuel found on the shoes of three of the Davidians who escaped was evidence that they started the fire, and disallow the testimony of Davidian survivors that the fuel on their shoes was the result of running over ground soaked with fuel that came from the fuel tanks that were knocked over by the tanks?

166.    If those with fuel on their shoes, like David Tibido, were arsonists as alleged, why were they not incarcerated with the others —the nine the fedearl agents claimed they saw holding guns?

167.    Why did Judge Walter Smith allow into evidence the unsubstantiated claim by the BATF that forty-four automatic weapons were found in the Mt. Carmel rubble?

168.    Why did Judge Walter Smith allow a collection of burnt gun parts to be allowed into evidence as representing two automatic rifles without independent examination when the difference between the semi-automatic and automatic versions are so small that only a close examination by an expert could distinguish the two?

169.    Why did Judge Walter Smith accept the request of the jury foreman, Sara Banes that the penalty be time served for Aiding and Abetting Manslaughter, dismiss the jury, and then introduce a new weapons charge and sentence nine men to 40 years in prison?

170.    Why did Judge Walter Smith suppress the introduction of evidence to the extent that jury foreman, Sara Banes said the jury would have acquitted all of the defendants had they seen all of the information they discovered after the trial?

171.    Why was the investigation of Judge Walter Smith by the FBI dropped after the trial?

172.    Why did NBC claim the man who lived outside Mt. Carmel it video-taped selling video tapes and characterized as a charlatan and the source of "Waco the Big Lie", when in fact its author, Linda Thompson sent the tape shown with the hand-written label to them in June?

173.    If the Department of Justice report was to be independent, why was Edward S. G. Dennis, Jr. chosen to lead the effort when he regularly represented the federal government and had cases pending for the Justice Department?

174.    Why did Treasury Department Secretary, Lloyd Bensten put those directly involved in the planning, execution and cover-up in Waco (Edwin D. Guthman, Henry S. Rulin, Jr., Willie L. Williams) in charge of an "independent" investigation of the incident?

175.    If, according to Bensten, the report was supposed to be "a vigorous and thorough investigation of the events leading to the loss of law enforcement and civilian lives near Waco, Texas on February 28, 1993," why was the 29 September 1993 report entitled "Investigation of Vernon Wayne Howell also know as David Koresh"?

176.    Why was the report dedicated to the memory of the deceased BATF agents, who were prominently listed, but no concern for the death of the Davidians or their children was expressed and none of them were listed?

177.    Why was BATF director Steven Higgins merely discharged with a full pension and five BATF agents merely suspended for their roles in the Waco assault?

178.    Why was FBI Deputy Director, Larry A. Potts, who was merely censured for his debacles at Ruby Ridge and Waco promoted to full deputy director of the FBI by Director Louis Freeh?

179.    Why were the BATF commanders of the raid, Philip Chojnacki and Charles Sarabyn, fired for misconduct and then re-hired with full salary and benefits with the condition that they destroy their files?

180.    Why were both the Department of Justice and Department of Treasury reports "redacted", i.e. edited to deny the public all of the information?

181.    If the Department of Justice report was to be unbiased, why did Edward S. G. Dennis, Jr. base his report on the testimony of the federal agents involved in the siege of Mt. Carmel:  "I have primarily relied upon the record gathered by the Department of Justice as the basis for the conclusions in this report, supplemented by a number of follow-up interviews."?

References:

Search Warrant, United States District Court Western District of Texas, In the Matter of the Search of residence of Vernon Wayne Howell, and others, Rt . 7, Box 471-B, AKA:  Mount Carmel Center, McLennan County, TX

"Waco the Big Lie" and "Waco the Big Lie II", American Justice Federation, 3850 S. Emerson Ave., Indianapolis, IN  46203, phone:  317-780-5204, fax 317-780-5209, Linda Thompson, J.D. Chairman

"The Revolution in Waco" by Egon Richard Tausch.  Contact:  The Phoenix Project, July 20, 1993, P.O. Box 441, Morongo Valley, California 92256

"WACO Kids Saved From Child Abuse" by Susanne Fields, New York Post, April 26, 1993

CAUSE Foundation (P.O. Box 1235, Black Mountain, NC28711, 408-779-4571, 408-776-1860 fax, lehfeldt@garlie.com) presentation, including talks from David Tibido and an

"How a Cascade of Errors Led ATF to Disaster at Waco" by Erik Larson, TIME Magazine, July 24, 1995 Volume 146, No. 4

Talk by Waco survivor David Tibido.

Comments

America has evidently found or developed within the BATF and FBI its concentration camp guards and doctors —people who will do anything under orders— Americans who are ready, willing and able to exterminate American men, women and children.

Given the Waco and Jewish holocaust correlation, why was the demonization of the Davidians aided and abetted by the Jewish Anti-Defamation League by way of the Cult Awareness Network?  If I as an agnostic do not overtly support Judaism, will I be targeted?

The government has proven itself to be an unreliable and biased investigator.  The term "bury it" now has a physical as well as literal meaning for government agents.  Consequently, all government investigations must permit independent observers to record their actions with video cameras and make independent observations.  All crime scenes, including situations like the Oklahoma bombing, must be left undisturbed for subsequent investigation by non-government personnel.

Tibido (phonetic spelling) notes:

Drummer David Tibido went to a guitar center in Hollywood to buy replacement drum sticks.  Guitarist David Koresh and Steve Snider were there admiring the latest drum set.  Upon seeing Tibido's new drum sticks, Koresh asked if he'd like to try-out for their band.  Tibido declined to play in a "Christian" band.  Steve Snider, who taught comparative religion at the University of Hawaii gave Tibido his card.  Band practiced in Koresh's house in Pomona.  Tibido invited to study group meetings.  Tibido was impressed with Koresh's knowledge and interpretation of the Bible.  Tibido invited some of his friends to attend study groups.  Steve Snider and Paul Fatta, who were Bible authorities argued with Koresh about the Bible, but were eventually convinced that Koresh knew what he was talking about, sold everything and moved to Mt. Carmel to learn more.  Jamie and Greg Summers were there for Bible study.  After 2-3 months of study they too could not refute Koresh's interpretation of the Bible.

Hundreds were invited to Mt. Carmel for Passover for a two-week foundation Bible study for the seven seals.  All residents were encouraged to be critical and to go away and talk with others before returning to learn more.  Tibido spent six months in Hollywood and six months in Mt. Carmel for a number of years.


According to interviews with survivors, the Branch Davidians were "not a commune or a cult.  Everyone had their own possessions and had freedom to come and go as they wished.  They were home schoolers and home birthers.  They operated several businesses including auto-repair, [Custom Cameras, Yard Bird Landscaping Service, Cliff Sellors air-brushed guitars], military surplus, and gun sales.  Every working person was a second tither which helped to support the center. They are all devout Bible readers with amazing recall of the Scriptures....  They strongly deny that he had more than one wife or that he had sex with adolescent girls....  The children appeared to be alert and extremely well adjusted compared with any children of their ages.  The youngest was a 9 year old girl who was drawing pictures in her note-pad while we had a discussion with her concerning the network TV production of the so-called ambush.  Her comment was that the whole thing was a lie except that the building looked like her house.  We asked the kids where they were when the ATF attacked.  The little blond girl said she saw and heard bullets coming through the ceiling, so she jumped under her bed.  The two boys took off down the hall to the stairwell....  To a person, the remaining Branch Davidians are humble, kind, generous, and hardy people..."


The State at Work

by William Holmes

There is a myth in America that the State exists "to protect and serve" us.  Based on the outcome at Waco, the State will even kill children if necessary to do so. Waco is an example of what the State does best — burn and break things while injuring and killing people. Holmes tells us what really happened at Waco — how the Feds actually  interpret their duty "to protect and serve" us.
—Editor


After examining video tapes, including the home videos of an FBI agent on the scene, and reading many of the stories related to the Branch Davidians at their Mt. Carmel facility near Waco, Texas, many questions arose. After viewing on C-SPAN all the testimony during the congressional "Waco" investigation, I have 181 questions remaining. However, a sense of what occurred emerges:

A young and relatively uneducated Vernon Wayne Howell, aka David Koresh, becomes an avid Bible reader and gradually derives from the Book of Revelation prophesies known as the Seven Sacred Seals.

 To save from foreclosure the 77-acre Mt. Carmel Center she inherited in the 1930's, Mrs. Roden invites David Koresh from Palestine, Texas to replace her husband Gordon as the leader of her Seventh Day Adventist Church. Koresh re-invigorates the church.

 He visits Israel to talk about the Bible with rabbis. He impresses many people from all over the world and levels of education and wealth with his knowledge of scripture, and attracts them to his annual Bible study sessions. Some followers remain at Mt. Carmel for months at a time as "Students of the Seals." All are encouraged to leave, return to the real world and research what they learned with others before they return.

To make room for the hundreds of seasonal students, the dilapidated structures are gradually rebuilt and expanded with material derived from surrounding squatter shacks or purchased with money from donations and various businesses, including auto repair, auto painting, landscaping, military surplus and gun sales. Construction or reconstruction occurs continuously. However, life remains primitive. The "Davidians," as they are popularized by the media, have just built a swimming pool and three lakes, and are installing water wells, water tanks and a septic system to make Mt. Carmel more hospitable. They are clearly not preparing for the immediate end of the world.

In an attempt to return to power at Mt. Carmel, Gorden Roden claims he can raise people from the dead and accuses David Koresh of impregnating his seventy-five-year-old mother. Koresh provides Gorden with a corpse with which to prove his powers, and a gunfight ensues in which Gorden is wounded in the finger. Koresh and others are arrested and tried for attempted murder, but are acquitted. Koresh is interviewed by an Australian network, and, asked about Gorden's accusations, he sarcastically responds: "If I could do that, you better watch out — I'm God." A clip of the interview containing only "You better watch out — I'm God." is later used to help demonize David Koresh.

A self-proclaimed prophet from Honolulu, Hawaii, Marc Breault attempts to take over the Mt. Carmel Center in 1987. He is expelled and vows revenge. His opportunity comes when he learns that ex-Branch Davidian David Jewell is involved in a custody battle with his wife Sheri over their daughter; both wife and daughter live at Mt. Carmel. Breault approaches David Jewell's mother and offers to testify at the custody hearings that child abuse is rampant at Mt. Carmel. This is the first time such charges are raised. The Texas Welfare Department and the McClinnon County Sheriff's Department investigate the child abuse claims in 1991 and 1992, and find them to be baseless.

Breault also claims he had extensive weapons training at Mt. Carmel. His claims are unquestioned despite the fact that Breault is legally blind. The Cult Awareness Network publishes Marc's allegations in an attempt to characterize the Branch Davidians as a "cult."

Koresh's ex-wife, Robin Bunds, senses blood and suddenly announces that Koresh had multiple wives, including her mother.

Distant neighbors complain of automatic weapons fire at Mt. Carmel. The sheriff investigates and learns that the cause of the noise is a perfectly legal "Hellfire Trigger."

A UPS employee delivers a broken crate to the Davidians at their auto repair garage, "The Mag-Bag." In the box are surplus practice grenades. Unaware that the dummy grenades are often sold as paperweights or "Pull pin for complaint department" novelties, the UPS employee alerts the local sheriff and amplifies his disclosure with descriptions of ammunition, weapons and other suspicious deliveries. The sheriff alerts the United States Treasury Department Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF).

The BATF investigates. It traces all shipments to the Davidians. Although all are legal and Koresh and other Davidians are licensed by the BATF as weapons dealers, the BATF concludes that the expertise, equipment and material are sufficient to allege that explosive devices could be manufactured and some semi-automatic rifles could be converted to automatic rifles by the Davidians, yet the Davidians have not paid a $200 tax on each such weapon.

To impress Congress that it is a major team player, the BATF targets the Davidians for operation "Showtime" ("BATF, assisted by state, local and military authorities, will raid this compound"). While interviewing a local gun dealer about his sale of legal weapons to the Davidians, Koresh invites the BATF agents to Mt. Carmel to see for themselves that he has not converted any weapons to fully automatic. The BATF agents refuse to talk to Koresh; the BATF has other plans.

The BATF concocts a bogus drug charge to get military assistance in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act, and taps the Davidian telephone without judicial authorization in violation of 18 USC 2510.

An undercover BATF agent, Robert Rodriguez, is accepted into Mt. Carmel as a student. The BATF installs eight undercover agents in a house adjacent to the compound. The agents carry briefcases, drive new and expensive cars and are too old to be the Texas State Technical College students they claim to be. Koresh becomes suspicious of all the agents. He begins to fear that the prophecy of the second Seal (educate the masses) is past and the prophecy of the fifth Seal (death of the Davidians and the beginning of Armageddon) is approaching much sooner than expected.

The BATF arranges for radio coverage of the raid and installs extensive video and telecommunications equipment near Mt. Carmel for the benefit of Congress, but doesn't bother to establish a telephone link with Mt. Carmel.

BATF agent Davy Aguilera prepares a knock-first search warrant. Although the BATF has no jurisdiction over child abuse, polygamy or immigration, he inflames the warrant with discredited child abuse, multiple wife, illegal alien, machine gun noise and other stories to induce U.S. Magistrate Dennis G. Green to sign what is fundamentally a pathetically weak warrant. Aguilera alludes to a 50-caliber machine gun that he knows to be a legal semi-automatic rifle. He repeatedly refers to what he knows to be a "7th Day Adventist Branch Davidian church ... with 140 men, women and children inside" as a "heavily armed fortress-like compound." All the pertinent allegations are too old to bear on the legal issue of weapons for which a $200 tax has not been paid. Aguilera fails to disclose that Koresh and other Davidians are licensed by the BATF as gun dealers and fails to note that the number of guns listed is consistent with the inventories of many similar gun dealers. Magistrate Green signs the warrant on 25 February for execution on or before 28 February.

To help justify the assault, the BATF feeds the blatant demonization typical of the warrant to selected media, which dutifully regurgitate the misinformation and prepare Americans to watch the BATF excise an evil man and his cult with a "dynamic assault." The warrant is characterized as a no-knock arrest warrant for David Koresh.

Agent Rodriguez warns the BATF that the Davidians are aware of the impending raid on 28 February. Operation Showtime continues anyway. A caravan of vehicles and two helicopters approaches Mt. Carmel. Two canvas-covered cattle trailers park parallel to the front of Mt. Carmel, inviting the Davidians to shoot all 100 agents inside before they position themselves behind Davidian vehicles and begin climbing ladders to the roof.

The BATF shoots a penned dog and her four puppies. Still the Davidians do not respond. There is no ambush. The BATF throws flash bang grenades through the windows.

Koresh appears at the front door and yells, "Now, hold on! We have women and children in here." The BATF opens fire on Koresh, wounding him and mortally wounding a 70-year-old man standing behind him. Agents in the helicopters shoot through the roof into a room full of women and children, killing a nursing mother.
 Some of the younger Davidians fire back, lawfully defending themselves according to Texas Penal Code, Subchapter C Article 9.31, Self-Defense: "The use of force to resist an arrest or search is justified; if, before the actor offers any resistance, the peace officer uses or attempts to use, greater force than necessary to make the arrest or search, and; (2) when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the peace officer's use of or attempted use of greater force than necessary." After 45 minutes of frantic calling, Davidian Wayne Martin arranges a cease fire.

The siege begins.

With the aid of two USAF members and their equipment, the BATF terminates all communications between Mt. Carmel and the rest of the world (telephone, CB, AM, FM, TV).

They keep the media three miles away and the public five miles away "for their own safety," while agents casually walk around Mt. Carmel.

Three Davidians hear of the assault while at work and attempt to return to their families. They are searched at the road block and permitted to continue. As he attempts to climb a fence 300 yards from Mt. Carmel, Mike Schroeder is shot seven times (eye, heart and five times in the back) by a distant sniper and left to rot on the fence and be eaten by animals.

The United States Justice Department Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) takes charge on 3 March. The same FBI "Hostage Rescue Team" that shot a dog on Ruby Ridge, Idaho, motivating its 14-year old owner to shoot back, shot the boy in the back, killing him, wounded his friend and his father and shot his mother in the head while she held her baby, arrives on the scene.

One of its members reports in an FBI home video of the Mt. Carmel event that he is "Honed. Honed to a fine edge. Honed to kill." The perimeter of Mt. Carmel is ringed with ribbon wire and sniper positions. The federal agents (BATF or FBI) are not about to let anyone who allegedly shot four of their own escape.

Federal agents remove Schroeder's body on 4 March.

Koresh sends out a videotape of the children as requested.  Federal agents decide not to release the tape because of the sympathy it might engender.  Janet Reno tells Americans that Koresh won't supply a videotape of the children.  Federal agents tell Americans the Davidians won't come out while they tell the Davidians on 25 March that "... no one would be allowed to come outside the compound."  Anyone who does step outside is "flash-banged" with concussion grenades.  People are arrested at roadblocks for "defaming the BATF" and attempting to deliver baby food.

Federal agents terminate all utilities and torture the Davidians with bright lights, dying rabbit screams, monk chants and Nancy Sinatra singing "these boots are made for walking, I just found me a brand new box of matches, if you play with fire you know you're gonna get burned," convincing Koresh and the remaining Davidians that the Fifth Seal is happening, and increasing solidarity among them instead of inducing them to leave.  The public address announcements over the same loud-speakers inviting the Davidians to 'come out, we won't hurt you' are not credible.

Federal agents systematically destroy all the Davidian vehicles with tanks, including trailers and the children's go-carts, instead of simply disabling them or driving or towing them away.  Federal agents clear what appears to be a firebreak around Mt. Carmel, knocking over fuel tanks in the process.

Theologians and Davidian attorneys convince Koresh that the media event that the BATF debacle has become is an opportunity to have his story told, which means it's the prophecy of the Second Seal that's occurring, not the Fifth.  They fail to persuade Koresh that a jail cell is a great place to write.  Koresh is convinced he will be murdered by the federal government when he leaves or after he is incarcerated.  He agrees to leave after he documents all Seven Seals and they are given to trusted theologians for review and dissemination.  Koresh writes day and night while other Davidians edit his work and record it using a crude word-processing computer.  They have difficulty keeping the batteries charged and providing light.

Federal agents are tired and embarrassed.  Although Koresh has documented two of the Seals and one is released on disk, federal agents are convinced that Koresh is lying and using the documentation of the Seals as a stalling tactic.  They refuse to reestablish electrical power.  They continue to assault Mt. Carmel with sounds and batter the buildings with tanks despite Koresh's complaints that such activity distracts him from his documentation effort.

Federal agents ask Park Memorial Hospital how many beds it has in its burn unit, and order a freezer installed for Davidian bodies.

Federal agents have two M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks, five M728 Combat Engineering Vehicles and ten Bradley Fighting Vehicles on site,  but no armored fire-fighting equipment like that used in Kuwait.  Federal agents order local fire fighters to leave the area after being there for 49 days.

An FBI agent alerts the Park Memorial Burn Unit at 6:00 am on 19 April.  A BATF agent tells the national guardsmen that Mt. Carmel "has to be taken immediately."  Federal tanks destroy the gymnasium to gain access to the living quarters of Mt. Carmel for gas insertion from all sides; they shove its roof into Koresh's bedroom.  They crush the building materials stored inside, which include flammable material.  Tanks knock the buildings off their foundations, destroy internal stairways and collapse the end of the building over the trap door to the storm shelters (shallow buried bus and wood-roofed structure for protection from hurricanes and tornadoes) while "inserting tear gas."  Some or all the "gas" is CS, which is a powder that the manufacturer recommends be used only outdoors for riot control and never in a confined space because of its flammable characteristics.

The wind is blowing 25 to 45 mph through the large holes caused by the collapse of the gymnasium, keeping some areas relatively free of the 'gas'.
  Some Davidians have gas masks, but they are too large for the children.  They wrap women and children in wet towels to protect them from the gas.  The women and children huddle in the walk-in pantry that used to be a cooler and is characterized by the federal agents as a "bunker."  Those exposed to CS suffer intense nausea, dizziness and a painful stinging over their bodies.  The methylene chloride used in conjunction with CS anesthetizes those who inhale it, making it difficult for them to escape.

Federal agents escalate gas insertion to compensate for the wind and the failure of some of the 40-mm ferret rounds launched from grenade launchers to penetrate Mt. Carmel.  However, many do.

One Davidian hit in the face dies.

Federal agents use all 400 ferret rounds without effect and call for more.  Frustration builds.

Another failure is in the making.
Although gas masks are adequate protection from CS,
 federal agents are seen wearing fire-protective clothing and self-contained breathing equipment.

Federal agents allege that Davidians are heard on surveillance tapes talking about spreading fuel, but a Davidian who escapes cannot recognize the voices.

At 11:00 am, fire erupts almost simultaneously from three corners of the building.  An FBI agent is seen by a National Guardsman exiting the building as it goes up in flames.

Federal tanks continue to inject gas and batter the building after the fire erupts.  Two female Davidians attempt to flee Mt. Carmel during the fire, but re-enter the burning building rather than approach federal agents.

There is no apparent effort to stop the fire or rescue the Davidians.  Nine Davidians escape on their own. Three escape unharmed; the rest are burned, two badly.  Misty Fergerson is found in the field with her gas mask melted to her face.

Tanks push unburned portions of the building into the fire until the entire structure is consumed.  Before, during and after the fire, agents are seen walking casually around the building without fear of the alleged methamphetamine chemicals, ammunition or explosives.  One agent tosses a grenade into the "bunker" where most of the bodies are found.  Frantic calls by Bellmead firemen watching the holocaust on television are ignored.  A federal agent finally calls a remote fire station, but federal agents delay the fire trucks at the roadblock.  Firemen don't arrive until an hour after the fire starts.

Soon after the fire is extinguished, Mt. Carmel is "Shermanized."
  Similar to what was done at Ruby Ridge where a building was dismantled and trees cut down and removed to destroy any evidence of federal wrong-doing,  the entire Mt. Carmel area is bulldozed, the tunnels filled-in, and one to three feet of top soil are removed from around Mt. Carmel.  Part of the cab of a bus is removed and most of the bus windows are broken by federal agents.

The BATF post-shooting investigation team is instructed not to investigate the Mt. Carmel incident.

One side of the double steel front door "disappears."  The five minutes of Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) tape just before the fire, and the sniper videotapes, are conveniently blank.

Only a portion of the videotape made by KWTX Television Channel 10 News is released.  What is released is heavily edited.  A month before attorneys for the families of the deceased arrive to perform independent autopsies, the freezer in which the Davidian corpses are kept is "accidentally" turned off and its contents exposed to flies.  The attorneys find that only a rotting mass of maggot-eaten flesh remains of the Davidians.

Three of the FBI agents involved in Waco, including the psychology analyst who is told to alter his report to Janet Reno, retire.

The BATF selects as its "independent" investigator Chief Fire Investigator Paul Gray, who formally had an office in the ATF building for 10 years, carries a card that says "ATF Fire Investigator," and whose wife is employed as a secretary for the BATF.

The BATF spends taxpayer money to post messages on at least twenty billboards around Waco thanking potential jurors for participating in the pending trial.

Judge Walter Smith, who is under investigation by the FBI for misconduct, is selected to be the Waco judge.  He allows the testimony that fuel found on the shoes of Davidians survivors is evidence that they started the fire, and disallows the testimony of the Davidians that they ran over ground soaked with fuel from the knocked-over tanks.  Judge Smith rejects the request of the jury foreman that the penalty be time served for Aiding and Abetting Manslaughter, dismisses the jury, introduces a new weapons charge and sentences nine men to 40 years in prison.

Following the "trial," the jury Foreman learns of the degree of evidence suppression by Judge Smith and remarks that had the jury had all the information, they would have acquitted everyone on all counts.

The investigation of Judge Walter Smith by the FBI is dropped.

Treasury Department Secretary Lloyd Bentsen puts those directly involved in the planning, execution and cover-up in Waco in charge of an "independent" investigation of the incident.

Only "redacted" (edited) versions of the Department of Justice and Department of Treasury reports are released to the public.

The bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City is attributed to Army personnel upset about the Mt. Carmel incident.

Under public pressure, Congress re-investigates.  The federal agencies close ranks to protect themselves.  The Democrats close ranks to protect Clinton and his appointees.  The federal agents and officials complain that they shouldn't be criticized for doing their job.  No one suggests that if Ruby Ridge, Waco and numerous other examples of unnecessary loss of life — often by fire — and destruction of evidence by federal agents are the result of doing their job, then perhaps the job should be redefined.  The only refreshing crack in the law enforcement wall is the Texas Rangers.  Still, it becomes clear that over 100 people died as a result of the ambition, stupidity and impatience of elitist federal agents and officials.

This is one time it makes sense to throw the baby out with the bath water.  Deport U.S. Magistrate Dennis G. Green, Judge Walter Smith, the FBI Hostage Response Team and the entire BATF.  Require that all federal officials and appointees who had anything to do with Waco or Ruby Ridge resign without benefits.  Confine Federal police powers to federal property.

William T. Holmes
P.O. Box 1257
Escondido, California 92033
619-972-8569 (mobile), 619-432-0613 (fax/voice)
TSEditor@AOL.com or 72010,3003


REFERENCES:

"A Painful Purge at the FBI" TIME Magazine, July 24, 1995 Volume 146, No. 4

"Assault on Ruby Ridge" by Kirby Ferris

"ATF Under Siege" by Erik Larson, TIME Magazine, 24 July 1995, Volume 146, No. 4.

C-SPAN televised Waco hearings conducted by the House Judicial and Ethics Committees.

CAUSE Foundation (P.O. Box 1235, Black Mountain, NC28711, 408-779-4571, 408-776-1860 fax, lehfeldt@garlie.com) presentation, including talks from David Tibido and military, FBI and BATF explosives expert.

"Holocaust at Waco" by Gary Null, Penthouse magazine, May 1995

"How a Cascade of Errors Led ATF to Disaster at Waco" by Erik Larson, TIME Magazine, July 24, 1995 Volume 146, No. 4

Search Warrant, United States District Court Western District of Texas, In the Matter of the Search of residence of Vernon Wayne Howell, and others, Rt . 7, Box 471-B, AKA:  Mount Carmel Center, McLennan County, TX

"The Revolution in Waco" by Egon Richard Tausch.  Contact:  The Phoenix Project, July 20, 1993, P.O. Box 441, Morongo Valley, California 92256

"WACO Kids Saved From Child Abuse" by Susanne Fields, New York Post, April 26, 1993

"Waco the Big Lie" and "Waco the Big Lie II", American Justice Federation, 3850 S. Emerson Ave., Indianapolis, IN  46203, phone:  317-780-5204, fax 317-780-5209, Linda Thompson, J.D. Chairman

  Tibido - CAUSE Foundation (P.O. Box 1235, Black Mountain, NC28711, 408-779-4571, 408-776-1860 fax, lehfeldt@garlie.com) presentation, including talks from David Tibido and military, FBI and BATF explosives expert.

   Thompson - "Waco the Big Lie" and "Waco the Big Lie II", American Justice Federation, 3850 S. Emerson Ave., Indianapolis, IN  46203, phone:  317-780-5204, fax 317-780-5209, Linda Thompson, J.D. Chairman.  Quotations are from the Justice or Treasury Reports or memoranda from employees of those departments.

  Ibid Tibido
  Penthouse - "Holocaust at Waco" by Gary Null, Penthouse magazine, May 1995
  Ibid Tibido
  Ibid Thompson
  Hearings - C-SPAN televised Waco hearings conducted by the House Judicial and Ethics Committees.
  Ibid Thompson
  Ibid Penthouse
 Ibid Thompson
 Warrant - Search Warrant, United States District Court Western District of Texas, In the Matter of the Search of residence of Vernon Wayne Howell, and others, Rt . 7, Box 471-B, AKA:  Mount Carmel Center, McLennan County, TX
Ibid Thompson
Ibid Warrant
 Ibid Hearings
 Revolution - "The Revolution in Waco" by Egon Richard Tausch.  Contact:  The Phoenix Project, July 20, 1993, P.O. Box 441, Morongo Valley, California 92256
 Ibid Warrant
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Hearings
 Crusade - "How a Cascade of Errors Led ATF to Disaster at Waco" by Erik Larson, TIME Magazine, July 24, 1995 Volume 146, No. 4
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Hearings
 Ibid Crusade
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Hearings
 Ibid Hearings
 Ibid Warrant
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Penthouse
 Ibid Hearings
 Ibid Thompson
Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Hearings
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Hearings
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Thompson
 Ferris - "Assault on Ruby Ridge" by Kirby Ferris
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Revolution
 Ibid Hearings
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Tibido
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Hearings
 Ibid Hearings
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Hearings
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Hearings
 Ibid Hearings
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Hearings
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Hearings
 Ibid Tibido
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Tibido
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Hearings
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Ferris
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Hearings
 Hearings
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Thompson
 Ibid Hearings
 Ibid Hearings

WACO VITAL SIGNS

October 1993

"The Revolution in Waco"

by Egon Richard Tausch

Torching the Constitution

A hundred years from now historians if they are still permitted to research and write, will argue about when the United States started down the slippery slope to totalitarianism. Many Southern historians believe it began with the erosion of the U.S. Constitution occasioned by President Lincoln's disregard of that document and by the Reconstruction Era. Some historians point to the massive powers assumed by the federal government during the Progressive Era. Others might date the slide to FDR's "New Deal" or LBJ's "Great Society" programs. A few might even highlight Chief Justice John Marshall and his doctrine of judicial review. In truth, the path returning the United States to constitutional government was visible and could have been taken at any time after these periods, either by a conscientious government or by an American public sufficiently outraged.

But when a government uses massive physical force against its people, illegally and unconstitutionally, the power of the public and the extent of its outrage is tested. It is either found ultimately victorious over tyranny— as after the Boston Massacre and the Alamo — or intimidated, confused, and indifferent, as is rapidly becoming the case in the aftermath of the Waco Massacre. When the latter occurs, the future of a republic becomes predictably tragic.

What are the national and local purveyors of public knowledge doing in what they call their "quest for answers" about the events near Waco, Texas? They are demanding investigations as to whether David Koresh knew of the raid in advance, whether the ATF knew of his knowledge, and what tactical flaws ultimately resulted in the deaths of dozens of men, women, and children. The federal government, knowing that these are not the right questions, is dutifully complying, by limiting its investigations to these areas and by repeating, day after day, that the ATF attack was "an attempt to serve a warrant."

What are the known facts, what questions should be investigated and by whom, and what are the implications of the Waco Massacre for the policies, present and future, of our Republic? On February 28, 1993, approximately 150 people, armed with automatic weapons, grenades, and ladders, invaded and attacked a complex of buildings near Waco, Texas, which was inhabited by a religious group. The attackers killed at least five of the inhabitants, and the defenders killed four of the attackers.

Let's start with the uncontested facts. What was the justification for the initial assault, if any? We have been told that the attackers were part of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) and were attempting to serve a warrant on a member or members of the religious group. This is a very important allegation, on which any justification of any of the subsequent events depends.

Was there an attempt, however botched, to serve a warrant at all? Initially we were told by the government spokesman that the warrant was "sealed," but that the allegations in the affidavit involved possession of illegal weapons. When it was discovered that several persons in the complex, including David Koresh, had dealers' permits for those same weapons, issued by the selfsame ATF, the story changed.

Now, we were informed, the affidavit concerned alleged child abuse. When the release of dozens of children from the complex, their meticulous medical examinations, and their extensive interrogation by the feds revealed no signs of abuse, and when it was pointed out that the ATF never had any jurisdiction over abuse cases anyway, the government spokesman announced that the real intention of the raid was to prevent mass suicide. The government spokesman next changed the focus to the four dead agents and the supposed nuttiness of Branch-Davidians in general. Finally, after the slaughter, the warrant and affidavit were opened. Geraldo Rivera's grand opening of "Al Capone's Secret Vault" could not have been a greater anticlimax.

The 15-page, single-spaced affidavit, signed by ATF agent Davy Aguilera, is a mess, though it covers two years of investigation. At least half of it deals with how the affiant disagrees with Koresh's theology. It dwells for paragraphs on a nervous UPS delivery man who feared that he had actually delivered weapons. The ATF affiant says he called the licensing department of the ATF and discovered that Koresh was not licensed to deal in firearms. (This was proven false, two days after the raid.)

The rest of the affidavit concerns third- or fourth-hand hearsay (once through two translators) about how Koresh might be able to convert his legal AR 1 5's and legal AK 47's into illegal automatic weapons, if he had the skills and equipment. The only expert witness is quoted as saying that everything Koresh had is used for legal, as well as illegal, purposes by gun owners (the affiant called this a "loophole in the law"). No one quoted in the affidavit had ever seen an automatic weapon in the complex — not even the ATF agent, Rodriguez, who lived there undercover as a Koreshian.

The affidavit cites some fourth-hand hearsay about the possibility of child molestation (but no mention of anyone who had witnessed any abuse). All that one child-protective agent could report after her thorough investigation inside the complex was that one eight-year-old boy said he wished he could grow up so that he could have a gun. Apparently, Koresh gave investigators who came to the compound a complete and peaceful tour and willingly answered questions.

The affidavit also misquotes the law so that it appears that materials which could form explosives (found in any large kitchen and all garden stores) are illegal. They are not, unless the intent to make a bomb is there, which is the only thing the complaint or warrant alleges, although no support for such intent is given in the affidavit. Moreover, according to the affidavit, all of Koresh's suppliers had been investigated, only to find that what they had, and had sent to Davidians, was legal and untouchable by the ATF (another "loophole in the law").

The most damning evidence in the affidavit was that Koresh "stated he thought gun-control laws were ludicrous," that he "believed in the right to bear arms but that the U.S. Government was going to take away that right," and that he showed the undercover investigator a videotape made by others which "portrayed the ATF as an agency who violated the rights of gun owners by threats and lies" (a portrayal that now appears to be a gross understatement). The conclusion of the affidavit was that Koresh lived in a "secret environment," and that it is "my experience that persons who acquire firearms, firearm parts and explosive materials" live in such environments.

But, however stupid the affidavit and bungled the attempt, the ATF "was only trying to serve a warrant," right? Wrong. Ignoring the uncontested facts that local authorities had served warrants on Koresh before and had called him in for questioning with no problem, and that Koresh came into town regularly and peaceably for supplies, all of which was reported to the ATF by local authorities, the ATF continued to prepare for what could only appear to be a first strike, all-out assault on the complex.

The following account of the events of the first fatal day is compiled from affidavits and televised statements of Davidian survivors, ATF members, local authorities, and media witnesses. On the morning of February 28, an ATF helicopter circled the complex and fired into the communal dining room, killing one Davidian at breakfast. Almost simultaneously, the ATF agents jumped out of their tarp-covered trucks in front of the complex and fired repeatedly at the front of the thin-walled buildings, through the windows, and at every Davidian in sight. Other ATF agents used their ladders to climb on the roof and throw grenades. No one approached the door. There was no ATF sound truck or bullhorn announcing a warrant, not to mention a simple cellular phone call to the complex. David Koresh came out of the front door and, unarmed, shouted "Stop! Stop!" and waved his hands over his head. He was then wounded twice. An elderly Davidian tried to drag him away but was killed, as were other exposed members elsewhere.

Koresh and other Davidians called 911 for help from the authorities. They called to Sheriff Lynch of McLennan County, who in turn tried to contact the ATF by both radio and telephone to stop the shooting. The ATF radio operator failed to respond. The ATF telephone went unanswered. (According to the House subcommittee investigating the massacre, the tape of the frantic 911 phone call was edited, and critical parts of it were erased, apparently while it was in the possession of the FBI. Fortunately, the original is still in the possession of the local authorities.) At some time during this commotion the Davidians returned fire, killing four invaders and wounding 16. The ATF then withdrew and laid siege. This entire sequence of events is what the contemptible TV movie about the ordeal described as an "ambush" by Koresh.

Let's clarify the events for the slower members of the media: there was no attempt by the ATF to serve a warrant, just an illegal and bloody attack on American citizens. Texas law, as well as federal law, gives no protection to members of a law-enforcement agency, in or out of uniform, when, without having witnessed a felony in progress and not in "hot pursuit" of a fugitive, and without attempting to serve a warrant or placing anyone under arrest, they fire on a citizen who offers no direct threat. The victim has every legal right to return fire. Any deaths that occur in this exchange are laid at the door of the attacker.

Enter the FBI. But first a note to readers who are biased by their dislike of the laws or practices of Texas. It is the implied accusation of "stockpiling weapons" that makes the national anchorpersons all a-flutter with indignation against Davidians. Most, if not almost all, Texans own firearms. A large minority, if not a majority, of Texans have gun collections, meaning a dozen or more firearms: rifles, semi-automatic rifles (so-called assault rifles), shotguns, and pistols. I do myself, as do my neighbors and several friends.

Such ownership is, and always has been, protected by Texas law. Maybe Texas, unlike some states, can read and understand the Second Amendment. The Texas Constitution (officially approved by the United States government) is even more explicit: "Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the State." This clause has consistently been interpreted by the Texas Supreme Court to include defense against governmental tyranny and to cover both military and civilian firearms. Stockpiling guns is more common in Texas than collecting stamps, butterflies, or baseball trading cards, all put together. Call this Texas gun-hoarding custom a "macho," "Bubba," or "Redneck" thing. I'm inclined to attribute it to long historical memories.

Texans remember our defense against Santa Anna and later against the Union Army, in the first of which our private "stockpiles" won our independence as a nation and in the second of which our "stockpiles" kept the Northern Army out of Texas until after the war, despite five all-out attempts at invasion. Our private "stockpiles" also helped Texas overthrow the Reconstruction governor long after carpetbag rule had been peaceably lifted in every other Southern state.

Koresh's group probably intended these weapons for self-defense, however many gun shows they had participated in and profited from. Did they have any reason to believe they might someday be illegally attacked? They had been before, by a rival group. This time it was by the federal government. Is that possibility of illegal or unconstitutional attack, rather than the sports of target and skeet shooting, perhaps the reason for the Second Amendment? Of course, Koresh's group was caught embarrassingly short of Howitzers and anti-tank missiles during the final assault.

Enter the FBI, who saw what we saw on TV, who knows the laws, who could have demanded to see the warrant and affidavit and then closed their briefcases and gone home to begin the pretrial investigation of the ATF leaders of the conspiracy. Instead, the FBI themselves laid siege to the Davidian victims and lent their services to the ATF cover-up, periodically holding silly and self contradictory press conferences. The only fun part of the show was the spokesman's embarrassing theological blatherings, which were as ignorant, confused, obsessive, and boring as he said Koresh's were, though the spokesman offered them only in the hope of diverting Americans from the real issues.

According to all accounts, commonly reported in newspapers and never contradicted, the FBI was not called in by the local authorities, from whom they never asked permission. They threatened to arrest the local sheriff for interference. They arrested persons for "defaming the ATF"; Sheriff Lynch set them free. The FBI never even asked for a declaration of martial law, which might have given them some sort of legal authority. Then, after weeks of psychological warfare by glaring lights and deafening sound, the FBI attacked and smashed into a complex lit by kerosene lamps and candles, with tanks equipped with long-necked cranes and tear gas. During a windstorm. Surprise—fire engulfed the complex, killing almost everyone in it. Was it mass suicide? Was it killings by Davidian leaders? (Both of these possible endings were glorified in the TV mini-series Masada, about the Jews besieged by the Roman Army. And the Jews didn't have to listen to the amplified screeching of Buddhist chants 24 hours a day.) Or was it the kerosene lamps and candles that set off the fire? What difference does it make?

The entire federal operation, from beginning to end, was illegal, and horribly immoral. It slaughtered almost a hundred people. Not to mention violating nine of the ten amendments in our Bill of Rights. (That must be a record.) All we have by way of explanation is the already discredited FBI spokesman's word that Koresh "talked as though he wanted Armageddon to begin." If that were true, the ATF and FBI were apparently happy to oblige.

The final, and lamest, excuse by the FBI spokesman was that "the Davidians could have surrendered to us anytime they wanted." This reminds me of a rapist-killer I was once appointed as a lawyer to represent, whose defense was that "the slut could have given in to me anytime she wanted." I convinced him to plead guilty.

Incidentally, in a city like Waco, which is almost totally Southern Baptist, what is a "cult"? Jehovah's Witnesses? Methodists? Roman Catholics (led by a Pope with more spiritual power than Koresh ever aspired to)? Mv family is Anglican Catholic, a tiny denomination given to Elizabethan English, male priests, and hats on ladies in church. We require the ritualistic consumption of an addictive drug (communion sherry). We even engage in "cannibalism" (the Body and Blood of Christ). Are we a cult? Koresh, in his public statements before being censored and reinterpreted by the FBI, clearly stated that he was "the Christ, just as every one of us is the Christ, anointed by the Father." Does this mean that liberal churchmen like Episcopal Bishop Spong of New Jersey, who periodically echo this kind of meaningless bilge, all have Messiah complexes? Perhaps a "cult" is just any religious group that one disapproves of.

Also, did all of this begin because the ATF barely survived abolition under Reagan? Its appropriations, after all, were currently under review, and it hadn't had a good shoot-out since Al Capone. When lames Higgins, the head of the ATF, appeared and testified before a congressional committee a few days after the raid, it was not, as most people assumed to answer for Waco. The hearing had long been scheduled to investigate the usefulness of and appropriations for his Special Operations branch. Were the timing of the raid and unnecessary violence (and advance notice to the media) just political ploys staged to preserve Higgins' power and funding? Did almost a hundred Americans die for this? The Houston Chronicle recently obtained a tape of a conversation between Koresh and ATF negotiator Jim Cavanaugh a few hours after the initial raid, indicating again that Koresh wouldn't have resisted had the ATF agents given him a chance. "It would have been better if you just called me up or talked to me," Koresh said. "Then you all could have come in and done your work." Instead there is a bloody gunfight. Perhaps a tame service of warrant and quiet investigation by one or two agents wouldn't have served Higgins' purpose, especially if no illegal weapons were found.

As to who should investigate the Waco Massacre, I nominate the International Red Cross. They proved, in the midst of World War II, that our Soviet allies, and not the Germans, were responsible for the Katyn Forest Massacre of 10,000 Polish officers. The Treasury Department, Justice Department, and Congress will be as useless investigating Waco as the Soviet Secret Police were to the Katyn investigation.

The Treasury Department has already announced that its "fair and impartial" investigation of Waco is nearly completed and that it was undertaken with no preconceived notions, bias, or prejudices. Then way down in the last paragraph of the newspaper accounts of the announcement is a postscript by the Treasury spokesman: the investigation was conducted as a memorial to the four innocent, murdered ATF agents, who were only trying to serve a warrant. So much for impartiality.

At the very time of the Waco Massacre, several Los Angeles police officers were undergoing their (double jeopardy) trial for merely roughing up (not killing) Rodney King, a man seen committing a misdemeanor, caught in "hot pursuit," and possessing a long criminal record. Surely trials of the ATF and FBI leaders, including at least Higgins and Janet Reno, that resulted in swift justice and stiff Nuremberg-like sentences could help return us to constitutional government. Perhaps this is the only way for the public to understand that the federal government is dangerously out of control and that the Constitution of the United States is now a dead letter.

Egon Richard Tausch practices constitutional law in San Antonio, Texas.

What really happened at Waco?  Is this chilling or what?

FROM MOUNTAIN MEDIA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATED JAN. 23, 2000

THE LIBERTARIAN, By Vin Suprynowicz
Video contends Davidians were machine-gunned

Is it possible David Koresh didn't lose his confrontation with the Godless state he and his followers identified as "Babylon," at all?

Throughout their 51-day Texas standoff with the FBI in the spring of 1993, Koresh and his followers repeatedly compared their plight to that of God's people facing the "flaming chariots" of Babylon in the biblical prophesies of Nahum and Habakkuk. A follower says Koresh believed he would be the one to "bring down Babylon" by sacrificing himself and his denomination.

Will it now turn out the Branch Davidians retain the power to reach out from the grave and smite their oppressors?

After completing the documentary "Waco: The Rules of Engagement" -- nominated for an Academy Award -- researcher Mike McNulty continued to delve into what appeared to be the greatest mystery of Waco: Why would scores of perfectly sane and decent Christian Americans apparently choose to condemn themselves and their children to death by flames, rather than coming out and surrendering to the federal tanks and helicopters that surrounded them?

Mr. McNulty appears to have found some answers -- at least to the extent anyone still can, given the determined after-the-fact efforts to bleach and bulldoze the "crime scene." Those answers are offered in "Waco: A New Revelation," directed by Jason Van Vleet.

The documentary video is not strident. The new evidence is piled up in such a measured and matter-of-fact way that its full impact may not register without a second viewing.

But at that point, any thoughtful viewer must wonder how willfully the Congress and populace of this country must want to ignore what really happened at Waco, to be able to close their eyes to facts like these:

On the evening of Feb. 28, three Branch Davidians who had not been present for the initial BATF raid attempted to get home to their wives and children at Mount Carmel. They were intercepted and fired upon by 17 agents "dressed as trees." Two were captured, but Michael Dean Schroeder -- not charged with any crime -- was shot seven times and killed. As the other two Davidians were led away they report hearing two final shots behind them, in quick succession. An autopsy showed Michael Dean Schroeder had two neat bullet holes immediately behind his right ear. His body was left lying in the ravine for five days.

Far from inviting an exodus and surrender, tape recordings reveal that by late March, FBI negotiators told the Davidians: "No one is authorized to come out of there for any reason. ... If anyone tries to come out, they will be treated in such a way that they'll be forced to retreat."

Manning sniper post Sierra 1 in the "undercover house," Lon Horiuchi (who eight months before had shot the unarmed Vicky Weaver as she stood holding a baby in her kitchen in Idaho) swore he did not fire into the church on April 19. But other FBI agents swore they heard fire from his position, and four expended .308 shell casings were later found.

At 9:02 a.m. on April 19, a Branch Davidian is spotted trying to exit the building across the roof. "Falcon 2," an FBI helicopter, is seen approaching in ground-level footage. It hovers, and muzzle flashes can be seen from its port waist gun. Other close-range video -- not high-altitude footage -- clearly shows full-sized machine guns in cradle mounts in the waist doors of the FBI helicopters, which the government long swore were unarmed.

Branch Davidians Phillip Henry and Jimmy Riddle appear to have been shot behind the building at this time. Neither had soot in their lungs or carbon monoxide in their blood -- both died before the fire. An autopsy showed half of Riddle's body torn away, which the medical examiner said could have been consistent with "an encounter with a tank tread."

The film's researcher, Mike McNulty, tells me the most likely scenario is that Henry and Riddle were shot behind the building by government agents around 9 a.m. Then, closer to noontime, their bodies were bulldozed back into the church dining room by tanks, and the final government machine-gun assault began.

At that point, ground level footage clearly shows men in Kevlar army helmets firing projectiles from an M-79 grenade launcher into the church's storm shelter. Seconds later, white smoke pours from the shelter.

Though the government has consistently denied the Army's Combat Applications Force -- the "Delta Force" -- was present at Waco, previously classified Army documents reveal that four Delta Force "observers" were deployed to Waco on March 21. Gene Cullen, a senior case officer with the CIA's Special Forces Group, reports "At (an April 14) CIA briefing, we were told there were more than 10, and that they would be actively participating" in the April 19 attack.

Most chilling of all, Steven Barry, a retired Special Forces sergeant, notes that Delta Force operators had penetrated the building on several occasions, and that on one occasion, late April 17 or early on the 18th, they saw Koresh within six feet of them. They radioed back to the Tactical Operations Center for permission to grab him, and within minutes the word came back from the Justice Department, " 'No, we already have a plan in place, "that being what happened on April 19."

"People ask why we didn't let the children out," sobs Davidian survivor Clive Doyle. "If they saw all that was happening, and they were there with their children, would they have sent them out to the animals outside that were shooting at them and doing all those terrible things? No. ... When there was shooting going on it's kind of tongue in cheek to then turn and say, 'Well, why didn't you come out?'"

Derived from USChronology.com

1993 April 18 - Prelude to the Waco Massacre: Janet Reno, attorney general, orders the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms�an agency in the Department of Treasury�and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to take �the next logical step� in the standoff with the Branch Davidians, resulting in the killing of David Koresh and 86 other United States enemy/subject/citizens, including 16 children.
NOTE: After the fires were extinguished. The FBI and BATF bulldozed the remains of the compound, destroying any physical evidence that the fire was set by Federal agents.
R.W. Bradford, "Mass Murder American-Style," Liberty, (June 1993): 21. Stephen Cox, "Darkness at Noon," Liberty, (June 1993): 19. [updated 5/25/2007] Thanks to Jim Lorenz for his contributions to this entry.

2/26/1994 - The Federal court for the western district of texas hands down �The Waco Five,� sentencing five survivors of the Waco Massacre�one of whom to 30 or more years in prison, for murder, conspiracy, aiding and abetting the voluntary manslaughter of Federal agents.
 [added 11/20/2001]

6/17/1994 - The Federal court for the western district of the republic of texas hands down United States v. Riddle: judge Walter S. Smith, Jr. sentences five of the eleven surviving members of the Branch Davidian cult to 40 years in prison for defending themselves during the Waco Massacre.
 [added 5/30/2005]
 This is such a travesty of justice that it beggars discussion. We do note that the government has not tried the Waco trick recently, at least not in the United States. �� JL

4/19/1995 - On the second anniversary of the Waco Massacre, Timothy McVeigh, a former United States Soldier (private mercenary), veteran of the Persian Gulf War (Desert Slaughter), and American neo-Nazi, white supremacist�not separatist�kills 150 Federal employees (government workers) and 19 children, in a terrorist bombing in Oklahoma City, oklahoma. Democratic (socialist/fascist) de facto President Clinton, Esq., says he �will not allow the people of this country [nation] to be intimidated by ... cowards.� Later in the day, The Hero of Waco (only 86 killed�16 of them children), Janet �Baby Killer� Reno, attorney general, says, �The death penalty is available and we will seek it.�
 NOTE: Although Clinton uses the word �country� here, the editors believe that he meant to use the word �nation,� in which a central government, with almost limitless power, treats its constituent states as mere lesser enclaves, provinces, or sub-divisions of its greater self; as opposed to �Union,� which is a union of sovereign States under a federal system, with a central government whose powers are strictly limited by a respected Constitution.
 U.S. President, William Jefferson Clinton (April 19, 1995), �Remarks on the Oklahoma City Bombing,� Weekly Comp., 31 (April 24, 1995): 662. [updated 6/14/2007]

6/15/1995 -  James Johnson, of the Militia of the Federal enclave of Ohio, testifying to senate sub-committee on Terrorism, Technology and Government Information, explains that the majority of militia are not white supremacist, rather they are interested solely in the cause of liberty:

You guys have got to listen to this....We�ve got people hungry....And people are tired of getting terrorized by law(?) enforcement....A lot of the[se] things...happen daily in black communities and blacks know this. [A]lmost half the people who [were] killed in Waco were black....The same kind of legislation we are seeing coming down in everybody now, came down on blacks just after the Civil War...[T]he British did not get it in[to] their head[s] until they saw dead Redcoats out there....If [my] ancestors had been armed, they would not have been slaves....This movement is not about guns and skin color; its about liberty; its about freedom. (parenthesis in the original)

 U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Sub-Committee on Terrorism, Technology and Government Information, Examining the Scope of the Militia in the United States, the Nature of the Their Activities Their Reason for Existence and the Extent to Which They Pose a Treat to American Citizens, 104th Congress, 1st session, 15 June 1995, 92-93, 103, 111-12. James Risen, �Militia Leaders Bring Their Fiery Talk to Capitol Hill Hearing: They Claim Mainstream Roots but Voice Fringe Hostilities to Senators,� Los Angeles Times, 16 June 1995, A1. [updated 3/2/2001]

8/26/1999 - More than six years after the fact, Janet �Baby Killer� Reno, attorney general, vows to �get to the bottom this� (revelations of a cover-up of involvement of United States Armed Forces (private mercenaries) in the Waco Massacre, and the use of incendiary grenades by the Federal Bureau of Investigation which caused the fire killing 87 United States enemy/subject/citizens):

I [Reno] have no reason whatsoever at this point to believe that the FBI was responsible for the deaths of the people. But I think it is important the American people to know that we have pursued every question and pursued as far as we humanly can to get to the truth.�
 Eric Lichtbeau, �Reno Vows to Find Out Truth About Waco Siege,� Los Angeles Times, 27 August 1999, A1, 26. [added 9/16/2000]


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