"Ask not what your government can do for you -- ask what your government can do TO you." -- 12bytes
Waco: The Rules of Engagement, shaking the foundation of democracy, the shocking revelations behind the tragic series of events outside Waco, Texas that killed four federal agents and 76 men, women and children of the Branch Davidian religious sect is exposed Winner of an Academy-Award® nomination, an Emmy Award® and the IDA Feature Award, Waco: The Rules of Engagement brings forth devastating evidence of federal law enforcement gone tragically wrong. It dares to suggest the ATF provoked war with a group whose apocalyptic religious beliefs and rumored manufacturing of illegal weapons made them easy targets for an inevitable abuse of its members civil and human rights. Waco: The Rules of Engagement will change forever the way the world thinks and talks about the tragedy at Waco and, most importantly, it will renew our commitment to the basic precepts of tolerance and freedom upon which American society is built.
Waco, the Big Lie is a 1993 American documentary film directed by Linda Thompson that presents video based analysis regarding the Waco siege.
There were 140 men, women, and children inside that compound when the raid and siege on the Mount Carmel Branch Davidians began on February 28, 1993, near Waco, Texas.
Linda Thompson argues convincingly that the ATF's initial assault on Mt. Carmel was legally grounded on nothing more than a $200 weapons surchage that Koresh had failed to pay. With proof of that in their back pocket, the ATF called out U.S. Army gunships, and attacked the compound with dozens of stoked, reckless agents employing massive gunpower. The footage on this video demonstrates that the Branch Davidians did not meet the ATF with "a hail of gunfire." You'll see unthreatened ATF agents riddling the front of the compound with gunfire, fully aware that inside were dozens of women and children.
Like the Bay of Pigs in 1961, President Bill Clinton early on faced a situation left over from his predecessor that resulted in a real mess, namely, the standoff between the FBI, ATF, state law enforcement, military and David Koresh of the Branch Davidian religious complex in Elk Texas near Waco resulting in 76 people being murdered in April 1993. The press conference given covers what was not and still isn't mentioned, namely, who were the "cult experts" that were advising the government agencies. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the former Cult Awareness Network (CAN), and the American Family Foundation (AFF) in particular.
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Between the days of February 28, 1993 and April 19th, 1993, approximately 80 men, women, and children living peacefully in their home near Waco, Texas, were killed by the combined efforts of the US Defense Department and other government paramilitary units: the US Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The incident also claimed the lives of four ATF agents.
The civilians lived in a religious community called the Mt. Carmel Center. They were called Branch Davidians.
The incident began with a military-style raid on February 28, complete with helicopter gunships firing down upon the women's and children's quarters. Then followed a long siege. On April 19, the US government sent tanks to demolish and gas the building where the people lived. The government said they decided to gas the Davidians because they were concerned about the sanitary conditions in the house, because they were afraid one of the Davidians, David Koresh, was spanking babies, and because the FBI agents were getting tired.
“Towards the end of the siege, I’d say the last week before the fire, anybody that came out of the building either legitimately or just to get fresh air had flashbangs lobbed at him, including Steve Schneider, who came out the front door on a negotiated rendezvous with a tank to pick up supplies. He picked up the stuff from the people in the tank, turned around and they threw two flashbangs at him at the front door. Scared the daylights out of him. At that time we weren’t even aware of the potential danger of them other than like I say being noisy and scary. We found out later they are dangerous and can maim someone.”
Is it Better to Burn Out Than Fade Away?
Schneider mentioned numerous times the possibility that the LEAs would want to get rid of the evidence. On March 13, he told negotiators, “They may want to burn the building down, they want to destroy evidence, because the evidence from the door will clearly show how many bullets and what happened...If this building stands, and the reporters and the press get to see the evidence, its going to be shown clearly what happened and what those men came to do...So if you guys want, you can even be involved with them in burning this place down...” He said the Davidians were using candles and Coleman lanterns to see, and had haybayles along the walls to protect them from government gunfire. After he told negotiators there was one fire extinguisher for the entire place, he was told, “someone in there oughta buy some fire insurance.” (The front doorway contained two doors, left and right. The right half-a-door Schneider mentioned has not been seen since the fire. One Texas Ranger, Sgt. David Keys, says he suspects he saw it loaded into a U-Haul trailer by FBI agents on the afternoon of the final assault. It has never been found.)
On April 14, 1993, DoJ secretly flew in two US military officers, Brigadier General Paul J. Shoomaker, and Colonel William “Jerry” Boykin, then Commander of Delta Force, (B Squadron), Special Ops at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, (who went off to Somalia within a year, participating in yet another US military debacle). They were flown by FBI transport to Waco to “asses the situation,” then flown to Washington, DC to meet Janet Reno, to discuss “contingency plans that may be used to bring the situation in Waco to an end,” according to a Army Operations Command memo obtained by WorldNetDaily, August, 1999.
WASHINGTON (AP) - (October 5, 1999) An expert hired by the House Government Reform Committee says he believes an FBI agent fired shots during the bureau's 1993 siege of the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas. That view, expressed in an interview published in today's editions of The Washington Post, is at odds with the FBI's position that none of its agents fired shots at any time during the siege in which about 80 people died. The expert in thermal imaging and videotape analysis, Carlos Ghigliotti, has done work for the FBI in the past. ``I conclude that the FBI fired shots on that day,'' Ghigliotti told the Post in an interview conducted Tuesday.
"Waco, the Big Lie," showed TV footage of a tank with flame shooting from the barrel backing out of the Mt. Carmel Center building during the morning of April 19. The video was distributed widely and provided a focus for public outrage over the Waco Holocaust.
No one was held accountable after the '95 Congressional hearings, per the desire of the Democratic minority to protect their new, young President. The Democrat's response to the question of "Who was in charge of this mess…?" was – incredibly… "David Koresh, the maniacal leader of the Branch Davidian cult!" The problem was that even though he claimed to be God-like, Koresh didn't control the FBI Hostage Rescue Team,. He also didn't control the fourteen special operators from the Combat Applications Group, 'B' squadron, AKA 'Delta Force' that joined the tank supported assault that was brought down upon the Davidian's at 6 AM, April 19, 1993. The persons in charge were to be found at the White House and the Justice Department offices in Washington, DC, not on the central Texas plains.
Many politicians have a skeleton in their closet. Hillary Clinton has a cemetery, with a sign reading "Waco."
On this 25th anniversary of the massacre at the Branch Davidian Church near Waco, Texas, AFP concludes its series of articles looking back on that terrible time when U.S. military and law enforcement waged war against a peaceful group of American citizens. This is part four of that four-part series. Parts one to three follow, in full, as published in previous issues of American Free Press.
WASHINGTON -- The FBI, reversing a 6-year-old course, admitted last night its agents may have fired some potentially flammable tear gas canisters on the final day of the 1993 standoff with the Branch Davidian cult near Waco, Texas.
We have seen that Sgt. Coffman noticed a hole in ceiling of the concrete room and attributed its presence to an explosion. We have also seen references to an explosion in several Autopsy Reports (see page 4 of Mt. Carmel 31 A and page 1 of Mt. Carmel 69).
If the hole was caused by an explosion, it was forceful enough to knock a 18-24 inch hole in 6-inch steel-reinforced concrete. (see US News and World Report, May 3, 1993 and Newsweek, May 3, 1993). The curvature of the exposed rebar indicates the force came from above, and not from the supposed ammunition fire below. See Hole in Roof of Concrete Room, donated to the Museum by an unofficial source. Note the red flag, marking the location of a body.
In the room beneath that hole, some 33 to 43 human bodies were found. An explosion that could have caused that hole, and the effect it could have had on either the dead or the living beneath it, is something that should have piqued the interest of "one of the finest forensic sleuths of our time," Dr. Douglas Ubelaker, curator of anthropology of the Smithsonian Institution. It also should have piqued the interest of the FBI, of the redoubtable Texas Rangers, and of the medical examiners.
But not much curiosity was in evidence. The report from the Department of Justice (parent organization to FBI) does not mention the hole. A number of casualties are attributed to "suffocation" or "was buried alive," but there is no little detail concerning the circumstances of suffocation and burial. In the pages summarizing the autopsy reports (DoJ Report, pg. 311), under the heading Judy Schneider, are the words: "Judy Schneider was buried alive when the bunker collapsed. She died of suffocation. She was identified from fingerprints. She was 41 years old." (pg. 315)
Is this the place where FBI snipers were shooting Branch Davidians as they tried to escape a certain fiery death, presumably to burn and erase all evidence of their blunderous, even unlawful, conduct, as alleged? In the dinning room of the Davidian complex at least 17 bodies had bullet holes in them. Subsequently empty cartridge shells have been found in one of the three-sniper positions now known to exist in the back of the complex. Is this the place where many of the children were taken into the church’s cement record vault room (referred to as the bunker) to escape the fire, which new evidence reveals was penetrated from above by a military explosive device, probably immediately killing the mothers and children huddled together inside (Video, “Waco: A New Revelation,” 2011)?
A humble Branch member, obviously serving a caretaker roll over the property, told me of agents returning to the scene to ask for forgiveness, the most recent just two months ago. The agent admitted to having assisted the snipers with a telescope. There will be others.
There has been a lot of speculation, recently, regarding the pyrotechnic devices that were used in violation of the Justice Department (Janet Reno's) Order for the assault on Mt. Carmel Church. In the past week, these devices have been called many things, including 'incendiary', 'explosive', 'flammable', etc., so, what are they?
Expended military illumination flares fired by U.S. government personnel have been discovered in the tons of evidence recovered from the Branch Davidian compound, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety said Tuesday night.
Texas Rangers searching a Waco storage facility Friday for missing pyrotechnic tear-gas grenades discovered one of the military devices, a star parachute flare. Evidence logs indicate that more of the flares were recovered in the weeks after the compound burned following an FBI siege and tear-gas assault April 19, 1993, said James B. Francis Jr. of Dallas.
"These flares are potentially a very important issue, inasmuch as the government had enormous spotlights trained on the compound throughout the standoff," Mr. Francis told The Dallas Morning News.
"They didn't need these flares to light the compound. One or more was fired. For what purpose or reason would these rounds be used?" he said. "I can't tell you whether they were [shot by] the military or FBI, but certainly, they were fired by government officials."
Last week press accounts revealed that FBI agents fired pyrotechnic tear gas grenades at a storm shelter about 25 yards from the main building several hours before the fire broke out on April 19, 1993. These reports directly contradicted repeated statements by Reno, then FBI Director William Sessions and lower-ranking officials, who all declared that the FBI had used no incendiary weapons in the course of the assault.
The evidence of the tapes
Then on Wednesday the FBI released an audiotape and videotape made by a surveillance airplane equipped with an infrared scanner which was flying above the Branch Davidian compound during the final hours of the confrontation. The tapes, covering the period from about 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. on the morning of the attack, record the conversation between one FBI supervisor, Stephen McGavin, to the assistant special agent in charge of the hostage rescue team at Waco, Richard Rogers.
McGavin is heard asking for authorization to use "military rounds" against the storm shelter, after less powerful tear gas grenades failed to penetrate the structure's plywood roof.
Sgt. David Keys, a 17-year veteran of the Texas Department of Public Safety, provided details of his observations in a Waco deposition for attorneys in a wrongful death suit that Davidian survivors have filed against the federal government.
Keys told the lawyers that, at about 4 p.m. on April 19, some two hours before Texas Rangers took custody of Mount Carmel from FBI agents, he was told by Texas DPS personnel he should allow a white mini-cargo van to enter Mount Carmel "to pick up a body," plaintiff's attorney James Brannon reported.
Keys also said that when the van left the site, he looked inside and saw a body bag with a shape that could have been that of a corpse.
"The van that Keys saw could only have been kept secret, at that level, by the military," Brannon declared following the testimony. "If somebody was killed, they could just say that he was killed in a training accident. It's a mystery who it was and we're waiting for somebody in the government to tell us."
The van, Brannon said, never has been mentioned in hearings and inquiries into Mount Carmel.
"Keys also says that he also saw something as big as a door being loaded into a U-Haul truck. One of the doors from Mount Carmel has been missing since the day of the fire " the door that might prove that during the Feb. 28 raid, the ATF fired first," Brannon said.
Carlos Ghigliotti, who had been retained by a U.S. House committee to help investigate the 1993 siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Tex., was found dead in Laurel under unexplained circumstances yesterday. "We're investigating it as a homicide," said Laurel police spokesman Jim Collins. Ghigliotti, 42, was found about 1:30 p.m. in the 600 block of Washington Boulevard. His body was badly decomposed, said police. There were no signs of a break-in or a struggle at the home, where Ghigliotti ran his business, Infrared Technologies Corp., police said. An expert in thermal imaging and videotape, Ghigliotti told the House Government Reform Committee in October that his analysis of tapes at Waco indicated that an FBI agent fired shots at the compound on April 19, the final day of the siege--a view disputed by the FBI.
The death of Waco FLIR expert Carlos Ghigliotti has been ruled a heart attack. The official conclusion was released on May 11, just one day after the release of the official Waco-FLIR report by the not-independent firm Vector Data Systems, which concluded that rapid-flashes on the 1993 Waco FLIR are reflections off debris, not gunshots (see why they're gunshots http://Ian.Goddard.net/waco/flir02.htm )
Jack Harwell, Sheriff of McClennan County (Waco) for many years, had called Branch Davidian and Waco Siege survivor Clive Doyle early last week to say he wanted to meet with him because "the death of all the children (killed at the Waco siege of 1993) was starting to weigh on him." Harwell told Doyle that he wanted to meet with him to talk to him about the case and the trail and "some other things."
Harwell died Thursday morning of a heart attack. He would have been a key witness in the wrongful death suit filed by the Branch Davidians,' attorneys.
A huge federal cover-up followed in the wake of the Waco debacle, and it began even before the fires died out. Two of the four BATF video cameras mysteriously "malfunctioned" the morning of the raid, and the video tapes of the other two cameras mysteriously "disappeared." Tons of vital evidence that survived the fire was deliberately destroyed, or was said to be "missing."
The FBI declared Mount Carmel Center a "crime scene." Yet they violated every law in the book regarding protecting the evidence of a crime. The tanks rumbled all over what little remained of the structures, and even over the corpses of the Branch Davidians. "Combat engineering vehicles" pushed potentially vital evidence into the fires. Then they swiftly brought in bulldozers and completely graded every square inch of the property. The FBI "sanitized" the crime scene.
With congressional Republicans calling for hearings on the FBI's handling of the deadly 1993 Branch Davidian crisis, thanks to new revelations about the bureau's long-denied use of gas grenades, it's clear the whole story about the federal response to the Waco conflagration has yet to be told.
Salon News has learned that U.S. Army Delta team commando officers sat in on a meeting at CIA headquarters to discuss the ongoing Waco hostage situation in March 1993, according to a former CIA security officer. Such involvement by U.S. military personnel in a domestic conflict could be illegal.
The Delta Force soldiers said they were at Waco primarily to assist the FBI in the use of some special surveillance hardware. They said there were only three members of their unit on the site during the final five days of the 51-day siege.
The two soldiers testified behind screens and said their Delta Force unit was so secretive that they could not divulge its name or its commanders, the paper said.
Lawyers for the Davidians contend that actions by the FBI and other government agencies contributed to the deaths during the final assault. They allege government agents fired shots into the compound during the final hours, but the FBI has contended for years that its agents fired no gunshots during the siege.
The US military was at Waco
General Wesley Clark was involved in the siege and final assault near Waco, Texas that killed, by a combination of toxic gas and fire, at least 82 people including some three dozen women, children and infants. As outlandish as this claim may seem, it's a reasonable conclusion that can be drawn by any fair minded person who takes the time to examine the evidence. Further, there is substantial circumstantial evidence that, Clark, in addition to acting as a tactical consultant, may, in fact, have been the prime architect and commander of the entire operation.
If this is true, why is it important? First, it represents a clear violation of US law. The military is banned from involvement in the enforcement of US civil law except under certain carefully defined circumstances. The incident at Waco did not come even close to legally qualifying.
Problem of Missing Heads
Dr. Peerwani said that some people were under sleeping bags and blankets, and when the concrete debris from the structural collapse fell on them they could not get air to breathe and died of suffocation.
However, the Autopsy Reports indicate that many of those who died from suffocation due to structural collapse were found without heads. Look at the Autopsy Reports for Judy Schneider (Mt. Carmel Doe 51); "Martin Child" (Mt. Carmel Doe 61); Rachel Howell Koresh (Mt. Carmel Doe 67-3); Rachel Sylvia (Mt. Carmel Doe 67-6); Mayannah Schneider (Mt. Carmel Doe 70.
Cyrus Howell (Mt. Carmel Doe 67-2), eight years old, was found without a head. The rest of his remains were shattered and charred. The cause of his death is listed as "probably suffocation due to overlie and burial in structural collapse (cannot rule out trauma to the head)."
Phantom Gunshot Wounds
There certainly is evidence that the coroners may have accommodated requests to look for certain types of injuries among the Branch Davidian dead. Many Autopsy Reports state that the remains bore "no signs of gunshot wounds." This statement suggests the coroners were asked to look for gunshot wounds and they accommodated the request. Autopsies are concerned with the cause and manner of death, and forensic experts look to the remains to provide evidence. Injuries that do not exist are irrelevant in an autopsy; there is no need to mention hypothetical non-existent wounds in a scientific report.
Among the forty-odd Autopsy Reports written on the remains found in the concrete room/pantry, at least 14 of them state that gunshot wounds were not present. (See Mt. Carmel Does 30, 32, 33, 49, 51 A, 52, 57, 59, 61, 67-1, 67-2, 67-4, 69, 71, and 72). At least another three state that gunshot injuries "could not be ruled out" (see Autopsy Reports of Mt. Carmel Does 63, 64, and 67-5).
There are many facts about the Waco Massacre that have been concealed or lost for many years for various reasons. There were many wrongs committed at the Mt. Carmel home of the Branch Davidians by members of the sect and by members of the government agencies. This editor had a news reporter in Waco at that time who reported to me daily in 1993 on what was taking place at the Mt. Carmel complex outside Waco, Texas, at the ranch and at the press conferences. Even more information has come forth since then by other witnesses. in the end the siege became a 'lightning rod for controversy over religious liberty, personal freedom, and federal overreach.'
I was one of millions of Americans who, after seeing the April 19, 1993 burning of the Branch Davidian church outside of Waco, Texas wondered: Did these people really commit mass suicide, as the government alleged, despite the clear evidence on television that the fire started after a tank crashed into one part of the building? Were they really as insane as the government claimed? Why did they have to be attacked with massive, military-like force 51 days earlier? What is the truth?
April 19, 2020. More than twenty-five (25) years have passed since more than 80 men, women, and children — all innocent before the law — were killed by United States paramilitary forces. (Counting the four Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms victims, the Waco Holocaust produced 89 autopsies.) The civilian victims were members of the Branch Davidian religious community and met their deaths without due process of law — at the hands of a government that was designed to ensure due process of law.
Some inconsistencies and anomalies in the Autopsy Reports, ID Matrix, and other forensic material are here noted to make researching this material a little easier.
No one makes a better case for abolishing the ATF than the ATF.
There has never been a federal agency with so little regard for the sanctity of human life, with such a history of failure, with such antiquated duties and responsibilities, with such a propensity to overreact, with such an addiction to good press, with such a willingness to bend over for any politician in charge, and – as we currently see playing out – with such little regard for the constitutional rights of American citizens.
WACO, Texas (Reuters) - In a clear victory for the U.S. government, an advisory jury in a $675 million lawsuit by the Branch Davidians found on Friday that federal agents were not to blame for the deaths of about 80 sect members in the 1993 Waco siege and fire.