In the attempt to justify the actions against the Church at Mr. Carmel which claimed the lives of 86 persons, the federal government made the following three claims that have been proven to be false or were not within the jurisdiction of the federal agency serving the warrant.
One question remains . . . that no one really knows the answer to. How did the fire start and who was responsible? The government has maintained that the fires were started by Koresh and his followers. However, many investigators have questioned this supposition. But the FBI has finally admitted after six years of stonewalling and disinformation that it used pyrotechnic devices at Mt. Carmel.
Considering all the other instances of disinformation, parsing, and perjury from this administration, can John Q. Public really believe that the truth has finally surfaced after six and one-half years of denial. Or as one Texas Ranger stated at the Waco site, "Never in all my life have I seen such total destruction of a crime scene by law-enforcement agencies."
To get some perspective on this, let's construct the time line. How did the BATF and then the FBI get into such a mess? And what was the role of the Delta Force, and National Guard?
Black agents had filed suit in federal court claiming that the BATF racially discriminated in hiring, promotion and evaluation.
The BATF had investigated David Koresh in the summer of 1992. The BATF investigation began about a month after an Australian tabloid television program produced a story about Koresh. Stuart A. Wright, Armageddon in Waco: Critical Perspectives on the Branch Davidian Conflict 88 (1995).
A fresh round of discrimination complaints by black BATF agents came in October 1992, the month before 60 Minutes began setting up interviews for the sex discrimination story. (ATF Settles Race Suit, Nat'l L.J., July 22, 1996, at A8. The suit was settled in 1996 with the BATF agreeing to pay 5.9 million dollars in damages to 241 current and former agents. Id.)
|Mid-November 1992||60 Minutes contacted BATF about sexual harassment in Agency|
Having lain moribund since the summer, the BATF investigation perked up in mid-November. Source: Affidavit of Davy Aguilera, Feb. 25, 1993, reprinted in Activities of Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Toward the Branch Davidians: Joint Hearings Before the Subcomm. on Crime, and the National Security, International Affairs, and Criminal Justice, 104th Cong. 996-1002 (1995) [hereinafter Aguilera].
By early December, the BATF was planning the raid on a seventy-seven acre property outside Waco, the Mount Carmel Center, *4 which the Branch Davidians called their communal home. Source: U.S. Dept. of Treasury, Report of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, Investigation of Vernon Wayne Howell also known as
|January 10, 1993||
The 60 Minutes report, which *3 would air on January 10, 1993, put the BATF in a vulnerable position for the Congressional budget hearing that would take place in early March, given the new administration's concern with sexual and racial harassment, and with reorganizing the government. Source: Daniel Wattenberg, Gunning for Koresh, Am. Spectator, Aug. 1993, at 39. An internal Treasury Department investigation, which was later obtained by the Associated Press pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, confirms that the BATF failed to prevent sexual harassment and disciplined employees who complained about it. For example, one criminal investigator who had filed a sexual harassment complaint was threatened with a thirty-day suspension for "engaging in repeated criminal conduct." The "repeated criminal conduct" consisted of three separate guilty pleas to failure to control his barking dog. Treasury Report Confirms BATF Harassment, Gun Week, June 24, 1993, at 3.
|January 10, 1993||
Lacking probable cause, the BATF began an undercover operation at Mount Carmel in early 1993. On January 10, 1993, BATF agents set up surveillance cameras at a house three hundred yards away from the Davidian residence. After less than two weeks, the agents decided that "we weren't getting what we wanted" and decided to send an undercover agent into Mount Carmel.  The remote and undercover surveillance revealed no evidence of anything illegal. 
|February 19, 1993||Agent Aguilera and two other BATF agents went jogging with Koresh.
The official version is undercut by BATF's concession that, when informed of the investigation, Koresh invited agents to come over, look at the firearms, and take any that they might feel were questionable. It is also undercut by a rather embarrassing event. Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, we now know how ATF undercover agents investigating the case spent February 19, 1993--nine days before the raid.
They went shooting with David Koresh. He provided the ammunition, and they handed him their guns. No, I am not jesting. And yes, he knew they were agents. Click here for their report.
Source: FOIA information, August 1999
|Mid February 1993||
The F.B.I., through the Department of Justice, requested that Texas Governor Ann Richards allow the use of helicopters from the Texas National Guard at Waco. Texas law forbids the use of the National Guard in police action against a citizen of the state, except when drugs are involved in a criminal action. But the A.T.F. apparently fabricated a drug charge to gain the use of the helicopters. Later, Governor Richards stated publicly that she had been lied to by the Department of Justice.
|February 26, 1993||
A BATF memo written two days before the February 28, 1993 raid explained "this operation will generate considerable media attention, both locally [Texas] and nationally."  The BATF public relations director, Sharon Wheeler, called reporters to ask them for their weekend phone numbers. The reporters contend, and Wheeler denies, that she asked them if they would be interested in covering a weapons raid on a "cult." Wheeler, on the other hand, states that she merely told them, "We have something going down."  After the raid, the BATF at first denied there had been any media contacts.  Journalist Ronald Kessler reports that the BATF told eleven media outlets that the raid was coming.  The Department of the Treasury has refused to release the pre-raid memos which deal with publicity, asserting that they are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. 
|February 27, 1993||In any case, the BATF's public relations officer was stationed in Waco on the day of the raid ready to issue a press release announcing the raid's success.  A much-publicized raid, resulting in the seizure of hundreds of guns and dozens of "cultists" might reasonably be expected to improve the fortunes of BATF Director, Stephen Higgins, who was scheduled to testify before the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Treasury, Postal Service, and General Government on March 10, 1993. Investigative reporter Carol Vinzant wrote: *5 In the jargon of at least one ATF office, the Waco raid was what is known as a ZBO ("Zee Big One"), a press-drawing stunt that when shown to Congress at budget time justifies more funding. One of the largest deployments in bureau history, the attack on the Branch Davidians compound was, in the eyes of some of the agents, the ultimate ZBO. |
|February 27, 1993||The task force leaves Ft. Hood to execute the Search warrant. For a full description of the military involvement during the Waco tragedy including General Wesley K. Clark, who was Commander of Ft. Hood and later, NATO Commander during the Bosnia conflict, click here. It should be required reading for every American.
The author makes a strong case that Clinton and the military were calling the shots and the BATF was the fall guy.
|February 28, 1993||The initial assault occurs resulting in the death of four BATF agents and six Davidians. The assault stops when the BATF agents run out of ammunition. During their retreat and despite an open field of fire, the Davidians fire not one shot at the retreating agents.|
|March-April 1993||The FBI assumes (?) control of the Waco Siege. At least, the FBI Hostage Rescue Team is on site and the FBI provides a negotiator.
From an article in WorldnetDaily:
Whatever the reason, as the weeks passed, the officials were growing frustrated and increasingly angry. The Davidians were humiliating them. This was clear from the television interviews with officials. They felt that they had given David Koresh more than enough chances. And then, as the tanks moved in and began pounding down the walls, the building went up in flames, killing more than 90 men, women, and children.
The government killed them. Or least most people assumed so. Coming on the heels of several military aggressions abroad, big government appeared to be riding high after Clinton's 1992 victory, and with the dramatic increase in the size and aggressiveness of the federal police state, it seemed highly likely, even certain, that the BATF and the FBI simply decided to send these problem people to their deaths.
What was to stop the agents from doing so? Does anyone really believe that these agents were just too caring and law-abiding to have done it? If that were true, the Feds wouldn't have tortured the people inside with recorded rabbit death screams played at high volume, cut off their water and electricity, and generally tried to drive them out of their homes, let alone pumped the church full of a poisonous tear gas banned for use against soldiers under international law. One by one the excuses for federal behavior evaporated: drugs, guns, child abuse, and aggressive political dissent weren't the reason.
|April 13, 1993||
According to a 1995 Justice Department report on Waco, the White House was briefed on the FBI's decision to end the standoff with tanks and tear gas six days before the April 19 conflagration. The FBI met with top Clinton aides Bernard Nussbaum, Webster Hubbell, Bruce Lindsey and Vince Foster for 45 minutes that day.
|April 14, 1993||
Contrary to public statements made in recent days, Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI officials planned the final deadly assault on the Branch Davidian church in Waco, Texas, with top officers of the US Army's Delta Force, according to classified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and Special Forces sources.
The FBI actually requested that Special Forces Delta Force operatives consult with them, be present on the scene and maintain equipment in preparation for a resolution of the 1993 51-day standoff that resulted in a fire that killed 74 civilians including many children, according to the documents and a knowledgeable military source.
Meanwhile, the documented information WorldNetDaily has obtained reveals that not only did Reno actively seek involvement by Delta Force, but she was warned at one meeting she attended with the FBI, Major General Schoomaker, Delta Force Colonel William "Jerry" Boykin and Webster Hubbell that the use of CS tear gas would have a variety of effects, one of which would be "Some people would panic, mothers may run off and leave infants."
The FBI's admission just days ago that pyrotechnic tear-gas canisters "may have been used" was an abrupt reversal of a six-year denial that its agents used anything capable of sparking a fire at the compound. The Delta Force document detailing the Delta Force/Reno/FBI meeting notes that when Reno asked Delta Force officers for their "assessment" of the plan, she was told: "This was not a military operation and could not be assessed as such. We explained that the situation was not one that we had ever encountered and that the Rules of Engagement for the FBI were substantially different than for a military operation. [name redacted] stated, "We can't grade your paper," as a way of explaining our position." A memo of this meeting can be found here.
|April 16-17, 1993||Numerous meetings & phone conversations are held between Reno, the DOJ, the White House, the FBI and Delta Force "observers." Reno is convinced that Koresh is abusing the children and is not told that Koresh has agreed to surrender and end the affair upon completion of his translation of the "Seventh Seal."|
|April 18, 1993||President Clinton confirms his confidence in the plan presented by his newly-appointed Attorney General Janet Reno|
|April 19, 1993||The final assault begins and ends with 76 men, women, and children dead.
The time line assembled from Carol Moores reporting and website follows:
The chronology that follows was assembled from the relevant Justice report text and FBI forward looking infrared ("infrared" or "FLIR") photographs which show heat spots as light, FBI overhead photographs, trial testimony, news video, newspaper accounts, and survivors' reports, which are referenced in this and the following chapters. I also referred to Michael J. McNulty's analysis of the full infrared video tape.4/ I have viewed only the short sections played on ABC's "Nightline," May 5, 1995. Because eyewitnesses' watches were not synchronized, some times listed are approximate. The infrared camera was set to what one government witness called "National Standard Time."5/
(Note: All times are Central Time.)
5:55 a.m.--Tanks go to front east and west of building and back of the gymnasium.
From the civil suit filed by former Attorney General, Ramsey Clark:
"At about noon [19 April 1993] FBI agents on foot entered the Church, and fired shots which struck plaintiffs many of whom were dead, or unconscious from gas inhalation. Several FBI defendants proceeded to the second floor and placed an explosive material on the top of the concrete Church vault [in which women and children were crowded on the floor] at the 2nd floor level...at about 12:20 p.m. a huge explosion blasted a hole several feet in diameter....[in] the concrete ceiling of the Church vault, crushing, cutting, burying and killing or injuring most of the approximately 30 persons in the vault...It [FBI] planned to demolish the Church building, to destroy evidence of the ATF attack on February 28, including evidence of the first shots fired by ATF at the front door of the Church and the lethal firing at the Church from helicopters which the ATF denied." It gets worse.
Secret anti-terrorist U.S. Army Delta Force and British SAS soldiers were present at FBI invitation as "observers." But reports of those troops illegally killing Americans on American soil persist from sources that have provided accurate information in the past. So do reports of classified weapons testing on the Davidians that was being micro managed, along with everything else, from Washington. A confirmed June, 1997 "Soldier of Fortune" article by ABC Nightline contributor James Pate tells how FBI agents who crept into Mount Carmel on April 17th to plant electronic devices had a chance to arrest Koresh. But then Associate Attorney General Web Hubbell (the defacto U.S. Attorney General) passed word back from then White House counsel Vince Foster (Hubbell testified that the late Vince Foster kept President Clinton apprised of events at Waco) that Koresh was to be left in the building.
|April 19, 1993 to now.||After the massacre of 76 Branch Davidians, the denials began. Clinton said they killed themselves. Reno echoed that same view. At congressional hearings, all the officers involved denied setting the fire. Elaborate scenarios were concocted, without a shred of evidence, designed to show how Koresh had started the fire. The Feds were indignant that anyone would doubt their word, and insulting to anyone who questioned their motives.|
|July 20, 1993||The body of Vince Foster is discovered and is ruled an "apparent suicide." The Park Police with no trained homicide investigators on the force are in charge of the investigation. Foster is rumored to have been working on a report on the Waco tragedy. The report is never found. A torn-up suicide note is found two days after his death but devoid of finger prints.|
"The purpose of the raid was to forcefully serve the search warrant. Was the search warrant for Mt. Carmel valid? This is a matter of opinion. A federal magistrate said that the ATF's affidavit justified the warrant. I am not convinced. Two-thirds of the affidavit`s text was about child abuse and statutory rape. Neither of these are federal offenses." Source: The Ashes of Waco, Donald J. Reavis.
The official explanation is that the raid was intended to gather evidence in support of suspicion that the residents of Mount Carmel (members of the Branch Davidians, an offshoot of Seventh-Day Adventism), possessed machineguns without the required licenses and tax, and that nothing but overwhelming military force would enable the arrest of their leader, David Koresh, and a search of the residence. Another view of the problems with the search warrant.
In 1996, the documentary film, "Waco: The Rules of Engagement" began the process of unraveling the governments official position. Nominated for an Academy Award, the film vividly makes a case that something was wrong with the whole affair. Recently, the sequel, "Waco: A New Revelation", has been generating more heat as the producers and other investigative reporters have used FOIA requests to obtain information withheld from the public or the defense attorney's of the remaining Davidian members who survived the holocaust at Mt. Carmel.
The Texas Rangers finally had enough of the Clinton FBI stalling and brought into the open the evidence that had been hidden for 6 years. The repercussions may shake the foundations of the Clinton administration.
From the very beginning, Operation Trojan Horse was a public relations stunt designed to enable the BATF to appear as a competent organization when it went before Congress in March 1993.
Even a well-heeled agency does not divert a hundred agents with air support to investigate a single and rather small case--particularly not if a simple audit could resolve the matter.
A different, and less acceptable, motivation appears most likely. At the Federal level, law enforcement operations center upon the annual
appropriation process. Anyone who has worked with such an agency knows that they try to schedule a "showcase" operation, one which will garner national coverage, just before their House Appropriations cycle begins. An agency director loves to begin the hearings with "Typical of the dangerous work undertaken by our agents is ...." Such a showcase move is usually given a suitably dramatic and military-sounding name.
The codename for the Waco raid was "Operation Trojan Horse." The code for its initiation was "Showtime." The target date was less than two weeks before BATF's House Appropriations hearings were scheduled. The team assigned included a Public Information Officer, who made sure to alert newspapers to stand by for a story that weekend. There would indeed be a story--four agents and six civilians would die to make it.
While presented as a BATF operation initially and then as a FBI tasking, there was extensive involvement of the military from Ft. Hood and the Delta Force command. In fact, much of the planning and final decisions for both the initial raid and the final assault have the fingerprints of the military on them.
HOLOCAUST AT WACO by Gary Null
The government's confrontation with the Branch Davidians may have started as a kind of public-relations ploy to show how good the government was at maintaining law and order by cracking down on cults with illegal arms caches and weird ways. But then the publicity stunt got out of control.
Linda Thompson's opinion (the producer of the film, "Waco: The Big Lie") is that "Waco was merely one of the first tests of using federal law enforcement with military, and using military tactics. The government proved it could use the major media to tell the government's version of the story to the public. It was a victory for mass propaganda.
"They murdered 96 people in front of our eyes on national TV, and the public bought it."
And Waco has one final, totally chilling message to the people of America: "It is useless to resist.... Don't confront your government, or you'll be dealt with." Anyone who accepts without question the official version of the government's war against the Branch Davidians has, in reality, already surrendered.
Many agencies of the government have lost significant credibility in recent years. First, the IRS abuses, then the war on drugs and the asset forfeiture laws enriching the law enforcement community without accountability, then Ruby Ridge and the deaths of innocent people caused by a BATF agent badgering a person to cut off 1/2" more from a shot-gun barrel than the law allows and then failing to inform him of a court date, the publicity stunt of Waco that caused the death of 86 persons (four BATF agents and 82 Branch Davidians) in what at-best can be called a taxation case, and the various stonewalling, and perjuries of the "most ethical administration in history."
And ask yourself why the jury acquitted the Branch Davidian defendants of the charges brought against them in the Waco trial following this holocaust but the Judge overruled their verdict and sentenced eight of the eleven defendants to long prison terms which they remain incarcerated today?
And you think that the citizens of this country can continue to believe in the fairness of our criminal justice system? Keep dreaming! Law enforcement that violates the rights guaranteed to the people by the Constitution must be charged and found guilty. No longer can we accept two standards of justice in this country . . . one for the elite and law enforcement, and a separate one for the governed.
If the voters don't rise up and vote the entire Republican and Democratic Congress and the President out of office in the next elections, they will have decided that this government "of the people, by the people, and for the people" is doomed! It is past time to say with conviction, enough is enough . . . we want the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution restored . . . no ifs, ands or buts!
But then - 'Tis Only My Opinion!
This issue of 'Tis Only My Opinion was copyrighted by Adrich Corporation in September 1999.
it is intended to provoke thinking, then dialogue among its readers. Quotation with attribution is encouraged.
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