APPOINTMENT WITH THE APOCALYPSE
High Times - APPOINTMENT WITH THE APOCALYPSE
by Steven Hager and Preston Peet
On April 19, 1993, 74 people died defending a church
near Waco, Texas. Last summer, the Waco survivors lost a
$675 million civil suit. Then the federal government decid-
ed to punish the one whistleblower who came forward with
evidence of a Waco cover-up. One thing is clear the white-
wash started long before the embers of Waco cooled. What
really happened, and will America ever learn the truth?
Morale at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
(ATF) was reaching an all-time low early in 1993. The
previous summer, the agency had botched a case against Randy
Weaver in Idaho by killing Weaver's wife and son. (Weaver
later collected $3.1 million in restitution.) Then came
widespread accusations of sexual harassment inside the
agency. 60 Minutes, the most-watched news show in the
country, jumped all over that one.
The ATF brass wanted something to turn around the bad
publicity, and they wanted it fast. In March, they were
scheduled to appear before Congress to defend their annual
budget. The solution? They began planning the biggest, most
elaborate raid in ATF history. On February 28, a mile-long,
80-vehicle caravan pulled out of Fort Hood, Texas and headed
50 miles northeast for an appointment with the Apocalypse
"Raiding is the expertise of the ATF, and statistical-
ly, it's not as dangerous as one might think," writes Dick
J. Reavis in The Ashes of Waco. "In 36 months, the agency
had called out its SRT or SWAT teams 578 times, executed 603
search warrants, mostly against dope dealers, and had seized
some 1,500 weapons. It had encountered gunfire on only two
of its raids, and the only fatalities (three of them) had
been among suspects."
The ATF videotaped the planning sessions, as well as
the training maneuvers at Fort Hood. Many agents carried
cameras along with their flash-bang grenades, nylon hand-
cuffs and assault rifles. A video camera was mounted on one
of the three helicopters that were scheduled to arrive with
the raiding party.
Unfortunately, there were serious problems with the
raid's planning and execution. The search warrant contained
inflammatory and prejudicial comments. Legal citations were
incorrect. It did not allow for a "no-knock" entry. It
contained blatantly false information about a methampheta-
mine lab, info that had been fabricated to obtain free
military assistance. Two-thirds of the warrant involved
charges of child abuse, a crime for which the ATF had no
jurisdiction. Many consultants had urged the ATF to conduct
the raid before sunrise, but the designated time had been
moved to 930 AM. The plan involved multiple "dynamic en-
tries," which meant forced entry from numerous sides and
levels simultaneously--the equivalent of serving several
"no-knocks" at once.
The planning was shoddy because the ATF needed the raid
to happen fast, and they expected a cakewalk. The target, a
religious community called Mount Carmel, had been under
observation for over a month. It housed about 130 people,
of which two-thirds were women and children. The occupants
ranged from very elderly to babies and included two pregnant
women. An undercover agent who'd penetrated the community
reported endless hours of Bible study, with two communion
services daily. The last thing the ATF expected was armed
resistance in the face of their overwhelming firepower. Had
they a better understanding of the Students of the Seven
Seals who lived at Mount Carmel, the ATF would have realized
they were about to stick their nose into a hornet's nest.
The Search for a Living Prophet
The Romans threw John the Apostle into a pot of boiling
oil as punishment for spreading Christianity; but he sur-
vived and eventually was banished to the Greek isle of
Patmos, where, around 90 AD, he wrote the Book of Revela-
tion, a violent prophesy in which the unbelievers (read
Romans) are subjected to horrible tortures while the true
followers of Christ are lifted into a golden city in heaven.
Think of it as the original vengeance drama. Written before
much of the New Testament, Revelation was placed at the end
of the Bible. Martin Luther warned excessive study of it
could lead to insanity. It ends with a plea for the Apoca-
lypse to come quickly.
In 1831, William Miller launched the Second Advent
Awakening, the biggest American-born religious movement in
history. According to Miller's calculations, the end of the
world was due on Oct. 22, 1844. Miller attracted a huge
following of doomsday advocates, the survivalists of their
time. When Jesus and the Apocalypse failed to appear at the
appointed hour, the devotees had to recover from what they
dubbed the "great disappointment." Miller's followers even-
tually blossomed into 84 groups of churches with over 10
million members worldwide, the largest of which is the
Seventh Day Adventist Church, with about 750,000 members in
the United States. Adventists believe the Second Coming is
imminent, and that the power of prophecy will flourish in
the final days. Despite this, only one person since Miller
has ascended to official "living prophet" status.
In 1935, Bulgarian immigrant Victor Houteff declared
himself a living prophet and was promptly banished from the
church. He assembled a large band of devotees at Mount
Carmel Center in Texas. Upon his death in 1955, his widow
took over, and announced the Second Coming was due April 22,
1959. But when the date came and passed without an Apoca-
lypse, 10,000 members were left in disarray. Most stopped
sending in contributions, leaving self-proclaimed prophet
Ben Roden and about 50 "Branch Davidians," as they called
themselves, in charge of the once- prosperous Mount Carmel.
Following Roden's death in 1978, his widow, Lois, took
over the church. Lois not only proclaimed herself a proph-
etess, she attracted a lot of attention in Adventist circles
by declaring the Holy Spirit was feminine.
Vernon Wayne Howell joined the congregation in 1981.
Born in Texas to a 15-year-old single mother, Howell had
been passed between family members and physically and sexu-
ally abused during childhood. Due to dyslexia, he was held
back many times in school, earning the nickname "Mr. Retar-
do." At age nine, he became a devout Seventh Day Adventist.
By age 12, he'd memorized large tracts of the King James
When Howell arrived at Mount Carmel, he was a stutter-
ing, insecure boy given to fits of self-pity. More than
anything, he wanted contact with a living prophet. He
formed a secret sexual liaison with Lois Roden, then in her
late sixties. With his encyclopedic command of the Bible,
Howell became an inspirational figure whose "visions" were
taken seriously, despite his ninth-grade education. This
angered George Roden, Lois' son, who saw himself as the
future leader of the group. George suffered from Tourette's
syndrome and frequently exploded with uncontrollable rage
and inappropriate behavior. When Howell took a 14-year-old
member of the congregation as his wife, Lois acted the
jilted lover and confessed her secret affair during Bible
study class. George expelled Howell and his bride from
Mount Carmel at the point of an Uzi. Most of the congrega-
tion followed Howell to East Texas, where they lived commu-
nally in wretched conditions. Thus began his conversion
from inspirational figure to actual living prophet. In
1987, Marc Breault joined the East Texas enclave and became
Howell's right-hand man, helping recruit dozens of new
members to the community.
After his mother died, George Roden became completely
unglued. Determined to wrest back his congregation, he dug
up a corpse and challenged Howell to see who could raise the
dead. Instead, Howell reported the corpse to the local
sheriff. The sheriff wanted evidence, so Howell and several
armed followers crept back to Mount Carmel under cover of
night with a camera. Before they embarked on the mission,
however, Howell outfitted everyone with identical camouflage
fatigues and armed them with AR-15 assault rifles.
A gun battle ensued and Roden was wounded. He would
have likely been killed, except the neighbors called the
police, who broke up the gunfight and arrested Howell and
his men for attempted murder. During the trial, Roden wrote
angry letters to the judge, threatening to reign down a pox
of AIDS and herpes on him. The judge sentenced him to six
months in jail for contempt. The trial ended in a hung
jury. Two years later, Roden was convicted of an ax murder
and locked in an insane asylum.
Meanwhile, Howell and his followers rebuilt Mount
Carmel, which had fallen into disrepair. They maintained a
24-hour armed vigil against possible retribution from Roden,
who'd briefly escaped from the mental institution and con-
tinued to assert his ownership of the property. By paying
back taxes and occupying the site, Howell hoped to gain full
legal ownership within five years. In 1990, he changed his
name to David Koresh and announced the Apocalypse was com-
mencing in five years.
His group called themselves "Students of the Seven
Seals," not "Branch Davidians," as they would later be known
by the news media. Koresh yearned for recognition as a
living prophet from the Adventist Church. His group lived a
happy and communal life. They were an eclectic group of
races, cultures and nationalities, some with advanced de-
grees in theology. One was the first black graduate of
Harvard Law School.
Koresh formed a rock band, and the elders viewed him as
a possible MTV-style prophet who could breathe life into a
dying religious movement. He drove a souped-up Camaro and
enjoyed target practice with semiautomatic assault weapons.
He believed guns would come in handy during the 1995 Apoca-
lypse. "What are you going to do when the tanks are sur-
rounding us?" he'd ask his congregation.
Adventists believe the Bible contains clues concerning
the date and nature of Judgment Day. They also have a
religious obligation to take claims of prophecy seriously.
By creating down-home explanations for many confusing pas-
sages in Revelation, and by memorizing all 150 Psalms and
treating them as prophecy, Koresh created a fresh take on
doomsday Christianity that was irresistible to some Adven-
tists. His congregation was not a collection of brainwashed
zombies, but an educated and highly spiritual community.
Koresh frequently came to Bible class straight from work,
his hands soiled with axle grease, the tones of his voice
always conversational, never bombastic like a typical South-
Life at Mount Carmel was spartan, but people stayed
because it was spiritually charged. One never knew what
outlandish prophecy Koresh might spout next. He had a knack
for constantly topping himself, like Jackie Chan dreaming up
new stunts. Serious problems began, however, soon after
Breault left the community and moved back to Australia, a
split that coincided with Koresh's celibacy prophecy, which
he called "The New Light." "At the time of the end, those
who have wives should live as they have none," said Koresh,
quoting the Bible to support the new policy. It was time
for male members at Mount Carmel to become celibate, except
for Koresh, who was obligated to sire 24 children by 1995.
He already had several wives at Mount Carmel, one of whom
he'd seduced when she was 12. (Koresh later admitted it was
difficult keeping former couples from getting it on once in
a while, just as it was difficult keeping his harem satis-
It wasn't your typical American family, but the child-
ren were Koresh's jewels. They were reportedly extremely
well mannered, quiet, obedient and showered with love.
They'd never seen a television, never eaten junk food, never
been to a public school. Their welfare had been monitored
by the Texas Department of Human Services. The children
showed no signs of physical or emotional abuse.
The community sincerely believed Koresh's interpreta-
tions of the Bible, and accepted him as "The Lamb," the only
person capable of opening the Seven Seals that would bring
about the Apocalypse. His matings with teenagers were
unlawful, but they were conducted with parental approval.
It was considered a sacred honor to bear his child. "It's
not like I really want to do this," Koresh would always
explain. "The Lord is telling me I have to."
But instead of turning his newlywed wife over to "The
House of David," Breault embarked on a vendetta to expose
Koresh. He hired a private investigator to document Ko-
resh's history of statutory rape. When he couldn't get the
press or authorities interested in the story, he began
mixing exaggerations with real facts to produce a tantaliz-
ing stew of tabloid sensationalism. Eventually, he gave the
story to an Australian TV show and began working on a book
deal. Meanwhile, based on his evidence, the ATF elevated
Koresh to "ZBO."
Zee Big One
Zee Big One (ZBO) is "a press-drawing stunt that when
shown to Congress at budget time justifies more funding,"
wrote investigative reporter Carol Vinzant in Spy. "The
attack on the Branch Davidians' complex was, in the eyes of
some of the agents, the ultimate ZBO." In the spring of
1992, a United Parcel Service driver opened a box of grenade
hulls being shipped to Mount Carmel and reported it to the
local sheriff, who alerted the ATF. A member of Koresh's
community was developing a profitable and entirely legal
business selling firearms and survivalist fashion wear at
gun shows. The empty grenade hulls were sewn into ammo
vests, part of the official David Koresh survival gear.
On July 30, 1992, gun dealer Henry McMahon called
Koresh, saying ATF agents were at his home asking questions
about him. "Tell them to come out here," replied Koresh.
"If they want to see my guns, they are more than welcome."
The agents responded by motioning silently, "no, no," and
getting McMahon to hang up. In January 1993, three under-
cover ATF agents occupied the house across the street from
Mount Carmel and began videotaping and gathering intel-
ligence. Although it was obvious they were government
agents, Koresh welcomed their arrival and spent considerable
time discussing the Bible with agent Robert Rodriguez,
trying to convince him the government represented a false
Babylonian power. He urged Rodriguez to move into Mount
Carmel so he could have a better understanding of the com-
munity. They engaged in target practice together and in-
spected each other's weapons. Koresh noted Rodriguez's gun
had a hair trigger, standard issue for a police sniper, and
had been converted for full automatic fire, normally an
illegal modification unless one registered the gun and paid
the proper taxes. "This is a dangerous weapon," noted
The day before launching "Operation Trojan Horse," the
ATF reserved rooms in local hotels for over a hundred agents
and personnel. They also alerted the national and local
media to be ready for a big story that was about to break.
A highly inflammatory article attacking Koresh as a child
abuser appeared in the Waco Tribune-Herald the morning of
the raid. It wasn't difficult to see a massive operation
was underway, aimed at Mount Carmel.
David Jones, a local postman and Mount Carmel resident,
was tipped off to the upcoming raid when a news cameraman
asked for directions to "Rodenville." While they spoke, an
ATF sniper team drove past and National Guard helicopters
flew overhead. Jones headed for Mount Carmel and found
Koresh discussing theology with Rodriguez. After speaking
privately with Jones, Koresh told Rodriguez, "We know
they're coming." He shook Rodriguez's hand and said, "Do
what you gotta do."
Upon exiting Mount Carmel, Rodriguez called ATF Special
Agent Chuck Sarabyn in an effort to cancel the raid. In-
stead, Sarabyn told the troops, "Hurry up, they know we're
coming!" He had just led the convoy from Ft. Hood to Bell-
mead Civic Center, about 10 miles from Mount Carmel. Seven-
ty-six ATF raiders loaded into two unprotected cattle trail-
ers pulled by pickup trucks. Even though the element of
surprise was lost, and the raid was happening in broad
daylight, Sarabyn could not cancel ZBO.
There are many versions of what happened next, but the
most believable accounts come from the surviving residents
of Mount Carmel. Their perspective has been best documented
by David Thibodeau, the drummer in Koresh's band, in his
book, A Place Called Waco. "David appeared in the cafeteria
accompanied by four or five men armed with AR-15s," writes
Thibodeau. Koresh told his congregation to keep cool "I
want to talk it out with these people," he said. "We want
to work it out."
A few minutes later the cattle cars filled with agents
pulled up broadside to the front door. The first shots were
probably fired into the dog pen in front of the building,
where an Alaskan malamute lived with her pups. All the dogs
were killed. There is also evidence an agent accidentally
discharged two rounds into the radiator and windshield of an
Koresh opened the front door. He was unarmed. "What's
going on?" he shouted. "There are women and children in
here!" When he failed to hit the ground upon command, the
agents opened fire, fatally wounding 64-year-old Perry
Jones, who was standing next to Koresh. The door slammed
shut and residents began to return fire. Under Texas law,
defending oneself against excessive police force is legal.
Within seconds, Harvard Law graduate Wayne Martin, a
local attorney, called 911. "There's 75 men around our
building shooting at us at Mount Carmel, said Martin.
"Tell them there are children and women in here and to
call it off!" Ten minutes passed before Lieutenant Lynch, a
deputy sheriff known to Martin, picked up the line. "I have
a right to defend myself!" shrieked Martin, "We want a
Strangely, there was no line of communication between
local law enforcement and the raiding party, even though
Lynch had visited the ATF command center earlier in the day.
The command center was filled with phones and fax machine,
all ready to blanket the news media with press releases, but
had no communications with the raiding team. Apparently,
none of the raiders had a cell phone. It would take two
agonizing hours to arrange a cease-fire, and it happened
only after ATF agents ran out of bullets. During that time,
six residents were killed and four were wounded, while four
ATF agents were killed and 16 wounded. Many of the wounded
agents were lying helpless on the field of battle. Of all
the residents, Koresh was the most seriously wounded-a
bullet had blown through his side. News photos reveal ATF
agents in panic and disarray, loading their wounded on the
hoods of vehicles.
The ATF had arrived in overwhelming force-including air
support-and assaulted a church, only to be driven back by
less than a dozen armed men. Suddenly, instead of a "ZBO",
it had one of the biggest public-relations disasters in
American history on it's hands. The ATF agents were soon
replaced by the FBI, the media were drawn back a mile from
the scene and all lines of communication to Mount Carmel
were severed. "A crazy cult is holding their children
hostage," went the standard press release.
The most damaging "evidence" of what really happened
that day is the bizarre disappearance of the videotape shot
by the ATF. The only explanation given was the multiple
cameras malfunctioned simultaneously, producing no tapes
whatsoever. It's far more likely the tapes disappeared
because they supported the claim of Mount Carmel residents,
all of whom insisted the ATF fired first.
Even worse, no written reports were filed by any agents
on the field of battle, a startling reversal of ATF policy.
Later, when agents were questioned about the skirmish,
interviews had to be canceled because they were producing
evidence favorable to the defendants inside Mount Carmel.
Today, the ATF tells a much different story "We were
ambushed by a hail of machine-gun fire the moment we got off
the cattle cars." This explanation doesnt hold up. Koresh
had no machine guns, and photos reveal Mount Carmel heavily
peppered with bullet holes, while the vehicles used as cover
by the ATF bear no signs of incoming fire.
Dr. Alan Stone, a Harvard psychiatrist and law expert
hired by the government to write a report on Waco, concluded
"If they were militants determined to ambush and kill as
many ATF agents as possible, it seemed to me that given
their firepower, the devastation could have been even
worse...the agents brought to the compound in cattle cars
could have been cattle going to slaughter if the Branch
Davidians had taken full advantage of their tactical superi-
Tragically, the fact that four ATF agents died while
attempting the initial "dynamic entry" calls into suspicion
any statements made by agents at the scene. Why? Because
"testi-lying" (Fabricating evidence against suspected crimi-
nals in order to obtain convictions) has become a standard
operating procedure for police agencies, and an unofficial
wall of silence protects police engaged in vigilante retri-
bution against cop-killers. Many law enforcement officers
will always believe Koresh and his followers got what they
deserved, and if it requires a few lies to make it stand up
in court, who cares?
The FBI brought in 10 Bradley fighting vehicles, two
Abrams tanks and a multitude of other armored vehicles.
Shortwave radio and cell phones were electronically jammed.
The only contact out was the single phone line the FBI ran
from Mount Carmel to FBI negotiators offsite.
Koresh requested that Robert Rodriquez be installed as
a negotiator, a logical choice since they already had estab-
lished a relationship. The request was denied, instead, the
FBI created a team of revolving negotiators, none of whom
developed any sensitivity to Seventh Day Adventist doctrine.
FBI negotiators dismissed all religious talks as "Bible
babble," not realizing Bible quotations were perhaps the
best tool for bringing the residents out.
Early on, Koresh agreed to voluntarily surrender if a
one-hour tape explaining his theology was aired on national
radio. However, the night before, the residents had dug out
the medicinal whiskey supply and held a party in the chapel
while he lay wounded upstairs. Koresh abruptly canceled the
surrender by saying God had told him to wait. "Some of us
blamed the previous night's binge, saying we'd sinned and
acted wildly," writes Thibodeau.
The FBI responded angrily and began a psychological
war, playing loud music and the sounds of animals being
tortured. Search lights beamed into the building during the
night. "Every time we thought we were cooperating, people
were coming out, or we were doing what they'd asked, we'd be
punished, almost right after complying," says Clive Doyle,
one of the survivors. "The electricity being cut off, the
music being played, all that kind of stuff just gave us the
attitude they certainly did not mean what they were promis-
ing, that we couldnt trust them. All the things that went
on for the next 50-odd days just confirmed in our minds they
had no concern for our children at all."
During the siege, snipers routinely mooned women by
flashing their exposed buttocks. They also gave the finger
to the men inside and loudly called them "cocksuckers" and
"motherfuckers," behavior that contributed to resident's im-
pression they were surrounded by an immoral force sent by
Babylon. Meanwhile, the tanks and armored vehicles circled
Mount Carmel, crushing cars, trampling graves, destroying
property and contaminating the crime scene.
During the siege, 35 residents voluntarily left Mount
Carmel, mostly children and the elderly. The elderly were
immediately put in chains and treated like hardened crimi-
nals, while the children were fed candy and other junk food.
Most of the people remaining inside became convinced sur-
render was not a viable option by watching how the FBI
treated those exiting Mount Carmel.
On April 15, after the residents celebrated several
days of Passover, Koresh informed the FBI that God had given
him permission to write down his interpretation of the Seven
Seals, a major breakthrough since he had never written down
any of his philosophy. He feverishly went to work on the
manuscript. As soon as it was done, he planned to sur-
render. His aides expected the work to be completed within
But the mood of the FBI had turned permanently sour.
Residents were no longer able to peacefully surrender after
April 15. Instead, Anyone who left the compound was imme-
diately subjected to a barrage of deadly flash-bang
grenades. Apparently, the cost of keeping so much law
enforcement personnel and equipment at the site (estimated
at $500,000 per day) had reached the limit. Deep inside the
bowels of the federal government, a final solution was being
hatched for the Students of the Seven Seals.
The Final Solution
In January 1993, the United States and 130 other coun-
tries had signed the Chemical Weapons Convention banning the
use of CS gas in warfare. Use of this toxic chemical had
been condemned by everyone from Amnesty International to the
On April 14, 1993, the Department of Justice secretly
flew in two 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. They were flown by FBI transport to Waco to
"assess the situation", the flown to Washington to meet
Attorney General Janet Reno, to discuss "contingency plans
that may be used to being the situation in Waco to an end,"
according to an Amry Operations Command memo obtained by
WorldNetDaily in August 1999.
On Saturday, April 17, Reno suddenly agreed to the use
of CS gas in ending the Waco siege. She would later offer
several reasons for approving the gas attack Intelligence
had indicated Koresh was sexually abusing the children,
armed militia from around the country were converging on
Mount Carmel to free the residents, the perimeter had become
unstable and, finally, the agents at the scene were suffer-
ing from fatigue.
At 6AM on April 19, while it was still dark, the huge
speakers began broadcasting a new message to the 83 people
inside. "The siege is over. We're going to put tear gas
into the building. The tear gas is harmless, but it will
make your environment uninhabitable. You are under arrest.
Come out now with your hands up. There will be no shooting.
This is not an assault."
From several sides at once, M60A1 tanks modified for
demolition began punching holes into the walls of Mount
Carmel According to the plan signed off on by Reno, this
phase of the gas attack was supposed to continue for 48
hours if necessary. However, in the fine print of the plan,
the part Reno may not have read, rapid escalation of the
attack was approved if tanks drew fire from the residents.
Within a few minutes, four BV tanks began firing ferret
rounds into the building. Four hundred canisters had been
stockpiled for the attack. Ninety minutes later, they had
practically expended the supply. They put out an emergency
request for more canisters.
"By noon the building is a tinderbox," writes Thibo-
deau. "A thick layer of methylene chloride dust deposited
by the CS gas coats the walls, floors, and ceilings, min-
gling with kerosene and propane vapors from our spilled
lanterns and crushed heaters. To make things worse, a
brisk, thirty-knot Texas wind whips through the holes ripped
in the building like a potbellied stove with its damper
Shortly after two pyrotechnic ferret rounds were fired
into the house, one in the rear and one in the front, two
fireballs raced through the building. Within seconds, the
entire structure was in flames. According to the survivors,
the only logical exit for most people was through the cafe-
teria. Most of the women and children were huddled in a
concrete vault nearby. The children had no gas masks, so
they sought shelter under wet blankets. When people tried
to exit, they were driven back into the building by sniper
fire. With their escape route cut off, they roasted alive.
Nine residents survived, all of whom emerged from
locations visible to the telephoto lenses of the network TV
cameras. The presence of those cameras may explain why they
survived, unlike the unfortunate ones who attempted to exit
through the rear.
Fire trucks were available to put out the blaze, but
were held back and not allowed near the scene until nothing
bush ashes were left. Meanwhile, the tanks ran over bodies
and pushed debris into the fire to make sure nothing re-
mained standing. Texas Rangers, who were not allowed near
the scene until much later int he day, believed the FBI was
salting phony evidence while destroying the crime scene to
make an investigation impossible. What little evidence did
remain disappeared quickly.
In the midst of the smoke and dust, the ATF flag was
run up the Mount Carmel flagpole, signaling victory. Mean-
while, the official press release went out "The cult set
fire to the building and committed mass suicide rather than
Dr. Nizam Peerwani, medical examiner for Tarrant
County, was in charge of the autopsies. Although 21 people
appeared to have died from gunshot wounds, all bullet frag-
ments were immediately confiscated by the FBI and never
subjected to independent analysis. Many of the bodies were
decapitated or mutilated beyond recognition. According to
the official report, "There was a particular instance were
all that remained was the arm and hand of a mother clasping
a small child's hand and remains of an arm. You could see
how tightly the child's hand was being squeezed by the
mother." The body of one charred six-year-old was bent
backward until the head almost touched the feet, result of
CS gas suffocation. Two fetuses died instantly, expelled
after their mothers' death. The major question unanswered
How many residents killed themselves to avoid being roasted
alive, and how many were massacred by snipers as they tried
to flee the building?
The Government engineered a slam-dunk cover-up almost
immediately. A blatantly biased judge was selected for the
criminal trial, held in San Antonio in 1993. "The govern-
ment is not on trial here," he would say repeatedly. Eleven
members of the community were charged with the murder of the
ATF agents, but the evidence against them was weak. The
judge gave the jury 67 pages of instructions on how to
render a verdict. After four days of deliberations, the
jury found all 11 not guilty of murder or conspiracy to
commit murder. Four were found guilty of manslaughter, with
four others convicted on weapons charges. The jury felt
none of the defendants deserved such long prison terms, and
they expected another trial to take place, one for the
architects of the original assault plan.
The judge ignored the jury. He accused the defendants
of firing the first shots and setting the fire and proceeded
to sentence four defendants to 40 years, one to 20 years,
one to 15, one to 10 and one to five. The jury was out-
raged. During appeals, all sentences were greatly reduced.
(25 years taken off)
Thanks to the work of independent investigators, the
cover-up began unraveling as numerous assertions by ATF, FBI
and Janet Reno kept turning up false. They claimed no
pyrotechnic rounds were fired by the FBI during the siege or
gas attack. They claimed no Delta Force assassins were on
site. None of these assertions would hold up under scruti-
Journalists like Dick Reavis were paraded in front of
Congress and lambasted for showing sympathy for Koresh and
his community. The sickening bias of Congress is clear in
the award-winning documentary, Waco The Rules of Engagement.
The most damaging evidence uncovered by the filmmakers was
an infrared videotape shot from a helicopter during the CS
gas attack. The tape revealed two snipers firing into the
cafeteria during the gas attack.
After the initial cover-up failed to hold, Reno ap-
pointed former Senator John Danforth (R-MO) to conduct an
"independent investigation," which lasted 14 months, em-
ployed 74 people and cost $17 million. The investigations
sifted through 2.3 million documents, interviewed 1,001
witnesses, and examined "thousands of pounds of physical
evidence. Danforth stated emphatically that "the government
did not start or spread the fire...did not direct gunfire at
the Davidians, and did not unlawfully employ the Armed
Forces of the United States." The report is a morass of
obfuscation, utilizing Orwellian doublespeak at every turn.
In the preface, Danforth stated he investigated whether
the government engaged in "bad acts, not bad judgment." He
noted 61% of the country, according to a Time magazine poll,
believes the government started the fire, a matter of grave
concern. Instead of seeking truth, he set out to calm the
citizenry. "When 61% of the people believe that the govern-
ment not only fails to ensure life, liberty and the pursuit
of happiness, but also intentionally murders people by fire,
the existence of public consent, the very basis of govern-
ment is imperiled."
Only one man was criminally charged by Danforth, Wil-
liam Johnston, a former assistant US attorney in Waco who
helped draw up the original warrant and was one of the three
lead prosecutors in the San Antonio trial. He was indicted
on five felony counts and threatened with 21 months in jail.
Apparently, Johnston's real "crime" had been to allow
filmmakers into an evidence locker, where they discovered
pyrotechnic rounds mislabeled as "silencers." Later, he came
forward and admitted he's lied by saying no pyrotechnic
rounds had been fired into Mount Carmel, Johnston is quietly
working out a plea-bargain agreement that will result in no
The ATF fired Charles Sarabyn and Philip Chojnacki, two
of the raid's commanders. But when the agents threatened to
sue, they were reinstated with back pay. ATF director
Stephen Higgins was eventually forced to resign, and Deputy
Director Daniel Hartnett and two other ranking ATF officials
were temporarily suspended. However, one of them , ATF
intelligence chief David Troy, was later promoted.
Today, the internet is filled with contradictory state-
ments about the massacre, and the survivors have split into
several camps. The cover-up continues, and some websites
are undoubtedly counterintelligence operations designed to
confuse the American people. **Sharlene's note Carol Valen-
tines site no doubt**
The most frightening development, the militarization of
our police force, continues unabated. Today, every police
department in America is busy hiring a squad of professional
snipers like those brought in for the final solution at
Before Fire After fire
APFN WACO PAGE
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Why WACO! "LET JUSTICE FINALLY BE DONE"
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There are NO Statutes of Limitations on the Crimes of Genocide!
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