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                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
     near Waco. 

          "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-
     ern Baptist. 

          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
     ATF vehicle. 

          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 Siege

          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
     a week. 

          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
     US Army. 

          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
     flung open."

          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 Cover-Up

          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
     jail time. 

          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.jpg (19416 bytes)       after-fire.jpg (28548 bytes)

             Before Fire                                    After fire



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