Is it possible David Koresh didn't lose his confrontation with the
Godless state he and his followers identified as "Babylon," at all?
Throughout their 51-day Texas standoff in the spring of 1993, Koresh and
his followers repeatedly compared their plight to that of God's people
facing the "flaming chariots" of Babylon in the biblical prophesies of
Nahum and Habakkuk. A follower says Koresh believed he would be the one to
"bring down Babylon" by sacrificing himself and his denomination.
Will it turn out that -- like an earlier group of Texas martyrs who died
buying time for Sam Houston at the Alamo -- the Branch Davidians still
retain the power to reach out from the grave and smight their oppressors?
After completing the documentary "Waco: The Rules of Engagement' --
nominated for an Academy Award -- researcher Mike McNulty continued to
delve into the central mystery of Waco: Why would scores of perfectly sane
and decent Christian Americans apparently choose to condemn themselves and
their "unusually bright and well-treated" children (per Texas child welfare
authorities) to death in the flames, rather than coming out and
surrendering to the federal tanks and helicopters that surrounded them?
Mr. McNulty appears to have found some answers -- at least to the extent
anyone still can, given the determined after-the-fact efforts to bleach and
bulldoze the "crime scene." Those answers are offered in the new video:
"Waco: A New Revelation," directed by Jason Van Vleet.
The documentary is not strident. If anything, the new evidence is piled
up in such a measured and matter-of-fact way -- superposed with the
sneering denials of FBI spokesmen and apologists like U.S. Rep. (now Sen.)
Charles Schumer -- that its full impact may not register without a second
But at that point, any thoughtful viewer of conscience must wonder how
willfully the Congress and populace of this country must
want to ignore the truth, to be able to close their eyes to
facts like the following:
On the evening of Feb. 28, three Branch Davidians who had not been
present for the initial BATF raid and shoot-out attempted to get home to
their wives and children in the Mount Carmel church. They were intercepted
and fired upon by 17 agents "dressed as trees." Two were captured, but
Michael Dean Schroeder -- not charged with any crime -- was shot seven
times and killed. As the other two Davidians were led away -- after
Schroeder was down -- they report hearing two final shots behind them, in
quick succession. An autopsy showed Michael Dean Schroeder had two neat
bullet holes immediately behind his right ear. His body was left lying in
the ravine for five days.
Far from inviting an exodus and surrender, tape recordings reveal that by
late March, FBI negotiators told the Davidians: "No one is authorized to
come out of there for any reason. The patience of the bosses is no longer
what it was. If anyone tries to come out, they will be treated in such a
way that they'll be forced to retreat."
Former FBI Director William Sessions wanted to fly to Waco to negotiate
with David Koresh face-to-face, but the Justice Department refused to let
him board his plane. Sessions' wife, Alice Sessions, explains: "The FBI did
not want it negotiated. They wanted to show they could win with military
type tactics; it was a paramilitary organization."
When the final government attack with toxic and disabling CS gas finally
began early on the morning of April 19, the buried school bus was gassed
first, forcing the women and children to retreat to the reinforced concrete
records vault, which the FBI referred to as "the bunker." Gas was then
pumped into the bunker, which had no ventilation, for two hours. Rep. John
Mica, R-Fla., tells Congress: "At the very least that resulted in the
babies and children being tortured for at least three to four hours."
Manning sniper post Sierra 1 in the "undercover house," Lon Horiuchi (who
eight months earlier had shot the unarmed Vicky Weaver as she stood holding
a baby in her kitchen in Ruby Ridge, Idaho), "accompanied by most of the
FBI team from Ruby Ridge," swore he did not fire into the church on April
19. But other FBI agents swore they heard fire from his position, and four
expended .308 shell casings were later found there.
At 9:02 a.m. On April 19, a Branch Davidian is spotted trying to exit the
building across the roof. "Falcon 2," an FBI helicopter, is seen
approaching in ground-level footage. It hovers, and muzzle flashes can be
seen from its port waist gun. Dr. Edward Allard, formerly of the U.S.
government's Night Vision Directorate, says his analysis shows at least
three, five-shot machine gun bursts. "It's indicative of a machine gun
firing 600 rounds per minute," he says. "It's impossible for these to be
Other close-range video -- not high-altitude footage -- clearly shows
full-sized machine guns in cradle mounts in the waist doors of the FBI
helicopters, which the government long swore were unarmed.
Branch Davidians Phillip Henry and Jimmy Riddle appear to have been shot
behind the building at this time. Neither had soot in their lungs or carbon
monoxide in their blood -- both died before the fire. An autopsy showed
half of Riddle's body torn away, which the medical examiner said could have
been consistent with "an encounter with a tank tread."
However, when the family re-opened Riddle's casket for a follow-up
examination of his fatal bullet wounds, the evidentiary portion of his
skull was missing. The widow says the local medical examiner was instructed
by Texas authorities and U.S. marshals not to release his autopsy results
to the family.
The film's researcher, Mike McNulty, tells me the most likely scenario is
that Henry and Riddle were shot behind the building by government agents
around 9 a.m. A lull followed, as the FBI pondered what to do. Them, closer
to noontime, their bodies were bulldozed back into the church dining room
by tanks, and the final government assault -- with machine guns and
incendiary grenades -- began in earnest.
Viewing the government's high-altitude infrared footage of the final
battle, Dr. Edward Allard, formerly of the U.S. government's Night Vision
Directorate, explains: "What we have here is a tank-infantry type of
operation. As the tank advances, two men have dropped out of the escape
hatch. They then roll over, and as they roll over they open up with
automatic gunfire. The shots occur at one-thirtieth of a second. There is
absolutely nothing in nature that can cause thermal flashes to occur in a
thirtieth of a second."
Dr. Allard reports he stopped counting the gunshots into the dining room
-- the last available escape route from the building after the fire broke
out -- "after 62 individual shots."
The filmmakers report Maurice Cox, a former analyst with the U.S.
intelligence community, determined that for an aircraft circling at 9,000
feet to pick up rhythmic flashes at a rate of 600 per minute from
"reflected sunlight" as the government claims, the reflective surfaces
would have to be placed in a precise array, and the aircraft would have to
be traveling at the absurd speed of Mach 1.8.
FBI officials have refused to respond to Cox's findings, and have dragged
their feet in the face of demands that they re-create the footage to see if
sunlight reflections can be made to look like the flashes in the
Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) footage. Absurdly, the FBI claims cameras
like the one used in 1993 can no longer be obtained.
Meantime, ground level footage -- not distant aerial shots -- clearly
show men in Kevlar army helmets firing projectiles from an M-79 grenade
launcher into the church's storm shelter the morning of the final assault.
Seconds later, white smoke pours from the shelter.
Although the government has consistently denied the Army's Combat
Applications Force -- the "Delta Force" -- was present at Waco, previously
classified Army documents reveal that four Delta Force "observers" were
deployed to Waco on March 21. Gene Cullen, a senior case officer with the
CIA's Special Forces Group, reports on camera he was "initially told they
would just be observers. But at (an April 14) CIA briefing, we were told
there were more than 10, and that they would be actively participating" in
the April 19 attack.
March Bell, who headed the staff of the last congressional investigation
into Waco, tells the filmmakers: "They were in the tanks and the sniper
posts. They were not giving advice back in some conference room -- they
were working shoulder to shoulder with the (FBI's) Hostage Rescue Team."
Rep. Stephen Buyer, R-Ind., explains that it is a federal crime -- a
violation of the Posse Comitatus Act -- to use any part of the Army or Air
Force "to enforce the law in this country."
But CIA agent Cullen says he met Delta Force operators in Europe who
"told me not only were they forward deployed at Waco, Texas, but they were
actually involved in a gunfight with the Branch Davidians."
Steven Barry, a retired Special Forces sergeant, concurs: "I did talk to
some Combat Applications Group guys, and they did confirm that, yes,
portions of B Squadron were there pulling triggers."
Most chilling of all, Sgt. Barry reports: "Their operators had penetrated
the building on several occasions, and on one occasion, late April 17 or
early on the 18th, they saw Koresh within six feet of them. They radioed
back to the Tactical Operations Center for permission to grab him, and
within minutes the word came back from the Justice Department, 'No, we
already have a plan in place,' that being what happened on April 19."
"People ask why we didn't let the children out," sobs Davidian survivor
Clive Doyle. "If they saw all that was happening, and they were there with
their children, would they have sent them out to the animals outside that
were shooting at them and doing all those terrible things? No. ... When
there was shooting going on it's kind of tongue in cheek to then turn and
say, 'Well, why didn't you come out?' "
Although the government long denied its agents fired any incendiary
projectiles into the church -- which was lined with hay bales against
government gunfire, heated with kerosene heaters after the government shut
off the electricity, and then flooded with combustible propellant for the
CS gas -- photographs taken after the fire clearly show a U.S. military
Mark 651 pyrotechnic CS gas projectile lying in the ashes.
When researcher McNulty finally broached the evidence room with the aid
of the Freedom of Information Act in 1998, the pyrotechnic devices visible
in those photographs were missing from the evidence boxes. But two
additional pyrotechnic 40mm devices were found. The film's investigators
also found -- mislabeled as gun parts or silencers -- six spent government
flash-bang grenades, which were recovered from the dining room, the chapel,
and the southwest corner of the building -- "all three points of origin of
Asked at a press conference whether she is embarrassed that independent
filmmakers could find this evidence, when the FBI had been unable to turn
it up in six years, Attorney General Janet Reno responds: "I'm not
embarrassed. I'm very, very upset."
At 12:10 p.m. on April 19 the overhead FLIR footage shows at least two
automatic weapons being fired into the rear of the dining room, the only
remaining undamaged exit from the now-burning building. According to a
Justice Department report, at least 15 people were found shot to death at
this location. The FBI conducted ballistic tests which the DOJ later termed
"inconclusive and rudimentary at best."
"I cannot remember anything more sickening" than watching that gunfire
into the building's last exit, comments Dr. Allard.
Asked whether the Davidian gunshot victims appeared to have committed
suicide, a former FBI forensic crime scene analyst who preferred to be
filmed only in silhouette responds: "The majority of people, the bodies
that I saw, were clear-cut homicide victims. ...I don't know who fired the
bullets into their bodies. So in fact what we have here is an open
Congressional investigator March Bell says the treatment of those bodies
was "very troubling. The bodies were preserved in a semi-frozen state in
two trailers for the purposes of investigation. For some reason those
trailers under the control of the FBI were allowed to not have any
electricity running to them and the bodies deteriorated beyond the point
where any sort of forensic evidence could be gathered. We were very
disturbed by that."
Indeed, the scene of the massacre was declared a "bio-hazard," and since
the FBI had predetermined this was a mass suicide, "The FBI investigators
were instructed to sift, wash, and bleach the evidence associated with the
bodies, destroying much of its evidentiary value."
The large hole in the roof of the concrete records vault where the women
and children were sheltering -- the rebar bent downwards as though from an
external blast -- has never been explained. Military explosives expert
Brig. Gen. Benton Partin, USAF retired, says "What it tells me is that you
had a demolition charge that went off on the roof."
The FBI bulldozed the "bunker" to rubble. Six years later, in 1999, when
Davidian attorneys were granted permission to recover the portion that
might bear traces of the explosive used, that portion of the bunker ceiling
was found to be missing. Gen. Partin concludes the rudimentary gunpowder
possessed by the Branch Davidians would not have been capable of blowing
that hole through six inches of reinforced concrete. Special Forces Sgt.
Steven Barry reports the damage inside the records vault was "consistent
with a shaped charge," as does retired USAF ordnance engineer Col. Jack
"In military operations, it's standard procedure to do this," Barry
explains, in order to reduce casualties among the attacking forces.
The FBI's White House contact during the Waco operation was presidential
aide Vince Foster, who committed suicide 90 days later. His widow told the
FBI that the Waco tragedy was "very high on his list of concerns." She says
he told the FBI he "believed everything was his fault," though Foster also
commented: "The FBI lied to me."
After his suicide, the White House kept the Department of Justice and the
Parks Police from reviewing Foster's files. Witnesses saw Maggie Williams
-- Hillary Clinton's chief of staff -- removing Waco files from Foster's
office. The staff was told "The contents of the box needed to be reviewed
by the First Lady."
Sgt. Barry of the Special Forces: "If the Special Combat Applications
Group were on the ground that day actually pulling triggers, the origin of
that operation would have come from the White House. It would have come
from the president. Because the Special Combat Applications Group is, for
all intents and purposes, the president's private army."
So: The ATF, the FBI, and the Army Combat Applications Group (the "Delta
Force" -- which can only have been dispatched to the scene by the special
authorization of William Jefferson Clinton) stand accused of murder at
Why are there still no trials?
"Waco: A New Revelation" is $30.90 postpaid. Dial 1-877-GET-WACO; or go
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