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Members of the Committee for Waco Justice will demonstrate at the U.S.
Capitol on Independence Avenue, west of New Jersey Avenue, on January 4,
1995 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. during the swearing in of congressional
The Committee is calling for the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to re-open congressional investigations into Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Federal Bureau of Investigation crimes against members of the Branch Davidian religious group in Waco, Texas. BATF and FBI actions led to the deaths of 82 Davidians, 56 of them women and children.
During the trial of eleven Branch Davidians, BATF and FBI agents revealed under oath information which had been hidden from Congress during 1993 hearings and in the Treasury and Justice Department official reports. Questions never asked or adequately answered include: Why did BATF conduct an illegal "no knock" entry and why didn't officials tell Congress agents had forgotten to bring the search and arrest warrants? Did BATF agents in helicopters fire down at the Davidians, killing three unarmed people, and leaving more than a hundred bullet holes in the roof and walls of the building, as Davidians claim, and attorney testimony and video evidence indicate? Did BATF agents mortally wound David Koresh's father-in-law at the front door and did medical examiners lie about his autopsy and purposely allow the body to decompose before the family could do an independent autopsy? Did BATF agents assassinate a possibly unarmed Davidian trying to return to Mount Carmel immediately after the raid? Did BATF and FBI agents, either explicitly or silently, conspire to sabotage negotiations so that they would have an excuse to destroy Mount Carmel and the bullet hole evidence of illegal and lethal BATF gunfire that could have resulted in long prison terms for more than a dozen BATF agents? Did the FBI purposely sabotage two planned Davidian surrenders on March 2 and March 22, 1993 and then tell the public and Congress that David Koresh had lied? What lies about Koresh's April 14, 1993 promise to surrender, the safety of CS gas, FBI agent fatigue, child abuse and Davidian defense plans did the FBI tell Attorney General Janet Reno to secure her approval of the April 19, 1993 gassing and demolition of Mount Carmel? On April 19th did the FBI purposely turn Mount Carmel into an inescapable firetrap by bulldozing exits and stairways and by pumping flammable gas mixed with flammable solvents into the building? Did agents use incendiary grenades to start any fires? Prosecutors proved to no one outside the government that Davidian weapons were illegal; did BATF or FBI agents tamper with legal Davidian guns to make them illegal or falsely claim that they were illegal?
During 1995 the Committee for Waco Justice will be working with other groups to mount a lobbying campaign to ensure Congress investigates and gets answers to these critical questions.
(NOTE: More than a dozen members showed up
and we distributed leaflets to a number of representatives and dozens of
PRESS RELEASE: COMMITTEE TO DEMONSTRATE AT BATF HEADQUARTERS ON ANNIVERSARY OF RAID ON BRANCH DAVIDIANS
Members of the Committee for Waco Justice will demonstrate at Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Headquarters at 650 Massachusetts Avenue from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 28 to commemorate the fatal February 28, 1993 BATF raid on the Branch Davidian religious group near Waco, Texas that resulted in the deaths of six Davidians and four agents. Evidence, including that presented during the Davidian trial, suggests that Davidians did not ambush BATF, that BATF agents fired first, from helicopters at the back of the building and at David Koresh at the front door, and that Davidians were forced to shoot back in self-defense. Some dead and many wounded agents probably were hit by "friendly fire."
Davidians Did Not "Ambush" BATF Agents
** David Koresh warned BATF's undercover agent that he knew BATF was "coming."
** At trial Davidians testifying for the prosecution made it clear Davidians were unprepared for a raid and had to hustle to find guns.
** Koresh told few Davidians a raid was imminent and told them not to shoot unless ordered.
** An unarmed David Koresh came to the front door, something no "ambusher" would do.
** Television video and newspaper photographs taken in the first minutes of the raid show little or no return gun fire of any kind coming from the Davidians. In fact, photos show BATF agents standing in the wide open and firing on the building.
** Davidians called "911" for help, something no "ambusher" would have done.
Agents Shot from Helicopters
** KWTX-TV news video proved that the helicopter pilots lied on the stand when they denied overflying Mount Carmel 20 minutes before the raid. Why they lied must be investigated.
** At trial pilots of the three helicopters, including the Blackhawk that carried eight agents, denied there was such firing, but their testimony lacks credibility because of the other lie. The judge severely restricted the defense's ability to call witnesses to testify about firing from helicopters.
** KWTX-TV news video shows bullets entering the roof of the second story room from almost directly overhead, even as aircraft can be heard flying above.
** Davidian survivors--including a Davidian prosecution witness--allege that agents in helicopters fired at them as they arrived at the north side of the building and passed back and forth over the building several times, still firing, puncturing the walls and ceilings with over 100 bullet holes.
** Davidians called "911" one minute after the start of the attack and can be heard yelling that helicopters flying overhead are shooting at them. One yells, "Another chopper with more people, more guns going off. They're firing. That's them, not us."
** Davidian attorneys Col. Jack Zimmermann and Dick DeGuerin, who entered Mount Carmel after the raid, said they saw what clearly were bullet holes entering the ceiling of the four story tower and other roofs and walls from the sky.
** If Mount Carmel had survived and the American people had learned of this murderous shooting from helicopters, which Davidians allege killed three men and a woman, a number of BATF agents would have been prosecuted. FBI agents may have conspired, silently or explicitly, with BATF agents to sabotage negotiations through lies and harassment in order to give FBI agents an excuse to gas and demolish the building and its incriminating evidence.
Agents Shot First at the Front Door
** Davidians allege that BATF shot first as the unarmed David Koresh stood at the front door. The shots injured Koresh and mortally wounded his also unarmed father-in-law Perry Jones.
* At trial the agents who ran at the front door gave testimony that not only conflicted with each others' testimony, but was different from testimony they gave Texas Rangers before they spoke to Treasury agents and prosecutors.
** Texas Rangers admitted that the half of the front door which allegedly had been hit by the most gunfire from the outside was missing. Photographs taken during the fire showed that tanks had dragged both doors well away from the building so they were not incinerated.
** Davidians claim Perry Jones was hit in the stomach by that first barrage of bullets. (A Davidian prosecution witness confirms he was wounded.) However, the medical examiner and Treasury report describe no such wounds for Jones, who allegedly committed suicide with one shot to the mouth on February 28th. (Medical examiners assured Jones' family and attorney the body was in cold storage for an independent autopsy. However, in October of 1994 they revealed the body had been unfrozen for six months and had been consumed by maggots.)
** Right after the raid BATF announced it had video tape of the first minutes of the raid. BATF never presented such video evidence, claiming BATF equipment in both the helicopters and the undercover house failed during the raid.
Agents Hit By "Friendly Fire"
** Agents admitted at trial that there was indiscriminate shooting from the undercover house 300 yards south of Mount Carmel and that agents exiting one cattle trailer shot up a BATF truck.
** At trial one agent admitted that he probably shot the bullet taken from another agent wounded in the second story arms room.
** Two agents were killed on the roof in the area where KWTX-TV video shows that helicopters had been shooting. Autopsy results indicate those agents were shot from above.
** No agency tried to determine whether Davidian or BATF bullets wounded agents.
** There were several news reports of "friendly fire" right after the raid, before BATF put a gag order on all its agents.
The Committee for
Waco Justice is working for re-opening of congressional hearings and the
appointment of an Independent Counsel to investigate fully BATF and FBI
crimes against the Branch Davidians. We also support new, fair
trials for the Davidian prisoners. Please contact us for more information
or for a copy of our 20 page "Questions for Congress about `Waco'."
(Note: More than a dozen individuals showed up for the demonstration.)
WACO UPDATE--APRIL 21, 1995
Member, Committee for Waco Justice
Committee members were very upset that the second anniversary of the deaths of the Davidians were marred by the terrible events in Oklahoma City–and the fact that people wondered if the bombing was related to Waco–or even done by Branch Davidians. Never the less, we did our best to remind the world of the crimes against the people who lived at Mount Carmel.
CROSSES ON THE ELLIPSE
From April 15-19 the Committee for Waco Justice erected 82 crosses, held a larger banner depicting the destruction of Mount Carmel, and flew a large Davidian flag. A photograph of a member planting a cross was distributed by Associated Press.
We experienced harassment from the Park Police on April 17th, the date of the Easter Egg roll on the South Lawn of the White House. Park Police grabbed some of our signs, a "Don't Tread on Me" flag and a back pack as "abandoned property" because we were more than 3 feet away from them. Police could clearly see that we were unloading our displays and one member was only 10 feet away. On the afternoon of April 19th the Secret Service softball team invaded the quarter of the Ellipse that we had the permit for, claiming they had a permit for the same time--two hard faced Park Police read our permit, but told us that they would not ask the Secret Service to leave our area (which we did not request since we were leaving anyway) because they allegedly had a permit too. We will be filing complaint letters.
Otherwise, it was a good educational event for the thousands of people passing by, many of whom were supportive. And for five days President Clinton and his staff had to face the fact that they were responsible for the deaths of so many innocent people.
WAR TAX RESISTERS DONATE TO WACO JUSTICE
On Monday, April 17th, during a protest at the Internal Revenue Service Headquarters in D.C., War Tax Resisters resisted $50 of resisted tax money to the Committee for Waco Justice for our "In Memoriam" to the Branch Davidians ad in the Washington Times. Accepting the money for the group, Carol Moore told the pacifist crowd that they must resist taxes paid for violence against civilians and encouraged them to overcome their prejudices and teach non-violent resistance to "right-wing," Christian fundamentalist and militia group members. The message got a good response, including from some who admitted in the past they merely had condemned such people for not being aware of or trained in non-violent resistance.
NOON FBI PRESS CONFERENCE AND DEMONSTRATION
The event was held to commemorate the second anniversary of the FBI massacre of the Branch Davidians and focused on domestic terrorism. Since it was timed at the noon hour it attracted lots of press coverage.
Speakers included Balenda Gamen, mother of Davidian survivor David Thibodeau, Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America, Ron Lessard of the Leonard Peltier Freedom Campaign, Debbie Green of the human rights lobbying group Ross & Green, Kit Gage of Nat. Committee Against Repressive Legislation, Thomas of the Peace Park/Proposition One group. The most dramatic moment was when Balenda Gamen turned towards the FBI offices and angrily berated them for gassing and killing Davidian women, children and men. Besides passerby and speakers, the event attracted a crowd of about 30 activists, half from the Committee for Waco Justice or libertarian groups.
Needless to say, the press kept asking if Davidians were involved in the Oklahoma bombing, which we steadfastly denied, noting that the government had killed most Davidians, imprisoned 9 and most of the rest were older women. Larry Pratt had the best response to the bombing: some one has stooped to the level of the FBI.
Carol Moore personal note here: A kind of political split which is inevitable through all the "Waco Justice" movement evidenced itself during planning for this event. Press conference coordinator/permit holder C. Valentine (a conspiracy theorist of unknown ideological bent), who had assured us in two meetings and by phone that this was a "cooperative event," suddenly declared that she was in total control and canceled the Committee's speaker (me), telling us by e-mail she felt our mostly libertarian group didn't have broad appeal and making unfair personal attacks on members.
Libertarians, of course, defend Davidians' rights to freely practice their religion, to own, buy and sell what weapons they choose, to have their foreign guests stay as long as they like, to allow teenage Davidian girls take husbands, to allow men or women to have more than one spouse. And we strongly condemn the government's dubious excuses to issue its warrants, it's power-driven motivations for serving them with a paramilitary raid, and the deep involvement of the military allowed by the unjust and unnecessary "war on drugs." We wonder what part of our message was being censored as not having a broad appeal.
Even more disturbing, Valentine at the last moment declared by e-mail she did not want the Committee to do our long-planned Davidian prisoners protest/photo-op (individuals wearing stars of David with prisoners names and sentences on them and wearing prisoners' numbers of their arms). She claimed the "verboten" protest/photo op would be disruptive and we would be crashing "her" event. She warned she would be reporting any possible disrupters to D.C. police. Needless to say, a number of speakers and participants were shocked to learn about Valentine's behavior.
After we discovered Ms. Valentine had lied in claiming she had an exclusive permit, and discussed our First Amendment rights with D.C. police, members of the Committee did distribute stars to approximately 20 attendees who wore them. No other participants expressed the slightest objection to a dozen of us wearing the stars of David in support of the prisoners joining in a quick group photo for ourselves and the press.
The important lesson here is that we must not *placate* those who try to co-opt important occasions to promote their personal agenda, whatever it may be--especially those who threaten to enforce their agenda with the implicit or actual threat of police action. Next year hopefully we will use a more open and democratic process to create an event which does true honor to the memory of those who stubbornly asserted their right to religious and personal liberty.
EVENING FBI HEADQUARTERS PROTEST
Twenty members of the Committee for Waco Justice and others engaged in hearty chants of FREE THE BRANCH DAVIDIANS, WACO MASSACRE, NEVER AGAIN, JANET RENO, YOU'RE NO HERO, HEY HEY HO HO, FBI (JANET RENO) (LOUIS FREEH) HAS GOT TO GO, and IMPRISON (the whole rogue gallery of FBI agents and officials). We also had very moving readings of excerpts from the Davidians' allocutions at trial in which they defend their religious beliefs and condemn both the BATF and FBI actions against them and their unjust trial and sentencing.
UPCOMING CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS
Yes, there will be more in depth hearings on BATF abuses in the House Judiciary Committee. However, to make sure they concentrate on what BATF did to the Davidians, we will have to put pressure on Congress. (Getting hearings on FBI crimes will be much more difficult.) The hearings will be held by the full House Judiciary Committee in May.
Write or call and demand the hearings focus on crimes against the Davidians:
END OF APRIL 21, 1995 UPDATE
PRESS RELEASE, APRIL 24, 1995: COMMITTEE CONDEMNS OKLAHOMA BOMBING, CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION OF WACO MASSACRE TO HEAL AMERICA
Members of the Committee for Waco Justice condemn the bombing of the federal
building in Oklahoma City and all such acts of violence to protest injustice
or further political goals. In attacking innocent people, the bombers
could not right the wrongs done by the federal government against the Branch
Davidians, a peaceful group of people who were no threat to themselves
or their neighbors and community. We feel as badly for the victims
of the Oklahoma bombing as we do for victims of the April 19, 1993 gas
and tank attack outside Waco, Texas.
The Committee for Waco Justice is working to expose the systematic coverup of the federal massacre of the Branch Davidians. We believe only a complete investigation of these crimes by an Independent Counsel can begin healing America of the divisions caused by the Waco massacre and exacerbated by the Oklahoma City bombing. The Waco massacre in no way justifies the Oklahoma City bombing, but neither does the bombing justify deriding the legitimate concerns of millions of Americans about the Waco massacre.
The Committee condemns all attempts, by government or private parties, to meet violence with violence. We will oppose all attempts by the federal government to use this bombing as an excuse to further deprive Americans of our liberties.
The Committee urges the press, the public and federal officials to recognize the terrible facts that have alienated so many Americans: In July of 1992 David Koresh explicitly invited Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms' investigators to inspect his weapons. Despite Davidians' clear willingness to cooperate, on February 28, 1993 76 BATF agents, firing automatic weapons--including from helicopters--and throwing flash-bang grenades, raided the Davidians' home and church, Mount Carmel Center. Evidence suggests nervous agents shot first, causing Davidians to fire back in self-defense. Six mostly unarmed Davidians and four armed BATF agents died.
David Koresh, BATF and the FBI knew that if Mount Carmel, whose bullet-ridden roofs and walls contained evidence of illegal fire from helicopters, was left standing, Davidians might be acquitted and BATF agents prosecuted. It is possible BATF and FBI agents conspired, either silently or explicitly, to destroy the building, its incriminating evidence and its dozens of defiant witnesses. For 51 days the FBI sabotaged negotiations by refusing to allow the Davidians to consult attorneys or deal with third party negotiators who would ensure the FBI would not destroy evidence of BATF crimes. The FBI harassed Davidians through destruction of their property, shining of bright lights, blaring of loud music and violent sounds, and terrifying helicopter overflights and fake tank rammings.
On April 19, 1993, despite the groups' very credible promise to exit in a few days, after David Koresh finished writing a religious tract, the FBI conducted a vicious gas and tank assault that killed 76 Davidians. Mounting evidence suggests that FBI commanders systematically created a fire hazard by injecting into the building gallons of flammable CS gas dissolved in flammable methylene chloride solvent. Commanders ordered tanks to smash away at the building--even though they knew it was filled with dozens of gallon containers of lantern fuel as well as lighted lanterns. Tanks also collapsed half the gymnasium and all three stairwells and smashed in exits and hallways, preventing most Davidians from escaping the fire.
President Clinton immediately began to promote the lie that Davidians committed "mass suicide" and murdered their own children. He is repeating that lie to this day. Attorney General Janet Reno and the United States Congress conducted investigations that were little more than whitewashes and coverups. No agents or officials even were interviewed under oath.
U.S. attorneys who prosecuted Davidian survivors participated in the withholding of and destruction of evidence of BATF and FBI crimes. And trial Judge Walter J. Smith sentenced nine Davidians to 243 years, despite jurors' assertions they believed Davidians should receive only time served for what jurors thought were the "minor" charges on which they found Davidians guilty.
Besides calling for an Independent Counsel investigation, the Committee for Waco Justice recommends a full Congressional investigation of the abuses of Americans' rights by federal law enforcement--particularly BATF and the FBI. We also call for full pardons for the Davidian prisoners. We will continue to work non-violently towards the goal of healing America through disseminating the truth about the massacre of 82 Branch Davidians.
PRESS RELEASE, JUNE 1, 1995: FORMER BATF DIRECTOR CALLS FOR MURDER CHARGES AGAINST BATF AGENTS WHO KILLED DAVIDIANS FROM HELICOPTERS
Stephen E. Higgins, former Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and
Firearms, declared on national television that if BATF agents in three
helicopters indiscriminately fired upon and killed Branch Davidians during
the February 28, 1993 BATF raid, they should be prosecuted for murder.
Higgins, who approved the raid and was later dismissed for mistakes in
judgement, said he does not believe agents fired from helicopters.
Higgins appeared on the May 31, 1995 "Mitchells in the Morning" cable television show on the National Empowerment Television network. He was asked the question by another guest, Carol Moore, a member of the Committee for Waco Justice and author of "The Massacre of the Branch Davidians," to be published in July by Gun Owners of America.
When pressed by Ms. Moore about whether agents should receive murder charges should Congress during July Waco hearings discover agents did kill four people with gunfire from helicopters, as Davidians claim, Mr. Higgins replied: "Absolutely. If they fire at someone who was not firing at them or pointing a weapon at them it would absolutely be murder. The rules of the federal government and other law enforcement officials are that you can only fire when you are trying to save your own life or lives of other innocent people." Higgins went on to say that he hopes Congress will call the helicopter pilots and the BATF agents in the helicopters and question them on whether anyone fired from the helicopters.
Evidence that agents did in fact fire comes from surviving Davidians who have testified, including at trial, to having seen the helicopters firing or having seen bullet holes in the highest ceilings that only could have come from the sky. A few minutes into the "911" tapes made on February 28, 1993, Davidians cry out, "Another chopper with more people; more guns going off. They're firing. That's them, not us." Davidian attorneys Dick DeGuerin and Jack Zimmermann, who entered Mount Carmel during the siege, also have stated, including at trial, that they saw clear evidence of such shooting and of the deaths caused by it. KWTX-TV video of agents on the roof taken during the raid shows bullets entering the roof from almost directly overhead. Finally, at trial helicopter pilots denied they circled Mount Carmel before the raid, while a KWTX-TV reporter and a cameraman testified they did so. This casts doubt on the pilots' assertions there was no firing.
The Committee for Waco Justice calls for full airing of this issue during upcoming Congressional hearings. Davidians who witnessed the gunfire and other crimes by federal agents should be called to testify. For more information contact the numbers above.
WACO UPDATE--JUNE 22, 1995
Member, Committee for Waco Justice
In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, there was massive press interest–often of a negative type–in "Waco" and those active to expose crimes against the Branch Davidians. Congress also confirmed it would be holding Waco hearings in July.
THE CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS
There is no doubt there would have been Congressional hearings on BATF/FBI actions against the Branch Davidians. However, the Oklahoma City bombing put such a spotlight on the government's actions that, in my opinion, it gave the most hardcore representatives and their staff members the political impetus to do the kind of hearings we need to get to the truth. The staff members of the joint House subcommittees of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Government Reform and Oversight committee seem committed to uncovering enough evidence of crimes by BATF/FBI–and coverup of those crimes by the Treasury/Justice Departments and the Clinton White House--to force the appointment of an Independent Counsel.
The subcommittees have subpoenaed some heavy duty information: the Defense Department's involvement; FBI intelligence; White House communications; negotiation tapes and records; pyrotechnic and incendiary devices used; the type of weapons found at Mount Carmel and their disposition after the fire. They will be bringing one or more Davidian survivors to the stand. And rumor has it they will be putting agents and officials under oath this time. If they let the committee counsel ask the follow up questions, **then** we'll know they are serious.
The most critical House members and their staff members received a late draft version of my book The Davidian Massacre as have members of the press and a number of pro-truth lobbyists. I myself met with the staff counsel directing the investigation and presented him with important information and resources and contacts.
The question is--will the Congressional members of the House Judiciary Committee have the guts to ask the questions of agents and officials, especially of the Congressionally popular FBI, that will reveal the existence of errors and crimes: the decision to go ahead with a raid despite Koresh's invitation to inspect the weapons and the possible existence of illegal plans for a military-style assault; on February 28, 1993, shooting from helicopters that killed 4 Davidians, mortal wounding of the unarmed Perry Jones at the front door and the coverup of his wounds, the probable assassination; during the siege the continual sabotage of negotiations, including promises by Koresh and other Davidians to exit, the destruction of evidence outside the building of FBI crimes, the FBI lies to Janet Reno about negotiations, health dangers and flammability of CS gas, child abuse, etc.; and the crimes on April 19, 1993, exaggeration or downright lies about the Davidians firing at tanks, the refusal to negotiate--despite Davidians requests, systematic creation of a fire trap, the decision to speed up demolition of the building, and ramming away at it until it caught fire, any use of pyrotechnic devices, the plowing of evidence into the fire.
One way to make sure they do is to call or write your Representative and tell them that you want the House Judiciary Committee to ask the hard questions that are necessary to see to the appointment of an Independent Counsel.
During May I was on several radio shows, including the Curtis Sliwa (Guardian Angels) and the liberal PBS Diane Rehm show with a representative of the ACLU, Henry Ruth who reviewed the Treasury Report and Dr. Phil Arnold. (Ian Goddard and Alan Forschler were on several radio shows in D.C. and Texas.) I was quoted twice in Washington Post and in USA Today talking about what a traumatic experience it was for Americans to see the tanks smashing up a home. As reported in detail in earlier posts, I was on the May 5th "Nightline" speaking about the fire at Mount Carmel. The whole Committee for Waco Justice appeared on the May 17th PBS "McNeil Lehrer Report."
On 5/18 I appeared with Davidian survivor Clive Doyle and former member David Bunds–plus anti-"cult" hatemonger Marcia Rudin and FBI former honcho Buck Revell--on the "Ernie Anastasis" cable talk show. Clive Doyle spoke out on a lot of issues like the trial and the negotiations and on things Biblical: how the American revolution was fought by religious people with guns, and how there are a lot of strange people commanded by God in the Bible to do strange things, and how the God of love in the Bible is not the only one. I was pretty forceful and even argumentative talking repeatedly about excessive force, the helicopter attack and sabotage of negotiations, destruction of evidence and about systematic coverup of crimes and defending need for congressional hearings. Said "cult awareness groups" are really "cult destruction groups." And when Buck Revell started accusing Davidians of starting fire, I made it clear that FBI purposely engaged in systematic creation of a firetrap. Revell asks incredulously, "Who is this person? Where is she getting her information."
As reported, on May 31st I was on the "Mitchells in the Morning" cable talk show with Stephen Higgins, former director of BATF who OK'd the attack on you all. They left me alone with him for 25 minutes beforehand, even as a cartoon of the life of Christ played on TV! We got into a discussion of violence and I congratulated BATF on teaching school kids about non-violent conflict resolution (like I saw on TV couple months ago.) He took credit for that, and then I had to comment, "Too bad you didn't teach that to your agents!" Then I talked about how having being in left and right wing groups, I knew men in America talk a lot about doing aggressive violence and I have to always lecture them on non-violence. Then said, of course, there's little credible evidence Davidians ever talked about anything but self-defense.
Talked about my interest in teaching disgruntled Americans and the militias' effectiveness of non-violent action--and then said, for example, I think it would be a great idea if they all chained themselves to the front of all the BATF buildings around the country next February 28th! He grimaced like he thought it was a good idea--i.e., compared to some of the alternatives we've seen lately! Told him that the Davidians themselves seemed forgiving but most believed God has pretty much decided who's going to hell or not--admitted since I'm not a believer, I guess I know what category I'm in. And you can bet he knew which one he was in. :-)
Once we got on the show, I let the truthful accusations fly. I immediately went into all evidence of firing from helicopters. He said the joke around BATF is that if there was firing from helicopters, it was from agents shooting at supervisors trying to open up the chain of command! (A caller later castigated him for this "joke.")
As we in our press release, when I pressed Higgins about whether agents should receive murder charges should Congress during July Waco hearings discover agents did kill four people with gunfire from helicopters, Mr. Higgins replied: "Absolutely. If they fire at someone who was not firing at them or pointing a weapon at them it would absolutely be murder. The rules of the federal government and other law enforcement officials are that you can only fire when you are trying to save your own life or lives of other innocent people." Higgins went on to say that he hopes Congress will call the helicopter pilots and the BATF agents in the helicopters and question them on whether anyone fired from the helicopters. Maybe all my talk about non-violence made him feel he had to be hardcore--or maybe that was his attitude all along and that's why agents knew they had to destroy the evidence!
Higgins also claimed that 2/28 there were numerous times when BATF agents would say, "I've got a Davidian in sight, can I shoot?" Supervisor told them, "no, not if you can't see a gun. You can't fire." I replied I'd never seen anything like that in Treasury report or trial transcript.
I also asked if there was a covered up written plan to get military assistance and got him to admit "there was a written plan to get that support." That there were written memos and no coverup-but Pate and other investigators haven't been able to get a hold of them yet. Tried to get an answer on whether they requested armored vehicles to attack you again 2/28 but the moderator cut me off. ARGH! Also got into Koresh's inviting BATF to visit and the possibility that BATF fabricated the allegedly illegal weapons found--including Michael Schroeder's in the white van. (Like he'd just leave one in an unlocked van with all those kids around!) Anyway, after it was all over I said to him, "Steve, those agents really lied to you and faked you out. If I was you I'd a kicked their butts." He says, "Well, I'm not in that job anymore, so I can't kick their butts." Interesting response. Then he wandered off muttering something about the freedom of retirement.
Right now the liberal press is beginning to realize that they missed out on a big story and is playing catch up. I've spend several hours with reporters for two of biggest papers in country and given them my book and they are sincerely looking for the truth. And we haven't even begun our media campaign yet. If things go the way they did after the OK City incident, we'll be to busy fighting off the press to take the initiative!
JUNE 4TH GUN RALLY
On June 4th was the Gun Rally at Lincoln Memorial. The crowd was one half of that of last year--and hardly any one wore "I am the militia" t-shirts, unlike last year. All scared off, I guess. But they had some excellent speakers--lots of women and blacks--from militia and gun groups. These included Sheriff Mack who's challenging Brady Bill; Carolyn Trochman of Montana militia who was very involved in helping the Weavers; Gordon Liddy and Kirk Lyons who is directing the Cause Foundation's civil suits for Branch Davidian victims; a woman who had to leave her gun in car at Luby's restaurant in Texas so she could not save her parents who were killed by a gunman; Lenora Fulani, black woman who's run for president several times. J.J. Johnson, an black spokesperson for Ohio militia who very entertaining as he kept asking if he looked like an angry white male. It was all broadcast on C-SPAN.
I also spoke at the rally with members of the Committee for Waco Justice behind me holding up our big banner of burning of Mount Carmel and a Star of David flag.
I told the story about Steve Higgins saying agents in helicopters should be prosecuted if there's evidence they killed; called for Congress to make sure they asked agents those questions publicly; outlined 2/28, sabotage of negotiations, tank attack and quoted Davidian Brad Branch on CNN during fire saying, "This is a systematic character assassination by the FBI to eliminate all of the crime scene. What they're doing is, they're destroying the crime scene. This is the biggest lie ever put before the American people! Bill Clinton wants to use a scapegoat. I don't buy it!" And got big cheer when said none of us buy Clinton's big lies.
Then talked about the living victims--the prisoners and read from their allocutions before sentencing. I then called for prosecutions galore and said we have to fight for justice and freedom and ended with four rousing cheers from the crowd of FREE THE BRANCH DAVIDIANS.
JUNE 16TH PRESS CONFERENCE ON ANNIVERSARY OF DAVIDIAN
On Friday, June 16th 15 members of the Committee for Waco Justice, the Fully Informed Jury Association, the Coalition Against Political Imprisonment and the Libertarian Party-D.C. held a press conference outside Attorney General Janet Reno's office which attracted 25 press and got national wire service coverage. Speakers included: Carol Moore, Alan Forschler, member of the Fully Informed Jury Association, Mauri Saalakhan, convener of the Coalition Against Political Imprisonment and Gene Cisewski, Chair of the Libertarian Party-D.C.
Committee members staged a "Davidian Prisoners Photo Op" posing in drab prison-like garb and wearing stars of David and the prisoners' I.D. numbers on their arms. "Prisoners" also flew a large Star of David flag like that which flew over Mount Carmel during the 51 day siege.
In June of 1994, after a trial marred by prosecutorial and judicial misconduct, jurors found Davidians innocent of the most serious charges of conspiracy to murder and murder. However, over the objections of several jurors, trial Judge Walter J. Smith, sentenced eight Davidians to a total of 240 years. Six Davidians currently are appealing.
In July of 1994 the Committee for Waco Justice filed complaints about prosecutorial misconduct with the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility which are currently being investigated by that office. The Committee will be filing an updated complaint, based on our reading of the trial transcript, in the near future. In 1994 the Committee also filed a complaint with the Clerk of the U.S. District Court regarding judicial misconduct by Judge Smith.
Speakers called for justice for the Davidian prisoners and for all unjustly imprisoned and sentenced political prisoners and for jurors to be fully informed of their rights to judge the law and to be apprized of the potential sentences which defendants face.
END UPDATE JUNE 22, 1995
PRESS RELEASE: PRESS CONFERENCE AND BRIEFING TO OUTLINE ALLEGED BATF/FBI CRIMES AGAINST BRANCH DAVIDIANS
Members of the Committee for Waco Justice, with the Ross & Green consulting
group, the Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and Gun Owners
of America will sponsor a press conference and briefing Tuesday, July 18
at the National Press Club, 529 14th Street N.W. These events are
being held to provide the press with viewpoints from Branch Davidian survivors,
as well as independent experts and survivors, about the government's actions
against the Branch Davidians and the Congressional hearings which begin
July 19. The press conference will run from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
The press briefing will run from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Participating in the 2:00 p.m. press conference will be James Pate, the Soldier of Fortune writer who covered the Waco incident and has exposed the military's involvement in planning; Annetta Richards, a Davidian survivor who will speak about the February 28, 1993 raid; and Richard Gardiner, an attorney who assisted in the writing of the appeal for Davidian prisoner Jaime Castillo. For more information about the press conference contact Nancy Ross at 202/638-4858.
Participating in the 3:00 p.m. press briefing will be Nancy Ross and Debbie Green of Ross & Green, who will speak about the negative influence of anti-cult groups; Larry Pratt, Director of Gun Owners of America and John Synder of the Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, who will speak on BATF abuses; and Davidian survivors Gladys Ottman, Annetta Richards and Sheila Martin, who will speak on their experiences at Mount Carmel. Books, articles, and videos relevant to the issue will be made available at this time.
PRESS RELEASE, AUGUST 2, 1995: COMMITTEE CALLS FOR INDEPENDENT COUNSEL, PROSECUTIONS AND FIRINGS
In the wake of the House Joint Committee hearings into federal actions
at Waco, members of the Committee for Waco Justice call for Congress to
appoint an Independent Counsel to investigate White House, Justice and
Treasury Department obstruction of justice in the coverup of crimes by
agents and officials of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF)
and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that led to the 1993 deaths
of 82 Branch Davidians. We call for prosecution, firing, and/or loss
of pensions of all responsible agents and officials.
The Waco Hearings have revealed one unprecedented Justice Department memoranda that explicitly calls for ending interviews of BATF agents to prevent the creation of evidence that might help Davidian defendants. BATF's unprecedented destruction of files of two fired, and then rehired, BATF agents suggests coverup of BATF agent crimes.
The Committee will issue a report before the upcoming Senate Waco hearings on the lies and inconsistencies of Justice, Treasury, BATF and FBI agents and officials regarding: the February 28, 1993 killings of six Davidians, including from firing from helicopters; FBI sabotage of negotiations; FBI agent lies and withholding of information from FBI and Justice Department officials regarding the April 19, 1993 gas and tank attack; FBI agent destruction of, and possible fabrication of, evidence, possibly including illegal weapons.
Below is but a partial list of individuals who should be investigated for some or all of the following: Conspiracy against the Rights of Citizens, Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law, Obstruction of Justice, Intentional and Negligent Homicide, Voluntary Manslaughter, Aiding and Abetting Voluntary Manslaughter, Providing False Information to Law Enforcement, Perjury, and other violations of law and bureau or department policies.
Former and current Treasury Department officials: Lloyd Bentsen, John P. Simpson, Roger Altman, Ronald K. Noble, Robert P. Cesca, Lewis C. Merletti, H. Geoffrey Moulton, Jr., David L. Douglas, Michael Langan, Jack DeVore, Christopher Cuyler.
Former and current BATF officials: John McGaw, Stephen Higgins, Daniel Hartnett, Edward Conroy, David Troy, Jack Killorin.
BATF agents: Phillip Chojnacki, Chuck Sarabyn, Pete Mastin, Jim Cavanaugh, Bill Buford, Curtis Williams, Gerald Petrilli, Ted Royster, Earl Dunagan, Davy Aguilera, Robert Rodriquez, Rolland Ballesteros, Eric Evers, Kris Mayfield, Kevin Richardson, Robert Champion, Clay Alexander, Timothy Gabourie, Kenneth King, Gary Orchowski, Keith Constantino, Glen Jordan, Wayne Appelt, Jimmy Brigance, Roger Gutherie, James Mazzon, Darrell Dyer, all unnamed agents in the Blackhawk helicopter February 28, 1993.
Former and current Justice Department officials and attorneys: Janet Reno, Stuart M. Gerson, Webster Hubbell, Richard Scruggs, Carl Stern, Mark Richard, John C. Keeney, Robert M. McNamara, Ronald Ederer, Bill Johnston, John Phinizy, LeRoy Jahn, Ray Jahn.
Former and current FBI officials: Louis Freeh, William S. Sessions, Floyd Clarke, Doug Gow, Larry Potts, Danny Coulson, E. Michael Kahoe.
Former and current FBI agents: Jeff Jamar, Byron Sage, Richard M. Rogers, Robert Ricks, Richard Schwein, Richard Swensen, Gary Noesner, Clint Van Zandt, Anthony Betz, James Cadigan, Michael Toulouse, Thomas G. Rowan, Garry Harris, Lon Horiuchi, John Morrison, James Atherton, Kenneth Vincent, Henry Garcia, James McGee, David Johnson, R.J. Craig, Buck Revell, Wallace Higgins, Matthew Gravel and two unnamed surveillance monitors.
Others: Marc Breault, David Jewell, Edward S. G. Dennis, Jr., Dr. Harry Salem, Paul Gray, James Quintiere, U.S. District Judge Walter J. Smith, Medical Examiners Nizaam Peerwani and Marc Krouse, Bradley Rogans, Paul Ginsburg, Texas National Gaurd helicopter pilots Jerry Seagraves, Doyle Stone and Bryan Dickson, unnamed members of the McClellan County Sheriff's office, Texas Rangers, Texas National Gaurd and U.S. military.
Joint House Committee member Representative Frederick Heineman said at the hearings, "We as a Congress are on trial here. We have to be credible to the people. Because if we are not credible about the oversight of government agencies, then who is?" Committee members believe that only appointment of an Independent Counsel and prosecution and firing of the perpetrators can begin to heal an America deeply divided by the greatest federal massacre in America since the 1890 massacre of 300 Native Americans at Wounded Knee.
PRESS RELEASE, OCTOBER 24, 1995: COMMITTEE CHARGES CONGRESS CONDONES MASS MURDER BY FEDERAL AGENTS
Members of the Committee for Waco Justice, having reviewed the Congressional hearings on federal agents' actions against the Branch Davidians and the Weaver family, believe that the United States Congress is more interested in upholding the credibility of federal agents than in protecting citizens against mass murder by rogue agents and their irresponsible supervisors. Members demand that the Senate Judiciary Committee in its October 31-November 1 Waco hearings take the following actions:
Review credible evidence that BATF agents did fire from helicopters, killing
four Davidians, and lied about it to investigators and Congress to protect
themselves from prosecution for murder.
* Review credible evidence that six BATF agents admitted other BATF agents shot first at the front door and then changed their stories; and evidence that the unarmed Davidian Perry Jones was mortally wounded by those shots and that this has been covered up.
* Review credible evidence that BATF agents assassinated Davidian Michael Schroeder as he attempted to return to Mount Carmel.
* Dissect every BATF lie: for example, that Davidians used .50 caliber weapons, when the FBI admitted not one such spent shell was found on the entire site; or that agent Gerald Petrilli was hit by a grenade, when at trial he admitted he did not know what hit him and that it might have been buckshot.
* Review open admissions by FBI agent Byron Sage withheld information about David Koresh's promise-to-surrender letter and agent Jeff Jamar withheld his 99% certainty that Davidians would fire on tanks. FBI and Justice Department officials admitted to Congress had they know of these fact and opinions, they might not have approved the April 19 attack.
* Review credible evidence that FBI agents heard suspicious (though not definitive) Davidian conversations about pouring and spreading fuel but continued their attack anyway.
* Review credible evidence that the tank which ripped out the first floor, south east corner knocked over a lamp on the second floor, starting a wind-whipped fire which, fed by flammable CS gas and stored flammable fuels, zipped through the building in seconds.
* Order a truly independent x-ray examination of all allegedly illegal Davidian weapons in order to discover if the FBI is falsely claiming that some or all of them are illegal. (FBI weapons expert James Cadigan, who was discredited during the Weaver hearings, was the FBI expert who analyzed the Davidians' weapons and testified at trial.)
* Investigate FBI agent Eugene Glenn's admission during the Weaver hearings that FBI investigator Robert Matthews stated the government's Waco investigation was a "whitewash."
* Ask Janet Reno: about Treasury and Justice Department memos which sought to stop production of evidence that might help Davidian defendants; for a definitive answer about whether she knew the FBI would proceed quickly to demolition of the building if fired upon; what she discussed with Bill Clinton at 11:00 Eastern Time April 19, 1993.
The Committee demands: that Congress appoint an independent counsel to
investigate the Justice and Treasury Departments' coverup of crimes by
federal agents ranging from intentional homicide to obstruction of justice;
federal prosecution of culpable agents and officials; and release of all
relevant exculpatory information to six Davidians appealing their unjust
sentences totalling 195 years.
WACO UPDATE–DECEMBER 4, 1995
Member, Committee for Waco Justice
Author, The Davidian Massacre
CRITICAL MONTH FOR DAVIDIAN CIVIL SUITS
Attorneys for the Davidian civil suits--the Kirk Lyons of the Cause Foundation working with Houston's Caddell & Conwell and Ramsey Clark working with McQuaig & Solomon--had a hearing in Houston, November 29. In it the Judge said she is still trying to decide whether the case should be tried in the Waco District--where it would be tried by Judge Walter Smith who messed over the Davidian prisoners and already dismissed on civil suit--or by herself in the Houston District. She seemed quite impatient with the government's excuses about why it could not produce requested materials.
Whoever takes the case, the first issue will be the government's demand the whole case be dismissed since most cases are related to deaths from the April 19, 1993 fire and the government claims the Davidians started the fire and it was "mass suicide." Decisions should be upcoming in the next month or so on both issues.
TEXANS WANT TO TAKE DAVIDIAN MASSACRE TO GRAND
Texan Jack DeVault, author of THE WACO WHITEWASH about the Davidian trial, reveals that Texas law strengthens Texan's common law right to bring evidence of crimes to grand juries. He intends to amass sufficient evidence of BATF and FBI murders of Davidians and find an attorney who will present it to a Grand Jury. This certainly will be easier once House hearings information is revealed, if civil suits proceed into discovery, and if there is a new trial or round of appeals. This also can be done in Washington, D.C. against officials for conspiracy to deprive citizens of rights. For more information contact DeVault at Rescue Press, 8048 Midcrown #11 San Antonio, TX 78212.
MORE INFORMATION FROM 911 TAPES
Someone who got a hold of the full 48 odd hours of the 911 tapes sent me some interesting excerpts which others have not brought to light. (I still haven't been able to get all 48 hours. They actually are tapes of about the first 24 hours; 2 or 3 phone calls often were going on at once.) A few interesting things on the tape:
* Twice Davidians express fears that helicopters overhead will pour gasoline on the building and set it on fire, as they heard the FBI planned to do to the Weavers at Ruby Ridge.
* At one point dispatchers and FBI agents can be heard listening to anti-cult deprogrammer Rick Ross on radio in the back ground as they talk to Davidians.
* A dispatcher says that U.S. Assistant Attorney Bill Johnston wants a sergeant to call him on his mobile phone. She says, "he's out there on the scene at Mount Carmel," but it is not clear if she is referring to Johnston or the sergeant. Johnston denied during the House Waco hearings that he was at Mount Carmel on February 28, 1993.
* Wayne Martin complains to dispatchers that the BATF attack was illegal; that BATF did not try to talk to him, a lawyers; that Davidians are not idiots and that he is a Harvard lawyer; and they want the media in to document what BATF agents did to them.
* An agent calls a woman, probably his wife, and tells her "FBI HRT [Hostage Rescue Team] big boys are here. It won't last long. They won't know what hit them."
* Radio dispatchers discuss the fact that Vice-President Al Gore is on his way from the airport to visit injured agents. (This is only reference to this I have heard; however, Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman did visit agents within two days of the raid.)
END DECEMBER 4, 1995 UPDATE