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Member, the Committee for Waco Justice
Author, The Davidian Massacre
My apologies for taking so long to get out another Waco Update. Sunday night I watched "Schindler's List." At the very end Schindler breaks down crying about all the Jews he could have saved if he hadn't spent the money on personal pleasure. At first I thought, "this is so fake." But later it reminded me how little I'd been able to do for the Davidian survivors and prisoners the last year due to health and money woes. And recently both my computer and my news groups/web service died. (Luckily my housemate lets me use his.) Unfortunately, it is difficult for most of us to do all that we would like to do on so many fronts. But we do what we can for liberty and justice.
FEBRUARY 28, 1993 ANNIVERSARY PROTEST
On Friday, February 28 at noon members of the Committee for Waco Justice will demonstrate in front of BATF headquarters at 650 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W. in Washington, D.C. Everyone is invited! At least 8-10 of us will protest the federal government's ongoing coverup of BATF crimes against the Davidians, including the murder that day of six Davidians: the mortal wounding of David Koresh's father-in-law, Perry Jones as he stood unarmed at the front door with the unarmed Koresh; shots from helicopters that killed Winston Blake, Peter Gent, Jaydean Wendell, and Peter Hipsman; and the ambush and murder of Michael Schroeder as he approached Mount Carmel on foot later that day. While it's a bit late to start organizing, I encourage anyone who has a local BATF office to go down with a sign and let them know Americans still care that BATF thugs murdered 6 innocent civilians and so far have gotten away with it.
MARCH 22 MEMORIAL: THE COVERUP QUILT
On Saturday, March 22, 1997 Virginia-based Parents Against Corruption and Coverup (PACC) is creating a memorial to those family members murdered and denied justice because of flawed police or federal investigations or coverups. It will be held on the Washington, D.C. mall between 7th and 12th streets (across from Janet Reno's office) on Saturday, March 22. Organizers are hoping "The Coverup Quilt" will be a vivid symbolic representation of the extent of the coverup problem in the United States.
PACC has invited families of Branch Davidians to participate and a number of them are sending quilts. Photos of quilts made by families of fire victims Sherri Jewell and Floyd Houtman are already on their web page at www.clark.net/pub/tburkett/pacc/PACC.html. E-mail: email@example.com for more information.
OKLAHOMA BOMBING TRIAL AND WACO
The trial starts March 31, 1997. According to news reports, Michael Fortier, a friend of defendant Timothy McVeigh who is the government's star witness, alleged McVeigh was motivated to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in retaliation for the BATF/FBI attacks on the Branch Davidians. A government summary of Fortier's confession said, "Tim wanted to wake up America to the danger of our federal government and their intrusion on our rights."
Unfortunately, the government may use this trial as another attempt to trash the Davidians, and thereby trash McVeigh for being seen as a supporter. I know the Committee will be keeping our eyes on this and doing what we can to get the Davidians' side of the story to the public and press. (I am currently sending copies of my book The Davidian Massacre to major news reporters who will be covering the trial. If anyone is going to be at the trial for a day or two, perhaps you might help in that effort. Please contact me.)
One can only hope that those who think they are doing the Davidians a favor by blowing up buildings, etc. to "avenge" crimes against the Davidians will stop doing so. They only hurt the Davidians in the minds of the public and press.
Some media may be becoming more sympathetic to the Davidians. On a recent NBC-TV cop drama HOMICIDE, a Baltimore cop complains when he hears that BATF and FBI are being brought in on a case. "Oh, no, not those wackos from Waco!"
APRIL 18 and 19 ANNIVERSARY PROTESTS
This year April 19th is a Saturday, a great opportunity for organized protests with speakers, tables, etc. Or even a picnic with friends and watching a few Waco videos. If you would like to hold a press conference, however, you might consider doing so on Friday, April 18th, since the press is less likely to show up at one on a weekend. The Committee for Waco Justice has gotten a big turnout at all our April 19th press conferences at FBI HQ in D.C. So consider doing one at your local FBI office next April 18th.
For the fourth year in a row the Committee will be setting up 82 crosses for all the Davidian killed from 11am to 5pm on April 18th and 19th on the Ellipse, just south of the White House. We will hold our April 18th press conference there and then may go to the FBI and Justice Department six blocks away for a small demonstration. We encourage those who'd like to spend a day in D.C. to come by on the 19th , and we'll have an informal gathering with picnic lunches. If there's enough interest, some of us can get up and say a few words. Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last fall I sent out on e-mail excerpts of a letter from Branch Davidian survivor Livingstone Fagan who had been physically abused by a guard at Leavenworth Penitentiary. He is serving a 40 year sentence on convictions for which most jurors felt he should have done time served. He is refusing to cooperate with the system by not appealing. At least ten people who read my e-mail called or wrote the warden to complain about this maltreatment and evidently the word was sent down to the guards to stop abusing Fagan, a small, well-spoken but defiant black minister and social worker from England. He has not complained since.
He did write a January letter to other Davidians, cc: the sentient universe, about his response to David Koresh's failure to "come back" on December 14, 1996, 1335 days after his death at Mt. Carmel. (The letter should be available soon at Mark Swett's "The Research Center" at www.ime.net/~mswett.) It was one of several dates upon which Davidians believe Koresh might return, though they believe the timetable is "up to God." (PBS radio even ran a news item to announce that David Koresh had *not* returned as hoped.)
Fagan's message of keeping to the faith of what Davidians experienced at Mount Carmel is somewhat different from the "new light" being presented by Davidian survivor and prisoner Renos Avraam in his big new book The Seven Seals. (See www.sevenseals.com for more information. The author and his editor are unnamed on the web page.) That book has given the Davidians many things to ponder, though prison bars prevent them from questioning Avraam on its many points, as they could if they were all free and together again.
ANOTHER MALICIOUS FIRE AT MT. CARMEL
As many know, Amo Roden, ex-wife of former Davidian "leader" George Roden, himself institutionalized in a mental institution, has been living in a shack at Mount Carmel since soon after the 1993 fire. Since then vandals twice snuck in and burned the old buses still remaining on that property. Last month, while Amo was away on honeymoon, vandals again struck, burning down her living shack and two small museum shacks on the property. Whether it was kids, deranged people or government agents, it is emblematic of the government's complete destruction of the group. The few surviving followers of David Koresh outside prison, mostly elderly people, nevertheless have almost collected enough money to build a small concrete chapel at Mount Carmel. (They will be holding April 19th services there again this year.)
If you would like to contribute to their efforts, please send contributions to: Mount Carmel Survivors Memorial Fund, Inc., P.O. Box 120, Axtell, TX 76624. If you need their number, e-mail me since it is a private phone. You can earmark money for the prisoners needs, if you like.
DAVIDIAN CRIMINAL APPEALS
As you may remember, in August of 1996 the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the convictions of six Davidians. Renos Avraam, Brad Branch, Jaime Castillo and Kevin Whitecliff had received 40 years each for aiding and abetting voluntary manslaughter and carrying a weapon in commission of the crime of conspiracy to murder federal agents--a crime of which the jury found them innocent. Found guilty on illegal weapons charges, Graeme Craddock received a 20 year sentence and Paul Fatta 15 years.
There was some good news. The three judge panel ruled that four Davidians could have 25 years cut off their sentences unless (the very anti-Davidian) District Court Judge Walter J. Smith found evidence in the trial record that each of them carried an illegal weapon on February 28, 1993. (This because of the recent Supreme Court decision in the Bailey case.) The Fifth Circuit later rejected the Davidian motion that the whole circuit court hear the appeal.
According to one Davidian attorney, the prisoners have filed petitions to the Supreme Court asking it to hear their cases, based on the fact that other circuit courts have found that *only* the jury can decide if defendants had illegal weapons while the Fifth Circuit has now ruled the judge can make that decision. Judge Smith is probably waiting on their decision before issuing his decision on sentencing.
Meanwhile, Davidian Paul Fatta had been hoping for relief under the U.S. vs. Kirk case, in which the defendant argued the United States government had no right under the commerce clause of the Constitution to ban the manufacture of machineguns--the kind of charges of which Fatta was convicted. Three Fifth Circuit judges upheld the ban; the whole Fifth Circuit then decided to hear the case--but split 8 to 8 on whether to uphold it, leaving the three judge ruling to stand. Kirk is appealing to the Supreme Court.
(The transcripts of the 1994 Davidian trial are being assembled at http:/domain.flash.net/~wyla. There is also an important letter from Davidian survivor Sheila Martin there.)
JUDGE SMITH REFUSES TO RECUSE HIMSELF FROM CIVIL
While federal agencies, Congress and the press have excused, ignored or suppressed crimes against the Davidians, jurors in the Davidian civil suits may take them more seriously. The 1.5 billion dollar civil suits, which are handled by Ramsey Clark, the Cause Foundation, and the Houston firm of Caddell & Conwell, all allege negligent or intentional murder by federal agents and officials. Attorneys will produce ample evidence during the civil trial, assuming that prejudiced District Judge Walter J. Smith does not dismiss most or all of the pending civil suits, as he did the first one presented to him two years ago. (He just refused to recuse himself from the case, as appellants had demanded.) Attorneys do hold out hope that Smith will not be able to dismiss suits for wrongful death on February 28th. In these cases the government has not yet figured out to claim that all the Davidians killed themselves or each other.
Davidian attorneys, with the help of a sympathetic judge, finally got BATF to cough up the full "official" video taken inside the Blackhawk helicopter. Full footage clearly shows that as a lead helicopter veers off to the right, the Blackhawk is diving down towards the back of the building and may have flown directly over it, as Davidians claim. Also, during this approach several sounds like gunfire can clearly be heard on the BATF video. A civil suit attorney calculates that these sounds only could have come from the helicopter.
The fuller BATF video also reveals that a second video was taken by BATF agent Ted Royster, seen shooting footage with his camera after the helicopters land. BATF claims this is Royster's personal video tape, even though it was taken by a government employee while he was on the job. BATF refuses to release it, claiming it contains no incriminating or "Brady" material. Of course, government attorneys were the ones who decided whether the video contained evidence of crimes by BATF agents!
SENATE WILL NOT ISSUE WACO REPORT
The Senate held two days of Waco hearings Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 1995. It still has not released the transcripts of that hearing--or of the much longer one on Ruby Ridge. (A clerk said the Senate had had higher priority budget hearing transcripts to publish!) And neither Senator Hatch's office nor the publications clerk believed there would be a separate Senate report on findings of the hearing.
There were only a few revelations during that hearing--most importantly FBI negotiator Clifford Van Zandt's agreeing with Davidian prisoner and hearing witness Graeme Craddock that every time the Davidians cooperated with negotiators, the FBI hostage rescue team would punish them through some hostile action. But over all it was a forum for BATF and FBI spokes people to assure senators that "Waco will never happen again." Time will tell. If you want to encourage the committee to hurry up and get those Senate transcripts out, call the Senate Judiciary Committee, 202-224-5225.
ANALYSIS OF HOUSE WACO REPORT
One of the many things I never got around to was writing a full analysis of this very flawed report after it was issued last summer. (My long report after the 1995 hearings is still on some web pages or can be e-mailed. I've heard the whole report and the hearing transcripts are available on the Thomas government documents site.) A few brief comments here about the most obvious failings or instances of congressional complicity in the coverup of crimes against the Davidians.
In the report Congress spent much time ascertaining that someone at BATF lied to the military about the Davidians being involved with drugs in order to get help from Special Forces and to get other military aid. But they never took the crime seriously enough to find out just who told these lies. They admitted that military staff at Fort Bragg were not made available to them or have been pre-interviewed, but not consider this to be the obvious obstruction of justice that it is. And they only whined because BATF wouldn't allow interview of agents before hearing. They seem to forget that it is their job to get the truth out of these people--especially when they are responsible for the deaths of so many civilians.
Congress went along with BATF's assertions the Davidians were waiting in ambush and fired first. As for shooting from helicopters, they blithely stated that there was none because National Guard helicopter pilots denied it and said BATF agents were unarmed. Of course, report writers forgot that BATF agent Davy Aguilera admitted at the hearings they were armed and had been given permission to fire in self-defense if necessary.
They accepted the Department of Justice's sorry excuse that it just could not afford to test the Davidians guns to see if they REALLY were illegal machine guns, or if the FBI was falsely claiming so. And this was after they allowed Justice to shut down a truly independent analysis by a private company, just because the N.R.A. would be paying for it.
And, of course, Congress concluded that the Davidians started the fire, parroting false FBI claims, and concluded there is just no evidence tanks inadvertently started any fire. Evidence of an incendiary device exploding at the back of the gym after the first fire started was ignored.
The hearing transcript was missing two important pieces of documentation. One was the several pages of memos and handwritten notes submitted proving that prosecutors were refusing to interview BATF agents because they might make incriminating statements that would help the Davidian defendants. The Justice Department's press release in response to them *was* included. The other was a response to Rep. Howard Coble's request the army send the House its proof of alleged damage to army tanks from Davidian gunfire on April 19, 1993. The House had asked for that evidence months earlier and not received. One staffer told me they did finally receive that material; if so, it was not included in the transcripts, as requested by Mr. Coble.
NEW WACO MOVIE
On Saturday, January 18 producers of the new documentary "Waco: The Rules of Engagement" premiered the movie at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The color movie is 165 minutes, directed by William Gazecki and produced by William Gazecki and Michael McNulty. I have not seen the film and do not believe it will be available in video format until after it finds a theater distributor. The video uses film never adequately used by the major media, Davidian home video, Infra-red (FLIR) video and FBI amateur video. Producers conclude, from analysis of the FLIR tape, that the FBI did fire on the Davidians and that the fire was started by an FBI CS gas grenade. (Assumed the one which apparently is shot into the back of the gymnasium, however, that is seen several seconds after the first fire is spotted in the second floor bedroom.) Check out their web page at http://www.waco93.com/index.htm
END UPDATE FEBRUARY 25, 1997
WACO UPDATE - APRIL 22, 1997
Member, Committee for Waco Justice
Author, The Davidian Massacre
PRE-APRIL 19TH NEWS STORIES
Friday, April 18th brought a number of news stories of interest. The Washington Post did a long, Style Section article on the new film "Waco: The Rules of Engagement" which focused on infrared video evidence that FBI agents might have fired on Mount Carmel during the fire. While the authors did do a lot of interviews with infrared experts and refused to draw final conclusions, they made it seem like this single issue would make or break the "Waco movement." They also compared Waco investigation/ speculation to JFK conspiracy theory, intimating that it was the province of kooks. As I wrote in a letter to the Post, the big issue that make Waco a continuing disgrace is the extensive evidence of crimes by BATF and FBI agents and their cover-ups of those crimes in a typical "cop cover-your-butt" conspiracy. I forgot to remind the Post that as long as police can murder citizens and get away with it, we live in a police state, not a democracy.
Washington, D.C.'s NBC news had an unusually sympathetic short report on the Davidian massacre anniversary. Reporter Del Waters stated that the FBI fired gas canisters into the building, the canisters ignited, the building burned and 80 people died. While that's probably not exactly what happened, it was good to see a matter of fact story blaming the government. The reporter then went on to mention the Davidian civil suits against the government.
National CBS news that night did a piece on all those radicals who allegedly inflamed Tim McVeigh about Waco so much he blew up the building. They interviewed Ron Cole, who used to hang out with Branch Davidian survivors and has called himself a Branch Davidian, though they did not identify him thusly. They showed his book, which he'd given McVeigh, and showed Cole claiming the Davidians were murdered. They also showed a page from the Waco Electronic Holocaust Museum and mocked its (even most of us agree) wacky theory that BATF killed their own men to give them an excuse to kill the Davidian.
They then showed an evidence list revealing "Waco, the Big Lie" was found among McVeigh's effects and a video of a chunky Linda Thompson stomping through the fields in fatigues. They identified her as a self-described militia general. Of greatest interest was the evidently first or second generation version of the "flaming tank" scene they showed. In this version it was clear even as the tank was in the building and pulling out that the "flame" was really light reflected off debris. This, of course, is not at all clear in the fourth or fifth generation showing that we all saw in Thompson's video. (Linda, of course, will claim it was altered digitally.) Poor Linda, the government blames her for killing the Davidians (the FBI had to go in cause her armed militia might try to liberate them attack) and blowing up the federal building (Tim McVeigh was mesmerized by her).
On the other hand, even a little threat of violence and a few lies and distortions--no matter how worthy the goal--can have very negative effects when filtered through the unstable minds of some who work in law enforcement and/or have military backgrounds. Violence begets violence begets violence begets violence...
APRIL 19TH IN WACO
Davidian survivors report about a hundred people joined them at Mount Carmel on the fourth anniversary of the tragic fire. Speakers included Davidian former attorneys Dick DeGuerin and Jack Zimmerman, appeals attorney Ramsey Clark and "Waco: Rules of Engagement" co-producer Mike McNulty. Clive Doyle and David Thibodeau spoke for the survivors and read the names of the dead. Some footage of them or the event was carried by most news stations. Coverage, of course, was overshadowed by that of the memorial for the dead of Oklahoma City.
According to one news report, Doyle, said, ``I think the Oklahoma City bombing was a tragedy that should have never taken place. I do not promote or like anybody using us as an excuse to take action against others.'' Another reporter said he did criticize the government and at one point compared his fellow disciples with Revolutionary-era patriots fighting off the "Red Coats." Doyle also defended David Koresh, saying, "``I challenge ministers, the ATF or the FBI or anybody to make the Bible come alive and make sense the way David did. Despite of what's been said about him and what happened here, he's the best teacher I've seen.''
And he said, "We're not the only ones who lost out in this tragedy. America lost out. Every time you allow a tragedy like this to take place, you forfeit your freedoms."
Jack Zimmerman Jack Zimmermann, a lawyer who represented Koresh's top lieutenant Steve Schneider, said he was concerned about comparisons to the Oklahoma City bombing. ``There is no equation between the religious philosophy of the Branch Davidians and the violent overthrow of the government,'' he said. ``We must make the equation of Branch Davidians and peacefulness.''
Sadly, the Davidians had to be out promptly by 1:00 pm. For the other Branch Davidian faction had plans for their "prisoners" event. Because I could not get in touch with any survivors before sending out my last update, I did not realize that the event I'd advertised was for *George Roden* the gun-toting former Davidian leader who has been incarcerated in a mental institution for a number of years after killing a man with an ax. His former wife has been squatting on the property and raking in a lot of money from tourists since the fire. She has a few allies who help her from time to time. The few Koresh Davidians have scattered, and those remaining in Waco have not had the money or energy to safely re-occupy the property, though they still pay the property taxes and claim legal title. Many hope that they will somehow get the help they need to create at least a proper memorial and museum on the church property.
APRIL 19TH IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
The D.C. Committee for Waco Justice managed to round up its dozen or so usual suspects for the fourth anniversary of the massacre of the Branch Davidians. On April 13th we erected 82 crosses on the Ellipse south of the White House. Bill and Hillary had to look at both our "Waco Massacre: Never Again" and "FBI Killed a Village and It's Children" banners all day long. The event was most notable for a visit by a group of Israeli school children whose teacher asked us to give a presentation of the events at Waco. "Why did they fly the star of David?" one asked. They seemed interested to hear that Davidians believed they followed the tradition of Kind David--and Koresh thought of himself as a new David.
On April 18th, a cold and blustery day, for the first time we erected our crosses on the Senate lawn between the Supreme Court and the Congress building. (As it turned out, inside that very day the Supreme Court was voting to deny the Davidian appeals. Proof they have no consciences at all!) A press person who dropped by told us it was too cold for the press to leave their warm offices at the press building uptown, which explained why we had no press at our planned press conference. (He said they might have shown up had we done it at the FBI, just a few blocks away from them!) But we still managed to pass out lots of literature to visiting school kids and perhaps prick a few congressional consciences with our plea for a special prosecutor.
On April 19th, because some New Jersey choir boys beat us to the space on the Ellipse, we protested north of the White House in Lafayette Park. AP and UPI carried wire stories about our "Killed a Village" sign and our call for a special prosecutor--and those 4 free copies of my book The Davidian Massacre I handed out. (Darn, they forgot the 800 number :-)
Even the Washington Post got my quote right that if Clinton and Reno had prosecuted federal agents, Oklahoma City might not have happened. (I did note to them, assuming the feds are right and McVeigh or other parties' motivation was revenge for Waco.) NBC national news featured a few seconds of our chanting "Waco Massacre, Never Again."
We've already sent in our permit for the N.W. quadrant of the Ellipse for next April 19th, a Sunday. Maybe next year we will get our act together, do some good networking, and have a nice big event with a couple hundred people. Help in that effort appreciated. And maybe next year there will be four or five other Waco-freedom related events around the country so the press can't comment on the ever-diminishing number of protesters!
SUPREME COURT SCUTTLES DAVIDIAN APPEALS
On April 20, 1997 the Supreme Court refused to hear the Davidian appeals, leaving standing the Fifth Circuit's decision upholding the convictions. They therefore even refused to decide the issue of whether a judge or a jury should determine if a defendant had an illegal weapon--different circuit courts have drawn differing conclusions.
In the Davidian case, the very prejudiced Judge Walter J. Smith ruled they did have automatic weapons, based on the infamous FBI laboratory's allegation they had 48 of them. The Fifth Circuit did send back the extra 25 year sentences Smith gave five Davidians, saying he would have to come up with more specific evidence in the record that each of them had an automatic. It is assumed Smith will quickly hand down the new sentences, now that the Supreme Court has refused the cases. Assuming Smith gives them anything more than time served, the Davidians will have the right to appeal the sentences to the Fifth Circuit.
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice's Inspector General issued a report on the FBI laboratory. He found lots of errors in laboratory methods but claimed there were no outright lies and fabrication of evidence. I haven't found evidence in the report that he bothered to look at the Davidian guns. The FBI is probably chomping at the bit, eager to destroy the Davidian weapons once the appeals are finished, which could be within a few months. Or after the completion of the civil suits, should the guns be subpoenaed for that purpose. I'm sure Davidian attorneys are looking into ways of using the report to re-open the issue of whether FBI laboratory agents lied about or fabricated these guns.
Needless to say, we can't let the FBI destroy these last evidences of their lies and crimes. I am writing, and I urge you all to write or fax the Congressional Committees below and demand that they preserve those guns and that Congress allow independent investigators to determine if they really had been converted to automatics. The Justice Department stymied their efforts to do so last time. They must insist it be done now, give the latest Justice Department coverup.
Thomas Mooney, Majority Counsel, House Judiciary Committee, 2138 Rayburn, Washington, DC 20515, 202/225-3951 Fax-202/225-7682
Manus Cooney, Majority Counsel, Senate Judiciary Committee, 224 Dirkson, Washington, DC 20510, 202/224-5225 Fax-202/224-9102
EVANS-PRICHARD LEAVES D.C.
One week after visiting the Committee for Waco Justice's April 13 Waco memorial on the Ellipse, Ambrose Evans-Prichard was rotated home to England. In a farewell article titled "Goodbye, good riddance," (on the London Telegraph web site, under his personal listing) Evans-Prichard had the following comments about Clinton and Waco:
The Clintons wasted little time taking charge of the US Justice Department. All US Attorneys were asked to hand in their resignations. It was a move of breath-taking audacity, one that gave the Clintons control over the prosecutorial machinery of the federal government in every judicial district in the country.
They then set about eliminating the Director of the FBI, William Sessions, who was known for his refusal to countenance White House interference in the affairs of the Bureau. The post of FBI Director is supposed to be a 10-year appointment that puts it above politics. But Sessions was toppled in a Washington putsch, without a murmur of protest from America's press, and replaced by the hapless errand boy Louis Freeh. And I almost forgot, the Clintons installed their friend Webster Hubbell as "shadow" Attorney General - until Hubbell was jailed for Arkansas crimes.
When you are living through events day by day it is hard to know whether you are witnessing a historic turning point, or just mistaking the usual noise of politics for something meaningful. But there is no doubt that strange things have been going on in America.
The Clinton era has spawned an armed militia movement involving tens of thousands of people. The last time anything like this occurred was in the 1850s with the emergence of the southern gun clubs. It is easy to dismiss the militia as Right-wing nuts: it is much harder to read the complex sociology of civic revolt. At the very least the militias reveal the hatred building up against the irksome yuppies who run the country.
It is under this president that domestic terrorism has become a feature of life in America, culminating in the destruction of the Oklahama federal building on April 19, 1995. What set the deadly spiral in motion was the Waco assault two years before, and the cover-up that followed.
No official has ever lost a day's pay for precipitating the incineration of 80 people, most of them women and children, in the worst abuse of power since Wounded Knee a century ago. Instead of shame and accountability, the Clinton administration accused the victims of setting fire to themselves and their children, a posthumous smear that does not bear serious scrutiny. It then compounded the injustice by pushing for a malicious prosecution of the survivors.
Nothing does more to sap the life of a democracy than the abuse of power. Public trust is dangerously low. According to polls, barely a quarter of the American people now feel that they can count on the federal government to do the right thing."
If only we had a few more influential American journalists willing to take on the job Evans-Prichard has done so well!!
END UPDATE APRIL 22, 1997
WACO UPDATE -- JUNE 16, 1997
Member, Committee for Waco Justice
Author, The Davidian Massacre
GOOD NEWS ON DAVIDIAN APPEALS
Today is the third anniversary of the infamous date that U.S. District Judge Walter J. Smith sentenced eight Davidians to a total of 240 years, a sentence that shocked and outraged millions of Americans. It also shocked the jurors who thought they had found Davidians guilty of minor crimes for which they would do little more than time served. (On the first anniversary members of the Committee for Waco Justice did a nationally covered press conference in front of Attorney General Janet Reno's office.)
As you may remember, on April 18, 1997 the Supreme Court *declined* to hear the Davidian appeals, news carried by the national media. Unfortunately, I couldn't get in touch with one of the attorneys before I sent out my last report, so I just repeated the media's misinformation--that this was the Court's final say. However, in truth the Court merely ruled that it could not decide on the merits of the case because the Fifth Circuit technically had vacated the 10 to 30 year gun charge sentences. Davidians would have to wait to appeal to the Supremes until Judge Smith handed down his final sentence, and until the Fifth Circuit court heard appeals on his decision. The assumption, of course, is that Judge Smith will again give them long sentences, as the government demands.
So things are still pretty much where they were after the Fifth Circuit decision: the aiding and abetting voluntary manslaughter charges and ten year sentences for four appealing Davidians will stand, unless the Supreme Court throws them out on lack of evidence or declares a new trial; the four thirty year and one ten year sentences for using an illegal firearm during a crime (technically, conspiracy to murder, of which the jury found them innocent) are being reconsidered and are appealable on several grounds; and Paul Fatta's weapons charges might still be thrown out if the machinegun laws are rendered null and void by the Supreme Court in another case under appeal. (Livingstone Fagan is non-cooperating by refusing to appeal his 40 year sentence and Ruth Riddle will be released at the end of this year.)
A total of two hundred and forty years is just that many years too much time for people who were violently attacked by unknown assailants and reacted the way most people would react if they were in a building occupied mostly by women, children and the elderly and happened to have some guns at hand. (The first half of the trial transcripts and other materials are available at the "Mount Carmel Survivors Webpage" at-- http://www.flash.net/~wyla.)
BAD NEWS ON CIVIL SUITS
In June 1997 the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied Branch Davidian survivors and families' requests that Judge Walter Smith be removed from the civil case. Davidian survivors and families are suing federal agents and officials for at least 1.5 billion dollars. Civil suit attorneys understandable argued that Smith is too biased to give them a fair hearing. ``We are pretty certain that if he is our judge we are dead. That's about how bad it is,'' one attorney, Mike Caddell, told the press. Caddell said Davidian lawyers would ask the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider their petition for Smith's removal and would take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court if the Fifth Circuit denied their request.
McVEIGH TRIAL AND WACO
The trial of Timothy McVeigh for murdering 168 people in the Oklahoma City bombing was harding the best forum for getting out the facts about federal agents' crimes at Waco. (The whole transcripts of the trial and sentencing hearings can be found at http://www.oklahoman.net/opub/bombing/btranscripts.)
The most noteworthy testimony was during June 6-12 when defense attorneys presented Waco experts Dick Reavis ("Ashes of Waco") and James Pate (author of numerous Waco articles in "Soldier of Fortune" magazine) as well as the videos "Waco: The Big Lie" and "Day 51." (Defense attorneys would have them talk about hard evidence of federal agents' crimes; prosecutors would keep bringing them back to the government's "allegations" and Judge Smith's "findings.") Defense attorneys stressed that these were the materials Timothy McVeigh relied on for his information about federal agents' actions against the Branch Davidians.
We all have heard excerpts of what defense attorneys argued to the jury about all Americans' responsibility for McVeigh's now-admitted crime. Here is the full text of that paragraph by McVeigh's attorney Richard Burr:
"Mr. McVeigh's beliefs about Waco and Ruby Ridge and the threat presented by militarization of federal law enforcement did not arise in a vacuum, did not arise out of thin air. They are not the delusional fantasies of a madman. Somehow, somewhere, in the midst of Mr. McVeigh's misplaced, mistakenly acted upon, horrifyingly out-of-proportion beliefs, there is a reason for all of us to have concern. That we have not expressed that concern before this tragedy means that we all bear some responsibility for Oklahoma City. We should not feel a clear conscience if we kill Timothy McVeigh, and that is why we ask that you sentence him to life in prison without the possibility of release."
While many Americans were outraged by that statement, those more familiar with federal agents' crimes and the coverup of them would sympathize with that argument--especially as directed towards the press, media and Congress! Needless to say, there are still a lot of questions about McVeigh's role and the role of unknown others in the bombing. But there is no doubt that if the massacre at Waco did in fact drive Tim McVeigh to that act of madness, he will become the federal government's 251st victim of the crimes against the Branch Davidians.
"JANET RENO TORCHBEARER AWARD" PROTEST
On May 14, 1997 six members of the Committee for Waco Justice protested the District of Columbia Womens Bar Association's annual dinner where it presents its "Janet Reno Torchbearer Award." (This is the second or third year it has been presented.) This year they presented it to Supreme Court Judge Sandra Day O'Connor.
We sent a letter with information about Reno's responsibility for covering up the mass murder of the Davidians requesting that the association change the very offensive name of the award. We have received no response.
The day of the event we showed up with signs reading "Janet Reno Baby Burner Award," "Shame on the Womens Bar Association," "Janet Reno's Tanks Killed 34 women and 23 Children," and "Reno's Torchbearer Award: 1993 Recipients, Branch Davidians." We also had our colored poster from Spy Magazine of "Rambo Reno" with the burning Mt. Carmel reading, "They told me they were beating the children."
Some attendees or organizers obviously were annoyed and kept asking a police officer if he couldn't make us go away. He reminded them it was our first amendment right. One woman entering actually said, "You people are lucky you have first amendment rights." A dozen or so of the 100 attendees expressed sympathy with us, a few defended Reno, but most were embarrassed or dismissing. You can bet we were the number one topic of dinner discussions!
Because the annual memorial for law officers killed on duty happened to be going on at the same time across the street, we kept our chanting to a minimum. But as we left we gave the Womens Bar a rousing, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Janet Reno's got to go." And we told them we'd be back next year. Unless, of course, they change the name of the award. Let's pray they do!
If you'd like to write a **polite** letter encouraging the Womens Bar to change the name of the award write: Laura Pollari-Welbs, Director, Womens Bar Association, 2000 L Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20036.
RECENT ARRESTS AND NON-VIOLENT ACTION
In May the FBI arrested three individuals on charges of harboring illegal weapons (automatics and either grenades or a land mine, depending on news reports.) They were: Ron Cole, a militia advocate who associated with the Davidians during 1993, and had received recent national publicity on Waco, the Oklahoma City bombing trial and the Republic of Texas standoff; Wally Kennett, his closest ally, a former Davidian who studied with David Koresh; and a third man. Despite Cole's rather belligerent rhetoric and his contacts with groups like leftist Mexican guerillas, he has asserted, through friends, that he and his friends had no such illegal weapons, that an informant is lying about them, and that they really are being held for speaking out on Waco and the Oklahoma bombing.
In May, federal authorities led by IRS agents arrested libertarian e-mailer Jim Bell on charges of conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. government and planning sabotage against a Portland, Oregon reservoir and local police 9-1-1 offices. This stems from their investigations of his internet-distributed writings and e-mail exchanges on "Assassination Politics." That is what he called a "hypothetical" description of a system for using encrypted e-mail and digicash to anonymously target for assassination and pay for assassinating oppressive public officials. Other libertarians and "cyperpunks," including economist Milton Friedman's economist son David Friedman, have described how such a system could come about.
Evidently, Mr. Bell's enthusiastic advocacy of a system which he repeatedly stated he had no intention of setting up was too much for the feds. The sabotage charges stem from his joking around and speculating with another technophile friend who worked at the 9-1-1 offices. The friend appeared to one reporter to be willing to "rat Bell out" under the slightest police pressure.
As a longtime feminist and pacifist, I've often been annoyed by the kind of aggressive rhetoric and banter that the feds have used as an excuse to arrest Cole, Kennett and Bell--and confiscate their computers, e-mail files, etc. Before their busts, I'd warned Cole and Bell by e-mail that not only does such talk scare people--someday the feds would start prosecuting them for it. Looks like that day has come! As a free speech advocate, I denounce such federal prosecution, even though I do consider the speech in question obnoxious, ignorant or silly. We'll all be watching these trials to see how far down the slippery slope the U.S. is slipping. Sure hope the ACLU is paying attention.
NON-VIOLENT ACTION SITES
In my opinion, non-violent action is much more mucho macho that violent action because in non-violent action you always risk getting killed with no means of self-defense more powerful than a smile. To descend to ridicule, let me opine that any little weasily rabbit can hide behind an AK-47 or a bazooka, but it takes a real man to sing "Give Peace a Chance" while 50 big nasty cops with gas and nightsticks and guns barely control their urges to gas/beat/shoot the heck out of you. If you want to learn to be a real man--or happen to be a person or woman who enjoys using brainpower to overcome brute power--here are a list of Web sites that can give you a few tips. (Note: ignore any goals you might consider politically incorrect and concentrate on the strategy. Good search words for finding more pages are: civilian based defense, transarmament, Gene Sharp, Gandhi and non-violent action.)
** Civilian Based Defense Association-- http://www.igc.apc.org/cbda/
** International Camp for NonViolent Defense--
** Institute for Humane Studies Review essay on "Literature of Non-Violent Resistance
and Civilian Based Defense"-- http://osfl.gmu.edu/~ihs/s94essay.html
** NonViolence International-- http://www.peacenet.apc.org/nonviolence/
** Conflict Resolution Resources-- http://www.igc.org/igc/issues/cr/
LOUIS FREEH REJECTS BOOK "THE DAVIDIAN MASSACRE"
In April I finally got around to sending FBI Director Louis Freeh (as well as Janet Reno) a copy of my book The Davidian Massacre, as well as updated informational sheets on ATF/FBI crimes. (Plus a letter telling him he'd be prosecuted someday for helping to cover up the FBI's massacre of the Branch Davidians.) A month later I got the book and papers back with a letter back from John E. Collingwood, Inspector in Charge of the Office of Public and Congressional Affairs. The letter stated "Regulations applicable to Department of Justice Employees preclude Director Freeh from accepting items such as this." (Hmm, Janet Reno never did return hers.) Will have to give the FBI public relations office a call and see just what regulations cover the materials the FBI director may accept from the public--and how the public can best inform the FBI it is discontent with their slaughter of citizens and their covering up their crimes!
END UPDATE JUNE 16, 1997
WACO UPDATE -- AUGUST 5, 1997
by Carol Moore
Member, the Committee for Waco Justice
Author, The Davidian Massacre
DAVIDIAN RE-SENTENCING DATE SET
Judge Walter J. Smith will re-sentence Branch Davidians Brad Branch, Kevin Whitecliff, Jaime Castillo, Renos Avraam, and Graeme Craddock on Thursday, September 4th in Waco. The Davidian prisoners are expected to be present. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Smith could not sentence four Davidians to 30 years and one to ten years for carrying an illegal weapon during a crime (that of conspiracy of murder, of which all were acquitted) unless he provided sufficient evidence from the record that each Davidian actually carried such a weapon. Otherwise he could sentence them to only five years. Other District Courts have ruled that only a jury can decide if an individual carried an illegal weapon, making it likely that if Smith gives them sentences longer than five years, the Supreme Court
will take the case.
There is evidence that only two Davidians carried such weapons: Craddock's confession he was told he was given an illegal grenade; and a jail house snitch's allegation Avraam boasted that he had shot one on February 28, 1993. The only other evidence is the allegations of some ATF agents they heard automatic gun fire on February 28 (ATF agents themselves carried defacto automatics) and the FBI's claim it found 47 burned up illegal weapons after the fire. (They also found one pristine automatic in the back of a van on the property--a van which was open for 51 days and was towed away from the premises under lax security before
the gun was found.)
It might help if many of you wrote *polite* letters to Judge Smith asking him to have mercy on the Davidians and sentence them to time served on these weapons charges. Or just remind him of the legal facts and how embarrassing it will be if he is reversed by the Supreme Court! (Even if he does not impose more than five years, four Davidians can still appeal to the Supreme Court on the grounds they deserve a new trial because Smith never told the jury they could find Davidians innocent of aiding and abetting voluntary manslaughter in the case of self-defense and because the judge should have thrown out the gun convictions since they were supposed to be tied only to the murder sentences.)
Write to: Judge Walter Smith, Jr. , Courtroom 301, U.S. Courthouse, 800 Franklin Avenue, Waco, Texas. Mention U.S. vs. Brad Branch, et al or Case W-93-CR-046.
"A government that is evil has no room for good people except in its prisons." M.K. Gandhi
UPDATED PRISONER ADDRESSES
Three Davidian prisoners--Brad Branch, Jaime Castillo and Kevin Whitecliff--have been moved to the "higher security" new facility at Beaumont, Texas. They are able to visit with one and other there. Paul Fatta has been moved to a prison in Arizona. Since they are now in newer, air conditioned facilities, and closer to their families, they are not unhappy with the move. If you would like to write any of the eight prisoners, e-mail me for the updated address list.
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT INVESTIGATING KORESH'S GUN
CHARGES AGAINST ATF AGENTS
After ATF's brutal February 28, 1993 attack on the Davidians, Henry McMahon, David Koresh's gun dealer, would have happily told the FBI and the press that the Davidians' large purchases were for legitimate business purposes and not part of some nefarious cultist gun plot. That is why on March 1, 1993 ATF agents spirited him and his girlfriend Karen Kilpatrick away from their new home in Florida, claiming Davidians were coming to kill them. Once ATF got them to McMahon's father's in Oregon, ATF agents threatened to destroy McMahon's gun business if he spoke out. McMahon recorded the calls. ATF brought them back to Texas a few weeks later and ATF agents Davy Aguilera and Dale Littleton threatened to have them prosecuted for conspiracy if they did not waive their rights and speak to agents. Littleton pushed Kilpatrick up against a wall. This is certainly worse than what the FBI did to Richard Jewell!
McMahon and Kilpatrick originally spoke with the NRA, which later lost interest in their case, and they could not raise enough money to file a civil suit against ATF and its agents within the statute of limitations. They contacted Senator Spector who was going to call them for hearings last fall against ATF. He then canceled the hearings because ATF was doing
such a "good job" investigating church burnings.
However, Spector did support McMahon and Kilpatrick when they filed a complaint with the Department of Justice (through their local prosecutors) against the ATF agents. They recently were interviewed by the FBI and have been told by Justice Department attorneys they have a very prosecutable case against the ATF agents. In fact, the case may go before a
Unfortunately, the Washington and major press have not yet picked up on this story, something sure to make the always-reluctant Justice Department find some excuse for not bring this abuse of citizens' rights to a grand jury. So feel free to get this story out to whatever press you know. Have them contact me for the McMahon's phone number. They are happy to tell their story. <email@example.com>
(Note: McMahon and Kirkpatrick have a web page (http://www.dmi.net/waco/) but no e-mail address. Also note: McMahon likes to correct the oft-made assertion he was a Class III gun dealer in the state of Texas, which he was not. He was previously a Class Dealer in another state.)
BUILDING A NEW MOUNT CARMEL
Several Davidian followers of David Koresh from around the country who met for the April 19 memorial were quite upset that the ex-wife and several friends of George Roden (the former Davidian leader who is incarcerated indefinitely for murder in a mental institution) have been trying to keep them off the 77 acre Mount Carmel property. The squatters even brandished weapons at them and one will soon go on trial.
As the Waco Tribune-Herald reported in June, Davidian survivors have decided to press ahead with legal efforts to have these squatters permanently evicted. In fact, fire survivor Clive Doyle, his mother and several other elderly Davidian women have decided to pool their resources and set up trailers and live at Mount Carmel once again. This is very brave, considering that vandals have started several fires out there and recently burned down three shacks built by the squatters. The Davidians had been paying the taxes on the property through their lawyers. Unfortunately, the lawyers fell behind a few months and Roden's friends--who threw Amo Roden herself off the property for a while--paid several thousand dollars worth of taxes.
A hearing is scheduled for September 29th in Waco's 19th State District Court over the ownership Mount Carmel. Davidian survivors are assured the Roden faction's squatting and tax payments will not affect their legal rights and are optimistic they will be able to legally retake Mount Carmel in the fall.
If you would like to write them for their price list of books, videos and audio tapes and otherwise support their efforts write: Mount Carmel Survivors Memorial Fund, Inc., Box 120, Axtell, TX. If you want to order the most popular items right away, send $20 each (including postage) for the videos "Inside Mount Carmel" (Davidians speak out during the siege) or "Day 51" (an overview of government crimes vs. the Davidians). Send $2.00 each for assorted David Koresh sermons on audio tape and ask for the price list of the many sermons available.
CAUSE FOUNDATION SPEAKS OUT ON STRASSMEIR CONNECTION
Kirk Lyon's Cause Foundation has been working for justice for the Davidians from just after the siege began in 1993. They are now working with a large Houston law firm on the Davidian civil suits. Cause Foundation has been questioned and criticized because of its association and representation of Andy Strassmeir who lived at Elohim City for a couple of years. Some link him to the Oklahoma City bombing conspiracy. The Cause Foundation finally has spoken out on their relation to Strassmeir on their web page
Cause's Spring 1997 newsletter also describes their complaint against the FBI with the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility. They complained because for the Oklahoma City bombing investigation the FBI subpoenaed the phone records of the Cause Foundation. (It did discover that Timothy McVeigh called the office the day before the bombing. Staffers there remember someone calling telling them their efforts to get justice for the Davidians could
However, because the Cause Foundation is a law office involved in the largest lawsuit ever filed against the FBI and the federal government, Cause considers this to be "an outrageous abuse of the police-state powers that this government has arrogated to itself." Cause wonders if the FBI also was tapping its lines during their investigation. It will be interesting to see if the Justice Department takes this complaint at all seriously.
40% BELIEVE FBI STARTED FIRE AT MOUNT CARMEL
A recent Scripps Howard News Service and Scripps School of Journalism poll of "conspiracy fears" among the American public revealed that 40% of Americans believe that it is very or somewhat likely that "The FBI deliberately set the fires that destroyed the Branch Davidian compound in Waco Texas, in 1993." (An obviously confused Washington Post columnists reported several weeks later that it was a Washington Post poll.) What was not clear was whether those voting yes included those who believe that FBI tanks merely smashed away at the building til it inevitably caught fire, as opposed to directly lighting it through some flame mechanism. Asked that way, the answer probably would have been closer to 70% of the American people Other responses included: 51% believe it is very or somewhat likely federal officials were responsible for the Kennedy assassination; 52% believe it is very or somewhat likely CIA pushes drugs in the inner- cities; 39% believe it is very or somewhat likely the U.S. Navy accidently or purposely shot down TWA Flight 800 in 1996; 80% believe the military is withholding evidence of Iraqi use of nerve gas or germ warfare during the Gulf War.
NATIONAL COMMISSION ON THE ADVANCEMENT OF FEDERAL
In late June President Clinton signed the emergency appropriations bill providing relief to flood-stricken states. The bill also provides funding for the National Commission on the Advancement of Federal Law Enforcement--more than a year after the group was authorized to study federal law enforcement. The NRA, ACLU and other groups were
responsible for this coup.
Despite the Commission's pro-law enforcement sounding title, many of us hoped the Commission would look into some of the issues of federal law enforcement abuses that Congressional Weaver, Waco and other hearings have not brought to light. However, some doubt it can do so since the law did not give the Commission subpoena power.
Moreover, its members, appointed by Congress, are largely establishment types who doubtless support the proposition "it's more important to protect federal law enforcement than to protect the people from federal law enforcement." It's chair is former CIA Director William Webster, who at least has expressed some criticism of the FBI. Victoria Toensing, a former Justice Department Attorney specializing in terrorism, and a frequent pro-law enforcement television commentator, has had nothing nice to say about the Branch Davidians in interviews. Donald Dahlin is a Professor of Political Science at the University of South Dakota. Robert Stewart is Chief of the North Carolina state law division.
House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt appointed the Fraternal Order of Police President Gil Gallegos to the Commission "to protect the rights and reputations of federal officers." In a later press release, the Fraternal Order labeled the ACLU, NRA and other groups that promoted the Commission an "Extremist Coalition." In a press release the FOP "opposed this legislation very strongly, based on our belief that this "Commission" would be nothing more than a civilian review board for federal officers," and argued that the executive and congressional branches had "exhaustively" reviewed past incidents and the Commission's investigations might put law enforcement at risk. So I am afraid we can expect a good deal of sabotage but very little light or action on either past or future abuses of power by federal agents--or prosecutors. An interesting WWW site maintained at Syracuse University follows the regulatory and enforcement activities of the FBI, IRS, BATF, and DEA. Called Transaction Records Access Clearinghouse, it contains some surprising facts and figures. See: http://trac.syr.edu
FBI AGENTS "TWISTING IN THE WIND"
In late July Senator Arlen Specter, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, complained that U.S. Attorney Michael Stiles' investigation of the death of Vicki Weaver, shot by FBI agents in 1992, was not yet completed and therefore was effectively leaving the accused agents "twisting in the wind." Of course, the investigation is not so much into the fact that she was killed, but into the fact that agents and official refuse to admit personal responsibility for giving the "shoot on sight" order that probably led to her death. Some also may have illegally destroyed evidence of who gave the order. Since FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi was acting on illegal orders, the Justice Department is absolving him of all personal responsibility for the murder if Vicki Weaver.
MERLETTI NEW HEAD OF SECRET SERVICE
In early June Lewis C. Merletti, who led the Treasury Department's investigation of the 1993 raid on the Branch Davidians, was sworn in as the 19th director of the Secret Service. The Treasury Report, while allowing some criticism of the planning and execution of the raid, promoted the government lies that the Davidians shot first, ambushing federal agents. It also totally failed to address serious allegations that agents shot from helicopters, killing four Davidians. Nor did it admit that BATF agents actually lied to the army about Davidian's involvement in drugs in order to receive free aid and special forces training that would not have been permitted without the drug connection. With someone who misses that much evidence of crimes in charge of the Secret Service, one must wonder about the safety of the president and of the currency system. Assassins and counterfeiter must feel safe with Merletti in charge!
COMMENTS ON FILM "WACO: THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT"
I saw the 2 hour 15 minute version playing in ashington, DC in mid-June. (More editing is promised and inevitable before it is finally released on video at some time in the future.)
The film attempts to prove that federal agents are guilty of murdering the Davidians and does a good job of it. (Unlike Fox's July 30th "Prophecies of the Millennium" which repeated every government-media lie about crazed suicidal cults.) Besides much footage we've all seen, it shows new material that just reinforces what we all know: ATF initiated a vicious raid and killed Davidians and their FBI buddies were *not* interested in allowing Davidians who defended themselves to survive the siege and April 19th gas and tank attack.
Particularly startling new material included: the audio tape of ATF agent Jim Cavanaugh, who at the House hearings claimed bullet holes in the Davidians' highest roof came from ATF agents shooting *up* into it--he admits to David Koresh that agents were armed, and perhaps shooting from helicopters; what does seem to be actual footage of a helicopter approaching the water tower and shooting Davidian Peter Gent who was on it; Davidian Steve Schneider complains ATF can "erase all evidence to cover your butts if you want."; Koresh's grandmother's attorney relates how when he and the grandmother got to check point, Brannon heard an agent say, "I hope she told him goodbye."; excellent computer animation of the spread of the fire from one point of origin; Tarrant County Medical Examiner Peerwani complains the FBI confiscated the County's videos of the bodies in the rubble and then claimed to have lost them.
I myself remain un-convinced by the proffered FLIR evidence that FBI agents shot guns at the Davidians during the fire. While I certainly think that is possible this happened, the light streaks pointed out in the film either seemed more likely to be from the shooting off of ferret rounds or from some other heat sources. I also doubted light streaks indicated agents shot very close to the building at about the same time a Davidian exited that area and escaped unharmed. The final proof, of course, would lie in confessions by FBI agents who witnessed or did the shooting. And we're not likely to get that unless we get a government willing to prosecute culpable agents. Unfortunately, some publications, like the Washington Post, have tried to make or break the film--and the whole "Waco story"--on the strength of these gunfire assertions. However, overall the film still overwhelms one with the great injustice done.
The film could have been better organized to make and emphasize its points. Also, the minimal narration which allowed events and individuals to speak for themselves sometimes left even Waco buffs confused. And there were a few factual errors, such as the assertion Michael Schroeder was killed outside Mount Carmel on April 19th, when it was February 28th. Nevertheless, it is the most hardhitting and commercial film produced so far and evidence that even mainstream news people are still open to investigating the crimes against the Branch Davidians.
NEW BOOK: NO MORE WACOS
David B. Kopel and Paul H. Blackman, two well known Second Amendment writers and activists, have released their 524 page hardback "No More Wacos: What's Wrong With Federal Law Enforcement and How to Fix It." It is published by Prometheus Books and is in most major bookstore. The book is chock full of facts, and critical of federal government actions.
I found its greatest failing to be factual errors and dubious interpretations based upon the authors' failure to interview Davidian survivors and attorneys. At a recent talk the authors said they did not believe there was a conspiracy against the Davidians, even as they had to admit the book exposed exhaustive efforts by federal agents and officials to coverup what really happened. Despite their attempts to be "even handed" toward federal law enforcement, I'm sure most readers will come away quite disgusted with the feds, so the book is a definite plus on those grounds!
LOUIS FREEH REJECTS THE DAVIDIAN MASSACRE, PART
In our first installment of the story, I had received a letter from the Inspector in Charge of the FBI Office of Public and Congressional Affairs, attached to my returned book and written materials, saying: "regulations applicable to Department of Justice employees preclude Director Freeh from accepting items such as this." I finally got a chance to talk to an agent in Public Affairs who told me that Department of Justice employees are prohibited from receiving gifts. I then asked if Janet Reno was out of compliance, since she hadn't returned hers. Annoyed, he told me I'd have to talk to her people about that.
I then pointed out that this wasn't a gift, just me as a citizen providing the FBI Director with a book I'd written and other materials hoping this would open his eyes to crimes by his underlings. He told me that the FBI will take complaints based on cold hard facts-- he got angrier and more revved up as he repeated several times over--but it doesn't want *hearsay*, *opinions*, or *conclusions* based on newspaper articles or government reports or whatever. "We want facts!" he almost shouted. I said, "Oh, you mean like an audio tape of an FBI confessing to killing all those Davidians?" He didn't like that question.
Then I asked if the Davidian survivors could file complaints about FBI agents' behavior during the siege or on April 19th. He grudgingly snapped back, "Yes." "That's fantastic," I said, and profusely thanked him for his help. I contacted one of the Davidian civil suit attorneys who said that while such an administrative complaint was an option for the Davidians, it was a waste of limited energy and money, especially since the civil suits covered the same ground. Of course, if Judge Smith throws out the civil suits, filing these complaints remains an option for Davidian survivors.
END OF AUGUST 5, 1997 UPDATE
BRANCH DAVIDIAN PRISONER UPDATE–DECEMBER 4, 1997
By Carol Moore
Member, Committee for Waco Justice
Author, The Davidian Massacre
Because there is so much news regarding the Davidian prisoners right now, I have decided to send out one update devoted just to them. A second one dealing with more general "Waco" issues will be send out in a few days.
DAVIDIAN PRISONER TO BE FREED DECEMBER 5TH
On December 5, 1997, Davidian Ruth Riddle will be freed after more than four years in jail and prison. She will be driven from Danbury Prison to a nearby airport where she will be deported to her home, Canada. On April 19, 1993 she escaped the burning Mount Carmel with a copy of David Koresh's first seal on a computer disk. She lost her husband, Jimmy Riddle, in the fire.
Ruth Riddle was found guilty of using a weapon in commission of the crime of conspiracy to murder federal agents--even though she was found innocent of murder. She had admitted to an officer that she had passed a gun to another Davidian during the BATF attack on the Davidians, but she herself did not shoot. District Judge Walter Smith, who brutally sentenced most of her friends to maximum sentences, sentenced Riddle to five years. With time served and good behavior, that sentence is now finished. She was busy learning computer skills which hopefully she'll put to good use in the "free world."
The two women prisoners have now been released, but the remaining seven male prisoners still are looking at 10, 20 or 35 more years of imprisonment– assuming they do not win their appeals at the Supreme Court level. As you will read below, two more Davidian prisoners are being abused at their prisons because they are Davidians. Please e-mail me if you would like the current addresses of the prisoners.
REPLY FROM LIVINGSTONE FAGAN'S WARDEN
Many of you saw Livingstone Fagan's letter describing abuses of himself and other prisoners in solitary confinement at Leavenworth penitentiary. Thanks to those of you who e-mailed and told me you wrote the warden, head of Bureau of Prisons and congressional committees. In his subsequent letters, Fagan has not written of further abuses.
Yesterday I got a letter from the new Leavenworth warden, J.W. Booker, Jr. He denied all Fagan's accusations and, regarding the accusations of physical abuse, wrote: "Neither your letter or inmate Fagan's letter provides any evidence of staff abusing inmate Fagan." Below is my relevant reply:
"The issues of physical abuse, and the guards' not reporting any such incidents as required, are obviously the most important ones. I think you are in error to dismiss these allegations by saying that neither Livingstone or myself provides any evidence of staff abusing him or other inmates.
Livingstone's letter clearly stated that a written complaint some prisoners were working on was confiscated by guards, evidently during a "shakedown." I do not know if he or they have tried to write or send any such letters since then.
As a new warden I would think that you would want to personally interview prisoners who have been in "administrative detention" to see how many have complaints of physical abuse. Obviously, as a longtime resident of the administrative detention unit, Livingstone sees a lot of individuals pass through and be mistreated who may not, for whatever reason, want to report mistreatment. But Livingstone's reluctance to continually write me and others with the names, dates and details of every such incident should not be used as an excuse to allow such abuses to continue.
These letters came just at the time that Senator Hatch has announced he will be investigating the case of Kenneth Trentadue, a prisoner who died in a federal transfer facility in Oklahoma, allegedly of suicide. However, autopsy evidence–denied by the government–clearly show he was physically beaten and probably died of those wounds.
USP BEAUMONT'S UNPROFESSIONALISM LANDS TWO DAVIDIANS
IN "THE HOLE"
As you can see in my letter below to Warden Holt of the Beaumont Penitentiary, two other Davidians are also experiencing unnecessary problems.
"I am writing to you regarding the prejudicial and unprofessional conduct of your employees alleged by Branch Davidian prisoners Brad Branch and Kevin Whitecliff in recent letters to myself and a mutual acquaintance. [Note: Branch wrote to me and Whitecliff to Jack DeVault.] Both believe this behavior is endangering them at Beaumont and has led to false allegations against them, leading to their internment as of November 18 in solitary confinement.
** Branch wrote that his unit manager, counselor and even you yourself have at different times, either to his face or to other inmates within his earshot, belittled him and referred to him in an obviously disgusted tone of voice as a "Branch Davidian."
** Branch's counselor Mr. DeLuna told another inmate to "tell that Koresh guy" that the inmate would now be taking Branch's job–a very unprofessional action which could cause conflict between inmates.
** One guard one night was singing to himself, obviously in earshot of Branch, "David Koresh...David Koresh...you're going to burn."He laughed when he realized Branch had heard him.
** Kevin Whitecliff wrote that he has been in solitary since October 16 because of an incident where someone tried to get his attention by throwing something at the outside of the window to his room, accidently breaking the window. Another inmate told him he saw the accident. Even though there have been several incidents where windows have been broken, no one else has been put in solitary, or otherwise punished. Kevin also has been taunted by Beaumont employees about being a Branch Davidian. This would seem to be clearly prejudicial behavior. Kevin worries that you, Warden Holt, will indefinitely keep him in solitary because of this incident and that this is "pay back" for the crime of which he was convicted.
** Branch complained to you in person when Kevin was not let out as speedily as you had promised. Branch claims you angrily replied, "There you go again preaching to me," and uttered a remark as he walked away. He did not hear the remark but did hear you say "Branch Davidians" in a very negative tone of voice.
** Soon after Branch got into a verbal dispute with another inmate over a work assignment. The next thing he knew, Branch was accused of planting a knife in the inmate's room. Branch claims he can prove he was elsewhere during the time any knife could have been planted. He was put in solitary because of this incident. Branch is hardly the kind of hardened criminal who would do such a thing–and he certainly is not in a position to think he could get away with it!
This sort of prejudicial and belittling behavior creates a dangerous situation, and even sends the message to the most vicious inmates that harming Davidians will not be punished. It may have made a guard or an inmate feel that they could plant a weapon and blame Branch without having to worry about being discovered and punished–because you or your employees are just looking for an excuse to punish the Branch Davidians.
Branch and Whitecliff complain that they–and Davidian Jaime Castillo--have been moved from "Federal Correctional Institutions" (FCIs) which are for low or medium security prisoners to "United States Prisons" (USPs) which are for high security prisoners--i.e., the most dangerous ones who pose the greatest threat to society and each other. I wonder if these exaggerated or fabricated charges have been made to justify their incarceration in this facility.
I hope you will consider writing
again–or for the first time–to the "authorities" below to complain about
mistreatment of the Davidians.(Include the prisoners' Registration Numbers
in all letters.)
Writing the authorities does help! Kevin Whitecliff wrote to Jack DeVault: "I believe you and others that you informed helped Brad and I get out of the same situation in April of 1995 when we were in "the hole" at Three Rivers. I think it also helped us as far as their professional attitude toward us from the Three Rivers administration." [Note: they were both in the hole at that time for "their own protection" after the Oklahoma City bombing.]
Bureau of Prisons
320 1st Street, NWWashington, DC 20534
Phone: (888) 317-8455
Fax: (202) 514-6878
Warden J.W. Booker, Jr.
Leavenworth, KS 66048
Beaumont, TX 77720-6030
These two subcommittees oversee federal prisons and their treatment of prisoners:
House Judiciary Committee
207 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Attn: Glenn Schmitt
Fax: (202) 225-3737
Rep. Bill McCullom is chair
Senate Judiciary Committee
Court and Administrative Practice Subcommittee
325 Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Attn: John McMickle
Phone: (202) 224-6736
Fax: (202) 228-0536
Rep. Charles Grassley is chair
Livingstone Fagan #60550-080
Brad Branch #60536-080
Kevin Whitecliff #60537-080
The Davidian prisoners will appreciate your help–plus you'll be helping all freedom lovers by reminding the establishment they cannot mistreat the victims of their unjust laws, police brutality and corrupt judges!
COMMITTEE TO DEMONSTRATE AT BOP/CONGRESS FOR PRISONERS
Members of the Committee for Waco Justice are going to do a lunch time demonstration at Bureau of Prisons headquarters in January on the day that Congress comes back into session. (Gingrich's office told me that would be January 27th.) We will then march over to Congress where we will protest the abuses of prisoners. If you would like to come into Washington that day and join us, please feel free to do so. E-mail me for more details.
GRAEME CRADDOCK SEEKS INFORMATION ON FED DEVICE
FOUND APRIL 19, 1993
Graeme Craddock, who is now incarcerated in Louisiana for a 20 year term, was in charge of equipment at Mount Carmel during the siege. He has been writing about his experiences on April 19th, and the lies the FBI told about the Davidians that day. However, something he remembered recently from that day puzzles him--the nature of a box found in the back of the gymnasium before the fire that day. It was brought to him by another fire survivor who is not incarcerated. (Because the batteries were still working, he doubts it was dropped by the BATF agent who was in the gymnasium on February 28, 1993.)
Graeme would like help identifying the object from any of you familiar with equipment used by federal agencies or the military. He left it in the building when he escaped and has heard nothing about what, if any, remains were found after the fire.
Craddock describes a small plastic black box, approximately 2.5 by 2.5 by 3/4 inches. It has an FCC label. On the broad top are two red flashing devices and two nobs, an "on" and an "off." On the broad bottom is a hatch door for the two AAA batteries inside. On the narrow front side are a "frequency" dial and a "pulse width" dial.
He says this was not a "home made" but obviously a manufactured device. And it did not have a microphone, so it was not a surveillance device. Since he does not know if it was found before or after the tanks first crashed into the gym, he does not know if it was dropped from or fell out of a tank. If you have an idea what it is, please e-mail me. I'll forward the information, or give you Craddock's address if you would like to write. (Or if you want to be totally anonymous send information to me at: old address deleted.)
FATTA INTERVIEW BURNED IN FIRE?
I was going to announce the availability of audio tapes of Mike McNulty's August 23rd radio interviewed Davidian prisoner Paul Fatta on the American Freedom Network. However, as many of your know, the radio station burned down last weekend. No one answered their "800" number today so I do not know if those tapes survived the fire or will be otherwise available.
Also, the station was selling the Director's edition of "Waco: The Rules of Engagement", put together with Mike McNulty, its chief researcher. However, as you may have read elsewhere, Fifth Estate Productions/Somford Entertainment legally shut down the distribution of that longer version of the film. However, if you want to buy their version contact them at their web page www.waco93.com or call 1-800-771-2147 ext.19.
DAVIDIAN PRISONERS' WRITINGS ON THE WEB
If you'd like to read writings by Davidian prisoners Jaime Castillo and Livingstone Fagan, go to Mark Swett's "Research Center" http://w3.ime.net/~mswett
The link to the "Seven Seals" is described thusly: "The Branch Davidians who host the two web sites at www.SevenSeals.com and www.BranchDavidian.com are offering to send the two volume book 'Seven Seals' at no charge to anyone who is interested in the prophecy of the Seven Seals as revealed by David Koresh and the new Chosen Vessel. The book is over 600 pages of comprehensive study concerning latter day prophetic events. The two volumes include time charts and original illustra-tions. If you would like a copy, or know of anyone else who would like a copy, send mailing information to: Hidden Manna, PO Box 789, Jesup, GA, 31598 Or e-mail your mailing information to: firstname.lastname@example.org."
Needless to say, the new chosen vessel (a Davidian prisoner who chooses not to identify himself in the book) has generated some controversy among survivors. But in a religious movement that looks for "modern day prophets" I guess that is not surprising.
EYEWITNESS REPORT FROM DAVIDIAN RE-SENTENCING
Jack DeVault, author of THE WACO WHITEWASH, circulated his description of the August 4, 1997 re-sentencing of 6 Davidians by Judge Walter J. Smith. Below are excerpts from his account.
"U.S. Marshals swarmed all over the federal building and the courtroom during this hearing in Waco... The courtroom was
probably about half full with 40 spectators when all were in.
The prisoners, already in their places, were shackled with one wrist chained to their waists and they were bound with leg irons. They were attired in khaki colored pajama bottoms and T-shirts. Kevin Whitecliff, Brad Branch and Renos Avraam had let their hair grow and were looking pretty shaggy. Jaime Castillo and Graeme Craddock had their hair neatly trimmed. All of them appeared to have aged more than the three years which have passed since I had last seen them.
The hearing commenced promptly at 9:00 a.m. with a short statement by William Johnston. He alleged that the defendants all used enhanced weapons of some sort and that the sentences originally imposed should be upheld.
Each of the defense attorneys rose in turn and asked that his
client's sentence be reduced to five years. Their primary arguments in each case was that no evidence had been introduced that proved that their particular man had been involved in the crime of which they were convicted with any enhanced weapon or explosive device. Furthermore, Count Three of the indictment and instructions to the jury did not have an instruction which required a finding of conspiracy, hence, the jury could not find any conspiracy. Only Count One, the murder count of the jury instructions allowed for a finding of conspiracy and since no conspiracy was found there and the defendants were not found guilty of that count there was consequently no conspiracy found by the jury.
The judge, however, found that by a preponderance of the evidence there had been a conspiracy despite the findings of the jury and he re-sentenced each of them to the very same sentence which he had originally given them.
The allocution portion of this sentencing hearing provided each prisoner an opportunity to speak for himself before his sentence was pronounced. This did provide some fireworks and food for thought. Brad Branch, Kevin Whitecliff, and Jaime Castillo chose not to attempt any allocution. When it came time for Graeme Craddock, however, he did wish to speak. You may recall that Craddock was the Australian electrical engineer...[H]e made a real effort to clear up some flaws in the record. He was particularly disturbed by the official record which indicated that he had thrown the telephone out the front door of Mt. Carmel during the final assault by the FBI on April 19, 1993. . .Special Agent Byron Sage, the FBI negotiator kept calling on him to come out and hook up the line, a command which he couldn't comply with because the huge tank that was tearing the building down had torn that line up.
When Craddock finished it was Renos Avraam's turn for allocution. This young man was not intimidated by the judge. He spoke for about 15 minutes repeatedly accused Judge Smith of acting on his personal feelings and ignoring the law. He said, "This nation is supposed to run under laws, not personal feelings. When you ignore the law you sow the seeds of terrorism."
"Why wasn't the law applied? Because you didn't want to apply it. You are busy protecting this government by tiptoeing around the law. You apply it only when it works for you and you ignore it when it works for us."
His soliloquy was finally stopped by his attorney, but he had clearly made the judge uneasy as he kept turning a ball point pen abound in his right hand.
Prosecutor William Johnston arose and was outraged at the very idea that Avraam had suggested that terrorism might be caused by the government injustice.
Steven Rosen, attorney for Kevin, assured me that the lawyers are continuing the appeal process. It's not over yet.
Jack DeVault, Major, USAF (Ret.)
END OF DECEMBER 4, 1997 UPDATE
WACO UPDATE -- DECEMBER 22, 1997
By Carol Moore
Member, Committee for Waco Justice
Author, The Davidian Massacre
UPDATE ON DAVIDIAN PRISONERS
As I wrote in the December 4, 1997 "Prisoners Update", Davidian prisoners Brad Branch and Kevin Whitecliff at Beaumont prison have been taunted by prison officials and guards, including in front of other prisoners. Quite possibly as a result of this prejudiced behavior, they ended up in special housing ("the hole") after questionable incidents. And Livingstone Fagan and other prisoners in the special housing unit at Leavenworth have been physically abused by their guards.
Thanks to all of you who did write to the wardens, the Bureau of Prisons and Congress. I myself have received responses from Fagan's Warden and Rep. Bill McCollum's Crime subcommittee.
Since that update I have learned that the allegation Branch planted a knife in another prisoners' cell was dropped. However, Kevin Whitecliff, who was first facing charges he'd broken his own cell window from the outside, was then charged with things even more absurd: first, of sending threatening notes to whoever broke his window, and then of conspiring to or manufacturing a shampoo bottle of poison. After two months, Kevin finally got out of the hole on December 19th, but an investigation of these charges is ongoing. Whether it is guards or prisoners making these absurd and false allegations, it is obviously the contempt of the administration for the Davidians which has led to these travesties of justice.
Livingstone Fagan is even more beleaguered. Last week I received two letters he gave to an inmate being released from Leavenworth. Against regulations, guards were not permitting his mail to go out. This inmate is willing to speak to investigators about the abuse of Fagan and others at Leavenworth, as is an inmate recently moved to another facility.
Fagan wrote of being surrounded and threatened by guards in the housing unit's main office because of his complaints to the outside world. He was then thrown repeatedly against a wall. On the smallest pretexts, Fagan has been manhandled and thrown into a cold open cell or "cage" in his underwear without blankets or mattress. He worries for his life, not just from murderous guards, but from possible illness from this inhumane treatment.
Fagan and Whitecliff share the same attorney, who is doing his best to deal with these problems. But, as usual, the more of us writing and demanding that these abuses end, the better.
If you think they will be at all responsive, write your senators and representatives, requesting they write Kathleen Hawk, Director of the Bureau of Prisons. One individual wrote his Senator, Spencer Abraham, and Abraham wrote an excellent letter about the abuse of the Davidians to Ms. Hawk. Also, write either or both of the following:
Bureau of Prisons
320 1st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20534
Phone: (202) 888-317-8455
Fax: (202) 514-6878
Rep. Bill McCollum, Chair
House Judiciary Committee
207 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Fax: (202) 225-3737
On a less frustrating
note, someone did reply to prisoner Graeme Craddock's request for information
about a strange "FCC approved" device found in the gymnasium the day of
the fire. After hearing the description, a woman supporter wrote
back that it was an "Infra-Red Strobe Unit (ISU). They're used to
track equipment and/or personnel. Here's a description from the Shomer-Tec
catalog: "...invisible except when viewed with night vision equipment...
emits flashes in a non-visible wavelength. The powerful infra-red
flashes can be seen through clothing, deep foliage, and even thin cardboard.
Application include vehicle tails, tagging personnel in tactical situations,
package identification and tracking, identification of boats, aircraft,
landing zones, etc. It can be observed from up to two miles away.
Forty pulses per minute." She further commented: "You set the frequency
of the flash to make a pattern that can be discerned. You can easily
distinguish who is where. You can make several different patterns and sub-patterns
of flashes so you can distinguish sets and sub-sets of individuals, equipment,
or locations you might want to tag for various reasons."
JOIN US JANUARY 27TH! For a lunchtime demonstration for the Davidian Prisoners at Bureau of Prisons Headquarters and then a ten minute walk to Congress. Look for further announcements who get on our email list for further details. Cmoore@capaccess.org
STATUS OF DAVIDIAN APPEALS AND CIVIL SUITS
After Judge Walter J. Smith upheld all the Davidian sentences in September, Davidian appeals attorneys filed another appeal with the Fifth Circuit Court. They held that Smith sentenced the Davidians for crimes of which they were not convicted (conspiracy to murder federal agents) and improperly judged for himself whether each had carried an illegal weapon. If the Fifth Circuit upholds Smith's sentences, the Davidians will appeal again to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court refused to hear Davidian civil suit attorneys' request that the same Walter J. Smith be removed as judge of the civil suits because of his proven prejudice against the Davidians. Firmly at the helm, Smith is now hearing the government's motions that the case be dismissed entirely. He did just that two years ago in the first case filed, the Gyrfas case. However, civil suit attorneys are expecting that Smith will allow the suits for deaths on February 28 and April 19, 1993 to go forward. They also expect that he will demand that all the suits be consolidated into one case.
Also, the Cause Foundation, which is working on the civil suits, has asked for financial aid from Davidian supporters. The most immediate need is to continue making payments for storage of the body of Davidian Jimmy Riddle which still has not be fully autopsied. Other expenses for putting together the civil suit also will be arising. Send a contributions to, or request a copy of their newsletter, at: Cause Foundation, Box 1235, 1112 ½ Montreat Road, Black Mountain, NC 28711. 704-669-5189
DAVE HARDY'S WEB PAGE
Dave Hardy, an attorney working with civil suit attorneys, has been working on a freedom of information act suit over certain Waco-related records. After two years of litigation he has pried some interesting documents out of the government, including: a video from the helicopters approaching the building on Feb. 28; a video of the ATF raid headquarters before the raid; audiotapes of the ATF radio traffic that day (which they told the court they hadn't revealed even to the Congressional committees); an excellent infrared tape of the fire; bugging or "overhear" tapes from inside the building the day of the fire; transcripts of earlier bugging tapes; the Texas Water Commission complaint about the 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel the FBI managed to spill a few weeks before the fire; and other details.
These documents and audio and video tapes are available at his homepage: http://www.indirect.com/www/dhardy/waco.html
DAVIDIANS STILL TRYING TO TAKE BACK MOUNT CARMEL
On November 16, the ABC-TV program " Extra" had a short piece on properties that would be hard to sell. They showed O.J. Simpson's house, the home where the Heavens Gaters committed suicide--and the Branch Davidians' Mount Carmel Center. Of course, the Branch Davidians are not trying to sell it, they are still trying to get it back from squatters who have been occupying the property since the summer of 1993. Clive Doyle, his mother, and several elderly Davidian survivors want to live there once again so they can properly and respectfully oversee the memorial to their friends and families.
For most of this time the squatters have consisted of George Roden's former common law wife (Roden is incarcerated in an institution for the criminally insane after murdering a man) and her boyfriend, now husband. They survive by charging tourists for visiting the site; they distribute confusing diatribes against David Koresh and his followers. On more than one occasion they have threatened Mount Carmel survivors with guns when they have come to tend to the memorial for those massacred by the government. The husband has been arrested for his threats.
The Koresh followers clearly have title to the land, despite Roden's law suit claiming control. The Country Sheriff says he only will evict these unruly squatters with a court order. Two court hearings already have been postponed because of a crowded docket, but another is scheduled for late February.
If you would like to contribute money, time or manpower to helping the Davidians re-occupy and clean up Mount Carmel once the squatters have been evicted, contact: Clive Doyle, Mount Carmel Survivors Memorial Fund, Inc., Box 120, Axtell, TX . 76624
GOA TO INVESTIGATE USE OF MILITARY EQUIPMENT AT
According to December 8, 1997 Associated Press and United Press International stories Investigators with the General Accounting Office want to determine whether Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms obtained Texas National Guard helicopters and other military vehicles for February 28, 1993 assault on Davidians, as had been requested by Congress during the 1995 Waco hearings. They recently visited Waco for their inquiry.
A staff member of the House Subcommittee on National Security, International Affairs and Criminal Justice told reporters that the GAO investigation would examine whether the ATF rightfully acquired the military equipment and whether it should reimburse the Pentagon for the assistance. "The image of Bradley fighting vehicles and M1 tanks set against the burning Mount Carmel compound calls into question the role of the military at Waco," said U.S. Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind. during the House hearings. Michael Reyes, a special agent in the ATF's Houston office, declined to comment on the inquiry but said the agency intended to cooperate.
Members of Congress questioned whether the ATF lied about a possible drug lab at the compound to secure the helicopters. The choppers served as a distraction while about 100 agents rolled up in front of Mount Carmel. (And, of course, there is ample evidence that agents fired from helicopters and killed four Davidians--though no government agency has dared to admit that fact.) Republicans on the subcommittee charged that the drug allegations were a ruse to draw in military help. ATF wanted to get around the1878 Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits use of the Army to enforce laws except in specific circumstances outlined by Congress - such as in the "war" on illegal drugs. They managed to obtain certain trainings they would not otherwise have gotten as well as free use of the helicopters.
THE "WACO COVERUP" CONTINUES
More information about the cover-up of federal agents and officials crimes' against the Davidians continues to leak out. In August, 1997, Ambrose Evans-Prichard revealed in the Electronic Telegraph that White House counsel–and mysterious "suicide" victim–Vince Foster was handling top-secret intelligence files at the White House. This was according to sworn testimony of his former executive assistant given to the Senate Banking Committee June 26, 1997. Evans-Prichard obtained a full copy of Gorham's deposition, which was taken behind closed doors on June 26 and never been released to the press. Handling such files was not supposed to part of Foster's job as a legal advisor to the president.
Besides the two intelligence files, Gorham also revealed that Foster kept a file on the Waco incident locked in a cabinet in his office. This would seem to belie White House claims to Congress in 1995 that the only Waco-related material found in Foster's office was a memo regarding his passing on a copy of the video "Waco, the Big Lie" to the Treasury Department.
Those who wonder why the FBI was so quick to give the Clinton White House FBI files on hundreds of individuals and has been so incompetent in uncovering evidence of wrongdoing in the investigations of campaign fund-raising still must wonder what other information about Waco the White House and FBI are withholding from the public.
While Evans-Prichard's new book, "The Secret Life of Bill Clinton" contains a couple references to the Waco coverup, it does not thoroughly investigate known evidence of White House ATF-DOJ-FBI collusion in the massacre. However, I have been told one of his end notes begins: "I am indebted to Carol Moore's well-documented work, ‘The Davidian Massacre: Disturbing Questions About Waco Which Must Be Answered (1995).' Perhaps he is working on a complete book on the massacre.
(Those of you who have seen Carol Valentine's "WacoMuseum" web page or read her various news group screeds know that she insults any one who doesn't support or agree with her version of what is being covered up; usually she infers they are government agents or dupes. This includes Mr. Evans-Prichard, the producers of "Waco: the Rules of Engagement," myself and even Branch Davidian fire survivors! While I won't waste time on her theories here, e-mail me if you would like a couple of my replies to her hysterical accusations.)
In late September, 1997 Senator Grassley held a hearing on the FBI crime laboratory. In a 517-page report released in April, Inspector General Michael Bromwich said he found evidence of errors, substandard analysis and deficient practices throughout the FBI crime lab. Others have charged laboratory employees of outright fabrication of evidence to help prosecutors' cases.
Knowing the hearings were upcoming, the Committee for Waco Justice sent information about the crime lab's questionable finding that 48 Davidian semi-automatics had been illegally converted to fully automatic. All but one of the guns the laboratory investigated were burned in the fire. A fully functioning automatic, allegedly was found in the back of an unlocked Davidian van that sat on the property during the 51 day siege--but only after the van had been towed to a storage facility. Many believe it was planted there by federal agents.
During the 1995 House Waco hearings congressional investigators had arranged for a private company, Failure Analysis, to x-ray the guns to see if they in fact had been altered. When Democrats learned that the National Rifle Association was paying for the tests, they had a handy excuse to stop the testing. The Justice Department then promised to test them--later claiming it could not afford to do so.
However, Grassley's subcommittee evidently did not bring up the matter of the Davidian guns. In fact, Inspector General Bromwhich told senators that further investigation of reports of additional misconduct would be counterproductive and merely undermine the moral of FBI lab staffers. Happily, the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys is staying on top of the FBI Crime Lab issue. I've sent them information about the Davidian weapons as well.
Despite these frustration, one likes to think there is hope. One such sign may be in the real "act of God" versus Bill Clinton earlier this year. A tornado damaged a car in the back lot of a car repair shop. The owner found old records implicating Clinton in the Whitewater scandal. An employee of Bill's crony-turned-informant James McDougal had forgotten he left the files there a dozen years ago when he refused to take his car back because the repair shop charged too much. Perhaps another such natural miracle will soften the hearts and open the minds of one or more of the Waco co-conspirators!
WACO CO-CONSPIRATOR INDICTED IN WEAVER KILLING
In summer of 1997 Idaho state prosecutors charged FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi with involuntary manslaughter in the August, 1992 killing of Vicki Weaver during the "Ruby Ridge" incident. Mrs. Weaver was holding her baby daughter at the doorway of their cabin in northern Idaho when Horiuchi, who claimed he was aiming at Kevin Harris, shot her. At the time of the incident, FBI snipers at Ruby Ridge were acting under unprecedented, shoot-to-kill "rules of engagement" covering any adult male seen in the vicinity of the Weaver cabin. Horiuchi could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted under state law.
E. Michael Kahoe did plead guilty in October of 1996 to obstructing justice by destroying an "after-action" report on who decided to change the rules of engagement during the 1992 siege. In September, 1997, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison and a $4,000 fine. Kahoe told the judge, ``I will always be known as the agent who obstructed justice in the Ruby Ridge incident." But in August of 1997 the Justice Department said it failed to find sufficient evidence to support further prosecutions of FBI agents or officials.
Said Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), who directed the congressional probe of Ruby Ridge incident, "This is no way to run the Justice Department. You've really got to wonder what's going on over there." Gerry Spence, the lawyer who successfully defended Randy Weaver, said in a statement. "Then you can kill at will? Kill at random? . . . Who will protect us? Who can cage the beast?"
In late October, 1997, Horiuchi sought to have the state's involuntary manslaughter case against him moved to federal court. Horiuchi contends he has the right to move the case to federal court because such transfers are allowed for a federal officer prosecuted for conduct performed while carrying out official duties. He states that because "wanted posters" had been posted in the Ruby Ridge, Idaho area, he has security concerns about being tried in state court. State prosecutors will have a chance to present their arguments for keeping the case a state one early in 1998. The Judge in the case is the same one who fined the FBI for tampering with evidence in the original case against Randy Weaver and Kevin Harris.
KEVIN HARRIS CHARGES DROPPED, CIVIL SUIT GOES
To the horror of many Americans, Idaho prosecutors also charged Randy Weaver's friend Kevin Harris with first degree murder and aggravated assault for the death of U.S. Marshall William Degan. Both Weaver and Harris were found innocent of these charges in a 1994?? trial in federal court. Justice did prevail, in this case, however. In early October, 1997 Idaho Magistrate Judge Quentin Harden ruled that Idaho law prevented the state from trying Harris for first degree murder and aggravated assault because he had been acquitted in federal court.
And just the week before, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Harris could sue U.S. marshals and FBI agents in his $10 million damage lawsuit. Harris is suing 13 federal agents for allegedly subjecting him to excessive force and false arrest in violation of his constitutional rights. The lawsuit challenged the adoption of special FBI "rules of engagement'' for the Ruby Ridge standoff that allowed officers to shoot any armed adult male they saw near the cabin, regardless of whether the target posed an immediate threat to the officer. Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote that this policy was a departure from the usual FBI rules and U.S. Supreme Court standards and "a gross deviation from constitutional principles and a wholly unwarranted return to a lawless and arbitrary wild West school of law enforcement." In 1995 Randy Weaver settled his damage suit for the loss of his son and daughter for $3.1 million in 1995.
APRIL 19, 1998--START ORGANIZING NOW!
October 29, 1997 four members of the committee for Waco Justice attended the Human Rights for China Rally in front of the White House. We carried our "Tiananmen Waco Never Again" signs (with drawings of tanks, of course). A few of the thousand plus demonstrators understood and approved of our message.
But I kept thinking, what a shame that those of us concerned Waco, and about freedom in American from ever-more oppressive governments, don't organize on April 19th. We all know that it is also the anniversary of the 1775 march on Concord, Massachusetts leading to the first Revolutionary War battles at Lexington and Concord. It is also the anniversary of the Nazi attack on the Warsaw Ghetto.
We know of just two April 19, 1997 events: commemorances by Branch Davidians at Mount Carmel, outside of Waco, and our small Committee for Waco Justice rally across from the White House. I was grateful that news wires carried my quote decrying the injustice done at Waco. But I would have been even happier if, in response to their query, our group could have said, "There are dozens of April 19th protests and commemorations all over the country today!"
Next April 19th is a Sunday. So there is no "weekday work" excuse for not organizing a public event to remind all Americans that we will resist tyranny. Afraid to be seen demonstrating in public or to get your picture taken? Then they have already intimidated you and you have already lost your freedom!
Please make sure to advertise your event on the Internet so we can all inform the local press about other events around the country. Let them know there are thousands of us out there.
April 19,1998, for the fifth year in a row, the Committee for Waco Justice will be demonstrating on the Ellipse, south of the White House. We will have our 82 crosses, our banners and our Davidian flags. Feel free to join us!
WACO AND THE MEDIA
Some members of the press will not let Clinton or Reno forget Waco. Richard Reeves, a syndicated Columnist, in a November, 1997 column wrote: "[I]f I had to say right now what the Clinton presidency will be remembered for, it would be ‘Waco'. Most of us ignore or deny it now -- it is too stupid, too painful and still incredible -- but he was commander in chief in the month of April in 1993 when the U.S. government attacked it own citizens for no good reason."
In a recent Saturday Night Live, a Bill Clinton character tried to bully the Janet Reno character into ignoring the campaign finance scandal by reminding her of Waco. (On a recent talk show she admitted that "Waco" was the most trying experience she has had in office.) On another "SNL" the Reno character told real-life guest Richard Jewell, the security guard briefly accused of the Olympic bombing, she'd do anything to make it up to him. He punched Reno in the stomach and walked out the door. More recently, regarding the congressional drummings of Reno, the SNL newscaster said, "Now there's someone who really wants their home fire-bombed and run over by tanks."
Jay Leno enjoyed one joke so much he told it two different times this fall: "Clinton better watch out for Ms. Reno and her investigations. Remember what happened the last time she got in an argument with a bunch of people who lived in a big house!"
So at least we can see that there is some sense even in the "liberal media" that Clinton and Reno have done something wrong, something that we should not be too quick to forget.