The Waco Massacre
Note regarding links: Much of the Waco information once available on the web has "disappeared" and quite a few of the links on this page have expired (a few are marked as such) or no longer lead to the original page. An expired link at least shows that the page once existed. Some pages which no longer exist on the web can still be recovered by entering the URL (right mouse click on the link to get the URL) into the Wayback Machine.
And as an amusing exercise in provoking censorship try adding a link to this page from Wikipedia's Waco Siege page and see how long it takes to be deleted.
Many people believe that David Koresh (or the Branch Davidians) were responsible for the deaths of the 74 men, women and children who died in the inferno at Waco on April 19, 1993. This is the story that the FBI put out. It is a lie. The guns they had were legal. The local sheriff investigated and found no basis for complaints against them. These were law-abiding American citizens, even if they thought differently to most other folks. They trusted the U.S. Constitution to ensure their political rights, but they were murdered by agents acting under the authority of the U.S. government. Read this page if you believe otherwise. If you still have doubts, get the video Rules of Engagement for visual evidence. Or read the book Armageddon in Waco. Or see the film Waco: A New Revelation.
Waco occurred under the presidency of Bill Clinton, with Janet Reno and Wesley Clark in supporting roles. Already back in 1993 the US government demonstrated its contempt for the American people by carrying out a massacre in order to "demonstrate" (on prime time TV) its supposed "authority" (a tactic favored by fascist governments). Following the usurpation of the presidency in 2000 by the psychopath George W. Bush, and the subsequent installation of the insane John Ashcroft as Bush's Himmler, things became much worse. On 9/11 about forty times as many people were murdered as at Waco. In both cases the murderers have so far gone unpunished.
Few Americans realize that on February 28, 1993 when BATF agents in National Guard helicopters zoomed in on the Branch Davidians' church and home, Mount Carmel Center, they did so with guns blazing, like Americans raiding a Vietnamese village in that far off war. ... It is likely FBI agents deliberately sabotaged negotiations with Davidians to prevent their exiting Mount Carmel. Their goal was to destroy the building and its damaging evidence, even if that meant the massacre of dozens of men, women and children, all witnesses to the brutal attack. — Carol Moore: Overview of Davidian Massacre
After the February raid by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) of David Koresh's dissident religious community at Waco, Texas, the FBI and the U.S. Army took over, mounting a 51-day siege. This included such psy-war tactics as sleep deprivation of the inhabitants of the community by means of all-night broadcasts of recordings of the screams of rabbits being slaughtered.
Finally, despite David Koresh's pledge to surrender upon completion of his written explanation of the meaning of the Seven Seals, the FBI and the Army attacked. At dawn on April 19, 1993, and throughout the morning, tanks rammed holes in the main building and pumped (in the FBI's words) "massive amounts" of CS gas into the building, despite knowing that inside were more than a dozen children. The tanks demolished parts of the compound and created tunnels for the wind to blow through. The buildings at this point were saturated with inflammable CS gas and spilled kerosene.
Around midday two U.S. military pyrotechnic devices were fired into the main building, igniting a fire which (because of the holes in the walls allowing the wind to gust through) spread rapidly through the complex of buildings and became an inferno. 74 men, women and children died — including twelve children younger than five years of age. Fire trucks were prevented by the FBI from approaching the inferno. After the compound had burned down the BATF flag was hoisted aloft to signify 'victory'. Subsequently the burned-out ruin was razed in an attempt to remove all evidence of this premeditated murder of innocent civilians by agents of the U.S. government. Thus occured an atrocity which many Americans believe could never happen in their country. A look at the evidence presented in the film Waco: Rules of Engagement (and in the BBC documentary broadcast in the U.K. on November 28, 1998) shows that it did happen.
The lawyer for one of the survivors said at one of the U.S. government 'investigations' (or rather, whitewashes): In this country when people are accused of a crime they are arrested and given a trial — that's 'due process'. If found guilty of murder then maybe they are killed. We don't just kill them first — which is what happened at Waco.
Here are links to documents on this website concerning this tragedy.
- Linda Thompson: What Happened at Waco
After the BATF and FBI learned that the American Justice Federation had released a press release stating that the use of military troops against United States citizens violated federal law, specifically, the Posse Comitatus act, the BATF released a cover story, claiming that the tanks were "really" not Army, they were national guard, and had been brought in under the "Drug interdiction act" because they had heard there was a "methamphetamine lab" — three weeks after the FBI had already publicly announced there was never any question whatsoever of drug involvement.
- Linda Thompson: The Big Lie
- By Carol Moore:
- Burning Questions, a review by Jacob Sullum, a senior editor of REASON, of Armageddon in Waco and two other books about Waco: The Ashes of Waco: An Investigation and Why Waco?: Cults and the Battle for Religious Freedom in America.
- Transcript of Waco Negotiations
Armageddon in Waco
Critical Perspectives on the Branch Davidian Conflict
Edited by Stuart A. Wright
The University of Chicago Press, 1995
On February 28, 1993, the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) launched the largest assault in its history against a small religious community in central Texas. Approximately eighty armed agents invaded the compound, purportedly to execute a single search and arrest warrant. The raid went badly; six Branch Davidians and four agents were killed, and after a fifty-one-day standoff, the United States Justice Department approved a plan to use CS gas against those barricaded inside. Tanks carrying the CS gas entered the compound. Later that day, fire broke out, and all seventy-four men, women and children inside perished.Here is the Summary at the end of the chapter "Self-Fulfilling Prophecies" by James R. Lewis:
Could tragedy have been prevented? Was it necessary for the BATF agents to do what they did? What could have been done differently? Armageddon in Waco offers the most detailed, wide-ranging analysis of events surrounding Waco. Leading scholars explore all facets of the confrontation in an attempt to understand one of the most confusing government actions in American history.
The book begins with the history of the Branch Davidians and the story of its leader, David Koresh. Chapters show how the the Davidians came to trouble authorities, why the group was labeled a "cult," and how authorities used unsubstantiated allegations of child abuse to strengthen their case against the sect.
The media's role is examined next in essays that consider the effect on coverage of lack of time and resources, the orchestration of public relations by government officials, the restricted access to the site or to countervailing evidence, and the ideologies of the journalists themselves.
— From the back cover of the book.
The implications of these studies and supporting arguments for the Waco situation should be clear. The Branch Davidians' chances for a fair hearing were severely damaged as soon as the label "cult" was applied. After that, the mass media selectively sought out and presented information about Koresh and his community that conveniently fit the stereotype. It was only a matter of time before law enforcement and the media had completely demonized Koresh and his followers. Anticult organizations provided ample fodder for the ritual and symbolic castigation of this little-known religious sect, simplistically reducing the beliefs and practices of the community to vapid, inane categories of brainwashing rhetoric. After this demonization had been successfuly accomplished, the entire community — men, women, and children — could be consigned to their tragic fate with little more than a peep of protest from the American public, a public which overwhelmingly approved of the FBI's tragic final assault on Mt. Carmel.
Or more exactly, a public which would appear to consist mostly of gullible idiots, with no sense of injustice (except when it affects themselves), believing what they were told (with the help of a willing media) by their ill-informed, ill-advised and violence-obsessed (and, as it turned out, murderous) government, a public which overwhelming approved of a shameful instance of government-sanctioned slaughter of people who had broken no law (it is legal to protect oneself against attack), including twenty-one children under the age of 16:
Lisa Martin 13 Sheila Martin, Jr. 15 Rachel Sylvia 12 Hollywood Sylvia 1 Joseph Martinez 8 Abigail Martinez 11 Crystal Martinez 3 Isaiah Martinez 4 Audrey Martinez 13 Melissa Morrison 6 Chanel Andrade 1 Cyrus Koresh 8 Star Koresh 6 Bobbie Lane Koresh 2 Dayland Gent 3 Page Gent 1 Mayanah Schneider 2 Startle Summers 1 Serenity Jones 4 Chica Jones 2 Little One Jones 2
Click here for the complete list of Branch Davidian victims.
Waco, The Rules of EngagementFor those who more or less know what happened at Waco this film supplies impressive visual corroboration, from footage of David Koresh (not a wild-eyed madman) explaining the Book of Revelation to his followers to pictures of the charred and contorted corpses of the Branch Davidians who died in the inferno. For those who don't know what happened — those who still believe the stories put out by various U.S. federal government agencies — this film will at the very least induce a re-evaluation of those stories, perhaps even a realization that the U.S. government lied in its account of its role in this matter.
Here are some reviews of this film:
- The Official Movie Homepage of Waco: The Rules of Engagement
(There is an order form for the video on this site.)
Waco, The Rules of Engagement has, however, been severely criticised for ignoring available evidence and for promoting the view that the deaths of the women and children at Waco were the result of government negligence and incompetence rather than deliberate murder by government agents. For further details see:
- Jon Lebkowsky: Waco, Cults, and Ordinary Madness
- Ian Goddard: Review of Rules of Engagement
- Fiona Hughes: Unsettling Waco uncovers truths media reports left out
Using 911 tapes, infrared surveillance footage, televised congressional hearings and survivor testimonies, the filmmakers mount a strong case against the ATF ([Bureau of] Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) and FBI, and paints them as cold-blooded murderers who clearly had the intent of killing people who stubbornly stood up to them. The FBI gassed the people who remained in the Branch Davidian compound and then let them burn to death.
- Carol A. Valentine: Waco "Documentary" Is A Hoax!
[This film] is an effort to misdirect protest over Waco while pretending to be a protest piece. WTROE hides the most damaging truths and directs attention to false issues. Thus it neutralizes the outrage that would be felt if the true facts were known. It forwards murder charges based on weak evidence; once the charges are discredited, the public will be inoculated against considering real evidence that the Davidians were murdered.
- Roger Ebert: Review of Waco, The Rules of Engagement [link expired]
Those who attack the government are not simply lawyers for the Branch Davidians or muckraking authors (although they are represented) but also solid middle-American types like the county sheriff, the district Texas Rangers, the FBI photographer on the scene, and the man who developed and patented some of the equipment used by the FBI itself to film devastating footage that appears to show its agents firing into the buildings — even though the FBI insists it did not fire a single shot.
In April 2003, marking the tenth anniversary of the Waco Massacre, a new film was released. According to the producer:
Waco: A New Revelation is a film so disturbing that before it was even released, it triggered new investigations in both houses of Congress and prompted the United States Department of Justice to reopen its own investigation into the events at Waco.
Here are links to documents on other websites.
- Carol Valentine's Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum
- Waco Survivor's Story(s) — True or False?
I see two major problems with Mr. Thibodeau's account(s): (a) important elements in his accounts keep changing, and (b) none of the accounts are credible. ... Without the survivors's stories, our attention would be focused on the evidence, and the evidence SCREAMS that the mothers and children were murdered with malice aforethought.
- Waco Suits for Waco Suckers
The lawsuits and attendant media hoopla are part of a tawdry, choreographed vaudeville show designed to cover up the Waco Holocaust yet again.
- Robert McCurry: Waco, Texas: Where A Part Of America's Heart And Soul Died
David Koresh and almost 100 other men, women, and children perished in a raging inferno that should never have happened and would never have happened if the FBI, President Clinton, and Janet Reno had not acted in such a needless, senseless, irrational, inhumane, immoral, unconscionable, and reprehensible way by assaulting the Branch Davidian home with tanks and chemical weapons.
- Alan Stone, M.D.: Burned by Waco [link expired]
Touted as a legitimate inquiry into possible abuses by federal agencies, they [the House Waco hearings] amounted to nothing more than posturing, evasive Q and A's and partisan grandstanding.
- Ace R. Hayes: Waco Whitewash [link expired]
This includes excerpts from the legal complaint filed by former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, including:
At about noon [19 April 1993] FBI agents on foot entered the Church, and fired shots which struck plaintiffs many of whom were dead, or unconscious from gas inhalation. Several FBI defendants proceeded to the second floor and placed an explosive material on the top of the concrete Church vault [in which women and children were crowded on the floor] at the 2nd floor level. ... At about 12:20 p.m. a huge explosion blasted a hole several feet in diameter ... [in] the concrete ceiling of the Church vault, crushing, cutting, burying and killing or injuring most of the approximately 30 persons in the vault. ... It [FBI] planned to demolish the Church building, to destroy evidence of the ATF attack on February 28, including evidence of the first shots fired by ATF at the front door of the Church and the lethal firing at the Church from helicopters which the ATF denied.
The FBI murdered everyone they could and destroyed as much evidence as possible. This was the issue that screamed for investigation. The Joint Committee spent its ten days spreading whitewash. Anyone who watched and/or listened to the hearings, as PFP did, clearly noted the Alice in Wonderland quality. The two Davidians and their two attorneys gave a clear and consistent story of ATF, FBI and military aggression and Davidian self-defense. However, every person on the imperial payroll told a story that was the exact opposite.
- Waco: The Inside Story according to FRONTLINE.
- Alan A. Stone, M.D.: Report and Recommendations Concerning the Handling of Incidents Such As the Branch Davidian Standoff in Waco Texas
- Alan A. Stone, M.D.: Sifting Waco's Ashes
Why on earth did the ATF go ahead? The most realistic answer I have heard is that the ATF ... wanted to pull off a bold military-style coup that would be widely publicized on television and allow it to display a huge collection of illegal weapons confiscated by its competent and courageous agents. Such a coup, it was thought, would strengthen and protect the ATF, impress Congress, enhance the agency's prestige, perhaps even increase its budget allocation.
- Gary Null: Holocaust at Waco
- Egon Richard Tausch: The Branch Davidian Trial
- Dean M. Kelley: Waco: A Massacre and Its Aftermath
- Seventeen Little Children
- Roundup of Books on Waco
- David Koresh: Commentary upon the Book of Revelation
This is what David Koresh was working on, from 1993-03-02 until his death on 1993-04-19. It was his intention to surrender upon completion of this commentary but the FBI attack occurred first.
- Peter J. Boyer: The Children of Waco
- John Orr: Waco: A musical in three acts
- Kevin S. Van Horn: Assault on Waco
- Questions for Congress About "Waco"
BATF AND FBI Crimes Against the Branch Davidians
- The Waco Affidavit
A transcript of the affidavit used by the BATF in order to obtain a search warrant of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco.
- Mount Carmel Center — the survivors' home page.
- CAN and the Branch Davidians
- Koresh Research Homepage
- Waco Never Again!
- The Ashes of Waco: An Investigation
- Waco Home Page
- Remember Waco
Has links to seven articles on the same site.
- Carol Moore: The Branch Davidian Trial and Appeals
- The Branch Davidian Allocutions
- Livingstone Fagan
- Jaime Castillo
- Renos Avraam
- Kevin Whitecliff
- Brad Branch
- Paul Fatta
- Graeme Craddock
- Ruth Riddle
- Branch Davidian Prisoners' Addresses
- Ian Goddard: Appeal Fails: ATF/FBI Victims to Stay in Prison
To this day the crime of aggression against the few surviving Branch Davidians continues. Not only were over eighty lives snuffed out, but nine lives continue to be slowly snuffed out in prison. For these Davidians the vicious aggression of Feb. 28th 1993 has continued without a single pause. Free the Branch Davidians.
- For further articles concerning Waco, TWA Flight 800, the Oklahoma City Bombing and the So-Called War on Drugs see: Ian Goddard's Anti-Authoritarian Journal.
- John Council: Burning Questions
Branch Davidian Survivors' Suit May Resolve Concerns Over Feds' Conduct
- Police Develop 'Military Mind Set'
- Waco Re-Examined — has links to many articles in the Dallas Morning News about the Waco massacre.
New developments since July 1999 are given below. Note which news sources describe David Koresh, not as a "sect leader", which he was (America has had many respectable religious sects, e.g., the Baptists), but rather as a "cult leader", thereby demonizing him.
- CNN: FBI to acknowledge firing potentially flammable devices at Waco
- Reuters: FBI Fired Pyrotechnic Grenades At Davidians
- CNN: New Waco probe could delay lawsuit against government
- 7am News: More Secrets Of Waco Raid Revealed
- CNN: House committee proposing 'blue ribbon' panel to investigate Waco
- CNN: FBI tape shows field commander OK'd use of tear gas at Waco
- Yahoo! News: Reno Settles On Danforth To Lead Waco Investigation
- Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Democrat denies cover-up of Waco tear gas evidence
- CNN: Video expert: FBI fired shots
- Associated Press: Waco Investigator Gets Shell Casings
- Waco, FBI and the Branch Davidians: Updates, including:
- BBC: Jury clears US over Waco deaths
- Salon News: The Truth about Waco by David Thibodeau
A survivor says the government still isn't admitting its role in the deaths of 74 Branch Davidians.
- Preston Peet: Danforth's Warren Report — Covering Up at Waco
- David Hardy: Lawyer Reveals Expert Witness Findings
- Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair: Was [former General Wesley] Clark at Waco?
- Ron Harold: Gen Wesley Clark — From Waco to Yugoslavia (Also here.)
- Michael C. Ruppert: BEYOND BUSH II
Clark first hit my radar screen way back in 1993, after it was learned that US Army troops had been dispatched to the Branch Davidian compound in Waco Texas. At the time, Clark was the commander of the 1st Cavalry Division at Ft. Hood Texas. As the division commander, Clark was the one to authorize the release of armored units and ... very likely also in command of Delta Force personnel who operated on his turf, and engaged in a brutal massacre of unarmed civilians trying to flee the burning compound.
Branch Davidian Victims
Free the Branch Davidians!
- Ten years since the Waco massacre
- The political lessons of the Waco massacre
- US Special Counsel Danforth whitewashes Waco massacre
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