On February 28, 1993, a team of agents of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) launched an assault on the premises of a religious
community called Mount Carmel, outside Waco, Texas, occupied by a sect called
the Branch Davidians, led by a man named Vernon Howell, who had assumed the
name David Koresh. Ostensibly to serve a search and arrest warrant, the raid
resulted in a shootout in which four ATF agents and six Davidians were killed.
This was followed by a takeover of the operation by the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) Hostage Rescue Team and a 51-day standoff, which ended in
an assault on the premises on April 19, 1993, and a fire in which 76 of the
occupants died, including many women and children.
The circumstances of the assault brought intense criticism of the way
government agents handled the situation. This criticism was further intensified
by the way many of the surviving Davidians were prosecuted in a trial held in
San Antonio, Texas, during March, 1994. This trial has been characterized as a
monument to prosecutorial and judicial abuse, and it, as much as the assault on
Mount Carmel itself, caused persons to call for the muster everywhere of
militias to restore compliance with the Constitution and to the modern militia
A report was prepared by the Treasury Department, of which the ATF is a
part, which contained a part, Appendix G, which revealed more than perhaps the
government intended about the thinking of government agents in this incident.
There were also congressional hearings held which most observers found
unsatisfactory. There are persistent calls for criminal prosecution of the
agents responsible which have been ignored.
What follows are links to sites and documents which provide more details
on this tragedy and the government which perpetrated it. The issues raised
remain unresolved, and have been joined by criticisms of many other incidents
of corruption and abuse by government agencies and private interests allied
Waco: A New
Revelation — Latest on the assault on Mount Carmel, with new footage
indicating the burnout of the Davidians was intentional.
Waco: The Rules of Engagement. This is a film composed
of footage taken of the events at Mount Carmel, including infrared footage
taken from government surveillance aircraft, and subsequent investigations.
Nominated for Academy Award and winner of an Emmy for best documentary. It is
available from Somford Entertainment, 8778 Sunset Blvd. 2nd Flr, Los Angeles,
CA 90069, 310/289-3900, 289-3909 fax. See their site at
http://www.waco93.com, or email
firstname.lastname@example.org, for details on showings
and ways you can get the film shown in your area. See the following reviews and
Review of the film by the San
Massacre — From the Committee for Waco Justice, Box 65518,
Washington, DC 20035, 202/635-3739. Headed by Carol Moore. This is the main
legal fund for the civil case of the surviving Davidians against the U.S.
government. Includes text of Moore's book by the same name.
Museum — Archive of photos and documents on the massacre, plus some
conspiracy theories, from Carol Valentine.
LaRosa Reports, by Benedict D.
LaRosa. Includes "The Real Reason Behind Gun
Control" — A discussion of Appendix G to the Treasury Department
Report and what it reveals. Originally published in the SA News, an
alternative newspaper in San Antonio, Texas, Jan 27-Feb 10, 1994.
Treasury Department Report on Waco,
Appendix G — Disturbingly candid revelation of the government's view.
The Waco Affidavit — Transcript of
the affidavit used by the BATF in order to obtain a search warrant of the
Branch Davidian center in Waco, TX.
Jury Instructions — Instructions to
jurors in the Davidian Trial, with commentary. Good example of how the cause of
justice can be subverted by a judge.
Sentencing Memorandum — Judge Smith
reverses his own earlier ruling that the defendants could not be convicted of
enhancements to offenses to which they had been acquitted. Outstanding example
of judicial sophistry and misconduct. At one point he candidly stated that a
ruling "does not have to be logical".