More Evidence of Cover-up & Malice in Waco Tragedy

A number of disturbing facts have come to light in recent weeks concerning the government's handling of the Branch Davidian siege and the subsequent investigation.

The release of the 911 tapes, later discovered to have been edited, revealed that the Branch Davidians were surprised and shocked at the attack and called the emergency telephone number for help. The site of the siege was bulldozed by order of the Texas Department of Public Safety, hampering any independent investigation of the grounds. Congressman Jack Brooks of Texas, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee which is investigating the tragedy, was overheard telling Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol, & Firearms (BATF) Director Steven Higgins: "The first night I'd have run everybody off, quietly put a bomb in the damn water tank, put tear gas in there. If they would have shot, kill 'em when they came out.... If they didn't want to shoot, put 'em on a paddy wagon. It would have been over by twelve-thirty."

Other information is now coming to light which questions even more the integrity of those involved in the event and those investigating it. Here are some facts you may not have heard about.

Gary Coker, the Waco attorney who successfully defended David Koresh in the 1966 attempted murder charge and who represents some of the Branch Davidian survivors, asked FBI Director William Sessions, an old family friend, to personally negotiate an end to the siege a week alter it began. Coker argued to Sessions that his personal intervention would result in a quick, non-violent end to the standoff. The director was reluctant to intervene, but agreed to at least come to Waco. Someone in the Attorney General's office vetoed the trip. Why?

Despite his troubles in Washington, William Sessions is highly respected in this part of Texas. His presence at the scene might have been decisive in persuading David Koresh that it would be safe for him and his followers to surrender.

The combat engineering vehicles used to punch holes through and pump gas into the Mt. Carmel buildings are equipped with superior fire suppression equipment. Both the M728, which appears to have been the one at the scene, and the M88A1 can be rigged to spray fire extinguishing foam or water from a high pressure cannon connected to a high pressure pump on a trailer borne tank. The vehicles are designed to put out fires in disabled tanks, armored personnel carriers, and Bradley fighting vehicles, and recover them from every conceivable situation. Why wasn't this capability used when the fires broke out at Mt. Carmel?

In 1991, several Palestinian families whose relatives died from CS gas administered by Israeli forces sued the manufacturer, Federal Laboratories of New Jersey, in the Federal District Court at Pittsburgh. The plaintiffs introduced the company's manual into evidence which contains the warning that the "chemical can kill people in a closed room in eight minutes." Government agents must have known this. Their repeated statement that the gas is non-lethal is, therefore, nothing short of a lie.

According to a report published in the June 1993 issue of the CENTER FOR ACTION newsletter and verified by this reporter, independent arson investigators called in to supposedly help determine how and why the fires started at Mt. Carmel found themselves expected to rubber-stamp an already completed report blaming the Branch Davidians for setting themselves ablaze. When some of them tried to ask questions, federal officials told them none would be tolerated.

All of the above adds relevance to a report in the May 20, 1993 issue of USA Today that "an independent medical examiner who studied Koresh's remains says the gunshot wound in his body was not typical of suicide, raising questions of assassination and coverup."

In February 1983, the Senate Judiciary Committee issued a report of its investigation of the BATF. It concluded that the organization was a rogue operation that routinely tramples on the 2nd. 4th, and 5th amendments guaranteeing the rights of citizens. It went on to say that "expert evidence was submitted establishing that approximately 75 percent of BATF gun prosecutions were aimed at ordinary citizens who had neither criminal intent nor knowledge, but were enticed by agents into unknowing technical violations."

In response, the Treasury Department attempted to abolish the agency, but gun control advocates rallied to its defense and lobbied successfully to keep the agency going. Had our Congress abolished the agency then, the Branch Davidian tragedy may never have happened.

As a result of these and other disclosures, public skepticism over the impartiality of the investigation into the Branch Davidian tragedy is understandable. Congress and the Administration must regain the confidence of the American people by thoroughly investigating the incident and swiftly punishing those responsible. Americans must be assured that there will never be another Waco. o

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