Video contends Davidians Were Machine-Gunned, Crushed by Tanks
by Vin Suprynowicz
Special to TLE
Is it possible David Koresh didn't lose his confrontation with the
Godless state he and his followers identified as "Babylon," at all?
Throughout their 51-day Texas standoff in the spring of 1993, Koresh
and his followers repeatedly compared their plight to that of God's
people facing the "flaming chariots" of Babylon in the biblical
prophesies of Nahum and Habakkuk. A follower says Koresh believed he
would be the one to "bring down Babylon" by sacrificing himself and
Will it turn out that -- like an earlier group of Texas martyrs who
died buying time for Sam Houston at the Alamo -- the Branch Davidians
still retain the power to reach out from the grave and smite their
After completing the documentary
Waco: The Rules of Engagement" --
nominated for an Academy Award -- researcher Mike McNulty continued
to delve into the central mystery of Waco: Why would scores of
perfectly sane and decent Christian Americans apparently choose to
condemn themselves and their "unusually bright and well-treated"
children (per Texas child welfare authorities) to death in the
flames, rather than coming out and surrendering to the federal tanks
and helicopters that surrounded them?
Mr. McNulty appears to have found some answers -- at least to the
extent anyone still can, given the determined after-the-fact efforts
to bleach and bulldoze the "crime scene." Those answers are offered
in the new video: "Waco: A New Revelation," directed by Jason Van
The documentary is not strident. If anything, the new evidence is
piled up in such a measured and matter-of-fact way -- superposed with
the sneering denials of FBI spokesmen and apologists like U.S. Rep.
(now Sen.) Charles Schumer -- that its full impact may not register
without a second viewing.
But at that point, any thoughtful viewer of conscience must wonder
how willfully the Congress and populace of this country must
want to ignore the truth, to be able to close their eyes to
facts like the following:
On the evening of Feb. 28, three Branch Davidians who had not been
present for the initial BATF raid and shoot-out attempted to get home
to their wives and children in the Mount Carmel church. They were
intercepted and fired upon by 17 agents "dressed as trees." Two were
captured, but Michael Dean Schroeder -- not charged with any crime --
was shot seven times and killed. As the other two Davidians were led
away -- after Schroeder was down -- they report hearing two final
shots behind them, in quick succession. An autopsy showed Michael
Dean Schroeder had two neat bullet holes immediately behind his right
ear. His body was left lying in the ravine for five days.
Far from inviting an exodus and surrender, tape recordings reveal
that by late March, FBI negotiators told the Davidians: "No one is
authorized to come out of there for any reason. The patience of the
bosses is no longer what it was. If anyone tries to come out, they
will be treated in such a way that they'll be forced to retreat."
Former FBI Director William Sessions wanted to fly to Waco to
negotiate with David Koresh face-to-face, but the Justice Department
refused to let him board his plane. Sessions' wife, Alice Sessions,
explains: "The FBI did not want it negotiated. They wanted to show
they could win with military type tactics; it was a paramilitary
When the final government attack with toxic and disabling CS gas
finally began early on the morning of April 19, the buried school bus
was gassed first, forcing the women and children to retreat to the
reinforced concrete records vault, which the FBI referred to as "the
bunker." Gas was then pumped into the bunker, which had no
ventilation, for two hours. Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., tells Congress:
"At the very least that resulted in the babies and children being
tortured for at least three to four hours."
Manning sniper post Sierra 1 in the "undercover house," Lon Horiuchi
(who eight months earlier had shot the unarmed Vicky Weaver as she
stood holding a baby in her kitchen in Ruby Ridge, Idaho),
"accompanied by most of the FBI team from Ruby Ridge," swore he did
not fire into the church on April 19. But other FBI agents swore they
heard fire from his position, and four expended .308 shell casings
were later found there.
At 9:02 a.m. on April 19, a Branch Davidian is spotted trying to exit
the building across the roof. "Falcon 2," an FBI helicopter, is seen
approaching in ground-level footage. It hovers, and muzzle flashes
can be seen from its port waist gun. Dr. Edward Allard, formerly of
the U.S. government's Night Vision Directorate, says his analysis
shows at least three, five-shot machine gun bursts. "It's indicative
of a machine gun firing 600 rounds per minute," he says. "It's
impossible for these to be solar flashes."
Other close-range video -- not high-altitude footage -- clearly shows
full-sized machine guns in cradle mounts in the waist doors of the
FBI helicopters, which the government long swore were unarmed.
Branch Davidians Phillip Henry and Jimmy Riddle appear to have been
shot behind the building at this time. Neither had soot in their
lungs or carbon monoxide in their blood -- both died before the fire.
An autopsy showed half of Riddle's body torn away, which the medical
examiner said could have been consistent with "an encounter with a
However, when the family re-opened Riddle's casket for a follow-up
examination of his fatal bullet wounds, the evidentiary portion of
his skull was missing. The widow says the local medical examiner was
instructed by Texas authorities and U.S. marshals not to release his
autopsy results to the family.
The film's researcher, Mike McNulty, tells me the most likely
scenario is that Henry and Riddle were shot behind the building by
government agents around 9 a.m. A lull followed, as the FBI pondered
what to do. Then, closer to noontime, their bodies were bulldozed
back into the church dining room by tanks, and the final government
assault -- with machine guns and incendiary grenades -- began in
Viewing the government's high-altitude infrared footage of the final
battle, Dr. Edward Allard, formerly of the U.S. government's Night
Vision Directorate, explains: "What we have here is a tank-infantry
type of operation. As the tank advances, two men have dropped out of
the escape hatch. They then roll over, and as they roll over they
open up with automatic gunfire. The shots occur at one-thirtieth of a
second. There is absolutely nothing in nature that can cause thermal
flashes to occur in a thirtieth of a second."
Dr. Allard reports he stopped counting the gunshots into the dining
room -- the last available escape route from the building after the
fire broke out -- "after 62 individual shots."
The filmmakers report Maurice Cox, a former analyst with the U.S.
intelligence community, determined that for an aircraft circling at
9,000 feet to pick up rhythmic flashes at a rate of 600 per minute
from "reflected sunlight" as the government claims, the reflective
surfaces would have to be placed in a precise array, and the aircraft
would have to be traveling at the absurd speed of Mach 1.8.
FBI officials have refused to respond to Cox's findings, and have
dragged their feet in the face of demands that they re-create the
footage to see if sunlight reflections can be made to look like the
flashes in the Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) footage. Absurdly, the
FBI claims cameras like the one used in 1993 can no longer be
Meantime, ground level footage -- not distant aerial shots -- clearly
show men in Kevlar army helmets firing projectiles from an M-79
grenade launcher into the church's storm shelter the morning of the
final assault. Seconds later, white smoke pours from the shelter.
Although the government has consistently denied the Army's Combat
Applications Force -- the "Delta Force" -- was present at Waco,
previously classified Army documents reveal that four Delta Force
"observers" were deployed to Waco on March 21. Gene Cullen, a senior
case officer with the CIA's Special Forces Group, reports on camera
he was "initially told they would just be observers. But at (an April
14) CIA briefing, we were told there were more than 10, and that they
would be actively participating" in the April 19 attack.
March Bell, who headed the staff of the last congressional
investigation into Waco, tells the filmmakers: "They were in the
tanks and the sniper posts. They were not giving advice back in some
conference room -- they were working shoulder to shoulder with the
(FBI's) Hostage Rescue Team."
Rep. Stephen Buyer, R-Ind., explains that it is a federal crime -- a
violation of the Posse Comitatus Act -- to use any part of the Army
or Air Force "to enforce the law in this country."
But CIA agent Cullen says he met Delta Force operators in Europe who
"told me not only were they forward deployed at Waco, Texas, but they
were actually involved in a gunfight with the Branch Davidians."
Steven Barry, a retired Special Forces sergeant, concurs: "I did talk
to some Combat Applications Group guys, and they did confirm that,
yes, portions of B Squadron were there pulling triggers."
Most chilling of all, Sgt. Barry reports: "Their operators had
penetrated the building on several occasions, and on one occasion,
late April 17 or early on the 18th, they saw Koresh within six feet
of them. They radioed back to the Tactical Operations Center for
permission to grab him, and within minutes the word came back from
the Justice Department, 'No, we already have a plan in place,' that
being what happened on April 19."
"People ask why we didn't let the children out," sobs Davidian
survivor Clive Doyle. "If they saw all that was happening, and they
were there with their children, would they have sent them out to the
animals outside that were shooting at them and doing all those
terrible things? No. ... When there was shooting going on it's kind
of tongue in cheek to then turn and say, 'Well, why didn't you come
Although the government long denied its agents fired any incendiary
projectiles into the church -- which was lined with hay bales against
government gunfire, heated with kerosene heaters after the government
shut off the electricity, and then flooded with combustible
propellant for the CS gas -- photographs taken after the fire clearly
show a U.S. military Mark 651 pyrotechnic CS gas projectile lying in
When researcher McNulty finally broached the evidence room with the
aid of the Freedom of Information Act in 1998, the pyrotechnic
devices visible in those photographs were missing from the evidence
boxes. But two additional pyrotechnic 40mm devices were found. The
film's investigators also found -- mislabeled as gun parts or
silencers -- six spent government flash-bang grenades, which were
recovered from the dining room, the chapel, and the southwest corner
of the building -- "all three points of origin of the fire."
Asked at a press conference whether she is embarrassed that
independent filmmakers could find this evidence, when the FBI had
been unable to turn it up in six years, Attorney General Janet Reno
responds: "I'm not embarrassed. I'm very, very upset."
At 12:10 p.m. on April 19 the overhead FLIR footage shows at least
two automatic weapons being fired into the rear of the dining room,
the only remaining undamaged exit from the now-burning building.
According to a Justice Department report, at least 15 people were
found shot to death at this location. The FBI conducted ballistic
tests which the DOJ later termed "inconclusive and rudimentary at
"I cannot remember anything more sickening" than watching that
gunfire into the building's last exit, comments Dr. Allard.
Asked whether the Davidian gunshot victims appeared to have committed
suicide, a former FBI forensic crime scene analyst who preferred to
be filmed only in silhouette responds: "The majority of people, the
bodies that I saw, were clear-cut homicide victims. ...I don't know
who fired the bullets into their bodies. So in fact what we have here
is an open homicide."
Congressional investigator March Bell says the treatment of those
bodies was "very troubling. The bodies were preserved in a
semi-frozen state in two trailers for the purposes of investigation.
For some reason those trailers under the control of the FBI were
allowed to not have any electricity running to them and the bodies
deteriorated beyond the point where any sort of forensic evidence
could be gathered. We were very disturbed by that."
Indeed, the scene of the massacre was declared a "bio-hazard," and
since the FBI had predetermined this was a mass suicide, "The FBI
investigators were instructed to sift, wash, and bleach the evidence
associated with the bodies, destroying much of its evidentiary
The large hole in the roof of the concrete records vault where the
women and children were sheltering -- the rebar bent downwards as
though from an external blast -- has never been explained. Military
explosives expert Brig. Gen. Benton Partin, USAF retired, says "What
it tells me is that you had a demolition charge that went off on the
The FBI bulldozed the "bunker" to rubble. Six years later, in 1999,
when Davidian attorneys were granted permission to recover the
portion that might bear traces of the explosive used, that portion of
the bunker ceiling was found to be missing. Gen. Partin concludes the
rudimentary gunpowder possessed by the Branch Davidians would not
have been capable of blowing that hole through six inches of
reinforced concrete. Special Forces Sgt. Steven Barry reports the
damage inside the records vault was "consistent with a shaped
charge," as does retired USAF ordnance engineer Col. Jack Frost.
"In military operations, it's standard procedure to do this," Barry
explains, in order to reduce casualties among the attacking forces.
The FBI's White House contact during the Waco operation was
presidential aide Vince Foster, who committed suicide 90 days later.
His widow told the FBI that the Waco tragedy was "very high on his
list of concerns." She says he told the FBI he "believed everything
was his fault," though Foster also commented: "The FBI lied to me."
After his suicide, the White House kept the Department of Justice and
the Parks Police from reviewing Foster's files. Witnesses saw Maggie
Williams -- Hillary Clinton's chief of staff -- removing Waco files
from Foster's office. The staff was told "The contents of the box
needed to be reviewed by the First Lady."
Sgt. Barry of the Special Forces: "If the Special Combat Applications
Group were on the ground that day actually pulling triggers, the
origin of that operation would have come from the White House. It
would have come from the president. Because the Special Combat
Applications Group is, for all intents and purposes, the president's
So: The ATF, the FBI, and the Army Combat Applications Group (the
"Delta Force" -- which can only have been dispatched to the scene by
the special authorization of William Jefferson Clinton) stand accused
of murder at Waco.
Why are there still no trials?
"Waco: A New Revelation" is $30.90 postpaid. Dial 1-877-GET-WACO; or
go to web site http://www.waco-anewrevelation.com
Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas
Review-Journal. His new book,
Send in the Waco Killers is available by dialing 1-800-244-2224.
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