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Get to Know Us. Customer Service. The ATF daily report discussing the event is reprinted in the book. The opportunity for a peaceful and bloodless arrest was passed over precisely because the agency needed a spectacular raid to divert attention from internal scandals. The agency organized a visually impressive paramilitary raid as a manner of stage production. The raid went in in broad daylight; many agents did not bother to bring spare ammunition; the snipers donned elaborate camouflage, but were dropped off, in daylight, by a white Bronco.
Immediately after the raid, efforts were made to destroy all the evidence that might indicate who had begun the battle. The agency explained that every one of the three or four videocameras facing the front of the building had malfunctioned, and the only still camera was according to an ATF affidavit stolen from a table in room full of Federal agents. David T. Hardy with Rex Kimball. According to Stone, this incorrect evaluation caused the FBI to not ask pertinent questions to Koresh and to others on the compound about whether they were planning a mass suicide.
A more pertinent question would have been, "What will you do if we tighten the noose around the compound in a show of overwhelming power, and using CS gas, force you to come out? The tactical arm of federal law enforcement may conventionally think of the other side as a band of criminals or as a military force or, generically, as the aggressor.
But the Branch Davidians were an unconventional group in an exalted, disturbed, and desperate state of mind. They were devoted to David Koresh as the Lamb of God.
This is Not an Assault: Penetrating the Web of Official Lies Regarding the Waco Incident
They were willing to die defending themselves in an apocalyptic ending and, in the alternative, to kill themselves and their children. However, these were neither psychiatrically depressed, suicidal people nor cold-blooded killers. They were ready to risk death as a test of their faith. The psychology of such behavior—together with its religious significance for the Branch Davidians—was mistakenly evaluated, if not simply ignored, by those responsible for the FBI strategy of "tightening the noose".
The overwhelming show of force was not working in the way the tacticians supposed. It did not provoke the Branch Davidians to surrender, but it may have provoked David Koresh to order the mass-suicide. The Oklahoma City bombing in April caused the media to revisit many of the questionable aspects of the government's actions at Waco, and many Americans who previously supported those actions began asking for an investigation.
A Time poll conducted on August 26, , for example, indicated that 61 percent of the public believed that federal law enforcement officials started the fire at the Branch Davidian complex. Senator John C. Danforth as Special Counsel to investigate the matter. In particular, the Special Counsel was directed to investigate charges that government agents started or spread the fire at the Mount Carmel complex, directed gunfire at the Branch Davidians, and unlawfully employed the armed forces of the United States. A yearlong investigation ensued, during which the Office of the Special Counsel interviewed 1, witnesses, reviewed over 2.
The report found, however, that certain government employees had failed to disclose during litigation against the Branch Davidians the use of pyrotechnic devices at the complex, and had obstructed the Special Counsel's investigation. Disciplinary action was pursued against those individuals. Allegations that the government started the fire were based largely on an FBI agent's having fired three "pyrotechnic" tear gas rounds, which are delivered with a charge that burns.
The Special Counsel noted, by contrast, that recorded interceptions of Branch Davidian conversations included such statements as "David said we have to get the fuel on" and "So we light it first when they come in with the tank right FBI agents witnessed Branch Davidians pouring fuel and igniting a fire, and noted these observations contemporaneously. Lab analysis found accelerants on the clothing of Branch Davidians, and investigators found deliberately punctured fuel cans and a homemade torch at the site.
Based on this evidence and testimony, the Special Counsel concluded that the fire was started by the Branch Davidians. Charges that government agents fired shots into the complex on April 19, , were based on forward looking infrared FLIR video recorded by the Night Stalkers aircraft. These tapes showed 57 flashes, with some occurring around government vehicles that were operating near the complex. The testing was conducted under a protocol agreed to and signed by attorneys and experts for the Branch Davidians and their families, as well as for the government.
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Analysis of the shape, duration, and location of the flashes indicated that they resulted from a reflection off debris on or around the complex, rather than gunfire. Additionally, independent expert review of photography taken at the scene showed no people at or near the points from which the flashes emanated.
Interviews of Branch Davidians, government witnesses, filmmakers, writers, and advocates for the Branch Davidians found that none had witnessed any government gunfire on April None of the Branch Davidians who died on that day displayed evidence of having been struck by a high velocity round, as would be expected had they been shot from outside of the complex by government sniper rifles or other assault weapons.
In view of this evidence, the Special Counsel concluded that the claim that government gunfire occurred on April 19, , amounted to "an unsupportable case based entirely upon flawed technological assumptions. These statutes generally prohibit direct military participation in law enforcement functions but do not preclude indirect support such as lending equipment, training in the use of equipment, offering expert advice, and providing equipment maintenance. The Special Counsel noted that the military provided "extensive" loans of equipment to the ATF and FBI, including—among other things—two tanks, the offensive capability of which had been disabled.
Additionally, the military provided limited advice, training, and medical support. The Special Counsel concluded that these actions amounted to indirect military assistance within the bounds of applicable law. The Texas National Guard, in its state status, also provided substantial loans of military equipment, as well as performing reconnaissance flights over the Branch Davidian complex.
Because the Posse Comitatus Act does not apply to the National Guard in its state status, the Special Counsel determined that the National Guard lawfully provided its assistance. David Koresh's lawyer called the Danforth report a whitewash. Attorney General, who represented several Branch Davidian survivors and relatives in a civil lawsuit —said that the report "failed to address the obvious": "History will clearly record, I believe, that these assaults on the Mt.
Carmel church center remain the greatest domestic law enforcement tragedy in the history of the United States. Other items found at the compound included about 1. There is the question of whether the Branch Davidians actually fired the. Various groups supporting gun bans, such as Handgun Control Incorporated and the Violence Policy Center have claimed that the Branch Davidians had used.
Waco siege - Wikiwand
Several years later, the General Accounting Office , in response to a request from Henry Waxman , released a briefing paper titled "Criminal Activity Associated with. Timothy McVeigh cited the Waco incident as a primary motivation  for the Oklahoma City bombing , his April 19, , truck bomb attack that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building , a U. The attack claimed lives including 19 children under age 6 and left over injured in the deadliest act of terrorism on U. Within days after the bombing, McVeigh and Terry Nichols were both taken into custody for their roles in the bombing.
Investigators determined that the two were both sympathizers of an anti-government militia movement and that their motive was to avenge the government's handling of the Waco and Ruby Ridge incidents. Along with other protesters, he was photographed by the FBI.
Other events sharing the date of fire at Mt. Carmel have been mentioned in discussions of the Waco siege.
Some ATF agents who were present at that raid were present at Waco. April 19 was also the date from the American Revolution 's opening battles " the shot heard round the world ". The Waco siege has been the subject of numerous documentary films and books. The first film was a made-for FBI and television docudrama film, In the Line of Duty: Ambush in Waco , which was made during the siege, before the April 19 assault on the church, and presented the initial firefight of February 28, as an ambush. In July , true crime author Clifford L. Linedecker published his book Massacre at Waco, Texas.
Shortly after, in , a collection of 45 essays called From the Ashes: Making Sense of Waco was published, about the events of Waco from various cultural, historical, and religious perspectives. The essays in the book include one by Michael Barkun that talked about how the Branch Davidians' behavior was consistent with other millenarian religious sects and how the use of the word cult is used to discredit religious organizations, one by James R. Lewis that claims a large amount of evidence that the FBI lit the fires, and many others. All of these perspectives are united in the belief that the deaths of the Branch Davidians at Waco could have been prevented and that "the popular demonization of nontraditional religious movements in the aftermath of Waco represents a continuing threat to freedom of religion".
Thompson's films made a number of controversial allegations, the most notorious of which was her claim that footage of an armored vehicle breaking through the outer walls of the compound, with an appearance of orange light on its front,  was showing a flamethrower attached to the vehicle, setting fire to the building.
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