Branch Davidians Freed

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On the 13th anniversary, yesterday, of one of the most vivid public government atrocities in our lifetime, the federal assault on and destruction of the Branch Davidians' home in Waco, the good (though inadequate) news comes that six imprisoned Davidians will be set free soon.

One of them, Paul Gordon Fatta, is understatedly said by AP to be "angry about the government's actions." Fatta wasn't even present during the raid or its horrific end; he was jugged on charges of helping Koresh possess illegal machine guns. Also worth remembering, which I find many don't in casual conversations, is that all of them were acquitted of the murder and conspiracy to commit murder charges.

A church was rebuilt on the site; I attended its dedication, on the 7th anniversary of the massacre. While I am not a religious man, being there, despite the haunting sense of loss, and inescapable awareness of unspeakable crime, was a moving evocation of an indestructible and admirable element in the human spirit. That no federal official or law enforcement officer was ever indicted for their actions in the raid says something far less admirable, stinking of the raw prerogatives of unchecked and reckless police power.

A roundup of Reason coverage, and some outside links, on Waco and Waco-related issues here.

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  1. It was also the anniversity of Oklahoma City. If I recall correctly, this is not a coincidence

  2. It was just aweful. I really don’t to this day have any idea what Janet Reno and the FBI were thinking. The ATF was easy. They did that raid because they wanted press. They could have grabbed Keresh outside his compound, but that wouldn’t have gotten on CNN. Instead, they tried to stage a made for TV bust and things got out of hand.

    Once the stand off started, why ever go in? The Dividians might as well have been in prison trapped in that compound. Just put a minimum of people are around it and wait them out. If they want to kill themselves, there is no way to stop them and charging the compound makes it more likely.

    I am not paranoid enough to believe that they really wanted to just kill them. It is hard to explain it through shere incompetence. Janet Reno is a pretty nasty character going all the way back to her days as a Florida DA where she was responsible for some appalling child sex convictions. Even so, I still can’t beleive she sent tanks and tear gas on Americans.

  3. John: Explain these convictions? Were they bad choices on her part or does the nasty refer to the charged?

  4. The ATF, or whatever they call it these days, should simplt be disbanded. I’d say to abolish their funding, but I’m sure there’d be a storm or criticism that we were being soft on terrorism or some such nonsense. Therefore I think we should disband the ATF, give their funding to the FBI, and let them decide of they want to hire any of those evil punks or if they prefer to hire new recruits or spend the money some other way.

    The ATF is just a bunch of evil penis envy (they wanted FBI level respect, still do) types who wanted a publicity stunt, and who cares if many innocent people died as a result.

    The people who got punished, and likely some who got away by cleverly being anonymous, responsible for the evil bombing of a government building in OK City, and the government employees inside, and the innnocents inside, including children in a day care centr, are a bunch of evil scum too who are no doubt rotting in Hell.

    Here endeth the rant.

  5. Er, rereading my post, I want to make clear that I don’t think the victims are evil. The bombers were/are evil.

    Also, not all can be rotting in Hell if some are alive. But their day of reckoning will come.

  6. http://www.ags.uci.edu/~dehill/witchhunt/cases/country_walk/reno_ph.htm
    76

    The convictions were McMartin type hysteria driven frame ups. Above is a pretty good article explaining them. The Wall Street Journal did a really good series on them in the 1990s. Here is another really good account by the Journal’s Dorothy Rabinowitz.

    http://www.psych.mcgill.ca/courses/xcourses/oct29.htm

  7. Thanks for that, Brian.

    The sad thing is how rare it is to read something sane about that insane nightmare.

    The international criminal Pat Robertson continues to spit up his stupid nonsense today, but a nobody wannabe messiah in rural Texas saw his tiny group burned to death. Ain’t that America, for you and me …

  8. The ATF, or whatever they call it these days, should simply be disbanded.

    Yeah, as I’ve pointed out before, even G. Gordon Liddy hates them.

  9. Guess which religious nutcase quit smoking about seven years ago today? 🙂 Blame the government all you want, but if that child molesting maniac had come out when he was ordered to, those kids would probbaly still be alive. Would-be messiah? More likely a would-be Rasputin, the sex-mad monk! The blood of those children are on David Koresh’s hands (or whatever his goddamned name was).

  10. edit: THIRTEEN years ago.

  11. Was David Koresh a child molester? I see that accusation thrown around a lot, but I’ve never read any evidence for it.

  12. Mr. Doherty, do you really want to be an apologist for an apocalyptic, child abusing, armed-to-the-teeth cult? Really?

    While there can be no denying that the ATF botched the raid on the Branch Davidian compound, the blame for the outcome rests solely on the shoulders of the psychotic scum that made up that child-molesting cult. I suggest the FBI et al keep a close eye on this new “church” as well.

    And for you loonies who say the ATF should be disbanded, well, whatever, there’ll just be some other law enforcement agency to do the job. You’re loony ranting are pointless. The law has to be enforced if we are to live in a civil society without fear of our children being brainwashed and molested by armed religious zealots.

    Very disappointing, folks. Very.

    JMJ

  13. Ugh.

    Must not feed troll.

  14. Troll? Jeez, you’re original! How would you feel if your kid was one of Koresh’s toys?

    JMJ

  15. I’d hope my government wouldn’t burn my kid to death because of it. How ’bout you?

  16. Jersey:

    Your argument is that no matter how many innocent people died in the Waco massacre, they all had it coming to them and deserved what they got. I find it contemptible that a human being could hold that view.

  17. No, JF. That’s not at all what I’m saying. The ATF botched the raid – yes. But the Davidians were a dangerous cult engaged in illegal activity and had to be stopped.

    What happened was a tragedy.

    JMJ

  18. David Koresh was about as much a threat to the US as Saddam was.

  19. While there can be no denying that the ATF botched the raid on the Branch Davidian compound, the blame for the outcome rests solely on the shoulders of the psychotic scum that made up that child-molesting cult.

    Gonna retract that then?

  20. Too late to dissemble now, toolbox… let’s review:

    …the blame for the outcome rests solely on the shoulders of the psychotic scum that made up that child-molesting cult.

    Hear hear, jf – hey, they might have been an apocolyptic cult – but ain’t that crazy, they turned out to be right.

  21. You people are no better than David Koresh. For shame.

    JMJ

  22. A little timeline here: The original raid, and the decision to try to storm the compound to arrest Koresh rather than just stopping him during one of his frequent trips into town, happened under the Bush administration. Reno took office in the middle of the action.

    Whatever mistakes Janet Reno made, creating this situation in the first place wasn’t one of them.

  23. joe:

    Huh? The original raid took place February 28, 1993.

  24. It was also the anniversity of Oklahoma City. If I recall correctly, this is not a coincidence

    Also the anniversary of the battles of Concord and Lexington in 1775 (known as Patriot’s Day in Massachusetts and Maine, before the moved the holiday to the third Monday in April). That is, I think, a coincidence.

  25. Exactly Joe – and that’s why the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the cult members. No child-molesting, armed, apocalyptic cult – no raid.

    JMJ

  26. Ruby Ridge happened under bush I.

  27. VM:

    Yes. I actually find Ruby Ridge even more disturbing than Waco, and Bush didn’t even have the possible excuse of inexperience that the Clinton administration had. Oh yeah, and the fact that Randy Weaver was enticed to commit a crime by the feds, and they used that “crime” to justify what followed.

  28. How did joe‘s comments lend credibility to anything you said, JMJ?

    No child-molesting, armed, apocalyptic cult – no raid.

    I challenge you to prove the child molestation, as I seem to recall that Janet Reno wasn’t able to, and she could convict a bedside table for fondling a minor; and I don’t seem to recall holding wacky religious beliefs or handguns to be worthy of a death sentence here.

    I repeat: pack it up, toolbox.

  29. Last time I checked, we didn’t administer the death penalty for child molestation. Especially not to the children.

  30. The formula:

    No child-molesting, armed, apocalyptic cult – no raid

    would seem to apply in both cases with almost no alteration to both the Iraq war and the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.

    Which would lead you to believe that JMJ also leveies complete blame for the dead Iraqis on Saddam and the jihadis, and for the dead Palestinian civilians on Hamas and Fatah.

    Somehow, I doubt it.

  31. RA,

    I don’t know how old you are, but I remember what happened vividly. They were illegally stokepiling assault weapons, ex-culters were claiming that children were among Koresh’s “wives.” There was abuse reported of all sorts, and you, an untterly incurious sheep, don’t believe it? Who cares?

    You want people like that doing things like that? Move to Somalia. You are useless here.

    JMJ

  32. Quotes from a David Kopel (writer for independence institute, rocky mountain news and Volkh.com) article on Waco the extracted portion regards child abuse

    ————————————————–

    “As FBI Director William Sessions acknowledged, there was “no contemporaneous evidence” of child abuse; given the many FBI listening devices inside the Mount Carmel Center, Sessions’ conclusion appears accurate.”

    “A few months after the fire, Reno said that she might have misunderstood the FBI comments, and there was no evidence of ongoing child abuse in the besieged home.”

    Here, the FBI was clearly correct; conditions were deteriorating in the besieged home. Against the advice of government negotiators and behavioral experts, the FBI tactical commanders had in the middle of the siege decided to “demonstrate the authority of law enforcement.” The FBI did so by cutting off electricity to the compound, shining lights on the compound all night to deprive the residents (including the children) of sleep, running Bradley Fighting Vehicles at the compound, and bombarding the compound with hellacious noises such as dentists’ drills and rabbits being slaughtered.

    The FBI’s demonstration of authority had an immediate effect of consolidating the Branch Davidians, and confirming to them Koresh’s prophecy that the government would ultimately kill them all. After the FBI began the noise bombardment, the exodus of Branch Davidian adults and children from their home came to an abrupt end.

    ————————————————–

    In other words to save the Branch Davidian children from child abuse that was not happening the FBI decided the best thing to do was to take an action that resulted in the children being burned alive.

    What is really pathetic is how some people on this thread try to pretend the government was not responsible for the disaster at Waco.

  33. Yes, it’s worthwhile quibbling over who was president when the government abuses its power. That solves the problem. Seems to me that we have a common theme running through the various administrations, regardless of political flavor.

    Waco wasn’t a cut-and-dried issue by any means. Koresh wasn’t some totally innocent guy, nor was everything going on there likely kosher. However, there’s little doubt that the federal government abused its power and, in so doing, played a major role in escalating the incident.

  34. If it had just been cult members and no children I would be very sympathetic to the whole, they should have given up and they got what they deserved argument. What exactly where the children trapped in there supposed to do? The were in effect hostages. They didn’t resist the police or do anything wrong.

    You have a cheap wooden building without electricity full of carosine burning lamps. Any idiot can figure out that the place is going to burn down if you run a tank through the wall. Yes, the cult members bear some responsibility. That doesn’t change the fact that the feds knew that there were innocent people in there and that by attacking the compound they were placing those children at grave risk. You can’t use tear gas on a battle field yet Janet Reno and the FBI thought it was okay to tear gas an enclosed area full of women and children.

    Yes, RC I would love to see what some of the posters would have to say if the Davidians had been marijuana dealers who refused come out. Somehow I think they would not be as sympathetic to the cops.

    You are right Joe, Janet Reno didn’t start the mess. That was the ATF, not Justice and the FBI.

  35. Exactly Joe – and that’s why the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the cult members. No child-molesting, armed, apocalyptic cult – no raid.
    JMJ

    With that arguement, Rodney King deserved what he got because if he hadn’t have been speeding he wouldn’t have been pulled over. Maybe King should thank the officers for not just putting a slug in his head.

  36. Oops, I think jf is right, and I confused Ruby Ridge with Waco.

  37. It is my understanding that child abuse laws are not within the jurisdiction of the FBI. I also recall that the local sherrif said at the time that he had investigated child abuse charges and had not found probable cause to take any further action.

    Oops, I think jf is right, and I confused Ruby Ridge with Waco.

  38. You Davidian apologists sicken me. I hope the ATF checks you all out too. They should make a list of all the apologists so we can keep our kids away from them.

    JMJ

  39. oops, meant to finish that.

    Oops, I think jf is right, and I confused Ruby Ridge with Waco.

    No, you’e not really wrong, joe. The ATF’s investigation and shenanigans with obtaining a warrant with false testimony began before Clinton’s inauguration.

    As the Dubai Ports clusterfuck showed us Presidents do not micromanage the acts of every agency in the govt. And even only become aware of what’s going on when the shit hits the fan for some reason.

    Every so often one of them gets out of of control. When there as heavily armed and aggressive as the ATF and the FBI the results are disasterous.

  40. “When there as heavily armed…” should read “When they’re as heavily armed…”

    “you’e” should read “you’re

  41. Koresh regularly left the residence at Waco and went in to town. In fact a few days before the raid he went target shooting with some atf agents off location. The government had numerous chances to arrest koresh away from other branch davidians but they did not.

    Why did they not arrest koresh in a safe manner away from the branch davidian residences? The atf wanted a big show of force to generate some publicity for them. So they decided to raid a residence, where many women and children lived, in order to arrest Koresh. Being publicity hounds got a lot of innocent children killed.

    There are still people who defend government actions at waco. Some of this defense is out of ignorance. However, some of the defense is out of a blind faith in government, and a pathetic lack of concern for human rights. Disgusting is the best description for this kind of defense.

  42. You Davidian apologists sicken me.
    JMJ

    Hmm…I’m seeing several people placing the blame for the murder of innocents at the feet of those to whom it belongs, not suggesting that Koresh and his parish were a pack of saints.

    You want people like that doing things like that?
    JMJ

    Not particularly. Do you think they should be executed along with their families?

  43. Jersey, you yourself make the distinction between approving of what the Davidians did and supporting the actions of the government.

    Why can’t you recognize that the libertoids are doing the same thing?

  44. They killed themselves, RA.

    JMJ

  45. You lost me, Joe. The gov’t botched up – yes. But the Davidians shot a law enforcement officers as they executed a warrant. It HAS to fall on the Davidians first and foremost.

    JMJ

  46. A few things.
    Koresh and company clearly broke the law.
    Legal warrants were served and Federal Agents were shot.
    The fires were started by the Davidians.

    There were some apparently systemic problems with the ATF. Some coverup in the investigation, and I believe a conviction on that count.

    But it seems a stretch to put most of the responsibility on the government when the Davidians were the ones that set the fires.

  47. This issue is to you libers what Tawana Brawley was to Al Sharpton. If you libers want to be taken seriously, you have to look at things as they are and put the damned gooy ideology away sometimes.

    JMJ

  48. They killed themselves, RA.
    JMJ

    I’m sorry, we must be talking about two completely different situations. I was under the impression this was the Waco thread.

    Oops! 🙂

  49. Waco is a rohrshack test for anyone who claims to be a civil libetarian. The Davidians were about as unsympathetic a group as you could possibly find. The question you have to ask yourself is if the Davidians had been a group with whom you sympathized, would you find the government’s actions more objectionable? I think the answer for a lot of people who defend the government in this case, if they were totally honest with themselves, would be yes.

  50. theCoach,

    Hasn’t it been demonstrated that the fires were started by oil lamps that were knocked over during the scamble, and not deliberately?

  51. Waco is a rohrshack test for anyone who claims to be a civil libetarian. The Davidians were about as unsympathetic a group as you could possibly find. The question you have to ask yourself is if the Davidians had been a group with whom you sympathized, would you find the government’s actions more objectionable? I think the answer for a lot of people who defend the government in this case, if they were totally honest with themselves, would be yes.

  52. John, that is sick. How the f’n hell would the gov’t be more responsibilty than a law-breaking bunch of culters who shot at the cops when they were issuing legal warrant?

    JMJ

  53. So, I guess their kids deserved to die too and it should be the autmatic death penalty for anyone who shoots at a cop and also their entire family. That is really what you are argueing. The cops have a right to do whatever they need to to apprehend someone who resists and if the person’s children happen to be killed in the process that is the suspects fault. The police owe no duty of care to the children. If you don’t want your family gassed and burned alive, don’t resist the police.

    That is pretty much your agrument isn’t is Jersey?

  54. “You Davidian apologists…”
    “You libbers…”
    “You people are no better than David Koresh…”
    “[You]apologist for an apocalyptic, child abusing, armed-to-the-teeth cult…”

    This argument is way too sophisticated for me.

  55. John, the sicko child-abusing parents were responsible for that.

    I’m tallin ya man – you guys look loony on this one.

    JMJ

  56. Last time I checked, we didn’t administer the death penalty for child molestation.

    No, but we want to:

    “A week after Hinson’s arrest, South Carolina’s Senate voted 38-4 to allow the death penalty for sex offenders convicted a second time of raping children younger than 11. Oklahoma lawmakers are considering a similar bill.”
    http://www.cnn.com/2006/LAW/04/20/child.rapists.ap/index.html

  57. Well Jersey,

    Thank you for proving my point. You took the Waco rohrshack test and came back with the answer “the police should be able to gas, burn and shoot anyone I don’t like.”

  58. John, a toddler wouldn’t be dumb enough to walk awy with that impression. I never said that and can’t imagine what sort of mind would extrapolate it. The situation was created by the Branch Davidians. You are a hypocritical excuse for a libertarian.

    I’d bet anything that if the Bracnh Davidians had instead been the Black Panthers not a one of you would be complaining about what happened – there’s a rohrschact test for ya.

    JMJ

  59. As I remember the Davidians had “stockpiled a vast arsenal” of about 3-4 firearms per adult. Hardly even remarkable in Texas, where lots of folks have a shotgun, a deer rifle, a .22, and a revolver. They also had “hoarded” food so they had a couple of weeks’ supply.

    No weapons charges were ever brought. The ATF stored the burned remains of the firearms in a warehouse, and AFAIK have never allowed anyone to examine them to determine if they were in fact fully automatic or not.

    The Feds also alleged that the Davidians were manufacturing illegal drugs, as that was a requirement to obtain the military vehicles used. There was never any proof and allegations vanished when the armor was returned.

  60. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Hampton

    It was as sickening when they did it to the Black Panthers as when they did it to the Branch Davidians.

  61. Jersey McJones: if you are so worried about dangerous and odious cults, there are many more worthy of intervention and attention. not to go terribly off-topic or anything, but scientology has destroyed the brains of many more people than the relatively harmless mr koresch could ever dream of reaching, and yet, for some unfathomable reason, it’s treated largely as some sort of “real” religion.

    even if i were to accept the idea that it is the federal government’s duty to go a-cult-bustin’, i would object to their inappropriate use of force against the branch davidians, and their choice to attack the BDs and not other more dangerous cults.

  62. Woops! Getting my ass kicked again! Time to play the race card!

  63. “I don’t know how old you are, but I remember what happened vividly. They were illegally stokepiling assault weapons, ex-culters were claiming that children were among Koresh’s “wives.” There was abuse reported of all sorts, and you, an untterly incurious sheep, don’t believe it? Who cares?”

    No, fuckwit. WRONG. The claims that they were illegally stockpiling machineguns were never substantiated.

    And even if they were, the only law that they would have been violating would have been failure to pay the $200 transfer tax. When was the last time someone deserved to be burned to death for failing to pay a $200 fee?

  64. One other thing:

    FUCK the Reason server right in the ear!

  65. Jersey McJones: if you are so worried about dangerous and odious cults, there are many more worthy of intervention and attention. not to go terribly off-topic or anything, but scientology has destroyed the brains of many more people than the relatively harmless mr koresch could ever dream of reaching, and yet, for some unfathomable reason, it’s treated largely as some sort of “real” religion.

    even if i were to accept the idea that it is the federal government’s duty to go a-cult-bustin’, i would object to their inappropriate use of force against the branch davidians, and their choice to attack the BDs and not other more dangerous cults.

  66. Jersey McJones: if you are so worried about dangerous and odious cults, there are many more worthy of intervention and attention. not to go terribly off-topic or anything, but scientology has destroyed the brains of many more people than the relatively harmless mr koresch could ever dream of reaching, and yet, for some unfathomable reason, it’s treated largely as some sort of “real” religion.

    even if i were to accept the idea that it is the federal government’s duty to go a-cult-bustin’, i would object to their inappropriate use of force against the branch davidians, and their choice to attack the BDs and not other more dangerous cults.

  67. I read above mention of warrants being served. That is incorrect. A search warrant was issued, but upon Congressional questioning, the ATF admitted they had no idea where that warrant was, nor who possessed it. Kind of hard to serve such a warrant.

  68. No weapons charges were ever brought.

    The claims that they were illegally stockpiling machineguns were never substantiated.

    And the ATF got its hand slapped because the original warrant was obtained under false pretenses using questionable information from an informant.

    Funny how quiet the hand-slapping of government agencies that abuse their powers can be, isn’t it?

  69. Ah, Grasshopper, you now hear the sound of one hand slapping.

  70. Really folks, I remember it like it was yesterday. Yes, the ATF bungled, but the BDs fired on them. What ever happened to personal responsibility with you guys?

    JMJ

  71. I have never seen a good fact based explination of exactly what the Davidians did to warrent the feds kicking in their door. Further, I have never seen one shred of evidence that they were molesting children during the standoff. There is no evidence that the Davidians were anything other than whackjobs who were capable of violence if screwed with. Of course the ATF could not resist going out and screwing with them and creating a tragedy that didn’t need to happen.

  72. Jersey, you have reached a new level of densitude.

    Just keep on goose-steppin’ brotha.

  73. JMJ – I think you remember it like you were there, actually. You don’t know anything about the actual facts of the situation. For example, the drug charges nexus required to use military equipment was proven to be false. Child abuse charges never proven. Firearms violations never proven. In other words, no real crimes committed at Waco other than slaughter by BATF.

    “Authoritative evidence conclusively demonstrates that any precursor chemical or methamphetamine connection at the Waco compound had occurred in 1987, fully six years before the raid. It is probable that David Koresh was in fact responsible for expelling the member involved in the fledgling illegal drug activity, going so far as to report the offender to police.[25] The six-year lapse in these events clearly attenuates the underlying rationale for illegal drug activity; the BATF request nevertheless boldly asserted the needed nexus.”

    In fact the military was asked to assist but the very bright military lawyer advising his commander advised his CO that only the ATF that only DEA could give them the probable cause nexus to employ military force.

    Here’s some interesting reading – the bad news is, if it were DEA asking, the Army might have rolled in:

    “The principle example of the contentious nature of such support [military support to law enforcement] can be found in a review and analysis of the support provided to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) by the Army under the operational control of Joint Task Force 6 (JTF 6), during the siege and assault of David Koresh’s Branch Davidian compound outside of Waco, Texas.[18]

    Joint Task Force 6 is a long-standing operational unit; in 1993, it was under the operational control of US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) and the United States Atlantic Command (USACOM)… provided an intelligence fusion center and rapid response for surveillance needs along the Southwest border.

    Essentially, requests for military support of law enforcement agencies would flow into JTF 6, be vetted by its staff as having the appropriate drug nexus, and be approved with deployment orders transmitted by the JCS.[19] Major projects included area, as opposed to pinpoint, surveillance and reporting, and the use of aviation assets to ferry law enforcement officers. Soldiers detailed to JTF 6 were attached to that organization from their parent unit for specified periods of time; thus a Special Forces Operational Detachment with supporting aviation was part of a Rapid Reaction Support Unit assigned to JTF 6 in early 1993 for a six-month period.

    During this same period a request came into Operation Alliance for military assets to support a BATF operation against a methamphetamine laboratory located on the outskirts of Waco.[20] The request detailed the needs of the BATF: military training in the specific areas of medical treatment, communications procedures, operational plan development, review, and approval, and “room clearing discriminate fire operations,” termed “close-quarter combat” by the military.[21] More important, the BATF requested that Army medics and communicators actually accompany them to the forward staging base if not on the actual mission. Clearly, the request was more expansive than those normally received.[22]

    The original request was initially approved by the JTF 6 staff. However, questions by the Commander of the Special Forces detachment relayed to his home-unit legal advisor resulted in a review of the extent of Army involvement. Consequently, in the actual operation the Army provided only a training site at Fort Hood, safety inspection of the training lanes set up by the BATF, and medical and communications training and equipment. All members of the Special Forces detachment departed the training site at Fort Hood before the operation at the Branch Davidian compound took place.[23]

    The results of the attempt by the BATF to forcibly serve a warrant at the Branch Davidian compound were disastrous. In the initial assault, four BATF agents were killed and 20 were wounded, the greatest loss of life in the bureau’s history. Six Branch Davidian members were killed and four were wounded. The resulting siege captured the attention of the nation, and its tragic, fiery conclusion two months later resulted in the deaths of 74 Branch Davidians, including 21 children under the age of 14.[24]

    While some lessons for America’s military leaders from this incident remain obscure, there are at least three that can be derived from it. First, military decisionmakers cannot rely on the assertions of other federal agencies. The BATF knew of the requirement to establish a drug nexus in order to obtain needed military support from JTF 6.

    Authoritative evidence conclusively demonstrates that any precursor chemical or methamphetamine connection at the Waco compound had occurred in 1987, fully six years before the raid. It is probable that David Koresh was in fact responsible for expelling the member involved in the fledgling illegal drug activity, going so far as to report the offender to police.[25] The six-year lapse in these events clearly attenuates the underlying rationale for illegal drug activity; the BATF request nevertheless boldly asserted the needed nexus.

    It became clear from the after-action reports and investigations that BATF’s primary interest in this case stemmed from their conclusion that the Branch Davidians were stockpiling weapons in their compound.[26] That conclusion perhaps could have been foreshadowed by a series of anomalies related to the BATF request for Special Forces support. They were the peripheral nature of BATF in drug operations (usually spearheaded by the Drug Enforcement Agency at the federal level), the lack of involvement of the specialized drug laboratory reaction force, and the extensive nature of military support requested. All provided strong indications that further command inquiry was advisable. And although the commanding general of the JTF testified before Congress that he saw no reason to pierce the veil of the BATF request,[27] the implications of this sequence of events should be understood by commanders and senior staff officers engaged in such operations in the future.

    The specter of members of the Army’s special operations forces accompanying BATF agents storming a religious compound, however misguided its leader, could have seriously compromised public support of the US Army. Had the initial request been approved (it was) and acted upon (it wasn’t), this could easily have been the single most debilitating event to occur within the Army since the tragedy at My Lai. In fact, this occurrence could have been even more egregious because it would have taken place on American soil, would have been a clear violation of the Posse Comitatus Act, and would have raised the issue of military involvement in a case of alleged religious freedom.

    The second important lesson for both leaders and followers is to recognize that the military’s fervor to complete the mission, so essential in desperate battles to take the high ground, needs to be curtailed while supporting other federal agencies in suppressing drugs. The military mentality that breeds conformance and dedication to team effort must give way to healthy skepticism and critical analysis. Missions such as those described above are on the periphery of the role of the US Army. Any actual or perceived departure from applicable legal restrictions can lead to an unacceptable loss of confidence in the Army. In testimony before Congress, the officer who questioned the legality of the proposed mission at Waco related that his JTF 6 counterpart, a higher-ranking officer, had indicated that the witness was being an unwarranted obstacle to mission success.[28] In fact, the officer who objected to the mission was asking probing questions for all the right reasons, thus precluding a significant role for the Army in the debacle at Waco.

    Finally, leaders can take heart from the fact that the training and experience of today’s soldiers allow them to make the right decisions in situations fraught with career and personal implications. Granted, in this instance the soldiers were mature commissioned and noncommissioned officers with substantial operational experience. However, at considerable personal risk they had the integrity and wisdom to question the propriety of the proposed mission within their operational chain of command. When the answer did not comport with their training and experience, they had the moral courage to go outside official channels to receive an independent legal opinion from their parent unit’s legal advisor.[29] Had they simply gone along with the attitude that an order is an order, they would have involved the Army in a violation of Posse Comitatus, contributed to a great scandal, potentially subjected themselves to personal liability, and unnecessarily complicated the criminal prosecutions.” (pp. 82-97)

    http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usawc/Parameters/97autumn/lujan.htm

    All quoted pieces from the online version of the Autumn 1997 edition of Parameters, The U.S. Army War College Quarterly (The United States Army’s Senior Professional Journal).

    Written by Colonel Thomas R. Lujan is the Staff Judge Advocate at the United States Special Operations Command, MacDill AFB, Tampa, Florida. He graduated from the US Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., in 1971, and obtained his Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Minnesota in 1979. Colonel Lujan is a 1988 graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College and a 1996 graduate of the Army War College. He has held various judge advocate assignments, most notably in support of special operations forces.

  74. I keep telling you loonies, you’ve taken the wrong course here…

    JMJ

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/waco/davidkoresh.html

    “Koresh had an affair with then-prophetess Lois Roden who was in her late sixties. The two travelled to Israel together. When Lois Roden died, a power struggle began between Koresh and Lois Roden’s son George. For a short time, Koresh retreated with his followers to eastern Texas. But in late 1987 he returned to Mount Carmel in camouflage with seven male followers, armed with five .223 caliber semiautomatic assault rifles, two .22 caliber rifles, two 12-gauge shotguns and nearly 400 rounds of ammunition. During the gunfight, Roden was shot in the chest and hands.
    He and his followers went on trial for attempted murder. The seven were acquitted and a mistrial was declared in Koresh’s case. (Koresh told the jury he and his men went to Mount Carmel to find evidence of corpse abuse by Roden and their shots were aimed at a tree.)”

    “The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms investigated David Koresh for conduct involving: the illegal manufacture of machine guns and the illegal manufacture and possession of destructive devices. The FBI report provides evidence that the Davidians’ arsenal did indeed include weapons unlawfully manufactured. The weapons listed include semiautomatic firearms illegally modified to fire in full automatic mode, as well as grenades and silencers. All of these weapons were unlawfully possessed.”

    “WEAPONS RECOVERED FROM THE BRANCH DAVIDIAN COMPOUND: TREASURY SUMMARY OF REPORT PREPARED BY THE FBI FOR PROSECUTORS AND THE ILLEGAL WEAPONS RECOVERED

    Machine Guns

    The FBI determined that 46 semiautomatic firearms had been modified to fire in full automatic mode:

    22 M-16 Type Rifles

    20 AK-47 Type Rifles

    2 Heckler and Koch SP-89

    2 M-11/Nine

    The FBI also determined that two AR-15 lower receivers had been modified to fire in full automatic mode.

    Silencers

    21 Sound suppressors or silencers

    Hand Grenades

    4 Live M-21 Practice Hand Grenades

    The possession of lawfully manufactured machineguns, silencers, or grenades requires the owner to register the weapon with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms. None of the compound’s residents were registered to own such a weapon, therefore it would have been illegal for them to possess these weapons.

    ——————————————————————————–
    WEAPONS RECOVERED FROM THE BRANCH DAVIDIAN COMPOUND: TREASURY SUMMARY OF REPORT PREPARED BY THE FBI FOR PROSECUTORS AND THE TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
    TOTAL WEAPONS RECOVERED

    (Including Weapons Mentioned on Previous Page)

    FIREARMS

    Rifles and Rifle Components

    61 M-16 Type and 2 M-16 Lower Receivers

    61 AK-47 Type

    34 AR-15 Type and 2 AR-15 Lower Receivers

    13 Shotguns — 12 gauge

    11 7.62MM FN FAL Type

    10 Mini-14 Type

    7 37mm. Flare Gun/Launcher Type

    6 .30 Carbine Calber US Carbine, Model M1

    6 Assorted Rifles

    5 M-11/Nine

    5 M-14 Type

    3 Galil

    2 Heckler and Koch SP-89

    1 Air Rifle

    1 Heckler and Koch MP-5

    1 Sten submachine gun

    Pistols and Revolvers

    23 Beretta

    13 Glock

    8 Assorted Revolvers

    6 Safari Arms

    6 Assorted Pistols

    5 Sig Sauer

    5 Walther

    2 Taurus

    EXPLOSIVES

    Hand Grenades

    4 Live M-21 Practice Hand Grenades

    100+ Modified M-21 Practice Hand Grenade bodies; the bodies of these had been threaded and plugged but lacked a main charge or fusing system.

    11 M-69 Practice Hand Grenades; the bodies of these grenades exhibited indications of attempted modifications.

    219 Grenade Safety Pins

    243 Grenade Safety Levers

    Rifle Grenades

    200+ Inert M31 Practice Rifle Grenades.

    FIREARMS ACCESSORIES AND PARTS

    Silencers

    21 Sound suppressors and silencers.

    Flash Suppressors

    18 Flash Suppressors.

    Firearms Barrels

    17 M-16/AR-15 Type (5.56 mm)

    8 M-16/AR-15 Type (9mm caliber)

    3 M-16/AR-15 Type (.45 ACP caliber)

    1 M-16/AR-15 Type (5.56 mm)

    2 Ruger. 22 Caliber

    1 M-60 machine gun

    1 12 Gauge Shotgun

    1 Taurus, Model 92, 9mm pistol barrel

    1 Sig Sauer 9mm pistol barrel

    Pistol Slides

    1 Sig Sauer Model

    Revolver Parts

    1 .38 Special caliber cylinder

    Bolt Carriers

    39 M-16

    24 AR-15

    2 MP-5

    2 AK-47

    1 FAL

    1 Unknown

    Bolts

    15 AK-47

    7 .22 LR conversion

    3 M-16/AR-15

    1 FN FAL (1)

    Bolt Assemblies

    3 M-11/Nine

    2 M-16

    1 AR-15

    1 MAC-10

    1 Shotgun

    Recoil Springs and Guides

    3 Glock

    2 Sig Sauer

    1 Beretta

    1 M-11/Nine

    Stripper Clips

    29 Stripper Clips

    Accessories

    6 .22 LR Caliber Conversion Kits

    Hammers

    31 AK-47

    18 M-16

    12 AR-15

    4 M-11/Nine

    2 Sig Sauer

    1 Beretta

    Hammer Springs

    3 AK-47

    Buffer/Recoil Springs

    36 M-16/AR-15

    4 AK-47

    Selector Switches

    9 M-16

    3 AR-15

    1 Unknown

    Sears

    1 M-11/Nine

    Auto Sears

    8 AK-47

    4 M-16

    1 FN FAL

    Auto Sear Springs

    12 AK-47

    Disconnects

    7 AK-47

    1 M-16

    Trigger/Trigger Mechanisms/Trigger Housings

    17 M-16

    6 AR-15

    3 M-60

    3 M-11/Nine

    2 MP-5

    2 Sten

    1 AK-47

    1 Heckler & Koch

    1 M-14

    1 Smith & Wesson

    1 Beretta

    1 Shotgun

    Ammunition Magazines

    289 7.62 x 39mm AK-47 Type

    248 .223/5.56 mm M-16/AR-15 Type

    108 Sten Gun Type

    88 .308 Caliber FN FAL Type

    72 M-14 Type

    61 Beretta Model Type 92

    58 .308 Caliber of Unkown Type

    28 Ruger Mini-14 Type

    22 .22 Caliber

    17 UZI Type

    16 USAS-12 Type

    13 .45 Caliber

    11 Glock

    11 MP-5

    11 Sig Sauer P226/P228

    9 Unknown Type

    7 .308 Caliber Galil Type

    6 Walther PPK

    5 9mm Unknown Type

    4 .50 Caliber

    3 .30 Caliber U.S. Carbine

    3 .380 Auto Caliber

    2 9mm Smith & Wesson

    1 AK-74 Type

    1 Grendel

    Ammunition Containers

    220 Metal Boxes (Various Calibers)

    15 Wooden Boxes (Various Calibers)

    4 Buckets (Various Calibers)

    1 Cardboard Boxes (Various Calibers)

    Magazine Springs

    360 M-16/AR-15

    42 FN FAL .308 Caliber Type

    35 AK-47

    28 9mm Magazine Springs of Unknown Type

    15 Unknown

    10 M-14

    6 M-1 Carbine

    3 .50 Caliber

    1 Mini-14 Magazine

    1 Glock

    These lists do not include dozens of other items recovered from the Compound such as dust covers, extractors, front and rear sights, gun cleaning equipment, bolt release levers, compensators, .50 caliber belt links and numerous other parts.”

  75. Well Jersey,

    I have to admire their taste in weapons. No one denies that they were whackjobs and were armed. That still doesn’t justify burning 21 children death. If anything the presense of the arms and the children argues for a more low key approach, like grabbing Koresh when he was in town.

  76. Well, damn, JMJ. That list of personal possessions is just bound to convince people that those people should have been burned alive with their kids. Especially libertarian people.

  77. Jersey, looking through that list, I see nothing but stuff that is legal to own, with the possible exception of the Sten Submachinegun, which, I would lay even money on being a non-functioning parts kit or display model.

    When they say they recovered M16 or AK47 rifles, I seriously doubt that they are the actual real McCoy.

    And even if they were, again, I point out that the biggest crime in having an unregistered machinegun is the failure to pay the $200 transfer tax.

    But I guess that if someone fails to pay a $200 tax that’s justification enough to kill their kids.

  78. Bottom line:

    When it comes to firearms, Jersey knows two things:

    Jack and shit.

  79. Same goes for the sound suppressors, which shouldn’t be prohibited in the first place.

  80. C’mon, Jersey. I’m waitin’ for you to bring it.

  81. Mediageek, I’m a liberal. I love and respect the charred little dead children.

  82. Sorry for the inordinately long post to essentially say what John did in about a paragraph.

  83. Reasonable force. If I’m trying to stop a guy from, say, beating my car with a bat, I can use reasonable force to stop him. That would not include using a flamethrower. The same sort of idea is supposed to apply to law enforcement. Whether beating Rodney King or blowing up the Davidian compound, we expect such things to be done in a reasonable way. Taking extra, extra care when kids are involved is kinda sorta expected, too.

  84. JMJ,
    Considering that I currently own, have owned, or plan/would like to own many of the items on that list that you just put forth, I find nothing on that list that is definitely illegal. The # of guns involved seems to frighten you, but let’s face it, considering the number of people living there it’s not an inordinate # of firearms.

    I’m still waiting for you to show the gun charges were legitimate – it looks like you’ve given up on all the other BS child abuse/molestation claims and the drug claims.

    Frankly, if one of your neighbors living in the same gated community as you has converted legal semi-auto rifles to “illegal” (which would really just be unlicensed, not really illegal) full-auto rifles, does that mean it’s OK for the BATF to kill everyone in your neghborhood down to the last man, woman and child – including your wife and kids?

    Do you realize how insane that sounds? Do you realize how crazy you sound when you say that they had it coming because they were religious nuts?

    There isn’t a religion on earth that isn’t nutty to some extent, some are just more entrenched – and therefore socially acceptable than others.

    I personally know more than one perosn who has more guns than what you’ve cited the Davidians had, including fully automatic weapons (with the proper licensing to do so, I should add). So the worst the Davidians did as far as the “gun crimes” you are claiming is that they didn’t have the proper license – and you apparently can’t even show that there were firearms that had been converted to fully auto.

    So… Still think they had it coming JMJ? Still think they did this to themselves?

  85. Jersey,

    I hope the ATF checks you all out too. They should make a list of all the apologists so we can keep our kids away from them.

    Why don’t you slide back under your rock and polish up those jackboots?

  86. Not that they need any excuse to exercise their second amendment right to keep and bear arms, but IIRC, the Branch Davidians made extra money by buying and selling guns.

    Cars cause more deaths than guns and yet in addition to dealerships that advertise on TV, there are smaller operators who just buy low and sell high. At any given time they will have more cars than the average citizen. I don’t think that makes ’em terrorists, unless the cars are Pintos or Corvairs.

  87. You lost me, Joe. The gov’t botched up – yes. But the Davidians shot a law enforcement officers as they executed a warrant.

    Kinda like Cory Maye or Donald Carlson. As I said on Hit and Run last December, commenting on the Maye case: I understand that cops sometimes reasonably believe that they have to conduct no-knock raids. But when they do, they need to understand that they are voluntarily assuming the risk of death at the hands of a homeowner who reasonably concludes that he is in danger of death or serious bodily harm from an armed intruder. (And sometimes, the conclusions is not just reasonable but correct. Remember Mark Clark and Fred Hampton in Chicago in 1969.) They need to understand that if they are killed under such circumstances, it’s a regrettable misunderstanding, but justifiable homicide.

  88. “No one denies that they were whackjobs and were armed.”

    Actually, quite a large number of posters denied that they were armed, or at least that they were in possession of illegal weaponry.

    Which explains the rather dramatic shift in argument that occured after Jersey’s post. “The claims that they were illegally stockpiling machineguns were never substantiated” becomes, “Yeah, well, what’s wrong with having a closet full of M-16s, and another closet full of AK-47s, converted to automatic fire?”

    The Branch Davidians weren’t just a creepy cult – they were freaking dangerous. And no, you super-incisive thinkers, that isn’t a justification for the indefensible manner the government responded to the situation.

  89. Koresh : 21st Century Libertoids :: Alger Hiss : 1950s Liberals

    He’s got to be innocent, man. He’s GOT to be!

  90. Joe –

    I think the claim the others were making was the guns were never shown to be fully automatic. The ATF has never allowed an open viewing of the items that came out of the compound.

    Let’s see. Drug charges – false. Child molestation/abuse alegations – false. Automatic Rifles – proven because they say so even though they refuse to show the proof.

    I mean hell – if Bush told you three statements about one situation – two lies you could prove were wrong, but one lie you couldn’t disprove – would you believe the third one anyway?

    Also as others have pointed out a fine for failing to register a fully automatic weapon is hardly a reason for a full blown siege.

  91. Just to add a little clarity here. ATF shot first: killing the dogs outside the walls, and firing through the roof from the filming helicopter.

    Next the AFT attempted to come through windows. That’s when Officer Friendly bought the farm. For all those who claim these were whackjobs and the AFT were merely trying to serve a warrant, at the time a lawyer inside Mt. Carmel was on the phone to 9-1-1 reporting that Mt. Carmel was under attack. Gee, if you knew it was law enforcement attacking, why call the cops?

    Finally, remember that Janet Reno has a degree in chemistry, and most likely knew what CS gas in an enclosed place would do.

  92. Jersey please please watch Waco Rules of Engagement
    and you will see how the wool has been pulled over your eyes. Here is the link for part 2 at least watch from 30 – 35min after you see them shooting at people trying to run out of the burning “compound” you will watch the rest.
    Part 2
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1755692679103175934&q=waco+infrared&pl=true

    Part 1
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4298137966377572665&q=waco+infrared&pl=true

    The ATF used military weapons and chemical weapons on Americans. First they poked holes going horizontally and vertically through the compound. And then they filled the building with CS gas mixed with Metheylene chloride. They poked holes into the walls to make it burn like a pot belly stove. CS gas is highly flammable and then when you ignite it releases cyanide gas. When you look at pictures of the vault (where the woman and children were hiding) you will see that they pumped so much CS gas in there that there was burn marks on the wall all the way up to knee level. When you inhale cyanide gas it makes your body contourt untill you break all of your bones. And you can see on Rules of Engagement people running out the exit by the vault and you can see people shooting the women and children as the try to escape the inferno and chemical weapons.
    Please watch this video we can not let the goverment use military force and chemical weapons on people. These people were taking tanks and doing donughts in their yard and running over cars, and do you know what their superior officer said? Well these boys dont get to many oppurtunities to use these things so they were a little restless.

  93. Koresh : 21st Century Libertoids :: Alger Hiss : 1950s Liberals

    He’s got to be innocent, man. He’s GOT to be!

    I haven’t seen anyone say that Koresh was necessarily innocent (you would have to specify exactly what he’s supposedly guilty of though).

    The point is, as you, yourself have observed, the Government was out of line here.

    If they had a beef with Koresh they should have arrested him away from the property (I am totally fucking sick of hearing the word “compound”).

  94. “Which explains the rather dramatic shift in argument that occured after Jersey’s post. “The claims that they were illegally stockpiling machineguns were never substantiated” becomes, “Yeah, well, what’s wrong with having a closet full of M-16s, and another closet full of AK-47s, converted to automatic fire?””

    Joe, here’s the deal. Not even a certified gun-nut such as yours truly can tell the difference between an AR15 and an M16 without being close enough to hold it and examine it.

    The ATF has lied on more than one occassion, and I would not be surprised to find out that a bunch of AR15 rifles recovered after the standoff magically became M16’s.

    Also, I will note that it is *technically* not illegal to have the parts to convert a rifle into an automatic weapon. However, the ATF assumes that if you have the parts and the rifle that they would go into, that you have a full-blown machinegun. (Similar to how possessing more than a certain amount of pot is assumed to be proof that you meant to distribute it.)

    Same goes for the dummy grenades, supposed sound suppressors and all the rest of it. Show me an invoice from Gem Tech or any other suppressor maker to the Branch Davidians, and I’ll believe they had illegal suppressors.

    Say what you will about the Davidians being so “dangerous” but it seems to me that they didn’t get all dangerous until after the feds decided to go after them.

    But then again, I guess that burning children to death over failure to pay a $200 transfer tax was the right thing to do.

  95. Say what you will about the Davidians being so “dangerous” but it seems to me that they didn’t get all dangerous until after the feds decided to go after them.

    The previous 93 comments could have been distilled into this one sentence and no other defense of the Branch Davidians would have been needed.

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