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In 1984 a dispute arose between George Roden and David Koresh over leadership of the Davidians. This culminated in Roden forcing Koresh and his followers off of the Mt. Carmel property at gunpoint. Koresh led his group to the city of Palestine, Texas. By late 1987 things were faring badly for George Roden. He had almost no money, few followers, mounting debts and an angry Texas Supreme Court Justice on his trail. So Roden decided to conclusively settle the leadership dispute with Koresh. He went to a graveyard and dug up the body of a man who had been dead 25 years, put the casket in the Mt. Carmel chapel, and said that whoever could raise this man from the dead was the one to lead the Davidians. Koresh reported the action to the Sheriff's Department. He was told that his word alone wasn't enough proof was needed. So on November 3, 1987, Koresh and several men went out to Mt. Carmel to take pictures of the body in the casket. The Sheriff had warned them to be careful, because Roden was dangerous, so they armed themselves. The plan was to open the casket, take the pictures, and leave, but Roden caught them, and a gunfight ensued in which Roden was wounded. Koresh and seven other Davidians were charged with attempted murder. Jack Harwell, McLennan County Sheriff, called Koresh on the phone and informed him of the charges. He asked Koresh and the others to turn themselves in, and to surrender their weapons. When deputies arrived at Mount Carmel, Koresh and the other Davidians peacefully complied. Officials traced the weapons and found that each was legally purchased. On March 21, 1988, Roden was served with a citation for contempt of court. U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith, Jr. sentenced him to six months in jail for continuing to file expletive-filled motions threatening the justices with AIDS and herpes, despite orders to cease and desist. On April 25, Koresh's seven followers were acquitted, and the jury hung 9-3 in favor of Koresh's acquittal. The state then dropped the charges against him. Koresh paid up 16 years of delinquent taxes on the Mount Carmel property, which allowed him and his followers to move in. Upon returning to the property they found a methamphetamine lab and large piles of pornographic material. They burned the pornography and reported the meth lab to the DA's office. Fifteen months after Koresh's trial, in the summer of 1989, Roden was approached by a man who claimed to be the Messiah. Roden split the man's head open with an ax. Odessa police charged Roden with murder. The following year he was found not guilty by reason of insanity and sent to a state mental hospital, where he remains to this day.
The federal government claimed the Davidians had "illegally stockpiled weaponry and ammunition." After the siege investigators found 200 firearms in the ruins of Mt. Carmel
This amounts to about two guns per adult. But Texas' 17 million residents own a total of 68 million guns, for an average of four guns apiece, while 16,600 Texans legally own machine guns
The government also claimed that the Davidians were planning an assault on Waco. This claim was based on third-hand information related to ATF Special Agent Davy Aguilera, who filed the affidavit for the original raid on Mt. Carmel. Aguilera had interviewed ATF Special Agent Carlos Torres, who had interviewed Joyce Sparks, an investigator with the Texas Department of Human Services. According to Aguilera's affidavit, Torres told Aguilera that Sparks had told him that Koresh had told her "that he was the `Messenger' from God, that the world was coming to an end, and that when he `reveals' himself the riots in Los Angeles would pale in comparison to what was going to happen in Waco, Texas." Furthermore, this self-revelation "would be a `military type operation' and... all the `non-believers' would have to suffer."
Koresh supposedly said this on Sparks' second and final visit to Mt. Carmel to investigate child-abuse charges, on April 6, 1992. But the LA riots broke out on April 29, more than three weeks after Sparks last visited Koresh!
There were allegations of child abuse.
These were from two sources: (1) a man who hated Koresh and was obsessed with discrediting him; and (2) a child-custody dispute.
Why didn't they just grab Koresh when he was out jogging or in town.
BATF planners decided they could only consider a siege if Koresh was arrested away from Mount Carmel when he was out jogging or in town. Agents believed that without Koresh's leadership, the other members would offer little resistance to a BATF search of Mount Carmel. The Treasury report admits agents received inaccurate information from social worker Joyce Sparks and undercover agent Robert Rodriguez that Koresh rarely left Mount Carmel. It also admits that the agents at the undercover house could not identify who left and entered by automobile. (TDR:136-140) Only after the raid did BATF receive information that Koresh had left Mount Carmel a number of times during December, January and February, 1993. BATF did attempt to convince Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services to summon Koresh to town for a meeting so that BATF could arrest him, but they refused to become involved. BATF also tried obtain a Texas arrest warrant for Koresh for sexual activities with a young girl, but that fell through when the girl refused to testify.
Was this just a publicity stunt to bolster BATF's Image? In early 1993, BATF was a beleaguered agency. Ronald Reagan and others had been calling for its abolition since the early 1980s. A newly elected liberal Democrat just might try to do it. The Waco Tribune-Herald was calling to find out why BATF wasn't doing something about the Branch Davidians weapons build up. And in mid-November, 1992, CBS's "60 Minutes" contacted BATF about an upcoming expos about female BATF agents who charged routine sexual harassment and even attempted rape. The expos, which aired January 10, 1993, included damning statements by BATF agents. Agent Bob Hoffman exclaimed, "the people I put in jail have more honor than the top administration in this organization." Agent Lou Tomasell said, "I took an oath. And the thing I find abhorrent and disgusting is that these higher-level people took that same oath and they violate the basic principles and tenets of the constitution and the laws and simple ethics and morality." A few weeks later, 15 black agents accused the agency of discrimination in hiring and promotion.
FACT 7ON SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 1993 at about 9:30 a.m. agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms attempt to execute arrest and search warrants against David KORESH and the Branch Davidian compound. Gunfire erupts. Four ATF agents are killed and 16 are wounded. An undetermined number of Davidians are killed and injured. KORESH discloses that he has been wounded in the hip and left wrist. KORESH is allowed to broadcast his religious teachings on Dallas radio KRLD and does a CNN telephone interview. Michael SCHROEDER, a Branch Davidian, is killed while he tries to return to the main building.
On MONDAY, MARCH 1, Acting Attorney General Stuart GERSON gives an update to CLINTON, who implicitly endorses a negotiated solution and asks to be advised if there is any change in strategy. Negotiations continue, and over the course of the day, 10 children are sent out of the compound. FBI agents in armored vehicles deploy to the compound's perimeter. KORESH becomes extremely agitated when the armored vehicles move closer and when his phone line is cut except for outgoing calls to the negotiators. At least twice, KORESH says suicide is not being contemplated.
On TUESDAY, MARCH 2 in the early morning, KORESH makes a one-hour audio tape of his religious teachings, adding a preamble promising to surrender upon the national broadcast of tape. At 1:30 p.m., the tape is broadcast over the Christian Broadcasting Network. At 5:58 p.m, the word is relayed to negotiations from KORESH that God had spoken to him and had told him to wait.
On March 3 Speaking with negotiators, KORESH accounts for his failure to surrender, as agreed, by saying he's "dealing now with his Father" and not with "your bureaucratic system of government." And he delivers various rambling sermons, focusing on such Biblical matters as "unlocking" the Seven Seals and interpreting God's intentions about the end of the world. In a late-evening conversation, he bristles at the movement of armored vehicles around the compound and says the FBI would have to "look at some of the pictures of the little ones that ended up perishing."
On March 5 nine-year-old Heather JONES leaves compound wearing a note pinned to her jacket on which her mother says that, once the children are out, the adults will die. KORESH and his top aide, Steve SCHNEIDER, deny they are contemplating suicide. The FBI seeks the advice of experts and Davidians on likelihood of mass suicide by the Davidians and receives "inconsistent information.
On March 7 talks with KORESH and others inside the compound go round in circles. The FBI refuses to deliver milk for the children unless more of them are released. KORESH says all the children left in the compound are his biological descendants.
On March 8 the FBI delivers six gallons of milk to the compound. A videotape of the children in the compound is sent out by the Davidians. The negotiators' log shows that, when the tape is reviewed, there is concern that if the tape is released to the media, KORESH would gain much sympathy.
On March 9 the authorities see weapons in the windows, and firing ports being cut in plywood placed in the windows.
On March 12 RENO is sworn in as Attorney General. SCHROEDER leaves the compound, saying no mass suicide would occur. Over the objections of some FBI negotiators, JAMAR orders all electricity to be cut off for good, because "he wanted those inside the compound to experience the same wet and cold night as the tactical personnel outside.
On March 14 the FBI begins to illuminate the compound with bright lights "to disrupt sleep, to put additional pressure on those inside and to increase the safety of the HRT."
On March 17 KORESH refuses to allow SCHNEIDER to have another face-to-face conversation with SAGE.
On April 9 KORESH sends letter to the FBI, saying the "heavens are calling you to judgment." Two experts analyze the letters (and four others sent over the next few days) and conclude he was possibly a psychotic and had no intention of leaving voluntarily. The FBI finalizes plans to use tear gas and seeks RENO's approval.
On April 14 a message from KORESH says that he will not surrender until he has written a manuscript explaining the Seven Seals.
On April 18 although the FBI warns the Davidians to stay out of the tower, they hold children up in windows and, in one window, hold a sign saying, "Flames Await."
On April 19 at 5:59 a.m., SAGE telephones the Davidians, notifying them of an imminent tear-gas assault. SAGE reads a message over the loudspeaker, advising the Davidians that they are under arrest and should come out. At 6:02 a.m., two FBI combat engineering vehicles, or CEVs, begin inserting gas into the compound through spray nozzles attached to a boom. At 6:04 a.m., the Davidians start shooting, and the FBI begin deploying Bradley vehicles to insert ferret rounds through the windows. At 6:31, the HRT reports that the entire building is being gassed. At 11:40 a.m., the last ferret rounds are delivered. At 11:45 a.m., a wall on the right-rear side of the building collapses. At 12:07 p.m., the Davidians start "simultaneous fires at three or more different locations within the compound." An HRT observer reports seeing "a male starting a fire" in the front of the building. At 12:12 p.m., SAGE calls on KORESH to lead the Davidians out to safety. Nine Davidians flee the compound and are arrested. At about 12:25 p.m., the FBI hears "systematic gunfire" coming from the compound, leaving several agents the impression that the Davidians are either killing themselves or each other. At 12:41, fire-fighting efforts begin. HRT agents enter tunnels to search for survivors, especially children.
Why did it take the FBI six years to admit that its agents may have fired potentially flammable tear gas canisters on the final day of their standoff?
The FBI may have used a very limited number of military-type CS gas canisters on the morning of April 19 in an attempt to penetrate the roof of an underground bunker 30 to 40 yards away from the main Branch Davidian compound. Unlike the civilian tear gas used later, ``the military canisters may have contained a substance that is designed to disperse the gas using a pyrotechnic mixture,''. Officials said two military tear gas canisters were fired just after 6 a.m., six hours before the fire began. The canisters bounced off the roof of the concrete bunker and landed in an open field, according to these officials, who requested anonymity. Nonpyrotechnic tear gas canisters had not penetrated the bunker, which was linked to the main building by tunnels, the officials said. The FBI wanted to clear out anyone hiding there. Two officials suggested word of the military canisters might not have been relayed to top FBI and Justice officials earlier because original inquiries focused on the fire in the main building and the military canisters had been fired almost 180 degrees away from that building and hours before the fire.
The Justice Department gave Congress documents in 1995 describing the use of military tear gas rounds. The discovery of the documents by Democratic staff members, who were looking through committee files held by Republican Chairman Dan Burton of Indiana, called into question the charges of a cover-up. ``The documents have been in the custody of Chairman Dan Burton ... since 1995,'' Waxman told reporters, adding, ``It appears members of Congress weren't aware of what was in these documents either. ''
An aide to Burton said the documents did not change Burton's view of the Justice Department's actions in the Waco probe.
Those evil Democrat's are diabolical, who would of thought they'd hide documents in Republican Burtons files?
investigators concluded the fire began simultaneously in three places. FBI bugs
recorded Davidians discussing spreading fuel and planning a fire hours before
the compound burned. Arson investigators found that gasoline, charcoal lighter
fluid and camp stove fuel had been poured inside the compound.