Who Struck John?
This photo was printed in Soldier of Fortune magazine, July, 1993, with an article entitled "What Went Wrong in Waco?" written by Col. Charlie Beckwith, who is described in the footnote as "founder of America's elite Delta force and a noted authority on raids and assault planning."
Col. Beckwith wrote, "I cried when I heard that four ATF agents had been killed and 16 wounded," but apparently shed no tears for the Branch Davidians. The brilliant tactician also failed to notice there was no photographic evidence of retaliation by the Branch Davidians.
Who shot first, and who shot whom in the February 28, 1993 Mt. Carmel gunfight?
The Treasury Report states that when the ATF agents left the cattle trailers they were met with a hail of gunfire and homemade grenades. "In the face of overwhelming firepower the agents displayed extraordinary disciple and courage," (pg. 11).
Perhaps unknown to the raid planners, most of the guns owned by the Branch Davidians were off the premises that day, having been taken to a gun show in nearby Austin, Texas by Branch Davidian Paul Fatta. Concerning the ATF claim that they were met "by a hail of gunfire" as they approached the building: photographic evidence shows the agents firing blindly into a building with empty windows and drawn blinds. HERE is an excerpt from Linda Thompson's "Waco, The Big Lie," showing footage of ATF agents firing into the building that day.
Let's have a look at the Treasury statement in more detail:
"Koresh appeared at the front door and yelled, 'What's going on?' The agents identified themselves, stated they had a warrant and yelled 'freeze' and 'get down.' But Koresh slammed the door before the agents could reach it. Gunfire from inside the Compound burst through the door. The force of the gunfire was so great that the door bowed outward. The agent closest to the door was shot in the thumb before he could dive for cover into a pit near the door. Then gunfire erupted from virtually every window in the front of the Compound." (Pg. 96)
A picture published in Soldier of Fortune, July, 1993 (our copy was slightly damaged at the centerfold as it was removed from the magazine) shows about 11 agents in front of the building. Note that eight of the agents in this picture are using the automobiles for cover, while the rest are in the open.
The ATF said the Davidians had illegal machine guns. The ATF Report also said the agents were ambushed by waiting Davidians (pg. 11). When talking to the press after the raid failure, ATF PR agent Sharon Wheeler explained: "They had bigger guns than we did." But these agents don't seem concerned about Davidian guns, big or small, manual or automatic. Where are the guns? Where are the Davidians? Where is the ambush?
Automobiles are not good cover from firearms. Most bullets will easily penetrate the thin steel of a car body. If a Davidian were shooting at an agent who was taking cover behind a car, he could as easily hit the agent by aiming through the car at the hidden portion as by aiming at the exposed portion.
On Monday, March 1, 1993 the Dallas Morning News published a page of color pictures from the raid. One 7 x 11 shows the main entrance of Mt. Carmel. Judging by the number of visible bullet holes in the walls, the condition of the window to the right of the door, and the condition of the second floor window frames, this picture was taken later than the Soldier of Fortune picture. We see (Dallas Morning News, March 1, 1993, Figure 21) agents in the foreground are carrying off an injured comrade. Looking over the picture for details, we see a spray of bullet holes around the second floor windows (magnified view at Figure 21A). Those holes were quite obviously the caused by shots aimed at the general area of the widows from the outside--that is, by agents shooting at Davidians or at guessed locations of Davidians.
The Dallas Morning News photograph has been magnified to verify the point: The windows and bodies of all the automobiles within the frame of the picture reveal not a single bullet scar (Figure 21B). In addition, not a single tear appears in the canvas of the cattle trailer (Figure 21C).
Had the Davidians been returning fire, we should be able to see evidence in the photo. The shots should have left scars, similar to the scars in the building, on the trailer canvas and the metal and window glass of the cars and trucks the agents were hiding behind. A careful examination of the vehicles in this picture reveals not a single bullet scar to compare with the bullet scars on the building.
The Treasury Report contains a picture of the second trailer to arrive in front of the Mt. Carmel Center. The side facing the camera is the same side that was visible to the Branch Davidians; that side should bear bullet marks if the agents had received fire as they claimed.
In a final test of the veracity of the Treasury Report account, a magnification of the double door reveals that it is not "bowed out" from gunfire (Figure 21D), as alleged in the Treasury Report. It stands as any normal door, with the exception of a few bullet holes (disregard crease mark in newspaper). One section of the double door which bore many bullet holes would have been a key piece of defense evidence when the Branch Davidians were charged with the murder of the ATF agents. The trajectory of the bullet scars would have told the story of who shot whom; but the door section mysteriously went missing after the April 19 inferno, while the crime scene was under control of the ATF's allies, the Texas Rangers.
TV footage of the scene clearly shows the agents firing into the building, and not one Davidian returning fire--or even visible. The ATF also took videos of the raid as it was occurring. Later, the ATF claimed that their video camera malfunctioned and that no pictures had been taken after all.
Had the Branch Davidians been armed for warfare with a 50 caliber machine gun and spoiling for a fight with the government, as the ATF said, the ATF agents were at a deadly disadvantage. Given the Davidians had cover and elevation, the ATF agents could have been slaughtered wholesale. But that didn't happen.
In the light of other information, however, this manner of shooting is more sinister. As researcher Ken Fawcett points out, diagrams left in a diner by ATF agents at the time of the raid show the floor plan of the Center and names of Davidians listed for each room (see the Smart Diagrams). Given the relatively flimsy structure that was Mt. Carmel, bullets would penetrate the walls almost as easily as the windows. Peppering the outside walls of rooms of individuals selected for death just might work.
Only a few frames of this footage appeared on commercial news coverage and in newsmagazines. Those frames usually showed the agents at the window, or an agent shielding himself from shots coming through the walls of the room. Footage that showed the fourth agent throwing a grenade and firing blindly into the room was not shown. TV coverage of the February 28 raid often showed one agent on the roof being fired upon from the inside, and falling, as if fatally wounded. However, the next frames showing the agent getting up and climbing down the ladder were not shown, giving the TV audience the impression that agent had been killed by the Davidians. HERE are excerpts from Linda Thompson's "Waco, The Big Lie" that show the action.
On March 5, 1993, the Dallas Morning News reported that all the agents who had entered that room, Robert Williams, Conway LeBleu, and Todd McKeehan had died. Later, this report was changed.
All four who were killed by expert marksmen were treated by private physicians or emergency medical technicians on the scene; none were taken to nearby hospitals, despite the severity of the injuries (Treasury Report, pg. 102).
Certainly there would have been little public support for tanks, torture, and escalating the war had agents not been killed. In the War Gallery Entrance, we saw that heavy military equipment was at Mt. Carmel from Day One, February 28, 1993. The failure of the raid was a forgone conclusion: as pointed out in the previous exhibit, the raid was Designed to Fail.
NOTE: Four Branch Davidians were ultimately tried for conspiracy to murder the ATF agents. In a trial that took place in San Antonio in 1994, they were all acquitted of murder. As a result of a press blackout, their acquittal has been a carefully kept secret from the American people. See Burial Gallery.
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Many people who distrust the mainstream media have turned to alternate news sources, some of which are Internet based. Unfortunately, many of these alternate sources of news simply promote an alternate series of lies. These alternate lies are of course dressed up as "exposés." But you can easily tell the phonies from the real thing. The information in the Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum is an acid test.
Does your news source promote Mike McNulty's video, Waco: The Rules of Engagement or wring its hands because the Davidian law suit against the government failed? (See Waco Documentary Is A Hoax! and Waco Suits for Waco Suckers.) Does your alternate news source carry promotional pieces about rebuilding the Davidian church in Waco and mouth nice words about "healing"? (See The Cover-up Church.)
Remember, since ancient times, inquiries into questionable deaths have started with the bodies of the victims. If your news source won't give you an honest and full account of the forensic information on Waco, or if it does not have a link to the Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum ... your alternate news has failed a fundamental acid test.
All original material is copyright 1996-2000 by Carol A. Valentine,
on loan to Public Action, Inc.
Postal Address: Carol A. Valentine, PO Box 10933, Burke, VA 22009
This page last updated February 28, 2001.