L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 214, March 10, 2003
STAND IN THE GAP
Ten Years After: The Waco Declaration
Exclusive to TLE
Ten years ago today on 28 February 1993 the United States federal government began to implement a declared war. That war is not on some distant battlefield, it is not in some foreign country. It is here. In our country. Among us. Our children see this war carried out with their own eyes.
Initially, over six dozen federal agents with no lawful warrant came to a private church property in central Texas, guns blazing. They began to indiscriminately murder men and women while endangering dozens of children. Moreover, having provided false information about a drug lab which never existed, these federal agents were assisted by units of the United States military in direct and egregious violation of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.
Fortunately, there were men and women present in the church armed for the defense of their freedom with the guts to take action. They returned fire, killing a few federal agents in the process. Unfortunately, not aware of the declaration of war against them, these victims would hold their post against enormous odds. They also refrained from shooting federal agents during an agreed cease fire, thus limiting the size of their honor guard.
Subsequently, on 19 April 1993, exactly 218 years after a group of North American Colonists took up arms to defend their right to keep and bear arms at Lexington and Concord, dozens of military personnel, including ten Combat Applications Group elite Delta Force operators attacked the church, deliberately ventilated it for burning, fired rifles repeatedly at the interior, knocked down its internal staircases and several walls trapping the occupants, exploded demolition charges to eradicate the women and children being shielded in the church's vault, injected chemical weapons banned for use against enemy soldiers by international treaties to which the USA is party, then fired pyrotechnic charges into the building to set it ablaze. As a result, over seven dozen Texans, including twenty-seven children were murdered.
During this conflict, crimes were committed which have not been prosecuted to this day. Almost all of the articles of the Bill of Rights were violated. The act of settlement which had restored peace among the several states after the War for Southern Independence was torn to shreds by repeated use of military personnel against civilians accused of failing to file a few papers.
Following the immolation of the church and its occupants, the government began the process of cover-up. Evidence was bleached and bulldozed. Considerable evidence was hidden and destroyed. A commission led by the vile John Danforth built a stonewall and whitewashed it. Facts about the Mt. Carmel attacks and the Branch Davidian massacre were distorted. Evidence was "re-created" to contribute to the cover-up. None of the perpetrators was ever brought to justice. None of the victims and none of their families have ever been compensated.
All of the statements above are true. They reflect facts which have been gathered by individuals, private foundations, research groups, and all with private money. In spite of the government's best efforts to lie, cheat, hide, obfuscate, connive, and utter hypocrisy, the truth has come out.
What was it all about? At its root, the attack was about funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF), an illegal and unconstitutional agency whose perverted agents desecrate decent morals every day. Some say that many of the occupants of the church at Mt. Carmel were former intelligence agents of various other countries, sent to their deaths, though this claim has yet to be proven. Once the residents of Mt. Carmel defended themselves, the entire incident was reduced to brutal revenge. The federal agents and soldiers who perpetrated the final assault did so to prove that their side would not allow anyone, however justified, to lift a finger - let alone a rifle - in self defense.
The agents who came to Mt. Carmel ten years ago today were there to promote the operations of the BATF. Back at their command post, the press relations were in full swing. Camera crews from the newsmedia were on hand to film the initial assault, and actually save BATF agents lives by calling for ambulances - something the BATF assault team were not able to do. The entire operation was intended to be a passion play with the BATF representing good and the church occupants assigned the role of evil.
There is no question from the eyewitness accounts of everyone who wasn't a jackbooted thug that day: the government agents fired first. Indeed, overwhelming evidence makes it clear that the BATF could have arrested any of the Branch Davidians, especially David Koresh, at any time prior to the assault. Koresh had voluntarily turned himself in on a murder charge previously, and was acquitted. The charges relating to the BATF's scope of activity amounted to failure to pay a $200 filing fee and complete some paperwork.
Everyone acknowledges that there was never any evidence of a drug lab. None of the Branch Davidians was manufacturing illegal drugs. However, the BATF made false allegations to obtain USA military personnel and assault helicopters. Moreover, the rest of the so-called "warrant" was a tissue of fabrications. It was all lies. And everyone involved had reason to know it.
BATF agents fired on the front door of the Mt. Carmel church before David Koresh could even finish inviting them to present their warrant. So many rounds were fired at that door that it was impossible for Koresh to avoid injury. Helicopters were flown overhead with door gunners firing repeatedly into the church from above, as attested to by the numerous penetrations of the roof and ceilings. Firing was indiscriminate, and killed several of the occupants. Possibly two agents of the BATF were brought to the scene already dead, executed with rounds not available to any of the Branch Davidians; possibly these agents were victims of "friendly fire."
With calls to 911 and repeated shouts, the occupants of the church announced the fact that noncombatants were present, but to no avail. Unarmed women and very young children were repeatedly fired upon by the BATF and military personnel, resulting in many casualties. As a result of the unnecessary and excessive force being used against them, and without any certainty that a proper warrant authorizing search or seizures was involved, the Branch Davidians defended themselves and their property.
The right thing to do when thugs attack you is to shoot them. That was the right thing then, and it is the right thing now. Fortunately, many of the Branch Davidians had some proficiency with firearms, and they had guns on hand.
Unfortunately, the Branch Davidians didn't realize that they were targeted for execution, would never get a day in court, and were destined for massacre. Instead of scattering from their church after the initial botched raid, they stayed at their post, attempting to defend a position which proved indefensible.
During the hostilities, the BATF ran out of ammo. Knowing that they were facing a large, potentially hostile, and well armed group, the BATF failed to bring adequate ammunition. Such behavior seems hard to explain by mere incompetence. Nevertheless, they ran out of ammo and stopped firing. Rather than rush out from their church to slaughter the remaining BATF agents, the Branch Davidians accepted terms of a cease fire. There were wounded and dead on both sides to attend to. The Branch Davidians had no desire to inflict further injury or bloodshed, and were not the vicious killers that horrid Hollywood and television movies have made them out to be. If they had been the vicious killers, they would have gone out after the BATF after the BATF ran out of ammo. Instead, they observed the cease fire terms scrupulously, and allowed the BATF to retreat in some semblance of order. (At least one disorderly group of BATF agents was filmed kicking and abusing a TV reporter to vent their rage and demonstrate their thuggishness.)
To reward the Branch Davidians for their cooperation during the ceasefire, they were blockaded from any contact with the media, they were denied access to their counsel until a determined Houston lawyer managed to get himself inside, they were surrounded by federal agents and military troops, they were forced to quarter these troops in peace time, and they were denied access to food, water, or electricity. At night the church was lit up by floodlights and bombarded with music and noise to effect torture of the occupants. None of the Branch Davidians were allowed to leave after the initial assault, many were fired upon attempting to leave, atrocities were perpetrated on the pets and the dead body of one of the Davidians, and other actions were taken to discourage the occupants from leaving. At least one of the church members attempting to return to the church after the initial assault was murdered by federal agents outside the church property.
The events of 19 April 1993 are well documented. I find it most disturbing that it was the anniversary of the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" which began the American Revolutionary War. Two years after the Mt. Carmel massacre, federal agents blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, further marring the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord.
In Mogadishu in September 1993, several members of the Delta Force were interviewed by a CIA agent who subsequently gave an interview to Mike McNulty, one of the heroic figures conducting private research on the massacre. Delta Force operators admitted to being on the ground during the final conflagration.
In the initial phases of the final assault, the church buildings were deliberately ventilated to promote rapid spreading of fire. Then the buildings were filled with deadly CS gas, a chemical warfare gas which forms cyanide when burned. The gas is banned for use against enemy soldiers by treaties to which the USA is party. It was known to the soldiers inserting the gas that the twenty-seven children inside did not have gas masks adequate to their protection.
Also during the initial phases of the final assault, combat engineering vehicles - tanks to you and me - were driven at various parts of the building to destroy its staircases and knock in several walls. The result was to trap many of the occupants so that they would be consumed by the subsequent flames.
The women and children were sent to the most secure part of the church, the "church vault" which had concrete walls. A Delta Force operator placed a demolition charge on the roof of the church vault which was detonated. The women and children inside were subjected to a powerful pressure wave which turned their bodies into shapeless jelly.
Government films made at the time of the final assault and other evidence proves that government agents and soldiers fired pyrotechnic charges into the building to set it ablaze. The resulting fire consumed the entire church structure and most of its occupants. Many of these occupants were already dead from rifle fire directed at the exits of the church. Autopsies reveal that many of the children died of asphyxiation before being burned, and a few were killed by cyanide gas - a terrible death which causes the muscles to seize tight enough to break the spine of the victim.
A list of the crimes identifiable from the events of 28 February and 19 April 1993 has been compiled by Tim Lynch of the Cato Institute. You can read his report by downloading the .pdf file from [here].
Briefly these crimes include the physical assault of Dan Mulloney, a camera man for KWTX-TV on 28 February 1993 by agents filmed in the process. The BATF should fire the agents involved retroactive to the date of the incident, whether Mulloney would press charges or not. The agents should also be stripped of their pensions, stripped of any future government payments (e.g., Social Security), and imprisoned.
BATF raid commanders Phil Chojnacki and Chuch Sarabyn lied to a Texas Ranger who was deputized as a federal investigator according to that Ranger in sworn testimony before Congress. Chojnacki and Sarabyn should be imprisoned and stripped of their pensions and any future government payments. They should be fired retroactive to the date they lied to the Texas Ranger and made to surrender their pay from that point to present.
US Army Reserve (National Guard) helicopters were used to deploy gunners to an elevated position from which they fired into the church at Mt. Carmel. These men should be imprisoned for murder and attempted murder and stripped of their pay and pensions.
FBI agents and Delta Force personnel fired more than 350 ferret rounds into Mt. Carmel on 19 April 1993. They also used tanks to demolish sections of the building in reckless disregard for human life. They knowingly used pyrotechnic rounds, and were ordered to do so by a unit commander in reckless disregard for the fire hazard which resulted in the deaths of men, women and children. They fired rifles repeatedly at the church, again with intent to kill. They subjected civilians to chemical warfare gasses banned for use by the military against enemy soldiers. They set off a demolition charge which obliterated the women and children in the church vault. These criminals should be imprisoned for mass murder, forced to relinquish their pay and pensions, and any other punishment suited to mass murder should be considered.
There is no doubt that freedom of religion is not provided by the USA federal government. The USA has repeatedly assaulted Mormons and Native Americans for practicing their religion when it involved polygamy or consuming hallucinogens. The Mormon War of 1858 deployed over two thousand US troops to infringe the freedom of religion. So, too, with the Branch Davidians, who were accused by the government of having unusual ideas about apocalypse and curious notions about certain minor prophets of the Old Testament. (It seems that the Branch Davidians were convinced that they would be attacked by a decadent government and destroyed by fire.)
The freedom to speak about their religion, write about it, assemble to practice it peacefully, and to worship was violated by the actions of federal agents from 28 February to 19 April 1993. Thus, the first amendment was ignored by men and women sworn to uphold it.
The second amendment provides that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Ever. For any reason. And yet it was failure to pay unconstitutional fees and file unconstitutional papers which was the supposed cause of the initial assault. The Branch Davidians were attacked and killed for exercising their second amendment liberties.
While the government was preparing for its final assault, it occupied the land of the Branch Davidians and forced them to quarter troops there. The third amendment was violated by those sworn to defend it.
The right to privacy, the right to have a warrant duly sworn specifying the places to be searched and things or persons to be seized, and the safety of the Branch Davidians in their home was outrageously violated. The warrant issued, if one existed, was not issued upon probable cause, and was tainted by lies made under oath. Both the judge issuing the warrant and the agents testifying to obtain the warrant should be dismissed from public service. The agents who perjured themselves should be imprisoned and stripped of their pensions.
There was no presentment or indictment of a grand jury, but the Branch Davidians were held prisoner in their church for capital crimes. Clearly, the Davidians were deprived of their lives, liberty, and property without due process of law.
No trial was provided, speedy or slow. No attempt to bring the Branch Davidians before a jury was made before 28 February 1993, nor afterwards. They were murdered by their government. No jury, impartial or otherwise was provided. No information about the nature of the charges against them was provided, no chance to confront the witnesses against them was provided, no process for obtaining witnesses in their favor was provided, and no counsel was allowed to assist them, except very briefly.
Since the BATF charges amounted to a trivial filing fee of $200 and some paperwork, they were more appropriately civil rather than criminal charges. And, therefore, the seventh amendment was not upheld in this case.
Bail for the Branch Davidians in their church after 28 February 1993 was set at infinity, certainly excessive bail. Both cruel and unusual punishments were inflicted, such as mental torture, sleep deprivation, water deprivation, and other forms of torture (running tanks over the grave of a buried comrade, for example, the use of chemical weapons for another).
Their other rights not enumerated were badly violated. And the power of the State of Texas to investigate and punish child endangerment was usurped by the federal government.
Of particular interest to scholars of history, the Posse Comitatus Act was passed to settle the conflict between the several states which had resulted in the bloodiest war in American History. The War for Southern Independence was fought over the violations of the constitution by USA government officials. It was fought to establish that there would be a constitutional republic in North America. While the South clearly lost the war, they continued to resist Northern aggression. Even by 1872, Texas had not been declared "pacified" by the president.
Only after the Republicans were defeated and lost their majority in both houses of Congress was it possible for the conflict to be settled. No peace treaty was ever negotiated. But, a law was passed which was intended to be the terms of final settlement. That act was violated in 1993, both in February and again in April. It is now a dead letter, having been effectively repealed by 32 CFR 501.4 and the "Patriot" Act.
Accordingly, the people of the several states must now acknowledge that they are governed not by a constitutional republic, but by a tyranny. Moreover, that tyranny is staffed by bullies, perverts, reprobates, thieves, and murderers. Probably rapists, too.
Film taken by various government agencies after the fire burned itself out (fire trucks being prevented from approaching the fire) shows enormous quantities of bleach being used to destroy evidence. Bulldozers were brought in to further destroy and hide evidence. Numerous known videotapes have been hidden or destroyed, though the paper trail attached to them hasn't been lost. Critical pieces of the church, including a metal door and part of the church vault's ceiling have been destroyed or hidden, though not before they were photographed.
The Danforth Commission deliberately perpetrated a fraud to pretend to re-create the infra-red video taken by an aircraft on 19 April 1993 which clearly shows rifles being fired by USA troops at the church. Considerable evidence of pyrotechnic charges used to start the blaze has also been destroyed, hidden, or lied about.
None of the vicious thugs who did these things or lied about them afterwards have ever been brought to justice. None of the victims have been compensated for their injuries and losses. None of the families of the victims have been compensated. The lawsuit which the victims and their families brought was dismissed by the same federal judge who imposed forty year sentences on the surviving Davidians who were exonerated by the jury of all but the most trivial charges. That federal judge should be stripped of office and pension and imprisoned for malfeasance.
A much smaller church is now at Mount Carmel near Waco. Memorial stones have been erected to represent each of the victims, though many of their bodies were beyond recognition.
In all, the Waco massacre was a crime against humanity. It was a brutal attack against civilians by a militarized government.
On 19 April 2003, I intend to be at Mt. Carmel to commemorate the tenth anniversary of these heinous acts. I hope you'll join me.
Understand that the government is now at war with the people of this country, and that to oppose them is not a step to be taken lightly. Understand that to hold positions which are untenable is a poor choice, leading to death. To resist the tyrants, you must be prepared to escape their grasp:
He who fights and runs away
Choose your methods of resistance carefully. But be sure to resist. Stand up for freedom and virtue, stand in the gap.
Is America becoming a police state? Friends of liberty need to know.
Some say the U.S. is already a police state. Others watch the news for signs that their country is about to cross an indefinable line. Since September 11, 2001, the question has become more urgent. When do roving wiretaps, random checkpoints, mysterious "detentions," and military tribunals cross over from being emergency measures to being the tools of a government permanently and irrevocably out of control?
The State vs. the People examines these crucial issues. But first, it answers this fundamental question: "What is a police state?"
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