Subject: Re: ATF firefight Unfortunately this sort of thing is becoming all too common and

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

Subject: Re: ATF firefight Unfortunately this sort of thing is becoming all too common and is one of the legacies of the War on Drugs and the general erosion of civil liberties that has been happening with little respite for over 20 years. The answer? Well one way to fight back would be for people to bombard their Congresscritters with letters, etc demanding stricter oversight of these Governmental agencies that have such un-American powers over free citizens. Speaking of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, an agency which is notorious for actions more properly belonging to a police state than a free society, here is a different account of the BATF vs. Branch Davidian shootout in Waco: Libernet Digest Wed, 3 Mar 93 Volume 60: Issue 13 Today's Topics: Waco, Texas: what you don't hear on the news Date: Tue, 2 Mar 93 10:57:23 CST From: pmfitzge@fitz.b30.ingr.com (Patrick Fitzgerald) Subject: Waco, Texas: what you don't hear on the news To: extropians@gnu.ai.mit.edu (Extropian E-mail List), Here is a summary of what is going on in Waco, Texas with the BATF. It was sent to me by someone in Dallas, who has been watching the 24-hour coverage of the local news stations. First some background. The media is putting forth a lot of info that is just plain false. I suspect some of it is from their own ignorance, the rest is from repeating the propaganda of the BATF. As you might expect, the BATF is spinning this story as much as possible to make it look like the Religious members are more dangerous than terrorists. The fact is, prior to this shootout, they were not wanted for any crimes. This shootout is another "Lawmaster" incident, escalated into something out of the movie First Blood. So here is how it started. There is this religious group called the Branch Davidian, that has a large compound just East of Waco, Texas. Their leader claims to be Jesus Christ. They are awaiting judgement day or whatever it is these types of groups do. The BATF had 'tips' that the group had illegally converted AR-15's to full-auto (naughty, naughty), and were in possession of some explosives. They had no hard evidence (like a previously seized weapon, etc.). Therefore, their search warrant was to search the home for violations of GCA/68 and make appropriate arrests, including the leader of the BD. This was a no-knock warrant. The compound is in a rural area, and it is very difficult to sneak up on. So, about 75 heavily armed (M-16, MP5, stun grenades, Glocks, Berettas) and armored (Helmets, Vests, Goggles) BATF agents, along with 3 choppers, and some local reporters showed up around 930 Sunday morning. It is not clear why, but it appears the BD folks were waiting for them. Maybe they were tipped off, maybe they are just vigilant. This is not much of a surprise, since the group thinks their leader is Jesus Christ and the bad guys are going to come and crucify Jesus Christ again. The BATF entered the premises with the agents hiding in two horse trailers. When they got close to the building, they jumped out and stormed the compound. Shooting erupted. It lasted about 60 minutes. When it was over, 4 BATF agents were dead, another 14 or so injured. Some of the BD members were shot, but the only one killed was a 2 year old baby (nice job BATF). (None of the choppers were shot down, but they did take hits which caused them to be grounded for safety reasons.) The BATF then called for a cease fire to retrieve their wounded, and make a safe retreat, as they were all pinned down. As you might expect, the BATF members were now heavily stressed. It is not often they are defeated, as they clearly were in this battle. I could hardly contain myself when I saw many of the BATF members running around the outside of the compound with their hands over their head to show they were unarmed as they retrieved their wounded. It was at this time that the BATF started to blame the media for the failure. The media is taking a tremendous amount of blame for the failure of the raid from BATF. The local Waco paper published some story about BD the day before, and BATF is claiming this tipped them off that something was imminent. That didn't stop the BATF from bringing reporters with them on the raid. I mean, it doesn't take a lot of intelligence to figure out why the media decided to show up there at 930 on a Sunday morning. Typical scapegoating. And never mind the fact the BATF needed the media vehicles to evacuate their own wounded. Early Sunday afternoon, the local media started replaying all of the footage that was shot locally with camcorders, along with live chopper footage. You could clearly see a dead BATF agent on the roof, and the BATF extracting their wounded and retreating. They were all crying, screaming, yelling, etc. It was an INTENSE sight. On the cover of today's Dallas Morning News is a full color shot of several BATF members mourning one of their dead colleagues as they retreat. One scene that was replayed often on TV showed 4 agents storm a second story window. After 3 of them were inside, shooting erupted. It looked to me like shotgun blasts with buckshot, based on the holes coming through the walls. It was definitely NOT automatic weapons fire. Anyway, those agents never came out, and the 4th agent slid down a ladder in one step to escape being shot. It is reported he broke his leg in the fall. It is IMPORTANT to note that this raid was conducted by the BATF. As far as I could tell, there were no Texas Rangers, State Troopers, Sheriffs, FBI, etc. This should come as no surprise, since this group had not violated any laws. In fact, the Sheriff had visited them several times, and reported all was well. A second shootout erupted around 1800 Sunday, when 3 BD members came running out. 1 was killed, another captured, and the third retreated back into the compound. Things have been at a standstill since. Now of course, any law enforcement agency within 1000 miles has showed up. I even saw an M113 APC on the site, and a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and news reports indicate that tank(s) from Fort Hood are also on-site, although I haven't seen them (they were probably referring to the BFV). They were brought in at night, and I saw them through the lens of the TV station's Night Vision Scope (via TV). I saw this morning that the local director of BATF said they had successfully negotiated the release of several children. Hah. They were not hostages, as he and the media would have you believe. It appears the group just wanted them out of their before the BATF baby-killing sharpshooters killed anymore of them. The media is claiming, with BATF spin, that the BD group has all sorts of automatic weapons, etc. They even said the leader always carries a Glock 9mm semi-automatic handgun wherever he goes, and said this is a weapon nobody would ever use for 'defense'. Well, if this was true then the sheriff would have arrested him months ago, since it is illegal to carry a handgun in Texas, concealed or otherwise. And we all know Glocks are standard issue for many PD's, as well as Federal Agencies including BATF. I think the stuff about all of the automatic weapons is exaggeration. The BATF has a very vested interest to paint these people as evil, and they will use the media to do it. The media is also taking a lot of heat, and will probably oblige to get back on the good side. The BD group states they have no automatic weapons, and even the local sheriff went out and talked to them about it long before the BATF raid. The BD group does say that they have semi-automatic weapons, all of which are legal. They also said they did have some Hell-Fire devices at one time, but these are legal too. BTW, Class III is legal in Texas, so even of they did have automatic weapons you cannot jump to the conclusion that they are illegal. All of the shooting I have scene/heard from the TV footage is semi-automatic. It appears to me that the BATF agents were killed from shotgun blasts. Keep in mind that the BATF has automatic weapons. So even if you hear automatic weapons in the TV footage, that does not mean that it is the BD group that is firing them. So now things are at a standstill. The leader of the group is wounded, and has done an interview (voice), with CNN. At the press conference this morning, the BATF spokesperson said the raid was a failure because they were outgunned. BATF is still claiming they have machine guns, including a .50 caliber MG, and explosives (nitroglycerin hidden at the bottom of ponds), etc. BATF is also stating they had trained for months for this raid (your tax dollars at work). They also state that the heavy armor (APC, BFV) are for protection against the .50 MG. There are a lot of inconsistencies in what is going on here. I am sure what I have reported here only causes you to ask more questions. For example, (1) Why not arrest the leader when he leaves the compound? It is reported he jogs 2-3 times a week as far away as 2-3 miles from the compound. (2) If they really had a .50 caliber MG, why didn't the BATF know ahead of time, if they were training for months before this raid? (3) Why not use snipers to pick off the people in the tower? (4) Why raid in the daylight? (5) Why raid at all? This reminds me a lot of the MOVE confrontation in Philadelphia 10+ years ago. As for the BATF claim that the BD group has a .50 caliber heavy machine gun in their lookout tower, I have not seen or heard it from the TV footage. I would think if they fired a .50 caliber machine gun from that tower, it would be obvious. I would also think the news helicopter would get footage of it. An M2 .50 caliber MG is big and usually fixed. And when it fires, it is loud and distinctive. BATF has not been able to provide any vehicles hit by .50 caliber fire, nor any .50 caliber bullets from the dead or wounded. I saw hours of footage and didn't see any signs of it being fired, or of objects getting hit by it. Also, if they had a .50, they would have opened up on the horse trailers, and it would have been a massacre. So I doubt they had a .50, and I think BATF fired first. So I tend to doubt what BATF says. But who knows. It wouldn't surprise me if after all this is over, the BATF shows one to the media. We may never know the truth. It is obvious a cover-up is starting. The media is being kept over 1.5 miles away. The court records ordering the search have been sealed. Some of the media, (give them credit), are starting to ask questions. This is a MAJOR defeat for the BATF. As most know, and as 60 Minutes reported a few weeks ago, this agency has severe moral problems, and commits plenty of crimes. I still remember that former BATF agent saying he had more respect for the criminals that run guns and sell drugs, than for BATF management. Well, it was bound to happen, sooner or later... ----->8------end included text------>8----- ------------------------------ End of Libernet Digest ******************************

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank