Waco Questions

  1. Did the Branch Davidians have any illegal guns? Or did they only have guns that they legally sold at gun shows?

  2. What crimes did the government think the Branch Davidians were comitting? Is there proof of these crimes?

  3. Who shot first? The Branch Davidians or the ATF?

  4. Who started the fire? The Branch Davidians or the FBI?

  5. Did the Branch Davidians set up the “farmhouse” as compound to protect themselves against assualt?

  1. Don’t know that this can be confirmed, since the fire melted most of the stuff. However, “someone” reported having heard automatic gunfire having come from the compound. Automatic weapons are illegal. Semi-automatic weapons were not at the time.

  2. I think one of the accusations was that “children were in danger.” I think that “someone” alleged child abuse.

  3. Don’t know.

  4. The Branch Davidians. Not in doubt.

  5. Don’t know.

An excellent resource regarding Waco.

Cite? This is VERY MUCH in doubt, and subject of much debate. You can’t just make a sweeping claim and not back it up at all.

I’m with Alereon on this one. I was watching live on CNN. The tanks went in, the fire started. Granted, this doesn’t prove cause/effect, but it would take quite of bit more than “it’s not in doubt” to convince me that there’s no correlation (even if the place was set to go up in flames and the FBI just ignited it accidently).


From the Frontline story (thanks Brutus):


Semi-automatic weapons are still not illegal. Automatic weapons are not illegal, but the requirements for ownership entail lots of red tape and paperwork.

Yes, they had illegal firearms and explosives.

A UPS delivery driver reported a tremendously large quantity of suspicious packages consisting of firearms, grenade casings, black powder, full-auto conversion kits, etc., etc. to the local sheriff’s office. The sheriff reported these to the ATF, which began an investigation. The investigation revealed that these suspicious packages – almost always paid for in cash – were being delivered to David Koresh at the Branch Davidian complex. Subsequent investigations established that Koresh and the Davidians had a history of producing illegal weapons and explosives and were continuing to do so. Investigations also determined that Koresh told his followers (and undercover agents) that he was preparing for a violent, apocalyptic clash with the Federal government, which he taught was an expected and necessary step to divine salvation.

Producing and stockpiling illegal weapons and explosives were among the foremost of the major felonies the Davidians were committing, but there were others, some of which were exaggerated by a few individuals in the government for political and pragmatic reasons. After the tragic fire that ended the standoff, overwhelming evidence was found that proved that the Davidians did indeed posses a large stockpile of illegal arms and explosives.

No determination can be made regarding who shot first on Feb 28. Both sides have claimed the other was the first to fire but the evidence is ambiguous. From what I can tell, the most likely possibility based on the evidence is that an ATF agent shot an attacking dog, which either led one of the Davidians to think he was being shot at or perhaps fire at the ATF agent in retaliation for shooting the dog.

That the Davidians started the fire deliberately is beyond all doubt. Beyond the evidence already provided in this thread of arson investigators and the FBI intercepts, etc., several surviving Davidians testified and/or confirmed that the Davidians did indeed deliberately start the fire themselves on Koresh’s orders (although it is also true that several other survivors deny this). They also acknowledged that Koresh had been instructing and teaching them to do exactly that in specific circumstances, especially if they found themselves in a violent conflict with the Federal government. To die by fire in an apocalyptic battle with the “satanic” Federal government was seen as a necessary step to salvation, even if they had to set the fire themselves.

I don’t know. But it must be emphasized that Koresh clearly <I>wanted</I> a violent conflict with what he saw as the “satanic” Federal government, and probably wanted to lose the fight so that they would “transcend” into Heaven.

It’s worth noting that the only thing the ATF stormed the Waco compound with was a warrant for an illegal gun sale. That’s it. No ‘stockpiling of weaopns,’ no ‘children are being harmed,’ and no ‘drug manufacturing.’ All of these allegations came after-the-fact.

Also worth noting is that the arson investigator who determined that the Davidians started the fire was a former ATF-agent whose wife still worked for the agency.

Hardly an objective source, I’d say…

False and misleading.

There were several independent fire/arson experts from several different independent institutions involved in the on-site investigation and subsequent analysis, and they all concluded that the fire evidence alone demonstrated that the Davidians had started the fire beyond any credible doubt. When you add in all the other evidence, including the admissions of several Davidian survivors and the radio intercepts, it is not rationally possible to doubt that the Davidians started the fire. That they started the fire is as close to an absolute certainty as science can get.

To suggest that this conclusion is a result of bias or a single opinion is unjustified and disingenuous.

False. The “tanks” started their activity more than six hours before the fire started, and the last vehicle (which incidentally did not have any gas or delivery system) to have contact with the compound clearly departed before the fire started, which began almost simultaneously in three separate areas far from the vehicle (and far from each other). Accelerants (arson chemicals) were found in high concentrations exactly where the three simultaneous fires began (which again were far from any government vehicles).

The conclusion that the Davidians deliberately set themselves on fire and thereby murdered many children and adults (not to mention the murders of several children by Davidians’ own intentional gunfire) is factually and logically inescapable.

Ted Koppel interviewed John Magaw on “Nightline” sometime after the Oklahoma City bombing. At the time, Magaw was the ATF chief. They were showing B/W infrared film (which shows areas of greater heat as being white) taken by an orbiting helicopter. You could very clearly see the fires starting to break out without any connection to the tank.

Does anybody have a cite that illegal weapons and explosives were found?

Not only did the arson investigators study a kind of flammable gas that wasn’t even USED at Waco to come up with their conclusion that the Davidians started the fire, the authorities somehow managed to lose the front door to the compound before it could be introduced as evidence in the hearings. Koresh himself is heard on one of the tapes saying that all investigators will have to do is study the front door to establish who was shooting at whom. Funny, isn’t it, that THAT is the one piece of evidence that conveniently disappears?

Also, AMBUSHED, how is it “false and misleading” to point out that Paul C. Gray, the fire official who led the Waco arson team, was, according to the LA Times,

“… for most of the 1980s, [working] out of the agency’s Houston office on a joint task force and carried a business card identifying him as an ATF agent. He taught ATF personnel at instructional courses, and his wife is employed as an ATF secretary in Houston. Gray and his wife attended the funeral of Steve Willis, one of the four ATF agents slain in the initial raid.”

Objective? Hardly. Think about it: if the “investigation” had reached ANY conclusion than the one it did, the ATF/FBI would be responsible for the deaths of 100 innocent men, women and children. Gray had a HUGE incentive to clear his own agency.

By the way, the LA Times sent the Waco arson investigation to four experts. They concluded it was “poorly researched” and

"…contained no hard data to support its findings, no photos or sketches of the structure, no independent interviews of witnesses and no effort to calculate the concentration levels of chemicals injected into the building.

“This report doesn’t establish anything,” said Daniel L. Churchward, a forensic engineer and former firefighter who runs a Ft. Wayne, Ind., firm that investigates major fires."

The government had a LOT to lose here. How people in this thread are saying that it is an “inescapable” conclusion that the Davidians themselves started the fire, especially given the government’s questionable investigation into the matter, is really quite beyond me.

Cite 1: Weapons Possessed by the Branch Davidians

Cite 2: (roughly), USA v Davidians

Excerpts from trial record from Cite 2:

ambushed: The name is Alereon. No, it’s not a misspelling of “aileron,” and yes, it means something.

I have no idea what you’re referring to. Care to explain?

Misleading and disingenuous.

As he has done previously in this thread, Stephe96 again disingenuously misstates or misrepresents the best-established facts and evidence. Here are his first three false and highly misleading claims: (1) That investigators claimed to have found only one lone accelerant as the cause of the fire, and (2) That this alleged lone accelerant chemical that caused the file was allegedly not used by the Davidians at Waco, and (3) That this allegedly missing lone accelerant is the only evidence used to conclude that the Davidians started the fire.

Rebutting Stephe96’s False Claim #1: The truth is that the fire investigators found SEVERAL different accelerants, some of which were detectable only by special dogs and hence were not identified by name and thus was not used at any trial, and the rest of which were scientifically proven to be present beyond reasonable doubt by careful gas chromatographic and other scientific testing.

Rebutting Stephe96’s False Claim #2: Again, multiple accelerants were found, not just one. And the accelerants found, such as Gasoline, Kerosene, Camp stove fuel, charcoal lighting fluid, and petroleum distillates, are all fairly common chemicals and were known to have been used by the Davidians at the compound.

Rebutting Stephe96’s False Claim #3: The conclusion that the Davidians started the fire themselves is based on a tremendous wealth of overwhelming physical evidence that allows for no other possible interpretation or conclusion. This evidence not only includes the overwhelming proof of the large concentrations of accelerants at the three separate places where the fires originated, but also by:

– The reports and/or testimony of several Davidian survivors themselves,

– The radio intercepts demonstrating – over and over and over again – that the Davidians passed along clear, explicit orders to start the fires and where and how to do it,

– Infrared recordings demonstrating the three near-simultaneous origins of the fires just where and when the radio intercepts revealed they would be started, and a time when there had been no government contact or firing into the compound for some time,

– Repeated and unambiguous statements by the Davidians that they wanted to die in an apocalyptic fire (including hanging a banner much earlier that said “The Fire Awaits”), etc.

Based on the combination of this evidence, there is no other conclusion possible than that the Davidians started the fire themselves.


First, no one disputes that there were shots exchanged on both sides. But there is no way that the door could have demonstrated who shot first; bullets do not leave time signatures, and even if they did, you couldn’t establish that the Davidians did not start the shooting before an ATF agent shot at the door.

Disingenuous and misleading.

My response that you quote was to this false and misleading assertion of yours, which I now quote verbatim: “Also worth noting is that the arson investigator who determined that the Davidians started the fire was a former ATF-agent whose wife still worked for the agency.”

In that post, you made the following totally false claims: (1) There was only one arson investigator (regardless of his professional or personal background); and (2) that this alleged “sole” arson investigator was the only one to conclude that the Davidians started the fire; and (3) That this alleged “sole” arson investigator could and did override any conflicting conclusions by any other investigator.

Thus my assessment that your post was false (because several independent fire investigators were involved in the investigation, all of whom came individually to the conclusion that the Davidians started the fire), and misleading (because of your baseless, nonfactual, unevidenced, slanderous speculation that Gray would disregard or fabricate the evidence he helped to bring forth and also disregard his professional and legal responsibilities and simply tell a bald-faced lie.)

Stephe96, throughout this thread you’ve merely been repeating reckless, often slanderous allegations from a notoriously unreliable, highly biased and disingenuous propaganda machine operated by the fabricators of the propaganda movie “Waco: Rules of Engagement”. Yes, Gray erred once regarding the type of tear gas used, but he admitted it and the error was corrected in subsequent reports and investigations. Can you cite compelling evidence that Gray lied and committed perjury in his testimonies? If so, it is your duty to contact the Justice Department and provide all this evidence to them for prosecution (and ideally to us, too). If not, stop pretending there’s any reason to believe your borrowed reckless allegations and, ideally, kindly stop repeating them.

First, we don’t have any idea what “this report” actually refers to. Was it a preliminary report or one that’s been subsequently superseded or expanded? Who can say? Certainly not the LA Times reporter, whose piece I bought and examined carefully and unsuccessfully for the necessary details. Because of the absence of such details, this article is far too ambiguous and vague to be of much evidentiary value.

I’ve expended a great deal of time and effort investigating this story, which appeared exactly ONCE in the Los Angeles Times and, apparently, nowhere else in all of the news media (based on recent web searches), and never reappeared ever again (not counting the only version present today on the web at the propaganda site W:RoE referenced above, which is only quotes the LA Times article). Neither the LA Times nor any other web-searchable news agency reported these broad allegations anywhere else, and, what’s even more surprising (if the claims were true and relevant), not even the LA Times ever printed ANY additional details about who was contacted or precisely what they reported or how they reached their conclusions and exactly what those conclusions were in any detail. In short, the article is virtually worthless as evidence.

Perhaps, but what you’re speciously suggesting instead is that we must therefore conclude that every official statement and every official report and every official scientific analysis consists of essentially nothing but lies on all the major issues. That’s not only extremely delusional, it’s also exactly what all the anti-government paranoids like the propagandists at W:RoE want everyone to believe, even though they have to lie and misrepresent facts in order to sucker in their new propagandists. In the face of overwhelming evidence and in the absence of compelling, high-quality evidence to the contrary, the only conclusion supported by the overwhelming accumulation of the evidence is that the Davidians intentionally started the fire themselves in order to “transcend” into Heaven while making the Federal government look as evil as possible.

Read the final official report by Senator Danforth. It pulls no punches. It vehemently criticizes and chastises the ATF, the FBI, the Justice Department, etc., for foolish, improper, and sometimes illegal acts. The Government got burned badly for their many errors and poor judgements in this fiasco.

But even so, there can be no doubt that the Davidians deliberately started the fire themselves, as Koresh passionately wanted them to do.

ambushed: In your reply to LordVor, you edited my name to “aileron”.