5/01 Waco: Still No Justice

Waco: Still No Justice
Larry Pratt

Seven years after the government’s lethal assault on the Branch Davidians at Waco, the country still waits for justice to be rendered.

David Hardy, a Tucson, Arizona attorney, has authored This Is Not an Assault which is a fascinating account of his efforts to find out what really happened at Waco.

Hardy has filed a series of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA, pronounced foya inside the Beltway) in an effort to get to the bottom of the Waco tragedy. What he has uncovered is very damaging to the government’s insistence that, except for a few honest mistakes, BATF and FBI agents did nothing wrong at Waco.

Hardy has an eye for detail. It was the BATF and FBI Waco reports plus the 1995 hearings that to Hardy’s eye for detail showed the government’s account of what happened at Waco did not add up. For example, photos of one of the victims of the fire that ended the siege of the Davidians were curious. The victim, Jimmy Riddle, had been photographed amidst the ashes of the fire, yet most of his body and clothes were not burned. Had his body been moved? And why?

Hardy’s FOIA’s progressively revealed government perjury. The BATF denied that Koresh could have been arrested by nabbing him in town even though plenty of witnesses saw him off the Davidian’s property. Well, BATF agents had gone shooting with Koresh nine days before the assault.

Audio tapes made on the first day of the assault revealed the sound of shots being fired from helicopters that buzzed the Davidians. Sifting through the disclosures made to Hardy enabled Hardy to state categorically that the Davidians did not ambush the BATF attackers, and that the BATF fired first.

Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR) tapes were pried out of the government grudgingly. Denials that tapes existed were finally given up when Hardy was able to show that the government referred elsewhere to their existence. These tapes were made on the last day — the day of the fatal fire.

Some twelve tons of evidence had been stored by the Texas Rangers. When an examination of some of that evidence revealed that, contrary to repeated FBI denials, pyrotechnic rounds had been fired into the Davidians, the Justice Department sent Federal Marshals to the FBI’s facility at Quantico, Virginia. The Marshals took possession of FLIR tapes made from approximately 6:00 a.m. to 10:42 a.m. — tapes that an FBI official had told Hardy in writing and under oath did not exist.

Hardy was able to piece together a picture of two FBI’s — one, represented by the negotiators during the siege and the other represented by the paramilitary Hostage Rescue Team (HRT). On at least three occasions the negotiators had gotten the Davidians to agree to leave their building and surrender. Each time, the HRT foiled a peaceful solution by aggressive, offensive and finally, fatal behavior.

The Waco siege ended in tragedy, Hardy found, because the FBI’s HRT had run amuck.

This Is Not an Assault by David Hardy is available from Gun Owners of America.