"It's Show Time"
ATF Makes It's Case In San Antonio
by Louis Beam
As the federal proceedings against the Waco Branch Davidians started this past week in San Antonio, what has become an all too familiar road show began act one in the court room of Judge Walter Smith.
When the curtains rose, one could see that actors had taken their positions. Snipers, with long barreled rifles and telescopic sights covered the roof tops. Federal Security Police watched, filmed, and followed any person thought not to be politically correct. Hallways were traveled by FBI agents dressed in tennis shoes and baseball hats pretending to be curious onlookers. Federal Marshals sucking on candy, and trying to look bad at the same time, spread out over the court room. The press in a gaggle overflowed the available seating. The judge took his seat pretending to be fair and impartial. The prosecution took their seats not pretending to be fair and impartial. And finally the beleaguered defendants were brought in, the only people in this whole production, not being paid handsomely to put in an appearance.
As the usual parade of double speaking federal agents made their way to the witness stand it immediately became apparent that as a result of all the adverse publicity the ATF had received over the badly bungled Waco raid, each agent was primarily concerned with not implicating himself first, and his cohorts second, for improper performance of duties that fateful morning of February 28, 1993. Nevertheless, testimony revealed that the storming of the church had originally been scheduled as a 6:00 p.m.-Eye Witness News, multi-media, prime-time extravaganza, designed to titillate both congressional budget committees and anti-gunners clamoring for more action, as well as put the fear of God in the "I won't give up my gun crowd." Events were to reveal however, much to the Washington D.C. producers dismay, that even the most rehearsed production can sour when half the cast (the Branch Davidians) do not know their lines. In fact, testimony revealed that among agents the raid was unofficially referred to as "Operation Show Time." Agents did not know that this media event was to spare no expense in its production even if it meant their lives or those of the Davidians.
In between ATF yarn spinners the prosecution presented the Waco Tribune-Herald reporter who along with two others from the same paper were on the scene waiting when two cattle trailers loaded with gunned police pulled up in front of the Mt. Carmel church of David Koresh. Reporter Marc Masferrer explained how he had been told by his editor the day before the raid that he was to be at Mt. Carmel bright and early Sunday morning on the 28th of February. Masferrer and companions watched and photographed from the road out front as 77 ATF agents disembarked and ran toward the church building hoping to take it by storm. Not revealed in his testimony were the particulars as to how his editor had known about the raid in advance, though this is sure to surface as the trial proceeds.
Dan Maloney, a Waco photojournalist testified that a longtime source tipped him about the impending raid four days in advance and that he joined the ATF caravan as it headed toward the Mt. Carmel church. His footage of the assault shown on national television after being highly edited, was the first view of the 51 day siege most Americans would see. He stated Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents did not try to stop him from following them to the church.
The eleven defendants, who are only defendants because the government possesses the power to indict those who commit no crimes against them, sat quietly watching the parade of agents to the "Eye Witness News" stand. The Waco defendants are a clean cut, honest looking crew, who do not appear to belong in a court room being tried for murder, conspiracy, etc.
ATF agent Kris Mayfield, who worked as a security guard before becoming a black boot for the gun police stated from the stand that he was "on the dog handling team." Jurors, press, and spectators assumed this meant that the raiders had brought police dogs with them to sniff out drugs, as this canard of drugs had been used by the federals to hijack a couple of Texas National Guard helicopters for use in the assault. Not so, the ATF brought no dogs. Nor did the "dog handling team" bring leashes or cages, but rather fire extinguishers, shotguns and pistols. Mayfield, and other testifying agents, admitted to shooting the Davidian dogs as they rushed toward the front door. "Dog handling" in ATF parlance means to kill on first bark.
Beware of the DYNAMIC ENTRY WARRANT
As the trial proceeds Orwellian double speak gives way to triple speak as ATF agents push the English language to new heights in corruption of meaning. Listening to these modern day storm troopers describe the process of assaulting a church at a full run, with scaling ladders, machine guns, assault rifles, pistols, "flash bang" grenades, and battering rams as "serving a dynamic entry warrant" severely grates on ones oratory canal as the words torturously make their way to the brain; arriving there only to be rejected by that organ of human understanding as pure gibberish. Yet, all sit quietly in the court room pretending: that this is normal, this is truth, this is justice! Oh fair land of freedom and peace from sea to shining sea, how far you have fallen from once so lofty heights. Sadly, such convoluted, twisted language, is indicative of the iron fist of a police state pretending to have the best interests of its citizens at heart. A "dynamic entry warrant" actually means that from the time ATF hits the ground running outside of premises where a search warrant is to be served, movement is forward, fluid, and flowing, until every person on the premises is on the floor, hands behind back, and an agent is "in control." A typical house will be secured in less than sixty seconds. Nowhere is the concept of allowing a person to read the warrant he is being served with part of the dynamics of service. These tactics are an adaptation of those used in World War II in bitter house to house fighting in Europe and elsewhere, and are totally unsuitable for use on citizens of a free country who have a constitutional right to be safe in their home and possessions. Like police states of the past, the American incarnation will pay little attention to rights of individuals when they conflict with the power of the state.
Much of the ATF witness stand rhetoric must seem confusing to the mostly Hispanic jury who because of cultural differences are not familiar with the nuances and subtleties of the English language. Not missed by the jury however, was the fact that part of the plan for the raid was to call it off in the event element of surprise was lost. Several ATF agents testified to being told by superiors prior to the raid that the Davidians "know we are coming, let's go!, it's show time." Such testimony conflicts with previous press statements on the day of the raid by bureau spokesmen who told a startled nation "we were ambushed." One does not voluntarily enter into the kill zone of an ambush. Listening to government witnesses it becomes clear that the tidal wave of lies begun on the day of the raid has yet to subside, despite the fact that several of the ATF's top bosses have been relieved of command over the raid.
For comic relief to the serious nature of the trial, the prosecution presented ATF Special Agent Kevin Scott Richardson. This agent, a presumed equal opportunity hireling of the government, had some difficulty understanding and speaking English. Yet, steadfastly claimed to be an instructor for the ATF. If true, this would not only aid in explaining why the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms has obtained such an odious reputation among other law enforcement agencies and the public in general, but would further make a good case for returning the ATF to its original job of stamping tobacco bales on plantations in South Carolina. During cross examination by defense attorneys, Richardson's disjointed answers became so unrelated to the questions being asked that several of the spectators, and one may presume some of the jurors, became embarrassed for him at his replies. Richardson went on to explain that his MP 5 automatic assault weapon was not really an automatic weapon because it "only" fires a two round burst when the trigger is depressed. He did not explain to the court why this would make the weapon a semi-automatic when the agency he is employed by defines any weapon that fires more than once when the trigger is depressed as an automatic weapon. Richardson apparently is in need not only of some instruction on what an automatic weapon is but also in basic gun maintenance for his weapon jammed as the raid started. Special Agent Richardson, member of the select "Special Response Team" and ATF instructor par excellence, is indeed a "special" person.
Special Agent Sprague from Tulsa, Oklahoma will want to attend the same classes with Special Person Agent Richardson. His weapon also an MP 5 automatic "especially designed to fire only two rounds at a time" was not an automatic weapon either. "The ATF does not use automatic weapons," says he. His MP 5 jammed twice...
And on and on it goes, double speak, triple speak, utter nonsense, it does not matter, these Special Agents have no compunction or shame at saying whatever is necessary to cover themselves and cohorts from criminal prosecution for improper service of a warrant and murder. However, one thing in this trial is already crystal clear; in the sense that the American people understand the serving of a warrant as a knock on the door, an officer identifying himself, a handing over of the document, a quick read by the receiver, and then a standing aside to allow lawful officers of the state to enter and search, was NEVER part of the ATF plan. "Dynamic Entry Warrants" do not allow for such niceties. Those people who do not know and understand history may indeed be doomed to reliving its tragedies and horrors. The Soviet KGB rounded up some 30 million citizens and sent them off to slave labor camps where most were never heard from again using similar "Dynamic Entry Warrants."
ATF agents without their black helmets, black bullet proof vests, black clothes, black boots, and machine guns, sitting on the witness stand, look for the most part like weak men, simple men, devoid of reason and understanding of the crimes they are committing against the American people and legal tradition. They are the type of men that would throw up their hands and retreat if they were to meet with determined opposition. With dog-like obedience, they follow the orders of faceless bureaucrats in Washington D.C., seeming not to understand that in a police state, it is not just the citizens who are held hostage by an abusive government, but the police themselves loose all the rights they take from citizens. Outside the court room posted on the wall is a metal plaque with the Bill of Rights inscribed upon it. After court, when all have gone home for the day, while halls are silent as evening descends, if one stands in front of these sacred words and listens quietly, he can hear ever so far-off, distant cries of warning from Stalin's tortured dead. Pleading from nameless graves that we the living not allow this journey toward midnight to descend upon our precious little ones; that we the living, while there yet is time and ability- prevent it. This distant warning should reach down into the very soul of each one of us.