Conspiracy Nation -- Vol. 1 Num. 10

("Quid coniuratio est?")

[From an interview with Linda Thompson on the For the People radio show, Feb. 11, 1994. Host is Chuck Harder.]


CHUCK HARDER: We are back. We're talking to Linda Thompson. She is an attorney. And she has been studying the Waco matter. She has produced a masterful videotape. (I saw the first one. The second one, I understand, is just a real, real eye-popper.)

Now Linda, you're telling me that the government is throwing the trial. What do you mean by "throwing" the trial? What will the outcome be?

LINDA THOMPSON: The outcome will be... The only damaging testimony has been against 2 people, Brad Branch and Livingstone Fagan, thus far. There has not been any damaging testimony against most of the other Branch Davidians. I think we're going to see acquittals of the majority of the Branch Davidians. And that is because the government is putting on witnesses that hurt the government, at least in the eyes of the jury.

HARDER: Uh-huh. [Indicates he understands]

THOMPSON: Because the government has been able to completely control the evidence available to the defense attorneys, for instance. There's nobody that's going to challenge, effectively, what is being presented. For instance, one glaring example of this, at the trial the other day... One of the ATF agents testified that they had moved the day of the raid up a day because the Waco Herald-Tribune was gonna come out with their articles on Saturday. And they moved the raid up to Sunday. And that they had planned to do the raid, originally, on Monday.

That's not true. The [search] warrant was applied for on the 24th. It expired on the 28th, which was Sunday. And that is the day the raid was done, was the 28th. They could not have had any other plan to do it on Monday because the warrant would have already been expired on Monday.

Now this is an example of a little bit of nonsense that they have come up with to help bolster their story. You know, that they "lost the element of surprise." The claim of losing the element of surprise is in itself a lie. But it's being told, not for the purpose of admitting that the government is a bunch of bumbling boobs, but to reinforce the idea that the Branch Davidians were waiting for them. When you say you "lost the element of surprise," what are you essentially saying -- the Branch Davidians had an opportunity to prepare. And that's what they're claiming. That is their story: "The Branch Davidians were waiting on us. Yes, our guys screwed up. They lost the element of surprise." That's the government's official story. And this is the kind of evidence that they're putting on, with a series of these little "admissions": "Yes, we probably shot our own guys," "Yes, we lost the element of surprise," and so forth.

And that is what they're doing at trial, is presenting this preconceived story, all of which is a lie. But they're making sure that just that version comes out. There's nobody there to effectively challenge it. It's going to go straight down the way they've told it in the ATF final report. And at the same time, the government is making sure that they release just enough bad information against themselves that there will be acquittals. And you would not do that... I mean, the prosecution does not put on witnesses that hurt their case, unless they're throwing the trial -- and that's what they're doing.

HARDER: All right. Why would they want acquittals?

THOMPSON: Because some of these people on trial are government agents. They're not Branch Davidians.

And they're caught in a crack. They cannot reveal to the American public that they've got government agents that are on trial. Because those were undercover agents. They were plants. They were people that you're not supposed to know are not Branch Davidians.

HARDER: So they're in a "catch-22".

THOMPSON: Well it's not really a "catch-22". It's really pretty clever because they can use these same people to convict the ones they need to convict, and yet use their own testimony of agents that get up on the stand to give away just enough information to acquit the ones they want acquitted. For instance, if you've got somebody on the stand says, "Well I didn't see this guy with a gun," and "He didn't do anything," while you've got another one getting on the stand pointing a finger at a specific one, you can tell who they're targeting. They're intending to get convictions of a few of them and acquittals of others by the direct testimony. They're manipulating this trial very effectively.

HARDER: I'm surprised that nobody moved to sever any of these people. [CN -- By this, "sever", I think is meant to move for a separate trial for a particular defendant.]

THOMPSON: Well I think they did, actually. There was one attorney (that is not appointed) and he did move to sever. And the motion was denied. That would be the basis for an appeal.

But there's a lot of things that I would have expected to see from the defense attorneys that has not occurred. Such as endless fights over the evidence. For instance, they should have been entitled to all... All this stuff is filmed; every bit of it was filmed...

HARDER: Right.

THOMPSON: to bottom, inside-out. They should have been entitled to those videos. They haven't been able to get 'em. And rather than allow it to proceed to trial without that evidence, my personal preference would have been to go on and appeal it right then. You can get what's called an "interlocutory appeal," demand that you get this evidence. Because you're entitled to it. By law you are entitled to anything that tends to prove that your client is not guilty. We know from one of the pictures that is available and has been shown at trial -- in fact it's in our video... It's a picture of the front door. That is absolutely good for the Branch Davidians because it shows that the ATF is standing there shooting at the front door. There's no one at any of the front windows. This is a dead-on picture. You'll see it in "Waco II". It's not in "Waco I". But it's a picture of the front door; no one at any of the windows. The front door is cracked open; it opens inward. And the ATF has said, "The Branch Davidians were at all the windows. They shot out through the front door with such force that it bowed the door." You can't bow a door that's open. You know, if it opens inward, the force of bullets coming from inside would have slammed the door shut...

HARDER: Right.

THOMPSON: ...before it bowed the door.

Well the door's open, there's a lot of bullet holes in it. They're all from the outside. There's not a single Branch Davidian at any of the windows. And there's only one window that's even broken -- and that's the window that ATF is shooting into.

But the most damning pieces of evidence is that there's a little child out front, as all this is going on, and then we've got video footage that shows them taking another child, in a little black body bag, to an ambulance. So they killed kids that first day.

Now we've got proof that the first shots were fired by the overhead helicopter; not by the Branch Davidians and not by ATF, but by the helicopter that flew over and fired into the roof where the women and children were. And they killed kids in there too!

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[CN Editor -- Now seems like a good time to insert the following section from the Report of the Committee for Waco Justice. Excerpts only.]


The Treasury report states that BATF agents "returned fire when possible, but conserved their ammunition. They also fired only when they saw an individual engage in a threatening action, such as pointing a weapon." (TDR:101) However, Branch Davidians claim BATF agents fired indiscriminately, including through walls, and that helicopters sprayed the building with bullets. News video tapes clearly show agents exercising little control over their firing as they fire over vehicles with little or no view of what they were shooting at. Both BATF Director Higgins at an April 2nd Congressional hearing and Treasury Secretary Bentsen during the September 1993 Treasury Department press conference denied allegations that agents fired indiscriminately. {1}.

(a) Bullet Evidence in Doors, Walls and Roof Branch Davidians, and attorneys Dick DeGuerin and Jack Zimmerman who visited Mount Carmel during the siege, insist that there was extensive evidence that BATF agents shot indiscriminately through Mount Carmel Center's front door, walls and roof. They were very concerned with preserving this evidence of an out-of-control assault.

The New York Times reported, "both lawyers clearly believed that helicopters flying over the compound during the raid had fired into upper floors of the main building from above." {2}. Except for half the front door, all this evidence was destroyed by the April 19 tank rammings, the fire, and the bulldozing of still burning walls into the rubble.

(b) Wayne Martin Allegations on 911 Tape Wayne Martin and an unidentified Branch Davidian complain frantically to Lieutenant Lynch 15 minutes after the start of the raid about the continuing gun fire from BATF agents, even as they themselves withhold fire. Nearly continuous gunfire can be heard in the background of the tape.

MARTIN: Another chopper with more people; more guns going off. They're firing. That's them, not us. UNIDENTIFIED DAVIDIAN: There's a chopper with more of them.
LYNCH: What!?
DAVIDIAN: Another chopper with more people and more guns going off. Here they come!

(d) Catherine Matteson Allegation
"I seen (sic) those trailers drive up. I was downstairs. I thought it strange, but I figured they were delivering firewood or something. I picked up the Sunday paper and went upstairs to my room, and started reading. When next, bullets came through the roof. I could hear the helicopters overhead, I got under my bed." {3}.

(e) Children's Pictures of Bullets Through Roof A story about psychologist Bruce D. Perry's interviews with Branch Davidian children who left Mount Carmel after the raid mentions, "Still another child created a picture of a house beneath a rainbow. When Perry asked, 'Is there anything else?' the child calmly added bullet holes in the roof. That was an allusion to the Feb. 28 shootout with federal agents that marked the beginning of a 51-day standoff and left the compound near Waco scarred with bullet holes." {4}. A May 19, 1993 Newsweek story shows this picture with the caption, "A girl drew her home's dotted roof. 'Bullets,' she said."

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HARDER: We're talking about helicopter gunships firing against American citizens. [CN Editor -- Yes, and indiscriminately and at children.]

THOMPSON: Yeah, absolutely. And the thing is, in the ATF report, they do very deceitful things. They say that... [music signalling a break begins to be audible]... oh, sorry.

HARDER: All right. Let's do a short break here. This almost sounds like George Orwell stuff. We'll be right back.

(to be continued)

--------------------------<< Notes >>---------------------------- {1} "Sect's Lawyers Dispute Gunfight Details," New York Times, April 5, 1993, A10 and transcript of September 30, 1993 Treasury Department press conference.
{2} New York Times, April 5, 1993, A10. {3} Interview with Catherine Matteson, August 30, 1993, on file at Gun Owners of America.
{4} Sue Anne Pressley, May 5, 1993, A17. [New York Times(??)]

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The Massacre of the Branch Davidians. Report of the Committee for Waco Justice. Committee for Waco Justice, PO Box 33037, Washington, DC 20033. Phone: 202/986-1847 & 202/797-9877

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Aperi os tuum muto, et causis omnium filiorum qui pertranseunt. Aperi os tuum, decerne quod justum est, et judica inopem et pauperem. -- Liber Proverbiorum XXXI: 8-9