The civilians lived in a religious community called the Mt. Carmel Center. They were called Branch Davidians.
The incident began with a military-style raid on February 28, complete with helicopter gunships firing down upon the women's and children's quarters. Then followed a long siege. On April 19, the US government sent tanks to demolish and gas the building where the people lived. The government said they decided to gas the Davidians because they were concerned about the sanitary conditions in the house, because they were afraid one of the Davidians, David Koresh, was spanking babies, and because the FBI agents were getting tired.
The tanks tore big holes in the walls, drove into the house, and knocked down whole sections of the building. The government said they were only making holes in the building so they could get the gas in, and let the people out. But no Davidians came out.
A fire broke out as the tanks were driving about. The fire became an inferno, lasted 40 minutes and burned the house to the ground. As they watched the inferno on TV, many wondered why they could not see Davidians escaping the burning building. Seventy five people are said to have perished in the flames.
Much public concern was focused on the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the 33 women, children, and babies. Their remains were found in a concrete room which served as a pantry and food storage area off the kitchen in the Mt. Carmel Center. This was the room the US called "the bunker."
Circumstantial and physical evidence suggested to some Americans that the Branch Davidians were deliberately killed by the US government. A video was made by an attorney named Linda Thompson. The video contained TV footage that showed what seemed to be a flame-throwing tank backing out of the smashed building, flame coming out of its muzzle. Other footage showed uniformed US military personnel at the scene, and tanks fitted with plow blades pushing debris into the flaming rubble. The video was circulated nation-wide and caused people to become outraged.
The US government repeated that the tanks made holes in the building so that the Branch Davidians could come out, but that the Davidians refused to do so, and then committed suicide by setting themselves on fire.
Others said that the TV footage of the flame throwing tank was misleading. They said the fire started when the tanks accidentally tipped over some lanterns, and was fed by hay and household fuels that happened to be in the building. A public outcry for full Congressional hearings ensued.
Two years to the day after the April 19 fire, the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, where many federal offices were housed, was bombed. The US news services immediately inferred the building was bombed by those who objected to the Waco Holocaust. Waco Holocaust protesters said that the bombing of the Murrah building was most likely the work of the US government, seeking an excuse to extinguish Constitutional liberties, as evidenced by events in Waco.
Finally, more than two years after the April 19, 1993 inferno in Waco, Congress held lengthy hearings. The hearings were held with the stated purpose of finding the truth, wherever it lay. It was promised that the hearings would put the Waco controversy to rest.
Any serious investigation of suspicious deaths begins by looking at the autopsy reports of the victims and physical evidence of the death scene; but Congress ignored the autopsy reports of the Davidians and most of the available physical evidence. Instead, Congress began the hearings by questioning a journalist who had written a book about Waco.
Another Congressional witness was a teenage girl who made scandalous allegations of sexual misconduct against the late David Koresh. Her charges were allowed to be aired without cross-examination. It was later revealed that the witness never lived at the Mt. Carmel Center, and her testimony was prepared for her by a relative.
Congress was highly selective in whatever physical evidence it did examine. When interpretations were sought, most came from interested parties. And finally, when penetrating questions were asked, government employees were permitted to avoid answering.
After the 1995 hearings, it seemed that the protest over the Waco Holocaust had been neutralized.
Then in the Fall of 1996, the Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum was released on the World Wide Web. It made the autopsy reports and other forensic evidence broadly available. This evidence revealed a shocking truth: Many of the Davidians were dead at the time of the April 19 tank attack and fire; some of the mothers and children had been dead for weeks. The Davidian bodies had been selectively beheaded, mutilated and incinerated ("laundered") to disguise the time, cause, and circumstances of death. The tank attack and fire were diversions to hide the truth and destroy the death scene.
Many hundreds of thousands of people all over the world are now studying the evidence of the atrocity committed by the US government. The public conscience has been reawakened. That reawakening is still occurring, and new attempts are being made to neutralize the rising voice of protest.
The Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum makes available some of evidence suppressed by Congress, and explains the on-going attempts to cover up the Waco Holocaust.
Next: Why the Waco Holocaust Matters
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Many people who distrust the mainstream media have turned to alternate news sources, some of which are Internet based. Unfortunately, many of these alternate sources of news simply promote an alternate series of lies. These alternate lies are of course dressed up as "exposés." But you can easily tell the phonies from the real thing. The information in the Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum is an acid test.
Does your news source promote Mike McNulty's video, Waco: The Rules of Engagement or wring its hands because the Davidian law suit against the government failed? (See Waco Documentary Is A Hoax! and Waco Suits for Waco Suckers.) Does your alternate news source carry promotional pieces about rebuilding the Davidian church in Waco and mouth nice words about "healing"? (See The Cover-up Church.)
Remember, since ancient times, inquiries into questionable deaths have started with the bodies of the victims. If your news source won't give you an honest and full account of the forensic information on Waco, or if it does not have a link to the Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum ... your alternate news has failed a fundamental acid test.