Re: Waco: Govt Set Fire
Thu, 21 Oct 1999 18:37:20 -0700

An interesting story about Waco and the question of whether gunfire was directed at the compound is available from the Dallas Morning News web site:

A lawyer for the Branch Davidians challenged the federal government Wednesday to join in scientific infrared field tests that he says will prove his experts' contention that agents fired guns at the group's compound on the last day of a 1993 standoff near Waco.

"The results of this demonstration will prove conclusively that the only possible explanation for the flashes seen on FBI FLIR [infrared video] tapes from April 19, 1993, is gunfire," Michael Caddell of Houston wrote in a four-page letter to the Department of Justice. "The refusal of the FBI to participate will certainly be interpreted as an admission of liability."

A Maryland scientist retained by the Justice Department to help defend the government in the pending Branch Davidian case said his company has found no recorded evidence of gunfire.

"According to our analysis, it isn't gunfire," said Norris Krone, an aeronautical engineer whose Maryland Advanced Development Laboratory has used computer programs developed for a sniper-detection project to study the FBI infrared tapes. "It doesn't have a signature that resembles gunfire"

He declined to detail his lab's analysis, noting only that it determined that the FBI camera was too far away to record muzzle flashes from weapons on the ground and that white blips on the infrared videotape last too long to be from gunfire. He declined to say what might have caused the flashes.

Mr. Caddell has said that he believes that government agents involved in the April 19 assault began firing guns at the Davidians to defend the government's tanks.

He noted in his Wednesday letter that his assessment has been supported by scientific experts hired by outside media and the House Government Reform Committee, which recently began a new investigation of the Davidian incident.

An expert for the House committee said last month that his preliminary evaluation of the infrared tape indicated that it did capture the thermal images of government gunfire. He was allowed on Friday to study the FBI's original copy of the tape for the first time and is still working on his final analysis, said committee spokesman Mark Carollo.

The test would be staged at a Dallas-area gun club using an airborne camera similar to the one used by the FBI in Waco. It would record gunshots on the ground from firearms similar to those deployed by both government agents and the Davidians.

Mr. Carollo said the committee "would welcome" such a test, adding that a "side-by-side analysis," of the FBI's recording and a test recording might help resolve the gunfire issue.

See for more articles on Waco, including a claim that the FBI had the site ringed with video cameras and has a lot of footage of the final assault which it has never released, claiming national security (apparently they used secret military robot technology to place some of the video cameras).