Editorial March 3, 1994
by Tom Daly
message from WACO
ďYou donít negotiate with tanks, you donít assault a house where you have people that donít need to be assaulted, and you donít bring a case you canít prove.Ē So said defense attorney Dan Cogdell of Houston, Texas following the acquittal of all government charges against his client Clive Doyle who survived the Branch Davidian inferno last April.
Doyle was one of eleven members of the ill-fated Branch Davidian group who were charged with murder and conspiracy to murder following the death of four ATF agents. The agents were part of a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms invasion force that stormed the Davidianís compound on February 28, 1993. The raid was conducted to serve a search warrant on Davidian leader David Koresh. Six Branch Davidians were also killed in firefight which ensued.
Fifty-one days later, on April 19, the compound was destroyed in an incredible fireball that killed Koresh and eighty of his followers. The fire, deaths and destruction were the result of the governmentís decision to use tanks to allegedly insert tear gas into the compound.
Doyle was one of four defendants who were found innocent of all charges. Five others were found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and two others were found guilty of lesser charges. Defense attorneys said that the voluntary manslaughter verdicts showed that jurors believed ATF agents had provoked the Davidianís actions.
Federal agents including Attorney General Janet Reno have publicly said they think the verdicts demonstrated a government victory, but we all know the government lost. Now, if only the government would admit their mistake. Donít hold your breath.
Following the raid a number of top ATF agents were forced to resign including Director Stephen Higgins. A Treasury Department report accused the ATF of faulty planning, poor judgment and making false and misleading statements about the raid that was doomed before it began. This raid was to be staged as a major media event to show how good ATF was. It showed just the opposite. As the agents who killed Sam and Vicky Weaver in Idaho should be brought to trial for murder, so should the ATF and FBI agents who directed the raid against the Davidians. Furthermore Janet Reno should be removed from office for authorizing the tank attack that led to the deaths of so many people.