Who Were Those People, Anyhow?
We have just seen that many bodies were either incinerated or dismembered, making identification of the corpses questionable. But the identity of the players in Waco has always been shrouded in mystery. Just about the first action of any public agency called to handle a disaster scene —a hostage situation, a hotel fire, a cave-in, a structural collapse, etc., is to get a head-count of the people involved. Such a list should not have been too difficult for the FBI to come up with. The Branch Davidians who left Mt. Carmel during the siege should have been able to tell the FBI who was still inside. After all, according the Texas Ranger Alan Byrnes, each of the Davidians who left during the siege was immediately "interviewed" by the HRT (see Veracity of Branch Davidian Statements). But the numbers and names of people inside the Mt. Carmel Center at the time of the raid and the fire shifted with the wind, inexplicably.
We have already glimpsed of some reasons for the mystery in Trojan Horses and Branch Davidians in the War Gallery. The Treasury Report ("Activity In The Compound", pg. 92) hints that some former "cult" members lived in the Mt. Carmel Center posing as devout Branch Davidians but functioning as informants for the government. After all, the Waco operation was called "Operation Trojan Horse," was it not? We have also seen from The London Times article that deep cover intelligence agents were in Mt. Carmel prior to the February 28 assault changing the receivers of telephones into listening devices and inserting fiber-optic surveillance devices into the walls. From the remarks below, made by Capt. Alan Byrnes, we may infer the Texas Rangers also had intelligence agents inside.
Some of the "Branch Davidians" then, were not really Branch Davidians. The names of these government agents have never been released.
During the 1994 San Antonio trial of the Branch Davidians, Texas Ranger Capt. Alan Byrnes, who was in charge of the Mt. Carmel crime scene, was questioned by government prosecutor Ray Jahn about plans the Texas Rangers made to execute a search warrant of the Mt. Carmel Center early in March, when it was thought the Davidians would leave their home:
Texas Ranger Capt. Alan Byrnes: Well, of course, we tried to estimate how many people we thought were in the structure there and tried to make that on an estimate. The best we could get was about a hundred people, and we started making plans to process a hundred people when they came out … (Transcript, pg. 604 and Transcript, pg. 605).
Byrnes was questioned by defense lawyer Doug Tinker about the number of people the Texas Rangers thought would be coming out (before the fire):
Doug Tinker: Did you have information—and I'm not offering it for the truth, you know, that it was accurate information—but did you have information concerning what the make-up of those people would be, whether they would be young, old, middle-aged, male or female?
Texas Ranger Capt. Alan Byrnes: There were several different make-ups that we were given possibilities. One — one problem that we had was that there was some belief that our definition of adult was different from the definition of the people inside that were giving some of the information. So, I think at one time we thought it was going to be like 50/50 male/female and then 75/25 female and male. It was — it just varied. We had a rough count of about a hundred people in there, the best we could calculate. (Transcript, pg. 637 and Transcript, pg. 638)
Who were the "people inside that were giving some of the information"? Maybe their definition of "adult" was different from the Texas Rangers, but arguably the difference would only be three years—the residents would be younger than 21 or younger than 18. No problem. But why should there be any doubt about the male/female breakdown? What was going on?
Defense attorney Dan Cogdell also cross-examined Capt. Byrnes. Byrnes admitted that from March 2, 1993 there never was any intention to let any of the Davidians simply leave: Texas Rangers were going to arrest anyone who came out. Asked if he was given a list of persons to be "processed," he answered evasively:
Texas Ranger Capt. Alan Byrnes: We had, you know, some indication of who was in there, I don't think anyone had a complete list.
The indication, Captain, that you had, was it reduced to writing? Was there some list, however complete or incomplete, that showed who you intended to take into custody back on March 2nd, 1993?
Texas Ranger Capt. Alan Byrnes: Well, there wasn't a list as such, there
was a list of I assume, the people in there. I don't have that list, I've never, I don't
guess, seen a list. I was told someone probably had a
(Transcript, pg. 661)
Defense lawyer Mike DeGeurin cross-examining, asked if Capt. Byrnes had been given a list of the people still in the center. Again Byrnes bobs and weaves concerning who was there;
Texas Ranger Capt. Alan Byrnes: Yes, we were given a compilation of people, and it was derived from various sources. One of those sources was ATF.
Mike DeGeurin: Okay. What I'd like to know—and you'd know and I can't think of anybody else that would—was there a compilation of who the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents thought were inside, compared to the separate list of who you and maybe the FBI had decided who was inside—separate lists?
Texas Ranger Capt. Alan Byrnes: I suppose there was. I don't recall seeing that separate. All of the information was lumped together, Mr. DeGeurin, and— and —
Mike DeGeurin: By the time you got involved, it was lumped together?
Texas Ranger Capt. Alan Byrnes: Well, later on, because the information—I think the information was derived from information that the ATF had, information the FBI had and probably from information that our criminal intelligence people had and, then, probably from people who had been formerly in the compound. But I— so, there was— that was one reason there was so much, I guess, unsureness about how many people were actually in there. (Transcript, pg. 676)
Throughout the above testimony, Capt. Byrnes showed himself to be a devious, evasive witness. Yet he was not called on it; he was not compelled to answer the questions. Why would the question of a list of names of the Branch Davidians provoke such devious responses?
Here the picture paints itself more clearly. It is possible that some of the agents posing as Davidians (the "Trojan Horses"?) were inside the Mt. Carmel Center, left on April 19, and in their place, incinerated and dismembered bodies were substituted. The substituted bodies were then found along with the incinerated and dismembered bodies of the real Branch Davidians who were murdered, and the local stooges accepted both sets as belonging to the same population.
Next: Argentina Moves to North America
Back: Directory of Exhibits
Back: Death Gallery Entrance
Home: Museum Entrance
Search: Museum Text