Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #174 The Fire This Time: The Georges Bush and The Waco Inferno

Lis­ten: Side 1 | Side 2

In the late sum­mer of 1999 the dev­as­tat­ing siege and destruc­tion of the Branch David­i­an com­pound in Waco, Texas became a poten­tial issue in the 1999 pres­i­den­tial race. A num­ber of issues came to light that put renewed pres­sure on Attor­ney Gen­er­al Janet Reno con­cern­ing the Jus­tice Depart­men­t’s behav­ior in the Waco inci­dent. This pro­gram cov­ers aspects of the Waco inci­dent that have received lit­tle cov­er­age to date. In par­tic­u­lar, the broad­cast high­lights the deci­sive pres­ence of Bush Admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials at Waco. Asso­ci­at­ed with an inter­a­gency net­work, admin­is­tered by then Vice-Pres­i­dent (and for­mer CIA direc­tor) George Bush, these offi­cials were from the Jus­tice Depart­ment and FBI. Hav­ing chaired the Vice-Pres­i­den­t’s Task Force on Counter-Ter­ror­ism, Bush over­saw and imple­ment­ed rec­om­men­da­tions issu­ing from the Task Force. In a series of Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Deci­sion Direc­tives, Bush was giv­en com­mand of what authors John Lof­tus and Mark Aarons describe as “His (Bush’s) own pri­vate spy agency” and “a White House with­in the White House”.

Osten­si­bly cre­at­ed to pro­vide a rapid, pro­phy­lac­tic response to “inter­na­tion­al ter­ror­ism,” these net­works became the pri­ma­ry vehi­cle for the real­iza­tion of the ill-fat­ed, ille­gal and trea­so­nous Iran-Con­tra and Iraq­gate schemes. Far from being “out of the loop,” as he claimed, George Bush was the pri­ma­ry play­er in both affairs. In fact, his “pri­vate spy agency” was most sig­nif­i­cant in coor­di­nat­ing them. The pro­gram sets forth the par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Waco affair of Jus­tice Depart­ment offi­cials who had pre­vi­ous­ly been involved in retard­ing inves­ti­ga­tions into crim­i­nal oper­a­tions of the Iran-Con­tra and BNL (Iraq­gate) oper­a­tions. Alleged­ly involved with the Branch David­i­an siege was Mark Richard, a long-time Jus­tice Depart­ment offi­cial whose career has involved over­see­ing inves­ti­ga­tions of the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty.

The pro­gram doc­u­ments Richard’s involve­ment in frus­trat­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion into Iran-Con­tra drug run­ning and the BNL affair. (The arm­ing of Hus­sein’s Iraq was accom­plished, in con­sid­er­able mea­sure, through an ille­gal covert oper­a­tion cen­tered on the Atlanta branch of the BNL, a major Ital­ian com­mer­cial bank.) Work­ing with Richard in divert­ing the BNL inves­ti­ga­tion was Ed Den­nis, who wrote the final report on the Branch David­i­an siege and exon­er­at­ed the Jus­tice Depart­ment of any wrong­do­ing in the affair. Janet Reno con­clud­ed an inves­ti­ga­tion into BNL that exon­er­at­ed the Rea­gan and Bush admin­is­tra­tions of crim­i­nal wrong­do­ing in that affair. The New York Times’ con­ser­v­a­tive colum­nist William Safire referred to this as “one hand white­wash­ing the oth­er”.

The pro­gram also points out that for­mer FBI offi­cial Jack Rev­ell and oth­er Bureau per­son­nel, were involved in the harass­ment of Jack Ter­rell, an impor­tant Iran-Con­tra wit­ness. Rev­ell was the chief spokesper­son for the Branch David­i­an oper­a­tion. Vet­er­an Wash­ing­ton reporter Sarah Mac­Clen­don has report­ed that anoth­er Jus­tice offi­cial over­lap­ping the Waco and Iraq­gate affair is Richard Scrug­gs. The pos­si­bil­i­ty that the Waco oper­a­tion may have been delib­er­ate­ly con­duct­ed in order to dis­cred­it and desta­bi­lize the Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion and to help obfus­cate the Iraq­gate affair is not one that should be too read­i­ly cast aside.

The pro­gram also sug­gests that the sud­den re-intro­duc­tion of Waco into the news is intend­ed to embar­rass the Democ­rats as George W. aims at the pres­i­den­cy in 2000. James Fran­cis, the Texas offi­cial who ini­ti­at­ed the chain of events lead­ing to the renewed inves­ti­ga­tion, has been deeply involved with the Bush pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. Dis­clo­sures of the pos­si­ble (and, if so, ille­gal) involve­ment of the Army’s Delta Force in the siege were brought to light by a for­mer CIA offi­cer. (For­mer Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush was, of course, Direc­tor of the CIA. One won­ders if an agency “old boy net­work” may have influ­enced events in this regard.) The broad­cast con­cludes by exam­in­ing the mar­tial law con­tin­gency plans which, like the Iran-Con­tra nad Iraq­gate affairs, had their gen­e­sis with the rec­om­men­da­tions stem­ming from the Vice-Pres­i­den­t’s Task Force. These plans called for the dep­u­ti­za­tion of para­mil­i­tary right-wingers as fed­er­al agents in the event of the dec­la­ra­tion of mar­tial law. Mr. Emory notes that the Waco inci­dent has served to help coa­lesce the mili­tia move­ment, cre­at­ing the very para­mil­i­tary for­ma­tions that could be uti­lized in a fas­cist takeover. (Record­ed on 10/10/99)


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