Waco Inferno to be re-enacted

Waco, USA
February 21, 2000
Spiegel Online

by Jule Lutteroth

Almost seven years after the FBI stormed into the headquarters of a sect in Waco, Texas - whereby dozens of people died as the compound burst into flame - it will now finally be clarified who was responsible for the inferno. In a re-make.

Washington - Tanks will roll, teargas grenades will explode and special units will fire pistols and machine guns. Helicopters will circle above it all and take video shots. Exactly like it happened on April 19, 1993 in Waco. This operation, which will probably take place only one time - scheduled to take place in mid-March in Ft. Hood, Texas - was agreed upon this past week by representatives of the American Justice Department and the Chairman of the investigating committee, John Danforth. That was concurrently reported by both the Washington Post and the New York Times. The committee is involved in the question of whether the FBI was responsible for the outbreak of flame in the buildings of the Davidian sect - and therefore for the resulting deaths.

For more than six years the federal police asserted the members of the denomination had planned collective suicide and had set the fire in which 76 people lost their lives. After over 51 days of siege, the police forces advanced with tanks on a Monday. Shots were not fired, the FBI reassured. Witnesses had recorded the opposite.

When, this past fall, journalists had discovered small flashes of light which they made out to be arms fire, the officials suddenly changed their testimony. Now they state that in storming the wooden buildings, flammable teargas grenades were used. Upon hearing that, the highest chief of the agency, U.S. Justice Minister Janet Reno, visibly shocked, ordered an investigation; she had supported the FBI's version which is now subject to massive doubt.

Later Reno voiced the fact that the military issue CS filled cannisters were fired six hours before the buildings burst into flame. Experts have concluded that highly inflammatory gas could have been the cause of the inferno. The FBI had had cut off all utilities to the Davidian center early on. The inhabitants were forced to use gasoline which they had stored in their spaces.

The videos to be made of the reenactment which is now budgeted for 1.5 million marks, are to be compared to original reels. In this manner, the investigators hope to explain the flashes of light: were they reflections as the FBI asserts, or muzzle flashes, as survivors of the conflagration have testified? What will the experts think?

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