Assault on Waco
I watched Assault on Waco on the Discovery Channel last night, having sent the producers some footage and audiotapes.... I gave up after the first 20 minutes or so. There were too many areas where it was just plain invented.
I mean ... there's ATF agent Robert Rodriquez, the most honest agent on the ATF side, and the only one with guts enough to go to Mt. Carmel undercover on the morning of the raid. He's given an account of what happened, as have some surviving Davidians. They agree that Koresh talked to him, left the room to take a phone call, and came back shaking. He told Robert that, I think, the ATF and National Guard were coming. Robert got the feeling that Koresh knew he was an agent (as he in fact did), and said he had to go. Koresh shook his hand and, in one account, said you have to do what you have to do.
In the movie, an angry Koresh confronts Robert, shouting that he is an ATF agent, as the other Davidians give him hostile stares. It just didn't happen. Koresh never accused him, and was shaking in fear rather than angry.
Then, during the firefight, the soundtrack is full of full auto fire from the Davidians. I've got the audiotapes from the ATF radio van, which show exactly *one* burst of full auto, about twelve minutes into the fight (ATF snipers got the fellow who fired, and no more is heard).
Michael Schroeder was a Davidian who was away from Mt. Carmel when the fighting began, and after it stopped tried to sneak back in. He encountered an ATF patrol and died with several gunshot wounds. One was to the head, and the skullcap he was wearing, which could have been tested for powder residue to determine if the head shot was at close range, vanished. The ATF version was that he, armed with a 9mm handgun, had attacked a team of guys armed with rifles, and at fairly long range. The movie uncritcally accepts the ATF version.
The movie says that Koresh was shot and it fractured his "thigh bone." Actually, the shot was to the groin and blew a hole thru his pelvis. A simple look at the autopsy (or any of the official reports) would have noted that.
Then it has Koresh shouting at Agent Cavanaugh over the phone. I've heard the tape, and Koresh is in fact wounded and weak. He's conciliatory, telling the agent it was a big mistake -- you thought we were bad guys, and we weren't. He tells Cavanaugh how much he likes law enforcement, because they risk their lives every day.
Then it talks about how the Davidians thought the 7th Seal was being opened. As I recall, they actually thought the world was on the 4th or 5th seal (and understand, they figured opening each one involved years or even thousands of years). If I remember, they figured that the 7th seal could only occur after there were 144,000 converts, and they had relocated to the holy land. That's when the confrontation with evil occurs. They obviously were upwards of 143,000 converts and several thousand miles away.
At that point I gave up. This wasn't a documentary, it was a fictional piece loosely based on what happened. All these are errors that could have been cleared up with a bit of reading or a phone call, and in some cases they run directly contra to evidence I assume the producers had, such as the actual tapes of conversations and accounts by the agents.