True Censorship in Waco
by Linda Thompson
Well, John Baird and I went down to Waco last Friday, March 19. We filed a
petition to allow David Koresh to have access to an attorney or for an
attorney to have access to David Koresh, citing a lot of Supreme Court law
that says a person is in custody when they are no longer free to leave the
presence of police and that the person has a 5th Amendment (Miranda v.
Arizona) right to counsel when in custody.
The Judge, Walter Smith, Jr., of the U.S. District Court, Western District,
Waco Division, would not read or hear the motion on Friday or over the
weekend and finally, at close of business Monday, gave us an order that
literally had pages that were xeroxed from another order in it.
He had previously denied seven petitions filed on behalf of Koresh and 6
others by other attorneys -- using the SAME order.
We petitioned for an expedited appeal to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals
in Louisiana and got turned down three times by Thursday.
While we were there, we saw a lot of interesting things.
The ONLY news coming out of Waco comes from two places:
(1) Every day at 10:30, the FBI, by a guy named Ricks, holds a "press
conference" at the convention center. Whatever the FBI wants told, that's
what gets told and that's ALL that is reported across the country, period.
(2) The only other source of "news" comes from reporters who are living in
RV's alongside one of the roads coming out of the retreat area. If anyone
leaves the area (i.e., the people who have left in the past few weeks),
they are paraded in open cars past this string of reporters by the FBI on
their way to the FBI command post center, so reporters sometimes can take a
picture of it. That's all.
HOWEVER, interestingly enough, CNN seems to be able to get in or at least
get film footage up close of the compound, though no one else can.
Also, I know for a fact that CNN made at least two false reports the week
we were down there and the reports were directly from the FBI itself.
Walter Smith, Jr., the judge who used the same order to deny 8 different
petitions on behalf of people inside the retreat has also done the
(1) Allowed arraignments of people coming out of the compound to be held
in secret. At least one woman, Schroeder, was arraigned and then held as a
material witness. This means they didn't have enough evidence on her to
charge her with anything, but they kept her in jail anyway. Everyone else
coming out of the compound is in jail as a "material witness", too, and
they aren't allowed to talk to anyone.
(2) Sealed the probable cause affidavits and search warrants that were
supposedly the ones the BATF was serving on day one. He is very likely the
same judge, or his magistrate, Green, who signed the order. There are no
other federal judges in Waco and Green is the only magistrate (sort of a
semi- judge who is picked by and works for the judge).
The FBI took out the entire lawfirm of Thompson and Baird for about 2 hours
Saturday night, March 20th and the saga goes like this:
Gary Hunt, who we now know to be a paid government informant but didn't
know at the time, John (Baird, my partner) and I decided to go into the
press area at Waco. We also had decided that Hunt would cross the second
road block inside the press area. He would promptly be arrested and we
would take pictures of his arrest and challenge it on a First and Fourth
Amendment basis, along with violation of state law and the 10th Amendment.
Our AEN press passes and driver's licenses were checked and passed at the
first road block. The guards there, mostly state police, were pretty nice,
friendly, etc. and even posed for pictures. They trotted out the BATF
"bomb dog", a golden labrador retreiver that had a sign on his back that
said "ATF Agent." The dog was quite friendly, complacent, and sleepy. I
got a few pictures of all this. As I was taking pictures, the State Police
repeatedly said to the dog (just kidding) "FBI agent, boy, sic 'em!!!" and
We went down into the press area, which was a major bore. There was
absolutely nothing going on except press RV's parked up and down the road
and a few cameras on tripods, taking pictures of every car coming out of
Interestingly, the government cars often had no tags.
We passed out three copies of a press release that announced what we were
doing to a couple of reporters. One reporter who knew me walked up and
said, "Oh so we have legal counsel tonight." I told him, no, I was there
as a press member at that time and briefly mentioned AEN.
The camera had an auto rewind on it and it was rewinding it's little wheels
off. He couldn't see what I was doing because it was too dark inside the
car and I got the film out and put it and the other two rolls behind the
glove box in the dash -- not IN the glove box, BEHIND it. Shortly, the
state policeman-in-charge came back and told us to step out of the car and
put our hands on the car. They searched Gary and John . . . but NOT ME.
Snort. Of all the people likely to be carrying . . .well, nevermind.
So then we had to stand around in the 35 degree weather for another half-
hour or so, waiting on "The FBI" to arrive.
After we got out of the car, the police started shining flashlights in. The
short, dumpy neanderthal kgBATF agent went around to the passenger door of
the car and opened it. I repeatedly stated that he did NOT have my
permission to search the car, LOUDLY. He picked up my purse off the floor
and dumped it in the seat and then he got Gary's camera from the backseat
and opened it and took the film out.
Gary called out to him repeatedly, "That's the wrong camera, that's not the
So then he found my camera and opened it and said, "Where's the film." To
which I replied that there wasn't any (anyone could see that). So then he
told Gary to quit lying. hahaha. Told you he was stoopid.
So I asked the Texas state policeman bringing up my rear (we all had a
triage of our own personal police, front, back and side) if he had sworn an
oath to uphold the Constitution. He crossed his arms and looked far away,
and nodded imperceptably. So then I asked him if he had ever READ it, to
which he didn't reply.
About two minutes later, as I put out a cigarette on the ground, the state
policeman pointed to it and said, loudly, "YOU'RE LITTERING IN TEXAS!" (Oh,
shit, big trouble now, fer sure.) So I picked it up. I gave it to Gary. I
asked the nice policeman if his name was Ody or if he'd ever been to
Alice's Restaurant and wasn't that in Texas?
So then the state-policeman-in-charge says the FBI has arrived and tells us
to pull the car off to the side of the road by the big tent. All this
time, we've been quite a spectacle in the middle of the road. Remember,
this is a PRESS exit and plenty of press had passed by . . . and stopped,
and we now, thankfully, had lots of film rolling in our direction.
The state-policeman-in-charge says, "They're going to question you one at a
time, who wants to go first?" So I said I did.
Before we had embarked on this adventure, John and I had discussed whether
or not the night's planned events might bring the FBI out of the woodwork,
because we had not been able to serve a copy of the legal papers on the
head FBI agent (they were avoiding us, but that's another story). So I had
taken a copy of the paperwork from the Court with me, just in case we
happened to actually run into an FBI agent. I took that in with me for my
The tent was off to the side of the roadblock. Inside, it was warm. There
were four metal chairs in a semi-circle, with an FBI agent on each end of
the semi-circle. I sat down in the middle. A bunch of state policemen came
in. The atmosphere was clearly one of "We're the big boys and we're gonna
show you how it's done, fellas" (from the FBI side) and the State Troopers
were dead-pan but smirking as things progressed.
First, the agents both stuck their ID badges RIGHT in my face and said they
were FBI (deep tone of voice, for effect). Gee, was I ever intimidated
So I asked Agent Callaghan (it said so on his ID) if he was going to see
Jeff Jamar, the officer in charge of FBI operations, later in the day. He
said he was, so I handed him the envelope with the legal papers in it. He
opened it and looked at the court documents and said, "Where'd you get this
So I patiently explained that the good clerks at the federal district
courts often seem compelled to stamp legal pleadings with an official
looking seal that they apparently have on hand for whenever the mood hits
them, and that it seemed to happen most regularly whenever I filed a
LAWSUIT against somebody.
So then Agent Caballo, who had been steadily writing down all the
information from my Avis rent-a-car paperwork, my AEN press badge, and my
driver's license, said, "How come your driver's license number doesn't
match the Avis car paperwork?" I didn't have a clue, honestly. So I told
him to ask Avis, I didn't have a clue. So he said my Avis paperwork was
So next, Callaghan says our press badges were phoney, too, to which I
replied they were not, that I was a member of a legitimate electronic news
service. So he wanted to know where I got the badge and I said the same
place CBS, NBC and every- other-body gets theirs. To which he said,
"Where?" And I said, "That's your job, you find out."
So about that time, I figured it was time for Doc Thompson's Constitutional
After John and I were "detained for questioning", the next day, we got the
film developed and lo and behold, my picture of the kgBATF agent pointing
his MP5 machine gun at us, his finger plainly on the trigger, the safety
off, was good as gold. We got it blown up to an 11" x 14" and we've been
showing it to all the news media who will film it, which is quite a few
so far. It shows up REALLY well on camera, too.
And I also tried to file criminal charges against him with the local
sheriff's office. The lower ranking officers wanted to do it and said what
happened was illegal, but the report taking was assigned to a Lt. Larry
Lynch who refused to take a report and told me to see the DA personally on
Monday if I wanted to do that.
So we're filing a lawsuit instead for the illegal search and seizure.
The BATF and FBI each have their own command-headquarters building, about
three buildings apart from one another, over on a small airstrip owned by:
Chrysler technologies is a defense contractor and it led John to speculate
that perhaps the Chrysler buyout was even more of a sellout than it
The FBI's building was surrounded by a chain link fence, with one driveway
into it, with a guard post and two-three guards manning it at all times.
The guards at the guard post all looked like rent-a-cops or national guard.
The FBI set up was on the edge of the runway.
There's a big airplane hangar and sticking out of the door of the hangar
was the tail end of a camouflaged C5A transport plane. We also saw two
plain white, absolutely no markings, small jets, along with two Move-Cargo
(blue star on the tail) jets (Move-cargo, I think, is supposed to be a
freight service, but it sure smells a lot like "Air America". Oh well).
Back into the area a long ways (we couldn't get close) there was a very
pretentious, foreboding looking building, one story, with a LOT of lights
around the outside of it, that was probably where they have been taking all
the people that came out of the Waco retreat for "questioning" before
taking them to jail.
We saw two BLACK helicopters on three different days, flying, landing, and
landed. They *do* reflect light funny and they show up on a movie camera
film as sort of a dull black-green, but they most definitely are a flat
black in person. There is small red printing back on the tail section that
I couldn't read and on the top of the very front, there is a very bright,
almost flourescently bright, green patch with a bit of white swirled in it.
I haven't a clue what that is or what it means or why it's there. One of
the helicopters was flying map-of-the-earth and practicing strafing
patterns when we saw it flying.
The kgBATF didn't rate the fancy digs. Their building is a cement block
one-story building up the road, no fence around it. All they have is two
kgBATF agents in their private cars hanging out at the driveway coming in
off the road. We didn't even know they were guards and drove right by
On Friday, there were no other vehicles other than POV's (privately owned
vehicles) or obviously military or fed unmarked cars. On Saturday, though,
there was a "US Department of the Treasury" BOMB truck at the BATF
headquarters and a large firetruck at the FBI headquarters. We thought
sure the shit was going to hit the fan then but it didn't.
I got a few pictures of all of this, including the black helicopters.