Articoli con tag Waco


Giugno 2014


di Eugenio Buzzetti Twitter@Eastofnowest

Pechino, 6 giu. – L’omicidio di una donna in un Mc Donald’s di una piccola località dello Shandong da parte di alcuni membri di una setta religiosa ha riaperto il dibattito in Cina sul ruolo dei culti religiosi. Il 28 maggio scorso, una donna, di cognome Wu, è stata uccisa da sei membri della setta della Chiesa di Dio Onnipotente (tra cui un minorenne) a Zhaoyuan, nella Cina orientale, provocando la reazione sdegnata degli utenti di Weibo, il Twitter cinese, che hanno commentato con rabbia la barbara uccisione della donna – ripresa in un video – e l’inazione del presenti, che non hanno tentato di fermare gli assassini. Agli occhi dei suoi aggressori, Wu, che era madre di un bambino di cinque anni, era colpevole di non volere aderire alla setta, e ‘meritava’ la punizione in quanto non credente. In base ai riscontri della polizia di Zhaoyuan, i membri della setta erano alla ricerca di nuovi adepti e la donna aveva rifiutato di dare loro il suo numero di telefono. I cinque maggiorenni, che non hanno mostrato alcun pentimento per il loro gesto durante gli interrogatori, dovranno rispondere dell’accusa di omicidio di primo grado…


Fonte: Agi China 24




Soft power can win fight against cults


By Zhang Zhouxiang    

The May 28 tragedy in Zhaoyuan, Shandong province, in which six “Church of the Almighty God” followers beat a woman to death, has highlighted the harmful consequences of destructive cults in China and prompted the Ministry of Public Security to announce a crackdown on cults.

The crackdown alone may not prevent cults from spreading in the country, says Lu Yunfeng, professor of sociology at Peking University. The authorities need to take more comprehensive measures to deal with cults.

Although many countries and regions have taken strong measures to curb destructive cults, the results have often not been very effective. A good example is China’s Taiwan, where Yiguangdao (I-Kuan Tao) has grown from a small sect into one with almost 1 million followers in 30 years despite the local authorities’ continuous attempts to rein it in.

Lu says many cults have grown at a faster pace after crackdowns, because they can spread their tentacles through social networks by using “friends”. Worse, crackdowns can sometimes cause a “scarcity effect”. That means, crackdown can “encourage” cults to adopt “innovations” to sustain the networks. So the networks can be more “pure” and secretly organized, and the crackdown can serve as a “filter” to maintain the members who are most loyal and stubborn. All of these may make the crackdown in the future more difficult.

The spread of cults has a lot to do with the lack of enough channels for people to seek spiritual help at a time when China is undergoing social transformation. “Emerging cults are like fever … a symptom that reminds us that not all is well with society”, Lu says. Proper “social governance”, he says, could be the cure to the social ailment of cults.

For that, we have to first lessen our reliance on the State, and let the people and social organizations play a bigger role in countering cults. Since cults are destructive in nature, non-cult followers see them as a threat to society, he says.

One of Lu’s students seeking admission to a master’s course has spent more than a year working on a paper on the “Church of the Almighty God”. Investigations show that the cult is widely hated by its followers’ family members because it demands that its adherents “sever” relations with their families. Media reports also say that one of the six suspects in the Zhaoyuan case believes his mother is a “demon” who should be “murdered”. His mother is one of the victims-turned-opponents of the cult.

The authorities, therefore, needs to go further, beyond administrative measures, to use more legal means to deal with cults. For example, instead of simply banning destructive cults, it can start legal proceedings against cult leaders and followers to punish them for their illegal activities. Such measures, however, need some time to yield results.

Citing the example of Mormons in the United States, Lu says they used to advocate (and practice) polygamy which was contradictory to federal laws. But the federal government insisted on strictly enforcing the law, and the Mormons officially gave up practicing polygamy in 1890, a full 28 years after US Congress passed the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Law.

A different example is the Waco Siege of 1993, when an investigation into Davidians in Waco, Texas, led to a clash between police and cult followers. Altogether, 86 followers died in a fire and 10, including four police officers, died in gunbattle. Besides, the authorities have to find out the social causes behind the spread of destructive cults and deal with them appropriately. “You cannot forever stop water in a pot from boiling by keeping on adding more water … you need to extinguish the fire,” Lu says, quoting a Chinese proverb.

Disappearing traditions – like the bonds within extended families and the sense of belonging in a community – have left a void in society which cults have rushed in to fill. Many scholars in religion believe cults are popular mainly in certain rural regions of the country that are relatively underdeveloped, and appeal chiefly to uneducated women and senior citizens. Such people believe cults can help solve some of their problems, which are not merely material.

However, material benefits, like donations for medical treatment, and physical help in times of need do help cults to attract followers. That explains why some local authorities find penalizing people for being cult followers has not fully succeeded in reining in cults. Since not all followers join cults for material benefits, they don’t leave them when they suffer material loss.

The authorities, therefore, need to improve social services to prevent more poor people from falling prey to cults to seek spiritual (and perhaps material) comfort. Moreover, they also need to help strengthen social relations and encourage the development of bona fide social organizations which would provide spiritual comfort for ordinary people. For instance, Lu says, local governments could help build “love families”, where former cult followers can interact with anti-cult groups to understand their mistakes.

For several years, Lu has been deliberating on a deeper question: How to transform China’s religion policy into a national strategy? Giving the example of the US, he says the country’s Constitution clearly states “freedom of religion”, but all US dollar notes carry “In God we trust” in capital letters, and US presidents have been ending their speeches with “God bless America” for the past several decades.

That, Lu says, is quite a smart strategy, of including Protestant tradition in the US’ national identity. The practice is well explained in US scholar Samuel P. Huntington’s Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity.

Lu advises Chinese to ask the same question: Who are we? The answer may be hard to fathom. But Chinese people do need to follow certain values that conform to traditional Chinese culture and are linked with China’s national identity. Only when they succeed in doing so will destructive cults lose their appeal and be rooted out of society.

The author is a writer with China Daily.


Fonte: China Daily


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La faccia nera della globalizzazione e riflessioni sul massacro di WACO


La face noire de la mondialisation

Waco, retour sur un massacre

De la nécessité de savoir pressentir l’irrationnel violent

Quand d’année en année le jihad s’effiloche ; quand les Etats-Unis saisissent enfin que, de la Somalie à l’Afghanistan en passant par l’Irak, une préoccupante distance existe entre terreur salafiste d’une part et islam tribal de l’autre, imaginons les plausibles terrorismes de demain.
Où regarder ? Que chercher ? Comme elles sont dans l’air du temps, comme, de Breivik à Merah, on en voit déjà d’inquiétantes prémices, envisageons d’abord les formes qu’à l’horizon prévisible, pourrait prendre la violence des illuminés, délirants ou sectaires.

Waco, vingt ans déjà cette année.
On en sait si peu sur cette tragédie texane – 76 morts dont 23 enfants et deux femmes enceintes ! Et, du moins en Europe, nulle réflexion sensée sur l’affaire – alors qu’à Waco, 23 des 53 morts adultes sont européens (britanniques). Or bien sûr – car rien n’est jamais fini quand il s’agit des sectes – les “Branch Davidians” sont toujours implantés à Waco, mais aussi ailleurs dans le monde. Nous le verrons plus bas.

Méditons donc d’abord sur Waco et ses séquelles – non comme stérile exercice historique de retour au passé, mais comme possible bouffée terroriste sise dans notre avenir ; comme un exercice concret du savoir-qui-pressent.

Nous sommes en mars 1993 à Waco, qui fut jadis la terre des Indiens Huecos (d’où son nom, américanisé en “Waco”). Depuis les années 1950, une petite secte évangélique-apocalyptique, les “Branch Davidians”, est installée à la périphérie de la ville, sur un aride campus baptisé “Mont Carmel”. Dès la décennie 1950 d’ailleurs, un “prophète” y annonçait la fin des temps.
Dans une lecture littéraliste-hallucinée de la Bible, quelques dizaines d’illuminés cherchent à Mont Carmel la justification de leurs hantises et de leurs délires mystiques.
A quoi il faut ajouter l’influence des “prophètes” de l’Eglise (moins radicale) des Adventistes du 7e jour et un fort sécessionnisme texan. Car au jour du Jugement, c’est à Waco qu’adviendra la résurrections des corps. Toute l’humanité renaîtra – même Hitler, certifie-t-on à Mont Carmel.

En 1993, le “prophète” du moment est Vernon Howell, dont le nom biblique est “David Koresh”. Bien sûr, Howell règne sexuellement sur ses fidèles – c’est dans la Bible ! “Koresh” a pour “mission divine” d’engendrer les 24 Anciens qui jugeront l’humanité à la fin des temps. D’où des “mariages” en chaîne avec les femmes de Mont Carmel, célibataires, mais aussi compagnes et filles des autres “Branch Davidians”.

Certaines des “épouses” mystiques ont 14 ans…

A cela vient encore s’ajouter le “survivalisme”. Il faudra tenir le choc lors de l’Apocalypse – à ce prix est la survie de la communauté des “élus” ! Donc les armes et les munitions s’empilent à Mont Carmel. La secte en fait même un commerce, légal au Texas. Hormis cela, les “Branch Davidians” sont plutôt de doux dingues. Pas d’antécédent d’actions violentes sur le campus, ni d’histoires avec la police locale.
Tel est le cadre de la tragédie.

Sorte de gabelle fédérale chargée de contrôler et taxer les armes, le tabac et les armes à feu, l’ATF débarque alors à Mont Carmel. Par dizaines, façon Robocop, des hommes lourdement armés bondissent d’hélicoptères. La secte a-t-elle bien payé toutes ses taxes ? Car, l’absurde origine du drame est un banal contrôle fiscal.
Le ton monte vite à Mont Carmel où, souvenons-nous, de fatalement instables illuminés attendent la fin des temps. C’est alors qu’une arme apparaît… La première fusillade fait 9 morts, dont 5 fédéraux.
Exit l’ATF.

Au tour du FBI d’encercler le campus. “No surrender” clame aussitôt le “prophète”. En un effrayant déchaînement de violence d’Etat, des chars d’assaut entrent dans la danse. Des canons ouvrent le feu sur Mont Carmel.

Rappel, tant l’histoire est inouïe : il s’agit juste, à l’origine, d’un retard dans le paiement d’une taxe.
Les “Branch Davidians” attendaient l’Armageddon ? Ils ont droit à Apocalypse Now. Le 19 avril 1993, au 51e jour du siège, un gigantesque incendie engouffre et anéantit Mont Carmel. 76 morts. 7 survivants de la secte filent en prison (dont deux Britanniques et un Australien).

Mais le drame est loin d’être consommé. Car quand débute la décennie 1990, Timothy McVeigh, jeune vétéran de la guerre du Golfe, visite parfois Mont Carmel et s’attache aux “Branch Davidians”. Ulcéré par le drame, McVeigh décide de les venger. Et prépare un attentat dont, comme d’usage, le FBI n’apprendra ni ne surprendra rien.
Le 19 avril 1995 (2e anniversaire de la tragédie), une camionnette bourrée de 700 kilos de nitrate d’ammonium détruit l’immeuble fédéral d’Oklahoma City qui abrite les bureaux de l’ATF et du FBI. 168 morts, 450 blessés, 324 immeubles ravagés alentour. Tout inclus, l’attentat coûte 6 000 dollars. Et provoque pour 650 millions de dollars de dégâts.
Condamné à mort, McVeigh est exécuté en juin 2001.

Dans une superbe enquête, Esquire (octobre 2013) révèle que de 20 à 30 “Branch Davidians” vivent toujours sur le campus de Waco. Ils y attendent bien sûr l’apocalypse et aussi, en prime, la résurrection de “David Koresh”.

Quelles leçons tirer de ce drame ?
• D’abord une cruciale surveillance des illuminés type “Branch Davidians”, surtout de leurs mouvances – McVeigh n’est pas un fidèle de la secte, juste un proche.
• Une surveillance aussi légère et discrète que possible. Rien de pire que d’aggraver encore la paranoïa d’individus déjà convaincus d’avoir à affronter tous les diables avant d’accéder au paradis. Disposition encore aggravée par le “délire à plusieurs” (en psychiatrie : “type de persécution partagé par deux ou plusieurs individus”).
• Surtout, anticiper. Pour l’attentat, la génération spontanée n’existe pas plus qu’en biologie. Dans le cas très voisin d’un Breivik : un même individu perturbé achète des quintaux d’un fertilisant agricole explosif et en même temps, des armes de guerre. Il prépare forcément un massacre ou un attentat. Cela peut et doit être détecté.

Par Xavier Raufer


Fonte: Le nouvel Economiste

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ARCHIVI novembre 1993: Il Messia donna, il suicidio collettivo e l’Apocalisse rinviata


KIEV – “Marina, lascia stare, torna a casa”, la prega il marito. “Mamma, torna da noi”, piange il figlioletto. Ma anche con le manette ai polsi e i poliziotti intorno, la donna che si sente “il Messia” continua a interpretare il suo ruolo. “Siete la voce di Satana”, risponde, pacata, al marito e al bambino. “Io ho 33 anni, l’ età di Cristo quando salì sulla croce. Adesso mi ammazzeranno, ma fra tre giorni risorgerò per salvare il mondo dai suoi peccati. Verrà l’ Apocalisse, e salirò al cielo con i miei Fratelli Bianchi. Amen”. La scena a cui assistiamo nel quartier generale del ministero degli Interni ucraino sembra presa da un film sul filone dell’ “Esorcista”. Solo che è vera. Questa bella ragazza dai lunghi capelli scuri, all’ anagrafe Marina Zvigun, è perfettamente convinta di essere il nuovo “Messia”. Mentre è una vittima, la prima di una lunga serie, dell’ uomo che con l’ ipnosi si è impossessato della sua anima. “Lui è San Giovanni Battista”, replica dolcemente Marina. “Lui”, ci spiega il capitano Levcenko della Milizia di Kiev, “è il cervello di Fratellanza Bianca. Per fortuna non può più nuocere. Ma ci servono i migliori esperti del mondo per risvegliare dall’ ipnosi i bambini che ha stregato. Continuano a ripetere all’ infinito ‘ io sono un angelo’ . E si uccideranno con lo sciopero della fame”. ‘ Quel conto alla rovescia’ La “papessa” e il “guru”, o “la Madonna e il Battista” (un’ altra delle loro “reincarnazioni”), erano fra i sessanta membri della “Fratellanza Bianca” arrestati mercoledì a Kiev dopo una furibonda battaglia fra le icone millenarie della chiesa di Santa Sofia. La Milizia li ha identificati ieri mattina. Centinaia di poliziotti hanno sbarrato l’ accesso alla cattedrale per evitare la “crocefissione” e il “suicidio di massa” promesso dai fanatici seguaci della setta. Il conto alla rovescia per la “fine del mondo”, annunciata per domenica, con “epicentro” nella capitale dell’ Ucraina, sembra interrotto. E noi giornalisti, spediti qui per quello che in teoria doveva essere l’ ultimo reportage della carriera, possiamo tirare un sospiro di sollievo: gli inviati continueranno a scrivere, l’ umanità – cosa ancora più importante – a vivere. A meno che la profezia della “papessa” non si avveri anche senza il suo sacrificio sulla croce. Ammettiamolo: la tentazione di lasciarsi prendere dall’ ironia è forte. Anche per i poliziotti di guardia alla cattedrale: “Fa un po’ freddino per una crocefissione, il Golgota dovevano cercarlo più a sud”, diceva uno che forse ha ripassato il Vangelo. E con quindici gradi sotto zero, non si può dargli torto. Ma c’ è poco da scherzare nella saga dei “Fratelli Bianchi”. Ecco come la raccontano, con la speranza che sia conclusa per sempre, i detective del ministero degli Interni. Marina Zvigun è nata a Donetsk, nell’ inferno delle miniere di carbone che sono la ricchezza dell’ Ucraina. La sua sembra una educazione modello: brava a scuola, iscritta al Komsomol (la lega giovanile del Pcus), sposata con un ispettore minerario a cui ha dato subito un figlio, laureata in giornalismo, eletta consigliere comunale. Poi, nel 1990, un fatto le cambia la vita. Ha appena compiuto 30 anni. Viene ricoverata in ospedale per un aborto, i medici sbagliano la dose di anestetico, per un pelo non si risveglia. Quando finalmente apre gli occhi, dice che ha parlato “con Dio”. Quando esce d’ ospedale, va a Kiev con una scusa, e non torna mai più. Vuole confidare il suo trauma interiore a un uomo conosciuto sei mesi prima a Donetsk: Jurij Krivonogov, 50 anni, ex-ingegnere, ex-ricercatore nei laboratori del Kgb sulle “armi parapsicologiche”. Nel “boom” di santoni, guaritori e veggenti che accompagna la perestrojka, l’ ingegnere si ricicla come esperto di ipnosi, yoga, fenomeni paranormali. “Ero morta, ho visto Dio, sono risorta”, gli dice Marina. “Ma sicuro”, la incoraggia il “guru”. Krivonogov è vanitoso, crudele, ossessionato dall’ ordine e dalla disciplina, divorato da perversioni sessuali. Da questa miscela sviluppa l’ idea di presentarsi al mondo come il “Cristo ritornato”. Ma nella sua follia si rende conto che sarebbe difficile fare il “Messia” con un volto di cinquantenne, né bello, né affascinante. Marina è quello che gli serve. La ipnotizza: “Tu”, le dice, “sei il Messia, insieme siamo la reincarnazione di Adamo ed Eva, Maria Vergine e San Giovanni Battista”. La ribattezza “Maria Kristos”, e il gioco è fatto. Una dieta vegetariana Così nasce “Fratellanza Bianca”. Da una piccola base nel centro di Kiev, la coppia di santoni fa proseliti in tutta l’ Ucraina, in Russia, negli Usa, in Canada, in Israele. I “comandamenti” della setta sono implacabili: gli adepti devono abbandonare la famiglia, gli studi, il lavoro, disfarsi di ogni bene patrimoniale (e consegnarlo a Jurij), rinunciare a tutte le comodità, seguire una rigida dieta vegetariana, pregare da mattina a sera. Per bocca di “Maria Kristos”, Jurij profetizza un cataclisma universale, l’ Apocalisse biblica: terremoti squasseranno la Terra, immense voragini risucchieranno tutto. La fine del mondo: preannunciata dalla crocefissione del “Messia”. Suicidandosi, i “fratelli bianchi” potranno risorgere con lei, “il terzo giorno”, per godere vita eterna. Nel vuoto d’ identità lasciato da una “fine del mondo” assai più concreta, la fine del comunismo, migliaia di persone si arruolano nell’ esercito spirituale di Jurij. Se siano i “144 mila” accorsi a Kiev per la fine del mondo, secondo loro, o molto meno, non si sa: la Milizia ne ha arrestati 700, in maggioranza giovanissimi. Attirati dal carisma, imprigionati dagli “occhi” di Jurij, che li teneva a pane e acqua, poi usava l’ ipnotismo per trasformarli in “zombi”. E se qualcuno dava segni di cedimento, per punizione diventava la vittima di “sacrifici umani”: bruciato vivo nel fuoco che “purifica l’ anima da tutti i peccati”. Con i soldi estorti ai propri fedeli, Jurij e Maria giravano il mondo: il sospetto è che il “guru” avrebbe continuato da solo, dopo la crocefissione di lei e il suicidio degli “apostoli”. Ora farà un lungo viaggio nelle carceri: deve rispondere di violenze di massa e sequestro di persona. Poteva finire molto male, come a Waco, in Texas, lo scorso anno. I morti non ci sono stati, ma la Russia sembra avviata sulla stessa strada dell’ America: due grandi paesi accomunati da anime perse, sette fanatiche, santoni visionari. Non è un caso se missionari d’ ogni genere, dai predicatori televisivi ai testimoni di Geova agli Hare Khrishna, invadono l’ ex “Paradiso del Socialismo”, sentendolo un terreno fertile per i loro vangeli. A Kiev, la gente si raccoglie davanti a Santa Sofia, discutendo sulla fine del mondo: comincerà lo stesso domenica? E a forza di discorsi apocalittici, il cronista tende l’ orecchio per sentire se, come nel film di De Sica, dal cielo scende una voce misteriosa che dice: “Alle ore 18 comincia… il Giudizio Universale”.


12 novembre 1993


Fonte: LA REPUBBLICA (Archivio)

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Attentato Boston. Le due piste e i precedenti di Oklahoma e Waco

16 Aprile 2013

Fondamentalismo islamico o pista interna?

Terrore a Boston, gli Usa blindati riscoprono la paura

 di Mattia Ferraresi  

Spaventa la complessità dell’atto terroristico, il primo che arriva a  compimento dopo l’11 settembre


New York – Nel concitato e contraddittorio flusso di  informazioni che proviene da Boston si possono distinguere chiaramente due dati:  le bombe nei cestini della spazzatura a margine della maratona sono la sostanza  mortifera di un attentato strutturato, con un livello di complessità e tempismo  orribilmente efficace. Una follia in cui si scorge metodo e pianificazione.  Senza una rivendicazione non si può dire con certezza se questo metodo porti la  firma del fondamentalismo islamico, quella dei suprematisti bianchi o di chissà  quale altra diavoleria che può spingere qualcuno a mettere dell’esplosivo in  mezzo agli spettatori di una maratona.

Quella delle bombe in sequenza è una tecnica collaudata  nelle file di al Qaida e fra i lupi solitari che si radicalizzano su internet,  ma la scelta dei cestini della spazzatura appare inusuale. Di certo elementi  qaidisti non hanno mai smesso di minacciare gli Stati Uniti, alla ricerca del “secondo colpo”, quello che prova che l’estremismo non è stato piegato dalla  reazione americana. Nel 2010 il pachistano Faisal Shahzad ha parcheggiato un Suv  pieno di esplosivo in Times Square, a New York, minaccia sventata dai venditori  ambulanti che hanno avvertito la polizia dopo aver visto del fumo uscire  dall’auto. Meno di sei mesi prima erano stati i passeggeri di un aereo diretto a  Detroit a fermare il nigeriano Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, che aveva le mutande  imbottite di esplosivo. Dall’11 settembre 2011 gli agenti federali hanno  sventato decine di attentati di matrice islamica: alcuni erano nello stadio  della pura congettura, altri alle soglie della fase d’esecuzione. E lo stesso  vale, sebbene in misura diversa, anche per il terrorismo interno, quello della  destra radicale e razzista.

Nel 2011 il suprematista Kevin Harpham è stato arrestato e  condannato a 32 anni di prigione per aver messo una bomba nei pressi di una  parata per la festa di Martin Luther King a Spokane, nello stato di Washington.  I commentatori hanno subito fatto notare che l’attentato di Boston è avvenuto  nel Patriots’ Day, il terzo lunedì di aprile in cui due stati del New England  celebrano le battaglie di Lexington e Concord, incipit della rivoluzione  americana. La data appare connessa con l’attentato di Oklahoma City (19 aprile  1995), quello di Waco (19 aprile 1993) ma anche con la sparatoria di Columbine  (20 aprile 1999) e il massacro del Virginia Tech (16 aprile 2007); soltanto uno  di questi eventi – Waco – è avvenuto, al pari dell’attentato di Boston, nel  giorno dedicato ai patrioti che hanno lottato per l’indipendenza, e la tragedia  è stata l’epilogo di un assedio durato 50 giorni. Non proprio il sigillo della  premeditazione a sfondo simbolico. L’elemento comune all’ipotesi interna e a  quella esterna è la complessità dell’atto terroristico – così lo classificano,  ma non ancora pubblicamente, le forze dell’ordine – il primo che arriva a  compimento dopo l’11 settembre. Barack Obama ha detto che i colpevoli sentiranno “il peso della giustizia”, che pagheranno per le tre vittime finora accertate  (uno è un bambino di otto anni) e per gli oltre 140 feriti, di cui almeno 15 in  gravissime condizioni: una promessa adeguata alla natura terroristica di un  gesto che l’America è riuscita a confinare per oltre dieci anni nello spazio dei  sogni perversi degli estremisti.

Il secondo elemento chiaro in questa fase di ricognizione,  accertamento e lutto è che l’attacco ha centrato il suo obiettivo: produrre  paura. Nel giro di un paio d’ore dopo le esplosioni Boston si è svuotata, si  sono moltiplicati falsi allarmi bomba in tutti gli angoli della città, hanno  evacuato piazze ed edifici. Il paese si è sentito ancora una volta nudo,  vulnerabile, esposto a un male che credeva di avere debellato. Tutta l’America  si è rispecchiata in quelle migliaia di bostoniani che in preda al panico hanno  mollato quello che stavano facendo per correre a casa, finalmente al sicuro dopo  la maratona che ha riportato in superficie l’orrore.



Strage di Boston, due le ipotesi al vaglio dell’Fbi: jihad ma anche terrorismo interno

Al momento non c’è stata nessuna rivendicazione per l’attentato che ieri durante la maratona di Boston ha causato 3 morti e oltre 140 feriti (nessun italiano) – Fbi e Cia sono dunque al lavoro per individuare movente e responsabili: la prima ipotesi è di un atto di terrorismo islamico isolato e artigianale, ma prende corpo anche la pista interna…

Nessuna rivendicazione, al momento, per la strage di Boston (il bilancio alle 13.30 italiane parla ancora di 3 morti e oltre 140 feriti di cui diverse decine in modo grave): Cia e Fbi sono dunque al lavoro per cercare le motivazioni e soprattutto i colpevoli.

Le piste percorse dall’intelligence Usa, in costante contatto col presidente Obama, sono al momento principalmente due. La prima è quella del terrorismo islamico, non tanto di livello organizzato e internazionale come quello Al-Qaeda, ma di qualche jihadista isolato residente negli Stati Uniti: proprio qualche settimana fa, infatti, la rivista di propaganda islamica Inspire Magazine ha dedicato un numero speciale a questa nuova forma di terrorismo artigianale, definito “opensource jihad”.
Questa è la pista più credibile e, paradossalmente, forse più rassicurante, visto che l’alternativa che sta prendendo corpo in queste ore è alquanto inquietante: si parla infatti dell’ipotesi di un atto di terrorismo interno, nella fattispecie dell’estrema destra americana. A supportare questa tesi è soprattutto la data scelta per la strage: il 15 aprile infatti negli Usa, e in particolare a Boston, è il Patriot’s Day, ed è anche il giorno dove i contribuenti pagano le tasse. Che l’orribile attentato, costato la vita anche a un bambino di 8 anni, sia frutto di una feroce insofferenza contro la politica fiscale? Gli inquirenti al momento non lo escludono: potrebbe trattarsi di un atto di protesta violento da parte di un gruppo nazionalista di estrema destra. A supportare questa tesi è anche il noto criminologo Alain Bauer, consigliere delle polizie di New York e Los Angeles, che intervistato da diversi organi di stampa ha dichiarato: “La scelta di Boston è alquanto bizzarra per un gruppo internazionale: la pista interna al momento è favorita”. Bauer cita anche alcuni agghiaccianti precedenti, come la strage di Oklahoma City nel 1995, che arrivò per vendetta dopo la cruenta operazione di polizia condotta due anni prima a Waco per espugnare un ranch nel quale aveva sede la setta religiosa dei davidiani. O ancora la bomba esplosa da un nazionalista antisemita nel 1996 ad Atlanta durante le Olimpiadi. “C’è però anche la pista islamica, senza dubbio – ha spiegato ancora Bauer -: per esempio la doppia esplosione di ordigni di questo tipo richiama molto il modus operandi degli artificieri libanesi”.


di Giueppe Baselice


Fonte: First online


NOTA: Leggi anche articolo a firma di  David Martosko, pubblicato sul Daily Mail, qui

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A vent’anni dalla tragedia di Waco, alcuni davidiani sopravvissuti continuano a credere alla “divinità” del loro leader


WACO — Clive Doyle is a pleasant-looking man of 72, with wavy graying hair. Australia lingers in his accent. He wore a leather jacket on the chilly recent afternoon when we spent more than an hour together at a picnic table in a Waco park. He was soft-spoken, articulate and seemingly very sane.

Yet 20 years ago this Friday, this same man was one of only nine Branch Davidians to survive the internationally televised inferno on the Texas prairie. Killed that day near Waco were cult leader David Koresh and 73 followers, including Doyle’s 18-year-old daughter, Shari, and 20 children under 14. Before the fire and the 51-day standoff with the federal government, Doyle’s daughter had been one of many women and girls of the cult taken into Koresh’s bed. Koresh — who preached that he was the Lamb of God, drove a sports car and motorcycle, and had a rock band and an arsenal of illegal weapons — had ordered his male followers to be celibate.

Doyle has had two decades to reflect on these things, and clearly he has. So my question was obvious.

“You mean, have I woken up?” Doyle said to me with a smile.

Well, yes.

“I’ve had questions and adjusted my beliefs somewhat,” Doyle said that day in the park. “But I still believe that David was who he claimed to be. You are sitting there listening to him. You hear all these things and the Scriptures come alive. And at the time, everything seems so imminent. That’s why I believed the way I did.

“I believe he was a manifestation, yes, of God taking on flesh,” Doyle said. “God has done that more than once.”

Most of the other survivors remain similarly steadfast, Doyle said, a handful of people who still gather in Waco on Saturday mornings to pray. Thus one of the most tragic and bizarre episodes of American history remains just that. Bizarre, unexplainable.

It began on a rainy Sunday morning, Feb. 28, 1993, with an ill-fated raid by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The assault on what was known as Mount Carmel followed a long federal investigation into Koresh’s growing arsenal. Local social services agencies had also looked into reports that the leader was having sex with underage girls who were part of the community.

Four federal agents were killed in a bloody gunbattle with the cultists that Sunday, and 20 more were wounded. Six Branch Davidians died. By that evening, the muddy encampment called Satellite City had sprouted nearby. Hundreds of reporters from around the world loitered for the next six weeks, eating Salvation Army doughnuts, getting haircuts, practicing their golf swings, and chronicling a darkly comic cat-and-mouse game between Koresh and FBI negotiators.

Souvenir vendors sold T-shirts that said Waco was really an acronym for “We Ain’t Coming Out.” Leno, Letterman and Saturday Night Live had a fresh supply of punch lines for weeks.

“This just in,” SNL’s Kevin Nealon reported on Weekend Update. “David Koresh has admitted he’s not really Jesus but actually is a disgruntled postal employee.”

Most assumed that the nuts near Waco would eventually come marching out. Not me.

While the siege droned on, I was working on a book about Koresh, talking to people around the world with firsthand acquaintance. Samuel Henry was one, a middle-aged carpenter in Manchester, England, who lost his family to the cult, one by one. Koresh, the guitar-playing Yank with shoulder-length hair and a dense interpretation of the Book of Revelation, was rejected by most on his international recruiting trips. But Samuel Henry told me that his daughter Diana was beside herself after hearing Koresh preach in a Manchester living room.

“Daddy, listen!” she cried. “Listen!”

Diana Henry, two sisters and two brothers all ended up with Koresh in Texas.

“You’ve got to be joking,” Samuel Henry cried when his wife, Zilla, announced that she was following her children. “Let’s talk about this. Let’s pray about this.”

“It’s too late,” Zilla told him in 1990. “This man is the Christ.”

Samuel Henry, a religious man himself, flew to Texas to confront Koresh but could not persuade his family to return. When we talked during the standoff, he said he thought Koresh was another Jim Jones, the cult leader who inspired 900 followers to commit suicide in Guyana in 1978. I heard similar stories from other relatives. By mid-April 1993, I had come to believe that the standoff was headed toward a dark and tragic end.

April 19, 1993, was a bright, very windy spring day. The fires at Mount Carmel became visible around noon, six hours after the FBI began to fire tear gas into the compound and break down walls with armored vehicles. Government conspiracy theorists have had a field day ever since, alleging, among other things, that federal agents either accidentally or intentionally started the fire, and pinned the Branch Davidians inside with gunfire.

Waco was a primary inspiration for Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, who struck on the same date, two years later.

“The bad acts alleged in this case are among the most serious charges that can be leveled against a government,” special counsel John Danforth would write in 2000, after a long investigation into what happened. “That its agents deliberately set fire to a building full of people, that they pinned children in the burning building with gunfire, that they illegally employed the armed forces … and that they then lied about their conduct.”

In 1999, a Time magazine poll showed that 61 percent of the American public believed the government had started the fires. That was ridiculous, Danforth concluded.

“What is remarkable is the overwhelming evidence exonerating the government from the charges made against it, and the lack of any real evidence to support charges of bad acts. … In the face of such a calamity, we have a need to affix blame. Things like this just can’t happen; they must be the government’s fault. We are somehow able to ignore the contrary evidence — never mind the fact that the FBI waited for 51 days without firing a shot, never mind the evidence that the Branch Davidians started the fire, never mind that the FBI agents risked their own lives in efforts to rescue the Davidians — and we buy into the notion that the government would deliberately kill 80 people in a burning building.”

Meanwhile, obscured by the conspiracy theories was the sinister, inexplicable reality. Teachers, lawyers, college professors, social workers, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters had fallen under Koresh’s spell, surrendering their money, wives and daughters, and ultimately their lives in fiery deaths.

After all these years, it was clear from my recent visit with Clive Doyle that the spell lingers.

‘It was a cult’

Jason Sharp lives in Frankfort, Ind., but that recent afternoon he was visiting relatives in Texas and figured, why not? He was 19 when he watched the fire on television, live with the rest of the world.

“I wanted to see where it took place,” he said that day at Mount Carmel. “This is going to be a part of history.”

Today, a small wood-frame church marks the spot where the Branch Davidian compound stood, about 10 miles east of Waco. The only real remnants are the shell of an in-ground swimming pool and cinder-block bunkers now filled with water. Elsewhere are a stone memorial for the cult victims and another for the ATF agents who died. It is a quiet, peaceful place.

When Sharp drove off down a gravel road, I walked around the corner of the church and found Charles Pace sitting in his car, talking to a friend. Pace is the pastor of a sect of Branch Davidians, about 20 of them, who still worship at the church. They also built and maintain the memorials and engage in organic farming. Pace’s group doesn’t have much to do with Clive Doyle and the other survivors. The reason became apparent when Pace started talking about Koresh.

“It was a cult, a sex cult,” Pace said.

The Branch Davidians had begun as an offshoot of the Seventh-day Adventists. Pace, a sect member since the 1970s, said he confronted Koresh after hearing him preach in 1984. At the time, he went by the name Vernon Howell, something of a misfit who had been kicked out of a Seventh-day Adventist church in Tyler. Vernon Howell was full of it, Pace thought, but he had memorized large chunks of the Bible.

“He was the kind of guy who could get in your face and challenge you with Scripture,” he said. “He liked the sport of it. But I saw through the whole thing. I protested.”

Pace warned Clive Doyle and the others that Koresh was a false prophet.

Few listened.

“To this day, people like Clive Doyle don’t like me,” Pace said.

So Koresh became the resident Messiah, and Pace moved to Alabama.

“I think he had good intentions at first, but it kind of goes to your head,” Pace said. “I believe it went to his head, and it went to their heads at the same time. It must have been nuts here. I would have beat the sh– out of him if he came near my daughter or my wife. He told them that he was God in the flesh, and they believed him.”

I told Pace of my own sense of darkness as I learned more about Koresh and his cult.

“I always felt that way with him, too,” Pace said. “I still feel that way when I’m around the survivors. It’s still there. There’s something missing in them. They still believe he’s coming back. They still believe it was OK for him to sin.”

‘His spirit impressed me’

In 1994, Clive Doyle was acquitted of charges that included conspiracy to murder a federal agent. He was mentioned several times in the Danforth report. Two decades later, he and a friend, Ron Goins, rent the second floor of a large Victorian house in Waco. They met me on the sidewalk out front.

Doyle got behind the wheel of an old van for a short but awkward drive to the park.

“So you’re the famous Tim Madigan,” he said.

I didn’t know how to respond.

“You wrote the book [about Koresh],” he said.

“I did.”

” See No Evil,” Doyle said.

“What did you think of it?”

“Not much,” Doyle said. “But I can’t blame you. It was published a month after the fire. A lot of information has come out since then.”

We pulled into the park and sat at a table with a fine view of the Brazos River. Happy young joggers ran past every few minutes.

Doyle told me that he grew up in Australia. He learned of the Branch Davidians in the 1960s through their literature, and he moved to the United States to pursue the faith in 1966. Through much of the 1970s, the Branch Davidians lived quietly in the Central Texas countryside, led by an older woman named Lois Roden.

Doyle met Vernon Howell in 1981.

“Over the next couple of years, he came and went several times,” Doyle said. “Each time he came, he stayed a little longer. In ’83, Lois Roden basically told him, ‘You’ve been sharing this message with me. Now it’s time you present it to the rest of the people.’ She turned the pulpit over to him. We had been taught that God would lead his people through prophets. We’ve been instructed to give them a hearing.

“We don’t fall for every one who comes along,” Doyle continued. “But 99 percent of the people accepted him. We accepted him as a messenger of God. I was one of the first.”

Was it his good looks? His guitar? The fact that he had memorized so much of the Bible?

“I don’t know that he was a very talented con man,” Doyle said. “It was not like we were swept off our feet because he looked like Jesus. You listened to what he had to say and either you were impressed or you weren’t.

“His spirit impressed me,” he said. “It’s hard to go back and pinpoint what words he used or what day it was. I couldn’t tell you. But it was definitely a strong conviction that he had something and it probably had something to do with Lois turning over the pulpit to him.”

What about the sex? How could Doyle let Koresh take his daughter?

“I still believe that it was of God,” Doyle said.

That Koresh should have sex with his daughter?

“Correct,” he said. “She made her own choice based on her Bible studies.”

“But Clive, she was 18,” I said.

“When God chooses messengers, some of these people are asked to do things by God which would be an anathema or contrary to the morals of the people of the day,” Doyle said. “David said once that, ‘They will accuse me of the very things that they themselves are doing. They will get on me about the women, but many of the same people that hate me, throw all these statements around about me, are having one-night stands with their secretaries.'”

What about the children?

Koresh had long preached that flames were a way to heaven, a fulfillment of prophecy. Three days before the fire, the Davidians put out a sign that said, “The flames await Isaiah 13.”

The Danforth report concluded that on April 19, the Branch Davidians spread accelerants throughout the compound and set fires in at least three locations. Microphones picked up several references inside the compound to lighting the fires. As the buildings were consumed, most inside showed no desire to escape.

That day in the park, Doyle and I talked briefly about the standoff and fire.

“I never saw anybody light the fires,” Doyle said. “I was in the chapel area, by the front door. The FBI was gassing us all morning. I heard someone yelling from upstairs that the building was on fire.”

He didn’t say why he decided to get out when so many others, including his daughter and six members of Samuel Henry’s family, did not. He did say that his daughter had believed until the end.

The longer we talked, the more it became apparent: Shari Doyle is a big reason Doyle continues to believe in Koresh. He doesn’t want to jeopardize the reunion with her, a reunion in the hereafter.

“Here’s what I would like you to consider,” he said. “What if I gave up on the whole thing? What if I really bought into the idea that we had been deceived? I would give up everything. There would be nothing to have faith in. I would not have any hope or anything to look forward to.”

“You mean seeing your daughter again?” I said.

“My daughter and a lot of the other people were my friends, too,” he said softly.

“But what about all the children who died?” I said. “They didn’t have a choice. How can you rationalize that?”

“I understand that it turns a lot of people off,” Doyle said. “But God has always allowed children to die.”

We finished our conversation in front of his house.

“I have a question for you,” Doyle said. “If you had to do it all over again, knowing what you know now, would you write the same book?”

I thought about that.

“Yes,” I said.

There was certainly plenty of room to second-guess the government, I told him, but I still believe, more than ever, that Koresh was responsible.

“Think about his theology,” I said. “It all led to the same place, to him. All the sex. The money. The car. The motorcycle. The guitars and rock bands. Who else got any of the benefits? Wasn’t that convenient?”

Doyle was silent for several moments.

“I guess we won’t know for sure until David comes back,” he said.

“I’ve got your cell number,” I said. “If that happens, I’ll be the first to call and apologize.”

Doyle smiled. We shook hands and said goodbye.

By Tim Madigan
Fonte: Star-Telegram

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La setta di Waco (film FR)

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Sopravvissuto di Waco: il Giorno del Giudizio è imminente e David Koresh, il messia, ritornerà tra noi


Waco siege 20 years on: the survivor’s tale

Livingstone Fagan took his family from Britain to live with the self-declared Messiah David Koresh in Waco, Texas, where his wife and mother died. As the 20th anniversary of the bloody end of the seige approaches, Fagan explains why has no regrets … and is still a believer.

Mystery of Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky found dead 'in bath'

Fagan, inset, saw it all from a prison cell, having left the compound in mid-March to act as an envoy to the outside 

By Cole Moreton

Livingstone Fagan is waiting for the end of the world as we know it, which he believes is coming soon.

“The tables will turn,” he says, pacing his bare council flat in a tower block in Nottingham. “We endure what is thrown at us, no matter how extreme, because the day will come, as David says.”

This trim 53-year-old with ashen dreadlocks is talking about David Koresh, the self-declared messiah who was holed up in a compound in Waco, Texas, with an armed group of followers, 20 years ago today.

Fagan was there, willing to fight in defence of his family and the man he believed was a second Christ. He had done so in the gunfight at the beginning of the siege in late February 1993, when federal agents attempt to storm the compound and were repelled. And when it all finished with another attack, 51 days later, Fagan lost his wife, his mother, and many of his friend.

“We understand why God executes vengeance,” says this intense man, who was jailed during the siege and served time for voluntary manslaughter and a firearms offence before being deported to his home town of Nottingham six years ago.

Swigging from a bottle of cider vinegar and water, dressed in dark slacks and a grey sweatshirt, he could still be a prisoner. Fagan lives simply, waiting for the return of Koresh, which he believes to be imminent.

The Branch Davidian cult compound near Waco burns (AFP)

“The anniversary is significant,” he says, as we approach the date when it all ended, April 19. The world’s media watched on that day in 1993 as the FBI attacked the compound with tanks and tear gas and a fire broke out that quickly destroyed the buildings. At least 76 men, women and children died. The former attorney general Ramsay Clark called it “the greatest domestic law-enforcement tragedy in the history of the United States”.

Fagan saw it all from a prison cell, having left the compound in mid-March to act as an envoy to the outside world. “I didn’t want to go, but I was asked to do so by David. In the event that we were all killed, there needed to be some voices outside to tell the story from our point of view.”

He had hoped to help with the negotiations. “That’s not how it turned out. I was placed in the county jail with little or no contact into what was going on there.” He saw the tragedy unfold on television, along with millions of others. “That was quite … that was quite something.”

His voice falters, for the first time. His son and daughter, aged four and seven, had been among the children who left the compound during negotiations. His wife Yvette and his mother Doris were still inside, however, along with others that he loved. “The thought of tears, as I watched it … I couldn’t let that happen.”

His eyes glitter. Has he ever allowed himself to weep over this? “Since then? Tears? No. I refuse to do that. I saw it as yielding to them. I had seen the others stand their ground, despite gas and flame being used to stir their emotions. I felt I had to be the good soldier too, relative to what we believed.”

Members of the Branch Davidian sect (BBC)

He still believes it, passionately, however bizarre those beliefs may appear to others. “There’s a game being played here that in the end leads to the Kingdom of Heaven coming to Earth and the eradication of evil from the universe forever,” says Fagan, who preaches when he speaks, his accent sliding between America, his birthplace, Jamaica, and Nottingham, where he was brought up.

More than 30 British citizens lived in the Waco community, most having joined through their connections with the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Fagan originally trained as a social worker but became an Adventist in his early twenties and took a master’s degree in pastoral ministry.

“I was looking for something more,” he says, and he found it in the teachings of a visiting American speaker called Vernon Howell, who was approaching 30 and about to change his name, legally, to David Koresh, in tribute to two Biblical kings.

Branch Davidian who have left before the storming, left, and their leader David Koresh (AFP/AP)

Fagan insists there was nothing particularly charismatic about the man who changed his life. “None of that physical stuff – what you hear, see and touch – was the influence. The reason why people were there is that he was revealing truth.”

Koresh claimed to have been visited by an angel, who revealed to him the nature of the Seven Seals, as described in the Biblical book of Revelation. The opening of the seals would be an escalating series of events leading to the Day of Judgment.

Fagan came to believe – as he still does – that Koresh was descended from Christ and “the spirit and the word of God” were embodied in him.

He began to visit the Branch Davidians, as the followers of Koresh were called, at their communal home in Texas. At the end of 1992, Fagan took his whole family over to live. When the siege happened, they had been there for just eight weeks. “What I saw there was primitive godliness,” he says.

Isn’t it true, though, that many of the women lived as the wives of Koresh, while the other adults practised celibacy?

“These were not sexual partners. These were actually wives,” says Fagan. “God says he is against adultery and fornication. That was still in place. It was only as God directed him that David was to have these wives. The purpose of this was to bear children.”

The intention was to create 24 children who combined the human with the spirit of God that was in Koresh, he says. They would become the 24 elders mentioned in Revelation as God’s jury. “We only had a little over half that number. In effect, the world attacked the jury. But of course, that’s not what people out there see. What they see is this guy having sex with all these women.”

There have been claims of child abuse among the Branch Davidians. Fagan denies it. “I told you there was no child abuse. That’s right. There wasn’t. But there are those who want to believe that.”

They were certainly trading guns to make money. They were also arming themselves against a looming confrontation with the authorities, which Koresh compared to the soldiers coming for Christ.

“We were told to put up a defence, for God had a purpose in this. That purpose had to do with buying time,” says Fagan.

Koresh needed to finish writing down what he knew about the Seven Seals. Meanwhile, the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was convinced there were illegal automatic weapons in the compound, and was preparing a raid.

Rather than being scared, many of the adults were excited. “Here we were, literally fulfilling prophecy. That had a profound effect on how we thought about ourselves, and about being there.” They felt like they were at the centre of cosmic events? “Indeed. That’s a good way of putting it.”

His wife and mother were believers, and so at that time, were his children. “Nearing the end, before they attacked, my son said: ‘I know what they gonna do daddy. They gonna come and kill us and then we gonna come back to life.’ All nonchalant.” He sounds proud.

Armed ATF agents made the first attempt to enter the compound on February 28. Both sides still claim the other fired first. “When the initial shots went off, I heard screams. It was quick. I remember going outside and seeing the helicopters. It was a long time ago. I’m not going to go into many details …”

One direct question, then. Who, if anybody, did he shoot?

“Well, according to the FBI agent in the trial, I was the one who came out of the cafeteria and shot him in his finger. I had nothing to do with that. But there were other things that I was engaged in. I felt it was vital. There was the sound of gunfire everywhere, particularly upstairs. My wife and children, all the other women and kids, were up there. We were not going to let that happen,” he says.

“The sense that if we let these people in the building they would kill us indiscriminately? No. I had a responsibility, and I was moved to find whatever means necessary to prevent it. I took that responsibility seriously. I acted on it.”

Four agents and six of Koresh’s followers died before the Branch Davidians called for a ceasefire, which led to the siege. Fagan was one of several members of the group accused of murder, although they were all acquitted. He served 14 years for voluntary manslaughter and a firearms offence, before being deported to Britain.

“Here I thought I could speak to people on a rational level, to make them understand what had actually happened, but they were afraid to talk to me.” He visited his former church twice. “I wasn’t welcome. The picture has been painted that we are of the devil.”

There are about a dozen Waco survivors in Britain, he says. “On occasion, we do meet.”

How often does he see his children, who were brought up here by his brother? “We met when I first came back. There was a gathering. We met, they spoke. They expressed their feelings and thoughts. Subsequently we have met on other occasions, such as my father’s 80th birthday. I accept that they have a life. I engage with them to the extent that they wish.”

His son is now 21 and his daughter is 23. “I am not going to say that they have rejected what I believe. When they see their mother they will … no.”

His refusal to weep for her and the others is partly explained by the belief that they will be reunited in eternal life, soon. That’s also why he has not found another partner. “I’ve thought about it. I’ve explored the idea. But it doesn’t really work, does it? We have a hope, beyond this.”

Sighing, he says: “Ah well, I won’t be here for very much longer.”

Listening to the quick rattle of Scripture verses, watching the fire in his eyes, I wonder for a moment if this is what it was like to sit with John the disciple, decades after the death of Jesus. The thought passes quickly, not least because I do not believe that David Koresh was a second Christ.

Fagan has kept his head down since returning to Britain, although he did appear on a BBC television discussion about cults last year. Soon afterwards, he lost his job with a social enterprise project. The main donor saw the show and demanded that he leave. “Waco is an issue for a lot of people.”

Now he lives on Jobseeker’s Allowance. He wants to work, but also lives in the expectation that the Mount of Olives will open up and the Day of Judgment come later this year.

Fagan warns me to take care when writing this article. “If you don’t, you will see me in judgment. Forget stuff about Peter at the gates [of Heaven]. It will be me, saying, ‘Cole, remember that article you wrote? Where do you think you’re going.’”

He laughs. After a moment’s reflection, Livingstone Fagan says: “I used to be a happy-go-lucky kind of guy, before Waco.”


Fonte: The Telegraph

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Branch Davidians, 20 Years Later


Twenty years ago today, on February 28, 1993, U.S. federal agents attempted to serve a search warrant on the Branch Davidians, a religious sect that lived in a community just east of Waco, Texas


Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms also wanted to arrest the group’s leader, David Koresh (real name, Vernon Howell) on charges of illegal firearms and explosives charges.

That raid resulted in a confrontation during which four agents and six members of the Branch Davidans were killed.

The FBI siege that followed lasted 51 days, ending on April 19 in an inferno that killed 76 Davidians, including 21 children.

The controversial, ill-advised U.S. government operation turned Waco into a byword — as in “We fear another Waco” (in reference to the polygamous FLDS cult’s compound near Eldorado, Texas).

No Public Ceremonies

The city has spent years trying to live down its notoriety.

It comes as no surprise, then, that the Waco Tribune reports

No publicly sponsored ceremonies are planned here to mark the disaster, which has become synonymous around the world with the name “Waco.”

“We’ve gotten a couple of calls about the 20th anniversary, asking if we were planning anything in commemoration,” said Larry Holze, the city of Waco spokesman who was a city councilman during the siege. “My answer is, we have no plans because it did not happen in Waco,
and we had no legal responsibility for it.”

Likewise, county government leaders have no plans to commemorate the tragedy. In response to an inquiry for this story, the McLennan County Historical Commission briefly discussed last week whether to pursue a historic marker for the site.

“There was no interest whatsoever in that,” commission chairman Van Messirer said. “There was a feeling that it’s one of those things that’s probably best left alone.”

The paper also notes that the site itself is controlled by a small faction of Davidian followers and is avoided by survivors of the siege.

On April 19 there will be a small reunion of about 50 Branch Davidian survivors.  The paper says “they will avoid Mount Carmel, the 77-acre site of the siege and blaze, because of an ongoing dispute about who represents the Branch Davidians.”

Cult Defenders

Also of note:

Baylor University’s Center for Religious Studies is planning an all-day symposium April 18 on the Mount Carmel saga. Scholars will discuss why the confrontation with the Davidians went so wrong and will try to put the beliefs of the Davidians into context of American religious history, said Gordon Melton, a Baylor religion professor organizing the event.

J. Gordon Melton is cult apologist — one of a small band of religion scholars known for their defense of cults.

For instance, after the 1995 gas attacks committed by Aum Shinrikyo, Melton joined a couple of other cult defenders on a trip to Japan to defend the cult’s religious freedom.

Branch Davidians

The Branch Davidians and its various faction are sects (in the sense of “splinter groups”) of Seventh-Day Adventism.

From a theological perspective these sects are — like Seventh-Day Adventism itself — cults of Christianity (which means that while they claim to be Christian their doctrines and practices fall outside the boundaries of historic, Biblical Christianity).

Sociologically the Branch Davidians community also had cult-like aspects.

The Waco Tribune notes

Federal law enforcement agents at the time portrayed the Davidians as a doomsday cult that abused children and was armed for apocalypse.

DNA testing later would confirm that David Koresh had impregnated under-aged girls in the group. Investigations showed the Davidians had stockpiled some 300 firearms, including assault rifles modified to become fully automatic, as well as hand grenades.

But in the aftermath of the siege, both the ATF and FBI drew widespread criticism for their aggressive tactics, and “Remember Waco” became a rallying cry for militia members and others distrustful of the federal government.

Government investigations in the aftermath of the Waco siege caused reforms of federal law enforcement, including a reorganization of the ATF and new training procedures.

Few people were surprised when a government-appointed investigator in July, 2000, cleared the FBI of blame over the siege.

But to date many theories — including conspiracy theories — of what actually happened during the siege remain.

Here is just one of a number of documentaries and TV programs on the Waco tragedy:

Fonte: ReligionNewsBlog




imagesCAIFE4N8AGGIORNAMENTO 1 marzo 2013

Leggi anche articolo “Disastrous raid on the Branch Davidians compound near Waco quietly  remembered 20 years later“, pubblicato sul Daily Mail, qui




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Usa, la pazzia della sopravvivenza

2 febbraio 2012

Dalla strage di Newtown al sequestro in Alabama. Li chiamano prepper o survivalist. Sono estremisti religiosi. O fanatici della destra armata. Violenti e pronti all’apocalisse.

di Guido Mariani

Erano nati come previdenti eroi quotidiani, hanno finito per odiare il governo federale di Washington e, armati fino ai denti, si preparano alla fine del mondo.
Cresciuta, nel frattempo, anche in Italia, negli Usa l’eterogenea tribù sociale dei survivalist o prepper è tragicamente tornata agli onori delle cronache, quando si è scoperto che ne fanno parte sia la madre del giovane killer della strage di Newtown, sia il reduce del Vietnam che si è barricato in un bunker in Alabama con un bambino in ostaggio.
SOPRAVVIVERE A OGNI COSTO. Il loro appellativo può tradursi con “sopravvivenzialisti”, cultori della sopravvivenza a ogni costo. E l’origine di questo movimento ha motivi storici, anche collegati alla natura del territorio americano.
Vivono in case dove accumulano quintali di provviste, acqua potabile, generi di conforto, ma anche armi e munizioni, nell’attesa di una fine prossima ventura. Paese di pionieri con il culto della frontiera, gli Stati Uniti sono esposti regolarmente a eventi climatici che costringono una buona parte della popolazione a tenersi in stato di costante allerta.
L’ARTE DELLA PREVIDENZA. Gli uragani spazzano le coste atlantiche, i tornado si abbattono improvvisamente sulle grandi pianure e sulla West coast, incendi e terremoti sono all’ordine del giorno.
La preparedness, l’arte di essere preparati, è dunque una saggia regola di vita per gran parte degli americani. Il problema è che da una norma – anche ossessiva – di prudenza, è nata una sorta di setta non ufficiale. Armata militarmente e socialmente pericolosa.

Da The Order a National Alliance: i fanatici Usa dell’“armageddon

Dagli Anni 80, dopo la crisi petrolifera, negli Stati Uniti iniziarono a costituirsi gruppi autonomi di fanatici, che univano fervore religioso a militanza politica di estrema destra.
Proliferarono così comunità e gruppi armati, alcuni con finalità terroristiche. Nel 1984, un’organizzazione chiamata The Order uccise il conduttore radiofonico ebreo Alan Berg: la sua storia sarebbe stata poi raccontata nel film Talk Radio del 1988, di Oliver Stone.
Nel 1985, l’Fbi organizzò una maxi operazione per smantellare una setta militarizzata ribattezzatasi The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord, asserragliata in un complesso a Elijah nel Missouri: della compagine facevano parte neonazisti e suprematisti bianchi, tutti in attesa della fine del mondo.
PARAMILITARI DELL’APOCALISSE. In maniera spontanea sorsero inoltre, in diverse parti degli Stati Uniti, gruppi paramilitari, milizie e movimenti politico-religiosi, convinti che l’apocalisse fosse vicina e fosse giunta l’ora di prepararsi alla guerra. Si diffuse anche un testo di riferimento, il romanzo razzista e millenarista The Turner Diaries: resoconto immaginario di una rivoluzione bianca firmato da William Pierce, leader politico del principale partito neonazista americano, la National Alliance.
Il resto sarebbe presto venuto. Nel 1993 la setta dei Branch Davidians, pronta all’“armageddon”, si barricò in un ranch a Waco in Texas sotto la folle guida del sedicente profeta David Koresh.
Accusati di vari reati tra i quali l’abuso di minori, i fanatici resistettero alle autorità fino all’assedio finale, terminato con l’incendio della fattoria dove si erano rintanati. Tra le 76 vittime, morirono tra anche il maestro Koresh e 17 minori.
LA STRAGE DI OKLAHOMA CITY. L’episodio di sangue radicalizzò ancora di più il movimento estremista. Nel 1995, per vendicare la strage di Waco, Timothy McVeigh, reduce della Guerra del Golfo, fece esplodere l’edificio degli uffici federali a Oklahoma City. Morirono 168 persone e la strage rimase l’attentato più sanguinario mai perpetrato sul suolo americano fino all’11 settembre 2001. McVeigh, risultò poi, si era ispirato agli atti terroristici narrati nei Turner Diaries. Ed era anche un fanatico delle armi, avido frequentatore dei gun show. Fiere dove la vendita di armi da fuoco è sostanzialmente libera e spesso luoghi di incontro dei survivalist.

Millennium bug e 11 settembre: le ossessioni dei survivalist

L’avvicinarsi del 2000 e del fantomatico millennium bug diedero nuova linfa al movimento dei survivalist.
Ma anche dopo la mancata apocalisse millenaria, gli attentati dell’11 settembre hanno alimentato diverse teorie del complotto che chiamavano in causa il governo di Washington. E, attraverso il web, hanno fatto breccia tra i cultori della fine imminente, esaltati dalle scene apocalittiche degli attentati.
Dopo la strage delle Torri Gemelle, l’attenzione dell’amministrazione verso le organizzazioni terroristiche ha posto sotto un maggiore controllo le milizie para militari sparse negli Usa. Ma le diverse ideologie di cui si nutrono i “sopravvivenzialisti” hanno continuamente rigenerato il movimento, rinfrancato anche dal risentimento razzista contro un presidente afro-americano e dalla propaganda contro una regolamentazione più severa del commercio di armi.
LE MILIZIE DELL’OHIO. Nel marzo del 2010 in Michigan, Ohio e Indiana, nove membri dell’organizzazione di survivalist Hutaree, nota anche come Ohio Militia, furono arrestati con l’accusa di pianificare atti di terrorismo. Tra loro, un 27enne si faceva chiamare Pale Horse e, in un video diffuso su YouTube, invitava gli americani ad armarsi, preparandosi allo scontro finale.
Nelle case degli affiliati furono trovati anche imponenti arsenali, ma quasi tutti i sospettati furono rilasciati, perché detenevano legalmente le armi e le idee estremiste sono tutelate dalla legge americana.
Mai sradicati, in alcune aree degli Usa i fanatici hanno costituito o si stanno costituendo comunità di estrema destra o neonaziste, che vogliono creare zone etnicamente “pure” e fortemente armate.
LE FIERE DEI SURVIVALIST. Come veicolo di propaganda, utilizzano i gun show e le preparedness expo, le fiere espositive sulle tecniche di sopravvivenza che servono a chiamare a raccolta estremisti di vario genere. E la strage di Newtown, per molti di questi, è stata un ulteriore segnale dell’avvicinarsi dell’offensiva contro di loro del Governo federale.
Su Internet si sono diffuse teorie che sostengono come, in realtà, il massacro della scuola Sandy Hook non sia mai accaduto. La carneficina sarebbe solo una gigantesca opera di disinformazione del governo di Washington, che vuole cancellare il secondo emendamento della Costituzione sul diritto di organizzare milizie e di portare armi.
Tesi deliranti. Ma non peregrine, tra i movimenti politici della destra americana. Negli ultimi anni, i survivalist hanno avuto voce in organizzazioni come il piccolo partito Libertario. E, non di rado, le loro idee sono confluite nei Tea Party o in altre correnti repubblicane come quella del candidato alla presidenza Ron Paul.
LA SPONDA REPUBBLICANA. Le lobby delle armi come la National Rifle Association sono particolarmente vicine agli estremisti, che rappresentano un loro potente bacino di sostegno e di clienti.
Nel 1993, l’attentatore di Oklahoma City McVeigh si recò a Waco a sostenere la comunità di Koresh asserragliata nel ranch e distribuì volantini con lo slogan «Dove le armi sono fuorilegge. Io sarò un fuorilegge».
Parole che, in queste settimane, sono riecheggiate tra i gun nut, i falchi del partito repubblicano e gli opinionisti della destra. In America, nella destra allo sbando, c’è chi crede sia iniziata la sfida finale per la sopravvivenza

Fonte: Lettera 43

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I bambini di WACO / Children of Waco

 I giovanissimi superstiti dei Davidians rivelano la sconvolgente vita paramilitare della setta

” noi, piccoli schiavi di Waco “

i genitori erano ” cani ” e a 11 anni le bimbe diventavano ” mogli ” di Koresh

NEW YORK . Dovevano chiamare i loro genitori “cani”. E le bambine, compiuti undici anni, ricevevano una stella di David di plastica: erano sessualmente pronte per David Koresh, leader della setta che aspettava l’ apocalisse tra i pascoli del Texas. I colloqui con i bambini sopravvissuti alla strage di Waco hanno dato un quadro agghiacciante agli psichiatri incaricati di decifrare i misteri del ranch. Proprio dai bambini, usciti dal fortino di Koresh al quarto dei 51 giorni di assedio dell’ Fbi, era giunto il primo segnale di allarme. Continuavano a disegnare case divorate dalle fiamme o distrutte da una esplosione, sormontate da splendidi arcobaleni e dai volti sorridenti dei genitori. “Ci vedremo in cielo”, avevano detto i genitori ai 21 bambini fatti uscire all’ inizio dell’ assedio. I 19 in eta’ tra i 4 e gli 11 anni erano stati subito intervistati dagli psichiatri. Dai colloqui era emerso il tentativo di Koresh di creare nel fortino una “comunita’ paramilitare”. Koresh era la legge. Uomini e donne vivevano separati con divieto assoluto di rapporti sessuali. Solo Koresh poteva essere chiamato “padre” dai bambini. Quando le bambine compivano 11 anni ricevevano dal “padre” una stella di plastica, che indossavano con orgoglio. Era il simbolo che erano pronte per diventare “mogli” del leader del culto. Koresh parlava apertamente di sesso con le “figlie” durante le lezioni di Bibbia. Dominava un’ atmosfera di terrore: i bambini venivano puniti (anche solo per aver versato del latte) a colpi di pagaia alle natiche. I segni delle punizioni erano ancora impressi sui corpi delle bambine uscite vive dal fortino. I medici hanno misurato pulsazioni di 140 battiti al minuto nei bimbi. Solo dopo tre settimane i battiti dei bimbi spaventati sono scesi sotto i cento. I bambini venivano puniti anche col digiuno. “Non e’ stato facile estrarre queste informazioni . ha dichiarato Bruce Perry, capo degli psichiatri . i bambini non volevano tradire i “segreti”. “Cosa succedera’ ai vostri genitori?”, aveva chiesto piu’ volte Perry ai bambini durante l’ assedio. “Moriranno tutti. In una grande esplosione. In una palla di fuoco”, era stata la risposta.

Pagina 9
(5 maggio 1993) – Corriere della Sera

Fonte: Corriere della Sera (archivi)



Children Of Waco 01 of 06 

Guarda le altre parti su Youtube




WASHINGTON – David Koresh, il profeta della salvezza eterna, che  si era presentato come la reincarnazione di Cristo, aveva loro  assicurato il paradiso in terra. Li ha invece condannati nella  maggioranza a un inferno, tra le fiamme da lui stesso scatenate  nelle ventose praterie di Waco del Texas. Li ha fatti bruciare  vivi, insieme con lui, nel tempio fortezza di legno, coi suoi  bunker sotterranei, le sue segrete, al cinquantunesimo giorno d’  assedio. E’ stata la sua folle, atroce risposta all’ improvviso  attacco dell’ Fbi, che per sei ore, con un carroarmato M60 su cui  sventolava la bandiera americana, aveva demolito il suo regno e  irrorato i suoi seguaci di gas lacrimogeni. Una risposta che ha  sollevato una miriade di angosciosi interrogativi sulle sette, la  loro facilità di armarsi, la condotta delle  autorità, e che potrebbe causare gravi danni politici a  Clinton. Una tragedia biblica che si doveva evitare: un suicidio  di massa come quello dei novecento del reverendo Jim Jones nella  Guiana 15 anni or sono, ma a differenza di esso vissuto in  diretta alla Tv da tutta l’ America in lacrime: e anche un errore  della polizia, simile a quello di Filadelfia un decennio fa  quando fu sganciata una bomba sul covo del gruppo nero Move, e  incendiò un quartiere intero. Il bilancio preliminare  è spaventoso: Koresh aveva con sè 94 persone, tra  cui 17 bambini al di sotto dei dieci anni, ai quali aveva dipinto  l’ Fbi come un’ emanazione di Satana. Se ne sono salvate solo 8,  tra cui un ragazzo sedicenne. In una emotiva conferenza stampa  ieri sera, quattro ore dopo il dramma, l’ agente dell’ Fbi Bob  Ricks ha ricostruito in maniera sconvolgente il giorno del  giudizio di Koresh e dei davidiani. “Nel suo infausto dominio, da  lui battezzato con macabro gusto il ranch dell’ Apocalisse – ha  dichiarato Ricks – si è consumato uno dei suicidi di massa  più orribili della storia. Ci ha detto uno degli scampati,  un certo Abraam, che i più fanatici seguaci di Koresh  hanno appiccato il fuoco a serbatoi di kerosene al primo piano  del fortino. Sentivo i bambini – ha riferito chiusi più in  alto in uno stanzone, cantare: ecco le fiamme, ecco le fiamme”.  Sappiamo che Koresh aveva del veleno: forse ha fatto loro un’  iniezione per evitargli una morte spaventosa. Ricks ha detto di  dubitare che il profeta sia sopravvissuto, “anche se solo oggi  potremo rovistare tra le rovine”. Il suo avvocato, De Guerin, che  stava negoziando una sua biografia con una grande casa editrice e  un film con Hollywood, ha smentito che Koresh avesse programmato  un suicidio di massa. Ma la nonna materna Jean Holub ha asserito  che “si era convinto di dovere morire per il bene della  umanità”. Koresh aveva assunto il comando della setta  nell’ 84, e la aveva prima guidata alla terra promessa in  California, quindi nel Texas. Predicava la fine del mondo e il  libero amore, e sequestrava i beni dei fedeli. La fine di questo  dramma religioso, dove s’ incrociano mezzi di distruzione e  fanatismo, razzismo e prevaricazione, è stata fulminea.  Dopo quasi due mesi di un gioco estenuante tra gatto e topo, dove  si confondevano le parti, il confronto tra l’ Fbi e i davidiani  si è risolto in dieci minuti. Alle 14 circa ore locali le  21 in Italia, dopo che il carroarmato M60 aveva martellato il  tempio fortezza fin dall’ alba, l’ incendio è scoppiato  con furia inarrestabile, alimentato dal vento. Una serie di  esplosioni, una delle quali potentissima, ha scosso gli edifici  color pesca, in gran parte in legno, e una immensa colonna di  fumo si è alzata verso il cielo. Le fiamme hanno  illuminato la prateria di un violento rosso sangue, sui  teleschermi si sono scorti gli agenti muovere verso il bersaglio  dietro il carroarmato, poi il fumo ha reso indistinguibile la  scena. Nella sua abitazione, la madre di Koresh, Bonnie Hadelman,  si è coperta gli occhi: “quei poveri bambini” ha gridato  “quei poveri bambini. L’ Fbi doveva attendere mio figlio li  avrebbe liberati”. Stranamente, sul posto non si vedevano  autopompe, solo autoambulanze, come se le autorità non  avessero previsto un incendio ma una sparatoria. Ha dichiarato  Bob Ricks: “I davidiani disponevano di armi pesanti le avrebbero  distrutte, e Koresh non intendeva liberare nessuno”. Il conto  alla rovescia degli sventurati è cominciato domenica  mattina a Washington, con un colloquio top secret del ministro  della giustizia Janet Reno col presidente Clinton. Così  non si può andare avanti, avrebbe detto il ministro al  presidente, sono passati cinquanta giorni, Koresh va stanato,  afferma che non si arrenderà se non dopo avere scritto un  trattato sulla Bibbia, temiamo un suicidio in massa. Reno avrebbe  esposto il piano nei particolari, e Clinton avrebbe acconsentito  a una prova di forza dell’ Fbi “purchè non si sacrifichino  vite umane”. Nella notte, sarebbero stati tagliati i fili dell’  elettricità, del telefono e tutti gli altri collegamenti  del quartiere generale della setta con il mondo esterno. E ieri  mattina, alle 5,30, mezzogiorno e mezza in Italia, l’ operazione  è scattata con un bombardamento di messaggi ai davidiani:  “Arrendetevi, stiamo per usare parecchie bombe lacrimogene, non  opponete resistenza”. Il carrarmato ha sferrato il primo colpo  mentre a Washington Janet Reno entrava all’ Fbi per seguire la  vicenda di persona. “Sono informato di ciò che sta  avvenendo” avrebbe dichiarato di lì a poco Clinton ai  giornalisti. “Ci auguriamo che tutto si concluda entro poche ore,  pacificamente e per il meglio”. Attonita, al proprio risveglio,  l’ America è rimasta avvinta ai teleschermi. L’ enorme M60  scuoteva periodicamente il fortino. Vi apriva un varco, vi  scagliava dentro i gas, faceva marcia indietro, tornava alla  carica. Senza il suono, la scena appariva surreale, non si capiva  se Koresh opponesse resistenza, e se i suoi seguaci fuggissero o  si asseragliassero nel bunker. Dopo circa quattro ore, Ricks ha  indetto una conferenza stampa, senza sapere che sarebbe stato  costretto a ripeterla. “Non cedono” ha spiegato. “Per ora  sparano. C’ è un fuoco di sbarramento molto intenso, a cui  però non rispondiamo. Stiamo usando la massima  moderazione: le bombe lacrimogene sono di scarsa potenza, non  vogliamo morti. Sappiamo che hanno maschere antigas, forse anche  sotterranei sigillati con riserve d’ aria, ma non dureranno a  lungo”. Ricks ha rifiutato di fare previsioni: “stiamo cambiando  tattica e abbiamo adottato mille precauzioni”. Sembrava l’ inizio  di una fase decisiva ma incruenta, un nuovo braccio di ferro di  una settimana al massimo. E la prospettiva di un suicidio di  massa? “La riteniamo remota, crediamo che si siano proposti di  morire combattendo, ma non glielo permetteremo”. Nel disegno  dell’ Fbi, i gas avrebbero dovuto seminare grande confusione tra  i figli di Koresh, e separarli in più gruppi, e dunque  sottrarli al controllo del profeta, indurli ad arrendersi a uno a  uno. “Tutte le persone che lo avevano abbandonato nelle scorse  settimane ci avevano escluso un suicidio in massa”, ha spiegato  un altro agente, Jack Killorin. “Non ci aspettavamo uno sbocco  simile. Non sapremo mai che cosa è successo esattamente.  Se tutti si siano sacrificati volontariamente, o se qualcuno  abbia cercato di fuggire, senza riuscirvi. Certo, non avevamo  previsto che David Koresh o chi per lui potesse intrappolare la  setta in un incendio”. Jack Killorin ha negato l’ esistenza di un  passaggio sotterraneo verso le colline più vicine:  “Badate, non ci sarebbe scappato nessuno, ma purtroppo è  finita così, adesso avremo un’ inchiesta”. Inchiesta  già sollecitata dal Congresso, ma a cui Clinton ha  già contrapposto una dichiarazione di appoggio al ministro  Reno, e a Sessions il direttore uscente dell’ Fbi. Qualcuno ha  ricordato che Koresh aveva ammonito per iscritto la polizia che  gli agenti “sarebbero stati divorati dal fuoco” se lo avessero  attaccato. Ma erano parse farneticazioni, come la minaccia di  contrattaccare con missili anticarro, i top gun del suo arsenale  privato. La cupa storia di Waco si è così chiusa  come si era aperta il 28 febbraio scorso, nel sangue degli  innocenti. Quel mese, in una incauta incursione dei poliziotti  della tesoreria, mutatasi in una feroce battaglia, erano perite  almeno undici persone, quattro agenti sette membri della setta:  una telefonata anonima aveva messo Koresh sull’ avviso poco prima  del blitz. Il fiasco dell’ operazione aveva costretto le  autorità alla cautela. Ma cinquanta giorni di trattative  non avevano dato alcun risultato. E la decisione dell’ Fbi di  spezzare l’ indugio è stata fatale. L’ America non  dimenticherà mai le fiamme di Waco, il tardivo e vano  intervento dei pompieri, gli edifici ridotti a un cumulo di  macerie, con la sola altissima bandiera blu del regno di David al  sicuro dalle fiamme. Non scorderà soprattutto i bambini,  per ora anonimi, scomparsi per la follia dei loro genitori. Ma il  suo ricordo e il suo rimpianto saranno inutili se non sorretti da  misure concrete contro la strumentalizzazione della fede e la  proliferazione delle armi, due fenomeni ingiustificabili in una  società civile, come ha sottolineato il ministro Reno,  assumendosi la responsabilità della sfortunata decisione.


Fonte: LA REPUBBLICA Archivio 20/4/1993




Report to the Deputy Attorney General on the Events  at
Waco, Texas

February 28 to April 19, 1993

VII. Child Abuse

A. Introduction

One of the issues that received some attention in Congress and the media in the aftermath of the standoff involved allegations of prior and ongoing child physical and sexual abuse inside the compound, and the extent to which those allegations affected the Attorney General’s decision to authorize the tear gas action. This inquiry has determined that:

1. Historical evidence suggested that Koresh had engaged in child physical and sexual abuse over a long period of time prior to the ATF shootout on February 28. This evidence was insufficient to establish probable cause to indict or proof beyond a reasonable doubt to convict, but it was sufficient to be relevant to the decision making process involving the proposed tear gas plan. The historical evidence is discussed in more detail below.

2. There was no direct evidence indicating that Koresh engaged in any physical or sexual abuse of children during the standoff. Given that Koresh had been shot and wounded on February 28, he probably lacked the physical ability to continue his abuse. However, there was evidence that sanitary conditions inside the compound, primitive to begin with, had worsened considerably during the standoff. It was unhealthy at best, and potentially life-threatening at worst, for children to continue, to be forced to live in such an environment.

3. The FBI did not exaggerate the child abuse issue when it presented the tear gas option to the Attorney General. The FBI did not try to “sell” the tear gas plan to the Attorney General as a way to save the children. While one of the FBI representatives made one misstatement indicating that Koresh was continuing to beat children during the standoff, that misstatement did not materially influence the Attorney General’s decision. Indeed, the FBI included virtually no mention of child abuse in its initial briefing book for the Attorney General. In the final briefing book, prepared on the weekend before April 19, the FBI included the historical evidence of child abuse and in no way indicated that it had any evidence of continuing abuse.

4. The issue of child abuse represented only one of many factors that influenced the Attorney General in her decision to approve the tear gas plan. No single factor was determinative. The Attorney General was more influenced by other significant issues, such as the difficulty in maintaining perimeter security at the compound, the unanimous conclusion of the negotiators and the experts that Koresh was not coming out, the Davidians’ plentiful food and water supply, the deteriorating sanitary conditions inside the compound, the safety precautions included in the tear gas plan, and the unanimous agreement of her top advisers in the Justice Department and the FBI that the tear gas plan represented the only viable option left for the government. Ultimately, it made no difference whether the children were undergoing contemporaneous abuse, because the environment inside the compound was intolerable for children in any event.

B. Evidence of Historical Child Sexual and Physical Abuse

1. Sexual Abuse

Rumors about Koresh’s sexual practices with girls persisted for years prior to the ATF raid. Former compound members told stories about Koresh’s alleged practice of having sex with girls as young as twelve. Evidence suggested that Koresh had “wives” who were in their mid-teens, that Koresh told detailed and inappropriate sexual stories in front of the children during his Bible study sessions, and that Koresh taught the young girls that it was a privilege for them to become old enough (i.e., reach puberty) to have sex with him. One former compound member described how Koresh would invent theological justifications for his sexual desires, whether they involved having sex with young girls or with other men’s adult wives. According to information provided to the FBI, at least two minor girls were “wives” of Koresh at the time of the standoff.

The following are excerpts from materials compiled by the FBI during the standoff providing examples of Koresh’s historical (i.e., pre-February 28, 1993) sexual practices with young girls.

a) From ATF Affidavit in Support of Arrest of Koresh

From ATF Special Agent Aguilera’s interview of former compound resident Jeannine Bunds, included in Agent Aguilera’s affidavit in support of the Koresh arrest warrant, February 25, 1993:

“Ms. Bunds also told me that Howell had fathered at least fifteen (15) children with various women and young girls at the compound. Some of the girls who had babies fathered by Howell were as young as 12 years old. She had personally delivered seven (7) of these children.

According to Ms. Bunds, Howell annuls all marriages of couples who join his cult. He then has exclusive sexual access to the women. He also, according to Ms. Bunds, has regular sexual relations with young girls there. The girls’ ages are from eleven (11) years old to adulthood.”

b) From Interview by Texas Social Worker

Joyce Sparks, Children’s Protective Services Investigations supervisor, Waco, interviewed a young girl, a former compound resident, on February 22, 1993:

“[She] entered the cult when she was about three or four years old. . . .

We asked her if she could think of any reason that any of the children at the compound would not be safe and as we got into this discussion, she brought up the topic of sexual abuse. She described herself as special and treated differently than other children. She talked about spending time alone with David and although this was ‘scary’ she felt ‘privileged.’

She explained to us that on one occasion, when she was ten years old, her mother left her in a motel room with David Koresh. He was in bed and he told [her] to come over to him. She got into the bed. David had no pants on. He took off her panties and touched her and then got on top of her. . . .

We talked about how she was feeling when this happened and she responded . . . ‘scared.’ When asked what else she felt, she responded . . . ‘privileged.’ When asked what David would do if he knew she was telling us about this, [she] rolled her eyes and said . . . ‘I wouldn’t even want to think about it.’

We asked if she knew about any other girls who had experienced this and she said yes. She reported that she knew about Michelle Jones. When asked how she knew this, she explained that David had talked about having sex with Michelle when she was fourteen. He told in a Bible study once what it was like when he had sex with Michelle.”

Michelle Jones died inside the compound on April 19, 1993.

c) From 1990 Affidavit of Former Davidian Ian Manning

“I was told that Vernon was sleeping with Michelle Jones, now currently fifteen years of age. . . .

I have seen Aisha Gyarfas come out of various rooms with Vernon where he slept that night. Vernon brags about having slept with her. She is now only fourteen years of age.”

Aisha Gyarfas died inside the compound on April 19, 1993.

d) From 1990 Affidavit of Former Davidian Alison Manning

“Vernon claims to have permission from God to have more than one wife and although he is legally married to one woman (Rachel Olivia Jones) he has sexual relations . . . with other women -two of which were minors at the time of his first encounters with Vernon has also discussed his relations with Aisha Gyarfas (an Australian girl of fourteen years of age), stating that on their first sexual encounter her heart was beating so fast and hard he could hear it. Once taken as his new ‘wife’ these girls were involved in continuing relations with Vernon, intermittently being taken into his bedroom to spend the evening with him.”

e) From FBI Agent’s Interview of Dr. Bruce Perry

[As discussed above, Dr. Perry interviewed the children who had been released from the compound during the standoff. Following are excerpts from a taped conversation that Dr. Perry had with FBI Agent Nancy Houston, in which Dr. Perry discussed information he had learned form his interviews with the children:]

“Dr. Perry: Koresh had a special relationship with the women by which he was able ‘to see the light’ in all kinds of women, women that were even girls, and he had sex apparently with . . . girls that were as young as ten.

. . .

Dr. Perry: These girls [i.e., those that Perry interviewed], none of them — I don’t think any of them actually had intercourse with him. I do think that a lot of them were present when there was inappropriate sexual things talked about. I think they were present when — I think it is highly probable that [a young girl] was involved in some kind of sexual behavior.

. . . I don’t think it was intercourse, but I think it was something sexual. She admitted to you that she thinks it is okay for [young] girls to have sex.

f) Excerpt From Negotiation Tapes, April 14-15, 1993“FBI: . . . What about sex with twelve year olds? I keep getting back to that because you know and I know that’s right, Steve [Schneider].

Schneider: It isn’t right and it’s not happening.

FBI: Well, was it with a fourteen year old?

Schneider: Fourteen year old? Wha ­ what can I say, it’s true.

FBI: Yeah, okay, and –

Schneider: What can I say?

FBI: A fourteen year old is not a consenting adult, you know that.

Schneider: The person was, the person was.

FBI: Don’t give me that. They’re not an adult yet.

Schneider: I wasn’t even here. This was with Rachel Jones.

FBI: It’s rape. It’s child rape. You know it and I know

Schneider: The parents consented before it even happened.

FBI: Oh, the parents can consent for a child, right?

Schneider: This is what I’ve heard, anyway. This is what I’ve been told.

g) Opinion of Forensic Psychiatrist Dr. Park Dietz

[Dr. Dietz's role is discussed in detail above. On April 17, 1993 he provided a memorandum to the FBI, which is excerpted below.]

“I do not believe negotiating in good faith will resolve the situation as it now stands. If everything continues as it has been going, I expect the following:

. . . .

– Koresh may continue to make sexual use of any female children who remain inside.

– The possibility of the children who remain inside ever leading a normal life will become increasingly remote.”

[Material redacted as required by statute.]

2. Physical Abuse

a) From March 26, 1993 Report of Dr. Bruce Perry

As discussed above, Dr. Perry learned from the children who had come out of the compound that the children had been subjected to harsh discipline from a very young age. According to his report of March 26, 1993:

. . . [T]hese children had a number of strict behavioral and verbal prohibitions. Violations of these resulted in punishment, sometimes severe. These children, for example, expected to be hit when they spilled. The style of discipline often involved being beaten with what these children labeled ‘the Helper.’ The Helper sounds like it is a wooden paddle, some children have reported it is broken off from an oar, other children have labeled it as a rice stirrer. In any case it is some variation of a wooden spoon. other forms of discipline included restrictions of food, sometimes for a day. . . . These children have been disciplined physically, apparently from a very young age.”

b) From the 1990 Affidavit of Ian Manning

“I have seen Vernon vigorously punish his son Cyrus approximate(ly] 5 years of age using a wooden paddle on his ,bottom, hitting him repeatedly. “I have seen Vernon encourage the mothers of babies to beat their children from eight months and on using a wooden paddle applied repeatedly to the babies’ buttocks.”

c) From the 1990 Affidavit of Allison Manning

“Vernon teaches a very hard method of disciplining children which begins at eight months (in some cases much earlier) entailing that you only inform the child once that you disapprove of their behavior, and if this bad behavior reoccurs then they are to be spanked with a wooden spoon or paddle. This often occurs more than once, i.e., if the child does not stop crying after being initially spanked, they are then spanked again. [T]his is done with considerable force, e.g., once a child was being spanked in front of me, and the force of bringing the paddle down on the child’s bottom was enough to feel the breeze blow on my face. The child being spanked was approximately eighteen months old. Often the childrens’ bottoms or thighs were bruised severely and these disciplinary methods are not abated — they continue with full force. These methods are instigated by Vernon Howell and they are in turn carried out by more zealous followers after they have been convinced that this is the only way it should be done.”

d) From 1990 Affidavit of Former Davidian Michelle Tom

“On one occasion Vernon spanked my daughter for forty minutes because she did not sit on his lap. She was eight months old at the time. Her bottom was badly bruised and he made her bottom bleed form spanking her so much.

Vernon performed this assault on my child in front of a room full of people, consequently I tried-to keep her away from him as much as I could. Nearly every time he saw her he would spank her. . . .

Vernon stated to me and another lady that if he ever saw us giving our children a dummy (or pacifier as they are known in the United States) that he would kill the children by smashing them against a wall.”

3. Circumstantial Evidence of Ongoing Abuse During the Standoff

As noted above, there was no direct evidence establishing that any children were being either sexually or physically abused during the February 28 through April 19 time period. There were circumstantial indications, however, that the children were living in a deteriorating environment, and that the prospect of sexual or physical abuse was likely as the standoff continued.

[Material redacted as required by statute.]

4. Public Statements About Child Abuse After The Standoff

As noted, following the fire on April 19, 1993, the Attorney General made several television appearances, during which she indicated that one of the factors that had-influenced her decision to approve the tear gas plan was her belief that contemporaneous child abuse was occurring inside the compound. The next day, April 20, then-Director Sessions appeared on television and stated, accurately, that the FBI had developed no direct evidence of contemporaneous child abuse.

Following Director Sessions’ statements, the Attorney General requested that all the available evidence regarding child abuse be collected. That project was completed over the next few days. The Attorney General realized that she had made an inaccurate statement. She corrected it during her April 28, 1993 testimony before the House Committee on the Judiciary, during which she emphasized that the evidence of child physical and sexual abuse in the government’s possession related to activities inside the compound prior to the standoff.

Fonte: U.S. Department of Justice  Washington, D.C. 20530





The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist’s Nootebook -What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love, and Healing bambini perry

Bruce Perry (Author), Maia Szalavitz (Author)


Deftly combining unforgettable case histories with his own compassionate strategies for rehabilitation, a child psychiatrist explains what exactly happens to the brain when a child is exposed to extreme stress–and reveals the measures that can be taken to ease a child’s pain and help him grow into a healthy adult.

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