Articoli con tag 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.
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
LA PAPESSA IN MANETTE RINVIATA L’ APOCALISSE
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”.
di ENRICO FRANCESCHINI
12 novembre 1993
Fonte: LA REPUBBLICA (Archivio)
16 Aprile 2013
Fondamentalismo islamico o pista interna?
Terrore a Boston, gli Usa blindati riscoprono la paura
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
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.
“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.
“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.
” 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.
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.
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