Waco Noir
The Lone Star Report

On Wednesday morning Washington's elite will converge on the basement theater of Union Station for their first viewing of Michael McNulty's Waco—A New Revelation, the follow-up to his 1997 doc on what happened during the feds' siege of David Koresh's Branch Davidian HQ at Mt. Carmel in Texas. The new film reportedly offers fresh evidence of FBI and Delta Force involvement in Waco, and has al ready kicked up a storm of controversy in Washing ton over the FBI's possible cover-up of its actions in Texas (which it denies). Special prosecutor John Dan forth, the former Missouri senator, is investigating.

The first showing is for 160 journalists. After they file out, there will be another private screening—this one for some 200 top officials from the FBI, CIA, Pentagon, Justice Department, and Congress, as well as defense attachés from foreign countries. The president and first lady have been invited, and so have Al Gore and Janet Reno.

Cruel and unusual: Allen Lee "Tiny" Davis in Florida's electric chair, July 8, 1999
Cruel and unusual: Allen Lee "Tiny" Davis in Florida's electric chair, July 8, 1999

In his investigation McNulty has discovered that German counterterrorism officials and members of Israel's Directorate of Military Intelligence were pre sent at Waco, in addition to the elite British Special Air Services (as reported in the Voice, October 6, 1999). These foreign spook experts liaised with the army's Delta Force and navy SEALs, the FBI, and others still unknown.

McNulty is now reporting that the CIA was also involved. He claims the CIA spooks provided a tiny, high-tech multiplexer mixer to electronically sort out all the different bugs, taps, and video shots of the events leading up to and during the fire. Unfortunately, the CIA operatives lost the mixer in the ensuing chaos and had to return the next day to poke around in the charred remnants of Koresh's compound until they found it.

Back in Washington, U.S. officials trying to figure out what to do about the religious zealots turned to the Russians, who had been doing spy experiments with "White Noise" devices, to see if they couldn't learn something from their techniques. But no luck.

Executioners' Song
Supremes on the Hot Seat

The Supreme Court's promised review of electrocution as cruel and unusual punishment after Florida's Old Sparky acted up in last July's execution of Allen Lee "Tiny" Davis, who killed a mother and her two daughters in 1982, is bound to highlight recent grisly moments in the 11 states which still use the hot seat. Numerous states now offer inmates a choice of the chair or lethal injection. Only four states, including Florida, use only the electric chair.

Among the worst horror stories:

  • With the first jolt of electricity, blue and orange flames sparked from the mask covering Pedro Medina's face when he was put to death March 25, 1997, in Florida. Flames up to a foot long shot out from the right side of the prisoner's head for six to 10 seconds. The death chamber clouded with smoke, and the smell of burnt flesh filled the witness room.

  • On July 24, 1991, Virginia executioners botched their job on Albert Clozza, causing his eye balls to pop right out of his head. Blood flowed out of Clozza's eye sockets down onto his chest, and technicians had to give four hard jolts before he finally died.

  • After a two-minute jolt of electricity, Alpha Otis Stephens was still breathing in Georgia's electric chair on December 12, 1987. Technicians waited six full minutes for the body to cool so they could examine the man and determine he needed another shock. During this period the alive and struggling Stephens took 23 breaths.

  • On April 22, 1983, in Alabama, sparks and flames shot out of the leg of John Evans. An electrode then burst from the strap holding it in place and caught fire. Smoke emerged from under his hood. Two doctors entered the death chamber and found Evans to still be alive. State authorities tried again, but he wouldn't die. More smoke and the smell of burning flesh came from the doomed man's leg. Technicians flipped the switch a third time, and finally killed him. The whole job took 14 minutes, and left Evans's body charred and smoldering.

    New York adopted the electric chair in 1890 as a more humane alternative to hanging. Thirty-five states employ lethal injection, also a nasty form of killing. Three hang convicted prisoners. Five use gas and three still use the firing squad.

    War Games
    Nantucket Triangle

    After his United flight to London left JFK at 9:15 a.m. Sunday, Christopher Ruddy, the conservative investigative reporter, listened on his headphones to the cockpit crew's chatter with the control tower. Instead of the usual laconic rattle of flight and altitude numbers, controllers were busily rerouting planes from the accident site off Nantucket. As his own plane gained altitude, Ruddy recalls, "a crew member of one of the planes radioed air traffic control to ask why the change. Air traffic control responded that 'there are rockets being fired in the area."'

    So far there have been no indications of U.S. military operations near the crash site, although critics of the government's investigation into TWA Flight 800 have claimed U.S. naval vessels were nearby and might have fired a missile into the jet by mistake.

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