Blogs > Liberty and Power > The Bipartisan Police State

Apr 19, 2006 5:33 pm


The Bipartisan Police State



Keith Halderman has recently pointed out the partisan nature of criticism of government abuses. I discuss this issue in my new LRC article, in memory of the Waco disaster 13 years ago and in reflection of the bipartisanship of American tyranny.
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Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

I'm wondering if you ever managed to read the Noble or Danforth reports as per our discussion on this topic a year ago.

http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/11414.html

Your ascription of blame in the Waco incident turns on your assumption that the government was responsible for causing the fire on April 19, 1993. The Danforth Report adduces evidence that the Branch Davidian leadership started the fire. Have you formed a view on this evidence in the year since we discussed it? Have you even looked at it? If not, is it intellectually responsible to discuss the topic while acting as though the contrary evidence didn't exist?


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

I'm wondering if you ever managed to read the Noble or Danforth reports as per our discussion on this topic a year ago.

http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/11414.html

Your ascription of blame in the Waco incident turns on your assumption that the government was responsible for causing the fire on April 19, 1993. The Danforth Report adduces evidence that the Branch Davidian leadership started the fire. Have you formed a view on this evidence in the year since we discussed it? Have you even looked at it? If not, is it intellectually responsible to discuss the topic while acting as though the contrary evidence didn't exist?


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

I can see that you're emotionally exploding all over the page, but bizarre or not, I asked you a simple question which in a year's time you haven't been able to answer. So let me ask it again: What is your answer to the Danforth Report's account of the cause of the April 19 fire? Take a deep breath, and try to deal with the evidence. I know it's hard to do when you're dogmatically committed to pretending that it doesn't exist. But it does.

You've listed a whole series of rhetorical questions. Rhetorical questions are not answers to questions, I'm afraid. Are you saying you have an answer to my question or do you just desperately need to change the subject?

Let us suppose that you intend your rhetorical questions to be assertions. What then are you asserting?

Presumably your claim is that the use of flash bang grenades caused the April 19 fire. Is that correct? You tell me. How, when and where did the flash bangs cause the fire?

You cite the FLIR evidence. I am not sure how the FLIR evidence is supposed to show causation on the fire. Could you explain?

I did indeed see the FLIR analyst in "Rules of Engagement" say that he thought that the FLIR gave evidence of gunfire directed at Mt Carmel. I didn't hear him assert that the gunfire was the cause of the fire, however. So I don't see the relevance of his assertion to what the subject of the present discussion, which is, precisely, the cause of the fire.

As for his assertion, yes, he did indeed say what you claimed above. And yet other experts of equally good credentials have claimed otherwise. That means we have conflicting testimony. How does conflicting testimony about the FLIR indicate that the government caused the fire on April 19, 1993?

Beyond conflicting testimony, the Danforth Report not only asserts that sunlight glints account for the FLIR, but describes an experiment that confirmed the hypothesis. What do you make of that? Do you have evidence to suggest that experiment was flawed? Could you explain what went wrong with it?

While we're at it, I think I have said before that if you look carefully at the FLIR as presented in the film, you see glints where no snipers were located. How do you account for that?

Further, how do you account for the non-existence of a FLIR signature for snipers where locations at which gunfire is supposed to be emanating?

While we're at it, let me repeat: what does this have to do with the cause of the fire?

As for the Delta Force admissions, could you supply some specifics? Who shot whom? While you're at it, could you explain how Delta Force admissions about this yields an explanation of the fire?

You ask about the government's coverup. The government covered up the military's involvement in Waco because its legal justification for using the military was shaky. I am the last one to exonerate the government of its wrongdoing. I have said many times, in print, in lectures, and on the Internet, that the government was guilty of many things at Waco. But they were not, in my judgment, guilty of causing the 4/19 fire and subsequent loss of life. If you have contrary evidence, stop temporizing and try producing it.

As for Iraqi WMD, it has no relevance whatsoever to the present topic. So why don't you try to get your story straight on the fire at Mt Carmel? Once we're done with that, maybe we can move on to Iraqi WMD. For your information, though, none of my views on anything come from George Bush. I tend not to form my beliefs by relying on propaganda. Let's see if you can meet that standard.


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

On question (1), I'm happy to see that you now obliquely admit that the firing on Fort Sumter was an initiation of force. Thank you.

In response to the rest of your comment, I wasn't denying that individuals exist or that they're the primary things that exist. But I would assert that a government has the right to declare war against those who aggress against it, and that the US Constitution demands that the federal government maintain a unified government. That's not incompatible with natural rights but an expression of it. Your interpretation of natural rights, far from being the only one, is a highly eccentric one.

On (2), you're admitting--obliquely--that there was no promise to hand over Fort Sumter. Thank you, once again for that concession. Buchanan's promises didn't bind Lincoln, and the promises he made weren't literally to hand over the fort. The promise of a handover was in any case not something that Buchanan had authority to make.

On (3), you may not have explicitly said that the firing on Fort Sumter was legitimate, but you invoked the pseudo-broken promise issue as a response to a query about the legitimacy of the firing on Fort Sumter. And you haven't until just now admitted that the firing was illegitimate. So I think it's fair to conclude that your original response was a deliberate red herring, i.e., a disingenuous way of refusing directly to answer the question that was being asked.

There is no natural right to secede from a government apart from all other contextual considerations. That is not how moral principles work, and it's not how rights work. The right to secession is an instance of the right of self-defense. The Confederates had no justifiable reason to invoke that right. They were the aggressors several times over, not the ones under attack.


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

You’re very right to say that academic historians ought to pay more attention to neoconfederate (and related) material. I tried to interest on academic historian (James McPherson) in the subject in an interview on my blog, but was unfortunately the victim of a technological mishap. You might be interested in the questions I asked, however.

I don’t intend to suggest that Jeffrey Rogers Hummel (mentioned in one of the questions) is a neo-confederate, by the way. I happen to disagree with the thesis of his book, but I wouldn't lump him in with them.


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Where did I say I have a principled opposition to revisionist history? I didn't say that, and don't have any such opposition--or "seem" to. What I object to is intellectual dishonesty and fabrication masquerading as revisionism--like yours. It's characteristic of your intellectual procedures that you should put claims in my mouth while accusing me (falsely) of putting claims in yours.

You may not be getting anywhere with this discourse. That's because your arguments are so bad. Personally, I got a lot out of it. I've shown any fair-minded reader of this exchange that when challenged on simple evidential questions about gigantic claims you've made (about mass murder by the government), you can do no better than to fabricate, backpedal, and evade. And I haven't ignored what you've said. I've responded to it. You simply can't handle the responses because you weren't interested in the facts in the first place.

As for civility, spare me. I don't feel any obligation to be civil to a person who fabricates claims out of thin air ("Danforth is a liar"), can't back them up, then on being challenged to provide support, softpedals his own assertions and re-writes them so that the original claim he made can no longer be construed as a responsive or relevant answer to the post it was first meant to answer. You've repeatedly called Danforth a liar and come up with nothing to substantiate the charge. That's libel.

I don't, incidentally, think libel should be a crime. I merely think that those who engage in it should be exposed for being the cretins they are.

Think about the content of the accusations you've made here. You've made accusations of mendacity and murder. After a bit of pressing it becomes clear how pitifully little evidence you have for your claims. And you're asking me to be "civil" because I've identified the gaping holes in your wild-eyed accusations? Nice try.

The bottom line is this: it is obvious to any objective reader of this exchange that you have no plausible account of the causation of the fire and no good evidence even of gunfire by the government targeting the Davidians on April 19 (much less of fire-caused-by-gunfire). You claimed last year to have read the Noble and Danforth reports (you needed to "re-read" them), but the questions you ask here suggest that you may well have been lying about that. You haven't dealt with any of the particulars of the report, and you don't even seem to know who wrote the fire reports. Nor have you dealt with the particulars of the Godard articles.

In the absence of evidence to support your claims about gunfire and the fire, you have no case. That won't stop you from making judgments about the American "police state," I suppose, but the fact remains: your judgments on that subect are as much a fabrication as your claims about Waco.


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Sorry, I garbled this sentence:


Further, how do you account for the non-existence of a FLIR signature for snipers where locations at which gunfire is supposed to be emanating?

I meant to write: how do you account for the non-existence of a FLIR signature for snipers at locations at which gunfire is supposed to be emanating?


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Um, just to remind you, you were the one who said that the case for the FLIR's indicating gunfire was open and shut (post 87082: the sunglint theory "absolutely impossible"). I was the one who said that there was "conflicting testimony" about it (post 87085). To which you responded that the conflicting testimony didn't matter because you were citing the presumably omniscient testimony of the inventor of the FLIR.

Try getting your story straight. While you're at it, try mastering mine, too. That's difficult I realize, given how mired in contradiction, evasion and denial you are. But if you can't even get straight on arguments you yourself made a few days ago--when the evidence is right there in front of your face--there is little reason to trust you with the evidence about Waco (or anything else). I've hears of revisionist history, but an attempt to rewrite April 19-20's conversation on April 21 is a bit much.

It's very magnanimous of you to suggest that maybe all of the experts in the Danforth report were "wrong" as opposed to lying. It's also a nice case of backpedaling. Not long ago--hours ago--you were saying that the whole report was a lie. Remember? Can't quite seem to get our story straight on anything, can we?

As for your claim that the government officials may be wrong, it's a textbook case of the fallacy of arguing from ignorance. Since anyone just may be wrong, it's not kosher to haul out Cartesian doubt at just the moment when your argument is falling flat on its face--as it manifestly is. Government reports can be wrong, but so can libertarian conspiracy theories. So the "argument" that error is possible cuts both ways and goes nowhere until and unless you have evidence that the Report is in error. Saying that it might be is like wishing that it might be. But saying doesn't make things so anymore than wishing does.

Your post is just a very elaborate excuse for not dealing with some as-yet unrebutted facts: you make gigantic claims about moral responsibility re Waco, but you have no credible account of the cause of the fire and (apart from fallacies, special pleading, and temper tantrums) you can't handle unrebutted evidence that lays blame with the Davidians. Lame, in a word. Really lame--in two.


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Your whole preceding attempt is self-admittedly pointless, since you've already conceded that you have no account of how, where or when the fire started.

The rest of your argument turns on the assumption that the evidence as reported in the Danforth Report were tampered with or destroyed. This claim is rebutted in detail in each of the Appendices to the Report with respect to every relevant category of evidence. Until and unless you deal with that, you are simply denying evident facts. You claim to have read the report, so you needn't as such elementary questions as who wrote the fire report (there were two, actually). I was referring to the Wetherington appendix.

You keep asserting that the Report might be false, but you haven't produced any evidence of it. I've read the Report twice over. (Nor have you produced evidence that its author was lying.) It is thorough, its expert testimony is done well-known, well-credentialed, independent international experts, and no one has successfully impugned the credibility of any of the individuals involved. There is no credible evidence of a conspiracy in it. That is all good grounds for prima facie acceptance of its claims, pending rebuttal of some specific point in it. Which I don't see.


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

A bit more, from Godard, on gunfire:

FORENSIC REALITY vs MYTH

Michael McNulty's documentaries claim that flashes appearing on the Waco FLIR as the fire spreads are government agents shooting at Davidians as they tried to escape through the rear dining-room exit. His first documentary claims: "Most of the remaining Davidians were concentrated here in the kitchen dining room area, it was their only way out except for one thing, two men outside were firing machine guns at them." The documentary calls this alleged scenario "the machine-gunning of the Davidians trapped in the burning kitchen dining room." [1]

McNulty's second documentary cites documentation allegedly confirming that many bodies were found near the dining-room exit. The documentary states that machine guns were "being fired into the back of the dining room" and that "according to the Justice Department report, at least fifteen people were found shot to death at this location." [2] Indeed, bullet-riddled bodies near the rear exit would seem to support McNulty's claim. However, consulting the cited source of documentation, the Justice Department report, reveals that in reality zero bodies are listed as being found in the dining room area. [10]

The following illustration is based on a map in the Treasury Department report that shows the locations of recovered bodies in Mt Carmel. [11] The location where the series of flashes appear during the fire is circled. Most shot bodies were found inside the concrete room shown below, which would shield those in it and in front of it from any gunshots coming from the flash location. The few shot bodies in a line of fire from the flash location were all shot in the head. [12] It's unlikely that a gunman firing blindly into a building would hit all his victims in the head. The easier explanation is that they were suicides or shot by others inside Mt Carmel.




The series of flashes that appear in the circled location above were caused by thermal reflections of the fire as it engulfed the floors above the concrete room. The flashes appear on a visible piece of debris attached to a fallen wall panel (the debris may be thermally reflective Mylar-film insulation). Gale-force winds cause the piece of debris to rapidly flap, which causes rapid flashing that produces an illusion of machine-gun fire. [13]

The absence of bodies near the rear exit debunks two key propositions of the gunshot claim: (1) that Davidians were machine-gunned as they tried to escape the fire through the rear exit and (2) that the official report says fifteen shot bodies were found near the rear exit.




PHYSICAL REALITY vs MYTH

The Justice Department's fire investigator James Quintiere opined that the Waco flashes are solar reflections on debris. [14] McNulty's documentaries [1,2] countered Quintiere with the claim that FLIR cannot detect solar reflections. However, FLIR tests conducted by Vector Data [8] and Klasen and Madsen [6] proved that specular solar reflections can produce bright white flashes in the same region of the electromagnetic spectrum the Waco FLIR detects. Furthermore, the FLIR image on the left from McNulty's second documentary [2] shows a helicopter during the US invasion of Somalia, which just happens to have a bright solar reflection on its windshield (click photo to see video clip). [15]

All the Waco flashes are clear examples of solar reflections (except for some that are thermal reflections of the fire [13] and others that reflect a tank's hot exhaust panel [16] ). One example: the first two images below are from the Waco FLIR. The second shows a flash that appears in a window at 12:08:31 pm. [17] The third image, a visible-light photo, shows the same window close-up, which is at the end of the collapsed gym catwalk.


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

The photos and diagrams fell out of that cut and paste, but here is the URL:

http://users.erols.com/igoddard/waco.htm


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Isn't there a legitimate reason for that procedure? If both sides were guilty of malfeasances, it matters which side was guilty of more. Even if we grant that Lincoln was guilty of some, it's possible to argue that the Confederates were guilty of much more, so that any criticism of Lincoln has to be tempered by that realization. That is not a "change of subject" but an introduction of necessary context into the subject.

I still have not seen any argument for how Lincoln was guilty of "initiating force" if the Confederates fired the first shot at Fort Sumter.

Gregory claims that the Confederates were "promised" Fort Sumter by the federal government. I'd be interested in seeing a reference for that.

Assuming such a promise was made, I'd also be interested in seeing an argument for how a cannonade is a justifiable response to a broken promise--when the party to whom the "promise" was made was simultaneously engaged in an illegal secession, and had broken a promise to abide by the results of the 1860 election.

The issue is not whether anyone was killed by the Confederate fire, but what right they had to open fire in the first place. If they started the war, Lincoln's actions (however bad) have to be understood as a response to their initiation of force. That changes the picture pretty dramatically.


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Your entire argument turns on the claim that the Danforth Report is a lie. That's a potentially libelous claim. What is your evidence for it? You present absolutely nothing to defend it.

According to the Danforth Report, the last incendiary device shot at the compound was fired at 8 am. The devices landed in a pit nowhere near the ignition points of the fire. The fire began at 12 noon. So the chance of the incendiary devices starting the fire is 0--gas or no gas, gunfire or no gunfire. This fact by itself disposes of the bulk of your speculations.

Of course, you cheerfully concede that "you don't know when" the fire began and assume that the fire started wherever the Rangers found the devices. Good going. This is to say: you admit that you don't know what you're talking about, hence can't answer the question about causation. Fires begin at particular places at particular times by particular etiologies. If you admit ignorance on one of those, you've forfeited any claim to explain the cause of the fire. You've admitted ignorance across the board. Gesturing vaguely at gas, non-existent snipers and incendiary devices that fell into cement pits hours before the fire began is not an explanation of anything but your incapacity to provide an explanation. Case closed.

You concede that the evidence you present with respect to causation of the fire is "circumstantial." That concession is fatal. The question was, what started the fire? Your answer is, you don't know. The so-called "circumstantial evidence" merely bolsters your supposition--based on no evidence whatsoever--that John Danforth is a liar. But the circumstantial evidence is itself rebutted by Danforth at hundreds of pages' length.

Among the facts ignored by your account of the cause of the fire are these:

1. An expert fire report asserting flatly that there was no external source for the fire.

2. Punctured fuel cans at the location of ignition.

3. Accelerants found in the debris.

4. Accelerants found on the Branch Davidians' clothing, confirmed by accelerant canine and laboratory evidence.

5. Admissions by the Branch Davidians that the fire was started by them.

6. Title III intercept tapes recording conversations of Branch Davidians in the process of laying combustibles, pouring accelerants and lighting the fire.

As for the FLIR, it indicates no clear evidence of an external source of ignition, but three ignition points unaccounted for by any external ignition source. I have watched it dozens of times, and I know what it shows and what it doesn't. There is not a single scene in "Rules of Engagement" that demonstrates causation on the fire. Not one. Give me the exact time of any scene you want, and I'll tell you why it doesn't demonstrate causation.

Incidentally, though I don't accept the claim that the FLIR shows evidence of gunfire, you haven't presented any evidence that the gunfire was in fact the cause of the fire (or even causally relevant to it) if it had been there. So even if grant your evidence-less claim that there was gunfire, you haven't shown causation on the fire.

True to form, you bolster evidence-claims with yet more arbitrary speculation: the old "shaped charge" claim. What is the evidence for that?

It is a pretty lame excuse to say that you'd have evidence for your thesis if only the government hadn't gotten rid of it. That's just an admission that you don't have the evidence you need to bear out your claims. Nor have you dealt with the (abundant) evidence contrary to your claims except to insist (without evidence) that it's all a lie.

The question remains unanswered--and your claims remain unjustified.




Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

That's a brilliant response to several questions I didn't ask, but it doesn't at all respond to the questions I did ask, which were mere follow-ups to claims that you made.

Let me repeat the questions in case you didn't get them.

1. How was Fort Sumter an instance of Lincoln's initiating force?

2. Under what circumstances did the Union promise Fort Sumter to the Confederacy?

3. Supposing that they did promise it, how was the firing on Fort Sumter a legitimate response to a broken promise?

But let me add a bonus: If firing on Fort Sumter was a legitimate response to the Union's broken promise, surely Lincoln's attacking the Confederacy should have been a legitimate response to its breaking its promise to abide by the results of the 1860 Presidential election.

After all: When you take part in an election, you agree to abide by the result. If you don't, you've broken a promise. If breaking a promise makes you fair game for being shot, then Lincoln was justified in firing on the Confederacy before they fired on Sumter. Evidently, by your argument, he was magnanimous enough to wait.

Rather strange results for your argument, I'd say. So far, we've gotten no answers to the salient questions about force-initiation, and a gaping contradiction that arises from the claims you have made.

Methodological hint: repeatedly asserting that the Union was the aggressor is not going to explain why the South wasn't aggressing when it fired on Fort Sumter.


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

You've already conceded that you don't have an account of the causation of the fire, and that your use of the FLIR imagery is circumstantial.

In light of that, it almost seems useless to trot you through the hundreds of pages of the Danforth Report that refute your claims (not that I won't do it), but here is a source on the FLIR evidence that is completely unconnected to Danforth:

http://users.erols.com/igoddard/wacoflir.htm

It's a frame by frame analysis of the FLIR that comes to the conclusion that every supposed instance of gunfire is a solar reflection. It's one of many such analyses. So is Ian Goddard part of the conspiracy, too?

Incidentally, if you think that the Danforth Report is a lie, you must also be asserting that all of the expert testimony in it is a lie. The expert testimony comes from multiple independent sources from the US and Europe. You must therefore be asserting that there is a conspiracy involving John Danforth and several respected American and European consultants and companies--including people with decades of experience in the field, international reputations, and prior work on similar investigations.

Naturally, you present not a shred of evidence for this wild assertion. So much effort to deny so much reality....but if you want to dig yourself into an evidential hole, be my guest.


Anthony Gregory - 4/24/2006

No, there is a focus on LRC on Lincoln. I'd say it's coverage is not disproportionate to other episode of comparably important history. And yes, he is "associated with. . . freeing the slaves." Unfortunately, most Americans have little understanding of Lincoln's legacy other than he "freed the slaves" and "kept the Union together." Few people know of his horrible crimes against liberty. And like the other terrible and overrated presidents, he gets bashed on LRC often. But to say there is not comparable Wilson bashing on the site is to betray an ignorance of the site's contents. Do you read it regularly? Yes, there is more stuff there about Lincoln than about Wilson. So what? There's more stuff about Wilson there than on your blog, and maybe this site too. It doesn't prove anything.

LRC has featured a range of opinion on MLK. Just as he was a mixed bag, the treatment of him on the site is mixed, too. He is praised for his opposition to American empire, and criticized for other, and less libertarian, aspects of his activism and political life. There is a similarly nuanced treatment of other figures in history with a mixed legacy.


Anthony Gregory - 4/24/2006

No, there is a focus on LRC on Lincoln. I'd say it's coverage is not disproportionate to other episode of comparably important history. And yes, he is "associated with. . . freeing the slaves." Unfortunately, most Americans have little understanding of Lincoln's legacy other than he "freed the slaves" and "kept the Union together." Few people know of his horrible crimes against liberty. And like the other terrible and overrated presidents, he gets bashed on LRC often. But to say there is not comparable Wilson bashing on the site is to betray an ignorance of the site's contents. Do you read it regularly? Yes, there is more stuff there about Lincoln than about Wilson. So what? There's more stuff about Wilson there than on your blog, and maybe this site too. It doesn't prove anything.

LRC has featured a range of opinion on MLK. Just as he was a mixed bag, the treatment of him on the site is mixed, too. He is praised for his opposition to American empire, and criticized for other, and less libertarian, aspects of his activism and political life. There is a similarly nuanced treatment of other figures in history with a mixed legacy.


Tom G Palmer - 4/24/2006

Oh, come now, Mr. Gregory. Are you denying that there is a remarkable focus in certain circles on a 19th century president who just happened to be associated with defeating the Confederate States of America and freeing the slaves? If you do, then surely you jest. You also managed to dodge the remarkable vitriol against Martin Luther King, a man whom I admire for his courage in attempting to eliminate that special exercise of "states rights," segregation. (This essay was especially noteworthy: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/epstein9.html )


Anthony Gregory - 4/21/2006

I didn't say the whole report was a lie. I said Danforth was a liar. Nor did I ever say that everyone he cited to make his case was also a liar.

I didn't say that the sunlight theory was "absolutely impossible." I said that the inventor of FLIR said that. So do you think he's a liar, or just wrong about his own invention? Regardless, you should really stop quoting me out of context, misquoting me, putting words in my mouth, and otherwise mucking up this blog with ad-hominem attacks against those who don't believe in Danforth's propaganda. Please, let's be civil here. Your aim to exonerate Danforth has gotten you quite riled up. (The idea, for example, that it is "potentially libelous," for someone to call an American politician a liar is out of place. I've known libertarians to debate libel law, but calling politicians liars is every American's God-given right. Implying that something I said in criticism of a former Senator might be "libel"—might be criminal—is just going too far.)

You also seem to have this kneejerk opposition to "revisionist history," as a matter of principle. I find that particularly peculiar. Without constant revisionism, history is a dead science.

I don't think we're getting anywhere with this discourse. You keep saying the Danforth Report, which you seem to assume is axiomatically true, shows the Davidians killed themselves. I mention crucial evidence Danforth ignores. Then you ignore what I say completely and attack me once more for calling Danforth dishonest. This pattern is fun the first three or four times, but it's getting old.


Anthony Gregory - 4/21/2006

"The rest of your argument turns on the assumption that the evidence as reported in the Danforth Report were tampered with or destroyed. "

Wrong. I am not talking about evidence as reported in the Danforth Report. I'm talking about the evidence outright ignored by the report.

You still haven't addressed the incendiary rounds that Danforth ignored. You seem to think that merely bringing them up is absurd, since Danforth didn't mention them, and his report's accuracy is some kind of self-evident truth.


John Richard Clark - 4/21/2006

...is that, aside from Jefferson's first presidential term, everything goes terribly wrong.

That's why the thesis of most libertarian historical scholarship follows along the lines of: "if only 'X' had not happened, things would be better today," with 'X' signifying "the Federalist Party," "Jacksonian Democracy," "the election of Abraham Lincoln," "the surrender of the saintly Robert E. Lee at Appomattox," "Reconstruction," "Progressivism, "Wilsonian Democracy," "the New Deal," ad infinitum.

At least the neoconfederates are consistent---they virtually all mark their fin de siecle at 1865.


John Richard Clark - 4/21/2006

The label "neoconfederate" has been thrown around too gratuitously by otherwise well-meaning critics of white supremacy, especially Edward Sebesta and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

I'm glad that two professional historians---Brooks Simpson and James McPherson---openly challenge the neoconfederate movement.


Anthony Gregory - 4/21/2006

From the article you site:
------
Dr Edward Allard, physicist, retired director of the Defense Department's
Night Vision Laboratory. Allard holds patents for breakthrough FLIR
technology. He has testified that the Waco FLIR flashes are gunshots.

Barbara Grant, and electro-optical engineer argues in the Proceedings of the
SPIE that the Waco FLIR flashes may be gunshots but require further study.

Carlos Ghigliotti (page 1, 2, 3), owned Infrared Technologies Corp. and was
retained by the House Government Reform Committee to investigate the Waco
FLIR. He concluded that the Waco FLIR flashes are gunshots.

James Saffrin, experienced infrared analyst with Infraspection Institute.
Hired by CBS 60 Minutes to analyze the Waco FLIR and believes the flashes
are gunfire.

Maurice Cox, mathematician and imagery analyst for U.S. military
intelligence. Cox concluded that the Waco FLIR flashes are gunshots.
-------
Pretty open and shut, huh? Or are you saying they're all lying?

Maybe there are government experts who aren't lying intentionally, but who are wrong. You ever think of that? Govt.-funded research is often tainted in this way.


Anthony Gregory - 4/21/2006

"Your entire argument turns on the claim that the Danforth Report is a lie. ."

No, it doesn't. But your entire argument seems to turn on the claim that it isn't.

"That's a potentially libelous claim. What is your evidence for it? You present absolutely nothing to defend it. ."

The facts I've brought up contradict the Danforth report. You seem to be ignoring them.

"According to the Danforth Report, the last incendiary device shot at the compound was fired at 8 am. The devices landed in a pit nowhere near the ignition points of the fire. ."

That's the red herring I've already mentioned. They also found three more incendiary rounds behind the house, with evidence of having passed through the CS gas-filled house. And Jack Frost, who invented them, said they had been modified—"souped up" by the Army and given to the FBI. They found three flash bangs where the fire started and then lied and called them silencers. Stop invoking the red herring and address the evidence.

"The fire began at 12 noon. So the chance of the incendiary devices
starting the fire is 0--gas or no gas, gunfire or no gunfire. ."


Again, that military round that you're talking about—with the red stripe, in the puddle of water, that was shot in the morning, which we all saw on TV—is a red herring. Danforth did not address the other incendiary rounds and flash grenades! He ignored them. And you're ignoring them too.

"This fact by itself disposes of the bulk of your speculations. ."

If you take Danforth's whitewashing job as the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, I can see why you'd draw that conclusion. But in reality, there are at least six highly combustible rounds of government ammunition at and near the origins of the fires that remain as likely sources of the fire that Danforth just pretended didn't exist.

"Of course, you cheerfully concede that "you don't know when" the fire began and assume that the fire started wherever the Rangers found the devices. ."

I didn't concede that. You misquoted me. I don't know precisely when, and neither do you.

It is highly likely that shooting incendiary devices into a house full of flammable vapors and dust from the government's chemical weapons would start a fire. No police agency investigated the actions of the FBI that day until the Rangers in 1999. Bush quickly deferred to Janet Reno's hand-picked ex-senator who, like you, focused his entire investigation around the 8AM Red Herring into a puddle North of the building and ignored the rest.

"Good going. This is to say: you admit that you don't know what you're talking about, hence can't answer the question about causation. Fires begin at particular places at particular times by particular etiologies. If you admit ignorance on one of those, you've forfeited any claim to explain the cause of the fire. ."

That's ridiculous. Apply that logic to the rest of history, and none of us knows anything. I don't know which spark at which instant started which flame, but when you fill a building with flammable gas all morning and shoot pyrotechnic military gas rounds and flash bangs into it, and it goes into flames, you are probably the cause. There is, of course, the epistemological problem of knowing every detail 100%, but citing the Danforth report is not impressive when the bulk of evidence indicates that government sparks and government gas caused the fire.

"You've admitted ignorance across the board. Gesturing vaguely at gas. . ."

"Gesturing vaguely"? What I said was it was flammable, the house was saturated with it and the feds shot incediary rounds into it, and that 3 of those were found at the origins of the fire.

". . . non-existent snipers. . . "

Existent snipers. Do you think Lon Horiuchi wasn't there?

There's the two gunmen that get out of the back of the tank and shoot toward the gymnasium with clearly identifiable arms, legs and rifles (with muzzle flash shaped flashes at the end of them going off at 1/30 of a second each) (dark colored from leaving the air conditioned tank).

". . . and incendiary devices that fell into cement pits hours before the fire began is not an explanation of anything but your incapacity to provide an explanation. Case closed.

Yes, the red herring is not an explanation, which is why Danforth focused on it.

"You concede that the evidence you present with respect to causation of the fire is "circumstantial." That concession is fatal. The question was, what started the fire? Your answer is, you don't know. The so-called "circumstantial evidence" merely bolsters your supposition--based on no evidence whatsoever--that John Danforth is a liar. But the circumstantial evidence is itself rebutted by Danforth at hundreds of pages' length."

Circumstantial evidence is not no evidence. What is the government's evidence? Assertions.

"Among the facts ignored by your account of the cause of the fire are these:

"1. An expert fire report asserting flatly that there was no external
source for the fire. ."


By who? So the fire didn't start on the outside of the building? So what? Funny thing about those Mark 19 40mm grenade launchers and M16 machineguns that Wesley Clark at Fort Hood gave to the FBI—you can use them to shoot projectiles into a building from outside.

"2. Punctured fuel cans at the location of ignition. ."

You mean in this demolished house where everything was destroyed and the electricity had been cut off? There were feul cans? And they were punctured? Wow. Clearly a suicide.

"3. Accelerants found in the debris. ."

Yes. The Davidians had all kinds of accelerants and tanks in their yard. And they were broken and destroyed by the federal attackers.

"4. Accelerants found on the Branch Davidians' clothing, confirmed
by accelerant canine and laboratory evidence.' ."


Yes, David Thibodeau and Clive Doyle climbed through fields of flammable liquids outside their house.

"5. Admissions by the Branch Davidians that the fire was started b them. ."

Like who? And in one context?

"6. Title III intercept tapes recording conversations of Branch Davidians in the process of laying combustibles, pouring accelerants and lighting the fire. ."

Yeah, and those tapes were in the early morning, a couple of hours before your red herring was shot in that puddle of water. They were discussing how to defend themselves against the federal tanks—"this is not an assault; this is not an assault"—and contemplating using Molotov cocktails.

"As for the FLIR, it indicates no clear evidence of an external source of ignition, but three ignition points unaccounted for by any external ignition source. I have watched it dozens of times, and I know what it shows and what it doesn't. There is not a single scene in
"Rules of Engagement" that demonstrates causation on the fire. Not one. Give me the exact time of any scene you want, and I'll tell you why it doesn't demonstrate causation."


I didn't say it was definitely the cause of the fire. I said the explosion at the back of the building was at the same time it began, and was caught on the FLIR. I brought it up in direct response to your question—what does FLIR have to do with the fire's cause?—to explain that the FLIR showed an explosion that happened to coincide with the place going ablaze. Is it absolute proof that that explosion caused the fire? No. But it can't just be brushed away. Waco: A New Revelation has the details about the military rounds and the mislabled flash grenades, not Rules of Engagement..

"Incidentally, though I don't accept the claim that the FLIR shows evidence of gunfire, you haven't presented any evidence that the gunfire was in fact the cause of the fire (or even causally relevant to it) if it had been there. So even if grant your evidence-less claim that there was gunfire, you haven't shown causation on the fire."

Right. I never said that federal gunfire ignited the blaze. Just that the feds murdered a bunch of people. Much of the FBI's own FLIR footage shows the feds shooting as the building burned as an aside which illustrates what tripe it is that these people killed themselves.

"True to form, you bolster evidence-claims with yet more arbitrary speculation: the old "shaped charge" claim. What is the evidence for that?."

Evidence for the shaped charge on top of the "bunker"? Plenty: The video of an explosion there - which then punctured a propane tank which caused the big fireball we all remember shooting up, the many pictures of the hole in the cement roof with the rebar bent violently downward, the results of the blast's effects of the massive stainless steel refrigerator, the obvious cracks and weaknesses in the walls from the overpressures from the blast, and the effects it had on the bodies in there (exclusively women and children).

"It is a pretty lame excuse to say that you'd have evidence for your thesis if only the government hadn't gotten rid of it. ."

I said I'd have more physical evidence if the government hadn't destroyed it. It's pretty lame that you'd defend the government's massive destruction of evidence at Waco, echoing the absurd line that the "Mt Carmel complex was razed because it was a health hazard."

http://hnn.us/readcomment.php?id=74222&bheaders=1#74222

"That's just an admission that you don't have the evidence you need to bear out your claims. Nor have you dealt with the (abundant) evidence contrary to your claims except to insist (without evidence) that it's all a lie.

"The question remains unanswered--and your claims remain unjustified."


See above.


Anthony Gregory - 4/21/2006

Dr. Palmer, I addressed your allegation that LRC doesn't do much Wilson bashing last year:

"Everything I've ever seen about Wilson on LRC has been very critical. According to Google, 361 pages on LRC mention 'Abraham Lincoln.' Only 247 mention 'Woodrow Wilson.' Of course, Wilson is a less well-known figure, less often discussed, than Lincoln.

"But there are fewer critiques of Wilson. Only a little more than 2/3 as many pages mention Wilson. What is the proper ratio? How much more do we have to hate Wilson than Lincoln? What would qualify as 'comparable Lincoln bashing'?"

http://hnn.us/readcomment.php?id=64423

Seriously, you are being silly. The site bashes virtually every president, and especially the worst ones, quite strongly. There is absolutely no reason to think LRC is soft on Wilson.

Now, in fact, there are 293 articles that mention Woodrow Wilson. Readers might be interested in perusing them to see some of the best criticism of that white supremacist, imperialist, corporatist, police statist, religious fanatic monster on the internet:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&;lr=&c2coff=1&client=safari&rls=en&q=%22Woodrow+Wilson%22+site%3Alewrockwell.com&btnG=Search


Steven Horwitz - 4/21/2006

In December of 1860, after South Carolina seceded, President Buchanan promised Governor F.W. Pickens that the feds would not reinforce Ft. Sumter anymore. Buchanan also made a truce with Florida over Fort Pickens. The understanding was, if the Union didn't reinforce the forts, the Southerners would not fire. Lincoln violated the truce.

Well, it was a little more complicated than that, as the move to "reinforce" Sumter was clearly communicated by Lincoln as "provisions" and not ammunition. Lincoln was quite clear about that. I'm not sure I'd call that "breaking the truce."

And it's pretty likely that no matter what he had done, short of surrender of Sumter, the CSA would have fired first.


John Richard Clark - 4/21/2006

I hope you were being sarcastic! Jackson's assault on the Bank of the United States ultimately led to the Panic of 1837, which Van Buren made worse by imposing the Independent Treasury System on state banks.

I believe Jackson's worst mistake was not acting on an impulse he confided on his deathbed: "I should have shot Clay and hung Calhoun."


John Richard Clark - 4/21/2006

I find DiLorenzo's writings on LRC the ultimate in unintentional comedy. Here is a case in point: his most recent column on LRC, "America's Jacobin Ideologues." DiLorenzo worked himself up into a self-righteous rage against Straussians and neoconservatives---the unintentionally funny part of the column is that many of the accusations he leveled at the neocons more aptly apply to his brand of "scholarship."

1. "The Jacobin ideologue expresses NO HUMILITY. . . .Only members of a cult, who believe that THE TRUTH comes only from the mouth of the cult leader, would believe such a thing. No one with intellectual integrity would ever make such a totalitarian claim."

---This from the intellectual Kool-Aid dispenser of the "cult of Murray Rothbard."

2. "The Jacobin ideologue has no use for actual history because he claims to have special knowledge of 'universal principles.'"

---This from a "scholar" who arrogantly titled his hack job THE REAL LINCOLN (because only he has "special knowledge" of Lincoln's alleged racism, atheism, and overall evil dictatorial characteristics)

3. "The Jacobin ideologue makes sweeping, categorical assertions as a substitute for the real complexity of the world."

---This from the author who calls Lincoln an evil totalitarian racist without lending context to his charges.

4. "Jacobin ideologues have unquestioning faith in their own moral superiority. This explains why the Straussians so often behave in such a completely vulgar, mannerless, and uncivilized way whenever anyone questions any of their precepts. This is radically different from the normal state of affairs in academe where such criticism is viewed as the means of arriving at the truth through discussion and debate."

---This from the "academic" who vented a paroxym of bilious insults at the Claremont Institute when critics of his opus nauseous pointed out multiple instances in which DiLorenzo engaged in sloppy scholarship.

"The Straussian Jacobins are not necessarily interested in the pursuit of truth; they already know THE TRUTH."

---Just as DiLorenzo understands THE REAL LINCOLN.

6. Jacobin ideologues are also narrow-minded nationalists. They believe that their country is morally superior to all others, and by virtue of that 'fact' they have a right and a duty to impose their 'moral' will on others."

---Sounds an awful lot like the neoconfederates, actually, judging from some of the Lost Cause baloney LRC columnists regurgitate online. They would just love to "Confederize" the rest of the country and dominate their perceived social inferiors (meaning all non-white Anglo-Celtic Protestant Southerners---excepting Latin Mass Catholics, of course).

7. "The Jacobin ideologue is constantly warning about THE ENEMY, who is so depraved, and so evil, that no compromise of any kind is possible."

---sounds a lot like a certain somebody over at Loyola who obsessively fixates on the historical reputation of A. Lincoln.

This is an interesting comment: "another characteristic. . .hatred of the south, its citizens, its history, and even its contemporary institutions, from NASCAR to country music."

My question: why NASCAR and country music? Why not SEC football and R'n'B, which are just as much Southern "institutions" as stock car racing and country music?

DiLorenzo, like many LRC polemicists, is adept at the use of racial code words---he specifically cited those examples because they are two Southern "institutions" that are primarily practiced and patronized by white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant Southerners (wink, wink!!!)

Academic historians do their discipline a great disservice by ignoring the neoconfederates. The LRC stable of polemicists have mastered the art of propagating subtle white supremacist and Lost Cause propaganda. They are dangerous people because they use their academic credentials to legitimize historical lies and distortions. They bypass the regulatory system of scholarship of submitting academic work to peer-reviewed journals and university presses; instead, they appeal directly to the public, who either may or may not know if the material posted on the Internet or published in the Regnery vanity press is legitimate history. Most will note that the author is a PhD and a professor of economics, so he MUST know what he's talking about.

It's a shame that the academic profession can't sanction "scholars" like DiLorenzo in the same way state medical licensing boards sanction quack physicians.


John Richard Clark - 4/21/2006

Reconstruction "made things worse" for anyone, it was the white population of the South who refused to surrender white supremacy.

When Congressional Reconstruction was in place from 1867-1877, a black upper-middle class emerged, the African-American community embraced all forms of education, rose into the ranks of the professions, and held office at every level of government. So-called "Black Republican" Southern state governments during Reconstruction established public schools and improved conditions for whites and blacks alike.

The North did not pass Black Codes immediately after the Civil War. The Northern-dominated Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866, sent the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the US Constitution to the states for ratification, passed the Force Bill to stop the violent activities of the KKK (which only operated during the Reconstruction era in the South), and took over Reconstruction from Andrew Johnson's disastrous management.

Southern "Redeemer" governments went back to business as usual after the Compromise of 1877---segregation, violence, intimidation, electoral reapportionment to favor rural elites at the expense of the new Southern industrial middle class.


Tom G Palmer - 4/20/2006

What an interesting exchange. It still does not explain the compulsion on LRC to attack Martin Luther King (one can almost hear the writers trying not to pronounce the name as "Koon"), the bizarre obsession about Abraham Lincoln (yes, he did many bad things, but I don't see much about, say, Woodrow Wilson's crimes on LRC -- of course, he was a southerner and an avid segregationist), and the connections with the League of the South and other creepy outfits.

How any self-proclaimed libertarian could stomach being connected with such a primitive collection of Confederate Revivalists is a mystery to many libertarians.


Anthony Gregory - 4/20/2006

"1. How was Fort Sumter an instance of Lincoln's initiating force?"

That's not the initiation of force I'm concerned with. All that exists is individuals. None of the individuals that Lincoln jailed, conscripted or killed were aggressing against him. He was aggressing against them.

"2. Under what circumstances did the Union promise Fort Sumter to the Confederacy?"

In December of 1860, after South Carolina seceded, President Buchanan promised Governor F.W. Pickens that the feds would not reinforce Ft. Sumter anymore. Buchanan also made a truce with Florida over Fort Pickens. The understanding was, if the Union didn't reinforce the forts, the Southerners would not fire. Lincoln violated the truce.

"3. Supposing that they did promise it, how was the firing on Fort Sumter a legitimate response to a broken promise?"

I never said that it was a legitimate response. In fact, I said the South shouldn't have formed the CSA, seceded, or gone to war. Even a just war against aggressors is a terrible thing for society and freedom. The CSA was horrible. But none of this means Lincoln wasn't a murderer, dictator, and aggressive warmonger.

"But let me add a bonus: If firing on Fort Sumter was a legitimate response to the Union's broken promise, surely Lincoln's attacking the Confederacy should have been a legitimate response to its breaking its promise to abide by the results of the 1860 Presidential election."

No! It doesn't work that way. Just because some guys in uniforms in geographical region X violate n promise with Y, it doesn't justify Y in killing A, B, C, and D. Each individual is an end in himself. Along the same lines, just because the US empire murders people overseas all the time doesn't mean terrorists are moral in killing innocent American civilians.

Furthermore, elections are not magical. They do not give people a moral right to violate liberties. They do not bind anyone to anything. They are statist constructs. Lincoln could have been elected with 99% of the popular vote in each and every state, but the minute he wages war on someone who wants to be left alone by him, he is an aggressor. Murder and theft cannot be violated at the ballot box.

You're assuming that people don't have a right to secede from the federal government. I believe all people do, on an individual level, or in political groups. I believe that just as slaves had a right to secede from their rulers, all peaceful individuals in the South—most people who fought against the Union weren't slaveholders, mind you—had a right to secede from the government.

As a libertarian, I consider all laws that run contrary to natural rights to be unjust. A law against secession from the state is one such law. To enforce a policy against secession by calling up troops and waging war is to violate natural rights and the freedom of association. (Yes, yes, I know that the slavers were violating natural rights too. This is quite obvious. But we should apply this principle not just to the man who enslaved 100 people for plantation profits, but also to the man who enslaves millions to wage war.)


Anthony Gregory - 4/20/2006

Jackson was, even if not for the right reasons, better on banking than the Hamiltonians. Jacksonian became more libertarian under Van Buren, but he wasn't perfect either.

Personally, I think Jackson was a monster. And I happen to know that many LRC writers also see Jackson's evil side.

But I agree, not just about paleos, but libertarians in general, who tend to unconditionally praise the founding fathers and other tyrants in the early Republic. Washington, Madison, Jefferson—slavers and powermongers. Corporatist tyrants, who often talked a good talk and then walked all over American liberties. (Kind of like Ronald Reagan.) There is actually less Constitution fetishizing on LRC than elsewhere in libertarian circles, and I'm glad.


Anthony Gregory - 4/20/2006

"Did Southerners refuse to abandon white supremacy"? Yes. And so did Northerners. And Reconstruction made things worse.


Anthony Gregory - 4/20/2006

I don't find the article on Lee to be Confederacy idolatry. It says the establishment smears him more than he deserves. I don't know for sure what to think of Lee, but I do think he's better than a lot of the other Confederate leaders, and I don't see how the article idolizes the institution of the CSA.

The article by Greenhut seems more a critique of Yankee supremacism than an article of Yankee-bashing.

The one on Confederate sailors does honor the people who fought for their side in a defensive war, but it neither idolizes the state nor does it bash Yankees.

The Wilson piece does hint at a regional collectivism I try to avoid. It could be interpreted to conflate the Northeastern Establishment with the people who live there. I think this is not the ideal way of looking at it, but it's not unusual at all among people, including libertarians, to describe, for example, "the Japanese" during World War II, rather than the more precise "Japanese government."

Now, I don't agree with every word on LRC, but this idea that it is a hotbed of neo-Confederate racists is just an old trope by this point. Look at the thousands of articles that have been carried on the page, and you'll find very little that a principled libertarian can find much fundamental fault in. In discussing the state atrocities actually happening now, the site is very solid. There is no longing for the CSA on that anarchist, only revisionism on the Civil War, most of which I agree with and see no flaw with from a libertarian perspective.

Now are you going to respond to my points?


William J. Stepp - 4/20/2006

I think the reason that libertarians at LRC have tended to avoid coming to grips with Jackson's high crimes, until recently, is the lingering influence of Murray Rothbard, who thought the Jacksonian movement was essentially libertarian, despite the fact that the founder and many of his followers were slave owners.
He saw Jackson's attack on the Second BUS as the ticket to libertarian nirvana, which of course it was not, being motivated strictly by political calculations and personal animus of Biddle and his independent policies. The Bank's deposits (about 15% privately owned)
ended up in state banks controlled by Old Hickory's cronies, in a move that would have done Jack Abramoff proud.
Jackson also signed more internal improvement bills than his six predecessors combined. How's that for Rothbardian laissez-faire?
And the Force Bill he advocated and signed, and the squelching of nullification wasn't exactly libertarian.
He also advocated forcibly removing squatters on public lands, and for all I know probably killing them.
A perusal of his papers in the Richardson compilation (v. 2) shows him to be one of the biggest presidential monsters of all time.

In his bio. of Lincoln, Remini points out that Jackson paved the way for Abe.
Jackson, more than anyone else, reminds me of Bush II, in both policies and style. His first reaction was to shoot first and ask questions later.
How any libertarian, including Rothbard, ever confused Jackson with laissez-faire is a minor mystery.
Schweikart and Allen are far better, but even they let him off the hook on a couple issues. But then Schweikart (don't know about Allen) loves some aspects of Big Government
(e.g., internal improvements and a big war machine) and likes Lincoln.


John Richard Clark - 4/20/2006

Does Wilson seriously claim that only Northerners are marked by their "greed, hypocrisy, fanaticism, and desire to lord it over the rest of us Americans?" Evidently he has forgotten the collective works of the pro-slavery apologists.

What does Wilson imply by using Bradford's quote in this way? "a 'conservative' (i.e., Republican) in the South is not the same thing as a Southern Conservative."


John Richard Clark - 4/20/2006

What, exactly, is "noble" about the Confederate cause?

Did Reconstruction destroy race relations in the South, as Greenhut claims, or did Southerners refuse to abandon white supremacy?

Why does Greenhut explicitly link the South with "Christendom?"


John Richard Clark - 4/20/2006

What is the point of mentioning Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday in connection with Robert E. Lee's birthday?

Jarvis deplores "minimizing exemplary men?" What exactly is "exemplary" about Lee's violation of his sworn oath to uphold the US Constitution as a Regular Army officer? Lee was a reluctant traitor, but a traitor nonetheless.

Why does Jarvis abhor "egalitarianism?" By implication, does he favor elitism instead of social equality?


Anthony Gregory - 4/20/2006

”I can see that you're emotionally exploding all over the page, but bizarre or not, I asked you a simple question which in a year's time you haven't been able to answer. So let me ask it again: What is your answer to the Danforth Report's account of the cause of the April 19 fire? Take a deep breath, and try to deal with the evidence. I know it's hard to do when you're dogmatically committed to pretending that it doesn't exist. But it does.”

My response to Danforth is that he is a liar who was appointed by Janet Reno to produce a report that would whitewash the Waco atrocity on behalf of the police state, as opposed to the Texas Rangers investigation that had found inconvenient evidence for the police state and was thus called off by Governor George Bush.

“Presumably your claim is that the use of flash bang grenades caused the April 19 fire. Is that correct? You tell me. How, when and where did the flash bangs cause the fire? ”

I don’t know precisely when, but I believe the incendiary devices probably started the fire precisely where they were found by the Texas Rangers.

”You cite the FLIR evidence. I am not sure how the FLIR evidence is supposed to show causation on the fire. Could you explain? ”

In Rules of Engagement there's footage of an explosion, probably a flashbang or one of the military incendiary rounds at the back of the gymnasium shortly before that fire began—not conclusive, but ignored completely by the Danforth investigation you hold so high.

It also shows the soldiers shooting up the kitchen area, the last exit, *as the building burned*.

” I did indeed see the FLIR analyst in "Rules of Engagement" say that he thought that the FLIR gave evidence of gunfire directed at Mt Carmel. I didn't hear him assert that the gunfire was the cause of the fire, however. So I don't see the relevance of his assertion to what the subject of the present discussion, which is, precisely, the cause of the fire. ”

Flammable gas, incendiary rounds, and rifle shots, all evidenced by the FLIR footage and aimed at a sealed-off building filled with highly flammable gas, could perhaps help to explain why everything went up in flames, don’t you think?

”As for his assertion, yes, he did indeed say what you claimed above. And yet other experts of equally good credentials have claimed otherwise. ”

Like who? A fellow inventor of FLIR?

”That means we have conflicting testimony. How does conflicting testimony about the FLIR indicate that the government caused the fire on April 19, 1993?

“Beyond conflicting testimony, the Danforth Report not only asserts that sunlight glints account for the FLIR, but describes an experiment that confirmed the hypothesis. What do you make of that? Do you have evidence to suggest that experiment was flawed? Could you explain what went wrong with it? ”


In the Danforth test, they used rifles with longer barrels and flash-suppressant ammunition. The temperature was about 20 degrees lower than on the day of the Waco fire. The conditions varied wildly. Sunlight reflecting is not as hot as fire. It can’t explain the infrared signatures. This is an infrared camera we’re talking about.

”While we're at it, I think I have said before that if you look carefully at the FLIR as presented in the film, you see glints where no snipers were located. How do you account for that? ”

Where? How do you know there were no snipers there?

”Further, how do you account for the non-existence of a FLIR signature for snipers where locations at which gunfire is supposed to be emanating? ”

They’re lying on the ground and their clothes are about the same temperature as the ground. (When they get out of the airconditioned tanks, on the other hand, they are more noticeable on the FLIR footage.)

”While we're at it, let me repeat: what does this have to do with the cause of the fire? ”

It’s largely a circumstantial point. The Waco killers lied and murdered that day, and their credibility is suspect. If they’re running around shooting firearms and incendiary rounds (three of which were found behind the house with evidence of having gone through the house, Reno and Danforth’s red-herring round found in the puddle of water notwithstanding) at a building they had pumped with flammable and poisonous gas, after having detonated a shaped charge at the top of the bunker, thrown flash-bang grenades at everyone who tried to leave the supposed “hostage situation” during the standoff, and waged psy-ops on a bunch of civilians who had just fought in self defense against federal agents (and who had stopped shooting once the agents ran out of ammo and retreated on Feb 28), the possibility that Waco was merely a mass suicide becomes highly questionable, to say the least.

”As for the Delta Force admissions, could you supply some specifics? Who shot whom? While you're at it, could you explain how Delta Force admissions about this yields an explanation of the fire? ”

I did explain the evidence. The Delta guys admitted it to Gene Cullen and Steven Barry, and these credentialed men retold the story. Do you think they’re lying?

”You ask about the government's coverup. The government covered up the military's involvement in Waco because its legal justification for using the military was shaky. I am the last one to exonerate the government of its wrongdoing. I have said many times, in print, in lectures, and on the Internet, that the government was guilty of many things at Waco. But they were not, in my judgment, guilty of causing the 4/19 fire and subsequent loss of life. If you have contrary evidence, stop temporizing and try producing it.”

They filled the house with flammable gas, threw in flash bangs, shot incendiary rounds at it, machinegunned the house and then lied about it. There would be more physical evidence if the government hadn’t bulldozed the entire site, covering the crime scene with bleach. You think they did that for safety concerns? Sure they did.

”As for Iraqi WMD, it has no relevance whatsoever to the present topic. So why don't you try to get your story straight on the fire at Mt Carmel? Once we're done with that, maybe we can move on to Iraqi WMD. For your information, though, none of my views on anything come from George Bush. I tend not to form my beliefs by relying on propaganda. Let's see if you can meet that standard. ”

You don’t form your beliefs by relying on propaganda, and you are the last one to exonerate the government’s wrongdoing, yet you cling to a piece of government propaganda that was commissioned for the exact purpose of exonerating the government’s wrongdoing. Maybe you think that the idea the government murders and lies about it is “a conspiracy theory.” So is the entire written history of all state atrocities everywhere.


John Richard Clark - 4/20/2006

I found these loveletters to the Lost Cause: care to comment?

http://www.lewrockwell.com/jarvis/jarvis56.html

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig3/greenhut1.html

http://www.lewrockwell.com/jarvis/jarvis65.html

http://www.lewrockwell.com/wilson/wilson17.html


Anthony Gregory - 4/20/2006

I haven't seen these "worshipful paens to the Confederate States of America" you speak of. I have seen the "polemics against the historical reputation of Abraham Lincoln," which are deserved because he was one of the very worst presidents in American history.

"Why is Lincoln the arch-villain of American political history and not, say, Andrew Jackson, who defied the Supreme Court, defiled the concept of property rights, believed in democracy, and opposed nullification and states' rights?"

Well, Lincoln was far worse than Jackson. But Jackson was also a murderous monster. I've seen criticism of Jackson on LRC, of his Indian-killing, his nationalism, and the whole ideology of Jacksonianism.

See, for example, this wonderful new piece on LRC by Daniel McCarthy, which describes the new Age of Jackson and hopes instead for a rebirth of Jeffersonianism:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/dmccarthy/dmccarthy59.html


John Richard Clark - 4/20/2006

Why do Steven Greenhut, Gail Jarvis, Thomas DiLorenzo, Thomas Woods Jr., Clyde Wilson, and Lew Rockwell write worshipful paens to the Confederate States of America? Why do they pen angry polemics against the historical reputation of Abraham Lincoln?

What is it about the Confederacy that puts LRC editorialists in such a reverential mood?

Why is Lincoln the arch-villain of American political history and not, say, Andrew Jackson, who defied the Supreme Court, defiled the concept of property rights, believed in democracy, and opposed nullification and states' rights?

I suppose if there were a neo-Whig constituency willing to buy anti-Jacksonian propaganda disguised as scholarship, DiLorenzo would slap together a diatribe against Old Hickory.






Anthony Gregory - 4/20/2006

"...is that the US government is not theocratic, dedicated to white supremacy, sexism, or isolationism in 2006."

Well, it is an imperial state characterized by economic fascism and aggressive war, though it is more PC than it used to be (at least by today's PC standards; in the past, slavery was PC). I'm glad that America is, in many ways, not nearly as institutionally sexist or racist as it was 150 years ago, in either North or South. We have a long ways to go, however.

"However, several intellectuals at LRC in 2006 support theocracy, white supremacy, anti-immigration, and isolationism. Again, if you would like me to provide citations, I will be glad to do so."

I don't see the theocracy or white supremacy. I do see some arguments there on the immigration issue, but few libertarians, not just among the paleos, take the anarchist position I do on the issue, regardless of the current welfare or national security state. Ron Paul, for example, votes for immigration controls that I think are horrible. But I really don't think the most libertarian member in Congress—perhaps in the history of America—puts on a white sheet every night when he gets off work. The total opposition to nationalism and a consistent application of it to borders is very, very rare among libertarians. Among some of the most consistent libertarians on the issue—at least in how I look at it—write for LRC. I don't think it's fair to call the site anti-immigrant.

As for isolationism, what you referring to? There is no trade protectionism there. There is, however, an opposition to military intervention and imperialism—an opposition which is, and should be, at the heart of liberalism.

"BTW, I pointed out the inconsistency of antebellum Southerners who supported states' rights and their insistence on enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850---I was not aiming the criticism against LRC."

Well then what was your point? That slavers in the 1850s weren't consistent libertarians?


John Richard Clark - 4/20/2006

...is that the US government is not theocratic, dedicated to white supremacy, sexism, or isolationism in 2006. However, several intellectuals at LRC in 2006 support theocracy, white supremacy, anti-immigration, and isolationism. Again, if you would like me to provide citations, I will be glad to do so.

BTW, I pointed out the inconsistency of antebellum Southerners who supported states' rights and their insistence on enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850---I was not aiming the criticism against LRC.


Anthony Gregory - 4/20/2006

I wrote, "shutting down hundreds of people"

That should read, "shutting down hundreds of newspapers."


Anthony Gregory - 4/20/2006

"It's funny how neoconfederates can cite chapter and verse on the numerous iniquities the Lincoln administration imposed on Americans, yet conveniently forget that many Southern states interfered with the national electoral process in 1860 by refusing to place Republican party nominee Abraham Lincoln's name on ballots."

Who conveniently forgets this? Since when is opposing one side in a war the same as ignoring everything evil the other side does? If the US government dropped a nuclear bomb on Iran, it's plenty fair to say the US is the aggressor, even if Iran's government was aggressive to the people living in Iran as well.

"And what about the suppression of free speech within the US Congress by Southern politicians who forced the 'gag rule' prohibiting the introduction of anti-slavery petitions in Congress?"

Horrible.

"What about the suppression of free speech committed by antebellum Southerners who seized and burned abolitionist literature mailed to federal post offices in the South?"

Horrible. Unlibertarian. Not very surprising. Everyone knows it's evil, whereas most people don't recognize how evil Lincoln's actions were. Notice that most libertarian Web sites like to take on the more controversial questions. For example, it's been a while since Liberty and Power had a heated discussion on the evils of Pol Pot.

"Neoconfederates bloviate about "states' rights," yet their noble ancestors trampled Northern states' personal liberty laws in insisting on strict federal enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850."

This might be true. Where do LRC writers ever defend federal enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act or attack the personal liberty laws? What on earth are you talking about?

And of course, once the war started, the Confederacy had no states rights, anyway. (BTW, I personally don't like the whole "states rights" term. States don't have rights. They have moral limits on their power. And Lincoln exceeded his many times over. Period.)

"The LRC neoconfederate cabal hate Lincoln because they believe Abe ended the kind of society they prefer---theocratic, racist, sexist, and isolationist---all ideals antithetical to libertarianism."

Oh yes, I'm sure. Because the theocrats (see "the Battle Hymn of the Republic"), the racists (see the Free Soilers and Indian killers), the sexists (see most Americans in the 1860s!), and the "isolationists" (see the protectionist and nativist Republican party) had no reason ever to back Lincoln's war! Give me a break.


Anthony Gregory - 4/20/2006

The initiation of force should not be looked at in nationalistic terms. If one government slaughters an innocent in another country, the latter country's government has no moral right to firebomb the cities in the first government's countries. It is always wrong to initiate force against any innocent people. Abraham Lincoln was a mass murderer and a dictator, who jailed people for such "crimes" as not coming to his defense when in the presence of people who criticized his presidency. His violations of speech rights alone—shutting down hundreds of people, jailing thousands because of their opinions, deporting politicians who spoke out against him—rendered him a dictator. Just because the regime his government was at war with was also a criminal organization doesn't mean he was a good guy, or decent in the least. Bashing Lincoln on libertarian grounds and saying he had no right to wage war on millions of people simply because their government fired at a tax collection office that was itself on "public", and therefore stolen, land, doesn't mean you sympathize for the Confederacy, any more than bashing Wilson means you love the Kaiser, bashing Hitler means you love Stalin, or bashing Clinon means you love Milosevic. In a war between states, both sides are generally guilty of grave crimes, but at least one is an aggressor in the context of the war itself. In the war between North and South, the Union was the aggressor, although the Southerners, blacks especially but also poor whites and indeed most of the population, were of course also being victimized by their own state. (Hell, at the time, women were treated as property under the law in most of the country. While perhaps not as enslaved as black slaves, it was purely evil how the law regarded them. Does that mean that you can go to war with a country as long as its people's rights aren't being respected? Nonsense.)

Why is this all so hard to understand? You slaughter one innocent child, woman or man who didn't threaten you, you're a murderer. It doesn't matter if someone who lived in the same area as he attacked a federal installation. Rights are individual. National governments are simply organizations of monopolized violence. None have any rights to exist, including the Confederacy. But Lincoln had absolutely no right to do what he did. His support of slavery itself should alone dispell all these PC complaints about criticizing him. The way his generals massacred the Plains Indians, in one of the episodes closely resembling genocide in American history, should also be of concern. This whole idea that Lincoln is defensible on libertarian grounds ignores the many hundreds of thousands who he victimized.


Anthony Gregory - 4/20/2006

John Richard Clark:

"I wish you would cite some examples on LRC that criticize the Confederacy. I don't believe you will be able to find any."

Here's the first thing that came up on Google.

"The government of the Confederacy, born, as we believe, to the parents,’ self-determination and liberty, was nothing but coercion, violence and force wearing a butternut uniform. . . .

"In January of 1863, a group of men raided the building where the salt was stored in Marshall and took what they determined to be their share. A provisional force led by Lt. Colonel Keith of the 64th North Carolina Regiment was ordered to apprehend these thieves and Union sympathizers by Confederate General Henry Heth. Colonel Keith would go to the settlements and coerce information as to the whereabouts of these men from the women and children who were there. Tactics used by this regiment could serve as examples for those in government who perpetrated the acts at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.

"Some women and young people were actually hung by the neck until they passed out. They were then revived and threatened with a repeat performance. One lady was tied in the door of her cabin and her infant placed in the snow right outside the cabin. She was told that when she told where the perpetrators were hiding, she would be allowed to get her infant but if she didn’t she could watch it die; all this from the representatives of a government purporting to be fighting for the right of self-determination and freedom. . . . "

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig5/gaddy1.html



Keith Halderman - 4/20/2006

It is interesting that you use the same tactic in defending Lincoln that the neo-cons use when abuses in Iraq, by the Bush administration, are pointed out. You do not dispute the fact that grevious misconduct has occurred, you merely try and change the subject by saying how bad the other side is.


John Richard Clark - 4/20/2006

I should also point out that pro-slavery Southerners frequently took the law into their own hands during the antebellum era and destroyed Southern antislavery newspaper offices and printing presses.

For daring to express his opinion that slaveholding planters economically exploited yeoman farmers, South Carolinian Hinton Helper had to flee to the North to escape violent retribution. So much for freedom of speech.

And, of course, for daring to criticize the institution of slavery and its Southern practitioners, Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner was caned at his desk in the Senate chambers by a South Carolina congressman.

Any comments from the neoconfederates?


John Richard Clark - 4/20/2006

It's funny how neoconfederates can cite chapter and verse on the numerous iniquities the Lincoln administration imposed on Americans, yet conveniently forget that many Southern states interfered with the national electoral process in 1860 by refusing to place Republican party nominee Abraham Lincoln's name on ballots.

And what about the suppression of free speech within the US Congress by Southern politicians who forced the "gag rule" prohibiting the introduction of anti-slavery petitions in Congress?

What about the suppression of free speech committed by antebellum Southerners who seized and burned abolitionist literature mailed to federal post offices in the South?

Neoconfederates bloviate about "states' rights," yet their noble ancestors trampled Northern states' personal liberty laws in insisting on strict federal enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

The LRC neoconfederate cabal hate Lincoln because they believe Abe ended the kind of society they prefer---theocratic, racist, sexist, and isolationist---all ideals antithetical to libertarianism.


William J. Stepp - 4/20/2006

John Richard Clark writes:

Despite the suspension of habeus corpus, Lincoln compiled a good record in upholding basic American civil liberties. The administration made no attempt to control the news or subvert the electoral process.
--

In fact nine members of Maryland's legislature and the chief clerk of its Senate were arrested.
There is also the Vallandigham case, which provides contrary evidence.

General orders, no. 38, enforced by Gen. Ambrose Burnside, proscribed anyone from "declaring sympathy" for the enemy, which included making speeches and writing pamphlets and editorials. To say that the Lincoln dictatorship made no attempt to control the news or subvert the electoral process is historically inaccurate.

The Chicago Times was shut down as were the printing facilities of the New York World and the Journal of Commerce. The managers of the latter two firms were held under guard for three days.

As for the Lincoln junta being a dictatorship, see Rossiter's book on _Constitutional Dictatorship_, which also names Wilson and FDR as examples.


John Richard Clark - 4/19/2006

You "haven't seen any worship of the Confederacy on the site?"

Do yourself a favor and click the link on LRC's main page entitled "Columnists." Then check out the archives of Gail Jarvis, Charley Reese, Steven Greenhut, Thomas Woods Jr., and Clyde Wilson.

Their writings drip with hatred of Yankees and uncritical devotion to the Lost Cause. If you read carefully (or not so carefully), you can detect white supremacist ideology. I can provide you with specific examples if you insist.

I wish you would cite some examples on LRC that criticize the Confederacy. I don't believe you will be able to find any.


Anthony Gregory - 4/19/2006

And how do you account for the flash grenades mislabeled as silencers, the military incendiary rounds (other than the flash bangs or CS rounds or the incendiary rounds found in the puddle) that had passed through the walls and went 100 feet away from the house, the parachute flares, and the sniper's shell casings from across the street—all found by the Texas Rangers in their investigation?

http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/director_staff/public_information/Branch_Davidian_2/BD%20part1.pdf

And what about the FLIR evidence, which you dismissed as "unanalyzed" even though you presumably saw the inventor of FLIR say they were federal gun shots on the footage when you watched Waco: The Rules of Engagement 42 times? And hat of his view that the sunlight theory was "absolutely impossible"?

What about Gene Cullen (CIA) and Steven Barry (Seal) saying that Delta Force Operators admitted to them that they had killed Davidians?

And why did the government cover up the military's involvement for half a decade, anyway?

Do you also still believe in Bush's WMD claims?

Last time you confronted me on this, you made other bizarre assertions, which I had decided were not worth responding to. I suppose I'll see now if I was right.


Anthony Gregory - 4/19/2006

The Confederates fired at a tax collection installation after they were promised they could have Fort Sumter. No humans even died at that first battle, although a horse did. Excusing Lincoln's four years of aggression because the Southerners attacked a tax collection office seems odd on a libertarian site.

I don't think the South should have seceded, formed the CSA, or gone to war. But that doesn't excuse Lincoln's despotism. It is not right to initiate force against innocents, and Lincoln did so much of it it baffles me when any liberty-minded folks don't see it.

I know that the Confederates instituted the draft before Lincoln. But I didn't claim Lincoln imposed the first draft "in America." I said he established the "federal government's first slave army." The Confederacy was not the federal government. At any rate, are you excusing his censorship and conscription?

"You are also confusing the 'right of secession' with the 'right of revolution' in your reference to the Revolutionary War. The Revolutionary War and the Civil War are not historically compatible; the events of the 1770s and the 1850s-1860s existed in far different contexts."

Yes, you are right. The events existed in far different contexts. And yet, on the one issue that the Lincolnites keep hammering away on—that the Confederacy had no rights to secede and Lincoln had a right to stop them, all because the CSA had slavery—it remains a fact that the USA had slavery throughout that war, and the American colonies had slavery when they revolted against the British Crown. I fail to see how the American Revolution was not one of secession.

"I noticed you are a contributor to LRC. That website is infested with 'libertarians' who worship the Confederacy and subtly support white supremacy."

I haven't seen any worship of the Confederacy on the site. I've seen criticisms of Lincoln and some criticisms of the Confederacy. I don't see white supremacy there, either. In fact, LRC is one of the libertarian sites most opposed to the current racist war, as well as America's race wars in the past, including Lincoln's generals' slaughtering of the Plains Indians.


John Richard Clark - 4/19/2006

Seven of the Confederate states seceded, formed a government, and elected Jefferson Davis president by February 1861---a month before Abraham Lincoln took office.

The Confederacy fired, unprovoked, on a US military installation.

It is true that President Lincoln used executive authority to suppress opposition to the war effort in the North. However, suspension of habeus corpus was permitted by the US Constitution "when in cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety" require it.

Despite the suspension of habeus corpus, Lincoln compiled a good record in upholding basic American civil liberties. The administration made no attempt to control the news or subvert the electoral process.

By the way, the Confederate States of America, not the United States, instituted the first general military draft in American history in early spring 1862, creating what you term "the first slave army."

You are also confusing the "right of secession" with the "right of revolution" in your reference to the Revolutionary War. The Revolutionary War and the Civil War are not historically compatible; the events of the 1770s and the 1850s-1860s existed in far different contexts.

I noticed you are a contributor to LRC. That website is infested with "libertarians" who worship the Confederacy and subtly support white supremacy.


Anthony Gregory - 4/19/2006

Lincoln waged aggressive war against secessionists, as did the British government when the American colonies seceded. The American colonies also had slavery, and Britain offered freedom to the slaves who sided with Britain.

So while as a libertarian I have no respect whatever for the Confederate States of America, or for the corporatist slavers who dominated the war against the British empire, I must side against the aggressive war against secession in both cases. If Lincoln was right to wage war on the South, Britain was right to wage war on America. (In neither case was liberty of slaves the real concern of the aggressor, of course.)

That said, Lincoln didn't simply wage war on the South. He shut down hundreds of papers, imprisoned thousands or dissidents, unleashed the Army on New York civilians, and, throughout the war, protected slavery within the Union states that had it and sent freed and escaped slaves back to to their masters in the Confederacy.

Even if secession is not a Constitutional right, Lincoln had no Constitutional or moral right to do the many things he did, among which was the formation of the federal government's first slave army.


John Richard Clark - 4/19/2006

You wrote: "It was Abraham Lincoln who waged war on half of the country and suspended the Bill of Rights in the other half."

Lincoln used the US military to suppress an illegal rebellion on the part of the Confederacy. There is no Constitutional right to secession. Lincoln had constitutional authority to suspend habeus corpus in cases of rebellion.

It seems to me that you libertarians should be opposed to a regime like the Confederate States of America, whose sole reason for existence was the preservation of the ownership of the labor of human beings.

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