The Konformist

May 2000

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Jim Redden


Was Vector Data Systems BOUGHT OFF by the BATF?


The Waco cover-up is almost complete. A British consulting firm has just issued a report saying the federal government did not shoot any bullets into the Branch Davidian compound on the last day of the siege. The report concludes that flashes on Forward Infra Red (FLIR) tapes shot during the final assault are not gunfire, but just reflections off broken glass and other debris scattered around the compound. And here's the clincher - the two experts who originally said the flashes were gunfire cannot refute the report. One is incapacitated by a stroke, and the other died under mysterious circumstances sometime in April.

The first expert, Dr. Edward Allard, is best known for his appearance in the documentary film "Waco: The Rules of Engagement." Sitting in a chair watching the FLIR video on a television screen, Allard calmly pointed out numerous flashes which he said were gunshots being fired into the compound. Allard had the credentials to know what he was talking about - considered to be the world authority on infrared imaging systems, he holds three patents on FLIR technology. After viewing the Waco tapes, Allard said, "[T]his type of behavior, men running up and down the building, firing automatic weapons into a church is disgusting."

Allard remains in critical condition after his stroke.

The second expert was Carlos Ghigliotti, a thermal imaging analyst hired by the House Government Reform Committee to review the tape of the siege. He owned the firm of Infrared Technology, located just outside Washington DC. After viewing the tape at the request of the committee, Ghigliotti concluded that the flashes were definitely gunfire. "I conclude this based on the groundview videotapes taken from several different angles simultaneously and based on the overhead thermal tape," Ghigliotti told The Washington Post last October. "The gunfire from the ground is there, without a doubt."

Ghigliotti's badly decomposed body was discovered inside his offices on April 29. There was no sign of a break-in or struggle at the firm. He had not been seen for several weeks. "We're investigating it as a homicide," said Laurel, Maryland police spokesman Jim Collins. The exact cause of death is not clear.

David Hardy, an attorney who has been involved in civil litigation relating to the Waco raid, had many dealings with Ghigliotti. After the death, Hardy released a lengthy statement which said he visited Ghigliotti several times at his laboratory, and that the FLIR expert showed him numerous segments of the tape which show people moving around outside the compound and firing into it during the final assault. Hardy says that the images were remarkably clear, largely because Ghigliotti was working with a direct copy of the original tape, not the multiple-generation version used in "Waco: Rules of Engagement" and shown on national television.

In his final report to the House committee, Ghigliotti counted 57 gunfire shots going into the compound.

The British consulting firm Vector Data Systems was retained by the federal judge overseeing the Branch Davidians' wrongful death suits against the government to analyze the FLIR tape. It was released to both the government and defense attorneys on May 10.

Mike Caddell, a Houston lawyer representing some of the families of sect members who died in the final siege, says he will grill the FLIR experts during the trial. He disputes the report's conclusions as "not supported" by its evidence. But without experts like Allard and Ghigliotti, Caddell is facing impossible odds.

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