Fun_People Archive
22 Sep
Peaceable Texans for Firearm Rights

Date: Fri, 22 Sep 95 15:03:12 -0700
From: Peter Langston <psl>
To: Fun_People
Subject: Peaceable Texans for Firearm Rights

Forwarded-by: (Keith Bostic)
Forwarded-by: (John P. Kole)
Forwarded-by: (Vince Cavasin)
Forwarded-by: Ronald Barron Yokubaitis <>

On Thu, 21 Sep 1995, Ed Lawson/KD5EZ wrote:

Peaceable Texans for Firearm Rights
1300 Guadalupe
Ste. 202
Austin, TX 78701
Phone 512-476-2299
Fax   512-476-4974

> The following is a piece that appeared in The Washington Times on July
> 21, 1995, Page A21.  It reveals information that the House Committee
> investigating the Waco siege never got to hear because of the great job
> Charles Schumer did in ranting about the NRA's "involvement" with the
> investigation done by FaAA, one of the most prestigious investigation
> firms in the world.

Our Investigation of the Waco Fire
By Roger L McCarthy
Chief executive officer of Failure Analysis Associates, Inc.

Given the extensive reporting, much it in The Washington Times,
concerning Failure analysis Associates, Inc. (FaAA), I appreciate
this opportunity to briefly describe what FaAA did to investigate
Mt. Carmel Center in Waco Texas and what we found.

FaAA was founded in 1967 by three Stanford professors, and two
Ph.D. Level SRI researchers.  We are the largest engineering firm
in the nation devoted primarily to the analysis and prevention of
failures of an engineering and scientific nature.  FaAA is the
largest operating unit of the Failure Group, Inc., which employs
more than 400 people in 13 offices throughout the U.S. and

FaAA has performed investigations on behalf of most of the Fortune
500 corporations, many branches of state and federal government and
most major insurers.  While we have previously performed
investigations on behalf of the Army, Navy, Air Force, the Coast
Guard and the Departments of Energy, Transportation and Justice,
our largest federal client over the years has been the National
Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA).  We have  assisted  them
since the late 1970's in development problems of the space shuttle,
including investigating the Challenger disaster.  Recent examples of
our higher-profile efforts include participation of our structural
engineers in the Menlo Park-based Federal Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA) team involved in the Oklahoma City bombing rescue,
the recent USAir crash in Pittsburgh, and reconstruction of the
Exxon Valdez grounding.

FaAA was retained by the National Rifle Association to assist in
the Investigation of two technical issues arising from the law
enforcement activities at the Branch Davidian Center.  The first
issue relates to the firearms recovered from the ashes of the Mt.
Carmel Center, and whether any reflected the type of illegal
modification alleged in the warrants obtained as authority to
search the compound.  The second issue related analyzing and
reconstructing the means and weapons used to mount the final
assault on the Mt. Carmel Center.

Our efforts to add any new insight on the first issue were stymied
but the much-publicized refusal of the Department of Justice to
permit the recovered weapons to be X-rayed at a Texas Ranger
storage facility, which we visited in Austin in the company of
congressional committee staff members.  Some of the reports
concerning this incident have erroneously stated that FaAA needed
to handle, touch, or in some way enter the chain of custody of the
evidence, to obtain our X-rays.  This is totally incorrect.

We offered to perform all our analysis and take the X-rays, with
the evidence at all times in the hands of, and under the control
of, the Texas Rangers.  Further, removal from plastic evidence bags
was not required.  The long proven X-ray technology is totally
non-destructive to evidence.  Finally, we offered to leave a copy of
all x-rays with Justice before leaving the premises.  Despite all
these assurances, we were refused access to the evidence for X-ray

There was, however, enough documentation available on the conduct
of the final day's four gas assaults to prepare a computer-based
reconstruction of events, which we have done.  The FBI elected to
use a riot control agent designated "CS" by NATO, which is banned
from use in warfare against other nations under the Chemical
Weapons Convention.  However, this treaty does not preclude any
government from using the agent against its own citizens.  CS is a
very powerful chemical agent, and will deter trained and motivated
soldiers from their mission at a concentration of 10 milligrams per
cubic meter of air.

In the four separate gas assaults on the Mt. Carmel Center, over a
period of six hours, the FBI used two means to deliver a total of
1,900 grams of CS chemical agent, which is dissolved in 33,000
grams of methylene chloride.

First was 40mm Ferret rounds shoulder-fired from an M-79 military
grenade launcher by FBI personnel through ports in Bradley fighting
vehicles.  Second, the chemical agent was injected directly into
various rooms in the center by ISPRA Protectojet Model 5 Anti-Mob
Fog Injectors (Model 5) of Israeli manufacture.  A Total of six of
these systems were mounted on the booms of two combat engineer
vehicles (CEVs), which are basically an obsolete M-60 tank with
its main gun removed and a boom put approximately in the same
location.  These units were used as battering rams to punch holes in
the side of the building and spray chemical agent into various

The model 5 units have a large delivery capacity, and produced
concentrations of up to 90 times that required to deter trained
soldiers in some rooms that were sprayed.  A total of 366-386 Ferret
rounds were fired into the building through every window by FBI
agents circling  the compound in five armored Bradleys, producing
up to 16 times the tear gas necessary to  deter trained soldiers in
some rooms.  In addition to extraordinary amounts of CS chemical
agent (our research could uncover no published account of a greater
amount ever being used against civilians by enforcement in
the nation's history the methylene chloride solvent reached
concentrations in some rooms almost twice that judged immediately
dangerous to life and health and just barely below that required to
produce unconsciousness.

Within approximately two minutes of the last vehicle withdraw on
the final assault, three fires were observed to begin in short
order in different portions of the center.  There is not sufficient
detail in the infrared images to determine the cause of these
fires, but simultaneous ignition obviously indicates arson.
Although flammable, the CS agent and its solvent did not
contribute in any meaningful way to the spread of the fire.

For 12 hours prior to the final assault, high winds had been in
evidence.  April 19 was a very unfortunate choice of a date for the
final assault because 24 mph winds gusting to 30.  Given the
ramshackle wooden construction of the Mt. Carmel Center, any fire
would predictably and quickly engulf such a structure absent fire
fighting efforts, which were not initiated until the structure had
been destroyed.

In analyzing the Davidian fatalities, 72 percent of which were
women and children, more than 80 percent were due to causes
associated with the fires.  While a religious zealot intent on
martyrdom might voluntarily accept a fiery death, most people would
readily seek to escape such harm if they were able.  Unfortunately,
given the extremely high levels of gas exposure, it is entirely
possible that innocent parties in the compound were unable to save
themselves from the final conflagration due to the effects such
overwhelming gas dosages could have.

[=] © 1995 Peter Langston []