Developed by John Erick Dowdle & Drew Dowdle
Directed by John Erick Dowdle & Dennie Gordon
Starring Michael Shannon, Taylor Kitsch, Andrea Riseborough, Paul Sparkes, Rory Culkin, Shea Wigham, Melissa Benoist, John Leguizamo, & Julia Garner
Paramount Network, 2018
David Thibodeau (with Leon Whiteson & Aviva Layton)
Waco: A Survivor’s Story
New York/Boston: Hachette Books, 1999
Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator
New York: Random House, 2010
David Koresh was bound to get tangled up with law enforcement. During his ministry, he fell into the temptation of taking advantage of the women of his congregation for his exclusive sexual needs. Koresh and his followers rationalized this through their interpretation of the Bible. Branch Davidian David Thibodeau thought that Koresh, if only subconsciously, was deliberately using this situation to provoke an eventual showdown with police. Sexually reckless behavior leaves any enterprise only one e-mail, printed broadside, or phone call away from catastrophe. The Branch Davidians began to appear on law enforcement’s radar due to the work of an angry former member named Marc Breault for reasons of sexual jealousy.
While Koresh himself was entirely spiritual, the spectacularly disastrous way Koresh’s tangle with law enforcement unfolded energized the Right, including the racially-aware Right. The story of Koresh and his followers was recently dramatized in a TV miniseries called Waco, produced by the Paramount Network. It is based on the book by a Branch Davidian and a survivor of the siege, David Thibodeau, called Waco: A Survivor’s Story, as well as the book Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator by Gary Noesner, a former FBI hostage negotiator who had been in charge of the negotiations with Koresh. In addition to these sources, this article will draw on others as well.
Understanding the Branch Davidians
Branch Davidian Beliefs
The Branch Davidians were an offshoot of the Seventh-day Adventists. They believed that the prophecies in the Book of Revelation were unfolding in the present. There are hints of British-Israelist theology in the flag of the Davidians. They had a particular interest in Revelation’s Seven Seals. These seals are opened by “The Lamb.” According to the Bible, after each seal is opened, there will be a corresponding event, culminating in the Final Judgement of humanity by God. David Koresh believed that he was the person who would fulfill the office of “The Lamb.” By this logic, “The Lamb” was not Jesus Christ. Koresh’s followers were impressed by his interpretation of the Seven Seals, and they claimed that he was also an excellent preacher, teacher, and musician.
The Community of Mount Carmel
David Koresh was a founding-stock American white with deep roots in Texas. Much of Koresh’s congregation was from the same stock – but not all. There were Australians, a New Zealander, one Israeli, Hispanics, and several blacks of an Adventist background from Britain. The congregation also included Asians and native Hawaiians. The Branch Davidians were not racially integrated as a matter of policy, like Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple. It just happened that some non-whites took to Koresh’s message, and nobody objected when they moved in.
The community didn’t pool bank accounts or attempt to create a socialist utopia. The Davidians didn’t leach on the local social welfare system. Members had jobs off the site, or else worked on Mount Carmel doing something worthwhile. For the most part, the Davidians were not estranged from their families, and they were not isolated from Waco’s populace. The Mount Carmel community met most of their expenses by selling weapons at gun shows.
David Koresh himself was apolitical. His focus was entirely spiritual. Nobody at Mount Carmel bothered anyone. And yet they were gassed and burned to death after a 51-day siege by the Federal Bureau of Investigation following a botched raid by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF). The resulting controversy supercharged the American Right.
The 2018 miniseries is a highly entertaining, well-made program. It follows David Thibodeau (played by Rory Culkin) and Gary Noesner (Michael Shannon). The miniseries portrays David Koresh (Taylor Kitsch) in a sympathetic and nuanced light. The acting, pacing, and dramatization of the actual events is very solid. By the time the miniseries ends with the holocaust of tear gas and fire, one really feels for the trapped Davidians.
The best actors in my view are:
- John Leguizamo, who plays semi-fictionalized BATF Agent Jacob Vazquez. He ably shows just how influential Koresh was, as well as the BATF’s poor decisions.
- Taylor Kitsch as Koresh.
- Paul Sparks as Koresh’s pragmatic deputy, Steve Schneider.
The interplay between Gary Noesner, the leader of the FBI team at Waco, Tony Prince (Glenn Fleshler), and FBI Tactical Team Chief Mitch Decker (Shea Whigham) is an outstanding study in how hierarchical organizations work – or don’t work. Special Agent Decker also explains some important law and order concepts. The local radio personality, Ron Engelman (Eric Lange), counters these ideas by espousing his own conception of liberty, the limits of law enforcement, and what is or is not a cult. The miniseries is the first mainstream work on the Waco affair that heavily implies that the tear gas was the cause of the fire that ultimately killed the Branch Davidians, rather than mass suicide.
How did Waco help supercharge the Right?
The Branch Davidians were emblematic of the threatened (white) American tradition
At first, the American public was sympathetic to the FBI. Attorney General Janet Reno’s public approval numbers went up in the immediate aftermath of the end of the siege. However, as word got around concerning the dubious nature of the warrant that was issued against the Davidians, the viciousness of the BATF’s attack, and the FBI’s behavior during the siege, the narrative started to shift. Despite Koresh’s “sinful messiah” sexual missteps, his religious group was not very different from that of America’s religious founders. After all, the Mayflower Pilgrims were, like the Branch Davidians, a small, Protestant sect that studied the Bible a great deal. Eventually, (white) Americans looked back at the footage of the Branch Davidians choking in the clouds of toxic CS gas while burning alive – and saw themselves.
Waco showed that the Democratic Party was falling out of step with white Americans
Waco was one of the disasters of the early Clinton administration, and that disaster dovetailed with increasing concerns by white Americans over the ever-greater favoritism shown by the government towards non-whites. Indeed, the Clintons came along just as the Democratic Party made the final shift toward becoming the party of non-whites. Peter Brimelow pointed this out in his classic 1995 book, Alien Nation. “The Clinton administration,” he wrote, “[was] a black-Hispanic-Jewish-minority white (Southerners used to call them ‘scalawags’) coalition.”
In 1995, the Clinton administration would push a corner-cutting naturalization program called “Citizenship USA” to gain Democratic votes in the 1996 Presidential election, and Clinton made remarks concerning the impending demographic shift in America that will lead to whites becoming a minority in a way that appeared positive towards it. While the Clinton administration talked a pretty good game against illegal immigration, there was always the sense that he was being disingenuous – he wasn’t called “Slick Willy” for nothing, and his administration was plagued by scandal. Furthermore, he took no action to lower legal immigration.
An article about Islam in the November 1993 issue of American Renaissance explained these rising concerns best when it compared the Branch Davidians to the Islamist terrorists who had carried out the first World Trade Center bombing:
David Koresh and his followers did nothing nearly so menacing as bomb public buildings or preach the overthrow of secular government. There is some question as to whether they did anything wrong at all; yet they were besieged by the government and died in flames. It is difficult not to note the contrast between the way they were treated and the gentlemanly handling of Sheik Abdel-Rahman’s gang of murderers.
Waco caused people to reexamine long-standing assumptions in the 1990s
The 1990s turned out to be a critical time for the Right. That decade was defined by two schools of political thought, one dominant in the mainstream; the other well-developed, but on the fringes. The dominant political thinking was that the “civil rights” movement was an unqualified good and that multiculturalism was working. Indeed, many of the FBI agents who had been involved in the various iron-fisted federal initiatives for integration in the 1960s were still on the force in the 1990s. Many of these agents were proud to have beaten “the Klan” or “Southern bigots.” Also in the 1990s, the uniquely privileged position of Jews was accepted as normal by the mainstream.
The other school of thought was that of the racially-aware Right. By the 1990s, many white advocates had developed a considerable body of literature and solid networks of activists. By 1993, Wilmot Robertson’s The Dispossessed Majority had been an underground bestseller for twenty years. The extreme portions of white advocacy had carved out a space for more centrist pro-white ideas to thrive. American Renaissance was founded in 1990. Jared Taylor’s Paved with Good Intentions was published in 1992, and Brimelow’s Alien Nation was released in 1995. The ideas of these activists were positioned to spread as the Internet began to reach more and more people.
None of these racially-aware ideas would have garnered much sympathy if it hadn’t been for Waco. The Branch Davidians weren’t white advocates at all; however, the terrible way they were treated by the same FBI that had pushed integration in the 1960s called everything into question. Most importantly, it called into question the FBI’s handling of the white separatists Randy and Vicky Weaver in August 1992.
As David Thibodeau said in a CSPAN interview (58:05), “I don’t care if [Randy Weaver] is a fascist or a racist. He has certain rights . . .” “If racists have rights” is an idea with enormous significance in regard to the aforementioned dominant political idea. Later, as Thibodeau said in an interview regarding 9/11, “We should analyze our foreign policy and find out what led to this kind of hatred against the United States and change some of those things.” If America’s foreign policy is questioned, eventually Jewish control of that policy must also be questioned.
In other words, when William Luther Pierce said, “The FBI’s hostage rescue team, which on April 19th murdered more people in one day than it has rescued in its entire existence, is still in business, still drawing paychecks, and presumably looking for more people to practice its rescue skills on. Now that’s the crime problem in America I’m worried about,” people listened, and they listened to what Pierce had to say about other things.
The FBI is a semi-competent Praetorian Guard
When looking back on Waco, what is striking is that while federal law enforcement focused on a harmless group of fervent Bible students, the Global War on Terror between the West and Islam had already begun. The FBI completely missed preventing the first World Trade Center bombing in February 1993. Indeed, the first attack happened as the BATF was making its final preparations to move on the Branch Davidians. The attack occurred on February 26, 1993 – the Waco raid happened only two days later. As Islamists plotted, federal agents were busy looking for Heartland golems and Middle American dybbuks.
To understand this misprioritization of FBI resources, one must understand the FBI. As far as government agencies go, the FBI is a relatively new force. Its roots only go back to 1908, when the federal government realized it had to respond to rising Leftist violence. The nascent FBI came into its own with its colorful director, J. Edgar Hoover, during the very real post-First World War “Red Scare.” Fin de siècle anarchist terrorism and the Red Scare were both the result of violent social movements led by Jews.
One could say that the FBI is a response to Jewish immigration. One could also say that the FBI is a symptom of government tyranny required to manage a diverse society. As organized Jewish activists increasingly took power in the American government, the FBI bent to their will. This explains much of the FBI’s strange focus – it fights crime based on neurotic Jewish narratives. The FBI didn’t acknowledge organized crime – that is to say, crime organized mostly by Jews – for many decades. The FBI also ignored Jewish subversives who smuggled nuclear materials to Israel. In the 1990s, the FBI focused on harmless “white separatists” while ignoring Islamist terrorists in the immigrant population. The FBI pushed for “civil rights” policies, and left dealing with rising black crime to local law enforcement. The most recent embarrassing episode, which can only be explained by a warped, judeocentric worldview, was when the FBI ignored numerous tips regarding the alleged school shooter Nikolas Cruz’s violent instability while being preoccupied with unravelling a minor effort by the Russians to influence the 2016 election.
Since the FBI’s founding, the organization has done some decent work, however. Gary Noesner points out that because of the FBI, kidnapping for ransom basically no longer happens in America. The FBI also learned hard lessons from Waco, and resolved the Montana Freemen incident without a shot being fired. Occasionally, spies, serial killers, and others have been discovered and captured by them, but this must be balanced against the fact that, in a political sense, the agency has taken on a life of its own. The Bureau has interfered in the political process several times that are known, and all those acts were carried out against right-of-center politicians. The first spectacular instance of this was when Deputy Director Mark Felt colluded with the mainstream media to railroad President Nixon. Felt was angry he’d been passed over for the top spot in the FBI and wanted revenge.
Another case was when the Bureau collaborated with the Obama administration and the Clintons to downplay Hillary Clinton’s illegal handling of classified material. And lastly, considerable evidence has been shown that the FBI illegally wiretapped President Trump’s transition team in 2016-17. Indeed, it has been shown that the FBI arranged the wiretapping operation on evidence as spurious as that against the Branch Davidians. In other words, the FBI is like the Praetorian Guard of the later Roman Republic. It is jealous of its privileges and unable to really protect the American people from foreign threats, but it can use brute force on private citizens with impunity.
There is an ongoing Jewish ethnic activist response to Waco
While perception of whites has shifted regarding the FBI’s handling of Waco, the view of the affair taken by Jewish ethnic activists has remained hostile towards the “cultists.”
David Thibodeau alludes to this in his book. He writes the following about Jewish then-Congressman Charles Schumer:
. . . Schumer’s ferocious attitude . . . floored me. It crystallized the depths of the liberal left’s antagonism toward the Mount Carmel community, its absolute lack of sympathy for our fate. Schumer implied that child-abuse allegations alone justified the BATF raid, conveniently ignoring the fact that federal law enforcement had no jurisdiction over child abuse. It staggered me that Democrats like Schumer could have opposed such injustices as the Vietnam War, only to back the brutality of the feds in Waco.
Two other Jewish activists stand out. The first is Mark Potok. He is a “research director” for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and much of his messaging is intended to cloud and confuse the Waco issue and tie the corresponding Oklahoma City bombing to white advocacy. In reality, the Oklahoma City terrorist was a “color-blind” libertarian named Timothy McVeigh who quoted Jefferson and thought he was getting back at government tyrants.
It must be emphasized: If there was no Waco, there would have been no Oklahoma City bombing. White advocacy indeed provided a blueprint for the bombing in the form of Pierce’s The Turner Diaries, but it did not provide an ideological inspiration.
Another insidious Jewish response to Waco and the 1990s Right came from Daniel Levitas. In 2003, his book The Terrorist Next Door: The Militia Movement and the Radical Right was published, and Waco was part of the narrative. Levitas’ book was widely promoted on CSPAN. This too was really more of a smokescreen than a serious work of scholarship. For example, Levitas predicted more “neo-Nazi” terrorism in 2003 “given the amount of talk.” (None has occurred; the violence in Charlottesville was the result of antifa activists and the standing down of the police.) The Terrorist Next Door also ignored Islamic terrorism, with was by then ongoing and universally apparent, and thanks to immigration, right next door. Recently, Levitas was described as a “writer” rather than as a Jewish activist in a documentary about Ruby Ridge.
People have been continuing to try to build a smokescreen around this event up to the present. In 2017, PBS aired a documentary on the Oklahoma City bombing that highlighted Potok’s idea that white advocacy had led to the tragedy. The “documentary” was filled with commentary from Jewish ethnic activists who claimed to offer evidence that the Branch Davidians had burned themselves to death by playing an alleged recording of them discussing “pouring fuel” during the final assault, “with the sound of tanks removed.” How one talks so clearly while wearing a gas mask was not explained. It is indeed possible that the Branch Davidians were discussing making Molotov cocktails to resist the FBI’s tanks in the early morning before the final assault, but in fact no Molotov cocktails were ever used by the Branch Davidians. And none of the surviving Branch Davidians could explain how the fire had happened.
I am at a loss to explain why Jewish attitudes in this matter are what they are. The Waco fiasco could be laid at the feet of FBI and BATF agents who had too much testosterone and a very flawed plan. It is also possible that ethnically “woke” Jewish activists feel that any assertive Christianity is a threat, and that any hint of British-Israelism is some sort of plot by “Esau” against “Jacob” to get back the stolen “birthright” and “blessing.” Or, they might simply feel that the sympathy which the public felt for the white separatists at Ruby Ridge in the wake of Waco was intolerable in terms of their interests. One can only speculate.
As mentioned before, the Waco affair and its aftermath distracted the public from the threat of resurgent Islam. The so-called Muslim travel ban should have occurred in the 1990s, but Third World immigration was allowed to continue because, in the wake of Oklahoma City, anyone could say that “white guys blow up buildings, too.” Osama bin Laden’s attacks picked up in intensity, while the Clinton administration never developed a solid strategy to counteract them.
* * *
Waco is unique in that the martyrs of Mount Carmel didn’t have their particular message amplified. David Koresh’s words were turned to ash along with his body. Only religious scholars listen to his sermons. His insights didn’t revolutionize theology.
Instead, Waco sparked thinking among the race-realist Right. Although it started slowly and was just beginning to be noticed in 2018, in the aftermath of Waco, the mainstream discovered an active white advocacy movement possessing a great deal of solid literature. The public learned of William Luther Pierce’s social commentary and fiction. Indeed, it could be the case that the Branch Davidians were a sacrifice towards the future establishment of a white ethnostate.
 David Koresh (1959-1993) was born Vernon Howell in Texas.
 One other way he could have drawn the attention of law enforcement was due to the fact that his concubines were in sham marriages to his male followers. Some of these women were illegal immigrants who were “married” to avoid deportation.
 After the Mormon Prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr., adopted the practice of polygamy, outraged followers published an expose in the Nauvoo Expositor which initiated a series of events that led to the deaths of Joseph and his brother at the jailhouse in Carthage, Illinois. Koresh’s situation parallels Mormon history remarkably closely.
 Peter Brimelow, Alien Nation: Common Sense about America’s Immigration Disaster (New York: HarperPereninial, 1995), p. 197.
 You really never knew where President Clinton stood. His remarks could also have been interpreted as a warning. While Clinton naturalized non-whites with one hand, he stopped an invasion by Haitian refugees with the other. He was also able to cut down on black crime through enacting new drug laws, harsh sentencing, and the assault weapons ban.
 Thibodeau, Waco: A Survivor’s Story, p. 329.
 CSPAN interview, 2:55-3:20.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin & the Origins of Wokeness
“TERF Nazis Must Die!”: A British Feminist Opposes Translunacy & Unwittingly Supports Patriarchy
Brave Jewish Keyboard Warrior Does Battle with Rightist Keyboard Warriors
Iowa’s Cruelest Schoolmarm
Ray Bradbury’s Neon Bewilderment
Love among the Ruins: 1984 Revisited
A Critic Takes the Dissident Right Seriously
Lessons from Robin DiAngelo on What It Means to Be White, Part 2