The mysterious death of a key figure in the ongoing Waco congressional investigation may not have been from natural causes, according to attorney David T. Hardy, who fears that his friend Carlos Ghigliotti, owner of Infrared Technology, may have been the victim of foul play.
“It’s highly suspicious,” says Hardy, commenting on the circumstances surrounding the death of the infrared expert, whose badly decomposed body was discovered Friday at 1:30 p.m., seated at his desk in his laboratory-office in Laurel, Md. Ghigliotti had not been seen nor heard from for several weeks. The autopsy is being conducted by the medical examiner in Baltimore.
The Laurel Police Department is non-committal.
“So far, its looks like natural causes,” LPD spokesman Jim Collins told WorldNetDaily. “We’re treating it like a homicide, as we do any unattended deaths — but he was found in a locked room, and there’s no evidence of a forced entry. We’re waiting for the toxicology reports to show whether or not he could have been poisoned. That always takes time.”
Ghigliotti, 42, a respected expert in the field of thermal imaging, had been retained by the
House Government Reform Committee to analyze surveillance film footage taken by means of “Forward-Looking Infrared,” or FLIR, during the siege and final inferno of Mt. Carmel, the Branch Davidian complex near Waco, Tex.
The FLIR footage, which was filmed by FBI aircraft circling two miles above the site, is critical to the case. Unlike ordinary film which records light, with images registering in shades of black and white, FLIR film registers heat, so flashes seen on it are not flashes of light, but — experts say — can show gun shots, even rounds fired by automatic weapons.
For seven years a debate has raged over claims that on April 19, 1993, government agents fired automatic weapons upon Davidians trying to escape as flames engulfed their home. To date, neither the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the FBI, nor any other government agency has admitted to having fired a single shot from the beginning of the siege to the final assault that resulted in the deaths of 17 children and 62 adults.
The findings of several congressional hearings, each of which has essentially exonerated the government of any deliberate wrongdoing, have done little to dispel public suspicions about the use of force at Waco. The House Government Reform Committee released a
report on Aug. 2, 1996.
The recent death of Ghigliotti — who had uncovered additional evidence contradicting government protests of innocence — is certain to fuel charges of duplicity and cover-up.
As soon as he learned of the death, Hardy — who since 1995 has been conducting his own investigations into the Waco issue — wrote a tribute to his friend which he titled, “Memorial to an Honest Man,” and posted it on his own
website that deals with Waco.
In his tribute, Hardy discussed several of Ghigliotti’s observations and discoveries that he had uncovered — such as what he thought of the recent re-creation designed to test the thesis that the FLIR footage showed powerful evidence of gunshots being poured into the complex.
“Pure junk,” is what Ghigliotti thought about the re-creation tape, according to Hardy. “The aircraft wasn’t even at the right altitude, they didn’t have the right procedures to verify that the sensor was functioning comparable to the one of 4/19, etc.,” Hardy wrote.
“The best thing that could be done with any resulting tape (and this is BEFORE the results were known) was to drop it in the waste can. Whether it showed gunshots or did not, it’d be useless for proving anything, whether for the Davidians or the FBI.”
Davidians’ water supply monitored
Two further examples:
- “Carlos also told me, last month, that he’d seen FLIRs from nights before 4/19, and that it was apparent that the FLIR aircraft was being used to monitor the Davidians’ water supply,” Hardy wrote. “The water was stored in those big plastic tanks at the rear of the building, and the coolness of the water inside showed up as a darker area. It was apparent that the water supply was shrinking, and by 4/19 was almost gone. He had heard the aircraft crew talking about it, and noting that the level was going down. So, essentially, they knew that thirst would force an end to the siege within a few days of 4/19.”
- “Carlos also found indications that shots were being fired into the underground storm shelter after the fire began. On one of the regular media videotapes, you could see a long, bright flash going down into the pit, from in front of one of the armored vehicles. He said it was no sunlight flash, he’d imaged it on three different media tapes from slightly different angles. His best assessment was that it was the fuse on a pyrotechnic round. I saw this tape, also, with my own eyes. His view was that they were gassing the underground vault to pin Davidians in place during the fire.”
In an exclusive interview with WorldNetDaily, Hardy said he first talked to Ghigliotti in 1996, by phone, but not until December 1998, during a trip to Washington, D.C., did the two men meet face to face. Hardy said he was most impressed with the office and laboratory of Infrared Technologies, which were two adjoining rooms on the third floor of an office building. In the first room were desks and worktables. The laboratory was in the second, “with some really impressive equipment — sophisticated computers, four large monitors, Super VHS decks,” Hardy recalled.
If the death was not of natural causes, what would be the motive? WorldNetDaily asked.
Hardy’s answer: “I think he may have known too much. Carlos told me he had discovered things that were much, much worse than anything that had yet come out.”
Forfeiture monies fund siege?
This past December, Hardy visited Infrared Technology a second time, and Ghigliotti showed him some of the work he was doing.
“Carlos wouldn’t tell me everything,” Hardy said, “but he did give me a ‘little tidbit’ as he called it. He told me the whole operation [at Waco] from the start of the siege to the end was funded out of the drug forfeiture monies that are supposed to be used only in the war on drugs.
“He said not only the ATF raid — the whole siege, most of it the FBI funded out of the drug war monies. Now those are special funds. He told me he had a lot of documentation showing the flow of money – which explains the new uniforms and new equipment the agents had at the start of the raid.
“I don’t know why they [the committee] put him onto this issue,” Hardy continued, “but apparently he was working on it.” He said Ghigliotti — who was standing by his desk as he talked — placed his hand on a “thick pile of manuals and memoranda” to indicate the documentation he had assembled on this most recent assignment. He told Hardy, “All the standards for when you’re allowed to use that money are laid down in writing, and they [the government agencies] violated all of the standards to get at the money. And the committee knows it.”
“So basically, Carlos really had them not only for attempted murder, perjury, and a few other things — he also got them for embezzlement [of designated funds],” Hardy observed, adding he hoped the committee would continue to investigate that angle.
Hardy told WorldNetDaily he did not know what happened to the various documents Ghigliotti had compiled for his investigation into the funding of the raid and siege.
“The last I saw of them they were sitting on his desk in his office,” he said.
Hardy said he and Ghigliotti worked closely together, studying the FLIR tapes and watching for flashes of gunfire that no one had noticed — then phoning to let the other know their discoveries.
“Oh, he had some hot stuff,” Hardy recalled. “In fact, he told me in one of our last conversations — I had spotted a flash on the FLIR by coincidence, which I hadn’t seen before so I mentioned it to him, and he called me up later and said, ‘Yeah, that’s interesting. You found one that I saw — another flash, and by comparing it to the regular media video (the media cameras were a mile or two away shooting at shallow angle) … I found that at the same instant and place I can get an image of an FBI guy shouldering a weapon.'”
Hardy explained: “There were several media video tapes made through gigantic telephoto lenses, but from one, two or three miles away. Carlos could import video into his computers; he had actually invented a system himself for showing on one frame the regular video and the FLIR. And then if you can coordinate them by time, by seeing some event that shows up on both, you can play both images side-by-side. What he’d done was, he got to a point where watching them side-by-side you can see in regular video a side view of a man shouldering a weapon. And on the FLIR at the same position, a flash of a gunshot.
“When I heard that I just cried, OK. End of game. The game is over,” said Hardy. “I told him, it’s all over. What’s the debate over whether these are gunshots, if you have a man shouldering a rifle at the same time a flash is seen?”
Hardy said he does not know where the tape is now.
Hardy also isn’t certain he’s seen the same tape, but he did see one it could have been when he visited Ghigliotti in December. In any case, the one he watched was highly incriminating, he said.
“He showed me a regular video image of an FBI guy shouldering a gun,” said Hardy. “Now, I’m not sure it’s the same image, but you could see this guy, he was shooting at shallow angle to the ground, so you see bushes and then some parked tanks. This is after the fire has begun. And you see FBI guys on the far side of the tanks. It’s a blurry image, and I had seen it before and never made anything out of it. I mean it just looked like lousy video.
“Carlos asked if I had seen this before, and I said, ‘Yeah.’ And he said, ‘I’ll show you something I bet you didn’t.’ Carlos had a hell of an eye. He points to one of the men and says, ‘Watch that man and tell me what he’s doing.’ And by focusing on one man I could see he takes a shooting stance, a stance of a man shouldering a rifle. You can’t really see the rifle, but there’s no question about the stance. Then he turns and realizes the media cameras can see him. You can’t see the face, but you can see the dark helmet suddenly turn to all flesh color and you can see his shoulders turn toward you.
“Then there’s about half a second where obviously what goes through his mind is, Oh, no! He ducks down behind the tank. The reaction is unmistakable. Oh, no! Duck. And he squats down in front of the tank. That may be the image he was talking about that he could link by time.”
Hardy said he was in contact with Ghigliotti until March 18, and added that Ghigliotti considered his work with the House Government Reform Committee completed and had sent a preliminary report summarizing his findings.
The summary gives a breakdown of the final hour of the siege, from 11:16 a.m. to 12:11 p.m., complete with the number of gunshots fired by both sides. According to Ghigliotti, the Davidians did return fire, but only when the tanks penetrated the complex, which happened 34 times.
“I had promised to keep everything Carlos told me confidential,” said Hardy. “But I feel I’m released from that promise.”