Either the Waco police are lying or the eyewitnesses are. Apparently, a deliberate disinformation campaign began about 45 minutes after the deadly biker massacre in the Twin Peaks restaurant parking lot in Waco on May 17. One must use the word “apparently” because that is how disinformation works.
Three separate narratives describe what happened that day: The official police version which has been most widely parroted by the press; the Cossacks version; and the strikingly consistent version told by everybody else including members of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club.
The police version has been riddled with inconsistencies and has had the further disadvantage of being mostly told by self righteous and ill informed Sergeant W. Patrick Swanton. The Waco Tribune-Herald might think Swanton did a hell of a job but nobody else did. According to Swanton everybody who was arrested was a “motorcycle gang member.” They were “not from Waco” and the Waco police there “did not play.” The specifics – the bare facts of the police version – changed constantly and confusingly day by day. Every policeman, every public official, every lawyer, particularly Tribune-Herald editor Steve Boggs, seems to be a gullible police groupie.
It should have been obvious to anyone who has ever covered a biker case that the real story in Waco was the effort going into controlling the narrative. The official narrative of Waco has always been that drug addled, well armed, biker sociopaths came to Waco to rumble in a shopping mall so they could transform Waco from a gentle Mayberry into a Darwinian free market of drugs and sex slaves and Waco fought back. Waco made a stand, damnit. Hooray for Waco!
The official Waco narrative is very appealing to people who know the world mostly from the dancing shadows on a large screen on one of their living room walls. From the beginning there has been a segment of the public that has thought that the nine dead were not enough and that everyone on a Harley who needs a shave should be locked up.
From the beginning, Waco has been about the release of specific information and the concealment of other information by local, state and federal officials. It has been about defining reality and the exemplary moment of that official definition of what people are allowed to think and what questions the press are allowed to ask came when Swanton took CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield to task for citing a “law enforcement source,” that four of the dead had been killed by police “in a hail of bullets.”
The latest revision to what people are officially allowed to think and report about the Twin Peaks Massacre came last Friday when Swanton’s boss, Chief Brent Stroman, told reporters that there were only 16 police officers on scene who fired a total of 12 rounds from M4 rifles. Police recovered 44 shell casings and 475 weapons including “weighted weapons” and “tomahawks” and police seized 130 motorcycles and 91 cars and trucks . Fifty-two of the motorcycles and 47 other vehicles have been released to their owners. According to Stroman, everybody who was arrested deserved it.
Stroman said, “We did not fire indiscriminately into the crowd. Our officers were restrained.”
The same day, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety – which includes the Texas Rangers and other state police – announced, “no shots were fired by DPS officers.”
About the time Swanton disappeared a second version of what happened that day began to make headlines – the Cossacks version. The day after the shootout, a Cossack named Scott “Scoot” Keon spoke to the Palestine, Texas City Council. Keon told the local politicians that his club is law abiding. “On our side, we are not a gang,” he said. “We are an organization that is Texas-wide. None of us are one-percenters.”
He blamed the Bandidos for the massacre. “There are things that they (the Bandidos) are involved in that we have no interest in,” he said. “We are businessmen, family men, and veterans and are in no way affiliated with them. We won’t be pressured into paying them dues, and that’s where their anger is coming from. Just because other clubs have given in, doesn’t mean we are going to.”
During the following week, an unidentified Cossack gave multiple interviews to a freelance writer named Tim Madigan who published what the Cossack told him. The Aging Rebel believes that Cossack was a man who identifies himself on his Facebook page as Cmc Paul. Paul has been very outspoken about the Bandidos. On a discussion site he stated, “We don’t pay anything to the Bandidos and that is why they don’t like us. We refuse to be lumped in with the ‘gangs’ (clubs) and pay to do something that we have the right to do, ride our motorcycles and have our own identity as an MC. There are still a few of us MCs that understand what this life is about and it isn’t crime or causing trouble. It’s truly about the ride and brothers.”
Madigan sold his story to the Washington Post which subsequently reported that Owen “Big O” Reeves, who along with John “Voodoo” Arnold was responsible for the Cossacks presence at the Twin Peaks, had been invited to the restaurant by the Bandidos for a sort of peace powwow. According to the Post, “It was a setup from start to finish.” The Post did not explain how its source managed to avoid arrest.
The Witnesses Version
Within the last week, as more of the accused have been released from jail, a third version of events has begun to emerge. It portrays the Twin Peaks Massacre as a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives operation gone horribly wrong. Multiple eyewitnesses, speaking on condition of anonymity because they believe what they know places them in danger from the police, portray the Cossacks as an easy club for ATF agents to infiltrate and exploit. “The Cossacks are known to hand out patches to people without prospecting, short prospecting periods, some as little as a week, or proper background investigation to bolster their numbers. That obviously makes them pretty easy to infiltrate,” one source said. “They’re right up there with the Iron Order, and take many pictures similar to the Iron Order style. And like the IO, they seem to have no problem patching in cops and corrections officers.”
Multiple sources who The Aging Rebel believes to be credible have independently stated that they saw two Cossacks take off their cuts and put on police windbreakers and balaclavas. The Aging Rebel has confirmed that ATF agents were at the Twin Peaks before and after the shooting occurred. And numerous news outlets have reported that multiple eyewitnesses heard two or three pistol shots which were then followed by automatic weapons fire. Other sources have stated that at least two and possibly more confidential informants working under contract for the ATF were arrested and quietly released that night.
The world’s news outlets have largely ignored this clash of narratives. As far as most reporters and editors are concerned, the Waco story is yesterday’s news. It will probably be remembered as a spectacular biker brawl. The news cycle is too rushed to look much deeper than that.