[The following is a review of the film. It will speak for itself. I am reminded of someone's prayer, "O Lord, let my heart be broken by the things that break Your heart."   I have a copy of the video, and it is a stunner. 

See the "Conspiracy" and "Centralization & Abuse of Power" sections of the Politics Library for more on our downhill slide into entrapment by our own government.

The review was copied from the website at http://www.waco93.com.   See also, McVeigh article by Bob Djurdjevic.  The sad evidence of the corruption of our government is undeniable.  One thinks of the complaints against George III in the Declaration of Independence, and of the need at any time to resist tyranny.  E. Fox.]

WACO: The Rules of Engagement

by Sarah Thompson, M.D.

January 1997

Executive Producer Dan Gifford introduces his new documentary, "Waco: The Rules of Engagement", which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, by saying words to the effect that "This movie is about looking under rocks and finding what we never wanted to know." The result is an extremely disturbing film that should be required viewing for all Americans. "Waco" is a damning indictment of the BATF, the FBI, and the Congressional hearings which allegedly investigated the disaster in which four ATF agents and 76 Branch Davidians were killed.

Gifford and co-executive director Amy Sommer-Gifford were inspired to make the film when they were presented with aerial "Forward Looking Infra-Red" (FLIR) footage taken by FBI surveillance. The FLIR film provides answers to many of the previously unanswered questions about Waco. According to Gifford, this film footage had been offered to the major news networks and was rejected.  

The heart and mind of the film come from the never-before released FLIR footage and home videos made by the Branch Davidians with a camera given to them by the FBI. Accompanying them is extensive news footage of the events at Waco, C-SPAN tapes of the Congressional hearings, transcripts of conversations between the Davidians and negotiators and interviews with various experts and key participants in the disaster.

The FLIR photography was taken by FBI planes flying over the Davidian compound to provide surveillance. The film, which looks like ordinary black and white film, actually measures heat, not light, and is thus able to provide a great deal of information about weapons fire as well as the inferno that destroyed the complex. Interpretation of the film is provided by an independent company. The FLIR footage shows conclusively that the FBI did fire on the Davidians despite their claims that "not a single bullet was ever fired" and that the catastrophic fire was started by the FBI firing grenades into the building after refilling it with the deadly and flammable CS powder-methylene chloride mixture. It also provides strong evidence that the FBI stationed personnel with machine guns outside the only exit from the building, which if true, indicates that the FBI's intent was to murder the Davidians, not to "rescue hostages".  

The FBI gave the Davidians a video camera and tapes to make videos of themselves, presumably to help the negotiators understand them better. These videos were never released because the FBI feared it would generate too much sympathy for the Davidians and David Koresh. And in fact, the video does refute the widely-publicized image of Koresh as a crazed, charismatic and controlling leader, not unlike Charles Manson, and of his followers as the "wackos from Waco".

While Koresh was certainly not your "average American", he appears rational, intelligent, and committed to teaching his religious beliefs. His followers seem to be ordinary people on a spiritual quest, no different from many I've encountered in my own spiritual seeking. They did not appear to be brainwashed automatons, or homicidal maniacs. Many were foreigners and ironically felt they would be safer studying religion in the United States. While sexual practices outside the norm did occur, they were consensual. I saw no evidence of child abuse whatever. Clearly the FBI, aided by the media, demonized the Branch Davidians in an attempt to dehumanize them. And dehumanization of the enemy is one of the prerequisites for genocide.

Given that the Congressional committee charged with investigating Waco had access to all the material presented in this film, the investigation can only be considered a farce and a travesty. With rare exceptions, the hearings are shown to be nothing more than a compilation of lies and perjury combined with a lot of self-serving political grandstanding. What does stand out, and what gives the film its name, is that neither the ATF nor the FBI ever had a detailed, organized plan of attack, that there were never any formal rules of engagement, and that no contingency plans for failure of the raids, injuries, fire, or other foreseeable problems were ever made.

While some have commented that the film appears biased against the government, all the involved agencies were invited to participate, to be interviewed, and to present their side of the story. They all refused. And the producers are careful to state that they have no partisan agenda, that their goal is to reopen debate on Waco. They appear almost apologetic about the damaging evidence they have collected and state they wish someone could or would disprove their findings. And they emphatically do not wish to be associated with "right wing conspiracy nuts".

It is of course impossible to do justice to a nearly three hour film in a review. Despite its length, I found it compelling and not at all boring or dragging. Technically, the visuals are mostly dependent on the quality of the archival film, although the sound levels could use some work. The musical score was dramatic and quite effective. The film includes views of the charred and mutilated bodies of some who died at Waco, which I found appropriate, but may be too graphic for some.

YOU need to see "Waco: The Rules of Engagement." So does every American of every political persuasion. For the past four years, "Remember Waco" has been a rallying cry for the "political right" and gun owners. In response, they have been laughed at, dismissed, and even accused of being anti-government terrorists. What this film shows is human beings being methodically gassed and then burned. Anyone and everyone who has ever vowed "Never again" needs to view this film and renew that vow.

This is absolutely not a film to celebrate. There is now evidence that people within our government are guilty of  genocide and crimes against humanity and that they engaged in a huge cover-up. This should sadden and sicken each of us, and it should also motivate us to find ways to prevent such a tragedy from occurring ever again. If we do not, we become accessories to these crimes.

"Waco" has not yet been accepted for commercial release, although negotiations are underway. If you want to see this film, if you feel others should see this film, then you will have to act. Write to Sundance and thank them for making this  film available. (When you consider who holds the power at Sundance, it IS rather remarkable that "Waco" was shown.) Encourage them to support its general release. If you have contacts with any film distribution companies, ask them to distribute this film. Write letters to the editors of newspapers and magazines. Tell everyone you know. If there is a demand, if it appears profitable to distribute this documentary, Hollywood will most likely cooperate.

Remember that this is NOT about partisan politics, Right vs. Left, gun rights, or other divisive issues. It is about our unalienable Constitutional rights to religious freedom, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and above all the freedom not to be murdered by our own government.

As the Talmud commands: "Thou shalt not stand idly by the blood of thy brother."

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