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Waco: The Rules of Engagement [VHS]
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What happened at the Branch Davidian compound in Mt. Carmel, Texas, in 1993? Why did 4 federal agents and 86 civilians lose their lives? The powerful documentary Waco: The Rules of Engagement asks these and many other difficult questions, and the answers are deeply disturbing, even for the most cynical. Using interviews, news footage, testimony before Congress, and infrared photographic analysis, the film relentlessly chips away at the government's story that David Koresh and his followers were a dangerous cult involved in strange sex and drug practices who were preparing to slaughter their neighbors and that they immolated themselves la Jonestown, rather than give themselves up peacefully. Nearly every element of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms' and the FBI's cover-up is exposed as fraudulent and the viewer is left wondering when, if ever, justice will finally be served. Warning: There are a few minutes of extremely graphic footage of the burnt bodies of the Davidians; though this is sickening, it seems less so than the tragic mistakes made by law enforcement officials. --Rob Lightner

Customer Reviews:

  • You Can't Review What You Haven't Seen!
    This documentary was phenomenal. It is obvious that those who claim that the gunshots on the FLIR film were reflections have NOT WATCHED THIS DOCUMENTARY! Reflections do not show up on FLIR unless they significantly heat the object upon which they're reflected upon--and, if this were the case, they would not have immediately cooled and then heat up again! FLIR is infrared thermal imaging! THERMAL--not light-based. It's morons who use their already limited mental capacity solely for the defense of their narrow view of the world, rather than for intelligent assessment of actual facts, that allow atrocities such as these to occur and continue....more info
  • shocking; horrifying; you need to see this video
    And you need to get your friends and neighbors to see it also. After you watch the video, read Dave Kopel and Paul Blackman's book No More Wacos, which provides a lot more detail.

    Before I saw this movie, I was prepared to believe that what happened at Waco was gross negligence -- that the FBI failed to understand the psychology of the Branch Davidians, and unintentionally created a situation where suicide looked reasonable. I was also prepared to believe that the fire could have started accidentally, the FBI having created a powderkeg situation by putting CS gas into building.

    After watching this movie, it seems clear to me that what happened wasn't negligence -- it was "kill all the witnesses."...more info

  • A must see for every American.
    "I may not believe in what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

    If government's infringements on your basic rights of Freedom of Speech and your Right to Keep and Bear Arms does not bother you, then don't see this movie and don't worry about the future of our country.

    It is because of the great (sometimes self-defeating) tendency to forgive in this country that the communist-socialist Clinton regime has been able to remain in power and conduct such travesties against private American citizens...and remain unpunished.

    The innocent deaths in Waco must not be forgotten......more info

  • A Must-see for every American who wants the truth about Waco
    This video is horrifying, heartbreaking, and ultimately infuriating and galvanizing. It is one of the greatest documentaries ever made. By all means, buy it and see it....more info
  • A police chief in Texas who saw murder in Waco
    The documentary tells where the information was gathered from and who said what. All information is cross referenced to other evidence. This is a must see for any one interested in the truth....more info
  • I hope all the members of congress will see this film.
    I truly hope that all of our elected representatives will view this film, no matter which political party they belong to. It is frightening to watch, I am stunned....more info
  • Really Disturbing!
    Many people remember the Waco standoff that occured a long time ago. What most people probably have ingrained in their minds is the "cult leader" David Koresh and the images of the compound burning to the ground after a long standoff. A lot of people have the belief that Koresh was some kind of madman who thought he was God. He was accused of being a child molester and was credited for the breakdown and deaths of his followers. Furthermore, many people feel the cult committed mass suicide when the FBI stormed Mount Carmel Center and when the building was burning. Most people feel the cult was at fault for not agreeing with the FBI on reasonable terms. Most people feel the cult was brainwashed by Koresh and followed along with everything that he said. Nothing could be farther from the truth, because of strong evidence after the nightmare was over, and this one-of -a- kind documentary pretty much proves it!!

    This documentary is one of the most balanced examinations at the situation that occured. It is much more thorough and highly detailed than anything most people have received in the mainstream media. To the shock of many people, this documentary will reveal that is was the ATF, the FBI, and the higher levels of the United States government who were the ones who were unjust, cruel, and deceptive, and not David Koresh and his followers. What Korseh and Davidians were doing was just protecting their constitutional rights, and the higher powers completely violated and raped those rights. The AFT had no grounds to storm the compound; it was the AFT that shot first and they shot from the helicopters from above at unarmed men, women, and children!! What is even more shocking is the actions of the FBI when they entered the Mount Carmel. Watch it for yourselves and you will develop and new perspective on the U.S. government. There is infrared footage that clearly shows the FBI was shooting with machine guns at the men, women, and children in the burning compound. It will make your blood boil. It will make you really angry. It will make you wonder as to what kind of people run this country. Finally, it will make you wonder as to what you are being told on the news every night is the whole truth and nothing but the truth. This video is frightning and I highly recommend it if one can find it. This documentary does not need to be purchased; it can be watched for free on google video! ...more info
  • Very informitive and shockingly eye opening. A must see.
    I found the movie very informitive. Very different from how the mainstream media protrayed the standoff. The facts that most interested me were the Branch Dividians actual beliefs and more particular, David Koresh's beliefs. These again, were totally different than the way the media protrayed him. I came away angry with the Governments acts (along the medias reporting) and cover-ups in the whole affair. I found the film to flow nicely along with documenting everything very well. While Koresh was by no means a Saint, what the government did here should spread like wildfire to stop this from ever happening again. Every High School student should see this other side of our government....more info
  • it won this skeptic over
    I am a fairly liberal person, and hardly one to buy into the conspiracy theorists...however this really opened my eyes.

    Instead of hysterical rednecks or creepy devout religious fanatics, the people who put this together make a VERY convincing arguement about the legality (hell...the outright lies) that the Federal Government apparently told.

    Particularly damning were the films...the fact that the government shot first...that they deliberately drove over the grave of one of the first in WACO to die.

    Forst Ruby Ridge, and now this...WHAT are they thinking?...more info

  • a sureshot expose of how the government screws up, yet again
    not only does this tell of how the people inside the 'compound' at waco were not the raging, fanatical, militant cult that the FBI, ATF, and media portrayed them as, but shows the FBI *BLATANTLY* lying. supposedly no gunshots were fired, yet the leading expert on Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR) determines gunshots entering the building...a DEFINITE MUST SEE...more info
  • This is really sobering
    Gives a serious "other side of the story". Makes you wonder who you should believe in this day and age. Makes me think about the movie "Wag the Dog"....more info
  • Absolutely horrifying!!!!
    I must say that I viewed this film expecting to see a bunch of baloney, was I ever shocked!! This film has to be viewed to understand its power! People just can not understand the situation at Waco until they see this film. It was a real eye opener. I can not express enough how the american public needs to see this film. It will change the way you look at the United States government forever! We need arms to protect ourselves after seeing this you will agree....more info
  • No Bull
    This documentary feeds you no bull. No hype. Simply the truth. While the "official" line is full of holes...this documentary gives us a clear picture of what happened at Waco... From the missing tapes, to the missing front door of the compound, this video reveals to you things that the ATF doesn't want you to know!!...more info
  • Clinton Strikes Again !!!
    A very powerful movie!!! This film is basically a "coming out party" for Clinton and his cronies..( Because thats really who was behind all of this...)The Government ( Big Brother ) shielding us from those "Bad People"....those "Bad People" after all were you and I !!!! Lets see what the future holds....more info
  • Mind-blowing, absolute must see documentary!
    Anyone who watches this documentary and says this is nothing but a pack of lies is nothing short of a moron. I have no respect for anyone who believes the US government was in the right regarding how WACO was handled....you are basically an uneducated idiot if you think otherwise. I went into this believing that David Koresh and his followers were a bunch of retarded cultists, who believed David Koresh was the messiah. Well guess what? I still believe that. BUT, that doesn't mean what happened to them at WACO was nothing short of mass murder at the hands of the US government.

    This documentary is mind-blowing and sickening at the same time. I cannot understand why the ATF and the FBI did what they did to that compound with all those children in it. And of course they lied about pretty much everything and covered up the entire event by "losing" evidence, and completely DESTROYING the crime scene. Watch this documentary and judge for yourself. It is presented in all fairness, with both sides equally represented. The evidence presented is factual. I can say that because it is backed up by numerous qualified persons, including medical examiners and video experts.

    This should be required viewing for every high school student before they graduate. I don't write too many reviews, but watching this filmed moved me to say something, anything, to get more Americans to watch this documentary. We owe it to ourselves and our country to keep this place in check. I love this country, but this is exactly the kind of crap that is going to send it down the tubes. Watch this and have your eyes opened. The media's coverage of this event in '93 made me believe a completely different set of events went down at WACO. I now believe what is presented in this film to be the ugly truth. Nobody is saying that Koresh wasn't a deranged, nutcake....but the people in that building DID NOT DESERVE WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM!

    WATCH THIS NOW!...more info

  • Blessed are the Prophets
    This is just an example of how "religious fundementals" of any kind are persecuted by our corrupt government. This film exposes the dark side of our "big brother" government. I say this is a must see for ANYONE who resides in this country. May the spirit of the lord keep all those who perished at the hands of Evil. Although I do not agree with all of the teachings of brother Koresh, may he be blessed, for standing for the lord and not giving in to politics! "Blessed are the prophets"....more info
  • Congress rips them up!
    This video will show you hands down the corruption of the government. Unlike 911, this was not covered up very well at all. A lot of evidence was avaiable.

    I was VERY VERY amazed by this one, but not at all shocked....more info
  • Thought-provoking documentary
    I'd seen this movie before, but wanted it on DVD. It's one of those interesting documentaries that make you wonder what really happened. I took most of their "facts" with a grain of salt. Though I think the movie raises enough questions to make you want to check into it further. The filmed government hearings alone are enough to make you want to know more. So it's worth watching, just to get somebody else's view of what happened....more info
  • Slightly biased - but too important not too watch.
    This is an excellent documentary of what may be the greatest case of domestic government abuse and/or negligence in US history. It is slightly skewed as to make the Branch Davidians look a lot more innocent than they actually were, and many of their questionable beliefs were ignored or not delved into in this film, when they likely should have been. For instance, the fact remains, that David Koresh was a bigamist and likely guilty of statutory rape. This may have coincided with his beliefs, and in no way is it justification for an armed military style raid, but that fact should have been discussed, as opposed to briefly touched upon. Also, some of Koresh's own shady character was not discussed. He had himself and a few others been indicted and tried (aquitted) for attempted murder of the previous leader of the Davidians, George Roden, who at the time of the raid was languishing in the Institute for the Criminally Insane at Rusk. There was a huge gun battle out there in 1987, and koresh, then Vernon Howell, was in the middle of it. Now, none of these things call out for a government raid or the death of these people, but they certainly are important. The movie does manage to portray the Davidians as sympathetic, and likely most of them were, and I think that is more to emphasize the guilt of the atf and fbi in the handling of the whole affair, not because it is entirely true. And, even how I feel about that is not an indication on my feeling that the government has much to answer for. Over 80 people died in relation to the whole thing, and the movie does an excellent job in showing that the government, either by negligence or trying to cover its collective ***, has not only done a poor job of determining the problems of the whole affair but has been instrumental in mishandling and covering up information about the situation....more info
  • Extrapolate the future
    "Disturbing"..."must see...two thumbs way up." All of these descriptions of "Waco, the Rules of Engagement" apply. How members of Congress arrived at the conclusion that the FBI and ATF should be found innocent escapes rational judgement. And now, a Senator, who is closely associated with the same people who exonerated these "law enforcement" officers has been appointed as prosecutor? The renewed media silence and pre-occupation of the American people with there daily lives, gives tacit approval to a lost Democracy, and more tragedies to come....more info
  • This same corrupt government...
    Has killed alot more people in Iraq than Waco. Ours and theirs all for some made up excuse about "Weapons of Mass Destuction" and Religous Zealots. Sound familiar? The only problem the war is taking us down a terrible path. ...more info
  • Tendentious but unforgettable
    First, the flaws. The (very dramatic)FLIR section--purporting to show that the Davidian compound was fired upon by the government's forces during the catastrophic fire--has been shown to be meritless. Interviews and testimony have been edited so as in some cases to misrepresent the opinions of those shown and quoted. The dishonesty, incompetence, and venality of the US government and its agencies in this ghastly, sickening tragedy are glaring enough that there's no need to distort the truth in order to get the point across.

    Nonetheless, what happened to the Davidians was so horrible, and this film is so powerfully made, that it will haunt you....more info
  • You need to see this film
    When you think of Waco, you probably think, "that's where all the wackos live..." right? Freaks and weirdos. Why, it's worse than California! When you think of David Koresh and the Branch Davidians you probably think, "head nutjob who brainwashed a group of religious fanatics to kill themselves..." Am I right? I admit I thought the same thing. Considering the press coverage we were being fed, is it any wonder? I remember one of the major networks was busy creating a Waco movie before the standoff even ended.

    Listen to the tapes of the negotiations between the FBI and the compound members. Watch the tapes and see the footage from numerous sources showing how highly flammable and combustible CS gas was injected into the compound. And most damning of all, watch the FLIR tapes that show FBI agents firing automatic weapons on the compound as the gas was set ablaze.

    Opinions may vary, and that's the purpose of intelligent debate, but it's the opinion of this viewer that Waco was not an incident, but a massacre -- a deliberate and premeditated assassination performed by our government against our own people. Even more disturbing is how our elected officials, after having viewed the same footage in congressional hearings, moved swiftly to dismiss any possibility that the FBI acted in error.

    Think I'm exaggerating or overreacting? Then you need to see this film....more info

  • surprised- -
    Surprised they would ever release this on dvd. The VHS version came and went without making much of an impact.
    One of many non-dvd documentaries that prove how much media distortion exists. Ask youself and anyone your age, how much do you really know about the Branch Davidians and what happened that day? Released about 10 years ago, it still packs a punch, don't let the slow start fool, everything builds up to the stand-off. An exceptional "Everything You know is Wrong" piece of cinema. Also keep on the lookout for the original "Paradise Lost" docu on dvd, which is just as good....more info
  • Waco - Rogue Government Kills Religious Apocalyptists.
    _Waco - The Rules of Engagement_ (1997) is a documentary directed by William Gazecki about the conflict that took place in 1993 between the Branch Davidians, a splinter group of religious apocalyptists, and the ATF and FBI in Waco, Texas. This particular film is the 136 min. version of the documentary, which has been circulating for quite some time at various lengths. This documentary attempts to reveal the misdeeds and mishaps of the federal government in their raid of the Branch Davidian compound. The film probes into the actions of government officers and the manner in which they planned their raid, attempting to show that the government acted unlawfully and wrongly and then tried to cover up what they had done. Unfortunately, the raid on the compound resulted in horrendous tragedy when after a 51 day stand-off the compound was burned to the ground on April 19, 1993, killing 79 people including 21 children and the leader of the Branch Davidians, David Koresh. This film alleges that the government engaged in serious wrong-doing, casts doubt on many of the allegations against Koresh, and shows how despite claims by the government that the FBI did not fire a single shot on the compound or set the fire which burned it to the ground that these claims cannot be supported by the evidence. As such, this film reveals the federal government at its absolute worst, engaged in unlawful activity against civilians in a ruthless pursuit of revenge. The film also shows the hatred of the government for apocalyptic sects and the arrogance of government officials and congressmen who did everything in their power to cover over what really occurred at Waco.

    David Koresh, whose real name was Vernon Howell, was an apocalyptic prophet and leader of the Branch Davidians, a splinter group of the Seventh-Day Adventists. Together with a diverse group of his followers, he set up a compound called the Mount Carmel Center in Waco, Texas. Two of the main allegations against Koresh are that he was stockpiling illegal weapons and that he was guilty of statutory rape. In the film, both of these allegations will be challenged; however, even if one accepts both of these allegations as correct this still does not justify the government's actions against him. On February 28, 1993, the ATF attempted to execute a search warrant on the Branch Davidian compound; however, an exchange of gunfire occurred and four agents were killed and others wounded. Following this, the FBI took over and was involved in a 51 day stand-off with the Branch Davidians, which culminated in tragedy when the compound was burnt to the ground. The film makes several allegations against the federal government regarding wrong-doing during this procedure. First, it is claimed that the ATF turned down an invitation by Koresh to inspect the compound made months before, but rather decided to raid the compound themselves. Second, it is claimed that the Branch Davidians did not actually fire first. This is shown by the fact that the door on which the firing took place had bullet holes going inwards but few going outwards. Other allegations against the government involve the doings of the FBI who took over later. The FBI claims that they did not fire a single shot; however, in tapes shown before the congressional committee gunfire can clearly be seen. In addition, in a particularly callous move considering the fact that there were innocent children inside the compound, CS gas was injected into the building which would have very harmful effects upon breathing individuals inside. Further, the CS gas could have ignited which caused the fire that burnt the compound to the ground, contrary to the claims made by the government that the Branch Davidians themselves burned the compound to the ground. Other questionable activities by the government include the use of psychological warfare, playing loud music, and flooding the building with light to provoke Koresh and his followers. If the government truly believed Koresh to be an unstable individual to begin with, then why would they engage in such tactics against him which could only serve to drive him further into irrationality? Such questions as these remain unanswered by the government, and in repeated and arrogant denials and dismissals federal officials, congressmen, and Janet Reno (head of the FBI at the time) have denied any wrongdoing on their part. Nevertheless, with such questions unanswered and such gaping holes in the official account, it becomes fairly obvious that the actions of the government were wrongful. It has been suggested by some that the actions of the FBI may have been prompted by revenge for what occurred with the ATF. Such desire for revenge allowed federal officials to ignore what would become of 21 innocent children. As one individual in the film makes the case, the government should protect children even if they have bad parents (in fact particularly if they have bad parents and even from their bad parents). But, in this case the government chose to torture children to get back at bad parents leading to their ultimate deaths. Such is the ultimate tragedy of the events which took place at Waco.

    This film offers an excellent and important documentary of government wrong-doing. It should be a wake up call to all American citizens of the dangers of government. When the government turns against its own citizens, this is itself the most pernicious evil which can beset a nation. Such was the case at Waco in 1993.
    ...more info
  • it won this sceptic over
    I am a fairly liberal person, and hardly one to buy into the conspiracy theorists...however this really opened my eyes.

    Instead of hysterical rednecks or creepy devout religious fanatics, the people who put this together make a VERY convincing arguement about the legality (hell...the outright lies) that the Federal Government apparently told.

    Particularly damning were the films...the fact that the government shot first...that they deliberately drove over the grave of one of the first in WACO to die.

    Forst Ruby Ridge, and now this...WHAT are they thinking?...more info

  • A vivid demonstration of how power corrupts


    "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." So the saying goes, and the fate of the Branch Davidians at the hands of the Clinton/Reno Justice Department is a perfect example.

    The attack on the Mt. Carmel compound, at Waco, Texas, began as an attempt by the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms division of Treasury to make an example of the religious cult known as the Branch Davidians and their leader David Koresh, and to achieve some favorable publicity after the black eye it had got from the public from its heavy handed treatment at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, where agents shot and killed an innocent woman holding an infant, the family dog and the teenage boy in the family when they stumbled upon the agents surveiling the property in the surrounding woods.

    At Ruby Ridge, the motive of the federal agents was that the husband and father refused their offer to serve as an undercover snitch for them in the local community of white supremacists. To induce him to do so, they had an undercover man get him to cut down a shotgun to an illegal length. It was an inadvertent eighth of an inch shorter than the legal length. His refusal to cooperate brought the wrath of the government down on his head, and the FBI in to back up the ATF. It was an FBI sniper who shot his wife to death in the doorway of their home, while she held their infant to her breast.

    At Waco, they had unsubstantiated information that the Branch Davidians possessed some fully automatic weapons. As it turned out, none were ever found in the ashes, but even if they had been, the "crime" was failure to pay a $200 tax required to own such weapons. The ATF got a search warrant, and with it as their cover, rather than knock on the door and serve it, they went in shooting.

    Later, of course, they claimed sexual abuse, rape, and child abuse was their motive--crimes which they have absolutrely no legal authority to address since they are essentially tax collecting agents, and which in any event had already been investigated by the State of Texas with negative results.

    So, in a long, drawn out, mishandled, botched raid and its aftermath, which took days to resolve, they managed to kill nearly 100 men, women and children and burn the compound to the ground.

    The Congress of the United States whitewashed the whole event. This video, however, documents the bureaucratic lies and misdeeds in great detail in great and damning detail, and demonstrates clearly why it is necessary for the people to have better sources of information than the major news media and the government. It also shows what weasels our elected representratives can be, as best demonstrated by Charlie Schumer, now a U.S. Senator.

    Joseph (Joe) Pierre, USN (Ret.)

    author of Handguns and Freedom...their care and maintenance
    and other books...more info