FYI:FLIX - Waco documentary: Rules of Engagement (fwd)

Eugene Leitl (
Thu, 1 May 1997 22:41:59 +0200 (MET DST)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 1997 18:16:47 -0500
From: FringeWare News Network <email@Fringeware.COM>
Cc: Peaceable Texans <>
Subject: FLIX - Waco documentary: Rules of Engagement

Sent from: Peaceable Texans <>

New Documentary on Waco to show in Austin this Week

A new, million-dollar production about the government's role at the Waco
disaster is creating quite a stir as it is shown around the nation. The
documentary comes to Austin this week and will show at the Dobie Theater
beginning this Friday. The Friday 7 p.m. showing will be followed by a
panel of Waco survivors discussing the incident and taking questions from
the audience. Movie times can be obtained by calling 472-3456. What
follows are excerpts of a review of this movie that appeared in the March
14th issue of The Texas Observer:

Waco: The Rules of Engagement, A film by William Gazecki and Dan
Gifford. More than a year has passed since the Justice Department
admitted that its troops had been trigger-happy at Ruby Ridge, but the
Feds' position on Waco hasn't changed. "We looked at the entire
situation and we made the best judg-ment we could," Attorney General
Janet Reno maintains. . ..

Waco: The Rules of Engagement is a critical look at the 1993 assault
on the religious group led by David Koresh, and it's unlikely that
anyone who sees the nearly three-hour documentary will agree with the
Attorney General. The film is playing to unexpectedly large
audiences. It opened at Utah's Sundance Festi-val in January, played
at A&M's Texas Film Festival in February . . ..

Rules of Engagement doesn't use drama for polemical purposes or make
claims it can't sustain. It is not the child of a garage or attic
studio: its makers say it has cost nearly a million dollars, and as
docu-mentaries go, it has the feel of a real flick: dramatic
structure, soundtrack, tear-jerking conclusion, the works. Director
William Gazecki and executive producer and writer Dan Gifford are not
Hollywood big names, but that, after all, is the point of film

The film's summary of the issues surrounding the Waco affair
demonstrates newsman Gifford's be-lief in "balanced reporting." The
documentary includes Congressional testimony by Kiri Jewell "the
teen-ager who claims she was sexually molested by David Koresh" and
the stinging critiques of New York Congressman and gun foe Charles
Schumer, the charging bull of the 1995 Congressional hearings on
Waco. Even Janet Reno mutters her story, saying, among other things,
that the tanks that the FBI deployed at Mount Carmel were "like a good

The film presents a half-dozen sources that print journalists . . .
couldn't tap in the years immedi-ately following the events. The prize
catch, brought in by researcher Mike McNulty, a Colorado insurance man
turned Waco sleuth, is leathery McClennan County Sheriff Jack Harwell,
who had little to say during the fifty-one-day siege in 1993. In the
film, Harwell doesn't exactly call federal lawman flatfeet or
murder-ers, but what he does say raises some important questions about
the sanctioned version of the Mount Car-mel story. "We had a bunch of
women, children, elderly people, they were all good, good people," the
sheriff says. "I was around them quite a lot. They were always nice,
married, they minded their own busi-ness, they were never
. . ..

At Sundance, viewers who sat through this long film despite knowing
how it would end, didn't even yawn during its lengthy re-runs of
C-Span Congressional testimony. And when the film did end, the
festi-val's ski-and-film buffs were convinced that the government's
hands are not clean.

Even liberals as confirmed as Carol Gnade, director of the Utah
chapter of the American Civil Lib-erties Union, left the film
perturbed. "My gut feeling when I was watching," she says, "was that
there was so much that as a citizen I didn't know about what happened
at Waco. Organizations like the ACLU and NRA have to keep a closer eye
on events like that."

Few issues connect interests as diverse as the ACLU and the National
Rifle Association"which is one of the oddities that keeps the Waco
controversy alive. Rules of Engagement further erodes the official
version of what happened in Waco in April 1993. With any luck, the
film will create enough public pres-sure to elicit new information
about a mystery that refuses to die.

Jim Thompson / Smallworks, Inc. /  
512 338 0619 phone / 512 338 0625 fax
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