With few exceptions, both the establishment and "patriot" press is raving about "Waco: The Rules of Engagement." It has been nominated for an Academy Award and an Emmy. Doesn't that make you just a little suspicious?
If so, your suspicions are well founded. "Waco: The Rules of Engagement," the much ballyhooed "documentary" on Waco, is a hoax.
WTROE is an effort to misdirect protest over Waco while pretending to be a protest piece. WTROE hides the most damaging truths and directs attention to false issues. Thus it neutralizes the outrage that would be felt if the true facts were known. It forwards murder charges based on weak evidence; once the charges are discredited, the public will be inoculated against considering real evidence that the Davidians were murdered. And it chills sympathy for the Davidians as victims.
Space limitations in this article prohibit a full review--but a copy of the script of WTROE and a more complete review can be found at:
In a nutshell:
1. WTROE makes its gravest charge against the FBI--that adult Davidians were machine-gunned as they ran from the burning Mt. Carmel Center on April 19, 1993--on a single piece of contested evidence. That evidence is Forward-Looking Infra Red (FLIR) film taken by government forces on April 19, 1993.
2. WTROE does not question the veracity of this evidence, even though the source is the FBI, the very agency WTROE is accusing of murder.
3. WTROE argues that the Davidian mothers and children were not deliberately murdered and that their deaths were the unintended result of the CS attack and fire.
4. WTROE ignores a wealth of convincing evidence from a number of sources which confirms the charge that the Davidian mothers and children were deliberately murdered.
5. WTROE fabricates a "they died of cyanide poisoning" story to explain the deaths of the children.
6. WTROE makes blatantly false statements about the Davidian Autopsy Reports and "official" causes of death.
7. WTROE dilutes outrage over Waco by showcasing the most repulsive accusation against the Davidians.
8. WTROE dilutes outrage over Waco by suggesting the atrocity was, in part, a product of the Davidians' belief system.
9. WTROE reasserts the obviously false accounts of April 19 events, as told by some Davidian "survivors"-- that the majority of Davidians were alive during the CS attack and fire and died as a result of those events. The message is "They were alive on April 19, they really were . . . " (Except for those who got mowed down by FBI machine gun fire, see 1 and 2, above).
10. WTROE protects the US military by casting Waco as a "law enforcement" event. This, despite overwhelming and obvious evidence that that it was a military operation from the beginning to the end.
In the space permitted, let's have a look at the WTROE presentation concerning the deaths of the mothers and children. Remember, the deaths of the mothers and children is the most politically explosive issue of the entire incident. It is in the government's interest to direct attention away from the real and voluminous evidence they were murdered with malice aforethought, and lead people to believe they died as a result of government negligence.
Lies Concerning Autopsy Reports and Causes of Death
Firstly, WTROE tells us a lie concerning the causes of deaths as given in the Autopsy Reports. Mike McNulty, WTROE director of research, co-producer, and narrator, tells us: "The actual cause of each Davidian's death remains officially unknown because the FBI interfered with the coroner's investigation" (Script, pg. 39, available in the URL cited above).
Not so. The "official" cause of each Davidian's death is given in the Autopsy Report and Death Certificate. You can examine many of the Autopsy Reports and "official" causes of death yourself at
On July 2, 1997, this writer called the office of the Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2, McLennan County, Texas (where Mt. Carmel was situated). According to the Judge's assistant, Belinda, no changes have been made since the autopsies were done and the death certificates signed in 1993. On the same date, a similar call to the Records Custodian at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Tarrant County, Texas, confirmed what Judge Collier's office had reported.
Certainly a known incompetent, Dr. Nizam Peerwani, Chief Medical Examiner of Tarrant County, was chosen to perform the autopsies. Certainly the manner in which those autopsies were conducted violated many professional and scientific standards. Certainly many of the "official" causes of death are not correct. But despite what WTROE says, each of the autopsies contains an officially assigned cause of death. They were assigned in 1993, and remain "official" today.
Unfounded Claims of Cyanide Poisoning Deaths
As already pointed out, the most politically explosive issue in Waco is the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the mothers and children. If people could be convinced, one more time, that those deaths were the result of negligence rather than planned murder, the government cover-up would be safe.
Let's examine WTROE's position on this question of negligence or murder. What evidence does it cite for the negligence position? What evidence does it cite for the murder position?
Showing us a picture of a child's body, WTROE narrator McNulty tells us: "Besides gun shot wounds, the majority of bodies had high levels of hydrogen cyanide--the deadly poison produced when CS burns. The backward bowed corpse of this eight year old girl shows what cyanide does to the human body. It makes muscles contract so violently that they can actually break bones." (Script, pg. 39).
This quote, and other material in the film, advances the argument that the deaths were the result of negligence. Let's examine the chain of reasoning closely: (1) The government wanted the Davidians to come out of the Mt.Carmel Center, so (2) they sprayed CS on April 19. After the CS was sprayed (3) a fire broke out, and (4) the fire heated the CS, which caused (5) the CS to produced cyanide gas, which in turn, was inhaled by the Davidians, and (6) many, including the child in the photo, died of cyanide poisoning.
What evidence does WTROE present to support this negligence argument? The answer is: Shaky evidence.
Bodies commonly contain hydrogen cyanide residue after a fire, a fact that WTROE ignores. Forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden is a former chief medical examiner in New York City. In his book "Unnatural Death -- Confessions of a Medical Examiner" (Random House, 1989), he cites a not atypical case when cyanide was introduced into lungs and blood of airplane crash victims from burning plastics in the plane (pg. 39). So cyanide can easily be released in a fire in ordinary circumstances, without the presence of CS.
The bodies of the Davidian mothers and children were found in a windowless concrete room. The only ventilation came through a door opening (the door had been removed years before). Arguably, the atmosphere in this room would have been relatively uniform. Yet research director McNulty fails to tell us that while some of the children's bodies contained cyanide, some had no traces of cyanide at all.
This evidence -- which undermines the cyanide poisoning claim -- is neither mentioned nor explained.
Now let's examine this part of the "cyanide death" photo and the quote, above: "The backward bowed corpse of this eight year old girl shows what cyanide does to the human body. It makes muscles contract so violently that they can actually break bones." This gives us the impression that CS-produced hydrogen cyanide killed the specific child shown in the photograph.
Yet according to the autopsy reports, neither this child nor any other Davidian died of cyanide poisoning.
Even so, what can we expect from a cyanide death? Dr. Baden in "Unnatural Death," talks about the symptoms of cyanide poisoning. In describing one murderer's account of killing with cyanide, he quotes the murderer:
"It's quiet, it's not messy, it's not noisy . . . there's even a spray mist around . . . you spray it in somebody's face and they go to sleep . . . " said the murderer. Baden tells how the murderer (a professional hit man) described a test murder he had committed on the street.
The murderer simply walked along in a crowd with a handkerchief over his nose and sprayed the victim in the face. Did the man go into violent convulsions? No. "The man collapsed and died, and everyone thought he'd had a heart attack," says Baden (pg. 128.) Hardly the effect described by WTROE.
On the other hand, Baden says strychnine produces convulsive deaths. "The body does out of control and into convulsions, arching backward, and the muscles of the face contort into the unmistakable risus sardonicus--sardonic grin. The convulsions prevent breathing."
So despite what WTROE says, bodies burned in fires commonly contain cyanide; a number of bodies found in the concrete room contained no cyanide; the "backward bowing" of the child's body could have been caused by an agent such as strychnine, or some other cause; not one autopsy report gives as a cause of death "cyanide poisoning."
Thus WTROE argues that negligence caused the death of the Davidians on virtually no evidence at all.
Missing Heads and Other Problems
While advancing the government-friendly line that the mothers and children's deaths were the result of negligence, WTROE ignores voluminous evidence from official sources that the mothers and children were murdered--deliberately, with malice aforethought, and that the crime was hidden.
WTROE does this by ignoring the remarkable condition of the bodies found in the concrete room.
According the Autopsy Reports, the people found in the room died variously of smoke inhalation, gunshot wounds, suffocation, blunt force trauma and burning. But what of the conditions of the bodies?
Some were charred beyond recognition or slightly charred. In individual cases, one part of a body may be completely burned away, while the remainder of the body scarcely burned. Some bodies were severely decomposed, some only moderately; some dismembered and badly mutilated, while others were whole.
Joseph Martinez (Mt. Carmel Doe 52) and Crystal Martinez (Mt. Carmel Doe 57) are recognizable as human forms. But many of the bodies in the concrete room/pantry appear to have been torn apart, as in the case of Melissa Morrison (Mt. Carmel Doe 74). Only Melissa's lower legs were found.
While the bodies of Joseph and Crystal Martinez suffered little charring, the remains of Katherine Andrade (Mt. Carmel Doe 30) and John McBean (Mt. Carmel Doe 32) were virtually incinerated.
Some corpses were so decomposed that the connective tissue between the bones had disintegrated, causing the bodies to fall apart (the process is called "disarticulation.") From a review of professional literature, we will see that this degree of decomposition is usually effected over a long period of time. Other corpses were so decomposed that the internal organs were unrecognizable, had turned to mush, or were liquefied.
Other corpses suffered only moderate decomposition. Remarkably, bodies of the five Davidians who died on February 28 and were buried in graves were far less decomposed that some of those who allegedly died on April 19.
In one case, the body parts of eleven (11) people were reformed into an agglutinated mass, as if compacted in a press. The deceased, found compacted like this, were said to have died variously of smoke inhalation, suffocation, and gunshot wound. It is obvious that these people died in different environments, and their remains gathered after death and pressed together.
John McBean's body was found in the concrete room. The head, both arms, and both legs, appear to have been mechanically amputated. The stumps are abrupt, and inconsistent with the graduated amputations caused by the ambient heat of fire. How does "cyanide poisoning" explain those mutilations?
In his courtroom testimony during the 1994 trial of the Branch Davidians, Dr. Peerwani, who performed the autopsies, said that many died when the concrete room "collapsed." But when a body is crushed by the simple force of a weight falling from a few feet, perhaps the height of a ceiling, the body parts tend to remain together, even if physically severed by the force. They retain something of the original spatial relationship to each other, as we can see in many fossils. The bodies in this concrete room, however, do not follow that rule. Many of those said to have been killed by falling debris were found without heads.
How does an unfounded claim of "cyanide poisoning" explain any of this? It doesn't, of course. That's why WTROE ignores the evidence.
WTROE took the trouble of interviewing Dr. Peerwani, but asked him no questions about some of these remarkable facts--even though these facts were memorialized in Dr. Peerwani's own autopsy reports.
The very real evidence ignored by WTROE suggests that the mothers and children did not all die on April 19 as they tried to get away from the CS, but that they died elsewhere under different conditions. The evidence suggests that the bodies were moved and mutilated after death, and a cover story invented.
There are many other reasons to believe WTROE is a hoax. Visit the Burial Gallery of the Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum. Study the script, and a more comprehensive review. Then make up your own mind.
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Many people who distrust the mainstream media have turned to alternate news sources, some of which are Internet based. Unfortunately, many of these alternate sources of news simply promote an alternate series of lies. These alternate lies are of course dressed up as "exposés." But you can easily tell the phonies from the real thing. The information in the Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum is an acid test.
Does your news source promote Mike McNulty's video, Waco: The Rules of Engagement or wring its hands because the Davidian law suit against the government failed? (See Waco Documentary Is A Hoax! and Waco Suits for Waco Suckers.) Does your alternate news source carry promotional pieces about rebuilding the Davidian church in Waco and mouth nice words about "healing"? (See The Cover-up Church.)
Remember, since ancient times, inquiries into questionable deaths have started with the bodies of the victims. If your news source won't give you an honest and full account of the forensic information on Waco, or if it does not have a link to the Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum ... your alternate news has failed a fundamental acid test.
All original material is copyright 1996-2000 by Carol A. Valentine,
on loan to Public Action, Inc.
Postal Address: Carol A. Valentine, PO Box 10933, Burke, VA 22009
This page last updated February 28, 2001.