Original release: 1999
Running time: 114 minutes
Director: Jason Van Vleet
Writer: William Gazecki, Michael McNulty
Cast: Gene Cullen, Misty Ferguson, Misty Riddle, Rita Riddle, Frederic Whitehurst
On February 28th, 1993, agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raided the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas. Four ATF agents and six Branch Davidians were killed. The Branch Davidians were immediately charged with murder, thus beginning a 51-day siege. On April 19th, 1993, the siege ended in a fire which destroyed the compound and took the lives of 74 men, women and children. The FBI later claimed the Davidians had committed mass suicide. Since 1993, former FBI, Special Forces and CIA operatives have come forward with evidence to suggest this claim is not true. Waco: A New Revelation is the story of that evidence.
I was only 14 years old when I watched the Waco tragedy unfolding in the news reports that followed it. It was something that stuck in my mind and in the years after, especially with events such as the Oklahoma City bombing and Timothy McVeigh’s trial and execution, I started to get a sense of how large a role the media was playing in diverting attentions with reports that weren’t strictly true, or even impartial. Today when we look back on Waco, what we remember are stories of how a fanatical leader burned himself and his followers alive in the 90’s equivalent of the Jonestown Massacre.
The real story of what took place at Waco is one that also asks a lot of questions. Jason Van Vleet’s documentary takes us back to 1993 and using footage assembled from news teams who were at the siege, as well as videos of David Koresh, interviews with former Branch Davidians, eye witness reports and people who were part of the operation, he builds a compelling and affecting story of how a military was turned against its own people and how the corporate media simply complied with what it was told.
Narrated by Dr. Frederick Whitehurst , Waco: A New Revelation begins with explaining a little bit about the beliefs and customs of the Branch Davidians, which took its name from King David of the Old Testament, and not Koresh.
It then moves on to detail the events which lead up to the ATF attempting to execute a warrant and search the compound on suspicion the group were modifying weapons, which were legally purchased, to create machine guns.
Reports on what took place here differ depending on who’s giving them. Video footage which would’ve cleared up this first argument mysteriously went missing and the pages from the surveillance log were torn out.
As the siege ensued, attempts by negotiator and former FBI Director William Sessions to diffuse the situation were blocked by the Justice Department and the entire operation was allowed to fall into disarray. With military tanks moving in and levelling much of Mount Carmel’s surrounding area, tensions began to rise and those inside felt they were making it impossible for them to come out.
Tactics to psychologically demoralise them were employed and warfare had officially begun. This is despite everyone on the outside knowing there were children and babies inside who were being affected by them cutting off the electricity, flooding the place with bright lights and playing loud music. By the morning of April 19th, canisters of tear gas were being shot inside and the tanks were levelling the compound – with people inside.
Then the flames started. Its here we start to question how that happened. As the military tried to force a resolution, it escalated the situation even further. Why was Delta Force present there? Who brought them in? Why were so many of the bodies recovered ridden with bullet holes? Why is there video evidence which suggests sniper and machine gun fire on people who were attempting to flee the fire? Could the potent amounts of tear gas shot into the compound have contributed to the fire?
Also troubling is the evidence which leads us to believe the bunker where the children we taken to was blown from the outside by a detonation charge. With the crime scene contaminated, bodies left to decomposes instead of preserving them for forensics and other vital pieces of evidence disappearing throughout the sham investigation, it becomes clear the true story of what happen at Waco wasn’t meant to be known.
All of these points are brought to light in Waco: A New Revelation and the documentary was also responsible for bringing about a new Congressional investigation, and caused the Justice Department and the FBI to reverse their long-held positions on Waco.
The revelations are shocking and will be hard to accept if for all these years you’ve followed what the mainstream media had to say about what happened at Mount Carmel on April 19th, 1993.
The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is a composer and music producer with a philosophy degree. Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and World Cinema, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.
You can find his music on Soundcloud .