Michael Moore: Fahrenheit 9/11
no mention of foreknowledge, the "Saudi's did it"
on this page
- Fahrenheit 9/11: the sequel (a bittersweet movie review)
- other reviews of Fahrenheit 9/11, a brilliant, deeply flawed film
- Michael Moore blames the Saudis (who did not run NORAD on 9/11)
- Michael Moore proclaims Mumia abu Jamal guilty
- Michael Moore flacks for war criminal Wesley Clark
- advance publicity for Fahrenheit 9/11
Michael Moore is one of America's most famous dissidents. He first received notoriety for his film "Roger and Me," a biting commentary on the General Motors corporation, "downsizing" jobs, and elite indiffierence to the destruction of working class communities such as Moore's native Flint, Michigan. Roger and Me propelled him into fame, with TV shows (mostly aired in Britain), and several other films, including "Pets or Meat," "The Big One," and the Oscar award winning "Bowling for Columbine."
Moore's 2003 book "Dude, Where's my Country?" included severely deficient analysis of 9/11 that provides (hopefully) inadvertant support for the US's next war - the invasion of the Saudi oil fields, the largest on Earth.
The thesis that Moore puts forward is essentially this: the Saudis attacked the US on 9/11, Bush has business ties to the Saudis, therefore, Bush must be replaced in 2004. While elements of this are true, the claim that the Saudis perpetrated 9/11 is reminiscent of similar claims that the Mafia killed President Kennedy. In neither case did the Saudis nor the Mafia have the power to turn off the normal protection (of New York or of the President).
The "blame the Saudis" campaign is really a sophisticated effort to lay the ground work for a future US invasion of Saudi Arabia (if control of the Kingdom shifted to a group not sufficiently compliant with the United States). The Saudis were merely a subcontractor in 9/11 (at most), since they do not control the Air Force and NORAD's fighter planes that are supposed to intercept off-course jet liners within minutes. While it is unknown whether Moore realizes that he is playing into the "Project for a New American Century" strategists (who seem eager to declare Saudi Arabia an enemy of the US and put it toward the top of the "Countries We Must Invade" list), his next film "Fahrenheit 9/11" will certainly be seen as the "dissident" view of 9/11. The film did not actually probe into the complicity of the Bush administration in the event, it is merely a "Limited Hang Out" that blames Bush for "intelligence failures" while pointing out (accurately) that the Bush and Bin Laden families have business ties that date to the 1970s.
Fahrenheit 9/11: the sequel
A bittersweet movie review
Watching Fahrenheit 9/11 was a bittersweet experience.
It is nice that a small taste of the evidence compiled by the 9/11 skeptics movement has finally reached a mass audience. But Moore's blockbuster documentary is a weird mix of extremely good and extremely bad, falsely blames Saudi Arabia as the perpetrator of 9/11, and missed blatantly obvious opportunities to provide the audience with tools to understand why the Bush regime allowed 9/11 and invaded Iraq.
The "blame the Saudis" campaign is really a sophisticated effort to lay the ground work for the forthcoming US invasion of Saudi Arabia. The Saudis were merely a subcontractor in 9/11 (at most), since they do not control the Air Force and NORAD's fighter planes that are supposed to intercept off-course jet liners within minutes. While it is unknown whether Moore realizes that he is playing into the "Project for a New American Century" strategists (who seem eager to declare Saudi Arabia an enemy of the US and put it toward the top of the "Countries We Must Invade" list), his film "Fahrenheit 9/11" will certainly be seen as the "dissident" view of 9/11. The film did not actually probe into the complicity of the Bush administration in the event, it is merely a "Limited Hang Out" that blames Bush for "intelligence failures" while pointing out (accurately) that the Bush and Bin Laden families have business ties that date to the 1970s.
Bush at Booker Elementary: proof the usurper is not really the President
The footage of Bush reading "My Pet Goat" to second graders while people burned in the towers is new to most people because of self-censorship by the media that has avoided the issue for nearly three years. This scene is particularly damning because his aide did not ask the "President" for a response when he told him that the second tower had been hit. A commander-in-chief would have replied with inquires about the scrambling of fighter planes to intercept the remaining off-course jets, but Bush continued with the bland photo-op rather than make decisions that could have saved lives. The Secret Service also let Bush stay in the school for crucial minutes, which was either unprecedented incompetence or proof that they knew that Bush was not in danger from any of the hijacked planes. Moore's commentary suggested that Bush, while looking dumb and detached in the schoolroom, might have been wondering if his friends the Saudis had done this. It is much more likely that Bush was thinking that he had been told this event was coming, and now it was here.
The bittersweet aspect of Moore's inclusion of this key issue is the likelihood that if the mainstream media - or even the so-called alternative press - had discussed the strange behavior of George W. Bush when told of the attacks, it could have empowered many more citizens to break free of the post-9/11 trance, potentially strengthening efforts to prevent the invasion of Iraq when it would have saved many more lives. How many Iraqi deaths are partially responsible to the fear in the US media to expose the lies behind the official story of 9/11?
A better discussion of "Bush at Booker" is in the 2002 film "The Great Deception," by Vision TV of Toronto, Canada.
Evidence Ignored in F/911
The most basic dichotomy for understanding 9/11 is whether it was a surprise attack or allowed to happen. Fahrenheit 9/11 carefully steers clear of documenting the overwhelming evidence that at the very least, 9/11 was deliberately allowed to happen to enable long-planned efforts to seize the Middle East oil fields and impose the Homeland Security police state.
Moore says that "This movie is perhaps the most thoroughly researched and vetted documentary of our time. No fewer than a dozen people, including three teams of lawyers and the venerable one-time fact-checkers from The New Yorker went through this movie with a fine-tooth comb." Despite this claim, he makes some severe mistakes that are hard to explain with an incompetence theory, given the high quality of the film's good parts.
F/911 does not discuss the urgent warnings that came from at least 15 countries that the attacks were imminent, some of them were extremely specific. It also avoids the thorny issue of whistleblowers, especially those at the FBI, who complain that their surveillance of the flight schools was suppressed by top level managers in the Bureau, especially Mr. Dave Frasca, who ran the Radical Fundamentalist division in the FBI and was promoted after 9/11 despite his suppression of investigations by honest FBI agents.
The film does not show how selected political, military and corporate officials were warned not to fly or to get out of the way, even though this information is mostly sourced to mainstream media sources. One example was the Sept. 12, 2001 San Francisco Chronicle article that said that SF Mayor Willie Brown was warned not to fly to New York the night before 9/11. Newsweek mentioned that top Pentagon brass canceled their 9/11 flights the day before. Bush's cousin Jim Pierce relocated his business meeting on 9/11 from the top of the towers to a nearby building (source: Barbara Bush!). These and many other pieces of evidence would have strengthened Moore's argument that Bush must be removed from the White House, but they would also have pointed toward official complicity.
Moore ignored the insider trading on Wall Street and international stock markets that bet the values of United, American and companies with a large presence in the towers would drop immediately before 9/11. The insider trading scandal was a huge story in the international financial press in the weeks after 9/11, with numerous speculations that Osama had made the sickest stock trade in history. However, these trades are monitored in real time by the CIA, and would have been a huge clue that a bad thing was about to happen to those airlines and the World Trade Center for anyone paying attention inside the government.
This story disappeared down the "memory hole" after From the Wilderness published an article in October 2001 that linked the trades to a Wall Street company whose previous director is now the number three official at the CIA. In a more just world, FTW would have won the Pulitzer Prize for this scoop. Instead, FTW was attacked by foundation funded "liberal" groups such as The Nation, Norman Solomon, and Chip Berlet's Political Research Associates, but none of the attacks dared mention the stock trades story. It is curious, too, that two years ago, at the Toronto International Film Festival, Moore mentioned that he was starting work on F/911 and was asked if he was aware of the research of Michael Ruppert (who publishes FTW). Moore stammered, claimed he didn't know who that was (even though his company had been in touch with FTW), and quickly changed the subject.
The Saudi connection to the Kean Commission
A Saudi business connection that somehow Moore did not discuss is the curious business partners of Thomas Kean, the chair of the official 9/11 Commission. Kean is the former Governor of New Jersey, and replaced the notorious Henry Kissinger, Bush's first choice to head the investigation. If Kissinger had been kept on board, it would have been easier for average citizens to understand this "investigation" was a scam -- since few are aware that Kean is a business partner of Osama's brother in law. Even Fortune magazine has connected the dots between Kean, his seat on the board of Amerada Hess petroleum, their investment in a Saudi consortium that was planning the pipeline across Afghanistan, and Khalid bin Mafouz, a shady Saudi investor who reportedly is married to Osama's sister. It's curious that a film so focused on exposing corrupt Saudi influences in American politics ignores this part of the puzzle.
Kean's commission will recommend at the end of July that the US create a new "Homeland" spy agency to snoop on the citizens and to give bigger budgets to Big Brother, with the false claim that this would help prevent a repeat of 9/11. Reversing the assaults on our civil liberties will require exposing the deceptions of September 11th.
The Pakistan connection
Early in the film, Moore interviews CIA agent and Florida Representative Porter Goss, and pokes fun at him by printing his phone number at the bottom of the screen. Moore's investigators did not include in the film that on the morning of 9/11, Rep. Goss, Republican from Florida and Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, was meeting with General Mahmoud Ahmad, the director of Pakistan's equivalent of the CIA. According to the FBI, Gen. Ahmad was the "moneyman" behind 9/11, and sent $100,000 to Mohammed Atta, the alleged ringleader of the 9/11 terrorist group. Why didn't Moore ask Rep. Goss what he and General Ahmad were talking about that morning. Rep. Goss is probably going to be the next Director of the CIA (appointed by Bush). If one of Moore's expert factcheckers had performed a websearch on "Porter Goss" and 911, they would have found lots of articles on this connection - and if only a few of them are close to the truth, it would be an enormous scandal.
A key part of Moore's "blame the Saudis" argument is the flight of the Bin Laden clan in the days after 9/11. However, a similar, but more damning flight occurred that fall -- the flights of al-Qaeda fighters from Afghanistan to Pakistan, which were allowed by the US military. Pakistan's participation in 9/11 will have to wait for the sequel.
PNAC: Perle Harbor and the Saudi pivot
Yet another topic ignored by F/911 is the "Project for a New American Century," a neo-conservative group whose members include much of the current regime -- Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and others. In September 2000, PNAC published a report titled "Rebuilding America's Defenses," which proclaimed that the US should seize Iraq even if Saddam was toppled, and predicted that the transformation of the US empire into a force for complete global domination would be a long one without some "catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor." Since Richard Perle was part of PNAC, perhaps 9/11 was "Perle Harbor."
In August 2002, Richard Perle ran the Defense Policy Board at the Pentagon. This think tank invited a speaker who gave a presentation that said to reshape the Middle East toward a political order of the US's liking, "Iraq was the tactical pivot, Saudi Arabia the strategic pivot, and Egypt is the prize." Two years later, the US has seized Iraq (although it is finding it hard to hold onto), and is contemplating seizing Saudi oil fields. Egypt is the prize because the bulk of the Arab population lives in that country, and they are acutely aware of the artificial borders that separate the bulk of the Arab people from the tremendous oil wealth of the Persian Gulf oil sheikdoms.
Part of this "strategic pivot" shift, according to the Defense Policy Board speaker, would be for the US to seize Saudi oil fields in the eastern part of that country. All of the Saudi oil is along the Persian Gulf coast. Ironically, that area is the where Saudi Arabia's minority Shia population is concentrated, and if they were to be an independent state (they were forceably annexed into the Kingdom nearly a century ago), they would control nearly all of the oil. Militarily, it would be very easy for the US to take over the Saudi oil fields, but politically, it would be much worse than the Iraq disaster. One solution offered by the neo-cons is to partition Saudi Arabia, with the eastern province becoming a new country - on the theory that this would avoid the need for US troops to occupy the same country that contains the holy cities of Mecca and Medina (on Saudi Arabia's western, oil-less side).
Perhaps the reason that F/911 does not delve into these details is that they would be too difficult for the audience to absorb. Even moving beyond the "Saudis did it" paradigm to "Bush deliberately allowed it to happen" is too difficult for many Americans to accept, even though the evidence for this is overwhelming.
9/11 was analogous to the "Reichstag Fire." On February 27, 1933, shortly after Hitler came to power as a minority vote President, the Reichstag (parliament) was burned down, and a Dutch communist was arrested for the crime. The building burned so fast that it was unlikely that a lone arsonist could have perpetrated the whole thing. This incident was immediately used as the excuse for passing the "Enabling Act," which "temporarily" suspended civil liberties in Germany.
The film's sections on Iraq are much better than the 9/11 chapter. Moore documents atrocities against civilians and the plight of the US troops, but never mentions why the invasion occured. He states a number of secondary reasons, stressing the profiteering from the war that companies such as Halliburton are engaged in. However, the core issue - the global peak of petroleum production - is not even hinted at.
On May 17, a London Guardian article about the movie's controversy quoted Moore saying that future films would be about "the Israelis and Palestinians, and the oil industry and lack of oil we are going to be faced with."
While it is nice that the sequel may mention the Israel / Palestine conflict, which is intimately intertwinned with the Iraq invasion, and peak oil, it would have been helpful to place these facts into the context of Fahrenheit 9/11's main story. Perhaps after Bush is out of office and people can pretend that democracy has worked (placing Bush's cousin John Kerry in office), more honesty can be had about these deeper, core concepts.
A final anomaly about F/911: Moore announced this spring that he had footage of US troops abusing Iraqis many months ago but chose not to make it public, waiting instead for the movie's release. It would have helped if Moore had decided that people's lives were more important than the timetable of the movie's publicity campaign. Scooping the "Abu Ghraib" prison scandal would have been a coup for Moore's film, and would probably have drawn more attention to his efforts, not less.
The Second Tier Limited Hang Out
It's a shame that F/911 did not probe who was the perpetrator of 9/11. To
accurately answer this, one must ask why the Air Force did not follow standard
operating procedure and scramble fighter planes to intercept the hijacked planes,
especially after the first tower had been hit. Part of the answer is that the
Air Force and intelligence agencies were practicing at least five different
war games that morning that paralyzed their response for a critical period of
time. Much of the evidence for this is archived at http://www.oilempire.us/wargames.html
- and it is largely sourced from mainstream sources such as Toronto Star, CNN,
USA Today, Aviation Week and Associated Press. Saudi money has bought political
influence in America, but it has not acquired the power to schedule multiple
military war games to ensure that an attack like 9/11 could succeed.
Intelligence agencies seeking to cover-up their crime have perfected the tactic of a "limited hang out," fessing up to a small crime to avoid the real issues. Blaming the Saudis for 9/11 is analogous to blaming the Mafia for the coup d'etat against President Kennedy. While the Mafia make a great villain and have few supporters, they didn't have the power to re-route the Presidential motorcade closer to the Texas Book Depository (where Oswald supposedly fired the "magic bullet") and the Grassy Knoll, nor did they have the power to cover up the crime afterwards.
Divided Loyalties: Moore's thesis about Bush and dangerous unintended consquences
Fahrenheit 9/11's thesis that the Bush family has divided loyalties between their Saudi paymasters and the United States is similar to the accusations that President Kennedy (a Catholic) would be in the pocket of the Pope and that Jewish politicians have more allegiance to the State of Israel than their own country. It is a simplistic analysis that will be very persuasive for nearly every viewer, since few US citizens know the history of US / Saudi relations, the role of Peak Oil in US foreign policies, or that the forces behind the Bush/Cheney regime are openly threatening to invade Saudi Arabia.
The weblog http://xymphora.blogspot.com had this comment about Moore falling for the "Blame the Saudis" campaign on October 20, 2003:
"The propaganda campaign has been so successful, the neocons even have Michael Moore parroting it. The main trick was to leave the Saudi matters out of the published 9-11 report, so people could think the worst of the Saudis, and then slyly make people believe that it was left out because Bush was protecting his Saudi business friends. A brilliant strategy! All of this propaganda works only because Americans are still afraid to admit who was really behind 9-11.
"A hint: the Saudis don't run NORAD."
A more recent "xymphora" comment (July 1, 2004):
"Moore knows that his American audience has a psychological need for a foreign villain to help deal with the guilt that America itself was primarily responsible for 9-11, and the connections of the Bush Crime Family to the Saudi elites allows him to have his villain and attack Bush at the same time. This would be completely harmless American jingoism except that I guarantee that if Bush gets reelected the neocons will be citing Moore's film and claiming that even the most liberal of all liberals supports their ultimate fantasy, the bombing of Mecca."
Embedded Reporting - and a Remedy
It was a brilliant coup for Moore to get his camera crews "embedded" with the troops in Iraq in order to get damning film that shows atrocities against civilians. Unfortunately, Moore himself is "embedded" in the fall-back cover story of 9/11, the false claim that "the Saudis did it."
Courage and Election Fraud
Perhaps the most courageous part is the opening sequence showing Al Gore, as President of Senate, suppressing the dissent of the Congressional Black Caucus on January 6, 2001, the day that Bush was made President. Under the rules, one Representative and one Senator must co-sign a complaint about a fraudulent slate of electors, and not a single Senator filed an objection to the racist theft of the election in Florida.
Moore urges a somewhat passive approach to the 2004 election, and merely urges the audience to vote Democratic, ignoring the probability that the election could be stolen again, the numerous threats from elites that there might be an "October Surprise" and possible cancellation of the election under a new "terror threat." Much of the Democratic Party message this time is to urge voters to ignore the threat of vote fraud, especially with computerized ballot machines made by Republicans, blame the 2000 coup on Ralph Nader (despite the documented election rigging in Florida and the fact that Gore won). F/911 probably wouldn't be as popular if it described the sad reality that John Kerry and John Edwards also want to keep the troops in Iraq and support the USA Patriot Act and the Department of Homeland Security.
Many people who have been compiling the evidence for Bush's complicity in 9/11 feel partially vindicated by the huge public response to Moore's movie. The 9/11 Truth Movement, a social justice effort largely censored in the press, worked hard to publicize damning evidence before the invasion of Iraq, hoping that it would help prevent the attack on Iraq, and instead, lead to the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. Perhaps the success of Fahrenheit 9/11 will make it easier for films and books and websites that probe into the specifics of what actually happened and who the perpetrators really were to reach a much wider audience.
for further reading:
stock trades, prior warnings, motivation for 9/11 and the Iraq war:
From the Wilderness publications and the forthcoming book "Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil" by Michael Ruppert. FTW is probably the most important resource for anyone interested in 9/11. http://www.fromthewilderness.com
The Complete 9/11 Timeline at http://www.cooperativeresearch.org
An amazing resource that is 100% sourced to corporate mainstream media articles. Includes the best collection of evidence about the prior warnings. This timeline is also in the process of being turned into a book.
The wargames used to paralyze the Air Force response on 9/11 are described at http://www.oilempire.us/wargames.html
More information about the possibility of an October Surprise is at http://www.oilempire.us/northcom.html#martiallaw
Other "oilempire" pages relevant to this review:
www.oilempire.us/understanding.html (Understanding 9/11)
www.oilempire.us/pnac.html (Project for a New American Century)
www.oilempire.us/911why.html (why 9/11 was done)
www.oilempire.us/peakoil.html (Peak Oil)
www.oilempire.us/iraqoil.html (Iraq's oil)
www.oilempire.us/saudi.html (Saudi demographics and geology, "The Saudis did it" the excuse for seizing their oil)
www.oilempire.us/warcrime.html (genocide, war crimes, etc.)
www.oilempire.us/torture.html (torture is not a new problem)
www.oilempire.us/2004.html (the 2004 Presidential Selection)
www.oilempire.us/kerry.html (good cop, bad cop)
www.oilempire.us/limited.html (Limited Hang Outs)
Torture & Publicity Gimmicks
Why Iraqi Detainees Should Sue Michael Moore
By DANIEL WOLFF
9/11 was not perpetrated by the Saudis
A September 2003 article in In These Times by Seth Ackerman, a contributing writer to FAIR, focused on the "intelligence failures" of 9/11 and how the Saudi hijackers were able to bypass US intelligence. He concluded that the "incompetence" theory was plausible, and "it ought to be possible to steer a middle course between wild speculation and cynical whitewash."
While it's obvious that the Saudis played a role -- they've supported US terror in Nicaragua, Lebanon and Afghanistan -- they weren't in charge of air defense over Washington and New York. Perhaps their role was similar to the Mafia in Dallas in 1963 (JFK), a subcontractor who helped with the technical aspects, but they weren't in charge of the main event, nor running the coverup afterwards.
Maybe for the next war, the liberal peace movement will talk about the relevance of "Peak Oil" and the Bush strategy of intentional deceptions to prepare the public for war. (WMD was a much smaller deception than 9/11.) The proclivity of some on the "left" to blame the "Saudis" for 9/11 - and complain about the Bush - Saudi connections - is an unintentional statement of support for the US attack on the ONLY country that could have significant increases in daily oil extraction rates.
While it is true that the Bush and Bin Laden clans have had business connections for over two decades, the Saudis did not, could not, ensure the "stand down" of the Air Force on 9/11. Nor would have a Saudi air force pilot (let alone the official claim that a flight school drop out was responsible) have chosen the nearly empty, under reconstruction section of the Pentagon as a target. See www.oilempire.us/remote.html for evidence that remote control software was used to ensure that the Pentagon was hit in the one section that would cause the fewest casualties (the plane that hit the building is reported to have gone in a 270 degree spiral around the complex to line up with the part of the Pentagon where it would cause the least damage, thereby bypassing Donald Rumsfeld's office).
Fahrenheit 9/11 reviews
December 01, 2004
Mike’s New Suit
In Bushzarro World, the Liberal, capital “L,” Michael Moore gets a haircut, a shave, loses the baseball cap, dons a suit, and tells Jay Leno Dubya won the election fair and square.
Critiques and comments on Moore's F911
Thursday, July 01, 2004
Bob Dreyfuss wonders how Michael Moore could get the entire blame for 9-11 so back-asswards, throwing it all on the obviously innocent Saudis and ignoring completely the Israelis. Michael Moore is a big-time Hollywood film director. You need money - lots of it - to make big-time Hollywood films. The people who produce, finance, and distribute big-time Hollywood films, and in particular this one, and any other that Moore would like to make, are not going to finance a film that lays any blame for anything on Israel. It's a, um, tribal thing. Moore knows that his American audience has a psychological need for a foreign villain to help deal with the guilt that America itself was primarily responsible for 9-11, and the connections of the Bush Crime Family to the Saudi elites allows him to have his villain and attack Bush at the same time. This would be completely harmless American jingoism except that I guarantee that if Bush gets reelected the neocons will be citing Moore's film and claiming that even the most liberal of all liberals supports their ultimate fantasy, the bombing of Mecca.
Blind, Or A Coward?
June 30, 2004
One of the first things I did when I got back from vacation was to go see Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. It’s a brilliant piece of propaganda, entertaining and funny, and it skewers the president deliciously. But am I the only one to notice that in one critically important way, it entirely misses the boat and gets nearly everything wrong? Maybe this has been said before—I’ve hardly read all of the criticism of Moore—but if so, I haven’t seen it. Moore totally avoids the question of Israel.
Not only that, but the opening polemic of the movie ties President Bush and company mightily to Saudi Arabia. In one sequence, what seems like several dozen images flash by showing Bush and his advisers shaking hands and chumming it up with leading members of the Saudi royal family. Moore says outright that while Bush is paid $400,000 by U.S. taxpayers in salary, Saudi Arabia has supported Bush and his family with more than $1 billion in business-related subsidies. (That amount, it seems to me, is ridiculously inflated and must be nonsense.) The stated implication is that Bush is more loyal to the Saudis than he is to America.
Huh? Here are some questions for Moore: If Bush is so “in the pocket” of Saudi Arabia, why is he Ariel Sharon’s strongest backer? Why, when he had Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah down at the Texas ranch a few years ago, did he flip off the Saudi’s peace plan? And most important, why did he invade Iraq—since Saudi Arabia was strongly opposed to the U.S. invasion of Iraq? Why did he launch his Iraqi adventure over Saudi objections, with many of his advisers chortling that Saudi Arabia would be “next”? Why did he stock his administration with militant neocon crusaders who see Saudi Arabia as the main enemy? Why, Michael?
I have to conclude the Michael Moore is either blind, or a coward. Blind, if he can’t see Bush’s craven ties to Israel, driven by the neocons and the Christian Zionists and Bible-thumping fundamentalists like Jerry Falwell, who consider Israel Jesus’ next stop and see Saudi Arabia as Satanic. Or cowardly, because he knows it and decided not to mention it. Is that because attacking Israel is too hard? Moore’s photo-montage of Saudi princes borders on the racist, showing Bush & Co. clinging to grinning, Semitic-looking Arabs in flowing white robes one after another. Would we stand for a similar, racist-leaning montage of Bush palling around with grinning, Semitic-looking Jews in skullcaps? 'Course not. More important, Moore completely misses the political boat. Perhaps that’s because he relies so heavily on Craig Unger and his book, House of Bush, House of Saud , which makes the same “error.”
And more for Moore. Yes, Bush 41 and his advisers—the Carlyle Group-linked James Baker, et al.—were (and are) connected to Saudi Arabia. Did Moore notice that Baker, along with Brent Scowcroft, and other former advisers to Bush 41 (including Colin Powell) were against the Iraq adventure? And that there were reports that Bush 41 himself thought it was a stupid idea? I can’t believe that Moore can be so stupid. So I can only conclude that he produced this movie the way he did on purpose. Then I read that he didn’t bother inviting Ralph Nader to the Washington, D.C., premiere of the film, and (according to The Washington Post ), Nader called Moore “fat.” Well. Moore is fatheaded.
Sun, July 4, 2004
Degrees of Fahrenheit
The movie should have focused on how the neocons conned America
By Eric Margolis -- Contributing Foreign Editor
MICHAEL MOORE'S blockbuster hit, Fahrenheit 9/11, may not be an epochal political film like Battleship Potempkin or The Battle of Algiers, but it certainly ranks as the most exciting and searing American political movie since the superb, eerily prophetic Wag the Dog.
In fact, Wag the Dog and Fahrenheit 9/11 make perfect bookends, encompassing the fraud, dishonesty and Orwellian manipulation of George W. Bush's failed presidency. With dazzling speed, elan, and razor-sharp editing, Moore keeps turning over Washington rocks, exposing a squirming, slithering underside of deceit and illicit dealings that will outrage thoughtful, educated viewers.
However, core southern and midwestern supporters of George W., who study world affairs through Chuck Norris movies, Rush Limbaugh's eructations and the Old Testament, are unlikely to rush to see Fahrenheit 9/11, which their pastors will warn them is the latest manifestation of "liberal" evil to menace America.
No one will ever accuse the angry Moore of subtlety or finesse. He attacks George W. and his White House cronies with a cinematographic shovel. Moore's Bush comes out looking stupid, inert and fuddled.
This column has always had a low opinion of the president's intellect, but it's hard to believe that Bush, who, after all, won the presidency, is quite as dense as the film portrays him. Taking film clips and parts of speeches out of context, as Gov. Howard Dean can sadly attest, can make anyone look rabid or stupid.
Nor do I buy Moore's contention that Bush is merely the tool of evil big business and the Iraq war a money grab by Halliburton and the sinister Carlyle Group. Life in Washington is far more complex than this simplistic view.
Big business certainly takes advantage of every opportunity and sways governments -- Republican or Democrat. But the second Iraq war was not started by Enron's Ken Lay or the board at Chevron. Moore is rehashing old, anti-capitalist agitprop from the Democratic party's liberal left.
By contrast, Moore did a smashing job in capturing the zeitgeist of the Bush administration's fear-mongering that terrorized unworldly Americans into believing they were in mortal peril, and only the president could save them.
Moore clearly smells the whiffs of proto-fascist behaviour coming from the White House. I wish he'd made the disturbing contrast between 9/11, and the ensuing anti-democratic Patriot Act, and the Reichstag burning of 1933 that led to the Emergency and Enabling Acts ending Germany's civil liberties.
Unfortunately Moore's sweeping attack on the self-proclaimed "war president" totally ignores the 900-pound gorilla at the tea party: The neoconservative conspiracy to push America into the disastrous Iraq war.
Phony Iraq crisis
The entire phony Iraq crisis -- weapons of mass destruction, germ labs, dire threats to America -- was all concocted by neocons as part of their long-term campaign to push America into a Mideast war to destroy Israel's enemies. That, and the lust to control oil, were the two driving forces behind the war.
Moore's spotlight should have pointed at the administration's neocon cabal, led by VP Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis Libby, Richard Perle and their media allies, who fed false information to the White House and the public. Alas, the only reference to this cabal was a truly nauseating little clip of Wolfowitz licking his comb.
I was also disappointed Moore didn't spend more time pounding the U.S. national media. He took only a few shots at the big TV networks for parroting administration war propaganda.
The neocon conspiracy and its manipulation of the U.S. media is the most shocking story of the Iraq war.
Instead Moore allows the final third of Fahrenheit 9/11 to get bogged down in maudlin personal stories from Flint, Mich., instead of keeping up the first part's furious pace and shocking revelations.
The film is heavy-handed and occasionally unfair. But a powerful counterbalance to all the propaganda shamefully force-fed to the American public by the national media was overdue and desperately needed.
Until recently Americans have heard only one side of the story, which, we are discovering, was a tapestry of lies worthy of the Nazis' Dr. Goebbels.
Kudos to Moore for shining a bright light into the propaganda darkness.
From: "Connie or Mark" <dimension04@ sbcglobal.net>
Subject: I FELT UNEXPECTED COMPASSION FOR BUSH...
Date: Sun, 4 Jul 2004 13:39:17 -0500
Just saw Michael Moore's movie. I was stunned by something that I haven't heard anyone else mention. To me, no revelation was more potent than just the footage of Bush when he's off-guard.
He often looks deeply frightened, like a terrified little boy. I've thought many times that his behavior we HAVE seen in the news is disgustingly childish -- but with tape rolling, before and after his practiced appearances, now we can see him looking overwhelmed and scared to death.
Honestly, this is the first time I've felt a spark of compassion for Bush, even though his actions don't deserve it. Maybe it's my female maternal instinct. To see that much fear on a child-like face tugs at the heart and begs for comfort. If I were close to him, I think I would find myself saying, " What IS it? How can we HELP you?"
Of course, there's still his now-famous lack of interest in history or the future -- Bush said to Bob Woodward in his latest book: "History? (What will history think of my invasion of Iraq?) Who knows? We'll all be dead." Then a silly grin.
Obviously, he IS way out of his league when it comes to presidential perspectives. He just doesn't understand what's going on, I'm sure he doesn't really grasp many things that his policies are doing to this country and to humanity.
Worse, when he does, he thinks it's all so funny! In terms of character and leadership, he has to be among the least qualified men throughout all of time.
But did I say "men"? My main point here is that it's clear from watching him off-guard that Bush is NOT a man. He is a terrified child.
There are many rumors and even some books about what the powerful elite deliberately do to their children in order to ensure that their offspring will serve and preserve their families' power. I think at this point I'm ready to bet that Dubya has been through severe trauma and, on one hand, is being forced to do all the destruction he does. But on the other hand, he's so undeveloped, he thinks it's cool.
I've not put too much attention on the horrific stories of abuse among the elite, on the CIA techniques learned from the Nazis who were brought to America in order to "help" us against the Communists. (Project Paperclip) But after gazing into Bush's terrified eyes off and on for two hours in this movie, I'm ready to think he might be living proof of the truth of all these stories.
For one thing, his dad was head of CIA, they just named the building after him, and he still gets daily CIA briefings (for strategic investing of the war profits from Carlyle Group -- war profits that Dubya will inherit.)
For another, news did surface one time -- on June 29, 1989, The Washington Times featured blazing front-page headlines that a "homosexual call-boy ring" made a "midnight tour" of Bush Sr's White House. But the term "homosexual" is misleading -- the point is, they were young boys being USED, not gay men being promiscuous.
The paper reported, ``A homosexual prostitution ring is under investigation by federal and District authorities and includes among its clients key officials of the Reagan and Bush administrations, military officers, congressional aides and U.S. and foreign businessmen with close ties to Washington's political elite.'' (And we wonder what's wrong with this country??)
This 1989 story of massive misconduct and the vilest, widespread corruption at the top was quickly made to disappear, and the White House guy who accidentally let this out "committed suicide" soon after. Bush wouldn't hold a press conference for months in order to avoid questions. Link below.
Other indications of abuse could be this strange connection: an oilman buddy who tried to get Bush Sr nominated for prez in 1980 -- they DIDN'T want Ronald Reagan because Reagan was against corporate welfare -- this oilman buddy of Bush's is named John HInckley Sr. When Bush only got the vice-presidency, it's darn weird that John Hinckley Jr shot Reagan and almost made his dad's wishes come true -- George H.W. Bush as president after all.
In fact, Neil Bush had a dinner date scheduled with Scott Hinckley for the next night. What were these Bush and Hinckley offspring going to do together -- wink at the loss of the president they didn't want and celebrate the ascension of the president they did want?
John Chancellor, in a bewildered tone, announced this Hinckly/Bush dinner date on the evening news after the shooting, but that story rapidly disappeared, too. Prof. Nathaniel Blumberg wrote a book about this, but he ended up making it "a novel" after he found himself in danger in his investigations.
Besides the Bush and Hinckley families being close, it is known from other souces that Hinckley Sr was a director at World Vision, a missionary operation for foreign countries, but which turned out to be "agents of democracy" -- which usually means, de-stabilizing governments we don't like and installing ones that we do. Both Hinkley Jr (who shot Reagan) and Mark David Chapman (who shot John Lennon a few months earlier) did some training at this camp. Do we dare ask what that training WAS?
At very least, they were two very disturbed young men who both carried around "Catcher in the Rye," even making notes in the book about their targets. (Any book or device can be used by a handler to train and trigger CIA-style, trauma-induced, hypnotic activities. The techniques in the movie "The Manchurian Candidate" -- soon to be re-released -- were not fiction.)
My point is that two shooters were connected to World Vision's missionary camp, which was connected to John Hinckley Sr, who is closely connected to Bush and CIA -- and one of the shooters is the child of Hinckley Sr who wanted Bush, not Reagan, as president.
It's my opinion now -- after seeing the level of terror often evident in Dubya's eyes -- that he's been groomed (traumatized/controlled) into killing not just one person, but many-many thousands -- by declaring unjustified war -- for the sake of his handlers' corporate expansions, and power, power, power. It's amazing that the Supreme Court just quashed the Bush laws allowing anyone to be thrown in jail without recourse to a lawyer or the courts -- because round-ups of folks in America who object to dictatorship have been a definite part of the power-game-plan.
Many researchers believe now that Bush and his controllers just HAVE to stage more horrific attacks in order to justify martial law and get us all under control. But as the attack in Spain backfired and caused the people to "throw the bums out," I think there's enough evidence accumulated here to actually throw the bums in jail!
Let us hope this happens, WITHOUT attacks -- and let us hope there are some uncorrupt people ready to rise to authentic American leadership.
Happy Fourth of July,
(Lately, Yahoo and Google have been displaying "page not found" on this link. But on Google, when I chose their "I'm feeling lucky" button that leads to other engines, the page did come up.)
July 2, 2004
Moore's Fahrenheit 911
Mocking the Moral Crisis of Capitalism
By Douglas Valentine
"The question is not what goal is envisaged for the time being by this or that member of the proletariat, or even by the proletariat as a whole. The question is what is the proletariat and what course of action will it be forced historically to take in conformity with its own nature. -- Karl Marx, "The Holy Family"
They wept! They roared with laughter! At inappropriate times they applauded, the politically correct, white middle class audience at the Academy Theatre in avante guard Northampton, MA, home of Smith College, and many fine restaurants.But, then again, Michael Moore was preaching to the choir, wasn't he? And that's the first of two big problems with Fahrenheit 911.
The other big problem is this frivolous film's utter futility.
Let's be realistic. Moore says the purpose of his incoherent mockumentary is to get Bush out of office ¹ which, in and of itself, "t'is a consummation devoutly to be wish'd." But the political passing of George W. Bush has no meaning, for even if the public shuffles him off, it's still left with Long John Kerry, and the strangling coil of oppressive laws, secret decrees, and eternal imperialistic war (with its attendant corruption) that Bush has wrapped so tightly around America's neck.
"Ay, there's the rub."
Kerry is just another "money-grubbing, ass-kissing, bromide-mouthing" politician, as Gail Sheehy might say, and he is as acceptable to the Establishment as Bush. With Kerry in office, the war on terror and the occupation of Iraq will continue apace, with perhaps a little more of the stolen loot going to our anxious allies waiting avariciously in the wings. In the larger scheme of things, Fahrenheit 911 changes nothing: Halliburton keeps its blood-soaked contracts, the Republicans control both houses of Congress, and no neo-conmen go to the gallows for stealing $20 billion in oil revenues from the Iraqi people (I'm curious to know how Christopher Hitchens rationalizes that?), or for the massive war crimes they have committed. Kerry's performance during the Iran-Contra investigation assures the rich political elite of a continuing cover-up.
While watching the movie, I couldn't stop thinking about how Moore had evidence of the torture at Abu Ghraib, and didn't tell anyone! I wanted to stand up and scream: What's it all about, Mickey? Is it just for the moment, or the money, we live? Or is it the thrill of being catapulted into the stratosphere of American celebrity?
I thought to myself: I should have seen it coming, when the nouveau riche
glitterati gave the movie a twenty-minute standing ovation at Cannes. Anything that so pleases the perfect people in Porsches cannot, by definition, have any redeeming value.
A monumental letdown, Fahrenheit 911 is a sick exploitation film that tells us
nothing new about ourselves, and changes nothing in the world. Yes, the
farcical clips of Bush making a fool of himself add comic relief to the
melodramatic footage of Bush and his venal clique visiting vengeful tragedy
upon the world, and profiting from it. And, to his credit, Moore courageously
goes where no man in the corporate media has dared to go before: he loosely
chronicles how the tragedy unfolded, while being extra careful not to mention
Israel. Here's how the story goes: Bush steals the election, lets the main
Saudi suspects in the 911 mass murder case escape because his "daddy" is in
business with them, and then goes on a worldwide killing spree with the
blessings of Major Generals Rather, Brokaw, and Jennings.
You've heard it all before; any tenth grader from Freyburg, Maine could have
told us that.
To sum it up, Moore's swipes at Bush are irrelevant during the current
crisis-du-jour of capitalism. How much time must we waste laughing at Bush,
tripping over his tongue, before we grab our pitchforks and storm, as
family-values proponent Dick Cheney might put it, the fucking White House?
The answer, to judge from the reaction of the "progressive" and academically
oriented audience I was sitting with, is over and over again. Which, again, is
the saddest part of watching his film. I'm sure Moore didn't intend it, but his
mockumentary is as much an indictment of his adoring, bourgeois fan club as it
of the criminal Bush regime.
Even the film's unstated premise ¹ that the government, on behalf of the rich,
creates employment and a disposed, easily indoctrinated lower class that will
happily fight and die in imperialistic adventures ¹ was put forth about a
hundred and fifty years ago.
Alas, to the earnest audience in Northampton, this subliminal message seemed
like a revelation.
So there we sat. When the clapping was over, there was no place to go (save one
of those fine restaurants). Like Bush in Iraq, Fahrenheit 911 has no exit
strategy. Nor was one ever intended. F-911, like the psychological warfare
campaign we are subjected to by the Bush regime, is a cataract of powerful,
contrived words and images that generate raw, predetermined emotions that
result in a disturbing, but aimless, class-consciousness.
Douglas Valentine is the author of The Hotel Tacloban, The Phoenix Program, and
TDY. His fourth book, The Strength of the Wolf: The Federal Bureau of
Narcotics, 1930-1968, is newly published by Verso. For information about Mr.
Valentine, and his books and articles, please visit his web sites at
http://www.DouglasValentine.com and http://members.authorsguild.net/valentine
My Observations on Fahrenheit 9/11
Overall, I thought F911 was a very powerful film. For me, however, the most shocking aspect of the film was how shocked the audience was! Having said that, I think the film went as far as it could go, given the cognitive constraints within which the vast majority of Americans form their worldview.
I saw F911 in a packed theater. I looked around at the audience as the scenes of dead Iraqi civilians were on the screen. There was a sense of genuine horror in the crowd. Obviously, none of this information was new to me, and if you've been reading this site, for any length of time, none of it will be new to you either. Remember, the average person hasn't been exposed to the images of the American caused atrocities. To get it all at once, on the massive movie screen, really rattled people. I think it's probably the case that if Moore had gone any further, the film would have been too shocking. I think the audience members had reached the limit of what they could reasonably handle, given their general lack of understanding of what U.S. foreign policy has done to people around the world over the last 50 years or so.
I found it interesting that Alex Jones http://www.infowars.com, someone with nothing like the resources of Michael Moore, put out an even more powerful documentary on the superset of events within which F911 takes place. And Alex Jones did this two years ago! Why wasn't 9/11 The Road to Tyranny selling out movie theaters back then? Well, that documentary wasn't in movie theaters at all... Alex Jones' film equally savages Republicans and Democrats. Moore's film spends about 90% of the time demonizing Bush, which is great and well deserved. I just wish he would would have gone more into the bipartisan nature of the beast we're facing.
What disturbs me, though, is that the film is being turned into a Kerry 2004 circus. It's really easy, watching F911, to lapse into the false belief that all of our ills have been caused by Bush and his regime. However, to Michael Moore's credit---if you pay close attention---the film does, directly and indirectly:
* Implicate the Democrats with complicity in allowing Bush to steal the presidency in the first place.
* Implicate the Democrats with complicity in the passage of the Patriot Act.
* Implicate the Democrats with complicity in the passage of the funding legislation that made the war with Iraq possible.
In other words, Democrats have been complicit with Bush in THE WORST ASPECTS of the Bush presidency.
I'm sorry, but you have to get it through your head that Kerry is not going to save us. Once you're over that hurdle, you should then start to realize that, in fact, the system serves to prevent us from electing anyone who is capable of significantly altering policy.
Mark R, who runs oilempire.us, said it best in his email to me last night:
The 2004 "election" features a plutocrat from the occult Skull and Bones secret society who supports police state legislation, a new gas pipeline from north Alaska, more troops to Iraq, the war in Columbia, nuclear power, delaying fuel efficiency improvements in cars until 2015 and opposes the Kyoto Treaty. And then we have the incumbent, who is a war criminal, complicit in the murder of nearly 3,000 people in New York and countless Iraqis, Afghans and others.
The 2004 Presidential "election" makes the 2000 contest look honest in comparison -- at best, it will merely be "regime rotation" (replace Bush but keep the most important policies). The biggest way the election has been rigged is not phony computerized ballot machines (although they are a severe violation of democracy), but the manipulation of the process to ensure that Bush's cousin was picked as the opposition candidate. Bush, Kerry and Cheney are cousins, part of the American aristocracy.
Many more people who voted for Bush in 2000 have become disillusioned with him than the numbers of citizens who voted for Gore and now want to support Bush. The main question for the 2004 selection is whether Kerry is allowed to win or whether Team Bush will steal the election again.
Our dependence on a reality that has been fabricated by corporations is the problem. Bush and Kerry are the logical outcomes of this dependence. As long as we seek to exist in this fake, toxic and expensive reality, our leaders will emulate corrupt CEOs, and we will be robbed at gunpoint.
The solution involves decorporatizing yourself and your family to the extent possible. There are all kinds of minor things that individuals can do along these lines, however, the first really substantive step must be to remove corporations from our breakfast, lunch and dinner plates.
The revolution begins with food. Start thinking less about politics and more about how you can obtain organically grown and raised vegetables, meat and dairy goods WITHOUT buying them from a market that has had them trucked in from hundreds or thousands of miles away. If you think electing decent politicians is difficult, consider the last sentence for a few minutes. This is a carefully worded challenge. I already know where this leads the individual, but, for now, I'll leave it up to you to turn over the implications.
As you think about, and solve, the basics of clean food and water, the political solutions will fall into place. Hint: You might find that you don't have much need for corporations, or the government that serves them.
It's incredible that when different types of people come to understand the exigencies of clean food and water, their politics suddenly become VERY congruent. If the first priorities are clean food and water, many areas of our present existence will become constrained. These limitations, however, lead to a sane, sustainable existence and an excellent quality of life.
In conclusion, I think F911 is a great film that should be seen by everyone. But, if this film only results in a Kerry presidency---that is, if we don't recognize the wider threats to our existence---our journey into oblivion will continue apace, just as it has under Bush.
posted by Kevin F at 2:01 AM
In many ways infuriating.
Starts very strong on the 2000 election with footage of the Black Caucus revolt during the election results certification, and how Gore himself put it down.
Clearly plays the limited hangout with regard to 9/11.
Bush in the school let off the hook. Shown as wondering who done it: Taliban, Saddam, or his Saudi friends? But no implication that the school performance implies complicity of Bush himself.
Saudis played as the villains.
The hand-shaking sequence (of Bush mob figures chumming it up with Saudi friends) was the most manipulative part, since the same sequence could have been concocted with Mexicans, or Chinese, or French.
Then again, there is a Saudi connection to 9/11 and it opens the door to complicity, even if Moore doesn't go there. Exposing the Bin Laden airlift out of the U.S. after 9/11 is useful to us, it would have been better if he had also exposed the ISI/Qaeda airlift out of Afghanistan during the October invasion!
Completely avoids the Pakistani connection.
Legitimates the 9/11 Commission and Clarke. Worst part of all.
There is also a brief part later that seems to endorse giving more money to Homeland Security.
Then gets much better. Moves into very familiar territory for us, but radically new stuff for the majority of Americans. The Iraq war sequences are very strong. Getting a crew embedded in Iraq to get footage of a house search was brilliant. Clearly shows the horror of the war and its impact on the Iraqi people. Exposes the WMD lies, clearly states it's about the power, the oil, the insane plan to remodel the world and achieve total domination a la PNAC (although PNAC is never explicitly mentioned.) Pulls no punches here.
Hilarious and powerful sequences arguing that the "war on terror" is a war to manipulate Americans' minds through fear.
In contrast to earlier scenes of Gore's betrayal, has a section pretty much endorsing an electoral solution in 2004. Ignores the evidence of a coming New 9/11 or October Surprise
Ends very strongly with a general condemnation of war as a racket to keep the domestic system and class hierarchy in place. By no means implies that we are fighting the wrong war, clearly states that all war is wrong.
Given his often extreme self-promotion in public performances, he shows astonishing restraint in keeping himself mostly out of the film and letting the footage speak.
Little point in slamming Moore, it won't get us anywhere with an audience that is very much sold on him. We should use the opening this film-as-phenomenon has afforded us to go beyond what Moore is willing to present on 9/11.
from Alex B.
1.) The Saudi beheading scene was very important to Moore. From what I understand it was perhaps the biggest reason that the film was given an "R" rating. An "R" rating is terrible news for the distribution company as it drastically reduces a film's potential profits - but Moore insisted on keeping it. Why? Would a Saudi-made, anti-American movie chose to include a Texas electrocution scene to discredit the entire U.S.A.? No, the beheading scene was not accidental.
2.) ... please understand that Moore could not have been tricked or duped into including such footage in his final-cut. A documentary such as this IS MADE in the editing room. Everything is there for a reason and Moore is intimately involved in this process. The post-production company that I work for was briefly hired to provide the film-output for "Bowling for Columbine" and Moore even supervised this technical / non-creative aspect. He was not asleep in the editing room - although he may have been distracted by that bag of Dorritos.
3.) For me the most significant "revelation" about the film was that Osama was NOT the black sheep of the family. And yet the film strongly supported the supposition that Osama DID IT! It is clear, therefore, that Moore means to imply that the whole Bin Laden family were complicit in the attacks - and along with them the entire Saudi regime. Sadly most of audience that I was with was totally in sync with the "Osama did it" meme. During the the Larry King scene when the Saudi Ambassador said that the Bin Laden family were "very nice people" - half the audience GROANED. On woman even made a spitting sound. We should all be very aware of this subtle message.
4.) I am torn on this film. For me the movie was 50% good (anti-war stuff + my favorite Orwell quote), 25% white noise (American mother learning to hate war - an OBVIOUS edit job) and 25% very, very dangerous dis-info about Saudi Arabia. I went to the film with a friend who is 1/4 Saudi and she was SO uncomfortable - she desperately wanted to leave. How does one interpret the "Shiny Happy People" Saudi-hand-shaking scene? Unlike the Rumsfeld - Saddam handshake which has a telling backstory, these Saudi handshakes most probably involved harmless business deals (as if Oil deals are ever harmless...) There is only one interpretation for a sane, rational person - RACISM. Very ugly stuff and a clear (if subtle) drum beat to war.
5.) People who suggest that we should "shut-up and support Moore" are not doing us any favors. This movie had one great message (anti-war + Bush bashing) but also some extremely sophisticated dis-info / propaganda. We should all be aware of it and be allowed to discuss it in full without harassment.
6.) Having said that I certainly did my part and passed out 200 D-dollars and 911-truth flyers. And I intend to distribute many more.
Fahrenheit 9/11 could light fire under Bush
Charlotte Higgins, arts correspondent
Monday May 17, 2004
Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 is without doubt the most flaming-hot
ticket at the Cannes film festival. And with good reason: Moore hopes th at it will bring down the US government.
The American film-maker has hitherto kept a tight lid on the contents of the documentary, saying only that it includes evidence of alleged links between the Bush and Bin Laden families. However, in two appearances in Cannes at the weekend before its premiere today, he revealed that the movie contains shocking footage from Iraq.
Yesterday he said: "When you see the movie you will see things you have never seen before, you will learn things you have never known before.
Half the movie is about Iraq - we were able to get film crews embedded with American troops without them knowing that it was Michael Moore. They are totally fucked."
On Saturday he said: "The film is only partly to do with the Bin Ladens and Bush. I was able to send three different freelance film crews to Iraq. Soldiers had written to me to express their disillusionment with the war. It's a case of our own troops not being in support of their commander-in-chief."
He said that at the few low-key preview screenings that have already taken place in the midwest "the reactions were overwhelming. People who were on the fence - undecided voters - suddenly weren't on the fence any more."
Moore was unequivocal about his desire to do everything in his power to help oust President George Bush in this November's elections.
"We thought, 'We cannot leave this to the Democrats this time to fuck it up and lose.'" He wants, he said, to "inspire people to get up and vote in November."
There has already been a complicated saga over the distribution of the film. At the start of the month it became clear that Disney, the parent company of Miramax - which made Fahrenheit 9/11 - was refusing to distribute it in the US.
The film currently has distribution, according to Moore, in every other country except Taiwan.
After a baffling series of rumours and counter-rumours last week, it was revealed that Disney was allowing Bob and Harvey Weinstein, who run Miramax, to buy back their interest in the film so they could seek an alternative distributor. After a fortnight, none has yet been found. The reasons for Disney's refusal, Moore claimed, were purely political, aimed at delaying the film's release and thus preventing Americans from seeing the explosive material it contains before the election.
"The past year we knew that Michael Eisner [CEO of Disney] was not happy about Miramax making the film but they kept on sending the money every month," Moore said on Saturday. "At the end of April they sent an executive to look at the film. They had a board meeting and five days later they decided not to distribute it, because of its political content."
Yesterday he said: "That's the reason for the blocking: so that Americans don't see it before the election." He added: "I won't let that happen, and neither will Harvey [Weinstein]. People will see this film, by hook or by crook. I will get this out if it means breaking the law or committing an act of civil disobedience."
Eisner has previously denied that there was anything sinister about Disney's decision to block distribution. "We're such a nonpartisan company," he said. "[People] do not look for us to take sides."
The contract between Disney and Miramax states that Disney can refuse to distribute a film in certain cases, for instance if it has an NC-17 rating - the US equivalent of an 18 certificate. Under such circumstances Miramax has in the past found alternative distribution - for Dogma, a 1999 satire on the Catholic church, and Larry Clark's Kids, eventually released in 1995, which shocked many with its frank depiction of sex among teenagers.
Moore is clearly furious with the company. "I have a lot to say about Disney. It is very dangerous to give someone like me a peek behind the curtain. I will tell all as soon as the [distribution] negotiations have ended," he said on Saturday.
The film-maker is also unhappy with the way the controversy has been handled in the media.
"The press have said, 'Isn't it great for the movie?' But the last two times this happened - with Dogma and Kids - you only have to look at the box office to see that the controversy didn't help. No film-maker wants this to happen.
"I don't like the message this sends, which is, 'Don't even think of making a movie like [Fahrenheit 9/11] - it won't get distributed.' This is a chilling effect it will have. Five men and one woman [the Disney board] make a decision about what Americans can see. This is not a sign of an open and healthy society."
Moore's position has not met with universal sympathy. A piece in the Los Angeles Times last week accused his last film, Bowling for Columbine, of being "a torrent of partial truths, pointed omissions and deliberate misimpressions" and called him a "virtuoso of fictions".
But Moore has no plans to shut up shop just yet. He is planning films "on the Israelis and Palestinians, and the oil industry and lack of oil we are going to be faced with".
Moore accused of publicity stunt over Disney 'ban'
By Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles
07 May 2004
Less than 24 hours after accusing the Walt Disney Company of pulling the plug on his latest documentary in a blatant attempt at political censorship, the rabble-rousing film-maker Michael Moore has admitted he knew a year ago that Disney had no intention of distributing it.
The admission, during an interview with CNN, undermined Moore's claim that Disney was trying to sabotage the US release of Fahrenheit 911 just days before its world premiere at the Cannes film festival.
Instead, it lent credence to a growing suspicion that Moore was manufacturing a controversy to help publicise the film, a full-bore attack on the Bush administration and its handling of national security since the attacks of 11 September 2001.
In an indignant letter to his supporters, Moore said he had learnt only on Monday that Disney had put the kibosh on distributing the film, which has been financed by the semi-independent Disney subsidiary Miramax.
But in the CNN interview he said: "Almost a year ago, after we'd started making the film, the chairman of Disney, Michael Eisner, told my agent he was upset Miramax had made the film and he will not distribute it."
Nobody in Hollywood doubts Fahrenheit 911 will find a US distributor. His last documentary, Bowling for Columbine , made for $3m (£1.7m), pulled in $22m at the US box office.
But Moore's publicity stunt, if that is what is, appears to be working. A front-page news piece in The New York Times was followed yesterday by an editorial denouncing Disney for censorship and denial of Moore's right to free expression.
Moore told CNN that Disney had "signed a contract to distribute this [film]" but got cold feet. But Disney executives insists there was never any contract. And a source close to Miramax said that the only deal there was for financing, not for distribution.
Wednesday May 12, 2004
Weinsteins, Disney Near Deal on "Fahrenheit 9/11"
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -- The Walt Disney Co. and the co-chiefs of Miramax Films are near a deal that would allow director Michael Moore to find a new distributor for his controversial documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11," company officials said on Wednesday.
Disney, Miramax's parent company, had refused to release the film that chronicles America's reaction to the Sept. 11 attacks and links U.S. President George W. Bush's family and prominent Saudis that include the family of Osama bin Laden.
The film is set to premiere at the Cannes film festival, which began on Wednesday in the French Riviera city.
Miramax spokesman Matthew Hiltzik said Disney had agreed to sell rights to Moore's film to Miramax co-chief executives Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob Weinstein, who could then go out and find a new distributor.
A Disney spokeswoman, however, characterized the parties as still being in negotiations.
"We are very happy that Disney has agreed to sell 'Fahrenheit 9/11' to Bob and Harvey," Hiltzik said in a statement. "Bob and Harvey look forward to promptly completing this transaction."
Said Disney spokeswoman Zenia Mucha: "Disney has offered to sell Miramax's interest in the film to either a third party or Harvey and Bob."
Hiltzik said the terms offered by the Weinsteins were similar to a 1999 deal for the movie "Dogma," in which director Kevin Smith challenged Catholic doctrines, raising the ire of some church groups.
In that arrangement, the Weinsteins bought the rights to "Dogma" from Miramax with Disney's agreement, and then signed their own deal to have independent film company Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. release the movie to theaters.
Disney's decision, which it said it had made a full year ago, spurred headlines last week when Moore, the filmmaker behind 2002's Oscar-winning "Bowling for Columbine," went public with the comapny's refusal to distribute his film.
A spokesman for Moore said he was not immediately available to comment.
Monday, October 20, 2003
Salon has an excellent article written by Mark Follman concerning Gerald Posner's allegations concerning the American interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, allegedly a top al Qaeda operative. Abu Zubaydah supposedly claimed that Pakistani air force chief Mushaf Ali Mir made a deal with bin Laden in 1996 to support al Qaeda, and that this deal had the blessing of the Saudis, and in particular four Saudi princes: Prince Ahmad bin Salman, Prince Sultan al-Saud, Prince Fahd al-Kabir, and Prince Turki bin Faisal. To back up the claim, Posner cites the fact that the results of the interrogation were conveyed to the Saudis a month after the interrogation, and, shortly after the issue was raised, Prince Ahmed, Prince Sultan and Prince Fahd all died within a few days of one another. Seven months later Pakistani air force chief Mushaf Ali Mir died in yet another of those mysterious Pakistani air plane crashes. The deaths of all the guilty parties except Prince Turki, who is said to be too powerful to kill, are supposed to show how those involved were removed once it became clear that the Americans were aware of the plot. Therefore, the governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were involved at the highest levels in al Qaeda and, by extension, in the attacks of September 11. I have a few comments:
Every, and I mean every, person who is in any way knowledgeable about the assassination of JFK would tell you, without the slightest hesitation, that Gerard Posner's book on the assassination is the single worst piece of crap written on the subject. Considering the amount of nonsense written about the death of JFK, that tells you all you need to know about Posner.
What about the deaths of the Saudi Princes and Mushaf Ali Mir? Isn't it obvious that the whole story was concocted after these people died, and they were included as the people implicated by Abu Zubaydah as: 1) their deaths seem to back up the story; and 2) they are no longer in a position to point out how ridiculous it is? Prince Turki, who is still around, vehemently denies it.
The experts in the Salon article point out how implausible it is for the mainstream of Saudi rulers to be behind 9-11. The most striking thing about the attack is that, of all foreign countries, it is Saudi
Arabia which suffered the worst damage from it. It is certainly plausible, and even likely, that some Saudi princes supported al Qaeda, but it is a long way from that to say that al Qaeda was supported by the rulers of Saudi Arabia. We have to use a little common sense. Why would the rulers of Saudi Arabia support a group devoted to their violent overthrow, and support an attack on the United States that was guaranteed to hurt their interests? The Saudis are heavily, heavily invested in the United States, and the last thing they would want is any kind of attack that would hurt the American economy. It is true that, at the instance of the United States, the Saudis had provided support for the Islamic fighters against the Russians in Afghanistan. It is also true that the Saudis support the bin Laden family. But there is not one piece of evidence that the Saudi government intended to commit suicide by supporting terrorist actions, which, if discovered, were guaranteed to lead to its violent end.
Pakistan is a different situation, and the true nature of the relationship of the Pakistani government and al Qaeda is still murky. Pakistan actually benefited from 9-11, and the relationship between the ISI and the Pakistani government is complicated. Pakistan certainly supported the Taliban (and still does), but seems to be genuinely fighting al Qaeda remnants to the extent it can. Whatever the true relationship between Pakistan and al Qaeda, Posner's story is sufficiently unbelievable with respect to the Saudis that we can't rely on it to implicate the Pakistanis.
The Saudis claim that they have been told that the American interrogation of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed has revealed that he was instructed by bin Laden to use Saudi nationals in the 9-11 attack in order to strain relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia. Leaving aside the fact that I have grave doubts about whether the United States actually has Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in custody, and the fact that there is still no proof of the real nationality of any of the hijackers, this idea makes a lot of sense. Since one of bin Laden's main goals is to replace the current corrupt leaders of Saudi Arabia, it would make sense for him to use Saudi nationals, or at least identities stolen from Saudi nationals, in his attack on the United States.
In response to the bad image of Saudi Arabia in the United States, the Saudis have released details on their efforts to assist the Americans in the war on terrorism. From the Salon article:
"The most intriguing and controversial claim, however, involved none other than the alleged key Saudi conspirator, former intelligence chief Prince Turki. Turki claimed his intelligence service warned the CIA in late 1999 and early 2000 about two al-Qaida members, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, who were later among the Sept. 11 hijackers. 'What we told them was these people were on our watch list from previous activities of al-Qaida, in both the embassy bombings and attempts to smuggle arms into the kingdom in 1997,' Turki told the Associated Press.
The CIA denied receiving any such information from Saudi Arabia until after 9/11, and Prince Bandar, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S., admitted that 'no documents' were sent. But Turki insisted his agency communicated the warning to the CIA, at least by word of mouth." The famous Malaysia 'summit' meeting of al Qaeda, attended by al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi, was held on January 5-8, 2000. The fact of a Saudi warning to the CIA at around the same time as the al Qaeda meeting just makes the failure to add the names of these terrorists to the U. S. 'watch list' even more inexplicable.
There is currently a tremendous neocon propaganda campaign going on against the leaders of Saudi Arabia. The Posner story just appears to be another aspect of it. It is unclear whether Posner is part of the propaganda war or has just been taken in by the neocons. As I've said before, the neocons are insane, and the result of their plans will be tragic for both the world and the United States. At some point, hopefully sooner rather than later, Americans are going to realize that the neocons are a much, much greater threat to the United States than any foreign country or group of terrorists. It is an amazing thing that anyone still listens to them after the debacle of their attack on Iraq, but they are carrying on with their PNAC plans as if that attack was a complete success, and appear to now have almost total control of the American government. Their goal is still to take out any and all possible opponents of Israel, and secure all Middle East and Central Asian oil under American control. Unless the neocons are stopped, any idiot can see that this is going to lead to complete disaster (a very large multiple of the disasters in Afghanistan and Iraq). The attack on the Saudis is intended to further the neocon goal of eventually destroying the Saudi government so the United States can take over the Saudi oilfields. The propaganda campaign has been so successful, the neocons even have Michael Moore parroting it. The main trick was to leave the Saudi matters out of the published 9-11 report, so people could think the worst of the Saudis, and then slyly make people believe that it was left out because Bush was protecting his Saudi business friends. A brilliant strategy! All of this propaganda works only because Americans are still afraid to admit who was really behind 9-11. A hint: the Saudis don't run NORAD.
George of Arabia
The unholy alliance between the Bushes and the Saudis
By Michael Moore
Bush still hasn't come clean
I'm not into conspiracy theories, except the ones that are true or involve dentists. I believe that all dentists must have gotten together at some point and decided that the real money was in root canals and full sets of X-rays every time you go in. No other mammal in the animal kingdom has to go through this.
The questions I have about the attacks on September 11th, however, are not about how the terrorists got past our defense system, or how they were able to live in this country and never be detected, or how all the Bulgarians who worked at the World Trade Center got a secret communique to not show up to work that day, or how the towers came down so easily when they were supposedly built to withstand earthquakes, tsunamis and truck bombs in their parking garage. These were all questions that a special commission investigating September 11th was supposed to answer. But the very formation of that commission was opposed by the Bush administration and Republicans in Congress. Reluctantly, they finally agreed -- but then they tried to block the investigative body from doing its job by stonewalling it on the evidence it sought.
Why wouldn't the Bush people want to find out the truth? What were they afraid of? That the American people would learn that they screwed up, that they were asleep at the wheel when it came to terrorist threats, that they belligerently ignored the warnings from outgoing Clinton officials about Osama bin Laden simply because they hated Clinton (Sex! Bad!)?
The American people are a forgiving lot. They didn't hold it against Franklin Roosevelt when Pearl Harbor was bombed. They didn't shun John F. Kennedy over the Bay of Pigs fiasco. And they still don't care that Bill Clinton had those forty-seven people mysteriously murdered. So why, after this monumental breakdown of national security, does George W. Bush not come clean, or, at the very least, stop preventing the truth from coming out?
Perhaps it's because George & Co. have a lot more to hide beyond why they didn't scramble the fighter jets fast enough on the morning of September 11th. And maybe we, the people, are afraid to know the whole truth because it could take us down roads where we don't want to go.
Though I myself was filled with the healthy skepticism that is required for a citizen in a democracy, I also shared the basic mind-set held by most Americans in the fall of 2001: Osama did it, and whoever helped him with it must be tracked down and brought to justice. I hoped that this was what Bush was doing. And then one night in November 2001, as I lay in bed, half asleep, reading an article in The New Yorker by investigative journalist Jane Mayer, I stumbled across a paragraph that made me sit up and read it again, because I couldn't believe what it said. It read, "Around two dozen other American-based members of the bin Laden family, most of them here to study in colleges and prep schools, were said to be in the United States at the time of the attacks. The New York Times reported that they were quickly called together by officials from the Saudi Embassy, which feared that they might become the victims of American reprisals. With approval from the FBI, according to a Saudi official, the bin Ladens flew by private jet from Los Angeles to Orlando, then on to Washington, and finally to Boston. Once the FAA permitted overseas flights, the jet flew to Europe. United States officials apparently needed little persuasion from the Saudi ambassador in Washington, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, that the extended bin Laden family included no material witnesses."
What? How had I missed this story in the news? I got up and went back through the New York Times, and there I found this headline: fearing harm, bin laden kin fled from u.s. The story began, "In the first days after the terror attacks on New York and Washington, Saudi Arabia supervised the urgent evacuation of twenty-four members of Osama bin Laden's extended family from the United States."
So, with the approval of the FBI and the help of the Saudi government -- and even though fifteen of the nineteen hijackers had been Saudi citizens -- the relatives of the number-one suspect in the terror attacks were allowed not only to just up and leave the country, but they were assisted by our own authorities! According to the Times of London, "the departure of so many Saudis worried U.S. investigators, who feared that some might have information about the hijackings. FBI agents insisted on checking passports, including the royal family's."
That's all the FBI could do? Check some passports, ask a few brief questions, like "Did you pack your own bags?" and "Have your bags been in your possession since you packed them?" Then, these potential material witnesses were sent off with a bon voyage and a kiss goodbye. As Jane Mayer wrote in The New Yorker, "When I asked a senior United States intelligence officer whether anyone had considered detaining members of the family, he replied, 'That's called taking hostages. We don't do that.' "
Was he serious? I was dumbstruck. Had I read this correctly? Why wasn't this being reported more widely? Not that this is personal or anything, but I was stranded in Los Angeles on the morning of September 11th. I scrambled to find a rental car, and then drove 3,000 miles to get back home -- all because traveling by air was forbidden in the days following the attack. Yet private jets under the supervision of the Saudi government -- and with Bush's approval -- were allowed to fly around the skies of America and pick up twenty-four members of the bin Laden family and take them to Europe, out of the reach of any U.S. officials. One FBI agent I spoke to told me that the bureau was "furious" that it was not allowed to keep the bin Ladens in the country to conduct a real investigation -- the kind police like to do when they are trying to track down a murderer. Usually, the police like to talk to the family members of the suspect to learn what they know, who they know, how they might help capture the fugitive. None of the normal procedures were followed.
This is mind-boggling. Here are two dozen bin Ladens on American soil, and all Bush can do is come up with some lame excuse that he's worried about "their safety." Might it have been possible that at least one of the twenty-four bin Ladens would have known something? Or maybe just one of them could have been "convinced" to help track Osama down?
Nope. None of that. So while thousands were stranded and could not fly, if you could prove you were a close relative of the biggest mass murderer in U.S. history, you got a free trip overseas!
I started wondering what else was going on that we weren't being told. So I got out a big-ass legal pad and started making a list of all the questions that just didn't add up. Of course, I was never good at math, so to help me add it all up and analyze what it all meant, I figured I needed the help of, say, a graduate of the Harvard Business School.
So, George W., how about giving me a hand? Seeing how most of the questions involve you personally, you are probably the best individual to help me -- and the nation -- sort through what I've dug up.
My first question is: Is it true that the bin Ladens have had business relations with you and your family off and on for the past twenty-five years? Back in 1977, when your dad set you up with an oil company named Arbusto, you received financing from an old buddy of yours named James R. Bath. He had been hired by Salem bin Laden -- Osama's brother -- to invest the bin Ladens' money in various Texas ventures. Some $50,000 -- or five percent of control of Arbusto -- came from Mr. Bath.
After leaving office, your father became a consultant for the Carlyle Group, an investment firm with billions in defense holdings. The bin Laden family has invested a minimum of $2 million in the Carlyle Group. Frank Carlucci, secretary of defense under Reagan and now the head of Carlyle, also happens to sit on the board of directors of a think tank called the Middle East Policy Council along with a representative of the bin Laden family business.
After September 11th, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal both ran stories pointing out this strange coincidence. Your first response, Mr. Bush, was to ignore it, hoping, I guess, that the story would just go away. Your father and his buddies at Carlyle did not renounce the bin Laden investment. Your army of pundits said, We can't paint these bin Ladens with the same brush we use for Osama. They have disowned Osama! They have nothing to do with him! They hate and despise what he has done! These are the good bin Ladens. And then the video footage came out. It showed a number of those "good" bin Ladens -- including Osama's mother, a sister and two brothers -- with Osama at his son's wedding just eight months before September 11th. The New Yorker reported that not only have the family members not cut ties to Osama, but they have continued to fund him as they have for years. It was no secret to the CIA that Osama bin Laden had access to his family fortune (his share is estimated to be at least $30 million), and that the bin Ladens, as well as other Saudis, kept Osama and Al Qaeda well funded.
Mr. Bush, weeks went by after the attacks on New York and the Pentagon, yet your father and his friends at the Carlyle Group refused to buckle in their support for the bin Laden empire. Finally, nearly two months after the attacks, with more and more people questioning the propriety of the Bush family being in bed with the bin Ladens, your father and the Carlyle Group were pressured into giving the bin Ladens their millions back and asked them to leave the company as investors. Why did this take so long?
To make matters worse, it turned out that one of bin Laden's brothers -- Shafiq -- was actually at a Carlyle Group business conference in Washington, D.C. the morning of September 11th. The day before, at the same conference, your father and Shafiq had been chatting it up with all the other ex-government Carlyle bigwigs.
Mr. Bush, in case you don't understand just how bizarre the media's silence is regarding your family's connections with bin Laden, let me draw an analogy to how the press or Congress might have handled something like this if the same shoe had been on the Clinton foot. If after the terrorist attack on the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, it was revealed that President Bill Clinton and his family had financial dealings with Timothy McVeigh's family, what do you think your Republican Party and the media would have done with that one? Do you think at least a couple of questions might have been asked, like "What is that all about?" Be honest, you know the answer. They would have skinned Clinton alive and thrown what was left of his carcass in Gitmo.
Or, to use the Clinton analogy again, imagine, in the hours after the Oklahoma City bombing, Bill Clinton suddenly started worrying about the "safety" of the McVeigh family up in Buffalo -- and then arranged a free trip for them out of the country. What would you and the Republicans have said about that? Suddenly, a stain on a blue dress probably wouldn't have been the top priority for a witch hunt, would it?
Mr. Bush, the bin Ladens are not the only Saudis with whom you and your family have a close personal relationship. The entire royal family seems to be indebted to you -- or is it the other way around?
The number-one supplier of oil to the U.S. is the nation of Saudi Arabia, possessor of the largest known reserves of oil in the world. When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, it was really the Saudis next door who felt threatened, and it was your father, George Bush I, who came to their rescue. The Saudis have never forgotten this, and, according to a March 2003 article in The New Yorker, some members of the royal family consider your family to be part of their extended family. Haifa, wife of Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, says that your mother and father "are like my mother and father. I know if ever I needed anything I could go to them."
As Robert Baer -- who was a case officer in the CIA's Directorate of Operations from 1976 to 1997 -- revealed in his book Sleeping With the Devil, your dad even has a special name for the Saudi prince: He calls him "Bandar Bush." Prince Bandar invests in the Carlyle Group, and he attended your mother's seventy-fifth-birthday party. He donated $1 million to the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Texas and arranged for $1 million more to be donated to Barbara Bush's literacy program. It has been a fruitful relationship all around.
When there was all that nasty stress surrounding the hanging chads in the Florida ballot boxes in the late fall of 2000, your close friend Prince Bandar was there for your family, offering his support. He took your father on a pheasant-hunting trip to England, to help take his mind off all the chaos, while the royal family's lawyer -- your lawyer, James Baker -- went to Florida to direct the battle for the ballots. (Baker's firm later represented Saudi royals in the lawsuits filed against them by the families of September 11th victims.) To be fair, Mr. Bush, it's not just your family members who are the recipients of the Saudis' largesse. A major chunk of the American economy is built on Saudi money. They have a trillion dollars invested in our stock market and another trillion dollars sitting in our banks. If one day they chose to suddenly remove that money, our corporations and financial institutions would be sent into a tailspin, causing an economic crisis the likes of which has never been seen. Couple that with the fact that the one and a half million barrels of oil we need daily from the Saudis also could vanish on a mere royal whim, and we begin to see how not only you but all of us are dependent on the House of Saud.
Maybe that's why you've blocked attempts to dig deeper into Saudi Arabia's connections to the attacks of September 11th. The headlines blared it the first day, and they blare it the same way now, two years later: terrorists attack United States. Terrorists. I have wondered about this word for some time, so, George, let me ask you a question: If fifteen of the nineteen hijackers had been North Korean, and they killed 3,000 people, do you think the headline the next day might read, North Korea attacks United States? Of course it would. Or if it had been fifteen Iranians or fifteen Libyans or fifteen Cubans, I think the conventional wisdom would have been, Iran (or Libya or Cuba) attacks America! Yet when it comes to September 11th, have you ever seen the headline, have you ever heard a newscaster, has one of your appointees ever uttered these words: "Saudi Arabia attacked the United States"?
Of course you haven't. And so the question must be asked: Why not? Why, when Congress releases its own investigation into September 11th, do you, Mr. Bush, censor twenty-eight pages that deal with the Saudis' role in the attack? What is behind your apparent refusal to look at the one country that seems to be producing the "terrorists" that have killed our citizens? Why are you so busy protecting the Saudis when you should be protecting us?
Two nights after the attacks, according to a New Yorker article written by Elsa Walsh, you went out on the Truman Balcony of the White House to relax and smoke a cigar. It had been a horrific forty-eight hours, and you needed to wind down. In that private moment, you asked one close friend to join you. As he entered the White House, the two of you embraced, and then you took him out to the balcony, where he had a drink that you offered him. The two of you then lit up your cigars and stared out across the Ellipse toward the Washington Monument. You told him that if the United States couldn't get any Al Qaeda operatives who may have been involved in the attack to cooperate, "we'll hand them over to you." It was an offer that I am sure he appreciated. After all, he was your good friend "Bandar Bush," the prince from Saudi Arabia. As the smoke from the ashes still billowed through the air over Manhattan and Arlington, the smoke from the Saudi prince's cigar wafted through the balmy night air of Washington, D.C., with you, George W. Bush, by his side.
Excerpted from "Dude, Where's My Country?" by Michael Moore. (c) 2003 by Michael Moore. With permission of Warner Books Inc. All rights reserved.
(October 7, 2003)
Published on Monday, October 6, 2003 by the Guardian/UK
Answers Please, Mr Bush
by Michael Moore
In this extract from his new book "Dude, Where's My Country he asks his old enemy seven awkward questions
I have seven questions for you, Mr Bush. I ask them on behalf of the 3,000 who died that September day, and I ask them on behalf of the American people. We seek no revenge against you. We want only to know what happened, and what can be done to bring the murderers to justice, so we can prevent any future attacks on our citizens.
1. Is it true that the Bin Ladens have had business relations with you and your family off and on for the past 25 years?
Most Americans might be surprised to learn that you and your father have
known the Bin Ladens for a long time. What, exactly, is the extent of
this relationship, Mr Bush? Are you close personal friends, or simply
on-again, off-again business associates? Salem bin Laden - Osama's
brother - first started coming to Texas in 1973 and later bought some
land, built himself a house, and created Bin Laden Aviation at the San
The Bin Ladens are one of the wealthiest families in Saudi Arabia. Their
huge construction firm virtually built the country, from the roads and
power plants to the skyscrapers and government buildings. They built
some of the airstrips America used in your dad's Gulf war. Billionaires
many times over, they soon began investing in other ventures around the
world, including the US. They have extensive business dealings with
Citigroup, General Electric, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, and the
According to the New Yorker, the bin Laden family also owns a part of
Microsoft and the airline and defense giant Boeing. They have donated
$2m to your alma mater, Harvard University, and tens of thousands to the
Middle East Policy Council, a think-tank headed by a former US
ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Charles Freeman. In addition to the property
they own in Texas, they also have real estate in Florida and
Massachusetts. In short, they have their hands deep in our pants.
Unfortunately, as you know, Mr Bush, Salem bin Laden died in a plane
crash in Texas in 1988. Salem's brothers - there are around 50 of them,
including Osama - continued to run the family companies and investments.
After leaving office, your father became a highly paid consultant for a
company known as the Carlyle Group - one of the nation's largest defense
contractors. One of the investors in the Carlyle Group - to the tune of
at least $2m - was none other than the Bin Laden family. Until 1994, you
headed a company called CaterAir, which was owned by the Carlyle Group.
After September 11, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal both
ran stories pointing out this connection. Your first response, Mr Bush,
was to ignore it. Then your army of pundits went into spin control. They
said, we can't paint these Bin Ladens with the same brush we use for
Osama. They have disowned Osama! They have nothing to do with him! These
are the good Bin Ladens.
And then the video footage came out. It showed a number of these "good"
Bin Ladens - including Osama's mother, a sister and two brothers - with
Osama at his son's wedding just six and a half months before September
11. It was no secret to the CIA that Osama bin Laden had access to his
family fortune (his share is estimated to be at least $30m), and the Bin
Ladens, as well as other Saudis, kept Osama and his group, al-Qaida,
You've gotten a free ride from the media, though they know everything I
have just written to be the truth. They seem unwilling or afraid to ask
you a simple question, Mr Bush: WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?
In case you don't understand just how bizarre the media's silence is
regarding the Bush-Bin Laden connections, let me draw an analogy to how
the press or Congress might have handled something like this if the same
shoe had been on the Clinton foot. If, after the terrorist attack on the
Federal Building in Oklahoma City, it had been revealed that President
Bill Clinton and his family had financial dealings with Timothy
McVeigh's family, what do you think your Republican party and the media
would have done with that one?
Do you think at least a couple of questions might have been asked, such
as, "What is that all about?" Be honest, you know the answer. They would
have asked more than a couple of questions. They would have skinned
Clinton alive and thrown what was left of his carcass in Guantanamo Bay.
2. What is the 'special relationship' between the Bushes and the Saudi royal family?
Mr Bush, the Bin Ladens are not the only Saudis with whom you and your
family have a close personal relationship. The entire royal family seems
to be indebted to you - or is it the other way round?
The number one supplier of oil to the US is the nation of Saudi Arabia,
possessor of the largest known reserves of oil in the world. When Saddam
Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, it was really the Saudis next door who
felt threatened, and it was your father, George Bush I, who came to
their rescue. The Saudis have never forgotten this. Haifa, wife of
Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the US, says that your mother and
father "are like my mother and father. I know if ever I needed anything
I could go to them".
A major chunk of the American economy is built on Saudi money. They have
a trillion dollars invested in our stock market and another trillion
dollars in our banks. If they chose suddenly to remove that money, our
corporations and financial institutions would be sent into a tailspin,
causing an economic crisis the likes of which has never been seen.
Couple that with the fact that the 1.5m barrels of oil we need daily
from the Saudis could also vanish on a mere royal whim, and we begin to
see how not only you, but all of us, are dependent on the House of Saud.
George, is this good for our national security, our homeland security?
Who is it good for? You? Pops?
After meeting with the Saudi crown prince in April 2002, you happily
told us that the two of you had "established a strong personal bond" and
that you "spent a lot of time alone". Were you trying to reassure us? Or
just flaunt your friendship with a group of rulers who rival the Taliban
in their suppression of human rights? Why the double standard?
3. Who attacked the US on September 11 - a guy on dialysis from a cave in Afghanistan, or your friend, Saudi Arabia?
I'm sorry, Mr Bush, but something doesn't make sense.
You got us all repeating by rote that it was Osama bin Laden who was
responsible for the attack on the United States on September 11. Even I
was doing it. But then I started hearing strange stories about Osama's
kidneys. Suddenly, I don't know who or what to trust. How could a guy
sitting in a cave in Afghanistan, hooked up to dialysis, have directed
and overseen the actions of 19 terrorists for two years in the US then
plotted so perfectly the hijacking of four planes and then guaranteed
that three of them would end up precisely on their targets? How did he
organize, communicate, control and supervise this kind of massive
attack? With two cans and a string?
The headlines blared it the first day and they blare it the same way now
two years later: "Terrorists Attack United States." Terrorists. I have
wondered about this word for some time, so, George, let me ask you a
question: if 15 of the 19 hijackers had been North Korean, rather than
Saudi, and they had killed 3,000 people, do you think the headline the
next day might have read, "NORTH KOREA ATTACKS UNITED STATES"? Of course
it would. Or if it had been 15 Iranians or 15 Libyans or 15 Cubans, I
think the conventional wisdom would have been, "IRAN [or LIBYA or CUBA]
ATTACKS AMERICA!" Yet, when it comes to September 11, have you ever seen
the headline, have you ever heard a newscaster, has one of your
appointees ever uttered these words: "Saudi Arabia attacked the United
Of course you haven't. And so the question must - must - be asked: why
not? Why, when Congress released its own investigation into September
11, did you, Mr Bush, censor out 28 pages that deal with the Saudis'
role in the attack?
I would like to throw out a possibility here: what if September 11 was
not a "terrorist" attack but, rather, a military attack against the
United States? George, apparently you were a pilot once - how hard is it
to hit a five-story building at more than 500 miles an hour? The
Pentagon is only five stories high. At 500 miles an hour, had the pilots
been off by just a hair, they'd have been in the river. You do not get
this skilled at learning how to fly jumbo jets by being taught on a
video game machine at some dipshit flight training school in Arizona.
You learn to do this in the air force. Someone's air force.
The Saudi air force?
What if these weren't wacko terrorists, but military pilots who signed
on to a suicide mission? What if they were doing this at the behest of
either the Saudi government or certain disgruntled members of the Saudi
royal family? The House of Saud, according to Robert Baer's book
Sleeping With the Devil, is full of them. So, did certain factions
within the Saudi royal family execute the attack on September 11? Were
these pilots trained by the Saudis? Why are you so busy protecting the
Saudis when you should be protecting us?
4. Why did you allow a private Saudi jet to fly around the US in the days after September 11 and pick up members of the Bin Laden family and fly them out of the country without a proper investigation by the FBI?
Private jets, under the supervision of the Saudi government - and with
your approval - were allowed to fly around the skies of America, when
traveling by air was forbidden, and pick up 24 members of the Bin Laden
family and take them first to a "secret assembly point in Texas". They
then flew to Washington DC, and then on to Boston. Finally, on September
18, they were all flown to Paris, out of the reach of any US officials.
They never went through any serious interrogation. This is
mind-boggling. Might it have been possible that at least one of the 24
Bin Ladens would have possibly known something?
While thousands were stranded and could not fly, if you could prove you
were a close relative of the biggest mass murderer in US history, you
got a free trip to gay Paree!
Why, Mr Bush, was this allowed to happen?
5. Why are you protecting the Second Amendment rights of potential terrorists?
Mr Bush, in the days after September 11, the FBI began running a check
to see if any of the 186 "suspects" the feds had rounded up in the first
five days after the attack had purchased any guns in the months leading
up to September 11 (two of them had). When your attorney general, John
Ashcroft, heard about this, he immediately shut down the search. He told
the FBI that the background check files could not be used for such a
search and these files were only to be used at the time of a purchase of a gun.
Mr Bush, you can't be serious! Is your administration really so gun
nutty and so deep in the pocket of the National Rifle Association? I
truly love how you have rounded up hundreds of people, grabbing them off
the streets without notice, throwing them in prison cells, unable to
contact lawyers or family, and then, for the most part, shipped them out
of the country on mere immigration charges.
You can waive their Fourth Amendment protection from unlawful search and
seizure, their Sixth Amendment rights to an open trial by a jury of
their peers and the right to counsel, and their First Amendment rights
to speak, assemble, dissent and practice their religion. You believe you
have the right to just trash all these rights, but when it comes to the
Second Amendment right to own an AK-47 - oh no! That right they can have
- and you will defend their right to have it.
Who, Mr Bush, is really aiding the terrorists here?
6. Were you aware that, while you were governor of Texas, the Taliban traveled to Texas to meet with your oil and gas company friends?
According to the BBC, the Taliban came to Texas while you were governor
to meet with Unocal, the huge oil and energy giant, to discuss Unocal's
desire to build a natural-gas pipeline running from Turkmenistan through
Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and into Pakistan.
Mr Bush, what was this all about?
"Houston, we have a problem," apparently never crossed your mind,
though the Taliban were perhaps the most repressive fundamentalist
regime on the planet. What role exactly did you play in the Unocal
meetings with the Taliban?
According to various reports, representatives of your administration met
with the Taliban or conveyed messages to them during the summer of 2001.
What were those messages, Mr Bush? Were you discussing their offer to
hand over Bin Laden? Were you threatening them with use of force? Were
you talking to them about a pipeline?
7. What exactly was that look on your face in the Florida classroom on the morning of September 11 when your chief of staff told you, 'America is under attack'?
On the morning of September 11, you took a jog on a golf course and then
headed to Booker elementary school in Florida to read to little
children. You arrived at the school after the first plane had hit the
north tower in New York City. You entered the classroom around 9am and
the second plane hit the south tower at 9.03am. Just a few minutes
later, as you were sitting in front of the class of kids, your chief of
staff, Andrew Card, entered the room and whispered in your ear. Card was
apparently telling you about the second plane and about us being "under
And it was at that very moment that your face went into a distant glaze,
not quite a blank look, but one that seemed partially paralyzed. No
emotion was shown. And then ... you just sat there. You sat there for
another seven minutes or so doing nothing.
George, what were you thinking? What did that look on your face mean?
Were you thinking you should have taken reports the CIA had given you
the month before more seriously? You had been told al-Qaida was planning
attacks in the United States and that planes would possibly be used.
Or were you just scared shitless?
Or maybe you were just thinking, "I did not want this job in the first
place! This was supposed to be Jeb's job; he was the chosen one! Why me?
Why me, daddy?"
Or ... maybe, just maybe, you were sitting there in that classroom chair
thinking about your Saudi friends - both the royals and the Bin Ladens.
People you knew all too well that might have been up to no good. Would
questions be asked? Would suspicions arise? Would the Democrats have the
guts to dig into your family's past with these people (no, don't worry,
never a chance of that!)? Would the truth ever come out?
And while I'm at it ...
Danger - multi-millionaires at large
I've always thought it was interesting that the mass murder of September 11 was allegedly committed by a multi-millionaire. We always say it was committed by a "terrorist" or by an "Islamic fundamentalist" or an "Arab", but we never define Osama by his rightful title: multi-millionaire. Why have we never read a headline saying, "3,000 Killed by multi-millionaire"? It would be a correct headline, would it not?
Osama bin Laden has assets totaling at least $30m; he is a
multi-millionaire. So why isn't that the way we see this person, as a
rich fuck who kills people? Why didn't that become the reason for
profiling potential terrorists? Instead of rounding up suspicious Arabs,
why don't we say, "Oh my God, a multi-millionaire killed 3,000 people!
Round up the multi-millionaires! Throw them all in jail! No charges! No
trials! Deport the millionaires!!"
Keeping America safe
The US Patriot Act and the enemy combatant designation are just a hint
of what Bush has in store for us. Consider a brainchild of Admiral John
Poindexter, an Iran-contra perp, and the Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency (Darpa): the "policy analysis market", which the
government was to put up on a website.
Apparently, Poindexter reasoned that commodity futures markets worked so
well for Bush's buddies at Enron that he could adapt it to predicting
terrorism. Individuals would be able to invest in hypothetical futures
contracts involving the likelihood of such events as "an assassination
of Yasser Arafat" or "the overthrow of Jordan's King Abdullah II". Other
futures would be available based on the economic health, civil stability
and military involvement in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Saudi
Arabia, Syria and Turkey. All oil-related countries.
The proposed market lasted about one day after it was revealed to the
Senate. Senators Wyden and Dorgan protested the Pentagon's $8m request,
and Wyden said, "Make-believe markets trading in possibilities that turn
the stomach hardly seem like a sensible next step to take with taxpayers
money in the war on terror." As a result of the uproar over this,
Poindexter was asked to step down.
Giving Saddam the key to Detroit
In Las Vegas, an armored fighting vehicle was used to crush French
yogurt, French bread, bottles of French wine, Perrier, Gray Goose vodka,
photos of Chirac, a guide to Paris and, best of all, photocopies of the
French flag. France was the perfect country to pick on. If you're a
cable news company, why spend priceless reporting time on investigating
whether Iraq really does have weapons of mass destruction when you can
do a story about how rotten the French are?
Fox News led the charge of pinning Chirac to Saddam Hussein, showing old
footage of the two men together. It didn't matter that the meeting had
taken place in the 1970s. The media didn't bother to run (over and over
again) the footage from when Saddam was presented with a key to the city
of Detroit, or the film from the early 1980s of Donald Rumsfeld visiting
Saddam in Baghdad to discuss the progress of the Iran-Iraq war. The
footage of Rumsfeld embracing Saddam apparently wasn't worth running on
a continuous loop. Or even once. OK, maybe once. On Oprah.
Michael Moore fired his opening salvo against George Bush and his
rightwing cronies with his bestseller 'Stupid White Men'. Now the
president is in his sights again in "Dude, Where's My Country?'
© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003
>Wednesday, October 22, 2003
>The Financial Times reports :
>"George Bush, former US president, is retiring from his position as
>senior adviser to the Carlyle Group, officials at the well-connected
>Washington-based private equity firm said yesterday."
>"Carlyle offered no particular explanation for the retirement of Mr
>Bush, other than his age and desire to move on to other endeavours."
>Desire to move on to other endeavours? Couldn't they come up with
>something better than that? That's what a corporation says of an
>executive it has fired. Bush wouldn't have had to do anything as
>senior advisor, except lend them the benefit of his 'prestigious'
>name and occasionally have drinks with some dictator who was feeling
>pangs of conscience about spending his country's money, otherwise
>slated to keep its starving citizens from dying, on some shiny
>weapons from Carlyle. Carlyle's web site says :
>"Former President Bush was at one time the Senior Advisor to the
>Carlyle Asia Advisory Board but retired from that position in October
>2003. He holds no other positions at Carlyle."
>Why would Bush resign from a no doubt extremely high-paying sinecure?
>Couldn't Carlyle have spared a few words of thanks and appreciation?
>Is there trouble in paradise? Whatever can it all mean?
>posted 4:34 AM
>Tuesday, October 21, 2003
>Daniel Pipes now wants most American troops out of Iraq. What?! Did
>he hit his head and become sane? Hardly. The neocons have a
>problem. They want another war, any war, before the next election.
>Preferably Iran, but they'll take Syria (North Korea is off the plate
>until the crooked voting machines reelect Bush, largely because it is
>of no possible threat to Israel). The problem is that the American
>troops are all tied up dying for Israel in Iraq, when the neocons now
>want them to die for Israel in Iran or Syria. The answer is to move
>most troops out, leaving the Iraqis to kill each other in a mild
>civil war, and shift them to the new Israeli victim. Iraq is no
>immediate threat to Israel (not that it was before the attack), the
>Americans have the oil fields, and American corporations can continue
>to rape the country until the violence gets too severe. And that's
>where the problem really lies. In fact, it is the crux of the
>conflict between the old-fashioned paleocons, who need the troops in
>Iraq to serve as bodyguards for the employees of the American
>corporations who are stealing from Iraq, and the neocons, who need to
>free up sufficient troops from Iraq so the U. S. Army can stage
>another immoral and illegal attack on behalf of Israel against
>another sovereign country which poses no possible threat to the
>United States. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
>The generals are already floating the idea of massive reductions in
>U. S. troops, an idea that won't work if American corporations also
>want to exploit the resources of the country. The most sensible exit
>strategy would be to gradually turn the whole thing over to U. N.
>peacekeepers, but that would involve the loss of the American ability
>to steal from Iraq and a great embarrassment to the neocon-PNAC
>planners. If the neocons win, I can just hear the commanding officer
>of some of those American reservists saying:
>"I've got some good news and bad news. The good news is that you're
>leaving Iraq. The bad news . . . "
>I honestly don't believe Americans realize the imminent danger they
>face of being dragged into yet another disaster of a war, much more
>deadly and much, much more expensive than Iraq. The eventual
>solution to the neocon-paleocon problem is simply to double the size
>of the U. S. army, and double the size of the Pentagon budget.
October 17, 2003
There He Goes Again!
Michael Moore Proclaims Mumia "Did It"
By DAVE LINDORFF
Michael Moore, the Academy Award-winning filmmaker ("Bowling for Columbine") and general muckraker, has done it again.
A few weeks back, while Gen. (ret.) Wesley Clark was still holed up at his Arkansas headquarters ostentatiously mulling whether to enter the Democratic presidential nomination race, Moore made a public plea for him to run, calling him a peace candidate. Moore hadn't done his homework though: Gen. Clarke, it turns out, had been a supporter of the war until very recently, and also has an unsavory history as a military commander that includes actions that should be considered war crimes, such as the deliberate terror bombing of civilian targets in Serbia during NATO's Kosovo campaign. The general also risked getting the U.S. into a shooting war with Russia when he ordered NATO troops to push Russian troops from an airport in Kosovo (a rash and stupid move that was only foiled by the insubordination of a British officer who refused to comply with the order).
Now Moore has ignored the facts again, this time saying long-time Pennsylvania death-row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal "probably killed" Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner back on Dec. 9, 1981.
Moore's comment appears on page 189 of his hot new book, "Dude, Where's My Country?", and it is expressed with typical Moore flippancy, and with no evidence to support it.
Here's the quote in full:
"Mumia [the campaigning Pennsylvania journalist who was sentenced for the shooting of a police officer and has been on death row since 1982] probably killed that guy. There, I said it. That does not mean he should be denied a fair trial or that he should be put to death. But because we don't want to see him or anyone executed, the efforts to defend him may have overlooked the fact that he did indeed kill that cop. This takes nothing away from the eloquence of his writings or commentary, or the important place he now holds on the international political stage. But he probably did kill that guy."
It would be interesting to know how or why Moore--who back in 1997 wrote in the Nation magazine, " I want Mumia to live, I've signed the petitions, I've helped pay for the ads -- hell, I'll personally go and kick the butt of the governor of Pennsylvania!" and who in 1995 signed an ad in the New York Times saying Abu-Jamal was "probably sentenced to death" because of his political views--came to this peculiarly incongruous conclusion.
As the author of the only independent book to investigate this controversial case (Killing Time: An Investigation Into the Death row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Common Courage Press, 2003), I can state with conviction that the evidence that was used to convict Mumia Abu-Jamal of first-degree murder was weak at best, and in some cases probably falsified (while other evidence that might have exonerated him was hidden from the defense). I've concluded that the only two witnesses who claimed at the trial to have seen all or most of the actual shooting of Faulkner were probably (and unlike Moore I use this word advisedly) not even at the scene of the shooting as they claimed.
On what do I base this damning claim? Nobody who was a witness at the trial, including police officers testifying for the prosecution, said they saw prostitute Cynthia White on the sidewalk where she claimed she was standing when the shooting occurred or afterwards. And nobody except for that same White claimed to have seen taxicab driver Robert Chobert, or even his taxi cab, which he claimed he had parked directly behind Faulkner's squad car (a taxicab is a hard thing to miss!). And even White only said she saw the taxi there after the shooting was over (a crime scene drawing she provided to police, which included cars not involved in the incident at all, and which I included as an illustration in my book, did not include a taxi). Adding to suspicions about White, she was the only alleged witness to the shooting that police did not bring to the paddy wagon to identify the wounded Abu-Jamal. Curiously, though she was the prosecution's star witness, she was rushed off directly to Homicide without being asked to ID him as the shooter. Subsequently, the prosecutor argued strenuously (and successfully), based upon a false assertion to the pre-trial judge, that White was not going to be an identification witness, against her having to ID Abu-Jamal in a line-up. Yet at the trial, White was asked by the prosecutor to point him out.
As for the claim that Abu-Jamal had shouted out a confession at the hospital, I make clear in my book that this testimony by a police officer and a hospital security guard reeks of being a perjured story manufactured weeks after the shooting. Neither the cop nor the guard who testified about the confession had mentioned it to police investigators for months after the shooting (a wholly incomprehensible lapse, especially for a police officer), and indeed in two interviews with police investigators, one done the day of the shooting, the police officer who had been assigned to stay with Abu-Jamal from the time he was arrested at the scene to the time he was operated on for a bullet lodged near his spine, stated flatly that during that entire period, "The negro male made no comment.".
The truth is that this trial stank from the beginning, with the trial judge, Albert Sabo (who sent 31 people, 29 of them non-white, to death row), actually being overheard (by a fellow judge and his court stenographer) to tell his court crier, while exiting the courtroom at the end of the first day of Abu-Jamal's trial, "Yeah, and I'm going to help them fry that nigger."
Sadly Moore, who I guess is trying to be funny, or perhaps to make a case he's been working at for several years now that the left is "out of touch" with mainstream America, has joined a short-list of other purported leftists like Todd Gitlin and Marc Cooper, who seem ready to bolster their "independent" credentials by trashing Mumia supporters.
It matters little that these people, like Moore, generally hasten to add that they don't support the death penalty. Even the fact that Moore, unlike Cooper, at least concedes that Abu-Jamal "shouldn't be denied a fair trial," a backhanded way of implying that he didn't get one the first time, hardly compensates for the damage he does with his ill-founded assertion of Abu-Jamal's "probable" guilt.
If he didn't get a fair trial--and he surely didn't, as I document clearly in "Killing Time"--then on what possible grounds does Moore come to his conclusion that he "probably did kill that guy"? If the evidence presented at the trial was weak, cooked and hidden, how can he or anyone come to any kind of "probable" conclusion based upon it?
I actually sent Moore a review copy of my book back last fall, when I was seeking prominent readers to provide me with blurbs for the back cover. He never responded to my request.
Judging from his comments in his own new book, it seems clear that he never cracked mine.
His apparent lack of curiosity is unfortunate. It is also inexcusable in a journalist.
People like Michael Moore owe their readers more than to spout this kind of uninformed and ignorant drivel while posing as journalists. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but unless it's just barroom argumentation, those opinions ought to be based upon the facts.
Abu-Jamal deserves a new, fair trial, not this kind of ignorant passing of judgement by people who should know better.
Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. A collection of Lindorff's stories can be found here:http://www.nwuphilly.org/dave.html
Former Pacifica Radio Programmer Kiilu Nyasha
Comments regarding Michael Moore’s Attack on Mumia Abu Jamal
Thanks so much for your timely post regarding Moore. Using Black people to sell shit and fortify political positions is nothing new.
If you listened to Flashpoints Pacifica/KPFA) yesterday, you heard a discussion about Moore's attack on Mumia discussed by his attorney, Robert Bryan, Jeff Mackler and Dennis Bernstein. With the exception of Bryan who was a guest by phone, they practically kissed mikes' fat ass. I felt like puking when Bernstein played Moore's speech after exposing his statements virtually condemning Mumia for murder.with the death penalty still hanging over his head -- "...he did indeed kill the cop."
Another example of white liberalism, the kind that prompted Walter Rodney to write: "The white liberals never like to be told that white capitalist society is too rotten to be reformed."
These liberals suggest that Mike is really a "friend" and we can probably get him to"retract" his statement (apparently by helping him sell more books damning Mumia)!!!! They suggest in their discussion that Moore doesn't really understand what the consequences of his words might do to Mumia's case. Speaking with forked tongues out of two sides of their mouths, on the one hand Moore is a brilliant political satirist and on the other he's just politically naive?
Not only would I not call him a "friend," I'd like to slap him silly...or worse. However, what I will do is NOT give him more publicity since "any publicity is good publicity" in capitalist America. I WILL work harder to get the truth out there about Mumia's innocence.
We should all simply IGNORE THIS STUPID WHITE MAN and FREE MUMIA!
RE THE 911 EVENT: I was very glad I attended. I had never heard the theories about the building collapses, etc. Major props and kudos to the presenters who did a magnificently thorough job of research -- brilliant!
I hope you will be able to do another one in the near future allowing enough advance time to get the word out far and wide -- esp. into the Black/brown communities. Please remember, the most oppressed, targeted victims of fascism will be in the forefront of the resistance.
Feel free to circulate this post.
September 17, 2003
An Open Letter to Michael Moore
You Are Way Off Base About Wesley Clark
By TERRY LODGE
I've long appreciated your work, your politics and your writings. And precisely because of that, I'm surprised by and disappointed in your solicitation of Wesley Clark's candidacy for the Democrat nomination for President.
Wesley Clark is a war criminal. He commanded the U.S. forces and the whole NATO mission in the Kosovo war, which from the allies' perspective, was a stunning bombing campaign. Toward the end of the comflict, he very nearly touched off a major global confrontation when he ordered NATO forces to attack an airfield where a Russian force had landed with the intention of injecting themselves on the side of the Serbs to halt the butchery. Had Clark's order been followed, it would have touched off the most dangerous <Russian-U.S>. military confrontation since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
Fortunately, the British officer who had actual on-the-ground control of the NATO troops explicitly refused to attack the Russians, thus avoiding a catastrophic military confrontation with a politically unstable nuclear weapons state (holding the second largest arsenal in the world).
Clark is getting his poltical advice from Bill Clinton, his commander-in-chief when Wesley attacked Kosovo. That, alone, should be a major clue to Clark's politics. Though the U.S. suffered no casualties in the Kosovo "war", hundreds of civilians were killed, most of them in obvious circumstances (on strategic bridges and highway stretches, in the Chinese embassy and in office buildings that were being bombed). Worse, Clinton authorized Wes to "try out" depleted uranium in the Kosovo conflict - and so together they have left a 4,500,000,000-year-long legacy that will surely produce an epidemic of health effects on many Croats and Serbs and others for generations to come.
All this - and I haven't even touched on the wrong-headed injustice of the U.S.' joining the Balkan war anyway. It surely couldn't have been because the human rights record of the Croats was more "humane."
In those days, the Pentagon encouraged and assisted al-Qaeda to move its operatives into the Kosovo region to become part of the "Kosovo Liberation Army," a collection of ethnic cleanser-murderers, brigands and drug traffickers who were, then and now, important guarantors of the continued flow of Aghanistan's #1 cash crop - heroin - into the West.
It was Wesley Clark who touted the doggedness of those KLA "freedom fighters" - but then before September 2001, al-Qaeda operatives, despite the organization's suspected role in the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa, were still a source of useful CIA assets.
I suggest you review the writings cited below and consider whether a reconstituted Wesley Clark, with his ho-hum stereotypical New Democrat viewpoints, is really the great savior of our damaged political dialogue that you've held him up to be.
Michael, I've admired you for years, from "TV Nation" to "Bowling," but you're way off base about Wes Clark.
Terry Lodge is an attorney in Toledo, Ohio. He can be reached at: tjlodge50 @yahoo.com
Who Is Lying -- Michael Moore Or Wesley Clark?
By Brian Carnell
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
Michael Moore has a bizarre post on the front page of his web site. Bizarre because it is another of Moore's rambling essays in support of Wesley Clark for president, but on the other hand if Moore is right then Clark is again lying (one way or the other) about that mysterious call he claims to have received after 9/11 telling him to blame the attacks on Iraq.
Clark originally implied that the call came from the White House, but backed off and later maintained it was from a Middle Eastern think tank in Canada. According to Clark, nobody from the White House ever asked him to blame 9/11 on Iraq. Clark's last version of events was that he simply learned later that people in the White House were supposedly also discussing spinning the attacks to blame Iraq.
But Moore writes,
My wife and I were invited over to a neighbor's home 12 days ago where [Wesley] Clark told those gathered that certain people, acting on behalf of the Bush administration, called him immediately after the attacks on September 11th and asked him to go on TV to tell the country that Saddam Hussein was "involved" in the attacks. He asked them for proof, but they couldn't provide any. He refused their request.
Now the person with the Canadian Middle Eastern think tank has already come forward and said that he didn't call Clark until days after the 9/11 attack and he was relying on information passed along by people he knows in the Israeli intelligence community.
So is Clark changing his story on this mysterious call again? Or is Moore just distorting what Clark said (that wouldn't be the first time for Moore distorting reality)?
Michael Moore blesses General Wesley Clark
A Citizen's Appeal to a General in a Time of War (at Home)
September 12, 2003
Dear General Wesley Clark,
I've been meaning to write to you for some time. Two days after the Oscars, when I felt very alone and somewhat frightened by the level of hatred toward me for daring to suggest that we were being led into war for "fictitious reasons," one person stuck his neck out and came to my defense on national television.
And that person was you.
Aaron Brown had just finished interviewing me by satellite on CNN, and I had made a crack about me being "the only non-general allowed on CNN all week." He ended the interview and then turned to you, as you were sitting at the desk with him. He asked you what you thought of this crazy guy, Michael Moore. And, although we were still in Week One of the war, you boldly said that my dissent was necessary and welcome, and you pointed out that I was against Bush and his "policies," not the kids in the service. I sat in Flint with the earpiece still in my ear and I was floored -- a GENERAL standing up for me and, in effect, for all the millions who were opposed to the war but had been bullied into silence.
Since that night, I have spent a lot of time checking you out. And what I've learned about you corresponds to my experience with you back in March. You seem to be a man of integrity. You seem not afraid to speak the truth. I liked your answer when you were asked your position on gun control: "If you are the type of person who likes assault weapons, there is a place for you -- the United States Army. We have them."
In addition to being first in your class at West Point, a four star general from Arkansas, and the former Supreme Commander of NATO -- enough right there that should give pause to any peace-loving person -- I have discovered that...
1. You oppose the Patriot Act and would fight the expansion of its powers.
[note: Clark actually worked for Acxiom corporation, which is a Total Information Awareness contractor]
2. You are firmly pro-choice.
3. You filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of the University of Michigan's affirmative action case.
[note: so he's a pro-choice, racially tolerant warmonger who is slightly less odious than the Bush clan. Too bad that Michael Moore isn't supporting the peace candidate, Representative Dennis Kucinich.]
4. You would get rid of the Bush tax "cut" and make the rich pay their fair share.
5. You respect the views of our allies and want to work with them and with the rest of the international community.
[translation: A Clark administration would be better able to get the United Nations to bless our foreign adventures, and be able to get the Europeans to help pay for the cost of fighting for control of the oil fields.]
6. And you oppose war. You have said that war should always be the "last resort" and that it is military men such as yourself who are the most for peace because it is YOU and your soldiers who have to do the dying. You find something unsettling about a commander-in-chief who dons a flight suit and pretends to be Top Gun, a stunt that dishonored those who have died in that flight suit in the service of their country.
[note: this is fantasy. Clark supports the US Army School of the Americas, ran the military's "Southern Command" which is the US intervention in Latin America, dropped countless uranium bombs on Yugoslavia, worked for Contra cocaine money launderor Jackson Stephens in Little Rock, Arkansas - and is even accused with having supervised the Waco massacre in 1993. This is not the resume of someone who opposes war.]
General Clark, last night I finally got to meet you in person. I would like to share with others what I said to you privately: You may be the person who can defeat George W. Bush in next year's election.
This is not an endorsement. For me, it's too early for that. I have liked Howard Dean (in spite of his flawed positions in support of some capital punishment, his grade "A" rating from the NRA, and his opposition to cutting the Pentagon budget). And Dennis Kucinich is so committed to all the right stuff. We need candidates in this race who will say the things that need to be said, to push the pathetically lame Democratic Party into have a backbone -- or get out of the way and let us have a REAL second party on the ballot.
But right now, for the sake and survival of our very country, we need someone who is going to get The Job done, period. And that job, no matter whom I speak to across America -- be they leftie Green or conservative Democrat, and even many disgusted Republicans -- EVERYONE is of one mind as to what that job is:
Bush Must Go.
This is war, General, and it's Bush & Co.'s war on us. It's their war on the middle class, the poor, the environment, their war on women and their war against anyone around the world who doesn't accept total American domination. Yes, it's a war -- and we, the people, need a general to beat back those who have abused our Constitution and our basic sense of decency.
The General vs. the Texas Air National Guard deserter! I want to see that debate, and I know who the winner is going to be.
The other night, when you were on Bill Maher's show, he began by reading to you a quote from Howard Dean where he (Dean) tried to run away from the word "liberal." Maher said to you, so, General, do you want to run away from that word? Without missing a beat, you said "No!" and you reminded everyone that America was founded as a "liberal democracy." The audience went wild with applause.
That is what we have needed for a long time on our side -- guts. I am sure there are things you and I don't see eye to eye on, but now is the time for all good people from the far left to the middle of the road to bury the damn hatchet and get together behind someone who is not only good on the issues but can beat George W. Bush. And where I come from in the Midwest, General, I know you are the kind of candidate that the average American will vote for.
Michael Moore likes a general? I never thought I'd write these words. But desperate times call for desperate measures. I want to know more about you. I want your voice heard. I would like to see you in these debates. Then let the chips fall where they may -- and we'll all have a better idea of what to do. If you sit it out, then I think we all know what we are left with.
I am asking everyone I know to send an email to you now to encourage you to run, even if they aren't sure they would vote for you. (Wesley Clark's email address is: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org). None of us truly know how we will vote five months from now or a year from now. But we do know that this race needs a jolt -- and Bush needs to know that there is one person he won't be able to Dukakisize.
Take the plunge, General Clark. At the very least, the nation needs to hear what you know about what was really behind this invasion of Iraq and your fresh ideas of how we can live in a more peaceful world. Yes, your country needs you to perform one more act of brave service -- to help defeat an enemy from within, at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, an address that used to belong to "we, the people."
Lottery # 275, U.S. military draft, 1972
Conscientious Objector applicant