Curious if you saw the movie and *still are voting Bush.
Not saying Kerry is better, just less of the 2 evils.
Curious if you saw the movie and *still are voting Bush.
Not saying Kerry is better, just less of the 2 evils.
...change your vote based on F 9/11
"ONE MIGHT CONCLUDE, from his conduct over the past three years that George W. Bush was put on this earth to do two things: First, to lead the United States into the third millennium, with all its terrifying challenges and wondrous opportunities. And second, to drive liberals insane. He's succeeding brilliantly at both."
Nahhh...........hated Bush long before F 9/11 came out.
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
- Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
Ride It Like You Stole It
If you view F9/11 as anything more than communist propaganda, you are foolish. There is ample information out there that documents the lies that Moore pretends are truths. Take a few minutes to research this point and then let us know if this movie should change anyones mind.
Freedom is marching- George W. Bush 09.02.2004
Originally Posted by tres-b
Factual Back-Up For Fahrenheit 9/11: Section One
THE FOLLOWING IS THE LINE BY LINE FACTUAL BACKUP FOR 'FAHRENHEIT 9/11'
Section One covers the facts in Fahrenheit 9/11 from the 2000 election to George W. Bush's extended visit to Booker Elementary on the morning of September 11th.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: Fox was the first network to call Florida for Bush. Before that, some other networks had called Florida for Gore, and they changed after Fox called it for Bush.
“With information provided from the Voter News Service, NBC was the first network to project Gore the winner in Florida at 7:48 pm. At 7:50 pm ,CNN and CBS project Gore the winner in Florida as well.” By 8:02 pm , all five networks and the Associated Press had called Gore the winner in Florida. Even the VNS called Gore the winner at 7:52 pm. At 2:16 am, Fox calls Florida for Bush, NBC follows at 2:16 am. ABC is the last network to call the Florida for Bush, at 2:20 am, while AP and VNS never call Florida for Bush. CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2001/ALLPOLITICS/stories/02/02/
Ten minutes after the top of the hour, network excitement was again beginning to build. At 2:16 a.m., the call was made: Fox News Channel, with Bush's first cousin John Ellis running its election desk, was the first to project Florida -- and the presidency -- for the Texas governor. Within minutes, the other networks followed suit. "George Bush, Governor of Texas will become the 43rd President of the United States," CNN's Bernard Shaw announced atop a graphic montage of a smiling Bush. "At 18 minutes past two o'clock Eastern time, CNN declares that George Walker Bush has won Florida's 25 electoral votes and this should put him over the top."PBS: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/media/election2000/
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: The man who was in charge of the decision desk at FOX on election night was Bush’s first cousin, John Ellis.
“John Ellis, a first cousin of George W. Bush, ran the network's ‘decision desk’ during the 2000 election, and Fox was the first to name Bush the winner. Earlier, Ellis had made six phone calls to Cousin Bush during the vote-counting.” William O’Rourke, “Talk Radio Key to GOP Victory,” Chicago Sun-Times, December 3, 2002.
A Fox News consultant, John Ellis, who made judgments about presidential ‘calls’ on Election Night admits he was in touch with George W. Bush and FL Gov. Jeb Bush by telephone several times during the night, but denies breaking any rules. CNN, November 14, 2000; http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2000/
John Ellis, the Fox consultant who called Florida early for George Bush, had to stop writing about the campaign for the Boston Globe because of family ‘loyalty’ to Bush. CBS News, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2000/
11/14/politics/main249357.shtml, November 14, 2000.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “Make sure the chairman of your campaign is also the vote countin’ woman and that her state has hired a company that’s gonna knock voters off the rolls who aren’t likely to vote for you. You can usually tell them by the color of their skin.”
“The vote total was certified by Florida's secretary of state, Katherine Harris, head of the Bush campaign in Florida, on behalf of Gov. Jeb Bush, the candidate's brother.” Mark Zoller Seitz, “Bush Team Conveyed an Air of Legitimacy,” San Diego Union-Tribune, December 16, 2000.
The Florida Department of State awarded a $4 million contract to the Boca Raton-based Database Technologies Inc. (subsidiary of ChoicePoint). They were tasked with finding improperly registered voters in the state’s database, but mistakes were rampant. “At one point, the list included as felons 8,000 former Texas residents who had been convicted of misdemeanors.” St. Petersburg Times (Florida), December 21, 2003.
Database Technologies, a subsidiary of ChoicePoint, “was responsible for bungling an overhaul of Florida’s voter registration records, with the result that thousands of people, disproportionately black, were disenfranchised in the 2000 election. Had they been able to vote, they might have swung the state, and thus the presidency, for Al Gore, who lost in Florida. Oliver Burkeman, Jo Tuckman, “Firm in Florida Election Fiasco Earns Millions from Files on Foreigners,” The Guardian, May 5, 2003 http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/...949709,00.html. See also, Atlanta-Journal-Constitution, May 28, 2001.
In 1997, Rick Rozar, the late head of the company bought by ChoicePoint, donated $100,000 to the Republican National Committee. Melanie Eversley, “Atlanta-Based Company Says Errors in Felon Purge Not Its Fault,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 28, 2001. Frank Borman of Database Technologies Inc. has donated extensively to New Mexico Republicans, as well as to the Presidential campaign of George W. Bush. Opensecrets.org, “Frank Borman.”
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: Gore got the most votes in 2000.
[A] consortium [Tribune Co., owner of the Times; Associated Press; CNN; the New York Times; the Palm Beach Post; the St. Petersburg Times; the Wall Street Journal; and the Washington Post] hired the NORC [National Opinion Research Center, a nonpartisan research organization affiliated with the University of Chicago] to view each untallied ballot and gather information about how it was marked. The media organizations then used computers to sort and tabulate votes, based on varying scenarios that had been raised during the post-election scramble in Florida. Under any standard that tabulated all disputed votes statewide, Mr. Gore erased Mr. Bush's advantage and emerged with a tiny lead that ranged from 42 to 171 votes. Donald Lambro, “Recount Provides No Firm Answers,” Washington Times, November 12, 2001.
“The review found that the result would have been different if every canvassing board in every county had examined every undervote, a situation that no election or court authority had ordered. Gore had called for such a statewide manual recount if Bush would agree, but Bush rejected the idea and there was no mechanism in place to conduct one.” Martin Merzer, “Review of Ballots Finds Bush's Win Would Have Endured Manual Recount,” Miami Herald, April 4, 2001.
See also, the following article by one of the Washington Post journalists who ran the consortium recount. The relevant point is made in Table I of the article. http://www.aei.org/docLib/20040526_KeatingPaper.pdf
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: Congressional Black Caucus members tried to object to the election outcome on the floor of the House; no Senator would sign the objections.
“While Vice President Al Gore appeared to have accepted his fate contained in two wooden ballot boxes, Democratic members of the Congressional Black Caucus tried repeatedly to challenge the assignment of Florida's 25 electoral votes to Bush…. More than a dozen Democrats followed suit, seeking to force a debate on the validity of Florida's vote on the grounds that all votes may not have been counted and that some voters were wrongly denied the right to vote.” Susan Milligan, “It’s Really Over: Gore Bows Out Gracefully,” Boston Globe, January 7, 2001.
The Congressional Black Caucus effort failed for “lack of the necessary signature by any senator.” Sen. Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) had previously advised Democratic senators not to cooperate. ‘They did not.’” Robert Novak, “Sweeney Link Won't Help Chao,” Chicago Sun-Times, January 14, 2001.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “On the day George W. Bush was inaugurated, tens of thousands of Americans poured into the streets of D.C. They pelted Bush’s limo with eggs.”
“Shouting slogans like ‘Hail to the Thief’ and ‘Selected, Not Elected,’ tens of thousands of protesters descended on George W. Bush's inaugural parade route yesterday to proclaim that he and Vice President Dick Cheney had ‘stolen’ the election.” Michael Kranish and Sue Kirchhoff, “Thousands Protest ‘Stolen’ Election,” Boston Globe, January 21, 2001.
“Scuffles erupted between radicals and riot police while an egg struck the bullet-proof presidential limousine as it carried Mr. Bush and wife Laura to the White House.” Damon Johnston, “Bush Pledges Justice as Critics Throw Eggs,” The Advertisers, January 22, 2001.
See also film footage.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “The inauguration parade was brought to a halt and the traditional walk to the White House was scrapped.”
Bush made one concession to the weather -- or to security concerns: He stayed in his limousine nearly the entire length of the mile-long inaugural parade, waving through a slightly foggy window. He got out to walk only for a brief distance when his motorcade reached the VIP grandstands in front of the Treasury Department and the White House. Doyle McManus, et al., “Bush Vows to Bring Nation Together,” Los Angeles Times, January, 21, 2001.
Bush's limo, which traveled most of the route at a slow walking pace, stopped dead just before it reached the corner of 14th St. and Pennsylvania Ave., where most of the protesters had congregated. Then it sped up dramatically, and Secret Service agents protecting the car on foot had to follow at a full run. When they reached a section of the parade route where the sidewalks were restricted to official ticketholders, Bush and his wife, Laura, who wore a flattering electric turquoise suit, got out of the limo to walk and greet supporters. Helen Kennedy, “Bush Pledges a United US,” New York Daily News, January 21, 2001.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “For the next eight months, it didn’t get any better for George W. Bush.”
In a poll conducted September 5 to September 9, 2001, Investor’s Business Daily and the Christian Science Monitor showed President Bush’s approval rating at 45%, down from 52% in May ( Investor’s Business Daily/Christian Science Monitor Poll, conducted by TIPP, 9/5 to 9/9, 2001). Zogby’s polling had Bush at 47% in late July 2001, down from 57% in February (Zogby, 7/26 to 7/29, 2001).
In June 2001, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed President Bush's approval rating at 50 percent, which was the lowest presidential approval rating in five years. Richard L. Berke, “G.O.P. Defends Bush in Face of Dip in Poll Ratings,” The New York Times, June 29 2001
On July 26, 2001, in an article entitled “Bush Lacks the Ability To Force Action on Hill,” Dana Milbank of the Washington Post wrote, “ It may be premature to conclude that Bush has lost control of his agenda, but lawmakers and strategists in both parties said that Bush's next year is much more likely to look like the fractious month of July than like the orderly march toward Bush's tax cut this spring.… The troubles began, of course, with Vermont Sen. James M. Jeffords' departure from the GOP, giving control of the Senate to the Democrats. But the problems are nearly as bad in the House, where moderates who supported Bush's tax cut are proving recalcitrant on other issues. They rebelled against GOP leaders on campaign finance reform and held up Bush's "faith-based" legislation over concerns about discrimination. Next week, they're likely to oppose Bush's proposal to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.”
California energy crisis also took a toll on Bush’s approval ratings. Due to rolling blackouts and rising utility bills Bush’s ratings took a toll among Californians. The poll showed that almost as many Californians disapproved of the President’s job as approved of it with an approve/disapprove of 42/40. “Calif. Governor Says He'll Sue to Force Government Action,” The Houston Chronicle, May 30, 2001.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “In his first eight months in office before September 11, George W. Bush was on vacation, according to the Washington Post, forty-two percent of the time.”
“News coverage has pointedly stressed that W.'s month-long stay at his ranch in Crawford is the longest presidential vacation in 32 years. Washington Post supercomputers calculated that if you add up all his weekends at Camp David, layovers at Kennebunkport and assorted to-ing and fro-ing, W. will have spent 42 percent of his presidency ‘at vacation spots or en route.’” Charles Krauthammer, “A Vacation Bush Deserves,” The Washington Post, August 10, 2001.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: Bush relaxes at Camp David, Kennebunkport and his ranch in Crawford Texas.
As of April 2004, President Bush had made 33 trips to Crawford during his presidency, bringing his total to more than 230 days at the ranch in just over three years. “Add his 78 trips to Camp David and five to his family’s compound at Kennebunkport, Maine, and Bush has spent all or part of 500 days – or about 40 percent of his presidency – at one of these his three retreats.” “Bush Retreats to a Favorite Getaway: Crawford ranch,” Houston Chronicle, April 11, 2004.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: On Sept. 10, 2001 , Bush joined his brother in Florida where he slept the night in “a bed made of fine French linens.”
Bush has not been bashful about visiting Florida, ground zero in the vote-recount battle that followed last year's election. On this trip, he was spending a good deal of time with his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush. " President to Push Congress on Education in Fourth Florida Visit,” Associated Press, September 10, 2001; See also, CNN Inside Politics, September 10, 2001.
Two individuals prepared the president’s room “and made the bed with some of the family's fine French linens.” Tom Bayles, “The Day Before Everything Changed, President Bush Touched Locals' Lives,” Sarasota Herald-Tribune, September 10, 2002.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “As the attack took place, Mr. Bush was on his way to an elementary school in Florida . When informed of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center, where terrorists had struck just eight years prior, Bush just decided to go ahead with his photo opportunity.”
NOTE: It should be emphasized that at the time Bush was notified of the first plane attack, he (unlike the rest of America) was already aware that Osama bin Laden was planning to attack America by hijacking airplanes, per the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief (PDB). He was also aware, of course, that the World Trade Center had been historically a target for terrorist attacks. He nonetheless went ahead with this photo opportunity in a school full of children.
“Mr. Bush arrived at the school, just before 9 am, expecting to be met by its motherly principal, Gwen Rigell. Instead he was pulled sharply aside by the familiar, bulky figure of 51-year-old Karl Rove, a veteran political fixer and trusted aide of both Mr. Bush and his father, George Sr. Mr. Rove, a fellow Texan with an expansive manner and a colorful turn of phrase, told the President that a large commercial airliner (American Flight 11) had crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Centre . Mr. Bush clenched his teeth, lowered his bottom lip and said something inaudible. Then he went into the school.” William Langley, “Revealed: What Really Went on During Bush’s ‘Missing Hours,’” The Telegraph, December 16, 2001.
“The airborne attack on the World Trade Center was at least the second terrorist attempt to topple the landmarks. In 1993, terrorists sought to bomb one building so that it would explode and fall into the other. The plot did not succeed, but six people were killed and more than 1,000 injured.” Cragg Hines, “Terrorists Strike from Air; Jetliners Slam into Pentagon, Trade Center” The Houston Chronicle, September 11, 2001.
August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief (PDB), “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike Inside US”: “Al-Qa'ida members -- including some who are US citizens -- have resided in or traveled to the US for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks… FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.” August 6, 2001, Bin Ladin Determined to Strike Inside US, http://www.cnn.com/2004/images/04/10/whitehouse.pdf
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “When the second plane hit the tower, his chief of staff entered the classroom and told Mr. Bush the nation is under attack.”
“At 9:05 a.m., the White House chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., stepped into the classroom and whispered into the president's right ear, ‘A second plane hit the other tower, and America's under attack.’” David E. Sanger and Don Van Natta Jr., “After The Attacks: The Events; In Four Days, A National Crisis Changes Bush's Presidency,” The New York Times, September 16, 2001.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “Mr. Bush just sat there and continued to read My Pet Goat.”
“It was while attending a second-grade reading class at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Fla., to promote his education reforms that President Bush learned America was under attack. In the presence of her VIP guest, teacher Sandra Kay Daniels, 45, conducted the day's lesson, which centered on a story about a pet goat.” “9/11: A Year After,” Los Angeles Times, September 11, 2002.
President Bush listened to 18 Booker Elementary School second-graders read a story about a girl's pet goat Tuesday before he spoke briefly and somberly about the terrorist attacks. “Bush hears of attack while visiting Booker,” Sarasota Herald-Tribune, September 12, 2001.
See also film footage.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “Nearly seven minutes passed with nobody doing anything.”
“[H]e lingered in the room for another six minutes [after being informed of the second plane]… [At] 9:12, he abruptly retreated, speaking to Mr. Cheney and New York officials.” David E. Sanger and Don Van Natta Jr., “After The Attacks: The Events;In Four Days, A National Crisis Changes Bush's Presidency,” The New York Times, September 16, 2001 .
“Mr. Bush remained in the elementary school for nearly a half an hour after Andy Card whispered in his ear.” Michael Kranish, “Bush: US To Hunt Down Attackers,” Boston Globe, September 11, 2001
Factual Back-Up for Fahrenheit 9/11: Section Two
THE FOLLOWING IS THE LINE BY LINE FACTUAL BACKUP FOR 'FAHRENHEIT 9/11'
Section Two covers the facts in Fahrenheit 9/11 from Bush's failure to meet with Richard Clarke, to the August 6th memo, and ends with the Saudi flights out of the US after 9/11.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “Should he have held at least one meeting since taking office to discuss the threat of terrorism with his head of counterterrorism?”
“[T]hey didn't allow me to brief him on terrorism. You know, they're saying now that when I was afforded the opportunity to talk to him about cybersecurity, it was my choice. I could have talked about terrorism or cybersecurity. That's not true. I asked in January to brief him, the president, on terrorism, to give him the same briefing I had given Vice President Cheney, Colin Powell and Condi Rice. And I was told, ‘You can't do that briefing, Dick, until after the policy development process.’” Richard Clarke interview with Tim Russert on NBC’s Meet the Press, March 28, 2004.
"Clarke asked on several occasions for early Principals Committee meetings on these issues [outlined in his January 25, 2001 memo] and was frustrated that no early meeting was scheduled. He wanted principals to accept that al Qaeda was a ‘first order threat’ and not a routine problem being exaggerated by ‘chicken little’ alarmists. No Principals Committee meetings on al Qaeda were held until September 4, 2001.” National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Threats and Responses in 2001, Staff Statement No. 8, “National Policy Coordination,” pp 9-10; http://www.9-11commission.gov/hearings/
See Testimony of Richard A. Clarke before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, March 24, 2004:
MR. ROEMER: Okay. Let's move into, with my 15 minutes, let's move into the Bush administration. On January the 25th, we've seen a memo that you had written to Dr. Rice, urgently asking for a principals review of al Qaeda. You include helping the Northern Alliance, covert aid, significant new '02 budget authority to help fight al Qaeda --
MR. CLARKE: Uh-huh.
MR. ROEMER: -- and response to the U.S.S. Cole. You attached to this document both the Delenda Plan of 1998 and a strategy paper from December 2000. Did you get a response to this urgent request for a principals meeting on these, and how does this affect your time frame for dealing with these important issues?
MR. CLARKE: I did geta response. The response was that in the Bush administration I should, and my committee, the counterterrorism security group, should report to the deputies committee, which is a sub-cabinet level committee, and not to the principals, and that therefore it was inappropriate for me to be asking for a principals meeting. Instead, there would be a deputies meeting.
MR. ROEMER: So, does this slow the process down to go to the deputies rather than to the principals or a small group, as you had previously done?
MR. CLARKE: It slowed it down enormously, by months. First of all, the deputies committee didn't meet urgently in January or February. Then, when the deputies committee did meet, it took the issue of al Qaeda as part of a cluster of policy issues, including nuclear proliferation in South Asia, democratization in Pakistan, how to treat the problems, the various problems, including narcotics and other problems in Afghanistan, and, launched on a series of deputies meetings extending over several months to address al Qaeda in the context of all of those interrelated issues. That process probably ended, I think, in July of 2001, so we were readying for a principals meeting in July, but the principals' calendar was full, and then they went on vacation, many of them, in August, so we couldn't meet in August, and therefore the principals met in September.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “Maybe Mr. Bush was wondering why he had cut terrorism funding from the FBI.”
“This question of resources will also come up in the commission's questioning of Attorney General John Ashcroft, who was brand-new on the job in the fall of 2001 and on September 10th cut the FBI's request for new counterterrorism money by 12 percent.” John Dimsdale, “Former FBI Director Louis Freeh and Attorney General John Ashcroft to appear before 9/11 commission tomorrow,” NPR Radio: Marketplace, April 12, 2004. See also, 2001 budget documents including Attorney General John Ashcroft FY 2003 budget request to Office of Management and Budget, September 10, 2001, showing $65 million offset in the FBI budget for counter-terrorism equipment grants: http://www.americanprogress.org/atf/
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: The security briefing that was given to him on August 6, 2001, said that Osama bin Laden was planning to attack America by hijacking airplanes.
August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief (PDB): “Al-Qa'ida members -- including some who are US citizens -- have resided in or traveled to the US for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks. Two al-Qa'ida members found guilty in the conspiracy to bomb our Embassies in East Africa were US citizens, and a senior EIJ member lived in California in the mid-1990s. A clandestine source said in 1998 that a Bin Ladin cell in New York was recruiting Muslim-American youth for attacks. We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a ... (redacted portion) ... service in 1998 saying that Bin Ladin wanted to hijack a US aircraft to gain the release of ‘Blind Shaykh’ 'Umar 'Abd al-Rahman and other US-held extremists. Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.” August 6, 2001, Bin Ladin Determined to Strike Inside US, http://www.cnn.com/2004/images/
“The Aug. 6, 2001, document, known as the President's Daily Brief, has been the focus of intense scrutiny because it reported that bin Laden advocated airplane hijackings, that al-Qaida supporters were in the United States and that the group was planning attacks here.” Clarke J. Scott, “Clarke Gave Warning on Sept. 4, 2001; Testimony Includes Apology to Families of Sept. 11 Victims, Associated Press, March 25, 2004.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: On August 6 th, 2001, George W. Bush went fishing.
“President Bush swung into vacation mode Monday, fishing for bass in his pond, strolling the canyons on his 1,600-acre ranch, taking an early-morning run. Associated Press, “President Bush Vacationing in Texas,” August 6, 2001.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “Was it the guy my daddy’s friends delivered a lot of weapons to?”
In 1995, a member of Reagan's National Security Council and co-author of his National Security Directives, Howard Teicher, signed a sworn affidavit stating: “From early 1982 to 1987, I served as a Staff Member to the United States National Security Council.… In June, 1982, President Reagan decided that the United States could not afford to allow Iraq to lose the war to Iran. President Reagan decided that the United States would do whatever was necessary and legal to prevent Iraq from losing the war with Iran. Pursuant to the secret NSDD, the United States actively supported the Iraqi war effort by supplying the Iraqis with billions of dollars of credits, by providing U.S. military intelligence and advice to the Iraqis, and by closely monitoring third country arms sales to Iraq to make sure that Iraq had the military weaponry required. This message was delivered by Vice President Bush who communicated it to Egyptian President Mubarak, who in turn passed the message to Saddam Hussein. Under CIA Director Casey and Deputy Director Gates, the CIA made sure that non-U.S. manufacturers manufactured and sold to Iraq the weapons needed by Iraq. In certain instances where a key component in a weapon was not readily available, the highest levels of the United States government decided to make the component available, directly or indirectly, to Iraq. I specifically recall that the provision of anti-armor penetrators to Iraq was a case in point. The United States made a policy decision to supply penetrators to Iraq." Affidavit of former Howard Teicher, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. CARLOS CARDOEN et al, January 31, 1995. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/
“Questions have been raised about whether the United States not only ignored foreign arms shipments to Iraq, but actually encouraged or even arranged them. A former National Security Council official, Howard Teicher, said in a 1995 court affidavit that the CIA made sure Iraq received weapons from non-U.S. manufacturers.” Ken Guggenheim, “War Crimes Trial for Saddam Could Reveal Details of Past U.S. Help,” Associated Press, January 24, 2004.
“There is ample documentation demonstrating that the Reagan and Bush administrations supplied critical military technologies that were put directly to use in the construction of the Iraqi war machine. There is also strong evidence indicating that the executive branch's failure to crack down on illegal weapons traffickers or keep track of third party transfers of U.S. weaponry allowed a substantial flow of U.S.-origin military equipment and military components to make their way to Iraq.” William D. Hartung, Weapons at War; A World Policy Institute Issue Brief, May 1995. See also, Alan Friedman, Spider's Web: The Secret History of How the White House Illegally Armed Iraq, (Bantam Books, 1993); Kenneth R. Timmerman, The Death Lobby: How the West Armed Iraq, (Houghton, Mifflin, 1991).
“Rep. Dante Fascell, D-Fla., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said … that the United States could not ‘make a claim for purity’ on arms sales, since the U.S. government has sold weapons to Iran, Iraq ‘and everybody else in the world.’” Robert Shepard, “Congress Approves Aid for Former Soviet Republics,” United Press International, October 3, 1992.
“A covert American program during the Reagan administration provided Iraq with critical battle planning assistance at a time when American intelligence agencies knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons in waging the decisive battles of the Iran-Iraq war, according to senior military officers with direct knowledge of the program. Those officers, most of whom agreed to speak on the condition that they not be identified, spoke in response to a reporter's questions about the nature of gas warfare on both sides of the conflict between Iran and Iraq from 1981 to 1988. Iraq's use of gas in that conflict is repeatedly cited by President Bush and, this week, by his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, as justification for "regime change" in Iraq. The covert program was carried out at a time when President Reagan's top aides, including Secretary of State George P. Shultz, Defense Secretary Frank C. Carlucci and Gen. Colin L. Powell, then the national security adviser, were publicly condemning Iraq for its use of poison gas, especially after Iraq attacked Kurds in Halabja in March 1988.” Patrick E. Tyler, “Officers Say U.S. Aided Iraq in War Despite Use of Gas,” The New York Times, August 18, 2002.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “Was it that group of religious fundamentalists who visited my state when I was governor?”
“A senior delegation from the Taleban movement in Afghanistan is in the United States for talks with an international energy company that wants to construct a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan to Pakistan. A spokesman for the company, Unocal, said the Taleban were expected to spend several days at the company's headquarters in Sugarland, Texas.” “Taleban in Texas for talks on Gas Pipeline,” BBC News, December 4, 1997 (Sugarland is 22 miles outside Houston.)
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “Or was it the Saudis? Damn, it was them.”
“The 27 classified pages of a congressional report about Sept. 11 depict a Saudi government that not only provided significant money and aid to the suicide hijackers but also allowed potentially hundreds of millions of dollars to flow to Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups through suspect charities and other fronts, according to sources familiar with the document. One U.S. official who has read the classified section said it describes ‘very direct, very specific links’ between Saudi officials, two of the San Diego-based hijackers and other potential co-conspirators ‘that cannot be passed off as rogue, isolated or coincidental.’” Of all the hijackers, 15 of the 19 were Saudi. Josh Meyer, “Report Links Saudi Government to 9/11 Hijackers, Sources Say,” Los Angeles Times, August 2, 2003.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “In the days following September 11th , all commercial and private airline traffic was grounded.”
“On the morning of September 11th, there were 4,873 instrument flight rule (IFR) flights operating in U.S. airspace. As soon as Secretary Mineta was aware of the nature and scale of the terrorist attack on New York and Washington -- that we were faced with, not one, but four possible hijackings, and several other rumors of missing or unidentified aircraft -- the Secretary ordered the air traffic system shut down for all civil operations. Jane F. Garvey on Aviation Security Following the Terrorist Attack on September 11th, September 21, 2001; http://www.faa.gov/newsroom/testimony/
2001/testimony_010921.htm; see also, “Airports to Remain Closed, Mineta Says,” Department of Transportation Press Release, September 12, 2001
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “The White House approved planes to pick up the bin Ladens and numerous other Saudis.”
Fearing reprisals against Saudi nationals, the Saudi government asked for help in getting some of its citizens out of the country. National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Threats and Responses in 2001, Staff Statement No. 10, The Saudi Flights, p. 12; http://www.9-11commission.gov/hearings/
“Now, what I recall is that I asked for flight manifests of everyone on board and all of those names need to be directly and individually vetted by the FBI before they were allowed to leave the country. And I also wanted the FBI to sign off even on the concept of Saudis being allowed to leave the country. And as I recall, all of that was done. It is true that members of the Bin Laden family were among those who left. We knew that at the time. I can't say much more in open session, but it was a conscious decision with complete review at the highest levels of the State Department and the FBI and the White House.” Testimony of Richard Clarke, Former Counterterrorism Chief, National Security Council, before The Senate Judiciary Committee, September 3, 2003.
“I was making or coordinating a lot of decisions on 9/11 and the days immediately after. And I would love to be able to tell you who did it, who brought this proposal to me, but I don't know. Since you pressed me, the two possibilities that are most likely are either the Department of State, or the White House Chief of Staff's Office. But I don't know.” Testimony of Richard A. Clarke before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, March 24, 2004.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “At least six private jets and nearly two dozen commercial planes carried the Saudis and the bin Ladens out of the U.S. after September 13th. In all, 142 Saudis, including 24 members of the bin Laden family, were allowed to leave the country.”
NOTE: It should be noted that even though the film does not make the allegation, strong evidence has recently come to light that at least one private plane flew to pick up Saudi nationals while private flights were still grounded. Moreover, for nearly three years, the White House has denied that this flight existed. This was reported in the June 9, 2004 St. Petersburg Times article cited below.
After the airspace reopened, six chartered flights with 142 people,mostly Saudi Arabian nationals, departed from the United States between September 14 and 24. One flight, the so-called Bin Ladin flight, departed the United States on September 20 with 26 passengers, most of them relatives of Usama Bin Ladin. National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Threats and Responses in 2001, Staff Statement No. 10, The Saudi Flights, p. 12; http://www.9-11commission.gov/hearings/
It should be noted that the US Customs and Border Protection document released by the Department of Homeland Security under the FOIA, Feb 24, 2004 lists 162 Saudi Nationals who flew out of the country between 9/11/2001 and 9/15/2001, departing from New York’s Kennedy airport, Washington’s Dulles, and Dallas Fort Worth. http://www.judicialwatch.org/archive/
For an official list of Saudi Passport holders (names redacted) who flew out of the country between 9.11.2001 – 9.15.2001, see US Customs and Border Protection document released by the Department of Homeland Security under the FOIA, Feb 24, 2004; http://www.judicialwatch.org/archive/
TheSt. Petersburg Times reported on Jun 9, 2004:
o "Two days after the Sept. 11 attacks, with most of the nation's air traffic still grounded, a small jet landed at Tampa International Airport, picked up three young Saudi men and left. The men, one of them thought to be a member of the Saudi royal family, were accompanied by a former FBI agent and a former Tampa police officer on the flight to Lexington, Ky. The Saudis then took another flight out of the country.”
o Moreover: “For nearly three years, White House, aviation and law enforcement officials have insisted the flight never took place and have denied published reports and widespread Internet speculation about its purpose… The terrorism panel, better known as the 9/11 Commission, said in April that it knew of six chartered flights with 142 people aboard, mostly Saudis, that left the United States between Sept. 14 and 24, 2001. But it has said nothing about the Tampa flight… The 9/11 Commission, which has said the flights out of the United States were handled appropriately by the FBI, appears concerned with the handling of the Tampa flight.
o "Most of the aircraft allowed to fly in U.S. airspace on Sept. 13 were empty airliners being ferried from the airports where they made quick landings on Sept. 11. The reopening of the airspace included paid charter flights, but not private, nonrevenue flights.” Jean Heller, “TIA now verifies flight of Saudis; The government has long denied that two days after the 9/11 attacks, the three were allowed to fly.” St. Petersburg Times, June 9, 2004
Factual Back-Up for Fahrenheit 9/11: Section Three
THE FOLLOWING IS THE LINE BY LINE FACTUAL BACKUP FOR 'FAHRENHEIT 9/11'
Section Three covers the facts in Fahrenheit 9/11 from Osama's relations with his family through Bush's military records and ends with Bush's business history, including Arbusto, Harken and the Carlyle Group.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: In 2001, one of Osama’s sons got married in Afghanistan; several family members attended the wedding.
“Bin Laden as well as his mother, two brothers and a sister, who flew from Saudi Arabia, attended the wedding of one of his sons, Mohammad, in the Afghan city of Kandahar on Monday, the Arabic daily Al-Hayat said.… Another of bin Laden's sons married one of al-Masri's daughters in January. Al-Hayat said several members of the bin Laden family, who run a major construction company in Saudi Arabia, also traveled from the kingdom to attend the wedding. Agence France Presse, “Bin Laden Full of Praise for Attack on USS Cole at Son's Wedding”, Thursday, March 1, 2001.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “We held hundreds of people” immediately after 9/11.
“More than 1,200 foreigners have been detained as part of the government's investigation into the terror attacks, some spending months in prison. Some civil liberties advocates have complained, but government officials insist they are simply enforcing long-standing immigration laws.” “A Nation Challenged,” New York Times, November 25, 2001.
“The Department of Homeland Security announced new rules yesterday designed to prevent a recurrence of the lengthy detention of hundreds of foreign nationals, many of whom were prevented from making telephone calls or contacting lawyers for months after they were jailed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The guidelines, made public yesterday by Asa Hutchinson, the department's undersecretary for border and transportation security, were welcomed by civil rights groups that had bitterly denounced the detention of 762 immigration violators after the attacks, based on sometimes ill-founded FBI suspicions that they had links to terrorism. The new rules are a response to a highly critical 198-page report last June by Glenn A. Fine, the Justice Department's inspector general. It concluded that in the chaotic aftermath of the terrorist strikes on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, hundreds of Arab and South Asian men who had committed sometimes minor immigration violations languished in jail without timely review by U.S. officials. Guards mistreated some of them. The average detention lasted three months, and the longest was 10 months before the immigrants were cleared of terrorism ties and released from jail.” John Mintz, “New Rules Shorten Holding Time for Detained Immigrants,” Washington Post, April 14, 2004.
“In the days, weeks and months following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, hundreds of American immigrants were rounded up and detained, often under harsh or abusive conditions, in the name of keeping America safe. Not because of evidence (or even sound hunches) that they were involved in the terrorist attacks that brutally ended the lives of more than 3,100 people. Not because they were found to have ties to – or even knowledge of – terrorist groups who might threaten American security in the future. Instead, hundreds of immigrants were arbitrarily snared in this dragnet, marked for arrest and thrown (literally, at times) in jail. The exact number is unknown, because the government refuses to release that information. They had one thing in common: Almost all were Arab or South Asian men, and almost all were Muslim... Once arrested, many immigrants were labeled "of interest" to the September 11 investigation and thrown into legal limbo – detained for weeks or months in connection with a criminal investigation, but denied the due process rights that they would have been entitled to had they actually been charged with crimes.” ACLU, "America’s Disappeared: Seeking International Justice for Immigrants Detained after September 11," January 2004.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: The FBI conducted “a little interview, check[ed] the passport.”
Last year, the National Review reported that the FBI conducted brief, day-of-departure interviews with the Saudis -- in the words of an FBI spokesman, "at the airport, as they were about to leave." Experts interviewed by the National Review called the FBI's actions "highly unusual" given the fact that those departing were actually members of Osama bin Laden's family. "They [the FBI] could not have done a thorough and complete interview," said John L.Martin, the former head of internal security at the Justice Department. "The Great Escape : How did assorted bin Ladens get out of America after September 11?" National Review, September 29, 2003.
“Thirty of the 142 people on these flights were interviewed by the FBI, including 22 of the 26 people (23 passengers and 3 private security guards) on the Bin Ladin flight. Many were asked detailed questions. None of the passengers stated that they had any recent contact with Usama Bin Ladin or knew anything about terrorist activity." National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Threats and Responses in 2001, Staff Statement No. 10, The Saudi Flights, p. 12; http://www.9-11commission.gov/hearin...atement_10.pdf
“I talked to several people who were with the FBI during the actual repatriation. And they told me there was a lot of back-and-forth between the FBI and the Saudi Embassy. And the Saudi Embassy tried to get people to leave without even identifying them. The FBI succeeded in identifying people and going through their passports. But, in many cases, you had the FBI meeting people for the first time on the tarmac or on the planes themselves as they were departing. That was not time for a serious interview or a serious interrogation.” Interview with Craig Unger, CNN, September 4, 2003.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: White House released records in response to Moore’s charge of deserter.
Left-leaning filmmaker Michael Moore got the discussion started in January, when he endorsed Clark for president and called the president a ‘deserter.’ The White House responded by releasing the president's service records, including an honorable discharge. James Rainey, “Who's the Man? They Are; George Bush and John Kerry Stand Shoulder to Shoulder in One Respect: Macho is Good. Very Good. It's Been That Way Since Jefferson's Day,” Los Angeles Times, March 18, 2004.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: There is one glaring difference between the records released in 2000 and those he released in 2004. A name had been blacked out. In 1972, two airmen were suspended for failing to take their medical examination. One was George W. Bush and the other wasJames R. Bath.
See National Guard Bureau, Aeronautical Orders Number 87, September 29, 1972, Attachment B, paragraph 7 (original document):
The Document as Released in 2000: Page 1 | Page 2
The Document as Released in 2004: Page 1 | Page 2
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: James R. Bath was the Texas money manager for the Bin Laden family.
See Notarized Trust Agreement, Harris County, Texas, signed by Salem M. Binladen, July 8, 1976 (original document), Attachment C (“I, Salem M. Binladen, do hereby vest unto James Reynolds Bath, 2330 Bellefontaine, Houston, Texas, full and absolute authority to act on my behalf in all matters relating to the business and operation of Binladen-Houston offices in Houston, Texas.” Notarized Trust Agreement, Harris County, Texas, July 8, 1976.
“According to a 1976 trust agreement, drawn shortly after [George H. W.] Bush was appointed director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Saudi Sheik Salem M. Binladen appointed Bath as his business representative in Houston. Binladen, along with his brothers, owns Binladen Brothers Construction, one of the largest construction companies in the Middle East.” Jerry Urban, “Feds Investigate Entrepreneur Allegedly Tied to Saudis,” Houston Chronicle, June 4, 1992.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: George W. Bush and James R. Bath had become good friends.
“Bath, 55, acknowledges a friendship with George W. Bush that stems from their service together in the Texas Air National Guard.” Jonathan Beaty, “A Mysterious Mover of Money and Planes,” Time Magazine, October 28, 1991.
“In a copy of the record released by the National Guard in 2000, the man in question, James R. Bath, was listed as being suspended from flying for the National Guard in 1972 for failing to take a medical exam next to a similar listing for Mr. Bush. It has been widely reported that the two were friends and that Mr. Bath invested in Mr. Bush's first major business venture, Arbusto Energy, in the late 1970's after Mr. Bath began working for Salem bin Laden.” Jim Rutenberg, “A Film to Polarize Along Party Lines,” New York Times, May 17, 2004.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “After they were discharged, when Bush’s dad was head of the CIA, Bath opened up his own aviation business, after selling a plane to a man by the name of Salem bin Laden, heir to the second largest fortune in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi bin Laden Group.”
“Bath opened his own aircraft brokerage firm in 1976.” Jonathan Beaty, “A Mysterious Mover of Money and Planes,” Time Magazine, October 28, 1991. (Bush was CIA director, 1976-1977.)
“Sometime around 1974… Bath was trying to sell a F-27 turboprop, a sluggish medium-range plane that was not exactly a hot ticket in those days, when he received a phone call that changed his life. The voice no the other end belonged to Salem bin Laden… Bath not only had a buyer for a plane no one else seemed to want, he had also stumbled upon a source of wealth and power that was certain to pique the interest of even the brashest Texas oil baron.” Craig Unger, House of Bush, House of Saud, pp,19-20 (Scribner: New York, 2004).
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “George W. Bush founded an oil company, a drilling company, out in west Texas called Arbusto, which was very good at drilling dry holes.”
“After graduating from the Harvard Business School, Bush organized his first company, Arbusto Energy (Arbusto is Spanish for Bush) in 1977 on the eve of a run for Congress. According to records on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Arbusto didn’t start active operations until March 1979.… According to 1984 securities filings, Bush’s limited partners had invested $4.66 million in Bush’s various drilling programs but they had received cash distributions of only $1.54 million. However, Bush’s CFO stated, ‘We didn’t find much oil and gas,’ adding ‘We weren’t raising any money.’ George Lardner Jr. and Lois Romano, “Bush Name Helps Fuel Oil Dealings,” Washington Post, July 30, 1999.
“Bush eventually renamed his company Bush Exploration and later merged with a firm called Spectrum 7. Documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission show that the firm lost money from 1979 to 1982 and that investors who put in nearly $4.7 million got back just $1.5 million. Published reports contend that Bush Exploration was salvaged by Cincinnati oilmen Bill DeWitt and Mercer Reynolds. Bush today says otherwise, that his company was on firm financial footing and that the merger was a strategic one. Either way, George W. drilled his fair share of dry holes. As Conaway rues to this day, the company ‘never hit . . . the Big Kahuna.’” Maria La Ganga, “Bush Finesses Texas 2-Step Of Privilege, Personality,” Los Angeles Times, March 2, 2000.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “There is no indication that daddy wrote a check to start Bush off in his company.”
“Seed money, upward of $4 million, was largely raised between 1979 and 1982 with the help of [Bush’s] uncle, financier Jonathan Bush. The Arbusto investor list is filled with family and famous friends. His grandmother, Dorothy W. Bush, chipped in $25,000. Corporate luminaries like George L. Ball, chief executive of Prudential-Bache Securities, invested $100,000. Macomber and William H. Draper III, who invested more than $125,000, were later named presidents of the U.S. Export-Import Bank during the Reagan and Bush administrations.” Maria La Ganga, “Bush Finesses Texas 2-Step Of Privilege, Personality,” Los Angeles Times, March 2, 2000.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “Bush’s good friend James Bath was hired by the bin Laden family to manage their money in Texas and invest in businesses. And James Bath himself, in turn, invested in George W. Bush.”
See Notarized Trust Agreement, Harris County, Texas, signed by Salem M. Binladen, July 8, 1976 (original document), Attachment C (“I, Salem M. Binladen, do hereby vest unto James Reynolds Bath, 2330 Bellefontaine, Houston, Texas, full and absolute authority to act on my behalf in all matters relating to the business and operation of Binladen-Houston offices in Houston, Texas.” Notarized Trust Agreement, Harris County, Texas, July 8, 1976.
See 1981 Schedule 4 spreadsheet showing $50,000 investment by James Bath in George W. Bush’s Arbusto Exploration, Attachment D (original document).
Bath’s business relationship with Salem bin Laden, and other wealthy Saudi businessmen, has been well documented. See, e.g., Mike Ward, “Bin Laden Relatives Have Ties to Texas,” Austin American-Statesman, November 9, 2001; Jerry Urban, “Feds Investigate Entrepreneur Allegedly Tied to Saudis,” Houston Chronicle, June 4, 1992; Thomas Petzinger Jr., et al., “Family Ties: How Oil Firm Linked to a Son of Bush Won Bahrain Drilling Pact,” The Wall Street Journal, December 6, 1991.
“[E]arly 1980s tax records reviewed by TIME show that Bath invested $50,000 in Bush's energy ventures and remained a stockholder until Bush sold his company to Harken in 1986.” Jonathan Beaty, “A Mysterious Mover of Money and Planes,” Time Magazine, October 28, 1991.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “Bush ran Arbusto nearly into the ground, as he did every other company he was involved in until finally one of his companies was bought by Harken Energy and they gave him a seat on their board.”
“Bush's name …was to help rescue him, just as it had attracted investors and helped revive his flagging fortunes throughout his years in the dusty plains city of Midland. A big Dallas-based firm, Harken Oil and Gas, was looking to buy up troubled oil companies. After finding Spectrum, Harken's executives saw a bonus in their target's CEO, despite his spotty track record. By the end of September 1986, the deal was done. Harken assumed $ 3.1 million in debts and swapped $ 2.2 million of its stock for a company that was hemorrhaging money, though it had oil and gas reserves projected to produce $ 4 million in future net revenue. Harken, a firm that liked to attach itself to stars, had also acquired Bush, whom it used not as an operating manager but as a high-profile board member.… It was one of the biggest breaks of Bush's life. Still, the Harken deal completed a disappointing reprise of what was becoming a familiar pattern. As an oilman, Bush always worked hard, winning a reputation as a straight-shooter and a good boss who was witty, warm and immensely likable. Even the investors who lost money in his ventures remained admirers, and some of them are now raising money for his presidential campaign. But the story of Bush's career in oil, which began following his graduation from Harvard Business School in the summer of 1975 and ended when he sold out to Harken and headed for Washington, is mostly about his failure to succeed, despite the sterling connections his lineage and Ivy League education brought him." George Lardner Jr. and Lois Romano, “Bush Name Helps Fuel Oil Dealings,” Washington Post, July 30, 1999.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: Bush was investigated by the S.E.C. The James Baker law partner who helped Bush beat the rap from the SEC was a man by the name of Robert Jordon, who, when George W. became president was appointed ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
“A week before George W. Bush's 1990 sale of stock in Harken Energy Co., the firm's outside lawyers cautioned Bush and other directors against selling shares if they had significant negative information about the company's prospects. The sale came a few months before Harken reported significant losses, leading to an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The June 15, 1990, letter from the Haynes and Boone law firm wasn't sent to the SEC by Bush's attorney Robert W. Jordan until Aug. 22, 1991, according to a letter by Jordan. That was one day after SEC staff members investigating the stock sale concluded there was insufficient evidence to recommend an enforcement action against Bush for insider trading.” Peter Behr, “Bush Sold Stock After Lawyers’ Warning,” Washington Post, November 1, 2002.
“President Bush has chosen as ambassador to Saudi Arabia a Dallas attorney who represented him against … allegations arising from his sale of stock in Harken Energy Co. 11 years ago.” G. Robert Hillman, “Bush Taps Dallas Attorney to be Ambassador to Saudi Arabia,” The Dallas Morning News, July 21, 2001.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “After the Harken debacle, the friends of Bush’s dad got him a seat on another board, of a company owned by the Carlyle Group.”
"Fred Malek, a senior advisor to Carlyle, who also served as the director of the 1988 Republican Convention, suggested to Carlyle that the President’s eldest son, George W. Bush, would ‘be a positive addition to Caterair’s board.’ Mr. Malek was also a Caterair director and vice chairman of Northwest Airlines, a major Caterair customer. ‘I thought George W. Bush could make a contribution to Caterair,’ stated Malek. Malek further claimed, ‘He would be on the board even if his father weren’t President.’" Kenneth N. Gilpin, “Little-Known Carlyle Scores Big,” New York Times, March 26, 1991
Co-Founder of Carlyle Group, David Rubenstein, talking about setting up Cater Air after Carlyle acquired it: “When we’re putting together the board,” Rubenstein said, ‘somebody came to me and said ‘Look, there is a guy who would like to be on the board. He's kind of down on his luck a bit. Needs a job. Needs some board positions. Could you put him on the board? Pay him a salary and he'll be a good board member and be a loyal vote for the management and so forth.’ …We put him on the board and (he) spent three years. Came to all the meetings. … And after a while I kind of said to him, after about three years – ‘You know, I'm not sure this is really for you. Maybe you should do something else. Because I don't think you're adding much value to the board. You don't know that much about the company.’ The board member told him, Rubenstein said, ‘Well I think I'm getting out of this business anyway. I don't really like it that much. So I'm probably going to resign from the board.’ And I said, 'Thanks.' Didn't think I'd ever see him again. His name is George W. Bush,’ Rubenstein said. ‘He became president of the United States. So if you said to me, name 25 million people who would be president of the United States, he wouldn't be in that category. So you neverknow." Nicholas Horrock, “White House Watch: With Friends Like These,” UPI, July 16, 2003 .
Factual Back-Up for Fahrenheit 9/11: Section Four
THE FOLLOWING IS THE LINE BY LINE FACTUAL BACKUP FOR 'FAHRENHEIT 9/11'
Section Four covers the facts in Fahrenheit 9/11 regarding the Carlyle Group and Saudi money in the United States and its connection to the Bush family, their friends and associates.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “The Carlyle group is a multinational conglomerate that invests in heavily government-regulated industries like telecommunications, healthcare and, particularly, defense.”
“The Carlyle Group is one of the world’s largest private equity firms, with more than $18.3 billion under management. With 23 funds across five investment disciplines (management-led buyouts, real estate, leveraged finance, venture capital and turnaround), Carlyle combines global vision with local insight, relying on a top-flight team of nearly 300 investment professionals operating out of offices in 14 countries to uncover superior opportunities in North America, Europe, and Asia. Carlyle focuses on sectors in which it has demonstrated expertise: aerospace & defense, automotive & transportation, consumer, energy & power, healthcare, industrial, real estate, technology & business services, and telecommunications & media.” Carlyle Group web site, http://www.thecarlylegroup.com/eng/company/index.html
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: The Bin Laden and Bush families were both connected to the Carlyle Group, as were many of the Bush family’s friends and associates.
In the early 1990s, George W. Bush served on the board of directors for CaterAir, an airline catering company. CaterAir was owned by the Carlyle Group. Kenneth N. Gilpin, “Little-Known Carlyle Scores Big,” The New York Times, March 26, 1991. “George W. Bush left the company in 1994, a year after his father’s presidency ended.” Ross Ramsey, et al., “Campaign ’94 Fisher’s Staff Slips Up On Spanish,” The Houston Chronicle, September 17, 1994.
In the mid-1990s, George H.W. Bush joined up with the Carlyle Group. “Under the leadership of ex-officials like Baker and former Defense Secretary Frank C. Carlucci, Carlyle developed a specialty in buying defense companies and doubling or quadrupling their value. The ex-president not only became an investor in Carlyle, but a member of the company's Asia Advisory Board and a rainmaker who drummed up investors. Twelve rich Saudi families, including the Bin Ladens, were among them. In 2002, the Washington Post reported, ‘Saudis close to Prince Sultan, the Saudi defense minister ... were encouraged to put money into Carlyle as a favor to the elder Bush.’ Bush retired from the company last October, and Baker, who lobbied U.S. allies last month to forgive Iraq's debt, remains a Carlyle senior counselor. Kevin Phillips, “The Barreling Bushes; Four Generations of the Dynasty Have Chased Profits Through Cozy Ties with Mideast Leaders, Spinning Webs of Conflicts of Interest,” Los Angeles Times, January 11, 2004.
The bin Laden family first invested in Carlyle in 1994. Representing Carlyle’s Asia Board, George H.W. Bush visited the bin laden family's headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Kurt Eichenwald, “Bin Laden Family Liquidates Holdings With Carlyle Group,” The New York Times, October 26, 2001.
James Baker was a Carlyle Senior Counselor beginning in 1993. Carlyle Group web site, http://www.thecarlylegroup.com/eng/team/
Bush's OMB chief, Richard Darman, was with Carlyle by 1994. Bob Cook, Mergers & Acquisitions Report, December 12, 1994.
George W. Bush was with Caterair -- owned by Carlyle -- until 1994, after Fred Malek, a senior advisor to Carlyle, who also served as the director of the 1988 Republican Convention, suggested to Carlyle that the President’s eldest son would “be a positive addition to Caterair’s board.” Kenneth N. Gilpin, “Little-Known Carlyle Scores Big,” New York Times, March 26, 1991.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “Carlyle Group was holding its annual investor conference on the morning of September 11th in the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Washington, D.C. At that meeting were all of the Carlyle regulars, James Baker, likely John Major, definitely George H. W. Bush, though he left the morning of September 11th. Shafiq bin Ladin, who is Osama bin Laden’s half-brother, and was in town to look after his family’s investments in the Carlyle Group. All of them, together in one room, watching as the uh the planes hit the towers.”
On the morning of September 11, 2001, “in the plush setting of the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Washington, DC, the Carlyle Group was holding its annual international investor conference. Frank Carlucci, James Baker III, David Rubenstein, William Conway, and Dan D’Aniellow were together, along with a host of former world leaders, former defense experts, wealthy Arabs from the Middle East, and major international investors as they terror played out on television. There with them, looking after the investments of his family was Shafiq bin Laden, Osama bin Laden’s estranged half-brother. George Bush Sr. was also at the conference, but Carlyle’s spokesperson says the former president left before the terror attacks, and was on an airplane over the Midwest when flights across the country were grounded on the morning of September 11. In any circumstance, a confluence of such politically complex and globally connected people would have been curious, even newsworthy. But in the context of the terrorist attacks being waged against the United States by a group of Saudi nationals led by Osama bin Laden, the group assembled at the Ritz-Carlton that day was a disconcerting and freakish coincidence.” Dan Briody, The Iron Triangle, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003, p. 139-140. See also, Melanie Warner, “What do George Bush, Arthur Levitt, Jim Baker, Dick Darman, and John Major Have in Common? (They All Work for the Carlyle Group),” Fortune, March 18, 2002,
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “With all the weapons companies it owned, The Carlyle Group was in essence, the 11th largest defense contractor in the United States.”
“By virtue of its holdings in companies like U.S. Marine Repair and United Defense Industries, Carlyle is the equivalent of the eleventh-largest defense contractor in the nation. It has $16.2 billion under management and claims an average annual return of 35%.” Phyllis Berman, “Lucky Twice,” Forbes, December 8, 2003.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “It owned United Defense, makers of the Bradley armored fighting vehicle. September 11th guaranteed that United Defense was going to have a very good year. Just 6 weeks after 9-11 Carlyle filed to take United Defense public and in December made a one day profit of $237 million dollars.”
“On a single day last month, Carlyle earned $237 million selling shares in United Defense Industries, the Army's fifth-largest contractor. The stock offering was well timed: Carlyle officials say they decided to take the company public only after the Sept. 11 attacks. … On Sept. 26, , the Army signed a $665-million modified contract with United Defense through April 2003 to complete the Crusader's development phase. In October, the company listed the Crusader, and the attacks themselves, as selling points for its stock offering. Mark Fineman, “Arms Buildup is a Boon to Firm Run by Big Guns,” Los Angeles Times, January 10, 2002.
"Still, in its annual report for 2001, United announced that it had been awarded a three-year, $697 million contract to complete full upgrading of 389 Bradley units and had added a $ 655 million contract modification to complete the Crusader's 'definition and risk-reduction phase contract,' which would be worth $ 1.7 billion through 2003. Together, the Crusader and Bradley programs contributed 41 percent of United sales in 2001, the report said. With Crusader and the Bradley upgrade in hand, a decision was made to sell United stock to the public in late 2001." Walter Pincus, “Crusader a Boon to Carlyle Group Even if Pentagon Scraps Project,” Washington Post, May 14, 2002.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “With so much attention focused on the bin Laden family being important Carlyle investors, the bin Ladens eventually had to withdraw.”
"Following the attacks on September 11, the bin Laden family’s investments in the Carlyle Group became an embarrassment to the Carlyle Group and the family was forced to liquidate their assets with the firm." Kurt Eichenwald, “Bin Laden Family Liquidates Holdings with Carlyle Group,” The New York Times, October 26, 2001.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “Bush’s dad stayed on as Senior Advisor to Carlyle’s Asia Board for another 2 years.”
“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.” http://www.thecarlylegroup.com/eng/news/
“The former president is no longer a company adviser, but he still has investments there, Mr. Ullman (vice president for corporate communications) said.” Dallas Morning News, "Michael Moore keeps heat on at premiere", May 18, 2004
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: George H. W. Bush receives daily CIA briefings.
"One of the people who corresponded with [former ambassador Joseph] Wilson is George H. W. Bush, the only president to have been head of the C.I.A.-- he still receives regular briefings from Langley." Vicky Ward, “Double Exposure,” Vanity Fair, January 2004.
Former President Bush has made efforts to keep abreast of foreign affairs, partly by exercising his right to be briefed by CIA personnel about developments around the globe. Ha'aretz, “George Bush Sr. Vouches for Son's Support of Israel to the Saudis”, July 16, 2001.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “They are benefiting from the confusion that arises when George H. W. Bush visits Saudi Arabia, on behalf of Carlyle, and meets with the royal family and meets with the bin Laden family. Is he representing the United States of America, or is he representing an investment firm in the United States of America or is he representing both?”
Few firms could have rivaled the Carlyle Group for its array of high-powered friends. The Washington-based venture capital house had been likened to a retirement home for Gulf War veterans, and the likes of George Bush Sr, James Baker, and John Major ‘can take credit for its rapid rise.’ The Observer noted in a profile, “It used to be fashionable to deride Carlyle as a second-rate influence-peddler and dismiss its stable of retired politicians as superannuated ‘access capitalists.’” … Carlyle had sponsored visits by Bush Sr. to South Korea and China, and his clout with the Saudi government – perhaps Carlyle’s most important customer – is also likely to be valued. Conal Walsh, “The Carlyle Controversy: With Friends in High Places: Former World Leaders Give Carlyle Group Unrivalled Prowess in Lobbying for Business,” The Observer, September 15, 2002.
“’It should be a deep cause for concern that a closely held company like Carlyle can simultaneously have directors and advisers that are doing business and making money and also advising the president of the United States,’ says Peter Eisner, managing director of the Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit-making Washington think-tank. ‘The problem comes when private business and public policy blend together. What hat is former president Bush wearing when he tells Crown Prince Abdullah not to worry about US policy in the Middle East? What hat does he use when he deals with South Korea, and causes policy changes there? Or when James Baker helps argue the presidential election in the younger Bush's favour? It's a kitchen-cabinet situation, and the informality involved is precisely a mark of Carlyle's success.’" Oliver Burkeman Julian Borger, “The Winners: The Ex-Presidents' Club,” The Guardian, October 31, 2001.
“The Saudi family of Osama bin Laden is s*****ng its financial ties with the Carlyle Group, a private investment firm known for its connections to influential Washington political figures… In recent years, Frank C. Carlucci, the chairman of Carlyle and a former secretary of defense, has visited the family's headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as have former President George Bush and James A. Baker III, the former secretary of state. Mr. Bush works as an adviser to Carlyle, and Mr. Baker is a partner in the firm.” Kurt Eichenwald, “Bin Laden Family Liquidates Holdings With Carlyle Group,” New York Times, October 26, 2001.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “Another group of people invest in you, your friends, and their related businesses $1.4 billion over a number of years.”
“In all, at least $1.46 billion had made its way from the Saudis to the House of Bush and its allied companies and institutions.” Craig Unger, House of Bush, House of Saud, p. 200, (Scribner: New York, 2004). For a complete breakdown of the investments, see Unger’s Appendix C, pp. 295-298.
This number includes investments made and contracts awarded at the time that Bush’s friends were involved in the Carlyle Group:
James Baker was a Carlyle Senior Counselor beginning in 1993. Carlyle Group web site, http://www.thecarlylegroup.com/eng/team/
Bush's OMB chief, Richard Darman, was with Carlyle by 1994. Bob Cook, Mergers & Acquisitions Report, December 12, 1994.
George W. Bush was with Caterair -- owned by Carlyle -- until 1994, after Fred Malek, a senior advisor to Carlyle, who also served as the director of the 1988 Republican Convention, suggested to Carlyle that the President’s eldest son would “be a positive addition to Caterair’s board.” Kenneth N. Gilpin, “Little-Known CarlyleScores Big,” New York Times, March 26, 1991
Bush Sr. was first involved in Carlyle by the mid-1990s and no later than 1997.Kevin Phillips, “The Barreling Bushes; Four Generations of the Dynasty Have Chased Profits Through Cozy Ties with Mideast Leaders, Spinning Webs of Conflicts of Interest,” Los Angeles Times, January 11 , 2004; Dan Briody, The Iron Triangle, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003.
Additional back up for these numbers is as follows:
Saudi investments in the Carlyle Group worth $80,000,000. Craig Unger, “Saving the Saudis,” Vanity Fair, October 2003. The number was reported to Unger by the head of Carlyle, David Rubenstein, in an interview.
In 1994, Carlyle owned military contractor BDM was “awarded a contract to provide technical assistance and logistics support to the Royal Saudi Air Force.” Worth: $46,200,000. PR Newswire, “BDM Federal Awarded $46 Million Contract To Support Royal Saudi Air Force,” October 27, 1994.
During the 1990s, the Vinnell Corporation (a BDM subsidiary) held contracts to train the Saudi Arabian National Guard, worth $819,000,000. Robert Burns, “US Advises Saudi Military On Range Of Threats—Including Terrorism,” Associated Press, November 13, 1995.
In 1995, BDM collected a contract to “augment Royal Saudi Air Force staff in developing, implementing, and maintaining logistics and engineering plans and programs.” Worth: $32,500,000. Defense Daily, “Defense Contracts,” June 23, 1995, as cited by Craig Unger.
In 1996, BDM was awarded a contract “to provide construction of 110 housing units at the MK-1 Compound, Khamis Mushayt, Saudi Arabia, for Technical Support Program personnel assisting the Royal Saudi Air Force…. This effort supports foreign military sales to Saudi Arabia.” Worth: $44,397,800. Department of Defense News Release, “BDM Federal, Incorporated,” April 1, 1996.
During the late 1990s, Vinnell was awarded a contract “for the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) Modernization Program. The three-year contract, awarded competitively, calls on Vinnell to continue to support SANG training operations and related activities.” Worth: $163,300,000 . PR Newswire, “Vinnell Selected for Award of $163.3 Million Contract for Saudi Arabian National Guard Modernization Program,” May 3, 1995. Kashim Al-An, “Saudi Guard Gets Quiet Help from US Firm with Connections,” Associated Press, March 22, 1997.
In 1997, BDM was awarded a contract “to provide for 400 contractor personnel to support the Royal Saudi Air Force in developing, implementing, and maintaining logistics, supply, computer, reconnaissance, intelligence and engineering plans and programs.” Worth: $18,728,682 (note: this is a “face value increase to a firm fixed price contract). Defense Daily, “Defense Contracts,” February 4, 1997.
Note: Carlyle purchased BDM and its subsidiary Vinnell in 1992 and sold it to TRW in Dec, 1997.
In November 2001, Dick Cheney’s former company Halliburton was awarded “a contract to provide services for the Saudi Arabian Oil Company’s (Saudi Aramco) Qatif Field development project in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia.” Worth: $140 million. Halliburton press release, “Halliburton Awarded $140 Million Contract by Saudi Aramco,” November 14, 2001.
The same month, a consortium of three companies led by Halliburton subsidiary KBR won a “contract for engineering, procurement, and construction of an ethylene plant for Jubail United Petrochemcial Company, a wholly owned company of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation.” Worth: $40 million. MaggieMulvihill, et al., “Bush Advisers Cashed in on Saudi Gravy Train,” Boston Herald, December 11, 2001 ; Halliburton press release, “Halliburton KBR, Chiyoda, and Mitsubishi Win SaudiArabian Ethylene Project,” November 19, 2001. (Note: The $40 million figure cited for this contractin all likelihood is much too low. Three separate energy industry journals place the value of the contract at $350 million. While there are two other companies involved, all reports point out that Halliburton KBR led the consortium and thus, if the contract were $350 million, it is likely that their cut would be—as lead contractor—significantly more than $40 million. See, Petroleum Economist, “News in Brief,” January 14, 2002; Chemical Week, “KBR, Chiyoda, Mitsubishi Win Jubail Ethylene Contract,” December 5, 2001; Middle East Economic Digest, “Projects Update: Petrochemicals,” March 7, 2000.
Soon after Harken bought out George W. Bush’s company Spectrum 7 in 1986 and placed Bush on their board of directors, a Saudi sheik swooped in to save the troubled Harken. Abdullah Taha Bakhsh purchased a 17% stake in the company. Worth: $25,000,000. Thomas Petzinger Jr., et al., “Family Ties: How Oil Firm Linked to a Son of Bush Won Bahrain Drilling Pact; Harken Energy Had a Web of Mideast Connections; In the Background: BCCI; Entrée at the White House,” Wall Street Journal, December 6, 1991.
In 1989 Saudi Arabias King Fahd donated money to the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. At the time, Ms. Bush was the First Lady of the United States. The King’s contribution represented almost half the amount the organization was able to raise that year. Worth: $1,000,000. Thomas Ferraro, “Saudi King also Contributed to Barbara Bush’s Foundation,” United Press International, March 13, 1990.
Following George H. W. Bush’s departure from office, Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar, donated money to the Bush Sr. Presidential Library fund. Worth: At least $1,000,000. Dave Montgomery, “Hail to a Former Chief,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, November 7, 1997.
Both George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush attended the elite Phillips Andover Academy in Massachusetts. In the summer of 2002 the Academy announced it had established a scholarship in Bush Sr.’s name. Saudi Prince Alwaleed binTalal bin Adul Aziz Alsaud -- the same Prince who bailed out EuroDisney in the mid-Nineties -- was among the donors to the scholarship. Worth $500,000. Phillips Academy-Andover press release, “A Statement from Phillips Academy-Andover Regarding the Bush Scholars Program,” December 31, 2002.
Among the many presents George W. Bush has received from foreign leaders and dignitaries during his term as President, perhaps none is grander than the one Prince Bandar bestowed upon him. Bandar gave the current president a “C.M. Russell oil canvas painting of a native American buffalo hunt….” Worth: $1,000,000. Siobhan McDonough, “Gifts to President are Gratefully Received, Quickly Carted into Storage,” Associated Press, July 14, 2003.
Factual Back-Up for Fahrenheit 9/11: Section Five
THE FOLLOWING IS THE LINE BY LINE FACTUAL BACKUP FOR 'FAHRENHEIT 9/11'
Section Five covers the facts in Fahrenheit 9/11 from Saudi Arabia's involvement in 9/11 through the natural gas pipeline in Afghanistan.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: Amnesty International condemns Saudi Arabia as a human rights violator.
“Saudi Arabia systematically violates international human rights standards even after agreeing to be bound by them. For example, in September 1997 Saudi Arabia acceded to the Convention against Torture. Yet, torture is widespread in Saudi Arabia's criminal justice system. (Saudi Arabia acceded to the Convention against Torture and the Convention against Discrimination on Sept 23, 1997).” Amnesty International, "Saudi Arabia: Open for Business," February 8, 2000. http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/engMDE230822000?
“Sharon Burke, Amnesty International USA's advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa, said her organization confirmed with the Saudi Ministry of the Interior that three men were beheaded for sodomy.” Washington Blade, January 4, 2002, http://www.sodomylaws.org/world/saudi_arabia/
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “Bush tried to stop Congress from setting up its own 9/11 investigation.… When he couldn’t stop Congress, he then tried to stop an independent 9/11 commission from being formed.”
The original effort by the White House was to limit the scope of the 9/11 investigation to only two congressional committees. “President Bush asked House and Senate leaders yesterday to allow only two congressional committees to investigate the government's response to the events of Sept. 11, officials said.” Mike Allen, “Bush Seeks To Restrict Hill Probes Of Sept. 11; Intelligence Panels' Secrecy Is Favored,” Washington Post, January 30, 2002.
“I, of course, want the Congress to take a look at what took place prior to Sept. 11. But since it deals with such sensitive information, in my judgment, it’s best for the ongoing war against terror that the investigation be done in the intelligence committees,” President Bush said. David Rosenbaum, “Bush Bucks Tradition on Investigation,” The New York Times, May 26, 2002.
“Angry lawmakers [McCain, Pelosi, Lieberman] accused White House Friday of secretly trying to derail creation of an independent commission to investigate the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks while professing to support the idea.” Helen Dewar, “Lawmakers Accuse Bush of 9/11 Deceit,” Los Angeles Times, October 13, 2002.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: The White House censored 28 pages of the Congressional 9/11 report.
“Top U.S. officials believe the Saudi Arabian government not only thwarted their efforts to prevent the rise of al-Qaida and stop terrorist attacks, but also may have given the Saudi-born Sept. 11 hijackers financial and logistical support, according to a congressional report released Thursday. Those suspicions prompted several lawmakers to demand that the Bush administration aggressively investigate Saudi Arabia 's actions before and after Sept. 11, 2001 -- in part by making public large sections of the report that pertain to Riyadh but remain classified. The passages, including an entire 28-page section, discuss in detail whether one of America's most reluctant allies in the war on terrorism was somehow implicated in the attacks, according to U.S. officials familiar with the full report.” Josh Meyer, “Saudi Ties to Sept. 11 Hinted at in Report,” Houston Chronicle, July 25, 2003.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: More than 500 relatives of 9/11 victims filed suit Saudi Royals and others. The lawyers the Saudi Defense Minister hired to fight these 9/11 families was the law firm of Bush family confidant James A. Baker.
“James Baker, whom Bush recently sent abroad seeking help to reduce Iraq's debt, is still a senior counselor for the Carlyle Group, and Baker's Houston-based law firm, Baker Botts, is representing the Saudi defense minister in Motley’s [plaintiff’s council in class-action suit in connection with September 11th attacks] case.” New York Times, “A Nation Unto Itself,” March 14, 2004
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: Saudi’s have $860 billion dollars invested in America.
“Over the next twenty-five years, roughly eighty-five thousand ‘high-net-worth’ Saudis invested a staggering $860 billion in American companies – an average of more than $10 million a person and a sum that is roughly equivalent to the gross domestic product of Spain.” Craig Unger, House of Bush, House of Saud, (Scribner: New York, 2004).
“Allan Gerson, an attorney who represents about 3,600 family members of victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks … said he is not suing the Saudi government, but he is pursuing ‘Saudi interests’ in the United States he estimated totaled about $860 billion.” “ $113 Million in Terrorism Funds Frozen,” CNN, November 20, 2002.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: In terms of investments on Wall Street, $860 billion is “roughly six or seven percent of America.”
“With a total market capitalization exceeding $12 trillion, the NYSE Composite represents approximately 82 percent of the total U.S. market cap.” New York Stock Exchange News Release, “NYSE to Reintroduce Composite Index,” January 2, 2003. ($860 billion is about 7 percent of $12 trillion.)
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: Citigroup, AOL TimeWarner have big Saudi investors.
“His name is Alwaleed bin Talal. His grandfather was Saudi Arabia's founding monarch. With huge stakes in companies ranging from Citigroup Inc. to the Four Seasons luxury hotel chain, he is one of the richest men on the planet....Last year, Forbes magazine ranked Alwaleed the fifth-richest man in the world, with a net worth of nearly $18 billion. His Kingdom Holding Co. spans four continents. Over the years, he has acquired major stakes in companies such as Apple Computer Inc., AOL Time Warner Inc., News Corp. and Saks Inc., parent of retailer Saks Fifth Avenue .” Richard Verrier, “Disney's Animated Investor; An Ostentatious Saudi Billionaire Prince Who Helped Bail Out the Company's Paris Resort in the Mid-'90s is Being Courted to Do So Again,” Los Angeles Times, January 26, 2004.
“Carlyle’s first major transaction with the Saudis took place in 1991 when Fred Malek steered Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, a flamboyant 35-year-old Saudi multibillionaire, to the firm for a deal that would enable him to become the largest individual shareholder in Citicorp.” Craig Unger, House of Bush, House of Saud, (Scribner: New York, 2004).
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “I read where the Saudis have a trillion dollars in our banks, their money.”
“Others have said the investment is even more, as much as a trillion dollars on deposit in U.S. banks – an agreement worked out in the early 1980s by the Reagan administration, in yet another effort to get the Saudis to off-set the US budget deficit. The Saudis hold another trillion dollars or so in the US stock market.” Robert Baer, Sleeping with the Devil, p. 60, (Crown Publishers: New York, 2003).
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “Bandar is one of the best protected ambassadors in the world with a six-man security detail provided by the State Department.”
“The dean of the diplomatic corps by virtue of his long assignment in Washington, Bandar is the only ambassador who has his own State Department security detail -- granted to him because of ‘threats’ and his status as a prince, according to a State Department spokesman.” Robert G. Kaiser, et al., "Saudi Leader's Anger Revealed Shaky Ties," Washington Post, February 10, 2002.
“Prince Bandar is often considered the most politically savvy of all the foreign ambassadors living in Washington. That may or may not be true -- but he certainly is the best-protected. According to a Diplomatic Security official, Prince Bandar has a security detail that includes full-time participation of six highly trained and skilled DS officers. (DS officers are federal government employees charged with securing American diplomatic missions.)” Joel Mowbray, Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens American Security, (Regnery, 2003).
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “Bandar is so close to the Bushes they considered him a member of the family. They even have a nickname for him, Bandar Bush.”
“When President [George H.W.] Bush arrived in Riyadh, he took Bandar aside and embraced him. ‘You are good people,’ the president said. Bandar claims that Bush had tears in his eyes. Visiting the Bush summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine, the Saudi ambassador was affectionately dubbed ‘Bandar Bush.’ Bandar returned the favor, inviting Bush to go pheasant hunting at his English estate. (Since leaving the White House, Bush has also profited by acting as a kind of glorified door-opener for the Carlyle Group, an investment company that handles considerable Saudi wealth.)” Evan Thomas, et al., “The Saudi Game,” Newsweek, November 19, 2001 .
“The Saudi ambassador attended the unveiling of former President George H.W. Bush's official portrait when he returned to the White House in 1995. He was among the guests at a surprise 75th birthday party in 2000 for former first lady Barbara Bush, and the former president has vacationed at Bandar's home in Aspen, Colo. Bandar has been a guest at the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas. Just last year he presented the first family with a C.M. Russell painting, a gift worth $1 million that will be stored in the National Archives, along with other presents from well-wishers destined for a [George W.] Bush presidential library.” Mike Glover, “Kerry Criticizes Bush on Saudi Meeting”, Associated Press, April 23, 2004.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “Two nights after September 11th, George Bush invited Bandar Bush over to the White House for a private dinner and a talk.”
Two days after the attacks, the President asked Bandar to come to the White House. Bush embraced him and escorted him to the Truman balcony. Bandar had a drink and the two men smoked cigars. Elsa Walsh, “The Prince,” The New Yorker, March 24, 2003.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: Bandar’s government blocked American investigators from talking to the relatives of the 15 hijackers.
“The report strongly criticized top Saudi officials for their ‘lack of cooperation’ before and after the Sept. 11 attacks, even when it became known that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis.…One top U.S. official told the joint inquiry staff that the Saudis since 1996 would not cooperate on matters relating to Osama bin Laden. Robert Baer, a former CIA officer, said the Saudis blocked FBI agents from talking to relatives of the 15 hijackers and following other leads in the kingdom.” Frank Davies, et al., “Bush rejects call to give more 9/11 data,” Philadelphia Inquirer, July 30, 2003.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: Saudi Arabia was reluctant to freeze the hijackers assets.
Riyadh has not yet fully joined the international effort to block bank accounts thought to be financing terrorist operations, U.S. officials say. But the Bush administration, fearful of offending the Saudis, has not yet raised a public complaint. Elaine Sciolino, et al., “U.S. is Reluctant to Upset Flawed, Fragile Saudi Ties,” New York Times, October 25, 2001.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “In 1997, while George W. Bush was governor of Texas, a delegation of Taliban leaders from Afghanistan flew to Houston to meet with Unocal executives to discuss the building of a pipeline through Afghanistan.”
“A senior delegation from the Taleban movement in Afghanistan is in the United States for talks with an international energy company that wants to construct a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan to Pakistan. A spokesman for the company, Unocal, said the Taleban were expected to spend several days at the company's headquarters in Sugarland, Texas.” “Taleban in Texas for Talks on Gas Pipeline,” BBC News, December 4, 1997 (Sugarland is 22 miles outside Houston.)
“The Taliban ministers and their advisers stayed in a five-star hotel and were chauffeured in a company minibus. Their only requests were to visit Houston's zoo, the NASA space centre and Omaha's Super Target discount store to buy stockings, toothpaste, combs and soap. The Taliban, which controls two-thirds of Afghanistan and is still fighting for the last third, was also given an insight into how the other half lives. The men, who are accustomed to life without heating, electricity or running water, were amazed by the luxurious homes of Texan oil barons. Invited to dinner at the palatial home of Martin Miller, a vice-president of Unocal, they marvelled at his swimming pool, views of the golf course and six bathrooms. After a meal of specially prepared halal meat, rice and Coca-Cola, the hardline fundamentalists - who have banned women from working and girls from going to school - asked Mr. Miller about his Christmas tree.” Caroline Lees, “Oil Barons Court Taliban in Texas,” The Telegraph (London), December 14, 1997.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “And who got a Caspian Sea drilling contract the same day Unocal signed the pipeline deal? A company headed by a man named Dick Cheney, Halliburton.”
On October 27, 1997, both Unocal and Halliburton issued press releases about their energy work in Turkmenistan. “Halliburton Energy Services has been providing a variety of services in Turkmenistan for the past five years.” Press Release, “Halliburton Alliance Awarded Integrated Service Contract Offshore Caspian Sea In Turkmenistan,” October 27, 1997. http://www.halliburton.com/news/archive/
1997/hesnws_102797.jsp; “ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan, Oct. 27, 1997 - Six international companies and the Government of Turkmenistan formed Central Asia Gas Pipeline, Ltd. (CentGas) in formal signing ceremonies here Saturday.” Press Release, “Consortium Formed to Build Central Asia Gas Pipeline,” October 27, 1997.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: Enron stood to benefit from the pipeline.
Dr. Zaher Wahab of Afghanistan, a professor in the US speaking at International Human Rights Day event, “explained that Delta, Unocal as well as Russian, Pakistani and Japanese oil and gas companies have signed agreements with the Turkmenistan government, immediately north of Afghanistan, which has the fourth largest gas reserve in the world. Agreements also have been signed with the Taliban, allowing these oil and gas giants to pump Turkmenistan gas and oil through western Afghanistan to Pakistan, from which it then will be shipped all over the world. The energy consortium Enron plans to be one of the builders of the pipeline.” Elaine Kelly, “Northwest Groups Discuss Afghan, Iranian and Turkish Rights Violations,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, March 31, 1997.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: Kenneth Lay of Enron was Bush’s number one campaign contributor.
Mr. Lay, also a friend to former President George Bush, was the top campaign contributor to Mr. Bush’s 2000 presidential election.” Jerry Seper, “Colossal Collapse: Enron Bankruptcy Scandal Carves a Wide Swath,” The Washington Times, January 13, 2002; “Although Enron is George W. Bush’s No. 1 career donor, the president also is heavily indebted to the professional firms that aided and abetted the greatest bankruptcy and shareholder meltdown in U.S. history.” Texans for Public Justice, “Bush Is Indebted To Enron’s Professional Abettors, Too,” January 17, 2002 http://www.tpj.org/
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: “Then in 2001, just five and a half months before 9/11, the Bush administration welcomed a special Taliban envoy to tour the United States to help improve the image of the Taliban government.”
“A Taliban envoy appealed to the Bush administration Monday to overlook his group's support of extremist Osama bin Laden and the destruction of priceless centuries-old Buddhist sculptures and lift sanctions on Afghanistan to help alleviate a humanitarian crisis threatening the lives of a million people. Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi delivered a letter from the Taliban for President Bush that called for better U.S.-Afghan relations and negotiations to solve the dispute over the Saudi-born Bin Laden. Robin Wright, “Taliban Asks US to Lift its Economic Sanctions,” Los Angeles Times, March 20, 2001.
“The Town Hall forum was Hashemi's final meeting in a weeklong visit to California, where he spoke at several universities, including USC, UCLA and UC Berkeley. Later Thursday, he left for New York for another stop on his public relations tour before going to Washington, where he is scheduled to deliver a letter from his party to the Bush administration.” Teresa Watanabe, “Overture By Taliban Hits Resistance," Los Angeles Times, March 16, 2001.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: The Taliban were harboring the man who bombed the USS Cole and our African embassies.
“Osama bin Laden has claimed credit for the attack on U.S. soldiers in Somalia in October 1993, which killed 18; for the attack on the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998, which killed 224 and injured nearly 5,000; and were linked to the attack on the U.S.S. Cole on 12 October 2000, in which 17 crew members were killed and 40 others injured. They have sought to acquire nuclear and chemical materials for use as terrorist weapons.” “Britain's Bill of Particulars” New York Times, October 5, 2001.
“Osama bin Laden, in recent years, has been America's most wanted terrorism suspect, with a $5 million reward on his head for his alleged role in the August 1998 truck bombings of two American embassies in East Africa that killed more than 200 people, as well as a string of other terrorist attacks… Most recently, the F.B.I. has named Mr. bin Laden as a prime suspect in the suicide bombing of the American destroyer Cole, which was attacked in Aden harbor, 350 miles by road southwest of here, on Oct. 12, with the loss of 17 sailors' lives." John F. Burns, “Where bin Laden Has Roots, His Mystique Grows,” New York Times, December 31, 2000.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: Hamid Karzai was a former Unocal advisor.
“Cool and worldly, Karzai is a former employee of US oil company Unocal -- one of two main oil companies that was bidding for the lucrative contract to build an oil pipeline from Uzbekistan through Afghanistan to seaports in Pakistan -- and the son of a former Afghan parliament speaker.” Ilene R. Prusher, Scott Baldauf, and Edward Girardet, “Afghan power brokers,” Christian Science Monitor, June 10, 2002. http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0610/
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a former Unocal adviser, signed a treaty with Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf and the Turkmen dictator Saparmurat Niyazov to authorize construction of a $3.2 billion gas pipeline through the Heart-Kandahar corridor in Afghanistan.” Lutz Kleveman, “Oil and the New ‘Great Game," The Nation, February 16, 2004.
TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH: “He was a consultant for the American oil company Unocal, while they studied the construction of a pipeline in Afghanistan." Chipaux Francoise, “Hamid Karzaï, Une Large Connaissance Du Monde Occidental,” Le Monde, December 6, 2001.en minutes
Factual Back-Up for Fahrenheit 9/11: Section Six
THE FOLLOWING IS THE LINE BY LINE FACTUAL BACKUP FOR 'FAHRENHEIT 9/11'
Section Six covers the facts in Fahrenheit 9/11 from the Patriot Act through the war in Iraq.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: "Bush also appointed as our envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, who was also a former Unocal advisor."
"Mr. Khalilzad himself knows how compasses change. In the mid-1990's, he briefly defended the Taliban while working as a consultant for Unocal, the oil company that was then trying to build a pipeline through Afghanistan. He later became one of the Taliban's fiercest critics." Amy Waldman, "Afghan Returns Home as American Ambassador," New York Times, April 19, 2004.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: "Afghanistan signed the agreement to build a pipeline through its country carrying natural gas from the Caspian Sea ."
"The framework agreement defines legal mechanisms for setting up a consortium to build and operate the long-delayed US$3.2-billion natural gas pipeline, known as the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline, which would carry gas from energy-rich Turkmenistan to Pakistan. It would be one of the first major investment projects in Afghanistan in decades." Baglia Bukharbayeva "Pakistani, Turkmen, Afghan Leaders Sign US$3.2 Billion Pipeline Deal," Associated Press, December 27, 2002.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: "In the year 2000, [John Ashcroft] was running for re-election as Senator from Missouri against a man who died the month before the election. The voters preferred the dead guy."
"Sen. John Ashcroft on Wednesday graciously conceded defeat in his re-election campaign against the late Gov. Mel Carnahan and urged fellow Republicans to call off any legal challenges." Eric Stern, "Ashcroft Rejects Challenge To Election; Senator Says He Hopes Carnahan’s Victory Will Be ‘Of Comfort’ To Widow,"St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 9, 2000 .
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: "During the summer before 9/11, Ashcroft told acting FBI director Thomas Pickard that he didn’t want to hear anything more about terrorist threats."
"Former interim FBI chief Thomas Pickard testified Tuesday that Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft didn’t want to hear about terrorism when Pickard tried to brief him during the summer of 2001, as intelligence reports about terrorist threats were reaching a historic level." Cam Simpson, "Ashcroft Ignored Terrorism, Panel Told; Attorney General Denies Charges, Blames Clinton," Chicago Tribune, April 14, 2004.
See also film footage.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: "His own FBI knew that summer that there were al Qaeda members in the U.S. , and that bin Laden was sending his agents to flight schools throughout the country."
[T]he July 2001 ‘Phoenix’ memo, written by an FBI agent in Arizona, warned about ‘an inordinate number of individuals of investigative interest’ taking flight training. It urged the agency to collect data on flight schools and foreign students, and to discuss the potential threat with other intelligence agencies. ...[O]ne of the men mentioned in the memo was arrested in Pakistan in 2002 with a senior al Qaeda facilitator, Abu Zubayda. R. Jeffrey Smith, "A History of Missed Connections; U.S. Analysts Warned of Potential Attacks but Lacked Follow-Through," Washington Post, July 25, 2003.
Excerpt from "Phoenix Memo": "The purpose of this communication is to advise the Bureau and New York of the possibility of a coordinated effort by USAMA BIN LADEN (UBL) to send students to the United States to attend civil aviation universities and colleges. Phoenix has observed an inordinate number of individuals of investigative interest who are attending or who have attended civil aviation universities and colleges in the State of Arizona." Read the entire Phoenix Memo at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/serialset/
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: "[T]he photo of the man in the newspaper was not the Aaron Stokes they had come to know, [a member of Peace Fresno]. He was actually Deputy Aaron Kilner. And he had infiltrated their group."
"Aaron Kilner, 27, who joined the force in June 1999 and had been assigned the last 18 months to the anti-terrorist team under the vice-intelligence unit, apparently was killed instantly when his blue Yamaha motorcycle slammed into the right front side of a 1999 Buick, Fresno police said." Louis Galvan, "Crash Kills Off-Duty Detective, Victim Joined Fresno County Force in 1999," Fresno Bee, August 31, 2003.
"It remains unclear why the Fresno County Sheriff's Department infiltrated the peace group there, but Pierce said his department's actions were legal. ‘We can be anywhere we want to that's open to the public,’ Pierce said in a telephone interview from his Fresno office." Sam Stanton and Emily Bazar, "More Scrutiny of Peace Groups, Public Safety Justifies Surveillance Since 9/11, Authorities Say," Sacramento Bee, November 9, 2003.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: Barry Reingold’s story.
"Then there's San Franciscan Barry Reingold, who was awakened from his afternoon nap by a buzzing intercom on Oct. 23. He called down to the street to find out who it was. ‘The FBI,’ was the response. He buzzed the two men up, but decided to meet them in the hall. ‘I was a little bit shaken up,’ says Mr. Reingold. ‘I mean, why would the FBI be interested in me, a 60-year-old retired phone company worker?’ When they asked if he worked out at a certain gym, he realized the reason behind the visit. The gym is where he lifts weights -- and expounds on his political views." Kris Axtman, "Political Dissent Can Bring Federal Agents to Door," Christian Science Monitor, January 8, 2002. See also, Sam Stanton, Emily Bazar, "Security Collides With Civil Rights, War On Terrorism Has Unforeseen Results," Modesto Bee, September 28, 2003.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: Congress did not read the Patriot Act before voting on it.
"Later that morning [of October 12], the House voted 337-79 to pass the bill. The outraged dissenters complained that no one could possibly have had the time to read the enormously complex 342-page law that amended fifteen different federal statutes and that had only been printed out hours before." Steven Brill, After; How America Confronted the September 12 Era, (Simon & Schuster, NY: 2003).
"Many lawmakers were outraged that a bipartisan bill, which had passed the Judiciary Committee by a unanimous vote, was set aside for legislation negotiated at the last minute by a very small group. Members rose to say that almost no one had read the new bill, and pleaded for more time and more deliberation.... Asked about complaints that lawmakers were being asked to vote on a bill that they had not read, the chairman of the Rules Committee, Representative David Dreier, Republican of California, replied, ‘It's not unprecedented.’" Robin Toner & Neil A. Lewis, "House Passes Terrorism Bill Much Like Senate's, but With 5-Year Limit," The New York Times, October 13, 2001.
See also film footage of Congressmen Conyers and McDermott.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: Transportation Security Agency says it’s okay to take four books of matches and two butane lighters in your pockets as you board an airplane.
"Consistent with Department of Transportation regulations for hazardous materials, passengers also are permitted to carry no more than four books of matches (other than strike anywhere matches) and no more than two lighters for individual use, if the lighters are fueled with liquefied gas (BIC-or Colibri-type) or absorbed liquid (Zippo-type).’’ 49 CFR 1540; http://www.tsa.gov/interweb/assetlibrary/
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: "Thanks to the budget cuts, Trooper Kenyon had to come in on his day off to catch up on some paperwork."
"Budget cuts that laid off 129 Oregon State Police officers earlier this year have left a single trooper to cover the 1,400-square-mile territory and 100 miles of state roads around this city on Oregon's central coast." "Layoffs Leave Oregon Trooper Alone in Big Coastal Territory," Seattle Times, October 6, 2003.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: "On March 19th, 2003, George W. Bush and the United States military invaded Iraq, which had never attacked or threatened to attack the United States. A nation that had never murdered a single American citizen."
"Iraq has never threatened nor been implicated in any attack against U.S. territory and the CIA has reported no Iraqi-sponsored attacks against American interests since 1991." Stephen Zunes, "An Annotated Overview of the Foreign Policy Segments of President George W. Bush’s State of the Union Address," Foreign Policy In Focus, January 29, 2003. Segments of President George W. Bush’s State of the Union Address," Foreign Policy In Focus, January 29, 2003
"Iraq never threatened U.S.security. Bush officials cynically attacked a villainous country because they knew it was easier than finding the real 9/11 villain, who had no country. And now they're hoist on their own canard." Maureen Dowd, "We’re Not Happy Campers," The New York Times, September 11, 2003.
"Iraq never threatened the US, let alone Australia. The basic consideration was and remains the perception of America's wider strategic interest in the Middle East." Richard Woolcott, "Thread bare Basis To The Homespun Yarn That Led Us Into Iraq," Sydney Morning Herald, November 26, 2003—(Woolcott was Australia’s Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs And Trade during the first Gulf War.)
For definition of murder of civilians (as opposed to combatants), see Article 3 of the Geneva Convention . ("For persons taking no active part in the hostilities, the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time (a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds.")
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: The Coalition of the Willing included Palau, Costa Rica, Iceland, Romania, The Netherlands, and Afghanistan.
White House list of Coalition members, March 20th, 2003: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: Morocco , according to one report, offered to send 2,000 monkeys to help detonate landmines.
"The administration has even turned to the animal kingdom for help in the war. First came the dolphins, those really smart mammals recruited to help clear mines at the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr. Then came word that Morocco was offering 2,000 monkeys to help detonate land mines." Al Kamen, "They Got the ‘Slov’ Part Right," Washington Post, March 28, 2003.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: "The government would not allow any cameras to show the coffins coming home."
"For the past 13 years, the Pentagon has barred reporters from witnessing the transport of soldiers' flag-draped coffins to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware." Amanda Ripley, "An Image of Grief Returns," Time, May 3, 2004.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: "At the end of January, of ’04, the unemployment rate in Flint was actually 17 percent."
Flint City, Jan 04, Unemployment Rate, 17.0%. Office of Labor Market Information, Michigan State Government. http://www.michlmi.org/LMI/lmadata/laus/
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: Bush "proposed cutting the soldiers’ combat bonus pay 33 percent and assistance to their families by 60 percent."
The Bush administration announced that it would roll-back ‘modest’ increases of benefits to troops. The Army Times noted, "the administration announced that on Oct. 1 it wants to roll back recent modest increases in monthly imminent-danger from $225 to $150 (a cut of 33%) and family-separation allowances from $250 to $100 (a cut of 60%) for troops getting shot at in combat zones." http://www.armytimes.com/story.php
"Thanks to a law passed this year, troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and other high-risk areas now receive $225 a month in supplemental pay. That's an increase of $75 from the previous amount for combat pay. Under that same law, soldiers who have been forced to leave behind spouses and children receive $250 a month in additional separation pay to help cover child care and other additional expenses caused by assignment overseas. That's an increase of $150 over the previous supplement. ... In its 2004 budget request, the Pentagon asked Congress to cut both combat pay and separation pay back to the previous levels." "Our Opinions: Proposal to Reduce Pay No Way to Salute Military," Atlanta Journal Constitution, August 15, 2003.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: "He proposed cutting $1.3 billion in veterans’ health care and closing seven veteran’s hospitals. He tried to double the prescription drug costs for veterans and opposed full benefits for part time reservist."
"On Nov. 12, the Office of Management & Budget opposed restoring $1.3 billion in funding for Veterans Administration hospitals that the House Appropriations Committee had cut. '’It's as if they're not even aware [that] there's a war on terror going on,’ says Steve Thomas, an American Legion spokesman and Navy vet who notes casualties in Iraq could make demand for VA services soar." Stan Crock in Washington, with William C. Symonds in Boston, "Will The Troops Salute Bush In '04?," Business Week, December 8, 2003.
"The White House had expressed its ‘strong opposition’ to the Senate’s effort to expand military health benefits to reservists and National Guard members, and boost 'veterans’ health care spending by $1.3 billion." Jonathan Weisman, "Bush Aides Threaten Veto of Iraqi Aid Measure," Washington Post, October 22, 2003.
In early 2003, the Bush administration announced that it was closing "seven of its 163 veteran’s hospitals in an effort to ‘restructure’ the Department of Veterans Affairs." Suzanne Gamboa, "VA Proposes Overhaul, 13 Facilities Would Close or See Major Changes," Associated Press, August 4, 2003.
In 2003, the Bush administration proposed increasing prescription drug costs for veterans, a proposal that would have doubled the cost of prescription drugs. "The Bush plan would have included a new $250 enrollment fee and a co-pay increase from $7 to $15 for veterans earning over $24,000." The House amended the proposal to reject the Bush administration’s fee increases and to recoup the $264 million in costs by reducing administrative funding for the VA. "Panel Rejects Extra Funds for AmeriCorps," Washington Post, July 22, 2003.
"The Bush administration is flatly opposed to giving the Guard and Reserve access to the Pentagon's health system." Opinion, The Daily News Leader (Staunton, VA), October 25, 2003.
"U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has helped push a bill through the Senate to improve the health care benefits of Guard and Reserve members. This bill has had broad bipartisan support since it was introduced in May. Last week Graham had his health care plan attached as an amendment to the $87 billion supplemental appropriations bill that President Bush is seeking to pay for ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The House should take up the amendment next week. Strangely, the Bush administration has opposed this new benefit for Guard and Reserve members, arguing that it would be too expensive." Staff, "Helping our Guard and Reserve," The Greenville News, October 16, 2003.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: Nearly 5,000 wounded in the war.
"A year ago at this time, more than 160 American soldiers had been killed in Iraq. The total since has risen to more than 800, and last week the Pentagon reported that the number wounded in action is approaching 4,700." Pete Yost, "Bush Hails U.S. War Dead and Veterans," Associated Press, June 1, 2004.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: "Out of the 535 members of Congress, only one had an enlisted son in Iraq."
“Only four of the 535 members of Congress have children in the military; only one, Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., has a child who fought in Iraq.” Kevin Horrigan, “Hired Guns,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 11, 2003.
Of course there is some fact to the movie however, there are huge liberties taken with other parts. Here are some examples:
There are many articles which have pointed out the distortions, falsehoods, and lies in the film Fahrenheit 9/11. This report compiles the Fahrenheit 9/11 deceits which have been identified by a wide variety of reviewers. In addition, I identify some inaccuracies which have not been addressed by other writers.
The report follows the approximate order in which the movie covers particular topics: the Bush family, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. This report focuses solely on factual issues, and not on aesthetic criticism of the film.
To understand the deceptions, it helps to understand Moore’s ideological position. So let us start with Moore’s belief that the September 11 attacks on the United States were insignificant.
Edward Koch, the former Democratic Mayor of New York City, writes:
A year after 9/11, I was part of a panel discussion on BBC-TV’s "Question Time" show which aired live in the United Kingdom. A portion of my commentary at that time follows:
"One of the panelists was Michael Moore…During the warm-up before the studio audience, Moore said something along the lines of "I don’t know why we are making so much of an act of terror. It is three times more likely that you will be struck by lightning than die from an act of terror."…I mention this exchange because it was not televised, occurring as it did before the show went live. It shows where he was coming from long before he produced "Fahrenheit 9/11."
Edward Koch, "Moore’s propaganda film cheapens debate, polarizes nation," World Tribune, June 28, 2004. [Moore response: none.]
By the way, I don't disagree with the point that it is reasonable to consider the number of deaths from any particular problem, including terrorism, in assessing how serious the problem is. Moore's point, however, was willfully oblivious to the fact that al Qaeda did not intend 9/11 to be the last word; the organization was working on additional attacks, and if the organization obtained the right weapons, millions of people might be killed. More fundamentally, even if Moore's argument in London is conceded to be legitimate, it contradicts Fahrenheit 9/11's presentation of Moore as intensely concerned about the September 11 attacks.
As we go through the long list of lies and tricks in Fahrenheit 9/11, keep in mind that Michael Moore has assembled a "war room" of political operatives and lawyers in order to respond to criticism of Fahrenheit 9/11 and to file defamation suits. (Jack Shafer, "Libel Suit 9/11. Michael Moore’s hysterical, empty threats," Slate.com, June 12, 2004.) One of Moore's "war room" officials is Chris Lehane; Lehane, as an employee of Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark (who was also supported by Moore), is alleged to have spread rumors to the press about John Kerry's alleged extra-marital affair, although Lehane denies doing so.
Of course if there are any genuine errors in this report, the errors will be promptly corrected. On July 5, I removed a complaint about a Presidential approval poll number, which I had wrongly thought was not supported by data.
In this report, I number Moore’s deceits. Some of them are outright lies; some are omissions which create a false impression. Others involve different forms of deception. A few are false statements Moore has made when defending the film. Judge for yourself the credibility of Michael Moore's promise, "Every single fact I state in 'Fahrenheit 9/11' is the absolute and irrefutable truth...Do not let anyone say this or that isn't true. If they say that, they are lying."
2000 Election Night
Fahrenheit 9/11 begins on election night 2000. We are first shown Al Gore rocking on stage with famous musicians and a high-spirited crowd. The conspicuous sign on stage reads "Florida Victory." Moore creates the impression that Gore was celebrating his victory in Florida. Moore's voiceover claims, "And little Stevie Wonder, he seemed so happy, like a miracle had taken place." The verb tense of past perfect ("had taken") furthers the impression that the election has been completed.
Actually, the rally took place in the early hours of election day, before polls had even opened. Gore did campaign in Florida on election day, but went home to Tennessee to await the results. The "Florida Victory" sign reflected Gore’s hopes, not any actual election results. ("Gore Campaigns Into Election Day," Associated Press, Nov. 7, 2000.)
The film shows CBS and CNN calling Florida for Al Gore. According to the narrator, "Then something called the Fox News Channel called the election in favor of the other guy….All of a sudden the other networks said, 'Hey, if Fox said it, it must be true.'"
We then see NBC anchor Tom Brokaw stating, "All of us networks made a mistake and projected Florida in the Al Gore column. It was our mistake."
Moore thus creates the false impression that the networks withdrew their claim about Gore winning Florida when they heard that Fox said that Bush won Florida.
In fact, the networks which called Florida for Gore did so early in the evening—before polls had even closed in the Florida panhandle, which is part of the Central Time Zone. NBC called Florida for Gore at 7:49:40 p.m., Eastern Time. This was 10 minutes before polls closed in the Florida panhandle. Thirty seconds later, CBS called Florida for Gore. And at 7:52 p.m., Fox called Florida for Gore. Moore never lets the audience know that Fox was among the networks which made the error of calling Florida for Gore prematurely. Then at 8:02 p.m., ABC called Florida for Gore. Only ABC had waited until the Florida polls were closed.
About an hour before the polls closed in panhandle Florida, the networks called the U.S. Senate race in favor of the Democratic candidate. The networks seriously compounded the problem because from 6-7 Central Time, they repeatedly announced that polls had closed in Florida--even though polls were open in the panhandle. (See also Joan Konner, James Risser & Ben Wattenberg, Television's Performance on Election Night 2000: A Report for CNN, Jan. 29, 2001.)
The false announcements that the polls were closed, as well as the premature calls (the Presidential race ten minutes early; the Senate race an hour early), may have cost Bush thousands of votes from the conservative panhandle, as discouraged last-minute voters heard that their state had already been decided; some last-minute voters on their way to the polling place turned around and went home. Other voters who were waiting in line left the polling place. In Florida, as elsewhere, voters who have arrived at the polling place before closing time often end up voting after closing time, because of long lines. The conventional wisdom of politics is that supporters of the losing candidate are most likely to give up on voting when they hear that their side has already lost. Thus, on election night 1980, when incumbent President Jimmy Carter gave a concession speech while polls were still open on the west coast, the early concession was blamed for costing the Democrats several Congressional seats in the West, such as that of 20-year incumbent James Corman. The fact that all the networks had declared Reagan a landslide winner while west coast voting was still in progress was also blamed for Democratic losses in the West; Congress even held hearings about prohibiting the disclosure of exit polls before voting had ended in the any of the 48 contiguous states.
Even if the premature television calls affected all potential voters equally, the effect was to reduce Republican votes significantly, because the Florida panhandle is a Republican stronghold. Most of Central Time Zone Florida is in the 1st Congressional District, which is known as the "Redneck Riviera." In that district, Bob Dole beat Bill Clinton by 69,000 votes in 1996, even though Clinton won the state by 300,000 votes. So depress overall turnout in the panhandle, and you will necessarily depress more Republican than Democratic votes. A 2001 study by John Lott suggested that the early calls cost Bush at least 7,500 votes, and perhaps many more. Another study reported that the networks reduced panhandle turn-out by about 19,000 votes, costing Bush about 12,000 votes and Gore about 7,000 votes.
At 10:00 p.m., which networks took the lead in retracting the premature Florida win for Gore? They were CNN and CBS, not Fox. (The two networks were using a shared Decision Team.) See Linda Mason, Kathleen Francovic & Kathleen Hall Jamieson, "CBS News Coverage of Election Night 2000: Investigation, Analysis, Recommendations" (CBS News, Jan. 2001), pp. 12-25.)
In fact, Fox did not retract its claim that Gore had won Florida until 2 a.m.--four hours after other networks had withdrawn the call.
Over four hours later, at 2:16 a.m., Fox projected Bush as the Florida winner, as did all the other networks by 2:20 a.m.
At 3:59 a.m., CBS took the lead in retracting the Florida call for Bush. All the other networks, including Fox, followed the CBS lead within eight minutes. That the networks arrived at similar conclusions within a short period of time is not surprising, since they were all using the same data from the Voter News Service. (Mason, et al. "CBS News Coverage.") As the CBS timeline details, throughout the evening all networks used VNS data to call states, even though VNS had not called the state; sometimes the network calls were made hours ahead of the VNS call.
Moore’s editing technique of the election night segment is typical of his style: all the video clips are real clips, and nothing he says is, narrowly speaking, false. But notice how he says, "Then something called the Fox News Channel called the election in favor of the other guy…" The impression created is that the Fox call of Florida for Bush came soon after the CBS/CNN calls of Florida for Gore, and that Fox caused the other networks to change ("All of a sudden the other networks said, 'Hey, if Fox said it, it must be true.'")
This is the essence of the Moore technique: cleverly blending half-truths to deceive the viewer.
[Moore response: On the Florida victory celebration, none. On the networks calls: provides citations for the early and incorrect Florida calls for Gore, around 8 p.m. Eastern Time, and for the late-evening network calls of Florida for Bush around 2:20 a.m. Doesn't mention the retraction of the Florida calls at 10 p.m., or that CBS led the retraction.]
2000 Election Recount
How did Bush win Florida? "Second, make sure the chairman of your campaign is also the vote count woman." Actually Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris (who was Bush's Florida co-chair, not "the chairman") was not the "vote count woman." Vote counting in Florida is performed by the election commissioners in each of Florida's counties. The Florida Secretary of State merely certifies the reported vote. The office does not count votes.
A little while later, Fahrenheit shows Jeffrey Toobin (a sometime talking head lawyer for CNN) claiming that if the Supreme Court had allowed a third recount to proceed past the legal deadline, "under every scenario Gore won the election."
Fahrenheit shows only a snippet of Toobin's remarks on CNN. What Fahrenheit does not show is that Toobin admitted on CNN that the only scenarios for a Gore victory involved a type of recount which Gore had never requested in his lawsuits, and which would have been in violation of Florida law. Toobin's theory likewise depends on re-assigning votes which are plainly marked for one candidate (Pat Buchanan) to Gore, although there are no provisions in Florida law to guess at who a voter "really" meant to vote for and to re-assign the vote.
A study by a newspaper consortium including the Miami Herald and USA Today disproves Fahrenheit's claim that Gore won under any scenario. As USA Today summarized, on May 11, 2001:
"Who would have won if Al Gore had gotten manual counts he requested in four counties? Answer: George W. Bush."
"Who would have won if the U.S. Supreme Court had not stopped the hand recount of undervotes, which are ballots that registered no machine-readable vote for president? Answer: Bush, under three of four standards."
"Who would have won if all disputed ballots — including those rejected by machines because they had more than one vote for president — had been recounted by hand? Answer: Bush, under the two most widely used standards; Gore, under the two least used."
Throughout the Florida election controversy, the focus was on "undervotes"--ballots which were disqualified because the voter had not properly indicated a candidate, such as by punching out a small piece of paper on the paper ballot. The recounts attempted to discern voter intentions from improperly-marked ballots. Thus, if a ballot had a "hanging chad," a recount official might decide that the voter intended to vote for the candidate, but failed to properly punch out the chad; so the recounter would award the candidate a vote from the "spoiled" ballot. Gore was seeking additional recounts only of undervotes. The only scenario by which Gore would have won Florida would have involved recounts of "overvotes"--ballots which were spoiled because the voter voted for more than one candidate (such as by marking two names, or by punching out two chads). Most of the overvotes which were recoverable were those on which the voter had punched out a chad (or made a check mark) and had also written the candidate's name on the write-in line. Gore's lawsuits never sought a recount of overvotes, so even if the Supreme Court had allowed a Florida recount to continue past the legal deadline, Bush still would have won the additional recount which Gore sought.
A separate study conducted by a newspaper consortium including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal found that if there had been a statewide recount of all undervotes and overvotes, Gore would have won under seven different standards. However, if there had been partial recounts under any of the various recounts sought by Gore or ordered by the Florida Supreme Court, Bush would have won under every scenario.
A very interesting web widget published by the New York Times allows readers to crunch the data any way they want: what standards for counting ballots, whose counting system to apply, and how to treat overvotes. It's certainly possible under some of the variable scenarios to produce a Gore victory. But it's undeniably dishonest for Fahrenheit to assert that Gore would win under any scenario.
Moore amplifies the deceit with a montage of newspaper headlines, purporting to show that Gore really won. One article shows a date of December 19, 2001, with a large headline reading, "Latest Florida recount shows Gore won Election." The article supposedly comes from The Pantagraph, a daily newspaper in Bloomington, Illinois. But actually, the headline is merely for a letter to the editor--not a news article. The letter to the editor headline is significantly enlarged to make it look like an article headline. The actual printed letter looked nothing like the "article" Moore fabricated for the film. The letter ran on December 5, not December 19. The Pantagraph contacted Moore's office to ask for an explanation, but the office refused to comment.
The Pantagraph's attorney sent Fahrenheit's distributor a letter stating that Moore's use of the faked headline and story was "unauthorized" and "misleading" and a" misrepresentation of facts." The letter states that Moore infringed the copyright of The Pantagraph, and asks for an apology, a correction, and an explanation. The letters asks Moore to "correct the inaccurate information which has been depicted in your film." Moore's law firm wrote back and claimed that there was nothing "misleading" about the fabricated headline.
Richard Soderlund, an Illinois State University history professor, who wrote the letter to the editor that The Pantagraph published, told the Chicago Tribune, "It's misrepresenting a document. It's at odds with history."
[Moore response: Cites articles consistent with my explanation. Fails to acknowledge that the only scenarios for a Gore victory involved recounting methods which Gore never requested in his lawsuits. To tell viewers that Gore would have won "under every scenario" is absurd. No explanation for The Pantagaph fraud.]
Florida Purge of Convicted Felons from Voter Rolls
According to Fahrenheit, Bush cronies hired Data Base Technologies to purge Florida voters who might vote for Gore, and these potential voters were purged from the voting rolls on the basis of race. ("Second, make sure the chairman of your campaign is also the vote count woman. And that her state has hired a company that's gonna knock voters off the rolls who aren't likely to vote for you. You can usually tell 'em by the color of their skin.") As explained by the Palm Beach Post, Moore's suggestion is extremely incomplete, and on at least one fact, plainly false.
The 1998 mayoral election in Miami was a fiasco which was declared void by Florida courts, because--in violation of Florida law--convicted felons had been allowed to vote. The Florida legislature ordered the executive branch to purge felons from the voting rolls before the next election. Following instructions from Florida officials, Data Base Technologies (DBT) aggressively attempted to identify all convicted felons who were illegally registered to vote in Florida.
There were two major problems with the purge. First, several states allow felons to vote once they have completed their sentences. Some of these ex-felons moved to Florida and were, according to a court decision, eligible to vote. Florida improperly purged these immigrant felons.
Second, the comprehensive effort to identify all convicted felons led to a large number of false positives, in which persons with, for example, the same name as a convicted felon, were improperly purged. Purged voters were, in most cases, notified months before the election and given an opportunity to appeal, but the necessity to file an appeal was in itself a barrier which probably discouraged some legitimate, non-felon citizens from voting. According to the Palm Beach Post, at least 1,100 people were improperly purged.
The overbreadth of the purge was well-known in Florida before the election. As a result, election officials in 20 of Florida's counties ignored the purge list entirely. In these counties, convicted felons were allowed to vote. Also according to the Post, thousands of felons were improperly allowed to vote in the 20 non-purging counties. Analysis by Abigail Thernstrom and Russell G. Redenbaugh, dissenting from a report by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, suggests that about 5,600 felons voted illegally in Florida. (The Thernstrom/Redenbaugh dissent explains why little credit should be given to the majority report, which was produced by flagrantly ignoring data.)
When allowed to vote, felons vote approximately 69 percent Democratic, according to a study in the American Sociological Review. Therefore, if the thousands of felons in the non-purging 20 counties had not been illegally allowed to vote, it is likely that Bush's statewide margin would have been substantially larger.
Regardless, Moore's suggestion that the purge was conducted on the basis of race was indisputably false. As the Palm Beach Post details, all the evidence shows that Data Base Technologies did not use race as a basis for the purge. Indeed, DBT's refusal to take note of a registered voter's race was one of the reasons for the many cases of mistaken identity.
DBT's computers had matched these people with felons, though in dozens of cases they did not share the same name, birthdate, gender or race...[A] review of state records, internal e-mails of DBT employees and testimony before the civil rights commission and an elections task force showed no evidence that minorities were specifically targeted. Records show that DBT told the state it would not use race as a criterion to identify felons. The list itself bears that out: More than 1,000 voters were matched with felons though they were of different races.
The appeals record supports the Palm Beach Post's findings. Based on the numbers of successful appeals, blacks were less likely to have been improperly placed on the purge list: of the blacks who were purged, 5.1 percent successfully appealed. Of Hispanics purged, 8.7 percent successfully appealed. Of whites purged, 9.9 percent successfully appealed. John R. Lott, Jr., "Nonvoted Ballots and Discrimination in Florida," Journal of Legal Studies, vol. 32 (Jan. 2003), p. 209. Of course it is theoretically possible that the appeals officials discriminated against blacks, or that improperly purged blacks were not as likely to appeal as were people of other races. But no one has offered any evidence to support such possibilities.
[Moore response: Cites various articles about the felon purge. Offers no evidence to support the claim that voters were targeted on the basis of race.]
Bush Presidency before September 11
The movie lauds an anti-Bush riot that took place in Washington, D.C., on the day of Bush’s inauguration. He claims that protestors "pelted Bush's limo with eggs." Actually, it was just one egg, according to the BBC. According to Moore, "No President had ever witnessed such a thing on his inauguration day. " According to CNN, Richard Nixon faced comparable protests in 1969 and 1973. According to USA Today, the anti-Bush organizers claimed that they expected 20,000 protesters to show up, whereas the anti-Nixon protest in 1973 drew 60,000 people. (USA Today, Jan. 20, 2001).
Moore says, "The plan to have Bush get out of the limo for the traditional walk to the White House was scrapped. But according to the BBC, "Mr. Bush delighted his supporters by getting out of his limousine and walked the last block of the parade, holding hands with his wife Laura."
Moore continues: "And for the next eight months it didn’t get any better for George W. Bush. He couldn’t get his judges appointed; he had trouble getting his legislation passed; and he lost Republican control of the Senate. His approval ratings in the polls began to sink."
Part of this is true. Once Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords left the Republican party, Democrats controlled the Senate, and stalled the confirmation of some of the judges whom Bush had nominated for the federal courts.
Congress did enact the top item on Bush’s agenda: a large tax cut. During the summer, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives easily passed many of Bush’s other agenda items, including the bill whose numbering reflected the President’s top priority: H.R. 1, the Bush "No Child Left Behind" education bill. The fate of the Bush bills in the Democratic-controlled Senate, as of August 2001, was uncertain. The Senate later did pass No Child Left Behind, but some other Bush proposals did not pass.
Moore says that Bush's "approval ratings in the polls began to sink." This is not entirely accurate, although I haven't counted this issue as a "deceit." From January 2001 to September 2001, Bush's approval ratings in almost all polls fluctuated pretty narrowly in a 50-59% range. Moore accurately cites a Christian Science Monitor poll with 45 percent approval for Bush on September 5, 2001, but the low result here is an outlier compared to the overall poll trend. What really changed for Bush, pollwise, was not that his approval ratings were sinking, but that his disapproval ratings had risen. The national polls showed that the approve/disapprove gap for Bush was much larger in January 2001 than in the late summer of 2001. So Moore is correct that Bush's polls numbers had deteriorated, although Moore's phrasing is not correct.
"He was already beginning to look like a lame duck President." Maybe in Moore's imagination. No serious political commentator made such a claim in 2001.
Bush is quoted as saying, "A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there's no question about it." What Moore fails to note, though, is that the quote, from July 26, 2001, is a facetious joke, like Moore's claim in Dude, Where's my Country? that he did not have sex until age 32.
Another Bush joke is presented as an obvious joke, although important context is missing. Near the end of the movie, Bush speaks to a tuxedoed audience. He says, "I call you the haves and the have-mores. Some call you the elite; I call you my base." The joke follows several segments in which Bush is accused of having started the Iraq war in order to enrich business. As far the movie audience can tell, Bush is speaking to some unknown group of rich people. The speech actually comes from the October 19, 2000, Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner. The 2000 event was the 55th annual dinner, which raises money for Catholic hospital charities in New York City. Candidates Bush and Gore were the co-guests of honor at the event, where speakers traditionally make fun of themselves.
Gore joked, "The Al Smith Dinner represents a hallowed and important tradition, which I actually did invent." Lampooning his promise to put Social Security in a "lock box," Gore promised that he would put "Medicare in a walk-in closet," put NASA funding in a "hermetically sealed Ziploc bag" and would "always keep lettuce in the crisper." Mary Ann Poust, "Presidential hopefuls Gore and Bush mix humor and politics at Al Smith Dinner," Catholic New York, Oct. 26, 2000. So although Fahrenheit presents the joke as epitomizing Bush's selfishness, the joke really was part of Bush helping to raise $1.6 million for medical care for the poor. Although many a truth is said in jest, Bush's joke was no more revealing than was Gore's claim to have founded the dinner in 1946, two years before he was born. (CBS News story on the same event.)
[Moore response: Cites articles predicting that Bush would have trouble with Congress on Arctic drilling, campaign finance, and faith-based charity. Cites a California poll in which Bush's disapproval rating equaled his approval rating. Cites a couple of additional polls, selecting Bush's worst results. No response on the distortion of the Alfred E. Smith Dinner.]
Fahrenheit 9/11 states, "In his first eight months in office before September 11th, George W. Bush was on vacation, according to the Washington Post, forty-two percent of the time."
Shortly before 9/11, the Post calculated that Bush had spent 42 percent of his presidency at vacation spots or en route, including all or part of 54 days at his ranch. That calculation, however, includes weekends, which Moore failed to mention.
Tom McNamee, "Just the facts on ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ Chicago Sun-Times, June 28, 2004. See also: Mike Allen, "White House On the Range. Bush Retreats to Ranch for ‘Working Vacation’," Washington Post, August 7, 2001 Many of those days are weekends, and the Camp David stays have included working visits with foreign leaders. Since the Eisenhower administration, Presidents have usually spent many weekends at Camp David, which is fully equipped for Presidential work. Once the Camp David time is excluded, Bush's "vacation" time drops to 13 percent.
Much of that 13 percent was spent on Bush's ranch in Texas. Reader Scott Marquardt looked into a random week of Bush's August 2001 "vacation." Using public documents from www.whitehouse.gov, here is what he found:
Monday, August 20
Spoke concerning the budget while visiting a high school in Independence, Missouri.
Spoke at the annual Veteran's of Foreign Wars convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Signed six bills into law.
Announced his nominees for Chief Financial Officer of the Department of Agriculture, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Financial Management, member of the Federal Housing Finance Board, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disabled Employment Policy, U.S. Representative to the General Assembly of the U.N., and Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development for the Bureau of Humanitarian Response.
Spoke with workers at the Harley Davidson factory.
Dined with Kansas Governor Bill Graves, discussing politics.
Tuesday, August 21
Took press questions at a Target store in Kansas City, Missouri.
Spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien on the matter of free trade and tariffs on Canadian lumber.
Wednesday, August 22
Met with Karen Hughes, Condi Rice, and Josh Bolten, and other staff (more than one meeting).
Conferenced with Mexico's president for about 20 minutes on the phone. They discussed Argentina's economy and the International Monetary fund's role in bringing sustainability to the region. They also talked about immigration and Fox's planned trip to Washington.
Communicated with Margaret LaMontagne, who was heading up a series of immigration policy meetings.
Released the Mid-Session Review, a summary of the economic outlook for the next decade, as well as of the contemporary economy and budget.
Announced nomination and appointment intentions for Ambassador to Vietnam, two for the Commission on Fine Arts, six to serve on the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry, three for the Advisory Committee to the Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation, one to the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and one to the National Endowments for the Arts.
Issued a Presidential Determination ordering a military drawdown for Tunisia.
Issued a statement regarding the retirement of Jesse Helms.
Thursday, August 23
Briefly spoke with the press.
Visited Crawford Elementary School, fielded questions from students.
Friday, August 24
Officials arrived from Washington at 10:00 AM. Shortly thereafter, at a press conference, Bush announced that General Richard B. Myers will be the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and General Pete Pac will serve as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He also announced 14 other appointments, and his intentions for the budget. At 11:30 AM these officials, as well as National Security Council experts, the Secretary of Defense, and others, met with Bush to continue the strategic review process for military transformation (previous meetings have been held at the Pentagon and the White House). The meeting ended at 5:15.
Met with Andy Card and Karen Hughes, talking about communications issues.
Issued a proclamation honoring Women's Equality Day.
Saturday, August 25
Awoke at 5:45 AM, read daily briefs.
Had an hour-long CIA and national security briefing at 7:45
Gave his weekly radio address on the topic of The Budget.
Having shown a clip from August 25 with Bush explaining how he likes to work on the ranch, Moore announces "George Bush spent the rest of the August at the ranch." Not so, as Scott Marquardt found by looking at Bush's activity for the very next day.
Sunday, August 26
Speaks at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Speaks at the U.S. Steel Group Steelworkers Picnic at Mon Valley Works, southeast of Pittsburgh. He also visits some employees still working, not at the picnic.
Marquandt looked up Bush's activities for the next three days:
Declared a major disaster area in Ohio and orders federal aid. This affects Brown, Butler, Clermont and Hamilton counties.
Sent a report on progress toward a "solution of the Cyprus question" to the Speaker of the House and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
Announced his intention to nominate Kathleen Burton Clarke to be Director of the Bureau of Land Management (Department of the Interior).
Spoke at the American Legion's 83rd annual convention in San Antonio, discussing defense priorities. Decommissioned the Air Force One jet that flew 444 missions, from the Nixon administration to Bush's retirement ceremony for the plane in Waco, Texas.
Attended the dedication ceremony of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in San Antonio.
Announced appointment of 13 members of the Presidential Task Force to Improve Health Care Delivery for Our Nations Veterans.
It is true in a sense that the Presidency is a "24/7" job. But this does not mean that the President should be working every minute. A literal "24/7" job would mean that the President should be criticized for "sleeping on the job 33 percent of the time" if he slept for eight hours a day.
Christopher Hitchens notes:
[T]he shot of him "relaxing at Camp David" shows him side by side with Tony Blair. I say "shows," even though this photograph is on-screen so briefly that if you sneeze or blink, you won’t recognize the other figure. A meeting with the prime minister of the United Kingdom, or at least with this prime minister, is not a goof-off.
The president is also captured in a well-worn TV news clip, on a golf course, making a boilerplate response to a question on terrorism and then asking the reporters to watch his drive. Well, that’s what you get if you catch the president on a golf course.
Christopher Hitchens, "Unfairenheit 9/11: The lies of Michael Moore," Slate.com, June 21, 2004. (Some of Moore's defenders have denounced Hitchens as a member of the vast-right wing conspiracy. Hitchens, however, wrote an obituary of Ronald Reagan recalling his lone meeting with Reagan, when he asked a question which made Reagan angry: "The famously genial grin turned into a rictus of senile fury: I was looking at a cruel and stupid lizard." Hitchens also wrote a book and produced a movie, The Trials of Henry Kissinger, urging that Kissinger be tried for war crimes.)
By the way, the clip of Bush making a comment about terrorism, and then hitting a golf ball, is also taken out of context, at least partially:
Tuesday night on FNC’s Special Report with Brit Hume, Brian Wilson noted how "the viewer is left with the misleading impression Mr. Bush is talking about al-Qaeda terrorists." But Wilson disclosed that "a check of the raw tape reveals the President is talking about an attack against Israel, carried out by a Palestinian suicide bomber."
"Cyberalert," Media Research Center, July 1, 2004, item. 3.
Interestingly, as detailed in Bill Clinton's autobiography My Life, in November 1995. when President Clinton learned that Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin had been shot, Clinton went out to the White House lawn and hit golf balls while he waited to learn if Rabin would live. That Clinton played golf after learning of a terrible crime in Israel obviously does not mean that he did not care about the crime. If a television station had recorded some footage of Clinton hitting golf balls that awful night, it would have easy for a hyper-partisan film-maker to use the footage against Clinton unfairly.
Moore wraps up the vacation segment: "It was a summer to remember. And when it was over, he left Texas for his second favorite place." The movie then shows Bush in Florida. Actually, he went back to Washington, where he gave a speech on August 31.
[Moore response: Accurately quotes the Washington Post: "if you add up all his weekends at Camp David, layovers at Kennebunkport and assorted to-ing and fro-ing, W. will have spent 42 percent of his presidency 'at vacation spots or en route.'" Does not attempt to defend Fahrenheit's mischaracterization of the Post's meaning. Does not explain why the Israeli context was removed from the Bush quote. Does not defend the claim that Bush went from Texas to Florida.]
Moore's changing positions
Fahrenheit presents a powerful segment on the September 11 attacks. There is no narration, and the music is dramatic yet tasteful. The visuals are reaction shots from pedestrians, as they gasp with horrified astonishment.
Moore has been criticized for using the reaction shots as a clever way to avoid showing the planes hitting the buildings, and some of the victims falling to their deaths. Even if this is true, the segment still effectively evokes the horror and outrage that every decent human being still feels about September 11.
But as New York’s former Mayor Edward Koch reported, Moore says, "I don't know why we are making so much of an act of terror. It is three times more likely that you will be struck by lightning than die from an act of terror." If there is some additional context which would explain Moore's remarks, he has not supplied such context on his website. It seems unlikely that Moore's "war room" is unaware of the highly critical review written by former NYC Mayor Koch.
Moore's first public comment about the September 11 attacks was to complain that too many Democrats rather than Republicans had been killed: "If someone did this to get back at Bush, then they did so by killing thousands of people who did not vote for him! Boston, New York, DC, and the planes' destination of California--these were places that voted against Bush!" (The quote was originally posted as a "Mike's Message" on Moore's website on September 12, but was removed not long after. Among the many places where Moore's quote has been repeated is The New Statesman, a leftist British political magazine.)
A person might feel great personal sympathy for the victim of a lightning strike, but the same person might feel that, overall, the "lightning problem" is not worth making a big fuss over. Fahrenheit presents September 11 as a terrible tragedy (in which Moore lost one a professional colleague, and many other people lost loved ones), and as something worth making a big fuss. On this latter point, Fahrenheit's purported view does not appear to be the same as Moore's actual view.
[Moore response: none.]
Bush on September 11
Fahrenheit mocks President Bush for continuing to read the book My Pet Goat to a classroom of elementary school children after he was told about the September 11 attacks. Actually, as reported in The New Yorker, the book was Reading Mastery 2, which contains an exercise called "The Pet Goat." The title of the book is not very important in itself, but the invented title of My Pet Goat makes it easier to ridicule Bush.
What Moore did not tell you:
Gwendolyn Tose’-Rigell, the principal of Emma E. Booker Elementary School, praised Bush’s action: "I don’t think anyone could have handled it better." "What would it have served if he had jumped out of his chair and ran out of the room?"…
She said the video doesn’t convey all that was going on in the classroom, but Bush’s presence had a calming effect and "helped us get through a very difficult day."
"Sarasota principal defends Bush from ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ portrayal," Associated Press, June 24, 2004. Also, since the President knew he was on camera, it was reasonable to expect that if he had suddenly sped out of the room, his hasty movement would have been replayed incessantly on television; leaving the room quickly might have exacerbated the national mood of panic, even if Bush had excused himself calmly.
Moore does not offer any suggestion about what the President should have done during those seven minutes, rather than staying calm for the sake of the classroom and of the public. Nor does Moore point to any way that the September 11 events might have turned out better in even the slightest way if the President had acted differently. I agree with Lee Hamilton, the Vice-Chair of the September11 Commission and a former Democratic Representative from Indiana: "Bush made the right decision in remaining calm, in not rushing out of the classroom."
Moreover, as detailed by the Washington Times, Ari Fleischer was in the back of the classroom, holding up a legal pad with the words, "DON'T SAY ANYTHING YET." The Secret Service may well have been cautious about moving Bush, not only because of hijackings, but also because on the morning of September 11, a Middle Eastern man had tried to gain personal access to the President by falsely claiming that he was a journalist with a scheduled interview, and by asking for a Secret Service agent by name
[Moore response: Defends the factual accuracy of the segment, which no one has ever disputed, except regarding the book's title.]
The Wolfowitz Comb
Another cheap shot
Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz is shown surreptitiously licking his comb in preparation for Congressional testimony under the cameras. I know: Eeeuuww! Moore's point is that this proves Wolfowitz is a low life, a sleazy guy whose policy opinions should be devalued accordingly. And, of course, it's funny to see the famous and powerful embarrass themselves. Yet not one among us hasn't had dozens of questionable hygiene moments that we would be mortified to have witnessed by anyone, not to mention see featured in a nationally released documentary. Moore knows that Wolfowitz's desperate act in attempting to tame unruly hair for a public appearance will look much worse on movie screen than it really is, and he must know that periodic hygiene failings are not any kind of proof of depravity: after all, we're talking about a director here who habitually appears in public unshaven and sloppily dressed. To Moore's likely retort that Wolfowitz deserves to be gratuitously ridiculed for doing nothing worse than any member of his audience could easily recall doing himself, the answer is that nobody deserves to be treated this way. It is cruel and hypocritical, and violates basic ethical reciprocity. Doing so is wrong, and far more wrong, and infinitely more harmful to others, than licking one's own comb.
Jack Marshall, "Fahrenheit 911," Ethics Scoreboard, June 30, 2004.
Castigating the allegedly lazy President, Moore says, "Or perhaps he just should have read the security briefing that was given to him on August 6, 2001 that said that Osama bin Laden was planning to attack America by hijacking airplanes."
Moore supplies no evidence for his assertion that President Bush did not read the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief. Moore’s assertion appears to be a complete fabrication.
Moore smirks that perhaps President Bush did not read the Briefing because its title was so vague. Moore then cuts to Condoleezza Rice announcing the title of the Briefing: "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." Here, Moore seems to be playing off Condoleezza Rice's testimony of the September 11 Commission that the contents of the memo were vague.
However, no-one (except Moore) has ever claimed that Bush did not read the Briefing, or that he did not read it because the title was vague. Rather, Condoleezza Rice had told the press conference that the information in the Briefing was "very vague." National Security Advisor Holds Press Briefing, The White House, May 16, 2002.
The content of the Briefing supports Rice’s characterization, and refutes Moore’s assertion that the Briefing "said that Osama bin Laden was planning to attack America by hijacking airplanes." The actual Briefing was highly equivocal:
We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a [deleted text] service in 1998 saying that Bin Laden wanted to hijack a U.S. aircraft to gain the release of "Blind Shaykh" ‘Umar’ Abd aI-Rahman and other U.S.-held extremists.
Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.
(Some readers have wondered how this short segment qualifies as three deceits: 1. that Bush did not read the memo, 2. that the memo's title was offered as an excuse for not reading the memo, 3. omitting that the memo was equivocal, and that the hijacking warning was something that the FBI said it was "unable to corroborate.")
[Moore response: Tacitly acknowledges that Bush had read the August 6 PDB: "he (unlike the rest of America) was already aware that Osama bin Laden was planning to attack America by hijacking airplanes, per the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief (PDB)." Does not directly address Fahrenheit's lie that Bush hadn't read the PDB, or the lie that Bush had used the "vague" PDB title as an excuse for not reading it. Accurately quotes the PDB, without acknowledging that the PDB was much more equivocal than Fahrenheit claims.]
Saudi Departures from United States
Moore is guilty of a classic game of saying one thing and implying another when he describes how members of the Saudi elite were flown out of the United States shortly after 9/11.
If you listen only to what Moore says during this segment of the movie—and take careful notes in the dark—you’ll find he’s got his facts right. He and others in the film state that 142 Saudis, including 24 members of the bin Laden family, were allowed to leave the country after Sept. 13.
The date—Sept. 13—is crucial because that is when a national ban on air traffic, for security purposes, was eased
But nonetheless, many viewers will leave the movie theater with the impression that the Saudis, thanks to special treatment from the White House, were permitted to fly away when all other planes were still grounded. This false impression is created by Moore’s failure, when mentioning Sept. 13, to emphasize that the ban on flights had been eased by then. The false impression is further pushed when Moore shows the singer Ricky Martin walking around an airport and says, "Not even Ricky Martin would fly. But really, who wanted to fly? No one. Except the bin Ladens."
But the movie fails to mention that the FBI interviewed about 30 of the Saudis before they left. And the independent 9/11 commission has reported that "each of the flights we have studied was investigated by the FBI and dealt with in a professional manner prior to its departure."
McNamee, Chicago Sun-Times. (Note: The Sun-Times article was correct in its characterization of the Ricky Martin segment, but not precisely accurate in the exact words used in the film. I have substituted the exact quote. On September 13, U.S. airspace was re-opened for a small number of flights; charter flights were allowed, and the airlines were allowed to move their planes to new airports to start carrying passengers on September 14.)
Tapper: [Y]our film showcases former counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke, using him as a critic of the Bush administration. Yet in another part of the film, one that appears in your previews, you criticize members of the Bush administration for permitting members of the bin Laden family to fly out of the country almost immediately after 9/11. What the film does not mention is that Richard Clarke says that he OK’d those flights. Is it fair to not mention that?
Moore: Actually I do, I put up The New York Times article and it’s blown up 40 foot on the screen, you can see Richard Clarke’s name right there saying that he approved the flights based on the information the FBI gave him. It’s right there, right up on the screen. I don’t agree with Clarke on this point. Just because I think he’s good on a lot of things doesn’t mean I agree with him on everything.
Jake Tapper interview with Michael Moore, ABC News, June 25, 2004. In an Associated Press interview, Clarke said that he agreed with much of what Moore had to say, but that the Saudi flight material was a mistake. Clarke testified to the September 11 Commission, on September 3, 2003, that letting the Saudis go "was a conscious decision with complete review at the highest levels of the State Department and the FBI and the White House." It's possible to read Clarke's 2003 statement as consistent with his 2004 statements; if you believe that what Clarke is saying now contradicts what he said in 2003, then Clarke is a liar, and all other claims he makes in Fahrenheit are discredited. Although he really did not make those claims for Fahrenheit; according to National Public Radio:
"I think Moore's making a mountain of a molehill," he said. Moreover, said Mr. Clarke, "He never interviewed me." Instead, Mr. Moore had simply lifted a clip from an ABC interview.
Fahrenehit includes a brief shot of a Sept. 4, 2003, New York Times article headlined "White House Approved Departures of Saudis after Sept. 11, Ex-Aide Says." The camera pans over the article far too quickly for any ordinary viewer to spot and read the words in which Clarke states that he approved the flights.
Like Clarke, most of the political figures in Fahrenheit 9/11 were not filmed by Moore; he used footage which had been shot by news organizations. The Internet Movie Database lists 40 public figures in the "cast" of Fahrenheit; of these, 37 are listed as from "archival footage."
Some Saudis left the U.S. by charter flight on September 14, a day when commercial flights had resumed, but when ordinary charter planes were still grounded. When did the bin Ladens actually leave? Not until the next week, as the the 9/11 Commission staff report explains:
Fearing reprisals against Saudi nationals, the Saudi government asked for help in getting some of its citizens out of the country….we have found that the request came to the attention of Richard Clarke and that each of the flights we have studied was investigated by the FBI and dealt with in a professional manner prior to its departure.
No commercial planes, including chartered flights, were permitted to fly into, out of, or within the United States until September 13, 2001. After the airspace reopened, six chartered flights with 142 people, mostly Saudi Arabian nationals, departed from the United States between September 14 and 24. One flight, the so-called Bin Ladin flight, departed the United States on September 20 with 26 passengers, most of them relatives of Usama Bin Ladin. We have found no credible evidence that any chartered flights of Saudi Arabian nationals departed the United States before the reopening of national airspace.
The Saudi flights were screened by law enforcement officials, primarily the FBI, to ensure that people on these flights did not pose a threat to national security, and that nobody of interest to the FBI with regard to the 9/11 investigation was allowed to leave the country. Thirty of the 142 people on these flights were interviewed by the FBI, including 22 of the 26 people (23 passengers and 3 private security guards) on the Bin Ladin flight. Many were asked detailed questions. None of the passengers stated that they had any recent contact with Usama Bin Ladin or knew anything about terrorist activity.
The FBI checked a variety of databases for information on the Bin Ladin flight passengers and searched the aircraft. It is unclear whether the TIPOFF terrorist watchlist was checked. At our request, the Terrorist Screening Center has rechecked the names of individuals on the flight manifests of these six Saudi flights against the current TIPOFF watchlist. There are no matches.
The FBI has concluded that nobody was allowed to depart on these six flights who the FBI wanted to interview in connection with the 9/11 attacks, or who the FBI later concluded had any involvement in those attacks. To date, we have uncovered no evidence to contradict this conclusion.
The final Commission Report confirms that Clarke was the highest-ranking official who made the decision to let the Saudis go, and that Clarke's decision had no adverse effect on September 11 investigations. See pages 328-29 of the Report.
Finally, Moore's line, "But really, who wanted to fly? No one. Except the bin Ladens," happens to be a personal lie. Stranded in California on September 11, Michael Moore ended up driving home to New York City. On September 14, he wrote to his fans "Our daughter is fine, mostly frightened by my desire to fly home to her rather than drive." Moore acceded to the wishes of his wife and daughter, and drove back to New York. It is pretty hypocritical for Moore to slam the Saudis (who had very legitimate fears of being attacked by angry people) just because they wanted to fly home, at the same time when Moore himself wanted to fly home.
(Deceits: 1. Departure dates for Saudis, 2. Omission of Richard Clarke's approval for departures, 3. Lying to Jake Tapper about whether Clarke's role was presented in the movie, 4. Moore himself wanted to fly when he says only the bin Ladens did.)
[Moore response: Provides citations showing that "the White House" approved the Saudi departures; does not cite or acknowledge Clarke's statement that he was the guy in the White House who approved the departures. Does not respond to Clarke's statement that the Saudi departures segment in Fahrenheit is "a mistake." Provides accurate citations for the dates of Saudi departures; does not address how the film misled viewers about when the departures took place. Cites the September 11 Commission (which says that the pre-departure interviews were "detailed" and other sources, including National Review, which say they were not).
Updated Moore response: In an impressively brazen display of mendacity, Moore claims that the September 11 Commission finding that Clarke approved the Saudi departures and that the decision went no higher proves that Fahrenheit is factually accurate.]
Bush and James Bath
Moore mentions that Bush’s old National Guard buddy and personal friend James Bath had become the money manager for the bin Laden family, saying, [that after the bin Ladens invested in James Bath,] "James Bath himself in turn invested in George W. Bush." The implication is that Bath invested the bin Laden family’s money in Bush’s failed energy company, Arbusto. He doesn’t mention that Bath has said that he had invested his own money, not the bin Ladens’, in Bush’s company.
Matt Labash, "Un-Moored from Reality," Weekly Standard, July 5, 2004. See also: Thomas Frank, "Film offers limited view," Newsday, June 27, 2004; Michael Isikoff & Mark Hosenball, "More Distortions From Michael Moore. Some of the main points in ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ really aren’t very fair at all," MSNBC.com, June 30, 2004.
Moore makes a big point about the name of James Bath being blacked out from Bush National Guard records which were released by the White House. The blackout might appear less sinister if Moore revealed that federal law (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, HIPAA) required the National Guard to black out the names any Guardsmen whose medical information was on the same pages as the records which the Guard released regarding George Bush's health records. In Bath's case, he had been suspended for failing to take an annual physical exam. So what Moore presents as a sinister effort to conceal the identity of James Bath was in fact the legally-required compliance with federal law.
Moore gloats: "What Bush didn't know was that I already had a copy of his military records--uncensored--obtained in the year 2000." Moore creates the impression that he is an investigative sleuth. Actually, the records had been released in 2000. The privacy regulations for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) went into effect on April 14, 2003, and so did not apply when the National Guard records were released in 2000.
[Moore response: Shows that Bath and Bush were friends, a fact which was never disputed. Does not address the fact that the black-out of Bath's name was required by new federal law. Does not defend the insinuation that Bath used bin Laden money to invest in Bush. Does not address the fact that Craig Unger's book House of Bush, House of Saud reports that there is no evidence that Bath used bin Laden money for the Arbusto investment.]
Bush and Prince Bandar
Moore points out the distressingly close relationship between Saudi Arabia’s ambassador, Prince Bandar, and the Bush family. But Moore does not explain that Bandar has been a bipartisan Washington power broker for decades, and that Bill Clinton repeatedly relied on Bandar to advance Clinton’s own Middle East agenda. (Elsa Walsh, "The Prince. How the Saudi Ambassador became Washington’s indispensable operator," The New Yorker, Mar. 24, 2003.)
President Clinton’s former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Wyche Fowler, has been earning a lucrative living as a Saudi apologist and serving as Chairman of the Middle East Institute—a research organization heavily funded by Saudi Arabia. (Joel Mowbray, "Feeding at the Saudi Trough," Townhall.com, Oct. 1, 2003.) Former President Clinton received $750,000 for giving a speech in Saudi Arabia, and the Saudis have donated a secret sum (estimated between $1 million and $20 million) to the Clinton Library.
Former President Carter (who sat next to Moore at the 2004 Democratic Convention) met with 10 bin Laden brothers in 2000, and came away with a $200,000 donation from the bin Ladens to the Carter Center in Atlanta.
I am not suggesting that Mr. Fowler or former President Carter are in any way corrupt; I’m sure that they are sincere (although, in my view, mistaken) in their pro-Saudi and anti-Israel viewpoint. Nor is there anything illegal about former President Clinton's receipt of huge Saudi largesse. What is misleading is for Moore to look at the web of Saudi influence in Washington only in regard to the Republican Bushes, and to ignore the fact that Saudi influence and money are widespread in both parties.
Bush once served on the Board of Directors of the Harken Energy Company. According to Fahrenheit:
Moore: Yes, it helps to be the President’s son. Especially when you’re being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
TV reporter: In 1990 when M. Bush was a director of Harken Energy he received this memo from company lawyers warning directors not to sell stock if they had unfavorable information about the company. One week later he sold $848,000 worth of Harken stock. Two months later, Harken announced losses of more than $23 million dollars.
Moore:…Bush beat the rap from the SEC…
What Moore left out: Bush sold the stock long after he checked with those same "company lawyers" who had provided the cautionary memo, and they told him that the sale was all right. Almost all of the information that caused Harken’s large quarterly loss developed only after Bush had sold the stock.
Despite Moore’s pejorative that Bush "beat the rap," no-one has ever found any evidence suggesting that he engaged in illegal insider trading. He did fail to file a particular SEC disclosure form on time. (Byron York, "The Facts About Bush and Harken. The president’s story holds up under scrutiny," National Review Online, July 10, 2002.) For a detailed factual timeline, see James Dunbar, "A Brief History of Bush, Harken and the SEC," Center for Public Integrity, Oct. 16, 2002.
Moore’s film suggests that Bush has close family ties to the bin Laden family—principally through Bush’s father’s relationship with the Carlyle Group, a private investment firm. The president’s father, George H.W. Bush, was a senior adviser to the Carlyle Group’s Asian affiliate until recently; members of the bin Laden family—who own one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest construction firms—had invested $2 million in a Carlyle Group fund. Bush Sr. and the bin Ladens have since severed ties with the Carlyle Group, which in any case has a bipartisan roster of partners, including Bill Clinton’s former SEC chairman Arthur Levitt. The movie quotes author Dan Briody claiming that the Carlyle Group "gained" from September 11 because it owned United Defense, a military contractor. Carlyle Group spokesman Chris Ullman notes that United Defense holds a special distinction among U.S. defense contractors that is not mentioned in Moore’s movie: the firm’s $11 billion Crusader artillery rocket system developed for the U.S. Army is one of the only weapons systems canceled by the Bush administration.
Michael Isikoff, "Under the Hot Lights. Moore’s movie will make waves. But it’s a fine line between fact and fanaticism. Deconstructing ‘Fahrenheit 9/11." Newsweek, June 28, 2004. (Isikoff appears to be wrong on one fact; the Crusader uses a self-propelled gun, and does not fire rockets.)
Moore claims that refusing to mention the Crusader cancellation was all right because the cancellation came after the United Defense initial public offering (stock sale to the public). But the cancellation had a serious negative financial impact on Carlyle, since Carlyle still owns 47% of United Defense.
Moore tells us that when Carlyle took United Defense public, they made a one-day profit of $237 million, but under all the public scrutiny, the bin Laden family eventually had to withdraw (Moore doesn’t tell us that they withdrew before the public offering, not after it).
Labash, Weekly Standard.
There is another famous investor in Carlyle whom Moore does not reveal: George Soros. (Oliver Burkeman & Julian Borger, "The Ex-Presidents’ Club," The Guardian (London), Oct. 31, 2000.) But the fact that the anti-Bush billionaire has invested in Carlyle would detract from Moore’s simplistic conspiracy theory.
Moore alleges that the Saudis have given 1.4 billion dollars to the Bushes and their associates.
Moore derives the $1.4 billion figure from journalist Craig Unger’s book, "House of Bush, House of Saud." Nearly 90 percent of that amount, $1.18 billion, comes from just one source: contracts in the early to mid-1990’s that the Saudi Arabian government awarded to a U.S. defense contractor, BDM, for training the country’s military and National Guard. What’s the significance of BDM? The firm at the time was owned by the Carlyle Group, the powerhouse private-equity firm whose Asian-affiliate advisory board has included the president’s father, George H.W. Bush.
...The main problem with this figure, according to Carlyle spokesman Chris Ullman, is that former president Bush didn’t join the Carlyle advisory board until April, 1998—five months after Carlyle had already sold BDM to another defense firm.
Isikoff & Hosenball, MSNBC.com. (The full text of the article contains the counter-argument by Moore's "war room" and the replies by Isikoff and Hosenball. Moore's staff points out that at the time of the bin Laden $1.18 billion investment, Carlyle included some Bush associates).
Craig Unger points out that George H.W. Bush still receives daily C.I.A. briefings. As Unger points out, Bush has the right to do, but he is the only former President who does. The suggestion is made that Bush uses the C.I.A. information for personal business purposes. We have no way of knowing, and it is possible the Bush does so. On the other hand, this segment of Fahrenheit omits a very relevant fact which would supply an alternative explanation: Bush served as C.I.A. Director in 1976. It would not be surprising for him to want to follow C.I.A. activities in retirement. Earlier in the film, however, Moore does state, in passing, that "Bush’s dad was head of the CIA."
[Moore response: Provides extensive citations for facts about Carlyle which were never disputed. Does not address the fact that Democrats and George Soros are also involved in Carlyle. Does not address how Bush administration severely harmed Carlyle by cancelling the Crusader. Reiterates the points made in response to Isikoff & Hosenball, that Bush friends were involved in Carlyle before George H.W. Bush was.]
Saudi Investments in the United States
Moore asks Craig Unger: "How much money do the Saudis have invested in America, roughly?"
Unger replies, "Uh, I've heard figures as high as $860 billion dollars."
What is the basis of Unger's claim? The $860 billion figure appears on page 28 of Unger's House of Bush, House of Saud. He cites two sources: The Saudi Ambassador's 1996 speech to the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council. In that speech, Prince Bandar discussed the Saudi economy, but said nothing about the size of Saudi investment in the U.S.
Unger's other cited source is a February 11, 2002, Washington Post story, titled "Enormous Wealth Spilled Into American Coffers." The $860 billion figure does not appear there, either. The article states:
After nearly three decades of accumulating this wealth, the group referred to by bankers as "high net worth Saudi individuals" holds between $500 billion and $1 trillion abroad, most of it in European and American investments. Brad Bourland, chief economist of the Saudi American Bank (one-quarter owned by Citibank), said in a speech in London last June that his bank's best estimate of the total is about $700 billion, with the possibility that it is as much as $1 trillion.
Raymond Seitz, vice chairman of Lehman Brothers in London and a former U.S. ambassador to Britain, gave a similar estimate. Seitz said Saudis typically put about three-quarters of their money into the United States, the rest in Europe and Asia. That would mean that Saudi nationals have invested perhaps $500 billion to $700 billion in the American economy.
In short, Unger's cited sources do not support his $860 billion figure. He may have "heard" the figure of $860 billion dollars, but only from people who were repeating the factoid which he invented.
According to the Institute for Research Middle Eastern Policy (a pro-Saudi think tank which tries to emphasize the importance of Saudi money to the United States), in February 2003 total worldwide Saudi investment was at least $700 billion, conservatively estimated. Sixty percent of the Saudi investments were in the United States, so the Saudis had at least 420 billion dollars invested in the U.S. (Tanya C. Hsu , "The United States Must Not Neglect Saudi Arabian Investment," Sept. 23, 2003.)
Unger is asked "what percentage of our economy is that?" (Meaning the supposed $860 billion.)
He replies, "Well, in terms of investments on Wall Street, American equities, it's roughly six or seven percent of America. They own a fairly good slice of America." A little bit later, Moore states that "Saudi Prince Bandar is perhaps the best protected ambassador in the US...Considering how he and his family, and the Saudi elite own seven percent of America, it's probably not a bad idea."
According the Census Bureau, the top countries which own U.S. stocks and bonds are the United Kingdom and Japan. Foreign investors owned $1,690 billion in corporate bonds in 2002. The Census Bureau lists the major national holders, and then groups all the minor holders--including Saudi Arabia--into "Other Countries." All of these other countries combined (including Saudi Arabia) account for only 6 percent of total foreign ownership of U.S. corporate bonds. Likewise, all "Other Countries" combined account for only 7 percent of total foreign ownership of corporate stocks. (And of course the large majority of U.S. corporate stocks and bonds are owned by Americans.) Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States, table 1203.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, total foreign investment in the United States in 2003 was $10,515 billion dollars. This means that even if the figure that Unger "heard" about Saudis having $860 billion is correct, then the Saudis would only have about 8 percent of total foreign investment in the United States. Unless you believe that almost all American assets are owned by foreigners, then it cannot possibly be true that Saudis "own seven percent of America."
[Moore response: Cites Unger's book, and a lawyer who filed an anti-Saudi lawsuit and repeated the Unger figure. Does not address the fact that Unger's sources do not support his claim. Points out that the capitalization of the New York Stock Exchange composite is $12 trillion and that $860 billion amounts to approximately 7 percent of that. But even if the Saudis owned 7% of the stocks on the New York Stock Exchange, the NYSE does not include all of America's wealth--which includes real estate, businesses which are not traded on the NYSE because they are privately owned, and so on. The data show that the Saudis own between 4% (420 billion) and 7% (700 billion) of total foreign investment in the U.S. Moore's assertion that Saudis "own seven percent of America" is completely false.]
Special Protection for Saudi Embassy
Moore shows himself filming the movie near the Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C.:
Moore as narrator: Even though we were nowhere near the White House, for some reason the Secret Service had shown up to ask us what we were doing standing across the street from the Saudi embassy….
Officer: That’s fine. Just wanted to get some information on what was going on.
Moore on camera: Yeah yeah yeah, I didn’t realize the Secret Service guards foreign embassies.
Officer: Uh, not usually, no sir.
But in fact:
Any tourist to Washington, DC, will see plenty of Secret Service Police guarding all of the other foreign embassies which request such protection. Other than guarding the White House and some federal buildings, it’s the largest use of personnel by the Secret Service’s Uniformed Division.
Debbie Schlussel, "FAKEN-heit 9-11: Michael Moore’s Latest Fiction," June 25, 2004.
According to the Secret Service website:
Uniformed Division officers provide protection for the White House Complex, the Vice-President's residence, the Main Treasury Building and Annex, and foreign diplomatic missions and embassies in the Washington, DC area.
So there is nothing strange about the Secret Service protecting the Saudi embassy in Washington—especially since al Qaeda attacks have taken place against Saudi Arabia. According to Article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, an international agreement which has been ratified by the United States, every host country (including the United States) is obliged to protect every embassy within its borders.
[Moore response: None.]
Alleged Bush-Saudi Conspiracy
Moore asks, "Is it rude to suggest that when the Bush family wakes up in the morning they might be thinking about what's best for the Saudis instead of what's best for you?" But his Bush/Saudi conspiracy theory is contradicted by very obvious facts:
…why did Moore’s evil Saudis not join "the Coalition of the Willing"? Why instead did they force the United States to switch its regional military headquarters to Qatar? If the Bush family and the al-Saud dynasty live in each other’s pockets…then how come the most reactionary regime in the region has been powerless to stop Bush from demolishing its clone in Kabul and its buffer regime in Baghdad? The Saudis hate, as they did in 1991, the idea that Iraq’s recuperated oil industry might challenge their[s]....They fear the liberation of the Shiite Muslims they so despise. To make these elementary points is to collapse the whole pathetic edifice of the film’s "theory."
Hitchens, Slate. This isn't to say that concerns about the wishes and interests of the Saudi rulers play too large a role in American foreign policy--especially in the U.S. State Department, which has been notoriously supportive of pro-U.S. Arab dictatorships for many decades. I would much prefer that the State Department and other American foreign policymakers spent less time worrying about friendly relations with the governments of Saudi Arabia, China, and other dictatorships, and more time supporting the aspirations of people who want to free themselves from dictatorship. But complaining about the historic pro-Saudi tilt in U.S. foreign policy, a tilt which is partly the result of extensive business relations between the two countries, is not the same as propounding a tin-hat conspiracy theory that George Bush is a servile tool of the bin Laden family.
Interestingly, Fahrenheit omits one of the leading evildoers in Moore's grand conspiracy theory. As he told an audience in Liverpool, England, "It’s all part of the same ball of wax, right? The oil companies, Israel, Halliburton." The oil companies and Halliburton are prominent villains in Fahrenheit, but there is no mention at all of Israel. Indeed, a Bush quote about terrorism in Israel is chopped to remove the Israel reference. That Moore ignores Israel in Fahrenheit makes sense, given Moore's stated intention of using the movie to defeat George Bush in November. Most American Jews are Democrats; if they found out what Moore believes about Israel they might be considerably more skeptical about Moore's claims regarding other alleged global conspirators. (Moore is strongly anti-Israel; he has called for the U.S. to cut off all aid to Israel, and to use the money to buy weapons for the Palestinians. His latest book, Dude, Where's My Country, is dedicated to the memory of Rachel Corrie, an American who traveled to Israel, burned an American flag for some Palestinian children, and served as an activist for a terrorist support group called the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). The ISM which is run by the Palestinian Communist Party and which advocates the extermination of the state of Israel. She died trying to prevent an Israeli bulldozer from removing some shrubbery which was thought to cover tunnels used by terrorist bombers to enter Israel. Thus Moore dedicated his book to someone who deliberately sought to assist the terrorist murder of civilians in Israel.)
[Moore response: None]
Proposed Unocal Pipeline in Afghanistan
This segment is introduced with the question, "Or was the war in Afghanistan really about something else?" The "something else" is shown to be a Unocal pipeline.
Moore mentions that the Taliban visited Texas while Bush was governor, over a possible pipeline deal with Unocal. But Moore doesn’t say that they never actually met with Bush or that the deal went bust in 1998 and had been supported by the Clinton administration.
Labash, Weekly Standard.
Moore asserts that the Afghan war was fought only to enable the Unocal company to build a pipeline. In fact, Unocal dropped that idea back in August 1998.
Jonathan Foreman, "Moore’s The Pity," New York Post, June 23, 2004.
In December 1997, a delegation from Afghanistan’s ruling and ruthless Taliban visited the United States to meet with an oil and gas company that had extensive dealings in Texas. The company, Unocal, was interested in building a natural gas line through Afghanistan. Moore implies that Bush, who was then governor of Texas, met with the delegation.
But, as Gannett News Service points out, Bush did not meet with the Taliban representatives. What’s more, Clinton administration officials did sit down with Taliban officials, and the delegation’s visit was made with the Clinton administration’s permission.
McNamee, Chicago Sun-Times.
Whatever the motive, the Unocal pipeline project was entirely a Clinton-era proposal: By 1998, as the Taliban hardened its positions, the U.S. oil company pulled out of the deal. By the time George W. Bush took office, it was a dead issue—and no longer the subject of any lobbying in Washington.
Isikoff & Hosenball, MSNBC.com.
Moore claims that "Enron stood to benefit from the pipeline." To the contrary, Enron was not part of the consortium which expressed interest in working with Unocal on the pipeline.
On December 9, 2003, the new Afghanistan government did sign a protocol with Turkmenistan and Pakistan to facilitate a pipeline. Indeed, any Afghani government (Taliban or otherwise) would rationally seek the revenue that could be gained from a pipeline. But the protocol merely aims to entice corporations to build a new pipeline; no corporation has has agreed to do so. Nor does the new proposed pipeline even resemble Unocal's failed proposal; the new pipeline would the bring oil and gas from the Caspian Sea basin, whereas Unocal's proposal involved deposits five hundred miles away, in eastern Turkmenistan.
Fahrenheit showed images of pipeline construction, but the images have nothing to do with the Caspian Sea pipeline, for which construction has never begun. Nor do they have anything to do with the Unocal pipeline, which never existed except on paper.
According to Fahrenheit, Afghanistan's new President, Hamid Karzai, was a Unocal consultant. This is false. Sumana Chatterjee and David Goldstein, "A lowdown on the facts behind the allegations in 'Fahrenheit 9/11'," Knight-Ridder newspapers, July 2, 2004. The origin of the claim appears to be a December 6, 2001 story in the center-left French newspaper Le Monde. The story does not cite any source for its claim. (The story is available on-line from Le Monde's website; registration and payment are required.) Unocal has denied that Karzai was ever a consultant.
(Deceits: 1. Governor Bush never met the Taliban; 2. The Unocal pipeline idea was abandoned; 3. The new pipeline is different from the Unocal proposal; 4. Construction has not begun. Bonus deceit: Enron.)
[Moore response: Regarding Karzai, cites the article in Le Monde, and two later articles which appear to use Le Monde's information. Moore's translation is: "He was a consultant for the American oil company Unocal, while they studied the construction of a pipeline in Afghanistan." The actual sentence was "Après Kaboul et l'Inde ou il a étudié le droit, il a parfait sa formation aux Etats-Unis ou il fut un moment consultant de l'enterprise pétrolière américaine Unocal, quand celle-ci étudiant la construction d'un oléduc en Afghanistan." Translated: After Kabul and India where he had studied law, he completed his training in the United States where he was briefly (literally: "for a moment") a consultant for the American petroleum business Unocal, when it was studying the construction of a pipeline in Afghanistan." Neither Le Monde nor Moore has provided any evidence to substantiate the claim about Unocal and Karzai.
Regarding Enron, Moore cites a 1997 speech a professor, in which the professor said that Enron would be interested in helping to build the Unocal pipeline. There is no reason to doubt the professor, but the fact is that Enron was not among the companies which Unocal chose to work with. There is no evidence supporting Moore's assertion that Enron would benefit from the new Caspian Sea basin pipeline.
Moore does not attempt to defend the other falsities which are detailed in this section: that Unocal had abandoned the project in 1998, that the 2003 Protocol involves an entirely different pipeline, and that the pipeline footage in the movie has nothing to do with either the 1998 or 2003 proposals.]
Bush Administration Relationship with the Taliban
Moore also tries to paint Bush as sympathetic to the Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan until its overthrow by U.S.-led forces shortly after Sept. 11. Moore shows a March 2001 visit to the United States by a Taliban envoy, saying the Bush administration "welcomed" the official, Sayed Hashemi, "to tour the United States to help improve the image of the Taliban."
Yet Hashemi’s reception at the State Department was hardly welcoming. The administration rejected his claim that the Taliban had complied with U.S. requests to isolate Osama bin Laden and affirmed its nonrecognition of the Taliban.
"We don’t recognize any government in Afghanistan," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said on the day of the visit.
[Moore response. Quotes some articles showing that the Taliban visited the U.S. in 2001 to appeal for the lifting of sanctions on their government. Shows no evidence that the Taliban were "welcomed" by the Bush administration. Does not explain why Fahrenheit omits the fact that the Bush administration rebuffed all the Taliban's requests.]
Moore Claimed that Osama bin Laden Might be Innocent and Opposed the Afghanistan War
Fahrenheit 9/11 attempts in every way possible to link Osama bin Laden to George Bush. Moore even claims that Bush deliberately gave bin Laden "a two month head start" by not putting sufficient forces into Afghanistan soon enough. (On HBO, Moore explicitly claimed that the U.S. is protecting bin Laden in order to please the Saudis.) However, Moore has not always been so fierce demanding that the Afghanistan War be prosecuted with maximal power in order to get bin Laden:
In late 2002, almost a year after the al-Qaida assault on American society, I had an onstage debate with Michael Moore at the Telluride Film Festival. In the course of this exchange, he stated his view that Osama Bin Laden should be considered innocent until proven guilty. This was, he said, the American way. The intervention in Afghanistan, he maintained, had been at least to that extent unjustified. Something—I cannot guess what, since we knew as much then as we do now—has since apparently persuaded Moore that Osama Bin Laden is as guilty as hell. Indeed, Osama is suddenly so guilty and so all-powerful that any other discussion of any other topic is a dangerous "distraction" from the fight against him. I believe that I understand the convenience of this late conversion.
Hitchens, Slate. That Osama, if captured and tried in an American court, would be entitled to a presumption of innocence (in the sense that the prosecution would have to prove guilt) does not mean that the U.S. should be morally foreclosed from destroying Osama's base in Afghanistan and attempting to capture or kill Osama based on facts demonstrating his guilt.
Three days after September 11, Moore demanded that no military action be taken against Afghanistan:
"Declare war?" War against whom? One guy in the desert whom we can never seem to find? Are our leaders telling us that the most powerful country on earth cannot dispose of one sick evil f---wad of a guy? Because if that is what you are telling us, then we are truly screwed. If you are unable to take out this lone ZZ Top wannabe, what on earth would you do for us if we were attacked by a nation of millions? For chrissakes, call the Israelis and have them do that thing they do when they want to get their man! We pay them enough billions each year, I am SURE they would be happy to accommodate your request....
But do not declare war and massacre more innocents. After bin Laden's previous act of terror, our last elected president went and bombed what he said was "bin Laden's camp" in Afghanistan -- but instead just killed civilians.
Michael Moore, "War on Whom?" AlterNet, Sept. 14, 2001.
The next day he wrote:
Trust me, they are talking politics night and day, and those discussions involve sending our kids off to fight some invisible enemy and to indiscriminately bomb Afghans or whoever they think will make us Americans feel good.
...I fear we will soon be in a war that will do NOTHING to protect us from the next terrorist attack.
"Mike's Message," Sept. 15, 2001. Although Moore vehemently opposed the Afghanistan War, Fahrenheit criticizes Bush for not putting more troops into Afghanistan sooner.
Are we any safer because the U.S. military eliminated the al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan, removed a government which did whatever al Qaeda wanted, and killed or captured two-thirds of the al Qaeda leadership? Fahrenheit's thesis that the Afghanistan War was solely for the pipeline and to distract attention from Saudi Arabia is inconsistent with the well-known results of the war. A sincere patriot could have opposed the Afghanistan War for a variety of reasons, such as fear that the invasion might stir up even more anti-American sentiment. But the only reason which Fahrenheit offers for opposing the war is the claim that not enough force was used in the early stages (a criticism contrary to Moore's 2001 opposition to the use of any force), and the factually indefensible claim that the results of the war did not help American security or harm terrorists.
[Moore response: none.]
Afghanistan after Liberation
[When] we turn to the facts that are deliberately left out, we discover that there is an emerging Afghan army, that the country is now a joint NATO responsibility and thus under the protection of the broadest military alliance in history, that it has a new constitution and is preparing against hellish odds to hold a general election, and that at least a million and a half of its former refugees have opted to return….[A] highway from Kabul to Kandahar—an insurance against warlordism and a condition of nation-building—is nearing completion with infinite labor and risk. We also discover that the parties of the Afghan secular left—like the parties of the Iraqi secular left—are strongly in favor of the regime change. But this is not the sort of irony in which Moore chooses to deal.
[Moore response: none]
Cooperation with 9/11 Commission
Moore: But when Congress did complete its own investigation, the Bush White House censored twenty-eight pages of the report.
Reporter: The President is being pressed by all sides to declassify the report. US officials tell NBC news most of the secret sources involve Saudi Arabia.
President Bush: We have given extraordinary cooperation with Chairmen Kean and Hamilton.
Commission Chairman Thomas H. Kean: We haven't gotten the materials we needed, and we certainly haven't gotten them in a timely fashion. The deadlines we set have passed.
Bravo to Moore for raising the point about censorship of the 28 pages. It's possible that all the censorship was necessary to protect confidential sources, but it's also possible that at least some of the censorship was unnecessary, and was the result of the White House being overprotective of the Saudis. As I've said before, Moore is right to call attention to excessive Saudi influence in the U.S.; he's just wrong with many of his claims about particular issues, and is ridiculous in his claim that the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were undertaken for the benefit of the Saudis.
The second part of the quoted dialogue, however, is deceptive. The sequencing makes it appear that Kean was rebutting Bush's claim of extraordinary cooperation. In fact, Kean complained on July 9, 2003, that several "government agencies" (Justice and Defense) were not being cooperative.
On February 8, 2004, Bush told MSNBC that his administration had given extraordinary cooperation. So rather than rebutting Bush's claim, Kean's complaint helped spur the administration to, belatedly, fulfill the Committee's requests. Kean stated that the Commission had been given "unprecedented" access to records. Frank, Newsday.
Moore mocks Attorney General John Ashcroft by pointing out that Ashcroft once lost a Senate race in Missouri to a man who had died three weeks earlier. "Voters preferred the dead guy," Moore says, delivering one of the film’s biggest laugh lines.
It’s a cheap shot. When voters in Missouri cast their ballots for the dead man, Mel Carnahan, they knew they were really voting for Carnahan’s very much alive widow, Jean. The Democratic governor of Missouri had vowed to appoint Jean to the job if Mel won.
McNamee, Chicago Sun-Times.
When Mel Carnahan was alive, polls showed him to be tied with Ashcroft.
[Moore response: Provides a newspaper quote: "Sen. John Ashcroft on Wednesday graciously conceded defeat in his re-election campaign against the late Gov. Mel Carnahan and urged fellow Republicans to call off any legal challenges." Does not address the fact that voters knew that if they voted the late Mel Carnahan, his widow Mrs. Jean Carnahan would become their Senator.]
FBI and Department of Justice
Much worse than Moore's petty slam of Senate candidate Ashcroft is Moore's false charge that Attorney General Ashcroft ignored warnings about the September 11 attacks:
[A]fter suggesting that Ashcroft was unconcerned about terrorism before September 11, Moore uses phrasing that exaggerates how widespread knowledge of the Al Qaeda plot was before the attacks inside the FBI and Justice Department:
[Ashcroft's] own FBI knew that summer that there were Al Qaeda members in the US and that Bin Laden was sending his agents to flight schools around the country. But Ashcroft's Justice Department turned a blind eye and a deaf ear.
This implies far more prior knowledge about flight school activity than actually existed. As the 9/11 Commission found in a staff statement (72K Adobe PDF), the so-called "Phoenix memo" from an FBI agent in Arizona suggesting a possible effort by Bin Laden to send agents to flight schools was not widely circulated within the FBI and did not reach Ashcroft's desk:
His memo was forwarded to one field office. Managers of the Osama Bin Laden unit and the Radical Fundamentalist unit at FBI headquarters were addressees, but did not even see the memo until after September 11. No managers at headquarters saw the memo before September 11. The New York field office took no action. It was not shared outside the FBI.
Before Sept. 11, the Minneapolis FBI also investigated Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker, who was enrolled in a flight school there, but no Al Qaeda connections were discovered until after the attacks. Again, saying the FBI "knew" of a plot to send agents to flight schools is overstated.
Brendan Nyhan, "Fahrenheit 9/11: The temperature at which Michael Moore's pants burn," Spinsanity.org, July 2, 2004.
Moore claims that Bush "cut terrorism funding from the FBI." Not so. In 2001, the Department of Justice was operating under the budget established in the last year of the Clinton administration, so any proposed change in future budgets obviously could not have prevented September 11. For the 2002 budget, the Bush administration did not propose cutting the FBI counter-terrorism budget. The relevant documents are collected at the website for the Center for American Progress, a self-declared "progressive" think tank which is scathing in denouncing Ashcroft for not agreeing (before September 11) to various FBI proposals for increasing FBI counter-terrorism funding. Rejecting an increase is not the same as imposing a cut.
Fahrenheit shows a document highlighting the one significant cut which Ashcroft proposed (in a Sept. 10 memo; see p. 25). Contrary to Fahrenheit's claim, that cut was not for the FBI budget. The funding was for grants to states to buy equipment; as the memo detailed, the equipment fund already had more than two years worth of money which had not been spent, because states had not yet complied with grant requirements that the states produce state-wide preparedness plans in order to receive funding.
There was also a cut in a special Attorney General fund which had been set up to pay Department of Justice field offices for costs related to the Oklahoma City Bombing. The Senate had voted to eliminate this fund.
[Moore response: Cites the Phoenix Memo warning about al Qaeda trainees in flight schools. Does not attempt to rebut the evidence that the memo was "not widely circulated within the FBI and did not reach Ashcroft's desk." Cites a Chicago Tribune article summarizing September 11 Commission hearings in which former acting FBI Director Thomas Pickard claims that Ashcroft told Pickard he did not want to hear any more about terrorism. Omits Ashcroft's denial of Pickard's claim--and the possibility that Pickard might have been attempting to shift blame away from the FBI. Claims that the September 11 Commission supports Pickard's claim; actually, the Commission said that it could not determine whether Pickard or Ashcroft's versions were correct. Moore's response does not attempt to defend the false claim about budget cuts.]
Rep. Porter Goss
Defending the USA PATRIOT Act, Representative Porter Goss says that he has an "800 number" for people to call to report problems with the Act. Fahrenheit shoots back with a caption "Not really true." The ordinary telephone number (area code 202) for Goss’s office is then flashed on the screen.
You’d never know by watching Fahrenheit, but Rep. Goss does have a toll-free number to which USA PATRIOT Act complaints can be reported. The number belongs to the Committee which Goss chairs, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The number is (877) 858-9040.
Although the Committee’s number is toll-free, the prefix is not "800," and Moore exploits this trivial fact to create the false impression that Goss lied about having a toll-free number.
As far as I can tell, the slam on Rep. Goss is the only factual error in the segment on the misnamed USA PATRIOT Act. While there are a few good things in the Act, Moore's general critique of the Act is valid. The Act does contain many items which had long been on the FBI wish-list, which do not have real relation to the War on Terror, and which were pushed through under the pretext of 9/11. Similar critiques are also valid for the Clinton "terrorism" bill which was pushed through Congress in 1996.
[Moore response: None.]
There are several scenes involving Oregon state troopers who patrol coastal areas in the state. The Troopers are presented as underfunded and spread far too thinly.
But this has nothing to do with Fahrenheit's claim that the Bush administration is not sincerely interested in homeland security. The Oregon State Police are paid by the Oregon state government (which has been suffering from a budget crisis). Whatever the problems with Trooper funding, the problems are the responsibility of the Oregon state government, not the federal government. Moore's point makes no more sense than blaming the Oregon state government for shortages of FBI personnel in Eugene.
Moreover, the job of protecting the Oregon coastline from foreign invaders is not a job of the Oregon State Police. That job is the responsibility of the United States Coast Guard and the United States Navy. For the Oregon-Washington coast, the Coast Guard has 1,287 personnel on active duty, 459 Coast Guard Reserves, and 1,600 volunteer in the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
[Moore response: Cites an article about Oregon state budget cuts. Continues to ignore the fact that the Oregon State Police budget is not the responsibility of the federal government.]
Saddam Hussein Never Murdered Americans
Fahrenheit asserts that Saddam’s Iraq was a nation that "had never attacked the United States. A nation that had never threatened to attack the United States. A nation that had never murdered a single American citizen." Each of these assertions is false.
Jake Tapper (ABC News): You declare in the film that Hussein’s regime had never killed an American …
Moore: That isn’t what I said. Quote the movie directly.
Tapper: What is the quote exactly?
Moore: "Murdered." The government of Iraq did not commit a premeditated murder on an American citizen. I’d like you to point out one.
Tapper: If the government of Iraq permitted a terrorist named Abu Nidal who is certainly responsible for killing Americans to have Iraq as a safe haven; if Saddam Hussein funded suicide bombers in Israel who did kill Americans; if the Iraqi police—now this is not a murder but it’s a plan to murder—to assassinate President Bush which at the time merited airstrikes from President Clinton once that plot was discovered; does that not belie your claim that the Iraqi government never murdered an American or never had a hand in murdering an American?
Moore: No, because nothing you just said is proof that the Iraqi government ever murdered an American citizen. And I am still waiting for you to present that proof.
You’re talking about, they provide safe haven for Abu Nidal after the committed these murders, uh, Iraq helps or supports suicide bombers in Israel. I mean the support, you remember the telethon that the Saudis were having? It’s our allies, the Saudis, that have been providing help and aid to the suicide bombers in Israel. That’s the story you should be covering. Why don’t you cover that story? Why don’t you cover it?
Note Moore’s extremely careful phrasing of the lines which appear to exonerate Saddam, and Moore’s hyper-legal response to Tapper. In fact, Saddam provided refuge to notorious terrorists who had murdered Americans. Saddam provided a safe haven for Abu Abbas (leader of the hijacking of the ship Achille Lauro and the murder of the elderly American passenger Leon Klinghoffer), for Abu Nidal, and for the 1993 World Trade Center bombmaker, Abdul Rahman Yasin. By law, Saddam therefore was an accessory to the murders. Saddam order his police to murder former American President George Bush when he visited Kuwait City in 1993; they attempted to do so, but failed. In 1991, he ordered his agents to murder the American Ambassador to the Philippines and, separately, to murder the employees of the U.S. Information Service in Manila; they tried, but failed. Yet none of these aggressions against the United States "count" for Moore, because he has carefully framed his verbs and verb tenses to exclude them.
According to Laurie Mylroie, a former Harvard professor who served as Bill Clinton's Iraq advisor during the 1992 campaign (during which Vice-Presidential candidate Gore repeatedly castigated incumbent President George H.W. Bush for inaction against Saddam), the ringleader of the World Trade Center bombings, Ramzi Yousef, was working for the Iraqi intelligence service. Laurie Mylroie, The War Against America: Saddam Hussein and the World Trade Center Attacks: A Study of Revenge (N.Y.: HarperCollins, 2d rev. ed. 2001).
Also, Saddam's military constantly shot at (and therefore attempted to kill) American and British pilots enforcing the "no-fly zone" over portions of Iraq. The no-fly zone was created to prevent Saddam's air force from being able to mass murder Iraqis; Saddam agreed to the no-fly zone as a condition of the ceasefire in the 1991 Gulf War, but then refused to abide by the ceasefire conditions. (As he likewise refused to abide by the conditions requiring him to prove that he had destroyed all his weapons of mass destruction.) One could argue about whether it is attempted "murder" to break the terms of a ceasefire and to attempt to kill foreign soldiers who are attempting to prevent you from perpetrating mass murder.
But even with Moore’s clever phrasing designed to elide Saddam’s culpability in the murders and attempted murders of Americans, Tapper still catches him with an irrefutable point: Saddam did perpetrate the premeditated murder of Americans. Every victim of every Palestinian terrorist bomber who was funded by Saddam Hussein was the victim of premeditated murder—including the American victims. Because Saddam's reward system for the families of deceased terrorists was known and publicized, the reward system amounted to a before-the-fact inducement for additional terrorist bombings.
So what does Moore do? He tries to change the subject. Moore makes the good point that the U.S. media should focus more attention on Saudi financial aid to Palestinian terrorists who murder Americans in Israel. On NRO, I’ve pointed to Saudi terror funding, as have other NRO writers. But pointing out Saudi Arabia’s guilt does not excuse Moore’s blatant lie about Saddam Hussein’s innocence.
[Moore response: Quotes a think tank writer: "Iraq has never threatened nor been implicated in any attack against U.S. territory and the CIA has reported no Iraqi-sponsored attacks against American interests since 1991." The statement does not address Iraqi payments to the families of terrorists who murdered Americans in Israel. Nor does it address the undeniable fact that Iraq was providing a hide-out for terrorists who had murdered Americans.]
Moore’s pro-Saddam allegation that Saddam "never threatened to attack the United States" is true in the narrow sense that Saddam never gave a speech in which he threatened to, for example, send the Iraqi navy and army to conduct an amphibious invasion of Florida. But although Saddam never threatened the territorial integrity of America, he repeatedly threatened Americans. For example, on November 15, 1997, the main propaganda organ for the Saddam regime, the newspaper Babel (which was run by Saddam Hussein's son Uday) ordered: "American and British interests, embassies, and naval ships in the Arab region should be the targets of military operations and commando attacks by Arab political forces." (Stephen Hayes, The Connection: How al Qaeda's Collaboration with Saddam Hussein has Endangered America (N.Y.: HarperCollins, 2004), p. 94.) On November 25, 2000, Saddam declared in a televised speech, "The Arab people have not so far fulfilled their duties. They are called upon to target U.S. and Zionist interests everywhere and target those who protect these interests."
On the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks, a weekly newspaper owned by Uday Hussein said that Arabs should "use all means-and they are numerous-against the aggressors...and considering everything American as a military target, including embassies, installations, and American companies, and to create suicide/martyr [fidaiyoon] squads to attack American military and naval bases inside and outside the region, and mine the waterways to prevent the movement of war ships..."
Moreover, the Saddam regime did not need to make verbal threats in order to "threaten" the United States. The regime threatened the United States by giving refuge to terrorists who had murdered Americans, and by funding terrorists who were killing Americans in Israel. Saddam gave refuge to terrorists who had attacked the United States by bombing the World Trade Center. In addition:
In 1991, a large number of Western hostages were taken by the hideous Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and held in terrible conditions for a long time. After that same invasion was repelled—Saddam having killed quite a few Americans and Egyptians and Syrians and Brits in the meantime and having threatened to kill many more…
….Iraqi forces fired, every day, for 10 years, on the aircraft that patrolled the no-fly zones and staved off further genocide in the north and south of the country. In 1993, a certain Mr. Yasin helped mix the chemicals for the bomb at the World Trade Center and then skipped to Iraq, where he remained a guest of the state until the overthrow of Saddam….On Dec. 1, 2003, the New York Times reported—and the David Kay report had established—that Saddam had been secretly negotiating with the "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-il in a series of secret meetings in Syria, as late as the spring of 2003, to buy a North Korean missile system, and missile-production system, right off the shelf. (This attempt was not uncovered until after the fall of Baghdad, the coalition’s presence having meanwhile put an end to the negotiations.)
Hitchens, Slate. The cited article is David E. Sanger & Thom Shanker, "A Region Inflamed: Weapons. For the Iraqis, a Missile Deal That Went Sour; Files Tell of Talks With North Korea, New York Times, Dec. 1, 2003.
As French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin stated on November 12, 2002, "The security of the United States is under threat from people like Saddam Hussein who are capable of using chemical and biological weapons." (Hayes, p. 21.) De Villepin's point is indisputable: Saddam was the kind of person who was capable of using chemical weapons, since he had actually used them against Iraqis who resisted his tyrannical regime. As de Villepin spoke, Saddam was sheltering terrorists who had murdered Americans, and was subsidizing the murder of Americans (and many other nationalities) in Israel.
[Moore response: Cites a column by Maureen Dowd and an article for a former Australian Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs And Trade asserting that Iraq never threatened the United States. Does not address the extensive threats detailed in this section.]
Iraq and al Qaeda
Moore declares that George Bush fabricated an Iraq/al Qaeda connection in order to deflect attention from his Saudi masters. But consider the facts presented in Stephen F. Hayes's book, The Connection : How al Qaeda's Collaboration with Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America (N.Y.: HarperCollins, 2004). The first paragraph of the last chapter (pp. 177-78) sums up some of the evidence:
Iraqi intelligence documents from 1992 list Osama bin Laden as an Iraqi intelligence asset. Numerous sources have reported a 1993 nonaggression pact between Iraq and al Qaeda. The former deputy director of Iraqi intelligence now in U.S. custody says that bin Laden asked the Iraqi regime for arms and training in a face-to-face meeting in 1994. Senior al Qaeda leader Abu Hajer al Iraqi met with Iraqi intelligence officials in 1995. The National Security Agency intercepted telephone conversations between al Qaeda-supported Sudanese military officials and the head of Iraq's chemical weapons program in 1996. Al Qaeda sent Abu Abdallah al Iraqi to Iraq for help with weapons of mass destruction in 1997. An indictment from the Clinton-era Justice Department cited Iraqi assistance on al Qaeda "weapons development" in 1998. A senior Clinton administration counterterrorism official told the Washington Post that the U.S. government was "sure" Iraq had supported al Qaeda chemical weapons programs in 1999. An Iraqi working closely with the Iraqi embassy in Kuala Lumpur was photographed with September 11 hijacker Khalid al Mihdhar en route to a planning meeting for the bombing of the USS Cole and the September 11 attacks in 2000. Satellite photographs showed al Qaeda members in 2001 traveling en masse to a compound in northern Iraq financed, in part, by the Iraqi regime. Abu Musab al Zarqawi, senior al Qaeda associate, operated openly in Baghdad and received medical attention at a regime-supported hospital in 2002. Documents discovered in postwar Iraq in 2003 reveal that Saddam's regime harbored and supported Abdul Rahman Yasin, an Iraqi who mixed the chemicals for the 1993 World Trade Center attack...
Hayes is a writer for The Weekly Standard and much of his writing on the Saddam/Osama connection is available there for free; simply use the search engine and look for articles by Hayes.
The preliminary staff report of the September 11 Commission states, "We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States." Some critics, including the chief prosecutor of the World Trade Center bombers, have argued that the staff report inexplicably ignores substantial evidence of Iraqi involvement in the September 11 attacks. The final Commission Report finds that there were "friendly contacts" between Al Qaeda and the Saddam regime. The Commission does not find that there was a "collaborative operational relationship" for "carrying out attacks against the United States." Whether you agree with the preliminary staff report, the staff's critics, or the final commission report, there is no dispute that Saddam Hussein had a relationship with al Qaeda, an organization whose only activity was terrorism. Fahrenheit dishonestly pretends that there was no relationship at all.
Fahrenheit shows Condoleezza Rice saying, "Oh, indeed there is a tie between Iraq and what happened on 9/11." The audience laughs derisively. Here is what Rice really said on the CBS Early Show, Nov. 28, 2003:
Oh, indeed there is a tie between Iraq and what happened on 9/11. It’s not that Saddam Hussein was somehow himself and his regime involved in 9/11, but, if you think about what caused 9/11, it is the rise of ideologies of hatred that lead people to drive airplanes into buildings in New York. This is a great terrorist, international terrorist network that is determined to defeat freedom. It has perverted Islam from a peaceful religion into one in which they call on it for violence. And they're all linked. And Iraq is a central front because, if and when, and we will, we change the nature of Iraq to a place that is peaceful and democratic and prosperous in the heart of the Middle East, you will begin to change the Middle East....
Moore deceptively cut the Rice quote to fool the audience into thinking she was making a particular claim, even though she was pointedly not making such a claim. And since Rice spoke in November 2003, her quote had nothing to do with building up American fears before the March 2003 invasion, although Moore implies otherwise.
[Moore response: None.]
Iraq before Liberation
Moore shows scenes of Baghdad before the invasion (read: liberation) and in his weltanschauung, it’s a place filled with nothing but happy, smiling, giggly, overjoyed Baghdadis. No pain and suffering there. No rape, murder, gassing, imprisoning, silencing of the citizens in these scenes. When he exploits and lingers on the tears of a mother who lost her soldier-son in Iraq, and she wails, "Why did you have to take him?" Moore does not cut to images of the murderers/terrorists (pardon me, "insurgents") in Iraq…or even to God; he cuts to George Bush. When the soldier’s father says the young man died and "for what?", Moore doesn’t show liberated Iraqis to reply, he cuts instead to an image of Halliburton.
Jeff Jarvis, "Watching Michael Moore," Buzz Machine weblog, June 24, 2004.
The most offensive sequence in "Fahrenheit 9/11"’s long two hours lasts only a few minutes. It’s Moore’s file-footage depiction of happy Iraq before the Americans began their supposedly pointless invasion. You see men sitting in cafes, kids flying kites, women shopping. Cut to bombs exploding at night.
What Moore presumably doesn’t know, or simply doesn’t care about, is that the building you see being blown up is the Iraqi Ministry of Defense in Baghdad. Not many children flew kites there. It was in a part of the city that ordinary Iraqis weren’t allowed to visit—on pain of death.
…Iraq was ruled by a regime that had forced a sixth of its population into fearful exile, that hanged dissidents (real dissidents, not people like Susan Sontag and Tim Robbins) from meathooks and tortured them with blowtorches, and filled thousands of mass graves with the bodies of its massacred citizens.
Yes, children played, women shopped and men sat in cafes while that stuff went on—just as people did all those normal things in Somoza’s Nicaragua, Duvalier’s Haiti and for that matter Nazi Germany, and as they do just about everywhere, including in Iraq today.
Foreman, New York Post. For more, see the weblog of Iraqi Sarmad Zanga (part of which cites this report).
Fahrenheit points out, correctly, that the Saudi monarchy is "a regime that Amnesty International condemns as a widespread human rights violator." Fahrenheit does not mention that the Saddam regime was likewise condemned by Amnesty International. As AI's 2002 annual report noted, in April 2002 "the UN Commission on Human Rights adopted a resolution strongly condemning 'the systematic, widespread and extremely grave violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law by the Government of Iraq, resulting in an all-pervasive repression and oppression sustained by broad-based discrimination and widespread terror.'''
[Moore response: None.]
Invasion of Iraq
According to the footage that ensues, our pilots seem to have hit nothing but women and children.
Labash, Weekly Standard.
Then—wham! From the night sky come the terror weapons of American imperialism. Watching the clips Moore uses, and recalling them well, I can recognize various Saddam palaces and military and police centers getting the treatment…I remember asking Moore at Telluride if he was or was not a pacifist. He would not give a straight answer then, and he doesn’t now, either. I’ll just say that the "insurgent" side is presented in this film as justifiably outraged, whereas the 30-year record of Baathist war crimes and repression and aggression is not mentioned once. (Actually, that’s not quite right. It is briefly mentioned but only, and smarmily, because of the bad period when Washington preferred Saddam to the likewise unmentioned Ayatollah Khomeini.)
A National Public Radio reporter describes a scene in which an Iraqi woman wails about the death of a loved one:
reporters who were taken around to see the sites of civilian deaths during the bombing of Baghdad also observed that some of those errant bombs were fired by Iraqi anti-aircraft crews. Mr. Moore doesn't let the audience know when and where this bomb was dropped, or otherwise try to identify the culprit of the tragedy.
Fahrenheit includes some material in which American soldiers explain what kind of music they listen to. Seventeen selections in Fahrenheit are taken from the an Australian war documentary, Soundtrack to War, and were used against the objection of film-maker George Gittoes:
"I was concerned of course for my soldiers because their interviews were taken out of context," Mr Gittoes told the Nine Network.
"There are about 17 scenes from my documentary in his film. I wouldn't go so far as to say he lifted (them). Michael got access to my stuff and assumed that I would be happy for it to be in 9/11. I would actually have been quite happy for it not to be in 9/11."...
Mr Gittoes said he had some contact with a company Westside Productions associated with Michael Moore but had no idea his work was in Fahrenheit 9/11 until it was screened at the Cannes film festival.
Fahrenheit shows Bush giving a speech on the aircraft carrier, with the famous "Mission accomplished" banner in the background. Bush says, "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed." The scene immediately shifts to an explosion in Iraq. But Bush never promised that all fighting was over. His next words were "And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country." He also stated, "We have difficult work to do in Iraq. We are bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous."
[Moore response: none.]
Major Coalition Partners Ignored
Q: You mock the "coalition of the willing" by only showing the tiny countries that have voiced support. But you leave out England, Spain, Italy and Poland. Why?
Moore: "This film exists as a counterbalance to what you see on cable news about the coalition. I’m trying to counter the Orwellian nature of the Big Lie, as if when you hear that term, the ‘coalition,’ that the whole world is behind us."
Patrick Goldstein, "Truth teller or story stretcher?" Los Angeles Times, June 22, 2004.
If it is a "Big Lie" to mention only the powerful and important members of the Coalition (such as the United Kingdom and Australia), then it is an equally "Big Lie" to mention only the small and insignificant members of the Coalition.
[Moore response: Provides a citation showing that the small countries which Fahrenheit mocks were part of the Coalition. Does not attempt to justify omission of other countries.]
Major Gregory Stone and Reservist Peter Damon
Exploitation and Invasion of Privacy
The family of U.S. Air Force Maj. Gregory Stone was shocked to learn that video footage of the major's Arlington National Cemetery burial was included by Michael Moore in his movie "Fahrenheit 9/11."
Maj. Stone was killed in March 2003 by a grenade that officials said was thrown into his tent by Sgt. Hasan K. Akbar, who is on trial for murder.
"It's been a big shock, and we are not very happy about it, to say the least," Kandi Gallagher, Maj. Stone's aunt and family spokeswoman, tells Washington Times reporter Audrey Hudson.
"We are furious that Greg was in that casket and cannot defend himself, and my sister, Greg's mother, is just beside herself," Miss Gallagher said. "She is furious. She called him a 'maggot that eats off the dead.'"
The movie, described by critics as political propaganda during an election year, shows video footage of the funeral and Maj. Stone's fiancee, Tammie Eslinger, kissing her hand and placing it on his coffin.
The family does not know how Mr. Moore obtained the video, and Miss Gallagher said they did not give permission and are considering legal recourse.
She described her nephew as a "totally conservative Republican" and said he would have found the film to be "putrid."
"I'm sure he would have some choice words for Michael Moore," she said. "Michael Moore would have a hard time asking our family for a glass of water if he were thirsty."
John McCaslin, "Inside the Beltway," Washington Times, July 13, 2004. Sgt. Stone was killed by an American Muslim soldier, who threw a grenade in his tent while he was sleeping.
Fahrenheit shows an interview in Walter Reed Army Medical Center with Massachusetts National Guardsman Peter Damon. Damon lost parts of both his arms in Iraq, and is learning how to use prosthetic arms. The footage comes from an interview Damon granted to NBC Nightly News. Damon's wife says that he never granted Moore permission to use the footage, was never asked, and strongly objects to being used in the film. As of July 15, it is not clear whether Moore's usage of the footage was illegal. But it hardly seems ethical for a film-maker who dedicates his film to the soldiers in Iraq to put a double-amputee veteran into the film without even bothering to ask for permission. Damon complained, "The whole movie makes soldiers look like a bunch of idiots...I'm not a child. We sent ourselves over there...It was all our own doing. I don't appreciate him calling us children...."I agree with the President 100%. A lot of the guys down at Walter Reed feel the same way."
In very selectively edited clips, Moore poses the absurd notion that the main news anchors—Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, and Ted Koppel—wholeheartedly support Bush and the War in Iraq….Has Moore forgotten the hour-long Saddam softball interview Rather did just prior to the war, [or] Jennings’ condescending coverage…?
Jennings is shown delivering a broadcast in which he says, "Iraqi opposition has faded in the face of American power." But Jennings was simply stating an undeniable fact, as he stood next to a map showing that Saddam’s army had collapsed everywhere, and all Iraqi cities were in Coalition hands. Despite what Moore implies, Jennings strongly opposed the liberation of Iraq. (Tim Graham, "Peter’s Peace Platoon. ABC’s Crusade Against ‘Arrogant’ American Power," Media Research Center, March 18, 2003.)
[Moore response: None.]
Abuse of Iraqi Captives
Long before Fahrenheit was released, Moore promised that he had videos of Iraqi prisoner abuse. Fahrenheit presents a video of making fun of a prostrate Iraqi. To the audience, it seems like another Abu Ghraib. Moore told an audience, "You saw this morning the first footage of abuse and humiliation of Iraqi detainees." Fahrenheit claims: "Immoral behavior breeds immoral behavior. When a President commits the immoral act of sending otherwise good kids into a war based on a lie, this is what you get."
Not really. As reported in the (Toronto) Globe and Mail:
He revealed that a scene in which American soldiers appear to be desecrating a corpse beneath a blanket may be misleading. In fact, the soldiers had picked up an old man who had passed out drunk and they poked at his visible erection, covered by a blanket.
It's not very respectful to make fun of a drunk who has passed out on a street. But such teasing has nothing to do with the kind of bizarre sexual abuse perpetrated at Abu Ghraib. All over the world, law enforcement officers make fun of comatose drunks.
Such teasing is an abuse of power. (Although it's a relatively harmless abuse of power, since the only victim can't hear the disrespectful words.) Insulting a drunk who can't hear you is not like torturing a conscious victim. And such insults are not the result of "sending otherwise good kids into a war based on a lie"; the insults are the result of the fact that law enforcement personnel all over the world have to remove comatose drunks from the streets, and law enforcement personnel sometimes make fun of the drunks.
[Moore response: None.]
Support for Soldiers and Veterans
Bush "supported closing veterans hospitals" says Moore. The Bush Department of Veterans Affairs did propose closing seven hospitals in areas with declining populations where the hospitals were underutilized, and whose veterans could be served by other hospitals. Moore does not say that the Department also proposed building new hospitals in areas where needs were growing, and also building blind rehabilitation centers and spinal cord injury centers. (For more, see the Final Report of the independent commission on veterans hospitals, which agrees with some of the Bush proposals, and with some of the objections raised by critics.)
According to Moore, Bush "tried to double the prescription drug costs for veterans." What Bush proposed was raising the prescription co-pay from $7 to $15, for veterans with incomes of over $24,000 a year. Prescription costs would have remained very heavily subsidized by taxpayers. Some, not all, veterans would have faced a doubling of their prescription co-pay, but only to a level which is common for many people with prescription insurance, and hardly a large enough increase to make a great difference in most cases.
Bush, announces Moore, "proposed cutting combat soldiers’ pay by 33%." Not exactly. In addition to regular military salaries, soldiers in certain areas (not just combat zones) receive an "imminent danger" bonus of $150 a month. In April 2003, Congress retroactively enacted a special increase of $75, for the fiscal year of Oct. 1, 2002 through Sept. 30, 2003. At first, the Bush administration did not support renewing the special bonus, but then changed its position.
Likewise, Congress had passed a special one-year increase in the family separation allowance (for service personnel stationed in places where their families cannot join them) from $100 to $250. Bush's initial opposition to extending the special increase was presented by Moore as "cutting assistance to their families by 60%." (Edward Epstein, "Pentagon reverses course, won’t cut troops’ pay," San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 15, 2003.)
Even if one characterizes not renewing a special bonus as a "cut," Fahrenheit misleads the viewer into thinking that the cuts applied to total compensation, rather than only to pay supplements which constitute only a small percentage of a soldier’s income. An enlisted man with four months of experience receives an annual salary more than $27,000. (Rod Powers, "What the Recruiter Never Told You: Military Pay." The figure includes the value of health care, housing, and so on.) So allowing the $75 per month supplemental bonus to expire would have amounted to a "cut" of only about 3 percent of total compensation, even at the lowest levels. So Moore claim of a "33%" cut is a ten-fold exaggeration.
Although Moore presents Bush as cutting military pay, Bush did the opposite: in 2003, Congress enacted a Bush administration proposal to raise all military salaries by 3.7%, with extra "targeted" pay increases for non-commissioned officers. NCOs are lower-ranking officers who typically join the military with lower levels of education than commissioned officers. (Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, "Defense Department Targets Military Pay Increases for 2004," American Forces Press Service.)
(Deceits: 1. Closing veterans hospitals without mentioning of opening of veterans hospitals, 2. Cutting combat soldiers' small bonus as if it were a cut in total salary, 3. Omission of Bush pay increase for military. Prescription drugs not counted as deceit, although important context is missing.)
[Moore response: Quotes the movie as referring to "combat soldiers' bonus pay." The theatrical movie I have seen does not include the word "bonus." On other matters, Moore provides citations which are consistent with my explanation of the facts, and does not attempt to explain or justify the deceits or omissions.]
Congressional Children in War
Early in this segment, Moore states that "out of the 535 members of Congress, only one had an enlisted son in Iraq." The action of the segment consists of Moore accosting Congressmen to try to convince them to have their children enlist in the military. At the end, Moore declares, "Not a single member of Congress wanted to sacrifice their child for the war in Iraq."
Moore’s second statement is technically true, but duplicitous. Of course no-one would want to "sacrifice" his child in any way. But the fact is, Moore's opening ("only one") and his conclusion ("not a single member") are both incorrect. Sergeant Brooks Johnson, the son of South Dakota Democratic Senator Tim Johnson, serves in the 101st Airborne Division and fought in Iraq in 2003. The son of California Republican Representative Duncan Hunter quit his job after September 11, and enlisted in the Marines; his artillery unit was deployed in the heart of insurgent territory in February 2004. Delaware Senator Joseph Biden's son Beau is on active duty in the Judge Advocate General Corps; although Beau Biden has no control over where he is deployed, he has not been sent to Iraq, and therefore does not "count" for Moore's purposes. Seven members of Congress have been confirmed to have children in the military.
How about Cabinet members? Fahrenheit never raises the issue, because the answer would not fit Moore’s thesis. Attorney General John Ashcroft’s son is serving on the U.S.S. McFaul in the Persian Gulf.
Why not count Duncan Hunter's son? Note the phrasing: "only one had an enlisted son in Iraq." Although Hunter's son "enlisted" in the Marines, he is a Second Lieutenant, which means that he is above the rank of an "enlisted man." But why hide from the viewers how many Congressmen really have sons serving in the military in Iraq?
The editing of the Congressional scenes borders on the fraudulent:
….Representative Kennedy (R-MN), one of the lawmakers accosted in Fahrenheit 9/11, was censored by Michael Moore.
According to the [Minneapolis] Star Tribune, Kennedy, when asked if he would be willing to send his son to Iraq, responded by stating that he had a nephew who was en-route to Afghanistan. He went on to inform Moore that his son was thinking about a career in the navy and that two of his nephews had already served in the armed forces. Kennedy’s side of the conversation, however, was cut from the film, leaving him looking bewildered and defensive.
What was Michael’s excuse for trimming the key segment? Kennedy’s remarks didn’t help his thesis: "He mentioned that he had a nephew that was going over to Afghanistan," Moore recounted. "So then I said ‘No, no, that’s not our job here today. We want you to send your child to Iraq. Not a nephew.’"
Kennedy lambasted Moore as a "master of the misleading" after viewing the interview in question.
George Stephanopoulos, of ABC News, asked Moore about the selective cuts in the Kennedy footage:
Stephanopoulos: You have a scene when you’re up on Capitol Hill encountering members of Congress, asking them if they would ask their sons and daughters to enlist … in the military. And one of those members of Congress who appears in the trailer, Mark Kennedy, said you left out what he told you, which is that he has two nephews serving in the military, one in Afghanistan. And he went on to say that, "Michael Moore doesn’t always give the whole truth. He’s a master of the misleading."
Moore: Well, at the time, when we interviewed him, he didn’t have any family members in Afghanistan. And when he saw the trailer for this movie, he issued a report to the press saying that he said that he had a kid in—
Stephanopoulos: He said he told you he had two nephews.
Moore:… No, he didn’t. And we released the transcript and we put it on our Web site. This is what I mean by our war room. Any time a guy like this comes along and says, "I told him I had two nephews and one was going to Iraq and one was going to Afghanistan," he’s lying. And I’ve got the raw footage and the transcript to prove it. So any time these Republicans come at me like this, this is exactly what they’re going to get. And people can go to my Web site and read the transcript and read the truth. What he just said there, what you just quoted, is not true.
This Week followed up with the office of Rep. Kennedy. He did have two nephews in the military, but neither served in Iraq. Kennedy’s staff agrees that Moore’s Website is accurate but insists the movie version is misleading. In the film, Moore says, "Congressman, I’m trying to get members of Congress to get their kids to enlist in the Army and go over to Iraq." But, from the transcript, here’s the rest:
Moore: Is there any way you could help me with that?
Kennedy: How would I help you?
Moore: Pass it out to other members of Congress.
Kennedy: I’d be happy to — especially those who voted for the war. I have a nephew on his way to Afghanistan.
This Week, ABC News, June 20, 2004.
So while Fahrenheit pretended that Kennedy just stupidly looked at Moore, Kennedy agreed to help Moore.
Notice also how Moore phrased his reply to Stephanopoulos: "Any time a guy like this comes along and says, 'I told him I had two nephews and one was going to Iraq and one was going to Afghanistan,' he’s lying." But Kennedy never claimed that he had a nephew going to Iraq. The insinuation that Kennedy made such a claim is a pure fabrication by Moore.
Fahrenheit shows Moore calling out to Delaware Republican Michael Castle, who is talking on a cell phone and waves Moore off. Castle is presented as one of the Congressmen who would not sacrifice his children. What the film omits is that Rep. Castle does not have any children.
Are Congressional children less likely to serve in Iraq than children from other families? Let’s use Moore’s methodology, and ignore members of extended families (such as nephews) and also ignore service anywhere except Iraq (even though U.S. forces are currently fighting terrorists in many countries). And like Moore, let us also ignore the fact that some families (like Rep. Castle’s) have no children, or no children of military age.
We then see that of 535 Congressional families, there are two with a child who served in Iraq. How does this compare with American families in general? In the summer of 2003, U.S. troop levels in Iraq were raised to 145,000. If we factor in troop rotation, we could estimate that about 300,000 people have served in Iraq at some point. According to the Census Bureau, there were 104,705,000 households in the United States in 2000. (See Table 1 of the Census Report.) So the ratio of ordinary U.S. households to Iraqi service personnel is 104,705,000 to 300,000. This reduces to a ratio of 349:1.
In contrast the ratio of Congressional households to Iraqi service personnel is 535:2. This reduces to a ratio of 268:1.
Stated another way, a Congressional household is about 23 percent more likely than an ordinary household to be closely related to an Iraqi serviceman or servicewoman.
Of course my statistical methodology is very simple. A more sophisticated analysis would look only at Congressional and U.S. households from which at least one child is legally eligible to enlist in the military. Moore, obviously, never attempted such a comparison; instead, he deceived viewers into believing that Congressional families were extremely different from other families in enlistment rates.
Moore ignores the fact that there are 101 veterans currently serving in the House of Representatives and 36 in the Senate. Regardless of whether they have children who could join the military, all of the veterans in Congress have personally put themselves at risk to protect their country.
During the segment, Moore is accompanied by Corporal Abdul Henderson, a Marine Corps Reservist. Corporal Henderson wears several ribbons and medals on his uniform; interestingly, a Good Conduct ribbon or medal, which is awarded "for the successful completion of a prescribed period of time of service without incident," is not among them.
(Deceits: 1. number of Congressional children in Iraq, 2. Mark Kennedy, 3. Michael Castle, 4. False impression that Congressional families are especially unlikely to serve in Iraq.)
[Moore response: Cites a May 11, 2003 article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that only Brooks Johnson had a son who had fought in Iraq. The article was accurate at the time, since Duncan Hunter's son, who had already enlisted, had not yet been sent to Iraq. But Fahrenheit premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2004--two months after it had been reported that Duncan Hunter's son had been sent to Iraq. At the least, Moore could apologize that his claim about "only one" child is inaccurate, and blame the error on his having not noticed the news about Hunter while the movie was in its final production stages. But instead, Moore continues to repeat the "only one" claim, which is indisputably false. Moore offers no defense for the other falsehoods in this section.]
Lila Lipscomb and Military Casualties
Fahrenheit spends a much time on the grief of Lila Lipscomb, the mother of Sgt. Michael Pederson, who died in Iraq in April 2003. Sgt. Pederson was a child from Mrs. Lipscomb's first marraige. He enlisted in the military in 1996, and was 26 years old when he was killed. There is no room in Fahrenheit for bereaved families who feel different from Mrs. Lipscomb. Not even room for the widow Sgt. Michael Pederson, who believes that "Hating President Bush is not going to bring Michael back." Ben Schmitt, "Flint woman spotlighted in Moore's latest movie," Detroit Free Press, May 29, 2004. (The widow was separated from Sgt. Pederson, and their child was living with the widow at the time of his death.)
Mrs. Lipscomb reads for the camera an angry letter which Sgt. Pederson wrote castigating President Bush. Not shown on camera is the fact that Pederson apologized for the letter shortly afterward.
Moore films Mrs. Lipscomb in Washington, D.C., where she tearfully walks to the White House, where she will, in her words, "put all my pain and all my anger and to release it." On the way, Fahrenheit shows Mrs. Lipscomb arguing with a passerby who says that the whole thing is staged. What Fahrenheit does not show is that the passerby talked with Mrs. Lipscomb, heard her side of the story, and apologized on the spot.
Moore has been paying Mrs. Lipcomb's travel expenses to help promote the movie and criticize President Bush. According to the St. Petersburg Times,
She has been so critical of the Bush administration that she wouldn't be surprised if her house is bugged. When she gets dressed, she sometimes acts as if they are watching and listening, giving a play-by-play as she dons her clothing.
"Look guys," she says. "I'm putting on my bra."
Fahrenheit Fahrenheit wallows in pity for Mrs. Lipscomb. "I was tired of seeing people like Mrs. Lipscomb suffer," Moore claims. Yet Moore’s website is not quite so sympathetic:
I’m sorry, but the majority of Americans supported this war once it began and, sadly, that majority must now sacrifice their children until enough blood has been let that maybe -- just maybe -- God and the Iraqi people will forgive us in the end.
Michael Moore, "Heads Up... from Michael Moore," MichaelMoore.com, April 14, 2004.
Fahrenheit is correct in pointing out that people who enlist in the military are less likely to be college graduates and more likely to be black than is the general U.S. population. However, Moore's portrayal of the socioeconomics of the U.S. military is false is several respects. First, people who are at the lowest end of the economic spectrum--people who have failed to graduate from high school or to obtain a G.E.D.--are not over-represented in the military. Like college graduates, they are under-represented. In the case of high school drop-outs, the reason is that the all-volunteer military can be selective, and generally prefers not to enlist high-school drop-outs.
Although blacks are about twice as likely to serve in the military as is the general U.S. population, black people do not suffer disproportionate casualties in Iraq. Official casualty statistics for Operation Iraqi Freedom report that--as of June 26, 2004--blacks suffered 111 of the 850 U.S. fatalities (13%). The Census Bureau estimates that blacks comprise 12.3% of the U.S. population. The reason that black enlistment is disproportionate but black fatalities are not is that many blacks in the military serve in support roles (such as providing supplies) which are unlikely to suffer high rates of casualties. Sydney J. Freedberg, Jr., "The Fallen: A profile of U.S. troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan," GovExec.com, May 28, 2004.
Mrs. Lipscomb is from Flint, Michigan, which Moore calls "my hometown." In fact, Moore grew up in Davison, Michigan, a suburb of Flint. Davison is much wealthier than Flint. According to the Census Bureau, 6 percent of children in the Davison public schools are from families living in poverty, whereas in Flint, 31 percent of children are. Calling Flint your "hometown" when you really grew up in Davison is like calling the Bronx "my hometown" when you really grew up in Westchester County.
Flint is working class, industrial, down-at-heel, where the majority of the population is black or Latino. It's where the factories are.
Davison, where Moore grew up and attended Davison High School, is comfortable middle class, suburban, and white. Overwhelmingly white. It's where the managers and professionals live. While many of the children of Flint go on to work at the factories...the normal trajectory for the children of Davison is university. Michael Moore went to university (though didn't stick long). Unusually, he also went to Flint and tried his hand on the blue-collar front line with a job on the Buick assembly line for General Motors. He found the conditions under which the working class actually worked so appalling he quit the job after one day.
"Less is Moore," Sydney Morning Herald, July 10, 2004.
Discussing unemployment rates, Mrs. Lipscomb states, "But you have to take into account as well that when your unemployment runs out you're no longer counted." (Presumably she means that when your "unemployment insurance benefits" run out, you're no longer counted.) There is no reason to doubt her sincerity, but she is incorrect in this regard. The Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment rate counts all "Persons 16 years and over who had no employment during the reference week, were available for work, except for temporary illness, and had made specific efforts to find employment sometime during the 4-week period ending with the reference week." The rate has nothing do with whether the person is receiving unemployment insurance payments. (For more, see the detailed BLS explanation of how unemployment rates are calculated.)
A curious reader of this article wrote to the Michigan Dept. of Labor & Economic Growth/Bureau of Labor Market Information & Strategic Initiatives. An official with the Michigan Bureau sent back a document (which is apparently not on the Internet) titled "Labor Force, Employment, Unemployment, Unemployment Rate Estimates For States And Local Areas." The document explains how unemployment rates are calculated. In particular, the document explains the calculated rate specifically includes people who have exhausted their unemployment insurance benefits, but who are still unemployed. The unemployment rate includes:
An estimate of the number of individuals who have used up all of their unemployment benefits, but are determined, through estimation, to be still unemployed. A formula that utilizes the parallel relationship between the rate of unemployment and the duration of unemployment spells, and a quarterly Current Population Survey average state duration average, yields a survival rate for a particular area depending on that area's current labor market condition. Thus an area with high unemployment will have a larger percentage of its unemployment claims exhaustees included into its jobless total.
(Italics in original.) The Michigan official's letter explained, "In the official statistics we produce (in cooperation with the BLS) for the number of unemployed for the state and local areas, current unemployment claimants account for about 30 to 40 percent of the total unemployed."
[Moore response: Does not attempt to explain why he calls Flint "my hometown." No defense of the misstatement about how unemployment rates are calculated.
In a previous draft, I had cited data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that Flint's unemployment rate in January 2004 was 10 percent, and said that Fahrenheit's claim about a 17 percent rate was incorrect. Moore's response cited the Michigan Dept. of Labor & Economic Growth for a 17 percent rate. The BLS figure (10 percent) is labeled "Flint," but actually includes all of Genesee Country. The Michigan DLEG figure (17 percent) is for the city of Flint only. So Moore was correct, and I was incorrect.]
Moore’s Pro-Saddam Source
Washington Representative Jim McDermott appears in several segments. The McDermott quotes are, obviously, not like the deceitful quote of Condoleezza Rice, in which her words were chopped to mean the opposite of what she really said. McDermott is apparently quite sincere, and there is no indication that anything he said was taken out of context. However, McDermott's quotes about the alleged motivations of the Bush administration are supported by no evidence, and amount to nothing more than the speculative ravings of one of the very few pro-Saddam members of Congress--who also worries that bin Laden has already been captured, and will be brought out at an opportune time before the election. To rely on McDermott to explain the Bush administration's alleged secret intentions is akin to relying on a bitter atheist to describe an alleged secret conspiracy in the Vatican.
In any case, he does make one plain misstatement. McDermott claims, "Well you make them afraid by creating an aura of endless threat. They played us like an organ. They raised the le[vel], the orange up to red than they they dropped it back to orange." To the contrary, the threat level has never been raised above orange (high risk). It takes a highly paranoid mind to conclude that because changes were made in the announced threat levels, the changes must have been for the purpose of psychological warfare on the American people.
[Moore response: None.]
Michael Moore told Time magazine that at the Washington premiere of Fahrenheit, Tom Daschle "gave me a hug and said he felt bad and that we were all gonna fight from now on. I thanked him for being a good sport." Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) told the Rapid City Journal that he has never even met Moore. Later, an Washington lawyer who looks like Tom Daschle said that he was the hugee, and that Moore had sincerely but mistakenly thought the lawyer was Tom Daschle.
[Moore response: None. Speaking to the Washington Post, Moore has stuck by his claim about Daschle.]
Moore Supports Terrorists
In Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore claims to support our troops. But in fact, he supports the enemy in Iraq—the coalition of Saddam loyalists, al Qaeda operatives, and terrorists controlled by Iran or Syria—who are united in their desire to murder Iraqis, and to destroy any possibility of democracy in Iraq. Here is what Moore says about the forces who are killing Americans and trying to impose totalitarian rule on Iraq:
The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not "insurgents" or "terrorists" or "The Enemy." They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win.
Michael Moore, "Heads Up... from Michael Moore," MichaelMoore.com, April 14, 2004. Of course if you believe that the people who are perpetrating suicide bombings against Iraqi civilians and American soldiers for the purpose of forcing a totalitarian boot onto Iraq are the moral equivalent of the American Founders, then Moore's claim about the Iraqi insurgents could be valid. But even if that claim were valid (and I do not believe that any reasonable person can equate people fighting for totalitarianism with people fighting for constitutional democracy), then Moore is still being dishonest in Fahrenheit when he pronounces his concern for American troops. To the contrary, he is cheering for the forces which are killing our troops, as he equates the killers with freedom-fighters. And if you think that the people who are slaughtering American soldiers, American civilians, Iraqi soldiers, and Iraqi civilians are terrorists rather than "minutemen," then it is true that Moore supports terrorists. By the way, the number of Iraqi victims of Moore's "minutemen" outnumbers American victims by about 10:1.
There are some sincere opponents of the Iraq War who want to "support our troops" by bringing them home, and thereby getting them out danger. But it's deceptive to say that you support the troops if (besides lobbying for troop withdrawal) you are actively recruiting enemy fighters to kill our troops. Moore is doing so, as the next item details.
[Moore response: None.]
Terrorists Support Fahrenheit
As reported in the trade journal Screen Daily, affiliates of the Iranian and Syrian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah are promoting Fahrenheit 9/11, and Moore’s Middle East distributor, Front Row, is accepting the terrorist assistance:
In terms of marketing the film, Front Row is getting a boost from organizations related to Hezbollah which have rung up from Lebanon to ask if there is anything they can do to support the film. And although [Front Row’s Managing Director Gianluca] Chacra says he and his company feel strongly that Fahrenheit is not anti-American, but anti-Bush, "we can’t go against these organizations as they could strongly boycott the film in Lebanon and Syria."
Nancy Tartaglione, "Fahrenheit to be first doc released theatrically in Middle East," Screen Daily.com, June 9, 2004 (website requires registration). The story is discussed in Samantha Ellis, "Fahrenheit 9/11 gets help offer from Hezbollah," The Guardian, June 17, 2004; and "Moore film distributor OK with terror support: Exec says firm doesn’t want to risk boycott of 'Fahrenheit 9/11' in Mideast," WorldNetDaily.com, June 22, 2004.
Salon.com followed up on the story, and reported:
Gianluca Chacra, the managing director of Front Row Entertainment, the movie’s distributor in the United Arab Emirates, confirms that Lebanese student members of Hezbollah "have asked us if there's any way they could support the film." While Hezbollah is considered a legitimate political party in many parts of the world, the U.S. State Department classifies the group as a terrorist organization. Chacra was unfazed, even excited, about their offer. "Having the support of such an entity in Lebanon is quite significant for that market and not at all controversial. I think it’s quite natural." (Lions Gate did not return calls asking for comment.)
John Gorenfeld, "Michael Moore Terrorizes The Bushies!" Salon.com, June 24, 2004.
According to Screen Daily, Moore’s film will open in mid-July on ten screens in Lebanon and two screens in Syria. Syria is a terrorist state which invaded Lebanon in the 1970s and controls the nation through a puppet government. The main al Qaeda commander in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has worked with Hezbollah and has operated out of Syria.
Moore accuses the United States of sacrificing morality because of greed: "The motivation for war is simple. The U.S. government started the war with Iraq in order to make it easy for U.S. corporations to do business in other countries. They intend to use cheap labor in those countries, which will make Americans rich." David Brooks, "All Hail Moore," New York Times, June 28, 2004; translation of original Japanese interview with Moore.
Yet it turns out that the self-righteous Moore is the one who is accepting aid from a terrorist organization which has murdered and kidnapped hundreds of Americans--and also an organization that works with Zarqawi and al Qaeda. Just to avoid a boycott on a dozen screens in a totalitarian terrorist state and its colony?
Moore is, with terrorist assistance, pushing the film in Syria and a Syrian colony, both of which are places which supply some of the fighters who are currently killing Americans and anti-totalitarian Iraqis. Fahrenheit presents the fighters as noble resistance, and the American presence as entirely evil. It's not that the content of Fahrenheit is all that different from the propaganda which pervades the state-controlled Arab media, or on al Jazeera. But Fahrenheit's may be more persuasive, to at least some of its Arab audience, because its denunciations of American and praise for the Iraqi insurgents comes from an American. It is reasonable to expect that such a film, when shown in Syria and Lebanon, will aid in the recruiting of additional fighters to kill Americans and Iraqis. In effect, the presentation of Fahrenheit in Syria and Lebanon--especially with explicit endorsement from a terrorist organization--amounts to a recruiting film for terrorists (or, in Moore's terms, "minutemen") to go to Iraq and kill Americans.
Hezbollah likes the film so much that the terrorist organization has shown it on one of its television stations:
Anti-American Arab television stations, including one owned by the Lebanese branch of the Hezbollah, have broadcast chunks of Moore's attack on Bush with commentaries more virulent than the original.
"We may not be able to drive the Americans out of Iraq," says Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader in Lebanon. "But we can drive Bush out of the White House by heating things up in Iraq." Bush is also seen as too pro-Israel in his Middle East policy.
(New York Post, Aug. 18, 2004). Fidel Castro likewise showed the film on Cuban state television, because the film fit his own message of the evil of the United States. (Since Fahrenheit is still in theatrical release, these broadcasts may not have been specifically authorized by Moore. But it does say something that Hezbollah and the Cuban tyrant find Fahrenheit such a congenial movie.)
Because of Syria's oppression of Lebanon and its support for terrorism in Iraq and other nations, Congress passed and President Bush signed the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act. The Act authorizes the U.S. government to freeze the assets of individuals or organizations "who are determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to be or to have been directing or otherwise significantly contributing to" Syrian sponsorship of terrorist organizations or the destabilization Iraq.
Theoretically, it might be possible that Moore has no personal awareness that his Middle East distributor is working with terrorists. But such ignorance is unlikely for two reasons: First, Moore’s "war room" staff monitors controversial articles about the film, and there could hardly be anything more controversial than making common cause with terrorists. Not only has the Hezbollah relationship been publicized in a leading film trade on-line newspaper, the Moore-Hezbollah connection has been reported in one of the very most significant British newspapers, and in an important American on-line newspaper.
Second, Moore was personally questioned about the terrorist connection at a Washington, D.C., press conference. He at first denied the terrorist connection, but was then confronted with the direct quote from his distributor. He stonewalled and refused to answer. So the man who spends so much time getting in other people’s faces with tough questions is unwilling to explain why he is accepting aid from Hezbollah.
By way of reply, Moore could have said, "I sold the Middle East distribution rights to FRE, so I can't legally control what they do. But I strongly condemn their relationship with Hezbollah, and I've already told them that if they don't stop cooperating with Hezbollah, they will never distribute another movie of mine. I think it's reprehensible for any business to accept terrorist assistance." But instead, he stonewalls. Likewise, his website has provided no explanation of Moore's conduct regarding Hezbollah.
Fahrenheit stitches together some scattered lines from the screenplay of 1984, written by Ralph Gilbert Bettison and William Templeton. Moore implies that the words are those of George Orwell, although the quotes do not come from George Orwell's novel 1984. The screenplay depicts a totalitarian state perpetually at war, and does accurately capture many of the points made in Orwell's book. As Moore quotes "Orwell" (actually, Bettison and Templeton): "The war is not meant to be won, but it is meant to be continuous...A hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance... The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or east Asia but to keep the very structure of society intact." The real purpose of war as "to keep the very structure of society intact." Fahrenheit applies "Orwell’s" words to the United States of today.
Moore’s purported positions on some issues in Fahrenheit are different from his previous positions: whether people should have made a big deal about September 11, whether Osama bin Laden is guilty of the September 11 attacks, whether American families, including the Lipscombs, deserve to suffer the deaths of their children because they supported the war. But throughout Michael Moore’s career, he has remained true to the central theme of Fahrenheit: capitalist America is the real terrorist state. Because America is a capitalist society, American use of force is necessarily evil. (Or as the New Yorker reported, "He believes that the United States should not take military action under any circumstances except emergency self-defense.")
Four days after September 11, Moore announced: "We, the United States of America, are culpable in committing so many acts of terror and bloodshed that we better get a clue about the culture of violence in which we have been active participants." (The statement has been deleted from Moore’s website, but is available through the web archive service called the Wayback Machine.) This is the view of Fahrenheit 9/11: Iraq under Saddam was fine until America began terrorizing it.
Saddam Hussein agrees; after September 11, his government issued an official statement declaring, "The American cowboys are reaping the fruit of their crimes against humanity." Saddam's media showed him telling his generals, "Those who do not want to harvest evil, should not plant evil...Despite the contradictory humanitarian feelings on what happened in America, America is harvesting the thorns that its rulers have planted in the world...Nobody has crossed the Atlantic carrying weapons against America, but it has crossed the Atlantic carrying death and destruction to the whole world."
The Iranian tyranny agrees too. In mid-August,
the mullahs running the Farabi Cinema complex in Tehran scrapped the season's program to screen Moore's "documentary."
"This film unmasks the Great Satan America," a spokesman said. "It tells Muslim people why they are right in hating America. It is the duty of every believer to see [this film] and learn the truth."
For more of Moore's anti-American statements, see the Tacitus weblog entry "Michael Moore in his own words." One of the posters for the European release of Fahrenheit features a burning American flag, with a cloudy death's-head skull in place of the white stripes.
Throughout American history, there have always been patriotic Americans who criticized particular war-time policies, or who believed that a war was a mistake and should be promptly ended. Today, there are many patriotic Americans who oppose some or all aspects of the War on Terror. I am among them, in that I have strongly opposed the USA PATRIOT Act from its first days, have denounced the Bush administration for siding with corporate interests rather than with public safety by sabotaging the Armed Pilots law, and have repeatedly stated that the current Saudi tyranny should be recognized as a major part of the problem in the War on Terror--despite the tyranny's close relationship with America's foreign policy élite.
In contrast to the large number of patriots who have argued against particular wars or wartime policies, a much smaller number of Americans have hated America. They have cheered for the fighters who were killing Americans. They have belittled America’s right to protect itself, and they have produced propaganda designed to destroy American morale and to facilitate enemy victory. To advance their anti-American cause, they have sometimes feigned love for the nation they despised.
For example, during the Vietnam War, many sincere patriots--such as George McGovern and Robert Kennedy--opposed the war. But some people actively collaborated with the totalitarian government of Ho Chi Minh, and the totalitarian armies of the Khmer Rouge and the Pathet Lao. These people tried to convince the American public that the soldiers who were killing American troops were fighting in a just cause. They were not; they were fighting for Stalinism and genocide.
Do the many falsehoods and misrepresentations of Fahrenheit 9/11 suggest a film producer who just makes careless mistakes? Or does a man who calls Americans "possibly the dumbest people on the planet" believe that his audience will be too dumb to tell when he is tricking them? Viewers will have to decide for themselves whether the extremist and extremely deceptive Fahrenheit 9/11 is a conscientious work of patriotic dissent, or the cynical propaganda of a man who gives wartime aid to America’s murderous enemies, and who accepts their aid in return.
Dave Kopel is Research Director of the Independence Institute and an NRO columnist. He has previously written about the deceptions in "Bowling for Columbine." Like Michael Moore, in 2000 Kopel endorsed and voted for Ralph Nader.
Freedom is marching- George W. Bush 09.02.2004
no asshole.Originally Posted by igloo
Only simpletons believe things like that.
I always hated Bush.
tring to read all of this........
Last edited by apotheosis; 09-14-04 at 11:01 AM.
out of curiousity...did any of the moore haters actually see the movie?
I'm not giving any of my money to support his lard-ass...
Why would I see a movie that is full of documented lies made by a man who hates President Bush?
Did I watch the DNC? Yes
Have I gone to Kerry's website to look at his platform and plans? Yes
Do I feel like I am an informed voter? Yes
Would F9/11 given me any information that would have changed my vote? No
It would have been nearly 2 hrs of my life that I would never get back. That fat communist Moore doesnt deserve 30seconds of my time.
I did see Bowling for Columbine and I dont doubt Moore's smarts, however he is not a documentary maker. He is a propaganda machine.
Freedom is marching- George W. Bush 09.02.2004
"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
Nice job tres-b.....Originally Posted by tres-b
DO you think the anti-Moore film will get as much play in the media as the F9/11?
'Michael Moore Hates America' huge hit
10-minute standing ovation for documentary at film festival
Posted: September 14, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Ron Strom
© 2004 WorldNetDaily.com
"Michael Moore Hates America," a documentary that challenges the leftist filmmaker, received a huge response at the American Film Renaissance festival in Dallas, packing out two showings and eliciting a 10-minute standing ovation.
"That crowd response was bigger than anything I've seen in a theater in my life," Jim Hubbard, the co-founder of the festival, told WorldNetDaily. The festival ran from Sept. 10-12.
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Hubbard said demand to see the film was so high, the theater was bursting at the seams during the second showing.
"We really packed them in," he said. "We were having to turn people away."
Hubbard says he is confident the man who made "Michael Moore Hates America," 27-year-old Mike Wilson, will secure a theatrical distributor for his work.
"They're going to get distribution," he predicted. "This thing is just too huge."
Wilson was in attendance for both showings, Hubbard said. "[The moviegoers] were treating him like a rock star."
Added Hubbard, "He really peeled the hide off of Michael Moore."
In one scene, the American soldier who lost both arms in Iraq and who was shown in Moore's Bush-bashing "Fahrenheit 9/11" said he was taken out of context in the left-wing documentary.
According to Hubbard, the soldier said in the new film he had planned to be a technical engineer and could no longer do so because he lost him arms. He emphasized, however, that if he had to do it over again, he would, because "what we're doing in Iraq is important." The soldier said he was furious about the way Moore had portrayed him in "Fahrenheit 9/11."
Hubbard noted, "Moore used the south of France [Cannes Film Festival] to launch his left-wing documentary, and we used the heartland of the country, Dallas, Texas, to launch the counterpunch. There are two conflicting moral views right there."
Other films that were popular at the festival, which Hubbard says was the first conservative film festival in the nation, included "Is it True What They Say About Ann?" a documentary about columnist Ann Coulter, "Confronting Iraq" and "Michael and Me," another film responding to Michael Moore.
"Stolen Honor," a film that tells the stories of former POWs who felt betrayed by Sen. John Kerry's 1971 testimony accusing American servicemen of war crimes, also was well-received, Hubbard said.
Hubbard says there were between 3,000 and 4,000 tickets sold altogether for the 17 films that were screened.
"ONE MIGHT CONCLUDE, from his conduct over the past three years that George W. Bush was put on this earth to do two things: First, to lead the United States into the third millennium, with all its terrifying challenges and wondrous opportunities. And second, to drive liberals insane. He's succeeding brilliantly at both."
Week minds blown buy that trader who only looked like brother!
it is so easy to sit back and watch a movie big guy, But did you ever care to investgate for your self?
Nope cuz that means you might have to read or something like that right.
THAT DEVIL MOORE IS A BIG FAT LIER, (and i saw that fucking movie, too bad for him i have a mind of my own, and I am not easyly influenced by a big screen and pop corn. watch that movie again and pay attention to MR. Bush's eyes when he was informed of what happed. Now u stare at that deeply, and i dear you to tell me he dose not care for this Nation!
if you see other wise, well i suggest you get a gun and shot yourself in the head! because that would be better then all those other Americans that will die, while Al Queida is at large, and John Kerry leads his "sensative war on terror" thats the same thing clinton was doing for 9/11, Bush did not create this he adopted it! These fucking rag heads dont hate Bush they hate me and you us as a whole my brother!
Bush will win for it is the will of God himself!
SO FUCK YOU ALA!!!!!!!
P.S. Did you really just call someone a "simplton"? Ha!
I thoght people calling others that was just an urban leagon!
Last edited by groovebleed; 09-14-04 at 02:31 PM. Reason: misspelled cuz i suck at spelling!
Last edited by xxxpornstarxxx; 11-28-04 at 06:36 AM. Reason: http://www.xxxpornstarxxx.tk