May 19, 2004

'Fahrenheit 9/11" documents the long association of the Bush clan and Saudi oil billionaires, and reveals that when Bush released his military records, he blotted out the name of another pilot whose flight status was suspended on the same day...

The woods have come to the castle walls...Roger Ebert,
Don Imus and Howard Stern trump Rush Limbaugh and Sean
Hannity in this culture...

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times: "Fahrenheit 9/11" documents the long association of the Bush clan and Saudi oil billionaires, and reveals that when Bush released his military records, he blotted out the name of another pilot whose flight status was suspended on the same day for failure to take a physical exam. This was his good friend James R. Bath, who later became
the Texas money manager for the bin Laden family
(which has renounced its terrorist son).
When a group of 9/11 victims sued the Saudi government
for financing the terrorists, the Saudis hired as
their defense team the law firm of James Baker, Bush
Sr.'s secretary of state. And the film questions why,
when all aircraft were grounded after 9/11, the White
House allowed several planes to fly around the country
picking up bin Laden family members and other Saudis
and flying them home.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.suntimes.com/output/eb-feature/cst-ftr-cannes18.html
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Less is Moore in subdued, effective '9/11'

May 18, 2004

BY ROGER EBERT FILM CRITIC
CANNES, France -- Michael Moore the muckraking wiseass
has been replaced by a more subdued version in
"Fahrenheit 9/11," his new documentary questioning the
anti-terrorism credentials of the Bush regime. In the
Moore version, President Bush, his father and members
of their circle have received $1.5 billion from Saudi
Arabia over the years, attacked Iraq to draw attention
from their Saudi friends, and have lost the hearts and
minds of many of the U.S. servicemen in the war.

The film premiered Monday at the Cannes Film Festival
to a series of near-riot scenes, as overbooked
screenings were besieged by mobs trying to push their
way in. The response at the early morning screening I
attended was loudly enthusiastic. And at the official
black-tie screening, it was greeted by a standing
ovation; a friend who was there said it went on "for
at least 25 minutes," which probably means closer to
15 (estimates of ovations at Cannes are like estimates
of parade crowds in Chicago).

But the film doesn't go for satirical humor the way
Moore's "Roger & Me" and "Bowling for Columbine" did.
Moore's narration is still often sarcastic, but
frequently he lets his footage speak for itself.

The film shows American soldiers not in a prison but
in the field, hooding an Iraqi, calling him Ali Baba,
touching his genitals and posing for photos with him.
There are other scenes of U.S. casualties without arms
or legs, questioning the purpose of the Iraqi invasion
at a time when Bush proposed to cut military salaries
and benefits. It shows Lila Lipscomb, a mother from
Flint, Mich., reading a letter from her son, who urged
his family to help defeat Bush, days before he was
killed. And in a return to the old Moore
confrontational style, it shows him joined by a Marine
recruiter as he encourages congressmen to have their
sons enlist in the services.

Despite these dramatic moments, the most memorable
footage for me involved President Bush on Sept. 11.
The official story is that Bush was meeting with a
group of pre-schoolers when he was informed of the
attack on the World Trade Center and quickly left the
room. Not quite right, says Moore. Bush learned of the
first attack before entering the school, "decided to
go ahead with his photo op," and began to read My Pet
Goat to the students. Informed of the second attack,
he incredibly remained with the students for another
seven minutes, reading from the book, until a staff
member suggested that he leave. The look on his face
as he reads the book, knowing what he knows, is
disquieting.

"Fahrenheit 9/11" documents the long association of
the Bush clan and Saudi oil billionaires, and reveals
that when Bush released his military records, he
blotted out the name of another pilot whose flight
status was suspended on the same day for failure to
take a physical exam. This was his good friend James
R. Bath, who later became the Texas money manager for
the bin Laden family (which has renounced its
terrorist son).

When a group of 9/11 victims sued the Saudi government
for financing the terrorists, the Saudis hired as
their defense team the law firm of James Baker, Bush
Sr.'s secretary of state. And the film questions why,
when all aircraft were grounded after 9/11, the White
House allowed several planes to fly around the country
picking up bin Laden family members and other Saudis
and flying them home.

Much of the material in "Fahrenheit 9/11" has already
been covered in books and newspapers, but some is new,
and it all benefits from the different kind of impact
a movie has. Near the beginning of the film, as
Congress moves to ratify the election of Bush after
the Florida and Supreme Court controversies, it is
positively eerie to see 10 members of Congress --
eight black women, one Asian woman and one black man
-- rise to protest the move and be gaveled into
silence by the chairman of the session, Al Gore.

On the night before his film premiered, Moore, in
uncharacteristic formalwear, attended an official
dinner given by Gilles Jacob, president of the
festival. Conversation at his table centered on the
just-published New Yorker article by Seymour Hersh
alleging that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
personally authorized use of torture in Iraqi prisons.

Moore had his own insight into the issue: "Rumsfeld
was under oath when he testified about the torture
scandal. If he lied, that's perjury. And therefore I
find it incredibly significant that when Bush and
Cheney testified before the 9/11 commission, they
refused to swear an oath. They claimed they'd sworn an
oath of office, but that has no legal standing. Do you
suppose they remembered how Clinton was trapped by
perjury and were protecting themselves?"

Would something like that belong in the film?

"My contract says I can keep editing and adding stuff
right up until the release date," Moore said. He said
he expects to sign a U.S. distribution deal this week
at Cannes; the film's producer, Miramax, was forbidden
to release it by its parent company, Disney.

After the first press screening on Monday, journalists
noted on their way out that Moore was more serious in
this film and took fewer cheap shots. But there are a
few. Wait until you see Deputy Defense Secretary Paul
Wolfowitz preparing for a TV interview. First he puts
a pocket comb in his mouth to wet it and combs down
his hair. Still not satisfied, he spits on his hand
and wipes the hair into place. Catching politicians
being made up for TV is an old game, but this is a
first.


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Posted by richard at May 19, 2004 05:17 PM