6.30.2004

Fahrenheit Fact no. 19: Unger questions Bush/bin Laden relationship

A constant theme of "Fahrenheit 9/11" is Moore's attempt to link Bush with bin Laden. From the film:
NARRATOR: So where did George W. Bush get his money? One person who did invest in him was James R. Bath. (cut to "Trust Agreement") Bush's good friend James Bath was hired by the bin Laden family to manage their money in Texas and invest in businesses. (zoom in on 'Salem bin Laden' signature) And James Bath himself in turn invested in George W. Bush.
Moore uses Unger as a main source for many of the Bush/Saudi connections in the movie. But Unger himself doubts the Bush/bin Ladin connection. Newsweek writes:
Leaving aside the fact that the bin Laden family, which runs one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest construction firms, has never been linked to terrorism, the movie—which relied heavily on Unger’s book—fails to note the author’s conclusion about what to make of the supposed Bin Laden-Bath-Bush nexus: that it may not mean anything. The “Bush-Bin Laden ‘relationships’ were indirect—two degrees of separation, perhaps—and at times have been overstated,” Unger writes in his book. While critics have charged that bin Laden money found its way into Arbusto through Bath, Unger notes that “no hard evidence has ever been found to back up that charge” and Bath himself has adamantly denied it. “One hundred percent of those funds (in Arbusto) were mine,” says Bath in a footnote on page 101 of Unger’s book. “It was a purely personal investment.”
(Emphasis mine)

Fahrenheit Fact no. 18: Bush isn't the only one in Carlyle

Many thanks to Newsweek for their Moore article. Here's another gem from the article: Did you know that the Democratic Party is just as involved in the Carlyle group?:
Its founding and still managing partner is David Rubenstein, a former top domestic policy advisor to Jimmy Carter. Among the firm’s senior advisors is Thomas “Mack” McLarty, Bill Clinton’s former White House chief of staff, and Arthur Levitt, Clinton’s former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. One of its other managing partners is William Kennard, Clinton’s chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Spokesman Ullman was the Clinton-era spokesman for the SEC
Also, George Sorros, much-beloved mogul of the far-left, is also in Carlyle.

Fahrenheit Fact no. 17: 75-80% of "$1.4 billion" Saudi connection false

Newsweek writes:
June 30 - In his new movie, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” film-maker Michael Moore makes the eye-popping claim that Saudi Arabian interests “have given” $1.4 billion to firms connected to the family and friends of President George W. Bush. This, Moore suggests, helps explain one of the principal themes of the film: that the Bush White House has shown remarkable solicitude to the Saudi royals, even to the point of compromising the war on terror. When you and your associates get money like that, Moore says at one point in the movie, “who you gonna like? Who’s your Daddy?”
More even uses the number $1.4 billion:
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? Or me? 'Cuz $1.4 billion doesn't just buy a lot of flights out of the country, it buys a lot of love.
But Newsweek kindly informs us:
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...Leave aside the tenuous six-degrees-of-separation nature of this “connection.” 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...“The figure is inaccurate and misleading,” said Ullman. “The movie clearly implies that the Saudis gave $1.4 billion to the Bushes and their friends. But most of it went to a Carlyle Group company before Bush even joined the firm. Bush had nothing to do with BDM.”
(all emphasis mine) So Moore ends up being $1.18 billion off- %75-80 of his Bush/Saudi connection is verifiably untrue. -a_sdf

6.29.2004

Fahrenheit Fact no. 16: All embassies have Secret Service protection

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. MICHAEL MOORE: We're not here to cause any trouble or anything. Uh, ya know, is that... OFFICER: That's fine. Just wanted to get some information on what was going on. MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah yeah yeah, I didn't realize the Secret Service guards foreign embassies. OFFICER: Uh, not usually, no sir.
(Emphasis mine) But the agent was wrong- Moore does not mention this. He allows us to believe that only the Saudi Embassy has secret service protection, which is untrue. For example, the Secret Service has this to say:
After several name revisions, the force officially adopted its current name, the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division in 1977. While protection of the White House Complex remains its primary mission, the Uniformed Division's responsibilities have expanded greatly over the years. They now protect the following: * the White House Complex, the Main Treasury Building and Annex, and other Presidential offices; * the President and members of the immediate family; * the temporary official residence of the Vice President in the District of Columbia; * the Vice President and members of the immediate family; and * foreign diplomatic missions in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and throughout the United States, and its territories and possessions, as prescribed by statute.
Emphasis mine.

6.28.2004

Fahrenheit Fact no. 15: Happy and healthy in Iraq?

Here's what an Iraqi (resident of Baghdad since 1980) thought of the portrayl in "Fahrenheit 9/11":
Moore shows scenes of Baghdad before the invasion 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. Excuse me is this my Baghdad you talk about ,that Baghdad I live in for more than 20 year[s] ,with all what we lived through[?] How could we be happy and smiling...how can we can be Happy ,and I['ve had] friends executed..I got b[r]others in jail ,how? We can be happy, and we got nothing to eat, how? we can be happy ,and we got nothing to live for...Iraq was ruled by a regime that had forced a sixth of its population into fearful exile, maybe you have the answers?
Jonathan Foreman of The New York Post posted an opinion piece on Fahrenheit 9/11. In it, he states the following:
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.
He goes on:
[... Moore should have known] that prewar 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.
He's absolutely right. Anyone wondering about the state of Iraq before our liberation should go to www.massgraves.info. A compelling (but EXTREMELY GRAPHIC) depiction of Saddam's torture can found here and here (links provided by pulse15217). However, BE WARNED - these movie clips are not for children or the faint of heart. We here at Fahrenheit Fact take no responsibility for any and all trauma suffered while watching them. However, they do serve to provide a fitting contrast to the pre-war images of happy, smiling Iraqis that Moore presents in F-9/11. -TRC

6.25.2004

Fahrenheit Fact no. 14: Legislative sons in active service

In one particularly tasteless portion of the film, Moore attempts to flag down a few congressmen and "convince" them to sign their children up for military service, thus implying that our legislators represent an "elite" who will not send their sons and daughters to die in unpopular foreign wars (a'la Vietnam). Despite the fact that no national draft has been instituted and that military service is voluntary, Moore has presented us with a half-baked half-truth. For instance, Brooks Johnson, the son of Senator Tim Johnson (a democratic senator from South Dakota), is currently serving with distinction in the 101st Airborne. Also, regardless of what you think of Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), it's undeniable that he helped to pin the bars on his son, Beau Biden, who is a member of the Delaware Army National Guard (there's a picture of him being sworn in here). Although Beau isn't in the line of fire (he is currently practicing as a judge advocate), he is a military serviceman nonetheless. Another interesting fact: Attorney General John Ashcroft, defender of the much-maligned Patriot Act and punching bag of the liberal left, has a son who is currently on active duty in the Middle East. His name is Andrew Ashcroft, and he serves in the Persian Gulf aboard a naval destroyer called the USS McFaul (you can find the reference a few paragraphs down here). Furthermore, new evidence reveals that Representative Kennedy (R-MN), one of the lawmakers accosted in Fahrenheit 9/11, was censored by Michael Moore. According to the 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. But that's not all. Another ambushed legislator, Representative John Tanner, was accosted by Moore while he was rushing to get to the floor of Congress. The Hill reports that Tanner
"[...] didn't even know who Michael Moore was [...] He asked me if I voted for the war and if I'd send my children to the war. I told him I did and that my children were full grown."

Fahrenheit Fact no. 13: Bush's Air National Guard service misrepresented

The International Herald Tribune's review points out that Moore is continuing to make issue of Bush's Air National Guard service:
As the camera pans across copies of Bush’s records from the Texas Air National Guard, and Moore reads that the future president was suspended for missing a medical examination, we hear a familiar electric guitar riff; it takes you a moment to remember that it comes from a song called ‘‘Cocaine.’
But in reality, it is far from questionable. From National Review(1):
The controversy over Bush's service centers on what his critics call "the period in question," that is, the time from May 1972 until May 1973. What is not mentioned as often is that that period was in fact Bush's fifth year in the Guard, one that followed four years of often intense service. Bush joined in May 1968. He went through six weeks of basic training--a full-time job--at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Tex. Then he underwent 53 weeks of flight training--again, full time--at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Ga. Then he underwent 21 weeks of fighter interceptor training--full time--at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston. Counting other, shorter, postings in between, by the end of his training period Bush had served two years on active duty. Certified to fly the F-102 fighter plane, Bush then began a period of frequent--usually weekly--flying. The F-102 was designed to shoot down other fighter planes, and the missions Bush flew were training flights, mostly over the Gulf of Mexico and often at night, in which pilots took turns being the predator and the prey."If you're going to practice how to shoot down another airplane, then you have to have another airplane up there to work on," recalls retired Col. William Campenni, who flew with Bush in 1970 and 1971. "He'd be the target for the first half of the mission, and then we'd switch." During that period Bush's superiors gave him consistently high ratings as a pilot. "Lt. Bush is an exceptional fighter interceptor pilot and officer," wrote one in a 1972 evaluation. Another evaluation, in 1971, called Bush "an exceptionally fine young officer and pilot" who "continually flies intercept missions with the unit to increase his proficiency even further." And a third rating, in 1970, said Bush "clearly stands out as a top notch fighter interceptor pilot" and was also "a natural leader whom his contemporaries look to for leadership." All that flying involved quite a bit of work. "Being a pilot is more than just a monthly appearance," says Bob Harmon, a former Guard pilot who was a member of Bush's group in 1971 and 1972. "You cannot maintain your currency by doing just one drill a month. He was flying once or twice a week during that time, from May of 1971 until May of 1972." While the work was certainly not as dangerous as fighting in the jungles of Vietnam, it wasn't exactly safe, either. Harmon remembers a half-dozen Texas Air National Guard fliers who died in accidents over the years, including one during the time Bush was flying. "This was not an endeavor without risk," Harmon notes. THE MOVE TO ALABAMA: The records show that Bush kept up his rigorous schedule of flying through the spring of 1972: He was credited for duty on ten days in March of that year, and seven days in April. Then, as Bush began his fifth year of service in the Guard, he appears to have stepped back dramatically. The records indicate that he received no credit in May, June, July, August, and September 1972. In October, he was credited with two days, and in November he was credited with four. There were no days in December, and then six in January 1973. Then there were no days in February and March. The change was the result of Bush's decision to go to Alabama to work on the Senate campaign of Republican Winton Blount. With an obligation to the Guard, Bush asked to perform equivalent service in Alabama. That was not an unusual request, given that members of the Guard, like everyone else, often moved around the country. "It was a common thing," recalls Brigadier General Turnipseed. "If we had had a guy in Houston, he could have made equivalent training with Bush's unit. It was so common that the guy who wrote the letter telling Bush to come didn't even tell me about it." The president's critics have charged that he did not show up for service--was "AWOL"--in Alabama. Bush says he did serve, and his case is supported by records showing that he was paid and given retirement credit for days of service while he was known to be in Alabama. The records also show that Bush received a dental examination on January 6, 1973, at Dannelly Air National Guard base, home of the 187th (January 6 was one of the days that pay records show Bush receiving credit for service). And while a number of Guard members at the base say they do not remember seeing Bush among the roughly 900 men who served there during that time, another member, a retired lieutenant named John Calhoun, says he remembers seeing Bush at the base several times. What seems most likely is that Bush was indeed at Dannelly, but there was not very much for a non-flying pilot to do. Flying fighter jets involves constant practice and training; Bush had to know when he left Texas that he would no longer be able to engage in either one very often, which meant that he would essentially leave flying, at least for some substantial period of time. In addition, the 187th could not accommodate another pilot, at least regularly. "He was not going to fly," says Turnipseed. "We didn't have enough airplanes or sorties to handle our own pilots, so we wouldn't have done it for some guy passing through." On the other hand, showing up for drills was still meeting one's responsibility to the Guard. And, as 1973 went along, the evidence suggests that Bush stepped up his work to make up for the time he had missed earlier. In April of that year, he received credit for two days; in May, he received credit for 14 days; in June, five days; and in July, 19 days. That was the last service Bush performed in the Guard. Later that year, he asked for and received permission to leave the Guard early so he could attend Harvard Business School. He was given an honorable discharge after serving five years, four months, and five days of his original six-year commitment. The records indicate that, despite his move to Alabama, Bush met his obligation to the Guard in the 1972-73 year. At that time, Guardsmen were awarded points based on the days they reported for duty each year. They were given 15 points just for being in the Guard, and were then required to accumulate a total of 50 points to satisfy the annual requirement. In his first four years of service, Bush piled up lots of points; he earned 253 points in his first year, 340 in his second, 137 in his third, and 112 in his fourth. For the year from May 1972 to May 1973, records show Bush earned 56 points, a much smaller total, but more than the minimum requirement (his service was measured on a May-to-May basis because he first joined the Guard in that month in 1968). Bush then racked up another 56 points in June and July of 1973, which met the minimum requirement for the 1973-74 year, which was Bush's last year of service. Together, the record "clearly shows that First Lieutenant George W. Bush has satisfactory years for both '72-'73 and '73-'74, which proves that he completed his military obligation in a satisfactory manner," says retired Lt. Col. Albert Lloyd, a Guard personnel officer who reviewed the records at the request of the White House. All in all, the documents show that Bush served intensively for four years and then let up in his fifth and sixth years, although he still did enough to meet Guard requirements. The records also suggest that Bush's superiors were not only happy with his performance from 1968 to 1972, but also happy with his decision to go to Alabama. Indeed, Bush's evaluating officer wrote in May 1972 that "Lt. Bush is very active in civic affairs in the community and manifests a deep interest in the operation of our government. He has recently accepted the position as campaign manager for a candidate for United States Senate. He is a good representative of the military and Air National Guard in the business world." Beyond their apparent hope that Bush would be a good ambassador for the Guard, Bush's superiors might have been happy with his decision to go into politics for another reason: They simply had more people than they needed. "In 1972, there was an enormous glut of pilots," says Campenni. "The Vietnam War was winding down, and the Air Force was putting pilots in desk jobs. In '72 or '73, if you were a pilot, active or Guard, and you had an obligation and wanted to get out, no problem. In fact, you were helping them solve their problem."
(1)Copyright 2004 National Review National Review February 18, 2004, Wednesday SECTION: National Review Online LENGTH: 2291 words HEADLINE: Bush and the National Guard: Case Closed BODY: EDITOR'S NOTE: This article appears in the March 8, 2004, issue of National Review.

Fahrenheit Fact no. 12: Moore's congressmen have ties to terrorists and the U.N. "oil for food" scandal

As Debbie Schlussel points out in her "Fahrenheit 9/11" review, Jim McDermott, a Congressman Moore interviews during the film, has participated in a trip to Iraq funded by an organization called Life for Relief and Development. They seem like great organization. From the AP:
In the past three weeks, his group [Life for Relief and Development] distributed 30,000 medical books to hospitals and medical schools, he said. The group also has opened free medical clinics in Baghdad and other cities and has provided donations of food and medical supplies to needy Iraqis.
But there's a dark side to LRD- it's partially funded by Shakir Al-Khafaji. The Weekly Standard has this to say about him:
According to Knight-Ridder, the mysterious Iraqi was "employed with the aid of an Iraqi intelligence officer" and later "accompanied two Sept. 11 hijackers from the airport to a hotel where the pair met with Ramzi Binalshibh, a key planner of the attacks, and Tawfiz al Atash, who masterminded al Qaida's strike on the USS Cole in October 2000."
Al-Khafaji also is part of the Oil for Food Scandal. From Knight Ridder(1):
In January, Al-Khafaji's name was printed in the Iraqi newspaper Al Mada, on a list of 270 individuals who received oil allocations from Hussein's regime. Al-Khafaji was one of two U.S. citizens on the list.
Schlussel also points out deep ties between McDermott and Al-Khafaji:
Mr. Alkhafaji, one of two Americans named in Iraqi newspapers as a participant in Saddam's "Oil for Food" scam, gave Congressman McDermott $5,000
What's more, there are accusations against LRD that are extremely serious. Schlussel writes:
... Life for Relief and Development (LRD), a "charity" which laundered money to terrorist group Hamas' Jordanian operation...LRD's Iraqi offices were raided by US troops last week, and the Detroit-area "charity" is suspected of funding uprisings, such as the one in Fallujah. Its officials bragged of doing so at a recent private US fundraiser.
And that's just the first interview. Moore's second interview is with John Conyers, whom Schlussel points out has been linked with other militant terrorist groups:
Take the June 13 Muslim American Society fundraising dinner for Islamic Relief, a charity with links to the Muslim Brotherhood. Conyers and his wife were the guests of honor. They watched and clapped as the Sanabel Al-Quds "dancing" troop from Milwaukee—featuring boys as young as seven—sang in Arabic of martyrdom and jihad for Allah and Palestine. They didn't need to understand Arabic, as the young boys used a rifle to simulate killing and pistol-whipping, simulated throat-slittings and beheadings, and dishonored the American flag.
More on the American Muslim Society:
Two past conference speakers face terror-related indictments and a third is identified in FBI reports as a Hamas terror leader. In March 2002, American Muslim magazine _ described as "the voice of the Muslim American Society" _ interviewed assassinated Hamas leader Abu Bakr's wife, who said she was "willing to give my life and the lives of my children" and advocated "standing beside the families of the martyrs." Another article explained that "martyr operations are not suicide."
(2) So the two Congressmen that Moore interviews have known links with organizations both under investigation by the FBI and with strong terrorist ties, as well as having dealt with key players of the UN Oil for Food Scandal. --- (1)Copyright 2004 Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service Detroit Free Press April 24, 2004, Saturday SECTION: DOMESTIC NEWS KR-ACC-NO: K3883 LENGTH: 1445 words HEADLINE: Role of Detroit area man questioned in U.N. scandal BYLINE: By Dawson Bell and Tamara Audi (2)Copyright 2004 Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service Daily News (NY) January 30, 2004, Friday SECTION: WASHINGTON DATELINE KR-ACC-NO: K6485 LENGTH: 279 words HEADLINE: Clark sought support from group under FBI investigation BYLINE: By James Gordon Meek

Fahrenheit Fact no. 11: "House of Bush, House of Saud" not publishable in the UK for legal reasons

The book "House of Bush, House of Saud", which Moore relies on as a source for his film, is in legal trouble in the UK - to the point of not being published. From Salon.com:
"We've had to withdraw it for legal reasons," says an editor at Secker & Warburg, a U.K. division of Random House. "We expected we would be able to publish it with a degree of risk. But regrettably in the final analysis we decided we could not."
Despite being published internationally, the much stricter libel laws in the UK (which "switch the burden of proof") have made the publisher too nervous to allow for its publication in the UK. As the publisher said:
"Essentially it's been quashed,"

6.24.2004

Fahrenheit Fact no. 10: Unocal gave up pipeline project 3 years before Afghan war

In "Fahrenheit 9/11" one of the many accusations made concerns the war in Afghanistan. Moore essentially implies that the reasoning for the military action was to benefit Unocal Corporation through the construction of an oil pipeline. But the company, which had planned to build the pipe in the mid-90's, gave up the project in 1998, three years before. From an AP report in 1998:
"Unocal Corp. withdrew from a consortium planning to build a pipeline across Afghanistan, saying low oil prices and turmoil in the Central Asian nation have made the project too risky."
Unocal also denies that Karzai was a consultant:
Barry Lane: Look, we didn't have a lot of experience in that area so we sought out people who did. Who knew - in fact we also had a former Ambassador to Pakistan as a consultant. Jared Israel: Who was that? Barry Lane: I can't remember his name. A US Ambassador. Because he knew the culture and so on. Jared Israel: It's the same thing that a real estate developer does when he wants to build in an area where there is conflict; he hires influential people from that area. Barry Lane: That's exactly the relationship we had. He was an advisor to us. Jared Israel: So even terming him a 'consultant' is a mis-description? Barry Lane: Well, he sure wasn't there, like every day, punching a clock. [Laughs.] And as for Mr. Karzai, no. Never. Jared Israel: If Karzai had worked for you would you regret it? Barry Lane: Heck, no. Why? We don't care. But he didn't. Jared Israel: The thing that's interesting to me about Le Monde is, why don't they report that you have denied that Karzai was a consultant? Isn't that news? Their story is denied by a primary source - that is definitely news. The failure to report it tells me they have no evidence because if they did have any evidence surely they would have a great article - report your denial and then show their evidence. Barry Lane: Well they know we denied it. We sent them a letter saying exactly that pure and simple right after their publication.
(emphasis mine) Also, here is the information on what is actually going on in Afghanistan:
As your site notes, Unocal left the project in 1998.(1) The project was then more or less put on hold, though other members of CentGas (the consortium that Unocal had been heading) did make a few attempts to look for another head investor.(2) These attempts did not succeed, and the project was essentially dead by 9/11. Some US government officials began talking the project up again after the ouster of the Taliban regime in late 2001.(3) Meanwhile, speculation arose as to the possibility that Unocal would step in again.(4) However, Unocal publicly declared that it would not.(5) Since then, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has offered to help Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan with the project.(6) However, the parties have yet to move beyond the feasibility study stage.(7) No construction work has been carried out; there is no major trans-national gas pipeline being built in Afghanistan at present.(8) Notes: (1) Unocal press release, "Unocal statement on withdrawal from the proposed Central Asia Gas CentGas pipeline project," December 10, 1998; http://www.unocal.com/uclnews/98news/centgas.htm. (2) Ovais Subhani, "Central Asian pipeline seeks new leader", Reuters news agency, February 12, 1999. See also Alexander's Gas and Oil Connections, "Turkmenistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan tell CentGas to pick a new leader (source: NewsBase)," April 24, 1999; http://www.gasandoil.com/goc/news/ntc92423.htm. (3) For example, Laura Kennedy, the US ambassador to Turkmenistan, was quoted by the Turkmen media as saying at a mid-2002 meeting of the pipeline's supporters in Ashgabat: "The US government also is ready to back the commercially viable trans-Afghan gas pipeline." Michael Lelyveld, "Mixed Russian Message on Turkmen Pipeline," RFE/RL, July 12, 2002; http://www.rferl.org/features/2002/07/11072002155210.asp. (4) Lelyveld, "Kazakhstan: Talk of Oil Pipeline Through Afghanistan Seen as Premature," RFE/RL, February 15, 2002; http://www.rferl.org/features/2002/02/15022002094742.asp. (5) Unocal press release, "Unocal statement: Company not supporting Taliban in any way," September 14, 2001; http://www.unocal.com/uclnews/2001news/091401.htm. See also Unocal press release, "Controversial new movie repeats old and false allegations against Unocal," June 30, 2004; http://www.unocal.com/uclnews/2004news/063004.htm. (6) Asian Development Bank document, "Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan Natural Gas Pipeline Project," June 2003; http://www.adb.org/Documents/Articles/AFG/afg_2003001.asp. See also Asian Development Bank document, "Technical Assistance for the Feasibility Studies of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan Natural Gas Pipeline Project," December 2002; http://adb.org/Documents/TARs/REG/tar_stu36488.pdf. (7) The feasibility study was completed and submitted to Pakistan in October of 2003; Khaleeq Kiani, "ADB submits feasibility report to Pakistan: Gas pipeline," Dawn, October 19, 2003; http://dawn.com/2003/10/19/ebr3.htm. However, Pakistan rejected the study and suggested that it be done again, while Turkmenistan has asked that discussion on the issue be delayed until mid-2004 pending the re-certification of gas reserves at the Dauletabad field; staff reporter, " Ministerial body rejects feasibility report: Turkmen gas pipeline," Dawn, December 8, 2003; http://www.dawn.com/2003/12/09/ebr1.htm. (8) Recent media reports describe the pipeline as "planned" or "in the works", meaning that the plans for construction have not been carried out yet. See, for example, "Turkmenistan to Survey Gas Reserves for Afghan Pipeline," Associated Press news agency, February 27, 2004; and "By 2007 Turkmenistan Plans to Increase the Gas Export up to 126 Bn Cubic Meters," Media-Press news agency, June 9, 2004. Researched by Jennifer DeLay. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact her at fsuogm@aol.com.
-a_sdf

Fahrenheit Fact no. 9: Vice-Chairman of the 9/11 commission applauds Bush for the infamous "7 minutes"

Michael Moore points out that during the attacks on 9/11, President Bush remained in the Florida classroom in which he was situated for five to seven minutes after he had learned of the attacks, which is true, and independently verifiable. Moore sneeringly mentions that Bush was reading to the students from a book called My Pet Goat and uses scorn and mocking to imply that it was stupidity and incompetence that kept the President in the classroom. The Vice Chairman of the 9/11 Commission has a different opinion:
If the 9/11 commission isn't worried about Bush's reaction, why should we be worried? "Bush made the right decision in remaining calm, in not rushing out of the classroom," said Lee Hamilton, vice chairman of the Sept. 11 commission and a former Democratic congressman from Indiana
(Emphasis mine)

6.23.2004

Fahrenheit Fact no. 8: Disney told Moore over a year ago that they would not distribute

Disney mouthpieces also said Miramax was informed nearly a year ago that the company wouldn't distribute Fahrenheit 9/11. Miramax apparently hoped Disney would change its corporate mind. Moore apparently was convinced that would happen, or else Miramax would use another distribution outlet for Fahrenheit 9/11 to reach theaters, which is what it did with the controversial Dogma in 1999. That film, with its satire of Roman Catholicism, also was disavowed by Disney.
From The Floridian

Fahrenheit Fact no. 7: Moore is preparing to sue critics of his film

From the New York Times (reg required):
Mr. Moore is readying for a conservative counterattack, saying he has created a political-style "war room" to offer an instant response to any assault on the film's credibility. He has retained Chris Lehane, a Democratic Party strategist known as a master of the black art of "oppo," or opposition research, used to discredit detractors. He also hired outside fact-checkers, led by a former general counsel of The New Yorker and a veteran member of that magazine's legendary fact-checking team, to vet the film. And he is threatening to go one step further, saying he has consulted with lawyers who can bring defamation suits against anyone who maligns the film or damages his reputation.
Emphasis mine.

Fahrenheit Fact no. 6: Moore distorts Bush "vacation days"

Moorelies.com has an article about how the "vacation days" were calculated:
It's obvious that these "vacation days" include weekends. (You can do the math: 250/x=42/100; x=595 days=1.63 years). Okay, 42% is a lot of vacation, but weekends account for 29% of our time. I'm sure that a lot of this "vacation" time is just Bush going to Camp David for the weekend. Can we really fault the President for going to Camp David on weekends? If you take out weekends, you get 42%-29%, or 13% of the time that Bush was on vacation. Okay, this is still a lot, although 13% looks a lot better than 42%. Over a year, 13% is about 6.76 weeks of the year--which is still much more than most of us. But we know that Bush's vacations are generally working vacations. For example, he has hosted visits from leaders like Putin, Fox, and many others there. This hardly seems like a real vacation. As Hitchens points out today, there are a lot of problems with Fahrenheit 9/11. It's pretty clear that Moore's "vacation time" allegation is one of them.

6.22.2004

Fahrenheit Fact no. 5: Michael Moore had abuse footage months beforehand; did not notify DOD

Michael Moore had footage of Iraqi prisoner abuse (not at Abu Ghraib) months before the scandal broke and did not notify the Department of Defense. Moore was interviewed by Matt Lauer about the footage:
LAUER: There are some images in--in your movie of an American soldier taunting and, I guess, sexually humiliating a detainee. Tell me how you got the footage and when you got the footage. Mr. MOORE: We shot on December 12th outside of Basra by a freelance journalist. This is out in the field, now, this is not in the prison. LAUER: Right. So you had your hands on this before the images from Abu Ghraib were made public. Mr. MOORE: That's correct. LAUER: There's a decision to make there on your part? Mr. MOORE: Well, I know, it was a really--it was a tough decision. And we're putting the film together, and--and we're trying to decide what should we do here. LAUER: But a critic could say, 'Hey, send it to the right person a couple of months before these other photos go out and maybe'... Mr. MOORE: Who s the right person? LAUER: Send it to the Department of Defense. Mr. MOORE: Well... LAUER: Send it to someone and say, 'Look, I've got this. You guys better know about this.' Problem I see is, you've got a movie... Mr. MOORE: I'm at a point where I don't trust, though, the mainstream media. I'm like most Americans at this point.
1 [1] Lexis Nexis Search: "Michael Moore"; SHOW: Dateline NBC (8:00 PM ET) - NBC, June 18, 2004 Friday

Fahrenheit Fact no. 4: Three members of the 2004 Cannes jury have ties to Miramax

Three members of the 2004 Cannes Jury- including the chair, Quentin Tarantino- have ties to Miramax, the main US studio and Disney entity responsible for "Fahrenheit 9/11".

Fahrenheit Fact no. 3: Michael Moore has called civilian contractors in Iraq "War Profiteers"

In this post on his web site, Moore calls civilian contractors in Iraq "war profiteers".

Fahrenheit Fact no. 2: On 9/11, George W. Bush did not sign the order for Saudis to leave the U.S.

As it turns out, the flights were approved by Richard Clarke- former terrorism official and author of the less than complimentary "Against all Enemies". Even though Moore is technically correct when he states that the "Whitehouse" approved the flights, the requests never "went any higher" than Clarke.

Fahrenheit Fact no. 1: Groups affiliated with Hezbollah have offered to help distribute Fahrenheit 9/11

The Guardian reports that groups related to Hezbollah have offered to aid in the distribution of "Fahrenheit 9/11" in the Middle East.