Daily Archives: June 18, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11:The Attempts To Kill It

June 17, 2004


We’re a week away from the nationwide opening of “Fahrenheit 9/11” and not a day goes by where we don’t have some new battle to fight thanks to those who are still working overtime to keep people from seeing this film. What’s their problem? Are they worried about something?

A Republican PR firm has formed a fake grassroots front group called “Move America Forward” to harass and intimidate theater owners into not showing “Fahrenheit 9/11.” These are the same people who successfully badgered CBS into canceling the Reagan mini-series a few months ago. And they are spending a ton of money this week to threaten movie theaters who even think about showing our movie.

As of this morning, a little over 500 theaters have agreed to show the movie beginning next Friday, June 25. There are three national/regional theater chains who, as of today, have not booked the movie in their theaters. One theater owner in Illinois has reported receiving death threats.

The right wing usually wins these battles. Their basic belief system is built on censorship, repression, and keeping people ignorant. They want to limit or snuff out any debate or dissension. They also don’t like pets and are mean to small children. Too many of them are named “Fred.”

This new nut group is the Right’s last hope in limiting how many people can see this movie. All of their other efforts have failed.. Let’s recap:

1. Roger Friedman at FOX News reported that the head of the company which first agreed to fund our film “got calls from Republican friends” pressuring them to back out. And they did. But… Miramax immediately picked up the film! Except…

2. Michael Eisner, the chairman of Disney, then blocked Miramax (a company owned by Disney) from releasing the film once it was finished. But… public attention and embarrassment forced Disney to let the Weinstein brothers of Miramax find another distributor! But…

3. Instead of a new distributor stepping right in — as all the media predicted would happen — it took another month to find distributors who would take on this movie. A number of other distributors, thanks to various pressures, were afraid to get involved. It looked for a while that we would be distributing this ourselves. But then Lions Gate and IFC Films rode in to the rescue!

So, we have beaten back all attempts to kill this movie, and the only thing in the way of you now seeing “Fahrenheit 9/11” is this Republican big-money front group trying to force theaters not to show the movie.

Please, contact your local theaters and let them know you want to see “Fahrenheit 9/11.” Tell them that some people don’t know that this is America and that we believe in freedom of speech and the importance of ALL voices being heard. (The members of MoveOn.org—an ACTUAL grassroots organization—have done a very cool thing. They are pledging to send a message to theater owners and are planning to attend a showing of the film on its opening weekend.)

I appreciate their efforts, but you don’t have to be a member of MoveOn to help stop this effort to keep “Fahrenheit 9/11” from making it to screens across the country. If a theater in your area is planning to show the film, just give them a call and thank them for standing up for the freedom of speech. If your local theater isn’t showing the film, call them and let them know that you would like to see it and you’d like them to show it.

The White House and their minions in our media have presented one distorted version of the truth after another for the past four years. All we are asking for is the right to show what they HAVEN’T shown us, the real truth. The truth that ain’t pretty (and is, sadly, damningly hilarious).

On top of all this, the MPAA gave the film an “R” rating. I want all teenagers to see this film. There is nothing in the film in terms of violence that we didn’t see on TV every night at the dinner hour during the Vietnam War. Of course, that’s the point, isn’t it? The media have given the real footage from Iraq a “cleansing” — made it look nice, easy to digest. Mario Cuomo has offered to be our lawyer in appealing this ruling by the MPAA. Frankly, I would like to think the MPAA is saying that the actions by the Bush administration are so abhorrent and revolting, we need to protect our children from seeing what they have done. In that case, the film should be rated NC-17!

However it turns out, I trust all of you teenagers out there will find your way into a theater to see this movie. If the government believes it is OK to send slightly older teenagers to their deaths in Iraq, I think at the very least you should be allowed to see what they are going to draft you for in a couple of years.

Finally, some very sophisticated individuals have been hacking into and shutting down our website. It is an hourly fight to keep it up. We are going to find out who is doing this and we are going to pursue a criminal prosecution. I’m preparing lots of cool stuff for the site so watch for new items on it next week (www.fahrenheit911.com and http://www.michaelmoore.com).

Thanks again for your support and I hope to see you at the movies on opening night, June 25.


Michael Moore

PS. I am sponsoring a number of benefits around the country next week for local and national peace and justice groups, including Military Families Speak Out and September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. Please check your local papers and my website next week for further details.

PPS. Also, I am going to be on the “Late Show with David Letterman” on Friday night. It’s on CBS at 11:35 PM Eastern and Pacific. And on Monday morning (June 21) I will be on “The Today Show” on NBC. Next week, Jon Stewart and Conan. I’d go on O’Reilly but, like a coward, he walked out on a screening we invited him to (with Al Franken just a few rows away!). I personally caught him sneaking out. Embarrassed, he tried to change the subject. He said, “When are you coming on my show?” and I said, “Turn around and watch the rest of the movie and I will come on your show.” He walked out. Fair and balanced.

Quote of the Day

Sometimes it’s better to attract a smaller group of people intensely than a large group of people blandly.–Jonathan Rosenbaum

No, he wasn’t talking about blogs. But he could have been.

Ashcroft’s Law

When you’re the law, you don’t have to explain anything if you don’t want to. That seems to be Motto #1 for high-ranking members of the Bush Admin.

# Cheney insists there’s an Al Qaeda/Saddam connection even after the 9/11 Commission proves there isn’t. Why? Because he says so. What’s the evidence? He won’t say but it’s ‘overwhelming’.

# Bush says his Veep is right. Hussein had ‘terrorist connections’ to AQ. Why? Because he says so. What’s the evidence? He won’t say.

# Rumsfeld, caught breaking the law by agreeing to hide a prisoner from the Red Cross, says he didn’t have to report this prisoner because he was ‘in a different category’. Different how? ‘Just different,’ he says.

And now we come to Ashcroft, who took over the cameras personally yesterday in order to announce the arrest of the first private US contractor to be prosecuted for taking part in the torture at Abu Ghraib. In appropriately stentorian tones of official, not to say officious, disapproval of such a heinous crime, Ashcroft prattled on for some time about his Admin’s ‘respect for the rule of law’ and how this prosecution proved his ‘commitment to justice’, and it was all very impressive–or would have been except for three tiny little problems hardly worth mentioning:

1) It was Ashcroft and his DoJ who formulated the legal defense for using torture in the first place;

2) The contractor isn’t being charged with torture, primarily to prevent his lawyer from bringing up 1) in court as part of his defense;

3) Ashcroft’s ‘commitment to justice’ is right now being highlighted in a completely different case in which he is fighting to deport a Saudi man married to an American woman. Why does he want to deport him? Because, he says, the man knew a guy who knew a guy who may have known a guy who knew two of the 9/11 hijackers, or something almost as tenuous.

To understand how far the federal government will go to justify targeting individuals in its war on terror, look no further than the case of Hasan Saddiq Faseh Alddin.

Arrested outside the home of an elderly woman he takes care of, he was publicly linked in a press release from the Department of Homeland Security to the two San Diego hijackers, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar — albeit one step removed. In its release, the department said Alddin was believed to have roomed with a close friend of the hijackers. Department officials did not call Alddin a terrorist, but their largest investigative arm, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said it had been investigating Alddin ever since Sept. 11 and wanted him out of the U.S., citing two misdemeanor convictions for spousal battery in 1998 and 2000 as grounds for deportation.Now targeted for deportation, the married father of two is an example of how the government is unapologetically using whatever tools it can to deport foreigners it contends are a threat. And it is doing so without revealing what it says is secret evidence, citing minor crimes that would have gone unnoticed by federal officials before Sept. 11

Alddin is, they say, a ‘danger to America’, but they won’t say why.

“They’re not saying he’s a terrorist,” said Lauren Mack, ICE spokeswoman in San Diego. “They’re just saying they can’t say publicly why [the case] is a national security concern.”

Ah. Well, that clears it up. Off with his head. But wait–Alattas, the supposed connection between Alldin and the hijackers, left the US almost 2 years before the attacks, a year or so before the attack plans were even decided on.

A month after their arrival, Alhazmi and Almihdhar moved in with Alattas for about two weeks, maybe longer, the friends said. They said Alattas gave up his apartment that same month, when he returned to live in Saudi Arabia.The friends said it is unlikely that he had prior knowledge of the Sept. 11 attacks. They said he left the country in February 2000, more than 1 1/2 years before the attacks. They describe him as a Muslim who liked the Western lifestyle and was hardly a religious zealot. Ill-disciplined, they said, Alattas used his apartment as a gathering place for recently arrived young Muslim men who would join him in watching pornography and smoking marijuana — vices that made him an unlikely recruit for Al Qaeda.


But it doesn’t matter. The DoJ wants him gone and that’s that. Why?

Because they say so, that’s why. This is John Ashcroft’s America where people are guilty because he says they are and that’s all the explanation he has to give anybody. ‘National security’, you know.

Is the US clever enough to rule the world?

It’s a good question even if the answer is obvious to all but the most die-hard neocons. Ian Williams of the Asia Times tries to answer it without belaboring that obvious answer.

Former United Nations secretary general Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who unsuccessfully tried to teach US secretary of state Madeleine Albright the art of statecraft, once noted that neither the Roman Empire nor the US had any patience for diplomacy, which is “perceived by an imperial power as a waste of time and prestige and a sign of weakness”.However, as the Goths, Huns and Vandals, among others, demonstrated soon enough, this was a dangerous misperception for the Romans and is currently proving equally dangerous for the Americans.

[N]o one would accuse either the Bush or even the Clinton administration of Cartesian logic in its recent policy formulations. Indeed, what makes recent US foreign policy so anomalous is how often it is in violation of any rational national interest, let alone of abstract moral and legal principles.In this less than perfect world, real powers with real problems will occasionally bend and stretch the rules, but this administration has gone further. It has challenged the rules themselves, and denied their normative power.

The doctrine of preemptive strikes and unilateral action, and the scorn for the United Nations and its Charter, represented a fundamental threat to the very global order that the US did so much to bring about in 1945.

He sounds surprised. The truth is that that challenge was the whole point of the policy: to prove that the neocon fantasy of American domination is feasible. As with what eagle2 used to call ‘Rocco’s Gang’–a reference to the movie ‘Key Largo’–enough is never enough, more is never enough, they will never feel ‘secure’ or that the country is secure until they own or run everything. As long as there is a perceived enemy or a perceived profit to be made, they will be grabbing for more, more, always more. They will tell us, they will tell themselves that it’s ‘necessary’, ‘the way of the world’, or, more baldly, ‘we deserve it because we’re the greatest country on earth and who should have it if we don’t?’ They will use the excuses of safety, economic survival, and peace but what they will mean is global destabilization, economic ruin for everybody else, and peace at the point of a gun if necessary–and they’ll make sure it is.

Ian is asking the wrong question, in a way. It doesn’t matter whether they’re clever enough; what matters is that they’re strong enough and willing enough to try to do what every empire-dreamer has longed to do since the beginning of civilization: own and operate the planet for their own benefit, which they will assume–and believe–means for our benefit no matter how often and how loudly we tell them that we’re not interested. Daddy knows best. And if he doesn’t? He’ll be holding the gun, so it amounts to the same thing.

They won’t do it because they’re smart enough. They’ll do it because they can and there’s nobody around who can stop them.

They think.

A Letter to Fathers From A Father

My 6 1/2-year-old daughter is the most precious person in my life. This Father’s Day it will be four years since my daughter’s mother left me. I came home one day and they were gone. They were hiding in a battered women’s shelter. I had made my girlfriend’s life miserable. There was nothing she could do right. I’d yell and call her degrading names. I also got physical with her. I was a jerk.

I’d like to say that my daughter has not witnessed any of my controlling and abusive behavior toward her mom but I’m sure she has. Kids are smart. They are aware of what’s going on even if you don’t think they are.

A permanent protection order prevents me from communicating with her mother. My daughter sees that mom and dad can’t talk with each other. It’s confusing to her. She asks, “Why can’t you and mommy live together?” I’ve told her it’s because I was not very nice to her mother. She gets defensive and says, “Yes, you were.” I say, “No, mommy and I are in agreement. I was mean to your mother. She has good reason to stay away.”

My ex-partner is an excellent mother. Because of my violence, I can’t share with her the concerns and joys I experience about our little girl. We don’t go to our daughter’s events together. We talk through an intermediary. She is terrified of me and rightly so. I have created this mess and I have to respect her wish to have no contact with me. Why should she? I have hurt and terrified her.

I get involved with my daughter. I even play Barbie with her. Some people think it is goofy, but I love it. My favorite times are playing with her, coloring, using Play-Doh. It makes me feel like a kid again. I feel like we are connecting on the same level. It’s wonderful. It’s hard to explain.I have been in a Men’s Domestic Violence Batterers Group for two years. I just grew up figuring that the beliefs I had about being entitled to control and abuse women was the way it was supposed to be. Maybe this article will help others.

Now, as I try to change my attitudes and beliefs, it’s a frustrating situation to see my friends acting like jerks to women. I tell them that I go to a domestic violence class and give examples of myself but I’m not too successful. No one has yet said, “Yeah, I do that too.” What I am really proud of is that I can now be a better example for my daughter on how a dad and husband ought to act. I can be a better role model for guys. I don’t want my little girl to grow up and marry some asshole.