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Documentary "a lie"

25jul04

I HAVE long thought Michael Moore a liar, and should not have been shocked when I saw his "documentary" Fahrenheit 9/11. Even so, I was horrified. This film breaking box-office records in the United States is so deceitful it makes the infamous Triumph of the Will documentary by Hitler's propagandist, Leni Riefenstahl, seem balanced.

But what shocked me even more than Moore's hymn of hatred of the US and its president was the reaction to it of the small audience at the preview I saw.

Many clapped when the dis-credits finally rolled. True, this wasn't the bellowing, stamping, weeping ovation that a poisonously anti-American crowd at the Cannes Film Festival gave Moore before a jury of Leftists and nihilists handed him the Palme d'Or.

Still, it was enough to worry anyone who prizes truth and civilisation, and I looked at the people around me, and wondered: are they so cretinous or so easily misled that they do not know that Moore lies?

Or are they, like many of the Left, so immoral or frivolous as to not care that he lies, as long as his lies are sweet?

Before I tackle just some of the dozens of deceptions, distortions, evasions and half-truths Moore peddles in his film, let's look at the Big Lie he builds with them.

If there's an argument in Fahrenheit 9/11, it is this: George W. Bush stole an election to become US President, and invaded Afghanistan and Iraq to please the Saudis who bribed him, the oil companies who hired him and the armaments companies who squired him.

Bush isn't fighting a war on terror look at how pally he is with the family of al-Qaida boss Osama bin Laden.

His war is really against Americans.

This is Moore's Big Lie, and few of his fans mind that it's as incoherent as it is mad. For a start, the Saudis bitterly opposed the war on Iraq, not least because they didn't want Iraq's oil to flow again.

So if Bush has been bought off by the Saudis, he's chosen a crazy way to please them. In fact, he undermined the Saudi regime by bringing freedom to Iraq and Afghanistan, and inspiring Saudis to ask why they can't have some, too.

Let's now look at the "facts" behind Moore's Big Lie. Fahrenheit 9/11 opens with scenes from the US presidential race in 2000.

We see Democrat candidate Al Gore boogying under a big "Florida Victory" sign, as TV anchors declare he's won the vote in Florida and, therefore, the election.

But, Moore says, Rupert Murdoch's Fox News channel, which hires a Bush cousin, suddenly breaks in to announce there's been a mistake and Bush has won instead. Conspiracy!

But how could Bush steal the election in Florida?

Simple, says Moore. "Make sure the chairman of your campaign (Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris) is also the vote-count woman." And knock voters off the rolls "who aren't likely to vote for you you can usually tell them by the colour of their skin".

Lastly, get your pals on the Supreme Court to ban another recount of votes, because, as an "expert" tells Moore in the film, "under every (recount) scenario Gore won the election".

Already we're up to our knees in Moore manure.

The shots of Gore partying were taken before the polls opened.

It was not Fox, but the left-wing CNN which was the first network to say Gore hadn't won, after all.

Harris was not in charge of counting votes. Convicted felons, not specifically blacks, were cut from the rolls under a Florida law that was nevertheless widely ignored.

And a six-month study of the Florida votes by mainly left-wing media organisations, including the New York Times and Washington Post, found Gore would still have lost even if disputed votes had been counted just the way he wanted.

From the start of this lying film there is barely one "fact" that can be trusted.

Then comes September 11. Moore shows none of the bodies not even the hijacked planes hitting the World Trade Centre.

Such unusual restraint especially from a propagandist who later gives us pornographic close-ups of Iraqi children blown up by American bombs or shot in cross-fire.

But where in the film does Moore show any real interest in the terrorists who have declared war on the West?

Where does this grotesquely irresponsible man even hint how he would deal with fanatics who have pledged to destroy our cities with any weapon they can find nuclear, if possible?

Instead, Moore dodges these grim truths that real leaders must confront, and whisks us into yet another conspiracy that Bush was bought off by Saudi money, and so didn't go hard after the real villains, the Saudis.

First, the "White House" is accused of letting 142 Saudis, including 24 members of the huge bin Laden family, fly out of the US just after September 11 without even being grilled.

What Moore doesn't say is that these Saudis were allowed to leave by the Bill Clinton-appointed counter-terrorism boss at the time, Richard Clarke, whom Moore uses elsewhere in the film to dish dirt on Bush.

Also not mentioned is that 30 of the Saudis were closely interviewed by the FBI before being allowed to leave.

But why spoil the Big Lie?

Moore then says an old friend of Bush, James Bath, managed money for members of the huge bin Laden family (which is estranged from Osama) and Bath "in turn invested in George W. Bush" and his oil company.

Again, not mentioned is that Bath insists his $50,000 investment was all his own money, not the bin Ladens'.

Moore also implies Bush was guilty of insider trading, selling more than $A1 million of shares in Harken Energy, of which he was a director, just two months before it posted a big loss. Moore typically fails to say that this loss was caused largely by factors not known when Bush sold, and the shares' value still doubled within a year.

He next claims the Saudis invested almost $A2 billion in the Bush family, their friends and associates through the Carlyle Group, a private investment firm that has Bush's father as an adviser of its Asian arm.

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?" he leers.

In fact, about 90 percent of that Saudi money was invested in Carlyle before Bush Sr joined it.

Carlyle's boss, and many other advisers, aren't Bush Republican cronies, but former officials of Democratic presidents. What's more, George W. Bush has done few favours for Carlyle.

In fact, a Carlyle company was one of the few to have a big defence contract scrapped by Bush the $A15 billion Crusader self-propelled gun project.

But I'll say it again: What do facts matter to the conspiracists of the Left?

Take Moore's claim that the liberation of Afghanistan from the Taliban dictatorship and its al-Qaida allies was "really" to help America's Unocal company get a gas pipeline built across that country.

Look, Moore says Taliban envoys visited Texas when Bush was governor, the new Afghan president Hamid Karzai worked for Unocal, and a gas pipeline is now indeed being built.

Here we go again: Bush didn't meet the Taliban team, Karzai never worked for Unocal, Unocal scrapped its project three years before the war, and the pipeline Moore shows now being built is a different project with different partners in a different bit of Afghanistan.

So many deceits. So many wickedly doctored quotes. So many half-truths.

No, Bush didn't cut anti-terrorist funding to the FBI. No, his Attorney-General was never told terrorists were training as pilots in the US. No, Bush didn't fail to read a report warning of al-Qaida attacks.

No, the Saudis do not own anywhere near "7 percent of America".

No, that was not a dead Iraqi being mocked by US soldiers, but a drunk.

More deceits: no, the US soldiers who died in Iraq were not disproportionately blacks.

No, the coalition of the willing which freed Iraq didn't just include tiny countries with no army, but Britain, Australia and Italy, none of which Moore mentions.

And on and on.

But perhaps Moore's foulest distortion is to portray Saddam's Iraq as a happy, harmless country.

Iraq before the war is all laughing children. Boys fly kites and ride bikes, giggling girls cuddle smiling mothers. Nice men sip tea.

Moore shows not a single sign of Saddam's mass graves, his gassed Kurds, his torture centres, his official rape rooms, his critics with their tongues cut out nothing to suggest, as Amnesty International said in 2002, that Iraq was a place of "all-pervasive repression . . . and widespread terror".

Instead, Moore suggests, that terror came only with the US bombs and bullets in an onslaught so savage that every US soldier he shows seems shocked or warped by the devastation.

From his film, you'd think not one soldier backs this war, never mind one Iraqi.

But how carefully Moore must step to avoid knocking over his cardboard fiction.

We're shown, for instance, US National Guardsman Peter Damon, who's had his hands blown off, but we're not told he's furious to find he appears in this foul film.

Likewise, Moore shows us the burial of US Air Force Major Gregory Stone, without adding that Stone's grieving relatives say he remained a "totally conservative Republican", and by exploiting his death Moore is a "maggot that eats off the dead".

Moore ends his film by quoting George Orwell: "The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects . . . to keep the very structure of society intact."

Bush's America is the true terrorist, Moore argues, at war with its own people. But to believe that, you must believe every foul smear, every childish deception, in his deeply deceitful movie.

Sadly, though, many smart people do want to believe it. Facts mean nothing they just want to hate the country that has fought hardest against tyrants and terrorists, from communists to Islamists. They will not even wonder what it means that the Hizbollah terrorist group has offered to help distribute this film they so love.

So heaven help America. Heaven help its allies, too, and all who defend freedom.

Fahrenheit 9/11 will open in Australia on Thursday


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