Monday, August 09, 2004

Guided tours through hell (Pretzels included)

From the director/producer/writer of Bowling for Columbine and Canadian Bacon, Michael
Moore, comes FAHRENHEIT 911, a documentary about USA, its President and 9 11. For some can be persuassive. For others informative. But surely for most of us it's frightening.

Where can I begin? There are a lot ways to approach this movie. I'll tell you what I saw,
and the influence it had in me. The movie starts with the 2000 elections. They were all waiting for Florida results. FOX and other networks had called Florida for Bush, but suddenly FOX called it for Bush and the other networks followed. Bush had "won". And who made the decision desk at FOX on the election? John Ellis. Bush's first cousin.
The United states of America had a new leader. In what it could have been a semi-happy day, the day George W. Bush was parading into his new home, the white house, thousands of Americans on the streets watched him as they carried signs accusing him of cheating, of not being elected, but selected. Americans were telling him they didn't want him there. They even threw eggs to Bush's limo. They threw EGGS to the PRESIDENT. The guy couldn't even make his traditional walk into the White House.
Are you following this? I didn't knew this. I mean, I admit that long time ago I decided to leave politics behind and stop trying to understand all the lies media and governments told us. And although I wanted to see this movie, it wasn't a priority.But now, that old, rusty political hinges in my mind started to work again.

Now, at this point of the movie, Moore is really starting to get your attention. And then, a Black screen. Nothing to see, just hear. Something big just crashed. You hear shouting. Crying. Confusion. Death. 9 11
We don't see how the planes crash. No, that would be too psychologicly abusive on Moore's behalf. The dark screen with all the sounds from that horrible moments are followed by equally painful images, of all the people crying, searching for their loved ones, looking up and not believing what just happened. All of them probably asking how come all this happened? why the government didn't do anything to stop it? to prevent it? What was Bush doing all this time he's been the President of the USA?
The answer is simple:

On vacations.

According to the Washington Post, in the first eight months before September 11, George W. Bush spent forty- two percent of the time on vacation. 42 percent people. *
(*For all those geeks that have read Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and know the answer to
the secrets of the universe, this number will be even MORE alarming)
I always thought that having a president's job was a great know, a lot of work to be done, the country and your world counting on you. Although very little time to enjoy the money you have. I always thought that at least you worked and then when your presidency was over, you took your vacations and ALL the extra money and compensation for working too hard. But that's just me.

Anyway, let's go back to September 11. On that same day, before the attack took place, Bush was on his way to an elementary school in Florida. He learned about the first crash to the WTC and still decided to go inside and be with the kids. This is a FACT.
Now, maybe I'm wrong and paranoid but I agree with Moore. This is a guy that already knew about a possible terrorist attack on American soil. Hell, there was a security briefing on August 6, 2001 that clearly said: "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” (Confirmed by 9/11 Commission Report -pp. 260-262). Yes, I know, it was maybe all vague information. You didn't have a date, or a target or method (although I have the slight suspicion that this is one of those Pearl Harbour things that the president already knew about everything that was going to happen- no proofs whatsoever- just my hungy little mind conspiring). But when you are the President aren't you supposed to be vigilant at all times? The WTC had been already a target eight years prior by terrorism. Wouldn't you be at least a little bit cautious? Intrigued?
So the guy went in, said hi to the kids, to the teacher and to the press as if nothing had happened and starts reading "My pet goat". At 9:05 the White House chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., stepped into the classroom and whispered to the President's ear "A second plane hit the other tower, and America's under attack." And what did the great American leader did?

Kept on reading "My pet goat"

Now, I haven't read that story, maybe is a REALLY good one. Maybe I too would have stayed and kept on reading, wanting to know how the story ends, even though my country was under attack. Who are we to judge the guy? Well, in the end Bush was there, reading for SEVEN minutes. Nobody knew what to do. Not his staff, not him.
This my friends make me itchy. A world leader, not responding or even reacting immediately after such news? The leader of one of the most powerful and deadly countries and he just stood there?

Moore also makes insinuations about a Bush connection with the Bin Ladens. He talks about Bush's family companies, a story about oil, money and connections. Although most of this information maybe cannot be corroborated hundred percent, we do have this as a FACT:
The days after the terrorist attacks, all commercial and private flights were cancelled. Air traffic was to be ceased. But still, 142 Saudis, including 24 members of the bin Laden family, were allowed to leave the country after September 13. All this confirmed by the 9/11 Commission Report (p. 556). It is a FACT that White House former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke approved these flights, also confirmed by 9/11 Commission Report (p. 329)
Why would any government in their sensible minds let possible suspects flee out of the country?

Anyway, connections between Bush, the Bin Ladens and other companies are made. Moore talks about money, contracts, not very pleasent people and wonders about how is all connected. In all is a very interesting idea he approaches. But of course, some of those ideas, are not yet FACTS.

Other thing that caught my attention was the PATRIOT ACT. On October 26, 2001, just six weeks after the devastation on September 11, Congress passed the USA Patriot Act. And no, the members of the Congress DIDN'T read it before they signed it. I wonder if I can make them sign a check for me without reading it too. Anyway, PATRIOT is an acronym for "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism",
Translation: If they think you are the bad guy, they are allowed to do anything they want.
The FBI is allowed to monitor everything from e- mai, tapping phones, breaking into you
house or office, check medical records, access financial records, private conversations with
your lawyers and everything that was once private information. All this without probable
cause. They just CAN do it.This also includes "domestic terrorism". It reminded me back to the fifties, when everyone who said anything out of line was an anti-american and a communist. Those were dark days, weren't they? I wasn't even born yet, I admit it, maybe I'm wrong. I don't now, the whole idea that you have to watch who do you talk to, and what do you say to that person is annoying. Tell me if I'm wrong but, don't americans talk a lot about being a "free, democratic country"? I agree that it has to help a lot the FBI, the CIA and Secret Service, not having to do all that paperwork to get a warrant everytime they want to investigate something or someone. But still... how thin is the line of things you will do, or people you'll step on defending your country?
And that reminds me another little detail that Moore talks us about. That little thingy called WAR. After 9 11 someone has to be blamed. There had to be blood. An eye for an eye. So he bombed Iraq. Was that war necessary? Honest? How many wars can presidents send their people to war, not to defend their freedom, but for the president's and other powerful people's private agenda, and get away with it?
I wish sometimes we could see far from our noses and look around and do something about it.
There's a great scene, almost at the end of the documentary, when Moore chases, -ahem- sorry, tries to convince members of Congress, so they enlist their sons to the war.Of course no one did. Out of the 535 members of Congress, only one had an enlisted son in Iraq. Is that fact telling us something?

There's so much more to talk about, but basically after watching this documentary, you know what Moore thinks about Bush. I even know better how I feel about Bush. I agree, maybe the guy has done good things and all, but basically this movie portrays him as an incompetent president, careless about the people of his country or for that matter, other countries. War affects everyone. Losses on both sides have changed the lives of thousands. And why the hell should I care about all this if I not american? well, to start with I live next to USA. Everything that happens in one of the most powerful countries in the world affects me. Remember IIWW? It all might come to you sooner or later. And we better start caring. We better start doing something. Now. The best way we can. As Rage Against the Machine said -It has to start somewhere. It has to start sometime. What better place than here. What better time than now.

We could go on and on. Moore makes conjunctions. He gathers information. He thinks and he makes conclusions. It's HIS perspective on things. And the idea of this movie is not that you believe the same things Moore believe's in. I believe is his way to say -open your eyes-. Inform yourselves and get that old machinery inside your mind moving. Don't believe everything that you see, or that you read, or that you hear. Who knows? maybe this guy is completely insane, lying with his documentary; and maybe I'm just saying nonsense and playing with your minds. But you know what? We ARE thinking. And that's a start.