Michael Moore: Answers please, Mr Bush

March 8, 2008 – 2:53 PM

Michael Moore fired his opening salvo against George
  Bush and his rightwing cronies with his bestseller
  Stupid White Men. Now the president is in his sights
  again. In this second extract from his new book he
  asks his old enemy seven awkward questions
  Michael Moore
  Monday October 6, 2003
  The Guardian
  I have seven questions for you, Mr Bush. I ask them on
  behalf of the 3,000 who died that September day, and I
  ask them on behalf of the American people. We seek no
  revenge against you. We want only to know what
  happened, and what can be done to bring the murderers
  to justice, so we can prevent any future attacks on
  our citizens.
  1. Is it true that the Bin Ladens have had business
  relations with you and your family off and on for the
  past 25 years?
  Most Americans might be surprised to learn that you
  and your father have known the Bin Ladens for a long
  time. What, exactly, is the extent of this
  relationship, Mr Bush? Are you close personal friends,
  or simply on-again, off-again business associates?
  Salem bin Laden – Osama’s brother – first started
  coming to Texas in 1973 and later bought some land,
  built himself a house, and created Bin Laden Aviation
  at the San Antonio airfield.
  The Bin Ladens are one of the wealthiest families in
  Saudi Arabia. Their huge construction firm virtually
  built the country, from the roads and power plants to
  the skyscrapers and government buildings. They built
  some of the airstrips America used in your dad’s Gulf
  war. Billionaires many times over, they soon began
  investing in other ventures around the world,
  including the US. They have extensive business
  dealings with Citigroup, General Electric, Merrill
  Lynch, Goldman Sachs, and the Fremont Group.
  According to the New Yorker, the bin Laden family also
  owns a part of Microsoft and the airline and defence
  giant Boeing. They have donated $2m to your alma
  mater, Harvard University, and tens of thousands to
  the Middle East Policy Council, a think-tank headed by
  a former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Charles
  Freeman. In addition to the property they own in
  Texas, they also have real estate in Florida and
  Massachusetts. In short, they have their hands deep in
  our pants.
  Unfortunately, as you know, Mr Bush, Salem bin Laden
  died in a plane crash in Texas in 1988. Salem’s
  brothers – there are around 50 of them, including
  Osama – continued to run the family companies and
  After leaving office, your father became a highly paid
  consultant for a company known as the Carlyle Group –
  one of the nation’s largest defence contractors. One
  of the investors in the Carlyle Group – to the tune of
  at least $2m – was none other than the Bin Laden
  family. Until 1994, you headed a company called
  CaterAir, which was owned by the Carlyle Group.
  After September 11, the Washington Post and the Wall
  Street Journal both ran stories pointing out this
  connection. Your first response, Mr Bush, was to
  ignore it. Then your army of pundits went into spin
  control. They said, we can’t paint these Bin Ladens
  with the same brush we use for Osama. They have
  disowned Osama! They have nothing to do with him!
  These are the good Bin Ladens.
  And then the video footage came out. It showed a
  number of these “good” Bin Ladens – including Osama’s
  mother, a sister and two brothers – with Osama at his
  son’s wedding just six and a half months before
  September 11. It was no secret to the CIA that Osama
  bin Laden had access to his family fortune (his share
  is estimated to be at least $30m), and the Bin Ladens,
  as well as other Saudis, kept Osama and his group,
  al-Qaida, well funded.
  You’ve gotten a free ride from the media, though they
  know everything I have just written to be the truth.
  They seem unwilling or afraid to ask you a simple
  question, Mr Bush: WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?
  In case you don’t understand just how bizarre the
  media’s silence is regarding the Bush-Bin Laden
  connections, let me draw an analogy to how the press
  or Congress might have handled something like this if
  the same shoe had been on the Clinton foot. If, after
  the terrorist attack on the Federal Building in
  Oklahoma City, it had been revealed that President
  Bill Clinton and his family had financial dealings
  with Timothy McVeigh’s family, what do you think your
  Republican party and the media would have done with
  that one?
  Do you think at least a couple of questions might have
  been asked, such as, “What is that all about?” Be
  honest, you know the answer. They would have asked
  more than a couple of questions. They would have
  skinned Clinton alive and thrown what was left of his
  carcass in Guantanamo Bay.
  2. What is the ‘special relationship’ between the
  Bushes and the Saudi royal family?
  Mr Bush, the Bin Ladens are not the only Saudis with
  whom you and your family have a close personal
  relationship. The entire royal family seems to be
  indebted to you – or is it the other way round?
  The number one supplier of oil to the US is the nation
  of Saudi Arabia, possessor of the largest known
  reserves of oil in the world. When Saddam Hussein
  invaded Kuwait in 1990, it was really the Saudis next
  door who felt threatened, and it was your father,
  George Bush I, who came to their rescue. The Saudis
  have never forgotten this. Haifa, wife of Prince
  Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the US, says that your
  mother and father “are like my mother and father. I
  know if ever I needed anything I could go to them”.
  A major chunk of the American economy is built on
  Saudi money. They have a trillion dollars invested in
  our stock market and another trillion dollars in our
  banks. If they chose suddenly to remove that money,
  our corporations and financial institutions would be
  sent into a tailspin, causing an economic crisis the
  likes of which has never been seen. Couple that with
  the fact that the 1.5m barrels of oil we need daily
  from the Saudis could also vanish on a mere royal
  whim, and we begin to see how not only you, but all of
  us, are dependent on the House of Saud. George, is
  this good for our national security, our homeland
  security? Who is it good for? You? Pops?
  After meeting with the Saudi crown prince in April
  2002, you happily told us that the two of you had
  “established a strong personal bond” and that you
  “spent a lot of time alone”. Were you trying to
  reassure us? Or just flaunt your friendship with a
  group of rulers who rival the Taliban in their
  suppression of human rights? Why the double standard?
  3. Who attacked the US on September 11 – a guy on
  dialysis from a cave in Afghanistan, or your friend,
  Saudi Arabia?
  I’m sorry, Mr Bush, but something doesn’t make sense.
  You got us all repeating by rote that it was Osama bin
  Laden who was responsible for the attack on the United
  States on September 11. Even I was doing it. But then
  I started hearing strange stories about Osama’s
  kidneys. Suddenly, I don’t know who or what to trust.
  How could a guy sitting in a cave in Afghanistan,
  hooked up to dialysis, have directed and overseen the
  actions of 19 terrorists for two years in the US then
  plotted so perfectly the hijacking of four planes and
  then guaranteed that three of them would end up
  precisely on their targets? How did he organise,
  communicate, control and supervise this kind of
  massive attack? With two cans and a string?
  The headlines blared it the first day and they blare
  it the same way now two years later: “Terrorists
  Attack United States.” Terrorists. I have wondered
  about this word for some time, so, George, let me ask
  you a question: if 15 of the 19 hijackers had been
  North Korean, rather than Saudi, and they had killed
  3,000 people, do you think the headline the next day
  Of course it would. Or if it had been 15 Iranians or
  15 Libyans or 15 Cubans, I think the conventional
  wisdom would have been, “IRAN [or LIBYA or CUBA]
  ATTACKS AMERICA!” Yet, when it comes to September 11,
  have you ever seen the headline, have you ever heard a
  newscaster, has one of your appointees ever uttered
  these words: “Saudi Arabia attacked the United
  Of course you haven’t. And so the question must – must
  – be asked: why not? Why, when Congress released its
  own investigation into September 11, did you, Mr Bush,
  censor out 28 pages that deal with the Saudis’ role in
  the attack?
  I would like to throw out a possibility here: what if
  September 11 was not a “terrorist” attack but, rather,
  a military attack against the United States? George,
  apparently you were a pilot once – how hard is it to
  hit a five-storey building at more than 500 miles an
  hour? The Pentagon is only five stories high. At 500
  miles an hour, had the pilots been off by just a hair,
  they’d have been in the river. You do not get this
  skilled at learning how to fly jumbo jets by being
  taught on a video game machine at some dipshit flight
  training school in Arizona. You learn to do this in
  the air force. Someone’s air force.
  The Saudi air force?
  What if these weren’t wacko terrorists, but military
  pilots who signed on to a suicide mission? What if
  they were doing this at the behest of either the Saudi
  government or certain disgruntled members of the Saudi
  royal family? The House of Saud, according to Robert
  Baer’s book Sleeping With the Devil, is full of them.
  So, did certain factions within the Saudi royal family
  execute the attack on September 11? Were these pilots
  trained by the Saudis? Why are you so busy protecting
  the Saudis when you should be protecting us?
  4. Why did you allow a private Saudi jet to fly around
  the US in the days after September 11 and pick up
  members of the Bin Laden family and fly them out of
  the country without a proper investigation by the FBI?
  Private jets, under the supervision of the Saudi
  government – and with your approval – were allowed to
  fly around the skies of America, when travelling by
  air was forbidden, and pick up 24 members of the Bin
  Laden family and take them first to a “secret assembly
  point in Texas”. They then flew to Washington DC, and
  then on to Boston. Finally, on September 18, they were
  all flown to Paris, out of the reach of any US
  officials. They never went through any serious
  interrogation. This is mind-boggling. Might it have
  been possible that at least one of the 24 Bin Ladens
  would have possibly known something?
  While thousands were stranded and could not fly, if
  you could prove you were a close relative of the
  biggest mass murderer in US history, you got a free
  trip to gay Paree!
  Why, Mr Bush, was this allowed to happen?
  5. Why are you protecting the Second Amendment rights
  of potential terrorists?
  Mr Bush, in the days after September 11, the FBI began
  running a check to see if any of the 186 “suspects”
  the feds had rounded up in the first five days after
  the attack had purchased any guns in the months
  leading up to September 11 (two of them had). When
  your attorney general, John Ashcroft, heard about
  this, he immediately shut down the search. He told the
  FBI that the background check files could not be used
  for such a search and these files were only to be used
  at the time of a purchase of a gun.
  Mr Bush, you can’t be serious! Is your administration
  really so gun nutty and so deep in the pocket of the
  National Rifle Association? I truly love how you have
  rounded up hundreds of people, grabbing them off the
  streets without notice, throwing them in prison cells,
  unable to contact lawyers or family, and then, for the
  most part, shipped them out of the country on mere
  immigration charges.
  You can waive their Fourth Amendment protection from
  unlawful search and seizure, their Sixth Amendment
  rights to an open trial by a jury of their peers and
  the right to counsel, and their First Amendment rights
  to speak, assemble, dissent and practise their
  religion. You believe you have the right to just trash
  all these rights, but when it comes to the Second
  Amendment right to own an AK-47 – oh no! That right
  they can have – and you will defend their right to
  have it.
  Who, Mr Bush, is really aiding the terrorists here?
  6. Were you aware that, while you were governor of
  Texas, the Taliban travelled to Texas to meet with
  your oil and gas company friends?
  According to the BBC, the Taliban came to Texas while
  you were governor to meet with Unocal, the huge oil
  and energy giant, to discuss Unocal’s desire to build
  a natural-gas pipeline running from Turkmenistan
  through Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and into
  Mr Bush, what was this all about?
  “Houston, we have a problem,” apparently never crossed
  your mind, even though the Taliban were perhaps the
  most repressive fundamentalist regime on the planet.
  What role exactly did you play in the Unocal meetings
  with the Taliban?
  According to various reports, representatives of your
  administration met with the Taliban or conveyed
  messages to them during the summer of 2001. What were
  those messages, Mr Bush? Were you discussing their
  offer to hand over Bin Laden? Were you threatening
  them with use of force? Were you talking to them about
  a pipeline?
  7. What exactly was that look on your face in the
  Florida classroom on the morning of September 11 when
  your chief of staff told you, ‘America is under
  On the morning of September 11, you took a jog on a
  golf course and then headed to Booker elementary
  school in Florida to read to little children. You
  arrived at the school after the first plane had hit
  the north tower in New York City. You entered the
  classroom around 9am and the second plane hit the
  south tower at 9.03am. Just a few minutes later, as
  you were sitting in front of the class of kids, your
  chief of staff, Andrew Card, entered the room and
  whispered in your ear. Card was apparently telling you
  about the second plane and about us being “under
  And it was at that very moment that your face went
  into a distant glaze, not quite a blank look, but one
  that seemed partially paralysed. No emotion was shown.
  And then … you just sat there. You sat there for
  another seven minutes or so doing nothing.
  George, what were you thinking? What did that look on
  your face mean?
  Were you thinking you should have taken reports the
  CIA had given you the month before more seriously? You
  had been told al-Qaida was planning attacks in the
  United States and that planes would possibly be used.
  Or were you just scared shitless?
  Or maybe you were just thinking, “I did not want this
  job in the first place! This was supposed to be Jeb’s
  job; he was the chosen one! Why me? Why me, daddy?”
  Or … maybe, just maybe, you were sitting there in
  that classroom chair thinking about your Saudi friends
  – both the royals and the Bin Ladens. People you knew
  all too well that might have been up to no good. Would
  questions be asked? Would suspicions arise? Would the
  Democrats have the guts to dig into your family’s past
  with these people (no, don’t worry, never a chance of
  that!)? Would the truth ever come out?
  And while I’m at it …
  Danger – multi-millionaires at large
  I’ve always thought it was interesting that the mass
  murder of September 11 was allegedly committed by a
  multi-millionaire. We always say it was committed by a
  “terrorist” or by an “Islamic fundamentalist” or an
  “Arab”, but we never define Osama by his rightful
  title: multi-millionaire. Why have we never read a
  headline saying, “3,000 Killed by multi-millionaire”?
  It would be a correct headline, would it not?
  Osama bin Laden has assets totalling at least $30m; he
  is a multi-millionaire. So why isn’t that the way we
  see this person, as a rich ***** who kills people? Why
  didn’t that become the reason for profiling potential
  terrorists? Instead of rounding up suspicious Arabs,
  why don’t we say, “Oh my God, a multi-millionaire
  killed 3,000 people! Round up the multi-millionaires!
  Throw them all in jail! No charges! No trials! Deport
  the millionaires!!”
  Keeping America safe
  The US Patriot Act and the enemy combatant designation
  are just a hint of what Bush has in store for us.
  Consider a brainchild of Admiral John Poindexter, an
  Iran-contra perp, and the Defence Advanced Research
  Projects Agency (Darpa): the “policy analysis market”,
  which the government was to put up on a website.
  Apparently, Poindexter reasoned that commodity futures
  markets worked so well for Bush’s buddies at Enron
  that he could adapt it to predicting terrorism.
  Individuals would be able to invest in hypothetical
  futures contracts involving the likelihood of such
  events as “an assassination of Yasser Arafat” or “the
  overthrow of Jordan’s King Abdullah II”. Other futures
  would be available based on the economic health, civil
  stability and military involvement in Egypt, Iran,
  Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey.
  All oil-related countries.
  The proposed market lasted about one day after it was
  revealed to the Senate. Senators Wyden and Dorgan
  protested the Pentagon’s $8m request, and Wyden said,
  “Make-believe markets trading in possibilities that
  turn the stomach hardly seem like a sensible next step
  to take with taxpayers money in the war on terror.” As
  a result of the uproar over this, Poindexter was asked
  to step down.
  Giving Saddam the key to Detroit
  In Las Vegas, an armoured fighting vehicle was used to
  crush French yogurt, French bread, bottles of French
  wine, Perrier, Grey Goose vodka, photos of Chirac, a
  guide to Paris and, best of all, photocopies of the
  French flag. France was the perfect country to pick
  on. If you’re a cable news company, why spend
  priceless reporting time on investigating whether Iraq
  really does have weapons of mass destruction when you
  can do a story about how rotten the French are?
  Fox News led the charge of pinning Chirac to Saddam
  Hussein, showing old footage of the two men together.
  It didn’t matter that the meeting had taken place in
  the 1970s. The media didn’t bother to run (over and
  over again) the footage from when Saddam was presented
  with a key to the city of Detroit, or the film from
  the early 1980s of Donald Rumsfeld visiting Saddam in
  Baghdad to discuss the progress of the Iran-Iraq war.
  The footage of Rumsfeld embracing Saddam apparently
  wasn’t worth running on a continuous loop. Or even
  once. OK, maybe once. On Oprah.

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