On 9/11/01, I was packed and ready to go to an airport in Northern Virginia to catch a flight to London, and then on to Manchester, England.
Waiting for me in England was Dutch cannabis coffeeshop owner Nol Van Schaik, busy preparing England’s first coffeeshop, “The Dutch Experience,” for its grand opening later that week.
Those were heady days, when the world was less dangerous, when Van Schaik was free to walk around opening coffeeshops.
Three years later, too much has changed for the worse. Van Schaik is in a Spanish prison, waiting to find out if he will be extradited to France on a 15-year-old hashish smuggling warrant. And George W. Bush and his allies are working hard to ensure that a movie made by documentarian, Oscar-winner and Cannes-winner Michael Moore is not seen, or believed, by Americans.
These are days of memories and seriousness. Early on the morning of 9/11/01, I heard a jet airliner roar loud above my home. Lots of planes fly low patterns up the Potomac River to Washington, DC’s Reagan National Airport, so the unusually loud jet didn’t register as anything more than another noise pollution annoyance.
But a few seconds later, when the ground shook like an earthquake and everything fell off my walls, I knew something big had happened. I grabbed my camera bag, press pass and bicycle and dashed out of the house. Riding faster than I thought possible, I followed a thick cloud of smoke rising from the Pentagon, which was about 4 miles away.
When I reached the main thoroughfare that circled the Pentagon, I saw hundreds of Pentagon employees, some in uniform, some in civilian clothes, walking calmly, slowly, away from the building, the home of America’s worldwide war machinery command center. I was puzzled- these people didn’t seem too upset. Indeed, many of them seemed to be in a jovial mood, as if they were on an unplanned holiday.
The freeway directly in front of the Pentagon was closed to traffic and deathly still, but police had little control over bypass lanes and grassy knolls. Along with dozens of other pedestrians, journalists and bicyclists, I avoided roadblocks, crawled over walls, carried my bike on my back, and made my way to within 100 yards of the west side of the Pentagon.
Smoke and flames were visible, along with a gaping hole in the building’s outer fa?ade. No airplane was visible. I took pictures until police and Pentagon officials came over and started trying to chase me away. They didn’t like my “Cannabis Culture” press pass. Then I pedaled home, stopping to look at the burning building from several vantage points.
When I got home, I immediately accessed the Pacifica Internet radio network (www.kpfk.org, www.democracynow.org), the only truly honest source of live news in America. There I learned the details of the day’s stunning events in New York and DC. I also learned that the Bush administration had grounded all air traffic. The skies over DC were eerily silent. It was the first time ever that I had been in the DC grid and not heard commercial jetliners roaring overhead.
I spent the next four days frantically trying to get to England. Van Schaik’s British coffeeshop was huge news, and I had been in on the planning for the shop, the sessions where the Dutch ganja guru worked out details with his British partners about stocking the shop, making it work like a Dutch potshop, what to do if the police came in. I was so excited about being there, and then, boom, 9/11, mass hysteria, and the airlines were telling me that nobody, nobody at all, that means NOBODY was flying anywhere in or out of US airspace for at least four days. I even tried to rent a car and drive to Montreal or Toronto to catch a flight from there, but that too had been banned. It was a total lockdown, well, almost… because in the days following 9/11, when US Attorney General John Ashcroft was pushing his unconstitutional Patriot Act to suspend civil liberties, “to fight terrorists,” of course, when the bearded bin Laden guy in a cave in Afghanistan was being credited with carrying out a precision military strike, using 20 Arab guys, most of them from Saudi Arabia, not Afghanistan, not Iraq, guys who carried out unprecedented hits on prime US targets, days after 9/11 when US airspace was off limits to everything except for military fighter jets, yes, those days, well the Bush administration was funding and facilitating chartered airplanes that went all around America picking up members of the bin Laden family and hurriedly flying them to central gathering points so that they could be sent out of the USA without ever having been properly questioned about Osama bin Laden. Why?
Maybe I took 9/11 personally because so many people died, because Bush let the bin Ladens fly, because the walls of my house shook, because Bush stopped me from seeing the first pot coffeeshop open in England, but did let nearly two dozen members of bin Laden’s immediate family escape the US. Maybe because the attacks seemed to me just like the alleged lone-assassin killing of John F. Kennedy, a big lie, a big conspiracy, just a wee bit more complicated and nuanced than the “monster bin Laden” script that mainstream media and the Bushies were telling us.
So I started researching 9/11 and Bush, and there was plenty of documentary evidence easily available, right from the start, evidence that showed that the cover story of “evil bearded bin Laden” and “surprise attack,” and “no way to know it was coming” were just tawdry fictions conjured up by people who must think Americans are junkyard stupid.
And now, as summer heats up and award-winning documentarian Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 is set to open in theaters, it’s fun to know that it takes a moviemaker to finally bring the 9/11 full story to the world.
Anti-Moore groups, funded by Republicans, have tried everything to stop the film. They tried to convince the Disney Corporation not to fund it being made. Then the Disney Corporation, based in Florida where the governor is none other than Bush brother Jeb, decided the film was too controversial to release. Then Moore wins the biggest prize at the world’s most intelligent film festival, Cannes; then some people decide that they can make a lot of money showing the film, even if it does tell uncomfortable truths about Georgie-boy. Then, more attacks on Moore, death threats against theater managers who are going to show the film, Moore’s website hacked by Bushies, and the corporate media attacking the film they haven’t seen yet, trying to find some way to discredit it, finally resorting to making jokes about Moore being overweight.
And it gets even better- the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) says the film is “disturbing,” and gives it an “R” rating which means that teenagers under 17 can’t see it without an adult present. The MPAA lets kids see lots of films, including ones where people are blown up, blown away, raped, incinerated, and otherwise maimed, but they don’t want kids to see Moore’s film, which contains nothing more than what major news outlets outside the USA have been showing people of all ages: the realities of war, political corruption, Abu Ghraib torture and rapes, generalized Babylon brutality. Those things are “too disturbing” for kids to see. Sure they are. It might wake the kids up out of their cell phone 7-11 slumbers, might radicalize them, might have them out in the streets fighting the pigs, taking on the oppressors, the way kids did in the 60’s and early 70’s to stop the Vietnam War. Wouldn’t want that to happen, would we?
Lots of people criticize Moore, but instead of focusing on him or his movie, if people want to know facts, they need only check out the public record, as partially revealed by the 9/11 Commission, by journalists, by military records. Moore’s central thesis is that the Bush family has been way long in bed financially with the bin Laden family and the Saudi royal family, with military industries, with shady powerbrokers, with spies and sickos, and that the relationship between one of America’s most powerful dynasties and Arab millionaires who were at the time of 9/11 in big money business with the Bush family, that this and tons of other evidence point to reasonable questions and troubling conclusions about what Bush knew about 9/11 and when he knew it.
Questions that make you wonder- if Clinton was impeached and nearly thrown out of office because some people thought he lied about a blow job, why is Bush not being impeached? It’s like the bumper sticker I saw: “At least when Clinton lied, nobody died.”
Americans are brainwashed and sedated by mainstream media, so they can be forgiven for not knowing that bin Laden the terrorist was created, funded, armed and trained by the CIA so he could cut the throats of the occupying Russians in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989. They can be forgiven for not knowing that Ronny Reagan sold chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein, that the Bush family has a long history of doing deals with bad people, including when venerable ancestor Prescott Bush helped Hitler in the crucial pre-war period of the late 1930’s. They can be forgiven for not asking obvious questions, such as why Bush’s reaction to being told that two planes had demolished the World Trade Center was so unnatural, so weird, so FAKE, that anybody watching Bush would have thought that he either knew that the attacks were going to happen, or that he didn’t have a clue what to do once they had, or both. They can be forgiven for not going out into the streets, as citizens did in Peru when a US corporation tried to prevent them from gathering rainwater (portrayed in the great movie called The Corporation), and risking their asses to stand up to evil. Most Americans are mind-warped, willingly, and behind that, they are in denial, scared and spoiled. Most are scared to stand up and fight their government. They are scared to go out in the streets and get their heads busted open by police. They are scared to be honest about the gluttonous SUV/television/McDonalds lifestyles. That’s why pot is still illegal, and that’s why Bush is still president- Americans are too afraid, too lazy, too hypnotized. They’re like the many Germans who stood by and allowed Hitler to rise to power virtually unopposed, while their Jewish neighbors were kidnapped by the millions and gassed in chambers. Too many Americans lack conscience, moral outrage, and compassion. They are, in the words of the classic movie They Live, asleep.
If you read some of the thoughts posted on the Cannabis Culture forums by American folks who claim to love freedom and marijuana, you have to wonder if rationality, honesty, logic and introspection are traits being bred out of the American species.
You find people in the CC forums, people who never use their real name, who claim that they know the Bush administration has stepped up the war on marijuana, who realize the Bush administration has demolished the right to privacy and vastly increased police powers, who know Bush gleefully started the Iraq war based on premises that are provably false. And these people, who know Bush would gladly throw them in prison for pot, are defending Bush against Moore, calling Moore a fat, stupid slob and a “leftist.”
It is all very strange, when self-proclaimed potheads back George W. Bush the drug warrior against leftist Michael Moore, but Moore isn’t the point, and his film, which is likely to be as damning and powerful as Bowling for Columbine, isn’t really the point either. The point is, why and how did 9/11 happen, and what are the provable details and contexts that explain how and why Bush and his administration have handled events as they did?
In spite of the Bushies’ efforts to censor it, the film opens Friday. In Canada, where people do not have a vested interest in deluding themselves about their country, because Canada refused to participate in the Iraq war, because Canada for all its faults is not killing people worldwide on a daily basis, well, Canadians already know what the film will reveal; they will have no trouble accepting that Bush and his allies are mean, ruthless, violent people who would stop at nothing to achieve their oily goals.
In the USA, on the other hand, Moore’s film will be spiked back and forth like a cinematic volleyball, with people who already believe Bush is bad seeing the film as an artistic revelation, and those who love Bush seeing it as an unpatriotic attack on a good Texan who knows how to “kick ay-rab ass.”
Moore was in Vancouver recently; I was honored to talk to him briefly. I offered him and his handlers a little box containing BC bud, a small pipe and a pack of matches. Moore’s people declined the gift, and I got the distinct impression that Michael doesn’t approve of “drug use.” Who cares? What matters is does he help people to ask intelligent questions, does he give them new information, does he wake them up? And yes, I’d love it if the guy smoked pot, but maybe he has other things on his mind, things like mortality: he told me him and his family have to be guarded by 24 hour security, because he has received numerous death threats from Jesus-loving people who love Bush.
If you want to find out about what really happened on 9/11, and why it happened, watch Moore’s film, but also invest in three books: Forbidden Truth, The War on Freedom, and House of Bush, House of Saud. All by different authors, all documented, all detailed. It will be hard for even the most right-winged of the right-wingers to see the film and read these books and then to still claim that 9/11 was just a surprise attack by a bunch of desert rats who hung out in the US for five years planning the perfect crime of the century against the world’s biggest military superpower.
Popcorn is ready; in Vancouver, people are planning to make a party of the film’s premiere night.
Former President George H. W. Bush called Moore a “slimeball” and called Fahrenheit 9/11 a “vicious attack on our son.”
Moore responded to Daddy Bush by saying, “I appreciate all reviews of my films from the Bush family. And if they love the film this much, without having seen it, I can’t wait for the reviews when they actually see it. I’d be more than happy to set up a White House screening.”
– Michael Moore’s website: michaelmoore.com