Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and activist. His new book is a memoir titled, "Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life."
In his film "Fahrenheit 9/11," Michael Moore explored the complex ties between Bush administration officials and associates, the Saudi Royal family, and those believed to have carried out the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. Today, Moore is backing former Florida governor and senator Bob Graham’s call for President Obama to reopen the investigation into 9/11 after new information emerged about the possible role of prominent Saudis. According to recent news reports, a wealthy young Saudi couple fled their home in a gated community in Sarasota, Florida, just a week or so before Sept. 11, 2001, leaving behind three cars and nearly all of their possessions. "There are many unanswered questions and they should be answered," Moore says. He also was targeted by his critics for this film. Moore talks about how the Bush administration worried the movie would hurt Bush’s re-election chances, and how he found out that he ranked second behind then-President Bush on the number of discovered plots to attack him. [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: We just interviewed former Florida Senator, Bob Graham, is calling on President Obama to reopen the investigation into the September 11th attacks after new information emerged about the possible role of prominent Saudis in the 9/11 attacks. According to recent news reports, a wealthy young Saudi couple fled their home in a gated community in Sarasota, Florida, just a week or so before 9/11, leaving behind three cars, nearly all there possessions; the FBI tipped off about the couple but never passed on the information to the September 11th Commission, even though phone records show the couple had ties to Mohammed Atta and at least 10 other Al Qaeda suspects. So, this is what Senator Graham had to say on Democracy Now! about why this case matters, and then I want to get your response.
BOB GRAHAM: One of the questions around 9/11 is whether these 19 hijackers were operating alone or whether they had a support network that assisted them and gave them anonymity. It’s been my feeling that it was very unlikely that they could have been successful without such a network. We know a great deal about the network component that existed in San Diego. What we just learned is about another pod of this network in Sarasota. What we know, to date, is that there was a wealthy Saudi family living in a gated community near Sarasota, which had numerous contacts with Atta, the Leader of the hijackers, and two others who were doing their pilot training near Sarasota. We also know that this family left the United States under what appeared to be very urgent circumstances on August 30, 2001, just before 9/11.
AMY GOODMAN: That was the Florida Senator Bob Graham on DEMOCRACY NOW!. Michael Moore, you did the film, Fahrenheit 9/11. You were dealing with this. You were talking about President Bush allowing the plane of the Bin Ladens to go out of the country when all other traffic was stopped.
MICHAEL MOORE: Not just the Bin Ladens, but many Saudi individuals. And I also documented how the night after—-it was the second night after 9/11, Bush had the Saudi ambassador over for dinner, and then they go out for drinks, or at least the Saudi ambassador did, and they went out on the veranda there overlooking the south—
AMY GOODMAN: The Truman Balcony.
MICHAEL MOORE: The Truman Balcony, that’s what it’s called.
AMY GOODMAN: As you told us on the phone.
MICHAEL MOORE: Right. And of course, what was I accused of at the time? Well, you know, conspiracy theorist and all this. Well, it was just the facts, and it was a legitimate question to ask, if 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, why, when no one else could fly, could all of these people connected to the Saudi royal family fly, and the Bin Laden family could fly? And things like, the FBI wanted to go immediately to Saudi Arabia an interview friends and family of the Saudi hijackers, because they’re police, they’re doing an investigation of this mass murder. And the Saudi government said no, the FBI can’t come over here and talk—-and the Bush administration just went, Oh, Ok. You know, it’s like, well, wait a minute. But, I documented in the film, the close financial ties, the money that had been paid to the Bush family over the years by the Saudi royal family, the connections with the Bin Laden family. You could see why the decisions that were made in the hours and days after 9/11 took all the focus away from who might be responsible and put it toward, as Richard Clarke said, by the second day, they were already discussing in invading Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11. I mean, Fahrenheit 9/11, we started making that the month after the war started, so all of that stuff in that film was—-we put all of that out before any the mainstream media was covering it or saying these things.
AMY GOODMAN: You call for reopening the investigation?
MICHAEL MOORE: Oh, absolutely. And I think Bob graham said, Fahrenheit 9/11 had it right. He’s come out and—-I was like, wow, somebody—-I think there’s a lot of unanswered questions and those questions should be answered. It’s why I was disappointed with the way the Bin Laden death was handled. It just seems like, when they dumped him in the sea, a lot of information went with him, and I think history, at the very least, would like to know where was Bin Laden for the last 10 years?
AMY GOODMAN: What do you think should have happened? Do you think the U.S. military should have executed him?
MICHAEL MOORE: Well, if the order was an execution, I think that’s wrong because I thought what we did with the Germans after World War II was the right thing. They were put on trial and they were given their day in court and a historical record was created and a message went out to—-this is what will happen to you if you commit mass murder. But, listen, I will say this, and I know a lot these ex guys, these Navy Seals and whatever. They may have been in a situation where they felt that they were acting in self-defense. But if in fact they were ordered to execute him and not bring him back, I just think that’s against the American way because we believe even the most heinous person, whether they’re Charles Manson or Eichmann or anybody, should have their day in court, because we’re going to try to be civilized even though they’re uncivilized, even though they’re barbaric. We’re not going to be that way. That used to be a standard we tried to, at least, aspire to, or at least say that we aspired to it. There’s no, like, pretense about that anymore and so, I think—-will we ever known where he was during these last 10 years? I kept saying from the beginning he was not in Afghanistan, and again I got the same sort of, whatever, from that. But, apparently he wasn’t, apparently he was out of Afghanistan a couple months after 9/11, and I said at the time he is either in Pakistan or he’s in Saudi Arabia being protected. We’ll never know, or maybe we will know. Maybe the truth will come out. It often does.
AMY GOODMAN: And, finally, we’ve gotten all sorts of Twitter questions that relate to this. Here is one, "Michael Moore seems to have all the answers. Will he ever run for office? Michigan Governor perhaps?" And then we have another Twitter question from MarinaGipps, who asked you on Twitter, "Are you doing a film to uncover which people in office are/were Wall St enablers? Democrats blame Republicans and vice versa." And let’s lead that to go, where you’re going from here and your next project? Elected office? Another film?
MICHAEL MOORE: First of all, I don’t have all the answers. I have a lot of questions. My best work is done when I ask those questions and focus, or try and focus attention on the things that maybe the mainstream media doesn’t focus on. So, that’s what I’ll continue to do. In my last film, I said what I had to say about our economic system. I think it’s at the core of—-
MICHAEL MOORE: Capitalism: A Love Story.
AMY GOODMAN: Yes, it’s at the core of so much of the abuse and destructive nature of how we structure ourselves as a society, and as long as we allow greed to be the engine that drives us, we are doomed. So, yes, I will continue to make my films and write my books and am working on a project, actually, for next year. So I’ve got—-
AMY GOODMAN: And the project is?
MICHAEL MOORE: It’s uhh... oh, we’re on radio?
AMY GOODMAN: Did you just curse nonstop and we’ve blanked it out?
MICHAEL MOORE: Obviously, I can’t talk about the projects while I’m doing the projects because I am—-I’m trying to get them done in one piece.
AMY GOODMAN: Is it Internet-based?
MICHAEL MOORE: Whatever is—-it could be Internet-based. It could be a Broadway musical. I might tour with Ice Capades. I can skate, and I think i can carry a song. The dance part; you don’t want to see that.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, there are a lot of people who want their books signed and I know you have to leave. Thanks so much for spending this time with us, Michael Moore.
MICHAEL MOORE: Well, thank you for having me, and thank you for all the good work you do and to the people who are listening, especially, get out there and make a difference and realize the power that you have.
AMY GOODMAN: Michael Moore, Academy Award-winning filmmaker, best selling author, his latest book is, Here Comes Trouble: Stories From My Life.