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Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The World According to Bush 

Admittedly your genial hosts at King of Zembla do not know much about the movie bidness -- we are content to watch our Criterion edition of Pickup on South Street over and over while we wait for the restoration of The Big Red One -- but our curiosity was piqued by the Variety review of a new documentary which was shown on French network TV last weekend and is scheduled to open in European theatres tomorrow, with DVD's on the way next week. Not only does the movie sound quite lively, but the review itself contains a few things we didn't know -- e.g., the claim (highlighted below) that CIA operatives are legally allowed to do TV interviews without agency approval. From Variety.com (sorry, subscription only):
Those who think Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" is diminished by his "liberal agenda," extensive use of pre-existing footage or failure to "show both sides" will have a much harder time discrediting the equally unflattering conclusions in "The World According to Bush" (unless they want to point out the director and producer are French.) A wealth of original interviews conducted by vet documaker William Karel ("CIA, guerres secretes") are complemented by powerful first-person testimony from an assortment of Bush non-sympathizers, from Hans Blix to David Kay, whose comments are as authoritative as they're damning . . . .

Karel makes an extremely persuasive case that the executive branch of the U.S. government has run roughshod over much of what America likes to think it stands for -- and that blame for this in both domestic and foreign affairs can be traced to flagrant and unprecedented disregard for demonstrable truth at crucial juncture upon crucial juncture by George W. Bush and certain of his closest advisers . . . .

Explaining that he had a small fortune at his disposal to bribe locals willing to point the way to incriminating weapons, CIA-mandated inspector David Kay says he believes Saddam Hussein was bluffing. Not a single Iraqi even tried to hit the jackpot.

The day after Bush's Jan. 20, 2004, State of the Union address, in which he declared "the Kay report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities," Kay resigned. His report had emphatically said the opposite . . . .

Interestingly enough, former CIA operatives are forbidden to write a line without agency approval but there's apparently a loophole to that where TV interviews are concerned.

Egregious conflicts of interest are piled high. Donald Rumsfeld "sat on the board of a company that sold nuclear reactors to North Korea." Perle writes an article in the New York Times "but forgets to tell the reader that he took $20 million from Boeing."
Nice to see someone picking up on the Korean reactor story, now forgotten by all but the handful of plucky pioneers who settled Zembla, far too many of whom have gone on to their unfortunately rather meager rewards. As the BBC reported in April of 2002:
The US Government has announced that it will release $95m to North Korea as part of an agreement to replace the Stalinist country's own nuclear programme, which the US suspected was being misused.

Under the 1994 Agreed Framework an international consortium is building two proliferation-proof nuclear reactors and providing fuel oil for North Korea while the reactors are being built.

In releasing the funding, President George W Bush waived the Framework's requirement that North Korea allow inspectors to ensure it has not hidden away any weapons-grade plutonium from the original reactors.

President Bush argued that the decision was "vital to the national security interests of the United States".
The Swiss technology group ABB had a $200 million contract to supply North Korea with equipment and services for the new reactors. Here's the ABB press release from January, 2000.

Now look at another press release from March of 2000. Scroll down to paragraph #5 and see if you can spot any familiar names among the ABB board of directors.

As for Perle and Boeing, well, hell, everybody knows about that one. Just ask former Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate John McCain.

UPDATE: Incentives! Getcha red-hot incentives!!

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