Twice within four days, my name has popped up in the Bush-era secret cables uncovered by WikiLeaks. Lucky me. Though nowhere near as earth-shattering as the uncovering of American misdeeds in Iraq and Afghanistan, these classified cables provide a stunning and bizarre peek into the paranoid minds of the Bush White House when it came to the subject of one Michael Francis Moore.
And considering how WikiLeaks has released only 1,826 cables of its planned drop of 251,287 -- and I've already played a starring role twice -- I can only say I await with bemused anticipation how the moi-storyline will play itself out.
The most recent secret cable revelation is in today's Guardian newspaper of London. It's entitled, "US Intervened in Michael Moore NZ Screening." Oh yeah, baby! New Zealand! That's where we'll stop Moore and his band of evildoers!
The date was July 30, 2004. Fahrenheit 9/11 was already a huge hit in the United States. Just to give you an idea how huge, it had hit #1 at the box office, the only documentary to have ever accomplished this feat, and had made more on its opening weekend than Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
But it was no easy path to get there. Disney (which owned Miramax) was apoplectic when they saw the final cut. So they pulled the film from its theatrical schedule. Then they put a permanent block on its release, ensuring no one would see it. But then the New York Times, in a front page story, reported that the real reason Disney hated Fahrenheit was they were worried about the tax breaks it got in Jeb Bush's Florida for Disney World. This caused some embarrassment, so Disney then sold Fahrenheit to the Weinstein Bros., who said they'd spend their own money to distribute it.
The release of the film caused concern at the White House, as this was the reelection year. They hired a pollster who told them the film might tip the election. That was enough for them to swing into action. Much of July was a nonstop barrage of attacks on me and the movie. But that just resulted in more tickets being sold.
Which brings us to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. There are few nations on earth further away from us. A local chapter of the ruling Labor Party apparently had decided to do a fundraising screening of Fahrenheit 9/11. It was to be hosted by the Prime Minister's Cabinet Secretary for the Environment.
Well, when the U.S. Embassy in Wellington got word of this, it was like all heck broke loose. America was offended! Phone calls were made to the Prime Minister! Then to the Cabinet Secretary! We... are... not... happy!
Apparently, the Kiwis backed down and the Cabinet Secretary withdrew as the host. A sigh of relief whiffed its way through the American embassy. Moore stopped! The cable back to Washington showed the embassy had no problem taking credit for putting the kabosh on yours truly:
... it is probable that this potential fiasco may only have been averted because of our phone calls -- it is apparent to us that neither the Minister nor anyone else in the Labour government seems to have thought there was anything wrong with a senior Minister hosting such an event.
So here's my question:
I mean, seriously -- really? This is how the Bush State Department was spending its time -- on a single screening of Fahrenheit 9/11 in freakin' New Zealand? Or maybe... was this kind of interference happening just to New Zealand? Call me crazy, but I gotta feelin' it doesn't stop there. Just as a health insurance executive has now come forward as a whistleblower to reveal the millions spent to smear Sicko, I can't wait for the day when the whistleblower from the Bush White House comes forward to tell the fascinating tale of how the Bush team believed they had to do something -- anything -- to stop Fahrenheit. Or worse (like the "Plan B" the health insurance companies discussed -- to "push Michael Moore off a cliff."). I didn't want to think about what the Bush Plan B would be. Just wasn't worth the crazy-making. So I ignored the things I'd hear, kept my head down and motored on.
But, it does make you wonder. And I ask you, is it fair to pose the question: If they were this focused on some insignificant screening in New Zealand, what else were they up to? And I don't mean in regards to me. I mean anyone who was on their enemies list...
I can't wait to read more classified cables.
P.S. Of course, given the false claims the State Department made in the other "secret" cable about my movie Sicko, I guess anything was possible.
P.P.S. Don't miss the REAL revelations from just the first batch of WikiLeaks cables. For instance, the Obama administration worked together with Republicans to kill an investigation by Spain into Bush's torture. Pfizer hired a private investigator to dig up dirt on the attorney general of Nigeria. Bush's ambassador to France planned to "retaliate" against the country for standing up to Monsanto. And we're less than 1 percent of the way through ...