Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Path to "The Path to 9/11"

This story is taking a beautiful, week-long nose-dive. I wasn't going to say anything at first, because it was just regular dirty Republican politics, but now the story of the special show, called "The Path to 9/11," is taking some surprising turns.

OK, the story. ABC and Disney were going to have a special on September tenth and eleventh about the events leading up to 9/11/01, that date we all remember so vividly. They were going to run two three-hour shows. Everybody in the United States was going to watch it.

Scholastic, Inc., the people who make all the textbooks and stuff, were going to distribute the movie and associated materials to schools across the country, to show in history classes. Well, naturally, everybody would like to keep the memory of that day alive, no one wants to see the details of it vanish from our memory. This all sounded like a good idea, I think, to everybody, a good commemoration.

But then, just last week, somebody smelled a rat. ABC leaked copies of the movie to selected journalists and pundits. Like ... Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, people like that. Rightwing bloggers. Democrats, even Bill Clinton himself, couldn't get copies of it. And these rightwingers started talking about it on the air and on the Internet.

Turns out this movie was going to blame the 9/11 attacks on Bill Clinton. They had made up scenes showing Clinton letting Osama bin Laden get away, showing Clinton too busy with Monica Lewinsky to pay attention to terrorism, total fiction. They really just made up stuff to paint history a new color. They don't even deny it. Over the past week, the authors of the movie have admitted it's fiction. They say they "fictionalized" it, but they won't admit they have completely flipped the story around.

Because a Republican 9/11 Commission member worked as an advisor to the production, they're advertising it as "Based on the 9/11 Commission Report."

Meantime, members of the 9/11 Commission -- I should say Democratic members of the 9/11 commission -- have come out and said the movie is full of lies, and does not reflect the truth at all.

OK, you know what? We see this kind of junk every day -- look at the stuff Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld have been saying all week about appeasers and Nazis and stuff, it's atrocious, and it happens every single day. I wasn't even going to bother with this. We got emails, comments on the blog, have you guys seen what's going on with this movie? But it was just political. A corrupt, lying Republican, you say? Dog bites man.

But yesterday a couple of things came out that make it more interesting, to me at least. Crooks and Liars posted a video and part of the transcript of the lead actor from the movie, Harvey Keitel (he was in Pulp Fiction and some other things), saying:
Keitel: Yea, I had questions about events–material I was given in the Path to 9/11 that I did raise questions about. Yes, I had some conflicts there.

Q: How was that met?

Keitel: With discussion..ummm with argument. When I received the script it said ABC history project –I took it to be exactly what they presented to me. History–and that facts were correct. It turned out not all the facts were correct and ABC set about trying to heal that problem..In some instances it was too late because we had begun. Harvey Keitel speaks out on Path to 9/11: “It turned out not all the facts were correct”

That "ABC History Project" thing rang a bell with somebody on the Internet. A commentor at DU named "SheWhoMustBeObeyed" noticed that director of the film, David Cunningham, is the son of Loren Cunningham, founder of the worldwide evangelical group Youth With a Mission. (YWAM).

One branch of Youth With a Mission is a film company called The Film Institute. The people at the Film Institute had some stuff on the Internet that said:
TFI's first project is a doozy: simply being referred to as: The Untitled History Project, it is already being called the television event of the decade and not one second has been put to film yet. Talk about great expectations!

Our goal is to help filmmakers, actors, technicians, etc. realize their God given potential and purpose in perhaps the most influential sphere of modern culture - film and television.
Our next big project is to assist in the development of the new YWAM auxiliary - The Film Institute (TFI). The Film Institute is dedicated to a Godly transformation and revolution TO and THROUGH the Film and Television industry;

TO it, by serving, living humbly with integrity in what is often a world driven by selfish ambition, power an money - transforming lives from within, and THROUGH it, by creating relevant and evocative content which promotes Godly principles of Truth married with Love.

These comments were deleted from the website yesterday morning, but the trusty Google cache has them HERE and HERE.

And check out this Fox story about the "secret" 9/11 movie that's being filmed...
NEW YORK — Filming has quietly begun under a shroud of secrecy on ABC's ambitious miniseries about the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
At the moment, ABC officials are calling the miniseries "Untitled Commission Report" and producers refer to it as the "Untitled History Project." First 9/11 Miniseries Starts Filming

Yep. Same project.

So now we've got this stealth evangelical group filming a movie that they claim is going to change the world by promoting "Godly principles of Truth married with Love." Mmm hmmm.

Now, I'm following different discussions on the Internet here, I did not do all this research myself...

A Canadian newspaper reported this local news:
September 20, 2005 – On Saturday, September 24th, City Hall will be transformed into the American Embassy in Yemen for the filming of a television production, and the American flag will fly from the flagpole during the shooting. The Yemeni and United Nations flags will also fly from the flag standards on the Council Chambers roof.

UHP Productions will be on site filming a miniseries starring Harvey Keitel (of Reservoir Dogs, and Pulp Fiction fame), Patricia Heaton (best known as Debra Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond), and former “New Kid On the Block”, Donnie Wahlberg. The production is currently referred to as the Untitled History Project. City Hall to fly Stars and Stripes for movie production

Somebody snooped around and found that UHP Productions has only ever produced one movie -- this one. Also, their address is the same as Disney's address in Burbank, and the person who bought the domain name is Disney's Corporate Secretary, March L. Reed.

So this movie was being made by a stealth company somehow intertwined with Disney, but it was being done by these evangelicals who were going to change the world, basically, by re-writing history. Man, there must have been gazillions of dollars spent on this crazy thing. All done in the dark, no title, only the vaguest news, so it wasn't until the last minute that anybody noticed what was going on.

Then it started dawning on people.

I won't go into the entire reaction, but let's say, people aren't sitting still for this. President Clinton wrote a four-page letter to ABC, telling them to cancel the movie. A group of leading historians wrote a letter challenging the movie, calling it "fraudulent." FBI agents told the company the movie was a fraud. Democratic leaders in the Congress sent a letter to Disney. Conservatives, including John Podhoretz, Chris Wallace, the bloggers at Captain's Quarter, Bill Bennett, and even ... even ... even Bill O-freakin-Reilly have spoken out against this craziness.

The sad thing is that people sit in front ot their television sets watching the world as it is represented by three or four media corporations. That image on the tube is reality, as far as many many Americans are concerned. And that reality is for sale. It's no secret that the advertising dollar has its effect on programming, but you wonder how the political dollar works. What does ABC get in return for this big fat campaign donation?

Oh, and President Bush has arranged to interrupt the show Monday night with a 20-minute speech, just as the show starts into its last hour. ABC plans to stop the show, present the President's speech, and then resume. Think about that for a a minute (while you're considering who to vote for in the upcoming elections).

As fans started being hit by stuff, Scholastic pulled out of the deal to distribute this to schools (see their most interesting CYA statement HERE), but ... just imagine this fake thing being shown in history classes. What does that tell you?

We have an education system that makes an interesting assumption, one that is slowly being eroded away. When our kids go into a classroom, we assume they will be taught something that is objective, accurate, and true. We make an assumption that there is an objective reality "out there," and we assume that educators are motivated to put our children in touch with it. From a purely philosophical, absurdist, solipsistic position, we can question whether external reality actually exists, but in everyday life we don't doubt it. Yet here are people who will take advantage of the fact that all we have is a socially shared representation of the world. They will insert themselves into the representation process, in the Orwellian sense, and modify the representation in a way that will favor their own outcomes. These people fully intend to write history in a way that puts the white hat on the bad guy, and then keep telling that story until people can't remember the original. And they might get away with it. As I write, this thing is still scheduled to air tomorrow.

This secret group of evangelical nuts, teaming up with corporate media giants Disney and ABC and the ruling political party, were going to purely re-write history. They were making up their own script, slandering people who are still alive today to complain about it, when there are still people walking around who actually know what the facts are -- newspapers from the pre-9/11 era aren't even yellow yet. You put this on TV and the country watches, and a big percent of them won't know it's made up. We've seen it before, people re-writing the past, hammering it into our heads over and over until lies become equivalent to truths.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, stop your whining. While an acknoweldged fictional dramatizaton, the movie makes an important point that Americans have always instinctively known: Al-quaeda struck America first during Clinton's presidency, he had most of eight years to deal with it and he did a poor job. Democrats don't want to hear the truth spoken right before an election but ABC is refusing to surrender their objectivity.

September 09, 2006 3:42 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Jim whines,

Turns out this movie was going to blame the 9/11 attacks on Bill Clinton.

Like Anonymous said, the details may be wrong here and there, but most Americans do instinctively believe that Clinton could have done more, much more, and did not. Goodness, he had two full terms...the 1993 WTC attack...and still, nothing. Clinton failed, as did Bush did, in that most basic of all duties as the Commander and Chief of the US Armed Forces: to protect the US and Americans from attack.

Yes, Bush was was Clinton. The difference is that Bush has choosen to do something about it; Clinton did not.

Bitter pill to swallow? Little wonder the Left is so Angry...I would be too.

September 10, 2006 1:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The danger posed by this political docu-drama is that it was written by a partisan. The reality of our times is that reality is too often trumped by perception. In 20-20 hindsight, everyone in power should have done more. The evidence that has come to light thus far demonstrates that the Clinton Administration tried, but failed, to get Bin Laden. The evidence, apparently, is directly contrary to the proposition that Clinton or Berger called off particular attempts. George (Bush Medal of Freedom recipient)Tenant apparently did call off one effort (although I have not read why -- I assume he thought it might have been too riskly in terms of innocent casualties -- but, if so, even that concern seems too minor only in hindsight.)

A TV show that millions will take as the truth should not show key actions or inactions that did not happen; disclaimers don't do the trick here. Oliver Stone's JFK was a disservice to the nation; I suspect the Path to 9/11 may be an even greater disservice, although most people may be sufficiently disillusioned with Bush that they may not be fooled.

I wonder if two key, and I believe undisputed, things are in the ABC tv show: First, Clinton's warning to Bush in January 2001 (or was it Berger to Rice, I don't remember)that the biggest national security challenge the incoming Administration would have would be Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Since a mantra for the Bush Administration was that if Clinton did it, we have to do the opposite, concern about terrorism dropped way down the priority list.

Second,the presentation to Bush of the August 6, 2001, memo warning that Al Qaeda intended to attack America and intended to use airplanes as weapons (I recall that both points were in that memo). Those who presented the memo to Bush reported that Bush essentially said, "ok, you have covered your aXXXX," and then dismissed them. Perhaps the horror on Bush's face on Sept. 11 was his realization that he had messed up "big time."

September 10, 2006 9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go to the above site to let the FEC know how you feel about ABC/Disney providing their extreme right wing pals with a free, prime time, 6 hour negative campaign commercial with a Bush speech in the middle of it, in an effort to influence the elections that are less than 60 days away.

September 10, 2006 9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Orin spun, "The difference is that Bush has choosen to do something about it; Clinton did not."

As the facts confirm, Bush didn't do *anything* about it until after 9/11/01. On 08/06/01 Bush chose to ignore the Presidential Daily Briefing Memo entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.”

Per CNN ( "Asked by Democratic commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste, a former Watergate prosecutor who has read the memo, to recall the title, Rice said: "I believe the title was 'Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.' "

Family members of some 9/11 victims could be seen shaking their heads in the hearing room as they heard those words.

More than 3,000 people were killed on September 11, 2001, when 19 terrorists hijacked four commercial U.S. jets and crashed them into New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in western Pennsylvania.

Rice insisted the memo did not give any advance warning of what was to happen.

"It did not warn of attacks inside the United States," Rice said. "It was historical information based on old reporting."

Later, however, Democractic commissioner Bob Kerrey, a former senator from Nebraska, said the memo told the president "that the FBI indicates patterns of suspicious activity in the United States consistent with preparations for hijacking.""

September 10, 2006 9:48 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Orin, there is no doubt that Clinton placed a high priority on stopping al Qaeda, and the pre-9/11 Bush administration did not. History is already written on that account, and everyone can show you plenty of memos and events that support that telling of it. But I don't think that's even the point.

The American people, and even the press, have been very careful in not blaming any Americans for the attacks. Hindsight is perfect, and we can all think of things that could have been done differently, in both administrations. Nobody is asking the movie to blame Bush and make a hero out of Clinton.

The problem is that the actions shown in the movie are made up. In one scene, the actors simply improvised something dramatic. Other scenes were just created by writers. I would say they were striving for a dramatic effect, except for the fact that they are admittedly partisan and were, actually, striving for a political effect.

Yet the publicity for the movie claims it is "based on the 9/11 Commission report," claims it is accurate, and it is going to go on record as the story of how the attacks came about.

The movie is pure partisan propaganda, motivated by a desire to push forward a religious agenda, and it makes little attempt at accuracy.

The "bitter pill," I'm afraid, will come in the lawsuits to follow.


September 10, 2006 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a joke you have got to be kidding. Clinton tried to get Bin Laden not form the Sudan not when he was offered on a silver platter.
Clinton warned Bush not really not in any evidence I have been made aware of. I know he clamed he did but there is no memo that he said this only Clintons statement not even under oath. So I Cannot takes that to seriously.

No memo of Al Qaeda intentions to use planes. Produced unless you have a copy?
There was no action by Clinton to stop Al Qaeda just some memos saying it should be done. What is missing is Clinton actually giving the orders.

JimK said “The movie is pure partisan propaganda, motivated by a desire to push forward a religious agenda, and it makes little attempt at accuracy.”

Religious agenda you have to be kidding I hope ABC does not cave in to the censorship the lies and mischaracterizations of the Clinton zombies who are attacking anyone who try to show the darker side of the Clinton Presidency. I drought that Bush is going to be put in the best of light. And if this were Fahrenheit 9/11 or Dan Rather concocting forged documents you would be defending this show. I look forward to the open debate and a clear venting of the facts. To be discussed and disputed based on honest representation of those facts.

September 10, 2006 6:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon is correct that the August 6, 2001, memorandum did not mention the use of airplanes as weapons.
Here is the actual August 6, 2001, memorandum:

It does not mention the idea that Bin Laden would use planes as weapons, but did mention the intelligence that Bin Laden may have been considering airplane hijackings.

Not in the August 6 memorandum was any discussion of the fact that an Al Qaeda plot similar to 9/11 was broken up in the Philipines in the 1995. See¬Found=true and

It is unclear whether anyone at policy levels of either the Bush or Clinton Administrations was aware of the 1995 plot. But what is clear is that having blown off Clinton's concerns at the beginning of his Administration, Bush II was negligent in continuing to blow them off in the wake of the August 6 memorandum.

September 10, 2006 10:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim said

"Yet the publicity for the movie claims it is "based on the 9/11 Commission report,"

former Governor Thomas Kean of New Jersey, the chairman of the Sept. 11 commission said:

"I would say it's balanced,"

September 11, 2006 8:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there is a lot of things I find the 9/11 Commission report did not do right. I do not regard it as the bible of the 911 attack.

September 11, 2006 2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Point is, Jim said "claims", as if the movie's makers were deceiving the public. Truth is, the commission report's author has a favorable opinion about the movie.

September 11, 2006 2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dana Beyer, M.D. said...
One of the report's authors -- the Republican. And a number of Republicans, including some real conservatives, are incensed at this. You're going down, Anon. Get used to the basement again.
??? Incensed at what? I am going down? Is this some kind of threat are you planning some kind of retaliation for my comments what is the basement you are threatening me with? I do not take kindly to threats Beyer. And it is bad form for a politician to be making them. Are you planning some kind of action against people who don’t agree with you? Is this a new campaign slogan? Vote Beyer or Else!

September 11, 2006 4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I believe your last remark was addressed to me but the person who seems to have be responded is not me. You can go ahead and say I'm going down if you want. I don't feel threatened.

As for your comment, I was calling the chairman, who is a moderate Republican, "the author". He had more influence on the finished product than anyone else.

The funny thing is the movie, and the report, simply shows that both administration's had failings. The only ones going ballistic, though, are Democrats. The media is usually biased in their favor. The shock of having a major network portray them in any kind of negative light is so new to them that they are over-reacting. That's backfired on them in almost all recent elections. Americans want to have leaders who can keep their cool under stress. And that ain't Gore or Kerrey or Howard Dean or.....

September 11, 2006 5:25 PM  

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