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He’s now working on a documentary investigating “the murky relationship” between former US president George Bush senior, and the family of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Michael Moore, whose last documentary film, Bowling for Columbine, won an Oscar, has been given the go-ahead to shoot his next film “Fahrenheit 911”. Mel Gibson’s company Icon is putting up the cash for the movie, which concentrates on the US government’s past links with the family of Osama Bin Laden.

According to reports, the film will investigate “the murky relationship” between former US president George Bush senior, and the family of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The movie will suggest that the bin Laden family profited greatly from the association. Moore’s anti-war, anti-Bush Oscar acceptance speech provoked a mixture of cheers and boos at the Academy Awards last Sunday.

According to Moore, the former president had a business relationship with Osama bin Laden’s father, Mohammed bin Laden, a Saudi construction magnate who left around ?190 million to Osama bin Laden. It has been widely reported that bin Laden used the inheritance to finance global terrorism. Moore said the bin Laden family was heavily invested in the Carlyle Group, a private global investment firm that the filmmaker said frequently buys failing defence companies and then sells them at a profit. The former president has reportedly served as a senior adviser with the firm.

“The senior Bush kept his ties with the bin Laden family up until two months after September 11,” Moore said.

Moore said the primary focus of the new film will be to examine what has happened to the United States since the September 11 terrorist attack. He has accused the Bush administration of using a tragic event to push its agenda. “It certainly does deal with the Bush and bin Laden ties,” said Moore. “It asks a number of questions that I don’t have the answers to yet, but which I intend to find out.” Moore said the success of his documentary and book reflects majority public support for his political argument.

“It’s because the majority of Americans agree with me, see the economy in the toilet and didn’t vote for George W,” he said. “People are now realising you can question your government while still caring about the soldiers.”

[Update: 14 November 2005 – the ITV news story quoted here is no longer availble online.]

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