By Jamie Glazov
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is John Ziegler, a former talk show host who is the director of the new documentary Blocking 'The Path to 9/11’. Visit the film's web site at BlockingThePath.com.
FP: John Ziegler, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Ziegler: Thanks for having me.
FP: Let’s begin with "The Path to 9/11". What was this documentary about and what happened when it came time for it to be shown?
Ziegler: "The Path to 9/11' was by far the most ambitious of all the 9/11 related films. It was a five and a half hour, two-night mini-series that aired on ABC on the fifth anniversary of the attacks which depicted the real history that connects the first WTC attack in 1993 and 9/11.
Just days before it aired the film was severely edited by Disney after personal demands from Bill Clinton and members of his administration and several senators and congressmen. The film, which was intended to be rebroadcast every 9/11, has never been shown again and even the DVD has not been released.
FP: Your documentary revealed that there was an atmosphere and reality of a Gestapo-like purge in the Left’s attempt to block this film. Can you talk a bit about that?
Ziegler: One of the many great ironies of this saga is that the news media portrayed the controversy as evidence of a "right-wing conspiracy" taking over "The Path to 9/11." The reality is that almost the entire management structure of the film was made up of people who were very far left and who were concerned only about the Bush administration objecting to the film. Instead, the Clintonites, the Democrats in congress, the left-wing blogs and the liberal mainstream news media all conspired to perpetrate a fraud on the American people, which resulted in the film being severely edited, censored and banned from public dissemination. Some of the tactics the Left used to destroy this film are beyond hypocritical; they were down-right scary.
FP: This censorship on the part of the Left clearly entailed Stalinist-like ingredients. How can this happen in a free country and where is the outcry against this totalitarianism in our country?
Ziegler: I wrote about this problem in my book The Death of Free Speech. The reason why the left can get away with censoring speech is that much the American public no longer values free speech and the news media is totally on their side and is more than willing to look the other way when it happens. Heck, even the Republican nominee for President does not appear to value free speech or the First Amendment.
FP: The Clintons themselves played a key role in this censorship effort, right?
Ziegler: We now know that Bill Clinton himself called Disney head Bob Iger and demanded that the film be edited or pulled entirely. Our documentary proves that this effort was far more extensive and corrupt than previously thought.
FP: What was/is Bill Clinton scared of in terms of the original version of the film? If Bush acted like this, calling people and threatening them to edit or pull a film, every major newspaper would carry a story on it. Why the silence in the media about Clinton’s behaviour?
Ziegler: The Clinton people were clearly afraid because millions of mainstream Americans would finally learn the real history of what led to 9/11 that the news media had largely ignored. The scenes in the film they got edited out should not even be remotely controversial, but because the left wing media had never really talked about this history and the Clinton people had done a decent job of keeping much (though not all) of it out of the 9/11 Commission Report, they were able to fool cowardly executives at Disney who had no idea what the facts were into thinking there were historical accuracy problems with the film. We prove that was false.
FP: Osama bin Laden would have been dead today if it were not for the Clinton administration getting in the way of the assassination, correct?
Ziegler: We have several experts in our film (including the head of the CIA's bin Laden unit during the Clinton years) who absolutely agree with that assessment.
FP: In other words, the Clinton administration made us vulnerable to 9/11. If Clinton had behaved like a President should in terms of protecting America’s national security, 9/11 would have never occurred, correct? The bottom line is, the evidence suggests 9/11 is his fault. Right?
Ziegler: There is obviously no way to prove that and the point of my documentary is not to "blame" 9/11 on Bill Clinton. We just want to expose the real history that led to the attacks and correct the historical record about what happened to this film so that we can help prevent this from happening again in the future.
FP: Sandy Berger destroyed some documents that he stole from the National Archives. Enlighten us to the connection to "The Path to 9/11".
Ziegler: Our documentary goes in the entire Sandy Berger fiasco in extensive detail that people have not seen before. There is little doubt that there is a strong connection between Berger stealing those documents and the controversy over "The Path to 9/11." The Clinton people wanted people to think that if it was in the 9/11 commission report that it somehow didn't happen (which is why they were so desperate to keep out important information). We prove how absurd that is.
FP: What price has Berger paid for his behaviour?
Ziegler: He paid a small fine and lost his security clearance for all of three years. He even advised the Hillary Clinton campaign. We delve deeper than anyone else has into what really happened with Sandy Berger and the stolen documents.
FP: Harvey Keitel cut and run, yes?
Ziegler: We pretty much prove that Harvey Keitel (who was the star of "The Path to 9/11") is a coward. We show him being very enthusiastic about the film. However, when the controversy broke, the Clintons asked many of the actors to betray the film. Harvey Keitel, who loves to brag about being a Marine, was the only one who cut and ran.
FP: Where was Hollywood to defend freedom of speech?
Ziegler: Nowhere. This case proves that they really only care about free speech when it merges with their liberal agenda.
FP: Why is the film still not available on DVD?
Ziegler: We have audio of Bob Iger saying it is a "business" decision, but we prove that is ridiculous. The real reason appears to be that initially they did not want to potentially disrupt Hillary Clinton's seemingly invincible Presidential campaign. Now, if they release it they may fear that it will be obvious that Hillary was the reason they didn't do so sooner.
FP: What pressures, overall, account for the film not being rebroadcast and the DVD not being released? What can the average citizen do to help make it so?
Ziegler: It is very obvious that Disney has taken a dive on their own film because they preferred losing $40 million and throwing their own people (as well as free speech, the truth and the legacy of 9/11) under the bus to the scenario of upsetting the Clintons and the Democratic Party which has threatened ABC's broadcast licences. I urge people (especially Disney shareholders) to contact Disney and ask that the original version of "The Path to 9/11" be released.
FP: What is the meaning behind this whole affair? What lessons has it taught us? How has it changed or confirmed your view of things?
Ziegler: I think that we should all learn a lot from this sad episode. Above all else, we learned that when three forces that ought to be unbeatable (free speech, the truth and the legacy of 9/11) go head to head against blatant partisanship and news media/Hollywood bias, that, unfortunately, the side of good gets run over by a Mack truck. There is some hope, however. Cyrus Nowrasteh (writer/producer of "The Path to 9/11") and David Cunningham (the director) as well as others from the original film have shown great courage in speaking out and making sure that the historical record is corrected here.
FP: John Ziegler, thank you for joining us.
Ziegler: Thanks for having me.
- Jamie Glazov is Frontpage Magazine's managing editor. He holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialty in U.S. and Canadian foreign policy. He edited and wrote the introduction to David Horowitz’s Left Illusions. He is also the co-editor (with David Horowitz) of The Hate America Left and the author of Canadian Policy Toward Khrushchev’s Soviet Union (McGill-Queens University Press, 2002) and 15 Tips on How to be a Good Leftist. To see his previous symposiums, interviews and articles Click Here. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.