For the filming of his documentary SiCKO, Michael Moore took sick 9/11 workers to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to help them obtain free medical care. “The (rescue workers) just want medical attention!” Moore shouts into a loudspeaker in the movie, in a futile attempt to win over the security guards. “The same kind Al Qaeda is getting!” In May, Moore announced that the Treasury Department launched an investigation into his trip, examining “whether he had violated restrictions on travel to Cuba.”
Last night on NBC’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Moore announced that “the Bush administration has now issued a subpoena for me, going after me for helping these 9/11 rescue workers.” Moore said that the subpoena was unwarranted, since journalists are allowed to travel to Cuba, and “this was a work of journalism.” “I was there to help them and now I’m going to face this further harrassment from the Bush people,” said Moore. “Aren’t they busy with something else?” Watch it:
In May, Moore received a letter from Dale Thompson in the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, claiming, “OFAC has information indicating that you claimed to qualify under the provision for general license for full-time journalists.”
Moore also announced that on Aug. 11, The Weinstein Company, which distributes SiCKO, will donate 11 percent of the box office receipts to help 9/11 rescue workers who need medical care.
LENO: I was asking you about them in the dressing room. And this is like one of these dramatic moments. We were backstage, and I said, “Hey, what happened with them? I know you took them to Cuba, and I know a couple of months ago the government went after you for going to Cuba” —
MOORE: Took them to Guantanamo Bay.
LENO: Yeah. And everybody to get their health care.
MOORE: Because I heard the al Qaeda terrorists that we have in the camps there detained are receiving free dental, medical, eye care, the whole deal, and our own 9/11 rescue workers can’t get that in New York City. And I just thought there was something completely crazy about that, so we sailed into Guantanamo Bay and filmed it, to try to get them the same care we’re giving al Qaeda. The Bush administration became upset at that, and it informed me at the same — when I was on the show last — that they were investigating me for doing this.
LENO: Well, investigating you for going to Cuba.
MOORE: Yeah, because Guantanamo Bay is in Cuba, and once we’re there in Cuba, we couldn’t get any help, so we went and got help from the Cuban doctors.
LENO: But a lot of celebrities go to Cuba.
MOORE: Yeah, oh yeah. Leonardo DiCaprio has been there, Cameron Diaz.
LENO: Sure, a lot of people go. But what happened just an hour ago —
MOORE: You want me to tell what happened —
LENO: Sure, go ahead.
MOORE: Ok, well, I haven’t even told my own family this yet, so you’re asking me to do this on national television.
LENO: Yeah, but it’s NBC, so not that many people are watching.
MOORE: Alright. Well, I was just informed while I was back there with Jay that the Bush administration has now issued a subpoena for me, going after me for helping these 9/11 rescue workers.
LENO: Well, no, for going to Cuba, it wasn’t for helping them —
MOORE: Well, that’s why I went there. I didn’t go there like Cameron Diaz to get a tan. No offense, I’m all for her tan. I’m just sailing around on a pontoon there in Cuba, but that’s not why I was there. I was there to help them and now I’m going to face this further harrassment from the Bush people. Aren’t they busy with something else?
LENO: What does the subpoena involve? Is it because you went to Cuba, is that why?
MOORE: Yeah, because as free citizens in a free country we’re not allowed to travel to Cuba, but journalists can go, and this was a work of journalism. But frankly, the larger point’s being missed here. The point is that first of all, can we all agree that we should take care of 9/11 rescue workers? You know? And you know, actually, Harvey Weinstein who owns the company that’s distributing the film — the Weinstein Company — they have said that on Aug. 11 this year, they’re going to donate 11 percent of the box office of SiCKO to help these workers and the other workers who need some help.
LENO: That’s good.