Michael Moore (courtesy United Artists)
An Egyptian associate of Osama bin Laden plans to sue American director Michael Moore for allegedly using images of the terror chief in the Bush-bashing film “Fahrenheit 9/11” without permission.
Essam Deraz took almost four years getting footage of the head of al-Qaida at training camps in Afghanistan. He’s reportedly the only person to capture bin Laden on film in the late 1980s.
“I was the only cameraman with the Arabs,” Deraz told London’s Sunday Times. “All of those shots of bin Laden talking in the cave, talking into his walkie-talkie, they were all my work.
Osama bin Laden
“I was there from 1986-89 and was in contact with bin Laden on many occasions. I saw him in Peshawar in Pakistan and in Jalalabad in Afghanistan. The film clips in ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ – five of them – were mostly shot in March and April 1989.
“I was wounded twice and on one of those occasions bin Laden arranged for me to be taken to hospital in his vehicle. These are the only film clips ever taken that show bin Laden on the battlefield.”
Deraz worked for the BBC in the 1970s and says he had no sympathy with al-Qaida, which wasn’t in existence when his footage was shot.
“Now I find that Mr. Moore’s film is being distributed in America and in other countries and I have received nothing,” he told the Times.
Deraz has filed a petition with the Egyptian public attorney, laying a claim to intellectual property rights. He’s looking for the film to be confiscated until a financial resolution is reached.
“Fahrenheit 9/11” collected $119 million in the U.S. and an addtional $103 million overseas, and will likely bring in millions more from sales of DVDs and other merchandise.
Moore’s attorney, Andrew Hurwitz, claims the film-production company acquired all the necessary rights for images used in the documentary.
“We have a license from al-Jazeera, the Gulf TV company, which makes clear that they own the rights to these clips,” Hurwitz told the paper. “They told us they owned the film.”
Deraz responded, “I have never sold my rights on these clips to anyone and certainly not to al-Jazeera. I will be taking this further. If al-Jazeera are saying they own them, where did they get from? Not from me.”
This is not the first time an allegation of purloined material has surfaced with Moore’s documentary.
As WorldNetDaily reported, author Ray Bradbury ripped into Moore last year for using the title “Fahrenheit 9/11” for his movie, an obvious takeoff on the 84-year-old’s science-fiction classic “Fahrenheit 451.”
“Michael Moore is a screwed a–hole, that is what I think about that case,” Bradbury said according to an English translation of a story in the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter. “He stole my title and changed the numbers without ever asking me for permission.”
Continued the author: “[Moore] is a horrible human being – horrible human!”
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