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Obama backer George Clooney plans a movie on Osama bin Laden's driver

George Clooney, one of Hollywood's most prominent backers of Democratic Sen. Barack Obama for president, has bought the movie rights to tell the story of Osama bin Laden's driveGeorge Clooney prominent Hollywood actor and backer of Illinois Democratic Senator Barack Obama for president buys the movie rights to a book on Osama bin Laden's driver Salim Hamdan convicted of aiding terrorism last weekr.

It may be a controversial project.

Clooney's movie production company, Smokehouse, bought the book rights from journalist Jonathan Mahler, who in "The Challenge" tells the story of Salim Hamdan, a Yemeni resident of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in recent years after his capture for being the driver of Al Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden.

Hamdan's lawyer maintained he was only a driver and took the high-paying job to feed his family. The presence of rockets in his car was never explained.

Last week Hamdan was convicted by a U.S. military tribunal of aiding the terrorist leader and sentenced to 5 1/2 years prison, much less time than what was sought by the prosecution. Hamdan has already been at Guantanamo seven years, and there's speculation he may be returned to his family in Yemen.

According to the report in the Guardian, the book sympathetically portrays Hamdan and his Navy lawyer, Charles Swift, as the little guys up against the powerful forces of the United States government. Clooney, who is reportedly offering policy and speaking advice plus also helping Obama raise money from within the wealthy, liberal Hollywood community, is said to covet the role of Swift for himself.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Photo: Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (85)

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Wow, talk about a hit job! What on earth does Barack Obama have to do with George Clooney wanting to do a movie about Bin Ladens driver?

At least in the old days people did whisper campaigns with a little bit of finesse, this is just weird. So now is Barack Obamas name going to be mentioned every time anyone who says they like him is doing something?

Is this really what the discourse in this country has degenerated to?

I find it interesting that the LA TIMES choose to place obama and osama bin laden in the same article. Is the times trying to say that Obama and Osama are the same? The headline should read Clooney makes a movie about Osama's Taxi Driver. Just another example of the media trying to get redneck america to belive Obama is a muslim and therefore he must be a terrorist. Obama had nothing to do with this story other than Clooney is a backer.

Was it really needed to label Clooney an Obama supporter in reference to a film in reference to Bin Laden? Disgusting ratings grab. Typical example of how the media will do anything, say anything to get web hits, increase ratings. Too bad the substanative truth couldnt do the same.

L.A. Times Forces "Obama" and "Osama" Into Verbose, Absurd Headline

Senator Obama has absolutely NOTHING to do with George Clooney making this movie. Andrew Malcolm why did you mention Senator Obama? Explain yourself!

Hrm. Nice way to smear Obama while claiming innocence.

Journalistic Ethics - another oxymoron

This is the most biased article I have ever read. Fox News would have been proud to write this. . .

and I am voting for John McCain

Oh..come on...get over it Nobama supporters....Clooney will use this to try and tell a "story" about how bad the gov't is to hold, and prosecute a terrorist with ROCKETS in his car, only hollywood can be so dumb! goes to show wealth doesn't make a person (Clooney) smart. I fear for the US with the looney left trying to run anything. are you noticing Obama's flip-flopping on his opinions? go and look...can't trust him if he doesn't have the same opinions every day.
this nation is in BIG trouble if we ever get attacked with a Dem is office..they might not want to put them in JAIL, much less prosecute them. might hurt their feelings. wimps.

how is this even remotely related to politics???

HEADLINE: Hate backer and biggot Andrew Malcolm writes another horrible hit job article!

retire already the world needs less of your generation!

Very cool. And Obama could star as Osama!

Wow is that all we can identify George Clooney with? Why not say "Former Rosanne star George Clooney" or "One-Time Batman George Clooney".

If George Clooney is out giving "policy and speaking advice" to the Obama campaign, it seems appropriate to report this as a direct reflection of the worldview of at least part of the Obama campaign.

I also don't see the need to view this as a negative - it is what it is, and if the Obama camp has supporters who see things from different angles than the current Administration, so be it.

How many years did Hitler's chauffeur get?


Wow. Yellow journalism, much?

Mr. Burr -

Obviously, you're extemely confused about the political ideology of the mainstream media (including the L.A. Times). The only connection or "tie" here is... George Clooney supports Barack Hussein Obama. This headline is free campaign promotion and propaganda for Obama. It provides hyperbole for politically ignorant sheep who might be inclinded to vote for anyone (even a socialist) because they're supported by a wealthy leftist "movie star" like Mr. Clooney. How sad!

As far as appeasing "rednecks"... Are you out of your mind? The last thing the L.A. Times would be guilty of is leaning in the direction of minorities (Whites) in Los Angeles.

So, don't despair, the Los Angeles Times will continue to support leftists and their causes until they go out of business. Which, it appears, may be soon.

wow. This is completely irrelevant, downright lousy journalism. Shows just how far the MSM is willing to stretch to get "Obama" and "Osama" in the same headline.

Just goes to show you, Joe McCarthy was right about Hollywood, there are lots of disloyal, unpatriotic Americans. Which brings up a question: are the Hollywood 10 considered martyrs because they were falsely accused of being Stalin stooges, or because they were Stalin stooges and were outed????

Mr. Malcolm, your insinuation regarding your tie-in of Osama with Obama is shameful.

Are you capable of actually writing about issues in this campaign that matter?

Because I am beginning to think that your contribution to political blogs is equivalent to what George Stephanopolous and Charles Gibson brought to debates.

This type of transparent smearing diminshes you far more than it does Barack Obama.

I wonder what Osama Bin Laden's driver/personal assistant is going to do with the check George Clooney is writing him. More importantly, has George Clooney given a thought to what Obama Bin Laden's driver/personal assistant is going do with the money? Probably not. George reminds of one of those pathetic women who fall in love with prison inmates. Now that gay marriage is legal maybe they'll get married.

Sorry folks.

Clooney is a lot more than just a guy who likes Obama. He is playing an important role in the campaign and, I think it is fair to surmise, seeks to influence an Obama administration. It is fair game to link his reported sympathy for Hamdan (who, no one disputes, was caught with missile launchers in his trunk) to his role in the Obama campaign. They are both part of the same influential person's political world view. The content of the article is fair.

OTOH, the fact that the headline uses two first names (George and Osama) but not Barak looks stupid. Headline writers are not usually the brightest folks in the newsroom.

By the way, how is this political? It's a movie that hasn't been made yet.

Hamdan took the high-paying job to feed his family. Clooney bought the high profile book to feed his ego.

Great title. Thanks LA Times, you made my day. Though I must say--you could have added a mention of the Edwards affair in there for good measure. Go ahead, indulge--it's your journalistic duty.

What do Osama and Obama have in common anyway?

They both have friends who tried to blow up the Pentagon.

Nice job relating Obama to something he has absolutely nothing to do with. But a pitiful attempt at a smear.

I'm glad the LA Times was thoughtful enough of the reader when identifying Clooney as an "Obama-backer"--I wouldn't have known who he was otherwise.

Whoever wrote this headline needs to be sacked immediately.

LA Times, just another sensational tabloid. Will their next headline be "Pope is pregnant after meeting with Obama"?

I just do not get it. Who cares about Bin Laden's driver? The media is just making a statement that George Clooney wants to make a movie and he happens to be a supporter of Barack Obama. There goes the media again. The media is always stirring up trouble. Barack for President.

Shame on you, Andrew Malcolm! Have you no journalistic integrity and objectivity? A shameless and irrelevant association, sir, that has become so characteristic of the "angry white men" media elite who cannot best Obama with their words and ideas, and so you and your ilk try to smear him by any damning association possible. I expect far better from a Pulitzer finalist, though maybe an associative habit like this is why you didn't win in the first place...

how do you get the rights to an afghani driver??

Citizen of the Country Where George Bush is President, George Clooney plans a movie on Osama bin Laden's Driver

I don't even care about the Obama reference, it was lost in the fact that Clooney is a lefty loon making a hateful movie about a scumbag driver for OBL.
This movie will disappear and gather dust on the shelf next to Mark Cuban's "Redacted", the biggest bomb since the "Moab".

The LAT's headline announcing Morgan Freeman's accident used "Obama Supporter" as I recall. It's obvious that the draconian cuts in the newsroom have taken thier toll on journalistic integrity and even common sense - or has it always been that way. The times has become the Fox News of the newspaper world..

It certainly matters what Obama's supporters believe in. The fact that Clooney sympathizes with the enemies of America is telling. Such anti-American trash is utterlly consistent with Obama's other dear friends and associates like the lucky Pentagon bomber and political ally Mr Ayers.

Thank you for bringing this extremely relevant information to the attention of the public.

I was shocked reading this headline and echo everyone's sentiments here. That this even made it past whatever screeners the LA Times must have in place is ridiculous. You are truly a class act, Mr. Malcolm.

After reading these comments I am struck by how defensive many people are by the association of a famous Hollywood celebrity, who is actively supporting and advising Obama, and his decision to make a movie to depict a terrorist as a hapless innocent by-stander and his boot-jack treatment by our fascist government (in his opinion).

It is perfectly relevant when we are attempting to discover who this junior senator (143) is and doing so by examining his choice of friends and compatriots.

Interesting point by Greg that illustrates what many consider revealing and important.

This is disgusting. George Clooney should be put in jail for sympathetically portraying the driver of Obama bin Laden. 5.5 years is not enough for a man driving around with rockets in his car. These Hollywood wack-job liberals are so out of touch with Americans.....Liberalism is truly a mental disorder

This is very amusing.

The main point is that being an Obama backer has nothing to do with the movie.

BUT then, there are two arguments for the motive behind this absurd headline. 1: LA times is racist and putting Obama with Osama! (used by Obama supporters). 2: This is yet another example of leftist journalism trying to sensationalize and provide free advertisement for Obama (used by Obama opponents).

See how clever the headline writer was? He/She made the headline so that there are two potential interpretations.

In any case, go McCain.

PLEASE!!! Let's not forget the horror we all shared when twenty-three ultra-radical terrorists summarily executed over 3,000 innocent Americans in the vicious attack on our nation's vital interests. Driver or not, that man has to answer for his complicity with this group of thugs. If Clooney feels justified by telling this story in a sympathetic way that portrays the "mean 'ol US government's heavy handed treatment of rounding-up murderous miscreants," than let the American public form their own opinion. The bottom line is: we were brutally attacked by a band of hate mongers who have expressly stated they will not rest until they destroy our way of life. Clooney should remember where he came from. Without our perpetual personal freedoms America protects, there would be no reason for the millions people wanting a better life to flock to this country every year; and Clooney wouldn't have a career! Way to be magnanimous and grateful George!

Keep the info coming Malcolm.
If Clooney is supporting Barack Hussein Obama and offering policy and speaking advice, plus also helping Obama raise money from within the wealthy liberal hollywood community, then Malcolm's article is right. This has serious connections with Obama and Osama Bin Laden's driver and Clooney's movie. Why is Obama hanging with so many radical unamerican people?

LA Times = Yellow journalism. You shamelessly pounced on an opportunity to tie Obama to Osama. Clooney is one of the least visible Obama backers. What the hell does this movie have to do with Obama anyway? Pathetic!

Clooney can give Obama the leading role of Osama Bin Ladin... PERFECT casting!!!

The Times site does not have an ombudsman's form per se, but you can at least submit your comments about their news coverage at the link below. In addition to commenting on the specific "article" here, I encourage others to take a moment and let the Times know your thoughts on this low-rent trick of tying Obama and bin Laden together.,0,3057606.customform

Hmmm....A Jodie Foster fan attempted to kill Reagan...Does this make her an accomplice?

I am a writer and I had to read this three times to make out the connection between Clooney being an Obama backer and Clooney making a movie about Osama's driver.

What a pathetic attempt at journalism.

This is why the L. A. Times is rapidly going the way of all foolscap, and not a moment too soon if you ask me!

I don't care what Andrew Malcolm has to say in the L.A. Times. It is an excellent paper... to line the floor for my dog to use the restroom on. It's nice and thick, and ohh so absorbent. So it really doesn't matter what is said on this paper, people have stopped relying on this paper long ago for anything relevant to news! At least it's still good for something!

What's the point of mentioning that George Clooney is backing Obama? I gave you a shot by reading the whole article for, I don't know, a comment from Obama about the movie, about the driver himself, SOMETHING -- but no, there was absolutely no discernible reason to mention that Clooney backs him, and especially not in the headline. Responsible journalism, please!!!

For those of you who defend this do you really want people to write what some McCain supporters believe in? Candidates can not control who supports them. For the gentleman who said Liberalism is a mental disorder, you have a serious problem. People are entitled to their beliefs. I consider myself liberal and I can assure you sir I have no mental disorder. I love my country, I pay my taxes, I love my family and I spend almost all of my time contributing to the betterment of this country (i.e. volunteering for charities, donating to people in need etc.). Do not insult me or people like me. Conservatism is not a mental disorder, it is a difference of opinion, which you are certainly entitled to and which I respect your right to have. Making hate filled blanket statements seems a little bit loony to me. Support your country. Do not preach hate.

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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