Loose Change

The events of September 11, 2001, will be forever woven into the historical fabric of the United States. Immediately after the attack, the story of how this tragic event occurred was slowly established. Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, led and organized by Osama bin Laden flew planes into both World Trade Center towers in New York City and the pentagon in Washington, DC. Another plane believed to be headed toward the White House or U.S. Capitol crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 people were killed.

In the wake of the attacks, Bush declared war against terrorism with the first battlefront in Afghanistan. Eventually 9/11 was used to explain why we, as a country, needed to invade Iraq. The chain of events after 9/11 was long, sordid and hard.

Where does the documentary Loose Change fit into this picture? In short it entirely refutes the narrative that we know and largely have come to accept about 9/11. Who were the perpetrators of the murders of all of those people? Loose Change tries to prove that it was not Islamic terrorists, but our own government, under the leadership and guidance of the Bush administration.

At a screening held two weeks ago Fifth Avenue Cinema, the director showed the second edition of Loose Change. The documentary is divided into four parts. First there is “The Timeline,” which starts out with an explanation of a 1962 CIA document that suggests staging a false terrorists attack in order to build false pretext. It then goes through a series of events and documents that show that many people organizations would gain from a large-scale terrorist attack, and how supposedly irregular happenings support the idea the 9/11 was engineered by our government.

The second section of the film goes into the inconsistencies, or perceived inconsistencies, of the damage done to the Pentagon. It discusses and gives evidence to suggest that it was impossible for a commercial airliner to have done both the physical act of crashing into the pentagon as well as the actual physical damage citing a commercial airplane turning at that speed would be impossible.

The next two sections explore evidence refuting what happened at the twin towers as well as on United Flight 93, which crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. The filmmaker theorizes the planes that flew into the towers were probably military aircraft, the buildings didn’t collapse because of massive internal fires, they were imploded with commercial explosives. United Flight 93 didn’t actually crash in Pennsylvania, it was flown to Cleveland, and all the people on the plane were never to be heard from again. The last section deals with “oddities,” in other words pieces of the puzzle that didn’t exactly fit with in the framework of one of the above sections. This section mostly deals with the problems of the black box recorders and the cell phones on United Flight 93. Overall the movie was slickly put together, with fast cuts and an imploring and sincere voice-over.

Now for my critique, if you are one of those people who has already bought into this movie wholeheartedly, who knows exactly what they think and will not be swayed –

skip it. For everyone else, people who aren’t sheep or are open to other opinions, read on.

The main problem with the “evidence” presented in Loose Change is that it is highly circumstantial. In fact, calling the evidence presented in the film as “circumstantial” may be too generous. Instead of asking hard questions of all of the evidence they find, whether it supports or denies the original thesis of Loose Change, the movie accepts seemingly anything that supports their ideas. What I mean by this is that throughout the movie, firsthand accounts are often rejected if they are contrary to the thesis, but supported if they agree. In others words, not all evidence is treated equally.

The rhetorical mode of Loose Change is also bothersome to me. Throughout the film a piece of evidence will be presented and interpreted by the narrator, then the narrator will pose a question or statement such as “Well, obviously -” or “Who buys this stuff? The implication of this tone is that only idiots would question this evidence, and the audience is completely absolved and indeed encouraged out of any critical examination of the information.

Another factor that contributes to this simplistic thinking is the sheer volume and speed in which all of the information is presented. Loose Change is a ride that knows the truth and we’re all dumb little kids that need the narrator to connect the dots for us. At the end we’re left exhilarated, a little frightened and ready for bed.

You know what I say to that type of thinking? Fuck that.

By his own admission the director of Loose Change started out the project as a work of fiction, a government that engineered 9/11. He says however “fiction soon changed into reality.” That statement immediately changed what I thought of this so-called documentary. The filmmakers had an idea in their minds and “proved” it. There was no objective truth seeking or any truly logical questions answered. If this vast conspiracy took place, then thousands of people would have had to be involved. Yet somehow, every single one of those people is fine with being an accomplice to a mass murder?

I’m not saying that Loose Change doesn’t present any possibly relevant information that could increase our understanding of what happened on 9/11, but to pretend that it is some sort of objective truth about those events, well that’s just lunacy.

You can visit the filmmakers’ web site, view the film for free and decide for yourself: www.loosechange911.com/