Did the U.S. government plan and execute the 9/11 attacks?
Does one internet video hold the shocking evidence?
What does this man...
...Have to do with this man?
If you own a computer, odds are you have seen Loose Change, a slickly-produced viral internet video making the case that the U.S. government planned and executed the 9/11 attacks. No, I don't know why it's called "Loose Change."
If you haven't seen it yet, you will soon. The Loose Changers will make sure of it. They sell this thing like they're getting a commission. In a single day I had four different people on four different forums try to get me to watch it.
How viral videos are spread
And most of the people who watch it, come away convinced.
The film is a rapid-fire collection of video clips set to techno music, attempting to prove that:
- No plane hit the Pentagon - it was a cruise missile;
- The hijacked planes didn't bring down the World Trade Center, the buildings were wired with explosives ahead of time;
- Flight 93 didn't crash in Pennsylvania and in fact landed safely elsewhere. The passengers were in on the conspiracy.
They've sold more than 100,000 copies of this thing on DVD. It's been downloaded millions of times.
But is it bullshit?
There are basically two views on the subject, and I intend to provide both equally. You can make up your own mind. One side says...
1. The 9/11 Conspiracy guys are liars.
Here's how it started.
There was a teenager named Dylan Avery.
According to his own site, when he was 18 he was doing construction work on a bar owned by James "Tony Soprano" Gandolfini. No, I didn't make that up.
Anyway, Avery wanted to be a movie director. At a party he seized the opportunity to buttonhole Gandolfini, and the two had this conversation:
Avery: Mr. Soprano! I'm a huge fan!
Soprano: That's great, kid.
(Glances at bodyguards)
Avery: You know, I want to be a director...
Soprano: Like I give a shit. The deformed kid who cleans my fuckin' gutters wants to be a director. You got an idea for a movie?
Avery: Well, no...
Soprano: Then what the fuck are you comin' up to me talkin' about bein' a director?
Avery: I've always wanted to-
Soprano: Shut up. Listen to me...
(Nods toward bodyguards, who approach from across the room)
Soprano: ...Let me tell you the problem with kids like you. You don't wanna direct. You don't wanna tell stories. You wanna be a director. You wanna walk down red carpets with a fuckin' starlet on your arm. You ain't got nothin' to say to the world. For you, the movies, the work, it's just a means to an end. Limousines and cocaine, right?
Avery: Yes! That sounds great!
Soprano: People like you are a cancer. You're the most dangerous people in the world because you'll do anything for the spotlight. You'd tattoo a Swastika on your head if you thought it would get you a movie deal. The people who make it, the people who deserve to make it, the ones who get respect... they're the ones who got something to say to the world.
Avery: I don't under- Ooomph! My crotch!
(Soprano's bodyguards deliver several vicious blows to Avery's body, then dump him into an alley).
That's pretty much how Avery tells the story, if you read between the lines. Dylan Avery wanted fame. Badly. How far would he go to get it? With Loose Change, we would find out.
He sat down and started writing a FICTIONAL SCREENPLAY about he and his buddies finding out 9/11 was a government conspiracy. Fictional. Sort of an The X-Files episode. Avery mentions this in every interview he does.
Since he had no money to film his own movie, he started cutting together video and photos off the internet, creatively editing them to make them scary and ominous, cutting the visuals to fit the story, making a fake documentary. Like Spinal Tap, only about mass murder.
So, for instance, in his screenplay, the Pentagon was hit with a missile and then was covered up for the public as a plane crash. Avery sifted through photo after photo of the Pentagon attack, all showing hunks of airplane scattered everywhere...
Including big pieces that have the Airline logo right on it (background)...
...And close-ups of burned-up landing gear wheels (shown side-by-side with a regular 757 wheel, for comparison).
All these pictures blink across Dylan Avery's monitor until FINALLY he finds a shot that doesn't show any wreckage. He saves it, puts it in the video, and writes voiceover that says NO PLANE HIT THE PENTAGON and NO PHOTOS SHOW ANY EVIDENCE OF A PLANE.
From Loose Change. "Where's the wreckage?!?!?"
Now obviously, hundreds of people were in the Pentagon that day, dozens of witnesses saw a plane crash, hundreds of people cleaned up airplane parts and charred bodies, air traffic controllers saw the plane fly in on radar, pairs of light poles more than 20 feet apart were knocked over when the massive wings of the airliner mowed them down like grass. But that's okay. He's just making a fictional movie, it's all in fun.
So he does the whole video like that. He cuts sound bites in half, saving the part where a flight instructor says something like, "I met the hijacker and he was a bad pilot," and deleting the part where the same guy says, "but you don't exactly have to be fucking Chuck Yeager to crash a plane into a building." Without that second part, it sounds like the guy is saying the hijacker couldn't have done the flying. He has literally edited the words to make the guy say the opposite of what he said.
But again, it's just fiction, a "what if" movie, a "War of the Worlds" broadcast. It was supposed to be a student film, his resume for the world, a viral video that would get his name out there. I have to admit, it was a great idea.
Conspiracy buff Phillip Jayhan ambles into Dylan's life, waving around a sweaty wad of money. Jayhan, by the way, says the world is run by a massive satanic cult that enslaves prominent politicians by delivering kidnapped boys for them to molest and then blackmailing them about it later.
World leaders gather for massive Satanic ritual
Okay, that's probably true. But the point is Jayhan offered to pay for Avery to get his little film off the ground. Only, the thing is, Jayhan didn't think it was fiction. Jayhan, who believed in every available conspiracy prior to 9/11, believes that the WTC planes had missiles on them that were fired at the towers and that's why they fell down. Oh, and also there were bombs in the towers. Or something.
Avery, realizing now that the financial future of his film and his dreams of fame and fortune lie entirely in selling Loose Change as a factual documentary, miraculously discovers that, in fact, the plot behind 9/11 is real.
After all, which is going to have a bigger impact on you:
A friend who comes to work and says, "dude, I totally sat down and wrote a ghost story last night, wanna read it?"
The same friend running up in a panic and saying, "DUDE, A FUCKIN' GHOST SHOWED UP IN MY HOUSE LAST NIGHT!!!"
You're going to get the same story either way. But it's a much bigger impact if he presents it as fact. Now, if his goal is just to be creative, he'll have no problem admitting it's fiction and letting people criticize it as such, even if it means the work goes unnoticed. But if he's Dylan Avery, and his goal is to become famous, he'll do the one that he knows will get him noticed. From that point on, Loose Change was a "documentary."
He, along with friends Korey Rowe and Jason Bermas, have knocked out updated and prettier editions of Loose Change. They are the stars of a 9/11 "Truth" movement (as they call themselves), a cabal of smaller conspiracy groups, some of whom believe no planes hit the towers (they were missiles with airplane holograms around them) and others who simply believe Bush hired the hijackers to do it.
People have asked me, "why would he do it if he didn't believe it was true?!?!?"
I know why. You do, too. Why do people have blogs? Why do people line up for American Idol auditions? Why is Hollywood full of food service workers dreaming of stardom? Where do Japanese game shows get their contestants?
Why do I write for this website?
Everybody wants the attention, the validation. It's just that some will do more to get it than others.
You see, there's a dark underside to this thing. Those conspiracy buffs who have catapulted Loose Change into stardom, you surf their sites and a similar theme comes up again and again. They'll talk of "Zionism" and the "Zionist" conspiracy. They'll talk of Jewish bankers who secretly run the world.
They'll talk about how maybe the Holocaust didn't happen, or wasn't such a big deal after all.
That's a common theme among the 9/11 conspiracy crowd. I'm not suggesting that Avery denies the Holocaust. In fact, other 9/11 "Truth" members have snidely dismissed Avery and his crew as "Holocaust promoters."
No, what I'm saying about Avery is that he will gladly align himself with neo-Nazis if that's what it takes to become famous.
For instance, Loose Change is filled with screen grabs of newspaper headlines that mention things like missing planes and bombs at the World Trade Center... but all of those shots are from the American Free Press...
Every time you see a newspaper headline in Loose Change, it's pretty much always from the American Free Press.
Meanwhile, I had a good chuckle the first time I saw the Loose Change end credits, where they boast research done by "Killtown."
Now, memory told me "Killtown" was a white 80's rap group...
But hey, which of us wouldn't hitch our wagons to some neo-Nazis if it meant career advancement? That doesn't make him a bad person, does it?
Well, this does. Listen to Avery laughing his ass off about the hijacking victims:
(Dylan Avery, being interviewed by radio talk show host Jack Blood):
Avery: Ha Ha Ha Ha! Have you seen how small those things [box cutters] are? Like, if I was on a flight, with, you know, at least 50 other people - because that's the smallest number I think was on 9/11* - if I was in the cabin, with 50 other people, and five people - I don't care if they're Muslim or not - stand up with box cutters and say they're gonna hijack the plane, I'm gonna laugh in their face!
Blood: And these pilots, I mean, we interviewed Debra Burlingame, whose brother Chick was the one sup-posedly flying that plane that hit the Pentagon-
Avery: Oh, that's right! I heard about that!
Blood: -And of course she is a TOTAL shill for the Republican Party, she also spoke at the [Republican Na-tional] Convention. And is it ABSURD that she went on and on about how her brother was ex-military, how she knows that her brother and the other pilots fought for their lives, against these deadly terrorists-
Avery: Yeaaah, yeah. Whatever.
Blood: (mocking an Arabic accent): It is my preevilege to keel you with thees box cutter!
Avery: Ha ha!
Blood: Didn't Rumsfeld say, right after this happened, that they had actually done this with plastic knives and not box cutters?
Avery: Yeah, he said that in the same interview where he said that a missile hit the Pentagon.
Blood: OH MY GOD! HE'S GOT A PLASTIC KNIFE!
Avery: HE'S GOT A BUTTER KNIFE FROM BREAKFAST! OH, NO!
Blood: Take the plane, sir. We don't want any trouble.
Avery: HE'S GOING TO SCRATCH ME A LITTLE BIT! HUH HUH!
Blood: UN-BELIEVABLE! Well, that's exactly what we're saying. That's an overused term, or underused term, "unbelievable."
Avery: (Still laughing): It's ABSOLUTELY unbelievable!
Blood: (doing accent again): It's un-bee-leevable!
Avery: What's even MORE unbelievable is how people will DEFEND this!
Or maybe you'd like to hear the guys talk about Bernard Brown.
First, picture Avery sitting at his computer, sorting through those Pentagon photos, all the ones showing the plane crash. Picture him writing his fictional screenplay.
Bernard Brown was a Pentagon employee. His 11 year-old son died on board Flight 77 (the one that hit the Pentagon). The father happened to not be at work that day, or else you could have had the horrific situation where the son would have been a hostage on the plane that, upon crashing, killed his own father. Remember this is a real, actual person, who actually lost his son.
Now listen to Avery say that Bernard Brown was in on the conspiracy and intentionally took a day off to "go play golf" while his own son...
...was being burned alive in a plane crash he helped plan. Playing golf, while his son dies.
That link was the text. Here's the audio. Dylan Avery, who knows this is fiction. Who has seen the evidence he left on the cutting room floor proving these planes were hijacked. And he accuses this grieving father of murdering his own son...
...Because it will help sell his movie and advance his film career.
Really, the whole Loose Change thing would be funny if it wasn't for the murderous lies and horrific deaths and the Nazis.
Members of the Jury, "The 9/11 Conspiracy guys are liars" rests its case.
But there is another side to this argument and they will now be heard.
2. The 9/11 Conspiracy guys are retarded.
Just as it's wrong to find complicated conspiracy where simple incompetence will explain everything, it's also wrong to presume evil motives where simple mental retardation may be the explanation.
Loose Change didn't invent the 9/11 conspiracy. The conspiracy theories started loooong before 9/11, because there is a core group of people out there who quite simply believe every conspiracy theory ever suspected, ever, by anybody.
For instance, the Loose Change guys actually guest hosted a talk radio show recently. When a caller suggested that we should be more worried about the government controlling the weather, the guys agreed that of course the government has weather control machines but this 9/11 thing is also important. Hey, why not.
Now, fans of this site know, I don't be trustin' me no government. I've put in time at various intelligence agencies and at one major government contractor (Kellogg, Brown & Root). I've worked for these people and let me tell you, the government is a mess. And elected officials, don't get me started on those people. They'll do anything it takes to get votes.
But here's the thing. The 9/11 "Truth" guys, the Loose Changers and all the many websites, they don't just think government is corrupt. They think everybody, and I mean everybody, is either evil on a demonic scale, or a mindless sheep.
For instance, how much money would it take to get you to kill 3,000 random, innocent Americans? Or, say you stumbled upon somebody else's plan to kill 3,000 innocent Americans. How much would it take to get you to stay silent afterward?
A hundred dollars? Two hundred? Two hundred fifty?
Well if the conspiracy guys are right, there are people reading this right now who took that deal. No kidding.
Here's why. The entire 9/11 "Truth" movement rests on the idea that the World Trade Center towers were rigged with explosives, a "Controlled Demolition" like you see with old buildings. That's the whole thing. They say the buildings couldn't have come down otherwise.
Forget the fact that no experts on the subject agree with them. That's not the point right now. We're just trying to get inside these guys' heads.
Now, maybe you could keep the plan itself a secret. A few dozen murderous black ops guys, demolitions experts with a grudge against the USA, maybe they've been brainwashed. Who knows. Maybe it could be done. People point out that the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb was kept a secret, so why not this?
But the cover-up. Holy shit, guys. Covering this thing up after the fact would be like trying to keep the atomic bomb a secret after Hiroshima. Just wait 'till you hear this.
First, picture the demolitions teams wiring up the World Trade Center towers with explosives prior to the attack. Obviously you couldn't do it during business hours, since it'd be kind of hard to explain to the 100,000 people who worked at or visited the WTC towers on any given day why you had a huge chunk of wall torn out and were wiring up a bomb on the steel beams there.
World Trade Center observation deck. Notice: people are there.
I mean, keep in mind, I don't know how big of a job that would be (no one has ever demolished a building that size before) but a building just half the size of one WTC tower took 4,000 separate charges to bring down. Four thousand.
That job took seven months of prep work... and they had the run of an abandoned building, without having to hide their work from 100,000 people every day. Our demolition crew, on the other hand, can work only at night and has to spend the last bit of every shift carefully repairing the wall and hiding any evidence of charges or detonators as not to be discovered during the day.
Huge teams of demolitions experts, who had no problem wiring a building full of innocent New Yorkers to explode, hired in secret, worked every night for what had to be a year (and that's only if they had a big enough crew) placing maybe 10,000 separate charges in each tower and another few thousand in WTC 7 (the smaller WTC tower that also collapsed, later in the day on 9/11).
And nobody notices.
That's right. That's the theory they're putting out there. 100,000 DVDs they've sold with this.
Truckloads of bombs, dozens of mysterious workers, going in and out of the building, night after night. Security at the building doesn't catch them, Port Authority Police don't catch them, random eyewitnesses who stumble across the operation and call the cops don't catch them, maintenance workers who stumble across wet paint and repaired walls and bits of strange wire don't catch them, security cameras don't catch them.
The bomb-sniffing dogs who were brought in from time to time (remember, these buildings were bombed by terrorists in 1993) who are trained to find even one bomb, fail to notice the 10,000 bombs lining their building.
If you're saying that nothing could possibly be more retarded than that, you're wrong.
No, they're just getting started. It's at this stage of the hypothetical plot when the 9/11 conspiracy guys say the real cover-up began. This is when all of the many, many people who could have blown the lid off the whole thing chose to stay silent because they were paid off by the government.
That includes hundreds of private researchers and government employees who prepared gigantic reports about the collapse of the towers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Also, officials in the New York City Fire Department.
All were written fat checks, say the conspiracy guys, to cover up the murder of 3,000 New Yorkers. Keep in mind, some of them were New Yorkers themselves - all of the FDNY guys were - and some of them had friends who died in the towers. The theory even says it was the commander of the FDNY itself who detonated one of the buildings, and therefore he was in on the decision to kill 343 of his own firefighters and 60 police officers.
For money. If that were you... how big would that check have to be? These are people he saw every day, worked with every day. He went to weddings, birthday parties, to baseball games with these guys. In the mind of the 9/11 conspiracy, he'd kill them all for a big enough pile of cash.
There's more. We have hundreds, if not thousands, of reporters and writers who researched the collapse, including the nine reporters and dozens of experts for the huge Popular Mechanics article on the subject.
They were paid off, too. And paid enough to walk away from the story of a lifetime, a chance to blow the lid off the conspiracy. Paid enough to refuse a sure Pulitzer and a lifetime of fame and riches as one of history's greatest heroes. And paid in such a way that no other reporters would notice and get jealous or ask questions. These people do tend to be the curious type, you know.
We're getting a nice sized payroll here. Now let's add in the hundreds of people from a dozen different agencies and police departments who claim to have helped clean up flight 93 wreckage, including 300 volunteers. The conspiracy guys say there was no plane, therefore they were paid to lie, along with all of the witnesses in Pennsylvania who claim to have seen the plane go down.
But wait, there's more. Because there are hundreds of thousands of civil engineers and structural engineers in the world (people who are experts in what makes buildings fall down) and lots of demolitions experts. Approximately zero of them say the 9/11 attacks looked like bombed buildings. All of them either say outright that the demolition theory is asinine, or are silent in the face of what the Loose Changers say is video proof of mass murder so obvious even an uneducated jackass off the street can spot it.
The conspiracy guys' explanation?
You guessed it. They were paid to stay silent. Hey, why not? Probably half a million people there, but, you know. Since we've got the checkbook out anyway...
Also, think of all of the friends and family of these paid conspirators, who suddenly see all this mysterious wealth...
...Wouldn't some rumors get started?
You've got some hypothetical professor who was about to write a paper proving the towers were demolished, suddenly coming into Powerball-sized wealth and abandoning the paper at the same time... his wife never let it slip? His kids didn't object? All his jealous colleagues who noticed the sudden new cars and new home and elaborate vacations, nobody asked questions? Nobody made an anonymous call to the IRS, just out of spite? All the bank employees who noticed thousands of mysterious deposits, all of which have to be reported to the IRS, that didn't leave a trail?
I mean, we're up to a sizeable portion of the US population here. Odds are you've passed some of these people on the street.
And keep in mind, this can't be chump change. Even in a world where every structural engineering desk jockey is okay with mass murder, they're still not going to risk jail and career ruin and walk away from a huge book deal for ten grand. Oh, no, it's got to be millions, per person, just to make it worth it. Even a dedicated conspirator would need to know he or she was set for life.
Let's say they wrote 500,000 checks (hell, you've got more than 120,000 people in the American Society of Civil Engineers alone, and they'd be the first ones to speak out). Say the average payout was ten million (barely enough to live rich the rest of your life, but let's just say). So that's 500,000 times ten million which is...
...Five TRILLION dollars.
That's about half of the value of all goods and services produced in the United States last year. Therefore the 9/11 conspiracy was, in terms of payroll, the single largest employer in the history of the world.
The board of directors of the 9/11 conspiracy gather to await instructions (artists' rendering)
And here's the kicker...
100% of the people who were offered the deal, took it.
After all, we don't have a single person who has come running into the offices of the New York Times, waving a check and saying, "look! Here's a check for ten million smackers that the government gave me to be silent about 9/11! Can you believe these assholes? Now give me my book deal!"
Not one. Even with the lure of fame and fortune and a chance to go down in history as The Guy Who Saved American Democracy, even with the crushing guilt of seeing thousands of bodies hauled out of the rubble, even seeing the horrors of a nation turned inside out by war and paranoia that was completely manufactured as a gruesome hoax, some of these people having their own friends and families and colleagues die in the attacks, not one turned down the money... or took the money and came forward anyway.
And that, is the conspiracy mindset.
It's not a belief in corrupt leaders. Hell, we all believe in corrupt leaders. It's a belief in a corrupt everybody. It's driving around in a world where every single person you see out of your windshield is utterly bloodthirsty and amoral, all except for you and a few, brave friends. What could make you feel more important than that?
You can see the attraction right away. Most people, to feel special, have to actually do something special. But why not do what these guys do, and just make the rest of the world out to be wretched? Hell, once we've painted everyone else as mindless or murderous, all we have to do to feel superior to them is roll out of bed.
Remember what I said earlier about Dylan Avery and how it was probably just a desire for fame that drove him to do all this? Look at the parallel here. At the heart of all this is that basic human need to feel special somehow, twisted in the most warped and corrosive way imaginable.
In conclusion, the 9/11 Conspiracy Guys aren't evil and they aren't liars. They're merely filling a basic human need, using their imaginations and paranoia to elevate themselves to a level the real world will never elevate them to. Also, they're retarded.
Liars? Retarded? They're probably both right. Just as the crooked televangelist steals from old widows who themselves have an honest faith in God, Dylan Avery and the Loose Change guys have made a nice name for themselves (and a nice profit) from a large group of true believers who have always lived at the fringes of society. These are the type who think the moon landing was a hoax, that Area 51 houses alien spacecraft.
And then you have the rank and file, the kids who watched the video and just plain didn't know any better because they didn't follow it up with any reading. They're not reading this, for instance.
No, they saw Loose Change and went charging into their favorite forum or chat room, screaming, "WATCH THIS BITCHWHORES LOOSE CHANGE IS GONNA CHANGE YOUR WORLD." By the time people started posting info that debunked it, it was kind of hard for them to back down without looking like an asshole. So, they stand by it.
So even if you strapped them down and forced them to read this, they'd just pick out one detail that they thought would give them reason to discredit the whole thing and dismiss it from their minds.
After all, nobody likes feeling like an asshole. But if we keep getting the real information out there, with time, the conspiracy silliness will fade away.
I have faith in humanity.
If you have watched Loose Change you should immediately watch the rebuttal video that goes pretty much sentence-by-sentence. If you'd like to read more about the 9/11 conspiracy movement, there's lots more at Debunking911.com and Screw Loose Change, whose research I stole for this article.