There’s a spring in my step today and it’s not because it’s spring. My extra bounce is practically a boing because today is Conspiracy Thursday on my “Con Games” radio show.
Why Conspiracy Thursday? It just sounds right, doesn’t it, and there’s more than enough dastardly bastards at work to fill two hours with this stuff at least once a week. Plus I promised my listeners—the ones who accost me on these mean streets—that I would revisit and re-open the matter of the government’s role in the attacks of 9/11 on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center towers. I promised I would actually read “Loose Change,” the video Koran of the conspiracy theory movement.
And so I do, watching conspiratorially on my laptop because my standard DVD player conspiratorially refused to work.
I know I’m making fun, and I know this drives the theorists absolutely batty. But I can’t help it. As a journalist, even an apostate one, it became harder and harder to buy into the big bad government theory based on the evidence presented in “Loose Change.”
In a nutshell, the Change Agents believe that Tomahawk missiles—and not an airliner—hit the Pentagon on 9/11. They believe that all the passengers from United 93 were taken off the plane in Cleveland and that all those cell phone calls were fabricated and that United 93 was somehow shot down over Pennsylvania, or some such. And they believe that the destruction of the Twin Towers was a “controlled demolition” from explosives planted up and down the building beforehand, just like the planned implosions hear around America every day.
So let’s start with the best part. The Loose Changers make a strong case to suggest no jet could have left the hole in the Pentagon left behind in the crash. Put aside the eyewitness on my program who actually saw the plane and the crash and took photos afterward, and the CSI-type evidence—small hole, little debris, no similarity to similar jet crashes—is actually convincing, as far as it goes.
But here’s the problem: no one saw the missile and many eyewitness saw the jet. And where the heck are all those jet passengers?
Things go downhill from there. The music is ominous and the narrator says things like “the government would have us think”—without ever defining “the government” in this context. Much is made of a fake terrorism/drone plane plan put forth by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Kennedy Administration, but JFK rejected the plan, the Chair was shit-canned, and the idea never re-emerged until forty years later. This may well be proof of how nefarious government can get, but there is no evidence in “Loose Change”—zero, zippo—as to how that plan somehow transmogrified into 9/11.
As for the “controlled demolition” of the World Trade Center by “the government,” think this through for a moment. One the one hand, the Loose Changers claim missiles hit the Pentagon and maybe even that godforsaken field in Pennsylvania. But they can’t dispute jets hit the Twin Towers because of the overwhelming video evidence that they did. Instead, they claim that explosives were set throughout the towers by dark forces to bring the buildings down.
The evidence for such a happening is that there were multiple explosions—a janitor’s evidence in the basement is meant to be telling—and that teeny-tiny grainy flashes of light are just barely visible in video that is obscure at best. Now I have no doubt there were multiple explosions in a building that big for various reasons, but to assume that such noises “prove” a “controlled demolition”—an immensely complex undertaking–is outright ludicrous.
To believe the conspiracy theorists, you also have to believe that all the missing passengers from all these flights have been spirited away, never to be heard from again. You have to believe that Osama bin-Ladin and al-Qaeda had no involvement in 9/11 whatsoever. And you have to believe there were people at the highest levels of the United States government—Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz, whomever—willing to stage the massacre of their own people. And you also have to believe that this was somehow done for somebody to get their hands on like a billion dollars of gold sequestered in the World Trade Center and now missing—and the excuse to invade Iraq.
As entertainment, “Loose Change” is actually entertaining, but as anything more you might want to have your head examined. I would put a challenge to those enamored of the badness of our leaders: rather than worry about turbines and titanium, produce one living witness taken off the jet that supposedly hit the Pentagon full-on.
Is that so much to ask the 36 percent of the American people who think “the government” is behind the attacks of 9/11.