Saturday, May 8, 2010

Screw's Loose: The Dubious Credibility of Loose Change

Note: News that a group of so-called leading American deniers, who impute an inside government job as being responsible for 9/11, are touring several Canadian universities, where their legions of believers are most manifest, prompted Critics at Large to weigh in on Loose Change, the ridiculous movie that has become the cinematic bible of those in the movement. Here are some thoughts on the film by David Churchill, Shlomo Schwartzberg and Kevin Courrier:

Loose Change (An American Coup), the latest version (2009) of the 'documentary' that claims to prove 9/11 was an inside job, is so easy to dismiss it's like shooting fish in a barrel. Beyond the fact this thing is dull as dishwater (I almost fell asleep watching it), it is poorly researched. If you look at what it does say, it's despicable. The film's creators claim the levelling of the two towers and WTC 7 (the smaller, nearby building) were all brought down by controlled demolition. On September 11, 2001, my wife was working at an engineering firm. Like many that day, the staff huddled around TVs watching the footage. When the towers came down, several of the structural engineers said "it's pancaking." They went on to tell my wife that in the event of a catastrophic event (such as super-hot heat from a fire that would cripple the building's core, causing it to collapse - heat generated by something like a load of jet fuel exploding), these buildings were designed to come down like that so that they would do as little damage as possible to the surrounding area. Granted, several other buildings were damaged and had to be destroyed, but if not for the original design the destruction would have been even worse. And if this was a 'controlled demolition,' it is probably one of the biggest botches of all time. A real controlled demo should not damage any surrounding buildings.

They also suggest that United 93 never crashed in Pennsylvania. I just have one question: What happened to Christian Adams, a passenger on that flight? Nik Weiss is an acquaintance of mine; Adams was a friend of his. Where's he gone? Beamed up by aliens? Bought off and hiding with Elvis?

It's all such a shoddy piece of work that I could go on, but why bother? It's too boring and too easy. My other concern is what is left unsaid. They subtitle this thing 'An American Coup,' but they never get into who benefits and why. They just hastily imply it doesn't matter whether it's Bush or President Obama, 'those' involved continue to do whatever they like. 'Those' are never really named, but one thing that is rampant within the 9/11 deniers' community is a strong anti-Semitic streak. Many people in this camp have suggested 'the Jews were warned to stay home' on 9/11, so 'no Jews were killed.' Too bad the official record of those who died clearly proved them wrong. I won't give credence to these racists by going any further, but by not naming who benefits from the 'coup,' the makers of Loose Change can try to distance themselves from those in their camp who hold these views. But, in effect, they really can't.

--David Churchill is a film critic and author. He is putting the finishing touches on his first novel, The Empire of Death.

Loose Change reminds me of the Christopher Hitchens quote about The Protocols of the (Learned) Elders of Zion, the Czarist era forgery that purported to expose the secret ‘Jewish’ plot to rule the world. Hitchens cleverly asked: Why would the Jews to be smart enough to run the world behind the scenes but be stupid enough to write their plotting down in a document that could be used as 'evidence' against them? Loose Change is something like that, too; it postulates that the U.S. government, or at least the neo – con part of the Bush administration, were brilliant enough to fool the entire world into thinking that Osama Bin Laden engineered the plot of 9/11 but sloppy and careless enough in their plotting that they could so easily be exposed by a motley bunch of scientists and ordinary citizens.

I’m actually surprised though that Loose Change is such a dull, enervated piece of moviemaking. I’m no fan of Michael Moore, but this ‘documentary’ could have used a bit of his bombast and carnival barker style; if you’re going to convince non – believers of your case, you ought to, at least, provide a catchy vehicle for your argument. Loose Change is decidedly non-gripping, or even compelling. Besides being deeply despicable and idiotic, as David so clearly points out, it also boasts a narrator, Daniel Sunjata, whom most people may not be familiar with. But fans of the fine Denis Leary cable series Rescue Me will know him very well. In that series, set in post 9/11 New York City and revolving around the lives of a group of boozing, womanizing but heroic firemen, Sunjata plays the role of Franco Rivera, the most successful womanizer in the group. Franco, like Sunjata, is also a believer in the Loose Change theory of history, a plot point brought into the series early in its fifth season, which aired a year ago. Franco attends a 9/11 rally, which causes controversy when he is captured doing so by a camera crew, as it suggests that his beliefs are somehow indicative of the firefighters’ general view, which it emphatically is not. While Tommy Gavin, the character played by series co - creator Denis Leary, stays out of the fray, others in the firehouse, specifically Mike Silletti (Mike Lombardi) don’t. At first, Mike is appalled by Francos’s commentary about the government being behind the fall of the two towers but then he comes around to questioning his country’s actions during 9/11 and at the end of the story arc is now prepared to hear Franco out.

I’m not faulting Rescue Me for bringing the issue up. It’s a legitimate subject for a television drama about those most affected by the events of 9/11 and the program is honest enough to show that someone like Franco would not be above using his conspiracy beliefs to also attempt to pick up women at the rally. But it’s also telling that it’s the character of Mike who is most receptive to Franco’s fallacious, unproven arguments. Mike, after all, is easily the dumbest, most gullible character on the series. So having him fall for Franco’s blather is certainly a statement of sorts from the show’s writers. That is, a dim bulb like Mike could so easily fall for the 9/11 conspiracy bullshit is apropos. I wonder though if Sunjata appreciates the irony of that episode’s particular resolution. I doubt it. When it comes to their belief systems, these conspiracy nuts rarely display a sense of humour.

--Shlomo Schwartzberg is a film critic, teacher and arts journalist based in Toronto.

Loose Change has more than a few screws loose. While trying to construct a massive conspiracy out of the 9/11 attacks (where the horrific event gets turned into another version of The Big Lie), director Dylan Avery can't provide a coherent narrative to sharpen our perception of that "lie," or connect any of the circumstantial evidence so that it adds up to some version of the truth. (Apparently, Avery started the project as a fictional screenplay in 2002 - it's still a work of fiction.)

There have been many exciting and powerful conspiracy films over the years, like Costa-Gavras' 1969 thriller Z and Brian De Palma's 1981 masterpiece Blow Out. But they are passionate calls for political engagement where there is still an inherent belief in the spirit and principles of democracy. Dylan Avery acts as if there was no democracy to lose because the system has always been corrupted. Loose Change doesn't even have any fire and conviction in its populist cynicism. As Shlomo and David mentioned above, the picture is so laconic and blurred that there's no urgency in its purpose. None of the so-called conspirators are ever shown as true perpetrators of the crime. Avery instead uses supposition, speculation and dubious "evidence" to provide a picture of evil that never emerges with any clarity. There's a dead weight of despair cast over the picture that's bound to leave viewers feeling helpless and hopeless because, according to Avery, it's all out of our hands anyway. Even as a journalist, Avery lacks the drive shown by more sharp investigative reporters who have uncovered real conspiracies like Watergate or the Iran-Contra scandal.

In the end, you'd have to be pretty impressionable to find Loose Change convincing. Perhaps for those prone to needing catastrophic occurrences explained away by faceless and sinister cabals, Loose Change becomes an incendiary statement. But if it is, it's in a voice so garbled and diffused that 9/11 might just have well been caused by extraterrestrial forces.

--Kevin Courrier is a writer/broadcaster, film critic, teacher and author. His forthcoming book is Reflections in the Hall of Mirrors: American Movies and the Politics of Idealism.


  1. Well it is clear that you disagree with the inside job hypothesis LOL but if it were are as baseless as you claim, then uber-qualified experts like these would surely not risk their credibility, reputations, and track records to advance that argument:) Not to mention that if they were "nuts" then in all likelyhood they wouldn't be staffing such important positions in the military, scientific, and intelligence communities:

    And following is an air tight rebuttal that exposes those who would hold tight to the security blanket of their necessary illusions (like the authors of this biased critique of Loose Change):

    *Vid of the same, on FreeSpeech TV:

    And here is Charlie Sheen's "20 Minutes With the President" and the bibliographic references which support it:

    And HERE is Daniel Sunjata's article about media bias on the topic, called "Intellectual Dishonesty In The Age Of Universal Deceit" Amazingly lucid and well reasoned. He clearly knows of what he so passionately speaks and writes:

    Not to mention:

    NIST gets caught lieing about presence of molten metal described by FDNY rank and file as "flowing down the channel rails like lava. Like we were in a foundry." The molten metal was still being found in the debris pile (an oxygen starved environment) over a month after 9/11. Neither jet fuel, nor diesel fuel, nor burning office components can explain this. Nano-thermite however, does:


  2. My earlier comment continued...

    And lest anyone post the oft-referenced albeit thoroughly debunked popular mechanics article an 9/11 theories, ya miiiiight wanna read check this first;)

    Google search results for "Popular Mechanics Debunked":

    Additional thought food for those who can restrain their emotionalism long enough to consider the facts at hand:

    Twenty-five U.S. Military Officers Challenge Official Account of 9/11:

    Eight U.S. State Department Veterans Challenge the Official Account of 9/11:

    Seven CIA Veterans Challenge 9/11 Commission Report: and (lawyers for 911truth). Take some time, ponder the evidence.

    PNAC Calls For A New Pearl Harbor ONE YEAR BEFORE 9/11:

    Plus another curious factoid:

    "On June 5, 2006, the Muckraker Report contacted the FBI Headquarters, (202) 324-3000, to learn why Bin Laden’s Most Wanted poster did not indicate that Usama was also wanted in connection with 9/11. The Muckraker Report spoke with Rex Tomb, Chief of Investigative Publicity for the FBI. When asked why there is no mention of 9/11 on Bin Laden’s Most Wanted web page, Tomb said, “The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Usama Bin Laden’s Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.” Check the poster on the FBI's own website here and note what Osama is NOT accused of...

    Lastly, here is the PEER REVIEWED SCIENCE proving beyond all doubt that explosives were in fact present at ground zero. Nano-thermite, no less. Mind you, this peer review is as of yet unrebutted. Until such time as another peer review counters the hard science contained herein, these facts must be accepted by any who would assume the mantle of empiricism. Period:)

    I fully expect that the writers of this laughable "critique" of Loose Change will respond either with silence or sophistry. So I'll say now that if you have taken the time to read their review, please also take the time to click, watch, and read for your selves the above links included in this brief comment. Out of pocket dismissal and belittling witticisms do NOT a substantive rebuttal make. Think for your selves. And definitely take the time to watch "Loose Change 911: An American Coup" for yourselves instead of taking the bitter and close minded opinions of these "critics" as gospel.

  3. Please note also that the above links require a "cut and paste", as directly posting hyper-links is not permitted on this blog. Be well and blessed my friends. 9/11 Was An Inside Job.

  4. PPS:

    41 U.S. Counter-Terrorism and Intelligence Agency Veterans
    Challenge the Official Account of 9/11:

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Ah. I shall correct myself before my mistake is seized upon to discredit my earlier posts. These "critics" did not say or posit that the film makes anti-semitic claims. So I retract my accusation of having lied in that regard. My apologies.

    These "critics" DO however try to associate the film with anti-semitism, albeit indirectly, by stating that some who subscribe to the inside job hypothesis are anti-semites. That may well be true, although none of the CREDIBLE dissenters from the official theory of conspiracy have made such rediculous, racist assertions.

    If Loose Change 911: An American Coup distances itself from such idiocy, then that is to the film makers credit, not to their detriment. It is therefore just as deplorable as telling an outright lie, for these "critics" to attempt to associate the film with racism based upon what is does NOT say.

    The films basic conclusion is that those responsible for the Coup that was 9/11 are part of a network that extends beyond any one man or administration, and that the bloody fingerprints belong to individuals much closer to home than Afghanistan or Iraq. But there is no suggestion, either direct nor indirect, that our Jewish brothers and sisters are to blame. Obviously the only way to name those who directly benefitted from the attacks would be to conduct a true investigation, which the makers of the film (correctly) do not assume to be their task.

  7. Excerpts from Edward Bernays' "Propaganda"

    "Those who manipulate the unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized… In almost every act of our lives whether in the sphere of politics or business in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind."

    "Propaganda is the executive arm of the invisible government (p. 20)… If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without them knowing it (p.71)."

    But it is not Jewish folk. I repeat (lest I be accused of anti-semitism by ommission) THOSE TO WHOM I REFER ARE NOT "THE JEWS" per se. lol How transparent can you bloggers be? Have some shame.

  8. Hey Arjuna, thanks for the comments.

    After reading the criticism in this article I was in doubt whether to doubt all credible and less credible footage I had been watching last weeks. Especially the multitude of different aspects surrounding the events that took place on 9/11 described in "Loose Change, Final Cut" influenced me. But not after I had seen a hard-to-deny scientific presentation by Richard Gageof the AIA in "Blueprint for Truth" that merely focusses on the hypotheses explaining the collapse of WTC-1, WTC-2 and WTC-7. It's total lack of show, or trying to create an atmosphere of suspence but, on the contrary, trying to approach the given events and hypotheses as 'neutral' as possible, made great impression to me.

    At the moment, I am convinced that 9/11 must have been an inside job. I do also know that this conviction is submitted to every next piece of credible information that comes to me. Building towards a better overview of arguments and rebuttals. Of pieces that were left out. And of pieces that don't fit together.

    Do you happen to know a website where the discussion about the actual story behind the events that took place on 9/11 is debated in a structured and balanced way? And any usefull footage/links are found in the same structured way? Would be great.

    Thanks in advance!


  9. Thanks for the great review on Loose Change! I was about to see the 3rd edition on the web, for fun, even though I had suffered through part of earlier editions.
    In 2014, we have so many more pressing issues, see The Real News and Democracy Now, like the corporate takeover of our democracy and underemployment,
    that films like Loose Change are almost criminal.
    They take our limited energies away from the real issues that can kill the earth in only a few decades, like climate change, and nuclear weapons.