9/11: Science And Conspiracy And Loose Change: A Documentary Analysis
In this analysis, I review two documentary films which attempt to clarify what exactly happened on the day of September 11th, 2001, also known as 9/11. Using the films 9/11: Science and Conspiracy by Director Robert Erickson and Loose Change 2nd Edition directed by Dylan Avery. I will compare the coverage and bias present between both films.
9/11: Science and Conspiracy describe itself as a documentary which uses forensic investigations to test the tenets of most of the common conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11. The film attempts to show both sides of the argument. The beliefs of the “Truthers” or conspiracy theorists, adherents of the 9/11 Truth movement who dispute the mainstream account of the September 11 attacks of 2001 and those of the people who believe in the official story given by the government and the media. Loose Change 2nd Edition is an analysis of the 9/11 attacks from solely the viewpoint that it was a planned government attack who will be referred to as the general public from here forth.
Both documentaries explore the options of 9/11 being an inside job. Loose Change provides a number of government documents which show that various agencies within the government had plans and carried out some tests which feature accidents exactly like those that happened on that day 2001prior to the incident. Like the crash into the twin towers and the attack on the pentagon. These documents would also feature pictures of the twin towers in crosshairs and have mentions of plans to remotely pilot aircrafts. These documents were not presented in 9/11: Science and Conspiracy on the truthers side nor the general public’s side. It is known that Larry A Silverstein, the man who owned World Trade Center (WWC) 7 signed a 99 year lease for the entire world trade center complex for 3.2 billion dollars 6 weeks before 9/11 and included in that lease was a 3.5 billion dollar insurance policy specifically covering acts of terrorism. Also, 5 days before the tragedy, options more than 5x the daily average was placed on United Airlines. Put options are a bet that a stock would fall. Bomb-sniffing dogs were pulled from the World Trade Center and security guards ended two weeks of 12-hour shifts. 1 day before the tragedy, put options more than 11x the daily average on American Airlines stock. This information is present in Loose Change as well but not in 9/11: Science and Conspiracy. This information among others seems to be too sensitive to leave out of a documentary on what happened on that day.
The documentaries explore the conspiracy theory that the cause of the twin towers collapse was not because planes crashed into them and developed very hot fires. Loose Change attempts to prove this is true by showing numerous clips of buildings that caught fires which spread for far to more floors and burned for much longer hours than those of the WWC yet never collapse to the floor. Including one that burned for 24 hours straight and only had the upper 10 floors collapse compared to those of the WWC which burned for 56 and 103 minutes respectively and sank to the floor in approximately 10 seconds. Loose Change also shows statements from certified professionals at the time, however, the professionals themselves could not agree on the reason the towers fell. Those who disputed that the fires were the cause in one interview quickly backtracked and those who continued to dispute were fired from their positions. The news reports which feature the first responders and people who were in and around the buildings all told the news reporters about hearing multiple explosions before the building collapsed and this is why many began to think a planned demolition was the cause for the building sinking to the ground together with the way in which the building fell. This documentary provides numerous witness report, interviews and radio transmissions of fire department responders and 911 calls who all say the same thing happened which was consistent with controlled demolition. One responder said he never feared in a million years that those buildings would fall but he did fear secondary explosions or possibly a second plane. The 9/11: Science and Conspiracy documentary does not provide these witness reports but attempts to prove the theory wrong with forensic tests. The choice to omit this footage would have anyone who watched the Science and Conspiracy documentary only believe that the theory didn’t stem from people on the ground that day. However, they have both experts and truthers sides of the story. The truthers in the documentary say that no evidence was found that the steel columns reached the temperatures required to weaken the steel so they put it to the test. They put a weighted beam like those in the towers in a fuel oil fire that heated until 2000 degrees and the steel did indeed weaken and bend within 4 minutes. The truthers still say that the experiment is irrelevant because an isolated piece of steak does not represent a massive steel structure. The collapse of the WWC was so sudden along with the other numerous aforementioned reports that speculation began to rise about planned demolitions by the truthers. In the Science and Conspiracy documentary they attempt to prove with forensic tests that no controlled demolitions occurred to the buildings on that day. Demolition experts in the documentary say that before a building can be brought down, it must be prepared by a demolition contractor for the blaster to do his job. This preparation includes cutting away the walls in order to expose the metal columns because explosives cannot work without access to the columns. In the twin towers, the demolition team would’ve needed access to 46 inner core columns without being detected. The truthers said that this is possible through the elevators and they would’ve needed a cover story such as elevator modernization which it turns out was going on prior to 9/11 in the year 2000. The tests carried out by the experts in this doc were to prove that if controlled demolition was the cause, there should be evidence around the site which supports this. They proceeded to carry out their own demolition and after the building came down, there were signs of the explosives that they used all over the site. Richard Gage, the architect and truther shown In the documentary disagrees with the findings. He argues that this is a different type of detonation and operation. The people responsible would not leave wires and detonation devices around to people to find. He also said the reason for the demolition expert’s skepticism is because the firms that do controlled demolition of high rises work for the most wealthy people and the federal government so they cannot possibly support the demolition theory and maintain their clientele. He also said the technology used “high tech nano thermite” is beyond the technology used by those performing classic demolitions and they even told him that they don’t know much about it. They did tests to see if thermite could cut through steel as well but didn’t use “super thermite” or “nano thermite” because they could not access it so the truthers say this test is irrelevant.
While the amount of info present may be a lot to digest, each documentary provided different coverage of the sides of the story. The documentary 9/11: Science and Conspiracy does not make any sure claims as to whether the truthers theories or general story is correct. The narrator remains neutral and unbiased to both sides of the story and this leaves the viewer to make their own conclusions based on the evidence or lack thereof. However the documentary Loose Change seemed to be biased to the idea that the government is responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Even though they had the better balance of eye witness reports and expert reports. The narration of the documentary is more influenced by the belief that the government was behind the attacks. This documentary is trying to prove that this is indeed the case whereas the other documentary stays on the fence between the both sides, not choosing to prove one over the other. The Loose Change documentary also has the personal opinion of the narrator present in the film. This decreases the credibility and also hammers the point that there is an agenda to the production.