This guide is meant to be a companion to, not a substitute for, the video itself. For one thing, I had to greatly reduce the resolution of the video screenshots in this document in order to keep the file size manageable. The video looks a lot better. “Loose Change Second Edition” is available as a free bittorrent download, as a Google Video stream, and for purchase from the Loose Change website. The creators of Loose Change also have an internet forum where you can discuss the video and 9/11 conspiracy-related issues. I encourage you to sign up there and let them know how you feel about their efforts.
Fittingly, this is the second edition of this critique. The first was done in six long nights, because I wanted to hand copies of it to the creators of “Loose Change” when they were in New York to protest the premiere of the movie “United 93” on April 25, 2006. Because that version was written in the heat of the moment, it contained more obvious anger and sarcasm directed towards the creators of Loose Change. That anger hasn’t abated, but cooler heads than mine have convinced me that cutting down on the “cutting” remarks should help me get my points across more effectively.
The text transcription of the video is not mine, and I have not corrected typos in it. With a few small exceptions, it is a verbatim transcription of “Loose Change’s” narration.
I have incorporated additions and deletions suggested by several people who read the first draft. I am especially indebted to Mike at 911myths.com, who took the time, unsolicited, to suggest additions and corrections. I think his site is by far the best source on the internet for evenhanded examination of controversial issues surrounding the terrorist attacks.
The comments and opinions in red on these pages are mine only and do not represent the opinions of the creators of “Loose Change” or Louder Than Words, LLC. I am not supported by, and do not represent, any group or organization, and I have no political or financial interest in these matters.
I put this document together for several reasons:
To promote understanding of the facts about the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and to discourage relying on rumor and conjecture when searching for the “truth.”
Because I believe that “Loose Change” is an influential introduction for many people to 9/11 conspiracy issues.
To encourage respect for the victims, living and dead, of the 9/11 attacks.
My comments and analysis are mostly restricted to the issues raised by the video. At the end of this document are links to websites with in-depth analyses of 9/11 conspiracy theories, as well as links to the “official” version of events and to other analyses by experts and laymen.
Also at the end of this document is a summary of the numbers and types of errors that I found in “Loose Change.” Not every error was noted or commented on in the transcription section, nor does every comment I made there count as an “error” in my tallies. And no, I didn’t count typos in the transcript as errors.
To keep you from jumping to the end, I’ll tell you now that in this hour and twenty-minute video I counted 81 errors of fact (statements like “1+1 = 3”). In addition, I counted 345 instances of conjecture not supported by evidence, logical fallacies, uses of images that do not support the conclusions being drawn, and other flubs. And that’s only counting errors of commission. The errors of omission are more serious. (Note: I have turned up more errors while doing this update, but I find it too depressing to count them.)
I welcome any well-researched corrections to my statements and will incorporate them into this document (after checking them out!). Submit constructive criticism to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abbreviations: LC is “Loose Change,” “CT” is “Conspiracy Theorist” and “CD” is “Controlled Demolition.”
After you watch “Loose Change,” please let its creators and supporters know what you think.
Be Heard on the Loose Change Online Forum Dylan Avery emailKorey Rowe emailJason Bermas email Subject Index
Flights 11 and 77 Confused 125
NORAD exercises on 9/11 15
NORAD Timeline of 9/11 Response 124
On Alert vs. Combat Ready 15
Pre-9/11 Procedure 124
Stand Down order? 15
767 Specs 64
Black boxes found at WTC? 93
Jet fuel effects when burning 31
NTSB denies black boxes found for 11 & 175 96
Speed at impact 25
What are they made of? 31
Appendix A ñ Internet Resources 122
Appendix B ñ Summary of Errors in ëLoose Changeí 123
Appendix C ñ 9/11 Air Defense Response 124
Appendix D ñPNAC 'Pearl Harbor' doc. Excerpts 127
Appendix E ñ Excerpts from 'Loose Change' 1st ed.î 138
Burlingame, Charles, Pilot 11
American Free Press 33
Dewdney, Ken 102
Flocco, Tom Conspiracy author 35
Marrs, Jim 52
Men in Black mark WTC cubicle locations 38
Questions for 119
Rivera, Geraldo 116
Ryan, Kevin ñ Steel expert? 73
Schwarz, Karl W.B. Psych. evaluation of by jurist 39
Schwarz, Karl W.B. credentials 35
Thompson, Hunter S. 16
Walter, Jimmy 116
Where's your evidence? 24
Why are you allowed to speak? 10
Worst investigative reporting ever? 42
$1,000000 Challenge 116
Controlled Demolition, Inc.
Loiseaux, Mark didn't see molten steel 83
Prep work involved in demo 81
Suspicious demolition in NYC? 86
FAA issues nationwide ground stop 56
Facts = harrassment? 116
Flight 175 Not a passenger jet? 17
9/11 Commission statement 90
Cockpit recorder transcript released 96
Confused with flight 1989 91
Human remains recovered 88
Lands in Cleveland? 89
Missing minutes from CVR? 96
No debris found? 87
Official story? 87
Pamphlet handed out at premiere of 'United 93' 104
Spotted after 9/11? 97
Ashcroft flying charter due to threats? 12
Inside traders left profits uncollected? 112
Insider trades on put options? 13
Pentagon Brass Canceled 9/11 travel plans? 14
PNAC New Pearl Harbor 7
Proof of $100 million scam? 112
Rice warns Willie Brown not to travel? 14
SEC coverup? 85
WTC corrosion motive for demolition? 38
Is there evidence of complicity in 9/11? 111
Revolt against Rumsfeld 10
Rumsfeld missile quote 25
Hijackings ñ Intervention Rules 12
Iraq ñ Quagmire accomplished 9
Operation Northwoods 5
9 feet of concrete smashed? 51
Aircraft debris photos 45
C-130 followed flight 77 56
Cable spools undamaged? 50
Cordite bomb? 53
Cruise missile? 52
Did witnesses see airliner hit? 52
DNA Identification 31
Engine misidentified 40
Engine rotor mystery? 33
Eric Bart's witness list 54
Flight 77 didnít damage lawn? 28
Flight 77 maneuvers 25
Fuselage part faked? 43
Gallop, April, survivor 52
Jet Fuel Fires over large area 55
Light poles undamaged? 28
List of things that may have hit it according to LC 59
More aircraft parts misidentified 44
Mysterious planes spotted? 56
No trace of Flight 77? 30
Photos of entry hole 59
Plane vaporized on impact? 48
Ring construction diagram & photo 51
Secondary explosion 57
Structural engineer sees damage and body parts 42
Videos seized suspiciously? 57
White mark on lawn 58
Wittenburg, Russ (pilot) on flight 77 maneuvers 26
security cam footage 54
Bingham, Mark 101
Denied by Dylan Avery 102
Denyng murder victimsí last words 98
Often do work in planes 103
Ong, Betty 100
Sweeney, Madeline 101
'Research' into 103
Poll ñ New Yorkers want investigation? 117
Romero, Van Retraction of CD statement 71
Ronnie, A guy named, in Little Rock 36
Tent, it is a 48
Al Qaeda & bin Laden claim responsibility 110
Are some alive? 107
Bin Laden at American Hospital with CIA? 12
Bin Laden gets special treatment at Pakistan hospital? 14
Images from “Loose Change” are used with permission.
“Loose Change 2nd Edition” begins with a dedication.
I hope you’ll judge for yourself how the video portrays the victims of 9/11.
The “when and where” are not given for most of the quotes in the video. Many of the audio quotes are unattributed. Context and attribution are essential to understanding if the quote is relevant to the issue being discussed. Why leave this information out?
From here on, all text in black is a transcription of the audio from “Loose Change 2nd Edition.” Video time codes are in gray. My comments are in green. Third-party comments and quotes are in blue.
My comments are sparse at first because the video takes a while to get to subjects that have a clear connection to 9/11.
March 13th, 1962 Lyman Lemnitzer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presents a proposal to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, named Operation Northwoods.
Lemnitzer may have been the most rabid anticommunist of anyone in a high position in the U.S. Throughout the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations he continually pushed for an invasion of Cuba. After the Bay of Pigs fiasco, that idea was not welcome in the White House.
The document proposed staging terrorist attacks in and around Guantanamo Bay,
To provide a pretext for military intervention in Cuba.
The plans included:
Starting rumors about Cuba using clandestine radio.
Landing friendly Cubans inside the base to stage attacks.
Starting riots at the main gate.
Blowing up ammunition inside the base, starting fires.
Sabotaging aircrafts and ships on the base.
Bombing the base with mortar shells.
Sinking a ship outside the entrance, staging funerals for mock victims.
Staging a terror campaign in Miami, Florida and Washington, DC.
And finally, destroying a drone aircraft, over Cuban waters.
The passengers, federal agents in reality, would allegedly be college students on vacation.
A plane at Eglin Air Force Base would be painted and numbered as a duplicate of a registered civil aircraft belonging to a CIA front in Miami.
The duplicate would be substituted for the real plane and loaded with the passengers.
The real plane would be converted into a drone.
The two planes would randezvous south of Florida.
The passenger laden plane would land at Eglin Air Force Base to evacuate its passengers and return to its original status.
The drone would pick up the scheduled flight plan and over Cuban waters transmit a "mayday signal" before being blown up by remote control.
Note that no one was to be killed in the fake plane scheme. (Thanks CurtC.) We know about this idea because the document has been declassified. The idea was rejected, of course.
The plan was rejected by McNamara, and President John F. Kennedy personally removes Lemnitzer as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Good move. But the suggestion that he was removed for submitting this plan is misleading. It certainly didn’t endear him to McNamara and Kennedy, though, and when his term ran out he was transferred to Europe to become the head of NATO.
While “Operation Northwoods” has provided the raw material for an entire cottage industry of 9/11 conspiracy theories, to my knowledge no one has demonstrated the slightest connection to 9/11 itself. I mentioned this to a conspiracy theorist recently, and he said “Well, the CIA killed JFK, and George W. Bush’s father was head of the CIA.” I had to remind him that Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK, and George H.W. Bush was a Texas oilman who hadn’t even run for Congress yet in 1963.
I am astonished that CTists keep bringing up Operation Northwoods as a reminder that dangerous, deceptive schemes can be cooked up by the U.S. government, as if the fact that we are in Iraq isn’t reminder enough. Perspective, people, perspective!
December 1st, 1984.
A remote-controlled Boeing 720 takes off from Edwards Air Force Base, and is crash-landed by NASA for fuel research.
Before its destruction, the plane flew a total of 16 hours and 22 minutes, including 10 takeoffs, 69 approaches, and 13 landings. 10 takeoffs and 13 landings? That is one special plane!
This is supposed to work with the “Operation Northwoods” idea that drone aircraft with fake passengers could be used in a “false flag” terrorism scheme. The problem with that connection is that piloted planes were used to kill thousands of real people on 9/11. Has any conspiracy theorist, anywhere, shown evidence that the planes were not piloted? No.
The cover of FEMA's "Emergency Response to Terrorism" depicts the World Trade Center in crosshairs.
February 28th, 1998.
The Global Hawk, Raytheon's Unmanned-aircraft-vehicle, completes its first flight over Edwards Air Force Base in California, at an altitude of 32000 feet, cruising altitude for a commercial jetliner.
Global Hawk? Three minutes and twelve seconds and nothing you’ve said has had any demonstrable connection to 9/11. 1999.
NORAD begins conducting exercises in which hijacked airliners are flown into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The Department of Justice releases a terrorism manual, with the World Trade Center in crosshairs.
Makes sense. That’s the north tower, WTC 1, in the crosshairs. It was bombed by Islamic terrorists in 1993. The terrorists were trying to knock the north tower into the south, killing tens of thousands of people. They did a lot of damage, but “only” six people died, and the cyanide gas that had been packed with the bomb was incinerated by the explosion.
Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush, and Paul Wolfowitz, releases their report entitled "Rebuilding America's Defences." In it, they declare that " the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor. "
I have yet to come across a 9/11 conspiracy theorist who DID NOT use this quote as “evidence” that the terrorist attacks were an “inside job” by the neo-cons in the U.S. government. However, the PNAC quote is about the typically slow growth of military technology, abetted by budget cuts in defense R&D. It is in no way a plan or suggestion for a “new Pearl Harbor.” Is it plausible that these “conspirators” would publicly announce a plan to kill thousands of Americans?
According to CT logic, these “conspirators” are the smartest, most devious, most capable connivers the world has ever seen – but are incredbly stupid. This PNAC quote issue is a lot like the CTist emphasis on Larry Silverstein’s “Pull it” quote. Right: whenever I commit a billion-dollar crime, I always tell the media I did it. The PNAC document was released just before the Presidential election of 2000. It is highly critical of the cuts in defense spending made during the Clinton administration, as well as being critical of how defense spending was allocated during those years.
The document is mostly concerned with the transformations the authors believe are necessary to keep America’s military dominent in a world where many adversaries may soon have
In the few pages of excerpts in Appendix D, the word “transform” or “transformation” is used 36 times.
What is the main thrust of the PNAC plan for military transformation? A nationwide missile defense shield, and dominance of outer-space for offensive and defensive purposes. That’s right: “Star Wars.”
That type of technology would not have stopped the attacks of 9/11. So what about those low-tech terrorists that we’re at war with now? "Rebuilding America's Defenses” does mention terrorism a few times:
In fact, national military forces, paramilitary units, terrorists, and any other potential adversaries will share the high ground of space with the United States and its allies.
America’s global leadership, and its role as the guarantor of the current great-power peace, relies upon the safety of the American homeland; the preservation of a favorable balance of power in Europe, the Middle East and surrounding energyproducing region, and East Asia; and the general stability of the international system of nation-states relative to terrorists, organized crime, and other “non-state actors.” The relative importance of these elements, and the threats to U.S. interests, may rise and fall over time. Europe, for example, is now extraordinarily peaceful and stable, despite the turmoil in the Balkans. Conversely, East Asia appears to be entering a period with increased potential for instability and competition. In the Gulf, American power and presence has achieved relative external security for U.S. allies, but the longer-term prospects are murkier. Generally, American strategy for the coming decades should seek to consolidate the great victories won in the 20th century – which have made Germany and Japan into stable democracies, for example – maintain stability in the Middle East, while setting the conditions for 21st-century successes, especially in East Asia.
When the USS Lincoln carrier battle group fired Tomahawk cruise missiles at terrorist camps in Afghanistan and suspected chemical weapons facilities in Sudan, it did so with 12 percent fewer people in the battle group than on the previous deployment.
And once more, about advanced biological warfare
Information systems will become an important focus of attack, particularly for U.S. enemies seeking to short-circuit sophisticated American forces. And advanced forms of biological warfare that can “target” specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool.
So, no indication there that terrorism is an immediate threat to the U.S. Now, let’s look at the “Pearl Harbor” comment in context. (For further excerpts, go to Appendix D at the end of this document., or Click here to view the full report.)
To preserve American military preeminence in the coming decades, the Department of Defense must move more aggressively to experiment with new technologies and operational concepts, and seek to exploit the emerging revolution in military affairs. Information technologies, in particular, are becoming more prevalent and significant components of modern military systems. These information technologies are having the same kind of transforming effects on military affairs as they are having in the larger world. The effects of this military transformation will have profound implications for how wars are fought, what kinds of weapons will dominate the battlefield and, inevitably, which nations enjoy military preeminence. The United States enjoys every prospect of leading this transformation. Indeed, it was the improvements in capabilities acquired during the American defense buildup of the 1980s that hinted at and then confirmed, during Operation Desert Storm, that a revolution in military affairs was at hand. At the same time, the process of military transformation will present opportunities for America’s adversaries to develop new capabilities that in turn will create new challenges for U.S. military preeminence.
Moreover, the Pentagon, constrained by limited budgets and pressing current missions, has seen funding for experimentation and transformation crowded out in recent years. Spending on military research and development has been reduced dramatically over the past decade. Indeed, during the mid-1980’s, when the Defense Department was in the midst of the Reagan buildup which was primarily an effort to expand existing forces and field traditional weapons systems, research spending represented 20 percent of total Pentagon budgets. By contrast, today’s research and development accounts total only 8 percent of defense spending. And even this reduced total is primarily for upgrades of current weapons. Without increased spending on basic research and development the United States will be unable to exploit the RMA and preserve its technological edge on future battlefields.
Any serious effort at transformation must occur within the larger framework of U.S. national security strategy, military missions and defense budgets. The United States cannot simply declare a “strategic pause” while experimenting with new technologies and operational concepts. Nor can it choose to pursue a transformation strategy that would decouple American and allied interests. A transformation strategy that solely pursued capabilities for projecting force from the United States, for example, and sacrificed forward basing and presence, would be at odds with larger American policy goals and would trouble American allies.
Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor. Domestic politics and industrial policy will shape the pace and content of transformation as much as the requirements of current missions. A decision to suspend or terminate aircraft carrier production, as recommended by this report and as justified by the clear direction of military technology, will cause great upheaval. Likewise, systems entering production today – the F-22 fighter, for example – will be in service inventories for decades to come. Wise management of this process will consist in large measure of figuring out the right moments to halt production of current-paradigm weapons and shift to radically new designs. The expense associated with some programs can make them roadblocks to the larger process of transformation – the Joint Strike Fighter program, at a total of approximately $200 billion, seems an unwise investment. Thus, this report advocates a two-stage process of change – transition and transformation – over the coming decades.
Now, if you wanted to increase defense spending in the areas that the PNAC recommends, what is the LAST thing you’d want to do? Answer: get involved in a ground war and subsequent occupation of a country where many citizens are fighting a guerilla-style campaign against you and against each other with AK-47s, RPGs, and IEDs made from cell phones and 10,000 tons of old artillery shells.
As I am writing this, on May 6, 2006, the news has come on: 3 car bombs have gone off in Baghdad and one in Karbala, killing at least 30 Iraqis, including 10 soldiers, and several Italian and Romanian troops. In Basra, a British helicopter was shot down, killing its five crew members, and rescuers were bombarded with fire bombs and rocks. They opened fire on the rioting crowd, killing 4 Iraqis, including a child, and wounding 30. Yesterday, Porter Goss, the incompetent CIA chief, was forced to resign.
The disaster in Iraq is the opposite of what the PNAC would want to happen to help effect the military transformation they desired in 2000. So why did those same people lie to us and use fear of terrorism as a pretext to invade Iraq? Because they thought replacing Saddam Hussein would be easy. They didn’t listen to the generals, they ignored the intelligence reports, and they expected to be greeted with open arms by the Iraqi people after ousting Hussein. These are the people the CTists think are so clever that they can hide a massive conspiracy. They’re the same neo-cons who are under investigation for their petty revenge against Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson. They couldn’t even handle THAT without screwing up.
The PNAC report displays some of the neo-con’s cockiness about the U.S. military presence in the Mid East (emphasis mine):
After eight years of no-fly-zone operations, there is little reason to anticipate that the U.S. air presence in the region should diminish significantly as long as Saddam Hussein remains in power. Although Saudi domestic sensibilities demand that the forces based in the Kingdom nominally remain rotational forces, it has become apparent that this is now a semi-permanent mission. From an American perspective, the value of such bases would endure even should Saddam pass from the scene. Over the long term, Iran may well prove as large a threat to U.S. interests in the Gulf as Iraq has. And even should U.S.-Iranian relations improve, retaining forward-based forces in the region would still be an essential element in U.S. security strategy given the longstanding American interests in the region. In addition to the aircraft enforcing the no-fly zone, the United States now also retains what amounts to a near-permanent land force presence in Kuwait. A substantial heavy task force with almost the strength of a brigade rotates four times a year on average for maneuvers and joint training with the Kuwaiti army, with the result that commanders now believe that, in conjunction with the Southern Watch fleet, Kuwait itself is strongly defended against any Iraqi attack. With a minor increase in strength, more permanent basing arrangements, and continued no fly and “no drive” zone enforcement, the danger of a repeat short-warning Iraqi invasion as in 1990 would be significantly reduced. With the rationalization of ground-based U.S. air forces in the region, the demand for carrier presence in the region can be relaxed.
There we have several very confident, matter-of-fact statements about what how the U.S. should impose its military presence on the Mid East. So we established bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to protect our oil interests. But we failed to defend New York and Washington, D.C. against terrorists who were furious at the fact that we had bases in their back yard, and who declared a Jihad against the U.S. because of it.
In 2003, the U.S. closed its bases Saudi Arabia. And all those billions that could have been spent on missile defense are being frittered away in a war with a country that did not, and could not, attack us. Not exactly according to plan, eh?
Some related questions for conspiracy theorists:
Suppose you are correct, and the terrorist attacks of 9/11 were an “inside job” perpetrated by elements within the U.S. government. Now suppose that ONE person admitted to the plot, or ONE person, (you, for instance) found out the truth, and could prove it. How long would it take for the neo-cons or Republicans, or whomever was responsible, to regain their credibility? 100 years? Never? This isn’t “Operation Northwoods” were talking about here. Try to keep some perspective.
If the U.S. planned the attacks of 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq, why did they use 15 Saudis as “scapegoats,” and not 15, or 20, Iraqis?
If, as so many CTists claim, the Bush administration has a “stranglehold” on the media, why have countless administration scandals been reported, why are the CTists allowed to freely publish and promote their claims, why am I allowed to post this document on the internet, and why is Bush’s “favorable” rating in the polls at 33% (AP poll this week)? And why are ex-military leaders allowed to speak so freely against their former boss?