Loose Change

Loose Change is a documentary written and directed by Dylan Avery and produced by Korey Rowe and Jason Bermas. The film presents an alternative explanation of events during the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks. The film attempts to compensate for the perceived inadequacy of government investigations and the 9/11 Commission Report. It alleges that the attacks were not the result of the organization al-Qaeda but a series of cleverly executed events carried out by the US government. It was released through the creators' company, Louder than Words, and received wide attention after being featured on a Binghamton, New York local FOX affiliate, WICZ-TV (FOX 40).

This is a controversial film. The accuracy and fairness of Loose Change has been disputed, by Popular Mechanics, among others. Indeed, the movie has already been edited and re-released in a second edition due to inaccuracies in the first edition.

Avery had originally been planning to make a fictional story about a possible conspiracy related to the attacks of 9/11, called Loose Change. Avery claims that he began to believe that there was an actual cover up over the 9/11 attacks during research for this film, and that the genre switched to a documentary after discussion with his childhood friend Korey Rowe. Rowe, an army specialist who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, became the producer of Loose Change, while Jason Bermas became the film's researcher.

* The first edition cost around $2000 to make and was released in April of 2005. This edition of the film featured material on a device (which the filmmakers refer to as a "pod") under the fuselage of Flight 175 that struck the South Tower. The "pod" was presented as evidence that the planes in the attack were replaced with remote-controlled drones. It came under heavy criticism for its inclusion.

* The second edition, released in November of 2005 and was made for $6000. This edition included a new intro as well as extra footage which Avery purchased on Ebay. This edition removed all references to the "pod."

* In August of 2006 a recut version of Loose Change 2nd Edition was released, which corrected many errors in the original release as well as removed infringing material taken from the Naudet brothers documentary 9/11.

The documentary is available for purchase and distribution through its official website. It can also be viewed for free online and downloaded at Google Video, where it held the first position in the top ranking of available videos until mid 2006. According to Broadcast magazine, the film was to have a special screening at the Houses of Parliament on June 14th, 2006. However, Michael Meacher, the British MP who had considered sponsoring the screening, decided against it.

After releasing the film, Avery, Rowe and Bermas set up an independent film production company called Louder than Words. The company is also a member of the 9/11 Truth Movement and holds yearly protests in New York City on the anniversary of September 11th.

Loose Change is approximately an hour and 22 minutes. The movie consists of still photographs and news footage of events relating to 9/11, which are shown against a hip-hop beat, while the narration takes place. Video and still footage used includes considerable video content from CNN, NBC, and FOX News, as well as a number of other public domain sources.

It is narrated by Dylan Avery, who is shown only in the bonus features.

Includes background information of Operation Northwoods, a plan put forward in the days of the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) to employ fake terrorist attacks in Cuba as a pretext for invasion of the island. It also planned to switch out real commercial airliners with drone planes, and tests the effect of using them as weapons, all the while seeming to be an accident. It then presents certain events as evidence of this practice being used in the attacks of September 11, 2001.

* Alleges that the hijacker pilot on American Airlines Flight 77 had difficutly performing basic controls on a small Cessna at the flight school he trained and that perhaps not even an experienced pilot could have maneuvered the turn angle at the airspeed and altitude at which the aircraft approached without stalling.

* Alleges that Flight 77 could not have crashed into the Pentagon and that damage sustained to the building may have been caused by a cruise missile or a smaller military aircraft. It defends this by:

o Examining the size of the hole in the Pentagon caused by the crash, examining a presumed lack of debris and landscape damage consistent with prior airliner crashes.

o Concluding that too few parts were recovered from the crash site to reliably ascertain that they were of a Boeing 757 and a certain flywheel observed at the site seemed too small to have been part of the aircraft's engine turbine and subsequently concluded by officials to have been part of the APU was repudiated by some experts as not to have come from the APU of a 757.

Suggests that the actual collapses of the World Trade Centers 1, 2 and 7 were not triggered by the plane crashes but by a series of explosions within the buildings that were detonated shortly before each building collapsed, and supports this with eye witness reports from a janitor, firemen, and other people near the buildings who heard bangs, many of them describing them as "explosions"; videotapes showing windows far below the burning floors blow out during the collapse, and seismograph results recorded during the collapse compared to the collapse of other similar buildings. The movie also claims that all the buildings came down at near free-fall speed and that, therefore, the official story that the buildings pancaked is impossible without breaking the laws of physics.

Suggests that United Airlines Flight 93 did not crash in rural Shanksville, Pennsylvania but actually landed safely at Cleveland Hopkins Airport where it was evacuated by government personnel into an unused NASA research center. Uses photographs and eye-witness reports of the crash site as evidence, suggesting that they show a lack of debris or severity of damage to the crash site, a corresponding evacuation at Cleveland Hopkins Airport due to another hijacked plane and the corresponding reports, oddities in the transcripts of cell-phone calls supposedly placed from the plane during the hijacking, and the sighting of the tail number of Flight 93 on an aircraft in use at a later date. Also claims that the United Airlines plane was not scheduled to fly on September 11, 2001.

* Asserts that cellular phone calls could not be made from American Airlines flights at the time of the crash. The film cites as evidence a later system installed in American Airlines planes which allowed the reception of cellular signals within the planes. It questions why such a system would be needed if cellular transmissions were already possible within commercial airliners.

* Suggests that cell phone calls from passengers and crew were faked using sophisticated voice-morphing technology developed by the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and that the December 13, 2001 video of Osama Bin Laden admitting guilt was also faked.

* Asserts that of the list of hijackers initially released by the government, many were not in the planes and were alive after September 11, 2001 and may even still be alive and that some of the listed men were indeed pilots or flying students whose identities were supposedly duplicated and some of them made public appearances in their respective home countries to clear themselves of any involvement.

* Outlines possible motives for the attacks.

* Alleges that Larry Silverstein stood to benefit significantly from the destruction of the towers, from an insurance policy with a specific anti-terrorism clause, which had a maximum payout claim of $7 billion (counting each plane as a separate attack). Silverstein took full ownership of the WTC complex 6 weeks before 9/11 after signing a 99 year contract.

* Alleges that some investors engaged in insider trading with an apparent foreknowledge of the eventual destruction of the towers. Reportedly $2.5 million remains outstanding in unclaimed airline shorting profits, after the alleged insider trading was exposed by the press.

* Suggests that billions of dollars in gold bars were secretly transported away from the World Trade Center before the Twin Towers collapsed.

* Claims significant discrepancies in gold stored in the WTC complex, and gold subsequently recovered, to a value of hundreds of millions of dollars.

* States that $100 million went missing in anomalous financial transactions after the first plane hit and before the towers went down. The transactions were later recovered by a data company from hard drives in the rubble of the towers. Claims that, despite a standing legal obligation to investigate all reported crimes, for unknown reasons the FBI refused to pursue the matter.

* States companies linked to the Bush administration, such as Halliburton, subsequently made billions of dollars in profit from no-bid contracts as part of the unfolding 'global war on terror.'

* States that building 7 housed thousands of files related to SEC fraud investigations, especially Enron, and that the destruction of the building effectively ended large numbers of cases.

* Alleges that the Project for the New American Century, a conservative thinktank boasting members among the Bush administration and associates might have been involved. The film cites as evidence Rebuilding America's Defenses, a document distributed by the organization that stresses a renewal of United States military involvement in the Middle East. Most notably the document speculates that a terrorist attack would serve as a galvanizing event in the United States, and possibly provide a pretext to politically re-shape the Middle East. The document also mentions the potential to take control of strategic oil reserves around the Persian Gulf and in the Caspian Sea oil basin region.

On May 26, 2006 a certified letter was sent to Dylan Avery regarding alleged copyright and trademark infringement resulting from French film makers, the Naudet brothers. The letter alleges that Avery used, "copyrighted images from the 9/11 Film," and also alleges the images violate, "the Federal Lanham Trademark Act by suggesting that the Naudet brothers or Mr. Hanlon have endorsed or sponsored the controversial views in your film." The letter concludes: "Accordingly, we hereby demand that you confirm to us within three business days of the receipt of this letter that you have removed all footage taken from our clients' 9/11 Film from your Loose Change Film, including from the version of your film that can be downloaded on the Internet, the DVD version of your film, and anywhere else you have used or are using our clients' footage." In July of 2006 Dylan Avery announced that the recut version of the film would omit "some" of the infringing material.

Three different point-by-point critiques were prepared by 911research.wtc7.net, Internet Detectives and Mark Roberts. A commenter at Screw Loose Change named Mark Iradian prepared an edited version of Loose Change, subtitled with criticisms drawing on work by Roberts, Screw Loose Change, and his own efforts. Mark Roberts also compiled a lengthy selection of interview quotes in which the Loose Change creators elaborate on the claims made in the film, Loose Change Creators Speak.

What many of the the critiques agree on is that Loose Change uses unreliable sources, oversimplified arguments and selective facts to maintain there are problems with the events of September 11th:

* Compares the Collapse of the World Trade Center to other notable high rise fires, but does not clarify differences in building design and size, structural damage and compromised fireproofing. There is no exploration on the effect of fire on unprotected structural steel, which "loses about 50 percent of its strength at 1100°F." Kevin Ryan the "expert" source from Underwriters Laboratories for steel certification is actually a non-expert from a subsidiary for water testing. Underwriters Laboratories does not certify structural steel, and ASTM E119 certification involves intact fireproofing as conducted by Underwriters Laboratories for the NIST in 2004.

* Loose Change is especially skeptical with the lack of readily visible airplane debris and bodies in the Pentagon and Pennsylvania crashes. It uses other airline disasters as evidence there should be larger debris found. However, those crashes were accidents where pilots were trying to save their aircraft; rather than deliberately crashing them. A video of what happens to a fighter jet and its heavy engine when crashed into a concrete barrier can provide a more accurate comparison. Substantial amounts of debris and body parts were recovered from both crash sites as the recovery operations began.

* While some of the calls from Flight 93 were made with Airfones, the documentary asserts that other calls made with cell phones could not have happened from cruising altitudes. However, in the recent book "Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can't Stand Up to the Facts" by Popular Mechanics editors (ISBN 158816635X), they point out Flight 93's altitude was lower and it was frequently over rural areas with powerful cell towers. As for why airlines are testing cell phone systems in their planes, it is because it improves reception, allows phones to work over the ocean, decreases the chance of interferance with the avionics and flight crews can disable the phones.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has released a point-by-point rebuttal of many common alternative theories of the WTC collapse, including theories which Loose Change used. On September 11th, 2006, Democracy Now! conducted an exclusive discussion with Loose Change's creators and Popular Mechanics editors, where they debate various aspects of the documentary. American humorist Maddox, author of the satirical humor website The Best Page In The Universe, wrote an article on his website that criticised and lampooned the video and its producers.

Critics point out the documentary quote mines sources, uses unreliable or out of date single sources and cherry picks interview footage. It quotes Danielle O'Brien commenting on how air traffic controllers thought Flight 77 was a military plane based on its maneuverability; but it leaves out the end of the statement, "... you don't fly a 757 in that manner. It's unsafe." Loose Change quotes the coroner, Wally Miller, as seeing no bodies or blood the day of Flight 93's crash; over the next several weeks Miller goes on to identify 12 passengers "using mostly dental records." There is an interview of chief flight instructor Marcel Bernard focusing on the weaknesses of Hani Hanjour's flying skills when he took lessons at Freeway Airport; it fails to clarify Bernard's expert opinion on Hanjour's ability to hit the Pentagon. "There's no doubt in my mind that once that hijacked jet got going, he could have pointed that plane at a building and hit it."

In addition, many within the 9-11 research community point out the film's focus upon the Pentagon crash as a weakness. Chris Farrell, the Director of Investigations & Research at Judicial Watch, warned in an interview that his organization "could be the water carriers for a honey pot operation, in which the government attracts overwhelming attention to the Pentagon issue, making it the cornerstone of the 9/11 truth movement, and then blowing it out of the water by releasing clear footage of Flight 77." He stated, "Let's just call it a baited trap, it draws somebody into a situation in which they're compromised."

The original release of Loose Change Second Edition had several factual inaccuracies which have been corrected (or removed) in the recut Second Edition. The most notable are:

* The New York's Empire State Building was not hit by a B-52 in 1945, but rather a B-25 Mitchell which is less than one-third the size of a B-52. (the first prototype B-52 would not fly for another seven years).

* The suggestion that $167 billion in gold was stored in vaults beneath the World Trade Center was removed as it exceeded the entire amount of U.S. gold reserves by approximately $67 billion. The "$230 million in precious metals" stored at the WTC complex were in fact recovered.

* Loose Change implies 757's only have Pratt & Whitney engines made of steel and titanium alloy, when in fact the engines used in Flight 77 are Rolls-Royce engines. Bollyn, an American Free Press reporter whom Loose Change references got the incorrect information from a factory in Indiana which makes engines for smaller aircraft; rather than the companies in Quebec and Derby that overhaul the 757 engines.

In response to some of these Korey Rowe, the producer of the "Second Edition", claimed in an interview, “We know there are errors in the documentary, and we’ve actually left them in there so that people discredit us and do the research for themselves.”

Wikipedia was used as a source for some information. Critics allege that the use of Wikipedia is ill-fitting for a documentary [30] as it is not totally reliable and easy to vandalize. The majority of the articles cited appear to be unvandalized and match the producers' claims of their content. One noteworthy exception is a passage in the World Trade Center article regarding the gold repository beneath the buildings. As of December 28, 2005 the article matched the producers' claims, but the article has since been revised and the passage removed. Though subsequent revisions have edited the gold claims back in, they have generally been removed afterwards due to a lack of credible sources. In the "Recut" of the 2nd Edition, all references to Wikipedia were removed.

* Samples from the Loose Change documentary can be heard in Ministry's song, "LiesLiesLies", which can be found on the Rio Grande Blood record. A music video for this song has also been produced.

* Vanity Fair wrote an article about Loose Change and its creators.

* Time Magazine, on conspiracy theories of 9/11, mentions "Loose Change".

* Portuguese public TV Station RTP showed the documentary on the 10 of September, 2006 in prime time hours, and again in RTP2 on September 17th 2006.

* Australian Pay TV Channel, The History Channel, showed it during prime time hours on September 11 2006.

* Democracy Now! hosted a debate between the authors of Loose Change and the authors of a book dealing with many of these theories has just been published by the magazine Popular Mechanics, it's called Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can't Stand Up to the Facts.

* A Pakistani channel, Geo TV, showed Loose Change - dubbed into Urdu - on the fifth aniversary of 9/11.

* Empire magazine interviewed Dylan Avery in issue 208 on the reception of the film and the plans for the upcoming third edition.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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