George Monbiot's column in today's Guardian (UK) is a critique of the "documentary," Loose Change.
There is a virus sweeping the world. It infects opponents of the Bush government, sucks their brains out through their eyes and turns them into gibbering idiots. First cultivated in a laboratory in the US, the strain reached these shores a few months ago. In the past fortnight, it has become an epidemic. Scarcely a day now passes without someone possessed by this sickness, eyes rolling, lips flecked with foam, trying to infect me.
The disease is called Loose Change. It is a film made by three young men that airs most of the standard conspiracy theories about the attacks of September 11 2001. Unlike the other 9/11 conspiracy films, Loose Change is sharp and swift, with a thumping soundtrack, slick graphics and a calm and authoritative voiceover. Its makers claim that it has now been watched by 100 million people.
A guy at work, the same guy who attended the hackers' convention last year, lent his copy of Loose Change to my officemate, who lent it to me. I could only watch some of it, because it was too over-the-edge.
Here's Monbiot's summary of the film:
The Pentagon, the film maintains, was not hit by a commercial airliner. There was "no discernible trace" of a plane found in the wreckage, and the entrance and exit holes in the building were far too small. It was hit by a cruise missile. The twin towers were brought down by means of "a carefully planned controlled demolition". You can see the small puffs of smoke caused by explosives just below the cascading sections. All other hypotheses are implausible: the fire was not hot enough to melt steel and the towers fell too quickly. Building 7 was destroyed by the same means a few hours later.
Flight 93 did not crash, but was redirected to Cleveland airport, where the passengers were taken into a Nasa building and never seen again. Their voices had been cloned by the Los Alamos laboratories and used to make fake calls to their relatives. The footage of Osama bin Laden, claiming responsibility for the attacks, was faked. The US government carried out this great crime for four reasons: to help Larry Silverstein, who leased the towers, to collect his insurance money; to assist insider traders betting on falling airline stocks; to steal the gold in the basement; and to grant George Bush new executive powers, so that he could carry out his plans for world domination.
Part of the fun of reading the column is reading the comments that have been posted. It's hard to believe there are that many people who are eager to believe pure evil on the part of the Bush Administration while dismissing any evil in the hearts of murderous jihadists (oh, wait, there's no such thing).
One guy (tonbridge, February 6, 2007 08:05 AM) even has a list of five points explaining why the Jews caused 9/11 and are the biggest menace to mankind (my words, not his--his are worse), even blaming the Jews for the Nazi Holocaust as an extra bonus feature.
Another comment, though, summarizes well the pathology behind the Conspiracy True Believers:
If people can be persuaded to believe this stuff then it restores faith in the central power and everybody can rest easy again knowing that yes, it was very unpleasant but, actually folks, we were in control all along! It wasn't a vicious and, to our culture, incomprehensible act by people beyond our control, it was the government showing how clever it is. Sadly the conspiracy theorists' hunger is fed by the ambiguities and chaos generated by such a cataclysmic incident and while debate continues over details focus is turned away from the underlying vulnerability that everyone is feeling.
That's it. It's more comforting to believe that the government--evil as it is--is in charge, than to believe that it's all out of control and we're all at risk, anytime and anywhere.
My hat's off to those who are willing to face the reality of the threat to our existence.