Sifting Through
Loose Change

The 9-11Research Companion to

A detailed point-by-point critique of the film
using an illustrated transcript




covering the portion of the film from 00:00:00 to 00:12:00

Which points have value?

Which don't?

Test Your Knowledge of the Attack
and Your Critical Thinking Skills


Hide Replies
Show Replies

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center."
-National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice
"There were lots of warnings."
-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
"No warnings."
-Press Secretary Ari Fleischer
"Your government failed you, and I failed you."
-White House Advisor Richard Clarke
Loose Change misses an opportunity to expose the blatant falsity of Rice's May 16, 2002 comment. It could have mentioned the pre-9/11/01 NORAD drills using scenarios of jetliners crashing into the Towers. It does so three minutes later, but the connection to Rice's statement is lost.
March 13th, 1962. Lyman Lemnitzer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presents a proposal to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, named "Operation Northwoods." 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 rendezvous 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. The plan was rejected by McNamara, and President John F. Kennedy personally removes Lemnitzer as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Loose Change describes in detail elements of Operation Northwoods, but doesn't draw any conclusions from it at this point in the film. Operation Northwoods is often cited as evidence of two conclusions:
  • The US officials have demonstrated an ability to contemplate killing US civilians in a false-flag operation in order to achieve strategic objectives.
  • That one or more of the jetliners commandeered on 9/11 were replaced by decoy military aircraft. The original planes landed and deboarded, while decoys were used to fly into buildings.
Operation Northwoods is evidence for the first conclusion but not for the second one. Perhaps a failure to understand this distinction has inclined the makers of Loose Change to be fooled by hoax theories about the attack.
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.
This and other facts show that remote-control technology for precise control of jetliners has existed since 1984. Remote control is a major component in many alternative theories of the attack. Given the advances in automated flight control systems since the 1980s, the implementation of remote control for the 9/11/01 attack could have been much simpler than many people realize, perhaps involving nothing more than the uploading of a Trojan horse program into the Boeing 757 and 767s' standard equipment.
August, 1997. The cover of FEMA's "Emergency Response to Terrorism" depicts the World Trade Center in crosshairs.
That doesn't seem suspicious in and of itself, given the 1993 bombing, but it does when combined with pre-9/11/01 scenarios involving planes crashing into the Towers.
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.
What does this have to do with electronic hijack of jetliners?
1999. NORAD begins conducting exercises in which hijacked airliners are flown into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Clearly, Loose Change means to say that the exercises simulated airliners being flown into those buildings.
June, 2000. The Department of Justice releases a terrorism manual, with the World Trade Center in crosshairs.
Find story here.
September, 2000. The Project for a New American Century, a neo-conservative think-tank whose members include Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush, and Paul Wolfowitz, releases their report entitled "Rebuilding America's Defenses." 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.
Find the document here.
October 24th, 2000. The Pentagon conducts the first of two training exercises called MASCAL, which simulate a Boeing 757 crashing into the building. Charles Burlingame, an ex-Navy F4 pilot who worked in the Pentagon, participates in this exercise before retiring to take a job at American Airlines, where, less than a year later, his Boeing 757 allegedly crashes into the building.
According to reports such as this one, Charles Burlingame left the Navy to join American Airlines in 1979, but had a reserve assignment at the Pentagon until 1996, when he retired with the rank of Captain. That was long before the MASCAL exercise Loose Change states he participated in.
April, 2001. NORAD plans an exercise in which a plane is flown into the Pentagon, but is rejected as "too unrealistic".
The exercise didn't involve flying a plane into the Pentagon. It only simulated such a crash. Nonetheless, it adds to the evidence that officials lied when they said they had no idea planes might be intentionally crashed into nationally symbolic targets, including the headquarters of the US military.
June, 2001. The Department of Defense initiates new instructions for military intervention in the case of a hijacking. It states that for all non-immediate responses, the Department of Defense must get permission directly from the Secretary of Defense.
Some critics dismiss Directive CJCSI 3610.01A as having anything to do with impairing military response on 9/11/01 since it provides an exception for emergencies. However, the supporting documents state that, even in the case of emergencies, requests for "potentially lethal assistance" would still require approval by the Secretary of Defense.
Attorney General John Ashcroft begins flying on chartered jets, for the remainder of his term, due to a "threat assessment" by the FBI.
Ashcroft was questioned about this during the 9/11 Commission hearings. He stated that he flew on commercial aircraft on September 3, 2001, and that the advice not to fly on commercial aircraft was based on threats to his personal safety not related to terrorism. He denied flying on chartered jets.
July 4th, 2001. Osama Bin Laden, wanted by the United States since 1998, receives medical attention at the American Hospital in Dubai, where he is visited by a local chief of the CIA.
This story was reported in The Guardian, which cited the french newspaper Le Figaro. The CIA and the Dubai Hospital both denied the reports.
July 24th, 2001. Larry A. Silverstein, who already owned World Trade Center 7, signs a 3.2 billion dollar, 99-year lease on the entire World Trade Center complex, six weeks before 9-11. Included in the lease is a 3.5 billion dollar insurance policy specifically covering acts of terrorism.
For more information on the lease and insurance arrangements, see this page.
September 6th, 2001. 3,150 put options are placed on United Airlines' stock. A put option is a bet that a stock will fall. That day, put options were more than 4 times its daily average.
What makes this anomalous is the fact that the week preceding 9/11/01 was uneventful for the airlines and their stock prices.
Bomb sniffing dogs are pulled from the World Trade Center, and security guards end two-weeks of 12 hour shifts.
According to the story the bomb-sniffing dogs and extended shifts had been going on for two weeks in response to phoned-in threats.
September 7th, 2001. 27,294 put options are placed on Boeing's stock, more than 5 times the daily average.
Critics dismiss any connection of this to the attack by noting that Boeing stock had fallen in the previous year. The question is, was there a decline in stock prices that week corresponding to the surge in put options? Apparently not.
September 8th, 2001. The put/call ratios for United Airlines surged to 25 times the daily average.
September 10th, 2001. 4,516 put options are placed on American Airlines, almost 11 times its daily average.
This might be explained as a reaction to announcements by American Airlines the previous Friday of higher-than-expected losses.
Newsweek reports that a number of top Pentagon brass cancel their flight plans for the next morning.
Read the story here. It is possible that this and several of the other warnings to cancel travel plans were part of planned distraction to reinforce the idea that the attacks were the work of Islamic radicals whose plans were partially known to US government insiders.
San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown receives a phone call warning him not to fly the next morning. Pacifica Radio later reveals that this phone call came directly from National Security Advisor Condolleeza Rice.
Read the story here.
And in Pakistan, at a military hospital, all of the urologists are replaced by a special team, in order to host their guest of honor, Osama Bin Laden, who is carefully escorted inside to "be watched carefully and looked after."
"Guest of honor" are the words of Loose Change. The relevant passage in the CBSNews article reads:
"On that night," said a medical worker who wanted her identity protected, "they moved out all the regular stff in the urology department and sent in a secret team to replace them." She said it was treatment for a very special person and "the special team was obviously up to no good."
September 11th, 2001. The National Reconnaissance Office in Chantilly, Virginia is preparing for an exercise in which a small corporate jet crashes into their building. NORAD is in the middle of a number of military exercises.
"Sept. 11 was Day II of Vigilant Guardian, an exercise that would pose an imaginary crisis to North American Air Defense outposts nationwide."
-Lt. Col. Dawne Deskins
The first, Vigilant Guardian, is described as "An exercise that would pose an imaginary crisis to North American Air Defense outposts nationwide".
"Northern Vigilance, planned months in advance, involves deploying fighter jets to locations in Alaska and Northern Canada."
-Toronto Star, December 9th, 2001
The second, Northern Vigilance, moved fighter jets to Canada and Alaska to fight off an imaginary Russian fleet. Three F-16s from Washington DC's National Guard at Andrews Air Force Base, 15 miles from the Pentagon, are flown 180 nautical miles away for a training mission in North Carolina. This left 14 fighter jets to protect the entire United States.
Our compilation of war games shows what Loose Change misses: the number of exercises scheduled on 9/11/01 requires us to accept an incredible coincidence if the official story is true.

Even if there were only 14 fighter jets, it doesn't begin to explain the failure to protect the Pentagon, just 11 miles from Andrews Air Force base. Loose Change, despite its breadth, sidesteps the whole matter of NORAD's amazing failure to defend the skies -- and the stand-down it implies.
Hi, Boston Center TMU, we have a problem here. We have a hijacked aircraft headed towards New York. And we need you guys to, we need someone to scramble some F-16s or something up there, help us out.
[NORAD Command]: Is this real or exercise?
No, this is not exercise, not a test.
[footage of North Tower strike]
Do we wanna think about scrambling an aircraft?
Oooh, God I don't know.
That's a decision somebody's gonna have to make probably in the next 10 minutes.
Uh, yeah, you know, everybody just left the room.
This excerpt of air traffic controller communications can easily be spun to support the incompetence theory.
[Radio interviewer]: The first question I have is basically to get from you a sense of how you would rate the American media in their coverage of the events of the attack last September?
[Hunter S. Thompson]: well let's see uuhm, shamefully is a word that comes to mind.
Loose Change doesn't provide direct support for Thompson's statement. See this analysis of the media's response to the attack.
[news anchor]: This just in you are looking at obviously very disturbing live shot there. That is the World Trade Center and we have unconfirmed reports this morning that a plane had crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center.
[Hunter S. Thompson]: but overall, the American journalism was cowed, and intimidated by this massive flag-sucking, this patriotic, orgy. You know if you're criticizing the President it's unpatriotic and there's something wrong with you and you may be a terrorist ...
So, so in that sense, Hunter S. Thompson, there's not enough room for dissenting voices?
Well, there's plenty of room, just not enough people that are willing to take the risk.
A deeper problem is that not enough people who are willing to challenge the official story of 9/11 are willing separate false from valid claims of official complicity.
I don't know whether we've confirmed that this was an aircraft or to be more specific ... some people said they thought they saw a missile.
[Unidentified voiceover]: There was definitely a blue logo, it was like a circular logo on the front of the plane, ah It definitely did not look like a commercial plane, I didn't see any windows on the sides.
Mark, if that what you say is true those could be cargo planes ... You said you didn't see any windows in the sides?
I didn't see any windows on sides. It was a not a normal flight that I had ever seen, at an airport, it was a plane that had a blue ah logo on the front and, and it just ... it did not look like it belonged in this area.
Well, I guess it's some progress that Loose Change dropped the pod, which was in the first edition.

How anyone could take such a report as evidence of anything is beyond me. Anyone who could see windows in a jetliner two miles away and traveling 500 mph would have to have super-human powers.
[Hunter S. Thompson]: It's sort of a herd mentality a lemming-like mentality. If you don't go with the flow you're anti-American and therefore a suspect.
Thompson did not endorse the cargo plane theory or missile-pod theories, but the viewer might get the impression that he did from the way the missile and no-windows "witness" excerpts are spliced between this and the preceding excerpt of Thompson.
[On-scene TV news reporter]: This is as close as we can get to the base of the World Trade Center. You can see the firemen assembled here, the police officers, FBI agents, and you can see the two Towers, a huge explosion, now raining debris on all of us. We better get out of the way.
It was commonplace for reporters to describe the onset of the destruction of the South Tower as an explosion. Such perceptions would rapidly be replaced by the official story that they had "collapsed."
[video of the South Tower exploding]
[music, video of WTC 7 collapsing, video of other large buildings being destroyed by controlled demolitions]
The side-by-side comparison of WTC 7's collapse and the demolition of other buildings is one of the more compelling parts of Loose Change.
[footage of the explosion of the North Tower]
[Hunter S. Thompson]: You sort of wonder, when something like that happens, who stands to benefit? Who had the opportunity and motive? You just gotta look at this basic things. I don't assume that I know the truth about what went on that day. And yeah, I just look around looking for who had the motive, who had the opportunity, who had the equipment, who had the ah will ...
I've spent enough time on the inside, well the White House, and, you know campaigns, and I've known enough of the people who do these things, to know that, the public version of the news, of an event, is never really what happened. And these people I think are willing to take that even further.
[footage of debris raining on a street]
It seems a very long bow to me, but are you sort of suggesting that this worked in a favor of the Bush administration?
Oh absolutely, ... absolutely.
For specifics on motives insiders had for carrying out the attack, see this section of


Copyright 2006,