Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Adam Larson
Caustic Logic / The Frustrating Fraud
January 2007
updated, correction spurred by a reader, 2/12/07

After taking the underground by storm in 2005, Loose Change went mainstream in 2006, with widespread screenings, celebrity endorsemenrts, etc. By September, the Telegraph (India) reported “the runaway success of Loose Change has garnered the mainstream press’ attention and has begun to influence how the public perceives the entire 9/11 Truth Movement,” which seems to be taken by the author as a good thing for the "Truth" movement. [1] Over at least three evolving releases, the video went viral with free posting on the internet, and by the time of its second edition in 2006, it was a phenomenon. It was boosted by a more tolerant attitude in the media, no doubt partly due to receding memory of 9/11 itself. Notably, the August 2006 Vanity Fair ran an uncritical piece, whose writer Nancy Jo Sales summed up that “Loose Change has struck a nerve.” [2] Sales asked Director Dylan Avery what he thought was going to happen when this growing wave hit shore. He predicted a “second American revolution. […] There's going to be a lot of anger. […] When it becomes irrefutable public record that 9/11 was done by our government, the shit is gonna hit the fan.” [3] I have a hunch that mess will not occur in this country in any near future - after the initial long odds plus wave after wave of false promises like Loose Change leaving the movement drained, it will fall to another generation if to anyone to collectively reach and live the truth about that day.

But in the meantime, with its appeal to legitimate questions, its techno-savvy editing, and cartloads of crippling crap sneaking in behind good compelling evidence, it has risen to the top and dominated and skewed the entire field; Avery told the CBC by August its viewership was in the “millions, millions, is the best way to put it. I would even go so far as to say 100 million people have seen our film.” [4] The video remains in the top ranks of downloads, number one for a while, at Google’s new video page, and if he’s exaggerating, it isn’t by much. Reports of awkward, scripted-seeming lectures on controlled demolitions and obscure defense contractors have been sharply on the rise. Indeed, the "change" is loose.

So is the backlash, as seen in the Popular Mechanics 9/11 Myths book, and in recent 5th anniversary articles on 9/11 in Time, US News, etc. that treat the “conspiracy theories [that] won’t die” almost exclusively by examining Loose Change and its flaws, as if it were the truth movement. Their claims were lampooned prominently by South Park in October 2006.

A new internet force clearly inspired directly by the video and taking it as its window onto the movement is the Screw Loose Change weblog. The site’s “Chief,” James B., describes himself as “a combination software geek from Bellevue, part-time Chief Warrant Officer in the Army National Guard (thus the clever name), and current MBA student,” and interesting to me he’s also a “graduate in Russian and East European studies from the University of Washington.” His cohort on the site is more mysterious: Pat, like the SNL character, is just Pat. They delve well beyond Loose Change into the wider 9/11 Truth scene, who all in all give the site plenty of material to ridicule. The rich pickings, some clever words and decent work tackling them have earned them Michelle Malkin’s praise as “the single best clearinghouse on the 'net for fighting the tinfoil hat brigade.” The partisan slant is muted but evident, and clear enough from its enthusiastic support by a halfass be-bunking ‘blog called “The Truth About 9/11/01,” dedicated to the propositions that “over 90% of people don’t have common sense,” and “believing in any conspiracy theories about 9/11 is anti-american [sic].” [5]

A member of Screw Loose Change named Mark Iradian put together his own edit of Loose Change with “corrections” and commentary inserted, and released it under the title "Screw Loose Change," which like the original later spawning a revised version called the “Not Freakin’ Again Edition.” Iradian summed up his reason for the sarcastic video: “when you try to label the government for being a butcher and slaughtering 3000 of his own people, you better provide concrete evidence to back that up.” [6] Another cohort, Mark Roberts, put together a detailed critique of the video and later a list of telling interviews in which "Loose Change Creators Speak (and it ain't pretty)." The latter spawned another Iradian video of the same title comprised of audio interviews overlaid with contrasting text and images to make them look as heartless as possible in their casual mocking of the deadly attacks.

Even as disbelief of the official version surges to all-time highs on the back of Loose Change in the second half of 2006, others like James and Pat and Michelle and Mark and Mark are taking issue with their approach; Avery’s flippant attitude is one lightning rod for controversy, his laughing in phone interviews about the absurdity of hijackers taking over Flight 93 in particular with box cutters or even plastic knives. It sounded to Malkin like “a taste of how sick these people are and how much they enjoy mocking the suffering of 9/11 victims” [7] Listening to the interviews I do cringe at the lack of tact, but this of course could be blamed on Avery’s age – he’s barely out of High School remember. I also know from experience that one gets a bit desensitized when dealing with dark subjects day in and day out; the whole hallowed ground thing is hard to keep up, and gallows humor often simply happens. Ask any mortician or soldier.

Avery’s flippancy, as revealed especially in his treatment of the Bernard Browns seam, is a telling clue to the emerging script in which grave charges are laid out in a sloppy and immature way, ordinary folks see that Loose Change represents the “Truth” movement and it’s clearly wrong, and so in the long run there’s nothing to worry about. This paranoia is an adolescent phase, based on simple misunderstandings, deep anxiety and an irrational hatred of Bush, both of the latter fed by the extended Iraq War. PopMech, Screw Loose Change and the others have the misunderstandings largely under control, the Iraq war will be changing course shortly, and Bush has only two years left. And while the “Long War” rolls on into its planned decades, new battlefields are being laid out, and other elites and other catalyzing events wait in the wings, of course there are drugs to treat that anxiety and counseling to rescue minds lured by the "cynical imaginations" of "extremists here in the United States." [8]

Mary Katharine Ham’s analysis at Town hall.com is telling; after first dismissing them, she realized “I shouldn’t have moved on. I should have stopped and looked at the Truthers and listened to them a lot sooner.” She urged other to listen closer and understand – via the filter of Screw Loose Change and the PopMech book – to confront the “dangerous deniers we’re facing in our own country.” [9]

[1], [2] Ray, Turna. “11/9, a conspiracy?” September 3 2006.http://www.telegraphindia.com/1060903/asp/look/story_6682430.asp
[3] Sales, Nancy Jo. “Click Here for Conspiracy.” http://www.vanityfair.com/commentary/content/articles/060717roco02
[4] 9/11: TRUTH, LIES AND CONSPIRACY." Iinterview with Dylan Avery. Canadian Broadcasting Croporation. August 22, 2006
[5] Screw Loose Change video website. http://www.lolloosechange.co.nr/
[6] Welcome to the Truth about 9/11/01. http://www.threegroup.net/personal/adam/Opening.html
[7] Malkin, Michelle. The 9/11 Tinfoil Hat Brigade.” September 10 2006. http://michellemalkin.com/archives/005885.htm
[8] "9/11 Debunking the Myths." Intro. the editors. Popular Mechanics. March 2005. page 71.
[9] Ham, Mary Katharine "Beware the Truthers. Don't Ignore Them." Townhall.com. Monday, September 11, 2006 http://www.townhall.com/columnists/column.aspx?UrlTitle=beware_the_truthers_dont_ignore_them&ns=MaryKatharineHam&dt=09/11/2006&page=1


Mark said...

A small correction here. Mark Iradian made the videos "Screw Loose Change" and "9/11 Deniers Speak." Mark Roberts hasn't made any debunking videos.

Caustic Logic said...

I could've sworn I'd already posted this... Thanks for the tip, Mark. You sure know your Marks, and I value getting my facts straight, unlike some people we could name. The piece has been updated. sha-zam.

Anonymous said...

I don't trust you anymore than I would trust a government shill.

Caustic Logic said...

Not sure what you don't trust me about, but trust hardly matters. I show evidence and offer opinion and you can tke it how you like. And I don't really care what you think, nanonymous poster. Okay I care in a vague human sense - I hope you figure it out - but I ain't holding my breath.

Anonymous said...

How can any hatred for Bush be irrational? Where have you been the last eight years?!

Caustic Logic said...

Hating Bush, rationally. Bush shot a missile at the Pentagon so I hate him, or vice-versa, is irrational.

Aaand, that was couched as part of the master narrative the "Loosers" have helped create - they're just silly paranoids, move along, no real conspiracies ever - which is unfortunate and why I 'hate' the "Truth movement" in general, or at least this whole MIHOP fantasy avenue. And it's rational. :)