Take a look, if you can stand it, at video footage of the World Trade Center collapsing. Your eye will naturally jump to the top of the screen, where huge fountains of dark debris erupt out of the falling towers. But fight your natural instincts. Look farther down, at the stories that haven't collapsed yet.
In almost every clip you'll see little puffs of dust spurting out from the sides of the towers. There are two competing explanations for these puffs of dust: 1) the force of the collapsing upper floors raised the air pressure in the lower ones so dramatically that it actually blew out the windows. And 2) the towers did not collapse from the impact of two Boeing 767s and the ensuing fires. They were destroyed in a planned, controlled demolition. The dust puffs you see on film are the detonations of explosives planted there before the attacks.
People who believe the second explanation live in a very different world from those who believe the first. In world No. 2, al-Qaeda is not responsible for the destruction of the World Trade Center. The U.S. government is. The Pentagon was not hit by a commercial jet; it was hit by a cruise missile. United Flight 93 did not crash after its occupants rushed the cockpit; it was deliberately taken down by a U.S. Air Force fighter. The entire catastrophe was planned and executed by federal officials in order to provide the U.S. with a pretext for going to war in the Middle East and, by extension, as a means of consolidating and extending the power of the Bush Administration.
The population of world No. 2 is larger than you might think. A Scripps-Howard poll of 1,010 adults last month found that 36% of Americans consider it "very likely" or "somewhat likely" that government officials either allowed the attacks to be carried out or carried out the attacks themselves. Thirty-six percent adds up to a lot of people. This is not a fringe phenomenon. It is a mainstream political reality.
Although the 9/11 Truth Movement, as many conspiracy believers refer to their passion, has been largely ignored by the mainstream media, it is flourishing on the Internet. One of the most popular conspiracy videos online is Loose Change, a 90-min. blizzard of statistics, photographs, documents, eyewitness accounts and expert testimony set to a trippy hip-hop backbeat. It's designed to pick apart, point by point, the conventional narrative of what happened on Sept. 11, 2001.
For all its amateur production values--it was created by a pair of industrious twentysomethings using a laptop, pizza money and footage scavenged from the Internet--Loose Change is a compelling experience. Take the section about the attack on the Pentagon. As the film points out--and this is a tent-pole issue among 9/11 conspiracists--the crash site doesn't look right. There's not enough damage. The hole smashed in the Pentagon's outer wall was 75 ft. wide, but a Boeing 757 has a 124-ft. wingspan. Why wasn't the hole wider? Why does it look so neat?