'9/11/01' revisits tragic day with a shrewd eye

To watch "9/11/01" is to be seduced, from the first frame, demonstrating the power of celluloid propaganda.

Much of the film is network news footage, captured by crews near the World Trade Center on the day of the attacks, to include a French film crew that was filming in the area. Over and over, "9/11/01" shows the towers standing in relief against a pristine blue sky. Then, in slow motion, the first airliner comes into view, wings slightly angled as it turns, its trajectory clear. The time is 8:46 am. Then the second plane appears, and quickly disappears into the side of the South tower at 9:03. Both crashes sent out a massive plume of smoke and billowing fire ball, caused by the explosion of the jet fuel.

The film then shifts to countless eyewitness reports, telling of massive explosions that they could feel, hear and see. Clearly the film is building its case, using anecdotal evidence that there were, in addition to the impact of the airliners and the subsequent fires, explosions that rocked both structures. There is little information given by structural engineers that would explain why both of the towers fell in a symmetrical, pancaking manner, other than that offered by the eyewitnesses who reached for comparisons and found controlled demolition the most applicable. It is a theory that conspiracy theorists run with.

When those who speak about the aberrant free fall of the towers are asked why they believe that the towers were brought down using pre-positioned explosives, and who could have been able to perpetrate such a disaster, they balk, saying only that the investigation must first focus on the collapse of the towers. The who and why will be examined later. Meanwhile, the conspiracy theorists charge that a massive cover-up is underway; the laws of nature simply cannot account for the burning and collapse of the steel framing nor of the straight-down, free fall floor-to-floor collapse.

Two other documentaries, "In Plain Sight" and "Loose Change," deal with the events of 9/11, each intent on constructing a conspiracy theory. Of the two, "Loose Change" is the best known and floats the hypothesis in its first incarnation that the planes that hit the WTC were drones and not the actual flights. No explanation was ever given as to what happened to the people on board. Later, in a newly edited version, the filmmakers argued that United Flight 93 never crashed in Pennsylvania, but landed at Cleveland Hopkins Airport. What happened to the passengers thereafter is never explained.

If anyone is predisposed to believing that our government would and could plan such a tragedy, then such films are more than compelling.

The commercial films that have been released since 9/11, such as "United 93" or "The World Trade Center" make no attempt to pose any conspiracy scenario, rather use the events of 9/11 to dramatize events as they have been reconstructed.

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