From left to right: Shazin, Emily, (the show’s host Andrew Maxwell), Charlie, Charlotte and Rodney.
Part 1: Spot the Crazy Conspiracy Theorist
On Thursday evening (September 8th) BBC3 aired ‘9/11: Conspiracy Road Trip’, a documentary in which a group of ‘young people’ from the UK who each had their own questions regarding 9/11 were taken on a road trip around the U.S. to visit places linked to the events of that day.
At each location the program makers arranged for preselected ‘experts’ to come and talk to them in a pseudo scientific (and often extremely patronizing) manner in awkwardly staged meetings, such as standing about outside on some tarmac, next to an aircraft hanger. If the program makers had wanted to create an atmosphere best described as
“Sorry to trouble you sir but we’ve got these kids who have gotten all confused about 9/11. You’re obviously a busy and important grown up, but I wonder if you wouldn’t mind sparing five minutes to step outside and speak to them and answer their silly questions and put their little minds at rest”
then they couldn’t have done it any better. What came across was that these ‘crazy conspiracy questions’ did not warrant the hiring of a small studio space or cheap conference room, with – you know – chairs and tables and stuff. It apparently didn’t warrant continuous take camera shots without all that blatant editing either…
As if this wasn’t condescending enough, the group were also subjected to a kind of regressive, (re)educational ‘playtime conditioning therapy’ involving water balloons, flour and stones, lego bricks, eggs and toy airplanes. More on this later.
And, yes, to say the program was bizarre would definitely be an understatement.
But most disturbing is the fact that at no point in this one hour program were any of the thousands of experts, eye witnesses, bereft family members or government agency whistleblowers who have serious issues with the official story called upon by the program makers to discuss with these young people their questions and concerns and to share their own extensive knowledge, expertise, evidence, experiences and opinions. Such people would not be hard to find. For example there are at least 1500 experts/ professionals who have publicly questioned the official (non) explanation of the free fall collapse of WTC 7, a 47 story skyscraper not hit by any plane which fell vertically and at free fall speed into its own footprint on the afternoon of on 9/11.
The following two pictures show WTC 7 (the brown and black building) from roughly the same angle (1) as it used to be and (2) after it collapsed into its own footprint on 9/11. Note the lack of damage to surrounding buildings.
(For the record: the ‘9/11 Conspiracy Road Trip’ makes absolutely no mention of this building or its collapse whatsoever, despite it being one of the most blatant and as yet unexplained events of that day. To some it might look as if they couldn’t find anyone capable of explaining its free fall, symmetrical and vertical collapse as being anything other than a controlled demolition (and a damn good one at that). But they could have at least mentioned WTC 7 …. for instance, instead of showing that footage of host Andrew Maxwell doing stand up or swearing in the street).
Inviting experts and eyewitnesses who question and challenge the official story onto the program would also have allowed them to go ‘head to head’ with the other experts who were defending the official story. This would have provided us all with an exciting exchange of information, facts and a lively debate. I dare say it would have made for much better television than shots of them getting on and off the bus, or sleeping on it, or listening to Andrew Maxwell prattle on about the non provability of the non existence of Santa Claus or whatever…
Come to think of it, I don’t think the mainstream media has ever allowed experts on who challenge the official story of 9/11. Perhaps that is why they have to fund their own adverts on local TV just to get a measly 30 seconds of airtime in an attempt to make their presence known to the public.
So anyway, the program makers obviously decided to only let us hear the opinions of supporters of the official story. To be fair I don’t think they ever proclaimed to be making a balanced, fair or indeed useful documentary.
But enough about such trivial matters as ‘fairness’, ‘bias’, misrepresentation’, ‘censorship’ and ‘propaganda’ – and on with the review!
The program began with a statement of intent narrated by Andrew Maxwell, a comedian in real life, who also acted as tour guide and perpetual ridiculer of anyone in the group who continued to question of the official story. This is how he introduced the program.
“I’m Andrew Maxwell and I’m a comedian. But I’m here in New York on a serious mission. 9/11 was the most shocking day in recent American history. 2973 innocent people died.
Unbelievably, there are many people who doubt the conclusions of the official investigation and want to believe the American government are in some way responsible for this tragic event.
I’m taking five of them to America on an extraordinary journey to see if I can change their minds. It’ll be a tough mission. These guys appear to be convinced conspiracy theorists.
Personally, I’m certain as certain can be that the attacks were ordered by Osama Bin Laden. So we’re now going down the East coast of America to see where the attacks happened.”
It is worth taking a moment to analyze this short introduction because it is quite revealing.
To start with, Andrew Maxwell says ‘Unbelievably, there are many people who doubt the conclusions of the official investigation …’ as if it is somehow shocking that the public might question what our governments tell us to believe despite the fact that documented, uncontested history tells us these people lie, cheat and deceive routinely. From Watergate… to Monica Lewinsky …to referendums on Europe …to closing Guantanamo Bay and ending torture …to stopping wiretapping …to pulling the troops out …to WMD’s…… it seems lying to our faces without even batting an eyelid is what these people do best.
Andrew Maxwell surely can’t be completely unaware of the documented history of government deception and lies to the public because that would make him, like, totally ignorant of political history and current affairs and stuff like that!
Maybe he is in fact being sarcastic with his ‘disbelief’? Maybe the entire program is mocking the mainstream media’s blatant policy of dismissing anyone who questions the official story regarding 9/11 and avoiding any mention of the mountain of evidence contradicting the official story?
Could ‘9/11 Conspiracy Road Trip’ actually be a mockumentary cleverly parodying a television propaganda hit piece, while simultaneously posing as one?! An ‘inside job’, as it were!
Andrew Maxwell is, after all, a stand up comedian and the last time I checked a stand up a comedian’s ‘job description’ is to be the voice of the people (not the government/ military industrial complex) and to use humour to (among other things) expose and mock the political establishment whenever they do naughty stuff like illegally claiming expenses or committing horrendous war crimes.
It’s a cheery thought at least. But I don’t really think the program makers are being as subtle or sophisticated as that. I suspect it really is a genuine attempt to impress the public with its nonsense, misdirection, spectacularly manipulative editing, gibberish and double speak. (Ahem… not that they’re desperately trying to defend the indefensible or anything…)
Next Andrew Maxwell states that these people ‘want to believe the American government are in some way responsible for this tragic event’. This is another completely bizarre thing to say. Why on earth would anyone want to believe that (criminal elements within) one’s own government are responsible for/ complicit in the cold blooded mass murder of their own population?!
(Although personally I don’t make much distinction between being capable and willing to murder your ‘own’ citizens and being capable and willing to murder tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi and Afghani men, women and children. Murder is murder is it not?).
Surely it’s much more comforting to believe in the official story: that 9/11 was carried out by some rag tag bunch of evil ter’ists headed by super villain Osama Bin Laden hiding in his James Bond style secret cave fortress, with an AK-47 permanently slung around his shoulder (just so we know), and that our trusted leaders are doing all they can to “defeat these evil ter’ists”
(The program also spectacularly fails to point out that Bin Laden’s brother helped GW Bush set up his first oil company and that the Bin Laden family have been business associates with the Bush family for decades and the entire family were in fact flown OUT of the U.S. immediately after 9/11, rather than detained and questioned about Osama’s whereabouts, or their possible involvement in 9/11).
In fact Andrew Maxwell demonstrates perfectly just how comforting this official story of 9/11 is (to him) by doing a stand up show in New York with 9/11 content thrown in. While the body count continues to rise in the middle east and while babies born with deformities caused by U.S. depleted uranium weapons of mass destruction now face growing up (assuming they survive that long) in a devastated, broken and illegally occupied country, all in the name of “freedom and democracy” Andrew tells the audience with a smile that “We’re back on top”.
Watching this part of the program I found it hard to believe that Andrew Maxwell could be that offensive and in such a glib way and once again I really wanted to believe it was his attempt at cutting sarcasm, you know, Bill Hicks style. When he then went on to call President Obama “Captain Groovy” I wanted to believe he was poking fun at Obama’s use of PR and NLP to gain/ maintain popularity while simultaneously doing a 180 degree U-turn on pretty much every single campaign pledge, including getting the troops out of the middle east, stopping the policy of rendition/ tortue and closing down the torture camps and reversing the wiretapping and Orwellian police state agenda introduced by Bush. But I don’t think he was. I am not sure if he really knows what he is talking about. Still if his material amuses drunk people in bars, who am I to judge it so harshly?
Returning to the introduction, Andrew Maxwell goes on to say , “These guys appear to be convinced conspiracy theorists”. This is another completely ridiculous thing to say seeing as how the official story of 9/11 is also BY DEFINITION a conspiracy theory.
Not only is the official story of 9/11 a conspiracy theory, it’s a corker!
He goes on to then say “Personally, I’m certain as certain can be that the attacks were ordered by Osama Bin Laden” indicating that he is totally convinced by the officially sanctioned conspiracy theory of 9/11. This makes Andrew Maxwell – by his own admission – also a ‘conspiracy theorist’.
But it gets even more interesting when you consider that the rest of the group just have questions about the official conspiracy theory, they are aware of evidence which appears to contradict the official conspiracy theory, but they do not pretend to ‘know’ exactly what did happen in the way that Andrew Maxwell does (“I’m as certain as certain can be…”). They just know the official story does not add up. They are not really ‘conspiracy theorists’ in the kooky/ fanatical sense at all. They just know governments routinely lie and deceive even their ‘own’ populations. They know the evidence doesn’t add up. They know that it’s a complex issue.
In short, they are just thinking critically for themselves and like so many people who have torn themselves away from X-factor for half an hour to actually look into 9/11, they have some serious and valid questions that still remain unanswered a decade on.
By contrast, it is clear that Andrew Maxwell has accepted and adopted the official government/ TV conspiracy theory without any real critical or investigative process whatsoever. His apparent reluctance to even consider its numerous and enormous flaws – or compare it with analogous events throughout history – suggests he has not only accepted it at face value (literally as a story, disconnected from reality) but has also started to identify himself with it, which means he now defends it from a position of emotion and ego, rather than dispassionate reason and evidence. It is interesting to note how he personally provides absolutely no evidence to back up his ardent support for the official story of 9/11, while ridiculing everyone else for daring to stray from the official story and put together their own ideas based on their own research.
All of the rest of the group demonstrate an ability to think critically for themselves, to handle and asses information and to question what other people say and even to question what they themselves think.
In fact, the only closed minded, irrational, superstitious ‘conspiracy theorist’ among them turns out to be, perhaps unsurprisingly, Andrew Maxwell himself.
(In Part 2 I plan to explore each of the ‘conspiracy theories’ addressed by the program)
Edited to add…
The following video steps through some of the highlights of the official story of 9/11 – a conspiracy theory given to us by the government via the corporate mass media. This video explains why we are at war (of terror and occupation) and why freedoms, rights and powers have all been taken away from the people of every developed nations and placed in the hands of their respective governments.
After 10 years this is more than just an official conspiracy theory, it has become consensus reality for much of the world.