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Ponderings on the Tenth Anniversary of 9-11

September 15, 2011

With the tenth anniversary of 9-11 recently passed the television schedules have been loaded with programmes marking the event. Too many to watch them all to be honest but I have made the effort to watch several of them.

Due to a recent house move I have been without a broadband connection for about 4 weeks and so my internet activity has been drastically reduced with blogs and blogging being the biggest casualty. This has meant I haven’t read anything on the internet about 9-11 over the past four weeks, which is probably a good thing and few wind me up more than reading the illogical and false conspiracies about the event, of which there are many.

Here are my thoughts on some of the programmes broadcast on UK TV to mark the event.

Rebuilding Ground Zero

This documentary series, directed by Steven Spielberg on the new World Trade Centre complex is noticeable triumphalistic in its presentation. Its views like a drawn out and oversized single fingered ‘Fuck You!’ to the terrorists who brought down the originalTwinTowers. There is even a propaganda-ish ‘we are American and we will be back to our former glory’ feel to it.

That said, I don’t mind that so much.America(and the world) suffered terribly that day and if the new complex signifies a glorious recovery and a lasting mockery of the terrorists because what is there now is better than what was there before, then I am quite happy to go along with the associated propaganda.

I like the design of the new buildings that are being built and I think the memorial is very tastefully done. I am a little surprised at the amount of space that has been given over to the memorial, given how valuable plots of land are in that part of New York. I expected a smaller memorial plot. However, I didn’t lose anyone on that day and I am not aNew Yorkresident, so my opinion on the appropriateness of the use of that land is of much less importance than those who lost loved ones and those who live and work inNew York.

Conspiracy Road Trip

This was a programme that was guaranteed to annoy me at some point. The basic premise was 5 conspiracy believers on a bus, with a non-conspiracist comedian. They visited some major sites associated with 9-11 and each of the five delivered a conspiracy fragment that was analysed.

In an hour long programme, there is precious little that can be done to demonstrate fully each of the five’s points and a rebuttal. There was enough to annoy me when a couple of them went on their rants and refused to see logic. A classic example was one chap, who having been shown a large pile of thermite sitting on a steel beam get ignited, later proclaimed what he had seen (and other arguments) as nothing more than pseudoscience. I laughed loudly at that as he had very obviously got his definitions confused, all the more concerning was that he had a science based degree qualification.

Another major annoyance came when one of the girls got in a rant about being empirical about the evidence; in her case the rant was about her belief that the phone calls claimed to have been made from flight 93 were not possible as you can’t use a phone on a plane. What the programme should have done then was give her a demonstration of phone usage on a plane. Instead the programme went into a segment on how the phone calls from those on flight 93 were allegedly faked using a computer programme and voice recordings of the victims. In the event, the girls who ranted about empirical scientific evidence got in a huff and a strop when faced with empirical scientific evidence that challenged her belief and she refused to accept it. Sad, but true.

It wasn’t all bad news though. One of the five, when faced with a honest explanation of how the towers fell, specifically how the North Tower collapsed down rather than the top topple off the side, as many conspiracists claim should have happened; accepted the evidence and admitted at the end of the programme that he had been wrong and that the evidence and logical explanations had convinced him of that.

It was nice to see someone man up to their failings like that and to be honest I didn’t expect to see any of the original five change their views, so respect to the man for doing so.

102 minutes that changedAmerica.

At first I wasn’t going to watch this programme but when I saw that it claimed previously unseen footage I was intrigued. The programme took film from many people who were eye witnesses to the events and stitched them all together chronologically to tell the story.

Some segments included the audio from the original filming and some had overlays of emergency calls or radio transmissions from emergency responders. I found it a genuinely moving documentary.

I found the sections filmed from peoples residences that had a view of the towers especially moving. One stand out section for me was seeing the bodies falling from the south tower before the north tower had its impact. I knew video existed of people falling from the towers but until now I have never watched any; I had only seen still images of bodies falling. Watching those people falling utterly sickened me, it made it very real the horror that must have been going on in those towers. Its one things to watch them burn and fall, knowing many hundreds of people were dying, it is quite another to see a single body fall all that way, and then another, and another.

The programme showed how confusing it was during that time between the first plane impact and the first tower falling. Several film sections showed people repeating things that were incorrect, things like which brand of airline was involved and one person even reporting that there would be a plane every half hour. In times like that, rumour and misinformation spreads very quickly, even by those who don’t intend it.

Another thing that the programme showed very clearly was the vast damage that the towers took from the impacts. This was something I had not fully appreciated before. The damage was not simply an impact hole and a fire. The impacts were more like huge knife slashes and not just on the side that took the impact. The opposite side and one adjacent side were also significantly damaged. It also wasn’t single floors that were affected; multiple floors were affected at each impact point and also by the further damage after the initial impact. The close ups of the damage showed large fires burning in multiples areas. The volume of smoke coming off the buildings is also immense and gives a very real clue to just how large the fires are in the buildings.

Another thing that was impressed upon me from the programme was the amount of debris from the impacts. The debris wasn’t just bits of paper floating about (of which there is a very large amount) there are also some side streets that have a thick dust covering. Some camera shots show significant amounts of falling debris immediately after the impacts, its like an dirty rain and hail storm. At least one shot showed burning debris in the street. Add to that, there are some larger sections of building and one brief shot shows what looks like a piece of aeroplane in the street. It all adds up to the inescapable conclusions that the plane impacts caused major damage to the buildings and the resulting fires continued to weaken them. Its hardly a surprise that they eventually collapsed.

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From → comment, conspiracy

2 Comments
  1. Dear Mr. Limey,

    I’m glad to see that you are still so easily duped and impressed by telly propaganda to keep the emotions on high and rational thought on low.

    Thank you for the programme review.

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