George Monbiot Bravely Tackles Loose Change UPDATE

It's hard to imagine how much intestinal fortitude Monbiot had to work up to dare take on the mighty internet documentary, Loose Change.

Ok, it's not. Actually, it's pretty easy. The truth be told, picking a fight with Loose Change is passé. Monbiot should have saved his load for the theatrical release. But he just couldn't help himself. On February 6, The Guardian published his commentary, "A 9/11 conspiracy virus is sweeping the world, but it has no basis in fact".

However, Monbiot, like other Left personalities with a soapbox and a bias against "conspiracy theories" in general, fails the public when he reaches for easy insults like "gibbering idiots", reducing the discourse to kindergarten-level. Monbiot is (was?) an intelligent man. He knows the effect that an ad hominem abusive would generate in someone who was inspired by Loose Change, so it would seem that he is trying to affect the viewer's emotional state, particularly a viewer who, inspired by the film, began to seek out corroborating evidence after watching Loose Change.

So, in the same way that conservative D'Souza fails his audience, Monbiot offers a hot cup of tea and some biscuits to his audience, but how much of what Monbiot is saying in The Guardian a bunch of bollocks?


Monbiot breezes past insider trading just as quick as can be, "The US government carried out this great crime for four reasons: to help Larry Silverstein, who leased the towers, to collect his insurance money; to assist insider traders betting on falling airline stocks; to steal the gold in the basement; and to grant George Bush new executive powers, so that he could carry out his plans for world domination." By squeezing "insider traders betting on falling airline stocks" between two "reasons" that "The US government carried out this great crime", Monbiot creates absurd strawmen himself that blur the reality of insider trading prior to 9/11. This is the first time I've heard that the US government did 9/11 to enrich Silverstein. It's also the first time I've heard that the US government did 9/11 to steal the gold in the basement of the WTC. So, if you hear someone rattling off these absurd theories, blame George Monbiot.

What Monbiot is doing, is exactly what he accuses the Loose Change crew of doing.

What Monbiot says;

"by drowning this truth in an ocean of nonsense, the conspiracists ensure that it can never again be taken seriously."

What Monbiot does;

"by drowning this truth in an ocean of nonsense, [Monbiot] ensure[s] that it can never again be taken seriously."

It's not surprising that there is no in-depth discussion of insider trading by Monbiot, because it's not something he can pass off on "someone possessed by this sickness, eyes rolling, lips flecked with foam, trying to infect me." Rather, he would have to turn his attention to a serious analysis of the anomaly, such as the very valuable examination of insider trading claims by Paul Zarembka, Professor of Economics at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and Allen Poteshman, Associate Professor of Finance, College of Business, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The 9/11 Commission tells us, "Exhaustive investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission, FBI, and other agencies have uncovered no evidence that anyone with advance knowledge of the attacks profited through securities transactions..."

and in the accompanying footnote;

"Highly publicized allegations of insider trading in advance of 9/11 generally rest on reports of unusual pre-9/11 trading activity in companies whose stock plummeted after the attacks. Some unusual trading did in fact occur, but each such trade proved to have an innocuous explanation. For example, the volume of put options – investments that pay off only when a stock drops in price – surged in the parent companies of United Airlines on September 6 and American Airlines on September 10 – highly suspicious trading on its face. Yet, further investigation has revealed that the trading had no connection with 9/11. A single U.S.-based institutional investor with no conceivable ties to al-Qaeda purchased 95 percent of the UAL puts on September 6 as part of a trading strategy that also included buying 115,000 shares of American on September 10. Similarly, much of the seemingly suspicious trading in American on September 10 was traced to a specific U.S.-based options trading newsletter, faxed to its subscribers on Sunday, September 9, which recommended these trades. These examples typify the evidence examined by the investigation. The SEC and the FBI, aided by other agencies and the securities industry, devoted enormous resources to investigating this issue, including securing the cooperation of many foreign governments. These investigators have found that the apparently suspicious consistently proved innocuous."

Zarembka comments in The Hidden History of 9-11-2001;

"This footnote downgrades the problem to be investigated as to be only ‘‘some unusual trading’’.

Analyzing the Commission’s representation, Griffin explains logical problems with the footnote, noting also the delimitation to the sole question as to whether al-Qaeda was involved, i.e., the Commission’s reference to a ‘‘single U.S.-based institutional investor with no conceivable ties to al-Qaeda’’. Suppose this investor were an insider to the events to follow, but was not connected to al-Qaeda?...

...One issue so far left unexplored is put-option volumes relative to call option volumes, calls providing the right to buy a stock during the term of a contract for a specified price. We could discuss this but there is no need, as we can more fruitfully skip to an important academic study on AMR and UAL option volumes and what that evidence suggests about insider trading before 9-11. It is based upon the relation of put to call volumes as well as upon simple put volumes. The peer-reviewed study in the Journal of Business by Allen Poteshman (2006), ‘‘Unusual Option Market Activity and the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001’’, trumps casual news remarks about whether the stock market, and/or airline stocks, were going down before 9-11 as an explanation for rising put-option purchases. It trumps whether this or that newsletter suggested one or another market strategy. In other words, it goes beyond anecdotal comments and compares option behavior in specific stocks (or stock indexes) to measures of the historical patterns in these options. The study offers more general research into identifying insider trading, while also exploring the specific case of AMR and UAL stocks for 9-11." - (pp. 69-71)

In the conclusion of his study, Poteshman says;

"The option market volume ratios considered do not provide evidence of unusual option market trading in the days leading up to September 11. The volume ratios, however, are constructed out of long and short put volume and long and short call volume; simply buying puts would have been the most straightforward way for someone to have traded in the option market on foreknowledge of the attacks. A measure of abnormal long put volume was also examined and seen to be at abnormally high levels in the days leading up to the attacks. Consequently, the paper concludes that there is evidence of unusual option market activity in the days leading up to September 11 that is consistent with investors trading on advance knowledge of the attacks."

Studies like this take time. Reviewing these studies also takes time. A lot more time than say... writing a 9/11 hit piece.


"The next evident flaw is that the plot they propose must have involved tens of thousands of people."

Yet, Monbiot buys the plot with 19 hijackers, Asbestos/Teflon/Fireball-proof passports and headbands. Funny, that.


Oh yeah? Whistleblower Kevin Ryan critiqued that piece, by the "aerospace and mechanical engineer" and found it wanting. I highly recommend reading it;

Manuel Garcia Sees Physics That Don’t Exist


Monbiot's critique is silly. By focusing on the elements he can derive the maximum caricature value from, he remains smug in his assurance that everything is hunky-dory, "nothing to see here, you can move along".

It reminds me of Noam Chomsky, who Barrie Zwicker examines in his book Towers of Deception.

Zwicker present us with a question asked of Chomsky after a public meeting, “Would you consider your media analysis as a ‘conspiracy theory’ at all?”

Chomsky replied, “It’s precisely the opposite of conspiracy theory, actually … ‘conspiracy theory’ has become the intellectual equivalent of a four-letter word: it’s something people say when they don’t want you to think about what’s really going on.”

Later, on a different occasion, in conversation with Zwicker, Chomsky had this to say about 9/11 official story skepticism, “Look, this is just conspiracy theory.”

Et tu, Monbiot?



I also left a comment for Guardian readers in the Guardian comments bin;

"gibbering idiots"

"eyes rolling, lips flecked with foam"

As Muhamed Ali once said to George Foreman, "Is that all you got, George?"

Seriously, is this what the Left is reduced to when discussing this topic? Ad hominem and strawman arguments?

Canadian Professor David MacGregor has published several articles on 9/11 from a Leftist perspective, and he pulls no punches when he identifies the failures of the Left when addressing 9/11 skepticism;


"Left resistance to alternative explanations of 9-11 reflects a general antipathy to conspiracy theory even though the official story itself relies on a very elaborate web of conspiracy, involving bin Laden and many others. This may explain why the editors of the respected left journal Monthly Review signaled soon after the tragedies in New York and Washington that independent investigation of the actual events was off-limits.

---There is little we can say directly about the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, DC – except that these were acts of utter, inhuman violence, indefensible in every sense, taking a deep and lasting human toll.---

The left favors structural explanations of political and social events, with capacious categories such as social class, globalization, international relations and so forth brought to bear on social phenomena, including terrorism. Oppositional theory (which takes dialectical approach to social relations) emphasizes along with structural factors, elite agency: the actions of powerful leaders and organizations with more control over critical events that directly affect our own lives than many leftwing analysts are prepared to accept. Moreover, elites operate within a deep political structure … that is an unacknowledged part of the network of political power analyzed by the left.

Commentators on the left, like pundits elsewhere on the political spectrum, are hesitant to go far astray of the limits on accepted discourse regarding controversial questions, especially, as in the case of 9-11, when corporate media and the state heavily police these boundaries. There is a left bias toward explanations of terror as the result of exploitation and revolt of the underprivileged. Finally, the left is averse to conspiracy theories spun by critics of the system, seeing such theories as antithetical to systematic analysis based on larger factors, like class struggle or globalization.

Leftist failure to consider official complicity in the events of September 11 may also arise from a common misapprehension of the historical roots of terror. Most commentators regardless of political stripe regard ‘‘terrorism as a non- or extra-state menace, rather than as state violence.’’ However, this perspective ignores ‘‘the possibility that the excessive violence of the state might itself, in certain instances, constitute a form of terrorist violence’’." - David MacGregor in Elsevier's "The Hidden History of 9-11-2001"


Canadian media critic Barrie Zwicker took Left icon Noam Chomsky to task in his book, "Towers of Deception".

Zwicker presents us with a question asked of Chomsky after a public meeting, “Would you consider your media analysis as a ‘conspiracy theory’ at all?”

Chomsky replied, “It’s precisely the opposite of conspiracy theory, actually … ‘conspiracy theory’ has become the intellectual equivalent of a four-letter word: it’s something people say when they don’t want you to think about what’s really going on.”

Later, on a different occasion, in a different context (in a conversation with Zwicker) Chomsky had this to say about evidence suggestive of government involvement in 9/11, “Look, this is just conspiracy theory.” (TOD pp. 179-180)

Zwicker concluded that;

“…Chomsky, the most quoted “Leftist” in the Left media, systematically engages in deceptive discourse on certain key topics, such as JFK’s assassination, 9/11, and with regard to the CIA. In warning the Left against examining the evidence on JFK and 9/11, he lines himself up with George Bush and the corporate media, thereby advancing their agenda – which he otherwise opposes. When he is not appearing to undermine the American Empire, which is the main thing he does, he is buttressing it by undermining the most effective and therefore dangerous foe the Empire faces – the conscious Left.” (TOD p. 224)

Mr. Monbiot, the parallels between your approach here, and pathetic jabs at 9/11 skepticism by other Left pundits, are symptomatic of a disease currently infesting the intellectual Left.

Surely, reasoned, dialectical debate is preferable to the feces-throwing you engage in here.

You should be ashamed.

Show "I love this line" by JamesB


In some very small way, these hit pieces mimic some of the problems with Loose Change. Loose Change begins with a premise (9/11 was Operation Northwoods 2001), and then tries to make every aspect of that premise work, even when some aspects don't. The basic idea is correct (9/11 was an inside job), but when one enumerates the details of the LC narrative, as Monbiot does, it does begin to sound desperately and unnecessarily complicated.

Similarly, Monbiot begins with a premise (conspiracies don't happen), and he applies that premise beyond its reasonable boundaries. Just as LC cherrypicks certain evidence, Monbiot excludes or glosses over the most damning evidence against the 9/11 Commission Report.

Somewhere in the middle, both LC and Monbiot contain some reasonable arguments. Of course, they can't both be right, and I believe LC is more right than Monbiot. The problem with both, though, is the desire to paint with broad strokes. The truth is in the details.

I must also say that I'm getting really sick of OTCs calling DRG the "high priest" of conspiracy theories. Griffin has published over 20 books on philosophy, theology, and politics. He's a professor emeritus. In other words, he's no fool. He's not a "high priest," implying a mastery of superstition. He's an accomplished academic, and could debate circles around Monbiot. Just because his discipline is "theology," that does not mean he is incapable of reading newspapers, eyewitness accounts, and government reports, the sources of our evidence.

Nice Analysis

Hope you post it to the comment section of the article.
“it is possible to fool all the people all the time—when government and press cooperate.” George Seldes - "legendary investigative reporter"