I've written reviews of a lot of 9/11 related DVDs. Some sought to explain the science behind why the towers fell. Some put faces to the names of the victims, from civilians to emergency personnel. And some try to turn members of the power structure into glowing heroes. But 911: In Plane Site is the first DVD that I've seen that asks questions about some of the weird anomalies left amidst the wreckage and debris of that day.
The roughly seventy-five minute-long main program is hosted by Dave vonKleist, the plain-talking host of the conspiracy-minded "Power Hour." VonKleist takes what could in less delicate hands come off as paranoid and deluded and makes it curiously fascinating. This program features no bells or whistles: It simply places the host in front of a bank of monitors and allows him to point out strange contradictions in the generally accepted facts about September 11th.
Among these inconsistencies are the size of the hole in the Pentagon's outer wall (which apparently would not have allowed for a plane of that size), the nature of the damage to the building, and the lack of visible plane debris. VonKleist shows a study released by the American Society of Civil Engineers that leaves out crucial information like reinforced beams in the Pentagon's walls and the plane's tail, seemingly negating their findings. He points out clearly visible computers and books that should have been destroyed in the impact but are perfectly fine in the photos. And he plays countless eye-witness reports that make it seem more like a missile hit the Pentagon.
He also shows numerous photos of the plane about to strike the south tower of the World Trade Center - images we've seen literally thousands of times before - but he points out a strange protrusion on the belly of the plane. This, taken along with eyewitness accounts pulled from news footage claiming that the plane had no windows and no commercial markings, seems to suggest that the plane was actually a military plane. As if things weren't weird enough, vonKleist points out an instantaneous flash at the front of the plane the moment before it strikes the tower. I figured that this was a reflection glancing off the plane on that sunny day, but vonKleist shows that the flash is visible from four different angles, thanks to the incredible media coverage of the second WTC crash. Then he uses the one known video shot of the first collision (from the Naudet brothers' 9/11) to show that the flash is present there too.
Now, you're thinking I've lost it. I've written about 9/11 before and I've never suggested that I thought something was amiss other than a nation caught blissfully unawares and a government, at worst, pig-headedly ignoring warning signs. But I've got to say, if vonKleist's observations have any merit (and he backs them up with historical material suggesting cover-ups in disasters that occurred during past administrations) then something may very well be going on beyond the vision of the general public. Was Jadakiss right? Did Bush knock down the towers? Despite vonKleist's references to Operation Northwoods (decades-old Cold War-era documents that show the US government willing to inflict calamity on its own citizens in order to inspire the motivation to attack others) this possibility is still tough to accept. Still, the discrepancies between the party line and the visual evidence are troubling, to say the least.
As suggested by vonKleist, I got out one of my own 9/11 DVDs (In Memoriam) to check out some of the anomalies for myself. In all honesty, I couldn't make out the odd shape on the belly of the plane that struck the south tower or the flash that preceded the crash. Also, in one long shot of the plane approaching the tower it did look like the plane could either be a windowless military plane or an American Airlines plane. It's tough to say from the grainy footage. However, on inspecting the Naudet footage of the first crash, the flash is clearly visible the moment before the crash. What does this mean? I have no idea. A lot of what vonKleist says is troubling but I can't specifically say that I know where it leads. Perhaps history will reveal more to the story, perhaps there's nothing more to reveal. If readers are interested, however, the DVD does a good job of raising questions, as does In Plane Site's web-site, which can be found here.
NOTE: I would also like to offer a link to an article in Popular Mechanics that takes many of the claims in 911 in Plan Site and seeks to debunk them. Read it for yourself and decide: 9/11: Debunking The Myths
The bulk of the full-frame video is simply a head and shoulder shot of vonKleist introducing different segments. The archival footage obviously varies by source and some of it is grainy, due to extreme magnification. But overall this is a fine presentation.
The Dolby Digital stereo audio is also fine. There's nothing fancy about it.
The main extra here is a lengthy selection of extra segments. The funniest is probably the montage of mentions of 9/11 and terrorism at the 2004 Republican National Convention. The use of these buzzwords by Bush, Giuliani, Pataki, and others is nearly hypnotic in its repetitiveness.
While this sequence is amusing, there are also meatier segments, including additional information about a possible explosion at 7 WTC, the lower building that collapsed later in the day under somewhat mysterious circumstances. I don't know if I buy this: We know that the towers acted almost as chimneys (this was a big factor in the 1993 bombing) and the smoke visible around 7 WTC could very well be funneled from the taller buildings through the chimney-like central shaft. Still, vonKleist does offer some interesting thoughts here. Other interesting segments are included. There are also trailers for this program and a program called Beyond Treason, which investigates illness with which soldiers in recent wars return home.
This is unusual programming, to say the least. It's not a catchy pop-documentary like Fahrenheit 9/11 or Bowling for Columbine but rather an investigation specifically focused on a few tough questions. Many will view this as simple Bush-bashing (although vonKleist has strong criticism of Clinton and possible cover-ups that took place under his watch as well). Still, he points out some weird problems with the standard 9/11 evidence. Whether or not it adds up is up to the individual viewer to decide.
World Trade Center / 9/11 Related Reviews
DC 9/11 - Time of Crisis
In Memoriam: New York City 9/11/01
The First 24 Hours
York Firefighters: The Brotherhood of 9/11
the Towers Fell
Trade Center: Anatomy of the Collapse
Trade Center - A Modern Marvel 1973-2001